Yemanja is the Goddess of the Ocean in the traditions of Africa, Brazil and many other places. Yesterday, February 2nd, she was celebrated as she is every year in Salvador, Brazil, where she also goes by the name Janaina. Thousands of people gather to make offerings to her on this day.
Yesterday I read this news in the headlines: The Starfish are Dying and No One Knows Why.
Traditionally, Janaina is crowned with a starfish and often wears a blue cloak covered with golden starfish.
All up and down the west coast, off California, large numbers of starfish are dissolving, literally turning to goo, according to reports. Scientists are mystified. They theorize a bacterial infection. There is flurry of activity and concern as they try to discover the cause.
The starfish is the special love of Janaina, her messenger. If we have ears to hear or eyes to see, what does this dying tell us?
The resonance of these two events disturbs me deeply, because there is a third event that occurred simultaneously. Recently I was given a glimpse of a world of the future. No time frame, no prediction. A glimpse that is so sadly easy to believe, given the drought in California, the cold of our winters and the heat of our summers already, the ongoing pollution of our waters and air.
The earth was brown. The rivers were brown, the oceans were brown, the forests were dead. Our beloved earth, as we usually see it imaged from space, is still a vibrant green and blue and white. In the view I saw, it was dark brown, and rust, and black. Even the clouds surrounding it were brown. I wept.
Then the next day I read of the starfish dying.
I take the dying of the starfish as a message from Yemanja/Janaina. Another wake-up call among so many we are consistently ignoring.
Many years ago, in 1988 to be exact, the Awareness said the only, yes, the only, thing that we need to be concerned about in relation to the future existence of life on earth was climate change, then called global warming, and that this climate change was related to our human activities, in essence, to our human greed and ignorance and aggression.
So, we know this. Not everyone, but undoubtedly everyone reading this. I don’t know what to do, and I don’t have a lot of suggestions to make. We know such a deep sea change has to happen. And I don’t think it is any accident we have that phrase “sea change.” We need a tidal wave of change, and that change has to be in human consciousness.
In SourcePoint, we talk about far vision: The need to hold in our hearts, minds and spirit the vision of a world transformed, a world of co-operation, communication and sharing rather than a world fueled by aggression, domination, control and greed. Human lives lived in alignment with and awareness of the fundamental Order, Balance, Harmony, Flow.
This morning I am finding it especially challenging to hold that vision.
I realize as I write that I was given in that image of the brown, discolored earth a direct and simple way to work with my fears, grief, anger, helplessness, and with the need to hold a far vision. I can just keep seeing that one future possibility, that brown earth among the stars, and see it transforming back into that image I have loved from the moment I first saw it, that lovely sphere with its oceans and forests and clouds.
I can see again that brown earth turning to green and blue and white, vibrant and alive, over and over and over. I can breath life into that image. We all can. We all need to. No matter what the outcome.
SourcePoint also provides one way among many for us to remember the sacredness of nature. As I become more aware of the underlying exquisite, breathtaking, seemingly impossible order and precision of nature, I understand deeply the meaning of the word sacred. I hold my breath in wonder and awe. I return to the faith that this cosmic order is stronger and deeper and wider than our human ignorance.
And I honor Yemanja, the spirit of the waters, the goddess of the ocean. The day before all this happened a friend sent me an article by David Spangler, a spiritual teacher who was originally known for his work at Findhorne. He wrote of the water spirits, and how one morning recently he had received a message from a water spirit in a glass of water. The communication from the water spirit was simple. “When you use water, please send loving, healing and uplifting energy (Light) to the kingdom of the water spirits for many of our kind are suffering and under siege from the continuing and increasing pollution by humanity. We need your support and blessing from which we can draw strength.”
I received this almost exact message from the water spirits many years ago. It was a time when I was praying for rain, which living in New Mexico under increasing conditions of drought, I used to do regularly. Not any more. The water spirits told me: We are exhausted. We are doing everything we can but we are exhausted. We have always helped you but now we need your help. I was told that to acknowledge them, to honor them, to sing to them, to meditate with them, to offer them my recognition and love, all these nourished and sustained them and gave them strength. I was told that for us human beings to keep praying, asking over and over for what they are not able to give, exhausts them further. Ever since, I try to make this a daily practice, to offer them strength and ask how I can help.
I think the starfish are giving us a simple message: we need to pay immediate, deep, attention to the waters of life and spirit, and these two are inextricably intertwined.
In SourcePoint , we don’t work directly with the spirits of nature. We work with the realm of the Blueprint, of that cosmic order from which spirits and life and the material world arise. But as we connect with that realm on a regular basis, that information of the Blueprint awakens our knowing, our memory, of the presence of Spirit and spirits. Nature is light, nature is order, nature is spirit and energy. Nature is beauty. Nature is life. We are all of that, spirit, energy, light, order, and beauty.
So this morning I am writing this to heal, for the moment, the deep despair that I felt when I saw so vividly those dead forests, the brown oceans, the disappearance of the color and the light and beauty that is given us as a precious gift and which we have so abused. I am writing to remember that far vision, to return to it, to hold it in my heart, always. I am writing to honor the presence of sprit and light in our world.
For human beings to recognize the sacredness of this world, deeply, would save it. May we all who know this, remember this, every day. May we all find our ways to work directly with the trees, the plants, and the waters of this earth.
© Donna Thomson and Bob Schrei 2014