We have spoken of the legend of Amasis, the myth, really, that resulted in the explosion that formed the Hudson Valley and the Hudson river, the river of tears. We then spoke of the Legend of the Salamander, the elemental fire being, this particular one, the being of greed. In the legend we see he is actually a fallen angel, a ‘good’ being, who took a wrong turn by becoming too interested in the material world. In the legend, he also appears as the young man who falls in love with Mary, the daughter of Hugo, the head of the group running the forge. Mary’s pure love helps this young man (the transformed salamander) return to the spiritual worlds — but greed escapes into the world. (Oh, greed, is a necessity in the world — what becomes of it depends on how we meet it — right now it has a clear hold on this country.)
This legend also features New York, Manhattan.The atomic bomb, the culmination of the Manhattan Project (the word “Manhattan” is Indian, and refers ‘evil place’ – don’t literalize this! — it is the amazing art and intellectual dimension of Manhattan that brings balance to this word.). The Manhattan Project – much went on in Manhattan – offices of the secret project were in the high-rises (also a metaphor of ‘America”); uranium was stockpiled on Long Island; the bomb was constructed in Los Alamos, New Mexico; was exploded on July 16, 1945, at a place with the code name of “Trinity”, near Socorro, New Mexico. The bomb as an ‘anti-Trinity’. And one that releases even deeper forces that assist the spirits of greed. You recall that at the moment of the explosion of the bomb, Robert Oppenheimer says: “Now I become Death, destroyer of worlds”. That is, the ego, which is the potential of the I AM of Life turns into the I AM of death. Our very identity as human beings now serves the forces of death.
The explosion turned a square mile of the New Mexico landscape into an eerie kind of green glass, now named Trinitinite. No life takes place there. It is a vast ‘black hole’ that sucks in the true destiny of America so that the forces of greed become stronger and stronger. The Underworld of America opens. It is as if it has been sitting there since
Archetypally, this explosion reaches deep down into the Underworld, there in New Mexico, touching into and joining with the forces of the Aztec gods. The explosion touches into that archetypal impulse of removing the heart from the human being, that is, removing the capacity of creative imagination to make a cultural world; without the imaginal heart, greed meets no resistance.
The fourth and most recent upheaval showing the unfolding of the union of the spirits of greed with the spirits of darkness is 9/11. In the aftershock of terrible grief, we were told to continue living, to go out and shop, to go to Disneyland. It is the moment of the unleashing of the forces of greed full force into the world, because now we are convinced in soul that greed is good.
There is much to be imaged with 9/11. Mystery and controversy still surround this tragedy and thankfully keep the imaginal aspect alive. It is not a simple and uncontested fact that America was attacked by terrorists. The heat from the explosion was intense, and the iron/steel remained molten for weeks, when, if the collapse of the buildings were due to the implosion, the heat would have subsided in days. Many engineers have said that the collapse of the buildings and the fires could not have been due to the impact of the airplanes.
There is also a fault line that runs in the region of the twin towers, and an earthquake of magnitude 4.5 occurred in New York City in 2000. That fault line runs up toward High Tor. These imaginal pictures reveal the continued unfolding of the legend of the destiny of America – the actual destiny – that of meeting – and honoring the spirits of greed – not being possessed by them. We can imagine the 9/11 event as an upheaval, very direct, of the spirits of greed, and only secondarily a literal attack.
Perhaps the most important archetypal image is the explosion of greed that has occurred since 9/11. The stock market continues to soar. So does corruption in the realm of finances, spilling over into the government. The false division between greed and grief, an archetypal image that is one, not two, is nearly completed, and shows up as divided cities of steel skyscrapers and financial centers, and wealth, and incredible corruption, which everyone sees and cannot stop, divided from our grief, which unmet, becomes violence in the world. We cannot stop the greed because it now lives autonomously divided from its regions of unrecognized grieving, which is the formula for untold violence, for violence is untended grieving. And now we have a president who is also the president of greed.
In the next blog, we will look more closely at 9/11, see further images of America entering the Underworld — and also see Who is in the Underworld as the force that can counter greed.
Ending the Iron Age, Beginning the Age of the Heart
We are at the ending of the iron age. In the world, this lowest of the metallic realm (gold,silver, bronze, iron…..dust –the ages of man) expresses our interior distance from the spiritual worlds. We even imagine that there are two worlds – the earthly world and the spiritual world, completely forgetful that there is only one world of the visible and the in-visible. Of course, this false division of spirit and matter did not arise in America, it was brought by way of the so-called “Western Tradition”, The Original Ones here did not live such a separation of worlds. If we understood ‘earthly’ and ‘spiritual’ as images, as metaphors, rather than literally, neither would we.
Remember the image of the spiral so often written as hieroglyphs on the cliff and canyon walls:
This is an image, a symbol, so it expresses a multiplicity of meanings. One expression is that of time and space. Not linear time as we know it, and not empty space as we know it but as the unity of the timeless with time and the spiritual worlds with the earthly worlds The center of the spiritual is the region of timelessness; we see then the movement of time as the outward spiraling. The image is that time is both timeless and unfolding as world. If we get too far out on the spiral, we become forgetful of this unity and act as if we are our own. We get lost in empty space and attempt to hide our fear with bravado structures of space, made possible by iron/steel.
This steel and glass structure in New York City that replaced the World Trade Center is even called Freedom Tower. It stands on its own, oblivious to its neighbors except as power over them.
For the Original ones, everything is spiral and circular. The rose expresses this spiral circularity — and in such a manner that the rose symbolizes the unity of timelessness and time and of the union of spiritual and physical in Beauty.
WHAT IS THE SPIRAL CIRCULARITY OF TIME AND SPACE OF THE HUMAN BEING?: LIFE-DEATH,LIFE-DEATH-LIFE-DEATH,LIFE-DEATH,LIFE-DEATH,LIFE-DEATH,LIFE-DEATH,LIFE-DEATH,LIFE-DEATH
NOT LIFE ….AND THEN DEATH. LIFE-DEATH.
HOW IS THIS SPIRAL CIRCULARITY OF TIME AND SPACE EXPERIENCED — FOR IT IS THE ONE EXPERIENCE, ALWAYS PRESENT, THAT MAKES US HUMAN? IT IS EXPERIENCED THROUGH THE HUMAN HEART WHERE BETWEEN SYSTOLE AND DIASTOLE THERE IS ALWAYS A MINUTE GAP — THE GAP OF DEATH. THE HEART IS NOT PRIMARILY A PUMP THAT SHOVES BLOOD THROUGH THE BODY. THAT IS SECONDARY TO THE HEART AS THE ORGAN THAT REGISTERS THE PULSING OF THE COSMOS-EARTH UNITY.
HEART-EXPERIENCING OCCURS — BY THE PROCESS OF ENTERING THE SILENCE (see, Robert Sardello’s book Silence: The Mystery of Wholeness) and from within the Silence, gesturing – that is, silently speaking the word “Heart” ( see Robert Sardello’s book,Heartfulness). The primary heart experience is that of GRIEVING.
Grieving is not the same as mourning, as pointed out in a previous blog. Mourning tends, strongly toward a focus on the ‘me-me’ – my heart is broken, what a wonderful person he was, I don’t think I can go on, there is only this unending pain. Grieving is different — first, it does not go on alone but within community, both visible and invisible. Because we have all but lost the communal sense of grieving, grieving has collapsed into seeming to be the same as mourning. Grieving is simultaneously praise, for within grieving there inheres the sense of the ongoing presence of the soul/spirit of the person — not trapped here, unable to go on (that happens when there is no grieving — the dead then return as ghosts, inhabiting the most sensitive person of the family. ( “When you have two centuries of people who have not properly grieved the things that they have lost, the grief shos up as ghosts that inhabit their grandchildren. These ghosts can also manifest as disease in the form of tumors, which the Maya refer to as “solidified tears, or in the form of behavioral issues and depression”, Martin Prechtel, The Smell of Rain on Dust.) Grieving inherently acknowledges the unity of LIFE-DEATH. Grieving is not a momentary happening when someone dies and for a time after. It is the most basic experience of being human — and is always present — if one is heart-present and Earth-present.
Return now, for a moment to the petroglyph spiral. Because they are drawn on a wall, these petroglyphs seem flat. They have to be pictured inwardly as a sphere. As a sphere, the spiraling outward and inward, with the inner point as timelessness and the spiraling as time, has to also be seen as a pulsing from the center of the sphere outward and back inward — both movements at the same time. The petroglyph is then an indication of the ongoing perceiving of Earth as what we (not they) would call the space-time dimension. And, the heart is the organ of perceiving the space-time dimension.
If the petroglyphs were inwardly pictured as a sphere, the movement would be something like this:
Our linearity and accompanying literalism come not only from splitting timelessness and time and conceiving of space as ’empty’ (space is silence-filled) but also from collapsing the vertical dimension of above and below. These two collapses result in life as greed.
“We do not understand them (white people) . We think they are mad” he told Jung, adding that “whites believed they thought with their heads,” when everyone at the Pueblo knew thinking comes from the heart.
Next blog — either — ‘How to Grieve” or the continuance of the imagination of the High Tor Salamander of greed and its presence today; its doing as either our undoing or its undoing – which?
I will not interpret the Legend of the Salamander directly as while that might seem helpful, interpretation also tends to stop imagination as it seems to give the whole meaning at once. I feel it is better to linger with the story, introduce the significance of elements of it, and gradually come to see the wisdom of the legend.
In the story, the group of Rosicrucians come to High Tor to mine and refine iron. High Tor and that whole region of New York is filled with iron mines and was the source of much of the iron, made into steel, that built the early skyscrapers of Manhattan. What is the image of iron about?’
Iron nourishes incarnating, that is, nourishes coming into the physical body and the physical realm. In terms of soul, iron nourishes the will – as the saying “he/she has a will of iron” points to.
The nourishment of iron does not bring about inner freedom, not true freedom, but rather easily becomes internalized as an ego sense of freedom, of independence from the gods – as, for example, the forming of the iron age. Remember the blog where I introduced the image of the “Ages of Man”, the movement away from being connected with the spiritual realms; the image of man with legs and feet of iron – the age of iron, the last stage of the ‘independence’ of the human from the divine, with some of the toes of dirt – that is, what follows the iron age is blowing into dust (atomic bomb?).
Spiritually, the iron within the earth absorbs ‘oxygen’ (we see the iron rust even with iron-bearing stone); it is the spiritual nutrition for iron; we have here an image of the incarnating of the gods — we see this image vividly in the forge-fires, bringing the element of air into the fire, and in the pouring of iron from the forges, the making of steel. We have here the foundation of the imagination of “the man of steel”, Superman. When iron is nourished in the forge, it strengthens into steel.
In the iron age, humans become independent of the gods. Iron as the incarnating element also takes us deep into the body, into the regions of will and desire. Iron makes us different than plants – that is, through iron, we are conscious within self, bodily experienced as will and desire. If this incarnating is not spiritually worked with, this depth of incarnating becomes deeper and deeper egotism.
Spirituality, meditation, contemplation, typically mean a temporary disincarnating, leaving the body to experience something of the spiritual realms. Perhaps the other side of the deep incarnation of spirit that has occurred in the coming of the iron age is to develop the capacity of experiencing the earthly world as spirit permeated. But, this would require developing the contemplative capacities to do so. These capacities are only hinted at in the story of the Salamander. The darker side predominates.
The salamander alchemically symbolizes transformation. It is an image of the alchemical element of fire, an image of spirit, though this particular salamander of the story is an image of greed, of transformation of the human into a being of greed, for this salamander is the spirit of greed.
The element of iron in the forge both takes in oxygen (the incarnating of the gods) and also breathes out as our civilization. – that is, our civilizational breathing unites spirit with the earth, which can, and at this time is an ‘overblown’ trumped-up spirit. As incarnating deepens, when not accompanied with deep contemplation to stay in touch with the spiritual realms, then it is not only we humans who become more and more ego-bound, but earth also becomes subjected to ‘iron-breath’, that is, earth herself begins to lose her inherent spirit nature.
Then, there is iron as Mars, incarnating deeply into body accompanied by the elevation of anger, confrontation, uncontrolled emotion, aggression, and abuse of the feminine soul. When highly egotized, we have the “Trump” phenomenon.
In the remarkable book, “The Zodiac and the Salts of Salvation” by George Washington Carey and Inez Perry, a work on the 12 cell salts of the body, there is a section on iron and the dangers of iron, which we can hear as the dangers of the ‘iron-age’, the dangers of encountering the salamander unprepared as the image of incarnating deeply, bringing the dangers of uncontrollable strength and emotion, and what inevitably happens when unaccompanied by the development of spiritual capacities.
“The secret of a true life is that a man should concentrate the vigors of his youth on God. It is well to do that before the night comes, before the slow decay of age benumbs all the faculties of sense. For as the fluid of the body becomes depleted in iron, the corpuscles slowly suffocate and eventually putrify. This is the true cause of cancer.”
Perhaps we have entered the time of the hastening of the slow decay of this civilization, and the cancerous uncontrolled growth without regard for Earth.
Without the sacrifice of deep incarnation, the dedication of deep incarnation to the gods, without the continual dissolving of incarnating so deeply, without the awareness of dying-as-always-accompanying-living, living becomes greed. That is, greed is the illusion of becoming immortal. Financial greed is but one, large, but still only one indicator of the denial of dying, a misinterpretation of embodiment as spiritual incarnation only. We accumulate, we live in the illusion that there is no end, and certainly in the illusion that we are not now, each instant dying. Dying nonetheless goes on, and living in denial means that death is projected onto the world as violence — we see dying happening ‘over there’, not ‘here’, bodily, as the natural dissolving of incarnation, the natural rhythm of life and death. The Original People of this land lived within this rhythm.
In the legend, the salamander, this salamander, is elemental greed (when the men watching the forge look down into the pit and see the salamander, they also see ledges filled with gems, and they intuit that if they could interpret the writing within the gold triangle on the back of the salamander, they would have everything they ever want or desire), and offers the illusion of living without breathing with spiritual rhythm. Proper combustion does not happen.
Entering the life-death rhythm and the ever-given life-death rhythm expressed everywhere in nature means that to be fully human and here as earthly beings requires that to be human we grieve. Grieving is the most basic of all human capacities. Grieving does not mean suffering loss; to the contrary, grieving is the process of praise. We do not grieve in this country; at most, when there are catastrophes, or even with individual death, we mourn. Mourning easily crosses over into egotism because mourning is about ‘me’ or ‘us’ it concerns what we have lost. Grieving is not about us in this way. Grieving is praise of the rhythmic life-death of someone who has died, and what living in this rhythm has brought to the world.
One must destroy the spirit of money, the blind spirit of possession. It is the dragon for your St. George: neither rewards on earth nor in heaven, of ownership: but always the give and take, the fight and the embrace, no more, no diseased stability of possessions, but the give and take of love and conflict, with the eternal consummation in each. The only permanent thing is consummation in love or hate.”