“Last night’s amazing aurora show over Senja, Norway, was nothing short of magical,” reports photographer Adrien Mauduit on Nov. 11th, 2018. “During one outburst of lights, this image appeared. Huge colorful pillars took the shape of a fiery bird.”
With every bone of my earth-bound body, I am convinced that we are now at perhaps the most profound turning point in human history. And I literally mean right now, in the same sense that only decades afterward scientists pinned the beginning of the Anthropocene Age to 5:29 a.m. on July 16, 1945, when we detonated the world’s first atomic bomb in White Sands, New Mexico. Okay, so maybe that atomic-clock precision is not feasible for pin-pointing this pivot, but if I had to guess without the benefit of hindsight as to the exact moment, I would nominate the moment when Adrien Manduit and others witnessed the Phoenix Rising Aurora Borealis display on 11.11.2018. Because we are connected to the Earth’s Psyche (Jung’s collective Psyche), there is a perfect quantum order that underlies all matter and energy reflected at every level and, permeated by consciousness, a mass psychosis that is driving the climate crisis, this 11:11 regenerative apparition appears to us in the heavens at a most auspicious time in the events of human history.
I’ve been feeling this for some time, just as I began feeling the climate crisis as early as 1980. Sometimes this felt sense is difficult to express. So please allow me to unpack this seminal idea from various synchronistic and therefore intimately related levels of observation and analysis. Your patience will be rewarded. This will give you some peace of mind.
The Really Big Picture: Cosmos & Psyche
The really great thinkers and mystics, from Plato through William James and most, if not all, of the great quantum physicists of the 20th Century agreed on one point that goes against all our modern conditioning – that is, the mechanical/materialist thinkers and all the Freudian pseudo-science that underpins our consumer culture. Instead of believing that consciousness emerges from matter – in some mysterious way that Western science and Cartesian analysis have never been able to explain – the visionaries all agree that we have it backwards. It is matter and energy that emerge from a conscious universe. (This is labeled “monistic idealism“)
Once one suspends the disbelief that is part and parcel of the scientific-materialist world view, and opens one’s mind to the Jungian world view of synchrony and inter-relatedness, beginning perhaps with the quantum maxim that there are no things, only relationships, then suddenly the idea that our psyche is connected to a collective and even universal Psyche becomes quite obvious. “The unconscious is in both man and nature.” (Wolfgang Pauli). From there, the idea that the universe expresses itself through us by the archetypes (patterns of psychic energy, like “Psyche” herself) we project back on her begins to make sense. Skeptics of astrology like to ask the materialistic question “How can a planet orbiting billions of miles away affect me?” What they ignore, of course, is the effect of the sun on every aspect of their life, and the electromagnetic connectivity reflected in the swirling, centrifugal forces of gigantic planets engaged in synchronous orbits around that sun. We are like an electron in an atom, the micro-version of a galaxy, pretending that our fate has nothing to do with the other electrons orbiting the same nucleus.
Since the further we look out from our own small world the more ordered the universe appears, it should really come as no surprise that the cosmos are connected to psyche through Psyche. We can glimpse into this divine order by considering our place in the cosmos. Astrology is the oldest science, and represents the accumulated wisdom of observing natural, patterned relationships between macro and micro systems. The contemporary visionary Richard Tarnas applied this scientific method to plot the history of human affairs in relation to planetary aspects in his ground-breaking tome “Cosmos & Psyche: Intimations of a New World View.”
And of course, it makes sense to place the climate crisis into a planetary perspective, does it not? Archetypal Astrology is not predictive, since how humans respond to energetic stimuli will always involve an element of choice. Instead, it is about looking at the order of the cosmos at the scale of the solar system to get a flavor of the drama we are acting out. If we begin there, at the solar macro scale, then the micro scale of chaotic world affairs careening off the climate tracks will appear instead as a set of stories as old as the human race itself. Our myths tell the stories of the implicate order by which human affairs are constrained. It can be a messy kind of order, but it is ordered nonetheless.
The only alternative world view to this, really, is nihilism, which posits a totally chaotic and rather pointless universe. But if chaos were the rule, why wouldn’t planets just jump out of orbit? Why infallible cause and effect? Just like scientific-materialism, moral nihilism turns out to be just another belief system. They both start from the premise that we are separate from “out there.” One chooses to dissect the “out there,” hoping to control it, while the other sees “out there” as inherently hostile, and ultimately uncontrollable.
Most religions, by contrast, are just alternate ways of viewing or explaining the implicate orderliness of the universe. Archetypal Astrology is more objective than that – looking instead to the relationships that we exist within from the perspective of the archetypal associations (myths) we have from time immemorial projected onto that order. In other words, there is no separation between us and the implicate order, and there are no coincidences. It’s a synchronous whole.
And as it turns out, when we consider world affairs from the perspective of planetary aspects (read: archetypal relations) to Earth, our Mother archetype, this just happens to be a highly remarkable time we are inhabiting. If you are desperate for insights into the planetary peril we are facing, this is a really good place to start.
The last decade has been marked by the axial alignment (in this case, 90 degrees) of Uranus and Pluto, beginning with the near collapse of the world financial markets, and continuing through Arab Spring, sparked by a Tunisian fruit seller setting himself on fire, self-immolating Tibetan monks, casting light on the inhumane oppression of the Chinese monolith, exposure of a vast global underworld of cancerous corruption (Wikileaks, Panama Papers, Mueller inquiry), and the general widespread rise of revolutionary social movements. The last axial alignment of these two outer planets coincided with the similar-in-kind events of the late ’60s. And going back throughout history, we see these same kinds of sudden uprisings against exposed corruption again and again coinciding with the axial alignments of Pluto and Uranus (along with, by the way, sudden breakthroughs in science and technology).
Pluto, of course, is the God of the Underworld, and the archetype of death and rebirth (think “Plutonium” here, fossil fuels, and organized crime). The sky god Uranus is associated with fiery upsets and sudden breakthroughs (think “uranium” here), qualities we more commonly associate now with Prometheus (e.g., stealing fire from the gods, bringing it to Earth). Uranus itself was the first planet discovered with a telescope, the same breakthrough in science and technology that now permits us to peer into the ends of the universe.
The frenetic energy of the Pluto/Uranus alignment is now waning, and simultaneously with that waning, we are entering a far more ominous planetary transit that will be waxing to a climax over the next two years. Saturn, the god of time and order, the stern father archetype, has returned after a lengthy procession through the other eleven constellations to his own kingdom in Capricorn (which carries all those same archetypal paternal energies). Awaiting Saturn’s return in Capricorn is none other than the interloper Pluto, the disgraced son of Saturn. And they are on a collision course that will build steadily and tumultuously from the winter solstice of 2018 through the winter solstice of 2020, and then after some kind of earth-shaking climax (they collide on 1/12/2020), their influence will begin to wane, while the results of their cosmic dust-up will likely change the course of human affairs in ways that will undoubtedly surprise us.
At the risk of oversimplification, I will cut to the chase here in order that we may consider the implications, and adjust our thinking and actions in appropriate measure.
Pluto. The God of the Underworld renown as the dark and violent abductor of fair Persephone, daughter of Ceres, Goddess of fertility and crops. This is the drama that explains archetypally how our seasonal climate first originated. Pluto’s Roman equivalent is Dis Pater, whose name is most often taken to mean “Rich Father,” which might explain his heightened influence in Capricorn – but he is also the son of Saturn, and this is Saturn’s house. Pluto is closely most associated with Freud’s id, primal ego, as well as being associated with the ‘under-world’ of coal and oil, burned in such excess as to raise the grimy specter of end times. Plutonium symbolizes Pluto’s chthonic power emerging from below, which like Uranium and even lead cause endless trouble when brought to the surface. At the risk of mixing archetypal metaphors, think Pandora’s box here.
If you haven’t guessed it by now, nobody on the world stage at this pivotal time in the human story embodies the Pluto archetype more than Donald Trump.
And nobody is a more stern and rigid enforcer of order than Robert Mueller.
Saturn. Mueller is so closely associated with Saturn that we now say we are awaiting “Mueller time.” In fact, Mueller LOOKS like what one might envision as the personified ‘Father Time’ (Chronos, below), another name for Saturn. He seems to have come from central casting, and has always reminded me in appearance of our founding fathers.
In ancient Rome, Saturn was honored with gladiator combat (no bone spurs), thought to be a remnant form of the human sacrifices he demanded in primeval times. He rules Capricorn because it, too, is closely associated with fatherhood and imposed control
Pluto, by contrast, rules Scorpio – which shares his death/rebirth archetypal energies.
Clash of the Titans. As with the Pluto/Uranus axial alignments, so too with Pluto/Saturn we want to look for patterns in the micro-world of human affairs during times these two have lorded over us. Fortunately, Tarnas has done this for us, observing what he refers to as “cycles of crisis and contraction” when “Waves of anger and fear/ Circulate over bright/ and darkened lands of earth…” (W.H. Auden, quoted by Tarnas at the outset of his treatise on Saturn/Pluto). As Tarnas put it back in 2006, long before Trump emerged from the shadows of our collective Psyche, successive axial alignments of the Saturn-Pluto cycle coincide with:
…especially challenging periods marked by a pervasive quality of intense contraction: eras of international crisis and conflict, empowerment of reactionary forces and totalitarian impulses, organized violence and oppression, all sometimes marked by lasting traumatic effects.
(Now perhaps you see why I refer to Tarnas as a visionary.)
Saturn came into close proximity (in archetypal astrology, within 15 degrees) to Pluto in January of this year (2018), and these slow-moving outer planets will meet in exact conjunction right around the winter solstice of 2019.
Ladies & Gentlemen, please return to your seats and fasten your seatbelts – we are about to encounter some nasty turbulence.
The last century saw three Saturn/Pluto conjunctions:
- one at the start of WWI, marking the birth of industrial warfare;
- a second coincided with the unholy partition of Pakistan and India, which was rooted in the Lucknow Pact entered into at the end of WWI, and which split the peaceful kingdom of Kashmir in two (1947) – a wound that festers to this day in the form of insurrection and the threat of nuclear war; and,
- the last was in 1982. Given the connection between the first two alignments in the first half of the century, we can look to this last one for clues about what we are presently experiencing. 1982 was a time of deep economic dislocation and the highest unemployment since the Great Depression, giving birth to a laissez faire, Ayn Rand worship of capitalism, the resulting demonization of big government, and the advent of globalization (the first meeting to discuss ‘free trade’ was held in Geneva that year). Ronald Reagan broke the unions and delivered the “free press” into the clutches of corporate control (e.g., eliminating the fairness doctrine, which gave birth to conservative talk radio, and eliminating limits on concentrated media ownership). The Falklands War broke out, the Lebanon War broke out when Israel invaded under the Orwellian banner “Operation Peace,” Kilauea erupted, and the first non-human “Man of the Year” from TIME Magazine was a computer. Times Beach was evacuated in 1982 because of dioxin levels. That’s all very Saturn/Pluto! All-in-all, a pretty horrible year.
In the index to Tarnas’ book, the “Saturn-Pluto alignment” entry includes: Cold War, conservative empowerment, evil, world war, international terrorism, massacres, Middle East crises, political corruption… well, you get the idea.
Now for the interesting part – a way of seeing sunlight breaking through the darkness that is so ascendant right now. The last time Pluto and Saturn met up in Capricorn was 1517-18 CE – precisely 500 years ago. That pivotal time marked the beginning of the African slave trade, which to this day is reflected in the disproportionate imprisonment of young black men. But even more significantly, it also was the year Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg Castle Catholic Church, sparking the Protestant Reformation that many credit as the genesis of the modern individual. As noted in a recent New Yorker review of books commemorating the reformation, Luther was standing up to widespread corruption in the social order (specifically, the “indulgences” by which the Catholic Church permitted people to bribe their way into heaven) at a time when “[t]he relationship between the people and the rulers could hardly have been worse.”
History repeats itself within the deep time kept by Saturn’s Grandfather Clock, no?
So yes, we are in an incredibly turbulent and upsetting time. But how could we possibly expect any other historical context for the radical change called for by the existential crisis we face? A time when the sword of Damocles is hanging precariously over the head of every living being on Earth? Ilya Prigogene won a Nobel Prize in Physics for showing how the kind of social re-ordering that we know in our hearts and minds is needed to avert the worst possible outcomes from Climate Trauma is only possible when mass chaotic profusion has reached a critical phase, such that the introduction of a simple and, in the social context, always unexpected catalyst — such as an obscure cleric nailing his protest to the church door — can suddenly spark a quantum jump to a higher, completely unprecedented order.
In other words, fundamental changes in order never come from times when everyone is fat and happy.
Of course, one can look back to the start of WWI, the advent of industrial warfare that literally poisoned the mind of a young, artistically inclined German soldier named Adolf Hitler, and imagine the worst possible outcomes for this Saturn/Pluto conjunction one century later, when that same industrial warfare has been elevated on the altar of the economy, and now pits humanity against all of nature.
But there is something fundamentally different this time around. There is even reason for a guarded kind of optimism here.
For one, this conjunction is in Capricorn, and true to form we are now witnessing an interesting parallel to Martin Luther in the uber-innocent form of a 15-year old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, who much like Luther began a very lonely protest when she decided to skip school one Friday in order to sit outside the Parliamentary Castle in her home country with a placard calling for climate justice. Speaking undeniable truths in refreshingly simple terms to the most obviously corrupt powers that rule the globe, Greta has rather quickly found herself at the head of an international revolt against the ecocidal patriarchal order.
Nobody expected that!
“And a child shall lead them.” (Greta Thunberg addressing world ‘leaders’)
And for another, we can clearly see that Saturn will prevail over Pluto this time. And not just because Mueller, backed by the so-called “deep State,” is infinitely smarter than the imbecilic narcissist in the White House, either.
No, once again, we need only look to the heavens for a sign here.
And a very positive sign it turns out to be. Because after Saturn has entered the gladiator’s arena with tiny (handed) Pluto, coming within 3 degrees on May Day 2019 (their first of 3 passes), he has a very big, very powerful helper on the way in the beneficent form of Jupiter, who joins the fray just in time for the collision (no collusion – collision!), very near the winter solstice of 2019. This clash of the Titans promises to become a rout at that point in time, no matter what transpires between now and then, as the inflated, egomaniacal (id) tyrant Pluto is simply no match for the combined archetypal forces of Saturn and Jupiter.
Think about the symbolism of this battle. Two sky gods versus the Lord of the Underworld. It is by bringing oil (dinosaurs) and coal (ancient trees) up from the underworld and burning them that we have fouled the skies (and oceans) to the point of creating this climate crisis. The forces of underworld darkness in the world right now – Trump, the Saud family, and Putin – are wreaking havoc in the world. And the sky gods, speaking the angry language of climate chaos, have had enough.
For life on Earth to survive in some meaningful form, Pluto’s death grip must be broken. Who better than the Father God of Time & Karma, Saturn, and the God of Good Fortune, Jupiter?
This all ends in a very sublime way…
Jupiter, the favored son of Saturn, is large in influence and always benevolent in effect – he is a force multiplier, and has always been associated with abundance, elevation, and great good fortune. Jupiter has our back here! Jupiter is, in fact, the King of the Gods, and in days of yore he was considered to be a divine witness to sacred oaths, the bonds of trust on which justice and good government depend.
You can see why Saturn would not value anyone else’s assistance more in taking on the nefarious lord(s) of the underworld.
Jupiter’s identifying implement is the thunderbolt, and his primary sacred animal is the eagle! He will enter the arena (that is, come within 15 degrees) just as Saturn and Pluto come all the way together, ensuring a favorable result and smoothing out what promises to be a difficult (death/rebirth) transition.
The paternalistic power of neo-fascism that has been rising in the world these last several years is all about Pluto in Capricorn, and will now crest with Saturn’s return, as is already evidenced by women rising en masse to demand paradigm shifts in power structures. Pluto’s destructive influence will surely have some effect in serving as the occasion for breaking that structure down as he and Saturn make three close passes (as Saturn reverses course, going retrograde, to finish what he started on the first encounter). The other sky god, Uranus, enters earthy Taurus in 2019, his first return since the end of the Great Depression and beginning of the New Deal.
Green New Deal, anyone?
And now the sublime part…
After Saturn and Jupiter have left Pluto in shambles, together on the Winter Solstice of 2020 (days before a new U.S. President will take office) the two planetary behemoths, embodying our collective Karma & Good Fortune, America’s promise, will usher us into (cue the 5th Dimension song here) the Age of Aquarius!
Seriously, the two planets enter the constellation Aquarius within two days of one another, coinciding with the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice archetypally signifies “the Return of the King” – when the forces of darkness have finally been overthrown, and the power of the light force begins to grow in strength. It is quite interesting to note the role of the solstice in this alignment. The 2018 winter solstice, days away as I write, sees Saturn drawing within 10 degrees of Pluto, which should signify an escalation in the conflict. The exact conjunction of Saturn and Pluto happens under the new moon of the 2019 winter solstice. And the end of the battle is signified by Saturn and Jupiter exiting Capricorn and entering Aquarius under another new moon that falls exactly on the 2020 winter solstice.
Astrologers are actually all over the board on when precisely the Christian Era of Pisces ends, and the long-awaited Age of Aquarius begins. But given the crucible we are passing through right now, the epic difficulties we still face, and all the synchronous energy marking this planetary triumvirate, I feel confident postulating that this advent of Saturn and Jupiter together into Aquarius on the 2020 winter solstice is as good a marker as any other.
We are about to witness a time of seismic shift.
Zooming in: the Herstorical Perspective
With that cosmic perspective, let us return now to Tarnas’ observation that these epic Saturn/Pluto alignments are marked by “eras of international crisis and conflict… marked by lasting traumatic effects.” Our era is now dominated by the global construct of Climate Trauma, which we should perhaps label “CTSD” – Climate Trauma Stress Disorder. CTSD will necessarily result in some kind of ‘contraction,’ echoing those Tarnas observes in past alignments of Saturn/Pluto, since the engine of economic growth is what is heating things up. Most likely, this will include another global depression, and an over-due Malthusian contraction of the human population – and all that entails. I’m afraid, just by the laws of physics alone, that things will get much worse before they can get any better from an ecological standpoint, and we will not escape that painful contraction.
Still, each of us still has a choice between giving into despair in the face of grave uncertainty, or taking up the task of becoming a spiritual midwife during this time of epic death/rebirth of life on planet Earth.
It thus becomes both necessary and instructive to take a larger view of CTSD and its consequences. Trauma’s power comes entirely from our unwillingness (or inability) to acknowledge its presence and insidious influence over our lives. Only by confronting our traumas, both individually and collectively, can we trigger the process of healing and recovery that needs to take place. That is the only pathway that can lead us out of the accelerating death spiral of CTSD.
I was inspired, in part, to attempt this piece by beginning to delve into Charles Eisenstein’s important and insightful new book CLIMATE: A New Story. In particular, this passage on our social climate is what got me thinking:
Most human suffering on this planet comes not from unavoidable suffering, like accidents and natural disasters, but from human beings themselves… [and] all co-arise with our systems, our perceptions, and our narratives. These narratives are born of trauma and give birth to trauma… We will continue to abuse our fellow beings, even our own Mother Earth, as long as we carry unhealed social traumas… social healing and ecological healing are the same work… neither can succeed without the other.
Amen, Brother Charles!
Climate Trauma is an unprecedented form of trauma, because unlike the traumas that flow from war, terrorist attacks, mass killings, or natural disasters, Climate Trauma is an all-pervasive, sustained and accelerating assault on our global life-support system. We’ve never faced anything like this, so it is no surprise that we are flummoxed by it’s sudden appearance on our home screen.
We are all suffering from various versions of CTSD, and it is already ending life as we have come to know it in the Holocene Age – an age marked by the rise of human civilization and, much more recently, exponential population growth. The Anthropocene is unfolding with a species-roulette of mass extinction that will eventually include a chamber with our name on it, a thought that was inconceivable before my own generation, appropriately labeled “boomers” with the advent of the atomic age.
Unlike other traumas, Climate Trauma is all pervasive in what we now know, thanks to quantum physics, to be an interconnected, interdependent world. Because Climate Trauma is also unrelenting, it is triggering all of our other traumas. Certainly, this is apparent at the level of social, or cultural, trauma.
This is a real problem. Everything about our relationships on the world and political stages right now is fright, fight and flight, consistent with patterns of un-acknowledged, unresolved trauma. Because we are not collectively acknowledging Climate Trauma, we are acting it out – in some constructive ways, but more pervasively in some increasingly dissociative ways.
This is classic trauma theory. I don’t mean to bore you with academia. Rather, my point is to bring it to awareness in order that we can harness the constructive aspects of CTSD, and strive to limit the dissociative responses we are all contributing to. This is what healing our CTSD looks like. In fact, I want to argue that we are already in the healing process, but it still looks like chaos to us, and we’re not sure quite what to make of it.
Truth & Reconciliation in the Anthropocene
Shifting from a “climate change” paradigm to a “Climate Trauma” paradigm has profound ramifications for how we respond to the climate crisis. We will not resolve Climate Trauma by continuing to perpetuate the fight, fright, and flight syndromes of the disintegrating American Dream.
No, “trauma is redeemed only when it becomes the source of a survivor mission” (Herman, J., Trauma & Recovery, 1992). Seeing our shared crisis as a new form of trauma that is triggering us all individually and culturally makes it a personal crisis. The self-awareness promoted by framing the crisis as a systemic assault on our life support systems, rather than a technological externality, naturally gives rise to a deep sense of personal responsibility, and leads to more responsive social movements once we begin hacking at the root of the crisis rather than pruning its endlessly proliferating symptomatic branches.
As Pope Francis has stated it in Laudato Si‘: “We require a new and universal solidarity.” And if we are just able to step outside of our story for a moment and observe what is transpiring right now, we will see that the seeds of this “solidarity without borders” are already sprouting.
Turning again to the authority on Trauma & Recovery, Dr. Judith Herman, M.D. for guidance on what cultural recovery might look like in an age of climate trauma:
“Social action offers the survivor[s] a source of power that draws upon [their] own initiative, energy, and resourcefulness…” and creates “an alliance with others based on cooperation and shared purpose.” The solidarity produced by participating in such a movement yields “protection against terror and despair” and serves as “the strongest antidote to traumatic experience.”
The ‘Truth & Reconciliation’ model is an obvious cultural elixir for the post-truth world of polarization and victimization that is currently paralyzing We the People. As Herman notes, holding trauma honestly and openly in community “is a precondition for the restitution of a sense of a meaningful world.” Thus, the social phenomena of Truth & Reconciliation, as modeled in South Africa in the aftershock of apartheid, represents a natural palliative for cultural traumas, one level beneath Climate Trauma. With a growing awareness that sees the connections between these cultural traumas, and their growing social relevance to our ability to adapt to what is quickly becoming a hostile environment, we can then “level up” to Climate Truth & Reconciliation.
It would be unrealistic, of course, to think that we are going to suddenly adopt the kind of institutional Truth & Reconciliation process we saw in the wake of Apartheid on a global, or even societal, scale. The forces of oppression and continuing degradation of the value of life happen to have a stranglehold on our political institutions. At the same time, the Earth to which each of us is psychically and physically tethered demands a solution. This is the Prigogene moment of critical chaos and upheaval at all levels of human organizational structure. No surprise, then, that owing to the non-stop trigger of Climate Trauma, and the law of dissipative structures, we can observe that the “Truth” portion of Truth & Reconciliation is already well underway.
“Truth” in this context involves bringing collective awareness to repressed, unresolved traumas. And that is exactly what we have been seeing in relation to:
- patriarchal systems of sexual abuse, with the #MeToo movement and empowerment of women;
- slavery/racism and the Civil War, with the “Black Lives Matter,” the deconstruction of odious monuments, and the immigration movement (which is inherently racist); and,
- genocide/ecocide, through the global “Water Protectors” movement inspired by indigenous cultures who have borne the brunt of that trauma.
All of these burgeoning movements, each sparked by unexpected catalysts, are succeeding by bringing increased awareness to the collective traumas underpinning our social structure.
Accepting the proposition that Climate Trauma is triggering these interrelated cultural traumas, bringing them to the surface in ways that demand social reconciliation, and accounting for the desperate push-back on these cultural forces by corporate powers and the military-industrial complex, we begin to see these movements not as distractions from the work we have to do on the climate front, but rather as necessary components of a broader social upheaval that is removing the psychological barriers to effectively addressing the climate crisis.
Similarly, by bringing increased awareness to the role Climate Trauma is playing in this social upheaval, reconciliation of cultural traumas is seen as a moral imperative. Greta Thunberg is the surprising catalyst of that moral imperative. Listening to her cast “Truth” in the simplest, most humane light, the oppressed super-majority can now begin to appreciate just how comprehensive the systemic changes must be if we are to achieve “Reconciliation” in our relationship to the natural world. As Naomi Klein observed in her well-named book This Changes Everything:
The urgency of the climate crisis could form the basis of a powerful movement, one that would weave all these seemingly disparate issues into a coherent narrative about how to protect humanity.
The great, transformative power of that movement is still largely untapped. But it is up to each one of us individually and in community to unleash that immense chthonic energy, by connecting the personal trauma(s) we are feeling to the cultural traumas we are most called to, and then by intuiting the relationships between these personal and cultural traumas to Climate Trauma. As Herman has pointed out, if helplessness and isolation are the core experiences of psychological trauma, then empowerment and reconnection become the core experiences of recovery.
In his book The Trauma of Everyday Life (2014), psychiatrist Mark Epstein, M.D., helpfully provides the essential prescription for Climate Trauma:
When we stop distancing ourselves from the pain in the world, our own or others’, we create the possibility of a new experience…