The book I am currently reading is far too astonishing for me to paraphrase; I would do far better to encourage you to read it. For my own part, I know why I “chanced” upon it as it was a perfect dove-tail intersection with several of my preoccupations of the moment. The book is called “Awakening the Planetary Mind: Beyond the Trauma of the Past to a New Era of Creativity” by Barbara Hand Clow and I am still relishing every page.
So excited am I about this book that I’ve wanted to write about its effect on me for weeks but hardly knew how to get started without just paraphrasing it (which I wanted to avoid at all costs) and yet I felt I had so much to say. Then, this morning (for reasons that become apparent) I found this post almost ready to write itself from the place where the book intersects with my personal experiences; especially those that have been unfolding of late.
In this remarkable, thoroughly researched and documented, work Clow proposes (as science is now catching up with) that a major cataclysm happened to this planet…not such a long time ago as to be something we can barely relate to, such as when dinosaurs were around…but as recently as 11,500 years ago. In her view, again backed by an every deepening pool of scientific corroboration, the planet consisted of a highly evolved, technologically advance maritime civilization that enjoyed a remarkably modern way of life not that dissimilar to ours when this thing happened and that this harmonious civilization lasted for as long as 40,000 years! Just sit with that for a moment and see how it slots into what you know; not just at the intellectual level but in the depths of deeper knowing that we all have based on memories we still have access to through our DNA. “How does this affect me or my modern day-to-day world?” you may ask; but as Clow points out “Most people are not aware that the shadows they struggle with come from confusion caused by the false story of the past; people feel guilty about something they can’t even describe”. To heal this hidden trauma, just like any healing journey (exactly like mine as I have healed myself from chronic, inexplicable illness these last ten years) we need to bring it to the light of our conscious understanding or, at the very least, acknowledgment.
Of course, what happened wiped almost all hard evidence of such a world from the face of the earth, especially as these people tended to live along the coastlines of seas that rose hundreds of metres afterwards or were crushed into other landmasses as tectonic shifts were mobilised by the onslaught, dissolving layers of the crust and reformatting them in entirely new ways. However, new-generation scientific methods are now overcoming such limitations and those few remnants of such a world that we have, which are so incongruously “advanced” as to have been all-but disregarded for not “conveniently” slotting into the “orthodox” timeline of history, are suddenly locking into a vastly different picture that looks very different to the ignorant cave dwellers we have been taught to imagine during those times.Whilst I confess to having intuited such a reality for the longest time (which is why, I now realise, I had such a visceral reaction of being “on the wrong course” when I started on my history and archaeology degree – later switched to another subject because I almost couldn’t bear to sit through the deadly-dark lectures about how early cultures supposedly lived), I realise it was largely at the unspoken levels of myself until I read Clow’s book. A massive sense of relief seemed to ripple through me from the very first pages, like I had found solid ground at last and something that resonated with my inner truth.
As I’ve already said, no point paraphrasing except as far as necessary to set the context for this post…its a remarkably compelling read and I recommend that you do so for yourself if the topic interests you. Rather, here’s my take on what feels like my truth; a truth that I had already laid out like a rather hesitantly placed jigsaw beforehand and, now, suddenly find I am ready to slot together with a little more confidence and see how that feels to me. Its a very different landscape to the one we have been taught.
Here’s how I think things played out, an over-view of all I “know” from intuition, memory, personal experiences and the insightful help of Clow’s book. A major cataclysm took place around 9,500BC and it not only altered the world “as we knew it” beyond all recognition but it tilted the axis of the earth, causing the variable seasons to occur that were not a feature of earth before that time. This – above all other nuggets of information that Clow handed me – settled into my deepest knowing with the most resonant “clunk” because seasons have been my “problem” for as long as I remember. As I’ve written about endlessly, the seasonal patterns have felt “off” and, at some level, unfamiliar to me…increasingly so the more I wake up to all the layers of who I am rather than being something I have ever managed to get used to. They trigger massive variables in my health and their effect seems to have very little to do with extremes of temperature, levels of daylight or even associated emotions around times of the year (although, like iron filings on a magnet, these associations have inevitably attached themselves to what I “feel” around the altering seasons, which runs at a much deeper level of my psyche). The deep dis-resonance around the stark seasonal variance that exists where I live has increasingly felt like something much more fundamental; so to learn that seasons were not an original feature of this planet tells me I have been tuning into (and so comparing) my current experiences with another time; one I have been, at some level, harking back to and longing to “return” to like some sort of Garden of Eden archetype. In our own unique ways (not always to do with season variance), perhaps we have all been playing out own own versions of such longing or the inherent confusion of not being able to find our way “back”.
The other detail that really caught my attention was Clow’s description of when the cataclysm took place (which I recommend reading; you may feel her words viscerally as I did, in which case they may act as a powerful tool to dislodge some of your most stuck memories…making for some extraordinary healing opportunities). She describes the skies turning increasingly electric and so-called “lurid monsters…that kept changing shape and colour” (a source-point for our legends of dragons, monsters and sea serpents) appearing to walk the earth and rising up out of the waters as the electrified atmosphere started to resemble what in my mind’s eye looked like one of those plasma balls. Had I just found a core reason for my super sensitivity (on the increase) to electricity; was this the fear-based core of physical symptoms that have been my newest and most alarming addition over the last year or so, making it a challenge for me to be around modern technology as, indeed, our own “skies” become more and more electrified?
Because what Clow is, in effect, talking about here is a mass case of post-traumatic stress disorder that we all share and which variable triggers in our environment (that is, anything that we have come to associate with “catastrophe” at the deepest levels) may well being “playing” inside of us like notes on a piano as these memories ask to be shown to the light of our consciousness so we can heal this planet as one. If we are alive, here and now, we are (at DNA level) survivors of this unthinkable cataclysm that took place in near-history (so, first off, congratulate yourself for that!) and yet it has remained completely suppressed by the orthodox version of history that we are taught and also by our own bodies, which have in effect volunteered to bury the information because it was just too painful to be seen. Such locked away trauma has a tendency to play out through our unconscious behaviour patterns and so-called irrational fears and, sooner or later…in order to heal…must see the light of day by being made conscious. So, as Clow suggests, are we currently reaching the point where we are remembering this event en masse and, to some extent, re-living the original trauma that has been bolted away inside us for so long; playing out a healing crisis that we see reported across all the front pages of our news sources (if you even feel inclined to read those any more, so distorted are they in the name of keeping us paralysed in an original fear that serves the purpose of keeping us chopped off at the knees).
Once we start to entertain the idea of this cataclysm 11,500 years ago, we may think that cataclysm was the greatest disaster that ever happened to us and yet there were more “waves” of disaster that followed as the earth recalibrated to what had been a seismic shift; quite literally moving mountains and continents before our eyes. One follow-up disaster (at the time), the one that has impacted our world above all things that spiralled out of the orignal cataclysm, was the separation that took place between male and female, left and right, rational and spiritual. This, as you know from previous posts, is my “big area of interest” and here was a logical reason for it happening that slipped hand in glove into what I already knew.
Before the big “C” these things worked together in harmony…relatively…although, according to Clow, the idea of goddess had become something separate, sacred yet not maintain in practical terms in one of the maritime cultures that pre-existed the cataclysm, namely Atlantis which, in her view, was likely located close the Antarctic (which would have looked very different at the time). In domestic and political life, women seem to have been playing second fiddle in Atlantis by the time the cataclysm was upon us and the Atlanteans, in response to changes in the weather systems as cosmic changes started to murmur about what was about to happen, felt the pressing need to expand into the northern hemisphere and so they took on their old friends the Athenians in an argument about territory, resulting in a war that had just got started when the cataclysm happened. Inevitably, some of the survivors probably thought the cataclysm happened expressly because the harmonious balance had been tipped…and so began the messy business of blaming one faction or another for something that was out of their hands.
That’s the end of my paraphrasing and this is now my take on things (though it slots seamlessly with all that I am still reading in Clow’s book). Afterwards, in the unbelievably long, hard slog to survive, some remnants of the previous culture remained and I feel that I know that the sacred feminine (and I don’t just mean as embodied by women) was included, at least more so than in our times, in very real terms within day-to-day life. The qualities I refer to are the gifts of intuition and psychic ability, direct connection with our divine aspect, equal use of inspiration and other forms of direct knowing alongside rational thought, a highly valued engagement in the arts and all things spiritual, the kind of connection to the earth that understands Gaia to be a living entity not just a spinning rock that we exploit for our own ends, a fundamental belief in abundance as the natural state of things and, of course, love and compassion as the driving force of our behaviours.
In those early years, the “higher aspect”…god if you like… was still called upon for collaboration in earthly matters (not for forgiveness…) and we used what we knew at both the earthly and spiritual levels together to try and forge a new world out of very different circumstances. It was harder than we can possibly imagine in our minds, though our DNA knows all about it, we still play videos of it as our deepest darkest fears under the surface of life. But somehow we started to regroup and one of the areas that this happened in a very concerted way, I believe, was along the Atlantic seaboard of France(Brittany) and into the West country of England and Wales, all of which were still part of a connected landmass at the time.
Amongst those who settled there were individuals who had enough grasp of the pre-cataclysm technology for some of this to be used again to rebuild what was left of the world that now had seasons; a phenomenon with which we had as yet to familiarise ourselves. There was a culture kept alive, at first at least, of knowing that we needed to realign ourselves with the stars as we were accustomed to doing and so times of the year that we could relate to the most became the significant events of the our calendar; the equinoxes in particular, when stone markers (standing stones etc) were used to remind us of our own relationship with the star systems and to assist us to align with them appropriately at the most powerful times as we had been able to do more consistently in engagement with the “fixed” skies before the axis tilted. Using the celestial skies, we were desperately trying to find our way “back”.
This technology was at the forefront in certain key places across the planet and certainly in the place known to many as Albion, which is my core realm of interest, technology was used to work with these new seasons, as seen in the few remnants we have (these are just the tip of the iceberg) at Avebury and Stonehenge. Goddess culture still thrived and was considered inseparable from our concept of our marriage to the land, a grasp of the importance of the unstifled energetic flow of the rivers and of nurturing the kind of fecundity that led to the abundant crops that helped us over-ride the challenges of the seasons. Importantly in those first few years, it it was still understood that to separate from her would be to put all these things at risk.
In these ways, the female aspect, the intuitive “spiritual” aspect, was utilised and this continued for maybe three or four thousand years. But then, as things continued to get harder as a result of more natural disasters rolling in that kept wiping the slate clean of whatever rudiments of life had been restructured since the cataclysm (water levels rose massively during this period), a new vibe came in and took a deep foothold. Certain elements within this culture, particularly those that felt they carried the “know-how” of ancient technology within their genes without the need to draw on the intuitive aspect, those who believed they knew best” how to manipulate circumstances to their will at the level of cause and effect, claimed superiority and leadership powers, declared that the only way forward to reliable crops and the territory on which to grow them was “their way” (often involving bloodshed) and that they would keep everyone “safe” against all odds as long as the game was played their way. They even started to blame the right-hemispheric skill set – the shamans and perhaps especially the priestesses, even female deity – for the cataclysm and how hard things had become, like we had all been beguiled into played with fire (taking a bite of the apple) and then been banished from so-called Eden because we had messed with something that we weren’t equipped to know about. The ideas of “blame”, of “sin”, of taking by “force”, of “lack”, of needing to “protect”, to ask for “forgiveness”and to “sacrifice” in order to survive were introduced into our mindset.
The intuitive, right-brained, feminine aspect was, as near as dammit, outlawed overnight and the tables turned very quickly to the rational, left-brained, “scientific”, control mentality that assumes lack is our fundamental state and that to survive we have to protect what is ours or fight to obtain it. This viewpoint was most persuasive during such hard times and so whole swathes of people were convinced to follow these self-appointed leaders and to disown those now-blacklisted individuals who utilise “higher” wisdom in case they too were tarred with the same brush; and so began a deep cultural suspicion of anything unorthodox, inexplicable, artistic or born of intuition along with the idea of the “witch hunt”. Of course, religion stepped in to take advantage of this opportunity to control people by claiming that an intermediary was now required to commune with your god-self on your behalf and that to bypass the church was to commit heresy; and so the church became the most powerful political, earth-based monster it could be and had very little to do with the true spirituality that we all have direct access to and which had now retreated underground like a long-forgotten river.
What has this got to do with me or any of us? From my perspective, as someone who has been through their own milestone trauma in relatively recent history, I know how this can play out. How there was a time before that trauma and a distinctly different time after…nothing was ever the same, even though in many ways things “continued”. I even recall the feeling rising up in me at the time that seemed to say “here we go again, everything ruined, set back”. Yet I also know first-hand how the details of that mammoth event, the very fact of it happening at all, can get “get switched off” on your own timeline by a refusal to think about it or look at its trauma on a daily basis. So the symptoms of it can exist, and play out, for many years at the subconscious level, with no apparent cause on the horizon to explain…until you dig that original event up again and own it; own yourself for surviving it. Doing so can be the single most cathartic act because, like descaling a kettle, with each calcified layer a whole other layer of deeply encrusted trauma also rises to the surface and dissolves into thin air leaving you “clear” across vast, unifying themes of association across time. Its then that you realise that the original trauma that happened to you, the one that has really been bothering you and holding you down (though you may not have been admitting it), wasn’t even of this lifetime yet you remember it (and act-out about it) exactly like it was.
Inside me, as a female, I find these bubbles of deepest knowing that want – more and more – to rise to the surface and see light of day. They use the trauma I have been through in this life and any others that I remember as the ladder rungs that carry me towards the light of the biggest healing of all. I recognise how echoes of the original trauma have played out as a pattern of my life; how, when my beloved father first let me down (around the time I was coming up to puberty) it was like part of me thought “oh, there you are, I remember you, you’re the one who was easily swayed, who was a coward, who handed over the beautiful thing we had together for a song, who was persuaded to follow someone else’s leadership to hell and back rather than stay true to all we used to believe in together”. The tidal wave of anger that surged in me and the way I cut him off with my emotions from then until after he had died tells me this reaction hid a far deeper wound. It was like an expectation of disappointment, embodied by the male gender that I played out over and over through many of the the circumstances of my life for the next couple of decades. It determined the course of several of my relationships, lead directly to my most traumatic experience (there it was again; that grand betrayal delivered by a man I once loved) and resulted in my first marriage. Within that marriage, I find I am now able to explain the extraordinarily deep sense of betrayal (far deeper than the surface circumstances could account for – although they were bad enough) when that husband didn’t stand by me and my newborn daughter; when he sold out with excuses of his “important” career and having far bigger fish to fry than taking part in family life. Any time he failed to stand by me in a situation where another “threatened” me – and there were quite a few – the betrayal would seer through the heart of me like a red hot sword and would count as another reason that I was starting to despise him at the very core. Once betrayal became all I could see when I looked at him, his days were numbered and divorce was inevitable; I rose up like a tour de force and shape-shifted my world to make that unlikely thing happen and, looking back, this all took place, aptly enough, in the months following 9/11 when, I now believe, a ghost-memory of cataclysm served to awaken this immense strength in me to put self-survival and care of my child above any false ideas of “convenient”contract with another. Even since I found someone who is not like that at all with whom to partner my life, I see how this expectation of betrayal played out every month of the years when I menstruated, in the days before my bleed when I would irrationally (it seemed) feel so much annoyance and petty anger rise up in me around all the men-folk in my life, like everything they did was the disappointment I had been waiting for them to deliver…again and again and again.
Years later, as I started to wake up to the layers of who I am, I started to have flashbacks to a situation that felt just like me and my husband, although we were in the Amazonian jungle and I was a priestess of sorts in what felt like a matriarchal society. We shared an intense, quite beautifully intimate and balanced love; there were parts of this “dream” world that felt magical and reaffirming of all that I have now. But then something always happened in that “dream” that turned the tables over; I saw our community torn apart, massacred and he wasn’t there to prevent it, was dawdling his way on some errand amongst the trees and wasn’t by my side where I needed him when it happened. Or maybe he came back and saw something of what was taking place and was far too paralysed to take it on; felt afraid and ineffectual against whatever this horrific thing was that had come to destroy us. The more this “memory” came to me, the more it felt like a memory of a past life that echoed this one, a deep wound asking for the forgiveness to allow this version of that life to go further than that one did and for me to stop presupposing that such betrayal would ever happen again. I was being asked to allow that things have changed now and we get to go much further this time, as a human race, than we have ever gone before…together, side by side, yin and yang, intersecting in ways that are entirely complementary and make us “bigger” than the sum of our parts.
Last night I had a similar dream only it was set in the “now” and this was quite a new detail that made it even more visceral. It told me this remnant of an old-stuck expectation of being let down when it matters, of not being counter-balanced when it came to the crunch, is right at the surface of me now – not at the relationship level but at every imaginable level – and asking for me to take ownership of the feelings around it so I can let it go. I felt all the same anger around the paralysis of my husband next to me in this dream that took place in my house…and yet when I woke and took the reins of these thoughts, I realised what it was really inviting me to do was to own that I didn’t need anybody to save me, that I could do that myself, that it was time to rise up into my own power and own that…that seeking others to “save us” is what got us into this unholy mess in the first place. I felt the full lioness roar of me rally and build up heat in my solar plexus and I felt myself asserting my power, my big-ness, my divine force through all of the cells of my body, reclaiming it for myself as this flesh, in this reality and with no “ifs” and “buts” about so-called limiting circumstances. I am in charge of my own destiny, come what may, and only I can take control of me and what happens to me next; this is no one else’s domain and certainly not their fault…and I am big enough to forgive those who have felt their knees buckle with fear these last several thousand years because I have felt that too. It felt like a moment of growing up and of stepping into cosmically adult shoes; perhaps we are all doing that right now as the page of so-called “history” not only turns but, as we know it, crumples to dust. Perhaps we are all stepping into our big shoes and only then can we grasp one another’s hands and walk forward together.
Afterwards, I knew something huge had just happened because I felt almost too weak to do my yoga, it felt like a heavy flu, the first of very long time and yet I knew it was going to last just fleetingly as my cells let go of the emotional debris of an old wound I have carried so long (about 11,500 years, to be precise!) and which has now been incinerated to dust. The area around my solar plexus feels extremely bruised like I have been punched and I have extremely hot breath this morning; the aftermath of an internal fire and the trick is not to let it consume me to but to transmute me. Something has certainly woken up in me and, no, its not the desire to seek vengeance from those who sought to run the world (badly) for the last several thousand years without seeking the balancing aspect of the sacred feminine by its side. The pinnacle of my work is to understand – and to remind others – that this was a failing on the part of so many of us that it is not worth the finger-pointing; and that it was born of a fear-culture that was drummed up by others who knew exactly what they were doing and how to manipulate the crowds into handing over whatever remnants of divine power they still had…but not forever and we are remembering now. In the years following the cataclysm, between the various religions that rose up conveniently enough to carve up the cake, the power-politics of self-appointed leaders, the rigid box of empirical science, the big corporate monster and the endless mind games that have made us feel small, we have been made the meat in the sausage factory for a very long time. There’s absolutely no need to replay the cataclysm we’ve been through already, we’ve done that and got the T-shirt; if only we could get it through our heads that what we have been most fearing, at the subconscious level, as though projecting it onto some future screen is actually a video recording of what happened already!
The most likely way we are going to see anything like that again is if we create it as a bi-product of our own panic as we kid ourselves into thinking, helped by all the bad news merchants, that we’re already done for or start blaming other people for what’s been and gone. This isn’t a time for blame, its a time to concentrate upon remembering what we can of the time before and how beautiful that was, how we worked together back then to create a balance that meant liberty for all and allowed harmony to manifest through all things…our relationships with each other, the planet, other creatures and (most importantly) ourselves. Along the way, we have learned something immeasurably powerful about ourselves; that our alignment with our highest aspect is not conditional upon anything…not the seasons or a particular tilt of the earth, not any of the ever-changing celestial alignments that occur in the starry skies, not anything other than our own inner-alignment with the fullest knowing of all that we are…both at the broadest level and as our human aspect, in perfect balance and most collaborative harmony. When we find that inner harmony, all else becomes possible though, sometimes, its necessary to push through a layer of cataclysm to get there…and that’s alright too, its the healing mechanism in action (and can often look like it gets worse before it gets better when, really, its the last bastion of fear). To return to that place is like returning to Eden only better for all the new perspective we gained since we “left”. You could say its like shining a new light on Eden, a “place” we get to appreciate and understand all the more for the intensity of the shadows we have encountered since we were last there.
In total “coincidence” with all of the above – though clearly not! – I finished a painting that I had been working on all summer during the first week of reading Clow’s book and already had the title formulating in my mind “New Light on Eden”. Its completion was delayed while I played long and hard with the rays of light and the necessity for “more shadow” to make the composition work. Of course, I see now – to a whole new level – what that painting was really depicting at its fullest potential and how working towards what you see here was one of the ways that I reached the place of my own “return” which, at multiple levels that are far more complex than I can possibly share, feels more complete than I have ever experienced before in this life or any other so far.