“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
“At any meaningful turning point in life, we must face our deepest fears in order to grow. And typically a turning point can feel like the worst thing that could happen to us. At one level we are at a collective turning point, we’re at a place where we must stop and listen to the body of humanity, even listen to the voice of the earth. We have to stop despite the fears of the stock market crashing and in spite of the common belief that everything must keep expanding, so that we must avoid all possibilities of a major descent.” — Michael Meade
Fragment of a Poem by Fr. Richard Hendrick
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
Solitude and silence can be healing. They can also be a first step to try to understand who and what we are. This worldwide timeout offers a chance to reassess what’s important. We may discover, now that we take advantage of this moment, that we don’t actually love our life. That the busy world is too clamorous, that it is continually distracting us from ourselves. That we don’t really know ourselves very well.
Solitude and silence can be frightening if we live “at some distance from ourselves.” Escape and diversion are our habitual way of life. Our minds are smothered in unexamined cultural and ideational artifacts.
The silence and time of solitude we are living through right now is a big stroke of luck, I think, for us and for the world. Our assault on the natural world has slowed down while we human beings have a chance to see how nature responds to it. It’s obvious to anyone who’s paying attention that the natural world is celebrating this armistice.
We could work hand in hand with the natural world, except for one little detail — we don’t want to. We don’t see why we should. Besides, we would have to care. We would have to value it, love and respect its processes and spirit.
The human mind and spirit are due a transformation. Now is a good time, when our grand edifice is toppling, showing us our inadequate foundations. Our cultural foundations are rooted in our shallow understanding of who we really are and what our place is in this creation. That’s why I think we are lucky to have this time to re-vision things.
It’s a time that is long overdue. It’s ironic that the appearance of this malady is a logical follow-on of our way of life and way of being. Our civilization needed to be brought up short, though. It needs a severe challenge or it will drive itself straight over the cliff.
Our human civilization must be founded on love, on kindness and care, otherwise the alternative is selfishness and cruelty unto death, death of the Earth itself.
A change of heart is due. Now is the time.
- Anima Fire is my publication