I received my Permaculture Design Certificate at The Commons in Brooklyn from Andrew Faust in the fall of 2015. In the spring of 2016 I audited the course again as a de facto teaching assistant and Social Permaculture lecturer. I wrote this blog post in the middle of my first time through the course, about the moon:
"In our permaculture class today, we learned about the formation of the earth. It’s always interesting to learn more about her history (the earth is a her to me; she runs on feminine energy) because I feel connected to her all the time, and she tells me things about herself too. From her I learned that volcanos are simply how she relieves herself (like urinating, orgasming, or cracking a back), and that, despite her four-and-a-half billion year lifespan, she is quite young; an adolescent. I suppose this is in comparison to “other earths,” as Eva likes to call them, though I don’t necessarily know if the earth is in communication with others of her kind (do earths talk to each other?). I know that the oceans were conceived inside of her, and she birthed or breached or menstruated them out. Some (probably male) scientists would have us believe that the oceans came from a meteorite, like a sperm fertilizing an egg, as if earth did not know how to create the ideal environment for all of the life she was about to bring forth.
About 3.8 billion years ago, however, an asteroid did hit the earth, and the moon was formed. It was in this moment, as earth tells me and as science suggests, that “life” began. I think, more specifically, that this was a moment of the greatest separation the earth had ever known; the Juliet to her Romeo, cut off from her, hovering just out of reach for all eternity, slowly pulling away, shrinking from view. From this point of separation, all things separate. It was her “Big Bang” moment too.
When the moon was first shorn from the sun she filled up 70% of the night sky from the perspective of earth. The moon has been moving steadily away from earth ever since; the drawn out tragic ending to the greatest Sapphic love affair. I can relate to that feeling; of a lost lover filling most of my vision but just out of reach.
(We get this wrong, too; if you look at most dinosaur movies the earth is small like ours; it should be much bigger.)
In the healing work I’ve done, a lot of it is about retrieving soul fragments. Maybe the moon is one of the earth’s soul fragments. Or maybe we lose soul fragments because we come from a post-moon earth.
I think about that; about how many centuries of sky-god worship have, until recently, anesthetized us from the fact that we come from the earth. Antony Hegarty puts it much better than I ever could, in part of his speech, “Future Feminism,” in his 2012 album Cut the World:
“I’ve been thinking all day about the moon. Like, is it an accident that women menstruate once a month and that the moon comes once a month? Are other animals synchronized in this way with the moon? You know, my brother works in mental health and he says that there’s a lot more hospitalizations and periods of activity during the full moon. It’s a known fact in mental health that people are more excitable around the full moon.
“And then, what about the fact that we’re made of 70% water? And then the whole ocean reacts to the full moon, right? In a serious way. Everything’s ticking around that moon and if we’re 70% water I must be having some — at least homeopathic — relationship with the changing cycles of the moon.
“I can’t escape my obsession with the idea that I’m made out of this place, because I was raised to believe that I fundamentally was constituted of spiritual matter that was from somewhere else like Heaven or from a Sky God. Like Gore Vidal talks about Sky Gods and I really picked up that language because in patriarchal monotheisms we all worship a God elsewhere who has a plan for us in a paradise elsewhere: After we die there will be a paradise waiting for us and this place is like a work station where we sort of get all our ‘T’s crossed and our ‘I’s dotted before we go off to a real spiritual dimension.
“But I’m a witch. I actually de-baptised myself. And what’s great about being transgender is you’re born with a natural religion. It applies almost across the board no matter what culture or economic group or nation that you’re from — you’re almost automatically a witch. None of the patriarchal monotheisms will have you. It’s very clear that in most of those religions you’d be put to death. In many parts of the world you still are put to death. […]
“I’m worried that the ecology of the world is collapsing and that I won’t have anywhere to be reborn because I actually believe, like, where is any of us going? Where have any of us ever gone? We’ve come back here in some form. Did you know that whales were once land roaming mammals? And then they crawled back into the ocean trying to find something to eat? And then eventually they got rid of their hands and legs.
“I’ve been searching and searching for that little bit of my constitution that isn’t of this place and I still haven’t found it. Every atom of me, every element of me seems to resonate, seems to reflect the great world around me. So, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is God’s best idea — that this manifest world is the frontier of his dream, or her dream in my opinion. So, that’s just my point of view from where I can start to establish a new way to value the world that I’m a part of. Cause if I’m not heading off to paradise elsewhere when I die then I have more of a vested interest in observing a sustainable relationship with this place.
“It’s a very indigenous idea that the Earth is a female, that the Earth menstruates, that the water of the world is the blood of a woman’s body and that’s what we crawled out of just in the same way that we crawled out of our mother’s wombs. It’s the most basic idea; any child could come up with it and it’s so obvious. And yet we’ve been straining for these Sky Gods for a couple thousand years now. And I remember praying to God when I was like six years old. I was raised Catholic and I prayed really hard, and I waited and waited to hear that summons. I think in a funny way, a lot of my music I’m listening for that response still.”
So it stands to reason that whatever the earth is going through, we are going through as well, or we remember going through it. Both in our genetics, and our past lives, and in our social and collective consciousness, but also in our earth consciousness; the parts of earth carrying memories of the whole.
I meditate with the moon a lot, and I’ve asked her if she remembers being part of earth. She send back to me a lot of images; of the giant, whole earth, pre-rupture; of the rupture; of the moon being born. It’s like a birth, she tells me; so when she was part of earth is probably the equivalent of our in utero; you are part of your mother, one with your mother, and you don’t ever think that you are not, until you’re not. Things are only different after they’re different.
One of the students in our permaculture class, TH, said that he had heard that there used to be this uniform film that covered the entire earth, of a single form of microbe or something like that—like it was one continuous organism, I suppose—and then when the asteroid hit it was ruptured, and life began. So then the asteroid could also have been a rape, or a hymen-breaking, or the moment when Rumi finds out that Shams is dead. What a riot, happens then; the riot of all life on earth.
Maybe this is where humans get two ideas from:
- That of the binary;
- That you must be ruptured in order to become whole again;
- That you must lose something in order to make great work.
Are we finally getting over these ideas? I think we are. Maybe because the earth is finally getting over her lost part of herself; her lost love."