Introduction Editorial

The Role of the Visionary

Dear Kosmos Family,

Welcome to a new year and a fresh edition of Kosmos – Visionary Spirit.

A visionary is someone who sees beyond the present, beyond the ordinary. For the mystic, vision can arise in a dream, a visitation, the crucible of prayer. For the secular prophet, it can come as a flash of insight, a mathematical breakthrough or scientific leap. And for the visionary artist, in a work that transcends physical reality. Visionaries tap a wellspring of symbolic and harmonic wisdom and activate hidden potentialities. Hildegard von Bingen, Da Vinci, Nostradamus, Pythagoras, William Blake, Buckminster Fuller, Sri Aurobindo, Najmuddin Kubra…a visionary is a seer – even in times of darkness, when they are needed most.

A year ago we greeted the new decade with a call for ’20/20 clarity’ about the converging crises, or polycrisis, facing our world. Now, with ’20/20 hindsight’, we see all too clearly how swiftly crisis can accelerate.

The unfolding year showed us, in painfully sharp detail, the fault lines in our failing systems. Health. Economy. Democracy. Justice. Education. Biodiversity. Climate.

For some, the year’s events triggered fear of imminent civilizational collapse.
For some, a wake-up to the preciousness of life, and greater compassion.
For some, rage at the systems of power.
For some, grief.
And for many, all the above.

Truly, the present quality of time is like no other in our living memory. What is the role of the visionary in these extraordinary times?

The polycrisis has been called a profound global initiation from human adolescence to adulthood, that can lead us to new insight and maturity in the choices we make. Vision and initiation are deeply connected. Our ancestors participated in initiatory rites of passage and vision quests. Alone in the womb of nature, or in ceremonial circles, they prayed, drummed and danced for signs and visions to help guide them.

Like our ancestors, we too are born to manifest our visionary potential. We are meant to be inspired by the wonders of Life. Vision is the very thing we and the Earth need now.

I believe many of the writers and artists in Kosmos are visionaries for our time, and in this winter edition we welcome their visionary spirit. In a very special conversation, Choosing Earth, Duane and Coleen Elgin share a whole-systems view of the converging adversity trends facing humanity and offer three possible scenarios for the next fifty years of life on Earth. Our diverse contributors also offer their visions for global education, governance, and regenerative culture.

The greatest obstacle to vision is unhealed trauma – personal, historic and systemic. This is the taproot for much of the great suffering we endure today. Thomas Hübl, Francis Weller, and Paul Levy – three transformational healers  – explore our collective woundedness, and how, through initiation and vision, we can address trauma and shadow.

In articles like Thoughtforms, the Materialization of Sustained Ideas, and Across the Creek, Land Energy Experiences, we are asked to open our minds directly to non-ordinary states of being, subtle energies and sacred sight.

Songwriter David Berkeley talks with us and performs from his new album, ‘Oh Quiet World‘, composed as a prayerful offering for his children. And, as always, in this edition there is beauty, poetry, and much more.

A wise visionary doesn’t live with her head in the clouds. She understands the challenges and knows that some dreams can’t be accomplished in a single lifetime. The visionary spirit is co-creative, intelligent and optimistic.

Resilience relies on vision. Hope is grounded in it. Transformation is nourished by it. And survival depends on it.

When we think of vision, we often think of technology. Future technologies we can hardly imagine are near – VR, AI, human-like robots and abundant clean energy, to name only a few. It will take great vision and will to bend the arc of technological progress toward the betterment of society, (as Japan envisions in its Society 5.0), and away from the forces of oppression and greed. A new spirit of global citizenship and collaboration is needed to guide us, with the Millennium Development Goals at its core. In the over-developed world, this will require simpler ways of living.

If the last 200 years have been shaped by industrialization, materialism and disparity, may the coming era be characterized by a flowering of regeneration, stewardship and sharing. Decades from now, may we look back on this year with 20/20 Insight – as a Great Pause that seeded deeper awareness and a new vision for life on Earth.

In Gratitude,

The Kosmos Winter 2021 Cover is from the painting Communion, by Nancy Earle. See more of Nancy’s work in this edition.


About Rhonda Fabian

Rhonda Fabian is Editor of Kosmos Quarterly. She is an ordained member in the Order of Interbeing, an international Buddhist community founded by her teacher, Thích Nhất Hạnh. Rhonda is also a founding partner of Immediacy Learning, an educational media company that has impacted millions of learners worldwide.

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