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Partnering with Nature: The Wild Path to Reconnecting with the Earth [Paperback]

Catriona MacGregor
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Beyond Words Publishing; 1 edition (1 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582702195
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582702193
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 14 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 401,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Partnering with Nature In today's world, it's often too easy to forget about the world outside the window. People struggle daily with stressful jobs, trapped under fluorescent lighting, staring at glowing screens, or surrounded by concrete when they could be outdoors, acknowledging the gifts of natural world. In the face of its absence, we are finally beginning to understand that our connection with nature--plants, tree... Full description

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wild Path is the Right Path . . . 8 Oct 2010
Every now and then, a new book comes along which stops you in your tracks. Catriona MacGregors' 'Partnering with Nature' is one such book.

There can be no doubt that our current ecological crisis is due to the fact that people today are disconnected from the natural rhythms and cycles that we all depend on for life and meaning. Catriona carefully plots the reasons for our nature-free lifestyles, and, most importantly, offers tangible solutions to set us back onto the right path - the Wild Path to reconnecting with the Earth.

The detail is amazing; she has missed nothing in her search for the truth, from ley lines to breathwork, synchronicity to duality, it all flows beautifully and is written in a natural, easy to read style.

This is clearly the most comprehensive book on this vital topic of our time, and every home, school and library should have one.
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At this troubled time when so many adults and children are suffering from a nature-deficit disorder, this sensitive and insightful book offers important pointers to a happier and more meaningful life, as it weaves together scientific and historical insights, along with spiritual wisdoms and fascinating anecdotes. The book is a valuable tool for any one seeking greater joy and meaning in their life, and has certainly enriched mine.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent nature prose -- a delight to read 13 April 2010
By Rabbi Yonassan Gershom - Published on
I am giving this book five stars for the excellent writing and wonderful nature stories -- even though the author and I are worlds apart on theology. Like many neo-pagan writers nowadays, she has a tendency to mis-blame human disconnectedness with other living beings on "monotheism." (In her case, mostly her childhood Catholicism. She says very little about Judaism. I am more inclined to blame the disconnect on the 17th-century French philosopher Rene Descartes, who thought of animals as nothing but unfeeling machines -- but that's a whole other blog.) She takes a polytheistic approach to the natural world that I, as a Jew, cannot embrace as such, athough I do share her deep love of animals and nature. But in a different way. So I need to be very clear that I am NOT recommending that my fellow Jews should worship fertility goddesses, pray to animal spirits, or set up pagan altars in their living rooms. Having said that, this book is still an excellent read if you approach it as a cross-cultural experience. Plus, there are many activities in the book -- such as map making, quiet meditation, dream journals, collages, etc. -- that are universal enough for anyone to try.

What impressed me the most about this book is Catriona MacGregor's amazing descriptions of nature. These passages read like pure poetry. She begins with her childhood when, at age four, she climbed to the top of a tree to put a baby bird back in the nest -- unable to understand why her mother and godmother were so panicked below. (She got down safely). From there she describes some incredible mystical experiences with trees and animals, including a vision of the "soul" of a huge old tree on the day before it was cut down. She writes: "The tree, knowing of its impending demise, shone forth its inner light, sharing its everlasting soul with the rest of the world." (For my Jewish readers, lest you scoff, I refer you to this passage by Elie Wiesel in Souls on Fire: Portraits and Legends of Hasidic Masters, page 145: "Once upon a time Hasidism had meant emphasis on inner truth and fervor; a return to nature, to genuine beauty, to identification. A Hasid would see a tree and become that tree; he would hear the song of a shepherd and become that song and shepherd -- that was his way of coming closer to the essence of man." The two stories are not so far apart. Modern Hasidim, however, are urbanized and have lost this connection. They have the stories but not the experience.)

MacGregor is now an environmental activist who also leads vision quests, which she calls "nature quests," a name I find most appropriate nowadays, when nature itself become something we must actively seek out. Although she bases these activities on Native American practices, they are not dogmatically ritualized and there is plenty of room for personalization. (In other words, you can do this without worshipping pagan gods or idols.) The basic idea is to set up a circle somewhere in the wilderness and spend a few days meditating there, closely observing both the natural world and your inner thoughts. Participants keep a journal of any dreams or other experiences during the quest. In the process, many people reconnect with nature in a positive way and find some new direction in their lives. (I myself did a vision quest when I was in South Dakota in 1969. It was nothing so ceremonial, just me alone, with a blanket and a Bible, on a hill the night of Tisha B'Av. Nevertheless, it was a life-changing experience for me, which I described in my book, Beyond the Ashes: Cases of Reincarnation from the Holocaust.)

Another interesting story concerns the souls of road-kill animals that she has buried and/or prayed for. I myself have often stopped to move dead animals to the side of the road, but it never occurred to me to pray for the release of their souls. According to MacGregor, animals souls, like those of people, can become earthbound if their bodies die suddenly. So, if it is safe to do so, she stops to give these animals "last rites," so to speak. In her "shamanic journey" vision, she saw their spirits alive and joyful. I must admit this story has changed my perception of road kills.

All in all, I enjoyed this book very much. It also gave me the direction for my next project: To finish writing "Notes from a Jewish Naturalist," the working title of a book I've had on the back burner for some time now. Because, as I said in the opening paragraph, I don't really think "monotheism" per se is to blame for our current environmental crisis. "Monotheism" means there is only one GOD -- it does NOT mean nothing else has a spirit. There are many beautiful, nature-oriented teachings and stories within the Jewish tradition, many of which are all but forgotten in today's urban communities. Like Catriona MacGregor, I am acutely aware of the fact that our younger generations are growing up disconnected from God's creation. (See Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-deficit Disorder by Richard Louv, founder of the "No Child Left Inside" movement.) So I think it was, as we say in Yiddish, quite "bashert" (destined) for me to find this book now. Thank you, Catriona, for giving me the kick in the butt that I needed :)
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully wrought synthesis, highlighting the essential connection of human to nature 13 April 2010
By Amy Racina - Published on
Catriona MacGregor's poignant "Partnering With Nature: The Wild Path to Reconnecting With the Earth" is a beautifully wrought synthesis of poetic spirituality and well-grounded practical fact.

Catriona creates an intriguing tapestry of thoughts and images, weaving together history, geology, scientific research, and her own profound spiritual connection with the natural world. She cites examples from an impressive panoply of resources, and adds a human touch by including many of her own experiences, both expansively global and heartbreakingly personal.

Each statement is supported by factual data and breathed into life by Catriona's own quest to share her relationship with nature with those around her. The place to start is your own back yard, suggests the author, though there is no doubt that she considers the entire planet and every plant, animal, and person upon it to be worthy of care and connection.

She combines an intimate knowledge of the invisible world of energy and spirit with concrete statistics to show our "fall from grace" and the dangerous downward spiral that we have created through our alienation with the natural world. She argues eloquently that we need nature as much as nature needs us. She speaks convincingly of Earth as teacher, habitat, and salvation, asserting that our connection with the natural environment provides both a portal to the divine and the tools that we will need to preserve our planet as a habitat for humankind.

The author entices the reader into reconsidering his or her own relationship with nature. She includes simple, accessible practices that will enable us to improve the quality of our daily lives, to be more in touch with our habitat, to reduce our footprint on the earth and ultimately to save our planet and ourselves by connecting more with our natural world.

She concludes by gathering together the many threads of wisdom offered up by her book and leads us gently but inexorably to her conclusion.: We as a race will not thrive, evolve or even survive, unless we return to partnership with our earth. She urges us to reclaim the strength of our connection with nature on both a personal and a planetary level.

"You are a different person if you are filled with the warm rays of the sun, the clarity of the blue sky, the soaring hawk." Says Catriona in her final paragraphs.

You will also be a different person after you have read this book. The images of Catriona's vision will flow through your mind and dance through your heart long after you have finished reading "Partnering With Nature: The Wild Path to Reconnecting With the Earth"

-Amy Racina
Author "Angels in the Wilderness"
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Effective and Eloquently Written 14 April 2010
By S. Banwait - Published on
I began to glance over Partnering with Nature with the intent to see what I would be reading the next few weeks. Before I knew it, I was turning the 70th page! The book is effective and is eloquently written. In this age of technology, stress, and commotion, Partnering with Nature makes you pause, take a deep breath, and transports you back to your roots. Catriona's personal accounts are written in such a manner that she leads you on a powerful journey. It is as if the reader is standing right next to MacGregor, experiencing the same sights, thoughts, and emotions. There is a great deal of uncertainly in these times, predominantly about our children's future. Catriona re-awakens the youthful imagination, and imparts a much-needed optimistic outlook for the future. Partnering with Nature offers invaluable avenues of healing; opportunities to restore ourselves and Planet Earth.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Partnering With Nature ... "A marvelous work of depth and vision." 19 Mar 2011
By Richard Whitehurst - Published on
Partnering with Nature is an astounding work that brings together ecopsychology, natural sciences, shamanism, history, spirituality, world myth and transformative nature-connecting techniques that will not only change the character of one's thinking but will, if applied in relation to natural phenomena, change the character of one's Being while living on this beautiful planet. It is a marvelous work of depth and vision.

Replete with moving personal accounts, an array of relevant quotes from world authorities, and clear instructions on numerous methods of reconnecting with what is for many a lost natural heritage, Partnering with Nature is a book that delivers what is required to establish a solid footing on the path to renewing and/or invigorating one's intimate relationship to the natural world.

Of the scores of books I have read concerning re-establishing our connection to nature Catriona MacGregor's Partnering with Nature is certainly within the top 5 percentile. Clearly written by someone who is obviously and deeply in love with the natural world, Partnering with Nature is approachable, inspiring, practical, and even enlightening. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Buy this book. Read it. Relish it. Apply it. Then ... allow Nature to enfold you once again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning from "Nature Girl" 22 April 2010
By Rosaleen A. Bertolino - Published on
Not being a theoretical sort, Catriona MacGregor's personal stories and the book's lovely illustrations are what make this book stand out for me--by the end of it, you will no longer feel guilty for taking the time to go on a long, slow stroll in the woods--in fact, she makes a strong case for the absolute necessity of activities like this in our current disconnected-from-nature lives. This is a book to savor, especially now that it's spring. Read a chapter a day, give yourself and, if you are a parent, your children some time outside. It will change your life.
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