Jacques Lusseyran and Mountain Pride


by Theresa Roach Melia

Archetypes are universal forces originating at the highest levels of creation to shape the physical world of Nature as well as the human soul. Larger than a single “thing,” they are the prototypes or patterns that emanate from the spiritual world and are revealed in symbols, images, gestures, energetic patterns and qualities in both nature and human culture. The ability to become articulate in this language is a fundamental practitioner skill in flower essence therapy. Following is an archetypal character study written by Theresa Roach Melia as part of her requirements for the FES Certification Program.

Mountain Pride Penstemon newberryi

Positive qualities: Forthright masculine energy; warrior-like spirituality which confronts and transforms

Patterns of imbalance: Vacillation and withdrawal in the face of challenge; lack of assertiveness, inability to take a stand for one’s convictions

Jacques Lusseyran, blind hero of the French Resistance, embodies the archetype of Spiritual Warrior. This archetype is offered as a flower essence through the flower Mountain Pride.

Jacques Lusseyran recognized good and evil. He took a stand in the world, and aligned himself with Courage, Truth, Goodness, Light, Joy, Friendship…

Jacques Lusseyran made profound understandings to do with the true and essential nature of man’s inner life, man’s spiritual life. Jacques discovered that Light flowed in and through him, even without physical eyes. Probably because of his “blindness” Jacques got to know the light of men.

“In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the Light of Men. And the Light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John Chapter 1, verses 1-5)

Jacques Lusseyran was born in Paris, France, on September 19, 1924. He had a childhood that he calls ideal. “My parents were heaven…I knew very early, I am quite sure of it, that through them another Being concerned himself with me and even addressed himself to me. This Other I did not even call God…I had no name for him. He was just there and it was better so. Behind my parents there was someone, and my father and mother were simply the people responsible for passing along the gift. My religion began like this, which I think explains why I have never known doubt.” (p. 6-7)

Jacques was fascinated by Light as a child. “Light cast a spell over me. I saw it everywhere I went and watched it by the hour…Light was not like the flow of water, but something more fleeting and numberless, for its source was everywhere…(Light) entered into me, became part of me. I was eating sun…” (p. 9-10)

When Jacques was about 7-1/2 years old, he was blinded in an accident at his school. He lost both of his eyes on May 3. By the end of May Jacques was walking again. In June he began to learn to read Braille. By July he was running and playing with a crowd of children at the beach.

“It was a great surprise to me to find myself blind, and being blind was not at all as I imagined it. Nor was it as the people around me seemed to think it. They told me that to be blind meant not to see. Yet how was I to believe them when I saw? Not at once, I admit…for at that time I still wanted to use my eyes…and there was anguish, a lack, something like a void which filled me with what grown  ups call despair…one day…I realized I was looking in the wrong way…it was a revelation…I began to look more closely, not at things, but at a world closer to myself, looking from an inner place to one further within, instead of clinging to the movement of sight toward the world outside. Immediately the substance of the universe drew together, redefined and people itself anew. I was aware of a radiance emanating from a place I knew nothing about, a place which might as well have been outside me as within. But radiance was there, or to put it more precisely, Light. (p. 15-17) “I found light and joy at the same moment, and I can say without hesitation that from that time on light and joy have never been separated in my experience. I have had them or lost them together.” (p. 17)

“I saw light and went on seeing it though I was blind…this was not magic for me at all, but reality…I was not light itself…but I bathed in it as an element which blindness had suddenly brought much closer. I could feel light rising, spreading, resting on objects, giving them the form, then leaving them…There is no such night of blindness, for at every waking hour and even in my dreams I lived in a stream of light.” (p. 17)

“Since it was not I who was making the light, since it came to me from outside, it would never leave me. I was only a passageway, a vestibule for this brightness. The seeing eye was in me. Still there were times when the light faded, almost to the point of disappearing. It happened every time I was afraid.” (p. 19)

Fear made Jacques “blind.” Anger and impatience had the same effect, so did competitiveness. Jealousy or unfriendliness did the same, cast Jacques into a black hole. If he was happy, serene and confident, he was rewarded with light.

Jacques’ parents helped protect him and defend him against prejudice toward “handicapped” people. Jacques’ mother learned Braille with him and became his specialized tutor.

At the end of the first school year after Jacques lost his eyes, he was awarded top scholastic honor in his class.

Jacques soon realized that voices never deceive us, and that our voice reveals us. All of his sympathies or antipathies toward people were in response to their voices. Jacques heard moral music in voices, and deep profound realities about people became clear to Jacques through hearing the moral music of their voice.

Jacques developed such an awareness of his inner world that he had another revelation, “There is only one world. Things outside only exist if you go to meet them with everything you carry in yourself. As to the things inside, you will never see them well unless you allow those outside to enter in.” (p. 88)

Every Saturday from October through May, for 6 years, Jacques’ father took Jacques to a concert by a symphony orchestra.

The world of violins and flutes, of horns and cellos…obeyed laws which were so beautiful and so clear that all music seemed to speak of God. My body was not listening, it was praying. My spirit no longer had bonds…I wept with gratitude every time the orchestra began to sing. A world of sounds for a blind man, what sudden grace! No more need to get one’s bearings. No more need to wait. The inner world made concrete. I loved Mozart so much, I loved Beethoven so much that in the end they made me what I am… Intelligence, courage, frankness, the conditions of happiness and love, all these were in Handel, in Schubert, fully stated, as readable as the sun high in the sky at noon.” (p. 92-94)

While Jacques was building strength, clarity and joy inwardly, the Third Reich was gaining power politically in Germany. On Sept. 2, 1939 issued the orders for general mobilization through France against Germany. Jacques was almost 15 years old. He was in love for the first time and had a best friend, and France was at war. Less than a year later, the government of France signed an armistice with Germany, and Marshal Petain urged no more resistance or fighting against Germany. The next day from London, Charles de Gaulle appealed to all Frenchmen to continue resistance, to keep fighting with all their moral and physical strength. Jacques began to be a soldier in defense of Free France. The German occupation of France, the capitulation of the “official” French government engendered fear among the French people, fear, distrust, people on guard, unwilling to talk to each other. How to tell cowardice from courage when everywhere there was silence. The government was overrun by Nazis and could not be trusted to tell the truth. The schools stayed open but only the bravest teachers dared to speak openly about the occupation for there were traitors everywhere, collaborators ready to inform on resisters. One of Jacques’ teachers was fearless, and educated his pupils with an urgency demanded of the times.

“Our teacher had no fear, and what a deliverance that was! Whatever choice he had made in this war of ours, he knew the reason for it. And he would not take leave of us until he told us the whole story. At last one day he met us head on…” (p. 150-151) The passion and honesty and keen analysis that this teacher offered sparked the passions of Jacques and his friends; and they realized that they knew what to do.

After the first deportations of French Jews and the first arrests for resistance that Jacques became aware of, he fell ill.

“Soon the notion that I was sick no longer mattered to me. This was no microbe or virus, making its way in…it was resolve. Resolve took me over from head to foot like a conquered land…” (p. 158)

Jacques realized that the German occupation of France was his illness. And so he became the leader of a Resistance Movement. Jacques invited select friends to join him. One friend stammered that they all had expected Jacques to be their leader—

Everyday Jacques knelt in prayer; “My God, give me the strength to keep my promises. Since I made them in a good cause, they are yours to keep as well as mine. Now that 20 young men, tomorrow there may be 100—are waiting for my orders, tell me what orders to give them. By myself I know how to do almost nothing, but if you will it I am capable of almost everything. Most of all give me prudence. Your enthusiasm I no longer need, for I am filled with it.” (p. 162)

By unanimous vote the Central Committee of their Resistance Movement voted that Jacques be in sole charge of recruiting, since Jacques was the moral initiator of the movement and because he was blind. Jacques’ blindness gave him a sense for human beings. He could hear their morality through their voices. They name their group the Volunteers of Liberty, and took on the task of giving real, uncensored news to the people of France. Radio Free France from London was jammed by the Nazis. Listening to British radio was forbidden.

By 1941 most French men and almost all of Europe had lost hope. “News was needed, surely, but courage even more so, and clarity. We were resolved to hide nothing. For here was the monster to be fought: defeatism, and with it that other monster, apathy. Everything possible must be done to keep the French from growing accustomed to Nazism, or from seeing it just as an enemy, like enemies of other times, an enemy of the nation, an adversary who was victorious just for the moment. From our past we knew that Nazism (Fascism) threatened the whole of humanity, that it was an absolute evil, and we were going to publish its evilness abroad.” (p. 172)

Jacques and his group of resistance fighters, some 600 young men, under the age of 21…collected truthful news about the war, printed and distributed their newspaper. They eventually joined their group with another resistance group, Defense de La France. In 1943, a man who Jacques had admitted to their group, with reservations, betrayed them all. Two thousand men from the French Resistance were sent to Buchenwald Concentration Camp, only thirty survived. Jacques endured the atrocities of which humans are capable of inflicting on each other: torture, beatings, starvation, devastating cold and the despair of all around him.

Jacques’ body began to die. But a mysterious thing happened… “Life had taken possession of me. I had never lived so fully before. Life had become a substance within me. It broke into my cage, pushed by a force a thousand times stronger than I. It was certainly not made of flesh and blood, not even of ideas. It came toward me like a shimmering wave, like the caress of light. I could see it beyond my eyes and my forehead and above my head. It touched me and filled me to overflowing. I let myself float upon it… I drew my strength from the spring. I kept on drinking and drinking still more. I was not going to leave that celestial stream… Here was the life which sustained the life in me.” (p. 281)

“The Lord took pity on the poor mortal who was so helpless before him… But there was one thing left which I could do: not refuse God’s help, the breath he was blowing upon me. That was the one battle I had to fight, hard and wonderful all at one: not to let my body be taken by the fear. For fear kills, and joy maintains life.” (p. 281-282)

“I was nothing but skin and bones, but I had recovered. The fact was I was so happy, that now Buchenwald seemed to me a place which if not welcome, was at least possible. If they didn’t give me any bread to eat, I would feed on hope... It was the truth. I still had 11 months ahead of me in the camp. But today I have not a single evil memory of those 333 days of extreme wretchedness. I was carried by a hand. I was covered by a wing. One doesn’t call such living emotions by their names. I hardly needed to look out for myself…I was free now to help the others; not always, not much, but in my own way I could help. I could try to show other people how to go about holding on to life. I could turn toward them the flow of light and joy which had grown so abundant in me.

From that time on they stopped stealing my bread or my soup. It never happened again. Often my comrades would wake me up in the night and take me to comfort someone…I became “the blind Frenchman.” For many, I was just, “the man who didn’t die.” Hundreds of people confided in me. The men were determined to talk to me. They spoke to me in French, in Russian, in German, in Polish. I did the best I could to understand them all. That is how I lived, how I survived. The rest I cannot describe.” (p. 282-283)

With the Allied Forces closing in on Buchenwald the SS gave the 100,000 men the choice to stay at the camp or flee, escorted by SS guards. Panic ensued. Jacques begged his comrades to stay. That afternoon 80,000 men left the camp. 20,000 men stayed. The food left at the camp was poisoned by the SS—days of starvation followed. The 80,000 men were machine-gunned en masse by the SS, only 10 survived. Jacques was liberated. He eventually defeated the Vichy government’s rule regarding “invalids” being excluded from public service. Jacques became a university professor in the U.S. and in France. He married and became a father. He died in a car accident with his wife, at age 46.

Here are Jacques Lusseyran’s Two Truths intimately known to him and reaching beyond all boundaries. “The first of these is that joy doesn’t not come from outside, for whatever happens to us, it is within. The second truth is that light does not come to us from without. Light is in us, even if we have no eyes.” (p. 312)

All quotations are from Lusseyran’s autobiography, And There Was Light.

About Theresa Roach Melia

Theresa Roach Melia, an FES Certified Practitioner, is a Waldorf kindergarten teacher in Sebastopol, California. She is a student of Anthroposophy, and is involved with the Christian Community. She enjoys reading poetry. She reports, "I have been making and using flower remedies for years for myself and for the past couple of years for my kindergarten children and other children at our school (with parental permission). I have used essences for myself for nearly seven years; with children about three years. I consider flowers to be a profound and beautiful link between the etheric world and the astral world. Flowers have star imprints that bless us with pure messages to the soul."




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