When we abdicate Death
the turn of the Underworld Wonderings
Abdicate - to renounce or relinquish a throne, right, power, claim, responsibility, or the like, esp. in a formal manner
For a while now I’ve been wanting to write on our recent abdication of death. Because I can feel spring here, with its call for life and my head turning away from the winter, from that darkness and that inward dive into waters unknown, those channels of fear that I have swam though as the sun sleeps. So I know if I don’t get it out now I will have to hold my peace and it feels so important, so relevant for us to understand our language and how it shapes us, how it takes us forward to the seeds of hope and to the why we are here, where we are. Especially in this year of the water tiger, one that is already full of great upheaval and most pertinently with its demand that we ride change, like a surfer rides the waves. So here is my epitaph and my prayer as I enter into the turning of the year, as I say good bye to the rumination’s of winter and embrace spring with my hopes and dreams, here is my nod of recognition to what has gone, to what has occurred, my naming the push and desire of our civilisation to abdicate death and my declaration that I resist it. That I hope to keep honoring death as it will in due course honor me.
The Breakthrough by Molly Gur
This observation, then understanding, that came about over the last 2 years was triggered by a phrase that I heard repeated often by people, even loved ones who I consider wise, uttering in their anguish, which was ever present, about how we could have prevented so many deaths. And not only the lament of all the preventable deaths but then the adjacent demand, if only……..if only we had done, they had done, others had done…..And it seemed odd at the time, like when everyone talked about clogged hospitals or breakthrough cases because you knew those weren’t our words. How there was a pollyanna vibe in the heightened responses, and how this general chorus of repetition awoke a reality that didn’t actually exist until chanted into being. How all of sudden preventable death went from marketing to consciousness. I mean I have heard the phrase before and never really thought about it because well it was through newsreels and bad hospital dramas and the like.
And it became one of those things where I thought do we really know what we’re saying?
And hearing it I thought hang on. Since when did we abdicate death?
Since when did we truly actually believe that death was preventable?
I have experienced the anguish of death. The grief of it. The terror of it. I have experienced sudden death, long drawn out death, needless, death, stupid death, pointless death. Tragic death.
The death of a parent, Peter, climbing up the hill towards home suffering his heart attack. The death of my grandmother, Vi, slowly not existing after her stroke in a nursing home for 5 years. The death of Ruud, a friend who in his arrogance thought he could walk across the ice alone. The death of Arcade and Marie, friends, poisoned by carbon monoxide in the shower because they were broke so a well meaning friend fixed the old on demand gas heater. The death of Alexei, husband and dear friend, after being eaten away by cancer and the bitterness of never being loved enough. The death of a Jon, a gay friend, who felt too much and choose not to live any longer, ending it all with a gunshot in the early morning. I have felt deaths’ whispers as I sank for the third time to the depths of the swimming pool, its caress as I realized that not only was I choking but I couldn’t call out for help, its soft beckoning in the throes of fever as my body untethered. Felt its cold grip as the car flipped through the air in black ice and I lost consciousness not knowing how I would regain it.
So left with the reality that here we are, in our dynamic world that challenges us in all the ways to live our best life and one that we eventually die within and yet suddenly only certain things can exist. I mean just how much are we trying to be in control here?
I understand the concept. I mean if we don’t explode a nuclear bomb lots of people don’t die. If I don’t shoot myself I won’t die but hang on - if I don’t interface with the environment then I also won’t die? And yes I understand that we had a pandemic that we needed to respond to but surely we needed to respond by navigating our health needs, not by preventing death or by waging war on something that has as every right to belong and live as we do.
Because if we feel that death is preventable then exactly who is preventing it? That was actually the scariest thought. Because if it’s us and our institutions, then yeah I’m feeling pretty fucked. Because the death I know doesn’t operate for profit. And I realized that if we have abdicated death for the Experts, no wonder we are afraid. No wonder I hear anguish and see terror. No wonder I see desperation.
This was when I began to understand exactly the general mass psychosis around me. We had taken control and naturally it was terrifying. Because really who wants to pretend to be in control of death?
All of a sudden we had preventable death and big pharma was the gate keeper.
(And I’ve always been curious as to why the possibility of covid not being a natural occurrence has been, well, not really relevant. Because maybe in this context, the one where covid was created by humans, maybe this is why death became so preventable….but then surely we would be oh so enraged at who set up such a happening? Surely if it was preventable because it shouldn’t have happened we would have had a very different media speak? Surely the outrage of the last 2 years would have been directed at the inventors and releasors of this disease? Surely?)
Instead I heard anguish around how if only we did xyz we could have prevented millions of deaths. Instead I heard anguish and blame and anger against personal choice. Not government misadventure but rather the insistence that we can control the natural world if we just all agree to behave in one way. I witnessed and experienced punitive actions taken against ordinary people, people, the same as me and you, being restrained, ostracized and rejected and shamed because they questioned this. Not because they were spreading disease or behaving dangerously, but because they questioned the belief that we could control Natural Law. They questioned the position that we are above such things as life and death.
I will blame big Pharma. I do blame big Pharma. Just as I blame big Agro, big Finance, big Tech. After all I have seen the same tactic used over and over on the essences that make up life, how this civilisation has eaten our basic dignities, our relationship to land, food, time, beauty. How we can have overlord ownership of air, water, environments, bodies and now even our very gaze. How these things have transcended experience and become commodities that need to be controlled by us. I have lived through this and I have felt it. As a herbalist when I look on the miracle of modern medicine I also see the subscription base, how its moved beyond the ability to navigate our own health in the best possible way and moved towards dependancy. And now inching towards a reward based subscription. Only the good girl who prays to the right party gets her medicine. How often the life saving procedure is reliant on forever being able to purchase a drug. Our father who art in science, give us our daily prescription.
After all its so much easier to control people through dependency, what with that damn sunshine everywhere and the hidden propagators with their open source seed, and the fact that the earth will just redistribute water channels without prior approval is well, complicated and annoying. So Fucking Wild. The ongoing abundance that we all feel, the undulating love and grace that finds us in its slip stream is still just somehow always available freely.
Disease is our last frontier of fear. We have gone through famine and war, we have proven that despite the long term inevitable fail, in our lifetimes we can truly profit from these disasters. So why not make disease something to overcome? To fight against. Just like all that inconvenient Nature that we know how to control. We have the ongoing choir of save me save me from every tv screen and ER emergency room. And then the doctors swoop in, we can save you! Something that was holy and miraculous turned grossly out of balance, drunk on its own power and ego, the human forgotten in the midst as anyone who has tried to lately visit a loved one in hospital and not been allowed has felt acutely. Is this what it looks like, preventable death, when we have elders left to die alone. Husbands and wives face timing their last breaths while plugged into the wall. Children banished from expression, terrified that their hugs will kill those people who yearn for their touch. Is this the underworld where we are the ones who decide who lives and who dies.
How the divine act of healing, the beauty and grace of caring for one another has fallen as we became the one god, the god that has science as its judgement and retribution. And nothing else exists. The miracles are machines and the invisible is just that. Empty space.
My truth rejects this and has all throughout the last 2 years. The waters are muddier than ever. What ever we are trying to control we obviously have a lot to learn and the arrogance of our questioning is its own path of pain. Nothing I’ve seen makes me believe that we have intelligence over or apart from other sentient life forms, seen and unseen. All that I’ve seen makes me believe that the more we try to control the more out of balance we become.
I don’t blame our humanity. I don’t blame my friends or myself. And however fearful I get, however much suffering I experience I do not believe in control or safety if it means I have to live apart. In separation. Above another.
If I want to feel empowered and well, safe, I look towards navigating my health. I look towards maintaining my relationships. I look towards the transparency of my heart. Which is insanely contextual. And personal. And doesn’t actually rely on how others behave but on the agreements that I have built up within my environment. The connections that I have created within the world around me. Because if anything thats how I understand “preventable death”. Isn’t it how we navigate life?
And honestly in my wildest dreams I wouldn’t want to to piss off death by pretending to negate it. By telling them they are now defunct. Retired. Not needed.
And don’t get me wrong, for sure I have bargained with death, tried to negotiate. Up against deaths hard edge though, control isn’t what comes to mind at all, its more of a surrender, a letting go within the terror, the fear, an embracing of the inevitable as we whisper that prayer, please don’t let me die, and see death turn its face away, this time…..because truly isn’t that how we get to know death? Become familiar with death so that when death does come we can have the presence and bearing to great it?
For after all isn’t death the sacred vessel of life?
And although I am still amazed and affected by the punitive policies of big Pharma, I have my truth, my ballast for riding the waves of change that are already sweeping over us this year with full force as we see big decisions and terrifying battles vie for balance, the tipping scales between financial centralization and decentralization, the ongoing deconstruction between the matriarchal and patriarchal, our relationships to resources being played out like chess on a global scale, the law unable to reconise equality, whether we choose to be in the machine or outside of it…
And I turn towards those ripples to try and smell which way the wind is blowing, how best to ride the waves, how best to live. I am eternally grateful and happy to be able to navigate my health and my choices with those around me, seen and unseen, present and past. Loved and feared. And more and more I see on the daily people reaching out to be together. To be kind together and to love together.
Beautiful and so relevant. Thank you for sharing 💖