Time magazine calls it “the spreading stain”. Coast guards refer to the Gulf oil spill as the “insidious enemy”. Some see it as a regulatory failure on the part of the American government. I see it as a reality of our culture. After many years of denial, our collective inability to sit with our own darkness has become the consuming rage, poisoning wildlife and destroying livelihoods. Our dependence on consumerism, individualism, arrogance, greed, and control was bound to take us to this oil-soaked moment. We have become disembodied, and disconnected from our innate state of oneness with the universe. We have resisted every attempt at an interdependent way of living in resonance with the earth. We have lost our way, and are now being called to give up the illusion of control, and surrender into the unknown. This massive spill is Gaia’s bleeding wound, unable to be contained, for every attempt at clean-up is responded to by further leaking into the collective.
The ocean is an image of the unconscious with currents which may either be lethal or regenerative. Water is a symbol of life; a place of birth, transformation and rebirth. It represents an ambivalent situation of uncertainty, doubt and indecision; a simultaneous image of life and death. In an attempt to clean up the mess, BP has put in a “containment procedure”, as if shadow material can be contained, and the projection of our cultural greed and indifference can be stopped by an enforced procedure. Company officials have stated their sorrow and regret, promising to repair the destruction. Yet it has become clear that this process is much larger than us, and cannot be fixed by our rational procedures and regulatory systems. This time, we can’t start a war with the so-called enemy, rebuild the damaged site, and cast blame on the “other”. We now must sit with this stain, which for years will serve as a reminder of our collective desire for personal gain at the expense of earth’s resources.
We are in an extraordinary time of the evolution of consciousness, being taken into the underworld through a painful process of destruction and transformation. The bleeding of the gulf feels like a collective death and transfiguration, a cleansing of toxic emotional dynamics and false belief systems. The sea is a feminine container of receptivity, where the ego surrenders control to become fluid. The currents can be regenerative, through an alchemical process of solutio, releasing that which no longer serves the greater good.
On a national level, we have witnessed a necessary shift into consciousness. It has come with a high price, through the breakdown of the financial system, economic depression, healthcare crisis, failure of the education system and dissolution of all institutions. Our attachment to comfort, security, contentment, kept in place by a narcissistic omnipotence of presence as a world power, is being stripped away. In our dismemberment, we are face to face with a fear of failure, and a dread of annihilation.
On a personal level, we have been guided, and forced into addressing our core wounds. Through symptoms and crises, we are being asked to acknowledge our darkness, accept our humanity, integrate our shadows, and move into a more authentic life purpose. Embodiment of our soul’s path, resonating with a natural balance of life, and holding the polarity of opposites within our psyche; this is the collective transformation, lingering at the end of the stained, oil infested waters. No longer can we project our disowned aspects on to the other, for we have become the enemy.
We may not have solutions to the numerous global (and personal) challenges faced before us. But psyche has a tendency for wholeness, and the seed of healing is within each disease. Perhaps the time has come to find beauty amidst our own ugliness, and unite in our collective ability for chaos and destruction.