Some Notes Toward a Resolution of the Dilemma
- in reference to Paul V. O’Leary’s The Inner Life of the Earth
Reading through the book-in-question has occasioned the following thoughts: revealed in it is primarily a pervasively and anthroposophically ‘heretical’ (also esoterically incorrect) dualism, secondarily resulting in an obsessive, almost exclusive fixation on evil, and contorted and inelegant attempts to locate a place for a “Christ” and a “Sophia” within a fatally compromised framework. My thesis is that a modern esotericism that acknowledges a pivotal place for the Christ but which relies exclusively upon a mix of typical Central European cultural attitudes and cherry-picked esoteric factoids cannot hope to get very far in encompassing the contemporary planetary impulses and implications of such an influence, nor understand the biography of related events within the organism of the Earth-body which are probably the least-addressed and most taboo of all in its traditions. To the extent that it fails to comprehend these expanded opportunities (in spite of having access to a formally correct doctrine), it will die and only be able to see death-forces at work — as it does within The Inner Life of the Earth.
While I also take as my starting point the above-mentioned quote from Rudolf Steiner, it supports a different world-view which is in some areas strikingly at odds with that espoused by O'Leary and those he has chosen to contribute – yet one which is much more in keeping with our own esoteric legacy. My thesis is that they have not held to the power of the vision presented to us in that quotation which I have taken as Steiner's highest expression of the truth of the situation, but dropped down into and accepted as substantial, ample, and practical fact the evils he lists elsewhere. The reader is invited to compare and evaluate the differences I highlight in the retort of his or her own experience.
Just as each one of us personally has our own blind spots – “wounds”, in the language of the shaman - which bring us out of isolation and into needful relationship with each other, so also do cultures, which need each other for mutual enrichment and for the healing of their deficiencies. A contemporary non-ethnocentric spirituality should reach out with glad curiosity beyond the boundaries of its own map to seek out the wisdom and experience of other cultures for the reintegration and healing of its own dysfunctions. It is on the edges and boundaries of fixed patterns that exchange, growth, and the next stages of development occurs, like it or not — thus is life and how it happens, born of a need to reach out when inner resources dwindle. This is as true for cultures as it is for our bodies and the metabolism of its cells.
I cannot help but grieve with the burden of a desire to help — lancing the boil, in this case - given the tortuous intellectualism, lack of epistemological rigor, and grab-bag of conflicting conclusions that constitutes The Inner Life of the Earth. Occult data, received from a source now absent without obvious reference to personal experience or long-standing tradition of any variety, and cultured by repetition in the whispering-circle micro-climate of untutored amateur study groups and over a span of many decades, has reemerged in a jumble of disparate, confused, out-of-context, and out-of-proportion partial elements, buttressed mainly by repeated appeals to authority. The feeble plea to a last-ditch, washed-out “Christ” or wandering ruminations about the flutterings of a vaporous ”Sophia” are of no consequence in the struggles that are now in full swing around the life of the Earth and our placement upon it.
Such as description of mismatched parts might well do for an example of “evil”, which Steiner himself defines (elsewhere!) occultly, succinctly, and most correctly as merely that which is out of place, time, or proportion. Since “evil” is a secondary phenomenon, never primary (e.g.: counterfeit money can only exist because there is already real money in use), we can ask: “Why is there no mention of nor emphasis placed upon what therefore must be most crucial in the discussion of the interiority of the Earth: its goodness, wholeness, beauty, fractal iteration of living forms, and the love imbuing it that ties it all together? Why is this overriding reality either invisible or terminally weak to the authors involved? The manifest complex beauty of the natural world should imply, according to both natural observation and occult perception, that the interior of the Earth is comprised of similar, more primary, forms and patterns – for it is so. But the minds of the commentators do not go there, why is that?
But that which Steiner said can only be true because it is true, not because it was he that said it. Many others have said the same thing, and said it differently, and said altogether different things besides – all of which make possible a far more subtle and complex vision; a living one, not a dead one. Many more have arrived at the same core insights about and orientation to the living goodEarth as a result of having trod paths independent of that whose antecedents lie in the Greco-Roman cultural broth and its alchemist, hermeticist, Rosicrucian, Kabbalist, and Catholic/Protestant Christian mages. Unjustly marginalized variants of the “Western” tradition also deal wonderfully with the subject of the sacred UnderWorld.
In this essay I have made reference, implicit for the most part but conscious and painstaking, nonetheless, to my understandings of Native American lore regarding the “inner life of the Earth”, and to Navajo medicine ways in particular, which I have been adopted into. Of course, what I have to say is only my understanding of such, but this understanding is itself referenced primarily to my own long years of experience journeying throughout the Underworld under the tutelage of ancestors from both sides of my ancestry: European by ancestry, American by adoption. What I present here I can only offer as propositions to be considered, for they will have to stand or fall on the basis of their own inherent sense of veracity, authority, and common sense, according to whatever feeble skills as a writer I may possess. In order to compensate for the latter, I choose to be blunt and lean on the internal contradictions that I note as set down in the cited text, so that my point of view might be distinct, and accessible to comparison, correction, or dispute. In the last, or perhaps first resort, reference should be made to actual, personal, initiated and digested experience. Lacking this, it’s all about “My theory vs. your theory”; an intellectual ground that is impossible to navigate without breakdown. My comments all derive from that kind of personal experience in the realms mentioned. If response is made to my statements, it would be helpful for discussion if the responder could be clear as to from what perspective he or she is speaking; e.g.: what kind of theory or what kind of practice. Either is fine as long as we are clear which it is!
Since these are “Notes”, not a complete parsing (most major points as well as my own alternative vision are covered much more completely in my other works, including an in-depth treatment of the “Nine Levels” in Mesoamerican lore in my work on the mysteries in pre-Columbian Central America), I will merely point out the signifiers that stand out from my perspective. First, I will review O’Leary’s Introductionis some detail, since it does good service in laying out the basics accepted by him and the various authors in what follows in the book. A quick glance follows at a feature or two that I consider characteristic of the following essays. Finally, I will examine the final article in some additional detail, since it lands soundly on some essential points, but by routes I consider needlessly circuitous and hamstrung by various unnecessary starting-point assumptions.
That is my case; let us see if I can make it:
Forward, p. vi (Steiner’s quote): excellent, and true, but how is this to be located within the map described throughout the rest of the book, one which in the view of most of the authors is one of almost unmitigated evil, right down to but not quite including the dimensionless point at the center? This is a basic dilemma of the book’s consensus, which is neither directly confronted nor satisfactorily resolved by any of the authors. This indicates a basic anthroposophical dysfunction: a top-heavy and impossible unipolar universe with no real place for a Divine Feminine which, in this case, results in occult misogyny. It is a separate issue as to whether these internal contradictions are due to basic features of Steiner’s own world-view or whether they result from his legacy being insufficiently watered, fertilized, augmented, and re-referred to experience by later generations. Such reflective scrutiny and critical discourse is an essential feature of any scientific discipline, but conspicuous by its absence in anthroposophical culture, including its ‘spiritual science’. This is fine for a belief system but deadly for a science, especially a spiritual one where those virtues must have become interiorized and self-motivated. Lacking such reflection and the reality-check an exoteric enterprise entails, obvious incongruities are unnoticed, then ignored, then glossed over only to metastasize, and then become too big to deal with without total overhaul of established thought-systems. Everyone becomes complicit and it becomes too much trouble to deal with, both individually and institutionally, since so much has become invested in maintaining the agreements and the problem is denied, along with those that point it out. Such is my impression; there may be a better explanation…. Regardless, the seeming contradiction remains to my vantage point as one that cannot be dismissed – one that I have confronted and resolved elsewhere, in print and in my own life, as one who has done his best to honor Rudolf Steiner’s impulse. Although this essay is not capable of deconstructing and resurrecting the anthroposophical world-view, this is what I have done elsewhere, and the indications presented in this piece are the fruit of that endeavor, which has led me personally to the very deepest regions of the inner Earth and back, regularly and as the core of my spiritual practice and work.
Introduction, p. vii: “Hierarchies of Evil … [and Hierarchies of Good] … a duality”. O’Leary posits Hierarchies of Evil as polar counterpart to the Hierarchies of Good, asserted without support or context. There is no foundation for proposing the existence of this coequal hierarchy in anthroposophy or in any other portion of the perennial tradition (unless you’re a black magician!) and O’Leary provides none, nor does he provide an explanation of how a hierarchy of pure evil has arisen from and now exists apart from the normal retardations and surges of divinely-regulated evolution. Occasional references to evil and evil beings do not justify elevating them to such a status. Right from the start, O’Leary is off on the wrong track.
Other indicators of a fatal dualism in the Introduction, one which pervades the book’s perspectives, and which render solutions to the ‘problem of evil’ partial, hyper-convoluted, practically unworkable at best, and mostly just more of the problem are: “polar”, “polaric”, “dual nature”, “dual”, “split”, “duality”, “twin opposites”, etc. Broad pejoratives and qualities employed for describing the UnderWorld and its effects are: “selfishness”, “falsehood and lying”, “sickness and death”, “the sources of evil”, “enslaving emotions, urges, and passions”, “forces of egotism”, “catastrophe of lower nature”, “source of black magic”, and “source of destruction”. Nothing is said about the expanse of Good from which these relatively minor aberrations spin off.
A word-count is illustrative: in the Introduction’s first section of 6 pages, there are no less than 69 instances of words or phrases related in some way to “Evil” and only two mentions of “love”, and that only in the context of the far-off future goal of evolution. The problem here is that love is the very present substance of this world.
O’Leary has the extremes but not the Middle.
p. viii: In this set of passages, O’Leary took as his starting point a quote from Rudolf Steiner: “There is an important occult axiom: every quality has two poles.” True enough, but what O’Leary is oblivious to in his fascination with polarity are the original qualities themselves from which the polarities arise: he has the polar extremes but nothing in between, and that is where the meat of the cosmic sandwich lives.
The dualities cannot be resolved, nor can they arise, without the Middle, and this is what Steiner’s anthroposophy has to say about it also. It is from the Middle, not from beyond the extremes, that that Peace that passes all understanding comes. It is the Middle from which the love comes, and it is not a point but a vast area which opens out into everything else. Since it is in the Middle that Christ has his domain, if that Middle is lacking at the foundation of the theory, the theory cannot but be anti-Christian and any tacked-on talk about the Christ will be hollow, inaccessible, and ultimately false. Christ on Earth is not to be found at its outer limit vanishing point of the remotest geological core, but upwelling from every interstice of its fragile and precious substance – and ours. And you will never be able to find him where O’Leary locates him – for he is there - if you don’t find him right here first – but O’Leary eliminates that possibility. O’Leary’s cosmology is thus subtly but profoundly anti-Christian.
Steiner is quoted in support (p. viii), but without referring to the original, I assert that he could only have been referring to how phenomena appear and operate on the physical level, for it is the case that the subtler realms operate on principles of multi-polarity or complementary cooperation – polarity as a principle rapidly vanishes as one goes up or downthe vibrations scale. This is a major point. To extrapolate (in linear fashion, no less) from the physical-mineral to the spiritual is another fundamental esoteric mistake, and only amplifies one’s prejudices, whether personal or cultural, as we shall see.
p. viii: “dark side”: equated with the ‘evil’ pole of our nature. Here we have a fundamental oversimplification and rush to judgment. Why is darkness so easily linked to evil in the mass mind? A good question, which we cannot answer here, although it involves a quirk of language deficient in relevant terminology, but we can note that this linkage is by no means culturally invariant, nor was it so in the mind of Jacob Boehme. But let us note that in the Beginning, when God created the Heavens and the Earth and said “Let there be Light” - before that, there was darkness. Not the constricting darkness of nothingness or evil, but the eternal, unitary, continual, and fundamental Darkness of the undifferentiated fertile, potent, divine everything, a state of being prior and arguably vaster and more inclusive than that of Light, which serves to separate and differentiate in typical left-brain fashion. Was not this Darkness holy and sacred, being one with the nature of the Creator? However, it is true that just as there is a true and a false light, the true light coming from “Above” and the false light being that of Lucifer, so also is there a true and a false darkness, the true darkness coming from Below and the false darkness that of Ahriman. While there are precedents in European esotericism for this point of view, it has been a marginalized one, too difficult to integrate into the culture which depends upon a separation of elements in order to facilitate extraction – on whatever level. O’Leary, however, seems to posit that the false darkness is equal in potency to the true light – an odd juxtaposition, but he makes no effort to substantiate such a stance.
p. viii: “…we are doubtlessly a duality”: the paradox of human reality, true, but only insofar as the focus is on the fallen nature. The goal of spiritual work is to remember, recover and maintain our true pattern which is one of unified, diversified wholeness. Which one is real? The one we feed. I submit the same is the case with the Earth as a whole. Much more on this as we progress.
Additionally, although this split inhuman (sic) nature is a universal one, only in a culture dominated by European values is the paradigm of duality elevated into normality; an existential situation impossible to resolve and productive of such culturally psychotic schizophrenia and sociopathy as results from a world-view that sees the earth as essentially evil and justifies it with such fancy mental footwork as pervades the bulk of the articles in the book. On the contrary, I am stating that the earth is inherently good, despite the various typical developmental problems that every living organism has to deal with. Looking around, this would be the default presumption of the untutored mind and heart, and it is so.
p. viii: “…that fact [of duality] fact pervades the spiritual-scientific world-view”: yes, it does…unfortunately. Should we accept that world-view? It does permeate the modern natural-scientific world-view, ruled as it is by the Second Law of Thermodynamics which posits the heat-death of the universe from causes intimately related to the entropy inherent in its bi-polar forces – the only ones which it recognizes. For it, the life-forces do not exist. O’Leary not only capitulates to Ahrimanic science, he uses the fallen science to validate his kind of spirituality. This, concisely, is crazy. Instead of a spiritual science, we have here a scientific spirituality, with the tail wagging the dog. This is staggering; has no one else noticed this reversal of values?
p. ix: The “As above, so below” axiom is cited frequently hauled out in benediction of various propositions. The conclusions are frequently erroneous, moreover contrary to common sense and untutored raw experience, and as mentioned previously, material processes cannot be extrapolated blindly as being those of the spiritual worlds. Without reference to relevant facts, theory whirls off into uncharted virtual regions, e.g.: The statement “The Earth has no light of its own…” precedes a first mention of the interior of the Earth and the subterranean spheres. But it is simply not true that the Earth has no light of its own. Physically-materially, yes, but that is only the outer aspect, a trivial one in the present context but the only one given any solid weight in this discussion. With spiritual sight, anywhere inside the Earth there is light to see by, even if it is the dark interstellar light of the deepest Saturn regions. Within the intermediate Sun realms, everything is lit from within for Sun pervades everything and everything is of light and so there are no shadows cast – an interesting phenomenon, if one’s attention is directed to it. Within the nearest Moon realms, the light is of a more familiar nature (sic!), although it lights up through one’s Imagination than through the physical eyes.
From a false premise and unfiltered religious superstitions, facile, unnecessary, false, and esoterically disastrous associations are made between “darkness”, “Evil”, “Below”, the “Abyss”, and “Hell”, ones that pervade the presentations in the book and which constitute one of the unconscious assumptions that govern the conclusions drawn. These associations are nothing but unprocessed primitive superstitions, completely based in warped cultural anomalies. A brief review of spiritual traditions existing around the world quickly prove this proposition (unfortunately, these are typically the ones that have been subjected to centuries of genocidal fury by the now-dominant culture that espouses such a world-view as does O’Leary and company in ILE). As is usually the case, unconscious assumptions dominate the conscious intentions.
p. x: “Freedom, as such, is currently not possible within the sphere of human will.” Well, this is interesting; one of those blanket pronouncements pulled out of thin air. At one fell stroke, O’L has eliminated the possibility of us doing anything about the dreadful situation he says we are all so wrapped up in. All we can do is hope that someone else – a Christ as fabulous as the unicorn, perhaps – can work a miracle or that our fond yearnings might somehow…. Even Steiner’s own mantra on the subject begins with “May…”, which is a passive stance. Personally, I must reject this statement as absurd; as a luciferic philosophic stance, it can be justified, but, with logic, anything can, depending upon your starting-point assumptions.
p. xi - xii: “We humans, individually and collectively, have a ‘self-destruct’ impulse deep within out nature…”? Oh, really?; another common meme. Although this is technically true in a limited sense, and especially true for those inculcated in “Western” values, it is only true in part. Otherwise, as a comprehensively true and exhaustive statement describing core universal human nature, it is false, for our true and normal nature is far vaster and nobler than this. O’Leary seems to think that this is the core defining quality (as one inextricable from our duality) of human nature. Other cultures are not driven or characterized by this syndrome, and have managed to thrive for long periods of time without succumbing to the split that characterizes the “Western” mind, one which is so mental and divorced from its deep roots in the body and in the Earth. The violence necessary for this disassociation is then codified and legitimized by calling the exiled portions of the psyche as “evil”, then exiled and tabooed. But this will not do, for the consequences of this split in self-identity will be deformed caricatures of the human pattern as envisaged by the gods. Our true being is our whole being, not just the thinking part.
Over and over again we will run into this syndrome of taking statements which are true in limited circumstances as comprehensively true. This is indicative of poor epistemology, sloppy thinking, limited life experience, and naive esoteric theology, not to mention minimal exposure to actual practice or tutelary initiates. As a result, and to a healthy common sense, the description of human nature used here is none other than … Ahriman’s. Ahriman does not lie in detail – he is Lord of the Fact, after all - but his conclusions, irresistible in cold logic to the weak and uninformed, are wholly untrue.
Strikingly symptomatic of the unintended and unnoticed consequences of such esoteric pathology is the quote that O’Leary cites by one described only as a “professor and historian at Yale”, using it to attest to the veracity of his world-view: “To me, the deepest message, the most tragic is [Thucydides’] picture of civilization as a very thin veneer. When you punch a hole in it, what you find underneath is hollow, the pre-civilized characteristics of the human race – animalistic in the worst possible way.” Now it cannot be denied that this is a popular world-view, held by many these days, and as such, is a social fact. But who are these people; who is this Yale professor, and should they be who we should be? Well, he is cited as none other than Robert Kagan, prominent Straussian neo-conservative, major foreign policy advisor to John McCain, co-founder of the Project for the New American Century, one of the cosigners of the 1998 letter from PNAC to then-President Clinton advocating regime change in Iraq, by war if necessary: the programme that was already on the shelf, ready and waiting for Bush ’43 and 9/11. His name has appeared together with other neoconservative luminaries such as Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby, Stephen Cambone, convicted felonsElliott Abrams and I. Lewis Libby, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Francis Fukuyama, Zalmay Khalilzad, , Norman Podhoretz, Dan Quayle, William Kristol, and Donald Rumsfeld, as signatory of various official PNAC position papers published up through the present day.
He is also a current advisor to the Bush administration on Iraqi affairs.
If one believes that it is possible to deal constructively with the “Problem of Evil” by means of polarized cosmology driving polarized and polarizing attitudes generating the conclusion that it is a battle to be waged against anything other than one’s own mistaken conceptions and damaged nature (the same mistaken ideology of jihad against the “Other” followed by the recipients of our foreign policy consideration), then it naturally follows that “Wars on Terror (or Evil)” are equally possible or desirable, or that other kinds of war, such as a War on Drugs, Inquisition against the heretics and the like, are proper ways of dealing with their respective issues. The concomitant social, political, and economic results are plain to see; they should throw the assumptions underlying them into some doubt. The syndrome operating here is the same one that allowed the “good Germans” of the 1930’s to accept Hitler as one who could and would clean things up. Blame your problems on someone else and “Get Rid of the Other” has always been the policy of self-righteous do-gooders and cynical tyrants, and has never failed to bring ruin in its wake – this has actually been the intention of those who see themselves, their motives, and their goals more clearly. Michael Ledeen, another neo-conservative associate of Kagan, is known specifically as the originator of the policy of “Creative Destruction”, which may go far to explain the international chaos sown by the last eight years of US foreign policy. PNAC elitist Straussian philosophy legitimizes subterfuges and lying to the masses in furtherance of higher goals which the unwashed could not comprehend nor appreciate. Occultists and esotericists should beware with whom their beliefs lead them to be fellow-travelers and bedmates; they are fallout consequences of first principles. But perhaps O’Leary approves of all this…?
Do I make too much of this Kagan item? Perhaps, but I do not think so. In every encounter, especially initial ones in the case of sexual or romantic relationships, there are signifying details which, unfortunately usually only in retrospect, set the tone or reveal the essence of the situation. They may jump out at you only once, to quickly disappear down into the noise level if you are not alert enough, or they may grow on you until they dominate your perception. Or they may simply be there, immovable and unignorable. In this case, and for me, it is the latter.
This should be enough on the subject, but upon further research, it appeared to me that the signifying nature of this item was more significant that it first appeared, for when I looked up the reference as footnoted (Robert Kagan New York Times, May, 2007), it was not there. It seems that O’Leary has miscited the reference, which should be for an op-ed column of Maureen Dowd (one of my favorites, also) of May 30, 2007, entitled How We’re Animalistic – In Good Ways and Bad, an editorial in which she notes the Straussian obsession with Platonic and Aristotelian elitist political theory, in which she quotes, not Robert Kagan, but his father, Donald Kagan, also a prominent Neo-con and PNACer. This may seem a distinction without a difference (his neo-con CV is equally impressive, as is that of his other son, Frederick Kagan), but it goes to the point of attention to detail, respect for facts, and the reliability of his observations in general.
Immediately preceding Kagan’s quote is another one, also from a Maureen Dowd column, but, again, also not as of the cited date (Jan. 7, 2007), but from Jan. 6, 2007 (NYT op-ed column entitled: Monkey on a Tiger). In it, she does include the cited quotation which she attributes, but in a context that is revealing. I quote the passage’s context:
Again, I find it revealing that O’Leary chooses the viewpoint of an Ahrimanic propagandist over a distinguished humanistic philosopher like James, and is, again, careless with the facts of the matter. (Overbye is Science Editor of the New York Times; materialistic ideologue and major spokesman for the scientific establishment, who is parallel in stature to the neo-cons of the political establishment.)
p. xi: “Manichean”: O’Leary does not comprehend the true Manichean ethos: he accepts the common wisdom that it involves an eternal and unending war between co-equal good and evil. This is incorrect and only indicates his own predisposition on the matter. Manicheanism involves an analysis of the nature and origin of evil as part of the process of defusing it, a process which is the entire point of paying it any attention at all. According to this perspective, “Evil” is not a philosophical problem to be abstractified and formalized, it is a situation which needs to be fixed.
p. xii: O’Leary states, apropos of Kagan’s remark: “More appropriate to this book is a picture of human nature as a volcano fueled by ancient energies from subterranean spheres and (ideally) capped and controlled by…the ego.” There you have it; an extreme formulation of a widely-held belief, remarkable for its forthrightness, but one which would be termed insane by most any other culture. A diseased mind and/or body, not to mention society can only follow if such beliefs gain currency – or become official doctrine. Unfortunately, such a belief seem to be the conventional wisdom in the Anthroposophical Society milieu: the human being at war with himself, renouncing the depths to gain the heights. I pose the question: “Is it healthy?”
I again submit and assert that there is a core pattern inherent in every entity which can be accessed through simple sustained and focused intention which is the potentially dominant identity, the one sustained for us in the Imagination of the Creator. Uniquely in our free-ranging identity as humans, we are free to pick this one, or any other one we – or anyone else – can imagine. True, any pattern can be distorted or modified, but dangers anticipated can be dangers avoided – this is the context for Steiner’s shocking remarks about the “Nine Levels of Evil.” – ones on which he never did elaborate and which are not an integral part of his world-view, as can be seen from a review of his Basic Books and panoramic overview of his life-work, which is immense. The only real question is: “Which reality do we want?” I also submit that the Creator’s version – the one that is integral with free choice – exists at each and every point within the Earth, as the intention that has been implanted from the first moments of Saturn through all the hierarchies right up to now. This is the dominant pattern; anything else is derivative, secondary, and weaker. In the viewpoint of the practitioner shaman, it has to be seen as negligible, for this is how it is dealt with when it is encountered – or sought out for healing.
p. xii: “The depths of the subterranean spheres eventually lead to the source of black magic…”. This must be refused. It is false. What the traveler finds at the deepest portion of the Earth is the other face of the Father God: the Mother. She is not evil, she is good, and it is from her that the Christ received his Resurrection. This can be experienced if one goes there, and it can happen similarly for each one of us. It can be seen if you trace the arc from Pieta to Madonna. Of course the Universe is composed of an infinitely infinite range of options, and as one’s Imagination goes, so one follows. If one Imagines on Evil, one will certainly find it, and find ones who have been at it longer than you; that does not mean that it is a primary reality, or one that is necessarily within one’s competence to asses or to deal with in autonomy, or that is it desirable to take it at face value, for one of its essences is its hypnotic lure, one opposed to clear cognition. The issue at hand is: “What is most real about the interior of the Earth, and where and with whom would you rather spend your time?” I submit that O’Leary and the rest have been seduced by the object of their fascination.
p. xiii: “…Christ, the planetary spirit since the Mystery of Golgotha…”. Alrite, but if this is explains and solves everything, who was the planetary spirit before the Mystery of Golgotha? The devil perhaps? This is neither asked nor answered, but the conclusion is implied elsewhere. If, as it is surmised later, it was some evil spirit polar to the good creator, how does one explain the goodness that radiated out from the natural world before that event and which has inspired humanity since our inception upon it and from which we have arisen? And at what point did the work of the Hierarchies from Seraphim to Angel to pixie go all so bad and the Earth turn rotten? Steiner makes no mention of such an event in his Outline of Occult Science, his basic text on the broad arc of evolution, nor in any lecture or recorded comment. The simple reason is that he never did because it never happened. It willrun down if we human do not now step forward and take up our responsibilities as creative participants in this drama, for Ahriman is also the Lord of Entropy and is now making his big push. Some are committed to working for a macro-human vision, and some are not – yet, and some are committed to working for other agencies – as is Kagan, O’Leary, & Co. All the mutually exclusive realities cannot go one much longer coexisting within the same space-time continuum; at some point there will be split – as Steiner predicts. Thatanti-abyss is below the feet of O’Leary’s book. Presented as it is in The Inner Life of the Earth, and in the casual opinionation of the Anthroposophical Society, the aspiring actor is very effectively discouraged from going exactly where he or she needs to go, for O’Leary has accommodated himself to Ahriman’s preconditions. Given them, it does not matter what talk of a Christ or a Steiner comes after. The Nine Levels of Evil? Who in their right mind would want to go there?; “If you play in the mud, it will stick”, and the like is how we’ve all been told. The irony is, that the only evil we really need to be concerned about is our own. For this, my advice is to take the log out of your own eye before you start diagnosing the poor vision of the gods. The true source of black magic is in our own disassociated ego. It is not Big and Out There, it is very, very small and very, very close to home.
O’Leary is willing to defame the entire Earth in order to avoid the pivotal encounter with himself. Not only that, he is willing to drag Steiner and Anthroposophy along with him for comfort and endeavor to complicate others in the effort. “Complicate” as in “complicit”: beware!
Again, I do not accuse Mr. O’Leary of ill will or malice. I do describe the objective results of ignorance, bad thinking, and the presumption of inexperience. I would not ordinarily exert myself to such extremes of characterization, but I do not accept that Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy, the heir to Christian Rosencreutz, Paracelsus, Valentinus, Boehme, and Bach, is to disappear into the murk of such amateur dabbling without protest.
p. xiii: “…gold…”: more precisely, it is only the middle levels of the Inner Earth that are of gold: these are the enfolded Sun-constituents of the Earth-body. If you go there, the light is golden. This central region of layers – levels 4, 5, and 6 - (not “center” in the other sense) is certainly not gold as such, although some may indeed imaging there to be a lode of metallic gold down there. Actually, if you go all the way to the core, you find that it opens up into the same stars that form the boundary of the Father-realm. In this way, one experiences the resolution of the seeming duality between the Father and the Mother “poles” of created existence: not only do they seem so separated only in the physical dimension, but they are really only the same entity as seen, the Mother as Creator approached from above, the Father as Creator approached from below. You should try it, it is an interesting experience. Unitary within itself, only temporarily separated to fallen sight in the manifest physical world but reunited within the human heart and will on behalf of the reenfoldment of the rest. One immensely practical difference, though (remember, there is not a self-cancelling duality operating here, but an ultimate complementarity) is that while the Father has, as Steiner says, retreated beyond the stars and has become relatively inaccessible, he has turned over the creator duties in this era to his Mother aspect, who has the advantage of being fully incarnated as our Mother Earth and whose every natural aspect is an open door to her inner mysteries. It’s the old purloined letter trick: hide it in plain sight. God does have a sense of humor!
What O’Leary offers in the passages here is routine assertion by repetition and appeal to authority, oblivious to the practical moralconsequences of his train of thought. It’s a free country and he has a right to his opinion, but blind belief should have no place in an occultism which pretends to the leading place in world-evolution. Such only ends up blocking it – for where is the real, Christ-inspired vision of these things? Anyone who picks up the book and reads it will come away with the impression that the Earth is a bad place, full of evil and demons with only a maybe of hope that things could change – he can’t deny the latter completely, for even the devils acknowledge the Christ; what they can do is sideline him to irrelevance, and this is what O’Leary has done. Here we have only the fallen vision; this cannot be allowed to be dominant. In the real world of the Will, thoughts do have powerful consequences, something frequently overlooked when it is all a mental exercise in arranging ideas for the best fit, leaving out the ones that don’t match the map. Actual work in the White Magic of the Will has a wonderful corrective effect upon mistaken conceptions!
p. xv: O’Leary juxtaposes the “source of destruction” within the deepest innards of the Earth with Goethe’s “realm of the Mothers” and comes very close to identifying them with the Asuras, and additionally, with Ahriman and Lucifer. This is preposterous and quite likely that most flagrant and specific esoteric error made by anyone in this century and is nothing but a hideous blasphemy. It is so bad that I cannot avoid the surmise that it is, in some way, by someone, intentional. I first encountered the notion in its present iteration in January of the year 2000 in the course of participating in an online internet discussion group. It was asserted then by an individual who was prone to flaming and other eccentric online and offline behavior. She may have picked up the notion somewhere else; I have not been able so far to track it back any further, but it may have its local roots in the history of the miscarriage of the spiritual stream of Central Mexico 2000 years ago at the hands of a female priestess of the time who was privy to its Mother Mysteries. At any rate, the notion of Mothers-as-Asuras seems to have taken on a life of its own as a mini-meme within certain anthroposophical circles. This would be ridiculous if the ripple-effect were not so consequential. Anyone, like myself, who has met the Mothers in their true aspect cannot help but be staggered in their souls by such blithely ignorant assertions and how casually Steiner’s legacy has been falsified in exactly the area in which it had to grow in order to remain living.
The consequence of such falsity bears on the ongoing enterprise of reconciling the European and Western spiritual continents, riven so grievously apart over the last 500 years. Given that the Saturn Mysteries of the American West have at their core the life of the Mother, such ideas as suffuse The Inner Life of the Earthcannot but be considered as stumbling-blocks thrown in the road to impede the traffic. The work will go forward, but to the extent that the ideas in the book gain popularity, anthroposophy will become even more marginalized – and this in the best-case scenario, for in esoteric work, what does not go forward in growth and development, it dies, the spirit departing, with its husk becoming the crack-house of, again at best, stray spirits and retrograde egregors.
Let me state the facts of the matter as seen by me as plainly as possible: Rhea, Demeter, and Persephone are the three Mothers, who are personifications and Imaginal condensations of the powers and beings inherent in the three great rounds of Earth’s evolution which Steiner termed Saturn, Sun, and Moon, and as they become incorporated into the subjectivity of the Earth. Like the stages of personal growth that provide the basis and structure for further maturation (embryo, infant, child, adolescent, etc.), so do the Mothers constitute the inner substance and biography of the Earth, one which still lives, tho not outwardly as before, when they were the cutting-edge. Haekel’s formulation, cited by Steiner approvingly as a cross-disciplinary rule-of-thumb for many developmental situations, is most succinct in this regard: “The ontology recapitulates the phylogeny”, which means that small cycles of individual development are holographic repetitions of prior, longer eras of species development.
Steiner uses this principle throughout his Occult Science: “For those who do [acknowledge the hidden spiritual element], previous stages of evolution are present in their perception of the present one, just as the one-year-old child is still present in their perception of the fifty-year-old person.” (OS, chapter 4, para. 10).
And thus it is; the human embryo goes though amphibian, lizard, etc. stages in its progress toward birth. They are not evil, they are necessary, then and now; they form our inner ‘tree rings”; they form the core of our brains and of our psyches. They do not need to be” redeemed” from what they are any more than does the spleen or the eye; they are perfectly good if allowed and nurtured to do exactly what they are designed to do; they can be trusted a lot more than we can trust our casual and faddish ideas about them. They cannot be ignored, or deleted in favor of “higher” stages. Tho prior, they are neither obsolete nor atavistic. In fact, and as Steiner explicitly states on many occasions, since they are older, they are wiser than are later additions to the organism, the most recent being the ego that still pisses on the living room rug as if that was what it was there for. And this is the ego that is supposed to put a cap on everything else?
No; if those prior stages are not recapitulated properly and completely and maintained in good order, both in ordinary maturation and in esoteric initiation, problems will develop in later stages, and they will remain adversely potent in the physiology, metabolism, and psychology of the individual, deeply within the unconscious but driving the consciousness. The larger portion of initiation consists of reaccessing those formative levels in full autonomy while in alignment to one’s core pattern and regularizing what was not dealt with sufficiently the first time around, thereby liberating huge amounts of power and creative potential. Premature activation usually has unfortunate consequences, which is why they normally are latent and hedged about by prohibitions. As an example, those concerning the mythical kundalini are fairly well-known, although usually couched in incomprehensible formulations.
So it is with the Earth. Prior stages of development are not evil, nor are the beings associated with them. They are still there, they are necessary, and they are good. Just like us, they have their own unique developmental situations that sometime have not yet been fully worked out. The Earth is not evil if there are earthquakes and volcanoes and you get in the way, and they are not necessarily even mistakes: Titans need to run around, feel their power and shake things up; it is in their nature. Evil, for that matter, is not intrinsic in anything; its just something that happens as things move along: sometimes there is a little wobble. NO BIG DEAL. To make it the core of an earthly cosmology could justifiably be called stupid if it was not also Ahrimans’ agenda.
The ‘evils’ referred to by Steiner in describing the inner body of the Earth-organism are none other than the initiation-trials presented to the would-be shaman who begins to walk those paths. If they dissuade you from going there, which they will do if you are not ready for dealing with them, they are doing their job, but it is unnecessary and superstitious to objectify them as being intrinsically evil. An initiation “science” should recognize this. And this book is promoted with maximum fanfare by Steinerbooks? To what end? If to provoke this response, they have succeeded.
If you meet any of the Mothers or their sisters in their essential aspect, the relative placement of what we call the evil local to that realm quickly becomes apparent: no matter how monstrous, it is down in the noise level compared to the majestic and limpid goodness of its true, undistorted, prototypical pattern. The closer you get to the Mothers, the farther from anything you might term or remember as evil you get; it simply disappears as a problem and the means of its healing becomes obvious. The Navajo call this orientation the Pollen Path or the Blessingway and the typical prescription is “Walk in Beauty”; “beauty” being the handy word in English for balance, repose, peace, harmony, vertical and horizontal integration within and surrounding, pulsation and movement with no ripple, etc. It is not easy, but it is simple; that is why it is so hard. One is not on it if one is overly concerned with “fallen” details like evil, because evil cannot exist if one’s beautiful pattern, instilled and ingrained within one by Creator, is held to regardless. If ‘evil’ is present, it cannot remain so; it becomes healed. The beginning, middle, and end of this path is that same peace that passes all understanding – the one that calls to you from the depths in the American Land.
Thus the Native Americans have a christianity without the religion, Christ without the person of Jesus, for he never lived here as an individul but they, like everyone and everywhere else, have been given to know what it is all about. They didn’t need the Book nor the Enforcers. Maybe we didn’t either.
Therefore, if one is actually involved with the “Problem of Evil” on the level of the Will, or of Intuition, wherever one meets or goes to meet dysfunction within the Earth, it becomes balanced, oriented, harmonized, and reintegrated into its surrounding web of being and relations. One is either overwhelmed and hypnotized by it for shorter or longer periods of time in order to learn about it from the inside or, if one no longer needs to do that, one becomes the healer and an agent and friend of those powers that brought this world into being. To become adept at this is the only reason to bring the subject of evil forward, otherwise, the situation is like children talking about what they found in their parent’s sex books. There is just no way they are going to figure out anything useful from it.
It would be an interesting task to investigate the circumstances of Steiner’s mentions of the subterranean spheres, and to whom he was speaking. I suspect the times and places were quite limited in scope and relevant to specific individuals and their (inner) questions. I suspect it would become apparent that they were not intended to be generally applicable cosmological pronouncements, good for a rule-of-thumb crib sheet on “how things work” in general.
There is a significant option that can transpire if one is not both careful and prepared for the tremendously powerful macrocosmic forces embodied within the subnatural/subensible substance of the Earth, entailing a warning which bears reiteration. One can become seduced by them and capitulate to them. This can happen if one’s own microcosmic counterparts which dwell in and constitute one’s own shadow and double have not been sufficiently worked over. This is an association that O’Leary recognizes – but he does not recognize it as applying to himself. One’s own internal energies are not normally capable of dealing with them. The Earth’s internal energies are titanic and successful (i.e.; surviving) encounter with them requires guidance and talent of the highest order, along with the educated internal discrimination necessary to be able to tell real help from alluring distractions. Here, it is not what you know, but who you know that will get you through. In this sense only are Rudolf Steiner’s cautions fully applicable, especially the one regarding the necessity of making three steps of progress towards regularising one’s own psychology and character for every step in pure ‘spiritual’ work (I paraphrase). This goes additionally triple for dabbling in the dysfunctional fringes of the UnderWorld, which do exist, but which only become fully rampant and malignant when brought out of their contextual matrix, concentrated, and employed for purposes which are divorced from the cosmic laws which would otherwise serve to hold them within workable limits. Thus, the mix of chthonic energies invoked by freewheeling ego-centric human free willing divorced from grounding in the body results in a variety of modern abominations, the atom bomb, corporate profit-driven genetic engineering, pharmaceutical drug-driven psychological therapy, computer-driven financial micro-trading algorithms, and the militarization of civilian life being only a few of the most obvious. One must note with awe the titanic will forces behind the promotion of these horrors, but one must be careful to know and maintain one’s own limits, otherwise one becomes a Kagan, thoroughly Ahrimanicized and in full league with the forces that are precipitating the Ahrimanic anti-christ.
Too Strong? What are the major loci of the Ahrimanic inroads into human civilization and the natural world? Los Alamos National Laboratories, the World Bank, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Project for the New American Century. Toss in the old Kremlin and Nazi Berlin for good measure and if you are betting on the chances of a successful incarnation of Ahriman, they would make a great spread. But look again at O’Leary’s précis of the UnderWorld; it is nothing but Ahriman’s own view of things, thoroughly characterized in his (O’Leary’s and Ahriman’s) mind by entropic polar forces (no mention of nor place for the myriad intermediate beingsthat tend the wellsprings of existence: to prioritize force over being runs counter to Steiner’s own formulation, in addition to being false – this is yet another grievous fundamental error. Where were Mr. O’Leary’s editors?), all in a continual state of conflict and eat-or-be-eaten, and Christ himself allowed no scope of action (or allies!) except as a Deus ex machina; a rabbit to pull out of the ragged old worn-out hat of Earth-as Hell-world - all the work of the gods ruined in some unmentioned and unexplained catastrophe - but magically to save the day if we will just…believe and hold out against the otherwise irresistible tide of Evil. Even Steiner’s own mantras are devoid of will-forces: the weak plea in passive voice “May…[good prevail, etc.]” predominates. Of course it would have been false for him to have pretended to more: he was of the Europe of the philosophical tradition, not of the America of Doing It.
Mr. O’Leary’s white Christ-magic is not the white magic of the shaman who fixes things, his is a birthday-party magic for children. You could not sell this script to Holly wood as material for a fourth-rate movie, although maybe you could if you loaded it up with enough digital special effects. You could sell it to Bush’s White House – but no, some else already did.
That is to where the scenario tends. You can have it if you want it – but even Arhiman is not happy with his situation, for Asura is breathing hotly down his back and he is panicked. But that is a yet still deeper layer of plot, one that outside the bounds of this piece. Better to be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem: rely upon what is good and has been well-established within the depths of the Earth by those who loved us before we were, the cornucopia and Grail that daily spills over into the beauty and wonder we call being alive in our beautiful and gracious world. This is the primary reality of Earth and its inner body, and it gets better and better the more inward one goes. It is united with the forces of the Heights through the human heart; we can all do it for this is what we were born to do. It is not a path of “Thinking”, although trained thought can bestow the necessary virtue of autonomy, objectivity, orientation, self-reflection, and the screening out of obvious errors, but it is a path of the Will, natural to this part of the world in the Americas, the central truth of its Saturn Mysteries. It was not Rudolf Steiner’s job to ‘go there’ in his philosophy – he was the flower of Europe as much as was J. S. Bach or the cathedrals – he could only say that it was there to go to. The adage: “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is” fully applies here; you can only knowthis subject if you can doit. That’s how the Will works. And it comes up from Below – a scary prospect if you have not cast off the repression regarding the “naughty” lower chakras! And the orientation begins within one’s own body, else the theory will be like a kite without a string to tether it, distracted by the first stray breeze and diving to collision with hard ground.
In a thoroughly repressed culture like that of the one of post-WWII USA, in going “down” into the Will-areas of the personal subconscious and occult metabolism and into the macrocosmic, holographicly parallel regions of the inner Earth, one runs the risk of loosing the genie from his bottle and becoming the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. But there are other cultures for whom the encounters are not so fraught with peril. In fact, there are those for whom the encounters are a normal part of exoteric life, understood and accepted within a healthy supporting context (of course they have their own peculiar but perhaps locally justifiable taboos which may seem bizarre to the outsider). Not all go there and do it but the fact of it is accepted and respected, required even from those who have that skill. The point of view that arises all too easily from an uninformed reading of a difficult occult text combined with a severely limited and malformed human education evident in The Inner Life of the Earthis not by any means the only one.
pp. xv – xvi: O’Leary brings up the subject of “subnature” and associates them with the provinces of Asura, Ahriman, and Lucifer deeply within the Earth. This is similar to, but not the same as, his conflation of Asura and the Mother. Although this is a subject with requires more research on my part, I can state with some confidence that although the specific forces known to us through modern science as electricity, magnetism, and the nuclear forces are indeed subnatural forces, they are only boundary-region forces that lie in the transition realm between more subsensible forces and manifest physicality. As such, they are not really deep forces at all, but ones which lie just the other, lower, side of our natural realm. While they are counterpart to the “higher” or super sensible ethers, it would be inaccurate to say that they are fallen in any pejorative sense; these subsensible forces are just as necessary for the physical-mineral to exist as are the supersensible ones; the natural world is in balance between the supersensible and the subsensible. Bound up with these considerations are ones having to do with a judgment as to whether physical incarnation itself is a Luciferic mistake, an Ahrimanic deception, or our true goal and grounding-point as fully-incarnated humanity. My practice as an Americanspiritual citizen involves the latter, your formulation of this may vary, as it well should, for your circumstances are different. Nonetheless, demonization of what we do not know or what is not spelled out in the theory is counterproductive, for as long as we are within a dualistic frame of mind, its counterpart - fascination, however repressed – is thereby invoked.
Fascination is what we have in this book: its 95% about the evil, which is considered integral, while the good is kind of tacked on as a sidecar. It should be the other way around.
p.. xvi: Steiner is quoted as stating that it is the Father forces that “can be identified in modern consciousness” with the forces of the deep, the “lower gods”. This is difficult, but can be explained by considering that his modern consciousness was that of 1924 Central Europe, one which had no accepted context for appreciating a more sophisticated viewpoint, one which has broad circulation in the nowadays of 2008, namely, that the mention of the “Father” automatically and inevitably invokes the presence of the “Mother”. I submit that his “Father” covers both of what we now can speak of in more sophisticated terminology as the Father and the Mother. If you wish to entertain duality, this is the duality that is the real one; there is no duality between good and evil – this is Ahrimanic thinking, inspired by Luciferic mentality separated from the body and from Nature. You cannot have a unipolar force, nor a unipolar creator. If you posit such a thing, you are basing your entire world-view upon an impossibility, with all sorts of twisted consequences, such as we find here at hand: an equality between the truth and its “polar” illusion. (This is the same syndrome operating in the coopted mass media: “balanced and fair” means giving equal time to the fact and the lie.) Steiner used “Father” because the term represents, in the vernacular shorthand, both the highest and deepest of creative impulses, the primal being at the core of existence.
Nonetheless, citing the passage reposes the dilemma: are the forces of the Deep those of the good Father or are they of the purest Evil? For O’Leary, creation seems to be as split and unresolved as his own view of human nature.
Let us further note that O’Leary’s compilation of Steiner’s references on the subject of the Inner Earth are by no means either complete or representative. In fact, the passages that deal with the divinely sublime aspect of our Mother Earth are greater in number and scope. Yet again, we must ask: “Why is this so?”
Note first of all that both of the following lectures from which these extracts derive were given shortly before Christmas – a significant placement. In the first case, the date was a Christmas Eve, the last one which Rudolf Steiner was to see in this life. There must have been important things on his mind at this time; he must have chosen his words with great care and explicit intention. If he was he already suffering the effects of his illness at this time, this would have further served to focus his mind.
In the second case, the extract is from a series of lectures which was the very next series given in Dornach following the so-called “Mexican Mysteries” (GA 161) lectures. Curiously enough, the English edition of these GA 161 lectures is incomplete, comprising only roughly half of what is in the German edition. The excised half deals in large part with Goethe’s descent to the Mothers; commentaries on what is related in his “Faust.” The strange significance of this is that it is precisely the fact of the existence of divine-spiritual beings within the Earth that provide the antidote and resolution to the modern dilemma of the eruption of subnatural beings into the surface-life of humanity as reflected in the massive social, economic, political, and moral-scientific crises of the twentieth century. This problematical realm received its last severe agitation at the hands of the portion of the Mexican Mysteries described in the these lectures, but the manner of their defeat, the intention and destination and descent of the Logos that was facilitated thereby, and what awaits the proactive human being who desires to participate in the drama taking place within the Earth– all of this is left out! Like the barking dog in the Sherlock Holmes story, it is significant precisely because of its absence.
Granted, Steiner is not too explicit about what all this entails – generations of devoted and sincere anthroposophists have slid right over a number of significant indications – but the indications are there for one who knows what to look for, most likely from familiarity with the local mysteries. In short, I suggest that the “Mystery of the Logos” referred to in what follows is not an internalmystery of the Logos itself, but a mystery about the relationshipof the Logos to its mysterious earthly counterpart. The riddle of Christ’s relationship to the Magdalene is only a single note in a divine chord, one which spans the heights and the depths of earthly and cosmic existence; Hierosgamos finds its reflection in all the multitudinous mirrors of fractal creation. From another point of view, there is no “Mystery of the Logos”: it is Christ. The real mysteries are: “What does the Logos seek; what ‘other’ does its presence elicit, what does the Logos want from us, and how can we do it within ourselves, as the divine representatives that we are?”
“…Man no longer sees the essence and being of Humanity in the Divine-Spiritual Cosmos; he sees the accomplished work of the Divine-Spiritual in this earthly realm. To begin with, however, he sees it not in the abstract form in which it is seen to-day – not as physically sensible events and entities held together by those abstract ideal contents which we call ‘Natural Laws.’ To begin with, he sees it still as Divine-Spiritual Being – Divine Spiritual Being surging up and down in all that he perceives around him, in the birth and decay of living animals, in the springing up and sprouting of the plant-world, in the activity of water-wells and rivers, in cloud and wind and weather. All these processes of being around him represent to him the gestures, deeds, and speech of the Divine Being at the foundation of “Nature.”
“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.
“Far down into the Middle Ages, the relics of this mode of conception were still at work in the souls of men, filling the Intellectual or Mind-Soul with an Imaginative content.
“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.” It was only with the gradual dawn of the Spiritual Soul that this living study of Nature, filled as it was with inner soul, grew unintelligible to mankind.
“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….”
“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[emphasis added]. This cosmic fact the dream-like clairvoyance of primeval mankind had seen and known; and of such knowledge the Myth of Persephone remained – but not only this. For indeed, far down into the Middle Ages, the way in which men sought to know and penetrate into ‘Nature’ was still a relic of the same ancient knowledge. It was not yet as in later times, when men only see according to their sense-impression, i.e., according to that which appears on the surface of the Earth. They still saw according to the forces that work upwards to the surface from the depths of the Earth. And these ‘forces of the depths’ – the ‘forces of the Nether world’ – they saw in mutual interplay with the influences of the stars and elements working from the Earth’s environment [emphasis added]….”
“Man had to be exposed to the fact that in his earthly world, though the work of the Divine-Spiritual Beings with whom he is connected is indeed present here, yet it is only their accomplished work. And just because only the accomplished work, severed from its Divine origin, is present here, therefore the Luciferic and Ahrimanic beings have access to it. Thus it becomes necessary for man to make this realm of the Divine-accomplished work, permeated as it is by Lucifer and Ahriman, the field of action for one part – namely the earthly part – of his life’s development….”
“Persephone came down to the Earth in order to save the plant kingdom from being obliged to form itself from what belongs only to Earth. That is the descent of a Divine-Spiritual Being into the Nature of the Earth[emphasis added]. Persephone, too, has a kind of ‘resurrection’, but this takes place annually, in rhythmical succession.
“Over against this event – which is also a cosmic event occurring on earth – we have for Humanitythe descent of the Logos. Persephone descends to bring Natureinto its original direction….”
“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[emphasis added]of earthly human existence.”
“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 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.
“Shepherds, people resembling those among whom the worship of Nerthus lived, are also described in the Luke Gospel. I can only sketch all this for you. If only we had more time I could show you how deeply founded are the things I have to tell you today. It is because man came down from spiritual heights that the revelation of the divine came from the heavens. It had to be expressed in this way to those who knew, from ancient wisdom, that the destiny of man is linked with what lives in the stars of the heavens. But what is to live on the earth as a result of the incarnation of Christ into a human being will have to be understood gradually. The tidings are twofold, they are in two parts: “The revelation of the divine from on high” and “Peace to earthly souls who are of good will.” Without this second part, Christmas, the festival of the birth of Christ is meaningless.”
Further observations by Steiner having to do with the Inner Earth are:
A more lengthy except from the “Mothers” section of Faust:
“And if the ‘Mothers’ scene is allowed to work upon us, we shall well be able to say that it contains a very great deal of all that Goethe is wishing to indicate…. If we notice how, on Faust’s reappearing and coming forth from the Mothers, the Astrologer refers to him as ‘priest’, and that Faust henceforward refers to himself as ‘priest’, we have to realize that there is something of deep import in this conversion of what Faust has been before into the priest. He has descended into the Mothers: he has gone through some kind of transformation. …we need reflect only upon how the Greek poets, in speaking of the Mysteries, refer to those who were initiated as having learnt to know the three World-Mothers: Rhea, Demeter, and Proserpina.
“Please remember clearly how I have already said that the crossing of the threshold into this world beyond the border must be approached in thought with great caution. …between the world that we observe with our senses and understand with our intellect, and that world from which the physical world arises, there is a borderland, as it were…. Faust…does not only have to look into the spiritual world, he does not have to be an initiate only, but a magician, and must accomplish magical actions…he has to be given power to act out of supersensible impulses.
“Moreover, when we take our Earth upon which we are still evolving, and about which we cannot speak of as something completed, and when we look from this Earth to Saturn, Sun, and Moon, there we find the ‘Mothers’ that figure in another form in the Greek Mysteries under the names Proserpina, Demeter, and Rhea. For all the Forces that are in Saturn, Sun, and Moon are still working – working on into our own time.
“Consider this: If you do not take simply the outward, gross physical body, but its forces, its impulses, the Moon with its forces is at the same time in the Earth…. If we concentrate on this one thing, on these forces that are connected with the Moon, then we have one of the Mothers.
“What is there under the earth ruling as the being of electricity as Moon-impulse hat has been left behind. It definitely does not belong to the earth. It is impulse remaining over from the Moon…. And there is this relation with the forces of growth and increase. This was one of the ‘Mothers.’
“Knowledge of this force was first of all given to those being initiated into the Greek Mysteries, this force together with the other two Mothers. The Greeks held all that was connected with electricity in secret in the Mysteries. And herein is where lies the decadence of the future of the Earth…that these forces will no longer be held sacred, no longer be held as mysteries, but will be made public. One of these forces has already become so during the fifth post-Atlantean epoch – electricity. The others will be known about in the decadence of the sixth and seventh epochs.
“Take for example the relation of the Mothers to electricity. Goethe belongs to those who treat of such things out of a thoroughly expert knowledge:
‘Do you now see what one possesses in it?
The key will ferret out the proper place.
Follow it up, it leads you to the Mothers.’
‘To the “Mothers.” That strikes me always as a shock!’
as if he had received an electric shock. This is written with intention – not haphazardly. In this scene nothing in connection with the matter in question is haphazard.”
“…And so it is with everything our ordinary, normal consciousness encounters as physical heavenly bodies in the cosmos. To clairvoyant consciousness everything appears in such a way that we have a direct knowledge that whatever we see there is actually something past, something that has had its life completely in the past. As it appears in the present, it is not really in its original, living form. It is – so to speak – like a snail shell from which the snail has gone. The whole physical system of heavenly bodies is a testament of past times, telling only of past occurrences. Whereas we, on our earth, are contemporary with the things that appear before our physical eyes, what we see in the starry heavens is actually maya– for it does not represent an existing condition, but had its full significance in the past, and has remained behind. The physical remains of heavenly bodies represents the remains of the past activities of the corresponding beings of the hierarchies, the after effects of which still enter into the present.”
For this preceding quote we submit that, in line with our prior comments, that if – as I accept as correct – that outer panorama is a shell, the question becomes: “To where has the living reality; the beings themselves, gone? Where can we find them?” to which I reply: “Within the Earth.” The Inner Earth is not the source of evil, it is where one can go for refuge from it; there is comfort there that passes all understanding – if one follows the homing signal and goes deep enough. And so it is, if you can pass the thresholds – in particular and in this case, the artificial one thrown up in O’Leary’s book.
“Thus humanity is called upon to decide whether or not it shall allow itself to be led into darkness even lower than that of Kali Yuga…or it shall cultivate the new faculties by which it may find the way to the land of Shamballa…that Christ will once more reveal.
“…They must decide either to descend into something that as a cosmic kamaloca lies deeper than Kali Yuga, or to work toward achieving what will enable them to enter the realm that is truly alluded to as Shamballa.
I submit that in the case of O’Leary’s book, the highlighted portion of Steiner’s quotation perfectly describes the phenomenon as I have been noting it. Who can contemplate the prospect displayed by them with that feeling of blessedness demanded of one by Steiner? The ironic aspect of it all is that it is precisely those chthonic depths which lure one, like a homing signal, by their inherent sublime blessedness.
Similarly, we have the aphorism by that great Rosicrucian initiate, Oscar Wilde: “You do not truly understand something unless you see it through the eyes of love.” How can one love that which is described by O’Leary and the others?
Another objection that can be made to the world-view espoused in the book in question is that it is not elegant.
And what of the world of Faery? Are they all demons to this crowd? If not, what is their placement in this map?
There is another portion of Rudolf Steiner’s output that is referenced in any of the books edited by O’Leary, namely the portion dealing with what has become known as the Mexican Mysteries. Although subnature, the nine levels of inner Earth and the like are not mentioned by name, they are implicit in the subject matter, and an understanding of how they are viewed and addressed by the spirit-workers of the Far West sheds a flood of light on the subject.
While this may seem an overly bold assertion, its credibility becomes established if one takes the point that while the subject at hand is one of the most obscure, difficult, fraught with disinformation and confusion, and generally avoided for the traditions of Central Europe, to which Steiner was the heir, it is the basic playing-field of the spiritual life of the Americas, and not all that esoteric in its general features, either; features which are accessible in far greater detail than initiate Steiner’s brief and partial passing comments. Much can be learned about the inner life of the Earth by gaining familiarity with an essential christianity that developed completely separately - and freely - from that of Europe and its legacy of Rome – a legacy that Steiner highlights as part of his lecture-cycle concerning those Mexican Mysteries.
Within that last sentence is another bold statement, yet it is completely in line with Steiner’s main point in the lectures, which are that initiates (aka: shamans, in that part of the world) succeeded in assisting, not the birth, but the death of Christ and his concomitant birth-passage into the Underworld, a process that adversarial forces attempted to thwart but which attempt backfired upon them. There is a wealth of meditational material here, in addition to a world of anthropological and ethnographical lore regarding Meso-american spiritual pathways, all of which can be facilitated by reference to Steiner’s huge output of contextual material. (See my book on the subject for more information.)
Yet, almost without exception, among anthroposophists the subject of the Mexican Mysteries provokes instant and exclusive association with the most lurid aspects of the adversarial forces: beating hearts ripped out of sacrificial victims, bloody thrashing corpses tumbling down pyramid steps, savage black magicians (gasp!) calling forth demonic powers from the bowels of the Earth, and the like. But these were the forces that were defeatedby the Mexican Mysteries, Steiner was most explicit about that! So why is it that the Mexican Mysteries are considered to have consisted of unmentionable evil? Probably for the same reason that the adversarial forces within The Inner Life of the Earthgarner almost exclusive attention.
As I review these words, the passage:
lights up within me. I look over my shoulder and see my staff there, standing on my altar. Indicated to me by Merlin, constructed by myself, and consecrated by my chize’Grampa Brady, adorned with beadwork, jade, turquoise, abalone, a medicine bag with pollen and hair from Miracle Moon, and eagle feathers, it stands guard over this enterprise and inspires me. It has been to manyceremonies with me and is an antenna for great blessings and I am filled with “the peace that passes all understanding”: hozho. Variously translated from the Navajo as health, long life, happiness, peace, and beauty, it is not an ecstatic state, but one of what happens when one is fully present – present and accounted for, internally and with all one’s relations. It may be an ecstasy of sort, but one that can only happen when one is fully grounded. It is also not all that hard to enter into by the doors that are available to our indigenous people, as is obvious by noticing those that really get into it. It is also a great magic, to be humble before the great blessings that life is continually bestowing upon us, for this brings us into alignment with the greatest powers of all, the creative ones of love, which are constantly bringing the world into being from the nothingness of the past, here on this lovely place called Earth. This is the Malkuth that is the octave of Kether….this is hozho.
To put it another way, hozho is a complete lack of fear, a disposition that permeates the fundamental world-view of the book. Fear of what? I don’t know…fear of the unknown, basically, which is usually what it is.
So as the Navajo old-timers say upon greeting one another, I say to you: “Ya’ateeh, hozho!”
Kinship with the Earth
Our Mother Earth
By Oren Lyons
A thousand years ago a man came from the west. And he came across the water, and he brought a great message of peace. He came across the water, the great lake that you now call Ontario; he stopped on the shores, and he visited the various nations who were at war and who had forgotten how to live together. He came with a great message of peace; and he gathered the strongest and the fiercest of leaders in the Great Council. And it took many years; but with the help of Hiawentah, whom you call Hiawatha, together they created the Houdenosaunee, the great league of peace-one thousand years ago. And the principles were set down, at that time, of how to conduct ourselves, of how to raise the chiefs, how to raise the clan mothers; and how to set men in council, so that they could first perform the ceremonies as the spiritual being, the center, of the nation. The ceremonies were the first obligation of the chiefs, and the faith keepers, and the clan mothers. And then they were to sit in council for the welfare of the people.
A thousand years ago we were given this message by the Creator; we were given a government by the Creator. This government was not manufactured from the minds of men, it was given to us; and we were to cherish it. And each generation was to raise its chiefs and to look out for the welfare of the seventh generation to come. We were to understand the principles of living together; we were to protect the life that surrounds us; and we were to give what we had to the elders and to the children. The men were to provide; and the women were to care for the family, and be the center, the heart, of the home. And so our nation was built on the spiritual family, and we were given clans: the turtle - the eagle - the deer - the beaver - the wolf - the bear - the snipe - the hawk: symbols of freedom. We were given an understanding of how free people live. And we were told to protect the freedom of every individual; we were told that sovereignty began with the individual, and you protect that. And so a free nation stood, and a great peace prevailed.
Many years later there landed, on our shores to the east, our white brother. And he brought with him things that we could not contend with. We were told at an earlier time that the name Ga-nya-di-yo, whom you call Handsome Lake, would be important; and so it came to pass that in the year 1800 we were given a third and final message of how to deal with the things that were brought across the water - when our men were drunk; when our home fires were out; when the dogs walked in the ashes; and the children and the women hid in the woods because of what the whisky and the liquor did to our men. And we were given a message at that time; and this message told us about Ga-nya-di-yo; and again the Creator took pity on us, He felt sorry for us, and He gave the third message of how to deal with the whisky and with gambling, how to deal with the Bible and the missionaries. We were told at that time what would happen to this earth. And as Ga-nya-di-yo walked with the Four Beings, the Four protectors, who had been sent by the Creator to look out for mankind, they pointed out to him, here and there, "What do you see?" "I see a woman, so fat that she can't rise, yet she continues to stuff her mouth, she continues to eat like a glutton. " And they never said whether that was right or wrong; they asked him, what did he see? And so they went, and he was given this opportunity to see, and to be told that one day the water would not be fit to drink, that indeed the water would burn, that the trees would begin to die from the tops down; that the chief of all trees, the maple, would signal to us the time of the deterioration of life, when the end would be near. He told us, and pointed out the variety of events that would occur; the sickness of our children and of the elders, and of what money would do - the greatest sickness of all.
Now we are faced with these things, as leaders of our people, as people given a great responsibility; we in this generation must deal with all of these elements.
When the Creator gave His Great Law and planted the great tree of peace, He uprooted it, and He threw under it all the weapons of war. He said; You are now a nation of peace; and I will give to you oyankgwa-oohway, the sacred tobacco; and that will be your strength. That will be what you depend on, the spiritual power of prayer, a belief; the belief of your people. And if you have one mind, and you consider this again, it is the power that you have. So it happens when you burn the tobacco and use the sacred cornmeal that all of the animals stop and they listen; they turn, and they listen to these words.
Our brothers, the bears and the wolves and the eagles, are Indians. They are Natives, as we are. At one time we spoke their language; at one time we conversed, a long time ago. The two-Ieggeds have fallen from grace. Those animals and those wingeds, they live in a state of absolute grace; they can do no wrong. It is only we who have been given a choice, so clearly pointed out by the Four Beings; this is the way it is, they said, and what do you see here? They did not tell him; Do this or do that; they said, This is the way it is: what you do will be up to you. And that is what the Creator gave
to us, the choice: a great gift, the mentality that we have. And among us there are even people with other gifts - a gift of art, or a gift of speech, or a gift of a smile that can make everyone laugh. Whatever it is, each of us was born with a mission. We were born with a mission, and we must know what it is and develop it and do it. And that's a choice - that is your choice.
We went to Geneva - the Six Nations, and the great Lakota nation - as representatives of the indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere. We went to Geneva, and we spoke in the forum of the United Nations. For a short time we stood equal among the people and the nations of the world. And what was the message that we gave? There is a hue and cry for human rights - human rights, they said, for all people. And the indigenous people said: What of the rights of the natural world? Where is the seat for the buffalo or the eagle? Who is representing them here in this forum? Who is speaking for the waters of the earth? Who is speaking for the trees and the forests? Who is speaking for the fish - for the whales - for the beavers - for our children? Wesaid: Given this opportunity to speak in this international forum, then it is our duty to say that we must stand for these people, and the natural world and its rights; and also for the generations to come. We would not fulfill our duty if we did not say that. It becomes important because without the water, without the trees, there is no life.
New York City - you live here; you can't get a clean drink of water here. The water you drink is filthy. You don't know what clear spring water is like, because you have to drink what comes out of the tap. And eventually it will kill you. Eventually you will not be able to clean that water, nor your children, nor your grandfather, nor your grandmother....You think about it.…When you are sick and when your children are sick, you remember what the Indian said to you about water .
We are indigenous people to this land. We are like a conscience. We are small, but we are not a minority. We are the land-holders, we are the landkeepers; we are not a minority. For our brothers are all the natural world, and by that we are by far the majority. We want you to understand the opportunity now. It is no time to be afraid -there is no time for fear. It is only a time to be strong, only a time to think of the future, and to challenge the destruction of your grandchildren, and to move away from the four-year cycle of living that this country goes through, from one election to another, and think about the coming generations.
We spoke about human rights and we spoke in defense of all people and of all children. But remember that as long as we are burning tobacco, as long as the Indian nations exist, so will you. But when we are gone, you too will go.
*Now I am finished.
“…But people continually embrace illusions. They fancy themselves separate by virtue of what is enclosed within their skins. This they are, however, just as little as is the finger without the whole organism. The source of the illusion is the fact that the human being can wander about and the finger cannot. We are in the same situation on earth as is the finger on our organism. The science that believes our earth is a glowing hot, fluid sphere surrounded by a hard shell upon which we humans walk about, and that this explains the earth, stands at the same level as a science that would believe that in all essential respects the human being consists of nothing more, nothing else than his skeleton, for what one perceives of the earth is the same as the skeleton in man. The rest of what belongs to the earth is of a supersensible nature. The earth is a real organism, a real living being. When one pictures to oneself the human being as a living creature, one can think of his blood with its red and white corpuscles. These can only develop in the entire human organism and thereby be what they are. What these red and white blood corpuscles are for the human being we human beings are for the organism of the earth. We definitely belong to this earth organism. We form a part of the whole living being that is the earth, and only then do we view ourselves correctly when we say, “As single individuals we are nothing. We are only complete when we think our way into the ‘body’ of the earth, the body of which we perceive only the skeleton, the mineral shell, as long as we do not acknowledge the spiritual members of this earth organism.”
“When a process of infection arises in the human organism, the entire organism is seized by fever, by illness. If we translate this into terms applicable to the earth organism we can say that what occultism maintains is true: When something immoral is done anywhere on earth it amounts to the same thing for the whole earth organism as a little festering boil on the human body, which makes the whole organism sick. So that if a theft is committed on the earth the result is that the entire earth develops a kind of fever. This is not meant merely in a metaphorical sense. It is well-founded. The whole organism of the earth suffers from everything immoral and as individuals we can do nothing immoral without affecting the whole earth.
“It is really a simple thought, yet people have a difficult time grasping it. But let those people who do not want to believe it just wait. Let one try to impress such thoughts upon our culture; let one try with these thoughts to appeal to the human heart, the human conscience. Whenever people anywhere act immorally their actions are a kind of infected boil for the whole earth and make the earth organism ill, and experience would show that tremendous moral impulses inhere in such knowledge.
“One can preach morality as much as one likes; it will not help people one bit. But knowledge such as we have developed here would not seize hold of people merely as knowledge. If it found its way into the developing culture, if it streamed into the soul already in childhood, it would provide a tremendous moral impulse, for in the end no moral preachments have any real power to overwhelm, to convince the human soul. Schopenhauer is quite right when he says that to preach morality is easy but to establish it is difficult. People have a certain antipathy toward moral preachments. They say, “What is being preached to me is the will of someone else and I am supposed simply to acquiesce to it.” This belief will become more and more dominant to the degree that materialistic consciousness becomes dominant.
“One says today that there is a morality of class, of social standing, and what such a class morality considers to be right is then applied to the other class. Such an attitude has found its way into human souls and in the future it will become worse and worse. People will come increasingly to feel that they themselveswant to find everything that is to be acknowledged as correct in this sphere. They will feel that it should originate in their own inclination toward objective knowledge. The human individuality wants to be taken ever more seriously. But at the moment in which the heart, for instance, were to realize that it too would be sick if the whole organism became sick, man would do what is necessary in order not to fall ill. At the moment in which man realizes that he is embedded within the total organism of the earth and has no business being a festering boil on the earth's body — at that moment there exists an objective basis for morality. And man will say, “If I steal I am seeking my own personal advantage. I refrain from stealing because if I do steal I shall make sick the entire organism without which I cannot live. I do the opposite and thereby bring about something advantageous not only for the organism but also for myself.”
“In the future the moral awareness of human beings will form itself in this general way. He who, through theosophy, finds an impetus to moral action will say to himself that it is an illusion to seek personal advantage through an immoral action. If you do that, you are like an octopus that ejects a dark fluid: you eject a dark aura of immoral impulses. Lying and stealing are the seeds of an aura into which you place yourself and through which you make the whole world unhappy.
“People say, “All that surrounds us is maya.” But such truths must become truths for life itself. Let us suppose that one can demonstrate that through theosophy humanity's moral development in the future will enable man to see how he wraps himself in an aura of illusions when he seeks his own advantage. If one can demonstrate this, it will become a practicaltruth to say that the world is a maya or illusion. The finger believes this in its dull, half sleeping, half dreaming consciousness. It is bright enough to know that without the hand and the rest of the body it is no longer a finger. The human being today is not yet bright enough to know that without the body of the earth he is actually nothing. But he must becomebright enough to know this. The finger therefore enjoys a certain advantage over man. It does not cut itself off. It does not say, “I want to keep my blood for myself or cut off a portion of myself.” It is in harmony with the whole organism. Man must, to be sure, develop a higher consciousness in order to come into harmony with the whole organism of the earth. In his present moral consciousness man does not yet know this. He could say to himself, “I inhale the air. It was just outside, and now it is inside the human body. Something external becomes something internal. And when I exhale, something internal again becomes something external. And so it is with the whole man.” The human being is not even aware of the simple fact that separated from the surrounding air he is nothing. He must undertake to develop an awareness of how he is locked into the entire organism of the earth.”
The other authors included in The Inner Life of the Earth, in spite of their varied areas of interest, do not demonstrate points of view radically different in the fundamentals from O’Leary’s. A few comments about each:
David Mitchell: Mitchell is not as compulsed on the subject as O’Leary, but accepts his fundamental dualism, which tends to neuter the spiritual potency of his otherwise reasonable, if somewhat scattered observations. No new esoteric insights on the subject are apparent. Several glaring errors bear mention:
p. 17: quoting Lovelock on the essential property of life: materialistic, with no consideration of the anti-entropic life forces, or of any of the still higher forces.
p. 23: quoting Steiner: “Penetration into the subterranean realms without moral and spiritual development leads only to acquaintance with the most destructive forces.” Certainly not an error in Mitchell’s case, since he does not enter that area but only talks around it, but contrast his tone with O’Leary’s, who has dipped his toe into it, revealing the wisdom of Steiner’s advice. Still, in spite of his genial pitch, Mitchell is oblivious to the grander wonders of the inner Earth, and asserts without qualification that the source of evil is within it.
p. 31: ”Electricity is the Earth’s light…”: a great example of an Ahrimanic falsehood; true in the most negligible part, wholly false in the main. To spiritual sight, the Earth is radiant through and through, even – especially - in its deepest, most sublime darkness. Electricity is only relevant insofar as it is a necessary component of one of Earth’s most distinguishing characteristic: material substance.
p. 33: Mitchell quotes President G. W. Bush on the subject of reducing our dependence on foreign oil. ????
Dennis Klocek: Klocek has done great work in his field of interest for a long time, and his observations about the subtle characteristics of weather and its varied relationship to inner-earth forces, are beyond my competence to question or comment. His narrow focus serves him well, for in distinction to Mitchell, who tries to cover everything, he sticks to what he knows. This is a good thing. Still, there are traces of a materialistic attitude:
p. 43: “…the layer below the crust. This deeper layer is devoid of life.’ (Klocek). Although this statement is contradicted in part by evidence presented by other authors in the book, and may be debated, it is false as far as spiritual life is concerned. If spiritual evil can be allowed in every part of the inner earth, why cannot spiritual good be discerned? Someone who has a consistent practice involving real spiritual discernment about the inner Earth could not make such a mistake. Moreover, Klocek should well know that “forces” as such (in the scientific sense) become less and less disembodied the farther one goes from the physical-material, with “being” quickly becoming paramount. Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition involve themselves with beings, not with forces.
p. 63 – 65: Evil becomes more and more concentrated in Klocek’s view as one penetrates deeply into the Earth. It would be interesting to discuss with him how he comes by such statements, they seem to be lifted wholesale from the authority Steiner. Yet at the end of the section, he says that our beautiful home Earth shines like a sapphire jewel. This does not follow from his forensic dissection; he just tacks it on to avoid the necessary conclusions that derive from his prior arguments and assumptions.
To Klocek I would say that Steiner’s “Nine Levels” are patently Kabbalistic in format, and while Steiner does describe the negative aspects of those Sephira, his work as a whole can place those comments in perspective – if one endeavors to make it so. Without a sufficiently supporting context for the subject of inner Earth, one that Steiner did not develop, one falls into the trap of mistaking fragment for the whole, mistaking the Qlippothic aspects for the real Tree. And note that the Tree, like all trees, has roots….
Robert Powell: Robert is a good friend and I am on good terms with him and his Sophia Foundation. Where I differ in emphasis with him on the subject at hand is where ‘western’ philosophy and esotericism is at its weakest: in our relationship to the Earth. His concept of “Sophia” is well-worked but does not apprehend her in her native or home aspect, as the Weaver Goddess who binds all substance together into from and motion and who makes the Earth into the incarnated Heaven that it is – and could be if we only repented from fallen attitudes and took up our task of moving it along.
He places the virtues of the Beatitudes against the evils he finds below. He wouldn’t have to if his stance vis-à-vis the Earth was not adversarial, or, he would find that they arise spontaneously from association with the relevant realms.
p. 107 – 108: Powell talks about overcoming the evil in the Earth, and clearing their influence within us. I submit he has this backwards: if we clear out our own evil, we become capable of dealing with it elsewhere – even that which is within the Earth, furthermore, we will be drawn to the encounter with the resources in hand. This difference in approach may be linked with our different stations on the Earth’s geography: he is European, I am American. His approach may work for him, I cannot say, but I do not understand how it works in practice –it may be a difference in sensibility, not in substance. Yet to work from a starting-point of dualism and the co-equivalence of evil is to surrender the engagement before it begins.
Christopher Bamford: while erudite, Bamford’s exegesis of “Sophia” is heavily indebted to Gnostic sources. While this is commendable and brings some profound perspectives to bear, the Gnostics were at their weakest regarding the implications of material embodiment in earthly existence. As a consequence, their appreciation of the UnderWorld was less than rudimentary. Thus their philosophy about the feminine face of Creator lacked not only a grounding point, but it lacked an awareness of thegrounding point of all creation: the home of the Mother in the depths – in the core of material existence. Their “Sophia” – and Bamford’s (and Powell’s, too) – is only a reflection in the celestial mirror of her reality in the chthonic. This accounts for the semi-hallucinatory quality of her existence when it is attempted to place her within the format of a Father-God: is she a fourth person of the Trinity and coequal with Christ, is she Christ’s sister, is she the hidden identity of the Holy Ghost, or is she a disembodied “Wisdom” that suffuses the masculine god? None of these solutions nor any others of the sort is satisfactory, for they are all self-contradictory or contradict other core tenets of the faith. Bamford’s treatment floats above these considerations and does not entertain the possibility of a Heads-Tails/Two-Sides-of-the-Same-Coin/Father Above-Mother Below resolution of the dilemma of an absurd unipolar diety.
His thoughts, while erudite and honoring the feminine in the abstract, are beside the point and do not address the reality of the divine feminine within the core of materiality and within the Earth-body.
… to illustrate the hidden pedigree of darkness and the Underworld in European religious and esoteric lore; each one has an “Inside the Earth” theme:
This is the shaman’s path, one that leads to a state of hozho, where one finds holiness in all of what one once feared.
— Stephen Clarke, Santa Fe, New Mexico