What Devil Has A Hold of Me?

“Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?”

For most of 2020, that lyric kept playing in my head.

It was not the first time I hadn’t known. When I was in third grade, I had a teacher who hated me. I had a classmate who knew exactly what my buttons were and how to push them all. I was small for my age and socially awkward; I could see bullshit everywhere and could not imagine that other people couldn’t see it. I could read hostile energy in the people around me but I couldn’t understand it, and, being a highly verbal person, was constantly trying to inquire with words for answers that no one was willing or able to give me. It was lonely; it was cold.

I was interacting with the psychopathy of a scapegoating society; I didn’t understand that it wasn’t personal. In order for such a culture to function, it must agree on a target and gaslight the victim into self-annihilation. No words are necessary; the object of such banal dehumanization usually reveals their vulnerabilities readily, sufficient for the participants to convince themselves on some level that the marginalization is justified. The players on both sides often don’t realize they are playing, or at least most of them mostly don’t. The incentives and mechanisms of human society can make explicit conspiracy and collusion unnecessary; the artful and intuitive manipulation by few individuals who are malicious or even just insecure can cascade in ways that look like masterful strategies.

The story of Sauron does not begin with the Lord of the Rings and the embodiment of evil. He is first the protege of a powerful entity who is cast out of Middle Earth for his hubris; Sauron perfects the art of hubristic manipulation after his master is no longer able to protect him. He finds ready acolytes among the arrogant and weak when he is in human form. But in that body he is overthrown in battle and loses material being; after that he must speak through a servant with no identity of his own, a corrupted creature known only as The Mouth of Sauron.

Both Tolkien and Peter Jackson depict The Mouth of Sauron as thoroughly defiled, because Sauron is revealed in his wickedness at that point. But The Mouth of Sauron was once fair and powerful; he is of the same race as Aragorn. There may even have been a time when he was doing the bidding of his master without knowing it.

Behind the pious and imperative intonation of politicians, behind the shiny smiles and sculpted hair of the television anchors, behind the authoritative voices of the radio announcers and the pens and keyboards of the pundits and reporters, I perceive the pointed yellow teeth of Sauron’s mouth.

Just like that 8 year old me, I can feel something I don’t have the right words for; I could lash out, but at what? And it would accomplish nothing.

I woke up one morning, and there was a brand new band in town. All the folks fighting over whether or not it is okay to kneel for the National Anthem or sit for the Pledge of Allegiance discovered that they could agree on something after all; everybody ought to be flying the Ukrainian flag. “Your mask protects me” turned into “Everyone who doesn’t hate all things Russian (including athletes, cats, and long-dead composers) is allied with Putin!” I may have injured my chin when I dropped my jaw at the speed with which the propaganda machine spun people into a frenzy of Russophobic hatred without an iota of critical consideration for the difference between a government and the people it purports to rule.

When Madeleine Albright said that half a million dead Iraqi children were “worth it” for the political aims of the US Imperium (that was in 1996, for those of you looking longingly to supposedly gentler times), I was 20. George Carlin said, after the bombing of Iraq that followed the World Trade Center attack (that was perpetrated by Saudi nationals, but who’s counting?), that the Patriot’s Mega Flag Pack included an extra flag to stick up your a**. I’ve yet to find a single example of sanctions successfully achieving the stated political objectives (and, given that track record, one might be inspired to ask if the stated objectives are the real ones), but they must sound pretty to people who have no idea what a “No Fly Zone” actually is but sure do love a boycott.

Somebody must be VERY afraid that everyday people will go about their lives forgetting to hate anyone, or looking too closely at the Somebodies themselves. Without constant reminding that there are Sides and everyone better Get On One, everyday people might start looking a little closer at who benefits from such a story at all. Not even who might be ginning it up or orchestrating it, but, just, who benefits from it? Because I’m pretty sure it’s not everyday people.

It’s astounding how vulnerable the human psyche is to manipulation. But the thing that scares a psychopath the most is someone with a center, someone who sees through the bullshit, and someone who ignores them, even if the narcissist wields physical power over the person who rejects their claims.

So the question I keep asking myself is this: what lies have I fallen for? What psychopathic cultural forces are manipulating me?

I think it is the delusion of urgency and action in some holy war.

I do not need anyone else to tell me what I “must” do. I do not need anyone to tell me what “side” to be on. I am always on my side. My center. My root. My truth. And if that is not truth, but a lie I’m telling myself, then it will be revealed in the speaking. If I wish to cultivate a lie and nurture it in my soul, I will not hold it up to the light. I will demand that it be constantly affirmed by others who benefit from it. I will seek outside of myself for an assuaging of the discomfort that I recognize within me at the conflict between the belief and my integrity.  

But if it is true, if it rings deep in my soul a temple bell of return, then I will cleave to it, and I will not be denied. If agents of lies imprison me, I will fill my lungs with space beyond measure and see that those bars are the cages they are building for themselves.

I will do what I must do, following the spokes that radiate from my center, for to deny that imperative would be to fashion my own dungeon. Where there is urgency, it is in that pursuit.

I will not-know when not-knowing is correct. I will walk softly on the path of the sages, not-acting, not-doing; trusting in the divine and adhering to the Way of the quiet places.

Because something is happening here, and I do know what it is. It is the sloughing of the shriveled skin of a psychopathic authority, and the emergence of the jeweled hide of my own.


At the end of some posts, I will offer relevant insights and suggestions about tools I use, myself or with clients, to support the transformative process that is healing. Today, I want to mention two things, because I am so happy to see so many new subscribers and I realize many of you might not know who I am.

When I’m not The Big, my name is Sarah Thompson and I am a professional homeopath with Inner Sea Homeopathy. Without getting into details that you can read on my website, I found myself in this work when this work found me through a diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2010 and a subsequent bone marrow transplant in 2014. I’ve been deep in the world of high tech medicine, but I didn’t find my answers there. I don’t think of myself as a healer so much as a conduit for the healing power of homeopathic remedies, and I approach this work from a shamanic perspective and imbued with my training in shamanic practice and tradition. It’s free to schedule a call to learn more about how you can heal completely with homeopathy.

Health IS Freedom. And freedom and health are my thing.

Flower essences are not homeopathy, but they are powerful, and, unlike homeopathy, you can experiment with them on your own for deep issues without the advice and support of someone who has studied deeply in the field. Homeopathic remedies, on the other hand, should be taken for chronic conditions with someone to assist the process. I can talk more about that, too, any time you ask:)

Flower essences are also easy to recommend based on general states, so I am confident that I can give good advice about them without knowing the ins and outs of your individual case (although I can do MORE if I DO know!). The two essences that I think of for the situation described in this post are Cerato and Borage. I think of that as the “Courage of Your Convictions” combo. Cerato supports you to trust your intuition and recognize the truth that is shining forth through you, and Borage supports you to stand in that light when forces around you would have you bend. A few drops in your water every day can work wonders.

Fall Down. Take a Bow.