America, Land of the Feathered Serpent (4 of 6)
Part 4: America's Fight with the Shadow
24. The Philosophy of “The Shadow”
To briefly recap what we’ve covered so far in this multi-part series on the occult history of America, the story of civilization in the Americas begins with its original inhabitation by an influx of migrants belonging to the Atlantean “root race”.
Originally, the peoples of the Atlantean root race existed in a primitive, nomadic, tribal state. But one “sub-race” among them, originating out of a now-disappeared island continent in the Atlantic Ocean, evolved past this traditional, hunter-gatherer mode of existence in order to practice agriculture, build cities, and form empire.
All subsequent civilizations are descendants of the initial Mother Civilization established by this Atlantean group. They were the ones who first innovated and gave birth to the key features of cosmopolitain civilization that we enjoy today, including commerce, architecture, arts, culture, and government.
When the Atlantean Empire collapsed as a consequence of an apocalyptic deluge, their capital city was not the only thing that was destroyed; most people on Earth were wiped out by the catastrophic event.
As the ancient flood myths tell us, much of the world had to basically be “repopulated” after the flood event of 9600 BC. Civilization had almost completely collapsed as a consequence of it and needed resurrection. This would take time.
Initially, as the surviving remnants of mankind began to rebuild civilization, they resurrected it in the style of old Atlantis.
The closest analogues we can find for how Atlantean high culture might once have existed comes with the Maya of Central America and the ancient Egyptians of North Africa: both were founded by descendants of the imperial Atlantean sub-race.
Each time civilization was resurrected in the familiar Atlantean pattern, it would prosper for a while, only to find itself inevitably succumbing to the same fate as its lost ancestor.
Following the same pattern as their Atlantean predecessors, these descendent cultures would rise to a great high, only to gradually decay into a state of decadence and materialism - almost as if the old karma of Atlantis remained and was still playing itself out through the psyches of its successor peoples.
To meet and overcome this challenge, from out of the secluded lands of North Central Asia a new, global reform movement was initiated: the Arya.
The “change management” strategy of the priestly caste who lead the Aryan motion was to move into the former Atlantean lands and work with the people there to break the Atlantean cycle of karma they had become trapped in.
They accomplished this by catalyzing certain necessary reforms within the collective institutional environment of society. These collective changes then served to exert a transformational influence on the workings of the human mind at the individual level, shifting it out of the traditional, outmoded, Atlantean pattern and into a new “Aryan” design scheme.
In this way, the Aryan priesthood gradually worked to modify the old Atlantean physical and mental form into a new, Aryan pattern of expression.
To accomplish this, instead of militarily conquering or displacing the Atlantean groups they encountered, the Aryan missionaries would integrate themselves into their societies, gradually transforming them from within, remaking the former Atlanteans into an image of themselves.
While carrying out their mission, the Aryans encountered an innate psychological inertia among the Atlantean peoples they encountered.
In physics, a system's natural tendency to resist change is called inertia, with the dissipation of energy that results called entropy. The underlying idea is that matter acts upon energy, negating and dissipating its flow.
Energy seeks naturally to optimize its own flow within a system, moving ever upward toward an increasingly idealized state of expression. But entropy and inertia, as inherent components of Matter, step in and work to impede its progress, restricting and retarding energy’s efforts to self-optimize.
In the system of “depth psychology” first pioneered by Carl Jung, we discover that these two physics principles have an important psychological application.
Jung argued that energy flows not just through the material body, but also, in a more subtle form, through the mind. Consequently, the forces of entropy and inertia apply just as much to our inner psychological systems as they do to our outer bodily ones.
Inertia reveals itself within the human psyche through its innate tendency to mentally and emotionally resist change. This is the force that the Aryans encountered as they attempted to implement their “change management” plan on the Atlanteans.
Entropy, on the hand, occurs as a consequence of triggers, phobias, fetishes, traumas, and other types of repressed “psychological complexes” taking form within the subconscious. These work to create blockages or “knots” within the psyche, restricting the natural flow of energy within it and causing entropy to occur as a result.
As the result of psychological blockages or “complexes”, the mind becomes “tangled” and “blocked up”. Here, unhealthy fixations, fetishes, and phobias take hold, blocking energy’s natural desire to optimize.
As the result of blockage, energy dissipates out of the system, weakening it. This dissipation is entropy.
Psychologically, entropy occurs through maintenance of negative and unnatural thought patterns, emotional impulses, and behavioral tendencies.
One example of this is with the psychological fixation of “wealth addiction”, which became endemic within the greedy and materialistic empires of the Axial Age. In order to feed this unquenchable addiction, empires such as Rome systematically destroyed themselves. In this way, they succumbed to entropic tendencies within their own psyches.
The energy that the psyche dissipates or wastes as a result of the perpetuation of negative “complexes” and other forms of blockage within it eventually recycles back around to it, confronting it as a type of “karmic shadow”.
In symbolic terms, the negative karma we create as the result of the perpetuation of “psychological complexes” within ourselves comes back to confront us as a "shadow” or “adversary”.
The form and quality that these shadow manifestations take on are directly tied to the nature of the psychological blockages that created them in the first place. Consequently, these “confrontations with the shadow” serve an important psychological function: they force the person to acknowledge and confront the inner blockages or “complexes” they are maintaining within themselves.
Shadow confrontations generally take place through highly symbolic, synchronistic, and emotionally impactful experiences, which may come through persons, events, dreams, or psychedelic visions.
For example, a person who harbors a certain type of fetish within themselves may find themselves one day confronted with a person or experience which is a perfect symbolic representation of it.
This highly symbolic experience becomes a “manifestation of the shadow”, which serves to bring out into the light of day that which has become hidden and repressed with the persons’s psyche.
As result of this “shadow encounter”, the person is forced to confront the repressed traumas, fears, and fixations that have caused the shadow projection to form in the first place.
It is only by facing and dealing with their own psychological complexes and fixations that we can successfully defeat and overcome the shadow projections that karmically appear before us.
Otherwise, these archetypal “Adversaries” will keep appearing, drawing our attention to them and, therefore, to own unresolved weaknesses.
It is only once we get tired of doing battle with these demons that we finally turn and address these blockages, clearing the way for the psychic energy within us to move again freely toward the optimization of itself.
This indeed is whole purpose of the “Shadow”: to inspire us to grow, develop, and evolve. It is a powerful motivating factor: without it, we crystallize into old and familiar patterns; we stop progressing, and consequently block up the flow of energy within ourselves.
25. Tezcatlipoca, the Adversary of Quetzalcoatl
In the religious mythology of the Mayans, the philosophical themes surrounding man’s “confrontation with the shadow” were symbolized as a battle between the hero god Quetzalcoatl and his adversary Tezcatlipoca.
Quetzalcoatl, the Hero God, symbolizes the divinely illumined soul: one whose energy has been “optimized”.
This enlightened being seeks to further optimize the flow of energy within the collective. For this reason, his quest is to spread illumination to all people by encouraging each to deal with the shadow factors within themselves.
The archetypal adversary of Quetzalcoatl is Tezcatlipoca, who personifies the Shadow. In Mayan mythology, this adversary took form as a cult of evil “black magicians” who persistently sought to foil Quetzalcoatl’s plan to spread enlightenment. In this way, they personify “inertia” and “entropy”, their mission being to block the dissemination Light and to feed off the entropic dissipation of energy that results.
The end effect of their work is to the kill the “host” that they have latched themselves onto. In this way, they take on the archetypal role of “the destroyer”, the third person of the divine “creation-preservation-destruction” triad of the ancient Hindus.
In the long-term view of things, we find that the manifestation of the Shadow performs a necessary and useful function: it serves to direct our attention to the blockages and disorders we maintain within ourselves, which conspire together to subvert the natural optimization of energy’s flow within our psychic systems.
The ultimate goal of life is to confront and address the Shadow complexes we hold internally. In symbolic terms, this represents Quetzalcoatl confronting and overcoming the evil forces of Tezcatlipoca.
By attaining this victory within ourselves, we optimize the flow of energy within us, bringing us toward the fulfillment of the archetypal end-state that the Divine Intelligence behind Nature has designed for us.
Keeping in mind the old philosophic adage “as above, so below”, we discover the Tezcatlipoca manifests both individually and collectively: we each have adversaries that confront and challenge us as individuals; these aggregate together to form great collective Shadow Complexes that confront society as a whole.
Quetzalcoatl symbolizes, on an individual scale, the higher Self: the divine principle within each of us. On a collective scale, he also represents the Mystery Schools, which are God’s chosen institution in the world, selected to reveal and manifest His will.
Therefore, Quetzalcoatl simultaneously represents the hero Self in each person and also the “hero institution” in society: the Mystery Schools.
In Mayan legends, Quetzalcoatl was opposed in his work by an evil cult of black magicians termed Tezcatlipoca.
Manly Hall describes Tezcatlipoca, the archetypal Adversary of the Mayans, as “the old priesthood who practiced human sacrifice and adhered to a policy of war and destruction.”
He explains that Quetzalcoatl, the personification of the Mysteries, “brought down the animosity of the (old) priestcraft (Tezcatlipoca) because he delivered his people from bondage to the ignorance and superstitions by which these wily sorcerers maintained their own fortune and dynasty.”
Because “the Mysteries were an institution of liberation, they were naturally opposed by groups seeking to keep their people in bondage through ignorance. The struggle was, therefore, between religion as temporal authority (Tezcatlipoca) and the Mystery faith (Quetzalcoatl).
From the perspective of the Mysteries, Tezcatlipoca personifies the eternal adversaries of human nature: ignorance, superstition, and fear. As long as these forces of negation persist, they breed the conditions for collective shadow manifestations like Tezcatlipoca to emerge and haunt us.
As an embodiment as the Collective Shadow, Tezcatlipoca appeared to the Maya as a corrupt religious cult, one who profited from war, suffering, and destruction.
In true shadow fashion, their ascent to power came by feeding off the weaknesses prevailing with the populace. In this way, the “collective shadow” has its foundation in the individual shadow complexes that each person nurses within themselves. These aggregate together to form great collective shadow “monsters”, which confront society at large as an adversarial force that can no longer be suppressed and must now be reckoned with on an existential level.
In his article “The Fight with the Shadow”, Carl Jung pointed out that Hitler played this role for the German people during WWII: he emerged as a personification of the “collective shadow”, symbolically representing the collective phobias and fetishes that the populace en masse had cultivated and maintained within themselves.
Two thousand years before Hitler, the war-profiteering oligarchs behind the Roman Empire played this same role: they personified the negative qualities of materialism, selfishness, decadence, and wealth-addiction that Roman society had become afflicted by as a whole. Coming to power, they used debt, slavery, and war to systematically destroy European civilization, becoming perfect embodiments of the physics principle of entropy in the process.
Later, during the Middle Ages, this archetypal battle between the forces of good and evil within ourselves was reproduced through the struggle of the Templars against the Catholic Inquisition. As the European version of Quetzalcoatl, the Templars were attempting to erect an enlightened “philosophical empire” in the Languedoc region of France. But the Catholic Church, as Tezcatlipoca, conspired against them and conducted a horrific genocide against the Cathar civilization that had been built up there, destroying it completely.
In truth, each culture has their own version of this archetypal theme, as does each individual: we are all confronted by “adversaries” who foil our plans, preying upon our own weaknesses in order to prevent the Light within us to flow optimally through us.
Before moving on, let’s pause and take note of an important point: the human souls who come into birth as personifications of the principle of Tezcatlipoca are not inherently evil; rather, they have, through the accumulation of karma, positioned themselves to reincarnate in a form that forces them to act out Shadow tendencies in a very concentrated way.
In this way, lost souls incarnate through the persons of belligerent war chiefs, corrupt monarchs, evil sorcerers, black magicians, greedy bankers, or other equivalent.
Through these personas, wayward souls act out their accumulated negative karma in a concentrated way.
From a collective standpoint, the rise of Tezcatlipoca as a group comes about as a consequence of a culture or community falling victim to its own accumulated collective karma.
Tezcatlipoca cannot emerge unless society has created a social space within itself for it to appear though.
The simple truth is that, as negative karma accumulates within the populace, the power and influence of Tezcatlipoca is correspondingly increased.
Symbolically speaking, Quetzalcoatl is “killed” when Tezcatlipoca take over as the main influencer and leader of the people.
Quetzalcoatl’s exile at the hands of Tezcatlipoca precedes an inevitable deconstruction of society. It represents the forces of entropy and negation coming into civilization to deconstruct and tear it apart.
As a consequence of Tezcatlipoca, Mayan society, like Atlantis’s before them, was destroyed from within. A period of “winter” or “dark ages” then commenced, with the people awaiting the day when Quetzalcoatl would come once again to preach the doctrine, reinstate the Mysteries, and resurrect civilization to a new golden age.
26. The Long Shadow of Atlantis
The historical origins of Tezcatlipoca - the archetypal “Adversary” embodying man’s negative karma - dates back to Atlantean times and the gradual corruption of the caste of sorcerer-kings who once ruled it.
As Plato originally informed us, the final deluge which ultimately destroyed the Atlantean Empire occurred at least in part as a karmic consequence of the decision of its kings to invade Europe in order to wage war on the Aryan civilization zone then flourishing in prehistoric Greece.
The fateful decision of the ancient Atlantean rulers to wage war against the Aryans was likely motivated by an ill-fated effort on their part to forestall the inevitable: the end of the Atlantean cycle of human development and the onset of the new Aryan one.
The deluge was therefore, at its source, an apocalypse set in motion by karmic consequences resulting from the doomed attempt by the ruling elite of Atlantis to fight against the inevitability of evolutionary change, something the Aryans personified. This is a battle they could never win; instead, they brought about their own destruction as a consequence.
In waging their ill-fated war against the Aryans, the Atlanteans set up a negative karmic pattern within the collective psyche of humanity - a gigantic, all-encompassing Shadow Complex.
This “collective shadow” was not eliminated by the deluge. Instead, it passed on to the Aryan root race as a karmic inheritance.
Consequently, the human souls that once occupied Atlantean forms must now reincarnate in our current age (the Arya) in order that they may confront the shadow tendencies within themselves that brought about their original destruction.
In other words, we were all once Atlanteans. Now, as Aryans, we are Atlanteans reborn. As former Atlanteans, we have brought our own psychological baggage developed in the past forward to today, leaving us to confront it once again.
For this reason, in our current cycle of evolutionary development (the Arya), we face the inherited task of confronting and working through the unresolved karma of our Atlantean past, which continues to confront and challenge us in our modern age through a variety of “shadow” forms.
This explains why the archetypal themes involved with Quetzalcoatl’s battle against Tezcatlipoca appear and re-appear in different cultures separated by time and place.
As the personification of the enlightened Hero Soul, Quetzalcoatl demonstrates through his heroic and selfless actions the path that the human soul, on both an individual and collective level, must adhere to in order to successfully overcome the forces of negation within themselves
Tezcatlipoca, meanwhile, in his various cultural forms, personifies this force of negation within ourselves, and must be battled with and overcome before enlightenment can take place.
Consequently, it is not only against the old war chiefs and black magicians that Quetzalcoatl must do battle; it is also against the negative psychological attributes of ignorance, superstition, and fear, which, persisting within the collective psyche, are the cause of Tezcatlipoca’s appearance in the first place.
As Hall elaborates, “the forces opposing the essential progress of humanity are always embodiments of the three great enemies: ignorance, superstition, and fear.” These three collective evils come together to feed and empower the evil cult of black magicians, Tezcatlipoca.
By contrast, the release of Light within destroys these evil tyrants. As Hall explains: “By Light (Quetzalcoatl) men are brought together, and when this Light enters into their hearts and minds they are good and they work side by side and love one another. In this way, they not only share the Light but become in themselves centers of Light, which combat the darkness of ignorance and superstition (Tezcatlipoca).”
Simply put, the persistence of negative attributes with the human psyche is what’s responsible for allowing the corrupted leadership of Tezcatlipoca to persist.
The inverse is equally true as well: when individuals successfully transmute the negative forces within themselves, they not only build “soul power” within themselves but also simultaneously cut out the source of Tezcatlipoca's strength: the shadow complexes they harbor internally.
The hero god Quetzalcoatl personifies those character attributes most favored by philosophy: wisdom, intelligence, and virtue. When the populace imitates his example and adheres to his teachings, they learn to transmute their negative character traits into positive ones.
The victory of the Hero over the Adversary symbolizes the ultimate victory of philosophy over the three great adversaries of ignorance, superstition, and fear.
In physics terms, this represents energy liberating itself to achieve its own optimized state of flow.
In Plato’s teachings, this signifies a system coming to a state of self-realization, where its inner design becomes a perfect expression of a divine archetype originally established for it by the Divine Mind.
This is the task of Arya and the program of collective initiation its priesthood has been pursuing from the start: to achieve the optimization of energy’s flow within humanity, thereby bringing about a new golden age.
The negative karma of Atlantis is the backdrop against which this evolutionary project takes place. It provides the necessary adversarial friction against which our own inner growth is stimulated into taking place.
Pressure makes diamonds, as the saying goes. Elaborating on this point, Hall writes: “As man advances in his collective evolution, the negative obstacles he encounters supply a necessary incentive for individual improvement toward collective security.”
Therefore, from an evolutionary standpoint, the Shadow Adversaries that confront us serve a valuable purpose: they work to stimulate and catalyze the development of “soul power” within ourselves.
The “soul powers” that we develop as a result of struggle and strife are ones we must ultimately put to use as part of the quest to overcome Shadow tendencies within ourselves.
So long as these Shadows remain within us, they will continue to draw forth the manifestation of collective Adversaries from without, who seek our destruction and the entropic dispersion of our energy.
Consequently, until all negative psychic forces have been transmuted within us, Quetzalcoatl’s work must continue and the initiatory program of the Mysteries must go on.
Meanwhile, the fight with the Shadow must continue to take place. And this is because we need it to: through our confrontations with it, it stimulates within us the soul powers we require in order to ultimately defeat it.
27. The Aztecs Meet Their Adversary (Part I)
As covered above, the conditions for Tezcatlipoca’s ascendence to power and Quetzalcoatl’s exile arise when the negative character attributes of ignorance, superstition, and fear take hold within the collective psyche.
Tezcatlipoca feeds off the negative energies radiated out by the various shadow complexes the populace maintains within themselves. As such, it emerges as a symbolic personification of them: a “projection of the collective shadow”.
The times when Tezcatlipoca rises to power are dark ages. During these periods, “men of good spirit, the initiates, are sacrificed to the material ambitions of temporal rulers.”
Sometimes, Tezcatlipoca appears from within, such as when an insurrectionist rebel group emerges from within a nation to challenge its political order and social stability.
This happened with the Inca, when the illegitimate son of a fallen emperor brought about a civil war in order to claim what he perceived was his rightful inheritance of the throne.
At other times, the “Adversary” emerges from outside the social group as an external threat.
The Inca faced this type of Shadow confrontation as well, with the Spanish Conquistadors arriving just after their civil war to cement the society’s destruction.
Often, as the story of the Inca illustrates, both endogenous and exogenous factors blend together to support Tezcatlipoca’s rise and Quetzalcoatl’s fall.
The general pattern seems to be that things begin with an internal decline, with a fall in ethics, morals, and ideals setting in within the populace at large.
These negative tendencies growing within the collective are then brought out into tangible expression through the arrival of an Adversary, who comes into society from the outside as an explicit personification of their inner Shadow tendencies.
In his writings on the collapse of the Aztec Empire in Mexico, Manly Hall discusses how the Spanish Conquistadors lead by Cortes came in and perfectly embodied the role of Tezcatlipoca to the Aztec people.
The Aztecs were considerably less cultured and civilized than their Mayan forebears, much like how Rome rose as a lesser descendent its predecessor, Greece. While the Aztecs did feature an iteration of the Mysteries within their society, its glory did not shine as bright as it once did in the previous Mayan empire.
Compared to its Mayan predecessors, the collective psyche of the Aztecs had fallen deeper into materialistic tendencies and consequently exhibited a more warlike personality. In other words, the Aztecs had become internally infected by the archetype of Tezcatlipoca, with the social fabric of its society correspondingly weakened as a result.
Hall believes that, had its story played out longer, the Aztec civilization probably would have taken a Roman trajectory and moved into a imperial, colonization mode, rising to dominate the Incas to the south and Amerindians of the north.
But this did not happen. It was prevented from occurring by the timely appearance of an Adversary - the Spanish Conquistadors - who emerged to challenge the legitimacy of Aztec civilization at a critical moment in its development.
With the coming of the Conquistadors, the Aztecs faced their Shadow: the arrival of a foreign power who personified the same tendencies toward greed, intolerance, competition, and empire that the Aztecs had been internally developing within themselves.
While both civilizations shared these tendencies, the Spaniards demonstrated them with a power and potency that the Aztecs could barely fathom.
Compared to their European counterparts, the Aztecs were downright peaceful: they had never seen and could not fathom the type of evil the Spaniards were capable of.
This was largely due to the fact that the Aztecs had, until then, remained isolated from contact with any legitimate challenger to its supremacy. As such, “it was not necessary for their social philosophy to have developed any strongly aggressive or even defensive tendencies.
By contrast, the Spaniards were a product of their environment: of the constant war, competition, and struggle between empires, monarchs, oligarchs, religious factions, cultures, etc.
At the chosen hour appointed by the gods, this foreign “Adversary” emerged to confront the Aztecs, manifesting their own negative attributes back to them in a potent and concentrated form.
In classic “shadow” fashion, the Adversary from Spain preyed upon and tested the internal psychological weaknesses of the Aztecs. These weaknesses had grown and festered over time, fragilizing Aztec society and making it vulnerable to challenge.
Put simply, the Spaniards acted upon the psychological “dry rot” that had been festering within the Aztec culture group. They drew out its internal weaknesses, preyed upon them, and tested them. The Aztecs failed this test, and were destroyed as a result.
To give one example of this dynamic, the arrival of the conquistadors stimulated a long held superstition within Aztec society.
The source of the confusion seems to be that the Spaniards’ arrival aligned with certain prophesies contained within the native mythologies of the Aztec people. In their legends, their equivalent of Quetzalcoatl, the Hero God, had promised, upon departing, to one day return to his people and restore glory to their kingdom.
There is a philosophical meaning to this myth that is factual, but the literal interpretation of it wasn’t true. Therefore, the Spaniards’ arrival personified this tendency within Aztec psychology to accept symbolic allegories as literal.
This tendency toward theological literalism is indicative of a loss of wisdom within society and the ascendence of ignorance and superstition. Consequently, the Spaniards arrived as a great karmic test of this negative psychological tendency. The Aztecs failed this test, and met their demise as a consequence.
Going further into the details of how this karmic testing came about, Manly Hall informs us that the Aztec leader, Montezuma, had been warned in advance by certain foresighted members of the priesthood that the coming of a powerful external Adversary was imminent.
He writes: “Aztec astrologers warned Montezuma of the coming of the Spaniards and the impending destruction of the Indian Empire. Astrological predictions of the Spanish invasion of Mexico were in circulation among the Aztecs at least two hundred years before the arrival of Cortez, and the prophecies were so exact that the invaders were described as wearing metal pots (helmets) on their heads.”
Furthermore, "at the time of the Spanish attack, a great comet hung over the City of Mexico. The Aztec astronomers declared that this comet portended the fall of the city.”
Unfortunately, Montezuma did not heed these warnings.
Tragically, when the Spaniards arrived, they were “mistaken for the return of the wise and kindly god of long ago.”
In this manner, the arrival of the Spaniards preyed upon, in perfect symbolic fashion, a weakness or “complex” within Aztec psychology. In particular, they personified a deeply-held superstition: the return of the Aztecs’ Hero God to save their civilization.
What Nature actually intends is for mankind to gain the strength to evolve itself; but the Aztecs had not cultivated this strength: they were waiting for an external savior.
Because the Aztecs had developed a superstitious (rather than philosophical) belief regarding the return of the Messiah, they, at first opportunity, enthusiastically embraced Cortes as the return of this Hero, giving him almost immediately the keys to their kingdom. They paid dearly for this mistake as a consequence.
Because of their fall into superstition, the Aztecs were perfectly primed to misinterpret the arrival of the Spaniards, who arrived as a karmic embodiment of their “Shadow”.
This Shadow cut them down like the scythe of Saturn, coming to them as a great initiatory test, one which preyed upon their own weaknesses in order to bring about their entropic destruction.
Once again, this function of “the tester” is the archetypal role that the Adversary plays in human life: pass its test, and you move onto a new, higher stage of life; fail it, and be forced to reincarnate again and again until finally the necessary wisdom and strength is developed so that next time you will be enabled to pass the test.
Having failed their confrontation with Shadow, the souls within those fallen Aztec bodies became karmically required to reincarnate in a pattern that would systematically work to bring out and develop the psychological powers that had been left undeveloped, leaving them vulnerable to failing their test.
As a result of this next cycle of incarnation, these souls will learn to develop and mature their intellect and degree of philosophical insight, so that next time the Adversary rises to challenge them, they’ll be prepared and able to pass the test.
28. The Scythe of Saturn Falls Upon the Americas
In the field of astrology, the planet Saturn is associated certain archetypal motifs that are closely correlated with the arrival of the “Adversary” as an external karmic force coming into the life of a person or group in order to test their weaknesses and shortcomings.
Richard Tarnas summarizes the archetypal themes associated with Saturn’s influence upon the horoscope: he notes that, overall, it is the planet of harsh realities and trials. More specifically, it is associated with: “preoccupation with aging and death, difficult ordeals and hard labor, depression, oppression, constriction, deficit, scarcity, and starvation.”
Going deeper, Tarnas further links Saturn with the themes of: “contraction and constraint; deprivation and negation; division and conflict; discipline and control; rigor and rigidity; repression and oppression; deflation and decline; depression and sorrow.”
He also notes that Saturn can bring “feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, loneliness, and guilt. It is associated with skepticism and a profoundly pessimistic view of existence, a shattering crisis of meaning, the inability to enjoy anything, and the loss of any connection with the divine dimension of reality.”
Tarnas equates Saturn with “the reality principle”: it confronts us with hard truths that we may be uncomfortable with or try to avoid but which, in the end, are inevitable, inescapable, and necessary. Therefore, it is associated with finality and the ending of eras or ideas that have outworn their usefulness.
The Saturn archetype often confronts us with the relationship between mortality and material existence. Its astrological symbol references the scythe: it separates the chaff from the wheat, meaning it cuts off the material elements that have crystallized within us and are blocking the free flow of light within the Soul.
Therefore, through Saturn’s seemingly adversarial influence, which comes to us in the form of great tests, that which is crystallized and outmoded within us is cut down, while that which is immaterial and immortal within us is freed from constriction and allowed to further progress.
In common with the “Adversary” archetype we’ve been discussing throughout this article, one of Saturn’s key purposes is to force a confrontation between:
a) Life’s need to evolve; and
b) The tendency of various types of artificial barriers and blockages that we construct and maintain within ourselves - such as outmoded traditions, entrenched authorities, and psychological fixations - to resist and restrict the necessary changes that evolution demands.
So long as we remain strongly attached to negative characteristics within ourselves, then Saturn will be experienced as a causer of pain and adversity.
This is its role: to cut down false material attachments that we have grown psychologically dependent on.
As astrologer Isabel Hickey further explains, “Saturn's goal is perfection. Through the chastening process of testing, sorrow, delay, disappointment, limitation, and privation, man learns the purpose of life is not pleasure but to gain experience, patience, humility, wisdom, and compassion.”
She continues: “Through disintegration, old, worn out, useless, crystallized forms are destroyed so better, more beautiful, useful, and adaptable forms may replace them.”
Saturn, in the form of the Adversary, comes to us as a tester or initiator.
As Richard Tarnas writes, Saturn’s influence is one of “moving events towards critical and defining junctures”.
It stimulates and tests the hidden “shadow complexes” we have developed within ourselves, appearing to us as an embodiment of them - a “shadow projection”.
While “shadow complexes” can be repressed, the confrontation with this Adversary, once it appears, is unavoidable.
For the native American civilizations that once flourished in isolation in the western hemisphere, the Europeans came as an embodiment of the Adversary: a outside force of negation that confronted the American peoples as an existential threat.
Each of America’s native civilizations failed its Saturnian test, and each was consequently cut down by the edge of its scythe as a result.
To give an example, the Iroquois Nation (introduced in Part 2), which had risen to develop democratic institutions within itself, upon encountering their European Adversary, devolved back into a disunited, warlike state, before eventually fizzling apart and dying at the hands of their conquerors.
As Manly Hall explains, due to the aggressive actions of the colonizing powers, “the Iroquois nations were forced into the very predicament they were trying so desperately to avoid - a state of war.”
In this way, the Europeans came to Iroquois as an archetypal personification of their Shadow: a spirit of death, destruction, deceit, and entropic negation sent to give the Iroquois League its great existential test.
Hall describes how the Iroquois councils “made treaty after treaty with the early settlers, but in most instances the treaties were broken by the whites the moment they could gain an advantage by so-doing. If the Indians tried to defend their homes or their lands they were called savages. The members of peaceful tribes were sold into slavery, their villages were attacked and destroyed without warning or provocation, their messengers tortured while traveling under a flag of truce, and their women and children murdered and dishonored.”
Furthermore, “Indians were not permitted any redress under white law. They offered to present their complaints to a properly assembled body, but even this was flatly refused. To many of the settlers, the Indian had no more rights than a wild animal.”
Not being able to overcome the evil that had taken root within the psychology of the European colonizers, the Iroquois devolved back to their old, warlike ways.
Hall explains that, “although the wiser heads counseled peace, the warriors could not be held in check indefinitely. … So at last the tribes took the warrior’s path and the nations faded away, one by one. Thus, the Iroquois League of Peace met the fate of every organization that has been formed so far in the world to end the horror of war.”
Hall further points out that “the elder statesmen of the Iroquois Nations did not fail, but a world of uncivilized and selfish states failed to keep faith with a dream that was beyond their comprehension. Treaties are scraps of paper, codes are meaningless and worthless, and world courts are empty names whenever ruthless nations believe that they are wrong enough to break the peace and extend their sphere of dominion over weaker peoples.”
The competitive and belligerent psychology of the European colonizers, shaped by millennia of war, slavery, economic injustice, cultural confrontations, and war-making empires, had been molded into a form that perfectly embodied the archetype of Saturn for the Inca, Aztecs, and Iroquois people.
In the case of the Inca and Aztecs, the brutal, ruthless, murderous schemes of the Conquistadors entropically destroyed and deconstructed their civilizations almost immediately upon their first encounter with them.
Their institutions had, as a result of isolation, gradually crystallized into a condition that was highly fragile and vulnerable to Saturn’s harsh and unforgiving method of testing.
When this test finally came in the form of the Spaniards, the institutions of the natives unraveled almost immediately. Its civilization disintegrated almost overnight, its former citizens left to become the nameless and faceless victims of the Conquistadors’ unforgiving “scythes”.
29. Father Time, Lord of Mortal Creation
In an interesting side-note included in one of his writings about the fall of the Aztecs, Manly Hall writes that Bernardino de Sahagun and Tomas de Torquemada, the two primary architects of Spain's colonization scheme in the Americas, both “preserved a prayer addressed to Tezcatlipoca.”
In the religious mythology of the Mayans, Tezcatlipoca was the name of enlightenment’s archetypal “Adversary”. In the Old Testament, Jehovah plays this role. In Greek legend, it was Cronus; in Rome’s version, it was Saturn.
As Hall further explains, “Tezcatlipoca represents the Demiurgus. He was the Soul of the World, the direct and immediate Creator of Heaven and Earth, and the Master of all material things.”
The Demiurgus represents the “Third Person” of a divine trinity. He creates, preserves, and then ultimately destroys material creation.
The power to fashion material creation exists as the third and least significant principle of the World’s threefold spiritual constitution.
Superior to the Demiurgus is Christ, the Divine Child, who is immaterial, immortal, and beyond limitation.
Then, behind Christ, is the Infinite Reality of the All-Father: the supreme principle and ultimate cosmic mystery. This principle, termed Brahma by the Hindus, transcends not only matter but also Mind, it representing pure consciousness in an unconditioned state.
In this context, as an aspect of the Demiurgus, Saturn represents Father Time. This principle differentiates the mortal from the immortal. The ticking of its clock shows no mercy: at the appointed hour, each material form born within its kingdom of mortality must be dissolved, so that the spiritual principle behind it may be liberated to pursue future growth opportunities.
Symbolically, through Saturn, the Demiurgus “eats its own progeny”, symbolizing its material creations. This explains the imagery of the old bearded god cannibalistically devouring the body of a child, which is sometimes depicted in ancient mythological artwork.
As Manly Hall further explains, “Saturn is associated with time and is often pictured carrying a scythe. Here, he represents the manifestation of time, which destroys all mortal forms, that the immortal life principle within them may be freed to continually build for itself ‘better mansions’.”
By pledging allegiance to this principle (Jehovah) in their prayers, Torquemada and Sahagun both took on its “Orenda” and personified it in their life actions.
With the spirit of Tezcatlipoca (Jehovah; Saturn) moving through them, they guided the Conquistadors to destroy and loot the Inca and Aztec civilizations.
Possessed by the psychology of the Shadow, they arrived on the shores of the Americas as its embodiment. In other words, they arrived as the personification of Father Time, the Great Adversary who tests all souls in their evolutionary ascent towards immortality and godhood.
From a philosophical standpoint, death is the necessary corollary of birth. Together, they represent the yin and yang of mortal existence: one cannot occur without the other, and evolution requires both to do its work.
Time implies death, which also implies both birth and re-birth. First we are born; then comes death; and then, from death, comes re-birth, which then necessitates a second death. This in turn necessitates a further re-birth, with these cycles repeating until creation’s archetype - the Divine Plan for mortal creation - is eventually attained.
Death is therefore necessary because it allows the immortal life within the mortal form to be liberated. Without death, crystallization would set in and life would cease to evolve.
In this way, like Saturn, time, in cyclical fashion, gives birth to mortal forms, then re-absorbs them. It does this in order that the life within them may be freed to re-integrate with itself, realizing its own inherent capacity for re-unification.
The method of initiation practiced in the Mystery Schools is premised upon these principles.
In the initiatory rites of the Mysteries, candidates are presented with various initiation tests, each designed to test them on how well they have integrated their own Shadow tendencies.
In the Mysteries, the candidate must pass various tests, each personifying an archetypal Adversary that the soul must address, overcome, and integrate in order to fulfill its evolutionary destiny - to attain enlightenment.
The well-prepared, well-integrated initiate will pass these tests, while those who have not yet learned to master the material attachments and shadow tendencies within themselves will fail.
On a collective level, the coming of the Adversary to a civilization group represents a mass initiation test: it is Saturn coming to move his scythe over the entire civilization group, cutting down all that is not serving the long-term evolution of the immortal Christ principle within.
If the souls within that civilization group fail such a test, then together they must reincarnate until they eventually gain the strength to successively meet the challenge and pass it.
Then, like the hero soul of myth, they move onto the next phase of testing, where they work to develop and unfold further soul powers required for the full enlightenment of the Adept to be reached. This is the famous “Hero’s Journey” that Joseph Campbell informed us of.
Manly Hall, the great 20th century initiate of America, elaborates on these points, teaching us that “those who would serve their God safely and within the company of immortals must first master their own sins. Therefore, the price of entrance into the Temple is the conquest of our own lower natures.”
He emphases that the ability to master one’s emotional impulses is one of the primary “soul powers” that the successful initiate must demonstrate if they hope to pass the higher degrees of initiation.
Elaborating, he writes: “Our gravest difficulties arise where emotions have exaggerated differences. The individual is not able to sit back and accept that appearances may be different but substances may be the same. Emotionally we become addicted to one substance and opposed to another. We dramatize differences, exaggerate them, and allow them to become the cause of bitter feuds, intolerances, and injustices. Surrounded by the by-products of our own mistakes, we have little peace and quiet, and very little inspiration toward self-improvement.”
Consequently, “the person moving toward enlightenment has to subdue, reform, and redeem the psychic field which he has permitted to get out of hand.” Only by so doing will they be able to reach the Divine Source, which is “the mysterious center … guarded by a vast realm of silence. It is the silence surrounded by the clamoring.”
To reiterate: Hall is here stating that, before a candidate of the Mysteries can be initiated into the higher degrees, they must first bring their emotions into balance and align their intellect into a sound pattern of reasoning.
As Manly Hall warns us, ”before one takes the true path of discipleship, he must have a long talk with himself and see how many of the elements of his lower nature he is allowing to tie him to Earth.”
“Then begins the great battle so often symbolized in the religious ceremonials of the ancients, which must result in the death of the low nature - the ‘Dweller on the Threshold’.”
In the grand scheme of things, the “Fight with the Shadow” serves a vital and necessary purpose: Phoenix-like, “from the ashes of conflict, the higher nature rises and becomes one with the Spirit of Light. This is the mystery of the crucifixion.”
The purpose of the Mysteries is to prepare and guide the soul through life’s initiations so it may attain the “resurrection”, which is the death of the soul’s attachment to its material nature and its rebirth into a new life of spiritual awareness.
Here, in this illuminated state, “the individual with peace passes through a mysterious room beyond”, where he finds himself “in the mysterious sanctuary of the ancient ones of the earth.”
For mankind, this represents the promise of a golden age, a time when the Philosophic Empire will rise finally into ascendence, spreading wisdom to all the world, like the missionaries of Salomon’s House in Francis Bacon’s “New Atlantis”, who traded in “Light”.
The realization of this ideal has always been the dream of the Arya. The task of the Aryan Mystery Schools, with their Adepts and initiates, has always been to guide mankind to develop the strength within itself to attain this goal for itself. Then, true democracy is possible, and the tyranny of materialism, the great adversary of enlightenment, will finally be defeated.
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