Monday, December 19, 2016

A new creation story to shed light in this season of darkness

I don't mind the darkness of the season. I love the slow tilting of the sunlight through the year, this way and that, the changes it brings to our daily lives, one of the few reminders of what we can't control no matter how hard we try - that we are OF the Earth and cannot escape that magnificent, humbling, wonderfully limiting reality. The more we try to separate from it, the more pathological our economic culture becomes.

And so, this time of year has always given way to great stories that humans make up about the "light in the darkness," about the solstice, about how the promise of light's return also holds the promise of warmth, renewal of life, the next harvest. Sky gods and moon gods and myths of return, or the metaphor that this seasonal moment heralds a special coming into the world of light in the harsher darkness and cold of the winter months.
Photo: Josh Morgan for The Huffington Post

We humans need a lot of renewal, a lot of healing. We westerners in particular went off on a long path of separation over thousands of years - conquest and empires, one tribe crushing another, warrior gods who fight on our side, but certainly not on the other. We stole people from one continent and sold them into slavery to become laborers on this continent, and we are still living out of the damage and trauma of that story, often a tension between denial, resistance to truth, and the claim of those descendants of African heritage to insist on their humanity, their dignity, and their freedom.

Conquest was part of the story of this US American culture from its beginning days - conquest over tribes and cultures indigenous to this land, the determination to wipe out all trace of them (but they have proved way too resilient for that), to act as if this land belonged to us by right of conquest. That story has played out for over 500 years now and the chapters are still being written.

And among the most powerful chapters being written now, which I believe will finally overcome the history of Conquest and perhaps even save us, is the rise of indigenous peoples and cultures throughout the Americas. This particular story, the story of Standing Rock, has meant a lot to me, as you've seen in previous posts, because I believe it is a resurgence of a powerful spirituality rooted in place, rooted in the truth of our human interconnectedness with all of Nature.

So the story I want to share continues from Standing Rock. It is a story of humble acknowledgement of history, of the need for healing, of a moment of forgiveness - of the asking for forgiveness, that I think can be a model for how we go about the work of new creation. It is told in a couple of videos which I hope you might watch, share with family and community, and which could open the door to some deep reflection about how we proceed out of a history of so much oppression, racism, and injustice into the kind of healing community that could free us for the work of new or renewed creation so urgently needed now. 

~ Margaret Swedish

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