Wednesday, August 2, 2017

INSANE IS THE NEW NORMAL: POST FORTY

Tiger Lilies at Tamarack Creek





     Last year, as I was driving to Tamarack Creek, I was appalled by the number of dead pine trees in the Shaver Lake area. Weakened by drought and finished off by the bark beetle, dead trees towered around the lake like a skeleton army too stubborn to collapse into the humus. When I reached the Tamarack Creek area, which, at over 7,000 feet, is over 1,500 feet higher in elevation than Shaver Lake, I found very few affected trees, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I thought that the trees at the creek might survive the beetle bloom, at least a few more years. 
     This year, I returned to Tamarack Creek, and I experienced one of the saddest sights my poor eyes have ever witnessed. Half of the trees were dead or dying. I wandered through the meadows, taking pictures of what might be some of the last tiger lilies and columbine and larkspur and shooting stars: With all the dead trees, a conflagration could reduce even the healthy trees to blackened stumps. If an unusually hot blaze ravaged the forest, most of the flowers in the meadows would no longer thrive because they would no longer have the shade they needed. The high Sierra habitat, after supporting the same species for ages, could soon be changed, changed utterly. 


     According to Maddie Oatman, “A healthy tree can usually beat back invading beetles by deploying chemical defenses and flooding them out with sticky resin. But just as dehydration makes humans weaker, heat and drought impede a tree’s ability to fight back—less water means less resin.” According to scientists, this eruption of bark beetles is about ten times the size of past insect outbreaks—perhaps the largest beetle bloom ever recorded. A mere doubling of bark beetles would be catastrophic, but ten times the number of voracious beetles, spreading like wildfire through the forest, seems more like a sign of the end times, an Armageddon of our own making. 
     Millions of trees are dying across the continent due to climate change, 102 million in California so far, with over 36 million dead since last May alone. Current climate projections suggest we are headed toward a future in which beetle blooms do not subside and continue to spread through new habitats. The warming trend is devastating marine life as well: Globally over 70 percent of the coral reefs have been exposed to high temperatures that cause bleaching. Already, 50 percent of the coral in the world’s oceans, which over half a billion people rely on for survival, have died in recent few years due to a nearly one-and-a-half degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature. According to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975 and thermometers continue to rise. As the trees and coral die, we are witnessing the fragility of the world’s ecosystems: An increase of only 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit is causing devastation on a scale never before witnessed. 



     If, as 97 percent of the world’s climate scientists have concluded, humans are causing the problem, then the White House’s current policies on global warming reflect the lunacy of a Republican Party in the grips of corporate elites. When Trump dove into the swamp to gather his corporate gang of millionaires and billionaires, one name bubbled to the top: Rex Tillerson. According to Naomi Klein in No is Not Enough (p. 67), “Exxon did its own cutting-edge empirical climate research, taking CO2 samples off of its oil tankers and building state of the art climate models that predicted the coming changes.” Exxon’s senior scientists concluded that humanity was influencing the global climate through the burning of fossil fuels. James Black, one senior scientist, even claimed that humanity had a window of five to ten years before “hard decisions about changes in energy strategies might become critical.” As Klein points out, “That was in 1978.” 
     President Trump named Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, as his secretary of state. Tillerson had joined Exxon USA long after the facts about climate change had become known to the company. And, even though aware of the facts, ExxonMobil spent over $30 million on a PR campaign that spread doubt in the press about the credibility of climate science. Now, the White House is full of climate change deniers: Besides gutting the EPAs budget, relaxing enforcement of illegal pollution, and rolling back pollution standards, the White House has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement and has removed the climate change page from the EPAs website. 


     As I gazed at the stands of dead trees, I shuddered in anger at the utter lack of social responsibility displayed by Exxon and Tillerson and Trump and the Republican Party. It’s not just a lack of responsibility: Their heartlessness reveals an institutionalized sociopathic mindset that places the whole world at risk for the short-term profits of a few corporations. Besides sacrificing forests and coral reefs, they are, quite simply, endangering humanity and the world’s ecosystems to protect and bolster the corporate bottom-line. 
     The beetle bloom and the die-off of coral have come as a surprise to most people. Just as it is impossible to determine the scale of devastation or exactly how ecosystems will be affected by global warming, no one can predict how countries will be affected politically, socially, and economically. But one thing is sure: There will be upheaval. Even the Pentagon has issued a report revealing how climate change is a threat to national security. The question is how governments, including our own, will handle the disruption of society, and, according to Klein, if past is prologue, the US will take advantage of whatever shocks occur to undermine civil liberties even more than it did with the passage of the Patriot Act after 9/11. 
     Democracy is always a few steps away from fascism because of the influence of money in politics. Whether or not Mussolini himself said it, fascism should actually be called corporatism because it is the merging of state and corporate power. We have only barely avoided the melding of corporations and the state up to now because of the system of checks and balances within our three branches of government, but now one party—the party of the corporate elite—controls all three branches. Klein claims that the Trump’s election victory was really a corporate coup, which explains the Republican Party’s moral spinelessness in kowtowing to a dangerous, lying megalomaniac: All of Trump’s buffoonery, which the mainstream media rehashes ad nauseam, is simply a distraction as the Republican Party, on behalf of the corporations that control it, edges the country closer to fascism—and the world closer to disaster. Perhaps, as Klein predicts, the corporate monarchs and their political lackeys are only waiting for another shock like 9/11, large enough to establish a state of emergency, undermine civil liberties and impose harsh authoritarian measures. The US could quickly become a totalitarian state like Russia, with corrupt oligarchs in charge of the government and people too afraid to speak out. Global warming alone could cause one or more of the shocks they are waiting for: The Pentagon and Rex Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil and our current Secretary of State, know only too well that that those shocks are coming. 



     But it is not over yet. Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, believes that we currently have the technology to quickly and affordably move to clean, renewable energy systems to replace fossil fuels. On Bill Nye Saves the World, Episode 1, available on Netflix, Dr. Jacobson claims that by using energy from sun, wind, and water, we can eliminate 80 percent of global warming emissions by 2030 to avoid an increase in the world’s temperature by 1.5 Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). And by 2050 the world could be running completely—100 percent—on clean, renewable energy sources. Since we are already experiencing massive disruptions of ecosystems with an increase of only 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit, we obviously need to act immediately because even if we start now, we could still see twice as much of an increase to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the government currently lacks the political will to accomplish this goal because the Republican Party controls all three branches of government. 
     Naomi Klein in her new book, No is Not Enough (pp 246-247), claims that we can afford to save ourselves while making 100 percent renewable energy a reality by: 

  • Ending fossil fuel subsidies (worth about $775 billion dollars worldwide). 
  • Getting a fairer share of the financial sector’s massive earnings by imposing a transaction tax (which could raise $650 billion globally). 
  • Increasing royalties on fossil fuel production. 
  • Raising income taxes on corporations and the world’s wealthiest people. (A one percent tax on billionaires could raise $45 billion alone.) 
  • Imposing a progressive carbon tax (which would raise $450 billion annually). 
  • Making a 25 percent cut to military spending of the top ten military spenders worldwide (which would free up $325 billion). 
  • Shutting down tax havens (which could potentially be the greatest source of revenue of all). 

     I know how hard it is to change—for even educated, progressive people—because I have been the victim of denial as well as a denier for most of my life. If circumstances don’t appear out of the ordinary, if people don’t see massive die-offs of trees or coral or fear for their lives, then most people, myself included, tend to avoid dealing with the problem. For instance, I know a scientist who recognizes the seriousness of climate change and is working to find a solution. He came over to my house by chance while I was eating one evening. I mentioned that I have an extremely limited diet, and he sneered, “Oh, yeah, you have a ‘condition.’ Isn’t that a chicken pot pie you’re eating?” I showed him that I was eating brown rice, chicken, and spinach mixed together. Even though gluten triggers atrial fibrillation and serious digestive issues in my body, my scientist friend had great difficulty believing that anything was wrong with me. The vast majority of people I have known over the years have acted the same way: full of disbelief, not sympathy or understanding. 


     But I also know how difficult it has been for me to accept reality and make beneficial changes: I confess that several times I could only internalize the need to change after I was practically on my death bed. I believe the world has reached a similar point of do or die: Any more denial or inaction is totally irresponsible and could lead to unimaginable catastrophes, now, in the near future, and for future generations. 
     After witnessing a massive die-off of trees in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, I’m not sure that I can ever go back to Tamarack Creek. I know one thing for sure: I cannot just limit my efforts to the spiritual level. There is a desperate need to affect beneficial change on many levels, environmental, political, social, and economic if we want to keep the fabric of the world’s social systems and ecosystems from unravelling. Most of these problems, I believe, are spiritual problems stemming from fear and greed, from willful ignorance, and from lack of sympathy and understanding, but as citizens of the planet, we need to do what we can now: We need to act decisively when the times call for action. If nothing else, vote for candidates in 2018 and 2020 who sincerely desire to address global warming. If we wait much longer, we will be edging to the brink of disaster. 















Tuesday, June 27, 2017

INSANE IS THE NEW NORMAL: POST THIRTY-NINE

Camas Lilies and Shooting Stars



    Once, when my family was fishing in the North Fork of the Kings River, I experienced an overwhelming desire to search a large, flat stone on the other side. I risked my life leaping across the river from one rock to another, and I didn’t even know what I was looking for. Alone on the other side, I suddenly heard a male voice claim that I was searching for something Native American. Confused, I had a short conversation with a disembodied voice that intimated that I would search in the future for the remains of Native American cultures. I was eleven at the time. Nobody I knew then would have used the term “Native American.” The term I had always heard was “Indian.” I had no clue then that Native Americans had lived for thousands of years along that river and all over the rest of North and South America. Over four decades later, I discovered several Native American village sites several hundred yards from where we had fished that day in 1971.


Pounding Stone by the North Fork of the Kings River

     That was not the first time along the Kings River that I had heard a disembodied voice predict the future. The predictions came true, as if the future is predetermined, and we each have a destiny. My destiny for several decades was to wander beyond modern cities along the trails of an ancient civilization that was nearly wiped out in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The last Native American encampments in the hills reportedly occurred in 1917, about forty years before I was born. In my thirties and forties, while I wandered through the hills, finding one Native American village site after another, I also encountered stunning arrays of wildflowers, ecosystems where all creatures are connected, and sublime mountain peaks—another order of existence that revealed to me over and over the majesty and harmony and tranquility of nature and the cosmos. I began to commune with the subtle energies of nature that every culture throughout recorded history has personified as Gods and Goddesses and Angels. I escaped the mind-forged chains of a left-brained society and even became left-handed after I mentally purified my aura.


Pink Fairy Lanterns and Fiesta Flowers
     There are moments when you realize that you are fulfilling a destiny. Recently I had a vision during a ritual that reveals why I have experienced toxic overload, chronic illness, difficult relationships, and other forms of misery and insanity, why, in other words, I have ended up attracting so many subtle, negative energies. In order to survive, I have had to learn how to eliminate them through mental purification. During my recent vision, I realized that I can extend that knowledge by using a form of mental purification associated with Tiphareth, the Christ center on the Tree of Life, to help cleanse the collective consciousness of humanity to some small degree. 
     When I was growing up, I experienced an overload of toxic chemicals on several occasions. For instance, when I was a boy I drank from a hose that my father had just used for spraying a pesticide on the lawn. Another time, I have no idea what I ingested, but after a normal day, I went completely out of my mind after I went to bed. I hallucinated that my arms and legs were twisting into impossible positions until I finally blacked out. Then I sleepwalked into the family room, turned on the TV full blast and screamed that I couldn’t stand it anymore, even though, at that point in my childhood, I was not at all “troubled.” My worst exposure occurred after I fell in love with art and started painting with acrylics in a small, poorly ventilated bedroom. The paints were so potent that in the eighth grade I was sent to the office because a teacher suspected that I was under the influence of drugs. (I was totally drug free.) After a while, I started having headaches that were so severe that I passed out in the front yard and on public easements in the neighborhood. A doctor realized that the fumes from the acrylic paints were causing the problem. Unfortunately, by then I felt weak, spaced out and sick most of the time. I also started displaying symptoms of celiac disease and had reactions to dairy, eggs, and corn as well. Because many of the foods I ingested were toxic to my system, I became deeply depressed. Soon after I turned seventeen, my father died, and I was devastated by grief. When I became a father at the age of nineteen, I was chronically ill, severely depressed, debilitated by unexpressed grief, and weakened by an overload of toxic chemicals. I was destined to be a magnet for subtle negative energies, not just for a few years, but for decades.


Pounding Stone with Pestles, Kings River Watershed

     I finally came face to face with the black energies within my aura in my early forties after I started meditating. In my mind’s eye, I could see them clearly in my chakras and different parts of my body. I discovered I could eliminate the negative energies through a process of mental purification, which resulted in regeneration on the emotional, mental and spiritual levels. I still, of course, continue to struggle with celiac disease, which forces me to eliminate negative energies periodically. Due to this continued need for mental purification, I have become quite good at it. More importantly, during my recent vision, I realized I could take the process to another level.
     All Gods are one God, and all Goddesses are one Goddess, and there is only one true initiator: I have discovered that a Goddess or a God can show itself to you in unexpected ways that reveal spiritual principle. For instance, I began a recent ritual by invoking the Egyptian Goddess Isis (who has nothing to do with the terrorist organization ISIS, short for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). After the ritual, I was left a bit disoriented because the energy was so powerful that it seemed intended to change me fundamentally, not just to heal me. So, the next day, I again invoked Isis: When I asked how I could serve Her for the highest good, the Goddess unexpectedly appeared to me in a vision as the Virgin Mary and gestured toward an inferno raging nearby. Startled because I never would have expected Her to show me a holocaust, I thought at first that She was revealing the end of the world. I imagined a nuclear war, but I did not see a mushroom cloud, just an intense fire in a huge pit in a neighborhood reduced to rubble. I thought it might be hell, but that didn’t make sense because in the ritual the day before Her energy had bolstered me, so why would She be leading me toward destruction?
     In my mind, I moved toward the inferno, and I felt strangely compelled to leap into the fiery pit. As I did so, my flesh was lacerated by the flames, but instead of burning up completely, I found myself nailed to a Calvary Cross, an unfolded cube of space and time saturated by black human energies of hatred and bigotry and cruelty. Suddenly I rose on the cross above the flames and found myself suspended above the sun. Black energy, like a cloud, floated toward me, and, as it neared, I could see numerous snarling, bestial faces inside of it. Then the cloud penetrated me, and in my mind’s eye, I could see blackness spreading throughout my aura. After the blackness engulfed me, the cross and I plunged into the sun, burning up completely. I remained a point of light for a while and suddenly found myself on the ground again near the inferno. The neighborhood was no longer totally in ruins: A few buildings were now standing near trees that swayed a little in the wind, but the pit of fire and many blackened ruins remained.


North Fork of the Kings River in Wet Year

     Some aspects of the vision were a little disconcerting, even for me. First of all, Isis, an Egyptian Goddess, came to me in the form of the Virgin Mary, wearing a red dress and a dark blue robe. On reflection, I remembered that in the Qabalah, both the celestial Isis and the Virgin Mary are associated with the Supernal Sephira on the Tree of Life known as Binah, the womb of creation. Binah, as a state of being above the Abyss on the Tree of Life, remains above manifested creation, which is one reason why the Goddess who is the Mother of Christ experiences immaculate conception. As the Mother of Christ, Mary also knows horrible suffering and the meaning of sacrifice. Isis, in other words, came to me as the Virgin Mary due to the Mysteries of Sacrifice, one of the spiritual experiences of Tiphareth (the Christ-center). The figure of Mary could more effectively emphasize the nature of my own individual sacrifice. During my vision, Isis, as the Virgin Mary, was gesturing toward the inferno as a way to suggest that I could serve Her by doing my part on the spiritual level to help cleanse the collective consciousness of humanity.
     I had an unexpected vision of the Virgin Mary a decade ago during a chakra toning exercise (described in a previous post). During that vision, I found myself in a light-blue robe strolling on a path in a monastic garden. I noticed a small statue in the distance and walked toward it, thinking that it might be Christ on the cross. I found a crucifix, which turned into a stone statue of the Virgin Mary, and I knelt down in adoration. The vision took me completely by surprise because I had never considered myself a Christian, either before or after my spiritual emergence, yet the vision suggested that I am inclined to honor elements of Christianity as well as the feminine aspect of creation, which has indeed come to the case. In my recent vision, as I was invoking Isis, I first envisioned a stone statue of the Virgin like the one in my previous vision a decade ago, but then the statue turned into the flesh and blood figure of Mary in a red dress and a dark blue robe, standing near the inferno.


Native American Village Site: Pounding Stone in the Background, House Pits in Sunlit Area at Left

     An aspect of the Mysteries of Sacrifice is the elimination of negative energies. As an act of regeneration, which Christians call redemption, the Christ takes on and eliminates the sin (or negative energy) of humanity. Even though the story of Jesus has always moved me, the Christian elements of the vision startled me because I have thought of myself more as a pagan Qabalist. Nevertheless, an individual can access the cosmic forces represented by the Tree of Life even if he doesn’t believe in any particular myth or religion: The subtle cosmic forces exist no matter what stories and belief systems human beings have created to explain them. When an individual contacts the energies of a Sephira such as Tiphareth, the powers communicate spiritual principle through association chains of abstract and mythical symbols that are deeply ingrained in the collective subconscious. Based on my experience, an individual who accesses the state of consciousness known as Tiphareth can experience the archetypal Mysteries of Sacrifice on the astral plane and help to eliminate negative energies from the collective consciousness of humanity.
     I scanned my aura the day after the ritual and realized that, even though the black cross and I had burned up in the sun during my vision, dark energies still enveloped me. So, I spent the next three days in meditation mentally purifying my aura on the etheric, astral, mental, and spiritual levels. When I was done, I suddenly had a picture in my mind of the neighborhood restored completely—the inferno was gone. I, however, had nearly made a huge mistake: I’d believed the day of the ritual that the dark energies were all consumed by the fire of the sun during my vision, which turned out to be symbolic. The dark energies were not symbolic, however, and they were not burned up by the sun. A person who cannot effectively scan the aura for the purpose of locating and eliminating impurities should never attempt to play a part in regenerating the collective consciousness of humanity during ritual. The real work of purification occurs during meditation when the ritual is over. Unknowingly leaving dark energies in the aura can quickly lead to destruction, even if the individual has the best of intentions. A degree of psychic ability, which in my case developed after a process of mental purification, is an absolute necessity in this type of spiritual work.


Wind Poppies and Chinese Purple Houses after Rough Fire

     For many hours immediately after the ritual, the vision of the inferno disturbed me deeply. I finally recognized that the inferno is not anything specific in the present, past, or future. Humanity has created holocausts all over the world, most notably in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In recent history, governments have killed millions through mechanized warfare. When attempting to understand the meaning of the inferno, I thought immediately of World War I and World War II, then the Korean War and Vietnam, and the “actions” in Central and South America, and then realized that, on top of all the other conflicts, the U.S. is currently bombing at least six countries, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, and Yemen (and Somalia as well in 2016.) At one point, to me the inferno seemed to be the aftermath of a bombing raid, and I felt horrified, but then I realized that the inferno could also represent subtle negative energies raging in any neighborhood or region. (Racially based hatred and resentment, for instance, has persisted for years in my neighborhood.)
      This vision echoed the theme of another recent vision that I experienced during ritual meditation, during which I forgave my adversaries one by one. I took a cross steeped with negative energies from each enemy into myself and then let each cross drop into the magma below the earth, where it burned up; then one by one my enemies were filled with light and a golden crown appeared on their heads, and a golden, equal-armed cross over their hearts, and a golden plate and chalice on a white tablecloth in front of each one of them. I had invoked the Goddess in that ritual as well, and She on one level was revealing over this series of visions that we need to see each other as magnificent, harmonious, and abundant spiritual beings, not as enemies in perpetual warfare, or the entire world could end up an inferno.
     Claiming that my destiny is to manifest Christ-like qualities might seem pathological: The average rational person might conclude that I have a messiah complex or delusions of grandeur. Some rational people, atheists and agnostics, reject all spiritual experience as incredible or pathological, and might dismiss this description of my spiritual experience, and religion in general, as an elaborate way to mess with people. Others might believe that physical or psychological manifestations of the spiritual life are merely the result of pathological obsessions. Take, for example, the stigmata. To them I reply: I was once exactly like you. Another group of people might consider what I am describing as a type of insane blasphemy, a pathological rejection of the Church. To them I reply: I consider myself a pagan Qabalist who honors elements of Christianity; I was, after all, invoking the Egyptian Goddess Isis. The vision was no doubt more startling to me than it would have been to a Christian.


Shooting Stars in a Meadow

     Jesus says in Mark 10:35-45, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." The whole premise of the Christian religion is that a man died taking on the negative energy of humanity, essentially as an act of regeneration, and soon after was resurrected, an event that symbolically suggests the birth of the higher self. Tiphareth, the Christ center, is the Sephira on the Tree of Life that represents the higher self. One of its magical symbols is a black crucifix in the center of the sun. In terms of the trinity, Tiphareth is "The Son." Kether, above Tiphareth on the Middle Pillar of the Tree, is the Crown of Creation, "The Father." Yesod, the Foundation, immediately below Tiphareth on the Middle Pillar, is "The Holy Ghost." Below Yesod, Malkuth, the Kingdom, completing the quaternary of manifestation, is "The Bride." The sacrifice of Jesus awakened knowledge of the higher self in the collective consciousness of humanity. And the Son, the higher self, through the Vision of Harmony, one of the spiritual experiences of Tiphareth, shows us the Father. 
     It is important to note that the Qabalah (or Kabbalah as it is more commonly known) predates Christianity. Traditional practitioners believe that its earliest origins predate other world religions. The Tree of Life continues to evolve in the modern Qabalah to include all spiritual traditions.
     Jesus emphasized often that he was the Son of Man; in fact, the phrase appears over a hundred times in the Hebrew Bible. And he most certainly was a man who knew the Qabalah. The end of the Lord's Prayer references three of the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life: Malkuth (the Kingdom), Geburah (the Power), and Gedulah, another name for Chesed (the Glory). If he knew anything about the Qabalah, he would have recognized that any son of man, or, in other words, any man or woman, can manifest the energies represented by the Tree of Life. Through the Mysteries of Sacrifice, Jesus brought the archetypal energies of Tiphareth, the Christ center, to manifest in the Kingdom, the physical world. This magical act, as I mentioned earlier, is the basis for the Christian religion. A modern Qabalist would say that his act of sacrifice and regeneration was so powerful because he fulfilled the archetypal role of the Savior by giving his own life in the process, thereby deeply affecting the collective consciousness of humanity, and we can see that this act still resonates with a large number of people, especially in the West. Jesus led by example, by making physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual sacrifices that ignited a movement based primarily of two Sephiroth on the Tree of Life: Tiphareth and Kether. His goal, in other words, was to awaken the higher self in order to clear a path for mystical union with God. Two thousand years later, it seems that a person who does not consider himself a Christian should, without criticism from Christians, be able to follow the example of Jesus by performing a similar sacrifice on the inner planes as a way of serving humanity.
     I should emphasize that I have no credentials. My knowledge is based almost entirely on personal experience and study. In fact, I was an atheist until my spiritual emergence fifteen years ago when my third-eye unexpectedly opened, and I realized that I had become engulfed for decades by dark, subtle energies due to chronic illness and despair. After I discovered how to get rid of the negativity, I experienced a totally unexpected sense of regeneration, and I had visions of symbols that led me to the glyph of the Tree of Life and revealed the basic structure of esoteric banishing and invoking rituals. I had a Jesus allergy, but I discovered during my spiritual emergence a healing force of harmonizing love associated with the Sephira of Beauty (Tiphareth) on the Tree of Life. I have since experienced the Vision of Harmony and the Mysteries of Sacrifice, the two spiritual experiences associated with Tiphareth, the Christ center. I am not a respected authority on anything. I have admitted many times that I have a serious physical illness that has resulted at times in great psychological distress. I am not rich or famous or powerful, but I suspect that only a nobody could have my destiny. The only claim I can make is that I continue to have spiritual experiences that resonate with the ancient Tree of Life, and that I continue to experience what I consider a miraculous sense of rebirth due to my spiritual practices.

     I may be foolish, but I’m imagining a core group of people, perhaps only a handful of dedicated, knowledgeable individuals, who have developed the ability to eliminate negative energies from the collective consciousness without themselves suffering any adverse effects. If those individuals work with the harmonizing energy of Tiphareth through the Mysteries of Sacrifice on the inner planes, there is no telling what sorts of positive effects might occur. Due to all of the holocausts and the explosions of cruelty, violence and hatred across the globe, the infernos continue to rage. I am convinced that, following the example of Jesus, people working together on the inner planes can deeply affect the consciousness of humanity, eliminating negativity and creating a type of morphic resonance that enables others to recognize the magnificence, harmony and abundance within each of us, as well as the unity of all of creation.
     Dion Fortune states that mystics eventually learn to work entirely on the inner planes. Before my spiritual emergence I never would have believed in the existence of inner planes or mind over matter, yet through mental purification I have opened up other dimensions and healed myself, more than once. (See previous posts.) I also now believe it is possible to heal humanity to some degree by eliminating negative energies from the collective consciousness, but since countless negative energies exist in human societies throughout the world, it is of course only possible for one individual to eliminate a small portion of the overall amount, but I believe even that little bit can make a difference. There is an old saying that if there is peace in the individual, there is peace in the home. If there is peace in the home, there is peace in the community. If there is peace in the community, there can be peace in the world.
     Today, during my ritual, I leaped into another inferno and discovered that I wasn’t in a city neighborhood: I was at the Native American village site next to the North Fork of the Kings River. At one point in California history, there was a great deal of brutality and rapaciousness, and a black cloud lingers in those areas where genocide took place. I spent the entire afternoon in meditation trying to eliminate the black energy that I took into my aura during the ritual, but some still remains. There is still much work to be done.














Thursday, June 15, 2017

INSANE IS THE NEW NORMAL: POST THIRTY-EIGHT

Fiesta Flowers, Wind Poppies, Chinese Purple Houses 
near Burned Trees




     The Rough Fire, which left nothing but charred earth and vegetation throughout a large region of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, halted on the east side of the narrow road above the North Fork of the Kings River. When I traveled to the Kings River a few days after fire crews had extinguished the inferno, the hillsides were so blackened that I couldn’t help but believe that fire had blotted out the entire region forever. The blaze had reduced the best part of my childhood to ashes: I had spent many happy hours by the river, fishing with my family, but that day much of the ecosystem of my memory was entirely blacked out. As I stepped out of my car to search for any sign of life, I felt like I was going to vomit due to the smoke that still hung in the air, so, discouraged, I drove home. I returned in spring, months later, and discovered that most of the oaks had miraculously survived, the hillsides glowing with wildflowers. Fire had regenerated the region, the earth bearing the most stunning profusion of flowers that I have ever witnessed there.

Ithuriel's Spears and Lupine after the Rough Fire

     When I began meditating in my early forties, I could see in my mind’s eye that Illness and betrayal and ruination over the years had blackened my aura, but I eventually released the negative energies in a process of mental purification, and a miracle occurred: I became a new man who recognized light in all things. My creativity blossomed through music and art and writing. I began to experience a spiritual dimension that I had never believed in before. My circumscribed personality vanished, and I identified more through my imagination with the soul of the earth and its countless manifestations. And now I know this in my core: Regeneration is possible on all levels of being—though it may be the hardest process a person ever experiences because it entails the death of an old self and the birth of a new one. Regeneration recurs in the evolution of the soul, allowing the soul to spiral higher and wider: When it occurs again, if my past is any indication, I will become even larger, more sympathetic, more imaginative, more creative than I was before. I will be even more in tune with the energies of the cosmos.

Lupine and Poppies after the Fire

     I had a dream recently in which I had climbed a flight of stairs, and when I reached the top, I turned around and encountered a double of myself directly behind me, dressed in black clothes with a dark blue sheen. I felt so terrified that I whipped around and pushed my double over the railing. When I peeked over the side, I didn’t see my double at the bottom, but I heard groaning and cries for help and realized that the sounds were coming out of my own mouth as I stood at the top of the stairs. Nobody came to help me, perhaps because my double below was invisible, and my cries became fainter and fainter. Just as I recognized that I was dying, I woke up. As I contemplated the dream, I understood that I had pushed my etheric double over the edge because I was too afraid to deal with the black energies that had accumulated in my aura from my disease and related personal woes. I couldn’t see my etheric double on the floor below because it had again become invisible to me: I had focused so much on climbing higher that I had ignored the health of my etheric body. It had only showed itself to me in the dream as a warning about the extent of my disease, but I was in so much denial that I panicked and pushed it away, which in the dream resulted in the destruction of my physical body as well, for the etheric body is the foundation of the physical body.

Wind Poppies after the Fire

     Recently I had become so busy with work and so fatigued by my disease that I had ignored my spiritual practices. I still performed the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram at night before retiring, but I was no longer meditating or performing my Tarot Pentagram Spread rituals; instead, I was taking a two hour nap every afternoon after work. As my dream suggested, I had allowed negative energies to swamp my etheric body, and I was suffering the consequences: I was again experiencing mild Afib without any discernable cause. I was feeling pain in my esophagus from inflammation, which worried me because inflammation from gluten can lead to gastrointestinal cancers of the esophagus and the small intestine. Inflammation caused by gluten also damages the villi, the small, finger-like extensions that line the small intestine. The villi flatten out and no longer effectively absorb nutrients. Eventually, other health problems associated with inflammation and poor nutrient absorption include iron and vitamin deficiencies, low bone mineral density, skin rashes, defects in the enamel of the teeth, chronic fatigue, joint pain, and depression, among other things. Unfortunately for me, the most miniscule amount of gluten in my system causes inflammation and makes my heart go haywire. I cannot allow any gluten in my diet whatsoever, but removing it entirely is damn near impossible because gluten is so pervasive, and I can’t examine each bit of food under a microscope.

Bird's Eye Gilia, Lupine, and Poppies after the Fire

     This summer I have begun to perform the Supreme Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram every day again for the purpose of invoking elemental energies to heal my etheric body. During the climax of the first ritual, I saw, in my mind’s eye, my etheric double behind me again, this time without the black clothes. As a body of light, it joined with my physical body. The next day I felt better, and the Afib had all but disappeared. During the next ritual, I had a clear vision of myself with a golden crown on my head and a golden, equal-armed cross over my heart. I was sitting in front of a table with a brilliant white tablecloth, on which rested a golden plate and chalice, a full moon floating above the tablecloth as if the edge of the table were the horizon. The vision was so powerful that I decided during the ritual that my mission is to show humanity the magnificence, harmony and abundance within each soul, but I soon had second thoughts after the ritual due to the sheer magnitude of the undertaking.
     The next day during the ritual, I invoked the Archangels of the Elements again and asked them to regenerate my etheric body with their elemental powers. I also asked what sacrifice I needed to make in order to serve them for the highest good. Again, I
Indian Pinks after Fire
envisioned the golden crown and equal-armed cross, the golden plate and chalice on the white tablecloth, with the full moon floating just above the edge of the table, but I also envisioned above me a brilliant white sun with a black Calvary Cross in its center. The Calvary Cross, on one level, is an unfolded cube of space and time, a symbol of sacrifice and regeneration, of crucifixion and redemption, of the death of the lower personality and the birth of the higher self. In my vision, the moon, always waxing and waning, represents the soul on which the Sun of Tiphareth, the Christ center, shines. During the ritual, in that deep state of meditation, my personality vanished: I was Everyman and Everywoman—in front of me a banquet of abundance, on my head a crown representing magnificence and in my heart the equal-armed cross of harmony.
     The next day during my ritual, I had the same vision of the golden symbols, the white tablecloth, the moon, and the sun with the black Calvary Cross. I asked Archangel Michael to reveal my sacrifice, and the black cross suddenly fell from the sun into my body. I intuited that I must take the blackness from people who had harmed me, or from those whom I had harmed, their negative energy in the form of a black cross entering my heart chakra. I envisioned a particularly problematic individual from my past and took the black cross containing all the negativity he felt for me into my heart, and then after a while I let it fall out of my aura, down into the magma below the earth, where it burned up. Then I intuited that I should fill that person with light. When I did so, suddenly a golden crown appeared on his head, a golden equal-armed cross over his heart, a golden plate and chalice on a white tablecloth before him. Then I imagined pink energy filling his aura, pink being the color on the Tree of Life corresponding to the highest spiritual love.  Then I envisioned another prickly individual, and I performed the same cleansing ritual in my mind. I recognized an important facet of regeneration: In order to cleanse myself completely, I needed to cleanse each person who harbored negativity for me as well, taking his or her blackness into myself as a sacrifice and then releasing it, an act that freed us both and revealed the magnificence, harmony and abundance in the human soul.

Wind Poppies, Chinese Purple Houses, Tarweed after Fire

     This vision occurred on an archetypal level, a level deeper than the personality, in the state of being represented on the Tree of Life as Yesod, the Foundation. Just above Malkuth, the physical universe, on the Tree of Life, Yesod is the Sephira of etheric energy and The Holy Ghost. During meditation, if you can go deeper than the personality and its personal subconscious content, you can encounter transpersonal symbols that reveal spiritual principle. These symbols can swing you above Yesod across a gulf to the Sephira of the Sun known as Tiphareth (Beauty), a sphere of harmony and healing and spiritual inebriation. On the Tree of Life, one symbol representing Tiphareth is a sun with a black Calvary Cross in the center. The Calvary Cross on one level represents the sacrifices needed to establish and maintain harmony within the self and the community and the world, but it also symbolizes death and regeneration, the death of the personality and the birth of the higher self. One spiritual experience assigned to Tiphareth is The Vision of Harmony, where you recognize that you are a thread in a vast tapestry of interwoven energy that includes all of life, including the earth and plants and animals and other people. The other spiritual experience assigned to Tiphareth is The Mysteries of Sacrifice, in which you recognize what is necessary to maintain harmony and regenerate the soul.

Lupine and Poppies after Fire

     I have experienced intense hatred for many people over the years, which, I realize now, has become a deeply ingrained spiritual problem responsible for at least some of the blackness in my aura. I could only become whole if I changed my hatred into love, recognizing that those people are magnificent spiritual beings who struggle in difficult situations, just like me. Unless they are psychic, of course, they will never realize that I forgave them and saw them as they are. However, it became clear to me that forgiveness on an archetypal level is a way beyond the negativity that plagues so many of our relationships. When I experienced it, I felt whole again as a spiritual being. I felt a sense of spiritual regeneration even though I remain physically frail, and I believed that they subconsciously felt less negativity and more light, since on the archetypal level we are all connected.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

INSANE IS THE NEW NORMAL: POST THIRTY-SEVEN

Pink Fairy Lanterns, Woodstars



     This spring, the Sycamore Creek woodlands in Watt’s Valley, in the words of one of my friends, seemed “filled with fairies.” In late April, flowers were burgeoning everywhere, Chinese purple houses, fiesta flowers, pink fairy lanterns, tarweed, wood stars, vetch, pretty face, and wind poppies weaving brilliant tapestries on the hillsides out of the elemental energies of the Earth. Every year, one or two flowers dominate: the spring of 2017, after above-normal rainfall, was the year of Ithuriel’s Spears, also known as Wally Baskets, their lavender umbels crowning the flowers below. Watt’s Valley, carved out by several creeks, is cooler than the surrounding hills where flowers quickly withered in the heat of early May:  Even in mid-May, I could feel elemental energies weaving through Watt’s Valley like a cool breeze that keeps the flowers fresh. We are fortunate in California because the Sierra Nevada Mountains still contain great, uninterrupted ecosystems imbued with the primal energies of creation.  In urban areas, one can starve for the elemental energies that permeate nature: The human soul, in the words of one adept, needs to be fed at all levels, including the etheric, astral, mental, and spiritual levels. If not fed by elemental energies, the soul starts to shrivel.

Wind Poppy, Fiesta Flowers

     I crave elemental energies because they heal my etheric body; over the years, celiac disease has severely damaged the subtle, foundational energies of my physical body. When I am in nature, the elemental energies permeate my aura, and I always feel healthier—occasionally I even feel normal for a time.  Because of my chronic illness, I am perhaps more sensitive to elemental energies in nature than most men and women of my generation. (If you don’t believe you have an aura, you might consider tying a thread to a paperclip and hanging it over one of the seven primary chakras; in a moment or two, the paperclip pendulum should begin to spin.) Elemental energies, like wind brushing the skin, alert me to the greater life around me and awaken the other subtle energies of the cosmos within me. Because of elemental energies I
Chinese Purple Houses
experience something beyond my puny personality, like at night when I am on my porch and suddenly notice the moon. When I experience elemental energies, I sense other dimensions of myself, which is perhaps the most revolutionary feeling I have ever experienced: I know that I have a soul and an eternal spirit. I know this in Watt’s Valley as I experience the grasses and flowers and trees because spiritual energies permeate nature as well. If only everyone could experience the sweetness of the forms of the elemental energies of the Earth! They would not allow the monarchs of capitalism to destroy any more ecosystems. They would fight tooth and nail to keep the ruling industries from destroying our home.
     The Latin word radix means “root.” The Latin word radicalis means “of or relating to a root.” I am a radical because I know the roots of the physical world are in the spiritual dimension. In an enlightened society, it would be shameful to harm the Earth or its subtle energies. Since, however, so many respectable people seem to feel no shame, I am occasionally rude and disrespectful to sell-outs and frauds and hypocrites in academia and industry (including the news industry) who uphold a system that benefits the financial autocrats despoiling our planet. The elemental energies of the Earth have radicalized me: I can’t stop fighting for the Earth, no matter the consequences, no matter what others might think of me. To honor the Earth I would get up in the face of the emperor of the world if he threatened to harm our home.


Ithuriel's Spears, Lupine, Red Clovers, Tarweed

     I found myself on a spiritual path because celiac disease wore down my digestive system to the point that I became terribly ill: I began meditating to heal myself and could see in my mind’s eye during a process of mental purification that subtle black parasites were attacking my etheric body. After I cleansed my aura, I felt much healthier and began to have visions of spiritual symbols. The negative energies that had accumulated during decades of illness, in other words, had been blocking the connection between my higher self and my earthly personality. Because of suffering, in other words, I was eventually able to see below the glamorous surfaces of a material society and recognize the subtle spiritual dimensions of the cosmos. So much of the spiritual work in this society is done by people who suffer from illness or cognitive dissonance or grief, but how could it be otherwise?
     Spiritual development depends on maintaining balance. One thing I did not know when I first started on my spiritual path: Spiritual energies are primal. The deeper, or if you prefer, the higher you go, the more archetypal the energies. These energies, according to Qabalists, first emanated from the great unmanifest into a state of primordial unity known as the Crown of creation (Kether). Over an evolution, the One became the Many through the emanations of the different Sephiroth, or subtle states of being, the physical eventually manifesting as the dense aspect of the spiritual in the material universe. The mystical glyph of the Tree of Life reveals that the spiritual and the physical are two poles of One creation, with one state not inherently better or worse than the other, all states being manifestations of the Source. Physical and elemental and etheric energies are not less holy than the highest heaven.


Ithuriel's Spears, Fiesta Flowers

     Primal spiritual energies below the three highest Sephiroth manifest in humans as instincts. If you stir the instincts through desire or even through spiritual practices, you may discover that you are manifesting their unbalanced aspects, what Qabalists call the “vices” of the subtle energies, until you can bring them into balance through the higher will of the central, harmonizing Sephira known as Beauty (Tiphareth), the Christ center. This is one reason that Christianity focuses almost exclusively on the Sephira of Tiphareth: If the higher self is not awakened within an individual, the vices of the energies of the other Sephiroth are more likely to take over the personality. Without the equilibrating force of harmonizing love, the spiritual seeker can slide into sorcery, focusing on self-aggrandizement, power, sexual satisfaction and other base instincts. Instincts, of course, help humans to survive in the physical world and are as holy as any other part of creation, but in society, I have experienced only too often how instincts can become unbalanced and degenerate into pernicious forms of narcissism.
     An individual often first becomes interested in spirituality through psychic experiences, which people in this materialistic society often find startling. (I certainly did.) In terms of the Qabalah, he or she raises consciousness above the material plane to the Sephira known as Yesod, The Foundation, the subtle state of being containing the etheric, background energies of creation. Within the human aura, these etheric energies manifest as the chakras. When I first began meditating and eliminating negative energies through mental purification, I began having visions relating to the chakras. In the magic mirror of Yesod, subtle spiritual forces are reflected in the human mind as spiritual symbols or personifications of unbalanced entities or energies, such as demons or monsters, or of balanced entities or energies, such as angels or gods.


Chinese Purple Houses, Ithuriel's Spears, Tarweed

     Yesod is a plane where subtle forces from the astral plane manifest as symbolic forms. One great difficulty in spiritual development is distinguishing the forms of the subtle energies from other planes from personal subconscious content. The subconscious mind in meditation as well as in sleep uses symbolic dream language to communicate messages. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine whether or not those messages are personal, from the individual personality, or transpersonal, from a higher plane, which is why the glyph of the Tree of Life is so important. One can compare one’s visions with the symbols on the Tree. After I had completed a process of mental purification, I kept having visions of golden symbols: a crown; a plate and chalice on a brilliant, white tablecloth; and a golden, equal-armed cross in a blue sky, with indistinct angels at each end. I finally figured out that my higher self was communicating symbols about the essential magnificence, abundance, and harmony of the human soul, a spiritual message that I desperately needed at that time in my life.


Chinese Purple Houses

     I should emphasize that before I began having visions, I had absolutely no idea that the Tree of Life or the esoteric orders that rely on it as a spiritual tool even existed, nor did I have a clue about how great an impact spiritual symbols can have on a person’s life. Over time, the significance of the golden, equal-armed cross with its angels at each end, a particularly persistent vision, has unfolded. I soon discovered that key rituals for banishing and invoking are based on the equal-armed cross, the indistinct angels at each end representing the Archangels who are rulers of the elemental energies: Raphael (Air of the Wise); Gabriel (Water of the Wise); Michael (Fire of the Wise); and Auriel (Earth of the Wise). Once I figured this out, I, of course, have regularly performed these rituals, and I have slowly recognized their usefulness: The banishing ritual effectively keeps unbalanced energies and entities away from me, and the invoking ritual imbues my aura with elemental energies that have helped to heal my severely damaged etheric body. I am not perfect, by any means, but spiritual symbols are not meant to help angels. They have helped me with basic survival through the healing of my body and soul, which has been of far greater importance to me up to now than traveling to some other spiritual plane. I doubt that I would have survived without them.
     Yesod is the sphere of the Holy Ghost, which is the feminine aspect of the trinity that complements the Bride in Malkuth, The Kingdom (the physical plane). In Yesod, human beings see the transpersonal symbols that reveal the abstract spiritual principles emanating from the higher planes, principles which can then be manifested in the physical plane. On the Tree of Life, the black, equal-armed cross represents The Kingdom. On the path of Gimel, which leads from the sphere of the Sun, the Christ-center, to the Crown of Creation, Kether, the equal-armed cross is white, suggesting unity and purity. I have always envisioned a golden, equal-armed cross, which is not revealed anywhere on the Tree of Life or the Tarot. Gold, which does not tarnish, suggests the incorruptibility of the spirit and is associated with the Sun and the Christ-center, Tiphareth. In terms of the Tree of Life, Yesod (The Foundation) shows us Tiphareth (Beauty) and Tiphareth shows us Kether (The Crown of Creation): The Holy Ghost shows us The Son, and The Son shows us The Father.


Ithuriel's Spears, Woodstars

     When I first began having visions of spiritual symbols, one night, just as I was falling asleep, I was shaken so hard that I thought all the cells in my body were going to fly apart. The shaking suddenly stopped. Then, just as I was about to fall asleep again, something nudged me hard in the ribs, four times. My door was locked. No one else was in the room with me. I thought at first that a demon was attacking me. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to distinguish between a devil and an angel. “Every angel is terrible,” states the great German poet, Rilke. In retrospect, I think it had to be an angel because spiritual symbols continue to shake me up and keep me spiritually awake in my darkest hours.
     I believe that what humanity needs now, in its darkest hours, more than a brilliant spiritual light that only blinds us, is the influence of Yesod and the Holy Ghost. We must heal ourselves spiritually, both body and soul, in order to manifest harmony in the family, the community, the nation, and the world. The body can never be healthy if the psyche is damaged, and the psyche can never be whole if the body is sick. Based on personal experience, I think the vast majority of us are ill to some degree, given all the pollution in the environment and the toxic mental atmosphere of modern society. Therefore, I believe that the Ritual of the Foundation is the first in the series that you should perform, and one that is most beneficial in times of trial and doubt.


Path 13, The Moon


THE RITUAL OF THE FOUNDATION


     Before beginning, review the basics of the Ritual Pentagram Spread. The four number cards associated with Yesod, the ninth Sephira on the Tree of Life, are the Nines.



Nine of Pentacles: Lord of Material Gain
Decan: Venus in 11 - 20 degrees of Virgo
Tree of Life Association: Moon in Yesod


Nine of Swords: Lord of Despair and Cruelty
Decan: Mars in 11 - 20 degrees of Gemini
Tree of Life Association: Moon in Yesod


Nine of Cups: Lord of Material Happiness
Decan: Jupiter in 11 - 20 degrees of Pisces
Tree of Life Association: Moon in Yesod


Nine of Wands: Lord of Great Strength
Decan: Moon in 11 - 20 degrees of Sagittarius
Tree of Life Association: Moon in Yesod


     The passive spiritual invoking pentagram should be employed because Yesod is a Sephira of the Moon and Water.
     In the Egyptian pantheon, the Gods associated with these cards are as follows:




The Nine of Pentacles

Venus: Hathor (The Empress)
Virgo: Atum (The Hermit)



The Nine of Swords

Mars: Horus (The Emperor)
Gemini: Isis and Osiris, the Merti (The Lovers)


The Nine of Cups

Jupiter: Amoun (Wheel of Fortune)
Pisces: Anubis, Khonsu (Pisces)


The Nine of Wands

The Moon: Nephthys, Khonsu (The Moon)
Sagittarius: Neith (Temperance)


     Always remember to perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram after each ritual (and at least once a day, if possible).