Don’t stop singing, dancing, lighting a fire and having fun. Don’t feel guilty about being happy during this difficult time.
You don’t help at all by being sad and without energy.
It helps if good things emanate from the Universe now.
It is through joy that one resists. White Eagle
It is in joy that we will conspire in creating a new world.
So. Is there a conspiracy by some shadowy cabal aimed at taking over the world? I have no idea. And yes, I’ve been reading more than is probably good for my mental health about those conspiracy theories. But yes. There is a conspiracy. It is the conspiracy of separation from the Earth, from the sacred, and from each other. And there is no shadow organization behind this. We are all complicit. And we have been for hundreds of years. Now we are called to step beyond the conspiracy of separation and into a conspiracy of unity. We must conspire to shift from what has been to what can be.
Message To the World From The Ceremonial Elders Of Whapmagoostui Quebec Canada, March 29, 2020.
The language of Spirit tells us that a Messenger has come, a dark Messenger whose relatives are, to name a few: hatred among humans, all that which clouds the mind such as alcohol, drugs, and substance abuse; violence and human conflict in all forms, and, most importantly, the disregard from Mother Earth as a living being. The messenger is relentless, and no one is immune. It will continue to spread, and it will take many innocents lives. The pandemic cannot be cured by medicine alone; it must be combined with good deeds, prayer, and humanity’s collective commitment to change its ways, most of all, its dedication to minimizing the damage it does to the Earth.
There is no word for “nature” in Lakota. Our word for “humans,” Oyáte, is a universal term that applies to nonhumans as well. Nick Estes
Earth Mother. Mother Nature.
We call her Mother. For she is the source of all life, including ours. She is the source of our food and everything in our lives from the clothes we wear, the homes we live in, and the cars we drive, to the computer I’m using to write this post. As the source and sustainer of all life, as the progenitor and ultimate manifestation of the sacred feminine, we name her Divine Mother. Our relationship with her is woven with reverence and gratitude, and we celebrate her with ceremony and song, art and iconography. We honor her with actions and attitudes of appreciation.
This is true for many of us. And it was once true for all of us. For there was a time when the Divine Feminine was known and honored in every culture around the world. But over time this has changed as mothers and motherhood, both human and within the natural world, became discounted and disparaged. It has changed through the domineering aggression of the patriarchy. It has changed through the religious belief that we humans have the right of subjugation and dominion over nature. Over Mother Nature. Over mother nature. And it has changed through the personification of naming her Mother.
Yes. Naming her fosters a deep personal relationship. Yet this personification also carries other consequences. This personification can also foster the perception of other, that she is separate from and outside of us. And this can, and has, lead to a place of enemy consciousness in which the other is something to defeat and control. This personification has also led to the attribution of intention and emotion. With the dramatic shifts of climate change, especially those changes that are uncomfortable, inconvenient, and disruptive to our way of life, she is often described as angry and engaged in some kind of retribution. In this time of the pandemic, many have said that she has sent us to our rooms. Well, she isn’t and she hasn’t.
In this personification, in this separation and othering, we lose the fundamental knowing of her as the force that animates all life. We lose knowing that there is no other, that we are all part of this one life force, this one universal web of life. All life. There is no separation. She isn’t outside of us, she is us and we are her. Oyáte.
This animating life force isn’t about retribution. It’s about restoration of the balance and harmony of the web. From the great Chief Sealth: Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves.
And now, because of what we have done to the web, there is the energy of restoration, of reclaiming balance and harmony. Mother is adapting and changing. And as part of the web, we are called to do the same.
The quote by Nick Estes is from his interview in the May issue of Sun Magazine.
The trees were dying. Scientists could find no infestation or disease. But something was impacting these stands of fir and cedar in Washington State’s old growth rain forests along the Elwha River. Turns out the problem was, in part, bear shit.
It was after the Elwha was damed in 1913 that the scientists began to see the tree death. And it was only after the dam was removed in 2012 that scientists realized what had happened in the more than 100 years that the salmon were blocked from their migration. Their conclusion: Over time, the Elwha’s fish populations dropped dramatically. In the Pacific Northwest, salmon are a linchpin in a healthy ecosystem. They carry critical marine-derived nutrients from ocean to forest, fertilizing riverbanks with their bodies as they die and decompose after spawning, and effecting terrestrial ecosystem productivity. Numerous animals rely on them, forming a chain of predation that circulates these critical nutrients throughout the forest.
Critical shit. The thing is, it’s all critical. Every part of the ecosystem is essential. Indigenous people knew this. Our ancestors knew this. And they knew themselves as part of, not separate from, this web of all life. We have forgotten to our peril.
Yes. The Earth restores and rebalances the ecological web. Even after 100 years. Even after only a few months, as we are seeing in this pandemic. The photos of cleaner waters and skies are remarkable. And we celebrate.
But in that celebration will we remember what our ancestors knew? Will we examine our intrusions on the Earth’s ecosystems, intrusions that are solely for human benefit and convenience? Will we shift the narrative and make decisions based on knowing that the natural world and every aspect of it is essential and critical? I join my voice with the many many others who say that we can and we must.
And I wonder. If we don’t, we may discover that essential and critical within the world’s ecosystems might have one exception. And that exception might be us.
We were made for these times. Attributed to author and wise woman Clarissa Pinkola Estés, and so true for this time. Some of us know that we chose to come here in this time. And we know we are made for this. But whether you believe that you are here by intention or cosmic accident, it’s time to shine.
I miss the music. I miss the songs that gave voice to our aspirations. I see that some are coming back. When I saw this it brought tears…as did the original thirty-five years ago. Tears of joy and hope.
This song now for these times. And it’s stunning. Enjoy!
Coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality”, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality.
Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.
1973. The war in Vietnam was raging. Farmworkers were fighting for their rights and being supported through grape boycotts. The Black Panthers were feeding children in their communities. Gloria Steinem had launched Ms. Magazine. Peace and social justice. It was a movement of outrage and aspiration. Of unity and solidarity.
For me it was a call of soul and I answered that call totally and unconditionally. That I left a sorority to join a peace and social justice collective was one measure of this. That I stopped going to class to become part of the antiwar protest leadership at WSU was another. My grade point dropped from 3.8 to zero. But I didn’t care. There are few times in my life when I have felt more alive to the call of a higher purpose. It was energizing and exhilarating. It was easy to choose.
We thought it was a time of great change. But we hadn’t met COVID19. Now we stand at the threshold of unprecedented change. Global change. And this warrior woman of fifty years ago is still with me. I stand now in a different place…and yet the same place. And I wonder.
How will I be called to stand for peace and social justice? What will I choose?
For it’s clear. There will be choices. For all of us. In choosing, may we be inspired by a higher purpose. In choosing, may we dance to the music of aspiration.
Beannacht, Judith – email@example.com
This photo appeared in the WSU campus newspaper. January, 1973.
A dear elder once said that we have two choices in life We can either choose love or fear What will humankind choose at this time? A time when everything as we know it is being threatened A time when everything is presenting itself anew This is the moment A moment where the clutch of an old system is losing its grip A moment when humanity is being shown a new answer
Grandmothers Wisdom Project International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers