In Eco Shamanism we work with circularity and balance. We need hope and a perception of possibility, purpose and continuity and it is this that helps create balance in the face, or threat, of extinction. Our societies and cultures are at a juncture where a different consciousness is emerging, where fear needs to equate to the excitement of new creations and ways of being rather than keep us locked in stagnant energy.
Instinction is an antidote to extinction. The word 'instinction' itself became 'obsolete' (extinct) in the 15/16th century and means 'inspiration' or 'impulse'. With the advent of Climate Change and the Extinction Rebellion movement many are worried, fearful for their future and how to prepare for what might be 'the end of the world' for humans and many other species. Instinction allows a different paradigm where rather than the extinction of species we see the impulse and inspiration of species. There is always an opposite to the 'ex' - an antonym, and it is usually an 'in'. 'Instinction' was a word in use about half a millennium ago, it has re-emerged at a time when a new balance is needed. It has become 'extant', that is, still in existence in spite of being very old.
One of our current concerns is that humans are having such an effective on our Earth that we, as well as many other species, are likely to become extinct. The word 'extinction' means the termination of an organism, usually a species. It is a very linear or final word, with nothing at the end of, or after, it. However, many species seem to reappear despite having been classified as extinct, a well known example is the recent siting of a Giant Turtle which had not been seen for 100 years. There is also the Lazarus Taxon - these are species that disappear from the fossil record and then return at a much later date (millions of years). How do species return in fossil records millions of years apart? Those in the know don't seem to know.
When we look at species as they have appeared and disappeared (only to reappear again) it becomes clear that there are a lot of 'beliefs' and 'assumptions' about how species 'exist', or not. Species have the uncanny knack of disappearing only to reappear when we 'think' they're extinct, because we haven't seen them. This rather arrogant assumption suggests that 'things' or species only exist if a human has identified, recorded and distributed the 'siting' of them. The Giant Turtle has been happily existing without a care in the world about whether humans thought it existed or not.
Yet the chicken and egg question remains - where did we, as a species come from? In Eco Shamanism we work with 'the dream of species', that is, species arise out of spirit which, in this sense, are bound with our dreams, our intent, our wishes, our imagination. This gives import to that which we cannot explain with our rationale. We all have dreams and wishes and imagination and when we engage with these we become fully human, we become the 'dream of ourselves'. Let us give credence to this notion that we are more than blood and bone, let us believe in our impulse, our instinct!
'You won't understand anything about the imagination until you realise that it's not about making things up, it's about perception'.
from 'The Book of Dust' volume two 'The Secret Commonwealth' by Philip Pullman
If you are interested in exploring 'Instinction' come on the Instinction day workshop in Gloucestershire at the beginning of May or the Instinction in Eco Shamanism weekend in Kent at the end of May.