Rituals affirming the interconnectedness of the human and nonhuman worlds exist in every primitive culture. This suggests that the tendency of humans to separate from the rest of the natural world has very ancient roots. Though beliefs can be discarded with relative ease, tremendous energy is needed to effect substantial transformation of the assumptions culture imprints on each person from birth. In the rituals of tribal cultures, some individuals step out of their human roles to put on the mask, costume and mind of an element or animal or plant or creation story; then re-enter the human circle in that form and by song and movement, convey a greeting from the other realm. In this way the whole society consults the non-human powers.
The Council of All Beings is a modern ritual, based on the premise that we already possess within us the knowledge we need, and what is necessary is to bring it to conscious awareness. This ritual weaves together three important themes: (1) mourning - giving voice to what we know is happening to the planet and acknowledging the pain and loss of this awareness; (2) remembering - our rootedness in nature and (3) speaking from the perspective of other life forms - allowing ourselves to choose or be chosen by a plant, animal, or landscape feature, speaking for that form, invoking the power and knowledge of these forms to empower us, and inspire creative suggestions for human action. The ritual enables us to transcend our narrow egos and to act not just from our own opinions or beliefs, but on behalf of a larger Self, the Earth; inspires us to shed apathy, fear and despair, and to experience renewed energy for finding ways to protect the earth and future generations.
Noted psychoanalyst, Carl Jung, believed that modern mind was mistaken in thinking that it could dispense with such ceremonies and act effectively upon our interconnectedness by a mere decision of the will. We need to reclaim the power of ritual.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a unique, experimental research work of the Union of International Associations. It is currently published as a searchable online platform with profiles of world problems, action strategies, and human values that are interlinked in novel and innovative ways. These connections are based on a range of relationships such as broader and narrower scope, aggravation, relatedness and more. By concentrating on these links and relationships, the Encyclopedia is uniquely positioned to bring focus to the complex and expansive sphere of global issues and their interconnected nature.
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