Breadcrumbs in the Snow:
A Collection of Articles by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

For seven years, from 2010 until 2017, I wrote a series of articles, or blogs, for the Huffington Post. This was for a more general audience than most of my writing. I always referred to their purpose as "breadcrumbs in the snow," an image of a landscape covered over, frozen, while a trail of breadcrumbs provides both nourishment and a sense of direction in a contemporary bleakness. In this age of consumerism and collective exploitation, when there appears so little real nourishment for the soul, these pieces point to a different landscape. It may be the same earth hidden by the snow, waiting for spring, or it may be a different landscape of the soul, just beyond the borders of our vision.

I belong to a generation that hoped and dreamed of a collective spiritual awakening, only to find an Earth ravaged by pollution, ecocide, and a collective forgetfulness of what is sacred within life. More and more in the busyness of our contemporary life, we are drawn into ceaseless activity that often separates us from the deeper dimension of ourselves. With our smartphones and computer screens, we often remain caught on the surface of our lives amidst the noise and chatter that continually distract us, that stops us from being rooted in our true nature. Unaware we are drowned deeper and deeper in a culture of soulless materialism.

And so these articles were a small response to this collective forgetfulness, a trail of breadcrumbs hoping to attract the attention of those seeking real nourishment, needing to find their way back to their soul and the real ground of being. I do not know if they reached their objective. But I would like to hope that these words and their stories found a resonance in their readers, pointing to the beauty, wonder and care that belongs to our true nature, and especially to the care for the Earth, and the love that is needed to nourish Her.

Action Rooted in Spirit: Feminine Principles and Social Change
February 7, 2017

Today we are faced by ongoing ecological devastation, polluted air, rising seas, and the world's worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II. If we can bear to hear the cry—both of the Earth, exploited through our greed and desires, and of the dispossessed, often war-ravaged and exploited by human traffickers and others—how should we fully respond? (read more)

Paris: A Spiritual Response to Climate Change
December 2, 2015

In a city whose soul is bleeding from the acts of terrorists, world leaders are meeting to discuss the fate of an Earth whose soul is also bleeding—bleeding from exploitation, from our civilization's relentless pursuit of materialism.... (read more)

Shifting the Climate Debate Onto Sacred Ground
July 2, 2015

"The ecological crisis is essentially a spiritual problem." These words spoken by an Eastern Orthodox theologian, Metropolitan John Zizioulas, at the Vatican news conference on the papal encyclical are profoundly important. The release of the encyclical was soon followed by a new study that confirmed the Earth has now entered a new extinction phase, its sixth great mass extinction event.... (read more)

Pope Francis' Encyclical: Hearing the Cry of the Earth 
June 19, 2015

The Earth "now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her." So begins Pope Francis in his powerful and long-awaited encyclical on ecology. "The earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor.".... (read more)

For the Love of All Created by Thee
June 1, 2015

Looking back over almost half a century of spiritual practice, I sometimes ask myself what was the greatest challenge, the most difficult lesson. On the spiritual quest we are faced with our love and longing, our darkest fears, our failings.... (read more)

Rebirth, Miracles, and Magic
February 16, 2015

Amidst headlines of terrorists and other news of a global darkness, a quiet miracle is once again taking place. While blizzards batter the North East, spring comes here in Northern California—that magical moment when buds break open, when bulbs become shoots that become flowers, and color and fragrance return to a world made grey by winter... (read more)

Protecting Seeds and Their Stories: The Sacred in Everyday Life
November 5, 2014

The recent UN Climate Change Summit, the marches in New York and around the world, once again brought into our collective consciousness the need for real change. As did the shocking news of the global loss of species. The vital need to protect our ecosystems is part of a cry that embraces the whole earth... (read more)

Loneliness and the Sacred Web of Life
March 11, 2014

Recently Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Sanjay Gupta instigated a "Just Say Hello!" campaign as a way to combat the deep loneliness that pervades so many people today. Dr. Gupta speaks of the heartbreaking sense of isolation, a toxic, brutal, and even physical pain. Our increasingly connected society has a shadow side of loneliness, as if our technologies are missing something essential to our human nature—the simple human exchange.... (read more)

Including the Earth in Our Prayers
December 11, 2013

Every morning I love to walk early beside the wetlands where I live. It is a time of natural reflection and prayer, a time to be alone with nature and the divine that is present: in the hawk sitting on the telephone lines, the skyline softening and turning golden.... (read more)

Sustainability and the Sacred
April 22, 2013

Recent droughts, hurricanes and floods have made us more and more aware of the reality of climate change, and the disastrous environmental effect of our industrialized, materialistic civilization. As our world stumbles to the brink of ecological collapse—the "tipping point" of irreversible climate change—sustainability has become a vital issue. But before we can respond we need to recognize what Earth we are trying to help, what ecosystem we are working to sustain.... (read more)

Changing the Story
February 14, 2013

"The only way to change the world is to change the story."

Like a green shoot in early spring, a new story is trying to break through into our collective consciousness. How can we help it to emerge and grow, help it to change our fractured world? (read more)

A Prayer at the Winter Solstice
December 13, 2012

As we come toward the time of the winter solstice and a few days later the celebration of Christmas, we are reminded once again of the primal mystery of darkness and light, and the light being born in the darkness.... (read more)

The Need for Love: Reflections by a Mystic
August 29, 2012

In a recent conversation for Super Soul Sunday, when Oprah described to me how so often in her conversations and interviews, people said to her how they just wanted to be happy, I found myself responding, "I think they want to be loved." (read more)

A Morning Prayer and the Call of the Earth
July 21, 2012

"The world is charged with the grandeur of God."

There are so many different ways to pray; in Rumi's words, "there are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground." Recently I wrote about being drawn into silent inner prayer, but there is another form of prayer that meets me early each morning.... (read more)

Mystical Prayer: Opening a Door to Silence and Love
May 24, 2012

"God does not look at your outer forms, 
but at the love within your love."

Amid the noise and increasing demands of our daily life, it is more and more important for many of us to find a way to reach an inner quiet, a place of rest and refuge... (read more)

The Sacred Feminine Today
March 8, 2012

Today there is a resurgence of interest in the sacred feminine. The immense popularity a few years ago of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code spoke not just to our enjoyment of a good thriller but also to the mystery of the divine feminine in Western culture, which is the real thread of the book's chase, from the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa to the search for the grail and the heritage of Mary Magdalene.... (read more)

Mysticism: Living Love's Oneness
February 29, 2012

What is mysticism? How is it different to spirituality? And why is mysticism important at this moment in time? The spiritual journey can be most simply described as a way to access the light of our soul—the beautiful light with which we came into the world.... (read more)

Praying for the Earth
August 9, 2011

Prayer is a way to be with the divine—from the prayer born from need, where we use words to express our needs, to the deeper prayer that takes us beyond any words into the oneness and silence within the heart.... (read more)

How Our Consciousness Affects the Environment
May 15, 2011

In March this year the science journal Nature announced what many people already knew: that there are clear indications that the world's sixth "mass extinction" is already underway.... (read more)

Spiritual Ecology: The Solution to Our Climate Change Crisis?
December 2, 2010

This week's United Nations Climate Change Conference at Cancun, Mexico is a global forum in response to a global crisis. As well as considering cutting carbon emissions, the conference hopes among other issues to advance green technologies and fund safeguards to prevent further deforestation of the Amazon. Already there are fears that it will fail to deliver real agreements and that as a result, the planet will be condemned to an uncertain or precipitous future. But this evokes in me a central question: can we respond to the true nature of global climate change from just an economic or political perspective? (read more)

An Ecological Disaster: Polluting the Waters of Life
June 7, 2010

Earlier in the year I posted a series of articles about the need to regain a symbolic consciousness—the need to see the symbolic meaning of events that happen in our inner and outer lives. Recently we have been witnessing the worst ecological disaster in North America with the oil gushing from the depths of the Gulf.... (read more)

Reclaiming Our Spiritual Heritage
May 9, 2010

We live in a culture of religious diversity that is at present experiencing a reawakening of interest in spirituality. If we are to more fully understand what this reawakening might mean, it seems to me that we need to clarify the traditional difference between religion and spirituality, between the exoteric and the esoteric.... (read more)

The Prayer Of The Heart
April 26, 2010

At the heart of most religions is prayer: a way to communicate with God. There are the prescribed prayers, the rituals of inner communion. But there is also our own personal prayer—our way of being with God. For the mystic this is the prayer of the heart, in which our heart cries out to God, cries our need for our Beloved.... (read more)

Why We Need To Work With Symbols
April 19, 2010

The valuable and varied responses to my recent blog about the Internet as a living symbol of global oneness made me aware of a need to explain more fully the nature and purpose of symbolic consciousness: how to access the meaning and power of symbols.... (read more)

The Internet as a Living Symbol of Global Oneness
April 7, 2010

Arianna's recent comments about Jeremy Rifkin's The Empathic Civilization, and in particular his reference to global communication, "Seven billion individual connections, absent any overall unifying purpose, seem a colossal waste of human energy," prompts me to write about my own experience of the unifying purpose and potential of the Internet, of this increasing connectivity.... (read more)

Dreams: Reconnecting Us To The Sacred
March 21, 2010

Our dreams take us into a world of images. Many of these dreams are just "mind dreams" in which our mind reworks and digests the images and impressions of the day, like a cow chewing the cud. But sometimes our dreams take us into a deeper realm within us, into the sacred dimension of our soul. Then the images of our dreams have a different quality and meaning.... (read more)

Dreamwork as Part of Our Spiritual Heritage
March 18, 2010

The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost 
and most secret recesses of the soul.... 
—C. G. Jung

We live in a world in which we are saturated by so much information, but how much of this information nourishes our soul or reveals the real meaning of our life? In a world of so many choices how can we know what is right for our true self? When we are asleep and are no longer caught in the chatter of the mind, dreams can speak to us about the mystery of our soul and its journey in life.... (read more)