Environmental Organism

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A hair band transected by a bobby pin.

Who knows how it came to be here, lying innocently upon the sidewalk.  A pleasing scenario that comes to mind: perhaps a blustery wind, wanting to set free a young woman’s hair, saw fit to loosen the shackles from her tresses with a well placed gust.   And she, hair blowing wild, felt more intimately her connection to the forces of nature, and, like a veil had been lifted, felt her participation in the life of the Earth.

However it happened, the sight of its perfect configuration did immediately jar my mind loose, and remind me of my connection to the natural world, and my participation in the life of the Earth, by conjuring up the all but forgotten Ecology Symbol that was so ubiquitous during my young adulthood in the 1970s.

After my encounter with this serendipitous symbol, I spent the rest of my morning walk contemplating various effects of global warming, including the strongest ever El Nino and its effects across the globe (while taking note of the very unseasonably warm weather we’re having in Minneapolis, that everyone is so blithely enjoying) and contemplating our participation in healing the Earth.

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I had not known of the symbol’s origin until I looked it up after my walk:

The ecology symbol was formed by taking the letters “e” and “o”, the first letters in the words “environment” and “organism”, and putting them in superposition, thereby forming a shape reminiscent of the Greek letter Θ (Theta). The symbol was created by cartoonist Ron Cobb, which he published on November 7, 1969, in the Los Angeles Free Press and then placed it in the public domain.  The colors represent “pure air and green land” and environmental action.

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Look magazine incorporated the symbol into an image of a flag in their April 21, 1970 issue. It widely popularized the Theta symbol, which is associated with the Greek word thanatos (death) in light of human threats to the environment and atmosphere of the earth.  

 

As it turns out, the Theta symbol is also used in various sciences to denote temperature; which forms an interesting connection to my contemplations about global warming and our connection to the Earth.  Theta is used to represent:

The potential temperature in meteorology.

Quantity or temperature, by International System of Units standard.

Dimensionless temperature in transport phenomena. In engineering, physics and chemistry, the study of transport phenomena concerns the exchange of mass, energy, and momentum between observed and studied systems.

 

As it turns out, the Theta symbol is also used to in the trading of stock options to denote the risk that time imposes upon options not exercised; which forms an interesting connection to my contemplations about global warming and our connection to the Earth.  Theta is used to represent:

The measure of the rate of decline in the value of an option due to the passage of time. Theta can also be referred to as the time decay on the value of an option. 

The measure of theta quantifies the risk that time imposes on options as options are only exercisable for a certain period of time.

 

As it turns out, the Theta symbol is also used in the study of brain waves to denote the deepest state of meditation; which forms an interesting connection to my contemplations about global warming and our connection to the Earth.  Theta is used to represent:

….a state of very deep relaxation. The brain waves are slowed down at a frequency of 4-7 cycles per second.

While in the Theta state, the mind is capable of deep and profound learning, healing, and growth – it is the brainwave where our minds can connect to the Divine and manifest changes in the material world.

The use of the drum by indigenous cultures in ritual and ceremony has specific neurophysiological effects and the ability to elicit temporary changes in brain wave activity, producing Theta waves, and thereby facilitating imagery and possible entry into an altered state of consciousness, especially what is called the shamanic state of consciousness.

 

To be continued…

The Tent Peg

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“But when Sisera fell asleep from exhaustion, Jael quietly crept up to him with a hammer and tent peg in her hand. Then she drove the tent peg through his temple and into the ground, and so he died.”
Judges 4:21

 

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In The Tent Peg, award-winning novelist Aritha van Herk captures the mystical mood of the Arctic and the people who are drawn to it.

In this captivating story, a young woman disguises herself to get hired on as a cook to work in a uranium prospecting camp deep in the Yukon mountains. J.L. is on the run from an empty heart and is desperate for solitude. Yet solitude eludes her from the moment she hangs up her pots and pans in the cook tent, and the men in the camp begin to drift toward her, drawn by her grounded and reverent presence. These men are drifters, romantics and outcasts – men who have come to the North in search of answers for questions they can’t define.  J.L helps them awaken to beauty and mysteries of the landscape that they take for granted and would thoughtlessly despoil.

 

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So many tent pegs….

 

 

 

 

Double Helix Stairway to Heaven

My musing for the day ~ from the origin of life, through all the steps of evolution, to the rise of the capability of Consciousness to become of conscious itself, the DNA strand is the Stairway to Heaven that we are collectively climbing. Little wonder that spiral staircases feel so magical…

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Image from LiveScience.com

“The arising of space consciousness—a shift to vertical rather than horizontal awareness—is the next stage in the evolution of humanity, and it’s happening more and more as our awareness remains in the now moment.”
Eckhart Tolle

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“I am saying that I see the emergence of space consciousness as the next stage in the evolution of humanity. By space consciousness I mean that in addition to our being fully conscious of things—that is to say of sense perceptions, thoughts, emotions, and whatever happens in our lives—there is at the same time an undercurrent of awareness or Presence operating in us. Awareness implies that we are not only conscious of things, such as the objects and the people around us, but we are also conscious at the same time of being conscious.”
Eckhart Tolle

 

Grand tree of life study shows a clock-like trend in new species emergence and diversity

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http://phys.org/news/2015-03-grand-tree-life-clock-like-trend.html

Temple University researchers have assembled the largest and most accurate tree of life calibrated to time, and surprisingly, it reveals that life has been expanding at a constant rate.

The tree of life compiled by the Temple team is depicted in a new way —- a cosmologically-inspired galaxy of life view —- and contains more than 50,000 species in a tapestry spiraling out from the origin of life.

The study also challenges the conventional view of adaptation being the principal force driving species diversification, but rather, underscores the importance of random genetic events and geographic isolation in speciation, taking about 2 million years on average for a new species to emerge onto the scene.

 

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Image from the movie, “The Tree of Life”

 

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http://www.greennature.ca/?q=tree%20of%20life

 

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN (excerpt)
Led Zeppelin

“…And it’s whispered that soon,
if we all call the tune,
then the piper will lead us to reason.
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long,
and the forests will echo with laughter.

If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow,
don’t be alarmed now,
it’s just a spring clean for the May Queen.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by,
but in the long run,
there’s still time to change the road you are on.

and it makes me wonder
ooh

Your head is humming and it won’t go,
in case you don’t know,
the piper’s calling you to join him.
Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow,
and did you know
your stairway lies on the whispering wind?

And as we wind on down the road,
our shadow’s taller than our soul.
There walks a lady we all know
who shines white light and wants to show
how everything still turns to gold,
and if you listen very hard,
the tune will come to you at last.
When all are one and one is all,
to be a rock, and not to roll.

…and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.

As A Tree

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A friend of mine posted this image on Facebook.   Such a fantastic concept!

Which prompted me to share this thought:

“How cool would it be to create a “living cemetery” of these that is a Food Forest ~ could literally feed one’s descendants, and they would be fed by their ancestors…   [see the link below for a description of a food forest]

Then someone else made this comment:

I like to think of me as a tree !!!

Which inspired me to write this little poem:

I like to think of me
as a tree ~
with roots sunk deep
into ancestral dreams
and ever nurtured
by the fecund earth
with a willing embrace
of this world of form.

I like to think of me
as a tree ~
with branches reaching
toward what is to be
and ever enlivened
by the radiant sun
with a willing embrace
of the Élan Vital.

I like to think of me
as a tree ~
transmuting
past into future
heaven into earth
energy into form
dwelling within
the omnipresent.

 

And as long as I’m dwelling upon thoughts of trees, it feels fitting to share this talk that I delivered at a 911 Tribute in 2005.  (I was speaking in front of 3,000 people, and was so nervous that my knees were wobbling the entire time.)

TREE DEDICATION

As we begin our program this evening and prepare for the invocation, I would like to first bring everyone’s attention to the tree festooned with ribbons and streamers that stands to the west of the band shell. This is a Valley Forge American Elm, a testimony to survival – it is naturally resistant to Dutch Elm disease, and it has just been donated by area businesses to serve as a living memorial to all those who died in the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Throughout time, trees have always served as inspiring symbols, symbols of hope, of strength, of peace, and even the symbol of life itself. And in our country specifically, trees have been a symbol of the political principles that we treasure so deeply. The first Liberty Tree, located in Boston, was an Elm tree, just as this one is. The Sons of Liberty gathered and held their meetings in the shade of its branches. They flew their banners from its branches. In time, all 13 colonies each had their own Liberty Tree, which served as rallying places for the ideals of the American Revolution.

The original Liberty Elm in Boston was cut down by British soldiers, as an act of war, in 1775. The last of those original 13 Liberty trees to die was in Maryland, in 1999. It died as a result of a hurricane.

So in trees we see living symbols of our guiding principles, and we also see how those principles might be lost. We find ourselves gathered here this evening with two events in our minds and in our hearts – one, an act of war, 4 years ago, the other, a natural disaster, hurricane Katrina, mere days ago. Both of these events have presented our country with immense suffering and sorrow. Both of these events have presented us with immense challenges. They have challenged us to respond in a fashion that maintains and upholds the democratic principles that we hold so dearly, “that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

It has been said that the true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit – to plant trees for generations that are yet to come. The founding fathers and mothers of this country planted many trees, in the principles they fought for and the institutions they created. We benefit from these trees which they planted so long ago. And so it is now our turn to plant trees. Thus, tonight we dedicate this Elm tree, as a living memorial, as a testimony to survival, as sign of hope for healing and peace. May we also plant trees of principles and institutions that will shelter and serve generations yet to come.

 

http://www.beaconfoodforest.org

Welcome
The goal of the Beacon Food Forest is to design, plant and grow an edible urban forest garden that inspires our community to gather together, grow our own food and rehabilitate our local ecosystem.

 

What is a Food Forest?
A food forest is a gardening technique or [Permaculture] land management system, which mimics a woodland ecosystem by substituting edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Fruit and nut trees make up the upper level, while berry shrubs, edible perennials and annuals make up the lower levels. The Beacon Food Forest will combine aspects of native habitat rehabilitation with edible forest gardening.

 

Into the Dark of the Dark

The Earth has turned it’s face from the Sun, and the Moon has turned its face from us.  It is a rare convergence, the dark of the Year coinciding with the dark of the Moon, but in the Northern Hemisphere this is our experience as the Winter Solstice aligns with the New Moon.   The darkest night, made all the darker with no Moon to shine.

The dark of course, has two faces.  In the closing lines of “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”, Dylan Thomas writes of himself as a young boy saying his prayers at the end of Christmas Day, “I said some words to the close and holy darkness.”   This may be my favorite line from the entire story.  It is such a moving sentiment.  So often I have loved the holy embrace of the dark, that mysterious void in which one feels intimately connected to the Divine Source, in which magick is conceived. But there is the other face of the dark, the free fall into the abyss, in which there is no embrace and all hope seems lost.

Some people live with chronic physical pain.  Some live with chronic emotional pain.  Some live with both.   My heart goes out to them all. While I count myself fortunate that I live with only the chronic emotional pain, it is still a hard truth.  My daily universe is punctuated with multiple black holes of hurt.

So it is another interesting convergence that in this season of dark speaking unto dark, I have experienced another deep wound. There are those moments that one feels utterly betrayed by the Universe, that just the simple desire to be loved is denied one. Those moments when not only the light of the Sun and the light of the Moon are gone, but even the star shine has been torn from the sky. Those moments when the void is devoid of mystery, and there is no heart in the darkness.  

Too many times in my life I have been brought to identify with the poignant message of  the song “For Vincent”, by Don McLean.  Paraphrasing its central line, “This world was never meant for one as gentle as you.” As gently as I seek to touch others, too often I have been roughly handled.  So many dark nights.

Though, bringing to mind words from my invocation of the Sacred Directions that I’ve shared before, North, the direction whose energy we are now immersed in, is the direction that challenges us – and through that challenge instills Faith:
~ Faith that the light will return after the dark.
~ Faith that warmth will return after the cold.
~ Faith that life will return after death.

One of the great mysteries of the cyclic nature of the phases of the Moon, of the seasons of the Year, of the flow of the Universe, is the simultaneity of endings and beginnings.  The moment that one cycle ends is the same moment that another cycle begins. The solstice is at once the point in our orbit that we face the furthest away from the light and the point at which we turn back to the light. The dark of the moon is the cusp between its waning and its waxing.

The interesting thing is that the physical cycle cannot be disrupted. The light simply will not return until the lowest point and utter darkness has been reached.  In some cases, the same may be said for the emotional cycle.  As has been said, “The only way past the pain is through the pain”.   So, if one finds oneself being sucked into the abyss of a black hole, sometimes, rather than finessing one’s way out of it, the best thing to do is plunge in, and allow it to shred you apart.  Eckhart Tolle said it best:

Suffering drives you deeper. The paradox is that suffering is caused by identification with form and erodes identification with form. A lot of it is caused by the ego, although eventually suffering destroys the ego–but not until you suffer consciously…. Suffering has a noble purpose: the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego….

As long as you resist suffering, it is a slow process because the resistance creates more ego to burn up. When you accept suffering, however, there is an acceleration of that process which is brought about by the fact that you suffer consciously…. In the midst of conscious suffering there is already the transmutation. The fire of suffering becomes the light of consciousness.

Marilynne Robinson, in her novel “Gilead” explored this another way:  “To be blessed is to be broken, and to be broken is to be blessed.”

In this moment of the nadir of the Sun and the hiding of the Moon, in which we all are plunged into the dark of the dark, for some it is an encounter with the close and holy darkness, for some it is an encounter with the heartless abyss.  In either case, we are blessed with the opportunity to do some work at the deepest of levels, enabling us to bring renewed life into the new cycle.

Which ever darkness one is facing, as always, let us be gentle with experience of others, for, as Bob Dylan wrote, “You’ll never know the hurt I suffered, nor the pain I rise above, and I’ll never know the same about you.”

 

Net of Indra : Large-scale Structure of the Universe

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Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wondrous net which has been woven by the cunning artificer, much like a spider’s web in its intricacy and loveliness upon which clings drops of dew.
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In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the net is hung in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions, and the artificer has placed a single glittering jewel in each vertex of the net. And since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. The jewels, glittering as stars of the first magnitude, hang there, suspended in the net, a dazzling sight to behold.
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In the polished surface of each multifaceted jewel are reflected all the jewels that surround it, on and on into infinity, so that all the jewels are connected through their mutual reflections.

And thus we see the interconnectedness of the cosmos, and how a change in one jewel can be reflected on into infinity, and affect the whole.

The metaphor of Indra’s Net is from the Buddhist Avatamsaka Sutra, for which there is a stunning corollary in modern astro physics….

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http://www.americaspace.com/?p=51032

Illuminating the Void: Astronomers Observe Cosmic Web Filament Between Galaxies for First Time
November, 2013

By analyzing the light from a distant quasar, a team of astronomers has made the first direct observation ever of one of the largest of structures in the Universe: a cosmic web filament.

Decades of observations have shown the Universe’s structure to be hierarchical in nature. Stars are grouped together to form galaxies, which in turn form clusters and superclusters, and those superclusters are grouped together to create filaments—long threads of matter running through intergalactic space, interspersed with gigantic spaces of empty void. All the matter and energy in the Universe can be traced inside these filaments, creating a structure that observed from afar can be described as a cosmic “web.”

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http://news.yahoo.com/spooky-galaxy-reveals-largest-structures-universe-video-150417832.html

Spooky Galaxy Web Reveals the Largest Structures in the Universe
November, 2014 

“The first odd thing we noticed was that some of the quasars’ rotation axes were aligned with each other — despite the fact that these quasars are separated by billions of light-years,” study leader Damien Hutsemékers, from the University of Liège in Belgium, said in the same ESO statement.”

Hutsemékers and his team also found that the quasars’ rotation axes were linked to what is called the large-scale structure of the universe. Previous studies have shown that galaxies are not distributed evenly throughout the universe. Instead, the large star-filled objects clump together in a web, and this is the large-scale structure of the universe, according to ESO.

Scientists working with the Very Large Telescope found that the rotation of the quasars is parallel to the large-scale structures where the galaxies are found.

“The alignments in the new data, on scales even bigger than current predictions from simulations, may be a hint that there is a missing ingredient in our current models of the cosmos,” team member Dominique Sluse of the Argelander-Institut für Astronomie in Bonn, Germany and University of Liège, said.

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http://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/youth/bridges/workshop7/workshopplan/stories/184181.shtml

…… know that you are a sparkling jewel in Indra’s Net, as is every person around you. Every jewel is connected with all the other jewels in the net; every person is intimately connected with all the other persons in the universe. Each has an independent place within the net and we all reflect and influence each other. A change in one jewel—or person—produces a change, however slight, in every other. Realize, too, that the infinite reflections speak to the illusory nature of appearances. Appearances are not, in fact, reality, but only a reflection; the true nature of a thing is not to be captured in its appearance. However powerful that appearance might be, it is yet only a reflection of what is real.

In addition, whatever you do to one jewel affects the entire net, as well as yourself. You cannot damage one strand of a spider web without injuring the entire web, and you cannot damage one strand of the web that is the universe without injuring all others in it, whether that injury is known or unknown to them. This can work for good or ill because, of course, just as destructive acts affect the entire net, so do loving, constructive, compassionate acts affect the entire net. A single helpful act—even a simple act of kindness—will send positive ripples across the infinite net, touching every jewel, every person in existence.