Like millions of people around the world, I have been fixated on the coronavirus pandemic. I have watched in outrage at the refusal of our leaders to act with dignity and respect, to divide and inflame with “us and them,” to remain unwilling to value anything but a selfish grip on entitlement and power. I have recoiled in dismay as our fealty to a cruel and heartless economic system continues to sacrifice people for profits, to rapaciously rob the poor to reward the rich, to callously destroy the planet upon which we all depend for our lives.
I have asked myself, “How do I find courage and inspiration in the middle of these times?”
In the night, merging with the sounds of shamanic drumming, I had a startling reverie. Part dream, part meditation, I found myself standing on the shore of Havasu Falls at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, a place I visited years ago and surely one of the wonders of the world.
Beside me was an old ally, a magical animal. Together we dove into the travertine laden turquoise water that fanned away from the falls. Instantly we plunged deep inside the earth, winding through tunnels and tubes as if on a toboggan racing on ice.
Suddenly, we entered a deep green matrix of Amazonian jungle roots, dripping with moisture, alive with tiny cilia like hairs, a billion miles of interwoven Rhizome.
We emerged on a path, tall jungle trees and vines on either side, gliding along without steps. An Ecuadorian Indian appeared and pointed away from us as if to say, “That is the way, keep going…down there.”
We proceeded until we came upon a great anteater who swung his long snout like a finger that pointed, “The way is straight ahead.”
We kept going deeper into the forest until straight before us lay the most enormous snake imaginable. He appeared to be a giant Anaconda, whose sides were half as big as a school bus, his head the size of a great dinner table.
“Are you my spirit helper?” I stammered. I hoped he would say, “No, keep going,” but instead he said, “Yes.”
The giant snake began to move and altogether we traveled for miles until he effortlessly slithered up a rocky hill upon which grew a monstrously tall tree. This he began to coil his way around the trunk until he reached the top. Not pausing, he continued to extend himself straight up, like an enormous telescoping pole rising into the sky. He then indicated I was to come on up and stand on his head.
“What do you see?” he asked me when I’d done so. I looked around but could see nothing of note except far off on the horizon, a brown haze, like air pollution. Nothing else stood out as noteworthy. I stood for a bit turning round and round and then abruptly, there was a flash. A yellow hot projectile came hurtling down out of the sky heading straight to earth.
This startling symbol was accompanied by a voice that said, “This means that something unexpected is going to happen.”
Without warning, I found myself standing on the curb of a street of major city, watching a solitary woman sweep slowly, lifelessly. From far away the snake called to me, ”What do you see?”
I looked but could make no sense of the woman, her sweeping or the empty street.
“Ask her,” prodded the distant voice of the snake.
So I asked her. “Why are you sweeping?”
“I am sweeping to contain my grief,” she replied. “We wouldn’t listen. We were supposed to hear the message it brought when it was milder. It was almost intelligent, even magical,” she continued, “the way it stopped everything, the way it captured attention but we didn’t recognize it for what it really was, wouldn’t hear its voice. We rejected the mirror it held that showed us what we have been creating. And now, so many are gone…” She trailed off and turned away, continuing to sweep mechanically.
Then, like a movie, the scene changed. I was in Australia and incredibly, there were flames all around, the way it had been the previous summer. Abruptly there was yet another change and I was standing in front of a ruined hospital complex, the giant lintel that bridged the emergency lane lay shattered on the ground, the glass entry doors smashed. There was no one to be seen.
Next, I was whisked to a rural farming area, where I hovered above an industrial agricultural farm, its fields brown and empty, not even wind. There were no men, no tractors, and no green. I looked across the roads of the country and there were no trucks, no traffic. The supply lines to the city were cut and broken.
Gathering of Ancestors
Then the snake took me to a red desert, a single mesa towering in the center. Surrounding the mesa was a ring of brilliantly clothed native peoples: Africans, Siberians, Aboriginal people, Native Americans, Mongols, Hawaiians, Tibetans, Eskimos and native European tribes from far back in time. They were sitting in chairs, perched on rocks, standing in sand, some sitting in the branches of trees. All were quietly watching and waiting. There was an air of expectation, a sense that a great spectacle was about to begin, one they had been waiting to see for eons, like the last act of some cosmic play.
I understood then that these were the ancient ancestors of humanity, the ones who had witnessed countless earlier scenes in a great drama called “The End of Everything.” Now they had come from out of time to watch the final act of a performance that had been playing for millions of years.
As I watched them, the snake took his leave saying, “I am done here.” I thanked him and continued to marvel at the growing circle of people. Then I saw some of them stand up and point my way. “Tell them! Tell Them!” they shouted.
“Tell them what?” I wondered. As if in response, I felt a picture emerge. Just as they had lived their part in the spectacle of the Great Unfolding, it was now my turn, our turn really, to play our part in the last scenes of this act of the collective dream. Just as those noble ancient ancestors had bravely held a steady torch to bring their people through some forgotten night, those selfless acts of carrying forth the spark of humanity for those who would follow had made my own life possible. Now it was my turn, our turn, to do the same for those who would follow us.
When the drumming tempo increased I knew it was time to return, to awaken again to this ordinary reality. But I was shaken. What was my responsibility here? Am I to take these images literally? Do they relate to me personally or are they symbols of how things amplify when we do not take the messages of a collective healing crisis seriously? How are we to “Tell them?” Who is “them” if not “us”? What in fact do we tell even ourselves?
One thing stands out. Perhaps we wouldn’t be in our present situation of chaos and decay today if we loved and accepted ourselves more, judged ourselves less. If we focused on belonging, that we are truly worthy, that we are all connected to everything, what kind of world would we illuminate? If we stopped trying to control everything and let nature speak, let our feelings and bodies speak, let even our souls speak, how much of our divine light would be liberated to dispel the darkness we are in?
I pray we find the courage, the strength and the inspiration to continue forward as those ancient ones did, holding the light of love in the time of darkness.