9-11 and 11-9

By Annabel Chiarelli

Editor’s Note: The Lorian Association, as spiritual community, is nonpartisan, but our writers and readers come from diverse social and political backgrounds. With the nation so divided and the future on nearly everyone’s minds, it’s inevitable that some of our blog posts may reflect certain political leanings. Always our goal is to promote an Incarnational viewpoint. In the upcoming weeks we will be publishing blog posts from both liberal and conservative perspectives that offer insight into how real people in our nation are coming together and bridging divisions, even and especially the ones within themselves.

Tarot friends of mine have pointed out the correspondences between 9/11 and 11/9 and the burning, collapsing Tower card.


In many ways, this election and its evolving aftermath remind me of my 9/11 experience, but not in the way you might think.

I was working in an office just 4 blocks away from the Twin Towers and was one of the many people escaping in that beige cloud of dust and particles that enveloped the whole area. We literally could not see two feet in front of us.
Rumors were flying, and as far as we knew there were other planes set to bomb all the major landmarks in New York. People were scared— to say the least.

And yet, in the midst of this tragedy and terror I felt the energy of fiery hope and joy–not the ordinary emotion, but the joy that is at the root of the generative mystery. I saw beautiful acts of humanity.

The director of my office, a family man with young children, had gone downstairs before the first tower collapsed to see what was going on and saw the towers burning with people jumping out of the windows. He could have easily cut and run to save himself for his family’s sake, but instead he came back upstairs to do his duty as the fire marshall of our floor, to warn everyone to evacuate immediately.

The building supers and doormen who waited in the lobby and handed out masks to all of us as we emerged from the stairwell.

The people who came with their private boats to help evacuees who lived in New Jersey get home.

The cabs who offered people free rides uptown.

The shopkeepers who handed out bottles of cold water to those of us covered in dust, making our way home on foot.

Our defenses were down and we were there for each other. Yes, there were a few people who thought only of themselves, a few shopkeepers who tried to take advantage of the situation by price gouging, but the vast majority stepped up and responded with love and human kinship. We were all in it together.

In a city where people go out of their way to avoid interacting with strangers, you could talk with anyone on the street and feel like you were talking with a friend. This most horrible day of my life was also in a strange way the most beautiful.
Right now a good portion of our country is caught up in anger and panic on the one hand, and gloating and denial on the other. I understand how that feels. Right after 9/11 and the spiritual epiphany of that day, the enormity of what had happened landed in my psyche with a huge thud and I descended into a dark period of worry and terror and rage. (Watching the news didn’t help.) I was furious with those who tried to lecture me about how this was karma, the result of U.S. foreign policy. I was furious with the perpetrators and with the people I saw on TV apparently ululating with joy. I was scared to ride the subway, sure that would be the next target. I was scared to go anywhere there might be a crowd.

But there was also some part of me that knew I couldn’t go on like that. Some part of me that knew that that wasn’t who I really am, who I wanted to be. “The Scream” (David Spangler’s name for negative energy on earth generated by human hatred, wars, rage, etc.) is powerful, and it feeds off of and abets our negative energies and emotions, but the Light is equally powerful, much more so in my experience. I think of that line by Leonard Cohen, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in,” and that has proven to be true for me over and over again, through the dark times I’ve been through, even the one that most traumatized me and shook my sense of safety and identity.
What I mean is that I’ve found it to be very hard work to dwell in anger and fear over the long term. The Light is always looking for any little crack to get in and it takes a lot of work to keep pushing it away. It took me a very long time to understand this, but I came to see that all I had to do was let the cracks open, to not resist under the misconception that somehow my fear or my anger would make me safer or stronger.
I am well aware of the ugly facts and the potential dangers that we face. But I am also a “responder,” a servant of Gaia and of humanity, and this is where the rubber meets the road. The principles of Incarnational Spirituality aren’t just intellectual concepts, they are very real presences. David hadn’t even articulated them yet, but I didn’t need that mental framework to know in my deepest self that they were there for us on 9/11 and they are here for us now.
However you are feeling about the election, I share my experience with you in the hope that you consider allowing the cracks in your life to open where the Light can get in. That is where real strength and courage and safety dwells.

Happy Holidays! Views from the Lorian Community is taking a short hiatus to honor the season and will be back in January 2017. Much gratitude to all of our subscribers, readers and followers on Facebook for your support this year!

Views from the Lorian Community publishes essays from a team of volunteer writers expressing individual experiences of a long term, committed practice of Incarnational Spirituality (and the general principles shaping such a practice.) Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the sentiments or thoughts of any other person in Lorian or of Lorian as a whole. If you would like to subscribe, please visit our website and click on Follow Our Blog Via Email. Or email the editor:drenag@lorian.org.