One of these laws, called the nigredo or mortifactio by European alchemists, the dark night of the soul by Christian mystics, or the second law of thermodynamics by modern day scientists and which is represented by the Tower card in Tarot, shows us that structures whether they be material or energetic in nature deteriorate, die, and decay so they can become something new. This phenomenon is experienced in its most stark form when structures resist their inevitable transformation. Structures that are not in alignment with the greater good of the universe are especially susceptible to these trials of transformation.
As humans continue to behave in ways that go against the healthy functioning of the earth’s life systems, we face a particularly intense expression of this natural law. Change will come one way or another, and without an understanding of how to navigate the currents of change upon which this universal law flows, we are creating incredible amounts of unnecessary suffering and imperil the continued existence of life on this planet.
Our safety-seeking cultural programming leads to a fear of being out of control and to a fear of change in its many and varied forms, but the more we resist the forces of change the more insistent they become. This resistance, which disconnects us from our natural, wild states of being inhibits the free flow of energy through our bodies and leads to rigidity of thought and a stagnation of soul development both individually and as a species. All of these states scream for individual and cultural Tower experiences that will shake us to our cores and destroy the beliefs and stale ways of being that limit our growth and evolution.
It is inherently repellent for those who perceive the world through these lenses of fear to surrender to destructive forces that seemingly threaten to tear them apart, but in order to form more stable and more fluid structures, we must fundamentally shift the way we relate to the natural forces of transformation. There is certainly danger here; not everyone or everything will come back together in the way we would like or even at all, but in this moment it is imperative that we risk venturing beyond the borders of the false though seemingly prudent sense of safety to which our society desperately clings. When examined closely it is clear that hiding behind walls of rationality and denying the importance of these entropic forces is quite irrational.
Tower experiences bring unpredictability and chaos into the equation in order to disrupt imposed orders that lead to the declining vitality of any system. These forces test the soundness of our individual and collective psycho-spiritual and governance systems. Understanding, aligning, and welcoming these forces is necessary for individuals wanting to live meaningful lives in harmony with the earth and cosmos. If we cannot comprehend the fundamental role that these shaking, transformational energies play in maintaining the vibrancy of life, do not understand the way they work upon and effect our psyches, and are not fluent in engaging with them, our Towers will be shaken to their cores and will collapse into piles of rubble. As we learn to consciously engage with them and welcome them into our lives, we make way for fluid, multi-functional, naturally and divinely supported, and intelligently organized structures to form. We become more deeply ensouled as we learn to consciously and willingly participate in the mysterious and magical act of ongoing creation. In so doing, our physical bodies become temples of divine wisdom and houses of practical existence. From these states, systems of law and governance will arise that reflect our deep respect for the rights of all life on this planet.
One of the best ways I’ve found to achieve this understanding is to spend time in wild nature studying the ways that ecosystems organize themselves. Cultivating a relationship to our own inner wildness and to the beings of the forest and spiritual forces of the land also allows our vital force to flow freely and opens the perceptive capacities of the subtle body which connect us with the governing energetic systems of the universe. This instinctive awareness encourages deeper communion and awakens a profound gratitude for life.
I've long thought that I was unlucky to live through times such as these, but at this point in my life I am so thankful to be alive in an era that demands so much of me and which actively supports my greater awakening. The more each of us can embrace these forces of change the sooner we can shed the last vestiges of our death-abhorrent and nihilistically destructive culture and make way for a new way of being. Thankfully we humans have many allies in the wild who can guide us to an understanding of these laws. The plant beings and other spirits of nature are making themselves available to us to help break up the foundations upon which our sick culture has been built.
excerpted from Receiving the Forces of Change with Grace: Devil’s Club as Agent of Personal and Cultural Transformation to be published in Numen Naturae (Vol. 2): Dismantling the Tower