Monday, February 28, 2011

Healing

I babysat for my seven-year-old niece, and my three-month-old nephew, Friday. It was my sister's first night out, since the birth of her son.

My niece is doing very well. As I lived with her the first three years of her life, she is as close as I have to a child of my own. She is a bit timid physically, in part because she lives in the city and doesn't have the freedom to roam, as I did growing up in rural environs. She is also fierce, and stands up for herself without hesitation. She was described by her teacher in her latest report as intelligent, giving, nurturing of the other students, attentive, and self-directing. "I don't have a single bad thing to say about her," said the teacher.

One of the most common words out of her mouth is Gayatri, which is the name of her best friend at school, and also the five headed Goddess of Hindu mythology, the Mother of the Vedas (the worlds oldest spiritual literature), sometimes the feminine form of the all pervading Brahman, sometimes the Mother of All. It is also the name of the most commonly repeated mantra in Hinduism,

Aum Bhur Bhuvah Swah
Tat Savitur Varanyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat

Which in most translations, loses the feminine from, reverting to the male pronoun He, not at all surprisingly in this hyper-masculinized world. Loosely,

We meditate upon the radiant Divine Light
That Sun of Spiritual Consciousness
The One whose noble thought
Energizes and directs our awakening

This gem of a little girl is the smartest in my niece's class (except maybe for my niece), a fine friend and model for my niece. Born in Guyana, it is a true wonder and blessing, for my niece and myself, that she attends this inner-city public school in America.

When I look at my nephew I see an old soul. From almost the moment he was born he has been striving to get somewhere. He is always striving after the light; but he can't get anywhere, his arms reaching, his legs kicking to no effect, until he works himself into a frustrated tizzy and starts wailing. He makes me think about the new energy that some say is infiltrating the heliosphere, and I wonder, holding him, if some of my energy is feeding his restlessness.

My niece has always been a good sleeper, from the moment she was born going to bed at about 9pm and sleeping until morning. Only once did she wake me up in the night, when I lived with her; and then because she was ill. Friday night I let her stay up late, and she went to bed of her own accord, at around 10:30. Her little brother did not.

I had arrived at about three. From three until 11pm, he slept about thirty minutes. At eleven, he was in his crib wailing. I let him wail, thinking, "This is why I do not have children." He did not want to eat, he did not need a diaper change, he did not want a pacifier, he did not seem to want to be held. At midnight I checked on him again, his wailing unabated.

I picked him up, the light in the room off but the light in the hallway shining bright. Against my chest, he continued to strive to the light. I kept whispering to him that all is well, to be at ease, but he heard nothing, so much was the pull he seemed to feel. I closed the door but for a crack, and held him to my chest in the back corner, my back to the door, swaying back and forth, humming. I held him there a long time, thinking about the feminine, as he gradually wound down, until he was limp, twitching. I held him there longer, and when I felt he was ready I set him in his crib. He opened his eyes and looked at me and then at the light, and closed them. Three more times he looked at me and then the light, until finally, he let go, sleeping the rest of the night without waking.

I have long been on a path of healing. Even so, the idea of healing another is an idea as foreign to me as any other language I don't know. The cards have been telling me I have an abundance of healing energy now, enough to share, but I have no idea what that means.

Spending time with these children, I begin to.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Followers

A short note for this, the 100th post, on this Friday here in Minnesota, where winter has re-asserted itself, with below zero windchills. Google tells me I now have 10 followers. I consider 10 a profound number, not least that I spent a long time with 3. I simply want to say, thank you to each of you for showing me your support. I am honored. And humbled. And I trust that you will, in all things, follow what you know to be true to yourself. If I lead at all I lead by example, never by fiat.

Blessings to you and yours,
William Hunter Duncan

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fool

Walking to the bank this morning, with my iPod, listening to my FrenchySpanishyPortugese playlist, lipsyncing, singing, dancing in the sun. I'm walking on the sidewalk, climbing the walls of packed snow at each corner, leaping pools of water. Far ahead of me are two figures walking proudly, firmly, side by side in the middle of the street. From this distance I can't tell if they are coming or going. Soon, it's apparent they are coming. These two mysterious, powerful figures I've been admiring...are two older ladies, of northern European origins, about 60. I step into the street too, the path to the sidewalk blocked by a puddle. I think to tell them how I thought them so powerful and mysterious, walking down the middle of the road. They see me coming and turn the corner, heading south.

There's a cold north wind, but it's that time of year when the north wind has begun to give way to the sun. A song comes on I recently found, Cambiare, Grupo Caribe, one I haven't listened to more than a few times, and never intently. Somehow, I'm lipsyncing almost perfectly in parts, and a feeling comes, like I already know the song somehow; if only I can stay out of the way. A broad smile illuminates me. I pause in the middle of the intersection and do a little dance. It has begun to occur to me that maybe I stand out. Most of the time, I try to be subtle about it.

Withdrawing $200 of my last thousand, remaining from my time at the Halloween store, it occurs to me, it might not just be my dancing that stands out. I'm washing regularly, though my washing machine isn't functioning. I tried to wash my clothes in the tub, but I'll clearly have to be more aggressive about that if I do it again. That was about a week ago...or was it two? I tend to wear the same clothes again and again. I don't have more than a few sets, and at the moment, no resources to add the kind of clothes I'd like to wear.

It's a beautiful day, and I decide to walk to Coldwater spring. I haven't been there in a long time, since last fall. The road in hasn't been plowed, at least not since last week's twelve inches, though a few vehicles have passed. Near the spring is a small Japanese sedan, with no occupant. Footsteps lead away from the car behind a building. As I'm speculating, a man and a dog, who I saw when I entered the park, are walking down the path behind me. The man is in his Mid-forties, maybe close to fifty, with a short, unkempt, graying beard. He's looking humiliated, but he's trying to maintain his composure. "I'm stuck. I figured there was a turn-around. Got to that point up there and started wondering, but I just gunned it." There is a turn-around, sort of, I tell him. But its really a loop, and you have to go beyond and around that big building up there, and they've got the path chained off for some reason anyway. Not that he would have made it, with his little car.

"I thought this was a tar drive, that it'd be plowed."

"Well, it is only America's newest National Park." I don't add that I'm fine with it the way it is, because this is as wild as it's likely to be for a long time. "I notice no one has broken the snow between here and the Spring."

"Yeah, I noticed that too."

"And I thought this place was sacred." Though I immediately remind myself that I haven't been here, to treat it as a sacred place, for quite a long time.

"Yeah," he says, though he's not so sure, the way he says it. I ask him where he's coming from. "Here in Minneapolis." He tells me he's gone "hiking" here a few times, that he was sure there was a turn-around, still sheepish about being stuck. I forget how city some people are.

"Yeah, what a bummer." I hope the tow-truck doesn't get stuck. That's a possiblity. I tell him, "At least enjoy the weather. It's a beautiful day," before I follow the only tracks I can find leading to the spring, made by a pair of deer. He says good bye, though he isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and I'm not really either.

These tracks don't lead to the spring, they lead to the middle of the pool below the spring. Then I realize, the tracks lead to a limestone half-circle, an old wall in the middle of the pool, at an irregular height above the water, but never more than a few inches, and not more than eighteen inches wide, forty feet from end to end. I laugh. Alright, if that's the path the deer chose.

There are fifty mallards in the pool, and about forty take off before I've stepped onto the limestone. I stop while the other ten watch me, and try to let them know I'm no danger; they take off for elsewhere, their instincts more powerful than my message.

Half-way across the limestone half-circle, it occurs to me, it would be a real bummer if I fell in. This water is cold - this is Coldwater spring, and it is still February. I probably wouldn't die but the beloved iPod my friend Chad gave me would. No point in turning around. The sun shines down as I look up and smile. Reaching the other side I grasp a two-inch, pipe railing, to help haul myself onto the flat above the pool, and the whole 15x3 ft L nearly topples into the water, me along with it. I laugh as I crawl up the bank on all fours.

Inside the four-square well where the spring emerges, I take several handfuls of water in. People have been here recently, showing their respect; there are relatively fresh flower petals in the water. Standing up, looking out the south-east facing arch, over the pool, the sun shining on the water, through the arch onto my face, I sing and sway softly to Esta Melodia, Marisa Monte, and the whole Earth around me comes alive. The song ends and I climb out, happy that the only footsteps to the spring appear to be coming out of it. Will anyone notice?

The man's dog steps tentatively through the deep snow, in my direction. An ugly mutt, with short, tight blonde curls in an irregular pattern. I put my hand lower than his muzzle, and he lets me scratch behind his ear as he leans toward me, perpendicular to me. I put my left hand on his back and he looks over his back at me and growls, as if to say, "don't think I won't bite you." Got it, and don't worry, I'm no harm. I scratch a while longer and then stop. He shakes his head, and bounds joyously through the snow.

The man is still feeling stupid. "Don't worry about it," I say. "Life isn't any fun if we don't take chances." Right, he says. I tell him if he really wants to take a risk, follow the deer, telling him about the path the deer chose. He seems to be listening, but it doesn't seem to be sinking in. He has no questions for me, still stuck as he is on the idea of a turn-around. I shrug my shoulders, and offer him blessings. "Sometimes, you have to take a risk. It doesn't have to make sense." But he's an old dog, and I'm not sure he can hear me.

Half-way up the hill, it occurs to me, we could try together to get him out of this. I look back, wondering if I should turn back. He's wandering up the path, under the big willow. From this distance, he looks younger, and I realize, of all the places to be stuck on your day off, it doesn't get much better around here than this, particularly when you're stuck. Who knows, maybe he'll take a risk and follow the deer. I imagine him meeting the tow truck driver, soaking wet. You think you're humiliated now? I laugh, and continue on my way, only then realizing I'm listening to Ha Dias, Luca Mundaca, a song I'll soon be dancing to in front of an audience, with my pine swords. I do another little dance, and sing, laughing at myself that I could be such a fool. In the mythical sense, of course.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Point

I said there were two things I would elaborate on. The first, an elaboration for my friend Keith on my feeling about corporations, yesterday. This is the second.

A feeling comes over me sometimes when I feel very tired of being alive, followed shortly by a sense of desolation and the idea, or rather lack of ideas, that there is any point to my existence. Most often this comes when I'm engaged in the act of remodeling a conventional house in a conventional manner. I was in the remodeling business for several years, during the heady days of the credit and housing bubble. I worked alone, I lived alone, I drank too much and I didn't have any sense of purpose. Those were dark days for me, when I could feel little but rage and despair. Knowing I had to do something different, I set myself on a path of healing, not having any sense what that would mean. That was about four and a half years ago.

What happens is, when I fall back into that dark place, I find myself in a position where someone else has made a decision that is costing me time, or I make a mistake that costs me time or someone else time. When I encounter the former, I think how the thing, whatever it is, could have been done differently, and better, if only the person had thought it through, or thought about something other than themselves. It's not very charitable. The idea and the lack of charitability feeds my frustration about our self-serving culture, and that's about the time I make a mistake, or recognize I've made a mistake, and the next thing I know, I can't see any reason to live, I grow very tired, and I want to die.

There is nothing very attractive or charitable about any of it. It's quite ugly, hideously so when I'm alone. I hide it somewhat when others are around, but the essence of it remains. Curiously, when I talk to others, the feeling dissipates. If the conversation is enjoyable, the feeling evaporates. Alone again, if I haven't addressed the feeling in any meaningful way, it returns. Almost always, whatever I was working on that triggered the feeling, it turns out just fine. People make mistakes. I make mistakes. Eventually, I find my compassion and I move on.

It's far deeper than issues with remodeling, which is only a trigger. Deeper, it has to do with a lingering internal confrontation with my evangelical upbringing, and anger I have for the way in which so many Christians and Muslims participate in the corruption of the world, corruption which has nothing to do with God, and everything to do with the very human pursuit of totalitarian terrestrial power. On the other hand, there are the sky gods who control the Market, who act as if the Earth exists only that we might plunder. And the billions or so who act, in smaller ways, like our model sky gods. Then I get to feeling like there is no purpose, that humanity and the Earth will suffer another thousand years, or ten thousand years of tyranny, or, that our insatiability is leading us to imminent collapse, with all the expected wailing and cursing and gnashing of teeth. If either is the case, what exactly is the point of living?

Four and a half years ago it was often, and eventually always like this for me. It's comparatively rare now. Now I know about quantum physics, that there are dimensions other than the ones we percieve, that life might very well be the rule wherever matter comes together. Indeed, we are living in extraordianary times, becoming increasingly aware of the Universe and our place in it, with the sense, somehow, that everything we know is coming to an end, in some mysterious way. Everywhere I sense it, the quickening, as if time itself is increasing speed.

I awoke after my time with Keith and his family, with a dull sense of dread (which has everything to do with my internal struggles, and nothing with my good friend Keith and his beautiful family). I pulled cards, and they showed me in greater detail where I know myself to be. I went for a walk, and blogged, and danced, and found some great new music (new to me, anyway. Like most everything that's making me feel new and alive these days, its been around for awhile.) Today I wrote the second draft of two more chapters of a second book. I danced. I sang. I danced some more. I'm blogging now. Indeed I feel energized, as if there's a new energy in the heliosphere. And indeed, all the planets suggest there is. The sun, I expect, will soon give us all a greater sense of its power, energized as it is by that new energy, at the peak of its sun spot cycle. I'm imagining now the center of the galaxy on the other side of that sun, and my whole being seems to come alive with wonder.

It seems like a great time to take an immense risk. I am, all over the place, and the cards are telling me that in some way, there are decisions being made on some level of existence that I'm not fully aware of, and everything is fine. Wonderful even. I forget. It gets to feeling a little unstable, uncertain, when I contemplate these new realities with my old self. But more often, I feel an immense gratitude, and joy, that I'm awakening to my place in the Universe. That I will continue to awaken as long as I am alive, with the increasing awareness that there is a great deal more than this life. With an increasing will to explore it. With an increasing certainty that we are all in the midst of a Great Awakening.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Corp.

The day after darts, I'm inclined to expand on two points: the corporation, and the feeling that comes over me sometimes, that I am tired of living and there is no point to my existence. One today and perhaps the other tomorrow. I'll start with the corporation.

As I said yesterday, or rather, very early this morning, the corporation is a co-operation between many, because many together are stronger than any one alone. The pre-eminent co-operation practiced today is a most extreme hierarchy, with those at the peak of that hierarchy gaining more than most to an extreme degree. All within this modern co-operation gaining more than most. Which is a kind of tyranny.

The highest court in our land has long declared the corporation to be a person. This ostensibly has been to simplify contracts between parties, such that all who benefit directly from a corporation are not required to participate directly in the contract. More to the point, the corporation becomes a shield protecting investors, employees, executives from any legal action against the corporation. This leads directly to a disconnection between the actions of the "person" that is the corporation, and the people who benefit from those actions. Whatever action taken by the corporation is acceptable then, as long as it is both profitable and within existing law. The "person" that is a corporation is fundamentally amoral, with far more resources than any one individual, with which it influences the law to facilitate the amoral pursuit of wealth generation, often to the degradation of the Earth, often to the great benefit of a few at the expense of the many.

The modern corporation is a vehicle of insatiability. It exists according to a philosophy of eternal growth, on a finite planet, without regard for any resource but that which can be transformed into wealth, no matter the kind nor the amount of waste generated in that pursuit. It generally refuses to account for any of that waste except that which can generate profit. It cannot conceive of any action but that which generates wealth, and of that only the kind of wealth that can be accumulated infinitely, by those who drive the vehicle.

Corporations too can accept only that government that facilitates the kind of order that allows the corporation to pursue wealth insatiably. It does not matter to the corporation what kind of government. All the better, the kind of government that controls the supply of information. Anything but democracy, which almost always places checks on the power of corporate "persons". The best government is that which appears to be democratic, but which in fact is a vehicle of the corporation.

The "person" that is a corporation becomes a shill for men who seek immense terrestrial power, who establish and maintain a social hierarchy, who exploit both human and natural capital, to aggrandize themselves beyond anything thus far conceived. Such men would have us believe that their actions are a great benefit to humanity, but there are about four billion more poor people than there were when the first corporation was formed, most of those without any recognizable hope to improve their state, who will only add to that number. And the whole of the Earth is suffering.

All wealth is of the whole. The modern corporation is largely a means to acquire an ever greater portion of that wealth without end or limit. It does not have to be. Because it is not so much the corporation that is the problem, as the extreme hierarchy so often established and facilitated by it. A hierarchy that cannot ever be anything but exploitative. In theory, government exists to check the grosser aspects of that exploitation. It does not do that well, and cannot. Ultimately then, every human must place checks on oneself, lest one become indifferent to that exploitation, and enrich oneself at the expense of the many. There is no exploitation that is not violent; just as there is no coercion that is not violent. I am equally as bound not to coerce you as you are not to exploit me.

People will always come together, to combine their strengths, to more readily achieve their individual and cumulative ends. That is the way of community. It is only eternal vigilance by all that will prevent that from becoming tyranny.

Darts

I spent the day at my friend Keith's, with his strong wife and companion, and their clear calling son. I was there to help with household chores, the kind of chores every household requires, the kind of chores few homeowners have the time or confidence or tools or experience to do themselves. A paid job, though by the end of the day I didn't feel much like accepting any money, as I spent much of the day in a fowl mood, and I burnt up much of our collective day on a back and forth about a damn shower door, a door I misjudged, and installed, and uninstalled, that Keith and his family had to return on a Saturday evening, and I forgot to add the damn directions. As I whined about a bathroom light/fan, uninstall/install, and got a sharp object in my eye for a good twenty minutes, tough even then I whined about how no one seems to care about how their actions effect anyone else, and I'm tired of being alive ,and I don't see how my being alive has any fucking point at all.

At midnight, Keith payed me everything we agreed on; and despite my attitude, much more than we originally talked about had gotten done.

We went to Prairie Pub for drinks and darts after. I took the first three games, though Keith showed a bit of fire and I drifted back into a dark place. We ended up tied 4-4. In the ninth game, the bartender took my beer and I focused again: 5-4, in my favor. On the way home we wandered around St. Paul as Keith grilled me on my anger against corporations. He calls my arguments contrived; I argued as I always do with him, weakly against a thing I'm not really against, a thing I'm only suspicious of because of the power that's gained in numbers, and the myriad ways that power leads with violence.

He found my house. I unloaded the bike he gave me, assuring him I had a fun time, as I always do with Keith. Inside, I prowled around the house, imagining undoing every thing, tearing it all down, being done with it. A curious jupitorious geminiouness, foretold in the cards. My right side tense, full of pain and restriction, my left at ease, weaker but more flexible. I collapsed in the corner, tears in my eyes, raging.

A corporation is a co-operation between many, because many are stronger than any one alone. In this age, the pre-eminent co-operation is between those who practice the most extreme hierarchy, with those at the peak of that hierarchy gaining the most, to an extreme degree. All within the modern co-operation gaining more than most. Which is a kind of tyranny. All wealth is of the whole. What are we to do with our portion?

And there, as always, my conundrum, my refusal to force anyone to do anything, with whatever portion they feel themselves entitled to.

It's now five am, and my fury is waning. I've been going to bed early lately. This is what comes of my participation in the world. It is not always this furious.

Must focus. LOL.

Sleep. Dream.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Language

When I was about eight, our teacher, Mr Rudolph, gave us a list of Christmas songs (really, I didn't make up that pun). We could chose two songs and take home a cassette copy of each, to practice. We were to return to class on a specific day, and perform the song before the class. The kids chosen the best performers for each song, would go on to perform before parents and teachers at the Christmas pageant. I was chosen the best...Bing Crosby.

Shane N. was chosen best Elvis. But that didn't mean I quit practicing. On the day of the pageant, Shane didn't show up for school. His mom called him in sick. I still have a VHS copy, somewhere, of myself, in one of my dad's cardigan sweaters, my hair slicked back, probably with crisco, lip-syncing to Bing Crosby's White Christmas. And me again, in an adult-sized, brown leather jacket, and sunglasses, lip-syncing to Elvis's Blue Christmas.

One of the things that has always stood in the way of me learning another language is stage fright. I was always too embarrassed to practice in front of other people, my mind going blank. I also used the very common American excuse, that I have no need for another language. Which of course only assures that when I do need it I don't have it. As I aged, I figured that, like a dog, I couldn't learn anything new, especially not a thing so complicated as a language.

Then a large batch of exceptional music from around the world came to me through a friend. I found myself dancing to this music, but also, without really thinking about it, lip-syncing. Suddenly, I found myself singing songs in languages I don't know how to speak, in some cases not even knowing what the language is. It wasn't until recently, when I sung Musica, by the artist Nawal, to a Kenyan woman, that she informed me, she thought, I was singing Swahili. Honestly, I still don't know for sure that it is. I do know I can sing the song, acapella, beginning to end.

There is a vast gulf between singing a song in Swahili and speaking competently with another in Swahili. It's a start, though, a strong foundation really, if I decide to learn Swahili. Which got me thinking again about Spanish, and for reasons of my own, Brazilian Portuguese and French.

I've recently compiled forty songs, in these three languages, and I listen to those songs daily. Already, after only two weeks, I'm lip-syncing several of the songs most of the way through, some energetically, some so much that I'm starting to sing. My ears are tuning themselves to the subtleties of each language. My mouth is learning to form the words. It comes easier if I get out of the way. It doesn't matter that I don't know what the words mean. The intellect will follow the mouth and the ear, I reason.

Spanish is the priority, as it's the most widely spoken language in the western hemisphere besides English, and I have a direct reason, my niece, who is bi-lingual but struggling with her Spanish. Unfortunately, I've always had trouble distinguishing individual words in spoken Spanish. Now, my ear can grasp the delivery, which is progress. I know what a few words mean. I can read Spanish out loud, sort of, even if I don't really know what I'm saying. The Barrons program I use, designed in the eighties for the US Foreign Service, is great if I want to speak in a condescending manner. I don't, but it's still a fine exercise. My next step is to find a book on tape in Spanish, and the book in Spanish, to follow along.

Brazilian Portuguese is currently the most fun, as the music is the most joyous and the words are more comprehensible. French is, well, a challenge. I can see how it might be fun, though, someday.

Of course, I know, if I really want to learn these languages, I will have to go live among people who speak them. That is my intention.

Time is a problem in the immediate, however, as this time next month I'll be out of money, about the same time I perform at Patrick's Cabaret. A job doesn't bode well for the learning of three languages and the writing of a second book. Hopefully, I'll be done with the second draft by then.

What could I do with 99 weeks of unemployment compensation? Too bad, I never qualified.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines Day

On a recent day, I had the privilege of attending a talk led by Malidoma Some, a ritual shaman of the Dagara people of western Africa, who happens to hold PHDs from the Sorbonne in Paris, and Brandeis here in the states. A powerful, articulate man speaking deep truths about healing. Our "five sensical" reality is not all there is, he says, and crisis is mainly the divide between ones gift and ones notion of self, socially prescribed. It is the beginning of initiation, which leads to struggle, which leads to a greater understanding of who one is. Crisis is calling us to a new type of attention. There's no manual for this type of healing. It can only be found by trusting ones own counsel. The craziest and most reckless are often the most evolved, the most orderly the least. There is no separation between you and the divine.

Afterward, I attended a pre-school fundraiser at the UofM football practice field-house, with my friend Chad and his family, and about 300 kids under the age of ten. Talk about mayhem. It was great. Total chaos, rubber bouncy balls and children of various sizes flying everywhere. After the race we all ran, that some punk kid won, I got cornered by a micro-economist with a crazy look in his eye. All I did was tell him economists have a bad rep, and asked if he had a more holistic view of things than his contemporaries. He said no, and took it as an invitation to talk about auctions and collusion and game theory, until I stopped him, telling him his (four-year-old) son stole the football Chad and I were playing with. Well trained, he said.

Drinks with Chad after. He's as good a friend as I have, though he's skeptical of me. I want him to approve, like my father. Both take a dim view of the writing of books, at least as it pertains to me. Both are eminently successful financially, both have families, I am by comparison a lunatic vagrant on the verge of homelessness. "So how's that plan to sail to Brazil... oh yeah, and learn Spanish and French and Brazilian Portuguese. You got a business plan for those books?" He thinks I'm on vacation.

"I figure if I keep writing outrageous things, and doing outrageous things with my life, the books will sell themselves." Right. You better get a job. "There is a method to my madness, you know," and I explain the 40 songs I've found, in all three languages, that I listen to daily. Training my mouth to form the words. Lip syncing. Uh uh.

Chad is brilliant in ways I am not. I took an IQ test once that revealed I have a relatively high spatial intelligence. Chad is like a demigod by comparison. His Revomazes make my head ache (fourth in the world, second in the states solving the silver, he's anticipating the gold). He solves eight sided Rubiks cubes. He makes me think, I may not be worthy of the knowledge that built the Great Pyramid, that I may only be a messenger.

I've found a certain affinity for Brazilian Portuguese. It fits my mouth better, like the African languages I've listened to. It's easier for my mouth than Spanish or French, and all that trilling. Especially the French. It's no wonder, speaking this language, the French gave us both Romanticism and Existentialism; equal parts sexy and verbal torture. There's definite progress with each language, though I also have considerable difficulty with the delivery of Spanish. Machine-gun like, as my Barrons cassette tapes tell me. Barrons designed the program for government foreign service agents, back in the eighties. I bought the thing new, which shows how long I've been putting off learning Spanish, though my niece is half Spanish, her language is suffering, and I might be a great help to her. For the first time, I made it past the first cassette, of twelve.

I'm at a coffee shop now, on my way to her house. I bought two sleds, her valentines gift. I've been telling her I'll bring her sledding, though I kept putting it off because it's been so cold. Now, we're going to get soaking wet. She won't care. I carried them one in each hand, a big pack on my back, eight blocks from the hardware store to the coffee shop, through the streets of my neighborhood, walking, dancing and lip syncing to Clara Nunes, Gal Costa, Marisa Monte, Beth Carvalho, etc. Cal Gosta's E'd Oxum is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. Whenever I hear it, I smile.

It's Chad's iPod I carry. He reaffirmed a long-term lease. I told him, dude, you're scoring huge karma points. "I know," he said. Happy Valentines Day.

As we show our love for others this Valentines Day, remember to love yourself. It hardly occurs to most of us, I think. Impossible though, really, to truly love another, if we do not love ourselves. Dancing, I have moments of sublime happiness, of love that I am alive. Immediately followed by a sense that I have no right to be happy. A curious dynamic. I recall Malidoma Some: find the space to open up to one's gift, look to the indigenous paradigm to shed light on the modern predicament. Everyone is here for a reason, everyone matters. True understanding is innate. Life is a series of initiations, ever evolving. Participate. Something in us is eager to awaken.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mid-Winter Questions

Imbolc has passed, which means we're on the lee-side of halfway to the Spring Equinox. I'm thankful for the sun the last three days, as thirty-plus degrees below freezing, when you walk everywhere you go, begins to feel a bit oppressive. Damn frustrating, actually. I used the weather as an excuse last night to buy a six pack of Winter Ale, and rent the Fellowship of the Ring trilogy. I had no legitimate reason to gorge on video, or beer, I just wanted to take a break from the questions.

Like, do flesh and bone ET's visit this planet, or are they, as Graham Hancock suggests, a modern perspective on an ancient reality, the shamanic interaction between parties of different dimensions, one as real as the other, only different? What does quantum physics tell us about space and time? Is Ayahuasca a doorway, and who are the Man in Jade and the Goddess in Gold? What is the knowledge possessed by the ancients, who built the Great Pyramid?

And how am I going to paddle down the Mississippi? How am I going to buy a sailboat when I reach the Gulf, and how am I going to learn to sail? And then how am I going to sail to Brazil? Maybe as far as the Pacific? Peru, 2012? How am I going to communicate, in Spanish, French and Portugese, once I've left the boundary of Empire? Where is the money going to come from?

Frodo wasn't always sure about his path either. There were times when he didn't want the ring, wishing it had never come to him. Gandalf was there to remind him, all men who live to see such times wish the same, that all we can do is decide what to do with the time one has. Central and South America isn't Mordor. No question I'm going to do it, but how?

I've started eating the potatoes I grew this year, in earnest. Baked a few pounds of potato wedges, dousing them with cholula and garlic salt for a little heat, at the beginning of The Two Towers, after a couple of beers. I love the Ents. I love these movies, though sometimes I think, the mythology is starting to look dated. We can't afford anymore to prop men up as kings, as messiahs, as rulers of any kind. It's incumbent upon every man and woman to find these same energies within. Coded, perhaps, in that "junk" 97% of our DNA we can't yet explain.

The potato is related to Datura, Mandrake, and several other powerful "hallucinogens". I hear they cultivate a few thousand different kinds of potatoes in the Andes, perhaps a thing taught by the same who built Tiahuanaco, at Titicaca, some twelve thousand years ago?

Off to the store, in the cold, on foot, for a few staples and probably a little junk. A film in Spanish tonight, another in Brazilian Portuguese. Two more beers, and more potatoes. I'm in training. I'm modeling the archetype of the green man consort to the Goddess, at Patrick's Cabaret in five weeks. I don't at present look the part of any consort to any goddess, though I expect to be ready. After all, who's going to have a point of reference?

It's supposed to be thirty-five degrees or higher this weekend. I long to get on my bike again and enjoy it. I see friends on Facebook talking about vacations to warm places. There's no money for travelling anymore this winter. Next winter? How about a sailboat, exploring the Atlantic coast of South America, looking for a shaman?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lost Civiliztaions

In a recent post I offered three hypotheses, all of which are paradigm shifting. I didn't make them up, I simply pulled them from various sources, and listed them in the post with the intention of looking into each further. To that end, I am ready to comment on the third: that there has been a civilization here on Earth more technologically sophisticated than our own.

Specifically, I point to the work of Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval and the geologist John West, all of whom have suggested the Great Pyramid of Giza, and indeed the entire complex of Giza including the Sphinx, were not built by the fourth dynasty pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure, in the period between 2613-2494 BC, as orthodox Egyptologists and Historians suggest. As evidence, they point specifically to weathering patterns on the Sphinx, which have been caused by rain, though it has not rained significantly in Egypt the last 9000 years; the design of the pyramids, particularly the Great Pyramid, which is built to specifications so precise, with such materials as to be impossible to recreate using even the most modern technological means; the fact that the pyramids said to be built in the 3rd, 5th and 6th dynastys are radically inferior to the Giza pyramid, defying the rule of social progress; and the layout of the pyramids, which in relation to the Nile and the Milky Way, reflects the pattern of the three stars of the belt of Orion, as they were in the year 10,450 BC.

What is the evidence orthodox Egyptologists and Historians offer for the 4th dynasty hypothesis? Basically, that a statue of Khufu and another of Kafre were found on the site. This of course is not evidence of anything. But you don't need evidence when you have consensus. If we all agree the world is flat, we don't need to prove it.

The fact is, the Great Pyramid was not built by any known civilization. If we tried to build an exact copy today, I'm quite certain we could not. We don't know how to move 200 ton blocks with any degree of efficacy, and certainly not by the number and to the degree of precision the builders of the Great Pyramid did.

So who did?

Graham Hancock offers a fairly convincing answer. Basically, that 15,000 years ago, the continent of Antarctica was in fact significantly further north, that it had a pleasant, largely ice free climate, that a slippage of the Earth's crust caused in part by the centrifugal force of the Earth's rotation, exasperated by the uneven weight of continent sized glaciers, radically altered the face of the planet. Pushing Antarctica, the potential home of a technologically sophisticated culture, into deep freeze. A process initiating the global catastrophe that nearly ever cultural mythology around the globe speaks about. That the survivors spread around the globe, building structures in various places, including the city of Tiahuanaco in Bolivia, Chichen Itza, Machu Pichu, and the structures of the Giza complex, and perhaps many more that are currently under water.

This last part, under water, he covers in his book Underworld, which I haven't yet found a copy of. Evidently, he and his wife Santha spent five years traveling to various parts of the globe, visiting underwater structures similar to those discussed above.

That there is not a massive, ongoing assessment of these structures is one of the great mysteries of our Age.

Under the current orthodox measure of social progress, there can't be technologically sophistcated buildings under water, because there were no cultures capable of building them, when the glaciers melted 12,000 years ago, raising sea levels 400 ft. Such a find would rewrite history, and call into question our technological and social arrogance. Another testament to the power of orthodoxy to stand in the way of understanding, to prevent humanity from coming to a true and honest assessment of who we are.

How these cultures built these structures remains a question, one that Graham Hancock does not pretend to answer. Some will immediately say, ET's! Well, maybe. I'm no longer inclined to discount anything, just because the orthodox say it's crazy. I am increasingly inclined to think that, for all our technological ingenuity, our civilization is rather immature, pathetically so, as evidenced by the way we treat each other and the Earth. Hell, here in America, the supposed light for all the world, something like 40% of adults think the Universe is only about 6000 years old. Do I think ET's built the pyramids? I don't think so. Do I think the knowledge required to build the Great Pyramid perhaps came from an Extra-Terrestrial or super-natural source? Maybe. I don't know. Mine is not the kind of intelligence that says no just because I don't know, or because I don't like the ramifications of that possibility, or because I don't want to know.

As for ET's, that's part of a different post to come. As for thinking the universe is only 6000 years old? I don't see that science contradicts the notion of a divine source at all. I do see that a good many scientists are overly rational, condescending, arrogant, aloof and dismissive. Because as I've said, orthodoxy is as much a problem for the scientist as it is for the Believer.

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I've re-named this blog, from a study of the coming Great Contraction, to a study of the Great Awakening. I'm tired of looking at our culture purely through the lens of collapse. We are living in a time of quickening, of ever increasing access to information. I want to believe we are on the verge of a great social Renaissance, in which we slough off the cloak of hierarchy and tyrannical social inequality, in favor of harmony, balance, wholeness and healing. The universe is divine. There are levels of awareness we have hardly begun to perceive. I want to live in that space, not in the fear of collapse and ever evolving tyranny.

I hope this blog is of use to you. I know there aren't more than a proverbial handful of you out there. It's hard, sometimes, to contemplate these things, when I feel like I'm the only one impacted. Because we are living in a lost civilization. One way or another, it's coming to an end, soon. I don't know what that's going to look like, but I vote for a Great Awakening. I've explored all the alternatives. The only one worth thinking about is peace.

***For the work of Graham Hancock, see www.grahamhancock.com ***

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Summer Solstice 2011

While I continue to entertain the three hypotheses I presented in the last post, I thought I might issue a challenge:

In a recent comments thread on HuffPost, concerning an article about a threat against Wall Street by Al Qaeda, I offered the vision of two million people on Wall Street, two million people at the steps of Congress. A few said they were in. Just think, whatever your stripe, whoever you think the villian is, Congress or Wall Street, you've got a place to go for the big party (what do you do when you know they've both been villianous?). Great food, great music, lots of dancing, lots of colors. We can call it a love fest. Send a message that we know what they're up to. They can't deny that many people.

What are they going to do? Prevent us? They'll try to manage it, surely, requiring all the permits, all the proper temporary barriers. They'll try to co-opt it. But last I heard, this is a democracy, and I don't know about you, but I've got something to say.

How about a little solidarity with our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters, a little solidarity with everyone who is suffering under tyranny of one form or another? How about a little solidarity with each other?

Shut down Wall Street dancing, for a day and a night. Sing so loud the bloody halls of Congress shake.

Rejoice that you are alive. Get creative. Question.