Just watched an interview with Michael Meade a mythologist and storyteller amongst other things. He draws from many ancient practices including the Dagara tradition of West Africa. Nature he reminds us is associated with magic, he asks us to consider the notion that magic could mean transformation. I love that!!
There are five elements in the Dagara tradition Fire, Water, Earth, Mineral and Nature. These make up the creative cosmology of that tradition. The Dagara people believe it is the foundation from which we live our lives and cannot be separated from our existence.
They separate the nature element from earth, which is solid, grounded and nature is this ever moving ever changing, ever transforming magical element. It teaches us about life death and rebirth. Death as we know is part of life and in this tradition far from the end of life, as we go on to continue living as ancestors.
We die many large and small deaths over and over, as all in nature eventually does and through the big and small losses in our lives, the modern day initiations we live into, we are constantly being reborn into who we came here to be.
Nature is another teacher on forgiveness and letting go and a powerful tool for healing. When healing is happening, transformation and magic is present. Nature also asks us to water our own garden, find a way to revitalize and rejuvenate our spirit, that’s why people were sent to the mountains or the ocean to convalese during or after an illness. It is also very specific, a trees does not wonder what it is, or what it could be.
“How green do you want to be?” I have heard Malidoma Some, Shaman and teacher in this tradition ask. He continues to challenge us with radical questions such as “If there’s enough courage to be able to explore true nature how many rules do we violate to do it?”
So this great mother asks us, is it time to let go of the masks we have worn to fit in, to please others or hide behind? Our authentic selves are waiting to get a little wild. Its a forever love affair, this identification of true self.
When we spend time in nature it invites us to see her beauty, to show us her mystery. It is an open ongoing invitation to continue cultivating our wildness and a move towards our true nature. I always thought being at one with nature was this new age, over expressed hippy saying that used to annoy me, until I did my first vision quest, three days and nights alone in nature with no food. It was my teacher extraordinaire and what I understood when I was lucky enough to dare I say it experience being one with nature was that when all else is stripped away, when all that was left was me and nature, I was left with my essence, specific and clear and I felt whole, unbroken and more present in my life than ever. And I got it! We are interconnected with everything, how foolish of us to think that we are all there is.
The animals are our protection our teachers each one carrying medicine for us, never to be underestimated or taken for granted. The mighty ant and the mountain lion each carrying a piece of nature’s medicine for that day. Today I picked the Mountain Lion card in my spread of Animal Medicine cards. My question, show me the medicine I need to carry for this weekend of events. Here’s is the medicine I most resonated with. “You can never make everyone happy unless you lie to yourself or others. This is human nature. Therefore the first responsibility of leadership is to tell the truth.” and so I stand in my true nature for today.
Michael Meade will be in LA March 4/5 please go to Mosaicvoices.org,for more info about the events.
Malidoma Some. Malidoma.com