Empire of Dirt

My intuition speaks to me in many ways, but one of the ways I receive messages is by hearing random songs in my head. Often, when I haven’t heard a song in a while and it pops into my mind’s ear, I know there’s a message in the lyrics for me.

When I began discovering repressed trauma from my childhood, one of the songs I resonated with most was Hurt by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. I was in the early stages of uncovering sexual abuse memories and I found myself listening to Hurt often, because Mr. Reznor’s lyrics whispered right into my heart, and pulled emotions out of me that had been deeply buried in my shattered mind, cells and body.

What was really disturbing for me, personally, was the contradictory nature of the abuse I was remembering. One of the perpetrators was a close family member, whom I’d had wonderful memories with up until his passing when I was nine years old. Yet, the flashbacks I was experiencing presented this family member as a complete monster, who engaged in sadistic sexual violence and torture tactics, with a cold-heartedness that was the complete opposite of what my brain had presented me with for decades.

I recall describing myself as feeling haunted, and the betrayal I felt was like being stabbed from within. Up until then, I believed this family member was a loving person and I was absolutely crushed, as I began to realize and remember the ancestral pool of swamp water I’d been born into, on that side of the family.

I began to look at what I perceived, at the time, to be a generational curse; a cycle of abuse passed down through four generations, if not more.

And so Trent Reznor’s song struck just the right chord within me and I used it as medicine to “whale cry” (which is a low, sorrowful moan that sounds like a whale speaking to other whales) on my bedroom, kitchen and shower floors. Honestly, any floor I could safely collapse on, while mourning in the confines of my home, became a new place of comfort. This song allowed me to express and release some of the thirty-seven years of repressed grief and anguish that I’d been storing and hiding from myself.

Hurt sums up what many who’ve faced C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) feel when challenging the ghosts of their past, including trying to make sense of nonsense, wrangling with demons encouraging self-harm, and valiantly attempting to exist somewhat grounded in the present moment, while being viscerally pulled back in time.

Here are the lyrics:

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on my pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end

You could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my liar’s chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Beneath the stains of time
The feelings disappear
You are someone else
I am still right here

What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
If I could start again
A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

For my situation, the lines that resonate most are the chorus (You could have it all, my empire of dirt. I will let you down, I will make you hurt). As I came to understand the other side of my childhood with new eyes, new memories, and very new emotions, I felt I’d been handed an Empire of Dirt (generational trauma, cellular memories, ancestral trauma, curses, adaptive behaviors, and issues) that I NEVER wanted. I felt like I was in hell and I made a choice to dig my way out. I began having an identity crisis and didn’t know who I was anymore (let alone who the people around me were, either).

Since then, I remind myself that beautiful things grow out of manure — or the Empire of Dirt that surrounded my past. I’m making the best of the real-life nightmares I survived and I have watched the strongholds and towers (aka things I thought were important) collapse around me, as I stand in the rubble and rebuild. One day I’ll completely outgrow the dirt pile and become self-sustaining in a different type of fertilizer.

However, the idea of being born into an Empire of Dirt is not just limited to my life. Each one of us has inherited dirt from external forces, and it is when the dirt becomes internalized that it becomes problematic. This is where shadow work comes in, which I believe is essential when it comes to facing life with C-PTSD (or any form of trauma), for lasting healing. One must become completely honest with oneself, by fostering enough self love and respect to become one’s own BS detector. Doing the internal work on the microcosm of our lives is essential, in order to have a realistic impact on the macrocosm, or the world around us.

Societally, we are also presented Empires of Dirt. One doesn’t need to look far to find something disagreeable or that feels innately wrong. Whether it’s political matters, medical matters, pharmaceutical matters, religious matters, educational matters, psychological matters — whatever the “matter” is — it’s easy to spot the dirt piles around us. This garbage has been shuffled down and passed off as “things we do,” and it is sustained through methods of exploitation, extrapolating fear, a desperate need for comfort, harvesting energy to feed “the machine,” and, more importantly, through collective traumatization.

This collective traumatization influences a good majority of people to run amok with Peter Pan Syndrome. They’ve never grown up, their inner children have gone unheard, unnoticed, unloved — and so they generate fear, scream about their victimhood and point fingers, like whiny brats on a playground. In some cases, they go on to re-traumatize and perpetuate the cycle of abuse, becoming the playground bully, instead of making a conscious decision to get their own affairs in order.

Without self-awareness, these Peter Pans remain blind to their contributions to a larger problem, the collective subconscious, and fully submit to the whims and compulsions of their shadow side. They project brutish behaviors and dangerous emotions on their outer world, contributing to the collective chaos and mindlessly imprisoning themselves further. Broken down in even simpler terms, these Peter Pans are acting out adaptive behaviors bred out of trauma.

And so the cycle continues. When one comes from a place of fear, rage, hatred, and a victim-mentality, one is unable to see clearly and coherently. When one cannot separate one’s true essence from these lower-level triggering emotions — or, at the very least, express and release these emotions privately — it is impossible to be in alignment with clarity and coherence. And instead, the exact opposite of clarity and coherence is created (feeling scattered, irrational, manic), which feeds the Beast. Another Empire of Dirt — another ant hill adding to the hive mind — is formed. It seems that many of these Peter Pan types will be lost; choosing to never grow up, to remain ignorant to the part they play in the collective problem, and ultimately feeding back into the very system which harms. Let them go. Do your own inner work.

It is important to remember that the inhabitants of this planet have been facing a nonstop cycle of abuse and trauma, since each planetary wipe out, great flood, sinking of continents, cosmic wars, and each erasure of history — repeating the eons-old Empire of Dirt cycles, dumped down through generational lines. You’ve got to be a real ostrich to not notice the problems all around us right now (no offense to the ostriches), as the worldly institutions collectively collapse and we watch things we believed gave us comfort and security disappearing before our eyes, as they reveal their true nature.

Still, too many people are completely unaware, dissociative and traumatized, running on autopilot, and playing into the agenda created by this realm’s Contrived Chaos Manufacturers (CCM). And these same unaware folks add on to the Empire of Dirt held in place by what we call “societal virtues,” conveniently spoon-fed to us by those same Contrivers of Chaos. Those who continually ignite the masses, by exploiting and amplifying fear, deeply understand how to manipulate those who have been traumatized — and we all have been traumatized to one extent or another. The CCM seek to give you THEIR version of order, which is a very dangerous form of control that transcends material reality and has major spiritual consequences. Your trauma, ignorance and weaknesses feed them. The CCM on your TV, in the news, and on your phone do NOT care about you, your health, your family, your country, or this planet. Their goal is to further THEIR agenda, which is total destruction of authentic life and love.

We are at a time in which we must decide what kind of an empire we will build and what we will do with the dirt piles around us. We could “have it all, [their] empire of dirt,” like Trent Reznor sings about — if we keep buying into the snake oil being pushed on us — or perhaps a good majority of us will wake up and realize what an utter letdown, corrupt and broken system this truly is, and choose to create something better; something completely different and our own.

Liz the Magelion’s Website: The Magelion

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  1. Love you, James. Your family, too. I will write more later. Your sharing will help others. We will mourn with you. We will build a better world. Beverly Taylor.

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