Posts Tagged ‘Economic Collapse’

Book Review: Starhawk’s “The Fifth Sacred Thing”

A local friend suggested I read “The Fifth Sacred Thing,” so that some of us could form a book discussion group about the ideas and vision of this novel. Although it took me awhile to get into the characters, I quickly saw why my friend has read this book three times and counting. It’s filled with permaculture principles, magick, natural healing, and the tension between totalitarian dystopia and a power-from-within ecotopia based upon respect, not control.

I found Starhawk’s text incredibly prophetic, even when I thought it was written in 2005. My admiration tripled when I noticed a publication date of 1993! In 2013, as we face nuclear and toxic poisoning of the Pacific Ocean, a no longer hidden Police State, genetic manipulation, a transhumanist agenda, biological warfare, and increasingly intense weather events –both natural and human-aggravated — the setting of this novel in 2048 feels rather optimistic.

Once I managed to get a handle on the characters, I found the book difficult to put down. As the narrative continued, I realized that the initial ambiguities and confusion about gender, age and physical markers, actually contribute to and underscore the tale. As readers, we quickly find ourselves overwhelmed in and by a post-collapse world, unsure exactly which collapse triggered which events, but gradually recognizing the effects of long-term trauma and difficult life. Things the 20th and early 21st centuries took for granted have not been available for at least a generation, and the ripple effects of such deprivations reach much further than minor or anticipated inconvenience.

At the same time, we find that some things in this future society function much more harmoniously than in our current one. In the absence of cars, trucks and planes, this culture has compensated for its isolation by cultivating the individual gifts of each member of the community — art, music, healing, science, cooking, dreaming and psychic defense. Everyone gardens and participates in seasonal rituals, and the society bases itself around the premise that the Four Sacred Things (fire, water, air, earth) are so sacred that they cannot be privately owned. “May you never hunger; may you never thirst” is a phrase used in real-life pagan gatherings, but in “The Fifth Sacred Thing,” this concept forms the basis of an entire political system! No one goes hungry, and no one goes without water.

As the plot rolls on, we see just how innovative and special this city’s solutions are. Contrast via epic journeys to the Southlands shows us that — despite the obvious challenges up North in 2048 — things could be (and are) much worse elsewhere. The characters face horrific trials that force them to question not only their own morals and philosophies, but also the very essence of what it means to be human. Readers with rigid ideas about sexuality, self-defense, magick, religion, medicine, technology, and the occult will likely find themselves extremely challenged as they journey with the characters. Author Starhawk practices the Reclaiming Tradition, which combines one’s spirituality with non-violent political activism. Throughout her novel, we witness the effectiveness of non-violent resistance, as well as its limitations. The characters’ reactions and struggles force us to evaluate our own fixed ideals, hypocrisy, privilege and irresponsibility. We see on every level how each small action affects the whole of Creation, often in dramatic and unforeseen ways.

I particularly enjoyed all the manifested visualizations, herbal and energetic healing, as well as the key roles played by bees and crystals. Since I have personally made a decision to use magickal self-defense rather than violence should the SHTF, I enjoyed reading about various techniques — many of which I recognized as real, not fiction. In the acknowledgments, Starhawk confirms how thoroughly she researched this book, including Native teachings, along with actual songs, chants, techniques and rituals.

If you’ve ever wondered, “What would I do if society collapsed on multiple levels at once? Does it need to be ‘every man for himself,’ or can (must) we find ways to work together in community? Would we really be stronger together than apart? What does magick have to do with a fully functioning human, and how do I access multi-generational healing?” then “The Fifth Sacred Thing” deserves a place on your bookshelf. You will want to read it again and again, tracking your own growth as you face its challenges. If, on the other hand, you prefer to rest in the hazy halls of denial and wish to cling to the patriarchal status quo, then drop this book like a hot potato! You cannot engage “The Fifth Sacred Thing” and remain unchanged.

Thoughts on the “Retirement Crisis that will Shake America to Its Core”

I’ve now read and had forwarded to me various times today an article called, “The Tip of the Iceberg of the Retirement Crisis that will Shake America to Its Core,” by Michael Snyder, published on the extremely uplifting and aptly named (hehe) Economic Collapse Blog. 😉

Since people keep asking me my opinion on such things, I’m just going to share one of my responses here. Make of it what you will. LOL, I am adamantly not an economist, and I have minimal interest in the fiat money system and all its ponzi scheme tendrils. Please take whatever resonates and leave the rest, realizing that I do live my life in a different way than most people do, and I put my faith in very different things than the average person even recognizes as “real.” For example, when I need rain, I request it from the Nature Spirits — and receive that rain. This works for me and has also been successfully employed by others looking to remedy a drought. If you can be in tune enough to influence weather, don’t you think that gives a little more security than say, $50K of fiat dollars doomed to an inflation bubble burst? I do. 🙂

Whether or not anyone else on this planet agrees with me, people keep asking for my opinion. Here’s my response, so I can stop emailing my replies:

I don’t know why anyone my age or younger would save or invest into the current system. Heirloom seeds, silver, real estate with land to grow crops on, water, local community, spiritual/esoteric Reality creation abilities, shamanic/natural healing gifts, and practical, barter-able skills and products are the safest investments these days.

It really baffles me that people continue to put ANY faith in the government or financial sector right now. Playing along while realizing it’s a game, sure, but for security?! Wow. If I had a retirement account or money to invest, I would long ago have cashed it in for actual silver, a boatload of herbal antibiotics/remedies and essential oils, long term food supplies, a colloidal silver generator (CS is a renewable and powerful antibiotic), and as much off-grid technology as I could possibly afford to implement. Actually, I have done this to the extent I’ve been able.

I’d want solar panels NOT attached to the power grid in any way, or at least with a switch to make them independent. Most solar panels will stop working if the grid goes down. I’d probably stay in Goshen, since we selected this area knowing it could survive economic disaster. We do need to get several rain barrels so that we can store water. I also got our Berkey water filter in part because I figured fresh water is something I can trade.

One reason I want all the medicinal herbs growing on our property is because that is also something I can trade, and it takes my know-how to identify them, make the remedies and know what they’re for. That’s insurance against thievery from most people for whom those plants would be useless or even poisonous.

It’s also why I’ve learned how to identify and eat weeds. Even if someone completely raids our garden, we still have food that the average person doesn’t know how to eat.

Anyway, this is something I’ve long considered and is one reason why I never felt called to “save for retirement.” I figured it was a complete waste for my generation and that I’d never see the fruits of all that labor. I may have had financial struggles at times, but at least I have transferable skills, adaptability and even some ingenuity. That’s MY insurance … plus the fact that some of my gifts are extremely unusual and the worse society gets the greater the demand for some of these gifts. 🙂

Develop some useful, practical skills, pronto. Oh, and offload debt in whatever way you can. Get rid of it before the “safety nets” declare bankruptcy on YOU…

Bizarre times, huh? I’m still an optimist, but some things are going to change permanently, because they are just unsustainable at the core — and have been for a long, long time. I always remember the words of the Hopi Elders, Grandfather David Monongye & John Kimmey:

“You have been telling the people that this is the eleventh hour.
Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the hour.
And there are things to be considered:

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden
It is time to speak your truth
Create your community
Be good to each other
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

“This could be a good time!

“There is a river flowing now very fast
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid
They will try to hold onto the shore
They will feel they are being torn apart
And they will suffer greatly.
Know that the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore,
Push off into the river,
Keep our eyes open,
And our heads above water.
Look around, see who is in there with you and celebrate.

“At this time in history we are to take nothing personally,
Least of all ourselves
For the moment that we do our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner
And in celebration.

“We are the ones we have been waiting for!”

Hopi Independent Nation