Early in our marriage, my wife, Marcia, opened a door and gave me a book by Riane Eisler, The Chalice and the Blade. I’d read Joseph Campbell and William Irwin Thompson, so I was not unfamiliar with what Eisler was describing as she provided details of the matriarchal origins of contemporary culture. This was different. I was immediately afflicted with fascination and dived into study of the symbols of Indo-European culture. I studied dragons.

In a year and a half, I read everything I could find on dragon mythology, almost 100 books. My local library cooperatively brought in volumes from across the country. White-gloved, I paged through a several-hundred-year-old tome in a local research institute. What I couldn’t take out on loan, I xeroxed. My bookshelves buckled with the weight of rubber-band bound 8.5” x 11” copies of rare volumes from libraries near and far away.

I learned how symbols evolved as societies transformed. Dragons were an Indo-European demonization of the serpent symbol of the ancient goddess cultures. My study of dragons graduated to a study of the serpent and the snake. Further and deeper my studies took me. My attention came to rest about 40,000 years ago with the emergence of the first snake images on stone.

Humanevolution.net provides detail on what came next. Mind ripped open and universe poured in.

Symbology, primatology, anthropology and the study of human origins, biological transformation (concentrating on neoteny, sexual selection and Lamarckian principles), and medical conditions characterized by maturational (autism, Asperger’s, stuttering) differences sang together in a chorus describing how life unfolds. I danced to the music month after month–reading unremittingly–until the music made me nuts. Feeling crushed by the weight of my flight-to-imagination response to unremitting insight (not much of me was left in the real world), I withdrew from my studies to devote myself to starting a seemingly unrelated profession, web design.

Perhaps the most difficult thing about writing is the need to choose one thread from the vast, interconnected, non-narrative nature of experience. Life is not story. Story is what we make when feeling compelled to make things make sense, as opposed to letting things be real. Story does not convey the multileveled, ever-present nowness of multifaceted, interconnecting patterns.

Evolution is not just about transformation over time, a sort of horizontal frame. Evolution is about what’s happening in the vertical now. The dragon acted as the opportunity to note the patterns. Yet the doorway can be anything, at any time.


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