Category Archives: Christ

In Heidegger’s Temple

By Gabriel Hartley

templeNOTE: This piece is a bit more academic than my usual blog posts, given that this is my draft for a roundtable presentation at Ohio University in October 2014.

I do not yet know whether and how this essay will figure in my writing projects, although I imagine it will. I am here taking advantage of this chance to present these ideas and experiences to you in order for me to come to terms with them. Even so, I consider this to be some of the most important writing I have ever done, for in it I use the essay form in its root sense as a mode of trying to articulate things that remain suggestive but relatively inarticulate in my own head and heart. In a sense that I hope will become clear as I continue, I see this essay itself as a temple of sorts—a space brought into being by a certain dwelling in the world that steps back and lets things simply be as they be, shine as they are.

Dwelling in the Works of Heidegger

Perhaps the primary thing that I am trying to bring to fruition in this essay is a crucial aspect of my reading experience in the works of Heidegger: my sense that I am intuiting on a primal, familiar, interactive level the things that Heidegger brings into being through his writings. I have always had a sense that I am entering into an experiential or phenomenological space that Heidegger opens up and that I somehow occupy that space with him. In fact, I often feel as though I always occupy these spaces, and have done so for many lifetimes, even when I read a work of his for the “first” time. There is a sense in which I am there in his works, watching the world glow in increasing clarity as I pass from word to word and sentence to sentence. There is a very real sense in which the world that Heidegger discloses is a world I am integrally familiar with and which I know intimately from the inside. And this feeling happens most intensely when I enter into Heidegger’s temple.

I am speaking, of course, of Heidegger’s description of what he calls the temple-work in his essay “The Origin of the Work of Art.” What I have realized over the years is that when I read this description, I enter into the building of sacred space that he describes as the mode of dwelling that gives place to the temple, the sacred site—in this case, the Greek temple, where neither Heidegger nor I have ever been in this lifetime. [I was later alerted to the publication of Heidegger’s travel journals in which he gives accounts of journeys to the Greek temples very late in his life—long after he had written the material I am discussing here.] And given my work with sacred sites around the globe during the past three years especially, I now see that the building of the Greek temple that Heidegger enacts in his “Origin” essay is true to my own experience and understanding of the building of sacred space.

In other words, in this essay I hope to begin my in-depth exploration of a certain mode of attention or apprehension that Heidegger models in his writings that I will impertinently characterize as mystical, visionary, or shamanic—although none of these words in their usual understanding does justice to the experience I am pointing to. And rather than appropriate the customary dualism in the West that separates the mystical from the scientific—an opposition that itself falls prey to the very objectifying aspect of Western thought that Heidegger seeks to uncover and move beyond—I hope to enter into a mode of engagement that allows for the things and experiences we encounter to appear to us in a more open spirit than the typical Western mode of comprehension. I will characterize that western mode as an attempt to dominate all that we encounter by imagining all things as mere passive objects for our imperial vision—our attempt to see into the heart of things in such a way as to render everything as a discrete, determinate object. I will characterize Heidegger’s mode of thinking, alternatively, as an attempt to let all things be as they might be without attempting to determine the grounds of that being ahead of time. This is a shift from “Let me see” to “Let it be.” And this openness to the genuine essence of Being as it unfolds into or withdraws from our interaction, I suggest, allows for a more sustainable foundation for human behavior in the more-than-human world. And I will explore Heidegger’s description of the temple-work of the Greek temple as a privileged scene allowing us a glimpse into the dynamics of this mode of letting be. In this example, Heidegger offers a sense of what might be involved in the shift from what he calls ordinary consciousness to what I would call, perhaps inappropriately, superconsciousness.

Heidegger’s Description of the Greek Temple-Work

I present two paragraphs from “The Origin of the Work of Art” concerning the Greek temple here before working through this passage afterwards in detail:

[L]et us select a work that cannot be ranked as representational [darstellenden] art.

A building, a Greek temple, portrays [bildet . . . ab] nothing. It simply stands there in the middle of a rock-cleft valley. The building encloses the figure of the god, and in this concealment [Verbergung] lets it stand out [hinausstehen] into the holy precinct through the open portico. By means of the temple, the god is present in the temple. This presence of the god is in itself the extension and delimitation of the precinct as a holy precinct. The temple and its precinct, however, do not fade away into the indefinite. It is the temple-work that first fits together [fügt] and at the same time gathers around itself the unity of those paths and relations in which birth and death, disaster and blessing, victory and disgrace, endurance and decline acquire the shape [die Gestalt] of destiny for human being. The all-governing expanse of this open relational context is the world of historical people. Only from and in this expanse does the nation first return to itself for the fulfillment of its vocation [Bestimmung].

Standing there, the building rests on rocky ground. This resting of the work draws up out of the rock the mystery [das Dunkle] of the rock’s clumsy yet spontaneous support. Standing there, the building holds its ground against the storm raging above it and so first makes the storm itself manifest in its violence. The luster and gleam of the stone, though itself apparently glowing only by the grace of the sun, yet first brings to light the light of the day, the breadth of the sky, the darkness of the night. The temple’s firm towering makes visible the invisible space of air. The steadfastness of the work contrasts with the surge of the surf, and its own repose brings out the raging of the sea. Tree and grass, eagle and bull, snake and cricket first enter into their distinctive shapes and thus come to appear as what they are. The Greeks early called this emerging and arising in itself and in all things physis. It clears and illuminates, also, that on which and in which man bases his dwelling. We call this ground earth. What this word says is not to be associated with the idea [Vorstellung] of a mass of matter deposited somewhere, or with the merely astronomical idea of a planet. Earth is that whence the arising brings back and shelters everything that arises without violation. In the things that arise, earth is present as the sheltering agent. (“Origin” 41-42)

So let me begin walking through this temple passage line by line. To begin: “[L]et us select a work that cannot be ranked as representational [darstellenden] art.” The key to all of Heidegger’s work is seeing this move beyond or outside of representational thinking. “Representation” here is the translation of darstellen, the typical term in reference to artistic representation. It suggests an aesthetic staging before an audience, a putting-on-view for viewing and appreciation. The problem with artistic dependence on the notion of darstellen lies in its root, stellen, which makes it kin to the even more disturbing tendency in Western culture to emphasize another form of representation—vorstellen. For Heidegger, as can be seen throughout his works, the whole problem behind Western Metaphysics since Plato and Aristotle, but especially since Descartes, is the question of the German verb stellen, which means to place, to position.

This positioning (or positing) is the fundamental activity and perspective behind all traditional Western thought and still dominates today. It implies the act of placing an object before a subject in order to lay it out for inspection. This is a kind of mastery, objectification, and exploitation, as Heidegger explains in several places. Vorstellen, in particular, is the dominant sense here, where we “represent” an object by “presenting” it to ourselves on the lab table or the cutting board. “Vor” means “before” in its spatial sense as in “lying there before you.” Vor-stellen, then, is a positioning something before yourself in order to submit it to your analytical gaze, so that you can find out “what it is” (the key question for metaphysics). We, as good Westerners, want to know what an entity (Seiend) is. In the process we blind ourselves to the fact that we have not yet asked what its Being (Sein) is, the way it presences, the way it shines forth, as in Heidegger’s turn to the Greek word “physis” as the self-emergence of entities in nature.

With the temple, then, and unlike his famous example of Van Gogh’s painting of shoes, Heidegger here deliberately turns to an example of a work of art that is in no way representational (either in terms of darstellen or vorstellen). “A building, a Greek temple, portrays [bildet . . . ab] nothing. It simply stands there in the middle of a rock-cleft valley.” This work of art is not trying to stand in for something else but simply to stand there in our vicinity. This example immediately defuses our Western tendency to read art as symbolic and instead forces us to enter into a different kind of relationship with the work. It forces us to step back in order to stand there with it in the rock cleft valley and to attend to other events rather than representation. And this, I suggest, is the first move in opening us up in our relationship to things in the world in that we must let go of our metaphysical desire to define the thing (the work of art) and instead simply let it stand there and be what it is as it is.

But what is the temple, as a temple, doing there in the rock-cleft valley? “The building encloses the figure of the god, and in this concealment [Verbergung] lets it stand out into the holy precinct through the open portico.” This artwork is also a temple, after all, so by definition it has a relationship of some kind to the gods. But curiously the temple does not make the god appear but instead, in its enclosing aspect, allows for the concealment of the god—a concealment that itself allows the god to stand out in its very concealment, its absence, an absence that makes the god all the more present, to stand out all the more as the being whose absence is now present and emanating from out of the holy precinct into the world beyond through the open portico. The temple creates the space of the sacred by consecrating this otherwise undefined plot of rock-cleft landscape. “By means of the temple, the god is present in the temple.”

What Heidegger offers here is a shift away from representational concepts of art to what could be called a performative participation in the art-work—performative in the sense of bringing to presence for us the presence of the gods. The gods are not here thought of as already-present subject matter for art, which the artist then re-presents, but rather the end result of the bringing into presence that the art-work is as it clears the space for the presencing of the gods. Nor is this space itself merely some calculable plot of land that in its emptiness becomes available to such presencing. This space itself is created as the space of presencing by the temple-work. Presumably raw calculable space is thereby transfigured into a sacred place. Now, then, this “presence of the god is in itself the extension and delimitation of the precinct as a holy precinct. The temple and its precinct, however, do not fade away into the indefinite.” In other words, the sacred space opened up by the temple does not disappear once the gods arise within it; the gods are able to arise as the result of this opening up of the space of their possibility as a feature of this space. And as a result of this holy transfiguration, the nature of human being, this newly illuminated human world, can then present itself within this divine matrix in its historical context:

It is the temple-work that first fits together [fügt] and at the same time gathers around itself the unity of those paths and relations in which birth and death, disaster and blessing, victory and disgrace, endurance and decline acquire the shape [die Gestalt] of destiny for human being. The all-governing expanse of this open relational context is the world of historical people. Only from and in this expanse does the nation first return to itself for the fulfillment of its vocation [Bestimmung].

But the divine-human aspects of the temple-work in no way exhaust the nature of the experience of this opened space. If the meditations made possible in the first paragraph of our passage led us to a sacramental engagement with the unfolding of what Heidegger has referred to as the world, the next paragraph leads us to an equally unfamiliar yet infinitely suggestive recasting of our relationship to what he calls earth. For the temple located in the rock-cleft valley draws our attention to the grounding nature of the earth as well. It allows us, in other words, to enter into a sacred relationship to the earth. Again, I will work out these implications as I work my way through the second paragraph of our passage.

To begin: “Standing there, the building rests on rocky ground. This resting of the work draws up out of the rock the mystery [das Dunkle] of the rock’s clumsy yet spontaneous support.” As he says in a later passage, in this temple-work the rock is not used up but is instead set forth in the clearing of truth. Here we see how the work “draws up out of the rock” the mystery or opaqueness of its support. The stone from out of which the temple is built is in an active and spontaneous rapport with the stone upon which it is placed. Through the space opened up by the work we are able to encounter a dimension of the rockiness of rock that we rarely experience in daily practical activity. But we do not in our aesthetic dreaminess imagine such a drawing up and out of mystery; the work itself sets such a reciprocal relationship in motion as it sets forth [Herstellung] the integrity of the rock. And the integrity of the environment as a whole: The violence of the storm, the light of day, the breadth of the sky, the darkness of the night, the invisible space of air, the surge of the surf, the raging of the sea, the distinctive shapes of the plant and animal life in this natural surrounding: all “thus come to appear as what they are” because of the standing temple’s stability, luster, firm towering, steadfastness, and repose. In short, all that is around us enters into the manifest nature of the truth—the unconcealment—of its being by way of the work.

“The Greeks,” Heidegger writes, “early called this emerging and arising in itself and in all things physis.” (I will have reason to return to this notion of physis or primal emergence later.) Physis “clears and illuminates, also, that on which and in which man bases his dwelling.” For Heidegger, the notion of dwelling captures the essential nature of human being, as he explains in this passage from his essay “Building Dwelling Thinking”:

[I]f we listen to what language says in the word bauen [or “building”]we hearthree things:
1. Building is really dwelling.
2. Dwelling is the manner in which mortals are on the earth.
3. Building as dwelling unfolds into the building that cultivates growing things and the building that erects buildings. (148)

Building as dwelling, in other words, engages us in primal human activities such as the cultivation of nurturing plants and the erection of buildings such as temples. Dwelling is our mode of setting things “free into [their] own presencing” (150). So to repeat: Physis “clears and illuminates, also, that on which and in which man bases his dwelling.” And, according to Heidegger, “We call this ground earth. What this word says is not to be associated with the idea [Vorstellung] of a mass of matter deposited somewhere, or with the merely astronomical idea of a planet. Earth is that whence the arising brings back and shelters everything that arises without violation. In the things that arise, earth is present as the sheltering agent” (“Origin” 41-42).

Truth Happens, or, the Performative Presencing of the Gods

One day I was trying to explain to my students at Ohio University what I refer to as the performative function of the temple-space within Heidegger’s Greek temple. These lines were the occasion for such a need: “[T]ruth does not exist in itself beforehand, somewhere among the stars, only later to descend elsewhere among beings. This is impossible for the reason alone that it is after all only the openness of beings that first affords the possibility of a somewhere and of a place filled by present beings” (61). I found myself for some unknown reason—since I do not consider myself a Christian in any recognizable sense—quoting the statement of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew in which he says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” I explained that on a literalist level we might imagine two or three people gathering together in Jesus’s name and then his sudden miraculous appearance to them there. But if we follow the performative logic behind this statement, what Jesus is saying is that it is the coming together in my name that is itself the manifestation of the Christ being. Christ here is the result of an action that comes to characterize that action itself. In Heidegger’s terms, just as truth “does not exist in itself beforehand, somewhere among the stars, only later to descend elsewhere among beings,” neither does Christ. The “coming together in his name” opens up the sacred space within which the gods can manifest.

Another lesser-known example from the Christian texts is in the Gospel of Thomas, saying 77, in which Jesus says, “It is I who am the light (that presides) over all. It is I who am the All: it is from me that the All has come, and to me that the All goes. Split a piece of wood: I am there. Lift a stone, and you (plural you) will find me there.” Jesus in this instance here is the particular manifestation of the All, the One whose indeterminate universality is mediated and particularized by Jesus. But again it is important not to simply read this on its most literal level, wherein Jesus claims to be the All and that therefore all (including sticks and stones) find themselves in Him and Him in themselves. The performative logic we have examined before suggests rather that it is in the splitting of the wood and in the lifting of the stone that Jesus can be found—not as a material or spiritual constituent of the stick or stone but as that communal spiritual nature that becomes manifested in plural actions guided by spiritual intention. In other words, when we lift a stone, our act of lifting makes us like the Christ Being, for in this act we recognize before we even begin that the All is in all. Our act of splitting makes us like Christ, again because such actions are carried out in the foreknowledge of the divine unity of all existence. These acts are devotional acknowledgements of this knowledge and ritual re-enactments of the moment of Creation itself. We find the Christ Being in our consecrating devotional actions, not in some external entity who blesses us for performing those actions. We are the Christ Being when we consciously and ceremonially perform such actions of re-creation.

How I Find Myself Dwelling in the Temple

As I have already expressed, the most intriguing element of my reading of Heidegger’s temple passage is that in it I find an understanding of the relationship of human activity to the manifestation of sacred space that feels very familiar to me. I am at home in that temple experience so described. In fact, I would say that my reading and teaching of this passage over and over in a very profound way prepared me for my own sacred site activity. I began to recognize that the description of the temple-work very much fit my subsequent experiences at places such as the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge, the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings with their ceremonial kivas, Serpent Mound and other ancient ceremonial mounds here in Ohio, the earthen barrows and standing stones at Avebury, and the Newgrange complex of underground structures in Ireland.

What I find as I encounter each of these sacred sites is that when I enter into the mode of consciousness that allows for the suspension of the typical Western demands for representational thinking and Metaphysical structures of causality and thinghood (demands which also inhere in traditional expressions of the dominant Western religions, as Heidegger frequently points out), I experience exactly the process of the opening up of space—a textured and energized space, in fact—that allows for the presencing of the gods and daimones of the place that Heidegger describes. The question remains, despite its ultimate irrelevance, whether Heidegger himself had such experiences.

APPENDIX

The pages that follow contain other extended sections, notes, and quotations that I will ultimately work into a much longer version of this essay. I include them for anyone wishing to see other dimensions of the story of the West that I am telling as the complement to the creation of sacred sites such as the ancient Greek temple.

The sections here include my initial overviews of sections from Heidegger’s book Parmenides, including his interpretation of the early Greek notion of truth (alētheia) as unconcealment, as well as a his explanation of the Roman translation of the Greek notions of unconcealment and concealment (alētheia and its opposite) into our contemporary notions of truth and falsity. My larger point is that this discussion of the Latin imperial translation of Greek into Roman culture helps us to understand the difficulty most readers, even sympathetic ones, have in taking Heidegger’s discussions of the opening of sacred space seriously—that is, as more than simply a poetic or nostalgic symbolic reference to the mysteries of the gods.

What is That?

Western metaphysics. What is a thing? Ordinary thinking

Hypothesis, hypokeimenon, Voraussetzung

patient on an operating table

Alētheia and Lēthē

Given that the Greek term for “truth,” alētheia, begins with the privative a- prefix, making the term negative (a-lētheia), Heidegger explores the possible senses of the root word lēthē and its relationship to the Greek notion of truth. One possible literal translation for alētheia is “non-forgetfulness,” a sense reinforced by Plato’s discussion of truth and forgetfulness in the “Myth of Er” segment of The Republic, where the River Lethe figures prominently as the cause of our forgetting the signs of truth we saw before being reborn into our current bodies. If we drink too much water while swimming across this River of Forgetfulness as we transit from the interlife plains of Er to this earthly existence, in this life we will experience a greater degree of forgetfulness of the nature of truth. But according to Heidegger, the more proper translation for capturing the original Greek sense of truth is “unconcealment” [der Unverborgenheit], where lēthē now suggests concealment and a-lētheia suggests truth as un-concealment.

In his lecture on Parmenides, Heidegger emphasizes that the “oppositional,” conflictual nature of the early Greek experience of truth. He explains that “unconcealedness is wrested from concealment” (Parmenides 17). This conflict, however, is not something that can be imagined as a struggle between humans and the barriers to truth but rather a condition internal to truth itself: “It is unclear who is struggling here and how those involved are struggling. It is important, however, to think for once this conflictual essence of truth, an essence which has been shining for 2,500 years in the faintest of all lights.” And this shining light of truth is further concealed for us in the west ever since the Roman translation of this struggle between unconcealedness and concealment into our “ordinary” opposition of “truth and falsity” (veritas et falsitas), a translation that extinguishes and flattens out the essential shining that for Heidegger is key to the early Greek notion of truth.

As I delve into the fruitful complications that Heidegger wishes for us to consider, I want to take a look at the implications of Heidegger’s description in Parmenides of these linguistic turns. For if we pay close attention to his approach to language and allow ourselves to be carried away in the movement he offers, we might find ourselves in a space of disclosure that offers us a way of imagining an alternative to our various current modern modes of imperial domination. Already above we have seen an example of Heidegger’s approach to truth (and to Being itself): “It is unclear who is struggling here and how those involved are struggling.” This lack of clarity is not the fuzzy-headedness of the subject who just needs to get his or her head clear. Truth is not subjective. But neither is it objective, for truth stands prior to the whole subject-object distinction that becomes the characteristic dualism of western thought since the Roman translation of the Greeks into Latin and the translation of concealment—the opposition inherent in unconcealedness—into falsehood. The struggle is one of truth, not for truth. Our job should not be to find truth but to let truth itself disclose itself before us.

Heidegger goes on to say the following concerning translation: “But if we translate ἀληθεία by ‘unconcealedness,’ and thereby transport ourselves into this word’s directives, then we are no longer constrained within linguistic significations but stand before an essential nexus that engages our thinking down to its very foundations” (P 26). Let’s look carefully at this expression. By translating ἀληθεία as “unconcealedness,” we “transport ourselves into this word’s directives.” Just as we are not seeking to track down truth and lay it bare in our subjective dominance, neither here are we pinning down the sense of the word but rather transporting ourselves into its own directives. Again, we are completely outside of the western subject-object duality. We open ourselves up to the opening up of the being of the word; we let it do its work on and for us. “In this way, Heidegger continues, “we hope to experience something of the primordial essence of truth in Greek thought.” We do not determine truth; we experience it—primordially. And we do so under the name of the goddess Áληθεία. We will have more to say about her later.

The Imperial Roots of Falsity

For Heidegger, key to understanding the inescapable connections between truth and domination in the modern age is the Roman translation of truth’s opposite as falsum. “The stem of the Latin word falsum (fallo)” he explains, “is ‘fall’ and is related to the Greek σφάλλω [sphallo], i.e., to overthrow, bring to a downfall, fell, make totter” (39). The power dynamics inherent in this falling become clearer in Heidegger’s elaboration: “The realm of essence decisive for the development of the Latin falsum is the one of the imperium and of the ‘imperial.’ We will take these words in their strict and original sense. Imperium means ‘command’” (40). And “command,” Heidegger continues, is the “basis of the essence of domination.” From out of this notion of command as domination comes the sense of domination as iustum (“ the ‘to-be-in-the-right’ and the ‘to have a right’”), a sense of justice very alien, Heidegger contends, to that of the Greeks. This dominating command involves a sense of superiority, a “constant surmounting of others, who are thereby the inferiors.” And in this surmounting lies the ability to oversee: “veni, vidi, vici—I came, I oversaw, and I conquered” (41). “The properly ‘great’ feature of the imperial,” then, “resides not in war but in the fallere of subterfuge as round-about action and in the pressing-into-service for domination . . . ; the falsum is treachery and deception, ‘the false.’” The imperial roots of the notion of falsity as the opposite of truth interject this scene of seeing-as-domination into the conquest of truth in general, wherein the Greek opposite of truth, not σφάλλωbut ψεῦδος (pseudos), gets lost in the shuffle of imperial conquest: “The Greek ψεῦδος, by being translated into the Latin falsum, is transported into the Roman-imperial domain of bringing to a downfall.”

What is decisive is that the Latinization occurs as a transformation of the essence of truth and Being within the essence of the Greco-Roman domain of history. This transformation is distinctive in that it remains concealed but nevertheless determines everything in advance. This transformation of the essence of truth and Being is the genuine event of history. The imperial as the mode of Being of a historical humanity is nevertheless not the basis of the essential transformation of ἀληθεία into veritas, as rectitudo, but is its consequence, and as this consequence it is in turn a possible cause and occasion for the development of the true in the sense of the correct. (42)

Despite all appearances, in other words, it is not because the Romans were imperialists that they sought a dominating definition of truth but the reverse; their dominating sense of truth became the essential ground for their approach to everything else—not simply the imposition of imperial political domination the imperial domination over all relationships: “the basic comportment of the Romans toward beings in general is governed by the rule of the imperium” (44). Through an evolutionary chain of term shifts such as adaequatio, ratio, rationalis, rectitudo, veritas, certum—prepared in advance by Plato and Aristotle’s association of ἀληθεία with ὁμοίωσις (homoiōsis or similitude, resemblance), the “entire thinking of the Occident from Plato to Nietzsche thinks in terms of this delimitation of the essence of truth as correctness. This delimitation of the essence of truth is the metaphysical concept of truth; more precisely, metaphysics receives its essence from the essence of truth thus determined” (50). And from out of this chain comes the metaphysical adherence to the notion of truth as representation. Representation (Vorstellung) becomes the mode of imperial conquest extended into all conceptual relationships between subjects and objects in the west.

QUOTATIONS

That into which the work sets itself back and which it causes to come forth in this setting back of itself we called the earth. Earth is that which comes forth and shelters. Earth, self-dependent, is effortless and untiring. Upon the earth and in it, historical man grounds his dwelling in the world. In setting up a world, the work sets forth the earth. This setting forth must be thought here in the strict sense of the word. The work moves the earth itself into the Open of a world and keeps it there. The work lets the earth be an earth. (46)

 

Ein Bauwerk, ein griechischer Tempel, bildet nichts ab. Er steht einfach da inmitten des zerklüfteten Felsentales. Das Bauwerk umschließt die Gestalt des Gottes und läßt sie in dieser Verbergung durch die offene Säulenhalle hinausstehen in
den heiligen Bezirk. Durch den Tempel west der Gott im Tempel an. Dieses Anwesen des Gottes ist in sich die Ausbreitung
und Ausgrenzung des Bezirkes als eines heiligen. Der Tempel
und sein Bezirk verschweben aber nicht in das Unbestimmte.
Das Tempelwerk fügt erst und sammelt zugleich die Einheit jener Bahnen und Bezüge um sich, in denen Geburt und Tod, Unheil und Segen, Sieg und Schmach, Ausharren und Verfall – dem Menschenwesen die Gestalt seines Geschickes gewinnen. Die waltende Weite dieser offenen Bezüge ist die Welt dieses geschichtlichen Volkes. Aus ihr und in ihr kommt es erst auf sich selbst zum Vollbringen seiner Bestimmung zurück.

Dastehend ruht das Bauwerk auf dem Felsgrund. Dies Aufruhen des Werkes holt aus dem Fels das Dunkle seines ungefügen und doch zu nichts gedrängten Tragens heraus. Dastehend hält das Bauwerk dem über es wegrasenden Sturm stand und zeigt so erst den Sturm selbst in seiner Gewalt. Der Glanz und das Leuchten des Gesteins, anscheinend selbst nur von Gnaden der Sonne, bringt doch erst das Lichte des Tages, die Weite des Himmels, die Finsternis der Nacht zum Vor- -schein. Das sichere Ragen macht den unsichtbaren Raum der Luft sichtbar. Das Unerschütterte des Werkes steht ab gegen das Wogen der Meerflut und läßt aus seiner Ruhe deren Toben erscheinen. Der Baum und das Gras, der Adler und der Stier, die Schlange und die Grille gehen erst in ihre abgehobene Gestalt ein und kommen so als das zum Vorschein, was sie sind. Dieses Herauskommen und Aufgehen selbst und im Ganzen nannten die Griechen frühzeitig die (I)”I1L~. Sie lichtet zugleich jenes, worauf und worin der Mensch sein Wohnen gründet. Wir nennen es die Erde. Von dem, was das Wort hier sagt, ist sowohl die Vorstellung einer abgelagerten Stoffmasse als auch die nur astronomische eines Planeten fernzuhalten. Die Erde ist das, wohin das Aufgehen alles Aufgehende und zwar als ein solches zurückbirgt. Im Aufgehenden west die Erde als das Bergende.

 

PASSAGES FROM “THE THING”

179

This appropriating mirror-play of the simple onefold of earth and sky, divinities and mortals, we call the world. The world presences by worlding. That means: the world’s worlding cannot be explained by anything else nor can it be fathomed [180] through any- thing else. This impossibility does not lie in the inability of our human thinking to explain and fathom in this way. Rather, the inexplicable and unfathomable character of the world’s worlding lies in this, that causes and grounds remain unsuitable for the world’s worlding. As soon as human cognition here calls for an explanation, it fails to transcend the world’s nature, and falls short of it. The human will to explain just does not reach to the simple- ness of the simple onefold of worlding. The united four are already strangled in their essential nature when we think of them only as separate realities, which are to be grounded in and explained by one another.

The unity of the fourfold is the fouring. But the fouring does not come about in such a way that it encompasses the four and only afterward is added to them as that compass. Nor does the fouring exhaust itself in this, that the four, once they are there, stand side by side singly.

The fouring, the unity of the four, presences as the appropriating mirror-play of the betrothed, each to the other in simple oneness. The fouring presences as the worlding of world. The mirror-play of world is the round dance of appropriating. Therefore, the round dance does not encompass the four like a hoop. The round dance is the ring that joins while it plays as mirroring. Appropriating, it lightens the four into the radiance of their simple oneness. Radiantly, the ring joins the four, everywhere open to the riddle of their presence. The gathered presence of the mirror-play of the world, joining in this way, is the ringing. In the ringing of the mirror-playing ring, the four nestle into their unifying presence, in which each one retains its own nature. So nestling, they join together, worlding, the world.

181 When and in what way do things appear as things? They do not appear by means of human making. But neither do they appear without the vigilance of mortals. The first step toward such vigilance is the step back from the thinking that merely represents—that is, explains—to the thinking that responds and recalls.

The step back from the one thinking to the other is no mere shift of attitude. It can never be any such thing for this reason alone: that all attitudes, including the ways in which they shift, remain committed to the precincts of representational thinking. The step back does, indeed, depart from the sphere of mere attitudes. The step back takes up its residence in a co-responding which, appealed to in the world’s being by the world’s being, answers within itself to that appeal. A mere shift of attitude is powerless to bring about the advent of the thing as thing, just as nothing that stands today as an object in the distanceless can ever be simply switched over into a thing. Nor do things as things ever come about if we merely avoid objects and recollect former objects which perhaps were once on the way to becoming things and even to actually presenting as things.

stellen = to position, to set, to place (something)

aufstellen = to set up

ausstellen = to exhibit, to display, to expose

bereitstellen = to provide, to allocate

entgegenstellen = to counterpose, to set against, to oppose

erstellen = to build; to draw up

darstellen = to represent, to depict, to portray

feststellen = to determine, to establish, to fix

Fragestellung (noun) = questioning, interrogation

herstellen = to produce, to make, to prepare, to establish

Sammelvorstellung (noun) = accumulative representation

verstellen = to shift, to block, to misplace

vorstellen = to represent (in an image or an idea), to picture (in one’s mind)

wegstellen = to put away

zurückstellen = to defer, to reserve, to put or set back

Zwischenstellung (noun) = intermediate position

 

 

Wir bedenken zunachst den Namen der Gottin ‘AA~~EdLaus, heißt die Unverborgenheit. Sicherlich wissen wir dadurch, daß wir zur Kenntnis nehmen, die sprachliche Bezeichnung fur >>Wahrheit<lacute im Griechischen >>&hfi8~ian<och, nichts vom Wesen der Wahrheit, so wenig wir uber das Pferd belehrt wer- den durch die Angabe des lateinischen >>equusccA. ber wenn wir M46~1adurch >>Unverborgenheitccubersetzen und dabei iibersetzen in die Weisungen dieses Wortes, d a m halten wir nicht mehr bei einer sprachlichen Bezeichnung, sondenl stehen vor einem Wesenszusammenhang, der unser Denken von Grund aus in Anspruch nimmt. Wir gehen den vier Weisungen nach, die uns der Name ‘Ahfi8~~inader Obersetzung >>Un- verborgenheitcc gibt. Wir erfahren so einiges uber das grie- chisch gedachte anfangliche Wesen der Wahrheit.

Zum ersten verweist die Un-verborgenheit auf Verborgenheit. Verbergung also durchwaltet das anfangliche Wesen der Wahrheit.

Zum anderen verweist die Un-verborgenheit darauf, daß sie der Verborgenheit abgerungen und mit ihr im Streit ist. Das anfangliche Wesen der Wahrheit ist streithaft. Zu fragen bleibt, was hier >>Streit<be<sagt.

Zum dritten verweist die Un-verborgenheit gemaD den vor- genannten Bestimmungen in einen Bereich von >>Gegensat- zencc, in denen >>dieWahrheitcc steht. Weil von ‘dem >>gegen- satzlichencc Wesen der Unverborgenheit aus ihr streithaftes Wesen zunachst sichtbar wird, mussen wir die Frage nach dern >>Gegensatz<ci,n dern die Wahrheit steht, eingehender bedenken. Im abendlandischen Denken wird als einziger Gegensatz zur Wahrheit die Unwahrheit in Rechnung gestellt. Die>>Unwahrheitccistgleichgesetztder>>Falschheitccd,ie,als Unrichtigkeit verstanden, das einleuchtende und aufdringliche Gegenteil zur >>Richtigkeitccbildet. Der vorwaltende

 

Kachina Visions and the Expansion of Cultural Identity

This essay of mine just came out in the latest issue of Journal of Contemporary Shamanism! Here’s a PDF copy.

hartley_kachina_visions

coverThis essay compiles several of the experiences I have recounted here in these blog pages concerning my experiences with the Kachinas who visit with me and instruct me.

Enjoy!

Gabriel

 

 

We Are the Blue Star Kachina: The Blue Kachina Speaks About Messianism

August 29, 2014

portalOne of the very important things I am learning from the Blue Kachina right now is that humanity is uniquely positioned today to achieve our greatest fulfillment of self if we so choose. What this means, moreover, is that fulfillment can and even must come from ourselves. In other words, this is not a time for us to be waiting for some Messianic force to drop from the skies and save us from our sins and sufferings. We ourselves are the key to our own fulfillment as human beings. Only through our own choices and actions may we fully develop our inner Heart capacities that will best express our inner potential, our Highest Being. This is not a time for Messiahs, in other words, unless by Messiah we mean our inner selves—each of us seeking our full flowering into the greatest expression of our inner beauty and capabilities as we seek higher union with all beings on our planet and throughout the cosmos.

blue sunPerhaps most ironically or perplexingly is the fact that we must not seek a new Messiah in the coming of the Blue Kachina. The Blue Kachina has suggested that, beginning with the closing pages of Frank Waters’s Book of the Hopi, the general depiction of the Blue Star Kachina Prophecy has tended to be interpreted through the Western Messiah paradigm based on the Second-Coming-of-Christ motif. For a people acculturated in stories from the Bible that inform our very sense of human history and destiny, any new story of seeming salvation from a being from the stars will almost automatically be read as a new version of the post-apocalyptic End of the World presumably predicted in the Book of Revelations.

Even when the likelihood of the mistranslation of the Greek scriptures is taken into account and we recognize that what Jesus actually talked about was the End of the Aeon, the End of an Age, and not some ultimate End of the World, we today in the West are still prone to read these epochal shifts as being led by some great archetypal Messianic figure who will serve as the individual representative of humanity as a whole. Whether we are talking about final ends or epochal transitions, we still tend to see such large super-historical events as the result of some heroic figure leading us out of our own darkness and despair.

The point that the Blue Kachina is stressing is that each person individually, and ultimately humanity as a whole, must seek our own inner fulfillment. What is meant here by fulfillment is that each of us, as the depositories of aeons of soul experience and karmic transmission, comes into this world with inner potentials waiting for their development. It is up to each of us to find how we might foster the best development of our own soul potentials under whatever circumstances we find ourselves in—circumstances that might in fact be of our own choosing before entering this life specifically as the challenge in the face of which we might best meet our fullest capacities.

While there is indeed an entity who goes by the name of the Blue Kachina and who provides knowledge and guidance, the Prophecy of the Blue Star Kachina might better be understood as a prescription for self-development under the guiding principles and energetic harmonics of the Blue Kachina, as well as many other beings devoted to human and planetary fulfillment. In a sense we can see ourselves collectively as the Blue Star Kachina of the Hopi Prophecy as described by Waters once we begin to seek those qualities within ourselves that best fulfill our own Blue Star nature. By Blue Star nature I am led to understand that potential within each of us to achieve our highest possible inner evolution in accordance with the principles of cosmic harmony being presented by the Blue Kachina, the Hathors, and many other beings with similar missions.

To better explain how we ourselves could be the Blue Star Kachina in this sense, let me speak to some similar circumstances of what could be called group fulfillment of individual identity. My first example comes from an experience I had in the early 1990s while I was an English professor at Ohio State University. One day around noon as I was walking along High Street in order to get lunch at one of the little restaurants right off campus I was approached by a group of young men holding out something for me to take. My immediate assumption was that they were handing me a flier of some sort. But to my surprise and confusion, what they actually handed me was a miniature menorah along with instructions for proper use of it.

Later that day I asked a Jewish friend and colleague of mine what the purpose of such a gift might be, and her answer was that these young men were young Jews hoping to hasten the coming of the Messiah. She described them as fundamentalists, literalists who were seeking to enact a popular Jewish saying that states, “On the day that all Jews light the menorah, the Messiah will come.” These young men were hoping to encourage all Jews they met to light their own menorahs with the hope that eventually on one particular day all Jews would do so. On that day, then, the Messiah would come.

2olivtreesMy friend went on to explain that for more liberally-minded Reform Jews, not so given to such literal interpretations of scriptures and sayings, the saying “On the day that all Jews light the menorah, the Messiah will come” can better be understood figuratively and collectively. What this means is that on that miraculous day on which all Jews actually fulfill their spiritual path and light their menorahs—each and every one of them—the Messiah will have come in and as that very act. In other words, this collective act of obedience and devotion would not usher in the arrival of a being who as an individual would be the Messiah. Instead this very collective act itself—the collective devotional act of all Jews in unison—would itself be the Messiah! The Messiah, then, is not to be thought of as an individual savior who will come to rescue everyone but rather everyone together when they act in unity of purpose. That moment of unity of devotional purpose is the very condition that the Messiah as individual would have ushered in. In this case, the united collectivity of Jews themselves enters into this higher state of being and thereby creates on the spot their own salvation.

My frequent meditations on the mechanics of this collective fulfillment of symbolic individuality in time led me in a moment of inspiration to recognize an analogous situation in terms of Christianity. (I was in fact attempting to make a point to my students at Ohio University about Martin Heidegger’s own meditations on the function of the Temple-space within the ancient Greek temple, which further illustrates the universality of this logic of collective substantiation of Messianic identity—although he would never have used those exact terms.) I found myself for some unknown reason quoting the statement of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew in which he says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” I explained this in the same terms as the menorah example, namely, that on a literalist level we might imagine two or three people gathering together in Jesus’s name and then his sudden miraculous appearance to them there. But if we follow the performative logic of the Reform Jews’ understanding of the menorah lighting and the Messiah, what Jesus is saying is that it is the coming together in my name that is itself the manifestation of Christ being. Christ here is the result of an action that comes to characterize that action itself.

El_Evangelio_de_Tomás-Gospel_of_Thomas-_Codex_II_Manuscritos_de_Nag_Hammadi-The_Nag_Hammadi_manuscriptsAnother lesser-known example from the Christian texts is in the Gospel of Thomas, saying 77, in which Jesus says, “It is I who am the light (that presides) over all. It is I who am the All: it is from me that the All has come, and to me that the All goes. Split a piece of wood: I am there. Lift a stone, and you (plural you) will find me there.” Jesus here is the particular manifestation of the All, the One whose indeterminate universality is mediated and particularized by Jesus. But again it is important not to simply read this on its most literal level, wherein Jesus claims to be the All and that therefore all (including sticks and stones) find themselves in Him and Him in themselves. The performative logic we have examined before suggests rather that it is in the splitting of the wood and in the lifting of the stone that Jesus can be found—not as a material or spiritual constituent of the stick or stone but as that communal spiritual nature that becomes manifested in plural actions guided by spiritual intention. In other words, when we lift a stone, our act of lifting makes us like Christ, for in this act we recognize before we even begin that the All is in all. Our act of splitting makes us like Christ, again because such actions are carried out in the foreknowledge of the divine unity of all existence. These acts are devotional acknowledgements of this knowledge and ritual re-enactments of the moment of Creation itself. We find the Christ Being in our devotional actions, not in some external entity who blesses us for performing those actions. We are Christ when we consciously and ceremonially perform such actions of re-creation.

Just so, we are the Blue Kachina when we consciously engage in the ceremonial creation of the conditions of global transformation that would bring about the coming of the Blue Star Kachina and the shift from the Fourth World to the Fifth. For what characterizes the condition of a humanity who has evolved enough to enter into the Fifth World is exactly the activities we must at this moment carry out to ensure such a transformation. Like the Jewish Messiah which we are on the day that every Jew lights the menorah; like the Christ Being which we are each time we gather together in his name to split wood and lift stones; so are we the Blue Star Kachina when we seek to align ourselves to the vibrational register that best synchronizes with the shift of the Planetary Being from one World to the next.

So to return to the comments made by the Blue Kachina: The fulfillment of the Prophecy of the Blue Star Kachina lies not in our waiting for his appearance as he dances in the plaza but in our own dancing as the Blue Star Kachina. We are the savior we have been waiting for. What this also means is that the “we” spoken of here must be seen as a global, universal we. This is not the time for the non-Hopi seekers of the Blue Star Kachina to imagine that one particular tribal entity might function as our universal saviors. Such cultural fetishism leaves us bound to the idolatry of literalism that underlies all fundamentalist expressions of divine being. When we have properly prepared ourselves for our assigned task as a united humanity, then one day we will very likely see the Blue Star Kachina’s appearance as the manifestation of our own collective intention and loving communion with all beings dancing on this planet.

eartheye

Smoky Mirror Vision

March 30, 2014

Yesterday, just as the day before, the Kachinas gave me more information concerning the Smoky Mirror, as they call it. What they are referring to—at least in terms of my own experience—is the smoky mist that fills the landscape when I enter into the Etheric mode of vision. Whenever a spirit guide asks me to go into my Etheric vision, my field of vision fills with this smoky mist.

mistThe first time I was conscious of this phenomenon was in December 2010 just before New Year’s Eve. I had just returned to Athens from Christmas in Kansas and, more significantly, my first trip to Crestone, Colorado. Given the life-altering impact of that Crestone experience (which I will describe elsewhere), I was still pretty high in the multidimensional plane when I returned with my family to Athens. I was guided to go immediately to Stroud’s Run, despite the fact that it would soon be turning dark so late in the Winter afternoon.

When I arrived at Stroud’s Run I immediately heard an owl calling and was asked to go to the owl. When I arrived at the spot where the owl had been calling from it was now completely dark. But I knew I had been called there for a reason, so I stayed and began tuning in to the earth spirit energy, despite the fact that I had felt the presence of disturbing spirits on my hike to this lakeside spot. I was years later to realize that this “disturbing” spirit energy was actually the energetic signature of Elf presence, but I could only interpret such energy at this time as ghostly and spooky. In any case, as I tuned in to the earth spirit energy, the air surrounding me and the hill I was facing began to fill with a smoky light. The air was literally glowing in the darkness as I felt myself drawn more deeply into the landscape. I was told that I was facing a Fairy Portal and that this was an initiation of sorts.

The important point here is that this same smoky glow in the atmosphere has now become the clarifying element of my visual experience as I enter into the Etheric mode of seeing. This is true whether it is a bright sunny day or the middle of the dark night. Now the Kachinas told me that this glowing mist is what the ancient Mesoamericans referred to as the Smoky Mirror. I took this information in during the first mention of it two days ago but did not in any way understand what this might mean. How, after all, could smoke-filled air be compared to a mirror? If this experience is in some way a mirror, where is my own reflection? Not knowing the answer, I nevertheless continued in this misty atmosphere for the next hour or so as I wandered from one sacred spot to another in our forest, engaging with the attendant spirits of each location as I saw them materialize in the mist.

I was led through exactly the same itinerary yesterday, beginning with the Third Portal (whose attendant spirits are the Kachinas themselves) to the Mother Tree in the Elf Circle to the Sacred Mound and finally on to the Sacred Well. The attendant spirits of the Sacred Well are, not surprisingly, Water Fairies, and these Fairies, accompanied by the Kachinas, led me each day through a deep and elaborate meditation on my developing understanding of and work with the water energy systems of the planet.

smokyDuring yesterday’s water system meditation-grounding, the Kachinas again told me that I was enveloped in the Smoky Mirror. Confused as ever, I asked them then how this experience could be called a mirror when what I saw was a thick luminescence but nothing resembling my own reflection in that scene before me. The Kachinas said, “What you see is the world as reflected in a dimension that is the effect of your own reflecting power.” This did not help me much in getting their point, so they continued by explaining, “What you see is from the perspective of your own eyes. Your eyes themselves are the plane of the mirror. You are seeing from the other side of the mirror. This, in other words, is the world seen from the other side of that reflective plane. You yourself are the reflective surface of the mirror.”

Suddenly everything made sense. My own eyes are the reflective glass of the mirror, and the shift that occurs in my visual field is the result of this shift into a reflective mode of vision. As I began to recognize the import of their words (and the energy accompanying the words themselves), I was reminded of the meditative slogan or mantra they had given me the day before: “Let the Earth’s Inner Sun shine through your heart.”

And now I see that this is, at least in part, the source of the illumination that fills the experiential space before me when I enter into the Etheric mode of seeing. The light of that Inner Sun shines out from my heart, and its reflecting rays illuminate the world before me. These rays fill the space before me with light and thus appear as the smoky mist that alters the visual medium in such a way that the spiritual dimension of the world before our eyes becomes perceptible. In this way I—and every other being entering into this sacred energetic exchange—function as the Blue Star Kachina, the reflective plane that allows for the shining of the Earth’s Inner Sun, the Blue Star, to shine in the world as a light of revelation. In this process, under the tutelage of the Kachinas, we ignite our own Kachina capacity.

blue sunWhat this suggests, by extension, is that the prophecy of the coming Blue Star Kachina, like that of the Second Coming of Christ, does not refer to the coming of a single individual identified as the Blue Star Kachina or the returned Christ. What it refers to instead is the fact that once we as a collective agency enter into our own Kachina or Christ being, we then are the Blue Star Kachina Christ that shines as the manifestation of this elevation of our collective spirit.

Kachina Christ Vision

August 21, 2013

By Gabriel Hartley

After a couple days of amazing visionary experiences on our Southwestern trip through Colorado and New Mexico, Anna and I left Santa Fe this morning for Taos via the High Road through Chimayó. I had been told that a trip to Chimayó would be important, but I had no idea what the nature of the experience might be. I was expecting to get a clearer sense of the energetic geography of the canyon (which I did) and perhaps a clearer sense of the Kachina message to us at this point in our development (which also happened). What I did not in any way expect was a vision concerning the Kachina nature of the Christ.

As we descended into the Chimayó canyon from the first stretch of the Taos High Road, we could each feel the growing energy that saturates this little canyon river valley and its surrounding hills. In a message from the Kachinas that I had received during the night, I learned that we should first go to the little stream at the Santuario, Potrero Ditch (not a very compelling name for such a beautiful stream). I was told that yesterday at Chaco Canyon we had experienced the elements of earth, sky, and air (winds), and that this morning we should open ourselves up to the element of water and the river gods. So we parked beside the stream and walked down into the river bed.

Chimayó Coyote

Chimayó Coyote

After just a few moments of our getting acquainted with the spirit of the stream, Anna said, “Look! A coyote!” And true enough, about a hundred yards from us there was a small, young coyote in the cow pasture on the other side of the stream. Being so young, it looked quite a bit like a kit fox. It looked up at us out of curiosity and then got back to its play in the field, occasionally pouncing on small animals or insects in the grass. We watched it for about five minutes before it finally disappeared from site as it wandered off towards the hills.

We then wandered slowly and meditatively towards the Santuario. As we got closer I began to sense an overwhelming grief coming over me. (Chaco Grief) I had felt this in the past, of course, but always took this to be in response to the deaths of Dylan and Jesse. But this time the grief felt very anonymous, unattached to me, as if it were part of the Astral Plane of the site. In fact, as I write these words I am more convinced of this. The whole complex contains a store of unprocessed grief going back to early indigenous times long before the arrival of the Spanish and the ensuing conquest. But the majority of the grief comes, of course, from the function of the site as a place for hope and healing. There is evidence of its healing effects, but there is just as much evidence of the many prayers that appear to have gone unanswered. This is especially true in the Santo Niño Chapel.

Santuario de Chimayó

Santuario de Chimayó

Anna and I entered the Holy Dirt Shrine and spent a few moments tuning in to the healing spirit of the place. I picked up some sand and rubbed it into my palms. While this felt comforting on some level and we could feel the energy, but I was a little disappointed that I had not received another powerful message from the powers of the Shrine. A few people starting crowding around us, so we walked back outside and entered the Chapel from the front door.

The mass goers were saying Hail Marys, the Lord’s Prayer, and singing songs in Spanish and English. Still moved by the site’s sorrow-effect, Anna and I sat in a kind of moving emotional swirl while the chanters spoke and sang. The chapel is a stunning example of 18th-Century northern New Mexico Spanish architecture and artwork. The wooden retablos on the walls are done in that primitive angular, moving style that exaggerates the emotional or astral dimension of spiritual experience. Images of Jesus were circled by smaller depictions of saints and angels.

I felt myself going multidimensional and then realized that I was being addressed by the Kachinas again. They told me that they were going to elaborate on the lesson they shared with Anna and me the day before in the Dark Room at Pueblo Bonito. That lesson focused on the consciousness of the role and dynamics of the Holy Wind of existence. This spiral wind enjoys the status of primary energetic focus in the kivas.

Kachina Christ

Kachina Christ

The Kachinas continued the new lesson at Chimayó, explaining that the images of Christ behind the altar also functioned as a pictorial embodiment of this Holy Wind. “How is that?” I asked, and they said, “Look at his wounds.” As I did so, I began to see long beams of bright light shooting from each of Christ’s wounds, first from the abdomen, then the right hand, then the left hand, the feet together, and finally the ring of head wounds caused by the crown of thorns. I suddenly felt myself captured by and sucked into the light streaming from the right hand wound. My entire energy body was itself lit up and energized as I was slowly drawn closer and closer to the wound opening out from the flesh of the hand. I was then suddenly sucked right through the wound and out into another dimension on the other side of Christ’s hand.

I had passed through the wound and into another level of existence. This dimension opened out onto a landscape of light, with rich orange-yellow glows as the atmospheric medium. I then saw a spiral of bright white light—the same light that I had seen shooting from the wounds—as it wound itself around and around Christ’s body, which I saw as if I were standing just slightly behind his right arm, facing the backward direction, a point from which I could see Christ’s ribs curve round to his back. The light spiral formed the same spiral image that has so caught my attention in Ireland and in the U.S. Southwestern indigenous sacred sites. I could see that in this dimension the light curved from one hand wound into the other, forming a ring of light around Christ’s body (and my own, now that I was standing at his side), whereas in our normal everyday dimension the light shoots out in straight lines.

I was told that this spiraling energy was the primary energetic nature of the Kachina Christ. At this point, I believe, I then saw the rays of light that were streaming from his head wounds forming rays of traditional images of the sun. These rays formed the solar disk that is represented in so much sacred art, the halo circling Christ’s head as an image of the sun’s brilliance. This then became a three-dimensional sphere of intertwining rays, with Christ’ head (and my body) encircled within the light sphere. Christ then began flying through the skies with me still wound up in his light rays. I felt the most beautiful, intensely moving warmth shooting through my body and I realized that in the everyday dimension, where I was still sitting in the Santuario Chapel, I was crying, tears streaming down my face as I sat looking at the Christ image in utter ecstasy.

Gabriel Retablo

Gabriel Retablo

I was then asked to look at the figure at the top of the retablo on the right hand side of the Chapel (the wooden board display sitting at the left of the congregation as they face the altar), and I saw a beautiful primitive image of an angel kneeling over a stream of water. The Kachinas then told me that this was the Angel Gabriel as he had appeared to the indigenous peoples many centuries ago. He was now floating above the stream that flows along the edge of the Santuario complex, the coyote stream that Anna and I had been asked to visit when we first arrived. I was told that this Gabriel represented we had had here in previous lives as we had earlier engaged with the Kachina and other spirits of the high desert and mountains of this region. I melted into the image of Gabriel, overcome in gratitude at being afforded the opportunity to have such a vision of unity with the spiraling energies of the cosmos.

The Stigmata of St. Francis in Rancho de Taos

After lunch at Rancho de Chimayó, Anna and I continued along the High Road to Taos. As we dropped down from the mountains, vibrating in utter ecstasy, into Rancho de Taos, we decided to go see the famous San Francisco de Asís Mission Church. My original intention was basically touristic—”Let’s go see this amazing famous church that was photographed by Ansel Adams!” When we got there we decided to take a look inside.

Unexpectedly, I found myself swept away in multidimensional fervor yet again as I saw the retablos of Christ and the Saints and Angels. My Kachina Christ vision kicked back in gear as I was hearing a rehearsal of some of the themes from the original vision in Chimayó. I never could have imagined how surprised we would be, though, when we turned around and started walking back outside. We saw painted above the door a mural of the stigmatization of St. Francis. It turned out that his vision was almost identical to mine! There was the flying Christ with beams shooting from his wounds, but in this case the beams were broadcasting the blood rather than the light of Christ. Each blood ray penetrated the hands, feet, etc., of St. Francis as he fell to his knees in awe. I had never seen this image before in my life, and now in less than three hours I had my own vision in Chimayó and then its stigmatic repetition here in Rancho de Taos. I started crying on the spot, this being about the fourth or fifth time for the day.

The Stigmata of St. Francis

The Stigmata of St. Francis

Channeling the Kachinas: The Significance of this Kachina Christ Vision

Gabriel, we will review with you the significance of this visionary experience, its larger meaning in terms of your own travels and development, and its larger meaning in human and extra-human terms. And this last phrase is the key: We are deliberately leading you beyond the point of cultural differentiations and towards a point of human unification. Beyond this, we are leading even beyond the limits of the current notions of the human being itself. And our key for this is the Spiral.

As with the Sídhe spirits that you have been encountering and working with, we also find the image of the Spiral to be a powerful talisman and learning key for human consciousness. This symbol captures on many levels at once the multilayered and multidimensional levels of existence. And if we add to this image the experience and concept of the Sacred Wind, then we can provide you with a tool for stringing out the infinite layers of existence for cognitive understanding and experiential knowledge.

Kachina Sun

Kachina Sun

We distinguish between understanding and experiential knowledge for important reasons. It is one thing to have a conceptual grasp of the rules and techniques of a basketball game, for example, and quite another to know through experience how to play basketball. Only through the bodily weaving in and out of the other players’ bodies, the bodily engagement with the dimensions of the court and the movement and spinning properties of the ball, the placement and centering principles of the basket, the lineaments of the body and its relationship to cognition beyond cognition—the ability to know when and how to curve to the left at just the precise moment and angle without having to speak such instructions to oneself—all of these things move us beyond the simple notion of cognition and conceptualization as a simply mental activity. Cognition is an integral part of the sacred movement of Life. Cognition takes place beyond the verbal intellectual realm. And this also proves the difficulty of explaining the nature and significance of the experiences you are undergoing currently. They are not just beyond language; they are beyond the current notions of the limits and functions of language. Language, in fact, is far greater than humans currently assume, even—or maybe even especially—for those who make their living at analyzing linguistic activity. We are showing you the realms of consciousness that exceed what humans currently imagine as their own cognitive limits, their essential boundaries.

What we are asking you to do is ultimately to communicate to others just this notion of spiritual experience as surpassing all specific cultural definitions and boundaries. What we are aiming at is the awareness among humans that everything they can imagine is far larger than what they currently do imagine. By some indigenous peoples of this region, we, for example, are referred to generally as Kachinas. Yet even the common nonindigenous understandings of the notion of Kachina are far too limited and expanded simultaneously. In other words, we are at once more varied in terms of our nature as group entities than most people imagine—there is no single entity that is Kachina per se. And yet we are more universal to the extent that many other cultures have encountered us, but in very different terms. Each culture has its own way of imagining and representing what and who we are for them. And one key example of this is the Kachina Christ.

The primary point of your visionary experience in Chimayó was the recognition that Christ goes far beyond “Christ.” In other words, the spiritual experience referred to as Christ by most Christians and non-Christians alike is identical in potential to certain Kachina experiences. Your experience of the Christ yesterday was of the Christ in its Kachina aspect. Your experience was profoundly shamanic, as that term is today understood among westerners. You were led by spirit guides (us Kachinas) on a journey of initiation through the portal of Christ’s wounds to the dimension beyond ordinary experience and understanding where you were given certain truths that you then brought back with you to share with the multitude of humans and other entities with whom you constantly engage. This truth in general concerns the universally potential experience of the spiral energies of the Sacred Winds and Lights, energies that in a fractal way manifest themselves on many layers and in many dimensions simultaneously. As we said at Pueblo Bonito, As Above, So Below; As Within, So Without. The human head is itself the kiva chamber through which the Sacred Winds bring forth the experience called Kachina, the experience called Christ when the Christ experience is fully understood in its depths—beyond “Christianity.” Christ exceeds Christianity; the Kachina exceeds indigenous expressions of it. These culturally-specific experiences weave in and out of themselves and each other, forming an intricate web of human and extra-human relationships. This is the whole point of the Sacred Wind Kachina experience: To engage the infinite Web of Existence in its universal immediacy.

This truth was also behind Anna’s comments regarding the manifestations of sorrow at Chimayó: each person, each group, each culture has its own particular way of framing and representing the nature and significance of grief. We each create our own expressions and embodiments of grief and trauma. Yet humans rarely allow themselves to see beyond the immediate representations of grief to its larger implications. You were drawn through the wound of Christ into the infinite ecstatic joy of the light beyond all suffering, the light of joy that is the other side of suffering. We all suffer, and thereby we all are one. In this Oneness, we are all united. In this Unity we experience the joy of existence. We ourselves are the particular point where sorrow and joy become manifest and express themselves through the Infinite Universal Particularity of Existence.