I suspect that everyone raised as a farmer, as I was, is something of a pantheist. When you’re out in it every day, it’s difficult not to see the power of nature as absolute and utterly unforgiving. For a farmer, respect for nature’s power is key to surviving.
It isn’t that nature is “other” — farming teaches you that everything is connected. But that connection doesn’t mean that coyotes won’t be happy to eat you in certain situations. So, avoid those situations. That’s what brains and experience are for.
As a farmer, I have to admit that I’ve never understood the love of nature that Transcendentalists such as Emerson or Thoreau express. The awe I feel in nature is not a warm embrace. I suppose it’s more like the awe that close advisors to Genghis Khan must have felt about a guy with absolute and often arbitrary power.
Having watched fields of green dry up and die in drought; having watched newborn animals struggle and die, I can’t see nature as a kind mother.
As I see it, human consciousness means very little in the larger picture. Rabbit consciousness (or roach consciousness!) may ultimately prove to be more “successful” than human consciousness. But that’s OK too. We’re all merely dust.
For most of my forebears for most of time this meant that their world was chockfull of energy and power in many manifestations that needed appeasement in many ways. They were pantheists. Then, the Christians invaded, claiming a god in utter control, way above and way beyond. I don’t know if my forebears came to believe that, or if they merely learned to keep their heads down like the king’s retainers. However it happened, it’s all gone now.
But the sky and the earth, those are still out there on the rural routes. As powerful as they were before the the farmers of the Fertile Crescent began to anthropomorphize their gods with stories of Marduk killing the primordial mother Tiamat.
No, she’s not dead yet. She’s still dating Abzu in a very stormy romance. Just ask the folks in the latest hurricane.