when i first heard of Council of All Beings workshops, I thought, what a funny touchy-feely way to explore our place in the world. I really thought that it sounded as silly as trying to feel energy or douse for water. Since then, I have found the energetic fields that we are bathed in constantly to be a vital part of my own sensory awareness and dousing to have validity as well. When we first seek to commune with nature, we might research and try to discover our spirit guides, or study natural history to get in touch with how different organisms adapt to their surroundings looking for traits that we personally feel affinity for. Developing relationship with our four-legged, winged or finned cousins is a process that different individuals develop in different ways.
My own vision quest was far too lengthy to describe briefly, but to get to the point quickly, it was certainly not what I expected. At the end, I had a very rude awakening to the fact that a beaver had just come within arm’s reach of me in the morning mists, laid back on a small, beaver-sized island in the stream, and let out a massive, greasy fart. I spent the next few years rationalizing that in some Native American language, farting beaver, my new spirit name sounds beautiful. As a young child and into adulthood I had many experiences that brought great insight into my own relationship with natural beings and forces, but perhaps I was more lucky than most. The fireflies, ducks, blueberries and quince trees as well as cicada, earthworms, eagle and doves spoke to me in ways that both encouraged and taught me about my place in the natural scheme of things. Ostracized by most of my cohort, I had plenty of time to experience both stillness and wrath of nature, find peace within both tranquil moments and tumult. Reading the book: Thinking Like a Mountain brought me to a place of honoring the utter lack of experience some of us have in the natural world. Even the experience of a novice can hold great insight for an open and aware teacher and the things I learned from that book acted as a hinge which then led to a full year of intrigue and insights as I delved further into the consciousness raising power behind this new-age way of exploring the natural world.
Though not for everyone, this Council of All Beings work can lead the honest seeker to new realms of awareness and the responsibility that our specific species has tot he rest of the natural world can be more fully understood after having a chance to experience how the rest of the planet feels about our presence here on planet earth. Establishing a dialog with forces and inhabitants of nature serve two purposes. One one hand they breed compassion through developing understanding and simultaneously, they inspire action and inform our perspective about our own actions and their unique ability to impact fellow travelers on Spaceship Earth.
The messages that Earth and her fellow companions of the heavens have messages for us, and thousands of books have been written about those relationships. Earth’s specific moods and creatures are an overlooked source, by many, of insight, guidance and purpose among humankind. Sure, there are those among us who “love animals” or respect them. Some devote their lives to natural history or the study of certain species. There is nothing wrong with any of those endeavors. Few of us delve into the lives of our animal brethren as a source of purpose or guiding principle of our own existence, but often that is just what the doctor ordered for us to begin to feel naturalized as citizens of the planet.
Ironically, as we proceed to open ourselves to the realms which lie outside our mediated environment, new languages develop sub-consciously, new awarenesses that are difficult to explain are realized and budding relationships with nature come about. In homage to our co-creators in the world, many of us try to make their spirits known among humans. Ironically, unless everyone readies themselves to hear the truth behind what they have to say, significant environmental change is unlikely to occur. Even though we have had science yelling in our ear about a multitude of environmental calamities occurring across the planet, our culture remains resistant tot their messages. Calming our modern minds enough to hear directly from creatures as well as the Earth itself, may take many more generations but it can take place immediately bringing with it a sense of purpose and guidance in difficult times. My own animal guides speak to me routinely and the solace and single-minded purpose with which they live their own lives lends clarity to my own actions.
Council of All Beings Workshops are held periodically. If there is no way for you to explore these workshops as an option in your area, reading the book mentioned earlier might be able to give you a sense of what they entail. Many have gone on pilgrimage to find this sort of communion with the natural world and that is one of the things that brings people to take ecotours. If you would like a specialized event that gets you into relationship with the natural world, contact us and we can help you to experience the world a bit more deeply.
Rest assured that as much as the media tries to estrange us from the natural world, we are part of it, our family stretches out across the ages, across species and beyond all knowing through an unbroken stream of both genetic and experiential relationships. How we relate to those around us speaks volumes about who we are as a people, who we are as individuals and the potential we have as humans to make peace with one another and the planet. A great hush seemed to fall over the world as we watched events unfold in Japan recently. The pall of death is overcoming many of us as it unfolds on such a new and massive scale. It has only been twenty-five years since the last major nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, but the legacy of that accident will live on for all time. Now, we have all accepted another ageless ecological disaster. If, for a moment, we could feel compassion for the tens of millions of humans who have perished due to the Chernobyl tragedy. Perhaps it would help us to feel for the billions of creatures who have died from the same event. as with ships in the sea or planes in the air, we must seek to choreograph our actions not only for our own expression of freedom and adventure, but with honor and respect for the others who share the realm with us. To ignore the others who are with us on the planet can only lead to eventual mayhem. Ignoring the messages that nature has for us leads no only to isolation and estrangement but to sickness and violence as well. Just because those who are hurt by our “civilization” are invisible to most of us, cannot lessen their pain. Respecting their right to exist is only a first step toward developing a relationship and it is only from a sense of respect that we can learn to develop in harmony with nature and her many spirit guides who offer themselves graciously for our growth and awareness.