What is it about impending disaster that draws us like a moth to a flame?
If we look at the world around us – land, sea and air polluted beyond recognition; corruption in banking, politics and the media; senseless wars; terrorism; the iniquitous distribution of wealth – it’s easy to recognise a civilisation in its death throws.
Yet, just like the moth we seem powerless to do anything other than sail full steam ahead into catastrophe. Everything’s far too complicated now. We’d get angry about the banking crisis – but we don’t understand the maths. We’d be up in arms about dishonesty in the media – but we’re pretty certain that politicians are in on it too. The fact is, we no longer trust anyone to tell the truth. Even environmentalists can have their own agenda. And as for war… try picking a side.
In one corner, powerful, oil greedy, lying, cheating capitalists who protect freedom and quality of life.
In the other corner, impoverished, powerless, God fearing people – who stone their women and blow up planes.
Life was so much easier in the time of John Wayne. Knowing who the bad guys are gives anger a sense of direction. Channelling rage that comes from injustice gets a lot of things done. Unfocussed anger has to go somewhere, so it’s obvious that it turns inwards on our selves.
So now we have an epidemic of depression. Which is just another word for anger, but without the enthusiasm.
We just don’t know what to do. We think we have no power.
Let’s have some good news! Today is the first of May. For the Pagans, this is a day to celebrate Beltane. A spring time festival of optimism, lighting fires and dancing around the May pole. The crowning of the May Queen.
Of course the patriarchy of the Church banished Beltane as they couldn’t find an appropriate biblical story to morph it into. They found one for Easter (which previously commemorated the resurrection of Tammuz, the son of the Moon Goddess Ishtar). And they found one for Christmas (previously the Winter Solstice).
The patriarchy of the church wished to create order in the Universe (Ha! Good luck with that one). To do this they invented the vertical model of power. God at the top (the very literal top – you can’t get higher than Heaven) followed by priests, popes, bishops (all male) followed by ordinary men, and of course women at the bottom (evil daughters of Eve and temptresses of men, who, after all, are just trying to get on with the very important job of ruling the world).
The patriarchy justified this arrogance by some strategic autosuggestion in the Bible – ‘Men shall have dominion OVER the earth’. Not ‘live in harmony’ with the earth. Not ‘have respect for the sacredness of life’. More ‘use the earth for whatever you can take from it’. Even Descartes, philosopher though he was, described the wilderness as something that had to be subdued and controlled. Anyone who disagreed with this flagrant abuse of power (i.e. Women) were burnt at the stake as witches and heretics.
And now we see the effect of all that looting… and it isn’t pretty.
Not such good news after all.
Time to turn the ship around.
Time to switch from a vertical to a horizontal model of power.
This involves switching our focus from fantasy and nostalgia (the raising of the Titanic) to cleaning up the mess we’ve made (The raising of our consciousness).
Technology has created the means for this shift to happen. The internet allows us to join up and become a force to be reckoned with. What’s missing is us us – our driving energy. In a vertical model of power our energy comes from adrenaline. And as we are only too aware, many of us have run out of adrenaline. It takes a lot of adrenaline to compete, catch and kill. Our new horizontal energy comes from creative expression and the driving energy of creative expression is love.
It’s love Jim, but not as we know it.
First we need to elevate love from the realm of romance and sentimentality and turn it into a Force for Transformation.
This seems an impossible task, but as we have seen, huge changes in belief patterns have happened before.
In 325 AD, one man (Constantine) organised a Council (in Nicaea) that established a canon of belief loosely based on the principles of Jesus. He established a vertical hierarchy, made himself the first Pope and murdered many of the original Christians who disagreed with him. (I did say loosely based!).
The Catholic church swept all this under the carpet (their preferred method for dealing with any inconvenient truths) and the re-written Bible was pretty soon accepted as fact by millions of people across the world.
And they didn’t even have Twitter!
So why can’t we pull off a similar stunt?
Why can’t we create a new religion?
One with a horizontal axis. One that honours and respects life. One that rectifies the imbalance of forces. One that redefines words that are screaming for a new definition. Words like Power. Love. Creativity.
1. Instead of fighting old power, we can start by ridiculing it. How difficult can that be?! Rich bankers, megalomaniac media tycoons and narcissistic celebrities should be objects of derision. In order to facilitate this, let’s make the teaching of irony, critical thinking and emotional intelligence compulsory in all schools. Children need to know that evil is not inevitable but that “bad things happen because good people do nothing”. Let’s go back to the original meaning of Alma Mater – “nourishing mother” and bring some Goddess energy back into the classroom. Ditch the data and learn some respect. True power – the power to resist the temptation to sell our souls for safety or approval – comes from self esteem.
2. Contrary to popular opinion, love was not invented in Nashville by country and western singers. Nor was love made in Manhattan by ad men anxious to increase the sales of ice cream. And it definitely wasn’t created by Walt Disney as a strategy to make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. Sentimental love, needy love, narcissistic love won’t get us up Jacob’s ladder. We need fierce, compassionate love. The kind that breaks our hearts – in order to make them bigger. We won’t make it with hearts as small as ours. It’s a fitting irony that we could be the first species to go extinct because of the size of our hearts rather than the size of our brains!
3. Not the narrow definition of the creative arts but the expansive one of creative expression. This is the art of allowing the energy of life to drive our actions, our decisions, our behaviour. We don’t ‘do’ creativity, it does us. That’s its brilliance – it allows something other than our personal ego to have a vote in our choices. And as we have seen we can’t be trusted at the helm of the boat. Learning how to open ourselves to creativity allows grace in. And that grace contains wisdom. Which we are sorely in need of. Creativity is high voltage energy which can make us crazy. We need to bring back the sacred rituals of silence and prayer if we are going to channel it successfully.
A new trinity for the times we live in.
Three is a powerful number.
It was the number of times Peter denied Christ. Let’s not make the same mistake.
It’s the number of times the Mayday call has to go out. Mayday. Mayday. Mayday.
It means things are serious now. There will be consequences.
The word comes from the french “M’aider” – help me.
If we listen carefully we might just hear it coming from our souls.