Jun 30, 2012

The Slaying of the Minotaur


We are all linked together in a Psychic-mesh by common instinctual motifs, "mental forms whose presence cannot be explained by anything in the individual's own life and which seem to be aboriginal, innate, and inherited shapes of the human mind" (C.G. Jung). Jung called these "archetypes of the collective unconscious." The claim that these motifs exist among all cultures has been much heralded by Joseph Campbell, author of many books on comparative mythology. Campbell presents strong inductive evidence for the existence of the archetypes. As one example, the figure of a mother goddess exists in the mythology of many diverse cultures, even those separated by vast oceans.

The collective unconscious is a powerful rhizomal presence in human experience. It is an infinite, subterranean root system that snakes and intertwines all humans in the tangle and convolution of Soul. This collective entanglement will one day decentralize the self-aggrandizing and narcissistic tendencies of human ego. The rhizomal Soul will one day replace the Me Generation with the We Generation. No, it will not be perfect; Utopia will never totally manifest on earth, but we are a world of strivers, even though our goal may not always take us in a particularly linear evolutionary path. We may wander around the Labyrinth of Life for a thousand years or more, but, eventually, the leap to higher consciousness will come. The more we allow the rhizomal root structure of Soul to grow, the quicker we will get there. It is up to us to care for Soul and nurture it.

King Minos of Crete had Daedalus design and build his famous Labyrinth to keep at bay the Minotaur, half man, half bull, that had been conceived when Pasiphaë, daughter of Helios, had intercourse with a bull. The Minotaur was named Asterios (Star). The Labyrinth was so complex and extensive that even Daedalus had much difficulty finding his way out after constructing it. Every seven years, seven young men and seven young women were chosen to be sacrificed to the Minotaur to appease Minos. These were chosen from the noblest of Athenian families. Theseus was chosen to be among them. Being the son of both Poseidon and Aegeus, Theseus was very brave and full of valor. When the daughter of Minos, Ariadne, saw Theseus step off the boat, she immediately fell in love with him. She contrived a way for Theseus to easily find his way out of the Labyrinth. She gave him some string to mark his path as he walked through the maze. After he had slain the Minotaur, Theseus followed the string and exited easily.

The Labyrinth is like the infinite depths of Soul. If one falls into it, it can very difficult to find one's way out again. Many do not and must spend the rest of their lives in asylums. The Minotaur is like the out-of-control Ego we are so accustomed to seeing in Western society, especially in America. Its self-aggrandizing hunger for power and wealth is insatiable. Its name is Asterios, or "Star." Ego loves the spotlight. It wants to be the brightest star in the human psyche. Many so-called stars in our culture are egomaniacs. It is the nature of Ego to tend to over-inflation.

Theseus represents the noblest qualities of humanity, especially love and courage. The myths say he was the founding hero of Athens and was responsible for the synoikismos, the "dwelling together in the same house," which consisted of the political unification of Attica under the rule of Athens. In this, Theseus ushered in a horizontal, rhizomal movement that transformed Greek society.

The slaying of the Minotaur in the Labyrinth is the final victory over the bloated Ego of humanity that will usher in the next evolutionary leap in consciousness, which will include the rhizomal synoikismos of Soul.

Many artistic depictions of the Minotaur show him in the center of the Labyrinth. This is not surprising, since Ego always wants to be at the center of the psyche and rule us from a position of power. A "center" always denotes a position of power. There is nothing the Ego wants more than to rule every aspect of our lives.

Giordano Bruno recognized in the sixteenth century that the universe is acentric. I am venturing to guess Soul is also, by applying the principle of correspondence, As above, so below. The notion of centrality seems to me the product of the Western overemphasis on monotheism. Since the universe does quite well without a center, I see no reason to posit one for the psyche, especially one occupied by Ego. The fact is, Ego is only one archetype among many. The psyche is multiplicitous and polytheistic. This is easily seen by the many figures of our dreams.

Theseus defeated the Minotaur, Asterios, in the center of the Labyrinth, but he did not remain there and take the place of power the Minotaur once held. He had no need to. He only wanted what was best for the people he loved and that is what he set out to do.

Jun 27, 2012

Rhizomal Soul

One aspect of the rise of immanence in our world is the recognition that Soul is rhizomal. A rhizome of course, is "a plant stem that grows horizontally under or along the ground and often sends out roots and shoots. New plants develop from the shoots; also called rootstalk, rootstock" (The Free Dictionary). The Greek word, rhizoma, literally means, "mass of roots." This is a beautiful metaphor of Soul. Nature always provides us the best images.

The movement of the World Soul is horizontal. World Soul is a living organism that grows horizontally underground and propels its beautiful shoots toward the Light. Did you ever wonder why so-called "underground" art is so powerful? The underground music scene is where the best music is to be found. It is certainly not the type enjoyed by the masses of people who know nothing of the underground. It is the same with any other artistic or even political endeavor. In politics, "grassroots" movements are usually powerful manifestations of what is occurring in the collective underground. Some of the best art I've seen was created by patients in mental institutions.

Soul does not enjoy the limelight. Down deep in the rich and fertile soil is where you'll find Soul, ever growing horizontally, from person to person, from nation to nation. Rhizomal Soul is about growing relationships between Souls and proliferating those relationships around the world. It is about people attaching themselves to one another in love and peace. In this way, Soul grows and propagates everywhere.

This is the reach of Immanence. Hierarchies based on transcendent power structures are crumbling. The roots of the World Soul continue to snake their way below the surface of our world, continually spreading their influence. Have you ever seen what underground roots can do to a road or sidewalk? They grow underneath and actually lift and tear at the cement until it cracks and deteriorates. This is what the horizontal growth of Soul is doing to hierarchical power structures.

Another similar metaphor is the horizontal movement of water:
In this model, culture spreads like the surface of a body of water, spreading towards available spaces or trickling downwards towards new spaces through fissures and gaps, eroding what is in its way. The surface can be interrupted and moved, but these disturbances leave no trace, as the water is charged with pressure and potential to always seek its equilibrium, and thereby establish smooth space (From Rhizome.net).
Rhizomal Soul is bringing humanity closer than ever before. Just thirty years ago, I would have never communicated with anyone from Europe or Asia, unless by phone. Now, we talk to others around the world on a daily basis with tools like Twitter and Facebook.   
Carl Jung calls immanence “the deep truth” and speaks of “the secret immanence of the divine spirit of life in all things.” In an age when most believe that ‘God is dead’, the idea of a ‘secret’ and ‘deep truth’ seems rather passe. But what if there really is a secret. What if behind all the signs and symbols and archetypes there is a ‘deep truth’ waiting to be discovered.
This process of coming into a deeper relationship with life is a process of coming into relationship with the ‘deep truth’. It is inter-relationship that is both with ourselves and with the world around us. It is a discovery, an immanent turn, available to those who have searched and found their ‘individuality’. It is a shift of focus from individuation to interrelation: from me to we. And thus immanence is love, but not libidinal love as desire. Instead, it is divine love, love for life, and love for being (Jung, The Deep Truth, by Dr. Jennifer Lilla).
We who are involved in the study of depth psychology have been focused on our own individuation for much too long. It is high time we begin to focus on the individuation and interrelationship of our species before it is too late. The Me Generation needs to transform into the We Generation. Thinking of the rhizome, as it relates to Soul, is one way to visualize it. 

Jun 26, 2012

Different Forms of Matter


Drowned women, by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (1885 – 1939)
According to the alchemists, the products of our imagination are not immaterial, vaporous phantoms, but are something corporeal, having a “subtle body” all their own. The alchemists were realizing that the philosophers’ stone was a subtle energy body, a super-celestial body, the “star” in humanity, which is the interface between mind and matter. The imaginal, subtle body is a transcendental idea that is neither purely physical nor spiritual, but rather, is a hybrid in that it partakes in, encompasses and is comprised of both the spiritual and material. The subtle body is both the same as and different from each of the two sides that define it, as it is more than the sum of its parts. To quote Jung, “Imagination is therefore a concentrated extract of the life forces, both physical and psychic.” A hyper-dimensional portal and mercurial medium, the subtle body is a magical elixir, the product of the imagination that influences, bridges, links, and connects the spiritual and the material worlds. Jung comments, “Somewhere our unconscious becomes material, because the body is the living unit, and our conscious and our unconscious are embedded in it; they contact the body. Somewhere there is a place where the two ends meet and become interlocked. And that is the place where one cannot say whether it is matter, or what one calls ‘psyche.’ (God the Imagination, by Paul Levy).
We have been mistaken for such a long time concerning matter. Even though we think the opposite of material reality is immaterial reality, we are confused. The Universe is homogeneous, but there are varying rates of vibration. Imaginations and dreams, which take place "in" the mundus imaginalis, are not immaterial; they have their own form of what we call "matter." We are so accustomed to the kind of matter we experience with our physical senses that we are blind to any other forms. Humanity once relied on more than just its senses to operate in this world. At one time, we possessed another set of senses that corresponded to higher levels of consciousness. We were more attuned to a more subtle plane of existence than simply the empirical.

In my article, The Mandorla: Eye of Soul, I discuss the mandorla symbol, which is the intersection of two circles. The two circles, to the human mind, represent two realities (which are actually one reality); the intersecting area is Soul. This intersection is the "hyper-dimensional portal and mercurial medium," spoken of by Jung in the above quote. This region is both spiritual and material. The mandorla is the mundus imaginalis, the realm of the Imaginal. This symbol is one of the most remarkable Soul images I have come across. It possesses myriad meanings, e.g. "As above, so below." It ties together and interlocks all polarities into one energic Field called Soul. Like the serpents of the Caduceus intertwining, the mandorla is the metaxical locale where Spirit and Body meet and intertwine.

In our everyday life, we think of material things that we can touch and see as being hard and solid, but that's not the case at all. In reality, as physicists tell us, matter is mostly empty space. Actually, matter has more to do with consciousness that what most people suspect. 
I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.
As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter (Max Planck).
This is from the man who was the founder of quantum theory.

There are different forms of matter, all relating to corresponding levels of consciousness. We experience forms of these levels on a daily basis. Dreaming is the most obvious example. There are many things in our lives that bring higher levels of consciousness, such as music, art, and theater; there are also things that can lower our level of consciousness, such as anger, resentment, greed, and jealousy. Most likely, the original intention behind eschewing these so-called "sins" was the desire for as many people as possible to experience the higher levels of consciousness.

Jun 23, 2012

All Things Are Full of Gods

Thales is credited with being the first Greek philosopher. He did not believe the animating principle in all things is separate from Nature. He did not refer to a supernatural, mythological  entity to explain natural phenomena. In this, he was a materialist, but not the sort we are accustomed to.

Thales proposed the arche to be water. He believed water to be the cause of all things. I have read many speculative treatises as to what Thales meant. Most of them seem to literalize his statement, as if he were a modern scientist. We should examine statements from this period in a mythopoeic manner, seeing that the Greeks at this time were still very much in a mythical mode of consciousness, a kind of hypnogogic state.
The early Greeks stood at the dawn of rational consciousness. They had just stepped out of participation mystique with nature (Edward F. Edinger).
They were attempting to understand their world by asking rudimentary scientific questions, but it would still be a long, long time before humans began to think scientifically, as we understand it today.

Of Thales, Aristotle wrote,

Aristotle wrote,
Some think that the soul pervades the whole universe, whence perhaps came Thales’s view that everything is full of gods (De Anima. 411 a7-8).
 Apparently, from what little we know about Thales, he believed that matter was self-animating and autopoietic. This seems very similar to what I've learned about Bruno's idea of the natural universe. His view was monistic, in that there is no distinction between Soul and matter. In other words, the very Being of matter is Soul and the very Being of Soul is matter.

Christian de Quincey, in his essay Stories Matter, Matter Stories, writes
In this new (and very ancient) view, mind is neither outside nor inside matter, but is part of the very essence of matter—interior to its being. Mind, consciousness, or soul is that which is responsible for matter’s ability to become what it is—what Aristotle called entelechy.
 Entelechy is an Aristotelian term that means, "that which makes actual what is potential." Aristotle used this word to distinguish between matter and form, potentiality and actuality. 

By the time of Bruno's arrest, the Roman Catholic Church had adopted the Aristotelian form of hylomorphism. In this theory, substances are envisioned as composites of form and matter. Matter is seen as entirely passive and dependent on the corresponding Form to give it dynamism and quality.

Against this view, Bruno offered a theory of matter that vanquished the dualistic ideas of Plato and Aristotle. He called his idea mater-materia, or "matter-mattering." Here, matter possesses intelligence; it is the origin of all Forms. This idea could be termed "materialistic," but it would be accompanied by the qualifier, "intelligent materialism," since matter intrinsically possesses intelligence and consciousness. Bruno's idea, here, bears similarity with Anaximander's Apeiron. Also, this means that God is intimately connected with His creation. Mind is not separate from matter; mind is within matter. The phrase "mater-materia" connotes the womb of the Mother. Matter exists as an agent of "mattering;" matter is the matrix of all material forms.

All is consciousness, all is Soul. Referring to objects as being composed of matter is erroneous. Matter is Soul; matter is consciousness. Human bodies are Soul and they are consciousness.

The Rise of Immanence


This should be read after reading my article, The Fall of the Transcendent Hierarchies.

As we already know, cultural paradigms based on an underlying philosophical framework of transcendence, of which there is no better example than Western culture, are decaying rapidly and will eventually give way to a paradigm of immanence. My attention was drawn to this fact from reading the blog, Immanence, authored by Dr. Jennifer Lilla. She has written some wonderful articles there which describe the matter very well. I highly recommend reading her work. Here is one example:
It is only now that it is emerging everywhere, blossoming forth. This new paradigm is all around us. It is a shift that is occurring within us, at the very heart of our ways of being, becoming, and knowing.  It is a deep spiritual truth that is emerging into the collective mind and potentiating a cultural shift: like a dream that you had last night, and cannot remember, but which affects your day nonetheless. It is a contemplation of the unnameable, of the unspeakable, which, nevertheless, begins to be uttered in our poetry, our art, our movies, and in our collective dreaming. It is the transcendental emerging into the social body, not through fixated perspectives or empty representations, but through the collective energy of our creative acts (The Culture of Immanence).
We are a culture of transcendence primarily because our idea of God is that of an ultimate Creator who is totally separate from the Creation. Somewhere in the mists of Time, reality was ripped apart. Nature and Spirit, always experienced as one reality, now became two. Dualism has been a powerful force ever since.

A culture of transcendence is centered on a set of hierarchies and vertical power structures. Dr. Lilla provides an excellent metaphor: the Tower of Babel. Even though Jehovah confounded the language so that these post-Deluge people no longer understood one another, the verticalization has never ceased in the West. Our society has always been replete with hierarchical power entities, from the Church to the workplace to the government to business, etc. But now, that picture is changing.

The twentieth century saw an amazing acceleration of human learning and discovery occur at a pace unrivaled in the history of the world. During that time, certain prerequisite foundational stones were laid that made the current revolution of immanence possible.

One example is the discovery of quantum mechanics, which proved that the mechanistic worldview of Newton and Descartes no longer accurately described the universe. Suddenly, a world was uncovered where none of the rules applied anymore. Furthermore, human consciousness seemed to alter the results of scientific observation. We were forced to develop a new worldview to accommodate these discoveries. Nature was no longer a neat little logical machine, much to the dismay of positivists everywhere.

Another watershed event in the twentieth century was the beginning of a renaissance of Soul, brought about by C.G. Jung. Almost single-handedly, Jung revived the investigation of the human Psyche that, in our day, is flourishing. Jung inherited  the mantle of Soul from a long line of Soul spelunkers that probably began with the Pre-Socratics in the West. Notable members of this group are Heraclitus, Plato, Plotinus, Averroes, Ficino, Bruno, Vico, and many others. James Hillman probably did more to further our ideas of Soul than anyone after Jung.

The juxtaposition of Jung's theories and the new science of quantum mechanics was no accident. History is an unfolding, where events occur synchronistically. There is an Intelligence in the universe that brings forth all things, constantly giving birth to more order and complexity. Giordano Bruno called this Mater-Materia, which means "matter mattering." Mind is not separate from matter; mind is within matter. The phrase connotes the womb of the Mother. Matter exists as an agent of "mattering;" matter is the matrix of all material forms. Now, we better understand why we say "Mother Nature." We could also say, "Mother Matter."

I think these two events, along with several other important discoveries and occurrences, erected powerful horizontal structures that are enabling the revolution of immanence. The nineteen-sixties consisted of several events that changed the world: the civil rights movement, the anti-war protests, the bringing in of Eastern philosophies, etc. These built upon the foundation laid down by Jung and the quantum scientists.

The philosopher, Karl Jaspers, referred to that fecund period of history that gave us the Upanishads, Lao Tzu, Homer, Socrates, Parmenides, Heraclitus, Thucydides, Archimedes, etc., as The Axial Age. We are living in a similar time now, but I see this time as even more profound.

We are acquiring consciousness that the Divine is part of us and is inherent in the material world. No longer will there by a yawning abyss between the material and the spiritual. The metaxical bridge across is Soul and we are traversing it daily. This is changing our reality. We are in the midst of a metamorphosis of consciousness. We are realizing that we are homogeneous with each other and with all of Nature.  


Jun 18, 2012

Giordano Bruno Was Not a Pantheist

Because of Giordano Bruno's assertion that God is immanent in the Universe, most commentators have claimed he was surely a pantheist, or at least a panentheist. The Roman Catholic Inquisitors called him an atheist, since that was the term used in those days to describe what we now call a pantheist. Bruno remained free of these by repeatedly claiming that God is not accessible to the rational human mind. Bruno, along with Nicholas of Cusa, posited the via negativa (apophatic),"as the only possible non-mystical cognitive approach to God (The Acentric Labyrinth, by Ramon G. Mendoza).

Bruno adhered to an anti-Neoplatonic cosmology, but seemed to embrace a Neoplatonic theology (ibid.). He agreed with Nicholas of Cusa and Plotinus that God was totally beyond every concept and knowledge; in fact, as Plotinus asserted, God was even beyond 'being,' understood as 'being something specific and determinable' (ibid.).

Nevertheless, Bruno still maintained that God is immanent in the Universe. Because he refused to conceptualize God  in any way whatsoever, Bruno cannot be a pantheist. A pantheist would directly identify Nature with God; a panentheist would say something like,"Nature is the body of God;" Bruno, in his resolution to not speak positively (cataphatically) of God, refused to assert either of these.

Now, this is not to say he was in league with Christian dogma; he most certainly was not. Bruno was a monist. He rejected all forms of dualism. If his philosophy had won the day in the seventeenth century instead of Descartes', we would be living in a much different world now. We would not have to deal with a "mind/body problem," a "thought/being problem," or a "spirit/matter problem." Those would have already been settled centuries ago.

Furthermore, Bruno believed that the human mind was capable of forming images of perfect geometrical shapes, even though there are no such shapes in Nature. He believed this was because the mind is divine and akin to the mind of God. This is another clue that Bruno did not identify Nature with God. The divine mind, which is immanent in Nature, can conceive perfect geometrical shapes, but there are no examples in Nature of these shapes. One could conclude that Bruno adheres to some form of transcendent God, since these perfect shapes were not emanated from the cosmic mind.

I have no problem holding immanence/transcendence in paradox. In my view, such a paradox can supersede the categories of rational thought. It is a mystical leap to another level of consciousness, in my opinion.

So, what was Bruno's God like? I must agree with the apophatic approach, but it sounds very much like the distinction between  Nirguna Brahman, Brahman with no attributes; beyond human understanding; and Saguna Brahman, Brahman with attributes and manifested in human experience as Ishvara, a more personal ruler of the Universe. You can read more about this in my article, Pantheism and Panentheism (When I wrote this, I was not fully aware of Bruno's adherence to the via negativa).

Jun 17, 2012

The Paradox of Soul


I am satisfied in my thinking that everything in the Universe is Soul, from the tiniest reality of the quantum world to the largest star and galaxy, it is all Soul. This is not a new idea. Pythagoras spoke these words at the dawn of Western philosophy:
All have souls, all is soul, wandering in the organic world and obeying eternal will or law.
There is nothing that is without Soul. This is the assertion put forth by mystics for thousands of years. For my own learning, however, I must ask the question,

"Does the statement, 'all is soul', infer there are no individual Souls?" 

I don't think so. I think that it is plausible for everything to be Soul and for each entity to have an individual Soul, as well. Atomic and subatomic particles (which are Soul) exhibit paradoxical behavior of both particles and waves simultaneously. Apparently, reality has no problem at all with paradox. Therefore, it is not unrealistic to think that everything can be Soul, both collectively and individually. This paradox simply means the logically impossible assertion has transcended rational thought.

The Upanishads tell of two types of Souls. They are described as

1) jiva-atma - the individual soul, known as the living entity
2) param-atma - the Supersoul, known as the Supreme Lord, who resides in the hearts of all living entities as the witness
This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita [13.23] where it is stated that besides the living entity, who tries to enjoy in his physical body, there is another, a transcendental enjoyer who is the Lord, the supreme proprietor, who exists as the overseer and guide, and who is known as the Supersoul. He is not an ordinary living entity, but the plenary expansion of the Supreme Lord. Because monist philosophers and impersonalists take the soul and supersoul to be one, they think that there is no difference between the Supersoul and the individual soul. To clarify this the Lord says that He is the representation of Param-atma in every body. He is different from the individual soul; He is parah, transcendental (Two Types of Souls). 
Apparently, at least one major world religion has no problem with this idea either.

Jun 16, 2012

Soul of the Universe


I have written much on the Anima Mundi, the Soul of the World. Our world is not, however, the only world in the infinite universe. An infinite universe posits an infinite number of worlds. Just as the Anima Mundi is intertwined with our precious world, so must there be an infinite number of World Souls. Or is there a Soul of the Universe that intertwines with all worlds -- the Anima Universi?

This is, of course, more Brunian theory. Giordano Bruno was revolutionary in that he realized a proper view of atomism (which he adopted from Leucippus and his student Democritus) did not require that matter have an external cause, nor some separate internal principle in order for it to proliferate. Bruno's philosophy of matter is rigidly monistic: intrinsically, matter possesses within itself the animating power of its own emergence. This, Bruno called "soul."

Bruno rejected the views of Aristotle, as well as Democritus, Epicurus, and Lucretius in regards to matter because they portrayed it as devoid of any qualitative or quantitative value. His idea is that form and matter are factual, but not distinct:
In strict monism, the Aristotelian notion of the indissoluble interconnectedness of matter and form is paramount; matter and form are not two different and separate entities as they were in Platonic dualism, but two aspects or modes of the same physical reality (The Acentric Labyrinth, by Ramon G. Mendoza, Ph.D).
So, form and matter are two different "modes" of one physical reality. The idea of modes is vastly different than positing two distinct substances. Descartes would, later, take this to its extreme in his mechanistic dualism of mind of matter. Cogito ergo sum should have been Sum ergo cogito. Personally, I think the idea of "modes of being" can be successfully applied to epistemology and ontology, in the manner of Henry Corbin when he wrote of modes of Being and Presence.

The next iteration of Descartes' phrase will be the revolutionary notion,  nos sunt, ergo cogitare, We are, therefore we think. This phrase can apply to both the polytheistic nature of the psyche, with its many personalities, and to the interconnectedness of humanity. Who knows, perhaps someday we will be talking about the interconnectedness of worlds!

The Soul of the Universe is the force of interconnectedness that binds us all together. If there be creatures on other worlds, then we, via this force, will bind them to us, as well. The primary points are that the infinite universe is One, and that this universe is composed of material that is not barren and lifeless. Rather, there is an infinite Soul behind everything; not separate from matter, but inherent in it. Through Soul, the universe is a living, flourishing organism. Bruno called this Mater Materia, Matter, the Universal Mother.

Jun 15, 2012

Soul Spelunking

Domica Cave, by JoJo
I am a Soul spelunker. Hopefully, you are too.

If you have always been fascinated by things below the surface, you may be a Soul spelunker and don't even realize it. People that explore caves are probably projecting their unconscious need for Soul exploration into their caving. Think of it, there is mystery, danger, and priceless treasure to be discovered in the world below.

When I was a child, I loved Jules Verne's book, Journey to the Center of the Earth. What a story!  If examined with Soul in mind, it is a treasure trove of knowledge. The entire journey is comparable to Dante's Inferno in its symbolic significance.

The hollow earth mythology is also intriguing. Some on the Internet take it literally. They probably are Soul spelunkers and are not conscious of it yet. According to hollow-earth theorists, the earth is, you guessed it, hollow, with the crust being only about eight hundred miles thick. There are, supposedly, two openings, one at either pole. At the center of this crazy, mixed-up world, is not a molten core, but an "inner sun."
Therefore, there exists three worlds on our planet, the outer surface, where we live, the middle earth which purportedly is lined with many caverns, tunnels (made by someone), Inner Cities and people who live there and lastly the Inner Surface. How Gravity works then is the following. For the people who live on the outer surface, Gravity holds them down. For the people that live in the middle earth, the closer they get to the center of the crust (i.e. - 400 miles down), the less effect gravity will have upon them. In the book, "Etidorhpa", when this individual traveling down into the earth reached the center of gravity, i.e. where there is no gravity --- he was able to move by the power of his mind, his heart stop beating and he didn't need to eat. He described gigantic vegetation that lives under the earth as this lesser pull of gravity allows things to grow larger. Lastly for the people who live on the inner surface, they would also feel gravity pull on them to walk on this surface but since there is an inner sun (called the "Atoma", by channeler Michael Kant who appears in our crystal skull book Mysteries of the Crystal Skulls Revealed) they would have sunlight 24 hours a day. There is supposedly land masses and water bodies that exist on the Inner Earth, the same as the outer surface except the vibration and energy in the Inner Earth is more pure and of a higher vibrational frequency (some say a 4th dimensional frequency) (from The Hollow Earth - Fact Or Fiction).
Atoma, the inner Sun, seems comparable to the Jungian Self. This is wild stuff! I always look for the Soul of the matter when I hear seemingly crazy stories like this.

Think of all the crazy stories Carl Jung heard when he was working at the Burghölzli hospital in Zurich. But he, nevertheless, was able to construct his theories from these, providing us an enormous amount of information about Soul. Jung may not have made such profound discoveries if it had not been for those weird stories he was told by his patients.

Soul is an endless maze of adventure. The opportunity to explore it is the greatest privilege in life. I hope I have inspired you to be a Soul spelunker, as well.

Jun 14, 2012

The Fall of the Transcendent Hierarchies

Trois Nus, by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Individuals are beginning to question the well established transcendent hierarchy. The cultural institutions and their inhabitants, whom demand respect for their transcendent position, are loosing their hold on power. And the multiplicity of voice is now growing louder. The internet is providing a means for the equalization of expression and knowledge. Thought, opinion, self-expression and art pour forth from individuals all around the world, day and night: a continual flow and flux of perspective. Within this world-wide-web concepts emerge, take root and blossom without having to move through the previously preordained channels of ascent and acceptance (The Culture of Immanence, by Dr. Jennifer Lilla).
The intellectual interaction we engage in on a daily basis on various social networks is transforming our collective consciousness. The bandying back and forth of ideas, the sharing of thoughts, our interlocution, is bringing about critical human thought and self-reflection on an unprecedented scale. We are actually facilitating the next great evolutionary leap forward. The next stage of evolution will, in my opinion, be one of Soul. The invention of the computer and the Internet, if for no other reason, was brought about for this purpose.

Isn't that an exciting thought? That you and I are actually co-creating humanity's future? Dr. Lilla writes,
The trajectory of transcendence creates a culture based on vertical power structures, built upon hierarchies; and like the Tower of Babel these hierarchies are crumbling just as they reaches toward their apogee (ibid.).
This is the history of Western culture. It is no coincidence that our society has been hierarchically structured for millenia. The West has always been a transcendence-seeking society, which is why Christianity became such a fixture, and with the search for transcendence comes hierarchies. But, now, that is all changing. We see it before our eyes everyday! The appropriately named, but somewhat antiquated, "world wide web" has led to a web of consciousness spreading, horizontally,  around the globe.

This new paradigm is horizontal, not vertical, and therefore not hierarchical in nature. The model of Being is metamorphosizing across cultures and nations. Dr. Lilla refers to this new paradigm as "the culture of immanence:"
Like a rhizomal root potentiating, the culture of immanence has been brewing under the surface (ibid.).
The old guard traditions and hierarchies are crumbling even as we speak. They will be replaced by fresh institutions that will be horizontally-based, interactive, participative, and centered on caring for our populace and our environment. The social and economic stratification we see now will transform into something more humane for all citizens of this new society. I know, I know, socialism has been attempted and has always failed. Perhaps social structures had not evolved sufficiently in those days to allow a successful society based on sharing. Our day is coming.

This sounds like Utopia, doesn't it? Well, I don't really believe in a Utopia because we cannot forget about the Soul's tendency  for pathologization and the Shadow factor. On the other hand, who is to say the World Soul cannot also integrate Her Shadow?

Finally I can say it no better than Dr. Lilla. Here, she describes her vision. It is also the vision of millions of us:
The integration of various transcendental spiritual traditions, the intermingling of cultures, the earthquake in continental philosophy, the increase in those participating in spiritual practice, the underground movements, the growing protest culture, the myriad of potent voices populating the web: all the emergent perspectives mingling and mixing in the minds and hearts of the people of this world forming new ways of relating and creating and being together. Something is emerging from the depth of our collective psychic life: a new myth, a new perspective, a new relationship to the earth and each other.  It is a spiritual shift, becoming a cultural shift, transforming the social matrix (ibid.).
 May the Gods bring it to pass!

Jun 11, 2012

Pantheism and Panentheism

By Konstantin Fyodorovich Bogaevsky (1872–1943)
Philosophers usually love abstract concepts and the categorization and systematization  of ideas. There is something about the way their minds work that nudges them in this direction. I have always disdained labeling and systematizing of ideas into this or that camp. I refuse to call myself a Jungian, a Hermeticist, a theist, an atheist, etc. because I see this as limiting imagination and reason. I don't think it is inconsistent when I contradict myself by asserting two seemingly contrary ideas. There is much truth in paradox. One must attempt to transcend the typical polarities and adhere to the tension of the opposites. Jung certainly believed this:
All opposites are of God, therefore man must bend to this burden; and in so doing he finds that God in his "oppositeness" has taken possession of him, incarnated himself in him. He becomes a vessel filled with divine conflict.
My recent studies have led me to the realization that I do not believe God is only transcendent, which is the typical Western viewpoint. Neither do I believe that God is only immanent in Nature, which would be pantheism. This seems to be the position of Bruno, but I am not certain, not having read enough of the original source material. Perhaps it's panentheism, which says God "interpenetrates every part of nature and timelessly extends beyond it" (Wikipedia).

One cannot say positively that God "is" anything. Furthermore, which God are we referring to? Would it be the God beyond God, as Meister Eckhart postulated? He distinguished between the Godhead (Deitas) and God (Deus), the former being totally unknowable to human thought.

Many great spiritual traditions distinguish between an unknowable Ultimate Reality, and a Reality as experienced in everyday human endeavors. The Hindu religion recognizes this distinction as Nirguna Brahman, Brahman with no attributes; beyond human understanding; and Saguna Brahman, Brahman with attributes and manifested in human experience as Ishvara, a more personal ruler of the Universe. This is somewhat analogous to the Demiurge of the Platonic and Neoplatonic schools.

I absolutely feel that the Divine permeates Nature, including ourselves. But I think this idea alone would be one-sided. Affirming the power of paradox, as I do, I must hold God to be both immanent and transcendent simultaneously. This is the Deitas of Eckhart, the totally Unknowable Deity, the "Ground of God," so to speak.

As much as I dislike labels, I am fond of the idea of panentheism. The following is taken from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
"Panentheism” is a constructed word composed of the English equivalents of the Greek terms “pan”, meaning all, “en”, meaning in, and “theism”, meaning God. Panentheism understands God and the world to be inter-related with the world being in God and God being in the world. It offers an increasingly popular alternative to traditional theism and pantheism. Panentheism seeks to avoid both isolating God from the world as traditional theism often does and identifying God with the world as pantheism does. Traditional theistic systems emphasize the difference between God and the world while panentheism stresses God's active presence in the world. Pantheism emphasizes God's presence in the world but panentheism maintains the identity and significance of the non-divine. Anticipations of panentheistic understandings of God have occurred in both philosophical and theological writings throughout history (Hartshorne and Reese 1953; Cooper, 2006). However, a rich diversity of panentheistic understandings has developed in the past two centuries primarily in Christian traditions responding to scientific thought (Clayton and Peacocke 2004).
I like this term because it is Soul-like; it causes one to follow a middle path to understanding, being composed of the roots of pantheism and theism (immanence and transcendence). Such words are angels, in the Hillmanian sense -- messengers of Soul. This is because angelic words fuse two images together and deliver a truly Soul-filled message.

Jun 10, 2012

Artifical Intelligence and the Living Universe

Photo by tenaciousme from Tokyo, Japan
I believe the Universe and everything in it are alive. There is nothing that is not animated by Soul. Down to the tiniest subatomic particle, Soul infuses all things with life. The concept of "inanimate objects" is an oxymoron.
The universal intellect is the innermost, most real and most proper faculty or potential part of the world soul. It is that one and the same thing that fills everything, illuminates the universe and directs nature to produce her various species suitably (Giordano Bruno, Cause, Principle, and Unity, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1998, pg 37).
For Bruno, there was no doubt in his mind that our amazing universe is animated by a principle of self-direction he called the World Soul. Every material body possesses this principle, even down to the quantum level. Soul has intellect, which directs intelligent unfolding of Nature.

The statement, "There is no reality that is not accompanied by a spirit and an intelligence," originates with the following passage. Bruno is here discussing divers kinds of spirits:
These various spirits occupy the bodies of humans, animals, stones and minerals. There is no body which is completely devoid of spirit and intelligence. Furthermore, no spirit possesses a permanent location for itself. Rather, spirits fluctuate from one matter to another, and matter fluctuates from one spirit to another, and from one nature or composition to another.
I once believed that if we were ever successful in our quest to build an intelligent, sentient machine using AI technology, it would be without Soul. After thinking on this, I've changed my mind. Such a machine would still be composed of the same Soul-filled and intelligent atoms that we are comprised of. So, perhaps an android like Data on Star Trek TNG, would be capable of living a Soul-filled life. Interesting idea, no?

This is, of course, the logical conclusion of accepting the idea that God permeates every bit of matter in the universe.

In Bruno's theory, Soul and Intelligence are distinct, yet they are unified in paradoxical fashion. Bruno successfully fused the Apeiron of Anaximander with Anaxagoras' Nous (Greek: νοῦς or νόος; mind or intellect).
It did not take Bruno too long to discover that Anaximander's fecund apeiron was intimately related to Anaxagoras' nous. His synthesis of the apeiron with nous paved the way for the fusion of boundless mater-materia with the cosmic mind, and, consequently, also to a markedly monistic ontology (The Acentric Labryinth, p. 124, Ramon G. Mendoza).
Anaxagoras' contribution was the idea that "everything can come out of everything;" this principle of separation he called nous. It is typically translated as mind or intellect, but, originally, it was an idea of separation (ibid.).

Our sentience emanated from the same Source as matter; there is no different point of origin for either. So, what would be so strange if a sentient entity emanated from the same Source via human computer scientists?

It is somewhat frightening to think this way, after all the stories and movies we've seen where crazed androids go berserk and wreak havoc on the human species. I believe there are levels of consciousness, or sentience, that play a role in what such entities can accomplish. Certainly, an amoeba is not at the same level of consciousness as, say, a dog or a chimpanzee. Could we control the level of consciousness of an artificially intelligent mechanism? At what level would such a machine be potentially harmful to humanity? Food for thought.

Jun 8, 2012

The Curse of Time

Sweet child of innocence
Living in the present tense
Father Time will take his toll
Rack your body and steal your soul
What became of all the years
Are you drowning in your tears
Who will catch you when you fall
Who will hear you when you call
(Lyrics from Child of Innocence, by Kansas (Masque, 1975)

I am convinced that the manner in which we perceive Time in our current evolutionary stage is a malignant cancer, eating away at Soul. The fact is, we are infinite beings. When we enter this material plane, our eternality is constrained and limited by Time. Time is a characteristic of our perception of the world of matter. It is not real in and of itself. It is a mental construct intended to organize our sensory experiences. Time is an innate and a priori structure of the human mind.

Our sense of Time probably developed over the past 200,000 years, as our species observed the rising and setting of the Sun, day after day, year after year, millenia after millenia. There may have been a moment in the dark past when humans suddenly became aware of Time. It may have been a Garden-of-Eden-like experience, where, up until this moment, our species had no awareness of Time, or any other mental constructs, e.g. space. Imagine the tragedy of beings living in the eternal Now, Being-in-the-Moment, and then having that snatched away by the sudden awareness that they only possessed a finite amount of Time on their beloved world in which to live. The advent of human consciousness was a Fall, indeed. Humankind, instead of being awash in unconsciousness and having no sense of Time whatsoever, now found themselves washing up on the shore of a tiny island called Self. Humankind, for the first time, now possessed an awareness of Being-Oneself, and with it the sense of Time.

I believe this was a necessary condition in order that we would eventually be able to gain sufficient awareness that we could become transcendent beings. This is our destiny.

In our modern world, Time rules us with an iron fist. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years; we trudge through life, having to be somewhere at a certain time, sleeping at a certain time, eating at a certain time, ad nauseum. If that's not bad enough, it seems that, as we get older, Time accelerates, or at least our perception of it does. The Calvinist work ethic made a bad situation worse by enculturating into us the notion that, if we are not working constantly, we are not pleasing to God. What a diabolical scheme! What a boon for the Industrial Revolution this must have been! What a boon for the corporate managers of our day!

What is it about our manner of perceiving the world that causes Time to go faster as we age? It is incredibly frustrating to never have time to do that which we know of a certainty we are meant to do and should be doing! It is extremely detrimental to Soul-making and all that it entails.

I do believe, however, there is a place we can reach, whether it be through meditation, imagination, or whatever practice we find that works, where we can transcend the curse of Time and live in the Moment. For this, I strive daily. To be truly free, humankind must return to this paradisaical state of being. After the transcendence of Time, we will fulfill our destinies as Beings of Light.

Jun 3, 2012

The Gnosis of Anima Mundi

The World Soul has agents, those who will heed Her voice and bring forth, synchronistically, knowledge that is important to the world at a particular time in history. Simultaneously, because of the principle of correspondence, this knowledge has corollary relevance for the human Soul.  As above, so below.

The example has already been given in The Acentric Soul of the Brunian Revolution and how it foreshadowed the infinite, acentric, and polytheistic nature of the human Psyche in Analytical and Archetypal Psychology.

I propose that every major scientific breakthrough in the history of the human race has a correlation in the human Soul. We have already seen this truth manifested after the discovery of quantum physics, what with all the discussion concerning how consciousness may be connected to matter at the quantum level. There are many other examples. Did you know that Isaac Newton spent most of his time performing alchemical experiments? He wasn't simply doing physics in the sense that we understand today. Newton was a magician and mystic!

What truths of the Soul remain to be discovered? Surely, they will be corollary truths to what has already been uncovered on the material/scientific level. This is a fertile field for research by Soul spelunkers.

Hillman has discussed, in some of his writings, a long line of those thinkers who based their ideas on Soul. Heraclitus was an early one; also Plato, Plotinus during the Classical period; during the Medieval period, Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, and Julian of Norwich; in the Renaissance, Ficino, Bruno, Pico della Mirandola, and a host of others throughout history, including Jung and Hillman. These thinkers were agents of Anima Mundi. In their ideas and writings, they strove to give birth to truths that would edify World Soul.

The scientific method did not exist at the time of the discovery of fire, but who can deny that fire is an amazingly powerful symbol for Soul? What about the discovery of the wheel? Again, this is another cogent symbol. 

The agents of World Soul are not just scientists, philosophers, and mystics. There are myriad fields where these stewards of Soul are working. What about actors and musicians, film directors, such as David Lynch, David Cronenberg, and Ingmar Bergman? How about writers like Philip K. Dick, Dostoevsky, Kafka, and Camus?

We should remain open to Anima Mundi when She calls, and bring forth that which She has called us to do.

Jun 2, 2012

My Last Days in Asheville

As much as I hated it, I had to leave Asheville yesterday to return to our wonderful (euphemism for boring) home. Back here, there are very few really cool people who are in touch with Nature and Soul, unlike Asheville. If you happen to be an inhabitant of that amazing city, I tip my hat to you. You have transformed an old mundane southern city into an incredibly vibrant modern metropolis.

We spent some our remaining time at the Asheville Botanical Gardens, which was very cool. I took many more pictures to add to my Appalachian nature collection. For lunch, we ate at a decent Mexican restaurant called Papa's and Beer. I sampled the table-side guacamole. It was probably the best I've ever had. Instead of salsa, they serve hot chips with warm bean dip. We liked this place a lot. Why are the best restaurants away from home?

I must also thank Marshall and Tracie Manche for making our lodging so trouble-free and accommodating. They are the kind proprietors of Asheville Cottages. This is the second time we've stayed there; both times were excellent.

Photos of Asheville Cottages, Asheville
This photo of Asheville Cottages is courtesy of TripAdvisor

There are many artists living in Asheville, breathing the clean air and pumping lots of Soul into their work. We spent a lot of time at Woolworth Walk, which is the largest local artist gallery in the city. Lots of creativity is concentrated in this restored Woolworth's building, complete with an old fashioned soda fountain.


I had read a lot of good things about Asheville's Tupelo Honey Cafe, so we headed there for dinner that night. It was a difficult choice, but I ended up ordering Chef Brian's Shrimp and Grits. Wow! Amazing! Soul food, indeed, for the distinguishing palate.


I wouldn't mind living in Asheville permanently. It is a city where there are many transplants. People move there because of dreams. Asheville is a city of dreamers. The mountains, clean air, the hospitality, and all those Soul-chasers make this one of the best places to live in America, in my humble opinion. I may end up there yet!


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