Who is the Earth?

How To See God in the Natural World

Charles Upton

San Rafael, CA: Sophia Perennis, 2008.
144 pages
ISBN: 978-1-59731-072-7
Price: $16.95 US
Buy now on Amazon.com

Ever since the advent of ‘earth-based spiritualities’ in our time, the call to realize the Divine Immanence, to see God in the forms of the natural world and the particular events of our lives, has become paramount. And yet, without a corresponding sense of the Divine Transcendence, we find ourselves drawn towards a kind of glamourized materialism, worshipping visible realities at the expense of the Invisible, taking as our deity a physical planet with a beginning and an end in time, instead of the living and eternal God, Who is before all beginnings and beyond all ends. This bias toward the Immanent as against the Transcendent (leading to the loss of both of them) has cast a shadow on the traditional religions, especially the Abrahamic ones: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It has hidden from us the dimensions of those religions wherein it is explicitly stated that ‘the heavens declare the Glory of God and the earth shows forth His handiwork.’ In this book, the author attempts to right this balance by showing the place of the contemplation of the natural world, and a respect for the Earth, in all the traditional religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the Native American spiritualities. Even the Lakota understand that this ‘Mother Earth’ is not the absolute Reality, that behind her stands ‘Grandmother Earth’, and behind her, Wakan Tanka, the Great Mystery itself. To mistake the Earth for God is to place a burden upon her that she is unable to bear, to deplete her resources and ultimately jeopardize her survival. But if we can regain the ability to contemplate God as He is in Himself, then this living Earth, and the material universe around us, will take their proper place in this contemplative act. They will be revealed as God’s icon, the ensemble of His placeless and eternal signs manifesting in space and time, appearing through the only medium capable of bringing God and His universe together into perfect union: the human form.

Table of Contents



What is Nature?—The Other Side—The Problems with Nature-Worship—The Mother/Child Trap: NatureE Must Save Me—Work—The Beautiful and the Sublime—Humility—Virgin Time—The Nature Spirits—The Regime of Nature—Fall and Apocalypse—Technology and Sorcery: The Power Trap—Poetic Immortality: The Aesthetic Trap—The Terrestrial Paradise—Who is the Earth?—Christianity: Unwordly, Not Unearthly—Nature, Art and Alchemy—Contemplating Nature as Jñana-Yoga—Nature and Symbol—Reality and Name—Listening to the Earth—Nostalgia and Return—'We Must Save the Earth'—Root and Branch


Preface—Atlantis and Hyperborea: An Enquiry into the Cyclical Mysteries—Afterword: The Hyperborean Temptation

About the Author

Charles Upton, poet, author, activist, and veteran of the counter-culture, developed an interest in metaphysics 'via mythopoeia' and, having survived the social upheavals of the Sixties, and the psychic allures of New Age occultism, awakened at the end of the Eighties to the esoteric teachings of the traditionalists, eventually becoming initiated into Sufism. His critique of New Age occultism and modernism is his best-known work and is published under the title, The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age (2001). Sophia Perennis has published many other books by Charles Upton. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, in Lexington, Kentucky.