As mentioned in the previous post, I began studying Dion Fortune’s mind works in fighting the armies expected to be invading from Germany. One of her first orders of business was the definition of the British group mind and group soul. Here I will address our American group soul and group mind. The group soul is our sense of participation in a larger being, to which we are attached and which has a hand in our thoughts and actions. It is the understanding that we are all parts of a greater whole. The group mind is the common cumulative experience of our national history.
(At this point, I should point out that I am not including the true owners of our land, the Native Americans. There is a reason for this. The European settlers appropriated the land, massacred their people, and decimated their cultures. I am reluctant, then, to appropriate their respected ancestors for these purposes without explicit permission. If it is ever granted, I will add Native American Sacred Kings and Egregores. Meanwhile, being one of the guilty European descendants, I do not wish to add to the list of offenses.)
Ms. Fortune began her mind work with a meditation on the spiritual influences that are part of the British group mind and group soul. I began to ponder which elements of the American story I could use. Most of the history of the United States’ experience from European settlement to today is recorded history and the people are known to have actually lived. I began to think of those people we learn about in school and talk about in big speeches and rallies. As I did so, I came to a sad realization: many, many of our historical giants are men who brought to this country the very things that are now tearing it apart. She was calling on sacred kings and egregores from Britain, which would not be appropriate for us, but I saw that we would need to identify our own, and we need a new set.
In order to select national sacred kings and egregores, we need to know what these things are. I had read about sacred kings before. The most common understanding is that they are people who sacrifice themselves (martyrdom) for their people and land. Under this definition we would have people like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, and I would certainly agree with both. However, a more subtle definition includes people who sacrifice their lives working until they day they die on the best interests of their people and land. Under this definition, John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg qualify.
I had not heard of an egregore. I looked it up, and here is what I found: an Egregore is defined as a kind of group mind which is created when people consciously come together for a common purpose (Gaetan Delaforge, Gnosis Magazine 1987). In other words, when a group of people with common interests pray and meditate collectively towards an objective, an energy of protection and blessing, an egregore, is sent forth, not unlike a circle of light that shields and safeguards the purpose of the those praying or meditating. If you look at it in terms of psychology, it is a personality that develops among groups independent of any of its members, a group energy. It is an energy that develops over a period of time as a result of focus. It might be referred to as a “vibe.”
As I meditated on our country and where we are headed, I realized that those most often recognized as our sacred kings were unworthy of the honor. If we truly believe that our country is created on freedom, liberty and equality, several of our revered founding fathers did not model those values, and in fact modeled quite the contrary. While we might admire certain qualities of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the fact that they owned slaves disqualifies them from the highest regard, that of sacred king. What is worse is the number of people who regard men as sacred kings who took up arms against the country in an attempt to prevent equality, that is the likes of Robert E Lee and Jefferson Davis.
I also realized we need to recreate (or create) our egregores. The ones we have now smack of entitlement, bigotry, misogyny, religious intolerance, and smug superiority. Too many of our monuments and heroes are glorifying war – and our nation has enjoyed far too few years when we were not in arms. There are the false notions of the self made man and rugged individualism, neither of which are valid or supportable, both of which cause us to lack empathy and fracture community.
For this week, I ask that we meditate on our sacred kings and egregores. What would we like to have as our egregores? Who are our rightful sacred kings? This is a time when we need to decide what is the soul of our nation and where we need to go from where we are today.