by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Death is a natural transition, a change from one state to another. Leaves fall from trees; the fallen leaves providing nourishment for fungi, which grow as the leaves decompose. When my beloved cat died I watched the white light of his life force flow from his little body and return to nature, to the web of life to which it belonged. When a human being dies their spirit body moves on, back to the inner world. Light returns to light. If you believe in reincarnation then that light returns in another form, another life, or is absorbed back into the ocean of light that is the foundation of all existence. Everything changes, transitions from state to state.

And now we are experiencing a civilization dying, and as it dies it is attacking the ecosystem that supports a multihued web of biodiversity. So many species dying, insects lost, natural habitats vanishing. And we are all a part of this great dying, whether we live insulated in cities or on the borderlands where we watch and grieve. Like an individual life, a civilization has its life cycle. Our present industrial civilization has lasted about three hundred years. The Roman civilization lasted one thousand years, Egyptian civilization thirty centuries. The end of the Roman civilization also involved climate change—Late Antique Little Ice Age—and a pandemic—the bubonic plague. What is unique about our present civilization and its dying is that it is global, as is the climate crisis and environmental devastation it has caused. And for those who are not caught in its dying dreams of technological solutions and eternal consumerism, the question is: What will be the nature of the coming transition? And how can we help our world to transform?


Read full article in the current issue

Adapted from A Handbook for Survivalists: Caring for the Earth, A Series of Meditations. Available as a free PDF: Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Ph.D. is a Sufi teacher and author. His most recent books are Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth and Including the Earth in our Prayers. For more information visit and


To return to the home page, click on the Home tab or the back arrow