See also From Overwhelm to Engagement
by Dr Chris Johnstone,
who has worked closely with Joanna Macy for many years
from Lucy Skywalker: We have
a long way to go, to kick the unintentionally addictive habits
of a lifetime and the attitudes bred into our culture for
Many people on the awakening journey of Transition
will, at one time or another, experience burnout or some of
the close relatives of burnout like M.E. This does not mean
the end of the world, only the end of one level of coping
with Reality. The shifts we have to go through at this point
in history are formidable, beyond most previous scales of
reckoning, and are bound to put pressure on us all at times.
The spiritual resources we can now draw on have deepened greatly
since people started to wake up to the coming apocalypse.
But the challenges are formidable, challenges to our deepest
humanity, to remain compassionate, aware, and certain of hope
because certain of a higher Power in the face of life-threatening,
dehumanizing circumstances. We should not forget that Nazi
Germany appeared on the shoulders of the Great Depression
which hit Germany the hardest, as she was penalized for losing
the first World War. She shouldn't have started that war,
but neither should she have been punished as she was. We could
all have been caught there. We could still be caught.
Spiritual power, by whatever name one calls
it, is the only thing that can lead through humanity's apocalyptic
crisis to discover "a new heaven and new earth".
People who have experienced this power firsthand, separate
"spiritual" (meaning relating to people's direct
personal experiences) from "religious" (meaning
overseen by a religious tradition with set beliefs). Spiritual
awakening can happen through the process Joanna Macy described
originally as "Despair and Empowerment". See my
piece from 1981 Apocalyptic Vision:
Ecological Breakdown and Spiritual Breakthrough. See also
Joanna Macy on The Great Turning
Here is Harmon Bro's picture of a typical awakening
experience (Bro worked with the great healer Edgar Cayce).
Harmon Bro was deeply involved all his life in helping people
at all levels, helping people helping the planet. Yet Bro
knew that the first signs of awakening were likely to seem
the very opposite, initially. This pattern is also often seen
when homeopathic remedies are working - the patient gets worse
Many people find help and solace in the simplest
kinds of spiritual awakening, some of which may be called
Fundamentalisms. It's very natural to want a simple one-off
solution to all Life's problems. Christian fundamentalism
can have an important place, it can help people in a big way
on their journey of awakening... many true miracles of healing
have been reported, and this is precious... but fundamentalist
religion is not necessarily the ultimate answer for everyone,
nor is it enough of an answer to handle the planetary issues.
As the challenges keep mounting, the spiritual
awakening is ongoing. What worked last year, what spoke to
me last year, last month, or even yesterday, may no longer
speak today. This can be frightening. However, I know that
Spirit has heard my call every time - when I have been truly
in need and have truly asked for help. Often the help has
arrived only in the nick of time, only just enough, and not
even in a way I could recall afterwards to tell, let alone
"prove", to anyone else - just in a way that I personally
could not possibly mistake.....
Harry Potter's story epitomizes what we face,
and I'm sure this is why his appeal is so great and powerful.
In fairy tales, the great truths of the universe are woven
inexorably and powerfully into the text - so long as one trusts
the process of inspiration. C S Lewis, one of Joanne Rowlings'
own mentors, worked with this awakening of the exact imagination
in a groupd of some of the most illustrious writers ever,
called the Inklings. Knowing the storyline gives us courage
to fight, as well as an understanding of what we are fighting.
Joanne Rowling is often feared by fundamentalist Christians
- yet her story is profoundly Christian in its battle of the
powers of Good against the powers of Evil and Darkness. She
conveys a power of good magic that seems to have been lost
sight of centuries ago. We miss this ancient magic, we feel
in our bones that, if we could awaken it, like the legendary
sleeping Knights of the Round Table, it might be able to help
us overcome our plight that is great today.
We also do well to recall Alfred
the Great, also in hiding and on the run at a similarly
catastrophic moment in history...
key page - last updated 6th March 2008