The world is burning, she tells me as she sits down on the couch for the counseling hour. I look out my office window in the middle of August to a strangely blazing orange sun and a gray haze shimmering on the water of the South Sound. I have to agree, the world is burning. Certainly there are fires twenty miles from here, and there are fires swallowing up homes and forests from the southern coast of Oregon all down the California Coast. It is scary.
I open my news feed to volcanoes erupting, earthquakes, bridges falling, shootings, children being ripped from their parents, vitriol being spewed from the mouths of those mandated to protect the polis. My eyes water. In part, they are responding to the particulates in the air, the detritus of burning trees, homes, structures. But to tell the truth, my eyes are watering for the simple reason that my soul is hurting as the world soul burns. With indignation, perhaps, for the rape of the environment, the callous disregard for life itself. Perhaps it is a necessary razing of the land to bring us to our knees or to our collective senses.
I don’t know.
When I was in Bogota attending and participating in the VIII Latin American Conference of Jungian Psychology, aptly titled, Light and Shadows, I had the amazing experience of going to the Museum of Gold with the Mamos (Shamans) of the Sierra Madre, the Kogis. That was followed by a workshop with them in the afternoon. This pre-conference experience was made possible by Ines de la Ossa, one of the three members of the organizing committee. The workshop was facilitated by Alfonso Rodriguez, adoptive father of one of the shamans, and a connector to the Kogis with the Columbian government in an effort to preserve the indigenous land and its practices.
Alfonso is a member of http://www.combainternacional.com/, and of https://www.tejidomanigua.com/ both efforts to bring the wisdom of the indigenous people to create new territories of being, a better way of life attuned to the creative.
I can’t tell you all that happened in that workshop, not because it is a secret but because it is still working in me as well as in the lives of many of the participants who are linked by the threads that were woven, literally as well as in the psychoid realm. What I can tell you is this: The Kogis and the three other indigenous tribes know that they are the heart and the lungs of the universe, they know that their customs, rituals and ways of living in alignment with Nature is what keeps the universe alive. They are attentive to the many worlds and levels of existence and they listen, they hear and they obey the messages from the other world.
What they hear is that they have to go out into the world, to spread the alarm, to bring to consciousness what we have been doing to the waters, the soil, the despoiling of the sacred spaces. They cannot remain silent in the mountains, where the waters are in danger of being dammed up again, they cannot maintain centuries of tradition ensconced in the relative safety of the high Sierra Madre mountain. To do so is to risk the survival of our planet.
They do not close their eyes to the multiple realities which are dependent on one another nor of their personal and collective responsibility to the demands made on them. Neither will I close my eyes to the burning of the world, the fever that is ravaging from the shadow of the collective unconscious. Neither can I nor will I despair. What I will do is to live my life in the most meaningful way possible. I will put my future dreams into thought, I will weave the threads of connection with close friends and far friends, with family of origin and family of humanity. I will write my life into the annals of time by living it fully, loving generously, doing my work with as much humility as I can muster. I will bring my cup of water to the fires.
Dr. Silvia Behrend is a Certified Pattern Analyst, educator and mentor