A Lucid Dream
From Kanya Vashon McGhee
Founder & Director
The Tree Of Life
In My protracted efforts to understand the workings of the Universe and to find my place in it, I came upon The Kybalion containing the writings of Hermes Trismegistus with whom you are possibly familiar as the father of Alchemy, Astrology, Medicine, etc..
From this book I learned of the 7 (immutable) Principles or Universal Laws to which all else is subsumed. One of these, The Law of Correspondence, is the basis of the proper understanding of Astrology, to wit: "As Above - So Below" or the Heavens as a reflection of activities on The Earth and vice versa.
If I were to try to summarize all that I have learned during all or part of the past 8 decades that I have spent on this Planet we call the Earth, it would be that I have begun to truly understand the ONENESS of the Life Force and yet recognize the DIVERSITY of this Energy - "E Puribus Unum."
Based on the Hermetic Principle above, I now understand that EVERYTHING IS ALIVE and vibrating at different rates. You might say that "GOD" is that Energy that vibrates the fastest. Indeed the "Law of Correspondence" postulates that "God" is reflected in everything which, in turn, vibrates at different rates.
On Earth, I now see that the four "races" of Humankind, although they combine as ONE, are each very different rates of vibration with different assets and different liabilities; each designed to perform different functions.
In fact I see that the 4 Races of Humankind correspond to the 4 seasons!
Spring or Aries corresponding to the so-called "white" race; Summer or Cancer corresponding to the so-called "black" race; Fall or Libra corresponding to the so-called "yellow" race; and Winter or Capricorn corresponding to the so-called "semitic" race.
Analyzing the elements of each of these signs, rather accurately describes the nature and function of each of the corresponding races:
Aries, fiery, pioneering and rational, ruled by Mars; Cancer, watery, emotional and psychic, ruled by the Moon; Libra, airy, artistic, ready for Peace or War, ruled by Venus; and Capricorn, earthy, practical, and highly organized, ruled by Saturn.
In turn, each of these cardinal signs when sub-divided yield the 12 Zodiacal signs which roughly correspond to the various geographical or language groups:
Aries, the Aryan, (or Martian), Germanic, Vikings; Taurus, the colonizing, steadfast "meat & potatoes" (Venusian) British; Gemini, the super salesman, always-on-the-go (Mercurial) North American - selling, advertising, ever calculating; Cancer, the tribal, mothering, (Lunar) musical African; Leo, the expressive, (Sunny) operatic, out-going Italian; Virgo, the Virgin Mary (Notre Dame), Mercurial gourmet cooks of France - lovers of bread and vine; Libra, the artistic "Yin/Yang" (Venusian) people of China; Scorpio, the Native American, (Plutonic) fearlessly daring to outstare Death, knowing that "There is no Death - only a change of worlds"; Sagittarius, the Psychic, (Jovial) fast talking, dancing, musical Hispanic; Capricorn, the hardworking, practical (Saturnine) "taking care of business" Jewish doctor/lawyer/entrepreneur; Aquarius, the (Uranian) people of Russia with its 11 time zones and heavily multi-racial population; and last but not least; Pisces, the Spiritual, musical, religious, (Neptunian) "Saint or Sinner" African-American, symbolized by the two fish, one headed "upstream" to Heaven, the other headed "downstream" to Hell.
These are by no means mutually exclusive designations and can be applied as well to the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms. A deep analysis of the Piscean African-American is what led me in 1969 to found "The Tree of Life Bookstore & Educational Center of Harlem" which overwhelmingly demonstrates the path of transformation from school dropout to scholar; from junkie to health guru and from "sinner" to "Saint".
In many American cities, the Board of Education is dominated by the thinking and planning of the "Winter" consciousness. Which is like trying to teach "humming birds" how to ice skate! Too many 'humming birds" drop out into prison and early graves!
Using this insight, we have demonstrated the multi-billion dollar bonanza for all society once these principles are recognized. We truly need to franchise The Tree of Life nationally and in the process create tens of thousands of entrepreneurs each having discovered their Divinely ordained purpose for this present life.
I now issue a call for all who can understand what I have rather imperfectly outlined above, to join together with me and create a virtual Garden of Eden on the Planet Earth combining the best qualities of each of us. A truly symbiotic relationship! This I predict will be the lasting legacy of the still dawning "New Age of Aquarius".
In future writings we will spell out the specific ways this insight will bring the Piscean African-American to the Spiritual exaltation which we are destined to achieve. In the process transforming the Harlems of America into The Spiritual Capitols of the Western World working together with our brothers and sisters of the other "Seasons" to create a virtual "Garden of Eden" on Planet Earth!
No more drugs (of any kind), or crime or violence or junk food. Only a rapid opening of our now mostly dormant brain cells. This is the true Destiny of the rapidly dawning
AGE OF AQUARIUS. The Dream Takes Wing
Kanya's earliest childhood memories were of having been born with a destiny; that a task, uniquely his own, awaited him; that it was his duty to discover this task and strengthen himself to best accomplish it. He explored numerous careers after his graduation from college including real estate, radio advertising, auto sales, insurance, investment banking, education and community development,
His years in the California elementary school system as a teacher were of particular importance as they demonstrated the futility of traditional (and failing) methods of education, and allowed him to experiment with alternative and more effective techniques. He later helped to develop the world's only Black founded mutual fund, THE EVERYMAN FUND (1966), whose failure in the stock market crash of 1970 allowed him the time and leisure to experiment with this old dream.
Since the age of 15, when he first read "Light On The Path" and "The Prophet", Kanya had been a serious student of the ancient wisdom contained in numerous books unavailable in most bookstores. They were the only books he thoroughly loved. His textbooks had meant nothing compared to the precious treasures within these books which had so strongly influenced his life and shaped his character.
Having learned to his surprise that there were virtually no metaphysical bookstore serving the Black community, he gathered a number of books in a shopping bag and began looking for customers in various locations around New York City. He also began teaching astrology classes in his apartment, as well as running a small mail order book service.
In 1971, he came to the corner of 125th Street and Lenox Avenue, where he leased a booth in the African Market located in what came to be known as THE TREE OF LIFE BUILDING, (formerly Howard's Clothing Store). Amid the noise and buzz of activity of the many merchants sharing the Market, The Tree grew slowly but steadily, touching lives and awakening minds. Seeking to reach more of the bookbuying members of the Harlem community, Kanya set up his table on the sidewalk outside the Market, where he was able to expose customers of Oscar Michaux's famous AFRICAN NATIONAL MEMORIAL BOOKSTORE to the wisdom of the ancient Masters contained in the books of THE TREE OF LIFE.
Day by day he stood on the corner, greeting passers-by with his friendly smile and engaging conversation. And day by day he realized that there was something very special happening to these people. It was as if a hidden hunger in their lives was fed and nothing could stop them from seeking to feed it once the barriers to its existence were removed. Day by day, people would come back to ask for more of the keys to unlocking the mysteries of their own Divine nature.
Thwarted in all the basic human drives by a society in which he or she is a virtual stranger, a Black person is driven deeper into him/herself more quickly than his white counterpart in this culture. Kanya faound that an increased sensitivity existed among the Black community, which, once opened by the secrets of diet, fasting, meditation and yoga, led to rapid and deep spiritual unfoldment.
The experiment was working beyond even his own initial hopes. Four years went by as if overnight, yet one doubts if Kanya will ever forget those long Winter months, standing in the snow with feet and fingers so cold that they have never fully recovered from the exposure. And yet The Tree grew and grew.
In 1973, Kanya was joined in his efforts by Dr. John E. Moore, an initiate of numerous traditions who had spent years on the road, delving into Indian, Mexican and native Black herbal lore with a clarity of mind and depth of Soul that has led him to become one of the most advanced herbal doctors on this continent. The son of a Baptist preacher, Dr. Moore is gifted with that charismatic energy of articulation and inspiration that is the especial province of the Black ministry. He is remembered by many as having drawn crowds of over a thousand people in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village in New York with his Sunday lectures on Herbology and Survival.
In a world strangling in its own filth and the excretions of man's darkened struggle through the maddened world of chemical additives and self-created poisoning, Dr. Moore spoke as a voice in the wilderness, exhorting the American community to return to its roots, to once again to learn to recognize Nature's bounty of healing and nourishing medicines and foods within our own soil. He is known for countless healings, many of which have been called miraculous. His ongoing Friday night lectures on Herbology were open to the Public and began promptly at 7:45 pm.
Now Kanya and Dr. Moore worked side by side. The people came, and they learned, and more people came, and the knowledge continued to spread. Also in that year, the roots of The Tree embedded themselves more firmly in the consciousness of the larger Black community. Civil Rights leader Dick Gregory joined forces with The Tree. Perceiving its potential as an inspirational and healing force, Dick began to spread its message in his own talks. Actress Ruby Dee, a student of The Tree of Life, worked to publicize its activities. Word spread to Pete Seeger, Sun Ra, Stevie Wonder, Rev. Kirkpatrick, Ramsey Lewis, Lonnie Liston Smith, and Earth Wind & Fire.
International visitors of all races began to visit The Tree of Life in increasing numbers, reporting to their respective communities the efforts of a spiritual bookstore growing on the most important corner in Harlem. For decades the corner of 125th and Lenox Avenue had been the center of Black consciousness in the New World. W. E. B. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had visited there, carrying the message of the unique role of the Black race in the ever-emerging world community. The corner was a focus point for the entire planet, and its energy nourished the young Tree.
1974 marked another major stage of development. As the other merchants gradually began to leave The African Market, The Tree continued to expand until it occupied the entire floor of the building and the basement, a total of 12,000 square feet. A new phase in its growth had come. More limbs sprouted and it grew taller. Classes began to be offered more regularly now that more space was available.
Volunteer staff members began the laborious project of beautification of this sturdy but neglected building. Those early years were also times of cold winters, a barrel of charcoal burning in the center of the store providing the only source of heat.
And yet the people continued to come in increasing unumbers. Aware of the economic realities facing Harlem, Kanya opened the AQUARIAN SCIENCE FREE READING ROOM. Here anyone could come and read and study undisturbed 7 days a week. School children have expressed the fact that their home environments were too chaotic to allow them to do their homework, so that for them The Aquarian Science Free Reading Room became an oasis of peace and quiet in which they could pursue their school studies. Yet, it was by far the books that filled the tables and shelves of The Tree of Life that were the main attractions of the Free Reading Room.
What is it that these books say? What is the knowledge "that we know, but do not know that we know?" These books remind us of a heritage that stretches far back in the mists of Time, aeons before human life existed on this planet. It is the heritage that was taught in the Schools of Initiation of the ancient civilizations of Lemuria (MU), Atlantis, Egypt and Africa, India, China, South America, the Near East, the indigenous North America, the Greeks, the Mayans and Celts, in fact, throughout the world. Though the outer symbols and words differ from culture to culture and from time to time, the message is always the same.
The knowledge affirms the omnipotence, omnipresence and Oneness of God, first and foremost. It asserts that each of us is a Ray of this Divine Consciousness, a vibrating radiation point of The Divine, interchanging and exchanging in constant relationship to Itself. THAT WE GAZE WITH THE EYES OF GOD INTO THE EYES OF GOD EACH MOMENT OF OUR LIVES. THAT THE CONCEPT OF A FINAL DEATH OF THE SPIRIT IS INCONCEIVABLE BECAUSE THAT SPIRIT IS TIMELESS AND WILL OCCUPY AN INFINITY OF BODIES IN ITS TRAVELS THROUGHOUT ETERNITY.
That once one begins to understand this consciously, there are methods and techniques that have been passed down from time immemorial to awaken and stimulate this comprehension, to activate the Divine Nature to increasingly greater proportions within one's daily life. That as these practices continue, one begins to perceive through the eyes of Eternity a natural evolution and destiny to which we are all joinedl
THAT HUMANKIND IS BUT A PART OF A MUCH LARGER INTEGRATED AND HARMONIOUS WHOLE THAT INCLUDES PLANTS, ANIMALS, ROCKS, MINERALS, STARS AND SUNS, GALAXIES, MICROBES AND UNIVERSES. THAT ALL IS ONE, THAT THERE IS NOTHING BUT GOD, AND THAT GOD, BE IT CALLED ALLAH, RA, BRAHMAN, JEJOVAH OR BUDDHA, IS INFINITE!
The knowledge further teaches that as one unfolds daily on the Path, one's relationship to all Life becomes increasingly crucial. That each act and thought is the Cause of consequent Effects, and that no Cause goes without an Effect. One learns that the nature of God is Love. That each infraction of The Law of Love is punishable by a sense of separation from The Source, which may manifest in countless ways. That as one progresses and increasingly learns to radiate Love, amazing Powers begin to manifest from the hidden realms of Mind.
The Tree of Life shares with the ancient Centers of Light, the words, "Man, Know ThySelf!" written over the doorway. For it is within the Self that this knowledge and these powers reside. The Tree of Life is not a personality cult or an institution seeking a following. It is instead an information center in which the keys to this awareness are provided to each person that he or she may unlock the doors of the godSelf within. The knowledge teaches us that it is the individual's sacred duty to plumb the depths of the Soul in order to uncover the Pearl of Great Worth buried deep within each of us, but that the quest is an individual process. That while we are free to share our friendship and information along the way, it is nonetheless an individual responsibility..
What are the keys contained with the pages of the books at The Tree of Life? Primarily they are concerned with Purification. Purification of the many veils obscuring the Light of the True Self. The body is purified by conscious eating in which the fundamentals of divine nutrition are recognized and stressed. Yoga is recommended to properly exercise the body and harmonize its energy. The mind is purified by meditation in which it learns to focus and concentrate itself from the shackles of the personality and the madness of daily life.
The emotions are purified by an awareness of the divine laws and an attempt to live by their light. The Soul is purified by a recognition of the Divine purpose working through each person, giving each person a task uniquely our own, allowing us to give and grow in harmony with the Divine plan as it unfolds in creation.
One of the other key words of this knowledge is RESPONSIBILITY. Imagine the dawning of this awareness in a drug addict, stealing and hustling for his existence. Imagine the need for change waking up in him , and providing him with the necessary keys from the books, and the medicine of self-cure which he encounters at The Tree. In a supportive environment filled with people who have come to these realizations independently from places far and wide, he is guided through the dark beginnings into emerging Freedom.
Consider the child, bored and plagued by yesterday's obsolete educational philosophy, tormented by an awareness of the wrongness of his people's lot, the wrongness of his own life. Here again, the mind leaps at the opportunity to break out of the old mold, and acquire the knowledge and strength of true life. Imagine the prisoner, stuck for years without help or hope in a cell. Yet, imagine the availability of time and conditions which force him deeper into himself. The hours open for study and meditation, the contemplation of Destiny, the practice of yoga, as well as correspondence with other seekers who are active in a prison "pen-pal" system. These are only some of the uses of the knowledge as it is applied in social context by The Tree of Life.
Files abound with letters from prisoners; grateful, hope-filled letters from souls beginning to see the light. School children, in the midst of their desperation, being freed by a ray of hope emitted to them by The Tree of Life. Students, once illiterate, having read their first book at The Tree, now engaged in competent intellectual endeavors.
Ex-addicts radiating friendship and self confidence in their newly found freedom. Addicts struggling with the phases of their withdrawals with the guidance of Dr. Moore and the inspiration of The Word. Women, learning their true heritage as guardians of the human race. Blacks learning their African heritage as the birthplace and cradle of Mankind. Whites freed from the shackles of their color, merging into an evergrowing spiritual community in the heart of Harlem. Old and young finding an atmosphere of joy and hope and commitment in the midst of an urban chaos of alarming proportions.
Yet in spite of the overwhelming demonstration of the value and validity of The Tree of Life Bookstore of Harlem, it has been involved in a struggle for its existence from Day One. The situation is as follows: The Tree of Life Building was situated on State owned land. Since it is generally acknowledged that this is one of the busiest and most important corners in Harlem, it has been sought after by various business interests for a number of years.
In the late 1970's Congressman Charles B. Rangel, (Dem. NY) had been granted money by President Carter for a feasibility study on erecting a Trade Center/Luxury Hotel complex on this site in conjunction with the Harlem Urban Development Corporation (HUDC). Proponents of these ideas have been working for some time on the idea of demolishing The Tree of Life Building in the "community interest".
However, in August of 1977, The Tree of Life was voted a Mandate by Community Planning Board #10 to continue its work on the corner of 125th & Lenox Avenue. Furthermore, the Board demanded that The Tree of Life be given a 20 year lease on the building at the rate of $1 per year, (the rent which is given to acknowledged cultural institutions), as well as a guarantee of fund raising support to actualize the plans for the continued development of an International Healing Center on the present site.
However, due to political chicanery, and in spite of the community expressed outrage, The Tree of Life Building was torn down on September 17th, 1980 and in its place today stands a parking lot! (Details of this outrage are available upon request).
Following 10 years of futile efforts to relocate to other sections of New York, The Tree of Life finally pulled up stakes in 1991 and moved south first to Florida, and since 1992 has been located in Atlanta, Georgia. The concept of The Tree of Life is every much as valid today as it was 30 years ago. With the oncoming challenge of the Millennium Computer Crisis of January 1, 2000, The Tree of Life is now deeply involved in Y2K consciousness and the examination of various alternatives to a potential global disaster.
Kanya Vashon McGhee
Tree of Life Bookstore & Education Center
1701 M.L.King Drive SW
Atlanta, GA 30314-2227
Phone/Fax: (404) 753-5700