Psychic Chicago: Spiritual Capitol of the World
The Heart of the Heartland
We all know that can’t be. The spiritual center of the planet is Tibet. Or Jerusalem. Or Machu Pichu. Mecca or Stonehenge or Giza or the Ganges. Or maybe Esalon, Sedona or the Four Corners. The Chinese, of course, who cunningly bide their time while the rest of us slug it out, know they are at the center of things, and so call China the ‘Middle Kingdom’. Which, come to think of it, is exactly the presumption of Europeans, since ‘Medi-terranean’ means ‘Middle Terra’ or Middle Earth. But Chicago? Spiritual Center? Man, this is a tough place to lead a spiritual life. We all know that.
In recent Messages I have been examining 'Why Now?' - the change of Ages and the cosmic clock of the Great Year. Today I want to examine 'Why Here?' - a presentation of the outrageous thesis that it is precisely Chicago where the fate of the planet will be decided.
Do I have your attention?
Of course everybody has their own version of where the ‘spiritual center of the planet’ lies. Years ago I met a woman in Lansing, Michigan, who was convinced that Lansing was the spiritual capital of the world. Her conviction was ABSOLUTE, for her spiritual teacher, who doubled as a secretary in the mundane world, had revealed to her the presence of THE ABSOLUTE SPIRIT. The Absolute resided in Lansing because the state of Michigan was shaped like a hand - presumably the ‘Hand of Fate’, and Lansing was located at the center of the palm. From Lansing, world affairs could be dictated.
Not bad, but I think it's Chicago. Which is the population center of the Heartland of the most powerful nation on earth.
I learned to understand these things here in Chicago, and I live here now, which by itself makes for me a convincing case of Chicago being the spiritual center. It is a lesson learned on the Farwell pier in Rogers Park, on a moonlit winter night some 25 years ago. I had walked out on the pier with a friend, and we were looking out over the water. There was enough wind to roil the lake, and as light came from the south downtown, and from the east reflecting the moon, the reflections appeared as blinking arrows dancing across the tops of the waves, pointed right at me. I was stunned by the implication: “Look!” I called out to my friend, pointing at the lake: “All light comes to me!” - “No!” he countered immediately. “Me! It all comes to me!”
Another great 'Chicago lesson' occurred even earlier, at the end of the 1960's. Upon graduating college, I had proceeded to fall off the ladder of success by choosing to become first a civil rights worker in the south, then an unpaid community organizer in Chicago. After a few years of that, devastated by my inability to steer the world in the direction I was sure it needed to go, I watched former friends, colleagues and classmates: some were building their careers, others were off to India to find a guru, or Japan for a Zen Master. I was more the Guru/Zen sort, but radical politics had left me deeply wounded in both psyche and wallet. Unfair! I complained to the cosmos. I want my Guru and Zen Master! Well, I found them, the Zen Master in Uptown, where he doubled as a head minister at the local Buddhist Temple; the Guru in Rogers Park, holding meditations at a small 'growth center' called Oasis. What I learned from them is another story. But learning to find them is part of this one.
It is what I have been calling the Female Power - the power to alter external reality, to call events into being, by the words or prayers we speak into our own inwardness. The way the Universe shapes itself to our concerns can be quite dramatic. As well as humorous.
A few days ago, I checked my email at the library. “Do you know any Islamic women we could invite to our Jewish-Islamic Women’s Group?” a friend had queried. “Sorry, nyet on that one,” I wrote back, “but I’ll keep my eyes open.” Then left the library and went to the bank, where my affaors required me to see a bank representative. Of course she turned out to be Afghani, and we were off and running on the subjects of Afghan tribal politics, Muslim sects, Islam and Israel, being Islamic in America, etc. She was quite eager to join a Jewish-Islamic Woman’s Group. Or rather, an Islamic-Jewish Woman’s Group.
I have friends in other parts of the country who don’t like Chicago, or the Midwest. “Too heavy,” they sniff. “Too dense.” While others who live here sometimes complain: “It’s not easy to lead a spiritual life in Chicago.” Well, but that density, that heaviness is exactly the point. It’s a psychic vortex of millions of people, hundreds of cultures, which pulls us deeply into the destiny of humanity. That whirlpool, that turmoil of apparently conflicting and competing beliefs, races, classes, religions, sexes can confound and confuse and submerge us in chaos and hopelessness; or it can be the raw and vibrant material from which we create. That act of creation is the exercise of spiritual will. A speaking into the depths that there is indeed a place and a purpose for all of us. That the light comes to all of us. That wherever we are, that place is the spiritual center, and that all are welcome who come to give the gift of life, as well as to receive it.
Back to Chicago as the center of ‘a Merica’. I use that term advisedly. We all know that the US is the present-day Rome. But for the moment I want to refer to a previous and somewhat mysterious culture inhabiting the north of Italy, the Etruscans, from whom Rome received much of its cultural and spiritual impulse. The Etruscans worshipped a Mother Goddess who entered the Roman pantheon as Fortuna, Lady Fortune - our present ‘Lady Luck’. The Etruscan name of their Goddess of Fortune: Merica. Hence ‘a Merica’. Which has an etymological resonance with that other spiritual term ‘miracle’.
Our ‘Founding Fathers’ knew these things. They knew that ‘a Merica’ was to be an intentional ‘miracle’, a haven (heaven) for the world, not just destination, but destiny. They recorded their attempts to steer that destiny by small tricks, such as putting a ‘third eye’ inside a pyramid on the dollar bill. And larger ones, like laying out the original architecture of Washington as a star map of Virgo, as well as of the Tree of Life, or Kabala. (As the pyramids were a star map of Orion. Virgo, which is also the model of the great cathedrals of Europe, was chosen because it is the antipode of Pisces; just as the sphinx recorded the Age of Leo, so the invocation of Virgo records the end of the Age of Pisces. An exercise in ‘star logic’.) Many of these founders were Masons - Ma sons; sons of the Motther. We might want to forgive them a few of their peccadilloes and imperfections, such as refusing the franchise to minorities and women, George Washington being a pothead, Thomas Jefferson owning slaves. Who’s perfect? We all have our rough edges. The point being that some of them knew things that, by our present standards of scholarship, they shouldn’t oughta known.
Back to Rome again, and the idea of Empire. Though there are counter-currents and eddies, ‘Empire’ is a wave which rolls slowly round the world, and it rolls from East to West. There was once a Chinese Empire. Then an Indian Empire. A Persian Empire, a Greek (under Alexander), then came Rome. Following that Spain was for a time the dominant world power, then England. Now it is the US. In time, perhaps a few decades or a few centuries, the center of ‘empire’ will return to Asia. But now, it is here. And we again, Chicagoans, are at the center of it, the Heartland for good or ill.
So, here we are, some of us at least, in Chicago. ‘Chicago’ - meaning onion field. Peeling the layers of our ignorance, looking for the center of who we are. Chicago: ‘chi’ (Chinese for flows of energy) ‘ca’ (Egyptian ‘ka’, the spirit soul) go (‘go’, the Japanese game of strategies, as well as the oh-so-American ‘go for it’). So, I define Chicago as: ‘go with the flow of the soul’.
And then there is the issue of water. Behind the ‘oil crisis’ lies a deeper ‘water crisis’, as both the quality and quantity of fresh water in the world threatens to become inadequate for the needs of the teeming population. But here we sit, adjacent to the largest bodies of fresh water on the planet. And water is not only 97% of our bodies (did I get that right?) but also a psychic resonator which carries our ‘vibe’, harmonic or message into resonance with the world around us. Sound is emitted in air waves, but it is formed within us in water waves. We reside by a lake by which we ‘lay key’ to not only the heartland of the country, but to the world. That water resonance is one we can vibrate with as we send our prayers into the only true and final ‘spiritual center’ of the planet the earth’s core. Gaia. The womb of the Earth Mother. We speak to her today from Chicago, the center of our world. And our prayer becomes, not ‘as above, so below’ (which was meant as a description, not an invocation), but rather ‘as within, so without’. As within our hearts, so flowing out to the world around us. As within our dedication to the Earth, so expressed in what we build and what we live in Chicago, spreading out across our world.
Is it coincidence that as I prepare to send out this message, I find an email from a friend describing her passage through O’Hare: “How’s Chicago? Somehow it seems like the center of more than the country.”