The green movement is really taking hold. It’s gone further than saving resources, reducing waste and conserving energy. The health and beauty industries are turning more and more to natural products, or in some cases just labeling products as natural, in order to keep up with the rising tide of greenliness. More and more people, myself included, are turning to natural and holistic remedies and green living. I’ll leave it to others to debate the reasons; rising healthcare costs, shady insurance companies, the economy, to name a few. But overall, there seems to be a rising desire among people to reconnect with the earth. With nature. With the seasons and plants and herbs that the boom of the industrial and electronic ages have distanced us from. Perhaps we feeling safer taking things we can actually identify. Perhaps we feel a sense of peace, of connection to the earth, when choosing to eliminate toxins and save water. Perhaps we’re only coming full circle, and moving forward really only means moving back to our roots.
Speaking of roots ….
The potato was once condemned as ‘the Devil’s food’ because it grows underground, and because it’s kind of an ugly, lumpy looking thing. Unholy looking, if you please. In the 1600’s, after Spanish conquistadors had brought the potato to Europe, the upper class saw the value in the hardy, long-lasting tuber long before the peasants did. The lower classes were suspicious of the misshapen plant, and refused to eat it, even when faced with starvation. The stigma was slow to fade; it took the public approval of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, of all people, to turn the tide.
Silly, isn’t it? Yep. It seems so now, but in a different age, the superstition was taken pretty seriously. Good to know we’ve gotten past that sort of thinking.
Or have we?
In a document released in March 2009, the Catholic Church denounced the use of Reiki and even went so far as to ban its use from Roman-Catholic hospitals.
The document, available here, states that the Catholic Church recognizes healing by divine grace and healing that utilizes the powers of nature. They conclude, however, that Reiki does not support natural science or Christian belief, and that trust in Reiki is operating in the realm of superstition. They therefore deem it inappropriate for Catholic institutions or church representatives to promote or provide support for Reiki therapy. (Prayer, however, is just fine.)
What’s next? Is adding lavender oil to your bath suspect? Green tea? No, apparently these things are natural.
Herbs and plants have always been part of pagan rituals. Historically, around the time thousands were being tortured or burned as witches or heretics, herb lore got lumped in right alongside communing with evil spirits and casting spells. Midwives were denounced as witches.
While herbs are often part of spells, they are often used for simple healings. Herbalism and energy manipulation are big in new age medicine. Guess what? They are also big in old-age medicine.
Energy is natural. The manipulation of it in healing is by no means only effective when used by a priest. There are studies that show prayer is very helpful in healing the sick. And studies that show shamanistic healing, Reiki, crystal healing, and other alternative methods are also effective.
In March 2009, Pope Benedict XVI condemned modernism as the new paganism, claiming that the pagan love for power and possessions is a modern day plague. You know, I’m pretty sure he eats potatos, though. And you know, I kind of think the whole green movement goes right along with the views most pagans have.
Just how does one say potato?