I’ve just read part way through one of the beautiful posts that you see these days, this one by a woman, Deb Ozarko, who strives at length to detail and express what she calls her Gaia Grief.
And yes, of course, we do need to pay attention to what we might call “extinction protocols,” chief among them the powerful, seemingly bottomless grieving process initiated by the awareness that, thanks at least in part to us humans, Earth conditions do seem to be devolving to the point where She might just shake us off her poisoned, raped, desecrated surface.
But you know what? I couldn’t get all the way through that beautiful article. Didn’t see the point. Why should I continue to be enraptured by profound grieving when it’s been too much with me all my life? As a “nuclear baby,” born during World War II who, as a toddler, woke up to the news of Hiroshima on the radio, I’ve been a “chicken little doomer” from the very beginning. Nothing can change that. My apocalyptic mind is primal, and well honed. And yet, and yet . . .
Today, the prediction here in Bloomington is for heat, in the 90s, finally. Not that I’ve been longing for the usual sweltering, humid Indiana summer days; no. I’ve felt intensely grateful for gorgeous, days in the 70s and early 80s during the greening of May and early June, nights cooling to the 60s. But I knew it had to change. It always does this time of year. And of course, we know it will get worse, dramatically so.
It’s odd. Climate change does seem to be intensifying all around the globe: more and earlier heat, bigger, faster, earlier fires, massive droughts and floods, oceans dying, animals going extinct, on and on. Of course I know all that. So the experience here this spring in Blooming-ton has been feeling like either the calm still center of the storm or like a bubble that had to burst. And so it did. Today. And for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, though I’m highly aware of all that we are beginning to undergo on a planetary scale, as well as of the massive cultural and economic and political corruption and distortion of what what might have been, once, authentic human values worthy of our name: homo sapiens (man THE WISE), I also spend most of my time and energy here, at home, grounded into place, this place, these people and animals and birds and plants and stones that I live with and around. And on this level, here at home, life feels magical, miraculous, a dynamic evolutionary process set in motion by all sorts of initial conditions around 14 years ago when I moved to this gentle, cultured town from a yurt in wild Wyoming and with others began to vision what it would be like to actually live in a neighborhood where people cared for both each other and the land.
At first, that’s all it was, a vision, and a sort-of plan. The plan dissolved early on. Instead, experiments of all kinds followed, year after year: ceremonies, yard sales, plant swaps, monthly meetings with speakers, potlucks, parades, you name it, we did it.
Then, seven years ago, I happened to be fortunate enough to buy the property next door to my house, a property with a large sunny side lawn. That’s when the real materialization of our vision rooted in, with my decision to turn that lawn, my private property, into a neighborhood permaculture garden.
(But what about insurance? Alarmed strangers ask. What if someone falls in the pond, or steps on a nail, or falls off a ladder and hurts or kills him or herself. My response? I put a million dollar rider on my own personal property insurance. How much does it cost me? About $100 a year. Is it worth it? You decide. Money, for me, has never, ever been perceived as “the bottom line.” Money is fuel, energy, that gets translated into all sorts of other things. And the secret to money, from my point of view, is to keep it moving in alignment with my values.)
As a nearly life-long astrologer, I have ample experience to realize that the “seven year itch” is very real. For that period of time describes “a quarter cycle of Saturn,” the planet that signifies the power of goals, focus, planning, structure, rules and roles, materialization! Saturn provides the energy that makes it possible for ideas — those evanescent floating things that appear from nowhere and fly around with great speed, to contaminate or enlighten vast crowds at once, especially now, with the internet — to “get real.” That process takes time — about seven years for ideas to land, dig in, fertilize the ground until it spouts forms that reflect what those ideas signify.
Aside: The older I get, the more I realize that the most important cycles are the longer ones, the ones that take much time to manifest. If we can do it quickly, it’s probably just an fleeting evanescence. If it takes much time, and strong intent, and enormous focus, then when, following its own internal, invisible laws, that strong, durable seed does begin to burst its protective shell — it truly does feel like a miracle! Just the way every spring all those seeds, having put down roots, begin to sprout up, seeking the sun. We all seek the sun. We can’t help but turn towards light, as living, breathing creatures upon this beleagered, still beautiful Earth. Our feet however, as long as we are in bodies, must remain on the dark ground if we want to get anything accomplished (Saturn).
All astrological cycles are described structurally in terms of their quarter cycles. Each cycle (rounded circle) creates a jutting structural cross with four 90° angles as the turning points. If I see the beginning of my life here in Green Acres as the beginning of one Saturn cycle, then seven years later, the first quarter cycle was reached, and I bought the property! (Not that I knew then that my decision was in accord with Saturn’s laws. I did not. I had no inkling. I was just following a strong inner urge, knowing that somehow, our idea, begun seven years earlier, of a connected neighborhood, needed a commons where we all could gather, and work, and play.)
The first quarter of any cycle is when the seeds, having been dropped into the cycle’s initiation, and having put down invisible roots, begin to peek above the ground. That’s where we we were then, when I bought the property.
Now seven years later, we reach the opposition point of that Saturn cycle. Or, the completion of the second quarter cycle, the second 90° angle, 180° across from the beginning of the cycle fourteen years ago, when I arrived in Bloomington. At the opposition, we begin to recognize, in full consciousness, what it is that we are doing. And with this illumination, comes a change in name, to signify its evolutionary thrust: from “Green Acres neighborhood Garden” to Green Acres Urban Farm —
inside Green Acres Permaculture Village.
So, we have completed the first half of the cycle. The original energy has materialized into form. The second half of the cycle, or during the next fourteen-fifteen years, the power of what we have now put into elemental form will spawn whatever complexity and interrelationships among species that will help us to manifest our resilient and regenerative symbiosis with the living Earth,
I must tell you, and it’s not just me: There is a common feeling here that we have now hooked into tremendous underlying forces that power the entire endeavor. It’s as if now, the Earth herself, tells us what to do, every day, the next steps we must take to continue to remember and reintegrate our small lives with her enormous living force. Indeed, this feeling of being connected to the living, dynamically evolving Earth is so strong that I don’t care how many messages I get about how we are doomed to extinction; all the Guy McPhersons in the world can’t make me think that it’s over. It’s not over. It’s just barely begun. And though we can’t tell the shape of what’s coming, of course it will be huge, terrifying and majestic, all at once. And of course, none of us gets out of here alive. So why not live now? Truly live? What have we got to lose but our humanity?
The key is to get out of our own way and let Earth tell us what’s next. She’s in charge. We are each incorporated as sensitive, vibrating antennas upon her immense, gorgeous, pockmarked surface.
And of course Earth herself, she knows that she is not really in charge. For she’s in communion with the vast, multidimensional realm of intelligence that nourishes and fuels her as she spins in concert with other vast beings harmonically attuned to the mystery of the infinite cosmos. And if we don’t understand Earth, if we know we need to bow down before her wisdom, imagine how she feels to be embraced by the majestic forces that surround and penetrate her. How humble. How ecstatic. How proud.