It bears repeating: Vitamin B12 is only made by bacteria. No plant or animal can synthesize this crucial biological molecule. Micro-organisms that make this micronutrient are very common; they're found in soil, air, water, and the gut of ruminant animals. Herbivores get B12 by culturing this microbe in a special stomach (called the rumen) where B12 bacteria assist to digest cellulose to sugar. Carnivores get B12 by eating herbivores.
It intrigues me the lady who discovered that this vital vitamin is vanishing lives in Salt Lake City. This fragment of fact was fixed firmly in my mind since I live in the Salt City by the Salt Lake. But while Ms. Gray is in Utah, I am in Syracuse, New York.
Is anything coincidence? Or is everything truly connected? Is every coincidence meaningful?
Having teased your intellect, let me tickle your imagination by noting that, like B12 bacteria, I'm pickled in the Salt City. As we reported in SOLSTICE #39, B12 bacteria require alkaline (high pH) environments to survive and thrive. To discourage these friendly micro-critters, just give them an acid bath. Anyone who follows modern news knows acid rain is a critical environmental threat implicated in the death of lakes and forests.
Vitamin B12 was isolated in 1948, and it's physical structure was only determined in 1956. Like most enzymes and vitamins, B12 is constructed almost entirely from the four primary, lighter elements of life: carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen (C, O, H, N)—the "organic" elements of biology.
B12 is a very complex molecule. B12 is the most complex vitamin—a multi-ring, three dimensional molecule of light elements surrounding a single atom of cobalt.
Cobalt is a heavy metal element, whose multiple valence energy states allow it to link to several other atoms—as many as eight. In the stick structure at right, the cobalt coordinates six electron links to adjacent atoms.
Thus, the cobalt at B12's core creates a strong, dense charge at the center to align and coordinate lighter atoms and electrons all around and beyond the B12 molecule itself.
Cobalt is one of three naturally magnetic elements. The others are iron (Fe), a well known element essential in biological systems, and nickel (Ni)—toxic to most organisms. Mark Mead states nickel can substitute for cobalt to form false B12 analogue.
However, to my knowledge biochemistry has yet to address cobalt's magnetic role in B12, or most biologically active molecules. Indeed, biology barely recognizes the function of magnetism in cells, yet all tissues generate very weak magnetic fields.
Yet, there's ample evidence magnetism is crucial in biology. One clue is B12's role in red blood cell formation. A symptom of B12 deficiency is anemia. However, not only is there too few red cells, but those that exist are swollen and enlarged. In this state, they have weak ability to attract and bind oxygen to hemoglobin iron. Without effective oxygen transport, cells can't burn sugar. Thus B12 deficient people suffer from severe lethargy.
The shape of a healthy red blood cell is a flat disk with hollow faces—what we have if we wrap a membrane around a donut. This is highly suggestive of a magnetic function, since a donut is the shape of a magnetic field. We know red cells are rich in iron (Fe), a naturally magnetic element. An iron atom sits at the center of the heme molecule of hemoglobin, much as cobalt sits at the core of B12. Yet, there's little speculation in biochemistry of a magnetic function for iron in hemoglobin.
This biochemical geometry implies that B12-cobalt plays an unknown role in red cell magnetism. I suggest B12-cobalt winds up a red blood cell's magnetic field to activate iron's magnetic function. Indeed Mark Mead says biochemists believe B12 is a "diamagnetic coenzyme," which means its magnetism is opposite to iron. Without B12-cobalt, red cell magnetism is a loose, expanded field, and lacks the geometry and intensity needed to attract and bind oxygen. And oxygen supplies a second clue to B12 magnetism.
Green Vegetal Mother
For animals, oxygen, like B12, is a necessity of life. Without oxygen, cells can't burn sugar to release energy needed for metabolism. Plants produce both sugar and oxygen by turning carbon dioxide into carbohydrates with energy absorbed from sunlight. Mark Mead reports sugar as well as oxygen can bind to heme's iron. Thus, without plants, animals can't exist.
Plants and Animals are Yin and Yang in the biological world. George Ohsawa, who originated macrobiotics, expressed this intimate dependence of animals on plants by referring to plants as Vegetable Mother. In our modern greenhouse effect world, everyone has begun to respect this interdependence of the two kingdoms of biology.
To live, cells need a source of electrons—common currency of chemical energy. Sunlight is the energy that drives life on Earth, but cells can't employ or store light directly, so it must be converted to usable, chemical form. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants capture and store sunlight as sugar—the common currency of cell metabolism.
Only plants produce sugar; for all our technology, industrial society can't synthesize sugar, only refine it. Sweetness is the special gift of the Vegetable Mother. As food for our nerves, sugar is nectar, whose energy induces ecstacy; sunlight becomes the fire of awareness. Consider bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, who live by sipping nectar from flowers.
In higher plants, photosynthesis occurs in the membrane of special cell bodies called "chloroplasts." Embedded in the membrane are many polypeptides and proteins that contribute to photosynthetic reactions. The complex of molecules which orchestrate this dance of light into sugar is called a photosystem. Several organic ions—calcium, iron, manganese, chloride, and bicarbonate—are involved in electron transfers.
Also in chloroplast membrane is the enzyme chlorophyll, the pigment to give plants their green color. In photosynthesis, it is chlorophyll that absorbs a photon of light and passes it to the photosystem. Chlorophyll is, therefore, a resonant antenna tuned to specific frequencies of light needed to liberate electrons. Hundreds of chlorophyll antennae collect light energy and funnel it to each photosystem reaction center.
Like B12, chlorophyll is a complex, multi-ring molecule of light elements surrounding a metal atom.
But where B12's rings form a complex, 3-D structure, chlorophyll's rings lie in a single flat plane. Chlorophyll is essentially the same atoms and geometry as heme, except magnesium (Mg), not iron or cobalt, sits at chlorophyll's heart. Thus, even at this tiny molecular level, intimate relations of plants and animals is revealed.
So, by Gaia's magic photosynthesis, sunshine is transformed to forms of stable chemical energy called sugar, without which most life would perish. How plant cells make sugar is complex, and has been a mystery to biochemists. But recent research now allows scientists to describe the process in some detail. The 1988 chemistry Nobel prize went to J. Deisenhofer, R. Huber and H. Michel for revealing the photosynthetic structure of Rhodopseudomonas viridas bacteria. It's a water oxidizing clock that generates a molecule of oxygen for every five ticks.
The Water Splitting Clock
Three billion years ago photosynthetic cells appeared on Earth and spread into virtually every environment by tapping electrons in a ubiquitous substance: water. They evolved an ability to split water (H2O) into electrons (e-), protons (H+) and molecular oxygen (O2). Thus, photosynthetic cells could exploit water and thrive in new environments. Electrons and protons are energetically useful; O2 is but a by-product.
To use water as an electron source is no simple feat, since water gives up electrons grudgingly. The energy of a single photon isn't sufficient to split water, so this evolutionary feat demanded modifications to primitive bacteria. The problem was solved by using four photons to split two water molecules, thus releasing four electrons and four protons. However, this creates a new difficulty, since the photosystem can handle only one electron at a time.
To solve this, photosynthetic plant cells developed a special catalyst called a water oxidizing clock—a unique biochemical ratcheting cycle to stabilize water splitting reactions so electrons transfer one by one in intermediate steps. The photosystem stores energy by separating positive (H+) and negative (e-) charges on opposite sides of chloroplast membrane. To do this, an array of special enzymes absorb a photon and efficiently convert light into a widening separation of electric charge.
In darkness, the clock settles into a stable, low energy state (S0). When chlorophyll absorbs a photon, the photosystem is boosted to a higher oxidation state (S1), and releases an electron and proton. A second photon shifts the oxidation state higher (S2) and frees a second electron. A third photon is absorbed, oxidation steps higher (S3), and a third electron and second proton are freed. The highest oxidation state (S4) occurs with absorption of a fourth photon, and a fourth electron and two protons are liberated.
The clock then removes four electrons from two bound water molecules, releases O2, oxidation drops from S4 back to S0, and two new water molecules are bound to the photosystem, completing the cycle. The protons produced by splitting water reduce carbon dioxide to carbon and water; the carbons are bonded together (polymerized) to form rings that become sugar, and chains that become amino acids and proteins.
Thus, the water oxidizing clock is a five step cycle. It begins with binding two water molecules, and ends with a release of oxygen (O2). The water splitting clock strips four protons (H+) and four electrons (e-) off two H2O molecules, leaving two oxygen atoms and a chain of carbons. The two oxygen ions quickly combine to form a molecule of oxygen (O2).
Manganese (Mn) is crucial to water splitting, since O2 isn't produced unless four Manganese atoms are present in a photosystem. Manganese is a catalyst which can share two to five electrons with other atoms, and assume five stable oxidation states (+2 to +7). Manganese has several unpaired electrons which, like tiny magnets, interact strongly with external magnetism. So Manganesen complexes in the photosystem are paramagnetic—they become magnetic when in a magnetic field. Mark Mead reports Manganese, like nickel, forms B12 analogue, and is causing widespread soil depletion of cobalt.
Thus, a photosystem is really a magnetic field. Magnetism's role in biomolecules and cells is a revolution in science, and provides insight into the geometry and action of enzymes such as in photosynthesis. Proteins bound in chloroplast membrane form a solid state subspace where electrons, protons and ions are ordered and altered in resonant cycles. The water oxidizing clock runs in five part synchrony, so its design geometry is the pentagon. The clock cycle itself is a model of the second law of Oriental philosophy.
Five Element Law
The fundamental law of Oriental philosophy is The Unifying Principle, known in universal language as Yin and Yang—cosmic opposites spinning in endless circles. This is duality within oneness; not a dialectic of opposites, but a unity of two aspects.
In the Natural World, Yin and Yang are personified in the images of Fire and Water. When we cook a meal, we use these primal energies to purify and transform food. Fire consumes and disassembles physical structure; it rises to Heaven, to reveal its expanding nature. Water, however, like rain and rivers, always seeks the lowest state; it swallows and surrounds to melt physical structure into formlessness. The human mystery is that we are Fire enclosed in Water. Fire is red; Water is blue.
Which came first? Fire? Or Water?
The dance of this dynamic duo soon evolves to a Three step, as opposites find a mutual balance and rest. Every spinning circle is silent at its center. This three-phase cycle initiates a new stage of complexity, and gives rise to three sided-figures and three-facet forms. In plane geometry, this is the Triangle. In solid geometry, this is a Tetrahedron. In Sacred Geometry, it's the Merkabah. In physics, it's matter—crystal frozen form—proton, electron and neutron.
Three then quickly mutates to Four, which supplies stability and orientation: the Four Directions—our compass. Also the Four Elements—Earth and Air join Fire and Water—to create a material, 3-D world. A four step cycle can be clockwise, or counterclockwise.
Which is masculine? Which is feminine?
But Four, of course, soon gives rise to Five—the next step in this growing complexity of order. The Five Element Cycle, then, is same eternal dance of Yin and Yang, but now they circle in a five step waltz. In their spinning journey of alternation, energy now enters five stable states, rather than just two. To my knowledge, the Five Element Law is always in clockwise rotation.
In this five phase cycle, the highest state is Fire, at the peak of the circle. But Metal joins Water to share low energy honors in the cycle. Water is formlessly fluid, while Metal is hard and rigid, like crystal, ice, bones, and steel I-beams in skyscrapers; both are cold and dense. Water is blue; Metal is white.
Fire causes Water to rise as invisible vapor to form clouds. So, too, plants draw moisture from Earth and lift it into the sky. Not only do roots suck fluid from soil, but leaves breathe out water vapor as well as oxygen. A plant's vascular system is microscopic plumbing to pump water into air.
So, in the Five Element cycle, Wood—the living element—recieves Water's rising energy, then transforms it to Fire; plants gather solar fire to split water into energy and gas to make sugar. Wood is green—color of the Vegetable Mother.
From its peak as Fire, energy condenses and cycles down to become solid as Soil, which represents ripening and maturity. Soil isn't as solid or cold as Metal; its color is yellow. While Wood represents energy synthesizing form, Soil is the formation of fruit and seed by the condensing vegetal waveform.
After Soil, energy is transformed to Metal in this five note song. This phase of the cycle is the breakdown of structure—the decay and digestion necessary for fertility and nourishment. The cycle is now ready to renew itself.
Five Element Law is endlessly applied in Oriental medicine. Each Element is associated with two organs, season, taste, odor, body orifice, sound, emotion, sense, grain, animal, and so on. In diagnosis, symptoms are classified by the Five Elements. In acupuncture, special points near a meridian's end are associated with one element.
Thus, in the water splitting clock, Fire is used to split Water. The S0 phase, when two water molecules bind to a photosystem, corresponds to Water in the Five Element cycle. Each photon shifts the clock one step around the cycle to synthesize sugar, which is pentose (five carbon ring) and hexose (six carbon ring).
The S4 state, when all electrons and protons have been released, corresponds to Metal. Significantly, this is when the photosystem releases O2. In Five Element Law, Metal organ lungs allow us to breathe oxygen. As science learns more about the photosynthetic clock, it should reveal more intruguing Five Element relationships.
Number Five is alive. It's the number of Regeneration—the potential for form to recreate itself as organism. From Five arises the reproductive reality of biological life: living cells and geometric growth. Thus, biological life force—called ch'i—resonates in five phase synchrony, while Mother Nature sings in five part harmony. The fundamental geometry of biology is the pentagon. In the Natural World, an apple with its five ovaries expresses this reproductive symmetry, while at each cell's nuclear heart, a DNA helix coils in five step ladder.
The Five Element Law has two kinds of relationships. The Creative (or Sheng) cycle is the clockwise connections tracing the outer ring of the pentagon—a five step circle. Each element gives birth to and nourishes each succeeding element; thus, it's also called the Mother-Son Law.
However, the Destructive (or Ko) cycle links the further, not the near, points—diagonals of the Creative cycle pentagon. This a Pentangle—a five rayed star. Here each element is controlled by a preceding opposite in the cycle, and also controls the element which diagonally follows it.
Thus, Sheng and Ko cycles are related by a ratio defined as a pentagon's diagonal to its side. Significantly, this is one of mathematics' three most amazing natural ratios: Phi, or Golden Mean, or The Divine Ratio. Like the other two—Pi and e (natural logarithms)—Phi is irrational. It has no precise numerical or fractional value, but is approximately 1.6180339...—a non-repeating decimal.
In the Natural World, the Phi ratio endlessly appears as the universal Growth Spiral. An upward shoot of growing plant spins a spiral that buds off leaves and stems at each turn of the vortex. Offshoots occur at regular mathematical intervals governed, not by a fixed number, but the Phi ratio. The Golden Mean is most beautiful in countless flowers and reproductive anatomy. Of special note are pine cones, whose petals form perfect double Phi spirals. In plant evolution, evergreens—the Gymnosperms—were the first plants to form seeds instead of spores.
In geometry, two regular solids have five-sided symmetry: icosahedron and dodecahedron. They're geometric complements: the faces of one are vertexes in the other. Thus, dodeca is 12 five-sided faces in 20 vertexes; icosa is 20 three-sided faces in 12 vertexes. Neither is as common as the other three regular solids: tetrahedron, octahedron and cube. Dodeca is the shape of soccer balls, while icosa is seen as virus particles and Bucky Fuller's geodesic domes. Both are 3-D expressions of Five Element Law relationships.
Thus, in 3-D reality, five-sided symmetry appears as 12 and 20, representing vertexes and faces of icosa and dodeca. The atomic geometry of cobalt's outer shell electrons is an icosa: 20 triangles joined in 12 vertexes. In light of this, the choice of "12" to number the B vitamin with magnetic cobalt as its metal ion takes on a deeper flavor, heavily spiced with magic irony.
In animal tissue, B12 concentrates in kidneys (blue Water), liver (green Wood) and heart (red Fire)—three organs with significant electromagnetic identity. Heart itself is enclosed in a donut-shaped magnetic field, while kidneys balance electrolytes in our blood. And B12 is found in green bile secreted by the liver and stored in the gall bladder.
However, science recently found B12's highest concentration is in the pineal gland. Until 10 years ago, little was known about this obscure thimble-size bud of tissue which sits atop the brain stem. Today, it's the master endocrine gland that drives all the body's cycles by secreting powerful hormones to activate other endocrine glands and regulate our level of brain function.
The pineal sets the time and rhythm of our hormonal ebb and flow. Earth's magnetism is the clock; it resonates at Extremely Low Frequencies (ELF = 1-300 hertz). Pineal secretion is synchronized to the Schumann Resonance Wave—a geomagnetic micropulsation of seven to ten cycles per second. This planetary pulse is the drumbeat in the dancing cycles of our biorhythms, and the pineal is our antenna to tune into this oscillating energy environment. (see Return of the Dragon: Hazards of Man-Made Magnetism)
Says Mark Mead, "Pineal sensitivity to energies other than visible light is well known. Many types of radiation are known to alter pineal secretions. Our cobalt-rich radio-transmitter is our central sensor of seasonal change, and controls our circadian rhythms. The pineal monitors lengthening and shortening of days in spring and fall, triggers migratory and mating behavior in many animals, and is essential to the reproductive cycle in humans. The pineal integrates all these patterns in a marvelous dynamic confluence of eco-rhythms and biocycles."
In animal physiology, pineal is a "third eye"—vestige of an eye found atop the head of primitive vertebrates. In the course of evolution, this optic gland sank to deep within folds of brain tissue. Similarly, in metaphysical anatomy, this endocrine gland is associated with the third eye chakra—an organ of spiritual vision and intuitive insight. In both science and spirit, the pineal is an organ of inner magnetic sensing.
Pineal gets its name from its distinct shape—it's a pine cone. Thus, at the geometric center of our brain atop our spinal column sits a perfect Phi spiral of endocrine tissue.
Is B12 really a hormone? For now B12's role in pineal function is unknown. B12-unlike other vitamins, but like hormones—is needed in microdoses; adult RDA is 3 micrograms.
Magnetism is a circular field of flowing force which encloses space and defines form. Magnetism supplies a standing waveform vessel to entrain and retain stable patterns of energy. Magnetism imparts shape to order the so-called empty space of particle physics, and thus provide form to particles of matter and pulses of energy.
When we describe material objects, such as atoms in crystal lattice, we call a point where edges meet "vertex". On the other hand, to describe energy flow, such as a spinning magnetic field, we call a focal point of flow "vortex". The first is E-motion (rigid, linear); the latter is O-motion (fluid, circular). Thus, in interchanges of matter and energy, a "face" of a crystal particle becomes a "phase" in an energy waveform cycle.
Electromagnetism's natural harmonic resonates as a Phi spiral. Phi spirals appear where ever electric and magnetic energy are transformed, such as cell membranes, especially of nerves. This geometric ratio will appear in any structure which interfaces electric and magnetic forms of energy. Thus, DNA, red blood cell, sea shell, pine cone, spinal column, solar system, galaxy—all governed by The Divine Ratio.
Pineal geometry is this now familiar marriage of magnetism and electricity. This suggests cobalt's magnetic geometry plays a crucial role in electron transfers. It allows a cell to spin an electron, and transform its electric charge to magnetic flux.
With this insight, we can predict the geometry of chloroplast photosystem. Its complexes of proteins and ions form Phi spiral magnetic vortexes. Photons captured by chlorophyll are fed to a vortex, and transformed to electric charge to make sugar.
Cobalt atoms are identified by a special deep, dark blue: the color of Water, governed by kidneys. B12, a water soluble vitamin, is critical for DNA synthesis and cell growth. Among lifeforms, blue is a primary color of bacteria engaged in asexual reproduction. In physiology, kidneys govern reproductive organs and store ancestral chi. In mystics, blue is color of the third eye chakra. In myth, cobalt blue is the Virgin Mary's cloak.
Only three elements are natural magnets, but as electrically charged ions with extra or missing, unpaired electrons, many become paramagnetic. In biology, the most important is oxygen, and its triad ion: ozone (O3).
Ionized, oxygen's extra electrons jump in and out of outer orbits and radiates visible electromagnetic energy. Like Aurora in polar skies, oxygen ions emit green luminesence—the chlorophyll color of plants. Deep in photosystem vortex, oxygen ions are released every fifth tick of the clock. (Have you seen science speculate on the role of geomagnetism in ozone holes observed in winter polar vortexes? )
Green is the color of the Vegetable Mother—the Virgin gives birth to children. Even as Wood intervenes between Fire and Water, plants transform sunlight, air and water into sugar to feed us, and oxygen to breathe. Wood is governed by liver & gall bladder, with green bile. Wood season is spring, when buds open, leaves unfold. Green leaves are food to heal liver and red blood cells, by the transmutation of chlorophyll into heme.
This blue-green imagery is startling in light of the B12 content of algae grown in Idaho's Lake Klamath. A May 1988 East West Journal article The Myth of Vegetarian B12, reported that Super Blue-Green Algae produced by Cell-Tech contains 23.1 mcg per 3 grams. Quite a macrodose compared to two other microalgaes—spirulina and chlorella—which assayed in at 1.2 and 4. Only liver and clams exceeded this level!
Why does Lake Klamath algae have such high B12? Is it mineral-rich volcanic rock which feeds water to the lake? Does a bacteria-algae symbiosis thrive in the lake's water? How much is false B12 analogue? Can it treat B12-deficient anemia? Why is the algae blue-green?
On the other hand, iron is red. Iron oxide is rust. Oxygen-rich blood is scarlet—color of Fire. Mark Mead notes both Magnesium and Iron play crucial roles in the body's ability to keep warm (Fire). While Magnesium is associated with light (Magesium flares burn with brilliant white light), Iron is heat.
Cobalt, however, is a cool blue radiance.
Among lifeforms, red is the color of animals. Among plants, Fire is flowers, whose season is summer and direction is South. In metaphysics, it's the root chakra. Fire gives heat, but also consumes and destroys. Just so, burning sugar supplies energy for cell metabolism. In myth, red is the Son—male solar diety.
The geometry of iron is a donut—an expanded mobius ring of magnetic energy. In electromagnetics, red is low frequency, long wavelength. However, blue is high frequency, short wave. In astronomy, this duality appears as two classes of stars: red giant and blue dwarf.
In embryological development, at an early moment the growing, dividing egg (zygote) turns inside out to become a fetus. Icosa's 3-D geometry is flipped through a fourth dimension to become a bipolar donut ring; 12 vertexes become 12 vortexes. In similar 4-D topology, we can turn a dodeca inside out, so 12 dodeca faces become 12 donut phases—shape of iron's magnetism.
These micro-macro images shed light on how cobalt's icosa winds up red cell magnetic donuts. Cobalt's tight blue diamagnetic dwarf star crystal provides a waveform to flip iron's donut ring into a chalice to hold oxygen's electrons. At a molecular level, this provides a vessel to transport electrons. Iron in heme becomes a biomolecular cyclotron within which electrons can spin.
B12 is essential for cell growth, DNA synthesis and nerve function. Doctors warn vegetarian mothers: "Don't wait until B12 deficiency symptoms appear! By the time you see them, the deficiency has gone far too far." The same may be true for our global ecology, yet today symptoms are getting severe.
B12 may be the little vitamin with a big role to play in global ecology. The decline, perhaps disappearance, of B12 from our food supply is a literal RED ALERT, warning red blooded animals of tiny, yet critical, holes in our ecological web. The logical, but as yet unproven, conclusion is that B12 bacteria are perhaps joining other species in extinction.
A primary suspect in this mystery of missing bacteria is acid rain, since B12 organisms prefer alkaline environments. Steady, increasing water and soil acidification may discourage B12 organisms from thriving. Mark Mead reports acid rain causes cobalt to leach from soils, and also deposits lead, zinc and other heavy elements in soil that result in false B12 analogues.
However, another culprit may be declining geomagnetism. Scientific American reported geomagnetism has decreased by one percent per decade for 100 years, and Mark Mead says Earth's magnetic strength has dropped 50 percent in the last 500 years. Such processes may have crossed a biological threshhold in the last decade. The slow decline of B12—like trace minerals in our soil—may have hit rock bottom. It's a grand irony human survival may depend on a lowly microbe.
Magnetism and Biology by Mark Nathaniel Mead
PHI: The Divine Ratio by David Yarrow
Isaac's Apple: A Physicists' Fable by David Yarrow
How Plants Produce Oxygen
Govindjee & Coleman, Scientific American, Feb. '90
Traditional Acupuncture: Law of the Five Elements
Dianne Connelly, PhD, '79
Staying Healthy with the Seasons
Elson M. Haas, MD, 1988
Return of the Dragon:
Hazards of Man-Made Magnetism
David Yarrow, 1989
Robert O. Becker, MD, '90; Jeremy Tarcher Press
Book of Macrobiotics
Michio Kushi, '76, Japan Publications
Secret of Light
by Walter Russell, '53, Univ. of Science & Philosophy, Swannanoa, VA
with Dan Winter, Ph.D., 1990
San Graal School of Sacred Geometry
137 Biodome Drive, Waynesville, NC 28786
Pickled in Salt City
In our era of dramatic shifts in global ecology, the point of this excursion though microbiology, molecular magnetism, Oriental Medicine, and metaphysical geometry is pickles. If the world outside has become too hostile for B12 organisms, we must provide these critters a sanctuary. We must declare a truce in global germ warfare and open our homes to these refugees.
To adopt the B12 organism, we must create environments to encourage and nourish their growth. From biochemistry we know a little about B12's living needs. Most important is an alkaline environment with abundant amino acids—such as in the rumen of a cow. Since salt is Nature's primary alkalyzer, making proper pickles may be essential for our survival.
These won't be ordinary pickles, like saurkraut or kosher dill. We need the right culture and the right fertile medium for B12 microbes to grow in. It's appetite for amino acid suggests grains and beans for a growth medium—much like miso. But only B12 traces are found in miso; none in tamari. So B12 pickles need careful microbiological research to find the right culture and medium. I suggest using unhulled grain; seed the mash with hacho miso; use unrefined sea salt.
If we learn to live with B12 bacteria in our homes, the next step is to restore them to soils. Gardens and farms must restore natural alkaline balance to worn out soils, complete with trace elements—especially cobalt. First step on this path is compost heap—that warm, steaming digestive organ of gardens is teeming with bacteria and simple lifeforms. Perhaps B12 bacteria can be bedded down in a backyard heap. As more communities begin to compost organic waste, housing for B12 bacteria will become abundant.
All this assumes we quench the fires of industry. Burning produces acid—an electron-deficient atom—a bankrupt molecule, like an S&L with all its currency on loan. Burning strips electrons from atoms, even as fossil fuel economics bankrupts our health, erodes our future and brings war. Unrelenting fossil fuel combustion will speed our appointment with eco-disaster.
Buddhist principle cautions: Don't confuse the finger with what it points at—or the mind that points it. If B12 bacteria become casualties of germ war and acid rain, we may, like Hamlet, ponder in regret: "To B12, or not to B12? That is the question."
The answer may be a lowly microbe, cultured in an earthenware crock by your kitchen hearth.
Another grand irony of our superpower world: detente is spelled SALT—Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty. This irony has a double whammy: high level nuke waste will be stored in salt mines. Global detente must extend to the realm of bacteria to end 50 years of germ war and re-establish healthy biochemical balance in global ecology.
There's a final twist to my tale of two salt cities. A greater irony of our eco-predicament is that 1990 is the 200th anniversary of The Salt Treaty—first between New York State and Onondaga Nation—which gave NY permission to extract salt at Onondaga Lake. The Onondaga Salt Springs Reservation supplied most of NY's revenue and America's salt until the Civil War, when salt mines opened in Michigan.
It was at Onondaga—the Salt Lake—a legendary figure called "The Peacemaker" first buried the hatchet and planted The Tree of Peace to unite five warring tribes under The Great Law of Peace. This image resonates to India, where Ghandi turned the tide against British colonialism with his Salt March; to the Middle East, by whose Dead Sea Christ said, "Ye are the salt of the Earth;" and to Utah's Great Salt Lake, where Mormons believe Christ came to North America.
Peacemaker's tree is a white pine, with the Eagle-that-sees-far on its crown, ever vigilant to sound alarm. White pine's five needles clasped as one symbolize Five Nations united as one Confederacy. Its perfect double Phi spiral pine cone petals express the union of Heaven & Earth—male & female—electricity & magnetism.
In the decade after the 1790 Salt Treaty, NY gradually took most Confederacy's homelands. At this time a Seneca man—Handsome Lake—after a near-death experience, came back to life with a vision. His message included a prophecy, which begins: "There will come a time when the maples die from the top down...." This is very ominous, for Onondagas know Maple is leader of all trees, since it first offers its sweetness in early spring as sap made into syrup.
Today in the Northeast, maples are in serious decline—dying from the top down, with leafless, lifeless limbs scarring their crowns. The upward spiral of syrup prices testifies to three years of poor spring sap flow. In bitter irony, along highways, road salt is killing maples. Not only maples, but the entire forest ecosystem is sick and dying. The Vegetable Mother is withdrawing her gift of sweet nectar essence from us.
For the last millenium, the Warrior was hero. Next century, the Tree Planter will be honored.
In modern America's media mind, native people—the Red race—symbolize Mother Earth and the environment. But they are no mere symbol, it's reality. Onondaga Nation is a matrilineal society, whose culture, government and religion center on women as mothers and sustainers of life. Earth-as-Mother is honored in ceremonies, and women hold authority in their villages, including the title Clanmother. Few societies give women's opinions as much consideration as the Onondaga.
In evolution the Gymnosperms—evergreens—first developed seeds—little spiral packages of coiled genetic instruction and food for a next generation. The name "pine-al" is from the double Phi-spiral geometry shared by this master endocrine gland and seed bearing pine cones.
Thus, The Tree of Peace—evergreen white pine—is also Christmas Tree, Tree of Life and Liberty Tree—all arboreal images of our own spinal axis, on which sits the eagle of our higher consciousness cerebral cortex.
And Onondaga Nation sits atop the spinal axis of North America—pineal center of Turtle Island. Turtle is Earth's oldest living reptile; its shell is its backbone.
These images resonate one further twist: on the inside of a turtle shell, its vertebrae form the image of a white pine.