Margie Abbott: Cosmic sparks of light in The Tunnel

Can we turn the 2020s into ‘The Regenerative Decade’? In this series of talks about what that would imply, we talk ecology, deep adaptation, grief, compassion and passion, connecting with nature, resilience, revitalisation, restoration, revolution… – the bigger picture, in other words.

While we are all sitting in Corona Tunnel, this is a perfect time to ask ourselves some basic questions about the way we live our lives, about our bigger goals in life, and about whether – once we come out of the tunnel – we’d want to change our course.

My guests in The Regenerative Hour no 14 have some suggestions: Margie Abbott, an author who is out with a new book titled ‘Cosmic Sparks – Igniting a re-enchantment with the sacred’, and singer Riya Sokol, who has written a ‘Thank you Coronavirus’ poem which has gone viral around the world.

Riya is followed by three youtube-videos – two of them by Prince Ea, and by the catholic priest Sean McDonagh about Pope Francis’ encyclical letter, Laudato Si. The videos are posted on this page below.

“Greedy for profit, we let ourselves get caught up in things, and lured away by haste. We did not stop at your reproach to us, we were not shaken awake by wars or injustice across the world, nor did we listen to the cry of the poor or of our ailing planet. We carried on regardless, thinking we would stay healthy in a world that was sick.”
~ Pope Francis, in a sermon delivered to an utterly empty St. Peter’s Square in Rome, Italy, on 27 March 2020

Igniting a re-enchantment with the sacred

Book of rituals based on Laudato Si’

Excerpt from the media release about Margie Abbott’s new book, ‘Cosmic Sparks’

“I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation that includes everyone, since the environment challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all”
~ Pope Francis, Laudato Si, 14

In his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’, Pope Francis shows the grave consequences of our blindness to the sacred, living earth. He quotes with enthusiasm Francis of Assisi: “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruits with coloured flowers and herbs” (Canticle of Brother Earth and Sister Moon).

The new book ‘Cosmic Sparks’ builds on the thesis that Earth is all we have. We come from Earth and unto Earth we shall return. The collection of rituals is about realising that Earth is sacred once and for all.

With a stunning richness of resources, these rituals call heart and body into the profound mystery of soul – not of human beings alone, but of Earth herself, with her accompanying elements of Air, Water and Fire. All the manifestations of grounded reality are here in one place, enough for years of learning to relate to our complex, cosmic world.

Margie Abbott has written and had published four other books: Igniting Sparks of Reconciliation and CompassionSparks of the Cosmos; Sparks of Life – three of them on ritual and the fourth Join the Circle, a Lectionary for Children.  

“Through this book, Margie Abbott RSM is offering a detailed and practical resource that anyone can use to enter into a physical, heart-centred and nurturing relationship with Earth. This work is desperately needed in our precarious world, as Earth signals increasing distress in escalating ways.”
~ Brenda Peddigrew RSM, NL Canada – writer, facilitator, teacher

“In order for us humans to grasp the enormity and implications of the Universe Story, we need constant reminders for it all to sink in. These rituals provide an opportunity for groups to express the sacred depths we encounter in the Earth community, to take up the challenges of our times in imaginative ways, and to deal with the grief we share that may otherwise leave us frozen.”
~ Sally Neaves, Rahamim Ecological Centre Bathurst

“The rituals are very contemporary, addressing issues such as Earth degradation, and other issues affecting the individual or humanity as a whole. The rituals are an excellent source for personal or group transformation at a time when we are crying out for meaningful ways to nurture the spirit.”
~ Trevor Parton, formerly Glenburn Ecological Centre

Published 24 February 2020
ISBN: 9780648566199
Number of pages: 134
Publisher: Coventry Press

Margie Abbott’s biography

An invitation: zoom-facilitated rituals
Margie and Jen facilitate rituals from their books on Zoom each Monday morning at 7.30am during this pandemic isolation time. Get in touch with Margie to register:

The sacred in everything – in all that is

A new YouTube-video with Margie Abbott explaining how to use her ritual book

Music in the spirit of the books
Luke Edwards wrote this moving song a few years ago inspired by Teilhard de Chardin, entitled “The Altar of the Earth”.

Riya Sokol: “Thank you, Coronavirus”

“Gratitude supports the immune system, but also lets us see things from many perspectives. It is up to us which perspective we will choose, but best is to be aware of all of them.”
~ Riya Sokol

Artist, singer and activist Riya Sokol is the author of the poem and video “Thank you, Coronavirus”, which went viral around the whole world and was viewed 15 million times within three days. She presents a different perspective to the global pandemic active in the world just now.

→ You can read the poem on

→ Riya’s home page:

Riya Sokol interview in The Sustainable Hour

“Be grateful. Stay aware things will never be the same again. The world is changing.”

“This is a time to radically re-think the way we live and function as a society.”
~ Friends of the Earth Australia, Covid-19: Blueprint for Climate Justice

A call to pause

“PAUSE means facing the world, and acknowledging that this is not the world we want to live in.

Calls for a new ecological thinking reverberate in empty skies, with no planes overhead, and the uncanny appearance of dolphins in the Venetian waterways, where once giant cruise ships docked. In this unprecedented moment of temporary cessation, the opportunity arises to invent new narratives and mentally prepare for a post-carbon economy. As we discover new ways of being together and acting collectively, we will also develop strategies of adaptation. As artists we have a responsibility to invent responses, to invent new languages of criticism and of hope.

The one refusal we must share in the formation of new struggles and new solidarities is the collective cry that says NO to business as usual. We cannot go back to business as usual, to how things were. We cannot truly say NO unless we pause first.”
~ Gruppo Pause

“Mother Nature has sent us to our rooms”

“Even though our instincts and political leaders might be saying otherwise, it is more important than ever in this emergency to take the long view. If there was ever a moment to think about the future, it’s now.

The coronavirus has plunged the world headfirst into an era of unity, solidarity, and rapid societal change that looks like a compressed version of what climate scientists have been warning us about for decades. We are part of a living ecosystem, and if we push it too far, it will break.” 
~ Eric Holthaus, meteorologist, climate scientist and journalist

“We’re playing with fire”

“We’ve had Sars, Mers, Covid-19, HIV. We need to see what nature is trying to tell us here. We need to recognise that we’re playing with fire. The separation of health and environmental policy is a ​dangerous delusion. Our health entirely depends on the climate and the other organisms we share the planet with.”
~ Aaron Bernstein, Harvard School of Public Health, USA

Amidst its horror, coronavirus brings a great gift: the chance, the requirement, to reflect in this time of global-stopping, and so to reassess the sort of society we have created: the globalised society that co-created the Covid-19 pandemic, through its destruction of habitats and its wildlife markets, and through its hyper-mobility.

Consider the kind of oppositions that corona makes stark: people vs profit. Love, vs desperate attempts to prolong business as usual. Love for the vulnerable and rage against the heartless machine versus thoughtlessness and an unwillingness to think beyond what we knew and did thoughtlessly before Covid-19 struck. Now is the time to decide whether to be real, or to continue trying to shut out the facts. Now is the moment to get serious in asking how and why we have allowed ourselves to become collectively so vulnerable; and how we can care for our most vulnerable right now and in the longer term.”
~ Rupert J Read

View this post on Instagram

A poem by Kitty Omeara

A post shared by Mother Earth Circles (@mother_earth_circles_) on

“The health, social and economic consequences of COVID-19 should act as a wake-up call for all governments to take stock, carefully consider the evidence, and ensure post COVID-19 responses reverse our war on nature. Because – as pioneering 20th century conservationist Rachel Carson argued – a war on nature is ultimately a war against ourselves.”
~ Fiona Armstrong, Anthony Capon and Ro McFarlane

→ Australian Conservation Foundation – 19 March 2020:
Stay connected to nature and one another
“Some tips for connecting to nature and one another during self isolation.”

To Papatūānuku (Mother Earth)

This poem was shared by Jacinda Adern, the prime minister of New Zealand


Rest now, e Papatūānuku
Breathe easy and settle
Right here where you are
We’ll not move upon you
For awhile

We’ll stop, we’ll cease
We’ll slow down and stay home

Draw each other close and be kind
Kinder than we’ve ever been.
I wish we could say we were doing it for you
as much as ourselves

But hei aha

We’re doing it anyway

It’s right. It’s time.
Time to return
Time to remember
Time to listen and forgive
Time to withhold judgment
Time to cry
Time to think

About others

Remove our shoes
Press hands to soil
Sift grains between fingers


Gentle palms

Time to plant
Time to wait
Time to notice
To whom we belong

For now it’s just you
And the wind
And the forests and the oceans and the sky full of rain

Finally, it’s raining!

Ka turuturu te wai kamo o Rangi ki runga i a koe


Embrace it

This sacrifice of solitude we have carved out for you

He iti noaiho – a small offering
People always said it wasn’t possible
To ground flights and stay home and stop our habits of consumption

But it was
It always was.

We were just afraid of how much it was going to hurt
– and it is hurting and it will hurt and continue to hurt
But not as much as you have been hurt.

So be still now

Wrap your hills around our absence
Loosen the concrete belt cinched tight at your waist


Written by Nadine Anne Hura, Ngati Hine / Ngāpuhi

Trees from the Heart – a fast fiction competition

15trees is organising a flash fiction competition: Tell a tiny story about your special tree, or trees.

Take some time out to reflect on your own special tree. We all have one (or several). They stay with us throughout our lives, whether they live or not, whether we’re near them or not. They shape and change us in fundamental ways we don’t always stop to think about.

Maybe it’s the special daydreaming tree you climbed as a child. Maybe it’s the first time you stared up a redwood trunk, awed beyond comprehension. Maybe it’s a stand of ghost gums frozen in a divine ancient dance. Trees are part of the fabric of all our lives, and we want to hear your story.

Flash fiction is little but fierce, tiny but mighty, small but significant, a poem in a paragraph, a story that fits in the palm of your hand. The winner will receive a lovely package of eco-goods from our beautiful supporters.

Entries will be judged by Gabriel Tyrone Filippa, a young and upcoming Melbourne writer, who loves the outdoors (as long as it isn’t too hot, too cold or too windy … it’s hard to be indy, when it’s windy).

Competition details:

Theme: Trees from the Heart

Word limit: no more than 100 words

How to enter: post your entry in the comments on 15trees’s website.
Note: They may also share your words on social media.

Who can enter: anyone!

When does the competition close: Earth Day, 22 April 2020

Winner announced: end of April 2020.

Winner receives: A plethora of eco-gifts from some of our favourite suppliers. Beautiful organic teas from Tea Associates (Bendigo), luxurious body wash and lotion from BASK Aromatherapy (Coburg), smooth drinking chocolate from Grounded Pleasures (Ballarat), Grounded. A Companion for Slow Living by Anna Carlile (Melbourne), chocolate from our favourite supplier Pana Organics, a keep cup from Earth Bottles (Torquay), a very clever and stylish reusable container from Retub and 15 trees planted on your behalf to help reduce the carbon footprint of your car. All up almost $300 of divineness.

Prince Ea – 27 March 2020
Prince Ea – 27 August 2017

Lessons coronavirus can teach us about climate change

• Science matters
• How we treat the natural world affects our well-being
• The sooner we mobilize for action, the less suffering will take place
• We have the ability to make drastic changes very quickly
• All of us are vulnerable to crisis, though unequally
• Holding on to a vision of a just, peaceful and sustainable Earth will give us strength for the future

~ Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and Leah D. Schade
Home page: Reviving Creation, Restoring Our Souls – writings of Margaret Bullitt-Jonas

→ Reviving Creation – 26 March 2020:
6 lessons coronavirus can teach us about climate change

Arundhati Roy: ‘The pandemic is a portal’

. . .

Clippings from the newsstream: The corona-climate link

→ The Guardian – 1 April 2020:
The Horror Films Got it Wrong. This Virus has Turned us into Caring Neighbours
“There is no guarantee that this resurgence of collective action will survive the pandemic. We could revert to the isolation and passivity that both capitalism and statism have encouraged. But I don’t think we will. Across the world, Covid-19 has triggered community action on a vast scale. It’s a powerful riposte to both government and private money.”

→ The Guardian – 31 March 2020:
‘We can’t go back to normal’ / How will coronavirus change the world?
“The long read: Times of upheaval are always times of radical change. Some believe the pandemic is a once-in-a-generation chance to remake society and build a better future. Others fear it may only make existing injustices worse.”

→ The Guardian – 25 March 2020:
Covid-19 is nature’s wake-up call to complacent civilisation
“A bubble has finally been burst – but will we now attend to the other threats facing humanity?”

“To tackle this alarming climate crisis, we need to mobilize will and decision, as well as economic resources on a large scale. It was done during the financial crisis of 2007-2008 to save the banks: is it not possible to do it again now to save our common home, the future of our children and future generations?”
~ Peter K.A., Cardinal Turkson, Prefect

Pope Francis: “We still reckon as profit that which threatens our very survival”

The current climate crisis is “caused by a confusion of our moral ledger with our financial ledger,” said Pope Francis, addressing a Vatican climate change conference for finance ministers from around the world on 27 May 2019.

“We live at a time when profits and losses seem to be more highly valued than lives and deaths, and when a company’s net worth is given precedence over the infinite worth of our human family,” he said.

→ Swindon Advertiser – 11 May:
Highworth man’s bid to get the Methodist Church to declare climate emergency
“A Highworth churchgoer is one step closer to his goal of getting the Methodist Church to declare a climate emergency.”

→ Booklet: A readers’ guide to Laudato Si’ (PDF)

Related Youtube videos

Father Sean McDonagh on Caring for Our Common Home

More on

13 July 2018

The Laudato Si’ Challenge

10 June 2017

More faith and spirituality related videos on

Prince Ea – 10 June 2019

“The most important word in today’s world is ‘together’.”

Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary-General

→ See more Regenerative Hours

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