New Wasichu, Crossing: Our Story is Just Beginning.
A Silent Spring for the new century? Gary Lindorff’s new book, New Wasichu, Crossing: Our Story is Just Beginning is, on one level, a bold attempt to disturb the silence of denial that has muted our ability to reverse Schweitzer’s curse quoted by Rachel Carson right at the threshold of her prophetic narrative: “Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth.” Perhaps if we had heeded Rachel Carson’s shot over bow of Western post-industrial “progress” we would not be where we are now. Silent Spring is one of those books that you don’t necessarily have to read anymore because it is in our bones, just like the strontium 90 that was falling with the rain back when Carson was writing. But what good did it do? Maybe that still remains to be seen. .
Hello TCBH! readers. I am pleased to announce the publication of a book I have been writing for the last 3 years, spanning the deaths of both of my parents, a period of time fraught with disturbing change and upheaval across the board. I am no longer young but that’s not a bad thing. My heart is strong and, dare I say, wiser. I have read that a heart that reacts unpredictably (or spontaneously) to the emotional climate it finds itself in is a healthy heart. Our heart is not just a pump, it is the organ that gets us through the maze of multiple realities that has become our world. Sure, I use my brain but I have come to depend upon my heart for everything, especially since the head (our heads) seems to be running out of ideas.
New Wasichu, Crossing: Our Story is Just Beginning, is the distillation of several decades of experience, study and practice in three over-lapping fields of access to certain wellsprings of creativity and transformation: Jungian Psychology, Native American wisdom traditions and shamanism. What is offered here is a way through the ominous darkness of our times. In this work I braid together a colorful, carefully researched, sometimes autobiographical narrative-lifeline that will guide the reader ever deeper into a landscape of dreams, intentionality, revelation and real answers to the problems that we face as human beings. Chapter by chapter the path to the future becomes less metaphorical and more substantial and walkable.
The writing explores certain archetypal themes. One such theme is crossing for spiritual survival. At the same time the reader is equipped to orient him- or herself by a new (or older than old) set of coordinates, facilitating participation in an epic crossing to something more human and more sustainable. Another recurrent theme is the return of the doppelganger or our soulful double, which, it turns out, embodies the template of the undamaged self.
The way forward is not a linear path, to say the least. It is an intuitive path, a Taoist, meandering way. Intuition is more than just a function, as Jung, with his typology, understood it. As I put it in my book: “Intuition, if nurtured, quickly establishes its credibility. When it doesn’t have to compete with the rational mind, we get the news of the universe.” Opening to our innate intuitive intelligence and using it to learn from the living planet is neither naïve, in the sense of primitive, nor is it one-sided. It just isn’t Western. We might even say that intuition takes on immense survival value as it dawns on us that we are, in fact “losing control of a logic-based reality”.
The reader must expect a wild ride calculated to cover a lot of territory fairly quickly but, in the end, we must each carry our own weight as the journey continues. This is a book for the stout-hearted. It poses questions that pop-psychology and New Age faddism don’t address. The currents that are tapped are deep and clear, the pools of reflection are intellectually, emotionally and intuitively quenching.
Now, just for an update, I was in Middlebury a couple of weeks ago, at Union High School, attending what was billed as the last public hearing addressing phase 2 of Vermont Gas System’s plans to construct a fracked gas pipeline to run through Shoreham and Cornwall and under Lake Champlain. The Public Service Board was inviting comments from 7-10 PM. The auditorium was packed. They were limiting each speaker to 2 minutes. It was amazing what these angry, well-informed and poetic Vermonters were able to work into their two minutes.
Once again (and it seems to happen a lot these days), I was struck by the profundity of what we face that was so eloquently dramatized by those testimonials whether it was by an elementary school girl or a retired professor in his 90s. We are truly living at an historic tipping point that will never repeat for the human race. We have a rare opportunity to change our destiny. In three hours there were only four speakers who were for the pipeline. For the rest it was a chance to open their hearts and give voice to their fears of losing this epic battle. (Make no mistake, this is WW III and we are in the middle of it!) If Vermont can’t stanch the greed and wrong thinking that can dream up the need for a fracked gas pipeline in a state that has not only banned fracking but has begun to embrace sustainable alternatives to gas and oil, then we will simply be left with a choice of nightmares!
From the Foreword of New Wasichu, Crossing:
There is a spirit or an ethos to our past that transcends book history. It is our story, it is a story that has a life of its own, that whispers to our conscience and watches us sleep and dream. Depending on how we agree to tell it, it is our living story and a seamless story, a story for the ages that can still end well. . .The New Wasichu are no particular color, but we are the karmic descendants of the Wasichu (Lakota for those who take the fat). What we must ask ourselves is this: If there were still 50 million buffalo on the Great Plains, if Turtle Island was still covered with old-growth forests, if all the lakes were clear and deep and all the rivers ran pure, prairie grasses to the horizon, the running of the salmon unobstructed, would we know any better than our forefathers how to live here? The New Wasichu would answer, yes.
From a review by Tom Cowan (PhD) for A Journal of Contemporary Shamanism (Volume 7, Issue 1, Spring 2014) :
[Gary] Lindorff’s title challenges us to be “new” Wasichu and to “cross” over. His book is a thoughtful, inspiring, and intelligent account of what this might mean. Lindorff has pondered long and hard about our presence here on Turtle Island. Because he practices shamanism, writes poetry, records and follows his dreams, and reads voraciously some of the best thinkers past and present about the human condition, he realizes his (and our) moral obligation to use our heritage, use what-we-are, use what we cannot deny, to make a better world.