Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"Collaborators" Mosaic for the Clay Coop

Hands of the faculty at the Tucson Clay Co-op, where I'm currently teaching a class.  We came up with this as a statement for the times and the philosophy of the Co-op, but also as a potential arts project that could be done easily with student groups of all kinds, casting hands and making a simple mosaic.  

So we'll see where this goes!  I always seem to love the Circle of Hands motif, Spiderwoman's Hands, weaving the world together.  Or in this case, piecing it together, all the broken shards made into Beauty.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The New Story - from the Findhorn Community

“While the traditional origin and journey stories are needed, none of them 
can provide the encompassing context such as is available in this new story.” 

Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth, 98-9).

The Findhorn Community is one of the great Ecovillages teaching sustainability and true Relationship with the Earth.  There are others, quite a few others, seeds of what is to come, although we rarely if ever hear about them in the popular media.  As the G.O.P. shamefully proposes to remove the Environmental Protection Agency, and denies climate change.......it is important to find sources of hope for our planet, and our children.  Here's a movie the Findhorn Community made, a movie about how we are, and can, weave together a New Story about how to live and be on our beautiful Mother Earth, and as we tell the "new stories", it is my hope and prayer that the hate and ignorance and greed ends before it is too late.

to see the whole movie:  http://newstoryhub.com/film/watch/

From the Introduction to the New Story Hub:

"For people, generally, their story of the universe and the human role in the universe is their primary source of intelligibility and value. The deepest crises experienced by any society are those moments of change when the story becomes inadequate for meeting the survival demands of a present situation".......................Thomas Berry, Dream of the Earth

As we change our story, we change our world.

We humans find our way by story. Our stories shape us, hold us and give meaning to our lives. Every so often it becomes clear that a prevailing story is no longer serving. Now is such a time. Humanity needs a new, inspiring picture of the future to live into.
This website is designed to support the emergence of a coherent new story for humanity and the production of practical, collaborative ways to live this new story.
We invite you to help us accelerate our collective understanding of what the ‘world in waiting’ holds for us, what is already emerging and what needs to change, both in us and in the human story.
As a first step in this journey already begun by others, the Findhorn Foundation gifted to the world the New Story Summit: Inspiring Pathways for our Planetary Future, which was held from 27 September to 3 October 2014, a gift economy gathering of the human family to experience planetary community, draw on our collective intelligence and co-create a story to inspire us all.
The Summit was more than full so we know there is huge support and longing for a new way to live together – a way which honours ancient wisdom and the interconnected whole living system of which we, the Earth and the cosmos are all part. It’s all connected and we are all accountable. To find out more, visit our Summit page.  This online hub will continue to be just that – a hub for people from all over the world to meet, engage, collaborate, share information, dream, synergise and inspire each other to live a new story.
If you would like to join this wave of collaborative action to shift consciousness and build on the threads of a new story already being lived and experimented with, you are very welcome. We invite your engagement, transparency, trust, compassion, innovation, entrepreneurship and generosity of spirit.

Friday, February 17, 2017

An Interview With Deep Ecologist Joanna Macy

My apologies to this wonderful artist.  I was given it, but not your name.  Thankyou,

"When I began this work, someone asked me, Joanna why are you doing this? I thought I was doing it to make us more effective, working for global peace and justice, that we were doing the work to be better agents of change.  But when I was asked that, the answer came right from my solar plexus: I'm doing this work so that when things fall apart, we will not turn on each other.  So I think that's the biggest challenge now. The powers that momentarily have gained ascendance in our culture know how to manipulate our fears very well. They know how to try to turn us against each other. So a big challenge is to not buy into that, and to be able to look at each other with trust, saying, "Here is a brother or sister, brought by the intelligence of Earth, to be alive at this moment, then this person can also deep within them have a care that life can go on."
Learning to See in the Dark Amid Catastrophe:  An Interview With Deep Ecologist Joanna Macy
February 13, 2017
By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Interview
It's 3:23 in the morning
and I'm awake because my great great grandchildren
won't let me sleep
my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the planet was plundered?
what did you do
when the earth was unraveling?
—Drew Dellinger
We are living in a time of the convergence of multiple cataclysmic forces: runaway anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), chronic wars and the most grotesque economic inequality ever witnessed on Earth. And all are worsening by the day.
Humans have changed the chemistry of the oceans and altered the very atmosphere of Earth. The planet's largest ecosystems are in free-fall collapse as ACD proceeds apace. Racism, sexism, xenophobia and myriad other structural forms of hate are amplifying around the globe as a fascist authoritarian has ascended to the US presidency, the most powerful office in the world. This reality-television star, failed businessman, sexual predator, and hate-and-fear monger is clearly aiming for the fast track toward totalitarian rule.
"[The totalitarian leaders'] careers reproduce the features of earlier mob leaders: failure in professional and social life, perversion and disaster in private life," Hannah Arendt, author of the essential The Origins of Totalitarianism, wrote. "The fact that their lives prior to their political careers had been failures, naïvely held against them by the more respectable leaders of the old parties, was the strongest factor in their mass appeal." 
Sound familiar? Origins, published in 1951, should be mandatory reading for anyone concerned about what is happening in the US right now, and what may be to come. Arendt, a world-renowned and respected philosopher during her time, could have also been called a prophet.
"The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist," Arendt also wrote. "But people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists."
Many believe that Trump's chief strategist and senior counsel, Steve Bannon -- the racist, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, misogynist former chief executive of Breitbart -- is essentially the puppeteer pulling the strings. Bannon's goal? "I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today's establishment," he told the Daily Beast in 2013.
More recently, just after Trump won the election, Bannon was quoted by The Hollywood Reporter as saying, "Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power."
The news on all fronts is truly horrific. Yet as these malevolent forces charge ahead, equal and opposite reactions of resistance, awakening and love for humanity and the planet are emerging. Not even one month into the presidency, the Trump administration has spawned global demonstrations the likes of which are comparable to those that occurred in February 2003 in opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq. Clearly an awakening is well underway.
Hannah Arendt begins Origins with an epigram from her teacher Karl Jaspers that seems apt: "Give in neither to the past nor the future. What matters is to be entirely present."
That statement parallels what I was told by one of the great teachers of our time, Joanna Macy. "The most radical thing any of us can do at this time is to be fully present to what is happening in the world," she told me in 2006.
Macy, an eco-philosopher and a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory and deep ecology, cofounded with her husband Fran Macy a method of grieving, healing and empowerment that evolved into what is now called the Work That Reconnects.
I attended one of her workshops in 2006 in order to deal with the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder I was struggling with as a result of my reporting from the front lines in Iraq, and wrote about that experience here. Yet now, in 2017, a new darkness is enveloping the world.  After taking some time to herself in the wake of Trump's ascendency to power, Macy emerged with an offering of a retreat in Abiqui, New Mexico, aptly titled, "In the Dark, the Eye Learns to See."
The title, borrowed and melded from poet Theodore Roethke's "In a Dark Time," as well as Martin Luther King Jr.'s quote, "Only when it's dark enough can you see the stars," could not have been more appropriate.
The moment I was aware of the opportunity to engage deeply in the work again with Macy, who is now 87 years old, I enrolled.  Like so many, I have felt utterly overwhelmed by the viciousness and rapidity with which what Macy refers to as "The Great Unraveling" is now occurring. Like a mountain climber beginning to slip down an icy slope, I needed to find a way to check my fall, hold fast and resume the climb, even if it meant climbing up into a storm.
Simultaneous to "The Great Unraveling," Macy coined the phrase "The Great Turning" to describe "the essential adventure of our time": the shift from what she calls the "industrial growth society" that is consuming the planet to a life-sustaining civilization.  Whether that shift will occur or not is an open question, now more than ever before as we move into the darkness of this ominous storm. But it is this very storm that could very well bring about "The Great Turning." 
"We need an opposing wind to fly," Macy said to the group the morning before our interview. "It's the hardship that catalyzes our awakening."
Dahr Jamail: Since our last interview, which was published in June 2014, we are in exponentially worse shape: Donald Trump is president, the catastrophic impacts of climate disruption only continue to worsen and make themselves all the more evident and chronic war is not even paid attention to any longer … among countless other ailments. Given how things were when we spoke in the summer of 2014, it's difficult to believe it is this much worse in such a short time, yet here we are. From your perspective, how has this not caused more people to wake up and take a stand?
Joanna Macy: I think the two answers to that, as I see it, are as follows. One is that, as Bill Moyers has said the morning after the election in that piece he wrote, "Farewell America," he laid it at the doorstep of the media: the failure of mainstream media to grow up and report what was actually happening. They let themselves be bought and cowed and distracted, and disrespected the intelligence of the American people by feeding them pap and amusement. They featured Trump up down and sideways. I think that's part of it.
Let's not omit Fox News, which has been a force for the distraction and dumbing-down of the United States of America for quite awhile now. [As] one whose spiritual roots are in Protestant Christianity, it makes me quite sick to my stomach to see what the evangelicals' role … has been in the mauling of the public attention and intelligence.  So there's that, but then there is something else.
For the last 36 years, since the advent into power of Ronald Reagan, public education and the public school system has been gutted. It's criminal that we've seen how two whole generations have grown up with shamefully limited understanding of the world, history and geography. People in this country now have great difficulty in critical thinking and being able to express themselves.  The public mind has been shattered, fragmented.
In the Vietnam War, for example, 50 years ago, all the protests were visible on television, and people knew where Vietnam was. So to me, one of the great tragedies has been the disintegration of the American capacity to think and pay attention.
In addition to that, there has been a [diminishment] of our capacity to absorb news that might upset the psyche. And this is actually what brought me into the work I do, which is … group interactive work, and I have a bunch of books, using certain methods drawn from systems theory and spiritual teachings -- from most traditions, but primarily from Indigenous and Buddhist -- to overcome the fragmenting of our culture through the hyper-individualism … that has produced, first unwittingly but then wittingly, a sense of isolation.
Number one in your pursuits is the nurture and feeding of the separate ego, separate individual. That leaves you very little to fall back on if you have to confront something unpleasant, like the criminal activities of your own government. So the weakening of the mind, through the reasons I've given, and the culture bred on competition, command and control, power over -- which we inherit from the patriarchy -- these also have bled people of the nerve to challenge the absurdity or criminality of the larger systems. This makes it very easy for people to allow themselves to be lied to and to be bought. There is the fright induced by finding yourself essentially alone. And that is much the story of the American culture.
One more reason, and I think about this all the time, is that we have, in the mid-20th century, the release from breaking open the nucleus of the atom. What we did in doing that was to release the strongest binding power in the universe. It's the glue of the universe. And you can't do that. If it ever were to happen, we'd need to be highly integrated, wise beings, who knew just what they were doing.
The tragedy is that we managed to do that when we were still very vulnerable to greed and hatred and this isolated ego needing to subdue everyone else for the sake of the ego. That that happened is perhaps the greatest tragedy of planet Earth. And for the sake of our poor ancestors. I've become convinced that people feel unglued, that there is a basic shakiness.
People used to be able to rely on certain things. Reliance on the Earth being there. Relying on the teachings you had. Relying on some values that mattered to you. Relying on your relationships with people. But this [relationships] is the strongest power of the universe that holds it together, that we would shatter that. I think about this a lot.  
As an activist on nuclear issues, I notice how all efforts in environmental activism, peace and justice activism, were [hampered] by this difficulty people have in sustaining the gaze. This is an unfortunate development.  Back then we were trying to scare people to pay attention. You don't [know] how bad it is with climate change, you don't know how many nuclear warheads are on high alert. Get roused. And it wasn't working. People thought the public was apathetic.  But I realized the etymology of the word was a reflection of what was so. [early 17th century: from French apathie, via Latin from Greek apatheia, from apathēs "without feeling," from a- "without" plus pathos "suffering."] It was not that people didn't care or didn't know, but that people were afraid to suffer. It was the refusal or the incapacity to suffer.
So this has been a lot of my work. To help people open to and become enamored of the idea that they'd really like to see what was going on. And to open the eyes and open the heart to discover, again and again, universally in the work, that acceptance of that discomfort and pain actually reflected the depths of your caring and commitment to life.
And people became positively charged with determination and caring and creativity, and community. We were re-weaving. But without that people are lost, isolated, scared. And that became conscious certainly under George W. Bush. They were consciously using the plan of Joseph Goebbels, who served Hitler, who said you have to scare people, give them an enemy. And also divide them against each other. So to me, this was a logical unfolding [after] what happened on 9/11….
My concern with Hillary winning was that, while it would have been easier to see her crowned, and I mean that literally, we would have stayed asleep. So this is a very painful waking up.  
Dahr Jamail:  During the end of 2016 you held several one-week intensives where you spoke of seeing people wanting, more than anything, to simply be able to be present and feel this time, despite how painful and heartbreaking that is to do now. You said that instead of doing so, particularly at this time when so much is vanishing before our eyes, and the planet is screaming at us at the top of what is left of its lungs, people are choosing to put their heads in the bucket of manure that is our corporate press, and infinite other distractions. Please talk more about all of these. 
Joanna Macy: When people find that they can, and want to, feel and know and tell what is happening to our world, that is so much sweeter and [more] liberating than the opposite. When people get integrated and find how good it feels, then they really want that more than the narcotic of ignorance and delusion, as painful as it is.
And you can't do it alone. The dangers coming down on us now are so humongous that it is really beyond an individual mind all by her/him/itself to take it in. We need to sit together, grab each other and be together as we even take in what is happening, let alone how we respond.
Because alone you get overwhelmed, and it becomes traumatizing. But once people have tasted that they can, with each other, speak about what they see and feel is happening to our world, a number of things happen, in addition to the fact that they fall in love with each other. There is a trust and realization of, "Oh my god, I'm not alone." There is a return to your own self-respect. I think self-respect has not been realized as such a source of strength in the individual psyche. I think people would rather see themselves facing an overwhelming foe with conviction of their purpose, than to be comfortable.
So that was the release. And the release would come, and as people began to break through their reluctance to suffer with our world, once they took that on and spoke to it, then they found their unity with our world. Often, not only did a sense of bondedness come, but a lot of hilarity. There is laughter and joking, and a shaking off of a kind of spell or curse. A feeling comes, of, "I can be here." And that feels more liberating and true to you and brings you into the moment when you are less dependent on someone giving you a failsafe method to make everything fine, because no one can do that.  
People dare to be comfortable with uncertainty if they are in solidarity with each other.
Dahr Jamail:  What are some of the things you see that are posing the biggest challenges to people? 
When I began this work, someone asked me, Joanna why are you doing this? I thought I was doing it to make us more effective, working for global peace and justice, that we were doing the work to be better agents of change.  But when I was asked that, the answer came right from my solar plexus: I'm doing this work so that when things fall apart, we will not turn on each other.
So I think that's the biggest challenge now. The powers that momentarily have gained ascendance in our culture know how to manipulate our fears very well. They know how to try to turn us against each other. So a big challenge is to not buy into that, and to be able to look at each other with trust, saying, "Here is a brother or sister, brought by the intelligence of Earth, to be alive at this moment, then this person can also deep within them have a care that life can go on."  So there you have something in common right away. Instead of contempt and judgment of them, and we practiced this recently in our work…moving that contempt into curiosity, which is very helpful.
We've got to use our wits, and by grace re-knit and find our way into some solidarity with one another. Facing the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced, with climate change and the threat of nuclear war, which I think is very real. 
We will come together when we die, but I would love for us to come together before that. [Laughs] I would love for it to be before it's too late. Or at least long enough so that we can look into each others' eyes with love.
Dahr Jamail:  When people come to your intensives, or even just your lectures, what are they seeking? What are you seeing happen to them, from when they come to you, to what happens to them as they do the work that reconnects? 
Since the ascendency to power of Trump, the Work that Reconnects is being turned to by many more people than ever before, and many who have already experienced it are actually taking it out to more people. I think people are coming so that they can openly speak of their distress, pain, despair, fury. They love that about the work. They come for that, because this is a place where these dark emotions are not pathologized, but taken as wholesome and realistic.
Another reason people don't wake up is because the culture and psychotherapy are both so reductionist, focused on making happy isolated individuals. And that has been very good for the pharmaceutical industry too, let alone other forms of addiction.
So it's like waking from a kind of addiction. It is a noble thing. It is a choosing.  So our breaking free, in order to see clearly, takes many forms, doesn't it?  What is called of us now, from the planet? What are we being called to do at this time? 
To wake up together. That is actually the name of the movement in Sri Lanka that I went over to do field work with. Sarvodaya. Taking the Gandhian term, but using it in a slightly different way, but the same Sanskrit, which is "everybody wakes up together."
It's hard to wake up alone now. It's scary to see even what is going on. But there is almost no limit, I've come to believe, to what we can do with the love and support of each other. There is almost no limit to what we can do for the sake of each other. This taps into the Bodhisattva heart. That's that hero figure of Mahayana Buddhism, "the one with the boundless heart." The one who realizes there is no private salvation.
If you are going to wake up, you have to wake up together. Never has that been more true than now, at this stage of late stage corporate capitalism. 
There is a huge force, through the media, through the banking system, through these people and corporations that are locked in runaway system that is very hard for them to stop now. Because once you create something, an economic system or being or contraption that has to keep making more money, it is forced to do that. It is forced into these extractive industries, and the mining. Even the nicest people are caught up in this. These are super-human forces and principalities, and so many are trapped in it. Those who appear to be our enemies, they are just flesh and blood who are also trapped by this economic system. And it's good for that system to keep making nuclear bombs. It had President Barack Obama over a barrel. He was caught in that system before he walked into the White House as president. And his first act had to do with more permission being given to Wall Street.
So that can give us compassion for each other. And we don't have to waste time being scared of each other. We can see each other as captives of a force that's got us all by the throat. But we can stop it. We have to help each other wake up to how we are destroying everything we love, before we are turned into robotic instruments of these inhuman systems. Just by their own logic, it is pretty simple to see.
It's going to be beautiful to see what we dare to do. Facing our fears, and letting go of and getting over our knee-jerk reactions to what we think we don't like, or are afraid of. To see our capacity to walk into the fire. To discover how much we really love being alive. To give ourselves a taste of what that passion is. To let us fall really in love with our planet, and its beauty, and to see that in ourselves, as well as in each other.
The inhuman economic machine does not love us back. It makes us into robots. It sucks us into the destruction of all that is. And even if we can't turn it around now, at least we can wake up, so that in the time that is left we can discover who we are, just looking into each other's eyes. Just looking into the face of the moon at night, or the trees, or the faces of our children and free ourselves. I think we want that.
We can do that, we are capable of that, and that is what I see happening. I know that is possible, because I see it. Because it's happened to me, and countless of my brothers and sisters. They don't have to do the Work That Reconnects, they just have to fall in love with life, and there are many ways that people are doing that.  And as you do, you find that you are not alone here. We not only have each other, but we have the ancestors. And we have the future ones. And that is the truth. The ancestors are with us because their blood flows in our veins. They made us. We wouldn't be here without them. Every single one of them, back through time, carried us like a seed. They are here. And they are worried sick about us.
And the future ones -- we carry the future in us. And the future ones and the ancestors, I feel they surround us at times, as witnesses. And if we open our heart-minds to them, they can give us guidance and strength and strength in our hearts. Because it helps us realize how big we are. We are bigger than the balance sheets of the mega-corporations. But the mega-corporations are not real. We are real!
People are starting to take radical actions -- the resistance at Standing Rock, people chaining themselves to railroad tracks to block coal trains, etc. -- valiant acts of resistance -- yet much of mainstream society still has not joined with these movements. Talk about that disparity, and that phenomenon. 
There again is the betrayal from the media. Fox News and all the others are made to do what they do, skewering the truth as they do.
These people who take these valiant actions to help the Earth, they call to me at the center of my soul. They are the cutting edge of human evolution. They have broken free from being captives of the hyper-individualism of our culture. They are no longer held captive by their lonely ego winning out over other people. They are no longer held captive by a shrunken ego.
And to me, there is nothing more beautiful. I see beauty in them. Such great moral beauty. They are aflame with meaning. They are like beacons. They are saying, "Don't let it get the best of you. This is just hardware! This is just cement and steel! Don't let this cow you. See, watch! I'm not afraid. I'm going to do it. I'm going to lock myself down…. But see! See how it is to be free!"
That's what I hear them saying to the psyche. I think there is nothing more beautiful. They are showing us what we can be. That we can spring free, and walk out of the prison cell of the separate ego and find our true nature in our inter-woven-ness in the web of life.  Oh, that just blows my mind it is so beautiful! It makes me so glad to be alive!
Dahr Jamail:  What does it look like today for someone, as yourself, who is living with eyes and heart wide open? Describe the world you see right now? 
I'm so glad to be alive now. [Long pause.] I'm so glad that if this had to happen, that I hadn't checked out 10 days or centuries earlier. I'm so glad to be able to, even in the smallest way, to take part in this "Great Turning." To give it a chance for a life-sustaining society. Otherwise we are just right down the tube. We are just flushing everything right down the toilet.
But it's not over yet. And I'm here with my brothers and sisters, and even if we go under, and I have to admit looks more likely today than yesterday, we're going to discover how big is our strength, and how big is our love for life. We can do that, and see how much we care. And we can be scared. I can see myself now in a situation where I can forget these words. Because the global corporate economy has developed such tools for destroying the mind through different ways of breaking the mind.
But I'm not broken yet. And I'll forgive myself ahead of time if under the pressures that the system has developed and used on plenty of other people, my mind breaks. I'll forgive myself ahead of time if my mind breaks. 
But right now, I see the people that are working, that I work alongside, I see people like the scientists how they are saving the information about climate chaos. People are being called forth to do some beautiful things. It makes me so glad to see this.  And even if in the future, from some cosmic place, they say, "That little third planet out in that little old solar system over there, boy they blew it" -- even so, there were some beautiful efforts made, some beautiful music. Strong hearts, and a lot of loving.
What should we each, individually, be doing? What is the most important thing for us to do, right here, right now? 
To find our strength and our reason, in connection with each other. So that will be different with everybody. Each one will have a different path. People will find different ways.  So, if you're a clergyman or woman, you'll find yourself saying new and stronger things from the pulpit. And if you're working in a corporation, you'll find ways to sabotage. There is plenty of that already going on. 
Do you think we're alive now just by chance that we haven't blown ourselves up yet? There have been Bodhisattvas at work, gumming up the works.  The most important thing to do is find your gratitude for life. Take stock of your strengths and give thanks for what you have, and for the joys you've been given. Because that is the fuel. That love for life can act like grace for you to defend life.
So don't get too solemn. Don't just spend all your time gritting your teeth. Laugh out loud. Enjoy a kind of wild joy. Ah! Now I have time, to break free from what had stopped me before. Now I've time. This time. To realize my inter-being with all life.
So it'll be different for different individuals. But I think we should not make a move to do things alone. Find others. Even if it's one other person to begin with. Then others will come. Because everybody is lonely. And everybody is ready to find what they most want. And if it means that we have to be in such danger for us to find out how much we need each other, then let it be that.
So little study groups, and book groups, make a garden together. Keep your ear to the ground. Inform each other. We have to develop the skill of finding that it is more fun to be waking up together, Sarvodaya [Sanskrit term meaning "universal uplift" or "progress of all"], than a single lone star on the stage. "
At the conclusion of the interview, thanks were shared, then Macy smiled and said, "I'm going to go walk in the sun now."

Eco-philosopher Joanna Macy, Ph.D., is a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory and deep ecology. A respected voice in the movements for peace, justice and ecology, she interweaves her scholarship with five decades of activism. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, she has created a ground-breaking theoretical framework for personal and social change, as well as a powerful workshop methodology for its application.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dream States...........

"Blooming Dream"

I can't help but enjoy my new work, which is, I suppose, relentlessly sentimental, or pretty, or all those things the art world absolutely hates and would never let me in for.  Well, one of the adantages of being of a certain age is.............I don't care!  How much fun to just make things that are beautiful.  Took long enough.

"White Butterfly Dream"

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"Kali Takes America: I’m with Her" by Vera De Chalambert

"Christian theologian Mathew Fox speaks extensively about the reemergence of the Dark Feminine archetype into our collective consciousness in his piece The Return of the Black Madonna. It is really in darkness, he reminds us, “where illusions are broken apart and the truth lies.”"

Thanks to Annie Waters for forwarding the article.  An interesting take on what is going on, and i especially like what the author has to say about Leonard Cohen and his last, and some say most powerful, album "You Want it Darker".  

Much to think on here. They say that we are in the era, according to Hindu cosmology, of the "Kali Yuga".   I once called Kali, in a performance, "The Mother of those who are yet to come, the forest fire that burns down the old growth so the new trees can come forth".  I don't, to be honest, know if I have the optimism or hopefulness of the time, twenty years ago, that I wrote that performance. Greed, patriarchal cruelty and preoccupation with war, fascism and genocide rears again and again in each generation.  Sometimes I am not sure there is any meaning or purpose to it, just that it seems to be the perennial state of humanity - art, culture, civilization, religions seem sometimes to be the brief flowerings that occur between the endless wars and destruction of man.

And yes, having just marched with millions of women around the world, I do want to emphasize the "man" part of the last sentance.

And yet, I believe still that is the meaning of the work of Kali Ma, in the world, in the great cycles of life, and in our own small evolutions as well.  The author concludes with a hopeful and lovely thought.  So I hope as well.

"It is my prayer that our country sprouts. That this regression give rise to a counterculture of grassroots movements the likes of which we have never seen. And to a culture of love beyond measure."

"Kali Takes America: I’m with Her" 

 by Vera De Chalambert

Donald Trump might have become the president of the United States. But make no mistake, it is really Holy Darkness that won this election.

Last year, Kali, the Hindu Goddess of death, destruction and resurrection, appeared on the Empire State Building, projected as an avatar of conservation by the filmmakers of Racing Extinction, a documentary about the environmental catastrophe now upon us. At the time I was so struck by the image, I wrote an article about the apparition. This is the sign of the times, Kali Takes New York, I raved.
On election night, as the results were projected onto the Empire State Building, all I could see was Kali’s fierce stare. This was déjà vu. This time, Kali took America.
Donald Trump might already be picking his deplorable cabinet, but it is the Dark Mother, the destroyer of worlds, oracle of holy change, the tenderhearted be-header, that won this country. Kali has brought down our house in a shocking blow; all the illusions of America, stripped in a single night. We are not who we thought we were. Now we must get ready to stand in her fires of transmutation. We need them.
Listening to Hillary Clinton’s concession speech, one had the impression that this was a different woman from the political candidate that we have come to begrudgingly accept as the champion of the Democratic Party, assured by the establishment to become the first Madam President.
Stripped of her hopes and lifelong dreams, speaking honestly and transparently about her pain, this woman in a dark suit was a far cry from the controlled, manicured version of her shiny political persona. Stripped of her agenda, stripped of her certainties, this Hilary might have won the country. This Hillary touched our hearts. This is what we look like after the Dark Mother has had her way with us.
We stop shining of the false light. As our heart breaks, as our veneer cracks, we open to more integrity, more truth, more tenderness. We stop trying to be all things for all people. We become this one small thing, feigning nothing.
“Only to the degree that people are unsettled is there any hope for them.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Paradoxically, the price of true hope, it seems, is being unsettled beyond repair. And this is exactly the opportunity our political moment is presenting to us all. Right now, from all corners of our shocked culture, there are cries of hope, demands of needing to become even brighter lights amidst the spreading darkness. I disagree.
I think that this moment gives us an opportunity for reckoning only if instead of running for the light, we let ourselves go fully into the dark. If instead of resolving our discomfort too quickly, we consider the possibility of staying in the uncomfortable, in the irreconcilable, in the unsettled.
Before we rush in to reanimate the discourse of hope prematurely, we must yield to what is present. Receptivity is the great quality of darkness; darkness hosts everything without exception. The Dark Mother has no orphans. We must not send suffering into exile — the fear, the heartbreak, the anger, the helplessness all are appropriate, all are welcome. We can’t dismember ourselves to feel better.
We can’t cut off the stream of life and expect to heal.
Cutting off the inconvenient is a form of spiritual fascism. By resolving to stay only in the light in times of immense crisis, we split life; engage in emotional deportation, rather than hosting the vulnerable. Difficult feelings need to be given space so they can come to rest. They need contact.
In a culture of isolation, be the invitation to everything.
The intuition that the Dark Mother has returned is pervasive if we heed the signs, and our thirst for the dark is deep. Her every apparition spreads like wildfire. My Kali article went viral within hours, it was as if that image of Kali up there on top of the world overlooking Manhattan nourished the collective soul.
There is a great yearning for change in the order of things, and the Great Mother is leading the revolution. I’m with her.
Christian theologian Mathew Fox speaks extensively about the reemergence of the Dark Feminine archetype into our collective consciousness in his piece The Return of the Black Madonna. It is really in darkness, he reminds us, “where illusions are broken apart and the truth lies.”
We are collectively getting so sick and tired of lies, of the superficial, of the shiny neon lights of pop culture, pop spirituality and politics as usual. We thirst for the Real. And the Dark Mother is here to quench.
We saw darkness reclaiming its place also in the passing of Leonard Cohen, this most belated of biblical prophets. He left us with his last and perhaps most spiritually astute album, “You want it Darker,” which has skyrocketed in popularity. The entire album is the ultimate invitation into Holy Darkness. Once he famously preached that the cracks are how the light gets in. Now, he assured us God wants it darker.
Many have interpreted it to be an expression of hopelessness. No. He is asking the only relevant question of our time, whether we can swallow the pill of darkness and still say Hineni! I am here, God, here I am, bring it on! In his last interview about the album, Cohen says that this track is about offering ourselves up when the “emergency becomes articulate.” I think we can all agree that it has finally become articulate.
The mystics tell us that we need spiritual crisis. That we must enter the Cloud of Unknowing, the deepest despair, the most profound darkness within, without hope, in order to grow spiritually. They call such a time of deep crisis, of great uncertainty, the Dark Night of the Soul. There, in our radical desperation, in our absolute abandonment, it is said, the Divine Doctor awaits. Holy Darkness was Her medicine all along.
Darkness heals us without a spoonful of sugar; the wound is the gift, and this election is a good dose.
As the spirit of the Dark Mother hovers upon the collective waters, she has much to teach us. Kali is the great protectress and ultimate sacred activist. She is standing at Standing Rock, roaring against the black snake and the abuses of corporate capitalism. She is marching in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
She is here mourning the dying out of species and showing her terrible tongue at the shocking xenophobic, nationalist regressionism swallowing the planet. She is the changing of the tides, and she means business. She has come to burn up the old paradigm of separation and transfigure the collective heart.
Scientists tell us we live amidst the 6th extinction. Every 20 minutes, another species disappears from our planet. Our oceans are dying, our rivers are burning. Kali beckons us to embrace our sacred fury and let our heart roar for all living beings. Like her, we must rise as protectors, else perish as fools. She knows that we belong to each other and share one fate.
Recently, three protesters at Standing Rock got their Kali on. In a radical act, worthy of the great Mother herself, they crawled inside the Dakota Access Pipeline, putting their bodies on the line. Reading about it, I was shocked, I was troubled, I was moved. Suddenly I realized that love is always a disturbing presence. We must disrupt the order of things to obey the orders of Love.
These acts will keep growing, because the fires of truth that Kali has lit are spreading. As the old story of convenience and profit turns to ash, hearts across the planet are aflame for love and justice. Over a million people checked into Standing Rock after organizers worried that police can track protesters through their Facebook statuses.
Started by an indigenous mother, the Standing Rock protest has become a cultural creative movement no one could anticipate. Here everything meets: social justice, ecological justice, economic justice, sacred activism. And there are reasons to celebrate, such as the Army Corps’ momentous decision to deny the pipeline permit.
This might not be the end of DAPL, but this victory is a testament to the sacred fire. This is a beginning. This is what a prayerful movement looks like. This is what a culture waking up looks like. The struggle is far from over, but the zeitgeist has spoken. Hineni! it bellows.
Deeply we recognize that we are living amidst the churning of ages, although the climate catastrophe is not yet visible, most scientists now believe it is inevitable.
Climate change is here, whether we believe in it or not. Politically, with the election of Donald Trump, our country and the world have entered a dark night of the soul. We might still live in a culture of shine, greed, glam and white supremacy, but the Dark Feminine has now reemerged into this cycle, and heaven has no fury like the Great Mother scorned.
Now we must rest here in this darkness, to lay heart to the ground as a country, and feel intimately all that is being unraveled here. After all, every seed must go into darkness, must turn inside out, must break open in order to grow.
It is my prayer that our country sprouts. That this regression give rise to a counterculture of grassroots movements the likes of which we have never seen. And to a culture of love beyond measure.


Vera de Chalambert is a spiritual storyteller and Harvard-educated scholar of comparative religion. She recognizes the intricate process of healing and awakening, unfolding for so many around the planet at this time, and offers healing sessions and spiritual direction via Skype and phone. Vera has studied with spiritual teachers, healers and visionaries the world over, and mined for her soul at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, and Jason Shulman’s School for Nondual Healing and Awakening. She is deeply influenced by Buddhist and Kabbalistic lineages, and is a lover of the world’s great wisdom traditions. She speaks internationally and writes about mindfulness in the modern world and the Divine Feminine. You could visit Vera on her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
This article first appeared in the Rebelle Society