Poseidon the Mighty, with Trident in hand,
Rules fathomless oceans, and earthquakes on land.
CHAPTER XII: THE HANGED MAN
Poseidon was the eldest son of Rhea and Cronos, and he vied for his portion
of rulership over creation with his brothers Zeus and Hades. His
apportioned lot became the rulership of all waters, oceans, and the dominion
over earth. In fact, he is the earthy version of Zeus, manifesting
in concrete, rather than celestial form.
Like Zeus, he is described as having jet-black hair and being powerfully
muscular. His sacred animals include the horse, the ram, white bull,
and all aquatic creatures, but the dolphin is his particular favorite.
Poseidon corresponds with Neptune and Trump XII, THE HANGED MAN.
This "hanged man" is the execution of the judgment of the previous trump.
He is not suffering. In its transformative capacity, Neptune-consciousness
symbolizes an inversion in awareness. It is a reversal of the superficial
view of life to one in which the true spiritual nature of the universe
is perceived through superconsciousness.
This hyperconsciousness is symbolized as "water," but it is also mind stuff.
This is the water of life. Cosmic Consciousness means that since
you and the universe are one, that awareness is inherent within you.
THE HANGED MAN implies the suspension of personal actions (Trump XI, Adjustment)
during the ecstatic state, which is achieved through concentration.
Though Neptune-consciousness is boundless and non-material, it flows in
its own direction. When this aspect is emphasized there are demands
on us to subordinate or sacrifice our personal desires and feelings and
flow willingly with the current of the stream of life. It is a consciousness
where the mind and senses are suspended in Samadhi. The thoughts
are brought to a standstill in meditation, usually by the repetition of
Poseidon-consciousness is oceanic. There are two types of oceanic
experience: intuitive oceanic and feeling oceanic. It is immersion in the
ocean of spirit. [see PSYCHETYPES, Michael Malone]
In consciousness journeys, we find Poseidon in the imagery of being sucked
into the maelstrom, the turbulent motion of the whirlpool. Other
images of Poseidon are the twisting of a tornado, or the violence of a
hurricane or powerful tidal wave, flash flood, or roiling river.
"Becoming" the essence of these powerful forces, we connect with Poseidon-consciousness,
rather than haphazardly remaining its victim. By not resisting, we
are drawn into the depths.
Worship of Poseidon originated with the Indo-European group of people,
known as Aryans, who later migrated down into Greece and spread as far
as northern India. To them he was known by the name Poteidan, and
was associated with his mate called Da Mater, who became known as Demeter
in classical Greece. These people knew little of the world's great
oceans and considered their god one of very potent generative power.
The sexual aspect of Poseidon is shown by his representation as a horse,
bull, ram, or bear; these are all symbols of power, instinctuality, and
fertility. Poseidon, as consort of the earth, was thought to fertilize
her with his waters, much as sperm fertilizes the female. As a principle
of fertility and fecundation, he was seen as the active agent behind germination
and gestation of both plant and animal life. Plants don't sprout
without water, and both plants and animals suffer during drought.
His great strength was synonymous with virility, and he therefore had many
lovers. In time, his sexual prowess came to symbolize not only the
power to bring life forces into physical manifestation, but also authority
and social position. It came to mean having power over the lives
of others. Breeding and biological propagation, or reproductive power
became transmuted into personal power. The Poseidon-type of personality
became an "Earth-shaker", not only in the literal sense, but a "mover and
shaker" in society.
As the eldest of the ruling brothers, Poseidon is sovereign in his earthly
third of the world. The Poseidon personality wields the same sort
of authority and effectiveness today. He represents political or
economic power in the business world, rather than a spiritual or intellectual
force. Dreams of tidal waves, earthquakes, and wild horses reflect
an activation of the Poseidon principle.
The earth is where the light and dark realms of Zeus and Hades meet.
Where light and dark mix is a land of shadows, and this also shows in the
Poseidon character. His strong instinctuality shows that he really
has more in common with Hades than with Zeus. He is connected with
the color black, and a darkening of the Light of ego-consciousness.
The more ego-consciousness seeks to express contempt for, or demean, earthborn
instincts, the more powerfully Poseidon will attack. The instincts
want equal attention and interaction in life. They prevent the ego
from drying up due to lack of moisture. The HANGED MAN means the
suspension of ego-consciousness, the usurping younger brother Zeus.
Poseidon was the father of strange and frightening children, including
the Cyclops and Medusa. Part of his essential nature is linked with
the primordial Great Goddess, as shown by his affinity for the ocean, and
being under water, submerged in the subconscious. He indicates that
at the heart of reality, next to Zeus, lives something always consorting
with darkness--restless, sometimes serene, sometimes evil, and very potent.
The arrival of potent Poseidon imagery touches on knowledge--physical,
fantasy and meditative knowledge. On the psychological level, Poseidon
is the overwhelming power of the collective unconscious which can erupt
from the depths of the psyche at any time.
He is a definite push on the part of the unconscious to encourage the conscious
mind to insist on the personal space and independence needed to further
psychic development. Poseidon is always present deep within the psyche
in latent form, arising periodically to shake up our ordinary life.
One confronts the shadow internally and in its "acting out", again and
again. Poseidon projects his violent nature; this energy is untamed
and often unhelpful and should be related to instinct. He also expresses
his aggressive tendencies in sexuality. He is the royalty of primal
sexual energy. He expresses the depth and divinity of human sexuality.
Poseidon has a religious meaning. The God is dark as well as light.
He is described as brooding and tumultuous. He has a revolutionary
spirit which dissolves old paradigms without forming new ones. In
this sense, Poseidon-consciousness is like the operation of solutio in
alchemy--a dissolution of the old structure in preparation for an adaptive
The Feminine is the mediator to the deep energies of Poseidon, therefore
we usually find him with one of his numerous mistresses. The Goddess
always appears with him. This is a summons to experience the Feminine.
We are called to explore and honor the unconscious, the oceanic world of
right-brain experience. This relatedness joins what was separated,
connects us to others and the Other (or Not-I) via the feminine way.
In mythology, Poseidon's realm represents 1/3 of Creation, shared equally
with Zeus and Hades in a Cosmic Triangle. Even though remaining offical
discovery, we can "see" his domain in the unseen oceans of non-luminous
dark matter and dark energy that are theorized to complete the distribution
of matter/energy in the universe, in fact to be the majority of it.
Cosmologists baffled by the apparent evidence that the Universe is younger
than the stars it contains may have been guilty of reading too much
into our immediate surroundings in the Universe. According to a group of
Chinese researchers, the problem is that we live in a low- density bubble
which is not typical of the Universe at large. When the appropriate
measurements are made on large enough scales, everything slots into place.
The kind of scales cosmologists deal with are much greater than the distances
between stars. They are interested in the distance between clusters of
galaxies, and regard a whole galaxy of several hundred billion stars, like
ou Milky Way, merely as a "test particle" in the Universe at large.
Stars are useful in one respect to cosmologists. The ages of the oldest
stars in our Galaxy are at least 12 billion years, and obviously the Universe
must be older than the stars it contains. The puzzle, highlighted by recent
observations using the Hubble Space Telescope, is that the simplest interpretation
of measurements of the distances to nearby clusters of galaxies and the
rate at which they are moving apart suggests that the Universe started
expanding from a point (the Big Bang) only 8 billion years ago.
But this interpretation depends, among other things, on the assumption
that the Universe contains exactly enough matter, overall, for gravity
to one day bring the expansion to a halt. This critical density is required
by the detailed theory of the Big Bang, called inflation, which most cosmologists
favour. If the density of the Universe is less than the critical density,
it alters the dynamics of the situation and extends estimates of the age
of the Universe. The key question, which has not really been considered
much by cosmologists until now, is how typical the region of the Universe
over which we can make these measurements is. Our local bubble of space
may not give us enough information to predict the behaviour of the entire
Xiang-Ping Wu, of the Beijing Astronomical Observatory, and several colleagues,
suggest in a paper to be published in the Astrophysical Journal that this
is indeed the case. They point out that although this kind of study of
the Universe extends out to distances of a few hundred million light years,
if the measurements made for clusters at different distances are analysed
separately, instead of all being lumped together to give one average figure,
they show that the density of matter in the Universe increases the further
out we look. On a scale of about 30 million light years, the density os
only 10 per cent of the critical value, while on a scale of 300 million
light years it may be as much as 90 per cent of the critical value.
The direct implication of this is that on the scale over which recent measurements
of the expansion of the Universe have been made, the expansion rate (given
by the so-called Hubble constant) is bigger than the overall average expansion
rate by as much as 40 per cent. That means that the age of the Universe
has bee underestimated by 40 per cent, which is almost exactly the correction
needed to boost the age from about 8 billion years to about 12 billion
years, matching the ages of the oldest stars.
According to John Gribbon, astronomers congratulating themselves on having
discovered what our Milky Way Galaxy is made of have had to cancel the
celebrations. Their observations, suggesting that the bright stars of our
Galaxy are embedded in a halo of thousands of billions of dark stars, are
as good as ever. But unfortunately, a completely different series of observations
implies that there simply are not enough atoms available to make all those
dark stars. There is a conflict, and both suggestions cannot be right.
But the good news is that this kind of conflict usually leads (sooner or
later) to an improvement in our understanding of the Universe.
The more astronomers studied the Universe, the more evidence they found
for the presence of matter that could not be detected by any form of radiation.
Even dark matter exerts a gravitational influence on its surroundings,
and studies of the way individual galaxies rotate, and of the way groups
of galaxies move together in clusters, showed that there was a lot more
matter around than met the eye, tugging on its bright companions.
Obviously, there is bound to be some dark matter around -- but by the end
of the 1980s it was clear that there was at least ten times more dark stuff
than bright stuff in the Universe. For nearly 400 years, astronomers had
been studying the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Now, they were eager to
study the rest of it. But how? In the absence of any observations of the
dark stuff, theorists had a field day coming up with wild and wacky (and
sometimes serious) suggestions about what it might be. The most extreme
suggestion was that some form of fundamental particles, never detected
in laboratories on Earth, might have been produced in profusion in the
Big Bang in which the Universe was born, and fill the "empty space" between
the stars and galaxies.
Such particles would have to have mass, or they would not exert a gravitational
pull; otherwise, though, they would interact only weakly with ordinary
atoms. So they were dubbed WIMPs -- Weakly Interacting Massive Particles.
A typical WIMP would weigh about as much as a light atom -- perhaps half
as much as a carbon atom. If there are a many as would be required to explain
the motions of galaxies, large numbers are whizzing through the room you
are sitting in, and through your own body, without you noticing.
But there is a rival theory. Perhaps all of this dark matter is ordinary
atomic stuff, the same sort of stuff that stars and planets, and ourselves,
are made of. At least as far as our own Galaxy is concerned, the dark material
in the halo could be in the form of large planets ("jupiters") or small,
faint stars ("brown dwarfs"). Such objects would be much more massive,
individually, than a single WIMP, but quite compact in astronomical terms.
And they live in the halo. What else could they be called but Massive Astrophysical
Compact Halo Objects, or MACHOs?
The great thing about MACHOs is that it ought to be possible to detect
them -- not directly, but by their gravitational influence on light from
even more distant objects. This depends on the way any gravitating mass
bends light that passes near it, a key prediction of Einstein's general
theory of relativity. Einstein's prediction was confirmed by studies of
light from distant stars passing near the Sun, carried out during an eclipse
in 1919. Einstein himself pointed out, back in the 1930s, that under
the right circumstances a massive, dark object could focus light from a
distant star, acting as a gravitational lens. And at the end of the 1980s
astronomers realised that if a MACHO in the halo of our Galaxy passed in
front of a distant star while we were watching, we should see a flash
of light caused by the gravitational lens effect.
For a typical MACHO with a mass 1 per cent of that of our Sun, you would
see one of these lensing events every 50,000 years or so. But modern astronomical
techniques, using solid-state charge-coupled devices instead of photographic
plates, make it possible to monitor millions of stars in the LMC, with
computers analysing light variations in real time, so that as soon as a
flash is detected other telescopes can be turned on the star of interest.
Three teams of researchers have detected flashes of this kind, bearing
all the hallmarks of gravitational lensing caused by MACHOs. "Flash" is
not quite the right word, because in each case the star being studied brightens
up and then fades away over a couple of weeks, as the putative MACHO moves
slowly in front of it. This exactly matches the predictions, and details
of the "light curves", as they are called, suggest that the halo is full
of MACHOs which each have a mass maybe 10 per cent of that of our Sun.
If they account for all of the mass required to explain how the Galaxy
rotates, that would mean a cool five thousand billion of these objects
in the halo of our Galaxy alone, compared with just one or two hundred
billion bright stars.We know how much deuterium (and other elements) there
is in stars and galaxies because it leaves its characteristic fingerprint
in the form of lines in the spectrum of light from these objects. Very
distant galaxies are seen as they were long ago, because light from them
takes a long time (in this case, billions of years) to reach us.
Using the deuterium abundances measured for stars in our Galaxy, the Big
Bang could have produced ten times more atomic matter than we see in bright
stars. But using the figures from the Keck observations, there is
barely enough scope to make the stars themselves, and no room for MACHOs.
The implication is clear -- any dark matter around must be in the form
of WIMPs, after all. Only, something is making the stars in the LMC flicker
as we watch them, and nobody knows how WIMPs could be made to clump together
to make the kind of massive, compact objects needed to do the gravitational
lensing trick. Confused? So are the astronomers; but they are also intrigued
by the possibility that whatever is out there may be different from anything
the theorists have yet been able to imagine.
"The universe is made mostly of dark matter and dark energy," says Saul
Perlmutter, leader of the Supernova Cosmology Project headquartered at
Berkeley Lab, "and we don't know what either of them is." He credits University
of Chicago cosmologist Michael Turner with coining the phrase "dark energy"
in an article they wrote together with Martin White of the University of
Illinois for Physical Review Letters.
Perlmutter and Neta Bahcall, Jeremiah Ostriker, and Paul Steinhardt of
Princeton use the concept of dark energy in discussing their graphic approach
to understanding the past, present, and future status of the universe.
The Cosmic Triangle is the authors' way of presenting the major questions
cosmology must answer: "How much matter is in the universe? Is the expansion
rate slowing down or speeding up? And, is the universe flat?"
The possible answers are values for three terms in an equation that describes
the evolution of the universe according to the general theory of relativity.
By plotting the best experimental observations and estimates within the
triangle, scientists can make preliminary choices among competing models.
The mass density of the universe is estimated by deriving the ratio of
visible light to mass in large systems such as clusters of galaxies, and
in several other ways. For several decades the evidence has been building
that mass density is low and that most of the matter in the universe is
Changes in expansion rate are estimated by comparing the redshifts of distant
galaxies with the apparent brightness of Type 1a supernovae found in them.
These measurements suggest that the expansion of the universe isaccelerating.
Curvature is estimated from measurements of the anisotropy (temperature
fluctuation) of the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB), a remnant
of the Big Bang. Although uncertainty is large, current results suggest
a flat universe.
The Cosmic Triangle eliminates some popular models, such as a high-density
universe that is slowing down and will eventually recollapse, as well as
a nearly empty universe with no dark energy and low mass. While the evidence
from galactic clusters shows that mass density is low, supernova evidence
for acceleration shows that dark energy must be abundant. "These
two legs of the Cosmic Triangle agree with the evidence from the CMB that
the universe is flat," Perlmutter says, adding that "this is a remarkable
agreement for these early days of empirical cosmology." Thus the Cosmic
Triangle suggests that the standard inflationary scenario is on the right
track: one of its key predictions is a flat universe.
Various types of dark energy have been proposed, including a cosmic field
associated with inflation; a different, low-energy field dubbed "quintessence";
and the cosmological constant, or vacuum energy of empty space. Unlike
Einstein's famous fudge factor, the cosmological constant in its present
incarnation doesn't delicately (and artificially) balance gravity in order
to maintain a static universe; instead, it has "negative pressure" that
causes expansion to accelerate.
According to Discover, Mar 3, 2001, the universe that Newton and Einstein
knew was a tame, stable place. The Milky Way was the only galaxy
in town, and its stars seemed fixed in the firmament. The seeming
stasis of the night sky had stumped Newton, and even a theory as
powerful as relativity failed to explain it. So Einstein added an arbitrary
term to his equations. Mathematically, it acted like a repulsive force
spread smoothly throughout the universe. Where gravity pulled, he said,
this force pushed back in equal measure. He called this fudge factor lambda,
and eventually it came to be known as the cosmological constant.
Einstein never felt good about lambda, because he couldn't point to any
theoretical or experimental evidence for its existence. Later in life he
called it his greatest blunder. For 50 years, Big Bang cosmology
reigned. Then, three years ago, light from distant, dying stars revealed
that the edges of space are rushing away from one another at an ever-increasing
rate. The cosmos, it seems, is not just growing but growing faster and
faster. The bigger the universe gets, the faster it grows. Some ubiquitous,
repulsive force is driving at the margins of space, stomping on the accelerator.
And there are no red lights in sight. That mysterious propulsion looks
a lot like lambda.
Today's cosmologists are calling this force dark energy: "dark" because
it may be impossible to detect, and "energy" because it's not matter,
which is the only other option. Despite the sinister connotations,
dark energy is a beacon that may lead physicists to an elusive "final
theory": the unification of all known forces, from those that hold
the components of atoms together to the gravity that shapes space. Meanwhile
the notion of dark energy has helped reconcile a puzzling suite of recent
observations about the shape and composition of the cosmos.
In fact, the future of physics and the fate of the universe may ultimately
depend on a kind of antigravity that has heretofore been a subject
of mere conjecture. The experts think they know what role dark energy
plays in the cosmos. Now all they have to do is figure out what dark energy
is. The Boomerang data confirmed that the shape of the universe is
flat. That means the cosmos has just enough matter in it to keep photons
traveling in straight lines through space. If the universe had much more
or far less matter distinct patches in the microwave background (shown
in blue and yellow) would appear either larger or smaller than in a flat
The answer finally came in the late 1990s, from giant telescopes
studying the light of stars dying in spectacular explosions called
supernovas. Supernovas are among the brightest events in the cosmos, so
they can be seen from very far away. Because light from the most distant
supernovas must travel for billions of years to reach our telescopes, astronomers
can look to its redshift for a historical record of expansion reaching
back billions of years. Expansion isn't slowing down as expected;
it's speeding up. The finding was counterintuitive, and it was based on
brand-new methodology. But at the same time, a second group of space-telescope
studies led by Brian Schmidt and Robert Kirshner of the Harvard-Smithsonian
Center for Astrophysics came to the same conclusion.
Flat space isn't two-dimensional; it just isn't curved. Each shape
corresponds to a density of matter denoted by the symbol omega. To
create a flat universe, matter must reach so-called critical density, which
means omega equals one. In a saddle-shaped universe, omega is less than
one; in a spherical universe, it's more than one. Astronomers have
sought to determine the value of omega and distinguish among these
geometries by measuring the way space bends beams of light. The light
they like to measure isn't visible; it's microwave radiation left
over from the Big Bang that glows at the farthest reaches of the
universe. Distortions in that microwave signal can reveal the shape
of the intervening space. In a saddle-shaped universe, distinct patches
of the microwave background would look smaller than they're predicted
to be. A sphere-shaped universe would magnify the patches of background
radiation. In a flat universe, patches of background radiation would be
closest to their predicted size.
Recent studies of microwave background radiation had hinted that the universe
is flat. Data from balloon-borne instruments lofted over Texas and
Antarctica supplied convincing evidence. Minute fluctuations in the
radiation were the expected size. The most precise measurements available
revealed that the shape of the universe is flat; it has the critical density
and omega equals one. There's not nearly enough stuff to account
for the flatness astronomers observe. Unlikely as it seems, says Turner,
the universe seems to be made up mostly of empty space— a vacuum.
"And that finding," says University of Texas physicist Steven Weinberg,
"could be regarded as the most fundamental discovery of astronomy."
As quantum mechanics matured through the middle of the last century,
it began to make sense, in a wonky way, that the apparent vacuum
might have some energy in it. Theorists had even named the hypothetical
vacuum energy lambda, in honor of Einstein's goof. And they'd realized
long ago that if energy in the vacuum exists, it has a repulsive effect—
one that could cause a universe to accelerate. But if some exotic
form of repulsive energy does make up two thirds of all the stuff
in the universe, it must be very weak. Otherwise its effects would have
been obvious long ago. Whatever the mysterious lambda is, it must do its
work only across great distances, on a cosmic scale. "The discovery
of an accelerating universe was simultaneously the biggest surprise
and the most anticipated discovery in astronomy," he says. It put
energy on the map.
So the universe circa 2001 is flat, accelerating, and very nearly empty.
And astronomers are happy, because a single entity with Einstein's imprimatur
can explain all these attributes. But if the existence of dark energy
has simplified researchers' understanding of the contemporary cosmos,
it has also introduced plenty of complications. One has to do with
the fate of the universe. In the days before dark energy, astronomers
believed that the end of the expanding universe would be dictated by the
density of matter in it. Just as matter determined the curvature
of space, it would also predict the way that space would expand and
whether it would ever contract. Back when cosmic expansion was caused solely
by the cataclysmic propulsion of the Big Bang, the gravity of matter
was expected to eventually slow it down, maybe even stop it, maybe even
reverse it. In short, density equaled destiny. In a flat universe,
where the density of matter is exactly one, the expansion eventually slows
very nearly to a stop but never actually reverses.
But if the universe is made up mostly of repulsive, ubiquitous energy rather
than matter, then its ultimate fate isn't inscribed in its shape
after all. "We used to say that fate and geometry were connected,"
says Turner. "But that's only true if the stuff of the universe is matter
alone. Once dark energy comes in, then destiny and geometry decouple.
So you can have a closed universe that expands forever and an open universe
or a flat universe that collapses."
The only way to figure out the fate of the flat, empty, accelerating universe,
says Turner, is to learn more about the dark energy that's impelling expansion.
Theorists can't explain why the densities of matter and energy are currently
so close in value. Theoretically, either of those densities could
be anything from zero to infinity, and their ratio could vary accordingly.
The odds of their being within an order of magnitude of each other are
very low. The precarious balance between matter and energy that exists
today in our universe— one-third matter to two-thirds energy— seems as
improbable as the static universe that Einstein struggled to describe.
And some find that improbability especially suspicious, because a universe
more dominated by dark energy would be inhospitable to life. The excess
energy would prevent matter from clumping into galaxies, stars, and
planets. Yet here we are.
The fact that energy and matter have achieved a delicate balance
is suspicious, he says, only if you assume there's no communication
between the two. Steinhardt has proposed that repulsive energy senses
the presence of matter and changes its strength or distribution to
maintain a balance of densities. This energy could alter its properties
over space and across time; unlike lambda, it wouldn't be distributed
evenly, and it wouldn't remain constant.
Reckoning with dark energy will also spur attempts to define a quantum
theory of gravity. Gravity is the only one of the four known forces that
has eluded description in terms of energy bundles called quanta.
Physicists have already managed to bring the other three— the strong force,
the electromagnetic force, and the weak force— into the quantum fold. But
unlike those three forces, gravity typically operates on vastly different
scales than quantum mechanics. "Gravitation governs the motions of
planets and stars," Weinberg wrote in a recent review, "but it is too weak
to matter much in atoms, while quantum mechanics, though essential
in understanding the behavior of electrons in atoms, has negligible
effects on the motions of stars or planets."
With the discovery of dark energy, the two worlds collide. In the acceleration
of the universe may lie some clues to the behavior of tiny quanta of gravitational
energy. Einstein's own theories of gravity allow it to have some sort of
repulsive effect, so elucidating the nature of dark energy could hasten
theorists on their way to a final theory unifying all the forces. That's
why physicists scanning the furthest reaches of space with powerful
telescopes suddenly seem very interesting to the physicists scribbling
on the blackboards. But there's no guarantee that dark energy will
serve up the eternal verities the high priests are hoping for. The
unlikely balance of energy and matter and the strength of the vacuum energy
may permit human existence through caprice, not necessity. Einstein
himself knew well the hazards of counting on capricious nature. "Marriage,"
he once opined, "is the unsuccessful attempt to make something lasting
out of an accident." Scientists who would seek permanent truths in
the accelerating universe could be making the same mistake. (2001
The Walt Disney Company).
Poseidon also inhabits the turbulent flow of chaotic motion. His
is the underlying pattern governing the principles of complex dynamics.
Though it appears random, this non-linear flow is actually patterned, though
not in any precisely predictable manner. Poseidon is the mighty spirit
of waves whether they are in water or travel through the land as an earthquake.
In fact, if we read "matter" in place of "earth," we come to understand
that wave phenomena occur throughout nature from the atomic to cosmic realms.
Quantum physics uses the formula known as the Schroedinger wave equation
to measure this phenomenon of wave propagation. Time evolution is
another form of wave--a "time wave."
Waves are found, not only in the great oceans, but in all sizable bodies
of liquid, as well as surface waves such as those found travelling through
fields of grasses. A wave is a nonmaterial essence which shapes the
matter through which it passes. Objectively, a wave may be considered
as pure energy in motion, expressing an ethereal "might" patterning the
physical universe. The primary characteristics of waves include (1)
amplitude, or height from trough to crest; (2) length or distance between
one crest and the next along the line of motion; and (3) frequency, which
means the number of waves passing through a given point during a specified
amount of time. Frequency multiplied by length gives the speed of
There are certain dimensional constants which occur in ocean waves in regard
to wind and the depth of the ocean floor. Like the mystic waters,
the oceans are so deep and varied. Differing conditions produce different
types of waves. Poseidon is sometimes turbulent, sometimes serene.
For example, rough winds produce choppy trochoidal waves, while calmer
seas consist of gentle sinusoidal waves. A wave's velocity is directly
proportional to its period, and its length varies as the square of either.
The nautical speed of waves is calculated in knots and is equal to three
times its period in seconds. Its length in feet is 5 1/8 times the
square of the period.
Tsunamis (sometimes erroneously termed tidal waves) are directly relatable
to Poseidon in that they are the result of earthquakes, radical shifting
in the earth's crust. While they are fairly harmless swells deep
at sea, when they approach land they create enormous waves which wreak
havoc in seaside areas. Other, less chaotic, types of waves may be
found at river estuaries where fresh water meets the sea. This creates
eddies and underwater undulations.
Snowdrifts and sand dunes may also be classified as waves which form under
their own laws. Deep in the earth, magma moves in oscillatory wave
patterns. Other wave phenomena includes ripples and swells of radiations,
gravitation, and electromagnetic waves in a plasma. On the microcosmic
level, atoms are composed of durable waves (standing waves) of resonance
which structure matter. Waves are also the vibrational basis of music
and sound in general. The impact of these airborne waves on our ear
sallows us to hear. They reverberate on the spiral cochlea of our
It becomes easier to see why Poseidon is a power equal to Zeus, but with
a slightly different dominion. Matter expresses the properties of
both particles and waves. Each quantum of energy is a discrete segment
of vibration bounded by nodes. Electrons circling their nucleus travel
in quantized crests and troughs. These vibrations produce characteristic
wave patterns for the various elements.
Electrons are considered as moving in an orbital, rather than an orbit.
Its path is fuzzy or uncertain, rather than a well-defined line of motion.
The entire radiation spectrum, from atoms to the unknown waves of pulsing
stars and gyrating galaxies deep in the oceanic abyss of space may thus
be seen as the physical embodiment of Poseidon.
Poseidon may also express in more tangible forms such as the "frozen" spiral
waves which constitute the curves of life. He may be seen in whorls,
eddies, and helixes. An example is the logarithmic, or equiangular
spiral form of the shell of the sea creature, nautilus. These logarithmic
spirals pervade many life forms, and are the visible form of expansion
of energy and growth. Like the seismic waves in the earth's crust,
life is never still, but functions as a dynamic equilibrium.
Occupations associated with Poseidon include the following:
deep sea diver
An emotional analog to shadow matter and energy, is Jung's concept of the
archetype of the Shadow, our unlived life, our potential for both evil
and good. The shadow embodies the primitive, dark background from
which we all emerge. That darkness represents the descent into darkness
on the path of individuation; the unknown of our own deep subconscious
mind. Elan vitale gets pulled into the unconscious leaving
the ego frustrated, discontent, and isolated. The inner critic or
judge takes over.
Through projection, introversion and depression, the Self appears on your
inner stage as the shadow and confronts you with your inferior traits,
those that prevent realizing unique potential and personal fulfillment.
Cowardice, narcissism, laziness, ambivalence, rashness, dishonesty, envy,
greed, lust, vanity and attachment and other self-indulgent tendencies
have to be faced directly. If the shadow has not positive means of
self-expression, it may be acted out in self-defeating or self-destructive
Poseidon is traditionally linked to the sea. Many of us have a very,
deep unexplainable love of the sea. Throughout civilization we have
gone down to the sea in ships. The lore of the sea and the romance
of sailing is well represented in literature and poetry. In one sense
this is not hard to understand, since we recall subconsciously that the
ocean is the origin of life, and the "waters of life" still sustain and
nourish us. The great sea pertains to our inner life, and we must
remember that the bulk of the human body is water.
Oceans formed 4400-4100 million years ago. The oldest fossil remains
we have found are about 3500 million years old. The biochemical origins
of life began from a primeval soup composed of water, methane, nitrogen,
traces of ammonia, and small amounts of hydrogen.
The primordial ooze was suffused with electrical discharges, or lightning,
sparked into life by the Zeus principle. Zeus initiates the chain
reactions which eventually lead to complex organic molecules. The
nucleic material of DNA developed linear chain growth with the help of
normal clay with traces of metals or silicates, acting as catalysts (remember
The first phase of life on earth consisted of organelles or prokaryotes,
which lived by photosynthesis. We know them more commonly as blue-green
algae, or cynanobacteria. They can exist in varied liquid environments
from frigid lakes to hot springs, and geysers. Later unicellular
life forms developed, and cell division began, permitting higher forms
to emerge. Cells capable of mitosis, or cell division, are known
as eukaryotes and require free atmospheric oxygen.
Originally, primordial cells required no oxygen and were sustained by the
free flow of the nutrient liquid around them. Their food was brought
into proximity, and their waste washed away. As cells clustered together
more densely, higher forms of life evolved, requiring simple circulatory
systems to achieve the task the ocean once fulfilled.
Over time animals developed an "internal ocean" which gave them enhanced
mobility, especially enabling them to move onto land. Today humans
retain their link to the primeval sea in the blood stream, whose salinity
is approximately equivalent to that of sea water.
These evolutionary memories still lie deep within our consciousness.
This primal Poseidon-consciousness emerges spontaneously when we experience
evolutionary regression in consciousness journeys. This was one of
the characteristic earmarks of the oceanic aspects of L.S.D. journeys in
the therapeutic setting. The journeyer follows the evolutionary wave
backward and "downward" to the primordial ooze--to amoeba consciousness,
and perhaps beyond.
This state may also be experienced without drugs through the help of a
"consciousness guide." It is non-linear consciousness, which may
feel chaotic at times, serene at others. It includes empty voids,
great abysses which may be full of unrecognizable information which is
infused into the journeyer. Sometimes we may feel like we are drowning
in so much imagery. It contains currents and reefs and the best way
to explore it is to simply "flow with it." These dimensions can be
hazardous, therefore a guide is essential.
Primitive technology made it possible for primal mankind to return to the
sea, this time in ships. Later came the concepts of navies and the
merchant marine, along with the science of navigation. Throughout
history, the most advanced nations have navigated the most. Therefore,
shipbuilding may be seen as an abridgement or compendium of a nation's
Exposure to new cultures through world travel provides an increase in awareness,
and another perspective on one's own culture. It is an expanding
awareness in which we can immerse ourselves by "going native." We've
sailed the Seven Seas, and now we sail the heavens. Oceanfarers are
still symbolically initiated by Poseidon when they cross the International
Dateline.They are swabed with a bucket of blood or paint. The captain
Efficiency, or performance per pound is an old shipbuilder's concept.
Ocean-going vessels were the original "spaceships" providing an independent,
mobile life-support system in a hostile environment. Even today,
ships are concentration points for our most current technologies.
Such common conveniences as heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, and
electric lights were first used at sea. On the ocean, whole communities
are sustained by mechanization.
Prior to radio all naval captains were given absolute authority over their
territories. They were trained in very broad-based programs to be
comprehensivists. These sea warriors still retain the respect of
their crew, even though their autonomy has been circumscribed by better
Even for landlubbers, the ocean is the touchstone for measurement.
Even though sea-level is a mathematical average and pulsates twice daily
with tides and moment to moment waves, it is used to determine elevation.
The earth fluctuates also, heaving and sighing. Perhaps soon the
ancient connection between Poseidon's sea and his sacred animal, the horse,
will be reactivated. Technology now has the means for efficiently
harnessing tidal power for the production of electrical power. This
means a new connotation for "horsepower," as it relates to the sea.
Other keywords for Poseidon include the following:
Anger, aquatic, brooding, breakers, currents, dolphin, bathyscaph, horserace,
horsepower, earthquake, irrationality, liquid, knots, hurricane, gold,
jet black, impressionable, mighty, hypertension, moody, maritime, merchant
marine, nebulous, nautical, navy, non-linear, navigation, possesssive,
potent instincts, ripples, riptide, sacrifice, scuba diving, sea cruise,
submarine, swells, surliness, shaking, older brother, suspense, self-reflection,
submerge, quarrelsome, tempest, tormentor, tsunami, waves, undertow, undercurrent,
Poseidon and his wave phenomena are also present in the human brain, as
brainwaves. If Zeus is seen as the Reticular Activating System, with
its act of "lighting up," and Poseidon is considered as older than, or
prior to Zeus, he might well be considered as these primary pulsing undulations
in the mind.
The pattern of neuronal activity in the cerebral cortical section of the
brain can be recorded electrically. This is done by measuring the
electrical potential difference between two points on the scalp.
This EEG record shows how brainwaves manifest as oscillating voltage.
Their two dimensions include frequency of oscillation and amplitude.
The frequency predominantly determines the amplitude of the brain waves,
but there can be fluctuations of amplitude at a given frequency.
Brain waves are broken up into four main categories, determined by the
frequency of the wave, and associated with different mental states.
BETA: This is the brain wave of ordinary consciousness. It
is characterized as the state of being awake, alert, and concentrating.
If this state is maintained for a prolonged period, it becomes associated
with feelings of tension, worry, fear, or anxiety. Lower brain states
are necessary on an occasional basis to maintain the alert aspect of this
state. A visual-identification in one's mind's eye occurs; a state
where images are identified with form and specific objects.
ALPHA: This is also a conscious state, but identified with the mental
experience where images aren't identified. It has come to be associated
with feelings of pleasure, pleasantness, tranquility, serenity, and relaxation.
It can also imply a relaxed concentration, or light meditative state.
It is also a place of visualization, creativity, light sleep and dream
THETA: Traditionally labeled unconscious by Western medicine, this
state can be entered with awareness. Those trained in yoga, autogenics,
or biofeedback can achieve this state and retain consciousness. Theta
has come to be associated with memory, dreams, imagery, imagination, and
healing states. These brainwaves are present during hypnogogic imagery,
daydreaming, sleep, cognition of problem solving, future planning, switching
thoughts, remembering, and creativity.
DELTA: Predominately associated with non-dreaming sleep or deep sleep.
There are some reports of individuals entering this brain wave pattern
and still retaining consciousness. If it is achieved while maintaining
a conscious state, "out-of-body" (OOBE) experiences are subjectively experienced
GAMMA: A state of hyperarousal which is very destructive to the brain
maintained for any period of time. The brain is operating too fast
and overloads or "burns out."
The psychological concept associated in Jungian psychology with Poseidon
is the archetype of the shadow. His realm is the mixture of light
and dark qualities. Shadows are created in painting by mixing a color
with its opposite. This tones down the hue of a color to a shade
of gray. Every painter knows that you cannot even create the illusion
of depth without the shadow-aspects to round-out the form. Values
of the gray scale are determined by the admixture of shadow and light.
A darker value, by nature, contains more shadow.
The shadow archetype includes those qualities of the individual which have
been rejected, repressed into the depths of the subconscious, or unlived.
In short, it represents the inferior side of life with its own agenda.
Even though it is autonomous, it is generally judged negative from the
ego's point of view. Yet, it gives us our depth, and is a useful
soul-guide in consciousness journeys.
As a rule of thumb, the stronger the persona (social mask), the more repressed
the shadow side. It is forced to conform to collective expectations,
norms, and values. This can be especially true in religious people
who identify only with the "good" qualities of brightness and light.
This creates a one-sided imbalance, and brings the shadow out in unconscious
rebellion to compensate the stress created by the repression.
Even in physics, the brighter the light, the deeper the shadows which are
cast. Jung even explored the premise that there is a shadowy aspect
to the subconscious of God in ANSWER TO JOB. Job wrestled with an
angel, much like we wrestle with our values and issues today. He
wondered about the suffering inherent in the human condition.
When the shadow and instinctual life aren't differentiated, they form a
contaminated state of consciousness which conditions the holder of this
fantasy to experience "devilish" forms. This shapeshifter is considered
the strongly polarized opposite of "absolute good"--thus we see the devil
holding Poseidon's trident in popular imagery.
A conscious realization of the shadow produces an inner reconciliation
which might open the door to manifestation of some of the unlived potential
for good. We gain release from our illusory role as "innocent victim"
which causes us to project the victimizer role onto others.
By accepting our own inner tendencies to violent upheavals we reintegrate
that portion of ourselves symbolized by Poseidon, ceasing to impose it
on others in our environment. Projecting the shadow is a defense
mechanism--a denial--which prevents us from seeing our own weaknesses.
We must continue to search for evidence of this dark force, and confront
the shadow again and again. We are never "rid" of it, once and for
all. Our instinctual side is a natural part of our being. Every
human is capable of any act when compelled by necessity, survival, or other
factors. But we needn't live them out, by unconsciously "acting out",
polluting the general environment with our personal darkness. We
can come to know the shadow through dreams and self-analysis, through our
angers, delights, and projections of enmity.
The shadow contains bright and good qualities also. These are our
deeply hidden, unlived virtues--our potential. They may not be evident
in our habitual behavior, which may be socially programmed, but often rise
to the surface in a crisis situation. We can recognize these qualities,
because we tend to envy them in other people.
An integrated individual transforms through imaginative insights.
This is another expression of Poseidon energy. By turning thoughts
inward, and withdrawing projections from others, we release those around
us from contamination with our preconceived notions.
Further readings on Poseidon may be found in,
"Poseidon: Darkening of the Light," a tape by Philip Zabriskie
THE ODYSSEY by Homer
ZEUS AND HERA by C. Kerenyi
JUNG AND TAROT by Sallie Nichols
A curious point regarding Poseidon (or Neptune) compared to other planetary
powers, is that his character bears little resemblance to those assigned
Neptune by modern astrologers. Neptune in astrology has little resemblance
to the sea-god, perhaps because Neptune wasn't even known to ancient Chaldean
In any event, Neptune is ascribed a sense of sacrifice and detachment,
and this links it to THE HANGED MAN of Tarot. Through meditation
we learn that the soul is a drop from the Ocean of Consciousness.
In other words, the separate ego is not the ultimate truth, and must merge
back into Godhead as a bubble merges in the ocean. THE HANGED MAN
symbolizes the descent of Light into darkness to redeem it.
In the personality, this Spirit of the Mighty Waters, creates a reversal
of thought in terms of values and priorities. What formerly seemed
important becomes less so, and what was ignored comes to the fore.
There is a redemption of and through the "submerged" element. The
highest arc of Poseidon-personality transmutes from generative power through
earthly authority (credibility, empowerment) into personal transmutation.
The material or instinctual nature no longer dominates the soul.
The transformative formula of Poseidon is based on the sacrifice of one
form for another. Self-sacrifice (of the small self) leads to cosmic
consciousness, just as selfless service to humanity leads to personality
development. Sacrifice is a virtually inevitable part of life.
In EGO AND ARCHETYPE, Edward Edinger describes four basic types of sacrifice
which are possible:
1. "God sacrifices Man": This indicates that the ego is inflated
or too full of its own importance, and the divine realm of the archetypes
is perceived as empty or void. Only that which is empty may be filled.
The balance must be shifted from ego to the values of the higher Self.
2. "God sacrifices God": This formula is symbolized by the Mass or
eucharist. When the ego is vacuous, or devoid of spirit, it needs
a nourishing influx of moisture and substance from the divine forces of
the collective unconscious. It needs to absorb nourishment from the
revivifying powers of the subconscious.
3. "Man sacrifices God": When our ego devalues the divine forces
which comes to us through the subconscious, we are attempting to steal
the fire of the gods for our personal use in conscious life. This
is like trying to fulfill mundane desires through magic, and it provokes
a reactionary attack from the subconscious.
4. "Man sacrifices Man": The principle here is of personal transformation
and transcendence through surrender and meditation. It is not motivated
by compulsion or competition with the subconscious, but by the principle
of loving cooperation. The eucharist becomes our own selves in a
process of self-assimilation or feedback. We circulate personal and
divine energies throughout ourselves. In alchemy this is a process
called circulatio, or circulation of the light. This indicates merging
the sacrificedego-personality with the ocean of divine Bliss, yielding
a sense of immortality.
Elemental water or "the Water of Life" is a spiritual metaphor of great
power and potency. But it is more than a metaphor--it is a living
reality. The sea of life or primal water is the womb of life.
The oriental notion of the Tao is tied to the archetypal nature of water--yielding,
flowing, seeking the path of least resistance, doing by not-doing.
It is the state of no-form or total, chaotic dissolution from which all
form is created or born.
When we dive deep in that vast abyss within, we lose the separate personal
self and find the deep Eternal Self. Meditation is the prescribed
method of gaining this form of consciousness. When sensory awareness
is suspended, the sages note that, "Muddy water let stand becomes clear."
AEGIR (Norse sea-god)
TARINGA-NUI (Oceania sea-god)
OLOKUN (West African sea-god)
The obvious fictional character much like Poseidon is Captain Nemo of the
Jules Verne classic 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. Another tempestuous
personality is the obsessive Captain Ahab from the novel MOBY DICK.
Other literature about this archetype includes the plays "THE TEMPEST,"
A modern Poseidon was Aristotle Onassis, shipping magnate, whose tumultuous
romances with Maria Callas and Jaqueline Onassis captured the interest
of the world.
On the positive side, the name of Jacque Costeau is synonymous with oceanographic
studies of all kinds. His voyages on his ship, the Calypso, bring
us images of the romantic lure of the sea with its incredible diversity
Tempest, river, potent, springs, horse, trident, dolphin, fish, ram,
revolt, ambition, lakes, conflict, dispute, submit, exchange, magnificence,
seize, cunning, fury, rage, infidelity, endeavor, infuriating, profanity,
navigation, drought, whirlpool, whitewater.
DIALOGUE WITH POSEIDON
The list of negative characteristics assigned to Poseidon reads like a
litany of shadow-traits. Since he governs the entire depths of the
unconscious realm, there is always the possibility that these forces will
erupt from below at any moment.
Those subterranean rumblings in our bodies and shaking sensations are the
visceral experience of Poseidon--direct experience of this primal force.
They signify messages from the unconscious which supercede our normal consciousness
or "head trip."
This is one aspect of THE HANGED MAN who is suspended upside-down.
Rather than "getting rid of" these symptoms, we can get into them, deeper
and deeper by exploring them through consciousness journeys within the
psyche. Dialogue with Poseidon may be more like an infused surrealistic
impression than a discussion.
Self-assertion is probably the single most positive trait attributable
to Poseidon, particularly in the business or political arena. He
helps us defend ourselves, insisting on our right to cater to our own needs.
Generosity and big-heartedness can also come through this archetype.
According to Peter Lemesurier in THE HEALING OF THE GODS, his shadow-traits
include the following:
"Destructive unconscious urges; barely suppressed savagery; ever-menacing
anger; irrationality; surliness; bloody-mindedness; rebelliousness; vengefulness;
quarrelsomeness; power-mania; material acquisitiveness; empire-building;
jealousy of others' possessions; territorial disputes; indiscriminate extramarital
affairs; rape; intervals of pederasty or homosexuality; provocation
of women's masculine side."
Symptoms include involuntary nocturnal orgasms, lymphatic disorders, possible
hypertension, or heart problems."
POSEIDON IN YOUR LIFE
1. Poseidon's once wider dominion was supplanted by Zeus. If you
are an older brother was there a time in the family when your influence
was superceded or curtailed by a brighter young brother? Did you
ever complain or grumble at the sovereignty of an older sibling?
2. Have you ever experienced the powerful effects of an earthquake, hurricane,
or violent flood?
3. Do you ever feel a shaking in your body? What are the circumstances
and emotions that bring this on (i.e. anger, anxiety, frustration, sudden
4. What do you personally struggle with or against?
5. Has there been a time in your life when you were "upside down"?
Did the messages from your
6. Have you ever had violent outbreaks of irrational temper, which might
be described as "earthshaking"? If this response is chronic, how
do you manage these states?
7. Have you ever felt "in suspense" in life, waiting "in limbo", suspended
over an abyss of the unknown, fear, or uncertainty? Can you relate
to this time of "suspension" (hanging in mid-air) as an initiatory ordeal
or transmutation? What did the transition ultimately bring?
8. Do you have problems with possessiveness, either of other people or
material possessions? What would others say about you in this regard
if you ask for an objective opinion?
9. What infuriates you, or enrages you?
10. Have you ever had the impression of being (emotionally, imaginally,
or otherwise, perhaps in a dream) sucked down into a whirlpool, or whirled
in a tornado, in "the eye of the hurricane", or black hole in the abyss
of space? Were you ever overwhelmed by unconscious forces welling
up from below?
11. Can you recall a time of "personal drought" when the life-giving moisture
of deep instinctual forces seemed "dried up" in your life?
12. What do you expect from the sacrifices you are making? What are
you devoted to?
13. What do you need to give up? What are you trying to escape?
How are you seeking higher knowledge?
File Created: 3/17/02
Last Updated: 7/25/02