For a year from September the 1st 2023, Satya Robyn is saying a daily prayer for the Earth twice a day (or is being a witness as someone else reads it).
The texts she uses are a mixture of poems and prayers from different countries and from spiritual traditions.
One prayer will be read out online every day at 8am on Zoom, and one prayer will be read out in a public place – usually Great Malvern, Satya’s home town. She would absolutely love it if you joined her…
As more and more species slide into extinction, as we lose rainforest and coral reef, and as the Earth’s temperature keeps on rising, the impact of human greed on our eco-systems is now impossible to deny or ignore. Prayer can act as an inoculation against the despair that leads to inaction. It connects us back into the Earth’s beauty, and it gives us the courage to take small compassionate actions. It will also help us to face whatever is coming next.
Which prayers will be used? Does prayer have to be spiritual or religious?
The prayer booklet Satya will use for the daily prayer contains texts and poems from many different traditions and from people from around the world. Satya is a Buddhist priest but she draws inspiration from many places. There are many places to find wisdom, including – of course – nature herself.
What and where?
Satya will both read a prayer online every day at 8am UK time, and read a prayer in public at the top of her local town of Great Malvern at different times each day (if you’d like to join her, the times & dates are here). On Saturdays the prayer will be read at the beginning of the local Malvern Earth Vigil which has been running for several years.
After each prayer there will be ten minutes of silence for people who wish to stay and contemplate or pray in their own way.
She hopes that others will join her on Zoom or in Malvern, and that maybe they’ll even commit to reading a prayer in a public place in their own town too.
Will this project make any difference?
Maybe, maybe not. Our financial, governmental and corporate systems wield huge power, and this is a very small project in a very big world.
That’s okay. Even if it didn’t make any difference at all, Satya would still like to complete a year of daily prayers, as a way of saying thank you to the Earth, as a way of connecting her to wisdom, inspiration and beauty, and as a reminder to keep performing the small compassionate acts that help our Earth.
Satya also trusts that, as Kennedy says in the quote below, each tiny ripple of hope counts.
“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
~ Robert F. Kennedy, from the Day of Affirmation Address, University of Capetown, June 6th 1966
What else can I do to help the planet?
Here’s some information about what you can do to help.
System change is by far the most important thing, and so do focus your efforts on changing our political, financial and governmental structures and influencing big corporations, religious institutions and any other systems that hold power. This might include thinking about how you vote, speaking to your local MPs, joining environmental action groups like Greenpeace, getting involved in protest like marches, actions or non-violent civil disobedience… or maybe even joining this project and reading a prayer to the Earth out in your own town. We all have a part to play.
Personal change is also important and it can also help us feel better to know that we are doing the things that are within our control. Eating more plant-based foods and flying less are the biggest wins. You can also think about how much you drive, shop at ethical stores, do more recycling, eat more local food, use less plastic…
Satya has compiled a collection of Earth prayers with some texts from the public domain and some poems with permission from the poets – here it is. These booklets are not for sale but are for your personal use only – please feel free to use them if you are taking part in this project in your own town, or if you would like to make private prayers to the Earth as a daily personal ritual. She will also use this book.
Satya is giving these leaflets out to people who are interested in the project – do feel free to adapt them and use a version if you are saying daily prayers in your own location.
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Who is Satya?
Satya is a Buddhist priest who runs the Bright Earth Buddhist temple with her spouse Kaspa. She is also a psychotherapist using Internal Family Systems, and a writer at Going Gently and Gentle Buddhism. She has been involved in eco-activism in small ways since 2019.