In the summer of 2014, I had returned to my family’s mountain cabin after a retreat focused on connecting me with my soul. A few days after arriving, I woke in the middle of the night with the words “rainbow warrior” repeating themselves over and over in my head. I didn’t remember anything of a dream that would give me a clue what the words were about, but I couldn’t get the phrase out of my head. It seemed important somehow. A few days later I got to Internet service and did a search. The first few references, to the Greenpeace ship by that name, were unhelpful. Going a little further down the page, though, turned up several links to various versions of a Native American prophecy:
“When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the warriors of the rainbow.”
The prophecy goes on to specify that these “warriors of the rainbow” will be the keepers and teachers of the traditional legends, stories, and customs that recognize and honor the sacred in all of creation. By remembering these truths, we will heal the Earth and our relationship with her.
At the time of my dream and subsequently reading what little I could then find about the prophecy, I had studiously avoided borrowing from the Native American culture, about which I knew little. My path had taken me instead to India and its traditional wisdom through yoga and then Ayurveda. Why I would all of a sudden dream about Native American prophecies was a mystery. Yet as I read a little more, and tracked down a couple of other people who had the same experience – waking with the words “rainbow warrior” ringing in their minds – I began to see how I fit in.
Through practicing yoga and feeling it help me to unite body and mind, and discover my own sacred nature, I was drawn to teach, as well as to begin learning how to live according to traditional wisdom of both yoga and Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga. As an ancient medical system, Ayurveda teaches that we humans are made of the same stuff and operate according to the same principles as nature herself. The teachings describe how to live in health, harmoniously with the earth, according to the rhythms of nature. My own teaching has expanded to include cosmology as well as how to put our natural wisdom into action.
Over the past decade of learning and practicing, I have realized that my calling is bringing people back home to their bodies, their connectedness with nature, and the wisdom inherent in each of us that directly reflects the intelligence of the universe. And I know this is one way we heal our individual bodies, our collective human body, as well as the body of our planet.
So, apparently I am a rainbow warrior.
Now, as we approach the turning of the season and the sun’s winter standstill in 2016, light bulbs are popping in my head. Until now, I have been an interested bystander to the unfolding of what is an epic event at Standing Rock, North Dakota, over the clash between a relationship of harmony and reverence for our home planet, and our current mass culture colored by dominion over and exploitation of Her resources. But I finally saw clearly what is going on:
A new tribe of people from many colors, classes, creeds and corners of the Earth are converging to take a stand for a new way of life based in traditional wisdom. These ‘rainbow warriors’ are bringing the light of the world’s attention to this juncture between an unsustainable old world view and the new assumptions and commitments that will allow humans to thrive in tandem with nature. The declaration at Standing Rock is that we must draw a line over which we will no longer step in pursuit of financial gain or what we call ‘security’ at the expense of risk to what gives us life and true security, in this case water.
The prophecy of many native peoples is at hand, unfolding before our very eyes.
In many ways, too, there is no better symbol for which to stand than water. In traditional cosmology, water represents that which connects, which nourishes, which combines with earth to form the foundation of life. It is the feminine force, the fluidity and juice in our make-up. In Vedic cosmology, water is connected with sexuality and creative energy. Water is said to be the element that represents the soul in traditional western cosmology.
In a culture that adheres to a no-longer-complete or useful set of scientific assumptions that the material world is devoid of soul and meaning and purpose, it is small wonder that the clash of world views comes over water.
I know that I am not alone in hearing this rainbow warrior call, whether it comes in the form of voices in the night or a quiet urge to do something, anything, to reclaim our knowing of ourselves and our world as sacred and connected. And I know there must be many, many more who, like me, were tempted to dismiss the call as too far out to know what to do with. I still don’t know the full extent of what being a rainbow warrior entails. I do know my work is aligned with what is needed for our, and our planet’s health and well-being.
I also know that what is happening at Standing Rock will not go away, will not die down, whether or not a pipeline is built. What has begun there will only grow and I, for one, am excited and awed to see this coming together of nations and people in support of life, soul, beauty and the re-integration of humans and nature.