Reciprocity: find the glittering boon

“…neither money nor machines can create. They shuttle tokens of energy, but they do not transform. A civilization based on them puts people out of touch with their creative powers.”  

Lewis Hyde

Welcome to the Reciprocity Moon — the third New Moon of 2020. This is a time to consider ways to be in generous exchange with the world. What do you bring to market? What do you receive in trade? 

So much of what the world needs at this time is not what the mainstream economy has placed value on. Perhaps you’re one of the cultural creatives who lives with the frustration of this.  

All around us we see systems breaking down and conventional leadership failing us. What do you consider to be most crucial to the emerging culture? In this time of profound uncertainty, transition and adaptation, it is vital that we keep our hearts and minds open. It is what humans do — when we are not in a frozen state of shock or despair. We bring the truth of what we feel and what we can imagine into the collective conversation. We experiment with new models when the old ones stop working.  

When Gaia’s Witnesses arrived in Missoula Montana during the summer of 2000, we had been walking, camping, and hitchhiking a zig-zag pattern through the state for nearly a month, dodging the blazing wildfires that tore through enormous swaths of wilderness, and taking shelter while ash fell from the sky. There were no words for the utter devastation we had witnessed in our pilgrimage, and it was mirrored in my personal felt experience.  

But this is what creative expression can do when it comes from generosity. When the names of our lost species are forgotten, and when the waters are tainted with arsenic and lead, and when humans are cautioned to remain indoors while the more-than-human world burns, we turn to poetry and image and dance to bring heart and beauty and soulful presence to the unspeakable. 

Our beautiful Earth, and we tender humans, can’t wait for social permission before we begin dreaming and forging a regenerative future. When we do the work of slowing down enough to find what is true for us, and then search for ways to share it with each other, we take part in the shaping of a new marketplace — one that is based in deep truth and mutual care. 

During the Reciprocity Moon, I invite you to consider the work of activism and the work of art as practices of deep generosity. These are gifts into the world; we call them offerings. While they are not assigned value in the smallest sense of the word, these offerings represent the embryonic evidence of a new world forming.  

Perhaps from seemingly simple acts of courage and creativity, we can indeed gather the glittering provisions for the journey ahead.