Dragon Bone Broth
Last year, I published “I, the Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans.” One of the threads that runs throughout the narrative is a shamanic tale, a ‘tale of Seven Beasts,’ i.e., the animal guides that brought my vital medicine at crucial moments: first was the Lizard, then the Wolf, then the Cave Bear, then the Raven, then the Vulture, then the Dragon and yes a seventh beast, which is a mystery, a shape-shifter.
The title of this talk, “Dragon Bone Broth,” concerns the sixth of the seven beasts.
- I came across this beautiful illustration from the Norwegian artist, Theodore Severin Kittleson. 1892. The corpse of a dragon draped over its horde of treasure. In a mountain cave, by the sea. Just the skeleton and some swaths of dried skin. East and West, the dragon is an alchemical symbol. And so is gold. Looking deep into this Kittleson illustration, I felt the truth of what the treasure horde means in the motif of the life-affirming dragon. The evil dragon, the life-negating dragon hordes material gold, the dense gold, the gold of the Caesars and it covets its treasure, and it becomes poisonous and dangerous and weird. But the other dragon, the life-affirming dragon hoards the alchemical gold, the gold of existence, the gold of human experience, the gold of human evolution, the dragon gathers this gold and protects it in this cave, hordes it there, preserves it for the future. The ancient future. And the bones of the dragon will have become medicine. The bones and what’s left of the dragon’s skin will become medicine. Whoever eventually discovers the cave will the dragon medicine in a great heap, mixed in with the alchemical gold of human evolution. – “I, the Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans,” pp. 393-394.
We are in danger. Our nation is in great peril. Environmentally, economically, politically. All of humanity is in danger. Countless species face extinction. Our own species dancing around extinction-level events of its own making. The worst and sickest among seem to act out with impunity. And whether you choose to ignore it or not, this is all hitting you hard.
“The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.”– Jonathan Watts, “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe,” Guardian, 10/8/18
“Climate change could be kept in check if a phaseout of all fossil fuel infrastructure were to begin immediately, according to research. It shows that meeting the internationally agreed aspiration of keeping global warming to less than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is still possible ….” – Damian Carrington, “Immediate fossil fuel phaseout could arrest climate change,” Guardian, 1/16/19
One of the overarching themes in both Wyrds of Power and I, the Dragon is the reframing of altruism and sustainability as spiritual (and existential) imperatives.
- Whenever I am standing in one of those long lines at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, I look around me in awe. What if all the shelves and freezers were not so readily replenished? How soon would this orderly line turn into a desperate mob? And what if the plastic cards clutched by each person in that line suddenly led to nothing more than "DECLINED," what would be the next step? How much of your life is shaped by unspoken assumptions? For example, the assumption that there will be electricity when you flip on the switch, the assumption that there will be water when you turn on the faucet, the assumption that the garbage truck will come every week to empty your bins, the assumption that there will be gasoline for your car when you are running on empty, the assumption that all the satellites and servers will keep churning on and on 24 x 7 x 365. How of many of your behaviors are dependent upon such assumptions? How many of your opinions are shaped by them? Take an inventory of those you love. Hold them in the mirror of your mind. Can you imagine those you love threatened with starvation? Can you imagine them threatened with death by dehydration? Can you imagine them pursued by rape-gangs in military uniform? Darfur may be the first Climate Crisis holocaust but it won't be the last, and there could well be a new Sahara coming to the U.S.A. Today it’s Darfur, but tomorrow, or next year, it could be Kansas or Texas or L.A. We are never more than a few ticks from collapse – even in the best of times. It isn't just something that happens somewhere else. It can happen anywhere. It may happen everywhere. Seriously. To have coconut water at all is a luxury, but at Rainbow Grocery, on any day of the week, I can choose from a dozen different kinds. We live in a paradise. Of course, there are consequences. This paradise is fueled by a hell. I do not say this to make you feel guilty for drinking coconut water. I drink coconut water. (It’s not disruptive like Palm Oil or Quinoa.)I just want you to be conscious and grateful that you were born into a paradise, and I want you to use your time well. – “Wyrds of Power: New Language for A New Reality,” pp. 382-384
Lately, I have been having a new experience on those long lines at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. I have been detecting something in some of those Millennials (now in their thirties) and Generation Z (now in their twenties) ahead of me in line, something in their aura, in their vibe, in their countenance. It is a state I recognize, but it’s difficult to put into words. It’s not anger, but there is anger in it, righteous anger, it’s not shock, but it has the air of having emerged from shock, it’s a state beyond “WTF?!?!?” These young people I have detected are leaning forward, “stoic” could be a word, “spartan” could be a word. They are calm, poised, speechless, but dealing. There is full realization of how utterly upside down, twisted, insane it has all become, and a sense of astonishment of how this all could have been allowed to happen. It’s all there in the forward-leaning grimace: the climate crisis, the political crisis, a system perverted by the absurd premises that money is speech and corporations are people, people debating whether or not 2+2 = “4” or “5” as if there was an equivalency between the arguments, the open pandering to racism, misogyny and homophobia, student loan debt, the cost of healthcare, the cost of housing, all of it, crimes against nature, crimes against humanity, all of it … As they reach for their credit card, in their psyche/soma I see this, I hear this: “WTF?!?!? I don’t how I am going to get through this but I am going to get through this. I will not lose my humanity. I will deal. I will cope. I will do what I have to do to stay ahead of this tsunami of reckoning. But I will not lose my humanity.” That’s what I’m seeing now. It’s the countenance of a warrior, the atmosphere of a warrior. Not someone who chose the path of the warrior, but someone who life compelled to take up the path of the warrior in order to simply survive and remain somehow whole. Now I don’t see this in every Millennial or Gen Zer that I see, but in a significant subset ... And this “WTF?!?!” state is further evidence of the Great Shift already underway …
I want you to know I am hopeful. For our future.
This talk marks the end of the year-long roll-out of “I, the Dragon.”
Although I will keep the Go Fund Me campaign open for a while longer, both “I, the Dragon” and “Wyrds of Power” are now available via Amazon.com, so the campaign is over.
There is a lot I could say about this year-long effort. but I’m not going to.
At least not here and now.
What I will say about it here and now is that I am profoundly grateful to those beings who actually did participate in this book’s GoFundMe campaign and especially to those beings who read it, felt a deep resonance with it and were moved to share powerful testimonials.
This talk is composed of five segments.
Each of these segments could be a talk on its own. Each of these segments could be a book on its own. But I’m just going to put it all into this Dragon Bone Broth.
A preview of this talk was given at the Theosophical Society of San Francisco on 1/18/19, the full version was delivered a month later via Facebook Live on 2/17/19.
Here are some artifacts. Text versions, PowerPoint slides and embedded videos.
Dragon Bone Broth: In the Palace of Mirrors
Dragon Bone Broth: STDs (Spiritually Transmitted Delusions)
Dragon Bone Broth: The Problem of Men (And Some Radical Remedies
Dragon Bone Broth: On the Nature of Magic, Magical Beings and the Structure of the Magical World