May, 2012


Mythic Prelude:

Honor Thy Mother

Hail, and welcome to the Universal Festival Calendar for May, 2012, and the last of the mythic preludes that are so long, they could print out as four-kilo thoughtblocks ponderous enough to have come from some 19th-century German philosopher. As the UFC now begins to transmute again into faster and lighter flashes that move by the pixel rather than the pound, it'll soon be So Long, Hegel and Hello, Tumblr. More on this as the molting proceeds.
I write this from La Guardia Airport as I get ready to head through Atlanta, Lima and Cusco back to my beloved home in Pisac in the Sacred Valley. I'll arrive there, Pachamama willing, on May 1, on which more anon. By the time I get back to Hospedaje Inti, I'll have been on the road for 251 days. I'll have visited 80 places in the USA and Europe on an Inspirational Speaking Tour driven by my book Surfing Aquarius, then on retreat with Magdalen for a month and a half, exploring sacred sites in Italy and Malta. We went to San Gimignano, Siena, Florence, Venice, Ravenna and a dozen other well-known magnets for everyone who's partial to beauty and food. We spread the ashes of my parents in St. Peter's Square. We walked in the shimmering air and the dense silence of Santuario La Verna, where St. Francis received the stigmata and gave his sermon to the birds. After Vitamin M flew back to resume her medicine studies, I got to sing in the amphitheater at Pompeii, and went to Greek and neolithic sites so ancient that no one knows in mental or factual terms which deities were worshipped there, to see who comes through when we meditate there and ask the sacred beings who are still present for their guidance.
Now I'm going home. It will be mildly disorientating to wake up Wednesday in Pisac and have nothing to do. No tickets to buy or reservations to confirm. No advance calls to the next stop or thank you messages to those who've just hosted and helped me, to whom all honor and gratitude are due. If it is true that a man's wealth is measured in the length, depth and creative fire of his friendships, then I am in fact one of the world's wealthiest men, ready and eager to pour abundance everywhere, in the spirit of the Egyptian proverb that the late Abdel Hakim Awyan especially liked: "The more you spend, the more God sends." This theme could not be more fitting as we head into the Month of Fresh Green Leaves, the time of expansion and warming under the eyes, breasts and hearts of Venus and Hera, Demeter and Maia, an all others who embody the richness of the womb and the Earth.
May Day!
As we navigate the weeks from now to what is likely to be a turbulent June, the psychic weatherscape resembles those times that Kansas boys like me well remember because now in the spring, just before a tornado comes, it is somehow too quiet. The sky is neither blue nor dark, but a pearl gray almost so luminous that it's hard to tell where the Sun is. The silence is ineffable: no wind, no birds, no voices even of gossips or other fools, because it's time now to be useful and alert, and know where the southwest corner is if one sees the whirling black fury that tells even rock stolid unbelievers why we have and use the phrase The Fear of God. Not that we will dwell on dread here, as it's our purpose to link in the communal passion and perfect love that casts out fear. Why is June the month to watch and prepare for? There's more on this, and the transformational Uranus-Pluto squares of the years ahead, in Water Dragon, the UFC prelude for January 2012.
For the moment, there are few things that express better than May Day our situation right now, our swirling maypole of gravities that draw us together in unity and celebration, and our explosions of division that drive us apart and against in every drama of separation, rage and blame. No one seems to know when or how military and other pilots began to use the word mayday! to report an emergency and ask for help. The word is much on the mind of authorities who face a rising tide of resistance that will crest on May 1 because this day, ever since the beginning of the labor movement, has guided and galvanized the energies of what has always been the 99% in surge mode, ready to sweep away all that is mean, heartless and corrupt, and bring new communities living in peace, plenty and the lightness of people stepping like dancers on the healthy skin of a healed and happy Mother Earth.
What's different this time? May 1 is now World Love Day, and has been since 2000, when it was first observed in resonance with the most life-affirming of all ancient festivals. May Day comes costumed again now in Aquarian terms, played by heyokas who see festivity as more compelling than rage, and clowns as more necessary than coordinators, and who'd rather paint your face than slime your beliefs. The Green Man will appear at demonstrations in the square now, not just at parties in the field, because it's time to enrich May Day with the force of celebration that it's always had. When May Day as a political and social flood tide gets trebled by the juice and spirit of Beltaine in the Northern hemisphere and the fire of Samhain in the South, the game will be nearly up because we'll be at the point of winning it. How best to play it now? By choosing the essential battles.
Food Fight!
Especially the most critical one of all, which heats up now as more and more of us see that all other issues are inconsequential if we fail now to defend the health and biodiversity of our planet against pollution, corporate predation, and above all against genetically engineered foods that rob us of effective and natural nutrition, poison the bees who harvest pollen from the flowers of food crops, and compromise in what ways we know not -- yet -- the food animals who are fed GMO corn. The choice that faces us now could hardly be more stark. Which of the foods shown here are safe to grow, and eat?
Yes, you're right again. The propaganda skew here is as blatant as anything from Eisenstein's October, a Michael Moore movie or Clear Channel radio. The maize in the middle -- illustration courtesy of Andrew Pollack's article "A Battle Over Dow Agent Orange Corn" -- is as energetically lethal as any product by what we may as well call now The Company That Must Not Be Named*, even if we don't even pull the pin on that black corn grenade in the center.
* Monsanto, of course. More about it in "Sowing the Wind".
These pictures present a diametrically opposite view of what food is for. To those who aim to use it as an engine of profit and a fulcrum of control, all roads will eventually lead, if the dark side of science has its way, to a single maize species that will be the only one available anywhere. The ears of corn will all be school bus yellow, as big as loaves of bread, and so full of sugar that you could swizzle them in your coffee -- if, shockingly, you're not yet a friend of stevia -- to sweeten it. The images to the right and left show some of the 600 varieties of tomatoes, and the 200 species of pumpkins and squashes that grow where I fly back to now, in the Sacred Valley of the Urubamba.
Why is the Valley so "Sacred"? Because, amazingly, this valley that is maybe half as long as the Mississippi Valley, and looks like a tot compared to the Amazon and Nile Valleys, is the place where maize, potatoes, tomatoes, quinoa, kiwicha and maca all originated. These crops don't just grow well here. They were born here, in a region that has so many thousands of potato species that no one knows how to count them. It is hardly any wonder that the Quechua people here revere Pachamama the Mother, and honor her with a practice they call ayni. It's usually translated as "reciprocity," but a more accurate rendering would probably be: "helping Nature do what she wants" -- with the understanding that if we serve her in this way, she'll return the favor with a variety and abundance of food.
What a concept! Helping Nature do what she wants to do, instead of trying to make her do what human beings want. If she gets to do what she wants, and we help her do it, then she'll be like any happy mother anywhere. She makes healthy, happy children, and then she gets to be an artist, fashioning weird and beautiful vegetables and fruit of the kind you can see if you'd ever like to come as my guest -- as, remember, I'm fabulously rich -- to the Pisac market, and the experience of what you find there. Pale yellow melons with purple streaks. Potatoes of every color and contour imaginable. And watermelons which, if it is true that this food has the highest vibration of all, may as well be the pink pedal tone of Heaven's own harp.
The best news of the moment, for the Sacred Valley, for all of Peru, for all who revere Mother Earth and aim to help keep her healthy, is that a crucial law enacted by Peru's new president, Humala Ollanta, is finally becoming better known. Amazingly, the law banning all GMO seeds from Peru for ten years was passed almost 6 months ago, and was reported by Agence France Presse on Nov. 5, 2011. News of it has largely been suppressed by corporate-controlled media, who have also blacked out news of Iceland's courageous choice of debt forgiveness as a perfectly viable, courageous and ultimately life and freedom-affirming alternative to "austerity" and other fake slogans for total hegemony over the world economy by corrupt banks. Kudos to the brave Permaculture Research Institute of Australia for pushing the Peru GMO story through the silicon curtain of death-culture propaganda and control.
She Comes Round Again
Before we go, only a few thoughts and pictures of what I saw and did in Malta and Italy, in places that resonate most strongly with Pachamama, whom I long to embrace and honor again only hours from now.
These images are from the Neolithic sites of Malta: at left the "apse" of the temple at Haggar Qim, which may be the oldest free-standing building in the world, and at right the relic of a "fat lady" at Tarxien.
All of these ancient structures, especially the ones at Haggar Qim, on the south coast of Malta's main island, facing the sea, are compositions of curves that naturally raise the question: Why these people from the end of the Age of Cancer and the beginning of the Age of Gemini -- roughly 7,000 - 5, 800 BC -- chose to build almost entirely in round shapes? Anyone who can stretch a cord can create a straight line, so they could have built in rectangles if they'd wanted, even millennia before the minds of men got linear, and saw a world of straight lines and right angles. The curve was the shape of choice because it represents cycles of life that are ever-renewing, and spells the geometry of the sacred feminine. The ground plans of Haggar Qim and Tarxien suggest the midsection of a female body that has given birth. And no wonder. These temples come from a time when communities understood that their living treasure, their most precious resource, was the woman's body, and its power to bring forth new life and continue the threads of sacred story and time.
What Hera Had to Say
The other place that proved most memorable was Paestum, home of Italy's best-preserved Greek temples, built before the classic Golden Age, when Naples was Neapolis, the "new city," and all of southern Italy was Magna Graecia, "greater Greece," the mother country's grain supply and frontier of opportunity. The name Paestum is said to come from Poseidon, lord of the sea, and to affirm his crucial role in sea trade and communications with the mother country.
The most mysterious of Paestum's perfect structures is this one, called the Heroon, that is, a Hall of Heroes that honors the warriors who fell in defense of their city, or fought to keep her free and lived to tell the tale. If it is indeed that, then this building is completely unlike others monuments to soldiers known and unknown. As we know, they rise above the Earth,
and do not sink into her. They tend to look like Grant's Tomb: cylindrical structures topped with cones, so they look like the artillery shells that have blown apart so many of the young men these memorials honor. But this building is clearly a hypogeum, an "under the Earth" place that symbolizes the womb as the primordial source of life, and thereby suggests that this structure should instead be called the Heraon, that is, the Hall of Hera, the Queen of Olympus, the divine feminine in her mature role as matron: the mother whose authority carries and affirms the sanctity of home, hearth and family in anchoring sacred, civilized life.
Classical artists depict her as we see here, in her official role as the upholder of traditional family values. She is crowned, veiled, seated in modest robes, and not notably amused by the antics of wilder characters, like the cheeky faun who's blowing his aulos right into her high heart chakra so loud that her arm seems raised to knock his pipes, and him too, right off the pot. If there's one Olympian who gets unfairly typecast as a humor-challenged authority, weary of having to be the straight woman and designated driver for everybody else, it's Hera.
It's no wonder that mothers, and wives of men who resemble Zeus only in their infidelity, have always identified with Hera. The artists of Paestum saw "ox-eyed" Hera at all her depth, and one wonders how the images like this were influenced by another cow deity, Isis-Hathor (note the ears), mother to the hero Horus, as Hera was mother to Heracles, hence his name. Both are clearly high priestesses, keepers of secrets.
Paestum is famous for its three beautifully-preserved temples from the 6th century BC. One of them, everyone agrees, is a temple of Athena, identical in shape and design to Athenaea in Athens and elsewhere. Another, to the right in this picture, honors Demeter-Ceres. The temple in the foreground has always been more mysterious and controversial. It was long said to be the temple of Poseidon/Neptune, then perhaps sacred to Apollo. After all, it can't be true that all three of a city's principal temples were for the worship of female deities. Can it?
Apparently it can. More recent excavations and other studies at Paestum now suggest that this magnificent building is indeed a temple to Hera, to the Bona Dea whose womb and will create and sustain all things. How, after all, could Hera not have her temple here, when her votive images are everywhere?
One way to test a sacred premise is to ask the deity who lives in a place for her or his permission to enter, then slip through rope barrier and meditate in there. Yes, there are limits to this approach, especially if the devotee is an old actor and playwright with a Leo Moon who sees things as scripts that are running, or might be. There is always a danger that what one hears is coming not from a spirit source, but from my own inner dramaturg. The voice that came through, when I asked for guidance, was startling: nearly a female tenor, at least an alto from Olympus Opera.
She spoke and sang in phrases: Sacred Sex . . . Sacred Food . . . Sacred Earth . . . sex and food not sacred, Earth in pain. It is tempting to organize what She said into sentences like, "If human beings honored sex and food the way you worship what you think is God, you could live in health and be happy." But deities do not speak in conditional sentences, and the moment a sentence begins with "if," one is writing a play. I went silent and felt only the breath coming in and out of my nose, but try as I might to go empty, the question I wanted to ask kept coming back. "Do we worship Venus far too much?" The sound that came back was half cough, half laugh, then said, Oles oi muteres. I understood only "mothers," but as she kept singing, "All mothers" got clear.
I sang the words with her until she went silent, as though she had wanted to teach me the song. I asked her name. Another laugh came, a gentler one, with the closest thing to an actual sentence that I heard her say: "Don't ask the Bona Dea which name she wears today. Sing them all." And so I did, in a voice too low for the site staff to hear. Chants to Pachamama, Tara and Pele. We all come from the Goddess. The Ocean refuses no River. Salo ala Nabina, the love song to Fatima, daughter of the Prophet, Peace be upon him. May has always been the month for the mother songs. It's time to sing them again, and perhaps to remember that for the sake of the Earth and our life upon Her, every day is Mother's Day now. Sing the honoring of the Mother. Keep Holding That Frequency.

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