Dark Matter: Women Witnessing Issue #9: Extinction Illness: Grave Affliction and Possibility
Last August, I participated in a gathering of contributors to Dark Matter: Women Witnessing in rural Quebec, hosted by my friend and editor of Dark Matter, Lise Weil.
This group of writers, artists, and visionaries has been an inspiring and nourishing circle in which we sit in council with each other, dream, write, vision together, and go deep into our shared connection with all life.
I had been collecting responses to Deena’s Metzger’s essay [“Extinction Illness: Grave Affliction and Possibility” ] which appeared in the January issue of Tikkun. Its premise…is that, as the reality of human-caused mass extinction sinks in, we are all succumbing to what she calls “extinction illness.”
I had been collecting responses to Deena’s essay all summer, and so thought to bring the question to the group: “How to respond to the phenomenon of extinction illness?” We decided it was important to involve all the beings around us in this question. So one afternoon we all spread out, claimed a spot, hunkered down and began to listen……As you’ll see, some of us received long, complex responses; all of us arrived at deeper understandings. What’s striking to me in reading through these offerings is how common themes thread through both human and nonhuman voices.
The result of our connections and conversations became the piece Lac Cafe´Medley.
In my contribution to this conversation, I communicated with several individual beings of different species: Hummingbird, Bee, Mushroom, Cats, Damselflies, and a North Atlantic Right Whale. Here’s a sampling:
Bee: This was a particular bee who was feeding near some flowers close to where I was sitting. S/he communicated:
We sing the new earth into being. As our bodies die, we sing our song. Generative rebirth, vibrancy. Calling new life, new energy in.
The Earth is not dying. Individuals die. Individual expressions/species die. The Earth herself is not dying.
She was clear and emphatic about this.
Right Whale: In the week before coming to Lac Café, I had the privilege of spending time at a whale research station in northern Quebec in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. While there, we had an encounter with a north Atlantic Right Whale, a species that is currently in sharp decline as a result of climate disruption, which has changed their feeding and migration routes, and is increasing the instances of deaths by ship strike and fishing gear entanglement. The population is now estimated to be at just 400 individuals. This whale was an 11-year old male who is well-known to researchers.
When I communicated with the individual right whale, I asked what, if anything, I or the women gathering at Lac Café could offer him and his species. The response was clear:
Offer your love. See us. Be with us. Pray with us. Love us. Witness our grief. Honor us. Do ceremony with us, connect with us, allow us to connect with you. Share your energy with us and we will share our energy with you. Let it be simple. Share your prayers, your intentions for our well-being. See our species vibrant, whole, healthy. Your gratitude for us, your intention to care for us, gives us strength and energy.
When, at Lac Café, I returned to the right whale, and asked specifically about a response to “extinction” and/or “extinction illness,” his awareness and communication was clear:
It’s all energy. We, the planet, you, all of us…everything…it’s all energy. We know this. We understand this in our bodies, our lives, our communities, our families.
Yes, we are stressed. We are adjusting and adapting to find food. Many of us are dying. Yet, we are still here. We are still living our lives…expressing ourselves through our bodies. We may not survive…as individuals, or as a species, but now, we are here, and we are aware of the efforts to help us, and we are not gone yet. Nor are you.
Bodies die. We grieve the losses of our kin. We hold a particular frequency of energy, and when that expression in physical form “dies,” there is a loss, and grief.
Yet. And. All is energy. All is spirit. The generative energy of the cosmos…of life…of spirit…of sentience…is infinite.
I see the figure 8, the infinity symbol…
The sacred geometry in all its forms shows us this.
There is a great “unburdening” at this time. Your human perspective is limited: in time, energy, scope. There are multiple dimensions, multiple layers of reality.
…As I considered the communications and transmissions I received, I realized that there was an essential/essence message from all:
There is a creative, vibrant, rich energy of aliveness that is transformative, regenerative, nutrient-rich: It is the energy of love.
The energy in a dying form will find a new form.
Read the whole essay here: Lac Cafe´Medley.
The entire Issue #9 of Dark Matter: Women Witnessing is filled with gorgeous writing, poetry, and photos…insightful, heartbreaking, and wise. I invite you to read the issue slowly, with breath, awareness, and presence, taking in the communications, the wisdom, and the insight of this beautiful collection of writers, artists, and visionaries.
As difficult as these times are, I am so grateful to be in a community of people–specifically women–who are speaking, writing, conversing on this level. It’s an astounding time to be alive…and it’s what we came for.
With great love,