Soul of a Nation
We discussed in a previous post how many of the individuals revered by people of our country were not worthy of such reverence, and what qualities would merit such respect. We also discussed the process of meditating on changing our national group mind to more closely reflect the values our country claims to be founded on. I would like to expound on that in the next several paragraphs. But before I do, I should apologize that I missed my posting last week. The events of the week were beyond astounding, and may reflect the beginnings of a change in our national consciousness. Our true sacred kings may indeed be putting their fingers on the scales. And now for this week’s letter.
Our country purports to be founded on three fundamental principles: equality, liberty, and the rule of law. These three principles are intertwined, and not one can be realized without the other two. It is impossible to conceive of a country operating under rule of law when people are not equal under the law. It is impossible to imagine liberty as long as some are subservient to others. And so on. These principles are interdependent and cannot be separated.
There are different schools of thought where sacred kings are concerned. First, the term “sacred king” can apply to either men or women. Some schools believe that the persons have to have died or been killed as a “sacrifice” in the performance of their sacred acts. Others believe that the persons need not have died a sacrificial death, that they may have instead lived a sacrificial life. Others still do not believe that the persons need to have died. I reject the last definition, as that person is still working out his or her sacrifice and making it worthy. In every case, it is not required that the sacred kings live a perfect life, for there would be non. It is that the lives they lived did not violate the principles in question, in this case, equality, liberty and the rule of law.
If we choose to go by the first definition, there are some potential sacred kings who have given their lives for the principles of this country. Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Joe Hill, and Emmett Till come to mind. There are certainly others who could qualify, but their names and deeds have been lost to our collective memory. These are people who bravely marched forward, knowing the danger, enduring the difficulties, and ended up killed by those opposed to these ideals.
I also like going by the second definition in addition to the first. I believe that it is as hard, and probably harder, to lay down a lifetime of service to the betterment of one’s people and collective consciousness. In the arena of equality, I look at John Lewis, Elijah Cummings, Dorothy Day, Frances Perkins, and many, many others. I include Dorothy Day and Frances Perkins here because equality implies that even when incomes are not the same, all humans deserve a certain dignity, including shelter and food (and today I would add health care). In the area of liberty, I include the freedom to work at a job that pays a living wage. I look at Harriet Tubman for the actual freedom, and Caesar Chavez for the dignity of work, and many others. I am sure Delores Huerta will be added to these luminaries upon her passing.In the arena of rule of law, I salute John Marshall, Thurgood Marshall, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In fact, they all overlap, because, as I said before, they are all intertwined and cannot be separated. We see how they overlap when we look at what happens when one is attacked. They all begin to crumble. When equal access to the polls collapsed, when the wealthy were given better opportunity to promote their agenda through unlimited financial contributions that ordinary people cannot make, and large corporations were classified as persons with all attendant rights, when the rights of women were denied, we saw the rights of working people for a safe work environment, a comfortable retirement and living wage also crumble. Many of these things are in clear sight today. The fabric of the society is badly frayed. This is why we need sacred kings who gave their lives, either in sacrificial death or sacrificial life, as examples to meditate on.
My request for this week is that we take fifteen minutes a day to think on appropriate sacred kings. I imagine them gathering around a large round table in the capital rotunda. I visualize them talking about our country, what it has become, where it is going, what needs to be done. I listen to what they say. In my mind, I ask them to impress on the minds of my fellow countrymen what changes need to be made in our collective mind. I ask them to impress on the minds of my fellow countrymen what thoughts we should think to enhance the values we claim to hold. In my last post, I wrote how the meditation should take place. Please feel free to comment here on the thoughts your meditations bring to your minds.
To prepare this meditation, I contemplate how to invite archetypes to the round table. As mentioned earlier, I am not comfortable with including the founding fathers. They wrote and spoke such high sounding words that should certainly be admired. Their speeches and letters about liberty, equality, and the rule of law were inspiring. However, their actions did not line up with their words. While Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry both spoke of the evils of the institution of slavery, they were not sufficiently offended by that institution to free their own slaves. And George Washington was sufficiently comfortable with the notion of ownership of human beings that he made his set of dentures from the teeth of his slaves. These are not people who we can turn to in fashioning a new nation based on the values they preached.
To determine the values that should form our group mind and group soul, I look to Abraham Lincoln as well as our founding documents. From them I find that as a nation our soul is built on equality, liberty, and the rule of law. “Our fathers brought forth onto this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Here is where the contradiction with our founding fathers lies: there can be no liberty without the rule of law. And there can be no true rule of law without equality. For as soon as inequality is introduced, application of the law becomes erratic and capricious. When the law becomes capricious, there is no liberty, for those under the law are subjected to the whims of those who apply the law. This has been the experience of women and people of color since the founding of this country. This is the source of the divide today.
Almost all of our founding fathers were men with a sense of entitlement. They felt entitled to take land that belonged to others, and to force on those who had owned the land their own cultural norms. They felt entitled to own women as chattel. They felt entitled to own other human beings and treat them as livestock. While there are certain things human beings are entitled to – food, shelter, the ability to earn a living, the ability to access health care – no man is entitled to the aforementioned. The entitlement of taking land, owning humans and treating them as livestock became the basis of the original sins that have plagued our nation for its entire existence – greed, bigotry and misogyny. This disqualifies them from the round table (I except Samuel Adams, and most likely John Adams, as I see no indication that they shared in these entitlements.)
So first I look for suitable egregores. The first one I find is the statue of liberty, who we call Lady Liberty. We look at the poem on her base:
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
This is a call to liberty, to equality, and to rule of law. Lady Liberty is the first egregore I am calling forth. On this I will meditate over the coming week. As I do so, I will also meditate on inviting the appropriate sacred kings and archetypes to unite our national group soul.
So how is this meditation to occur? I draw heavily from the process of Dion Fortune, but it needs to be modified for our own time and group. She describes seven stages in a fifteen minute meditation.
Stage 1: The meditator is to sit in a quiet room, with the current message in hand and in mind. She asks her meditator to face London, obviously I am asking to face Washington DC. Breathe deeply, with no strain, sitting in a balanced posture.
Stage 2: Begin to think about the work of the week. Think only of the spiritual aspects, let go of the practical for now. Avoid distractions.
Stage 3: Place in your mind a visual representation of the work for the week. This week, for example, would be the Statue of Liberty. In weeks to come, it will include such sacred kings as Abraham Lincoln, John Lewis, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Martin Luther King, and so on. Visualize until you feel the representation, and are able to listen to it. Do this for a very short time, only a few minutes.
Stage 4: Dedicate your work and yourself to the All-good, in the service of the One life, relying on the Cosmic Law to adapt your energy to healing.
Stage 5: Think of yourself as a part of the Group-soul the nation; your life a part of its life, and its life the basis of yours. Invoking the Name of your God or higher power, open your mind as a channel for the work of the Masters of Wisdom.
Stage 6: Return to your visualization of the topic of the week, and meditate on it.
Stage 7: At the end, say, “It is finished.” See in your mind curtains drawn in front of your visualization, meeting in the middle. Rise from your seat, stamp your foot firmly on the ground and return to normal. Do not think of this again until you return the next day.
It is important to leave thoughts of the work after the meditation. One of the goals of the energies tearing apart our nation is to create fear and mental chaos in our national Group mind and Group soul. We must not allow that to happen in us. Try to do your meditation at the same time every day, to develop a habit energy about it. Please let us know how things progress and insights you have.
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.
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.