Yesod is the lunar world of the Great Mother, the Goddess in all her multitudinous
forms. The Moon exemplifies the notion of dynamic equilibrium; it
builds a firm foundation of stability based on cyclic change. This
ebb and flow is characteristics of the Feminine Ms.teries and Lunar Magic.
The Moon of Yesod symbolizes fertility of body, soul, mind, and imagination.
Its manifestations range from reflective and purely automatic impulses
of generation to providing a source of inspiration. This fluctuating
world of shape-shifting forms is known in mythology as ISIS, the Great
Mother who contains all other goddesses. She represents the archetypal
virginity of the feminine aspect of Godhead, its all-encompassing receptivity.
The characteristic experience of Yesod or the lower astral plane is a trance
state of varying depth. Most commonly, ego, memory and control are
weak or absent. There is dissociation from an Ordinary State of Consciousness.
If memory of the imagery experience is retained, it may be misinterpreted
or distorted, resulting in no effective assimilation into daily life.
Receptivity is the keyword for Yesod, which in the Four Worlds is represented
by the following:
1. Physical Plane: In the phenomenal world Yesod is
characterized as the electromagnetic fields, known by physicists to be
the formative basis of matter. In the human body, the genitals represent
Yesod. Instincts act on the body producing pyschomotor automatisms,
or the automatic gut-feel responses. Astrologically, Yesod is the
Moon or Luna. Gareth Knight links Pan to Yesod stating that "Pan
gives the idea of archetypal strength which is characteristic of the etheric
and of the action of the Moon on Earth." Pan's appearance here also
indicates his other manifestations including panic reactions, nightmare,
guilt, and disturbed erotic involvement. Hyperarousal.
2. Astral Plane: At this level one can tap the reservoir
of life-force or pranic energy. Kundalini is a physical manifestation
of the astral form of Yesod. The therapeutic practice of Bioenergetics
resolves repression and traumas releasing vitality. This level of
lunar consciousness includes one's personal reactions to the complex environment.
Yesod is a sphere of personal awareness. The personality is a unique
complex of emotions and thoughts. This is the level of Moon Magic
(i.e. Wicca). It provides no access past the Astral Plane.
Its negative effects include overemotionalism or reactiveness.
3. Causal Plane: From the psychological perspective,
Yesod is the realm of Imagination and Archetypes. One may experience
it through Trance or various Art forms. There is understanding of
the contrasexual aspect of the anima and animus. There is release
from possession and enhanced control of emotions through employing the
imaginative technique of personification of divine forces.
4. Archetypal Plane: On the highest level, Yesod manifests
as dream experiences and facination. This is the level or oracular
One of the main tasks of Yesod, sphere of the Moon, is to acquire a firm
foundation in Qabalistic theory before beginning any actual practice.
Yesod is the automated consciousness or habit mind which is also sometimes
called the Vital Soul, or realm of instincts. In physics, this astral
dynamism is known as electromagnetic fields, the force which lies behind
and patterns all forms. Thus, the subconscious underlies and directs
our mundane awareness in an analogous way to that in which EM fields are
the subtle basis of matter. Behavior precipitates, as it were, from
hidden subconscious dynamics. We can raise much of this unconscious
motivation to awareness.
Magical tradition asserts that the human faculty of imagination is capable
of creating impressions in the astral substance which guide and direct
subsequent manifestation. In more modern parlance, creative visualization
or dwelling subconsciously on something repeatedly, increases the chance
of altering EM field patterns. This is neither objective nor subjective,
since the wave fronts involved operate both externally in the environment
and internally in the organ of perception, the CNS. Therefore, magical
exercises, carried out properly, are designed to establish and strengthen
specific EM field patterns (or archetypes) with great clarity in the consciousness
of the practitioner. (Ref. EM Fields and Their Relation to the Astral,
in Holistic Qabalah, Netzach).
Misuse of imagination has created chaos, error, and confusion in the collective
consciousness. Generations of wrong thinking have left a groove on
the cultural mind, which manifests mostly as emotional fragmentation or
misplaced zeal. Imagination is an essentially spiritual power whose
expression has been distorted. In Yesod we seek to reestablish emotional
balance and control of responses and reactions which are usually below
our threshold of awareness. At Yesod, this applies particularly to
the channeling of the intense reproductive urge. We seek connection
with the uplifting aspects of sexual energy, rather than its animalistic
"The phallic symbolism evident in the Magical Image of Yesod (Ithyphallic
Youth) needs to be understood as referring to the reproductive energy as
it expresses throughout all levels of life. The regeneration attributed
to this energy in man never refers to the external organs, but to the interior
nervous organism. It is this inner force that is always meant; the
force that works through the interior centers and is known as the Serpent
Fire, Kundalini, or Prana.
Yesod tests and corrects the patterns we formulate with our ability to
create mental images by projecting them into the field of sensation in
Malkuth. If our imagery is based on error, disharmony results and
the ensuing pain helps to make us aware of the need for more work to free
ourselves from succumbing to the errors in the collective consciousness.
The formative aspects of Yesod are directly under the dominion of the self-conscious
image-making faculty in man. We can release old blocks or habit patterns
by a more enlightened use of our self-conscious powers. Old destructive
habits are easily given up when resistance to new, more constructive forms
of reactions is given up. This takes a conscious effort at first
to divert the flow of energy from the deeply grooved pattern into a new
channel. But soon the new, constructive emotion becomes habit.
After the work of purifying the body comes the work of purifying the psychical
nature. This means an upgrading of our automatic response and reactions
to life. We become more consciously aware of responses that are not
in harmony with the goals of the Higher Self. We create a channel
for the liberating powers of the Self, which alone perfects us as a personality.
The higher Self uses the ego-personality to control subconsciousness by
suggestion. It prepares the subconscious level of us for reception
of higher instructions as to the workings of nature, i.e. healing misperceptions
and emotional wounds or complexes. Mainly this means overcoming resistance
The subconscious mind creates patterns in our thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
If the mainstream of your thoughts, acts and emotions counteract your Higher
Mind idealisms, then not much of these actually get incorporated into your
foundation. The "new image" must be frequently reinforced or you
will revert to the line of least resistance and act out your old, unadapted
habit. But we can free ourselves from this bondage by deliberately
and persistently visualizing, the image of our perfected personality.
At the same time, remember to practice diverting attention and imagery
from what you do not want to be or do or express.
"In Yesod are held the patterns of all possible forms. Certain
simple geometrical figures can be discovered in all natural phenomena.
Basically these forms are the cross, the square, the circle, the pentagon,
the hexagon and octagon. All the manifold forms of the physical plane
are based upon these simple figures. Their proportions contain representations
of all force relationships in the universe. The lines and angular
correspondences shown by these figures contain the principles upon which
sound vibration, light and color, gravitation and electromagnetism depend.
Wherever anything comes into physical being these proportions can be found.
They can be detected as primal units in the kingdoms of nature. They
are expressions of the One in the Many."
TEARS OF LAKSHMI
I saw nothing but the Moon, deep inside.
Upon its evanescent pull I solely relied.
That lustrous, eternal, mysterious pearl,
Cool symbol of the psychic world.
Her orbit forms an etheric circle,
Echoing memories of love's euphoric recall.
Source of immortal joy with
To enter that realm I mightily strived,
Erasing my doubt about the ultimate goal.
Spirit enters body compelling surrender of the soul.
Resplendent in Fullness unveiled,
Her charms are many, minutely detailed.
Thirst for that spring of fresh water
Flowing from the Source of all decrees.
The ever-virgin cannot be fruitful,
So plumb her depths and sail her sea.
You are her son, as I am her daughter,
Molded in that image as by a potter.
The lotus-eyed goddess always knows
Just for whom the tears of Lakshmi flow.
With a mind as calm as moonlight
In the shelter of the Tree of Life.
Leaning on the windowsill of Heaven
Trust your body's innate wisdom.
She flies with her own gossamer wings;
Her heart hiding secrets of arcane things,
Learned neither by price nor by prayer.
Adventure in her labyrinth, if you dare.
The turbulent stream of imaginal flow,
The power of energy rooted below.
Moon of my delight, brilliant blue ray of light.
All spheres of heaven merge in that sight.
With quicksilver orb, and luminous halo.
For that perfect Queen of sacred love's pillow,
Our yearning discontent never ceases.
For the Source of Life it always increases.
II. YETZIRAH, the Emotional Plane
The common name for this plane of awareness is the Astral Plane or the
Astral Light. The Astral Light is synonymous with the Alchemical
idea of the Anima Mundi, or Soul of the World. The Jungian idea of
the Collective Unconscious as the treasure house of fluctuating imagery
is a modern explanation for the experience of this phenomena.
The Astral Light is also perceived behind the phenomenon of electromagnetic
fields and their effects in patterning physical manifestations.
The Astral Light is an omnipresent and all-permeating fluid or medium
of extremely subtle matter; substance in a highly tenuous state, electric
and magnetic in constitution, which is the model upon which the physical
world is built. It is the endless, changeless, ebb and flow of the
world's forces that, in the last resort, guarantee the stability of the
world and provides its foundation. Yesod is this stable foundation,
this changeless ebb and flow of astral forces, and the universal reproductive
power in nature. (1)
There are two distinct divisions into a Lower Astral and Higher Astral
Plane. The Lower Astral includes the grossest manifestations of contact
with the Divine through instincts and uncontrollable psychomotor phenomena
influencing the body. the Higher Astral is the plane of images and
affects, including emotional response. The Lower Astral is characterized
by dissociation and loss or absence of memory and ego functions.
The Higher Astral includes the first attempts to implement the will in
a relationship with the sub-conscious forces. In the Astral Plane,
archetypes are perceived in images or mind-pictures; often this means only
a vague awareness or foreboding.
The Astral is also the realm of dream and divination. It is the Lunar
plane of psychism and mediums. The Astral Body is appropriate for
exploration or travel in this plane. Here, both Godforms and matter
(Maya) are visible. The Astral Plane influences the body through
the parasympathetic nervous system or the Central Nervous System.
Its negative effects include over-emotionalism. Psychological reflection
in this Plane leads to the acquisition of reliable information concerning
self-knowledge. All other experience here, especially for purely
personal gain, is to be discouraged.
The goal is to develop a cognitive understanding within the depths of the
subconscious mind by observing the rich forms, exotic dreams, and luxurious
images which present themselves in this medium. On the Astral Plane,
symbols are living entities! The Astral Light, having no characteristics
or form is fluidic, watery, reflective, and impressionable. Trying
to create an impression on the astral substance (through visualization)
which manifests latter in fulfillment of one's desire is misuse of psychic
power for personal interest. This is the lowest form of magic, and
to be shunned by all serious aspirants as a hindrance in the Work.
INSERT PICTURE TREE 1: THE FOUR
"The astral plane is said to include but extend beyond the physical
plane of our everyday world, and the astral light (the light created by
God's command 'Let there be light", according to Eliphas Levi) transmits
the rays or waves or vibrations of human will-power, thought, feeling,
and imagination. In terms of Jungian psychology it is the medium
of the archetypes, the basic ideas and symbols of the collective unconscious.
In the astral plane thought, fancy and emotion have the same concrete reality
as a solid object here on the physical plane, and the astral light is a
great reservoir of occult power (like the mana of the Polynesians, or the
prana of Hindus). Every human thought makes an imprint on the astral
light, it is said, and in it the seer can read the history of the distant
past in the Akashic Record or Cosmic Memory, through it the occultist can
discern the reality behind the surface appearance of things, with it the
magician works as a smith works with metals in his forge, shaping the subtle
substance of the astral light with the tools of concentrated imagination
and will ."
--Man, Myth & Magic, p. 1630
"Its fluidity makes it easily suggestible. Even the most tenuous
ideas impress or influence it. By directing the current of his will,
ritually motivated, the magician is able to cause changes in the Astral
The Astral Light or Astral Plane contains or constitutes the Cosmic
Memory which is a repository of everything that has ever been thought or
done. The Cosmic Memory is thus a vast, impersonal record of impressions
which have been received since the beginning of time. Another name
for the Astral Light is the Akasha; for this reason the Cosmic Memory is
also called the Akashic Records. As these records are in picture
form, they are recoverable by a competent skryer or medium."
--Man, Myth & Magic, p. 186
Dashing to and fro 'tween the pillars of the temple
In the centre there is a way to get off this 'time' a ways.
Do you see the King of Edom
who reigh unbalanced force
in the dawn of the birth of Israel?
They're the pendulums of peace and pain.
Faith itself must be slain by certainty
and chastity by ecstasy.
Wake from the sleep of Shilome
and be for the birth that is real.
Still the pendulums don't kneel to them.
Live the Probation's zeal.
There is Maya, the woman spinning
illusion with her dancing.
Weeping in her irony for all poor drowning souls.
She'll lay you low and make amends.
She burns your candle at both ends.
No period for her sentients,
...and dashing to and fro
'tween the pillars of the temple.
In the center there is a way
to get off.
John Gowan describes the three major modes of consciousness (or contact
between the individual ego and the divine) as Trance, Art, and Creativity.
Each state has particular characteristics which correspond precisely with
Tree of Life modeling. (2)
a) Yesod = trance = prototaxic mode (characterized by loss of ego); psychomotor
phenomena, signs. Lunar consciousness.
b) Path 25, Trump XIV, ART = Art = parataxic mode (characterized by the
production of images whose meaning is not clear or categorical; personal
or idiosyncratic use of symbols and imagery); affective, images.
Lunar changing to
c) Tiphareth = Creativity = syntaxic mode (where meaning is more or less
fully cognized symbolically, with ego present); cognitive, symbols.
Solar consciousness of Causal Plane. Creativity is the result of
the harmonizing of lunar and solar elements.
Yesod as the Prototaxic Mode of Awareness:
The Prototaxic Mode (Trance) is an archaic mode of primitive consciousness
which involves the body in somatic and kinesthetic behavior. It is
characterized by dissociation and trance, awe, dread, horror, and panic.
It includes such phenomenal experiences as possession, mediumship, hypnosis,
astral projection, psychedelic drug experience, and paranormal aspects
including ESP. Its range extends from the extreme dissociation of
schizophrenia to the religious ecstasy of mystics and the magical flight
of shamans. At the lower end of the prototaxic scale, ego control
is weak or absent, and there is a general amnesia concerning the experiences
during the trance state. Though the trance state produces some intriguing
paranormal effects, it is the grossest form of contact with the divine
powers of the subconscious. Through a taxonomy of these manifestations
we may establish the relative value of these altered states of consciousness.
1. Schizophrenia (dissociation from daily life)
is the grossest.
Panic reactions including mob contagion; terrifying sense of peril; guilt
or sense of personal responsibility; disturbed erotic involvement or socially
unsanctioned sex life.
Positive disintegration which is the necessary preliminary deprogramming
phase preceding enlightenment. This mental illness is characteristic
of shamans, psychologists and other cases of the "wounded-healer".
Hysteria including hyperarousal and psychosomatic conversion-reactions.
Unstressing is a behavior outlet for the psychic tension accruing from
the confrontation with the powers of the Collective Unconscious.
Includes "talking in tongues", dancing, shaking, motor automatisms (spasms,
gasps, twitches, jerking, weeping, laughter, headaches, etc.).
2. Trance is the temporary restructuring of reality
orientation including paranormal effects such as ESP, etc. Trance
Sleep where images are profuse but the ego/will is absent.
Possession where the individual ego is usurped by a malevolent demon or
Mediumistic trance is a form of possession where a benign (or dead) spirit
controls and dominates the individual ego.
Group Trance Dance such as those practiced by America Indians, Sufis, and
Voodoo are also forms of possession, with paranormal manifestations.
Psychedelic drugs provide vivid imaginal "trips" which the ego has difficulty
recalling and integrating meaningfully.
Sensory Deprivation produces hallucinations and disorientation.
Hypnosis and Autohypnosis produce four classic depths of trance.
Shamanistic Trance is a high form of prototaxic operation. The sorcerer's
mission is to influence the environment by magic. He is not possessed
by spirits, but controls them. He retains his memory of magical flights
or Out-of-Body Experience. He receives and remembers instructions
from dreams, and because of his own wounding and recovery has the ability
Magical Trance is the prototaxic form of Lunar magic. It uses psychic
powers for personal interests. Its parataxic mode form is ritual;
its syntaxic activity is visualization.
3. Paranormal Aspects of the Prototaxic Mode include:
ESP (telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychometry).
Anesthesia of pain and healing
Fire-walking and other mastery over fire
Psychokenesis and poltergeist phenomena
Out-of-Body (OOB) experience, (magical flight) astral projection
Automatic writing or "channeling"
4. Higher Trance; theophanies or mystical experiences.
At this point, consciousness shifts modes of awareness to the Parataxic
Mode known as ART. There is general increase in conscious participation,
memory, and a movement from awe and dread toward pleasure as tensions are
released in a creative activity. Frequently these include ritual
(ceremonial magick) or the production of a socially recognizable work of
art with collective value. Further progress on the continuum leads
to increased cognitive awareness. Visualization ability is consciously
cultivated, and a form of psychic "map" is adopted, such as the Qabalistic
Tree of Life. Increasing self-realization leads to the desire to
meditate, seeking higher experiences of human fulfillment. The Syntaxic
mode means the ego cooperates with the inner processes enough to remain
fully conscious and in an Ordinary State of Consciousness. It voluntarily
subordinates itself to the transpersonal energy of the divine.
INSERT CHART OF TRUMP XIV
INSERT TABLE 6-2 Properties of Various Trance
a. Initiation: Zelator
At this juncture, of the ceremony, with the Airy elements vibrating
about him and through him, the Zelator is urged to be "prompt and active
as the Sylphs, but avoid frivolity and caprice. Be energetic and
strong as the Salamanders but avoid irritability and ferocity. Be
flexible and attentive to images, like the Undines, but avoid idleness
and changeability. Be laborious and patient like the Gnomes, but
avoid grossness and avarice. So shalt thou gradually develop the
powers of thy soul and fit thyself to command the spirits of the elements.
--Israel Regardie/The Golden Dawn
Initiation into the Sphere of Yesod is designed to produce the conscious
realization that one's true Identity resides in the Higher Self, known
in Magick as the Holy Guardian Angel. The stage of magickal practice
after Yesod is Path 25 (Trump XIV, ART) which is attempted Knowledge and
Conversation with this entity which personifies one's True Will.
As a Zelator, the aspirant seeks a lifestyle which is conducive to achieving
the conditions required by his project. "Change is stability" and
allows one to break free of outmoded habit patterns. This change
for the sake of the Great Work may never be undertaken at the emotional
expense of those close to you. No one ever made spiritual progress
by walking over the backs of others.
The Zelator is expected to conduct experiments with techniques of physical
clairvoyance, such as testing with ESP cards. He is required to become
proficient in Hatha Yoga, or some other comparable physical discipline
which encourages inner stillness. He learns the technique of pranayama,
or control of breathing and other autonomic functions. All of this
stilling of the body is for meditation. The Zelator learns how to
control his myriad thoughts (Dharana) and strives toward concentration.
The Zelator embodies that aspirant who experiences a psychic state midway
between enthusiasm and love. He is energetic and dedicated, one might
say fascinated with the sparkling imagery of his newly-found inner world.
He has a fanaticism which wears off once maturity on the Path is gained.
The meditation is, in fact, the counterpoint to the overenthusiastic hyperarousal
which might result in "burn out" if left unchecked. There is no advantage
to "too much, too soon" and students of the Middle Path are cautioned to
be moderate in all things, including meditation. Marathon meditation
days, at this point, would tend to produce psychic dissociation, rather
than a gradual integration of an expanded worldview.
A Zelator rarely moves again after his initiation as the volumes of his
Magickal Journal and Dream Diary are now too numerous.
b. Ritual: The Value of Dreamwork
The archetypes to be discovered and assimilated are precisely those
which have inspired the basic images of ritual and mythology. These
eternal ones of the dream are not to be confused with the personality
modified symbolic figures that appear in nightmares or madness to the tormented
individual. Dream is the personalized myth. Myth is the depersonalized
No one who does not know himself can know others. And in each
of us there is another whom we do not know. He speaks to us in dream
and tells us how differently he sees us from the way we see ourselves.
When, therefore, we find ourselves in a different situation to which there
is no solution, he can sometimes kindle a light that radically alters our
attitude; the very attitude that led us into the difficult situation.
--C. G. Jung
As we spend a large proportion of our lives in a dream state, a fuller
understanding of their implications may prove valuable. Today, there
are several prevailing theories concerning the significance and value of
dreams. No final statement about dream may be made. There are
several approaches to each perspective which is assumed a priori.
There are many alternatives to choose from. One's choice of style
in dreamwork will be determined by the mythemes currently embraced.
The characteristic attitudes associated with the archetypes will motivate
and influence one's approach to the dreamworld.
Strephon Kaplan Williams (3) (Jungian-Senoi Institute) is one of the foremost
proponents of Dreamwork. He outlines a six-point program for continued
1. Dialogue with the dream characters, asking questions and recording answers.
2. Re-experience of the dream through imagination, art projects, and creativity.
3. Examination of unresolved aspects of the dream, and contemplation of
4. Actualization of insights in daily life, where relevant.
5. Meditation on the source of dreams and insight from the Self.
6. Synthesize the essence of dreamlife and its meaning in a journal and
apply them in one's life journey.
To offer a variety of other approaches, we will cover theories on dreams
and dreaming from Jung's original work, the analytical psychology school,
para-psychology, and archetypal or imaginal psychology. Knowledge
of the antiquated Freudian system is so wide-spread that no further comment
here seems necessary.
Jung was the first to depart from Freud's "sexuality-fraught" perception
of dreams. Where Freud saw one complex, Jung saw many. He saw
in dreams a gamut of archetypes overseen by the transcendent function,
or Self. Analytical psychology amplified and clarified his original
material. Most of this work is concerned with the fantasy of the
process of individuation. It reflects an ego with a heroic attitude,
and proceeds by stages of development. Consciousness, at this stage,
is generally monotheistic. It has a tendency to seek the center of
meaning, as if there were only One. Parapsychological work done with
dreams also seems to reflect this attitude of searching, influencing, and
In Re-Visioning Psychology, James Hillman differs from the traditional
analytical viewpoint by stating:
Dreams are important to the Soul--not for the message the ego takes from
them, not for the recovered memories or the revelations; what does seem
to matter to the soul is the nightly encounter with a plurality of shades
in an underworld...the freeing of the soul from its identity with the ego
and the waking state...What we learn from dreams is what psychic nature
really is--the nature of psychic reality; not I, but we...not monotheistic
consciousness looking down from its mountain, but polytheistic consciousness
wandering all over the place.
In Jung's model, one major function of dreams is to provide the unconscious
with a means of exercising its regulative activity. Conscious attitudes
tend to become one-sided. Through their postulated compensatory effect,
dreams present different data and varying points of view. Individuation
is the psyche's goal; it seeks to bring this about through an internal
adjustment procedure. There is an admonition in Magick to "balance
each thought against its opposite." Dreams, according to Jung, do
this for us automatically. However, there must be a conscious striving
toward incorporation of the balancing attitudes presented through dreams
(this applies equally to fantasies and visions).
Another apparent function for a dream state is to take old information,
contained in long-term memory, incorporate it with those experiences, and
integrate them with new experiences. This creates new attitudes.
Since the dream conjoins current and past experiences to form new attitudes,
the dream contains possible information about the future. There is
a causal relationship between our attitudes and the events which manifest
from our many possible futures.
In studies at Maimonides Dream Labs, Stanley Krippner and Montague Ullman
were trying to impress certain information on an individual's dream.
They found that an individual, being monitored for dream states, could
incorporate a mandala, which was being concentrated on by another subject,
into his dream. This led to their famous theory on dream telepathy.
Dream symbols appear to allow repressed impulses to be expressed in disguised
forms. Dream symbols are essential message-carriers from the instinctive-archetypal
continuum to the rational part of the human mind. Their incorporation
enriches consciousness, so that it learns to understand the forgotten language
of the pre-conscious mind.
The dream language presents symbols from which you can gain value through
dream monitoring. You can use these dream symbols directly to facilitate
communication with this other aspect of yourself. Should you choose
later to re-program yourself out of old habit patterns, you're going to
want an accurate conception of what dream symbols really mean.
A symbol always stands for something that is unknown. It contains
more than it's obvious or immediate meaning. The symbolic function
bridges man's inner and outer world. Symbolism represents a continuity
of consciousness and preconscious mental activity, in which the preconscious
extends beyond the boundaries of the individual. These primitive
processes of prelogical thinking continue throughout life and do not indicate
a regressive mode of thought. Dream symbols are independent of time,
space, and causality.
The meaning of unconscious contents varies with the specific internal and
external situation of the dreamer. Some dreams originate in a personal
or conscious context. These dreams usually reflect personal conflicts,
or fragmentary impressions left over from the day. Some dreams, on
the other hand, are rooted in the contents of the collective unconscious.
Their appearance is spontaneous and may be due to some conscious experience,
which causes specific archetypes to constellate.
It is often difficult to distinguish personal contents from collective
contents. In dreams, archetypes often appear in contemporary dress,
often as persons vitally connected with us. In this case, both their
personal aspect (or objective level), and their significance as projections
or partial aspects of the psyche (subjective level) may be brought into
A dream is never merely a repetition of preceding events, except in the
case of past psychic trauma. There is specific value in the symbols
and context the psyche utilizes. It may produce any; why is it sending
just this dream and not another? Dreams rich in pictorial detail
usually relate to individual problems. Universal contexts are revealed
in simple, vivid images with scant detail.
No attempt to interpret a single dream, or even the sequence dreams fall
in, is fruitful. In fact, later research by Asklepia
Foundation researchers asserts it is more important to journey
using dreams as experiential springboards for therapeutic outcomes.
In interpreting a group of dreams, we seek to discover the 'center of meaning'
which all the dreams express in varied form. When this 'center' is
discovered by consciousness and its lesson assimilated, the dreams begin
to spring from a new center. Recurring dreams generally indicate
an unresolved conflict trying to break into consciousness.
There are three types of significance a dream may carry:
1) It may stem from a definite impression of the immediate
past. As a reaction, it supplements or compliments the impressions
of the day.
2) Here there is balance between the conscious and unconsciousness
components. The dream contents are independent of the conscious situation,
and are so different from it they present conflict.
3) When this contrary position of the unconscious is
stronger, we have spontaneous dreams with no relation to consciousness.
These dreams are archetypal in origin, and consequently are over-powering,
strange and often oracular. (These dreams are not necessarily most
desirable to the student, as they may be extremely dangerous if the dreamer's
ego is still too narrow to recognize and assimilate their meaning.)
We can never empirically determine the meaning of a dream. We cannot
accept a meaning merely because it fits in with what we expected.
Dreams can exert a reductive as well as prospective function. In
other words, if our conscious attitude is inflated, dreams may compensate
negatively, and show us our human frailty and dependence. They also
may act positively by providing a 'guiding image' which corrects a self-devaluing
attitude, re-establishing balance. The unconscious, by anticipating
future conscious achievements, provides a rough plan for progress.
Each life, says Jung, is guided by a private myth. Each individual
has a great store of DNA information. It is generally mediated by
the archetypes which are deployed by both myth and dream. As you
create this individual or private myth, it attracts, if you will, an archetypal
pattern and molds itself in a characteristic way (or visa versa).
The archetype precipitates compulsive action. It is the motivating
factor which may become externalized in the physical world. Jung
notes: "The dreamer's unconscious is communicating with the dreamer alone.
And is selecting symbols which have meaning to the dreamer and no one else.
They also involve the collective unconscious whose expression may be social
rather than personal."
We may discover hidden meaning in our dreams and fantasies through the
1) Determine the present situation of consciousness.
What significant events surround the dream?
2) With the lowering of the threshold of consciousness,
unconscious contents arise through dream, vision, and fantasy.
3) After perceiving the contents, record them so they
are not lost (the Hermetic seal).
4) Investigate, clarify, and elaborate by amplification
with personal meanings, and collective meaning, gleaned from similar motifs
in myth and fairy tale.
5) Integrate this meaning with your general psychic
situation. INstincts are the best guide; if you are obtaining "value"
from your interpretation, it will "feel" correct.
Complexes and their attendant archetypes draw attention to themselves but
are difficult to pinpoint. We may use conscious amplification of
the symbolism presented in dream form. All the elements of the dream
may be examined in a limited, controlled, and directed association process,
which enlarges and expands the dream material through analogy. The
nucleus of meaning contained in the analogy is identical with that of the
When a dream is falsely interpreted, others follow to correct the error.
Preconscious contents are on the verge of being remembered. Just
as language skills facilitate new conceptualization, knowledge of the vocabulary
of dream symbolism allows closer rapport with the preconscious. Dreaming
is one of the easiest methods of contact with the numinous element, or
To illustrate how archetypes may affect perspective, we will now
examine another of the methods for working with dreams and other images.
If Freud's view on dreams can be seen as Aphroditic/sexual, and Jung's
as heroic/developmental (Yesod and Tiphareth, respectively in QBL), then
Hillman's newer "Verbal Technique" might be seen as associated with Hades,
Lord of the Underworld or deep subconscious, (DAATH in QBL). This
relationship to the image is seeking value, depth, and volume.
This method stresses keeping to the image as presented rather than analyzing
symbols. This method, while usable by anyone, is being applied by
those who are thoroughly acquainted with symbols and their meaning in an
attempt to recapture to unknown element. The dream image expresses
this if the symbols are not dissected from their "specific context, mood,
and scene." An image presents symbols with their particularity and
peculiarness intact. Dream presents a variety of images which are
all intra-related. Time and sequence are distorted in dream.
Hillman prefers to view dream images with all parts as co-relative and
This approach to the dream is a sort of metaphorical word-play. The
elements of the dream are chanted or interwoven. Repeat the dream
while playfully rearranging the sequence of events. Remain alert
to analogies which form themselves during this word play. Ruminate
on any puns which may occur. As the play unfolds, deeper significance
emerges as a resonance. By allowing the dream to speak for itself,
interpretations appear indirectly.
This is a method of communicating with the psyche which is in harmony with
its inherent structure. In alchemy, it is known as an iteratio
of the prima materia. Its value is evident, according to Hillman.
"We do not want to prejudice the phenomenal experience of their unknowness
and our unconsciousness by knowing in advance that they are messages, dramas,
compensations, prospective indications, transcendent function. We
want to get at the image without the defense of symbols." (1)
The archetypal content in an image unfolds during participation with it.
We have found that an archetypal quality emerges through a) precise
portrayal of the image (including any confusion or vagueness presented
with the image); b) sticking to the image while hearing it metaphorically;
c) discovering the necessity within the image (the fact that all the symbols
an images presented are required in this context); d) experiencing the
unfathomable analogical richness of the image. (2)
In this context, 'archetypal' is seen as a function of making. The
adjective may be applied to any image (6) upon which the operations are
performed. This means that no single image is inherently more meaningful
than another. Value may be extracted from them all. This coincides
with the alchemical conception of the Opus as work. Here the Opus
is carried by the dreamwork technique.
Archetypal psychology contends that the value of dreams has little application
to practical affairs. In Re-Visioning Psychology , Hillman
Dream's value and emotion is in relation with soul and how life is lived
in relation with soul. When we move the soul insights of the dream
into life for problem-solving and people-relating, we rob the dream and
impoverish the soul. The more we get out of a dream for human affairs
the more we prevent its psychological work, what it is doing and building
night after night, interiorly, away from life in a nonhuman world.
The dream is already valuable without having any literalizations or personalistic
interpretations tacked on to it.
Hillman ends his "Inquiry Into Image" by stating that the final meaning
of a dream cannot be found, no matter how it seems to "click."
Analogizing is like my fantasy of Zen, where the dream is the teacher.
Each time you say what the image means, you get your face slapped.
The dream becomes a Koan when we approach it by means of analogy.
If you can literalize a meaning, "interpret" a dream, you are off the track,
lost your Koan. (For the dream is the thing, not what it means.)
Then you must be slapped to bring you back to the image. A good dream
analysis is one in which one gets more and more slaps, more and more analogies,
the dream exposing your entire unconscious, the basic matters of your psychic
This type of analysis seems consistent with the origins of the word.
Originally, it had to do with "loosening." This type of dream analysis
loosens our soul from its identity with day-to-day life. It reminds
us that styles of consciousness other than that of the ego have validity.
The soul experiences these styles nightly.
No paper of dreams would be complete without some mention of nightmares.
Even though dream is an easy method of contacting the unconscious, it is
not always pleasant. Occult literature speaks of a figure called
"the Dweller on the Threshold." In Eastern philosophies there are
the wrathful deities. This figure corresponds with Trump XV, The
Devil, in Tarot. This seems consistent with Hillman's attribution
of the dream as Hades' realm.
The healthy person learns easily to cooperate on his descents into the
psyche. The uninformed or neurotic personality is likely to encounter
hindrances. These hindrances often take the form of frightening,
monstrous, overpowering forces. Ego-consciousness is not able to
comprehend them. When the subconscious is highly activated these
images may occur during waking hours and in sleep. This dread and
oppression form the basis for nightmares. Pan and his attendant phenomena
(such as panic) are archetypal representations of the nightmare.
Pan also corresponds with Trump XV.
In the heroic model, as consciousness develops, there is a marked difference
in both the content of dream and the dreamer. He gains increased
ability to assimilate the charges of energy associated with the dream.
The more conscious the experience of the numinous, the less fraught with
irrationality and fear the experience. This holds true in waking
and sleeping hours.
John Gowan, in Trance, Art, and Creativity , states, "It
is this gentling, humanizing process exerted on the preconscious by creative
function of the individual which is the only proper preparation for the
psychedelic graces." These graces include an immersion of the ego
in the expanded context of the subconscious. The ego is then able
to return from its experience enriched by the contact. Contents which
might formerly have been considered nightmarish are more fully understood,
and the monsters become transformed into butterflies. (7)
This attitude toward nightmare is not consistent with Hillman's approach.
He does not advocate changing or controlling the psyche. This is,
in fact, neither possible nor desirable. He asserts that to enter
dream is to enter the underworld, Hades' realm. Psychic images are
metaphorical. All underworld figures are shades or shadow souls.
There is no reason for them to conform to the constraints of the ego's
Soul is the background of dream-work. Underworld is psyche.
This relates, therefore, to a metaphorical perception of death. Dreams
present us with that different reality, in which pathology and distortion
are inherent aspects. We needn't control them, but rather acknowledge
their value and depth.
Assuming it is necessary or desirable to control any aspect of dream life,
there is a further development of consciousness which enables one to consistently
experience what is known as the "lucid dream" or "high dream." In
a lucid state, there is an overlapping of normal waking consciousness coupled
with the dream state. At this stage, one is able to progressively
acquire and exercise will in dream states.
In the lucid dream, one "witnesses" the fact that one is dreaming, and
may take an active role in the unfolding of the dream. This optional
ability is generally associated with the heart-center, or Tiphareth.
The heart-center has to do with developing consciousness of the imaginal
Rather than control or meddle with dreams, it is more effective to exercise
creative expression in waking hours. Many persons pursuing their
fantasy of individuation have an outlet through active imagination.
Active imagination is, in itself, an art form. It is generally practiced
through a discipline, such as psychology, alchemy, or Magick. It
may be dramatic, dialectic, visual, acoustic, or in some form of dancing,
painting, drawing, modeling, etc.
People who give free rein to fantasy in some form of creative imagination
often dream less. All psycho-active drugs also tend to diminish dreaming.
In other words, there seems to be a variable ratio between creativity and
dream. Jung made the discovery that "this method often diminished
to a considerable degree, the frequency and intensity of dreams, thus reducing
the inexplicable pressure exerted by the unconscious." There need
be no conscious desire to control or interfere in the actual dream.
The ego learns to meet the subconscious on a middle ground, the vale of
soul making. The activities and intent of both are harmonized.
Staying close to the original image is fundamental.
As of this writing (2002), experiential dreamwork or Dream Healing offers
an even better prospect for therapeutic interaction within dream imagery.
For a complete exposition of this school of dreamwork, rooted in Transactional
Analysis and Gestalt, see the Asklepia Homepage, at http://asklepia.org
c. Practical QBL: The Body of Light,
Part 1; THE ASTRAL BODY
The concept of subtle bodies created by the aspirant for experience on
higher planes is very old, indeed. Different vehicles are appropriate
on different planes. For the physical plane, the human body is ideal.
For the Astral Plane of images, a starry body or body of light is required
which is a precise copy in the finer luminous "material" of that rarefied
sphere. This light body has the ability of separating itself from
the flesh and blood body and has the ability to "fly into the sky" with
none of the limitations of a mortal frame.
The astral body contains the fully functioning consciousness of the aspirant.
Its existence persists after physical death, and it is in this body that
those who recall near death experiences of the "other side" were functioning.
Magickally, the astral body is built in the imagination through the process
of pranayama, or control of the breath. However, original concepts
of a starry body may be traced to classical Greek philosophy so the idea
is not necessarily oriental in origin.
Aleister Crowley gave precise instructions for "Getting into the Astral
Body" in his classic work, Magick in Theory and Practice.
The proper method is as follows: Develop the body of Light until
it is just as real to you as your other body...Ultimately, the relation
of that body with your own must be exceedingly intimate; but before this
harmonizing takes place, you should begin by a careful differentiation.
The first thing to do, therefore, is to get the body outside your own.
To avoid muddling the two, you begin by imagining a shape resembling yourself
standing in front of you. Do not say: "Oh, it's only imagination!"
The time to test that is later on, when you have secured a fairly clear
mental image of such a body. Try to imagine how your own body would
look if you were standing in its place; try to transfer you consciousness
to the Body of Light. Your own body has its eyes shut. Use
the eyes of the Body of Light to describe the object in the room behind
As soon as you feel more or less at home in the fine body, let it rise
in the air. Keep on feeling the sense of rising; keep on looking
about you as you rise until you see landscapes or beings of the astral
plane. Such have a quality all their own. They are not like
material things -- they are not like mental pictures -- they seem to lie
between the two...
Now, however unsuccessful your getting out of the body may apparently
have been, it is most necessary to use every effort to bring it properly
back. Make the Body of Light coincide in space with the physical
body...then recover the unity of consciousness. If you fail to do
this properly you may find yourself in serious trouble. Your Body
of Light may wander away uncontrolled, and be attacked and obsessed.
You will become aware of this through the occurrence of headache, bad dreams,
or even more serious signs such as hysteria, fainting fits, possibly madness
or paralysis. Even the worst of these attacks will probably wear
off, but it may leave you permanently damaged to a greater or lesser extent.
It is interesting to note that all the potential symptoms of improper astral
work reflect the conditions of the lowest level of the prototaxic mode.
So, the idea in astral working is to move upward in the planes toward an
increase in conscious awareness.
1. Berry, Patricia, "An Approach to the Dream", Spring 1974, Spring
2. Berry, Patricia, "Defense and Telos in Dreams", Spring 1978, Spring
3. Garvey, Patricia, Creative Dreaming
4. Gowan, John, Trance, Art, and Creativity, Northridge 19.
5. Hillman, James, Re-Visioning Psychology, Harper and Row, 1975.
6. Hillman, James, Dream and the Underworld, Harper and Row, 1979.
7. Hillman, James, "An Inquiry Into Image", Spring 1977, Spring Publications.
8. Krippner, Stanley,
9. Singer, June, Boundaries of the Soul, Anchor Press/Doubleday,
10. Watkins, Mary, Waking Dreams, Harper and Row, 1976.
11. Wilner, Harry A., "Epic Dreams and Heroic Ego", Spring 1977,
1. Israel Regardie, A Garden of Pomegranates, (Llewellyn Publications,
St. Paul, Minn., 1970) p. 61.
2. Adapted from John Gowan, Trance, Art, and Creativity (Privately
published, Northridge, Calif., 1975), pp. 19-153.
5. In Greek, the word for dream, oneiros, means image.
6. Psyche, the soul, literally means butterfly in Greek. Psyche,
like dream, is image.
a. Psychological Model: Mythical
A Metaphorical Perception of Experience
by Philo Stone, c1977
Jung has suggested that each individual life is based on a particular
myth, and that we ought each to discover what our own basic myth is, so
that we may live it consciously and intelligently, cooperating with the
trend of this life pattern, instead of being dragged along unwillingly.
These patterns can be seen recurring in the lives of certain people,
who remain totally unconscious of what they are living. But if the
individual becomes conscious in relation to the archetypal trend that underlies
his life--his fate--he can begin to adapt himself to it consciously.
The outer fate is then transmuted into the inner experience, and the true
individuality of the man or woman begins to emerge. This is an important
step in the quest for the Self.
--M. Esther Harding/The I and the Not-I
Myth may be defined as a paradigmatic model. In science, paradigms
are thought-models which direct their holders to pose only certain questions
and to utilize only certain methods in search of answers. This precisely
parallels the effect of a given archetype when it is activated; it molds
our attitudes in a characteristic manner so that we catch certain things
but ignore or omit what just doesn't fit.
The particular paradigmatic lenses we choose to form our conceptualization
of reality function to shape the very reality we hope to capture and understand.
By emphasizing particular relationships, or elements, they largely determine
the nature of the "reality" we experience. This conceptualization
of reality is known as one's worldview. A person who embraces a particular
paradigm can create a reality from his expectations, even without conscious
intent to do so.
In our technological world, most paradigms stress a routine or mechanical
side of life. In order to acquire experiential freedom from cultural
programming, one must have a model. A model is required for realization.
Myths, then, serve a key function in the psychic economy. Myths provide
the most comprehensive metaphors, or models, for the realization of liberating
alternatives. The meaning in life is inherent in the archetypal experience
of myth. The aesthetic experience and its 'meaning' are identical.
In a religious society, myths tell the people who they are and where they
come from. To change the myth is to become lost in the most profound
ontological (1) sense. Modern man lives in a world of intellectual
fragmentation. He feels a need to dissect any and everything, especially
himself, to find out the universal order of things and to seek his place
Mythological explanations arise when an individual or race evolves the
three primary questions:
1) who am I?
2) where do I come from?
3) where am I going?
The meaning of existence lies in a relevant answer to these questions.
These answers formulate one's worldview. With these questions, a
universal seed within man begins to germinate. Self-consciousness
begins to unfold its awareness of totality. The finite mind begins
to bridge the gap to infinite awareness.
In seeking to find the beginning of creation, man must first cease thinking
in terms of space and time. In Reality there is neither. It
is an illusion that man is contained in space and time. In fact,
both are contained in man. Both experiences, together, illustrates
psychic experience. The Creations, as a psychological reality, was/is/will
occur in the realm of the sacred, not the profane world. With our
human limitations, sacred time is experienced as multiple recurrence.
It is thus a continuous, timeless-creation. All parts of the process
are inherent in its wholeness. Likewise, wholeness is inherent in
all parts. This is the Alpha/Omega principle.
As this universal seed starts to grow in an individual, he is plunged from
his preconscious, womb-like security into a dazzling world of intellectual
confusion. He experiences paradox. There is dichotomy, a lot
of contradiction. So, man comes to duality of subject and object.
Conflicts are produced, which, used creatively, may lead to the individuation,
the subjective and objective spheres merge into one.
A complete mythology provides helpful orientation in four ways:
1) In its metaphysical-mystical function, it wakens
and maintains in the individual an experience of awe, humility, and respect
in recognition of the ultimate mystery which transcends words and form.
2) It provides a cosmology, or an image of the
universe. Science now serves this mythological function, admirably.
3) On the social level, myth supplies validation
and maintenance of an established order.
4) Finally, on the psychological level, they provide
models for the centering and harmonization of the individual.
Mythologies perform these functions through symbols. The focal point
provided by image and symbol holds the mind to truth. The ultimate
is, of course, unknowable. Therefore, the images themselves are not
For contemporary man, a journey into his unconscious provides the vital
meanings and relatedness to the cosmic order that myths once gave us.
It is a return to the source which goes a step further than genealogy.
Meaning is inherent in conscious experience of archetypal processes.
A model for pursuing the quest provides a foundation to which one's experience
may be related.
The modern search for meaning is a variant of the age-old quest, or journey
of the hero. This mythological motif is activated whenever cultural
values and mores do not provide an adequate model for one's experience.
The social boundaries dissolve and a person is thrown back on his own resources.
Valuable connections and new forms must be re-established. During
this period, symbols acquire great personal value. For many, this
period is seen as an experience of rebirth or renewal. This heroic
stage does not go on indefinitely. Questing fades into the background
when one becomes familiarized with the imaginal realm. Both processes,
questing for and participating in the imaginal realm, require attention,
effort, and creativity.
Evidence of man's great desire for this experience is found in the common
use of drugs in the counterculture. Rather than the gradual path
of study, experience, and assimilation, drugs may provoke experiences which
are "too much, to soon." Joseph Campbell has likened the situation
to one found in Greek mythology "in which a person says to a god, 'Show
me yourself in your full power.' And the god does and the person
is blown to bits." The personality suffers from an inability to relate,
meaningfully, to society. Drug experiences provide ample evidence
of the world of the psyche, but in order for us to obtain value from the
contact, consciousness must be able to come to understanding, digestion,
and assimilation of the experience.
Liberating experiences require a context of strong ego-consciousness.
This does not mean "willful assertion." It means that the ego has
learned to discriminate between itself and the archetypal processes operating
through and around it. It means, also, that the ego has learned to
defer to, and cooperate with them.
A frightened ego, in danger of drowning in deep waters, will quickly regress
to the natural standpoint, otherwise unaffected by its contact with the
numinous. The boon, which the successful hero may bring back (which
has both personal and collective significance), is not given to him.
He does not find the gods cooperative. The lessons of the "trip"
prove most troublesome and provide no benefit in daily life. He is
lucky if his worst problem is merely the desire to stay "high." There
is a generation of "world-weary" people, eager to transcend off into some
mythical realm. However, their methods are either haphazard, or ill-advised.
This type of unassimilable experience stimulates the complex of the puer
aeternus, or eternal adolescent. When it occurs in a woman, it is
a puella complex. This complex is epidemic in our society, today.
This was not the case a century ago, when our cultural model was more strictly
defined. The ideal lies somewhere between, in a reunion of the values
of tradition and futurity. This requires the ability to apply oneself
to the task. It requires self-motivation, diligent effort, and the
grace of god.
When man enters the myth of transformation, he sets out to change the world.
Soon, he becomes aware that he must first change himself. In this
moment of transformation, myth is seen as an intuitive, ever-becoming processing.
Man is not really contained in the myth, and in time. Both myth and
time are contained within himself. The gods and man are involved
in a symbiotic relationship. Each requires the other for realization.
When man seeks the motives behind the act of becoming, he transcends from
concrete intellectual conception to metaphysical abstractions. Eventually,
he comes to an understanding that metaphysics is the science of the content
of myth. The so-called "occult" is mainly involved with developing
man's latent subconscious powers, so he may develop greater access to the
imaginal realm. This opens up a world which, by definition, contains
wider parameters for experience and growth. It provides a comprehensive,
cohesive method and model. With it, man may live his individuality
within the context of tradition.
There are aspects of creative mythology, and its form of metaphorical perception,
which tie it in with a holographic concept of reality. (2)
Within metaphorical and mythic conception, a part does not merely stand
in the place of or represent the union of several elements, but rather
it is identical with the whole. If the part is the whole, then whoever
controls the part controls the whole. In normal discourse, symbols
represent their referents and are separable from what they represent; in
metaphorical or mythic conception, the symbols are their referents; they
cannot be separated. The elegance of language lies in its capacity
to separate symbol from experience so that symbols can be manipulated in
a way that experiences cannot be. While we cannot experience precisely
the same thing ever again, we can attach similar symbols to represent two
experiences as being roughly the same. (3)
The chaotic assortment of apparent and disguised mythological images have
certain typical features. We may reduce the infinitely variegated
and complex forms to their simplest expressions as a means of recognizing
them. Jung's list of salient characteristics includes:
Chaotic multiplicity and order; duality; the opposition of light and dark,
upper and lower, right and left; the union of opposites in a third (complexio
oppositorum); the quaternity (square, cross); rotation (circle, sphere);
and finally the centering process and a radial arrangement usually followed
by some quaternity system. The centering process is...the never-to-be-surpassed
climax of the whole development, and is characterized as such by the fact
that it brings with it the greatest possible therapeutic effect.
Experience of these archetypal processes offers the possibility of orienting
oneself. Several traditional mystical exercises stress the importance
of the centering process. Fundamental in these meditations is orienting
oneself to the four cardinal directions. The role of creative imagination
is fundamental. Virtually any experience available to man is integrated
via a form of imagery.
Myth raises the individual to a superhuman or superhistorical plane.
It enables him to approach Reality that is inaccessible at the level of
profane experience. If the mind makes use of images to grasp the
ultimate Reality of things, it is just because Reality manifests itself
in contradictory ways and therefore cannot be expressed in concepts.
James Hillman, Director of Studies in Imaginal Psychology at the University
of Texas, states that "We can describe the psyche as a polycentric realm
of nonverbal, nonspatial images. Myth offers the same kind of world.
It too, is polycentric, with innumerable personifications in imaginal space.
Just as dream images are not mere words in disguise...so the ancient personifications
of myths are not concepts in disguise." He states further that these
"soul events are not parts of any system. They are independent of
the tandems in which they are placed, inasmuch as there is an independent
primacy of the imaginal that creates its fantasies automatically, ceaselessly,
and spontaneously. Myth-making is not compensatory to anything else."
The more paradigmatic models one has access to, the more freedom of creation
one experiences. "It is egoistic to recognize oneself in only one
portion of a tale, case in only one role." (4) Polytheistic consciousness
allows us to experience the gamut of archetypal perspectives. This
leads the individual to broader consciousness and greater tolerance of
other individual's perspectives.
Myth is the comprehensive metaphor, "answering our requirements for intellectual
puzzlement and explanation through enigma by providing as-if fictions in
depth, complexity, and exquisite differentiation." "Myth," says Hermann
Broch, "is the archetype of every phenomenal cognition, of which the human
mind is capable. Archetype of all human cognition, archetype of science,
archetype of art--myth is consequently that archetype of philosophy, too."
We might deduce from this that myth functions as a sort of metapsychology.
Mythic metaphors elude literalism; they dramatically present themselves
as impossible truths. They have the ability to transform concrete
particulars into universals, and to present abstract universals as concrete
actions. They are ways not only of speaking, perceiving, and feeling,
but of existing. We may experience mythical consciousness by finding
Gods in our concrete lives. They are found by entering myths, since
that is where they are. We may participate with them by recognizing
our concrete existence as metaphors, or mythic enactments.
However, Hillman is very deliberate in stating that: "myths resist
being interpreted into practical life. They are not allegories of
applied psychology, solutions to personal problems. This is the old
moralistic fallacy, now become the therapeutic fallacy, telling us which
step to take and what to do next, where the hero went wrong and had to
pay the consequences, as if this practical guidance were what was meant
by 'living one's myth'."
"Living one's myth doesn't simply mean living one myth. It means
that one lives myth; it means mythical living...to try to use a myth practically
keeps us still in the pattern of the heroic ego, learning how to do his
deeds correctly. Myths do not tell us how. They simply give
the invisible background which starts us imagining, questioning, going
deeper." Myths do not carry one to a central meaning, or the center
of meaning. "To enter myth we must personify, to personify carries
us into myth."
Personification is a mode of viewing archetypal processes in their traditional
forms as gods and goddesses. This method allows us to love the gods,
giving them attention and worship. Their names aid us in discriminating
them one from another. They give us the ability to call upon them.
This process of devotion takes place in the imaginal realm of the heart.
In QBL, this is Tiphareth, the heart-center. In Eastern systems,
it is known as anahata chakra. It is the realm of soul-making.
Personification is a spontaneous process, springing from the heart, where
imagination reigns. This process of active imagination allows us
to "see through" the literalisms of mundane existence and to participate
in relationships with the divine.
A primary purpose of Middle Pillar Exercise is to orient oneself with the
Universe (5). It promises equilibration and renewal. In Middle
Pillar Exercise, the gods are brought into consciousness by intoning their
names. This creates a resonance effect which stimulates glands.
These names are related, via correspondence, to various centers in the
body. Repeated practice of Middle Pillar Exercise is fundamental
for any Magickal development. It heals the culturally-preprogrammed
split between mind, soul and body.
The Banishing Ritual and Middle Pillar Exercise are particularly effective
because they are a dramatization of the Creation Myth. In his book,
The Sacred and the Profane, Mircea Eliade states,
The creation of the world becomes the archetype of every human gesture,
whatever its plane of reference may be. Every construction or fabrication
has the cosmogony as paradigmatic model.
Techniques of orientation (aligning oneself to the directions), are designed
for the construction of sacred space. The more closely a ritual reproduces
the work of the gods in creation, the more effective it is in producing
the desired psychological results. Knowing the value of a ritual
satisfies both the rational and aesthetic mind.
The model for the creation of sacred space begins from a center and projects
horizons in the four cardinal directions. This model has been followed
throughout history when settling new territory or in the founding of cities.
We always reside at the center of "our world."
This quadrated circle sets up the conditions necessary for us to enter
into sacred time. The Banishing Ritual "cleanses" the portion of
space within the perimeter of the circle. This eliminates unwanted
thoughts which could cause distraction. One then has enhanced ability
to focus and concentrate. The circle is cleared of all 'entities,'
good or evil. Then one may call in specific gods, at will.
We may contact the gods through the medium of the sacred pole or cosmic
Sacred time appears under the paradoxical aspect of circular time, reversible
and recoverable, a sort of mythical eternal present that is periodically
reintegrated by means of rites.
When we enter this space, we experience the feeling of immortality, since
we are in a time which is equivalent to the "beginning." The principle
characteristics of sacred space are:
a) A break in the homogeneity of space;
b) This break is symbolized by an opening where
passage from one cosmic region to another is facilitated (i.e. between
heaven and earth; earth and the underworld);
c) Communication with heaven is expressed by variants
of the Cosmic Pillar, which stands at the Center of the World.
This Pillar is a useful symbol for what is termed in psychology the Ego-Self
Axis. The axis is built up through various psychological exercises,
involving active imagination. It forms the link between ego-consciousness
and the Self. This represents both the conscious and subconscious
mind working together in harmony. It is known in Magick as Knowledge
and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.
The Banishing and Middle Pillar exercises conform precisely to the creation
myth. Since a myth is a paradigmatic model, one can see it is a very
effective exercise. It establishes one's relationship to the cosmos,
or totality. Eliade has said:
What men do on their own initiative, without a mythical model, belongs
to the sphere of the profane; hence, it is a vain and illusory activity,
in the last analysis, unreal. The more religious a man is, the more
paradigmatic models he possesses to guide his attitudes and actions.
The importance of persistent practice of Middle Pillar technique, throughout
the Magickal career, is not to be underestimated. Israel Regardie
is quite firm on this point.
To my mind, the exercise described as the Middle Pillar is the groundwork
of all actual developmental work. It is a process which is the basis
of Magic. That this has been but seldom realized is obviously at
the root of the futile attempts to do Ceremonial and perform Ritual, of
which the general public hears every now and again. Even students
of Magic of many years standing have been guilty of negligence in this
respect, and also in failing to recommend it to their successors. (6)
Timelessness will appear as a multiple recurrence (chronicity). The
archetypal order will make these appearances regular, both in time (wave
frequency) and magnitude (wave amplitude). The ego has the option
of actively participating in the process through the medium of active imagination.
This develops insight.
To restore our earth to a ground in creative imagination we must re-imagine
the creation. (7)
b. Archetypal Encounter:
Lunar (or Feminine) Consciousness
What constitutes awareness? The day-world of ego-consciousness has
been called Solar conscious and considered masculine in nature. Nevertheless,
even without this rational mode of solar-consciousness, we experience the
primordial, diffuse awareness of Lunar (or Feminine) consciousness.
This is our basic psychic reality, from which the ego-consciousness later
Psyche (Greek) or Anima (Latin) means soul. So anima-consciousness
or soul-consciousness indicated an awareness that perceives fantasy creating
reality. Anima-consciousness comes through images. It brings
awareness that fantasies are everywhere. They are not separate from
reality, but fundamental to our notions about reality. Jung says,
"image is psyche."
Anima (or soul personified) combines the innocent virginity of the soul's
unsullied pristine state with the sophisticated worldliness of the fertile
Great Mother (White Goddess). She is the embodiment of the Woman's
Anima, as the archetype of psychic consciousness makes us aware of our
areas of unconsciousness. Soul, in its relationship with spirit constantly
invades the day-world consciousness with images, fears, moods, and mystery.
It is elusive, paradoxical, and ambiguous. This mode of perception
is conscious of its unconsciousness and can recognize the potential latent
in the unknown aspect. It could be characterized as "illumined lunacy."
Anima-consciousness is that mode which is appropriate to experience in
the astral plane and astral body. The realm of imagination is psychic
reality. Anima-consciousness is a multi-centered polytheistic perspective
(thus a pagan orientation is appropriate to Lunar Magic). Its concern
is being-in-soul not becoming. It is perceived as a coincidence of
processes. All phases of the eternal cycles are present at once,
enfolded in any part of the whole. It is experienced as a series
of superimposed images. It is reflective and concerned with inter-relationship
rather than analysis. It is diffused, not focused awareness.
Anima mediates the unknown, or unconsciousness. It forms a bride
to the day-world consciousness.
The Anima serves as a mediatrix for consciousness. She mediates between
the personal and collective, balancing the actualities of daily life with
the realities of the beyond. She bridges the individual conscious
horizon and the primordial realm of the imagination. The feeling
developed through this soul-making process is more impersonal than personal.
As the Great Goddess, Anima or Psyche represents the archetypal containing
vessel. In current psychological thought, consciousness itself is
seen as more appropriately based upon anima than upon ego. The ego
and its developmental fantasies never were the foundation for consciousness.
Consciousness refers to a process having more to do with images than will.
It is reflection rather than control, with a reflective insight.
Therefore, consciousness arising from soul derives from images and can
be called imaginal. It looks to myth as it manifests in dreams, fantasies,
and life patterns.
"Becoming conscious" now takes on new meaning. It means becoming
aware of one's fantasies and recognition of them everywhere. They
are not merely in a a 'fantasy world' separate from 'reality'. The
aspirant can analyze by means of fantasies and then translate reality back
into fantasy images.
Personifying is an effect of the anima archetype. Libido (psychic
energy or prana, life force) can only be apprehended in a definite form.
It is identical with the fantasy images. The Holy Guardian Angel's
individuation into a distinct personality is precisely what soul-making
is about. If you personify the Soul in the form of the Great Goddess,
Anima, or Psyche she will act as a soul-guide on the inner planes.
Anima consciousness now means seeing, listening, attending all shift from
the gross attachments of the material plane to the shining and transparent
resonance of subtle astral forms. This meeting of soul with Soul
is what the astral plane is all about.
'Psychology' is composed of psyche and logos. It is an interaction
between anima and psychological intellect. The logos, or spirit principle,
gives speech to psyche. Psychology is the speech of the soul, which
combines both lunar and solar components. It would seem that the
airy quality of Yesod and the building of an "astral body" are not irrelevant
The secret and key of psychological work requires the airy imagination
of soul, that is, the capacity of imagining events "outside" of the natural
bodily perspective of empirical and material literalism but in regard to
a subtle or fantasy body of psychic reality. Being-in-soul requires
being in a body too, but this body is built of soul stuff; it is a "breath
body." Fantasy images are this stuff, this "subtle body." The
key to the entire psychological opus...is body-building via imagination.
This body building is a creative act of fantasy. Within it, the many
do not become one but become psychic material. An example of this
process is memory (also an attribute of Yesod). Anima and matter
unite when psychic experiences (9) are encoded in the brain cells of the
Lunar consciousness runs the cyclic gamut from the bright diffuse light
of full moon through the half-darkness, to the blackened nature of the
dark of the moon. Its nocturnal quality and lower luminosity don't
make it any less powerful than the solar influence.
INSERT PICTURE QUEENS OF HEAVEN
(1) The Great MOTHER or Virgin Goddess
Whether she is known as the White Goddess, Great Mother, or Virgin Isis
the Great Goddess is the symbol of the archetypal Feminine. Her image
is inexorably linked to the Moon and the death-rebirth cycle. The
worship of the Great Goddess was common in the matriarchal agricultural
groups of the Mediterranean and Near East. All the later goddesses
of the Greek pantheon are contained in this universal symbol of the Earth
The Goddess is associated with the vegetarian cycle and the processes of
agricultural life. She rules the domestic area of life as well as
nature. Her primary characteristic is fertility. This fertility
extends to the fecundity of imagination. This feminine goddess is
single in essence, but displays many forms.
To the Egyptians, this Great Goddess was known as Isis and her worship
continued into the period of rulership by Imperial Rome. At this
point the religion became a mystery cult. This cult is described
in detail in The Golden Ass of Apuleius, which includes the tale Eros and
Psyche which describes the psychological development of feminine consciousness.
The initiation procedures of this mystery cult involved a voluntary ritual
death and revival. The Isis Mysteries were the same as the Eleusian
Mysteries in honor of Demeter/Persephone. They celebrate the immortality
of the mother/daughter relationship.
Isis embodies all contrasts. Like the moon, she is light and dark,
life and death, beginning and end. This Great Mother is the matrix
of all manifestation perceivable by man. The whole life of man is
governed by the goddess, Mother of all-that-exists. Isis worship
even persists in the modern Christian world through the cult of the Virgin
Even though matriarchal consciousness characterizes the spiritual nature
of woman, it also exists in men who allow their anima consciousness to
manifest. As she is the source of creative inspiration, the hunches
of instinct and intuition, and the raw life energy itself, it is an advantage
for men to establish a harmony with the moon power. She counsels
meditation, contemplation, waiting and watching, dreaming, and remembering.
Matriarchal consciousness focuses around growth and transformation.
In this mode understanding has the meaning of a "conception" and the metaphors
of pregnancy and birth are common. The knowledge revealed by the
goddess is not one of imparted truths but the personal experience of transformation.
She encourages participation. When rational over-achieving ego-consciousness
has run its course, quite, reflective lunar consciousness emerges to cool
the fires of the spirit. The feminine image holds the keys to experience
of the inner planes for both men and women. This is shown in Qabalah
by the fact that the two highest paths of the Middle Pillar correspond
with the Moon. She rules the transformative mysteries of initiation.
As initiatrix, the Goddess progressively educates the emotions of the aspirant.
Magickal training of the image-making faculty is the beginning of a new
way of using the mind. One may become self-initiated into the Moon
mysteries through careful attention to the stirring of subconscious memories.
There is much to learn through psychology concerning the lunar aspects
of the soul. However, the magickal working of Yesod brings a personal
relationship to the Goddess which manifests far more than one could ever
understand through psychology. The imaginal construction of the personified
form of the soul enables a linking between your consciousness and the subtle
matter of the Great MOTHER's Soul.
The dual nature of the Goddess is shown bu her two characters. Her
elementary nature has both a positive (good) and negative (bad)!
She is pictured either as all-embracing protectress, or alternately as
the devouring Terrible Mother. Her transformative nature also carries
good and bad imagery. She not only governs cyclic rebirth and inspiration,
but also the mysteries of intoxification, madness, and death. The
negative characteristics are symbolized by the Dark Moon, and the positive
are symbolized by the bright Full Moon.
The Great Goddess appears in tandem with her Son-Lover. His death
and rebirth are symbolic of the cycle of the seed in the ground and the
masculine counterpart of divinity. She is soul. He is Spirit.
The stages of the Feminine Mysteries remain valid psychological milestones
in personal experience even in modern life. The worship of the Great
Goddess involved a period of contemplation in her temple, religious prostitution
with a man who represented "masculine divinity" in an impersonal ceremony
designed so the woman experienced a surrender to her instincts. This
sexual union was considered a sacred marriage, but it was a wedding which
resulted in the "death" of her former condition. But, miraculously,
she is transformed into the pregnant Moon Mother, filled with the divine
Spirit. This magickal child grows slowly in an organic process which
had its initiation at the conception of the child. It is a process
which takes place in the dark subconscious, far from the eyes of men.
With the birth of the virgin-born child, the symbolism switches from that
of sexuality to that of maternal solicitude. This birth is the woman's
spiritual rebirth of her hidden potentialities. Because of her dual
nature, she does not remain exclusively compassionate, but turns fierce
and intolerant when it comes time to sacrifice this child. What is
sacrificed is her incestuous identification with him. Any man must
touch upon the depths of his own emotional intensity, not continue to require
this from his mortal mother. Each facing this emotional intensity
is the second stage of initiation to the Goddess, the impersonal aspect
of the Feminine.
The period of the Virgin's Pregnancy corresponds with Yesod. In this
period she is One-In-Herself. As Virgin, she is represented by the
crescent moon. She is a divine power in her own right. With
the incorporation into her body of the masculine solar-seed, she embarks
on Path 25, Art, which represents the harmonization of lunar and solar
components of the psyche. This results in the birth of the magickal
child, his divinity revealed, his demise immanent. Child, King, and
Sacrificed God are all symbols of Tiphareth, Sphere of the Resplendent
Moving past Tiphareth on Path 13, The High Priestess, we are again the
realm of the Virgin Goddess, but this time she confers the gifts of potential
revealed as the Full Moon, knowledge of the unconscious as past and future.
Entry into this timeless realm is the experience of immortality, the supreme
inspiration of the medial Feminine. Here the priestess of the Moon
appears as sibyl, or wise old woman. Moving further through the cycle
of woman's ages, the waning crescent moon represents the old crone, full
of arcane lore, elusive and sinister.
Thus woman's cycle moves through organic biological changes from untouched
virgin, to initiated sexually-active Virgin, to Mother, to wise old woman.
This trinity was known in ancient Greece Goddess (Virgin, Mother, Hag).
This divine being is the symbol of the Feminine Self, core of all being.
(2). The Syzygy: Anima and Animus
In the creation myths of many cultures, Primordial Wholeness divides into
polarized aspects. The Syzygy indicates this archetypal coupling
where one aspect is never separated from the other. In the "impersonal"
aspect of lunar experience, the Great Goddess is never separated from her
masculine Son-Lover. One implies the other for wholeness. They
exemplify the soul-spirit relationship.
On the "personal" level of lunar experience we find the tandem of anima/animus.
They are the contrasexual component each human carries within. These
soul figures embody our latent capacities for expression and realization
of the traits normally reserved for the opposite sex. Thus, the animus
leads a woman to the outer world and promotes her ability in focused, rational
thinking; the anima guides a man through the inner worlds of relationship.
This is the level of psychological "complex" where there is a blending
of archetypal realities and individual experience.
Thus, the imagery of anima/us is based in archetypal symbolism and in childhood
memories of "significant others" of the opposite sex. This includes
parental attitudes and behavior, grandparent's influence, sibling, first
love, and cultural expectations and norms. Anima/us determines our
conceptualization of the ideal mate, and is responsible for such phenomena
as "love at first sight," and "star-crossed lovers." It takes the
elements of fate and destiny and combines them in a personal formula.
Anima/us represents the balancing of masculine and feminine traits in the
individual. This balancing is a form of coniunctio, or sacred marriage,
a union which produces the magickal child which is the higher Self.
The animus is the masculine personification of the soul. He carries
both a transcendent spiritual aspect and a personal aspect. He is
shown in the magickal symbolism of Yesod: a beautiful, naked, muscular
man. On the archetypal level anima/us is equivalent to the Taoist
Yin-Yang concept, a system which embraces a non-combative play of opposites,
a circulation of soul.
Anima/us are potential guides to the depths of the unconscious, forming
a bridge to daily life. They are factors which transcend consciousness,
so in a relationship which seems to have everything going for it, there
can be friction (or "animosity") produced by unconscious for ces operating
below the surface. Most of these troubles stem from projecting the
anima/us image onto our loved ones and maneuvering them into fulfilling
our expectations. Internal conflicts come from the split nature of
anima/us we experience in modern life. This revolves mainly around
the gulf between the Spiritual and Sensual aspects of the inner figure.
A man experiences the split between holy Mother Mary and the erotic goddess
of his dreams.
For example, the spiritual animus might be projected onto the figure of
a wise old man, a ghostly lover to whom a woman goes in fantasy, or an
idealized brother/sister relationship devoid of sexual options. The
sensual animus might be imaged by darker gods of impersonal sexuality,
phallic or obscene. In any event, the animus represents the woman's
need for creative expression. The more fully she can manifest this
trait, the better her inner relationship to the animus becomes. He
provides her with inner light, not inspiration which is a function of her
anima nature, core of her Self.
Anima/us excite those feelings of longing, awe, fear of the unknown, and
incomprehensibility. The transpersonal power of love can appear as
a possession by another, against which rational thought has no protection.
Yesod is the experience of this emotional-sexual level and its projections,
coupled with the exercise of discrimination between archetypal and personal.
(3). ARTEMIS - Goddess of the Moon; Ephesus
Queen and Huntress, chaste and fair,
Now the sun is laid to sleep,
Seated in thy silver chair
State in wonted manner keep:
Hesperus entreats thy light,
Goddess excellently bright.
Earth, let not thy envious shade
Dare itself to interpose;
Cynthia's shining orb was made
Heaven to clear when day did close:
Bless us then with wished sight,
Goddess excellently bright.
Lay thy bow of pearl apart,
And thy crystal-shining quiver;
Give unto the flying hart
Space to breathe, how short soever:
Thou that mak'st a day of night,
Goddess excellently bright.
Jonson's Hymn to Cynthia (Diana) from Cynthia's Revels
Artemis is a form of the Great Mother, and has archaic characteristics.
She was worshipped throughout the Mediterranean. Her name is Oriental
in origin (Artimis).
In Crete she was worshipped as Britomartis. Her other important cult
sites included Arcadia and Ephesus. The Greek cult in Arcadia considered
her a Kore, like Persephone, and she was even called a daughter of Demeter.
Her major cult site was in Asia Minor at Ephesus where she was worshipped
as the fecund, many-breasted goddess. In this area, she was associated
with the date palm. This symbolism is retained today in certain Tarot
decks, where the High Priestess card, which corresponds with Artemis contains
this tree. Even the advent of Christianity could not snuff out the
old pagan cult. The cult of the Virgin Mary began in Ephesus and
adapted much of the symbolism of the antique Artemis. Later, in Rome,
she was known as Diana or Cynthia.
Paradoxically, Artemis ruled over wild animals, childbirth and the young.
She protected the young, including humans because she had originally been
their mother. However, the chief attribute of Artemis is that she
is Virgin and Mother, simultaneously.
This attribute was especially prominent in Asia where the Olympian religion
impressed on Greece through the Homeric Hymns was less effective in suppressing
the ancient form of worship. Wherever she was worshipped, under any
name, she is the All-Mother. In the earliest Greek religion, Artemis
was an earth-goddess.
She may even have been parthenos, the Greek word which is usually translated
"virgin". This could happen in more than one way. In the first
place, there is some evidence that the word did not always nor of necessity
have that meaning. It might mean no more than unmarried, not tied
by any bonds to a male who must be acknowledged as master. There
were priestesses as well as deities in pre-Greek and Oriental cults who
lived like that, but without preserving their virginity. Indeed,
to sacrifice her virginity might be part of a priestess's service, but
she did not sacrifice her freedom to a male nor become his property, as
marriage in early times would imply . . . It was quite commonly believed
that virginity could be renewed periodically by a process of lustration
. . . Later, as the more Hellenic notion of strict virginity prevailed,
the attendant remained, but like Hippolytus, was vowed to chastity as was
the goddess herself . . .At Ephesus her cult was carried on right through
classical times in the old way. (10)
The Greeks adapted her paradoxical nature of dignity and abandon, uniting
her character with their virgin huntress, who was also a goddess of nature
and wild beasts. They could not ignore nor abolish the worship of
the Great Mother with its matrilineal customs. Her cult was by far
too powerful and deeply rooted in the Mediteranean psyche. If her
agricultural rites, sexual emblems, and fertility aspects shocked them,
they nevertheless felt it necessary to amalgamate this goddess into their
pantheon. Whether chaste, or a goddess of fertility, Artemis is always
Virgin, or one-in-herself.
Obeisance to Artemis continues within the Catholic church under the auspices
of the Virgin Mary. The feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
on the fifteenth of August is derived from the great festival to Hecate
the moon goddess of Greece, and that of Diana, her descendant in Rome.
Even the prayers for the preservation of the harvest from destruction by
early rains are continued.
Another major characteristic of Artemis is the cyclic lunar rhythm.
Rhythms such as chanting, dancing, or drum beats facilitates passage from
one plane to the next. It creates an altered state of consciousness.
Dances in honor of Artemis were orgiastic in character. Eliade cites
the proverb: "Where has not Artemis danced?" as meaning that her
cult was so wide spread there were honorary dances for her everywhere.
Her connections with survivability are shown in her function as midwife.
It is even legendary that Artemis was delivered from Leto first, and then
helped her mother in the delivery of her twin, Apollo. Artemis is
"the force that sustains our attraction to the primitive and the unknown.
She can teach us how to make contact with the unconscious and survive.
Artemis is energy: death-bringing energy, psychic energy, abundant
energy, excess energy." (11) Artemis is adventurous and represents
the tendency for striking out on one's own. Sometimes this occurs
in mid-life, when one seeks retreat from the city, home, and family in
solitude. Artemis represents the continual renewal of "daughter-mother-grandmother."
As Artemis-Hekate, she oversees magic. Artemis-Hekate and Apollo
share a capacity for coming powerfully from afar. When invoked, they
appear in their characteristic manner for their epiphany.
An example of lunar magickal procedure is given in Aleister Crowley's excellent
occult novel, Moonchild. The magician Cyril has found a willing
assistant in his efforts from a woman named Lisa. Her horoscope contains
a powerful lunar influence, as his is mostly solar. A sister of the
magickal order aids them both. She is a priestess of Artemis for
some twenty years, and for ten of those has spoken to no man.
Lisa takes her oath of dedication, and is admonished to be strong in her
will and abolish unsuitable thoughts which would disturb the gestation
of the moonchild. Her virginity is then renewed through a rite of
lustration and the rituals begin.
He had set up a small triangular altar of silver; and it was upon this
that Sister C. and her disciples came thrice nightly to make their incantations.
The ritual of the moon might never be celebrated during daylight . . .Upon
the evening of Monday, after the adoration of the setting sun, Lisa was
led to the garden.
There the hand-maidens unclothed her, and washed her from head to foot
in the waters of the sacred spring. Then she put upon her a solemn
oath that she would follow out the rules of the ritual, not speaking to
any man except her chosen, not leaving the protection of the circle, not
communicating with the outer and uninitiated world; but, on the other hand,
devoting herself wholly to the invocation of the Moon.
Then she clothed her in a specially prepared and consecrated garment;
it was a loose vestment of pale blue covered with silver tissue; and the
secret sigils of the moon were woven cunningly upon its hem. It was
frail but of great volume; and the effect was that the wearer seemed to
be wrapped in a mist of moonlight.
What was the incantation like? We may well imagine it was one
of fervor and madness of things chaste, remote, and inscrutable.
"With the speed of a huntress the shape neared her, hid the moon from her,
and she perceived the buskined Artemis, silver-sandaled, with her bright
bow and quiver of light. Leaping behind her...
Artemis was worshipped as Luna in Heaven, and invoked in Tartarus as Hecate.
She avoided the society of men, and retired to the woods accompanied by
her nymphs. She was armed with her bow of light and carried a torch
kindled by the lightening of Zeus, so she could pursue the swift stag.
The high mountains were said to tremble at the twang of her bow, and the
forests resounded with the panting of the wounded deer. After the
chase, Artemis would hasten to Delphi, residence of her brother Apollo,
where she would hang her bow and quiver upon his altar, and begin to dance.
What does Artemis mean to a modern woman, and what are her psychological
values which persist throughout time?
The chief characteristic of the goddess in her crescent phase is that she
is virgin. Her instinct is not used to capture or possess the man
whom she attracts. She does not reserve herself for the chosen man
who must repay her by his devotion, nor is her instinct used to gain for
herself the security of husband, home, and family. . .She is essentially
In the image of the Mother Goddess--ancient and powerful--women of olden
times found the reflection of their own deepest feminine nature...Today,
the goddess is no longer worshipped...But the law or power of which she
was but the personification is unabated in its strength and life-giving
potency. It is we who have changed. We have given our allegiance
too exclusively to masculine forces. Today, however, through a religious
cult, not even with a conscious knowledge of what they are doing, but through
a change in psychological attitude. For that principle, which in
ancient and more naive days was projected into the form of a goddess, is
no longer seen in the guise of a religious tenet but is now sensed as a
psychological force arising from the unconscious, having, as had the Magna
Dea of old, power to mold the destinies of mankind. (12)
(4). THE ELEUSINIAN MYSTERIES
(Demeter/Persephone, Isis, and Psyche)
The establishment of the Eleusinian Mysteries is related in the Homeric
Hymn to Demeter. After the abduction of her daughter Persephone,
the mourning Demeter traveled to Eleusis (near Athens), and took refuge
by the Well of the Maidens.
She demanded that the local inhabitants build her a sanctuary there.
After she was reunited with her daughter, she revealed her rites, and began
teaching her Mysteries, including the cultivation of wheat.
The early history of the cult reports two types of initiations. One
was concerned with the reunion of the goddesses; the other concerned the
possibility of man's immortalization.
The Great Goddess has always been considered able to grant immortality
to humans, but early initiates to the Eleusinian Mysteries were not granted
immortality, but experienced revelations which assured the soul a blissful
existence after death.
Eliade recounts how the symbolic death of Persephone had great consequences
for mankind: "As the result of it, an Olympian and benevolent goddess
temporarily inhabited the kingdom of the dead. She had annulled the
unbridgeable distance between Hades and Olympus. Mediatrix between
the two divine worlds, she could thereafter intervene in the destiny of
Archaeologists established the colonization of Eleusis occurred in the
fifteenth century. The Mysteries were celebrated for nearly 2,000
years. Because of social and cultural changes during this period,
the Mysteries altered over time.
The Lesser Mysteries were celebrated in the spring, and formed a preliminary
probation period for the Greater Mysteries conducted in the Autumn (Sept.-Oct.).
Initiation was open to both men and women, providing they spoke Greek,
had killed no fellow man, and had passed through the Lesser Mysteries.
The rites involved processions, sacrifices, dances, and songs. There
were also secret rites in the Greater Mysteries, which remain shrouded
in darkness to this day. The revelations must have been profound,
for no initiate ever revealed them. A third stage of initiation was
open to those who had been initiates for a year. It culminated in
a supreme vision, the nature of which we may only guess. Attempts
at reconstructing the rites have been made, but only fragments are available.
Included were ritual fasting and imbibing of the sacred drink, or kykeon.
What is known is that, after a sacramental meal (which could represent
a sacred marriage like communion), the final vision took place in a dazzling
light, and included an invocation of Kore.
The Eleusinian Mysteries opened a new religious dimension for the Mediterranean
world. Through them, the initiate perceived a continuity between
life and death. It opened speculations concerning the underworld
which were suppressed by the predominant Olympian religion.
Demeter/Persephone became the most popular of Greek goddesses during this
period, and initiation into her cult, guaranteed a sort of "adoption" by
her. A major characteristic of the cult which became paradigmatic
for most other Mystery cults was the strict emphasis on silence and secrecy.
Thereafter, it became stylish for Masters to reveal their secrets only
to their initiates.
The Egyptian Mysteries of Isis and Osiris:
In the 3rd Century B.C. Ptolemy Soter sought to consolidate his rule through
the acceptance of a supreme divinity by both Egyptians and Greeks.
He exalted Sarapis (a derivative of Osiris) and Isis. Herodotus assimilated
these gods into the Greek Mysteries, where Isis was identified with the
Great Mother, Demeter, and Osiris was the initiated individual who attained
"salvation." For the Greeks, Osiris was also identified with Dionysus,
who was also killed, dismembered, then resurrected.
Qabalistically, a Great Goddess like Isis has many attributes which have
various correspondences, depending on the level of involvement. Aleister
Crowley has determined several of these:
...a goddess like Isis might be given to Zero as conterminous with Nature,
to 3 as Mother, to 4 as Venus, to 6 as Harmony, to 7 as Love, to 9 as the
Moon, to 10 as Virgin, to 13 again as the Moon, to 14 as Venus, to 15 as
connected with the letter He, to 16 as the Sacred Cow, to 18 as the Goddess
of Water, to 24 as Draco, to 28 as Giver of Rain, to 29 as the Moon, and
to 32 as Lady of the Mysteries (Saturn, Binah). (14)
In the Hellenistic period, the Mysteries of Isis provided a ritual rebirth
as its central purpose. The object was for the initiate to become
Osiris, raised from the dead by the magical power of the goddess Isis.
Accounts of these mysteries are found in both Plutarch's Isis and Osiris,
and The Golden Ass of Apuleius.
After fasting and meditation, the mystes took part in a mystery drama where
he personified Set, or Typhon in the form of a red ass. He was tormented,
and his lust and desirousness transformed through fully experiencing his
instinctual nature. The deep religious intensity of the aspirant
produces transformation and the identification with the dead Osiris.
He journeys to Hades and sees the midnight Sun shining brightly, as well
as the pantheon of Gods celestial and infernal. After this ritual
death, he is raised by the power of Isis. Plutarch also identified
Isis with Athena, in that the ever-changing veil of nature includes both
growth and decay.
The Isis of Hellenistic times, as Nature and the Moon, was creator, mother,
nurse, and destroyer, just like Demeter. She also embodied Wisdom,
or Sophia; Osiris was Knowledge, Reason, and Logos. Through acceptance
by Isis, the initiate caught in the instinctual level of passion and lust,
is raised to a spiritual life.
The initiate believed the goddess Isis could prolong life beyond the term
fixed by Destiny, or fate. But this process involved a metamorphosis
by undergoing a voluntary, ritual death in order to obtain one's spiritual
Like the Eleusinian Mysteries, the first great public festival of Isis
took place in Spring, when the Mediterranean navigation season opened.
The second, the lamentation for and reanimation of Osiris took place October
29 to November 1.
The seeker Apuleius recounts his initiation, after abstaining from meat
and wine for ten days:
Thou wouldst peradventure demand, thou studious reader, what was said
and done there: verily I would tell thee if it were lawful for me to tell:
thou wouldst know if it were convenient for thee to hear . . . Howbeit
I will not long torment thy mind, which peradventure is somewhat religious
and given to some devotion; listen therefore and believe it to be true.
Thou shalt understand that I approached near unto Hell, even to the gates
of Proserpine, and after that I was ravished throughout all the elements,
I returned to my proper place: about midnight I saw the sun brightly shine,
I saw likewise the gods celestial and infernal, before whom I presented
myself and worshipped them. (15)
In the Egyptian Mysteries of antiquity, the Pharaoh was identified with
Osiris after his death. But, through these Hellenistic initiations,
the living individual became "Divinized," through the powers of the Goddess.
Isis and Osiris are exalted to the rank of universal divinities of the
highest plane, covering psychic space from the underworld to ascent to
celestial heights. This Hellenistic interpretation of the old Egyptian
cults reflects a "monotheistic" universalism typical of other suffering
gods, including Dionysus and Orpheus. This Hellenistic mystery theology
expresses the deepest Egyptian religious genius.
In recounting the tale of his experiences as an initiate, Apuleius inserts
the tale of Psyche and Eros into his personal story. An evaluation
of the meaning of this tale in the development of his relationship to his
anima brings out the psychological value of these initiatory sequences.
In the tale, Eros represents the reproductive passion, which is transformed
through its relationship with Psyche. Psyche is an incarnated form
of Eros' mother, Venus. Since she is mortal, she represents that
part of Eros' anima which is closer to consciousness. Venus was jealous
of Psyche because mortals began worshipping her beauty, preferring her
to an abstract Olympian goddess.
In Amor und Psyche, the author Merkelbach points up an identification between
Psyche and Isis, and Venus and Isis. One might think that the goddess,
then, fights against herself. In a sense, she does. She protests
because of the narrowing of her potential in a mortal form. Therefore,
if Psyche is Venus in diminutive form, Eros actually takes part in a sacred
marriage with his mother-daughter-sister. This repeats the old Egyptian
formula. Psyche is a form of Kore, the mother goddess in rejuvenated,
human form. Therefore, the Eros and Psyche tale is a variation of
the Demeter-Kore myth.
For the female initiate, this myth represents the deepest experience of
the female mysteries of the Self. For the male initiate, it means
a progressive integration of the anima which then leads to an experience
of the Self. While he is still mother-complexed, all the forms of
the goddess are compounded in the figure of the Great Mother, and he is
her eternal lover.
Venus is a synthetic term for feminine Deity, and includes aspects of Hestia,
Demeter, Cybele, Isis, etc. The symbols overlap. This is because
the life of woman is divisible into three primary forms: 1) Virginity,
2) Wife and Mother, and 3) Old Woman, or Hag. The Goddess Hecate
combined all these forms in a tripartate representation. She is shown
as an amalgamation of three goddesses: Kore, Demeter, and Hecate
the Witch. Hecate corresponds explicitly with the Moon and its cyclic
Phase 1 includes Artemis, Atlanta, Persephone, Hebe, Pallas Athena, and
the virgin Sibyls. Phase 2 includes Venus, Demeter, and Cybele as
well as Artemis of the Ephesians. Phase 3 expresses the dark, malignant
nature of the moon.
Marie Von Franz describes the meaning of Psyche in the process of individuation.
"If we look at it from man's unconscious and what it means to him, the
figure of Psyche seems understandable. She is the anima which we
call the derivative of the mother image. The anima image of a man
is generally close to his mother's image and his anima always has some
characteristics of his mother complex, and is closer to consciousness than
the mother archetype, in which he can integrate his experience of the female
within and outside himself. It is his pattern of behavior to the
With a positive mother complex, a man is a puer eternus (eternal son) and
a Don Juan-type lover of women. He lives in a strange fantasy of
eternity, feeling someday he will be a great man, but never quite making
it. With a negative mother-complex, the Don Juan can never deal with
women as they really are since he is naive. He has not matured into
the realization that there is a divine and banal side to love relationships.
This paradox must be accepted. Venus is the mother-anima; Psyche
is the anima uncontaminated by one's maternal image.
Venus, in her jealousy, sets several tasks for Psyche. The one which
links her most closely to the Demeter/Persephone myth is her descent to
Hades to get the box of beauty ointment for Venus. (Chapter 7, Tiphareth
recounts the tale in more detail). Psyche is sent to Kore-Persephone
who is a variation of Venus-Isis in her underworld aspect. She opens
the box, and tries to secure the special "Beauty" for herself. This
means the man's anima equates beauty with goodness, or he can't believe
a beautiful woman is capable of wickedness. This is the old naiveté
again, desiring a real woman to enact his anima projections. Psyche
falls into a death-like sleep of unconsciousness...she is not "her-self."
And Eros must come save her.
But it is a transformed Eros who appears for her. The Greeks corresponded
Eros with Osiris, who taught men and women genuine mutual love. Eros
is now a psychological symbol of the Self. But just at this point,
Eros spirits Psyche off to Olympus, which means the initiate in THE GOLDEN
ASS OF APULEIUS is not ready for the deep religious experience of the higher
Further transformations of the man's relationship with his anima are required
before he can experience the final Isis initiations. In these, Osiris
is the secret ruler of the underworld, or a personification of the collective
unconscious. He is much more than a simple vegetation-god.
When he is reborn as the Horus-child, he represents restored wholeness
or totality. In QBL, Osiris is corresponded with Tiphareth, and he
is the secret spiritual goal of the Isis Mysteries. Transformation
from Yesod to Tiphareth occurs through the three initiations of the process.
This passage from one psychic state to another produces a unification of
the personality. It is produced through the image of one all-embracing
Goddess. Isis is the symbol of the Self in feminine form.
A religious experience must be accepted in its totality, and therefore
is lived as a lifestyle, publicly. But this does not imply telling
one's inner secrets to everyone, producing inflation. The Self counsels
one on the hiding or exposing of secrets.
The secret Self, Osiris, underwent various transformations becoming most
important in the Hellenistic era. His conscious religious attributes
increased and he became identified with the reborn human soul. The
soul tends to fragment into several autonomous parts. Isis is the
only divinity which keeps her unity. She is an emotional and feeling
experience of totality which leads the way to conscious individuation.
But one must become more than an intellectually interested philosopher,
flirting with every system and mystical cult which comes one's way.
This will not transform the divine inner nucleus.
Isis is the guide to the experience of oneness. The psyche is the
only reality known through immediate experience. Isis gives meaning
to suffering, and initiates the healing process. Man's fate is similar
to that of Osiris. The religious pattern revealed in the mysteries
was that first comes the realization of the anima (Isis, Yesod) and then
of the higher Self (Osiris, Tiphareth). A positive relationship to
the goddess produced psychological transformation in earthly life, which
produced immortality analogous to that of the philosopher's stone or "diamond
The initiate Lucius-Apuleius returns to Rome, but has a dream which leads
him to seek initiation into the mystery cult of Osiris. He is confused
as he thinks he has already had this experience in the Isis Mysteries,
but further transformations await him. In the Isis cult, he came
to a realization of the anima or feminine principle. But the archetype
of the Self has its own specific rites and principles, which he must experience
and serve. The aloofness of the Olympian gods is transcended through
1. ontology: the branch of metaphysics dealing with the philosophical
theory of reality, including consideration of the universal and necessary
characteristics of all existence; also a particular theory of reality.
2. Miller, Webb, Dickson; The Holographic Concept of Reality, Gordon
and Breach Pub., (1973).
3. Edward Sampson, Ego at the Threshold.
4. James Hillman, Re-Visioning Psychology.
5. Philo Stone, Re-Visioning Middle Pillar: the Torus/Twistor Model.
6. Israel Regardie, The Middle Pillar, Llewellyn
7. James Hillman, "Image-Sense," Spring, 1979.
8. James Hillman, "Anima II," Spring 1974, (Spring Publications,
9. Psychic experiences encompass all the manifestations of the imaginal
life: behavior fantasies, dreams, emotions, thoughts, convictions, etc.
10. , The Greeks
and Their Gods,
11. Nor Hall, The Moon and the Virgin, Harper and Row, N.Y., 1980,
12. M. Esther Harding, Woman's Mysteries, Ancient and Modern, Harper
and Row, N.Y., 1971.
13. Mircea Eliade, A History of Religious Ideas, University of Chicago
Press, Chicago, Vol. I, 1978; "The Eleusinian Mysteries", p. 290-301.
14. Aleister Crowley, The Qabalah of Aleister Crowley, Samuel Weiser,
N.Y. 1973, p.80
15. Eliade, A History of Religious Ideas, Chicago Univ. Press, Chicago,
Vol. II, 1982, p292.
16. M.L. von Franz, A Psychological Interpretation of the Golden
Ass of Apuleius, Spring Pub., Dallas, 1980, p. 76.
3. Astrology and Alchemy
a. Secondary Progressions in
Secondary progressions are extremely easy to calculate with your natal
chart and an Ephemeris for the year of your birth.
Simply look up the day of your birth, then count forward one day for each
year of life. This conforms to the formula for secondary progressions
1 day = 1 year. This is an arbitrary, but useful, concept.
Progressions measure changes in the relationship of the earth to the Sun.
Thus, the first few months of life form an analogy to the unfolding of
an individual. For example, say you are born at noon on August 1.
If you are now 35, and wish to examine your secondary progressions, count
forward in the Ephemeris 35 days to Sept 5 of your birth year. Calculate
the chart by using the positions of the planets.
Pay particular attention to the new position of the progressed sun.
Your sun has changed quality as you have aged from Leo to Virgo.
Dane Rudhyar says the progressed sun depicts the "process of personality-integration"
which carries on after birth. This maturing process of personality-integration"
which carries on after birth. This maturing process leads to fullness
of personality. The moon will change its sign in secondary progressions
also. Mercury may change signs every 30 years or so, but the other
planets will not change radically over a lifetime. They may, however,
change their house positions, marking important life changes in personality
or collective adaptation. All planets in progressed charts indicate
systems involved in co-operating with the solar process of fulfillment.
Sun=integrative Will (personality
Moon=outer, concrete changes
(cyclic phases of life)
Mercury=Attitude of mind to
the Great Work of the Sun
Mars=power of spontaneous initiative
aspect of psyche
process changing structure of consciousness
effect of subcon. processes
Neptune=dissolving of limits
imposed by ego (metamorphosis)
Each degree of the zodiac has a special symbol (Sabian Symbol) which may
be contemplated during the year of the Sun's sojourn in that degree.
Consult Dane Rudhyar's Astrological Mandala for these symbols and their
meanings in psychic development.
Also, check the aspects of the Progressed chart, and read these as you
would for a natal chart. The effect is simply more short-lived.
b. The Moon and the Lunation Cycle in Astrology
The luminous Moon has fascinated mankind throughout the ages. It
is the focal point for lovers and lunatics, alike. Basically, the
moon symbolizes a feminine, receptive attitude, and an emotional, fluctuating
attitude. Negatively, the moon can indicate moodiness, and changeability.
Astrologically, the moon is as significant as the Sun, or Ascendant.
It is given greater weight than the other planets, because its influence
is felt so strongly in all aspects of life. As the moon moves through
its 28 day cycle, it passes through several phases which define its ever-cycling
relationship with the sun. Most people are familiar with the distinctions
known as new moon, full moon, and quarter moon. There is really no
such phase as half-moon, since half the moon is synonymous with full moon.
Remember, the moon only shows 1/2 herself to us on earth; her other half
remains hidden in dark shadows.
Astrologers distinguish even finer distinctions in the phases of the moon.
These angular relationships to the sun are precisely defined. 1st
quarter = 0 to 90 waxing degrees; 2nd quarter = 90 - 180 degrees; 3rd quarter
= 180 to 90 waning degrees; 4th quarter = 90 to Dark of the Moon.
In addition, there is a Gibbous Moon, which is a day or two before and
after Full Moon.
For Magickal purposes, the new moon is not equivalent to "the dark of the
moon." But actually begins when the crescent moon shows itself (waxing).
All operations for psychological development are done during the 2 wks.
of the waxing period, since a waning moon is considered to dissipate one's
Robert Hand has described the core meaning of the Moon as an astrological
Yin: Container, medium, environment, matrix, womb, mothering,
home; subjects as opposed to their rulers. One's Ultimate Source;
the Great Mother; personal past, childhood, heritage, family, heredity,
homeland; unconscious assumptions and attitudes, instincts, hereditary
mental patterns, psychological patterns due to infantile experiences, emotional
reflexes or programs, psychic perceptions. (1)
The moon's placement indicates either feelings of belonging (positive)
or alienation (negative). We are contained by the formative principle
of the universe, and our adaptation to our environment reflects in our
personalities. Understanding of our lunar aspects, which are largely
unconscious, comes through feelings and emotions.
Emotions function like reflexes, and are barely influenced by logical thought
processes. In this manner, they function like instincts. Many
psychics describe their perception of information as a "feeling" or awareness.
They are in touch with the continuum where "all is one." This sensitivity
to connectedness is a lunar quality.
The moon symbolizes patient waiting, or "creative submission" to the fulfillment
promised by cyclic processes. It is as important and effective as
the sun, but in a less-obvious and obtrusive manner. The influence
of the moon reflects into daily life, forming the matrix of personal and
collective history. Through its ability to calm or incite the emotions,
it influences the course of events on a grand scale. It influences
behavior as much as the logical thought processes of solar-consciousness.
c. Luna and the Albedo in Alchemy
Luna represents the feminine aspect of the arcane substance. As
we have seen, she is linked to salt, to "white sulphur," to silver, to
the albedo, the feminine alba of the coniunctio. She represents the
cold, moist, corporeal, receptive but not at all inert feminine principle
in the psyche, and appears as sister, mother, and bride of Sol. she
is the "vessel" of the sun, receiving and pouring out the powers of heaven,
extracting the energy of Sol as a power springing into eternal life.
She provides that sense of serene undulating movement, like the moon's
path on the night sea, and that gentle and serene and soothing nocturnal
light that enables us to see in the dark, when the sun's power has set.
When Luna is at her fullness - at the plenilunum - she stands as the nocturnal
complement to masculine diurnal consciousness.
--Robert Grinnell/Alchemy in a Modern Woman
The Albedo is that stage of the alchemical work which is a phase of "whitening"
and "lightening" after the black depressive phase of the Nigredo.
It is the emergence of the feminine aspect of the Self or Holy Guardian
Angel. the Albedo presages the flowering of fulfillment. Moonlight
indicates that state of consciousness where one begins to react emotionally
to unconscious contents. In this phase elusive intuitions and spiritual
potential are made manifest.
Corresponding with Yesod, the Albedo is the first goal of the alchemical
work, reuniting a world divided into "mind" vs. "matter" through the medium
of psychic reality. Relevant symbols include the madonna, bride,
moon, dawn, and dove.
Experience and experiencer no longer matter as the "images that yet/fresh
images beget" release one from the nigredo of personal identity into the
mirrors of impersonal reflections. This second whiteness is also
not mere ignorance, a disregarding insouciance of the world and its ways,
which results from psychic realities taking precedence over more earth-bound
perception that attempts to resolve psychic difficulties either away from
the world or into the world. Albedo prefers neither introversion
nor extroversion, since the differences between soul and thing no longer
matter, that is , are no longer imagined in the material terms of the nigredo.
. .the albedo is not only a state between but a condition per se. (2)
Hillman calls this lunar stage of the albedo "the emergence of psychological
consciousness, the ability to hear psychologically, and to perceive fantasy
It is this sense: that all occurrences must first be imagined, that they
begin as images, that the very cycle through which anything turns, including
ourselves, is a psychological process, that soul fantasies are the ground
and seed in all we think and do, want and fear. . .the subtleties of soul
are embodied in the mundus imaginalis by primordial persons, eternal archons,
angelic essences who offer human consciousness a grounding in hierarchical
principles, enabling a human being to recognize what is essential, what
comes first, and what is of lasting worth. It is a place of truth.
a. Some Thoughts on the Phenomena of Astral
SOME THOUGHTS ON THE PHENOMENA OF ASTRAL PROJECTION
By Richard Alan Miller, Physicist. 1974
The phenomena known as Astral Projection or Out-Of-The-Body Experience
(OOBE) has become increasingly important to the research direction and
study of the paranormal. An Out-Of-The-Body Experience is now defined
as one in which the subject appears to view the external world from some
position other than that of his or her physical body.
Traditionally in the field of Parapsychology Out-Of-The-Body Experiences
are grouped into two main types, 'parasomatic' and 'asomatic'. The
parasomatic type of experience is that in which the subject appears to
himself to be located in a duplicate body, more or less resembling his
physical body. In the second type of experience, the asomatic, the
subject does not appear to himself to be associated with a body, rather
he or she is just a disembodied consciousness or a 'pin-point of presence'.
It is important at this point to consider the definition used. Namely,
once a structure or classification is structured, the way in which the
data is gathered immediately sets up limits in which the phenomena can
be studied. It would seem almost unnecessary to point out that the
"mystical tradition" underlying most of the major religions have certain
similarities. In surveying these coincidentals, the phenomena of
astral projection is one of the most overt.
Psychical phenomena exert a strong influence on the foundation of religious
heritage. The appearance of astral projection among them is probably
the most common of the various genres. As an allusion to Dr. Robert
Crookall's classic, Study and Practice of Astral Projection, the late Professor
Hornell Hart states: "Initiates into ancient mystery cults clearly
included the deliberate production of astral projection. . .Catholic saints
and Quaker ministers have reported undergoing such projection." The
Egyptian script Peret-emheru speaks of the Ba and Ka (often incorrectly
thought to be analogous to each other), which are ancient suggestions of
what we call the astral and fluidic bodies, respectively. Qabbalism
also has a parallel. In the Zohar, reference to the silvery "astral
cord" is made.
Referring to this allusion, A.E. Waite writes: "When the good soul
is preparing to leave this world, and while it is suspended from the body
only at the larynx, it beholds three angels to whom it must confess its
sins." Even Christianity is not exempt from this phenomena.
St. Paul's description of the astral body and the Old Testament reference
to the astral body are classics (1 Cor. 15:44, and Ecclesiastes 12:6),
and the appearance of Peter's double before Rhoda may be found in Acts
12:14-17 (A.V., King James version).
One of the most significant esoteric scripts discussing astral projection
is the Bardo Thodol, somewhat incorrectly translated as the Tibetan Book
of the Dead. The Bardo Thodol states that the initiate, during the
altered state of consciousness, can produce mind-body separation.
This seems to have a bearing on those prolific instances where LSD voyagers
(who experience a journey very close to the bardo trip as described in
the Tibetan Book of the Dead) appear to have such projection experiences.
One such incident was related to the author by an LSD user who, during
the trip, discovered that his consciousness was not in his body, but next
The most asked question about the out-of-body experience is: How
does one know that they are simply not dreaming? A more fundamental
question to ask, however, would be to counter-question: How does
one know that the waking experience is real? To answer the first:
the subjective out-of-body-experiences differ from the typical dream state
principally in the following ways:
1) There is continuity of some sort of conscious awareness.
2) Intellectual and/or emotional decisions are made during the experience.
3) Multivalued perceptions occur via sensory inputs or their equivalents.
4) There is a non-recurrence of identical patterns.
5) The experience of time duration, based on long-term memory.
The most certain statement that can be made by the subject is that when
the condition exists, he/she is as aware of "not dreaming" as when he/she
Dr. Robert Crookall has advanced a theory linking astral projection to
survival. He agrees with Professor Hart that the survival of the
human personality after death is nothing more than the permanent projection
of the astral body. He sees various degrees of projection involving
two distinct portions of the human psyche. One, he sates, is conscious
but immaterial. The other portion is unconscious and, although immaterial,
has some objective existence. In OOBE either or both of these portions
may be projected.
Dr. Crookall's beliefs have some interesting parallels in the Ba and Ka
concepts of the ancient Egyptians. They believed that the Ka was
a "double" of the individual and that is was composed of very tenuous matter.
It was supposed to live for some time after death and both the process
of embalming and various funerary practice were intended to ensure that
it lived on in the tomb. If the required practices were neglected
the Ka was thought to emerge from the tomb to haunt those responsible.
The Ba was the soul of the Egyptians. It was conscious but immaterial.
In life it was contained within the Ka. In death it left both the
Ka and the body. There is some scientific evidence to support this
concept. Dr. Duncan McDougall of Haverhill, Mass. arranged to have
dying patients placed on a sensitive weighing apparatus. He found
that there was a weight loss of from two to two-and-a-half ounces at the
moment of death. The data could not be explained except in terms
of something having left the body. Two Dutch Physicists, Dr. J.L.W.P.
Matla and Dr. G.L. Zaalberg Van Zelst report similar observations and data.
They further reported that the proposed "astral body" appears to have a
specific weight of 12.24 mg., that it responds to gravitation, and that
it appears to be composed of particles that are small, heavy, but very
Dr. Charles Tart, University of California at Davis has been conducting
bio-physical measurements on individuals who can astrally project at will.
His research indicates that out-of-body-experiences occur in conjunction
with a non-dreaming, non-awake brain wave stage characterized by predominate
slowed alpha activity from the brain and no activation of the autonomic
nervous system. OOB experiences seem to occur during a rather poorly
developed Stage 1 pattern of sleep which was dominated by alphoid activity
and often mixed with transitory periods of wakefulness. This alphoid
activity was always one to one-and-a-half cycles per second lower than
normal alpha rhythm. There seems to be also no REM (rapid eye movement)
accompanying these experiences. It is concluded that it is in the
hypnagogic state where OOB experiences occur.
There is one sleep study by Drs. Lester and Guerrero-Figueroa in which
considerable alphoid activity was reported in the sleep records as a result
of chlorpromazine administration. Chlorpromazine is a fairly commonly
used tranquilizer known under the trade name of Thorazine. It is
now being speculated that drugs which tend to slow alpha frequency might
promote OOB experiences, and this could be a possible fruitful line of
The author has experimented with a number of available legal herbs and
found that Jimson weed when smoked works quite well for inducing OOB experiences
with persons untrained in the technique. Care must be taken with
this herb as it belongs to the Datura or night shade family. The
active constituents are scopolamine, atropine, hyocyamine and other tropanes.
If ingested, as reported by numerous Indian tribes of the Southwest, the
herb can be quite toxic. It is recommended that only one to two grams
be smoked at one time and prolonged use is not recommended. The herb
has also been called thorn-apple or loco weed.
Religion has been defined in terms of a commitment to something beyond
the self (Garnett, 1942). Thus, the religious experience can be one
of man's most meaningful life adventures. This powerful and profound
experience is often associated with levels of awareness similar to those
aspects of human existence perceived as "creative", "religious", "mystical",
The Western world has institutionalized religion and has codified religious
dogma while neglecting religious experience. This neglect has many
roots, among them would be Plant's emphasis on reason to the near exclusion
of feeling, Aristotle's division of philosophy into science and metaphysics,
St. Augustine's separation of the "body" from the "mind", as well as Descarte's
division of man's inner life from his outer life.
These divisions run counter to reports of the religio-mystic experience
which, at its most profound, involves the subjective feelings of an integration
of man's total being with the universe about him. Dr. Krippner and
Dr. Ullman at the Maimonides Dream Laboratory have indicated the feasibility
of experimentally inducing dream patterns telepathically. They indicate
that a person sleeping is open to impressions and thoughts of others about
that person, that these impressions can be and are incorporated into the
main body of the dream experience.
Daily experience touches on various unresolved conflicts from one's past,
arousing unconscious feelings and wishes and memories to a preconscious
level. Dreaming integrates and again makes unconscious the aroused
feelings, wishes and memories from the past, along with those aspects of
the recent experiences which have stimulated or touched upon the material
from the past. In the dream process, each person uses his characteristic
defense to deal with the particular aroused feelings and impulses.
If the new experiences are growth-promoting in nature, i.e., correct previous
distorted wishes or fears, a modification in ways of dealing with the previously
unconscious material may result when the dream brings the new experience
into relation to the past. Thus, dreams can be used to predict future
events in that they program attitudes and behavior patterns.
In light of the above, a new model for the nature of consciousness begins
to develop. Astral projection apparently requires an altered state
of consciousness similar to Stage 1 of sleep. There also appears
to be some very subtle but important differences between Stage 1 of sleep
ahd that required for an OOB experience. Those differences can be
discussed physiologically, vis. the EEG, the tape recorder, the rating
scale, statistical procedures and the like. However, with some of
the new research available, the concept that the brain is a transducer
of information becomes useful.
Dr. Gowan's work at the University of California at Northridge on the Collective
Preconscious indicates that there is a possible body of information or
knowledge which is available with slight adjustments in tuning, or alteration
of consciousness. This concept could be applied to such ideas as
pre-natal memory, language and other observed paranormal phenomena.
This body of information is a universal one which does not require a time/space
co-ordinate system, rather it functions on a more holistic level as the
dream telepathy studies might indicate. Astral projection appears
to require a state of consciousness which does not use a space/time co-ordinate
system. Rather, OOB experiences are those where space and time are
not critical for the assimilation of information. The point seems
to go back to the occult concept that your awareness is everywhere, but
your consciousness is a limited or special case of awareness.
Astral projection is apparently a special case of ESP (extra-sensory perception)
where the information is brought into consciousness via certain special
co-ordinates, i.e., OOB experiences. The real point is that the information
was already present but needed some mechanism to be experienced on a conscious
level. The development of those mechanisms over other possible ones
available form the new field called Noetic sciences. The real issue
or question which now arises is: Why have we chosen a particular
co-ordinate system over another to call this system a "normal" astral projection,
religio-mystical experience, and dream state as deviant from a "normal"
state may hold the key to another stage in the development of Man.
b. Ritual Timing and Seasonal Tides
According to Magickal tradition, there are times for planning and times
for doing. To obtain optimal effects in any working, the magician
cooperates with various tides. This amplifies his effectiveness.
This is not a fantasy of "control", but a matter of fine-tuning one's work
through development of responsiveness to patterns. When one makes
use of various "astral currents" one "goes with the flow", so to speak.
There are three major types of current to which magickal effectiveness
is subject. These include the Solar cycle of seasonal change, which
is of annual duration; the lunar or monthly cycle is approximately 28 days
long; and the circadian cycle of geomagnetic forces which influence individual
Solar Cycle: The equinoxes, as most people know, are times of equal
day and night (when each ar 12 hours long). More precisely, they
are defined as the two imaginary points in the heavens where the celestial
equator intersects the plane of the ecliptic. The plane of the ecliptic
is an imaginary plane extending through the center of the Sun, the orbit
of the Earth, and beyond to the band of the Zodiac.
It is therefore the apparent path of the Sun on the celestial sphere.
The celestial equator is an extension on the celestial sphere of the Earth's
equator. Since the Earth's axis is inclined 23 1/2 degrees, the celestial
equator is inclined 23 1/2 degrees to the plane of the ecliptic.
At two points they intersect: the vernal and autumnal equinoxes are
the times of equal day and night.
The great religious holy days of all faiths tend to cluster around the
times of these equilibrated periods. Why? It is not known,
but traditionally there is the belief in "tides" which flow through an
unseen ether or medium, known variously as prana, or the astral light.
As the Earth revolves on its axis, and also travels at the same time around
the sun, centers of stress are set up in the electromagnetic sphere of
the earth (this includes the effect of solar winds on the ionosphere and
gravitational forces influencing the earth). On any part of the earth's
surface, a positive current flows from East to West, in the Astral Light.
So, there is a steady current, or tide, in the magnetic field of the earth
which is linked to coreolis force. This coreolis force is known to
effect individual organisms.
As the earth moves around the sun, a magnetic current passes from the north
to the south during six months, then reverses flowing from south to north
for the remaining six months. The "seasonal" solar tides are the
most powerful influence on magickal work, and are classified as follows:
The Tide of Sowing: March 21 (Vernal Equinox) - June 21
This is the time to begin new projects; goal oriented.
The Tide of Reaping: June 21 (Summer Solstice) - Sept. 23
One receives the material rewards of the last cycle.
The Tide of Planning: Sept.23 (Autumnal Equinox) - Dec. 23
One experiences the spiritual results of what is sown.
The Tide of Destruction: Dec. 23 (Winter Solstice) - March 21
Old forms are broken up; time for study, introspection, meditation,
contemplation, magical retirement period.
Throughout history, the vernal equinox has been considered a time of rebirth;
the resurrection of vegetation by the life-giving warmth of the Sun signifies
new beginning...Spring. It is considered to be the most significant
seasonal change in its impact biologically, psychologically, and sociologically.
"Spring fever" can be considered a psychological repercussion of the biological
surge in growth hormones in the human body. Whole societies undergo
tremendous change during these periods. What biological mechanism
can account for this change?
The answer may lie in the study of the pineal gland, also referred to as
the "third eye." The pineal gland was found to produce a chemical
neurotransmitter called serotonin (similar in structure to LSD-25), according
to a regular oscillating beat, the basis of this beat being the so-called
circadian rhythm. It has been found that the pineal responds somehow
to environmental light conditions, and that by altering light conditions
one can extend, contract, or even stabilize the chemical production rhythms
of the pineal.
The fact that the pineal responds to light, even if this response is indirect
via the central nervous system, has some fascinating and far-reaching conceptual
applications. There are many behavioral changes which overtake animals
as the seasons change, and which can be produced out-of-season in the laboratory
by stimulating the appropriate span of artificial daylight. Do such
seasonal changes in mood and behavior persist in humans?
As indicated before, the great religious holy days seem to cluster around
the 4 great divisions of the solstices and equinoxes. Is it possible
that the human pineal gland (which is considered by some merely an atrophied
relic of the past) still responds to these alterations in the length of
daylight? Changing the balance of neurohormones in the brain may
perhaps effect a greater incidence of psychedelic states (mind-expansive
altered states of consciousness) in certain susceptible individuals just
at these crucial times. This possibility provides an entirely new
approach to our secular understanding of the religious experience, at least
as it is mediates through biological factors.
The pineal gland has thus been referred to as a kind of biological clock,
one which acts as a kind of coupling system perhaps maintaining phase relations
within a multi-oscillator system; a phase coordinator for multiple biorhythms.
The pineal is a "cosmic eye"; it is aware of celestial rhythms not observed
by the normal eye, like seasonal and lunar changes rather than daily ones.
It helps manipulate the body's chemistry in harmony with seasonal changes.
Serotonin can be seen as the "intensity knob" of the brain. As the
level of serotonin increases, so does the level of activation of the cortex.
Equinoxes and solstices are symbols of the Death/Rebirth archetypes from
individual to cultural levels. The concept of world changes in outlook
and sociology from Age to Age is derived from the phenomenon of the precession
of the equinoxes. The volition of consciousness from the Age of Pisces
to the Age of Aquarius may be even a more subtle manipulation of this pineal
gland, the so-called "third eye." A good meditation for the Vernal
Equinox was expressed by Dane Rudhyar when he stated: "Every living
whole is a chord of relationships. The resonance of this chord is
what we call 'consciousness'."
Lunar Phases: New Moon-perform no magick during the dark of the moon.
First Quarter concerns impregnation, inception of projects and growth,
or gestation. The Full Moon contains the greatest magickal power,
especially in the fall with harvest moon. Waning Quarter Phase is
less powerful and is for internalization.
Circadian Rhythms: Produced through the interaction of geomagnetic forces
with the individual. This hourly fine-tuning is reckoned from sunrise.
There is correspondence of the astral tides with the elements which repeats
its sequence approximately every two hours: Spirit, Air, Fire, Water, and
Earth; Spirit, Air, etc.
For optimal results, the aspirant combines "know-how", and "know-when."
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