For many years now, 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.

I have recently published the book, Membranes of Hope: A Guide to Attending to the Spiritual Boundaries that Keep Lifesystems Healthy from the Personal to the Cosmic.

In this post, I will explain what is meant by the use of the word membrane to help introduce the concept more fully elucidated and expanded upon in the book.

A membrane is a “selective barrier” which allows or denies access to that which it is 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

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 of HopeMembranes 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 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.

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. And that work is what my new book, Membranes of Hope, is about.

~Theresa C. Dintino

©Theresa C. Dintino 2021


2 Notes from a retreat, Powers of the Cosmos, Santa Sabina Center, San Rafael, CA, October 2002.

3 Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry, The Universe Story (HarperSanFrancisco. 1992), 87.

4 Video clip, Workshop on Race and Cosmology, Sophia Institute, Holy Names College, Oakland CA, June 2005.


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