|The Dragon and the Ice Castle
Rediscovery of Sacred Space in the Finger Lakes
Standing up to a shopping mall developer was one kind of immense challenge. But to encounter dragons, Salt Treaty and Salt Lake, Kaneenda, Peacemaker, Indian mounds, People of the Little Hills, Firekeepers presented much different kinds of equally immense challenges. Meanwhile, I needed to make a living helping people in distress, and either buy my house, or move on.
So, on March 25, when I left Syracuse for the farthest corner of New York for a badly needed break, I hoped to return to a simple life. Marley's dark mood lifted for a time. I could breathe easy and live more carefree again. It was spring—time to plant my garden. The Syracuse New Times proclaimed me Folk Hero of the Year for my lone stand against Pyramid. A nice consolation. But my Staten Island trip only ended my first circuit of the hole that is Marley's, and my first glimpse at the forces gathered there.
Having forced a halt in construction, there was now time for a careful inquiry into the phenomenon I discovered at Marley's. DEC's Bureau of Hazardous Waste would conduct an investigation. Could I trust them to be competent to study such an unusual situation under such an unusual piece of ground? Could I trust them to be honest in a situation involving so much economic and political power? What if DEC disagrees with me? And why is there all that magnetic scrap iron at Marley's? Would there still be a fire? Or had I defused that possibility?
But I wasn't going to sit idly by waiting. More than hazardous waste had turned up in my hole. I'd uncovered history, legend and myth. Not to mention a whole lot of unanswered questions. And, it seemed, a dead body. How did it get there? Should I expose it? How? And what about the nearly dead lake? Is there a caye under Marley's? Who was The Peacemaker? What is his relationship to Jesus Christ? What does Onondaga mean? Why does Onondaga Nation, the Firekeepers, live at the chin of Onondaga Dragon? How did they survive the 200 years of invasion at the backdoor of the Salt City in Heart of New York, the Empire State? Was there an error in the treaties? Do they have some kind of special protection from the Creator?
These questions suggested too much to let them slip from my attention now that the Bureau of Hazardous Waste was on the scene. Who else but me will investigate them? But how?
Over the spring and summer, the development situation in Oil City has intensified into a multi-front war. Pyramid—named the "green berets of shopping malls" by Fortune magazine—is plowing steadily forward with full support from City Hall toward realization of Robert Congel's Oil City dream, undeterred by any opposition. Is this really just a capitalist monolith chasing dollars? Or is there some hidden, deeper root to Pyramid's power? Why was Pyramid so attracted to Marley's? Do they know the secret of Marley's? Will they do it Right? If they continue to play Pharoah, what will I use as my first plague?
For a time I tried to stay out of the situation and patiently wait for the DEC report. I'd had enough of living under the dark mood of Marley's. But inevitably, like iron drawn to a magnet, I was drawn again and again back into the hole that is Marley's. Soon I would find it impossible to live in Syracuse—I knew too many secrets and was at the center of too much controversy. So by the end of summer I was propelled, reluctantly and against my hopes and will, off onto the path of adventure again. But every place I traveled I found more clues to the mystery of Marley's. I knew I had to leave a record of my discoveries, so I began to write this book. I soon realized I was now a Scribe with a front row seat to record a singular moment in History and Herstory. And the unfolding of the tale was outrunning my pen.
Meanwhile the weather began to play a greater role in History as ozone holes, droughts, heat waves, forest fires and greenhouse effect became regular features in the news. In the balance between Fire and Water, North America was scorching in fire. On the Salt Treaty's 200th birthday, there was a solar eclipse, and a hurricane with the lowest low pressure and the fastest winds ever recorded (185 mph) spun through the Gulf of Mexico. And maple trees began to drop their leaves.
The dragons were loose and churning up the atmosphere. Is an Ice Age coming, as reported by my friend and publisher John Mann? Or will it bring global warming and catastrophic climate change, as predicted by scientists? Will a new glacial Ice Castle soon roll down from the north? The last Ice Age ended 10,000 years ago, and the mile thick continental glacier ended its advance at Onondaga Lake to form the landscape that's the scene of my adventure.
What of the dragons? Are they real? Or just an aberration of my personal imagination? Or do they exist in a realm that borders betwixt reality and fantasy—between matter and spirit? Why did they appear to me now at this singular moment in History? As "guardians of Earth's power," does their emergence signal a dramatic change in Earth's presence within History? Is the Earth really a living organism: Gaia, the Earth Mother? Is She speaking?
But these kind of questions marked a path which led beyond conventional, rational History into an unknown world of Spirit. Why were events of both my airplane flights to Osco Mound in Auburn later tied to my adventure at Marley's? What deeper connection than my personal history links these two ancient and powerful sites: Marley's and Osco? Was the "little knolls" which Kaneenda sat on 300 years ago another of these ancient Indian mounds? Does a pattern unite all the sites in the Finger Lakes? Who built them? When? How? And why?
And what of the Mayan prophecy of the thirteen heavens and nine hells? Quetzalcoatl had taught that August 1987 began a 25 year period of "Purification" as a transition of a new cycle of the Mayan calendar. Who is the Mayan prophet Quetzalcoatl, the winged serpent? What is his relationship to Peacemaker and Christ? And the Onondaga Dragon? Is it time for this Mayan prophet to return? What is the ancestral relationship between Central America's Mayans, South American Inca's and the Haudenosaunee of the Finger Lakes?
But most of all, the infolding of human lives, events and images that occurred in these first three months of 1988 suggested that something far greater than human ambition was afoot at Marley's. That string of coincidences hinted that a powerful, hidden intelligence following an unseen pattern was unfolding a carefully guided drama. What kind of power is this? Is it light or dark? Of Heaven or Earth? Good or evil? What was this invisible power's plan? And how had I become ensnared in its design? Where was this taking me? And just how much power was there in the hole at Marley's? How could one piece of land be the focus of so much meaning and drama?
Most telling of all were the personal questions. Will I ever find a home? Will I ever find a woman to live with and love? How will I survive while I explore the crack into History and Herstory that has appeared in hole that is Marley's? As I wander off into legend and myth, how do I remain human? Why did I burst into such intense, uncontrolled tears on February 4 after leaving Bruce Kenan's office? What grief sprang fully felt from my soul? What did "me" know that "I" was on the road to find out?
—David Yarrow, the turtle