“When you’re born you get a ticket to the Freak Show. When you’re born in America, you get a front-row seat.”
I had been reading up recently on the topic of “wetiko”—the belief that the original American settlers brought with themselves a “mind-virus” of greed.
Right before I first read about wetiko —a term I ran into randomly—I had randomly watched this old Robert Patrick (remember him?) cheesy early 1990s cable-TV movie Last Gasp about a wealthy real-estate developer who kills indigenous peoples in Mexico to help clear the way for his hotel. And he gets this “curse” as a result where he comes back to the States and is a literal cannibal—the perfect symbolism for wetiko!
Now…I don’t consider myself a super turbo-level progressive or activist. I feel sometimes that some (some) progressives have a knack for uber-simplifying things to make their point—and freak the fuck out when you call them out on it.
I also sometimes look askance at the New Age adoption of various indigenous religious practices…not so much because I feel they are “cultural appropriation” as I think it’s just plain INACCURATE. Europeans “selling” their interpretation of ancient Native American practices as “genuine”…when they are only interpretations. (See: Helena Blavatsky and ancient Asian religions)
This all being said, as Budd told Bill in Kill Bill (and I’m heavily paraphrasing here): the original inhabitants of these lands (and yes I know the argument: that there were potentially other original inhabitants before the “original inhabitants”…a debate for another day) “have the right to be ANGRY.” They do. From a very basic, primal “human nature” aspect, they have the right to be angry at the occupation of their lands.
My mom comes from South America but her family were not “locals.” They lived among the indigenous peoples—and even borrowed from their spiritual practices—but were not “of” them. My genetic background, as far as I can tell from family narrative & Ancestry.com, is pretty European: Italian, German, and British. On top of that, on my mom’s side it turns out that at least some of them were secretly Jewish and read Hebrew…so add whatever nationalities/origins you want to there.
On top of that: I do not heavily “relate” to my physical body as this “thing” that carries “lineage,” certain devotions to bloodline, and all that. I don’t deny the fundamental DNA stuff here…I just see my body as a temporary “vehicle,” that’s all. So: do I have a “dog” in this entire fight? Yes? No?
ALL THIS BEING SAID: I think America (North and South) still carries a burden due to the way this country was settled and founded. And if you read Peter Levenda’s 3-book series Sinister Forces from beginning to end, he pretty much lays down the hypothesis that the High Weirdness that America has faced has, at least in part, their origins in the unaddressed issue of what happened to (all) their original inhabitants:
“It’s in our standing stones, our Anasazi ruins, our Indian burial mounds. It’s the remains of the Old Ones, the original people, the deep ancestors of our forgotten history, the history before Columbus that is never taught in the schools because we don’t know it ourselves…because we don’t want to know, don’t want to accept what has been proved so many times in the past: that this land of ours is haunted by the ghosts of races who lived and died on our land thousands of years before we came, and of races we ourselves exterminated with fire and sword and virus. There were vast cities here before us, huge temples dwarfing the Colosseum, the Parthenon, the Pyramids of Gizeh, some built long before any of these more famous structures were even dreamed. There were Norsemen here before us, bringing paganism and the worship of Nordic gods. There were Irishmen here before us, bringing a strange mixture of Catholicism and druidism, standing up their stones and sighting along the solstices years before the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. There were Carthaginians here before us, Phoenician traders, perhaps even Buddhists from China. All the votes aren’t in, yet. We don’t why there are stones engraved with ancient alphabets, buried in our farmland. We don’t know how they got there, so we file these petroglyphs along with tales of sea serpents and great white whales…in the land of fantasy that is the bull’s eye target of our scientists. And we whisper ourselves to sleep like the voice-over on a late night talk show while the gloom gathers outside our windows and doors and the dead Indians, the dead Phoenicians, the dead Norsemen chant their ancient mantras to rob us of our dreams.
Welcome to American prehistory.”
NOW: let’s unpack that just a bit.
a) Spoilers: Levenda clearly insinuates, during the course of this series, that he believes the Lovecraftian “Old Ones” possibly have origins on ancient American soil.
b) What we think of as “indigenous culture” may have far more complicated origins, culture and even technology than what little we’ve gleaned from movies, grammar school lessons, and “dreamcatcher” New Age BS.
c) The past does seem to “live on,” and cycles seem to repeat themselves. What we do not know—and/or suppress—can hurt us.
Lastly: you have to wonder what happens when these big-time occultists sort of “scoop up” consciously/subconsciously these metaphysical energies from other cultures. I mean, that great Babalon Working per Parsons and Hubbard…at least partially done in the California desert…possibly among the ruins of the indigenous peoples who lived there (and this article conducted by someone who tried to find the exact location of the Working yielded some really creepy shit…ancient tribal markings and more recent ones including “E = mc2”).
I leave you with this alleged quote by Crowley when told of the Babalon Working:
“Apparently Parsons or Hubbard or somebody is producing a Moonchild. I get fairly frantic when I contemplate the idiocy of these louts.”
And that—when you consider all the irresponsible bullshittery Crowley himself did—is really saying something.
What lives on? What ancient cycles are still playing themselves out?