Recently I was hiking up Sandia peak in the snow. I began to notice hundreds of ladybugs crawling across the snow. Most of them frozen or buried as the snow shifted. What on earth? I began to pick them and as they revived from the heat of my hand, they crawled across my hand, traveled up my arm, alighted on my face and eventually flew off.
As I said in a ladybug post last year, Sleeping with Ladybugs, I cannot claim to have much expertise on ladybugs, though I have become fascinated by them. They keep showing up in my life! What do they have to teach me?
The fore mentioned blog I published last year about ladybugs taught me about something called diapause every winter. As the temps drop they become dormant together en masse.
And now, as Spring warming comes early, then drops back to freezing temps, they also come out of diapause together. Many will perish. Some will survive .
We are in a climate crisis and these days the unpredictable weather patterns are even more extreme. What will the creatures do? How many will perish as Mother Nature becomes too mercurial for them to survive the ever tenuous thread that keeps them attached to an increasingly harsh planet?
We are in a time of COVID. We are in a time of global warming. We are in a time of deep racial unrest as injustice is being unveiled. Here in the southwest, we are in a long decades old drought of biblical proportions. As I drove south from Santa Fe, NM yesterday, the land looked pinched and stricken by its lack of water. Great whirlwinds of dust flew as the wind kicked up. The distant cattle slogged along in the grit, stones prying at their feet. Succulent plants a pipe dream of the past. We are fighting to protect our sacred water.
One of our fiercest allies in water protection has died recently from brain cancer. LaDonna Brave Bull Allard of the Lakota tribe at Standing Rock. I met her once, in the Fall of 2016, when I was staying at the camp along the river on her property. They called it Sacred Stone Camp. It overlooked the vast windswept plain where buffalo roamed and the eagle rose on the heat thermals. We could see the larger camp at Standing Rock, across from the hill at Sacred Stone. One day LaDonna came down to visit. She was gracious and warm as she greeted the visitors on her land. Intelligent and powerful were her words.
Watch this interview where she introduces herself and speaks her heart.
Water is life. Mni Wiconi.
Another heart teacher is Joanna Macy. She speaks to these times. She speaks from a Buddhist perspective, but it is no different for any religious tradition— including the teachings of Jesus, which I embrace. She says now COVID is a our teacher. It is bringing us deep pain and suffering as a human species. It is unveiling, revealing what delusions or illusions we have lived under for too long. Our lifestyle is killing us and the planet. It is also calling us to our deepest humanity.
Macy teaches about the web that reconnects even in the wretchedness. She calls us to deepest humanity. How we care for one another. We are all interconnected, earth and humans. Our future fate is woven together.
We have seen a huge influx of women and girls into the public sphere in the past decade, rising up to call the human community to action on behalf of our Mother Earth, which absolutely sustains us in all ways. I’m not surprised. Women are the life bearers on this planet. They have the potential to grow and sustain children in utero and then in community. At our best, the female species understands the need to care for that which gives us life.
Perhaps that is why the bees have called me into their world at this time of my life. Though I have no children and have now passed menopause, the thriving and fertility of this female dominated society of honeybees continues to teach me how to “think like a bee” for all earth’s thriving!
Not unlike the ladybug, the invertebrate world of bees in of myth and culture have been associated with resurrection and metamorphosis.
Many spiritual teachers see this time of disruption, pandemic, and institutional failure as the beginning of a new epoch, an initiation for humanity for what must be birthed. The transformation of the cocoon. Animal Speak reminded me that the symbolic message from this most ancient creature, the beetle, might be my metamorphosis, as well as ours. Here’s the insect wisdom of beetle:
Stick together. Rest when you can. Prepare for change. Remember you are in the midst of a metamorphosis. What do you need to shed in order to welcome the new? Change is inevitable and only becomes more difficult when you resist its natural flow.TED ANDREWS (ANIMAL SPEAK, LLEWELLYN PUBLICATIONS, ST. PAUL, MN, 1996)