September 23, 2020

Refleshing The Bones

Some describe the emergence of Coronavirus as being an inevitable expression of an out of balance microbiome, a natural response arising from within an increasingly toxicified ecosystem, subsumed with pollution and ravaged by monocultural over-use, I wonder too if the powerful emergence of overly simplistic, divisive narratives at this time in our collective discourses is a similar expression of the loss of healthy habitat and indeed the desecration, of our psychological and mythic underpinnings.

Just as the ecology of our planet has been colonised and transgressed by a paradigm of domination, so our cultural narratives have become desperately degraded. Akin to the way the Coronavirus is toxic to the human body so too perhaps are our cultural narratives toxic to the human psyche. Simplistic and binary, obscenely outcome-oriented, good vs bad, hierachical, proliferating violence and domination, ensnaring us in the victim/perpetrator polarity, us/them, bereft of creative nuance or mythic ambiguity, they are banally happy-ever-after.

I sometimes wonder whether as a culture at large, or at least for many amongst us, we suffer from collective attachment trauma, in utero, birth, first years of life, childhood, adolescence. The unbearable affect that can present within the undifferentiated psyche of the child causing the authentic self to defend itself against feeling in order to survive its own existence, in the face of a lack of good enough co-regulation from care givers, in the presence of abuse/intergenerational trauma and/or the annihilating absence of care and soulful presence.

I believe the dominant overculture perpetuates an institutionalisation of birth violence and attachment trauma, it’s economic imperatives disinherit us from our profound capacity to attune and to devote ourselves to the non-profitable task of caring and tending, of fusing the soul to its earth-home, weaving a tapestry of integrated sensitivity through gentle presence, impeccable nurturance and timely nourishment, supported by a family, community, society that prioritises attunement and care, deep listening, depth and breadth, wisdom and embodied power. The Mamatoto of wholistic becoming.

Conversely our modern human world institutionalises care and compassion. There is a cultural somatics of loss. This becomes an intergenerational legacy of psychic dissonance, a breeding ground for mental health disturbance, addiction, suicidality, despair, dislocation, avoidance, aggression/abuse, dissociation from emotional pain. For many there is a ravenous dirth of belonging and connection to authentic self, dare I say it is a pandemic.

Just as the earth has been traumatised with the unrealistic demands of a ravenous consumerism, so the psyche has been violated and transgressed by a hollow and brutalising cultural legacy, of capitalism, consumerism, suppression of feeling, violence, economic inequality, systemic racism/sexism/ableism, all the ways we dismantle diversity of being, shaming “otherness” in terms of sexuality, identity, belief. This tyrannical and narrowing system impinges on mind, body and soul.

In a toxically imbalanced ecosystem viruses emerge and thrive, ultimately I’m sure as a deeper expression of intelligence within an ecosystem attempting to right itself. Is the burgeoning of these over simplistic conspiratorial theories an expression of the same thing? A transmitted virus of the psyche, a virulent expression of the toxicity of our psychic landscape, an inevitable consequence of the profound trauma of colonisation, as people are stripped of their ancestral roots of localised language and lore, story and medicine, connection to country and healing practices, birthing traditions and collective child-rearing, intergenerational cohabitation. Almost annihilated in the current cultural narratives is a mythological underpinning of meaning and morality, that binds a person in context and place, connects us to our ancestral inheritance, plants us deeply and with nuance into the fertile soil of community, earth and cosmos. Disease thrives in the psychic landscape of dislocation and emotional pain, that have been epigenetically instilled by the absence of a biodiversity of ecologically embedded selfhood.

In the absence of a cultural code of care for the soul, of a complex and nuanced relationship to the psyche, to emotions and the deep feeling body, of the immanence of spirit through deep ecological relationship to self and place, we can be tempted to cling to the narratives our brutalising culture offers us.

As we are force-fed movies of horror and violence, so we overlay and underpin these narratives of meaning and sensemaking upon a world in crisis. We are existing in a monocultural apocalypse of the mythic. The obtuse narratives of conspiracy theory are perhaps an expression of this dire lack of subtlety and nuance, of emotional intelligence and depth of feeling, tenderness and tolerance, of complexity and biodiversity that our psychically malnourished muscle for sense-making and myth-making has been acculturated to.

Those of us who are held in the grips of developmental woundings that inhibit our capacity to feel safe and embedded in a primal matrix of belonging, are in essence already and always in the grip of mythic and annihilatingly archetypal forces. Unable to meaningfully bridge self to other to culture to earth we are forced to draw on the archetypal forces for sense making and connection. It is our enormous task to tame the archetypal and the mythic so that it can be a life enhancing, enriching force, rather than a weaponised mechanism for justifying our severance from our own authentic self and truest nature, from the unity of human experience, the dislocation from the reciprocity of attuned human and ecological co-regulation. For those of us who are mythically wounded, archetypally defended, I wonder whether part of the remedy must also, by necessity, come from or through this numinous realm, this chthonic threshold, this mythic interface?

I sense that many of us alive today, disenfranchised by the ancient war against indigenosity, need to tend to the battered roots of our stories, our personal myths, repopulate the world with tender and generative, fertile and fecund tales of reclamation, mobilising the mycelium of complex reciprocity that is the true inheritance of life on this planet, complex and diverse, symbiotic and sustainable. How do we even begin to do this, from the tenuous brink, the barren wasteland, of a human world in such deep healing crisis?

Can we be akin to Psyche, tirelessly engaging the multitudinous tasks required of her, that she might at last arrive embedded within her own divine nature? Can we be like unto Isis, tenaciously retrieving, re-membering the severed pieces of her beloved Osiris, building temples across the land of our own grief and love?

Do we, as the fisherfolk, dare to dangle a dubious fishing line over the edge of our battered and scarred dinghy, into the deep waters of our timeless, collective origins, hoping, even as we dread, to hook ourselves to, inexorably entangle ourselves with, the plight of Skeleton Woman? So that even as we flee and hide from her in horror, we may begin the potent work, in the deep of night, by the glow of the ancient fire light, to reflesh the bones, restore the blood and muscle, enliven the sinew and ligament, drum back the heart, of a sensuously embodied existence, a permaculture of the soul. 

Text and image © Lucy Pierce 2020

September 14, 2020

The Sub-terrain

More than anything else, 

I feel we are missing roots, 

deep roots. 

Roots into body and feeling, 

roots into the deep self that transcends time and space, 

embedded in earth. 

Roots into story and song. 

Roots into myth and archetype, 

symbol and image. 

That eternal subterranean map of morality 

that binds a people to their place, 

a heart to it's truest purpose.

Roots and bones and stones of earth, 

digging into the before and beyond 

to bring the deep nourishing waters up through the subterrain, 

to the radiant light of day. 

Tap root latching on, 

pushing in, through the bedrock, 

ballast and nutrient, 

succulent and dark. 

Drinking from the deep dark earth, 

drinking of the wisdom of bloodlines 

and mythic templates forged across ages. 

Sensing the wild primordial seeds of creation 

singing by our side as we seek a deeper hold, 

as we labour in the chthonic soil 

of our annihilating undoing 

and our emergent becoming. 

The reverberations of the gods 

undulating the dark field of our endeavour.

This is not something known but rather sensed,

like the amputee of a limb long gone.

And yet we drift, severed, rootless, 

cultureless, orphaned, 


This is not by chance, 

there has been deep violence in the severance, 

meticulous intent in the brutal disconnection 

and the dross that replaced the first truth 

of our innate belonging. 

I long for my body to learn 

how to send it’s succours down 

through this hard, fertile, stolen ground 

and to know myself home. 

Down through the substrate 

to the wellspring of story and dream

that would teach me how to live true.

How do we grow roots worthy of the profound privilege, 

of being the embodied faces of our ancestors, 

miraculously alive in the now?

Text and image © Lucy Pierce 2020

June 25, 2020

The Many Faced God

I recoil from the false belonging,

the maladapted attachment to toxic comfort, 

an insidious protection, 

an anaesthetised severance,

a sanitised dismemberment.

I embrace instead

the sickeningly unstable terrain,

the reclamation of dismembered histories

alive in my skin,

the vast complexity of existence 

that swirls and smarts within me,

that stings and swoops inside,

just as it does without.

The truth, 

at once annihilating 

and restorative.

I reach down deep to the loamy soil, 

to dig my own grave. 

From my turreted captivity I reach down,

dizzy, undone.

Even just the reaching down, 

a disloyalty to my enscripted direction. 

Tender mother,

child of rape,

birthing the predator.

I am forging the grave 

within my own living flesh,

earth and blood on my hands.

I am making space for the little deaths 

and for the big one also,

space for the reality of the violation,

the implications of the travesty 

we have begot.

Down deep with the worms 

and the maggots 

and the mycelium.

I am crafting the living tomb within my body,

that connects me to life,

a power source,

a placenta, 

a comfort,

a dismantlement,

a composting,

a resting place.

The cold and clammy body, 

earth stained and damp,

of the murdered instinct

is birthing itself back into existence,

from my encapsulated witholding.

Through each psychic pore, 

through the walls of my civilisation,

the push and the stretch,

each cell a birth canal,

to my severed and harrowing humanity.

I turn to face inside,

that which is the opposite of goodness,

the goodness I was so brutally groomed 

to believe myself to be. 

There too I choose to know myself,

in this darkness that I also am,

as brutal perpetrator, 

as senseless violence,

as immoral desecration.

I am a vast bridge that spans

the eternal complexity 

of the many-faced god,

the formidable trickster,

the life-giving paradox,

that dwells within me and all around.

Life, the vast bridge

between birth and death,

between good and evil,

between ether and earth,

between god and the devil,

between goddess and the killer.

There is room inside me for all of it.

That is how big I am.

That is how loved.

Image and text © Lucy Pierce 2020

June 11, 2020

Closing the Gap

Closing the gap,
between love and fear,
between exile and belonging,
between mind and earth,
between pain and care.
So that we are all wet and sleek as newborns,
brushed with the dust of earth,
gathered into arms of kindness,
coming home,

Closing the gap
between shame and unified nurturance,
between trauma and embodied integration,
between blame and rightful atonement.
So that body and skin, 
feeling and thought,
inner and outer,
become lovers,
pressed tight in reconciliation,
so that psyche returns to the birthright of earth,
to the embrace of kindness and kin,
returns to primal unity,
to sovereign power,

Closing the gap
between thought and action,
between bigotry and restitution,
between prejudice and restoration,
between abuse and safety,
between isolation and inclusivity,
between manipulation and regeneration.
So that only love remains,
fierce and brave,
in all Her wild faces.
And deep listening also 
at the interface of self and other and the inbetween,
eternal homecoming,

Closing the gap 
between the spite of domination and benevolent sovereignty,
between history and the healing presence to love’s living moment,
between agony and nourishment,
between the orphaned and the inclusive hearth.
Closing the gap 
between belief and action,
between injustice and attuned advocacy,
between the injury of betrayal and fiercely accountable acknowledgment,
Closing the gap so that we all become kin 
at the feasting place of creation.
To each partake of the pristine succour
of our empowered existence
inside an ecologically embedded macrocosm of grace.
No longer split and splintered
and brutal and cruel,
but returned,

Closing the gap
between the unfathomable grief and an embodied shore,
between violent rage and rightful justice,
between dissociated terror and deeply courageous feeling,
between brutal incarceration and regenerative healing,
between shackled suppression and exuberant expression,
between need and privilege,
between brutal travesty and artful remedy.
So that body and skin and world and self 
and human and land and cosmos 
and animal and plant and microbiom 
and fire and water and earth and air 
and spirit
sit together at the one fire,
in reciprocal alignment,
coexistent in a unified field of belonging
and love,
tender and fierce,
in all Her wild faces, 

Closing the gap
between dream and lived immersion,
between prayer and reality,
between hope and accountable becoming.
So that the wound that will not heal,
the shame scar as deep as Hades,
will always be given wing and balm,
the smoke of prayers,
the touch of care,
and succour and vision,
and a friendly hand to hold in the dark times.
So that we may each walk at peace 
with our very own deaths,
so that we are made rich again
and whole and kind and brave.
Closing the gap within.
Closing the gap without.
to love 
in all Her fierce 
and wild
and tender 

Image "Placenta Bowl" and words © Lucy Pierce 2020

June 8, 2020

A Brutal Lens

I’m sure it would be wisest to stay silent.  Yet as I only just begin to understand my own complicity in regards to systemic racism, I traverse that all to familiar feeling of the underlying psychic belief in my own wrongness.  I begin to suspect that this is something that my culture weaponises against me to keep me compliant. Even as I grapple with shame and distress at my own part in this, I also hold a deeper conviction in my own innate and intrinsic human intelligence, always seeking a benevolent restitution, seeking to understand that there is a deeply redemptive quality of inclusivity and care that is at the heart of this universal experience. As a daughter of this mother Gaia, however waylaid and distorted I may be, I also now understand that I am beloved by Her, by Her vast web of cohesive love, and that I am not loved for my perfection, but rather in spite of my messy, flawed, blind, deluded identity, because I am alive and a very infinitesimal part of a great cohesive whole of evolving and awakening consciousness. As I begin the journey of learning to awaken to and heal with, and attune to this macrocosmic grace, there is yet so much dangerous unconsciousness at play, fumbling and bumbling my way through this messy thing called life, my heart wants to speak to what I see, what I feel and sense, in all my flaws, with all my blindness.

As people of white skin, living within a paradigm of colonial domination, of supremacy indoctrination, we are actually living inside a harrowing wound of narcissism. Each of us is given the birth-right of being special, of becoming successful, of thriving economically in the face of ecological destruction at the untenable volume of our increase, of being a unique individual contributing inside a hollow and narcotic vacuum, that actually has no space for us, let alone more marginalised voices and has no true care for anyone’s authentic wellbeing in any way that is sustainable to earth, or nourishing to body and soul.

Most of us in this culture are slogging away in blind obedience, unless of course we are one of  a very rare few, deemed exemplary enough to become spokespeople of the dream. There is no actual soulful nourishment or integrated belonging in sight, other than that which grows like medicinal weeds on the periphery, through the cracks in the sidewalks, in the fertile crevices of our annihilating grief. Nourishment as dissent.

For so many of us there is no ancient ancestral wisdom to lean back into, no conscious notion of the mother-ground of earth as intrinsic, reciprocal ecosytem, holding us beyond our fickle notions of identity, not because we are uniquely magnificent, each and every white-skinned being, but because we just are worthy of life and connection and love, just by being born and playing our humble part in the vast web of life inside an ecologically embedded macrocosm. To allow ourselves to die to white privilege is perhaps to die a little to our obsession with personal identity, prestige, gift, talent, contribution, to die to a sense of our own individualistic significance. It is this that keeps us sucking at the dry teat of materialism, consumerism, denialism, ecological annihilation, brutality and desecration of peoples marginalised by the system that holds our shallow and fragile egos afloat. 

We are so busy, scrambling up ladders, stepping on the heads and fingers of others to gain the recognition that we delude ourselves would validate our existence in that way that we all hunger for, like addicts, bereft actually and in denial of how very  grief- stricken we are. Grief stricken because the system we are born into is a travesty and a farce, yet it is perceived as all that we have. It is founded on exploitation and brutal violence towards any “other” that knows implicitly a deeper belonging, an embedded sense of self that is not dependant on an economic imperative for its survival. Perhaps the deepest reckoning for us, as white skinned humans, sons and daughters of imperialist agendas, is that it has been so so long since our blood lines inhabited their own intact connection to ancestral lands and spoke their own language of country, since our hands tended the soils of our heartland, fed from the foliage and root of our great grandmother’s herbs. So long it has been, since we were truly nourished by something other than vicarious trauma, that we have become the hungry ghosts of a broken world, vampiric, adrift, insatiable, striving to prove ourselves inside a system that will never be able to offer the deep succour that our souls hunger for. Because you can’t buy that kind of love, that kind of aliveness, it can’t be transmitted through the congratulations of a social media post. 

If there is any salvation for us to have it will be in stepping aside and quieting the harrowing tantrum inside, the driven imperative that desperately wants to insist that we matter, that must contend with the trauma of us all being orphans in a way. Orphaned from true belonging, from ancestral wisdom, from connection to place, language, lore, plant medicine, land. Orphaned to care and ritual and intergenerational custodianship and embodied, robust, connected community. Orphaned to love in a world that validates disconnection, from body, from feeling, from earth, from innate wisdom, from dreaming, from creative intelligence.

Perhaps there is a miraculous work that is possible for us now, indeed a work that so many of us have already so magnificently begun, that we might find some last ditched imperative in ourselves to partake of, that might involve a deep planting, slow stitching, a silent weaving, an attuned tilling, hands Earth stained with our labour of moulding and kneading, of seeking true form, hands oiled by the rituals of caring for body and plant being, animal kin, sunbeam and star light. Our bodies engaging with the bodies of others who we do not understand, who we have done harm to, humbling, humbling, transmuting, taking responsibility for our pain and dislocation, the wide open ears of our hearts and our wombs awakening to the experience of all beings, and the possibility of belonging to each other after all, as apposed to standing above, monolithic and alone and stained in the blood of those we stepped upon to arrive at our own magnificent agenda, with an imperial presence of our own importance. Instead, perhaps, this work of tendering ourselves back into the deeper, cohesive matter of existence, through all the sickening layers of moral trauma, as to what we have been perpetuating that is in truth violent and violating.

For myself I can only do that when I begin to embrace the extremely repellent and uncomfortable dismantling of my own white privilege, my dysregulated attachment to an abusive paradigm of soulless brutality, that has convinced us that each and every one of us can be a super hero, that each and every one of us deserves a place in the spotlight, that we matter to the world. Our own importance  a way of appeasing the gaping maw of our own insignificance inside a brutalising, earth-annihilating machine of consumerist destruction, staving off the harrowing realisation that there is actually nothing of substance that our dominator culture has to offer that is worth mattering to.  Staving off the deeper truth, which is that even as it provides the opportunity to become individualistically revered, it doesn’t care a jot for us either, beyond our capacity to keep the cogs of this monolithic monster of exploitation and capitalistic destruction turning. We need to wake up. We need to wake up now before it is too late.

As I squirm in my own complicity, I seek to use my hands to learn how to use a needle and thread to trace an intact strand, back through the ages of trauma, of my long ago ancestors who have something worth teaching, before it was taken from them and me in turn, by the same paradigm of colonial brutality that is still at work within humanity. We all belong to this beautiful earth, there was once a time when all of our ancestors knew this. I want to understand the trauma of being white and seek to allow my nervous system to settle and detoxify itself from its marathon of struggle for self importance, in the face of an annihilating dirth of true cultural care and nourishment and reciprocated belonging. I want to truly fathom the barrenness and brokenness of my inheritance and listen at the interface of radical care, profound tenderness, fierce love, transformative accountability, to hopefully begin to know how I can belong to my own self and this beautiful Earth that I call home, in a way that makes me less dangerous to others, less dangerous to the ecosystem that sustains me, less dangerous to myself.

Image and text © Lucy Pierce 2020