I am Artemis, Queen of Night;
Silver my bow, swift my flight!
CHAPTER II: THE HIGH PRIESTESS
ARTEMIS (PARADOXICAL VIRGIN-MOTHER)
In the Tarot, Artemis is corresponded with both the Path 'Art' in her huntress
nature, and 'High Priestess' in her solitary role as Virgin-Mother.
In both cases she is associated with the Moon or Lunar Consciousness.
She is Queen of the Night, Thea. In Rome she was Diana, in Egypt
Isis, for the Jews Shekinah, to Moslems Sakina, in India Shakti, Prakriti
and Maya, in Scandinavia Disa.
Artemis as Virgin-Mother expresses the archetype in its most exalted form.
Paradoxically, she is Great Mother and Immaculate Virgin, the White Goddess.
She is a variation of Celestial Queen, the deepest mysteries of nature.
She personifies pure self-reliant Feminine power, with an esoteric knowledge
of visible and invisible forces, mediumistic abilities. She embodies
our submission to faith in destiny. She encourages us to seek our
own mystical experiences in receptivity.
She represents our oneness with the universe, our essential "be-ing," with
attention to natural rhythms and cycles. Paradoxically, she is Great Mother
and simultaneously Immaculate Virgin, containing the entire cyclic process
of nature and its relationship to time. She transcends time, living
constantly in a co-temporaneous eternal Now.
her paths up the Middle Pillar exemplify the Way of experiential discovery
of these mystic truths. Her way is through symbolic and meditational
means -- through the senses and transcendence even beyond the mind, essentially
through soul travel. Her Way is the Middle Way, in tantric philosophy
the opening of the Sushumna channel and the raising of Kundalini toward
Union with her is consciousness of primal existential self, and our deepest
ecological self. Beneath the layer of alienation from nature which
our culture has created lies a deep resource we can tap which is fundamental
wisdom about the unity of life. The Virgin helps us balance emotions
and desires, directing our thoughts toward higher consciousness.
In ancient times she was known as Isis, who exemplified her impenetrable
mystery by reiterating that, "I am Isis; no man has lifted my veil."
She is bathed in the Light and concealed by it; she is a multifaceted brilliant
Solitaire. Thus she alludes to her virgin nature, that sense of wholeness
within oneself, which is the source of wisdom. She is the secret
powers of nature, Sophia, Shakti, Shekinah. This wisdom is deep ecology
which reveals the way of living in balance through intuition. She
is the natural Light of the Soul--illumination.
This archetype has reverberated down through history as the sublime matriarch
known as the Great Mother. She is the possibility of bringing creative
ideas to birth, to manifestation. She contemplates the possibility
of various manifestations. The matriarchies of ancient times reflected
societies intimately in touch with seasonal cycles and natural rhythms.
We all yearn for "the mother." For some, this yearning takes a regressive
self-destructive turn, which seeks a return to the unconscious oblivion
of primal unity through drugs or insanity...in most cases certainly not
a conscious choice.
The Great Mother is the All-Merciful one, who understands everything and
forgives everything. In our fantasies at least, she always acts for
the best, living only for others. The narcissistic personality wants
her to exist only for him. And, of course, her great love is never
truly understood. If we transmute our personalistic dependency on
the archetype to a higher octave, we can access the spiritual dimension
of this mystery.
Artemis is the goddess which represents the moon in its crescent phase.
The crescent shape of the waxing moon symbolizes increasing power, the
'horns' represent growth and fertility. Her chief attribute is that
she is a virgin, complete within herself. The mystic remains chaste
or virgin in the sense of never being swayed by the events of life to give
up spiritual aspiration--all other loves are secondary. Her growth
is seen as the potential of fulfillment and fertility through fantasy or
There are two distinct forms of the goddess Artemis. She corresponds
with both THE HIGH PRIESTESS (Trump II) and ART (Trump XIV). As The
High Priestess, Artemis as Virgin-Mother, is the mediator of the highest
mystical experiences. She is the way to true initiation. In mystical
meditation we become receptive to divine grace. Her path reaches
through and beyond the great Void, THE ABYSS, to the highest unitive states
of consciousness. Mystical experience connects self-actualization
with god-realization. She is the link between the archetypal and
formative worlds, the matrix of eternal patterns with unique manifestations.
Both THE HIGH PRIESTESS and ART lie on the vertical axis of THE TREE OF
LIFE. This vertical axis, known as The Middle Pillar, represents
the quickest, most equilibrated Path to mystical attainment. Artemis
inhabits the extreme middle position, where the "medium" and the "amazon"
represent poles of a single archetype. She is equivalent to the alchemical
Anima Mundi, or World Soul. Artemis bridges our perceptions of the
world by stimulating the imaginative faculty.
Only a particular facet of woman plays this role of mediator (or medium)
to man concerning the mysteries of his own psyche. That woman has
a role to play which is inherent in her nature. It is not the role
of sharing his intellectual interests or providing his meals. It
is also not becoming the mother of his children nor being his sexual partner.
The Artemisian role is to be a mediator to man of his creative inspirations,
a channel where the riches of the unconscious can flow to him more easily
than if she were not present. For women, she inspires also, from
a depth beyond that of the "masculine" ego-consciousness.
It takes a high degree of focused consciousness in a woman for her to be
able to observe what she is in fact doing instinctively. It is vitally
important for a woman who is handling these images from the collective
unconscious to have a strong ego to withstand the regressive pull of the
unconscious. If she does not, she may be lost in the maze of the
transcendent imagination, causing confusion to herself and those around
her (sorceress' apprentice).
The mediumistic woman is an initiator. If she becomes devoted to
a religious creed or spiritual science, she will put herself in its service.
Alternatively, she may find herself expressing the spirit of an epoch.
In every event, the spiritual woman is mediating archetypal images to consciousness.
Biologically, Artemis might be seen as corresponding with an important
endocrine gland--the Pituitary. As a master gland, controlling the
others, the function of this gland is to regulate sex, reproductive cycles,
and lactation. It also secretes serotonin, an important "trigger"
to the diverse states states of consciousness. Serotonin interacts
with noradrenelin in the "pain-pleasure" cycle mediated by neurotransmitters
in the brain.
Artemis is that element which allows images or visions from these altered
states to be brought back into a daily context. She may be imagined
in the symbolic relationship between the pituitary and pineal glands.
Her "magickal son" is the light-sensitive pineal body or "Third Eye.
This gland is implicated in the production of endogenous MDA, dubbed the
Spirit Molecule (Strassman); it is responsible for the intrinsic perception
of Light. This third eye is also implicated in the raising of Kundalini,
the serpent power, responsible for awakening inner sight or in-sight.
There are three great stories in science. One of them is where the
universe came from. One of them is where life came from. And
the third is where we came from. We crave a deeper meaning to life,
a more imaginative understanding of the mystery of existence. And
out of that One Mystery, we have created many (E Unus Pluribum).
Who are we; why are we here; where are we going? How did we get here;
what is the mind for; why is it so big? How does the mind work; how
do we know what we know? Why should the purely subjective aspect
of experience exist at all? Why do we wonder?
Science readily admits there are many unsolved problems. Aspects
of human transformation and subjective consciousness and where it comes
from are deeply mysterious. In exploring these questions, science
is not seeking to kill soul, but rather to provide an arena for imagination
to systematically explore the realm of Spirit. Traditionally, theology
itself is the science of God and his works while systematic theology is
the systematizing of the findings of that science.
Three new sciences are now vividly rooting our mental processes in our
biology, our seamlessly welded psychophysical self. Cognitive neuroscience
attempts to relate thought, perception and emotion to the functioning of
the brain's electrical, magnetic or metabolic signals. A second science,
behavioral genetics shows there is a fascinating degree of specificity
in our genome. Any adaptation is for the good of the genes which
made that adaptation. The third science connecting mind with biology
is evolutionary psychology which concerns why we have developed certain
naturally-engineered organs connected to our brains.
Western science has traditionally considered matter as primary, but if
you look at what the mystics report, you can also say that it's ultimately
consciousness and awareness that are primary. Science has penetrated
the quantum level of observation where events "function" as the source
of a continual "creation" that sustains the universe at every instant.
This has forever blurred any falacious distinction between mind and body
(psyche and soma) or energy and matter.
Our consciousness emerges from the un-conceptualizable ground of existence
as a tangled hierarchy of self-similar nested levels that contain a "strange
loop" which leads to the unexpected result of inevitably bringing us back
to our starting point. It is a model in which transcendence seems
necessary. It brings up another question, "Dare I explore my inner
world?" To explore or not to explore is a question we face every
day. Who among us has not wondered what we would find if we began an earnest
probe of the depths of our own being?
"In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is
true or becomes true within the limits to be found experientially and experimentally.
These limits are beliefs to be transcended." --John C. Lilly
Yet, few of us have peered deeply into the fundamental operations of the
information-processing system we call "the mind." Our normal waking
consciousness is but one special type of consciousness; sleep and dreams
are another. There are other modes of conscious and subconscious
experience that can enrich our lives. Visions, white light and the
nirvanic raptures of religious ecstasy have been invested with ultimate
value and devoutly sought. In exploring this field we are touching
one of evolution's fundamental mechanisms of survival, for it is by knowledge
that we orient ourselves in the world. Accurate knowledge of our
two worlds--the so-called real world and the inner world--correctly informs
us of the conditions we must cope with.
The scientific search for knowledge is the search for Truth and Beauty,
appealing to both spirit and soul. To know facts is to survive; not
to know, or to assess one's environment wrongly, is to lose the fight for
survival. With the examination of the sources, nature, and accuracy
of our knowledge, we begin to develop epistemic awareness, a more
informed understanding of what we know and don't know. We are faced
with two serious epistemological problems: (1) How can we determine which
facts are true? and, (2) How can we determine which facts are important?
Our minds are the comparator and interface between the internal and external
realities we navigate through.
Research suggests that some people may be genetically or temperamentally
predisposed to mystical ability. Those most open to mystical experience
tend also to be open to new experiences generally. They are usually
creative and innovative, with a breadth of interests and a tolerance for
ambiguity and may be fantasy-prone and tend to dissociate. Over-rational,
controlled individuals will probably resist the experience. In mystical
experience, the content of the mind fades, sensory awareness drops out,
and you are left only with pure consciousness which does not need an object.
It is not a mere byproduct of sensory action.
Brain scans of a large sampling of people lost in prayer or deep meditation
reveal certain common neurological underpinnings which correlate with religious
states from transcendence, to visions, to enlightenment and feelings of
awe. Attention in the frontal lobe is indicated by activation
in this area of the brain during meditation. When the parietal lobes
quiet down, a person feels an expansive oneness with the universe or
unity. For a mystical experience to occur, brain regions that
orient us in space and mark the distinction between self and world must
In order to feel that time, fear and self-consciousness have dissolved,
certain brain circuits must be interrupted. Which ones? Activity
in the amygdala, which monitors the environment for threats and registers
fear, must be damped. Parietal-lobe circuits, which orient you in
space and mark the sharp distinction between self and world, must go quiet.
The orientation area requires sensory input to do its calculations.
Intense meditation blocks the brain from forming a distinction between
self and world. Frontal- and temporal-lobe circuits, which mark time
and generate self-awareness, must disengage. When this happen what
we think of as our 'higher' functions of self hood appear briefly to drop
out, dissolve, or be deleted from consciousness.
Our response to religious words is mediated at the juncture of three
lobes (parietal, frontal and temporal) and governs reaction to language.
The "voice of God" probably emanates from electrical activity in the temporal
lobes, important to speech perception. Inner speech is interpreted
as originating outside the self. Broca's area, responsible for speech
production switches on. Stress can influence one's ability to determine
origin of a voice. The right anterior cingulate turns on whether
a stimulus originates in the environment or is an auditory hallucination.
Hyperarousal by sensory stimuli, such as drumming, dancing or incantations,
can amplify emotions and send the system into hyperdrive. The equilibrium
of the hippocampus is overwritten, inhibiting the flow of signals between
neurons. Certain regions are then deprived of neuronal inputs.
When the orientation center is isolated with ritual and liturgy or meditation,
the boundaries of the self begin to dissolve.
Sacred images are generated by the lower temporal which also responds
to ritual imagery and is facilitated by prayer and meditation. Religious
emotions originate from the middle temporal lobe and are linked to
emotional aspects of religious experience, such as joy and awe. Yet
neural correlates don't mean that these experiences exist "only" in the
brain or are merely illusory; they are associated with distinct neural
activity. There is no way to distinguish if the brain causes
these experiences, or is actually perceiving spiritual reality.
Religious mystics the world over make a common assertion: no one can understand
a profound religious experience until he has himself experienced it.
No amount of description with mere symbols can touch or reveal its true
meaning. Schopenhauer once remarked that "The exceptional man
is like an archer who can strike a target other cannot, the genius
is the one who can strike a target others cannot even see." The
individual who lacks awareness of the depths and facets of the psyche is
something less than whole, and considerably less that he could be.
He is living a single-dimensional existence in a multidimensional psychic
Theology has been defined as the science of God and his relations to the
universe, (Thiessen, 1979). In the realm of systematic thought, the
facts concerning God and his relations to the universe lead to theology;
in the sphere of individual and collective life, they lead to religion.
In other words, in theology we organize our thoughts concerning God and
the universe, while in religion we express in attitudes and action the
effects these thoughts have produced in us.
Both theology and philosophy seek a comprehensive world and life view,
echoing the ancient dictum to "Know Thyself." Theology does
not merely begin with the belief in the existence of God, but also holds
that he has graciously revealed himself. The theologian is irresistibly
driven by God and the revelation he has made of himself. The possibility
of theology grows out of two things: the revelation of God and the endowments
of man, which are of two kinds: mental and spiritual.
Revelation is the act of God which discloses himself or communicates truth
to the mind, and makes manifest that which could not be known in any other
way. It may occur in a single instantaneous act, or extend over a
long period of time. This communication and experiential Truth may
be perceived by the human mind in varying degrees of fullness. These
subjective experiences are the basis of primordial mysticism.
God reveals himself and we are capable of apprehending spiritual revelation,
which is immanent in the Creation, nature and our nature. That which
is known about God is evident within us, for God makes it evident to us.
Paul wrote, "Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes,
His eternal power and divine nature have beeen clearly seen," (Rom.
History shows that the religious element of our nature is just as universal
as the rational or social one. Religion or a belief system is categorized
as one of the universals in culture. There are in man's belief everywhere,
various forms of religious phenomena and awareness of the supernatural.
Believers feels the existence of God is also necessary, in the sense that
we cannot deny his existence without doing violence to the very laws of
our nature. If we do deny it, the denial is forced and can only be
temporary, just as the pendulum of a clock can be pushed off center by
an internal or external force but will return to its original position
once the pressure is removed. The "normal" belief in God or a spiritual
force tends to return when we are not consciously under the influence of
a false philosophy.
Assuming that God has revealed himself, we ask next, how does man come
into possession of this revelation? To this we reply that neither
the outer nor the inner world would disclose anything of God without the
unique endowments of man, the natural capacity for spiritual experience.
Science and Theology examine these endowments and their resulting phenomena
from radically different models:
1. Models are grounded in theories which influence observations.
Discordant data is often called an anomaly rather than a falsification.
Paradigm shifts have as much to do with psychology as logic and data because
of the paradigm's frame of reference.
2. Theory dominates in the form of laws rather than models.
3. Empirical testing is used to verify models and hypotheses.
4. No root-metaphor or original model is referred back to as primary guiding
image; the process is emergent, self-organizing.
5. The purpose of models is to discover new phenomena and explain how the
modeled systems function, ontological, phenomenologically, existentially.
6. There are few models in science and they are not related hierarchically
nor are they all complementary such as the wave and particle models of
7. Models can be translated into mathematical formulae which make general
statements about relationships.
8. Relationships are primarily expressed in terms of quantity.
9. Models primarily impact reason.
1. Models grounded in sacred stories/myths which are transmitted by a faith
community informing human imagination with images and patterns for behavior.
Sacred stories enacted in rituals, drama, rites. The model is the
enduring structural component the myth or parable dramatizes.
2. Models dominate theory. Doctrines (creation; redemption) are not translated
into general laws.
3. Data neither falsifies nor verifies the truth value of models.
Exemplars express ultimate values.
4. Personal deity is the root-metaphor relating to human beings and the
natural world as source and transformer of both.
5. Purpose of models is comprehension of all reality to provide an ordering
and evaluating action from an ultimate perspective at the edge of being
6. Many models are related in complementary and hierarchical ways.
7. Models cannot be improved by translation into a different symbol system.
8. Relationships are primarily expressed in terms of quality.
9. Models primarily impact feelings.
** Chart Adapted from Life Maps (1985, Word Books, Waco, Texas)
by Sam Keen, et al
The mediumistic Artemis is archetypally the wise old woman of menopausal
age--the crone. With lowered estrogen levels and an increase in proportion
of testosterone, she experiences a more masculine development of consciousness.
She is released from the reproductive cycle to be more spiritually productive.
As such, she become more androgynous in her sex hormone chemistry.
Specific occupations associated with Artemis are:
wild life management
Experientially, Artemis symbolizes Lunar-consciousness--that diffuse kind
of awareness that works with reflection and is nonlinear rather than using
direct logic or analysis. It is a consciousness that notices similarities
and unifies, rather than separating and fragmenting. This state of
mind manifests as a deep ecological connection with the universe, a merging
of the environmental self and the transpersonal self.
Modern women have reflected the split in consciousness fantasized in our
contemporary, work-a-day world. With society emphasizing the superiority
of logical (or masculine) forms of consciousness, women experience a tension.
The tension is between the opposites of feminine thoughts and its values,
and the more dominant paternal style. Artemis reminds us of the values
of the "natural mind," or being-in-soul and thereby suffused with spirit.
Artemis is the connection which mediates between the personal and collective
aspects of life, between actualities and the beyond. She bridges
the individual conscious horizon and the primordial realm of the imaginal
with its images, ideas, figures, emotions, and beliefs.
The feelings which are developed through this "soul-making" are more impersonal.
There is a detailed sensitivity to the specific worth of psychic contents
and attitudes. She keeps women in touch with the innermost core of
their being, and does the same for mystical man. Artemis can act
as a soul-guide for men through the anima, his feminine component.
In Tarot, THE HIGH PRIESTESS represents a very high inspirational development;
the anima for men. She relates him to the superconsciousness, like
a muse. If a woman can live up to the promptings of her masculine
side, she can become a very spiritualized and developed person by balancing
the opposites within.
She is the "patron saint" of the meditative, philosophical, or deeply religious
personality. Artemis mediates wisdom by urging participation in the
realm of mythical perception. These metaphors of perception are always
images. She stirs up the imagination to quest, chase, and muse.
She inspires the interpenetration of soul and intellect. Mystical
experience is remembering ourselves, most perfectly. In self-realization,
there is blissful merging of the personal consciousness with the Universal.
As a medium, Artemis is psychic (sibyl) because her intuitive faculties
are strong. Her subjective experience of time is discontinuous.
She has the ability to experience possibilities as being more real than
the present moment. She glimpses the future and manipulates the present
toward that vision.
The importance of the present depends on its effect in the realization
of a specific future. An experience is important if it suggests or
fulfills visionary sight. Time is not as important to her as the
bright picture of possible futures, from which to draw inspiration.
As a moon goddess, Artemis symbolizes the instinctual nature which works
through emotional reactions. But THE HIGH PRIESTESS represents a
spiritualization, purification, and refinement of the powers of the instinctual
nature. The instinctual movement is toward the spirit in ourselves--the
mystic quest. The great feminine principle in all of us is receptivity.
Our irrational, changeable nature is expressed as emotional moods.
Moods may be destructive but if understood, can lead to a better and more
productive life. Understanding and dealing with the rhythms of nature,
knowing how to live with them, and deal with them is essentially feminine.
Both sexes can become aware of polarities within themselves and understand
their behavior and functions so they can be used for higher spiritual aims.
V. Ramachandran asserts he has found a "God Spot" or a "God module" in
the brain: a location in the brain that is responsible for human religious
experience. Atheists began to assert that the research had proven all religious
experience was simply the product of the brain. For the other side, some
religious leaders (including the Bishop of Oxford, apparently) read the
findings as suggesting that God had put a special receptor in the human
brain. Frankly, there are times when his writing invites such speculation.
Overall, however, his description of the Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE) patients’
reports is cautious. These reports deal more about religious experience
than with God per se: "They have an aura, they feel the presence
of God, or they make statements that sound religious—not necessarily, ‘I
see God,’ but some say, ‘Suddenly the whole universe makes sense to me,
I feel enlightened, I see deep meaning in everything.’ The syndrome, which
may also manifest itself as general hyper-emotionalism, hypergraphia (writing
page after page of detailed and spirituality-obsessed diaries), and a compulsion
to use religious language, is known well-enough by neurologists to earn
its patients the description, "temporal lobe personality."
Ramachandran hypothesizes that the emotional intensity that some TLE patients
experience may be a result of a strengthening or "kindling" of certain
neural pathways between the temporal lobe and the amygdala. The amygdala
is a part of the limbic system that regulates or filters emotional connections
that we make with persons and things that are of significance to us.
Those who have had repeated temporal lobe seizures apparently have even
more intense experiences when they encounter something meaningful to them.
They tend to interpret everyday occurrences as having extraordinary meaning,
and they often have heightened responses, particularly, to things religious.
Ramachandran elaborates, "Something has happened in their temporal lobes
that heightened their response to religious terms and icons…There may be
a selective enhancement of emotions conducive to religious experience."
The question remained whether the enhancement of religious experience was
a part of a general heightening of emotional responses, or something more
selective. To test the question, he asked two religiously inclined TLE
patients to observe a variety of images and words while he measured their
galvanic skin responses. To his surprise, he discovered that these patients
actually showed a reduced response to certain images (those having to do
with sex), but a heightened response to religious words and images. One
interpretation of this finding is that "there are neural structures in
the temporal lobes that are specialized for religion and spirituality,
that are selectively enhanced by the epileptic process."
While he resists any suggestion that his findings are religiously reductionistic
or should be interpreted as either for or against the existence of God,
he does speculate about the relationship between these brain pathways and
our religious experiences: "Could it be that human beings have actually
evolved specialized neural circuitry for the sole purpose of mediating
religious experience?" Or, as he said in a later interview, "There may
be certain neural pathways—neural structures in the temporal lobe and the
limbic system—whose activity makes you more prone to religious belief.
Now why this would happen, I don’t know. One possibility—and this is very
that human beings are hard-wired for religious beliefs."
Ramachandran’s research is interesting and tends to uphold the assertion
of a connection between the limbic system (particularly the amygdala) and
religious experiences. There is no explicit application or insight here
into religious ritual. At one point he muses how the galvanic skin reaction
test might be used by religionists: "One wonders whether this technique
could be useful as a sort of ‘piety index’ to distinguish religious dabblers
or frauds (‘closet atheists’) from true believers. The absolute zero on
the scale could be set by measuring Francis Crick’s galvanic skin response."
Specific keywords associated with Artemis are:
wise old woman
THE HIGH PRIESTESS is an inner experience. She is intuition and inspiration
and kindred experiences. These come from a hidden, inner world and
the aspirant must be receptive to their whisperings and visionary states.
If a person loses this ability for receptibility, being enmeshed in the
veils of the conscious, egoistic mind and the material world, then She
cannot be realized. We must learn to be quiet and meditate so that
the light shines through her influences. At the last moment we must
give up our aspiration, becoming receptive and quiescent, so the Light
makes its way through us.
The feminine aspect of nature brings forth a child through the mystery
of birth. This child may not be human, but the result of a creative
conception. It may be the result of a moment of genius--a poem, painting,
idea, or discovery. The child is incubated in the silent womb of
the goddess, protected until the moment of emergence. First comes
a union of opposites, then a period of quietude and gestation, nurturing
and withdrawl. Then the birth of genius, the result, the child.
When an individual has undergone the required initiations, or gained a
proper relationship to the feminine principle, Self mediates the flood
of imagery from the unconscious. Artemis gives it value and meaning
from her perspective as The High Priestess of inspiration.
This is the highest incarnation of the feminine principle in its function
of spirit, ordivine knowledge. In Christianity, this role is filled
by the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in Gnostic sects she was known as the Sophia.
She is an inner daemon whose acquaintance brings awareness of the ultimate
reality of our own natures.
She bestows an experience of immortality by lifting us from the daily time
frame into a sacred realm of metaphorical perception. This adds a
sacred dimension to life's events.
The moon goddess, in her crescent phase, is Virgin in the psychological
sense of the word. In ancient times, the virgin was distinguished
by the fact that she was not dependent on what others thought. She
was no slave to conventional behavior. Rather, she was motivated
by contact with her core Self, the well-spring of her being.
Being true to herself, the Artemisian woman feels no need to capture, possess,
or conciliate a husband. Even in marriage, the role she plays expresses
her own fierce individuality. She bears her divinity in her own right,
not as merely counterpart to man.
Virginity is an inner attitude which may seem unconventional, but it is
traditional since it is concerned with gaining a right relationship to
the goddess. Its values come from our deep interior processes, not
external dictates. Motives are misplaced if the only result is development
of a headstrong egocentricity.
Thought in its widest sense is a constructive process utilizing internal
representations, and so is inner spiritual life. These representations
may be visual images, speech images, or musical images, even scents, which
classically are reported in spiritual experiences. Thus consciousness
is a self-organizing, emergent property of living organisms.
The ability to construct internal representations of sensory stimuli, which
underlies perception and cognition, is also an emergent property.
Viewed objectively, internal representations are perfectly concrete entities,
even though we can't yet characterize them precisely. But internal
representations also have a subjective aspect: in certain situations we
are aware of them. Consciousness is central to being and directly
accessible by intuition. But it is not beyond perception; it is the
very stuff of perception.
In 1979, Charles Laughlin and d'Aquili wrote The Spectrum of Ritual,
which was elaborated upon by d'Aquili and Newberg in The Mystical Mind,
(1999). They assert that ritual accomplishes two important biological
feats: 1) coordinating the neural systems and functions of ritual participants
into group action, leading to a sense of unity among participants, and
2) entraining and transforming the structure of neuromotor subsystems in
The imperative toward ritual arises in the interaction in the brain of
the left frontal lobe and the left orientation area, which forces us to
look for causes in any chain of events; to create meaningful narrative
stories about experience. What really maintains the force and persistence
of religious ritual, however, is ineffable experience, the intense positive
affect experienced by participants.
D'Aquili and Newberg propose that certain religious practices can so stimulate
the body's calm system or its flight system that activity in the related
brain circuit starts to "reverberate," while simultaneously shutting down
ever more of the other system. Depending on whether the ritual is
fast (as in the spinning dance of Sufi whirling dervishes) or slow, as
in Zen meditation, different parts of the brain are activated, perceived
by the mind as a higher state of consciousness.
Within the brain, the autonomic nervous system regulates and adjusts baseline
body function and responds to external stimuli. It consists of two mutually
inhibitory subsystems: the sympathetic or arousal system and the parasympathetic
or quiescent system. The arousal system is the source of our fight
or flight response, and is connected to the adrenal glands, the amygdala,
and reaches into our left cerebral hemisphere. It is sometimes
called the "ergotropic" system because it releases energy in the
body to react to the environment.
The parasympathetic or quiescent system (sometimes called the "trophotropic"
system), on the other hand, conserves energy, promotes relaxation
and sleep, and maintains basic body function and growth. It includes the
endocrine glands, parts of the hypothalamus and the thalamus, and reaches
into the right cerebral hemisphere. Although this material
is highly complicated, the most important relationships to keep in mind
here is that the dominant (analytical) mind is connected to the arousal
system and involves the amygdala, and the non-dominant (holistic) mind
is connected with the quiescent system and involves the hypothalamus and
Psychologist Roland Fischer (1967) developed a map of inner space and states
of consciousness based on the dynamics of the ergo- and trophotropic systems.
He postulated that all knowledge is innate, being an interpretation by
the cerebral cortex of sub-cortical information. He contends that
each level of arousal contains certain types of information which one can
“know” only at that level. This is similar to other theories of state-related
learning and memory, (Tart, 1975; Rossi, 1986).
Fischer also postulated that at extreme levels of hyper- or hypoarousal
there is a paradoxical shift from one physiological system to the other,
automatically. He declared boldly that the extremes in either direction
create mystic experiences of the Self, which are interpreted either as
an experience of the Plenum (hyper-arousal) or the Void (hypo-arousal).
Fischer summarized his theories by creating a consciousness map, a 'Cartography
of Meditative and Exalted States.' Increased states of arousal were
graphed to the left of center (which indicates “normal awareness”), while
increasing tranquility was mapped to the right. Movement of an individual’s
consciousness to the Left brings increasing motor excitation, while that
to the right brings almost total lack of sensory input. In Fischer’s
“What I propose is that normality, creativity, schizophrenia, and mystical
states, though seemingly disparate, actually lie on a continuum.
Furthermore, they represent increasing levels of arousal and a gradual
withdrawal from the synchronized physical-sensory-cerebral spacetime of
the normal state. Specifically, there is a retreat first to sensory-cerebral
spacetime and, ultimately, to cerebral spacetime only. The gradual withdrawal
from physical spacetime is an expression of the dissolution of ego boundaries,
that is, the fusion of object and subject, and it implies that an existence
solely in spacetime is an oceanic experience, the most intense mirroring
of the ego in its own meaning.”
In summary, we can see that for any individual perception of the universe
(as Self or mind) can occur as an internal or external experience.
It is our rich internal experiences that have puzzled researchers in consciousness
as the so-called “hard problem” of consciousness. At the extreme
parameter in either direction, we experience an encounter with the Absolute.
Along the continuum, we may experience varying forms of an I-Thou dialogue
uniting extremely hyper- or hypo-arousal states.
Hyperarousal, or mania, may result from psychoactive drugs, or a bipolar
or schizophrenic episode. It results, sometimes in “ego-death” when
the “I” becomes so freaked-out it submits or gives in to the sensory overload
which overwhelms it. Hypoarousal leads to a characteristic state
of silence or emptying when the ego voluntarily submits to unification
of subject and object, of “I” and Self. In either case, cortical
and subcortical activity become indistinguishably merged; there is no separate
“I” left to perceive an objective reality. Thus, dualism is obliterated.
Paradoxical physiological mechanisms operate in the body under most conditions
to chemically prevent the attainment of higher states of arousal on either
end of the spectrum. They function somewhat like the switchover from
arousal to repose which occurs at the point of orgasm. But it is
possible, with repeated exposure to the paradoxical situation to function
effectively at higher levels of arousal.
In fact, there is always a complementary component of the opposite arousal
system functioning even in the mystical state. If there were no ergotropic
arousal in mediation, for example, we would fall asleep. Thus in
some sense, our task becomes falling asleep as much as we can while remaining
awake. REM sleep, or the dream state, is another example of physiological
paradox where there is extreme cerebral excitation coupled with little
We can characterize the physiological condition of an experience of the
Self as remaining trophotropically relaxed while ergotropically alert.
The mystic achieves his goal when he learns to short-circuit the homeostatic
mechanism of negative feedback. The negative feedback system perpetuates
the experience of duality between the “I” and Self.
D’Aquili and Newberg outline "four basic categories of arousal/quiescent
states that may occur during extraordinary phases of consciousness": The
Hyperquiescent state; the Hyperarousal state; the Hyperquiescent state
with Eruption of the Arousal System; and The Hyperarousal State with Eruption
of the Quiescent System. In addition they propose a fifth state where both
systems are maximally aroused, the absolute unitary state (AUB). The
Mystical Mind, 25-16; see also d’Aquili and Newberg, "Liminality, Trance
and Unitary States in Ritual and Meditation," Studia Liturgica 23
D’Aquili and Laughlin report research that shows that when either the arousal
or quiescent system is maximally stimulated it results in a "spillover
effect" or a stimulation of the other system. That is, experts in meditation
may experience a "rush" or a release of energy during a hyperquiescent
state. From the other side, those who engage in rhythmic rituals that engage
the arousal system, such as energetic dancing and singing, may experience
states of bliss, tranquility, and oneness with others. Hyperarousal
and hyperquiescent states seem to stimulate the limbic system, which regulates
our emotions. Hence, these states are experienced as being emotionally
intense, and often pleasurable.
In summary, in states of very high activity around one circuit, there can
be a "spillover" such that the dormant system activates and goes "on line"
simultaneously with the other. Although rare, this dual state can
lead to a sense of "tremendous release of energy" that may feel like "oceanic
bliss" or absorption into the object of contemplation.
And in extreme cases there is a "maximal discharge" of both systems, inducing
brain activities perceived by the mind as the Absolute Unity of Being or
AUB, which brings the abolition of any discrete boundaries between beings,
by the absense of a sense of time-flow, and by the elimination of the self-other
dichotomy. A mystic in the AUB state will experience either a divine
being, such as God, or the cosmic void of Nirvana, depending on whether
there has been a predominantly ergotropic or trophotropic involvement.
Yet we cannot reduce religious awe, numinous vision or mystical experience
to merely a neurochemical flux.
It is also during these "spillover" experiences that the paradoxes presented
to the brain through myth become resolved by the simultaneous functioning
of both hemispheres of the brain. In ritual stimulation of the arousal
system, for example, the presentation of what is an unresolvable logical
problem in the left brain (the wafer is both bread and the Body of Christ),
is experienced as unified in the holistic operation of the right brain.
Ritual participants therefore may experience a resolution of the problems
presented by the myth and a deep unity with other participants: "The simultaneous
strong discharge of both parts of the autonomic nervous system creates
a state that consists not only of a pleasurable sensation, but, also, under
proper conditions, a sense of union with conspecifics and a blurring of
cognitive boundaries." Similarly, those who engage in meditation
may report that they experience resolution of paradoxes during some meditative
states, hence the famous use of such paradoxes by Zen practitioners.
Both meditation and ritual can lead to the spillover effect and the simultaneous
discharge of the arousal and quiescent systems. But they come at
the experience from different directions. Meditation begins with
the quiescent system and by its hyperactiviation can achieve spillover
into the arousal system (from trophotropic to ergotropic). Ritual
approaches from the opposite system (from ergotropic to trophotropic).
But there are other differences as well:
The difference between meditation and ritual is that those who are adept
at meditation are often able to maintain an ecstatic state for prolonged
periods of time. The ecstatic state and sense of union produced by ritual
are usually very brief (often lasting only a few seconds) and may often
be described as no more than a shiver running down the back at a certain
point. This experience, however, may be repeated at numerous focal points
during the ritual. Furthermore, the ecstatic states produced by ritual,
although they are usually extremely brief, seem to be available to many
or most participants. The ecstatic states attained through meditation,
although they may last for hours or even days, require long practice and
So ritual is more accessible and effective than meditation for large groups
of people as a system for stimulating both hemispheres of the brain and
thereby bringing mythic conundrums to resolution. In The Mystical
Mind, d’Aquili and Newberg elaborate on the difference between these
approaches, describing a complex continuum of unitary or mystical states
that may arise from different types of ritual or meditation, but the basic
principles remain intact.
Ritual is here described as a "bottom-up" technology for activating the
autonomic systems; its rhythmic qualities stimulate either the arousal
or quiescent systems that then affect the higher brain functions.
Slow rhythms in ritual, like chant and read liturgy, primarily stimulate
the quiescent system, while rapid "driving" rituals involving loud noise
and body movement stimulate the arousal system.
Either approach may lead to a "filling up" of the autonomic system and
then a spillover effect and an altered state of consciousness. Slow ritual
may lead to a hyperquiescent state and a feeling of peace or unity, and
occasionally result in a spillover into the arousal state or a sense of
profound energy. Similarly, fast ritual may provoke a hyperarousal state
of attention and intention, sometimes spilling over into the quiescent
state and a sense of bliss.
They hypothesize that ritual could theoretically lead to the maximal discharge
of both systems, causing hallucinations, mystical visions, or a state of
Absolute Unitary Being (AUB). Finally, they note that marked ritual
behavior tends to draw the attention of the amygdala, as does strong smell,
which may be the biological source of the experience of religious awe.
Ritual actions and the presence of incense may help neurologically for
ritual to promote altered states of consciousness in its participants.
In The God Part of the Brain, yet another author Matthew
Alper alleges that the brain is hard-wired for mystical experience to modify
the threat of our hostile existential reality. "Based on social,
psychological, and anthropological confirmation as well as the latest genetic
and neurophysiological research, The "God" Part of the Brain explores the
apparent correlation between spirituality/religiosity and the human brain.
Just as honeybees are compelled to construct hexagonal shaped hives, perhaps
humans are compelled to perceive a spiritual reality...as a reflex, an
instinct. And why would we have evolved such an instinct?"
"With the dawn of human intelligence, for the first time in the history
of terrestrial life, an organism could point its powers of perception back
upon its own being; it could recognize its own self as an object.
For the first time, when an animal knelt down to drink from the watering
hole, it recognized its own reflection. Only humans possess the advanced
capacity for self-awareness. Though, in many ways, this capacity
has helped to make our species the most versatile and powerful creature
on earth, it also represents the source of our greatest affliction.
This is because once we become aware of the fact that we exist, we ecome
equally aware of the possibility that one day we might not...even moreso,
that it's certain that one day we will not. With the advent of our
species, with the emergence of self-conscious awareness, a life form became
cognizant of the fact that it is going to die. All we had to do was
to look around us to see that death was inevitable and inescapable.
More terrifying yet, death could befall us at anytime. Any moment
can be our last."
Further readings on Artemis include:
GODDESSES IN EVERY WOMAN, Jean Shinoda Bolin
THE GODDESS WITHIN, J. and R. Woolger
ANIMA, James Hillman
WOMAN'S MYSTERIES, M. Esther Harding
KNOWING WOMAN, Irene de Castillejo
THE MOON AND THE VIRGIN, Nor Hall
FACING THE GODS, James Hillman, ed.
THE MEANING OF APHRODITE, Paul Friedrich
THE VIRGIN ARCHETYPE, John Layard
THE GODDESS, Christine Downing
ALONE OF ALL HER SEX: MYTH & CULT OF THE VIRGIN MARY, Marina Warner
"The Net of Artemis: Text, Complex," S. Simmer, DRAGONFLIES 1980
Like Hermes as Logos is the Voice of the Light (THE MAGUS), Artemis is
the Soul of Light (THE HIGH PRIESTESS). Her favorite incarnation
in Jungian literature is THE BLACK MADONNA, so beautifully delineated by
Marion Woodman in various sources.
This archetype is the source of worldwide legends of Virgin-Mothers.
In recent years there has been a neo-pagan revival of the cult of the goddess,
yet She has always been with us. Her worship survives in the cult
of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and a multitude of other sacred names.
This feminine receptivity is the path of the mystic. Artemis joins
the mythical to the causal, a Path from Self-Realization to God-Realization.
On the Path of THE HIGH PRIESTESS, we learn to untie the knot between the
mind and the soul, through meditation.
Artemis, as THE HIGH PRIESTESS, is the bridge across the ABYSS of the transcendent
imagination. Without her as guide, the soul's immeasurable depths
yawn wide, threatening to swallow us in the Void. We only perceive
personifications of gods and goddeses through the anima-bridge of imagination.
She mediates between the known and the unknown; she mystifies and insists
upon uncertainties. As archetype of psychic consciousness, Artemis
bridges awareness of our unconsciousness. She reflects a reality
of ambiguity, indecision, and uncertainty. She reminds us of the
"dark" side of life.
The Artemisian woman maintains and serves psychological faith. She
is convinced that psyche and its fantasies are as real as matter and nature,
as real as spirit. She has the ability to convey this experience
to others. Artemis, as anima, transforms events which are impersonal
and only natural reactions or only spiritual ideas into psychic experiences.
Consciousness arising from soul derives from images of myth manifesting
in dreams, fantasies, and life patterns. In "soul-making," to be
conscious means that we are aware of these fantasies which underlie and
motivate daily life. The "fantasy world" is not separate from "reality."
In myth, the Virgin is associated primarily with her son. This son
is conceived through her relationship to Spirit. She is frequently
the Mother of God. He is born through virgin-birth (parthenogenesis).
He is the magickal child, the son who is the sun. Spirit will be
reborn whenever we are in touch with soul.
The son represents the woman's development of masculine, or solar consciousness.
Together they represent the fulfillment that wholeness implies. Their
relationship suggests we illuminate imagination with intellect, and refreshen
intellect with fantasy.
The "Third Eye" gland is implicated in the production of endogenous MDA,
dubbed the Spirit Molecule (Strassman); it is responsible for the intrinsic
perception of Light. This third eye is also implicated in the raising
of Kundalini, the serpent power, responsible for awakening inner sight
or in-sight. The key to a successful meditation is the withdrawal
of the sensory currents to the eye focus or the third eye. Once there,
it requires a constant gaze into the middle of whatever is lying in front
of us without any distractions of thought.
The monumental work of Dr. Rick Strassman focuses on the role endogenous
chemistry plays in creating spiritual life. He calls "DMT: the
Spirit Molecule," (2001) an endogenous hallucinogen which he boldly
asserts is an active agent in a variety of altered states including mystical
experience. To learn all about the biological action of the pineal
gland and its chemistry, visit Strassman's excellent site (and purchase
his fine book), where you can find complete chapter summaries for the entire
Endogenous DMT is described as the source of visionary Light in transpersonal
experiences. Its primary source, the pineal, has traditionally been
refered to as the Third Eye. DMT production is particularly stimulated,
according to Strassman, in the extraordinary conditions of birth, sexual
ecstasy, childbirth (also corresponded with Artemis as mid-wife), extreme
physical stress, near-death, and death, as well as meditation. Pineal
DMT also plays a significant role in dream consciousness.
"All spiritual disciplines describe quite psychedelic accounts of the
transformative experiences, whose attainment motivate their practice.
Blinding white light, encounters with demonic and angelic entities, ecstatic
emotions, timelessness, heavenly sounds, feelings of having died and being
reborn, contacting a powerful and loving presence underlying all of reality--these
experiences cut across all denominations. They also are characteristic
of a fully psychedelic DMT experience. How might meditation evoke
the pineal DMT experience?"
"Meditative techniques using sound, sight, or the mind may generate
particular wave patterns whose fields induce resonance in the brain.
Millennia of human trial and error have determined that certain "sacred"
words, visual images, and mental exercises exert uniquely desired effects.
Such effects may occur because of the specific fields they generate within
the brain. These fields cause multiple systems to vibrate and pulse
at certain frequencies. We can feel our minds and bodies resonate
with these spiritual exercises. Of course, the pineal gland also
is buzzing at these same frequencies. . .The pineal begins to "vibrate"
at frequencies that weaken its multiple barriers to DMT formation: the
pineal cellular shield, enzyme levels, and quantities of anti-DMT.
The end result is a psychedelic surge of the pineal spirit molecule, resulting
in the subjective states of mystical consciousness." (Strassman, 2001).
Strassman (1990) has suggested that the pineal gland is a possible
source of endogenous hallucinogens and this gland is also associated with
sleep cycle rhythms, and traditionally with mystical states of consciousness.
Besides the production of melatonin, the pineal may synthesize endogenous
hallucinogens in response to certain psychophysical states, and raise serotonin
levels in the brain..
These hallucinogens may belong to the tryptamine or beta-carboline family
of compounds. One compound (6-methoxy-1,2,3,4-tetra-hydro-beta-carboline)
has been proposed as the producer of rapid eye movement sleep. It
is concentrated in the retinae of mammals which may be related to its visual
There are several ways in which either psychoactive tryptamines and/or
beta-carbolines may be produced within the central nervous system (and
possibly within the pineal) from precursors and enzymes that are known
to exist in human beings. In addition, nerve fibers leave the pineal
and make synaptic connections with other brain sites through traditional
nerve-to-nerve connections, not just through endocrine secretions.
Serotonin or tryptamine levels are higher in the pineal than any other
organ in the brain. 5-methoxy-tryptamine is a precursor with hallucinogenic
properties which has a high affinity for the serotonin type-3 receptor.
Gucchait (1976) has demonstrated that the human pineal contains an enzyme
capable of synthesizing both DMT and bufotenine-like chemistry. These
compounds are prime candidates for endogenous “schizotoxins,” and their
production may be related to stress and/or trauma, and has been implicated
in the etiology of schizophrenia.
Strassman notes that both the embryological rudiments of the pineal gland
and the differentiated gonads of both male and female appear at 49 days.
Melatonin is a time-keeper for gonadal maturation and/or competence so
the pineal is implicated again. He suggests this may be the ontological
source of the tension between sexual and spiritual energies. The pineal
gland, as source of both psychedelic compounds and the gonads, source of
physical immortality, may work in concert (or oppositon) in the individual’s
development through time.
Stress-related hormones are implicated in pineal activation to activate
normally latent synthetic pathways, creating tryptamine and/or beta-carboline
hallucinogens. When we face stress or potential death, or in meditative
reveries, we “tune back” into the most well-developed motif of such experiences--the
birth experience. Perinatal themes and memories re-emerge.
Those with Cesaerean deliveries report greater difficulty in attaining
transcendent states of breakthrough and release during drug-induced states.
Maybe less fetal (or maternal) hallucinogens were released at the time
of birth. They may not, according to Strassman, have a strong enough
“template of experience” to fall back on, to be familiar enough
with to let go without fear of total annihilation, because lesser amounts
of pineal hallucinogens were produced during their births.
The pineal may be modulated in its activity by meditative practices, to
elicit a finely-tuned standing wave through resonance effects and other
techniques. It creates the induction of a dynamic, yet unmoving,
quality of experience. Such harmonization resynchronizes both hemispheres
of the brain.
Dysynchrony is implicated in a variety of disorders. Such a standing
wave in consciousness can induce resonance in the pineal using electric,
magnetic or sound energy, and may result in a chain of synergetic activity
resulting in the production and release of hallucinogenic compounds.
Thus, the pineal may be the physical representation of an attractor, or
“lightning rod” of consciousness. Pineal function may profoundly
affect consciousness at the time of birth, death, near-death experiences,
and during unusual psychophysical states such as shamanic or psychotherapeutic
experiential journeys or meditation.
Kabbalalists speak of this light in relationship to the ecstatic entry
into Pardes. Literally, it means "orchard," but is the name for practice
of Kabbala in the four worlds. The "orchard" is the Garden of Pomegranates,
the spheres of the Tree of Life.
It is not a philosophical concept, but a metaphysical experiential truth.
Having nothing to do with intellect, it is the experience of supreme light.
This experiential Light is called the "Light of the Shekinah," and this
links it with the qabalistic ascent up the Middle Pillar and with the High
Priestess path. The intense radiance of the Divine Presence is greater
than the full light of the sun, and can be overwhelming or blinding to
those too weak or ill-prepared for it.
In this state the soul remains covered or adorned, and one cleaves to the
Light. It is direct gazing at the radiance of God (Tzvi ha Shekinah),
a light so strong that no one can bear it. It's characteristic is
a great desire to cleave, as described in medieval texts. There is
no idea of love, only of awe. The intensity of the experience is
linked with a great desire to cleave to the radiance of the Shekinah and
a strong experience of union with the Divine.
According to Kabbalist Idel, this is the result of a desire to enter and
become part of the divine realm. There is an attempt to enjoy the
Divine without interruption. The language of desire implies erotic
overtones to the experience, especially since "Shekinah" in Hebrew is feminine,
to cleave to a feminine aspect of the Divine; the "sweet radiance" has
It is also the mystical death of the pious ones whose souls are separated
from all concerns with the mundane world, and who cleave to the supernal
world. It is not an accident, but an achievement and grace.
There is a three-fold structure implied on the Tree of life by three paths
up the Middle Pillar -- the direct mystic "highway": first the via purgativa,
then a via illuminativa, and finally a via unitiva.
It is more than an interpretive paradigm of the soul dying and not returning
because it reaches a great attainment out of intense love. The cleaving
is total, the soul and the Light become one entity of original essence.
It is a unio mystica, bridging in a total manner the gap between
man and God. And we can extract from the sources a method and a practice,
but not without the help of a Master, to reach the extreme and yet return.
The Divine Light attracts the light of the soul, "which is weak in relation
to the Divine Light." The metaphor is one of magnetic pull, a non-traditional
metaphor which attempts to come to terms with personal experience of a
soul immersed in this light. According to Idel, the Kabbalists tried
to reach the pre-fall state of the Primordial Man, to enter again the radiance
of the Shekinah, and even to enter a certain erotic relationship with the
You see the radiance of the Divine Presence on those worshipping out of
love, each according to rank with the expectation of a corporeally observable
radiance -- a glow. For the Kabbalists, Paradise and Pardes were
corporeal, sensuous, erotic, sexual and an object for practical striving.
The Kabbalistic tradition is not one of speculations about mysticism; it
is a full-fledged mysticism. An extreme type of experience is sought
out and considered positive. The mystical death is the real goal
of ecstatic Kabbalah, and for these ecstatics, extreme experience is final
However, there are inherent dangers mentioned in Jewish hermeneutics.
The Divine is not affected by the entrance of the philosopher or mystic
into the Pardes for it affects only the human soul. But in the Theosophical
paradigm it does have affects on the non-human realms, the system of divine
powers, influencing the relationships between them. In the Theurgic
paradigm there is an influence on, or struggle with, the demonic realm,
which seeks to hold the soul back from union.
The Divine and demonic share a common anthropomorphic structure.
Hence, the Spheres are prototypes for both the Divine and demonic realms.
Both paradigms seek to affect the structure and relationship of external
entities, either by insuring harmony in the Divine world or by combating
some aspect of the demonic. In both cases, Pardes represents a danger
zone, leading potentially to insanity or death, this realm being too strong
for most mortals. Premature entry to this realm has been likened
to tearing a silk scarf from a rosebush, rather than gently removing it
slowly (with regular meditation).
Ecstatic Kabbalists seek to induce or re-induce the harmony in the Divine
spheres, disturbed by primordial human transgression, separating one aspect
of the divine from the rest. The Theurgic technique seeks to influence
God and restore the organic unity between the Divine Powers. Only
if we have the ability to distinguish good and evil can we truly know the
good, and truly worship God. This must be done so that we are not
attracted by or immersed or inundated by the demonic realm, thus remaining
time-bound in the creation.
Prakriti, Maha-Devi, Maya, Shakti, Lakshmi (Hindu)
Blessed Virgin Mary (Catholic)
Chimalman, or Sochiquetzal (Mexican)
Mother Theresa, Nobel Peace Prize winner for her protection of small children.
intuition, contemplation, meditation, waiting, incubation, dreaming, remembering,
sibyl, silver, blue, silver-blue, anima, patience, wise old woman, repose,
crystal, moon, spinster, Madonna, purification, refinement, transformation,
temperance, receptivity, androgyny, birth (growth and decay), mood, rhythm,
oscillation, feminist, medium, dedication, philosophical, directed will,
DIALOGUE WITH ARTEMIS
We seek contact with our internal sense of wholeness and independence,
and psychological well-being. We seek this through balancing the
masculine and feminine potentials within ourselves. Contact Artemis
as the mid-wife of your psychological rebirth to greater awareness.
Also seek Artemis as the psychic Wise Woman, whom we can ask for nourishing
counsel, as well as creative inspiration. Approach her with awe and
reverence. Sit quietly, breathing deeply until you are very relaxed
and in the twilight imagery state. Clear the mind of the day's activities
and contemplate some exalted aspect of the archetypal Feminine, such as
the Blessed Virgin Mary, or celestial queen Sophia. Feel her warmth
embrace you as you move in and around her imagery. She moves in you
and you move within her cosmic imaginal body.
You may be too awestruck to speak, but you can begin a dialogue in true
humility. She may speak, or merely make her comforting presence known.
She leaves an aura of purification or cleanliness. Record any images,
impressions, events, or dialogues you may experience with her essence.
Then return to stillness. Record your feelings about this profound
encounter with the Virgin-Mother. Seek her comforting arms time and
again, especially when you feel "wounded" or in need of spiritual nourishment.
Waxing Moon Meditation: Ground and center. Visualize a silver
crescent moon, curving to the right. She is the power of beginning,
of growth and generation. She is wild and untamed, like ideas and
plans before they are tempered by reality. She is the blank page,
the unplowed field. Feel your own hidden possibilities and latent
potentials--your power to begin and grow. See her as a silver-haired
girl running freely through the forest under the slim moon. She is
Virgin, eternally unpenetrated, belonging to no one but herself.
Call her "Virgin" and feel her power within you.
Full Moon Meditation: Ground and center, and visualize a round full
moon. She is the Mother, the power of fruition. She nourishes
what the New Moon has begun. See her open arms, her full breasts,
her womb burgeoning with life. Feel your own fertility, the power
to nurture, to give, and make manifest what is possible. She is the
sexual woman; her pleasure in union is the moving force that sustains all
life. Feel the power in your own pleasure, in orgasm. Her color
is the red of blood, which is life. Call her "Mother" and feel your
own ability to love.
Waning Moon Meditation: Ground and center. Visualize
a waning moon's crescent, curving to the left, surrounded by a black sky.
She is the Old Woman, the Crone who has passed menopause, the power of
ending, of death. All things must end to fulfill their beginnings.
The grain that was planted must be cut down. The blank page must
be destroyed for the work to be written. Life feeds on death--death
leads on to life, and in that knowledge lies wisdom. The Crone is
the Wise Woman, infinitely old. Feel your own age, the wisdom of
evolution stored in every cell of your body. Know your own power
to end, to lose as well as gain, to destroy what is stagnant and decayed.
See the Crone cloaked in black under the waning moon and feel her power
in your own death.
ARTEMIS IN YOUR LIFE
1. Describe your relationships with your grandmothers.
2. How do you express your mystical, or androgynous nature?
3. Have you ever had the experience of being a "mid-wife" either
for a physical birth (human or animal), or as a spiritual midwife for someone's
psychological rebirth? If you have had a personal rebirth experience
can you identify how this archetypal power influenced that event?
4. When you were young did you form a strong attachment to a wise
older woman, one associated with psychic or spiritual power, perhaps?
How did she figure in any personal transformations you underwent at this
time, for example, did she provide nourishment, encouragement, support,
5. Transpersonal aspects of the Virgin include meditation and spiritual
midwifery. Do these, or other aspects of Artemis have an important
place in your life?
6. Did (does) your mother embody any Artemisian qualities, such as
intuitive or psychic tendencies, exceptional independence for a woman of
her generation, or goal-oriented, single-pointed behavior?
7. How do you see Artemis affecting your 1) behavior, 2) feelings,
3) thoughts, and 4) belief system?
8. Have you ever had an inner vision of a female wisdom figure?
Explain the life circumstances surrounding this event.
9. Describe your closest experience of the mystery of birth, either
your children's birth or one at which you were present. Describe
your feelings, especially any glimpse into another state of consciousness
than "normal" reality.
10. What is your attitude toward Mother Nature and deep ecology--the
environment, plant and animal life, conservation, nuclear waste, etc.?
11. Artemis is also responsible for bringing creative ideas to birth.
Have you ever had an idea or project that seemed to be "born" in some praeternatural
manner, and take on a "life of its own"?
12. Have your ever noticed the cycles of the moon having an effect
on your overall well-being or moods? Do you ever notice, in particular
the Full Moon or New Moon (Dark of the Moon)? You may want to watch
your feelings over a lunar month and see how they fluctuate.
13. What are your beliefs concerning the soul and its immortality,
resurrection, karma, and reincarnation?
14. How do you feel you could express the feminine archetype of "Receptivity"
more effectively in your daily life and in your spiritual path?
File Created: 3/17/02
Last Updated: 7/20/02