Traversing the Wild Lands of Spirit:
Calling Down the Rains
Before I open my eyes, a heaviness in flesh and bone announces the dampness filling the late summer air. The icy fingers of autumn cause my pores to contract, reminding me of the downward and inward movement of the coming months. I want to stay curled up like like the beans and peas in the garden who close at night. As I peer out through the shadowy in-between time of early morning, a thick mist hangs above the ground where the sun is just becoming. I, too, feel as though I am just becoming.
Moving outside to the garden, I reflect on the time of the pandemic and the great ‘truth telling time’ we are living in. We are collectively and individually bearing witness to the revealing of truths that have been shaping our landscape internally and externally all along the course of human history. How we live and what we believe about our place in existence is reflected in our internal and external environments. My garden tells me about what it needs in very clear ways. I am continuously learning the language, how to read the signs, and about how every aspect of mineral, soil, bacteria, insect, animal, and weather patterns relates to the flourishing or demise of what I’m trying to grow. In this great dance of inter-being, there lies the potential for all life to be nourished. Or not.
I remember how a year into the pandemic I walked the beach with a dear friend of twenty six years to discover that we had each been sparing the other our most crippling existential fears, outrage, grief, confusion, and visions about what we are in the midst of living and dying through. In realizing that we are all going through a lot, we each didn’t want to add to the other’s proverbial plate. I have heard this a lot from people in recent months.
As I cut away some aphid infested peppermint and reflect on how this infestation came to be, I discover them in the marigolds as well. Aphids come when things are out of balance in some way. I think about the ways that life is violated or undernourished, and likewise nourished and enlivened.
There is an acupuncture point on the upper chest lateral to the midline and just above the heart in the intercostal space below the third rib, 靈墟 KI-24 Ling Xu Wild Lands of Spirit 1. The character ling 靈 is drawn as three shaman women dancing with their mouths open receiving rain from the heavens. They are sacred rain dancers showing us that by becoming an empty vessel, we are capable of mediating between heaven and earth. There are ways to create the conditions for effectively bringing the vitality of the heavens down to nourish life on earth. Ling means supernatural, mysterious, divine. It speaks to the spiritual power of ritual, capable of touching mystery and the possibilities available that exist outside of what we know. Xu 墟 represents earth, emptiness, burial ground, a place that is barren, a wild land. In times of spiritual emptiness, Ling Xu offers a threshold for uniting spirit and soul, heaven and earth. By emptying ourselves of what we think we know, we make room for something more.
We gain spiritual depth and breadth by traversing the long, difficult journey of soul across the barren and wild lands of our lives. Ling Xu tells us that no matter what our circumstance we are not powerless, and that there are ways to engage with mystery and dance with the Tao of original nature as it lives in us and all of existence, allowing new life to grow in new and unexpected ways.
We don’t know where all of this is leading us. We never have. There is so much at work not visible to the naked eye. My garden tells me this every day as I ask, “how might I serve?”
I reflect back to the walk with my friend on the beach that day and how we began to talk openly about our feelings about the pandemic, climate chaos, the state of the world. We finally began to express the immense emotions coming up in relation to all we are experiencing internally and externally. We talked about the ways in which the other than human world and the earth herself is feeling through us. This day, at the altar of earth and sky, we each let the heart and soul speak through our lips and bodies the kind of deep truth telling that surprises the mind and derails ego from its narrow agenda. We spoke, moved, danced, yelled, cried, carved our stories in the sand, made altars out of pebble, broken shell, seaweed, driftwood, rusty metal.
Constriction, numbness, and despair became wonder, possibility, and even excitement. Prayer.
When I think of Ling Xu, I think of how vital ritual is to our humanity. There are countless ways to create ritual by ourselves and with others. Ritual weaves us into the larger world around us. We are mystery itself. When we begin to speak with our whole bodied self honestly and passionately from these barren, lonely internal places in the full presence of another (be it a person, a member of the other than human world, or both), the hold it has on us changes and creates space for mystery to inform us.
We are becoming even as we are dying. By creating the conditions for spirit to imbue our life dance, new life is able to emerge from the most barren parts of our inner world. What has lain dormant for months, days, years, or lifetimes is finally offered nourishment. We open to the wonder and miracle of life itself and the ways in which we are able to affect change though intention and active surrender. We discover that inner and outer, above and below are one and the same.
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’.