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Life Arts

Letting Go of Ourselves: The Wisdom of Green Funerals

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"Be newborn

Be free of yourself"

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(Tao I Ching)

Upon observing the original European invaders coming to South America, the indigenous tribe called the Kogis came to the conclusion that the Europeans were dead. This perception caused a certain portion of the Kogis to go into the mountains of Columbia to hide from the invaders they saw coming to their land.   For several centuries, a small portion of this tribe stayed in hiding until they decided to come out of the mountains as they saw the Earth deteriorating.   It was deteriorating due to the actions of what the Kogis referred to as the Younger Brother, the European white men.

In saying the Europeans were dead, the Kogis were not saying literally dead.   Instead, they were referring to a state that is beyond regular death. To the Kogis, and to most indigenous people, death is a living process.   As a Navaho chant sings:

"The air I become it

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The fields, I become it

The air, the cloud, I become it."

What the Kogis were describing was the psychological and spiritual death of the Europeans that had come about due to the civilized mindset of Greco--Roman rationalism, which required the world being chopped into pieces.   In this divisional mindset, the world's people and resources were being invaded by what ultimately could be referred to as a cancerous growth.   By cancerous I am referring to a mindset of growth that continues on without boundaries.   Cancer is defined as being normal cells that begin to grow abnormally to the point that they ultimately are destroying the host's body.   Cancer is the body committing suicide.   This is exactly where Western Civilization exists in our modern day business and political ethos of world domination by a select few.   We are destroying the world by our greed for controlling the world and Her resources.   We are committing suicide.   As the power of the Catholic Church, located in Rome, reflects, we have not let go of the power of the Roman Empire.   The political and corporate capital may have physically changed from Rome to London to Washington D.C. and New York, but the power structure remains the same.   The rulers are the same Queen/King dressed in different attire.

Another metaphor for the death the Kogis saw in the Europeans is the vampire.   A vampire in European folklore is a person who has died and refused to lie down.   A vampire's life is maintained by feeding off the blood of the living.   The ones the vampire feeds off of are generally beautiful young women who serve as the ultimate metaphor of life, and the container of the egg that spells the future of humanity.   Young women are the ones that are most ripe for the unfolding of the potential that lies within them in relation to the desires of the external world (the male).   It is the mesmerizing control over the woman, who is the "labor classes" of the European culture; that causes her to stick her neck out for the pointed teeth of the living dead.   Thus the vampire myth is ultimately saying the same thing as the Kogis, except that the Kogis were more blatant about linking the European invaders to the process of the living dead.

A vampire is a dead being that refuses to accept he is dead.   Our death is evident in the deforestation of the planet and the pouring of concrete jungles throughout by corporations and their underling governments.   This concrete world we have created has in turn cemented our dying corpse into a metallic vault which does not allow us to return to our Mother and integrate into the Other.   We have created a dead and dying world in our own image.

It is interesting that the most formal term that we call a woman that has given us birth is "Mother."   Isolate the "M" in this word and you have "Other."   In order for self-awareness to unfold, there is no doubt that the process of separation from the Mother is required.   Thus, our separation from Nature is somewhat necessary.   Being the child of Woman, of Nature, is the way Nature is able to become more cognizant of Herself.   If we remained in the womb, we would have no awareness of ourselves nor would the Mother be able to see Herself.   Our awareness is Her awareness.   It is through Her child, which is Fathered by Her Eros, or Desire, that Nature is able to see Herself.   Nature divides Herself into a multiplicity of beings in order to know Herself in the infinity that is within Her.   In a sense, Her birthing of the manifest world is Her taking a journey of self-discovery by taking form as an "other".   As such, even this article, and the arising of the corporate empire, is Nature knowing Herself.   My questioning and my love for Her is Her questioning and Her love for Herself, for in Nature, there is "no other."   I am She.

Being a lover of a woman is thus a metaphor for the return to the womb.   As semen and sperm disintegrate in the woman's body and becomes one with it, then this is the fate of all manifest life upon the body of Nature.   Indeed, one could say that a man emerges from woman headfirst and, in making love via the penis, returns to a woman headfirst.

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This is the process of life.   This is why we call the explanation of sexual reproduction to our children as the teaching of the facts-of-life.   As the Tao Te Ching says, the entire universe makes love.   Thus, the Earth is often seen as a Woman, or Goddess, and the Sun as a Man or God.   Interestingly, in our modern European culture we don't recognize Space1.   Yet, Space, which contains both Father Sun and Mother Earth, is often identified as Female, as reflected in the image of the Egyptian Nut and the Sun God Ra.   In this image, it is Heaven, the Space in which Earth and Sun move, which gives birth to and devours Father Sun.   Heaven, meanwhile, is simply a variant of Eve's name as Heave. Eve was the First Woman of the Judea-Christian-Muslim Bible (literally meaning Book).   In human heterosexual relations, the process of the birth and dissolution of Ra is reflected in birth and intercourse.   The process could also be seen as evident in same sex intercourse, for even in those relationships there is an entry into another person which often results in a more embracive sense of wholeness, which then takes one into a "higher" or all-inclusive state of consciousness.   Perhaps it could be hypothesized that sexuality is often suppressed because it can lead us into higher states of consciousness and thus needs to be suppressed by the "Man" (i.e., the corporate/government complex) who is neurotic about maintaining his power over the Woman (the Earth as well as the population he sees himself as ruling over).    

  If one meditates on this image in relation to heterosexual intercourse, then one can readily identify the absorption of penis and semen by the woman as being a form of eating.   Indeed, the original definition of semen is food.   Thus, when we say, "your words are food for thought," we may as well be saying your words are seminal to the ideas I conceive.   It is interesting to note that the milk of Nut's breasts is flowing upon the soils of the Earth and nurturing the growth of flowers.   Like Nut's milk, when we allow ourselves to dissolve into the ground at death, we become food for the Earth and thus we wind up "pushing up daises."    Death, allowing ourselves to be eaten, is a living process in which we become seminal to new life.   Thus we are not Kings of Nature; we are, simply, aspects of Her process.

In a sense, we have killed ourselves through practices such as embalming, mummification (in ancient times), and being placed in metallic coffins and vaults.   All of these processes keep us from dissolving into the Mother.   Yet, it is in boxing ourselves in and by mummifying ourselves (with embalming chemicals and processed foods as well as the ancient practices of mummification) that keeps us from engaging in the process of death, which is a living process.   Our being boxed in does not allow us to "push up the daisies."   Our process of using coffins, vaults and embalming chemicals is a reflection of not allowing ourselves to let go of our persona.   Thus we are stuck"truly "dead to the world!"  

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Burl is an avid writer and publishes to OpEd News. He is author of "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal Our Wounded Nature." As of this writing, Burl is planning to self-publish the book. Alongside his wife, Burl co-hosts an on line radio (more...)

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