Amongst many other examples the fact that the Pope is still in Rome and the ultra-orthodox in Jerusalem tells us how strong the forces of inertia are, but called instead tradition, continuity, identity, who we are, even truth. But inertia is only a word, an abstract external word. That’s fine: such words have their uses. ‘Inertia’, however, can’t do anything. What does something, what causes the effects, is/are powers, powers operating through those who have not had the desire or the spirit strength to free themselves. A number in all cultures and in all times will have had that strength and would have been able to bring in something new, to take things forward. The question is how many of such individuals and those who responded to them would have been allowed to survive. It is not only in our recent centuries that such people will have been beaten, suppressed, expelled or killed. In the name of tribal cohesion, royal or priestly power, a considerable unknowable number of the best human beings will have been silenced.
General principles allow us to know that, but reports survive. In his book, The Thirteenth Tribe, Arthur Koestler quotes Ibn Fadlan, an Arab traveller (922 AD),
“Among the Volga Bulgars, (he) found a strange custom: ‘When they observe a man who excels through quickwittedness and knowledge, they say: ‘It is more fitting for this one to serve our Lord.’ They seize him, put a rope round his neck and hang him on a tree where he is left till he rots away…'”
He refers again to: ‘…. human sacrifice, by which the most excellent among men were offered as sacrifice to God…….(and to) shamans, whose equivalents among the Bulgars and the Rus (the Vikings) also wielded power of 1ife and death over the people, in the name of their cult.” –
(This account can also be found in Ibn Fadlan And The Land Of Darkness, Penguin Classics)
Far more people than is generally thought have devoted their lives through the millennia to introducing, maintaining and solidifying darkness in the world.
One of the unfortunate and clouding effects of monotheism is that many people think there is only one source for everything. So people will say: How could a good god let such a thing happen’. Or, when some accident or illness hurts people, a certain kind of believer will say: ‘You see, it is a punishment, a warning’. The to’s and fro’s, ups and downs, reversals and conflicts of history indicate quite clearly that spiritual powers with different purposes are at work. There is spirit war and we are the front line. One takes the war out of the world by conducting it within oneself; not exporting hatred, anger and suspicion, but dealing with and overcoming them. In many cases this means that the practitioner herself becomes the target of hatred, anger and suspicion for it means removing oneself from the tribe, the consensus. It happens to whistleblowers as well as more serious cases where murder is done.
That is why Christ says in the New Testament ‘I come to bring not peace but a sword’. If you follow the way of love, of individuality, independent thought, even your father, your mother, your sisters and brothers may hate you. The fate of independent women in Islam is a present example. There is another old occult saying that has the sword in it. The practitioner does not use the sword against others but plunges it deep within himself. The war becomes the pain of acute moral struggle within one. If conducted successfully it becomes strength, spirit backbone.
On the matter of sacrifices an incident in my own life is relevant. I quote it as I wrote it down somewhere else:
‘During this same time when the matter of good and evil in history had come alive in me, I hitched up from Yorkshire to visit friends who lived in a Borders village. Ewan opened the door: ‘The very man’, he said. My bag had barely hit the floor and I don’t know if we’d bothered even saying Hello, when Ewan continued: ‘Jonathan and I have been looking at some stuff. Have a look at this and tell us what you think’s going on.’
‘A book on the table was open at a page with an Aztec line drawing. It was crudely drawn and a lot going on in it. I said: ‘Well, that’s the sacrificial victim lying on the altar, that’s the priest or whoever holding the heart, those wavy lines going up are the life forces escaping and rising, and those little horizontal ovals above are mouths. They represent the entities the life forces are being fed to.’ ‘Yeah, that’s what Jonathan and I thought’. AJ, The Attic
What made the incident so striking was that in the weeks before that visit I had been coming to certain conclusions:
‘Sometimes at night instead of dreaming, I was being spoken to, and streams of information were poured into me. It was actual speaking; it was a voice. But don’t get carried away. I doubt if I remembered even half a percent of it, or made it my own. But I was reading vast amounts of Rudolf Steiner, history and the New Testament, and a great deal about the Nazi and Marxist tyrannies. Gradually, putting together the ideas, the historical facts and my own experiences, I came to awesome and terrible thoughts about what the purpose of the powers behind Hitler and others had been: that the murders and the war deaths were sacrifices to those powers. One time, sitting in my chair, with the typewriter a few feet away, the whole flow of thoughts came together and I was ready to write it down. I couldn’t get up. I was held. I was petrified. To whatever extent, and I have no desire to exaggerate, I was reading the meanings and intentions in the presence of, and from, the dark forces themselves. I had got too close, or was not prepared enough. Anyway for the moment they had me.
‘The same sequence happened again within a couple of days. I still couldn’t make it across the room. Something had to be done. So, in between times, when I was not in the grip of the thoughts and the accompanying fear, I told myself that the next time, when it happened, I would not succumb. I would get up and get to the typewriter. ‘That is what you are going to do, Alan, OK? Yes, I will.’
‘And I did. When the thoughts were there again to be written down, I got up to move those few feet, to enact the human. There was still some terror clinging about me, though, and I muttered as I went: ‘They’ll kill me for this. They’ll kill me for this’.
‘Obviously, I wasn’t thinking that Government agents were going to do away with me. But I was reading a true fact out of the forces present and expressing it under pressure in those words: the fact that it is severely not wanted that the truth on any serious matter should be told. And that for it to be told, even more to be enacted, fear has to be overcome and victories won. We know this from outer events. But events of considerable magnitude, with the same forces engaged, can also take place, in a one, alone, in a room.
As well as the Aztec drawings of human sacrifice, which was organised on a large scale as we know, there is also the squat compressed rankly ugly sculpture of ancient Mexico. The figures look as if they have been squashed down. In fact they have been sucked down – by spirit gravity. That is, their makers, the culture, were under the rule of the Ahrimanic forces operating from the centre of the earth as in Steiner’s descriptions. I realise that for many, most, such a thought is hard to even consider. The book may get thrown across the room. But even for all of us who have no ability to see in the spiritual worlds, there is evidence, there are things we can begin to put together to form an understanding. Hughes’ poems are full of his being imprisoned underground, mouth stuffed with earth etc. We would also have to consider why Marx wrote the following in a letter to his father: ‘If the gods had before dwelt above the earth, they have now become its centre.’ (It looks from my notes that this comes from Marx by David McLellan, Fontana,p11)
One of the interesting things about the split mind effect is that persons who would not consciously, deliberately, say that that they believed in spiritual explanations nevertheless draw upon the appropriate ideas and images from poets or mythology when they are speaking of certain things. The feel for it is in them and comes through when they are writing intently.
A. Alvarez was a literary critic who wrote about Hughes and Plath. He also published a study of suicide called The Savage God. The extract below tells us where he found his title:
‘…..Camus’s conception of the Absurd was, in fact, not so much a programme for work to be done as a theory to explain an art already powerfully thriving since before the turn of the century: W. B. Yeats sensed the new and alien presence as early as 1896 when he attended the first performance of Jarry’s Ubu Roi:
“After Stephane Mallarme, after Paul Verlaine, after Gustave Moreau, after Puvis de Chavannes, after my own verse, after all our subtle colours and nervous rhythm, after the faint mixed tints of Conder, what more is possible? After us the Savage God.’
Alvarez continued: ‘In a sense, nearly the whole of twentieth-century art has been dedicated to the service of this earthbound Savage God who, like the rest of his kind, has thrived on blood-sacrifice. As with modern warfare, enormous sophistication of theory and technique has gone into producing an art which is more extreme, more violent and, finally, more self-destructive than ever before. p245, Penguin, ‘83
So there we have it: sacrifices and a savage god, and even that he, it, is ‘earthbound’.