Western culture is in the midst of the largest transformation in its history. What is passing away is a patriarchal coercive way of life that was set down 5000 years ago in Sumer. Joseph Campbell referred to this (following Frobenius) as the Monumental Stage. Its identifying features have been coercive government, literacy, numeracy, astronomy, astrology, cattle-breeding, agriculture, enslavement, and a patriarchal hierarchy bestowed by all-powerful sovereign on high who gives immortality to a chosen few.
A culture in its monumental stage is split from a feeling the Earth. Its people as a rule are not in relationship with their own ancestors as a spiritual practice. The sense of personal awe before the cosmos is no longer encouraged or nourished. Dreams are of little importance. This condition is called normative dissociation in the work of Jurgen Kremer.
We are emerging into a participatory way of life on Earth that honors all the voices and the dream-lives of every individual of the planet — Theodore Roszak called the collective individuality of voices, The Voice of the Earth. Thomas Berry prophesied of the collective individuality of dreams in his book, The Dream of the Earth. Joseph Campbell wrote of this as mythologiization. He reminded us:
“The Kingdom of the Father”, we have just heard, “is spread upon the earth and men do not see it.” Land nam, mythologization, has been the universally practiced method to bring this intelligible kingdom into view in the mind’s eye. The Promised Land, therefore, is any landscape recognized as mythologically transparent, and the method of acquisition of such a territory is not by prosaic physical action, but poetically, by intelligence and the method of art; so that the human being should be dwelling in two worlds simultaneously of the illuminated moon and the illuminated sun. [Inner Reaches of Outer Space, p. 62]
Failure to know the difference between a “Promised Land” in which the relationships with all that is are stewarded poetically in ritual, intelligence and the method of art and a realm taken by war has been a human stumbling block. I have named the cultural symptom of taking territory by war, prosaic physical action, chorapathology.
This is the Time of the The Third Great Awakening, the Preparation of the 8th Fire, in the Ojibway/Chippewa Prophecies. I call this, The Magnification. Author, Joanna Macy, named this largest shift, The Great Turning. Eco-spiritual theologian, Thomas Berry, called it, the opening into the environmental age. He wrote in Dream of the Earth:
It’s all a question of story. We are in trouble just now because we are in-between stories. The Old Story – the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it – sustained us for a long time. It shaped our emotional attitudes, provided us with life purpose, energized action, consecrated suffering, integrated knowledge, and guided education. We awoke in the morning and knew where we were. We could answer the questions of our children. But now it is no longer functioning properly, and we have not yet learned the New Story.
We are all trying to return to right planetary relationship and to awaken in the cosmos that magnification has revealed.
The wholeness where I have lived with the circles here in northeast Ohio can be imagined in this way:
And a new soul-image we have been birthing can be imagined like this:
I am also the founder of Urrealism, No Man’s Folk Music and Earthbriety. I am a co-founder of archetypal ecology. My work as an adjunct professor in Art and Religious Studies is at Ursuline College. I also teach as an adjunct professor in Creativity Studies for the Gifted at Ashland University. My community includes Warriors Journey Home where I am a board member. WJH Minstries works to assist communities to welcome veterans home from military service.
I am also a faculty member of Lake Erie Institute that offers workshops, retreats, and leadership programs that support the emergence of an Earth-honoring global civilization. Our events and programs re-indigenize Western minds by fostering a relational worldview and an ethic of care for the Earth.