Landscapes of Earth and Soul


I have always been fascinated by places; Churches, Temples, Synagogues, Cathedrals, Historic Cities, National Parks, Rivers, Oceans, and particularly, Forests. In my PhD work I study Sacred Sites, Sacred Landscapes, and Religion and Ecology, particularly the relationship Catholic monks have to landscape in the American West. But I have always had a beef with the word sacred; its root means set apart, separated. Modern notions of sacred and profane, culture and nature separate and divide. On vacation as a kid, we wold drive to ‘Nature’. In an era of climate change, the Anthropocene, and post-religious spirituality, we need a different approach to describing our connection with the Absolute, or God. The word Holy comes from Germanic and later English root words connected to wholeness, health, and even happiness. Its not that I will never use the word sacred, it is just that Holiness captures better what I sense when I walk into a forest. A hidden wholeness, an aliveness. Connecting this wholeness to land, without using words like Nature which again invoke separation, I came up with Holy-scape. Landscape comes from the Dutch for “the shape of the land.” So a Holyscapes are the ways we make Holy the lands and places where we dwell.

Holyscapes are places where human beings make their living, grow their food, where they go to be with family and friends, where they worship, where they move and where they dwell. Holyscapes are also places where non-humans can flourish without exploitation and the threat of extirpation. Holyscapes are the many layers of place, story and sacred sites that preceded many of us of immigrant background. Holyscapes are the wild and tangled inner landscapes where we fight demons, and strive toward the Divine.

After starting this Blog I was approached by Patheos to get my writer out to a wider audience. Thus, Holyscapes @ Patheos will continue to explore these themes. This website will now be devoted more to photography, other writing and launching my attempts at spiritual direction and religious and historic (Holy) site management.

If you are interested in purchasing any of my photography, please see my Photography page. Any and all revenue generated by the sales of my photographs will go directly to paying down my student loans. Cheers and enjoy!