there was a decent-sized spider on my leg just now. I freaked out a little and flicked it - not enough to hurt it...it just bounced off a tarp and onto the ground and skittered off. I felt bad, though - I think it was just coming for a visit. I got into looking up animal symbolism a couple of months ago when I was up in the cabin writing, and a different animal seemed to cruise by each day. I got hummingbirds, dragonflies, hawks, woodpeckers, flies, spiders, gnats, and even a roadrunner, and each time the symbolism seemed apt for the day. so I googled "spider symbolism" in honor of my visitor and this was the top hit:
this jumped out at me: "In Native American symbolism, the Spider is a symbol of protection against torrential storms. In yet other Native American lore accounts, the Spider (personified as the Grandmother) was the teacher and protector of esoteric wisdom."
I'll take it. I can feel my grandmother today.
this is the second part that jumped out:
it popped out because I'd made a writing note the other day that said, "cycles & systems & interconnectedness: watch me weave it all together."
and the spider symbolism seems to be about both the structure of our lives individually, the structure of of our lives collectively, and today, for me, the structure of my work. and about how in the world to think of all those things at the same time.
I originally thought I would write about grounding today - about identity, root, home, and safety, as well as the actual, literal ground, and our relationship to it...why it keeps us well. I had this whole idea about how I would climb through the chakras each day this week to explain healing...starting from the ground. that seems not to be happening quite exactly as planned, but it will most likely fit into the web. less like a ladder, more like a web.
appropriate, actually, because I have an associative brain, and what I do is literally weave ideas together that don't usually find themselves together. so I'm going to get weird today and talk about spider symbolism and death and how it relates to our bodies and climate change.
halloween, day of the dead, I'm going with it.
the weaving is going to take a few days, if not weeks, for it to all come together, but what's important at this stage is why I'm doing this weaving. I'm doing it because through this crazy process of exploration and trial and error, I've found the most amazing things. I want to share what I've found because I know it can help people and help unfuck the world. not just unfuck, but actually make better.
this is how we unfuck the world: by realizing that body - spirit - and environment are all the same thing.
body * spirit * environment
feeling better and saving the world are actually - literally for real physically - connected, not just in some philosophical way. understanding how to take care of our bodies physically is the key to understanding how to take care of the world physically. the same is true energetically.
woo woo, perhaps. I mean, how in the hell do we do that?
and what the shit does it have to do with reality?
like physical reality and real problems and real bodies, etc?
weirdly, I think it starts with death. there's no death without life and no life without death. there's no way to do the work I'm doing without talking about death, and there's no way to understand what I'm saying without thinking about death. the shadow of the harvest season is the coming of the fall and winter. the shadow of growing food is fertilizer. the shadow of eating is poop. the shadow of holding yourself up is letting go. the shadow of living is dying.
and part of the story, is realizing that we are, of course, nature. there is no separation.
our bodies are every bit a part of nature, everything we make, every building we build, every piece of technology comes from utilizing things from nature and knowledge about how nature works.
in studying sustainable cities in school, I had a particular interest in the role of food in sustainability, which led me to urban gardens. this interest actually led me to the job that I only had for 3 weeks and the non-profit I've mentioned, which was focused on the relationship between soil health and climate change. this group formed around a guy's encounter with a talk by Grame Sait. he says that we can store enough carbon in the soil to reverse climate change, among other things. that's a mighty claim, and by now I've followed all the threads, which I'll unveil in due time. but to start, let me introduce you to the first mindfuck.
we've come to believe that climate change is caused by burning fossil fuels. the truth is, not exactly. climate change is caused by disrupting the carbon cycle and the water cycle.
shift the way you look at the problem, and you'll shift the way you look at the solutions.
get everything out of the way that isn't truth, and the truth will come clear. welcome to the microbe mindfuck.
the carbon cycle and the water cycle have everything to do with tiny little creatures/plants that we can't see (microscopic life, aka microbes). we don't think of them as life, and we keep killing them in all these different ways. when we kill them, we mess up our own body systems and the earth's systems. if we stop killing them and protect them instead, we can restore our body systems (health) and the earth's systems.**
these little plants in the ocean produce 40% of the world's oxygen. these little creatures in the soil help plants pull in water, minerals, and nutrients from the ground. we, and the animals we eat, eat those plants. these little creatures in our guts have everything to do with our well being, from our digestion (how we take in nutrition), to our moods, to our immune system.
their relationship to the carbon cycle is critical, because they are what help the soil pull carbon in from the atmosphere into the soil, through plants.
the relationship between plants and animals and microbes and the soil and our guts is profound, to say the least. there are 100 trillion microbes in our guts; 10 times more than human cells in our bodies. we are more microbe than human, in a sense.
saving these tiny life forms involves compost, decay, poop/"waste"/fertilizer, fungus; the stuff that goes on underground and in waste piles. in involves understanding and working with the cycles of death and rebirth. part of the reason I think this story has been so overlooked is because of our aversion to facing death.
interestingly, the words human and humility, derive from the latin word humus, and the greek hamai, which both mean earth, or ground.***
if we save our silly asses, it will be born from humility, rather than hubris.
this is where grounding comes in, which I will mostly likely write about tomorrow. if this makes absolutely no sense yet, not to worry. I will be explaining the whole thing in picture form, forthcoming.*
*an intellectual property note: if you are interested in this story, great!! tell it wide and far!! but please, if you use my words, quote me. if you use my ideas, cite me. if you're not sure, contact me. love.
**hat/tip ashton watkins
***hat/tip Graeme Sait