William Donald Schaefer – a Man of Rebirth
A Tribute from Dr. Bob Hieronimus, www.21stCenturyRadio.com
William Donald Schaefer was all about rebirth. And I don’t mean just what he famously did for the renaissance of the City of Baltimore. He had a deeply spiritual and almost mystical side to him that few would ever see. His vision for the future was as distant as his appreciation for the far distant past, and his underlying goals and motivations were towards a future of “one people, one planet.” His support for the Baltimore Sister City relationships with Alexandria and Luxor, Egypt brought forth memories of his possible previous lifetimes in Egypt, something he shared with me as only one of a handful who could appreciate such a statement. Who knows what he discovered in his consciousness when working on Baltimore’s other successful Sister City unions with places in the Ukraine, Greece, the Netherlands, and China. Don Schaefer was never one to slow down.
As a local artist, I was one of many who first noticed William Donald Schaefer when he was on the City Council and the sponsor of the “1-per-cent-for-art” clause in municipal building contracts. Politicians in support of the arts is such a rare thing that to make such a grand statement of city-wide support certainly attracted to him many new fans among us free-thinking artists. He so impressed me that I broke my own spiritual rule not to become involved in politics and attended a fundraiser for then City Council President Schaefer. I learned he was a Scorpio, and spoke to him about Baltimore’s natal chart based on the date of its foundation, which makes the city of Baltimore also a Scorpio. A Scorpio city ruled by a Scorpio mayor sounded like a good combination. At its most refined point, Scorpio’s highest desires are for regeneration and rebirth – in other words, Schaefer’s personal aims coincided with our city’s needs at that time.
We hit it off so well at that first meeting that he asked me to design a campaign poster for him should he ever declare his candidacy for Mayor. I immediately got to work on the design, which I created after my own distinctive style using themes from ancient symbology and the ageless wisdom teachings to encapsulate the message. The central image of the poster is the name “William Donald Schaefer” seen flowing out of the urn of Aquarius, the symbol for universal brotherhood and altruism, and surrounded by symbols from Egypt, Atlantis, and beyond. Underneath all of this activity is the firmly grounded Baltimore Washington Monument. Needless to say, it is not your typical campaign poster.
Carl Schoettler wrote about it in the Baltimore Sun on January 15, 1971 with a headline stating: “Aquarian Age Poster Joins Politics.” Schoettler wrote: “The art of politics slipped into the fourth dimension this week with the creation of a highly unlikely political poster,” going on to note with a sense of surprise that Schaefer had agreed to use the poster sight-unseen and had given the artist free reign with the design. He quoted Schaefer as saying, “I never thought to tell him what to do. I left it up to him. That’s his bit. If I decide to run for Mayor I certainly will use it.”
Schaefer was true to his word, and when he ran, this became an official poster. I was told that wherever this poster was hung, even in the most violent of neighborhoods, it survived and did its job.
As I said at the time, what motivated me to support this man was his individual character that allowed him to support the arts and artists, who were certainly not a popular class back in the days when we were lumped together with the “dirty hippies” for our long hair and creative style of dress. Schoettler quoted me as saying “I don’t know where he stands on other issues, but I know how he feels toward artists and other strange people – like me.”
We bonded at that time, and remained fast friends ever since. The man had guts and grit. The multitudes of tributes we are hearing in these days after his passing attest to his generous heart and spirit, and his great dedication to the rebirthing of this great city. Icon, yes. Legend, yes. But the inner Don Schaefer was far more sensitive to the mysteries of life than his public persona implied. May his spirit fly to even greater heights, now that he has shuffled off this mortal coil, remaining ever watchful over the city he loved.
William Donald Schaefer for Governor
After a decade and a half serving as Mayor of Baltimore, William Donald Schaefer had proved himself to be just what Hieronimus predicted in his posters for the 1971 mayoral bid. With the Scorpio Schaefer at the helm, Baltimore went through a much-needed renaissance, with resurrections not only in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, but also in the arts community. Schaefer put Baltimore in the national spotlight by earning the slogan “All American City.” When Hieronimus was asked by the committee to elect Schaefer as Governor of Maryland in 1986, he was happy to oblige.
At the center of the design is William Donald Schaefer leading the Maryland Ship of State. He is wearing the garb and pose of his fellow Freemason George Washington crossing the Delaware. This ship of state is sailing upon the Maryland flag. Below Schaefer we see the Seal of Baltimore, and throughout the boat are the seals of all the counties of Maryland arranged in the shape of a pyramid. Behind Schaefer is the image from America’s Great Seal showing the eye in the triangle over an unfinished pyramid. There are many levels of interpreting this misunderstood symbol, but it is used here to depict the relationship between the spiritual dimension (eye in the triangle) and the material world (pyramid). The pyramid (the temple of initiation) is completed by the eye in the triangle (capstone). This symbol can be related to the human being with the pyramid symbolizing the physical body, and the eye in the triangle symbolizing the immortal component or soul. Uniting the unconsciousness (pyramid) with the superconsciousness (eye in triangle) produces a self-realized, transcendent being. For more information on the many layers of understanding this symbol, see two books by Robert R. Hieronimus, Ph.D: Founding Fathers, Secret Societies (1989/2006) and United Symbolism of America (2008).