Thanksgiving or Thankstaking
In these writings, we are now going into a kind of swirl. What we believed about America may be, in some respects, dissolving, particularly in relation to the “founding” of this country. It was not a founding but an invasion without provocation. Not once, but many times, over and over, and in many ways. I have addressed only the most outstandingly destructive ones.
As you have been reading this imagination (the task of imagination is to imagine the real), sorrow, pain, regret, anger, grief, awakens. These stories, these pictures presented, exist within another resonance – what we hear happening to Native Americans – all those atrocities are also happening to the living Being of Earth. Exactly the same sufferings, within Earth herself. The Original people of this land are people who are the same as Earth. I spoke several times of this in the blog;
For example, the protests at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline is one image of the splitting of the literal from imaginal earth. The protestors, Native Americans, might seem to be protecting the literal earth and water. Standing Fox, who came from Arizona to protest, speaks the language of the imaginal earth, saying “Sacred land is who we are and is also a reference to our ways.”
The Indian-American has never been separated from his land. Unlike us immigrant Euro-Americans, his traditions stem back to its prehistoric past. And he has doggedly clung to them, preferring to die out as an ever-dwindling racial minority rather than to adapt himself and assimilate others. Whatever he is, whatever he believes, stems from the very soil of his ancient homeland. He is inseparable from the earth itself. (Frank Waters, Masked Gods: Navaho and Pueblo Ceremonialism,pg.17)
When the Original people speak of Mother Earth, they speak imaginally, through soul, and at the same time literally – image and literal are completely entwined and exist together. We divide them – imaginal or literal, one or the other. Native Americans live the entwining of soul/spirit with matter. They live life as ceremony. Some try still. It is terribly difficult. Not only was there the invasions we have spoken of, there was, also from the beginning, a Christian invasion.
Russel Means was an astounding Lakota activist. If you saw the the film I talked about in one blog, “The U.S. A. vs Douglas White”, he spoke several time in the film, and at the end of the film he says to all of us: “Welcome to the Reservation”.
I invite you to listen to him further:
Russell Means died in 2012. While you listen, be present inwardly to the fact that when he speaks of his people, he is simultaneously speaking of Earth. Everything that has happened to the Original people also happened and is happening to Earth. All that you are feeling in relation to the Original people, bring to consciousness what you feel concerning Earth.
You might want to go back a re-read some of the writings, holding this truth. She, Earth, from the beginning of what is now this country, was put into slavery, raped, used, invaded, suffocated, lied to, suffered violence after violence, and is bought and sold many times each day. If we have moved even the smallest measure into resonance with the Soul of the Original people and what has happened to them, we have also moved into the soul trauma of Earth. If this is felt…..well, everything else is stupid. Our ‘me-me’ concerns are stupid. What government idiots do is stupid. What technology is doing is stupid. The back and forth going on between nations is stupid. And all a distraction.
This imagination of Earth-Human can be understood conceptually, but so, so much is lost in trying to do so. The imagination here is a matter of heart-presence rather than intellect. We have great difficulty in entering the imagination because for ages now, spirit is imagined, always, as cosmic – out there, up there. All spiritual paths partake of this assumption. I am trying to introduce Earth as spirit — and, as well, that Cosmic spirit and Earth spirit are equal. That is hard enough to enter. Difficult because it is something the heart knows but the intellect cannot. ( a side note. James Hillman in a conversation on Jung’s “The Red Book”, said that there are two ways out of the soullessness that traps us all — erudition or the indigenous. Jim took the route of erudition. I do not think the two ways are separate; it is possible to be within the soul of erudition and recover the indigenous soul — at least that is the route I am taking.)
In 1925, Jung came to America and spent several days at the Taos Pueblo, speaking with a young Native American, named Mirabal (actually, Jung misnames him in his writing). He speaks of that visit in his “Memories, Dreams, and Reflections”:
‘See.’ Mirabal said, ‘how cruel the whites looks. Their lips are thin and their noses are sharp, their faces furrowed and distorted by folds. Their eyes have a staring expression; they are always seeking something. What are they seeking? The whites always want something, they are always uneasy and restless. We do not know what they want, we do not understand them. We think that they are mad.’
I asked him why he thought the whites were all mad.
‘They say that they think with their heads,’ he replied.
‘Why, of course, what do you think with?’ I asked him in surprise.
‘We think here,’ he said, indicating his heart.
We are following this process:
First, anamnesis – or re-membering. This is soul memory, for none of us have lived through the devastation process and only live the result, but it all lies deep within the soul of every American, and we are unconscious of what has/is happening, or deny it is so, or understand only intellectually.
Second, Grieving – more to come concerning grieving and the necessity for grieving to take place together, not individual mourning.
Third – Developing both ‘life as ceremony’ and ‘we-consciousness’.
Each aspect of the process occurs imaginally/literally. Both. Inseparable.
What Russel Means calls “Thankstaking”