An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of February 18, 2008
Written in the community of 28 de Junio and issued from a ciber in
San Francisco Pujiltic, Chiapas, MÉXICO

    "IT'S THE SIGN... "

When Antonio noticed my interest in the Aristolochia fruit he said "It's the sign... "

He meant that when one is looking for this plant's medicine the strange fruit is the thing to be searching for. Find the fruit and the medicinal vine with its leaves and stem are attached to it.

I don't think it would have occurred to many people with a Western or scientific orientation to think of an integral part of a plant as being its "sign." Only when you enter the dominant mindset here, in which humanity occupies a kind of garden where plants are endowed with important, maybe life-saving, maybe even magical features, does the use of the term "sign" begin feeling right. Nature is here generously helping us if only we bother to look for signs.

Attending the "sign" concept is the implied notion that something is out there signing to us and that that something, recognizing our needs, thinks us worth being communicated with. These assumptions go without saying in a society comfortable with the notion that a sometimes harsh but ultimately benevolent Father in Heaven watches over and controls everything.

In this light, modern Western thought patterns and belief systems can seem a little arid. Do people like myself lose something by not believing that a Benevolent Hidden Hand takes care of us every day, even to the point of "signing" to us when we need stomach medicine?

In abandoning such beliefs we do lose something. It's the same thing we lose when we stop believing in the Easter Bunny. We lose a soft, glowing feeling we've always loved. However, by outgrowing the Easter Bunny we enlarge as humans and become more effective dealing with everyday realities. On a mystical level, when we relate to fact instead of fiction we more meaningfully harmonize with the evolving workings of the Universal Creative Force, and therefore honor that Force with our self-denial. (I remember how hard it was to give up the Easter Bunny!)

Is there really need to abandon traditional, highly comforting, innocent-feeling, Hidden-Hand-Protecting- Us belief systems, even when we suspect they may root in pure illusion?

In this world where we ourselves, at an accelerating rate and when it may already be too late, are destroying our own vital life-support systems (our rainforests, oceans, groundwater and air) -- and when established religions and political systems are failing to provide adequate guidance -- the answer is yes.

When one assumes that the Paternal Hidden Hand is watching over us, valuing us so highly that we know we'll be saved if we make a misstep, we're much less likely to make the drastic changes in our lifestyles we need to, to save ourselves, and all Life on Earth. Facebook Icon.