Demonising Wild

Does our society demonise wild?

I was just looking at some of the synonyms for it… untamed… undomesticated… unbroken… fierce… ferocious… savage…

Look how in the past we have prided ourselves as a society for being ‘civilised’ and labelled others as ‘savages’. Look how we break our pets and even our children out of their natural ways to ‘tame’ them… to make them fit in our society.

Maybe there IS a level of ‘taming’ required… so we can live alongside one another… but perhaps we don’t need to go to the extent we do… perhaps we can allow more wildness…

Bill Plotkin in his book Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness in a Fragmented World proposes there are 8 stages of life which we move through (or don’t!) and at each stage there is a nature or soul task and a societal or ego task we must complete. What he believes is happening (and I feel I can see it!) is that much of society is getting stuck in adolescence… not being able to pass the soul or nature tasks because we’re so identified with society and ego that we’ve lost sight of nature and soul and because we’ve got so few adults and elders to guide our way.

The important tasks in the stages of adolescence are to find an authentic social self… so to not lose self within society… and in the cocoon (the tomb for the adolescent and the womb for the adult) to descend into the soul and surrender beliefs about how we were supposed to be and how the world was supposed to work… and then to surrender to our deepest and wildest passions… or as Mary Oliver puts it to “Let the soft animal of your body love what it loves”.

It feels our work in Brave Souls is helping to do exactly those things… to help people connect with their authentic selves on a deeper level, to question and strip off some of the societal conditioning, and to explore what they love… what they’re called to… what brings them joy…

It’s making me think I have been (and still am, I think!) fearful of the descent… both mine and others… but also know it is an essential stage. Maybe it’s the ‘out of control’ nature… the wildness… the fact that that our society tries to keep people from the descent… the fear of never coming out (altho I do know the way out is through)… or the lack of elders…

Definitely one for me to explore further… how about you?

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