Great Transition Stories: Visions of Promise

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Great Transition Stories is a non-profit collaboration that offers positive images of the future. Contributions are greatly helpful in enabling us to bring these stories of promise to educators, film makers, green businesses, the general public, and more.



Humanity has entered a time of profound change. We are pushed by necessity and pulled by opportunity. The push is a growing systems crisis, evident in the breakdown of financial institutions, climate disruption, resource depletion, unsustainable populations, and more. These powerful Trends are presented here. The pull is the opportunity to rise to a new level of human maturity, partnership, and freedom. The combined push and pull at a global scale make this truly a time of profound turning and transformation for humanity. Many of the other names used to describe this time of Great Transition are explored here.

Collectively, we have been on a long journey of development, differentiation, and separation. We are now approaching an 'evolutionary wall' where we are running into ourselves and our choices for the long-term future. If we pull together in cooperation, we can build new relationships with one another and the Earth. The Great Transition diagram below depicts very simply the 'great turning' or transition required for the human journey.

It is vital that the human community come together and consciously co-create visions and stories of a sustainable and thriving relationship with the Earth and one another. Great Transition Stories is taking an important step in that direction by: 1) gathering leading-edge scholarship and wisdom that presents stories of great turning and transition and, 2) by making that wisdom available widely to educators, the general public, green businesses, storytellers, and more.

As an organization and community, our intention is to be of service to a world in transition; therefore, Great Transition Stories is an open-source collaboration. The text on this wiki is available via the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike License. See Project Copyrights for information regarding use of non-text media.

The stories we tell shape our view of ourselves and the path we take through this time of collective awakening and global turning. We have the ability to consciously choose narratives that offer realistic beacons of hope to guide our way through the Great Transition. The following stories are drawn from many sources--biology, psychology, cosmology, mythology, and more--and offer a wide menu to choose from in crafting guiding narratives, whether personal or organizational.


Deeper Introduction


Clarity and coherence are priceless in our times of increasing breakdown and overwhelm. Although we are gathering a number of great transition stories, we will feature core narratives that are universally understandable and highly useful for navigating through these unprecedented times. In that spirit, here are narratives that offer deep insight into changes underway in our world.

Humanity Is Growing Up

GrowingUp75.jpg Over tens of thousands of years, the human species has been learning and maturing. We have moved from our childhood as awakening hunter-gatherers to our late adolescence as a species on the edge of a planetary civilization. We are now moving collectively through a rite of passage, toward our early adulthood as a human community. See more...

A Global Brain Awakens

GlobalBrain75.jpg An unprecedented revolution in global communications is underway, integrating powerful technologies ranging from wireless networks to Internet connections, cell-phones, televisions, and much more. Combined, these technologies are rapidly wiring the global brain and supporting the awakening of collective consciousness from a local to a global scale. See more...

We Are on a Heroic Journey

HeroicJourney75.jpg The Hero’s Journey has three, major stages: separation, initiation, and return. Over the past 45,000 years or so, the human community has moved from a long stage of separation from nature and one another, and we are now moving into a time of initiation, from which may come the insight to begin our journey of return to living in harmony with Earth, one another, and the living universe. See more...

Planetary Birth

PlanetaryBirth75.jpg The "Planetary Birth" story uses the patterns and archetypes associated with the human birth process to give meaning to the experience of Humanity as a whole as it undergoes difficult changes that look or feel like being squeezed through a birth canal. This story articulates a larger context for the despair and destruction that we see around us. It offers purpose, hope, and direction in the face of difficulties being experienced by many. See more...

Transitioning to Holistic Economics

Economics75.jpg A shallow and limited view of 'economics' has produced a view of the Earth as a place filled with resources to be exploited in a process of never-ending growth. This has led to unsustainable levels of consumption by a relative few along with an enormous and growing disparity in wealth and economic opportunity between the rich and the poor. Reconciliation requires a 'holistic economics' or economics of the whole world system. See more...

Trusting the Power of Love

PowerOfLove75.jpg For thousands of years humanity has been divided by mistrust engendered by ethnic, racial, gender, religious, and other differences. Now the Earth is seen as a single interdependent system, and the future of humanity is inescapably bound together in our collective choices. A promising future requires that we transcend our history of mistrust and find common ground. Can compassion overcome millennia of division? See more...

Choosing Conscious Evolution

ConsciousEvolution75.jpg Consciousness is the knowing faculty. Our capacity for reflective or witnessing consciousness – to know that we know – enables us to take greater responsibility for our actions and their consequences. Unprecedented global crises are pressuring human consciousness to develop further, and we are poised to awaken to a collective knowing that we can choose consciously to evolve our capacities for living in harmony with the rest of life. See more...

Integrating Indigenous Wisdom

IndigenousWisdom75.jpg Indigenous peoples have a feeling of communion with the land and bring a natural sense of participation with the life force that infuses work and play in everyday life. Indigenous wisdom reminds us of our oneness with Earth as an interdependent, living system; our oneness with each other and the other forms of life that are our companions; and our oneness with the universe that is our cosmic home. See more...

A Path of Gender Reconciliation

GenderReconciliation75.jpg Humanity has been moving through a series of stages in the relationship between men and women, starting with the mysterious power and fertility of the feminine archetype in the hunter-gatherer era, followed by the rise of the masculine sky gods in the agrarian era and the further extension of the masculine analytical orientation in the industrial era, and now the return of the sacred feminine which opens new possibilities for reconciliation and relationship. See more...

Reconnecting with the Living Universe

LivingUniverse75.jpg Since awakening as hunter-gatherers roughly 45,000 years ago, we humans have been pulling back from nature and differentiating ourselves from one another, leading to our current time of environmental and existential crisis. We are challenged to make a profound shift and begin a journey of return to reconnect with our larger 'self' that is a conscious participant in the unfolding of the living universe. See more...

Metamorphosis as a Metaphor for Transition

Metamorphosis75.jpg The caterpillar crawls around on two-dimensional surfaces. At some point it stops, eats to oblivion, wraps itself in a cocoon and begins to dissolve. Out of the soup of the dissolution, 'imaginal cells' begin to emerge that transform what was the caterpillar into a whole new form that can fly in three-dimensional space. Where is this story happening in our lives? See more...

Humanity Is Becoming a Superorganism

Superorganism75.jpg The human body is made up of 50-100 trillion cells differentiated into many integrated communities (that we call organs) collaborating harmoniously to create a whole human being. Imagine that each of the seven billion humans on our planet is a cell in a whole body of humanity, each with its own function and gift. This is the next step in the sequence of how life has evolved on Earth. See more...

Beyond Story: Nondual Awareness

BeyondStory75.jpg Although we live in a world of seeming division and multiplicity, the perennial wisdom is unequivocal in asserting that a profound unity underlies the appearance of separation. Each of these stories leads to a place of return that is beyond stories. Beyond stories of dualism and division is the singular, stunning reality of our universe being regenerated at every moment as a unified whole. See more...


These are not singular stories. They do not stand alone. Although these narratives derive from sources ranging from psychology and biology to cosmology and mythology, they share a common understanding of the universe as a living and evolving system in which we all participate. In turn, these transition stories weave together like strands in a rope. Woven together, their intricate intertwining creates a powerful narrative of possibility -- a Beacon of Hope that is based upon the integrity of deep narratives drawn from diverse sources.

By simply drawing together the titles of these stories of great transition, it reveals larger narratives. Here is just one of many possible ways of weaving these transition stories together into a promising narrative for the future.

  • Since our awakening as hunter-gatherers roughly 45,000 years ago, we have been maturing and developing our various capacities. As an overall human community, we have reached our adolescence as a species and this is reflected in our unsustainable relationship with the Earth and one another. Increasingly, we recognize it is time to move into our early adulthood with a new relationship with the Earth, one another, and the universe.
  • A global revolution in communications is supporting our global awakening. With the global Internet and communications revolution, the world is becoming transparent to itself and the collective consciousness of the species is coming alive. We are taking a leap forward in global communication and becoming co-creative and co-evolving participants in birthing humanity as an integrated and healthy organism.
  • Our collective awakening is vital as we now face the supreme test as a species of overcoming our historical divisions and differences of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, and more. Only a profound fire of initiation will burn through these ancient divisions to create a new human alloy strong enough to take us into a future of cooperation.
  • Essential to that heroic transformation will be a holistic economics that is truly concerned with the long-term stewardship of the entire Earth-human system in a way that preserves the integrity of life for future generations. Globalization will be balanced with intense localization focused on building sustainable and satisfying lives. New zoning allows people to collaborate in creating thriving eco-villages, pocket neighborhoods, and co-housing communities at the local scale that support the development of transition towns and green cities at the metropolitan scale and beyond.
  • The foundation for this new economy and society will be the higher 'self-interest' of compassionate concern and trust in the power of love. In these difficult times, we will not choose love blindly as a human family; instead it will be our conscious choice to step beyond ruin and trust the power of love as a basis for co-creating the future. A core expression of the emerging compassion is the reconciliation and healing of the wounds between women and men and building sacred partnerships. As human attention shifts from an emphasis on ‘things’ to ‘relationships,’ a new culture and atmosphere of connectedness and community infuses the world. The scope of human identity is now of both global and local scale—a conscious regard for the well-being of the Earth is balanced by intense engagement with the local ecology of place where people live.
  • To deepen our reverence for the Earth and regard for future generations, we draw insight and wisdom from Indigenous cultures from around the world and their communion with nature. Further, all of the world's wisdom traditions regard the universe as a unique, living system and this insight expands the human journey profoundly: We are learning to live in a living universe.
  • These narratives describe such a deep change in the human journey that the process can be symbolized by the radical transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. After nearly going extinct roughly 72,000 years ago, humanity is encircling the Earth as a single, superorganism and we are now making pivotal choices that will forever impact the Earth's future.
  • Importantly, humanity's choices for the future are being made in the context of a growing, popular appreciation of the non-dual wisdom which affirms that we all share and participate in a cosmic unity, recognized in both science and the world’s wisdom traditions, that is so deep that it transcends religious dogma and political differences. Overall, we are members of the same universe, Earth, and human ancestry on a similar journey of learning and discovery, expressed in many different ways.


There is a growing literature focusing on the dynamics of our world in transition. Listed here are a few of the most important and insightful articles that we have found. Check back in regularly as this is an ever changing and expanding list.


There are a number of ways to learn about – and learn how to use – these Great Transition Stories; including:

  • Courses: We are exploring possible course offerings related to Great Transition stories and storytelling.
  • Online Communities: This area is in development; however, one important community now emerging is on our Facebook Page.
  • Study Groups: We are excited about the potential for study groups for exploring these stories, both face-to-face and online.
  • Story Consulting: We are developing a network of Great Transition storytellers and facilitators to support people and organizations in their re-storying process.
  • Core Assumptions: There are a number of core assumptions that underlie these stories of great transition.


Distilling and synthesizing these stories takes time and collaboration. If you would like to contribute to this open-source, co-creative process, please contact us.

  • Global Citizens Arise
  • A New Story of Business
  • From Punitive to Unitive Justice
  • Opening the Global Heart
  • Awakening of the Sacred (and Cosmic) Feminine
  • Inter-Faith Reconciliation & Awakening Consciousness
  • Inter-Species Reconciliation and Renewal
  • Collective Reconciliation with Future Generations
  • Global Youth Waking Up
  • The Emergence of Transpartisan Politics
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