Recently in divination the wedeme (elemental beings of the wild) have been teaching me about the importance of tending to the many layers of “membranes” which enclose and protect life systems. Feeding and caring for these membranes is crucial and urgent work for medicine people at this time on the planet. Let me explain what is meant by the use of the word membrane to more fully explain the concept.
A membrane is a “selective barrier” which allows or denies access to that which is it protecting. There are synthetic membranes (those created through chemical synthesis) and biological membranes. Biological membranes “consist largely of a lipid bilayer… Lipids give cell membranes a fluid character, with a consistency approaching that of a light oil.”1
In this post I am addressing biological membranes and also extending this concept out to what we may call “etheric,” “energetic” or “spiritual” membranes. Since it is often difficult to separate these out from each other, a better term may be “bio-energetic” membranes.
The creation of the biological membrane on Earth occurred about 3.8 billion years ago with the creation of the first cell in the early sea.
Cosmologist Brian Swimme cites the emergence of the membrane as one of the most crucial developments for the presence of life on Earth.2 Swimme describes the early Earth system and the existence of molecules in the early sea. For a long time in this early Earth system, complexity is created, and then washed away by the ongoing forces of nature. But there is a “moment where a molecular web folds around a complex chemical interaction and that molecular web protects what has been developed.” This is the birth of the cell. All other life forms emerged as a result of this moment of creativity.
The cell could not be created until it had a membrane, a system whereby the cell could close itself off to external influence. The membrane acts as a filter, screening carefully and intelligently what it allows in while preserving the integrity of the center. Until a cell had a distinct boundary between outside and inside, it could not become an integral whole. Its energies were constantly dispersed into the environment that surrounded it.3 The invention of the membrane out of fatty liposomes found in the early sea allowed the cell to maintain itself while interacting with the outside world.
Membranes also possess the power of discernment, deciding what to allow in and what to keep out for the overall integrity of the cell “The membrane protects complexity and creative power.”4
It is important to remember here that what is being held in integrity is that which is inside the membrane. The membrane, by acting as active, alive, intelligent boundary for that which it contains, holds the space so that which has been created may grow and change according to its own internal experience.
Similarly, the Earth’s atmosphere offers a protective shield or boundary to the planet, allowing it to bring forth a wide variety of life forms, while acting as a screening device for UV radiation and other harmful cosmic substances. Without the protective circular embrace of the atmosphere, the planet would not be able to sustain life. “The atmosphere contains a complex system of gases and suspended particles that behave in many ways like fluids. Many of its constituents are derived from the Earth by way of chemical and biochemical reactions.”5
The atmosphere can be seen as another form of bio-energetic membrane. The magnetospheres of the Earth and the sun can also be seen as layers of protective membranes that enclose and protect. The membrane is the container for a separate, individuated interior. The membrane protects and preserves the creativity within to assure that this unique creation will not only stay alive, but thrive.
The membranes that contain lifeforms are not to be confused with the synthetic wrappers covering our products that we throw away in the trash. Rather, they are alive. The interior as well as the external forces surrounding this protected center, inform the alive membrane. The membrane adjusts to both of these in order to keep the interior healthy and strong, while remaining mutable and malleable to outside forces.
The membrane is a fractal reality of the container— contained space. When everything is in balance and healthy, we are held within countless containers of safety. We are held within layer upon layer of membranes that are permeable, yet protective.
I have written more extensively on this concept in The Archetype of the Womb chapter of my book, Notes from a Diviner in the Postmodern World: A Handbook for Spirit Workers. The membranes can also be seen as the Archetype of the Womb, which is one of carefully held, contained space. Carefully held, contained space creates more carefully held, contained space. The cosmos is a series of nested womb like structures containing all within itself. The membranes containing these precious interiors need to be healthy at all levels.
Wedeme inform us that the many layers of nested membranes that protect life and help it thrive have been compromised and are in need of attention and repair. We must begin the work toward repair and recovery of our many membranes, be they biological, energetic or spiritual. The membrane must be fed, and tended to, kept supple and permeable. This is the work of the medicine people.
Since the wedeme suggest we work from the inside out, one of the first membranes to attend to is the membrane around our individual souls. Membranes also show up around our family systems, communities, youth and our hearts. To get started by strengthening the membrane around your soul, please see my blog post, Knowing the Library of Your Soul: The Key to Retaining Your Power.
I will be writing more about how to work with the many variety of membranes in future blog posts.
~Theresa C. Dintino
©Theresa C. Dintino 2016
2 Notes from a retreat, Powers of the Cosmos, Santa Sabina Center, San Rafael, CA, October 2002.
4 Video clip, Workshop on Race and Cosmology, Sophia Institute, Holy Names College, Oakland CA, June 2005. http://www.caroline-webb.com/Video.htm