Happy New Year 2022 – online in January

In view of the ongoing Covid situation and the Scottish Government guidance to gather in groups of no more than three households, we have decided to go back to having the Thursday evening sessions  on Zoom during January and we will then review the situation as advice changes.

We are, of course, keen to return to face-to-face meetings as soon as it is safe and permissible to do so. 

Although the Zoom meetings cannot generate quite the same energy as face-to-face meetings they are still a way for us to stay connected with each other during these challenging times and we are grateful for the technology that makes this possible. It’s also been wonderful to meet friends online from so many different locations.

If you haven’t been emailed the zoom link please fill in the form on the contact page and Pete will email it to you.

Christmas and New Year Meetings 2021/22

Thursday 16th December will be our last in person meeting of 2021 at St Marks before we break up for Christmas. We decided to go ahead with this meeting after the recent changes in guidelines from the First Minister because religious practices are not included in the recommendations and we have plenty of room to maintain social distancing. We totally understand that some people will not feel comfortable attending. We have planned to resume meeting at St Marks on 6th January 2022 but this will be reviewed nearer the time. It is looking likely that our practice will be online in January.

Remember the Wednesday Scots Pines virtual sangha continues to be available.

Facilitators Retreat Kilgraston on 17 – 20 Feb 2022

Don’t forget the retreat at Kilgraston on 17 – 20 Feb 2022 in case you haven’t seen this on the mailing list.

Although it’s called a Facilitator’s retreat don’t let that put you off as anyone with an interest in contributing to sangha sessions is welcome – no-one would expect you to facilitate the whole evening straight away – and we have various gentle ways to introduce people to facilitating such as offering a reading, leading the walking, welcoming people to the session or being a ‘buddy’ to the person guiding the session.  

Murray Corke and Susanne Olbrich are dharma teachers with extensive experience so it should be good.

Some bursaries may be available if cost is an issue for you. Contact details for the organisers are on the form. More details in the booking form below.

COP26: Reflections from Bill & Robert

COP26 has come and gone. Policy-makers from the rich countries predictably hailed it as a triumph that keeps alive the Paris agreement to limit temperature rises to 1.5°C, while climate scientists and activists including Greta Thunberg call it out as a failure, that still leaves us heading for extreme warming, and call for mass direct action.

Scroll down to read a reflection on the experience of COP26 by Bill of Earth Holders. But first, upcoming Earth Holders events, and even some good news:

Celebrate two years of Earth Holders Edinburgh!

Some of you may recall that the launch event for Earth Holders Edinburgh was on Sunday 8th December 2019. So, we’re going to be two years old!! 

This seems like a good time for us to come together, celebrate what we’ve achieved (such as bouncing back after lockdown to a regular schedule of New Moon gatherings and Silent Rebellions, and reaching more than 80 newsletter subscribers), take stock of where we are, engage with new people, brew a new vision for Earth Holders, and find a way forward for mindful activism after COP26.

Remember that all our events are open to everyone, whether you’re an experienced activist or not, whether you identify with any particular spiritual tradition or not. We hope to see you there!

Bill’s reflections on his experience of COP26

Whatever COP26 was, it was a marker in time. A time when we were told the world was to get together to look again at the Paris Agreement and how we were to hold climate change to 1.5 degrees. Looking back, when I first caught the train to Glasgow on the morning of that first meeting of the Interfaith COP coalition, that marker seemed very distant. It became even more distant with the pandemic. Then all the planning and meetings and discussion manifested into our prayers for COP in George Square, with wet but smiling faces as we stood in the faith bloc on the Global Day of Action. Now it is over, that distant marker passed and receding. The joy of comradeship of holding together even with the awareness of the COPs inevitable failure, the memories of Earth Holders welcoming the Pilgrims with our biggest attended Silent rebellion to date, are now but cherished memories.

I remain in this moment but reflective of the journey travelled. These two weeks in Glasgow gave us a focus, to let the world know how much this mattered to us and our children. There is no doubt they heard us, that we contributed to that outcry of pain for our world. We know this because so many of the delegates said so, in particular the global south and indigenous nations. But hearing is one thing and action another, and so we have a pale reflection of what might have been. I don’t underestimate the complexity of their task, nor the motivation of many, least of all the nations who so reluctantly signed to save what had been agreed.

The question we have now is what next for Earth Holders? I hope with imagination and a renewed sense of urgency we can meet on the 8th to look again after our two years together. To share some of our cherished moments. Give thanks to all those who stood with us be they friends and family, Interfaith, XR, or church or Sangha. To look at what these two years have taught us and what lessons have been learned. I take heart from what we have achieved together as Earth Holders, from the hundred thousand of campaigners who stood with us shoulder to shoulder as we marched to Glasgow Green and those supporting us worldwide. The Zen Buddhist Sangha in Edinburgh arrange the candles on the altar in a V shape as a reminder of the wild geese. They remind us of how the geese fly together, alternating leading, giving strength to those needing support. In the Celtic tradition wild geese are harbingers of both spring and resurrection. I look forward to Earth Holders and our native wild geese to discover how we fly together and find our flightpath in this new dawn.

Please keep on using the sky
As you know how
Riding the wind
with your eyes wide open
tracing the shoreline
(along with something else it’s harder to define)
and throw out a cry or two now and then
for those of us down here who care

— From The Bird Path by Kenneth White

For the Earth,

Bill & Robert

for Earth Holders Edinburgh

This is from Earth Holders News by Earth-Holders. You can subscribe here.

Come stand together at the commencement of the most important summit in human history!

You are invited to the COP26 Vigil in George Square, Glasgow on Sunday 31st October!

The future of our planet hangs in the balance. Interfaith Scotland and Interfaith Glasgow, with the Scottish Religious Leaders Forum, invite you – at this critical moment – to join people of all religions and none in expressing your love for life on earth and the shared hope that COP26 will commit leaders to the actions necessary to save it!

This unique prayer and meditation vigil will bring together people of all backgrounds in Glasgow and – via a livestream – around the world, in a powerful, symbolic act of unity and solidarity for our planet.

Witness religious leaders and faith community members coming together in Glasgow’s main square, united in a common commitment to climate justice, to mark the beginning of COP26 and to launch Scottish Interfaith Week, which shares the COP26 theme: ‘Together for Our Planet’.

All participants – whether joining in person or online – are invited to pray or hold in their thoughts the COP26 negotiators: that they may have the courage and wisdom to work together and to make the commitments necessary to safeguard the future of humanity and all life on our planet.

If you want to be assured of an official, physical place at the vigil you can book on Eventbrite.

The event will be streamed online via YouTube at tiny.cc/COP26VigilLive

Silent Rebellion with Earth Holders before COP26

As part of an Interface event to welcome the COP26 Pilgrims to Edinburgh the Edinburgh Earth Holders are facilitating a meditation/silent contemplation on our interconnectedness with all of creation; expressing love for the Earth and all life.

There will be a guided meditation, walking meditation (if the pilgrims haven’t had enough walking) and a silent sit. This will be in the Plum Village tradition facilitated by Bill Crook.

Please join us on The Mound, outside the National Galleries on Saturday 23rd from noon.

You can view the whole Pilgrimage for COP26 programme here.

Guru Nanak Gurdwara Edinburgh are providing a meal for pilgrims and supporters after the event. You can book a place on Eventbrite here.

Hope to see you there!