In my weekly counseling sessions, as I began to unfold the memories of events and situations a focus on the mysterious "I AM" concept appeared. I was already familiar with the Rene Descartes . Cogito Ergo Sum: "I think therefore I am," so I was quick to tell a story of a time in the not too distant past when I was sitting on the top bunk of my jail cell. I took a match, and by using the expelled fumes, I was able to use the soot to spell out "I AM" on the ceiling. To which my mentor responded: "I am what?" "I am in jail, I guess," I laughed.
I explained that it was from a time when I was living in a commune, the infamous Rivendell House, and one day it was raided. I was taking a shower at the time and even though the police declared, "he's clean" they put the cuffs on me anyway. The humor was theirs alone and it wasn't intended for our amusement. The Miranda ruling had not been in effect very long at this time in fact it was issued June of 1966 and this period was August of 1968, still a short time for the law enforcement community to get on board it seems. After five days I was out on bail and not long after the charges would be dismissed.
My world was screaming at me nonetheless because I was drifting aimlessly without any plan or hopes of a future. It was only a matter of time my "arrested development" would manifest something that would shake me up. What suddenly developed were a job, a place to live and an education in the newspaper business and learning about journalism and graphics. I had already been working for Open City newspaper but most of my time had been baby sitting the publisher's two children and taking care of their house. This, too, became a source of humor for my mentor who framed the story for me as thus: "kid runs away from home only to end up living in someone else's home and taking care of their kids." Yeah, well, I was to learn that what goes around slaps you in the face.
I told my counselor about the time that all of this came to a head when one day I pulled the station wagon into the alley behind the newspaper office and Bill and Dan, two guys who were then handling the distribution of the paper, ran outside and yelled: "Get in the Jeep, the F.B.I. were just here looking for you." I tossed John Bryan the keys to his station wagon and we were off, kicking up dirt and gravel as Bill peeled out the roadway and onto Melrose Avenue. The weird thing is their house was almost across the street from the then Hollywood Police Department near Wilcox Avenue. We got into the house, which was upstairs above a long carport, and I sat down and gazed out the windows. Through my juvenile paranoia I could hear Bill on the phone letting John Bryan know that we had arrived. Apparently the "Eagle" had landed.
(Above Right: Typical police altercation in the 1960's)
John was engaged in a divorce at this time and cornered me into testifying on his behalf regarding his wife's affair with a certain photographer. If I refused it was clear I would be out of a job and on the street in one abrupt Hollywood minute. Gutless and without much personal integrity I gave in and suddenly reaped the whirlwind of Joan's wrath who instinctively turned me into the Justice Department for not registering for the draft. After contacting my attorney, Michael Hannon, it was suggested simply that I register for the draft and go from there. I did register which resulted in the end of that for a time, as a barrage of endless change of addresses would also create a laborious paper trail keeping me on the sunny side of Apocalypse Now.
I wasn't confronting "authority" but I seemed to be brushing up against the tail of the dragon. There were others, before me, who seemed to have been thrown into the snake pit of violence as the world was in its upheavals of change. I would learn from them. It was almost as though I had passed that way before leaving me free to carry a torch to see the way rather than to get burned by the bonfire of human misery.
As I got deeper into counseling and doing my own personal "Work" life began to unfold inside of me. Also my song writing began to flourish in ways that took on a life of its own. This creative energy that I began to tap into became a source of real living rather than the escapism and fantasy of my past. I could sense a new maturity within myself which allowed me to actually visit who I really was instead of hiding from that part of myself I was always afraid to touch.
My Teacher, Thane, had reprinted a book titled "I Saw Hitler Make Black Magic" which corresponded with much of what I was beginning to discover in my metaphysical studies. It had been an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1946 as Europe began to rebuild itself after World War II. It told the story of his experiences in the German underground in 1937-38. Without getting into the Aleister Crowley and Rudolf Steiner controversies Thane said: "I do not mean to imply that Steiner was mixed up in Black Magic. But there is a fine distinction at the point where Black Magic begins and White Magic ends."
Thane was sometimes referred to as a "mentalist" in those days and as history records it in some circles Hitler was always on the lookout for any new person connected to the occult. In 1938 Thane went to Nuremburg from England and met up with a group of individuals in the entertainment world, as these events often go. He gave a demonstration of thought transmission that was apparently very successful and as word got out Thane was asked to perform for Adolf Hitler himself. This opportunity would create disastrous effects on his life. Hitler was alive with questions. That being the case, a second talk was to be given by Thane at the Bayer Schof Hotel in Munich. It was here that Thane confirmed that Hitler was indeed an occultist and included this in his quest for world domination. He treated Thane as an equal but in order to maintain his superior footing he would reveal the enormity of his plans to which Thane would write: "Hitler, the Master Magician of the Master Race, and destined to be Master of the World!"
(Above: Hitler and Thane circa 1936. Right: Rudolf Steiner and Aleister Crowley.)
They would be having lunch together at the famed bungalow at Adlerhorst. Thane was picked up in Munich and driven to Berchtesgaden. It had been a lovely place at one time but as history marched on so did Hitler's stature and the retreat became an armed camp of Nazi's and political cohorts.
(Above: Various photos of the famous Eaglenest Retreat at Adlerhorst.)
Thane did not speak German so all of this exchange took place through the interpreter, Herr Paul Schmidt. (No one knows what became of him.) Precariously positioned atop the Bavarian Alps, this Eaglenest Retreat, as it was called, was a combination of many granite steps and a small elevator that was completely filled when Thane, Schmidt and Hitler entered it. Amidst this triumph of engineering and modern architecture was a brew of occult magic the world would not soon forget. One room, basically a planetarium, revealed research into astrology, another room exhibited work in Kahuna magic and other similar teachings in the occult, while the third room was dedicated to much of the Western use of visualization, sometimes called "treasure mapping."
At the end of one room, a semi-proscenium arch displayed several photographs which were technically beautiful but also diabolical photo montages which, in essence, were to predict the future events of Hitler, the Nazi's and The Third Reich in place for its "Mastery of a Thousand Years." These photos, such as the one of Czechoslovakia, had swastikas and all manner of Nazi symbols showing German occupation being superimposed. Nazi flags were in place of Czech flags, home scenes with Hitler's picture on the wall, even pictures showing Hitler riding in the main streets of Prague in a parade. All of these pictures were blended into one theme and rather than it being a dream it was to be interpreted as actual fact. Another picture showed Hitler talking to Prime Minister Chamberlain, of Great Britain, and while Chamberlain listened intently Hitler was pictured with arm outstretched above him in a superior body language position. Poland, Austria, and the rest of Europe were to be understood as being the existing subordinates of the Fatherland under the spell of "der Fuhrer."
(Above: Hitler with Sieg Heil pose, group shot of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain of Great Britain, Benito Mussolini, Fascist dictator of Italy, Paul Schmidt, Hitler's interpreter and Adolf Hitler, dictator of Germany. Above: Paul Schmidt in characture.)
Beyond the collection of visual expressions of future events was the assembly of Hitler's many "magicians" who were busy working on the Third Reich timetable. They focused their energies of concentration on the many "targets" and set out to turn the dream of the imagination into the manifestation of fact. These men, highly trained in the techniques of visualization and projection, would sit for hours as these pictures were projected onto the walls and taken into their own minds to become mantras or affirmations that would become the dynamic realities of history. The result of this seeming "madness" was actually happening and as Thane said: "It must be remembered that no other period of history records so many conquests and countries occupied with so little violence."
(Left: Adolf Hitler's Astrological chart. Right: Swastika in lights... how charming!)
The rise and fall of the Third Reich is history and much of that truly does have to do with what happens when one plays with fire. On the other hand, before the end all came about Thane was arrested and ended up in a Nuremburg prison. Thane was tortured daily and when he wasn't being tortured all he could hear were the screams of others being tortured.
But at some point Thane, being the mystic that he was did everything he could to focus on a Higher Reality. This was the knowingness that no matter what the Nazi's did to him they could never touch who he was as Consciousness. He realized that he was really "Free" and within this understanding was the knowingness that all else was illusion. This moment for Thane was more real than any description of past experience and everything that appeared to have gone on in the past was simply preposterous. Seeing the absurdity of the human interpretation brought on laughter. He laughed and laughed and this went on for hours. His own cellmate thought that he had gone insane. The next day a uniformed guard and a man in a suit came and removed this "madman" from the prison. He told Thane: "You are free." Thane said, "Yes, I know," and he laughed some more. He walked around aimlessly for a time but eventually boarded a train leaving Germany bound for France. As soon as he crossed the border into France he said, "Now I really am free," at which point he collapsed and could no longer walk of his own volition. This experience Thane had is often referred to as "The Laughter of God." Metaphysician Walter C. Lanyon describes it well when he said: "And then one day I heard the Laughter of God in the midst of me and within the world, and all was suddenly changed. Old patterns and ideas were shattered and passed away --- a new loveliness of LIFE was exposed to view."
(Above right: Nuremburg Prison)
This story reminded me of the mother of the bass player of the rock band I sang with in the 60's. Her name is Etyl Leder: a quiet, courageous woman, who took the time, during one of our rehearsals, to talk with us about the Holocaust. She had been in the concentration camp at Auschwitz. This was when she met American soldier and medic Paul Leder, who was a veteran of General Patton's army and liberated the Buchenwald camp. They fell in love and had three children: television producer and screenwriter Reuben, film producer and director Mimi, and casting director Geraldine. Paul was a top notch Hollywood Real Estate man who went on to film producing. (Paul Leder passed away in 1996.) Mrs. Leder showed us the tattoo that marked her as a prisoner and a Jewish enemy of the German Reich.
(Left: Entry way to Auschwitz at Birkenau. Right: Mass grave at Auschwitz.)
There was no heroism in her sharing, simply the determination that no one should forget. You would never know that she was anything but a hard worker when you saw her at Thrifty Drug Store on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. She worked there for many years. She instilled a sense of meaning and purpose in her children. Something, which film director Mimi Leder carries with her, is the Jewish concept of "Tikkun Olam" which translates as "the repairing of the world." It is a sort of Hebrew version of dealing with Karma. If you have done wrong then you must do something right in order that you bring balance. And by accepting that we have done wrong we can then forgive ourselves as we choose to build a better future. Also the Torah says that the choice of action that we take is to be discovered, not far away, but near us. So as we admit our mistakes to ourselves we can turn ourselves toward good and appeal our fate. If one thing does not work, then we try something else. Eventually the right path will make itself known. It isn't always about personal wrongs either but the dealing with the collective of humanity with which we identify. Much like the discovery of the "I AM" within and allowing that Higher Self to make manifest the Love which is real to heal the world we live in. It is that which is near, that which is within, that can bring light to an otherwise dark world.
(Above: Auschwitz survivor reveals the notorious tattoo from The Final Solution.)
At this time in the Fourth Way school I had dinner with a fellow student named Anna Poloski. We got together after class and she told me she was experiencing some hard times and asked if she might stay at my place for a few days until she could make some other arrangements. Later that evening we shared some wine and talked about various things. She began to tell me a little about her background. She had been born in Poland in 1935. She was still a very young child when the Nazi's invaded Poland toward the end of 1939. Some time after that she was awakened in the middle of the night to witness Nazi storm troupers break into their home and murder her father. I don't remember what her father did but the Nazi's didn't always need a reason for the terrorism they engaged in.
(Left: The Berlin Wall. Above right: Another body is removed by fellow inmates as they are forced to continue in the work of mankind's inhumanity.)
Some time after the World War II Anna, her mother and the rest of her family moved to what was then East Germany. Now she was living in a country that was controlled by the Communists. One day she went to the town square where they were having some sort of a fair. They had a contest for the children to enter. The first prize was a brand new bicycle, the second prize was a book, and the third prize was a gift basket with fruit and misc. jams and delicacies. She stood there awhile looking at all of the prizes and began flipping through the pages of the book. It was a biography about a female classical composer written by a woman and it was the first book that Anna had ever seen which was not filled with political propaganda. She had to have that book. She didn't want to win first prize, she wanted to win second prize. How does one focus on that?
(Right: More Auschwitz victims as the smoke continues to burn from the stacks in the background.)
She was determined. She had this overwhelming desire that welled up inside of her and she could imagine herself winning that book. Dominated by the Nazi's, Anna's world was now being controlled by the Communists. That book meant freedom to her and freedom meant Truth. Her single-minded desire and incredible need provided for her the hope that this book, this truth, could be hers. When the winners were to be announced she waited with trembling excitement. The gift basket was won and presented to the happy winner and next would be second prize: the book. Anna, as you would guess won second prize. She wouldn't need the bicycle it seemed because it wasn't long after this that she escaped from East Germany and eventually made it to the United States.
(Left and Above: Polish family members, none pictured survived the death camps.)
When I met Anna she was in this same Fourth Way School I was enrolled in and we shared the same hope. We wanted to know the Truth. We wanted to know the Truth about ourselves, about life, about the world, about the Universe. Unfortunately Anna had been damaged by her early experiences. She was extremely paranoid. She had not shaken the memories of the Nazi's breaking in and killing her father. She was not without the feeling that the Communist guards were watching her, documenting her every move. She still had fears she was being followed by Nazi's, KGB agents, the FBI or the CIA. In post World War II Europe you couldn't trust anybody, especially when you already trusted no one. But still Anna made it to America and found her way into what at that time was probably the most sophisticated metaphysical school in the world. All of this unfoldment brought Anna to that point in her life to help set her free. And this usually does happen a step at a time. She found a husband and began a family and also was able to discover that she was Consciousness and that neither the Nazi's, the KGB, the FBI nor the CIA could touch that.
We cannot deny that there seems to be a constant struggle that plays itself out on the human stage but we must always realize that which mirrors itself in our world has its counterpart within our soul. Each of us finds ourselves confronting struggles that often seem to sap the very energy it takes simply to get by. We must fight the apathy which attempts to overcome our Beingness and reach out to the "I AM" self of reality within which continues to unfold our light where shadows have previously held us in bondage. Saga continues: Beyond The Call of Duty
© Copyright Derek Lamar 2005
(Left: Mimi Leder, filmmaker, artist and mother. Above Right: Cover of book by Walter C. Lanyon "The Laughter of God.")
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