As the fires rage in California and throughout the west, I have been prodded to respond by those who know me as a shamanic practitioner whose specialized work is with earth healing, nature spirits, and elementals.
I feel and sense the frantic plea for help: “Stop the fires!” “PRAY FOR RAIN!”
WE are so uncomfortable with the destruction… and, yet, we are the creators of this scenario.
However, the Nature Spirits have conditioned me out of an anthropocentric view of the world. They don’t see humans at the top of the pyramid, but rather, as one of billions of organisms that inhabit and make up the planet we call Earth. To the elementals and nature spirits we are all part of the community of living things, along with mammals, birds, reptiles, plants, insects, slugs, fungi, microbes. Their world is an amoral (not to be confused with immoral) perception of everything around them. No right or wrong…simply living out their nature…doing the corrective measures needed to balance what is out of balance.
As a medicine person who works with the land, to me the greater questions are: “How is this a balancing to what is out of balance? How are the nature spirits engaged in this process? What is the Big Picture, The Greater Message, of these events? How is GAIA (the consciousness of the Earth) involved? Do I have the permission from the land spirits to intervene?”
Yesterday, here in Wisconsin, I looked to the reddish, hazy skies on what should have been a clear, sunny day. I knew that haze was the smoke-drift of all our western fires. And last night, under the Perseid Meteor Showers, I journeyed to the spirit of Gaia and the nature spirits to ask about the fires. This is what they told me:
“The elementals in conjunction with Gaia and the allowance of nature spirits are clearing and re-setting the landscape. The weather systems and patterns of the region have permanently shifted, leading to there being consistently hotter, drier, longer summers, more drought, coupled with more extreme rainfall in alternate seasons. The flora and fauna of these regions are not biologically equipped to survive this new norm of weather patterns and seasons. Rather than allowing a slow and painful extinction of certain species, the fire (and other) elementals have agreed with the nature spirits to engage in a giveaway to clear these areas so Gaia can re-seed these regions with lifeforms better adapted to live comfortably with the new weather and seasonal patterns. Over the coming decades, much of the west will experience these large fires as the elementals and nature spirits prepare and seed the landscape for different lifeforms that are better adapted to all the macro and micro climate changes that are dramatically different than what have existed for the last few thousand years. Gaia is always creating life. In places where there is a void of life, be it human-made or by other types of destruction, she (Gaia) creates what is needed to grow and thrive in a changed habitat. She holds the blueprints of all life, be it a species of the past, present or future. Epigenetic blueprints are manipulated by the elementals to create new species to populate the terrestrial level so a “destroyed” place may repopulate and thrive. This not only applies to where we are seeing fires, but conversely to places flooded, algae blooms and all the other instances of environmental destruction/degradation.”
This perspective helped me see a bigger picture of what is going on. Nature is resetting. Fire and water are the elements that “reset” the fastest. We certainly seem to be having an abundance of both right now on the planet.
And this is what extinction looks like… Not that everything is gone…but that life forms change, or new life forms are created that are better adapted to the new normalcy of the environment.
So now I want to bring this back to the work of the nature spirits and elemental beings by looking at what is going on from a place of Compassionate Neutrality. Remember, these beings play a critical function in using the strong life force of Mother Earth to create new forms. Life on earth is a constant cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. We all recycle into the earth in our own time-lines and life-cycles. This means that these beings are not only responsible for life, but also for what has completed its cycle and needs to die. The fires and floods are not “punishment” from the elementals. Gaia is not “angry at us. This is anthropomorphizing. What IS true, is that the Earth’s sacred laws are ones of absolute, “free will” balanced by absolute, “consequence”.
Looking at this from the big picture, humans have collectively abused our free will, in part by using the earth as a resource, rather than recognizing the Earth as a living, conscious being–the way our ancient, indigenous ancestors did. I believe humanity came to earth to serve as Stewards…not dominionists. So in treating earth as a “thing” rather than a “being,” and seeing ourselves at the top of the pyramid of life, rather than a cog in the wheel of all living things, we have moved out of living harmoniously with reciprocity, into a pattern of taking for our self-indulgent needs. Remember, I am referring to the collective! I know many of us who deeply connect with nature are trying mighty hard to minimize our destructive footprint on the planet. But here we are. What is happening on the earth is the consequence. We have come to the point of the reset and that reset will involve a lot of extinction.
Back to the fires. Regarding elemental beings and nature spirits, they are working in conjunction with Gaia and nature intelligences to rebalance. It is balance for the greater good of the whole biosphere in a region. NOT JUST HUMANS. Being amoral, the nature spirits don’t see us humans as something singled out, good or bad, they are working on the behalf of the thousands or millions of flora and fauna that inhabit the region. Destruction precedes new growth. Unfortunately, many places out of balance are also places where humans live…and even if we, personally, live mindfully, we are paying the price of the collective.
So what do we do? First of all, as shamanic practitioners, the first thing we have to do before we meddle with nature catastrophes is journey to the spirit of the place affected and ask to be shown the how and why of what is going on. We also need to ask what the spirits need. It is not our right to stop a destruction that is corrective…however, we CAN negotiate and work with the spirits to create a gentler process.
In my EarthTenders apprenticeships, I have found that using constellation work with a group of practitioners often brings us answers and shifts the matrix of what is happening. Not unlike family constellation work, this involves practitioners taking on the roles of different aspects of an earth event. For example, someone chooses to be the fire, another the air, another water, trees, animals, land, nature spirits of the place, etc. In merging and dancing these different roles, each player enacts the energy he or she is representing and dances it (also interacting with the others) until the movement and dance of the group shift into an energetic and natural resolution.
This process doesn’t override the free will of any beings, but rather, it harmonizes it. By connecting to the energy of the event, we matrix into it and then by enacting the situation at a distance we bring about resolution in an organic way…even if that ends up coming to an understanding that the tragedy has to be left to run its course.
For those in the path of these fires, my recommendations are to make offerings to the land spirits in exchange for protection of your homes. However, if you don’t already have a strong connection to the spirits of your place, your offerings may not be received, or prayers not heard. It takes time to cultivate a spiritual relationship with your land…you can’t easily petition the help of the spirits because you are suddenly in trouble.
On the back side of these fires and destruction, we can play a stewardship role to the places that have been burned out or damaged. These barren places are the birthplaces for new life. We can support the new life forms that Gaia is seeding, by praying and bringing light, transmutation, and transfiguration energy to the bare land. We can invite the new, better-suited life forms to inhabit the land with a love-filled prayer for “adapting easily” to their new home. This forward-healing work should be a part of our new path and paradigm.
I believe we are past the time where we can serve the greater good by nostalgically clinging to what, by destiny, is going to become extinct. I know many will think that is unthinkable and cruel, but I believe it is what is real. We can no longer afford the luxury of denial. However, we CAN mediate where the spirits will allow us by supporting them, and Gaia, in the creation of new forms of life. Last, the most important of all: We need to reclaim our old roots of knowing our Oneness With All Living Things, by returning to being stewards of this miraculous, living planet, we know as Earth.