Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have other questions? Please Contact Us.

What is the Novasutras movement all about?

The name Novasutras comes from the Latin nova — meaning “new” — and the Sanskrit word sutras — meaning “spiritual teachings.”

The Novasutras movement is an invitation to co-create a spiritual movement the world needs today and for the future. Together, we can conceive a movement that remains adaptable, deeply democratic and egalitarian, open to both science and mysticism, and so beautifully compelling that it can powerfully transform the way humans live together in our biosphere.

By Benjamin Gimmel, BenHur, CC-BY-SA-3.0, from Wikimedia CommonsNovasutras has its roots in deep ecology, watered by mindfulness traditions, and growing up into the world to nurture everyone, stretching forth branches blossoming with enticing ritual and bearing the fruit of care and kindness for all.

Novasutras is a spiritual community for people who are more inclined toward science and rationalism, with practices and philosophies that awaken the best in humans and improve our relationship to Nature through ubuntu and agaya.
We seek to work simultaneously on immediate activism to reduce harm to the living world, supporting the effectiveness of those engaged in Earth care and activism, and transforming the mindset that leads to such harmful outcomes
^ Table of Contents

What are agaya and ubuntu?

Agaya is a new term, intended as an expression of the deep, sacred beauty of the universe. Ubuntu is a term that represents the connections between all things. Agaya and ubuntu bring us all together in the more-than-human world with reverence, joy, generosity, gratitude, and loving-kindness. …read more…

^ Table of Contents

What are the core principles and values of the Novasutras movement?

Nature is sacred. Change is essential, inevitable and important. Complexity and maturity emerge from diverse, cooperative relationships. The beauty of the living world is to be savored, honored, celebrated and protected. …read more…

^ Table of Contents


Who started the Novasutras movement?

Dr. Michelle Merrill is the founder of the Novasutras Movement. What she experienced during her research in tropical rainforests was a catalyst to work for global transformation.  …read more…

^ Table of Contents

Why is Novasutras a spiritual movement?

Unlike most activist organizations, Novasutras starts from the intention of inspiring a movement large enough to change the whole paradigm of civilization. We believe that we must change the underlying system: the ideas of our culture that are so fundamental, they go largely unspoken and unchallenged. A spiritual movement can provide people with the kind of new cultural template that will allow for radical changes throughout the system. …read more…

^ Table of Contents

Is Novasutras based in a particular religious tradition?

The intention of the Novasutras movement is to create a novel spiritual movement. We are globally syncretic: that is, we are eager to learn from what is available and appreciate the wisdom from diverse traditions around the world. We are open to those who already have a spiritual practice or religious community. Our intention is to create a space with practices, language and ideas that will be welcoming to people from most traditions, including those who are atheist or agnostic. We also intend to create a space of safety for those who may have been harmed by abuses in other religious communities, by avoiding triggering language and patriarchal ideas. Novasutras is rooted in deep ecology, so the practices, language and beliefs we share must be compatible with agaya, ubuntu, and our core values. We find much wisdom in communities like the Religious Naturalist Association, Gaianism, and Atheopaganism

^ Table of Contents

What do Novasutras practitioners worship?THDWv2-logo-tn

We are proud to be tree-hugging dirt worshipers. One could more seriously say that we worship agaya – the deep, sacred beauty and complexity of the universe.
We are awe-theists (as Dr. Kendon Smith described it). As a community, we do not focus on any specific goddesses or gods, but instead appreciate the sacredness that manifests as evolving life in all its diversity and wonder. Nonetheless, we respect some people’s preference to see agaya refracted through a more personified image (that is, some sort of deity).
? Table of Contents ?

What do Novasutras practitioners believe?

We essentially believe in ubuntu – the connections between all things, binding us all together in the more-than-human world with reverence, joy, generosity, gratitude, and loving-kindness. We believe that it is our duty as intelligent, aware beings to promote agaya and ubuntu in the universe.
We believe that change is part of the essential nature of the universe and one of the most profound expressions of agaya, so we understand that there are few (if any) immutable truths. We recognize that it is only through thoughtful exchange of ideas and the recognition of carefully-considered knowledge (e.g. science) that wisdom can evolve, grow and thrive. We fully support the evolution of ideas through means such as the scientific method with peer-review, recognizing that (while imperfect) these are still the most reliable ways we know to improve our understanding of reality.
However, spirituality and science are different ways to generate knowledge. While we recognize that we must always be able to accept and incorporate scientific findings, we also remain open to any insights or intuitions derived by other means that are not contradictory to available scientific evidence. We are willing to entertain possibilities beyond what science can currently investigate or accept, things that fall into the realms of the supernatural or paranormal. We do not cling to these insights, but we embrace their possibilities, provided they help us to grow agaya and ubuntu.
^ Table of Contents

What are Novasutras practices?

novasutras-logo-straights-e1512161089467Novasutras practices currently include meditating, particularly Octal Meditations as part of our celebrations of Solstices, Equinoxes and Cross-Quarters (and other astronomical or worldwide events), connecting the corners, drawing the Novasutras symbol, forest immersion and befriending trees. There is abundant evidence that shared rituals promote both personal and community well-being.

Part of co-creating Novasutras includes developing additional rituals, rites and celebrations that promote the vitality of ubuntu and agaya. We might adopt and modify Earth-honoring rituals from all around the world, provided we do so with deep respect, acknowledgement, and gratitude for those wisdom traditions. Some other ideas that Dr. Merrill, our founder, first put forward in 2002, could be discussed and improved.  In other words, we are making it up as we go alongplease join us in this vibrant co-creative endeavor.

Why are the Global Synchronous Meditations important, and why are they scheduled for odd times?

There is some evidence that large numbers of practitioners meditating at the same time has some positive effects globally: reduced violence, social coherence, and even affecting physical phenomena.

The timings for Novasutras’ online group meditations are often based on the actual time of an astronomical event.  For instance, we start a little bit before the exact minute when the sun crosses the Earth’s equator for the Equinox, or at or around the precise moment of the major phases of the moon.   Read more…

^ Table of Contents 

What is the moral foundation of the Novasutras movement?

The essence of the Novasutras movement is to promote agaya and ubuntu. All of our moral guidance follows from that. An individual’s actions should increase joy and wellness (and minimize suffering and fear) for all life. We recognize that evolution has shaped humans (and all other known life) to first focus on the wellness of ourselves and our descendants and other close kin, then those organisms around us that seem to participate in our wellness and joy, and only then to consider the wellness and joy of others. This is not evil or wrong, but it means that, as intelligent and aware beings, we must ever strive to extend our circle of compassion and concern to encompass as much of our universe as we can.
^ Table of Contents

Who is in charge of Novasutras?

Are there priestesses or hierophants?
While we respect wisdom and the knowledge of specialists, as a movement we reject hierarchical structures and the notion of individual leadership. Egalitarian, cooperative relationships are among our core values. There is always a preference for conversation and consensus. We are, in fact, co-creating this spiritual movement. Ever since Dr. Michelle Merrill founded the movement, we have welcomed the input of any who are sincerely and deeply committed to agaya and ubuntu.
^ Table of Contents

What are the goals of the Novasutras movement?

  • Organize local celebrations for Equinoxes and Solstices.
  • Come together online for Octal Meditations.
  • Develop a working wiki of Novasutras philosophy, research, and practices.
  • Grow Novasutras communities in at least 30 countries.
  • Unite a quarter-million participants worldwide into conversations about community based on agaya and ubuntu.
  • Invite the power of community to transform global civilizations into expressions of Novasutras’ core values, so we begin to live in a world of ubuntu and agaya.

What Can I Do to Help?

share widely – create – start or join a work team – celebrate – share space – donate stuff – contribute funds or buy merch

Novasutras welcomes all dedicated people to apply their head, hands and heart to co-creating a world abiding in agaya and ubuntu.  …read more…


Have more questions?  Please leave them in the comments below, or contact us.

Leave a Reply