Three Things Thursday: Sturgeon Lecture, African American Nature Poetry, and Animism in Avatar

Each week, I share three things that have informed or inspired me in the hopes that they will help someone else exploring nature-based spirituality.

Sturgeon Lecture – Tonight!

Later today, I’m going to attend an online lecture from local environmentalist organization the Indian River Lakes Conservancy. I’m super pumped to learn about one of my favorite fish, the lake sturgeon! These amazing creatures are protected in New York State after generations of over fishing. Tonight, I’m going to learn how fisheries have helped to restock and repopulate the fresh water sturgeon. If you’re interested, you can sign up here. It’s free, and a wonderful way to connect with the local fauna.

Black Nature

I hold up a copy of Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry in front of my squash plants.

I usually don’t share books until I’ve finished reading, but I think I can make an exception for poetry anthologies, especially when they inspire me but will take time to work through. I recently started Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry edited by Camille T Dungy. I found it on a list of resources for intersectional environmentalism, and I knew I needed it. As an English graduate, teacher, writer, and Druid, I know I can do better. Exposure to other perspectives provides us with an opportunity to grow in knowledge and empathy. Celtic-influenced polytheists aren’t the only ones working with nature, after all.

Animism in Avatar: The Last Air Bender

Like many families in America, my husband and I introduced our child to the amazing world of Avatar: The Last Air Bender thanks to Netflix. As a highly rated animated show, it’s worth watching for the lovable characters, world building, and fantastic story alone, but it’s also a great vehicle to discuss animism with the younger set. Now that we’ve moved on to the sequel, The Legend of Korra, many of the previous lessons about the spirit world are being reiterated or explored deeper. For those new to the story, the Avatar is a person who acts as the bridge between the human and spirit worlds. There’s more to it than that, but there are a lot of great lessons about respecting spirits, controlling one’s emotions, and interconnection. So if you’re a polytheist parent looking for some wholesome television that celebrates rather than demonizes the spirit world (with a healthy amount of caution), I highly encourage you to check it out.

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