“A great change is taking place at a molecular level within humanity, and it is also impacting all natural systems and all creatures. Everywhere you look today... you will see a world preparing itself for a leap in consciousness. Such times are inherently unstable and a deep collective fear of the coming change is moving like a spectre through our world. The fear of freedom."
― Richard Rudd, from the Gene Keys
A global pandemic.
The polarization of a nation.
Anthropogenic climate disruption.
Extreme ecological degradation.
Sixth mass extinction.
This is what the growing pains of collective transformation look like. As we enter the holy dark time of the year in the northern hemisphere, we are given the opportunity to make peace with the collective shadow.
The shadow is the parts of ourselves that we don’t want to see. We either push it away, deny its existence or disavow it all together because we are embarrassed or ashamed. But here’s the truth: our shadow is a part of our magick. It can bring up fear of who we are being called to become, and regardless of whether or not we want to see it, it WILL show up. The shadow beckons us deeper into ourselves, individually and collectively.
This is what’s happening on a global scale. The shadow of collective trauma is making itself known because we as a people (especially those of us racialized as white) can no longer deny its existence. By virtue of living as modern humans, we can no longer deny the role we play in the systems movement toward extinction. We are part of the greater organism and intelligence network of Earth who is communicating to and through us through the discomfort of these times. It is for our own good and for the health of our planet that our shadow is communicating to us in this way. It’s an alert. But are we listening?
The foundations of an old world order (founded on white supremacy, colonial capitalism, enslavement, heteropatriarchy, industrial extractivism) are dying as we bear witness to Empire in its death throes. Look around and you will see that all aspects of life - from the environment, our political and social structures and world economy to religion, science and technology - are undergoing drastic change. They're crumbling before our very eyes.
We can either deny what’s happening, go along like business as usual and continue feeding the hungry ghost of our collective shadow (which will only grow in size) or we can turn to face the thing that scares us most. We must reckon with our collective past.
We must reckon with the fact that humanity has a pathological relationship to Earth which is characteristic of Empire.
We must reckon with our own disenchantment from Earth and our own bodies.
We must reckon with our experiences of historical and intergenerational trauma, how this came to be and why.
We must reckon with being dislocated from the land and how that was necessary in order to go along with and participate in the violence of capitalism.
We must reckon with our complicity in these systems of abuse and violence.
We must reckon with our power and how we choose to wield it.
Understanding history and where we come from helps us to see more clearly the relationships among consciousness, power, and reality. The question ceases to be, How did we get here? and becomes Where can we possibly go and how?
On the micro level, you may be sensing the presence of shadow in your own life as you navigate the uncertainty of these times (remember, shadow does not equal negative or bad - its a part of our magick). This might show up in your system as waves of fear, anger, frustration, depression, anxiety, etc. You might notice the tendency to hold your breath, hold tension, keep yourself distracted from being with what is by staying busy. Whatever is coming up in your body or presenting in your patterned ways of being, the invitation now is to be with what is so that it can fully move through your system without getting stuck. Name it, say hello and let it know you’re there and you’re listening. Give it space.
Change always brings with it the discomfort of uncertainty and fear of the unknown. Change brings with it grief. Grief for what is no more. Grief for what has been lost. Grief of disillusionment.
Choosing to face our shadow isn’t easy, but it does heal. Denying the shadow seems easier, but it hurts and perpetuates unconscious harm. When we choose to embrace our shadow, we grow in personal empowerment and contribute to breaking the spell of collective amnesia. We begin to make friends with the dark. We begin to remember. The shadow doesn’t seem so haunting anymore, because it is understood and respected in the way that it serves us.
So the question is, "How do we face the dark on the edge of annihilation? How do we find the dark within and transform it? How do we dream it into a new image, dream it into actions that will change the world into a place where no more horror stories happen, where there are no more victims?" (Rain Crowe)
Transformation isn’t supposed to be easy. We are made resilient through the process of growing and becoming, which demands of us discipline, discernment and vigilance. It is a spiritual work that many are undertaking now.
Join us in this January to explore the spiritual journey of shadow work as we seek to create Earth Culture rooted in relational and ecological embodiment.
Stay tuned for more information about Sacred Studies coming soon!
FURTHER LEARNING & PRACTICES
Wellbriety Journey to Forgiveness (abbreviated video) produced by Don Coyhis (Mohican) and Marlin Farley (Ojibwe)