Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done many hundreds of them now and if this is new to you and you’d like to watch previous ones please go to the upcoming interviews page, oh excuse me, no, go to the past interviews page on batgap.com and there you’ll see all the previous ones archived in various ways. The upcoming interviews page has a form at the bottom of it through which you can submit questions for the guest if you happen to be watching live. So any of you watching today, if you wish to ask Anne a question, go to that page and you’ll see that form at the bottom of it. My guest is Anne Baring. She’s a Jungian analyst and author and co-author of seven books. The ground of all her work is a deep interest in history and the spiritual, mythological, shamanic and artistic traditions of different cultures. Her website is devoted to the affirmation of a new vision of reality and the challenges facing us at this critical time of choice. And I’ve had a wonderful time getting to know Anne over the past week through her book and her recordings and now I have the joy of talking to her for a couple of hours so I’m really looking forward to that. So welcome Anne, thank you for doing this.
Anne: Well thank you for inviting me, it’s a great honor and privilege. Thank you.
Rick: Thank you. So the first thing I noted down in my notes was that you had some profound experience when you were about 11 years old and that kind of got you going on this whole course of the rest of your life really. What was that experience?
Anne: Well that experience was completely unexpected. I left my body not knowing anything about that kind of thing at that time and I felt myself being pushed down first of all through the bed and then out through a narrow channel, like a birth canal really, off into God knows where and there was a great roaring and a rushing in my ears. I was really terrified and then all of a sudden coming out of a cannon I was expelled, just expelled into this vast blackness. I heard a voice saying, “I am,” and there would have been more but I was too frightened and I went back through the channel and that was the end of the experience and woke up in my bed. But at the time my mother was receiving channeled messages and from then on I was really introduced into this way of communicating with another dimension of reality. And I had a message which explained that early experience, which said that I’d been a medium in other lives and that I could do this more frequently as I grew up. In fact, I’ve never done it again, but I’ve certainly become more mediumistic in all the work that I’m doing, something is coming through when I’m writing and everything. So that was how it began.
Rick: I often get the sense, maybe it just jibes with my own philosophical orientation, but I often get the sense that people who have profound experiences when they’re kids are just picking up where they left off in a previous life.
Anne: I think that’s probably true, although I hadn’t ever thought of it that way, but evidently that’s what happened with me at that time. And from then on I really devoted myself to this spiritual path and trying to understand why I was incarnated on this planet and what I had to do and gradually it unfolded all through my life what I had to do.
Rick: Yeah. As I understand it, you had the opportunity to go to Asia when you were quite young and you went to Tiruvannamalai where Ramana Maharshi had lived, not too long after he had died actually, and a number of other places. Is it worth recounting some of the experiences and impressions that you got from that trip?
Anne: Well, I think India was a revelation because coming from very cold and post-war Europe to go to this country of extraordinary beauty and color where the people were so beautiful and where there was such a richness of tradition, of going back to the Vedas and beyond, with the wonderful temples, wonderful manuscripts. I was 25 at the time and I really absorbed everything like a sponge. And I went to Ajanta, for instance, which was an absolutely amazing place, saw the fresco of the Buddha there and became interested in Buddhism, very interested in Buddhism and in Hinduism and that really started my interest in studies in religion, which went on to Daoism as well, because I traveled right the way through Asia, except to China which was out of bounds at that time.
Rick: This would have been about 1956, I assume?
Anne: Suzanne: Exactly, yes.
Rick: Yeah, you were born in ’31. Okay, now I think that the channeled messages your mother received were significant. I read the account of that and I think people would be interested in hearing a little bit about that and it will probably touch upon a number of things we’re going to be talking about during this conversation.
Anne: Well, what they really were about, those messages, they came to my mother and a friend of hers who did the writing, it was a form of writing communication and they said that the Earth is in a state of great potential danger and that there could be what they called a cataclysm to wipe out life on the planet if we didn’t change course, if humanity didn’t stop the process of killing each other. They were very strong about that. They said that killing is absolutely wrong, which is what we’ve always been told, but they stressed that. And so they told my mother to prepare, but my mother at that time was about, I suppose, not possibly, share this with anybody, so she had to keep all this to herself and shared it with me and this friend but she was not able to do more. She was a poet herself and an artist, so she put it into her poetry and her writing and her artistic expression but she wasn’t able to warn people in the way that the messages said that she and her friend should do. She just had to really keep it to herself but I absorbed all this, and because things have moved on since that time, since 1945, they warned of the splitting of the atom. That was one of the things they warned. They said, “With the splitting of the atom, you’ll have the split psyche and you’ll have more and more bloodshed as a result of that splitting,” so this made me interested in the whole scientific side of things. They also said that I was to study the history of early Christianity and the Reformation which I did in my studies and everything and afterwards. So they gave me a sort of program that I was to follow and I absorbed that and studied really and then I went to Oxford and studied history and traveled to India and the Far East. So I was absorbing all in my twenties a huge amount of information based on these messages and based on the feeling that something had to be done to change the course that the world was on and how was I at the age of 25 to do it? So I had to wait to be 85 before I could really say something that could have some impact.
Rick: I think you’ve been having an impact longer than that, from what I gather. In fact, when you say that your mother couldn’t really do anything about it, given her social context, it seems to me that you were the means through which that message was conveyed. I don’t know who these “they” were that were conveying the message but I think they probably understood the dynamics of that and that you were to be the messenger for the information, at least that’s the way it turned out.
Anne: Yeah, that’s the way it turned out, certainly. One of the people giving the messages was St. Francis and I traveled to Italy and I became very close to his teaching which was very similar to the teaching of early Christianity, and that was what he was trying to do. He was trying to bring back the teaching of early Christianity to the church of that time in the 13th century, 12th and 13th century. So all these things sort of fitted together and I took him as my mentor really, and there were other ones from other beings as well but those I prefer not to talk about.
Rick: Well that’s okay, but I think the principle that there are beings that are in some dimension, on some level, who are overseeing or intervening in human affairs is interesting and it’s something that a lot of people don’t believe, even some spiritual people they think it’s kind of hocus-pocus but it resonates with my way of understanding, and many people that seem sincere have had experiences like your mother did, and I find it kind of reassuring in a way that there’s some wiser entities that have our best interests in mind or are doing what they can to keep us from killing ourselves.
Anne: Well they can only do so much and we have to do the rest, but I agree, and I think it’s such a shame that people don’t know about the existence of these other dimensions, because they’ve cut off a whole aspect of their life or their being really as humans, and we’re not just confined to this planet, we have much more expanded consciousness, if you like, if we’d open to it.
Rick: Yeah, I once convened a panel of people who all had this kind of experience, you know, subtle beings and so on, and it’s on BatGap, it’s a whole thing about refined perception. And the metaphor I made when I introduced that panel was that if space aliens landed on the White House lawn or maybe at number 10 Downing Street, it would be this huge news event, I mean, everybody would just go nuts. But in fact there are throngs of beings that aren’t necessarily from another planet but are subtle and beyond our ordinary perception and they’re all around us and that’s been going on for all time. So that would be a huge news event if people actually understood the significance of it but obviously it’s the kind of thing that you can’t see unless you have the eyes to see it, and so it sort of goes beneath everyone’s radar.
Anne: Well, apparently, according to Stephen Greer, who’s done a great deal of research on extraterrestrials, these people want to come, they want to land on the White House lawn.
Rick: They just don’t want to get blasted to smithereens.
Anne: But they’re not coming as long as we are the way we are. They’ve got to wait until we change and then they might set foot here. But it’s good to know that they’re around and I feel them around, they’re in this room now, I can feel them around me, they’re interested in our conversation.
Rick: Yeah, I believe that. And I have friends who do see them and they say that in a typical gathering you’ll see little clusters of them all over the place sort of attending to people in some way that even my friend who sees them doesn’t quite understand. But it seems like the universe is teeming with life that the vast majority of people don’t even know exists, intelligent life.
Anne: That’s right, we only see 4% of the universe so what’s happening in the other And what are dark matter. Maybe they’re in dark matter, all these beings, who knows? We haven’t yet got the instruments that we need.
Rick: Irene just scribbled out a little note here, it said, “Breaking news! Subtle beings get thousands of Facebook likes!” Rick and Anne laugh.
Irene:I thought it would be a huge news event.
Rick: Yeah, I said it would be a huge news event. Tell Mark Zuckerberg.
Anne: Yeah, well they thought that crop circles might do that but people pooh-poohed them and said that they were just made by men which some of them were but the majority could not possibly have been made by human beings and I know a great deal about that. And that could have been a changing point if we’d just taken it on board.
Rick: I know, I heard you talking about one just yesterday that appeared overnight in some field within a matter of hours and it was this huge intricate thing, you know, that a bunch of drunks from the local pub could not possibly have gone out in the middle of the night and done but that’s the way that stuff is usually dismissed.
Anne: Yeah, but there’s so much that’s denied now. This is what irritates me so much about scientific rationalism and reductionism, because it’s eliminated a huge amount of what would be available to us if we could open our mind to it and listen and pay attention and to categorically split that off as rubbish or nonsense is, I think, indefensible, that’s the word, indefensible. It’s done just what the Church did before it really, it’s shut off a whole realm of experience that could be accessible to us.
Rick: Yeah, and that points to an interesting question, which is, why are people so reluctant to acknowledge the possibility of something beyond their own experience? Why do they somehow feel a sense of security in their little paradigm and are so resistant to having it evolve into a newer paradigm?
Anne: Well I think this is the defense system of the ego, which is very understandable, but the unknown always has been very frightening to the majority of human beings and even when you have people come into analysis they’re terrified of the idea of the unconscious because they don’t know what it is and it’s very gradually when you introduce them to the idea that there’s more to their consciousness and they realize that they open up to it, but at first there can be denial very often in clients. So this is, I think, a human characteristic and it’s a defense mechanism of the ego and if the ego is quite strong, as it is say in the scientific community, which it has had to be to be developed, then there’s a risk that it will shut out something which is illogical or irrational. But Einstein said the paranormal of today is the normal of tomorrow and I think that’s something quite useful to remember. Also there’s another thing which is most interesting and that is that we can be programmed to get stuck in the left hemisphere of the brain and to shut off the right hemisphere. The right hemisphere is one that gives all possibilities, greater scope, the imagination, whereas the left hemisphere, which is very necessary, but it thinks in a linear way, so it thinks A, B, C, and that’s the end so to speak, but it doesn’t allow for parallel lines or sort of alternative routes as it were, whereas the right hemisphere entertains a variety of alternatives, if you like. So there’s a danger in everything. Once people get set in a way of thinking they may shut off and get stuck in the left hemispheric thinking. This is something that a man called Ian McGilchrist has written a wonderful book called The Master and His Emissary. Do you know it?
Anne: Well, I think you’d be fascinated by it because he’s a psychiatrist but also knows a great deal about literature and history and he shows how the Western psyche has been funneled into this left hemispheric way of thinking and how it’s stuck really and doesn’t know how to get out of it. The problem is how are we going to get out of it? How are we going to open up to this wider consciousness with all that it could give us and all the nourishment and revelation that it could give us? This is how revelation used to come into the culture through individuals but we have very little revelation nowadays except for the marvelous Hubble telescope images, which are absolutely dazzling. I saw that you had that on the background of your talk. You had a marvelous cosmic image there. Anyway, I could go on about the right and left hemisphere but it’s also what Jung was talking about in his concept of individuation. It was how to bring people beyond the point where they were, where they were stuck, so to speak, how to open to them a wider horizon and a wider understanding of their own psyche.
Rick: Yeah, a couple of thoughts here. I think I’ll ask you this one first. You’re very familiar with various myths and legends and stories told throughout history but just taking the Lord of the Rings as an example, you know, Frodo, everyone tried to convince him, and I think he also wanted to just stay in the shire where it was nice and safe and warm and why go off on this crazy adventure? It didn’t appeal to his left hemisphere, it made no sense whatsoever, but there was this sort of calling like, “Got to do this thing,” and going through huge trouble and travail and danger and fear and unknown, you know, whatnot, in order to fulfill this mission. So I think there are probably thousands of stories like this in various myths and legends which are all probably metaphorical about just what you’re talking about, the sort of the inner quest and how it might seem like we’re safe and cozy in our little conscious mind which may represent 5% of the full potential range of experience, but how in fact we’re not, and we really have to attain true security we have to sort of explore the whole range.
Anne: Well that was really what that marvelous man, Joseph Campbell, the Hero’s Journey, that was the theme of all his work really, was that you have to embark on the journey. If you don’t embark on the journey, you just don’t go where you’re supposed to go and I suppose in my own life, embarking on the journey and the quest, the similar to the Grail quest of the Middle Ages, you have to step out of your box and take a risk and with me it happened through exploring the Far East and being given that fantastic opportunity I had of collecting photographs from all the museums of Asia but if I hadn’t been given that by some miracle, I probably would have been stuck in my little box.
Rick: On a similar note, the idea that science sort of thinks that it has it all wrapped up and that we really understand how the universe works and it’s random and there’s no intelligence and there’s no soul and consciousness is an epiphenomenon of brain functioning and when the brain dies, consciousness dies and that whole paradigm, the whole materialistic paradigm, I think we’re going to talk about that quite a bit today, we can even start talking about it now and it segues from what we’ve just been saying, but it obviously is a paradigm that hasn’t really worked out so well for our culture and for our world and the continuation of our species and all species and so it’s either change it or cease to exist, I think. Could you want to start elaborating on that?
Anne: Yes, well I think two things have given us a very wrong idea of ourselves. One is the myth of the fall and the sinfulness and guilt of humanity, that’s one thing, we can go back to that later, but the other thing, imagine what it does, I think Rick Tarnas brings this up in his marvelous book, Cosmos and Psyche, he said what does it do to the human psyche to be told that they’re living in a meaningless universe where their lives have no meaning, where there’s nothing beyond this life, where the brain is the beginning and end of consciousness? What does that do to the psyche, it really shuts down the soul and this is what’s happened in the whole culture our soul has been shut down, doors been shut, key locked and thrown away and this to me is an outrageous infringement of the human being and of the human potential and it makes me very, very angry that this should have got such a grip on the culture and it’s also driven by the idea of the survival of the fittest, which was a misinterpretation of Darwin’s great work, but this has got a grip on the psyche now because if you take away the meaning of the universe and your life has no meaning, then you’re going to just focus on what you can grab in the way of goods and things and possessions and you’re going to struggle to be better and richer or more famous or anything better than somebody else because this will become your paradigm that you’ll have to succeed where other people fail and that will be you will survive and the others may not. But it leads to an absolute ruthlessness which I’m sure you’re aware of in the way we treat each other, in the way we treat animals, in the way we treat the resources of the planet without thinking what we’re doing. This again makes me angry because the indigenous people have been warning us for years and years that we have to change course but this paradigm of materialism, actually the word material comes from mater, the mother, so we’re possessed by what we’ve rejected which is the feminine principle and the mother and we’re driven by that principle to try and get more and more goods, more and more things, more and more experience, more and more communication with each other which may take us away from the value of our own lives. The internet is marvelous, the fact I’m speaking to you is extraordinary, but it can take over people’s lives until there’s nothing else.
Rick: Yeah, there’s a saying, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” And I remember during the Reagan administration, Ronald Reagan, Secretary of the Interior, who was in charge of the national parks and other such resources, wanted to start mining in them and just extracting all the resources that could be found and his argument was that, “Well, Jesus is coming back soon and the world is going to end anyway, so let’s just kind of get everything we can out of this world because it’s going to end.” So I mean, you say you’re angry, but who are you angry at? And who is to blame for the dominance of this mindset? Is it Christianity? Is it certain people who corrupted what became Christianity, or what?
Anne: I think the mistake was in Christianity and its whole teaching to begin with, because we’ve had nearly 2,000 years of Christianity before we had the scientific paradigm we’ve got now. And what it did, it kept people in an infantile state really, because it said that humanity has been redeemed by the sacrifice of the Son of God and that will guarantee our entry into heaven, if you’re Christian, that is, not speaking of the whole of humanity if you’re Christian. But it really didn’t leave the responsibility to man and woman to actually do the redeeming themselves. And also it failed to teach people, this is what I’m speaking about a lot at the moment, it failed to teach people that they carry the divine essence within them, that they are part of the divine, they’re not separate from God at all. And they gave the idea that there was a huge gulf between God up there in heaven and humanity down here in a sinful state. That was a disastrous teaching because it gave a great feeling of guilt and sin and when you have guilt and sin the first thing you try and do is get rid of it by blaming somebody else. And so in Christian culture we’ve had this, even now we’re setting out to punish Assad in Syria, which is coming deeply, deeply from the programming we’ve had that we have to punish wrong and it’s our job to do so. Whereas sometimes it’s better to leave things to God and not try and sort it out ourselves.
Rick: Let me ask you about that. Last night the US, the UK and France bombed Syria in retaliation for Assad’s gas attack on his own people. If you were Prime Minister of the UK, what would you have done?
Anne: I would have waited a bit, I think. I wouldn’t have rushed to bomb for one thing, because you’re killing more people. You’re really compounding the wrong that’s already done by doing another wrong. And the Dalai Lama, I remember when the invasion of Iraq happened, he said, “There will be very bad karma.” And what you’re doing in bombing Syria now is you’re creating more bad karma. You’re not going to create good karma. You can’t wipe out what Assad did by creating more deaths on the ground, more terror for people. We have to get into a different way of thinking. God knows how. I don’t know how, thank goodness I’m not Prime Minister, because I wouldn’t know what to do. But I can see the dilemma, but they’re following the old paradigm of guilt, blame, punishment. And really that’s dangerous because it can lead to more punishment. It can lead to escalation in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia and Iran being brought in, Russia already there, Turkey already there. It’s too much of a mess to create more of a mess, if you see what I mean. I understand why they’ve done this and I understand Trump calling Assad an animal. These are natural human reactions and one can comprehend them, but I would like to invite His Holiness the Dalai Lama to comment on this situation because only somebody with that perspective could really give us the wisdom and the advice that we need.
Rick: Yeah, I mean, another example is World War II, just to play devil’s advocate. And I guess it was Neville Chamberlain who wanted to give Hitler time and maybe he wasn’t such a bad guy after all. And Churchill said, “No, this is serious, they’re going to take us over, we have to fight fire with fire.” I think even Gandhi was saying that a more non-violent response should be followed. And yet in a situation like that, it’s like, it takes a thorn to remove a thorn, it almost seems. I mean, in the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna was saying, “You can’t just sit down on the chariot, you’ve got to fight these guys” and sometimes that’s necessary.
Anne: Yeah well at that particular time, 1939, it was a threat to the whole of Europe and it was an attack, a real deadly attack on invading first of all Poland and then Belgium and so it got closer and closer. We had to act then. And in that situation but in this situation we are not being attacked. There is a difference.
Rick: Okay, good, so let’s move off of that topic. I felt like in reading your books and listening to your things that for the first time I’ve actually gained a rudimentary ability to articulate what the Divine Feminine is, so I really appreciate that. I don’t know if I could have answered it if somebody had asked me a week ago but let me take a crack at it and have you elaborate from here. But it’s this whole thing you said a minute ago of sort of a masculine solar culture would be one in which God is seen as transcendent or separate from creation and that creation is dead and inert and not imbued with the Divine, whereas the feminine or lunar perspective would be that God is imminent or inherent in every particle of creation and really there is nothing but God, you could almost say, interacting with Him or Herself in this whole play and display of Divine intelligence. So does that do justice to it? And please elaborate.
Anne: Yes, no it does, you’ve got it very well. What happened was in the lunar cultures around the Neolithic, the time of the Neolithic, which was between about 8,000 and 4,000 BC or a little bit later, what happened was that the Great Mother was viewed as the origin or womb of the whole of life, so everything came out of the womb of the Great Mother, so there was no separation between the Creator and the created. They were all one so to speak. All of creation were her children and she was present within the whole of what she’d created. And that comes through in Kabbalah too, in the Shekinah. The Shekinah emanates from the Divine and then dwells within the creation as the Divine within and this is missing from the three patriarchal religions. You don’t get the sacredness of the earth and the sacredness of the whole of life, and unfortunately the three religions, they tried to eradicate all aspects of what was called animism, that is to say that the rocks and the trees and the flowers and the earth were alive and they communicated with people, people probably in visionary experience, they heard the rocks speaking to them or the water speaking to them but all that was wiped out. And with that eradication you got the eradication of the sacredness of the life around us and the life that we were involved in in our everyday lives and it was only really retained by the peasant communiqués all over the world who kept the old rituals going in spite of persecution, in spite of being told they had to move to Christianity. And that’s where the indigenous people come in because they kept alive the idea that the earth was our mother and that goes right back to the lunar cultures where the earth and the cosmos were our mother, both of them. It wasn’t the cosmos being separate but earth and cosmos were one unit as it were. So this has been lost and I think this is a great tragedy and this is what I’m trying to bring back in my writing, the feminine principle as a totally different perspective on life in which we are seen to live within a sacred order and we treat the earth as a sacred order and we don’t extract all the resources we can for our own use but remember that we’re part of a whole. And I think that marvelous Indian saying, “Chief Seattle, the waters and the trees are my brothers.” I’ve put that into a book of sayings for my grandson because it’s something that’s completely missing in our education and if children understood when they like to go out into nature that they were really entering into a participation with their brothers and sisters, they would get quite a different view of what their lives were about and what their relationship with nature was. So I think that my study of the Kabbalah has taught me that the divinity is present within this world and my study of the ancient cultures taught me the same thing and so that’s what I’ve tried to bring back in my Dream of the Cosmos and even in the Myth of the Goddess which I worked on with my friend Jules Cashford. We could see this great loss when you had the patriarchal God the Father coming in, you lost the whole thing of God the Mother.
Rick: When you say the patriarchal religions you’re referring to Christianity, Judaism and Islam and of course the other two major religions are Hinduism and Buddhism and explicitly they refer to the Divine permeating all creation, especially Hinduism and the creation is holy and conscious really. But then if you look at the West and how it has progressed technologically, in many ways which are benign and beneficial, diseases eliminated, various agriculture, people’s lives made easier in so many different ways, in addition to many harmful things that we can elaborate on, yet in the East there wasn’t much technological progress. So do you think that, and whatever progress they’re making now is a reflection of what has been learned in the West for the most part. So do you think that somehow the loss of the feminine, the lunar age, was necessary in order for material progress to be made at the pace and to the degree it’s been made? Or do you think that somehow, I mean it’s hard to say in retrospect what could have been, what happened is probably what was supposed to have happened, but theoretically, could it have been that we could have retained the feminine orientation and yet made all this technological process? Or was it necessary to lose it and then come back to it having made that progress?
Anne: Well that’s a very big question and I’m not sure that I can answer it because I don’t really know the answer because we’ve gone the way we have. We’ve had, in fact, we’ve had 4,000 years of war and building of empires and that started in roughly the time of Sargon of Akkad, I can’t remember the exact date, but I think it was 2003 BC. So 4,000 years of warfare, empire building and out of warfare came technology. So the development of technology from the Bronze Age on was to do with weapons really, and then weapons developed more and more and we developed guns and then we developed rifles and then we developed nuclear weapons and that whole trajectory has been unconscious. We haven’t been aware that this is a constant buildup of more and more weaponry, so to speak. At the same time we’ve had spinoffs from that. We’ve had wonderful things like electricity and heat and many helpful things, but I think things could have been done in a much more gentle way, not so violently, not so quickly. The Industrial Revolution was very rapid and it caused terrible, terrible hardship and if people had thought more, they could have cushioned the blow, if you like, of this change of technology so that the poor didn’t suffer so much, things like that. You know, there was more compassion for the poor. It’s all gone tremendously quickly and it’s almost as if now we’re accelerating more and more towards what end, I don’t know, but technology is taking us in directions we may not, if we thought about it, want to go, but we’re taken ineluctably towards whatever end technology is envisaging. It’s out of our control almost and I think that’s a big danger. So looking back at where we might have gone, we could have done it more slowly. We could have done things which helped us, but not connected with war necessarily. And the Chinese developed many things really to do with, I can’t remember, they invented paper I think.
Rick: Yeah, and gunpowder.
Anne: And gunpowder, yeah, well there you are. I don’t think the two were connected in that case. But these are very big questions, and was it, for instance, did the development of what we call our conscious mind separating from the unconscious, separating from this more instinctual rapport that we had with the environment, was that a necessary break or could it have been done more gently if we hadn’t had such a warlike culture? Could the conscious mind have developed all the skills it has now without getting shut off from the unconscious, getting shut off from the soul? That’s a very big question.
Rick: Yeah, and it’s also interesting to note that according to some accounts, ancient India had a very advanced technology in flying machines and advanced surgeries and all kinds of things and also advanced weaponry and there’s some suggestion that they destroyed their culture through that, so who knows. But certainly I think you and I would both agree that a technologically advanced society and a spiritually advanced society are not mutually exclusive, and that in fact, I mean, spiritual advancement can probably do okay without the technology but technology obviously can’t do well without the spiritual advancement, and so whatever might have been or however we might have gotten to the point where we are now, we obviously need to interject a major dose of spirituality in order to balance things out.
Anne: I think we do, and this is what my work’s all about, is how to inject what I call the new story so that we leave the old story which is all about power and conquest and we move into a new story, which is about relationship, and above all, relationship with the planet, and also restoring our ancient relationship with the cosmos, which now we’re thinking about traveling to Mars but there’s no sense of relationship with the cosmos, no sense of real respect for it as a living entity, a conscious, a living conscious entity. If we could change our understanding to see it in that way, we would be able to recover the ancient respect, like say of Egypt or Peru or Central America, the great civilizations or China and India as well who really had this link with the cosmos through astronomy, because there were always great astrologers and astronomers and they always watched the situation of where the earth was in alignment with the cosmos and where it was deviating from alignment. So at the moment we’ve deviated way off course from relationship with the cosmos and we need to get back on course and very quickly because we’re in very great danger of destroying ourselves and wiping ourselves out like Atlantis apparently did, through its technology. And the great flood was what ended Atlantis and we could talk about that if you wanted but they’d gone too far in the quest for power and their whole thing was wiped out within 24 hours, that was the end of it. Luckily some people escaped, they were warned beforehand, like Noah and his Ark and they got away and were able to establish civilization in places like Egypt and Peru once again. There’s a great deal coming out now because apparently there is now evidence that the earth was hit by the fragments of a disintegrating comet around 12,800 years ago, followed by a dark age when there was bitter cold and nothing could grow, so many, many people died or millions must have died in that cold. And then we started again from around 10,000 and began building up to where we are now. But that thing could happen again, you know, that’s not beyond the bounds of possibility. And there is a warning at a place called Göbekli Tepe in Turkey, where I can’t remember his name now, but he wrote a wonderful book called Magicians of the Gods, explaining all this. Van Daniken, possibly? No, not, no, no, no, no, much more recent. I should know him, I’ve got him under the table. My memory is not all that good at my age. Anyway, this is things we need to be aware of this, we’re not immortal and invincible in that sense, our technology is not making us invincible and luckily we have NASA keeping an eye out for asteroids and things that might hit the planet but there isn’t much we could really do if one big one came our way.
Rick: Yeah, I don’t think we’re quite ready to do that. They’re talking about investing money in acquiring the ability to knock one of these things off course if it looks like it’s going to hit the earth, but we’re not there yet. And besides which, I mean aside from comets, if we set off even a fraction of the nuclear weapons that we have stockpiled, we’d have a nuclear winter, which would do just what that comet you mentioned did. It would cast most of the earth into extremely cold temperatures, aside from all the radioactivity and other destruction and totally disrupt everything, including agriculture for a long, long time.
Anne: Yeah, exactly, I’ve written all that in a review I wrote of a book on nuclear weapons, yeah, absolutely evil. And people are not aware of the fact, the generals are not aware, the people who have all these wretched weapons are not aware of what they could cause in the way of a wipeout really. Billions of people would be killed, first of all through the actual bombs and secondly through the nuclear winter, and there would be nothing we could do, that would be it. So this is possibly the catastrophe that those messages were speaking about. I don’t know which catastrophe but they were warning us anyway that we must change course. The question is, which I’m going to ask you, how do we change course? How do we actually get out of this way of behaving that we’re in?
Rick: Well I don’t know if I can answer that, but before I take a crack at it, I just want to give you a metaphor that I heard one time, which is that the nuclear arms race is like two boys standing together in a pool of gasoline and one of the boys thinks that he has the advantage because he’s holding more matches than the other boy.
Anne: That’s just about it and it is a childish thing. It’s a defense mechanism from a very early stage in which one is playing with toys almost and not realizing the enormity of what one could do with these terrible weapons, not really being fully conscious, although there are a lot of people who are conscious.
Rick: Well, we’ll come back to the question of what we can do about it, but one thing I just want to comment on, based on what you just said, is the strange human tendency to think that things are just going to continue on the way they have been and to disregard the potential consequences of things that if you’re a little bit more aware you would see clearly as ominous and coming our way very quickly. It’s like, I don’t know, Nero fiddling as Rome burns or something. There’s just this checked-out quality that the vast majority of people have.
Anne: Well that can be a defense mechanism. I remember somebody in the 80s, a woman was threatened with a bomb or something and all she could do was make the beds. She couldn’t focus on the danger at all. All she could do was continue with her routine daily things.
Rick: Because it’s all she could deal with.
Anne: Yeah, exactly, and I think that’s what’s happening with the world today, with the constant preoccupation with entertainment, constant entertainment, constant things about money, you know, games on television, how you’re making money, etc., preoccupation with food, which actually I think is a wonderful thing, but there again it’s people looking for nourishment, and they’re looking for it from the programs on people cooking and everything, which are marvelous.
Rick: Yeah, my wife watches a lot of those.
Anne: Yeah, and we watched one last night called MasterChef, which was wonderful. But I think it’s a kind of denial, it’s a kind of shutting down of the senses that one can’t cope with. We just can’t envisage what might happen, so therefore we go on with every daily routine and doing the things that we do.
Rick: Yeah, I hope Irene doesn’t mind me saying this, but one time I had a friend over and we were talking about these dire possibilities, and Irene said, “Oh, I really hope the world doesn’t end, we just got new furniture.”
Anne: Well, that’s it.
Rick: Well, here’s a question that came in from Marie in Colorado, which I think kind of helps us with what we’re talking about now, and I’ll ask this and then we’ll continue on. She asks, “It seems like the Dalai Lama’s main piece of advice would be to find happiness within that is not in any way dependent upon external worldly circumstances. Would you agree with this? Do we need to fix the world before we can enjoy the peace and joy of spiritual awakening?”
Anne: No, I think it’s very important to enjoy the peace of spiritual awakening, but he also said all we need is kindness. We don’t need religions, we don’t need theories, we don’t need great ideas but we do need kindness. So I think he would say, “We’re social animals, the Dalai Lama. How are we going to express that capacity for kindness or the capacity for love in ways that we’re not doing at the moment? How can we extend the parameters of where we can extend our kindness to?” So I don’t think it all depends on, because if you change your inner life, you automatically change what you’re doing in your outer life. The two go together. You can’t just stay within and think that’s all you have to do. You will need to find expression for who you are and what you are in the world and that will be in your relationships. And instead of beating up your wife or husband, you might suddenly find that you’re able to talk to them, so that would be a change. So I don’t agree that it’s enough to sit on a mountain and contemplate. You really have to go into the world because we are part of the world and we’re part of this great network of relationships, not only with the world, but with the cosmos as well. I wish the Dalai Lama would speak out more in situations like we’re in at the moment and give us a bit of advice. But he wouldn’t just leave it to other people to do all the work he would say you need to get in there yourself, definitely.
Rick: Yeah, Maria’s question reminded me of that passage in the Bible where Jesus says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all else shall be added unto thee,” which is also reminiscent of something that’s in the Gita, which is first the Lord Krishna says, “Be without the three kunas,” or transcend the world, but then he says three verses later, he says, “Established in being,” established in yoga, “perform action,” get out there in the world and do something having established yourself in that inner state.
Anne: I think the whole point of all religious teaching is to transform our consciousness so that we’re capable of acting more compassionately in the world. I would say all the religions, that’s the basic teaching. But Jesus said, “If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will heal you, or will, I can’t remember exactly what he said but that’s a very important saying in the Gospel of Thomas, and I think that it’s something that we should think about and remember. So what is it that we have to bring forth? I think what we have to bring forth is our latent divinity. We have to become aware of what precious, what Jesus called the pearl of great price that we carry within us. This has not been taught by Christianity. It’s not taught that the pearl of great price is within us and that we have to find it there and that the whole work of being on this planet is actually to go in search of that pearl of great price within us. And then, having discovered it and having connected with the divinity, we can then live the divinity in a much more effective way. At the moment we have a great capacity for love. All people have that capacity. I can see you have a dog in the background. We’ve just lost a beloved cat which lived 20 years which was a terrible blow. So that capacity for love comes to us from the universe, from the cosmos, and their loving us also comes because they’re devoted companions, as you know and to lose one of them is a terrible loss. So to find that divinity within us takes maybe a lifetime. This is the whole work of being human, being on this planet, being in relationships with our partners and our children, our animals and becoming more capable of expressing compassion. But we’re also capable of great evil and this has not been taught really. This divinity can express itself in negative, destructive ways, as in the creation of our nuclear weapons. That is evil. We call it good because it is protecting and defending us, so we think. But if you think of the whole of creation as one unit, to create something that is going to destroy an element of that unit is wrong and this is something that simply has not been discussed in our culture at all. It’s just accepted that we need these weapons for our own defense and that’s the end of it.
Rick: Yeah, that quote you just said from the Bible or from the Gospel of Thomas, how did that go again? Tell me one more time.
Anne: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will heal you,” or I can’t remember that word, but if you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
Rick: Yeah, there’s a verse in the Gita which is very reminiscent of that where Lord Krishna says something about the value of knowing the Self but then he says, “Those who do not know it, it behaves with enmity like a foe,” and I was thinking about that as you were speaking and I think maybe, I think of two ways where we might say it behaves with enmity like a foe. One is that that is the source of all creativity but if we’re not really consciously attuned to it then the creativity gets channeled through an imperfect vessel and ends up being distorted in certain ways and resulting in all the horrible things that we’ve done in the world. And another is that if we are out of alignment with that then it smacks us around until we get back into alignment, so it might seem to be like the mother who scrubs behind the child’s ears might seem like a foe to the child but the mother is really sort of saying, “You need this, it’s for your best interest even though it’s unpleasant.” Anyway, comments on those points?
Anne: Well, I think that I’ve got a bit lost in it. I don’t think we’re a self-correcting species because if we were, we would have corrected ourselves long ago and we’ve been going on the same trajectory now, as I say, for 4,000 years and more acutely in the last, say, 100 years in the technological sense and in the weaponry sense. So unless we get some shock, maybe like mother trying to clean behind our ears, we’re not going to change course, we’re not going to wake up, we’re not going to say, “Yes, what you’re doing is good for me and I better get clean and wake up,” sort of thing. But there’s enough suffering in the world if we just look at it to wake us up. I mean, look at what’s happening in Syria, look at the horror of the people, what they’re going through and the children, and what sort of future will they grow up in this traumatized psyche? As a psychotherapist I’m appalled by the trauma inflicted on children because that trauma will be reenacted if it isn’t healed. I’d like to get into this a bit more because I think that because humanity has been wounded for so many centuries and has had to deal with constant loss, loss of sons, loss of fathers, loss of parents, this has created a real field of trauma, if you like, like PTSD. We’re really in a state of PTSD as a species, I think, and how to heal that? It’s really a wound that needs healing, going back centuries of false teaching, false behavior and false values, which have recreated the trauma all the time as we’ve tried to readjust to what we’re told we have to do or what we have to believe or going into whatever wars we have to go into. The First World War was totally unnecessary and it was surely the pride of the German leader that led us into it, you know, the sort of pig-headedness of leaders at that time. So humanity has had to follow these leaders because it had no choice. Occasionally there was a revolution, like with the French Revolution and then you had the terrible American Civil War but always one has been drawn into these things really almost without being aware of what we’re being drawn into and then we’re re-traumatized, and then we recover, like we recovered from the Second World War, which took many decades and then we had the whole thing of the Soviet Union and the control of its satellites, and then you had the coming down of the Berlin Wall and then again a new period and now we’re faced with a situation in the Middle East. So we’ve never had a chance for a real rest, if you know what I mean, to recover from all these traumas and although people survived the Second World War, there are people who are speaking about it now, they’ve managed to carry their wounds really and not speak about them very often until now, you know, 40 or 50 years later they may be talking about them. So I do look upon the human condition as a deeply fraught with trauma and how to recognize the trauma of wrong beliefs that have been inflicted on humanity and wrong patterns of behavior that have been forced upon them, having not much choice by their leaders. So this is something that I’m cogitating now as I’m listening to Trump every day with his tweets and whatever, we’ve got the leaders we have, we supposedly have democracy but is it democracy? Is it truly the will of the people? Are we having government by the people, for the people? I don’t think so, but how do we get it?
Rick: Well there are several things in what you said. I know in my own experience, I had a fairly traumatic childhood, pretty good by some standards, but alcoholic father who had PTSD from World War II, mother who was in and out of mental hospitals attempting to commit suicide a number of times. I dropped out of high school, I got arrested a couple of times and then I learned to meditate and it had this huge dramatic influence on me, turned me around very quickly. And you said earlier, can we really do it? Well no, I don’t think I really did it. I took recourse to something which was bigger or deeper than the little me that I had known myself to be and that kind of saved me. And if we could do that on a mass scale then maybe the society would be transformed as much as I was by taking recourse to something deeper.
Anne: Well I think Maharishi said that that was the way to go, that the more people who meditated, the more society would be changed and he actually did an experiment to prove that. And I think that’s very true and I think actually your country, America, is more advanced in something like the shift network for instance, does an enormous amount of work with changing people’s consciousness and meditative awareness and techniques. Deepak Chopra who introduced that talk, he’s done a huge amount. And of course in the East they have the meditation technique, but it doesn’t work. I mean look at Burma and the persecution of the Rohingya there, it doesn’t always work. You’d think that in a country which is based on Buddhism that that couldn’t happen but it has happened. So it doesn’t solve everything but I think it can help a lot.
Rick: Well it’s a question of what people are actually practicing and how effective it is, whether they’re just paying lip service to Buddhism or whether they’re really practicing it in a way that the Buddha would acknowledge as genuine.
Anne: Yes, absolutely. So I think that was one way that could help, certainly. But I think also the education of children could help in the sense that I explained, making them more aware of their environment and more aware of the fact of the relationship with the earth and not dominating the earth, to get away of the whole idea of dominance. That’s one of the most important things and move into the idea of a relationship, that’s the feminine principle, is relationship. And dominance has been too much, it’s not a true masculine principle, but it’s what’s been taken over and presented as such, if you like. We’ve heard so often the phrase, “We have to dominate nature” and this is totally, totally wrong but it’s got imprinted in people’s mind that that’s what we do. And look at the tar sands in Alaska, that is a terrible example, Canada, of domination. So where do we go from here?
Rick: Well you quote, here’s something you say in Chapter 17 of your book, “The prevailing myth of our civilization is waning, dying and disappearing into the underworld of collective unconsciousness.” Then you quote Thomas Berry as having said, “We are in between stories, the old story, the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it is no longer effective yet we have not learned the new story.” But I think, for what it’s worth, that the new story is sort of percolating up from a deeper level as evidenced by what I’m doing, for instance, interviewing all these hundreds and hundreds of people who are having spiritual awakenings and the Shift Network which you just mentioned and many other things, there’s this sort of mass awakening which is for the most part under the popular radar but which is very real and very potent, being such a fundamental thing. Fundamental things tend to be more potent than superficial things and by potent I mean sort of has leverage, influential, which I think might be just the response we need to the dilemma we find ourselves in and perhaps the only response that could really ultimately sort out the maddening complexity of all the world’s problems.
Anne: Well I think that’s true and I think what’s happening is what I call the awakening of the soul of humanity. That definitely is happening and it’s happening more in your country perhaps than anywhere else. So I followed a great deal of, well for 30 or 40 years I’ve followed what’s going on in America. I’m half American anyway so I’m following what goes on in America with great interest. My mother was American. So I do agree with that and I think the new story, I call it the new story, is coming up following what Thomas Berry said and also following what Joseph Campbell said. He said, “What is the new myth to be?” And then he answered it and he said, “The myth of the united humanity really in relationship with the earth and the cosmos.” So I think it is happening and that’s very positive and I think Ken Wilber, who’s one of the most brilliant people in your country, he said that we only need 10% of the population of the world to create this shift and I think we’ve got probably 5% to 6% already and growing all the time because it’s growing among the young people now who realize that they haven’t got much of a future unless they have something to say with climate change and what’s happening there. So I do think it’s accelerating that and it’s growing all the time like leaven in the bread in a way, it’s making the whole loaf rise.
Rick: Yeah, I’ll be interviewing Ken Wilber in a couple of weeks. And again, it’s something that’s not being imposed from without, it’s bubbling up from within.
Anne: From within and also from the bottom, it’s coming up from the people not from government being imposed from the top. It’s definitely growing. And when I look back, there used to be a book called The Fabric of the Future, which was published in the 80s I think, which was a compilation of all the women of that time like Joan Borisenko and Jean Houston and lots of other ones, Marianne Williamson. They were all writing 30, 40 years ago and one has seen their influence spread out in America anyway in what’s been called the cultural creatives I think. A very strong impulse led by mainly women but also men like Deepak Chopra and Ken Wilber. So I think it’s very, very important what’s happening in America and I think that there’s been a great contribution from it. I don’t know how many people listen in to the Shift Network but I think it’s 50,000 or so which is a good proportion and then they spread it and it spreads out all over the world now with this internet business. So I do see hope but I also see a very, very dangerous knife edge that we’re on at the moment which could go either way.
Rick: Yeah, and perhaps both. There are obviously a lot of structures and institutions and whatnot that really wouldn’t have much of a place in a more enlightened society and if we’re going to make a transition to such a world then somehow or other those things are going to have to be dismantled in the process. So that could be rather traumatic and tumultuous for the people who are invested in them, literally and figuratively and so it might seem like all hope is lost to those people and yet if you’re kind of aware of what lies beyond all that tumult then you might feel very optimistic even in the midst of it.
Anne: Well I think businesses again are beginning to think in different ways. They’re beginning to think more environmentally conscious for one thing but then you have huge corporations like Monsanto that wants to control all the seeds in the world, that sheer greed, but they’re being taken on by organizations. Have you heard of someone called Avaaz?
Rick: Oh yeah, I think I’m on their mailing list.
Anne: Yeah, well they are taking on people like Monsanto and they’ve got I think 42 million supporters now which is huge and growing all the time. So the voice of the people is being heard in those sort of organizations and they are taking on the huge corporations and things like Monsanto but also the palm oil plantations in Indonesia and the cattle ranching in the Amazon, they’re taking on all of those and very, very important because if we lose the Amazon we lose our climate, the last hope of the climate.
Rick: Lose the lungs of the planet, yeah.
Anne: Yeah, and the same with Indonesia with burning down the forests, it creates dreadful pollution and people in Australia have had terrible fires and terrible drought so they’re looking more carefully at what they’re doing too. So there’s the pressure coming from the climate change side as well as from the people who are trying to raise people’s consciousness. So there are a lot of elements as it were who are working for change and very rapidly. When I look back at sort of 30, 40 years what was happening then and what’s happening now, the change is extraordinary, really extraordinary.
Rick: Yeah, I mean the danger is accelerating faster than was predicted even in terms of climate change, you know the prognostications are coming true much faster than they thought but on the other hand the positive stuff is accelerating quickly as you say compared to
Anne: Yes, it is really rather like that. There was a wonderful German poet called Herderlin and he said, “Where danger is, there rises the saving one also.” So I think the greater the danger, the greater the impulse to change and rescue the planet from our predatory impulses.
Rick: Yeah, just another quote from the Gita, Lord Krishna says, “When dharma is in decay and adharma flourishes, I take birth age after age,” which is not to say that some blue guy is going to be born but rather that the divine sort of rises to meet the challenge of the decay of dharma.
Anne: I think so and this is where the cosmos comes in because all the time we’re influenced by the cosmos and it may be that the actual rays that we’re being saturated with may be changing and may be affecting our consciousness. That’s another whole side of science which could be very interesting.
Rick: That is very interesting. I have a friend named Robert Cox who wrote this book called, “The Pillar of Celestial Fire and the Lost Science of the Ancient Seers,” and he contends that on a cycle of 26,000 years in line with the precession of the equinoxes the earth periodically gets bathed with this sort of cosmic rays or whatever, subtle energy from the center of the galaxy or something that results in really dramatic and profound shifts.
Anne: Well, this is supposed to be happening. I’ve got sources which tell me that this is happening and that people are feeling it in intense mood swings that they’re having or feeling tired or feeling all sorts of different things that they didn’t used to feel, so to speak. There’s a kind of acceleration of energy which people are feeling and particularly sensitive people. So I think that that is happening and that is something that’s completely out of our hands. We just simply have to understand that it’s taking place and sort of go with it and ask to help it and how can we assist with this process. Do you know Nassim Haramein and his Resonance Academy?
Anne: Because they’re doing extremely interesting work there and I did their science course with them about three years ago and learned a great deal on it. But they’ve been exploring the ancient civilizations and they took a trip to Egypt last summer and it’s quite obvious that the pyramids were built by a much earlier civilization than we have any idea of. It wasn’t built by slaves going up on rollers with those huge stones. There’s no way that they could have built that in less than a thousand years or something. So they brought the engineering statistics which prove that this had to be built in a much earlier time. And the same with the great things in South America, in Peru and the Incan civilization there. That’s being discovered and they’ve just discovered the huge extent, for instance, of the Mayan civilization, far greater than we had any idea of, through aerial photography and laser photography.
Rick: Yeah, I watched the documentary on that, yeah.
Anne: Wasn’t that really fascinating?
Rick: Yeah, it was fascinating, yeah.
Anne: Yeah, so many things are coming up now in a different way and that’s very positive and I think that Nassim’s outfit there is contributing to this change as well because he’s teaching thousands of people all over the world.
Rick: Yeah, something you just said reminded me of a quote I lifted from your book. You said, “You do not know how precious are, in the eyes of the son, the souls he can use to orchestrate the symphony of the universe.” I like that.
Anne: That was Jesus speaking in the messages.
Rick: Ah, okay, the messages your mother received?
Rick: Oh, okay, great. All right, let me throw in a question here that came from Elizabeth in California. She asks, “My sense of the Divine, whether I call it God or Tao or Buddha Nature or Brahman or whatever, is that it is non-phenomenal, wholly without phenomenal characteristics. So when I read the phrase ‘God the mother’ or ‘God the father,’ I don’t really know how to understand this. Can you explain how our ultimate reality, the core of our being, can be considered masculine or feminine?”
Anne: I think it has to be considered both, neither one nor the other, but I like to call it the ground of being rather than anything else, the divine ground of being and leave it at that. But one, being human, one often likes to put gender onto things and because we’ve had the male gender for so long women in particular feel the need for the feminine gender and I’ve gone along with that in my writing because I think it’s one way of understanding life in a different way through the experience of women and through the experience of the feminine. But to go back to the ground of being, I think you can say it’s the ultimate ground of reality, but reality is also manifested. If you like to say the divine ground wants to express itself, doesn’t want to stay within its, as it were, its creative source, it wants to expand and so it’s expanded in the form of our universe and many other universes probably that we don’t know about and it’s present within, it’s not separate from this universe that it’s created or manifested in. It’s within every single atom of what we are and what life is and this again is something that has been lost, certainly in the Christian teaching. It hasn’t been taught that God is present in every single particle of life, every single atom and that the whole thing is one interconnected beingness, if you like, whether it’s the manifest part that we’re in now or the unmanifest dimensions which we know nothing about or the divine ground at the root of it all, it’s all one unit, one unitary beingness. And I want to get on to something too, because I want to talk about the fact that I think that we are, as part of this divinity, we think our lives end with the death of the physical body.
Rick: Oh, before we get into that can I just interject a quick thing?
Anne: Yeah, absolutely.
Rick: Okay, just in relation to Elizabeth’s question, in the Vedic tradition they have both what they say the personal and impersonal aspects of God – nirguna and saguna – with and without qualities. So it’s not alien to the traditions that Elizabeth mentions that God could be thought of as mother or father or having all these personal characteristics and at the very same time being quality-less and totally unmanifest. It’s both/and, it’s not either/or.
Anne: Both/and, yeah, exactly.
Rick: Okay, yes.
Anne: Yes, exactly.
Rick: Oh, and let’s do one more thing before we get into the eternity of the soul okay?
Rick: Which is directly related to what you were just talking about, which is that I think, and I mentioned this in that talk you watched, that science has actually done us a wonderful favor in pointing out in ways that we couldn’t have conceived of a few hundred years ago, how God is actually hiding in plain sight. Anything we look at is this marvel of intelligence on display that is so obviously not random or arbitrary or accidental or merely material. So a lot of scientists don’t realize this and that puzzles me. I don’t see how a surgeon or a scientist or anybody who looks closely at nature could fail to marvel at the miracle of what he’s seeing, but if you think of it that way, science has actually brought us full circle to recognizing that the Divine is present in every iota of creation, every particle of creation. So do you have any thoughts on that?
Anne: Well I would agree with you and that’s what’s so exciting really about what I call the new science. It’s not the materialist science which says that everything ends with the death of the physical brain but it’s this discovery of the quantum vacuum or the quantum plenum that’s changed everything and changed the way scientists think about matter, which isn’t solid like we think it is at all. It’s vibrating energy. The whole thing in our rooms that we’re sitting in is really just vibrating energy and it manifests in a way that is solid because of the way we see it. But this is a relatively new discovery and I think that it is changing the view of scientists, definitely, but this isn’t getting through to the general public yet at all, this idea of the miracle of everything really. The deeper you go into matter, the more amazing discoveries are being made, going down to the smallest, tiniest particles of a proton or whatever.
Rick: I think unlike the wealth that’s given to the wealthy, I think it’ll trickle down. I think it is trickling down, it’s trickling into the popular mentality and psychology. People are sort of fascinated with Nassim Haramein, who’s that guy who wrote the Tao of Physics and there’s a lot of books like that in the popular culture that are acquainting people with the notion and people like Elizabeth Sartorius and many others are popularizing the idea.
Anne: That’s right, yes, but is it getting through to the children? Is it being taught in the schools?
Rick: Well, I think it’s just a matter of time. I know that there are many schools in which meditation is being taught. I’m going to be interviewing someone named Kavali Morgan in a month or so who has set up a very successful practice of meditation in the Portland, Oregon schools and I have a good friend who’s in the David Lynch Foundation which is doing a similar thing around the country, around the world. So it’s getting there. It’s just, you know, perhaps just a little bit of a tip of the iceberg compared to what we need to have happen but I think the momentum is moving in that direction.
Anne: Yeah, because I think children would be able to grasp that so I wouldn’t want them to be taught that we’re living in a meaningless universe but taught the absolute amazing miracle of what we are and that’s another reason that we shouldn’t be destroying the body. We shouldn’t be inventing these weapons which can destroy the body, which is such an extraordinary miracle.
Anne: When you look into the atomic structure and the cellular structure and the trillions of atoms that we have all over the place and how mind is connected to body, all of that could be taught to children and I think they would be very interested. And it’s wrong to destroy all that, that miracle and to wipe it out as if it was just nothing, really.
Rick: Yeah, there’s something about … well, you have a whole chapter in your book about pouring new wine into old wineskins or new wineskins and how the body is like the vehicle through which spirituality can be realized and lived and how it really needs to be cultured in that respect to be able to do that as fully as possible. Maybe I’m adding words to what you said, but …
Anne: No, I was saying that the body is what Jesus said is the temple of the soul and the soul needs a body to live on this planet in this dimension and the body has been created for that purpose, that the soul can manifest, if you like, in this dimension. And so it’s infinitely precious.
Rick: Yeah, and the body needs a habitable planet in which to live. So there’s a lot riding on whether we pull this off or not, in terms of the very purpose of creation, which I see as the evolution of consciousness through more and more sophisticated vehicles.
Anne: Yeah, and I think what’s happening is the universe is becoming conscious through our consciousness on this planet. I said that in the beginning of my book and this is something so exciting, really, but we aren’t at the end yet we’re just at the beginning. You know, we’re just at the beginning of the universe waking up in us and teaching us what it is through science. Science is the most fantastic vehicle. If it realized the responsibility that it has for presenting the universe to itself, as it were, it might be more humble, perhaps.
Rick: Yeah, and you’ve mentioned a number of people, you know, Nassim and Deepak and others, and so I think even in the scientific community, I go to this Science and Non-Duality Conference in California every fall and a lot of spiritual teachers and a lot of scientists all get together and have a chat. And it’s inspiring to see how many scientists have broken out of the old materialistic paradigm and are seeing their brotherhood or sisterhood with the spiritual traditions of the world and the sort of mutual enrichment that takes place when such people interact.
Anne: Well it’s wonderful, and I think that’s again where your country is far in advance of other countries, is really leading there, and with the Noetic Sciences Institution.
Rick: Yeah, Edgar Mitchell.
Anne: Yeah, exactly. And also, who was that I was thinking of? Fritjof Capra?
Rick: Right, he’s the Tao physics guy, Fritjof Capra.
Anne: Yeah, well his book started everything off really, the Tao of Physics, it was a wonderful book.
Anne: I couldn’t read his systems theory book, it was too complicated for me. I read so much in order to do this book that I’m practically read out now, I don’t think I can read much more.
Rick: Yeah, well it’s a marvelous book. Okay so a little while ago I interrupted you when you were starting to get into talking about the soul and what it really is and so on, so let’s get into that.
Anne: Get into that. Well in my book I really describe the fact that we’re in this great sea of being and I see this sea of being in the specific sense I’m writing about as feminine. So we’re in the soul, this is the cosmic soul, but at the same time we have an individual personal kind of soul which is what survives the death of the body and then in that soul body we go into other dimensions of the universe of which there are millions probably, we don’t have any idea but there are certainly more than one or two. So there are two concepts of soul, one is the cosmic ground and the other is the individual essence of ourselves and within that soul we also carry the spirit, the pearl of great price, which is as it were the ground or the creator of the whole thing. So that’s my approach really to the soul and it’s not something wishy-washy at all, it’s something absolutely numinous and real and we can’t see it but we are in it all the time, both the personal soul and the cosmic soul. It’s something that we’re in and a lot of people have dreams of being by the sea or swimming in pools or things like that and when they have those sort of dreams they need to remember that they’re in the sea of the soul or sitting by the side of the sea of the soul on the shore, that we’re on the sandy shore looking out over the sea.
Rick: So sometimes I have dreams of being under the sea and being able to breathe and just swimming along and I have no trouble breathing.
Anne: I’ve had those too. Well that’s it, you’re swimming in the sea of the soul, which is amazing, so next time you do it perhaps you’ll know that you’re doing it.
Rick: Yeah, well it’s enjoyable as I recall, I’m not afraid or anything.
Anne: No, it’s just like swimming, and you’re breathing perfectly all right.
Rick: Yeah, you talk in your book about how depressing it must be and I say must be because it hasn’t been my perspective ever, to think that you are only this body and that you will cease to exist when this body dies. It must kind of keep a person in perpetual insecurity and fear to see life that way.
Anne: Yes, well I’m glad you brought that up because I think that fear of death is the great neurosis of our species and I think that fear has been going on for thousands of years in different traditions, but the other religious traditions have made it not the end so to speak, they’ve known that the soul goes on. But I think that in our present secular culture it’s extremely frightening to live knowing that death is the end and that you won’t see your children if say they’ve died or committed suicide or something, you won’t see them again and you won’t see your parents again. It really invalidates the whole human condition, it makes a nonsense of it. Why should we go through all this exploration, suffering, growth, struggle if everything comes to an end when the brain dies? It’s ludicrous and it’s so short and I think this creates a great deal of anger because why does nobody tell us why we’re here? Why does nobody tell us that we go on to other dimensions and things? Even Christianity had the Day of Judgment but it didn’t speak about these other dimensions. It hasn’t taught people where they go when they die, even though there’s masses of evidence to show that there’s life after death, life beyond death. A lot of my work is about this. In fact there’s a new book coming out with my publisher called The Presence of the Light which is all about the life beyond death.
Rick: You wrote another one?
Anne: I haven’t written it myself, I’ve written one chapter in the introduction. It’s written by a woman who wrote it in 1970-something, and it’s out of print and we’ve now got it and we’re able to reprint it. But I felt that she wants that book reprinted, so I said to my publisher, “Why don’t we do it?” And we found a copy and we’re doing it, because any way that one can bring back to this culture what is lost and what it really didn’t have enough of, because there’s always been fear of death, fear of hellfire. I noticed the Pope just recently said, “There’s no hell.” Well I don’t know how he knows all of a sudden why there’s no hell, having been preaching this for centuries.
Rick: But he’s infallible, so it must be right.
Anne: Must be right. Well, I like him very much, anyway, I think he’s a wonderful poet.
Rick: Yeah, he’s great.
Anne: He’s great. But you know, people, this wall that’s been put up, a sort of firewall between this world and what exists beyond us needs to be dismantled as quickly as possible so that people are not frightened of dying anymore and also not frightened of having their parents or children die and not being able to see them again, which is a most terrible thought. So I think that’s very important, to break down this firewall and open the gates, as it were, to the existence of this other dimension and also to be in touch with people on the other side. I know clients of mine who’ve lost their husbands. They’ve absolutely had extraordinary experiences of a husband being there, right with them and sending them messages, etc., etc. So that’s one thing. The other thing is that we are not finite beings we’re immortal beings and this is something else that people say, “Well, the personal soul doesn’t go on, it’s just part of the collective soul.” But I don’t believe that because I believe that all the huge effort that goes into the human condition can’t just end with a bang and a whimper. It’s not right, it’s not just and I’m quite sure that if God says it has to be that way we can change God’s mind by our human exasperation that all our efforts should just melt into nothingness. So I do believe in a personal soul surviving, at the same time I believe in the collective sense as well, that we’re part of something greater and I do think that we go on after we’ve died finding new levels of spiritual experience, as it were, as we progress in the other realms. We don’t just give up and sit there twiddling our thumbs, we actually work on the other side. We can find creative work that interests us, poets, artists, scientists, astronomers, they can all go on with their work.
Rick: Yeah, or they can come back here and go on with it.
Anne: Or they can come back here and bring things back if they want to, but I don’t know if people would want to come back very much. I’m not too keen. My husband says he’s not coming back, he’s had enough.
Rick: My attitude is, I’ll go wherever I’m needed. But I mean, it again comes back to that idea of it being a meaningless mechanistic universe or random universe, or whatever. If that’s one’s perspective then I guess it kind of makes sense that when the body dies that’s it. But if you see the universe as having a purpose and having meaning and having as its ultimate purpose the greater and greater embodiment of the Divine as a living reality, then each life can be seen as like a grade in school. You pass the first grade, you go to the second grade and you continue on accumulating knowledge as you progress through your education. So that kind of gives you a much broader long-term perspective on life.
Anne: Yeah, and it gives you much more scope. You can have a much wider canvas on which to work and live. You can become different people if you want to and you will progress according to your longing really, according to your longing to become more attuned to the Divine ground.
Rick: Yeah. Yogananda said that Christianity used to have reincarnation as part of its teaching, but that it was edited out at the Council of Nicaea because it was felt that it granted man too much sort of liberty or leeway, you know, like he didn’t really have to clean up his act in this life because there was always going to be another one. But obviously that was a great disservice if that’s what actually happened.
Anne: The Council of Nicaea was hugely transformative for Christianity because it was at that time that the Holy Spirit which was always feminine, was changed into the masculine gender. That happened at that council. And so for me it was a big sort of landmark. The feminine aspect of the Holy Spirit was lost forever, which is very much in the Bible if you read the book of Proverbs or if you read the Apocrypha and the book of Bensirach or the Wisdom of Solomon. It’s a feminine voice speaking as Divine Wisdom and as the Holy Spirit. And I’ve traced this through because in the Cathar heresy in the south of France, their church was called the Church of the Holy Spirit and the Grail was a synonym for that church. So the whole quest for the Holy Grail in the Middle Ages was really a quest for this Holy Spirit, which was the feminine aspect, the missing feminine aspect of deity which I think is absolutely fascinating. I know a great deal about that because I’m very interested in that. And that probably came through Mary Magdalene traveling to France, as she did in 63 AD. She traveled to France, bringing with her obviously the teaching that she imbibed from Jesus and his group and she brought it to the south of France. And from there it probably got passed down from generation to generation in secret groups until the time of the Cathar church when it could come out into the open. And then what did the Catholic church do? It wiped out the whole culture and killed, I think, a million people or had a million people killed. So there again, the little green shoots of change. It was a wonderful church and very much to do with the early teaching of Jesus and caring for the poor and teaching the poor the trades that would help them to earn their living, all that sort of thing. So it was a disaster and it was a catastrophe for the whole of Europe. And after that the Grail legends died. They flourished for about 150 years and then they died out.
Rick: We’ve been talking about the renewal or renaissance of spirituality in the world. Do you see that in terms of legends also that these ancient legends which have been stomped out are coming alive again?
Anne: Well certainly the Grail has come back. I’ve been lecturing on it myself about a year ago. I’ve got three or four talks on it and other people have been having experiences of Mary Magdalene and a friend of mine personally had a wonderful vision of the Grail as she was traveling from Italy to France last year of a great vessel in the sky which was pouring out this blessing, this water of blessing. Wonderful vision. So people are having these experiences and she’s been following everything to do with Mary Magdalene in the south of France. There again it’s coming up there in that area down near the Pyrenees very strongly.
Rick: Yeah, we were talking about things kind of percolating up from the subtle to the gross and it’s interesting how people all over the world are having the kinds of experiences you had when you were 11. They’re having visions and awakenings and realizations and all kinds of things. In many cases people who had no conscious interest in spirituality or anything else, they’re tying their shoes one morning and all of a sudden poof, this is some great big …
Anne: Yeah, how lucky for them. Also there have been all the near-death experiences which have changed many people’s consciousness that there again something exists beyond death and it’s big and many books have been written about it now. So this is all fascinating. This is all part of the cultural transformation that is happening. You don’t hear about it in the media, you hear nothing except the usual stuff in the media, but all this is going on underneath and it’s a pity we haven’t got a television channel which could present all this material for people to learn from and really get heartened or encouraged and supported by.
Rick: Well, we have YouTube. It’s like these days communications have been democratized in the sense that, I mean, I couldn’t have owned a television station but I can do this.
Anne: Yes, that’s absolutely true. I’d forgotten about YouTube. I bow to YouTube because I think it’s quite wonderful.
Rick: And then Oprah Winfrey has her thing, you know, Super Soul Sunday she calls it, where she interviews spiritual people and she’s had Eckhart Tolle on many times. So there’s stuff in the mass media but it’s just still a fraction of the garbage that gets broadcast.
Anne: Yeah, but it doesn’t reach us here in England unfortunately, unless we’re tuned in to something like The Shift or something else, we don’t get it and that’s a great pity. So we’re sort of starved. All we’ve got are food programs, which is wonderful.
Rick: Yeah, this is the great British baking contest.
Anne: Bake-off, yeah, that’s right.
Rick: A couple of good questions have come in, let me ask you them. This is from Jeff Pool in Canada, he asks, “Would or could you equate, in some way, Jung’s individuation process with ongoing awakening? Jung introduced spirituality into Western psychology but due to the scientific worldview of his time he could not openly say this, therefore he used the term ‘intuitive function’ in his Four Functions. Would you agree that intuitive function is actually spiritual function?”
Anne: It could be, but I wouldn’t say exclusively it is. It’s certainly a function that gets activated when one is on this path, definitely, and one receives guidance from it. But it may be, to start with, it may just be noticing connections between things or something that doesn’t really have anything specifically to do with spirituality but as you work on it, as you become more aware of synchronicities and things like that then you become more conscious and then it can grow definitely into a spiritual help, a spiritual assistance. But equally feeling is very important, the heart is absolutely vital in this work and to move from the head to the heart is one of the main things of individuation as well. And equally you need sensation, you need the ability to put this into manifestation, the power to express, the power to write, the power to do, so that’s important as well. And the last one is intellect which I had to develop because it was perhaps a function that I had but I didn’t know I had. So in order to be able to write all my books I’ve had to develop intellect. I had to go to university and learn how to write essays and things. All that was training of the intellect. But to have the whole four balanced, that’s really the aim of individuation, not one or the other, not specifically cultivating one. One needs all. And I think looking at my own life, I’ve seen the process of individuation take place in the way my life has unfolded by having the idea of the quest and the journey and looking for the pearl of great price as it were or looking in what the messages said, the dream of the water, that’s what they called it. I had no idea what the water was, but now I know the water is the soul. But it’s taken me 50 years to assimilate all this information and then put it out into the world. And I’ve needed all the functions working together, but feeling is undeveloped in our culture and that’s really the feminine and instinctive heart-based function which really we need to develop as much as we can, because in focusing so much on the intellect and the development of the mind, we’ve left out the development and education of feeling. So Jung’s work is tremendously valuable in that sense, getting the all four balanced.
Rick: Yeah, in these interviews the theme often comes up, or I bring it up, and people I interview also do, that spirituality, really worth the term, involves a holistic development of all the different facets, mind, heart, intellect and senses as well as spirit or consciousness that you can’t really develop any of them in isolation and call it a rightful spiritual realization.
Anne: I would agree with that definitely. And there’s also the instinctive side, the hara, the womb, that needs to be carried in as well. So it’s a complex business, individuation.
Rick: Adyashanti speaks of kind of a sequential development of awakening from head to heart to the hara, or gut, which I think is what he experienced there, was this sequential unfoldment. And a lot of other people seem to say that too, although I don’t know if it necessarily always needs to be in that order, but maybe it tends to be.
Anne: Well, people who have a sudden awakening, it may be in any of those centers, one doesn’t know. So I think one can’t make a hard and fast rule. Was there another question?
Rick: There is actually. There’s Marie again from Colorado, she asked an earlier question. She says, “I remember when I first read Clarissa Pincola Estes’s book, ‘Women Who Run with the Wolves,’ and feeling very inspired to awaken and embody the so-called ‘wild woman’ archetype. Can you speak a bit about what it means to connect with and be empowered by an archetype, and how one goes about it? And I’m assuming that men as well as women can inhabit feminine archetypes.”
Anne: They can, but it’s really a huge subject, because what Clarissa Pincola Estes was talking about was really getting in touch with the instinct, probably with the Hara Center. It was allowing feelings, very deep instinctive feelings to come out and be lived, which were not allowed in the culture because they were not considered acceptable or correct or ladylike or whatever. But there’s a danger always of going over the top and being possessed by an archetype rather than in relationship with an archetype. So there’s a very careful differentiation between being possessed and being in touch or wanting to express an archetype and one has to bear that in mind. If you have too much of the ‘wild woman,’ you’d probably go psychotic. It’s a question of balance, and balance can only come with time and practice of whatever discipline you’re practicing or whatever you’re doing in your life. Perhaps if you’re an artist in your artistic work it may come through handling matter and you may be expressing the wild feminine in what you’re creating in the material sense, or you may be expressing it in your singing if you’re a singer or a dancer. It would probably involve some movement of the body because the body has been so neglected in our education. We don’t have nearly enough singing and dancing and work with our hands in our education. So letting out the wild woman would be to do with expressing sensory enjoyment, sensory ecstasy in some way or another, but keeping it balanced and keeping it manifested in a form that is manageable, that doesn’t take you over and make you go bananas so to speak.
Rick: Yeah, I think balance is important. There’s so many people who end up going a little nuts on a spiritual path, you know, they become obsessive or end up in hospitals sometimes because they’ve pushed too hard in a certain direction without maintaining or developing adequate balance.
Anne: I think what the metaphor that Jesus used about “be like a flower” really, opening to the Divine, you don’t force it and you don’t ever persecute the body in order to be spiritual. That was the mistake that Christianity made, terrible persecution of the body.
Rick: Yeah, which doesn’t make sense if the body is the temple of the soul, why would you take a sledgehammer to the temple?
Anne: Yeah, so all these things are caveats with every kind of path, but the main thing is to avoid excess.
Rick: Yeah, a lot of things you say keep reminding me of the Gita, there’s a whole section in there too about avoiding excess, maintaining balance, not sleeping too much or too little, or eating too much or too little, and Buddha talked about the middle way.
Anne: The middle way, yeah, and the greatest teachers have always talked about being gentle really, like the Dalai Lama, gentleness, kindness, patience, listening above all, listening to other people, listening to your own soul, listening to your heart, and going slowly. You don’t have to do everything in one life.
Rick: That’s true. Yeah I mean, there’s an interesting thing where you can pursue spirituality with vehement intensity, to use Patanjali’s term, but you can do that at the same time with balance and with an appreciation of nature’s sense of timing, not your own, you know, not forcing anything.
Anne: Not forcing it.
Rick: Yeah, and yet being sort of focused like a laser beam, if you wish, on your higher purpose, but sort of realizing that you have control over action alone, never over its fruits.
Anne: Yeah, that’s right. Often I get depressions and depressions are part of the spiritual path because the moment I get a depression, afterwards I get a new idea, or something happens, or I get an email or something that comes in, so it’s almost always a doorway to a new phase and if one looks at it as that, then one isn’t frightened of it or one doesn’t try and repress it and say, “I don’t want to have this depression, I don’t like it,” sort of thing. It’s better to just go into it and welcome it, and say, “Well, what are you teaching me? Obviously I have to learn something from this, maybe it’s that I need to slow down, or maybe I have missed something that I need to see, maybe I need time to listen to music, maybe I need time to go out and smell the flowers or something.” It’s not, again, you have to flow with it, not get stuck in things, but realize that it’s a phase, everything is a process leading to another process, it’s not fixed entities, fixed sort of, what’s the word, gates at each stage, it’s a process.
Rick: Yeah, I mean all the scriptures talk about the joy, the ananda that lies within, you know, and one would think, “Well, if that is the case how could there be depression or sadness or anything if we have this ocean of happiness deep within us?” But I think what you’re implying is that, well, there can be blockages or impediments to that and perhaps when you feel the depression you’re on the verge, a blockage is being brought to your attention so it can be cleared and your attention helps clear it, and then once cleared the inner joy can well up in a way that it hadn’t been able to before.
Anne: Yeah, there’s a wonderful teacher called Simone Wright whose courses I’ve done, and she has a wonderful image of a kinked hose, and you have to unkink the hose in order that the water of the spirit can flow through it. I think that’s such a wonderful metaphor. She wrote a book called First Defense, all about intuition.
Rick: Nice. Well your book is wonderful, it’s like 600 pages or something, and it’s only one of your seven books that you wrote or co-wrote. And we haven’t really done justice to the whole book in this conversation, we’ve touched upon a lot of the themes of it. Before we wrap up is there anything that you feel is important that you put in the book, or even didn’t put in the book, that you want to make sure we cover before we close?
Anne: I think I would like to talk about alchemy.
Rick: Please, yes.
Anne: Because alchemy is very, very important for understanding the whole process of what we’re going through. Alchemy has four stages. It has the Negredo which is the dark stage, then it has the Albedo which is the whitening or clarifying stage, then it has what’s called the Citrinitas, which can be a stage before the end stage, can be a stage of bitterness or depression, and then finally the Rubedo which is the illumination, which is the awakening, the illumination, the realization of who you are and what you are. And certainly, one’s seen humanity with the Negredo, we have two things, fire is associated with the Negredo, the burning out of the impurities, the burning out of the dross. So I think we’ve seen this in all the fires we’ve been through, like the burning of the Twin Towers and the burning of Baghdad and the burning of the Abbas and Auschwitz. We’ve been through the…
Rick: Fire bombing of Dresden and so on.
Anne: Yeah, exactly, what’s called the casanatio, the burning. And then we’re moving now, I think, into what might be called the Albedo, which is the reckoning, the realization, the awakening, the purifying, the clarifying of the vision through seeing more clearly and through a lot of tears, weeping and regretting what’s been done. I think that many people are regretting what we’ve done to the planet and wishing that we could not have done what we’ve done. So that’s the phase really of a cleansing of the past patterns, getting rid of them. And then there will be probably the bitterness, the awareness of what we’ve done. And I can’t speak of the Albedo because it hasn’t happened for humanity but it’s happening to a few people who are having these awakening experiences and it’s happening to the people who have contacted the divine ground within them. They know who they are and they know what the universe is as this divine entity really that we’re in. And the alchemists discovered all this in the 16th and 17th centuries. They had to keep it deeply hidden for fear of the Inquisition but they discovered really who they were and they discovered that they were immortal and that they were in touch with other teachers at the same time. So I think I’ve got a whole chapter on alchemy in my book which I like very much and I would recommend it to people. And I think that I’ve covered the fact that we are part of what we’ve been worshipping for thousands of years. We’re part of the divinity of the whole universe so there’s no God out there separate. We are part of that divinity and we need to know ourselves as that and take heart from it and not reject, but let go of all these old teachings which told us that we were sinful and the myth of the fall, that Eve took that apple and ever since things have been bad. We need to let go of all that because that myth, I think I will talk a few minutes if we’ve got time, about that myth, because it’s that myth that caused the oppression of women.
Rick: Before we move on to that, on the point of alchemy, all my life I’ve heard about alchemists and they always sounded like these kooky guys who thought they could turn lead into gold, you know, and the whole thing is portrayed as sort of a, I don’t know, quixotic quest that never succeeded. But I suspect now listening to you that that whole lead into gold thing was a metaphor for something much more profound.
Anne: Well it was really a metaphor for Jung’s individuation process as a matter of spiritual growth, that you change the lead of your consciousness into the gold of the awakened consciousness. And it’s such a lovely metaphor really that you take what you are and you can become something more complete, more whole, you can become the divine being that you really are.
Rick: So the lead into gold thing was not anything that anybody literally ever really attempted?
Anne: Yeah, some did, yes, some did. And some succeeded. There was a man called, oh God, in Paris who did make the gold and he actually endowed all the hospitals in Paris with enormous sums of money, and they’re still going, some of them.
Rick: He must have died with his secret because nobody’s doing that today.
Anne: Yeah, I think he probably did. He worked with his wife, his wife’s name was called Pere, I think. I can’t remember his name, but it’ll come back to me the minute we finish this talk, it’ll come back to me.
Rick: Okay, all right, good. So now, let’s talk about the topic you wanted to raise.
Anne: Yeah, I wanted to talk about women and the effect that the myth of the fall of man had on women and the role of Eve. And people may not know but Eve was blamed for bringing sin, suffering, and evil into the world. So there’s one woman right at the beginning of history, so to speak, who brought sin, suffering, and evil into the world. And because of that, all women were associated with Eve, unconsciously, to this day. And this is where men’s suspicion of women comes from and the fact that they make fun of their emotions and that they can never be really competent or intelligent like men. It all comes straight from that myth and it’s deep in the unconscious of the Christian psyche and I don’t like it really being read out in church anymore because I think it’s so terrible and so negative in its view, because every woman listening to it thinks, “Oh, Lord, that’s me. I’m going to be blamed for whatever I do. It’ll be that myth at the beginning.” And men think, “Well, it’s a woman who’s been responsible for all the trouble in the world, so I better watch my step and I better keep her under control.” And this was throughout Christian history. Woman was kept under control, and in the witch hunts, obviously, she was burnt at the stake if she dared to speak out of tune, if she dared to practice as a herbalist or be different in any way. And really the old role of woman as priestess, woman as teacher, woman as healer, was eradicated by Christianity. Woman was not allowed to speak for a good 1,500 years. So I really think that that was a very disastrous myth and I would like to have it made conscious so that we can exorcise its influence, so that every time a man makes fun of Hillary Clinton and says, “Well, whatever they do say,” and that’s very nasty things, you can say, “Well, that’s coming from this old mythology,” which you’re still stuck in, to insult a woman in that way. And also I think it’s terribly important women’s rise now to discover their own abilities and their intellect, their abilities in all sorts of professions that they had no access to 20, 30 years ago. In my lifetime not many women went to university in 1950 whatever it was. There were quite a few, but not very many, and now all women can aspire to go if they want to go, and there are an infinite number of professions open to women which weren’t open in my day. I had the choice of being a secretary, a nanny or something like that, or a wife. These were the three alternatives, or a nurse and that was it, and that was really why I took off to go to the Far East because I didn’t want to do any of that. And that was after I’d headed a university education and people in those days, women were called blue stockings and were sort of laughed at as being silly and not to be taken seriously. So there’s been huge progress. There’s further to go but there has been huge progress.
Rick: So do you think that progress is symptomatic of the resurgence or the renewal of the divine feminine and the rebalancing?
Anne: Yes, I do because there are a lot of women working in the field of bringing back the goddess, bringing back the mythology. My first book was about that, and I think that’s had a big influence because it’s given women a sense of being of some value in a patriarchal civilization where everything is ruled by men, with a male god. Where’s the feminine, you know, in the yin-yang situation? Where is the yin? We’ve got too much yang and not enough yin. So I think that women are really developing the yin and developing their ability to speak in public and things like that. We’ve got women now in the UN and the Monetary Fund and all sorts of things, so that’s good.
Rick: We have yet to have a woman as president, but you’ve had at least two prime ministers that I know of.
Anne: Yes, we have, but one of the problems is that women need to retain their own sense of their heart values, because when they’re educated as men in a male culture it’s very easy for them to copy the male model of having to achieve all the time, you know, and they neglect the relationship side. So it’s very difficult for a woman to balance her career and bringing up children and keeping the husband in a good relationship with him and that’s why so many relationships break down, because there isn’t energy to deal with all of those things at one time and people get exhausted. Women get exhausted and men get exhausted and children don’t have nearly enough attention paid to them, not nearly enough. So that’s a whole other kettle of fish which there isn’t really time to go into, I’m sure.
Rick: So you mentioned the myth of Eve in the Garden of Eden. Now, Buddhism and Hinduism I don’t think have a myth like that, but they are also rather patriarchal, so how do you explain that?
Anne: Well I think it’s just the way things are, it’s the natural order of patriarchy, it’s been like that for thousands of years although India has masses of goddesses as well as gods but it’s still ruled by a very patriarchal mindset, and women have a terrible time getting education, not being raped, there’s a terrible case going on at the moment where rape is really endemic in India, there’s no respect for women.
Rick: Every 20 minutes.
Anne: Yeah, I mean what sort of culture is that, and why is nothing being done about it? It’s really outrageous, and the same in any other country where women are treated like that, where they’re not listened to and even in Muslim countries if a woman has been raped, say in war, she’s ostracized, and that too is outrageous because she should be nurtured and welcomed back and soothed from that trauma instead of being rejected but she has a double trauma. So there’s plenty to be done, and in Buddhism I don’t know so much about in the sense of patriarchy because the emphasis has been more on methodology rather than a structure of society.
Rick: Yeah, there’s been definitely some misogyny. I remember reading, I recently interviewed a female lama, I’m going to be interviewing another one soon but I remember reading a story about how in monasteries the newest and most novice male monk was still considered superior to the most experienced and mature female monk and so the cards were stacked against the women.
Anne: Yeah, I’ve heard that from a woman Buddhist monk as well, she had to leave the monastery because of that. She’s now set up her own teaching center in California. But it’s there, it’s in the bones of the male to really think that he is superior. It’s very difficult to re-educate him as it were without offending him but just teach him that the other gender is complementary to him. It’s not a threat to him, it’s not a rival, but it’s complementary. So women have to avoid the position of trying to be a rival of man and realize that they offer complementary values if you like, or the values of relationship, whereas men offer the values of protection. Their whole role in society right from the beginning has been to protect, whereas women have been more concerned with nurturing and caring for life and carrying life, being the carriers of life. Those are different roles and therefore they have different results or different effects on the psyche over thousands of years but it doesn’t mean to say that one is superior or inferior to the other and that really needs to be eradicated altogether as an idea.
Rick: Sure, I mean it’s like saying your left hand is inferior to your right hand or something, both are necessary.
Anne: Yeah, and it may be again something to do with the left and right hemispheres of the brain. If you’re more in the right you’re perhaps more inclusive and less rigidly controlling than if you’re in the left.
Rick: I mean balance would be great, but have there actually been cultures which have been imbalanced in the other direction with the feminine being predominant?
Anne: I think there was. You know Marija Gimbutas, do you know who I mean by her? You don’t know her?
Rick: What’s her name?
Anne: Marija Gimbutas.
Rick: Oh, I think I wrote her down because you referred to her in your book and she sounded very interesting. She sounds like somebody who would be good to interview.
Anne: She died though.
Rick: Oh, she died then. Then I’ll need a medium to do that.
Anne: Yeah, she wrote a huge amount of work on what she called the civilization of old Europe. This is something you should know about actually and everybody listening should know about. And it existed between 7000 BC or before Christ or whatever until about 3500 BC, so you had nearly 3,500 years of this culture in Europe which produced the most marvelous artifacts. She was an archaeologist from Lithuania and she went all over Europe, mainly in Romania and Greece and Bulgaria and she found all these little figurines of goddess figures and she brought this to the attention of the archaeologists and she said there was this culture that was then destroyed by people coming down between the Caspian and the Black Seas from the Russian steppes and they brought down a whole different mythology and a whole different way of living and they were warriors and they came with horses as well and they really destroyed this older culture. Marija Gimbutas was ridiculed by the archaeologists until very recently when they’ve done genetic testing which proves that there’s a different genetic inheritance in this area of Europe between the tribes that came down from the Caspian and the Russian steppes and the original inhabitants of Europe. So they really apologized, although it’s too late but they were awful to her. They really drove her to her death I think because they ridiculed her exactly as we’ve been talking about as a male ridiculing a woman. She wrote a marvelous book called The Civilization of the Goddess, a great big fat book like that, but she wrote other ones as well, one called The Language of the Goddess, another big book like that and another one called Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe. In that she gave all the evidence of this civilization and how it was probably more predominantly feminine but also very balanced. The men were not diminished in any way. It was a joint sort of creation of a wonderful culture and with wonderful artifacts. As I say, there was no dominance of one gender over the other. It was probably a happy marriage between the two and then that was wiped out by the patriarchal tribes that came down and destroyed all that civilization. They spread into India and that was the origin of the Aryan civilization that spread into India and they drove out the Dravidians, the older culture, down into the south where they still are. So they were really warriors and destroyers. They were not creators of culture certainly to begin with and people don’t know of the existence of that civilization. So 7000 BC until 3500 BC, a long time.
Rick: It is interesting to ponder these vast spans of time and to consider one’s own life and how short it is by comparison with these time periods and all the dramas that people must go through in all these lives. I love to do a thing where I just sit and I stare at a photo of a galaxy and I just think about the number of inhabited planets there must be in that galaxy and all the dramas that are taking place in all those inhabited planets and then you think of the hundred billion or two trillion or whatever it is galaxies that are actually out there in the universe. It is an interesting kind of contemplation.
Rick: Yeah, a perspective on your own life. It kind of puts it in perspective because usually we just go about our lives and they seem so real and predominant and important and everything but it is useful to kind of step back and look at it that way sometimes, in my experience.
Anne: And also I look back on the thousands of lives we probably had already on this planet since the beginning in the Atlantean civilization and the Lemurian one before that probably. So we’ve been around a long time and I think at this stage we’re really learning where we were and where we’ve come from and it’s very exciting scientifically but also in the ways in which we’ve been talking of awakening to this new story and awakening to who we are as divine beings and as part of the divinity that we’ve been worshipping for so long and also that we’re embraced by the love that we haven’t talked about that but we’re embraced in the love of this divine ground and that’s where our capacity to love comes from and we need to cultivate that in the sense that the Dalai Lama refers to and develop that capacity for love and relationship and not get so hypnotized by the intellect and the brain, the conscious mind.
Rick: Yeah, well on that note somebody sent in a question that I was waiting until we reached an opportune moment but Mark Peters from Santa Clara, California asked, “Do you think random and not so random, acts of kindness could precipitate a sea change with regard to our relationships with one another and with the planet at large?”
Anne: When you mean random, what does he mean by random?
Rick: Well there’s that saying, “Practice random acts of kindness,” it’s on bumper stickers over here.
Anne: Well I think I’m going to refer to our cat, our recently deceased cat, because there was such a love between the cat and my husband and myself. We really lived to make that cat happy and it lived to make us happy. It was most extraordinary, the love that came from that cat, and she could go from one to the other so that neither was left out, and if you like that was her random act of kindness. And if one can practice, I mean one can help someone in the street, help in the shopping, there are thousands of different ways that one can help and I think that he’s very, I would say yes, absolutely to that question.
Rick: Yeah, and these things percolate, I mean they spread like ripples, and if everyone’s doing it then everyone’s reciprocally supporting and enriching one another.
Anne: Absolutely, and interconnecting through these acts of kindness really, so that they’ve become like a network in themselves.
Rick: Yeah, which I think brings us back to a key point that we’ve made all along, which is that you have to discover within yourself the capacity to do that. If you’re depleted, if you’re feeling empty, then perhaps it would be difficult to practice acts of kindness, although perhaps just practicing, I mean if you don’t feel like it, will stir up something deeper within you but it’s important to find ways of tapping that inner reservoir of love, to use your word, or intelligence or creativity or consciousness or whatever you want to call it and then your cup will runneth over, you’ll naturally move through life expressing those qualities that you’ve found within yourself.
Anne: Absolutely, absolutely, and I think the more you understand who you are, the more you understand how much you have to give. In the beginning you may feel you have nothing and you’re just a boring little person, or you may be a depressed person, or you may feel you’re completely poverty-struck and there’s nothing you can do about your life but if you realize you have that divinity within you, then you realize there’s nothing that you cannot do if you really want to do it. I always remember the man who wrote Conversations with God, I can’t remember his name.
Rick: Neil Donald Walsh.
Anne: Neil Donald Walsh, yeah, well before he wrote those books he was complete down and out, he’d lost his wife, he’d lost his money, he’d lost everything, and he was lying face down in a telephone kiosk on top of a sheet of paper in the last act of despair, and he read in the piece of paper there was a job, and he got up and went for the job and never looked back. And out of that realization that something could happen, the universe would help him, came all those books. I love that story.
Rick: That’s great, I met him once.
Anne: He’s another one that’s teaching, another teacher.
Rick: Another one, yeah. Yeah, it’s like we’re all lottery winners who don’t realize we’ve won and we’ve left the ticket in a sock drawer.
Anne: That’s right, that’s a very good metaphor too.
Rick: But we’re all sort of infinitely wealthy in the spiritual sense, if we can just sort of find that ticket in the sock drawer and cash it in.
Rick: Great, well I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you and having this conversation, and I hope those who, quite a few people have been listening and some people send in some great questions, so I appreciate that. And so, thank you so much for doing this.
Anne: Well thank you, because it’s an enormous pleasure to speak to somebody like yourself who actually understands what I’m writing and can bring it into a context, so you know, it’s lovely. It’s very exciting for me.
Rick: Yeah, well it’s funny because you kept sending me little, you know, “Read this chapter, read this chapter,” and you said, “I know you don’t have time to read the whole thing,” and I got the impression that maybe you thought this was a chore for me to read this, but not in the least. I mean, it’s an absolute joy and I wish I had been able to read every single word, it’s just there’s only so much time in the week. But it’s a really delightful book and I encourage others to check it out. It’s called “The Dream of the Cosmos” and I’ll have a link to it on Anne’s page on www.batgap.com, and links to her other books as well, and a link to her website. And there’s some really good reading material on her website also. Do you do any webinars or do you do any public speaking still or anything that people could somehow connect with if they want to get more involved with you? I can’t go to places anymore, I’m too old now, so I can’t go and give talks in different places but I’ve done some videos which are on YouTube recently. There are two videos, one is on nuclear weapons and one is on healing our damaged world or healing our suffering world, or something like that, and I’m going to put another longer one on shortly and I can always be contacted like you have done, you know, I can always speak to people on Skype or whatever, but I don’t do any formal teaching, I’m too busy writing or doing things.
Rick: Well, it’s great, it’s a life well lived, one of thousands.
Anne: All my teaching is in my “The Dream of the Cosmos,” that’s all that people really need, plus my website, and they could learn a lot from that if they’re looking for teaching.
Rick: Good. All right, well thank you so much, I’ve really enjoyed meeting you and spending this time with you. It’s been enriching and informative for me.
Anne: Lovely for me, thank you.
Rick: Thanks. Let me just make a quick concluding remark and then we’ll close. I’ve been speaking with Anne Baring, and as I said a minute ago, I’ll be linking to her website and her books and everything. And this interview obviously is part of an ongoing series, so if for some reason this is the first one you’ve seen, feel free to go to www.batgap.com, B-A-T-G-A-P, and you’ll see hundreds of others. And you can also subscribe, if you wish, to the audio podcast and then if you have Stitcher or iTunes or one of those things, every time a new one is published it’ll automatically download into your iTunes, and then you synchronize it with your little iPod or whatever you have and you can listen to it while commuting or whatever. So we’ll see you for the next one. The next one is a woman named Marjorie Woollacott, and we’ll get into the details of what she’s about when I actually do the interview. See you then. Thanks Anne.
Anne: Thank you. Bye.