The Four Pillars of Lore: A universal map for our times

Written: | Published: December 16, 2019

From the time I was a young girl I experienced and observed the traumas of disconnection. I could see that many of the people around me were so disconnected from the land, from the environment surrounding them, that it was like they were living in their own diminished bubble. That bubble was also filled with layers of trauma and emotional conflicts that prevented them from being truly connected with the people around them. This was extremely painful for me - not just because it diminished their capacity to experience true joy and connection, but because it was so juxtaposed with my own experience. 

From a young age, I felt and experienced a deep connection with life. I could see and feel the connectedness between all living beings. I was so open, so connected with life, with love yet ironically, because of the disconnections of others around me, so alienated. I was living in a dysfunctional and abusive environment. Despite this, I was profoundly connected with spirit – the source of that within me, and that of all life. I was ‘plugged’ into the cosmos. This was evidently buried in the people around me – to the point that, in comparison, I was considered - ironically - ‘not quite right’. I experienced constant communion with my ancestors and other beings, who I later came to meet physically. It was this connection with spirit, and my connection with the natural world all around me that nourished me, guided me and kept me sane. It also kept me acutely awake – awake to the true nature of self and existence and awake to the causes of the conflicts surrounding me.

Over the years, as I came to understand this more deeply, I recognised that most of humanity was impacted by layers of deep disconnection. I myself was on a journey of reconnection – to my ancestral roots. Guided by my ancestors, I rediscovered the parts of my family history that had been so severed and buried, they were hidden behind walls of shame and secrecy. Eventually, this secret was revealed through family events. I could then understand the complexity and depth of wounds that seemed to be held in our DNA.

As I came to understand my own Indigenous heritage, it struck me that ALL people, at their roots, are of the earth, yet have undergone passages of dispossession. All people are suffering a form of deep severance. I could see that the wounds of severance and dispossession were still very fresh and raw for our Indigenous people. Yet those very same wounds were also buried, albeit much more deeply, in the psyche of the ‘civilised’ populations, to the point that they lay at an unconscious level. Most people do not even realise the pains and conflicts they are suffering today are all rooted in disconnection. This pervasive severance (of and from spirit, place, nature, whole kinship and the cosmos) is directly related to the collective conflicts reverberating around the world.

We are now at a turning point in history, where we have come face to face with the global consequences of our disconnection – to spirit, to the earth that nurtures us and to each other. Challenges of unprecedented scale and complexity are calling us to recognise that all is interconnected, that we are one. These very challenges beckon us towards conscious awakening, now.

A new ancient way 

This awakening is not just a metaphysical one. It is a reawakening to our very nature – to existence. It is a reawakening to the invisible threads that link us all. It is a reawakening to the fundamental laws that underpin all life. Centrally – that all life is connected and that when we know and live by this, we ourselves are profoundly connected with all, and act from a place of awareness and reverence. We are caring, responsible humans. 

Within this fabric of connection are four fundamental laws of relationship – what I call The Four Pillars of Lore:

  1. With place, with the natural world surrounding us. The recognition that we are a part of it and have been created within it. 
  2. Whole kinship with our family, the people and all the creatures around us. 
  3. With spirit – the source of life within us and all around us – the timeless, infinite field of intelligent, creative energy.
  4. With the cosmos - a working understanding of the creation laws that connect all of these parts within the cosmos

These fundamental laws are the essential threads, that when understood and upheld consciously, provide us with a guiding map of whole, sustainable living. When we use this map, we live in harmony with each other and the world surrounding us. All life is well. However, when one of these threads is severed it has a domino effect. When many are severed, chaos and collapse ensue. The moment we are disconnected within ourselves, from each other, from spirit or from the natural world around us, is the moment our vision becomes distorted and impaired. We are cut off from life, from the universe. Without correct vision or connection, we cannot act in right accord. We are no longer conscious beings.

The underpinning laws of life provide us with a universal map that is relevant to all people, all places and all times. If we look deeply into our human history, we will see that all Indigenous societies lived and worked by these laws. These laws enabled our Australian First Nations people to live sustainably, in harmony, and to thrive for more than 60,000 years. All of that has been undone in less than two hundred years. 

If we look around the globe, we can see the same phenomenon. Disconnection is the same tsunami that has swept across the planet and destroyed the lives of millions of people, creatures and vast tracts of the environment. 

Sixty percent of creatures on the planet have become extinct within the last 50 years and our own human civilisation is on the brink of collapse (1). Billions of populations of animals have been annihilated in recent decades, in what many scientists are calling the first mass extinction to be caused by a species - humans (2). In causing this massive loss of wildlife and biodiversity, we threaten our own survival too. Even if the destruction were to end now, scientists estimate it would take the natural world at least 5 million years to recover (3).

Clearly, we are in critical need of a guiding map that can set us in the right direction again. Our task is great, but we are not without the answers. We have available to us the same ancient wisdom that is as relevant and applicable today as it was 60,000 years ago. This is why reconciliation is not only relevant, it is critical. In restoring our Indigenous relationships, we can find answers to the problems we are facing today. 

Our Indigenous wisdom is more relevant now than ever. We urgently need to restore these Indigenous laws and vast resources of wisdom. Our lives here now, and for the future to come, depend on this.

The complexity of our issues can all be reframed in accord with the natural underpinning laws of life. In using this map, we are able to trace back the broken threads and learn how to restore them. At the heart of this change is personal conscious awakening.

As each individual restores their full conscious presence to themselves and the world around them, a great source of creative intelligence, inspiration and caring motivation is unleashed. With conscious presence and connection to the The Four Pillars of Lore we are able to live and act from an integrated place. Each individual embodies the open and conscious qualities of deep engagement, deep listening, deep seeing and therefore, connected living. Without these qualities we are unable to live a whole life, or to respond consciously to the challenges we face. 

These are the qualities we most urgently need to restore in humanity now if we are going to usher in the right mind set, the right spirit, to face our global crisis.

Understanding the The Four Pillars of Lore and restoring these in society is not just a reflective, sentimental notion. It is the most critical and effective step we can take towards the regeneration of all life, for our wellbeing and future.

© Isira Sananda 2019

(1)  World Wildlife Foundation (2018) Living Planet Report, see:

(2) Ceballos, G., Ehrlich, P.R. and Dirzo, R (2017) Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

(3) Davis, M., Faurby, S. and Svenning, J. (2018) Mammal diversity will take millions of years to recover from the current biodiversity crisis, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America


*Although ‘Indigenous’ typically refers to First Nation people, the central differentiator is a mindset, a way of seeing and relating to life, much more than it is about skin colour or place. The Indigenous mindset is one of interconnectedness and wholeness, rather than divided and self or ego centred.