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Dark and Deep and Promises to Keep
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

The emotional rollercoaster we're riding in these last weeks continues to spin us up and over, taking us higher, dropping us lower and then plunging ahead non-stop; and, white-knuckled passengers on this thrill-ride, everything's moving too fast to get more than an impression of where we are and what we're doing. On a purely mundane level, the chaos and confusion keeps us in perpetual motion and disorientation; on a psychic level, we're taking a trip deep into the bowels of the human condition. Our own.

If the channelers are right about this time period -- one in which there is purging of old, anachronistic thought, the acceptance of responsibility for dark deeds of the past and rebalancing of energies in order to move into renewed awareness of our planet and ourselves -- then it seems to me we're right in the 'zone,' looking at all of it spread before us like a banquet of inequities and cruelties and mishaps both intentional and un. It's all right here to examine. These rare opportunities to snap awake and leap forward come in times of extremes; we have a choice, now, whether to look or turn our heads. I urge you to stand in your growing humanity and your bright possibilities, and look carefully. It's required, if we are to release the pain and renew our spirit.

We are assessing not only our own personal karmic load, born into families and tribes that define us, but our national mythology as well. In the long view, it seems to me that's what we've been doing since the ball dropped in Times Square to announce the birth of this new century. Our behavior has become ever more transparent, more obvious and, in some cases, disturbingly predictable than we could have imagined; for some of us, we're seeing it for the first time.

This is what the spiritual traditions call the 'observer' position, and unless we are willing to witness ourselves and our activity -- hopefully without judgment, taking in information with non-attachment -- we remain bit players in the script of our own lives. The more perilous life becomes the more we seek to answer the age-old question: who the hell AM I? Perhaps that's what our personal play has always been about, anyway; surely millions of American plays, rewritten, have the capacity to rewrite the collective national script.

Because our socialization and psychology is uniquely American, we cannot escape the political as we ponder this issue. It would help if we had a good deal more information, but that is not how our karma is configured. If we think of this nation as an entity, its birth a moment in time that indicates both its virtues and limitations, one of our biggest challenges is our natal Pluto/Mercury opposition. Jessica Murray has written a wonderfully informative book profiling our national situation based on the Sibley Chart of July 4, 1776 entitled Soul-Sick Nation. With the dark, secretive energies of Pluto perpetually harnessed at sword's point with our ability to communicate, it's no wonder we too often find ourselves in a vacuum, listening to the din of our own uninformed voices. While that is no excuse for these last years of almost purposeful ignorance, it is certainly a context for its occurrence. She thumbnails it here:
Mercury governs the ideas the media ushers into currency, and the opposition with Pluto suggests that these ideas are subject to sophisticated manipulation (e.g. the "echo chamber" effect of the mainstream news) that keeps a few carefully selected stories in the forefront, while "controversial" and/or unexpurgated information is pushed underground (onto the web; into the increasingly endangered alternative print media; dismissed as "conspiracy theories.")
When Pluto in Sagittarius crossed the Sibley ascendant at the turn of the century, we got a double-whammy of secretive power taking the reigns of the media, working its own dark agenda, even though the facts were at odds with what many of us intuited and vetted in alternative media. We are just now digging ourselves out of the misinformation bog; many of our conspiracy theories confirmed. This is what Jessica calls 'hidden in plain sight.' She goes on to say, "Wherever it is placed, Pluto points to a highly charged situation that nobody wants to name. The aspect in question suggests fear of recognizing the truth (Pluto) even when discussing known facts (Mercury.)"

Nobody wants to name it -- but, gratefully, in this last difficult decade we had the voices of the Lefty's and the Lightworkers in cyberspace, breathing some fire into the cool terrain of a detached population, too obsessed with its own problems to lift heads and look around. Sometimes these were angry, outraged voices; they spoke the sorrow of their time that too often fell on deaf ears pointing out another of our national failings -- our inability to face pain and use it to heal ourselves. Perhaps that's the territory of the Old Souls, who no longer let the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune define their journey. America is not a country of Old ones, although I would suggest it's maturing quickly. We've come a far piece since 2001, haven't we? Indeed, we have.

Much as there is a difference between being detached -- existing in the safe, dispassionate climes of intellect sans feeling (as do proponents of torture, for instance) -- and non-attachment, which does not mistake the events of the day as truth of the eternal but instead as perspective of the whole dynamic by which humankind inches forward; many in this nation do not want to face the truth about our perceived national righteousness. It is unthinkable to them to show any criticism of what we've done in our long history, suggesting that taking blame for past mistakes will cause weakness in our self-determination; even though that very inability to apologize, to show remorse or compassion is a systemic weakness that makes us vulnerable to the dark loop of power mongering and warfare. These are the people who do not take responsibility until it lands on them like a duck on a bug; this is literally a stuck position on the enlightenment scale. Taking responsibility for self is the first step in spiritual growth; without that, there is only old paradigm egoism and tribalism, looping in constant 'wars and rumors of wars.' Dick Cheney is the Godfather of this school of thought, defending his systemic use of torture techniques thus: " ... it takes a deeply unfair cast of mind to equate the disgraces of Abu Ghraib with the lawful, skillful and entirely honorable work of CIA personnel trained to deal with a few malevolent men."

Lawful, skillful, honorable? (Shudder!) This is so blatantly juvenile that it boggles the mind; as well as skews the facts. Our culture gives us plenty of examples of why this kind of thinking is problematic and self-defeating. In the last of the prequel Star Wars movies, we find the young Anakin Skywalker morphing into Darth Vader by allowing his fear and pain to fester into determination to keep what he loves safe at any cost. As he explains his intention, Master Obi Wan Kenobi tells him, "Only a Sith sees things in absolutes." Is it any wonder that our former VP is referred to, universally, as Darth Cheney? And this 'episode' proves, once again, that the voices that spoke reason to us during the Bush years (2005) were creative and diverse.

With Neptune and Chiron dancing in our psyches at the moment, we have choices before us that we can't avoid; if we choose diversion and distance from the information bubbling to the surface, we will protect ourselves without delving deeply enough into our pain-base to come to grips with it. Our wounding is exacerbated, and healing complicated, by our continuing culture of violence; our national history has been, since the second generation of the Pilgrim's landing in Plymouth, one of exceptionalism, arrogance and conquest. Noam Chomsky gives us a quick history lesson at this link; a not-so-gentle reminder that John Wayne was once with us, but he has ... yes, he has ... passed on. We need a new hero prototype; Obama has all the right stuff for this new iteration, but only time will tell if he can fully integrate his potential with the needs of this new century. We have stepped on necks in order to stand taller and take what we wanted; we still do. Redemption can be found in facing the truth about ourselves and making new choices. Ultimately, our future, if it is to include freedom, depends on it. George Bernard Shaw reflected the Achilles Heel of our humanness when he said, "Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."

Sadly, there's much to dread; but if we step into the broad mindset of non-attachment, we have a clear panorama of the conclusions we must draw from our old behaviors. What we do to others, we do to ourselves -- this is not a new message; the Christ gave it a couple of thousand years ago. If we don't believe it's true, we don't have far to look for illustration. The wars have been giving us plenty of mirror-time, if we've been brave enough to witness. A recent story from a Nacogdoches, Texas, recruiting office can be considered operating instructions for this truism:
When Army Staff Sergeant Amanda Henderson ran into Staff Sergeant Larry Flores in their Texas recruiting station last August, she was shocked by the dark circles under his eyes and his ragged appearance. "Are you O.K.?" she asked the normally squared-away soldier. "Sergeant Henderson, I am just really tired," he replied. "I had such a bad, long week, it was ridiculous." The previous Saturday, Flores' commanders had berated him for poor performance. He had worked every day from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., trying to persuade the youth of Nacogdoches to wear Army green. "But I'm O.K.," he told her.

No, he wasn't. Later that night, Flores hanged himself in his garage with an extension cord. Henderson and her husband, Patrick, both Army recruiters, were stunned. "I'll never forget sitting there at Sergeant Flores' memorial service with my husband and seeing his wife crying," Amanda recalls. "I remember looking over at Patrick and going, 'Why did he do this to her? Why did he do this to his children?'" Patrick didn't say anything, and Amanda now says Flores' suicide "triggered" something in her husband. Six weeks later, Patrick hanged himself with a dog chain in their backyard shed.
This sad tale is emblematic of the human cost of war. The example is subtle, these soldiers back home and out of harm's way; but when a nation asks its citizens to become barbarous for the sake of nationalism, their return back into society comes with unhealed gashes in their psyche. This story seemed to epitomize the Chiron energy for me; the psychic debris of our past is not just with us -- it's on us like white on rice. We can't escape it. It asks us to feel our feelings, surface our trauma, and clear out all the gunk we've refused to acknowledge. Those of us who have not adopted the Sith warrior position -- life in absolutes -- have the tools to survive such an inner expedition; the broken mythology of those who see only black and white are in harm's way no matter where they plant their boots.

As well, this question of torture won't be leaving us until it's resolved. At stake in our potent quest for identity is not only our personal revelation, but our national definition. Our assumptions about who we are were broken by the Bush administration as they assumed unitary powers to sidestep the Geneva Conventions; as with all great mythologies, once they are breached we find not just the tip of the iceberg but more than we want to know. We have tortured, in one way or another, since our inception. From the stress fractures to the bones of Southern slaves to the sweat shops in the ghettos of immigrant New York to the camps of Chinese railroad workers, we've created Hell for those who sought our American Dream (and some who were never given the option.) Today we torture with corporate theft, as well as racist, classist and sexist laws that have not met the intent of the Constitution. Emma Goldman gives us our spiritual and progressive vision: "The ultimate end of all revolutionary social change is to establish the sanctity of human life, the dignity of man, the right of every human being to liberty and well-being." We're not there yet -- and we can't move forward until we've made this question of legitimized brutality moot.

It truly is more than we want to know. "One cannot speak glibly of 'policy differences' and 'looking forward' and 'distraction' when corpses are involved," said John Sifton, a man who has spent five years researching and reporting the Bush torture issues for Human Rights Watch. Cheney's contention that only three men were waterboarded, and those only in a short window prior to invading Iraq, means little when you read what Mr. Sifton has written about the dead left behind us in the Middle East. He cites 100 cases, uninvestigated, of those who expired during torture; he calls them homicides. Clearly, this is what Abraham Lincoln called "the seeds of despotism;" and we chose this kind of behavior when we decided that the events of 9/11 called for retribution. We unloosed the Jin.

The waterboarding that FOX's Sean Hannity still insists is not torture, despite a Righty commentator's recent experiment in which he lasted only 7 seconds, is only one of a series of barbarous practices ... including rape and sexual humiliation ... that stress a human to the point of death; and some past it. Can we possibly be surprised at this? When the Pandora's Box of sadism is opened, who can control the Jin of our worst human traits? And insult to injury, we still cannot be sure these people were guilty of the crimes for which they were accused; that is what has Obama unwilling to either try or release some of the Gitmo prisoners due to compromised intelligence. The possibility of where to stop is lost in the question of where to start.

I recently read a wrenching story about a Catholic Priest, Father Patrick Desbois, who has spent ten years chronicling the genocide produced by Nazi death squads in the Ukraine; this is a story forgotten by history, superseded by the horrific camps of which we're all aware, those that slaughtered with precision. As Hitler marched across Russia, he assigned a team of mobile killers to purge the remote villages of Jews and Gypsies, making the residents participate in killing, dig the holes to receive the bodies and clean up the mess. This was a brutal, up-close task; one bullet, one Jew, as was efficient for a Third Reich falling low on supplies. An estimated 1.5 million were put to death in this way, covered over in unmarked graves, many still alive.

Father Desbois is a man on a mission, attempting to get an oral history of these events where none has existed before. Those who have information for him are now leaving the planet in droves, along with those we think of as the Greatest Generation; time is his enemy. Desbois has determined not only to discover and mark the graves of those murdered, but make sure the Kaddish is recited over their final resting places. A remarkable project for a French priest, and I think a stunning achievement by a 21st century Lightworker. A remembrance of long-dead Jews and Gypsies, a cautionary tale for a fractious planet and a reckoning for the German Reich; what dark tales will history eventually assign to us, I wonder? Surely any narrative will include Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and Bagram.

In our effort to 'grow up,' this nation ... indeed, the entire world ... is being given witness to the darkest deeds and oldest karmic threads of its long history; it's not a pretty picture. It's painful to witness but here's my advice: pony up. Open the links in this article and familiarize yourself with them; Google and discover. Those who interpret life in their heads distance deliberately and self-protect in order not to feel; this is akin to walking death. Those who have moved their consciousness into their hearts are aware that each moment we are being given multidimensional opportunities to heal ourselves and our planet by loving it, just as we find it. The work is one-on-one, starting with the face that peeks back in the mirror; then, with our neighbor, as ourself. The Wounded Healer energy is here and will not leave us until we've sorted through our dark, disturbing past and come to terms with it.

Our souls have made promises to awaken, to become aware; everything around us now is designed by the Universe for such a task. That can't happen if we live in our heads. We must move into our hearts, risk feeling it all; every single thing. As we take full ownership of the essence of our Soul Self -- acknowledge the power of our commonality, our responsibility to one another, our transcendent ability to become more than we have been -- then we can face facts, embrace pain, forgive ourselves and one another and begin anew. Only then can we each say, as did Father Desbois when asked if he saw himself the voice for millions of dead in unmarked graves:
"I don't work for millions. I am the disciple of Mother Teresa. Everybody asked her: 'How can you stand in Calcutta with 13 million poor people?' And she answered: 'I never saw 13 million, I only saw one.'"

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