I was not given “Allegory” first. I was shown cycles of Earth history first, but as an ancient tale of the Fall from the “Golden Age” of the Titans, mythological Greek gods. At the time, I had no idea why I was being taken there, much less that there was any text to follow.
I also realize how strange this must sound, but this has not been my only experience with “clear channeling” (hearing exact words from Spirit, sometimes for extended stretches of time). It is not anything that I can invoke at will, nor do I talk of it much. It has just sometimes happened at key junctures.
I remember going to the public library in Ukiah, California, a building I never visited before or since. I went right to mythology and came on the Promethean myth, which I felt impelled to research. Ironically, had I been an author in search of a plot (which I was not, at least not consciously!), this was probably the most poignant “allegory” that I might have chosen through which to depict the tragedy of Peoples Temple’s fate. (The reasons may not be transparent to “outsiders”; “insiders” might better relate.)
Prometheus was amongst the greatest of ancient mythological heroes. He stole fire from Olympus, in defiance of the gods, and gave it to Mankind – so that humanity could determine its own fate and conquer its own world. The ancient deities (“the establishment” of his day) punished Prometheus for giving humanity the “godlike” power to control its own destiny, by chaining him to a mountaintop and having vultures peck on his liver throughout each day. At night, his liver would regenerate; at dawn the ordeal would resume.
Prometheus did not come to “save” humanity, as in Christian myths, or those of other religions. He came to empower humanity to self-determination. Nor was he left chained to the mountaintop forever. He was released when the mythological centaur, Chiron, came to take his place.
Chiron, in mythology, was a hybrid: exceedingly wise, godlike in his wisdom, but partly with the body of a horse. In his very body, and his unique mixture of attributes, Chiron is the archetypal form of what humanity, in essence, is: part animal, part Divine. We are the living essence of both conflict and choice, and our empowerment, as “Allegory” laments, shall only come to fruition “[when] only the non-flesh-ridden. extol the Name” (i.e., the Divine “Name”).
The Promethean myth, note again, is not in the mold of the Christian myth. It is not one of vicarious atonement. It was more like a waiting game (with, as “Allegory” implores, time now running out), until Chiron emerges to take his rightful place. until humanity releases itself from patterns of exploitation and domination, and comes into its own.
I was also shown much about religions. An avatar emerges, you light a flame and it goes out; an avatar emerges, you light a flame and it goes out; an avatar emerges, you light a flame and it goes out. Religion becomes an echo, and salvation a shell. The Promethean myth (and many of the lessons of Jonestown, for that matter), are entreaties for humanity to take upon itself the will, and to achieve the mastery, to redeem itself, with God as center, not via intermediaries, or surrendered to the surrogate power of its leaders.
That is the visionary’s entrustment to our precious people who died, who so longed for, but were unable to achieve that mastery and will, when “Allegory” tells them, so tenderly in the midst of chaos and sorrow, “And you can be the noblest ones to grace this earth… that [i.e., yet future] day lead forth a company of daughters and sons” (as in the bible, “Ye are Gods, sons and daughters of the Most High”).
It is also woven into heartbreaking pleas towards the end of the work, that “a mission of rescue” had tragically become “a mission of legacy”; but that the longings for a place “where free beings speak, and dreams are left behind, for goodness lives” will never die.
Of course with Jonestown, beyond the loss of life, there was the immense tragedy that our people, in their very establishment of a humane, interracial, egalitarian, self-sustaining community, were self-empowered in so many ways. And for those who lived there and gave their lives, that was what their community was about.
But it was before its time – both a unique, unprecedented breakaway from oppressive conditions in the United States, under tremendous pressures from both without and within, and the crushing paradox (still unendurable to many of us to this day!) that the very person (namely, Jim Jones) who so facilitated their self-empowerment, was also so prone to crush it.
Ironically, now 30-plus years later, other aspects of the work appear prophetic as well. When “Allegory” was written, the monster euphemism of “globalism” was barely peeking its ugly head over the horizon – yes, an Orwellian euphemism in that “globalism” does not appear designed to promote global survival.
Jonestown was a prototype community. But what we now call “globalism” might gladly squash such communities like mosquitoes! Yet there may be (may very well be) a time ahead that may require such a massive surge of human self-determination to even globally survive. And I offer that that is what the over-the-top decibel level towards the end of “Allegory” might be about.
Nor had Mankind even envisioned any calling for such a caliber of self-determination when Jonestown imploded, much less translated such a vision into reality. There may be future communities in a more humane world that look much like Jonestown but are self-determined, not authoritarian-leadership-driven. Jonestown greatly succeeded (the feds confiscated the glowing guest book, though records still remain) and also so greatly failed. The successes were unpublicized, as too many high-powered elements were out to destroy not only such a “Promethean” community, but their unique pivotal role with respect to the Third World and the then-USSR. But even Congressman Ryan remarked that, “This is one of the greatest social experiments of the 20th century.” And he meant that in a very good way. More than human lives were lost that night – the ocean of tears in doom’s wake also dissolved cruelly-dashed hopes.
“Allegory” takes the parable very deep, very nuanced, in ways that may resonate powerfully with survivors. It is admittedly odd in that this work, in its mastery of metaphor, might be what a writer would do by design; but for me it was simply given whole, as a gift before the fact. Yet even now; it offers profound interpretive keys that ring true for a humanity as much in need of self-determination as it was then – perhaps more so. Had I devised the text on my own (which, as I’ve reiterated repeatedly, I had no way to know its many, many, many exact details in advance), I might not have chosen better.
I would hasten to add that so far as I ever knew, “Allegory” was not given as a philosophical, much less political treatise, but far more profoundly, as a heartbreaking lament. It has literally taken decades to pull this all into a long-view perspective – one which is in some respects even more compelling today.
I can only hope that its power, its passion, and the depth of its mourning for the precious ones who died that night, will resonate as I’m sure was meant to be. So much thanks to everyone for listening, and do feel free to communicate your responses to me at:
Laurie Efrein Kahalas may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.