On Friday, Nov. 6th, the day before the Biden/Harris race was called I spent a day in a deeply meditative state. I live in the NY City metropolitan area and it was a beautiful day. I mostly sat in my backyard in a patch of sunshine musing on the world and seeking a personal sense of balance. I didn’t do anything that day. Well not entirely true, I did a few things, for example I shifted positions a few times to stay in the sun. I grew up in the Puritan based school system which frowned on “doing nothing” as if spending a day not actively achieving anything was somehow wrong, perhaps sinful. For my kids, 30 years after me, it was far worse, codified in hours of homework following a complete school day. And today it’s even harder with afterschool activities (although I must say, to my great pleasure, I have never seen so many children playing on the street in my neighborhood than since this pandemic began.) No wonder Mama Nature is not generally honored. We don’t raise our children to have the time nor space for Her.
I live in a community which could be called the “American dream.” All neat houses sit on neat properties, mostly rectangled out to 60 by 100 as is my own. Very flat. My neighbors all have beautiful grass, so green, always at perfect height, each plump spear just like every other one. Every spring and fall little yellow signs show up on the lawns that say a pesticide or herbicide was applied and to stay off the lawn for 24 hours. I always wonder how they let the birds, worms, dogs and squirrels know of the danger. I haven’t put chemicals on my lawn since I moved in more than 10 years ago. My lawn is a lovely green mishmash of what others would call weeds with a bit of grass interspersed. My house faces south so every spring I also plant a vegetable garden right in the front that covers the space of about ¼ of the previous lawn. I don’t know how my neighbors feel. I imagine they could call me Janet DandelionSeed, especially in the spring. But the gift is I have these plumb, beautiful, organic dandelion roots and flowers to make concoctions. This year I made a spring cleansing tonic and a dandelion/bee’s wax salve. It’s fabulous. I have some tins of it which I will give to my daughter when her baby is born so she can use it to protect from diaper rash.
I sometimes guide smallish fire ceremonies in my back yard. I always want to use local wood. It is hard to find in my neighborhood because “garbage” gets cleaned up so quickly and completely. Right after storms I walk around the neighborhood and collect the wood from branches that have fallen and place them around my property, so I have them ready for the ceremonies. Many people place their fall leaves in plastic bags. This one gets me especially crazy as it creates garbage out of nature’s bounty. I have expanded my compost capabilities this year, but I can’t come close to composting it all. Ugh. I do use paper bags to gather leaves but even that hurts.
As I walk about my neighborhood and see the little yellow signs and the plastic garbage bags filled with leaves, I think to myself “have we learned nothing from recent events?” From Trumpism to Covid, its all of a similar mind set, we can’t keep poisoning the earth, we can’t keep demonizing people different than we are. I am thinking basically about the concept of eco-feminism expanded to all bodies, how we treat the body of the earth relating not only to how we treat female bodies but how we treat our own, and all bodies that co-exist on our precious planet. If our paradigms, our stories don’t change . . . if we don’t cherish what we love, our earth, our fellow human beings, what do we have?
When Brexit was approved in 2016 just before Trump’s election, a movement was started where people wore safety pins on their clothes to alert immigrants and other marginalized communities that “you’re safe with me.” Clever huh? After Trump won, I began to wear safety pins on my outer clothing in solidarity. They are still pinned there. The trend didn’t take off here in the United States so no one really knows what they mean. Some people have asked me thinking I had left a sewing project unfinished. I am now contemplating when to take the safety pins off. With Trump out of office we will have valuable breathing room, but the dangers will continue because the cultural roots that gave rise to Trump are historical and deep.
As Biden and Harris get to work changing the political paradigms, we here at FAR have a mission too. We need to continue, maybe even redouble our work questioning and renewing underlying spiritual paradigms. Our world, our culture desperately needs new stories with new values especially surrounding the meaning of success.
Its super hard to step outside those underlying (sometimes unconscious) cultural norms, even those which are destructive. I could not have seen my beautiful dreamy day as a success 20 years, ago probably not even 10. Ten years ago, I would have described my property as unkept, now I see it as a sliver of woodland-pasture sanctuary in the middle of suburbia.
For the US, at least, we have taken a giant step away from cruelty, racism, climate denial, misogyny, and so on. For today, for this week, this month I celebrate. It still brings tears to my eyes to contemplate the joyous, spontaneous street parties that erupted on the 7th. Thank you Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Now let’s get to work!
Janet Maika’i Rudolph. “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE QUEST.” I have walked the spirit path for over 25 years traveling to sacred sites around the world including Israel to do an Ulpan (Hebrew language studies while working on a Kibbutz), Eleusis and Delphi in Greece, Avebury and Glastonbury in England, Brodgar in Scotland, Machu Picchu in Peru, Teotihuacan in Mexico, and Giza in Egypt. Within these travels, I have participated in numerous shamanic rites and rituals, attended a mystery school based on the ancient Greek model, and studied with shamans around the world. I am twice initiated. The first as a shaman practitioner of a pathway known as Divine Humanity. The second ordination in 2016 was as an Alaka’i (a Hawaiian spiritual guide with Aloha International). I have written three books: When Moses Was a Shaman, When Eve Was a Goddess, and One Gods. In Ardor and Adventure, Janet.