Friday, August 12, 2011

Kitty McNeil, "The Babbling Bodhisattva"

In his introduction to the collected San Francisco Oracle archives, Allen Cohen wrote that Kitty McNeil, "a suburban housewife, theosophist of the Alice Bailey variety, a psychic, and a lover of LSD and hippies," wrote to Oracle columnist Carl Helbing, an artist and astrologer who lived in the Haight, to answer his previously-published astrological query, 'Who then can tell us further of Him who was born on February 5, 1962, when 7 planets were in Aquarius?' McNeil's response was "a joint meditation on the inner planes with all the world's adepts providing the spiritual energy and will needed to bring about the birth of the next avatar." Pretty heavy stuff for 'a suburban housewife,' even if she is a psychic and a lover of LSD.

Cohen doesn't quote any of her letter itself, nor does he mention Helbing's response. There's no other real information about McNeil at all - no mention of where she lived or how she learned about astrology, or even if she stayed in touch with the paper. Cohen only suggests that he and the rest of the Oracle staff immediately made McNeil into a 'columnist' and her article 'The Babbling Bodhissatva' was born, but this is somewhat false. McNeil's column, which was published anonymously, appears only once in the twelve-paper, two-year run of the Oracle, on pages 5, 35, and 39 of Oracle #7, "The Houseboat Summit," which was published in April of 1967. 'The Babbling Bodhissatva' never appears in the Oracle again.

McNeil's article is luminous - well-written, engaging, spiritually and astrologically rich. Subtitled 'The Advent of the World-Teacher,' McNeil wrote about "the descent of the Christos, the archetypal Christ of the astral plane," which would herald "an important step in preparation for manifestation in the world of men." But she does not immediately suggest that a new divine being has come to Earth to show humankind the way. Instead, she argues that "it is only our own spiritual ignorance and lack of entire enlightenment that does not recognize the latent spiritual process that brings forth the immanent Divinity within every man and woman." In other words, the great astrological descent of 'Christ' is, in reality, a personal process of mass spiritual awakening.

She quotes from the work of Evelyn Underhill, Alice Bailey, and Jacob Boehme to make her point, arguing that other scholars familiar with history have suggested similar things. But, ultimately, "whether we call this manifestation and Incarnation of Christ, Vishnu, Ishvara, or Krishna, it is the indwelling Divinity made manifest in flesh" that matters, and that people have sought (and followed) these avatars for thousands of years. These avatars arrive in accordance with astrological cycles of divine energy, but this new avatar "will have none of these names. He may go unrecognized, as men are blinded by the glamours of the past." The Age of Aquarius is, for McNeil, very real. It presents the world with "the cosmic energies that will bring forth the emergence of the World Teacher with his Spiritual Hierarchy of helpers who will awake, one by one, to their true role."

We all have "the Grace of embodiment of the White Light," says McNeil, "the Atman become Brahmin [which is] in purest form in the Great Ones, the guides of the race, but also in you and you and you." She then goes on to present the "Collabria" as a "liberating new term and model... which we think can melt some thought-barriers for humanity." It "implies unified working together on all levels of awareness to purity, broaden and harmonize the interacting energy-field streaming through our lives." Though she admits it will take some work to accomplish, "the Collabria is all of us plus the world of spiritual forces, and is here and now... You are the Collabria and so am I. Let's act like it - - - whatever that means. May you find the vision to give it glory, beauty and Light. I need it."

I am incredibly interested in McNeil as a writer, a woman, and an artist, and I greatly desire to know more about her. In the few searches I've done I've found nothing on her, and I have very little information to go on. If anyone has any information about Kitty McNeil, the Babbling Bodhissatva, please send it my way. I'd love to know more about this fascinating woman.

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