Saturday, April 18, 2020

Misrule and Unruliness in the Time of Pandemic

“We are seeing necessity unfolding. More is happening than the invasion of a deadly virus; the virus is the messenger. PAN-demic. The Greek god Pan is an image of the dark side of Nature, the wild, uncontrollable aspect of Nature. The virus is like an emissary of Pan, and shows us that we cannot control Nature.

“All the structures, the forms, the science, the technology, the politics, the economy, the technology, the corporations, our greed, the wars, the terrorism, the attacks on the Sanctuaries of Nature – the National Parks, the invasions by oil and mining of the Sacred Lands of indigenous people --- ALL the structures that uphold and further the view that we are in control of Nature, the PAN-demic is saying:
‘No, you are not.’”

~ Robert Sardello, Spiritual Psychologist and Author

Pan is the Greek god of nature and all that is wild. He is unruly and often called the Lord of Misrule. He turns things on their head because we need to be reminded we don’t have control of nature. We’re learning this through this pandemic and we learn it every time a natural disaster hits.

Being governed by someone who misrules at every turn is another hard lesson. It’s like 45 has embodied some aspects of Pan. He seems to revel in the mischief of misrule. By taking our government apart, there is the opportunity to rebuild it better if we don’t lose complete control.

And maybe we need to lose control in another way. Maybe we need to be as unruly as Pan, to break the rules or throw them out all together in order to change things. Playing by the rules keeps things the same.

This doesn’t mean we should throw out every human convention, but it does mean we need to take a look at the rules we have created and ask if they serve us.

And big scale change may take throwing out a whole lot of rules. We’ve already been doing it. We don’t follow conventions that were once deemed necessary. We’ve thrown out old ways of doing things.

This pandemic has allowed us to see more rules that need changing or throwing out. Pan has infiltrated our world and our psyche. What will we make of this unruly time?

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Dismantling – Lessons from the Storm

Photo by cocoparisienne on pixabay

Weighted down by rain water, the popup canopy in our backyard collapsed. The metal frame bent in a couple of places rendering it unusable.

I and so many women lately have cried tears of rage and pain, the water flooding the system, weighing down the flimsy canopy of patriarchy, rendering it finally unusable. Some will continue to play beneath this ancient construct, but it will be obvious it no longer serves. It has been obvious to many for a long time, but now there is no one who can really say it’s working. Even those in power that it seems to serve will have to wake up to the fact that they are crouching beneath a bent and twisted construct that has bent and twisted their soul.

The framework of our backyard canopy lies on the grass until we have the time to remove enough screws to dismantle the mess, making it small enough to remove. We can’t fold it due to the small bends in various parts of the structure. I can’t even see the problem in some cases, but it’s there. I can’t make it collapse on itself.

It seems the patriarchy should just totally collapse at this point. We’ve used force and we’ve used love and we just can’t collapse this structure completely. It’s just an imaginary construct. But so many still believe in it. Our beliefs and our thoughts become things. I don’t think I believe in it, but I still have aspects of it deeply ingrained in my psyche.

If we all could simply let it go and free ourselves of the pain, I think it would collapse. But it’s not that simple to release thousands of years of pain. From our first breath, we are conditioned to think and behave in ways that keep the structure standing. There is no forcing it. It seems like we should be able to, but we can’t see all the ways it is twisted and bent. It is too much with us.

So the work is to take the tools we have and begin to dismantle it piece by piece. It will take time. It will be uncomfortable. But eventually, it will come apart. And when it does, we’ll finally understand what it was, an imaginal construct that we could always change and did change at times. But it’s time for new ways of seeing and doing life.

As we dismantle the old ways, it’s important to do it with love and not hate. What we hate, we slowly become. It’s important to not blame anyone including ourselves. We have lived within the structure of patriarchy our whole lives. We are conditioned to accept it as real and true. I believe it is the salt water of our tears that can help dissolve these old structures. Our greatest tool is to feel the pain and speak our truth.

As the old dissolves with our tears, we absorb it in a new way. It’s no longer buried in our psyches. We see it clearly and embrace it in order to fully transform ourselves. From here, we can make something new. If we don’t carefully dismantle the patriarchy with eyes wide open, allowing it to dissolve within, the new will perpetuate what is not seen and embraced.

I look at the canopy frame in the backyard. It’s going to take some work to break it down. If I approach it with anger and annoyance, the process will feel long and I may not even get to it. The empty frame may sit for months. I don’t want the yard to be marred by its presence. I don’t want the future to stand before me as something to not look forward to.

We can sit under the collapsed canopy of patriarchy or we can get up and start taking it down. It doesn’t have to be an ugly task, though some may make it feel that way. We can bring our heart and soul to each person we must confront. We can speak our truth in peace to each institution. We don’t have to do it alone, and that will make all the difference. The future rests in this moment. Find just one screw and begin untightening its hold.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Acceptance and the Unacceptable

Photo by GDJ on pixabay

As we slowly move towards acceptance in this country we are faced with something that is so unacceptable as to bring us to the brink of deep frustration, anger and even hatred.

I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed and find myself roiling in an emotional storm. I oscillate between tears of anger and tears of sadness. I tumble in befuddlement. I’m drawn into drama, following words that are blows.

Then I step back. I watch the fight and see beyond it. We will not, cannot accept one another. Right, left, people of color, people of a certain religious persuasion, background, culture, sexual orientation, gender, when did we become “other” to one another? When did the shade get drawn against our common humanity? When did we forget our common Divinity?

The unacceptable has happened is happening and has been for quite some time. It’s not just children being separated from parents. It’s hateful actions or guns raised in fear and anger upon one another for no other reason than being black, Hispanic or just someone who we fear. Our fear has turned to rage. It is killing us.

But here we are. We can’t accept this and yet we must if we are to reclaim our hearts. The unacceptable is happening. We cannot deny it any longer. Many of us have not denied it, but we may have turned the perpetrators into “other” in order to release some of the pain. But this only turns into blind rage. If we are to see clearly, we must accept not only what is happening but those souls who are engaged in the unacceptable. There are no monsters here. We must not dehumanize others for in that act we dehumanize ourselves.

As we continue on the path of acceptance, and I have faith that we will, our horizons will broaden. We will begin to see the path that can lead us to healing. Courage will replace rage. Love will replace fear. When the dust settles we’ll look around and know the damage we have done because we’ll finally see the broken hearts and know they are ours. Only then will they finally beat as one. Only then will we finally know who we truly are, expressions of the beauty of Life Itself.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Inner Beam on Which We Balance

The fence upon which I walked as a child.

I’ve been walking a beam since I was a young child. I walked the fence my father built around our front yard. The beam was something physical beneath my feet then. Now it’s my sense of inner balance. It’s like I’ve always been trying to understand what it is to be in balance.

About 15 years ago, during a ritual, I finally put together the physical experience of balancing with living a balanced life. The ritual was built around getting to know the Ancient Egyptian goddess Ma’at. She’s the goddess of justice, harmony and balance. At some point during the ritual I felt a wavering energy go through me and I understood that to be in balance was to be in constant motion. It’s about readjusting as you go. Of course that was my experience as a child walking the fence, but I didn’t apply it to life. I didn’t have the ability to understand and put it together. 

As a teenager I started to believe that to live a balanced life was to live a static life. Everything even keel and perfect. There was to be no tipping the boat for this girl. I had too much chaos as a teenager after my father died. This skewed my understanding and I went through life feeling like something was always wrong since I couldn’t keep things “balanced” as I had come to understand it.

Now I walk my inner fence with grace most days. Sometimes I fall off and that’s okay. I bless the moment. To be thrown into chaos is the time to surrender and trust the process. I don’t have to control it all. It’s better when I don’t. I simply touch the ground, take a deep breath and climb back on the beam when I’m ready and the time is right.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Releasing the Green Dragon

Photo by Charles Elliott/Beautyseer
Within us lies the Green Dragon, an aspect of ourselves that is deeply connected to the Earth, our physical home on this plane of existence. It’s true that ultimately we come from the Source that births all things and is all things, but some aspect of ourselves recognizes Earth as its home and will fiercely protect it. The dragon is a guardian, a guardian of Earth.

The Green Dragon came back to human consciousness last year via a group of Christian fundamentalists backed by a right wing think tank called Cornwall Alliance. Here is how they describe themselves:
The Cornwall Alliance is a coalition of clergy, theologians, religious leaders, scientists, academics, and policy experts committed to bringing a balanced Biblical view of stewardship to the critical issues of environment and development.

The Cornwall Alliance created a series of DVDs under the title: “Resisting the Green Dragon” and by Green Dragon they mean the environmental movement as they believe it to be. This DVD series has no real purpose but to scare Christians and anyone who will listen into believing that environmentalism is dangerous, even evil. They describe environmentalism as promoting paganism, pantheism and being against Christianity. See:

This group appears to be so terrified of their own Green Dragon within that they needed to externalize it in those who cared for the Earth. Some Christians may be terrified or led to be afraid of the environmental movement as pagan and dangerous, but Cornwall Alliance is more allied with big oil interests than Christians trying to save their religion.
This underlying motivation of greed that hides behind religious concern would allow them to rape and pillage Mother Earth until she dies.

Christianity externalizes evil in the Devil; therefore we can see how some Christians are quite ready to externalize their own powerful Green Dragon energy and so are easily used by big oil interests. Capitalism’s all-consuming force and Christian fundamentalism are both related to Green Dragon energy. They are a form of it that has become distorted and fearful.

Many Pagans and Buddhists and others who love the Earth have expressed interest in using the Green Dragon as a positive sign for the environmental movement. Some Pagans relate to the powerful energy of the dragon and are ready to fight. This too is Green Dragon energy ready to defend its home but it can get out of hand. Bron Taylor, author of “Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and Our Planetary Future” says:

The “dark” of the title further expands this idea by emphasizing the depth of believers’ passion and also suggesting a potential shadow side: besides uplifting and inspiring, such religion might mislead, deceive, or in some cases precipitate violence.

Bron Taylor comes to the conclusion that the benefits of Dark Green Religion far outweigh any negatives. Our Earth is in trouble and therefore so are we. Truly being connected to Earth may be our only hope.

We need to expose the greed, the fear, the hate, but it can’t be our sole focus. Our focus needs to be on the Green Dragon energy that resides within us all and within the Earth and not the externals of a war against anyone lest it get out of hand.

Dragons are fierce only when left alone in the caves, when they are kept on the margins and in the shadows, hence the fear some have of this aspect which also resides within them and which they have ignored at best or wounded at worst. Western culture wants to slay the dragon, our so called baser instincts. But what if these instincts were listened to and used? What if we let them fly so we could use our higher brains to understand what it is the Green Dragon sees and feels? (This Green Dragon energy may be connected to our reptilian brain.) We’ve always been afraid of freeing our animal nature, but it means us no harm. By default, it does harm when we ignore it. All it wants to is to be connected to the Earth, to feel free to roam its home. Not only does ignoring it cause it to become the fierce dragon, ignoring it causes us to do great harm to its home, our home, Earth, which in turn makes the Green Dragon even more angry and desperate to save its Mother.

Earlier our reptilian brain was mentioned because it seems that much of our ways of being are connected to parts of our bodies; compassion to our heart, psychic abilities to our pituitary gland, etc. The theory of humans having three brains speaks of our first brain as the reptilian brain, an earlier form of being. But the Green Dragon, as a metaphor, reaches higher and deeper.

Dragons have wings and can fly. With this ability the Green Dragon can rise above it all to gain perspective, it can see the ‘big picture’ and from that do more than just react. Dragons are not only creatures of air and earth; they are also beings comfortable in water. This means as a metaphor they represent exploring the depths of our psyche.

We can no longer afford to ignore the Green Dragon energy because the Earth, our home, is dying. If we do ignore this energy we can fall into the trap of externalizing and then demonizing it as the fundamentalists and others have done. This would leave us fighting against the very energy that could save us. It’s an energy that is a mixture of both spirit and matter. Dragons breathe fire; this along with flying is another sign of spirit. These creatures are a marriage of matter and spirit which is what we humans are as well.

So how do we use this powerful and fierce energy to save the Earth and therefore ourselves? Being a guardian, the Green Dragon instinctively wants to protect the Earth, we need to listen to this instinct and become protective guardians of our home. The Green Dragon is also deeply connected to the Earth and is being wounded by our destruction of Earth. But it is the wounded Green Dragon that is also behind the fear and greed of those who would demonize environmentalists, pagans, pantheists, and anyone “Green.” Having been kept locked away it is restless, angry, disturbed, and deeply wounded. It seems we have become very confused by not connecting, not letting our Green Dragon connect to the Earth. We need to remember this connection, go into our inner depths, for this is the only way to heal this wound. In remembering we will feel the pain of our Green Dragon, but this pain will open us to our Earthly Mother in such a way we will have no choice but to stop hurting Her. The earthly wound may now be so deep that we can no longer stop the bleeding with physical means. We will need to spiritually heal the Earth and this begins by spiritually healing ourselves.

We do this by bringing an awareness of life to the world. Our Western culture sees only dead, inert matter; it has become a culture of death. Christians focus on a dead man hung upon a cross and only twice a year celebrate his birth and rebirth. If we exercise our ability to see, and realize that all we see is really a part of ourselves, for there is no ‘out there,’ then we have a chance. With our inner eye and heart open, life flows. Our inner eye and heart are one and the same for they are both connected to the source of all life. Seeing this way imbues the ‘outer world’ with life.

There is a story of the early English settlers in Australia in which the aboriginal people showed these colonists a beautiful oasis, a pure water source in the middle of the desert. The settlers brought only their dead eyes to bear upon this sacred land. They saw the water, but not the life force so they held no reverence for the land and soon the oasis dried up. Their lack of connection to the life-giving energy changed their environment. The energy of death they carried overwhelmed the aboriginal’s connection to the life source. The colonists of the Western world brought death to the new world lands in many ways.

Ultimately the Earth is deeply rooted in our psyche. Just as we have our origins in Spirit the Earth, as we perceive it, has its origin in us. If this were not so we wouldn’t be able to heal the Earth by healing ourselves. When the dragon flies it will understand this. We’ve always been afraid of releasing the Green Dragon so we’ve left ourselves blind to the truth. The Green Dragon thinks its home is only the physical plane because it has been locked away in a cave. The reptilian brain only remembers being close to the ground covered in dust because it is not consciously connected to our other brains. Our brains have developed other layers and these layers took over and suppressed the early reptilian brain instead of letting it develop along with them. The reptilian brain developed somewhat by becoming The Green Dragon, but it was a water, winged, fire spirit locked in a cave.

We should thank those who wish to demonize the environmentalists and all who feel deeply connected to Earth by calling their movement and love of nature the Green Dragon. They have reminded us of this power that we, them included, all carry within. They have brought us to the cave where the Green Dragon resides. We need only to release this powerful spirit, which feels so deeply rooted to Earth, into the sky and depths so that we may better know who we really are. Then we can begin to see our earthly home as it is and imagine it anew.