Like many parts of Australia right now, the Byron Shire is experiencing its worst drought in many years. Recently, the local community organised a raindance ceremony in Mullumbimby. Various shire identities spoke to the public gathering and everyone participated in ceremonies and rituals led by Sol Farina. Below is the text of a talk I gave at the raindance. Forty-eight hours later, we did receive a generous but brief fall of rain. Coincidence? Read the text and decide for yourself.
As acknowledged in the text below, my views on the link between human consciousness and the weather have been informed and inspired by a number of the Seth/Jane Roberts' books, and most of the concepts presented below have been derived and paraphrased from several of these books, including, for those who may wish to explore further, Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul; The Nature of Personal Reality and The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, available from all good metaphysical bookshops.]
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It's a beautiful night for a raindance. Yet I wonder: Do we really, at the levels where it most matters, believe that we can manifest the weather?
The other night in Suffolk Park when we enjoyed a welcome downpour, a friend of mine claimed it was because she had been invoking precipitation by playing her didjeridoo; I claimed it was because intuitively I had mulched my garden the day before, and a bloke I know insisted it was because he'd just put his soft top down. Or maybe it rained because Sol Farina appeared on the front page of "The Byron News", arms akimbo, invoking the rain.
So we jokingly parlay the idea that we can affect the weather, but do we really believe we can? And if we don't believe, why don't we?
I turned to my friend Seth for a few insights into our relationship with the weather and I'd like to share some of his ideas with you.
In Western culture since the Industrial Revolution, around 1760, we've grown to believe that there is little connection between the objects of the world and the individual. Before that time, when we still retained our nature-based agrarian rhythms and identification, we did believe that we could affect matter and the environment through our thoughts.
Today, however, in our highly industrialised societies, our human thoughts no longer seem to have any effect upon nature because in our minds we see ourselves as apart from it. In an ambiguous fashion, while we've concentrated upon nature's exterior aspects in a very conscious manner, we have still ended up denying the conscious powers of our own minds. We've become quite blind to the connection between our thoughts and our physical environment and experience.
These days we think of rain or earthquakes as natural events, yet we don't consider our thoughts or emotions as natural events. Therefore it's difficult for us to see how there can be any valid interactions between our inner emotional states and our outer physical ones.
We might say: "Of course, I realise that the weather affects my mood," yet it will occur to few of us that our moods have any effect on the weather. We have so concentrated upon the categorisation, delineation, and exploration of the objective world that it surely seems to be "the only real one." It seems to exert force or pressure against us, or to impinge upon us, or at least almost to happen by itself, so that we sometimes feel powerless against it. Our contemporary belief systems have given great energy to the outsideness of things.
In exasperation some of us see nature as good and enduring, filled with an innocence and joy, while on the other hand we envision ourselves as a bastard species, a blight upon the face of the earth, as creatures bound to do everything wrong regardless, of our strong and good intent.
This myth we've evolved assigns great value to the larger processes of nature in general, yet sees humankind alone as the villains of an otherwise edifying tale. As long as we believe in this myth, we cannot allow ourselves to trust our own human natures.
Psychically, mentally and physically, I believe we are as much a part of an event such as a drought or flood, as say, the plants that wither on the vine or the water that sweeps through a town. We can utilise the physical catastrophe, as an individual might use a symptom for purposes of challenge, growth or understanding -- but I don't doubt that we will individually and collectively continue to choose our disasters just as we choose our symptoms of physical illness.
A severe illness may be used by a person to put him or her into the most intimate contact with the powers of life and death, to initiate a crisis in order to mobilise buried survival instincts, to vividly portray great points of contact and to summon all of his or her strength.
Similarly, a climatic catastrophe can be used consciously or unconsciously, according to each individual.
We could reason that, just like the floods in previous years in Byron Shire, this drought is physically materialising the inner problems of the region. Each individual involved has his or her own reasons for participating, and through our mass-created framework, each of us works out our private purposes and dilemmas.
So-called natural disasters actually serve many positive purposes. For a start, they remind us that we can't ignore our planet or our creaturehood.
Disasters, such as the current drought, possess the great rousing energy of powers unleashed, of nature escaping humanity's discipline, and by their very characteristics they also remind us of our own psyches; for in their way such profound events always involve creativity being born, rising even from the bowels of the parched or flooded earth, reshaping the land and the lives of women and men.
During times of weather calamities, our taken-for-granted patterns of existence can be effectively ripped away and we can sense our kinship with our local community.
The crisis of our current drought can catalyse our realisation that any permanency of form is an illusion, since all consciousness is in a constant state of change.
More than this, however, each of us can feel the enduring energy of nature. We can be reminded of the great permanent stability upon which normal life is based and the incredible potency from which we spring.
Because we're here at this community rain dance, I'm assuming that many of us believe, on deeper and deeper levels, that we do indeed create our own reality.
And if you're tired of hearing that phrase -- you create your own reality, you create your own reality -- in cafe conversations, workshops, and counselling sessions, in books, Van Morrison lyrics and at Mullumbimby raindances -- I can only say that I personally count on this repetition -- you create your own reality -- to reaffirm my understanding that this underlying spiritual principle applies to the most minute and the most important of the events that I experience.
In my understanding, we do not simply react to the weather. We help form it, even as we breathe the air and then send it outward again. To some extent or another, our human desires and emotions merge with the physical aspects of nature, so that our great storms or droughts are as much the result of psychological activity as they are of weather conditions.
The brain is a nest of electromagnetic relationships that scientists admit we do not yet understand. From our brains spring ideas that are quite as natural as lightning. When lightning strikes the earth, it changes it. There are also changes that come about through the impact of our thoughts upon the atmosphere.
The notion of collective weather-conjuring may be confirmed by the more enlightened of our scientists and quantum physicists, for they are finally learning what philosophers and mystics have known for centuries -- that mind can influence matter. Still, the scientists have yet to discover that mind creates and forms matter.
As certain indigenous people do rain dances and consciously bring about rain through deliberately directing the unconscious forces, so too people like us in different places on the planet do the same thing quite automatically, but mostly we do it with no awareness of the processes involved.
Most of the time, we don't realise that we create our larger environment by propelling our thoughts and emotions into matter. Mostly we don't recognise that the inner self, individually and en masse, sends its psychic energy out, forming tentacles that coalesce into form.
Yet sometimes we do recognise and harness this creative power. For here we are in Mullumbimby, having a go at co-creating a new atmospheric reality.
Here we are, trying to heal the drought, that mass psychic symptom we've projected upon our patch of earth.
Here we stand as a community, participating in our own collective healing process, for we can no more separate ourselves from the body of the earth and its condition than we can from our own bodies.
Here we are, deliberately, mindfully, congregated, learning to be co-creators; learning the responsibility of any individualised consciousness; learning to handle the energy that is ourselves, for creative purposes.
If a thunderstorm is the exteriorised local materialisation of the inner emotional state of the people experiencing the storm, and I believe it is, then how, exactly, will we incite the rain to fall?
As far as I can gather, the overall emotional tone or feeling-level of masses of people, through our body connections with the environment, can create the exterior physical conditions that initiate the onslaught of natural energy we're wanting. According to the mass emotional conditions, various excesses are built up physically; these are then thrown off into the atmosphere in a different form.
The electromagnetic propreties of our emotions will play a big part in our ceremonies today, so if there are any aura readers amongst us, you're likely to see some interesting etherics.
OK, so let's begin now, in our minds and in our hearts, to seed the rain-clouds through our collective conscious intent. Let's focus, let's imagine, let's call on all the higher powers as we prepare to participate in our rituals and ceremonies.
Let's invoke the collective power of the gods and goddesses within ourselves to materialise the blessed physical rain, the rain which, literally and symbolically, will help us to wash away the old and to give birth to the new times for which we are all yearning.