In last week’s thrilling episode of The Kek Wars, we saw how a band of outsiders linked by the network of online forums loosely called “the chans,” and armed with the tools of chaos magic, found themselves in the midst of a cascade of meaningful coincidences and strange happenings, more or less clustered around Pepe the Frog, the ancient Egyptian god Kek, and the triumphant presidential ambitions of Donald Trump. Those of my readers who know their way around a particular school of depth psychology with close connections to the occult will already have figured out what to make of all this, but the knowledge in question isn’t that common these days.
With that in mind, dear reader, permit me to take you on a virtual journey to a stone tower by the shores of Lake Zurich in Switzerland, where we’ll make the acquaintance of Carl Jung.
Depending on who you ask, Jung was either a psychologist who knew a lot about occultism or an occultist who managed to fool people into thinking he was talking about psychology. (Me, I tend toward the latter explanation.) Either way, he was one of the twentieth century’s most intriguing thinkers, and some of his teachings cast a great deal of light on the events we’ve been discussing.
One of the things he discussed in detail, for example, was exactly the kind of cascade of strange but meaningful coincidences we discussed in last week’s episode. He called these patterns synchronicities, and argued—in a book co-written by Nobel Prize-winning quantum physicist Wolfgang Pauli—that they demonstrate the existence of a pattern of connections that bind the universe together, and are entirely separate from ordinary cause and effect. In Jung’s own clinical practice, he watched synchronicities pile up around patients under certain kinds of serious mental strain, indicating the roots of their problems and pointing the way to healing.
Jung had a lot to say about synchronicity, but the point that’s relevant here is that synchroniticies don’t show up at random. When you get a flurry of them, especially when they cluster around specific images and ideas, you know that something is moving in the dark places of the psyche. What that “something” is, in turn, was the focus of Jung’s researches. He called it an archetype.
If ordinary thoughts are the little fish that swim near the surface of the mind’s sea, archetypes are the great whales that sound the depths. They are clusters of nonrational images knotted together with potent emotional energies, and they provide the human mind with the most basic raw material of thought. They never surface into the bright light of consciousness; at most, an image or two will come floating up for a while, sweeping up all the contents of the conscious mind willy-nilly in its wake and giving them a shape that has nothing to do with conscious reason.
The easiest way to understand how archetypes work is to follow one of the most common ones as it sweeps through the mind. Perhaps the easiest to track is the one Jung called the Shadow. That’s the archetype of the enemy, the rival, the hated and feared Other, and what makes it so easy to follow is a detail that psychologists noticed a very long time ago: people consistently assign to the Shadow all the things they absolutely can’t bear to face about themselves.
Perhaps, dear reader, you’ll take a moment to think about a very common human experience that we might as well call “falling in hate.” You encounter someone, either in person or via the media, and something about that person rubs you the wrong way. Quickly or slowly, depending on circumstances—some people fall in hate faster than others—that person stands out from among all the ordinarily annoying people you know. Every word from his mouth and every expression on his features grates on your nerves; he radiates hatefulness from every pore; you can’t see his face without thinking about how much it needs to be punched. No matter how hard you try, you can’t be objective where the object of your hate is concerned, and if the process goes far enough, you stop being able to have conversations with people who don’t share your views—for some reason they keep on acting as though your reasonable criticism of the object of your dislike is saliva-flecked ranting full of seething hatred.
From Jung’s perspective, what’s happened here is that the archetype of the Shadow has seized your thinking and projected itself through you onto another person. While that projection is in force, you literally can’t think clearly about the other person, because every thought you have concerning him is swept up in the movement of the archetype. It’s as though a rage-colored filter suddenly drops over your eyes the moment you look at the target of the projection. The secret of that rage, in turn, is that everything you say about the target of your projections is actually something you can’t stand about yourself. If you scream “Liar!” at him, anyone who knows how projection works will realize that you’re acutely uncomfortable about your own dishonesty; if you shriek “Bully!” at him, your own bullying propensities are on display, and so on.
It’s worth noting here that the things that get projected onto the Shadow needn’t be morally bad in any conventional sense. In an earlier episode of this series, for example, I mentioned the Traditionalist thinker Julius Evola. Read his writings and you’ll find them full of sneering contempt toward the modern world for its softness and its humanitarianism—this latter is a dirty word in Evola’s vocabulary. What was going on, to judge from accounts written by people who knew Evola in person, was that he loathed his own capacities for kindness, gentleness, and compassion, and so loaded them onto the Shadow he projected onto the society around him. The Revolt Against the Modern World he wrote about in his most famous book, as such things always are, was ultimately a revolt against himself.
How do you tell the difference between ordinary reasonable dislike and the projection of the Shadow? It’s quite simple, really, though “simple” is not the same thing as “easy.” Archetypes are absolute, while human beings never are; in the worst human being there are still admirable features, just as there are despicable features in the best of our species. If you can look at the object of your hatred and, with a little thought, list a number of things about that person you find admirable—not ironically, not sarcastically, but honestly admirable—you’re probably not caught up in the Shadow archetype. If you can’t do this, you’re probably projecting the Shadow; if you get furiously angry at the very thought that anyone would suggest that there’s even the smallest thing admirable about the person you hate…well, you can fill in the blank here as well as I can.
The Shadow is just one of the archetypes; there are many others. When you fall head over heels in love, for example, what’s happened is that a different archetype—Jung calls it the Anima or Animus, depending on gender—has been projected onto the other person, with effects that have the same potency but the opposite emotional charge as in a Shadow projection. All of the most intense human interactions are mediated by one or more archetypes. Yet not all archetypes apply to all people; there are universal human archetypes, and then there are archetypes that are specific to smaller subsets of humanity.
Jung wrote about one of these in his famous 1936 essay “Wotan.” At a time when most people in Europe believed that the funny little man with the Charlie Chaplin mustache who’d recently become Chancellor of Germany was a third-rate Mussolini wannabe who would be out of office as soon as German politics went through another of its routine convulsions, Jung grasped that something far deeper and more terrifying was at work: “A hurricane has broken loose in Germany,” he wrote, “while we still believe it is fine weather.”
That hurricane, Jung suggested, was the activation of an archetype that belonged not to all of humanity but specifically to the people who live in central Europe, where the immense sweep of the Eurasian plains breaks against the rumpled hills and river valleys that run between the Alps and the North Sea. That archetype was associated with the myths of the archaic god Wotan. These days, most people who remember the deity in question think of his near-equivalent Odin, whose deeds and impending doom are celebrated in Old Norse poetry, or of the literary creation who plays a central role in Richard Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung operas, but there is also a distinctive version of Wotan in German folklore, a terrifying huntsman-figure who rides the stormwinds, leading a vast army of ghosts through the midnight skies.
Whether gods are the reflections of archetypes or archetypes are the reflections of gods is a question we can discuss some other day. The point that’s relevant here is that Jung caught something that nearly everyone else missed. For decades, since the twilight years of the 19th century, something had been stirring in the German-speaking lands of central Europe, something that shook off the heavy-handed rationalism of a confident age and plunged into the deep places where human consciousness merged with the forces of nature. In the wake of a lost war and a bitter economic depression, that archetypal force seized on an unlikely vehicle—an Austrian artist turned political agitator named Adolf Hitler—and swept up most of Europe into a maelstrom that ended, as the myths of Wotan always end, in Götterdammerung.
The cascade of synchronicities that surrounded Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign suggest to me that something not completely dissimilar is at work in today’s America. Wotan, though, is not an American archetype; while the Wild Hunt has its American equivalent—fans of old-fashioned country music will recall the classic piece “Ghost Riders in the Sky”—the Lord of the Slain on his eight-legged horse Sleipnir is absent in that song, and in American myth and folklore generally. We must look elsewhere for the archetype at work in today’s politics.
The brilliant Native American philosopher and activist Vine Deloria Jr. offered an important hint in his most influential work, God is Red. He pointed out that in the wake of the Reformation, Western spirituality lost track of a crucial variable—the spiritual importance of place. To most spiritual traditions, and to Native American traditions even more than most, specific places on the land have their own unique spiritual properties and powers, which are not dependent on the people who happen to live there. He went on to argue that much of the reason why modern American society stumbles so blindly from one preventable disaster to another is that we have not yet learned to relate in a sacred manner to the powers of place, the spirits of the land on which we live—and that those powers remain the ones that native peoples reverenced.
Thus it seems to me that there’s a specific mythic figure whose archetype is in play just now.
A great many native myths, from across the length and breadth of North America, tell of a being or a category of beings whose task it is to change the world so that the people can live there. Among the Salish-speaking tribes of southern Puget Sound, for example, the Changer is Moon; among the Takelma, who live in far southwestern Oregon, he’s Daldal the dragonfly; in some parts of the dryland West he’s Coyote, and so on. In some stories he’s a hero, in some he’s a buffoon, in some he’s an incomprehensible force of nature; the details vary, but the basic theme remains the same. The world was different once, say the tales, and then the Changer came and made it the way it is now.
The versions of the Changer story I know best have a distinctive shape. They’re episodic, and follow the Changer on his journey as he proceeds from the mouth of the local river to its source.
In the southern Puget Sound version, for example, after a long and intricate backstory, Moon leaves the land of the salmon people under the sea and starts walking up the river toward the mountains. All the beings who live there know that he’s coming, and they prepare various weapons and traps to stop him, because they don’t want him to change the world. So he meets a man who’s sitting at the water’s edge carving a big flat board out of wood. “What are you doing?” Moon asks him, and he says, “There’s someone coming who’s going to change things, and I’m going to hit him over the head with this board and kill him.” Moon takes the board, sticks it onto the man’s rump, and says, “From now on your name is Beaver. When the people come they’ll hunt you for your fur.”
Moon goes further up the valley, and he meets another man who’s looking anxiously around from the top of a hill. He has two weapons, one in each hand, and they have many sharp points. “What are you doing?” Moon asks him, and he says, “There’s someone coming who’s going to change things, and I’m going to stab him with all these points and kill him.” Moon takes the weapons, sticks them on the man’s head, and says, “From now on your name is Deer. When the people come they’ll hunt you for your meat and your hide.”
And so the story goes. In the hands of a skilled storyteller—and storytelling was one of the fine arts in Native American cultures—the story of the Changer would be spun out to whatever length circumstances permitted, with any number of lively incidents meant to point up morals or pass on nuggets of wisdom. There’s no rising spiral of action leading to a grand battle between the Changer and the beings whose world he has come to change; there’s just one incident after another, until the Changer finally reaches the source of the river and leaps into the sky to become the Moon, or turns into a mountain, or goes to whatever his destiny might be, leaving the world forever changed in his wake.
Notice, dear reader, just how often this pattern is repeated in American history, in the great changes that transform our public life for good or ill. Almost never do you see a single great struggle in which everything is decided. Where the battle of Waterloo came at the end of the Napoleonic Wars and settled them once and for all, our nearest equivalent, Gettysburg, came only a little more than midway through the Civil War, and simply marked the high tide of the Confederacy, the point from which all roads finally led to Appomattox. The changes that matter very often focus around one person who becomes the focus of change, and who proceeds up the river of our national life, encountering one crisis after another and somehow overcoming each one of them, until death or retirement ends the tale—and by the time that happens, the world has changed decisively and nothing will ever be the same again.
That’s the archetypal pattern I see unfolding in American life right now. I don’t happen to know of a Native American myth in which the Changer’s role is played by a frog with magic powers, but that does seem to be the situation we’re in now.
Two features of the Changer myth seem particularly relevant at the moment. The first is pointed up skillfully in the stories. The beings who try to stop the Changer and keep the world the same just keep doing whatever they were doing when the Changer arrives: the man with the board keeps carving tree trunks, the man with the many-pointed weapons keeps looking around—and there they are today, the beaver beside his dam, the deer on the hill. Having refused change, they become unable to change, and keep on going through the motions of their failed plans forever. That’s exactly what Trump’s opponents have been doing since his candidacy hit its stride, and more particularly since his inauguration. “From now on your name is Protester,” says the Changer, and sticks a pussy hat on the person’s head and a placard in her hands…
The flipside of the same narrative can be traced in Trump’s own trajectory. Ever since the beginning of his campaign, his opponents have convinced themselves that this or that or the other thing will surely stop him; incident follows incident, and he just keeps going up the river and changing things. There’s never the grand dénouement they want so desperately. The crisis never comes—and what’s more, it never will come.
That’s one of the things about archetypes. When one of them finds a human vehicle and begins to reshape the collective life of a society in its image, if you know the archetype you can predict exactly how things will unfold. Jung didn’t make many predictions in the essay of his I cited earlier, but it should have been obvious from the start that once the Wotan-archetype found its vehicle and seized the German imagination, it would make a beeline for Ragnarok. What’s more, after his death, Hitler continued to fulfill the myth in classic style, becoming the modern world’s Lord of the Slain, galloping forever through the midnight skies of our collective imagination with six million ghosts following behind him.
Wotan is not the Changer, and different archetypes pursue different destinies. On the basis of the points discussed above, I think it’s safe to predict that no future attempt to stop Trump in his tracks will get any further than the ones we’ve already seen. The efforts to hit Trump over the head with an investigation or stab him with media tirades will doubtless continue—in fact, with an eye toward the legends, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mueller investigation is still lumbering ineffectually onward for a long time to come, and I’d be amazed if there’s the slightest decrease in the sniping from the media and the official intelligentsia—but none of it will affect the outcome. At the beginning of 2025, when Donald Trump hands over the presidency to his successor, he’ll look back on a long string of crises that never quite managed to derail him. By that time, furthermore, the nation and the world will have changed irrevocably.
With an eye to the first two parts of this series of posts, it’s not too hard to see the new realities taking shape on the far side of the Trump era. The drastic pruning of federal regulations, the end of one-sided free trade agreements that encourage the offshoring of working class jobs, and the end of the tacit encouragement of mass illegal immigration and the resulting downward pressure on wages and benefits—all core policies of the Trump administration—represent a dramatic rebalancing of economic power in American society away from the managerial aristocracy. The realities of politics being what they are, that will bring about an equally dramatic rebalancing of political influence. We’re already seeing a lively socialist insurgency threatening the Democratic Party establishment, and a less dramatic but equally far-reaching influx of populist candidates into the GOP is also well under way. Despite all the shrill denunciations of the mainstream media and the official intelligentsia, There Is An Alternative—in fact, more than one—and that in itself shows that the enforced consensus of the last forty years is shattering around us.
That will have equally dramatic effects on the international scene. The managerial aristocracy of the recent past had the power and wealth it did because the United States maintained hegemony over most of the world. Our empire—yes, I know, it’s impolite to use such terms, but let’s please be real—our empire, as I was saying, gave the five per cent of humanity that lived in the United States a quarter of the planet’s resources and a third of its manufactured products, and of course those were by no means equally distributed among Americans. The way that old-money families and tech-stock godzillionaires alike have by and large rallied around the opposition to the Trump administration shows that they know perfectly well which way the wind is blowing.
In the history of every empire, there comes a point when the costs of maintaining the empire exceeds the profits. We got to that point quite some time ago, and the policies that drove the US working class into destitution and misery can best be understood as attempts to keep the privileged classes comfortable by shoving the rising costs of empire onto everyone else. The end of free-trade arrangements, the retreat from foreign military commitments such as NATO, and the first steps toward a modus vivendi with Russia, North Korea, and other rival nations are necessary steps in the retreat from empire. Off in the distance, on the far side of the Changer’s upriver journey, we can see the first dim foreshadowings of post-imperial America, and with any luck, of a nation a little less riven by rigid class barriers and so a little more likely to deal with its many pressing problems.
Mind you, fifty years from now, there will doubtless still be people who get their moth-eaten pussy hats down from a box in the attic, and reminisce fondly about the good old days when the United States could still pretend to be the world’s irreplaceable nation, when Barack Obama used drone strikes to vaporize wedding parties on the other side of the world and the deplorables still knew their place. That’s the nature of outworn aristocracies; on a broader scale, it’s the nature of historical change—especially when the deep patterns of the collective psyche surge into action and leave the presumptions of a fading era shattered in their wake.
Where does an environmental perspective (or, for that matter, spirituality) fit in this trickster-changed world? If environmental regulation, globalised treaties and a furrowed-brow upper middle class have been the spiked sticks or flat boards of choice for the environmental movement to date, what now?
I’ve heard a couple of myths that seem like they could do with some extra characters to provide the full moral of the story.
In the Church of England school I went to they told us a story about an emperor who was trying to decide which kingdoms to leave to which of his sons. So he gave them some money to look after. One invests it well, multiplies it ten times over and is given ten kingdoms to run. Another one quadruples it and gets four kingdoms. Another just keeps it safe, makes no extra and is only given one kingdom. There really needed to be another son who tried to invest but made a bad decision and lost it all. What he got would complete the picture and show whether it was the attempt or the outcome that was being rewarded.
Similarly the Changer could do with meeting some people who don’t know, don’t care, or welcome the change that’s coming. Also some members of the anti-change faction who aren’t idiots and don’t explain their plans to the first person who asks. 🙂
Thanks John. I always enjoy reading your work. Interesting to contemplate. I wonder what an archetype might be in Australia!
I think most of us can agree that 2016 was the year the 21st century truly began. But what form it will take, that’s very very much up for grabs. I’m not nearly as optimistic as you that it will end in democracy and republic. Maybe we should blame Obama, he was the first one to call for “Change You Can Believe In”. Believe in it now? One way or another, one way or another…
Google can build a censoring search engine for the Communist Party in China, but they can’t get my gmail app to work on my Android phone. Twitter and Facebook default to censorship in an attempt to maintain the establishment status quo, calling it protecting democracy. Legacy media declare the ten year anniversary of the bailing out of the banks to be a great success put at risk by Trump and his legions of haters, while they breathlessly proclaim the blue wave will overcome this fascist uprising…
All part and parcel of a sclerotic empire in decline, incapable of honest reflection, lashing out in shadow. The sneering contempt of the establishment, many liberals and progressives, toward Trump and his base, toward the kind of people I grew up with and have worked with all my life, has left me feeling disenfranchised from the left…while I have always felt disenfranchised from the phony ideological conservatism long holding sway on the right…wondering if they right or left care at all about the sacred land and waters of this beloved continent.
I meanwhile cultivate an ecology and economy of the sacred, finding great creativity in the collapse of empire.
Nice: I just cast the I Ching with the question “how close is it to being time to bail”. I got an answer that I thought was odd and I was puzzling over it.
Now I am thinking that I asked the wrong question (happens all the time). I think that maybe I should ask “Am I changing fast enough”.
Good food for thought, thanks
Good morning, Mr. Greer:
Thank you so much for this. It has helped to greatly clarify some things for me.
Pam in Virginia
Elder Greer, (if I may use a religious honorific),
Thank you for your fascinating and accessible writings on this topic. As I was reading. I was thinking about the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul (known as “the A&P), where my grandmother’s family worshipped. It still has an active congregation and a magnificent choir and despite being an apostate I still sing at the Christmas service. Anyway the physical church building is grey stone lit with stained glass windows and I have always had the impression of being in a cave in that church. A cave which is pretty much the site of our spiritual practice back to cave man days, 40k years ago and perhaps much earlier given recent discoveries of neanderthal cave art.
These things are deep and ignored in our materialist world of death worship (for what else is the fossil fuel economy but the elevation of dead things to the foundation of our society?). But it is death worship without consciousness – sort of acting out by people seemingly helpless in its grip – it’s a hard feeling to ignore of being on a hurtling train headed for destruction but being unable to get off. How do you in any practical sense not drive a car unless you completely leave modern society?
But the general level of anxiety as the world mind manages to affect us unconsciously is acted out in many ways but everybody is feeling it – the world mind is trying to break into our consciousness (my admittedly simplistic model) but we have no paradigm to understand it as we are captives of the materialistic frame. The alarm bells are going off, we feel their effect but don’t recognize the alarm other than emotionally as we have no way to conceptualise it.
Sorry for the disjointed nature and logical leaps of this but thank you for doing the important work of helping people be more conscious of deep matters and perhaps learn ways of dealing with our crisis of civilization with spiritual practice. I’m curious if you have any thoughts on the deep continuity of spritual practice from cave man days?
JMG, Everything you write is generally excellent but The Kek Wars has been especially educational. I feel like I have at least some understanding of the absolute insanity swirling around us at today. Is the presence of resisters inevitable? Would there, theoretically at least, be a rational functional way for society as a whole to deal with the Changer? In our current situation, do the resisters, as futile as their goals are, actually serve a purpose by not allowing the change to spin completely out of control?I suppose there is little for the rest of us to do but hang on tight to our sanity and get used to chaos.
Great series, makes a lot of sense to me, but very unsettling. Do I see it right, that once an archetype truly awakes, be it in an individual or a society, there’s hardly a chance to stop it from coming to its full bloom? In a way this could hint an answer to a question I asked you a while ago, regarding if there is a mechanism like evolution for a society. Maybe it’s that… to consciously nourish the right archetypes and possibly create new ones!? It seems possible for an individual to go beyond that state where you just follow an archetypal pattern to its end (which sounds a bit like enlightenment and raises the question how archetypes and karma translate into each other). If it’s possible for an individual is it possible for a society, too?
Any ideas or comments are greatly appreciated. And thanks a lot for this series, which is my personal favorite so far. It stirred a huge lot of thoughts and questions, the blob above is just the tip of the iceberg 😉
So, instead of a massive Crisis Era climax a la WWII, we’re living out a series of Coyote stories. That actually makes the shape of the Fourth Great American Crisis as clear as sunrise. Thank you! And yes, Trump is certainly channeling Coyote an always has been. Just as everyone I know screaming at the top of their lungs that Trump is a (insert every pejorative one can think of) needs to read that section about projecting the shadow. Muy bien! Well done, and very well done and thanks for the spotlight you just shone on the things moving in the dark.
I was not looking forward to the Gotterdammerung.
Idle thoughts that come to mind while reading …
If Putin is something of a foil for Trump, then perhaps somewhere deep in Russian folklore lies his persona or archetype. Knowing absolutely nothing about Russian folklore however, I’ll leave that to others to figure out, but it might be interesting to know ‘the end’.
Also, the fear of submariners surrounding propeller cavitation. There’s an analogy there somewhere I think … gazillions of tiny bubbles bursting with explosive force against the propeller potentially damaging it to the point of disintegration. Just not sure who’s the propeller and who is/are the bubbles … or why it came to mind!
Wow, very impressive piece and series. I read and enjoyed your book Twilight’s Last Gleaming. I wonder whether you have any recent metrics to support the peak oil theory.
Could Obama’s ‘Hope and Change’ have contributed to the awakening of the Changer, so to speak?
JMG, while I mostly support Trump (and was very glad that he crushed Hillary) I still can’t shake the feeling that there is a catastrophe waiting to manifest in the near future. While Trump is changing the US, he can’t bend the world to his will, I fear that the ongoing upheavals in other countries are going to lead us to a very bad place…
Here’s the direct link to buy God Is Red from the publisher (instead of e.g. Amazon, though of course your local independent bookstore would be ideal):
Just in case anyone besides me is inspired to find & read the book. I’m not affiliated with the book/publisher/author–just a rando trying to help someone, anyone, not buy from Amazon.
Thanks so much for that analysis, JMG! I had never thought of regarding the stories of the First Nations as an introduction to the local Archetypes, or that they would be associated with geographical locations.
To me, it is a very hopeful message to think that it is at least possible to unwind the American Empire without a bloody civil war!
We are talking about major change here….
Wait a minute.
So the take-home message is that Trump will deliver ‘Hope and Change?’ So Ironic 😉
Do you see any other archetypes in play here in North America, other than the Changer?
Can you recommend an anthology of North American aboriginal stories? I would like to look over that literature for other archetypes that may pop up.
Semi-OT but Coyote is laughing his tail off – economist Robert Samuelson twisting himself into knots trying to reconcile the obvious facts with what he, as an economist, *knows* –
If this is behind a paywall, I can send you the link via the Albuquerque Journal instead.
“The way that old-money families and tech-stock godzillionaires alike…”
You’re right that some of the more public figures oppose Trump, but I am of the impression that the financial elites of Wall Street and elsewhere for the most part silently support Trump. Trump’s tax cuts have ushered in a great deal of profits for US companies. Many investors are aware of this reality too.
US companies have also perhaps learnt that competing in a globalized world is a double-edged sword, because India and China are increasingly able to field competitors who have the protection of their host country. A strong US is necessary for US companies to remain stable and secure over the long-term.
Media and academia might slam Trump’s administration, but Wall Street, which tries to make the most money out of any situation, seems to quietly appreciate Trump. There is money to be made through a revived domestic working class too.
“Off in the distance, on the far side of the Changer’s upriver journey, we can see the first dim foreshadowings of post-imperial America, and with any luck, of a nation a little less riven by rigid class barriers and so a little more likely to deal with its many pressing problems.”
I think post-imperial America is likely to be a balkanized collection of several nations, though I fear the most likely route from here to there involves a second civil war, mainly due to the fact that this:
“There Is An Alternative—in fact, more than one—and that in itself shows that the enforced consensus of the last forty years is shattering around us.”
is reflecting the development of two different and largely parallel, non-intersecting alternatives and worldview coalescing around the divisions in the US that exist along urban/rural (and class that goes along with this), religious, linguistic, ethnic, religious, and racial fault lines. These two visions for a route forward are just about as incompatible as the two visions that competed in the first civil war.
From your perspective, what would be a good introductory text to begin exploring Jung’s ideas, from both occult and psychological angles? And follow-up texts, if any that come to mind?
Also, I find it interesting that the archetype you pick up on with regard to Trump is one that specifically does *not* have the Grand Finale wherein the struggle of forces is culminated. This does seem at odds with the fundamental character of the American psyche generally — our popular literature craves that kind of resolution (from the Death Star to Hogwarts). Of course, as you point out, our history is somewhat different…not only in the Civil War — The War of the Southern Rebellion, to give its official name 🙂 — but also the American Revolution, which was the same kind of slog without a Waterloo. Speaking for myself, the lack of resolution — or rather, the long, drawn out resolving that occurs piece-meal over time — does indeed grate. There’s a certain amount of “Let’s get on with it already!” involved, I must admit.
OT, but in other news, my “extra” copies of Innsmouth and Kingsport arrived the other day. When I ordered them back in April, I apparently had selected the layaway option by accident, but did not notice until the order had been submitted. I haven’t decided to whom I’m gifting them, but I hope that the purchase has incrementally gotten the publisher closer to the release of volume 3. I wish I could help more.
What about whole thing with ‘spirit cooking’ and it’s weird late eruption into the dying days of the campaign? On the one hand it all struck me as pretty ridiculous and I was irritated by how it seemed to keep reappearing in my online purview. On the other hand, it did actually kind of creep me out a bit. As for the pizzagate stuff, I never really gave it a careful look. There certainly was some strange energy manifesting in various forms in that election campaign.
A lot of interesting stuff there.
I, myself, have experienced sychronicities. A mainstream psychologist would consider this to be a sign of mental illness. This is because I would be reporting an event inconsistent with the tenets of scientific materialism.
Of course, scientific materialism is an unproven hypothesis. Thus, I would be considered to be mentally ill for failing to rigidly adhere to an unproven hypothesis.
From my perspective, I believe the opposite. I consider the uncompromising belief in unproven hypotheses to, itself, be a form of mental illness.
Alison – one bit of Russian folklore I do know about is the one about the prince who pretends to be a fool in order to avoid being killed by his evil brothers, and outwits them all. Which of course ties into the Trickster theme above.
I am confident that I have never heard of Vine Deloria before. Thank you for bringing him to my attention. The point about the Changer’s enemies becoming stuck in their resistance seems very apt.
However, I am not sure if this narrative has fully clicked for me yet. You wrote in an earlier episode that something other than human has taken interest in events. Did you mean that chaos magicians had successfully projected the Changer archetype on Donald Trump, allowing it to work through him and empowering it to enchant his enemies? And the reason similar efforts failed elsewhere is that, unbeknownst to the channers, what gave their magic focus in the 2016 election was a native American archetype with no power in France?
As for synchroncities, I suppose you have covered the ones in 2016 quite thoroughly by now. I take it the “gets” themselves are included in that list, minor and coincidental though they might seem to be at first? But now I wonder, is there any trustworthy compilation of synchronicities that accompanied the rise of Hitler?
Wow, very interesting! A very quick response: You mentioned in a previous post the tendency in a lot of North American cultural elites to favor European culture over American cultural forms. If this is the case, then is it possible that the Wotan archetype is also at play within the cultural elites over here in North America, which is, I wonder, part of where the rage at Trump comes from, a sort of yearning for Götterdämmerung? Which is compounded and thus even more frustrated by the Changer archetype taking its time and moving event by event as you’ve described?
I notice that the Changer comes to make the world livable for a new people, and often there seem to be several journeys and stages performed by numerous Changers or subsequent World Builders involved.
If I recall my Vine Deloria, and my memory from my college freshman Native American Religion class (taught by an acquaintance of his) is quite dim, he argued only semi-philosophically that whites are an “artificial” people due to how long we have been cut off from Place by our religious traditions.
You have often mentioned in other contexts that you expect a realignment of race that will unite existing groups in America, possibly in opposition to Central American war bands, and more generally that new religious traditions emerge as old gods retire and new ones emerge especially in times of great and/or protracted crisis. I wonder if these two thoughts of yours are perhaps about to become same thought, and the force represented by the metamorphosing Frog is the first salvo in a new, archetypal if not linearly descended North American religion of Place and People that will dominate in a few centuries.
What a great entry for this week’s Kek Wars episode. I wanted to add a side note to the whole Wotan archtype mentioned and how Jung was able to foresee something terrible coming.
There is one other person I’ve listened to who mentioned something like your discussion of the Wotan archtype. Shri Rohit Arya has a youtube vid wherein he talks about how an Asuric (Hindu for demonic) mindset seized Germany in full-force as Hitler was beginning his ascent. He says when the National Socialist Party chose the swastika for their emblem they flipped it over then spun it backward from the way it has been used in India and the Far East by most Dharma spiritual traditions for centuries [sanskrit ‘dhar’ – ‘to uphold’, ‘ma’ – ‘mother’ – thus Dharma = to uphold the way of the Mother (Nature), Dharma in this sense is equivalent to the Chinese Tao].
My understanding is that the swastika has the same or at least very similar meaning to the Chinese Yin-Yang.
Anyway, he said when Hitler turned over and flipped backward the swastika for their Party symbol he said realized yogis everywhere knew immediately what that meant. An Asuric mindset (archtype) had seized hold of the party’s supporters and fans. He also said it was one reason why Germany had such success in the early days of WW2. That asuric mindset was also able to grant insight into strategies and tactics for war that had never been done on such a mass scale before. Scaling up is a big deal in war. What works for smaller battles can become a big problem logistically if scaled up but that asuric mindset granted the German leadership the ability to see how it could be done successfully. But he also said its one of the features of that asuric mindset that it eventually it eats its own.
Your discussion of Wotan and the Wild Hunt called to my mind Sri Rohit Arya’s discussion about it. Both have given me much to think on.
“In some stories he’s a hero, in some he’s a buffoon, in some he’s an incomprehensible force of nature.”
Yep, that sounds like the Donald all right. Part Clown, part Chessmaster, sometimes in the same breath to hear my friends talk about him. This was a fun post in a delightful series of posts. I remember the last time you mentioned Wotan seizing the German unconscious (I’m pretty sure that was you. Not a lot of bloggers discuss the vagaries of Central European deities turned archetypes!) I wondered what the American equivalents are or would be. I’m Americentric like that 😉
This revelation about the Changer not only made sense of things for me, it also hit close to home because I learned the story of the Changer in Junior High when I first moved to the Northwest and I was enamored with it. I even wrote my own take on the story as a school project, though it was Raven in that version, I believe. The story has always stuck with me as an important lesson to learn and one day pass on. So imagine my surprise when JMG himself rolls out the Changer as THE central archetype of the day. What a time to be alive! My take away lesson is: if you see the Moon walking up the road, get out of its way!
Possible Synchronicity: One night recently near my home, I saw a lone coyote across the street from a bus stop gingerly cross an intersection and disappear into some tall grass. It didn’t seem terribly remarkable at the time, though I was a little shocked to see one in my neck of the woods. Apparently coyote sightings are on the rise where I live.
Oops. I just re-read what I sent in earlier. I wanted to correct and clarify something I said earlier. I just realized I equated Asuric with demonic in my prior post and this is not really correct. Technically Asuric is most accurately described as ‘chaotic’, ‘negative’ and most especially as ‘lacking wisdom’. The demonic ascription is imputing Judeo-Christian-Islamic thinking to a spiritual tradition that doesn’t have the same purity/sin dichotomies.
Perhaps the spiritual powers of place are just the means and Kek could be using the powers of place. Similar to a socket wrench with English and Metric. You can use English sockets on the metric screws, but it is less effective and causes damage to the screws. So a deity using the place specific powers vs retrofitting Kek into the Native American mythos. If Kek were to manifest in-say Central Europe, then he might indeed utilize the spiritual power of that place to stage a dramatic battle, similar to Ragnarok. A shop local approach to divine powers/influence…maybe ;-). Basically using the right tools for the right job, where right tools are local spiritual powers and the Deity is the Craftsman/woman. This might also explain why there are different changer deities using similar methodologies.
Though the flip side is certainly possible where a local deity with similar powers cloaked itself in the shroud of Kek and used it’s knowledge of the changer to do it’s work. Changing a name might in fact be very easy for something called “the changer.” after all “what’s in a name?”
Great series of posts- thanks. Speaking of the cluelessness of the liberal elites who are too busy posing for selfies in protester hats to notice what is going on before their eyes, one of my favorite fantasies used to be to imagine just how horrible San Francisco (the capital city of the clueless liberal elite aristocracy) will be in the future Dark Age. In fact, we don’t even need to wait for that. It’s already become the largest open air toilet in America. San Francisco has become a city with literally a worse open defecation problem than many Third World nations like Kenya, India, and Brazil. There are hundreds of thousands of dangerous used heroin needles lying on the street which the drug addicts received from- guess who- the enlightened liberal elite politicians who run the city. The cluelessness of the elites safely locked in their towers in the city who pat themselves on the back for turning the city into a giant internal slum filled with human feces, used needles, 30,000 car break ins per year, and rampant crime probably even tops the cluelessness of the French aristocracy in the late 18th century- and will likely lead to the same outcome.
You know, with a bit of light reworking this would make a great chapter for the second edition of “Apocalypse Not!”
Brilliant post as always John, thank you. When I was out at Standing Rock I heard native people there- and Standing Rock was the greatest gathering of Indigenous People in US history- discussing a prophesy they called “the Black Snake”, which they believed were the vast networks of oil pipelines snaking through our communities, eating up the land and poisoning the water. They started calling themselves “water protectors” instead of “protesters” to distinguish themselves from mainstream “environmentalists”. One of the first acts of the Trump administration was to approve the Keystone XL pipeline which Obama had (temporarily) halted, and Trump- like all presidents before him- has been embracing fossil fuels like oil and “beautiful clean coal” ever since. This seems to me to be the blind spot, the denial at the center of both parties who’s members can’t seem to see the writing on the wall, can’t see the “black snake” which holds the American Empire together and is quickly unraveling before our very eyes. Obama (and Canada’s Trudeau) may have talked about change but in the end couldn’t seem to offer much of an alternative to the fossil fuel dependent world we live in in any meaningful way. Your thoughts?
“ “From now on your name is Protester,” says the Changer, and sticks a pussy hat on the person’s head and a placard in her hands.”
Ok we need a go fund me so you can write a play based on the Changer tale and launch it through the rust belt. You could do pundits, economists, the NYT, Amazon Washington Post….. 😂😂😂😂
Holy Kamoly John,
The archetype of the changer has been running around my mind and I did not realize it. I have taken your advice and started writing a science fiction story about the rise of next civilization after our fall.
One important group of beings (that mostly are in the background) is called the Shapers. And they are responsible for creating many of the new species that are keeping human civilization in check. The Damocles Flies, the armed Ravens, the terror birds and the two trunked phants that rule the great plains. And they look like big techno dragon flies crossed with people.
I guess I should start giving Daldal some of the credit.
“To most spiritual traditions, and to Native American traditions even more than most, specific places on the land have their own unique spiritual properties and powers, which are not dependent on the people who happen to live there. ” Indeed. I remember on my first trip west from Chicago crossing the Missouri in South Dakota and popping Dvorak’s “From the New World” symphony into the cassette player. Suddenly the music made sense as the attempt by a European to appreciate and incorporate the “place spirit” of the New World into the art forms of the Old.
Years ago you said that the one thing the Bush/Obama admin needed to do was keep China and Russia apart and US policy was actually driving them together. I’m not seeing evidence that Russia and China are getting closer since Trump took office. Previously they were signing favorable trade agreements and selling resources to each other cheaply. I’m not tracking it in great detail though.
Do you see a change in the relationship between China and Russia? Is it getting better for us?
I was having a conversation this week with an administrator at my work place about President Trump and I mentioned how the economy seems to be doing better (4% GPD). She thought that the 4% was a “lie” and that any jobs the working class were capable of doing were now obsolete so nothing Trump could do would make a difference anyway. It seemed surreal to listen to and then there was this strange silence after that. Conversation done even though the silence was filled with something significant I can’t really explain. I am wondering if at some point the left will stop their world/media noise and a strange silence might happen for a bit.
This series of posts by far has been one of the most fascinating and eye opening. Thank you sincerely JMG.
One of the points which really grabbed my attention in this post today is the importance of stories. The Native American stories are very humble while presenting a realistic view of life and cycles using metaphor and symbolism which can present deep insights with more meditation. The type of stories which dominate our culture today are obsessed with glory and overcoming impossible odds alone on the strength of humankind. Despite realizing the insanity of these stories, the entertainment industry has just doubled down, creating even more unrealistic stories with even more glorified heroes overcoming apocalyptic scenarios. It’s no wonder that so many are detached and unable to deal with the realities we are facing. The parallels between our cultures actions and the stories we embrace are many. I think that story of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party was a great example of the many parallels. Perhaps their fate will resurface in later tales of pussy cats who did not learn to change but just doubled down on the actions and beliefs which proved not to work yet shrieked with insistence that it was their time.
Great question! I am also a little fascinated by this, specifically how it rose into QAnon. If you aren’t familiar, or you’ve seen the mainstream media reports but they make little sense to you, check out this intro video which summarizes most of the mythic narrative. I go back and forth on whether Q is actually being planned from some central committee of smart people well-read in esotericism, or whether it is a more unconscious product of various American archetypes. The original Pizzagate/”spirit cooking” thing was much stranger and it feels hard to attribute it to a conscious agent.
Back in 2011, when Occupy Wall Street took off, I predicted the coming of “white cargo cults” or equivalents to the Ghost Dance, insisting that we just need to do the same thing harder to prevent change. Both Trump (“drill, baby, drill!”) and QAnon seem to embody aspects of that, but I am surprised how much liberals embody it as well.
Okay, you use the example of Hitler. As has been noted, it is possible to say good things about Hitler (he served honorably in the military… he wrote a book… and of course he did make the trains run on time for a while) but since he ended his career as a deranged, homicidal dictator, I don’t feel any obligation to emphasize or even spend time acknowledging those points. Since he wasn’t alive and hurting anyone within my lifetime, I can’t say that I hate him, but if I were living in 1940, I’d certainly wish him dead, and that would NOT be because he reflected my own secret desire to exterminate Jews, gays, and Poles.
Such assumptions are sometimes true, to be sure, but they also can be thoughtstoppers to block criticism: if A condemns B for promulgating hate, it is only because A himself hates and doesn’t want to admit it. So let’s talk about how bad A’s putative hate is, and give B a pass. In the case where you have two sides both of which make similar accusations against each other, you have three choices. You can reject both charges in the same way – creating a logical trainwreck by saying that both targets don’t actually hate but are being targeted because of the other’s hate, which means both do hate. You can reject one group’s charges while accepting the other’s as being true or at least well-intentioned because that is the group you like better, also abandoning the hope of finding truth. Or you can try to determine whether the charges are objectively true without psychoanalyzing their makers.
Since you mentioned them, is babbling about Nazis allowed on this post? 😉
And it’s back to the library. I should just plan on going every Wednesday to pick up books on whatever the topic de la semaine is.
One thing struck out at me though, which is that your analysis of someone falling in hate seems to describe how an awful lot of people on the left view Trump, and how an awful lot of people on the right view Clinton. I want to focus on the left, mostly because it’s what I’ve seen close up and it’s also demonstrates something I’ve noticed more than the right: the utter inability to see anything positive in someone, the fact they project the shadow on that person gets in the way of coming up with a working response to that person.
In the case of the left, it means they can’t step back to admire Trump’s grasp of the media. And since they can’t admit he’s good there, they can’t counter it.
The Asuras are the same IE tribe of gods as the Aesir that Odin/Wotan belongs to, and were also worshipped by the earlier Vedic tradition where things were more war-centered as opposed to later Hindu developments where the Dievas are in opposition to the Asuras.
Denys, Henry Kissinger probably did suggest to Trump’s administration that they should try to make nice with Russia to stymy China. However, most of Chinese officials are not too worried: they know that Russia won’t be lured into a block to check China’s rise for reasons that have to do with deeply broken US-Russia ties, as well as with profound changes in Sino-Russian ties following Ukraine crisis.
After the sanctions, the Kremlin rushed to Beijing for support, but before doing so it did a meticulous analysis of possible side effects . As a result, many myths about dangers that China’s rise poses to Russia were disproved – those very myths that drive Kissinger’s thinking. The Kremlin now knows for sure that China doesn’t pose a threat to underpopulated Siberia and the Far East.
The Kremlin also knows that China’s copying of Russian arms is not a big problem anymore – a bigger problem is rapid advance of indigenous military R&D in China, and this is why RU producers have just a 10-15y window of opportunities in this vast market. This helps to explain why after war in Ukraine/Western sanctions Russia made a U-turn in its arms trade with China, and suddenly became comfortable with selling S-400 and Su-35.
On Central Asia, China’s rise there is driven by structural factors – Beijing is the only potential big buyer of local commodities, and CN economic footprint helps Russian agenda to sustain local regimes, decrease incentives to export CA oil & gas to Europe.
At the same time, confrontation with China would entail huge costs as Moscow has learned during Sino-Soviet split. No official border disputes & no massive CN immigration to Siberia + limited nuclear/conventional deterrence is a guarantee that CN is not a threat to RU security.
Moreover, as authoritarian regimes Russia and China exchange best practices of limiting dissent at home and share outlook on many aspects of global governance.
Last but not least, the Kremlin seems to drive just one lesson from recent U-turns in US policies: America can’t be trusted. Don’t be fooled by Putin’s praise for Donald Trump; Trump’s erratic behavior just increases RU lack of trust in US.
Bottom line: Russia is not competing with China for global dominance (US is), risks from bad relations with China are too high, those risks are better addressed by good ties with Beijing, not joining any anti-Chinese block. This truth will stand for post-Putin Russia too.
@Dewey: Similar. Within my own circles, a couple of phrases have developed–either “and I’m sure he’s kind to animals” for someone who’s not exactly A Bad Person, just not someone worth having around–or “blah blah blah capacity for innocent enjoyment is as great as any common man’s,” because too many of us know a little of Penzance. Sort of a tacit acknowledgment that not everyone’s completely evil, but that’s not really pertinent to the discussion or decision at hand.
Basically, for me: the good attributes about people cease to matter when the bad ones are bad or weighty enough. Whether “cease to matter” means “I wish them well, over there,” “I wouldn’t relieve myself on them if they were on fire, but whatever,” or “I think they’re an active danger and require some kind of action,” depends on the situation. Like, I don’t think my friend’s drama-major ex is a danger to herself or others, but I don’t care about her problems and I’m going to be dubious about social gatherings she attends and the friends who still hang out with her*; conversely, the guy who kills a lot of people because he can’t get the date he wants goes beyond all three categories listed and makes me wish I believed in eternal damnation, even if he also called his mother on her birthday every year.
That said, I think at least the tacit-acknowledgment thing is good from a…perceptual perspective?…because it makes us less likely to think oh, so-and-so can’t be a harasser/con artist/cannibal/etc., look how nice he is to his dog. And it reminds us that even the most obviously repulsive of our enemies have allies, and points on which they appeal to others*, and we have to take that into consideration, strategically speaking.
*Not necessarily in a need-to-reform way: “Of *course* B still invites A places, the poor sap,” is not an uncommon phrase.
* I mean, do I think anyone in their right mind would have ever had anything to do with L. Ron Hubbard? Lord, no. And yet, here we are.
The brilliant Native American philosopher and activist Vine Deloria Jr. offered an important hint in his most influential work, God is Red. He pointed out that in the wake of the Reformation, Western spirituality lost track of a crucial variable—the spiritual importance of place. To most spiritual traditions, and to Native American traditions even more than most, specific places on the land have their own unique spiritual properties and powers, which are not dependent on the people who happen to live there. He went on to argue that much of the reason why modern American society stumbles so blindly from one preventable disaster to another is that we have not yet learned to relate in a sacred manner to the powers of place, the spirits of the land on which we live—and that those powers remain the ones that native peoples reverenced.
An intriguing essay, JMG. Thank you.
I’m curious about the point made by Vine Deloria Jr. here. Clearly God is Red needs to go to the top of the to-read list! First, in your opinion which spiritual traditions, besides the Native Americans, have developed a systematic way of getting in touch with the powers of place and the spirits of the land?
I’m asking this because borrowing the teachings of the Native American traditions is not something they generally appreciate. Given the history of the Native Americans, I can sympathize with their point of view.
I have looked into the Findhorn literature–which might be another example–and my impression is that while that community was very successful in forming genuine relationships with local nature spirits, it all depended on several talented individuals and couldn’t be replicated elsewhere. So while it serves as a great model of what is possible, it doesn’t really provide any methodology.
This was so great. And weird to read, because I think the archetype is influencing my behavior – I’ve crossed the country 4 times in the last year, meeting different people and playing my songs for them, after staying put in NYC for 20 years. Do you have any advice for how to best manage that energy?
Also, I quoted you on Twitter 🙂
“Talking about your feelings to all and sundry guarantees that anyone who wants to manipulate you will know precisely how to do it” – John Michael Greer
I have some (perhaps important) quibbles with some points in the argument, but in general it fits with what I have come to think on my own. First, Humpty Dumpty (the prevailing establishment before the last general election) has had a great fall. Nothing will put Humpty together again. Second, many people seem to be operating in a kind of bubble. Because the bubble they’re living in is shared, they assume that the bubble is all that there really is. With that in mind, hare are some thoughts on some of the comments.
“Would there, theoretically at least, be a rational functional way for society as a whole to deal with the Changer? In our current situation, do the resisters, as futile as their goals are, actually serve a purpose by not allowing the change to spin completely out of control? I suppose there is little for the rest of us to do but hang on tight to our sanity and get used to chaos.”
The point of the Changer, as I understand it, is that the Changer is not a god of Chaos. Things maybe spinning out of control for some like-minded people, but they are going to be left with their paddles, their antlers, their hats, their whatever, permanently. They’ll get to keep them, forever. That’s part of the story.
“‘There Is An Alternative—in fact, more than one—and that in itself shows that the enforced consensus of the last forty years is shattering around us.’
“is reflecting the development of two different and largely parallel, non-intersecting alternatives and worldview coalescing around the divisions in the US that exist along urban/rural (and class that goes along with this), religious, linguistic, ethnic, religious, and racial fault lines. These two visions for a route forward are just about as incompatible as the two visions that competed in the first civil war.”
I think the fault lines in keeping with this latest installment are about change vs status quo. I think people will sort themselves into camps regardless of religion, language, ethnicity, etc. It already happened in the last election, e.g., with legal Hispanic immigrants voting against illegal immigration.
“Also, I find it interesting that the archetype you pick up on with regard to Trump is one that specifically does *not* have the Grand Finale wherein the struggle of forces is culminated. This does seem at odds with the fundamental character of the American psyche generally …”
Rudolf Steiner said that people are tied to place. He predicted that in time Americans would begin to loosen their European roots (those to whom those roots apply) and start to become more like Native Americans. If Steiner was correct, then this, interestingly, may be the first large sign of that.
One thing puzzled us discussing this post. What you say sounds plausible but if the Trump policies are disadvantaging the “managerial aristocracy” then which section of US society are they benefiting. The downward pressure on wages and benefits is not going to benefit your own working or excluded classes. You say that old-money families and tech-stock gadzillionaires are rallying to the side of the beavers and the deer. How would you characterise those who, perhaps only during the remaining 7 years of the changer’s walk, will benefit from his progress?
I’ve been re-reading recently a set of comic novels about social change and the rise of Thatcherism in England – the Rapstone Chronicles by John Mortimer. They’re mostly harmless entertainment but they do a good job of skewering certain aspects of the British class system and how that fed into the Thatcher phenomenon and on into the Tony Blair/Social Democracy/New Labor response.
I see a lot of parallels between Thatcher and Trump – both right wingers, nationalists, strongly pro-business, populists (to some degree) and strongly against the fancy elite/upper middle class mores of their day. Thatcher was a huge force for change in England as well. But she of course ushered in neo-liberalism in England, while Trump seems to be trying to tone some of its results down over here. I’m still not sure whether Trump is a trimmer or a changer. Thatcher had that no-nonsense, never going to compromise, the-lady’s not for turning energy. And by the end of the 80s England was a different place. Clause Four Socialism – the government owns the means of production – was dead in England and the best the left could do henceforward was Tony Blair.
Trump has all that same changer energy, but I’m still thinking he will shy away from doing too much to directly change the underpinnings of the economy, to fundamentally walk the USA away from empire, from a deck stacked in favor of capital and against labor. But he could easily be (and I think is being) a force that highlights the weaknesses of the current system, divides people into camps about it and so weakens the system’s foundations through spreading dissension and disagreement. And so he helps to break the spell, without necessarily passing a boat load of Trumpian New Deal type legislation.
Jack, if you’ve been reading my essays for any length of time, you should already know the answer. It’s what the statue of Apollo said to the German poet: you must change your life. Real action in the face of our ecological predicament will only take place once the activists lead the way by changing their own lifestyles to sharply decrease the burden they place on the planet. That’s not the only thing that has to be done, I get that, but until that happens nobody will take environmental activism seriously, and none of the other necessary steps will be possible.
Yorkshire, myths are like that. They don’t necessarily fill in all the blanks, because — being myths — they are structured according to the patterns of the deep places of the mind, not according to conscious reason.
Michael, talk to your Aboriginal peoples. They’re the ones who know the myths of the Australian land.
Owen, of course it’s up in the air, and a return to democratic nationalism is only one of the options. I’m trying to make the case for it as forcefully as I can to encourage people to consider it as an option, and work for it.
William, there are a lot of people like you. The first major politician who figures out how to appeal to you and the many others who share your disillusionment will overturn a lot of applecarts.
Degringolade, good! The Changes are sly that way… 😉
Pam, you’re welcome and thank you.
Divadab, you have more freedom than you think. I’ve never owned a car or had a driver’s license, and I’m not exactly living in a cave in the forest, you know; my apartment is in a walkable neighborhood with a lot of the things I need, and so I just walk a lot, take the bus and train, and occasionally carpool. It’s much, much easier than our popular culture makes it seem. As for your broader question, remember that people like you and me were worshiping in the Lascaux caves only 17,000 years ago, which is less than an eyeblink in evolutionary time; in terms of the deep places of our minds, we basically haven’t changed since then in any way that matters.
Bruce, the resisters are part of the myth, so when the Changer archetype gets activated there will inevitably be people who get sucked into that role. If our society hadn’t been desperately resisting necessary changes for the last forty years, we would have had a much less traumatic encounter with the archetype, but we didn’t make that choice and so here he is.
Nacht Gurke, a healthy society establishes and maintains balanced relationships with its archetypes, partly through its religious traditions, partly through its folk culture, partly through a willingness on the part of its privileged classes to move with the need for change when that arrives. We don’t have healthy societies in the modern industrial West, so we get clobbered over the head by archetypes we’ve ignored too long. It’s quite possible that Obama’s constant meaningless babble about “change” served as a summoning; he talked change and then changed nothing, and that sort of doublebind is a good way to generate a collective psychological crisis.
Patricia M, that’s my take on it, at least. Keep in mind that the US didn’t start the Second World War; it was set in motion by Europeans, for whom the Great Big Battle has been a core mythologem since ancient times, and we were brought into it by the Japanese, who have a very different set of core mythic narratives that mostly involve failing heroically. (There’s a great book by Ivan Morris called The Nobility of Failure that talks about this; all the great heroes of Japanese legend failed gallantly and died, and Japan’s entire strategy in the Pacific war can be seen as a way of acting out that pattern.) Since the US is now in the process of disengaging itself from its global empire, our current crisis seems likely to play out via American archetypes rather than European ones. No, I wasn’t looking forward to Ragnarok either…
Alison, excellent! To Jung, images and metaphors that come suddenly to mind and don’t necessarily make rational sense are messages from the unconscious. Picture cavitation in your mind, let your thoughts play around it, and over time the message will become clearer.
John, I should probably do another update post on the peak oil situation, shouldn’t I? The metrics that matter are that we’re still pumping, year after year, more petroleum than we discover, and having to cycle more and more of the resulting energy back into the process of extracting it. The cycle that results should be familiar by now: a price spike, demand destruction, a frantic scurrying to bring in even lower-grade resources than before, a price crash, a period when prices stay low, then the ragged upward movement that leads in due time to another price spike. We’re in the ragged upward movement now.
Migrant, it might. Speak of the devil and he appears; speak of the Changer — especially when you babble about change and then change nothing at all that matters — and it’s quite possible that the same principle applies.
Bori, as the US withdraws from its imperial role, there are going to be huge (or, ahem “yuuuuuge”) shifts in the distribution of power in the world, and some of those will play out on the battlefield or in other, equally destructive ways. There’s also the ecological situation, which is not good; all those years of the Right insisting that the environment does’t matter, while the Left made all the right noises but did nothing to change things, have piled up a really hefty bill, some of which is coming due right now. But I think you’ll be disappointed if you wait for the One Big Battle that’s so central a theme in Old World culture.
Homer, thanks for this! It’s an excellent book and deserves far more attention than it’s gotten.
Emmanuel, good question — I’ll have to mull over that one for a while, I don’t know of a single anthology that covers the immense diversity of Native American myth, but one place to start is the website I linked to in the post: it has book recommendations as well as quite a few stories. One other suggestion I’d offer is that you might want to start with the myths of the people who lived where you live now, to get a sense of the specific powers and narratives that are rooted in the land you walk on.
Patricia M, too funny. Yes, it’s behind a paywall; Pravda on the Potomac doesn’t like ad blockers.
Jeffrey, if Wall Street is climbing aboard Trump’s bandwagon, it’s all over for the soi-disant Resistance. Their only hope was to maintain elite solidarity against the insurgency from below.
Angriff, not at all. American politics is always a head-on collision between incompatible political ideals — that’s why we sprouted a two-party system early on, and have kept it despite regular changes in what the parties were and what they stood for. The result is that neither side gets more than part of what they want, and that in turn keeps the country from running off the rails. Socialism unchecked results in a complete mess; so does unchecked capitalism; but if you have one party pushing social democracy and the other party pushing small government and laissez-faire economics, you get something that offends the bejesus out of ideologues but actually more or less works.
David, I’d start with Man and His Symbols, which Jung intended as a general introduction for the ordinary reader, then go on to Civilization in Transition, which includes the essay “Wotan,” then dive into the deep end with Symbols of Transformation. As for the desire for One Big Battle, it’s very deeply rooted in the cultures that many of our ancestors brought over from Europe, part of the pseudomorphosis we’re still some centuries from outgrowing. Thanks for buying the books, btw — I hope to have an announcement on the third volume soon.
Emblematic, the leftward end of the privileged classes is very much into various kinds of pop spirituality as a source of entertainment and stress relief, and the “spirit cooking” business was just an offshoot of that. It was interesting, though, how that and various weirder accusations went viral in the campaign’s last days.
Mike, orthodox psychology functions these days very much as the reality police, enforcing a rigid definition of what’s real and what’s not. One of the reasons I find Jungian psychology so useful is that it makes room for things such as synchronicities, which I also experience all the time. (May I whisper a secret? So does everybody else. They just learned to ignore them, or not to talk about them.)
Daniil, my take is that it wasn’t that the chaos magicians summoned the Changer; it’s that he basically summoned them, and worked partly through them and partly through others in order to manifest in and around Trump. You’re right, though, that an American archetype doesn’t get a lot of traction in France! As for synchronicities and the like around the rise of Nazism, Charlotte Beradt’s harrowing book Third Reich of Dreams might be a good place to start looking.
Jbucks, excellent. This is what Spengler called pseudomorphosis, the situation you get when the forms and habits of a foreign high culture are imposed on a society with a very different deep structure. The United States is not a European country; it’s got a more or less Europeanized elite, while down on the ground in flyover country, something much more deeply rooted in the land governs. So, yes, the Europeanized elite is yearning for the pattern they know, the One Big Battle that settles everything once and for all, and getting more and more hysterical when it doesn’t show up.
Buzzy, exactly. I’ll be doing a post on this sometime fairly soon.
I would suggest that “Storytelling IS one of the fine arts of Native American culture,” since that clearly hasn’t stopped being the case. The many well-told Coyote stories I heard growing up in New Mexico made a huge impression of my psyche, even if there was something lost in the translation into the colonial languages of English and Spanish.
Overall, a most interesting conclusion to the series. Thanks for your hard work in putting it together.
JMG, You wrote, “He went on to argue that much of the reason why modern American society stumbles so blindly from one preventable disaster to another is that we have not yet learned to relate in a sacred manner to the powers of place, the spirits of the land on which we live—and that those powers remain the ones that native peoples reverenced.” Agreed. And point taken about the precedence of gods and archetypes. But I wonder if the point might be a bit simpler, that our collective failure to effectively relate spiritually to place makes us unbalanced and identity insecure. I could see this condition making us more vulnerable to the influence of less helpful archetypes, like the Shadow for example.
JMG – This is truly fascinating. On the synchonicity front, early on election night my husband (an operative mage) was observing cloud formations in the moonlight. At that point the election had not yet appeared to turn in Trump’s favor. He saw a clown face on the clouds. As he watched, the clown morphed into a skull. He knew at that moment that Trump had won, and he went to bed. No need to watch incoming results. I can’t help but think this was related to what you’re exploring and recounting here.
Thank you for the recommendations. As Will said: It’s back to the library 😉
Re ancestral yearnings for the Final Battle, I wonder if I might have an extra helping of that, given that my maternal grandmother and her family immigrated from Germany in 1922.
And you’re most welcome re the books. Very much looking forward to the release of the next installment!
I thank you for this series – I never imagined that the final installment would focus on a Native American archetype. That’s what I’ve come to love about your writing: the way that you bring together a diversity of mythologies, psychologies, occult traditions, and historical parallels to make sense of current events and possible future trajectories. You do have a power of persuasion, and sometimes I have to remind myself after reading your essays not to put you on some sort of pedestal, or to attempt to bend my way of thinking to match yours.
My thoughts on Trump’s three policy pillars:
End of free trade agreements: fully support
Pruning government regulations: generally support
Having witnessed the metastatic growth of bureaucratic regulations and “necessary paperwork” that no one reads over my 33 year life, I long for a return to a time when a house can be sold with a handshake and a few signatures, or taxes can be filed without understanding an encyclopedia worth of deductions and credits that almost requires professional assistance.
However, I do think there ought to be a maximum acceptable level of lead in drinking water, or of sulfur dioxide that a power plant can emit. I think a good compromise would be to delegate as much regulation as possible to state and local levels, with federal agencies serving less as nationwide enforcers and more as clearinghouses for relevant science and recommendations.
End of tacit encouragement of illegal immigration
This is a hard one for me, because (to state the obvious) illegal immigrants are people too, and I have to ask myself how I would wish to be treated were I in their position. From one perspective, the extraction of wealth and reduction of wages created by illegal immigration is no more than the US deserves, having played a major role in creating the grinding poverty in Latin America that drives people there to seek a better life to the north or to work 30 years below minimum wage and send the earnings home to family. Perhaps our retreat from empire will help to reduce this regional wealth discrepancy.
Furthermore, as a lifelong inhabitant of agricultural regions, I recognize that undocumented workers are immensely skilled and efficient, and that there is no available or qualified labor pool of US citizens to replace them should they be forced to leave.
If I were to craft policy, I would offer a path to citizenship for those already here and gainfully employed – and their family members to include nonworking spouses and children. This would also entail a much-needed increase in the valuation of agricultural workers in general as those workers would become eligible for minimum wage, benefits, union membership, etc.
At the same time, I would crack down on hiring of newly arrived undocumented workers, and I would increase border patrols with instructions to turn back would-be illegal immigrants with a kind but firm “no” – no family separations, detention centers, or criminal prosecutions (except for repeat crossers and drug carriers).
This must all be done while preserving or creating channels to allow asylum seekers – those who fear for their lives or safety in their home countries – an avenue for entry and a path to citizenship.
That’s a long-winded way of saying that I could easily have gotten behind a movement with the same policy goals but with a different person leading the charge. I think that many people feel this way, and if the changes enacted by the Changer are to stick he will need to be followed by someone ideologically similar but more, well, likable.
I deeply dislike Donald Trump. Not hate exactly; I can admire his strategy and his willingness to break global norms by e.g. negotiating directly with North Korea.
Part of this may be Shadow projection. I am one who was raised to believe that love is most important and hate is an aberration. I was bullied, beat up in school, never fought back, and I came to resent the hateful ones, those willing to attack others for their own gain. Those kids grew up in troubled homes and were probably acting out their own Shadow projection against one who preached love.
Part of it is the way he belittles and attacks his opponents, seeking to inspire futile outrage rather than conversation and negotiation.
Part of it is that nothing sticks to him. Allegations of sexual assault at a time when everyone from Bill Cosby to Garrison Keillor has taken a fall? No big deal. Talking to Russian intelligence to get dirt on your political opponent? Not a problem. Using public dollars to confer presidential security on a private golf resort? Employing family members as White House advisors? The list goes on, and this in a country that nearly impeached a president for having consensual sex on the side and lying about it.
Part of it is his Cabinet full of billionaires who have little to no expertise, and the way he has managed to openly flaunt and increase his wealth while convincing those who struggle to put food on the table that he is their warrior.
A significant part of it is his affiliation with the Republican party and tacit acceptance of all of their traditional positions where they don’t conflict with his Big Three. Anti-abortion, anti-gun regulation, climate change denial, pro-resource extraction on public lands, pro-shrinking areas off limits to extraction, anti-universal healthcare, etc. My personal stance is in opposition to all of this.
Fascinating as always. You will probably get a lot of push back on this one as many will have a hard time with the archetype based predictions. There seems little doubt that deep subconscious archetypes shape a lot of human thought and action. The question of how shared archetypes develop and how they can be used to see into the future is much more complex and debatable.
At the end of the day, I think that while Trump has played to an archetype of the changer, he will lose control of it sooner rather than later. He is trying to steer a storm that is much more chaotic than this essay reflects. I suspect Trump will lose the next election, although I am not particularly optimistic that we’ll come up with a substantially better option. I suspect the managerial class will regain power and try to get the lid back on the can-of-worms that Trump broke open. Their flailing as business as usual fails could be quite destructive, and I hope we are prepared both for flailing by Trump and his successors as he loses control as well as flailing by Obama/Clinton and their followers who can’t restore the unstable system they proclaim they will restore.
By the way, the changer seems to have related versions in the strongman military leader who leads his people out of difficulty of many authoritarian imaginations and the savior in many Christian imaginations. I would be interested in your take on these related archetypal visions of the leader who brings change.
My prediction is that when Donald Trump gets replaced in 2025, it will be by Donald Trump Junior.
One synchronicity I don’t recall seeing mentioned in the series or comments was the reviving of the word “kakistocracy” and its subsequent circulation around the left around the time of the 2016 election to describe Trump. Wikipedia (I know, I know) has a decent blurb about it, including the timing. My first encounter with it was at Thanksgiving that year.
It’s only off by one letter, and I thought it worth a mention.
JMG, archetypes make for wonderful prediction tools don’t they? And like all good predictive tools, are excellent at explaining the present.
Let me see if you agree with the following predictive tool classification. What follows is the type of model and its mode, and I have neglected many sub-categories:
* Physical Model — causal
* Divination — acausal
* Historical Model — cyclical
* Archetypal — non-linear
* Different this time — bullsh*t
Happypandatao, hmm! Do you happen to know if Shri Rohit Arya has discussed this in print somewhere? Videos bore me to tears, but I’d be interested in reading more of his analysis.
StarNinja, yep — Raven plays the Changer role in a lot of Northwest Coast traditions, especially north of the Salish country. Those are some great myths, too. As for the coyotes, they’re doing exactly what a smart, successful generalist species does in a time of ecological chaos — expanding rapidly and figuring out how to exploit new niches as those open. They’ll do very well in the deindustrial world…and of course so will the divine being whose energy they so well symbolize.
Happypandatao, back a good many thousand years ago, there was a religious schism among the ancestors of the Indo-Europeans. Some of them took to worshiping the devas and considered the asuras evil, others took to worshiping the asuras and considered the devas to be evil. That’s why the Persian god of light is Ahura Mazda (Ahura is the Old Persian equivalent of asura) and why the Norse worshiped the Aesir, while the Greeks and Romans worshiped theoi and dei (the Greek and Latin equivalent of devas). There was a lot of mixing and matching later on; it’s a source of some amusement to me that the French words Dieu, God, and diable, devil, come from the identical Indo-European root! Thus there’s a lot of complexity in talking about devas and asuras outside of a strictly Hindu context…
Drakonus, it’s also possible that Kek, the god who brings the sunrise, is the (or an) ancient Egyptian equivalent of the Changer…
Chad, none of this surprises me at all. Were you reading my blog back in the days when I used San Francisco and Los Angeles to explain the difference between what Rudolf Steiner called Luciferic and Ahrimanic forms of evil? It’s just like SF to embrace abstract ideological perfection at the cost of turning the physical reality of the city into one vast and squalid turd-splattered slum.
RPC, I think it belongs in a different book, but we’ll see.
Kurt, without fossil fuels to prop it up, our entire way of life will come crashing down. We could have weaned ourselves off fossil fuels if we’d followed through on the promising developments of the 1970s, but we did the opposite, boosting our fossil fuel consumption per capita way above what it was in that decade. Now our politicians are trapped; keeping the beast fed requires more and more drastic measures, and even those are just a matter of buying a little more time at the cost of an even worse outcome down the road. Any president who let peak oil and peak coal run their course would be out of office at the next election, and any party that did the same thing would suffer an equivalent fate, because fossil fuels are what keep most Americans living in conditions better than those on Native American reservations — and you know as well as I do how many middle class Americans would be willing to accept a drastic decline in their standards of living in order to give their descendants a better future.
Denys, why don’t you try your hand at writing the play?
Jim, that sounds really interesting. See if you can find a collection of Takelma stories — they’re the people whose Changer is Daldal the dragonfly, and they have a lot of very fine stories you might want to explore. I learnt Takelma legends while living in Ashland, OR, which is part of their territory; I make a habit of learning the native legends of any place I live, to get a sense of the local energies and so be able to treat them in a sacred manner.
RPC, works for me.
Denys, nope. We screwed that pooch good and proper. At this point the Sino-Russian alliance is an enduring thing, and over the next half century or so every other nation in the world will have to reorient their foreign policy to align with it or oppose it, the way every nation in the world had to orient their foreign policy to align with the US or oppose it during our era of empire.
Northern Kiara, I suspect you’re right. People have been insisting since the 1950s that robots were going to take away all the jobs of the working class any day now, and it’s interesting to see that claim being recycled now, as a frantic attempt to deny what’s begun to happen in the US economy.
Prizm, I could see it. In fact, why don’t you try your hand at writing that story? The sooner such stories are written and told, the better for us all…
Dewey, if you’ll catch your breath and go back and read what I wrote, you’ll find that I already addressed that. It’s perfectly possible to oppose someone, even to want them dead, without projecting the archetype of the Shadow on that person. It’s precisely when the person doing the hating is making charges that are grossly disproportionate to the actual behavior of the person they hate that you can tell that (a) an archetype is involved, and (b) the things being attributed to the hated Other are actually things the hater can’t stand about himself or herself. If you’d been around in 1940 and hated Hitler on the basis of things he’d actually done and said, that would be a perfectly normal, healthy hatred; if you hated him the way he hated Jews — for things that had no actual basis in their behavior or intentions — then you’d have been caught up in a Shadow projection. I thought that was all very clear in what I wrote, and I’m not sure why you misunderstood it.
Will, nope. Intelligent comments about Nazis, relevant to the subject of the post, are fine, but I tend to delete babbling of any kind! 😉
As for the Shadow projection on both sides, bingo! If you can’t see anything admirable in your enemy, you can’t understand his or her strengths, and so you pretty reliably lose.
Samurai_47, welcome to the single most difficult challenge we in the United States face: the challenge of evolving our own traditions of harmony with the land and the powers of the land. By my estimate, it’s going to take us about five more centuries and a lot of suffering to get there. One of the reasons I embraced the nature spirituality of the Druid Revival is that it’s an effective stopgap — it’s nothing like as potent as a fully realized indigenous nature spirituality would be, but it’s what’s available now.
Aron, just ride with it and see where it takes you.
Spear, interesting — I didn’t know Steiner had said that. Jung had a very similar comment, which I’ll have to track down soon.
RogerCO, I think you may have misunderstood what I wrote. Trump’s policies are shutting off the downward pressure on wages and benefits, by using tariffs to make offshoring less profitable, and by shutting down the influx of illegal immigrants. Thus people in the working classes are already benefiting from more jobs and the beginnings of upward pressure on wages and benefits.
Mark, I don’t think Trump necessarily means to bring about a post-imperial America. I think that he’s going to end up doing it whether he intends it or not, and some of his policies — especially the end of one-way free trade agreements and the pressure on the EU to take over the costs of its own defense — are accelerating that process to the point at which it’s going to be impossible to stop. It’s precisely by the repeal of regulations, rather than the enactment of new laws, that he seems to be having the biggest impact so far — but we’ll see.
Absolutely fascinating narrative arc! I’ve long been uncomfortable with synchronicities in my own life, I’ve sort of considered them as dark omens. That they’re highlighting something mysterious I need to focus on in my personal development is a big help in figuring out how to properly relate to them.
I did not make the Changer connection two years ago, though I’ve noticed that archetype cropping up lately – I quite enjoyed Disney’s recent oeuvre featuring Maui, but then I was much less familiar with the source material than for most myths they water down. Now I really want to read on in your Hali series and see whether Tsathoggua displays similarities with other changer myths! I hadn’t been planning on buying a second copy, but I’m considering it now…
Tech bros have an apocalypse story the call The Singularity, where positive feedback loops favoring electronic control and accelerating innovation abstract The Elect away into an eternal transhuman virtual reality, where increasing knowledge leads to ever-increasing enlightenment and bliss, much like C. S. Lewis’s heaven in Narnia if you were to replace the exhiliration of running with the joyful triumph of a successful Wikipedia edit. Meanwhile, the acceleration will continue to drive ever-more-rapid acceleration, until the very nature of reality breaks down around us all.
But, as commentators like Clay Shirky have aptly observed, the vessel that contains and supports this crowd is propelled by screws that only function when embedded in, intimately connected to, and able to drive against human attention. If the engine keeps driving harder, that human attention ends up breaking its contact with the driving surfaces, and then (at a small scale) rebounding against them.
My interpretation of your vision is that the Internet is driving so hard to accelerate, that miniscule subcultures are beginning to cavitate against it.
RE: your response to Owen:
Is Burkean Conservatism similar to Democratic Nationlism. I have some more reading to do, but I remember that you described yourself as a Burkean Conservative and explained that political philosophy, and I read that Democratic Nationalism would be in line with the politics of Alexander Hamilton. Are Hamilton and Burke similar in political attitudes? I assume there is some compatibility as you wrote: “I’m trying to make the case for it as forcefully as I can to encourage people to consider it as an option, and work for it.” I’ll keep reading, but if you will point me in the right direction..pardon the pun… please?
I appreciate this essay very much.
Has made me wonder about Britain’s relationship with the sea as well as with our land – certainly part of the mythos.
Jung and synchrony makes sense at a personal level for me.
The great mental strain within collectives seems intriguing.
My google desktop cannot find it but I remember posting years back on ADR a a copy of a letter from the journal Nature detailing the extraordinary resemblance of time intervals of the Shoemaker-Levy comet fragments successive hits on Jupiter and the timing of one of (the first?) moon landing sequence of events. You commented iirc that Jung would have been interested.
Hmm … science, technology and a dead-end and the mental strain that goes with it? I mentioned at the time the universe seems to have a quirky sense of humour.
Dear Mr Greer
This is probably a cheeky question as I know you are reluctant to comment on what is going on in other countries for understandable reasons. However with your involvement with Druidry, and extensive knowledge of the golden dawn, Dion Fortune etc you must have some knowledge of the myths and legends of Britain. I wonder if you have any idea what archetype is manifesting itself in Britain. Like America Britain is ongoing some profound changes like Brexit and Corbyn which is really confounding the establishment. It was probably the example of Brexit that helped to propel Trump to power so it may have some relevance to what is going on you side of the pond. It would be nice to hear if you have a view on it.
Thanks for the intriguing four part series. It is among your best writing and deserving of a book-length treatment. When you wrote your books on collapse and progress, can you imagine if you had thrown Jungian psychology and the occult into the mix? Gary Lachman’s new book (Dark Star Rising) that is related to the subject at hand, but I think your treatment is more big picture than Lachman. I wish more would do the same. Speaking of Lachman, I think if people read his book Secret Teachers of the Western World, it would give individuals a pretty solid, but not perfect, base understanding of Western esoteric thought.
What I find a bit confusing from some of the more “Leftist” chaos magicians (though certainly not all) is their fascination with Futurism, simply another variety of the Religion of Progress. Jason Louv is convinced we should and will be headed down the whole Transhumanism direction (and colonies on Mars), which strikes me as odd, because if one’s goal is to merge consciousness and machine so that eternal life can be reached, wouldn’t that automatically assume that these type of chaos magicians don’t believe in an eternal soul or consciousness. Why do it if it already exists? Just to pad the probabilities? Gordon White strikes me as better (speaking of one of the few voices mixing politics and the occult), though I know you two have some disagreements, namely the effect of resource limits today. In any case, thanks again. I don’t always agree on your line of thinking, but you always make people think and always make me question established lines of thought.
Your Native American frog:
“Determined to help the woman they dove into the water to get mud from the bottom of the seas. One after another the animals tried and failed. Finally, Little Toad tried and when he reappeared his mouth was full of mud. The animals took it and spread it on the back of Big Turtle. The mud began to grow and grow and grow until it became the size of North America.”
Three quick-ish items, plus my thanks for another mind-expanding post…
1. When I first started reading this week’s post, I remembered I wanted to set aside a certain book to finish reading this weekend. Then, you specifically mentioned God Is Red in a post about synchronicities. Okay, okay, I can take a hint…
2. Not sure if this is more of an Other Blog question, but how do archetypes relate to egregores? Are egregores just shorter-lived archetypes that apply to a single group?
3. I can’t articulate a cogent argument why, but the notion of a new culture arising out of North America over the long term made me feel more hopeful for the future. Maybe it stems from a gut feeling that this land is somehow “good” (though not perfect, since Eden is a myth). Granted, in some ways, what emerged from Europe — today’s relative pacifism being a pleasant deviation from the historical norm, for example — doesn’t exactly set a high bar to clear in order to be an improvement…
Well, I hope that the Changer leaves my family in the lower North America safe from too much chaos. My children and grandchildren are still down there among the Trump lovers and haters. Fools, all.
Re. the beings who “just keep doing whatever they were doing when the Changer arrives”… As the computer program replied when asked what distinguished machines from human beings: That reminds me of a story.
This is a well-known koan in the Zen Buddhist world and is much discussed for the lessons it provides about how everyone is subject to causality. The whole point of the training is to be free of karmic effects–one of the phrases we chant, which I guess could be regarded as a kind of positive magic invocation.
“Once when Hyakujo delivered some Zen lectures an old man attended them, unseen by the monks. At the end of each talk when the monks left so did he. But one day he remained after they had gone, and Hyakujo asked him: “Who are you?”
“The old man replied: “I am not a human being, but I was a human being when the Kashapa Buddha preached in this world. I was a Zen master and lived on this mountain. At that time one of my students asked me whether or not the enlightened man is subject to the law of causation. I answered him: ‘The enlightened man is not subject to the law of causation.’ For this answer evidencing a clinging to absoluteness I became a fox for five hundred rebirths, and I am still a fox. Will you save me from this condition with your Zen words and let me get out of a fox’s body? Now may I ask you: Is the enlightened man subject to the law of causation?”
“Hyakujo said: “The enlightened man is one with the law of causation.”
“At the words of Hyakujo the old man was enlightened. “I am emancipated,” he said, paying homage with a deep bow. “I am no more a fox, but I have to leave my body in my dwelling place behind this mountain. Please perform my funeral as a monk.” Then he disappeared.
“The next day Hyakujo gave an order through the chief monk to prepare to attend the funeral of a monk. “No one was sick in the infirmary,” wondered the monks. “What does our teacher mean?”
“After dinner Hyakujo led the monks out and around the mountain. In a cave, with his staff he poked out the corpse of an old fox and then performed the ceremony of cremation.
“That evening Hyakujo gave a talk to the monks and told them this story about the law of causation.”
This case appears in several major koan collections which were compiled in China roughly 900 years ago, based on the lives of earlier teachers during the so-called Golden Age of Zen, the 6th through 8th centuries.
By the way, do you know Lewis Hyde’s book “Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art”? I was just thinking of it and even brought up an old file with notes on it I was going to include in a post, but ran out of time. One more minor synchronicity–
I don’t know if nationalism is an archetype, but I do think that Trump represents a resurgence of that notion. I got into any number of “discussions” on PoliticalWire regarding nationalism — which the others tended to consider as an unmitigated evil. I kept trying to argue that a polity which does not control the flow of goods and people over its borders is not a functional nation-state. It took me a bit to realize that most of the people I was conversing with did not want such a thing as a functional nation-state to exist. Once I understood that, the tone and (non)resolution of the conversations made a good deal more sense to me. TPP (specifically, the ISDS clauses) was one attempt at whittling away at the nation-state which Trump successfully opposed (and to his credit, Sanders opposed as well). I hope we see more of that push-back, personally.
In any event, much of what the Resistance (TM) has labelled racism is simply nationalism. (Of course, many of those folks see no difference between the two. I tried once to point out that Scottish nationalism, as one example, had nothing to do with Scots proclaiming themselves a superior subset of humanity and everything to do with them wishing to control their own political destiny independent of the British government. You can likely guess how far that got me.) If we are going to successfully transition to a post-imperial existence, then (re)establishing that control over our borders is a vitally important thing. I wonder though, if the differing stories of the different lands which make up the United States are not going to be a factor in those portions going in differing directions in the longer term.
Your mention of Gettysburg and the Civil War reminded me of William Faulkner’s comments on his fellow Southerners’ attitudes toward the War. He said something to the effect that they each cherished a moment of time before Pickett’s Charge, when it could have gone differently. He also had a deep sense of the fact that White ill-treatment of both the Indians and the Blacks had left a pollution upon the land.
I think that one reason Americans have failed to wed themselves to the land is that the Northern Europeans arrived in the greatest numbers just as fossil fuel was breaking the bond to the land. Earlier immigrants wanted to find a place and settle down. Witness the Mexican settlements in the southwest. This was also true of some other immigrant groups who migrated in family groups and settled in specific areas to farm: the Amish, most Japanese immigrants before WWII, Norwegians. Other groups were inherently migritory–the Chinese and the Irish following the railroads and other heavy labor projects, the Cornish and Welsh miners heading for the gold and silver mines, the Basques imported as shepherds, the Italians, Greeks and Portuguese (later the Vietnamese) as fishers. But later generations seemed just to pause on the way to somewhere that might be better. Mrs. Trollope commented on Americans as a people who lived in apartments and boarding houses and hotels when she visited in the 1800s. The boom and bust cycle of capitalism made pulling up stakes and looking for a new opportunity seem like normal behavior. Then WWII sent those who weren’t in combat into the factories to supply the war effort. And the post war book kept them in those then secure and well paid industrial jobs. Meanwhile the white collar workers were expected to go where ever ATT or IBM or State Farm needed them. Now the very idea of staying in a place because it is _your_ place seems foreign and sentimental. Only stupid yokels would stay home in the ‘holler’ rather than uprooting to go where the jobs are. Never mind that selling the family farm in a depressed area wouldn’t net enough cash to survive more than a few months in the nigh rent areas of economic growth. I have actually argued this point with a group I attend, discussing New Yorker magazine articles about people in the coal country and other economically depressed areas. The other members of the group are mostly managerial class retirees.
I suspect that Americans won’t be able to really find the earth spirits until we can commit to one place for long enough to know the seasons, the plants, the animals, the directions the winds come from. And that won’t happen until the fossil fuel is gone and we are forced to settle. Like larval sponges we are drifting animals now and will become something different when we attach and become sponges. And there will probably be large parts of the continent that will support nomadic cultures again, herding buffalo/cattle hybrids along with goats and llamas, and who knows what else. Maybe transport camels will get another chance. Both settled farmers and nomads learn about their land–or die. But these things take time. I have been living on and off on the same piece of suburban property for about fifteen years and I only this year managed to spot and identify a bird I had been hearing every morning for most of that time.
It gets me wondering, though, what if there were a really proficient mage – I’ll call her Jean – who was well versed in mythology, a bit of a history wonk and interested in current affairs.
Jean looks out at the current political landscape, the ongoing climatological crises and the all-consuming power of consumerism, the waste of energy and materials in the name of empire and war and thinks “This beautiful country I love is being trashed and the people thrown under a bus. If nothing changes civil war 2.0 will be upon us and all the good things in life will come crashing down with it, I have to do something about this!”
Jean does a lot of meditation, divination and praying to her gods and slowly a plan forms, one that opens out the possibilities and closes off the route to civil war.
The plan involves setting up a reasonably popular blog to get a sizeable number of people thinking her way, to prepare the ground and to bounce ideas around. It also requires some major magical workings, to direct the right forces and to find a champion, someone who can take on the establishment and win. Someone who can pile upstream and bring about the needed change, turning the tables on the establishment.
Then she notices a group doing some primitive magic to promote their hope for change and which requires just a little bit of a nudge, a little bit of help for their champion to become hers. As simple dabblers in magic they’ve left the door wide open, so for a competent mage like Jean, moving in and redirecting things a little couldn’t be easier.
The presidential election is won, her champion, one Donald J. Trump, starts up the river…
I read Seven Sermons to the Dead by Jung literally just a few days ago. Ever since I was wondering what you might think of it. How does it relate to 20th century occultism, gnosticism, or maybe druidry itself. Would love to hear your thought on it someday, I found it very well written, full of interesting concepts metaphorical or otherwise
I think your comment points out something I’ve thought for a long time: WW II was not the Crisis – the Depression was the crisis. All of the financial and so forth controls were to keep the Great Depression from happening again. There was a separate set of things (NATO, United Nations) to keep another world war at bay. Without WW II, the Depression would have been a perfectly adequate Crisis.
Trump has mostly been working on what he came in with. When the world-wide resource crises produced by Michael for 2020 or thereabouts hit, we’ll see some things that aren’t necessarily in line with that.
Re: Russian Folklore
I don’t know much about it, but one thing I think I remember is a character who wanders around asking people what’s in the basket they’re carrying. When they lie about it, he taps his staff and says “as you say, so it is” and then they find rocks instead of bread.
Something I’ve thought for a long time about the European Union’s problems: trying to absorb Eastern European countries is a mistake, because they’re simply too different to integrate.
Thank you for this segment. There are massive changes in the works, and this shows some of the mechanisms that will bring them about.
Here’s a question I meant to ask w/r/t last week’s post, but have waited until now to ask: how are the post numbers on the chans assigned? Are they sequential? Random? Is it really true that the poster has no way of knowing what post number will be assigned? Is there any way to influence the post number assignments other than “PFM” (an engineering term)?
Speaking of Resisters to the Changers, I am glad to hear you renewed your ham radio license. You might also want to find some old mimeograph machines in good working order as well. It looks like you (and we) may soon enough need them, for old-fashioned “samizdat” publications.
In A Corporatist System Of Government, Corporate Censorship Is State Censorship
Former FBI agent says tech companies must “silence” sources of “rebellion”
The fact that they are going after a somewhat unsympathetic figure like Alex Jones is standard M.O. Once they “manufacture consent,” people like you are next in line. Count on it.
You had said that the U.S. averted a civil war with Trump’s election. Well, with this desperate attempt at a counter-revolution, I wonder how long we have averted it. You had mooted a date of 2024 on the old blog. Maybe that is still on?
A lot to think about in this final Kek installment. Some thoughts:
“Depending on who you ask, Jung was either a psychologist who knew a lot about occultism or an occultist who managed to fool people into thinking he was talking about psychology.” Or maybe he blended psychology and occultism into something that’s more (or at least different) than either.
Speaking of synchronicity, F. David Peat wrote a book with that title. I haven’t read it yet, but the reviews make it sound interesting.
In the case of Trump, could “what moves in the darkness” be in the collective unconscious of the nation, given that the archetypes can involve many people? It seems that he came on the scene when a broadly based “something” was ready for someone like him.
The description of the episodic nature of Changer reminds me of the quote sometimes attributed to Karl Rove: “The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ […] ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'” Of course, the Bush 43 administration did change things, but not in the ways they had in mind…
Re “the importance of place”: I strongly agree; there’s a major difference between “this place belongs to me (I own it)” and “I belong to this place (and nobody can ‘own’ it)”. I think the most hopeful initiatives and trends I’ve seen are place-based.
The mention of coyote reminded me of Ursula LeGuin’s essay “A Non-Euclidean View of California as a Cold Place to Be”, in which coyote appears.
Re 2025: “By that time, furthermore, the nation and the world will have changed irrevocably”. Could one of those changes be that Trump will be in a position to suspend the electoral process, and continue in office indefinitely (loosely repeating Hitler’s rise)?
Re ending WTO and “free trade”, illegal immigration, etc. What I’ve seen from Trump so far looks like “feints” in those directions, while continuing the old familiar “divide and conquer” practices of the managerial aristocracy (e.g., “you all just got a lot richer” to his billionaire friends at a Mar-a-Lago gathering). Well, we can hope for a genuine populist action or two coming from the Donald, rather than just eyewash for the rubes …
Finally, a quote on values from Wendell Berry: “Industrial civilization has broken every one of the Ten Commandments, and committed every one of the Seven Deadly Sins”.
Patricia Matthews wrote
“Alison – one bit of Russian folklore I do know about is the one about the prince who pretends to be a fool in order to avoid being killed by his evil brothers, and outwits them all. Which of course ties into the Trickster theme above.”
This is an archetype that has played out many times in Russian history. Well known historical examples include Peter the Great, Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Putin.
As a teenager and young man, Peter was viewed by most people as a childish daydreamer with an excessive fondness for toy soldiers, Western style book learning and tinkering with mechanical gadgets. When he started organizing his own private army and modeled it after contemporary Western European armies, it was derisively dismissed as a “toy regiment”. The boyars soon learned to their own cost that Peter’s “toy regiments” were a much more effective fighting force than the Streltsy when he seized power in a palace coup.
Stalin was widely seen by his fellow Bolshevik leaders as a colorless apparatchik who took on the dull but necessary administrative duties his comrades didn’t want to be bothered with. He rose to become the administrative head of the Communist Party because no one else wanted the job. That meant he had access to all of the files and was able to put his own loyalists into positions of power and influence. So when the inevitable power struggle broke out after Lenin’s death, Trotsky quickly found himself outmaneuvered because Stalin had been quietly making preparations and controlled all of the levers of power that mattered.
Vladimir Putin had a reputation as a faceless, mild-mannered technocrat with a reputation for competence and getting things done in the chaotic and often lawless atmosphere of post-Soviet Russia. He first came to prominence as Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg, where he was highly regarded by local residents and Western businessmen alike. When it became clear that Boris Yeltsin was on his deathbed and had only months left to live, he was appointed to be Yeltsin’s designated successor. Most of the oligarchs, including Berezovsky and Khodorkovsky, backed him because they saw him as a puppet who could be easily controlled, which turned out to be a major miscalculation. Shortly after becoming president, Putin went to the oligarchs and offered them a deal: he would let them keep their ill-gotten gains in return for them staying out of politics. Those who refused to go along (like Berezovsky) or who agreed and then reneged (like Khodorkovsky) quickly found themselves in exile, behind bars or six feet under.
Talk about synchronicity! Today at work I looked forward to coming home to read the latest installent of the Kek War, not knowing -or so I thought- what you’d have to say.
Going about my taks I thought some about Trump and how I dislike his bombastic, beligerant personality and how I wish he’d grow up and not tweet about everyone who’s dared criticize him. Then I thought, but at least on a few issues he’s headed in the right direction. He’s forcing us to confront trade policy and how for the last 40 years or so it has only benefited multinational corporations, the salary class, and not the working class. Next I pondered on how he’s forcing us to question our role in NATO, and by extension our role as the world’s policeman. He’s forcing the country to question how much the American taxpayer is going to spend on European defense. This question is long overdue. `
After lunch I thought about how insane it is that it’s the “lleft” who are opposed to better relations with Russia and N. Korea, and how the left now takes a dim view of diplomacy. I thought about my freinds and family on the left who, as best I can recall, had not uttered the word NATO in the past 20 years have suddenly become hawkish defenders of NATO -and to hear them tell it, they always have been. Lastly I considered how my friends who style themselves as leftist, and feign concern for the working man are running around in circles waving their hands over their heads and yelling “Smoot-Hawley, Smoot-Hawley”!
While Trump is forcing us to confront some issues the “resistance” is doing it’s best to stick it’s fingers in it’s ears and go “la-lal-la-la. They’ve allowed Trump to turn them into reactionaries and therefore are unable to take action by their own volition. But Trump has forced the consideration of these issues and they can no longer be swept under the rug..
So, I get home and read part 4 and I’m amazed at the level of synchronicity between my thoughts today and your essay I read this evening. I didn’t know about synchronicy, or Jung, or archtypes, or changers. Still I’m rather surprised how closely my thoughts tracked with your essay.
As an aside, I still consider myself a leftist, more so in fact than most salary class “leftists”. I’m of the FDR stripe.
Thank you for another insightful and revealing glimpse backstage.
I was struck by Vine Deloria Jr.’s claim that “in the wake of the Reformation, Western spirituality lost track of a crucial variable—the spiritual importance of place.” This same aridity appears to be shared by purely monotheistic traditions in general, with some limited exceptions such as the absorption of existing “pagan” motifs and sensibilities into the pre-reformation Church, and by the designation of a few historically-relevant locales such as Jerusalem, Mecca and the “Holy Land” as sacred. Consistent with this tendency has been a pancaking of the unlimited avenues and nuances of spiritual possibility by an institutionally enforced fixation on the concept of “One God”. This is not to deny an underlying and encompassing reality that is not multiple, but rather an indication of how the fetishization of a cherished concept can obscure awareness of a more fluid, multifaceted and inclusive reality, not to speak of creating concomitant bêtes noires— demonstrably true in the political arena, perhaps even more so than spiritually or metaphysically.
Continuing with the theme of “meta-” prefixes, I’ve tended to see “synchronicity” as referring to the meta-level field within which causality expresses itself. That is, any event that is generally understood at a practical level to arise from the interaction of discrete causes and effects is also, when viewed from a broader perspective, an integral and inseparable part of a pattern or continuum that extends throughout all time and space, and within which all parts mutually condition each other (directly or indirectly, as it were) while also maintaining their temporary place in balance with the whole (this balance in no way precluding dissonance, interference patterns, countercurrents or devolution as part of the overall dynamic).
Can we therefore say that a coincidence which we tend to relegate to the “mundane” category is one which we can readily attribute to a discernible cause(s) because our minds are able to frame and grasp a limited pattern of events in association with which that coincidence appears, and more or less simultaneously integrate the coincidence into that pattern using the same general logic that discerned the pattern to begin with? Conversely, are those coincidences which we tend to categorize as “synchronicities” the precise ones which we cannot readily cognize by using a similarly-limited framework of cause and effect? This reasoning in no way rules out the influence of archetypes on either category of coinciding events, and could even be seen to supoort such activity as an effective intermediary management mechanism, cosmically speaking. Archetypes as middle managers— how ’bout that? Should we bring “gods” into that equation as well? No need to dress them in suits and ties, let alone pantsuits.
Also, getting back to Deloria, could the diverse landscapes of the United States, each with its own dominant spiritual presence, contribute in their own way to the ongoing fracturing of the current body politic, especially if the inhabitants of each of these regions were to become increasingly attuned to (and therefore molded by) their respective Spirit(s) of Place? Some other large countries such as Russia and India have similarly diverse landscapes, but despite past partitioning, annexation, re-partitioning, irredentism and the usual internal divisions, share a much more continuous and deeply-embedded mainstream cultural tradition than we Americans do. For similar reasons, I also question whether American civic religion has the power to induce the same national esprit de corps as a mythic “Mother Russia” or “Mother India”, no matter how pontifically or divisively invoked to rouse the public. I guess I’ve ignored China here, not being sure about the depth or tensile strength of Confucianism or the “Middle Kingdom” meme as influences that can secure an enduring union … although I’m no more certain about “the pursuit of happiness” as a unifying call, whether in English or Mandarin, and that’s a large part of where I see China currently headed, not that there aren’t worse destinies than those guided by insipid ideals.
The “changer” theme is very appropriate right now.
The corporate media have been pushing the Russiagate fantasy. Its purpose is, in part, to delegitimize Trump’s election and enable other “empire friendly” actors to take command.
However, the continual demonization of Russia ends up pushing Russia deeper and deeper into an alliance with China. And in a battle between the Atlanticists and the Eurasianists – guess who has more natural resources. The Eurasianists not only have more resources, they have more resources by the proverbial country mile.
Not only do Eurasianists have more resources, the people of the US and Europe know that they have been sold out by their rulers. Ordinary citizens in the West are – less and less – willing to put their necks on the line simply so that the upper 1/10 of 1% can afford summers homes in Jackson Hole and winter retreats in Cote d’Azur.
This just is not so in Russia and China where the standards of living has been getting better and better in the past decade or so. They actually have seen their standards of living get better, rather than worse, and they have a greater sense of loyalty to their nation than in the West. I think that Trump understands all this.
In any event, pushing Russiagate to preserve the empire ends up being a stratagem which is meant to preserve the American Empire but “changes” and ends up destroying the empire.
So, in a sense, perhaps we could treat archtypes as spiritual beings in its own right.
They incarnate in a body made of suitable people, shapes them and their relationships as needed, live out they purpose and disolve.
What that would implie?bHas ever a culture been able to summon an archtype to accomplish things?
Wonderful. Great finale JMG!
Chucked at the “Ghost Riders in the Sky” reference, and ended up listening to Willie/Waylon/Johnny all day. Some of the crooners that were talking directly to the beginning of today’s ‘deplorables’.
Your way of getting back to archetypes and the native versions thereof was also intriguing…will be checking out God is Red tomorrow!
As always, many thanks.
somehow was expecting to hear this week that these folks have summoned, or have been summoned by, a discrete, sentient, volitional, discarnate entity. seems like we have stopped half a step short of that explicit claim.
@ dwig, thanks for the reference to the leguin essay
An excellent book that ties together many of the points in John’s post and which addresses the issues raised in many of the comments below it is “Beyond Geography: The Western Spirit Against the Wilderness” by Fredrick Turner.
I fully concede that to say that Turner’s book is controversial in many, many circles would be a gross understatement. But for those that have a firm understanding of history, and the consequences therefrom, it truly serves as a beacon for lighting the way to social transformation.
Simply as matter of convenience …. the book can be found on Amazon at:
I’ve been waiting months for this reveal. When you started alluding to American archetypes in previous posts my first guess was “There are Cowboy gods?” which shows my ethnocentric tendencies run a little deeper than I would care to admit.
Speaking of which the big news story of the year on Hawaii island is the recent eruption and it’s terrible consequences. People here seem to be debating the Will of Pele much more openly and with a greater degree of seriousness than before. Of course the first conclusion they reach is that there are too many disrespectful people wrecking the island, etc.
But then yesterday I heard a story about how the eruption is helping control Rapid Ohia Death by killing off huge swaths of sick trees and making fresh habitat for new healthier ones to grow, increasing the opportunities for them to develop resistance to the fungus. Maybe the eruption has nothing to do with human affairs at all.
“Chuckled at the “Ghost Riders in the Sky” reference, and ended up listening to Willie/Waylon/Johnny all day.”
Yep, me too…;)
David, by the Lake:
Ahem…the name of that particular war is pronounced “The War of Northern Aggression.” 🙂
Good to hear from you! It’s not every day I get to quote Jimmy Buffett, but your reply to Dewey reminded me of the lyrics to one of his songs:
“I was never ever frightened…by the murderer on our block…he nurtured orchids and raised hamsters…the neigh-bor-hood…is…still…in…SHOCK! (La-la-la-la. La-la-la-la…)
Tude and Chris at Fernglade:
Thanks for your comments last week about my story! I wrote a very nice, and I think humorous, reply to both of you, but the digital hall monitor ate it. Twice. I’m thick, but twice eaten is all the nudge I need…
Hereward, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last decade here and Galabes, it’s that success in magic is directly tied to not talking about it. I suspect you’ll have to wait for the heirs of your hypothetical mage to publish her papers posthumously! I hope you’re young . . .
Oh yes!! Archetypes are something I’ve been keeping an eye on for a while now.
To me here in NZ, so far as the broader effect of trump across the western world is concerned, trump is very much a chaotic trickster archetype (kek or loki! take your pick!).
I’ve also been keeping a vague eye on British politics, (anyone living in the UK feel free to correct me), The observation you’ve made about trump seem to apply just as much to Jeremy Corbyn or to Brexit. Despite Corbyn’s durability and having survived a leadership challenge, a general election (winning the biggest increase in labours vote since 1945) and a more or less constant media barrage, all the pundits can scream is “corbyn is terrible! corny is terrible! corny is terrible!. I wonder what happens when he wins in possibly a landslide in the next election…
I’ll stay on corbyn a bit longer because he’s another influential archetype worth examining. He has been compared to Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter. The kindly wise persistent old man. Of Course JK Rowling has furiously denied any connection between Corbyn and Dumbledore. Though Ironically enough, Corbyn fits quite well into Dumbledores storyline in Harry Potter books. He has constantly stuck by his principles, no matter how unpopular they were. Though its especially in the Fifth book onwards that things get interesting. Dumbledore points out voldemort has returned, which to the ministry of magic is far to uncomfortable a truth to face up to, so they spend a year smearing dumbledore rather than dealing with voldemort. Much as corny has pointed out the working people of britain are fed up with austerity and noeliberlism which is (at least partly) why they voted for brevet, and repeatedly attempts to point this out but gets constantly smeared for doing so (because the truth is too uncomfortable for the British establishment to face up to).
I also saw a tweet comparing the MSM to Rita Skeeter and Trump to Severus Snape. (not a bad comparison, all thing considered)
I’m refereing to archtypes in Harry Potter because these of course are very much a strong presence in our culture at the moment, Of course, there’s also the absurdity of fanatic anti trump liberals thinking of themselves as “Dumbledores army…”
Another Archetype I’m seeing emerging around the western world I will call the ‘plukey heroine’. That is the (usually) Fresh faced female hero that has been a feature of many films and stories for a while now. They occupy the place of the male hero but while being obviously ‘feminine’- unlike women who have to be ‘manly’ to succeed (this might be partly why Hillray Clinton failed to tap into this archetype) Think Matilda, to Hermione Granger, to Arya Stark. Such female figures are just starting to emerge in politics around the world now. Here in New Zeland I’d say this was an important factor behind our current prime minister Jacinda Arderns Popularity, though I’m thinking of Mhairi Black in Scotalnd (apparently the second most influential woman in British according to a sky new poll), Chloe Swarbrick here in New Zealand, and now in the US Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. There may be other examples.
Anyway just a few ramblings from me…
Re: John Casey’s comment toward the top,
I’m always up for a peak oil update! My knee-jerk reaction to his question was interesting though. A friend of mine and I were having a discussion about faith versus understanding the other day. Faith being, for most, something you believe really hard, but understanding being something you just KNOW. (I don’t know that that’s accurate, but that’s what we decided.)
Like when I hunt chanterelles, no matter what the fine details, the species, or how many different morphs or color variations I come across, I just KNOW when I see a chanterelle. Boletes, on the other hand, I have to have faith that my bolete key is accurate, and that it won’t lead me to an upset stomach rather than a tasty meal! Which is why I opt for chanterelles whenever possible, and generally skip the boletes…
For me, the reality of peak oil and subsequent energy descent is something I just KNOW. It makes sense at a gut level to me. The taking first of the low-hanging fruit, the lottery aspect, the discovery/exploitation curve, the steadily declining EROEI, the mounting national debt of the most oil-dependent nation in response, etc. It’s as guaranteed as my appreciation of oxygen for me.
Might be of little to no surprise to anyone around here, but I thought it made a great working example of a complex idea that I just know to be right. In other words, if it turned out that I was in fact wrong about peak oil, it would devastate my confidence. And there aren’t too many things I can say that about.
Really enjoyed this series, and will be chewing on it for a good long while.
JMG said: “If our society hadn’t been desperately resisting necessary changes for the last forty years, we would have had a much less traumatic encounter with the archetype, but we didn’t make that choice and so here he is”.
Do you see Carter as that less traumatic embodiment of the archetype? I’ve always wondered what you thought of JC.
Brilliantly written! I took a trip to Gettysburg and the Eisenhower farm the week of July 4rth, 2017 to say goodbye to the only America that I ever knew. I see a reversal of outcomes and I am not optimistic for the future.
Thank you for giving us so many interesting things to think about. Here’s a bit of my meditation on the subject.
Archetypes seem to be God’s way of communicating the ‘original cause;’ God’s ideas for the universe which have their origin in the spiritual plane. They form the template which informs all subsequent action, including human behavior and the changes which societies undergo. This information ripples down through the planes and has an effect on all the other created beings (including us) on each plane – the mental, astral and material. In humanity’s case, God can’t normally communicate directly to us by speaking in words, the way we speak to one another, so archetypes are used instead. People tend to be influenced by them through the subconscious – in dreams for example, as that is the plane immediately above the material and the one we are most easily able to perceive.
God (and the various lesser Gods in particular geographic areas) uses humans this way, manifesting the divine ideas through humans via the characteristics and power of archetypes. The Gods work through us to bring about changes on the physical plane. Are we meant to surrender and allow ourselves to be used in this manner – as earthly manifestations of divine forces at work – allowing whatever needs to happen, to manifest through our earthly vehicle in accordance with the phase of the universe’s evolution? When I think of Trump at this point, I wonder how much he is really conscious of what he’s doing. Does he know he’s being employed to fulfil a cosmic need? Is he inspired by his dreams and visions, following his intuition and gut instincts?
The universe wants to stay in balance. When one force has become dominant, the other side will strengthen and overturn the influence of the first force, which is when a new archetype gets activated. In this way balance is sought, in a back and forth rhythm from the extremes to the center. When the first force has gone to an extreme position, as we are seeing right now with the democrats who think things can continue to go their way forever, we should learn to expect the opposing force’s appearance (which would be Trump, conscious initiate or not). In this way the universe is a constant rhythm, a continuous movement. Just like breathing, in and out.
This was a wonderful series, and I’ve read this 4th part over several times now. It does seem to be that Trump will end up dismantling the empire, whether intentionally or not. I read an analysis by a Russian author who stated that Trump is a classic isolationist, and is trying to destroy international organizations so that he can pursue isolation without being at a disadvantage.
Still, for all that I keep focusing on the spiritual importance of place. The older I get I get the more I see that given enough time the place makes the people. The idea that the archetype, or perhaps god, of the land is driving the change feels right to me. However, this is a vast territory, and I do wonder how similar it is across the vast distances and extremely varied terrain. Here in eastern PA is a very different place than the PNW or south west – perhaps there are different gods and different endpoints in store, and maybe this is another way to look at the inevitable breakup of this single nation?
“As the riders loped on by him he heard one call his name
If you want to save your soul from hell a-riding on our range
Then cowboy change your ways today or with us you will ride
Trying to catch the devil’s herd, across these endless skies”
Young German poets ain’t the only ones getting told to change.
I was trying to turn some earlier ramblings into a proper essay, spent most of yesterday following dead ends to that end. One of the detours I considered adding, but decided was too long a bird trail for the goals at hand was on a strange and hard to describe channel in the American culture which I can the reds.
In some ways its a culture that one finds on the reservations, but you also find it around any redneck with in a generation of the land. It is America’s shadow and it is the virtue behind the vices we tend to project onto other cultures. But, Coyote is certainly there.
By the way for trickster stories in the US Mark Twain penned more than a fair share of them. Also, the better parts of Earthsea have some of the narrative elements you describe. Perhaps the most important manifestation of the 20th Century was Bugs Bunny.
As a sidenote, google is giving be a hard time posting this with my login. Dang trickster in in the wires.
There is an article at the “Norse Mythology for Smart People” website about the Swastika – it’s ancient Germanic meanings and its appropriation by the Nazis.
Regarding Deloria’s ideas…I always liked “God is Red”. Your suggestion that it will take a few centuries for a proper connection to the land and local Beings to take hold makes sense. It will take that long for those of ancestry predominantly from outside Native North Americans to learn how to communicate. Similarly, it will take the land that long to learn how to communicate with us. One thing I’ve sensed when trying to work with the local Beings is that They are learning how to connect with our thought processes, which come from our language, which has this huge Germanic component. This may be part of the reason why Asatru and related ideas are experience somewhat of a resurgence: the local Beings are becoming more used to the thought processes/language.
In one of Tony Hillerman’s earliest books in the Joe Leaphorn series, one of his characters said that the Pueblo tribes had stronger magic than did the Dine because they had lived there longer than the Dine and knew the local Beings better. Whether Hillerman got this idea from the Dine with whom he consulted when writing his novels, or whether he thought that up himself, I don’t know. I do find the idea intriguing, especially when “God is Red” is brought up again.
John Michael Greer,
Back in Part 1, you said “Retreating into such a bubble is a common occupational hazard of aristocracies, and it’s the most common way for an aristocracy to arrange for its own replacement.”
I submit that our current aristocracy is inherently more prone to this failing. For about half a century now, the driving force in the advanced economies has been knowledge, not plant and infrastructure. Knowledge determines the direction of the economy and it is what makes the big bucks.
Because knowledge is so easy to duplicate and spread, it requires a different organization of society, but we still run our society by the rules that kind of worked for an industrial society. In order to do this, we use patents and copyrights and simply brute corporate force to cripple knowledge. This does not just turn knowledge into a commodity as though it came off a production line in a factory, it turns it into a monopoly. In other words, the key to running a knowledge-centric economy by the rules of an industrial economy is to create an artificial scarcity of knowledge, a.k.a. ignorance. The aristocrats have two main tasks in this curious social arrangement: to generate ignorance and to not be seen to do this. In order to pull this off, they have to themselves believe that they are producers. They have to not-see that they are worse than parasites. In other words, our current aristocracy’s entire existence is a fantasy.
Thank you so much for this series and also your CosDoc one, which is opening up whole new ways of thinking for me.
I like to play with words. I got to thinking about mages and the power of “I-mage-ination”…which led me to wonder what a female magus would be called. According to the rules of Latin, wouldn’t she be a “MAGA”?
I’m looking at the second edition (1994) of God Is Red right now, and Vine Deloria, Jr., cites C.G. Jung: “Carl Jung, Swiss psychologist, suggested that we have a collective unconscious that lies behind, under, and in support of our conscious ego/personality. In his Wotan essays Jung related how he was able to predict the rise of National Socialism by analyzing the dreams of young Germans shortly after World War I. He suggested that at times an idea, or archetype, might seep into the consciousness of many individuals who were otherwise not known to each other nor related in any way, and inspire or motivate them to perform simultaneously certain actions that they did not really understand.” (pp. 17-18)
Hmmm. It’s been an interesting series, and I learned things about the chans I hadn’t known before. I think you’ve got something here that would make an interesting book – and I wonder if you shouldn’t get your agent busy trying to sell a movie version…
Still… I find this concluding part a bit unsatisfying. I totally get the idea of the spirits of the land being cruciual, and that the USA has never really got to grips with the indigenous spirits. The thing is, that got discussed at some length back at TADR, though in comments, iirc, rather than a main post, and there was a general agreement that the behaviour of the US fits the pattern of Wendigo psychosis. Darkest Yorkshire says upthread that the Changer could do with meeting with people who don’t agree with the change, and I concur. What happens when the Changer meets the Wendigo?
I should have added to my last comment: I wonder, because it seems that the Wendigo has been present and influential in the egregore of the United States since the earliest days, and seemingly growing ever more powerful until today it seems completely dominant – the driving force behind the violence, insatiable avarice, and focussed selfishness of most of the political classes/Deep State. I don’t see that the methods of the Changer, as you’ve described them here, will be sufficient. Anyway, I’m on a train from Xi’an to Beijing, so I’ll have most of the day to mull it over.
I’m confused as to Europe having the archetype of the One Big Battle. Isn’t that rather more Semitic or perhaps Persian and which ended up in the Bible as the book of Revelation?
Man, that’s interesting to me, that what I was thinking of as Coyote, is Moon in similar stories. An astrologer did my chart in 1980, and told me I had Moon in Pieces, and a little of what that meant, and it’s been pretty opaque to me mostly. Maybe other stuff moved around in the chart, and it’s less blurry. I’m speculating that it’s not the light reflected by Sun that has so much effect, but the psychic energies from Earth and kin that Moon reflects back to us all.
As for the evolving of a society in the United States in 500 yrs, with a lot of suffering, a culture spiritually connected with Turtle Island, being a big challenge, yes. I imagine many different cultures, who having found what does and doesn’t work ecologically-spritually-magicly, along with all other surviving-thriving humans on the planet, embrace diversity as a methodology; numerous languages, with hand talking as a universal means of communication; a limit on harvesting the gifts of the Earth with gratitude a common decency (leaving plenty for others); an ascetic of cyclic phenomenon; vision quest and other initiation or what ever anthropologists call those things that mark change of status; learning from other animals; borders between people with alot of space between; self regulated population by elder women. Retrotopia being one of the options in the process of evolving our way to children of Earth, and beyond.
“… but it was just my ‘magination …. runnin’ away with me …. it was just my magi – a na a shun … runnin’ .. away wit me …..’
anyway, thanks for cluing me in on Kek and the Chans.
I got to thinking about writing that story and thought it could be fun to try using themes and motifs from Native American folklore and mythology.. That got me to wondering if perhaps it’d be a good homework idea for some of the commenters here, perhaps something that could even get turned into a competition? Anything helping reconnect people with their local deities might not be too bad of an idea..
Revere, an excellent point, and I’m glad to hear this.
Redoak, that’s certainly part of it also.
Silent H, fascinating. Yes, that would be an omen to watch.
David, maybe so, but it’s pretty pervasive in American culture just now.
Mark, on the whole, that makes sense, but I’m going to call you one one detail. You note, accurately enough, that illegal immigrants are people too, and you ask yourself how you would wish to be treated were you in their position. Fair enough. Are working class Americans also people, in your view? How would you wish to be treated if you were in their position? It wasn’t the working classes of this country, you know, who pushed the policies that helped devastate Latin American economies, and yet they’re the ones who have been driven to destitution and misery by the tacit encouragement of mass illegal immigration, which has driven down working class wages and benefits so drastically over the last forty years. I don’t mean this as a rhetorical question, but as a serious one: do working class Americans merit your compassion as much as illegal immigrants do, and if not, why not?
Ganv, well, we’ll see. My current guess is that Trump will win reelection, and that the various efforts by the managerial aristocracy to restore its position will fail messily. As for the image of the autocratic strongman, that’s a very different archetype. The Changer isn’t a dictator; he simply changes things, and goes on up the river. Most of the great historical changes that have swept American life have had a Changer-figure at their heart, and it’s an interesting point that very often his enemies have accused him of wanting to become a dictator, and yet he never does…
Phil K, my guess is that you’re wrong, but we’ll see.
Steve, I always thought of that as a Freudian slip on the part of the left. What’s the opposite of a kakistocracy? An aristocracy, of course. But you’re right about the letter…
Thecrowandsheep, nice! That basically sums it up…
Christopher, nah, Tsathoggua isn’t the Changer. He’s more or less the Wise Old Man, or rather, Wise Old Toad. The myth I’m telling in The Weird of Hali isn’t a Changer myth, it’s a myth of loss, search, and recovery, the quest for the secret that will heal the world — but yes, there’s a lot of Jung in there, among other things.
Mac, Burkean conservatism is a more general attitude, democratic nationalism a specific strategy within that broader framework.
Phil H., Britain has plenty of archetypes all its own. You’ll find most of them at least referenced in the Arthurian legends — and yes, the sea is heavily involved there as well.
Jasmine, good question. Since I don’t live in Britain and don’t have a lot of regular contact with people who do, I’m not sure which of your national archetypes is most likely activating now. As I noted to Phil H. just above, the Arthurian legends sum up most of your archetypes; the question is which ones are moving now.
BigbySuvins, thank you! I’m personally baffled by the fascination so many avant-garde mages have for what amounts to science fiction wish-fulfillment fantasies, too, but I suppose it takes all kinds. 😉
Flynn, that’s the Earth Diver myth, which is also very common all over North America. It would be great if that myth were to be activated now — we could really use some common ground on which to stand together.
Bipeninsular, 1) heh heh heh. 2) No, egregores are created by human action, while archetypes have always been present. You can give an egregor extra strength by making it in the image of an archetype, but the archetypes are older than our species; we experience them, we don’t make them. 3) I feel the same way. Stay tuned for a post on that theme!
Hapigreenman, I wish them well. I really am going to start whispering in people’s ears, “You know, he’s just a politician…”
Roberta, a grand old koan! Thank you. No, I’m not familiar with Hyde’s book; I may see if I can find it one of these days.
David, of course they hate nationalism. They’ve been taught to think of themselves as a supranational ruling caste. Beyond that, there’s a profound hatred of difference in elite culture these days; the idea that there are actual, enduring differences between people that result from something other than education and social class is utterly rejected by the ruling classes. We must all be interchangeable parts!
Rita, I think you’re on to something very important here; thank you.
Hereward, that would make a very good novel, you know.
Eysen, hoo boy. That would take at least one post and possibly more than that. “The Dead came back from Jerusalem, where they found not that which they sought…” I’ll consider saying something about it in a future post.
John, you’re welcome and thank you.
Phutatorius, they’re sequential, and so you might be able to time one on a very slow day on a very slow board.
Michael, well, we’ll see, won’t we? My take is that the current fad for internet censorship is one of the last bellows of a dying beast; having failed to maintain control of the collective discourse, the failing managerial aristocracy is trying to silence competing voices by brute force, thus showing the weakness of their position. My guess is that we’re not too far from seeing the big tech monopolies broken up the way the telephone monopoly was.
Dwig, of course. Trump wouldn’t have happened if there hadn’t been a Trump-shaped hole in the collective psyche waiting for him to fit into it.
Christopher, I’m glad to hear it. That tells me that the work being done by me and many others to get those ideas into circulation is really bearing fruit.
PHRR, medieval Christianity was profoundly place-centered: there were sites of pilgrimage all over the place, set apart by miracles performed there or the acts of a holy person who lived there. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is set on a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket at Canterbury, for example. It really does seem to have been the Reformation and Counter-Reformation that erased that consciousness in most of the western world. As for your reflections on synchronicity, yes, that’s certainly a valid way of understanding it.
Mike, yep. There’s a trenchant irony in the way that Trump is making liberal Democrats sound exactly like the reactionary Republicans of forty years ago. “The Russians! It’s all the fault of the Russians!”
Guillem66, all the time. That’s one of the things religion is about, you know.
Thankful, delighted to hear it. Those guys could sing.
Zach, er, I’m not responsible for your expectations, you know.
Michael, that’s a helluva book. Thanks for the reminder!
Haole, good! Yes, exactly; the gods aren’t anything like as concerned with us as we sometimes like to think.
BB, I’ll be very interested to hear what my British readers have to say about the archetypes in play in their society.
Mark, no, Carter’s problem was precisely that he didn’t embody any archetype at all. He was a nice man who tried to do the right thing and had his presidency systematically destroyed because of it.
Paul, well, we’ll see!
Stefania, that’s certainly one sensible way to think about it.
Twilight, the powers of place function at many levels. There are local spirits, regional spirits, national spirits, continental spirits, and planetary spirits. It just takes a certain amount of flexibility to adapt to the locality…
Ray, no question, Bugs does the Trickster archetype proud. You might be interested to know that it’s very easy to assign Looney Tunes characters to the Tree of Life, and Bugs has the eighth sphere, Hod, tattooed all over him!
DJSpo, that may well be part of the reason why Asatru is a rising force. As for the Hopi and the Dine, Hillerman is quite correct; the Dine migrated south in what we’d call the Middle Ages. There are tribes in northwestern Canada that speak languages similar enough that a Dine speaker can converse with them without too much trouble.
Jessica, hmm! That’s an intriguing perspective. I’m going to want to think about it, but you may well be on to something important.
Ken, hah! Well, in the Latin translation of the Wizard of Oz, Magus Mirabilis in Oz, a good witch is Bona Maga and a wicked witch is Mala Maga, so you may be on to something… 😉
Spear, thanks for this. It’s been a little while since I last read Deloria, so didn’t happen to remember the reference.
Bogatyr, as polytheists know well, no one deity runs the whole show. I suspect if I were to do some reading in the myths of the First Nations of the northern woods, where the wendigo or witiko appears, there might be a story of how Changer dealt with him.
Onething, it’s also a Semitic myth, but remember that the Persians are an Indo-European people and share a lot of deep roots with the peoples of Europe. As for the One Big Battle as a European thing, think of Ragnarok and Gotterdammerung, of the Battle of Moytura in Irish myth, or for that matter of the way that Armageddon was picked up and embellished by medieval Christian Europeans.
Mark, give it time, and that might just be the outcome.
Prizm, hmm. I’ll consider it.
Yes, I believe that working class Americans are people, equally worthy of compassion.
I have spent nearly all of my life in rural Minnesota and semi-rural Oregon. In these places Latin American immigrants – a significant proportion of whom are here illegally – work almost exclusively in the agricultural sector. The agricultural sector does not really have a history of a working class. Fifty years ago farmers were mostly independent owner-operators raising crops or livestock on a scale that could be managed by an extended family. When the economy said “get big or get out”, the ones who survived by getting big suddenly needed low-wage labor, and migrant workers – mostly but not entirely immigrants – showed up on cue. These workers are highly appreciated by farmers for their talents, and I don’t sense that working-class Americans here begrudge them their presence. There is more than a political reason why Washington, Oregon, and California are “sanctuary states.” We depend on immigrant labor for our agricultural productivity, and we don’t have an American citizen workforce waiting in the wings should those immigrants disappear. (Interestingly, farming regions on the west coast tilt Republican but have also been outspoken against Trump’s immigration policies.) Outside of agriculture, the working class here is almost 100% American citizens, and although they have been immiserated by globalization and neoliberal economics, illegal immigration doesn’t appear to have played a major role. The timber industry – our largest rural working-class employer – is still adjusting to the natural rate of regrowth after cutting through 500 years of biomass accumulation in 50 years, with the result that many timber towns are still suffering.
As I haven’t lived in places with a large industrial economy, I can’t attest to the experience of the working class or the effect of illegal immigration on their wages and working conditions. I believe you, and logically it makes sense that mass immigration of people willing to work for rock-bottom wages will drive wages down. Ethically I have a problem with deporting people who have been allowed, “tacitly encouraged” as you say, to come here, and unless there is a large laid-off workforce ready to replace them it seems that it is a fair solution to offer a path to citizenship – or renewable work visas – to those already here, to stem the flow of economic migrants (but not true asylum seekers), and to pursue approaches (e.g. trade protections, organized labor) to drive wages back up.
It doesn’t help that what I’m hearing from the anti-immigrant camp, admittedly filtered through the media, is not so much “protect our jobs and our wages from those who will work for a pittance” but instead “we’re letting Bad People in.” Which naturally inspires me to rise to the defense of the Bad People, who like every maligned group in history have all types but are mostly decent.
“At that point the election had not yet appeared to turn in Trump’s favor. He saw a clown face on the clouds. As he watched, the clown morphed into a skull. He knew at that moment that Trump had won, and he went to bed.”
Please work with me here, because for some dumb reason I am a little embarrassed or repressed to talk about this. Last week on Wednesday, August 1, Lughnasadh, while hoping to see a rainbow (it was raining while sunny) I saw a cloud that looked exactly like a male reproductive organ in happy mode. It had lots of anatomical details. I felt strongly that I was being communicated with, or at least being poked fun at in a harmless way. I wonder if anyone else noticed? It was there, standing tall in the sky, for at least five solid minutes. Parents with observant children would have had some explaining to do. I have no idea if it meant anything other than “ha ha on you Kimberly for noticing”
@Rita E Rippetoe
I really like your comment. I wonder whether this is why Appalachian hillbillies, as the one white population that has really bonded with the land (disclaimer: I’m a European who’s never been to north America, so I may well be misinformed) have been receiving so much attention recently.
@Stefania Here is Jung’s commentary on a passage from Longfellow’s Hiawatha: “Now the remarkable thing here is that it is not Hiawatha who passes through death and emerges reborn, as might be expected, but the god. It is not man who is transformed into a god, but the god who undergoes transformation in and through man.” He goes on to say that the struggle involved is not meant to overwhelm the human being involved, if the human being “does not succumb to it and follow it blindly, but defends [their] humanity against the animal nature of the divine power.” (Symbols of Transformation, 337-338.)
So, yes, there is a danger of being overcome, but there are two things to keep in mind when dealing with archetypes: one cannot avoid dealing with them; one cannot afford losing one’s humanity in so doing. The reason is that if one tries to avoid dealing with the archetypes they will deal with one nevertheless and in so doing one will lose one’s humanity. If one does deal with them, one has to assert one’s humanity all the while in dealing with them, which means one has to deal with them consciously. The point of dealing with the archetypes is to increase in consciousness, not by defiance, and not by surrender, but by co-existence, compromise, cooperation, collaboration, call it what one will. Often it is a struggle from which one cannot be freed except by engaging in it and overcoming the d[a]emon, and in overcoming becoming changed, a struggle by which one can become at least relatively more free, even if, as with Jacob by the river Jabbok (which Jung mentions in this context), one is crippled as a result, but the crippling is a (relatively small, though very real) price to be paid to the god.
Dear BB, The plucky heroine has been around for a while. Until quite recently, American girls all obsessively read Nancy Drew novels; I think we had a nearly complete set at one time. Balzac has a wonderful example of the same kind of heroine in one of his novellas. I don’t remember the name of the story but I do remember that the lady’s name was Laurance. Then there is Rosina in the Barber of Seville, and before her was Columbina. Scratch below the surface of popular culture and more often than not you come to the Commedia del Arte.
I’m Turtle Clan, Seneca – which is part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (the Iroquois to most Americans).
Bogatyr asked: “What happens when the Changer meets the Wendigo?”
From the teachings of my tribe, the answer is that meeting actually occurs at intervals within an irregular but repeating cycle. Each time there has been and will be a return of ‘Heno’ and the other Thunderers to put an end to the confrontation, cleanse the total environment and then restore the natural balance.
Frequently, this is accomplished through the agency of ‘trickster’ figures who arrive on scene and manage to get those involved to truly see themselves as they have become and thus offering them the opportunity to heal. Failing that, there are natural outcomes to all choices – some being more emphatic, or final, than others.
Bear in mind that the Thunderers are represented in the natural world by the thunder and lightening within thunderstorms. A lightening strike is capable of both destruction and regeneration. As is the rain that accompanies the Thunderers.
Oh please please please can you list the Looney Tunes correspondences for the Tree of Life? I honestly think it will help my practice, partly as a mnemonic device, partly as a reminder to stay humble and keep a sense of humor, and partly to broaden my understanding in general. I tried to think of them myself and had a few that came to mind, but I can’t possibly complete it, especially since I have no idea who would be at crown.
Sorry for wandering off topic (especially when the topic is this good)
John Michael Greer
Who are some Changer-figures at the heart of great historical changes that have swept American life who did not become dictators?
Dear John Michael Greer,
What an intriguing post this is. I get the disconnection from the land, which is profound in many parts and among so many people… Much to ponder here… If you are right about these archetypes, it seems to me that many people have simply confused this currently predominating archetype for the earlier, more frightening one… Trickster can be cruel, that seems to be a common point.
What comes to my mind is Lewis Hyde’s book, TRICKSTER MAKES THIS WORLD (which I recommend to anyone interested in the arts) and Wile E. Coyote, the television cartoon character.
As for where we are going in North America, what also comes to mind is Claudio Saunt’s superb WEST OF THE REVOLUTION: AN UNCOMMON HISTORY of 1776. A richer and more nuanced understanding of our history may shed more light on current trends than many might even begin to suspect.
JMG, if you allow me to addend to the archetypal mode above as ‘narrative’, do you get a similitude of the hermetic division of the worlds? Please correct as necessary:
* Material world — Physical model — causal
* Etheric world — Divination — acausal
* Astral world — Archetypal model — narrative
* Mental world — Historical model — cyclical
* Spiritual world — aha! this is why the prediction “it is different this time” fails; an inflation! you are trying to obtain the One Event or the Godhead, when only the truly unique is obtainable by the gods.
No, i didn’t know it, but it makes sense.
If it so, then perhaps at our arrival to Gwynfydd we incarnate in, as you put it, single celled archtypes and start experiencing the lessons and going up the ladder etc etc?
Also, and as a curiosity.You once talked about polarity magic.Wich in this light, could be regarded as tapping in the life force of a being.
Dou you regard these points as useful for a novice Druid student?
The whole Kek article series is quite interesting, inspiring and strange. It is a fruitful source of questions.
Your exposition of the Changer as an archetype for the current situation in the United States has led me to the idea, that the way how American history unfolded in relation to this archetype and not to the archetypes of Europe shows the first stirrings of America becoming its own culture in the Spenglerian sense. Oswald Spengler described how every high culture has its own tact and character of history and everyday live; and this may be beginning to show in America.
Secondly, this pattern of recent history may be the cause why, contrary to the expectations of many, including you during the days of the Archdruid Report, there is no big crisis coming, instead there is change which is invisible at the time of its happening, or camoufalged through other events.
Last, but not least, it will be interesting to watch which consequences the predicted changes in the United States and the end of the American Empire will have on the culture and the attitudes in the Western world as a whole.
Re proper name for a certain war in US history
Understood! Alas, the archives are kept by the victor.
Growing up mainly in the Old South (as much as a military child can be said to grow up anywhere), I heard it referred to primarily as “the War” — or, properly, “duh Wah.” 😉
Very interesting serie of posts John
Good!, together Spengler and Jung, from Caesarism to Kek-arism, may be in 400 years we could see for example a Thrank IV Kek of Meriga!
I think frogs are the more clear example of Metamorphosis, I remember in my childhood the first time I could see in front of me the process of change from tadpole to frog, it was extraordinary!, it was magic! I can understand why frogs are the symbols of Metamorphosis (or Big Changes) in some cultures (those
that live around rivers)
The sociological dynamics you describe also remind me the “Anomie” of Emile Durkheim in his essay “Suicide” (1897) or even the concept of “Acedia” by Evagrius Ponticus (IV a.c.), in any case they describe the social dynamics of a significant part of the society in his decadence, and in our society, when more “developed” is a nation, the isolation and separation from others, from our body and from nature is more extreme. The more clear example are the hikokomori in Japan, but all the countries are converging to this alienation from the Life
The primacy of vision over smell or tact, the decrease of sexual desire (an increasing percentage of young people declared themselves as a-sexual and not interested in sexual relationships), the fear of the “others” and of “outside”, the inmersion in a virtual reality, the preference for the abstract and the human made controlled environment, the adherence to “tribes” in search of acceptance and meaning, the thirst for destruction of this world, and of course the consumerism as an addiction
The societies/civilizations “build” the peoples they need to maintain and develop their tendencies, and this civilization need, more than any other, isolated addicts to follow its trends to the infinite; and they “build” them from childhood with the day care, non voluntary “activities” (music, ballet, soccer, etc…) and the “Proximal Abandonment” as the doctor Allan N Schore describe it: as a processs where the few hours the parents are with the children, the parents are phisycally presents but emotionally absents, so the process of “attachment” does not happens in a healthy way, some brain circuits are not developed for lack of stimulus; and on the other hand they learn from their squeezed and fatigued parents “what is really important” (money, position, artifacts, envy, dreams, rage, etc …)
Societies are like adaptive organism that “shape” the cells ot their bodies to fulfil their duties. Anyway they do not last forever, they also die….
I know you probably do not agree but could be the process you describe (the caesarism) a way the empires adapt, by soften some of their internal troubles/contradictions, in order to last more and concentrate in the external threats? (IMHO it was the thesis of Spengler)
Something’s been bothering me about your views on Trump. They seem to contradict two things you’ve written before: https://thearchdruidreport-archive.200605.xyz/2006/11/politics-eighty-percent-pay-cut.html, and your mantra “There is no better future.” I’m curious how you square these. I still view him as less bad than the old status quo, but you seem remarkably optimistic…
So what can magic really achieve? It sounds like earthly effects originate at a plane well above the material. Can we really intervene and try to force the cosmos to accept our individual will about a particular issue, make the universe conform to our needs and desires? I’m afraid Aleister Crowley and his mantra about more or less ‘doing what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,’ has left a permanent stain on my ways of thinking around magic. Sadly, he was one of the first occult writers I read, and his book had the unfortunate effect of making me cringe and walk away from the whole idea of magic. I think his approach is actually a very narrow-minded, human-centric way of understanding our possible relationship to magic.
I think it is more that we become more receptive – better at listening to what is going on in the cosmos and allowing those natural processes to manifest through us. Rather than being oblivious to the cosmic harmonies and trying to selfishly seek our own goals, forgetting that yin is there to balance out yang. We become more aware of and open to the flows and processes of the cosmos. So one goal of magic would be mainly just to stop harming other people and the world by pursuing narrow, disconnected agendas which are out of phase with the way the cosmos is going at a particular moment in time.
This implies that indigenous peoples and other peoples who have traditions of myth and magical practice or religion/spirituality are very good at listening – following along with the cosmic cycles and directions which seek to keep everything in balance, which is likely why in many cases they developed a sustainable way to relate to their environments and the natural world. Unlike man, the conqueror of nature, who insists on trying to go his own way in a plodding, unconscious way which causes almost nothing but harm.
I find myself thinking of the strong identification a lot of white rural America seems to have for the Native American population, or at least some idealized version of it..think of the love for, say, bumper stickers with Sioux horsemen on them saying “The Original Homeland Security”, for example. There’s a lot to unpack there, of course, but if I was a lonely American nature spirit, disconnected from the people that worshipped me a couple centuries ago, who would I want to talk to? Probably someone who spent all their time outside, hunting, fishing, growing maize, and smoking tobacco – and if they happened to have a deep and abiding sense of being screwed over by the Federal Government, well, that’d give us plenty to connect over.
Those beings are out there, after all, and it might come as a surprise to a lot of coastal environmentalists just who they’re sympathizing with.
“I’ll be very interested to hear what my British readers have to say about the archetypes in play in their society.”
Greetings John, from sunny England! Seeing as you ask so nicely…
The most active archetypes (as I interpret them) in Britain right now are female. Here is a summary, by no means exhaustive:
* One role-playing archetype which was comes & goes in British political life with impact is the warrior goddess, Britannia, AKA Brigantia, Brigit etc. It’s a role which has been played with great effect by Elizabeth 1, Victoria, and lately, Margret Thatcher. Whether the current incumbent of No 10 has the ability to also channel this role at some point, we shall see..
* Away from the political scene, there has been for some decades a palpable presence around Glastenbury in Somerset which I would equate directly with the Welsh goddess Ceridwen, in crone aspect. This force or presence aids & guides the peoples of Britain in Spiritual matters; personal grail quests, if we want to put things in Arthurian context. The pagan/wiccan movement in the UK, and I suspect much of the world, works under the presence of this benevolent deity/archetype.
* Another female energy, which is different from Glastenbury current, but is also working to raise awareness of Otherworldly matters, roughly equates to the Lady of the Lake in Arthurian legend, and to the goddess Schathach in her aspect as Dark Aphrodite. She is focussing energy into phenomena – crop circles, lights in the sky etc. This entity is less inclined than the previous two to directly work with people, leaving them more to find their own way, hence some of the misunderstandings around ‘alien’ sightings. Nevertheless, you will find this is also a powerful & benign current if you will take the time to understand her nature & where she can guide you.
* Finally, although I haven’t found a role in this basic list for any Male archetypes, the Green Man AKA Robin (of the) Hood is always present when the Brits gather for song, dance & traditional ales. Perhaps if Corbyn could persuaded to Morris Dance in front of Parliament, we might all feel an urge to vote Labour 🙂
Hope this helps!
How does one learn to decipher which patterns of synchronicity are gods speaking with them? or that one is more important to pay attention to? I feel I am constantly barraged with contradicting patterns of synchronicity as if being tugged from multiple directions. I’m going to go out on a limb and say learning to navigate the world of synchronicities is probably done just through practice and meditation and observation.
“It’s just like SF to embrace abstract ideological perfection at the cost of turning the physical reality of the city into one vast and squalid turd-splattered slum.”
As someone living in the the SF Bay Area, this is an absolute classic. You somehow managed to digest what is happening in SF in a single sentence. Amazing.
I tried to find the essay you mention but can’t find it, do you remember the title?
As for these posts, you have given me so much to think about personally, I don’t know that I have anything intelligent to add to the conversation, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the series and comments. I am in love with your readers and wish I could find this sort of discussion in the “real world”. You’d think I could find it in Berkeley… Ha!
“I suspect you’ll have to wait for the heirs of your hypothetical mage to publish her papers posthumously! I hope you’re young . . .”
What if this hypothetical mage has no heir? Just as an example.
I hope the relatively positive changes that you predict end up happening. I dislike Trump but have never managed to hate him; I’ve watched his rallies online and been mesmerized by the way he manages to conduct emotions through a crowd, even when transcripts of what he’s saying don’t make much sense (thereby inducing the media to laugh at him, thereby increasing Trump’s support by people who feel left out by the elites). It truly is remarkable how clueless people are about how to oppose him.
As for foreign policy, I don’t really believe that he is disengaging from the Middle East at all. Drone strikes and special ops activity have increased from Obama’s already high level, and he has surrounded himself with Iran hawks while allying himself with Mohammed bin Salman, by far the most reckless actor in the Middle East since Saddam Hussein. The odds of a Saudi-Iranian war with heavy US involvement are really high.
Do you agree? Would we get involved with substantial ground forces if the Saudis used some pretext to attack Iran? Invading Iran would make Iraq look like a cakewalk…
The flip side is that he allowed the Syrian government to win that war, thereby avoiding direct engagement with Russia – which is a contrast to what Jameso…I mean Hillary Clinton would have done. I applaud his attempts at detente with Russia and North Korea too, and fear that the next Democrat in power will cause dangerously high tension – high-end Cold War levels – now that this has become basically the party line.
One of the more universally propagated aspects of the American cultural narrative is this drive to escape the doldrums of “being stuck in one place” and catch the tradewinds of adventure and fortune. In fact it’s one of the major differences that separates “the good people” from “those people.”
Strikes me as whole lot of cultural baggage to overcome en route to a saner society!
I touched on that in my missing reply to Tude last week, when I said that living in a tent on our land for 2 years was sort of a crash course in becoming more familiar with our place. A damp, chilly, and occasionally downright scary crash course, but a valuable primer nonetheless.
The relevant members of the managerial aristocracy remain unimpressed…
” Off in the distance, on the far side of the Changer’s upriver journey, we can see the first dim foreshadowings of post-imperial America, and with any luck, of a nation a little less riven by rigid class barriers and so a little more likely to deal with its many pressing problems.”
I doubt we’ll have any luck… given resource depletion and climate change I don’t feel there’s much luck down the road for any of us.
The western US is already on fire – every year it gets worse and worse. Fifty years from now the entire western US is likely to be a vast, dry desert with a narrow band of green hugging the coasts.
Where will all those people live? Just wait, in a few years it’s going to become clear that trillions of dollars in coastal real estate are going to be sunk. Where will all those people live?
Now multiply that to all the other continents.
Sorry – I’m just not seeing the luck down the road. And what the people of the future will think about us won’t be all that kind.
Nice series of posts. Thanks.
I think I found a pretty fitting Algonquin Legend which uses a cat who doesn’t learn but instead keeps repeating the same mistakes time and time again.
Does anyone have any resources or directions for updating tales for modern times?
Everything you’ve written here makes complete sense, but I’m not sure I’m convinced that what is happening in this place (Turtle Island) is happening only here. I think it could be happening throughout the world, or, if not, at least in the Europeanized parts of the world. In which case, does the trickster reading still apply?
My mother is Jamaican, and in that culture the dominator system is called “Babylon.” The tribe of Judah’s release from captivity in Babylon (book of Jeremiah and book of Kings) is a huge part of the island’s redemptive mythology, and the notion of Babylon does not just refer to the colonial oppressors on the island, but includes those at work throughtout the Western world, like the IMF, Goldman-Saks, the WTO. Babylon is not just a political or economic idea; it is a spiritual force. This is a story that is still being played out in the Jamaican collective psyche, but I wonder if there is a similar archetypal story at play wherever there is a civilization that depends on the exploitation of the many by a powerful and wealthy few (historically that would be most of them). Obviously, in Europe or the U.S. it wouldn’t be Babylon per se, but certain political liberation movements do come to mind for me.
And yes, Trump does have trickster like qualities, I don’t dispute that.
I’m also from the south (GA) and the name for “the war” I know from childhood is “The War of Northern Aggression”. It was spoken often jovially or jokingly, but there were always serious undertones from the older generations speaking. Some wounds seem healed, but then can get infected or reopened at a much later time.
I like your comparisons of rural white (and usually poor, I might add) America bonding with the native spirits. Makes a ton of sense to me.
Etymology police here. Diable does not come from the same root as dieu.
@JMG: “It’s precisely when the person doing the hating is making charges that are grossly disproportionate to the actual behavior of the person they hate that you can tell that … the things being attributed to the hated Other are actually things the hater can’t stand about himself or herself…. I thought that was all very clear in what I wrote, and I’m not sure why you misunderstood it.”
Mostly because you didn’t explain who gets to decide what is “grossly disproportionate”. Trump is not a dictator (as yet) but to many of us, complaints that some of his rhetoric and actions have been racist, Islamophobic, and pro-authoritarian, that his administration features more personal corruption than previous ones, and that he personally is a sexual predator are simply statements of obvious fact. To others, these statements alone are wild exaggerations or Fake News that, if they prefer to respond with high-class nonviolent rhetoric, may be claimed to be evidence that I am “projecting the shadow”.
Especially now that we have sunk into the post-fact barbarism of reflection, there is no generally accepted means of determining whether a charge is slightly disproportionate, grossly disproportionate, or spot-on. I would like to think that, like pornography, we can at least sometimes know grossly disproportionate charges when we see them – however, believers in Pizzagate and QAnon would disagree. Therefore the phrase “projecting the shadow”, if widely adopted, would for many users just be a fancy psychological way of saying “wickedly objecting to my or my ingroup’s behavior”, just as people in the biomedical industry use “Dunning-Kruger Effect” as a fancy sciencey way of saying those who disagree with them are stupid.
@ Thankful (and @ Tripp)
Re “duh Wah”
I don’t know if the wounds were ever properly healed. The regional differences which nearly tore the nation asunder were never truly resolved, merely papered over as the result of one side having the stuffing beaten out of it by the other. I spent many of my formative years in the Charleston, SC area — about as Old South aristocratic as one can get, aside from Virginia. Since I moved to WI nearly two decades ago, I’ve often had occasion to “explain” the South to my friends and acquaintances up here. “No, the war hasn’t ended. Yes, every family knows what regiment their great-great-great grandpappy fought with. Tea is sweetened. All sodas are ‘cokes.’ Their called ‘grits’ and they’re very tasty, particularly with lots of butter.”
I don’t wonder if the “Lost Cause” is the embodiment of an archetype. It certainly has a powerful hold on the land in the South.
As I see it, the economic issues we are dealing with today — which have festered for decades but came into full bloom with Trump’s campaign — are in many ways a renewal of the (slightly redefined) regional issues that led to the four years of brutal slaughter from 1861 to 1865. I’m hopeful that our leadership — or the people — can find a way to bring eventual resolution without resorting to that same kind of stupidity. So long as each side insists that they must control a central government which imposes their view on everyone, chances of a peaceful resolution remain dim. A looser confederation of states, similar to the original Constitution (or perhaps even a step closer to the Articles) would be a far wiser path, I’d argue. If Trump can begin some of that process by cutting back a bloated administrative state, as well as partially disengaging from our empire, then he may be the better choice at this time. It’s up to the Democrats as to whether or not they wish to offer a viable alternative. So far, I’m seeing little evidence that the party is willing to do this.
Wow what a wild ride. My first comment. I don’t believe in coincidences. A friend gifted me with Bill Plotkin’s Soulcraft last week. So I have been reading about soul journeys, depth psychology and Jung’ s archetypes all week. I was just blown away that is where you started this week’s episode.
Secondly, coyote is one of my spirit animals. I have been saying for years he is the bringer of change. And, a lot of people associate change with chaos and because they fear it they fight it tooth and toenail. I see change as uncomfortable but also inevitable.
Trump is representing the archetype of change. So, the next few years are going to be uncomfortable but inevitable. We will see where it all ends up. And, I can’t wait to see what you write next.
Fascinating. That does make much more sense than Trump being, as I thought of him, a mashup of Wotan and Loki.
Regarding relatedness to place, I’ve noticed that in my neck of the woods, t-shirts, tattoos, bumper stickers etc are suddenly appearing that proclaim the user’s affinity for Nova Scotia (which is where I live). Rural people have always done this, but it has become trendy among the more urban set in the past few years.
I also loved David’s comment about the gods’ communion with Southern outdoorsy hunting/fishing types being more likely than communion with progressive environmentalist types (who rarely venture outdoors without at least a thousand bucks worth of…gear).
Where in Georgia do you live? We’re in north Georgia, just outside Ellijay, and are dying for communion with like minds in a less virtual environment. Not to take anything at all away from nearly 7 years of brilliant writing and discussion ’round here, but…you get the idea I’m sure!
I met 2 people from J.H. Kunstler’s crew about 6 years ago, and they were both great people, but this place is different.
Here’s hoping you’re within range!
General comment piggy-backing on Jeffrey’s musings on Wall Street.
My father is a big wig in the global pork industry, particularly in Russia, and I just got off the phone with him. He agreed that U.S. farmers we’re at first resistant to the idea of trade barriers on agricultural products, but that both the poultry and pork industries, at least, were realizing YOY GROWTH in their exports since Trump took office.
Doesn’t take too long to get the ag community on board with your plan when you’re looking at hard numbers showing general improvement in their markets.
Since the topic of /pol/’s failure on European elections was discussed, perhaps some notes from my country of Brazil might be of interest.
We’ll have presidential elections this October, and right now a very Trump-like character is ahead on the polls. Jair Bolsonaro is overtly politically incorrect, and for it the mainstream media and leftists have routinely called him homophobe, racist, misogynist, xenophobe, fascist and so on. The interviews he’s been on have been disastrous for the journalists interviewing him. Despite Bolsonaro’s weak rhetorical skill, the journalists become so out of their minds that Bolsonaro ends up looking good. You can clearly see on the journalists’ faces the disgust and contempt for Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro himself is a weak politician. For three decades he had been an obscure MP, member of various innocuous little political parties (in Brazil politicians must belong to a party, so there are many little parties that exist solely to exploit electoral laws, we call them ‘partidos de aluguel’, something like rental parties). During that time mainstream media liked to call him to TV shows to play the role of the freak politician, of the hydrophobic right-wing clown, a role which he diligently played. He never demonstrated ambition to be more than a lone MP. So it is a bit surprising when in the last three or four years he suddenly appeared as a presidential candidate, and when pollsters finally started putting his name on the polls, he appeared on the top.
The main problem affecting people’s lives in Brazil now is rampant criminality, and that has been Bolsonaro’s bread and butter for those thirty years. But the criminality crisis is not new, so it is strange that only now this unimpressive congresscritter managed to become so popular without personal fortune to spend on a campaign, without a strong party to back him, without the mainstream media (which in Brazil is much stronger than in the US), without backing from famous intellectuals, famous politicians or famous artists, without rich backers, without even, it seems, personal ambition.
The only public figure who has supported him from the beginning is Olavo de Carvalho, an outcast intellectual himself, being a “former” astrologer, “former” member of Schuon’s tariqa, “former” occultist. I’m convinced that Olavo uses magic to try to influence the country’s cultural and political landscape, a couple of times he all but explicitly stated it.
And, of course, Bolsonaro has had the enthusiastic support of the chans. After Trump’s win, I peeked on our main chan, and there were plenty of threads about repeating with Bolsonaro /pol/’s success with Trump. Funnily enough, many channers seemed to think that Kek was a foreign god uninterested or impotent in Brazil, thus for a successful campaign the chan should invoke a local deity. Last thing I know they were trying to call a Guarani god, Mboi Tu’i, mainly because he is represented by a snake with a parrot head, and there had been early attempts made by the chan to use a parrot as the Brazilian Pepe.
I don’t like Bolsonaro at all, like many I first thought that his candidacy was a joke, and I still think he’ll flounder in the election’s second turn. But now I wonder if there is some archetype using him to break through.
Excellent series!! Archtypes indeed 🙂
I can absolutely back up JMG’s recommendation for God is Red…I consider it one of the most personally impactful books I’ve ever read (along with our current hosts of course). It cleared up a number of questions that I had struggled with my entire life, and provided confirmation that I was not, in point of fact, crazy.
I can also attest to the very real presence of land spirits, as I believe that I connected with specific ones at an early age…and struggled for years with the impacts – until reading God is Red and gaining some small understanding of the indigenous view toward sacred locations. Even as I write this today, I’m surrounded by small bits and pieces of my own sacred location…their energy helps cope with not being able to be there in person as much as I’d like to be. It’s an overwhelming physical and emotional pull that I could not explain until reading Vine Deloria Jr. – and it never goes away.
Even now the ancestors call me back, almost time for another pilgrimage to reset and restore…and to honor with those who claimed me so many years ago.
Thank you again JMG! Looking forward very much to where this blog is taking us and appreciating the opportunity to come along for the ride…
To Michael R, do the Seneca have any ceremonies to bring rain? We are in a historic drought here in the middle of Missouri, and we (and the maize and grasses) could use some help. My ancestors came here in 1810, and I’m sorry to say, helped to evict the last of the Native population from this area. Maybe we have some atoning to do. I can’t find any info on the ceremonial practices of the original Missouria people. I might find some info from the Osage, who also lived here.
Is naturophobia an archetype or just another manifestation of the enemy alien/other archetype? I do small scale permacultural biological farming and I am amazed at the fear and loathing of nature that I find, especially among young people who think of themselves as “friends of nature.” When nature (as it really is) fails to conform to some earnest expectation about how cooperative and gentle and neatly sanitized it’s supposed to be, the results can be jaw dropping to watch. Rage, resentment, feelings of betrayal, disgust. I’ve seen it all. And frequently the reactions have many if not all of the marks of an archtypal response.
Mark L, fair enough. Like a lot of people who disagree with the immigration policies of the last forty years — the current president is one of us — I’m not at all opposed to immigration; it’s the tacit encouragement of mass illegal immigration that’s the problem. You mention renewable work visas, and that seems like a reasonable approach. What needs to happen, though, is a national discussion about how many immigrants or guest laborers our economy can absorb without driving down working class wages to starvation levels, and then fairly enforced immigration laws and stable borders — not the insistence, so common these days, that the people who support mass illegal immigration are the only ones whose viewpoints can be considered, and don’t you dare mention how many of them have an economic motivation for their opinion.
Kimberly, good question. One of the things about omens is that they usually have some context. Back in the day, Roman augurs (the guys whose job it was to watch omens) would stake out a particular place, facing a particular direction, with a particular issue in mind, and wait for the first omen to appear — it was rather like sitting down and doing a Tarot reading, except that the universe decides what cards are in your deck that day. Since it was Lughnasadh, which in various Druid traditions is sacred to one of several distinctly virile gods, it could simply have been a sign of divine approval and blessing; on the other hand, if you had something on your mind that day that related to relationships, creativity, or anything having to do with the life force, the answer is probably yes.
Michael R, many thanks for this; that’s worth knowing.
Jessi, sure thing. Malkuth is Porky Pig, whose “Th-th-th-that’s all, folks!” reminds us that Malkuth is the last sphere of the Tree. Yesod is the Tasmanian Devil, representing the power in constant motion of the ninth sphere. Hod is of course Bugs Bunny, the trickster, mage, and gender-bender. Netzach is Pepe le Pew, who is always falling in love. Tiphareth? That’s the golden and imperishable Tweety Bird. Geburah is Yosemite Sam, for obvious reasons; Chesed is Foghorn Leghorn; Binah is Sylvester J. Pussycat Sr., whose efforts to devour various other characters give him a distinctly Saturnine cast; Chokmah is Daffy Duck, that overflowing (to the point of spluttering) source of creative energy; and for Kether, the Greater Countenance, the White Head — why, Elmer Fudd, of course.
You can do the same thing with any suitably complete set of characters. I’ve seen a Muppet Tree of Life, for example, and it wouldn’t be hard at all to do, say, a DC Comics Tree, or a Jane Austen Tree, or what have you.
Jessica, we’ve had a distinct shortage of actual dictators in American history, you know, although it’s always been popular for the losing side in an election to insist that the winner either was or wanted to be a dictator. Andrew Jackson is a great example, the figure at the heart of the first great populist wave in American history; Franklin Roosevelt is another. Both were accused of being dictators in their time.
Millicently, thanks for the book suggestions!
Thecrowandsheep, I’d swap the mental and etheric levels. Divination is a mental process, and acausal, while the etheric level is subject to intricate cycles and has complex impacts on history. Other than that, very solidly done.
Guillem, I rather like the notion of single-celled archetypes! As for polarity magic, you’re not tapping into a being’s life force, because the life force doesn’t belong to any one being. It’s, ahem, “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.” So there’s life force flowing through you at every moment, and flowing through every other person as well; two people working together can use sexual attraction to amplify the flow of life force through them, and do things with that. That’s polarity work.
Booklover, excellent. Yes, exactly.
DFC, I don’t disagree at all. As I understand it, though, Spengler’s concept of Caesarism is a little more complex than that; it’s partly a way of concentrating a society’s energies on the needs of survival, but it’s also a reflection of the exhaustion of a society’s ideologies and the shift from the abstract to the personal. In either case, though, that’s where we are now.
Will, not at all. Here’s your choice: (a) the US goes through a long ragged process of decline ending in a new dark age; (b) the US goes though a long ragged process of decline ending in a new dark age, but the route there is made much worse by a brutal civil war in the early-to-middle stage of the decline which causes millions of unnecessary deaths and puts most constructive options for responding to the decline off the table for decades, if not forever. Compared to (b), (a) seems rather optimistic, doesn’t it? That’s the basis of my qualified optimism. 😉
Stefania, Crowley is pretty much my go-to example of how not to do operative magic, so your reaction doesn’t seem out of place to me. Listening is definitely part of the work, but there’s also a more active dimension. As an operative mage, you participate in the flow of power; you are guided by it, but in some circumstances you can also guide it. That doesn’t mean that you can make it do whatever you want, but it does mean that fairly often, if you attend carefully to the balance of things and act with skill, you can move things this way rather than that. I should probably do a post about this one of these days, and introduce the fine old Renaissance term “cacomagic.”
David, yes, very much so, and there’s another dimension to it. A group of people who live in the same land for generations will be shaped by that land and its spirits, until eventually their descendants become indigenous to that land. That’s what turned a bunch of Saxon invaders into the English, for example, and while the process still has a long way to go, it’s well in process in some parts of flyover country.
John, thanks for this. I can vouch for the Glastonbury energy; I’ve had the pleasure of staying there twice, and it’s one of my favorite places on the planet, not least because of the specific archetypal energies rooted in the land there.
Prizm, got it in one. That’s one of the reasons it takes years of practice to become good at it.
Tude, thank you! You can find the essay here.
Tripp (if I may), I can’t speak for hypothetical mages, but I’m in the process of looking into alternatives for the disposition of my papers when I’m gone; it’s possible that they’ll end up at Brown University, which has a large collection of documents on magic and occultism. (My copyrights and royalty income are already taken care of; once Sara and I are both gone, all income from my books for the duration of their copyrights will help support the chain of no-cost language and reading therapy centers for children that the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry runs.)
Grebulocities, one thing to keep in mind is that Trump has to placate the various power centers that back him, and the Pentagon is one of those. He’s also engaged in the extremely difficult task of extracting the US from its imperial commitments without giving anybody the impression that the US will turn tail if its interests are attacked directly. Throwing a lot of munitions around is one way to do that. Still, we’ll see.
Tripp, true enough.
Greg, did you by any chance read my book Dark Age America? I cover all these things, and indeed from my perspective you’re being somewhat optimistic. There’s still a meaningful difference between worst-case scenarios and not-quite-the-worst-case scenarios, and a little luck may help us reach the latter.
Prizm, nice. Have you looked into the resources on storytelling as an art?
Ruth, first of all, the Changer isn’t necessarily a trickster, though the two are identified in some traditions. Second, haven’t you just made my point? The archetypes that are active in Jamaica right now, centering around Babylon and its fall, are not the same as those active in the US right now — for that matter, Canada seems to have something different going on there, or at least the Changer hasn’t gotten that far up the river yet. The turmoil going on in Europe is of a different kind still, and I don’t see any Changer figures there — different countries, different archetypes. It’s all in response to the same very broad spiral of crises, but the responses are different because the lands, the peoples, and the cultures involved are different.
Wm Jas, hmm — you’re right. I was mistaken.
Dewey, let me get this straight. Because you’re worried that somebody might accuse you of being involved in a projection of the Shadow archetype, I’m not supposed to discuss that part of Jung’s theories? Um, sorry.
Projecting the shadow is an old psychological term that is still useful today, especially if you are trying to change deep-seated behaviors that developed in childhood.
It’s not something you go around yelling at other people “You’re projecting the shadow!” Mostly because if you just happen to be right, and you just happen to get the other person to understand what you are saying (which is very difficult, the psychological barriers to seeing your shadow as an aspect of yourself are VERY strong) the inevitable result is the strongest and most vitriolic attack (in subconscious self-defense) that you have ever received from that person. It most likely won’t be physically violent (only because most people do not resort to violence) but it will be intensely unpleasant and may destroy your relationship with that person forever.
“Projecting the shadow” is something psychologists must understand (if they work with the freudian and jungian aspects of psychology like repression). It is a very useful tool for self-exploration and self-improvement. While a person *can* apply the concept to large groups of people, and use it more generally to understand human behavior (similar to concepts like denial), it would be counterproductive to start shouting across the fence “you’re projecting the shadow” especially when nearly everyone does it so you can just as easily identify the shadow being projected by those on the other side and start yelling about that.
You could try to argue that Dems are not projecting the shadow (they are, they are the most classist people in the US, and they hide it by yelling “racist!”) or you could argue the Reps are projecting the shadow (“Weak priveleged snowflakes!” usually the people who yell this are terrified of their own weakness and entitlement, one could argue the working classes are pissed off because they are losing the purchasing power they feel entitled to) and they are.
But ultimately, it’s much better to use the concept to look at yourself, identify where you are thinking with fear and self-loathing instead of logic and reason, (or compassion, for that matter) and then correct yourself and ELEVATE THE CONVERSATION.
It’s too late to erase the concept “projecting the shadow” from history, so I recommend you read up on it a bit before continuing your current line of argument.
Linda, thanks for this. I suspect your prediction will turn out to be quite correct.
Justin, I’m glad to hear that. I think we need to start thinking hard about the concept of reinhabitation — about actually settling into a relationship with the region we live in, instead of treating it as an irrelevance.
Tripp, I’m not surprised at all. Tariffs really do work, especially if the alternative is a system where your country has no trade barriers but everyone else has them!
Ubirajara, fascinating. That does sound rather reminiscent of what happened here two years ago. Thanks for the data points!
PamB, you’re welcome and thank you.
Rick, that’s a huge issue — a really huge issue. The rigid insistence that nature is supposed to be passive, that it should behave like a machine and spit out only the outcomes we want from it, that it must never disobey us or have its own preferences or do something we don’t want — that’s the cold festering heart of our culture’s failed relationship with nature and the land. It’s something I’ve been exploring for years, trying to get a clear understanding of it, because if it’s possible to reach down and grasp the root of that delusion, it might then be possible to set in motion currents of change.
You are right, we all get to decide what is “grossly disproportionate” when analyzing a person’s behavior and our own reactions to that person.
For what it is worth, just to offer you a different view, I see absolutely no difference between any of the current and past US Presidents, all the way back to Reagan, in the proportion of sexism, racism, (pick a religion)-phobia, corruption, and authoritarian policies. Carter seemed nice, so I will leave him out. Ford seemed okay also, but he was only made President because Agnew pleaded no contest to taking kickbacks while he was Vice President and resigned. Let’s not even talk about Nixon.
The US Presidents make up quite a rogue’s gallery and that is why I am always surprised by the outrage that Trump generates.
Just as an example: if you label Donald Trump a sexual predator, then speaking as a woman who has had a job for 40 years in a male dominated industry, you have to label about 40% of the workforce as sexual predators. Mind you, twenty years ago I would have put the sexual predator percentage at 80%. So, talking about grossly disproportionate reactions to a person’s behavior, why does the reaction you have to Trump, i.e., calling him a sexual predator, not apply to all those others, including about 95% of the US Presidents?
Please understand, I am not saying any of this behavior is right — it IS NOT. But it is also not unusual, especially the higher up in the organization you go. I compare Trump’s behavior with all the other politicians and people higher up in the government and corporate world and I say, “Yep, that is about what I would expect.” Not what I would like, not what I would support, but what I would expect. So I look at your reaction and yes, to me, it is grossly disproportionate.
That is just one example. I know some folks who have worked around the presidential campaigns and deal with the candidates directly. The presidential candidates are ALL racists.
Anyway, sorry if it is cynical, but if we are going to throw out Trump based on what you have listed as his “outrages,” then we have to throw them all out — if we are being even handed. And hey, maybe that is the right answer — let’s throw all the bums out!
Message for Phil Harris (philsharris) in the comments last week re trying to set up a Greerite meeting in London.
Tried emailing you but the email bounced saying “no such address” – is the email address right? I sent it to your username (in the parentheses above), at Yahoo UK.
Bogatyr, funnily enough, the story you’re asking about is about the only local story I heard from a local storyteller and halfways remember. I’m not the best person to be relating it, but it seems better to try.
Wendigo and his brothers were causing commotion, eating people and whatnot, so the people of the village held a meeting about what to do. Hannaway came to the meeting disguised as some local loser and sat in the back as everyone was discussing, trying figure out how to deal with Wendigo. Eventually even the loudest people in the tribe got quieter and quieter as they realized they didn’t know what to do, and that’s when Hannaway stood up and addressed the crowd. He said he’d deal with Wendigo for them if they paid him – not an unfair price for what was on offer, but not something you’d just pay a local bum for trying either. So the people of the village laughed at him, asking how many Wendigos he’d faced before and that sort of thing. Then Hannaway shook off his disguise and stood there looking a bit more like himself, so they were pretty impressed and gave him what he wanted.
Hannaway went out to the lake, cut a big hole in the ice and set up his tent over it. Wendigo’s youngest brother happened by and thought “Some villager’s out ice fishing! I’ll have myself a nice snack!”. So he bursts into the tent and falls straight through the hole in the ice. Hannaway wasn’t fishing at all, he was waiting there with his war club and he bonks Wendigo’s youngest brother on the head as he’s trying to climb out of the cold water. So then Wendigo’s next youngest brother comes by, sees his brother’s tracks leading to the tent and thinks he might be in time to snag some of his brother’s kill, so he charges right in and meets the same fate.
Well a while later, Wendigo is wondering where his brothers are and happens upon the tent on the lake. He sees his brothers tracks leading in but not out and knows something’s up, so he scouts the place out for a few days. Finally hunger gets the better of him and he attacks. Hannaway and Wendigo are ready for each other this time and it’s a pretty close fight, but in the end Wendigo ends up in the water and Hannaway gets him with his club. As he’s drowning Wendigo tells Hannaway “You may have gotten me, but your children will never know peace”.
Do nomads have a sense of place? Do we lack a sense of place because we adopted a nomadic tribe’s god?
“We don’t have healthy societies in the modern industrial West, so we get clobbered over the head by archetypes we’ve ignored too long. ”
I’ve read Jungs Wotan today…Makes a lot of sense. And I have to say, reading the passages he quotes on Wotan (especially the last one at the end of the essay) does stir something deep within me. It felt like a glimpse how it must have been back then. Frightening. What also comes to my mind is my grandfather, a photograph of him as a young man wearing a Wehrmacht uniform, looking into the camera with a sense of pride, very different to the old and I would say rather wise old man I knew. I think Jung’s analysis of the mechanics at work back in the 30s was on spot. Remarkable.
I still wonder what archetype(s) Germans and Europeans get clobbered over the head right now, as it seems to me that common sense is declining rapidly and something powerful (some kind of “ergriffenheit” again, but most likely of a different kind this time) is taking over step by step causing more and more strange irrational automatisms… How does it appear to you as an “outsider”?
“It’s quite possible that Obama’s constant meaningless babble about “change” served as a summoning…”
That was my first thought reading about the Changer… these guys are rather clueless, aren’t they…
@ Russia Lover Thank for the Russia & China information and JMG too for the what’s so of that situation. I just heard Pence on the radio talking about Space Force and how Russia and China have partnered on building satellites that can knock other satellites out of orbit. It was followed up with a story on how Russia brings our astronauts up and back to the space station, and we use Russian engines for the supply rockets.
We lose satellites, especially all those intelligence ones that support deployed troops, we move into a version of Twilight’s Last Gleaming for sure.
Fascinating finish to a really interesting series. And funny to me to think of the Great Orange Father as the return of an incarnated Native American god/archetype as foretold in the ancient prophecies. (Yes, I know, not really. But it is amusing to me. And you totally chose that image on purpose…)
So the European archetype of the battle to end all wars, is that related to the American obsession with apocalypses?
Speaking of which, I haven’t heard of an apocalypse focused discussion in the media since the 2012 Mayan calendar thing. The sixth extinction was making some waves but I haven’t heard anything about it in awhile.
Oh well, I guess it’s just another thing Trump is being authoritarian about and keeping all of the end of the world discussion on himself.
If you ever got on Twitter, you could watch people’s heads explode in real-time each time Trump includes the phrase “your favorite president”, referring to himself. Its hysterical!
LOL – Mr. Greer, not many people would call me somewhat optimistic! Among my friends and acquaintances I’m generally considered an Eeyore type.
I’ve not had a chance to read Dark Age America yet – I’ll see if I can find time this winter. Summertime and Autumn have too many gardening and gathering chores.
Thanks for cheering me up!
@ Rick & @ JMG
In a somewhat related example, I’ve just been informed that I am being kicked out of one of my two plots at the community garden. Admittedly, my weeding was — relaxed — but I was hardly allowing my beds to become overgrown. But the garden coordinator is extremely insistent that anything that isn’t “supposed” to be there — any grass or wildflower that might crop up — must be removed. I’m attempting to negotiate a reasonable time-frame to permit the crops involved to fully mature. I was told I needed to be out by the middle of next week; I’m asking until mid-September. I realize I could tighten up my own practice a bit, but the standard that is being applied seems a bit excessive. (In some cases, I’d allowed a few “weeds” to grow b/c I thought their flowers looked nice. No-go.) It’s not quite the same as what you’re discussing, but perhaps connected in a tangential way.
With re to archetypes, this is giving me an opportunity to confront some rather unpleasant emotional reactions to the circumstance. I was raised to be polite. I dislike anger and emotional-charged confrontation ( although intellectual confrontation and debate is acceptable). One does not make a scene. Like my experience on PoliticalWire, I’ll most likely wrap up my business, walk away, and simply not participate in that particular space any further. But I need to process this properly and not pack it away, as is my past practice.
A tiny comment about the being tied to a place discussion….I can trace my family back to 1740 in this country and we fought in the American Revolution, Civil War (both sides) and the last ancestor I have that immigrated here came in 1820. We are lived in Pennsylvania, one part or another, except that southern part which was from Alabama (and Germany before that). One branch traces back to the township where we live now and I had no idea I ever had family here, because I grew up an hour away. So weird to find that out 15 years after living here and explained the feeling at home all these years.
Thanks for your comment on linking synchronicity with archetypes. I’d seen synchronicity mentioned any number of times, but couldn’t make any sense of it. Now it makes perfect sense, although a lot of what I’ve heard called synchronicity doesn’t seem to fit that structure.
Back when I was involved in Pentecostal Christianity it was widely understood that every part of the Earth had its own local, governing spirits. From the point of view of Pentecostals, these spirits were seen as diabolical, but they were nonetheless recognized as having power and sovereignty over their own small region. I’d forgotten about this until I read the comments.
Mr. Greer and commentariat, this has been a fascinating conversation. On the topic of archetypes – and I have my own theological musings on the relationship between gods and archetypes, or perhaps more to the point, what part of a god an archetype is – I feel it necessary to mention that Indo-European gods mostly travel with people. That’s how Germanic gods got to be worshipped in the British Isles and Iceland, after all.
Perhaps there is a danger here of conflating gods and archetypes, but as someone who actively worships Wotan (Woden, Wodan, Odin, etc.), he’s here too. Not as strongly as in, say, the Harz mountains in Germany, but still. And I don’t mean this to contradict your point, Mr. Greer; native gods and spirits are clearly better established here – consequently, so are their archetypes.
As for the rise of Asatru and our other varieties of Heathenry: this is in no way contradicted by your long-term view of a more locally-rooted religious future in the US. Mobile as the majority of our gods are, it is in the nature of these sorts of religions to incorporate local gods in some fashion, too. As an example of this, we have Nehalennia, goddess of the mouth of the Rhine, who was worshipped by at least three different cultures who moved through the area.
For myself, as a fairly orthodox Heathen doing my best to practice the religion as it was practiced and not be too New-Agey about playing mix-and-match with religious concepts… I cross the Mississippi daily and offer a prayer to both the river and the bridge. I’d gladly make offerings to the river if I could do so in private. Given his associations with water, especially waterfalls, I’d feel comfortable making offerings to Wotan there. The incorporation of native gods of place into what is nominally an old European religion sounds more complicated in theory than it actually is in practice. That’s how these religions work.
Bravo. A true tour de force in four parts.
If I am still connected to the Unitarians (and my wife is the connection) in either two or six years, I can see this as a source of a sermon. It would be the sequel to a sermon titled “On Change” I gave in August 2016 which outlined what happened to the working class over the last forty years. It also invoked the metaphor of the truth-telling court jester as a reference to an unmentioned individual. If anyone missed the reference I added the line “Of course, no one wants the court jester as king.” (It was three months before the election.)
Hi – I’m amazed to have stumbled upon such detailed analysis! I’ve written on this topic for Quillette, and was approached to do some kind of book on it, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to do it – you’ve accomplished quite the synthesis right here. It seems that the archetype of our current age, as you identify it here, really is paradox – the internal “changer” takes what you desire and gives you the opposite. The more we become manic and want to remove Trump right this instant, the more impossible to defeat he becomes. I also agree wholeheartedly with your view that this time of dark magic derailing neoliberal capital is a prelude for the overall failure of international global capitalism, whose ultimate dream is to replace human beings with A.I. (which we know will fail). Anyway, I’m a 20 year old and an aspiring fiction writer as well, and I just wanted to say I’ve subscribed to your blog and am a kind of fellow traveler!
Thank you, you just gave me a piece of the puzzle to solve the request my ancestors are making of me. Still missing one or two, possibly… One person up thread mentioned Standing Rock, and from my (ancestors) perspective, that is a key event.
I am Metis, by way of French-Dakota traders who settled with Ojibwe-English daughters of the Hudson’s Bay outposts in the Red River valley. Ending up in the Canadian side, I’d been to ignorant of the Sioux Wars, and what that meant to my relatives who stayed behind. That was a war of resisting inevitable change, started by young men who had lost all legitimate ways of being in their culture. Little Crow knew they’d lose, but he was voted to lead them. Without the direction of their elders, those young men committed heinous crimes – 80% of their settler victims were women and children. But what is not usually written about in white history is the fact that 900 of the 1000 captives they had were half-breeds or Christian Dakota converts. People they didn’t trust not to try to stop their quest. And indeed they were right, their captives, some of whom were Elders incensed that the young men had declared war without their approval, were sending letters to American General Sibley the whole time. It was a battle between Those Who Would Stop All Change (Little Crow), Those Who Were The Change (Settlers), and those who accepted the hard necessity of a third way, where they adopted the old ways and new to various degrees. In the end, a half breed named Gabriel Renville, who rejected Christianity with disgust, and held to Dakota lifeway, but conceded that now the Buffalo were gone, the Dakota should also farm, and who maintained his late uncle’s famous diplomacy with the Americans, was appointed the first Chief of the Sisseton when they all got placed on the new reserves. Little Crow warriors had excellent reason to go to war; they were starving, and inches from losing their lifestyle forever. But the rest knew what they were despaired of letting themselves know – there were more settlers, always coming like a flood, they would not be deterred. Change was coming no matter what, the question was the manner of survival. There’s so much more to the story, and i see the Ghost Dancers again, too… Easy to see when you note how the roles are flipped, now, between the isolationists and the globalists.
The brief heyday of the Red River is one place we can look at for what a north American ethnogenesis looked like. Metis were called half breed because they were mixed indigenous, settler and occasionally slave, ancestry, but not always. There were many entirely indigenous or European people who entered into the culture by marriage, adoption or joining the traders. They were also eventually overwhelmed (driven out by war) by American and Canadian eurocentric culture, but the spark was there.
A Canadia Archetype that could be resurrected, may well be on its way, is the Voyageur. The fur trader who bridged the worlds, his mother of Turtle Island, his father of the Sky God People, united by the Flowing Waters. In the first 150 years or so, the Two Row Wampum belt signifying the treaty with the Five Nations reigned – two cultures, going their way forward together on the land, but seperate from each other- though a culture in the middle carried the furs, beads and copper kettles between the two… A new world. We speak a lot of Reconciliation here, and in Victoria, we will now put the local languages on the street signs too. If we can remember we once had a map to deal with change, and integrate two radically different worlds into this place…
Tripp, everyone has heirs. Just not necessarily their children! My dad’s a paleontologist, his intellectual papers will go to a couple of his former students some day, and thank God I don’t have to deal with them!
I lived in this house for eleven years as a child, now six years as an adult. It’s not enough, but I have some connection to the land.
Re propeller cavitation and submariners: cavitation=chaos, a breakdown of the smooth order of things. And of course, there’s the noise which betrays the sub’s position to the hunters…Maybe the sub moving silently=Business As Usual
I tried to post a comment and sign in but got an interminable “signing in to Google Plus” message and no connection. I’m going to try again.
You who would know the Great Changers if American history, go into the heart of the Mountain West, and there, in one of our sacred places, you will find four faces carved in stone on the side of the mountain. Three of them led us through the first three great crisis eras of our history; the fourth turned our hearts to protecting the land and used his office to to enshrine that protection in law during a great cultural turning of the tide.
Of those Changers, one should really be shown as two faces together, for if he was the brains of his Change, his lady was assuredly the soul.
Does that help?
Bogotyr–the Appalachians are only the better known of settled areas in the US, and because of their isolation have survived partially intact. This is a very large country and there are lots of areas that were settled and inhabited in a rather stable way. I’m not enough of a historian to point those areas out though. I was born in California of parents who had immigrated from Arkansas by different routes and ended up in northern California post WWII. Of course the most likely candidates for long term settlement would have been the coastal colonies that were settled first, and especially in New England, by people intent on putting down roots. However the proximity of those areas to metropolitan growth meant that settled farms were sold off for suburban development. Other areas were unable to compete with agricultural areas opened up by the railroads. If you can grow and transport food from Illinois to NY more cheaply than it can be grown in NY or neighboring states the farms will be abandoned or bought up as country residences for the rich.
David – by-the – Lake –If I recall correctly, Mark Twain had some scathing things to say about the influence of the historical novels of Sir Walter Scot on the idea of the noble Lost Cause in the South. Not that Scot commented on the Civil War but as his novels celebrated lost causes as being noble. As I noted earlier, William Faulkner was also insightful about the region he lived in. Unfortunately his experimental techniques in several novels (_Absalom Absalom_; _As I lay Dying_; and _The Sound and the Fury_) get the most attention from academics and give the general public the impression that he is too difficult to read. But he published dozens of short stories in mainstream magazines such as Saturday Evening Post. If I recall correctly, his association with the Southern Agrarians also damaged his critical reputation. However I have argued, in a paper about _As I lay Dying_, that academics misinterpret some of his works and have too little sympathy for the poor whites Faulkner describes. Characters like Anse Bundren, who has been incapacitated by sun stroke are dismissed as clownish by these critics. I assume these academics had no tales from relatives who had joyously received oranges as Christmas gifts and had one pair of shoes to last the school year.
JMG — I am constantly amazed by the way that people who consider themselves liberal will dance around the immigration issue. On a recent Facebook post another poster took issue with your stance on immigration, claiming that it is a myth that it drives down wages and causes unemployment. I challenged this remark and elicited an admission that illegal immigrants do take some low wage jobs, with the usual caveat that native born Americans won’t do those jobs. It occurred to me–and this ties into the history of the South as well–that people can and do refuse jobs for other than economic reasons. The institution of slavery notorious demeans all manual labor–both in the classical world and in the Americas. Even in a society which pretends to see all labor as worthy, some jobs are scorned. Some are for obvious reasons of disgusting conditions–slaughterhouse worker, sewer cleaner, etc. But it seems to me that if a certain industry becomes associated with a class of people seen as inferior, people not of that class will avoid it, even to the extent of damaging themselves economically. “No daughter of mine will marry a man who does X; that’s (fill in ethnic slur) work.” “But he makes good money at it”, is no defense to this logic. However the prestige of the work can be raised if it is unionized with resulting good pay and benefits and esprit de corp, or becomes a government job. Garbage collection in many cities is unionized, sewer workers are civil service, etc.
About Bolsonaro, who is always being compared with Trump:
The big difference I see is that in Brazil there are several leftist candidates, one of whom substantially increased working class wages, including the minimum wage, when last in office. Bolsonaro has more than three times higher approval among upper middle and upper classes than among those earning near minimum wage. Bolsonaro promises to turn time back to the 60s and 70s dictatorship when inequality was at its highest, and now has market believers as advisors, even proposing to sell off Brazilian utility companies and oil deposits to foreign investors.
In fact, whatever Olavo de Carvalho may have done, several of the extreme right-wing groups who have helped Bolsonaro (MBL, Vem Pra Rua) have received well-documented funding and training by American organizations like the Atlas Foundation.
So, while I can’t tell if Trump will actually help the wage class as JMG suggests, I am quite sure that Bolsonaro won’t.
Thank you very much for that – very interesting!
@JMG, philsharris, Jasmine, BB, John L et al re: Britain
What’s happening in Britain now is expressly about sovereignty, something which features powerfully in the Welsh mythos. I’m beginning to wonder whether we are seeing the stirring of the family of Beli Mawr, amongst whom are the Children of Llŷr and the Children of Dôn…
Briefly: the children of Beli included three kings:
– Lludd Llaw Eraint – Lludd of the Silver Hand, also called Nudd – who ruled Britain;
– Llefelys, who ruled Gaul;
– Afallach, who ruled the Otherworld of Annwn. (Afallach means something like “of the apples”, in the same sense as Ynys Afallon where Arthur is taken to heal and await his return, and Afallach may be the same deity called Arawn elsewhere).
When Lludd died, the rule of Britain rightly passed to his cousin, Brân the Blessed, son of Llŷr and Beli’s sister, Penarddun. However, Brân was away in Ireland, rescuing his sister Branwen and avenging the insults done to her by the Irish. The kingship was usurped by Caswallawn mab Beli, half-brother of Lludd via Beli and the goddess Dôn. Brân died of injuries sustained in Ireland. The right to rule passed to his brother Manawydan, who had been fighting by his side, and who was one of the few survivors of the Irish war. Manawydan, for the sake of peace, decided not to challenge Caswallawn. With the other remnants of Brân’s war band, he buried Brân’s severed head at the White Hill in London (now the site of the Tower of London), facing the continent of Europe, where it prevented any invasion – until Arthur dug it up, saying his own strength was sufficient. Some legends say that Myrddin (aka Merlin) later replaced it.
How does all of this fit in?
John L mentions Britannia (who is /not/ Brigantia, sorry!), while philsharris mentions the sea. I think these are a more recent understanding of British sovereignty. Both only really became significant at the time of the first Elizabeth and, to me, both are Imperial symbols. They represent a sense of Albion: of Britain at the heart of a global empire, of being apart from other nations (unless we are ruling them). This is the symbolism and archetype of the pro-Brexit camp – but one that’s passed its sell-by date. In fact, as I think about it, it may now be tied to the lifetime of the current Queen, who is the last link to the times of British global power. With her passing, Britain can only be just another country, even in the minds of its own citizens, and perhaps the current upheavals are the last efforts of a fading archetype struggling against this.
With the passing of Britannia, the British must adjust to being bound within the confines of their island, and there are no archetypes for that – apart from the Welsh gods, and their legends.
Llud, as ruler of Britain, had to face three plagues:
– the Coraniaid, a race who could hear any word touched by the wind – perhaps a useful analogy for the Deep State and universal surveillance…
– the screaming of the Dragons: the conflict of the Brythons and the Saxons… Though the Welsh have not yet woken, the Scots certainly have: this may help us understand the conflict between supporters of Scottish independence and the British Nationalist Establishment…
– a giant who could send Lludd’s entire court to sleep before stealing all their food and drink… This puts me in mind of the current sense of impotence in Britain… that everyone is aware that the pound is crashing, industry is on the verge of collapse, agriculture cannot function… and yet nobody is doing anything to prevent it…
In the legend, Lludd is saved by his brother Llefelys, king of Gaul. Perhaps the EU will still save us somehow… but it hasn’t happened yet, and I don’t see how it can.
The theme of impotence is repeated elsewhere: Brân the Blessed is associated British myth with the Fisher King, wounded in the groin and unable to act, or to maintain the fertility of his land until redeemed by the knight who asks the right question. This theme of impotence, and of failing fertility, stymied creativity, and blocked action was picked up by T. S. Eliot in The Waste Land, which is perhaps the only expression of all these themes that might be recognised by a modern British audience.
Returning to John L’s comment: Arawn/Afallach ap Beli was ruler of Annwn; his nephew, Lludd’s son, Gwyn ap Nudd, was appointed ruler of the Tylwyth Teg, the Fair Folk of the Otherworld, to prevent them from destroying the inhabitants of the human realm. Gwyn is the leader of the Wild Hunt, roaming at night over Cadair Idris with his hounds. To the best of my knowledge, Cerridwen has no particular association with Glastonbury (her home is Llyn Tegid, in north Wales), but Gwyn ap Nudd very definitely is connected with the Tor. Perhaps Glastonbury has revived Gwyn, opening up a way for the Welsh gods to return, and to fill the gap once Britannia fades away?
@ Jessica “In other words, the key to running a knowledge-centric economy by the rules of an industrial economy is to create an artificial scarcity of knowledge, a.k.a. ignorance. The aristocrats have two main tasks in this curious social arrangement: to generate ignorance and to not be seen to do this. In order to pull this off, they have to themselves believe that they are producers. They have to not-see that they are worse than parasites. In other words, our current aristocracy’s entire existence is a fantasy.”
That is brilliant. Thank you for posting that. It explains why some of the (mis)managers at my job refuse to dispense the information some of us need in order to function properly.
Did you say that Michael himself is producing resource shortages?
Insightful as always, but couldn’t this same archetype have been applied to George W Bush? He too had many scandals while running and after “winning” in 2000 including the fact that he went AWOL from his Texas Air National Guard post which itself was a privileged Vietnam war dodge, but I digress.
Arguably Bush changed everything.
Christopher Henningsen and Rita E Rippetoe, thanks very much for your replies.
Christopher, that’s really interesting: I wonder how the Wedigo’s curse plays out?
Rita, I was thinking of books such as JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, which got a lot of attention as people tried to make sense of Trump’s victory.
Lunchbox, traditional nomadic cultures have a powerful sense of place. Nearly all nomadic peoples move through a seasonal route, making use of resources available at different seasons of the year, and so each place they visit typically has its own guardian spirits with which they interact, its own stories and songs which are told at that point in the seasonal cycle, and so on. So, no, that’s probably not it.
Nachtgurke, something’s moving in the European psyche, no question, but I’d have to spend some time in Europe getting to know the currents in collective consciousness before I had any clear idea what it is. I watch the EU, and think of Yeats’ words at the end of A Vision: “What discords will drive Europe into that artificial unity — only dry or drying sticks can be tied into a bundle — that is the decadence of every civilisation? How work out upon the phases the coming and increase of the counter-movement, the antithetical multiform influx?”
Troy, that’s funny. That’s really funny.
Denys, it’s closely related. Yes, I’ve noticed that the end of the world brigade has been a little muted since Nothing Happened Day came and went, though no doubt if Trump wins reelection in 2020 (as I expect him to do) there will be quite a bit of apocalypse-mongering in response. As for Twitter, I bet Trump says that deliberately every time he wants a laugh…
Greg, just one of the services I offer. 😉
David, ouch. That’s got to sting. And of course you’re right; there’s no need, nor anything to be gained, by a zero-tolerance policy for self-sowing plants.
Denys, that’s fascinating.
John R, you’re most welcome.
Beekeeper, fascinating. I had no idea that was part of Pentecostal tradition.
Nick, that’s one of the distinctions between gods and archetypes, of course. One thing I suspect we’ll be seeing in North American Asatru — if it’s not showing itself already — is that just as there’s a noticeable (though difficult to describe) difference between the German Wotan, the Norse Odin, and the Anglo-Saxon Woden, one deity but subtly different expressions, the Odin of North American Asatru will take on his own distinct character, and that will show subtle but startling resemblances to certain Native American figures. That’s standard in the history of religions, and sometimes involves remarkable shifts — I’m thinking here of the way that the male bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara became a mother goddess in China and Japan. Gods do such things…
John B., thank you. I’m a little surprised that you didn’t get run out of the church on a rail, with or without tar and feathers!
Alexander, thanks for this! Would you like to post a link to one or more of your pieces on the subject for Quillette? That’s a worthwhile journal and one that I read fairly regularly.
SaraDee, thanks for this. I’m delighted to hear that the local languages are going on street signs in Victoria! I recall when that started happening in Cornwall, and it’s a good way to start moving toward a recognition of the cultures and spirits of place.
Patricia M, nicely done.
Matthias, thanks for this.
A thought flitted through my mind when I read your comment about how long it will take for America to develop it’s own spiritual consciousness of place. My thought was that it must start from a strong sense of place. I think a lot of people have it, but don’t know what to do with it. I have always felt very attached to the place I currently live. I can’t really imagine living anywhere else even though I have lived in one other place during my teen years. As a result, I have learned a lot about the flora and fauna and geology of my area and how to grow a garden here. Do you think that a strong sense of place is like the first step on the path to such a spiritual connection?
Speaking of synchronicity, this seems relevant. Let me see if I can embed an image…
I have been trying to writing an essay write up of that comment I made, but I am having a devil of a time with it because there were separate lines of though which I don’t think fit with on another. I could write something on the economic structure thing maybe. But the American culture bit with poe, positive thinking, emmrson, and all that was fever dream stuff and I don’t have a rational relationship with that material. Heck I don’t even read those two thinkers, they were just drafted as labels for something I don’t have words for. The only kind of essay I ever learned was a form meant for much more argumentative structure; philosophic essay. BSing about steriotypes I am ignorantly prejudiced about isn’t the kind of thing I really would want to find wider publication. There are reasons I often wait until down thread to writing anything meaty.
Regarding SaraDee’s comment: Er, it sounds a lot like those young Crow warriors did something a whole lot like going to battle in the Gotterdammerung. It seems to me that the Comanche did something similar. Arguably, many young Germans, faced with the destruction of traditional European civilization in between capitalism and communism did something similar 80 years ago. The mostly-European warriors who named all of their cool military helicopters after Amerindian tribes probably are channeling the same forces. Even though a more obvious shadow figure for the American soldier is the Jihadi for more than 30 years now, American soldiers still call hostile territory “Indian country”.
After all, in the days before medevac choppers, going to fight went going to your own personal Gotterdammerung. A dirty secret of the past 30 years of American imperial warfare is that casualty rates (meaning soldiers who get serious injuries) have not dropped nearly so fast as death rates. Never mind that that medevac flight, with the best drugs, blood transfusions in the air with a surgeon waiting often has a ticket price of horribly crippling injuries.
This essay cleared up so much for me. If the summoners of kek are the rejects from the current competition for the aristocratic market place, then quiet a few of them envy the position of the current aristocracy. By reacting from their desire ther project as many shadows upon the aristorcracy, and the aristoracy does upon them. Thus the screaming and yelling from all sides. Kek is the face of the changer archetype who changes everything on his way up stream. Anyone resisting, the rejects (summoners) and the aristocracy alike, are going to the flora and fauna of the new spiritual world. Dang, that’s what my essay…err, comment…was missing last week.
In those native stories, and you’ll pardon my ignorance on the matter since I’m the Dot kind of Indian and not the feather kind of Indian, what exactly happened to the beings who accepted the change? Who aided the changer in his/her task? Because I feel like that’s what we’re supposed to be doing, though in what direction is beyond me.
There’s another fitting archetype of the times by the blind Native American No-Eyes, that of the Phoenix. Several of the markers still need passing, such as riots in the streets against the men in black dresses and the uniting of the tribes ( begun with the new ease of social media communication and the gathering resistance to the pipeline).
But the force of this archetype will not simply generate where humanity meets the wild,
but within the wild itself as She turns our creations back upon us. (Just watching the toxin stew embracing Florida seems sadly appropriate.)
@Phil Knight My prediction is that when Donald Trump gets replaced in 2025, it will be by Donald Trump Junior.
Ivanka is the better bet, I suspect.
“welcome to the single most difficult challenge we in the United States face: the challenge of evolving our own traditions of harmony with the land and the powers of the land.”
Through my AODA travels I’ve had a bit of a struggle reconciling with the ideas of “wildcrafting” one’s Druidry. I think this thread of commentary help that to click into a place of understanding finally.
Thanks as usual!!
Oh yes the ‘plucky heroine’ archetype has been around for a while I know. I was more commenting on the archetype now making its way into the political sphere. Much like the ‘anti-hero’ trope/archetype has been around for a while but Trump is a manifestation of this into the political sphere.
To all UK readers thanks!
I get the feeling I’ll be delving into extensive research/ discovery into English/Anglo-saxon/Celtic/Nordic folklore in the next few years, since this is much of my ancestry (as well as being the cultural/ ancestral heritage of much of the European descended population here in New Zealand), though my knowledge at the moment is sketchy at best. It might help us better come to terms with local Maori/ Pacific Island folklore.
Bogatyr – I get the sense the death of Queen Elizabeth might force some kind of constitutional crisis here too (She’s still our head of state), though what ultimately replaces her? I don’t think we have a strong enough counter narrative yet to become a republic…
Couldn’t agree more on your take on the healing/lack thereof in the south and what it will probably take to bring closure. Funny thing is, my mom’s parents moved from Indiana in the 1950’s, and today you’d think they’ve been there forever, listening to them talk about things like New York City(bad), politics(repub), college football(UGA 100%) et al. JMG’s Retrotopia touches on some potential future outcomes of our Union that aren’t too far reaching if the ‘Union’ is forced too hard a second time around.
Unfortunately, I reside near Pittsburgh, PA now. Ellijay is a nice area and I wish I was closer, as I too share your desire to get to know fellow open/like minded persons. Seemingly harder to do these days off line?!? I visit family once a year there, and they’re in Snellville, Gainesville and Cartersville. Interesting you’re at the very beginning of the Appalachians, and if my memory isn’t failing me, it definitely has a mountain ”vibe”. The Etowah ‘indian’ mounds are not too far away from you either. Are there others closer to you? Kind of cool thinking of native archetypes and you have some very neat inspirations nearby to connect with!
One other note related. I’ve lived in many locales in or near the southern mountains (Knoxville, Asheville, Boone) and now I’m in Western PA, where I’ve been for a decade now. It really has more in common, in my opinion, with these places (southern appalachia) than Philly, New York, DC. There’s a very Appalachian vibe mixed with a healthy dose of Midwest sensibility. There’s a reason it’s referred to as Pennsyltucky up here I guess by those attempting (and failing) to disparage the local populace…JMG could probably (and most likely already did at some point) speak to this, having lived in Cumberland, MD. I would bet Cumberland votes/thinks/feels more similar to Ellijay, GA than it ever does in relation to Baltimore or DC??
As always to you Mr. Greer,
John – Here’s the Quillette piece on Carl Jung and Donald Trump! I think you and your audience will enjoy this:
How does land influence culture?
Archetypes have been in my thoughts almost 40 years, John. Jung’s use of Wotan implies that deity re-emerging to operate as a social archetype centuries later in the same regional context. An interesting variation of his general theory that archetypes operate in the collective unconscious from the unus mundus.
My view derives from that of Dane Rudhyar, who created the contemporary theory of astrology in the 1930 when he was corresponding with Jung & Assagioli, the founder of psychosynthesis. He tells that story in his first book (1936). It became clear to me that there are archetypes of nature, such as the circle & spiral from which the synchronicity between solar, lunar & planetary positions relative to events on Earth (as depicted in a horoscope) derives. But the number archetypes are even more fundamental, and I’ve seen only a single page description of those in Jung’s writing.
I’d be interested to see if you comprehend the magic number seven as an archetype, in respect of how it operates in both nature & the human psyche. But Jung didn’t actually correlate Wotan with the archetype of evil as far as seems evident from your commentary, and I’m wondering why not.
Some days ago I happened upon a poll of readers by the fourth-largest newspaper in the USA in late ’99, asking which were the most evil people in history. 19,184 of them voted. Hitler won.
Second came Bill Clinton. Stalin was third, then Pol Pot.
Fifth was the Nazi who conducted medical experiments on live jews, Dr Josef Mengele. Sixth was Hilary Clinton.
Saddam Hussein, Adolf Eichmann, Charles Manson and Idi Amin completed the top ten. Genghis Khan came in at 11th, then serial killer who ate his victims, Jeffrey Dahmer, at 12th.
Vlad the Impaler made it to #20, Jack the Ripper #25.
You won’t need the prompt, so I’ll just point out for the benefit of younger readers the relevance of the shadow as archetype in the psyche of the voters, in respect of the Clintons as perceived evil-doers.
Some days later I found myself in a reverie, as is normal for the elderly, and imagined the following scenario:
Vladimir Putin & Donald Trump were relaxing by the pool after their talks, bodyguards shooting the breeze discretely in the distance.
Trump: “Here, have some of this.” Putin: “Ganja?”
Trump: “The best.” Putin: “You first!”
Some time later…
Trump: “Ah, that’s better. Talked a lotta crap in there, eh?”
Putin: “Usual. Mind games. Chess.”
Trump: “No thanks, too hard. Makes my head hurt. Loved those cyber attacks.”
Putin: “Sensible distraction. Woman was too obvious. Poor programming.”
Trump: “You can say that again.” Putin: “Too obvious, poor programming.”
Trump: “Right. Got it. Another?” Putin: “Ta. Good toke. What we do next?”
Trump: “China.” Putin: “Blechh. Imperialists.”
Trump: “Takes one to know one, eh?” Putin: “Look who’s talking!”
Trump: “Squeeze ’em?” Putin: “Damn right. Hard.”
Trump: “Another?” Putin: “… ahhh… ”
Trump: “I can feel a tweet coming on. Vlad the Inhaler.”
Putin: “Arctic Sea soon subtropical. Will build dachas around it. Want one?”
Trump: “Thanks. Ok if I send my guys over to build it my style?”
Putin: “No problemo. We put the bugs in later.”
Trump: “Latest tech, don’t need ’em. We do it remote.”
Putin: “Where I buy?”
Trump: “Dunno. Word’ll be on the street. Tell your Silicon Valley guy to ask around.”
Putin: “Nice here. You a good guy. ..mmmm… “
So, the changer. Perhaps not just manifesting via Trump, but also as catalyst of climate change…
Well, Calexit will be on the ballot in ’21, after Trump is reelected, and, as goes Calif., so goes the rest of blue America, and our Confederate ancestors and the cause they fought for will be validated.
The trickster message is appropriately hidden in plain site. After all, Trump means “trick” in cards, also in french, as in trompe l’oiell (trick of the eye).
Firstly, thanks for the flowers, J. M. Greer! Secondly, as regard to the commentary of Wm Jas, the words “diable”, “devil” and “Teufel” come from the Greek word “diabolos”. By the way, this discussion is of such a high niveau that it is difficult to add anything of substance.
About the Devas and the Asuras; I can see this reflected in the Irish pantheon, but what about the Welsh Druid Gods? Do you happen to know if and how these are associated with the pre-indo-european religion?
Secondarily; to what extent are the Welsh myths and gods applicable to mainland Europe? Just how localized are the stories of the land, and the effect they have on the people who live there?
Yours in Druidry,
>There’s a green frog here, wat do?
Just change. I don’t think the deity cares, as long as you do something different from what you’ve been doing. Big or small, I don’t think it cares. If you meet it on the road, just wave to it and move on. I’d say the green frog didn’t just show up on its own either, it had help, lots and lots of help from people who absolutely do not want anything to change. Frankly I was sick of the stasis myself. Ribbit.
And you may find this offensive, JMG, but maybe Changer meets you and says “What are you doing?” “I’m trying to hold onto what’s left of ‘Old Weird America’ as one guy puts it” and Changer says “I will call you Boomer, stick a tricorn hat on you and call you a Heritage American” and then moves on down the road.
To add to JMG’s remark I would note that the Aryans who invaded India from the north are the possible basis for The Mahabharata, which contains the climactic battle at Kurukshetra. So the one big battle idea is widespread.
On the other hand, you have The Iliad, in which the opposing sides battle inconclusively for years, only to have trickery end it. A whimper instead of a bang.
thank you very much, that is very interesting. I’m starting to see that our relationship with the gods needs to be a two-way street, so to speak. I find the part about the gods being transformed, not man, counter-intuitive. Why would the gods need to be transformed – aren’t they, well, the gods? I wonder if that means that through our relationship, humans provide an opportunity for the characteristics of the gods to be manifest on the material plane, which otherwise can’t happen. I agree with you (and Jung) that becoming more and more conscious of one’s self and the gods is really the only option, as they are here and have effects whether or not we are aware of that fact. Lots more to think about…
Thank you; yes, as I mentioned to spear, I’m starting to get the message that there is both give and take involved. A mutually-beneficial relationship needs to be forged between the god and the human. I think I must have been a mystic in a past life, because for a few reasons I find that concept a bit challenging, I must admit. When I apply it to myself, I can totally see it. But when I think about applying it to the rest of the world, things start to get complicated. I suppose it is complicated. I did read more after Crowley, luckily, and I recall reading somewhere that when the mage attains the initiation of Kether, he or she then returns to their previous work at the grade below and sets out to remake the universe in their own image. The world becomes transparent to consciousness. Ideally at this point their own image would have identified with the divine image, the god would be made manifest, so it would be worthy of propagation. But what about if one tries to do this prematurely, before the right state of consciousness is reached? That’s when things can go horribly wrong; the left-hand path I suppose. I guess without full consciousness the mage’s magical efforts will not have their full effect, so the world is spared somewhat from the harmful effects of a misguided attempt at making changes. Although as you mentioned, through cacomagic, a harmful and distorted worldview is projected onto others with selfish gain being the sole motive. This actually works too, as we see with modern advertising. I would definitely look forward to a post on the goals and purposes of magic, which I believe you have threatened to do before. Isn’t there a fifth Wednesday coming up here somewhere? 🙂
Vey thoughtful, and the fact that the frog itself changes, to which you subtly alluded with your graphic, reinforces your point. Surely there is truth in what you say as it resonates with me.
ever the literalist. i could argue a writer does have responsibility for creating or defeating expectations, especially across a four-episode story, but actually that was not my point.
my point was, the question was at least implicitily raised, and while on the one hand you are not delivering an explicit claim, yes, what these folks are calling kek is a sentient, volitional entity, you also are not expressly rejecting the claim.
Thanks for articulating this so clearly! Ever since you started writing about the subject of trumps election, I’ve been keeping an eye on the patterns at play and seeing them bright as day. It’s interesting to converse with my mostly liberal friends who go on and on about resistance, racism, sexism etcetera. I’ll point out some of these patterns at play, and not surprisingly, few can see past the shadow.
On the flip side, I’ll have a conversation with more conservative or moderate friends and explain some of these patterns or how ironic it is that supposedly open minded and loving liberals can act towards trump and his supporters–the irony is not lost on them. I actually find that the more conservative folks I engage with are more likely to be unbotheted by people who disagree with them than otherwise, at least in my limited conversations with neighbors and so forth.
An illustrative aside: a friend of mine who plays music in cities and has many urban liberal friends told me of a time he was at dinner with one of these friends. They were telling everyone about how they took their $70,000 car to get it washed and the “ignorant, stupid” car wash person didn’t realize how expensive their car was and they needed to be careful! They were a pussy hat wearing type, you can imagine… All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others, I guess.
Curiously enough, I listened to a rune soup podacsst this week interviewing gary lachman about a book on the subject of trump, alt-right, and chaos magic. Were you familiar with this?
I had another conversation with the same friend to whom I referred in my very late comment on last week’s post and gave her a synopsis of this week’s post.
Her comment was “But Moon changed the world in a good way.”
My observation was, “Did he really? Did all the inhabitants of the world that Moon changed think so?”
Obviously from the perspective of the inhabitants of post-change world, the changes were “good” but probably not necessarily from the perspective of the ones changed (or more accurately: permanently locked into their futile behaviours).
Right now people who exhibit a wider range of biological possibilities for gender-expression than the simple binary genders are not feeling the spirit of chaos emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. as a good thing, for one example.
Mr. Kek/Chaos is certainly making random changes to the world order (I note that he has now come into conflict with his fellow uber-rich as well as the liberals of the New American Aristocracy described in the Atlantic – posted by Andru in Part Two). Whether that will improve the world or even the U.S. I cannot yet say. It’s too chaotic. But it’s possible that what settles down will be better than what came before, that is not guaranteed.
To cite two examples: he has thrown Canada’s economy into disarray and our leaders [i.e. the people who run around to be in front of whichever way the mob is moving] are, of course, scrambling to respond and maintain their control over the situation. Canada could re-vive manufacturing of goods that we used to make here, before global ‘free’ trade moved them away, which would mean more jobs &c. But that would have consequences in costs for people already living at the edge of what they can afford on two paycheques.
There is now a growing flood of asylum-seekers fleeing deportation from the U.S. arriving in Canada that our version of nationalists are describing as ‘illegal immigrants’ and thus creating a false perception of the issue as a Serious Problem. (I note that the political argument here is about where to house and care for these people and who pays for it and not about turning them back at bayonet-point or building walls.) This could be an opportunity to review and re-write our immigration rules, and make them clearer, simpler, and more consistent. Unfortunately, we are talking about politicians here.
Re: Christian belief in other spirits
I’ve had a chance to look for the New Testament passage about territorial spirits and, if I remember correctly, it’s Ephesians 6:12 on which many Pentecostals (and possibly other denominations) base a belief in spirits of this world:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
In one Bible study group or other, these spirits were explained to me to be either the old gods and goddesses worshiped by the indigenous people of whatever land Christian proselytizers were trying to evangelize, or fallen angels cast out of heaven. It was believed that these beings were in league with Satan; nonetheless, their existence and their power, however limited in comparison to God’s, was not questioned.
JMG – you said “the Odin of North American Asatru will take on his own distinct character, and that will show subtle but startling resemblances to certain Native American figures. ”
It’s already happening. Fantasy writers like Diana Paxson and S.M. Stirling have already included sequences in their novels in which Odin morphs into Coyote and vice versa, after showing up at someone’s camp site as The Wanderer. And a lot more emphasis is being put on Odin/Woden as the god of poetic inspiration than the bloodthirsty and warlike Wotan.
Likewise, the Eddas, which most modern Asatruar rely on heavily, show Ragnarok as being followed by the birth of a new world without Aesir or Giants, but inhabited by a new generation. This may be – probably is – Christian influence showing, but it’s been interpreted by some for the past 800 years to mean that Ragnarok has come and gone with the conversion of Scandinavia.
Thank you for the intriguing reply, Mr. Greer. Based on that reply, your understanding of archetypes is fundamentally distinct from mine, and so I’ll look forward to a more in-depth discussion of what an archetype is and how exactly it relates to the god, spirit, or culture hero of the same name.
Concerning the thought of an American Odin converging towards North American archetypes of place in the future, would you expect something similar to occur within, say, Hinduism or Shinto as they are practiced in North America? Further, would you posit that the Christian god has converged towards a North American archetype? Or are there different dynamics at play in those examples?
General comment about nomads–Nomads, as JMG has noted, usually have a regular migration pattern, following the seasons to different areas of hunting or pasturage. These peoples may have regular interactions with settled areas, being allowed to pasture on fallow ground and benefit the farmer with manure, for example, or trading meat and dairy products and leather for grain and fruit. I think some people have this pattern, which does depend on a knowledge of the land, confused with the expanding barbarian horde, surging out from an original homeland to overrun, raid and sometimes settle in new lands. Goths and Vandals pushed out of their original homelands on the Eurasian plains by the Huns are an example that made a great impression on the European imagination because of the interaction with the Roman Empire.
the US has a complex relationship with the Native Americans. Love/hate doesn’t even begin to describe it. Look at our Thanksgiving myth, with the helpful Indians saving the settlers. But those same settlers described the Indians as howling demons and enemies of God. Lots of projection of the shadow combined with real conflicts over land and lifestyle. Ironically the tribe that came closest to being ‘civilized,’ i.e. turning themselves into pseudo-Europeans, the Cherokee, were not rewarded and admired for their efforts but instead uprooted and exiled to Oklahoma in the notorious Trail of Tears. The Cherokee had European style farms, including some African slaves, a written language and printed newspapers, mills and other light industry and it just made them a target for greedy Whites.
But even as the last wild Indians were being killed or driven onto reservations the idea of the Noble Savage was being turned into entertainment, not just for Americans, but also Europeans, as various Wild West shows toured. Indian symbols and myths were adopted into youth organizations; thousands of American children attended summer camps with Native names and did crafts based on Native patterns. When you think about it, this is rather strange. One can’t imagine little Roman children attending Camp Boadicea and telling Celtic tales around the campfire. Then we get all the infusions of Native spirituality into the New Age movement: _Black Elk Speaks_, the fantasies of Castenada and Lynn Andrews, sweat lodges run by incompetent and greedy hucksters, Sun Bear and other ‘plastic medicine men.’ All of this seems to indicate a hunger for an authentic connection to the land, but no real idea of how to achieve it. And of course, the more the phonies profit from their bastardization of Native culture, the less inclined real Natives are to accept any seekers as sincere.
I tend to feel that looking to Native Culture for connection to the land may be a dead end. The remaining Native groups who are working to revive their religion and practices may be a seed for a post-industrial future for themselves and a select few non-Natives who are allowed to join them. But that doesn’t mean their gods are going to welcome us as a group. Most Westerners are influenced by the idea that religion is universal–monotheistic cults either exclude everyone or try to convert and include everyone. So we have a real hard time dealing with religions, such as Shinto in Japan, that are still tribal. The idea that a deity might say, “you mined my sacred hill, you polluted my sacred river, you killed and enslaved my original worshipers, and now you want to worship me?–shale no!.” just doesn’t occur to us. But a settled group, or a nomad group, coming repeatedly to the same spring or passing the same mountain and stopping with an attitude of respect and gratitude may create a regional religion of the future, perhaps centuries from now.
It really will be different this time though, since Southerners will just wave politely and say “best of luck to you, comrades!” 🙂
Go Dawgs!! You got that right. I grew up in Athens. Aaand then I went to Florida…
Not something I admit to openly ’round here. Really I’m more of a soccer fan anyway, when I pay any attention at all to sports. Used to watch a good bit of college football back in the day though, before I discovered…other things to do.
My first apartment was in Gainesville, GA! And Cartersville is nice, and not too far out of our way. Snellville…well, you can’t win ’em all…;) Although we lived in the ghetto in Macon for a while, so it could be worse.
Bummed to hear that you are so far away. You seem to know a fair bit about our area though. You’re right, it has a very mountain-y vibe, lots of 2nd home cabins on tumbling creeks, 80 miles north of Atlanta. We are indeed the tail end of the Appalachians; the Blue Ridge and Cohutta Ranges surround us on our drive into town; the southern terminus of the AT is MAYBE 15 miles from my house, as the crow flies. I figure if I ever hike it I’ll just set out from home. Get a little warm up;) We sell some of our herbal products in the gift shop at Amicalola Falls S.P., just south of Springer Mtn where the AT picks up. Very fond and deep memories of that place from way back in my childhood. Makes me smile just to think that we are a part of that now, even just a small one.
We’ve only been here 6 years or so, and the community is extremely conservative and insular. 85% voter turnout in the ’16 election, and 85% of them voted Trump. (I voted Libertarian…but I might vote Trump in ’20.) We are definitely outsiders! But my maternal grandmother was from Ellijay, daughter of two respected land-grant families, so when locals discover this we do tend to get a bit of a free pass. At least to the outer fringes of insider culture. I think we’ll be here for the duration.
If you’re ever in the area please come for a visit at our little cabin! I’m almost always hanging out around here, whether commenting or not.
Thanks for the banter! Never heard anyone say “duh Wah” personally (that sounds more Yankee); but maybe I’m not in the same part of the South as folks who say that. Then again, folks who have been in this area long enough speak a dialect I can barely make out anyway. There is a legitimate language barrier between me and some of my neighbors! I think we’re both speaking English, but it doesn’t always sound that way. I spent a fair portion of my adult years in Florida and on the West Coast, so my accent is deeply altered from ANY legit Georgia tongue. I will freely own the oddball status.
Sorry to hear about your community garden plot. People have no sense of humor. But I’m impressed by your decision to eject the television! We did that about 10 years ago, after our first child was born, and it has been great decision.
BTW, speaking of Yankees, you know what the difference between a Yankee and a damn Yankee is, right? 😉
JMG [or whoever might have an opinion]
I was wondering if you were familiar with Neil Gammon’s ‘American Gods’ and if so what your take on it was?
I believe it was Mr. Wednesday who stated this was not a good country for gods…
I just find it hard to imagine an improvement in “standards of living” without the empire propping up American’s lifestyles.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if the last states to leave the US are the old Confederacy? The way things are going that seems like a possibility….
I’ve heard from someone who works at a car wash that they generally are less careful with the more expensive cars. If it’s a cheap car it’s probably someone without a lot of money, so the car is more important to them. A really nice car is probably less important to the person who bought it. Later, he confided in me that it’s also one of the few chances he has to make the rich suffer, even if it’s a very minor thing, so perhaps the fear isn’t misplaced….
@JMG: “Dewey, let me get this straight. Because you’re worried that somebody might accuse you of being involved in a projection of the Shadow archetype, I’m not supposed to discuss that part of Jung’s theories? Um, sorry.”
No, not at all. Of course you can discuss whatever you like, and I didn’t and wouldn’t suggest that that part of Jung’s ideology is worthless in principle; sometimes it seems to be a real phenomenon. But it’s also true that most people who seem eager to utilize it as a rhetorical tactic to dismiss criticism of their own team would not be equally happy to have it turned on their own hostility towards others, though it’s often obvious how that could be done. That makes it, in practice, often simply a covert way of asserting that one’s views are privileged by virtue of one’s rank or status – since if your opponents had as much right as you do to say which criticisms are disproportionate and therefore projection, you’d wind up stuck between two mirrors, so to speak, and the tactic would be useless.
JMG, does archetypes also affect animal behaviors in their land, or are they specific to human beings?
Moderately, but not entirely OT, but quite possibly of interest: how the real elite really view climate change: https://therake.com/stories/code/mercury-rising/
“And yet the thing is, even though the green lobby has almost certainly won the argument, the climate change movement becomes easier by the day to shrug off in favour of the rampant consumerism against which it rallies. Why is this? Perhaps it’s partly to do with the tokenistic impotence of the measures we’re encouraged to take against climate change. As long as nations keep pledging to make meagre emissions cuts with their fingers crossed behind their backs, recycling will feel like flicking beads of sweat at the sun.”
JMG, you present outcomes that many of us would view as largely favorable – e.g. “The drastic pruning of federal regulations, the end of one-sided free trade agreements that encourage the offshoring of working class jobs, and the end of the tacit encouragement of mass illegal immigration and the resulting downward pressure on wages and benefit” – but I wonder: is the managerial aristocracy the only cohort who will likely bear the cost while the working class benefits?
However, it now seems abundantly clear that Trump’s condoning of white nationalist rhetoric and positions has begun to legitimize these as a routine part of our political discourse. They appear to be taking up residence in the Republican Party as witness mainstream pundits like Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson and others making statements clearly expressing (and seemingly intended to incite in others) white anxiety, or even white panic – not very far from flat out racism.
Seems the Law of Unintended (?) Consequences continues to thrive in this environment.
Would anyone really be shocked if the benefits outlined above were to accrue only to white working class folks, with exclusionary policies for the rest? And once that ball gets rolling, who knows how ‘white’ one would need to be, or who gets to define that…and which subset of peoples would be told ‘from now on, your name is sub-human.’
The idea of inclusiveness is conversely based on a denial of real differences. Differences are barely tolerated for purposes of short-term identification so we can stroke our egos as we all become interchangeable parts.
I love the differences between people and somewhat mourn their impending doom. Imagine a world in which there was just one type of beautiful flower, one type of horse, one great poem.
It’s funny. I have realized that I should not have bought this particular piece of land in 1998 because it is far from everything. I could well have lived just a couple of miles out of town. But I can’t even fathom leaving. When you take an almost raw piece of land and build everything on it, mine it for rocks to make walls, landscape and watch your bushes and trees mature, take a shovel and make a switchback trail so you can get to the top of the ‘mountain’ when you harvest ironwood trees to make posts inside your house, when you take a year to excavate with a wheel barrow to make a cistern from the spring…it’s not that I love this land. It’s that I am this land.
Re garden plots
I am not entirely blameless; two plots (six beds) is a bit much while also working full time. I was already planning on divesting myself of the one plot, but at the end of the season rather than mid-stream. Needless to say, things were brought to a head. After some thought, and discussions with my more intuitive half, I’ve decided to seek to stay with the remaining plot rather than packing my gear up and leaving. I do love working with the earth. We’ll see what happens.
To tie this all back to the discussion of psychology (if not necessarily Jungian archetypes) , my wife urged me to consider the bigger picture, particularly as to how the incident involves certain childhood issues re conflict with authority (career military father and all that) and my subsequent knee-jerk responses to being ordered about in what I deemed an unfair manner. Needless to say, after some consideration, I realized she had a point — as she usually does re these sorts of things. I do find it interesting to look at the difficulties one faces in surmounting early “programs” from childhood experiences: the stories we carry, if you will, that frame our world.
Hmm, re Armageddon. It’s interesting that the Orthodox Church, whose roots are Greek, Syrian, Turkish, old European and then Slavic, is not terribly interested in the book of Revelation. The bishops of the eastern church argued against its inclusion, but were outvoted. In the Orthodox church services, the entire new testament is read throughout the church year, with a lot of the Old Testament as well. But the book of Revelation is ignored.
I just want to thank everyone for the richness of thought and expression on this blog and in the comments! It all seems so right and sane in a crazy world.
I have had psalm 137 running through my mind all day, with a whole new meaning to me in light of this post:
“How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”
I think the psalm is expressing the idea that god is not “out there” but is tied to the land. Our ancestors build the new world without feeling the presence of the divine and responding (singing) because like the Hebrews who were torn from Jerusalem and from the god who lived there, they were in a strange land.
No wonder today we are unmoored, lost.
Best definition I’ve heard:
In the rest of the world, “Yankee” is an American; in America, it’s someone who comes from north of the Mason-Dixon Line. North of the Mason-Dixon, a Yankee is a New Englander, but in New England, a Yankee is a Vermont farmer who eats apple pie for breakfast.
Well, I think secession will go like recreational pot, gay marriage, or any host of issues. Calif. will go first, and everyone will look to see how that goes. When red America says “Godspeed, anything we can do to facilitate the process?”, then Ore. or Wash. will vote to secede, then you’ll have a New England state (likely Vermont, since they have the most active secession movement) vote to secede. Pretty soon, all of the West Coast and Eastern Seaboard has left the Union. Expect the MSM to go apoplectic over that, more so than Trump’s election, but it will have just as much effect.
you’ve discussed before the War Against Change in popular media, using Harry Potter as an example. Is this perhaps why there’s so much demonization of Trump? But according to the Changer myth, the War Against Change, as outlined here before, is destined to fail.
My mom, who’s about as clueless privileged Silent as they come, and most definitely a Hillary voter, admitted that things have definitely changed w/Trump the last time we talked, and that we’re definitely not going back to the way things were before. She’s pretty convinced that he will probably win reelection in ’20, more on the basis of Democratic incompetence/inability to offer a viable alternative than anything else. Even my Silent mom has read the writing on the wall…
I feel a strong connection to the land we’re I’m from (KY), but a strong aversion to the people, or at least the people as they exist there now. I returned after a long absence (15-20 years), and, as is the case, everything had changed. Some things are nice, like the decrease in homophobia (and concurrent expansion of LGBT civil rights laws) and apathy of evangelical Christians, but I find it does not outweigh the drawbacks (Yankee style rudeness and isolation, lack of trust, the inability to connect with others) As much as I connect with the land, I do not connect with the people, and feel a strong “go away!” vibe from the people. I feel like my only alternative living there is to be an isolated hermit, so here I am with friends in Ontario, where I feel a much greater connection to the people and find it much easier to connect and make friends, etc.. I don’t know what to make of this.
JMK thand you for delivering light to the present moment. In Mexico we just had a historical election, the elected president got the highest number of votes ever and won, with a newly formed party, the senate, the house, and enough state congress mayorities to change the constitution (the new political party has less han 4 years). Labeled as a populist, this was the third time it run for president. He has run on An agenda that includes fighting corruption, ending the war on drugs, and fighting poverty and inequality,
His diagnosis was that in Mexico a power mafia has been in place for a long time a mafia that united some of the richer entrepreneurs and the politicians and that had bought all the traditional parties to impose low wages and that the politicians had policies to distribute resources, especially natural resources towards this elite.
He is doing a lot of simbolic things. He travels in economy class, has no bodyguards, no armored car. He has announce he will cut to less than a half the presidentbsalary and announced that he is going to enforce than no public servant could earn more than the president. He will end the pensions to all expresidente and the staff they have. He is a changer, he has a plan to do an agroforesty project to reforest 2.5 million acres of tropical forests, give a universal pension and small grants for young persons to enter as apprentices in business for training or as scholarship. he announces he will control the gas prices so that there are no increases in real terms, and construct a refinery to ensure energy self sufficiency (as Mexico is an oil exporter and gasoline importer). He will most probably ban GMOs and fracking.
He is changing the complete economic team, excluding the usual winners from private universities and substituting them for a new team from public colleges (public college education is free in Mexico).
Some of its announced measures (his term starts in December 1st) such as the reduction in public servants salaries, the sale of the presidential plane (he will travel in comercial flights in economy class), he will not live in the presidential residence a fortified mansion Surrounded by a strong security team of hundreds of guards and bodyguards, but instead he will move to the national palace, where presidents lived in the 19th century in the center square plaza. He is forming a stoic new bureocracy with younger participants that were previously excluded.
The despair of people was unsustainable, but nobody anticipated such a victory.
He is either loved or hated, and the emocional reaction of some people is completely irrational. Nevertheless with such a victory even the most fierce adversaries have had to acknowledge.
He has announced the fourth transformation of the country. The first was the independence, the second the laws and war to separate the state from the Catholic Church (reforma) and the third the starting of the Mexican revolution (all of them initiated by Masons)
He says that mexico has a destiny of becoming a leader by its ancesters and culture.
He has been labeled by a élite intelectual as the tropical messiahs
My guess is that more than propaganda this measures are simbólic to affect the collective consciousness and that there might be some sort of energies at work there. Although I am not a blind follower I am entusistic about these promises.
honestly, I think things will stabilize once blue America (West Coast and Eastern Seaboard) is out of the Union. I think it’ll be another 20-30 possibly even 50, years before the next round of national breakup takes place.
Speaking of Canadians, it never ceases to amaze me just how little Canadians actually understand Americans. The biggest problem, as I see it, is Canadians think that Canadian experience is interchangeable w/American–the same as American, and then get frustrated b/c the Americans don’t act/think as they do! Canadians are a whole ‘nother ball of wax from Americans, but Canadians don’t REALLY see that, which is why they get so frustrated w/their Southern neighbo(u)rs. The true test as to whether Canada is following the US w/the Changer archetype, is how far Doug Ford and Ford Nation gets in national politics. If Doug Ford or a member of Ford Nation is able to exploit the refugee crisis/illegal border crossing issue into bringing down the Trudeau government and installing Doug Ford or another member of Ford Nation as Prime Minister, then we’ll know that Canada is following in the US footsteps.
to finish in Mexico a lot of similar things are happening. Your articles fit precisely into the Mexican moment. But it some ways the candidates represent the opposite, Lopez Obrador is from the other side, instead of a privileged real state tycoon we have a small village from the tropics (Tabasco). Instead of given tax cuts to the most privileged, he will give an 80 dollar a month universal pension that will reduce poverty of the elderly. He will do progressive redistribution and we hope maintain a deeper democracy. He is a democratic nationalist
What do you think about the similarity of the energy-consciousness moving in the two cases. How can one learn what is this movement, can one help?
@JMG Would Santa Claus qualify as an American archetype? I really can’t think of any other meme that runs through America nearly as much as the fake ho-ho-ho and consumerist gift-giving-without-any-deserving mentality. Wasn’t it you who wrote about a counter-point to the jolly old elf better known in eastern Europe? The Grinch looked a bit like Kek.
Bogatyr, good. But the two dragons that Llefelys found at the center of the island were then buried again beneath Dinas Ffaraon, where Vortigern built his tower and Merlin roused them again. In British history, stagnation and impotence come when the great conflicts are suppressed, and someone has to awaken them, mighty conflicts follow, and then Britain becomes an active force in the world (Consider the Wars of the Roses as an example — again, the red and the white.) So to break Britain out of its doldrums, someone has to figure out where the deep conflict is, release the dragons, and unleash the conflicts that are being suppressed, after which change can come.
SPK, as far as I can tell Bush II changed nothing that matters, so no, I don’t think it applies.
Kay, that’s certainly one way to begin. I’m not sure it’s the only way, but it does seem to work.
Bogatyr, I’m not sure what you were trying to do, but it didn’t involve any html code and so it doesn’t seem to have worked. Again, you can imbed images that you find somewhere else online by simple html: (angle bracket)img src=”url of image” alt=”name of image” width=”number of pixels” height=”number of pixels”(angle bracket).
Ray, you might consider trying something more impressionistic and less structured, then. Don’t dismiss what you were doing as “BSing about stereotypes;” you’re on to something. I’d encourage you to send your critical faculties out to get beer or something, and just let yourself write.
Varun, the stories I know don’t mention beings who accepted the change, so that’s a very interesting question…
Rubel, and that’s also an important part of the process.
Matt, delighted to hear it.
Alexander, many thanks for this. I’ve bookmarked it for reading later this evening.
Monk, there’s your theme for the next month or so of daily meditations.
Dennis, I’m not sure why Jung didn’t do more with the number archetypes, or with some of the other really basic patterns of the same kind. As for Wotan and evil, archetypes are amoral; they’re neither good nor evil, they simply are. Evil is a human judgment, not an archetype — and the Wotan archetype can manifest in many ways, some of which we’d call good.
Jade Dragon, hah! Good; I’d managed to miss that. Thank you.
Brigyn, the Welsh Druid deities have archaic roots but the traditions we have about them these days come from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, when the old schism between the deva worshipers and the asura worshipers was long forgotten, thus didn’t shape the emerging myths and teachings. As for whether or not they manifest in continental Europe, there are lively Druid Revival scenes in a lot of European countries, so apparently they’ve naturalized there. 😉
Owen, not offensive at all. That’s the thing about the Changer; you can’t know in advance what he’s going to do. Like the rest of us, I take my chances.
Stefania, you see, from my perspective, talk about “the initiation of Kether” misses a fundamental point. Created beings don’t exist above the Abyss, in the realm of being that Druids call Ceugant, the Empty Circle. The notion that you can reach Kether and then go back and make the universe into your image is, to my mind, an extreme form of hubris, the error the old Cabalists described symbolically as the Qlippah of Kether. Rather, we rise as far as created beings can rise, to Daath, and undo the separation that’s hinted at in the old allegory of the Fall — and then the four rivers flow clean again, and the individual is remade in the image of the universe, rather than the other way around. It’s not that the universe becomes transparent to consciousness; it always was, to a consciousness that’s in tune with it. It’s that we become transparent and stop blocking the light that is waiting to illuminate us.
Timothy, you’re welcome and thank you.
Zach, why, yes. As you know perfectly well, I have Aspergers syndrome, and like others with the same condition, I do tend to take things more literally than is socially acceptable. Would you care to make fun of any other aspect of my condition? (It’s always been a source of bleak amusement to me how reliably the loudly paraded sensitivity of people on the Left is only extended to those who agree with them.)
As for your point, I’d encourage you someday to read what Carl Jung has to say about the autonomy of the archetypes. That might help you grasp why the rigid dichotomy you’re trying to impose on the situation I’m discussing doesn’t happen to apply.
Mark, I’ve seen the same thing very often; the people who talk about how tolerant they are routinely turn out to be the most intolerant of actual differences of opinion, or (whisper it) differences based in social class. As for Lachman, yes, he’s got a book out on the subject, which I’ve read: decent, but to my mind it doesn’t go anything like deep enough.
Renaissance, oh dear gods. Please tell your friend that she’s misunderstood the entire myth. The archetypes are not good, and they’re not evil — they simply are. The Changer is not making everything nicer; he’s ending one age of the world, to the great distress of those who inhabit that age, and clearing space for a different age of the world, which is no better than the one that preceded it, just different. Still, I suppose it’s no surprise that people would try to shove the myth into the ideology of progress…
Beekeeper, fair enough. Wrongheaded, but very traditional.
Patricia, thanks for this. In some of the most archaic forms of Indo-European myth, there’s the idea that the One Big Battle is actually a recurring feature, something that happens at the end of one age of the world and the beginning of the next. For example, according to what I’ve read in Hindu myth, the battle of Kurukshetra, the grand climax of the Mahabharata, marked the beginning of the current Kali Yuga. Do you know if there’s anything like this in old or new Heathenry?
Nick, American Christianity is very different from European Christianity, and the various Jesii worshiped here don’t seem to have much overlap with the ones worshiped in Europe. Look at the way that the concept of seeking a personal relationship with Jesus, catalyzed by an intensive personal experience, has become widespread in American Christianity; it would be fair, I think, to describe this as taking Jesus as one’s tamanaous or guardian spirit in a rough parallel to the vision quests practiced in so many Native cultures. My working assumption is that the same process will effect every deity and every religion: the power of place inevitably shapes the way the god or goddess manifests to human beings living in that place.
Rita, yes, precisely. My feeling, from earliest youth, has been that Americans of European descent have no right to the spirituality of the Native peoples; there’s been way too much blood shed for that to be any kind of an option. We have to find our own way, over a very long and hard road, to a healthy relationship with the land.
KMB, I haven’t read it.
Will, depends on whose standard of living you’re talking about, of course. The people who are currently working three jobs at starvation wages and living in their cars may see a noticeable uptick in their standards of living, to the extent of having a place to live and three square meals a day — no small thing in that context! For the well-to-do, though, no question, things are going to get decidedly difficult. It’s not just a matter of kissing their SUVs goodbye, either…
Dewey, I’m not suggesting it as a rhetorical tactic. I’m suggesting it as a big red flashing light to use while figuring out who to listen to, and who to ignore. When, let’s say, there’s a politician whose behavior is really no different from those of dozens of other politicians — whose behavior toward women, say, and embrace of straightforward political corruption, however reprehensible, is no worse than, let’s say, Bill Clinton’s — but who is not only being treated as evil incarnate but is the focus of endless over-the-top meltdowns…well, in a situation like that, those who know how the projection of the shadow archetype works may guess that at least some of the people who are melting down are trying not to deal with the way they themselves have repeatedly excused, in politicians on their side of the fence, the behavior they find so intolerable on the part of the guy they hate. That, in turn, can be used to decide how seriously to take the meltdowns.
Bruno, good question. Occult traditions have it that they affect animals as well.
Dunc, thanks for this.
Oz, good. Of course not; the managerial aristocracy has used several other demographic sectors as stalking horses for its interests, and they’re likely to suffer as well. The spread of the #walkaway movement into the African-American community may sharply limit how hard things get for that particular community — as African-Americans figure out that they can play the two parties against each other to get what they want, rather than being ignored and exploited as a captive constituency of one party, I think you’re going to see the GOP start to distance itself from the white nationalist scene — but there are a lot of old grievances on all sides, and some of those are going to be worked out in ugly ways. That didn’t have to happen, but at this point it’s probably inevitable.
Onething, don’t mourn their doom, because they aren’t doomed. Genetic and cultural drift are potent forces, and will keep on generating differences
David, excellent. It’s all an opportunity for learning…
Onething, interesting! I didn’t happen to know that.
Myriam, a very good point. Thank you.
What would you say are the core mythic narratives of Russia and China?
In all fairness, Dewey does have a point. I’ve seen unthoughtful people use the idea of projection to automatically assume that anyone who makes a complaint or observation is automatically projecting their own bad character, and it’s a neat way to engage in denial.
I don’t know what the answer is. If only people would stop being idiots.
I’m sorry, maybe I missed it, but what happened to Kek the frog-headed god from Egypt? At the end of last week I thought you were pretty clearly stating that a conscious being (i.e. Kek) was influencing America and manifesting through the chans. If America is instead being influenced by local deities associated with the North American land, and that is why the chaos magicians were unable to influence LePen’s election in France, then how is Kek involved? Was Kek somehow able to influence America from his abode in Egypt? Are you saying gods can extend their influence beyond their local lands but humans can’t?
JMG: Brigyn, the Welsh Druid deities have archaic roots but the traditions we have about them these days come from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, when the old schism between the deva worshipers and the asura worshipers was long forgotten, thus didn’t shape the emerging myths and teachings
I’m not going to dispute this, because I don’t know enough about it. However, I would point out that the Children of Llŷr and the Children of Dôn would seem to have quite different roots. The former are the kinds of gods we’re comfortable with: powerful and creative and talented, yet honourable and law-abiding. The latter, on the other hand… phew! Tricksters, rapists, usurpers, inciters of war, king-killers, inhabiting a far more magical and pliable reality… and yet, of course, with an honour and morality of their own – just one that’s a lot further from our own than that of the Plant Llŷr!
To what extent that all derives from two different, extremely archaic, mythoses (?) being grafted togther, I don’t know, but it does rather have the feel of the Titans and the Gods of Olympus…
Naturphobia, it seems to me, is the result of living in an artificial environment, and due to our current technology, a city dweller or suburban dweller is not even much reminded of nature, from whom their sustenance comes. It’s all so far away and invisible. Even in a city, it did not used to be like that. My mother recallsed as a child in New York City that there were still horses delivering milk. They must have sometimes pooped. They must have swatted flies with their tails. People didn’t have air conditioning. With the air on and all windows closed up tight, it’s like being in a lab. Never an insect.
The technology has gotten more and more refined. I remember as a child in Brooklyn my grandmother had bought a chicken that still had enough underfeathering on it for her to singe it over the flame. That’s a tiny example but it adds up.
What do you think?
Fascinating info about the Orthodox Church and its lack of interest in the Apocalyptic archetype. I find that reassuring, especially considering that Orthodox Christianity is the spiritual core of the emerging Russo-Slavic High Culture, which is still in its Late Pre-Cultural stage of development. Along with the American electorate embracing the Native archetype of the Changer in the 2016 election over more destructive Old World alternatives, I see this as very encouraging news indeed.
As we have discussed here, the next two High Cultures are expected to appear in Russia/Eastern Europe and in eastern North America, probably centered in the Ohio River basin and Great Lakes region. Perhaps as the Faustian Culture dies out and is replaced on the world stage by the new great cultures coming out of Russia and North America, we will see some more sanity and a more balanced perspective on the world stage.
On the topic of autism, one thing that I’ve noticed is how much of the Ctrl-Left’s hatred is directed specifically at young autistic men, a group that includes me.
Exhibit A: the “neckbeard” meme, especially in its earlier incarnation as “virgin neckbeard.” The major characteristics of a “neckbeard”—social awkwardness, obliviousness to boundaries, disregard of social taboos, poor hygiene, faux chivalry, etc.—are common features of autistic men who haven’t been taught basic coping skills beyond “be yourself” (which I only half-jokingly refer to as the only advice my generation (millennials) was ever given).
(I say this, by the way, as someone who thinks the “REEEEEEEEE”—aka “autistic screeching”—meme is hilarious. I’m not sure I have a principled reason why, but I find that this one feels like I’m laughing with it, at my own foibles, while the “neckbeard” meme just seems cruelly-intended.)
Exhibit B: Left-wing anti-vaxxers who are more afraid of their children being autistic than dying in infancy. Granted, this is a lot more nuanced and less partisan than the issue above or below, but it fits the pattern.
Exhibit C: The bizarre complaint that nerds (read: autistic men) are a bunch of entitled, whiny losers. (Scott Alexander tore this idea to pieces—long, but well worth the read.) This is generally coupled with some of the most blatant victim-blaming since Reagan quipped that people going to bed hungry were probably on diets.
(I’ll throw in here the hyperbolic criticisms aimed at geek/nerd culture—not that there weren’t criticisms worth making, but it was all out of proportion and often simply ignorant. This point doesn’t have anything directly to do with autism, but I think it points at part of what’s going on.)
I suspect a few different things are going on here:
1. Ideological authoritarianism. Autistic men are among the least likely to subscribe to the Ctrl-Left’s program. I don’t know if you’ve found this true of yourself or other autistic people, but for myself and the autistic people I know, we seem to have a low tolerance for cognitive dissonance. Once we’ve started to suspect something is wrong, it’s quite hard to just just erase that doubt and get with the program.
2. Rescue games. autistic/nerdy men have never been particularly liked by society at large, owing to our difficulties observing and upholding social conventions, meaning few in the audience rally to our side when the “Persecutor” label has been pinned on us and the show trial phase gets started.
3. Carpetbagging. Nerd/geek-oriented industries are booming right now. Pushing the old guard aside by socially ostracizing them makes room for newcomers. This was part of the underlying power dynamics behind #GamerGate: both the anti-GG and pro-GG sides were taking cues from outsiders seeking to make names for themselves (e.g. Milo Yiannopoulos).
4. The return of the repressed. The Ctrl-Left notionally accepts only equality and tolerance, and often expresses suspicion (and not without reason, mind you, but they take this way too far) that people’s sexual preferences are rooted in prejudice and entitlement. For the Ctrl-Left, autistic men fill the role of a group that is socially beneath them (easing status anxiety) and that they are allowed to reject without guilt (restoring a modicum of personal choice and autonomy).
Speaking of Russian Christianity and the nascent Russo/Slavic Culture, here is a fascinating website called Russian Faith, founded by an American convert to the Russian Orthodox Church. Lots of very interesting articles about Orthodox Christianity, Russian history and culture, current events from a Russian Orthodox point of view and much, much more.
Shane, I think you’re quite correct about the War Against Change. As for conditions in Kentucky, I’m sorry to hear that! I know this isn’t something you’ll want to hear at all — to understate things considerably! — but you know, you’d probably fit in very well here in Rhode Island, where “Yankee style rudeness and isolation” is something I’ve yet to encounter. Lively conversations with folks in the checkout line at the local grocery store? Happens all the time…
Camalion, thanks for this. I hope more of us in the US are watching carefully what’s happening in your country, because it’s likely to have important consequences all over North America.
Gnat, I’m not sure whether Santa Claus is an archetype or simply an egregor. Hmm — will want to brood over that for a while.
SMJ. good question. You’d probably have to ask people who live there.
Onething, that’s fair. That’s why I’m stressing the use of the concept of projection as a nonrhetorical way to assess claims other people make to you.
Blue Sun, no, that’s not what I was saying. As for what exactly Kek is, if you reread this post you’ll find that I’ve addressed that.
Bogatyr, that’s quite correct; but the three great families of Welsh myth — the Plant Don, the Plant Bran, and the Plant Annwn — aren’t that central to Druid Revival tradition. You may be right that the distinction between the first two reaches back to the old division between the gods and the not-gods.
Onething, I think that’s part of it, but I’m not sure it’s the core of it.
Dragon, I ain’t arguing. It’ll be an interesting polarity, though, with the emergent Russian high culture centered on sobornost’, “spiritual community,” while the future American high culture will likely follow the Native American tradition of placing the personal quest for a vision in solitude at the center of its spiritual life. I hope that copies of Spengler’s work survives, and that I have a chance to read one in an incarnation in the 26th or 27th century…
SlithyToves, thank you for this. You’re quite correct, of course, and it’s not something that had occurred to me in exactly these terms — probably because I’m a middle-aged autistic man, not a young one, and managed to find a fairly comfortable niche before the current set of prejudices really boiled over. But your analysis seems spot on to me — and yes, I have very little tolerance for cognitive dissonance if it’s covert and manipulative. (I can handle the fact that the universe doesn’t have to make sense, and neither do human beings — there’s a reason I’m cheering for the tentacled horrors whenever I read an HP Lovecraft story — but when an incoherent and internally contradictory argument is made to me by someone who claims that it all follows logically and makes sense, I back away as expeditiously as I can.)
Dragon, thanks for this.
Hey SMJ, I’m not sure what the core mythic narrative of Russia is but I think the Chinese one can be summed up by the opening lines of one of China’s oldest, most famous literary work, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms: “The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been.” As JMG noted in his piece on the shape of time, the Chinese tend to view history as guided by many different cycles, and one of the big ones is the cycle of China’s rise into being a powerful, unified nation, followed by the inevitable fall into chaos and disunity. I think this goes a long way in explaining why the CCP seems so obsessed with the Taiwan problem. A mythic narrative as powerful as the one that has possessed China is difficult to resist.
JMG: “I’m not sure why Jung didn’t do more with the number archetypes, or with some of the other really basic patterns of the same kind.”
He was too old, so he handed it over to Marie-Louise von Franz two years before his death. After some deliberation she took on the task and wrote Number and Time (Northwestern University Press, 1974). The following is from the back cover of the copy I have in hand.
“C.G. Jung’s work in his later years suggested that the seemingly divergent sciences of psychology and modern physics might, in fact, be approaching a unified world model in which the dualism of matter and psyche would be resolved. Jung believed that the natural integers are the archetypal patterns that regulate the unitary realm of psyche and matter, and that number serves as a special instrument for man’s becoming conscious of this unity.
“In Number and Time, Marie-Louise Von Franz explores Jung’s hypothesis. [Etc.]”
This is why, I think, James Hillman, who was trained as a Jungian psychologist, in his “A Psychological Foreword” to Roszak, Gomes and Kanner, Ecopsychology (1995) entitled, “A Psyche the Size of the Earth”, is able to say that the dividing line between the psyche and the natural world is arbitrary: we can dial it in closer to the psyche for precision, so as to be able to define a science of psychology, or we can dial it out further, so as to include the science of ecology.
You wrote “having refused changed, they become unable to change…” and I have been thinking about this since I read the post. I find it very discouraging. So is there no place for an awakening, an acceptance of the new, a redemption of sorts? Given that magic is a “change in consciousness,” doesn’t this myth disparage and somehow discount the power of magic, the power each individual has for personal transformation? Somehow I have the need to believe that the Protester could come to accept the changes, see the benefit of what is being done, leave the pussy hat and the placard, and move on to other, more productive activities. But I do understand that this is not part of the original myth and is only my desire to create a new myth. I have to say in all truth though that so far I have not encountered any ‘Protester’ who has come around to believing that Trump might have some redeeming value.
I wonder also if instead of the One Big Battle, which you say does not fit into American history, we are instead heading into small, ever more widespread skirmishes, killings, shootings, and stand offs to the point where we have a sort of war of all against all (something like Hobbes’ Bellum omnium contra omnes) that then could indeed result in the rise of a strongman. What with the increasing splintering of the population into seemingly smaller and more rigidly identified factions, helped in large part by identity politics coupled with the stubborn refusal to acknowledge American society as a class (some would say caste) system, this seems to me to be a possibility.
Lastly, a couple of commenters, Buzzy and samurai_47, have touched on the development of a religion of place and people specific to North America. For me this harks back to a post in the old ADR blog (I don’t recall the title) in which you talked about the development of a new religious sensibility. The idea of the need for a new religious sensibility has stayed with me ever since, and I think about it frequently wondering how a new religious sensibility based on biophilia (instead of biophobia) can be developed. What could I or anyone else do to help bring this about or even plant a seed that might come to fruition centuries hence?
Thank you and everyone else for the thought-provoking posts and discussion,
The answer is for everyone to recognize that even when someone is projecting something on you, that does not necessarily mean that they are wrong.
In fact, if you are intensely and angrily sure that they are just projecting, the odds are pretty good that the two of you are playing projection ping pong.
A rule of thumb is that the content of someone’s complaint about me may well be about them, but the intensity of my rejection of that complaint is almost certainly about me. Learned that the hard way.
Absolutely top-notch example of the return of the repressed here:
On the theme of British archetypes, one of the great spiritual events of recent years was the exhumation and reburial of Richard III. The discovery of his remains was an entirely magical event, as their location was divined by one of his modern day admirers (the media referred to this as a “million to one fluke”).
I sensed at the time that the rediscovery of such a divisive figure could only be a bad omen, and the bitterness and division that have accompanied the Brexit result is not really a surprise in hindsight. There are other vaguely weird events that have happened in its wake. For example, the year after Richard III was reburied (in a truly bizarre ceremony) in Leicester Cathedral, the city’s average, plodding soccer team won the biggest prize in English football – the Premier League.
I think that the return of Richard III has concentrated a sort of alternative polarity on the island, with a counter history and counter spiritual centre. His presence is a reminder that another history was possible, and is possible.
My mother, born and raised in Boston, tells me she was 100% convinced this was one single word for most of her young life, growing up with a father who was born and raised in Alabama, and who often spoke forthrightly about matters. 😉
Regarding the works you do that make you “one” with the land you inhabit. I totally get that!
Hi JMG and Beekeeper.
Very interesting point about Christians recognising Ephesians 6:12 as referring to (among other beings) spirits of place. Of course, my childhood evangelical Christianity posed “the world” in its entirety (both spiritually and materially) as the tempting playground built by the Devil to set our souls astray. For myself, personally, my journey away from that faith, centred on the unshakeable realisation that “the world” was for loving and living IN, and not for fearing. The realisation that I could not convince myself with any true conviction that “the world” was to be abjured.
As to “how shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land” (Psalm 137:4), as mentioned by Myriam, when I look through my own ancestors, both recent and distant, that has been the central challenge. To keep uprooting and moving to strange lands, and yet to find the right songs to sing in that new land. Now that this has become plain to me, I am investing not only the work of my body (as Onething mentioned), but the work of heart and mind also, searching out the parts of this little square of land that I now have the fortune to belong to, that call out my song.
Hi John Michael,
You retold a beautiful story. I take my hat and doff it to you, because your story telling skills far surpass my own efforts. I wrote about dog warts this week, but it was an allegory after all.
It is a strange old world isn’t it? I get to live for a few days per week, and enjoy every minute of the experience. It makes me wonder what other folks see during their weeks. Dunno.
Thanks to your blog and one of your very alert and perceptive readers, I now know that the spirits down here couldn’t give a rats pants about our human foolishness and we mess with the environment at our peril. The state I live in has had a relatively normal year rainfall wise, although this winter has been warmer and has produced virtually no snow at my altitude. Snow has been plentiful at the higher altitudes up in the alpine areas far to the east of here. However, the two states north of here, far out, they are in the grip of a serious drought. It is very bad there.
I’d have to suggest that in this part of the world our only chance is to learn to read and play the symphony that is the complex and fragile land down here. We can try and do other things, but I don’t reckon they’ll work out too well.
A part of your comment rang a bell on something that occurred to me recently, and I wonder if you would mind throwing some light on it.
I have been called an anti-vaxxer, though from my point of view this name is also coming from shadow-projection thinking.
Here is my actual point of view, name it what you will. It seems to me that, when a whole corporate industry is given carte blanche to produce what it likes, how it likes, and it turns out that what it likes is profit, then it should not surprise that a continuous trickle of individual stories of actual harm caused, cast doubt on its claim that its profitable products are safe.
As to the recent event. A few weeks ago I was involved in canvassing votes for an Irish referendum and I, a 58 year old woman, was paired with a young man of about 20. Between the doors we were having a very interesting conversation about all sorts, and it just so happened that when “science” came up as a topic, I lamented the degree to which some people had turned themselves into corporate shills while thinking that what they are defending is “science” and mentioned vaccines in this context.
My companion immediately stopped and asked “do you think vaccinations cause autism”. So I said, “I don’t know anything about autism, so I have no view on that. I do think there is evidence vaccines cause harm”. He followed up with, “well, if a family has four children and all four are vaccinated, but only one is autistic, what does that say about vaccine safety?” so I said, “to me nothing, as I have no real knowledge or understanding of what autism means. What I have mostly studied is immunology and the impact vaccination has on the immune system.” My companion then said, “well I’m glad you’ve said you don’t know anything about autism. I’m autistic myself, and I am frustrated by the idea that autism is seen as harm by anti-vaxxers”.
Well, at this point I realised that the issue was very close to the bone for him, so we moved on to a different topic, but what I would really like to have asked is, “what is autism? what does it mean to you? How do you experience it?”
It really is not easy for me to get a handle on what autism is. Being honest and ignorant, from my point of view, autism seems to not be any one thing, but a medical diagnostic “carpet” under which many different phenomena can be swept. Diagnoses seem to consist in determining whether a person has “some of the following list of symptoms”. From my rough reading of autism sites, no one knows what it is, no one knows what part of the physiology is affected or how, which makes it unsurprising that no one knows what causes it [except we absolutely know 100% for certain that vaccines don’t] or why, epidemiologically rates seem to be increasing, and no one knows whether anyone should worry or rejoice over whatever the epidemiological numbers indicate. I find all this very confusing.
Anyway, if you do not find it an imposition, I would love to hear your view on any of the above.
I am very aware of the way in which the meme “vaccines cause autism” might well produce the “Exhibit B” you refer to, which cannot be comfortable to contemplate if you yourself ARE the “autistic” doom that is foreseen. (As my genial canvassing companion obviously also was.) Though, as I see it, posing the available choices as “autism or death” is far too binary and simplistic.
Anyway, apologies for length, but this has been a poser for me, and other than keep reading autism sites which say very little with a lot of words, I have no idea how to gain more understanding, than to encounter people with actual and relevant experience of whom I might ask. Thank you!
Great article and intersting stuff!
I do think you are possibly correct thinking of Trump in the native archetype of the trickster, though I do not personally believe this is necessarily an inherently positive thing! Lol Coyote is often vain, greedy, foolish, and cunning, though I do like it in the sense that Coyote challenges the bounds of society.
I will say that I personally feel Trump is antithetical to anything related to sacredness of environment and protecting the land, both in policy and his personal energy. I agree the status quo was frustrating and change is welcomed, however I think you are possibly politically biased and not seeing him clearly.
Just my humble opinion!
Thanks for sharing the chan info very interesting, appreciate your opinion and writings, first time reading the blog!
a bit of hope for some alliances although as Rita says probably no wholesale acceptance ever.
In one of John’s replies, he said ‘”There’s a trenchant irony in the way that Trump is making liberal Democrats sound exactly like the reactionary Republicans of forty years ago. The Russians! It’s all the fault of the Russians!” I think the Far Left is just upset that Russia is no longer the Soviet Union which, as bad as it was, still held out hope for their communal dreams. However, those dreams were a nightmare for many others.
Hmmm…I feel like this has partially cycled back around to where I started, with the idea of the mage being mainly receptive, or listening to the will of the cosmos. I’m trying to understand both the passive and active dimensions of the work of an operative mage.
In terms of the mage setting out to remake the world in his or her own image, the distinction to highlight here might be that the image or the self that does this is vastly different than the self that began the journey at Malkuth. It has undergone a series of transformations, culminating in the transformation (at Daath, then?) that renders it virtually identical to the divine image. So when he or she goes back into the world and starts playing a more active role in shaping the flow of events, he is now essentially identical to the divine consciousness, acting in service as an agent of the cosmic will. The original small self has effectively been destroyed through this process of transformation, making way for the cosmic self to manifest.
I think the hubris could come in if this is attempted before the individual consciousness has truly finished its transformation, when he is still acting because of the needs and desires of his separate, small self. Magic could be seen as a bridge, a way of journeying from the separate existence of the small self to the unity with the divine on the other side, but many don’t quite realize that, stay on the bridge, and try to act from there.
The active dimension of this work would be, in the first place, to use one’s will to make the decision to undertake the process of initiation. And then all along the journey taking action in the world based on what one is learning through interaction with the gods; to bring about changes in the world based on the divine understanding he or she has received.
I feel like I’m spinning my wheels a bit here…so probably time to stop talking and go back to thinking. Thank you for taking the time to respond to all of these comments.
JMG – “Americans of European descent have no right to the spirituality of the Native peoples; there’s been way too much blood shed for that to be any kind of an option.”
Then what option do we have? If Native American religion evolved out of their place in the world, and we must now learn to do the same, in the same place, how does one even avoid mimicry? If the land shapes the man it seems to me like anything else would, by definition, have to be borrowed or artificially constructed.
I never personally killed an Indian or drove anyone off their land, anymore than I owned or abused kidnapped Africans. Why is it OK to punish me for the the sins of my fathers? Is that just the way these things go?
After reading this post, some comments, last night I was musing on themes creepy, spooky, and scary, looked up some lite reading material on Wendigos and started thinking of what I remember from my brief interest in zombie fiction from a decade ago, and then I went to bed. I did an extra banishing ritual before sleep, because I could feel that the attention of something I had peeped in on in these musings. I lay half a sleep half a wake and my analysis of the close relationship between Wendigo and zombie narrative structure and our own cultures economic personality gave way to half dreams of longing and hunger.
Of course my belly was close enough to full, it wasn’t that kind of hunger, more so it was the longings and desires of my lonesome soul, a feeling of an forlorn heart alone in a dark room. Then I noticed that I had slipped from a half sleep to a night mare, in the old sense of sleep paralysis with a conscious mind. Mind you, I have experienced this sensation before a couple of times past, and actually find a minor charm in sleep paralysis, the scientific curiosity of it. Not so much this time, I could feel looming around me a diffuse spirit pallid and clammy. This gray alien energy made me to feel ever more alone and to crave a comforting embrace, which it was all to eager to provide. Instead I hardened my heart and willed myself awake, and as movement returned to my flesh the presence blowed away, and I felt pretty good about myself.
Notice how it offered to me the embrace I was craving. Notice how the wendigo desires to feed, yet is cursed that what it eats makes its hunger grow. Consider those two things in binocular! Consider how our society is ravaged by own own desires, and captured by those desires in particular which are not satiated by their objects.
My love is as a fever, longing still
For that which longer nurseth the disease;
Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,
The uncertain sickly appetite to please.
My reason, the physician to my love,
Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,
Hath left me, and I desperate now approve
Desire is death, which physic did except.
Past cure I am, now reason is past care,
And frantic-mad with evermore unrest;
My thoughts and my discourse as madmen’s are,
At random from the truth vainly express’d;
For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,
Who art as black as hell, as dark as night. -Billy the Bard.
Faust, and European repressed and intensification desire wandering into the land of the Wendigo spirit, what calamity! And what of Trump? The man is BOTH the Changer, and participates with Wendigo spirit vividly.
I’ve heard a few times a quip from the Hopi about Anglo culture, be all like: we sing for what we need or desire, so many of our songs are about rain. All of your music is about love, that must be so lonesome.
Much that is true has been said of the love of money, particularly in the Bible. Our culture is famous for the fawning praise of hard work; and that is diffferent from the theme of critiquing laziness common to, say, Dine story telling. Laziness is only a problem if there is work needing done. Praising hard work praised effort regardless of if it is in service of life or beauty. Our culture works with very little regard of if that work does anything that need be done or ought be done. As long as you get yours!
Consider this. A person who finds fulfillment in their work, they are less caught by the desires and cravings to spend their wealth thereby earned. Consider a person working toward or for what they hold in contempt? Are they ever free of the golumish cravings and fantasies to spend that filthy lucre? If they are wealthy there is fine cars, vacations, and the best things. For the poor there is booze or worse.
When wendigo feeds his hunger is not sated; for wendigo’s digestion is so perfect that the food is instantly taken up by its stomach and used to grow the wendigo, and also therefore its appetite. What is industry but efficient digestion? Did we win the 20th century race to growth with the Soviat Union with any power except with our wendigo spirit, which could grow in an environment of fresh consumables like no other? Our society can not consume without growing as long as this spirit has us.
The great white expert on this spirit was George A. Romero quoth “When there is no more room in hell the dead will walk the earth.” Is this anything but literally true? Consider the billion year filling of the underworld with the remains of the dead. Consider the point when that was returned to the surface. We know that bison are actually a auto-catalytic metamorphism of leafs, when there are bison around grass tends to turn into bison. You are what you eat. What are we who walk the Earth in overshoot? What feed let us grow so big? We ate the dead of the underworld, and we are now the walking dead of the underworld, bound to a dark spirit of hollow unfulfillable hunger.
That is going to change.
P.S. – I am very interested in this North American proto-culture which takes up the personal spirit quest as its basis, that fits my observations of people I know who have a spiritual life worth mentioning.
I would appreciate if you or the others who have stated that Trump openly supports racism, sexism and white nationalism could please provide some references. I have watched Tucker Carlson and think well of him. I find it quite doubtful that he would say things encouraging of such.
I also tend to wonder if some of those here who have expressed strong anti Trump opinions see things as I do – that there is a tremendous amount of propaganda going on in the media today. I put that out there as a simple idea. Because what I see is that the strongly anti Trump cohort (and this includes Europeans) seem rather oblivious even though they ought to put a couple of dots together.
Things like the media being essentially a monopoly. Why is that and why did the few owners of it want to own it? What was their goal? Was it a realistic goal to think owning most of the narrative might benefit their agenda?
The ways in which reporting can be slanted are many, and can take a situation such as words by a presidential candidate and turn them 180 degrees in meaning by such machinations. That particular example was done to Obama by the Republican side. But there seems to be this idea by the liberals that only Fox News engages in such things.
Thanks for bring up Deiloria. Tried to find a copy of ‘God is Red’ several years ago when an NDN friend – the Goat Lady – suggested it when I ask her for some suggestions on Native culture. The libraries and used book stores did not have it. Found a copy on ABE last fall – pristine first edition for some thing like $5 more than original price. About half way through it. Surprised to see Velikovsky covered.
Deiloria posits (as I understand it) that the main difference between Native American and Western views of the world is that Western thought puts TIME (history) as the primary focus while Native American thought puts SPACE (place) as its main focus.
This got me to thinking of the seminar discussion in ‘WOH: Innsmouth’ on Plutarch’s ‘Silence of the Oracles’. Did at some point Greek, Mid-East culture/religion undergo a real shift from a Space/Place basis to Time/History basis?
Mark L, (I think)
I’m thinking about your golden rule application to the illegal immigrants. My objection to the laxity on illegals is that I find it shallow. If one is simply thinking somewhat emotionally, it makes sense. But what if you were actually in charge and able to make decisions that would affect various cohorts of the population for a long time to come? What if your decision to give away resources to those of another country were not sustainable? What if giving to one means taking from another?
It seems to me that in our modern time there is a kind of unreality in thinking about resources and practicalities. There is this feeling of unlimited resources, and it affects mostly those who are more well off, who have not been much impacted (yet) by our decreasing fortunes because in truth, that is how their lives have played out. Taking the idea that we can give whatever our hearts desire without limits to its logical conclusion, if we made a national announcement to the world that any one who comes will be accepted, we’d have a billion people on our shores tomorrow. Obviously, we could not handle that.
If someone believes we should shelter all illegals who come, it necessarily means that they want all borders eliminated. That no nation has a right to be a nation. China has no right to be China, France has no right to be France, Mexico has no right to be Mexico, and so on.
You said:´´It wasn’t the working classes of this country, you know, who pushed the policies that helped devastate Latin American economies´´. I think that is letting those working classes off the hook all too easy. Did they not have the right to vote? Whatever happened to (I paraphrase): People in western democracies by and large get the governments they deserve? If that is the case, then they are in my opinion at least partly responsible for the actions of their government.
Frank from Germany
John’s answer to Natchgurke included this: ” I watch the EU, and think of Yeats’ words at the end of A Vision: “What discords will drive Europe into that artificial unity — only dry or drying sticks can be tied into a bundle — that is the decadence of every civilisation? How work out upon the phases the coming and increase of the counter-movement, the antithetical multiform influx?” Re: the drying sticks in a bundle; wasn’t Mussolini’s symbol a bundle of sticks, called fasces, from whence we get the term fascist from? That’s what popped into my mind when I read Yeats ‘words.
SlithyToves, your descriptions about some aspects of modern society show just how dysfunctional modern society has become. Especially for millennials, who grew up with Facebook and Twitter, but without functional ideas regarding society and social relationships and human needs. Western society has become a society where one must go one’s own way unguided and sometimes reinventing the wheel, because almost all of the stories and cultural preferences have become dysfunctional or at least unhelpful. It shows, for example, when films, television programs and books show stories which have nothing to do with the real lived experiences of many ordinary people.
Regarding the land shaping the humans who live there, that would then be applicable to Europe and the immigrants to Europe, too. This would mean that during the following centuries there would come to be in Europe a culture which is different from the Faustian culture and from the culture of the immigrants.
I agree, to an extent. But it was limited in extent – it was stopped from the inside, their own people. It didn’t spread to a big WWII conflagration. They were also not annihilated because of that. The letters from the captives, and the Tokadantee work, brought many white allies who plead with Lincoln to spare the “Good Indians”. He hanged only 400 of the warriors who committed atrocities, freeing twice that many for only being combatants. So it is complicated. Little Crow’s warriors descendants still are quite angry, understandably, and some think if only they’d won…. And you can see how that sense of going to battle again could arise again in Standing Rock 2.0, as it did in the first. But I think it would similarly be limited by allies securing a less bloody course (6000 ex veterans showing up?).
While the Two Row Wampum was between the British and the Iriqois Confederacy in what became Canada, I think it broadly applies in the Great Lakes region and the former extent of the main fur trade – that national boundary is very late and thin up there, my own grandparents didn’t recognize it- the region JMG argues will be a next great civilization. There was quite a bit of connection between that area and the coast of what is now BC, and northern Alberta and BC due to Metis blood ties and the trade routes, notable in where there are existing Treaties, so they may have similar susceptibility to Two Row Wampum symbology. So, I wonder if the Kinder Morgan protest will be the 2.0 like they hope.
Following the Two Row Wampum is emphatically not the appropriation that is so much of American /European descendant attempt to reconnect with Native spirituality. It is the explicit acceptance of two cultures on the land in mutual respect. The settlers have a treaty with the local people and spirits, but don’t get to usurp or become them. And the spirits they bring are also made room for if they honour the treaty. However, I think that blending occurs eventually, for some…it is a very unstable process… No narrative yet exists to stabilize it, but it could, I think… And that is where the new culture is born hundreds of years from now.
@David By the Lake re: your expulsion from the community garden
I understand that you don’t want to get mad since it’s your community and people so I’ll tell you what. I’ll get mad for you. Mao would be so happy. Maybe you can get up in front of the community garden and publicly apologize and they can throw weeds at you after.
Intriguing series, The Kek Commentaries.. I am always instructed by your musings, JMG! I’ve been circling around the Western Esoterics for about 10 years now, and reading various authors, sticking a toe in here and a finger in there, but now I’m starting (again) to go through Learning Ritual Magic. One of the exercises is the “seven sentences.” I’ve been referring to DF’s The Mystical Qabala for my sentences, but you took the cake with “If ordinary thoughts are the little fish that swim near the surface of the mind’s sea, archetypes are the great whales that sound the depths…” That and the whole dang article. That said, I realize that my own extreme dislike of the POTUS falls lock stock and barrel into my Shadow archetype. If given the opportunity to meet him I would RUN for the hills!! Hahaha! Seriously!! It’s either the Shadow, or an animal instinct of survival at play..
JMG – I don’t know whether the “One Big Battle, Then Rebirth” theme is common in modern heathenry, though it does appear in fantasy fiction a lot. I do know that Diana Paxson, who is heathen, wrote a sequel to Bradley’s sour, rigid Fall of Atlantis material; in her hands the survivors at Glastonbury lived closer to nature and started breaking down caste barriers immediately, learned from the local Wisewoman and spirits of place, and essentially founded a new culture. There was One Big Battle there which destroyed a pile of stones and the pretensions of the (misguided) bad guys who were trying to recreate the old Empire by force, but little else.
SlithyToves – I hear you loud and clear. And often enough the entire thing manifests so differently in girls it is not recognized. “Gifted but spoiled” was the usual diagnosis, along with “If you’d just try harder” and “have the wrong attitude.” To be perfectly fair, the period’s diagnosis of dyslexia was “Either not trying, or stupid.” And it us it manifestsin depression and self-doubt, not rage.
For what it’s worth, I started gaining more social smarts when I ditched the entire Pretending To Be Normal thing and went with what suited me. Which, like many of my circlemates, meant finding a home in s/f fandom and the pagan community. For what that’s worth.
[NOT playing one-up-womanship; just commiserating. Again I hear you loud and clear. And if the mundanes don’t like it, to the Cauldron of Chaos with them!]
@Camaleon “He is doing a lot of simbolic things. He travels in economy class, has no bodyguards, no armored car. He has announce he will cut to less than a half the presidentbsalary and announced that he is going to enforce than no public servant could earn more than the president. He will end the pensions to all expresidente and the staff they have. He is a changer…
The despair of people was unsustainable, but nobody anticipated such a victory.
He is either loved or hated,”
If he really has no bodyguards, I’d say he is dead man walking. Trump had and has a lot of bodyguards. Trump also made a point of surrounding himself pretty conspicuously with lots of high ranking and generally admired military – trump was no fool and he still has been lucky to make it so far (clearly a lot of people underestimated him and his ability to survive in the swamp). Anyway, getting back to the Mexican president — how is this going to shape up as a victory if he doesn’t survive long enough to get anything done?
Well, I’m stumped. I thought you were saying Kek was influencing the American election but I think you are saying it is The Changer posing as Kek. I’ll go back and reread all four posts again.
Re your reply to Stefania above
“Rather, we rise as far as created beings can rise, to Daath, and undo the separation that’s hinted at in the old allegory of the Fall — and then the four rivers flow clean again, and the individual is remade in the image of the universe, rather than the other way around. It’s not that the universe becomes transparent to consciousness; it always was, to a consciousness that’s in tune with it. It’s that we become transparent and stop blocking the light that is waiting to illuminate us.”
That right there is precisely what I’ve been seeking: the raw, unveiled, undistorted, true perception and understanding of What Is. If such a thing exists, how is it not objective truth and the point from which all things are properly measured? I keep getting turned around here as to whether or not it exists. If the “Is-ness” of the universe exists and possesses qualities independent of any observer and one’s perception of those qualities, is it not the absolute reference-point for all measurement?
So the long-running class war in which the wage class has been pummeled is shifting now, and the wage class is beginning to regain ground. Whether Trump wins re-election or not, I agree it’s clear that the issues you mentioned are up for real political contest in a way they haven’t been in my lifetime. I think it’s important that Trump doesn’t necessarily need congress to keep pushing this particular agenda (that is changing trade terms, combating mass immigration, and beginning the withdrawal from imperial overreach), because I don’t expect the GOP to do as well this autumn as they’d need to keep control of the House.
I’m not sure I understand the economics very well, but for the wage class to benefit relatively, it seems there would need to be a corresponding decrease in the standard of living of the salary class and the investment class. Since the wealth of those upper classes is based largely on their higher incomes, better benefits, and the possession of high-priced assets, it seems to follow. Does this mean that we’re likely to see wage-driven price inflation of goods and services along with a decline in some asset prices like housing and paper assets? Can we in addition expect wholesale gutting of some salary-class bureaucracies like academia (since demand will shrink if a college degree is no longer seen as necessary for a higher standard of living)? It seems like in some ways it’s a matter of reversing what has happened over the last 40 years, while in other ways there will be new effects and arrangements entirely.
Good interview with h David Graeber talking about bullsh*t jobs and the managerial classes, noting in passing how the Dems made these their core constituency: https://www.resilience.org/stories/2018-08-09/imagining-a-world-with-no-bullsht-jobs/
One question I have is is there any good evidence of a policy of mass illegal immigration being formulated? Or is it almost entirely tacit?
I’m a strong believer in the regional gods of this land, and wholeheartedly believe that those of us of European descent have no business interacting with the Native American interpretations of the forces that dwell here. That said, I’m fifth (or sixth?) generation on my mom’s side, and my dad’s side were migrant farm workers, so I have such a strong and abiding love for the very earth of this country that it gets all confused in my mind.
This summer, I crashed a music festival outside of Kansas City. It was held in a big nature preserve, so I just parked outside of the concert “gates” and wandered my way in through the woods. And I swear I felt my ancestors guiding me. I’ve got at least 3 or 4 generations of family who lurked around that area – outlaws, really. And as I was walking the dry creekbed adjacent to the field where the concert was, I thought to myself, well I ain’t the first Calhoun to be on these lands illegally LOLOLOL
Also, we’ve been discussing the emergence of Wotan, but what about Pan? I believe that when a musician meets an entity at the crossroads, it’s Pan, but Christianity doesn’t like goat imagery so he gets maligned. Pan is here in this country, I know it. Because we have excellent music. Where else would Pan be?
Hedonism is one of our strengths as an unformed people. I’m very proud of our ability to party as a nation. If there’s one place I know and love, it’s the United States of Barmerica.
JMG said: “Happypandatao, hmm! Do you happen to know if Shri Rohit Arya has discussed this in print somewhere? Videos bore me to tears, but I’d be interested in reading more of his analysis.”
He has several blogs that he sporadically updates. I don’t know if he has that particular discussion in print but the blog I’ve read goes back to 2011 and I’ve only read 5-6 posts. Its possible he may have discussed it on that blog or one of the others he maintains.
The blog I’ve read is https://aryayogi.wordpress.com/2017/11/
This page has a full list of the various blogs he’s maintained over several years:
For those whom don’t mind watching or simply listening to his Youtube vids he can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheAryayogi
However, in case he hadn’t I have been planning to make transcripts of several of his youtube videos and that was one of them. I can send you a copy of the transcript once I’m finished. I won’t be able to start the project until after Sept 5 because I’m about to go on an extended vacation. But I’ll begin once I’m back home.
JMG, on a side note, a future incarnation of you reading Spengler in the 26th century? Methinks you will be long gone from humanity by then.
Re the Gotterdammerung/Apocalypse stories in Western mythology:
I know that in Islam the auras that refer to the End Times talks about a period of tribulations, but instead of the remainder of God’s people (Dios) threatened with extermination (and the earth with it) we see the people turning to Allah until the remnant of Disbelievers are killed off without much notice. In short, the mirror image from the inheritors’ side.
Makes me wonder if the Dreams of utter destruction are nothing but a story of Europe becoming Muslim from the view of the dying side (Christianity).
@Camaleon “He is doing a lot of simbolic things. He travels in economy class, has no bodyguards, no armored car.”
I wish you well with this courageous political changer. In memory of a very happy year in my own life, when at age 14 (1974 or thereabouts) I lived in Coyoacan, Mexico, DF, I will light a candle to Santa Muerte and to any other Mexican santos or espiritus that are have an interest in the matter, to pray that his personal safety remains more than symbolic.
Dear David by the Lake, my condolences on your community garden experience. Please allow me gently to suggest that there are two things at stake. One is the plot itself, in regard to which you say you could have done better. OK, maybe you could have, but allowing useful or attractive plants to reseed themselves is itself an ancient gardening technique and one which I have deliberately used in my own yard. Its’ WWIII back there between the garlic, the burdock and the horseradish duking it out for dominance, with plantain coming on strong. Garlic and garlic chives have also colonized their own nooks and I deliberately encourage violets and dandelions for their beauty and for the sake of pollinators. All of this benefits me because all the combatants are edible. I just came across a macrobiotic cookbook, which, while I do take quite seriously our host’s caveats about macrobiotics, does have some interesting ideas about how to use burdock. And, the burdock and the horseradish produce LOTS of useful compost material.
But, there is another matter here which, I suggest, is the vegetable plants already growing in your second plot, and those exist there as a result of your work and effort. It does seem to me that you should get to decide who gets to profit from your work and effort, and maybe that beneficiary doesn’t necessarily need to be whomever is in the queue for your soon to be former plot. Surely it might not be thought “confrontational” if you quietly invited a few friends to dig up some of your plants from the second plot, unless of course you want to move them to your own yard. Or, might there happen to be a low income organization or church round about which could use a few plants ready for harvest?
My best guess as to how the rebalancing will happen? Hyperinflation. Cities always take it on the chin, very badly so when the currency gets shredded. They import nearly everything. And where do all the sew faunceh people live? Cities. So they’ll be doing what city people have done in the past and sell their fancy stuff so they can buy food so they can eat. Not sew fawnceh.
And the people in the rural areas tend to do very very well, because they’re the only ones who can produce anything that holds its value. In Weimar Germany at one point, every rural farm had a piano that city people had traded to them for food. This time around it’ll probably be BMWs and Lexuses.
And whaddayaknow, inflation is starting to accelerate. I suspect they’ll ignore it and tell you that they can control it, until they can’t. My guess is at the end of the 2020s it’ll all come to a head and they’ll roll out a New Dollar or something.
@ Ray Wharton – your “ramblings” keep knocking them out of the park. I agree with JMG. Just send your editorial self off for a long hike, and let the ramblings flow.
Anyway, in the middle of your Wendigo/zombie rambling, you said, “what is industry but an efficient form of digestion”. I just want to say that digestion is something that I deal with a lot in my clinic, and so my literal-minded self took that phrase very much to heart.
In physiological terms, I have been trained to think of digestion in terms of three broad processes, any one or more of which may be less than efficient. First, material transformation. Somewhere between the plate and the intestine, food is transformed into something that we can materially use – for example to build, maintain and repair body tissues, and (if we are children) to grow. Second, energetic transformation. Somewhere between the plate and the intestine, food is transformed into something that we can energetically use – for example for movement, warmth, and cellular work. Third, elimination. The part of the food that cannot undergo transformation, and cannot be used to build and maintain us, nor to energise us, must continue on out of the body, and hopefully continue on to nourish something else, such as the soil. And if it does go on to nourish, then the greater cycle, of which eating is a small part, continues and flows.
In your example, industrial digestion seems to perform the first function beautifully and efficiently – material transformation leading to growth and enlargement. Energetically, though, we are in no way so efficient, and (as this blog has long argued) we are spending more and more energy to get less. And elimination, well. Our industrial digestion is not very efficient at eliminating what it doesn’t need, is it? And even worse, what we eliminate is often completely unsuitable to be taken up by any other living system, so as to keep the cycle flowing.
I don’t know if that is of any interest. But that’s just where my head got to after reading what yours put out there. Thanks.
When do we of European descent stop being of European descent, and start being Americans? Our DNA code is European, but we are made of American dirt.
@Scotlyn yeah, you’re smelling what I’m stepping in. The core notion of the Wendigo, to me, is that the more then eat the bigger they get, such that they always grow faster than the food can fill their stomach, so their hunger only grows in a life of constant gnawing ravishing hunger and emptiness. So the part of digestion that causes growth is in overdrive. But because industry is so focused on growth, it sacrifices efficiency at satiety and waste.
I think that there is often the argument that industrial obsession with growth comes from the logic of the system (capitalism), or that it comes from the self interest of the owners of the means of production, or the self interest of the owners of the means of consumption. More and more I think that is all accidentally true totally contingent on a set of values that come from far deeper! The real drive is a deep long repressed and ravishing hunger for something we know not what. And an effort to fill that hole with anything which might sooth the suffering. This is harmonious with our ambition as world improves, trying to grow into the giants that can pull the heavens to the earth.
Contrasted to the hunger is the imagined object of desire. Perfection as such, no lesser goal will satisfy, that is why the Wendigo is so horrifically hungry, because it desires the most perfectly beautiful world, posits the transcendental rapturous escape of all binding on the object of its desire. Nirvana. The death drive. Every feeding is of something that does not fill our hunger, it only makes us bigger and more starved more dead. The the spirit becomes a giant eating assemblage of the living walking dead, hungry and desiring the peace of death.
One of the reasons this is so hard to write about is that I am standing on the edge of a sputtering sucking cavern of an open wound in the heart of the people around me, and seeing more and more of the malarkey of our society and our category and our little games of gossip as one group whines about another as clots in the wound. I can wax like a mad poet, and those moved are moved. But to parse out the thinking critically like a surgeon? That is fine for me, but to do it to someone else seems serrated and barbed. Stuck between a rock of what if they don’t get what I am on about, and Dear Mother, what if they do?
I can say this, industrial desire is the desire of something that is dying. It is not the digestion unto growth of children who are maturing and becoming whole. It is the digestion onto growth of fatal obessity and kindling box pine forests. Think of old people trying to eat like children do so they can grow up even more. Spengle observed that when a cultural form was near exhaustion it becomes a patter of giantism for it own sake
Even the deer are of this spirit, they feed and breed and feed unto a wasteland, and the die in wretched hunger and mange. I think this is the biophobia, the way that life itself grows rank and rampant. If one denies death, biophobia follows from it logically enough; consider the thought of yeast doubling, until the Earth is sky deep in them. That is biophobia, the fear that life isn’t limited. The fear that all 100,000 seeds with germinate and make 100,000 seeds.
I think JMG is right that we are lucky to get a kick from Trump rather than 4 more years under the Reagan administration; but at the same time keep it real about how serious cultural exhaustion is.
The positive, the beauty, in all of this is the birth of the new. The light reaching the ground after the fire that has barely even burnt yet; to the seedling in the ashes, the phoenix forest. Become spores, become seeds, or deep roots that spring back among charred tops.
I am thinking a lot recently of the dynamic tension between Amor Fati and Will to Power. Between serenity and courage in the face of all this. In the middle I am soft hearted about so many in the path of the fire I also feel grateful for. I am against myself in this way. Make way for change I guess is the message at the heart of it all. Find beauty and meaning as you can; but let go of the old hunger. Let it go if it must take your hand from you with it.
B/c Southerners refer to Northerners as Yankees means that on some intuitive level they understand that they’re not really Americans, and were never meant to be Americans, especially after the War of Northern Aggression. Yankee is a pejorative for American, therefore, Confederates are not really Americans, hence all the faux patriotism and draping themselves in the flag.
Once “Cal-exits” and we have a successful secession and put to rest the lie of “one nation, undivided”, then the Lost Cause will be the Won Cause. Imperial destruction begins at home–not only must we dismantle the unnecessary empire overseas, but here at home, as well…
Maybe I’ll dip my toe into New England from across the Northern border. I have seen Maine from the Trans Canada Hwy, so…
Spear, thanks for this. I’ll give the book a read as time permits.
Yanocoches, remember that myths are far more perfect than the real world ever manages to be. In myths, people live happily ever after; in real life — well, not so much! In the same way, in the real world, it’s entirely possible that some of the people who are stuck in 24/7 meltdown mode — “Trump took a breath! OMG, he took another one!!” — will eventually get tired of it and go do something more useful with their lives. I think it’s possible that things may spiral into disintegration the way you’ve suggested, but it’s far from the only possibility, and not necessarily the most likely one — more on this later on.
The post you’re looking for, on the emergence of a new religious sensibility, is this one. Exactly how to foster that, and where it’s headed, are issues I probably need to discuss in more detail as we proceed.
Phil K, that’s a classic! As for Richard III, fascinating. Thank you for this.
Scotlyn, and that’s one of the crucial ways that the new spirituality of place will be born.
Chris, thank you. I’m glad you’ve gotten a decent amount of rain — I’ve been hearing some of the news about the drought in New South Wales. As for learning to live with the land and its spirits, bingo — that’s the one strategy that doesn’t lead to a shallow grave and a water color epitaph.
Scotlyn (if I may), I’m not sure if autism is a blanket diagnosis, though it does have a dizzying range of symptoms and effects, and it also tends to run with other neurological conditions — for example, I’ve got Aspergers syndrome, plus some degree of ADD, plus neuromuscular dyspraxia and a range of odd perceptual deficits. And of course explaining all this to someone who doesn’t have any of these things is rendered complex by the fact that most of us have no direct experience of what it’s like not to have them!
But I’m going to offer you a very brief description of my experience, starting with what I presume yours to be. When you’re around another person, especially someone you know, can you tell what they’re feeling without having to reason it out consciously from sensory clues? I can’t. When you’re dancing, or engaged in certain other activities with another person, do you get into the state where your body just naturally moves along with the other person’s body, without you having to figure out what the other person is doing and what you should do in response? I don’t. (This is one of the reasons I dislike dancing.) Do you enjoy watching people dance, or do other physical activities, and feel caught up in their movements and feelings? I don’t.
In the neurotypical brain there’s a set of structures called “mirror neurons” that mimic other peoples’ emotions — not consciously, either: automatically, all the time. They play a huge role in human social interaction; they’re what give people the capacity to be caught up in the rush of collective emotions — at a rock concert, a sports event, a wedding, or what have you — and also the things that mediate all the experiences I’ve described above. I don’t have mirror neurons. The neurons that would have served that function got assigned to other uses. That’s the heart of Aspergers syndrome — people who have it don’t have mirror neurons. We tend to have unusually quick and capacious minds because the neurons that would be busy tracking other people’s feelings are available for other uses, but the tradeoff for that is that there’s a vast range of human perceptions that neurotypical people have, that we don’t experience. The rush that people get from watching sports, or dancing with a partner, or what have you — to me, those are like what colors must be to a blind person: something other people talk about a lot that I’ll never experience.
Does that help clarify things a bit?
Ryan, er, did I say anywhere that Trump has anything to do with the sacredness of the environment or protecting the land? I think you may be reading things into my words that I didn’t put there.
Just Me, thanks for this.
Joy Marie, hmm! You may be right.
Stefania, you’re right, I really do have to do a post on the goals and purposes of magic one of these days.
Tripp, when I was at college the first time, up in Bellingham WA, a bunch of hippie types went out to the Lummi reservation not far from that town and more or less demanded that the senior elder there teach them all about Lummi spirituality. I wasn’t there — even at that young and gullible age I shied away from such things — but his response got circulated pretty widely. It was more or less like this: “Your people stole our land. You stole our fishing rights. You stole our children, and forced them into schools where the teachers stole their language and their culture. Now you want to steal our religion as well? No. Go away; I will not teach you.” Those words have stayed with me ever since. To my mind, if you or I or any other American of European descent wants to relate to the land in a sacred manner, we need to put in the hard work of learning to listen to the land ourselves, not walk off with the traditions of someone else’s culture. You have the right to disagree with that, of course, but that’s a conviction of mine I’m not likely to change.
Ray, just write the essay the way you wrote this comment, and you’ll do a fine job. Which is to say: thank you for this.
Coop Janitor, yes, and it happened with the transition from natural religions to prophetic religions. It’s an odd feature of religions founded by Old World prophets that they almost all fixate on time rather than place, though there’s a certain suction back toward place — thus you get holy places, the cult of relics, pilgrimages, and so on.
Frank, for forty years the working classes had a choice between candidates who all supported the same economic measures. That bipartisan consensus wasn’t broken until Trump entered the race — and you’ll notice that a lot of people turned out and voted for a candidate who opposed those policies, once they had the chance.
Joy Marie, and Yeats almost certainly had that in mind as well. Good point.
Sidney, and it may be both. The Shadow, like all the other archetypes, has a place in the structure of things; if you had to fight for your life, projecting the Shadow on your enemy is useful, in that it allows you to tap into all your emotional energy and go after him with everything you’ve got, without qualms or uncertainties. Myself, I’d be interested in meeting Trump, just to try to get a sense of what he’s like as a person, but I doubt we’d have more than half a dozen words to say to each other.
Patricia M, I somehow managed to miss Bradley’s Atlantis stuff, though it sounds as though that’s just as well! Thanks for the data points.
Blue Sun, I’m probably going to have to do a couple of posts on archetypes and the collective unconscious in a bit, too, which might help clear things up a bit.
David, I know this is difficult. Did you notice me use the word “understanding” in that passage? I didn’t, and for good reason. The human mind can’t understand the universe. The illumination I spoke of isn’t a matter of knowing the truth about everything; read accounts written by people who’ve experienced what’s often called “enlightenment” and one thing they agree on pretty consistently is that what they experience can’t be described, or explained, or understood. You don’t get “the raw, unveiled, undistorted, true perception and understanding of What Is.” You simply become a conduit of that light, and experience as much of its incomprehensible power and glory as your mind can grasp, which isn’t much.
Steve, one way or another, yes, there’s going to be a sharp decrease in the effective wealth of the upper 20%, as the necessary flip side of the improvement in the lives of the middle 50% or so. Inflation is one very likely way in which that might take place, though there are others.
Matt, thanks for this. As far as I know, it’s tacit, but the fierceness with which mass illegal immigration is defended by the privileged suggests to me that a lot of people in that class know exactly what the score is.
Aron, when Pan shows up at the crossroads at midnight he wears a broadbrimmed hat and a long black coat, last time I played the relevant blues songs… 😉
Happypandatao, many thanks for this. Yes, please, and thank you.
Bruno, who knows? Even if I am, I may want to drop in and check out how things are going. 😉
Godozo, fascinating. Christianity used to have the same kind of optimistic eschatology, in at least some denominations — it was called the postmillennial theory — but it does seem to have gotten lost of late…
Owen, once other nations start following Russia’s lead and dumping their dollar reserves in a big way, a new currency is going to have to happen really soon. Yes, we might see some really robust inflation before then.
Danae, it’s a slow process, though it does seem to be well under way. I’ll be addressing this in an upcoming post.
@ Aron, @ Nastarana, et al.
Re the garden plot
I appreciated everyone’s thoughts and suggestions. As I mentioned to John in a follow on comment above, the situation was a bit more nuanced and while I may disagree with the standard being applied, I must also acknowledge that I’m not the coordinator and that I am one gardener among many. Two plots (six beds total, three beds per plot) *was* probably too much for me to properly manage while also working full time (plus my part time gig on city council). I think that we’ve come to a negotiated agreement wherein I will clear the undesrired weeds from that plot as requested in exchange for the additional weeks I asked for, then I’ll relinquish the plot at the end of the season, as I had already been planning to do. I was told in fairly straightforward terms that my original plot also needed to be brought into compliance if I wanted to keep it for next season, and that is where my hackles had been raised. In the end, I decided that my desire to garden was of higher priority than “being right”, at least for another year. We’ll see what happens after that. The folks involved aren’t evil, just very focused in what they envision for the space.
One of the challenges in community is negotiating that balance between the group and the individual, as this experience has demonstrated.
It sounds like Mexico is caught in the Changer archetype–are there equivalent archetypes amongst the native cultures south of the border?
“And an effort to fill that hole with anything which might sooth the suffering. ”
I have long felt that this was the conscious-or-not modus operandi of metastatic capitalist consumerism. Advertising, and indeed the corporate media, is used to not only create ‘needs’ and desires that are unreal, but at the same time make real inter-personal relationships more and more impossible. ‘Social’ media has just accelerated this, ironically (I guess).
Into the resultant holes, you can sell any old crap you want, as long as the ads show happy smiling people who are clearly getting lots of sex. It’s pretty simple, but deadly effective.
When I think of Jung, I also think of Freud. While in no way am I steeped in either of their theories, what I do know puts me in mind of the modern vs. the traditional. I think that Freud represents the scientific, materialistic, technical side of psychology and Jung represents the spiritual, emotional, “magical” end of psychology. So they mirror the struggle going on today in our society.
If leftists are projecting their shadow onto the nationalist right, are they actually responsible for the whole Kek/Pepe meme? By “falling in hate” with the right, the leftists are feeding and strengthening what they think they are fighting. The picture of the Pepe pipe in your essay (Ceci n’est pas un Pepe) would indicate that when we see the Pepe jokes, flags, symbols, videos, etc. we are not seeing a cartoon frog, but an image representing something else. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Treachery_of_Images Who is represented by the Pepe image?
We are influenced by place, which here in North America falls under the Spirits that Native Americans are familiar and experienced with. It was suggested by a commenter that since there aren’t that many Native Americans any more to follow and worship the traditional Gods of this land, the Gods may be inclined to adopt those that follow what was once the traditional mode of life for this continent; hunting, fishing, outdoor activities, etc., which would be descriptive of the conservative, Trump loving country folk so hated by the Left. (Some would include “white” as a descriptor, and no doubt they make up the majority of this group, but I think you can find people of other races and backgrounds that would fall under this description also.) In other words, the newer inhabitants of this land are finally developing a spiritual importance of place (Deloria’s words). Since most of these people are Christians, it would probably surprise them that they are influenced by different Gods, but as history has shown, Christianity (and other religions) can adapt, rather than fade away.
Is Pepe the Changer? Is Trump the Changer? Are the Chans the Changer? Or are the New Nationalists, fresh with their new-found spiritual importance of place, the Changer? Is Pepe as symbol of Kekistan, really the image of the New Nationalist Modern America, perhaps developing into regional Republics of America with their own brand of nationalisms?
Only the Shadow/Changer knows…
Re truth, etc.
I realize that I had folded much more into that picture; assuming facts not in evidence, as it were. Thank you for the clarification. Yes, this is difficult!
Interestingly enough, all the time I lived in the Charleston area and in SC generally, I never really heard much discussion of Yankees…
I agree with you that stopping illegal immigration is important, though I would like to see it expressed in a way that stresses the economic consequences rather than the supposed undesirability of those trying to enter, and I would like to see it accomplished with a minimum of detentions, family separations, etc. The question remains of what to do with the millions of undocumented people already here. Many of them (the “Dreamers”) made the journey as children and probably had no say in the choice to come here. From my perspective, most of these folks are strong contributors to the labor force for which there are no ready US citizen replacements.
If it is necessary to shrink the labor force in order to drive up wages (I don’t have the data to prove that, but I suspect it is true) and I were in charge, then I might propose something like the following to address those already here:
1. Determine the number of people necessary to avoid a long-term labor and skill shortage, and find a non-arbitrary way (e.g. based on skills, area of work, or length of residence) to put this many people on a path to citizenship.
2. For the remainder, assign temporary work visas with varying expiration dates, beginning in a year and all expiring within 5-10 years. Ensure that all members of a family have the same date, and that those with expired visas are not able to obtain work under the table.
This approach would both provide time for employers to hire and train a new labor force and give undocumented immigrants time to plan for departure – which strikes me as a far more humane approach than random raids, detentions, and immediate deportations.
My interpretation of the myth is not that the resisters are frozen indefinitely, but simply rendered ineffective against the Changer. After all, many among the Resistance are not especially against Trump’s policy ideals but rather against Trump himself, and once the Changer moves on upriver and those ideals are embodied by more ordinary folks with less abrasive personalities, the Resistance will disperse and adapt to living in the changed world.
Re truth, etc.
Your reply also brought to mind the story of Thomas Aquinas, who reportedly experienced…something…while celebrating a Mass later in his life and was said to have uttered the words “All of my writings are so much straw,” before entering into contemplation for the remainder of his days. Given his stature as a scholastic Doctor of the Church and champion of reason, that should indicate something. I’m likely just being stubborn in this.
One further thought: It is very difficult in a consumer society to determine if one is consuming more than one’s share, or if a particular lifestyle is contributing to the misery of others. By reducing every transaction to a monetary cost, the system obfuscates all such questions. That makes it easy for all but the wealthiest people to come to the conclusion that everyone could achieve their standard of living if only they did X, Y, and Z – and therefore there is no reason they ought to consume less.
I occasionally wonder: If I were to add up all the hours of others’ labor required to produce the things I own and consume and the services I purchase, how would that compare to the hours I devote to labor for the benefit of others? That calculation is almost impossible. If I had to guess, as someone on the lower end of middle class, I would say the balance is roughly even compared to other Americans but tipped strongly in my favor when extended to the rest of the world.
From that perspective, I sometimes wonder if nationalism is an attempt by wealthy nations, after having extracted wealth and labor from weaker nations for many years, to isolate themselves from the rebalancing of the score. As an example, we in the US have taken advantage of cheap labor in China for decades. Now that the Chinese are leveraging their growing market dominance and wealth to buy out American companies and drive down American wages, we want to end the trading relationship.
In re: Damn Yankees
This was a Broadway musical in 1955, its initial production ran for over 1000 runs. (According to Wikipedia). The “Damn Yankees” in question is the New York baseball team, who at this time were in one of their monster World Series winning streaks.
Ok, I cannot say whether or not this qualifies as a synchronicity, but as I sit down to my regular study, having completed Fortune’s The Mystical Qabalah and just begun Garett Knight’s Qabalistic Symbolism, what do I come across in Chapter 2, paragraph 36 but (in relevant part):
“It must always be remembered however that metaphysical symbols, like algebraic ones, represent something and are not ends in themselves. The great limitation of the intellectual type is that he cannot break free from his reason. Once he has a concept or label for something he thinks he knows it.”
Too true! That last bit, particularly…
I visited Navajo lands in the winter the last few years, herding sheep. I think a lot about spirituality of our peoples. My friends they are have as use Biblical and old fashion white people names, there real names, or their war names if you prefer, are not my business, I if I were to come to know such a name I would not speak it. The Navajo people have English names for dealing with the English.
In talking about how to relate to spirits, JMG, you have said before that similar rules apply as when sizing up a person you are meeting. The most profound spiritual experiences of my life happened out there herding sheep. I might guess, but not out loud, what the spirit of the land, dressed in the color and scent of rabbit brush, would be associated with in the Dine lore. To me she was Olwen, even though she most certainly was not Welsh, or even European. Similarly the spirit that is at work in your essay is not an Egyptian, but the form fits.
I think your hippies who went to the Elder could have done much better if they had grace. Teachers like students that are worth teaching. I bet a white occultist approached by a gaggle of such kiddos would come up with something as friendly to say in reply if pushed. Like, there are some very cracker jack Medicine Men with very nearly as much European Blood in their veins as I have in mine; might even be a couple with more of it than me. But, I couldn’t do it, because I ain’t in the tribe, and couldn’t really join in the way that matters. Its cultural, and to do that involves a lot of hard work.
Maybe once the mechanations that hold Whites in a high social and economic status go broken things will melt together more. I know of homeless people who rock spirituality with a Native pedigree and do so gracefully. The poor form new peoples to meet the needs of the times. Lots of homeless travelers try to walk the red path.
So, I think that we do take in native spirituality as a matter of fact, but that there is a transformation process. I don’t have any need to know Jerry’s war name to eat with him, play cards with him, herd sheep, chop wood, tease, or prank him and similarly I don’t need to act like a Navajo Medicine Man, or something too similar, to value the experiences I had herding among the rabbit brush.
The only music I know how to play is on a North American two chambered flute, but to be fair it was made by a white missionary, out of bamboo, and has a European scale; and NDNs rock stetsons and rodeo buckles, and fair enough, its a classy look. Come to think of it, I grew up surrounded by a certin kind on old white cowboy. The only cowboys I know that still rock the same mojo ain’t white kids.
JMG, Having been a regular reader for a decade now, I’ve always been impressed by your consistent attitude toward Native American traditions. IIRC, the event you related to Tripp is one you’ve mentioned before. My experience is that this goes a bit deeper than what you’ve mentioned, however.
My wife is Native American. Over the decades, I’ve been to many religious and traditional functions with her. On 3 occasions, I tried to incorporate some things into my belief system and activities. Every time, INSTANT migraine and down for 3 days. (Yeah, I was slow on the uptake.) However, there are a couple of things that I can do, because her husband, regardless of ethnicity and religious preference, needs to do them. Of course, these include proper reverence for the activity and proper reverence to the Spirits of Place, who accept that I do the things required of her spouse and always at her request. I think these “permissions” are key.
Also, at times I get the sense when working with the earth in my yard, that the Spirit of Place is willing to communicate with people that the Spirit decides have the proper outlook. However, there is nothing that requires these Spirits of Place to communicate or work with those of Euro descent. In fact, I am rather surprised that I am able to interact and that I have had some very wondrous interactions. Rather, it would be unsurprising to me that these Spirits would be angry with the new interlopers who’ve treated Their peoples hideously, the Spirits having been with certain peoples for tens of thousands of years in some cases.
People of Euro ancestry have been on this continent for less than an eye blink compared with the amount of time the Native Americans have been. As you’ve repeatedly said, it takes centuries for a new incoming people truly to be part of the “indigenous” peoplescape. It might take a bit longer in this case due to the method of becoming the dominant peoples on the continent.
If I remember correctly, spirits and gods are not human creations, and are not bound by human culture. So if a native spirit or god(dess) finds, say, a Druid or Norse ritual pleasing and decides to reveal her/himself and enter into a relation w/that person, even if that person is nonnative, then there is nothing that any human, native or otherwise, could do to stop that spirit or god(dess). They do not follow human rules, if I understand correctly.
There’s lots of mention of Jung here, but not much of Pauli. In your post, are you referring to the book called “The Interpretation of Nature & the Psyche”? I have Jung’s book “Synchronicity” moldering away in my closet. Perhaps I should dig it out and re-read it. I was not aware of the link between Jung and Pauli until now, however. What was it that Pauli added to the mix?
I’m in no way saying that I want to rip off their religion. Maybe my line of questioning wasn’t clear. I was afraid that it might not have been after I went back and reread what I wrote.
What I’m asking is something deeper. If their religions evolved organically out of the land and its spirits, and we must ultimately do the same, how can we possibly avoid significant overlap? IOW, to NOT end up with something fairly similar seems put on to me, or out of touch. Intentionally non-Indian. Not genuine. Imported. I’m far more American than I am Irish.
Is it just that we should start from an inherited European foundation and arrive at a mature religion reflective of our new place (way down the road) as influenced by our own deep past, instead of starting from a Siberian or more east Asian foundation like the Cherokee before me? Naturally these will produce somewhat different outcomes, but if we truly allow the land to teach us, won’t we end up practicing a structurally synonymous religion one day?
Is the sticking point just that we shouldn’t ask the people “we” displaced, and admittedly gave the high hard one, for shortcuts? Because that’s not my intention.
Please don’t think of me as a wannabe Dances With Wolves. But my wife and I have made what most Americans would think of as…substantial…even radical, sacrifices to jumpstart our journey to an appropriate spiritual place. No HVAC (this one is much bigger than it seems at first), no TV, very modest house built from local and recycled materials with cash as we get it, rainwater, no indoor plumbing, very little electricity, chop wood, carry water, you know the drill – we probably live on less than 25% of the average American’s resource base, and as I said upthread, to my knowledge I have never personally harmed a native.
If we’re going to end up near there eventually anyway, why would we not study their ways? As far as I’m concerned, I am an American, born from the American landscape, not Irish, or Swedish. Those places and their religions are the foreign ones to me. It feels like an unnecessary detour to learn Welsh, or Ogham, or any other European religious form for that matter.
I’m not trying to say that I’m worthy of special treatment, but I am saying that I don’t appreciate the idea of being ridden harder than necessary for actions I had no control over, and deeds that I am trying to correct as fast as I can bear, now that I know better.
Does this make any more sense? I really appreciate you taking the time to help me sort this out.
Thanks for this great series of articles! I’ve been a follower of the chans since 2005 and meaningful outsider viewpoints to them are always interesting.
The talk of Changer brings to mind the following youtube video that was released back in Oct 2015 when Trump’s candidacy was in its infancy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKH6PAoUuD0 The theme of the video is basically someone tries to stump the Trump and is then shot down with lots of memes mixed in. Trump himself retweeted the video along with a rare Pepe version of himself (https://i.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/001/028/964/4b3.jpg). I don’t recall if there was a strong Trump / Pepe connection before this, but this definitely cemented it. The name centipede (often shortened to ‘pede) for pro-Trump memers comes from this video as well as many phrases used throughout the Kek Wars. Interestingly since then, their usage has fallen off.
An example of your thesis would be the religious experience just south of us. Santa Muerte obviously is the return of an
Old Aztec god with a veneer of Catholicism around the edges.
I know the (Roman) Catholic form of Christianity is officially postmillennial, going so far as to state that Revelations is code for what was happening in the Roman Empire at that time. The present form of premillennialism (full seven years of tribulations visited on those who didn’t believe on the day God set to let the tribulations start) actually developed in the 1800s.
Quite a few forms of pre-Constantine premillennialist Christianity had their seven years (the time span stayed constant) split into two periods: 42 months of testing followed by the removal of the True, Tested Christians and the punishment of the rest of humanity for the remaining 42 months.
let me first apologize. i acknowledge that in my occasional interactions with you on these boards i have not taken sufficient account of the differences between how you and i might process information.
on my end of this exchange, i was reacting to what i perceived as a combative tone, and i was not intending to “make fun.” sincerely, sorry.
i have done a small amount of reading on jungian archetypes, and my impression is he also did not commit entirely to the idea these were discrete, sentient, volitional entities — though sometimes his phrasing seemed to suggest he was at least entertaining the idea.
A few random comments since I was out working in the yard again today..
The connection with place (I prefer the word place to land since some places have a lot of water and that does provide a vessel for the gods as well) is honestly one of the things I am most interested in. Perhaps I am biased, but I think it is the most important of all relationships. Working in the yard today it struck me how being connected with the land helps you to appreciate that change is not an immediate thing. Perhaps with Christianity, and many of the connections with other gods that have influenced it, many of us are looking for that one big battle, but today I realized it is the little thing. Years of mowing grass can make the water run a different way. Running water will then quicken the transformation of the landscape. None of that is change that happens overnight. It is something that takes years, decades, centuries… likewise, it’s not the one time you do something that makes a change in your life. It’s when you are consistent with something. That is why all spiritual disciplines require doing something time after time.
One of the comments got a reply about Native American vision quests… is it possible this is how the American Dream got started? The idea that one person had an individual destiny that they could be in control of. The Iroquois Confederacy helped to provide some ideas for our Constitution.. there is no doubt that place helped further other ideas of the gods within the American culture.
Finally, I’m curious how the obsession with Russia in the American psyche over the past century will influence with American mind. With projection of the shadow in mind, might the gods of Russia help to influence the development of a culture with the USA? As a child I was deeply impressed by an advertisement warning about how Soviets kidnapped children from the USA. 20 some years later, I married a Russian. I know a good many of my friends and acquaintances who have a deep interest in all things Russian.
Shane, if I may, I understand you feeling pulled from many different places, and from many different gods. I was born and raised in Texas to a family of Yankees. My maternal side is from Pennsylvania and paternal from New Jersey. My maternal grandpa was fond of using the words Yankee and Southerner. He didn’t have much good to say about the South. I found nothing wrong with the South, especially with having been born there.
17 years later, we moved up to Northeastern Minnesota. Yankee land as my grandpa would say. I learned to love the land there. I always wanted clear demarcations for the seasons, especially snow. But the people.. I never could get. In fact, I’d say the gods of the land asked me to leave a few times. Eventually I did. I’ve recently come back, and the people are way different. We’ve got a lot of different races now, and a lot of people who are decidedly politically correct. It feels easier now to feel accepted, but people now are more distant than ever before. When I first came up here, I marveled at how slow things developed and how friendly the people were. Things have changed a lot in less than 20 years. And they’ll undoubtedly change a lot again.
I honestly have no clue what the future has in store for me. I hope to bring my wife and step-son here. I hope I’m able to leave a little something behind for my children and grandchildren. I hope that it doesn’t happen to be where I am, but if it does happen to be here, well, I’m managing a living now along with growing many of my own foods and finding that there are a few other people out there who have perhaps not the exact same mind as mine, but similar leanings.
I’ll add my perspective to the discussion on spirit of place and indigenous religion.
I don’t think that becoming “of a place” is as difficult or long of a process as it might seem. My father settled onto a small plot of land in the valley of the Minnesota River in 1979 and lived there until a month before he died two years ago. That area – my home – was unique in being surrounded by public park and conservation land largely unmanaged by humans though by no means wilderness: ancient juniper-covered rock outcrops, riparian forests, remnant patches of prairie.
By the time I was born my father had created a network of trails and named many places for experiences he had or creatures he encountered. That was my environment as a child; I didn’t have much in the way of peer connections and I spent much of my free time exploring, experiencing. In so doing the lone surviving elms, the wood thrush, the whippoorwill became more than nature; they became to some extent friends and familiars. Smells and sounds became associated with emotions, cycles, becoming richer with each year. The smell of green moss reawakened by the first snowmelt, or of rain on newfallen leaves. The night song of the ovenbird, fleetingly hovering high above the forest at dusk, mixed with the spicy scent of the juniper I climbed daily to watch the sunset. The places took on unique characters: a combination of the countless experiences and memories associated with the place and – I believe – something other. Spirits of place, or nature spirits, beginning to recognize me as belonging and to make themselves known. For a time I felt so connected to the land that I dreaded being away lest I miss a big thunderstorm, a first snowfall, or some other important event.
I left – sadly – because I was lonely; there were few others in what was primarily industrial agriculture who could relate to place in that way, and I could not relate to those who lacked that sense.
My sense is that the place-based aspects of indigenous religions are simply the amalgamation of generations of personal experiences in a particular location: insights, revelations, plants and animals encountered, nature spirits sensed or communicated with. To me, this is relevant only insomuch as to help me develop a deeper sense of time, to envision the place 200, 500, 1000, 10,000 years ago and to get a sense of the other humans and consciousnesses that have interacted with the place. The stories themselves are not mine, and they feel much less important than my own stories and my father’s stories in terms of connecting me to a place.
Aside from being present in nature with an open mind and a child’s curiosity, I don’t think that any particular ceremony or practice is necessary. I suspect that the ceremonial aspects of indigenous religions serve more to provide a connection to a particular tribe, culture, and ancestry. Ultimately perhaps we will develop similar traditions, but I see no reason why we would necessarily end up mimicking indigenous religions, or why attempting to adopt indigenous religions would accelerate the process of developing a spiritual connection to place.
fair enough, and of course I can´t really judge from here what´s going on in your country. But I still got a nagging suspicion that (most of) the working classes were just as happy (or indifferent) to have poor people in foreign countries thrown under the bus as the middle classes were to have the workers thrown under the same vehicle; at least that´s the way it was over here.
Frank from Germany
@Rita E Rippetoe
Hi Rita, are you the one who wrote ´The Road To Finx: Chastity´s Tale´ ?
If so I would like to tell you that I really enjoyed reading it and I´m hoping to read more of your work.
Frank from Germany
Thank you for your reply!
I actually considered cutting Exhibit B because of how nuanced the issue was, and I share the concerns you mention in your third paragraph. While I’m generally pro-vaxx, I’m not especially anti-anti-vaxx, and am even a little anti-anti-anti-vaxx, if that makes any sense. Opposition to vaccines is part of a general distrust of the medical industry that in many ways is warranted, and the anti-anti-vaxx side keeps digging deeper holes for itself by ignoring that fact. The moral panic surrounding anti-vaxxers, while understandable, is another major liability in my view.
As for autism, I’ll second pretty much everything JMG said already. That’s been my experience, as well. Many of the classic “neckbeard” behaviors fall out of our difficulty in absorbing cues through social osmosis: we either don’t notice the rules or absorb a superficial understanding and then come up with overly-clever ways to deal with our over-simplified model; thus the faux chivalry and niceguy-ism.
One facet he didn’t touch on is the sensory facet: autistic people, especially children, tend to have a weird relationship to physical touch. We’re notorious for being bothered by the tags in the back of shirts. I hate those new matte book covers (it’s very much on fingernails on a blackboard to touch them). Then there’s stimming: I have a thing about running the back of my hand over the surface of walls sometimes. It’s comforting.
There’s a hypothesis that for autistic people, the part of our brain that predicts physical stimulation makes overly-rigid predictions and then freaks out when those are violated. That would certainly explain stimming, where the stimulation is predictable because I’m controlling it.
Another facet, which JMG touched on earlier, is the tendency to be extremely literal, especially when we’re young. I brought it back without the battery, since that wasn’t in it (it was right next to it on the charger) and they didn’t ask for it.
One final note: the notion that autism isn’t harm rings false for me. Sure, given the choice between autism and death, I’ll choose autism, but given the choice between autism and being neurotypical, I’d choose the latter in a heartbeat. There are benefits, but the cost is pretty high.
@Christopher L Hope, August 8, 2018 at 6:21 pm:
I very much agree with everything say about the issues Trump is forcing the U.S. (and the world) to confront. But I was quite taken aback when I heard this (from the NYT https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/08/world/europe/sanctions-russia-poisoning-spy-trump-putin.html ) :
´´WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said on Wednesday that it would soon impose new sanctions against Russia in response to the attempted assassination in March of a former Russian spy living in England and his daughter.´´
How does this go together with bettering relations to Russia, and only a few weeks after Trump visited – and talked to – Putin?
I´d very much like to hear your thoughts about this apparent U-Turn – it really baffles me.
Frank from Germany
Do you find that Trump is a great mirror, reflecting back who people actually are? I guess this happens with all people – the parts we hate in others are our own worst traits we deny – yet with Trump its yuuuuge. I’ve had to walk away from two people in my life with debilitating anti-Trump reactions. It made me think they have an underlying issue they need to uncover for themselves and Trump was the trigger.
It feels like the news cycle is running faster these last couple of years. Just 6 months ago the left was all about Net Neutrality to keep Google, Facebook, You Tube from manipulating the internet. Alex Jones and several more right-wing accounts were banned and they are cheering. The banning illustrates their point, does it not? But it seems like no one can remember the whole Net Neutrality issue and the fact millions would be dead (their rhetoric, not mine) if it was enacted.
And I got your response about writing the play. I consider myself to be an awful writer with little patience to fill in all the details I need to put so other people can understand what I am saying. My grammar is a struggle being raised in a house with one parent who dropped out of school at 14 and the other barely passing graduating high school. Luckily I’ve taught myself as I taught my kids, so its better but doesn’t come naturally. I do want to write about home schooling and education though, not a how to, but more of a what and why, and how critical it is we take back our means of learning. Keep waiting for perfect timing and conditions to start writing – ha-ha.
The dollar is propped up by the perceived strength of the military. If they publicly stumble or are publicly humiliated in some way, then the deluge. My best guess on that is the loony left manages to weaken them enough with their harebrained ideological schemes, someone notices it, provokes something and they inevitably don’t perform. Or maybe it’s the good ol’ rotting center with all its corruption and graft that manages to asset strip the military they depend on so much.
Wasn’t the premise of the play that the team/manager of the team has sold his soul to the devil or otherwise made a pact w/the devil so the team could win? Isn’t that where the “damn” in the name of the play comes from?
JMG, Bogatyr & Michael R and All
Is there a British Wendigo?
For North America, Bogatyr asked what happens when Changer meets Wendigo and got a traditional answer from Michael R’s tribe: “Thunderers to put an end to the confrontation, cleanse the total environment and then restore the natural balance.”
Here is a very sad story of Jack Fiddler in Canada (20th Century) which seems to explain a lot: http://enacademic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/7063785
In Britain we have the poem Beowulf, an ancestor-story actually set in Demark, written in Anglo-Saxon toward the end of the 8th Century. The sea is portrayed in numerous poetic terms. In the first part the hero / shaman arrives and frees the land from Grendel, slaying the mother-source by laying his hand on a sword from the days of the Giants. Grendel the son had the cannibal characteristic for a Wendigo. There is not to my mind the more satisfactory N American resolution by the Thunderer, but we still have Thor in our Germanic background. In the 2nd half of the poem of course there is a dragon inhabiting ‘a barrow where people long ago buried their great lord’.
Thor & Wotan
The Germanic Wotan barely reached here in the critical 1930s and what did come seems to have immunised and in some respects unified the British Isles in war. (There have been political number games but this account seems fair enough and quotes thus: “In April 1995 the then Taoiseach John Bruton spoke movingly of 150,000 Irish people from North and South who volunteered to fight the Nazis. He pointed out that 10,000 had died while serving in the British forces. This had a particular significance he maintained:. In recalling their bravery, we are recalling a shared experience of Irish and British people…We remember a British part of the inheritance of all who live in Ireland. ”
Germanic, Celtic and probably pre-Celtic Britain
Over the past while living at the Scottish Border we have looked into historical and pre-historical stories attached to landscape. Some of the river names appear to be pre-Celtic. The iron-age tribes here were Brythonic, not Gaelic and the assimilation of Anglian culture and later the merging with Brythonic and then Gaelic is complex but just about visible historically. The emergence of insular art or hiberno-saxon art is one illustration https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insular_art
There are 12 Anglian-type Crosses listed north of the present Border, one of them north of the Forth, (Nicolaisen, 1976, ‘Scottish Place-Names’).
This one is well-known and is in what became known as the ‘Debateable Land’, a term that has been revived recently. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruthwell_Cross
Germanic Scots language emerged during the Middle Ages as the dominant language of Lowland Scotland. The importance for identity is discussed here. file:///C:/Users/phil/Downloads/7411-Article%20Text-17713-1-10-20121210%20(1).pdf
I will leave the present conjecture of different British identities just now although it is of considerable interest here. People suggest ‘impotent’ is a key term for Britain these days, but I tend to think more of ‘lost’, especially for the English. I agree however with others that ‘Britannia’ is past its sell-by date. Ironies abound though! Omens are appearing.
I believe the secular power facing mortal conflict within itself feared imagination.
Catrin Mortimer, nee Glyndwr, and daughters died in the Tower of London 1413 and were interred in St Swithins of the London Stone.
Thanks for reminding us of the finding of the body of Richard 3rd. I agree the story is magical, perhaps because it was all well-documented as it happened.
I agree with your interpretation: “His presence is a reminder that another history was possible, and is possible.”
JMG: you said “when Pan shows up at the crossroads at midnight he wears a broadbrimmed hat and a long black coat, last time I played the relevant blues songs… 😉”
I think modern heathenry has another name for that entity. BTW, I see Pan in a cowboy hat out there in the woods or on the range, expressing himself in country-western songs.
Hmmmm …. or are they two different sides of our own local furry Trickster?
Also, you’re right about The Fall Of Atlantis. I really don’t think you want That Author’s take on Atlantean magic in your head. I’m keeping Ancestors of Avalon which is pure Paxson; the rest are gong to the local library’s donations bin. Except the original, which will go to the science fiction club’s annual auction, probably bundled with all sorts of fannish ticky-tacky.
And speaking of not ripping off Native American traditions – Scots had clan totems. I claim the Cat as mine because my father was a Shaw, which is a sept of Clan Chattan (and because the feisty little critter speaks to my soul.) But Cat’s intermediary on my altar is the Egyptian Bast.
In your possible future discussion of how American culture might finally be forced to admit that we are of this place and have to live in it, instead of moving on once we have strip-mined it, I would hope that there is place in it for the role fossil fuels played in creating this delusion. I have placed a interlibrary loan request for God is Red and hope to read it soon. The discussion here makes me wonder how much the lost of place in Christianity after the Reformation was due to the wealth influxes of empire and fossil fuels.
Someone else has your idea:
The inability of some people to acknowledge the possibility of Donald Trump having a single positive quality strikes me as a kind of mirror image of the unwillingness of those same people to acknowledge that Barack Obama might have flaws. (In fairness, in my experience it’s mostly the Ready for Hillary types who have elevated Obama to sainthood; those farther out left are (ironically?) more apt to recognize both that Trump is speaking to real issues, and that Obama’s record is decidedly mixed.)
Anyway, that’s a half-baked insight that may or may not lead anywhere. I’m not sure how it fits into the Jungian analysis.
August 11, 2018 at 9:59 pm
Thank you for taking the time to thoughtfully re-phrase this question. This is exactly what I was wanting to know. I’m carefully proceeding along a similar path in NE Minnesota.
By the gods I had a very weird synchronicity. I was out with some friends, and one of them had a boyfriend (they broke up after the incident I’m about to describe) who is in the CTRL-Left. He brought some friends, and they started talking about the threat that autistics pose, claiming there was proof we were more racists, sexist/whatever. I felt like poking at them to see how far it went, because I was curious. I kept pointing out that whatever solution they were espousing wouldn’t solve the problem they were claiming existed. All of them eventually backed down, except the boyfriend.
Eventually I got him to go so far as to claim that autistics need to be round up and murdered without due process. I checked to see if he was serious, (he was), and then found it was too late to stop the disaster. Other people had tuned in just in time to hear him saying that he meant it when he said all autistics should be murdered on the spot.
And then the next time I checked the blog for comments, there was Slithytoves…
You’ve also said before, and with plenty of evidence, that the rich aren’t as efficient at consumption as the poor. I’m not saying that their immiseration couldn’t push resource use down a great deal, but not enough to let the middle fifty percent’s standards of living go up, while the empire falls.
It’s an odd thing though: with ties both higher up and lower down in both Canada and America’s hierarchy, the higher up you go, the less differences there are. This isn’t to say there aren’t any until you get to the very top, and even there there might still be differences. I think part of our problem is our elite keeps trying to pretend those differences at the lower level don’t exist/don’t matter.
With regards to your comment to Scotlyn, I think it’s bang on, except: I’d say it’s not we don’t know what we want, but we know not to want it.
wow this is an amazing conversation. so much to say but James is home today and i’ll have to drop this computer the moment he and the kitty come down.
RAY WHARTON: you’re bitten! you have to honor these voices taking over your body or you’ll start leaking spouting an cracking in inconvenient locations. you’ve road tested your ideas the way we funny writers might test a joke at a bar then leave triumphantly at a laugh to go write. treat these voices ideas words thoughts whatever you call them– like guests or like preparing for a lover: set aside the time, tie a rope to someone who has a high tolerance for the more interesting parts of being a human–babbling feces tears….existential howls and wails.
and to this i share more about EYES and magic of eyes and the person who told the wonderful toad story that gave ME chills, too.
my birthday was august 10 and i treat my birthday like a private new year’s and synchronicity is everywhere now and my favorite DJ just happened to be playing in a park in the fillmore so i road my bicycle over there and danced.
no one danced. so i did. my job is to start things now. remind people to be human and lose themselves. i used to sit on my hands in my friend’s baptist churches. i thought once i moved to the beat i’d never stop moving and they’d take me away. it’s true. but i had to wait til my forties when i ceased to care about behaving well for truly boring uninspired people full of fear. what a tragedy. what a waste.
but the frog’s eyes… and the man who gets migraines from borrowing his wife’s religion without getting his head proper…
as a mixed girl i get worried about words like “appropriation” because it’s really just a consumeristic “give me”/”do this” approach.
being mixed i cannot just go APPROPRIATE Boricua stuff because i get the same “headaches.” part of the going sane is getting out of the give me do me insatiable hologram. indian is such a great word– with GOD. that i use it with James even though he is a “white american mutt” because he is beyond The Story. he always has been. some are just born different and he got called “FBI Agent” when he first moved to the mission but he is more DOWN with the people than the people are.
i’ve had to come up with my own new stories and still am so i get america having to come up with its own new story/paradigm to go forward in a way more harmonious and aware of everyone/everything around.
back to consumerism and give me do me. it’s the way people love more and more. fill my list. make me look good. feel secure. meet my needs. complete my picture.
so i danced on my birthday friday afternoon and no one moved. a few people jiggled to the music as a joke but no one MOVED.
so i danced. and the only one who felt me was a little boy not more than 5 years old because he was still wild and he danced over on the sidewalk by his grandmother and an old man on a park bench pointed him out to me. far away a little kid was feeling me..
so i turned towards the little boy and screamed “YEEEESSS!” and i opened my arms and without thinking he ran right towards me, and we spent the next two hours dancing flinging each other around on the ground. and no one else existed.
tired, we flopped onto the grass and he picked a little tiny bouquet of dandelions and clover and tiny white flowers with yellow inside and he looked at me deep in the eyes to see if i was for real. if we were human and really connecting. or was i paid to do this be here for him?
i looked at him back and he wasn’t a child. he was just spirit. ageless. and so was i.
and he gave me the flowers when he decided i was okay.
that’s the indian with god way of thinking where we’re all honored each honored… the grasses the flowers the earth the sky each other toads…
we’re living yes in a digestive system that teaches us to consume kill eat eat eat
and i love seeing the ideas and epiphanies on here. when no one dances out in the world on a sunny friday afternoon i get scared we won’t find our way back to ourselves.
but i think what some are saying about not just appropriating ideas without understanding the state of consciousness you have to be in, isn’t about slapping your hands and shooing you away. no. it’s like me having to smell the stench of my own rot and decay and evil that caused me to interpret the entire world a certain way. my atoning for it by living in love best i can, isn’t about playing a martyr role. hardly. i might end up in a fight defending myself as i have. it’s not just pretty or peaceful which really can translate into passivity.
magic and TSW and trippy vertigo moments come from putting down the magic phones and looking into each other’s eyes because that’s where the awe surprise and vertigo and magic and connection IS… in each other.
we’re seeing “roles” and “behaviors” as The Way when it’s a form of connection understanding humility patience…
as i was playing with the little boy outside in the grass with no one dancing and all these men and women watching us on the sidelines, i could feel them missing the ability to play with each other in their own lives in the same playful connected loving way.
all i’m saying is that it’s time to look at each other deeply in the eyes like we might with toads. it’s easier to look at someone’s eyes who’s subordinate to you in this society. leave the house early enough not to rush off whenever this catches sparks, and do it with someone you cannot crush berate or ignore. look into someone eyes who’s got power over you. someone you care about. be human naked vulnerable lose track of time and it’s like you have no skin…
i even admit it gets eerie. i get afraid of not being an ego “me me me give me feed ME” being.
but that’s my report from my birthday and how i’m trying to push and live these ideas in real life now.
but i do believe in writing again, i do! especially reading John Michael Greer and all the COMMENTS. the beautiful comments… all the nakedness that you feel safe HERE with, take on training wheels outside.
this isn’t boring writing. it’s alive searching humble curious LOVING…
and Ray Wharton: if you made it this far down, GO AWAY. set aside the time, turn off the distractions and tell people you won’t be in touch for X amount of time. men are great at going off half-cocked because you all don’t care about being as rude or unlikable as us females get tripped up by.
okay, James just got up. it’s time for me to put this computer down and be present with him. it’s our rules for honoring eachother. we slip up as this stuff is like heroin, but we giggle and put the digital down for analogue here and now. but i’ve been blue blue blue as hell about the state of the world humanity arts freedom and just LIFE…
so thank you for this all of you. i struggle to remain on the other side fo cynicism and it’s easy after reading all these comments. and if being a good lover is simply showing back someone the god in them, then i’m telling you each thank you.
being a good lover is no longer about technique but merely looking in another’s eyes and listening. i actually learned how to listen from going to acting class. i went as a writer to learn how to be human like other people. my late teacher, an elder character actor from old hollywood, laughed and laughed and said actors would give eyeteeth for the emotion i had in my pinky. i was HORRIFIED. i wanted to feel LESS!!!
but after dancing and playing and keeping up with a 4 or 5 year old little boy for a couple of hours, at 51, i’m feeling pretty amazing because we were just HUMAN. i wasn’t any older than him when he handed me the bouquet of dandelion and clover flowers. hardly.
with much affection to you all…
A good thought, the Chinese empire has certainly expanded and contracted many times. I would also say that China’s history has more chaos than order, and Chinese culture also seems more able than most to survive chaos.
Monk, if you’re reading this:
First, I wanted to thank you for the link last week to the essay by Dominic Cummings on the Brexit campaign. I found it really insightful, and well worth the time spent reading in full.
Second, you asked this week about how land influences culture. Here’s an interesting exploration by Vermont Public Radio on how Vermont’s geology has affected its character:
(I assume I originally found my way to it from a link on here, so h/t to the original poster!)
JMG re: goals and purposes of magic post
That would be great, sometime. I clearly need some help!
@JMG – thank you very much for the thoughtful, considered and detailed reply! I really do appreciate this!
I’m also glad you mentioned mirror neurons, a tangible *something* physiological, at any rate. And if you are examining the physiological effects of vaccination (essentially a hyper-stimulation of someone’s immune system) on mirror neurons, say, it would be far easier to hypothesise, based on well-understood physiological processes, how likely such an effect might be, and design tests to find out, whereas I’m not sure how you could do this with the broader, non-physiologically specific term “autism” (as a spectrum).
Experientially, you ask:
When you’re around another person, especially someone you know, can you tell what they’re feeling without having to reason it out consciously from sensory clues?
The honest answer is, I don’t know. I think I can follow facial expressions and large body postures and work the tone of them out. But I also am frequently lost when the conversation veers into what I, being fairly literally minded, call “hints and allegations” territory. I mostly put this down to cultural differences, being at base a staid & direct-speaking Yankee (in the sense of “American”) and having spent most of my life trying to make sense of other culture’s conversational habits (Costa Rican, Mexican, Irish – by conversational habit, I am not referring to language, as I can speak both English and Spanish. I mean that “something else” that people within a culture seem to understand outside of language). I do very often often have to ask people to be plainer and more specific, due to the feeling I get that there are meanings well understood to everyone else that have gone over my head.
When you’re dancing, or engaged in certain other activities with another person, do you get into the state where your body just naturally moves along with the other person’s body, without you having to figure out what the other person is doing and what you should do in response?
Again, I can’t honestly say yes or no to this either. I love music and music moves my body, so I love the feel of myself dancing to music – especially music with an earthy rhythm. But that doesn’t mean I’m any good at partner-style dancing, which I usually avoid.
So, I will let these matters of variable experience sit in my mind’s “back burner” to meditate on.
In any case, I don’t want to veer too far off-topic, but I may come back to this issue during the next open post.
Ray wharton and kittenlopez: Your comments were great to read, thank you!
Escher: Thanks for the link to the article about Vermont’s geology as related to its culture.
JMG: I’m really hoping that you will choose to explore culture and place in your next series of posts. The Kek series has been brilliant, thank you!
@ Frank Thamm –Yes, “Road to Finx” is mine. second story in same setting is in “Into the Ruins” #9. Another story with completely different setting is in the works. Meanwhile I try to find an agent for fantasy novel, etc. But my non-fiction writing is on hard boiled detective fiction and on the works of Scottish author Jane Duncan. Thanks for appreciation.
I think many people in America do not feel guilty about Third World workers because we are told that industrialization has reduced poverty. So we used to hear about starving peasants in India, China, Africa–now we are given the story that those peasants are earning money in factories and enjoying technology, etc. so they are obviously better off. But of course it is very hard to compare non-cash benefits with cash income. And the peasants are not coming off self-sufficient homesteads, they were already part of international commodity markets formed and constantly expanding since the 16th century. Putting them in factories instead of sugar plantations, or harvesting nutmeg is just a new way to exploit them, not the beginning of exploitation.
Similarly with immigrants–they are fighting to get into America, so it must be good for them here, right? No consideration of American’s role in wrecking the countries they came from.
p.s. also i mean no disrespect to any of you by submitting my writings to you all without caps and heinous misspellings like “turrets” for “tourettes” and maybe even “hoo” for “who” that make me cringe; when i thing and write out of my ego hopefully and am more naked i write phonetically and the rules are i have to write without editing or worrying about embarrassment (it doesn’t REALLY get that much easier even though i tell myself it sometimes does). when it’s new and beyond my adult coping habit of trying to be clever or funny i cannot re-read or i will get shy and edit out the truth and reconsider and trash what i wrote (which i do every time i write on here then i stop and if it’s still there next day i write.
this blog is addictive because i CRAVE such conversations but the fact that you all are not HERE feeds my insatiable hungriness–loneliness– someone was talking about earlier).
Thank you also for a thoughtful and detailed reply! between yourself and JMG a huge amount of food for thought based on both your own practical experiences. Thank you especially for the “stimming” reference. (It did take me a few minutes to work things out when you got to the 3rd “anti”… 😉 )
In another of those synchronicity things, while at the local supermarket today, I found out that they’ve started an autistic-friendly shopping hour on a Tuesday evening. They dim the lights, switch off screens and musak, and generally aim to keep the sensory distraction load to a minimum. Which all sounds heavenly to me.
Re: the medical industry, well that is a huge subject that I might like to bring up again on an open post type thread. And yes, that is where concerns about the safety of vaccines (which are increasingly made compulsory, and even if not, are swallowing larger and larger portions of national health budgets) properly belong.
However, when the canvassing conversation I told you about occurred, I suddenly realised that there were possibly other matters and interests involved in people’s stated positions on vaccination than just trust or distrust of corporate-funded science. Because, it cannot be at all pleasant to feel yourself, as an autistic person, become the poster child for “all that’s wrong with vaccines”.
Like I said, I’ve largely stood silently by witnessing endless binary arguments “vaccination causes autism” vs “No, it doesn’t” because I could not get a precise enough sense myself of how you could measure the “autism” side of this “debate”. I have therefore (in relation to the vaccination story) focussed much more on specific symptoms easier to identify – such as seizures, paralysis, lethargy, lassitude, malaise, irritable bowel problems, muscle pain, nerve pain, rashes, autoimmune disorders, etc. etc.
As to the rest of your comment, the word “neckbeard” is new to me (probably a generational thing). I’ll have to ask my sons about that term.
Just one more question, if you don’t mind…. WHAT was the thing that you brought back without the battery? Literal-minded persons like myself would like to know. 🙂
@Booklover, I complete agree. As I mentioned in my first comment, I’m only half-joking when I say “just be yourself” is the only advice my generation ever got. The root story behind that is the ugly duckling who grows up to be a beautiful swan. Never addressed is what happens when you find out you’re not a duck but have no idea what a swan is or how to fit in with other swans, since after all you were raised by ducks.
@Patricia Mathews, fascinating. I’ve known two women I know to be autistic, and two more I suspect might be, and while I definitely see some similarities with my own experience, I don’t claim to really understand what it’s like to be an autistic woman. I’d be interested in learning more, if you could recommend books or resources.
As for your advice to stop pretending, that’s something I’m working at, though I’m not sure where that will leave me. I find it difficult to relate to either the sf or pagan communities recently, given the influence of both the geekoisie and the Ctrl-Left in both communities right now. (I’m admittedly over-sensitive about religious/political conflicts owing to some nasty family drama in my mid-to-late teens.) I also have a good deal of anxiety about my precarious grip on the lower rungs of the salary class, to which my autism/general weirdness seems like a significant liability.
Wow, that’s extreme even for the Ctrl-Left. Usually the aim seems to be simply that we know our place and stay away from their women! (I say this only half-jokingly.) That’s no more than the usual pattern of prejudice against an underclass, though I suppose considering killing us is the classic next step.
I’m glad to hear you friend had the sense to leave him. Ctrl-Left men being sexual predators and abusers hiding behind false virtue is a running joke for a reason.
I don’t think that having people voluntarily try to consume less out of guilt would solve anything. Rather, the problem is generated by the way the rules are set up. One answer is to tax income more. This is very, very much resisted by the rich in this country. My daughter in Sweden pays about a 50% tax rate, far higher than the top amount in this country. They are probably somewhat upper middle class. They say they do not mind paying the taxes because of what they and the people get back for it. They pay in more than they take out, but they’re OK with it.
There is something about human society (or maybe not? Maybe this is all I know?) that seems to produce great inequality. I have a little trouble articulating how this is unfair and how it could be righted sustainably. I don’t like to remove natural selection of nature from the equation, but I don’t like Dickens’ conditions to prevail either. For one thing, it seems to me that those who become extremely wealthy are using the infrastructure of the whole society to gain their wealth. They are quite simply extracting too much.
I don’t agree that we cannot get our farming done or out buildings cleaned without Hispanic laborers. We did it before and can do it again. But we have become used to prices for food that are third world. If Trump’s efforts are successful, everyone will have less buying power, but far more people will be employed and not in an underclass. You could look at China differently. We sacrificed the well being of our own people to uplift China’s millions out of poverty. I don’t know all the details of how we have extracted wealth from others and of course unfair tactics should stop. But we do not owe China to buy all our goods from them while we leave our own people unemployed.
Again, in your commentary, keep in mind that it was corporate entities who wanted to open trade with China so they could make bank. The little people were not a consideration. But it is the little people who you think should pay so that you can feel fair. But you are not a corporate either, so it seems to be a matter of divide and conquer.
To some extent, we will indeed rebalance the score by having home made goods that are more expensive and we will not buy crap constantly.
China is more problematic than you seem to realize. They have a lot of megarich people who are buying real estate all over the place and pricing the locals out of the housing market. I think it might be necessary for countries to strongly restrict such things.
on “cultural appropriation” and “whiteness”–
cultural appropriation is like a fad, fashion…this culture casually CONSUMING and DIGESTING and shxtting out what is holy to another, without understanding the context to the other. just assuming it’s a fashion open to copy.
it’s not just being merely INSPIRED by to incorporate and transcend anything, which is what art tries to be at its best.
as an artist i’m all about rampant theft of everything and anything so that ideas songs art and thinking can run all over the place and blow minds.
once i went to a rich white lady’s house here where she bought tiny dogs like new purses, and returned them to other SPCAs when she tired of them, and her living room had a huge Dia de Los Muertos alter display as decoration and i actually winced because not a candle had been lit and it was obvious her mexican maid had kept it dusted which is like wincing SQUARED. real alters get messy and dusty and USED.
i love the skulls and a whole lotta mexican stuff but even as a Puerto Rican i respect and revere it and cannot just casually wear use or APPROPRIATE it. i’ve appropriated Puerto Rican things and gotten called out by elders because i didn’t know the back stories.
to that, i’d even say even us colored/other folks appropriate our own cultures out of LAZINESS and shtick instead of understanding who we are now in RELATION TO IT. hell, we copy the bad stereotypes out of laziness like suburban kids talking like they’re from the burned out buildings of the old Bronx or something. you can’t just saunter back up to the traditions of your grandparents without bringing your new self into it or it’s just shtick. THAT’s what i hear John Michael Greer saying about a new religion in america that incorporates its history and “fxck you” tendencies or it becomes a joke.
like a lot of other confused mixed or colored kids unusual and lost trying to forge my identity, i copied ideas everywhere until i felt like a silly fundamentalist missing the point entirely. i needed a Way that inspired me.
i’ve seen people with a crack of indian in ’em all the sudden hug trees and talk to them all the while still serving their own egoes and stories and crushing their own brothers. that’s appropriation, too. it’s not ALIGNMENT or incorporation.
it’s all silly in a way because we’re all lost and no one wins by copyrighting anything.
which is what excites me as John Michael Greer rightfully says america needs its OWN paradigm story legend whatever the words are, to go forward. but the path to healing will have to incorporate the awareness of all the blood spilled everywhere around the world in the name of empire or it’s just surface layers peanut butter fur coat glaze coating atop the reality of this place now.
and “whiteness” is an abstraction because for example, when you talk to an Irish person who knows who his people are and where he fits in, he’s not generically “white.” that’s silly. but appropriation goes with generic whiteness and that’s why Irish people FROM Ireland wince at irish americans APPROPRIATING St Patrick’s day and calling themselves irish bob and drinking green beer.
“place” fits in here, too. because americans are untethered from the land ungrounded and i’ve incorporated the “go west young man” hero theme into my being and i can’t comb it out like lice. it’s burrowed into my DNA and muscle tissue and i’m just learning what it feels like to belong to a place the land the people now that they’re taking it from us so casually. this stuff goes deep and way back because NOW i’ve started to hug and talk to the trees but i had to come around to it in MY OWN WAY for my OWN reasons. i couldn’t just copy someone’s reason from before because it’d be fake. just saying the incantations.
i’m a child of both impulses: to stay put peacefully AND to go conquer.
no wonder we get migraines of all kinds just from looking in another’s eyes and going, “oh crap… you’ve got a SOUL..uh oh..” / because it will change how you do see and consider everything you do are or have ever wanted and who you are.
i’ve only got questions. no answers. not a one.
but i dig hearing Greer talk about how americans have to finally stop and be connected to PLACE. i was listening to something this morning about how the slaves coming over from Africa felt lost without access to their gods via the LAND. i thought of Greer!
so they identified with Jesus’ suffering and the Hebrew slaves and figured Jesus would be a conduit to the bigger GOD.
and i thought of PLACE. like most americans we moved casually and i know how to cut off before the pain of saying good-bye to friends from way young.
now that i’m forced and am forcing myself to take in the sadness and rage of seeing san francisco die for cheap crap and miserable insatiable rich folks who think we should move simply because they want to be where we are, i feel old old ancestral memories and rages and sadness. when i dance i cry cries so deep they shock even me.
we’re all in this together and that’s what saddens me about legitimate grievances and complaints turning into signifying chits to fight over.
it’s a class thing. it’s always been about class hasn’t it, really??? i keep always forgetting this. a lot of us do i think and i’m so sorry for that.
I take your question seriously, and to some extent have pondered it in the context of whites and blacks, due to slavery. My own ancestors had no slaves and most were more recent immigrants. There is some sort of paradox here and I don’t yet understand it…we are not guilty for what we have not done. Yet there is a bigger picture and sometimes the acts of one’s ancestors can take a long time to heal. There is personal history and group history. I would say that need for time is perhaps a main issue. You are personally a bit further down the road as native to this continent than others.
I also think that there ought to be some rhyming between our future relationship to the land and its gods and the Native Americans’, but at the same time we are a very different people and we will be going through a quite unique set of experiences so no, it will not be the same at all. It’s kind of astonishing to me to realize that the European sojourn here began 5 centuries ago. I think we are still beginners here. We have a ways to go.
If your wife died and you remarried, and both were good marriages, they would still be quite different, although they would also no doubt be more similar than just any two marriages because you are the same person.
Thanks for the support. I’m glad I finally conveyed my thoughts clearly enough to make sense to someone else! Eloquent, perhaps I’m not.
And I don’t have Ray’s muse either…
I just realized the first paragraph of my comment to you probably came off as way more paranoid than I intended. (Or maybe I’m just being paranoid now… hard to tell.) I don’t think the Ctrl-Left will ever actually try to kill autistic men. For one thing, they’re not that extreme. For another, they’re all bark and no bite. I’ve seen the term “political LARPing” applied to them, and I think its apt: it certainly described my own brief fascination with anarcho-socialism and postmodern politics.
That’s actually something I find quite frustrating about the Ctrl-Left: they propose to redress oppression and justify collateral damage through theories of collective guilt, and yet I’m frequently at a loss as to who is supposed to benefit from their proposals except the (mostly-white-and-financially-privileged) Ctrl-Left themselves. And heaven help anyone from an oppressed group who points this out…
@ Will J: You said “Eventually I got him to go so far as to claim that autistics need to be round up and murdered without due process.” I had a similar conversation at work a few years ago. The self-proclaimed “Christian conservative Republican” suggested that all ADD, autistic, any kind of special needs people do not belong in public and need to remain at home or else be placed in special hospitals. That person’s views on several other issues are very alt-right. I’ve heard similar ideas locally from others who are in the 10% but who are definitely NOT ctrl-left in outlook.
Perhaps what we’re witnessing is not a ctrl-left view towards those with ADD, autism, etc, but rather a view that several in the upper 20%, who aspire to be in the 10%, have. Another class issue, that is.
Hi Shane W
As I recall, the term was used in a sense of resignation or futility. The New York Yankees of that day were considered nearly invincible. They had recently won an unprecedented (and never since equaled) streak of five World Series in a row (1949-1953). The had won 10 of the 20 World Series previous to that. Even to-day the Yankees lead the all-time charts with 27 World Series wins. The Cardinals come in second, with a paltry 11.
So I think the term comes from a sense of “Damn! They just won again. Isn’t there some way someone can beat these guys”? And of course that could have led to the plot of the musical, ie. “Lets do a devil so we can win.” After all, the two teams in the musical’s plot were the New York Yankees and the Washington Senators; the latter a truly pathetic and hapless team.
Perhaps w/the natives there’s class biased involved. If a poor white genuinely wants to follow a red path, then they’re more open to that than when salary class whites want to virtue signal how “woke” they are by appropriating native religion.
It was quite extreme. The good thing is that the CTRL-left people there were horrified to hear it too. I think it’s just a small percentage who think that, and maybe it’s only if pushed. The thing that worries me is that they are getting more extreme as time passes, and, as a revitalization movement, I expect that to continue until it hits the logical extreme, smashes face first into it and implodes.
I don’t think it’s paranoid to view us as an underclass, and personally I’m preparing for the possibility the CTRL-left seizes power here. Given Canada is farther to the left, politically, and the fact that our CTRL-left, based on recent experiences, reaches quite a bit further down in the social classes than I expected, I think it’s a possibility.
You may be right. I’m just keeping an eye on the CTRL-left more than the alt-right because it has far more influence over people I know, and have come across quite a few things that convince me they are very strongly anti-autistic. One thing I should say though, is that here in Canada it seems the CTRL-left is spreading among the lower social classes too, which has me increasingly concerned.
Sorry! In my last post, that should read: “Let’s do a deal with the devil.”
IDK, perhaps b/c my observations about KY are shared by a lot of people, I’m wondering if Kentuckians are gearing for a particularly nasty episode of the kinds of atrocities border regions are known for (see Northern Ireland/Kashmir/Alsace-Lorraine/etc., etc.)
SlithyToves – the book that turned my life around – that was so much like me I could have cried, except that I was at work, was Pretending To Be Normal, by Liane Holliday Wiley.
Also, s/f fandom is a good place to find other swans – or ugly ducklings, Albuquerque fandom doesn’t seem to be a haven of the Ctrl-Left, though of course they are out there in full force. The engineer who gives me rides to meetings is a Republican; the other carpooler watches Fox News; the driver’s wife has a classic case of Trump Derangement Syndrome. One of our members wears a Christian Motorcyclists jacket. And the hostess of our monthly Game of Thrones-and-supper meeting has banned all talk of national politics.
P.S. the work I was doing was bookkeeper for the university mailroom. When I threw out the job tickets over a year old, I often read (speed-reader) the sample material inside. One was a review of said book and I was saying “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
As for pagans, yes, I do fear so, though heathens don’t seem to be into that nonsense. Bit, as one pagan writer noted, members of religious or sexual or other minorities who were around in the 60s-90s tended to get radicalized early and often.
My views are somewhat nuanced on the question of whether vaccines cause autism: I don’t think they do, but on the other hand I’d recommend them even if they did, since I think the benefits outweigh the risks. But on the other other hand, I suspect that the pro-vaxx side is basically a lost cause at this point, doomed by its own hand.
Look at how they treated Jill Stein, a pro-vaxxer who in an interview stated that some past concern about vaccines were legitimate but have since been resolved. Her words were taken completely out of context to suggest that she was an anti-vaxxer or at least lending aid and comfort to anti-vaxxers.
Yes, that was a clear attempt at political assassination by the Clinton campaign, but that’s part of the problem: the pro-vaxx side at this point has aligned itself with basically everything else anti-vaxxers distrust: the healthcare industry, the political establishment, and scientific rationalism. It’s a little like trying to win support from atheists by quoting the Bible or Mother Theresa to them.
(“Yeah, but the Bible’s all superstition, and Mother Theresa was a fraud! You can’t compare them to science!” Yes, I can, if that’s how your audience sees science. You have to persuade the audience you have, not the one you feel entitled to.)
I suspect that this issue will largely have to resolve itself. This actually ties into the theme of this post: the pro-vaxxers often want a One Big Battle, such as federal vaccination laws, while what we’re likely to get is a lot of local battles over laws and school policies that eventually peter out as one side or the other quietly folds.
As to why I didn’t get the battery, I trusted that they knew what they were doing by not asking me to get the battery off the charger. It made sense at the time!
Hi JMG – Thanks for a very interesting series! I’d like to chip in a bit on place, settlers, and becoming indigenous, or not.
I was very influenced by something you mentioned years back: The idea that European settlement of the western part of North America had failed. That helped make a lot of sense of what I have seen unfolding in recent decades.
I’m a member of the North American ‘floating population’ – the millions of people uprooted generations ago (In my familiy’s case during the Depression, if not earlier) who never settled or became native to a new place, but who have formed a transient working class, without attachment to land or extended family.
It seems to me the ‘floating’ life is just an extreme example of the dysfunction that all European settler civilization has encountered in the Americas – The inability of a particular transplanted culture to take root, and to become native to the place.
The signs of the larger ‘failure of settlement’ are all around, from the positive rebound of indigenous people’s populations, to the inability of European-derived settler states like the US and Canada to achieve any kind of balance with the environment.
European settlement of North America has failed – and that’s as it should be.
I would not be surprised looking ahead 300-500 years to see that indigenous cultural forms have fully re-asserted themselves, in religion, clan structure, spirituality and technologies of living that trace their roots to pre-contact practices. The fundamental processes of civilization will be indigenous, while some artifacts in the form of transportation corridors, cities (or ruins) and specific technologies may have Euro-settler origins, they will not be at the centre of things.
I personally see this as a very hopeful possibility – no doubt many in this discussion will have descendants living in these future communities. Nothing of substance will have been lost.
I see the process of ‘un-settling’ as perhaps a bit further along in Mexico and to some degree Canada than in the US, but expect it to continue to accelerate as more of us either float away, or – if lucky – have an opportunity take root and become truly indigenous.
On a personal note – though one that may be directly illustrative to the topic at hand – I owe an old blood-debt to Trickster.
When I was a young man I shot and killed a Whisky Jack (Wesakechak in Plains Cree) for no good reason at all. There is, I believe, a price to pay such things, and perhaps the fact that I have no descendants, and will leave North America permanently at the time of my death, is the payment of this particular debt.
Not all of us will have the opportunity to become indigenous to the land – and perhaps that too is as it should be.
Shane, yeah, there’s nothing that grates on my nerves quite like upper middle-class white women (cough, cough, my grandmother) tromping off into the jungle to trip on ayhuasca and then fly back to the States in first-class with a new indigenous name like “holier than thou can afford to be.”
I really like your definition of Yankee! It’s not the New Englanders we have a problem with. And it can’t possibly be anyone who eats apple pie for breakfast. That man would be admired by Southerners! Throw some bacon and maple syrup in there too and you’d be a demi-God.
Honestly, our loathing is almost universally reserved for folks from NY and NJ who move to Florida and then half way back! (No personal offense intended to anyone around here who fits that description!)
“We don’t care how you do it in New York” is a common enough bumper sticker around here.
Maybe we need a new term.
This may sound silly, but have you considered Wicca? While its origins are British, not American, it went through a significant overhaul on this side of the pond. Unfortunately, it caught a bad case of fashionability in the mid-90’s, and is still occasionally used as vehicle for political performance art (like the public spells to bind Donald Trump), but I think it’s going to kick the infection pretty soon.
American heathenry is another option: while the gods are European, heathenry focuses as much or more on ancestors and land-wights, and the general consensus seems to be that offerings to the land-wights should be tobacco or other native plants since that’s what they want. It seems well on its way to adapting. (Unfortunately, there’s a small but significant white supremacist element, but from what I understand they mostly lurk in the “folkish” side of the movement—those who reject entry to those without significant European ancestry. Still, watch out for that.)
You might also consider Voodoo/Vodou, especially if you live in the southeastern part of the US. While it descends from African spiritualities, it already has a couple centuries of adaptation to America, and they seem fairly open to those of other ancestries (one prominent figure in the religion is Sallie Ann Glassman, who’s Jewish). You could probably find a group that will welcome you.
Then there’s always the most American of religions: Mormonism! 😉
Shane, I don’t know the myths and legends of Mexico’s native peoples at all — other than a few Aztec myths and the Popol Vuh, it’s not something I’ve really looked into. Perhaps one of our Mexican readers can answer this.
Joy Marie, I was wondering if anyone got the joke, or the implications, of the Ceci n’est pas un Pepe image! Thank you.
David, it’s very common in our culture to think about spirituality as a matter of knowing the truth. To get past that, and really grasp that it’s not about knowledge at all but about reconnecting with the sources of life — that’s a very, very challenging thing to do. It’s just that it’s essential! And yes, the story about Thomas Aquinas is relevant — as indeed is the quote from Knight!
Ray, as an occultist of (mostly) European ancestry, I’ve been in the same position as the Lummi elder rather too often, though not with anything like as much reason, of course. In my case it’s simply that the vast majority of people who approach me asking for personal instruction are interested in preening their egos rather than doing the hard work necessary to become an operative mage, and I have better things to do with my time than act as a fashion accessory for the clueless. Still, there was more to the Lummi situation than that. I understand there are quite a few Native elders who will not teach anything to the wasi’chu, no matter how polite the latter might be — and given the ugly history of our treatment of Native peoples, I find it impossible to blame them.
DJSpo, yes, that’s also a factor. The land spirits in some parts of the US remain very hostile to the newcomers; in most areas, though, they seem to be willing to work with anyone who’s willing to approach them in a respectful manner. The sacred powers invoked in traditional Native ceremonies, though, are very often another matter. I know people of European ancestry who work with them, but in every case they were invited to enter into that relationship by Native medicine people who had the right and the knowledge to make such an invitation, and went through the same long and rigorous process of training as their Native equivalents. They also spent a lot of time “on the res,” and had plenty of friends there. Lacking that introduction — yeah, three days flat on your back sounds about right.
Shane, of course not — which is one of the reasons why some of us practice Druid rituals, say, here in the US, and get good results. The Druid Revival is an indigenous nature spirituality of contemporary Anglophone culture; it’s part of the cultural heritage of us English-speaking Americans of European descent; and if the local nature spirits choose to come in answer to those rituals, as indeed they do, nothing’s being stolen from anybody. I’ve talked to a good many Native Americans whose response to finding out that I’m a Druid and work with local nature spiritus amounted to “Cool — you’ve got your medicine teachings, we’ve got ours, everybody’s happy.”
Phutatorius, it’s been a long time since I read about Jung’s work with Pauli, so yeah, you might want to get that book out of the closet.
Tripp, yes, it’s purely that we have no business borrowing stuff from the Native traditions. Whether or not our emerging nature spirituality ends up structurally similar to Native traditions is a really good question that nobody can answer yet — and of course it’s also relevant that the various Native peoples didn’t all practice the same kind of spirituality; there’s as much diversity there as there is in Native languages and cultures. The important thing, to my mind, is to go to the source ourselves, and learn from the land and its spirits directly — it’s entirely possible, after all, that what the spirits of place want from us may be different from what they wanted from the Native cultures.
Chris, thanks for this. They must have fallen off very far, as I never heard them!
Dashui, true. The Pretty Lady is very much a rising force in North American religion at this point, and the way her worshipers have blended folk Catholicism and African-diaspora traditions to honor a deity who pretty clearly was worshiped in pre-Conquest times is a classic example of the way new religions normally grow.
Godozo, yep. It’s a source of some amusement to me that the Plymouth Brethren, the sect that invented premillennial dispensationalist theology, is also famous, in a certain sense, for giving the world Aleister Crowley.
Zach, thank you. I’m probably oversensitive about such things; as SlithyToves pointed out, bigotry toward those of us with neurological differences is very widely accepted these days, especially but of course not only on the Left. (Hatred and bigotry toward autistics, working class white people, and people whose bodies are considered too large by current fashion, is entirely acceptable in a lot of circles that claim to be all about rejecting every kind of hatred and bigotry…)
As for Jung’s concept of archetypes, I really do have to do a post about that soon, don’t I? The word “autonomous” pops up over and over again when he talks about them. They’re not passive images that sit in the collective unconscious waiting for us to do something with them; they are overwhelmingly active, and when they act, human beings are their passive puppets. Are they sentient and volitional? Strictly speaking, we can’t know that, because the archetypes never come within reach of our consciousness; all we can experience is their effects. We do know that they behave like independent beings. It’s possible to initiate interactions with them, and this is a good idea for psychological balance and health — that’s why Jung taught “active imagination” to his inner circle — but they also constantly act on their own account, seizing people and doing things to them. That’s the sense in which I suggested in the earlier parts of this sequence that there was something else acting beneath the surface, shaping the 2016 election and its aftermath: a wholly autonomous, profoundly active, and profoundly powerful pattern of forces in the collective unconscious, which we can think of as a being (but can never actually encounter or understand), and that seems to relate powerfully to a certain pattern of Native American myths.
Prizm, I think it’s very possible that the notion of the American Dream is a kind of echo — a debased echo, frankly, but such things happen — of a pattern rooted in the energies of the American land, which also expressed itself far more positively as the vision quest tradition and its equivalents. As for Russia, there’s a rich and fascinating set of parallels at work there; Russia and the United States are both emergent cultures on the edges of the European culture zone, the homelands of what Spengler called Faustian culture; both nations have a similar relation with space — Russian expansion into the East and US expansion into the West followed similar trajectories, for example, and shaped both cultures in similar ways — and I’m convinced that in the centuries ahead, as Faustian culture finishes guttering out, both nations will become the seedbeds of new great cultures in Spengler’s sense, contending in the usual way with European pseudomorphisms and blossoming into their own unique potentials. What makes this all the more fascinating to me is that, despite the parallels, the basic themes of Russian and American cultures are profoundly different and indeed very nearly opposed to one another — which means in turn that both sides have a vast amount to learn about themselves by interaction with the other. More on this in an upcoming post!
Mark L, my sense is that you’re drastically underestimating just how profound a connection to the land can become, or how powerfully it can be developed through the traditional tools of ceremony and other spiritual practices.
Frank, most people everywhere are more or less indifferent to the fate of people they will never meet, who live in distant corners of the world. The policies I was discussing, though, directly affected Americans living in American communities, and there was a vast amount of discussion of the problems with those policies among working class Americans — it was just in the media, and other venues controlled by the privileged classes, that such discussion was systematically silenced.
SlithyToves (if I may), good heavens. I didn’t realize that the thing with shirt tags was part of the package! (Yes, I abhor them too, and am delighted by the recent habit of just printing something on the inside of the shirt instead.) And I’m in full agreement that autism isn’t a good or even a neutral thing. As you say, there are benefits, but the costs are very high and my life would have been a lot less painful if I’d been born with functioning mirror neurons.
Denys, Trump is an archetype magnet — very few people seem to be able to see him without projecting something onto him! Yes, in many ways, that makes him an excellent mirror. As for writing, all I can say is that your comments here are consistently written in good clear English, the kind of thing that makes for solid nonfiction prose. Don’t sell yourself short!
Owen, that’s part of it, but there’s more to it than that. The dollar can implode without any need for military defeat — all that has to happen is that enough countries stop using it as the de facto currency for foreign trade, and of course that process is already well under way. As it accelerates either the US is going to have to figure out how to remove a titanic amount of money from circulation in a hurry (and this could be done quite easily — just let some too big to fail banks fail anyway) or we get serious inflation, or possibly both.A wild ride, no matter what!
Phil H, I’m not sure Grendel and the Wendigo are quite the same thing, but they have some spiritual heredity in common, no question.
Patricia M, it’s always hard to tell who’s who! In Shinto you get a lot of kami whose names translated out as “the kami of such-and-such place;” nobody knows who it is, but if you offer it sake and rice cakes you get an easier childbirth or what have you. As for That Author, fair enough; my interest in MZB’s fiction waned pretty much to zero by the time I was out of my twenties,and a brief glance at The Mists of Avalon did nothing to reawaken it, quite the contrary.
John, that’s a huge issue, of course. The spiritual consequences of the industrial revolution were (and are) immense, and that has to be factored in.
Dashui, good. That might head off some really stupid political decisions in the future.
Escher, no argument there. Any time people start insisting that Person X is absolutely anything — absolutely good, absolutely bad, etc. — you’ve got an archetype projection rather than any kind of clear thinking.
Will J, remember that the US empire is well into negative returns at this point. My take is that shedding the costs of empire, as well as stripping the privileged class of some of their wealth, will cause a modest if temporary boom for those whose income has been artificially depressed below the level of the pace of decline.
The advertising industry is the organ of desire, which the current structure is dependent upon. Like a malignant hypothalamus releasing oxytocin in intoxicating quantities. They tear and stretch the hole. What is interesting that our culture acts like advertising is a tolerable occupation. I can think of less destructive kinds of behavior which are prohibited. I suppose the Church was in the business for a long time, pushing the need for salvation shtick; so, that secularized. Have you bought Jesus yet? Available at these fine retailers…
I ain’t keen on the Christian Salvation game, but I do grant that the groups which work toward salvation by the old fashion roads seem less vulnerable to marketing. Amish are poster children (you know, like an ad campaign) for this. In theory we can choose to go forth as though we don’t need salvation, but I think because of the cracks which Christianity first evolved to colonize are still there, and the technology to wedge them was so honed by that tradition, there is great danger to not fill them.
It seems that folks can fill the crack with many different options, but only a few don’t have well mapped exploits.
I would have loved to drop eaves on that trolling you did, its got me mighty curious. I’ve never come across such prejudice, though I can pass for NT pretty darn convincingly as long as I stay in contexts I have a map for. I grin, because even out of my element I can be more suave than many a NT of our era, because I actively practice my social techniques all the time, and a great many NT just sit around on their fondle slabs lost in fake worlds. Scary thing that. Honestly, I am pretty grateful to be a little ways down the spectrum, most of the people I admire are just a fine frog fur further from NT than myself.
I need to chew on your want koan for a while. Even a school boy knows better than to want….
There are some guests, or potentially even lovers, who don’t need or merit the same hospitality as others. Right now my life circumstances are what they are, often jamming down some words before my metaphorical James shows up. The real joy for me with these thoughts is conversation with friends, most of the material I share here bubbles up like a burp from those meals. My coworkers deserve a citation, but this ain’t University. Though I will admit that the bit with Wendigo was a bit deeper than I can get most folks to go in person, but there isn’t much that needs to be said about all that. It is what it is. Well maybe there is this much to say, since that delve I have swung back and forth a bit more widely than usual from being gut knotted with all kinds of feelings of forlorn longing and with stretches of enjoyably productive contentedness. Isn’t that a hoot?
Still, I will take your advice a little way and make a modest concession in my days procession for the processing of these… confessions? I don’t really know if I will take up the gauntlet from last week to do up an essay on that material, its already lost it’s bloom to me, but I will grant that the carrot of getting a shot at a published piece of writing sounds sweet and crunchy. And I am honestly very vague about what it was I wrote that got a reaction, I mean my vanity is having a great time with being praised, but like I said, very vague.
The thing is that I tend to think, and speak, and write, in direct address. To a particular person. Anything else tends to fall to feathers. So, I’mma tell you what’s up with that essay, like we dancing, knowing full well that there be snoops around. I got all puffed up on the request to expand on a rant that touched on three topics: a quip about positive thinking and its relationship to the well to do with clean finger nails; a look at how our economy makes consumption cheap by stacking costs on all the rest of life; and a musing about how transcendentalism and Poe are symbols for a half hearted response to the ugly parts of industry. I don’t know which of those three threads was the lead singer, and trying to braid them into one cord I found that I couldn’t cover all three in one with out a unifying something or another. Up thread here I wrote on the Wendigo, because it is a spirit of desire to consume, and the best idea I have for how to get those three thread into one braid is to look at why the desire to consume is so strong in people that are ‘positive thinkers’ and admire transcendental values? An answer to that question could be the thesis for the kind of paper I would feel comfortable offering in reply to JMG’s request. Wendigo is a symbol for the answer, like if you were taking a written test, and it asked you a question which you answered by dancing to the front of the room; a good answer, but the written test cannot see it. Similarly I am still not cool with the answer I have to the question, partially because the answer is a total bummer, and partially because there is still something I know not what ajar.
Ha, you tell me to go away with my thoughts, so what do I do? I comb them out by addressing them to you. 😛
I want to mention, and this seems a good moment to do so, that recently when you returned to the comment section -I don’t think I have seen much from you since TADR- I was most pleased to see you posting again. In sum, you had been missed. For one your style of writing is very refreshing, maybe the most raw writer around. Also your angle on San Fran is always provocative. I am actively conspiring to detour gentrification around my county.
Hi JMG, Very nice post, it flows from start to finish.
Speaking of synchronicities I was just in a used books store today and a book caught my eye, God is Red was the title. That was just before I came home and read your description of archetypes!
I have a question that pertains to one of your previous posts, however. Similar to what you have written in the past, you mentioned about people that study the occult and have a TSW moment that is so strong support from an experience mage is required. You never explain what these TSW experiences are. Can you elaborate and if not why?
Re: Asatru in America
It’s worth noting that significant influences from Uralic and Siberian populations were visible in the culture of the Norse, including the practice of a shamanism called ‘seidr.’ Norse Odin is himself a practitioner of seidr in the Eddas.
Population genetics suggests that Native Americans have comparatively close affinities with Indo-Europeans, Uralic groups, and Siberian peoples.
It makes sense that Odin would find an easy transition to Turtle Island.
I’m usually among the last people to hear about trendy things if I even hear about them at all, so my go-to source of information about what the kids mean when they use ordinary words in ways I don’t understand is urbandictionary.com. There’s a definition of “neckbeard” over there which has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Henry David Thoreau, who sported an actual neck beard back in the mid-19th century as seen in the photo on his Wikipedia page.
Anything is better with bacon.
As for maple syrup, up here in Vermont we can tell the real stuff from the imposters – McDonald’s ran into some problems advertising their Fruit and Maple Oatmeal that didn’t have real maple syrup in it. As I understand it, McDonald’s now has to provide the genuine article to customers in Vermont who request it.
I’m not sure I’d call it full-blown loathing, but NY, NJ, and CT people who flock here to Vermont are a mixed bag. As tourists, they’re essential to the local economy, but they are not loved. At all. In winter they can be easily identified by their expensive, matching ski clothing. 😉 The ones who move here and pretend to be local country folks are especially annoying to the natives; I think the youngsters call such people ‘poseurs’.
This comment is definitely a tangent, I hope it doesn’t raise too much ire this late in the party …
Your reply to Scotlyn on Aspergers and dance startled me. I have been thought by many (myself included) to have Aspergers’s, and have happened to love the idea of dancing, but I’ve always found it extremely difficult, in spite of repeated efforts. Eventually I discovered Scottish Country Dance, and was able to click well with it after a year of effort. Each dance is done in choreographed sets or formations, and you have to learn and practice the dance as part of a group, basically in weekly or more lessons. This necessity led to the founding of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) in the UK after WWI, and it spread all over the English speaking world, with hundreds if not thousands of chapters, with some penetration into Western Europe and even Japan. So every chapter has at least one weekly class in which a set a dances for the season are learned and practiced. A few times a year there are dance parties with live music, and typically one or two formal balls, which are culminating events, commonly involving several neighboring chapters. This promotes development of a social community which had been very important to me (now eclipsed since I married, had kids and am in a demanding career). The standardized footwork and dance forms, regular practice, and no extemporaneous moves, (i.e. no mirroring) are what enabled this dance to work for me. Contra dance, English Country dance and Square dance are all similar in this regard, and in fact I met my wife at a contra dance.
Another way your reply startled me, was that it called to mind the plot of Steppenwolf, in which Hermine demands that Harry Haller learn to dance. I can’t help but feel that someone like me would be up the creek without a paddle, and like many Aspies, I often take things too literally. So after a lot of thought, I came to regard this as a symbol for simply playing socially (also very hard for me), and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is more here than meets my eye. JMG, You’re an Aspie, and clearly have no difficulty with the figurative nature of literature. Any comments you might have would interest me.
I’m grateful for your earlier comment about the people labeled “neckbeards.” (I don’t normally use the term myself, but I’ve often heard it.)
It had never occurred to me that the characteristics ascribed to such people could be explained by autism. Since so many people, who would never consider themselves prejudiced, nonetheless feel free to mock “neckbeards,” this is something more of us should know.
There’s something I’ve been wondering, which maybe you could respond to.
I’ve been living in Japan most of my life. I’m too old to have grown up with anime culture, but I see that it is international now, and has many passionate fans.
One characteristic of the stereotype “neckbeard” is a love of anime, hentai, waifu pillows, and etc. Of course there are lots of neuro-typicals who like these things as well, but it’s part of the image. Maybe there’s an overlap with Japanese otaku? Is there something about Japan that particularly appeals to these people?
I don’t know if you’re into this or not, but if you have some thoughts on the subject I’d be interested to hear.
JMG, and all,
Native religions and local spirits are not things I’ve studied before, but I’m really pleased by the way the discussion here enlightens some other things I’ve wondered about. This will seem obvious to some people, I’m sure, but it’s helped me to organized some thoughts.
One thing that has bugged me about science fiction and other pictures of advanced cultures is how eager they are to get away from where we are. A culture that chose not to go to outer space, and thought it was more interesting to stay home, would probably not be considered advanced. Likewise virtual reality, or any high-tech means of leaving the body behind, entering cyberspace, or being anything other than the animals we are. I’ve had serious scientists tell me that if we never see distant planets we’ll have failed, but it seems to me we haven’t properly seen where we are yet.
Personally, I would consider myself “more advanced” if I could sit still in my garden for a few hours and watch the shadows move without getting all neurotic.
Maybe associating advancement with escape is a hold-over from certain Christian, Neoplatonic, or Gnostic systems. The material world is bad, the soul ought to fly away, all that stuff.
(Lately I’ve read in Plotinus some things that make me think he was more subtle than this. Though we think of him as wanting to get away from this world to rejoin the non-material One, I suspect that this was not a spatial relocation, as we usually think, but an increased awareness of the place we are in, and its infinite connections. This is what William Blake taught, and it makes sense to me.)
Discussion of a connection to place, and greater awareness of where we are, looks to me like an important antidote to the religion-as-fleeing-to-a-higher-plane view of things. Deeper is better than higher.
Again, this will sound obvious to many, but it’s been clarifying to me!
Spirits of place, nature spirits, the aliveness of the land and the lives it supports, with transplanted Americans rolling over it, oblivious, like so many balloons. How do we as a culture seek relationship with the spirits we have neglected for so long? This I do not know, cannot answer. I can only speak for myself. Spirits of place just might have a correspondence with the indestructible spirit, the consciousness, the soul, that continues on after the death of the physical body.
I was conceived in Denver. I was born in Florida. Colorado always had a mythic quality for me, but I did not return until I was 29, and then only for a camping, sightseeing venture because it lies between the east and west coasts. After several more years of trying to figure things out, establish a livelihood, I finally cut the tethers that bound me and moved to Colorado at last. I felt that I belonged here, that this was my true home, the home of my soul.
I turned my back on Boulder, as one friend put it, 16 years ago and live on a modest parcel of land in the county of the same name right where the land begins to rise toward the majesty of the Rockies. I care deeply for this plot of land, consider myself to be a temporary guardian, a steward. I plant trees that will take many years to mature and that may provide food for those who come after me here, be they human or animal. I build up the soil to the best of my abilities and understanding. I tread as lightly as possible given the codes and the regulations and use manual labor (primarily my own) instead of machine labor whenever feasible. I do my best to keep things alive. I love this land and only hope that my love and the practices I do here somehow help and nurture the nature spirits who animate this area.
It feels like my soul has come home, that something in me has a connection to this land, this state. I recently learned that my great grandfather was born in Denver. It was like sparklers around my heart to discover this. The family I have lives in either New England or California. I am here because of a long-ago sense of connection to place that endures, stronger than family ties. I believe there is a place where the spirit finds home, perhaps with a connection to the spirits of place.
This essay series and its attendant comments have been rich fare these few weeks. I’m so appreciative. The only thing missing is Bill Pulliam’s take on it all. That would’ve been nice.
Still, I’m glad kittenlopez is back and that Ray’s been word-dancing here too. What a phenomenal group, all the regulars, newcomers and sometimes-heres.
I believe you are correct; given some additional support in the form of community and ceremony to build a stronger connection to the land, I would never have had the desire to leave my ancestral place.
That said, I would like to say that neither you nor anyone else can tell me how profound or shallow my own experiences have been toward shaping my relation to place and the natural world. I do feel a stronger connection to the natural world than to anything of human creation, and I acquired that not through ceremony or tradition but simply through a childhood of immersion. I am probably in a minority of your readers in that I consider myself spiritual (as opposed to atheist or rationalist) but I don’t feel called to participate in any established religious tradition.
I have been following the discussion of experiences of those on the autism spectrum with some interest. Some of the experiences feel familiar (e.g. touching walls while walking, tendency to take things too literally, discomfort in social situations), yet I also seem to have very active mirror neurons – possibly overactive to the point that I have evolved to shut them down except with my closest friends. In any case, I have long known that I am not quite neurotypical, though exactly what category I might fit in is unclear to me.
“But it is the little people who you think should pay so that you can feel fair. But you are not a corporate either, so it seems to be a matter of divide and conquer.”
I don’t think that the little people should pay so that I can feel fair. I do know that if undocumented immigrants were to all be deported tomorrow, a whole lot of apples would rot in Washington orchards this fall. I also feel that anger directed at those who by most measures are even poorer than the little people is largely misdirected. They came here and worked their butts off because the US wrecked their countries’ economies and then all but invited them in. The greedy ones, the wealthy ones, those who created the situation and profited from it, more rightly deserve our anger.
If undocumented immigrants need to leave the country in order to revitalize the working class, then I won’t stand in the way, but I will suggest that the process be carried out with as much advance notice as possible and without undue animus toward the people who have worked 14+-hour days for years to produce goods that all of us (working class included) have purchased for far less than their fair value.
Scotlyn: you may appreciate this askReddit thread addressed to people with autism: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/96qfz9/autistic_peoplepeople_with_autism_of_reddit_what/
A brief interlude before I get into the primary reasons for this post —
I spent years in Texas. Around there, a yankee was a northerner who came south to visit. A damned yankee was a northerner that stayed.
Danae – I do not share specific ceremonies, for reasons that should be apparent. My suggestion: thoughtful meditation, contemplation and prayer for understanding of what the Spirits resident in Missouri are seeking.
SaraDee – While I am a Seneca on my maternal side in the US; on my paternal side, I am also enrolled as a Metis in Canada. I have family in both Ontario and BC.
Much like John and a few others, I am also an Aspie – though mine manifests on the mild side of the spectrum. To all of you, take heart. Many, many decades ago, my maternal grandmother taught me that those so blessed are gifted with a much closer spiritual connection to ‘All That Is.’ My grandmother also pointed out that to access that gift, one must first fully accept and embrace it. Not always easy in today’s world. But then…. if it were easy, would it truly be a worthwhile gift?
Now, on to my main theme:
In this lifetime, I have spent nearly 60 years struggling at times to simultaneously exist in two entirely different worlds:
* Being an Aspie struggling to cope with existing amongst those considered ‘normal’ and not being able to grok what that actually meant.
* Being an American Indian in the US and a Metis in Canada while living embedded in what is primarily a monoculturally-Eurocentric society that has looked down on being either while glorifying their own illusions of the noble savage and the heroic fur trapper. (Ok, that’s actually 3 worlds!)
* And interestingly enough, the general disdain of American Indians in the US toward the Metis. (I hope that the First Nations and the Metis in Canada have finally overcome their rivalry.)
There are many other examples of the ‘living in two worlds’ paradigm I’ve had to reconcile. The lessons I’ve learned have provided me with a great deal of raw material which has framed my thoughts regarding a future spirituality within the Americas. I believe that a short review of my heritage will help frame the mechanism for a way forward.
During WW-1, my maternal great-grandmother (Seneca from western NY) was stationed in Scotland as a nurse. While there, she met and married my grandfather, much to the dismay of both of their families. Fortunately, her family’s dismay evaporated after they got to know him. (The main factor for that change was the understanding and acceptance of his spiritual beliefs … which were based upon his training and initiation into a Highlander Scottish variant of an amalgamated Celtic/Pictish spiritual tradition. On the other hand, it was many years before his family accepted that not only had he married a ‘colonial’ but had ‘turned his back on his family and his heritage’ and moved to the US after her tour of duty was over.) Their eldest daughter, my maternal grandmother, said that her mother would laughingly say that her husband was her war booty, captured during the heat of romantic battle — proof that True Love can conquer all obstacles, including actual war and narrow-minded family members.
Decades later, my paternal grandfather (French Canadian Metis from Ontario) was stationed in Ireland during WW-2. He brought home a war bride, my grandmother, who was the daughter of a Clan Chief from the northeast coast. While socially Roman Catholic, she had also been fully trained and initiated by her mother in the spiritual teachings and traditions of her clan – Eiru Celtic.
While my parents were dating, both pairs of my grandparents became best friends. In their discussions comparing the Seneca, Metis and Celtic, they made several profound discoveries …
* Every location has it’s own unique spiritual nature and ‘needs.’
* Even though the names of the places, the names of the participants and the language in which they were shared may be different — the pattern and point of the tribal teaching stories are essentially the same.
* Even though the names of the Spirits called upon, the plants used, and cultural aspects of the outward symbols are different — the patterns of the tribal ceremonies are essentially the same.
For example — Both grandmothers would each speak of springs near where they grew up that were but a few miles apart, yet required the conduct of what seemed to be very different women’s ceremonies at each. They both emphasized that they had both realized that while the exact details were different, the underlying ceremonial pattern was the same. And that when they compared them the pattern was also essentially the same on both sides of the Atlantic.
The conclusion I was taught — wherever you are, whatever you are doing or attempting to do: find the universal pattern that underlies your spiritual intent, express that pattern in accordance with the spirit of the place and the relevant symbols of your own culture and you will be walking a true spiritual path. The key is in discovering and learning the set of universal spiritual patterns. Once understood, the rest is easy, if not obvious.
RE: TSW moments (this stuff works!!)
He did describe them, but not in tremendous detail. The comments described another, earlier TSW moment on 4chan and generally went into more detail on both events. I suggest you read it again to get a better sense of it, though you would never know what it feels like until you experience one (and to do that, you actually have to practice magic, so obviously not everyone will fully comprehend the experience).
I don’t remember my first one, I’ve had so many, now (I am fortunate to be awestruck easily, so the new experiences tend to override the old ones), but I can give you a few examples.
In college a dear friend suffered from an eye infection and doctors told her it would be difficult to cure and she might suffer permanent damage, which could prevent her from ever scuba diving again (a lifelong passion for her). She asked me to intervene so i cast a spell that it would heal and she could dive again. I “tied” the magic to a string and tied the string to a piece of jewelry I told her to wear it until either she went diving or she gave up on the hope that she ever could. Then she could untie the string.
Months later, she called me to say she went diving and then went to untie the string only to find it had come undone and drifted away in the water.
More recently, I was working on a project *far* outside my skill level involving metal for a greenhouse (the frame) and out of desperation called on the most famous god of metals, Mars, even though I had never worked with him before. In my mind, I strongly called out Mars and looked down, and there was a metal oval inscribed with the word THOMPSON (but my greenhouse didn’t magically build itself…. though I did learn Mars was also god of farmers and my garden grew quite well that year… there’s only so much even a god can do).
The first TSW moment for a new mage can be traumatic, I hear. Many people are terrified of the supernatural. Some people don’t actually know it scares them until they find themselves face to face with the unknown. That’s why those teaching magic get those 3 AM phone calls (though, to be fair, one who is not afraid might still make that phone call, only shrieking excited “OMG”s and “you WILL NOT believe this!!”)
My family has a long history of maintaining relationships with the dearly departed, so I learned not to fear the supernatural at about age 6 when grandpa made a Christmas miracle for us (or at least we attributed it to him, since he had recently passed). My uncle plugged in a string of christmas lights (remember the old ones with the big bulbs?) and the whole string lit for about a second and went out. So he went to change the fuse only to find there wasn’t a fuse in them! The whole family took it as a sign from grandpa and ever since I fear no ghost nor spirit (though I AM terrified of aliens… go figure!)
The type of experience is quite varied, but in essence it is this: human performs very specific magical activity and then human experiences very specific observable outcome, and then human freaks out (can be happy or scared or both).
I hope that helps!
@SlithyToves – Thanks again.
Of course, as I see it, in the case of vaccination, as with much else in the biomedical corporate industry, and also in the bioengineering industry, actual science (that is to say, evidence) and Science ™ (that is to say the corporate magisterium that decides what may be called “scientific” and “peer-approved”) are very rapidly diverging. And when you drill down, I cannot find any real “anti-vaxxers” (as in people who think vaccines should be banned and no one should ever get one). Mostly I find people with views *exactly* like Jill Stein’s, who think that corporations cannot be trusted to run their own safety trials, and that ensuring safety is a job governments should reclaim, especially in relation to anything that they intend to make compulsory. Calling us “anti-vaxxers” is a tactic – a way to ensure that the actual evidence we gather and talk about is simply rubbished, since it exists and is persuasive, but as “anti-vaxxers” no one is to listen to anything we say.
However, in my opinion, neither associating or dissociating autism and vaccines can illuminate understanding just now, not until autism is itself something that can be fully described and understood as a physiological event.
As to your other fears, re CTRL-left (or any) anti-autism views that may be circulating I will keep an eye out for this kind of thinking and do what I can to open anything like that up to some sunlight.
I appreciate your thoughts. Be well.
“China is more problematic than you seem to realize. They have a lot of megarich people who are buying real estate all over the place and pricing the locals out of the housing market. I think it might be necessary for countries to strongly restrict such things“.
That’s the case here in NZ, but if you question this and suggest restrictions on ALL foreign buyers (mainly Chinese at this point), the social justice warriors call you a racist. The Chinese buyers generally aren’t “mega” rich, but have more than enough cash to out-bid locals for up-market houses. Many buy several properties for investment purposes (NZ doesn’t have a rigidly enforced capital gains tax on property so its an investor’s Paradise). Real estate agents LOVE these folks.
Then there are truly mega-rich Russians and Americans who don’t buy up-market houses but entire areas of coast or huge pastoral farms. Peter Theil is the classic example. He bought his way in here with an “investment“ of 10 million, and stated on his application for citizenship that he has no intention of living here (unless of course the shit really hits the fan in the US). He pitched himself as the great tech innovator and as a global “ambassador“ for NZ. He got citizenship in 12 DAYS with no preliminary permanent residence visa and after only actually being in NZ for a total of 6 days!
I hope this will change with the new government voted in earlier this year. The popular mood is definitely in favour of more restrictions on both immigration and foreign ownership of NZ assets.
I need to keep remembering what my grandfather taught me … “Engage brain before mouth” ….
to which I add … “or fingers and then proofread more that once before clicking on “Post Comment”
“During WW-1, my maternal great-grandmother (Seneca from western NY) was stationed in Scotland as a nurse. While there, she met and married my grandfather, much to the dismay of both of their families.”
should have read
During WW-1, my maternal great-grandmother (Seneca from western NY) was stationed in Scotland as a nurse. While there, she met and married my great-grandfather, much to the dismay of both of their families.
As an addendum to their story … I should add that they were married for 70 years, living well into their 90’s and passed within a couple of months of each other. At their request, they were each cremated and then their ashes were combined. Half was spread over her ancestral homeland in NY and half in Scotland over his. It truly was True Love.
@Scotlyn and others
Re: what is autism? Something we’ve grappled with recently. My family has a fair sprinkling of neurodiversity so I’ve always been pretty interested in the whole thing. We were recently strongly recommended (by a group of six professionals) to get a diagnosis for our son so he could get intensive early intervention for ‘severe’ autism.
A common complaint by adult autistic people is of their ironic experiences with even well-meaning ‘neurotypical’ therapists and medical professionals who constantly ignore the autistic people’s clear social cues and transgress (even quite appropriate and common) social boundaries. We felt that this definitely applied to the interaction between our son and the majority of the program therapists, with the result that he would first attempt to withdraw socially and then have massive tantrums if this was prevented (noting he is 2.5 years old). We’re reasonably confident our son is pretty neurotypical, though with more ‘autistic traits’ than the mean (one early child development specialist who knows him nearly fell over laughing at the idea that he might be autistic). So what does it say about the state of expert knowledge that their ‘best practice’ program drove a pretty neurotypical child into displaying ‘severe’ autistic behaviours? Also, it drives me nuts that ‘experts’ get to decide and dictate what sorts of play activities are ‘constructive’ and allowed to be engaged in?
Anyways, our reading indicated that outside the ‘core’ classical types, autism diagnosis is hopelessly confused by flawed science and compromised by financial motivations (people trying to get funding for trendy research, severely disabled children needing to access narrowly targeted government assistance etc). So, we decided not to pursue a diagnosis or continue with the program. If he has obvious gaps as he gets older, we will look at doing something targeted then. However, in the absence of good science and a clear need, we could not see the benefit of general broad-brush ‘therapy’ at this point.
The above is not to suggest that I think autism is not a ‘thing’ (my grandmother fit squarely within the Aspergers profile), it’s just that our experiences have given me a strong push towards the position that a lot of things classified as ‘mental disorders’ even including things like schizophrenia (which my cousin has) are actually mostly ‘society disorders’ and a general intolerance of difference.
One other similarity between North America and Russia is that the Russian expansion eastwards also resulted in the oppression and marginalisation of native peoples and cultures. As far as I’m aware, the native peoples of Siberia etc. are yet to start recovering.
You said: ´´most people everywhere are more or less indifferent to the fate of people they will never meet, who live in distant corners of the world´´. While I wholeheartedly agree with that, to me it´s not much of an excuse: for one thing you´d have to excuse the middle classes in say California for not caring about the working classes in ´flyover country´, I know one cannot really care emotionally about people one is never going to meet, but at least intellectually it is possible, and especially when the long term consequences of that indifference are going to negatively impact ones wellbeing in the future, it is advisible, too.
Frank from Germany
Congratulations about this interesting post, which is garnering interest from audience coming from very different backgrounds. When a writer manages to stir interest from people who normally never share any common ground, he/she has done something remarkable.
Rise of the New Right shall be both obvious and ground-shaking when someone is going to look our time with the benefit of hindsight. It was revealing to read what kind of manifestation this wave of “radical conservatism” has taken in US. In Europe the wave is same, but local situations differ wildly. In France the government has started crackdown of identitarian movement. Many of movement’s prominent members are held in trial now, for vague term of hate speech. Even one media personality has been charged, just because he used term “migration period” to describe current situation in Europe. Maybe some French reader of yours can describe the situation more thoroughly. These ineffectual and even desperate attempts to stem people’s opinions resemble attempts of old European ancient regime to prevent coming changes after Napoleonic wars, during first half of 19th century. Now generation of Sixties, with their then revolutionary ideas, are the new ancient regime. Their victory over old conservatism, over Christian church and tradition, has been complete, at least in central and western Europe. But as Cold War warriors found out, history has not been stopped on tracks. New contenders rise to challenge what is now perceived as bigoted (against white, European people), narrow-minded boundaries of Sixties counterculture ideology. Is this new wave of rebellion just replacing current round of bigots with new set of bigots…probably. As you have said many times, history does not actually progress.
You have mentioned couple of times great religious change which replaced older, more nature-based spirituality with prophetic religions. Any good books about subject? Also post by you about that subject would be appreciated, and about Jungian archetypes too. Your writing style is not rushing to reach its destination. Because of that calmness, it’s easy for a person to follow ideas in text, even if subject is not the most familiar.
philsharris: Is there a British Wendigo? I’ve thought about your question, and I agree with JMG that Grendel is something different. I can’t really think of any equivalent, perhaps because the British Isles are generally a benevolent location to live in comparison to the Algonquian territories on the edge of the empty (?) high prairies (originally wrote “steppes” there, heh). Were the prairies inhabited before the Mexicans (re-) introduced horses? Be that as it may, the nearest British equivalent I can come up with is actually Jack the Ripper…
Running is a reliable way to connect with the land and it is also very good for mindful meditation.