{ This post is a bit of a philosophical diversion from my normal content. Don’t worry, I will be back to book reviews and scouting reports soon. }

In addition to scouting the physical world around him to see what resources, routes and forces it holds, the Shadow Scout reconnoiters in a more metaphysical senseinto the future, the past and the darker places of his imagination to see what scenarios he may need to prepare for.

With the apparent recent uptick of pandemics, forest fires, extreme weather, infrastructure collapse, social unrest, political conflict, etc., there are many potential dark scenarios taking shape on the horizon. We are entering an age, it seems, where many forms of chaos threaten to disrupt settled life, and the powers that be face an increasingly desperate struggle to maintain order.

These are not abstract, remote concerns. I recently experienced a freakish heat wave in Washington state that brought power outages and deaths; highways and regions of the state are experiencing unprecedented closures due to existing or potential forest fires; as I write this, the air is hazy with smoke from some of these fires; there have even been protests around social issues and covid measures in my normally quiet community. As the hobbits of the Shire discovered in The Lord of the Rings, no place is safe from the chaos when the Shadow begins to fall.

The Shadow Scout, who strives to keep his mind unclouded by hysteria and see the world clearlyespecially when it is growing dark, dangerous and disturbingfaces these prospects with equanimity. He prepares himself mentally, physically and spiritually for the dark times, knowing that they always come eventually, that no order is eternal and that nothing gets better forever. Most indications are that darker times are directly ahead, which is one of the reasons I began calling myself “Shadow Scout” and writing these posts. It’s why I started scouting the resources, routes and conditions in my area, travelling long distances on foot and bicycle, exploring, stealth camping, caching and leaving signs for others—to see what’s actually going on in the world outside the Matrix, and to develop some agency over it. It’s also why I like to scout ruins, wastelands and sites of natural and human catastrophes: to remind myself of the impermanence of all things and the futility of all forms in this doomed world. Scoutings can be like pilgrimages to the power of chaos and destructionto the shadow world behind this world of illusions that will ultimately engulf all.

Meditating in the White Sands National Park, once the site of lakes, streams, grasslands, and large mammals. A preview of the desert world to come?
Meditating by a ruined bridge during my Spada Lake scouting.

In a society such as this one, dominated by Protestant, Freemasonic and Progressive ideals, which believes itself a shining city on the hill with a destiny to bring light to a benighted world, such ideas are anathema. There is something un-American, even evil, about a fascination with collapse, decay and darkness. This despite the fact that the establishment of America brought incredibly dark times for many, such as the natives who faced the eradication of their ancient ways of life, the animal species who were hunted to near extinction, and the great trees that were razed to make way for the new nation. I personally feel no particular allegiance to this entity called the U.S.A., though I was raised on its propaganda and taught to be loyal to it from birth. Nor do I look to any other government, political movement or religion for hope. I am like a stranger passing through an increasingly strange world, seeking my own path in the shadows.

I use symbols to externalize this mentality, such as the banner in the picture below, which I like both for its Japanese aesthetics and its image of a black sun casting its shadow across the world. The juxtaposition of the beautiful creek and green forest next to myself in black attire, calmly meditating by the black solar banner, somehow captures my spirit. I also wear a mask to symbolize my stranger status, and to prepare for a dystopian world where one is always needed to protect from viruses, intense sun, smoke particles, Orwellian surveillance, and the Tao knows what else.

Meditating by a creek near my home with my “shadow sun” banner.

In this way I set myself apart from the present world and its delusions, while communing with the deeper realities of nature and the shadow world behind it. This way of thinking is unlikely to make me popular with my neighbors, but it’s essential to the mindset of the Shadow Scout, who gives his allegiance only to the eternal natural and metaphysical realities behind all fleeting human constructs. I suspect there are many like me, and there will soon be many morewho feel a profound alienation from the Matrix of illusions that has been built around them like an invisible prison, who are ready to go out and find the others, experience freedom and see the world as it truly is, in all its doomed and fading glory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *