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.