Deep Ecology Of The Soul: Dying Into Life
With the winds of homecoming.”
-Rainer Maria Rilke
Shortening days, stormy winds, lowering sun, harvest moon, wafts of composting leaves, and layers of grey and white clouds signal the end of a growth period announcing the waning of energies that have been pouring outward toward the light of the sun. We are reminded that nothing stays the same and that growth is bipolar- happening both outwardly in the visible realm and inwardly in the invisible realm.
Twinges of grief float like mists as the long, warm days of summer evaporate into a sense of sweet relief- the kind that comes after deep surrender. Earth welcomes us home to her fecund soils to be re-formed- reshaped in the home of our inner world.
Just as the plant beings deconstruct and return to the earth from which they have sprung, autumn is the time salmon return home to their place of birth to reproduce and forward new life.
Salmon, like all life forms on the earth, fulfill a particular ecological niche in the world. Their life is not theirs alone, but contributes something of value to the greater whole. In this way, they live in wholeness.
Salmon are born in freshwater, migrate out to the sea when they reach a level of maturity, then return to their original birthplace. It is not certain as to how salmon know where their home is. Scientists believe it may have to do with using the earth’s magnetic field like a compass, and then once they reach the river, smell guides them the rest of the way.
In order to fulfill their destiny, salmon must pass through the death defying task of going against the river’s current- navigating against the flow of water and faithfully resisting the downward pull of gravity to swim up various waterfalls encountered along the way. They do not eat during this journey, their body changes color to attract a mate, and they become weak and battered. Upon their homecoming, they use the last of their energies to reproduce after which they die and become food for other life forms and nutrients for the water.
As humans, we are still learning about our place in the greater whole.
Humans have wondered about the meaning of life and our own sense of purpose since the beginning of time. Like the salmon, it is a long and sometimes arduous journey as we adapt to various environments, wander far from home, risk becoming lost in the sea of life, and choose whether or not to follow the call of mystery in a counter-intuitive journey against the gravitational current of modern societal structures to return to our innermost home to produce new life from within. It is a journey of the soul- a discovery mission and delivery system for our destiny that is oriented around the particular gift that we each carry in our heart as an offering to the world community.
Like the journey of the salmon, we cannot say exactly what compels us to fulfill our unique ecological niche in the world. Even though this is a solo inward journey, we are not alone.
Taoist sages tell us that a spec of starlight is planted in our hearts at the moment of our conception that is related to our destiny. How we come to know this star seed and learn to cultivate it is our life’s work. We find our way through intuition, felt sense, symbols, synchronicity, dreams, inspiration, creative impulse, visions, illness, and loss that opens us to a longing and richness deep within our being that senses its belonging to the larger community of life with a unique and necessary place within it.
By opening to the wisdom of Gaia and all life forms we share the planet with, we are supported in the full expression of wholeness however it wants to live within each of us. Autumn reminds us to let go of old structures that have become limitations so we can listen inside for what wants to live from our deepest truth -“the place where [our] deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet”. 1
In a dance of reciprocity, the deep ecology of the soul moves though each of us and through all of life wanting to be lived. Everything… Every. Single. Thing… calls us to that life…
1 Parker Palmer quotes Frederick Buechner in, ‘The Courage to Teach’ p 31
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’.