“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz
Here we are, in the final days of the end of an ancient, indigenous calendar, at least in the calculated view of a north american white male who decided that his new and improved interpretation of another culture’s work is, of course, the correct one. Because it’s “real science” of course, sifted and purified by the sieves and structures of mathematical equations and derivations scratched out on blank sheets of white paper and mental somersaults conducted inside square rooms full of volumes of similar mental chatter. It’s the story of the cowboys versus the indians, once again.
Have you ever noticed, though, how noisy those hatted dudes are atop their snorting, saddled horses, firing their pistols all over creation for no reason, stumbling out of the saloon, zipping up their pants? The indians always ride bareback, heads low and close to the napes of their striding, sacred animals, streaming hair whispering in the wind. Their gut-ripping war cries drown out the drunken belches of their of their pot-bellied enemies. And they always get the jump on the snoring cowpokes in the silent ambush scene, do you ever notice that, too? Why is that? And why is it that the more skilled and competent get slaughtered anyway?
If the retrospective view of the recent non-event of Comet Elenin taught us anything at all, it should be the lesson that the jumping jacks of the chattering, rational, left-brained folks can, and do, do nothing to alter the course of the quixotic mysteries of our universe. She has her own mind, her own bag of and sensibilities for the use of trickery and craft. And, she’s always one step ahead of the slow and pedantic brains of man, undulating through and between our thought processes. These new-aged, staged competitions of superiority of “who knows the correct date,” like those old westerns, are always written to favor the writers, where the teeming masses of “heathens” end out massacred under the civilized hand of the authors and the spray of the gattling guns of their soldier counterparts.
These current knicker twistings and suspender snappings of the allegedly educated and erudite of our species are, in fact, just pitiful posturings of impotent people in desperate need of trying to control that which will never break under the straps of their harness. It is one thing to get on and ride a horse, it is an entirely different one to become so at one with such a creature that her human partner feels into every subtle change of tone in her muscles and her breath, changing and moving and feeling in time to her rhythms with every step she takes.
Surrender To Dorothy
Those standing on their soapboxes constructed on the artifacts and sacred texts of far more ancient cultures are the snake oil salesmen, the wizards of duh, the don quixotes and the whining woody allens of our collective unconscious.
Those who give them audience and money are the adolescent Dorothys in aprons in all of us. Some will also find themselves reflected in her cohorts on the road of vulnerability, trust, shame and ultimate enlightenment: the Tin Man (the heart, The Scarecrow (the mind) and The Lion (the ability to act when the previous two are intact). They are the representatives of the different parts of us we are willing to open to others in our search for the truth. Before her transformation into the young woman of wisdom and insight she becomes at the conclusion of the long journey, the girl Dorothy and her pals must wander in the frightening land of manipulations and misdirections, misuses and abuses of their hopes and fears and dreams confabulated by a man who simply cannot accept he is just a man, full of sound and fury, frenetically pulling his magic show levers, who, ultimately, is possessed of nothing more than a common basket and balloon.
The metaphor of Dorothy’s journey into the funhouse of that bizarre patriarchal reality, the twister that lifts her entire house (structure) and hurls her into a dizzying new world of sophisticated, adult secrets and lies, is ours to live here, in our present time. It is useful to notice that many of the group’s body movements in that film involve sudden stops, stunned expressions of surprise, tripping over others, stepping on tails and toes, robotic gestures and backing into the wrong trees. It is a Laurel and Hardy routine and represents the state of confusion and disorientation often experienced by those on the verge of their own awakening from the psychosis of a diseased culture. Like Dorothy and her friends, they twitch and jerk in the face of the artificially constructed concerns and hidden fears of a contemporary culture which is, at its core, pathologically addicted to power (the collective antidote to its collective terrors). It will pursue that power, even if it has to stoop to abusing children to get it. There is nothing wrong with the apparent epileptic here, nor in Dorothy’s collective gang of parkinsonian movements. These symptoms are all simply correct kinesthetic and emotional responses to the hidden agendas and irrational mental twists and turns of those in whom they have mistakenly placed their vulnerabilities and trust.
The truth tellers in that fairy tale turn out to be both representatives of the wild and untamable world of nature (though distinctly domesticated in the film to tone down the volume): Toto, the dog (The Revealer of Lies) and Glinda, The Good Witch of the North (The Bestower of Awareness). The beauty in this tale is that that abiding, feminine wisdom is always there, always has been, just waiting for Dorothy and us to recognize her magic, to turn toward her radiance, to finally surrender to the effects of her enlightening wand. And, in that discovery of the permanent, though often hidden, presence of the divine female, we find our own internal and inextinguishable power necessary to traverse our own uncertain times. With the appearance of the good witch, Dorothy’s jerky, adolescent awkwardness vanishes. The intimate bond with nature (Dorothy’s relationship with Toto throughout) and the descent of female grace from the heavens, gives rise to Dorothy’s own step into her own grace and power. The Witch also gives her gift of generosity: the gift of telling Dorothy that that power always belonged to her alone. The moment we give it away to external sources is the moment we get lost in the forest. In just the same way that Dorothy herself must summon the will to take herself home (the objects of the masculine, the basket and balloon, have no power until the wisdom of the feminine, Dorothy, steps into it), we must click our own heels, whisper our own incantations of personal magic to ourselves and gaze inward in complete faith and trust. Only then can we recognize the sacred spiral dance inside of which we have always been turning.
The story of Dorothy, of spiraling into and out of her dream of awakening, is a shaman’s initiation journey. It is no accident that almost every eastern and indigenous spiritual philosophy, at its highest and most esoteric level, emulates and embodies the spinning of the cosmos as the path to self awareness as well. From sufism to taoism to native americanism, the student/seeker is taught to find her center through the literal, physical exercise of turning upon the wheel of life. Whether walking the sacred ba gua, dancing the Chumash Long Dance around a central fire all through the night, or whirling around the axis formed through the ball of a single foot as the dervishes do, we learn to let the dizzying, external world of illusion fall away and allow ourselves to be taken in to the great, oceanic and cosmic nautilus of infinity, pulling us in and pushing us out again in the constant exchange of tidal breath between birth and death.
How We Get There
The truth is we do need our fairy tales and winding trails and goblins and false gurus. We need our campfires and ghost stories, our boogie men under the bed, our mad professors, our snake oil salesmen. And, yes, we need our elenins and plutos and indigenous and gregorian calendars, too. We need to spin our yarns, as it were. These stories are all, equally, the stuff of the journey, offering us the experiences we need to come to know and trust our own inner terrain, the voice of ourselves that answers to no one and nothing but what we know gazing into the flames of our own hearth fires. Once the echoes of our mental cogitations are burned away, once we disengage from the blur of daily life, what is left in the dark catacombs of our own mother wombs? There’s no place like home.
In these latter days of our current trials and tribulations, surrounded by the multitudes of predictors and proselytizers of potential salvations, amongst the scaffoldings and edifices of intellect, through the jungles of mud and rains of asteroids, we learn to make our own choices, which give us the narrative of our own, unique lives, the shapes and shadows of the furniture and photos in our own homes. Lives never to be lived again, homes left uninhabited when the divine determines. All our stories do stop with a final period. There is a “the end,” floating on a black background at the end of our personal film reels, an “amen” at the close of our funeral service, after which our beloveds file out into the sunshine to continue writing the lines of their own stories.
Choice is the only thing we have. And ours to make really are far more simple than civilization and the allegedly civilized want us to believe. Our task is to see through the costumes and curtains of those gyrating images and to settle in to the eternal place that lies beyond the studio world of the daily show.
So, as we approach the next youtube/myface/herboob event in our uncertain voyage: the cessation of the tuns and baktuns, the alleged end of the days and nights and the seedings and fruitions on the wheel of fortune, what’s it going to be? Are we going to place our faith of the exact date in a contemporarily left-brained, synaptically truncated scientist whose writings and calculations and diagrams began less than two decades ago, or the hieroglyphs and mesmerizing drawings of a people and culture who developed their intelligence and sensibilities of rhythmic reason in relationship with the Mother over thousands of years? Shall we sit in awe (and pay) to watch our modern cowboys, our wizards of duh, scratch and scribble their drawings on the blackboard? Shall we dabble in their babble? Or, hop in our own balloons – find the door that leads out into the sunlit fields full of masters skilled enough to teach us how to read the braille of the Mother’s ancient texts hidden in the abundant hedges and corn rows, bubbling springs and stone escarpments that lie upon her vast and open belly?
Whose sensitivities will we invite to guide us through this new dream and our new landscapes. Whose presence will we ask to listen in to the deepest hopes and fears of the sleepy murmurings of our own open heart? For whom will we turn back the covers of our bed – for boys who have spent their daytime hours manipulating and sharpening their pencils and tongues in the sterile cubicles of their own brains, or for those who have spent millenia understanding the wheel of the cosmos and turning the soils of the earth and all the fruits of her creation within their supple minds and hands? Whose fingertips shall we allow to trace the contours of the body and blood of the infinite, cosmic feminine that lie so deeply within our own?
I know who I’m going to pull back the covers for. The one that smells of wood and clean sweat earned from real work, who is perfumed with the odors of the turned pages of papyrus scrolls and sage smoke and apples fermenting under trees.
Chalk dust,laminated desks and leaking ball point pens have their place and uses, but they have never stimulated any of my imaginative activities. The wielders of these flaccid instruments, the sitters at these toxic podiums, should neither be allowed to lead any scouting parties into nor establish any command posts in our collective future.
Smart boys and girls belong in the classroom, solving their brain twisters; wise men and women belong on the horses, exploring the mysteries of our new frontiers.