I sit at my home in Nassau, Bahamas staring blankly out the window at ribbons of turquoise and cobalt as the ocean lies placid. It pains me to see such exquisiteness. How could mother nature so unabashedly share this beautiful moment after leaving so much destruction in her wake?
I am unscathed by natural disaster, but utterly heartbroken for the islands in our archipelago that were devastated by the recent Hurricane Dorian. The tumultuous energy of these days weighs heavily upon me. Helicopters of the U.S. Coast Guard, the British Royal Navy and the Bahamas Defense Force pass over my house day and night. The thump thump thump of their heavy rotating propellers pulse-like waves throughout my body, and I can’t help but to feel as though the end of the world is upon us.
People are flooding into the country’s capital as they evacuate the rubble of their deconstructed lives. Their world as they know it, has ceased to exist. Faces arrive shell-shocked. Everything lost; family members, homes, heirlooms. One day they were there, the next, gone. What is happening? It feels like the apocalypse. These super-storms are unprecedented for the Bahamas, for anywhere in the world.
I am reminded of the prophecy of the Q’ero Inca shamans from the high Andes that speak of the coming of the end of days. The Inca prophecies say that when the Eagle of the North and the Condor of the South (the Americas) fly together, the earth will awaken. The Inca refer to it as Pachacuti, which means turning the world upside down or turning the world right again. Pacha commonly means earth, but it also means time, cuti means to set things right. This is considered by the Andean shamans as a new time for the earth.
The prophecy says that we will start to see changes with our mother earth. She will begin to lash out against us because of the extreme imbalances. There will be wind and fire, drought and hurricanes. Yes, I silently nod in agreement. But it also says that during this great change we will see the world turned right side up, with order and harmony restored.
Throughout history it was not uncommon for an elite few to hoard sacred information and enlightened teachings. This also included indigenous peoples of the world that protected their beliefs from invaders who forced them to give up their long-held customs to adopt their ways. But as we move into these uncertain times, indigenous people are starting to see the urgent necessity in sharing their beliefs and their ways of connecting with the earth, if only to save the world.
The Q’eros believe they are direct descendants of the Incans and are said to have “disappeared into the clouds” when the Spanish invaded South America in the 1500’s. It is said that when their glaciers start to melt, it would be a sign they should come back down from the mountains and share their teachings with the western world. And so, they have begun. Upon their reemergence, they bring with them their sacred teachings which were safe guarded for centuries, including the prophecy of the end of days, and their own ideas on how to navigate through this new time. These teachings are infiltrating into the Western World as Andean and Amazonian shamans bring their ceremonies to North America, and Westerners pilgrimage to the South.
In order to move into this new time, the Q’ero tell us that it is necessary for human beings to reconnect with the earth, redefine our relationships, and work together as a collective. This change will see inhabitants of this earth moving towards harmony through sustainability, and through giving and receiving, instead of taking. The Q’ero believe those who connect with and honor the earth are under her protection. I can’t help to think about the protection I have just received, as I sit on an island with a near-miss from a catastrophic hurricane. Why was I spared? I take this as sign to continue to work diligently at building a healing community, living sustainability, and showing kindness and compassion towards my home, this planet.
But how do we navigate the end of days when there seems to be so much hate and anger, so much tragedy? Do we take to hoarding like doomsday preppers? And how long will we last if the end is neigh? Do we keep our precious resources to ourselves, until we die alone after our last can of green beans is finished? Or do we come together to work towards a sustainable future? I see humanity moving in these two directions. It’s up to each individual to decide which team to play on.
In yoga I lead my students into savasana, or corpse pose, the final posture of the practice. As we make our way out of savasana we take several moments to lie on our sides in the fetal position, symbolic of rebirth. From death comes life. Seen from a basic biology perspective, decomposition gives way to fertile soil, showered by the rain. The wind blows through the leaves, dispersing seeds. Plants grow, producing oxygen. We are of this earth. We are all interconnected. Without death, there is no life. We are one with the soil, the water, the rain and the wind. The elements are within us. This is a time of death of our old ways, to make way for the rebirth of new ways.
Something terrible is happening. But in a way, something magical is happening too. I’m witnessed to love, support, kindness and seemingly unending waves of generosity by people from all around the world. Friends in Norway, in India, in Australia and Europe reach out to me, sending their prayers to the Bahamas. Celebrities who have said wedding vows on our beaches are pulling together fundraising campaigns. A cruise line is bringing in bottled water, food, and supplies, and evacuating refugees to Florida. Millions of dollars are being raised. We are coming together as one.
While it still feels like the apocalypse, maybe it’s the start of the end of the old days. Maybe a subconscious intellect is guiding us towards working together as a collective. We are being given the opportunity to regain our luminous nature and explore our human capabilities. Love is finding a way to beam through the cracks of tragedy and despair. Perhaps the cracks will continue to expand, but maybe with this upheaval, it’s allowing a chance for even more love to shine through. And with enough of it, we might just save the world yet.
“Follow your own footsteps.
Learn from the rivers,
the trees and the rocks.
Honor the Christ,
your brothers and sisters.
Honor the Earth Mother and the Great Spirit.
Honor yourself and all of creation.”
From the Q’ero Inca shamans