Healing This Wounded Earth

Healing This Wounded Earth

With Compassion, Spirit and the Power of Hope

 ... explores how we can nurture more empathy, compassion and spirit in our lives, as catalysts for social change.


How between us can we build good community, a better and stronger economy, a more empathic health service, a greener environment, a healthier media, a healing creativity; in other words an altogether better world and a happier you and me!

Written for all those who want to make a positive difference in the world, this book shows how this is possible, but only if we really want it and are prepared to put in a little effort! The answer lies in using the healing principles of empathy and compassion, soul and spirit - and the book is illustrated throughout with inspiring stories and quotations from ancient and modern wisdom and the motif of the Wounded Healer that is in all of us if we allow it into our lives.


The idea for this book emerged during a turbulent period in the author's life. As she moved through the healing process herself, Eleanor Stoneham wondered how we could hope to heal the world when so many of us have mental and spiritual wounds which produce destructive behaviour (pg 1). The book is a call to action – to heal our wounds and our fractured society, and most importantly halt the violence we are inflicting on this planet before it's too late. She points out that, through increasing urbanisation, most of us have lost contact with the land and the soil (pg 16) and as a result part of our soul has died. She draws on the myth of Chiron, wise centaur and wounded healer, and explores the difference between being healed and being cured, which tends to be the focus in modern medicine. Stoneham writes from a Christian perspective but draws on the wisdom of other religious traditions as well. She assures readers that her message is for those of all faiths or none: what matters is that they possess 'the honesty of intention' (pg 235). She tackles big questions such as how we move into a new era of social responsibility, lay the foundations of a just society and reform our economic system so that we value people and not money. What made a deep impression on me was a remark made by a Scottish crofter, who said that we need change not at the grass-roots level but at the tap-roots, which are rooted in the 'ancient spiritual bedrock' (pg 121). She gives plenty of sources of information so that people can explore these issues further. Stoneham then delves into the history of soul medicine and details how it was inextricably linked with spirituality and the whole person in mankind's distant past (pg 162), until it was abandoned in the modern era with the rise of medical science. She draws on the work of two twentieth century writers previously unknown to me: Eric J Cassell, an American physician, and English Methodist preacher Leslie D Weatherhead, who wrote a thesis on the links between psychology, religion and healing. Apart from giving insight into the works of these authors, Stoneham shows that, despite the best efforts of the shiny new world of techno-scientific medicine, the soul-centred, holistic stream has never gone away. Finally, she explores healing through creativity. She points out that creativity can hurt as well as heal, for example when creative energies are put into devising things like violent computer games (pg 207). Unfortunately we seem to have an inbuilt fascination with gruesome images and this is exploited to the full in our society (pg 208). Healing creativity can be found through dance, poetry and other arts but no less so through baking, scientific exploration or parenting (pg 225). In her introduction, the author says she hopes that people will use her book as a basis for discussion, whether in a book club or faith group, and that each reader will choose and pursue at least one action that appeals, thus contributing to healing this fractured and increasingly dangerous world, starting a ripple of hope for the future (pg 14). There is certainly plenty of thought-provoking material here, it comes from the heart and, as Iain McGilchrist says in his foreword, ' the message of this book ... is a wise one, and I have no doubt that the world would be a much better place if only we could bring ourselves to heed it' (pg 5). ~ Moragh Mason, Greenspirit

Within a few pages of starting Healing this Wounded Earth I was making a mental list of all the friends and colleagues I wanted to give or lend this book to. I loved reading this book and am sure will turn to it again in the future. Eleanor Stoneham describes how it was during a challenging period in her own life that she took inspiration from Henri Nouwen’s book The Wounded Healer. She then went on to research and explore where else one can find the compassion and vulnerability expressed to help heal our own wounds and in parallel those of the world around us. In each chapter she carefully and clearly states her aim. .. Although a Christian herself, the reach is broad and she mentions most of the great religions and schools of philosophical thought. There is a judicious use of quotes and many familiar names and thoughts and yet the book seems fresh and new. The basic thesis that we have to heal ourselves to heal the world is explored sensitively. ..She describes the difficult issues of our day - consumerism, using up the planet’s natural resources, the role of faith today as well as economic and spiritual considerations. I thoroughly recommend this book.

~ Yvonneke Roe, SMN Network Review

I thoroughly recommend this book. ~ Yvonneke Roe, Network Review

When we look at the news and assess the state of the world, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that human civilization is sick, and through our sickness we are deeply wounding the Earth. I have no doubt that the Living Planet will survive whatever humanity throws at it, but I am not so confident that the self-styled species Homo sapiens will survive. It is this strand of pessimism that Eleanor Stoneham sets out to counter with messages of hope from many quarters.

The world’s problems, she argues, are caused by our own bad behaviour; by our violence and aggression towards each other and the planet. She sees this behaviour flowing from our unhealed woundedness - or to express it differently, from our emotional traumas. It is only through a new earth consciousness, a deep spirituality that we will be able to build a better, more sustainable future. The solution, therefore, is to rediscover our souls, and transform ourselves both individually and collectively. The expressed mission of the book is to explore healing principles in work places, families and communities. Eleanor Stoneham sees the role of the wounded healer as central to this task - as each of us starts to heal, we can become healers for others on the path.

It’s hard to exaggerate the importance and urgency of this message. And the more books that are written on this theme from different philosophical, religious, spiritual, intellectual and experiential perspectives, the more this message will spread, and the greater our hope of survival will become.  Hence this book is important. It will appeal most, I think, to those with a religious, particularly Christian, background, but Eleanor Stoneham takes an inclusive approach, drawing on sources from many religious and spiritual traditions besides her own Anglican Church.

As I read, I found myself agreeing with all the major points of the argument... Whether we like it or not, whether we want to or not, we are creating the future of humanity and Earth. Far better to do it consciously, and with deliberate intent, than slip into it down the slippery slope of apathy, denial and the reaction to trauma. As Eleanor Stoneham emphasises, we are all creative in our lives. We have the ability and creativity to solve our problems. Please read this book, and act upon its message.

~ Malcolm Hollick, author of The Science of Oneness and Hope for Humanity.

This is a veritable spiritual handbook which also contains a wealth of factual information - organizations, websites, books - about the diverse ways in which the individual can become involved in action that will make a difference in reshaping the future of the world for the better. We may then 'cast healing ripples of hope out into a world that yearns for equality, health, happiness and peace for us all', says Dr Stoneham, making us feel it is well within the bounds of the achievable.

       Dr Stoneham, whose gentle but authoritative tone, and her perception and sensitivity, remind me of the religious commentator Karen Armstrong, sees the world as dangerously wounded through violence, selfishness and rampant consumerism. One agrees that political systems alone will never solve these problems. What is needed is personal responsibility and healing on a global scale, and Dr Stoneham sees social change coming from the healing needs of relationship, the economy, the environment and the 'living Gaia', creativity in the arts, and the curing professions of pastoral and medical care.

    A 'big ask', you might think, but she believes this to be an exciting time in the development of our planet - that there is a definite paradigm shift going on which is not readily recognised: people are returning, if not always to organized religion, then at least as seekers of spirituality and truth, in a quest for greater meaning in their lives….

~ Geoff Ward Author of Spirals: The Pattern of Existence, http://www.mysteriousplanet.net/booksB.php

…the book is enspirited by Dr. Stoneham’s hopeful, kind, and positive personality. Her individual voice comes through particularly in her insistence that the only way for real healing to take place is for each of us to take individual responsibility. She makes a special point that we cannot rely on governments to do our planet-healing for us because it is only as individuals that we can heal our own wounds to become healers...

Healing This Wounded Earth is a guidebook to saving the world. Dr. Stoneham’s message is that we can make our world ecologically, socially, politically, culturally, economically, and spiritually sustainable, even flourishing, but only if each of us gets to work now. She lists many, many organizations and movements to join, books to read, and individual actions to take. Everyone can find something, or likely many things, in her pages to do to begin. Hers is a book of hope and faith that, as wounded healers, we each have a place in the effort for global healing that only we can fill and she gives each of us the tools we need to do what we must do.

~ Carolyn Lee Boyd, New Age Journal

Dr Stoneham’s work is refreshing, relentlessly explorative and resonates deeply with that wounded part of ourselves that believes there is very little we can do to alleviate the suffering in our environment and the world.

 (But) this is not a work embedded in the doom and gloom culture. It is a finely crafted repository of resources and ideas which invite the reader to make use of a vast emerging global network affecting change through bringing our conscience into alignment with all we can do. I cannot recommend this fine book highly enough. It is truly inspirational.


~ Stephanie Sorrell Author of Depression as a Spiritual Journey and Nature as Mirror, New Vision

An interesting book - and deeply challenging to any and all who wholeheartedly buy in to the secularised, monetarised, mass-consumer-oriented, bottom-line consciousness that has allowed so much material development, but which is also like a global cancer that threatens us all.  This is a deeply human and humane book - and a balm against the arid arguments of the mainstream conversation around money, finance, economics, politics, the environment and spirituality - as well as a close look at a central topic in each of our lives: health and healing.  Buy it, read it, pass it on, it's time for something better that we have.

~ Odyssey

gently and thoughtfully persuasive…this is a timely and thought provoking book.


Brilliantly informative and inspirational…This work persuasively, passionately, yet gently wakens us up from the myth that we can do very little to affect change, or become part of the change we want to see… Eleanor, word by word, idea by idea, draws us into an entire web of hope of the things individuals, nations, spiritual and ecological communities are doing to enact healing and beauty…Dr Stoneham's work is refreshing, relentlessly explorative and resonates deeply with that wounded part of ourselves that believes there is very little we can do to alleviate the suffering in our environment and the world. This is not a work embedded in the doom and gloom culture. It is a finely crafted repository of resources and ideas which invite the reader to make use of a vast emerging global network affecting change through bringing our conscience into alignment with all we can do. I cannot recommend this fine book highly enough. It is truly inspirational.  (A healthcare professional)


Read this book!… a genuine book from a genuinely passionate author. The book brings world problems into sharp focus, and makes you want to take action to make things better. I think about the subjects in this book everyday, and feel that everyone should read it and take action, the world would be a better place as a result. Even though religion is a strong theme in this book, I read it from a more of a scientific and spirituality point of view. it is written in a way that is not intrusive to individual beliefs, religious or not. The subjects covered are ones that affect us all, from environmental change to strength of community and economics, and what we can do ourselves to help 'heal the wounded Earth'. Passionately written, and full of powerful references.

~ peoplesproblems.org

The message of this book is a wise one, and I have no doubt that the world would be a much better place if only we could bring ourselves to heed it. From the Foreword by ~ Dr Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

Humanity is set for a time of fundamental change. Our relationship with the environment is spiritless and broken. But we have also lost sight of the spiritual essence in our communities, our economy, in medicine and our creativity, even in our faiths. With its wealth of wisdom this wonderful book explores how we have arrived at where we are and what all of those who call themselves ' religious' or are otherwise ‘of good faith’ need to do to heal this wounded world. ~ The Revd. Peter Owen-Jones, author of Letters from an Extreme Pilgrim and presenter of the BBC TV programmes Around the World in 80 Faiths and How to Live a Simple Life.

This is a passionate call to all of us. It clearly reminds us how we all have responsibility for healing our fractured society and building a better world. It is both inspiring and reassuring in its wise message. ~ William Bloom, author of The Endorphin Effect: A Breakthrough Strategy for Holistic Health and Spiritual Wellbeing and Soulution, The Holistic Manifesto.

In this book Eleanor Stoneham points to the central role of spirituality in healing the human condition in our troubled times. Nothing is more important if we are to have hope for a dignified future, come what may in the come-to-pass. ~ Alastair McIntosh, scholar, activist, Visiting Professor of Human Ecology at the University of Strathclyde, author of Soil and Soul and Hell and High Water.

Interweaving environmental and social history with the roots of medicine, Dr Stoneham presents a provocative and refreshing kaleidoscope of possibilities. She shows how the spiritual, emotional and physical aspects of our humanity can find a new creative synthesis. Her clear visionary prose sings to the reader, inviting us on a journey of discovery through both the darkest corners of our psyche, and the most sublime hope that can emerge from bodies resonating with nature and spirit. She paints an inspiring picture of a possible future in which the soul takes its rightful place at the core of healing. ~ Dawson Church PhD, author of The Genie in Your Genes

From many wisdom traditions, a key teaching is that our wounds make us whole. This paradoxical lesson has almost been forgotten in our age, in which the emphasis is on manipulation, power, control, and perfection. In this book Eleanor Stoneham shows that our hopes and plans for survival may depend on re-learning the lesson of the Wounded Healer, in which woundedness leads to the wisdom and humility that are required in meeting the challenges we face as individuals, as a species, and as a planet. ~ Larry Dossey MD, author of Healing Words and The Power of Premonitions.

Passionate and fiercely intelligent, (this book) is a wake-up call for us all to engage actively, courageously and responsibly in the healing of our fractured world. Again and again, the author spells out her vital, central message - that it is our own behavior as individuals, not the intervention of governments, which will provide that healing (and she) charts a clear path … showing how we can all be part of a great global healing in this new era of consciousness. ~ Barry Cottrell, artist, engraver, author of The Way Beyond the Shaman: Birthing a New Earth Consciousness

We have entered into a new era of transformation, perhaps the most significant one in the history of humanity…This lovely book puts us in touch with healing principles of spirituality and compassion throughout our lives so that we may all become catalysts for social change...with all of our hearts and minds and souls. ~ Paul H. Ray, PhD, anthropologist and sociologist, co author of The Cultural Creatives - How 50 Million People are Changing the World

I can endorse your book wholeheartedly. The concept of the Wounded Healer resonates very much with me as an outsider/insider in European culture. Our world needs healing and that process has now begun; but the ultimate 'inconvenient truth' is that the outer environment reflects the inner. There must be change in the mindset - if we hope to bring about change we must first change within, heal ourselves; and this holds true for the individual as well as for society. ~ The late Cy Grant, author of Blackness and the Dreaming Soul.

She paints an inspiring picture of a possible future in which the soul takes its rightful place at the core of healing. ~ Dawson Church PhD, author of The Genie in Your Genes

Eleanor Stoneham
Eleanor Stoneham Pilgrim, compulsive traveller, scientist, accountant, retired business woman, horticulturist, allotment enthusiast, farmer's daughter, verge...
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