September 17, 2001 to October 16, 2001

Continued from 11 BEN


Universalism. Announcements and arrivals. The coming. Inauguration. Free spirit. Status, recognition and success. Athletics. Good sportsmanship. Anger.


Priest, jaguar, shaman, integrity, magician, messenger, meditation, night seer, torch bearer, heart-knowing.

The clear resonance between Lightning Path symbol 11 BEN and the concrete, physical event that happened on 9/11 empowered me deeply to continue to seek further revelation from The Lightning Path. Now, eight years after the event, I am convinced that is here to help us navigate our way through this perilous period in humanity's evolution. I say this, not simply from faith but rather, from my own direct experience.

I know that , on a personal level, at no point during the last twenty-five years have I been more grateful for the guidance afforded me by The Lightning Path than I was when, on September 17, just six days after the disaster, the Moon rejoined the Sun and a new lunar cycle signatured as 12 IX (‘eesh) began.

TWELVE IX (pronunciation:‘eesh)

Number twelve signifies a condition of complex stability. On a personal level it refers to the kind of emotional strength that comes from being able to contain within a wholistic envelope of understanding, both sides of any dualistic argument or situation; in other words, the kind of strength that comes form being able to “hold paradox.” Doing so grounds one’s consciousness in the unitive matrix of wholeness containing all conditons of polarity as is symbolized in the Chinese yin/yang symbol shown below. The wisdom of this view is that all things are mirrored in their opposite and none are exempt from this; as Buckminster Fuller used to say: “Universe is plural and at minimum, two.”


Hieroglyph IX unites with number twelve to signify the shaman, the shapeshifter, the passionate, heartful, ambassador of wholeness and deep understanding. The shaman journeys beyond the veil of duality into the unitive core of things and gives voice to its most hidden aspects. The arrival of this combination of number and hieroglyph presented me with exactly the image of health and wholeness I needed in order to make sense of what I was painfully witnessing on the world stage. What better place than Broadway to have come to grips with the paradox of being human, of having the capacity for vast creativity on the one hand and vast destruction on the other?

New York City's Broadway

As fate would have it, I was in Manhattan less than two weeks after the 9/11 tragedy. On September 23, 2001, the last day of our stay there, I and my two companions, Ann Mortifee and Ed Henderson, made our way through the busy streets of New York to the booming, buzzing confusion that awaited us at Ground Zero. Prevented by barricades from getting any closer, we ended up in a little gazebo located in a public park on its perimeter.

After more than a week of swirling through Manhattan as participants in a festival of new musical theater, we had finally come to pay our respects to the souls of those who had departed so tragically just days before. None of us was prepared for the enormity of feeling that engulfed us. In the midst of devout prayer, bombarded by the cacophony of mechanical sound created by the Herculean rescue effort being made just a block away, we had descended into an outpouring of tears and sorrow, unlike anything any one of us had ever experienced before. Deeper and deeper our hearts sank and we might never have returned from that awful pit of sorrow, had it not been for the single braid of prairie-grown sweet grass Ann had brought for the occasion.

Gazebo near Ground Zero

For thousands of years, indigenous peoples of the North American prairies have used sweetgrass to assist them in prayer. The rising smoke from a smoldering sweetgrass strand is said to invite the sweet spirits of Nature, to come join the proceedings and to bless participants with the insights of higher consciousness. It seemed to me that nowhere in my life had I personally needed such a blessing more than in New York City where so many of the sweet things of Nature have been so completely obliterated by Man's technological achievements mounted ever higher upon her scarred and humble back.

Braided sweetgrass.

Annie's sweetgrass did not surrender itself easily to us. Several unsuccessful attempts at lighting the braid made it apparent that the only way its blessings were to come was if we united our breath as one and continued ceaselessly to blow on its glowing tip. This, of course, had the effect of grounding all three of us directly into the present moment where, according to spiritual leaders from around the world, our true spiritual salvation ultimately resides!

Prayerful, grounded, clutched together in a little triangle, we blew on that braid of sweetgrass for most of an hour, all the while praying and grieving deeply. Each in our own way reached out to the souls of those still caught in the grim remains of what was once, the largest office building in the world.

In such an altered state, it became increasingly clear to me that I was grieving, not only for the many people who had died at the World Trade Center, but for the very land itself, upon which this terrible tragedy had occurred. I felt strongly that our united prayer was a very real contribution to the much-needed rebalancing of forces that had converged to precipitate such an enormous tragedy as 9/11. For without acknowledgement of the spiritual dimension of life, no such balance will ever be attained.