Where We Stand is Holy
Liturgy for the Creation

“Take off your sandals, for the place where you are
standing is holy ground.” -Exodus 3:5

Inspired by Medieval illuminated manuscripts and a creation-centered interpretation of the Liturgy of the Hours, the Where We Stand is Holy art installation creates a temple space for viewers to celebrate the holiness of the Creation while honoring our grief for all that is dying or being threatened as a result of the escalating ecological crisis.

In the face of climate chaos, oil and gas extraction, plastics in the ocean, and the melting ice caps, how do we be a faithful witness to our changing world? How do we break open our hearts to the beauty and the sorrow, then be inspired to take action to preserve life on Earth? That is the quest for this interactive art installation.

We have forgotten who we are.
Now the forests are dying
And the creatures are disappearing
And the humans are despairing.

We have forgotten who we are.
We ask forgiveness
We ask for the gift of remembering
We ask for the strength to change.

-UN Environmental Sabbath Program

This interactive art installation speaks to re-visioning a new cultural narrative, or story, that communicates the sacredness of the creation; that Eden is right here, right now, not in a paradisal future. With subjective interpretations of the Garden of Eden story and the subsequent fall/redemption paradigm that undergirds our collective unconscious, those of us in the developed West have become so far removed from our innate interdependence in the web of life that we are destroying the land base on which all life is dependent. This interactive art installation creates space for visitors to remember and reverence the earth as holy, to honor and express grief/despair around the ecological crisis, species extinction, or climate change, and to then be inspired to take action on behalf of the living earth.

View “Journey into the Creation” to learn more about the “Lovers of Creation” triptych which is at the heart of the installation. Watch here.

This installation creates space to make visible what is invisible. To question: What are we willing to “see” and acknowledge? Do we veil ourselves to mask feelings of despair around the truth of a changing world including climate change and species extinction? Do we have the courage to bear witness to the beauty of our world, to break open our hearts for what we are losing, and be inspired to take actions to protect life on earth? Much of what is now threatened by the ecological crisis isn’t visible to the human eye such as plankton, microscopic organisms that float on the surface of our oceans. With this exhibit, we are able to “see” that our very existence is intricately linked to the health of plankton and our oceans, both of which are currently under stress from our current way of life.

Profound gratitude to Christian Sardet and The Macronauts, Plankton Chronicles project for permission to use their photography for this project.

This ceremony is inspired by my pilgrimage to Peru where I learned the ancient ways of the Q’ero who continue to live high in the Andes in deep reciprocity (ayni) with the living earth. In the Andean Spiritual tradition, the despacho ceremony is performed by Q’ero shamans as an offering of gratitude and healing to mother earth (Pachamama) or a Mt. Spirit (Apus). Each despacho includes items from the natural world and every day items such as food, flowers, seeds, ribbons, sweets, cocoa leaves, etc. The addition of colored sand is inspired by Tibetan Buddhist Sand Mandalas. With a similar intention as the despacho, we co-create this offering of beauty in remembrance of our interconnectedness within the web of creation. Each mandala is ceremonial dismantled with a sacred reading at the close of the event and gifted to the river—sending our prayers, blessings, and intentions for the healing of our world out in all directions.

Amy Livingstone has a true gift—she transforms cutting-edge environmental challenges into authentic emotions and beauty. Sharing her art at numerous academic events, she has helped advance community knowledge through well-researched issues and creative expressions. Often interactive, her large and small-scale art installations have been important contributions to our college and non-profit events and we miss her! -Kim Smith, Ph.D., Sociology Instructor, Portland Community College, and GPSEN Co-Founder.

“I wanted to thank you again for your beautiful contributions to the [Economics of Happiness] conference, the nature mandala, the alter, and the ceremony at the end. It was such a pleasure to watch the mandala emerge over the weekend as the participants worked on it little by little. It had a unifying and creative power that was truly unique and added another layer of connectedness that we haven’t had at previous conferences. We’re very grateful to you for that and it has inspired us to include similar elements at future gatherings.” –Kristen Steele, Associate Programs Director, Local Futures/International Society for Ecology and Culture

“I was very touched by the expressions of the deep connection to the earth, to the past, and to all living beings. It was all I could do to keep from sobbing when thinking about the horrible destruction we’ve caused to our planet and the harm we’ve done (and continue to do) to all living beings. Thanks for the ‘re-awakening’ to a way of being and a perspective which I’ve drifted away from for far too long.” –Joanna after experiencing the “Return to the Garden” installation.

Contact me at 503.756.2542 to bring any of these to your community or event. I am also available to facilitate an accompanying workshop in conjunction with the installation. Visit my workshops page to learn more.