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The Life Cairn Memorial

August 17th, 2011

Here is a touching guest piece by Andreas Kornevall about The Life Cairn Memorial on Mount Caburn near Lewes:

There we stood as scarecrows do – still – facing the new sunrise with wet mist wafting like smoke through the air.

We gathered by a pile of stones, but not any pile.  We gathered at the feet of the first memorial for the Earth. A place to grieve for all that is broken and lost in the wild.  And laying our stones, we recognised our own rare songbird in our chests – our naturally wild soul – unheard through the every day industrial drone.

How can we speak of interconnectedness but stay silent to the plight of the jaguar, the golden eagle and the grey whale?

For those who read books and praise poetry, how can you be silent for the plight of the bear, the wolf and the deer?  They all gave us the ability to read as their tracks were humanity’s first alphabet which we learnt long ago.  There would be no holy bible, no sutra, no Darwin, without the bear, the wolf, and the deer writing their own poetic verse by leaving their tracks for us to read across the land.  Then we learnt to write by adding those symbols to our cave walls.

There is no founder, there is no leader to the Life Cairn memorial.  But it sprang from the tear of the shaman who lost his wild home, and for the thousands of species who we have forever lost to extinctions at our own hands.

We are in indebted, deeply indebted.  We have taken too much – today’s spiritual and political leaders have few tools to address this debt today, they were all silent when the gunshot ran out and took the last Pyrennean Brown Bear – all of them were silent; no song, no wreath, was laid as a mark of respect.

Through that a new ceremony will come forth and reveal a new culture.  It’s growing; we can feel it when seeing the stones on the Life Cairn.  A culture when we will again include the whole family of the world’s great house and welcome them as equals by giving the animals back their souls, respect, sentience and their consciousness, which we have denied them for far too long.  We must protect their homes and their place to roam free. By doing that, the wilderness too has a place in our vision for the future, as Thoreau made clear: “in wilderness lies the preservation of the world”.

Where were we when the last Pyrennean Female endemic Brown Bear was shot down (in 2003)? Why was her dying place empty with no wreaths, no flowers, no poems, no songs, no church bells?  She wanted to protect her young, and live and thrive on this Earth, just like us, now her hibernation caves are hollow and bare.

Where were we when the ‘Goddess of the River’ – the Yangtze dolphin vanished in China in 2006, never again to give birth to her young?  Only empty radio static was heard; but there was no grief from humanity, no songs which to dedicate, no-one paid tribute – after millions of years of life?


Where were the great teachers, the spiritual leaders, the writers, the visionaries, the artists?  Not even a moment’s silence?  Why have we not been able to grieve collectively to the ending of their birth?

This is a challenge in effect rather than a question, but it raises serious concern about our spiritual capacities and how few tools we have to deal with the above.

May our tears turn to pearls when every step up Mount Caburn and every stone laid is for you, the Earth, and its lost family.

5 Responses to “The Life Cairn Memorial”

  1. Thank you for writing that wrenching, heart-breaking and poetic piece on the awful reality that dispite international efforts just keeps on happening. We have killed the Albatross a long time ago…Coleridge’s poem was a prophecy and the end of the poem will bear down on us unless there is a massive change in consciousness and the corporate “values” of Globalization. We do what we can with whats in front of us…but I think writers, poets, artists, actors and musicians and “preachers” can keep telling it like it is to everyone,especially politicians…we have to. Virginia

  2. Thank you for sharing Andreas’s words here Philip. Bless you.
    If anyone would like to follow our work with The Life Cairn, please see our Facebook Page. It is a place to share thoughts, feelings and intentions to do with anthropogenic extinction and will be updated with information about gatherings and ceremonies.
    There will be a website soon.
    Vanessa (Vine)

  3. Just had to say there is a wonderful series called Miracle Babies, where utterly amazing people do all they can to keep the few remaining species of various birds and animals alive. Dr Johannes Fritz carried out the monumental task of guiding 11 young Northern Bald Ibis whilst in his microlite, stopping several times over thousands of miles to teach them their migration route, you can look up the episodes on Google, love, hope and peace

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