Keeping Greg’s Vision Alive and Online

by Maria Barron

 

Gregory Ellison knew what it was to be “in the world but not of it.” A meditator who felt most comfortable with Taoist philosophy, he was also politically active, especially in matters of civil liberties. He believed in the communicative power of the Internet to link people together in practical and spiritual efforts for the common good of all humanity — with respect for different spiritual ways. Intelligent and warm, Greg was so willing to communicate about his own nexus of analytical thought, mystical knowledge, and the symbolic systems that nudge consciousness into that nexus — and the wisdom that arises from it — that he could inspire others to find their own spiritual consciousness more often, and having found it, to express it better, and act upon it. The recognition that life is a dream, but that we still have responsibility to make it a good dream, is the highest of human wisdom, Greg said.

“We are the bridge between heaven and earth, between spirit and matter, between Divine Love and blind ‘survival of the fittest,’ ” Greg wrote on the Conscious Evolution discussion forums just two days before his heart attack. “We have a role to play in the Universe, and that is the conscious upliftment of all of life. If we become so immersed in fear, anger and struggle that we lose perspective and begin to think of ourselves as helpless victims, then we will have lost the spiritual power that is our birthright. We will have become part of the problem — a forgetful world that thinks the material world around us, driven by greed, fear and conflict, is ‘all there is’ — and therefore helpless to alter it for the better. But if we become so detached from the world that we are unable to see the injustice that abounds, and unable to take compassionate action to change it for the better, thinking that it’s all illusion and we don’t want to deal with ‘negative thoughts,’ then we have also betrayed our role as emissaries of light, and will neither grow in spirit ourselves nor uplift the world around us. It is a fine balance, isn’t it?”

That balance between inner spirituality and outer “real world” efforts is what Conscious Evolution is all about. It’s what Gregory, as the creator of ConsciousEvolution.com, wanted to nurture, along with a greater communication across cultures, in a kind of consciousness-raising recognition of shared experience. It was a balance he consciously practiced in his own life.

On election night, November 2, as it became clear that the Bush presidency would continue, Greg was working to help get the November issue of Metamorphosis out, working on a piece about the near-term future, from a perspective where astrology and politics intersect. But Mystery, one of his two beloved “big mutts” was gravely ill. And Greg thought voters must be gravely “small-minded or mean-spirited … to deliberately choose to put this conniving, posturing demagogue back into office.” He axed his story and turned his attention to caring for his Mystery.

But in true Gregory fashion, he didn’t stay down for long. Within a week he was “back in the saddle,” as he liked to put it, and riding into the political fray over vulnerabilities in electronic voting machines, which he had been pointing toward long before the election as a huge potential threat to liberty. “This investigation is crucial for the future of democracy,” he wrote on the ConsciousEvolution.com World Community forum a week after the election. “Again, while unseating Bush and installing Kerry as the legitimate victor would be lovely, it’s not the critical issue. The critical issue is to make the American people (and our representatives) realize that a voting system that does not leave us with objective evidence of the votes actually cast, that can be recounted and examined independently by the citizens who rely on the system to express our will, is completely unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. Without such a transparent system, democracy is literally dead.” That same day, he offered both bandwidth on his computer servers and his in-person services to blackboxvoting.org to help analyze the vote.

Likewise, in true Gregory fashion, he took his “real life” issues to Spirit, with plans to communicate his insights outward to the 12,000-plus subscribers to Metamorphosis, the monthly newsletter of ConsciousEvolution.com. “I’ve actually gotten some interesting insights into where we are in the cycle of change on the world stage from meditating on the Tarot,” Greg advised the newsletter committee on November 14. President Bush, of course, would be a central figure in the article, for which Greg said he was considering the title, “Look at the Mess the Fool’s Gotten Himself into Now!”

I’ll bet it would have been a great article. His heart attack three days later, leading to his physical death November 23 at age 58, came as a terrible shock to those left behind to mourn. But he left amid an international outpouring of love and prayers, a weeklong, round-the-clock Internet vigil, augmenting the love and music his family provided him in person at his bedside. The beautiful expressions of caring on the website are a testament to the mark he made in so many people’s hearts … people he had never met in places he had never been … people connected through cyberspace.

These friends he drew together through his presentation of esoteric knowledge, like astrology and Tarot; through his promotion of the ideas of writers he admired and studied, or studied under, like Linda Goodman, Dane Rudhyar and Ayn Rand; through his unique yet intellectual perspective on the state of the world, in terms of both current politics and ancient divinatory systems; and then too, just by being Greg. On the discussion forums at the heart of his website, he was always helpful, kind, wise and fair. He believed in the power of love, signing off his posts with the affirmation that “Love alone is eternal and unconquerable.”

While no one can replace Gregory, many are united in intention to carry on and see the website continue as his online legacy. Greg’s family, his newsletter committee, the site’s Rainbow Light Circle prayer and meditative team, and many members of the discussion forums (which already have lasted five years) are determined to keep Conscious Evolution alive and online. I have agreed to take the reins of website administration, with an abundance of faith that the site’s members, and the newsletter’s readers, will take to heart whatever facets of Greg’s vision, or ways, or website, speak to you. Take it to that place where mind and heart unite, where it will motivate you to take action “in love and light” in your lives and the lives of others.

Gregory is survived by his wife and soulmate, Frances Firesong Ellison, who has been by his side for 23 years; and by five grown children of whom he often said he was “fiercely proud.” His brothers, Cary and Keith, were also there by his bedside and at the mountaintop ceremony Thanksgiving Day when the ashes of his body were returned to the land he loved, his homestead, Gypsyheart, in North Bend, Washington.

Gypsyheart was also the name of Greg’s company, with Cary, “specializing in website design, programming and hosting, along with a wide variety of creative writing, marketing and electronic publishing services.” Greg had earlier retired from Microsoft as Senior Technical Writer for Programming Tools and Languages, then founded the official Linda Goodman website, LindaGoodman.net, and when it closed he founded ConsciousEvolution.com. But computer programming and websites were only part of Greg’s resumé. As he posted early on, “I’ve been an encyclopedia salesman, a T’ai Chi teacher, a private detective, a software engineer, a fugitive, a furniture mover, a songwriter, a copywriter, a waiter, a newspaper editor, a crisis counselor, an astrologer, an advertising executive, a technical writer, a disc jockey, a documentation manager, an entrepreneur, a cook and a few other things (not necessarily in that order).” Incarcerated for refusing military service in the Vietnam War, as a young war protestor, Greg even pulled off an escape from prison decades ago.

A couple of things held constant. “I’ve been a writer and communicator all my life,” Greg said in a 1999 discussion on the site. The other constant was his sense of adventurous freedom. “No doubt about it,” he said. “Freedom and adventure have been the hallmarks of my life.” I trust that, for Greg’s spirit, the freedom and adventure continues.

Memorial gifts to help Greg’s family in this difficult time, as well as donations to the website to help us keep this kind of communication alive and online, are being gratefully accepted. Click on the banner at the bottom of any page of this issue for information on how to help.

“Y’ know, I’ve had my share of hard knocks around this place over the years,” Greg said about this website on his 58th Birthday thread just a few months ago. “But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The discovery that there are folks around the world drawn to such a place, who are willing to share so much of their time, talent, love and wisdom, for no other purpose than the pleasure of company with others of like mind and the chance to spread a little light, a little love, and occasionally a smattering of wisdom in the world … despite the personal challenges we all face in an increasingly complicated, difficult and often hostile world … is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. ‘With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world,’ and nowhere is that more evident than among the beautiful souls in this place. Thank you all for being who you are, and for sharing yourselves with me and others here.”

Gregory Ellison’s Writings for Metamorphosis

Describing his Vision

Freedom and Spirituality, September 2002
Dane Rudhyar’s Astrology and Conscious Evolution, September 2002
Astrological Cycles of the New Age (Rudhyar, Part 2), October 2002
What Is a Spiritual Path?, November 2002
The Secret of the I Ching, December 2002
Compassion and Spirituality, February 2003
Linda Goodman’s Social Activism, April 2003
Practicing Conscious Evolution, August 2003
Evolutionary Astrology, Part 1, March 2004
Evolutionary Astrology, Part 2, April 2004
Transcendence: Personal and Social Evolution, August 2004
Meditation and Mind Control, October 2004

On Books

Book Review: The Path, by Whitley Strieber, October 2002
Book Review: The War on Freedom, by Nafeez Ahmed, March 2003
Book Review: Christ, the Eternal Tao, by H. Damascene, April 2004
Limits to Free Will: Two Book Reviews, June 2004
Book Review: Zen and the Brain, by James H. Austin, September 2004

As an Interpretive Astrologer

Monthly Star Watch Column, May 2003
A Look Ahead at 2004, January 2004
The Venus Transit of June 8, June 2004
Monthly Star Watch Column, August 2004

On Our Website Community

The Community Co-op Is Coming! September 2003
The Community Co-op Opens This Month! October 2003
Hey, it works! Community Co-op Debuts, November 2003
Monthly Conscious Community Column, December 2003
Monthly Conscious Community Column, July 2004