top of page
  • Writer's pictureMichael Martin

I have been thinking a lot about fertility.

Fertility, of course, is important to a farmer—fertility of the soil made possible through the use of compost and green manures, fertility of the animals on the farm, of honeybees and other pollinators, and of the plants which the farmer grows. Clean water also supports fertility, as does clean air. This is not hard to figure out.

The fertility of Creation, some might say “of the ecology” or “of the environment,” is also important to human fertility and procreation. Procreation, that is, is very Pro-Creation: it fulfills the terms of the contract for living in the Kingdom: “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’”(Gen 1:28). And the means to this end follow: “Then the Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (Gen 2:15).

Many commentators have read the language of Genesis—“subdue it; and have dominion over it”—as a kind of protocapitalist formula for exploitation. But ancient Hebraic culture was hardly a capitalist enterprise, as if this needs to be explained. Margaret Barker, for one, has suggested that the word “subdue” used here does not exactly capture the import of the Hebrew word kbš which also implies a bond, as in “being bound to” [1]. What’s important here is that Adam and the earth were bound to each other in a reciprocity of flourishing and fertility: for flourishing and fertility are spiritually, biologically, and economically enmeshed. Without the one, you cannot have the other.

But we live in a world hostile to fertility, and therefore hostile to flourishing.

This came to mind this week when I caught part of New York Senator Chuck Schumer’s remarks this week that the United States needs to allow as many immigrants (illegal or legal) into the country as possible because “we’re short of workers and we have a population that is not reproducing on its own.” I will pass over that the good senator supports abortion up until the moment of birth, which clearly would contribute to a population decline. I will also pass over that all-cause mortality is up drastically over the last two years and that thousands upon thousands of healthy young people have either died or been incapacitated due to a “mysterious cause” (that we all know). I will also pass over that this was on the heels of Bill Gates promoting the idea of death panels at the Cop27 meeting. And I won't even mention the now widespread enactment of laws that allow juveniles to self-sterlize without parental consent, as happened recently in my home state of Michigan.

But I will not pass over that fertility rates have been plummeting for decades and that this decline is accelerating. According to this report, sperm counts have plunged over 62% in under fifty years. Add to that the mounting evidence that C0vid v@ccines are probably contributing to infertility, especially in women, not to mention an alarming increase in miscarriages in vaccinated pregnant women, then we have a recipe for demographic disaster.

Given these developments, I decided to take a nostalgic peek into P. D. James’s masterful apocalyptic novel, The Children of Men. Written in the early-1990s and set in 2021, James tells the story of a world in which human fertility is no longer possible. Fertility, worldwide, suddenly stops. As a result, the surviving population watches as the world becomes incrementally more empty of souls, older and older. One character in the book, the Oxford historian of the Victorian age Theodore Faron marks the antecedents of the fall:

Much of this I can trace to the early 1990s: the search for alternative medicine, the perfumed oils, the massage, the smoking and anointing, the crystal-holding, the non-penetrative sex. Pornography and sexual violence in film, on television, in books, in life, had increased and become more explicit but less and less in the West we made love and bred children. It seemed a welcome development in a world grossly polluted by over-population. As a historian I see it as the beginning of the end.” [2]

First a drastic drop in birthrate (not unlike we’re seeing at the moment) was followed by a zero birthrate:

Overnight, it seemed, the human race had lost its power to breed. The discovery in July 1994 that even the frozen sperm stored for experiment and artificial insemination had lost its potency was a peculiar horror casting over Omega the pall of superstitious awe, of witchcraft, of divine intervention. The old gods reappeared, terrible in their power.” [3]

One of the eerier elements to The Children of Men is the post-Omega (the date fertility stopped) fad of women pushing prams bearing dolls instead of babies, a stunning psychological mechanism of the simulacra. The fad passes, as fads do, but makes a resurgence that Faron observes:

It had been years since he had seen a doll thus paraded, but they had been common twenty years ago, had become something of a craze. Doll-making was the only section of the toy industry which, with the production of prams, had for a decade flourished; it had produced dolls for the whole range of frustrated maternal desire, some cheap and tawdry but some of remarkable craftsmanship and beauty which, but for the Omega which originated them, could have become cherished heirlooms….. At one time it wasn’t possible to walk down High Street without being encumbered by their prams, by groups of admiring quasi-mothers. He seemed to remember that there had been pseudo-births and that broken dolls were buried with ceremony in consecrated ground. Wasn’t it one of the minor ecclesiastical disputes of the early 2000s whether churches could legitimately be used for these charades and even whether ordained priests could take part?” [4]

I don’t exactly expect to witness anything like what James describes in her book; she was not a prophetess. She was, however, incredibly perceptive and, though she speaks in metaphor, hers is an apt metaphor for a culture rich in sex but impoverished in love and fertility. But this is what happens when sex and procreation are unmoored from marriage in the cultural imaginary.

I wish I could say I’ve been shocked by the general ennui with which our governmental and corporate institutions—including the media—have treated our falling fertility rates and the added pressures of possible, likely true, v@x-related infertility and miscarriages. But I’m not. They seem to welcome such a development. It may even be part of the plan, as many physicians and other experts have been been warning for over two years that infertility and miscarriage were very real possibilities for an unproven and rushed mRNA product. They weren’t prophets either, just people looking to the canons of their tradition and employing a little common sense. Anyway, the indifference of the usual gatekeepers is appalling.

In his very interesting book The Function of the Orgasm, the psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich claimed to have found a kind of energy implicit to the orgasm that he also detected in various atmospheric conditions. He would come to call this phenomenon orgone energy, and it seems to have some resonances with the Vedic concept of prana or the classical Greek idea of zoë (life)—concepts materialist science dismisses. He ends his book with this observation:

Having come at the conclusion of this book, the reader, like the author himself, will not be able to avoid the impression that the study of the orgasm, the stepchild of natural science, has led us deep into the secrets of nature. The investigation of living matter went beyond the confines of depth psychology and physiology and enter unexplored biological territory. Sexuality and the living process became identical, and a new avenue of approach to the problem of biogenesis was opened. What was psychology became biophysics and a part of genuine, experimental natural science. Its core remains, as always, the enigma of love, to which we owe our being.” [5]

Could it be that the energy Reich discovered (but that was always there) has been compromised in its functioning by the absolutely degraded diets to which the industrial west has subjected itself, and that, combined with the soup of toxins we breathe and ingest every day, we have primed our biology for collapse via the introduction of foreign and synthetic substances the repercussions of which we know not? There are certainly other conclusions to which one could arrive; but the apathy of the gatekeepers and their abdication of anything resembling concern for the commonweal suggests that the reality may be far more sinister than even imaginable.

Reich’s pronouncement, that the core remains in the enigma of love to which we owe our being, does give me some comfort. For I find it to be a truly sophiological insight congruent with one of the key utterances of sophiological truth:

When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:

When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:

When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:

Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;

Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the children of men. (Proverbs 8:27-31)

Michael’s latest book is Sophia in Exile. He can be reached at Also check out the latest volume of Jesus the Imagination: Flesh & Spirit. Twitter: @Sophiologist_

1. Margaret Barker, Creation: A Biblical Vision for the Environment (T&T Clark, 2010), 122.

2. P. D. James, The Children of Men (Knopf, 1992), 7-8.

3. Ibid., 8.

4. Ibid., 34-45.

5. Wilhelm Reich, The Function of the Orgasm (1942; Souvenir Press, 1973), 386.

291 views3 comments
  • Writer's pictureMichael Martin

I recently wrote about thinking I saw the Great Pan in the woods just beyond our garden here at the farm. But I didn’t explain. Now I will.

This kind of “seeing” occurs in a state of awareness that’s not exactly wide awake and definitely not sleeping, but in a space more accurately called “reverie.” The 20th century French philosopher Gaston Bachelard wrote much about the importance of reverie, particularly in his book The Poetics of Reverie: Childhood, Language, and the Cosmos, and distinguishes reverie from dream:

In contrast to a dream reverie cannot be recounted. To be communicated, it must be written,written with emotion and taste, being relived all the more strongly because it is being written down. Here, we are touching on the realm of written love. It is going out of fashion, but the benefits remain. There are still souls for whom love is the contact of two poetries, the fusion of two reveries. [1]

Poets often retain the ability to enter into reverie—Percy Bysshe Shelley certainly attests to this in his Defence of Poetry; and Thomas Traherne as well as Eleanor Farjeon, both of whom I write about in Sophia in Exile, are two exemplars of poets who lived in reverie by which they could enter a childlike state of radical amazement. I am also a poet, and I think the reason their work resonates so much with me is that I can attest to their witness from experience as opposed to ideology or theory. But back to my story.

On the day of the sighting, I had been checking on the yurt I built in our woods and which we rent out to visitors as an escape from the world. If I do say so myself, it is a beautiful spot. We had some lodgers coming later that day and I wanted to make sure it was tidy (as per directions from my wife). On the way back to the house, I stopped for a minute to look into the woods—I don’t know why—and, as it was a warm October afternoon with sunlight touching the multicolored leaves rustling in the breeze, it wasn’t very hard to make myself pause. It must have been just for a second or two, but in my reverie I saw Pan—or thought I did—but dismissed the notion right away. I started to walk back to the house, made it about ten steps on the way and thought to myself, “Wait...did I just see Pan?” He was standing still, not looking at me, but appearing to gaze off to my left toward the goose yard and the garden. The same thing happened when I saw (but wasn’t sure I did) a few green men traversing the tops of some poplars and maples when I was twenty-two or so (I also write about this in Sophia in Exile). Reverie, it is my claim, doesn’t allow us to see things that “aren’t really there.” Rather, it allows us to see into a parallel reality, the invisible world that co-inhabits the spaces we occupy.

Of course, I don’t know that what I saw was “the Great Pan,” but I do think these inhabitants of the invisible world take on forms that respond to our own imaginative vocabularies. That is, they take a form that is amenable to our conceptual framework. I recently found confirmation of this in a piece of writing by R. Ogilvie Crombie (aka, “Roc,” about whom I first heard mention in this clip from the film My Dinner with Andre), a physicist who was part of the original Findhorn community. Roc claims that the true forms of these types of nature spirits is more akin to light, but that they take on humanoid shapes as a courtesy to human perception and understanding. (You can read all about it in his collection Encountering Nature Spirits). In fact, there’s a great scene in Guillermo del Toro’s masterpiece Pan’s Labyrinth (one of the most Catholic movies ever) that shows precisely how this might work, as Ophelia, the protagonist, shows a faerie, which first appears insect-like, how it is supposed to look from one of her books on faeries. You can get the idea from the trailer:

Now, I don’t think I have any special powers about this. I am not exactly unique, and I am sure many, many people possess this ability (though “ability” is not quite the right word, as if saying I have some unique ability to taste salt or something). I can’t just turn it on. It just happens upon occasion. It’s probably closer to having an innate ability for mathematics (which I don’t) or music (which I do), and it is not, I think, confined to occasional peeks into the invisible world.

A couple of examples:

When I was training as a Waldorf teacher, one afternoon I was helping the teacher I was shadowing prepare a physics demonstration using magnets to be shown to his class on the next day. It was a very simple demonstration using bar magnets, a sheet of paper, and iron filings that could show the energy pattern of the magnetism at the poles (it’s a very beautiful image). He was using some brand-spanking new magnets, still at full potency—and I suddenly got really woozy. I said to him, “Can you feel that?” “Feel what?” “The energy coming from the magnets.” “I don’t feel anything….you must be a sensitive, Michael.” I guess! I was, quite literally, “mesmerized.” (Anton Mesmer, in case you didn’t know, made himself famous in the 18th century through the use of magnets in therapeutic situations.)

A few years before the magnet experience, my then girlfriend asked me if I wanted to attend a meeting of her “spiritual development” class being held through her school district’s community education outreach program one evening at a local high school. The class session was on seeing auras. I was a pretty naive twenty-two year old, so, always open to new experiences—and the class was all young women—I went.

The teacher, a small woman of about sixty, asked one of the students to come to the front of the class and stand before a blank white wall (so as better to be able to see her aura). She asked the class what they saw. Most of them, I recall, didn’t see much. But I saw all kinds of things. One thing I saw was a kind of dark orange, almost brown shape like a broken feather or crumpled ribbon coming from one of her shoulders. In front of the class, I asked if she had some kind of sharp pain or something like that near her collarbone. She did. I saw other things in other people, including that one woman was pregnant (the rest I don’t recall). The teacher came to me at the break and said, “You might not know this, but you have a real gift for this kind of thing.” Even though I knew the basics of aura theory, I had never tried to see them, nor was I working at “developing myself” in such a way. Some people just see this stuff, and some don’t. And it’s not like I see auras all the time or anything; I have to want to try to. I usually don’t. In fact, the only times I’ve tried over the last twenty-five years or so have been when I’m at performances or liturgies in which I am more of a spectator than a participant.

I could tell other stories—psychometry experiments in my late twenties, for example—or sensing the presence of the dead (which happens pretty frequently, even today), but I’ll set those aside for the moment—though my wife is pretty sure those MK Ultra guys would have snagged me as a kid had they known about my constitution. The point I’m trying to make is that some people just have a kind of natural sensitivity to the invisible worlds more so than others; but I also think, like carrying a tune or drawing, most people can do this at least a little. I also think our culture and education breed this ability out of us. But let’s go back to faeries.

I often talk about the possibility that faeries exist with my college students. Some are all in on the prospect, but most are pretty skeptical. To be honest, most are also pretty skeptical about the existence of God or angels. I use David Bentley Hart’s review essay, “The Secret Commonwealth,” first published in First Things exactly thirteen years ago, to open that discussion (as well as show them how to write a solid review essay). David, as many already know, is a true believer when it comes to faeries, as is John Milbank, not to mention my friend David Russell Mosley. There are more of us with terminal degrees who believe in the Secret Commonwealth than you might think.

In fact, in the recent Regeneration Podcast interview with David Bentley Hart about his novel Kenogaia and the Gnostic Hymn of the Pearl upon which it is based, we discussed faeries a little. That night, my phone mysteriously disappeared from my dresser and ended up in the back of my English shepherd Sparrow’s cage a few feet away—though the cage is draped by a blanket, a deerskin, and boxes of seeds! I’m not saying faerie mischief contributed to its strange teleportation, but…

Some people—you might be one of them—may suggest that Pan and the faerie realm really belong to the dominion of evil, but I strongly disagree. In one of Crombie’s accounts, Pan asserts just the opposite: “I am a servant of Almighty God, and I and my subjects are willing to come to the aid of mankind, in spite of the way it has treated us and abused nature, if it affirms belief in us and asks our aid. ” [2] That doesn’t sound like a deal with the devil to me.

For Eleanor Farjeon (I love her so much it hurts), Pan (whose name means “All”) is symbolic of Christ Himself, the absolute Lord of the Dance. As she writes, “For since the divine Pagan dares to exist in harmony with the eternal spirit, trees, which are the temples of Pan, are also prophets of God. He laid his secret within all his creations as they passed through his hands.” [3] And, in a dispute she imagines between Pan and the stodgy and sclerotic god Chronos, Farjeon explains why:

Have you then found a bigger star than mine?” cried the Old One in alarm. “With many moons and brighter hoops of fire? What were you doing while we were raking the firmament?”

Dancing, Old Bones, dancing.”

And where?”

On earth, with man my brother.”

I could go on.

Over the decades, I have amassed a decent library of faerie lore and research, some fictional, some academic, some somewhere in-between. The works of the poet and visionary Æ (George William Russell) are a good place to begin, and perhaps the definitive work on the subject is still W.Y Evans-Wentz’s doctoral dissertation The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries (1911), not to mention the venerable The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies (1691) by the Rev. Robert Kirk. Marjorie T. Johnson’s Seeing Fairies (2014) is exhaustive, but is a bit compromised by the jargon and assumptions of The Theosophical Society. Still, it is fascinating. And then there are The Little Grey Men (1942) and Down the Bright Stream (1948) by ‘BB’ (Denys Watkins-Pitchford)—ostensibly “children’s literature,” I think the author knew more about the Invisible Country than just about anyone.

So, next time you think you saw something in the woods…maybe you saw something in the woods.

Michael’s latest book is Sophia in Exile. He can be reached at See also The Center for Sophiological Studies' available courses. Also check out the latest volume of Jesus the Imagination: Flesh & Spirit. Twitter: @Sophiologist_

1. Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Reverie: Childhood, Language, and the Cosmos (Beacon Press, 1969), 7.

2. R. Oglivie Crombie, Encounters with Nature Spirits (Findhorn Press, 20).

3. Eleanor Farjeon, Trees (London, 1914), 20.

492 views5 comments
  • Writer's pictureMichael Martin

Things are about to get weird.

I know what you’re thinking: things are already weird, Michael. But it’s about to get even weirder with the election. The heavens are declaring it.

On November 8th, Election Day here in the “land of democracy” [sic], we will see some significant portents as regards the positions of the planets and their relationship to one another.

First of all, it’s the day of a full lunar eclipse which will be visible in North America and will be fully visible in Washington, DC (which is significant) from roughly 3:00 – 6:00 a.m. Lunar eclipses typically act as release valves that loose the tension brought by a solar eclipse that typically anticipates it by two weeks. In this case we will have a partial solar eclipse on October 25th that will be visible in most of Europe (including Ukraine and eastern Russia) and the Middle East. That’s fun. Things may get very tense in that area of the world next week (not that they aren’t already—but just wait).

So that’s one thing.

In addition to this, the Sun and Mercury will be in an exact conjunction (meaning: at the same spot in the sky). Among other things, Mercury rules communication and acts as a triggering mechanism in astrological movements. This by itself is not necessarily a big deal. Mercury is not all that far from the Sun (it is the closest planet after all) so such a conjunction is not all that uncommon, this being the fourth such conjunction this year. The kicker is Uranus, which will be in exact conjunction to the Moon during this eclipse. This means that Sun-Mercury will be in exact opposition to Moon-Uranus. Uranus, which rules electronics, technology, and innovation, is also a bit of a loose cannon: you never know what it’s going to do, but you know it will do something. This is a real “expect the unexpected” deal, and, so, prediction becomes a bit of a challenge. As an aside, last year when Uranus was conjunct my Moon while Saturn squared it, I expected my aged mother, who suffers from advanced vascular dementia, to die (the Moon, among other things, represents the archetypal mother). She didn’t die, though she did get very ill. What happened, however, was that my wife developed rapid-onset uterine cancer, which we suspect was due to shedding from a v@xxed relative. My wife is healthy and cancer-free now, praise God. But I digress.

But wait, there’s more!

Not only will also this action be taking place in the sky, but Saturn also wants to play. Saturn, known as the Greater Malefic to the medieval astrologers, is the cosmic badass, the archetypal father and ruler of authority, structure, stability, and stuff like that. It often represents the father in the horoscope. So, anyway, Saturn will be in square (a ninety-degree angle) to both Sun-Mercury and Moon-Uranus, a configuration known as a T-square. (Another aside: my birth chart is just crummy with these things. I don’t recommend trying this at home.)

Oh, but that’s not weird enough. In addition, the Sun-Mercury conjunction will also be in exact conjunction to the fixed star Zubenelgenubi, one of the scales of justice in the sign of Libra (though some astrologers think of as one malevolent motherscratcher).

The take-home: though Uranus acts as a bit of a wildcard here, I can imagine there will be weird stuff happening with voting machines or even power outages (Uranus triggered by the energy of the Moon and Mercury), though I think Saturn will act as a check to this getting too out of hand. Does this mean State power will intervene? Or does it mean that tradition will prevail? Those are important questions, because I think this is precisely what is at stake in this election. Whatever the case, I think it is very possible there will probably be some potentially violent (and without a doubt emotional) protests or other kinds of (almost) spontaneous eruptions (definitely the right word) on November 8th. You probably don’t need astrology to predict that. But, because of Saturn’s role, I would guess that a conservative victory is coming. I could be wrong, of course, but that seems to be what the stars are saying.

One more thing.

November 8th is an important day on the liturgical calendar of the Eastern churches: The Feast of St. Michael the Archangel and All the Bodiless Powers of Heaven. THIS. IS. BIG. Valentin Tomberg calls St. Michael “the Archistrategist,” and even identifies Tuesday as the day of the week under his rulership and, in keeping with Hermetic tradition, associates him as the representative of the Sun. This gives me tremendous hope. But don’t kid yourself: we really are in a battle between good and evil. And St. Michael, Commander of the Heavenly Hosts, is on the job.

But things are still gonna get weird, at least for a little while.

Michael’s latest book is Sophia in Exile. He can be reached at See also The Center for Sophiological Studies' available courses. Also check out the latest volume of Jesus the Imagination: Flesh & Spirit. Twitter: @Sophiologist_

516 views2 comments
bottom of page