In short, I believe my past lives include that of Chiron, a centaur who lived, if he did live, ca. 1400 B.C.E., the same era as Moses.
My preoccupation with race dates from that and similar lives.
None of this is to be taken too seriously. None of it can be proved. Fantastic creatures appear in the myths of Greece, Egypt and Persia, but not the Bible (except for the apocalypses of Daniel, Ezekiel and John). No skeletal or fossil remains of any such creatures have been found.
Predispositions and life course
The circumstances of my birth suggest an individual highly interested in race. I was born in July 1955. Thurgood Marshall had just won Brown v. Board, and Martin Luther King, Jr. was about to become a public figure. My father was zealous about civil rights — and also, at the time, a gifted writer, though he never wrote for publication.
I was born in Akron, Ohio, home of the abolitionist John Brown. I would take my undergraduate degree in Rochester, New York, home of the abolitionist Frederick Douglass. I was actually conceived at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, site of the costliest battle of the American Civil War. Every year at Thanksgiving, my family went from Akron to Allentown, Pennsylvania for a family reunion. In 1954, they stopped on the return trip to tour the battlefield. This also coincided with my parents’ wedding anniversary.
The importance of the Civil War was impressed on me throughout my childhood. Martin Luther King, Jr. even quoted Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. But political correctness has no use for such memories today.
I would return to Gettysburg for graduate school.
Upward mobility among blacks, in the years following the Civil Rights Act (1964) and Voting Rights Act (1965) was not such as the nation had hoped for. I became convinced that the greatest obstacle, or greatest obstacle I could do anything about, was education: inadequate teachers in inadequate schools. So my ambition became to teach black children English in inner-city high schools. Whatever shortcomings they met in other teachers’ classrooms, they would not meet in mine.
Ironically, I wound up instead teaching poor white children in an urban middle school. My first four years, I served children from one of the highest concentrations of poor whites in the nation. Of the children born there, 98% would not graduate high school. Most of their parents had not gone past the 8th grade. My fifth and last year, the children I served were highly affluent blacks.
The Trojan Horses
The Trojan War was an actual historical event of the same era as the Exodus. A number of Greek (actually Achaian) kingdoms warred against the kingdom of Troy. The Trojan Horse was a stratagem the Greeks used to finally defeat the Trojans. For the moment, I’m playfully calling the centaurs “Trojan horses,” too, as they all lived in that same time.
They lived in the mountain forests of Thessalonica. They had the upper body of a man or woman, and the lower body of a horse; the hips of the human part were fused with the shoulders of the horse. I suppose they were actually more the size of ponies than of horses. There was a single generation: if you reflect on that anatomy, it would not have been feasible for them to reproduce.
Chiron was known as “the noble centaur,” as in “the one and only.” Bright, cultured, well-mannered, he was welcome among the social elites. All the rest of the centaurs were basically hooligans — debauched, drunken, violent, squalid — and so shunned by polite society.
The Wikipedia article “Centaur” gives many details that don’t necessarily match my presumed memories.
My career was in education. This was the Age of Heroes — Achilles, Jason, Hercules, and the rest — and I was their teacher. The Wikipedia article “Chiron” gives an extensive list. I have named those three because I presumed to recognize them among my students in this life.
Hercules was an unruly child. The myth includes that, on one occasion, he punched me. I presume to bear the sequelae of that event in my flesh today: there is a spot in my abdomen, about six inches “southwest” of my navel, where I’ve had pain from time to time all my life. I have been told my left ureter is deformed; that may be what’s caused my kidney stones. I also have an “anomaly” in my colon at the same place. This would have been about chest high for the boy Hercules.
Life on the margins
At Messiah Truth, a discussion rose about drug addictions; and pertinent the role of karma, I posted this:
Edgar Cayce said that in those ages prior to our known history, there were numerous miscreant or sub-human races, typically ruled over by others as slaves. These, for example, he says, built the pyramids. Their neshamat (souls) continue among us today, with less grotesque naphshim (bodies); but the disfigurements still appear behaviorally, such as in the form of addictions.
There are other karmic features as well.
I suspect I lived many lives as such creatures. Often I wound up on the interface between species, even as is the case to some extent for me today. I have this supposed vision/memory of standing, one sunny summer afternoon, on a mountainside, with others. I was there as spokes-critter for these untermenshchen, and the rest of the group belonged to the master race.
Far, far below us, brown fields stretched out in all ways to the horizon, in which we knew, although we could not see them, microscopic in that distance, tens of thousands of my kind toiled, harvesting the
On the one hand, no presumption of equality played any role. The abuses we suffered, which were very real, were more a matter of cruelty to animals.
On the other hand, injustice has two dimensions — vertical and horizontal. From my vantage point on the margin, I was again and again pained not only by the harm inflicted on us “from above,” but by the harm we were constantly inflicting on each other. And I met continuous frustration in seeking to get my kind to change our ways.
Related: Serotonin and society
At this writing, I have lived for thirteen years in total immersion among the poor. And I perceive again that the harm inflicted on us by the rich does not compare with the harm we inflict upon each other.
The wounded healer
Chiron is also called “Chiron the healer,” which parallels my own avid interest in spiritual healing.
His story is the basis of the “wounded healer” paradigm of healing, whereby the healer oneself is a wounded person who, being accepting of one’s own pain, can be compassionate towards others who are suffering. That’s the upside. The downside is that the appointed healer may be so wrapped up in her or his own pain, as to be unable to accept the others’ story. That is a common obstacle on both sides in discussions of racism.
The myth says that on one occasion, I caught an arrow to the knee; was in excruciating pain, and devoted everything I could, for the rest of my life, to seeking healing from that wound.
In fact, however, my wound is not my knee. My wound is racial injustice.
Who else I’ve been
There are three men known to history whom I believe I was, but you won’t recognize any of the names: Origen (184-253 C.E.), Andreas Osiander (1498-1552), and Nikolai F.S. Grundtvig (1783-1872). All were avidly involved in education. All insisted that feelings are just as important as ideas. After all, the first commandment is to love (Mark 12:30), and the second commandment is to love also (Mark 12:31). As to each of these men, however, the church authorities at the time were dogmatists who insisted that one must ignore one’s feelings.
Bitter conflicts ensued. Origen and Grundtvig were each banished for decades (Compare my current homelessness.); Origen and Osiander were finally anathematized (condemned). But for me, I continue to believe and say the same things they did.
The life as Chiron also accounts for how I’m hung.