One of the most important phases of maturing is that of growth from self-centering to an understanding relationship to others. A person is not mature until he has both an ability and a willingness to see himself as one among others and to do unto those others as he would have them do to him.Sir Walter Scott
The earth is a growing field. Imagine a seed planted deep within the soil, a seed having to journey through layer after layer of packed earth, finding its way around rocks and other objects until it finally breaks through to the sun—and break through, it will. Yet what apparent insurmountable odds it faces there, deep within the soil. Still, the same soil which seems intent upon blocking its way, contains the nourishment needed for its survival on the journey.
Here, on earth is where the soul comes to learn its greatest lessons. Yet, what is the earth? Live spelled backwards is evil—and on earth what we consider evil is what the earth is made of. It is a wild, dangerous, greedy, and most of all, insatiable planet—a place where every organism large or small seeks one thing—survival. God said to all life, “Be fruitful and multiply”. To survive, each species knows that it must multiply. Microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, grass, weeds, plants, and flowers—all life on earth fights for the same limited space. The less man interferes with a species, the more instinctively and aggressively intent it is on fulfilling what we, as a species, have labeled ‘manifest destiny’. It is the basic driving instinct of all species on earth. Survival is of the fittest. Weeds, trees, and bushes all grow anywhere and everywhere when not checked. Even concrete cannot arrest their growth. Wild animals fight to maintain and then to expand their territory as they seek to expand their herds. Wars are fought on earth over lines drawn in the sand by every species and every organism on the earth. Each species survives at the expense of at least one other species. The earth is one large hungry, greedy, food chain. This doesn’t make the earth less beautiful, but it is necessary to understand the energy of the earth to understand the energy of the body with its instincts and desires —the body into which we each incarnate.
For some species, survival is for the swiftest, and for others, it is the strongest that survive. For yet other species, it is for those that who are best able to scavenge, or appear threatening—and yet, for others—to hide and appear invisible. Yet for some species, such as ants, or bees, survival is in the inborn ability to know what they have to offer their species and to offer it selflessly and without question. Insects seem to be much better prepared to survive than most species—they appear to have mastered the requirements for survival—united we stand divided we fall.
Man is neither swift, nor physically equipped to adapt to the harsh and changing climate of the earth. He has been given the mental and physical agility necessary to manipulate his environment. Man has also been gifted with the heart and the compassion to manage it with benevolence. We have been given the earth to live on, to grow on and to care for, but not, despite what we believe, to master and destroy. She is not ours.
In nineteen seventy-seven there was an object discovered in space. It was difficult to identify—a comet, an asteroid, a planet. No one was sure at first. Finally it was called a centaur, the first of many objects in its category that would be discovered. This first centaur was called Chiron. Chiron was, as all of the centaurs, half man and half horse. With each new discovery in space, some new door is opened here on earth—some new direction taken—some knowledge finally comprehended or information finally received by man. With the discovery of the centaur, Chiron, came the age of holistic medicine treating the mind, body, and the spirit as a whole—understanding that to cure a part of the whole without addressing the whole—ultimately cures nothing.
In mythology, Chiron was a master of all forms of art, of learning, of philosophy, of self-defense and of combat. Chiron turned each hero who passed through his cave into a true hero—a whole; a hero is not simply the one who can defeat the greatest or strongest foe, but the one who can recognize the greatest foe. This is often within the self. He did not simply give them techniques, he gave them appreciation, value and honor. Chiron did not only train the greatest fighters, he trained the greatest healers, musicians, scholars, physicians, and rulers. To teach these things, he had, in some way, embody them.
Chiron was an exceptional centaur according to legend. There were a few, who, like him, were healers, or philosophers; the majority of centaurs could not really be trusted for they were too susceptible to their desires when they became intoxicated. When intoxicated, they were robbers, murderers, and rapists, simply put, they were untamed animals. One day, as one of the legends goes, a group of centaurs became drunk and went on a killing spree. Chiron went out among them trying to bring peace and was accidentally wounded by Hercules, his dearest student, who mistook him for one of the wild centaurs. However, unlike the other centaurs—Chiron could not die—he was immortal, and as such, he faced an eternity of suffering. In spite of his pain, he continued to teach, he continued to love, and he continued to share his wisdom. In the end, Chiron made the ultimate sacrifice—he sacrificed his immortality to end the suffering of Prometheus who was being punished by Zeus for bringing fire to mankind. Because of Chiron’s selflessness and willingness to sacrifice his immortality to end the suffering of another, Zeus took Chiron up to the heavens and gave him his own constellation.
Since the discovery of Chiron we have all become more and more aware of our lower nature. All that we consider evil—all that we consider vile is nothing more than the natural inherent tendencies of our physical nature—our earthly nature. The earth is void of conscience. We, as spiritual beings, are the conscience of the earth—man brings that conscience from God. Conscience is not natural to our environment—not natural to our physical bodies—and not natural to the spiritually unevolved ego. The earth tests the spirit within each of us. To fulfill our destinies, we must not destroy the earth herself, but the world that man has built on the earth by his egos need to be better than its Creator. Man has built a false world and in seeking to become its master, he has become its slave. In ancient times the donkey or “ass” was a symbol of man’s lower animal nature, just as the body of Chiron. In the Bible, Jesus finds it necessary to enter the gates of Jerusalem riding an ass. However, the spiritual meaning of this is somewhat different than the biblical one. The city of Jerusalem, at the time was a representation of all that is unholy, nowhere did greed not exist. It was in essence ruled by the lowest part of man, his greed and his desires. Even in the Temple money was changed. And the temples did not permit entrance to everyone who wanted to worship regardless of economic status. It was a city where all catered to the wealthy. This was why the disciples were astonished that Jesus said that a camel would pass through the eye of a needle easier than a rich man enter the gates of Heaven. It seemed at the time that wealth was a gift from God because it was the wealthy who seemed to gain the closest audience with Him. So Jesus rode into the city on the ass, showing all that his spiritual nature was superior to the animal nature – that he mastered the animal in man.
The Ancient creators of the zodiac set the Heavens into a circle with twelve divisions, each one represented by an animal that to them symbolized an aspect of God, or, perhaps the aspect of God capable of controlling the represented aspect of nature. Jesus came in with the age of Pisces, called by ancients, the age of the fish. Note the references to fish during the time, however, simply coming up with ideas of the meaning of these references to fish gives us nothing. The view of fish in ancient times was that they were a species where the large always gobble up the small. Before language, before writing, this was what was symbolized by fish. In essence, fish was the sign-language for the strong eating up the weak. Jesus was the fisher of men, because he came to save the small fish from the mouths of the larger fish. Has this not been the greatest underlying theme of the age of Pisces? It was so clearly exemplified by the Catholic Church gobbling up all of the smaller Christian groups, destroying their wealth of scripture in order to create their own. It continues with small businesses gobbled up by larger business, homes taken away to build high-rises, this is the age of the fish, in which the fisher of men appeared, not to eradicate our sins, but to lead us away from being fish.
We are not truly human until we conquer the beast and become humane. Until we do this we are no more than centaurs, no more than fish. For most of us, the intoxicant is not alcohol it is money and the wealth and power that it affords us. And, like the centaurs, once intoxicated by money, our higher selves are consumed by the lower nature, unless we are strong and able to resist the temptation to indulge ourselves in that taste for money. We are driven to consume just as every other organism on the earth—we become predators because it is natural to do so.
In the Gospel of Thomas or the Secret Sayings of Jesus, Jesus said,
Blessed is the lion that the human consumes so that the lion becomes human, Cursed is the human that the lion consumes so that the human becomes the lion. When the human eats the lion—devours the beast—it is the soul which has conquered the beast to become humane. The beast, once conquered, serves the soul and thus serves God. The things of the soul are attended to with the aid of the beast that is now lovingly serving the soul. In the twelve labors of Heracles, one of the labors was that he had to kill a lion that had, up to that point, been indestructible. Once Heracles had managed to slay the lion, he kept those parts of the lion that gave it its strength, and wore them as armor. Thus, taking the power of the beast and adding it to his own, he protected himself as he went on his quest. This is man consuming the lion. If the lion consumes the man, however, and becomes human the soul becomes enslaved by the passions and desires of the lower self—the animal self which is of the earth.
I have heard it said that man is the only animal who kills without necessity. I am not sure that this is true. I once had a cat that spent a great deal of his time outdoors. Regularly, we would find dead birds or dead mice that he proudly brought into the house, and presented to us as gifts with no intention of or desire to eat them. He carried his conquests with what appeared to be great pride. Perhaps he was showing us his skill as a hunter—who knows—but what is certain, is that he did not hunt for food—he hunted because it was natural to his species to do so. Perhaps for the cat, like for man himself, the reason for the hunt has been lost in the cans of cat food and bags of crunchy tasty nuggets that he had grown accustomed to eating. But his instincts as a predator were too deeply ingrained in the cellular memory of his body—in the genetic memory of his species since it is born of the predatory earth. My cat, like many other domesticated animals, collected the trophies of his kills because, as an animal, he was a killer. A man mounts his kills on his walls—a tribute to the animal within himself which he has not as yet conquered.
Here on earth there is no evil—there is only the earth. What we call evil is only nature. It is the opposite of spiritual but that does not make it evil. We just need to realize, without judgment, or labels, that we are not this.
Fear is the prevailing emotion on a planet where survival entails eating or being eaten, conquering or being conquered. All that we consider as sins are but the outgrowths of fear; fear of not having enough to survive; fear of not being strong enough to survive; which, ultimately, is fear of death. As we evolve spiritually our fear diminishes because it is replaced by faith. It is faith which raises us above our fears. Faith, affords us the security that we need to rest in the knowledge that there is nothing to fear in God’s universe.
Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations —Delivered October 25, 1985 by Leon Shenandoah, Tadodaho, Haudenosaunee
Listen to the words of the Creator given to the first United Nations—the Haudenosaunee—over 1,000 years ago:
The Chiefs of the Haudenosaunee shall be mentors of the people for all time. The thickness of their skins shall be seven spans which is to say that they shall be proof against anger, offensive action, and criticism. Their hearts shall be full of peace and good will, and their minds full of a yearning for the welfare of the people. With endless patience, they shall carry out their duty.
Their firmness shall be tempered with a tenderness for their people. Neither anger nor fury shall find lodging in their minds, and all their words and actions shall be marked by calm deliberation. In every nation there are wise and good people. These should be appointed Chiefs. They should be the advisors of their people and work for the good of all the people, and their power comes from the “Great Peace.”
A chief must never forget the Creator of mankind; never forget to ask the Creator for help. The Creator will guide our thoughts and strengthen us as we work to be faithful to our sacred trust and restore harmony among all peoples, all living creatures, and Mother Earth.
We were instructed to carry a love for one another and to show a great respect for all the beings of this earth. In our ways spiritual consciousness is the highest form of politics. When people cease to respect and express gratitude for these many things, then all life will be destroyed, and human life on this planet will come to an end.
These are our times and responsibilities. Every human being has a sacred duty to protect the welfare of our Mother Earth, from whom all life comes.
In order to do this we must recognize the enemy—the one within us. We must begin with ourselves. We must live in harmony with the Natural World and recognize that excessive exploitation can only lead to our own destruction.
We cannot trade the welfare of our future generations for profit now. We must abide by the Natural Law or be victims of its ultimate reality. We must stand together, the four sacred colors of humans, as the one family we are, in the interest of peace.
We must abolish nuclear and conventional weapons of war. When warriors are leaders, then you will have war. We must raise leaders of peace.
We must unite the religions of the world as the spiritual force strong enough to prevail in peace. It is no longer good enough to cry, “Peace.”
We must act peace, live peace, and march in peace in alliance with the people of the world. We are the spiritual energy that is thousands times stronger than nuclear energy. Our energy in the combined will of all people with the spirit of the Natural World, to be of one body, one heart and one mind for peace.
We propose, as a resolution for peace, that October 24th be designated as a Day of Peace, and a world cease-fire take place in honor of our children and the Seventh Generation to come.