Environment: 3 Ways a Place can Have an Impact on your Well Being

Grounding Religion. A field Guide to the Study of religion and Ecology.
Edited by Whitney Bauman, Richard Bohannon and Kevin J. O’Brien.
Routledge, 2017, $32.70 paperback ISBN-10: 1138194018 ISBN-13: 978-1138194014
reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn

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#1: Environment the Power of Place

When I visited Stonehenge last summer, I felt the power of place. The stones, grey and giant, were statements of Mother Earth. How I longed to enter this sacred circle. You are only allowed to do that when you pay big money.

Photo: Jurgen van Nijnanten

Why was I so overwhelmed? First of all the stones where huge (sometimes size does matter). Second of all, the energy of the place felt like a sanctuary.

“The mapping of the sacred is always a mapping of social power… Sacred places mark “hierarchical power relations of domination and subordination, inclusion and exclusion, appropriation and dispossession” (page 104).

It was only after reading this book that I could get a grip on how many aspects are involved in the intertwining of Ecology and Environment.

Cartoon: McHumour.com

I selected this book for a Mindfunda review because I was intrigued by the fact that religion is grounded in a specific place. Sacred Geography by Paul Devereux was the first book I read about it. The book Paul has written takes a shamanic perspective.

Grounding Religion is a book, aimed at students. I had not realized that when I requested the review copy. But I enjoyed this book and learned a lot.

It is written in an easy accessible language and has some interesting questions in each chapter that will enrich your way of thinking even if you have left college decades ago just like me.


Or as Thomas J. Watson said: “The Ability to ask the right Question is more than half the battle of finding the answer



#2: Ecology

Did you know that Ernst Haeckel, A German biologist, coined the term Ecology? He is also the first one who envisioned the evolution of species as “a Tree of Life“.


Tree of Life

This book offers sixteen chapters divided over three parts. Part one is concerned about giving definitions. And as in many cases finding the one right definition for a concept is not possible. But the discussion in the book informs you of all the aspects involved in religion and ecology.

Part two makes things a little more personal. This part does not focus on the general definitions but on gender, on race and on the power of place.

Part three explores the Key Features like globalization and its devastating effects, animals technology and so on.

After reading this book, I felt like it opened a whole new concept of inter-relations for me. You as reader get a clear view on the multitude of variables that play a role in concepts regarding the environment.


#3: Environment Dreams Merapi Volcano

Each chapter discusses a case study. One of the most appealing case studies in my eyes is that of the Merapi Volcano.

Merapi volcano
Art: Raden Saleh


The Merapi Volcano is situated on the pacific “ring of fire”. Three of the major plates: the Eurasian, the Australian and the Pacific ocean plate. It is the so called “supermarket of disasters”.

“The interesting case is how science, religion and culture interpret these natural events differently, creating different and frequently conflicting approaches to deal with them” (page 51).

Mbah Maridjan was the spiritual gatekeeper who talked to the spirit of the volcano. In 2010 he was found death, killed by the hot ashes of the erupting volcano.

The BBC wrote about it on its website: “To us, Maridjan is as important as Merapi. Now that he’s no longer around, who’s going to look after Merapi?” Wanto, 56, a farmer, told AFP news agency.

The case study of this chapter contains an interview with Sumarno, a man who has the ability to hear the messages from the mountain. He describes a typical dream he gets before the volcano erupts.

“Me: Can you tell me why you have never moved away from your village during the eruption? Don’t you fear death?
Sumarno: I believe that anybody can die at anywhere, anytime…. I am always told in a dream what to do before the Merapi erupts.
Me: Who told you? The spirit of Merapi?
Sumarno: Usually an old man in a pious Muslim outfit (baja koko)… They come to me mostly after prayer (shalt).
Me: Merapi volcano is different from other volcanoes because it is extremely active, The dead people’s souls are taken by Merapi; they are working for Merapi*.

*I only quoted a only selected fragment of the text. Me refers to the writer of this chapter “Religion and Disaster: The Merapi volcano eruption” Najiyah Martiam

Your Environment: Conclusions


  • The book offers some nice questions that makes you re-evalute your surroundings. For instance: Does nature teach morality? and as writer Lomborg has suggested in The Skeptical Environmentalist: might the solution(s) to environmental problems we experienced today be embedded within technology? And isn’t it about time that theology reconsiders their view on animals?
  • I can only conclude that this book will trigger your mind. The assignments for students are appealing and all the books mentioned will make your book-loving heart sing.

The Death of Nature, by Carolyn Merchant shows how the dichotomy inherent in our culture has been an inheritance of the 16th century vision of the brute environment with the civilized culture on top of it.

On Animals by David Clough reconsiders the place of animals in Christian Theology.

Landscapes of the Sacred written by Belden Lane invites us to use our personal experiences to highlight “sensory exchanges” between places and people.

And these are just some examples. Each chapter is filled with numerous good references to interesting books.

  • The book is very easy to read. No difficult, dry definitions you’d have to plough through and re-read before you can understand what it is that the withers want to say;
  • The case studies are very interesting.


  • It’s a book aimed at students. Even though it means that you get value for money: a lot of information about all the aspects concerning the inter-connectiveness of earth and religion.



What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independent site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

Mindfunda Free Give Away’s

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This posting is categorised as Dreamfunda:
Everything you need to know about dreams. Practical How to’s, the latest scientific research, the most commonly used ways to attach meaning to dreams. This and more is given to you for your everyday use in this part of Mindfunda

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.

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Connect Your Inner Strength With The World

Join us now! Spiritual Soul Searching. 

Do you think all living things are connected? I think we are connected in much more ways than we are aware of.

When people start to connect, energy changes. For the better or for the worse, but transformation is an inevitable result. We add value to our live and the life of others when we connect. We do not want walls. Even though the may protect us, they leave us feeling alone, depressed and isolated.

This blog connects to Spiritual Soul Searching. If you want to find out how you can add value to your own life by connecting your own inner strength to this world, this is the blog for you.

If you have ever stood on the top of a mountain and looked down, you must have felt it. Every little thing on this earth is connected. Life is build on cycles. There is the cycle of water, there are inner cycles in your body that govern your hormones and glucose levels.


And life is build up this way to maintain homeostasis. Inner balance. Only when you are able to sustain inner balance, you are able to live a healthy life.

Connect with a broader vision

You want to do more than look at yourself as a physical unity, as a “car”. You know you are so much more than a collection of homeostatic cycles. You have felt it in waking life. You have met mythological giants in your dreams. You yearn to have a better sense of your own innate spirituality. You know that it will make you happier. Better equipped to face challenges of life.

Mindfunda offers you an online course to guide you through this re-connection with inner strength. Step by step, during the course of a month we will tune into dreams, meditations and questions about different aspects of spirituality.
We will connect wit our innate sense of spirituality. We will dive into our own shadow. We will carefully analyse dreams to detect the archetypes they represent. And finally you express your new sense of spirituality through art. Because often there are no words to express this inner feeling.

Connect with inner strength

If you think back, what were the circumstances when you looked at your life and recognised how things are connected? Once, I was flying back to Europe after I gave a presentation about dreams in America, I looked out of the window, and admired the beauty of the earth.  I said to the lady next to me: “how gorgeous is this world we are living on”. And she responded: “yes, I feel blessed every day”. Looking downwards upon  the trees, the mountains, the water, I could so easily feel how things are connected. Not only physically. Connected mentally and spiritual as well.

But the world is hard and you are not always on top of a mountain or in a plane. Life gets you down. When you feel depressed, you feel alone. You have lost the ability to connect. This loss happens in your psyche and is reflected in the world around you. Mindfunda Spiritual Soul Searching contains four lessons that will re-connect you with your inner sense of spirituality.

Connect with Your Shadow

“How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also If I am to be whole”
― C.G. Jung

After we have explored dreams that showed our innate spirituality, it is time to take the next step. We will follow the path of the hero. We will incubate dreams about our own shadow. There is an ancient technique called dream incubation. You write a clear statement that will focus your dreaming mind into receiving dreams about a certain topic. Every dream you remember will be interpreted by you as an expression of the shadow.


This course is not about dream interpretation. It is aimed at enhancing your knowledge so you can make connections. You will discover metaphors that your dreaming mind uses and you will be able to make more sense of your life and the path you have taken so far. The course offers four incubations for you to use to capture your own dreams.

Connect with Archetypes

James Hillman, who coined the term “Archetypical Psychology” in the seventies of last century said: “dreams tell us where we are, not what to do”.
Hillman was the first director of the Jungian Institute in Zurich. An archetype is an innate, universal prototype for ideas and may be used to interpret observations.



Mindfunda Spiritual Soul Searching will devote itself to help you look for, and connect with archetypical energy. Not only the archetypical Father, but also the archetypical Mother. We will discover that archetypes represent the origins of life as well as personifying the unconscious.

This might be the most interesting, life changing course you have ever done in your life. If you take the version with personal guidance, you will get four hours of personal coaching. An objective perspective of either me, Susanne van Doorn, or Christian Gerike. You will get one coach, so he/she can mentor your process of personal growth. This way, you can be sure that repeating dream themes are detected and that your dream incubations will be more effective. It is in human nature to perform better with a personal mentor.

The Course: Mindfunda Spiritual Soul Searching

The course consists of 4 weekly blocks. One lesson each week;

Lesson 1 is about your innate spirituality;

Lesson 2  about connecting with your shadow;

Lesson 3 about archetypes;

Lesson 4: The concluding lesson is about your personal mandala;
a treasure for the rest of your life.

Each block you will also get:

  • Specific dream examples to guide you in re-interpreting your dream journal;
  • Challenging questions to explore your own inner wealth;
  • A dedicated dream incubation to use the rest of that week, or any time you would like to re-discover this aspect;

When you finish the course you will have created a personal roadmap for your Spiritual Self. A valuable asset to obtain inner balance. A way to seek fulfilment within. It will keep you focussed and balanced. 

Add more value to your life exploring your own Spirituality. Come and join us!

An even more personal experience is provided to you when choosing the premium Personal Guidance Plan, with an additional 4 hours of One-on-One consultation.

Each week, after you have collected your dreams and answered your questions you will get one hour of personal guidance on Skype, so you can make a quantum leap in your spiritual development.

Check out the Course page at Mindfunda Courses now, just click the button to read more.  The course can be paid safely with PayPal or CreditCard (Stripe), even in 4 weekly terms.




What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Spirifunda:
psychology for everyday with a spiritual layer of meaning, searching for the soul. Our brains are wired for believe in magic. In a world filled with rationality, you sometimes need a little magic, a little “I wonder why”. Synchronicity, the insights of Carl Jung, the mythology used by Freud, the archetypical layers in the Tarot, the wisdom of the I Tjing, Shamanism, the oldest religion of humanity, all that information gets published in the Spirifunda section of Mindfunda.

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.

Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘SPIRITUALITY‘?


Imbolc Celebration

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Woman Most Wild, 3 Keys to Liberating the Witch Within

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Conscious: our capacity to know about us

Being Conscious to me is knowing who you are. Having a concept of self. Being type one diabetic I have experienced first hand what can go wrong with this concept of self due to low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia). I remember how I, at one point in time, felt that I could not walk anymore in a straight line. I fell down.

Some teenagers started laughing because they thought I was drunk, or a drug user. I remember clearly how my brain reported back to




Continue reading “Conscious: our capacity to know about us”

Online Courses from Mindfunda

online courses

Online courses are the most convenient way to keep learning. In your own time, at your own convenience. In your pajamas with a cup of coffee, or when your housemates are away so you have some peace and quite. Mindfunda proudly presents two online courses about dreaming. Continue reading “Online Courses from Mindfunda”

What no one tells you about religion

Most of us believe that civilization began when hunter gatherers invented agriculture. They settled down, founded cities and became civilized. But new archeological evidence points in the direction of religion.

Religion made people settle down

The earliest temple found untill this day was excavated in Turkey: Gobleki Tepe. Archeologist Klaus Schmidt has been romancing the stones found in southeastern Turkey. The almost 11,000 year old stones made up a temple that served to honor the death. because the stones are carefully arranged and much too heavy for a single person to move, a team of people must have worked on them.

Göbekli Tepe


Also recent findings reveal that Mayan civilization was centred among religion.
Ceibal, the oldest city of the Mayan society. Recent excavations have found evidence for the ritual use of Ceibal’s main buildings. Religion as the centre of civilization, food and agriculture as a by-product.
In our rational world today we seem to have lost a connection with religion, only to find that religion is innate. In the centre of our earliest civilization!