Alchemy and Inner Gold
I've been on an unexpected journey of late. A deep one. A gritty one, that seems now to be bringing some clarity that is worthy of sharing.
Back story - Mark and I moved to Nevada City a few months ago, following an insistent knowing for me that would not go away. I just had to live there.
Interestingly, its a huge gold rush area, known for some of the highest quality gold in the 'mother load'. That makes it a centre of wealth generation born of total ecological carnage, and a centre of normalized devastation that makes my toes curl. And yet, this is where my soul declared its new home and so here we are, in staggering heat and smoke, close to a river of more beauty than I knew possible in the world.
Two weekends ago we were invited to go and do a ritual of 'giving gold back' to an ecological sacrifice site called Malakoff Diggings. This is the scene of possibly the worst hydraulic mining in California, where high pressure water was used to blast away a mountain to access the gold laid down beneath ancient river beds held deep in its core.
Going there was like the ecological equivalent of walking into a ghost town where you knew that something terrible had happened and a once thriving place was now dead and bare like a desert. For a few seconds, I heard the noise as it must have been. Staggeringly loud; voices, metal, crashing, digging, smashing, then silence accompanied by a weighty exhaustion that started to blanket my being.
Deep in ritual I contemplated that exhaustion. Yes, the land was shattered, but a volcano could have done that, or a meteor, glacier or earthquake. Steadily it dawned on me what I was feeling. In the same way that human consciousness can wield such power and potency through intimate connection with the sacredness of life, so can it do untold damage through unconsciousness.
This land had been raped utterly barbarically by men who saw nothing but gold in waiting. They saw no sacredness in the forest, the soils, the beings that lived there, the unique mineral content of that mountain that would have resonated its own unique frequency and song within its landscape of beauty. There was even a video stating 'here is the problem - inside that mountain is (blah blah) amount of gold, but we've found an amazing solution to the problem' - the water cannon, literally modeled on a weapon of war, now referred to as 'dancing with grace' as it cut away the mountain side.
Yes, each man would have had his own reason for being there, his own longing for something more or better than he had. I can label it as greed and damn them all with judgment, or I can take a step back and say the one consistent factor that must be a collective truth, is the disconnection from the land as sacred; a level of unconsciousness that allowed that action to feel not just normal, but appropriate, even graceful. Wow yes - we have become so strong, we know how to bring down a mountain.
That mountain is gone.
As we sang to the place, and added our tears to the blood red streams streaking over parched white stone, I found myself realizing that that gold digging consciousness was no different to child abuse, the rape of women or the rape of anyone or anything that is in the way of the desired prize. The abuser has found a way to disappear the sacredness before them, and simply focus on mining the gold. The erotic plunder of purity. The satisfaction of dominance. The power to desecrate. To devastate.
The words 'normalized exploitation' have started welling up like a dark spring and I'm seeing the world anew yet again. Piercing the default settings of cultural norms is always a mind bending process, but this one has surfaced some unexpected gold along with it.
I've been watching collective reactions to things as collusion makes way for disbelief, indignation, outrage and then refusal to comply. I've been feeling for the internal alchemical gift that is happening within the collective shedding of apathy and tolerance for divisive, unconscious leadership. We are watching impotence turn to questioning, fears that have stopped us for so long quietly falling to the wayside as life starts to rise through us all and call us into wakefulness. We are not what we have been taught, and nor is our way of life an expression of who and what we really are.
And something else. If you look into the dark spring of subjugation you will clearly see that whilst down with a patriarchal foot on the back of your neck, if you don't give up, then moment by moment you are growing muscles that are highly relevant to now.
Yes our victim stories sting with injustice and can deafen us for years. There is always a handy excuse and fear filled belief ready to pull the rug, I have walked that stage and I know it well. But I also know that because of it, I now have a capacity to face the unfaceable, feel the unfeelable, deal with the impossible, handle the unhandleable and manage the intolerable. One might say that's appropriate training for climate change 101, and not just for me.
Womenkind has been held down for thousands of years, tolerating femicide, rape cultures, ownership, burning, every form of public and private negation and conditioning away from her power that the church and seemingly almost every planetary culture could concoct. Unconsciousness has literally been pressed into every level of our being. Ok, so now what?
'The truth will out' as my Mother would always say. You can only hold what is out of alignment with life, out of view or awareness for so long before it itself rises to be made conscious and healed back into wholeness with more of itself.
Life - through women - is refuting its subjugation and the love that we are is rising - not for permission to be seen or valued, but to be fully experienced and expressed by every single one of us.
I'm finding myself recontextualizing the domination of women almost as long term warrior training at the level of our souls, our genetics, our hearts and our psyches. I think we're finally living the moment when we push that foot off the back of our necks and tap previously unknown levels of power held within muscles that we didn't even know we had, that have been quietly growing through adversity for generations.
The oppressed has alchemized oppression. The lead of 'less than' is transforming into the gold of inner sanctity and we are realizing that we shine - like it or not.
As #metoo rips the veils off the so called 'acceptable' and replaces it with refusal to be subject to even one more moment of disrespect, we have the option to turn that rage towards the so called oppressor, or direct it full throttle towards the only thing worth fighting for now - our planetary survival.
Woman is rising and what is she rising for? Let it be life, please.
It has clarified why I am doing TreeSisters versus TreePeople - tree everyone. The rising of women is in time for the greatest evolutionary moment of our species as we teeter between rediscovering our role as stewards of nature, or dashing ourselves on the rocks of short term stupidity having walked off the ecological cliff. Womenkind is uniquely prepared to rise with unique quality of power - power born of adversity, compassion and love - power than sees no-one left out - power that demands equality, sanity, sanctity and reverence for life - power that rates the future lives of our children higher than the short term balance of a thirsty bank account.
I think that might be the new word for Woman in my inner world.
Edgey. Roaring. Unpredictable like Pele.
Power laced with a the quality of consciousness needed SPECIFICALLY for an awakening back into balance.
Power through love, not power over another.
Power WITH nature, as nature.
Power with values as intrinsic as breathing in and out, as trustworthy as the stroke of a mother wide awake to the delicacy of life.
Woman as power
Thank Goddess, we are starting to recognize and feel that.
A new version of ourselves is on the way, and yes, we are ready.
With deepest gratitude to Azul Valerie Thome who was behind this meeting and who's deep soul is answering the call to give the gold back to Gaia - and a deep bow to Kristinha Anding for the ritual itself, for the depth of connection and the privilege of our togetherness.
Written by Clare Dubois
Photos by Clare Dubios
Clare Dubois, founder of TreeSisters is an Earth loving social entrepreneur and inspirational speaker who worked internationally for 18 years facilitating groups, coaching business leaders and creating behaviour change processes within the personal growth sector. Clare is leading the TreeSisters campaign; focusing on network development and the empowerment of women. She has been developing the ethos and principles, the team and organisational culture, the campaign strategy, the framework of the Maps and behaviour change materials. She is committed to the creation of an evolving system that learns as it goes and continually models itself upon the flows and forms of living systems.