Floods and Fires: Burning the Candle at One End and Drowning it at the Other by: Michelle Katz
Our land is in trouble, and so are we.
I like to look at the ways nature mirrors us. Thus, as I see what is happening in the U.S., I cannot help but sit in the question of what is being mirrored about us?
The Floods of the South:
The South, according to the medicine wheel model of nature and human nature, is a direction that speaks to us of childhood, play, being in the body. Sexuality, sensuality. Needs, and needing others to survive. Being taken care of, attachment, attunement. When this is exaggerated, we can find ourselves in addictions, or not able to pay attention fully to anything, constant distractions, and materialism. The water in these floods is an element that tells us about deep emotions and the unconscious.
As one end of our country is being flooded and effected by hurricanes, can we hear and respond to the cries for help, what is needing our attention and care? How can we respond?
The Fires of the West:
The West, according to the medicine wheel model of nature and human nature, is a direction that speaks to us of shadow, the place of darkness, introspection, the “who am I?” question. It is the place of facing challenges toward growth. It is also the place of a death, the place of harvesting fruits from the dying. When the west is exaggerated, we find ourselves in depression, self-absorbed and self-deprecating, unable to see what we have to offer the world. Fire is an element of powerful transformation. As it burns beauty down, it also provides the heat that opens up the pine cones to great new life. It can create openings to start anew.
The other end of our country is being burned by wildfires. Villages are being burned down because something needs to be felt and heard, and something needs to fall in order to be transformed.
Nature is telling us something essential about us in these moments. Though, we are not in control of these big natural disasters, they are mirroring something big about us. Looking deeply into the macrocosm, the US has been stuck in the South and West for much of our existence as a country. We are young in this world, and often looked at by others (as youth is), we are incredible pleasure seekers, materialists, constantly distracted by the next new thing. Additionally, we have no idea who we are, being the focus of the world, the super power country, we have taken in all the attention without being able to fully know ourselves.
It is time to ask ourselves: what is it we provide the world? As we fluctuate constantly between the south and west, between wanting to be taken care of and be the center of attention as well as hating ourselves, confused by our place in the world, and sad about our state of affairs; as we fluctuate between republican and democrat, between being a beacon and hiding in shame, between giving and taking from others and from the earth, how can we evolve and show up in the truth of who we are? Even more, we see that many of our elders are not willing to step into elderhood, claiming it for what it can offer this world, and our youth are being guided but many initiated adults or silenced and unheard for the knowing they bring. No one is growing up! And nature is literally forcing us to let go of these parts of ourselves, because we need to. We are a culture living in perpetuation childhood and adolescence. I hope every day, we find a way to truly grow up and into our purpose, individually and collectively.
What is happening?
Trees are falling down, houses are being destroyed, lives are being displaced. What has lived a certain way for a long time can no longer live the same way now and every again. Those of us who can, must ask ourselves, how do we survive this? What can we learn from this? What will bring us to what’s next? What is next?
What happens when the fires and waters at each end of us meet, when we are simultaneously filling our lungs with fire and water, when the candle is dissolved, limp and non-existence. Perhaps it’s time to start a new wick.
I believe these natural disasters are informing us to experience a rite-of-passage as a country. To grow into who we are. Perhaps, we may learn that we are the people that rise in the face of chaos to help one another. That our identity rests firmly in our humanity. Perhaps our gifts can be revealed and we can take our proper seat in the world.
And on the microcosm, may be learn that each of us has our individual work to do, in this same manner. It is time for each one of us to feel the flooding and burning within, to face challenges, turn to our community with perspective and knowing, so that we can be who we are meant to be in order to better ourselves, our community, our country, the world/nature we are part of and is part of us.
Step into this work, individually and as a community, for the world. Sign up for a rite-of-passage or nature-based program with Oaks Counsel.