Dec 30, 2012

Cronus Swallows His Children

Saturn, Jupiter's father, devours one of his sons, Neptune, by Peter Paul Rubens
Cronus was the youngest of the twelve Titans, the offspring of Gaia and Uranus. Cronus took his own sister, Rhea, also a Titan, as his wife. The union of Cronus and Rhea was a very special one. They produced several of the most powerful gods in the Greek pantheon: Demeter, Hades, Hera, Hestia, Poseidon and Zeus. Hesiod tells us in The Theogony that Cronus was very cunning. He was the most terrible of all the Titans (ll. 116-138). Cronus hated his father, Uranus, because he was cruel to his children. Cronus' mother, Gaia, pleaded with her sons to punish Uranus for his evil ways. Cronus was the only one willing to do the deed. She fashioned a sickle with jagged teeth, made from grey flint and gave it to Cronus. When Uranus came to lay with Gaia that night, Cronus emasculated him with the adamantine sickle and threw his members into the sea.

Cronus and his wife, Rhea, became the most powerful gods at this time, beginning what is known as The Golden Age in Greek mythology, a primordial era of peace and prosperity. At some point, it was prophesied by Gaia and Uranus that one of Cronus' children would overthrow him. To prevent this, Cronus swallowed each of his children at the time of their birth. When it was time for Zeus to be born, Rhea devised a plan to deceive Cronus and save her son from being devoured. Rhea gave birth to Zeus on the island of Crete. She gave Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes, which is known as the Omphalos Stone, and kept Zeus hidden from his father in a cave. Thinking it was his son, Cronus swallowed the stone.

When Zeus was fully grown, his grandmother, Gaia, gave him an emetic that Zeus administered to Cronus, causing all the children he had swallowed to be vomited from him. The Omphalos Stone was also spewed forth. Zeus placed this stone at "Pytho under the glens of Mount Parnassus to be a sign to mortal men" (Wikipedia). Finally, Zeus and his siblings overthrew the Titans and became the supreme gods.

The myth of Cronus swallowing his children speaks to the idea of wholeness, integration, oneness, etc. It is the nature of the psyche to be multifarious, being composed of many forces and powers we call archetypes. Movements toward oneness, such as Jung's ideas of integration and individuation, are allusions to the myth of Cronus swallowing his children. Jung's idea of integration seems influenced by Christian monotheism, which also attempts to swallow all others in a quest for the One God. In the psyche, the many powers must cease their individuality and be integrated into a supreme Self in the fully-individuated human being. There is no room for the variegated powers and forces to manifest themselves as themselves.

When Cronus swallowed his children, they were in a dark place, comparable to the unconscious. When monotheistic movements swallow all other gods, they are banished to the darkness of unconsciousness, where, if continually suppressed, they eventually rear their heads as complexes and diseases.

We are creatures imbued with many powers within us. If we ignore them, we fall into great peril. Let us not be like Cronus.

Dec 26, 2012

A Critique Of Centering

We hear much about so-called centering prayer, centering meditation, the centering of the Self, etc. These kinds of discussions would also include mandalas, of which C.G. Jung was so fond of, a form of spiritual and ritual art that Jung borrowed from Hinduism and Buddhism, and appropriated for his psychological ideas. Here is his own description of their meaning for him:
My mandalas were cryptograms concerning the state of the self which was presented to me anew each day…I guarded them like precious pearls….It became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the center. It is the exponent of all paths. It is the path to the center, to individuation (Memories, Dreams and Reflections, p. 196).
Also, he did not believe the path to individuation was a linear one.
I began to understand that the goal of psychic development is the self. There is no linear evolution; there is only a circumambulation of the self (ibid.)
The idea of a psychological center bothers me. I am a firm believer in the Hermetic Principle of Correspondence, as above, so below. We humans are many Microcosms, each one corresponding to the Macrocosm, the cosmos, and the more subtle worlds of Being. Just using the example of the cosmos and our own microcosm, what we learn about stars, planets, galaxies, moons, etc. corresponds to the particular Soul that we are. There are many Persons within us, just as there are many stars and planets in the heavens. I don't see a center, but many centers, centers within centers, ad infinitum.

There is much agreement that our Universe is acentric. So, applying the Principle of Correspondence, we are also acentric. This is why Jung's theory bothers me. If we are acentric, there is no single Self at the center of our Being, which we are moving toward.

I believe the centering idea stems from the Western overemphasis on monotheism, of which I have written about in The Death of Monotheism. There has been a notion is scholarly religious circles that monotheism is the end-product of thousands of years of religious evolution. In other words, polytheism would rank as a primitive form of thought. But is that really the case in Nature, since our Principle of Correspondence would apply to all avenues of human thinking? Jung himself demonstrated the multifariousness of the human psyche, giving individuality to all the archetypes.

Jung's insistence on integration of the various personalities into a lone Self is very bothersome to me. All these archetypes have many things to contribute to us; we should not be waiting on their annihilation, when they are to be assimilated into a singular centricity. The wonders of Nature do not seem to be not moving toward a singularity, why should we? As above, so below.

Dec 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I would like to wish all my readers much happiness this holiday season. Have a very Happy New Year too!

Yule Lads in Dimmuborgir, Photo by lusinemarg

Dec 22, 2012

The Crumbling Of Christianity

Destruction of Pompeii, by
Ivan Aivazovsky (1817–1900)
Let us face the truth: the Christian myth, if not already dead, is dying quickly. The symbols of the religion that once captured the hearts and minds of people everywhere have lost their power in our world. Many people I know are Christian in name only; their lives do not reflect the faith that once shook the Roman Empire to its roots. There are a few that still display the love for others that Christ taught, but these are rare individuals, indeed.

It didn't take Christianity but a few hundred years to begin laying the foundation for its own demise. The emphasis on apologetics, the dogmatic decrees of the first Church councils, and the politicization of the Church by the Emperor Theodosius I, in 380 A.D. made the young religion rigid and imperious, taking on many of the traits of the empire for which it became the official belief system.

A phenomenological look at the symbolic efficacy of Christianity in its infancy shows that it was empowered by archetypal forces that only occur to such an extent at the dawning of a new epoch in human history. The story had been told many times before. We have heard the similarities with other religions of the virgin birth, the dying-and-rising god, the many similarities with the Egyptian god, Horus, etc. All such tales possess amazing archetypal energy. That is why we still discuss them thousands of years after their creation. There is still residual archetypal power remaining in them, albeit quite diminished (If you're interested in reviewing the similarities of Christianity with other religions, check out the first Zeitgeist film).

The more Christianity became rationalized, rigid, and literalized, the less Soul it possessed. Its once-powerful archetypal symbols were dilapidated. Its adherents became more and more vulnerable to the onslaught of unconscious forces, which will destroy the person who walks through life unshielded from them in any way. We see this almost daily in our era, a true sign that our society has lost the archetypal protection we once enjoyed. That is why Joseph Campbell taught us to find our own myth, for this is what mitigates the terrible abyss of unconsciousness that we are all potentially susceptible to. Christianity was supposed to have prevented this, but a myth without the power of its symbols is no longer viable and must either be revamped or abandoned.

There was a chance for Christianity to regain its lost vigor during the Renaissance. The rediscovery of the culture of ancient Greece brought about lost ideas of polytheism, art, religion, and democracy, that, if these had been incorporated into the Christian milieu, would have reinvigorated its dying symbols. Credit must be given to thinkers, such as Marsilio Ficino, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Giordano Bruno, et al. Bruno went to his death attempting to revitalize Christianity with fresh ideas and new symbolic vigor. Church officials wanted him dead, probably because they feared his revolutionary ideas would influence the masses to such an extent that the Church would lose its political power.

Today, Christianity lies broken and fragmented in thousands of different forms. Its once powerful story of humans gaining salvation is marred by all conceivable forms of absurdity. Some believe the end of the world is nigh, and that a figure called the Antichrist will soon rise up and enslave us all; some believe that the King James translation of the Bible is the only translation sanctioned by God; some believe a city of gold, the New Jerusalem, will descend bodily from heaven and land on the surface of the earth, as if this golden city were some kind of interdimensional spaceship; and the Roman Church has been disfigured by scandals of pedophiles in its ranks. I could go on and on. The idiocy is beyond belief. While the world yearns for a new set of efficacious symbols that will transform our lives, Christianity continues to fall by the wayside on the road of human history.

It may be possible to revamp the old religion, but many of its metaphors seem lifeless at this point. I am fond of some forms of Christian mysticism, however. Mystics like Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, and Jacob Boehme wrote some incredible things. The problem was, these types of thinkers were always on the fringes of the Church, always in danger of being ostracized or excommunicated for their beliefs and practices.

The Epoch of Soul may bring a new form of religion. I don't know. Perhaps the masses will finally come to the realization that one's own myth in life is meaningful, powerful, and can bring us all together, once and for all.

Dec 19, 2012

World Of The Fifth Sun

Photo by Theilr
The solstice of 2012 is nearly upon us. We have heard all the theories about what will take place. I find many of them to be ridiculous. Those who are viewing this event mythologically will, I believe, be profoundly blessed. There is an amazing story being told here by the Anima Mundi. The prophecies of the Maya were not meant to be taken literally! But that's just like our rationally bent culture, to take a beautiful myth and turn it into bits of scientific data.

All the dying-and-rising-god myths have been based on what occurs during the Winter solstice. For millennia, it has been a profound time of reflection and meaning. This particular solstice is special. According to Mayan elder and priest, Carlos Barrios,
Mayan Day-keepers view the Dec. 21, 2012 date as a rebirth, the start of the World of the Fifth Sun. It will be the start of a new era resulting from and signified by the solar meridian crossing the galactic equator and the Earth aligning itself with the center of the galaxy (What the Mayan Elders are Saying About 2012).
This particular kind  of solstice only occurs every 26,000 years. In my view, this coming Friday will be the beginning of a new epoch for humanity, one which will bring us to greater consciousness and greater clarity concerning our mission here on this planet. It will be what the Mayans call the World of the Fifth Sun.

Dec 18, 2012

The Suffering Of The World Soul

Weeping Woman, by Vincent Van Gogh
Too many people have been analyzing their pasts, their childhoods, their memories, their parents, and realizing that it doesn't do anything-or that it doesn't do enough (James Hillman).
For many years, we who have wanted more of life than football games and the latest reality TV show have been focused on our own, for want of a better nomenclative, "spiritual development." Certainly, there is a place for that in life, but there comes a time when our focus must be shifted to a higher priority. Our world is in dire straits. Our people, the people of our planet, are aching for a new paradigm. The higher priority of which I speak is caring for the Soul of the planet, the Anima Mundi.

We have seen the end result of a positivistic, myth-denying, sacrilegious mindset that allows bankers to run roughshod over those less fortunate; that encourages corporations to advertise to the point of brainwashing people into endless buying of nonsensical products; that influences people to bring assault rifles to public places in the hope of massacring as many as possible. Our society has become psychotic. Our culture should be uprooted and plowed under, so that a new one can take its place, albeit gradually. Of course, we should not hope for a Utopia, for that will never come to pass. We must not be naive. With the eyes of Imagination, however, we can see a time when better lives and a better planet is possible.

Robert Sardello wrote:
The individual presented himself in the therapy room of the nineteenth century, and during the twentieth the patient suffering breakdown is the world itself . . . The new symptoms are fragmentation, specialization, expertise, depression, inflation, loss of energy, jargoneze, and violence. Our buildings are anorexic, our business paranoid, our technology manic.
Since the advent of modern depth psychology, individuals have been focusing mostly on their own journey of the Soul, which is perfectly fine, as long as one remembers there is a greater good, i.e. the psychic health of the World Soul. Of course, caring for one's individual Soul contributes to the health of the World Soul. We simply must be cognizant of this fact and not fall under the illusion that our own well-being is primary. Remember the words of alchemist and philosopher Michael Sendivogius:
Maior autem animae pars extra corpus est ( The greater part of Soul is outside the body)
The evil and ugliness we see in our world are psychopathologizations of the Anima Mundi, symptoms that provide clues as to Her psychic state of affairs. Traditionally, patients were treated with forms of inter-subjective therapies, and even group-related therapies, but the world remained external to these. Many patients have made tremendous progress. Millions are in better shape today than possibly anytime in history. Certainly, there are many troubled people out there, and many who purposely choose to follow evil. For the most part, however, humans have achieved astounding and wonderful things in the past few hundred years. It is now time to shift our focus to healing our world. In this, we heal ourselves. The separateness of objective and subjective notions will fall by the wayside. Dualistic ideas like the so-called mind/body split will vanish as we begin to see that our Universe is interconnected and interrelational.

Dec 16, 2012

Musings On The Sandy Hook Shootings

Photo by Jiri Hodan
First of all, let me say I am awash in grief over this incident. My heart goes out to the parents of these precious children.

Every time a mass shooting occurs, the cause-and-effect people come out of the woodwork. Some say it's because of violent video games; some say it is due to violence in movies; and some claim all we need to do is ban the sale of firearms. I think it goes much deeper than any of these, much deeper than anything rational. There is no direct cause for something this heinous in the human experience. Such acts result from a very long process of deanimization of our culture. By the term, "deanimization," I mean the removal of Soul from the human experience.

The following quote from C.G Jung, which I used in my article, The Loss of Myth, applies to this situation:

. . .the individual who wishes to have an answer to the problem of evil, as it is posed today, has need, first and foremost of self-knowledge, that is, the utmost possible knowledge of his own wholeness. He must know relentlessly how much good he can do, and what crimes he is capable of, and must beware of regarding the one as real and the other as illusion. Both are elements within his nature, and both are bound to come to light in him, should he wish — as he ought — to live without self deception or self-delusion (C.G. Jung, MDR, pg 330). 
These shootings we have seen for a number of years are not effects of direct causes. They are, rather, pathological symptoms of our culture. 

I proposed in the aforementioned article that those who have not erected sufficiently protective mythical and symbolic barriers  are more prone to allowing the tsunami of unconscious forces, which include some very evil phenomena, to wash over us. This is what religion once accomplished for Western culture, but no longer does, since it has adopted most of the thought-patterns of those who attempt to banish symbols and myths from the minds of all of us. I am referring here to fundamentalists of all religions, who hold the world's most powerful and cathartic symbologies and mythologies in utter contempt. I am also referring to those adherents of scientism, who see no worth in things of the Soul at all. They have made a Faustian deal, where Soul has been given in exchange for scientific and materialistic knowledge. 

Notice I used the word, "allowing" in the above paragraph. There is a choice involved here. One can very consciously give oneself over to the left-hand path. One decides to be a follower of evil. Once open to these forces, one's actions are not one's own. Evil is not simply the Augustinian privatio boni, the privation of good; evil is a very real phenomenon. The adherents of scientism will never explain it rationally.

Just as Perseus used Athena's polished shield to view Medusa's hideous reflection without being turned to stone, so we reflect upon images and symbols to better understand the evil within us, without giving ourselves over to it. This is the purpose of the Shadow archetype, in Jungian terms. We are protected by the myths; they have a mitigating effect on the power of the unconscious forces. We live without them to our demise. 

I don't know the circumstances of the shooter's life. He was obviously insane. But how many insane people became that way because of a privation of Soul? How many became that way because they chose to follow evil? It is a deep mystery why someone follows after darkness to the exclusion of light.

Our culture has failed miserably. We must realize, and soon, what we're doing and correct it. We must restore the things of Soul to our society. We must reconnect with the Sacred. We must, once again, emphasize the importance of what we once called a "classical education," where Classics studies and the Humanities were primary. We once studied the myths of our culture and had them ingrained into us. Now, we are inculcated with math and science so that corporations can make more profit from us.
This evening, my prayers and thoughts are with the families of the victims of this most heinous act. May your hearts be filled with the peace that passes all understanding.

Dec 15, 2012

The Gods Are Calling

Margarita and Woland, by Julia Dolgorukova
It is possible that the day in which we live is the most crucial in human history. At no other time has mankind faced the complex issues our generation does. No other period had the ability to bless or destroy the entire populous, as we do today. This planet could either be a wholesome hospitable world for all, or a torturous hell for many. This is not a new message. Many have warned us before.

I am of the mind that the Soul of the World has been working towards this moment for millenia. I am not saying the universe is deterministic, that the Anima Mundi has everything planned out. I see history as being both free and determined, a synthesized modus operandi that supersedes these categories.

She operates as we operate, for She is our Collective Soul. She moves through the Earth via the Gods, or, as Jungians tend to call them, the "archetypes of the collective unconscious." Remember, Soul is composed of both conscious and unconscious. Jung mostly discussed the individual side of things, but he was aware of the collective aspect of Soul, as well. The Gods carry out the imagined Reality of the Anima Mundi throughout the planet. Indeed, there is both a personal and collective manifestation of this. I am mostly interested in the collective phenomenon of Soul.

For thousands of years, the Gods have either been largely ignored or downright forgotten. Much of our lack of consciousness involves our forgetfulness. We have pushed the Gods aside in favor of science, technology, capitalism, and political power. This seems to be nearing an end. Things are changing, gradually, but noticeably. The Gods are calling to us. Their voices grow louder everyday, as we move forward in the stream of Time. All one need do is watch the evening news and you will see evidence for this. The collective archetypes manifest themselves daily. The Gods demand to be heard. We cannot continue to collectively repress them without our having to face dire consequences. Just as we, to our dismay, individually repress things within our own Soul, we can repress things collectively. As above, so below.

Sadly, the archetypal Shadow has reared its head yesterday, in the form of one who totally identified himself with this dark god. Just as the individual Shadow needs to be dealt with, so does our collective Shadow. We must not continue to ignore these events!

Let us take a moment to remind ourselves that the Anima Mundi and her Gods are not literal Beings, as we usually tend to anthropomorphize such powerful images.
Let us imagine the anima mundi neither above the world encircling it as a divine and remote emanation of spirit, a world of powers, archetypes, and principles transcendent to things, nor within the material world as its unifying panpsychic life-principle. Rather let us imagine the anima mundi as that particular soul-spark, the seminal image, which offers itself through each thing in its visible form. Then anima mundi indicates the animated possibilities presented by each event, as it is, its sensuous presentation as face bespeaking its interior image--in short, its availability to imagination, its presence as a psychic reality. Not only animals and plants ensouled as in the Romantic vision, but soul is given with each thing; God-given things of nature and man-made things of the street (James Hillman, “Anima Mundi," Spring, 1982).
The repression of the Gods came about because of a radical shift toward monotheism that began to gradually occur in ancient Greece, possibly with Xenophanes of Colophon. In his poetry, he criticized Homer and Hesiod for belief in a pantheon of Gods. Of course, monotheism was already prevalent in Zoroastrianism and Judaism prior to this. The Greek religion, from what we know, however, was polytheistic. It was only with Xenophanes, and later Parmenides, that this began to change. By the time of Plato, the Gods had become abstracted as he searched for the absolute Good and the absolute Truth. Plato was beginning to move toward a monotheistic approach that would come to dominate all of Western society.

I believe the era of the rebirth of the Gods began when Nietzsche declared, in The Gay Science:
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it (Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125, tr. Walter Kaufmann)?
At this point, a paradigm shift occurred. The collective Soul was changing, as She heard the lamentations of the long forgotten Deities. These types of changes do not happen overnight. Time is the handmaiden of Soul. I believe that Nietzsche's Daimon knew exactly how to inspire the great man to write these words that signalled a new day on the Earth. May we heed those long forgotten voices and revivify our world and our people.

Dec 12, 2012

The New Myth of Global Individuation

History and anthropology teach us that a human society cannot long survive unless its members are psychologically contained within a central living myth. Such a myth provides the individual with a reason for being (Edward Edinger, The Creation of Consciousness, Jung's Myth for Modern Man, 1984, p.9).
For millenia, we humans lived largely estranged from each other. Most of us were unconscious of our peers around the world. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this began to change. Gradually, the wide world became more and more accessible and its people were able to better communicate, mainly as technology grew more and more sophisticated. We could say that technology has brought about a greater collective consciousness. There is no doubt this is true. The advent of the Internet has accelerated this phenomenon. We are much more aware of each other today than at any point in history. It is an amazing time to be alive!

Our society has adopted a myth that science and technology is the path to truth and freedom. I see this as part of the destiny of planet Earth. The Anima Mundi seeks global consciousness; all individual Souls will gain awareness of each other. She is using technology to bring this about. There are those who would try and drive a wedge between science and Soul, but this is a waste of time. Science is simply another story we tell; technology is its handmaiden. These tales are used by Soul just as effectively as the Greek myths of long ago were used to lay the foundation of Western culture.

This movement toward global consciousness began in the nineteenth century when the telegraph was invented. In a book entitled, The Victorian Internet, author Tom Standage argues that the real qualitative shift in global communications occurred when use of the telegraph became widespread. The ability to communicate across great distances was the greatest boon to global awareness since the invention of the printing press.The advent of the Internet was a huge quantitative shift in global communications.

We know from studying depth psychology that Soul is composed of many constituent elements, or archetypes. Most of the time, these are unconscious of one another. The World Soul is similarly composed. It is made up of all the billions of individual Souls on planet Earth. We are beginning to become more aware of each other as the distance between us diminishes daily. This is quite similar to what C.G. Jung envisioned as health for the troubled psyche, i.e. integration of the various constituent parts. He called this individuation. This is occurring on a global scale.

Everyday, we communicate with people all over the world. Bits and packets fly to and fro around the globe, fueling the evolutionary process that will eventually enable a leap of human consciousness. When we are more aware of each other, we are able to love each other. When we love each other, war will end and greed will be a thing of the past. This is the new myth we have formulated. Listen closely to the story.......

Dec 8, 2012

The Death Of Monotheism

Sunflower head, by Takkk
In his greatest work, Thus Spake Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche proclaimed that "God is dead." This means several things. First of all, the philosophical abstraction known as "God" to institutional religion, especially Christianity, has met its demise in Western culture. Secondly, it means the dualistic metaphysic of Plato is no longer viable. It also means the point of centrality (monotheism) that once undergirded Western culture has been ripped away.  After Nietzsche, because we didn't know where to turn, we were left teetering on the brink of a dark abyss, of which Soul is the bridge across.

Giordano Bruno, in the sixteenth century, showed that there is no center to the universe at all. According to the Hermetic maxim of correspondence, we can also claim that there is no center to God, the universe, or the human Soul. The concept of centrality has fallen away gradually in human thinking. After concluding there is no center to the universe, thinkers realized this was not only a physical characteristic of Nature, but of Soul as well. The idea was actually a projection of what we believed existed in God and Soul. Eventually, however, the projection was withdrawn and we were faced with the stark reality that God, Soul, and Universe are all acentric and polytheistic realities.

The multifariousness of Nature is manifested in all Her creations. The above photo is but one example. This beautiful sunflower head is metaphorical of the living Beings that compose our Souls and the World Soul. There are many such examples in Nature, if we were more aware of them.

The Copernican theory did manage to make the Sun the center of the solar system instead of the Earth, but it still required a center. Bruno opposed this and claimed that we live in an acentric universe. This is the predominant theory today. The concept of centrality is a product of a control mentality. For example, having a central figure as the head of a religion or state to promote and perpetuate control. When a center is required, there is usually a lack of freedom in religion, society, or nation.
When released from the tyrannical imperialism of monotheism by the death of God, man has the opportunity of discovering new dimensions hidden in the depths of reality's history. He may discover a new freedom to acknowledge variousness and many-sidedness. He may find, as if for the first time, a new potency to create imaginatively his hopes and desires, his laws and pleasures (David L. Miller, The New Polytheism, p. 3-4).
The proclamation of God's death paved the way for a new epoch of freedom. If centrality suggests control, acentrality suggests theological and psychological liberty. "The death of God gives rise to the rebirth of the Gods" (ibid.). We are a privileged group to live in the Epoch of Soul.

Humans have always been polytheistic in nature. The word, polytheism, is a way to explain the plurality of living Beings that compose each and every person. Make no mistake, they are real Persons. Monotheism, on the other hand, is the promotion of a single, central figure at the center of the human Microcosm, which we call the Ego. The overinflated Ego is the Minotaur at the center of the maze of existence that consumes all others that challenge his authority. It is a male character because monotheism is very much a patriarchal phenomenon.

Polytheism is just as much a social phenomenon as it is a theological phenomenon. The idea of polytheism is inherent in the democratic ideal. The implication here is that there are many voices having a say in matters, rather than what occurs in totalitarian societies. True human nature demands democracy. Because we have many Voices within us, the best form of government for humans is to include the many voices of the people. As above, so below.

Our true nature as multifaceted selves leaves no room for an autonomous, overruling entity. Our identities are not fixed because we are composed of many equally real, but distinct personalities. Variety is the spice of life!

I would like to remind my readers that Reality is paradoxical in nature and that one truth, such as the truth of our polytheistic nature, does not totally exclude what truth there is to be found in monotheism. Reality is paradoxical, meaning we can simultaneously adhere to seemingly contradictory truths and not be inconsistent.  The truth of the One and the Many has long been a problem for Western philosophy. For me, it's not a problem at all because I believe one can hold such views in dialectical tension.

Most of the ideas I write in support of have long been neglected in the West. There have been overemphases  on matter, the body, monotheism, spirit, etc. I try to give a voice to those truths that have been ignored for such a long time. Also, I try to reject an either/or mentality in an attempt to see Reality in synthesis.

Dec 4, 2012

Soul Is The Twilight Zone

There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition. And, it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone (Rod Serling).
That's right, you've heard those words many times before; Rod Serling, in his unique way, providing one of the opening monologues for The Twilight Zone. It never struck me before, but these words are a wonderful description of Soul. Perhaps Mr. Serling had this in mind when he penned these words. I don't know, but there is a lot of truth packed into them.

First of all, we are quite familiar with the three dimensions of tangibility. The fourth dimension is time, and all four together are usually taken to be what physicists call "spacetime." What would a fifth dimension be like? Rod Serling tells us it is "beyond that which is known to man." This is no different than Heraclitus' attempted description of Soul:
You could not discover the limits of Soul even if you traveled by every path in order to do so; such is the depth of its meaning (qtd. in The Presocratics, by Philip Wheelwright, p. 72).
Soul is "as vast as space and as timeless as infinity." Same idea. Soul is limitless. It is the most important idea that has ever arisen in the human imagination. In this fifth dimension, time and space are totally meaningless. They are mere creations of the human mind that facilitate the framing of our experience of the three dimensions. In other words, time and space mitigate the vastness and infinite nature of Soul in order that we might live day-to-day lives and interact with this world. In this way, we see our lives as having some semblance of "normality." But, all the while, we have this churning, infinitely powerful Maelstrom at the very core of our being.

The Twilight Zone is not a physical location we can travel to via spacetime. "It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition." This is a perfect description of what Plato called The Metaxy, which I have discussed before in this forum many times, especially in my article, On The Wings Of A Dream. It is also the same as Henry Corbin's idea of Mundus Imaginalis. The Twilight Zone is Soul.

Serling's usage of the word, "twilight," in naming his show was probably not an accident. Serling was a very learned man. Undoubtedly, he knew the implications of the word. "Twilight" is half-light, half-darkness, the dusk of the day. Is it the "in-between" state, or The Metaxy. Soul is the middle-ground between light and darkness, Spirit and Matter.

He names it as "the dimension of imagination." That is Soul in a nutshell, if one could describe Soul in a nutshell.
Image is the irreducible element in experience. Conversely, the essence of experience is condensed and carried within images. According to Omer, images “both mediate and constitute experience” (2008). Images are the glue image (Soul And Soullessness, by Karen Jaenke).
Soul is imagination, a cavernous treasury—to use an image from St. Augustine—a confusion and richness, both. (James Hillman, Revisioning Psychology, 1975).
Serling says "it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge." These are excellent metaphors for light and darkness, the light of knowledge and the blackness of fear in the depths of human being. Soul is that whirling Vortex that pulls everything down into the depths and, simultaneously, raises everything up into the heavens. Soul is a metaxical tourbillion that primarily exhibits a rhizomal motion. It simultaneously expands consciousness outward and inward, away from and toward one's fellow humans.

Watch a few episodes sometimes. When you do, think about these words and see if you agree with my assessment of this wonderful emanation of the Soul of Rod Serling.

Dec 1, 2012

Music And Magick

Music 11, by Shkoder11
We know the gods enter our consciousness through music. Using music in religious ritual is a very ancient practice and is very effective. One aspect of Soul is how, through skilled musicians, waves of denser and lighter air produce sounds, which fall upon our ears and resonate to certain vibrational frequencies in our bodies. Since our bodies are not separate from our minds, Souls, or Spirits, these sounds affect our whole being in different ways. Our moods can be changed, our emotions enlivened or deadened, and our very consciousness can be altered for good or bad.

To demonstrate the way certain cultures (Hindus and Buddhists) view music, the ancient Chakra system is shown below. Each chakra corresponds to a part of the body, a certain color, and a musical tone. The most interesting thing to me about chakras is that they are said to be vortices of power and energy. It's like saying they are like mini-Souls throughout the body.

Chakra Color Note
Root Red C
Sacral Orange D
Solar Plexus Yellow E
Heart Green F
Throat Blue G
Third Eye Indigo A
Crown Violet or White B

There is a treasure-trove of music in the unconscious. It contains all the music you've ever heard in your life, in addition to collective tunes that exist as archaic remnants of your ancestors' music. Certain types of music appeal to some because of a certain ancestral voice within them. Sometimes, I hear the songs of the Scotch-Irish and Celts, as well as Appalachian folk music, bubbling up, at times, into my consciousness. I also am very moved when I hear Gregorian chanting, as well as the medieval sounds of  troubadours and trouvères.

Music, like anything Soulish, is beyond comprehension. The ways in which it moves us is mysterious and deep. All the various archetypal gods have their own musical styles. Think of all the different genres of music as ruled by a different archetype. The archetypes can greatly influence one's mood. Sometimes, the music of the archetype, one is in the grip of, will appease the god and the mood will dissipate. For instance, why do the Blues help one who is depressed? It seems paradoxical, but it works. Music wrought in hardship and suffering is always helpful in alleviating that suffering.

I've always wondered why music written while under the influence of drugs is usually better than if drugs were not used. Think of all the great music of the sixties and seventies, and most great music in general. I would rather listen to the Aerosmith of 1973 than today's version. Their music then was superior, indeed. Think of Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Ray Charles, et al. I realize some drugs can be destructive. Those songs just seem to have so much more Soul.

Basically, Music is Soul. James Hillman wrote that Music is one of the three bridges between the conscious and unconscious, the others being mathematics and myth (Soul's Code, p. 94). In this role as Mediatrix, Music is Soul.


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