Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865)
“Die when I may, I want it said by those who knew me best that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.”
Ever since I was a little girl I have been haunted by Lincoln. I remember when I first saw him in my history book in class, how his face snapped me out from the slow drawl of just another ho-hum school day. At first it was his iconic image that mesmerized me. The top hat, his tall stature, but most of all his face. I gazed at it transfixed, slowly studying each line and indentation that made up the strong character of his amazing face, which for me was a beautiful map of his soul. I sensed in him a most unique trait, that of simple honest truth that was at home in the dark waters for it learned to swim and accept the world without judgment. I read in his face that he was a man of high moral character, true to his self and supremely kind.
The more I learned about the man, the more fascinated I became. Later when I read more about his deeds, his incredibly important role in the unfolding of our young nation, my intuition of him was validated. Here was a man who was responsible for uniting a nation in the height of crisis and on the verge of collapse while simultaneously dealing with abolishing slavery. With all these accomplishments and his strong effect on the masses who hung on his every word, he himself came from a most humble background, just a boy who grew up in a modest log cabin of a small Kentucky farm. Self educated, with only 18 months of formal schooling, he devoured books for he was a lover of knowledge, not power.
He loved people, especially the common folk, and they loved him in kind. A true diamond in the rough, he wasn’t motivated by selfish political agendas for power and wealth, which is all that we see today in politics with the exception of such figures like Ron Paul who bring us back to those good old days when being a leader of this country meant something. He was a man of integrity and his success with the public lay in his deep insight into the heart of man for he saw the common denominator and was therefore able to unify a country in the midst of disunion.
Now show me how a man treats animals and I will tell you what kind of a man he is. Lincoln was a true animal lover and he avoided hunting and fishing because he did not like killing animals, even for food.
Behind his public persona, his private life unveiled a most sensitive soul. He was known to suffer bouts of melancholy, probably due to pain from unrequited love and the death of his close loved ones all around him, including his son. He fought depression all his life, taking refuge in writing poetry and focusing on his duties as president. He would spend nights alone by the fireplace reading aloud to himself passages from the poems of Edgar Allan Poe. Lincoln was also well known for his jokes and stories, humor being a method to alleviate his lifelong agony. Despite all his personal tribulations, he was a dedicated leader and never allowed his depression to interfere with his heavy responsibilities as president during the most turbulent time in American history.
If I had to ascribe a hexagram from the ancient oracle of the I Ching to reflect his character, of which I am a devout student, it would undoubtedly be Hexagram 61 (Confer) or Inner Truth:
ESSENE THOU COMMENTARY: ‘CONFER’ holds a unique and honored place in the spiritual vocabulary of the Chinese people for it forms half of the name of it’s most beloved Teacher of Philosophy. ‘Confer-It’s He’ or Kung-Futse. Romanticized into the popular spelling of “Confucius” was he who ‘conferred’ upon China the Analects or Teaching Parables which were quoted in China for twenty-five centuries as the very pinnacle of both Wisdom and Beauty. The ‘religion’ of Confucianism may or may not survive the end of the Empire which Confer-It’s. He venerated and helped to stabilize with his many Wisdoms; but the EFFECT of his Teachings will surely never die. In every Chinese heart there still remains a longing and deep LOVE for Wise Sayings, succinctly expressed. That is what the Sage ‘Confucius’ conferred upon them.
The Hexagram CONFER is ALSO the root-source of ‘Kung Fu’ and all other arts and sciences based upon ‘seeing into’ an ‘opponent’ or fellow-being, and acting according to their intent just as the great philosopher did for the masses in his countless Sayings.
The ‘art’ or science of CONFER-ing is one of RELATING FROM ONE’S CORE with the core of others. Those who have it, have the ability to tame wild beasts to the hand, treat easily even with dangerous people, and affect nature in ways that un-trained people would consider ‘miraculous.’ The power of this magic lies within us all but it is only a Sage who is drawn to learning it. There are countless applications of this power, many of which are available through the living adepts and Masters of traditional Asian Hsien Tao.
To add to the mythic persona of Lincoln is undoubtedly his assassination which was the first in American history, earning him a place forever as a martyr and saint-like figure. He also foresaw his own death in visions.
A few of my friends were curious about my blog name, so I am going to use this post to clarify.
1. One of a number of women regarded as oracles or prophets by the ancient Greeks and Romans.
2. A woman prophet.
[Middle English sibile, from Old French, from Latin Sibylla, from Greek Sibulla.]
The name of my blog is ‘Sibyl Eyes’. This has several meanings, as well as being a play on words.
First it is an ode to my favorite writer, Philip K Dick, who wrote an autobiographical short story called “The Eye of the Sibyl”, one the first pieces written after his infamous VALIS experience. The short story pinpoints the moment Phil decided his fate as a sci-fi writer.
Now for some historical background, there were many sibyls, the most famous of which was the Cumaean Sibyl who assisted Aeneas in his descent to the underworld. In the Aeneid, written at the close of the first century BC, Virgil names Cumae as a place where Daedalus, flying from Crete, built a temple to Apollo, and where he later dedicated his wings. Virgil also describes the sibyls sanctuary as a labyrinthine network of caves.
Although she was a mortal, the Cumaean Sibyl lived about a thousand years. The story goes that Apollo offered to grant her a wish in exchange for her virginity, so she took a handful of sand and asked to live for as many years as the grains of sand she held. Later, after she refused his love, she withered away because she forgot to ask for eternal youth. Her body grew smaller with age, eventually being kept in a jar until only her voice was left.
A verse about the Sibyl by the great poet Virgil:
“At last the Final Time announced by the Sibyl will arrive:
The procession of ages turns to its origin.
The Virgin returns and Saturn reigns as before;
A new race from heaven on high descends.
Goddess of Birth, smile on the newborn baby,
In whose time the Iron Prison will fall to ruin
And a golden race arises everywhere.
Apollo, the rightful king, is restored!”
The sibyl is a wild haired woman possessed by ecstatic visions of the future. She is a vessel for the oracular god Apollo, who whispers softly in her ear, the echo of a thousand voices vibrating through her cave.
Time is cyclical and history repeats. The Sibyl knows this. I hear her in my dreams and now she’s breaking into waking life. When once I used to resist for fear of madness, I now allow, becoming a channel for her voice, the artist of her visions.
The eyes of the Sibyl see the future and the past superimposed on one plane. This is the “time outside of time”, the shamanic Dreamtime.
Oh my friends, what a joy! For it is that TIME again. We’re at the bridge between the old world and the new, the chrysalis, the Great Transition.
And with this I shall coin the word “sibylize” to give a name to this act of invoking the Sibyl, which has been misunderstood as madness before we learned to decipher and understand.
Today the Sibyl is a voice that flows through all of us, echoing through the labyrinthine caverns of the internet, using the world wide web as her medium of choice…