Here we are, the last day of 2021. Perhaps it’s because I just listened to too many astrology podcasts in a row, but I’m having a hard time feeling any hope for 2022. I pulled the shadow-face of Elder for my plant divination card this morning—and it’s not wrong.
It’s a time when the weight of things unfinished can weigh heavily. Rather than feeling guilty, I’m trying to allow that weight to propel me forwards—after deciding whether or not I really DO need to complete these things in my life. I am so very lucky to have found friends who not only have supported me through my failings (and flailings!), but have even pushed me into the light when I wanted to hide.
I recently finished reading Sand Talk by Tyson Yunkaporta, an utterly amazing book and one of those I run around waving in peoples’ faces exclaiming, “You need to read this!” There is so much I’m still processing from it. Ugh. “Processing.” I want a better word… integrating? Absorbing? Is there a way to de-industrialize language? I can try, I suppose, but I am sure far greater minds than mine have made the attempt.
In any case, back to Sand Talk. It highlights some definite flaws with Western Esotericism (yes, even my beloved OBOD). So many of these traditions focuses on the development of the self and ego—and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Unfortunately, United-Euro* culture in many cases already suffers from an overabundance of ego. And these systems for better or worse exacerbate it.
How do we work with this? Yunkaporta notes that becoming an agent at the center of a complex system isn’t in and of itself a terrible thing. It’s ok to be a strange center around which something can crystallize. But you then have to be able to step away and let the process continue however it needs to, with or without you.
And I think that is the danger of esoteric “projects”. In our culture, ownership is second nature. How do we let go of power and prestige to give these sorts of endeavors life of their own within their communities? It is so easy to make something “mine” instead of “ours”. As a friend and mentor so beautifully and gently put it to me once, “This isn’t your grove. This isn’t my grove. The grove is its own thing [being]. It belongs to all of us, we all bring our best to share.” It was a sorely needed ego check, and I’m so very, very grateful for this wisdom. I’ll always be afraid that I’ll lose sight of the “us”, even if it’s from the best of intentions. I need to trust that “us” will keep us all honest. Even when it means grappling with scary things.
I also know that we need to be able to connect with each other. Without our Clan**, we can easily be broken. We need each other. We need our many strengths to bolster our Clan when some of us falter. How can we create protection for ourselves and our kin? Not safety, because that is an illusion, but that deep-seated knowledge that we have each others’ backs. It’s something that the Scottish Clan culture had, and that the English destroyed. We can’t be Indigenous, but we can be Naturalized rather than invasive. That I truly believe.
For now, though, it’s time to make sweet potato pudding. Time to pack the car. Time to weave those relationships strongly. So strongly that we can adapt to anything the land or stars throw at us. It’s not a battle, but a dance. A dance among the stars, among the stones, the great weaving motion that connects us all. Here we stand, with each other, hand-in-hand-in-hand. By star and by stone, with open hearts and open eyes, we stand, and the breath of the world moves through us.
Happy 2022. We got this.
*Trying out this term in lieu of “Western” in some cases, as there’s a heckuva lot more to the “West” than Europe and North America.
**Formerly I have used the word “Tribe”, but as some Native folks feel strongly about this word, consider this my own small attempt to reclaim the word “Clan” from white nationalists.