WHY Praxis Mundi?
I learned the word praxis (or enacted theory) back in my early days as a religious studies student studying liberation theology. I became intrigued with this notion of deeding one’s creed, immediately claimed the word as my own, put it in my pocket for a rainy day....something we have a lot of here in Seattle. To me, praxis is about contemplative and thoughtful sustainable practice.
I learned the term axis mundi around the same time. Axis mundi, first coined by history of religions scholar Mircea Eliade, essentially means center pole of the world which connects earth to sky and orients all directional points.
Alchemically, I have meshed the two as a way to speak to big ideas and world-centering practices.
So think dancing around a May Pole, planting a tree, climbing a mountain, resurfacing your fireplace, or carving your own totem pole. And then pair those down to some of the more mundane activities you have found yourself devoting your entire self to in the course of this business called living .
Or put another way, in her fabulous book on creativity, Big Magic, author Elizabeth Gilbert talks about how ideas come to us and how they "shop"' us like market hawkers and hucksters, pitching their wares. This is pre-praxis ~ ideas before they are eaten, prayed, loved into being and before they become the groove things we want to shake and shout about.
Praxis mundi....sounds like mumbo jumbo, right? Kinda, yes.
As a lived human experience, it does sometimes looks a whole lot like how you might put your right foot in, then out, before shaking it all about and turning yourself around, and then quickly looking around to see if anyone saw you do all that.
But doing the hokey pokey intentionally, communally and with great thought, planning and a giant leap of faith?
To me, that’s praxis mundi and that's what it’s all about.