The elemental descriptions of our cosmos that we lived with for tens of thousands of years still hold true in profound ways. In turning away from them as we have, first towards religion and then to our sciences (whose twisted limbs grew from that ancient body), we have lost the key to balance ourselves and our culture.
Recently I’ve been contemplating the alchemic understanding of the three realms and how these very clear perceptions have become warped or misunderstood over time. While the Greeks seemed to have had a clear understanding and were in many cases the first to document these understandings, I believe the taint of imbalance really began at least a few hundred years before Christ, before Greece was Greece. In any case, not Christ himself, but the Christians turned the most intricate and profound understandings that had been passed down for maybe a hundred thousand years into political propaganda.
But this wasn’t the first time someone else’s mythic stories were twisted to gain power over them. We’d mastered the art of colonization thousands of years before. During the climatic optimum eight to ten thousand years ago, what is know as the Aryan race came down from the steppes of Russia into the already inhabited lands of Mongolia and China where the art of conquest was refined. We learned that there’s no point in just wiping people out. Who will work the fields and mills? And in time if there are survivors, they will come for revenge. Better to have them become one of your kind and have them working for your God and agenda.
In this prehistoric migration the Aryan race picked up the thread of colonization and continued to move south into vastly different cultural areas, changing and evolving over time into many different ‘races’. Aryan blood flowed into India (forming the ‘upper caste’, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, as well as Central and Northern Europe whose people the ‘Aryan’ race is most associated with. The old teachings of conquest traveled with the blood. Eventually, the knowledge fell straight into the hands of the Romans, a people founded on war and warriors. From them, these modes of conquest were further refined and have moved unceasingly around the rest of the world. They were picked up by European nation states one after another starting in earnest in the 1600s. They in their turn heavily colonized North and South America, Australia, India and Africa to name a few. And the colonial disease continues still, on many levels, even in our most so called ‘humane’ and ‘democratic’ cultures. At Standing Rock in the US, and the Wet’suwet’en territory in Canada indigenous culture is still systemically being trampled.
So that’s a brief history of colonization. And this is how it’s done. First, disarm the people. Not just of weapons but more importantly of leadership. If need be, kill off all the Elders and leaders of the native tradition who won’t convert to your core beliefs and ways. Second, if possible move the people off their land so they lose their traditional means of subsistence. In the double speak of the World Trade Organization they sell this now as “transmigration” which is considered a good marker for a country’s GNP. Why? Because they’re pulling indigenous people who’d previously been independent into the market economy. If the Native people can’t be moved, then obliterate the ecology from which they derive their sustenance and in which their Gods and Goddesses live. Cut down the forests or jungles, mine and log, pollute or dam the rivers and lakes so there are no trees and few animals left to give the survivors life. Third, replace the leaders with indoctrinated people and those from your own culture, so as to convert the ‘heathens’ from within. Build them schools and churches, railways and roads all in the name of ‘progress’. Progress is a word just big enough to hide the word ‘conquest’ behind it. Then cleverly use the conquered people’s own symbols, but skew them towards social control. Tweak the mythic stories so they support the new regime and edit out those tellings that are unchangeable.
Just in case you think you’ve just been on the one end of this, think again. This is exactly what was done to those of us from the ‘first world’ long ago, with the Biblical stories which stand at the foundation of western culture. The new and old testament of the Bible are kinda like “volume one and two” of western culture’s “greatest hits” gleaned over the period of a few millennia. But like all “greatest hits”, the people choosing the works had their own agenda and intentions, which are reflected in the final product as much as the original message itself. The Gospels that contradicted or were seen to erode the monolithic edifice of Roman Christianity, such as those found in “the Dead Sea scrolls” were eliminated. The Dead Sea scroll teachings frequently speak of reincarnation. A topic that was clearly far too important and central to the basic Cosmology of early Christians to be accidentally left out. Other stories, like “the fall” are montages made up from other more ancient pieces, kinda like music sampling but more nefarious. The Tree with golden fruit “in the garden story”, as well as the snake itself were pre-Judaic symbols for the Goddess, from which we were warned to stay away, no wonder! Others, like Job that could be tweaked were cleverly amended by throwing on a paragraph or two at the end to give it a different spin. I imagine there was a good deal also left out about Mary and Mary Magdalene in order to further decrease the importance and role of women in the new Hebraic church. The three fold Goddess was replaced by a holy male trinity.
You might well be asking why would someone go through all this trouble to shift people spiritually? And why am I talking about it? Well the fact of the matter is if you have a deep and residing understanding of the Earth and cosmos you’ll be very difficult to control. Because temporal realities will not precede over the spiritual and eternal world. This has been proved out historically by indigenous people of many nations. Many of these original peoples couldn’t be turned into slaves because they preferred to die. They preferred to die because they had a different, more encompassing mythic view of death. No stories of infernal underworlds where you’d be sent forever, if you (unavoidably) sinned. Their myths by contrast seem to see life as a river of stories each seamlessly flowing into the next, filled with a pantheon of Gods and Goddesses, much resembling those of our ancient pre-Judaic past.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg that’s blinding us to our reality and enabling the destruction of the natural world. The largest body of Biblical writings seems to be about demonizing two of the three realms. And these Christian understandings are so foundational to our perception of reality they still taint even the most staunch atheist.
In reality there are destructive forces residing in all three realms, as are there creative forces. But let’s back up a bit, I’m jumping ahead. Alchemy is the ‘shamanism’ of civilizations, which dates back at least 6 thousand years as far as ancient China, the Nile Valley and the Indus Valley in India. Alchemy likely even predates these so-called first civilizations. In any case, the whole point in developing an Alchemic understanding is balance. When balance is found, what is base becomes gold. Becomes holy again. When we feed all those hungry beings who reside in the three realms, they stop eating us. Their hunger stops making our life miserable and full of self loathing, sickness and war. Here’s the whole deal, and I don’t expect you’ll understand it all right off but just try looking through this ancient lens at reality for a bit and you will come to be convinced.
It’s funny that the only images and mostly what comes up when you look for middle Earth is related to J. R. Tolkien. But what people don’t realize is what Tolkien created was not purely fiction. Tolkien was not only a master story teller but a master historian and his stories took place within the context of our ancient ‘mythic’ history”, which is part of the reason they have such deep resonance.
We are surface dwellers. We used to call it Middle Earth. We live in the space where two magical realms meet. The one we all kinda know about from the Biblical descriptions of Heavenly realms and before that by the Alchemic designation of the Etherial realm. From Christianity, this realm is mostly associated with light and love and all that ‘good’ stuff. But the other place from which this creation we live in is born, and which like heavenly realms also exists beyond our surface realm, is the underworld. And for this place and those who reside there we seem to have some great misunderstandings and misgivings. Having explored both the ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ realms and middle Earth for five decades or so, without the bias of Christianity, I can tell you they are both holy and eternal dimensions. And they reside not just outside ourselves as the sky and ground but also inside ourselves. This understanding is completely in line with all the ancient shamanic and religious beliefs we shared long before monotheistic Gods and science.
We have been led to believe that the place where these two realms meet, middle earth where we live, is not divine or eternal. But how can two holy’s make something unholy. And how can something that always is (each moment) be anything less than eternal, for it has no beginning or end. In fact when we look closer we see that all the movement and sound around us are just how things appear. In reality everything is shining with divinity and is upon closer examination filled with stillness and space, with eternity. Middle Earth is like where a cold current meets the warm sea, there is untold richness but also constant fluctuation and surface changes.
So we come from holy eternity on both ends. These are our true parents. And the whole trick of life is to take care of our parents that bore us and took care of us. In doing so we balance and feed these forces of creation. Amazingly, these Gods are not unknown in our time but have just been demoted and renamed. They are the same archetypal forces Jungian psychology speaks of. They are the same holy and eternal beings the ancients knew well; that guide every aspect of our personal and collective reality. And by honouring them, and surrendering to them, reality is revealed.
But we were all led down the garden path, and out of this holy place of understanding thousands of years ago. And the lie that led us on is that it was eating the apple of consciousness which got us kicked out. That it was Eve and the Snake, who somehow are at fault for the fall of ‘mankind’. But not surprisingly, nothing could be further from the truth. It was Eve and the Snake that saved mankind, by co-creating agriculture and things like the apple tree so central to the Garden story. Before this story we knew the truth of the Goddess for tens of thousands of years and “worshiped” Her and the Snake, who is indeed a wise and wily messenger from the underworld, but not evil!
What got us kicked out was not our agricultural leap; otherwise known as taking the forbidden fruit. It was the perception that the snake and Eve were evil. That’s where it all went wrong. When Yahweh comes back into the garden and casts his judgement. While seen as ‘Etherial’, which we now imagine is always pure and filled with light, Yahweh’s voice betrays his “chosen one’s” feelings of inferiority. Who were clearly threatened in the face of the Goddess and underworld presence and the happy fulfilled state of his subjects. Adam and Eve were not corrupted but simply growing up, becoming self conscious and independent. Yahweh in this story is what Jungians might call the ‘shadow father’ in all his controlling, selfish and unforgiving glory. Notice the story doesn’t say after eating the Apple they felt corrupted or that the tree itself was evil. We gained self-consciousness, yes, but that was not the moment of the downfall.
And seriously, do this God’s actions and words of jealously, anger and resentment reflect the positive traits of forgiveness and love that Christ spoke of? No, because they are not of the same God as they’ve been made out to be. These are the doings of a much older pre-Christian God that was wrestling to take power from an even older Goddess. Like a petulant teenager this God says, “I never want to see you here again and I curse you.”. And this is the guy who we imagine is in charge, who runs the whole show? I don’t think so. And history backs me up. Back in his early days he was just one of many Gods. He was separated out from the pre-judaic pantheon by the male priests trying to create a new order in which men ruled. He was selected for his paternal qualities, to oppose the Goddess. He was chosen for his innate authority that could evoke an instinctual obedience to the father.
And while this may all sound simple and maybe even not too unfamiliar, the amazing truth is it has taken two thousand or so years for someone to be able to say these things and not get burned at the stake or get their heads cut off (i hope). I know its happened to me before, probably a few times, so I’m scared even now when I write these blasphemes.
Anyway, back to the three realms. What is being asked of us, begged for, is not for us to just stay in the light and worship etherial beings. What is being asked is for us to descend, to embrace and feed the Goddesses and Gods of the underworld. Why would we do that? Because we’re going to give them their due either way, it’s part of our payment for being here and being alive. If we don’t make our offerings willingly we will have them taken from us through divisive thinking and the war and suffering that comes of it.
The more we hold ourselves up and feed the etherial realm of light, the more we become imbalanced and call the darkness into this middle world. It might seem strange but the darkness is here to create balance. And just to be clear, by turning to the shadow realm, by journeying to feed the Gods and Goddesses of the underworld, I’m not talking about some Hollywood “turn to the dark side Luke” or obeying some demonic being from hell. That’s all twisted Christian fallout. As are our Hollywood ideals of love and magic, whose God’s we are also blind to.
What I’m talking about when I say we are being asked to “go down” is that there is clearly a great deal of hellish turmoil that is being released here in Middle Earth, and its also clear that our Etherial Gods are unable to help. So like the shaman of our collective past, whose job it was to protect and guide the clan, we must look inside ourselves and move into underworld for guidance. We will not solve our ethical or environmental problems through political correctness or by creating more rules and laws in Middle Earth. We will solve it as the shamans of the past did by descending to address and feed those of the underworld in their own realm before they manifest as monstrous actions within humans here in Middle Earth. By giving that realm attention not only can we help with our social and environmental climate here but we can ultimately resolve the discord within ourselves.
As a final note, as I read this over, it sounds like I’m saying cultures that knew these things all lived in the past, and of course this is not true. While western culture lost these understandings around the time of Plato and when the political powers that be shifted to Athens, there are many living cultures on many continents right now with this understanding. For first Nations people such as the Inuit, they understood that descending to ‘comb Sedna’s hair (the dark sea Goddess of Creation) was essential for the function of the culture. And in the far East, traditional forms of Hinduism and Buddhism for example, also honour the dark feminine (Kali) as being an essential part of creation and make offerings to Her for balance here in Middle Earth.
I’m focusing on the historic route of the ancient arian culture, because I’m aiming at the centre of my own colonial ancestry. And in doing so I’m piercing the corrupt heart of the so called “first world”. And trying to show how this degenerative degrading mess of consumer culture that we seem trapped in didn’t just happen, and is not a conspiracy. Its been a long devolution of sorts that brought us to this place of separation from the Earth, separation from our ancestors and separation from all the wisdom of past ages, which is our lost cultural legacy. So much so that even now when we don’t even have to get up to access the holy writings of anywhere, anytime in our history, we still don’t get it. With all our collective studies we still can’t see the reality in front of us or how foolishly selfish we’re acting because our superior attitude and lack of actual self worth prevents us from receiving the truth.
I’d like to end this on a higher ‘positive’ note but of course there we go again. Reality doesn’t start or end on a high note. The high note comes in the middle.
“While the Gods and Goddesses are now out of sight,
Everywhere we see echo’s of their eternity.
We are just down the valley from their glorious rise and set.
May we bask now in the remnants of Sun’s heat
while taking comfort that we are nestled
In the bosom of the Earth as the night settles in.”