Many of us are experiencing huge energy fluctuations at the moment. For me it’s like being on a see-saw or a roller coaster. Sometimes up and other times, down, down, down. Some days I wake up full of energy and optimism and on other days, profoundly sad and anxious about the state of the planet and humanity. I take great comfort in the knowledge that I’m not alone feeling like this, that there are millions of people right now on planet Earth that share my vision of a future based on love, compassion, empathy, joy, gratitude and grace.
So a big thank you to Sylvius for this latest reading which offers some insight on how to navigate through this landscape of fear, anxiety and loss of hope.
From a microcosmic point of view, where I live is a good example of how easily paradise can be lost.
For the last thirteen years I’ve lived in a small village by a pristine fast-flowing river in the Malaysian rainforest. Over that time, the area has become a very popular spot with weekenders and although it’s really great to see so many people wanting to connect with natural energy, they invariable leave all their rubbish behind them.
The village and surrounding forest is home to members of the Temuan tribe who collectively decided to impose a small levy on outsiders entering the forest. This pays a small wage to the villagers who go out and collect the rubbish at the end of the weekend. It seemed like a good idea at first, but because the village doesn’t have any municipal rubbish collection, they have no means of disposing of it once it’s been gathered up. As a consequence, the amount of rubbish in and around the village has increased enormously. Some is hidden away in undergrowth – a case of out of sight, out of mind. What doesn’t get dumped gets burned filling the village with plumes of incredibly toxic smoke. Plastic water bottles, bags and food containers, disposable diapers, cans and bottles … you get the picture.
As recently as 20 years ago, the Temuan were living in humble dirt floor shacks and huts by the river. They cooked on open wood fires and tapped the river and nearby springs for fresh water. At night they burned oil lamps to keep the darkness at bay. All in all, it was a pretty basic and hard physical existence, but the surrounding environment was pristine and they were connected to the knowledge of their ancestors (nenek-moyang) and their animist belief in nature spirits.
Then a dam project forced them to resettle and they were given a new village with cement houses, indoor sanitation, treated water and also electricity. Suddenly, they became connected to the rest of society in a way that hadn’t been possible before, given their previous lack of infrastructure and geographical isolation. Now, although the villagers are healthier and more prosperous than they were before, this change in their lifestyle has had a profound effect on their culture and has resulted in a loss of consciousness and disconnected them from their ancestral beliefs and identity. Traditional storytelling and ancestral songs have been replaced with TV and very loud karaoke sessions, they depend less on hunting and foraging to keep themselves fed and many have succumbed to the pressure from proselytizing missionaries and turned their backs on the spirit world to embrace religion.
This is by no means a unique situation. Indigenous communities throughout the world seem to be suffering from this insidious malaise as they are coerced into bartering their traditional way of life for so-called development and their pagan beliefs for organised religion and don’t think, for one minute, that those of us who live in more materially sophisticated societies aren’t under threat too.
The Greenspiracy story, Butakala Plastik (Plastic Monster) describes the loss of paradise from a macrocosmic perspective.
It tells of the time when the creator, Ra becomes so enraged with humanity for despoiling the beautiful, sentient planet that was gifted to them, that he’s seriously contemplating eradicating homo sapiens once and for all. It seems they have become a pestilent force, disrespectfully destroying natural habitats and other earthly lifeforms in order to satisfy their constant cravings. Fortunately, due to the timely intervention of other celestial beings and cosmic planetary guardians, Ra agrees to hold back his destructive wrath. Instead he dispatches his son and emissary, Matahari, to Earth to gather intel on this Butakala Plastik culture that seems to be overtaking the planet leaving ecological destruction in its wake and disconnecting humanity from its divine origin.
He solemnly decrees that he will abide by his envoy’s decision, whatever it may be.
The Butakala assumes many forms as it spreads its rapacious tentacles across the global landscape, polluting land, rivers and oceans alike with scant regard for the miasma it is fomenting. Engorged by the greed and corruption of big businesses and the political interests associated with them, the monster taps into the human psyche by luring its somnolent victims into a blind, orgiastic spree of materialism and debauchery cheered on by the media magnates and the lifestyle and perception gurus. In this climate it’s not hard to grasp why Ra is pissed off…I really get it…
The more toxic we make the Earth, the more toxic we make ourselves and the more open we become to being controlled by fear, anxiety, greed, suspicion and a feeling of being separate from the source of life that created this earthly paradise.
Matahari’s first Earthly encounter takes place in the mythological realm of the mermaids, who brief him on the sorry state of the world’s oceans and seas before he embarks on his journey into the human realm where he comes face to face with those who have fallen under the Butakala’s spell as well as those who have managed to escape its clutches.
How far have the monster’s tentacles already spread?
Is the majority of humanity enslaved?
Does humanity deserve a second chance?
What do you think?
How would we account for ourselves if Matahari came knocking on our doors?
I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below. Would you advise Matahari to end the human experiment or to intercede for our survival?
Bruno Manser was a Swiss environmental activist who lived with the indigenous nomadic Penan tribe in Sarawak, Malaysia for 6 years. Initially he went there to satisfy a personal desire to live close to nature, without the need of money. However, as the Penan lifestyle came under attack from rapacious logging companies backed by the government, he became Sarawak’s public enemy number one for organizing blockades against the timber companies and drawing international attention to the fight to preserve the rainforest and indigenous human rights. He disappeared in May 2000 and was officially presumed dead five years later.
The following film Bruno Manser LAKI PENAN is a moving tribute to one of the 20th century’s greatest ecowarriors.
In January this year, torrential rain in Northern Queensland caused the death of around 500,000 cattle worth over AU$300 million. By March, the very floods that had devastated the cattle industry reached Kati Thanda (Lake Eyre) in central South Australia invigorating the lives of the 60,000 people and all the wildlife that depends on this pristine and fragile desert river system to survive.
During the 2001 flood, photographer and designer, Hari Ho, was part of a team of artists and writers who traveled to Kati Thanda to record the floods trans-formative effect.
“It was the first time I was in the central Australian desert, and what an amazing experience. I think the Kati Thanda area has flooded once or twice since then, but the floods happening now seem massive.”
At 15 metres below sea-level, Kati Thanda is the lowest point on the Australian continent and forms the southern most part of the Great Artesian Basin, which provides the only source of fresh water to much of inland Australia. The lake is usually a dry salt flat and was made internationally famous back in 1964 when Donald Campbell set a new land speed record (648kms/hour) there in Bluebird II.
Kati Thanda is part of the native title land of the Arabana people. It was given the name, Lake Eyre, in 1840 after it was ‘discovered’ by explorer and British colonial official, Edward John Eyre.
Typically Kati Thanda fills to a depth of about 1.5 meters every three years. Once in a decade, the lake may rise to around 4 meters, but it only ever fills, or near fills, a few times a century. This year’s flood is the biggest for 45 years.
Water management is one of the biggest dissonant issues of today and the seasonal flooding of Kati Thanda brings into sharp focus just how much the needs of the economy and the needs of the environment clash in the way water is perceived and used. In January, a million fish died in the Darling river at Menindee. The water was so low that there wasn’t enough oxygen. They drowned. According to a group of river ecology experts, this happened for a number of reasons: poor management by the water authority; theft of water by ranchers, cotton farmers and miners; political corruption that has allowed industry to dictate its needs over those of the common good. It’s a particularly hot topic for Australians, and has become a key issue in the upcoming election. It also raises a fundamental question we all have to face about how we value and manage fresh water as a planetary resource. Is water just another financial resource to be dispensed to those who can afford it, or is the right of all living beings to have an equitable share in this most precious of resources?
In Hindu mythology the Bhuta Kala are evil spirits that take pleasure in disturbing people’s lives so much, that they fall out of harmony with natural law. Philosophically they are a cautionary reminder that in order to be regarded as civilised, man must manage and protect earth’s natural resources not exploit them for his own gain. In Bali these spirits are represented by the Ogoh-ogoh.
Photographs by Emanar – 2016 “I was amazed by the amount of skill and effort people put into making them, especially as they were going to be burned. For me, they are a reminder that we all have a little demon inside that comes out once in a while.”
The name Ogoh-ogoh comes from the Balinese ogah-ogah, which means something that’s shaken, and most artists incorporate moving parts in their creations so that when they are shaken during the parade, they appear to move and dance.
Some say the Ogoh-ogoh date back to the ancient Balinese kingdom of Dalem Balingkang where they were used in a ceremony to honor the sacred connection to ancestors. Others suggest the Ogoh-ogoh were inspired by the Ngusaba Ndong Ndong from Selat village in Karangasem, which were used to repel evil spirits.
Another theory about the Ogoh-ogoh is that they are an interpretation of the Barong Landung – embodiments of the cruel and despotic king Raja Jaya Pangus and his wicked queen, Putri Kang Cing Wei.
The Ogoh-ogoh were only inserted into Nyepi tradition as recently as the early 1980s when the first Ogoh-ogoh were paraded through the streets of Denpasar as part of NyepiEve celebrations. Over the years their appeal has spread throughout the island and now almost every village – and a lot of local artists – take great pride in creating their contribution to honour this new tradition.
After being paraded around the villages, the Ogoh-ogoh are ceremonially burnt as a symbol of purification ahead of Nyepi – the great day of silence and contemplation – and an evil-free start to a new year for the island and all beings it contains.
Thank you so much for sharing your pictures with us Emanar. If anyone else would like to share, please leave a message in the comment section.
Rafique Rashid: guitars, fretless bass, drum program and backing vocals Antares: vocal and harp Recorded 1992 @ Batorvilla Studio Stereo mix & mastering was done on a 4-track cassette deck…Remember these?
If you are inspired to create a cover version of this song please share. I’m sure Lida would like to hear it, as would we all. Have a happy day.
The Ondel-ondel are large puppets that belong to the Betawi folk culture and have their roots in Indonesia’s animistic past. They were originally known as Barongan and used to be taken from village to village to fend off evil spirits. The original puppets had fearsome faces, not unlike the Balinese Barong.
After Indonesia became independent the look of the Ondel-ondel and the role they played in society changed. Gone were the fangs and bulging eyes and instead of warding-off evil spirits they became slightly comical figures of entertainment appearing at festivals and welcoming ceremonies.
Filmed anything unexpected recently? Want to share? Leave a message in the comments box and we’ll be happy to get back to you.
I woke up in my dream that night. My head so light, my heart bumping high. Can you believe I was floating in space. So quiet, no fear, in full grace. In darkness, breathtaking, revolving. One blue planet insight. I heard a voice out loud resound, “This is the cosmic memory… All creatures so precious, unique. Collected by me in my living library, Ready to seed our galaxy. Don’t forget humans, you are the guardians This is your duty. You are not alone, don’t worry.
Don’t forget whispered legends of old time For your children, you must believe in dream time Take you kids for mystic adventures, The forest, the jungle, the mountain, the river To meet the spirits of nature. You will find a paradise bird feather Hiding behind a rock, a fern, a flower. Hug a tree as your breathing brother The mighty oxygen provider Until your last breath inhale, Exhale prana’s wonder. Going back home, my mission is over Feel so worried about earth’s future. Be aware of your blue green planet Before she turns in a suffocating disaster.”