Forward to the Series
These papers deal with unusual themes; they attempt to reconcile the European and American Mystery Traditions. Some of the ideas will therefore seem strange if one has no background for them. For those conversant with Rudolf Steiner's material and style, reading from the beginning will present no particular problem, although referral to his source material (Appendix I of Section II) might be necessary.
The material herein does not lend itself to either a novelistic or a quick-read, gee-whiz manner of presentation, so those of us spoiled by either high literature or pop culture may have a bit of a tough time with it. Hopefully, the significance of the content is such that the reader will find him- or her-self engaged - if not challenged.
As Steiner requires - and Wittgenstein states:
“I should not like my writing to spare people the trouble of thinking.”
Our crises are deep and manifold, our solutions will not be obtained without the most rigorous, penetrating, agenda-free, and unconventional scrutiny.
If I have not made at least a good start in this, I will consider myself to have succeeded in my intention if you, dear reader, are impelled to do different, or better.
Best Wishes and Warm Regards,
American Chapters - Section I
Mythos, Undertow, & Destiny
“The past is never dead.
It's not even past.”
- William Faulkner
“The mission of man is to remember. To remember
to remember. To taste everything in eternity
as once in time. All happens only once but that
- Henry Miller
“The Future ain't what it used to be.”
- Yogi Berra
rev. 3 -28 - 2003
The first time around (Section II, in this edition), we started from Rudolf Steiner's indications about what happened two thousand years ago in Mexico, and tried to bring them into relation with some of what can be known about such events from current scholarship and research.
This installment will proceed from in an alternate direction. We shall start, not from the Cosmic Vision of a respected initiate who looks directly into the nature and events of a past age, but from the personal perspective of a more ordinary individual who proceeds backwards from Year 2002, from the ground of a very particular slice of American soil. Those writing on the topic as a result of different life-experiences or from an upbringing arising from a different part of the Continent would write a different piece. I sincerely hope that there are some who will do so!
This report is an expanded and revised version of a presentation made to a small Santa Fe, NM working group in the later part of the year 2000, originally entitled: America, The Bomb, and Our Own Dark Goddess - An Introduction to the Deep Background of Los Alamos National Laboratories, but it has long since burst its birth-bonds. It can be read as an historical analysis, as a collated set of diary entries, or as a meditational workbook. In the last resort, it is my story; a fragment of my biography. Face-to-face, it would recount differently. Although I have made every effort to relate my speculations to what is known through the work of others, the results and any mistakes herein are my own, and I can and will answer for them. My approach is eclectic; I do not work from Steinerian - or any other - doctrine. Just as one cannot make a gumbo from one ingredient, neither have I attempted to derive everything from one source.
Los Alamos is the birthplace of the atomic bomb and a prime hub of the post-WWII military-industrial complex. The intent of this piece is to look at the implications of America's pre-Columbian spiritual culture from the perspective of 21st C. USA and to establish a foundation for this juxtaposition.
The rise of the USA into the reigning world power in the aftermath of WWII and the Cold War (which impacted unresolved conflicts into a world-wide state of continual state-sponsored global terrorism via US and Soviet collusion in Mutual Assured Destruction: “MAD”) is a development fraught with decisive complications for the future of the American Dream, as all can agree - no matter how that dream may be conceived, whether be it by a Chomsky or a Brzezinski. The set of influences which constellated around Los Alamos in the 1940's and which continue to propagate into the ongoing global drama reflect many of these considerations. The abrupt ascendance of technology along with all its myriad diffuse ramifications reveal many of these - but many still remain concealed. One main theme of this paper is that this driving impulse of technology and technocracy is not unprecedented, although its modern emergence within a culture dominated to a singular extent by atheistic, utilitarian, and cynically materialistic values is indeed a new development, one fraught with perverse complications.
I will introduce unfamiliar details of a long-standing, still developing trajectory; it is a theme and variations extending far back beyond any historical record, and it integrates European and American influences. Our founding mythos in the USA may be one of “A New Start”, yet its sacred pedigree constitutes a persistent bass pulse behind the scenes, one perhaps all the more powerful for being unconscious in recent generations. The story of America extends much further back than 1776 or 1492; indeed the term America denotes everything to do with an entire continent - or two of them! Recent events (those of Sept. 11, 2001) bring these considerations into a sharp focus and still deeper significance, and renders Albert Einstein's remark all the more relevant: “Insanity is doing the same old thing, the same old way, while expecting different results.”
But - and this is the important part - in counterpoint to the depressive spiral of conclusive doomsday warnings, I will also indicate the light at the end of the tunnel, which, contrary to expectations from both the Left and the Right, is not by any means a train. Hope is valiant, but Faith is better: it is confidence in the substance of things known, not yet manifest. The fruit and source is Love: the short cut, and the only way. Is there a place for this in the “Real World?” I will be saying “Yes!” - and in extensive detail. There is much death in the world these days, but death and birth are mirror-images of each other. What is being born? How are these transformations effected? To address these questions will entail some wide-ranging investigations.
What do we find if we dig around outside the sandbox of profit-motive scientism (in effect, the modern superstitious, if materialistic, religion) and try to find threads of inner continuity with what has gone before? What lessons have been learned in the past? Are they forgotten and impossible to access? We are recently confronted with fundamental questions in the vein of: “What is the mission of America? What is Greatness, and is it synonymous with Power? What is true Power; is it outer military and economic might, or more subtle cultural influence, or does it possibly have a more numinous inner basis; one with potentially more benign effects?” While too much of modern spirituality is the most banal variety of narcissistic bourgeois wish-fulfillment, I will introduce some elements of firmer substance into the mix, elements which are novel even for many of the most venerable and ancient wisdom teachings. While this writer recalls that “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, (one historian has defined History as “one damn thing after another”) corresponding positive possibilities of an unprecedented nature are also active in our past. They reveal themselves even within the most formidable of our present-day crises. While we shall investigate unusual considerations which range across a very wide spectrum of Good and Evil, the overarching Vision is an active one of integration, reconciliation, and renewal. I hope to provide something to energize each one who reads this, no matter what their background.
Regarding the local situation in New Mexico: While great controversy swirls about the interpretation of the significance of Los Alamos in the history of the late twentieth century, few of the essential facts are in dispute. Very little, however, is known about the prior history of the area or of the long-range impulses behind the technology of nuclear energy, or even of technology itself. The questions arise: “Do present developments in and about Los Alamos, NM have an historical precedent? Does the activity of Los Alamos National Laboratories have any relationship to the terrestrial forces of this part of the continent, forces, which have always figured strongly in the religious practices of local populations? What were the religious practices of the indigenous people, and how, if at all, did they contribute to the web of influences in which Los Alamos flourishes? And: Are the ancestral Traditions native to newly-arrived Europeans in now living in the Americas relevant?” In short, and as usual, the questions boil down to the simple: “Why are we here?” and “What do we do about it?”
It is the contention of this writer that not only do various branches of neglected European Tradition allow us to pose these questions clearly, but that it also encourages and enables us to investigate possible answers to them. Although it is not possible within the confines of this article to detail the actual methods used by this writer, the substance of it involves contact with the same, if constantly transforming, beings who have always formed the original inspirational core of European and American religions, mythologies, spiritualities. Suffice it to say that “(persistent) intention is everything.” In some cases, seemingly disparate deities reveal themselves to be one and the same. In other cases, obvious correlations prove misleading. Gods, like men, change over time, as a result of interaction - and the time-span under consideration here is large. Nonetheless, efforts made in this area by this writer over a period of many years has engendered not only a strong sense of hope for both the answering of these sorts of questions, but also for then finding of long-term solutions to the dilemmas which provoke them. Herein I share some of those results, for the purpose of sharing information, encouraging complementary research, and provoking access to the deep reservoirs of divine influence so unique and so close to us in this part of the world. It may become clear that Europe and America do have something good for each other, along the lines indicated by the Hopi legends of Pahana, the Mexica characterization of the (next) Fifth Age as the Age of Flowers, and the pervasive Legend of the trans-cultural Rainbow Warriors.
Our gaze will swing southwards in trail of our muse.
Until the War of 1848, the territory within the present boundaries of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and much of Nevada, Utah, and Colorado were not yet part of the United States, but were claimed by Mexico, and previously, by Spain. Although these northern territories were settled and colonized from out of the Spanish South, not from the East by the English or French, they were in rather tenuous association with the heartland of the Spanish Empire in the New World, and many ad hoc arrangements, free from imperial oversight or rule of law, sprung up between various fluid constituencies in this large area. Although travel and communication between different parts of this widely-flung territory were difficult at best, there is no dispute over the tremendous influence that Hispanic government, culture, and religion have had on the post-Colombian history of this vast area. Perhaps nowhere in the USA has the influence been more pervasive and long-lasting than in Northern New Mexico, where it has deep roots in the ethos of rural agriculture; where local families trace their roots back some 450 years and where many people still speak only a local Spanish dialect. Long before English, German, and French settlements gained footholds on the Eastern Seaboard of the continent, Spaniards had carved out and established their loose empire in the southern reaches of the continent, stretching from the Atlantic coast of Florida, across the entire Gulf of Mexico, across much of the South American coast, and up along California. Continuous settlement in New Mexico dates from ~1608, with Coronado's expedition of 1540 - 1542 traversing the expanse from Southern California through Arizona as far north as the Grand Canyon, the across expanses of New Mexico, and up into Nebraska and central Kansas! No doubt some stragglers set up stakes at various places along the way, or became involved in odysseys a la that of Caveza de Baca. Santa Fe, NM, was officially established in 1610, with casual settlement before that.
The Hispanic influence and experience in the Americas has been strongly modified and attenuated by the physical distance from its homeland and, initially, was not buffered by an only marginally superior technology. Much of this presence was further diluted and subject to reciprocal influence from the native population because of outback location from coastal areas, involving long and tortuous routes of communication and supply.
Ethnic identification with Mexico is strong among many sectors of modern New Mexican society, and intermarriage between European and American; Hispanic and Indian, in Mexico and New Mexico has been commonplace for centuries, and probably it is this last factor which has been most responsible for its long-term cultural integrity. It is this stable yet also energetic amalgam of influences which has provided a matrix for these reflections: this writer has lived here for over thirty years.
Not only that, but the local Native population itself, which has always lived here and there about the general area, has roots that go back much, much further - further than anyone can trace. Trade routes between peoples of the Colorado Plateau/Rio Grande Valley area and the peoples of central Mexico are of great antiquity and importance, and a surprising amount of cultural interchange has taken place over them. Known as the Turquoise Trail, and extending far down into South America via coastal shipping, the network is the American analogue of Asia's Silk Road. For instance, the merchant-traders that worked this web of intercourse were often governmental ambassadors of high rank, empowered to make treaty, for trade goods were not bulk consumables, but precious ritual objects and supplies: quetzal feathers, obsidian, copal, sage, turquoise, gemstones, pigments and dyes, and the like. In addition, along this route, sons and daughters of nobles were given out in dynastic barter, along with transmission of sacred teachings.
Interestingly enough, the Toltec and Aztec empires of central Mexico traced their origins to migrations from a mythical North. It is tempting to consider connections to the fabled Anasazi, especially since the Anasazi underwent their final demise and exodus a couple of hundred years before the Azteca arrived in the Valley of Mexico; enough to permit a mass-cultural migration complete with occasional settlements during planting and harvesting cycles, but with details lacking about this possible link, the question is an open one.
So various ties inextricably bind this area of New Mexico to Old Mexico. The most obvious and significant of these for our purposes - the figure of the local Mexican Goddess Nuestra Senora de Guadaloupe - has her deepest cultic connections north of the present US-Mexico border in Northern New Mexico, and we shall refer to her repeatedly, for her role is pervasive and central. On the simplest of levels, the polarity of long-time religious & artistic Hispanic/Indian/Chicano culture of Santa Fe on the one hand and that of the upstart secular Yankee Los Alamos on the other, close by; one on either side of the Rio Grande valley rift, falls neatly into the categories of right-brain feminine/nurturing and left-brain masculine controlling, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. We can take this a lot further, but here we shall simply introduce the yin-yang imagery of impacted critical-mass force swirling with fractally dispersing goddess grace.
One branch of the European Tradition - the Rosicrucian-Anthroposophical one of Middle Europe - has insights revealing connections to the south of a highly unusual order. In one of the most singular instances of representative Rudolf Steiner's perplexing way of tantalizing the reader with utterly original yet profoundly unsettling statements, in his Inner Impulses of Evolution lectures he relates events which, if true, are of decisive importance for understanding the inner nature of the Los Alamos phenomenon. “Los Alamos”, for present purposes, will be our shorthand for the advent of “the Bomb” and its concomitant deployment of the full array of the subnatural electronic, magnetic and nuclear forces within matter by modern technological civilization - all this impossible without the full mobilization of resources by the modern nation-state and its Social-Darwinist ideologies and its unique channelling of the forces of violence. He also relates important precedents for this national security-state paradigm within the not so ancient Roman and Mexican empires,
What Steiner has to say in that occasion in 1916 (while obliquely fleshing out the picture continually throughout his life-work by developing various considerations stemming from other cultures and eras) is relevant because he implies that the modern-form disciplines of physics and chemistry - the hard core basis for our technocratic belief system - developed to their present sophisticated state from out of prior engagement with these same forces in a less manifest formby certain factions within the ancient religions. Among these influences certain cults within the more monumental Mesoamerican civilizations are likely to have been in the forefront. The proposition that technology is simply one form of magic is not a particularly profound insight; the science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke is well-known for his observation that any sufficiently developed technology is indistinguishable from magic. (While true enough in its own way, the difference lies in the fact that what is fully within the personal consciousness of the adept in magical practice finds itself disassociated and removed from the interiority of the practitioner in technology; operated by remote control and automatic means - the process of relationship is rendered as unconscious as possible and disassociated in the extreme. This is a critical distinction which would be lost on Clarke.)
We have become so blasé about the powerful wonders of science and technology, that for most people who have no idea how things work, the phenomenon of the common light bulb or television is just as esoteric as Maya ancestor-invocation via blood-letting! Yet the illuminating paradox is that the ideological materialist cannot refrain from using the language of the mystic! Wonders, miracles, magic, transcendence, fulfillment, wizardry - these words are used out of context without shame as they are drained of all significance by the cynical knowing and self-mocking smirk of clever advertising propaganda. If this is the smoke, where is the fire…? Is there a fire? Language reveals as much as it conceals!
This thesis as it applies in detail to mesoamerican shamanism and nuclear physics is derived from correlation of many published studies and from inner work with the same substance in overlapping European and American Mysteries, yet the simple picture of such a correlation is sustainable by anyone who has studied the sources of science and religion. While some might maintain that the initial tendencies necessary for the incorporation of such impulses into European civilization may have indeed come over from Islamic Arabic and Persian cultures, I maintain that the deepest sources of these proto-scientific forces lie within the Mesoamerican milieu. Steiner makes a crucial contribution by stating that Mexican cults channeling such impulses were the prime opponents to the Deed of Christ (this to be understood in a way free of any subsequent religious associations) - but that this anti-cult encountered successful opposition from other indigenous Mexican forces. A few of the details of his provocative statements are at variance with not only the theories, but also of the evidence of modern scholarship in the field, and these raise questions of a different nature; they were addressed in the first installment of this series: Issue #20 of Southern Cross Review.
Many uncertainties revolve around his sketchy indications of 86 years ago, and contemplation upon them only generates more. For example, one basic question that arises is: “If the appearance of Christ marks a turning point in time - as is reflected in the structure of our calendar system, for instance - is this a global constant, or is it an ethnocentric blip? Do we see evidence of a similar pivot-point in the broad sweep of mesoamerican affairs?” Not only is intimate familiarity with the essence of the original Christian impulse required but also a penetrating objectivity in order to profitably approach this question from the European side. Not easy to come by! The difficulties are of another order of magnitude altogether for the approach from the other direction. No wonder most conscientious researchers beg off from considering the prospect, covering themselves by declaring a priori that it's futile. Better to sift midden-mounds and base a career on safe documentable minutae. Yet it is well known from their own researches that spectacular transitions took place in 1st-century Mexico, as we shall indicate throughout this piece.
With these profound questions before us - questions that comprise multiple dilemmas; epistemological koans, even - research in the scholarly literature of the archeology, anthropology, and ethnology of ancient America takes on a real urgency and a novel focus. Once one delves into the mass of scholarly research into the matter, a field that was in its infancy only a few years ago - the Mayan script has only been readable within the last few years, and there are still no indications of any Teotihuacan or Toltec language! - one is immediately amazed at how much does remain from centuries of systematic attempts to erase the historical record, efforts of which the Spanish Conquistadors and the follow-on corporate mono-culture of mass-media and World Bank economic “development” are only the most recent. On initial encounter, it can be a bewildering welter of unrelated detail, but this begins to resolve itself if one perseveres.
Literary intuition can perceive the essential nature of the thing:
“Do ye cross that river with yon filibuster armed ye'll not cross it
Don't aim to cross it back. We goin to Sonora.
What's it to you, old man?
The Mennonite watches the enshadowed dark before them as it is reflected in the mirror over the bar. He turns to them. His eyes are wet, he speaks slowly. The wrath of God lies sleeping. It was hid a million years before men were and only men have the power to wake it. Hell ain't half full. Hear me. Ye carry the war of a madman's making onto a foreign land. Ye'll wake more than dogs.”
It is long overdue that insight born from the spiritual Traditions of Europe (the “West” of Asia but the “Middle” of world-culture, and which by no means except conceit is a continent of its own) be brought into relationship with those of the cultures which lie across the Atlantic in the Far West. After all, since it is admitted, though at the same instant usually disregarded, that these latter were spiritually-oriented cultures of the first degree, and that the overlapping transpersonal causes and human motivations for their existence and cycles of transformations lay in those spiritual bases, it is fundamentally absurd to look elsewhere than in those inner realities for our understandings of them. Examination of potsherds and corpses, temple architecture and comparative iconography, the evidences of trade economics, etc. can give illuminating data and insights, but broad conclusions derived from them are nonetheless voyeuristic and speculative, with their emphases revealing more about ourselves and what is important to us than about what may have been important to them. The questions we ask, and the manner in which we ask them determines the nature of the answers received - and which questions are rejected out of hand. Informed spiritual insight can be exactly that: in-sight. Not a replacement for scholarship or study, but a complement that is glaring by its absence. The dynamic of cultural invasion, annexation, and disassembly which began at the outset with Columbus and Cortez continues. While the physical residue of civilizations long extinct are exhumed and scrutinized with laudable rigour, the living soul and spirit of the peoples are dismissed, not honored, and, not observed by quantifying methodology, accorded only the passing indulgence due a fantasy.
So it is by use of a method suited to its subject that we quest to understand these cultures which are so seemingly Other, ones which have only quite recently become overlaid by our own imported one. Although these alternative modes of access and perception are thoroughly discounted by most academic professionals, they offer great promise for overcoming that hurdle of the onlooker status which is part and parcel of the modern scientific method, a stance which has only a temporary and limited if spectacular utility; one which is showing clear signs of unraveling about the edges. Other essential questions: “Is the mythos of the ancient cultures really lost? What has changed in that mythos - for better and for worse, and what is invariant?”
While there is no lack of those who have “gone native” to one degree or another, including a surprising proportion of those who write about indigenous cultures, what I am talking about here is cross-cultural contemplation from an equivalent esoteric basis; from an peer level of vision, so to speak. Of course, this is only an initial attempt at such an endeavor, but that such an approach as is attempted here is sorely needed, there can be no doubt. Nothing ventured, nothing gained - and yes, we know it has been proved that bumblebees can't fly…and in the late 1800's the head of the U.S. Patent Office officially proposed that his department be shut down because everything inventable had already been invented! So let us not waste too much time looking over our shoulders to see whether the skeptics are giving their benediction!
It has been profoundly satisfying for this writer that his multi-disciplinary investigation into ancient American spirituality goes a long way towards answering Rudolf Steiner's injunction: “Precisely from the example of agriculture, we can see how necessary it is to derive forces from the spirit; forces that are as yet quite unknown. This is necessary…so that human life on Earth can continue at all…” (emphasis added). Our glance into mesoamerican spiritual impulses will bring us into close proximity to these very forces - forces which can be so threatening, but which also have within them the deepest rejuvenating possibilities!
It is significant that this statement comes from the Agriculture Course, in which Steiner gives his most detailed indications for the healing of the natural order of the Earth, and during which time he also had his very revealing private conversations with his hostess, the Countess von Keyserlingk concerning the golden core of the Earth and the rescue of Persephone. One can only note with a poetic irony that what was the deepest and most taboo-ridden esotericism for that European culture was the simplest common knowledge for most native peoples in the New World.
Again: a link with La Guadaloupana Tonantzin, whose lovely and vastly tender demeanor is so different from the devouring catabolic aspect of prior Aztec goddesses. How this change in aspect came about involves appreciating the inner nature of this being; her role in earth-evolution from the very beginning, and her relationship with other difficult derivative beings of another quality who are relative latecomers onto the world-stage.
Notwithstanding the fame of their astronomical science and calendar lore, the InnerWorlds of the Mesoamerican civilizations were strongly oriented towards the UnderWorld. In European lore, by contrast, the Underworld is generally denied and considered, when it is considered at all, an extremely unfortunate place: aphorisms like “better a beggar in the land of the living than a king in the realm of the Shades” or imagery of the burning sinners in Hell dominate the mind or represent the general level of appreciation of the UnderWorld by those with either classical education or no education at all. It is beyond the scope of this presentation to trace the esoteric lore of the UnderWorld in Western thought. Although it does quite definitely exist, it lies outside the boundaries of the standard-issue maps and catechisms. It will also be impossible to present the vast scope of the Chthonic realms (a.k.a. “UnderWorld”) in Mesoamerican mythology and practice, not least because so much of it is still unknown - and it is also in the midst of a profound revealing of a new metamorphosis! A remarkable amount is known about it, however, and strong illuminating parallels exist within our own Western European Tradition; most significantly in what has to do with the vicissitudes of the Divine Feminine and the Celtic sources of the Grail-Mythos. Contemplating these parallels sheds an unexpected light in many directions! We will allude to certain of its elements in the course of relating the implications of the encounter between the Magi of Black and White Magic at America's Turning Point of Time.
What is the gist of these insights? To recap, they relate a struggle in the first century AD between an unnamed representative of greatly devolved “Mexican Mysteries” (Steiner's term), one who attempted to thwart, not the birth of Christ as did Herod of Palestine, but the purpose of His Sacrificial Death: the at-long-last fully realized archetype of the Rite of the Sacred King. What really gets our attention is that he places this attempt within the historical record for the years 30 - 33 AD. Against this, he also relates how an advanced initiate, of origin and pathway unidentified, stepped forward to deny this malign intention so that the Deed of Christ could complete its full arc. Not only that, but he states that human evolution would have ceased altogether if human souls would have refused to incarnate due to the dislocated occult forces provoked by the “Black Magician”. Steiner relates that the “White Magician” was named “Vitzliputzli” (an archaic form of “Huitzilopochtli”).
Here we are in deep and unprecedented waters, even for those who are well acquainted with the standard studies in archeology or ccultism! Yet even a casual review of precolumbian mythologies reveal a preoccupation with continual struggles between humans and demons, evolved humans and degenerate humans, and the historical record of the peoples themselves indicate the same - for instance in the archetypal saga of the downfall of king Ce Acatl Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl (935 or 947 CE to exile c. 987), famous ruler of Tula and the Toltec empire, at the hands of the evil shaman-priesthood of Tezcatlipoca. Enacting the archetypal drama of his namesake, under the totem-influence of his planet Venus, he was exiled, but with prophecy of his return. Cortez had the wit to capitalize on this universal expectation, having the good fortune to show up on the indicated year and day of his return!
Although the investigative method of active inner participation allied with strict observation and discrimination as utilized in this article is dismissed by the official referees, it offers great promise for overcoming that hurdle of the onlooker status which is part and parcel of the modern scientific method, a stance which has only a temporary and limited if spectacular utility. One which is showing clear signs of unraveling about the edges. It is admitted, though the implications are promptly disregarded, that ancient cultures did not live and die by the measurable data which remains to us, but by an agreement unknown to us which was for them the controlling reality. Another essential question: “Is that mythos really lost? What has changed in that mythos - for better and for worse, and what is invariant, and similar to the core insights of all cultures?”
Within the Mexican mythos we have a key for the resolution of the problem of evil - a situation always in the forefront of mesoamerican spiritual striving, a striving that was, by all evidence, a concerted public and social enterprise. Were they really on a constant wartime footing? The late-period Aztecs in particular seem to have been driven to frenzy by a sense of overwhelming necessity in the face of cataclysmic struggles. Was this sense of apocalypse always latent within Mesoamerica? Perhaps: even the “cosmic” Maya are now known to have been inextricably involved in continual and complex calculation of conflict.
The reason that all this is directly connected with the case of Los Alamos is that examination of the nature of the forces which power modern technology - the subnatural forces of electricity, magnetism, and the nuclear forces - quickly bring one into proximity to the beings which stand behind them. For this assertion we can reference the traditional understanding that the natural forces which we see all around us: the forces of weather, gravity, seasonal cycles, the regulated growth into metamorphosing form occurring in natural organisms, etc., are all merely the shadows cast by the activity of very specific spiritual beings - some vast, some miniscule, all embued with great and strange powers (as are we, if we but had the wit to recognize it).
Natural “laws” describe how certain elemental beings without the faculty of free will or responsive sensibility act. “Fields”, “energy”, or “forces” are their traces.
We introduce the idea of successive octaves or orders of reality, for both the higher supersensible and the lower subsensible forces: though they are outside the range of the five senses, they are analogous to the also very real if invisible infrared and ultraviolet frequency-realms which lie past the narrow visible spectrum - in two very different directions. In these passages we enter the area in which Rudolf Steiner's work is most unique and relevant for our modern age. Also whose implications are most unappreciated, even for his advocates!
In the case of the technological forces just mentioned, the beings which stand behind them are, respectively, the various strife-inducing beings (Luciferic, Ahrimanic, Asuric, according to one format) that are described by European-based lore as the great Adversaries of humanity. Although there is some debate as to exactly how to apportion these forces among these beings, there does not seem to be much doubt in those circles about the general outlines of the matter.
(Oriental perspectives on this, deriving from eras of a much more ancient vintage in which these subnatural forces were still in nascent form and the their psychological and cultural manifestations in an embryonic stage, do not involve themselves in such considerations as are here the forefront of our present discussion. Recent attempts to find straightforward parallels between Eastern mysticism and Western physics, a la Fritjof Capra's Tao of Physics (cf. Bib. III), while laudable for their good intentions, are rife with critically significant distortions and frequent outright errors of spiritual fact. Subnatural forces within matter, to be bluntly explicit but also completely accurate about it, are death forces. Buddhism, of whatever variety, is ultimately life-affirming through liberation from earthly forces; its attentions do not penetrate into those deathly regions for their transformation. While correspondences and parallels can be drawn between affairs, levels, and energies within the higher and lower realms, there are critical inversions within the reflections. Blissfully unaware of the crucial distinctions, assuming that whatever is not “physical” is “spiritual”, Capra conflates the Luciferic and the Ahrimanic; for him the “spiritual” is completely undifferentiated. Does he think his discriminatory scientific mind can go on vacation when in the “spiritual”?
I have stated that the point-centered forces of modern science - electricity, magnetism, and the atomic forces - are subnatural forces. How is this to be understood? First of all, insight unique to the Rosicrucian-Anthroposophical Tradition has it that it is by a combination of subtle and dense forces - both outside the range of normal sense perception - that sensible material substance has arisen, and also that the development of this condition lies at the heart of the case of “The Fall”. Past one end of our normally perceptible field, much the same as ultraviolet lies beyond the range of visible light in the direction of higher vibration, lies the immaterial forces of the subtle ethers, ones which are the dynamic templates of the classical physical-material solid, liquid, gaseous, and plasmic states of matter: the spontaneously life-organizing forces. (The terms Earth, Water, Air, and Fire were used to refer to the unmaterialized and archetypal generative counterparts of these physical conditions.) Yet these higher ethers would never have had an “incarnation” into physical form; they would have remained as “laws” (Platonic Ideals) without material referents if it had not been for the agency of their counterparts - their dark twins; the subnatural forces which lie past the other end of the sensible spectrum; ones analogous to the infrared…our modern genies of electricity, magnetism, and the nuclear forces. It is in the interaction of the supersensible and the subsensible that we have the resultant sensible state of existence, one that, in reality, is quite restricted. We all feel it. No wonder the beings responsible for this precipitating influence are seen as adversaries, or as evil: hence the disturbing qualities of what are known as “aliens”! Not from distant physical stars, they are allied with corresponding starry forces within the earth, but have become overly identified with their tasks and are disturbed by humanity's perverse tendencies. In the process, they have gotten into even more trouble than has mankind. Inner apprehension of their state of mind and environment is a seriously mind- and emotion-altering process, it is so strange and, indeed, “alien”, yet their coincidence with the Dark Side of our own reality is disturbingly intimate. Their agony of spirit is awesome, their lack of and violent reaction to “soul” is frightening. However, the disturbing effect of the resonance which encounter provokes is precisely because they are not so “alien” after all: they represent a relatively pure counterpart of our own Shadow and Double forces; the Shadow and Double beings of the planetary body! Hence it is a pernicious falsehood to call them extraterrestrials, for this only dislocates us from our earthly kinship with them.
What put us in this straightjacket gets sequestered behind prohibition of taboo - and when taboo begins to reveal itself in spite of relentless avoidance and denial, it gets placed as far outside ourselves as possible: even into realms as far off as distant star-systems. However, when the water table rises, it can't be plugged. So, for reasons that are complicated but whose effects are apparent, these forces are making a bid to have their day in the sun. Cell-phone towers, television, electric illumination - it is all around us and we can't even begin to imagine how we could live without this corporate-sponsored wizardry. We take it for granted but are puzzled by the social and environmental consequences. Yet the subtler energetic bases of physical reality have hardly even begun to be examined by main-line science, notwithstanding the trillions of dollars spent to date on high-energy particle physics research and the like. This is as much a hall-of-mirrors enterprise as the legendary Cub Scout snipe-hunt, yet one which reinforces itself; the same conceits that gave rise to the enterprise which was, in its first instance, the smashing of a bug by a boy with a rock.
Our initially noble paradigm of “objective analysis” in the service of a disinterested scientific inquiry has developed into a fixed and categorical refusal to allow consideration of the essential subjective core within all appearance. “There are no objects; there are only subjects”: says the magician. Exile the subjective in the observer, eliminate the subjective spirit in the World-Body, and what remains but a flux of blind forces? Blind to us, that is. When this model is then applied back upon human and biological culture, what we get is exactly what we have: blind chaos and entropy, with a wild looting scramble for insufficient resources - exactly as determined by the Second Law of Thermodynamics! No solutions to our human problems will be found inside this box! Forgotten in the shuffle is the simple fact that the ultimate purpose of science is to comprehend the scientist.
“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them”: Albert Einstein.
What is the “solving” level of awareness that is needed for these crises? Todorov offers the kind of incisive insight that brings all kinds of things into clearer focus. He offers that, in order to relieve the inevitable if not entirely similar stresses that occur within human societies, Europe and America chose different strategies. Europe - with significantly weaker Double forces - chose repression and became a massacre society, while America, faced with the unavoidable reality of overwhelming chthonic powers, chose integration and participation, becoming a sacrifice society. The reader may decide for him- or her-self which one shed the most blood or which one was the more debased at the time of contact.
It must be noted that the outcast (“damned”) status of these genies/demons of the point-centered forces - or of the personal Dark Side - is not permanent. They were given a job to do, and they did it, and are doing it. Our lessons are difficult - but so are theirs. We are joined at the hip, and together we stand or fall - this is our secret. Let us also consider the insight that if it is admitted that certain things can only be learned from one's enemies, what does it mean to consider them enemies? Here we have a key to the resolution of the problem of evil - a situation unsolvable at arm's length. Plus: we may not need them half as much as they need us; passage through our consciousness may be the catalytic effect they are really seeking in their missing heart-of-hearts!
So - all this is relevant because examination of the possible method of the retrograde adept of ancient Mexico, based upon what Steiner relates concerning his method of practice in conjunction with: 1: what is known about the general mythology of the Mesoamerican civilizations, 2: the considerations of natural and etheric geography which would greatly condition a Land-based spirituality (e.g.; strong telluric forces as reflected in the gigantic N-S ranges of the Rockies and Andes mountains and the vast weather and volcanism patterns), the constellation of the bio-regions, traditional-culture awareness of geomantic power-regions, etc., 3: knowledge of the relationship between and the ongoing changes within the super- and sub-natural forces, and, 4: the comparison with equivalent evolved and devolved chthonic elements of other spiritualities - our own Orphic one not least - lead inexorably to the conclusion that it was these same beings just referred who stand behind the subnatural forces who were worshiped and invoked in certain of the ancient Mexican cults. As they were in their idiomatic forms by other civilizations - but considering these would lead us too far afield. Extensive work by this writer in the realm of self-directed experiential-visionary activity confirms and greatly amplifies these associations - this paper is the result.
I am proposing that he specific cults that are related to the case of "Los Alamos" had their most prominent area of development within the Valley of Mexico in central Mexico, site of present-day Mexico City, and had their history within the Olmec culture, the first monumental civilization of Mesoamerica. The contribution of modifying factors local to the Upper Rio Grande Valley/Jemez Caldera area - home to Los Alamos - remain to be investigated in detail, but what is gleaned from many years of living in the area corroborates the general outlines of what is presented here, and provokes speculation on deeper pre-Columbian links between New and Old Mexico. It can hardly be simple coincidence that the Los Alamos Laboratories complex was situated upon the flanks of the world's largest above-ground volcanic caldera as they descended in eroded mesas to the canyons of the Western Hemisphere's largest rift valley - all signature features of the intrusion of chthonic depths into the surface-world.
It is clear to this writer that entirely appropriate and forward-looking means for dealing constructively with these same forces and beings were also cultivated within parallel and consecutive American Traditions; ones fostered in diverse significant cultures such as the Hopi, or Algonquin/Iroquois, all of which had deeply positive relationships to the Earth Mother and who managed to deny the lures of Empire.
The Pueblo peoples of the Upper Rio Grande Valley are seem to have finally arrived at a amore stable form of society after their exodus from the Anasazi lands to the west - not long before the European invasions altered their possibilities.
Here I need to suggest that the solution to the riddle of the “Mexican Mysteries” cannot be found unless our conception of the term itself is refined. Fuzzy language = fuzzy thinking. If “Mexican Mysteries” means nothing more sophisticated than the spectre of a culture ruled by the bogeyman, this is only a failure of the Imagination, even if the imagination itself is easily captivated by visions of such macabre scenes, firmly fixed in the popular mind, of the brief late-terminal phase Aztecs. And macabre compared to what? Does our ethnocentrism blind us to the excesses of our own culture? Was the trench-warfare of WWI, the firebombing of Tokyo and Dresden, the siege of Stalingrad, the Rape of Nanking, or the Holocaust of the Jews evidence of high civilization? Yet we also have our Bachs, Mozarts, Rothkos, Ellingtons, and the Gothic cathedrals. All cultures show evidence of the highest and the lowest in human nature. Can we try to progress to an objective, non-reactive appreciation of a culture that is, in the last analysis, merely different?
I propose: the beings related to these Mysteries of America, though metamorphosing according to their own internal dynamic and in relationship to the cultural conflagrations of the 1500's and beyond, remain quite active. It cannot be otherwise, for they regulate the most long-range of planetary cycles.
Nuestra Senora de Guadaloupe is a local agent for these Saturn Mysteries
- the American Mythos.
Both the devolved and evolved Mystery Streams of America are spreading
their wings and girding their loins for battle. Both camps, greatly augmented in scope and power, are now more active than ever. Reflection on the substance of what is revealed by participatory access leads us to expect both the progressive and retrograde forces to deploy new aspects in the times to come; indeed, in the times in which we are living right now. The role of Los Alamos as a prime focal point for the introduction of subnatural forces into the natural world is a result of the ability to commandeer resources that only the modern National Security State can deploy. This also is a recapitulation of the spiritual and political history of Mesoamerica: the history of great religious-militaristic empires - and one which is in syncopated counterpoint to the legacy of Rome in Europe.
The massive effort of the Manhattan Project which spawned Los Alamos National Laboratories and the ability to wage the Cold War revealed an intention of Ahrimanic seriousness of unknown to the Germans or Japanese of the 1940's - but not to the Leninist-Stalinists of Russia, on whose soil 80% of WWII in Europe was fought and won. Hence the almost inevitable squaring-off of the two survivors, for Ahrimanic power does not allow for power-sharing.
In the USA, our history in this is impressive: our command of the skills of economic mobilization, strategic military planning, and operational logistics far outstripped anything that the Axis Powers could develop, fought the Second World War on two fronts, and won the overall WWII/Cold War struggles for our brand of empire. “Empire”, in this sense, can be a value-free term denoting a situation and infrastructure in which 5% of the world's population consumes over 60% of its resources, and determines the priorities within its sphere of influence.
Our pre-history for this lies in Mesoamerica: for instance, from 150 AD to 750 AD, Teotihuacan was one of the largest cities in the world: population 200,000. Only Rome and Beijing compared in size, and the regularity of its urban organization was not duplicated until the great industrial centers of North America arose in the late 1800's. There, the ubiquitous pyramids of the South were replaced by equally prevalent smokestack factories. Within, the impulse was the same, though the rites might differ: to concentrate and mobilize for ideological purposes the terrestrial subnatural forces and the correspondingly deep psychological forces of the folk. Outwardly, the procedure was the same: the total engagement of the civilian population for a state-directed - if mostly unconscious and esoterically manipulated - enterprise. We have our heroes and our sloganeering: Paul Bunyan and Manifest Destiny, Democracy and the Rights of Man. It is not implausible that equally pervasive motivations of a more blatantly religious or subtly occult nature motivated the mesoamerican pyramid-builders. What might they have been?
Steiner's insights are as good as any, and better than most. Out of a gigantic spiritual-cultural upheaval in the 1st Century AD, new forms of expression arose to celebrate and institutionalize these epochal changes. Not all of humankind's problems were solved in a stroke, however. Conflicts and stresses remained and found new and expended fields of expression. Were the successful efforts of the proto culture-hero Vitzliputzli coopted in short order, or did they have a long period of efflorescence? From the evidence remaining to archeology, it is difficult to determine which purpose was served by the mighty pyramids of Teotihuacan and the Mayan lands. That there was an explosion of unprecedented social vitality across Mesoamerica in the first century of the Christian era is undeniable, although the significance of it to the people on-site at the time is not easy to determine. It is one of the central facts of European and Anglo-American history that it only took a few hundred years before the radically grounded compassionate gnosticism of Jesus Christ became synonymous with Roman state power. What was the arc of development of the Christ-initiate's impulse in America? This questions pleads to be asked and addressed in detail, but acknowledged in even the most general terms, it can act as a mighty orienting lodestone for a multitude of inquiries.
The reactionary portion in Mesoamerica was the old one of Law and Order as a bulwark against the New. Its intended result, unglimpsed by those who put their shoulders to the wheel, was the suppression of free human soul-life and its replacement by a programmed existence of a wholly different order, one with no relationship to the Creator Beings, the originating cosmos, the natural world, or the core values of the heart. In spite of the gloss of shiny consumer products and an entertainment industry that services a leisure culture (when we find time for it!), one could make a good case that we in Year 2001 America have progressed far beyond the Aztecs in the institutionalization of horror and the realization of the cyborg. Our desensitization is well progressed. Although emphasizing the fantastic, the movie Matrix is insightful in the extreme in portraying the logical conclusion to our current trends, and Ray Kurzweil eagerly awaits the day when he can download himself into his software, dispensing with his obsolete carbon-based body!
Rudolf Steiner, in one of his very few references to the Mexican cults outside of the cited lectures, speaks of Henry Ford's assembly lines and their philosophy of mass-production as deriving directly from millennia-old impulses within one aspect of the American Folk-Soul. It is known that Teotihuacan did pioneer a mass-production system for the production of consumable ritual objects. This example might be one face of the chthonic impulse in America. And as much as William Blake's “Dark Satanic Mills” look ahead to the American Matrix-future as they describe his present of Industrial Revolution England, the foundations of them go back to Mesoamerica. The dreams of Atlantis die hard, and proliferate in nightmare vision as fast as their shoots are cut off. Who will pull them out by the root - or will it be by agency of the Core UnderWorld that they will be extruded into our hands for their Manichean transformation?
As far as Steiner's indications go about the positive side of these late Olmec-period developments, he stresses that things would have certainly been much worse if their progressive elements had not triumphed at that decisive moment in time, and that the more long-range our perspective becomes, the more effective those elements will seem. He also emphasizes in that regard that these are the positive virtues of Atlantean culture which are still preserved within the Land of America - as we have seen with Vitzliputzli. As some positive impulses went East with Manu/Noah, so also did some go West. Unfortunately, his reticent comments about things American do not expand on the local detail, and his temperamental antipathy to things Mexican in general do not allow for an easy unfolding of the implications of his remarks.
The other face, totally congruent with the most forward-looking impulses, may equally well have inspired the construction of the early grand ceremonial complexes. Does Teotihuacan reflect one or the other - or a complex mix of both? It would seem plausible, that considering the apocalyptic demise of its predecessor and neighboring rival Cuicuilco, that either way, the Teotihuacan impulse was relatively pure, at least up until its mysterious implosion. It was certainly a zero-year starting point for all subsequent civilizations in the area, and its legendary fame may derive - spiritually - from the regeneration of all the old God and Goddess forms by the stroke of Christ's passage through the UnderWorld - in Mexico an appreciation certainly very different and much more complex than possible in Europe!
In our times, and on a corresponding octave of the evolutionary spiral, releasing atomic energy into the mix of evolution was a dangerous attempt at the destabilization of the natural order; a counterproductive absurdity, for it would be a long climb back up the evolutionary ladder if the “nuclear spasm” had been triggered. This precipitous result was averted. But - it was extremely effective in instilling an unprecedented level of constant fear and anxiety into entire population of the planet. Now Los Alamos seeks to maintain its position in the forefront of technological progress, not only by developing a new generation of nuclear weapons (what ever happened to the “Peace Dividend”?), but by moving into the field of genetic engineering and beyond; into the realm of genetically engineered bio-weapons: super-anthrax and the like, and, inevitably, into attempts to “improve the human breed” via the eugenics of DNA code-manipulation. If future developments are unclear in detail, past and current “revolutions” stemming from scientific discovery should be a good indication of what to expect: it won't be all it's cracked up to be, especially if, as it is, much of the research is driven and funded by military and trans-national corporate agendas, with benefit and profit secularly sanctified by the legal blessing of “intellectual property rights.” It's still the tantalizing but elusive promise of the “Wonderful World of the Future”: a fantasy carrot and an all-too-real stick, with the profits privatized, the costs subsidized, and citizens paying the price. Who will be the enemy, if not ourselves, and who will be the bill collector, if not America, Inc.?
There is an eerie parallel to the splitting of the atom: the unlocking of the psyche and the subconscious in psychology. The discoveries were simultaneous, the biographies of the pioneers in each field similar. The promises, also, were either false or subverted - witness the role of the modern pharmaceutical industry in behaviour modification, with the distinction between good and bad drugs more political than medical.
Spiritual struggles of the most intimate and profound nature swirl about these “developments”; ones which recapitulate, in an amplified way, ancient history. Note, in the case of the Manhattan Project physicists, the almost mystical devotion to their “pure” science that drove them, the esoteric nature of their cultic enterprise, the priestly caste of the initiates themselves, and the public veneration accorded them and their authority. Team leader Oppenheimer's mystical ruminations are most instructive. Here we have the cult of the scientist raised to its apotheosis - except that, once again, the God was an imposter; the goods hijacked. The science was never “pure.” (The recent movie Wag the Dog could not be clearer in its depiction of the seduction of Genius by Power.) That the modern secular initiate is ostensibly an atheist or agnostic is of no account. Whether priest, initiate, or expert, the function is identical: to mediate the will of the cosmos; the “gods”, “history”, the “Invisible Hand”, or “the facts” to the rest of humanity and direct their activity. On a mundane level, we have the scientific pundit who speaks decisively on a variety of subjects ranging from the global economy and the origin of the universe to shampoo rinse and weight-loss diets. The question remains: which god will we worship; which reality do we choose? That each one nowadays pretends to be a realist serving only himself or herself is the ultimate anarchy; a complete delusion. It is the essence of “facts” to compel; the real Gods value human freedom and moral initiative above all else - we are their religion. By this standard of our true worth, how should we be judging those other “gods” who come bearing shiny trinkets and promised wonders, their price being a gutting of the psyche? When modern guru Steven Spielberg announces that the new generation of digital special effects will perfect the art of Imagination, and that: “Someday the entire motion picture may take place inside the mind, and it will be the most internal experience anyone can have”, one can hear William Blake's anguished howl of protest.
Abdication of responsibility is surrender of Self; if those who have undergone make-over under the influence of ET reprogrammers, plastic surgery, or too much TV are the walking advertisements for the New Star-World Order, it is yet another fresh shock to consider how low our standards have fallen.
We may be a secular society, but it is an illusion that we are free of superstition. We may abjure formal religion, but we still bow down; we relinquish our moral autonomy, capitulate to circumstances: to Market Forces, to Policy, to Expediency, to the Experts - to Convenience. Even while retaining links to formal religion, many are still huddled in the corner of a mind-numbing conformity: “Experts agree: Everything is Fine!” What absurdities sneak in under the cloak of “freedom” or “democracy?” We still believe in what we cannot bear witness to, and live on a faith which may be more superstitious than that of the fabled witch doctor. Who takes the power which is so cheaply given up; where does it go when we sell out?
We have been referring to struggles around these issues, struggles ancient and modern. But struggles imply at least two sides, more or less equal. Who is on the other side? We shall go there shortly, but tho our bitter cup is not yet drained, the Goddess waits in the wings; she will be entering shortly….
The connection with Rome, mentioned in passing earlier, is significant for many reasons. One can easily place the dynamic of the rise of Roman civilization in juxtaposition to the parallel contemporary events taking place in Mexico. (Some musings place the southerly Maya, in the role of classical Greece, in counterpart to Romanish Toltec and Aztec, but although this speculation is heavily discounted nowadays there may be some imaginal truth in it.) Recall all the various indications that exist regarding the significance of the immense legacy of Roman culture and its pivotal and continuing influence on the subsequent development of European civilization. Many diverse and pervasive influences; none horrible in themselves or in theory, but, in practice, and as implemented by fallible men, and without counterbalancing impulses, are developments which have run off the tracks to a large extent and which have done a great deal to undermine hopes for more just and peaceful societies. They continue to form a persistent knot in our mass-cultural psyche. The lure of resuscitating this dream of centralized world hegemony has resonated throughout European history, although the ability to realize this dream has only been possible in recent decades (in large part via the instrumentality of the threats issuing from Los Alamos & Co.) and has always been opposed by unique brands of idealistic utopianism and Native wisdom. Traces of this bipolar tendency in the USA can be seen in the facts that the present site of Washington, D. C. was originally an Algonquin Council site and originally named “Rome” by the earliest European settlers. Note the remarkable effect of the visuals in the movie Gladiator and its success in communicating a simultaneous sense of revulsion and exultation with the ethos of that era; “The Glory of Rome…the corruption…”; a thrill from each, a pride in both. The Roman Empire may have been ruled by monsters as often as not, but at least they were our monsters! This writer experienced the most strange sensation during the movie of looking into both the Roman and the Aztec world; seeing the Coliseum superimposed by a pyramid, the gladiator by the spiritual patriot, etc. The archetypal patterns are universal….
Los Alamos is a prime indicator for just how far down the road to logical insanity the ambition-filled impulse of the all-powerful state can be taken. Not to gripe overmuch, but it requires a relentless look at our own culture's Dark Side if we are to be able to look past or through it to something better. It is our own Lesser Guardian of the Social Threshold, fully incarnated in and among us, which is now walking and talking through all avenues of the media. Any entry into the spiritual world (whether “up” or “down”) which does not face it down as it reveals itself within the subjectivity of the individual is illegal and illusory and will backfire - and is backfiring, as we can see all around us: it refuses to be ignored, and demands attention in exteriorized and projected fashion.
We have seen the omen of this dynamic in the shockingly realized image of the Trump of The Blasted Tower which has been so relentlessly driven home since Sept. 11. This is a law of initiation and a universal admonition: confrontation with one's Shadow, the personal Double, the macrocosmic Double, the Lesser Guardian - all aspects of the same thing, basically - cannot be avoided. One is proactive in the encounter and one grows - and the social situation becomes healthy, too. One avoids…and one still learns, but as victim - or fights the integration - as oppressor. From the European side of this mix comes the prediction that early on into the 20th Century that humanity would be presented with a choice between the Easy Way and the Hard Way as the century developed: with the recapitulation of a 2,000 year cycle foreseen by the simple devout and seers both and due to begin in this time-period, there would be both great opportunities and great dangers confronting humanity. The adversarial influences in evolution would be flushed out from their hiding places to walk about in the light of day and great changes in humanity and in the spiritual world would take place that would make possible the autonomous reentry of humanity into the spiritual worlds, and a push towards a reintegration of diverse aspects of our greater human nature. The countercultural adage: “You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem” sums it up quite nicely.
It appears from all indications that, once again, humanity has chosen the hard way, and that, with everything encapsulated and represented by “Los Alamos”, our own United States of America and our own beloved New Mexico has the dubious privilege of playing Bethlehem to The Beast. Is it so incomprehensible that there might not be mixed reactions from the periphery to this juggernaut of “Progress?”
Positive balancing contributions from the Middle and East of the planet seem to be held up in accounts receivable while elements within European culture which attempted to provide alternatives to this relentless momentum of state hegemony represented by Rome were subjected to ruthless and successful elimination. From the campaigns against the Gnostics in the early Christian centuries, against the Pagan Tribes of northern Europe and the prechristian yet Christian Irish, to the squashing of the Templars, Cathars, and the Rosicrucian Enlightenment of the 1600's, the Ahrimanic impulse of “whatever is not compulsory is forbidden” has held sway and has continued to metastasize. The predominance of this impulse has been remarkably continuous throughout the various changings of the guard that took place as Roman Empire reconfigured to Holy Roman Empire, to the diversified Royal Houses, to the Third Reich, to the squeeze-press of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, to WTO. “The Fascist movement is a spontaneous return to the traditions of ancient Rome.” The periodic wars that have devastated Europe throughout the last two millennia did nothing to shake the power of this impulse. In fact, every war seems to have entrenched it ever more deeply, in spite of the efforts of saints, patriots, and famous wise people of all stripes. But here, also, Steiner finds a positive note in that the dominant Roman impulse towards centrist legislation and regulation was undermined and weakened by fortuitous Italian counter-tendencies of rugged egotism.
It was somewhat different in central Mexico. Here, where the terrestrial hardening forces were even stronger than in Europe, counterbalancing forces of the fractal periphery were also stronger, and the Double was integrated to a greater extent; great empires rose and fell, but each one was separated by great gulfs of discontinuity from its antecedent and successor. The nature of time was more cyclic than continuously linear. The acceptance and integration of these forces also tended to give them effective limits. Fantastic and futuristic Teotihuacan, already referred to, arose out of at least 1500 years of Olmec prehistory to replace its predecessor Cuicuilco in the period 150 BC - 50 AD when Cuicuilco was buried under more than one immense lava flow from its neighboring volcano Xitli. The succeeding empires of the Valley of Mexico each suffered corresponding abrupt demise, as each successor attempted to carry on the proto-Imagination of Imperial Atlantis (Aztlan!) - but with decreasing effectiveness and increasing use of force and violence. Teotihuacan suffered cataclysmic internal collapse of unknown motivation but of singular ritual intent - a societal disassembly of such magically effective intensity as to prevent any subsequent resettlement of the site. This in spite of its being revered by all succeeding local cultures as “The Birthplace of the Gods” and the place where the present World-Age of the Fifth Sun was inaugurated. A hundred and fifty years later the Toltecs arrived from the “North” to found their empire's capital city of Tula 60 km to the northwest. 375 years later - half the life span of Teotihuacan - Tula was gone, for similarly mysterious if equally conclusive reasons. When the Aztecs arrived in the area two hundred years later - from the verifiably physical North - they found only a miscellany of feudal fiefdoms scattered around the central lake of the Valley of Mexico, none of which were directly related either in scope or political history to the fabled Toltecs, although the claiming of it was universal. Kind of like the touchstones of “Mom, apple pie, and Babe Ruth” which are claimed by all segments of the political spectrum of those of us in El Norte, all in Aztec times bowed in the direction of mythical Tula. The fact that more than one Aztec ruler destroyed the records of previous local eras and stripping Tula to furnish Tenochtitlan, for example - may have inspired the Spanish to do the same. The Aztec apocalypse, although of a slightly different circumstance - military defeat - was abrupt and conclusive.
Or was it? The indigenous American expression of culture and spirituality were dealt a devastating blow in the encounter with Europe, and its expression and memory ruthlessly and carelessly repressed, but what is repressed does not simply go away; it bides its time and resurfaces via novel forms of expression, sometimes with a nasty twist, sometimes with renewed; purer, vigor. Having died to outer expression in the Season just past, it is now reborning. Can we be alert enough to recognize it as it emerges within us? What will it look like?
Since I have not been able to track any historical data linking an Azteca “Tonantzin” (a generic, not a specific mother-goddess) and a post-Colombian “Guadaloupe”, and any free-floating assertion of a simple identity between the two cannot but seem arbitrary to one who does not a priori believe it, I shall instead insert here a lengthy set of passages from a highly respected scholar who offers some provocative yet solidly grounded speculations on the nature of the “Goddess” in the singular and seminal civilization of Teotihuacan. In no other Mesoamerican culture did the Goddess have such prominence or such unique and varied iconography. Attention has been drawn to Teotihuacan's singular placement in time. If “Guadaloupe” now resurfaces from the same deep reservoirs of significance as gave rise to Teotihuacan's major deity, examination of the latter's milieu may assist in tracking her more recent permutations.
Note: Let me take pains to be absolutely clear: I am not postulating an identity between The “Great Goddess” of Teotihuacan and Nuestra Senora de Guadaloupe nor between either of these and any other aspect of the Feminine Archetype. I am suggesting that the Goddess-orientation so dear to indigenous sensibilities finds expression in both phenomena, and that some of what is learned about the nature of one might facilitate a sensibility and appreciation of the other. It has done so for me.
Prof. Pasztory's treatment is also a splendid introduction to the world of modern scholarship concerning American origins, and for that reason alone, its length is not out of place. Its inclusion here is by her kind permission.
Teotihuacan - The Pyramid of the Sun and the Goddess
In 1968 workmen consolidating the Pyramid of the Sun noticed air arising between the attached adosada platform and the pyramid and discovered that a long tunnel-like cave went from the entrance to the center. The cave had been closed up during the Tlamimilolpa phase (A.D. 200-400), perhaps for fear of a collapse. Nothing spectacular was inside - bits of broken Veracruz-style mirrors and evidence of some burning, of some flowing water. But the existence of the cave immediately suggested that the Pyramid of the Sun might have been built over a sacred natural location.
It has long been known that the Teotihuacan area is full of caves. In 1906 Porfirio Diaz had lunch in a restaurant in a cave called La Gruta that still provides fare for tourists, not far to the east of the Pyramid of the Sun. In the 1980s Linda Manzanilla explored the terrain with remote sensing equipment and found that the entire site is full of caves and tunnels. She found, for example, that the tunnel underlying the Pyramid of the Sun continues both in front of and behind the pyramid, as part of a larger system. She also found a strong correlation between caves and three-temple complexes, most of which had been built near caves. lndeed, in one Aztec glyph, Teotihuacan is represented by two pyramids and a cave. Evidently, then, it was a city famous for its caverns and tunnels. The cave under the Pyramid of the Sun has become significant in the interpretation of its meaning and the possible deities to whom it was dedicated.
No known textual sources reveal to which deities the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon were dedicated. Because the Aztecs placed one of their creation myths - in which the sun and moon were created at the beginning of the present era - at the site of Teotihuacan, they named the massive structures the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. The Spanish, eager to simplify Indian religion to "sun and moon" worship, continued the myth. To attempt an identification for the Pyramid of the Sun, one must consider Aztec practice and what scholars know from the excavations of the Aztec main temple, the Templo Mayor. The abundant sixteenth-century texts and recent archaeology indicate how difficult the question is. The main Aztec temple was a twin-pyramid, dedicated to the rain god Tlaloc and the war god Huitzilopochtli. All sixteenth-century texts say so, and many refer to the statues of these deities in the temples on top. Those statues have long been destroyed, but many sculptures are among the nearly seven thousand objects uncovered in excavations directed by Eduardo Matos Moctezuma in the 1970s and 1980s in the interior of the pyramids. Many images of Tlaloc exist in clay, onyx, and greenstone - but none of Huitzilopochtli. In fact, there are no identifiable images of Huitzilopochtli among the many hundreds of Aztec stone sculptures. (Although other characters in the Huitzilopochtli mythology were given sculptural form.) Thus, if it were up to archaeology alone, there would be no way to know that the other half of the temple was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli.
…The archaeological identification of the gods to whom temples were dedicated is thus problematic. None of the temples of Mesoamerica built prior to the Postclassic period can be identified as being dedicated to a specific deity, nor are images that could clearly be deity cult images identifiable….
The other half of the temple was dedicated to the rain god Tlaloc. This division suggests a dichotomy between the cult of war and the cult of agricultural fertility. However, the situation is more complex than that because one of the ostensible aims of war and sacrifice was the support of the cosmos and, certainly, agricultural fertility. Moreover, although Tlaloc (a Jupiterlike deity of storm and lightning) was one of the preeminent gods of agricultural fertility, he also had civic aspects. To the Aztecs he was the god par excellence of the defunct earlier civilization of the Toltecs, including Teotihuacan. In raising a temple to Tlaloc the Aztecs were thus also venerating the ancient cultures of the Basin of Mexico.
Perhaps the term should be propitiating - hoping that old and new, Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli, would coexist in the harmony of the empire. The choices of the Aztecs were based on their historical position in Mesoamerica. They were conquerors who came from an allegedly nomadic background to an area with over a thousand years of settled civilization and with ruins like Teotihuacan. The mere fact that they thought that Teotihuacan had been built by the gods indicates that they could not imagine such a place built by man and felt small in comparison. Their consciousness was therefore strongly historical - as the many archaistic sculptures and heirlooms collected in the Templo Mayor indicate. Political acts (such as marriage into Toltec dynastic lines), twin-pyramids, and eclectic monuments testify to the fact that the Aztecs were not only trying to synthesize the past and the present, but were also maintaining the differences between a constructed past and present. They could, after all, have presented their own view of life and the cosmos and let the past take care of itself.
Teotihuacan, however, emerged in a completely different situation. Preceding it were only small centers, the largest of which was Cuicuilco (destroyed by a volcanic eruption), with stone architecture of a very modest scale dating to 400-200 BC Prior to that the basin had been inhabited since before 1000 BC but only by people living in villages of various sizes without significant monumental architecture or sculpture. At the time of Cuicuilco's prominence Teotihuacan was a provincial village in the northeast of the basin….
How did these events come about, and what led Teotihuacan to initiate monument building and urban living on such a colossal scale? I believe that in contrast to the Aztecs (who looked back into history and traditions of greatness) the visionary individuals responsible for the early growth and plan of Teotihuacan looked to a future they hoped to create, one they convinced others they could create. A particular crisis that might account in part for some of the special features of Teotihuacan is the volcanic eruption that covered Cuicuilco, which is dated to 50 B.C. The Basin of Mexico is ringed by volcanoes; eruptions and earthquakes were frequent and were perhaps in part responsible for a Mesoamerican view of the cosmos as hostile, powerful, and unpredictable. The significance of the eruption of Xitle that covered Cuicuilco is, however, specific and local. Even in Mexico only infrequently does a site or city lie directly in the path of a volcanic eruption, but at Cuicuilco the main pyramid is covered by several meters of lava….
Geologists have determined that Xitle was a monogenetic volcano of the Paricutin type, in an area where there are many monogenetic volcanoes. The most recent explosion was that of Xitle, which in the past had been dated anywhere from 400 B.C. to 400 A.D. but is now dated to around 50 B.C. The flow is estimated to have lasted ten years and covered 80 square kilometers known today as the Pedregal area of Mexico City. The thickness of this lava layer varies anywhere from a few meters to more than a hundred meters….
It is very hard to reconstruct ancient history on the basis of archaeology and geology, especially relying on radiocarbon dating. Many accepted "facts" of one decade change in the next, and new excavations rewrite history, sometimes completely. Whatever happened to Cuicuilco is hard to reconstruct…. Certainly at one point (generally believed to be at the time of the change of Teotihuacan from a large village to an urban state) Xitle erupted, covering a part of the site, in a process that might have taken something like ten years. Though the country is dotted by volcanoes and people are used to earthquakes and periodic ash faIls from the great poligenetic ones, eruptions that had such a direct effect on human life were extremely rare and must have been seen in ancient times as very significant….
I suggest a scenario in which civic-religious leaders proposed a "new order" that would guard more effectively against such a catastrophe. A defensive ideology might have been very helpful in getting the population to move to Teotihuacan or to justify its forcible move. The pyramids may have been both propitiations of the gods and indications that humans could now rival the powers of the gods - could build their own volcanoes. The scale of the pyramids was perhaps assurance that the leaders and the community were so powerful that they had nothing to fear.
Did Teotihuacan continue Cuicuilco traditions or depart from them? This question is difficult to answer in view of the fragmentary nature of the information about Cuicuilco. Little clay censers representing old men were copied at Teotihuacan in stone versions, indicating the continuity of household and family ritual. Yet the orientation and layout of the centers are very different. Cuicuilco appears to have been oriented to the cardinal directions, judging by the east-west orientation of the stairway of the main pyramid and the other structures. Teotihuacan was oriented quite differently, 15 degrees 25 minutes east of north, suggesting that it was based on new and different astronomical calculations. Teotihuacan seems to have chosen an astronomically derived order for itself that was consciously different from that of Cuicuilco and was very likely a part of its ideological "defense.”
Rene Millon saw the beginning of Teotihuacan thus: an audacious ruler proposed that time began at Teotihuacan, at the site where the Pyramid of the Sun was later built, using astronomical observations. He conquered the people of the valley, resettled them at Teotihuacan, and organized them into huge building crews. He is buried in the interior of the Pyramid of the Sun. The conquests were continued by the next important ruler, who is buried in the Pyramid of the Moon. The monuments are thus monuments to autocratic rule, like the pyramids of Egypt.
I accept Millon's idea of a "new era" as the foundation of Teotihuacan, but I have a different "story" to account for it. I agree that the city may well have been consolidated through conquest, which is true of most large chiefdoms and states. Ideology is almost always a part of a conquest. Great would-be world conquerors, like Napoleon Bonaparte, for example did not win merely by superior force of arms and manpower but by promising superior new political conditions. Conquerors often claim to "free" their victims in some fashion. Ideology is essential both for the followers of the leader and for the conquered if they are to be assimilated into a new polity. Moreover, the leader too is most convincing if he believes to some extent in his own cause.
Most Mesoamerican warfare, even in the famous Aztec empire, was designed to gain tribute and not territory or population. Its ideological justification was the acquisition of victims for sacrifice to maintain the cosmic cycles of the universe. The conquered people shared this ideology. Conqueror and victim were often represented on monuments that dramatized and celebrated this situation of "eternal warfare." Historians have shown that the Aztecs did not have the practical resources - including roads and transportation facilities - to maintain a large territorial empire and to incorporate the conquered population permanently. The Aztec solution, punitive wars and sacrifices, followed from the problem of the instability of the empire. Such a pattern was probably characteristic of endemic Classic Maya warfare, sacrifice, and tribute collection as well.
The founders of Teotihuacan had, for their time, the novel concept of creating a large and unified political territory justified by social harmony rather than by conflict. They evidently wanted to concentrate the population of the Basin of Mexico in one center. While this goal may have had clear advantages in terms of social, political, and economic control, I imagine that the ideological justification was the creation of a place "free" from the unpredictable forces of the cosmos and based on models of order, harmony, and control rather than chance and conflict. Teotihuacan was going to outdo the gods through knowledge and organization.
All settlements in the basin need not have been conquered; some could have been persuaded to participate in the new community by privileges or threats. I suggest that the leaders of Teotihuacan presented themselves primarily as priests, rather than as the dynastic rulers common in Mesoamerica and perhaps also at Cuicuilco. I assume this from the lack of ruler representation and the lack of dates and inscriptions at Teotihuacan that are common in other Mesoamerican cultures associated with dynastic rulers. In my view, the founding leaders of Teotihuacan emphasized their knowledge of the will of the gods and their superior propitiating abilities, abasing themselves in the process. These early political-religious leaders may well have been buried in the great pyramids, but I doubt that the pyramids were dedicated to them.
The art of later periods indicates the Teotihuacan insistence that it was not governed by a dynastic family. Either Teotihuacan selected rulers from certain families and did not focus on primogeniture and descent, or if Teotihuacan had a ruling dynasty it chose not to dramatize its rulers. This anonymity could have been either because rulers were so much in control that they did not have to bother with ritual and artistic legitimation or because a low profile was their chosen strategy. Like the Inca, whose power is symbolized by great walls and not portraits, the rulers of Teotihuacan are portrayed in colossal architecture. The nature of Teotihuacan imagery makes me feel that the rulers chose to rule through the deities and the forces of nature that they represented, as a more effective approach than the cult of their own personality. Such "austerity" may have made them more impressive in the eyes of a heterogeneous population and hence was a superior form of legitimation….
…At its inception, Teotihuacan must have been an ethnically diverse place, with the elite from Oztoyahualco. It must have been a rare feat of social engineering to organize a heterogeneous, rapidly expanding settlement in one crowded place into a cooperating whole. The great pyramids prove that in some fashion this unification was accomplished. Moreover, farmers were persuaded to live in the city and go quite some distance to their fields.
Ideology must have been a crucial tool in this organization, since voluntary participation is more cost-effective than force. Some scholars have suggested that the Olmec and Maya were "theater" states that used architecture, monuments, and ceremonies to create elite power. With its colossal pyramids, avenues, and plazas Teotihuacan is the greatest "ritual theater" in all of Mesoamerica, with both "performers" and "audience" living in the "theater" at all times. The architectural scale of the city literally competes with nature and was perhaps meant to be intimidating both to men and to the gods.
Millon sees a far greater role of force and centralized control at Teotihuacan than I do. I imagine force playing a role, but primarily through the creation of a psychological atmosphere of fear attributed to the demonstrably hostile outside forces. The rulers would then have offered "protection" and were not themselves the threat. I also think that in exchange for control, the population of Teotihuacan enjoyed certain very real benefits….
…In my view the rulers of Teotihuacan would have used force, provided some benefits, created a myth that made sense of the world and of everyone's role in it, and created a convincing show of living up to their values. The notion that all past cultures relied primarily on brute force as social control is based on the Enlightenment concepts of human rights in which governments are believed to crush human liberty unless they are consensual and constitutional in the modern sense. We have thus inherited the idea that all ancient states were absolute and evil.
Concentrating the population in one large city may have been an easier way of enforcing control, but it was also dangerous in that uprisings or factional conflicts could occur on a much larger and potentially lethal scale. In fact, eventually, such an internal crisis may have resulted in the collapse of the city. As I see it, the ideology Teotihuacan propagated was twofold: partly it was defensive and relied on the power of the gods (and the priests who contacted them) to protect the city from environmental disaster, and partly it was positive and promised agricultural fertility, wealth, and social and cosmic order.
Unlike the arts of most of Mesoamerica that glorified violence and dissension, art at Teotihuacan emphasized harmonious coexistence. As striking as the lack of themes of conflict is the lack of dates. Teotihuacan presented itself as a timeless place, as if it had existed from time immemorial and would exist into eternity, outside of history and historical contingency.
Teotihuacan seems to have been the first culture in Mesoamerica to put the emphasis on the gods and the supernatural rather than on the human world in artistic commemoration. Most Mesoamerican monuments depict rulers, prisoners, ballplayers, and more rarely deities. Ancestor worship may have been the major cult of the elite, and many images (such as the well-known Monte Alban urns) appear to represent ancestors rather than gods. The deities in Classic Maya art are usually shown as small creatures under the control of the rulers or as a part of their costume. In the Post-classic period there are more deities, and the appearance is standardized in the divinatory codices….
The most intriguing Teotihuacan deity is the Goddess, who seems especially strongly associated with masks. She is generically related to the various water, fertility, and death goddesses of Mesoamerica, but her specific form has no ancestry outside of Teotihuacan, and with the possible exception of some Xochicalco images, she has no visual descendants. Three colossal statues in Teotihuacan style depict this goddess as a neutral or benevolent power. The representational strategy of Teotihuacan was thus seduction rather than terror. A feminine major deity serves to emphasize cosmic rather than political issues, and a benevolent appearance emphasizes positive values.
Doris Heyden suggested that the cave under the Pyramid of the Sun was like the Chicomoztoc, or Seven Caves of Origins, of the Aztecs. According to Aztec migration legends, their barbarian ancestors emerged from caves. Karl Taube suggested a variant interpretation more in line with what scholars know of Teotihuacan: rather than a cave of origin and the beginning of a migration, he suggests that this was a cave of emergence more on the model of Hopi belief. (Although the Hopi actually believe that after emergence they did go on a migration.) He suggests that the people of Teotihuacan may have believed that they were autochthonous and that they came out of the earth at that spot.
On admittedly slight evidence, I had developed the hypothesis that if the major deity of the Pyramid of the Sun was one of the ones we know, it was the Goddess. Although I am technically the "discoverer" of this goddess in the iconography of Teotihuacan, others, such as Hasso von Winning and Clara Millon, saw her importance long before I did. Hasso von Winning calls her the Great Goddess, but because of all the controversy that surrounds the concept of an ancient "Great Goddess," I call her "the Goddess." My original discovery of her was through simple Selerian identification. I noted that most Storm God images had very clear facial features and costumes: ringed eyes, a moustache-like upper lip, a water lily hanging from the mouth, and a five-knot headdress in the case of Tlaloc A and similar facial features, a long tongue, and a variety of headdresses in the case of Tlaloc B (As mentioned earlier, a larger sample studied by James Langley shows that this division is illusory because many intermediate forms exist.) I noted that several deities, such as the Jade Deity of Tetitla and the Deity of Tepantitla, which are usually called Tlalocs, lacked every one of these features. Instead, they shared a frame-headdress with a zigzag border and a bird in the center, a yellow face and hands, a mask, and a nose bar of some kind. At Tepantitla this figure was the major deity, and the Storm God was relegated to the borders….
The femaleness of the Tepantitla and Tetitla deities was at first hard for me to accept completely, and I thought that they might be bisexual. The best evidence for femininity was the presence of a spider in both murals. Metaphorically, spiders represent weavers and are symbols of women and feminine activity from Mesoamerica as far as the American Southwest. (Taube goes so far as to call the Teotihuacan goddess "Spider Woman" as in Southwestern mythology.) In addition, at Tepantitla the elite "priests" flanking the deity wear skirts and huipils rather than male garments. Whether they are male or female, they appear to be dressed as women; the priests of deities often dressed in male or female attire matching the gender of the deity in Mesoamerican rituals.
At Tepantitla the half-body of the Goddess rises from a talud/tablero platform ornamented with flowers and feathers. In the center of the platform, an upside-down U shape frames a space, in which seeds are represented, that I have interpreted as a symbolic cave. This central symbol emerges from a wavy body of water in which shellfish swim. Its top is an imaginary ground line on which plants such as maize and fruit trees grow. A branch or vine divided into a red half and a yellow half emerges from the back of the - Goddess, full of spiders and butterflies. The tree is laden with flowers in bloom, seemingly weighted down by drops and streams of water, as after a rainstorm. Birds hover around it. Although the Goddess is masked, her hands with painted fingernails are very visible. She holds huge drops of water. The Tetitla version of the Goddess lacks the elaborate setting, but the outstretched arms giving gifts are very similar. Instead of drops of water, she presents streams of liquid full of little green Both the Tepantitla and Tetitla Goddess images are from apartment compounds and date probably to the late Metepec phase (A.D. 650-750). The Teotihuacan Goddess images are far less standardized in form than are images like the Storm God that were established prior to the rise of Teotihuacan. Because so much variety of representation exists, there is no way to be certain whether all the figures I will mention represent one being or perhaps several. They share certain iconographic features, such as yellow body color or a zigzag-bordered headdress, as well as thematic features such as cavelike interiors or hidden faces. I have argued in the past that circumstantial evidence makes this protean figure one goddess, and I still choose that interpretation to tell my story of Teotihuacan here. I am, however, very aware that the Goddess is a construct and that other explanations may hold for the same images. I have no doubt, however, that the three colossal stone images found at Teotihuacan - the so-called Water Goddess, the so-called Tlaloc figure of Coatlinchan, and the fragment similar to the Water Goddess - all represent persons in female dress, thus making a female figure the most important visual image at the site….
In one mural the Goddess seems to be represented merely by a frame-headdress with the yellow and red zigzag borders, while the mural shows in abstract and decorative ways wavy lines for water, water lilies, shells, and sea creatures, and hidden among them, seeds: images of water, flowers, and agricultural fertility like the more anthropomorphic Tepantitla mural. The seeds are protected in cavelike enclosures. The presence of the goddess is merely implied by the headdress.
The other mural shows matching enigmatic forms at the two sides of the painting, blending the silhouettes of a mountain, a pyramid, and a woman wearing a skirt and a huipil. Each of these forms is personified by earplugs, nose bar, collar, and headdress, but is otherwise "faceless." The interior of each is cavelike, has a small structure, and contains scrolls that suggest smoke or sound. Small human figures present offerings to these two distant and seemingly indifferent beings. At the lower border, seeds are placed within wavy lines that signify water. In this mural the Goddess is present not as a person but as a personified mountain or temple, literally represented as a force of nature.
The two Temple of Agriculture murals may also represent the Goddess in a less human form than the later ones. She is represented either only by her headdress or by a very generalized and impersonal form. A vast gulf in size and scale separates her from humans. This difference in scale is not unlike what must have been the difference between the modest perishable homes of the Tzacualli phase and the Pyramid of the Sun.
Why should the Goddess be related to caves? Clearly she is an earth or nature goddess whose realm includes water, agricultural fertility, minerals, and wealth. She is shown as giving these as gifts. Sometimes she is shown only by hands pouring gifts. Three representations suggest caves: the mural of the Deity of Tepantitla and the two murals of the Temple of Agriculture. There was and is a great deal of cave lore in Mexico, and much of it concerns a powerful female enchantress who hoards seeds and treasure inside the cave. Bernardino de Sahagun documented some of this cave lore in the sixteenth century. Sahagun's informants explained that rivers, which are the property of Chalchiuhtlicue (the Aztec water goddess), flowed from Tlalocan, the earthly paradise of Tlaloc: "mountains were only magic places, with earth, with rock on the surface: ...they were only like ollas or like houses; ...they were filled with the water which was there." It was said, "This mountain of water, this water, springs from there, the womb of the mountain. For from there Chalchiuhtlicue sends it." These traditions are remembered to the present day in many conservative areas. For example, some years ago a Tlaxcalancingo Indian reported a miraculous encounter with a woman who told him that she was the owner of a local source of water and who showed him her cave, which was full of water. In present-day Tlaxcala tradition, the cave of Malintzi is full of jars - some of which contain water, and others, all sorts of seeds. The story of an enchanted cave where men find riches is told in the villages in the Valley of Teotihuacan. As a rule, in these stories, seductive women who live in caves approach men and offer marriage as well as riches. Often the men become rain priests, and after their death go to live permanently in the cave.
Cave ritualism on an elite rather than a folk level near the Valley of Mexico is evident at least as early as 1000 B.C. at the site of Chalcatzingo, where a sacred rock with caves was venerated in both dynastic and nature ritual. On one cliff a human figure sits inside a mouth representing a cave entrance. Cave-tunnels were built in a Puebla pyramid at Totimehuacan antedating the Pyramid of the Sun and its cave by hundreds of years. Frogs ornamenting the sides of a stone basin inside the chamber at the end of the tunnel refer generally to water imagery. A Teotihuacan-style painting in one of the Chalcatzingo caves indicates a possible Teotihuacan familiarity with this site. Chalcatzingo was subsequently venerated as a shrine by the Aztecs. Caves continued to be important in Aztec times, and one cave that was important before the Spanish conquest has become a Christian place of pilgrimage and is the church of the Christ of Chalma.
Although the Storm God may also be associated with caves, because of the importance of the Goddess in Teotihuacan representation I have suggested that the deity primarily associated with caves, and by extension with the Pyramid of the Sun and its cave, was the Goddess. I have two reasons for this association of the Goddess and the Pyramid of the Sun: (1) the superior role of the Goddess in relation to the Storm God and the possibility that she was the major deity of Teotihuacan, and (2) the cave as ultimately a womblike feminine symbol. The realm of the Goddess was watery but, I suggest, mainly consisted of terrestrial waters-lakes, streams, seas.
At Teotihuacan, these types of waters have an underground association like that of caves. As Rene Millon has shown, the San Juan River could not have irrigated the lands needed for a city of this size, but the area is rich in underground springs, many located in the present village of San Juan Teotihuacan. In addition, the water table at Teotihuacan is very high, and canals could have easily been cut to acquire further supplies of water. Both the water table and springs are underground features like the caves and are specific geographically to this area. The realm of the Goddess was therefore largely underground….
Though I imagine that the leaders, those who thought up the combined ritual and political attraction of what was to be Teotihuacan, were definitely powerful humans, I see them as having integrated their ideas not by setting up one of themselves as a divine king but by elevating the Goddess to colossal proportions. If the three-temple complexes were dedicated to a deity triad, the Goddess was perhaps one of the three deities. In the case of the Pyramid of the Sun, with the cave literally incorporated into the pyramid, a dedication to the Goddess seems like a reasonable conclusion. The lack of representations in the early periods has always been a mystery, but perhaps the Goddess was literally the cave and temple, rather than an image. Perhaps she, like the other gods, was represented by masked impersonations and not by permanent images. Her facelessness in early representations seems to suggest a reticence in giving her a fully human form.
Unlike Huitzilopochtli of the Aztecs, the Teotihuacan Goddess was not brought from anywhere else but seems to have been local. Like Huitzilopochtli, however, she may have had a civic and political dimension. Recent excavations in the Street of the Dead Complex, the administrative center of the city, unearthed a large sculpture of her made of blocks of stone. Hasso von Winning has suggested that the colossal so-called Tlaloc of Coatlinchan, now at the entrance to the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, is an unfinished version of her. Were Teotihuacan artisans working on it at the time of the collapse of the city in A.D. 750? When the number of murals and incense burners that represent her is compared to that of the deities, she emerges as the supreme deity of the city, at least from A.D. 200 to A.D. 750. If Teotihuacan had a patron deity, she may have been it. Curiously, however, she does not appear outside the city of Teotihuacan in important political contexts. (The Storm God, with or without the tasseled headdress, seems to have that role.)
Within the city the Goddess is preeminent. On many of the incense burners, the masks seem to represent a face like hers, the mouth covered by a nose bar. I have already argued that these composite incense burners reflect or idealize in their structure the apartment-compound make-up of the city, expressing the values of hierarchic order within which room for family or individual variation exists. The bodiless face, only a mask, set deep within this structure - as in a metaphoric cave - could be the Goddess herself. Even more enigmatic and evocative are naked figures (not always clearly female) with hollow interiors with small, fully dressed Teotihuacan personages that are glued to the inside of the figures' chest, arms, and legs. These figures evoke the image of a large, benign, vague being whose body is literally a dwelling place. Using that as a metaphor we could say that the people of Teotihuacan resided within the sacred body (i.e., earth) of the Goddess. Her powers were, however, local and specific to the Valley of Mexico.
Why should this civic deity have been female? Her status may have been entirely fortuitous, if the ancient cave deity was female in myths handed down by previous generations. Societies emphasize whatever deities they choose, and therefore, even if inherited, the deities are intentionally kept and reaffirmed. The female supreme deity may have evolved in contrast to the generally male semidivine dynastic rulers of Mesoamerica. Male gods, male rulers, and male culture heroes could blend easily, as the story of Quetzalcoatl indicates. Because women are rarely rulers (though some exceptions existed in the Maya area), their identification with nondynastic matters is more likely. A primary identification of the Goddess was with the earth, and I suggest the specific geographic landscape in the Basin of Mexico.
Female patron goddesses exist outside Teotihuacan. One notable example is Athena of Athens, who, like the Teotihuacan Goddess, is somewhat ambiguous sexually because her sexual or maternal qualities are not important. Like Athena, who is a goddess of war, the Teotihuacan Goddess has a claw-handed destructive side. Athena is almost like a man, but by being a woman she is credited with a higher degree of morality and deeper devotion. In most cultures, female symbols have often been associated with great positive ideals that symbolize the group as a whole and social integration. Sherry Ortner has noted that though Women in general are associated with "nature" and accorded a lower esteem than are men, who are associated with " culture," paradoxically, supercultural values are often embodied in feminine figures. As another example, though of course the United States has no civic deities, the Statue of Liberty functions as a civic symbol. A colossal Woman holding a torch, she was given to the United States only in the nineteenth century, well after the development of this utopian Country based on antimonarchic principles. "Lady Liberty" is not a dead idea but is frequently evoked and illustrated in a wide variety of contexts, from cartoons and magazine covers to wall murals. Articles about the statue or the people Who take care of it are Common on the Fourth of July. People customarily refer to the statue as though she were a real person. Although she is usually associated with the Concept of liberty, the placement of the statue near Ellis Island indicates that she is also a symbol of the utopian future that immigrants will find, and of their integration into the community as a whole. In a general sense, both to citizens and to foreigners her image represents the United States. The United States also has a male symbol, Uncle Sam, who seems to function in a more military and political context but as a symbol of integration, Lady Liberty is far more important. Like Athena and the Statue of Liberty, the Goddess of Teotihuacan expresses civic values beyond politics, symbolized by her femininity.
…Returning to the original scenario of the creation of Teotihuacan ideology in which the destruction of Cuicuilco may have played a role, one's attention is drawn to "dangerous mountains" with cavelike interiors, which erupt violently and unexpectedly. In the Postclassic period many volcanoes had deity names, such as Tlaloc, Popocatepetl, and Ixtacihuatl, and could be conceptualized as either male or female. If Xitle and the other monogenetic volcanoes emerged from the earth suddenly and unexpectedly, an earth goddess may have been the right being to propitiate them. An interest in volcanoes, caves, and destruction could relate to rituals in caves. All those artificial caves near three-temple complexes and within the Pyramid of the Sun may have been a part of such a ritual. Since Xitle never erupted again and the Cuicuilco disaster lost its powerful immediacy in time, some of the aspects that made Teotihuacan unique appear to have been lost in memory. If the Goddess was in some ways particularly related to these unique and local aspects that would explain her disappearance as well.
…I wondered whether there is a correlation between the city's not commemorating male dynastic rulers and elevating a female deity into paramount importance. Anthropological studies of female images suggest that these images are selected when they are cosmically important or when particularly idealistic and inclusive concepts need to be embodied. Male images tend to stand for more specific powers…. It thus seemed to me that Teotihuacan appealed to nature (symbolized by a feminine deity) rather than to dynastic rulership in forging a myth and ideology for its population.
Together, these features - the lack of dramatic civic-temple building in the later centuries of Teotihuacan, the presence of the apartment compounds, the avoidance of the representation of individual rulers, the emphasis on anonymous elites performing rituals, the making of symbolic objects such as incense burners whose structure reflects collective symbolism as well as individual choice, and the existence of a major female deity-form a remarkable set of data to try to explain both culturally and artistically….
For the rulership of the city there is less direct evidence. The monumental architecture and the organization of the city suggest strong central power, but no one knows in what form that power existed. If Teotihuacan had a ruling dynasty, it was remarkable in not making images of itself. If rulers were selected out of certain lineages or from certain titled individuals, a practice in some Aztec towns, this situation would be highly interesting in connection with the archaic state. No evidence confirms either a ruling dynasty or a selection process.…
Of the subtleties of Teotihuacan political organization, observers can have only a very vague idea. Judging by the emphasis on organization in the city and apartment compounds, I imagine that the political structure of Teotihuacan was dense, complex, and subtle. With various changes, it lasted more than eight hundred years. Yet it was so unusual, or the result of such special circumstances, that nothing like it was ever built again in Mesoamerica.
Prof. Pasztory has cogently described evidence of a significant chapter in the development of human culture in America. But what does it mean? It may be true enough that some powerful ruler decided to incorporate the bulk of the population of the Valley of Mexico into his new utopia, using a revolutionary ideology, but that hardly answers the important questions. This is no criticism of Pasztory or any other historian; facts are information, they do not contain significance. For this, we need a corresponding inner response of vision, imagination, meaning. Perhaps a critical mass of information is required before imagination can be grounded in something other that naïve sympathy or romantic projection. Prof. Pasztory is cautiously stretching the envelope of what is possible in academic discourse. Others like Rudolf Steiner (who certainly paid his academic dues, e.g.; editing Goethe's scientific works for the Collected Edition) worked very much outside the box of accepted limits of analytic inquiry. His idea of a singular event of planetary significance occurring at a definite point in time - 30 - 33 A.D. - is not an impossible one to entertain for believers in religion, but his attempt to locate it as an objectively real and practically effective spiritual event within the currents of history is unprecedented. The life and death of Jesus Christ is certainly a fact of life for those who live within the Judeo-Christian culture (as it is for those who live outside of it but who are nonetheless affected by it!), but to attribute to it a formative potency separate from belief or dogma, well, that just does not compute for the modern mind.
If the Birth and Death of Christ was of such world-forming significance for the Old World, is it so hard to imagine that, as He disappeared from the recording eye of history in that arena (the existence of Jesus Christ is still a matter of some dispute in some quarters; the documentation is sketchy), his influence might resurrect in some other part of the world? Here it must be emphasized at risk of excessive repetition, that this Christ of which we speak has only circumstantial similarity to the forms propagated by institutional Christianity; the One of which we speak is the Spirit of Humanity, as recognizable by Pagans as by those raised in the dominant culture. Nothing about this being can be owned by any human agenda or agency!
But: there was no Romanism of the European sort laying in wait in Mesoamerica, ready to gobble up an iconoclastic spiritual impulse. A paternalistic and jealous monotheism had not received and sheltered the Logos. A variegated cultural mix, always reverent towards the Mother-aspect of the Godhood, was easily able to understood His descent into the UnderWorld and His resurrection at the hands of the deepest chthonic Powers. Those people had also understood and experienced some of the mighty complexities of the fate of the Mother - the usurpation of her prerogatives at the hands of an ancient and corrupt priesthood, and the destructive debasement of her powers. They would have been able to notice and welcome the change in the world's etheric and astral weather as Christ descended into the UnderWorld to harrow and winnow it: to release His Mother from the entombing vanities of selfish human and demonic agendas.
A “ruler” would not have needed to do much convincing; he would only have needed to speak for what many were experiencing - especially if the event had been a public one! Although there is some indication of a martial class, there is little to indicate any militaristic internal controls or external conquest by force-of-arms. Perhaps the authentic hero whose memory the Aztecs coopted as “Huitzilopochtli” and the Maya venerated as “Itzamna” was the one who continued on in his career as the anonymous “ruler” who consolidated Teotihuacan as the City-State-Empire that it was. Who else would have had the prestige and authority to mobilize such an enterprise, if not such a victorious shaman? What other event could have released such immense forces into the SurfaceWorld mix? Perhaps the imposing Temple of the Feathered Serpent in Teotihuacan, begun shortly after such an individual, blessed by long life, had died, constitutes his burial mound? (That monument is the only edifice or trace of such a possible commemoration to an individual in the whole history of Teotihuacan, though most consider it a Temple to a God, not an individual). If the latter supposition is true, this means that Steiner's characterization of Quetzalcoatl as an adversary to our hero is incorrect - although it must be considered that he might have been speaking about only one of Quetzalcoatl's many aspects. On this point, Steiner is not precise enough in his remark to be refutable. If he is correct, then from shortly after the genesis of Teotihuacan discordant influences began to make themselves felt - but this is belied by all evidence which exists, which testifies to a remarkable concordance among all sectors of that society - that is, up until the final and abrupt climax to Teotihuacan's history, when it was ritually dismantled and deconsecrated by a singleness of purpose equaled only by that demonstrated in its founding.
It would at least seem reasonable to look for similar influences at work in both the founding and the dissolution of such a singular enterprise. Perhaps the dark forces, the vanquishing of which provided the impetus for the phenomenon of the city, experienced a resurgence during the dark years of 666 A.D., and the rulers of the city, successful thus far in their refusal of pomp and circumstance and in their reliance on servant leadership, were able to rise to the challenge one last time. Reading the writing on the wall, and failing in a century of effort to hold the enterprise together, they closed the enterprise down, and not only physically, but magically, lowered the curtain on the drama - and apparently with the cooperation of the populace! The rite had been accomplished; everybody went home: “a good day to die!”
That such a scenario is unimaginable should vouch for its plausibility; after all, Teotihuacan's obvious genesis and existence are equally unimaginable! This scenario places Teotihuacan's origins and denouement at the same level and finds sources for both within the same dynamic.
Thus, the $64,000 question for one working out the implications of a conjunction of scholarly and InnerWorld research: Does Teotihuacan civilization reflect the ascendance of black magical or white magical influences; of a devolved malevolent matriarchy or a restoration of the true (if possibly Dark) Goddess? That Teotihuacan was obviously an ordered and harmonious society can cut either way; true peace is not necessarily the absence of overt internal conflict. Witness the distopias of “Brave New World” and “1984”: the former was a glossy zombie-land, that latter a gulag of the mind. But, on the other hand, in an age before the advent of Individualism, a society-wide consensus on the larger group goals does not imply any mechanism of suppression.
Some (Franzen) maintain strongly that Teotihuacan reflects the Utopia of a victorious Vitzliputzli - but for this he chooses to sidestep the difficult task of explaining the plain evidence of ritual human sacrifice dating from its very earliest years. This he does by simply stating that it did not occur, and that such rites occur only in later cultures. This is simply not the case.
Others perceive a sinister cast to Teotihuacan's immense and imposing grandeur, noting how its institutionalized revolutionarism predates Communism's bankrupt promises and our own metastasizing Imperialism. Yet, for those of this persuasion, how to explain the total absence of the megalomania which has corrupted every other civilization's system of rulership, and the strong indications of a bucolic social atmosphere?
It is hard to see how, given the evidence, both these strains could have coexisted for so long without tearing the culture apart; one or the other must have been decisive for at least half a millenium or more. But which one? This writer is greatly perplexed and considers one, then the other, as plausible. There is just not enough evidence available to tilt the scales one way or the other, and inner vision cannot yet penetrate the fog of centuries.
Granted, these questions and suppositions can only be considered as exploratory, yet one of the “proofs” for such kinds of speculations is their ability to illuminate previously intractable problems; to jump-start new trains of associations in minds which had previously been hampered by outmoded restrictions - and to generate a flurry of new questions. The kinds of new questions that I am asking are just that: new ones, and I do not pretend that they have found their best formulations or answers, yet it is time that they are asked and pursued.
Prof. Pasztory's own ideas do not rule out this line of investigation, although she does not venture very far into what the substance of Teotihuacan ideology might have been:
“Because the art of Teotihuacan is predominantly religious, I will suggest that abstraction at Teotihuacan was first and foremost a negation of other Mesoamerican traditions and that Teotihuacan once had a powerful religion with a message in which the ideas of some kind of higher purity was combined with concepts of rational order and organization. Teotihuacan may have been built as a utopian city putting into practice a cosmic vision of the world that was entirely new in the history of Mesoamerica and that did not outlast its collapse. “
As Steiner is at pains to point out, clear thinking combined with scrupulous observation and common sense can duplicate and confirm many of the insights available to a Seer!
Before we leave this section, we shall consider a few more factors in the drama:
Let us examine the seminal instance of the operation of the Double in Encounter and Denial in the defining event of modern history:
“The entire history of the history of America, the first episode of the conquest, is marked by this ambiguity: human alterity is at once revealed and rejected. The year 1492 already symbolizes, in the history of Spain, this double movement: in the same year the country repudiates its interior Other by triumphing over the Moors in the final battle of Granada and by forcing the Jews to leave its territory; and it discovers the exterior Other, that whole America which will become Latin. We know that Columbus himself continually links the two events: “In this present year 1492, after your highnesses have brought to an end the war against the Moors…in this very month…Your Highnesses…determined to send me, Cristobal Colon, to the said regions of India…Thus, after having driven all the Jews out of your realms and dominions, Your Highnesses in this same month of January commanded me to set out with sufficient armada to the said countries of India", he writes at the head of the journal of the first voyage. The unity of the two endeavors, in which Columbus is prepares to see divine intervention, resides in the propagation of the Christian faith. “I hope in Our Lord that Your Highnesses will determine to send [priests] in great diligence in order to convert them, just as your Highnesses have destroyed those who were unwilling to confess the Father, the Son, and the Holy ghost.” (6/11/1492). But we can also see the two actions as directed in opposite, and complementary, directions: one expells heterogeneity from the body of Spain, the other irremediably introduces it there.
“In his way, Columbus himself participates in this double movement. He does not perceive alterity, as we have seen (previously: “What is denied [with regards to the Indians themselves] is the existence of a human substance truly other, something capable of being not merely an imperfect state of oneself”), and he imposes his own values upon it; yet the term by which he most often refers to himself and which his contemporaries also employ is extranjero, “outsider”; and if so many countries have sought the honor of being his fatherland, it is because he himself had none.”
It is with the utmost sense of deja vu that I note the recent push of the Defense Department's “Star Wars” agenda; the militarization of space for the advantage of US political/economic goals. Half a century after Los Alamos was inaugurated as the cutting edge of our military-industrial complex, the impulse has metastasized throughout our society. This is not a brand-new ambition: millennia ago, the warfare of the mesoamericans was regulated according to highly refined Venus-cycle calendars and calculations. The archeologists, from out of completely different, yet totally convergent, considerations, have termed this strategy… “Star Wars”.
We could also examine the strange phenomenon of the corporation: a legal entity which, while not exactly alive is nonetheless potentially immortal, endowed with many of the rights but few of the responsibilities of a human person; a strange breed of updated golem, vampire, or Frankenstein's creature, an entity of limited accountability but implacable appetites, no conscience and sentient only with regards to the bottom line; one which stalks our earth insatiably devouring resources according to implacable logic, claiming ownership of even the common genetic birthright of our food supply - soon even of human beings themselves. What prehistoric dreams of deviant shamans or manic alchemists find embodiment therein?
We have indicated a crucial difference between the development of civilization in Europe and in North America. The picture of it will have to suffice, and the crucial role played by the singular Maya to the South and of the myriad cultures to the North in all this will have to go undeveloped, although investigation of the latter evidences a profound wisdom of social dynamics.
Let us now examine another clue, again from the Big Picture end of the spectrum: one that leads us deeper still - into realms of redemption. Rudolf Steiner, in his Fifth Gospel lectures, presents the mighty Imagination of the initiate Jesus making his way to his approaching Baptism. He is in a state of deep despair because he perceives with the full weight of soul-perception the collapse and decay of the world's great Mystery-Traditions. None of them have survived with the capability to meet successfully the great changing needs of the times. All are more vestiges of the past than solid hopes for the future. This perspective also finds corroboration from no less an authority on the inner spiritual life of Pagan and Christian culture than the initiate-priestess Dion Fortune, who points out that: “…we must not forget that Christianity came as a corrective to a pagan world that was sick unto death with its own toxins”. His own efforts may have been seen by himself as being more in the nature of an existential act than a real plan of action; all he could do was to make himself available. His biography-become-Mythos is well known.
But let us consider what is left unsaid, but nonetheless so significant upon only a little reflection. These failed Mystery-Traditions would have been the esoteric foundations of the pre-Christian matriarchal religions. (The Jewish cult of a single patriarchal god was conspicuous by its uniqueness, but even it had had a significant goddess component in early times, one which may have surfaced for a moment in the Magdalene stream.) Therefore the primary deities of these mystery streams would have been goddesses, not “gods.” Since Steiner places the locus of the most devolved mystery streams in Mexico, this suggests that the prime being standing behind the devolved portion of the Mysteries in Mexico would most likely have been a chthonic goddess. Another related item: In the Aztec origin-myth of Huitzilopochtli's victory over his evil nemesis Coyolxauhqui, it is explicit that this individual was his sister - a woman!
This is consistent with the little that is known about the most ancient mesoamerican religions, that of Teotihuacan in particular, as we have seen.
Because of these and many other converging indications to numerous to detail, I believe it probable that Cuicuilco-Teotihuacan was the axis for the events referred to by Steiner. The excruciatingly naïve model of many scholarly professionals that all “primitive deities” are anthropomorphic representations of basic elements of the agricultural cycle reveals a hollow pedanticism and a grossly stunted sense of the possible, although the mass of data which they have compiled allows for alternate conclusions.
Past this academic barrier we approach “those forces that are as yet quite unknown.” To acquaint ourselves with these forces and beings we must first confront their dark side - as we have been doing. The most obvious of the outer aspects is understood well enough: everybody knows what the effects of a nuclear exchange would be. The more subtle physiological effects arising from the saturation of the atmosphere with electromagnetic radiation of all wavelengths, the pervasive digitization of data, or the social effects of the instantaneous and constant transfer of unimaginable amounts of information and money across the globe are not known with equal certainty, but are suspected to be disorienting. The dark side of the UnderWorld - the chthonic regions within the earth-body - are not known with any degree of familiarity by many, but an instinctive aversion to it is common. Intimations that there might be anything but punishment lying below our feet are denied before they reach consciousness by very effective subconscious indoctrination, indoctrination backed up to the hilt by most religious theology, although there are significant fault lines appearing in that casing. Deeply implanted visions of Hell and Damnation are hard to get past - but where there's smoke, there's fire…. What is sequestered by Taboo is not necessarily evil. What Taboo does is limit access to dangerous forces; forces too strong for the uninitiated. It is the limits set by taboo which are lawfully transgressed in initiation…whether the subject is sex, driving privileges, or coworking with the beings of the OtherWorld
Little has been written in the popular press about the adversarial forces and beings which lie behind these eruptions of images and manifestations, and much of that is hopelessly simplified when not almost hypnotically fascinated, most of it amounting, in effect, to outright disinformation. As such, any tidy explanation is likely a complicit one; a manic pounding of square pegs into round holes. The psyche of the man-in-the-street is showing increasing signs of the load of these multiple layers of stress, the predictable symptoms being violence or stupor - as we can see.
Even less has been disseminated regarding the much more powerfulcreative and benevolent chthonic forces and beings which lie deeper still, or if it has, it has been reductionist and patronizing. R. J. Stewart's work in this regard is a lucid and extensive exception, although he is not by any means the only one. Within the context of the Mexican Mysteries, these would be Vitzliputzli's allies and guiding lights. Within the context of the inner earth, these would be the positive forces within the unconscious Will and the beings belonging to the Courts of the Mother. Within the context of their role in popular culture, these would include such trends as jazz, abstract art, twelve-step self-help programs, co-counseling, feminism, consensus decision-making, grass roots ecology, fringe spirituality, environmental activism, the Civil Rights and anti-war movements of the 1960's, and the emergent Civil Society initiatives, although anything can, and frequently does, goes askew when turned over to human agency…as a result, nothing in this paper should be construed as advocating or endorsing any particular political agenda. All of these, as can readily be seen, reflect diversifying tendencies of the periphery - just the place where the non-point-centered forces of the higher ethers have their locus. As previously remarked, it is beyond the scope of this article to detail the successful long-term cultivation of many of these specific social virtues within the many longstanding tribal cultures of Northern America, although this cries out for treatment.
For an excellent example embracing the quintessence of all of these, however, we can do no better than to turn to the modern figure of Nuestra Senora de Guadaloupe, who is equally accessible to Chicano vatos locos, Catholic nuns, hippie drop-outs, Indian activists, Hispanic housewives, and even normal Anglos. Many consider her to be a metamorphosis of the Aztec goddess Tonantzin; an earth-goddess, whose roots are ancient. Considering the vicissitudes to which the divine feminine has been subjected in history and in the Mysteries, her vitality is a very good sign; one of the fruits of Vitzliputzli's labors.
The relationship between what has been referred to so far and the following can only be given in outline, but it is the thesis of this writer that, though their fortunes may have waxed and waned, the American Mysteries have this as their direct concern:
“The earth is not only a great living creature. It is also a lofty spiritual being. Just as a great human genius cannot evolve to full stature without suitable development through childhood and youth, so the Mystery of Golgotha could not have taken place; the divine could not have united with the earth evolution if, in the days of earth's beginning, other divine beings had not descended in a different, though equally divine way. The revelation of the divine on high incorporated in the worship of Nerthus [the Earth Mother] differed from the way it was later understood, but it existed.”
In other words, the descent of Christ into the bowels of the Earth was not a totally unprecedented event; he only went there to reunite with beings who had preceded him by long ages and to reconnect the Circuit of Force between the Father and the Mother, repairing a discontinuity which long preceded our own microcosmic Fall.
Significantly, it was three women who received him off from the hinge of the Cross, and one who welcomed him on his return. There is no impulse that can stand against this current which is rising with a mighty pulse, though there may be random turbulence as it flashes forth into the fragile “reality” which has forgotten about it. This reality is the dominant one, but its pure litany cannot be catalogued so straightforwardly as can its obsessive distortions. We have spent enough time on the latter, what language can we use for the former? This is a problem: the derivative distortions are extrovert at this time; even being completely in their thrall is no impediment for an impotent, if clear, seeing of its nature, as many do nowadays. But the former originating reality of which our temporarily ascendant one is only distortion - its nature does not admit of cataloguing or objective analysis. Its reality is of the utmost self-existent subjectivity, and its nature is at this time only beginning to expand from the most intense introversion. How then to speak of it?
Encounter with these forces and beings on the inner planes does bring about wondrous transformations and understandings - for them as well as for us, and this should not be forgotten, while we are preoccupied with our own concerns. All, as are we, are players in a drama greater then ourselves; no one has seen the full script. Some are locked into circumstances seemingly beyond their control, trapped into a rapidly constricting downward spiral, even closer to the Pit than are we. Like a dangerous drowning man, they clutch to us. Some others are our age-old guides and mentors. This encounter with the divine chthonic which I recommend and describe is the only effective answer for the challenges which confront us from below, which every individual must seek out and access from out of their own idiosyncratic process: there are no general prescriptions possible. The wonder is that such singular processes do converge upon a shared reality, one that can marry diversity and consensus. This is a higher fluid reality, not the lower, fixed default reality of conformity which attempts to dominate the discussion. We should get on with it; the reactive encounter in mass-culture is well underway and experienced by all on a daily basis.
To sum up: Our American Demeter arises from realms far deeper and real than any threatening turbulence. She is not myth, but the source, ground, and reality of our Mythos.
It is her perspective which puts everything in focus and which will facilitate the impossible reconciliations which are needed.
She herself can show us what we want to know, what we need to know. Her status as a local cultural icon has aroused fierce controversy as modern, seemingly irreverent artists attempt to redescribe her. Regardless, it is less important how she is represented than who she is; she is not a fossilized icon, although she has become that to some. Her resources are not “product”; to be quantized, inventoried, and marketed, hence their lack of ready profile in a consumer society, yet the sources that inspire a Ghandi, a Martin Luther King, Jr. or a Mother Theresa are not negligible ones in spite of their insubstantial nature. On the spiritual path, one finds that the stronger the force, the more subtle it is.
A thorough description of the negative face of our age can easily be convincing. This is the problem with treating the subject of “evil”; the subject has an inherent affinity for the modern analytic observer's disassociated state. The more one examines “evil”, the more inevitable it seems - and the alternate reality is not even of an opposite polarity: polarity itself is the problem! Hence escaping its thrall is not a simple matter of imagining its opposite. The other reality; the real reality, the true originating reality (for the “bad” reality is always a derivative one) is of another order altogether, and it suffers from not having had the airplay of its zombie offspring (“the devil gets the best lines…”).
So this is our test: do we bet our stake on what we know is right, or do we go with what is proven by the “facts”? “Facts” is in parentheses because “facts” are a consensual agreement, and with them there is always an implied interpretation which rests on distant but controlling a priori assumptions. “Reality is relative.” The dense weight of evidence is weighty, indeed, and it is in the nature of discordant factoids to be easily catalogueable, while the integrative reality is of a subtler variety, one more inclined to levity. God must have a subtle sense of humor indeed, for whichever choice is made; for the accurate and the provable or for the True and the Good, the chooser will be proved correct: The only way to predict the Future is to create it”, as the bumper-sticker scripture proclaims.
Since “wisdom is but a single point which the ignorant multiply endlessly” (ibn 'Arabi), the temptation is to attempt to address the balance in this presentation by spilling an equal amount of ink upon the virtues of the UnderWorld wellsprings - a futile attempt which we shall not attempt here (but see Bib. II for many helpful references). You, dear reader, already know enough to separate the true facts from dark fancy - and you did even before you began turning these pages.
Follow your heart,
Use your mind,
Stand upon your Will,
And never, never submit.
You will always get the help you need - if you place yourself in need of it.
I propose: As mankind becomes increasingly estranged from the starry cosmos and its supersensible forces by the constricting belt of electromagnetic forces propagated through the atmosphere and near cultural space by our technocracy, it will be by the strategy of going deeper than the erupting subsensible forces that balance will be restored to the local creation. In America, this is where these forces are strongest, and where the resources available to meet them are unique and close at hand; where the paths are well-worn and under the dominion of this local goddess.
Approached in the InnerWorld, this American icon reveals herself as our idiomatic aspect of the global Demeter; she who holds the web of lives and Life in her hands. Embodiment of the planetary soul, she tends the interplay of all species and the orders of invisible beings connected with the evolution of the planet from elemental spirits, the Faery realm, to mighty terrestrial archangels of Land and Place, and many separated aspects of our greater human nature, many of which we have disowned in our evolution towards individuality and autonomy. Now, with the impulse towards freedom firmly fixed as an inextinguishable ideal in the minds of billions of souls, the corresponding virtue of responsibility towards all the other orders of life that helped us get to where we are need to come into play. Estranged as we are even from ourselves, this can seem equivalent to pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. It could well be, except that those that put us here are not leaving us without the means to do that.
Conceptually, the ideas of ecology, servant leadership, “Gaia”, “All My Relations”, and the like are powerful, and increasingly so as time goes on, but with the pervasive tendency of human nature to turn all noble impulses to petty agenda still in effect, it can only be by going to the sources of such inspirations that their pure water can be obtained. Ideas are thin gruel indeed - it's been a long time since people could see the Platonic Ideals - but they do reflect and indicate the beings that originate them. Ideas relating to mutual cooperation of life within and between cells, beings, species; ideas that run counter to “nature red in tooth and claw” and “survival of the fittest” are ones that increasingly seek realization in our world - and they can be understood from the inside by drinking from the Vessel that nourishes them. Her name is manifold, and her aspects many, but here in this part of the world she meets those who wish to meet her as: Nuestra Senora de Guadaloupe. The technique? Simple asking; and patient attention. Hard to do for those of us intent on “making things happen - and quickly!” and who are reeling from relentless blows of Future Shock (Schlock?), but when do we admit that we are plumb out of good ideas and start asking for help? Culturally, we as activists and authentic patriots are in the position of a well-meaning carpenter who attempts to pound a nail by swinging his hammer down on the nail and continuing to push, not realizing that the rhythmic relaxation of effort is necessary for yet another stroke.
To illustrate; convergent depictions from the Celtic:
"In the beginning was the boundless Lir, an infinite depth, an invisible divinity, neither dark nor light, in whom were all things past and to be. There at the close of a divine day, time being ended, and the Nuts of Knowledge harvested, the gods partake of the Feast of Age and drink from a secret fountain....
“Of Dana, the Hibernian mother of the gods, I have already said she is the first spiritual form of matter, and therefore Beauty. As every being emerges out of her womb clothed with form, she is the mighty Mother, and as mother of all she is that divine compassion which exists beyond and is the final arbiter of the justice of the gods. Her heart will be in ours when ours forgive.”
I dreamed of Orchil the dim goddess
Who is under the brown earth in a vast cavern
Where she weaves at two looms:
With one hand she weaves life upward through the grass,
With the other she weaves death downward through the mold.
And the sound of the weaving is eternity
And the name of it in the green world is time.
And through all, through all, Orchil weaves the weft
Weaves the weft of eternal beauty,
Orchil weaves the weft of eternal beauty,
Eternal beauty, that passeth not
Though its soul is change.
William Sharp writing as Fiona Macleod
This is but insanity to the extroverted accomplisher type, but when the effects of that mentality tend to an insane reality, well, “more is better” wasn't true for Elvis, and its not true for us either.
The aspect seen in Nuestra Senora de Guadaloupe is a local one; but it can lead the seeker to the most puissant place of universal balance, harmony, and reconciliation; the home of the Planetary Soul. Her compassion can console, but it can also inspire and heal all wounds.
This is no philosophical exercise. The not-so-ancient pre-Columbian Americans were completely engaged in their enterprise with a commitment that compels respect for their intentions, even if it is not clear exactly what they were, or what the changes were that they underwent over time. No one goes into seclusion and draws a thorn-studded rope through one's tongue or perforates one's penis on a whim.
The impulses that inspired such sacrificial dedication still resonate within the life of this Land, as do also the deeper conditions that gave form to them. One can only wonder what the fallout will be when the only enterprise which engages us moderns with an equivalent intensity is the urge to shop and the drive to invent ever-more effective means of bringing history to an end. It is imperative that we begin to find our way to an understanding of the circumstances into which we are born, for the crises of the past are now our crises.
To restate the issue yet again: There exist deeply compacted elements within the Earth-body (the macrocosmic human body) that long predate the appearance of the human species, and they are being unfolded and released in our time. The pre-Columbian peoples attempted to engage and resolve these conflicted and latent components (beings, in essence) in a most direct fashion, but they were unable to carry the impulse through to completion; they repeatedly suffered the most retrograde collapses - the times were not right, but the impulses did not disappear; they were instead driven even more deeply within. The nature of their overcomings will be veiled from view until we begin to occupy ourselves with the same endeavors. The process that they began to begin can now, in the first decades of the 21st century, be engaged in earnest; in full consciousness of the issues involved, and on a public global scale. The Shadow/Double of both the European and American races will writhe and resist, but this is our access-point of transformative engagement with transpersonal planetary forces and the beings that source them. To paraphrase: “It will be the worst of times, it will be the best of times.” All the world will be stage, and the drama will engage the full range from the sublime to the farcical, from the banal to the impossible. Tragedy may seem to predominate at first, but the global catharsis, if it is to be real and decisive, cannot be a half-hearted thing. It will plumb the depths in all of us, but I have indicated what lies in the deep of those depths: not what we fear, but what we most secretly hope for.
If what we fear is at the same time that which we most hope for, that is a neurosis which we will have to outgrow, even if it is one of our most perverse and beloved disfunctions, for reluctance to enter into a true relationship with Power is our only real weakness. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but contrary to expectations of both Left and Right, it is not a train. We must, however, penetrate and leave behind what are the distracting considerations of what are no more than turbulence and noise and be focussed on the realms of clear sailing which lie beyond.
According to Native American lore, the white race is allocated the custodianship of Fire. This places the nuclear research undertaken in Los Alamos in yet another light. Within the grand archetype of the Four Directions, the direction of the South has for its keyword: Light. If its impulses can be set into contrast and balance with those stemming from the other three Directions (East/Life, West/Love, North/Law), a harmonization of its destabilizing energies might be effected - if the always-implied seventh direction of Center is given its due. As related earlier, the model here is that any force or energy is not in itself “evil”, but that all influences have their proper time and placement in balance with others and the whole. Our Nuestra Senora de Guadaloupe holds the vision for this integration from the South. Holding the critical vision for the Center are all those who have sustained the link between the Celestial and the Chthonic: Christ first of all, then the still-mysterious Vitzliputzli as one who stepped forward from the South to assist a new phase in its unfolding. Now, some 2,000 years later, a deep-frequency octave of earlier events is transpiring, and all the old players are returned for their new opportunities and each of us are called to contribute the creative act.
Whether pro or con on the issues propelled into prominence by “Los Alamos”, one can hardly be immune to the challenges presented by them. I have tried herein to present various insights that arise from contemplation and study on this phenomenon.
Many important issues have not been addressed: for example, the relationship between violence and the sacred, the major differences between the Toltec-Aztec and the Maya civilizations, the origins and nature of the primal Olmec culture, or the pathways of the more northern American peoples. Not even a cursory outline of the all-important emerging Divine Feminine of the UnderWorld is indicated, yet, much that could be said is indicated by an overarching Imagination which spans the entire scenario of Past and Present in New Mexico:
On the one hand - and on one side of the Rio Grande Rift Valley - is the recently spent crater of the Jemez Caldera and the Los Alamos National Laboratories complex with its icon of the virulent mushroom cloud, on the other is the puissant form of Nuestra Senora de Guadaloupe/Tonantzin/Corn Mother, and the culture of the peoples - American and European, from North and South - who, under her skirts, have learned to live in relative harmony for hundreds of years. On the one side: hub of Empire, and on the other: borderlands. The embracing Vision has not yet unfolded her wings, but it stirs.
The being of Christ has been mentioned as playing a pivotal role in this drama. “Pivotal” is indeed the apt word, for a pivot has no extension in space: it is a dimensionless point, almost abstract in its elegance, nonexistent in its pure singularity, yet without it, nothing else has orientation or can actualize its potential. So with Christ: holding the Center, he asks nothing for himself but continually empties himself of his power for the benefit of those he serves - which is all. The concept of Servant Leadership reflects this attitude. So if one asks: “Can one understand the prophecy of the 'Second Coming' in these more rational terms?”, the answer is yes: just as Christ came the first time for Gaia as a whole, now he comes for his consort in heirosgamos: to liberate and activate the long-dormant Sleeper of the Divine Feminine. For those of us in the Southwest, her agent appears as Nuestra Senora de Guadaloupe.
As for her, treatment in a different key is indicated:
Paradoxically, just as we focus most closely upon the One Who Holds these understandings in her soul as her soul, we behold, not her finely resolved features, but her dissolving form. Likewise, her traces in history - conspicuous by their absence at the critical early junctions - seem designed to confuse and confound. Like the Cheshire cat in Alice's Wonderland, she recedes from view, indicating for us to pass through into what she beholds. And what is this?
We behold the fiery furnace of the Earth, its incandescent core breaking through its black and hardened encrusting shell. The same engine of the stars is shown to be active within the vast innermost reaches of the planet, but in a dimension beyond the physical parameters - and it is reaching for the surface and wild release! The similar essence of the Heights and the Depths intertwine in furious delight: this is what she serves, and this is indicated even by the mandorla of rays which embellish her popular aspect. (The person who added these post-1531 details knew what he was doing, although the effect is of the “different, not better” variety.)
But even more than this, one who accepts her guidance in this passage will also soon find out that the same fierce joy in the liberation of energies at the core of the planet is mirrored and experienced as one's own in each of the cells of one's own body: “as above, so below…and inbetween”. Each cell is a world with a starry center, as each star is a cell in the World-Body. There is freedom and power in the physical illumination that one's own being is inextricable melded into the dance that sustains all the worlds. This dance is not the entropic death-rattle shadow that sustains the modern materialistic-scientific hallucination; those point-centered forces are only the shock-wave of the life-forces passing through the resistant matter, its fumbling reflective attempt at imitation, no: this is its original life-rich authentic prototype. We have touched upon the mechanism of our Maya, but that does not interest us now, for we have hitched our wagon to the living star that inhabits every fractal expression of reality. This is truth, the rest is commentary. Nuestra Senora de Guadaloupe now stands in the wings, her midwifery accomplished.
Still, her subtle trace remains before us, shimmering softly, lover to your spirit-power. To what does she continue to indicate…to beckon?
But let us be magnanimous: even the deadly nuclear forces have their place in the Divine Economy, for even though they are not life-sustaining in the same way as the etheric forces are, nonetheless they are indispensable for maintaining life-as-we-know-it in material form, and this will be proved to have been consciousness-enhancing to the highest degree as events continue to unfold and as we acquire some hindsight-perspective on the mighty shifts in consciousness that are upon us. So let us be thankful for these catabolic forces and those associated beings who so diligently tend their allotted duties - which include being the Guardians of the Threshold for the essential core energies: Guadaloupana's guard dogs! They will also prove to be powerful allies in the process of restoring Circulating Balance to the Earth-planet's energies. When they become re-integrated into the greater Life, we will be more whole than we are now.
The (not so-)ancient Americans knew these things well: that life and death are but mirror-images of each other, and that to be born into life is to die to another life, and that to die to this life is to be born into another. All indeed, is flux. And they, too had their revelations of Heirosgamos - the divine conjunction of polarities at the level of Individual Being: the fusion of Christ and Consort (she still-to-be-named) which passes through and sustains matter…and all the worlds. They mediate the Universal Father-Mother godhead to the endless variety of expressive forms that exist. Delight, joy, generosity, encouragement; these are the original initiating virtues of which the blind forces of the physical and sub-physical are only the final fallout. The details of the American Saturn Mysteries as they were enacted in the past are saved for the future to recover, but the essential shamanism of the magus Vitzliputzli is a strong and simple matter of native intuition for many.
Do you, dear reader, know these things to be true? Then trust them, for they will carry you, even as you carry them!
La Morenita comes to me (6/21/02) as I ask: “Is this how you want to be known?” She says nothing, but indicates by her shy gaze that I am to linger with this question. Slowly I recognize her tone as one who has been an intimate confidante and companion for some years now, and one who has been at my side as I have labored to string these words together. She gently reminds me of previous encounters in which she indicated this identity, and I remember them. She, to whom I once gave my own tender nickname, now encourages me to name her as she known to all who seek her - and who have found her - with their hearts.
I do not wish to imply that there are not other Initiatrixes for these realms or these experiences. As I said in the very beginning, I can only tell my story, and this is how it has unfolded for me. I have no doubt that Nuestra Senora (in English: “Our Lady”) does much to generate the language and provide the imagery for these things in the Southwest of the USA and for Mexico, and that in these areas, they have their unique flavor.
Driving back from the San Pedro Wilderness to Santa Fe recently, passing by the immense Valles Caldera, I was struck by the vastness of the vista and the sublime serenity of the crater's grasslands - a magnificence which forms the dominant feature of the entire Jemez mountain range. I felt such a calm and repose emanating from it, and thinking that I would soon be passing through Los Alamos, I could not but help chuckle at the thought that for all its hubris, Los Alamos was but a pimple on the ass of the great mountain.
As they say, “It's not over “till the Fat Lady sings.” Mother Nature will have the last word, as the Father had the First Word. What we are witnessing are the first rumblings of a new order of the ages, one which will develop throughout the rest of Earth-evolution.
“This is in the end the only kind of courage that is required of us: the courage to face the strangest, most unusual, most inexplicable experiences that can meet us. The fact that people have in this sense been cowardly has done infinite harm to life; the experiences that are called “apparitions,” the whole so-called “world of spirit,” death, all these things that are so closely related to us, have through our daily defensiveness been so entirely eliminated from life that the sense with which we might have been able to grasp them have atrophied.”
- Rainer Maria Rilke
“We are what we imagine. Our very existence consists in our
imagination of ourselves… The greatest tragedy that can befall us is to go unimagined.”
- N. Scott Momaday
“We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all
time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we come to the center of our own existence. And where we thought to be alone, we will be with all the world.”
- Joseph Campbell
“Why should we honor those that die upon the field of battle, when a
man may show as reckless a courage by entering into the abyss of himself.”
- W. B. Yeats
“If our life lacks a constant magic it is because we choose to observe
our acts and loose ourselves in consideration of their imagined form and meaning, instead of being impelled by their force.”
- Antonin Artaud
“The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has
ceased to be a victim - he or she has become a threat.”
- James Baldwin
Winter Solstice, 2002
- Petroglyph 1, Chalcatzingo, Morelos, Mexico. 700-500 BC. A female initiatrix is seated within a cave which is also a stylized monster-mouth. h. 3.2m. An Olmec Demeter, or is the one depicted also, potentially, the one who is looking at the depiction?
This image (and discussion from: Coe (1965), pp. 18-19, Miller and Taube (1993), p. 29, Coe (1994), p. 78, Bernal, p. 139, Taube (in Berlo), p. 150, all Bib. I.
- Stela 3, Izapa, Chiapas, Mexico (with tracing), mid 1st century AD. A warrior, helmeted with the mask of his god, challenges an erupting earth-serpent, which is, however, contiguous with his left foot. He brandishes an empty atlatl (spear thrower) and holds his throwing arm in a passive position while his avatar observes from his spirit-canoe. Corn sprouts at lower left, counterpart to his discreetly portrayed phallus. 89 such stelae have been catalogued in the Izapa site, many with equally provocative images.
This is the earliest known representation of the serpent-footed god motif developed through the Maya representations of Itzamna, K'awil and the God K, and the Teotihuacano-Azteca Tezcatlipoca. It forms the iconographic (and historical?) basis for all the subsequent manikin scepters which are the ubiquitous emblems of rulership displayed by Mayan priests and rulers.
Malmstrom (1997) places the origin of the seminal Olmec culture (usually seen as arising in Caribbean-coastal Veracruz) in the Izapan Soconusco of the Pacific coast, and finds evidence of this in calendar, language, and cultural diffusion patterns, although most researchers interpret the Izapan culture to be a bridge between the Olmec and the Maya civilizations.
Steiner (1916) offers core indications towards understanding the pivotal Tezcatlipoca-
Quetzalcoatl dynamic: Vitzliputzli as an avatar of Tezcatlipoca. I suggest that this image indicates the mesoamerican prototype for the full-spectrum encounter with the same kundalini forces which, unresolved, wounded the European Amfortas.
The overall gesture could not be more explicit in representing the Manichean stance with regard to the “problem of evil.” This is, in indigenous terms, none other than the role of the shaman. Note that in the dynamic of the encounter, the “Earth Monster” (as it is described in the scholarly literature, which may be only vaguely and partially correct) faces away from the protagonist, and a flower sprouts from its mouth. Hardly the typical “Good vs. Evil” battle-to-the-death kind of thing.
The first human God-agent on Earth in the Mayan Popul Vuh cosmogenesis also was one-footed: Hunrakan. Thus the Izapan initiate partakes of the original creative and world-sustaining function. As does the effectively one-footed Hanged Man of Card 12 in the Western Tarot and the 23rd Path in the Kabbalah.
This image (and extensive discussion) from: Norman (1973 & 1976), Lowe, Lee, and Martinez (1982). Also from Stirling (1941), pp. 276-327, all Bib. I.
- Stone sculpture of Chalchiuhtlique, Teotihuacan, c. 500 AD. h. 3.9m, wt. 22 tons. Museo Nacional de Anthropologia, Mexico City. “She of the Jade Skirt”, patron of the day Serpent. Found near the Pyramid of the Moon. Hardly a lithe form, as would befit the goddess of lakes, streams, flowing water, and baptism and birth, it represents a fossilized or embalmed Persephone-figure. According to central Mexican mythology, Chalchiuhtlique is the regent of Nahui Atl or 4 Water; the Fourth Sun or World-Age (destroyed by flooding), which cycled over into the Nahui Ollin or 4 Motion; the Fifth Sun upon formative events in Teotihuacan. As such, she would be closely associated with - perhaps replaced by, perhaps changed into - Teotihuacan's Great Goddess. But it is from this Sleeper that La Guadaloupana arises!
This image from Pasztory (1997), pp. 88-89. Also: Berrin (ed., 1988), p. 50, Coe (1994), p. 101, Pasztory (in Berlo), p. 289, all Bib. I.
- “Net-laced figure with claws”; Detail from a mural painting at the Palace of the Sun (zone 5A),
c. 200 AD - 700 AD. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections, Washington, D.C. Jaguar-God figure with mirror-face and regal headdress, from whose clawed hands pour forth all the elements of the world. As the jaguar was likely totem of Tlaloc, the most primordial of deities and Plutonian male god of the Earth, this might also be emblematic of the Atlantean “Teotl” being referred to by Steiner, Meyer, Stegman, and Lievegoed (all Bib. I).
This image (and discussion) from: Pasztory (1997), pp. 214-219, Berlo, p. 140, all Bib. I.
- The “Great Goddess” of Teotihuacan; “Spider Woman.” From the Tepantitla murals in Teotihuacan as discussed in: Taube, The Teotihuacan Spider Woman, and Pasztory, Teotihuacan, Bib. I.
- Stone sculpture of Coatlique, late Aztec. h. 2.5m, c. 1450 AD. Coatlique was the ancient
Earth-goddess of the Aztecs and the mother of Huitzilopochtli. Dismembered, serpents sprout, replacing her limbs. Similar aspect to the Hindu Kali and Celtic Sheela-na-gig - here she appears in most malignant aspect - yet she is also the obverse face of the Virgin Mother. Imagine her unfurled, mobile and resplendent!
Is this, and the preceding image, Oppenheimer's “Destroyer of Worlds”? Note the progression from # 1 to #s 3, 4, 5, and then # 7.
This image (and discussion) from: Pasztory (1983), pp. 157-160, Moctezuma, p. 27, Taube (1993), p. 46, Miller and Taube (1993), p. 65, Coe (1994), p. 184, all Bib. I.
- 1950 A-bomb test photograph, taken at a one-hundred-millionth-of-a-second exposure, seven
miles from ground zero. Dr. Pfeiffer terms this the face of the “Sun of Death” (Compendium I, Bib. III, pp. 129 - 132, Aug. 24, 1952). From article: The Man Who Stopped Time, Joyce E. Bedi, courtesy Invention and Technology magazine, Summer, 1997. Similar image, also by Edgerton, in National Geographic, Oct. 1987, p. 472.
- Tilma image of Nuestra Senora de Guadaloupe, known to the Nahuatl-speaking Azteca of 1531 as Tonantzin, one of their ancient Earth-goddesses. Liberated from cosmic exile and the thrall of controlling elites, she is the embodiment of mercy and grace. From out of the cataclysm of the years 1519-1521, she resurrects in 1531, appearing to Juan Diego, a humble personage of significant stature. Many conflicting details surround this image and its story, which have ascended into the realm of Myth - and descended into the maw of political culture - but the reality of her presence is undoubted to millions of all races and cultures throughout the Americas, and this icon fulfills all the functions of an Icon: to serve as an open door into the Realities which it depicts. Mini places her in relation to the Aztec Tecauhtlacuepeuh goddess, whose name would have been passably similar to that of the already-existing Guadaloupe of the Extremadura Spaniards; hence the apparent conflation, but many other unpronounceable Nahuatl names could also be garbled into “Guadaloupe.”
Her relationship to the Mary of Palestine is not one of identity, though all goddesses are related to the same Mother.
This image (and discussion): Elizondo (1997), Bib. II, p. 63.
- South Mural at Cacaxtla, Tlaxcala, Mexico, c. 790 AD. Brightly colored in dark oranges, blues, and yellows, it represents a strong Maya influence in a post-Teotihuacan region that - within the heart of the later Aztec Empire - successfully resisted its domination and provided a ready army for Cortez. Identical in both form and function to traditional European images of the Archangel Michael.
This image (and discussion) from: Stuart (1992), p. 127, Miller and Taube (1993), p. 22, Coe (1994), p. 108, Nagao, p. 83 - 104, and Baird, pp. 105 - 122. Color reproductions in Coe (1999), p. 24, National Geographic, Sept. 1992, p. 129, arqueologia mexicana, Vol. VI, Num. 32, p. 14, Miller (1996), and Chan, pl. 8 & 10, all Bib. I, and at:
The diptych partner of this image can be seen at:
- The Four Inner Temples and their Attributes, private Workshop distribution, R. J. Stewart, 1992. Copyright and all rights reserved, and used by kind permission.
Note: at some point, these images will be offered as jpeg files, attached to this article.
The inward look unfolds and a world of spin and flame
is born in the head of the dreamer,
blue suns, green whirlpools, birdbeaks of light
pecking open the pomegranate stars,
sunflower isolated, eye of gold that revolves
in the center of a dark pavilion,
glass groves of sound, groves of echoes and answers
and waves, a dialogue of transparencies,
wind, water galloping between the endless walls
of a gorge of jet,
horse, comet, rocket that drives to the heart of night,
plumes, spurts of fountain,
plumes, a sudden flowering of torches, sails, wings,
invasion of whiteness,
island birds singing in the head of the dreamer.
I opened my eyes, I looked up at the sky and saw
the night covered with stars.
Live islands, bracelets of flaming islands, stone burning,
breathing, clusters of live stones,
how many fountains, many brightnesses,
how many rivers far up there, and that remote sounding
of water with fire, of light against shade!
Harps, gardens of harps....
We have to sleep with open eyes, we must dream
with our hands,
let us dream active dreams of the river
seeking its watercourse,
dreams of the sun dreaming its worlds,
we have to dream aloud, we have to sing till the song
throws out root, trunk, branches, birds, stars,
to sing until the dream engenders
and from the side of the sleepers burst forth
the red thorn of resurrection,
the water of birth,
the spring at which we may drink
and recognize ourselves and recover,
the spring of self-knowledge, water that speaks
all alone in the night, calling us by our name,
under the great tree, the live statue of rain,
we have to dream backward, toward the source,
to row up the stream of the centuries,
beyond infancy, beyond the beginning,
beyond the baptismal waters,
to tear down the walls between us,
to join together anew
that which was put asunder,
life and death are not worlds in opposition,
we are one single stalk with twin flowers,
we have to dig up the lost word, to dream inward
and as well to dream outward,
decipher the tattooing on the night, to look at noon
face to face and tear away its mask,
to bathe in the light of the sun, to eat the fruit of night,
to spell out the writing of star and river,
to remember what blood says, what tide says,
earth and the body, to return to the starting-point,
not inner nor outer, not over nor under, to the crossroads,
where the roads begin,
for light is singing with a rumor of water,
with a rumor of green leaves water sings
and dawn is laden with fruit, day and night reconciled
flow like a calm river,
day and night caress each other endlessly
like a man and woman in love,
like an eternal river under the arches of the centuries
flow seasons and people,
farther on, to the live center of the source,
far beyond end and beginning.
Brooks: Captives and Cousins, La Gran Ladroneria, and citations therein.
Gandert: New Mexico Profundo, is excellent on this.
Weber: The Spanish Frontier in North America. Waters also documents Ayllon: Georgia
coast, 1520, Cabrillo: the Pacific Coast of North America, 1542, Luna: Alabama and Georgia interiors, 1560, Aviles: San Augustin, Florida, 1565, Pardo: North & South Carolina, Tennessee interiors.
Steiner: Inner Impulses of Evolution. Rudolf Steiner was a polymath and practical
visionary of the first rank, whose initiatives were stymied by the disruptions of the two World Wars.
Mesoamerica: the area encompassing central Mexico to Nicaragua in pre-Columbian times.
this refers to the Steinerian perspective of the long-standing cultural dynamic between Europe
and the Middle East/North Africa region, one that cannot be explored within the scope of this article.
McCarthy: Blood Meridian, p. 40.
Steiner: Agriculture, lecture of June 20, p. 3. These lectures form the initial basis for the
first - and still most comprehensive - form of organic agriculture: biodynamics.
von Keyserlingk: Birth of a New Agriculture.
Forget the Christianity of popular religion. Christ, as he is referred to here, refers to the one
who is the universal Spirit of Humanity. This is in total accord with the Pagan understanding that there is a spirit for every rock, tree, and cloud; for everything that has visible manifestation there is a spirit which sustains it and informs it. Steiner's unique insight was that this archetypal entity associated with humanity, presaged by all the various BC religions and local cults with their invocatory rites of The Sacrificial King, found a personal locus upon the stage of actual history within the individuality of Jesus - a Mythos fully incarnated into History, in other words. As such, much of what passes for Christianity nowadays is simply the most successful and long-running campaign of disinformation, manipulation, and cooptation in history. See Steiner's Christianity as Mystical Fact for more on this.
“Magic” we will define as “the spirituality of the Will.” Magic is spirituality as it is employed; it is
a transformative process of engagement, and has as little to do with the popular conception of it. The link with shamanism should be apparent. “Vitzliputzli” is an archaic transliteration of the much later Aztec “Huitzilopochtli” (e.g.; search Google for “Vitzliputzli”), but will be retained to denote the original individual in his uncorrupted aspect. The parallel inversion/perversion of aspects inflicted upon the founders of Christian and Aztec religion should be obvious - and predictable. More conjectural is a possible converging referent for Huitzilopochtli and the Mayan proto-shaman Itzmana in an actual 1st-century personage.
Luciferic: tending to glamour, self-inflation, and visionary delusion, disdain for the “facts”
('reality = maya, the solution disengagement). The upside is individualization creativity, and freedom. Its Shadow is electricity, the fallen state of Light ether. The prime being Lucifer is now seen as an ultimate benefactor, although certain Luciferic elements remain snagged. It is the temptation on the Left, the Shadow lodged in the astral personality.
Ahrimanic: when the former fails, this takes over: cynical manipulation, submission to the controlling reality of the “facts”, and reliance on technique The upside is competency, reliability, accountability, teamwork, and the positive use of Power. Allied with the point-centered forces, and according to most accounts, with magnetism, the fallen state of Sound ether. The Adversary embodying the out-of-balance forces on the Right. Its individualized component of Double is lodged in the etheric bioenergetics; it is a deeper and more permanent fixture than the Shadow and is even said to accompany the Self through death.
Regarding the transition between Stage One and Stage Two, Jacques Ellul says: “Nothing belongs any longer to the realm of the gods or the supernatural. The individual who lives in the technical milieu knows very well that there is nothing spiritual anywhere. But man cannot live without the sacred. He therefore transfers his sense of the sacred to the very thing itself that has destroyed its former object: to technique itself.”
Asuric: the final stage of internal collapse: vicious rageful nihilism. The upside is unknown. Reflective of the nuclear forces corresponding to the Life ether, or is there an as-yet undiscovered Third Force? This remains to be seen. These beings as yet appear to have no fruitful association with Earth-evolution, yet since the nuclear forces are essential for full material manifestation, the issue is unclear.
Todorov: The Conquest of America. Coincident with this insight is the observation of
Byron, who speaking as a European going “Out”, said: “The great object of life is Sensation - to feel that we exist - even though in pain - it is this “craving void” which drives us to Gaming - to Battle - to Travel - to intemperate but keenly felt pursuits of every imaginable description whose principle attraction is the agitation inseparable from their accomplishment.” The indigenous pre-Columbian, on the other hand, with his different link with Spirit, went “In” for his affirmation of Selfhood.
Taube: The Teotihuacan Cave of Origin, has an excellent discussion of essential similarities
between Teotihuacan and Pueblo emergence myths and symbolism.
Kurzweil: The Age of Spiritual Machines. Also Twerk: “At some point, when technology
is ready, I will become the machine that I am using.” - Songs in the key of F12 (Wired
5/2002, p. 87.
16 Steiner: private communication to Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer. Precedents for this in
archeology are noted in Pasztory's Teotihuacan, p. 59, and elsewhere.
Steiner: Karmic Relationships, Vol. II, pp. 192 - 193, for some peculiarly blistering swipes at
Mexican culture. He is also on record as having detested the saxophone and jazz. But then, he never heard Coltrane or Armstrong. I think we can allow him a personality!
Powell: Chronicle of the Living Christ, with his groundbreaking reconstruction of the
chronology of Christ's life and incorporation of its cyclic activity into the future - our present - as the “Second Coming” is relevant in this respect.
Commoner: Unraveling the DNA Myth, deftly exposes the hubris of this.
Joy: Why the Future Doesn't Need Us, is a prescient article on this.
Goodchild: J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Grabau, The Christ Bomb.
Steven Spielberg, as quoted in Wired magazine's lead article of June, 2002, although to be fair,
he also expresses some cogent cautions about the tendency of technology to dominate.
Ovason: The Secret Architecture of the Nation's Capitol, p. 8.
Powell, and varied Mayan Calendar considerations coincide in predicting the year 2012
as a pivotal year.
Indicated by this phrase is the impressive work Frances Yates: e.g.; The Rosicrucian
Trevor-Roper: Hitler's Table Talk, July 5, 1941, p. 3.
Pasztory: Teotihuacan - An Experiment in Living. U. of Oklahoma Press, 1997, pp. 73 - 84,
59 - 61.
Franzen: Ein Sieg uber Christ den Sorat.
Pasztory: Abstraction and the Rise of a Utopian State, as included in Berlo, ed.: Art, Ideology,
and the City of Teotihuacan, p. 292.
Todorov, pp. 49 - 50. He also astutely observes: “It may seem bold to link the
introduction of perspective to the discovery and conquest of America, yet the relation is there, not because Toscanelli, inspirer of Columbus, was the friend of Brunelleschi and Alberti, pioneers of perspective(or because Piero della Francesca, another founder of perspective, died on October 12, 1492), but because by reason of the Transformation that both facts simultaneously reveal and produce in Human consciousness.” p. 121.
29 Schele & Freidel: A Forest of Kings - The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya, p. 130, and
accompanying notes #s 3 & 45 on pp. 438, 443-444, also in Milbrath: Star Gods of the Maya pp. 193-196.
Hoebel: The Cheyenne - Indians of the Great Plains, Bib. I, gives a specific indication of this.
And did the northern tribes make a conscious decision to reject urbanity because of the intuition that: “…the city says everything you must think, makes you repeat her discourse…”?, Calvino, in Carrasco.
Steiner: The Fifth Gospel, lecture of Oct. 5, pp. 44 - 45.
Fortune: The Mystical Qabalah, p. 175-76. For an evocative literary treatment of this theme,
from the pagan perspective, one can do no better than the novels of Marion Zimmer Bradley, e.g.; The Mists of Avalon.
Moctezuma: Treasures of the Great Temple. Contains the full myth of Huitzilopochtli's birth and
subsequent struggle against his evil sister and her cohorts, along with Sahagun's references to Huitzilopochtli as "Vitzilopochtli."
Taube: The Teotihuacan Spider Woman, pp. 107-189, and also as referred to in Pasztory:
Teotihuacan, pp. 59, 73 - 94, and Berlo.
Steiner: The Karma of Untruthfulness, p. 183 (from Dec. 21, 1916), and other places.
Steiner: The Christmas Study - The Mystery of the Logos, from Anthroposophical Leading
Thoughts, GA 26, Christmas, 1924. Profound reflections on Persephone from
an address on the one and only anniversary of the founding Christmas Conference:
“ Once upon a time, man had seen in the constellations and movements of the stars the deeds and gestures of the Divine beings of the Cosmos, whose words he was thus able to read in the heavens. In like manner, the 'facts of Nature' now became for him an expression of the Goddess of the Earth. For the Divinity at work in nature was conceived as feminine….”
“When men of knowledge wanted to bring the 'processes of Nature' to the understanding of their pupils, they spoke of the deeds of the 'Goddess'….
“The way in which men looked in this direction in the age of the Intellectual or Mind-Soul is reminiscent of the myth of Persephone and of the mystery that underlies it.
“Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, is compelled by the God of the Underworld to follow him into his kingdom. Eventually it is achieved that she spends one-half of the year only in the Nether world and dwells for the remainder of the year in the Upper world….”
“In primeval times all the World-creative activity had proceeded from the surroundings of the Earth. The Earth itself was only in the process of becoming, and moulded its existence in cosmic evolution from out of the activities of the surrounding world. The Divine-Spiritual Beings of the Cosmos were the creators and moulders of the Earth's existence. But when the Earth was far enough advanced to become an independent heavenly body, Divine Spiritual Being descended from the great Cosmos to the Earth and became the Earth-Divinity….”
“Nature must be recognized in such a way that in Persephone - or the Being who was still seen in the early Middle Ages when the spoke of 'Nature' - it reveals the Divine-Spiritual, original and eternal force out of which it originated and continually originates, as the foundation of earthly human existence.” pp. 133 ff.
Zengotita: The Numbing of the American Mind. His brilliant description of media culture
stimulates a certain elation, yet he can indicate no prescriptive relief - the effect is one of numbing futility. Also in this regard: Lewis Lapham, Noam Chomsky, and many others.
A. E.: The Candle of Vision.
William Sharp, writing as Fiona Macleod.
McFadden: Legend of the Rainbow Warriors. The Christian mystic Tielhard de Chardin
foresees the future course of this: “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we will harness for God the energies of love. And then, for the second time in the history of the world, humanity will have discovered fire.” Marcellus BearHeart Williams concurs; he told me: “There is one thing stronger than nuclear energy: love - because only love can melt a human heart!”
- A much more extensive Bibliography is available from the author (and in the final Section), for those who wish to make use of my own compilations and notes in their own research.
- E. (George Russell): A Candle of Vision.
Berlo, Janet Catherine: Icons and Ideologies at Teotihuacan: The Great Goddess Reconsidered.
In Art, Ideology, and the City of Teotihuacan, pp. 129 - 168, Berlo (ed.). Dumbarton Oaks, 1992.
Boardman, Terry M.: many illuminating articles which vector in to the same area as these
Chapters, although from a more finely-detailed historical-political direction: “This page carries links to articles and essays by Terry Boardman on the subject of the New World Order and related issues.”
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie
- J.R.R. Tolkien "The Lord of the Rings"
"...To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together." (from The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski, p.40)
Anthroposophy and the Question of Conspiracy in Modern History (1) & (2), and From the British Empire to the American Empire: Liberal Imperialism, Sir Edward Grey and the Question of British Responsibility for the First World War, to be found at his web site: http://www.monju.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/, are the most complementary to the material in these pages.
Brading, D. A.: Mexican Phoenix - Our Lady of Guadaloupe: Image and Traditions Across Five
Centuries. Cambridge U. Press, 2001. Excellent overall. Highly recommended. Best overview of the evolution of the Icon and its interpretations in culture.
Brooks, James F.: Captives and Cousins: Slavery, Kinship, and Community in the Southwest
Borderlands. U. of N. Carolina Press, 2002. Elsewhere, he investigates similar
“borderlands” situations in the Canadian northern territories, the South American pampas, and in the Middle Eastern Caucasus. The parallels are interesting.
Burkhart, Louise: Before Guadaloupe - The Virgin Mary in Early Colonial Nahuatl Literature. U. at
Albany Institute for Mesoamerican Studies and U. of Texas Press, 2000.
Dunnington, Jacqueline Orsini: Guadaloupe - Our Lady of New Mexico. Museum of New Mexico
Press, 1999. Very good overall; tries for a balance between fact and belief. Excellent section on the Spanish antecedents: pre-existing Guadaloupe devotions to a Black Madonna in pre-Columbian Extremadura Spain.
Carrasco, David: City of Sacrifice - The Aztec Empire and the Role of Violence in Civilization.
Beacon Press, 1999. “We know that power, whatever its origin - sacred, natural, ethnic, contractual, or democratic - is an expression of violence. David Carrasco now demonstrates a shattering, unsentimental truth: civilizations themselves are born and maintained by violence. A brilliant, provocative, timely, and eternal book.” - Carlos Fuentes, from the back cover.
Church, Peggy Pond: The House at Otowi Bridge - The Story of Edith Warner and Los Alamos. U.
of New Mexico Press, 1959. “ This is the story of Edith Warner, who lived for more than twenty years as a neighbor to the Indians of San Ildefonso Pueblo, near Los Alamos, New Mexico. She was a remarkable woman, a friend to everyone who knew her, from her Indian companion Tilano, who was an elder of San Ildefonso, to Niels Bohr, Robert Oppenheimer, and theother atomic scientists who worked at Los Alamos during World War II.” - from the back cover. The kind of thing that tells of New Mexico so truly and warmly that you are refreshed by your tears.
Coe, Michael D., and Richard A Diehl, eds, with David A. Freidel, Peter T. Furst, F. Kent Reilly,
III, Linda Schele, Carolyn E. Tate, and Karl A. Taube: The Olmec World - Ritual and Rulership. The Art Museum, Princeton U. & Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1995. Splendid essays and illustrations by the best in the business. The Olmec is the Ur-civilization in Mesoamerica and this volume reflects the current high state of scholarship in the field.
Commoner, Barry: Unraveling the DNA Myth: The Spurious Foundation of Genetic Engineering,
Harper's Magazine, Feb. 2002.
Diehl, Richard A. and Berlo, Janet Catherine: Mesoamerica After the Decline of Teotihuacan,
A.D. 700-900. Dumbarton Oaks, 1989. Papers by Diehl, Berlo, Mastache & Cobean, Hirth, Nagao, Baird, Winter, Santley, Stone, Kowalski, Ball & Taschek, Marcus, Sanders, Cohondas.
Evan-Wentz, W. Y.: Cuchama and Sacred Mountains. Swallow Press, 1981.“Dedicated to the
Children of the Great Mystery throughout all the Americas who are nurtured by Father Sun and Mother Earth and taught by The Shining Beings.” By the author of The Tibetan Book of the Dead and The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries.
Fortune, Dion (Violet Firth): The Mystical Qabalah. Samuel Weiser, 2000 (from 1935).
Gandert, Miguel: Nuevo Mexico Profundo - Rituals of an Indo-Hispano Homeland. Museum of
New Mexico Press, 2000. Lovely.
Goodchild, Peter: J. Robert Oppenheimer, Shatter of Worlds. Fromm International Publishing
Corporation, 1985. Critical biography.
Grabau, Francis Donald: The Christ Bomb, The Gnostic Ring of Power, The Enchanted Bomb,
and other writings. http://www.starpathvisions.com. Wow. The Christ Bomb is a full-scale complement to this work, beginning from an astrological perspective.
Hartmann, Thom: Unequal Protection - The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human
Rights. Rodale Press, 2002.
Hoebel, E. Adamson: The Cheyenne - Indians of the Great Plains. Harcourt Brace College
Publishers, 1988 (2nd ed., from 1960). A concise, sympathetic, and accurate description of the lifestyle of the Cheyenne, an especially noble tribe, which amply depicts their wisdom-filled social organization.
Joy, Bill: Why The Future Doesn't Need Us. The cover article from the April, 2000 issue of Wired
magazine. Available at: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.04/joy.html
Kaplan, Janet A.: Unexpected Journeys - The Art and Life of Remedios Varo. Abbeville Press,
1988. Unique visionary art by a friend of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Varo ran with the wolves and painted with the angels; Mexican art of a different order altogether: the delicate
aspect of its artistic and spiritual sensibilities perhaps the influence of the resurrected Aztec
Keen, Benjamin: The Aztec Image in Western Thought. Rutgers U. Press, 1971. Fascinating
portraits and documentation of the volatile perception of Aztec reality and how it would shift as it reflected trends and fads in European politics, culture, and philosophy. It seems that the history of the subject has been that the amount of speculation has been in inverse proportion to the amount of information available, careening between rational reduction and romantic projection. Puts current ideologies and agendas of all kinds in a rather strange new light, even the most 'modern.' Many citations of the once-common theme that the apostle St. Thomas was Quetzalcoatl.
Keyserlingk, Adalbert von, ed.: The Birth of a New Agriculture - Koberwitz 1924. Temple Lodge,
1999 (from 1974). Contents of private conversations between Johanna von
Keyserlingk and Rudolf Steiner regarding divine feminine elements within the Earth.
Kurzweil, Ray: The Age of Spiritual Machines. Penguin Books, 1999. Scary stuff by one who
wants to take us there.
Lafeye, Jacque: Quetzalcoatl and Guadaloupe. University of Chicago Press, 1976. Subtitled
'The Formation of Mexican National Consciousness 1531 - 1813', this book covers much the same ground and data as Poole's, but with a wonderfully original and imaginative scholarship. A great read.
McCarthy, Cormac: Blood Meridian. Random House, 1985 (now from Vintage International,
1992). A novel; a literary tour-de-force. Violent depths beyond the ken of the usurpers erupt into the psyches and lives of western wanderers. Beauty and terror beyond the scale of the human make the landscape the main character. Nobel Prize material. More from Mr. McCarthy:
“They rode in a narrow enfilade along a trail strewn with the dry round turds of goats and they rode with their faces averted from the rock wall and the bake-oven air which it rebated, the slant black shapes of the mounted men stenciled across the stone with a definition austere and implacable like shapes capable of violating their covenant with the flesh that authored them and continuing autonomous across the naked rock without preference to sun or man or god,” p. 139.
McFadden, Steven: Legend of the Rainbow Warriors. Chiron Communications, 2001. Many
Native American wisdom stories woven into a healing vision.
Malmstrom, Vincent H.: Cycles of the Sun, Mysteries of the Moon. U. of Texas Press, Austin,
- Potentially revolutionary work placing the origins of Olmec civilization not in
Veracruz, but in the Izapan coastal area, with profound implications for the Mystery-Tradition origins suggested by the Izapa stela #3 and Steiner's suggestions.
Milbrath, Susan: Star Gods of the Maya - Astronomy in Art, Folklore, and Calendars. U. of Texas
Press, 1999. References to Star Wars.
Needleman, Jacob: The American Soul - Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders. Jeremy P.
Tarcher/Putnam, 2002. Another home run by a distinguished citizen.
Ortiz, Alfonso: The Tewa World - Space, Time, Being, and Becoming in a Pueblo Society. U. of
Chicago Press, 1969.
Ovason, David: The Secret Architecture of the Nature's Capitol. HarperCollins, 1999.
Owens, Bill: Suburbia. One of the scariest books in this Bibliography. Photoessay on the
American Dream realized. Straight Arrow Press, 1973
Pasztory, Esther: Teotihuacan - An Experiment in Living. Oklahoma U. Press, 1997. The most
thorough treatment of Teotihuacan. Develops central mother-goddess motif in
archeological context. Much essential data.
Pasztory, Esther: Aztec Art. U. of Oklahoma Press, 1998 (from Abrams, 1983). More here in
one place than anywhere else.
Pfeiffer, Dr. Ehrenfried: Notes and Lectures - Compendium I. Mercury Press, 1991.
Poole, Stafford, C. M: Our Lady of Guadaloupe - The Origins and Sources of a Mexican National
Symbol, 1531 - 1797. University of Arizona Press, 1995. The initial debunking research into the Guadaloupe phenomenon. Alms receipt logs from 16th-century chapels, diaries of missionaries, thorough record of the evolution of the mythos in the historical evidence, etc., as reflecting on the state of devotions at the time. Raises many serious questions for the believer: on the face of it, the facts seem to disprove the truth of the phenomenon.
Powell, Robert A.: Chronicle of the Living Christ. Anthroposophic Press, 1996.
Rochfort, Desmond: Mexican Muralists - Oroxco, Rivera, Siqueiros. Chronicle Books, 1993.
Schele, Linda and Freidel, David: A Forest of Kings - The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya. Quill
1990. Translated inscriptions interpreted by informed and imaginative researchers
sympathetic to Maya culture and spirituality. Notes on “Star Wars.”
Steiner, Rudolf: Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy, GA 204. Lectures from 1921.
Anthroposophic Press. Lecture 14 of May 13 has remarkable predictions extending into the eighth millenium concerning the ominous development of technology and the appearance of other helpful forms of life. Initial forms of both phenomona can be seen already: the WWW of an asuric Spider-Woman?
Steiner, Rudolf: Inner Impulses in Evolution, GA 171. Especially lectures of Sept. 18 & 24, 1916,
Dornach. Anthroposophic Press, 1984. The starting point for indications on Vitzliputzli and the "Mexican Mysteries" according to spiritual insight: relatively brief and perplexing, but capable of stimulating profound insights if worked with. The English edition contains seven lectures, from Sept. 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, and Oct. 1, 1916. The German edition of GA 171 contains additional lectures from Sept. 30 and Oct. 2, 7, 14, 15, 21, 28, 29, and 30, 1916: this group is entitled Goethe and the Crisis of the Nineteenth Century. An additional lecture from Dec. 10, 1916 is also grouped with GA 171, although it appears as part of The Problem of Faust, GA 273. No mention is made in the English edition of the abridgements and associated material. Online at: http://wn.elib.com/Steiner/Lectures/InnerImpul/InnImp_index.html
Steiner, Rudolf: Karmic Relationships, Vol. II, GA 236. Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974 (from 1924).
The lecture from May 29, mentions Mexican culture and the god Quetzalcoatl in connection
with Eliphas Levi, and “a curious man” who might possibly have been Eduard Seler.
Steiner, Rudolf: The Fifth Gospel; GA 148. Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995 (from 1913). Prior to the
Baptism in the Jordan, the initiate Jesus contemplates the wholesale corruption and impotence of all existing mystery streams. How is one to place those of America in this process? Many observations on spiritual-religious evo/devo-lution.
Steiner, Rudolf: The Karma of Untruthfulness, Vol. I, GA 173. lecture 8, Dec. 21, 1916. Rudolf
Steiner Press, 1988
Steiner, Rudolf: Agriculture, GA 327, lectures from 1924, Koberwitz. Biodynamic Farming and
Gardening Association, 1993.
Steiner, Rudolf: Concerning Electricity. Lecture of Jan. 28, 1923, Dornach. From The
Anthroposophical Newsheet # 23/24, June 1940. Extract from unrevised stenographic
notes, emphasis in the original. Scanned to digital format version available on request.
Steiner, Rudolf: The Etherization of the Blood, lecture from GA 130 (as included in Steiner's
The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric, AP Press, 1983, and elsewhere). Steiner's most succinct exposition of the relationship of the higher ethers and subnatural forces.
Steiner, Rudolf: Youth's Search in Nature, GA 217a, Mercury Press, 1984, aka: “Address to the
Young People” (given at the Koberwitz Agriculture Course in 1924):
“May the words of this address by Rudolf Steiner become active in your hearts:
'There is something more to it than the mere forging of Michael's Sword. It is a fact that in the occult regions of the earth what is prepared by the forging of Michael's Sword is carried to a subterranean altar in the process - to an Altar which is invisible and which really exists beneath the earth.
'To become acquainted with nature-forces under the earth, to get to know the divine beings working in nature leads to an understanding of the fact that the Michael Sword, in the process of being forged, is really carried to an Altar under the earth. The dead take part in this. It has to be found by sensitive souls….'
“These words were spoken to the young people because it is they who have forces for the future, impulses which penetrate into the soul and at the same time into the interior of the earth…. It is not head forces but heart-forces fructified from the depths which will be able to lead us out of the present crisis….”
“…Holderlin…knows the Christ in the depths. So he does not rise up to the stars as other dead people do. No, he prefers to penetrate to the depths to the Sun Being at the center of the earth.
“…Then this land will rise up to us and man will bind himself to a new world day in the light of the sun, when he sets free from their enchantment the spirits of the elements who have darkened his vision and rendered the earth solid and opaque….”
“Steiner…said: 'Yes, if you want to sink vertically into the depths, you will reach the centre of the earth, and it is of gold. Faust also stamps with key in hand and sinks into the depths, into the realm of the Mothers.' “
Stewart, R. J.: The Underworld Initiation. Mercury Publishing, 1998 (from Aquarian Press, 1985).
“This stimulating and important study provides evidence for a potent transformative tradition within the esoteric consciousness of the West.
“Drawing on material from hitherto disregarded sources, Bob Stewart reconstructs the key to a true understanding of Western esoteric lore, suggesting that the bulk of so-called Western occultism is an intellectual fabrication deriving mainly from nineteenth-century sources.
“The authentic magical tradition of the West, the author claims, is concerned with the UnderWorld Initiation, a powerful system of altering consciousness in a dynamic and far-reaching manner, the central symbols of which survive in songs and ballads whose roots are in the Celtic or pre-Celtic past.” - from the back cover.
Direct, experiential access to transpersonal realms by one who knows that 'the map is not the territory'; magic without claptrap. Has excellent article by Caitlin Matthews: “The Rosicrucian Vault as Sepulchre and Wedding Chamber” not included in the later Mercury Publishing edition.
Taube, Karl A.: The Teotihuacan Spider Woman. Journal of Latin American Lore 9, no. 2, 1983.
Taube, Karl A.: The Teotihuacan Cave of Origin. RES, 12
Todorov, Tzvetan: The Conquest of America - The Question of the Other. U. of Oklahoma
Press, 1999 (from Harper & Row, 1984, and the original French edition of 1982.). He has a brilliant and most relevant observation on the different ways in which Mesoamerican and European cultures handled social stresses: Mesoamerican attempted to transform them through sacrifice and hence was a sacrifice-culture. Europe attempted to subdue them through wars of obliteration and hence was a massacre-society. This is totally congruent with my view of the different ways in which the two cultures handled the explosive nature of the Double.
Tomberg, Valentine: Meditations on the Tarot. Element Classic Editions, 1993 (author given as
anonymous). Out-of-print but soon to be reprinted. An attempt to integrate white magic into the anthroposophical-hermetic stream and to initiate a rapprochement with the Catholic Church, among many other things. The first five chapters are an excellent precis of the praxis of 'Manichean shamanism'.
Tompkins, Ptolomy: This Tree Grows Out of Hell - Mesoamerica and the Search for the Magical
Body. Harper SanFrancisco, 1990. Splendid imaginative investigation of the inner nature of mesoamerican spirituality, coincident with modern archeological scholarship.
“Several readers of this book in manuscript have expressed puzzlement at the title. What exactly do I mean when I say this tree, and what sort of hell am I claiming it to grow out of? Though the word predates Christianity, for most people “Hell” conjures up a specifically Christian place, and I perhaps would have been wiser to use a Native American term for the underworld such as the Mayan “Xibalba” or the Aztec “Mictlan.” Neither of these roll off the tongue with the ease that “Hell” does, however, so for the sake of esthetics I decided to stay with this term despite its heavy Christian connotations.
The tree of the title is a general reference to the world tree, or axis mundi, which, throughout Mesoamerica and the ancient world in general, served as one of the most popular ciphers for designating the universe. The lore of the world tree is extensive, and there are any number of possible explanations for this analogy. For my purposes, however, one stood out in particular: trees are living organisms comprised of three separate yet intimately connected parts. Even without a sophisticated knowledge of the complex chemical interplay carried on via the capillaries of the trunk between the roots buried in the ground and the branches and leaves that spread out far above them, it must have been clear to the early human observer that each of a tree's three general areas somehow needed the others in order for the whole to continue to flourish. Likewise, the tripartite world of over-, middle-, and underworld, which together comprised the universe of the ancient Mesoamerican and which the image of the tree so admirably stood for, demanded a similar situation of continuous fruitful interaction.
As I try to show in the following pages, many of the disasters that beset Mesoamerican civilization throughout the centuries of its growth can be understood as resulting from breakdown in this system of constant circulation and interpenetration. Like the invisible matrix of roots that feed nutrients to a tree's trunk and branches in exchange for the fruits of photosynthesis, the labyrinthian underworlds of the Mesoamerican cosmos held powerful spiritual forces without which the middle world of mortals and the upper “angelic” realms to which the souls of those mortals ultimately aspired could not long function properly. Modern psychological theory is thinking in similar terms when it suggests that the psyche is itself comprised of three or more generalized areas or levels. The “lower” regions of the psyche are described in many models as being dark and initially unappealing, yet it is generally agreed that these regions must nevertheless be courted and addressed openly if real psychic growth is to take place. It was out of an appreciation for this ancient and variously stated belief that, both in the micrososm of the human psyche and the macrocosm of the universe itself, what grows toward the light does so through and by means of the darkness that I arrived at teheformulation of my title - this tree grows out of hell.
- Ptolomy Tompkins: A Note on the Title.
Trevor-Roper, Hugh (ed.): Hitler's Table Talk - 1941-1944. Enigma Books, 2000 (from 1953).
Weber, David J.: The Spanish Frontier in North America, Yale U. Press, 1992.
Wendt, Joel: a wealth of material and insight to be found at his vast website:
http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/index.html will get you in. Joel has been at it a long time; warm yourself at his Vision.
Wulsin, John: The Riddle of America. Association of Waldorf Schools in America, 2001. 36 essays
by 27 different authors.
de Zengotita, Thomas: The Numbing of the American Mind. Harper's Magazine essay, April, 2002.
The header quote is from Nietsche: “…the massive influx of impressions is so great; surprising, barbaric, and violent things press so overpoweringly - “balled up into hideous clumps” - in the youthful soul; that it can save itself only by taking recourse in premeditated stupidity.” Zengotita: “Everything is firing message modules, straight for you taste buds, your vanities, your fears. A second of your attention is all they ask.”
…and in mass media and pop culture:
Metropolis: Fritz Lang, director. 1927 cinematic milestone. Forget the thrice-edited and thoroughly
botched, out-of-focus 1998 Hollywood Classics edition; get the version recently released and now available from www.kino.com/metropolis, restored and refurbished (1,300' of film added since the last release in 1987) with loving care by Martin Koerber and Alpha-Omega.
From A. O. Scott, N. Y. Times film reviewer (Fri., July 12, 2002): “The story of the scientist Rotwang, a modern Pygmalion designing a female robot to replace his lost love, stands between “Frankenstein” and “A. I.” as an expression of the defining modern preoccupation with machines that blur the boundary between the human and the mechanical.”
The rising hills, the slopes,
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
In the next century
or the one beyond that,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet in peace
if we make it.
To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:
learn the flowers
- Gary Snyder: Turtle Island, New Directions, 1974