Two gorgeous elephants, Jabu and Morula were “released” from 32 years in captivity into the Okavango Delta. They were set free (although that is a relative term because they were chased from pillar to post after their release). However, what was interesting to me is that immediately after their release from their home for the last few decades (to which they were not allowed to return) – instead of choosing freedom, they moved directly to the nearest human habitation—a lodge/camp nearby where they stayed for several weeks until forcibly removed from there….
I guess the familiar is more powerful than the very instinct that lives in and calls to all of us… to live as we were meant to—whatever that way might be… and, as in the case of these elephants—the need, the desire and the right to roam.
I am beginning to realise how so many of us live through our conditioning—despite how unnatural and unpleasant it is…
It took a great effort to discourage the elephants from hanging out with humans.
And so to my Radical Joy exchange…. Which was for elephants… a new president in Botswana, who does not favour elephants, has now declared something akin to open season on elephants where any one can obtain a permit to hunt an elephant or, if an elephant has come into any kind of conflict with humans, it can be shot by the community afflicted. This is a 180 degree turnaround from the previous president who was pro wildlife, including elephants….
I had decided that this would be the subject of my earth exchange …. but that was before the next set of events unfolded…
Some of you will know that I was in Botswana, helping a friend who was struggling with her own spirit and is in fact the owner of the elephants I have shared about (Jabu and Morula)… I worked with her to facilitate the release of the elephants, to see them happy and free—a wish I had held in my heart for a long time—I worked with these elephants many years ago but could not be involved in something that felt wrong – the elephants in captivity… so I was very happy to be involved in their release.
We faced many challenges but for the last two months the lives of the elephants seemed to be moving in the right direction—to that of free elephants…. Then, tragedy struck. Last Monday we found Jabu dead. We are not sure what the cause of his death was (we know he was not poached). It has taken a great deal for me to come to terms with his untimely death. He only experienced about 2 months of freedom and that feels so unfair to me. He gave so much to humanity, moved so many people, affected so many lives—changed lives forever … and just after his freedom he died. I cannot find any good in this tragedy but I take guidance from Morula who continues with her life… day by day.
Upon Jabu’s death I knew that my earth exchange had to be for him and the sacrifice that so many animals make for human kind…. And so I honour Jabulani (meaning rejoice) with honey suckle and coral tree petals.
I did my earth exchange under a Coral Tree and used petals from the tree … and it represent the relationship between The Great Mistry, Nature and Humanity: the tree has a tri-foliot leaflet – the two leaves next to each other – nature/humanity and the leaf on top—the Great Mystery…
I can only hope that we—humanity—will begin to realise our place in the circle of life.