The “spirit” in spiritual ecology is an active political force deserving sustained scholarly analysis and public recognition. This article reports on 15 years of field research on “animate landscapes,” associated with gods and spirits in Tibetan communities, and “vital landscapes” associated with fengshui
in Han Villages. Despite a century of dramatic sociopolitical change across rural areas in the People’s Republic of China, many villages maintain significant geo-phenomenological connections between body, mind, and land, comprising a body politic maintained through ritual cycles and dwelling practices that uphold the sanctity and integrity of vital watersheds. Comparative analysis of Han and Tibetan spiritual ecologies reveals that cosmological landscapes comprise the armature of relational ontologies grounding and informing everyday life, livelihood, and power relations. As dynamic, emergent, and flexible systems of socio-ecological adaptation that both shape and are shaped by regional and transnational media, they play significant roles in policy initiatives associated with Ecological Civilization
and hold potential for broadening the horizons of Anthropocene scholarship, socio-ecological activism, and meaningful settlement in a profoundly unsettled world.
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