Whitehead and Björk
Biophilia, Paganism, and Panentheism
Welcome to Biophilia
Björk's Contribution to the Biophilia Project
“Welcome to Biophilia: A love for nature in all her manifestations. From the tiniest organism, to the greatest red giant floating in the farthest realm of the universe. With Biophilia comes a restless curiosity, an urge to investigate and discover the illusive places where we meet nature. Where she plays on our senses with colours and forms; perfumes and smells.”
On Being Pagan
Is Björk an Icelandic Pagan? Perhaps a Heathen?
We can awaken to wisdom of the quaking aspen
Pando Populus is a platform for people who care about big ideas and the Earth. Our aim is to create an ecological civilization. We’ve taken our name from the largest and oldest organism on the planet — a giant quaking aspen tree, spread over more than a hundred acres, thousands of years old, connected by a single root system.Various movements and organizations focus on one aspect or another of ecological concern. We endorse and celebrate their work.
We can be loyal to the Earth
Today’s American Pagans can articulate many other ways their faith has contributed to contemporary society, such as environmental consciousness. Stewardship in Paganism does not rest on the claim of human dominion over the Earth, but on respect for all life as part of an interdependent web of relationships. Devotion to the Earth and to the land on which they live motivates many Pagans, and for them, its pollution is akin to the desecration of a sanctuary. Some Pagans enact human interconnectedness with the land through the cycle of the seasons and the ritual calendar; others seek to form relationships with the other-than-human beings that live around them by growing their own food, learning about the plants and animals of their bioregions, or simply spending time outdoors. Not surprisingly, many are avid environmentalists, actively working on programs to halt the degradation of the environment.
We can delight in diversity
Contemporary Pagans are committed to diversity and to an understanding that all people—indeed every living thing—should be treated with reverence. Although Pagan communities, like other religious groups in America, sometimes struggle to fully address the needs of practitioners who are sexual minorities, differently abled, economically underprivileged, or members of other historically oppressed groups, conversations about all these topics are actively occurring in the Pagan movement.
We can find wisdom in music and the arts
With the sense of sight, the idea communicates the emotion, whereas, with sound, the emotion communicates the idea, which is more direct and therefore more powerful.
We can think holistically
A second contribution Pagans make to the world today is a holistic view. Just as the tides ebb and flow and summer is no more sacred than winter, so it is with life, which includes both growth and decay. Light and darkness are both part of the cycle of the moon and the cycle of nature, each needing the other for completion. Some Pagans would affirm that honoring life and death, age and youth, dark and light undermines the deep divisions, the alienation, and the racism of modern society.
We can appreciate science and feeling
"Stonemilker" establishes the balance Bjork characteristically seeks: between sentiment and science, an immersion in feeling and its familiar social markers and an analytical take on just those things.
We can see divinity in many places
Over the course of human history, deities associated with human, animal, and plant fertility have been worshipped around the world. Some scholars and many Pagans believe that the “root religion” of humanity—the religion from which all other religions eventually evolved—must have been based around fertility and natural cycles, knowledge of which was necessary for survival.
We can be feminists
In the end, Vulnicura plays out its tragedy and pushes beyond its boundaries. "Quicksand" spins beyond the album's frame on a drum and bass beat and the staccato push of a wordless female voice. "Our mother's philosophy, it feels like quicksand," Bjork snappily intones. She reflects upon the isolation of the abandoned woman and opts for something different for herself and her daughter: she turns the solitary "she is broken" of femininity's history into a loving "we," an invocation of the animist universalism she's espoused in songs ranging from "Isobel" to "Pagan Poetry" to the entire Biophilia project. "When we're broken we are whole," she sings, at home in the swirl. She calls for hope, not just for herself, but also for "my continuity, and my daughter's, and her daughter's, and her daughter's." The track abruptly cuts off, suggesting that this reclamation of the feminine heart is unfinished business. But that hope resonates. This sad story extends beyond itself, opening into something new.