The awakening I am speaking of when invoking Kali, the Black Madonna, and the Celtic goddess Cailleach (Hag) may prove to be precisely what the Great Mother has in mind. Is there a link surely between the suffering of Mother Earth due to the climate crisis and the suffering brought about by the coronavirus?
Marshall Burke, assistant professor at Stanford’s Department of Earth System Science, believes that the shutdown in China to combat the coronavirus outbreak probably saved 50,000 to 75,000 lives. Says Burke: “The reductions in air pollution in China caused by this economic disruption likely saved twenty times more lives in China than have currently been lost due to infection with the virus in that country.”
Burke found that the two months of cleaner air saved the lives of between 1,400 and 4,000 children under 5 and 51,700 to 73,000 adults over 70 in China.
It may well happen, however, that the broader disruption caused by COVID-19 would cause many additional deaths not directly attributable to being infected with the virus.
“Does this mean pandemics are good for health? No,” Burke says. “Instead it means that the way our economies operate absent pandemics has massive hidden health costs, and it takes a pandemic to help see that.” Maybe it takes a hard hammer to awaken our hardened heads and hearts.
What else might the pandemic—and the Kali energy it represents–be wanting to help us see? Obviously, the denial of the inextricable link between Earth and her health and our own needs to cease. Denial of climate change and the suffering it poses needs to cease. And the denial between the universe and ourselves; and between nature and ourselves needs to cease.
And our capacity for compassion and making community happen needs to rise anew (as it did in the AIDS crisis in the 1980s).
Might we be on a fast track to learning lessons of where unbridled anthropocentrism and species narcissism are taking us as we stand at the door of doom and extinction?
Might this be happening? A return to respect for nature—its grandeur and brilliance and beauty—as well as a re-found respect for human nature—our capacity for brilliance and working together, our powers of compassion and building community. Our creativity. Our generosity and courage.
All powers, all values, all virtues that render us truly human and that show up in times of crisis like we find ourselves in today.
If this is the result of the pandemic it may prove to be an expensive–but worthwhile–price to pay.
Meister Eckhart warns us: “If you want the kernel, you must break the shell.” Many shells are going to be broken during this 2020 plague—but truly they need breaking if we want to enter more fully the very meaning of what it means to be human beings.
See Ivana Kottasova, CNN, https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/17/health/china-air-pollution-coronavirus-deaths-intl/index.html.
See Matthew Fox, The Reinvention of Work: A New vision of Livelihood for Our Times, pp. 19-24, 140-168.
Banner Image: NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) pollution monitoring satellites detect significant decreases in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over China, potentially at least partly related to the economic slowdown due to coronavirus. NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using modified Copernicus Sentinel 5P data processed by the European Space Agency, from Airborne Nitrogen Dioxide Plummets Over China by Kasha Patel with assistance from NASA Aura and NASA SPoRT science teams.
Queries For Contemplation
Are you recognizing also a useful connection for you between the two current emergencies, the virus and climate change? Is Kali’s anger arousing us all to a deeper love and a more generous service?
Natural Grace: Dialogues on Creation, Darkness, and the Soul in Spirituality and Science
by Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake
Natural Grace, a 208 page inspired dialogue between theologian Matthew Fox and scientist Rupert Sheldrake, unites wisdom and knowledge from unconventional angles. Considering themselves heretics in their own fields, Matthew and Rupert engage the conversation from postmodern and post-postmodern perspectives, deconstructing both religion and science—while setting the foundation for a new emerging worldview. Having outgrown the paradigms in which they were raised, both Fox and Sheldrake see it as part of their life missions to share the natural synthesis of spirituality and science rooted in a paradigm of evolutionary cosmology.