Sunday, January 10, 2021

THE EGREGORE OF TRUMPISM

I find myself sickened by the emotional division of this country into right and left armies at war with each other. The odd thing is that in my time the descriptions of right and left seem to have been turned inside out. Right of what or left of what is the question.  I suppose the significant part is that they are teams opposing each other in a political game of thrones.  

The concept of the Egregore is an occult term, but we have all experienced the effects of an Egregore. I'll try to explain how I am using this term. When I was a small child, I remember being deeply affected by certain objects that I chose to personalize. My first experience of this was a bottle of Calamine lotion used for sunburns. I spent lots of time on the beach with my grandma free of the turmoil at home.  I took it with me everywhere. The lotion itself was not important. It was the bottle that I personalized and turned into a virtual pet. This was during the Pacific scene of WWII. I was three years old, my mother was ill, my new baby sister was dying from a birth defect, my father worked at the Mare Island Shipyard repairing damaged Navy ships, and I was the last thing on anyone’s mind. I created an intimate friend from that bottle and grieved for days when I accidentally left it on the beach where it was taken by the tide. This was a simple type of Egregore, but any mentally/emotionally enhanced object to which one transfers personal heart/soul identity and support whether good or bad acquires a personality and a degree of independent existence. This includes social and religious groups. Trumpism has acquired an intense independent identity. An Egregore fulfills an otherwise vacant niche in a person’s life.

I am deeply disappointed with the Americans who stormed the United States Capital yesterday, and yet they feel something wrong at the core with our government. They created a hero out of Trump, ignoring his extreme narcissism, immorality, habitual lying, racism and disinterest in actual governance. He is a personality cult, but we need to ask why. Simply condemning the radicalism, paranoia and pent-up violence recently unleashed at the Capital is not helpful.  

I noticed that most of the rioters were young and middle-aged white men. This seems to be the group that is most attracted to fear driven radicalization. However, the John Wayne approach to life’s challenges glamorized in the movies no longer works, if it ever did, and these men don’t have an honorable role with which to replace it.

The real conflict not being addressed may be about diverging beliefs about what America is or should be in essence. The men (and a few women) who stormed the Capital are admirers of the independent hero of the cinema who acts against the weak and corrupt leaders who have shut out the common person who pays taxes and dies in wars to save the values of the country.

THE UN-UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The truth is there are several Americas, and they clash with each other. What they have in common is that human beings have a need to feel that they are living and working for principles higher than personal aggrandizement. There are the people in the Capital center of the United States of America who regard themselves as the functional heart of the country placed in its hallowed temple to protect the values laid out by the founding fathers. But the values have changed and the power of money has replaced the power of ideals.

On the other side are the rough and ready bunch who see the world divided into white hats and black hats. Only the first side sees our country as a land of law and order. The other side sees America as a land of conquest, survival of the fittest and the Hero who triumphs over hardship diversity and suppression. This side believes in force rather than compromise. This is the America seen in the action movies that feature a non-conformist anti-hero warring against the stultifying laws and barbed wire fences of the modern world.

It’s ironic that both Covid-19 and Trumpian inspired conspiracy theories have something in common. They are super spreaders. Each in its own way. I have been shocked by how many well educated, reasonable and once spiritual people have caught the Trump virus and or Covid-19. I don’t believe their consecutive rise at this time is accidental. One is voluntary and the other is snared unconsciously, or so it seems. As someone who believes in synchronicity and astrological patterns, it appears like the onset of a perfect storm. But storms don’t come without a prior build-up.  

Social/political theater has a cosmic aspect. I happen to believe that creation and evolution are not something that happened in a past too deep in time to measure but are a continuous process. The fact that government officials in the Republican party tried to ride Trumpism to political power shows a deep misunderstanding of the depth of American dissatisfaction with business as usual. Until the insurrection at the Capital yesterday, they were living in a bubble.

Attention is focused on Trump by his own design, but he unconsciously lit the fuse to a cultural bomb. He isn’t a skilled politician, but a cunning salesman who detects the fears and hopes of his followers and wears a seductive persona due to his exaggerated narcissism and lack of concern for the outcome of the chaos he unleashes. Only a magic mirror makes him look admirable. In fact, there is a magic mirror, and it is being held up to him by the people who are disillusioned by the way they believe government has failed them. However, Trump intuits how to make his people feel that he is one of them and feeds on their dissatisfaction. His followers completely accept his conspiracy accusations about election fraud no matter how convoluted they may be. But we must ask ourselves why this is. Trump genuinely believes that defeat is worse than death or perhaps is an ego death which is even worse, and the desperation of his fight to hold power is echoed by his followers as if they will go down with him. They have acquired a voice that can't be ignored and they aren't going to relinquish it without a fight.

There is also a racist aspect to this mirror that must not be discounted. Middle aged and older white males make up a large number of Trump worshipers. Most Blacks, Native Americans, Mexicans, and other people of color who have been pushed to the margins of political power haven’t been under illusions about the hidden meaning of the ‘greatness’ of America or the influence of this person who claimed the power to make America great again. In this sense, America itself is an Egregore for a psycho/spiritual force. However, an Egregore derives its real life-force from those who meld with it and is unquestionably a type of idolatry. The fear and seduction of idolatry is about the power of an image to soak up the spiritual/psychological power of its worshipers but in this case, it is the destructive power of fear and shame.   

THE AMERICAN HERO?

The mass attraction of Trumpism calls to my mind a Bible verse. Matthew 7:13-15: Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep, but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits. This applies to any group of slavish followers whether left or right.

Worshiping the Egregore of a country is not a harmless thing. A nation is made up of mortal humans who live ordinary lives. To worship a country is only an intoxicating step up from worshiping one’s mortal family. To love one’s family, have disagreements with family members, to recognize where one’s family is dysfunctional are all normal healthy behaviors, but to worship one’s family seems extremely dangerous and delusional. When love of country begins to require the elevation of certain people and the rejection of other’s based on projected powers, it becomes perilous. An Egregore has overtaken and suppressed a natural relationship. This is what happened in Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. It is tribalism turned in on itself.

We are in a civil war. Although the conflict hasn’t been officially named as such. This time the boundaries are not geographical which makes it more complicated. The great United States of America has voraciously overtaken the continent. It is made up of lands stolen first from native peoples and then as booty from wars with Spain, France and even Russia. There is a sword of Damocles hanging over our head as a country. We are not the shining castle on the hill, or maybe we are just that! There are bad habits brought along from ancient feudal times that will have to be purged before we can claim to be what we aspire to be.

 

 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

BLACK EYES MATTER

This has been such a strange year with the pandemic and odd political behaviors that Christmas flew by like the silent wings of an owl. Taos Pueblo is shut down and there was no feast day at Christmas, nor will there be a Turtle Dance for the New Year. PQ and I curiously did not miss anything. We are living in a timeless zone. I imagine, people who look forward to Christmas all year and are heavily invested in exchanging gifts and family dinners had their own celebrations, but we have been in a quiet bubble, peaceful but not connected socially.

In New Mexico’s native world there is an important social mirror that appears on feast days in the form of sacred clowns. In Taos they are called Black Eyes, so named for the black paint across or around their eyes. They come from a different world and thus see human behavior as something of a cosmic joke. In the tribal world they offer an outsider viewpoint. They are not constrained by human rules, traditions, or authorities. On pueblo feast days, people try to avoid being noticed by them, but one must also not be obvious in avoiding them. No one wants their attention.

Black Eyes are something of a social and personal cleanup crew. They barge into houses without knocking, are unapologetically greedy, and generally ignore human rules and niceties. They also make fools of themselves without embarrassment, and protocol means nothing. There is a reason they are both black and white. They reveal both the reason there are social rules and the weaknesses of those social rules, as well as exposing the ways that humans conspire to help themselves at the expense of others. They often do this by being opportunists themselves in such an obvious way that they cannot be ignored.

Sacred Clowns may put their shoes on the wrong feet, have no social graces and may try to swim on dirt and walk on water. They exploit systems and authorities because it makes no sense from where they come, but it can be fun. Donald Trump is a sacred clown by these standards.

The year 2020 is almost over! Most people find that comforting, but I do not think it’s the end of craziness. It revealed our weaknesses, fears, and paranoia, but also vulnerabilities in our concepts of who we are as a nation and as individual’s in this nation. Personally, I have been shocked by how myopic and self-serving much of the population is. Even the people mesmerized by the Trump slogan, “Make America Great Again”, seem to be thinking, “make America more selfish and isolated.” I have become aware of how incomplete and challenged America is when judged by the intentions of the founding fathers. Perhaps it was necessary to open the closet door and let the skeletons fall out. The United States of America has become the ununited state of America.

Perhaps the second decade of the two-thousands is a time of exposing the holes in our union and the dissonances in many of our systems. The obvious disharmony between unfettered capitalism and equal opportunity and freedom, is one of the big ones. Free enterprise became a free-for-all and then a bully take all. Only a pretend democracy can survive in that environment and will become a means to justify its power grabbing nature. Everything Donald Trump does is for himself alone, sometimes under the pretense of patriotism and is the shadow side of the American ideal. “Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all”, says the evil stepmother in Snow White and the seven dwarfs. One could say, who is the richest. Donald Trump isn’t that rich or powerful and makes a mockery of those who value those things. The image has turned out to be as effective as the reality. The Trickster is at play.

For a democracy to work, the people must know and be responsible for their government. The desire for a Messiah to take care of us and rescue us from exploiters and our own folly creates a dangerous opportunity for a want-to-be dictator. Donald Trump knows how to attune to the frustrations of many people who feel deceived and exploited. They have created him without realizing it. I hope that at least some will look in the mirror and see the real magician.

People fear dragons they cannot see as much as dragons that puff themselves into monsters, but these dragons are the creation of their fears and frustration that then takes on the shadowy shape of secret conspiracies. We are the dragons we fear.

There are conspiracies but they are not as hidden as conspiracy theorists would have us believe. Donald Trump the dragon slayer is also their own creation, and they give him credits he does not deserve However, as a Sacred Clown, albeit an unconscious one, his rise to center stage for both haters and slavish lovers is remarkable. The time was right, and as he said, “I am the chosen one.” His medicine brought out the cracks in America and helped turn them into gaping canyons.

What we do not know, can hurt us a lot, beginning with our own habits of thinking and perception. So much hurt comes from fear. Fear and its product powerlessness can blind us to the dangerous conspirators that we know so well that we do not notice them. They live in plain sight and in fact, demand our attention constantly. They use media to create an alternate reality in favor of their politically filtered agendas. The advertisers seduce with things we do not need, or cannot afford using the constant propaganda that you are not good enough, sexy enough, rich enough and lack the latest technology that would make your life easier and your image cool, or hot depending on your generation. I’ve always been puzzled about how technology becomes more sophisticated and all pervasive while its consumers become sillier and dangerously small minded like children playing with a bomb.

 Imagine the politicians, corporations, News Casters, Political Analysts, TV producers, Screen Writers, and pharmaceutical company CEO’s, with black and white stripes painted on their bodies beneath their suit and tie. The truth is not to be found on the figures in politics and media, because the other side always seems nefarious, or blind. The truth can only be found on the inside of each of us. What do we fear, and why? What do we hope for? How do we handle uncertainty? The answers will never be found in the outer world via a political party or leader. They are after all, a reflection of the inner world. Become your own leader first, or you will be chased by dragons at the service of wanabe saviors. How we see the world is the world we live in and we have a choice.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a worldwide test. It is as if humanity is getting a kick in the behind with this challenge to stay cool and avoid panic or denial. This is how teachers work. And this earth life is a school. Don’t worry, if you fail this time, the class will be offered again.

 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

MAN OF MANY COLORS

Our dear friend, producer Mark Gordon is currently working on a sequel, "Man of Many Colors," to his award-winning documentary “Awakening in Taos” on the life and influence of Mabel Dodge Lujan and her Taos Pueblo husband, Antonio Lujan. Tony was the first Taos Pueblo native to marry a white woman. For this he was both admired and reviled, depending on one’s point of view.

 Mabel was no ordinary white women. She was a New York heiress with many high-profile connections in the worlds of Art, Literature, and social change. Although Mabel and Tony did much to put the small mountain town of Taos New Mexico on the world map and fought to improve the government’s treatment of Native Americans, they also stirred up controversy. Growing up in their shadow as my husband, Blue Spruce Standing Deer did was socially and psychologically complicated.

The sequel, “Man of Many Colors” is the story of Tony's great grandson, Blue Spruce Standing Deer. After the first film was completed, we talked it over and decided that the story didn’t go to sleep after Mabel and Tony left this world, but continued to affect both the town of Taos, Taos Pueblo and more intimately the great grandson of Tony Lujan.

  INDIGOGO LINK

Blue Spruce Standing Deer is now an artist and composer/singer of native songs. However, because of a unique background split between a deeply traditional Taos Pueblo life and the eclectic international cultural world of Mabel Dodge and Tony Lujan, he had a complicated early life. Also, do to the help provided to Standing Deer’s father with farm equipment and land, he was often an object of envy and resentment by other tribal members.

Standing Deer remembers Mabel and Tony very well and for that reason he was an invaluable resource of information for “Awakening in Taos.” Yet, there was another life so far from Mabel’s international salon that it was as if they existed on different planets. Standing Deer’s father became a traditional medicine man who knew the herbs and ceremonies for healing and spiritual cleansing. As children and adolescents, Standing Deer and his friends played in the mountains and hunted and fished in traditional ways. There are remote areas on the reservation even now where the raw power and peace of nature causes the modern world, only a few miles away to fade away like a fuzzy dream.

By the time Standing Deer graduated from high school, Mabel Dodge and Tony Lujan had passed on and his personal conflicts were conveniently shelved by an offer to go to San Jose California for vocational training as a welder. At that time, the Bureau of Indian Affairs offered vocational programs as part of its cultural assimilation agenda. However, Standing Deer seized on this as an opportunity to break free from all his internal and external problems.

He became an accomplished welder and for the first time had plenty of money to play with. Standing Deer went rogue with his new freedom. He says that he has little memory of the details of those years. He found it easy to attract women and spent most of his money partying. He was seldom sober. His employers valued him as a versatile master welder, and he found it easy to get good paying jobs. However, he always came home to Taos for tribal holidays. This went on for years until one night he had a dream. “I could hear my father’s voice say, “it’s time!” “That’s when I knew I had to come home to Taos. I knew that I belonged to my tribal ways. When I walked into my father’s house at the Pueblo, he looked up and said, “So you got the message?”

His return to his Pueblo Home and the Town of Taos brought  him into confrontation with the old conflicts and the cultural dissonances that lay in wait for his return. After his parents left this plane, he found himself the family elder charged with representing tribal values and traditions within his family.  In recent years he has been further challenged by a progressive lung disease and the limits of mortality.

This film follows his journey into discovering himself as an artist and then an elder in his tribe, at first unwittingly and finally consciously honoring and embracing the path between cultures carved by Mabel Dodge and Tony Lujan.