(Lightly Edited Transcription) Image Thanks to Tim Dry sowing near Junee [CC BY-SA 2.0 ]
Many blessings from The Ancestral Medicine Women, thank you for reading.
So, we have been asked a question about the drought and what the Shamanic understanding of drought is. There are many possibilities actually with drought, if we were to look at particular areas, particular areas where drought is, communities, the nation and so on, we would be able really to pinpoint and go much deeper into why they are experiencing drought there. As that is not possible, we are going to give a very general overview.
Drought if you think about it, at its very essence is about survival. If you go to a place where there is drought and has been in drought for a long time, the ground is dirt, it is dusty, there is nothing there, it is barren, it’s a desert, but interestingly there is, until it becomes an actual desert, there is always that feeling of hope. If you think about survival, whether it is survival because you are unwell or just general survival in our world, our need and understanding of hope plays an enormous part. Hope is one of the drivers, the motivators of life. People often say, “there is always hope”. So, drought in itself at its essence is really about survival.
Of course, drought has not just occurred, drought has been here and there for generation upon generation in different parts of the world. But if you look at the places that were in drought, and looked at the economic situations in those places, the push me-pull me of capital productivity, of capitalism, needs, wants, desires of the human groups that are either in that place, or relying on the place or are using the place, you will see there are some real common denominators.
Greed, of course, is one of those common denominators. Everyone wants more and more, they do not want to pay more, in fact they want to pay less, which means corners need to be cut, care must go out the window, so that desires disguised as needs can be satiated. Another one is misunderstanding or not understanding the dynamics of the earth, the dynamics of growth, the dynamics the plants and their world and purpose. Now a plant always knows its purpose, and if the purpose of that plant is to provide healing, food, sustenance, nourishment, a weapon, whether that weapon is to produce a poison, or whether it is to be used as a deterrent for insects or other animals and so on, the plant always knows its purpose. Unfortunately, many humans, especially if they are not involved closely, or connected to the land, water, the elements, will not understand the dynamic world of nature.
And so these people often are dismissive and disrespectful and do not honour those natural dynamics, they do not honour and respect the work that goes into all of that. We are not just talking about the human element here, we are talking about the work of the plants, the work of the weather and how all of that has to sync in with each other in a particular way dynamically to create all of these plants, their food and their existence and purpose, to allow their purpose to be realised.
So, there is a lack of understanding in how it all works and we do not mean the logistics of farming and how you grow food, we talking about the purpose of the plant. The purpose of the food or the produce – the purpose of it – its own purpose – not just the purpose it’s going to feed you, but its own purpose and if that is not understood, respected and honoured then that is going to be decimated, and it will lose hope. Remember we said drought is about survival, and hope is one of those things that is very important for survival. If hope is not there, then you will have these situations of extreme; conditions for non-growth, for non-hope.
Another common denominator in a drought and really becomes apparent when the situation goes on for a very long time – is the health of a community. Human beings thrive in communities. Very few human beings thrive, develop, grow, experience and so-on in an environment where there is no community, where they are by themselves, totally by themselves. So, when you look at drought situations and places where there are drought different things can happen:
- Communities can pull together to help each other out
- Other communities can get together to help that drought community out
Unfortunately many humans lack perseverance and resilience and this can impact an individual and communities. It is often called compassion fatigue. Think about if you have been, or have known, someone who has been ill, extremely ill. At first everybody wants to help, everybody brings food, everybody cleans the house, helps out with appointments, but eventually it gets tiring, gets burdensome on the helper’s life and they’ve got their own life to live, they’ve got things to be getting on with, and can’t be constantly be putting all of that aside to help this other person. Many people who have been ill, seriously ill have experienced that, everybody helps in the beginning but soon people get tired and they don’t do it any more.
If you look at these droughts, where the drought has gone on for a long-time, communities initially pull together and they can get through. Other communities come in and they start to help but eventually it becomes ‘normalised’, the drought becomes normalised and people stop helping to the extent that they did before. The wider community stop helping. The cities will just go somewhere else to buy their food, because the cities have to be fed. They will just go somewhere else and buy their food, they will import it, they will always be able to get it from someone else.
And then even in the community of the drought, divisions start to appear. There are those people who are on the land who are experiencing the drought really first hand. Not only do they bear the burden of their livelihood, the preservation of their investment, providing food for their community/nation, the family legacy, the care of animals and crops, and the repaying of enormous debt, but they also have the emotional, mental and spiritual burden that goes along with this kind of responsibility. Then there are the people who live in the town who provide the services and support, but they do not share the same level of burden. These divisions are very subtle, but they are there and the longer the drought goes on the deeper the divisions become. So, the drought could be said to cause the divisions, but we would suggest that those divisions were always there, they were hidden by good weather; the sun was shining, the rain was falling.
So, from a Shamanic perspective we would not be looking at a general ‘top layer’, we would acknowledge that greed, lack of understanding of the dynamics of nature, and a lack of perseverance and resilience were accepted aspects of drought. We would really be looking at the individual place, at the divisions, what has been hidden, and the emotional, mental and spiritual energies, and we would be going right underneath, right down into the earth, looking deep, deep, deep. We would be digging, digging, digging, looking, looking, looking and then we would be following the threads under the ground to find out how far they go and going to work there.
As we said, we have given a very general overview of drought because each area would be different and would need to be dealt with as such. But already we hear people saying, “It stopped raining! That has nothing to do with the land, it’s not raining!” And they would be right, it’s not raining and there is drought as the result of the not raining. But we would also say that the not raining is a symptom, not the cause, a symptom of what’s going on, just as the drought is.
We hope this has somewhat explained the Shamanic understanding of drought and that it encourages you to delve a little further into your own area, your own place to try and find the underlying, right down deep, possibilities of its cause.
(c) 2019 All rights reserved Brad and Caroline Dunn