Behind the New Moon reading in Song of Orpheus an inner process was revealed through the I Ching – as a support to the previous post, and with a little help from some visionary friends, this article opens up to its esoteric context arising from the ‘Oracle of Change’ as revealed through the hexagrams named Chin and Wei Chi…..
“……in open ground, between heaven and earth, even the Wind is revealed, felt but not seen. Upon open ground fire walks with the wind – the transformation of the one is the dance of the other. Stripping down to essense, fire reveals the gift, honouring the creative dynamic at root. Gradually gathering essence, reconciling opposites yet holding to none, releasing light while remaining everywhere unseen. Difficulty becomes re-configured into wisdom. Take heed, this wisdom is itself transforming, and regulation of the fire is necessary for it to be maintained. Vigilance and readiness, knowing when the timing is right, when the fire is carefully regulated, slowly the essense is gathered, energy increases and wisdom finds its true form.
The wise penetrate with Truth, the foolish disperse with Fear. Being sincere, truthful, and reliable, make your inner vision and your outer circumstances coincide. Emptying your heart of conditioned chatter, to hear their inner voices, the link with the spirits is cultivated. Using this as the intrinsic foundation for sincerety and honesty in connecting with others. Much will become illuminated, but, this is the burning off of impurities – do not let these cause distraction from the purpose. The heart of fire is dark and mysterious…..trusting to the process ensures success. That which is transformed carries its own illumination from within.
In this way, by these means, entering the Great Way, gathering the auspicious, the spirits carry us forward. Releasing transformative energy, cultivating meaning and good fortune, this is the correct time to enter the stream of Life with a purpose. Embarking upon a significant journey, enquiring of the oracle at each crucial stage, the spirits speak, insight grows in abundance and great profit arises in accord with the Way. In this way, by these means, True Earth arises. The faithful cultivate the True Earth.” …..from Chin, hexagram 35, with second line changing.
Earth supports fire and fire impregnates earth with energy. Lightning strikes both arise up from and connect down with Earth. The image is one of stabilised but highly charged and focused energy that has its place. It is an energy that requires careful management. Fire will spread with the wind, and when the wind is symbolic of the pervasive nature of change, this can have both beneficial and detrimental effects.
Within the hexagram Chin is yet another nuclear hexagram , made up of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines for the lower trigram, and the 3rd, 4th and 5th lines for the upper trigram – this hexagram is Chien, 39 – Difficulties. Its image is water on the mountain, cutting a gorge bounded by high cliffs. This describes the inner qualities of Chin. Naturally cutting through resistance. Interestingly, when the nuclear trigrams of Chien are also put together we arrive at Wei Chi, the same hexagram produced through the moving line in the second place of Chi. In essense, both inwardly and outwardly, through the triple process of gathering, transformation and inner illumination, the same outcome is arrived at.
“There can be only patient endurance of the opposites which ultimately spring from your own nature. You yourself are a conflict that rages in itself and against itself in order to melt its incompatible substances…..in the fire of suffering and thus create that form which is the goal of life. Everyone goes through this mill, consciously or unconsciously, voluntarily or forcibly. We are crucified between the opposites and delivered up to the torture, until the reconciling third takes shape. Do not doubt the rightness of the two sides within you and let whatever may happen, happen. The apparently unendurable conflict is proof of the rightness of your life. A life without intercontradiction is either only half a life or else a life beyond which is destined only for angels…..” (1)
When C G Jung wrote this letter he was responding to a call from a close and dear friend for helpful guidance. She was experiencing a great inner tension, torn between the demands and heartfelt responsibilities of everyday life and family concerns and the powerful pull of her vocation, her calling, which she equally could not deny. It is a call of the soul that is striving to birth its own reality into the world. The tensions experienced through this struggle have become exacerbated in our times. The soul’s reality is devalued and goes largely unrecognised for its essential nature within our materialistic culture. It is a paradigmatic consequence of polarised objectivity and subjectivity. The consequences have become immense and are at the root of the prevalence of unfeeling and blind destruction that humans have brought upon the world – in the process our culture has engendered a mass dissociation with the over-soul, the Anima Mundi or Earth Soul. And yet, the essential nature of our humanity remains – we have woken up to this reality and, en-masse, the collective immune system of the human soul is fighting back against this disease, and the cancerous agents of destruction that perpetuate it. These are the symptoms of the struggle. The hexagrams, however, also point to a third element, one that arises naturally from within the process. There is no doubt that, within this polarisation, as Jung encourages his friend to accept, is a natural expression of the creative principle itself.
The implications are clear, and echoed in the second hexagram of the reading, Wei Chi – as the planetary matrix at the beginning of the current lunation implied, we have to go through this process, all the more frustrating and difficult if we are drawn to focusing on or rejecting one side of the polarity in favour of the other. Accepting the tension inherent within the opposites allows their mutual seeding to produce the ‘third thing’.
Even attempting to understand or pre-empt this ‘third thing’ can subvert its natural formation. We are called upon to recognise that within us are natural dynamics, archetypal by nature, that express and embody the wisdom that resolves the polarity. The off-spring of this allowing, this willingness to hold the intrinsic creative tension of the opposites, is the transcendant state arriving in natural form – in esoteric terms of Taoist spiritual alchemy this would be described as the spiritual embryo. Like all embryonic life forms it requires careful nurturing through time and benefits from protection, needs containment. It is the light body in form, the inner light that accords with the Tao. Its growing environment at this time is described by the hexagram 64, Wei Chi – ‘Not Yet Settled’…….
“On the edge of change; gather your energy, everything is possible; wait for the right moment.
Not Yet Crossing (settled) describes your situation in terms of being on the verge of an important change. Its symbol is standing on the edge of a river, getting ready to begin an important passage. The way to deal with this is to gather your energy to make this decisive move. Make an offering and you will succeed. You are about to launch a plan, cross the river or overcome an obstacle. The possibilities are great. Be sure your plans are in order and that you have accumulated enough energy to make the crossing without getting stuck. This is pleasing to the spirits. Through it they will give you success, effective power and the capacity to bring the situation to maturity. Don’t be like the small fox that gets almost across the river and then soaks her tail in the mud of the opposite shore. That would leave you with nowhere to go and nothing to do that would help you” (2)
Stephen Karcher’s reading of Wei Chi brings out the importance of being on the verge (Wei) of making the crossing (Chi) – as the precaution against failure we are asked to assess our resources, and, once we have made a confident informed decision to do so, to embark upon the great challenge of crossing to new land, a new state, with full commitment to completion. The danger is that, without this commitment we will sully our efforts and return to a state of complete emptiness once we get to the other side. The message is clear for our times.
It also shows harmony with the times – at Samhain we can make our offerings with deep feeling, knowing that the spirits will support us. Remembering that the ancestors too would have us work on their behalf…..the better able they too will become in supporting us.
In the Scorpio New Moon reading we saw how the need for penetrative and ruthless honesty would help us as we are pulled into the inner journey that this time is calling us to. The pragmatic realisation of compassionate and clear sighted awareness that this process benefits from is funded through the guidance of the spirits – the connection through Samhain is auspicious. And yet, just as Orpheus tale warns us against losing sight of the goal before we have reach the end of our journey, the little fox in Wei Chi shows us that dropping our guard and relaxing within the task too soon will deprive us of all that we seek to gain. What we set in motion now must be followed through.
Once again, the planetary matrix and the spirits of divination show unanimity of purpose……this purpose can be realised and its methods applied in both the macrocosm and the microcosm, as they are in accord. We cannot know the outcome, even the nature of the desired result remains a mystery – while the power of the undertaking is behind our every moment we have it within our capacity, through determined and vigilant self-awareness, to carry this energy forward as it courses through the world, and that is all we can know, until we have reached the other side……
….but, we can have faith, our diligence and care protecting the outcome, and know that nothing is beyond our reach……
“Just as the winged energy of delight
carried you over many chasms early on,
now raise the daringly imagined arch
holding up the astonishing bridges.
Miracle doesn’t lie only in the amazing
living through and defeat of danger;
miracles become miracles in the clear
achievement that is earned.
To work with things is not hubris
when building the association beyond words;
denser and denser the pattern becomes
being carried along is not enough.
Take your well-disciplined strengths
and stretch them between two opposing poles.
Because inside human beings
is where the Divine learns.” (3)
(1) C G Jung : unpublished letter to Frau Fröbe-Kapteyn, August 1945
(2) Stephen Karcher : I Ching, Vega 2002
(3) ‘Just as the Winged Energy of Delight’, Rainer Marie Rilke, 1924; translated by Robert Bly
This month sees the great changes in the world reaching down to root level – we are entering a phase of high resolution transformation in which the challenges of the physical will ask us to tap into our inner resources with pragmatic focus. The pull of the mundane is strong throughout this month so inner balance and adaptation of our medicines to the times will help us to remain centered within the heart, and we will need this as the the very fabric of the matrix is now beginning to shift with kaleidoscopic energy. Everything counts, so…..
Now in the flow, the April New Moon is a way marker amidst the great changes and picks up on the March astral influences, carries them forward and stimulates us into taking up the roles we are each called to with renewed commitiment and dedication. Emergent energy, carrying the ‘I Am’ affirmation from Aries, almost seems to engulf this Moon. Within the quickfire and intense process that we are now seeing, the world has been shaken by recent events in the Mid-East and Japan – and what is the best way to respond? Perhaps we should ask the Powerbrokers who continue to wield the ugly sword of righteous murder, against the people and against Nature, in the name of democracy and profit – perhaps not, we are no longer pawns in their game; rather, ask the courageous workers of Japan who have staked their lives on saving the country from nuclear meltdown. And this while the Ring of Fire is reverberating with quakes on a daily basis, many in the 4.5 to 6.5 range, many around Honshu and the Asian Pacific faultline – Earth is not to be ignored in the face of political unrest and usury. She will have her say……
We begin this report with the mundane view because it is going to be key to how we bring our personal paths to bear within this Moon cycle….although the New Moon opens a new cycle it is the cycle itself, especially in its first two quarters, that will determine how we percieve our course for the month. Patience and compassion are called for, looking to the inner wisdom that is growing within; at the Full Moon we will return to review where we stand and take our work further forward…….as much apparent lunacy as there is in the world, it is going to highten our balanced sense of self, our purposefulness within the world. And, talking of lunacy…….
Uranus has been joined by Mars in the second degree of Aries – and, lo! the Koran burning Pastor is in denial of the consequences. When Mars conjuncts with Uranus we get an energy that must find some form of expression – it is most dangerous when it finds its lowest form, can manifest as shock tactic fundamental extremism and will do so with unpredictable consequences, apart from the fact that we know it will be provocative to say the least. If these two planets working together find the high side of expression Uranus and Mars can empower us with radical inventiveness and inspire new paths of manifestation for spontaneous acts of courage, a pragmatic counter to the aggressive and irrational unconscious drives of its low side. On 2º Aries Uranus conjunct Mars brings a cold edge to the Uranian energy, and challenges us to look without flinching at the effects that acts of aggression have in the world. The Sabian symbol for this degree is ‘Objective Consciousness’, hard core facts and seperation from feeling. While it is an energy instilled in every soldier and its intrinsic denial is behind every case of PTSD emerging from the war zone, it is also intrinsic to the symptoms of the deeper wound, and reading the symptoms is as much a part of our healing as working from the heart. We cannot ignore its effects, especially now……will governments take responsibility? Whether they do or not, it will be up to us to step up to our calling and, as individuals, work together to make the difference. Re-volution reaches far beyond our politics.
In the mundane, Saturn’s face-off with Jupiter continues to be triggered by the New Moon, as if to prolong the interrogation of our ethical and moral limitations. We know that governments cannot continue to act in the name of Democracy while blowing up the opposition, and this energy is also expressed in the lower vibration of Saturn and Jupiter. The forces of containment vieing with the forces of expansion with heavy effect. The higher vibration shows us that, in reality, the two are seeking a way of working together, however, with the New Moon activating the Jupiterian end of this pervasive stand-off, we may well see the transformative side of Jupiter coming through as pressure builds on the contollers and overlords from within. The people are inflammed with growing spiritualised desire to see change at the root, and this Moon will make sure that this is seeded – it is an expression of Venus in Pisces sextile Pluto, now vacillating in early Capricorn. It is at the heart of the courage being shown in Japan. It brings the radical edge of compassion into the world. When Masaru Emoto called the world to prayer, to ask for forgiveness from, express gratitude towards and to seek healing for the Waters, he was expressing the high side of Saturn and Jupiter, the water crystals manifesting the sacred geometry of the heart, toned by feeling and spirit. There is a great teaching in this – we do not need to wait for the call to work with the medicine in this way…….if we make such acts an integral part of our everyday life Life will be transformed……
The benific side of Saturn will fund us with support in this, especially if we are able to capitalise on the Mercury retrograde energies of inward focus and communing with the spirits. We know that the dangers from focusing through his low side are present as well – with behind the scenes strategising and covert agenda’s that seek to maintain control. However, we may be able to see this at work, to see through the deceptions, if we hold to the center and utilise our sacred point of view, our ‘seeing’. For example, we may observe a change in policy and shift of focus if the US government goes into shutdown on April 8th when interim budget cuts run out of time. Mercury retrograde will square US Mercury, challenging open communications, and the Moon on the US Descendant will signal the time for the people to claim their power in the face of the governments apparent inability to work on their behalf….but, I digress….and we must not forget that we are on the verge of a new spiritualisation of our reality.
Neptune is flowing into Pisces for a four months stay, and while he is there, ruling the mutable nature of our spirituality, we will get a taste of the great collective shift within that will truly begin to counterbalance all this tumult in the world – this will be our signal and the real work we have come into this time to engage with will take on new dimensions. The boundaries will open and if you have been diligent in holding to your heart center and witholding from reaction to or inculcating the influences of the mundane, you will discover that your own boundaries too have become radically changed – entering this zone of shifting boundaries and timelessness we will be able to take our innate spiritual powers to another level! Intent is everything in here, so too our center…..
The esoteric can be intoxicating, but, it can also be the gateway for fundamental healing. With Chiron already in Pisces we can expect Neptunes influence on Chiron to bring a pragmatic shamanic quality to the shift . Time dissolves as we enter the world of the shape-shifter – up pops the white rabbit and down the worm-hole we go …..
Nothing is quite as we expect it to be as we make that journey – the preparation began this Equinox when Uranus brought us to the gateway, shook its foundations and was followed by Jupiter pushing on the sacred portal that Saturn stands guarding – if we look at their opposition more from the esoteric we will see the doorway now opening. The polarising tension they have brought has sustained Uranus’ shockwaves – it is also like tightening a drumskin and raising its pitch, and this too now gives a clear mandate to bring our work in the world to a higher purpose – we can follow that beat.
So many of the above influences are calling us to stay with our feet firmly planted on our own ground, to work with our own innate wisdom; it is a personal response and we know that, individually, we will do so as one, fractals of the whole. While the planets fund us with cosmic energies for change our Earth is reminding us of the sacred nature of Nature. Neptunian influences are a foretaster. As Neptune enters Pisces ‘for good’, early next year, accessing the oceanic realms of the Dreamtime, our Earth will be showing us that our task is to fully realise our role as Keepers of the Sacred Garden and, as Rainbow Warriors of Peace, manifest the coming Fifth World from within. The prophecies have been preparing us for this – in the last decade our regard for them has changed, now we are collectively remembering – they were never just stories to be heard and wondered about; they are the deep source of our knowing, about our purpose and how to prepare – we will sadly miss José Argüilles’ visionary leadership and inspiration in helping us to wake up to them. There are many visionary leaders present with us in our times, but, right now it is up to us all to step into our own roles as leaders, each in the way most suited to us, and care for our personal medicines as we do so……the responsibility of the healer is also to maintain their own health, the more so now as Transformation emerges from within.
Our world is changing from within….the heavens are changing within – Change is our new Body – we are becoming transubstantial and, within ‘that which knows’, the elixir of our spiritual alchemy is reaching manifestation point. It is a crucial moment in the ongoing process of conscious global transformation – now the World Medicine we hold within must rest within the changing world without. Then we can entrain with the crystallising energies of Saturn while retaining the potential growth factor of Jupiter – timing is everything, so we do need to know when to wait and when to act.
We cannot anticipate how we will look to each other beyond this process, so the emphasis really is now in trusting our own personal transformation as the template for outer change, and there are energies in the heavens that will help us at this stage. In Pisces, Chiron conjunct Ceres, and Venus sextile Pluto in Capricorn, remind us that we are here to face the reality of our collective wounds and seperation from the natural cycles of Life, and that we can do this by being with Nature. Earth is funding the fundamental relationships we have with Nature with the transformative power of deep commitment and belonging. Once again, this is fundamental to our role as Keepers of the Garden of Earth. The cultural paradigms of the industrial world have taken us a long way from this deeper connection.
The higher vibrations of the planets also show us the way. Wisdom too can be the prerogative of Saturn and he can be very grounding with this – once we are able to overcome the stultifying effects of fear, his shadow is transformed into steadfast courage and dedication – he helps us earth. In Libra this becomes the power to form right relationship, and within our mandate, becomes the manifestation of unity with ‘all our relations’. But, we can find inspiration from the strength of the courageous workers at the Fukushima nuclear plant, the spirit of the Japanese people, their integrity and the outpouring of immense compassion that we are seeing emerge in response – Earth is speaking to us, it is real. It is clear, the Sacred Hoop must be restored. Jupiter expands the call and helps us raise the energy that will bring the medicine to bear. The New Moon seeds this energy within us and Mars brings Uranus the compelling fire of realisation that we are the Birds of Fire, the Warrior Guardians of our entry into the Fifth World. Neptune’s entry into Pisces signals the first wave of the spirit world merging with our own in consciousness, the timeless higher dimension that generates the sacred geometry of the Flower of Life within our true nature – sweet is the nectar that Hummingbird finds there, the Medicine of Joy – it knows no boundaries.
When time dissolves, the boundaries between things become maleable – all we know is at our center. This is the pathway of inner light – the emergent consciousness of the Goddess returning. Her intrinsic wisdom is manifest in all things and harmonises all within the one. We continue our daily lives through Her grace……she also carries an earthy knowing that will help us ground our mandate. For all the otherworldly nature of the shamanic shift it is the middle world we always return to……integration is our objective. Even at the heart of the storm the world assumes its customary dimensions, and we continue, infused with spirit. It is very much about being natural within the world. To close, some words from the Oracle will elucidate…..
Hexagram 36 of the Oracle of Changes contains this line in the commentary :
‘though one harmonizes with others, one is not influenced, and though one associates with others, one does not become clannish.’
What does it mean that ‘one does not become clannish’?
What is clannish reflects the varying patterns that exist within us and around us – we recognise our kinship with each other through this. And yet ‘though one harmonises with others, one is not influenced’ by the entrapment of energies within the mundane. Why build a world on difference when the nature of difference is change itself? It is like mistaking the burning wood for the fire…….wood, flame, ash and heat, it is all one.
This hexagram came up in response to a request for an overview for this Moon cycle. Its name is ‘Concealment of Illumination’ – it never ceases to amaze how this ancient oracle responds with timely and aposite advice – here it exactly mirrors the heavens and earth. The image contained within the hexagram is enlightenment hidden within difficulty. We move amongst the people without outward show of our inner illumination, yet following our seeing, we know each other. We know we cannot fight fire with fire, so we gently nurture the elixir we have generated, through concealment. In this way we can be broad in our perspective and adaptive in our responses, able to integrate within the masses. It means being discerning while being unobtrusive : ‘one is like the Sun, which is bright when it rises, but, also bright in secret when it has set.’ Fire returns to the Origin……
……the Black Sun of the Fifth World rises in the Raven’s eye, She blinks and the Wheel of Law becomes the Seeing Eye of Magic . At the heart of the storm all is still and the inner eye is filled with light…….as the seer wends the city streets, no outward show, ordinary to all, illumined in all…….
Oracle of Changes references : The Taoist I Ching, Thomas Cleary & Liu I-ming, Shambala Publications, 1986
Fire – the energy of radical change. What do you see when you gaze on the picture below? Is it a scene of destruction, of accident and loss, that suggests war and the eradication of security? Would this be a true mirror for our own inner state, our traumas and fears? Do we feel distraught and upset in the face of this power, its wanton use – or does it speak to us of a people in harmony with the elements, with life and her cycles? We associate it with destructive energy, passions and a volatile temperament, fuel for our machine age and the heat of the Sun. It is feared and revered, sought after as power, as well as the source of comfort within our homes. It is the element that changes food for our consumption, inculcates culture, is at the root and development of our industrial revolution and, through this, furthered the enslavement of the populace to production, commodity and profit. Those that control it have, in our eyes, power to both determine and destroy, as well as suppress. We burn in fever, burn off the calories, burn our bridges…..in so many ways we have fallen out of balanced relationship with Fire and we have shaped our relationship with this essential elemental force in ways that would be unrecognisable to our ancestors. But, thanks to our ancestors we also know how to work creatively with fire, feel it burning in our hearts, feeding the revolutionary passion that brings freedom and release. Take a moment to ‘see’….perhaps there is here more to this scene than meets the eye……and then, lets take a journey to meet with the ancestors and find out!
It is the cusp between astrological Ages – the Age of Gemini is giving way to the Age of Taurus. We are journeying back some 6.5 thousand years, and arriving in the land to the south and east of the Carpathians, closer on the shores of the Black Sea. The scene is night time, under a rising full Harvest Moon, and a bristling mantle of stars is spreading over us from horizon to horizon as the daylight fades. Yet, the air is rippling with heat and great clouds of sparks fly heavenwards in swirling plumes of intense fiery energy…..a whole village stands ablaze atop the low hill before us! Powerful cracks of exploding clay, thatch timbers and supporting posts resound against the constant roar of the inferno – hold fast to the vision for a moment though, for gathered around us below the scene are hundreds of people, chanting, singing and drumming, feasting and sharing the fruits of the Earth. Some hold beautiful small clay figures in their hands, out-stretched towards the flames, others letting their babies and children play with clay animals and simple versions of the little sacred dolls.
For, this is no accident or act of agression…..beneath the hill the people have set up a hearth with a healthy fire burning in a mound of glowing embers, set on a bed of old charcoal gathered from previous fires. Arranged in a circle around this are more small clay figures, just like the ones the people are holding, images of the Earth Mother. Some of this little Mothers are seated on minature thrones, others with their pointed legs stuck in the hot Earth, each casting a dancing shadow around the fire, echoing the people’s movements. The pungent aroma of fresh herbs fills the air as the elders, those blessed with a deeper understanding and memory, feed the fire – it is a time of both celebration and preparation, before the onset of the cold seasons, and the energy is high….within the fire are new images, figurines moulded during the day from fine river clay, the Earth mother’s body, blessed with the living waters, and brought to life through the people and the sacred fire. (1)
The people have initaited the sacred fire around which they now stand, taken a burning splint and, having banked up hay bales and logs around and within their earth houses, each at their own threshold they set their homes alight. The elders have overseen the whole ritual; for we are witnessing a sacred rite, repeated every 70 years or so, at Moonrise and marking the passing of the old ones, the key elders, bringing a renewal and cleansing to the land upon which they have made their homes……from here, once the flames have subsided, they will be re-building their village on the foundations of the old, using the fire hardened clay, of which the floors and walls of their thatched homes are made, to provide solid materials that connect them with the past while freeing them to live a new cycle. Generations will follow this sacred rite and it will give the anthropologists and archaeologists something quite extra-ordinary to puzzle over when their villages are unearthed in millenia to come. We have come to call the area within which rite was enacted the Burning House Horizon. But, by the time we bring this objective label to bear its connection with the Earth Mother will be mere speculation……..
We have given these people identities that correspond to the particular hallmarks of their culture, the places in which we have unearthed them, but, amongst many similar peoples they are one people, spread out over a vast region, tribal afiliations united by a common flowering cultural impulse. They are also known to us as the Danilo, the Vinca, the Karanovo, the Hamangia, the Gumelnita, the Petresti, the Tisza, the Lengyel, and the Cucuteni……
The Cucuteni were a people finding new ways of bringing the old forward and blending it with the new – rooted within the land, holding to their ancient knowledge from the Mesolithic while embracing the new Neolithic farming ways. They now know, with the many other tribal peoples who inhabit this region, that the world is changing through human ingenuity. A revolution has been spreading far and wide, carried on their stories, encouraged through connections from afar, through journeying by land, river and sea – more will come with the arrival of visitors. The hunting and gathering ways are ‘pastoralising’, technology and culture summoning the widespread advent of ‘settlement’ as a way of living with the Earth in Old Europe. They are creating clearings in the great forests, they cultivate grains, keep pigs and cattle, herd sheep and goats, and are both ahead of their time in developing peaceful ‘conurbations’, as well as retaining the most practical knowledge of the land, the vestiges of their intimate relationship with the Earth.
There are many stages of this human revolution and transition from the old to the new happening simultaneously across the land to the north of the inland seas, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Infact it was a global revolution, spread across time and continents. Those who have adopted the new ways in Old Europe are renowned crafts people, using metalwork, weaving, pottery, construction blended with an appreciation of aesthetic beauty and spirituality. This is a culture that has its roots in the times following the retreat of the ice, and even further back to the interglacial times, when the imagination of Earth and people were one. The influences within this culture can also be traced back to peoples who migrated from the south and east and, being close to some of the major inland water routes, as well as the Black Sea, the Cucuteni and their contemporaries would have seen the influx of those influences coming in from the ‘Europian’, ‘Asian’ and ‘Mediterranean’ peoples as being a sign of the expanding growth of human learning in the ways of the world.
The halmarks of these evolving Neolithic communities that have been identified by archaeologists and anthropologists include non-heirarchical social structures, carried over from hunter-gatherer communities. They were experiencing the first flowerings of communal self-determination, harnessing the power of the natural world through their inventive technologies. As archaeologist Steven Mithen suggests in his brilliant book ‘After the Ice’ (2), these were a people of ‘choice’, able to adapt within a stablising process – they also had the ‘pioneer’ spirit of their ancestors in their blood. Through the gathering of animals and humans in rooted communities they would experience the growth of affluence and the challenge of disease – they were sowing the seeds of our own experiences within the world.
The heart of the Cucuteni culture would beat strong for a thousand years, but, they were not the last of their kind. The stone houses, sacred buriel chambers and megalithic circles that emerged out of this time kept the sacred covenant with the Earth alive. They knew a balance in life that would eventually be swept away. With the advent of nomadic warrior people from the east, the new ‘People of the Horse’ would change everything. In the end the riders would bring warring and overturn the old ways, replacing them with a fearsome blend of warrior heirarchies and spirituality and chieftain led forces that had different affiliations, fed off of the land where-ever they went. These new people were strong of will, free to impose the will of their gods and spirits upon all whom they met with as they travelled. This would in turn see the onset of ‘masculine’ force as an increasingly martial, spiritual and ‘political’ power, the birth of our politic. The Old European ways would over millenia be swept away and the images of the Earth Mother would divide, her dark side, split away, becoming subverted, a source of deep misunderstanding that marks us still – yet, She will live on, ever deeper within us. (3)
The scars of these old wounds, still present within our instinctive memory, are deeply overlayed within the cultural psyche of European and Mediterranean peoples, kept alive even as the Age of Taurus began to give way to Aries, and Aries to Pisces through our emergent myths and stories. They found inner form amongst the divided, fractured and anthropomorphised inhabitants of the spiritual realms. These wounds have become embedded and keep the dynamic alive, remaining sore and sensitive even now. Under this influence our tribalism has become nationalistic and religious. And, while no direct connection is drawn here between this and the fate of the Cucuteni and their neighbours, the foundations of their culture offer us a glimpse of something even deeper within. We sense our roots with the Earth Mother – through them Fire can be seen as a healing and creative power within the circle of life – the severence and recovery of the covenant speaks to us. But, suddenly a shout resounds and pulls us out of our historical revery and back to the now smouldering foundations of the ‘cremated’ village……
The people are busy clearing and re-storing their village – in this there is no grief or remorse; Life and Death are understood as cyclical, implicit and integral to the ways and teachings of the world. Earth turns with the seasons and the Moon holds her rhythm, counted within the sky realms, held within the waters and womb cycles of both Earth and women. We do not know their personal names, but can hear the echoes of their speech within our own, within our place names, and, we know that they were able to express a profound sense of place within the greater whole – their art and artfulness speaks of this, and this itself is of great value to us, enshrining earthy appreciation and a sense of aesthetic beauty, the budding spirit of the Neolithic Taurean Age. It also offers a mirror for reflection upon our times, how far we have come, and from where….
Our times will see great change, and we now have the opportunity to learn something of value from our links with the past while we are ourselves transitioning forward – we can burn off the old structures that harbour dis-ease and decay, the wounds and errors of our past, and clearing away the ash that clouds our vision, re-birth our connection with Earth into new forms……
This article combines documented archaeological research and theories with the results of divinations, dreaming and imagination upon these, and, while it is speculative and goes well beyond established ‘scientific fact’, it is also equally plausible and offers a view of our ancestry that will hopefully inspire further dreamings and exploration…….it opens a thread that will look at some of the ancient connections we have with the elements in future articles.
(1) The visionary archaeologist Maria Gimbutas contributed greatly to our understanding of the importance of ‘the Goddess’ in the late Mesolithic and Neolithic, her seminal books ‘The Language of the Goddess’, Thames and Hudson, 1990 and ‘Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe’, Thames and Hudson, 1974 being recommended to all interested in exploring these inspirational connections further.
(2) Steven Mithen, ‘After the Ice : A Global Human History, 20,000 – 5,000 BC’, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2003 – another superb example of imaginative archaeology; a balanced and well grounded view of our human journey beyond the late Palaeolithic exploring how we adapted to deep global climate change, with profound implications for our times.
(3)’Earth-home’ illustration © Rob Purday 2000