Darrin Drda Part II- Planetary Initiation and Participatory Reality

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"Initiation recapitulates the sacred history of the world. And through this recapitulation, the whole world is sanctified anew... [the initiand] can perceive the world as a sacred work, a creation of the Gods". - Mircea Eliade, Rites and Symbols of Initiation


In the second part of our interview with author Darrin Drda I began by asking him about his use of the term initiation to describe the period we're going through on the planet. I was passingly familiar with this ancient practice from reading Joseph Campbell's book The Hero With A Thousand Faces, and I instinctually felt like Darrin was onto something by framing our global context in this way, so I was curious to hear more about how he was using this notion in his work.drda

Since we did the interview in the summer one of Darrin's fellow writers at the site Reality Sandwich, Daniel Pinchbeck, wrote an article there called Planetary Initiation. Here's a choice passage from the article that I think works well with what Darrin will have to share in the interview:

We are on the cusp of realizing ourselves as one species organism, in symbiotic relationship with the planetary ecology as a whole. Once we make this leap, we will share resources equitably, adopt cradle to cradle and no waste manufacturing practices, and shift from competition to cooperation as our basic paradigm. We will go from acting like a parasite or a virus on the earth to becoming the earth's immune system

In the second half of this part of the interview, I ask Darrin about his teaching regarding particpatory reality, something that I think will be key for this initiation process to be a successful one.

Click here to listen to Part II (right-click to download).

To listen to Part I, click here.


"The agony of breaking through personal limitations, is the agony of spiritual growth. Art, literature, myth and cult, philosophy, and ascetic disciplines are instruments to help the individual past his limiting horizons into spheres of ever-expanding realizations". - Joseph Cambell, 'Initiation', Hero With a Thousand Faces

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  • Comment Link David MacLeod Tuesday, 18 December 2012 03:36 posted by David MacLeod

    "The only myth that is going to be worth talking about in the immediate future is one that is talking about the planet, not this city, not these people, but the planet and everybody on it. And what it will have to deal with will be exactly what all myths have dealt with - the maturation of the individual from dependency through adulthood, through maturity, and then to the exit; and then how to relate this society to the world of nature and the cosmos...And until that gets going, you don't have anything."
    - Joseph Campbell

    Sit with that for a while!

    This great quote above is the opening for Anodea Judith's remarkable book, "Waking the Global Heart: Humanity's Rite of Passage from the Love of Power to the Power of Love." Darrin mentions the works of JoAnna Macy and David Korten around the Great Turning - Anodea's book sits right alongside those works...and now we have Darrin's book to add to the mix. Korten's book emphasizes the right hand quadrants of it and its, and Anodea's book balances with an emphasis on the left side of the subjective and intersubjective.

    The theme of initiation is central to Waking the Global Heart. Anodea writes:

    "As the curtain rises, we see an adolescent culture entering into a monumental rite of passage into adulthood. The elders who have been in charge are no longer showing us the way - for the way is so different they truly don't know what it is...The old maps can't tell us how to get to the future.

    In this rite of passage, then, there are no figureheads to lead the way, no authority figures who will solve the big problems for us. For the task of initiation is to awaken our own authority...Not only are we 'on our own' in terms of parental guidance, we are simultaneiously the first few generations saddled with the responsibility of saving the entire world. Our ancestors worked to save their tribe, expand their empire, or defend their country. Now the protection of the planet itself is at stake."

    And making a similar point that Darrin does in this podcast:

    "Sometimes the most demanding task of the Hero's quest is the return home, where the fruits of the quest - the elixir of healing or the enlightened vision - are brought back to a broken and ailing world. The Hero's quest begins with the striving of an individual = but ends in the healing of community. The quest illuminates our power, but the return is an act of love."

    The last sentence above echoes Chris's recent post about Eros and Agape.

    Finally, I'll also mention that Rob Hopkins invokes the hero's journey in his introduction to The Transition Companion:

    "a likeable but flawed character is faced with a challenge/problem that seems impossible and for which they feel totally unequipped...they have to go on a journey that transforms them, and on which tehy are required to take on challenges they feel unprepared for and find new strengths and inner resources. The process of shifting our society on the scale it needs to shift, in the time that we have available, requires a story of such magnitude. At the moment it looks impossible, yet the situation demands courage, commitment and intention from us. ...Setting out on such an adventure, one that we need to be embarking on in our millions, and not as solitary heroes but working with others. We can't do this alone. The idea of the solitary hero can be quite an unhealthy one, and we need to pool our efforts and be heroic together!

    ...We may feel like Harry Potter in the cupboard under the stairs, unequipped to even start on this journey...We can do this. As my friend Chris Johnstone says, 'life is a series of things we are not quite ready for.'"

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