Under the Spell of Mother Earth - Chapter 2  

Calling the Spirit of Gaia

See Chapter 3: Myths, Magic, Mysticism, and Make-Believe





"The call is to serve the wellbeing of the living planet, Gaia ... to enter into a holistic consciousness."  (Barry McWaters, psychologist)1

"The more you contact the voice of the living Earth and evaluate what it says, the easier it will become for you to contact it and trust what it provides."  (The Sierra Club’s sourcebook, Well Body, Well Earth)2

"Turn ... to the living God who made heaven and earth." (Acts 14:15)

SOFT, HYPNOTIC MUSIC greeted the parents streaming into the kindergarten classroom for a back-to-school orientation.  The teacher was preparing a special journey via guided imagery.  She focused everyone's attention on a poster which showed doors of every size, shape, and color.  As she began the visualization, her voice turned meditative and mysterious:

"Imagine that you are standing at one of the doors.  In just a moment the door will open and you will walk in. (Pause)

"The door has opened and you are standing at the top of a stairway.  Now, as I count, picture yourself walking down the stairs - ten, nine, eight, seven....

"You are at the bottom of the stairs, standing in a beautiful valley.  It is green, lush, and you are walking along a path.  Along the side of the path you notice a milkweed plant, and as you look closer you see a caterpillar... Now you become the caterpillar.  You keep eating and eating... You get very tired.  You spin a cocoon around yourself and rest...

Now you have become a wonderful monarch butterfly. You are flying around ... through a rainbow...."3 

That visualization may seem innocent enough.  But was it?  After the exercise, only one couple expressed concern.  This relatively mild hypnotic exercise encouraged the rest of the parents to relax, feel their supposed connectedness with related animal species - and build resistance against future concern over similar or more occult visualizations.

"The practice of visualization, or 'directed imagination,' is part of all forms of occultism, ancient as well as modern.... The ability to form clear, detailed, mental images is the key to unlocking occult powers, and visualization is the basis for invoking any deity or spiritual being."4

 Seeking the Spirit of Gaia

Oneness, harmony, contact with earth’s wisdom ... the promised fruit of earth-centered spirituality - these sound refreshing to our self-focused, power-hungry generation.

Unaware of the dangers, the educational establishment and a growing number of parents are encouraging this "new” spiritual awareness and applauding classroom exercises that empower" children to sense their oneness with the earth and her other species.

Today's visionaries tell us that such spiritual connectedness is the earth’s only hope. In The Dream of the Earth, Thomas Berry summarized the world’s dilemma - and his answer:

Human administration of the universe in any comprehensive manner is far too great a task ... What we need ... is the sensitivity to understand and respond to the psychic energies deep in the very structure of reality itself... This is the ultimate wisdom of tribal peoples.5

The Sierra Club Environmental Health Sourcebook, Well Body, Well Earth by Mike Samuels and Hal Zina Bennett, shows us how.  It tells us to "turn to the traditions of ancient cultures" such as Buddhist meditations and Native Ameri­can Hopi rituals in order to "reaffirm our bond with the spirit of the living earth": 

The practice of visualization, that is, deliberately using your imagination to focus your attention on a particular goal, is an important mental tool for change ...[and] probably dates back to human beginnings… In Greece, for example, when people wanted help in solving difficult problems, they consulted the Oracle at Delphi. [There] the priests acknowledged a spirit of the living Earth for which the Greek name was Gaea. Priestesses of Gaea were trained in the art of visualization and had dedicated their lives to a study of the spirit of the living Earth.  When asked to help a person solve a problem - such as when to plant their fields or how to influence the conception of children - the priestess ... imagined herself consulting with Gaea. The answer coming from the visualization of Gaea was the answer the priestess gave....

 The visualization exercises we describe here are intended to help people focus on the concept of the living Earth.  Because most people who live in an urban or suburban setting have little or no daily contact with the Earth, we require something like visualization to help us get in touch with our planet...6

Well Body, Well Earth details the steps (deep breathing, relax­ation and autosuggestions) to "the level of consciousness" where "you can be in touch with those forces in the uni­verse that. . . encourage health and wellbeing.”7  Here in a trance state, you are ready to visualize the creation of the universe - even to have a dialogue with Mother Earth herself.

"The more you contact the voice of the living Earth," promise the authors, "the easier it will become for you to contact it and trust what it provides."8

There is no doubt that the last statement is true.  The more a person deals with earthy spirits, the more tenaciously they cling.  While God speaks through one Holy Spirit, "the voice" of Earth comes from armies of demons.  The seeker who follows the above advice may become deaf to God and host to an oppressive parasitic demon that some versions of the Bible call a familiar spirit.  Only God’s authority and power can bring freedom.9

Psychics, channelers, witches and shamans (tribal medicine men) know that occult forces may loose hidden terrors.  Some have issued strong warnings against naive experimentation which may invoke mischievous, even murderous, spirits.  But their warnings have failed to stop environ­mental pied pipers; speaking from some of the most influential platforms in our nations, they promote earthy spirituality and occult connections with evangelistic zeal.


One such enthusiast, Andy LePage, wrote a book that seems to be doing what its title promises: Transforming Education (1987).  Its long list of endorsers includes notables like Matthew Fox and Dr. Robert Muller, former under secretary of the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council.

"Andy LePage's book," says Muller, "opens the curtain on one of the most exciting and promising philosophical educational debates there ever was on this planet.10

What planetary philosophy does LePage teach?  Like others who promote a speedy return to nature worship, he emphasizes the need to discard the "disease of dualism",11 (in this context: dividing reality into two opposing forces - the physical verses the spiritual).  He challenges educators to awaken students to their oneness with the entire creation (monism) through models such as Hatha Yoga, witchcraft, and Native American spiritism.12

But do educators really buy this religious dogma?  Indeed, they do, with all their heart.

"Andy LePage has written what may well become one of most important books in education," says Professor Sidney B. Simon, father of values clarification, "which should be given to every new teacher, every new principal, and certainly, to every new school board member.  Should that happen, the education of our children would take a turn for the better that might be enough to save us all."13

Since LePage wrote his book, a growing assortment of environmental curricula has flooded classrooms.  I hope much of it presents practical information untouched by the persuasions of Deep Ecology.  Children need to know ecological facts and be encouraged toward environmental wisdom - but not its spirituality.  A 1990 Wall Street Journal article shared nationwide expressions of enthusiasm for earth stewardship.

No figures are available, but thousands of schools across the country have worked environmentalism into the classroom, usually in science courses but also in social studies, English and other subjects.  Florida, Maryland and Iowa are among states interested in a five-year-old law in Wisconsin that required public schools from kindergarten to twelfth grade, to integrate ecology into the curriculum... Congress is considering a bill that would fashion and make available an environmental studies program for schools around the country.14

It sounds good.  Yet, teaching on environmental awareness often includes political, economic, cultural and spiritual persuasions that neither children nor parents are prepared to evaluate.  For example, how should students (and parents) respond when a classroom cassette tape intones the rhyth­mic sounds of Native American prayers to Mother Earth?  Or when a school-wide Earth Fest engages the students in “water cycle dances" - something that happened in a Pennsylvania school?15

Once we know the sources of much of our environmen­tal curricula, we can help our children to discern spiritual counterfeits.  Much of this curriculum flows from the New Age/Deep Ecology philosophies of John Denver's Colorado­based Windstar and Steve Van Matre's Institute for Earth Education in Illinois.  The demand for their curriculum is soaring.  According to the article, "Education That Cannot Wait' by Mike Weilbacher, Van Matre may be "the most creative force" in environmental education: 

Van Matre's work has been replicated planet wide; his activities form the backbone of many nature center programs.

 Once, environmental educators begged to be let in­side the schools.  Today teachers are banging on the front doors of nature centers.16

What does Van Matre believe?  "This," he says, referring to a portion of his book The Earth Speaks, "is about giving up old ways of seeing, about loving the earth as a whole, about tapping into the universal flow of life ... "17

Let's cage ourselves and let the animals run free.

Let's tear down our egocentric structures ... and build anew.

Let's find new stars and new songs to follow.

Let's build some foundations under our dreams. (Steve Van Matre)18 

Curriculum that takes students beyond objective reality and opens the door to earth-centered spirituality can be divided into three categories: 

       Training students to connect with earth’s life force.

       Reinstating earth-centered myth as a guiding force.

       Teaching practical witchcraft and mind control

While some of the illustrations in this and the next two chapters may not sound like environmental teaching, they encourage students to discard traditional views of reality and to accept the pagan perspective (paradigm) essential to Deep Ecology.  Notice that the beliefs and practices of spiritism (communicating with demonic spirits), witchcraft, and shamanism (using magic to contact various spirits) fit right into ancient nature worship.  According to their promoters, these steps will help our children connect with the earth, with their supposedly divine inner selves, and with each other.  They will empower them to rebuild their sick polluted world.

Training in Spiritism

Like every earth-based culture before us, America is tapping into occult forces that blind people to God’s truth.  It doesn’t matter whether we call the force Mother Earth, Gaia, psychic power, or cosmic energy; all point to the same unholy source.  Satan’s power may be puny compared to the might of our sovereign King, but it is far greater than mere human strength.  And the most vulnerable among us, our children, face the greatest onslaught.

Schools have adopted age-old pagan formulas to teach self-esteem and personal empowerment.  For example, "Pumsy in Pursuit of Excellence," a controversial self-esteem program used in "more than 12,000 elementary schools nationwide",19 uses a cute dragon puppet to train students in self-hypnosis.  Presented as a "cognitive, mental health curriculum,"20 it trains children to use relaxation exercises, visualizations, and chants to create their own meadow, float through the air on Pumsy's back meet and speak with Pumsy’s friend, feel strength coming into their bodies...

That occult indoctrination can happen on a grand scale was proven during 1989-1990, when teachers in seventy Los Angeles schools introduced children to their personal spirit guides. Two thousand children, third grade and up, participated in the pilot program, "Mission SOAR - Set Objectives, Achieve Results." Bob Simonds, President of Citizens for Excellence in Education (CEE), alerted parents through a newsletter with the following information:

The lessons in Mission SOAR parallel closely ... the exercises outlined in the New Age book, Beyond Hypnosis: A Program For Developing Your Psychic and Healing Power, by leading New Age psychic William Hewitt.  Children ... are hypnotized, introduced to demonic spirits, and told to seek "their counsel'” when making decisions.  Hard to believe?21

This outline of the exercises taught in the program shows the most familiar steps to occult connectedness and oppression:

        Prehypnotic preparation through relaxation

        Hypnotic control through colors (visualizing a rainbow)

        Breaking the hypnotic spell

        Conjuring up the dead, summoning spirit guides

        Creating an inner psychic room to meet spirits

        Learning that psychic medicine will cure all illnesses

        Accepting the spirit beings into your life

        Receiving power from a white light, a common element in psychic practice (2 Cor. 11:14)   

        Planning one's life with the help of spirit guides.  

"Your helpers are both experts and can help you, teach you, guide you, listen to you, and counsel you at anytime ... Know that [he and she] will always be there at your side whenever you need [them]."22

A Girl Scout jamboree director led about forty junior scouts (ages 10-12) on a similar journey.  According to a concerned California scout leader who observed the campfire ceremony, the director, dressed as a Native American, invoked the Great Spirit and the spirits of the woods, the North, South, East, and West.  After explaining their entrance into womanhood and marking their foreheads with ashes, she led the girls on a meditational journey to contact the earth and a personal spirit guide. Imagine a meadow..." intoned her mysterious voice.  "See a young woman sitting under a tree. Talk to her." This wise person would be their life companion and helper.

With such constant and faithful spirit helpers, who would want to follow advice from Mom, Dad, or God?  Why invite a contrary opinion when the guide speaks what one wants to hear - at least in the beginning?

The Apostle Paul warned us that "in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons" (1 Timothy 4:1).  Spiritual experimenta­tion, whether in the name of ecology, globalism or self­realization, yields confusion instead of wisdom, fear instead of selfconfidence, and bondage instead of freedom.  Each such program results in wasted teaching time, erosion of biblical beliefs and values, and the possibility of devastating mental and spiritual oppression.

Contrary to Satan’s glowing promises, spiritism hinders rather than helps us live peaceably with the earth.  God told us so!  His warning to Israel rings true for us today:

Let no one be found among you who ... practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.... Because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those na­tions (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).


       PRAY for wisdom from the Holy Spirit.

       Prepare your family to resist counterfeit spirits.

1. Know the role of the Holy Spirit in your life.

2. Join together with other families.

3. Put on the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).

4. Enjoy your Father's world.

       Choose a family project from the list on pages 170-175.

1. KNOW THE ROLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN YOUR LIFE.  Discuss the following verses: John 3:5-6, 34-35; John 14:16-17, 26; John 16:7-14; Acts 1:8 (power to accomplish God’s will, not our demands); 1 John 4:2, 13.

2. JOIN TOGETHER WITH OTHER FAMILIES.  Today's battle for children’s minds and biblical values is primarily spiritual.  We cannot fight the rising tide of counterfeit spiri­tuality alone.  In Your Child and the New Age, I have described a course of action that begins with prayer, is sustained by ongoing communication with God and confidence in His Word, and is accomplished as Christian families seek God’s direction and victory together.  I encourage you to read it.

If the Holy Spirit prompts you to speak to local educators, consider the following steps:

       Ask God to help you build a Christian support group that prays and works together.  Many occult exercises throughout the country (including the meditations in Michigan and Los Angeles) were discontinued after parents prayed, joined together, and explained to schools that such activities are illegal.

       When approaching a teacher or school officials, trust God to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) through you.  Begin by expressing understanding for the school’s goals and appreciation for genuine efforts.  As an ambassador for His kingdom, reflect His love, wisdom, and patience - not fear, hostility, and a self-righteous attitude.  Many teachers have been won to Christ by the loving concern of a Christian parent.

3. PUT ON THE ARMOR OF GOD.  Young and old members of God's family need to embrace wise environ­mentalism but to reject pagan spirituality.  I know no better way to nurture discernment between these than by putting on our spiritual armor as outlined in Ephesians 6:10-18.

God showed our family that to resist deception, each of us needed to know truth and to be alert to the enemy's tricks.  The essential first step involved family Bible study - filling, renewing, and protecting our minds with truth.  We began to read and discuss a psalm and a chapter a day.  Then, using truth as our filter and guide, we could take a closer look at the counterfeit. 

In Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis tells about two "equal and opposite errors" that undermine our defense against decep­tion and therefore delight Satan and his invisible armies: "One is to disbelieve in their existence.  The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them."23

Demonstrating a healthy balance, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians gives us five chapters of information about God, His grace, and His ways before it exposes our adversary.  Finally, in chapter 6, verse 12, Paul tells us that "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual force of evil in the heavenly realms.”  

The commander of this spiritual army is Satan.  Masquerading as an angel of light, he began to work on Eve soon after Creation, by causing her to doubt God’s word: "Did God really say.. ?" And by promising a tempting alternative.  "When you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-5).  Today he still lures people with enticing offers of higher knowledge and oneness with God.

Our family made a striking discovery.  The Armor of God provides an outline of essential truths that enable us to discern all kinds of deception.  These truths parallel all the popular lies of Deep Ecology, neopaganism and the New Age movement.  In other words, when we know, trust, and speak the truths of the armor, they will expose and counter every deception.

To put on the armor, we review and we affirm each of the essential truths, starting with the truth about God Himself.  Trusting the Holy Spirit to make these truths living and active in us (Hebrews 4:12), we pray something like this:

       TRUTH. Thank You, God, for showing me the truth about Yourself and Your ways.

       RIGHTEOUSNESS.  Thank You, Jesus, for giving me Your righteousness.  I can't please You on my own, but You live in me, and Your life is perfect. (We also confess our sins, remembering God's promise in I John 1:9.) 

       PEACE.  Thank You for Your peace in me.  Filled with Your righteous life, I have peace to share with others - no matter what.

       FAITH.  Lord, I choose to count on Your promises and follow Your Word today.

       SALVATION.  I trust You to lead me safely today and forever.

       SWORD, GOD’S WORD.  Show me which Scriptures I need to know and affirm in order to triumph in every battle I face today. (Our favorite: Galatians 2.20.)

Does the armor really keep us safe?  Yes, as long as we keep wearing every part.  But keep in mind, putting on the armor is not simply a formula to follow.  It is a daily commitment to seek, study, and follow Truth - Jesus Christ Himself.  When you know and acknowledge Him, and follow the path He has shown you to Himself (through confession, repentance, and the work of the cross), He protects you.  For Christ, who is Himself the armor and all its parts, is the One who covers you even as He fills you with His own life (John 14.20; Romans 13:14; Psalm 32:7).

We can count on Him!  Many years ago, as a new Christian, I went to a holistic therapist for help with my back.  “Polarity balances the positive and negative energies of your body," she had told me.  But I felt uneasy - especially, when I noticed a mystical picture on the wall.

"Who is he?" I asked cautiously.

"That’s my priest.  He's like a spirit guide." "I'm a Christian," I said.  "I get my strength from God.

Where do you get your power?”

“From my spirit guide.”  A coolness had crept into her voice.  "It's the energy of the universe, but it comes through my guide into my hands and then into you."

Into me?  Though I had put on the armor that morning, I quickly affirmed each part again.  I continued to pray that God Himself would shield me from any occult power operating through the Vita's hands.

He did!  As soon as she touched my back, she began to cough.  Her body shook until she moved away from me.

“What are you doing?" I asked.

"Realigning my energies,” she explained.

But the moment she tried to start the massage, another attack of coughing stopped her.  Frustrated and angry, she announced what I already knew.  "I can’t work on you.  My power won’t enter your field of energy."

I tried to explain that God had protected me, but she didn’t want to hear.  Thankful that my Lord had demonstrated His power to both of us, I drove home.  Once again He had proven that He who lives in me, "is greater than he who is in the world” (I John 4:4).

4. ENJOY YOUR FATHER’S WORLD.  We don’t need a mystical host of guides and spirits to show us God’s cre­ation.  If we ask, the Holy Spirit will open our eyes to enjoy God’s wonders.  He wants to use those wonders to show us the Creator Himself.

When the crowds pressed and the demands seemed unending, Jesus often sought solitude and strength on a quiet Mountainside or by the shore of Galilee.  There He would talk with His Father and receive wisdom and strength for the day.  "Come with Me by yourselves," He invites each of us, "to a quiet place and get some rest' (Mark 6:31).

It's not easy to find time or solitude in our hectic, high­pressured lifestyles.  If I had to catch up on all obligations first, it would never happen.  Yet, when I make time to meet my Lord in one of the special places He has shown me, His quieting strength more than compensates.

When my sons were younger, we often explored the nearby park.  We would ask God to show us something special - small or large, ordinary as a trail of laboring ants or extraordinary as a bird feeding her babies - that would demonstrate His love, order, and creativity.

Sometimes we would simply lie on our backs and gaze up into the leafy crowns of surrounding trees.  We would close our eyes, listen to nature's sounds, and thank our Shepherd for His wonderful presence.  Unlike Eastern meditation (where one empties the mind, then welcomes any spiritual voice willing to fill it), this time of stillness sharpened our minds - and filled our thoughts with God’s words, works, and wonders.

Author and nature guide Joseph Cornell has helped thousands of people - young and old - to know and enjoy nature.  He also demonstrates the two-sided thrust of the environmental movement: practical help and occult spirituality.  In Sharing Nature with Children, he suggests several ways you can build respect and love for nature in yourself and others.  His five points on "How To Be an Effective Nature Guide" remind us as adults to slow down and tune our hearts to the Creator's own art.

       Teach less, and share more.  

       Be receptive.  Receptivity means listening.  Be alert.  Something exciting or interesting is almost always happening.

       Focus the child’s attention without delay.  Involve everyone as much as you can, by asking questions and pointing out interesting sights and sounds ...

       Look and experience first; talk later.  Observe the tree from unusual perspectives.  Feel and smell its bark and leaves.  Quietly sit on or under its branches, and be aware of all the forms of life that live in and around the tree and depend on it.

       A sense of joy should permeate the experience. Remember that your own enthusiasm is contagious.24

Sharing Nature with Children has been endorsed by the National Audubon Society as a powerful tool in educating children," the National Science Teachers Association, and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America.

Sound good?  But wait a moment!  Before you run out and buy one of his bestsellers, let me share something else about Joseph Cornell.  This inspiring nature lover belongs to the Ananda World Brotherhood Village, a cozy community nestled in the foothills of California's Sierra mountains.  Sri Kriyananda, founder and spiritual director of Ananda, was discipled by Indian yoga master, Paramhansa Yogananda, who came to America to "awaken” Hindu spirituality.

Ananda satellite groups adorn suburban centers and university campuses with posters inviting the public to a delicious assortment of spiritual treats: Self-Realization, Attunement, Meditation.

In Listening to Nature, Cornell paints a panorama with quotes from various pagan teachers.  Black Elk’s Native American spirituality exposes the heart of Deep Ecology: "Peace ... comes within the souls of people when they realize… their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere.

Unfortunately, Cornell’s enticing blend of delightful insights, heartfelt devotion, and spiritual deception characterizes much of the environmental movement.  Ask God to show you to His choice of books - then read with discernment, wear the armor of God, and trust your Shepherd to guide your family as you follow Him.


1. Barry McWaters, Conscious Evolution, 10. Cited in Elliot Miller, A Crash Course on the New Age Movement (Grand Rapids; Baker Book House, 1989), 73.

2. Mike Samuels, M.D. and Hal Zina Bennett, Well Body, Well Earth (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1983), 73.

3. As told by a participating parent in Walnut Creek, California.

4. Brooks Alexander, "Mind Power and the Mind's Eye," SCP Journal (Vol. 9:3, 1990): 14.

5. Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1988), 48.

6. Samuels and Bennett, 68.

7. Ibid., 69.

8. Ibid., 73.

9. Ephesians 6:12-18; Luke 8:30-36, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Zechariah 4:6.

Andy LePage, Transforming Education (Oakland, Calif.: Oakmore Press, 1987), back cover.

Ibid, 5.

12. Ibid, 17, 56, 118.

13. Ibid., back cover.

14. Suzanne Alexander, "Schools Sow Environmental Seeds Early," The Wall Street Journal, 26 June 1990.

15. Mike Weilbacher, "Education that Cannot Wait," E Magazine (March/April 1991): 30.

16. Ibid., 33.

17. Steve Van Matre, "Earth Spirit," The Earth Speaks (Warre nville, III.: The Institute for Earth Education, 1983), 125.

18. Ibid., 129.

19. "Parents Rally, Pull Kids from Class," San Jose Mercury News, 25 March 1991.

20. Brochure from Timperline Press Inc, Eugene, Ore. Jill Anderson de-veloped the curriculum with the help of a government grant.

21. Bob Simonds, "President’s Special Report - News Alert," May 1990 (Box 3200, Costa Mesa, Calif. 92628).

22. Mission S.O.A.R. Curriculum, 36. Cited by Bob Simonds.

23. C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters (New York. Bantam Books, 1982), xiii.

24. Joseph Cornell, Sharing Nature with Children (Nevada City, Calif.: Dawn Publications, 1979),11-14.

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