Sunday, April 22, 2018

Earth Day 2018: Resistance = rEvolution

At the Golden Gate. San Francisco. April 2018. 
With the Oval Office occupied by a usurper acting as an agent of a foreign power and Capitol Hill in the grip of the Zombie Cult and its Death Eater overlords, sociopathy as a philosophy of governance reigns, with only the Deep State, the Fourth Estate and We, the People Indivisible holding the line against a free fall into utter madness. 

As Noam Chomsky has said over and over again since early on in the 2016 election cycle, "the Republican Party is the most dangerous organization in the history of the world."
  • “It’s a threat to the country,” William Ruckelshaus, whom President Richard Nixon appointed in 1970 to lead the newly-created EPA, told HuffPost in a wide-ranging interview ... "They certainly are killing everything,” he added, noting that President Donald Trump’s assault on climate change policies would be a cornerstone of his legacy ... Last week, three former EPA administrators told HuffPost it could take decades for the next agency chief to restore the staffing, reputation and regulatory muscle lost under Pruitt." -- Alexander C. Kaufman, EPA Chief Under Nixon And Reagan: GOP’s Climate Denial Is ‘Killing Everything,' Huffington Post, 1/27/18
On this grim Earth Day in the U.S.A., lean forward into the great shift.

Remember, crimes against nature = crimes against humanity.

Remember, resistance = rEvolution.

Here are some defining principles from Earth Democracy, a vital text by the great Vandana Shiva:
  1. All species, peoples, and cultures have intrinsic worth.
  2. The earth community is a democracy of all life.
  3. Diversity in nature and culture must be defended.
  4. All beings have a natural right to sustenance. 
  5. Earth democracy is based on living economies (that is, living ecological systems) and economic democracy.
  6. Earth democracy is based on local economies: economies that provide direct subsistence from nature rather than from extractive global markets.
  7. Earth democracy is a participatory democracy in which people have knowledge and power to influence actions that effect their lives and livelihood.
  8. The human cultures of an earth democracy promote peace and create free spaces for the practice of different faiths and identifies.
  9. Cultures in an earth democracy are life nourishing. 
  10. Earth democracy globalizes peace, care and compassion. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

"I, the Dragon" - A Treasure Map, A Medicine Pouch, A Book of Spells, Part Autobiographical Novel, Part World History, A Saga in the Truest Sense


I, the Dragon" is part autobiographical novel, part world history, a fierce exploration of psyche (creative imagination), soma (embodiment) and spanda (divine pulsation). "I, the Dragon" is the tale of a life-long journey into the wilderness of revelation, a saga of savage beauty offered up to the dark goddess. The narrative flow spans six decades. Borne with psychic gifts, a severely abused child escapes the hell of his "home" and plunges into a labyrinth of adventure. A feral creature, he lives on the run. Searching for soul sustenance, he sheds skins one after another: political activist, Dionysian, nihilist, Bhakti poet ... But that's just the beginning ... 

"I, the Dragon" is a treasure map of previously unchartered wilderness left behind for those who seek mystical riches. "I, the Dragon" is a medicine pouch for those leaning forward into the Great Shift that we must undertake if our species is to evolve. "I, the Dragon" is a book of spells offering occult knowledge and powerful techniques for deepening your intimate relationship with the Mysterium itself. "I, the Dragon" is not only the story of a life-long journey into mystical revelation and healing, it is also partly a political, ecological, geopolitical and cultural history of the last six decades.  

How did a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and physical neglect become a planet-circumambulating expert on security and intelligence? How did a forsaken boy who didn’t even finish grammar school end up a “Distinguished Fellow" in the engineering school of a major university? How did an acknowledged seer in the shadow realms of cyber war, terrorism and economic espionage transition into a teacher of yoga and meditation? What does the path of healing through somatic psycho-therapy look like from the inside out? How does one move through soul-shattering grief? When did the dark goddess come to reign over this wayfarer's life? What were the seven beasts that came to him over the years? What powerful medicines did they share? 

"I, the Dragon" is a saga in the truest sense. A child imprisoned in a hellhole of madness and sexual abuse escapes into a life of adventure, becoming in turn a libertine, a nihilist, a planet-circumambulating seer in the shadow realms of espionage, cyber crime and terror, and ultimately a poet-philosopher offering a 21st century expression of occult truths and primal reality. 

Like all great sagas, "I, the Dragon" is also a history of our times. The six-decade arc of the narrative spans Gaia's descent into Anthropogenic Climate Disruption and the Sixth Great Extinction and also America's crisis of democracy from the political assassinations of the 1960s to the Trumpster Fire, the Zombie Cult and the Death Eater Lords.

I had a joyful insight recently, a vision of just how this memoir might read to those (however few) who come across it in the future. I am grateful for how much this work captures, the feeling of these last six decades, i.e., the forward movement of herstory (formerly known as "history") and of planetary evolution itself, the best of times and the worst of times. I am also very grateful for just how much medicine I was fortunate enough to share in the folds of the narrative; powerful medicines offered to me by the dark goddess herself and by her agents here on Terra, rooted, winged, four-legged, slithering, swimming, molten rock ... 

I hope you feel called to become one of the three hundred and thirty three beings in the magic circle of this limited edition. The Great Shift is upon us, this book may serve you well along the way.

Here are a few testimonials from gifted beings, performance artists, yoginis, burners, sorceresses, writers, allies in shared circles of influence:
  • "Captivating, riveting. A wild ride of a read. The wisdom of an incredible man whose precious life was recovered from the heart and soul of a young boy." -- Helena Zera (@vyanayoga)
  • "I'm so moved by your transparency... Your book is a gift. It will help heal many hearts. Including mine." -- Kim Amadril (@undertherug)
  • "Richard Power is one of the most relevant writers of our time. As the world moves deeper into chaos, Richard presents his personal saga, 'I, the Dragon,' as proof that one can come from complete madness, see how madness is effecting humanity politically, economically, environmentally, and yet still find healing and the ability to love unconditionally." -- Brenna Geehan (@brennageehans), http://www.brennageehan.com
  • "No words to describe what your words do to me. Thank you. You changed my life." -- Maya Luna, Dakini Poetess, https://www.depravedanddivine.com
  • "Reading and re-reading Richard.... what has struck me most strongly about 'I the Dragon' is the beauty of the lyricism in some of the narrative passages... the content is yours (you lived it) yet I, the reader, own the breath, joy & tears that all rise with each turned page .... its a staggering work of memoir and literature, so much so I want to take this copy to Sligo, place it on W.B's grave stone, photograph it and send it to you...." -- Kevin McLaughlin, Burner, Photographer, Donegal, Ireland
  • "'I, the Dragon: Chronicles of an Epic Life Among Humans' is more than an incredible work of art. Richard Power delivers a personal nakedness never before shown, one that breathes healing into the deepest shadow of torture and survival. A most important work, masterfully written in three styles: porn cult-classic, polished blade of a global security expert and literary philosopher-poet. An undercurrent exists throughout this book, taking us beyond the desolation of his experience. Power never fails to find a way that leads us all into a new green oasis." -- Mary Power, http://www.mpowerdance.net/
  • "Yes, 'I, the Dragon' arrived just in time to begin savoring it in conjunction with blood blue moon. Which as we know is as it had to be. It is remarkable and anchoring and fracturing, all at once. A shard of reality in these illusion-filled times." -- Jennifer Ruth Keller (PhD, Standford University, Author of "Ordinary Oblivion and the Self Unmoored: Reading Plato's Phaedrus and Writing the Soul" Fordham University Press, 2014)
  • "The first one hundred pages (which I read in a single sitting) chronicles a glamorous, sexual, political and intellectual journey of a boy born into a world of unspeakable abuse and horror. At twenty four years of age he boards a bus heading for San Francisco. I take a breath, shed more than a few tears and prepare to continue the journey. There are three hundred pages yet to experience ..." -- David Thompson 
  • "Richard Power is a dear friend, soul brother, true blue ally, real-life magician, 21st-century bard, fountain of authentic wisdom, and all-around extraordinary human. I am blessed to have him in my life and now the world is blessed to have his memoirs in the collective consciousness. 'Epic Life' is not an exaggeration! Richard's life and work is a channeled articulation of the most profound Truths about the human experience, conveyed with wit, brillianceii, poetry and pathos. I love this man SO MUCH. THANK YOU, dear wizard, from the bottom of my heart, for existing and for delivering this gift to a planet in desperate need. Grab your limited-edition copy by clicking on the link below and donating as generously as you are able." -- Sarah Hendlish (@sarah_dlish)
"I, the Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans" is a limited edition (333 copies) full color, soft cover book of 405 pages, richly illustrated and annotated; this magical artifact is available exclusively via http://www.GoFundMe.com/wordsofpower

Proceeds from this campaign will fund audio books of both "I, the Dragon" and "Wyrds of Power: New Language for A New Reality" (my most important works) and also to promote public events and workshops throughout 2018.

 
2018 is a pivotal year in my work. If you resonate with my writings, if you feel my voice is important and should be heard, I encourage you to participate:

http://www.GoFundMe.com/wordsofpower

-- Richard Power

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Drawing on the Medicine of the Seven Beasts, the Shadow of the Dark Goddess and the Hidden Treasures of the Mysterium Itself ...


This first photo of these two works side by side in the physical universe marks the culmination of a nine-year run of intense creative endeavor.

Part autobiographical novel, part world history, I, the Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans speaks to the existential crisis of our age and offers insights on the way forward for both the individual and the collective. I, the Dragon tells the story of a child who survives profound sexual and psychological abuse and how that child becomes a planet-circumambulating expert in the shadow realms of espionage, cyber crime and terror. Drawing on the medicine of the Seven Beasts, the shadow of the Dark Goddess and the hidden treasures of the Mysterium itself, I, the Dragon tells the story of a life-long journey into the wilderness of healing and revelation.

I, the Dragon is a limited edition (333 copies), soft-cover, full-color book, with 405 pages, 115 images and 83 footnotes. Each copy is numbered and signed. I, the Dragon is available exclusively via http://www.GoFundMe.com/wordsofpower

Wyrds of Power: New Language for A New Reality constitutes a significant contribution to the emerging global wisdom tradition of the 21st Century. Several overarching themes frame this dispatch from the Ancient Future: the Evolution of Yoga and the Yoga of Evolution, the Ascendancy of the Feminine in Psyche (Human and Divine), Gaian Poetics, i.e., our intimate, creative relationship with the vast planetary intelligence within which we live, move and have our being, Altruism and Sustainability as Spiritual (and Existential) Imperatives and Path of an Evolutionary, i.e., a call to the great shift to a green civilization required of us if our species is to survive.

The funds raised through the I, the Dragon Limited Edition campaign will be used to produce audio books of both I, the Dragon and Wyrds of Power and to promote upcoming events and workshops.
 
Here are four readings from "I, the Dragon" embedded via SoundCloud (I have also included hyperlinks in case the embeds don't appear for those receiving this post through e-mail subscription):

Algorithms of Grace


Path of Sorcery


Spanish Moss


SVU


#shadow #savagebeauty #tavernofruin #troubadourskilledbeforetheyreachbombay #strangerinastrangeland #wyrdsofpower #wildmagic #gaianpoetics #cauldronyoga #primalreality #passionofthepoet #lifeofayogi #ancientfuture #ascendancyofthefeminine #darkgoddess #soma #psyche #yoga #tantra #tantrikaknows

Monday, January 01, 2018

Vital Resistance Artifacts to Bring Forward into 2018 - "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" and "I, the Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans"

Star Wars: The Last Jedi 
Kylo Ren: Did you come back to say you forgive me? To save my soul?
Luke Skywalker: No. [They draw their lightsabers and fight]
Luke Skywalker: I failed you, Ben. I'm sorry.
Kylo Ren: I'm sure you are! The Resistance is dead, the war is over, and when I kill you, I will have killed the last Jedi!
Luke Skywalker: Amazing. Every word of what you just said was wrong. The Rebellion is reborn today. The war is just beginning. And I will not be the last Jedi.


Two vital artifacts of the Resistance, two blockbuster epics, offered for your consideration --

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

In the Star Wars universe, power (often embodied in an ability to control the Force) is indeed a potent corruptor, one that’s hard to walk away from once you’ve gotten a taste. This is what lies behind the stories of the villainous Sith order, but it’s a tension that the heroic Jedi face, too. In The Last Jedi, the factors determining how power will be wielded and yielded are an awareness of history and — most importantly — a connection to that history through the people around you. It would spoil the story to say much more, but in several key scenes, characters face a choice between following the right path and disconnecting from their pasts and from others. The choice is clear, and the images near the film’s end underline it in moving fashion. That’s nothing new for Star Wars, which has always been a space opera about a family. But this particular iteration drives home that point in a manner that feels, on the tail end of a wearying year, like a deep point of relief, and even joy. Watching lengthy sequences involving heroic, complex characters played by black and Asian and Latinx characters, we can see a future worth living in. Being told that one character was “more interested in protecting the light than she was in seeming like a hero” is a reminder about wielding power well that feels deeply truthful and necessary today. I didn’t grow up with Star Wars, or much pop culture at all. I only saw the films as an adult, and while I’ve always liked them, I never connected to them the way so many people have; whatever it was they were trying to give me never really found its place in my heart. I went to The Last Jedi with high expectations because of the talent behind it, but I was prepared to just have a good time. And I walked out feeling many emotions, but especially something like hope, that elusive thing with feathers (though hope, to be clear, is not a porg). I felt expectant, and I believed not just that what the movie was saying was true — that even a small band of people with purpose, conviction, and a good, true story to tell can carry on in the face of evil — but that there’s a special power to saying it in a movie Star Wars has been with us for four decades now, telling that same essential story in a format that’s overwhelming and engulfing. With wit, skill, and love, The Last Jedi takes up the torch and carries it for a new generation. -- Alissa Wilkinson, The Last Jedi is A Magnificent Next Step for the Star Wars Universe, Vox, 12/16/17

I, the Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans



EXCERPT: The Triune Goddess herself wrote the Book of Creation. With a quill made from one of her plume feathers. Dipped in an ink pot that held her own rainbow blood. She dreamt each of the sacred symbols. And then she painted them one by one, page by page. The Triune Goddess herself tore the pages from the Book and shuffled them as if they were a deck of cards. And so they are. This is how divination came to be. The Triune Goddess established the cycles, just as if she was choreographing a dance. In their ignorance and greed, the humans are disrupting the cycle of the seasons and the planetary balance upon which civilization itself is predicated. But even the humans cannot disrupt the solar cycle. And so the Solstice has arrived. Light. Dark. North. South. Winter. Summer. Deepest. Darkest. Highest. Brightest. Zenith. Nadir. All. At once. Forever. Feel this. Primordial. Power. Shuffle the cards. Read the signs. Divine the truth. The Triune Goddess herself tore the pages from the Book and shuffled them as if they were a deck of cards. The Triune Goddess herself wrote the Book of Creation. With a quill from one of her plume feathers. Dipped in an ink pot that held her own rainbow blood. She dreamt each of the sacred symbols. She established the cycles. And so Solstice has arrived. Again. Feel this. Primordial. Power. Her hand is still moving ... -- Richard Power, "I, the Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans" (January 2018).

"I, the Dragon" Limited Edition available exclusively via this link --

http://www.gofundme.com/wordsofpower



EXCERPT: The beauty is almost unbearable; likewise the pain. The joy will drive you mad. The immeasurable ignorance will overwhelm you. The unspeakable ugliness will shatter whatever you imagine your "heart" to be, scattering it into countless, irretrievable and very real shards. Yes. Yet you will choose to lean forward, discovering (as if in slow motion) what your heart truly is. You will vow to fiercely engage with all of it, and to bear relentless witness. There is no other authentic way for YOU to live. Leaning forward into the all-consuming darkness is the essential nature of light. Devouring the sublime flash of soul lightening (and transmuting it into the fuel of the cosmic engine) is the essential nature of darkness. This is the exquisite truth of our sojourn here. -- Richard Power, "I, the Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans" (January 2018)

"I, the Dragon" Limited Edition available exclusively via this link --

http://www.gofundme.com/wordsofpower



EXCERPT: Grace is the universe's spontaneous uprising of pleasure at what you have chosen to do with the opportunity it has given you. The universe's assessment of where you are and what you are doing has no relationship at all to human value judgements, that's why grace seems to arise from nowhere and for no reason. The algorithms which govern the overflowing of grace are secret and known only to the seven goddesses embodied in a hot blue star cluster 444.2 light years away. But you have direct and immediate access to that circle of seven star goddesses. Your innate, original conscience is a portal. Your creative will is a portal. Your unconditional love is a portal. Through these portals the seven goddesses bear witness to your journey; through these portals you open yourself up to receive their boon of grace. All the people I couldn't be have made me the person I am. All the things I couldn't do have allowed me to do the things I do. For better and worse. That's the best deal I could make. Grace is always rising, always flowing, always surging. But will you embrace the numerous plot twists through which she reveals her true nature? Can you see through to the flesh of luminosity behind her many extravagant disguises? If you succeed in extracting your innate, original conscience from the misshapen pretender borne of dysfunction (both societal and familial), if you unleash your creative will to roam the wilderness of your shadow, if you offer your unconditional love to the lost and the wounded who are journeying alongside you, if, if, if, then all of the portals will open for you, one after another. The algorithms which govern the overflowing of grace are secret and known only to the seven goddesses embodied in a hot blue star cluster 444.2 light years away. But you have direct and immediate access to that circle of seven star goddesses. This is the truth. -- Richard Power, "I, the Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans" (January 2018)

"I, the Dragon" Limited Edition available exclusively via this link --

http://www.gofundme.com/wordsofpower

Saturday, September 23, 2017

An Important Equinox Message from Words of Power

Judy Chicago -- Earth Birth (1983)
My sixty-fourth birthday fell on the New Moon. Another priceless boon from the Dark Goddess. But there's even more to it. When you turn thirty-two, Venus and Mars come into the same position in relation to each other as they were at the moment of your birth. Likewise thirty-two years later when you turn sixty-four, Mars and Venus line up in the same way again. Yes, Mars and Venus, Love and War, and so much more. "Heiro Gamos," that's what a young friend, a Dakini poetess who just turned thirty-two, calls this particular recurrence, "Heiro Gamos" i.e., an inner sacred union, a sacred sexual union between god and goddess within. But there's still more. Two days after this profound recurrence, the Equinox arrived, bringing Autumn to the Northern Gaia and Spring to the Southern Gaia. The great wheel turns, turn with it. Yes, on the Equinox we celebrate the planetary polarity, we revel in the moment of absolute balance between light and dark, and then here in the North, we lean forward into the darkness ...

Within this last month, three mega hurricanes in the Caribbean and two mega earthquakes in Mexico: 50 inches of rain in Houston, a storm the width of Florida, and now Puerto Rico without electricity for months, and 70,000 people needing to evacuate to escape a dam that might break, at least twenty children killed when their school collapsed in Mexico City ... Meanwhile, in Beltwayistan, a mentally ill Usurper still occupies the White House, installed in large part through an information warfare campaign directed by the richest man in the world (Vladimir Putin). So for almost a year now the "most dangerous organization in human history" has been in charge of all three branches of the federal government, savagely imposing sociopathy as a new philosophy of governance. Unfortunately, although there has been widespread resistance since November 2016, some among us are withdrawing, choosing denial, but dressing it up in extravagant costumes and camouflaging it in mystical-twistical mumbo-jumbo, feeling that they have evolved beyond the political dimension of this struggle.

So I need to tell you something.   

The Hero's Journey never ends. If you find yourself telling someone about what happens after the Hero's Journey, either you didn't really go or you turned back too early. No one ever returns from the Hero's Journey. It just goes ON. It is the path of Individuation itself. The Hero's Journey and the Circle of Life are not two different stories. If you describe the Hero's Journey and the Circle of Life as two different stories, maybe you are just wanting cover for being AWOL at a time of war. The Hero's Journey is not a masculine motif. Just ask Freya or the Morrigan or the Norn or Epona or Wonder Woman or Agent Carter. Someone who says it is does not really understand the structure of consciousness. The Circle of Life and the Hero's Journey are foundational elements of the container which holds our Psyche (both individual and collective). The black wave of Yin and the white wave of Yang surge toward into through each other within the circumference established by the Circle of Life. The crests of the two waves touch at the center to form a jagged horizontal line up and down the space of the Circle. That jagged horizontal line is the Hero's Journey. It's not a boundary, it's an intimacy. It is the Razor's Edge. No one ever returns from the Hero's Journey. It just goes ON. Likewise, the Circle of Life and the Hero's Journey are symbiotic, they sustain each other ceaselessly, they unfold simultaneously and could not exist without each other.
Odilon Redon - Druid Priestess (1893)

This truth is from the Ancient Future, from before the Vikings were Vikings or the Celts were Celts. It is a double-edged sword. I know. I have felt its Valerian steel for six decades. On one edge the word W-I-L-L is emblazoned, on the other edge the word S-U-R-R-E-N-D-E-R is emblazoned. 

My sixty-fourth birthday, this Heirogamos, with its New Moon and Equinox, in the wake of a total solar eclipse just a month ago, all of it, urges me on to share what I can.

Wyrds of Power: New Language for A New Reality is available now from Amazon.com. It constitutes a significant contribution to the emerging planetary wisdom tradition.

I, the Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans will be available in a limited edition exclusively from wordsofpower.earth later this year. Each copy will be numbered and signed. Purchases will be processed via Paypal and credit card. Delivery will be made via U.S. postal service. 

I, the Dragon is an autobiographical novel. It tells the tale of my life's adventure from survivor of profound child abuse to global intelligence and security expert to philosopher-poet and yoga teacherIt is also a history of the nation and the world from the earl1950s to the present.

Look for an announcement sometime after Samhain 2017 (October 31st-November 1st).

-- Blessings, Richard Power, Author, Speaker, Yoga Teacher


Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Burning Man 2017: What the Sandstorm and the Blue Coyote Told Me


The Temple, Burning Man 2017
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned ...
-- W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming (First Stanza)

I left Black Rock City on Thursday. I didn't want to go to the torching of the Man or the Temple or any of the great art installations this year. I just didn't want to engage in any burning. This wasn't an intellectual decision, it wasn't conceptual, it was somatic, it was something I felt in all five bodies.

There were nineteen wild fires raging in the state of California that week.


Those blazing torches in Charlottesville also factored in. It had been less than a month since the act of domestic terrorism that took the life of Heather Heyer. The self-proclaimed "leaders of the Alt-Right" triggered that atrocity with their torch-lit rally. The usurper too bears moral responsibility for heaping abomination on top of atrocity when he provided cover for his "Alt Right" allies. Bully pulpit indeed.

I just didn't want to go to the torching of the Man or the Temple or any of the great art this year.

I know the fire intimately. The mystical fire. The one that burns from the inside out. I know the path of spiritual immolation so well my "playa name" might as well be "Heraclitus," but I don't have a "playa name" and I don't want one. My name is my name. I have thrown all that is mine into that fire, even and especially my own heart. Over and over again. But there is another truth hidden behind the truth of the fire. Supernatural fire is of a different nature than natural fire. When your heart is burned alive, it rises from the black ash the next morning, beating and hungry. We are phoenixes.

On Saturday night, back in my urban cave, just as I finished writing this lead to my story, I received the news that someone had eluded the security team at the burning of the Man and run into the inferno. He died the next day. Self-immolation. Tragic of course. But also in a very real way, an act of senseless violence inflicted upon all those who gathered there in celebration of life.

Ironically, the planet isn't just burning, it is simultaneously drowning. Just as Burning Man was starting, Cat 5 Hurricane Harvey's 2-day rain in Houston is 3 times floodwater pumped from New Orleans after Katrina, and just as Burning Man was ending, Cat 5 Hurricane Irma, a storm "larger than Ohio," was building toward a run at Puerto Rico and Florida.

The Climate Crisis is upon us now, full bore.

Solipmission, Burning Man 2017
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
 shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
 -- W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming (Second Stanza)

I go to Burning Man to walk in the wind and listen to the heart of the world.

For me, the wilderness had never served as the backdrop of the gathering, the gathering had always served as the backdrop of the wilderness.

What Burning Man became over the decades was in large part the result of where it was held after it was moved from Baker Beach. I do not say this to diminish the achievements of all of those who have dedicated so much of their life energy to the event. The karma and vision of the founders and their staff was an essential ingredient, so was the passion, creativity and service of a multitude of burners across the country and around the world. But it was the Black Rock Desert that made it what it became at its zenith. And I don't mean just any desert, I mean that one in particular, it is sacred, and powerful, and a portal opened up in that space for all of these years. This is an occult truth. Gaia made it so. Seriously. I know. I have circumambulated the cosmic egg at Uluru, and felt the coiling of the rainbow serpents. I have stood in the ruins at Tiahuancao, on the threshold of the great nothingness that lies beyond.

So yes, I go to Burning Man to walk in the wind and listen to the heart of the world.

The photos I take with my iPhone are not of empty space or sand storms or twilight on the mountains beyond, no, they're photos of humanity experiencing mystery of Burning Man, capturing as best I can what happens when the portal in which those humans are moving activates the portal otherwise dormant within them. At least, that is Burning Man at its best. That's what I look to capture and to chronicle. Burning Man at its worst is something I am not going to address in this post.

There is a current of information woven into the vibration of the planet's heart beat, an oracle.

On Tuesday afternoon, I was walking toward the Temple. It was maybe twenty feet away. Forty MPH winds had been whipping up sand storms for an hour or so already. A great squall arose. The sand blinded me. I could not even see my hands as I held them out in front of me. All sound seemed far away. I heard someone laughing. I heard someone screaming. The gust kept going. I had been in many sandstorms on the Playa, but nothing like this one. Ever. It went on for several minutes. Long enough for primal fear to arise. I turned inside to the heart of the world, and I asked, "What if this doesn't end?" THE VOICE answered from within the whirlwind, "Someday, it won't." After I stood there for a few more labored breaths, taking in the import of this message, the squall finally subsided.

Richard Power, Burning Man 2017
Inside the temple, there were, as always, many humans honoring their dead or working on some other personal loss, but in the center of the space, there was a hard-core mass of young burners, garbed like Fremen, listening to the singing of sacred crystal bowls. I looked around me, taking it all in, that hard-core mass of young Fremen and I were not their mourning the loss of a loved one or a body part or a romance, that hard-core mass and I were bearing witness to the end of our world, something more than prayer, something more than mourning, something more than hope. In silence. Whether acknowledged consciously or not by one or another of those present, that was nevertheless the reality of this moment. "Someday it won't."

The next night there was a big wild fire, it jumped the highway and burned on both sides, knocking out electricity in Gerlach. The police set up a road block and would not let me pass. They said there would be no change until at least sunrise on Thursday. So I drove back to Black Rock City. At 2:00 a.m. On the highway, halfway between Gerlach and the turn-off into the Playa, I saw something ahead of me on the road. I slowed down. It was motionless. I stopped once I got close enough to see what it was. A blue coyote was sitting in the middle of the road. He locked eyes with me. He spoke to me with his glance, in a psychic dialect of the tricksters: "WTF?!?! This world is whacked, brother. Totally whacked. All of it. Be careful. This is some serious shit. You aren't missing any of it. This is what is. Watch your back." After another breath, this one shared in silence, he slinked off the road and into the shadows. He glanced back twice. His eyes held such savage beauty. At 3:00 am in Black Rock City, celebrants crowded the avenues. But like my brother the Blue Coyote, I slinked into the shadows, and slept in my car. I left for before noon next day.

Returning early to San Francisco, I found it in the throes of a record-breaking heat wave.

"WTF?!?! This world is whacked, brother. Totally whacked. All of it. Be careful. This is some serious shit. You aren't missing any of it. This is what is. Watch your back."

Margareta Appalachia, Burning Man 2017
I had been conflicted about going to Burning Man 2017 all year. But I went anyway, I just decided I would leave early, before the burning ... So I was not surprised to feel that something was off with the Burn, at both the macro and micro levels. It was not subjective. The signs were all around me. Furthermore, beings I deeply respect shared their corroborating experiences with me as we all moved through it. Don't misunderstand me. I don't think there was anything the organizers could have done differently, this time. This had been coming toward us for awhile ...

Something very, very bad happened in November 2016. You need to understand how it has impacted all of us and every one of our institutions (and yes, Burning Man has become an institution). We are all operating under great duress. What happened in November 2016 and all that has happened since that day has disrupted the collective field and each of our individual fields, for real and in dire ways. It doesn't matter if you consider yourself apolitical or worse yet if you feel you have "evolved" beyond engagement in the political process. The usurper, the zombie cult, the death eater overlords, deeply disturbed men, yes, men, deeply disturbed white men (including the usurper's spy master in the Kremlin), it is all real. It is happening. And it must be resisted. It wasn't supposed to be this way. We were heading through a portal toward a higher octave in November 2016, but reality itself was high-jacked and here we are. This is impacting all of us individually and every institution, in real and dire ways. You may not want to hear this. You may react badly to what I am saying. You might hear it as political, and turn away. But this isn't simply a political truth, it is a mystical truth, an occult truth, a psychological truth, a shamanic truth.

We are not supposed to be where we are. This is not part of some divine plan. As we were stepping into that portal, we were dragged off on to this alternate timeline. We are better than this. Reality itself was high-jacked in November 2016. Patriots on the streets, in journalism, even in elected office, and especially in the shadow realm of the "Deep State" are struggling night and day to free the hostage reality from its abductors. As the Blue Coyote said, "This is some serious shit."

 So yes, something was off this year in Black Rock City. How could it not be?

Civilization relies on a delicate balance, so does Burning Man. These delicate balances have been disrupted. This is a time to re-evaluate all of it, time to take a long hard look, time to listen deeply to what the heart beat of the world is telling each of us individually, all of us collectively ...

And yes, I came to this realization before that human ran into the fire ...

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? 
 -- W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming (Third Stanza)         

There is a lot I haven't said in this post, but this is enough. For now, and for this medium ...

I encountered four great works of art at Burning Man 2017. All four speak directly from the profound depths of power, magic and vision. Each in a different way. They all call us ON to the awesome shift required of us in this time. Each in a different way. It is as if these four magnificent installations have reached back to us from our ancient future, to offer a hand up and into the only abiding sanctuary -- the truth and beauty within ourselves, raw, naked, indomitable.
  • The Temple: "The form of the Temple begins with life out of balance. Throughout the Sierra Nevada, species of pine trees are dying, compromised by a bark beetle which has proliferated due to human interruption of the cycle of forest fires, and climate change. The material of these trees, donated to our project, harvested and milled, becomes the basic building block of the Temple ...." (Steven Brummond, Marisha Farnsworth, Mark Sinclair, Oakland, CA)
  • Solipmission: Artists locked inside a black box on the playa, for the entire week of the event, tasked with creating a virtual Burning Man on the inside walls, using their own imaginations to interpret what visitors tell them, without ever be allowed outside or seeing anything with their own eyes. (Dadara, Netherlands) 
  • Margareta Appalachia: A female giantess, striding forward in the wilderness, wearing "an interpretation of classical Korean Hanbok robes" and carrying a ceremonial drum cradled in one arm, while raising her other, with ring and index fingers forming a peace (i.e., victory) symbol. (Mike Eros, Houston, TX) 
  • Tree of Ténéré: "An enormous lifelike tree, Ténéré offers shade to wanderers, adventure to climbers, and transcendent community to those gathered beneath its 15,000 LED leaves. Like its namesake – considered the most isolated tree on Earth until its destruction in 1973 – Ténéré serves as a place of refuge and ritual for desert wanderers. Standing more than three stories tall, it beckons to passersby with the promise of shade and adventure, conjuring spontaneous communities out of desert sand and sun. At night, LEDs hidden within each leaf begin to glow ..." (Alexander Green, Mark Slee, Zachary Smith, and Patrick Deegan, San Francisco, CA
Tree of Ténéré Burning Man 2017

#RESIST #OCCUPYMAITREYA #SAVAGEBEAUTY #TAVERNOFRUIN #STRANGERINASTRANGELAND #SHAMANICPOWER #NOTACARAVANOFDESPAIR #TANTRIKAKNOWS

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Five Survival Tips for Your Journey into the Wilderness of Revelation (Seven Beasts, Part Three)

 Jan Brueghel and Peter Paul Rubens - Nature Adorning the Three Graces (1630-1635)
In "Five Survival Tips for Your Journey into the Wilderness of Revelation" (embedded below), I offer perspective on some vital aspects of our life in this world, including the True Nature of Karma, Life as the Teacher, Healing: What It Is and What It Isn't and the Power of Legend,

In the course of the presentation, I draw on numerous sources to help articulate these truths: the bold brushstrokes of Frida Kahlo, the scientific notion of the Butterfly Effect, a profound insight from the work of Jean-Paul Sartre, a certain mysterious character from the films of the Wachowski siblings, the ever-present ghost of the great Jack Kerouac, a particularly odd teaching tale from the ancient Taoist sage Chuang Tzu, and perhaps most important, the Three Fates and the Three Graces, two powerful myths of the divine feminine at work in the field of this reality.

This digital artifact also features the spoken word of Dakini poetess Maya Luna.

"Five Survival Tips" is the third movement of "Seven Beasts: A Tale of the Mysterium." The first and second movements were originally shared in person with a circle of friends in July 2017. This third movement was recorded exclusively for online publication via the Words of Power You Tube channel.

Although "Five Survival Tips" flows from the same current of contemplation as the first two movements, it is a stand-alone experience, i.e., you don't need to watch them in sequential order.

[NOTE: If you receive Words of Power via email subscription, you will have to click on the hyperlink to view the You Tube post.]

 Five Survival Tips for Your Journey into the Wilderness of Revelation (Seven Beasts, Part III)



-- Richard Power

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Seven Beasts, A Tale of the Mysterium


On June 16, 2017 (Bloomsday), I announced two major new publications, Wyrds of Power: New Language for A New Reality (available now) and I, the Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans (coming in Fall 2017). To mark the occasion, I delivered a presentation entitled Seven Beasts: A Tale of the Mysterium.  This talk, a shamanic journey really, included the first public reading from I, The Dragon.  A digital artifact of the event is embedded in this post and also accessible via the Words of Power You Tube channel.

Here is some background on each of the new books.

Wyrds of Power

Wyrds of Power: New Language for A New Reality includes my entire Primal Reality series (five books) in one deluxe edition. This work constitute a significant contribution to the emerging global wisdom tradition of the 21st Century. 

Several overarching themes frame this work:
  • Evolution of yoga and the yoga of evolution.
  • Tantric vision of birth, death and transformation, in which human incarnation is experienced as divine revelation, i.e., Yoga of Primal Reality, a.k.a. Cauldron Yoga.
  • Ascendancy of the feminine in psyche (human and divine). 
  • Gaian Poetics, a poetics of our intimate, creative relationship with the vast planetary intelligence within which we live, move and have our being.
  • A contemplation of the human condition in the early 21st century, and in particular the Singularity within the Singularity. 
  • A celebration of some simple truths that could help redeem us and heal our world, e.g. altruism and sustainability as spiritual (and existential) imperatives 
  • A call to the great shift required of us if our species is to evolve, i.e., the great shift to a green global civilization, the Ancient Future.
Interspersed between each movement of this sweeping exploration, I have inserted batches of "epiphanies." Existential. Somatic. Reality-based. Experiential. New language for perennial truths. Dispatches from the Ancient Future. An inventory of open secrets. A compass for the pathless path.
 

The books included in this deluxe one-volume edition (in reverse chronological order): 
  • "Cauldron Yoga, Gaian Poetics and the Way of the Ancient Future" (2015) 
  • "Planetary Emergency/Personal Emergence: Path of An Evolutionary" (2014) 
  • "User's Guide to Human Incarnation: Yoga of Primal Reality" (2013) 
  • "Humanifesto: A Guide to Primal Reality In An Age of Global Peril" (2012) 
  • "Between Shadow and Night: The Singularity In Anticipation of Itself" (2010) 

I, The Dragon
 
I, The Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans is an autobiographical novel that spans six decades. It tells the story of a remarkable journey from profoundly abused child to global intelligence and security expert to yoga teacher and philosopher-poet.

In the course of the narrative, I offer an alternate history of the modern era, with insights into democracy, geopolitics, art, science, human rights and the Climate Crisis.

Excerpt from A Note to the Reader in I, The Dragon:

I could have written a book about my path of healing from the severe physical and sexual abuse I endured in childhood. I could have written a book about my professional life in intelligence and security and what it taught me about what goes on in the shadows of power (nation-state and corporate). I could have written a book about my lifelong journey into mysticism, yoga, shamanism and the occult, and articulated the powerful realizations I have stumbled into along the way. I could have written a book about my life as a writer and a poet, and offered a compelling narrative of the agonies and ecstasies of the artist’s life, and the grim, heroic struggle to keep the creative process alive and free in the depraved conditions of the modern age (industrial and post-industrial). But I have chosen instead to write one memoir woven out of all four of these narrative threads. Nothing less would deliver the truth. This is the book that demanded to be written. 

I, The Dragon will be available in Fall 2017. Related announcements coming in September.

So stayed tuned.

Meanwhile ...

This digital artifact includes the full audio recording, my PowerPoint presentation, some precious iPhone video and a few still photographs of the gathering itself. [NOTE: If you receive Words of Power via email subscription, you will have to click on the hyperlink to view the You Tube post.]

Seven Beasts, A Tale of the Mysterium (Part I and Part II)

This Bloomsday talk constituted Part I and Part II of Seven Beasts; Part III will be released via the Words of Power You Tube channel in August 2017 and cross-posted here.
 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice ...


Vanity Fair (August 2017)
Time Magazine (Jul 3, 2017 Vol 190 No 1)
 If there were ever a doubt that a traitor now occupies the Oval Office, Tuesday’s assault on the exercise of a free press, guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, should dispel it.
This particular attack was prompted by a screw-up at CNN, a favorite punching-bag for President Donald J. Trump, but was quickly extended to the whole of the political press. It’s a timeworn strategy of authoritarian regimes. As Jill Lepore recounted in the June 5 issue of the New Yorker, Edmund Taylor, writing in 1940 of Nazi strategy in France, reported on “the propaganda campaign waged by Nazi agents to divide the French people, by leaving them uncertain about what to believe, or whether to believe anything at all.” -- Adele M. Stans, Very Dangerous Times: The Media Is Under Attack by an Authoritarian White House, American Prospect via AlterNet, 7/28/17

Admittedly, the saying "one picture is worth a thousand words" has become somewhat hackneyed. It originated, after all, in the advertising business of the early 1920s. Fred R. Barnard, the writer who first proffered it, falsely framed it as a Chinese proverb, thinking it would have more gravitas that way. But it did stick in the collective psyche. Because it has some truth in it.  Not an absolute truth, of course, only a relative truth; it all depends on the words and pictures presented. 

In this post, I offer you two pictures and two thousand six hundred something words. In the hope that it all speaks to you in some meaningful way. One of the images is a recent Time Magazine cover (7/3/17), it shows Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, under his visage the caption reads: "The Lie Detector." The other image is a recent Vanity Fair cover (August 2017), it shows tennis superstar Serena Williams, naked and pregnant. Its caption reads: "Serena Williams' Love Match." 

What do you see when you look at these images? 

On the cover of Time, I see a man with a long distinguished career at the highest levels of federal law enforcement and a U.S. Marine whose heroism earned him a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart; a worthy champion who has been tasked with investigating the gravest scandal to ever cast its pall over the White House. And on the Vanity Fair cover, the great Annie Leibovitz has captured the naked power and beauty of the pregnant Serena Williams. It is a profound cultural statement, it speaks for itself, but for me it stands as a potent antidote to the racist, misogynist backlash this nation is currently enduring. It is the image of a powerful woman of color, bold and free, and in full possession of her reproductive rights, the Feminine ascending.

In these two images, there is evidence that there is something worth fighting for. We shall be "INDIVISIBLE, with liberty and justice for all ..."

So Be It

Amidst the fear and loathing unleashed in the presidential election of 2016, I lost a blood relative to the Alt Right and a beloved friend to the Alt Left. Tragic yes, but so be it. I find myself on the barricades of a strange and remarkable alliance, a united front that I could not have imagined before the Year of the Yang Fire Monkey. This informal united front did not coalesce around ideology, it coalesced around simple sanity and common human decency, and it has one goal -- to protect this Union, to save it from a free fall into chaos and subversion. David Frum (G.W. Bush's former speechwriter), Richard Painter (G.W. Bush's former chief ethics lawyer), conservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin and even MSNBC's Morning Joe Scarborough are all on the right side of this barricade; unfortunately, Oliver Stone, Mark Crispin Miller and some other friends and allies on the left are on the wrong side. Tragic yes, but so be it. In an eerie and ironic twist, the New York Times (which disgraced itself with its coverage of the stolen election of 2000) and the Washington Post (which never seemed to recover from Bill Casey's brain tumor) are doing hard-hitting, heavyweight investigative reporting on the Putin-Trump affair, while some bastions of independent progressive journalism, for example, Robert Parry's Consortium News have missed the real story here and wandered off into the ideological weeds. Tragic yes, but so be it. 

 Sociopathy as A Philosophy of Governance

As I wrote in January, the capital city of this great nation has fallen to a legion of deeply disturbed men. (Yes, men, privileged white madmen.) This is sociopathy as a philosophy of governance, from allowing "hunters" to slaughter mama grizzlies and their cubs while still in hibernation, to undeservedly removing Iraq and Burma from the list of states still utilizing child soldiers, and moving to "dismantle the federal clean water rule, which protects waterways that provide drinking water for about a third of the US population." TrumpRyanMcConnellCare is nothing more than a weaponized tax cut targeting woman, people of color, the working poor, children, the unemployed, the chronically ill and the elderly. It is an act of domestic terrorism. Trump’s declaration that he would withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement is a crime against nature and a crime against humanity; it is an act of global terrorism, targeting Gaia Herself, and therefore all nations, all species, and all eco-systems. Unspeakable acts, incomprehensible cruelty.  Anti-woman, anti-nature, anti-science, anti-reason, anti-love, anti-life, and what does “live” spell backwards? Evil.

Worse than Watergate or Iran-Contra, Much Worse

The Putin-Trump affair is worse than either Watergate or Iran-Contra, much worse.  The Putin-Trump affair is more like 9/11, it is not a just a scandal, it is a direct attack on this country. 

On 9/11, the World Trade Center was destroyed, thousands of innocents were slaughtered and we were all plunged into an alternate reality. Much war ensued in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In the election of 2016, our democratic institutions were high-jacked, we were again dragged through the looking glass, farther and deeper than before, and many more innocents may soon be dying, in countless ways, and whether or not war ensues overseas, civil war is dangerously close here at home. 

On 9/11, this nation was attacked by Middle Eastern terrorists seeking to force the U.S. to remove its military bases from Saudia Arabia. In the 2016 election, this nation was attacked by Russian agents following Putin's direct orders to hurt Clinton and help Trump. It could be confidently alleged that Bush-Cheney insecurity team were criminally negligent in the weeks and months before 9/11; they clearly, brazenly ignored dire and repeated warnings from both U.S. and allied intelligence. (This  is all documented in the Words of Power archives.) But arguably, the Trumpster Fire and the Zombie Cult may be guilty of even worse in the months before election day. 

Of course, in July 2017, Trump openly encouraged the Russian hacking during his campaign.  
That profoundly unsavory remark has been widely reported, but the misdeeds of Ryan and McConnnel in that same time frame are perhaps of even graver significance.

In June 2016, Speaker Ryan was secretly recorded telling fellow Zombie Cult congressmen that mention of Trump being on Putin's payroll was "off the record" and there were to be "no leaks."
In September 2016, high-level national security officials from the Obama administration met with congressional leadership on the crisis, but Senate Majority Leader McConnell stood in the way of any meaningful response, choosing politics over national security.
  • The meeting devolved into a partisan squabble. “The Dems were, ‘Hey, we have to tell the public,’” recalled one participant. But Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election was under attack would further Russia’s aim of sapping confidence in the system. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went further, officials said, voicing skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims. Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous, Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault, Washington Post, 6/23/17
We have been lurching toward a second Civil War, this one with a Neo-Confederacy underwritten by right-wing oligarchs, ever since Nixon's successful Southern Strategy (1968 and 1972), which was followed soon after by the "Reagan Revolution" (1980 and 1984). With the election of the first African American President in 2008 and his re-election in 2012, the drift toward a Second Civil War gained momentum. (It all has as much to do with greed as it does with racism and misogyny. It all has as much to do with racism and misogyny as it does with greed.) 

In 2016 it took an even more dangerous and destructive turn as the Neo-Confederacy welcomed the Union's main geopolitical adversary as its ally, yes, the devil that is Zombie Cult and its Death Eater Overlords willingly made a deal with the devil, i.e., the Trumpster Fire knowing full-well that Putin was Trump's puppetmaster. We can only surmise that for them enabling espionage, sabotage and treason was somehow a less egregious wrong than allowing the nation's populace to follow up the first African American president with the first woman president, and that fracturing the Western Alliance, weakening NATO and isolating the U.S.A. in the world was somehow an acceptable price to pay for fulfilling Ryan's frat boy dreams of dismantling Medicaid and other Great Society programs. Yes, this is sociopathy as a philosophy of governance.

#RESIST

And so here we are ...  If this treachery and subterfuge is allowed to stand, our way of life will have come to an ignoble end ... Bear witness. Lean forward ...

Below, I have included excerpts from two very important pieces, along with links to the full texts. The first is from David Corn of Mother Jones, and the second from Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous of the Washington Post. We owe a debt of gratitude to these real deal journalists and their fellow fourth estate heroes. They are working in a dangerous space.

-- Richard Power 

The Trump-Russia scandal is the subject of multiple investigations that may or may not unearth new revelations, but this much is already certain: Donald Trump is guilty. We don’t need additional information about the Russian covert scheme to undermine the 2016 campaign, or about the curious interactions between Team Trump and Russia, or about Trump pressuring and then firing FBI Director James Comey, to reach the judgment that the president of the United States engaged in wrongdoing. From the start, Trump and his crew have claimed they had nothing to do with the hack-and-leak operation mounted by Russian intelligence to help Trump nab the presidency. They have dismissed the matter as fake news, and they have insisted there is no issue because there has been no proof that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia. In May, for instance, Trump proclaimed, “Believe me, there’s no collusion.” Nothing to see; move along. Explicit collusion may yet be proved by the FBI investigation overseen by special counsel Robert Mueller or by other ongoing probes. But even if it is not, a harsh verdict can be pronounced: Trump actively and enthusiastically aided and abetted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plot against America. This is the scandal. It already exists—in plain sight. As soon as the news broke a year ago that the Russians had penetrated the Democratic National Committee’s computer systems, Trump launched a campaign of denial and distraction. For months, he refused to acknowledge the Kremlin’s role. He questioned expert and government findings that pinned the blame on Moscow. He refused to condemn Putin. Far from treating these acts of information warfare seriously, he attempted to politicize and delegitimize the evidence. Meanwhile, he and his supporters encouraged more Russian hacking. All told, Trump provided cover for a foreign government’s attempt to undermine American democracy. Through a propaganda campaign of his own, he helped Russia get away with it. -- David Corn, Trump Is Already Guilty of Aiding Putin’s Attack on America, Mother Jones, July-August 2017

Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides. Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race. But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump. At that point, the outlines of the Russian assault on the U.S. election were increasingly apparent. Hackers with ties to Russian intelligence services had been rummaging through Democratic Party computer networks, as well as some Republican systems, for more than a year. In July, the FBI had opened an investigation of contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates. And on July 22, nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee were dumped online by WikiLeaks. But at the highest levels of government, among those responsible for managing the crisis, the first moment of true foreboding about Russia’s intentions arrived with that CIA intelligence. The material was so sensitive that CIA Director John Brennan kept it out of the President’s Daily Brief, concerned that even that restricted report’s distribution was too broad. The CIA package came with instructions that it be returned immediately after it was read. To guard against leaks, subsequent meetings in the Situation Room followed the same protocols as planning sessions for the Osama bin Laden raid ... Jeh Johnson, the homeland-security secretary, was responsible for finding out whether the government could quickly shore up the security of the nation’s archaic patchwork of voting systems. He floated the idea of designating state mechanisms “critical infrastructure,” a label that would have entitled states to receive priority in federal cybersecurity assistance, putting them on a par with U.S. defense contractors and financial networks. On Aug. 15, Johnson arranged a conference call with dozens of state officials, hoping to enlist their support. He ran into a wall of resistance. The reaction “ranged from neutral to negative,” Johnson said in congressional testimony Wednesday. Brian Kemp, the Republican secretary of state of Georgia, used the call to denounce Johnson’s proposal as an assault on state rights. “I think it was a politically calculated move by the previous administration,” Kemp said in a recent interview, adding that he remains unconvinced that Russia waged a campaign to disrupt the 2016 race. “I don’t necessarily believe that,” he said. Stung by the reaction, the White House turned to Congress for help, hoping that a bipartisan appeal to states would be more effective. In early September, Johnson, Comey and Monaco arrived on Capitol Hill in a caravan of black SUVs for a meeting with 12 key members of Congress, including the leadership of both parties. The meeting devolved into a partisan squabble. “The Dems were, ‘Hey, we have to tell the public,’” recalled one participant. But Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election was under attack would further Russia’s aim of sapping confidence in the system. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went further, officials said, voicing skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims. Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous, Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault, Washington Post, 6/23/17