Millennia after this mythic quest, amid bright lights and pulsing cities of Twentieth Century life, the Mystery revealed to Hermes Trimegistus remains very much shrouded in coils of unanswered—and often unasked—questions.
Only 170 years ago, Hans Oersted discovered that electric current deflects a magnetic needle.
Nine years later, in 1859, in a red sandstone building in Albany, New York, in a park next to the Capitol of the Empire State, Joseph Henry built the first electric motor, and The Electric Age was born. Since then, we've learned trillions of ways to make electrons dance to our technological tunes. But, we still don't yet know the nature of this electromagnetic force, nor its effect in nature, on and in biology.
Despite this ignorance, electromagnetism (EM) transformed our world—and minds. Imagine our world without lights, refrigerators, telephones, stereos, radio, TV... Today every home has a power supply, every politician an energy policy. The notion man-made magnetism is a pollutant gets scant attention next to chemicals, viruses, genes, and radiation. Even food gets more scrutiny.
This seemingly "domesticated" force's impact on humanity is startling. Slowly, yet steadily, man-made EM has crept into our lives since Henry invented the first electric motor in 1829. Disguised as a benign, all-good gift of Technology, it invaded our communities, houses—and tissues. We drew it into our lives like iron to a magnet—automatically, unconsciously, rapidly.
Yet, by 1980, studies by Wertheimer, Milham, Marino, Becker, Adey, and others showed clear evidence of EM harm, especially Extra-Low Frequency (ELF) EM from powerlines. Like a blindfolded child playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, modern man can't see his predicament. Like its researchers, science itself is in a double blind, and we're the guinea pigs.
First, EM, like nuclear radiation, is invisible—you can't see, feel, taste or hear it, yet it can weaken your immune system, reset your biological clock and make you sick. Second, science hasn't uncovered the origin and effects—the real nature—of EM. Attempts to reveal this invisible hazard face four blinds:
- suppression of information by utilities and military,
- poor understanding of EM and ELF in general,
- no theory of how weak EM alters cell metabolism,
- magnetism itself is invisible—the dark side of light.
Most of all, modern mechanistic science insists "seeing is believing." That is, confirmation by sensory detection defines reality. Yet a few phenomena—like The Dragon—must be believed to be seen.
Believing is Seeing
The stubbornness of politics aside, the real cause for confusion is that we really know little about EM. Dr. Becker freely admits science knows something of electricity, little of magnetism and even less of EM. Yet, as Becker and Marino wrote in 1982: "EM is a fundamental attribute of life that must have been present in the first living things. The concept that living things have intrinsic EM led to the prediction [they] respond to external EM—both natural and artificial."
Despite our ignorance, like the arctic explorer Nansen entranced by dancing dragons in arctic skies [see Part One], we are mystified by this invisible, all pervasive force. Indeed, mythology supplies our best insight into induction, for ancient people believed magnetism held the secret of life.
Ancient people first encountered magnetism in natural magnetic iron ores, primarily magnetite. Pre-Homeric Greeks believed magnets were alive, and they mined magnetite in Magnesia in Asia Minor, whence came the word magnet. Ancient Greeks used magnetism for divination, while Chinese and central American Olmecs used it for geomancy to reveal "paths of the dragon." Chinese called their geomancy Feng Shui, meaning "wind and water," since the Dragon, like wind, cannot be seen, and like water, cannot be grasped.
Magnetic insight emerged slowly. First came the that discovery iron can be magnetized by stroking it with a magnet. Not until the 20th Century did we learn that cobalt and nickel are magnetic; today supermagnets are made of copper, nickel, iron, aluminum and cobalt alloys—and, a more recent technology, rare earth alloys.
Floating magnetic needles—the first compasses—allowed sailors and traders to chart their course. Navigation by magnet began after 1000 AD to usher in a great Age of Exploration. Thus magnetism gave us orientation to plot our direction.
It was not until 1600 that English royal physician William Gilbert, in his monumental text De Magnete, first proclaimed that Earth itself is a magnet. Gilbert compared magnetism to lifeforce, first distinguished electricity and magnetism, first conceived of a magnetic field, first used the word electricity, and invented the electroscope to measure electric fields. In the next century, scientific insights into physics, chemistry and biology poured out of labs all across Europe.
In the 1770s Austrian physician Franz Mesmer arrived in Paris with a radical theory of animal magnetism, based on Hermetic philosophy, that the human microcosm corresponds to world macrocosm. Mesmer said the body has magnetic poles, and a subtle fluid flows from cosmic magnetic poles through the body. Uninterrupted, smooth flow is health; blockages create disease. Mesmer claimed to remove blocks and restore flow by stroking the body with magnets. Inexplicably, his treatments worked. Mesmer became famous—and rich—until a French medical commission declared him a fraud. Mesmerism is still derided by science, but association with trance induction is metaphoric.
In contrast, animal electricity prospered at this time in experiments by Italian scientists Galvani and Volta of electric effects on living tissue. But it was to be in the next century that the world would make a giant leap into the vortex.
Life Science Dualism
EM's relation to life has been fascinating and controversial for centuries. Western medical biology, with roots barely 400 years old, is hardly older than EM science. Until the 1600s western life science was a battleground for antagonistic ideologies.
On one side, mechanists insist life is purely physical—chemical matter organized in progressively greater complexity—atoms form molecules to form macromolecules within organelles in cells in orderly tissues organized into organs within organisms. But in essence life is inanimate, inert molecules, and explained by laws of chemistry and physics.
The other extreme—vitalists—insisted life arose from invisible energy—a divine spark, vital force or telluric current. Many vitalist theories were offered, each with its own terms: von Reichenbach's odic force, Mesmer's animal magnetism, others believed in elan vitale.. The concept, with ancient roots in prehistory, is universal, appearing in all societies and religions.
In the 1600s chemists began synthesizing organic chemicals from inorganic elements. This was considered proof biology could be reduced to chemistry, and vitalism was rejected by western science as superstition—consigned to the waste basket along with alchemy, hermetics and mysticism. Nearly 200 years would pass before Henry's motor harnessed EM. Not for 300 years would medical biology reexamine the role of EM.
Yet, if we took an electric motor back 400 years, medieval mechanists couldn't explain its workings. Most would dissolve it in acid to detail its chemical composition. If we said tiny invisible electrons flow through solid metal to create unseeable, all penetrating magnetism to make the motor spin, mechanists would mutter, "vitalist nonsense!" Not until the 1970s did science begin to recognize EM's role in biology.
Mechanism is alive in modern science—a blindfold to render the Dragon invisible. Scientists mutter "spiritualist superstition" at esoteric and Oriental concepts of biomagnetic anatomy. Even rational bioelectromagnetic theory is resisted as vitalistic. Even bioelectromagnetics pioneer Dr. Becker, who mapped the human body's electric fields to discover it conducts better at acupuncture points, declared ancient Oriental concepts of ch'i are "vitalistic and unacceptable to modern science."
Students of The Unifying Principle will recognize this dance of yin & yang—magnetic & electric—energy & matter—vitalism & mechanism. The Unifying Principle lays bare science's dualistic either/or dilemma to reveal a macrobiotic perspective: like EM itself, cells are not only particles, but also waveforms. Cells communicate not only by "firing off" impulses, but by massaging and whispers.
Animal Magnetism Revisited
Since our planet is a giant magnet, it should be no surprise we and other lifeforms are sensitive to magnetism, including Earth's. Yet this idea found little acceptance in western science until recently. It's curious to note wood isn't magnetic. Wood's non-magnetism suggests that cells themselves are sensitive to magnetism, if not actual magnets themselves. In fact, scientific studies show both are true.
Sixty years after Nansen's diary entry, a husband and wife in Russia began taking photos in high voltage, high frequency EM. In 2 Mhz 20 kv EM a human finger glows with visible blue-white light called corona. The Kirlians' remarkable technique replicated Gaia's arctic auroras to illuminate startling images of energy fields around living tissue. Like Nansen, the Kirlians had few scientific concepts for what they saw.
For one, individuals in the act of "healing" had coherent beams of red light shoot from their fingertips. Researchers tore pieces from plant leaves, then photographed them. Unpredictably, a complete corona appeared, as if the whole leaf was present. This phantom leaf effect suggested EM associated with living tissue persists after the physical structure is gone.
To understand this secret life of cells, we must know how cells are constructed. Critical elements are the outermost membrane surface and innermost nucleus of genetic material. DNA's coiled structure expresses a clear magnetic imprint; replication occurs at radio frequencies, but little is known about DNA's EM activities. However, recent studies shed light on EM action in cell membranes.
A cell membrane is a twin layer of lipid—a biochemical term for fat and oil. Lipids have acidic "heads" strongly attracted to water (hydrophilic) and oily hydrocarbon "tails" which repel water (hydrophobic). Millions of these tiny "snakes" line up at a cell surface head-to-head and tail-to-tail. Hydrophilic heads face water in the external world and the cell's interior; hydrophobic tails crowd together to form a thin sandwich only a millionth of a inch thick. By comparison, plastic films are at least three thousandths of an inch—300 times thicker!
Fat is an insulator, so the twin lipid layer electrically isolates a cell from the outside. There is a tenth of a volt electric field between the inside and exterior of a nerve cell. To us, 0.1 volt is nothing—but at the scale of a cell it is equivalent to over 100,000 volts. The electric resistance of cell membrane is astonishing—and inside are liquid crystals of "living water."
Israeli scientist Rafael Elul found that strands of protein protrude from membranes into water between brain cells. In the 1960s Ahron Katchalsky, biophysicist at MIT's Neurosciences Research Program, found that calcium binds to the end of these protein strands. Calcium ions
are very prevalent in brain tissue, and transmit nerve impulses.
These protein-calcium strands sway in response to electric currents, like visible brain waves. Dr. Ross Adey says they're "senstive to electrochemical breezes blowing across cell membranes—like wheat waving in wind. Rhythmic waves aren't just noise, but intercellular whispers."
Whispers of the Dragon
Oddly, most scientific data on ELF effects was CIA funded. In 1962, the U.S. State Department discovered Russian microwaves beamed at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. To learn why, the CIA formed Project Pandora—a secret program in the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)—to explore concepts for EM weaponry. ARPA interviewed leading researchers on microwave effects on brain and behavior, and funded several labs to study low-level EM effects. One went to Dr. W. Ross Adey to study how weak EM affects monkeys.
Adey received a medical doctorate in 1949 in Australia, then was Research Fellow at England's Oxford University. He came to the U.S. in 1954 as UCLA professor of anatomy. In 1961, he joined the new Brain Research Institute to pioneer implanting EEG sensors in live monkey brains to study weak EM effects on outer membranes and inner workings of brain cells. Today, he's a leading bioelectromagnetics theoretician and philosopher.
In the 1960s, using monkeys with EEG implants, Adey found that both seven- and ten-hz fields increased EEG action in the limbic system, an ancient part of the brainstem. While 10 hz had no effect on primate behavior, seven hz caused delays in reaction time. In the 1970s he found effects of low level EM at seven, 45, 60, and 75 hz on primates. Consistently, ELF fields as low as 1 vpm changed in EEG and behavior.
Cats—a different species—with implanted electrodes were exposed to very high frequency (VHF) EM of 147 million hz (Mhz). By itself, VHF EM had no effect, but modulated at ELF, it altered feline brainwaves. Effects were specific for sites in the brain and particular ELFs.
In 1974, as Wertheimer's leukemia study and Becker's powerline battle began [see Part One], Adey made a breakthrough. He exposed live chick brains to low-level 147 Mhz EM, again with no effect. But ELF modulation caused up to 20 percent rises in calcium ion release by brain cell membranes.
This occurred at several specific frequencies between six and 20 hz, with a maximum at 16 hz and lower responses at adjacent frequencies. This calcium release follows a classic resonance curve which depends, not on EM intensity, but frequency. Subsequent study revealed this narrow window effect also occurs at specific field strengths and exposure times.
By 1976, Adey had proven that weak EM directly affects the central nervous system, and theorized that ELF oscillations of protein-calcium strands are cell-to-cell communication. Weak ELF EM alters calcium movement in cell membranes to change neural chemical action.
By 1977, he'd shown that low level microwaves of 450 Mhz, modulated at six hz, changes brain tissue chemistry in the cerebral cortex. This was observed—but just how weak EM did this remained unknown. Yet Adey's discovery revolutionized science and medicine as much as the leap from wire-bound telegraph to wireless radio changed the face of communications.
Ross Adey first heard the Dragon's whispers as it slid and shifted beneath awareness threshholds, detected only by science's instruments and our collective cultural imagery. Few scientists tried to repeat Adey's experiments.
Enter the Dragon
In 1979 Carl Blackman, at EPA Health Effects Research Lab biologist, confirmed Adey's 16 hz window effect on calcium ions. Blackman found 50 Mhz (ham radio frequency) modulated at 15 hz also increased calcium ion release from chick brain tissue.
Further experiments showed the power level of the internal magnetic field in tissue was critical. In 1980, Blackman found that 16 hz increased calcium release at two power levels, but one and 30 hz showed no effect. Then he explored one to 100 hz to reveal windows at 15, 45, 75, and 105 hz, with weak reactions to 30, 60 and 90 hz.
Blackman's real discovery came in 1983. In studying frequency window effects, Blackman stumbled on the solid state physics principle of cyclotron resonance—that static magnetic fields cause electric particles to move in circles at a frequency related to static magnetic strength.
Using Helmholtz coils to create static magnetism, he cut local geomagnetism in half—and 15 hz calcium ion effects vanished. In other tests, a new window appeared at 30 hz with an effect proportional to geomagnetism. In July 1984, Blackman told the Bioelectromagnetics Society that local geomagnetism is a critical variable in experiments, and explained why researchers had trouble reproducing biomagnetic experiments—results depend on local geomagnetism in each lab.
Many scientists repeated Blackman's experiments. Oakland University physicist Abraham Liboff suggested neural tissue ions are in cyclotron resonance with external magnetism. He altered geomagnetism to a level at which lithium ions resonate, and found rats exposed to 60 hz had impaired response time—a behaviorial effect.
Carl Blackman had discovered the Dragon. But like a kid playing pin-the-tail-on-the-leviathan, Blackman's microscopic view saw only one tiny scale of an immense beast—Earth's largest single organism.
Earth's organisms evolved in air and water. They also live in EM environments shaped by geomagnetism, which is normally about .5 gauss. Until recently, scant attention was paid to magnetism in evolution—like studying fish but ignoring the ocean. It was only in 1600, in "De Magnete," that Gilbert first proposed that Earth itself is a giant magnet.
Geomagnetic science barely grew for 300 years, but is has grown rapidly in the last 30 years, thanks to satellite mapping for military and space research. Yet there still is no understanding of geomagnetism's origin, behavior or effects on the physical environment, on the biosphere—or on us. One popular yet unproven theory holds that Earth's magnetism is formed by electric currents in Earth's molten iron-nickel core and charged ions in upper air.
Earth's magnetism isn't constant—it rises, falls and reverses in complex rhythms. One is the lunar cycle. Around 1900, geophysicists found that Earth's magnetism varies as the moon revolves about it. This is curious, since most ancient cultures used calendars of lunar months. Swedish naturalist Svante Arrhenius (discoverer of the Greenhouse Effect) suggested that tidal magnetism is a timekeeper to regulate biorhythms. We're linked to the lunar cycle by our hormones—the rate at which our cells divide and our brain operates.
Geomagnetism contains other specific frequencies—some so small they're called micropulsations—in a range of one to 30 hz. Geomagnetism resonates at ELF in the hollow cavity formed by Earth's surface and the ionosphere; most pulsation occurs at seven to 10 hz. Years ago it occurred to young medical researcher Robert Becker that this is in the same ELF range as human brainwaves: alpha, delta and theta.
Storms of Controversy
While science fumbles about seeking neurological effects of geomagnetism, utilities and communications systems confront a different phase of Gaian induction. Bursts of charged particles from solar flares generate geomagnetic storms to cause surges in east-west powerlines and excite the ionosphere to disrupt radiowaves. Consider one recent major storm on March 13, 1989:
"The largest magnetic storm in 40 years was so intense aurora were seen as far south as Jamaica. Rapid changes in geomagnetic flux induced surges in powerlines, transoceanic, telephone and cable TV networks. Transformers in Quebec's electric grid tripped; a blackout plunged a million into dark. Ionospheric disturbances disrupted radio communications and TV reception.
"Satellite communications were disrupted. Increased ionospheric density produced extra drag on global positioning satellites to retard their orbits so much positional accuracy at Earth's surface was lost. At sea-level North Sea compasses used to steer drill heads had violent swings up to 12 degrees!
"Increased radiation was such potential hazard a transatlantic jet flew south to avoid exposure. Space Shuttle Discovery was recalled a day early because computer malfunctions could have been caused. Otherwise astronauts would have been unable to work outside the craft."
In 1957, Robert Becker volunteered in the International Geophysical Year's Aurora Watch to determine if aurora occur in response to changes in geomagnetism. This proved true, but Becker wondered if geomagnetic storms affect psychiatric patients. Howard Friedman, chief of psychiatry, thought the notion laughable, but a study of 28,000 patients in eight hospitals over four years and 67 magnetic storms showed a significant relation.
Surprised, they studied schizophrenics against measured cosmic radiation from magnetic storms. Nurses reported behavior changes in nearly all patients one or two days after cosmic ray changes. Solar flares are known to emit low energy cosmic rays which disrupt geomagnetism one or two days later.
A 1967 study showed slowed reaction time in humans and general stress in rabbits exposed to fields ten to 20 times Earth's. Becker began to suspect geomagnetism has a major effect to keep cell functions in normal ranges, but there was no theory for how weak EM can alter cell biology to cause altered reaction time, stress—or cancer.
Sing the Body Magnetic
To understand magnetism's role in life, a first step is to show that organisms have intrinsic EM fields. In the 1940s, Harold Burr of Yale University devised the first electronic voltmeter able to measure as little as .001 volt. Burr used his new extra-sensitive tool to map electric fields in living organisms. Burr's work with DC electric potentials was ignored by most biologists, but some went on to develop EEG, EKG and EMG which measure the body's pulsating AC electricity.
A second step is to show organisms can sense EM. In the 1950s, Frank Brown, endocrinologist at Northwestern, found snails have two antennae to detect magnetic direction which they use to navigate. Most scientists dismissed this as impossible, yet Brown went on to show geomagnetism affects all organisms he tested, including mice, bees, fruit flies, potatoes, and humans.
In 1960, Andus discovered magnetotrophism—magnetic effects on growth: oat shoots and cress roots grow oriented to magnetic fields. Later scientists found corn pollen tubes grow oriented to magnetic fields, maybe due to changes in intercellular calcium ion flow. Magnetism is known to alter biochemical reactions by influencing electron spin states in reacting molecules, such as electrons in photosynthetic bacteria.
In 1971, naturalist Richard Blakemore of Woods Hole Marine Biology Lab noticed that bacteria collected from Cape Cod marshes crowded to the north side of culture dishes. He rotated the plates, and bacteria migrated back to the north. Using a new tool—an electron microscope—he found tiny chains of micro-crystals of magnetite in bacteria serve as a compass. These were unit cell crystals—the smallest a magnetite crystal can be.
He then took north-seeking bacteria to the southern hemisphere. They continued to swim north a few weeks, then "turned tail" and began swimming south. Electron microscopy revealed they'd disassembled and rebuilt the magnetite crystals to adapt to a changed magnetic pole. Bacteria don't "think" north; they become a compass.
Also in the 70s, Bill Keeton at Cornell University reported homing pigeons with magnets on the back of their heads lost their navigational ability on cloudy days. Further study of pigeons with Helmholtz EM coils on their heads showed they use magnetic north as their reference point. Beehives, too, were enclosed by Helmholtz coils—and bees became disoriented in their navigational dances.
Without question birds and bees derive directional data from magnetic sensing of geomagnetism. The question now was: how.
Follow Your Nose
Another breakthrough came in 1971, when Brian Josephson invented a new crystal semiconductor to make possible superconducting quantum interference detectors (SQUID)—which are extremely sensitive to magnetism. This new tool led to a scientific revolution: Bioelectromagnetics. One of the first things found by SQUID was delicate magnetic fields about our head. Whole bees were found to be magnetic.
SQUIDs can locate where magnetic material is in an organism. Magnetite was found in all species studied. Bee magnetism seems to be in their abdomen. Pigeons have a magnetite crystal cluster wrapped in nerves on the brain surface between the left lobe and skull. Magnetic sensing has been found in whales, tuna, dolphins, butterflies, frogs, worms and migrating birds. Labs train animals to detect minute magnetic fields. Organisms from algae to man use this inner sense to orient and navigate.
Dr. Robin Baker of England's Manchester University has shown humans have their own magnetic compass. With minimal training, people display innate ability to locate magnetic north. Further, in various experiments, Baker has shown human homing ability—that people can easily learn to choose the correct direction home from any location. Most intriguing, this direction sensing is lost if a magnet is held on the forehead only 15 minutes.
In primates and humans this newfound magnetic organ is sitedbehind the ethmoid sinus in front of the pituitary gland. It can detect detect less than .001 gauss within a second of arc—far more sensitive than our best compass. This gives new meaning to the traditional common sense advice to "follow your nose."
In pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, a blindfolded child is spun around, then tries to stick a tail on a paper donkey. This age-old game is no childish amusement, but a training exercise in magnetic sensing. Blindfolded, the child must learn to orient and home to successfully tack a tail on a donkey's derriere.
It's been shown organisms respond to magnetism far below levels once thought theoretically possible. Man's power and communications systems use extensive portions of the EM spectrum. The effects of this on humans is virtually unknown. Is modern man lost in his own thick EM fog? His cells choking in noisy EM smog? Slowly drowning in ELF waves from transformers?
Mind's Magnetic Eye
In his study of biocycles, Rutger Wever at the Max Planck Institute in Germany built underground rooms to isolate people from all clues to time, including light, heat, air pressure—and EM. People disconnected from geomagnetism completely desynchronized, but a tiny electric field pulsed at 10 hz restored normal patterns. Wever was able to show that synchronization of biorhythms is coupled to ELF geomagnetic pulsations.
But Wever didn't know how this sensing occurred. Only in the last decade did scientists discover an insignificant gland at the geometric center of the brain is our biological timekeeper. The pineal gland, no bigger than your little fingernail, is named for its pine cone shape. This tiny, dark bud of tissue atop the brain stem is now believed to be the master endocrine gland.
The pineal yields a pharmacopoia of psychoactive chemicals to regulate all our glands. It also secretes neurohormones—melatonin, serotonin, dopamine—to regulate brain operations. The sleep-wake cycle depends on the level of pineal melatonin. Melatonin secretion can be changed by magnetic exposure at the level of geomagnetism. The pineal is our magnetic gland to read geomagnetic pulsations and translate them to hormones to drive our biocycles. This suggests how powerline ELF magnetism can disrupt our biorhythms.
In the February issue of Solstice, we reported the seeming decline in the vitamin B12 content of our food. We briefly said cobalt—B12's trace element—is a natural magnet and hinted at an unknown magnetic function to form red blood cells. Scientists recently found the highest concentration of B12 occurs—not in the liver, as once thought—but in pineal tissue. Is vitamin B12 really a magnetic hormone?
The pineal is the remnant of the "third eye" once located atop the head of primitive vertebrates. In most lifeforms it has sunk to deep within the brain. Descartes believed it to be the "seat of the soul."
Ancient metaphysical anatomy associates each endocrine gland with a chakra, which means "wheel"—a magnetic vortex in the aura. Pineal is linked to the brow chakra—or third eye. In Oriental diagnosis this area between the eyebrows reveals the state of the liver, which also governs vision and hormones.
The oldest Oriental text on medicine, The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, poetically describes human EM anatomy and synergy. In China 3,000 years ago, doctors twirled gold and silver needles to stimulate ch'i, while Feng Shui geomancers with circular compasses searched for dragon paths. Both used profound insights into EM's presence in nature.
The Yellow Emperor's chief physician alludes this was known by ancient sages of earlier ages, but had declined by his own time. This highlights the paucity of western science's recent small insights. Science is just now rediscovering the nature of this invisible, mysterious force.
In truth, ancient culture had profound grasp of EM principles, whose remnants are conveyed in art, poetry and myth, not equations and formulas, and hence are deemed "mystic" to superstition-sensitive science. Foremost artifact of antiquarian insight is the Dragon—winged, fire breathing serpent.
This archetypal motif appears in ancient legends on every continent. Imperial dragons adorned the Chinese Emperor's robe, tea table and temple. In ancient Greece, dragons lived beyond the Gates of Hercules, while on the English Channel, saints slew dragons with magic swords. In a New World Seneca Indian legend, a boy and girl used corkscrew arrows to slay a giant two-headed serpent. Australian aborigines tell tales of a Rainbow Serpent.
Most revealing is the ancient Scandanavian ancient legend of Ouroboros. According to this tale, a great winged serpent flying through universe grew tired, and curled in a ball. Earth formed on the surface of the sleeping serpent. The legend warns one day Ouroboros will waken to continue its journey. Thus Earth as a whole is a Dragon and Dragon is a symbol of planetary lifeforce—one of Gaia's faces.
The Dragon is no mere fantasy, but a true Myth—an image of Nature's magnetism. The coiled serpent is vivid image of circular spirals of magnetic flux. In legends dragons lived in caves, under mountain, or in lakes. They guarded jewels and precious metals, also virgins and eggs. When angry, they flew through the air, causing storms, drought and fires.
These colorful imaginations aren't mere fantasies, but geophysical analogies. Jewels are resonating crystals in Earth's tectonic crust, and metals conduct EM streams into Earth's mantle. Even as virgins and eggs represent fertility and reproduction in plants and animals, so today, DNA, supercoiled in the nucleus, is the signature of the Dragon at each cell's heart.
Eagle and Serpent
Dragons are also associated with consciousness, but they're often confused with the serpent, a creature who crawls on the earth. For example, in the Garden of Eden, the serpent enticed Man and Woman to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. From India comes kundalini—the serpent power coiled at base of the spine. Through meditation kundalini rises along twin spiral channels to spin along the spine and energize the higher brain centers. This union brings Enlightenment.
In the New World, Onondaga Indians recall the Legend of the Peacemaker, in which Tadodaho was an evil wizard with a mind so twisted snakes lived in his hair. Hiawatha combed the snakes from Tadodaho's hair, and thus his mind was transformed. Serpent, then, symbolizes lower, cellular consciousness—instinctive, animal intelligence.
Eagle, however, is the high flying bird of heaven, to symbolize our higher consciousness. Native Americans say the eagle is a messenger to carry our prayers to heaven. Thus when the first manned spacecraft landed on the Moon, astronauts radioed back, "The Eagle has landed."
In Hermetic lore, Hermes Trismegistus slew the dragon Typhon—symbolizing Ignorance—using a special staff. This is the caduceus-an erect rod with eagle wings on top and two serpents coiling up its base. Later Hermes founded Egyptian medical science, and today his staff is still the symbol of doctors.
The Dragon, then, is winged serpent—union of eagle and snake. As such, Dragon symbolizes universal, collective consciousness-the mind of our cells wedded to rational intellect
This is a challenging paradigm for scientists in search of Gaia. Or neurologists faced with the crucial question how neurons integrate to produce coherent brain function. Or ecologists, who wonder how independent organisms cooperate to maintain a stable biosphere that nurtures life.
Most scientists avoid exactly such questions, since science, by its very nature, isolates and analyzes fragments, not wholes. Even the few who persist to study bioelectromagnetism ignore such questions. This blindness of science is itself expressed in legends of dragonslayers—an ancient age of struggle between men and dragons.
The Unifying Symbol
The Dragon is just one face of the Unifying Principle. It is the creature that unites Fire and Water in one harmonius living whole. The geometric expression of this is "squaring the circle"—given a circle, construct a square so its perimeter is the same as the circle's circumference. Circle is spirit; square is material world. The marriage of line and circle is the spiral. Like Hermes' staff, this union of opposites is the image of healing and wholeness. Thus Dragon is transcendent symbol of transformation.
Just so, EM transformed our human world. Power supply, stereo sound, global communication, interplantery travel and many more marvels are products of harnessing invisible EM. EM technology brought us global communication—to the threshhold of a united human awareness—to one global mind.
In 1803, physicist Carl Ritter wrote to Hans Oersted that when Earth's plane of ecliptic was maximally inclined, major discoveries were made in electricity. He predicted the next major discovery would be in 1819-20. It was—Oersted himself discovered EM induction by accident while teaching a class on electric current, to help give birth to the EM Age. 1974 must have been another year of maximum ecliptic tilt.
A century after Ritter's observations, another Scandanavian drifting in arctic pack ice wrote of dancing dragons in polar heavens [see Part One]. Across the Atlantic, Niagara Falls's roar was being harnessed in the spinning whine of man-made dynamos. Nansen's vision was the rebirth of the Dragon.
Stray Earth Currents
Shocking evidence electric distribution grids are leaking vast currents of electrons into the ground, affecting animal health on farms, and human health in homes. These man-made electric grids also interfere with Earth's natural magnetic grid.
The ancient sages left us timeless messages in places we couldn't touch to remind us of this mystic order of the universe. On today's astronomical star charts, Draco, the Dragon still coils around Earth's north pole where magnetic flux spirals down into our spinning planet. This star studded celestial dragon guards Gaia's magnetic window at her crystal ice caps.
Meanwhile, as I sit here at my computer keyboard, I stare into a video screen—a window into an electronic universe. Little dragons in the deflection coils spin a magnetic donut around my screen as I weave this tale into your electrical awareness to transform your own magnetic mind. To update the visionary poet William Blake, "I sing the body (and mind) magnetic!"
At the close of the Twentieth Century, as images of Gaia and holism wind through the 90s' new prose of public discourse and policy agenda, hints whisper at us from every corner—from our lighting, our power grid, even through our new modes of communications. We've come face-to-phase with the Dragon.