The Beauty of Uranium
Among all our mineral relatives, perhaps the most feared, even reviled, is Uranium, whose early extraction brought slow death from cancer to the poor miners and whose “enrichment” brings the threat of nuclear doom. It is an element I did not want to think about, except in a reactive way—to protect myself from radiation. My associations with uranium were these:
Marie Curie in a laboratory finding substances that glow in the dark. Nuclear power plants looming darkly over wastelands. The unspeakable, unthinkable threat of nuclear warheads, and the little “fallout shelters” built in the 1960’s out of fear and madness. The often heard phrase “Enriched Uranium” in geo-political discourse. The specter of damaged “fuel rods” cooling in what looked like swimming pools, and needing to be moved, at great peril, in a devastated coastal city in Japan.
But my work with the Organization of Nature Evolutionaries has encouraged me to be in respectful dialogue with all elements of nature. In her 1997 book Partner Earth, A Spiritual Ecology Pam Montgomery writes about connecting to the Deva of Uranium:
"in listening to Uranium, I realized that many are fearful of this powerful relative, but fear comes from a lack of understanding Uranium’s place in the design. Trying to control the immense strength of Uranium has only made us more fearful. It’s when I begin to look at the beauty of Uranium, the creative essence, that I see how to partner with this formidable relative. "(p. 45 Partner Earth, Destiny Books, Rochester VT, 1997)
I realize that it is time to heal my fear and change my relationship with Uranium. I begin by researching, getting to know Uranium. I am astonished to learn that uranium was created by supernovas about 6.6 billion years ago. It is a child of the stars, fairly ubiquitous in trace quantities on the earth’s surface and in the seas, but living in more concentrated form deep in the earth. There in the depths, the slow
radioactive decay of Uranium keeps the earth’s crust and mantle warm, allowing for the inner molten rock that moves the continents. And this shifting and colliding of land masses has raised the mountain ranges!
I am moved by this information, and I want to know more, I want to meet the Spirit of Uranium. I prepare myself for an inner journey.
Journeying is a technique learned from Pam Montgomery’s training in working with plant spirit communication. Here, with the aid of drumming, we enter a light trance state in which the intuitive and visualizing functions of our mind step forward to reveal knowledge accessed in non-intellectual ways.
I ask to be guided to meet with the Spirit of Uranium. After a descent to the below- world, I find myself in an expansive place like a wide western plain, all filled with a silvery light. Of the Being I met, I could only describe him as masculine, ancient, silvery, and containing a sorrow that resonates almost unbearably in my heart. His closest relatives are Star Beings and his primary work is warming the heart and belly of Mother Earth and keeping alive the memory of her starry origins. I learn that at some point an agreement was made to share his “medicine” with the overarching Spirit of Humanity, but with the grave warning that a mighty medicine can also be a powerful poison. I see little sparkles of light representing humans and uranium working together for healing. I do not see power plants or bombs. The sorrow I feel is mostly emanating from Uranium’s relationship with Water: how water is abused in order to extract uranium from earth, to cool him and diminish his danger, and how he thus unwillingly poisons the waters. In our shared sorrow at this affront, I ask for guidance as to what I could do.
“Begin with love,” comes the response. To express love and gratitude for the gifts of Uranium, I see pictured a ceremonial gesture: a little altar formed outside on the earth, consisting of a white, dome-shaped stone, surrounded by white flower petals and 11 white candles. After offering love, prayer and tobacco here, I am to carry the flower petals to the ocean with messages of reconciliation—acknowledging the part of humans in the damages done, and asking for forgiveness and healing. And, as always, offer gratitude.
After the journey, I carry out these instructions. I place a white stone, candles and flower petals on a boulder as sparkling snowflakes whirl around me. I use a dozen matches, but finally manage to keep all the candles lit at once in the teasing of a frisky breeze. And I open my heart in gratitude to Uranium. In response I feel inner warmth, happiness, peace. And relationship.
The next day, the wind blasts icily off the ocean as I carry the white flower petals down to the beach. I can’t toss them into the waves against the wind, so I must reach into the water, turning my fingers into icicles. As I return along the beach, I feel a bit despondent at the minuteness of my gesture. My head is bowed against the wind, so I notice a beautiful, complex pattern of hieroglyphics in the sand: hundreds of tiny bird tracks massed together and interconnected. Which reminds me: no act of love is insignificant, no matter how seemingly small, because it connects with and reinforces a sacred network of loving interaction with the World.
I relax into gratitude for this mysterious and powerful element, Uranium, and for this familiar and beloved element, Water, and for this precious moment of renewed relationship.
We encourage readers to comment on your own experiences making relationships with minerals, mountains, or other elements of nature!