Dragons and Ants – Guides From Beyond
The west wind howls through the forest under a dark shapeshifting sky as I make way through the chaos of tree and limb. Hair flying wildly around the edges of my hat- I lean in to a churning invisible force so palpable, I can almost see the outline of dragons thrashing wildly between earth and sky- stirring the pot, creating chaos, bringing change. 1
I reach an opening of plush tender moss. Some movement catches my eye. Crouching low I find hundreds of ants on and within a large mound, busily following their instinctive impulse- building and burrowing in a spectacular orderless order. I reflect on how bothersome ants can be to humans. Like ants invading our picnic, there are those things in life that steal into our carefully curated lives, rearranging who we think we are and all we hold dear.
Yet all bugs have a vital purpose in the web of life. Ants aerate and amend the soil. They eat other insects, and carry seeds deeper into the earth for germination. As natural architects, ants are able to build and connect intricate pathways and create living structures. Here, in the middle of a windstorm, these little creatures continue on with their purpose unfazed.
I reflect on the ways in which the irritating, messy, unresolved, uncomfortable aspects of one’s life call for attention- the addictions, habits, crises, chronic pains, failures, longings, compulsions, cravings, relationship problems, embarrassments, that thing you thought your were ‘done with’ but now it is back, and more. Even when one has worked diligently toward healing/whole-making, these ‘bugs’ continue to show up, often when it is least expected, begging us to open to something more.
In alchemical healing, the ‘bugs’ are seen as part of the left over chaos from the transformational process- the things that have not yet been fully assimilated and integrated as one moves forward. This is not seen as a problem, but as the prime material for one’s continued transformation.
Just as ants ceaselessly work upon their ordained tasks, unprocessed aspects of one’s inner and outer life have the purpose of working upon us to further continued growth. Like ants, the ‘bugs’ that enter one’s life are able to aerate one’s internal earth where one may be hard, dry, depleted, or compacted, deposit waste material to amend and nourish one’s inner soil, and carry the seeds of one’s becoming deeper down into the fertile soil in the body where it can safely gestate and come to birth.
While the wind and the dragons bring change and the possibility of transformation, the ‘bugs’ of one’s life faithfully work us- chipping away at the limiting unhealthy aspects of ego, refining the gold of one’s potential, and then gluing us back together to create a new, healthier structure.
1 In Chinese Mythology, there are several types of dragons ranging from being as tiny as a silk worm to being as large as the sky. Dragons are seen as divine helpers and are associated with the weather, change, and transformation.
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, Some momentary awareness comes As an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, Who violently sweep your house Empty of its furniture, Still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out For some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, Meet them at the door laughing, And invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, Because each has been sent, As a guide from beyond.
About the Author: Monique Gaboury is a licensed acupuncturist, in Freeland, WA, specializing in Alchemical Acupuncture. She loves sharing her passion for natural healing at her clinic and through writing her blog ’Nourishing Change Through Connection’.