"Ars longa, vita brevis"
Netzach Gallery presents.
Imagination: The Voice of Creativity
Imagination: The Voice of Creativty
24 x 36, 1/94
Soma Sophia, the Body of Wisdom is the inherent dwelling within
the body of the Anima Mundi. Alchemy is the search for the
godhead in matter, specifically in the guise of The Feminine. The
feminine counterpart of the spiritual creator is a fully equivalent principle.
At first the body cannot understand the symbols but always says to stop,
leave off that symbolic way of talking and be concrete, for it does not
understand it. But after a while it begins to understand the symbolizare
and then they can be reunited in a new oneness: the mind-body.
For the true alchemist, the real body (not a so-called astral body) has
been purified or undergone treatment. The alchemist never tricks
himself away from the fact that the real concrete body, inclding the shadow
is the object of treatment.
True knowledge of oneself is the knowledge of the objective psyche as it
manifests in dreams and in the manifestation of the unconscious.
You have a second source of information. You don't always have to
follow your own voice. This gives the ego a patient attitude and
a certain continuity, for it waits to hear the inner source of information
through which it will cope with the impossible situation.
In alchemy, the body must be repeatedly open and made thin after its fixation
and dissolved and purified...It is purified by separation, and is dissolved,
digested, and coagulated, sublimed, incinerated, and fixed by the reciprocated
action of its own proper identity, as agent and patient, alternating to
According to the Gnostics, Sophia was compelled to depart from the Pleroma
into the darkness and empty spaces of the void. Then she was given
a form, which becoming sensible suffered because of separation from the
Pleroma. Sophia, partly by an act of reflection and partly driven
by necessity, entered into relation with the outer darkness. Various
emotions befell her--sadness, fear bewilderment, confusion, longing.
She laughed and wept, and from this affect arose the entire created world.
Psychotherapy is also an "alternating to improve." We are thrown
back and forth between the opposites almost interminably. But very
gradually a new standpoint emerges that allows the opposites to be experienced
at the same time. This new standpoint is the coniunctio, or
Royal Marriage, and it is both releasing and burdensome.
This piece illustrates the nutshell of the deamhealing process--the attack
of astral complexes, the fragmentation and disintegration (ego death),
the surrender to the dissolution (solve) and the getting it together
again (coagula). The High Priestess oversees the process of
consciousness transformation by immersion in chaos. The overall gestalt
is the calm healing sensation that nurtures "the blues."
A wounded child peers out from a cracked-open stone, the same stone which
earlier or later functions as the Philosopher's Stone presaging illumination
or healing. Floating over her is the Pearl of Great Price.
Behind the fractal is an actual cellular picture of parthenogenesis, the
spontaneous dividing of a cell recreating itself--unicellular, and unisexual
reproduction--one form of rebirth. The mathematical manifolds or
topologies function here as psychic transducers, transformers of consciousness
for the next step in the process.
Liquification of consciousness implies a return to the womb for rebirth,
baptism or heaing immersion in the vast ocean of deep consciousness.
In symbolism, scalping is equivalent to sacrificeand dismemberment.
It lays bare that which is below. It facilitates feedback via creative
regression: de-structuring or destratification by immersion in the flow
of psychic imagery through identification with more and more primal forms
or patterns--a psychedelic, expanded state. Chaos Theory provides
a metaphorical language for describing the flowing dynamics of the chaotic
process of psychological transformation.
Transformation can be effected within the autonomous stream of imagery,
through image processing via experiential therapy--change the imagery and
you change the feelings. The fractal nature of imagery is such that
it encodes, enfolds, or compresses the informational content of the whole.
Strange attractors condition and govern the transformative process through
the complexity of information in dynamic flow. Nonlinear systems
change radically through their feedback.
Emergent consciousness is not an epiphenomenon of the brain. Rather,
it is the transformational process of non-manifest, undifferentiated consciousness
emerging into manifestation. Random iterations or repetitions of
imagery are more efficient than direct transformation replacement.
Shortly you will find the attractor, and stay on it as you transform.
The changes you make become the new self image.
They key is the self referential repetition of the process over and over,
such as reiterating dream images. This liquification symbolized by
water possesses the power of resuscitation.
The Illuminative Vortex
The Illuminative Vortex
24 x 36, 5/94
The process of dreamhealing is based on the metaphors of Chaos Theory,
and therefore fractals are one of its common visual images. The essence
of the transformative process is revealed in the fractal nature of imagery.
In each dream journey we encounter a state of consciousness that is personal
experience of primal chaos. The disorienting, dizzying surrender
to the chaos is an experience of no-form, total confusion, and disorientation.
The personal, subjective responses within this state are visceral as well
as sensory imagery.
The closer one is to the chaos field the more undifferentiated the imagery
becomes, dissolving into impressionistic colors, intuitive perceptions,
vague awareness, even total blankness of being overwhelmed by sensations.
Another perception is characterized as a spiral or vortex. It exerts
a magnetic draw on the journeyer who is drawn into it. Strange attractors
condition and govern the transformative process through the complexity
of information in dynamic flow.
Sensations of spinning and being drawn deeper often cause intense dizzyness
and disorientation. There may be feelings of entering a long dark
tunnel, or flying apart in fragmentation or dismemberment becomes invisible
because it is not-yet-visible.
Reaching the most primal state, one has the sense of deep transformative
processes at work--a feeling of almost palpable relief, a sense of peacefulness
and security which is the essence of the journey itself--timelessness,
boundarylessness, tingling, effervescence--the ground state of being.
Here we are simultaneously everything and nothing.
We are not separate from the universe: both science (holism, new physics,
philosophy) and mystics (shamans, saints, and gurus) tell us so.
And it can be experienced directly. The whole is reflected in the
part and the part is seamlessly unified with the whole. Chaotic systems
exhibit holistic behavior, and senstive dependence on initial conditions.
Fractal Therapy allows us to penetrate deeply into the psyche--into the
vortex of the internal structuring process--through progressively de-structuring
patterns of organization. The undecomposable level of chaotic consciousness
is experienced as the pure, unconditioned imprint of the whole, resulting
in a new primal self image--self-organized emergent order. A vortex
is remarkably stable to fluctuations and change, but under the right perturbations,
it may either spontaneously disintegrate or evolve into a new form.
Animatio: Chaos as the Universal Solvent
Animatio: "She is herself the truth, all ye seekers of wisdom, for liquified
in her substances, she brings about the highest of works."
Parmenedes, Turba Philosophorum
There is a generic process in nature and consciousness which dissolves
and regenerates all forms. The essence of this transformative, morphological
process is chaotic--purposeful yet inherently unpredictable holistic repatterning.
The Great Work of the art of alchemy is the Philosopher's Stone, or the
Elixer (Panacea)--symbols of healing, wholeness and integration.
The liquid form of the Stone, called the Universal Solvent, dissolves all
old form like a rushing stream and is the self-organizing matrix for the
rebirth of new forms. It is thus a metaphor or model for the dynamic
process of transformation, ego-death and re-creation. The "root"
of alchemy, solutio, corresponds with the element water, and implies
a flowing state of consciousness.
Alchemy had one great prescription for the accomplishment of the Great
Work: "Solve et Coagula." It sought to reduce or dissolve
all to its primary, most fundamental essence and then embody that creative,
holistic spirit. This is also the goal of transpersonal therapies--as
of old, to turn the dross of life (lead) into "gold." We repeat this
process as modern alchemists when we seek the transformative medium which
allows us to recognize our rigidities (lead) and facilitates our healing
and expression of our full creative potential (gold). That medium
is the ever-flowing river of our consciousness which can only be expressed
This liquid form of the Philosopher's Stone--Universal Solvent--has a twofold
effect: it causes old forms to disappear and new regenerate forms to emerge.
Through "creative regression," the generic form of ego death, consciousness
recycles by recursively bending back upon itself. The direction is
a recapitulation of, a re-experiencing of sequences from earlier life,
conception and birth, ancestral awareness, generic and physiological recognitions,
molecular and atomic perceptions, and quantum consciousness.
Universal Solvent II
Solutio implies the liquification of consciousness through the dissolution
of rigidities which inhibit free flow. They include roles, game patterns,
defense strategies, rackets, scripts, interpretations, complexes, "old"
myths and "frozen" energy surrounding traumas which manifest as fear and
pain. Destructuring transformative processes can dissolve them into
an expanded awareness of the Whole.
As consciousness explores and expands, ego dissolves. Pure consciousness,
the fundamental luminosity, is the ground state of unborn form. The
generic purpose of ego death is to liberate our embodied being. When
all forms finally dissolve into unconditioned awareness, the ground state
of the nature Mind is revealed as the mystic Void, the womb of creation.
The Universal Solvent dissolves the problems, heals, allows life to flow
in new, creative patterns, and this free-flowing energy is capable of self-organization.
Re-creational ego death provides for periodic destruction of outmoded systems
and implies the value in recycling consciousness through death-rebith experience.
The Universal Solvent is not ordinary water, but "philosophical" water--the
transmutational water of life-aqua permanens. It is also the
vitae, tincture, or universal medicine. To periodically dip into
these healing waters has a tonic, rejuvinating effect which pervades all
aspects of being, acting like a soothing balm.
This divine water signifies a return of The Feminine, a reflective consciousness
with inner awareness and archetypal spiritual perceptions. This Feminine
Divinity is the Anima Mundi, or Soul of the World, the universal
animating principle, the upwelling of the creative Imagination, the dynamic
flow of imagery, pattern, and for. This dynamic has been known as
Isis, Shakti, Maya, Shekinah, Sophia, Demeter/Persephone, Mary and Gaian
Consciousness. It is a rebirth of ancient, ecstatic, communal consciousness.
It is the psychobiological basis of deep ecology and the flow of relationships.
Anima is the projector of psyche. We are contained within Her fantasy,
not She within ours. She is the fluid, mobile basis of consciousness.
Mystic ecstasy, or the (non-drug induced) psychedelic state is mind-manifesting,
consciousness expanding. It dissolves the identification with our
histories, bodies, emotions, thoughts, and even beliefs. We are free
to explore myriad identifications, structures, and patterns or to rest
in that unborn, unconditioned, unmodified healing state. We imbibe
the life-giving qualities of this "water" through mind-expanding experiential
contact with deep consciousnesss.
Demeter/Persephone: Return to
24 x 36, 1994
There are seven major aspects of Solutio symbolism, as outlined
by Edinger in Anatomy of the Psyche: 1) return to the womb
or primal state; 20 dissolution, dispersal, dismemberment; 3) containment
of the a lesser thing by a greater; 4) rebirth, rejuvination, immersion
in the creative energy flow; 5) purification ordeal; 6) solution of problems;
and 7) melting or softening process. The ego's confrontation with
the unconscious brings about solutio.
The alchemists Paracelsus said, "He who enters the Kingdom of God must
first enter his mother and die." That death-like silence is also
our mother, the virgin womb of the imagination. They dynamics of
"creative regression" are common to mystical experience, psychedelic exploration,
and therapeutic consciousness journeys. All lead to immersion in
the flow of the stream of consciousness. Creative regression is a
generic form of the myth of the eternal return, chronic recurrence, reiteration.
This spiritualizing instinct is a recursive "bending back" of instinct
toward that which is primordial and divine. Experiential therapy
typically recycles, recapitulates or reiterates cascades of impressionistic
transformations spanning the entire spectrum of archetypal experiences--morphological
These include but are not limited to childhood, birth, embryonic development,
ancestral, mythic, genetic, evolutionary, universal, and quantum consciousness.
That information which is most vital to the whole self emerges in the stream
of consciousness as virtual unconsciousness, repeating the basic issues
in yet another creative way. Stan Grof has catalogued an extensive
taxonomy of these states in The Adventure of Self-Discovery.
Such experiences of cosmic consciousness constitute a "return to the Mother,"
the blissful fusion of primal union, at both the personal and universal
levels. The direction of this dynamic process is recursive, bending
back through deep time, ontology, and phylogeny. It echoes the semantic
roots of the words religion and yoga, which imply a "linking backward"
in the bond between gods and man, a craving for ecstasy, and transcendence
of the limitations of physical form.
So, Jung called it an opus contra naturam, a work against nature.
But chaos theory shows it is actually quite organic, natural and instinctual
to destratify and destructure each level of organization when diving deep
inside toward the unconditioned, formless beginning, or "unborn" state.
This is the amniotic bliss of the Void, the Cosmic Womb.
A Pitstop in Some Bardo
Out of what womb are symbols born? The collective unconscious.
They open levels of reality which otherwise remain hidden and cannot be
grasped in any other way. Every symbol has a special function and
is irreplaceable. Religious symbols open up experience of the depth
dimensions of soul--ultimate reality, the dimension of the Holy.
Images of the Great Mother become reactivated, though not exactly in their
original form. Imagery like fractals is self-similar but not entirely
identical. This creative regression is to the prepersonal domain,
the preverbal, preconceptual domain, not the transpersonal spiritual domain
Typically in the first few Dreamhealing sessions, a person will enter a
dream symbol doorway which leads back to a conception memory. They
may or may not recognize it as such during the journey. But in content,
the symbolism is very clear. The imagery is fundamental or primal,
appearing as a dance of energy, matter, and consciousness--the body-ego's
These images are close to the stuff of our creation--the prima materia--of
our existence. We may experience it as free-floating: a paradox of
chaos and a deep-felt sense of flowing and peace. The imagery here
is psychedelic -- consciousness-expanding -- an automatic manifestation
of imagination. The panoply of ceaseless transformation of energy
may overwhelm the senses, leading to a sense of total chaos. There
is nothing to do but let go, surrender to it, merge with it, flow with
The dancing energy waves and patterns are perceived as deep whorls, spinning
spirals, black holes, infinite voids, gray clouds of nothingness.
There is melding of the senses -- synesthesia -- such as tasting music,
seeing sound, etc. Simple throbbing and other extremely primitive
sensations may be experienced. Experience of this state produces
a new acceptance of the original conditions of conception, and resturcturing
of the primal self image.
We go into the primal chaos to begin the process of reformation from our
pre-structural beginning. In essence, we re-enter the womb as we
are initiated into the mysteries of the psyche. We re-conceive our
primal self image, healed by communion with the creative Source.
Recreational Ego Death: Dissolution
The classic text of Re-creational surrender or sacrifice of self is the
Thodol, or Tibetan Book of the Dead. It is explicitly
for the living who undertake the death-like regression into the unconscious,
as well as the dying. Because of their orientation toward consciousness
journeys The Psychedelic Experience and American Book of the
Dead are useful translations or contemporizations of the transformational
The realm of death is the twilight zone between consciousness and matter.
Here psychoid pheomena manifest through the mingling of these modes.
Here mind/matter duality ceases, creating enchantment, uncanny synchronicities,
time warps, psychic experience, revelation of the mind and matter, the
The moment of ego death is heralded by certain symptoms of transition.
Resistance by the mind to this creative dissolution brings about physical
symptoms which range from shaking and a sense of increasing pressure and
anxiety, to paradoxical flashes of hot and cold, to extreme dizzyness and
disorientation. As the classic psychedelic manual says, "The hard,
dry, brittle husks of your ego are washing out; Washing out to the endless
sea of Creation." (Leary, et al, 1964).
Distressing or disturbing symptoms symbolize the violence of the passage
of consciousness from form to formlessness. Images of the body disintegrating
or being blown to atoms are characteristic psychedelic experiences (fear
of exploding=fear of expanding). Perhaps the very elements of our
bodies "remember" their formation in the crucible of some supernova.
There may be identification with merciless destruction, the Dance of Shiva,
the raging elements of nature, a variety of forms of explosive discharge.
Here are vision of fires, floods, raging storms, earthquakes, volcanoes,
turbulent lakes of magma.
Consciousness "breaks up" into its elemental forms, manifesting as overwhelming
imagery. This first phase of dissolution may be characterized by
the futility of resistance, magnetic downward spirals, gravity wells, loss
of morphological identity. We remain the state of dis-integration
until we re-member our essential self, emodying the sounded healer.
Disintegration comes as the ego gives up its unified perspective to the
multiple consciousness of the deep self. Fear makes it feel like
fragmentation, but in truth there is nothing in that imagery that is not
us. The death throes of the ego prepare it for rebirth, a new incarnation
of the spirit.
The Transcendent Function
Jung spoke of the transcendent function as a symbol-forming force continuously
creating emergent imagery which facilitates whole-self realization.
It is thus an evolutionary and adaptive force.
The ego "takes the plunge," it lets go and dissolves into deep consciousness.
The wave merges with the ocean and experiences its own deep transpersonal
nature. It moves swiftly through the fear and pain, awakening to
an infinitely wider reality of universal energy waves. In the ocean
of creativity, "your own consciousness, shining, void, and inseparable
from the great body of radiance, has no birth, nor death." (Leary,
Experience of the pure unmodified state of consciousness transcends all
opposites, and therefore consciousness journeys provide an experiential
"container" for the reconciliation of paradox within a larger field of
experience--a broader, transcendent perspective. The transformational
process acts as a "container" (alchemcial retort) of the contents of the
psyche. But these contents, reduced to their essence are "nothingness,"
simlply dreams and imagination. Emptiness is the real Philosopher's
By dissolving into non-relative consciousness, mood swings, or identification
with conflicting polar positions may be transcended by an enlarged state
of consciousness which embraces and contains the entire continuum.
Flow replaces polarity.
Dreams, visions or the stream of consciousness can be used therapeutically
as an evolutionary force to guide people from a small sense of self and
expand them toward a larger image. This expansion of the sense of
self may require some adjustment. The illumination (awakening to
larger Reality) may also come through a nature-mystic experience, intense
sexual experience, ESP, a consciousness journey, or meditation. Enlightenment
(even "the seed of enlightenment") is an experience of awe, bliss, and
The ego realizes it is not the center of the whole person, but only manages
the personality. There are autonomous archetypal forces which inhabit
the psyche with their own agendas, patterns, and goals. Our psyche
is transpersonal; it has no boundaries. Our conscious awareness is
only a manifestation of this larger consciousness. Within this larger
consciousness, we are at home with a plurality of visions. The parts
contain the whole (to a degree), enfolded or embedded like a fractal or
hologram. Containment takes place symbolically in the therapeutic
relationship. The shamanic personality contains, then expands the
journeyer through rapport or psychic contagion.
Diamond Consciousness: One Star
One Star Insight
24 x 36, 1995
Mystical literature contains many examples of surrendering, letting go,
accepting, merging, and joining the flow of the Nature Mind, where all
is consciousness--the audible life stream. This "Diamond Consciousness"
is awareness of the creative flux of the Void, the fluid unity of life.
We flow within it, and it flows through us.
The death-rebirth sequence typically opens a person to the transpersonal
domain with its virtually infinite creativity. It reveals and unfolds
our future potentials. In dreamhealing, chaotic consciousness is
also creative consciousness, representing the flowing of forces over inscapes.
The key is surrender and dissolution of boundaries, dissolution of the
When we immerse ourselves in that creative energy, we find healing on many
levels of our being--a true sense of oneness with all that exists, the
seamless fabric of existence. It opens us to repatterning by the
Whole at the most fundamental level. Immersion in the oceanic experience
of universal consciousness is a life-changing experience of the web of
life, the biological life flow, an ineffable current of bliss. Once
we experience that larger world and self--the rhythmic pulse of all life--we
are never the same again.
Joy suffuses the whole nature. This is the Elixer of Life, the Water
of Life, Baptism. It is identical with immortality. When the
ego is completely dissolved in this renewing bath, we experience timelessness
and are reborn based on a new, healthier primal self-image. This
rejuvination comes from connecting with pristine consciousness, the eternal
aspects or forces of nature--the infinite, transcendent Source.
The original sense of identity (romance and comedy), its loss (tragedy
and irony), and its recovery in the regenerate world of romance and comedy
is mirrored in the mythic quest. Myths of the birth of the hero,
revival and resurrection, creation and defeat of the powers of darkness
and death are perennial themes.
The descent and subsequent ascent, going deep into the consciousness journey
and emerging transformed, is a form of death/rebirth, a powerful archetypal
theme which is initiatory in character.
Aesculapian Dreamhealing: Purification
Aesculapian dreamhealing uses many ritual forms of purification including
incubation, diet, sweats, and baths. But the psychic purification
is a process of shedding fears and pain which prevent us from flowing.
Fear and pain are what keep us stuck.
Each initiation contains an ordeal within its enfolded nature. At
least it feels like an ordeal to the old ego structure which must dissolve
or die. The quantum leap of initiations, being seized from one state
and moved to another, involves a sudden and profound change. It requires
an adjustment. Also, life may present synchronistic challenges, outside
Yoga teaches many forms of purification for clearing blocks from the various
chakras. Progressive stages of purification allow the energy of the
serpent power to flow or rise ever-higher through the chakra system.
This healing serpent power was also ackowledged in the dreamhealing cults
of Greece where the serpent was the theriomorphic form of the god, and
whose appearance heralded the healing process. We realize the true
nature of the self.
In the ancient myth, the blood of the slain Medusa was a chemical agent
for good or evil--that from the left side of the serpent-crowned head was
considered a poison, while that from the right side was a healing elixer.
It is much the same for someone who tries to force the process with drugs--they
can begin as pleasurable, but turn into pure poison for the uninitiated
without an authentic spiritual guide.
At this stage there is a mental purge of gross karma which manifests as
wrathful visions or second bardo nightmares--thus the famous painting of
the nightmare at the bottom of this piece. These visions, as well
as the peaceful ones must simply be endured, despite awe and terror.
They may be horrific visions of apocalypse or catastrophe--even bloodthirsty
hallucinations, which come as the ego struggles to maintain its boundaries.
But not every journey has this hellish state (bardo thodol); recognition
of the greater Reality brings instantaneous liberation from this ordeal.
All these struggles in the cycling of death-rebirth may be linked back
through symbiotic similarity to the individual birth ordeal. It is
characteristic of chaotic systems that events originally separated by time
and space can become enfolded closely together. Events linked by
the same state of consciousness are related; leaning is state-related.
Our lessons and our ordeals are related to our states of consciousness.
Thus personal and transpersonal experience of this eternal cycle of the
generation of forms become fused and conditioned by the individual aspect
of archetypal experience.
Dreamhealing is not an interpretive or analytical way of understanding
a dream, but is a non-linear consciousness journey into its healing heart.
Dreamhealing is not guided imagery. The guide follows the autonomous
flow of psychic imagery while guiding the focus to deeper, more primary
imagery. Then,the process moves to letting go of that form and entering
a yet deeper one, much like entering deeper into a fractal image to find
yet deeper images.
In dreamhealing one "becomes" the image which leads to sensing, identifying,
empathizing with the essence of a color, shape, form or pattern--then letting
go of form. It is a process of initiation: becoming, sharing, feeling,
releasing, yielding, accepting, deepending, intensifying, surrendering,
healing, and integrating.
Everything in the dreamtime occurs in the present tense; it is happening.
But it is linked in a non-linear fashion--through association--with the
past and the future. Becoming the image creates the experience of
new state of consciousness, new sensations, awarenesses, feelings, visceral
and kinesthetic reactions, responses, acceptance.
Dreams are chaotic by nature and so is much of shamanic practice.
Both evoke the irrational and of all healing modalities, these two reflect
chaos theory. The forte of shamans is the dream journey or consciousness
journey, based on the assumed ability to experience multiple consciousness
states other than ordinary reality.
The shaman/therapist acts as guide by entering a co-consciousnessness state
or shared experience with the journeyer. This virtual experience
has the ability to create natural consequences of results in real-time.
The experience of multiple states of consciousness leads away from egocentricity
toward a biocentric perspective. A larger sense of participation
counteracts existential alienation.
There is a complementary notion in psychotherapy that one traumatic event
can shape a life and a therapeutic event or experience can re-shape it.
Small changes can make phenomenal differences in outcome.
A dream is a stream of chaos--turbulent, undifferentiated consciousness
and creativity, flowing through the self-scape of the psyche. It
is shaped by the frozen states and complex feedback loops of consciousness,
the existential images and plots that are presented to our almost-waking
self are reflections of these states. They are another way of seeing
the self and the reality we create that is less prejudiced by the ego.
Divine Grace: Solution of Problems
Faith, Hope and Grace are the three sisters known collectively as the Graces.
These differentiate the essence of the healing balm that seems to come
from a heavenly source outside of ourselves--Divine Grace--blessings that
we could never earn on our initiative.
There is more than a linguistic link between metaphors of a liquid solution,
and the solution of a problem. The moment of "a-ha" comes frequently
in process-oriented therapy, as direct realization brings fresh understanding
through the "empty mind" or "beginner's mind."
During reverie states, the mind goes into chaotic patterns for problem-solving.
The more difficult the problem, the more chaos. Dreamhealing facilitates
entry into these healing states of consciousness.
We can draw a direct analogy between the dreamhealing process and creative
Dreamhealing begins with the pilgrimage, expressing one's intent or
commitment, then comes identification of the problem in the confession,
followed by purification or cleansing, then the letting go of the offering.
The heart of the quest is dream incubation, a reverie which permits unconventional
responses, leading to the illumination of chaotic consciousness, followed
by amplification and the re-entry of actualization.
The creative process begins with receptivity, immersion, followed by
identification of the right questions, and a generalized sensitivity to
problems (attunement), then the surrender of self to the process of flow.
Creativity also requires reverie or incubation leading to a moment of invention
or illumination, followed by utilization of the result--real-time application.
The stabilization of steady states of creative consciousness is the result
of contact with a deep internal wellspring of creativity which is also
healing. These resources well-up from the deep Source which sustains
and guides us all.
Resurrection: Melting or Softening
In alchemy, melting precedes recasting. Melting turns what was a
solid into a liquid. Variations on this theme include moistening
and softening. Whether we look at modern consciousness journeys,
ancient reports, or psychedelic experiences the metaphors are the same.
The aim of this meditation is self-incubation for transformation and resurrection.
The Psychedelic Experience offers such suggestions as "Let the
feelings melt all over you; let your body merge with the warm flux; allow
your mind also to melt away very gradually." Boundaries dissolve
in the liquifaction characteristic of this flowing or fluid state.
An older report, from medieval times, The Book of Lambspring, speaks
of the old body being moistened and softened by the help and grace of God,
until it finally sweats and glows while the True Tincture begins to flow
from it. The hidden fire causing the sweat is the antithesis of the
moisture it produces. The aim of this heat of incubation is resurrection--the
raising of revelations, new images and concepts unavailable in a rigid,
non-flowing state of consciousness.
In reducing all to pure water, the prima materia and the ultima
materia become synonymous. That primal consciousness state, that
creative and chaotic consciousness is the beginning of the operation of
water, and its ultimate realization.
It becomes easy to see why the operation of water is the "root of alchemy."
Through consciousness journeys which liquify our rigid notions of self
and world, we recreate the adventures of the hero or heroine. The
theme is the loss and recovery of identity.
The hero is deserted, betrayed or even killed, but then comes back to life
again. The shift is from abandonment and isolation, through struggle,
to the triumph or marriage phase (unitive consciousness). The myth
of the defeated ego (rigid ego) brings images of the triumph of dark forces,
myths of floods and the return of chaos. Then the stage is set for
miraculous rebirth, and this process of rebirth is the Universal Medicine.
Lumen Naturae: Heart of Mercurius
The light of nature is the quinta essentia, extracted by God himself
from the four elements, and dwelling in our hearts. It is enkindled
by the Holy Spirit. The light of nature is an intuitive apprehension
of the facts, a kind of illumination--one's own experience of nature.
The general signficance of the salamander in alchemy is as a mythological
fire-spirit, denoting the element of Fire. Its psychological meaning
revolves around the frustrated expectations and desires we experience which
arise from projection. This is the basic material of analytical work.
M.-L. von Franz likened the emotional reactions involved in the process
of withdrawing projections to the alchemical image of the salamander, as
prima materia, roasting in the fire. Because they prove their
incorruptibility in the fire, such creatures enjoy a particularly long
life. The salamander is an immature, transitional form of the filius,
that incorruptible being whose symbols indicate the self.
Fire is one of the archetypal forms of Mercurius. Even the
mercurialis is a form of divine fire, paradoxically. This fire
is highly vaporous, indeed really the only fire in the whole procedure.
It is the universal and scintillating force of the light of nature, which
carries the heavenly spirit within it; the source of mystical knowledge
second only to the holy revelations of the Scriptures. But it shares
in its essence an abysmal nature, even hell fire.
The paradoxical merging of fire/water reveals the principle of the coincidence
of opposites which is completed by absolute opposition in order to attain
psychological validity. Hermes is a god of revelations, and this
mystic fire is the fire in which God himself burns in divine love.
Since Mercurius is of fiery nature, the fire does not harm him: he remains
unchanged within it, rejoicing like the salamander. This fire is
a portion of God's spirit, but is also Lucifer who became the fire of hell
after his fall. Eleazar says, "This old Father-Begetter will one
day be drawn from the primordial Chaos, and he is the fire-spewing
The igneous spirit of the natural fire is corporified in the substances
which are analogous to it. Our stone is an astral fire, which sympathizes
with the natural fire, and which as a true salamander receives its nativity,
is nourished and grows in the elementary fire. The natural fire is
proportionate to the astral life, and therefore, the former corporifies
or coagulates the later.
The body of the universe is created (coagulated) by means of proportion
or analogy. Analogy is a process of relationship, making connections
by "as if." Analogy corporifies or coagulates spirit. Alchemy
is a treasury of analogies that embody the objective psyche and the processes
it undergoes in development. The same applies to religion and mythology.
The importance of analogy for realization of the psyche cannot be overestimated.
It gives form and visibility to that which was previously invisible, intangible,
not yet coagulated. Dream images and active imagination coagulate.
They connect the outer and inner worlds by means of proportional or analogous
images and thus coagulate soul-stuff. Moods and affects toss us about
wildly until they coagulate into something visible and tangible; then we
can relate to them objectively.
Rebirth of the Self
The experience of the Self is experienced as one's inner soul, touched
by the dynamic aspect of the God-image. It is from here that grace
and peace emanate in the meditative experience when the unconscious begins
to flow. But at first the flood of imagery is overwhelming.
However, by sticking to the process and being true or devoted to the internal
imagery, the process begins to transform. Fpr a while you have to
meditate and concentrate and experience your unconscious deeply.
From this constant repetition and devoted concentration on the inner life
of the soul, something is born within one that represents the new state--namely,
a constant realization of the Self.
This child was born in the fire of the libido concentration on the inner
world. It nourished itself like a salamander in the alchemical fire,
and grew-up to become reddish--even blood-red. Its effect becomes
contagious and it begins to heal others, spontaneously.
Having gone through the meditative work, through the death and inner resurrection,
it can produce ego death in others because of its more encompassing perspective,
but through that the soul becomes healthy, and can return others to a pristine
state, too. This is the meaning of the wounded-healer; there is a
multiplying effect. The Gold Medicine which cures souls is synonymous
with this magickal child. We call it psychological healing through
getting in touch with the Self.
According to ancient alchemists, this medicine, or child, or gold form,
is really a resurrection of the Holy Ghost. It is the unification
of Spirit, Anima, Body, and Cosmos.
Naturally after a while, the waters dry up--dream material lessens and
the outer world calls again. Analysis is a temporary, artificial
state of complete introversion which eventually is left for the balanced,
regenerate lifestyle. When the thing goes right, relapse does not
happen because something precious has taken place in an inner conception,
which is compared to an inner child.
When we realize the Self through a conscious effort, by concentrating on
our dreams and imagination, it becomes part of our conscious personality.
The inner child now nourishes itself and grows on--the importance of the
awareness of self increases more and more. The multiplying effect
triggers the same process in others, synchronistically. At first
they find it disturbing, but the part of personality that resists the most
strongly--the shadow--is the healing medicine.
Knowledge & Conversation:
The Holy Guardian Angel
In theurgic Magick the primary operation of Tiphareth is the invocation
of the Holy Guardian Angel--deep knowledge of and conversation with one's
holy Genius, a flow state which arises from equilibration. The Retirement
Ritual comes from The Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage, translated
into English in 1883 by S. L. MacGregor-Mathers.
The H.G.A. is a beam transmitted from the Supernal region which defies
symbolic description. This being of living light and love forms a
soitary relationship with the Adept. The angel is the personification
of Grace, or the personal daimon (ala Plato) or genius, or the transcendent
function. The personification of the higher Self allows us to take
up a relationship with the inner guide, which restores a balance between
the ego and the unconscious. When the contact is stabilized, the
guide can take the aspirant to the heights of mystic rapture.
Through alchemical meditation one is able to perceive the radiant form,
in its pure form, uncontaminated by the personal complexes which denegrate
its refulgence. The level of internal talk, the dialogical level,
facilitates inner growth and guides moral decisions. The transcendental
Self appears cross-culturally in many form identical with one's image of
Images of the Self appear spontaneously throughout the entire transformative
process. It appears in symbols beginning with animal and plant forms,
and progresses through metaphors of sexual union into human and mandala
forms. The angel is a personified soul-image in the traditional of
the alchemical Anima Mundi or the eastern Gurus. It is the
magickal version of daimon or muse, in its most exalted aspect.
The soul can rise but cannot transform itself into the mode of existence
of the Spirit. Apprehending the pure archetypes takes the assistance
of the Intuitive Mind. The descent of the Intuitive Mind to the level
of Ruach takes place when Briatic Consciousness awakens and the
adept sees his angel. Under the stimulus of the angel, the Adept
learns to control his new faculty. The higher mind does not have
the capacity to transcend itself. It must rely on Grace. When
the penetration is accomplished, the soul unties the knot with the mind,
and the liberated soul realizes its pristine condition. The unfettered
soul realizes, "I am That." The fullness of inspiration leads
to mystic rapture, merging, and ultimate union.
Clowns and Christs
Clowns and Christs
24 x 36, 1994
In chaos theory, when an attractor disappears due to sudden catastrophic
change, the system becomes structureless and experiences a term of "transient
chaos" before another attractor is found. We can experience identity
crisis during major life passages.
Perhaps it is not by chance that Jung's theory of the complexes shares
a semantic and essential relationship with complex system dynamics.
Both complexes and archetypes function like strange attractors, drawing
numerous associations around themselves. These psychic nexus points
are instrumental in the foundation of belief systems, thoughts, emotional
rsponses, and behavior. Each archetype has its parameters, but within
the myth there are a jumbled myriad of possibilities that play through
the personality seeingly at random; yet each has its agenda and characteristic
mode of appearance. The activation of a mytheme in a life is decoded
by noticing its corresponding effects, in dreams and waking life.
An individual's personal myth or mytheme might be conceived of as an activated
chaotic attractor. In another phase of life, the focus could change
to others. Sometimes these transitions are fairly smooth, sometimes
competitive, other time catastrophic, sweeping the old structure away in
an uncontrolled fashion.
The ego can suffer greatly from the pull of deep forces within, especially
if it doesn't have enough information about its purpose to derive meaning
from the experience. For some, disruption may lead to a psychotic
break (dissolution), while for others it opens the door to new freedom
and an expanded sense of self and creativity. The first step in understanding
how these attractors affect us has to do with our personal complexes, our
distorted experiences of raw archetypal power and conflicts.
Even the Self, or God-image, has a dark side. We can imagine Dionysus,
the god of intoxication and dissolution in communal orgiastic revel as
the antithesis of the Christian god-image which is only light and only
good. The Dionysian is daimonic and ecstatic, prefering intensity
of experience to clear structured meaning. Fertility and phallic
creativity are opposed to its clinical symptoms of alcoholism, drug addiction
and Don Juanism. Anyone identified with this god gets dismembered,
psychically fragmented, emotionally impotent. But the wine of Dionysus
and the blood of Christ are symbolically equivalent. In this picture,
both are undergird by the presence of the Trickster, Hermes, or the archetypal
clown--the unconscious Hermetic process as a unifying symbol. Conflict
is created by the unconscious itself in order to reunite the opposites
on a higher level.
Coniunctio: The Royal Marriage
24 x 36, 1994
In alchemy, marriage is a symbol of "Conjunction," represented symbolically
also by the union of sulphur and mercury--the King and Queen, or Sun and
Moon. There is a parallel between this alchemic signficance and the
intimate union or inner conciliation--within the process of individuation--of
the unconscious, feminine side of us with our spirit. The royal marriage
is a transcendent symbol of the Self, and embodies psychic totality. Coniunctio
is a culminating point of life and at the same time a death.
The mystic marriage also appears in Qabala as the marriage of divine Kether,
the highest sphere with Malkutth, the earthly sphere as its bride.
Love is fundamental to the imagery of the coniunctio. But
it is love purged of personal desirousness, not cleaving to one side of
the pair of opposites, but rather beyond the opposites.
Transpersonal love is the extroverted aspect of coniunctio which
to or promotes social interest and the unity of the human race, while the
introverted aspect promotes connection with the Self and the individual
Jung wrote his final work on this holding of the tension of inner and outer
opposites, his magnum opus, Mysterium Coniunctionis.
Mystic marriage has seven basic stages:
quest; 2.) the awakening of love; 3.) the attainment of Knowledge;
5.) unification or blending;
6.) annihilation; and 7.) divine consummation.
The marriage of King and Queen is an intrapsychic process which is not
projected onto another living individual. The meeting point of Kether
and Malkuth is the heart-center Tiphareth, where the soul marries the Self.
Projections of anima or animus have been retrived and returned to their
proper level in the unconscious.
There are lesser and greater forms of coniunctio. In early
stages, there is union with the shadow which is the reunion of mind and
body. Later comes the reunification with anima/animus, then union
with the Self, which produces the unus mundus, or experience of
the "One World," where body, soul, and spirit are reunited. The greater
is a high mystery, which engaged the speculation of the alchemists as the
Psychologically, the self is a union of conscious (masculine) and unconscious
(feminine). It stands for the psychic totality, which is discernable
above all in the mandala form and its countless variants. Historically,
these symbols are authenticated as God-images. The mystery
of the reunion of God and his Shekinah leads to the indwelling presence
of God, or the Holy Spirit. The Heart is the throne of God in man.
Under Synergetic Construction
File Created: 01/07/2000
Last Updated: 02/02/2000