I divide the teachings from The Summer of the Ennead into two groups. The first group I will call Teamwork or working together; the second I will refer to as Life Truths, or things we can prove to be true scientifically.
Teamwork: There is not doubt in my mind that humans have lost their ability to work as a team for common causes. This loss is largely due to the overwhelming belief in individualism. We are taught from childhood that we are individuals of equal value and that we have rights because of this. This doctrine teaches one thing above all else – competition. We must compete for a place in a good school, for a decent job, or for a marriage partner. It never stops and can easily destroy relationships and friendships. What we need to do is to relearn how to think as a collective.
Instead, what we should be focussing on is teamwork and the common needs of all people. In my story, the grandchildren are taught how to make a true team, a team that does not require one leader. Instead, they learn that leadership is a shared responsibility which works best when whoever is best suited for a specific task steps forward to lead the group. If the team must work at night, Bat and Panther become leaders. If the team must work through subterfuge, then Coyote and Owl become leaders. As a new task arises, the one who is best suited for it become the leader for as long as is required. In the story, Lucy Dear has a great memory so she keeps the records, and MJ Owl, who is highly organized, usually chairs meetings. If we learn to lead when our skill set is required, we learn something new, and we give the other team members some respite from that stress.
Three other lessons are key to successful teamwork. One is respect. In a world where ego rules, this is a difficult idea to grasp, but it must be grasped. You are not losing control if someone else leads; you are doing what is best for the team. The next two lessons are closely related. They are kindness and empathy. Empathy means understanding how others feel and it is more easily achieved when one leads with kindness. As Grandma Hannah would say, “Expect the best”.
Life Truths: Repeatedly in the story, I refer to three truths. They are to survive, to bring and protect new life, and to maintain balance. These are, to me, essential to the survival of all living beings.
Survival is the first essential fact of life. If we do not survive, then we will not bring new life, and, in the end, we and perhaps our group will cease to exist. Second, in order to ensure the continuation of our clan, group, or species, we must bring new life. In order to do this, we must have achieved the goal of survival. It is all connected. Finally, even though we are clearly focussed on the first two truths, we must contribute to maintaining balance. We cannot destroy indiscriminately as humans often do. We cannot take more than we need, which has almost become a mantrum for modern humans. And finally, we cannot keep bringing new life when it is clear that our environment cannot support it. I am sure that anyone who reads these words can find examples of the mistakes listed above. Sadly, for many, they are not seen as mistakes but as signs of individual or group strength.
The above outlined teachings are central to story of The Summer of the Ennead. I trust that my readers will find them to be of use in their lives as they have been in mine.
I am the author of The Summer of the Ennead and I want to use this blog to engage readers in a dialogue about what this book means to me and what I think it has to say to others.