We can begin to feel, now, where we may be headed — down and in. In the last installment, we encountered a first legend of the presence of spirits of greed within the land of America. This time, a further legend of this same place, High Tor, outside of New York City, is given in summary form. It is from the novella, The Salamander, by Elizabeth Oaks Smith, published in 1848. Next time I will offer a commentary on this legend.
Spiritual imagination, except in the Americas, is heavily ‘sky’ oriented. Earth is usually depicted as the last of creation, a kind of ‘space station’ for humans to work, die, be punished, or be taken back into the vast ‘heavens’. I have been developing the Spiritual-Earth imagination of the Native Americans (the In-Dios), and what happened from the moment of the invasion of this land. The ‘sky’ view of the origins of creation as the ‘place of the creator, this spatial orientation we assume without a second thought, confuses our indigenous soul, which we all live unconsciously by virtue of living within this land.
The implication is clear: Here in America, to come into the presence of the fullness of Divine Wholeness, we have to go ‘down’ (metaphorically, imaginally, soulfully) rather than ‘up'( which is also a metaphor, but is taken quite literally by all religions, and almost all ‘spiritual paths; The metaphorical ‘direction’ of spirituality, if one lives in America, is down. We are going ‘down’ anyway, but without awareness that we are on a spiritual journey, and thus going down in a destructive manner. These two legends indicate the inevitability of destructiveness unless we can consciously encounter the spirits of greed.
We are living the destiny of living in America, but it is fate more than destiny because it is unconscious and we are ‘being had’ by the spirits of greed.
It will not be as simple as coming into some kind of consciousness of this ‘first level down’ of incarnational spirituality; if — and that is an awfully big ‘if’ — we can come to earth-spirituality, we then enter a very long and deep process of purification. The Native Americans knew/know of this descent into nine levels of the underworld, the spirit-path of America. More of this as we proceed.
This installment give a summary of the Legend of the Salamander, a novel written by Elizabeth Oakes Smith, published in 1848. Next time
we will say more about this legend and how is now being enacted in America.
A curious tale of the Rosicrucians runs to the effect that more than two centuries ago a band of German colonists entered the Ramapo valley (the location of High Tor – my comment) and put up houses of stone, like those they had left in the Hartz Mountains, and when the Indians saw how they made knives and other wonderful things out of metal, which they extracted from the rocks by fire, they believed them to be manitous and went away, not wishing to resist their possession of the land. There was treasure here, for High Tor, or Torn Mountain, had been the home of Amasis, youngest of the magi who had followed the star of Bethlehem. He had found his way, through Asia and Alaska, to this country, had taken to wife a native woman, by whom he had a child, and here on the summit he had built a temple. To him had been revealed in magic vision the secrets of wealth in the rocks.
The leader in the German colony, one Hugo, was a man of noble origin, who had a wife and two children: a boy, named after himself; and a girl,—Mary. Though it had been the custom in the other country to let out the forge fires once in seven years, Hugo opposed that practice in the forge he had built as needless. But his men murmured and talked of the salamander that once in seven years attains its growth in unquenched flame and goes forth doing mischief. On the day when that period was ended the master entered his works and saw the men gazing into the furnace at a pale form that seemed made from flame, that was nodding and turning in the fire, occasionally darting its tongue at them or allowing its tail to fall out and lie along the stone floor. As he came to the door he, too, was transfixed, and the fire seemed burning his vitals, until he felt water sprinkled on his face, and saw that his wife, whom he had left at home too ill to move, stood behind him and was casting holy water into the furnace, speaking an incantation as she did so. At that moment a storm arose, and a rain fell that put out the fire; but as the last glow faded the lady fell dead.
An Iron Mine in the High Tor Region
When her children were to be consecrated, seven years later, those who stood outside of the church during the ceremony saw a vivid flash, and the nurse turned from the boy in her fright. She took her hands from her eyes. The child was gone. Twice seven years had passed and the daughter remained unspotted by the world, for, on the night when her father had led her to the top of High Torn Mountain and shown her what Amasis had seen,—the earth spirits of greed in their caves heaping jewels and offering to give them if Hugo would speak the word that binds the free to the earth forces and bars his future for a thousand years,—it was her prayer that brought him to his senses and made the scene below grow dim, though the baleful light of the salamander clinging to the rocks at the bottom of the cave sent a glow into the sky.
Many nights after that the glow was seen on the height and Hugo was missing from his home, but for lack of a pure soul to stand as interpreter he failed to read the words that burned in the triangle on the salamander’s back, and returned in rage and jealousy.
A knightly man had of late appeared in the settlement, and between him and Mary a tender feeling had arisen, that, however, was unexpressed until, after saving her from the attack of a panther, he had allowed her to fall into his arms. She would willingly then have declared her love for him, but he placed her gently and regretfully from him and said, “When you slept I came to you and put a crown of gems on your head: that was because I was in the power of the earth spirit of greed. Then I had power only over the element of fire, that either consumes or hardens to stone; but now water and life are mine. Behold! Wear these, for thou art worthy.” And touching the tears that had fallen from her eyes, they turned into lilies in his hands, and he put them on her brow.
“Shall we meet again?” asked the girl.
“I do not know,” said he. “I tread the darkness of the universe alone, and I peril my redemption by yielding to this love of earth. Thou art redeemed already, but I must make my way back to God through obedience tested in trial. Know that I am one of those that left heaven for love of man. We were of that subtle element which is flame, burning and glowing with love,—and when thy mother came to me with the power of purity to cast me out of the furnace, I lost my shape of fire and took that of a human being,—a child. I have been with thee often, and was rushing to annihilation, because I could not withstand the ordeal of the senses. Had I yielded, or found thee other than thou art, I should have become again an earth spirit. I have been led away by wish for power, such as I have in my grasp, and forgot the mission to the suffering. I became a wanderer over the earth until I reached this land, the land that you call new. Here was to be my last trial and here I am to pass the gate of fire.”
As he spoke voices arose from the settlement.
“They are coming,” said he. The stout form of Hugo was in advance. With a fierce oath he sprang on the young man. “He has ruined my household,” he cried. “Fling him into the furnace!” The young man stood waiting, but his brow was serene. He was seized, and in a few moments had disappeared through the mouth of the burning pit. But Mary, looking up, saw a shape in robes of silvery light, and it drifted upward until it vanished in the darkness. The look of horror on her face died away, and a peace came to it that endured until the end.
Manhattan from top of High Tor Mountain (slightly magnified)
I can now perhaps say just a bit concerning the unfolding of this work, to the extent I have a sense of it, though it is mostly unknown much in advance. I do want to work,
possibly in three installments, with the question of greed in America, and some imaginations of the soul-origin of this greed and its spirit-purpose, if we can meet it.
Then, due to the multiple perspectives of you, dear readers, I would like to try and offer a sense of the intertwining of soul-heart-spirit —what each perspective concerns and how they
relate with each other, and as well, what happens when one is separated from the other. The perspective offered in all these blogs centers within the heart, and for very particular
reasons, not the least of which is the original people of this land were people of the heart. There are further reasons, to be indicated. However, all three perspectives must be occurring together if we are really ‘here’, fully. Then, we may be ready to begin to unfold the imagination of ceremony as healing for America.
The Soul of America and the Underworld
In the region of High Tor, New York, an actual place right outside of New York City, near the Tappen Zee bridge, the enactment of two legends of great importance to the Soul of America occurred. The first legend is dated very near the time of the birth of Jesus. The second legend is dated somewhere around the 17th century. Then, in much more recent times, an event occurred in New York City which is not a legend at all, but will be developed and spoken in relation to these two legends.
The first legend
When Jesus was born, the youngest of the three Magi, whose name was Amesis, looked into the eyes of this child and saw the possible future of the human being. He saw that Jesus was the bearer of what the human being could become, and he also saw how this unfolding could be thwarted. He saw that it is possible that every human being could live in complete harmony with the earth and with the cosmos and with each other. This reality was inherent in the eyes of the child. And, Amesis saw that the future of the human being had to do with the destiny of the land of America.
Amesis came to what is now America, traveling by way of Alaska. He came to a region now known as High Tor, in New York, a place located right above what is now the Tappen Zee bridge, outside New York City. You can see Manhattan from this high place.
Amesis knew that the destiny of America involved soul’s encounter with the spirits of greed. The indigenous people of this region had ‘handled’ the presence of these beings by prisoning them deep within the earth.
Amesis came to this place where this imprisonment occurred. He knew that we would have to encounter these spirits, and hoped to transform them into spirits of good. He set up an altar and stayed there for a very long time. He married an Indian woman, and daily did rituals at this altar. One day, the spirits emerged, but were far, far more powerful than could be imagined, and could not be contained. A huge explosion occurred, creating the Hudson Valley and the Hudson River. The spirits of greed were released for the first time.
A hint of what we are now still required to confront within the soul can be heard in two images of the Hudson River and Valley. The Hudson river originates in a very small, very pristine lake high in the Adirondacks. The name of this lake is ‘Tear of the Cloud” lake. Then, the Hudson River itself is a huge estuary. This means that the salty water of the sea comes up the river to meet the tears coming down. The sea flows up as far as Troy, New York, a distance of 150 miles. We can imagine the Hudson as a river of tears – originating from the Tears of the highest cosmos and the deepest ocean. The soul of America as a place of lament, carrying the destiny of America as that of encountering greed, seeing and feeling it within, and undergoing a long but clear emotional initiation into grieving all that greed has and continues to wreak in the world. To find the destiny and the soul of America requires grieving the innumerable events that removed the original people who are the earth of this land and colonized them into people of shame that covered over our seeing and feeling shame. (There are actually two people who are the land that is America – the Native Americans — and the Black people — each in different ways. More on this later.)
We can begin to discern the soul-purpose of America — that of the humble nature of seeing those, our brothers and sisters, who are in need and offering service in humility and a sense of our lostness. In so doing we would discover that the feeling element of the heart, that which makes humans aware of being human is grief. Grief is what makes us truly human. That is the gift America has to offer, not just here, but everywhere.
A second hint concerning what we are required to confront, both individually as living in America, and that also concerns the land of America — the destiny of America concerns encountering greed
and finding the way through it. You can look through each of the previous blogs and read them as the unfolding of the presence of greed occurring since the invasion of this land. Now, with this first legend,
we see the presence of greed as forces within the land itself meeting the greed of the conquerors, producing voracious greed. What is this about?
Then a third hint –we cannot enter grieving without first undergoing purification. Our work with the soul-pictures of what happened to the original people of this land is intended to open this purification process.
In 2014, Cheryl and I and members of the School of Spiritual Psychology went on a pilgrimage to High Tor, New York. We all climbed the considerable height of High Tor, and from there, in the far distance,
New York City appears. The vision of the city, though, was unique. It did not appear as “New York City — over there in the far distance”. Seeing the city in the distance was simultaneously felt as New
York City being exactly where we were all standing. The still-existing deep feeling-connection between Manhattan and this place of High Tor persists as if still calling us to the Soul of America.
Next time —
a second legend, and also the meaning of the word “Manhattan”. introducing the manner in which these two legends are manifesting.
“What I stand for is what I stand on.”
— Wendell Berry
Proceeding with the writings of this blog in a linear fashion, going from one entry to the next as if the present one follows the previous one does not work well with the imagination
we are attempting here. I am affected, greatly, by the comments made, for one thing, and feel it important to address some of those comments. For example, some readers get that
being present with the soul of America will, in some manner, involve developing a new capacity of ‘ceremony-consciousness’ — even living life as ceremony. However, a number of suggestions have
been made that attempt a return to something like Native American ceremony rather than a re-imagining ceremony in terms of our present circumstances and consciousness. We might imagine ceremony in this manner:
Ceremony — moving from task to task with a consciousness of belonging, as creature to Creator; feeling each encounter with others is a simple ceremony of approach, no matter how brief the terms of the transaction; every act as interior and very personal, done with faithfulness, yet not rigidly done so that it turns into lifeless form; when ceremony enters deeply into our desire, we become ceremony itself.Ceremony without intimate awareness and felt, is not only dead but deadening, and enacts harm. Ceremony now concerns patterns of intent rather than personal posture or formulae. They can even be imagined without any tangible form.
Later, specific ceremonies will be introduced…….but today, in this non-linear fashion of presenting, something else needs urgent attention.
When we try to live within an imagination of what has happened to this nation over the centuries of living without really being here as earth-beings, we only have to notice that what is now happening is the result
of living such a void and now coming to rapid culmination. We live, all of us, within fear — but a completely and utterly new kind of fear. This fear has attempted to enter before — at the time of Hitler. Now it has found a much easier way to enter.
A number of years ago, about seven, I think, I did a soul retreat in Denver on fear in which I introduced this new form of fear. Since then it has taken hold, completely. Here are a few notes from that soul retreat with a few comments, very few, to alert you to noticing what has happened to the soul of America — a direct result of abandoning the soul of this land from the beginning:
Spirituality and Fear
I do not want to speak of fear as an emotion or as a physical reaction of the body under a condition of threat, or of the many fears that each of us faces daily. Rather, we shall try and see how radically different this new fear is from what we usually consider as fear, and try to make sure that we do not put it back into old forms because the ways we worked with old forms of fear will not work here.
Fear is usually understood as a bodily response to a threat to our being. It can be a physical threat, but also a threat to our soul. If you become afraid of walking at night because you might be accosted, your body tenses up each time you have to go out at night. That is soul fear. If you are walking at night and are accosted by a thug who pulls a gun and threatens you, that is a physical fear you experience. You would feel shocked, anger, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and would become faint. We are very familiar with these kinds of fears, and the multitude of reasons we react in fear, but now fear has gone even further. Something is happening in the realm of fear that goes beyond the usual forms.
we are all now subjected to what seem to be overwhelming and constant fears from virtually everywhere. Just think of the strength of the presence of fear:
natural catastrophes and politics
The content of these and many other fears, you will say, is not much different than what has always brought fear to human beings. Something else, however, is happening. Along with the presence of a continual onslaught of these fears, there is also a collective denial that these fears exist at all. For example, that there is severe climate change has been consistently denied by the government and gosh knows what else is being hidden from us. At the same time, there is a manipulation of fear. We are made to fear when there is nothing apparent to be fearful of. Every mid to large city now has hundreds of video cameras all over town, as if living itself is under threat. Look at the behavior of our president, the way he presents fears and, in the next instant eradicates what he just said.
As a kind of symbol, a condensation of what we are going to be working with, the now famous and very great statement by Theodore Roosevelt comes to mind:
“ We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
I imagine he was saying in an explicit way that people would triumph in that war if they were not afraid. But, the statement, if we pay close attention to it can be heard as saying:
There are two kinds of fear – the usual sense of fear and now there is a totally new fear in the world, fear of fear itself. Do you see? The usual sense we have of fear is that we fear-something:
I am afraid of dying
I am afraid of losing my job
I am afraid of not having enough money
These senses of fear are very different than FEAR OF FEAR ITSELF. With the overwhelming presence of fear everywhere, fears about everything, coupled with a massive denial of fear brought about principally through excessive egotism coupled with rampant materialism produces fear of fear itself. Remember President Bush’s way of comforting us when the World Trade Center was hit by terrorists – “Get out and Shop; Go to Disneyland”. These words by our leadership express in condensed form the kind of confusion around fear that has the effect of immersing us in FEAR ITSELF because there is total and complete confusion on what to be afraid of.
Usual protective responses to fear are now immobilized. However, we need only ask, what happens when there is the presence of fear but we have lost the capacity to feel it. It is entirely too easy, and false, to say “well, if you don’t feel fear, there is no fear.” And, you might further say, “I have not lost the capacity to feel fear. If there is an announcement tomorrow that the bird flu has now actually arrived, that there is a pandemic, I will certainly feel fear.” You see, however, that with each presence of fear on this scale, there will be fear, while at the same time there will be something that negates that it is real. We will be told that there is a vaccine, or that it is only the old that are in danger, or that “we thought that it was coming, but it really didn’t get here”; or that, as with mad-cow disease, the matter is taken care of — until the next outbreak.” It is true – fear is just below the surface, and that is where it is kept while the rest of the process goes on, the process of keeping it close to the surface where it can eat away at our physical being by producing constant stress, where it can eat away at our soul being by producing an overall contraction of feeling life …. And most of all, where fear itself can produce a particular kind of dimming of the human spirit.
If we could feel the presence of Fear itself, we would live in a decidedly different way. We would not, for example, fight against the fear because we would realize that if you fight against this kind of fear it only increases the fear. We have a sense of this with the kind of collective fears we now face. If you fight against terrorism without fully realizing how it is a vehicle for Fear itself, then you increase the presence of fear itself. We have become a version of the terrorists ourselves the way we have approached terrorism. We are watched everywhere, each of us risks being accused of being a terrorist if we happen to carry a penknife onto a plane. Or, if you have a can of gasoline for your lawnmower, you could be stopped. And, we do not really know how many people have been gathered up, sequestered, questioned, had their phones tapped, been denied rights, have been exported – as countermeasures to the fear of terrorism which increase the presence of fear itself.
From a spiritual point of view, the situation of fear in the world is considerably different than we see it from a strictly ‘usual-consciousness’ point of view. In every spiritual practice, for ages, the presence of fear announces the onset of a movement of spiritualizing – either of individuals or of the world. The evolution of consciousness is not a smooth upward progression. Not by any means. There are gaps and there are regressions. What someone dedicated to spiritual development must above all learn to work with, to meet and encounter and not be taken over by, is fear. Fear can stop all spiritual progress. But it also is the great awakener to the possibility of a huge leap forward into new levels of spiritual awareness. Thus, these times of fear, from a spiritual point of view have to be hailed, and in some ways even welcomed. They signal the possibility, if we can find our way through fear, of the greatest spiritual awakening humankind has yet experienced. This knowledge makes it possible for us to meet whatever comes to us with a quite different sense than cowering and hiding and contracting. It makes us work to find the inner place both of strength and of love to assist in this great moment of shifting into a tremendous expansion of human awareness.
Part II A Picture of How Fear Itself Looks and Works
One of the best pictures we have of the working of fear itself, not fear of this or fear of that, is the way in which the Nazi doctors who experimented on human beings lived. This story is well documented, with a very important understanding by the Yale Psychiatrist Robert J. Lifton, in his book, The Nazi Doctors. These doctors functioned under a situation of constant fear for years under Hitler’s National Socialism. At the same time, they were constantly told that they were chosen to do research that would undoubtedly save humanity. They lived constantly under this contradiction. They came to a point where they were unable to see anything wrong with the atrocities they performed each day. It was not, however, that these doctors were turned into cruel monsters, or even denied what they were doing. The effect on the doctors of living under contant fear unless they did exactly what they were told, coupled with their understanding of being heroes of humanity, was that two ego’s developed in these people, and these two egos existed and functioned alongside each other without any sense of conflict. These doctors’ sense of their self, on the one hand, was that they were humane physicians, working for the good of the country and for the good of humanity. They also considered themselves good husbands and fathers, were highly cultured in art and music and lived somewhat exemplary lives. Alongside this sense of ego-life, however, there was the doctor who performed atrocities on a daily basis on people. Torture, operations, infecting people were the order of the day, while dinner, dancing and the opera at night. Without any sense whatsoever of conflict or disparity between the two. Lifton terms the process by which the side-by-side ego’s develop, the process of Doubling. Comment: We now have a president who is completely doubled — and becomes increasingly incomprehensible, saying one thing, taking it away, saying the opposite; making fear, erasing it, without anything taking place in reality. Here is a news report concerning his behavior:
What we’re hearing: Officials tell us Trump seems more self-assured, more prone to confidently indulging wild conspiracies and fantasies, more quick-triggered to fight than he was during the Wild West of the first 100 days in office.
Imagine Trump if he signs a huge tax cut into law, which seems likely, amid soaring stocks and rising economic growth.
Imagine if Roy Moore wins in Alabama, which seems likely, too. It surely won’t humble Trump — or hem him in.
He’s like the Incredible Hulk, after the media and Mueller made him mad.
We just witnessed the most unthinkable 96 hours of Trump’s reign:
He called for a probe of the chairman of NBC News, a boycott of CNN, global skepticism of CNN International, and a public contest to crown the king of Fake News.
He told friends that the “Access Hollywood” tape may have been doctored, and that former President Obama may have been born abroad.
He re-tweeted conspiracy theorists.
He unapologetically circulated videos aimed at demeaning an entire religion, Islam. He sent his press secretary out to argue it doesn’t matter if the tapes are fake, because the threat is real.
Be smart: Elected Republicans, at least in public, seem fine with it all. They chuckle and say it’s simply Trump being Trump. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and his staff seem fine with, or at least resigned to, this reality. No one who matters is doing anything but egging him on.
Case in point: Amid all of this, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) calls Trump “one of the best presidents I’ve served under.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) gushed that he’s never seen Trump in finer form than digging into the tax bill this week.
Comment. Notice here that those who have opposed the behavior of the president are now condoning it — indicating that a doubling of the whole of Congress is now taking place — for the sake of political survival and for the sake of power.
Doubling, then, occurs when there is constant fear while there are also conditions that not only deny the fear exists but build up a completely different sense of self than the sense of self under fear. Doubling consists of the forming of a false self alongside the individual self, a self that completely follows outside directions, without, however, knowing that it is doing so. The more that fear intensifies in the world, the greater the possibility that wide-scale doubling will occur without our recognition of it. We do not recognize doubling, first, because it is a spiritual pathology rather than a psychological pathology. The individual spirit is usurped. Second, we do not recognize the syndrome because it is characterized by an increase in cleverness and capacities for lying. Doubling brings about more effectiveness in functional behavior concerned with survival, and the capacity of conscience is completely debilitated. Those who experience doubling do not suffer, but it brings terrible suffering to other individuals, institutions, and culture.
Doubling is, in fact, the incarnating of Fear Itself. That is to say, when people live under a constant ongoing state of fears of every sort, but the constant presence of fear is, on the one hand denied and covered over by an emphasis on every sort of materialism as a way of masking fear, and on the other hand the presence of fear comes out every so often in increasingly strong ways that bring about soul and body contraction — that if people live under these circumstances they begin to lose the sense of their individual spirit-being. We know of course that when people live under constant fear, they begin to be completely compliant. For example, people who work in sweat shops for terrible wages, and are every moment afraid of being fired and live under constant fear of not having food, clothing, shelter, become compliant and lose individuality. But, the kind of fear I am describing is one step beyond that because doubling produces a false sense of being perfectly alright. In fact, doubling brings about a sense that one is a very powerful human being. And, doubling usually brings the possibility of having power over others.
We all have a sense of two ego’s. Typically, in spiritual circles these days, a sense of two ego’s is spoken of as our lower ego and our higher ego, our lower self and our higher self. And, our spiritual ideal is supposed to be to develop from lower ego to higher ego. In fact, they are both always present. Our usual sense of ego is our self-identity, who we imagine ourselves to be, which is more a less the accumulation of our history. Thus, when someone asks you to describe yourself, you will usually say something of your history – when and where you were born, where you grew up, went to school, went to college, what you like, and so on. The sense of the higher ego concerns our spiritual being and aspirations and openness to spiritual beings and to the spiritual worlds. Seldom does anyone “leave” the lower ego and live only in the higher sense of ego. We feel both. But, we also know the difference. When fear occurs in the manner that I have described, the possibility of becoming aware of and of developing a higher sense of self disappears. It is, in effect, replaced.
It is entirely too abstract to simply speak of the higher self. We need to have a clear understanding and description of what this is. This part of our being, what some speak of as the ‘superconscious’ is not conscious without the inner effort of development. We are not conscious of our spirit-individuality. Thus, we are very subject to having this central aspect of our being slowly eroded without having much more than a vague sense that something is wrong. We only feel that we have not found our destiny; we do not know what it is, nor how to look for it. We feel a vague, though sometimes sharp feeling of longing for something more in life. And, we have the sense that we want to feel close to spiritual realities, including the spiritual reality of our own being. We feel helped, perhaps, but not fully satisfied with religion as being the source of this inner knowledge and feeling. And, if we are under a state of constant fear, while we might at first seek spiritual help, if the situation of fear does not ease, we begin to lose the sense that there is within us a spiritual center of our being that cannot be touched by any threat at all, no matter how intense or what the source might be. Fear begins to take us over.
If you have had moments of experiencing your higher-self, your true spirit –individuality, it is something quite astounding. It is like entering a vast loving resource that makes itself known to you through immediacy and intimacy of contact. It is not something that you know about, because your spirit being is your inner holy sanctum, the holy of holies. Sometimes, church can help bring us to those moments, but without the effort of inner development we cannot stay in touch with this dimension of our being.
It is imperative to recognize the consequences of, first, failing to come to be able to experience the core spirit-individuality that we are, and even more, to have this eroded without our being very aware that this is happening. Doubling is now a rampant spiritual pathology in our culture. It consists of cleverness taking the place of creativity; incredibly cruelty taking the place of selflessness; complete self-centeredness taking the place of community, and force taking the place of true inner power and authority.
We see this kind of spirit pathology taking place with many corporate leaders, politicians, heads of state. When we look at these people, it is easy to see that the person is ‘not there’, that something has usurped the very core of their being. This pathology cannot be accounted for nor understood by any current psychology because it is not about psychology; it is about the spirit, about spirit without entwining with Earth.
“Columbus had called the Indians In Dios not because he thought he was in India but because he found them to be as religious as children…”
Elsna Freeland, in “Sub Rosa America
And the Fall of the New Atlantis”, book 1
Where we are going in these writings:
The first set of writings – Blogs 1-10 (this one) focus on one aspect of the true archetypal imagination of this land, that this land is inherently the land of the heart.
Since the time of the conquistadors, the heart – the very soul of America was torn out. This began with the initiation rites of the Aztecs, under the dark spiritual direction of a spiritual being, Taotl, a name with strong resonance with Tao; it is the dark aspect of the Tao, indicating that it has the force, and the intent to make this land completely materialistic. The intent began with the ritual of tearing out the heart and stomach of prisoners in the land of the Aztecs, offering the heart to the sun, with the intent of turning all the sun shines upon into mass materialism. The rites influenced the Conquistadors, whose desires were completely oriented toward finding all the gold of the new land, gold as the materialization of the spirit-heart.
Many were initiated into the mysteries of Taotl. But the initiation was certainly one that bore the character of materialization of soul and spirit. Its goal was to rigidify, to mechanize all earthly life, even that of human beings, to the greatest extent possible. We could say that an earthly kingdom of death was envisioned, one that was directed from within toward smothering of all independence, and stirring of the soul. In the mysteries of Taotl, forces were supposed to be acquired that would enable human beings to create a completely mechanized civilization on earth.
— Rudolf Steiner
The second and third wave of the desecration of this land came with the so-called ‘discovery’ of this land by Columbus. The gold he found here – and even called them ‘gold’ was the enslavement of the indigenous people, capturing them and taking them back to be servants. It is the continuance of being infected by greed, already present, certainly, but here given free reign – so much so that now we see greed everywhere extolled; that is, it is not even hidden. It is recommended. And it has become mechanized through:
The way this archetypal picture now plays out in America:
Absence of and misunderstanding of community
Individual Spirituality Practices for our ‘own’ development, the privatisation of
The turning of human beings into robots – which we see now with the computerization of humanity, about to turn on full force with the creation of robots, which can only happen (is happening) when hu-mans (from humus—from the earth) lose any inner sense of individual, creative capacities:
…….When that day comes, Anthony Levandowski will be firmly on the side of the machines. In September 2015, the multi-millionaire engineer at the heart of the trade secrets lawsuit between Uber and Waymo, Google’s self-driving car company, founded a religious organization called Way of the Future. Its purpose, according to previously unreported state filings, is nothing less than to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence.”
– News article
The enslavement of the very heart of this land continues even today, as is shown in the film “Holy Man: The U.S. Government vs Douglas White. As the elder in the film says though, to all of us “Welcome to the reservation.”
The results of the pathological archetypal imagination of greed are now with us
In full force. It takes the form of:
Desecration of the land for all she has to give – minerals, metals, wood, soil, water, clean air, warmth, coolness, oil ….. and most of all the land itself turned into property. The first draft of the Constitution, the part that says everyone has the right to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ did not have the word ‘happiness’, but rather the right to the pursuit of property. This seeing that the land itself is ‘good as gold’ really begins with the Puritans, which we will work with next to try to see the furtherance of the archetype of greed that now runs this country.
By now, if you have followed the writings, you must be getting quite squeamish, holding off as long as possible from entering fully by feeling sad, very sad, for the plight of the Native Americans. The next and deeper level does not really involve some kind of usual action – social action, protesting, anything of that sort. If your life does involve that way of action, then it is your individual destiny – good!
However, in giving a foretaste of what is to eventually come in this writing, here is an image of where we are:
“Then Nebuchadnezzar the kind was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
I watch the comments that are graciously posted each time a blog is posted and I am also trying to get a sense of the interest in this question of the Soul of America. Interest is minimal, so I may stop the blog and continue the writing until it is ready to publish as a book. Or, I am considering dropping posting the blog on Facebook and just continuing it on my website, http://www.robertsardello.com
Thank you, those who have commented. A comment that I want to address is one in which a person quite eagerly indicated waiting to hear what would be said concerning Indian shamans. Thank you. I won’t likely say much if anything concerning shamanism. In this working into the soul of America, the best, best writing I have found that reveals something of extreme importance regarding shamanism in relation to the writings here is Eduardo Duran’s book, The Buddha in Redface, a novel of the mysterious conjunction of the American Indian and the atomic bomb. And, the other person to read is the great Taos, New Mexico writer, Frank Waters, who lived with the Hopi for three years, was told the complete Hopi myth by elders, in their language, and then translated as “The Book of the Hopi”, one of the truly greatest of all great books. He also wrote a novel that very directly speaks of this juxtaposition of radiation and the Pueblo Indians, The Woman at Otowi Crossing.
In a later section of this present writing, the very mysterious conjunction of the presence of the American Indian with places high in radioactivity will be addressed.
1/6 of all the uranium in the world is centered around Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, f Los Alamos, where all things nuclear happen is surrounded by Pueblo, Arapahoe, Apache, and Hope reservations. The Sandia Mountains, near Albuquerque, and near Sandia Pueblo, have the largest storing area of nuclear warheads in the world. (These are major reasons why I moved here.)
This juxtaposition of the presence of the American Indian and radiation, while concentrated in this region of New Mexico, is not at all the exclusive region where this mysterious relation occurs. It also occurs in Minnesota with the land of the Dakota Indians, and in Nebraska, where the Indians there are currently suing the uranium mining companies for contaminating their water. I am very sure the juxtaposition is widespread. (“Rational” reasons can be proffered, but such reasoning is always secondary – something much more mysterious precedes any reasons conjured.)
Perhaps, it would be helpful to suggest one imagination guiding these writings, to dispel the fantasy of anything exotic in the offing. If something of this nature does find its way into these contemplations, it will have to serve the purpose of the concern with the soul of America.
This imagination will seem like a diversion. I hope you are able to entertain it.
I am sure you feel the inclining of the writing – that the soul of America can be entered only through the land, and this land, revered, honored, lived within by the people of this land, the Indian people, who are not just the inhabitants of this land, they are the land. This is just fact, and it is of great, great interest that this givenness was not perceived by the first ‘visitors.’ Nor by any after.
The imagination: There is a great imagination, a picturing of the “Ages of Man”—the Golden Age, the Silver age, The Bronze Age, the Heroic Age, the Iron Age. This picturing of the Ages of Man comes from the Greek poet Hesiod. Greek. (a hint that we perhaps have to do a ‘reverse’ imagination. Remember when I said that the Greek temples were designed to disconnect the gods and the land.)
The Ages progress from an original, long-gone age in which humans enjoyed a nearly divine existence to the current age, in which humans are beset by innumerable pains and evils – the iron age. In the two accounts that survive from ancient Greece and Rome, this degradation of the human condition over time is indicated symbolically with metals of successively decreasing value.
In the book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnasser has a dream that only Daniel is able to interpret. It is a dream of these ages:
“You, the king, were gazing and, behold, a great figure, very impressive, stood before you in a frightening vision.
“Its head [was made] of fine gold; its neck, upper chest and arms [were made] of silver; its stomach and thighs [were made] of bronze.His legs [were made] of iron; his feet, some of them [were made] of iron, some of them of fired clay.
His legs [were made] of iron; his feet, some of them [were made] of iron, some of them of fired clay.
And you saw a loose stone not [made] by hands, and it struck the figure on its iron and clay toes and it pulverized them.
And all the iron, bronze, clay, silver and gold were pulverized entirely and became like the chaff that is scattered in the summer, carried off by a persistent wind* and nothing of it remains, but the stone that struck the figure became a mountain and all the earth became full of it.
This was the dream and I shall explain its meaning to the king.”
This dream of the ages of man, interestingly, includes the substance of clay and the substance of stone.
A further, most interesting version of this image, was given to Francis of Assisi in a vision:
Francis had a vision of a woman one night when he had been praying for hours and sleep had gradually overtaken him. “His holy soul was taken into the sanctuary of God and he saw in a dream” a woman with head of gold, bosom and arms of silver, abdomen of crystal, and comprised of iron from the waste down. She was tall, delicate, symmetrical, and beautifully formed, wearing a soiled mantle.
This woman of St. Francis’ vision is Lady Poverty, who he spiritually married.
The “Ages of Man” as given in the Greek imagination pictures the gradual degradation of human beings, our sinking into pain and evil. The dream of Nebuchadnasser pictures a similar degradation, though it adds the most interesting element of stone, that is, earth.
The vision of St. Francis is one in which the completely earthly condition is actually what is sought. Nostalgia for ‘a golden age’, or for some exotic magic that will turn us again into ‘high’ beings, will not happen. Perhaps, spiritually, the opposite direction is indicated. The heart’s emptiness. Without the desire for gold silver, bronze, iron – each indicating different human accomplishments and strife.
St. Francis reverses the ages of man by embracing Lady Poverty. I propose that another name for Lady Poverty is Earth. Where we are inclined in this ongoing writing. Just look at where and how St. Francis lived. with and within Earth. Then, Earth reveals herself as Spirit. But only when she is embraced without any possibility of what can be done through self-will. We are at the end of self-will.
Take this last image of Lady Poverty as analogous to what is being revealed by the American Indian – the path through radiation, that is, meeting sure death (which we are doing, but without consciousness or only the literal
consciousness of trying to reverse the death of Earth), into radiance, the embrace of our being wholly EARTH-being. Not around or sidestepping or imagining a golden a new golden age, but a path through death, for radiation hastens death; it is an image for hastened death, which can also be heard as the death of the self-will. We need not take radiation literally as nuclear winter. Radiation in the earth is responsible for change. When met in the proper way, entering the soul of America ends those Ages only concerned with exerting self-will.
To begin to be oriented to the deep inner listening for the presence of the beckoning Soul of America requires that we fully notice the heroic archetype that has governed this country since its founding. The heroic archetype is not the realm of soul, but of the ego. I do not disparage this archetypal way of the ego, that is, of the unconscious way of usual consciousness. But we must be aware of its limitations. We usually think of the realm of the unconscious as being all that is not ego. Ego-consciousness, though, lacks self-awareness and therefore takes itself literally, and is unaware of 96% of the fullness of consciousness. The taking for granted of “I” in its smallest sense is unconscious. We are simply within it without an awareness that ‘sees through’ what we are within. It functions automatically, and takes itself for the totality of consciousness, when in fact it is only 4% of consciousness. And ego consciousness remains very, very unconscious that when it attempts to speak more universally and as-if objective, it is only veiled ego-consciousness.
To find the way through ego and its accompanying egotism, we have to first go down before we go ‘up’. That is, if we stay within ego consciousness and from there try to understand who we are and where we are going, what is our destiny as a country, what is the destiny of this country — which it is aware of but we are not, we slide into semi spirit-consciousness without having gone through the necessary soul work. And since that kind of spirit-consciousness is highly truncated while ego-consciousness is so very partial, we are simply not here, for we cannot take the tiny island of a multiplicity of “I’ as a here, as a place, as soulful and soul-filled.
Unconscious ego-consciousness that on the surface seems to be what this country is about can be characterized as:
The drive to activity
Responses to challenge
Feelings of independence, strength, and achievement
Ideas of decisive action, conquest
Literalness of consciousness
Mind based conscious
“me-me” consciousness when ego becomes ‘egotism’when the only thing that reflects ego is ego.
“Get on with it”
The “American Dream”
An aside: the current ‘version’ of ‘here’ is family. It was not long ago – not more than twenty years ago, that a sudden and strong emphasis on ‘family’ became a kind of small, collective version of the ego. It is a construction, mainly political and economic, not having to do with the nature of who we are or where we are. It is a version of the listed qualities of unconscious ego-consciousness. A very small version, which tries to be everything, as when something happens in the country, an emergency or a disaster or a challenge and we hear “We are all a family”.
These kinds of qualities form a civilization, but not a culture. We imported culture from where we came from, and summarily destroyed the culture of this land. Culture, though, while it can be ‘borrowed’ for a while, ultimately must be created — not out of nothing, but from listening to the spirits of the land, the spirits who are the land (something ego-consciousness cannot comprehend).
We can question whether America has ever been a culture; the land of America, before it was America was indeed a culture – the culture of the Indians. America is a civilization. A civilization always concentrates on –marching forward, solving problems, building. Or at least, we have to look through the ‘problems’ to try and see if there is a culture that is a Soul of America.
The “New World” that is, the forcible entry into this land – was not about place – since the beginning, it is about gold (money) justified through materialist religion, and more than anything, it is about land, land development, land ownership, having, possession, real estate. And America, since its beginning concerns fear of geography. Unknown geography that is here to be conquered rather than entered, felt, taking humanity into the totally new and unknown. The unknown is faced only to be ‘taken over’ into the imagination of use and possession. This now extends to outer space, which makes sense as we are so ‘spaced out’ as to consider space a ‘land’ to be conquered.
America, since its beginning, has also been about the fear of the ‘pagan’. The word ‘pagan’ means “Rocky Hillside”. A word meaning being firmly set, of fixed pace, a dedication to place, and the place belonging to the spirits who inhabit it – spiritus loci.
Within the heroic archetype, America – the “new” means what’s next?; keep going progress; and most of all development – seizing the land and making it into a commodity of progress. The expectation of the
‘new’ makes the awakening of true surprise – awakening to what is here, impossible.
Civilization honors and maintains human achievements; Culture gives them back to the Gods.