How it all began
When I was little I dreamed of talking to the animals, I dreamed of being an Indian myself moving supplely and agile through the forest. I imagined myself maintaining friendship with different animals and with that in mind I felt happy, and completely connected.
When asked what I wanted to be when I would be an adult, I answered I wanted to have a farm. This came closest to what I dreamed of in a conventional sense. In that way I dared to express myself without having being afraid to appear kind of strange. Early I had learned that my desire to talk to the animals and the elements and to communicate to them as my fellow was considered stupid and childish. Still, I never doubted the possibilities as such, but I learned to transform them into socially acceptable interests such as the study of anthropology, ethnology, and prehistory and early history. Still I realized that my true desires would not be satisfied that way.
When I lived in the U.S. in 1990, I started to receive teaching from Sun Bear, Moon Deer and Beth from the Bear Tribe. For the first time in my life I found myself in an environment in which it was normal and natural to communicate with the elements and to perceive nature as sacred and alive. I was deeply touched and felt like coming home. Here I learned a lot about the earth, the water, the air and the fire.
Each element has certain characteristics and preferences and communicates in its own special way. The minerals, plants, animals, they are our brothers and sisters. We all live together on our Mother Earth, who feeds us and looks after us. What I came to know and learned with the Indians about life topped what I ever had imagined. For the first time I experienced a real love and reverence for the feminine in the form of Mother Earth and grandmother moon. The people from whom I learned appeared to be reliable. They were grounded natural authorities and not "detached" or "strange" like many persons I had came to know in the context of spirituality. From them I learned a lot about the feminine , the female cycle and female sexuality. For me, a new world opened and it felt so right and in tune like nothing I had encountered previously.
At this stage I already had a son and was I was pregnant again. All the knowledge and personal experience I received deeply within myself. It felt round and harmonious. In the summer of 1990 my daughter Magdalene was born. She had been present in my belly since the beginning of my apprenticeship with the Indians. Her birth was a gift in the context of connectedness. She was born into the world at home in Massachusetts in an oversized bathtub. It was a very natural birth. At that time we lived pretty much in the wilderness, 13 miles to the next village, and in this environment Magdalene spend her first months of life.
We returned to Germany and many years passed. The knowledge of the Indians germinated inside of me and 9 years later I integrated this knowledge into our Seminare in Berlin. I made another inspiring experience in the summer of 2000 on a women's conference in Zegg (Zentrum für experimentelle Gesellschaftsgestaltung in Belzig near Berlin). Suddenly similar knowledge approached me from a different side. Slowly it became quite clear to me that the cultural context for connectedness and abundance, which I had come to know with the Indians, had also been common here in Europe and around the world for a very long period of time. It is the time of the mother cultures starting as early as 40.000 years ago and lasting until around 5000 b.C.
At the same time my own mother was writing a book about the history of marriage. She noted with astonishment that marriage originally had been a political instrument to weaken the power of female kinship structure. With the invention of marriage the wife was associated with a man and introduced into the patriarchal family system based on domination. The values of the Indians, which had influenced me so much were now increasingly showing up in our own early history. Slowly I began to understand that what I had experienced with the Indians belonged to a balanced lifestyle that originally had existed everywhere in the world at early time of our history. Parts of the North American Indian traditions are true treasures, which are already lost almost everywhere in the world. Sun Bear's words: "We (the Indians) are the guardians of the earth, the time to share our knowledge with the white man has come," had in retrospect a whole new meaning for me.
It became increasingly clear for me that in our life the female element had been twisted and distorted to such an extent that it shows itself incomplete and poor - both in women as well as in men, as well as in the social and economic structures. A lot of suffering occurs from that. Since most of us do not even know what has been lost, it is a big challenge to raise awareness for that matter.
In general, it's about awakening the female principle of abundance and connectedness. This comprises the knowledge that everything is connected to everything else (something that the system-theoretical approach is now slowly re-integrated into our consciousness). Of course there is also great resistance, because this viev has obviously enormous implications for our actions on all levels.
Unconnected action is in our culture the "normal, allowed" action. For the Indians it was customary to deliberate about whether a decision was reasonable for the next seven generations to come. This is certainly the opposite extreme. But today wherever we look it can be observed that the maximum profit almost anywhere in the world will be sought after, without consideration and willingness to compromise in terms of the environment around, the people, the animals, the plants and the earth.
I think we need new innovative concepts for our way of life and work. We need people who believe in a different way of thinking, feeling and acting. Since I work a lot with enlarging patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving, I know that it is easier and faster to follow a positive role model that gives orientation for something, than to try to get away from something, you do not want anymore. Most people are in the "getting away from something " when they want to change something. Learning from a model where to go is much faster. Therefore, we need models that give an example on how it could be. This does not mean that people should do just the same, but it gives inspiration and ideas for your own ability to create new solutions. With Living Gaia we want to create such a model.