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  • Amanda Jade Fiorino

Grief is an Eco-Mystical Agent


“Mourning is about dwelling with a loss and so coming to appreciate what it means, how the world has changed, and how we must ourselves change and renew our relationships... genuine mourning should open us into an awareness of our [inter]dependence and relationships with those countless others being driven over the edge of extinction.” Thomas van Dooren, Flight Ways

I’m of the camp that the world cannot be “fixed,” nor is it something one can”save.” In fact, efforts to save and fix the world originate from a larger pervasive narrative that would leave one to believe we are not of nature, and in fact separate from the Earth’s entangled web of change. Such a narrative fails to recognize and further integrate the inter-relational complexity of existence.


How we live and the quality/texture of that living in-forms the world about us and within us, just as much as the world in-forms us.


Binary distinctions of either/or have a tendency of recapitulating easy evils which is perfect if you want to be the hero rushing in with a sharpened sword of justice to smite a designated villain.


Though many might try, we cannot stop or undo what is happening with the Earth. We cannot stave off or derail the great dying and collapse we feel (whether consciously or not) with our animal bodies of knowing.


We can choose to be in relationship with these times from renewed and trans-formed places of co-habitation. From creaturely shapes that spring from our own more-than-human natures.


We can render ourselves capable of being undone by the mammoth grief that is an ecologically necessary and intelligent response to these times.

Grief enables our ability to re-orient ourselves to the emergent story we are a part of. It creates a spacious receptivity that readies us for both coming to terms with what is, and strengthens our muscle for being with landscapes of uncertainty. It grounds us in the humus of our mysterious existence.


Grief is an eco-mystical agent who can invoke metamorphosis. Meta as in larger storied change. A kind of storying that is a with-ing.


If we start close in, and move tentacularly and slowly, we begin to see the brilliance of our entangled living. Moving in this way isn't a moving from "defeat" nor is it moving from a narrative of "salvation," it's to move devotionally with our times, and wonder-with the world what is possible amidst the massive loss we are experiencing.


"Gaia has been self-caretaking for a very long time; Gaia does it very well. The belief that we must save the Earth - even if it is driven by deep concern for the damage that is occurring in natural ecosystems - is only another example of hubris, the flip-side of the arrogance of the belief that we can do as we wish to the Earth without repercussion." Stephen Buhner, Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm
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