A writer named Peter Kingsley has been making waves recently in some parts of the Integral community -- particularly his book, A Story Waiting to Pierce You: Mongolia, Tibet and the Destiny of t....  When I first heard about him awhile back, I checked out an online video interview with him -- which I'll try to locate later -- and was not very impressed by what I heard, as I recall, but I thought I'd share his work here for anyone who might be interested.  From what I've gathered so far, his main thesis is that we have all but lost touch with the "original," mystical, "feminine" foundations of Western civilization, which he traces to the work of Parmenides -- and, beyond him, to Mongolia and Tibet --, and Kingsley's work is about retracing and reclaiming that link.

 

Here's a link to a brief article on this:  The Spiritual Tradition at the Roots of Western Civilization.

 

And here's more info on his latest book (from his website):

 

A Story Waiting To Pierce You offers a breathtaking insight into our past and our future as human beings. For the first time in centuries it traces the ancient threads that connect Mongolia, Tibet and Native Americans to the very origins of western civilization -- showing how these sacred ties have shaped our lives today.

This remarkable book tells, with haunting simplicity and precision, the true story of where our western culture really came from and where it is taking us now.

"A true encanto, an incantation, this book is pure music. It sings to the reader. This is the real thing. In each paragraph of the book, the Spirit is there. This is what the native people of the Americas have been trying to say, but were never permitted to. This song is the song of wisdom that we native people have not been allowed to sing."
ᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠ From the Foreword by Joseph Rael (Beautiful Painted Arrow)

"A wondrous love of wisdom is building inside us. Let this book wake you up into new sunlight: into feeling again the ecstatic wholeness of being alive on this planet, the soul-joy of walking, of reading books (see the astonishing Notes to this text: a great, Nabokovian exuberance), of giving attention to whatever wants to come next, the beauty and the mystery. It is not just a book, and so to be read with the mind. Peter Kingsley's voice is a friend, and also a way of seeing, of remembering essence, of walking in a great circle around an island you have always loved, but only rarely visited."
ᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠ Coleman Barks

"The rich and dense scholarship in this book is admirable, nay incredible, with worldwide scope. Scholarly discussion depends on evidence -- of which A Story Waiting to Pierce You offers the most surprising riches, combined with overwhelming expertise."
ᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠ Prof. Walter Burkert

"In this profoundly erudite and eloquent book is a startling ancient secret that will forever alter the way we think about the origins of western civilization."
ᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠ Pir Zia Inayat Khan

"A Story Waiting to Pierce You is, simply, piercing. Peter Kingsley is a master of adamantine prose and peerless scholarship. His work is truly worthy of that overworked term wisdom. And he is a master stylist: he turns you upside down and inside out without your knowing it is happening. This book will inspire, delight and enlighten many but will also challenge others because it is a mirror that reflects our most stubborn prejudices about the origins of our most sacrosanct cultural beliefs. And for that, Peter Kingsley deserves the highest praise."
ᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠ Larry Dossey, M.D.

"A blazingly alive work of scholarship and spiritual insight."
ᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠ Prof. Jacob Needleman

"By challenging some of our most fundamental perceptions of early European history, Peter Kingsley pushes out the horizon of the modern world and opens a new chapter in our appreciation of European-Asian relations. His innovative research into the spiritual and intellectual debt of ancient Greece to Inner Asia not only broadens our understanding of the past, but also helps us to understand better who we are today."
ᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠ Prof. Jack Weatherford

"I have read A Story Waiting to Pierce You with tremendous fascination. It is a unique work -- a captivating and enlightening book which I heartily recommend to anyone with an interest in Eurasian history."
ᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠ Prof. Victor Mair

"Peter Kingsley is more than a master storyteller. He is a magician who reveals the golden thread of truth which makes its way through time and space, secretly holding the fabric of our world together. A Story Waiting to Pierce You reveals the surprisingly mystical origins, and purpose, of western culture as well as what it means to participate in its eternal unfolding right now."
ᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠ Adyashanti

"This is a book of miracles -- deceptively simple, actively profound. It is a core story of human becoming, the secret history that holds the codes to what we are and what we yet may be."
ᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠ Jean Houston

"This is a small book. I suggest that you read it several times and really get the golden idea at its core. Then bring that idea to everything you do -- every decision, every choice, every plan, every interpretation. Live by an entirely different guidance. Walk like you've never walked before."
ᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠ Thomas Moore

 

To view a short video clip about the book click here

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Kingley is saying, in part, that Abaris and Pythagoras were the same being because each was an incarnation of the God Apollo when the gods still walked with humans, and could skywalk in shamanic ecstasy when in the state of unearthly stillness that takes us out of ourselves. An expert could separate the consciousness from the body at will. He was also saying that the only people who change civilization are the shamanic elites who can contact God who then reveals and directs the seed pattern of the next civilization. All apparently predetermined by this seed. Often a civilization needs to be destroyed as with Genghis Khan in order for the new seed to be planted and developed. There was no split between spiritual and military power nor with the sacred and profane. A little scary when we would usually think of or work for a transformation rather than a military destroying

.One thing that was omitted was any discussion of the idea that the Greeks like Pythagoras and Plato visited Egypt and were initiated in hermetic types of ideas including the influences of Hermes Trismegistus and Alchemy like the Emerald Tablet. If this is true it wasn’t just Mongol shaman connection to god that contributed to western civilization.

"He was also saying that the only people who change civilization are the shamanic elites who can contact God who then reveals and directs the seed pattern of the next civilization. All apparently predetermined by this seed."

 

This sounds a bit like the theory of the Great White Brotherhood, the Illuminati, the Hidden Masters of Tibet, etc.

 

"One thing that was omitted was any discussion of the idea that the Greeks like Pythagoras and Plato visited Egypt and were initiated in hermetic types of ideas including the influences of Hermes Trismegistus."

 

Hermes was sometimes identified with Thoth.


Philip Wootton said:

Kingley is saying, in part, that Abaris and Pythagoras were the same being because each was an incarnation of the God Apollo when the gods still walked with humans, and could skywalk in shamanic ecstasy when in the state of unearthly stillness that takes us out of ourselves. An expert could separate the consciousness from the body at will. He was also saying that the only people who change civilization are the shamanic elites who can contact God who then reveals and directs the seed pattern of the next civilization. All apparently predetermined by this seed. Often a civilization needs to be destroyed as with Genghis Khan in order for the new seed to be planted and developed. There was no split between spiritual and military power nor with the sacred and profane. A little scary when we would usually think of or work for a transformation rather than a military destroying

.One thing that was omitted was any discussion of the idea that the Greeks like Pythagoras and Plato visited Egypt and were initiated in hermetic types of ideas including the influences of Hermes Trismegistus and Alchemy like the Emerald Tablet. If this is true it wasn’t just Mongol shaman connection to god that contributed to western civilization.

One thing that was omitted was any discussion of the idea that the Greeks like Pythagoras and Plato visited Egypt and were initiated in hermetic types of ideas.

Yes indeedy. My own western mystery school initiations (Freemasonry, HOGD, BOTA) are based on the Greco-Egyptian connection, a lot of which is based on number(s) aka math, hence the Pythagorean Theorum etc. And the Pythy one was reputed to have studied at the infamous mystery school(s) in Alexandria. But Alexandria itself was as much Greek as it was Egyptian, as well as many other influences from the area, i.e., one of those trade and cultural centers with quite the eclectic mix. So we might as easily ask, what Greco-Egyptian influences made their way east?

And here's a statement from Archaeology, 56:4, July/August 2003:

We pointed out the importance of Mesopotamia. It's not just a desert. Iraq is not just a desert. It's the place where civilization began, it's the longest surviving continuous tradition of civilization in the world, it's earlier than Egypt, it's earlier than any place else. And that it is the foundation of all ideas of civilization, for Western civilization as well as Eastern. And that we trace our own cultural roots back to Mesopotamia.

I woke up this morning thinking: Oh dear, there's rather a little too much of Peter Kingsley's blood in the water...

So thank you Kela for helping me remember that it usually pays to try and expect the unexpected...as opposed to expecting some sort of Spanish Inquisition :-)

One of the things I really appreciate about this site is that it's such an incredible source of links to publications and papers I wouldn't otherwise ever come across.

So I appreciated your link, Kela, to James Blumenthal's review. Donatelli Rossi as far as I'm aware originally studied with Prof. Namkhai Norbu at the University of Naples L'Orientale. A brief synopsis to his commissioned work on the early history of Tibet, "Drung, Deu and Bon" (1995) can be found here. A synopsis to "Light of Kailash [Vol.1]" (2010), the first part of his main body of work as a Tibetologist, can be found here.

Btw, re. your "...if one thinks that mantras "really" have some "vibrational" effect on reality..." check this out :-)

Stop press... @theurj ... "So we might as easily ask, what Greco-Egyptian influences made their way east?"

Blond hair and blue eyes? :-)

Here is a link to the website of Dmitry Ermakov, the author of "Bө and Bön: Ancient Shamanic Traditions Of Siberia And Tibet In Their Relation To The Teachings Of A Central Asian Buddha" which discusses parallels between Yungdrung Bön and the Bө Murgel tradition of Buryatia.

On its homepage Ermakov says: "Thorough studies of the pantheons of both belief systems reveal striking parallels not only between the deities of Bön and Bө Murgel, but also with those of other ancient Eurasian traditions and peoples such as the Indo-Iranian Aryans and Ancient Greeks. This brings us to a larger phenomenon - an Ur-religion of Eurasia"

Don't know anything about that wee beastie.


Stop press... @theurj ... "So we might as easily ask, what Greco-Egyptian influences made their way east?"

Blond hair and blue eyes? :-)

Although you jest there is some evidence that Alexander the Great's trek east also brought cultural influence, including religious and philosophical. For example, from wikipedia:

Alexander was tutored by the famed philosopher Aristotle. Although he is mostly remembered for his vast conquests, Alexander's lasting legacy was not his reign, but the cultural diffusion his conquests engendered. Alexander's settlement of Greek colonists and culture in the east resulted in a new Hellenistic culture, aspects of which were still evident in the traditions of the Byzantine Empire until the mid-15th century.

The influence seems to have flowed both ways.  The (Indian) Maurya period art, as I recall, seems to bear a strong Greek stylistic imprint.  But King Ashoka, as his edicts indicate, sent many Buddhist emissaries to Greece for "mission work."

There are just too many similarities between Greek/Hellenic culture and Indian culture for a link that predates Alexander to be dismissed, even by a skeptic like myself. For example, 1. the well known formula "neither x, not x, both x and not x, nor neither x nor not x," found in Madhyamika and the a-jnanikas ("a-gnostica" or skeptics) also appears in Sextus Empiricus; 2. the Kynics share several features with the Pashupata Shaivas (and Malamati in Persia), including a club/staff, a lion skin, an anarchic philosophy, and a hero who's name has some interesting phonetic linkages; 3. a description of the practice of mindfulness found in the Questions of Milinda (who may have been the Hellenic king Meneander) that is identical to descriptions of prosoche in the Stoic tradition (viz., a description of the kings staff that includes his "guards" and his "accountants" who count his gold); and the obvious similarities between Neoplatonism and Vedanta -- remember that Ammonious Saccus, the teacher of Plotinus had requested that he accompany an excursion to India. Greek philosophical tradition also refers to the "gymnosophists," naked dudes, probably some form of Indian shramana ie., world-renouncer at the time of the Buddha and Jina.

Balder said:

The influence seems to have flowed both ways.  The (Indian) Maurya period art, as I recall, seems to beak a strong Greek stylistic imprint.  But King Ashoka, as his edicts indicate, sent many Buddhist emissaries to Greece for "mission work."
The flood story and other stories from Genesis are obviously rehashed versions of earlier Mesopotamian stories. Links between Sumer and the Indus valley civilization are inconclusive, as far as I know, but certainly possible and even probable.

theurj said:

And here's a statement from Archaeology, 56:4, July/August 2003:

We pointed out the importance of Mesopotamia. It's not just a desert. Iraq is not just a desert. It's the place where civilization began, it's the longest surviving continuous tradition of civilization in the world, it's earlier than Egypt, it's earlier than any place else. And that it is the foundation of all ideas of civilization, for Western civilization as well as Eastern. And that we trace our own cultural roots back to Mesopotamia.

When I used to speak about these "connections" between Asian and European culture -- in the historical sense (not the ahistorical perennialist sense) -- many main-stream scholars at religious studies conferences were often dismissive, particularly the Christian scholars. There seemed to be this fear that European culture might be "infected" or might have been infected some time in the past. This is something like the inverse of the bias I noted earlier, viz., the idea that anything "mystical" must have come from the East.

(Remember in the horror thread I had referred to different forms of the fear of cultural contamination as expressed in movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or Dracula,the eastern European "hun," or even hillbillies, who want to mate with "our" women.)

I think that current DNA research shows how incredibly diverse and "mixed" we all really are. The old analysis based on the movement of languages (like the "Aryan invasion" theory) or archeology is far too simplistic. There have been several waves of migrations between east and west.

Of course, cultures will attempt to retain their identity across time, but we should also consider processes by which cultural infiltration can occur.

Ginsburg talks about Freud's famous "wolfman" and about how he had a "nanny" of eastern European descent from a culture where it was believed that If a boy is born with the caul near Christmas time, there was the fear that he might become lycanthropic. Ginsburg is suggesting one manner in which mythical ideas can be transmitted without relying on abstract notions like a "collective unconscious." (Btw, Ginsburg also talks about a "European shamanism.")

Btw, re. your "...if one thinks that mantras "really" have some "vibrational" effect on reality..." check this out :-)

I did and certainly agree there is no question that different vibrational frequencies have specific effects. I'm all for a scientific and phenomenological exploration of the "numbers" behind sound and light and how such meditations might promote healing, different states, compassion etc. I'm  just inclined to do so without the metaphysical baggage that's attached to it from most (all?) of the traditions we've been talking about above.

I also appreciated them using my flower-of-life avatar in several of the pictures. As I said in a previous thread this avatar has umpteen metaphysical associations but that does not negate its use and how we might redefine it in more postmeta terms, like I've been trying to do with the AQAL theory of holons, at least through Edwards.

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