In the late 1980’s, Asheville began the slow work of coming out of a state of decay. Windows were boarded up over downtown businesses, the River Arts district looked like an opening scene from a post-apocalyptic video game and Montford was deeply crime ridden.
However, two tools were at the towns disposal for revitalization. The Vance Monument and the Pool at the center of town provided a mechanism for jump starting the town’s spiritual energy. The Vance Manument represented the phallic energy of Osirus and the pool represented the reproductive energy of Isis. Both landforms were celebrated parts of culture and played a hidden role in the town’s growth, revitalization and stability.
Asheville would experience a mini-golden age with artists, healers and visionaries moving in by tens, then the hundreds of people.
Landforms play a vital part in determining a sense of place – they act as spiritual guideposts for the living.
Later, the mayor – a deeply misguided woman in regards to the actual forces that power the heart of ᏙᎩᏯᏍᏗ (To Ki Ya Sdi) or Tahkieostie (Asheville), would champion the monuments removal, sell out the city (literally in some instances) and gut the town of these two spiritual tools of generation and reproduction. In my opinion, the fall of Asheville into it’s new dark age, pocked with crime, destruction and poverty, began when she took office. This is nothing personel, it just is what it is – that’s mostly when the issues now hurting the town started. As an outsider, the mayor has done alot, along with her city council, to destroy the city and to plunge it into chaos. The former mayor was from the area, as were the leaders before her and the town did appear not suffer. With the current leadership being alien to the town itself, there is no wonder why the place suffers – they simply do not understand the spiritual symbolic nature of the place.
Personally, I do not think they are bad people, per sey. They just are living symbols of the forces of ‘non-growth’ – aphids on the spiritual bean stalk. Whoever occupied those positions during this time would personify those dark forces of destruction that are plauging the town.
Externally, this can be witnessed in the general makeup of those coming to live here as well since hermetically, like attracts like.
Well heeled materialists have moved in to replace the artists, healers and visionaries of the Golden Age of Asheville. Rising costs of living, increasing rents and in general, problems in the over-arching economy have forced out the fair people. Good intentioned outsiders come in looking for the ‘dream called Asheville’, only to inadvertently add to it’s destruction with ideas ill suited for the Appalachian environment, build iniquitous housing that destroys fragile, precious mountain habitats and also contributing to a financial disparity that alienates the local communities.
This dystopian version of Asheville was not how the city was to evolve. Authenic positivity has been replaced by snarky ‘toxic’ positivity. Art has become graphitti, self mockery embodied.
How do we fix this mess? As always, the best place to start is to look at the area from the lense of history. Asheville hasn’t always been in this much trouble.
My family has been here either since the 1750’s or in some cases or 3000 years depending on which family line you trace – we’ve seen alot of things come and go. Asheville runs through these cycles. This is a place of power. While I doubt it will be possible to ‘replace’ the male and female generative engeries that were at the center of the region; what inspired them to be placed there initially is still present. Before the Masons came, there were others going back to times that have been forgotten, that understood these forces that make up our Giduwah (Katuah) landscape.
People came here to heal. Our springs used to be famous for their regenerative properties. So much about the area lends itself to healing. Matter of fact, this is exactly what I heard during the Golden Age myself. With some luck, heart and spirit – that time will come again.