Make Beauty With Your Life

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White sands and Milky Way

“In exile, we must do as the goddess Innana did, surrendering layer after layer of armour and adornment, until we are bare. We must then undergo a symbolic death of the old life in order to be reborn with greater resilience and a holy assignment to carry forward.

The initiated adult has learned to withstand uncertainty, has paid a debt to the gods through his loss and his grief, and has decided to make beauty with his life as the future ancestor that he is.” — Excerpt from Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home by Toko-pa Turner (

We in the West, with our way of thinking of the natural world, we are not the norm — we’re the anomaly. Most societies around the planet have these extraordinarily rich relationships where they never see people as part of the problem, but part of the essential solution — because it’s only people that can maintain the cosmic balance of the world. — Wade Davis

Never hope to find wisdom at the high colleges alone: consult old women, gypsies, magicians, wanderers, and all manner of peasant folk, and learn from them, for these have more knowledge about such things than all the high colleges. — Paracelsus

We are in a time of loss and initiation, a time when the astonishing beauty of the world can reveal itself to us. We are ready for it, at least some of us are. Some have preceded us, some are lagging behind. There are whole human societies already there.

Our minds are challenged to see more broadly and deeply. Our Western culture has to overcome its hubris. Widespread death and destruction may be the only thing to give us pause. Our arrogance is our blindness, our refusal to approach other cultures and Creation itself with humility. We have been due a shock for a long time.

This is a time of discovery of who and what we are and where we fit, what our role needs to be. We can join the dance of beauty-making going on around us. The world needs us to do that, not just as technicians and mechanics, but as poets and artists, as philosophers and gardeners. As simple people who love the Earth more than getting ahead.

Elders who propose to teach others how to finesse the system and make a bundle bore me. We need wisdom, not cunning. We need an eye for meaning, for beauty, for relationships between us all, human and non human.

The fate of the world rests in our hands. Now is the best chance I’ve seen in my lifetime to revise our vision of ourselves so we can be reliable partners in the creative process of our planet.

If we’re lucky, we’ll be stripped naked of our fantasies and pretenses. We’ll lose our props and perks and impressive costumes we wear in the world. Initiation is meant to advance your soul to a higher level, but it is not meant to be easy or painless. I doubt we can grow without challenges to the spirit. The next period looks fraught for all of us.

May we use it well.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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