In one of the ancient belief systems I have read about there is a mandate for living one’s life: “Do no harm. Do good whenever possible. Do not disfigure your soul.” The first two sentences seem straightforward, although the more you ponder them the more difficult they become. But that last sentence is one of the most profound I have read. Do not disfigure your soul. What does that mean? What disfigures one’s soul?
As I was pondering the notion of disfiguring my soul, driftwood came to mind. The best driftwood is twisted and contorted and seems almost impossible. It is branches or a tree that was so buffeted by nature that it grew in bends and turns. It is beautiful because it is strange. It looks anguished. A healthy tree grows straight and reaches toward the sun. Driftwood, on the other hand, appears to reach for anything or nothing. It has grown crooked. It is this that I imagine when I think of a disfigured soul. Twisted and contorted.
How does a soul become disfigured? Right away I can think of several ways that are obvious. Habitual lying, violence to people and beasts who share our earth, greed, arrogance, spite, hatred, all can cause a soul to grow crooked. But there are other things. I remember when I was working with victims of domestic violence. Some said to me, “but I let him hit me and didn’t call the cops because I was turning the other cheek.” “I forgave him like you are supposed to.” I disagree with those notions. When you let someone hit you with no consequence, you let the other person think that is acceptable, and that he or she can do that without paying a price. The truth is, they do pay a price when they develop that attitude, in that it causes their soul to become crooked. And when you contribute to someone’s soul becoming crooked it bends your own soul. You owe it to those around you to insist they treat you properly in order that they do not get disfigured. It is like hitting a baseball. The ball may go sailing out of the park, but the batter feels the hit in his wrists and shoulders and back. You cannot impact another without being impacted yourself. And so, although these victims thought they were being righteous by tolerating the bad behavior, they were in fact harming themselves and the person committing the act. Just as a tree must stand in the face of heavy wind to keep from being disfigured, so we must actively stand up for ourselves in the face of disrespect or violence.
This brings us to the topic I have been pursuing over the couple of months – the national group soul. As an individual’s soul can be disfigured, so can a national soul be disfigured. It can become disfigured when the national psyche is inured to dishonesty or cruelty. It can be disfigured by division and hate or scorn or indifference. It is particularly important today, as the current occupant of the White House has pardoned someone for lying to congress, to our law enforcement, and to our nation. This is disfiguring. I think of the words of Dion Fortune: “Inoculation of the group mind can only take place when members of that group mind receive and act upon the ideas; aliens cannot inoculate it. It will be noted that Hitler has always undermined a country through its own citizens, not through German-born agents….” The current state of our divided country did not happen because of an election four years ago. The seeds of the division have been placed by certain of our own citizens over the past several decades. These citizens did research as to the best way to work their way into the thinking of unwitting people who were too busy living their lives to see what was happening. They used dog whistles and distorted common phrases in ways most would not notice. In the process they created racial and cultural tension and division. As long as we are divided this way, they can swoop in and scoop up the bounty of our country.
It is this division, this disfigurement of our national soul, that we must now step forward and counteract. This is why we look to discover appropriate and true sacred kings and egregores and engage them in our efforts. We need to work to straighten the national soul. Again, using the words of Dion Fortune, “It is our task, … recognising causation in the Unseen and end results only on the plane of matter, to formulate in our minds the plan and concept of the new order of things that is being brought to birth on the circuit of cosmic time. The process goes through three phases. First, as Leader, I have to obtain the realisations and teachings; then as a group we have to formulate them in meditation; finally, the individual members of the group have got to work them out in their own lives. Thus is the group mind of the race “inoculated” with the new concepts.” We do this by meditating and even mentally connecting with those who have fought this same battle before us. Now is a particularly important time to do this, as we are approaching the Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter coming December 21 of this year. The Great Conjunction is a time of great social change, and we have the opportunity to impact that change. As we go into our meditation, with the great souls seated with us at the round table, let us consider the society we wish to have. Let us ponder equality, liberty and the rule of law. Let us see us as a nation of equals, where all types of diversity add to the beauty and vibrancy of our country, where our differences are embraced, resulting in a great richness of spirit.
Again, I had a post I originally wanted to write, and was not able to do it. I continued reading and meditating, and this is the result.
I have a number of friends who feel almost as though we are being bombed verbally. Dion Fortune and her group of adepts were being bombed physically. While the bombs coming at us are not the type that rip the roofs off of buildings, the effect on the psyche is similar. In her letter of September 8, 1940, Ms Fortune wrote, “There is only one way to keep quiet and serene under bombardment – to be prepared to lay down your life for your country if necessary. Once that eventuality is accepted , one abrogates one’s civilian mentality, and the passivity and helplessness that go with it. Regard the warning wail of the siren as an ‘alert’ not as a ‘retreat’, unless specifically ordered to get out of the way. Carry on as near normal as you can without running undue risks.” I feel like this works for the kind of bombardment we are experiencing in the US today.
As I write this, we see that the current occupant of the White House has fired his defense secretary and we are awaiting his firing of the FBI director and the CIA director, replacing them with those more willing to do his bidding. We see him and his surrogates challenging the results of the election and insulting those doing the arduous and patriotic work of counting the ballots and ensuring that all votes are counted and counted fairly. We find him arguing against the findings of the independent press. These behaviors are not partisan issues, they are the antithesis of the founding of this country. We also observe him addressing the people with lies and misinformation. Perhaps the worst offense is the assault on truth.
What is it about the assault on truth that is so dangerous? Recall those three values: liberty, equality and the rule of law. None of them exist except in the acceptance and enforcement of the social contract. The foundation of the social contract is trust. The one requirement for trust is the ability to accept what we are hearing from one another is honest. Truth, then, is the fiber from which the social contract is weaved. If we cannot assume that what is being said is true, how can we evaluate testimony under oath? And if we cannot evaluate testimony, how can we be sure that the rule of law is being administered equally and fairly? How can we exercise our freedom if we cannot trust that our actions will not be arbitrarily interfered with by someone else with an agenda? Because it is only the social contract that allows us to go about our lives with the basic assumption that we will not be the victim of some random act of violence by some unknown individual. That assumption is based on the understanding that we have laws in this country that apply to all persons and will be enforced equally regardless of the economic or social standing of both the perpetrator and the victim. That enforcement is predicated on the presupposition that in a courtroom, there will be witnesses who will testify to the best of their ability the truth. This has not always been the practice in this country but it has been the ideal.
With truth under attack from the highest office in the country, it is easy to see how justice is also at risk. If truth no longer matters, what is to prevent those with greatest power to invent accusations against those they see as a threat, present it without proof as evidence of wrongdoing, and lock them up. In such a society, innocence is no defense against prosecution or persecution. In the early days of the Third Reich, Hitler dealt with opposition by simply arresting his opponents and making them disappear.
It is reasonable to ask how such an assault on truth could be occurring in this country? Ms Fortune makes an interesting observation. “It will be noted that Hitler has always undermined a country through its own citizens, not through German-born agents…” The same has happened here. Propaganda has been flowing into this country for three decades, using our own trusted officials to pass it in. It comes in the form of talking points that get repeated over and over until the population begins to believe it. They have used careful messaging to make it believable and shamed those who tried to show its falseness. Through careful messaging, there has been a concerted effort to divide us as a nation, one group against another. This division has now entered our national group soul and group mind. It is this we must undo, heal and repair.
So as I go into my meditations this week, I see our round table in the rotunda. I see the great souls who have gone before us and showed us what we could be. I hear the voice of John Lewis and Elijah Cummings beseeching us to find our better selves and usher in an era of true equality and liberty through the rule of law, underpinned by truth and righteousness. I think about all of us, rural, urban, and suburban. I see us all, wealthy and poor, coming to a common table and enjoying the fruits of the land. I imagine us speaking together of who we are, what we wish to be, and how do we get there. I ponder the words of Ms. Fortune: “The nations that have been subjugated were not beaten in the field, they fell to treachery and internal corruption; to lack of morale and lack of the will to victory. The key to their fall may be found in the words: “he who would save his life shall lose it, and he who will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” Those who prefer security to freedom have lost both.” May we once again turn away from lies and toward truth. May we once again reject corruption and embrace righteousness. May we be prepared to take the risk of reaching out to each other, and relish the freedom that brings.
Our nation is in crisis and we may not have a lot of time to save it. It isn’t merely that the leadership is lacking in the qualities of humanity necessary for a nation this powerful and large, although that is certainly the case.
The Trump campaign and presidency have shown to us and to the world the nature of much of the national psyche and national soul. I was appalled at the fact that a person like Donald Trump could get close enough in an election in the United States that he was able to steal the election and the White House. And while I oppose everything he does with every fiber of my being, I recognize that he is not the illness in our country, he is merely a symptom. If our country was well, he would not have gotten near the nomination of his party, much less our presidency. I honestly believed that the moral character and patriotism of those who are called to provide a check and balance would win out and he would not survive more than a few months in office. I was wrong. I also believed that the decency and patriotism of my fellow citizens would remove those who failed to provide checks and balances in the midterm election and the new congress would remove him. Again, I was wrong. It is obvious that Donald Trump is not the source of our demise, but a symptom and a means. And while people will remind me that Trump lost the popular vote, the fact is that he is still in office and as a people we have not removed him.
I began pondering what could be done in the face of this national illness,and how to influence the cure. I once studied metaphysics, and one of my favorite authors was Dion Fortune. As I was pondering what could be done (perhaps a better word is stewing), I came across a Dion Fortune work that I had never encountered before. I honestly believe it was meant for me to find it now. And I was led to at least try an experiment.
Ms. Fortune’s book is entitled The Magical Battle of Britain. It occurred in 1939, when Hitler was preparing to attack the UK. He never did, and reasons are given for him not attacking. But the fact is that he did not. One of the things that was happening at that time that we won’t read about in history books is a number of people who believe in various types of esoteric thinking were engaged with Ms. Fortune in a mind work on the inner planes to protect their country.
One of the things that they did was call upon the symbols of their national psyche. These are archetypes that shape the psyche of people in our culture, not actual beings. They called on the likes of Elizabeth Tudor and King Arthur and Bran and Manowyden and others. So I began to think of the symbols of our own national psyche. Immediately I believed I had a hint of what was a problem. However the symbols of national psyche work (there is much that happens in the mind that I do not understand), too many of our heroes are exactly the kind to foster the division we see today. I decided that I would try to put together a mental cast of heroes that would serve to unite and uplift rather than divide.
While George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were indeed at the forefront of forming this country, the fact is that they built slavery right into it. They also built right into it misogyny and a sense of entitlement. We can tip our hats to the fact that they were founders, but I am not sure they deserve the stature of sacred kings. I am absolutely certain that Jefferson Davis and Robert E Lee not only do not deserve the stature of sacred kings, but they do not deserve honor of any kind. And so on.
My cadre of heroes needs to embrace what I want our nation to be. That means inclusive. So I wanted to ensure I had representation from all parts of what needs to be our national culture. (I confess here to not knowing whether to include Native American. We have stolen so much from them, I don’t know whether we should appropriate their heroes too, or whether that merely adds to the insult.) I asked my hive mind for a number of names to reflect the diversity of the nation we live in. They responded brilliantly, and many of their suggestions are being used to develop my list. In the end, I hope to have an American Round Table of national heroes worthy of meditating on as I meditate on rebuilding the national culture.
I am not yet sure exactly how this works. One thing I know is that regardless of who wins the election, there will be years of work to do. I am going to do some essays here and add letters on the order of what Dion Fortune did during the war. And then see where it goes. I am thankful for everybody who contributed names for my round table of sacred kings.