Falling in Love with the Earth
It’s the third ceremony, mid-way through my last ten-day dieta. My Shipibo maestro is at least half-way through the long opening icaro he sings to protect the space. My mareación is at its least manageable stage. I’ve spent most of the time lying down trying to concentrate on the words of the icaro and practice synaesthesia, that is trying to convert the sounds of the icaros into visual images.
I look over to where my Maestro is sitting and can just make him out in the moonlit darkness. My good friend is sitting next to him. She is sitting very upright in a classic lotus position, very focused. As I look at her, I can make out the colors of the line of chakras in her body.
I think to myself that I must sit up. I struggle to sit up, stay seated for a short while, and then revert to lying down. I hear my friend telling me without words: “Its OK. I will be the masculine for a while. You can surrender and lie down.”
Instead of struggling to stay attentive to the sounds, I let myself sink into the mat I am lying on. Deeper and deeper. Then I feel that I am being held, not physically but psychically and I realize it is the earth who is cradling me. Not just me, but she is holding all of us all the time. And it is so extraordinary that we do not usually feel and/or ignore this.
Actually, its ugly, stupid and cruel as well as extraordinary. We willfully deny, strongly supported by our culture’s patriarchal worldview, that we owe our lives to this mother, that every breath we take is because of her. And its worse. Not only do we deny her, we reject her and like to act as if we are independent of her – “Strutting around like some lord of misrule”, as the brilliant Scottish folk-singer Alasdair Roberts puts it in his song ‘I am a Young Man’.
And its even worse. Not only do we want to have this arrogant, deeply mistaken sense of independence from her, additionally we are poisoning her air, lands, and waters.
Similar points were beautifully expressed in a very good documentary called ‘Goddess Remembered’, which I recently watched recently on the internet, about the old Goddess religions and their current revival. The documentary shows how the old hunter-gatherer societies in which the goddess was universally worshiped for 35,000 years (which puts 2,000 years of Christianity into context!) changed into more settled agricultural societies about 10,000 years ago with the beginning of the Neolithic revolution. At this time, the overall organizing metaphor changed from nourisher to conqueror.
Fortunately, like all good mothers, the earth is forgiving. But her patience is running out. And her storm-troopers, her most loyal guards, are still on call, awaiting her orders to wage jihad against humans.