Burning Days


Image compliments of Selda Yayla Acar, sister of the author Ayse Yayla.


This article was originally written in Turkish by Ayse Yayla. Originally it appeared in the private newsletter of a Turkish women's group. I was gifted with it the very day I found myself wondering how to give voice and support to the fires burning in Turkey, and in the lives and hearts of many.


We are in the days when we burn with the transformative power of fire. It is as if the flames rising from our hearts and forests are burning parts of our souls. How is it possible to embrace the anger, desperation, sadness and mourning in this rising fire? We who dwell in the world in human form are in the midst of the sorrows of the world, the third gate of mourning.


“The 6th mass extinction we are currently going through, ecological and cultural irreversible losses, economic and social injustices, wars, disasters, climate change, anthropocene… languages that have disappeared because they are no longer spoken with the loss of a natural old forest call out to us through this door. While they may seem so far away (which they are not), the loss of all that vitality is bound to break our hearts as we are tied together by invisible threads in the web of life.”

Medicine Women, P.267-268


Whatever happens to the world happens to us, and whatever happens to us happens to the world. We, who live between earth and sky, belong to the earth. Francis Weller said, “It is our spiritual responsibility to acknowledge these losses. What if this is the spirit of the world (anima mundi) crying through our channel?” As I read these lines, my silent tears water my body and the world. Then I take refuge in our ancestors, poetry, music, love, the cycle of birth-death-rebirth.


I walk into the forest in a tiny body.

Saying hello to everything visible and invisible,

I give my gratitude to the earth that I have stepped upon,

And I ask, ‘O beautiful world,

What is the gift my soul has come to offer through this body?

What is my duty for the health and well-being of each of us?’


Can I choose to listen deeply to the earth and to the lament of my heart, rather than to hastily come up with solutions with a fussy mind?


Hoping to feel our bond with everything more deeply in these burning days...

Image compliments of Filiz Telek.


Originally written in Turkish by Ayse Yayla, this article first appeared in a private newsletter of a Turkish women's group.

This group is in part organized around the book Medicine Woman


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