Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Eagle and the Condor in Prophecy: Where Does Columbia Stand?

A number of sources point us to the prophecy of the eagle and the condor, in which and when the eagle of the north (the capitalist, intellectual, technological, brain-based USAmerica) will fly the same skies, in harmony with the condor (the communalist, wholistic, spiritual, heart-based indigenous cultures of the "south", South America). This is an important and telling prophecy that comes from the spiritual awarenesses and visions of peoples that hold life dear, that hold people dear, that hold nature and Spirit dear. This is a prophecy that has seen unity not only of just the "north" and "south", of the United States of America and South America, but of all peoples in a world showing deep rifts between technological globalist corporatocracy and indigenous and marginalized (people taken from their land/spirit/culture-power-base).

Problems with engaging this beautiful prophecy, if even the eagle north is willing and able to see the necessity for unity, change and wholistic harmonious life, come up simply in the popular notion that indigenous peoples hold no real and functional wisdom that the capitalist, modern, digital-technological world can and should learn from and thereby enact change because of. Repeated, constant, persistent disrespect and devaluation of indigenous ideas and cultural practice, the infantilizing of modern "noble savage" is a deadly pattern that stands in the way of the capitalist north fully embodying the medicine of the eagle.

Current review of pagan writing, dominated by Europeans (and understandably so, but oftentimes the obvious must be stated) speak of a connection to the goddess Columbia. Hellenist blogger Cara writes the following:

"From the beginning, when Columbia was first revealed as the Goddess of this land, She was seen as a guardian of freedom and a generous granter of plenty. In early depictions of Columbia, she wears the cap of freedom and holds a cornucopia. The eagle and the rattlesnake are sacred to Her."
Simple questions arise here. What's inside that cornucopia? Where did the bounty come from? Who harvested it, this bounty from "America's" bosom? What does the eagle mean to her, to her adherents? Is the eagle's medicine the same as that as revealed to the Native peoples who revere the eagle with more sacred knowing than the colonists old and new who would destroy the eagle's populations and habitats? If Columbia (reportedly named after Criminal Columbus) is a guardian of freedom (though reportedly named after Criminal Columbus), why has she been so silent in the throats of those to whom she revealed herself in defense and liberation of the Native Americans and Africans who would be crushed under the weight of the nation that claims her name in its capitol.

What troubles me about the above quote and the continuing article is that it implies a pagan (indigenous?) perspective that allows itself to join the politically disintegrative, destructive energetic of the USAmerican colonial imperative, laying itself over the indigenous Native American cultural dynamic that is primary here in this land, a sort of paganized manifest destiny. It seems that Cara and other pagans are joining the "this land is your land. this land is my land" chorus while merging their spiritual ideology with USAmerican capitalist and colonial ideology. This is not to say that some Native Americans haven't joined that ideological thrust for their own survival or through their own blind complicity born of the same political violence and disrespect that has energetically affected us all. Africans have done this, too. The European populace has done this in spades and continues to walk the earth of Turtle Island as if they are actually in ownership of it. I am saddened by people who say they love "America", but haven't spent even a day walking on its back in harmony with its sacred energy.

A Blackfeet chief has said, as from the book, "The People: Native American Thoughts and Feelings":
"Our land is more valuable than your money. It will last forever. It will not even perish by the flames of fire. As long as the sun shines and the waters flow, this land will be here to give life to men and animals; therefore we cannot sell this land. It was put here for us the Great Spirit and we cannot sell it because is does not belong to us."

This is deeply instructive to us, especially as Indian Country Today Media Network has this year reported on how and w
hy the Lakota persist in refusing the billion dollars being offered for the sacred Black Hills.

"Sioux Forgo $1B, Continue Fight to Reclaim Black Hills" (ICTMN Staff February 15, 2011"


The BBC also covered this story stating:

"Why the Sioux Are Refusing $1.3 Billion

Members of the Great Sioux Nation could pocket a large sum set aside by the government for taking the resource-rich Black Hills away from the tribes in 1877. But leaders say the sacred land was never, and still isn't, for sale."


This continued, indigenously informed Native American perspective speaks to the embodiment of the condor consciousness and challenges directly the idea that the capitalist and mercenary ideology of USAmericanism is a foreign concept to this land, Turtle Island, and its people, those who have been here longest and best (do we really still need to say this out loud?). It also points us to a fundamental dissonance with some of the stated dynamics of the engagement of Columbia and how her adherents are patriotically supportive of the exploitative politics of the state that has overlaid its politics, culture, religion and people over that of the original inhabitants.

Cara goes on to state the following:
"From the beginning, when Columbia was first revealed as the Goddess of this land, She was seen as a guardian of freedom and a generous granter of plenty."

Which and whose beginning does she speak of? Who was Columbia revealed to and have they heard her spiritual message clearly? This anwers are up for brisk debate. I can only imagine what the Native peoples might have to say about this. Neither Cara nor the other pagan writers except for Galina Krasskova (who has recently and not so recently leveled similar critiques of this confusion) has even mentioned the presence of importance of their relationship to indigenous peoples of Turtle Island.

It is clear that even the rank and file "(US)American" is unaware of the deeper symbolism of eagle medicine and how it calls us to higher, clearer and more spiritual understandings of ourselves and our relationship to Spirit. "(US)Americans" veritably pimp the conceptual eagle as they destroy the energetic, living being. The USAmerica populace is still struggling to get to a place where it can even live out the prophecy of its eagleness fully, though as far as I understand the prophecy and how it's been communicated, the indigenous people are being remarkably kind to those who carry this allopathic, symptom-submerging "medicine" of the northern eagle of this hope-filled and powerful prophecy.

If the northern eagle is going to fly - respectfully and harmoniously - with the condor of the south, of the indigenous world, then it must engage the eagle in its fullness, not in the narrow, patriarchal and militaristic bravado-machismo that dominates pop culture. The people of the capitalist world must also learn something very important and seemingly very difficult from the condor. The condor (interestingly enough, still holding on here in the north after having been decimated in numbers to only sixteen birds at one point) is a bird that represents and embodies the medicine of purification and transformation, a powerful relationship between life and death, the physical and spiritual worlds. The condor looks death in the rib cage and pulls its sustenance from the rotting carcasses of that which, if left alone, would only spread illness and imbalance. The condor plunges is head into all that scares "(US)Americans" the most - that which must change for the good of all life, mortality and death itself, the visceral connection to Spirit that brings radical self-appraisal and transmutation of disease-state thinking and behavior so as to create new beings and lifeways in which imbalance and injustice are destroyed.

USAmericans in general and some elements of the pagan community in particular are still in dire need of understanding the nature and needs of the land upon which they stand, of the people who have sustained and maintained the sanctity of the land upon which they stand. There is little, but growing understanding of how people's behaviors are affecting the health of the earth and of nature and her human inhabitants. Even with all this northern, eagle knowledge and data technology, USAmericans seem to be blinded to the dynamics of their own presence, their destructive behaviors and ways of thinking and speaking. White privilege seems alive and well as USAmericans allow their government to opt out of and derail international agreements on climate change. It is alive and well as indigenous people come under arrest for protesting the Tar Sands oil pipeline (along with Darryl Hannah, James Hansen and other Europeans) and as they chain themselves to heavy machinery to halt the destruction of sacred forests and as they fight in courtrooms and boardrooms for access to Ancestral lands, waterways and mountains (like Mount Graham, attacked by the University of Arizona and vatican so that an astronomincal observatory could be erected).

The condor, the heart-centered indigenous energetic would call us all to do something else that is hard for modern people to do freely - to feel. There is a message of empathy and deep, reconciliatory observation and contemplation here, exemplified in the winged stillness of the condor on the rising thermals. There is a message, a call to see and feel more deeply, more fully here, to feel with fullness that which is of us and not of us, that which is physical and that which is spiritual, not just the data-driven religiosity that seemingly ignites the destructive nature of the DC40 predatory fundamentalist christians that have raised the hackles and fears of the pagan community in this current spate of activity and self-advocacy.

"The goal of DC40 is to effect “eternal change in our nation’s capitol so our elected officials can govern from a new position of uncompromising light and understanding as we change the spiritual atmosphere over Washington DC forever.” This effort is variously named DC40, Forty Days of Light Over D.C., and 51 Days of Reformation Intercession.

The change DC40 wants to make is electing leaders who fear the Christian God and “find that compromise is not the way” as it is impossible to “compromise with unrighteousness.” The “uncompromising light” refers to a statement released by Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, which says God’s word should be the legal authority in the United States and Christians should acknowledge no other, “no power to purpose or accept any compromise of the promises of God, and we declare illegal in the earth any action or any people, Nation or nations that undertake what is contradictory to the Word of God.”


The pagan and the larger, more deeply developed indigenous communities have a valid reason for concern here, if only in the political realm. The pagan statements coming to the fore with regard to the DC40 initiative though are not ringing a bell of clarity and liberty in the face of the larger historical injustices created and sustained by people of European descent on and in the lands and cultures of Native Americans and Africans, those injustices that created the nation whose bombs now burst in so much of the air above this earth, whose amber waves of grain get traded off as economic and (im)moral leverage against neo-colonized nations and peoples hungry for food, clean water, sovereign control of their Ancestral lands and their own freedom and liberty defined their way as their goddesses and gods and spirits led them to define.

Europeans the world over, but maybe especially the ones now living in (spite of) Amerique (an indigenous term related by Jan Carew in his important book, "Rape of Paradise: Columbus and the Birth of Racism in the Americas", meaning the "land of the winds"), are challenged to get their minds and actions right, to look beyond the comfortable ramblings about red stated an blue state, beyond the minutia of conservative and liberal, beyond recycling and not recycling, beyond what level of standard of living they deserve no matter what effects that standard has on people the world over. Europeans, "whites" are in dire need of developing the will and ability to thrust their heads into the heart space, the failing rib cage structure, the rotting carcass of the nation they seem to think will last forever, the systems of racism, sexism and classism they seem to think will last forever, their modern lifestyles and lifeways that they seem to think will and must last forever even though they - mathematically, physically, spiritually, materially, ethically - can't. Other peoples who have followed this mistaken and misguided path of "unlimited growth", "better living through chemistry", destructive and short-sighted modernity have a similar task, though their path to clarity might have some different cultural dynamics in which to operate; their levels of cultural reconciliation may not be so abysmally deep.

Cara goes on to entreat Columbia:

I ask Her to guide us – our country seems to be at a crossroads and is facing difficult times. Our nation’s identity and ethics are muddled. "

On this I agree with her, but more than the nation, the people's identities and ethics are muddled. The "melting pot" and the "salad" have failed in their process of the amorphous unity they alluded or eluded to as they miss the very ground of unity that indigenous spirituality (energetics) helps us to understand. If we engage the spiritual dynamic of spaciality as Vine Deloria correctly suggests, we will have the ability to understand our environmental, ethical and social responsibilities. The Dagara inform us that it is the earth energetic that gives rise to our identity as indigenous beings in relation to All that Is. We can't ever assume to suggest that we "know" the land without the deep consideration and respect of the original inhabitants (who are still here) and how they have come to understand the land and how to live upon it. We can't ever assume to embark on political paths that continue to disrespect those upon whose lives and cultures the USAmerica has consumed and fed so fully, so gluttonously.

Columbia and those who revere her must reconcile themselves with the spiritual energetics of the land, still full of the Ancestral bones of the Native American nations and tribes. They can not place themselves in a position to alienate and injure their tenuous relationship with Native Americans and African by parading another, though more paganistic, symbol of manifest destiny over the bodies and cultures and histories and spiritual traditions and Ancestral responsibilities of the people who paid the highest price of survival here. The people of the north must embrace eagle medicine, must be clear about their lack of and hope for intellectual clarity. The people of the north must be able then to hear, respect and engage condor medicine, the winged path of the heart, the flight of the brave, able to come down to earth and plunge headlong into their own cultural shadows, that which must be changed into something else much less toxic to that which is and those around them.

"The earth was created by the assistance of the sun and it should be left as it was...The country was made without lines of demarcation, and it is no man's business to divide it...I see the whites all over the country gaining welath, and see their desire to give us lands which are worthless...The earth and myself are of one mind. The measure of the land the measure of our bodies are the same. Say to us if you can say it, that you were sent by the Creative Power to talk to us. Perhaps you think the Creator sent you here to dispose of us as you see fit. If I thought you were sent by the Creator I might be induced to think you had a right to dispose of me. Do not misunderstand me, but understand me fully with reference to my affection for the land. I never said the land was mine to do with as I chose. The one who has the right to dispose of it is the one who created it. I claim a right to live on my land, and accord you the privilege to live on yours." - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce ("The People: Native American Thoughts and Feelings")
Is the USAmerica, its people, the people of the modern north, the industrialized, capitalist world ready to engage the indigenous prophecy, the call to unity? Can these modern people see beyond their own privileged barriers to see a world that might look much different than the one they think they see now? Can the pagan community begin to see itself with much more spiritual and political clarity and use its powerful spiritual traditions to truly liberate itself from its own confusion and isolation? Is "(US)America" truly the land of the free and the home of the brave or is it actually the nation of the unwilling, the reticent, the narrowly-defined, the exploitative, the afraid?

What will become of the prophecy of the eagle and the condor...and where will Columbia - and her adherents - stand?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I honor your concerns.

This is my personal UPG on the Goddess Columbia. She is an indigenous Goddess of this land and she was here long before any humans arrived on this Continent - Asiatic or European. She'll be here long after we are all gone.

We call her Columbia, in THIS cycle of the land we live on, who knows if people will call her that a thousand years from now? But through the history of this land she has made her influence known. I don't find it a coincident that this land is the place where the oldest continuous functioning democracy exists - the Iroquois Confederacy.

Not only is she a goddess of freedom, compassion for others, and a granter of plenty, but she is a goddess that values self-determination. Part of self-determination is having a full understanding of your past, all the good and all the bad, but knowing that you are free to change your future and strive for excellence. The broken chains that Columbia often has depicted around her ankles aren’t just the physical chains of slavery. You can break free of the chains of your past and become a different future.

Our nation - and every single nation, city, and tribe throughout history - has engaged done some pretty horrific things and also done some pretty amazing things. That is part of the history of our land. I live near several markers that note tribes that were wiped out, some by other tribes and some by European settlers. Those are the decisions of humans and I don’t lay our failings at the feet of the gods. It’s a bit too much like saying the devil made me do it. When we fall short of the ideals Columbia would have us strive for, that’s all on us.

You've raised many examples of how the USA, as a nation, has fallen short of the ideals Columbia wishes we would follow. What you haven't done is list the ways that we have. There are many and they should be praised, just as our failings should be scorned.

Cultus of Columbia, along with veneration of my ancestors, is part of my indigenous ethnic religion as someone who was born here and has deep ties to this land. It is no less authentic, valid, or genuine as the many other diverse religious practices that a person will come across in the United States.

I don't know anything about a prophesy concerning an eagle or a condor, I follow the oracles and omens laid out within the structures of my own religious practice, so I can't answer your last question except to say: Although I follow my religion, I am willing to fight for the right for others to follow their God(s) in peace, which is what Columbia directs me to do.