Monday, September 30, 2019

Solutions for the End of the World 5

This time, section 5 of the seven-part poem,
Solutions for the End of the World.

Section 1 can be found here.
Section 2 can be found here.
Section 3 can be found here. 
Section 4 can be found here.

In this section Maria formulates her famous Axiom of Maria: “One becomes two, and two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one that is the fourth.”

Oh, those cryptic alchemical recipes. Seeming nonsense.

While I have some issues with Jungian Psychology, I find Jung’s interpretation of this Axiom compelling:

One is seen as unconscious wholeness (think about an infant’s experience – where the self is undifferentiated from everything else). 

Two is the conflict of opposites: Rising out of the chaos of unconsciousness, into the world of duality. Me, you. This, that. Good, bad.

Three is something that will enable the resolution of those opposites. 

The fourth is the transformed state of consciousness that has come from working through the tension of opposites, when the tension between the unconscious and consciousness result in something new.

So, the journey in this axiom is from undifferentiated unconsciousness (wholeness) to individual consciousness (wholeness). 

Remedios Varo/To Be Reborn

I found this axiom interesting in relation to the journey of my (and many others’) internal mirroring the external chaos of climate catastrophe. How do we process it, how do we keep processing it, work with the reality of it? 

I think this has a lot to do with Extinction Rebellion’s way of looking at the crisis:

“Our world is in crisis. Life itself is under threat. Yet every crisis contains the possibility of transformation.”


5.    The Feathered Eel Gives Maria Prophetissa
The Idea for the First Alchemical Formula

                                    Maria the Prophet bends down,
                                                touches the flank of a fish, shriveled in sand.
                        She stares into the empty socket where the eye used to be.

                                    Less than 30 vaquita remain in the wild.

                                                Sand lice like stars spin inside the body,
                        between delicate rib bones, cradle of emptiness, the emptiness
                                                   from which everything comes –

                                                                                                the one.

                                    Less than 25 vaquita remain in the wild.

                                      She breaks off a rib bone, raises it, closes her eyes.
                        Bone against sun, stone against water, fishermen against gulls,
                             sea-shadow against sea, the furious conflict of opposites –
                                                                                           and so, two.

                                    Less than 20 vaquita remain in the wild.

                                    She sees the fishbone merge with the sun –
                          and the great Eel emerges out of the sea, shadow across sky.
                                    She watches it eat scour the city.
                                                                                    Egyptian, Greek, Roman,
                   filtered through savage teeth. The Eel eats the wounds, the scars,
                                                                                                   the dead, devouring
                         children and so the children’s children…

                                                                                    She sees. Accepts. Says:

                        It’s going to devour the world, it’s going to devour the wounds.
                          It’s going to devour the world, it’s going to devour the wounds.
                                         The world, the wounds; the wounds, the world…”

                         The Eel plunges back into the sea, dissolves into a gull cry.

                                                       “Silence,” Goya says. 

                                           And she knows the Eel is the three –
                         the union of opposites. And in this union,
                                                                                      four is achieved.

                        Less than 15 vaquita remain in the wild.
                                                                              "One becomes two," she says
               “and two becomes three…

                          and out of the third comes the one that is the fourth.”

                      Words spoken into the sun, into the mouth of a dead fish,
                         into the sky, into the furious eye of the Eel, maw open.
                                                          Her solution.

                                                 “Silence!” Goya shouts.

                                             Less than 10 vaquita remain.


Vaquita – Spanish for “little cow.” It is an endangered porpoise and the world’s smallest cetacean. It is found only in the shallow waters of the northern Gulf of California, Mexico. It is the most endangered marine mammal on earth.

About the Vaquita:

Friday, September 27, 2019

Solutions for the End of the World 4

This time, section 4 of the seven-part poem, 
Solutions for the End of the World.

This section is a short interlude that seems to take us away from the rest of the narrative - an exchange between Goya and myself. Goya grew up and lived between the 18th and 19th Centuries and probably saw large flocks of birds in his day. I saw a few as a child, but none as an adult.

I tell Goya about seeing a lone feather fall from a clear sky (it happened while I was thinking about the feathered eel). Goya thinks I’m indulging in magical thinking while the world is burning…

Section 1 can be found here.

Section 2 can be found here.

Section 3 can be found here.
"This Way" from Goya's Caprichos

4.     In Which Goya Tells Me About Birds and I Tell Him About Seeing A Feather from The Eel Fall from The Sky

“I remember wings, so many wings,” Goya says.

Global heating to inflict more droughts on Africa as well as floods.

“When was the last time you saw and heard a massive flock?” He says.

 “A flock so vast
that when they turned in unison, the earth below responded?
So vast that branches rose to meet them.
So vast that grass spun up toward the sound, just to be close,
just to be loved by that sound…”

Ecosystems across Australia are collapsing under climate change.

I saw a black feather fall from the sky yesterday, I say.

“I was speaking about reality,” Goya says.

It was all black, with a touch of white at the stem, I say.

“Silence,” Goya says.

It spun, changed into a black tooth, a black knife, and landed
beyond the coyote fence.

“Silence, please,” he says.

I found it in chamisa branches…a feather fallen from the Eel,
passing overhead.

A new analysis warns that "global warming may have played a pivotal
role" in the recent rise of a multidrug-resistant fungal superbug.

And, in other news, from

“It’s been over three weeks since Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas, and the situation on the ground remains dire for too many people.
Over 70,000 people are now homeless and living in shelters, tents, and even ships. Many of the areas hit hardest by the storm have lost vital infrastructure like power and sanitation systems.
Some Bahamians have been able to find temporary relief in the US. But for many people, the relative safety of the US remains out of reach because of the Trump administration’s draconian immigration policies.”