"Ars longa, vita brevis"
Netzach Gallery presents . . .
MYTHOPOESIS (Part 1)
The Secret Wisdom of the Ages
comprised of many kinds of Transgressions
ANTHROPOS: THE PRIMORDIAL MAN
24 x 36, 1998
The symbolical names of the prima materia all point to the anima mundi, Plato's Primordial Man, the Anthropos, and mystic Adam. Adam Kadmon is the "man of light" and therefore identical with the alchemical filius philosophorum. Paracelsus says of this astral man, "the true man is the star in us...for heaven is man and man is heaven, and all men are one heaven, and heaven is only one man."
The ancient teachings about the Anthropos assert that God, or the world-creating principle, was manifested in the form of a "first-created" man, usually of cosmic size, such as Prajapati, Purusha, and Metatron. The Primordial Man is the means for conquering darkness, and shares his role with a feminine being, Sophia, who coexisted with him in the Gnostic Pleroma.
The Cosmic Man or archetypal man is both macrocosm and microcosm and contains the Femin ine or anima within himsself. Technically it is a hermaphroditic figure, recapitulating the entire evolutionary process. The doctrine of the Anthropos is of Manichaean origin. It is akin to the true man of Chinese alchemy, which like the Anthropos is akin to God. This inner man remains partly unconscious because consciousness is only part of a man and cannot comprehend the whole. But this whole man is always present. No psychic content can become conscious unless it possesses a certain energy-charge, or it sinks back into unconsciousness.
This "Man" is an indescribable, intuitive or mystical experience which demonstrates the continuity of this idea over the millennia. In later centuries there was a relationship between Christ, the Son of Man and this cosmogonic Man. In alchemical philosophy it corresponds to the homunculus and lapis, the product of the hieros gamos, Royal Marriage.
According to Jungian, Edward Edinger, the anthropos has been likened in Gnostic texts to a corpse, "buried in the body like a mummy in a tomb." The mummy is symbolically identical with the original man or anthropos, and is thus an image of the Self and the product of mortificatio--the incorruptible body that grows out of the death of the corruptible seed. It corresponds to the alchemical idea that death is the conception of thee Philosopher's Stone. From its death, the "child of the philosophers" is born--the Philosophical Stone.
The regenerated king in alchemy corresponds to the cosmic Anmthropos, the First Man. He is the inner, spiritual, psychic man created in the image of the Nous. The alchemist experienced the Anthropos in a form that was imbued with a new vitality, freshness and immediacy--psychic totality. It has a complex Egyptian, Persian and Hellenistic background--Homo Maximus. In this modern version--Homo Lumens.
SOPHIA: SAPIENTIA DEI
The wisdom of the Qabala coincides with the sapientia of alchemy. St. Thomas's Aurora Consurgens speaks of a feminine counterpart to God - Sapientia Dei, the Wisdom of God. This thought was influenced by Gnosticism, from about the 2nd century B.C. to the 1st century A.D. This personification of the Wisdom of God was with Him before the world and mankind were created. According to von Franz, this female personification is an awkward figure for Christian theologians. What is she? In the late writings of the Old Testament there appears a kind of bride or wife of God - there is certainly a female figure -- but who was she?
The usual medieval attitude was that she was identical with the Holy Ghost, just a feminine aspect. Where ever the Wisdom of God was mentioned one should really read the Holy Ghost. But some saw her as the soul of Christ--Anima Christi--who already existed before Christ incarnated, and in that way was identical with the form of Christ as the eternal word, the Logos, with God from all time, and before his incarnation as Jesus Christ. However, here the Wisdom of God has been looked on as being the same thing, and to explain the femininity the expression "the soul of Christ" is used--the anima Christi.
Another, even more interesting explanation is that she represents the sum of all archetypes. She is the eternal idea in God's mind when He created the world. God conceived the world, and then cast His idea into matter and created the real world. If we translate that into psychological language, it means that the Wisdom of God represents the collective unconscious, the sum of all the original idea patterns of reality--but that would be the Feminine side of the Godhead.
Sophia is the Knowledge of God. We can speak to this image of the Godhead within, but the inner figure oftens answers in paradoxes. It says that in a way reality should actually come in, and at the same time it says it is all psychological. If you look at it negatively it is and evasive form, and if you look at it positively it is a paradox. Then the paradox of the psychological factor, or the psychic reality, hits the quality of consciousness, which always wants to make an either-or and then talk about it. When the Self appears that is the end of talking--beyond the dialogical level of astral and causal planes. In the state of incubation, the anima media natura corresponds to Sophia caught in the embrace of Physis. Even if it is caused by the wisdom of God, the blackening or eclipse of the sun remains a fearful experience. Fear is an agent of mortificatio.
The goal of the Opus is produced by the final union of purified opposites, and rectifies all one-sideness. The Stone, personified as Sapientia says of itself: "I am the mediatrix of the elements, making one agree with another...I am the end and my beloved is the beginning. I am the whole work and all science is hidden in me" She is the concrete, practical efficacy of wisdom or consciousness.
WHEELS WITHIN WHEELS: AS ABOVE, SO BELOW
The view of Qabala is that all species are the different functional parts of One Being. This macrocosmic entity is reflected in all microcosms. Objective reality manifests as a multitude of forms on all scales, the externalization of the infinite potential of subjective being.
In the Qabalistic system, Ain Soph corresponds to the unlimited potential of subjective being and its unlimited power of actualization. It is the expression of a circling, limiting factor--the breath-spirit, a reflecting medium, and a means of expression for the infinite potential of individuation. In this mystery is hidden the key to earthly life, the reality of subjective Being, the infinite becoming ifinite. The Ain is No Thing. When Ain desires to manifest its infinite potential of individualization, it reflects itself in Soph's "primordial waters." The inverted image formed is the Objective world. Spirit can be imagined as a vortex or a whirlpool.
The passage from the undifferentiated state of potential infinite individualization to the actualization of multiplicity, yet maintaing indivisibility (unity) is accomplished through a series of stages and inter-relationships which the Qabala classifies in amost intricate yet simple manner. These relationships are depicted in the minimum number of graphic elements: circles, lines, and color in the graphic of the Tree of Life--and emblem of the Throne of God, consisting of wheels within wheels. It expresses the axiomatic dictum, As Above (Macrocosm), So Below (Microcosm).
Each sphere is a modification of the portion of the Soul to which it belongs. According to this occult science, all forms owe their unity to the fact that they are all differentiations of the same subtle substance--the World Soul (Shekinah, Sophia) is the substantial basis of all form. The modern extensions of our vision allow us to view macrocosmic deep space directly, as well as the subatomic realm of the quantum world. What was once reserved for the realm of intuitive, mystic vision is now the realm of everyday science. A vision perhaps even Ezekiel may never have imagined.
KETHER IS IN MALKUTH: MACRO IN THE MICROCOSM
The first idea to be realized in the sphere of awareness is that embodied in Ain Soph. The initiate must realize that he is Infinite Potential of creation, individualization, and that his Soul is Infinite Power of expression. I AM is the ruling principle of all life. Next comes awaareness of the universal law governing thoughts, the Word, Logos, Spirit, the prime mover. The universal law of the Soul is that it is essentially unconditioned. All conditioned states that exist are modifications of this primal essence. Realization of the soul is understanding.
Next comes the realization in the sphere of awareness of the unity of all life-forms, which is the rational basis of benevolence, mercy, grace and love. Each form is destined to perform a role in the manifestation of infinite individuation, which is the rational basis of self-defense and fear. Then comes the realization of the law of equilibrium, being in the world but not of it. Then we learn to perceive the abstract differences underlying similar forms, transcending narrow mindedness. We also perceive the underlying principles uniting and giving significance to forms, and details--the unending specializstion and fragmentation of subjects to the point that synthesis seems almost impossible. Next is realization in the sphere of awareness of one's true Identity, beyond body, emotions, and thoughts. The end result is the realization that underlying all separate existences is an implicit unity--Kether, the highest, is immanent in Malkuth, the end result.
Seek to discover the interdependence between these ideas and their potential for effecting changes in self-thinking, and life style. This is the purpose of Qabala, to realize the higher Self of our infinite potential and to reach the transcendent realms where mystic union is one of those realizable possibilities. Most people remain hopeless slaves to their sensual nature, castrating the infinite power of expression of Soul and Spirit conjoined in majesty. The main cause of failure is failing to rehearse, recondition, strengthen and prepare the Soul with mystic meditation. The difference between an initiate and others is only point of view. Quality of living depends on faith and grace.
MYSTIC EYE: SOUND AND VISION
The mystic eye, or Third Eye, is a primal symbol of the visionary--inner sight and wisdom. It implies that the inner world is known, and illuminated, and that the individual has access to the special knowledge of the Source. It is symbol of the universal Self, whose flower symbols include the Lotus and the Rose, and whose representations by gems include the Pearl and the Diamond. The Seer or observer Self is the one who watches placidly from the loftiest objectivity.
The primordial Sound is another basic, recurrent theme of mysticism. It is rooted in the cross-cultural notion of the Word, the Logos, detectible rhythms of the primal life-stream, the Sound of the Silence, the Audible Life Stream, the Source of All Being. It is a great spiritual current, the supreme fact and factor of the entire universe. It is the very essence and life of all things. The "Word" is identical with God, the Creator. The Indian name is simply shabd, meaning Sound.
In truth, this Sound Current is God himself who vibrates through infinite space. And it can be heard with the mystic eye, as luminous, inner light is seen with the mystic eye. Mystics say it is impossible to become a spiritual Master of the highest order without consciously uniting with the Life Stream to gain its Essence. This current or wave contains the sum of all teaching emanating from God. It is his own Word. It is God himself in expression, making himself known. This Name stands for all that the Supreme Being is and doesn. Any name is the sound symbol which stands for the reality itself.
This divine Name, Sound, or Word stands for all that God is or has ever said or done, all of his divine qualities. He is the fountain from which the Audible Life Stream proceeds to be perceived and heard by all who participate in it throughout all worlds. It may be seen and heard by such as attain initiation and an awakened consciousness under the training of a Master. When we hear it, we hear God. It comes from the Supreme Creative center of the universe of universes. It is "pure, white music." Let no one say it is not a sound because unheard by physical ears. It is Luminous Reality.
ANOTHER STARRY NIGHT
Another Starry Night
24 x 36, 2/1999
The nature of Nature, the mystery of the existence of the universe has haunted mankind throughout aeons, and it is only now that we are beginning to grasp the slightest hint of the essence of that reality. All former theories, including the Big Bang and inflation, have had shortcomings and inconsistencies, especially with our newest cosmological observations from the Hubble telescope. That's saying a lot since we've contemplated the heavens from time immemorial.
The growth spurt at the birth of the cosmos capturedd chance subatomic fluctuations in energy and inflated them to macroscopic proportions. The action transformed the fluctuations into regions of slightly higher and lower density. Over tiem, gravity molded these variations into the spidery network of galaxies and voids seen in the universe today. In inflationary cosmology, quantum fluctuations provide the energy for the expansion.
According to quantum theory, the vacuum of space is far from empty. It seethes with particles and antipartiles constantly being created and destroyed. Energy from this vacuum potential fluctuation can be tapped and is more than sufficient to trigger the era of explosive expansion dubbed the Big Bang. There are slight variations in the distribution of matter from the moment when light and matter parted company, and radiation streamed freely into space.
The total density of matter only accounts for about 40% of the critical density. Therefore, most of the matter in the universe is some unseen exotic "virtual" material. The missing 60% of funny energy could include so-called dark matter. This special energy resists the gravitational pull of galaxies, so it distributes itself uniformly throughout the cosmos. This new theory provides a plausible accounting of matter and energy in the universe. Observation suggests right now that the densities of matter and funny energy are roughly equal. The big question is "Why us, why now?" There is only one period when matter and energy densities are comparable, and that's today and we happen to be around!
INNER EGG MEDITATION
Inner Egg Meditation
24 x 36, 2/1999
This alchemical meditation is recounted by Adam McLean in The Alchemical Mandala, (Phanes Press). The egg is one of the most primal symbols of life and fertility. It is often a metaphor of the world or the universe, or a person's individuality. The idea of a 'world egg' which produces the first creator appears in many early creation myths, such as the sun god Ra, born from an egg. Because they contain new life, the seeds of the future are embodied in eggs. The philsopher's egg of alchemy embodies this sacred potentiality as sealed egg-shaped vessel in which alchemical reactions take place and from which the philsoopher's stone is thought to emerge. This fundamental exercise reveals our own potentiality. Here, the egg is identified with the flask, and the flask is a Klein Bottle, a sealed paradox of self-reference.
As you begin to settle yourself for this exercise, explore the ways in which your inner being connects with the outer world. Follow out in consciousness, say, your hearing of single sound, feel your consciousness raying out to the source of the sound and then returning inwards. Allow yourelf to become aware of your bodily posture, of a small discomfort perhaps, and feel through your sense of touch how you connect the physical world, then allow your consciousness to withdaw and follow this sensation back inward. Continue this with all the senses, using the impulses that come to you through the sense organs in a natural wayu. Don't try to force or repress these realities, but follow these outward and allow yourself to return inward, feeling a growing awareness of the relationship between your inner being and perceptions.
Begin to picture this awareness as an Egg or Flask Retort. Picture your being as this flask. The outside world can only enter throught the walls of this flask, like the shell of the egg. Let your consciousness look outward through the walls of the flask into the sense world, and be able to return inward to your soul egg. You will find sudden images, jumbled thoughts, and daily worries arising quite naturally. Don't repress them but let them develop and grow to fruition, and dissolve as their energy dissipates. Imagine them arising from the raw energy of inner life, a deep interior darkness, and sink inward, immersing your being in the inner contents and returning to the surface. Picture your being as the egg or retort, a dynamic boundary between the multiplicity of outer perception and inward streaming consciousness. Grow this space within you. Emerging from the egg is a symbol of rebirth.
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As in the last piece, the serpents represent death, renewal, and rebirth--shedding the old self image and emerging as the fresh, new self. A notorious instrument, the Witch's Cradle was developed at Maimonides Lab and used for scientific research by altered states experts Jean Houston and Robert Masters. The subject was strapped in, blindfolded, and earphoned to permit music or programmed sounds to mask outside noise. The subject is rotated and lulled into a state of obliviousness and receptivity for experiments in telepathy. Although the blur in this time exposure creates an impression of speed, the rotation is actually gentle.
This instrument facilitates research into altered states and visual imagery, and was an alternative method to the sensory deprivation tank. Inducing different domains of time, it was officially called ASCID, Altered States of Consciousness Induction Device, or "witch's cradle" from the leather bag witches used suspended from a tree to induce weird states. The movements affect the vestibular system and give the sensation of "flying off to other realms."
According to Houston (A Mythic Life, 1996), "Our ASCID device was essentially a metal swing or pendulum in which our subjects stood upright, supported by broad bands of canvas and wearing blindfold goggles. We suspended this pendulum from a very sensitive device so that the subject's slightest movements sent the metal frame forward and backward, side to side, and in rotating cycles. These motions, affecting the inner ear, induced a state in which our subjects lost their usual reference to space and time and eventually even to their own bodies.
"In anywhere from two to twenty minutes, they entered a trancelike state and frequently decended through the four levels of imagery that I had observed with my psychedelic subjects. In the ASCID cradle, great journeys were taken, books written, inventions discovered, lifelong concerns seen in new ways--so much so, that some ouf our subjects began to refer to the device as the cradle of creativity.
"We continued to use the cradle for years, and many other researchers adopted it for their use. Gradually we discontinued using it, for we found that people would get addicted to it and even refuse to explore their inner state without first taking a ride. However, using varieties of trance, hypnosis, guided imagery, meditation, and active imagination, Bob and I found that we could take people on journeys without drugs or machines."
Images observed long enough will cease to be random or disconnected and organize into symbols, dramas, narratives or problem-solving processes, increasing desire to do creative work as well as break through any blocks to creativity. Many blocks are actually blocks within the imagery process: change the imagery and the block is released.
VOICE OF ATHENA
Voice of Athena
24 x 36, 2/99
Pallas Athena, the gray-eyed goddess of wisdom, is a magnificent Being whose influence is enormously stimulating, promoting efficiency and perfect accuracy of form that is the true essence of all art. The archetypal teacher, She expresses and encourages the highest, the noblest, the purest and most beautiful. She is more than real, though less than fact.
She was essentially a weaver, but in our times she works more with mind and culture, body, spirit. Weaving is her metaphor for wisdom and power over human possibilities. She reweaves, reorchestrates the threads of what is given and reweaves them into new possibilities, new connections. She makes her alliance with those who have the same qualities. Her existence pervades ours, opening us to new worlds of spirit. She is our deeply inherent coding and patterning. Often our lives reveal that our strengths and our sorrows, the very progress of our journey, prove remarkably similar to the mythic life of an archetype. Their story is our story written large.
Holding her in our hearts we gain an intimate relationship, both friend and mentor. She encourages us and gives us the impetus to evolve, to serve as catalytic agents for sloughing off outworn self-images like a snake sheds its outgrown skin to be renewed. She restores a sense of meaning and purpose to our lives. It is a healing exchange, once we learn how to dialog with her. She shows us new dimensions of our mind, and inspires us to reach for the heights of our human potential.
This manly Goddess, sprang fully grown, clothed in armour, from the head of Zeus, as his "brain child." And she can be the same expression of our inner resources. The owl was associated with her from the earliest times, and the icon of the wise old owl is still alive in popular culture, embodying the highest ideals of justice, wisdom, and moderation. She is the goddess of intellectual and artistic rebirth. Mother of the arts, personification of wisdom, bringer of victory and health, she gives rise to philsophical thought and altruistic action. She reminds me of my best girlfriend.
GREAT MYSTERY OF LIFE: MYSTERY BEYOND FORM
Mysteries of Life
24 x 36, 2/99
Our hearts and the heart of creation are One. This all-encompassing circle includes the vastness of space. The Great Mystery dwells both on the apparent inside and outside of our being.
The sacred traditions all arise from our desire to codify the mystery of life. The sacred teachings of the Native Way, the Buddhist Way, the Jewish Way, the Christian Way, the Islamic Way all trace their form to direct experience of the Great Mystery, the Tao. Creation, the Great Mystery is rooted beyond the form of words, because of its formlessness. We ourselves are a living expression of the Mystery.
The Tree of Life and the sacred spiral of DNA are symbols to remind us of continuity. The creative principle, the Great Mystery is within ourselves, the spark of a clear mind. That mystery is unmanifest potential, the void, the emptiness. Through this world we are given the opportunitty to realize the Great Mystery. That is our purpose--to experience and realize the Great Mystery. The seed of that mystery and wisdom is always in us.
Mystery carries us around the circle of life. It is important to honor the sacred mystery we all share, "that which is unmanifest and becoming and contains within it the seed of our potential. The matrix emits the basic pulse, as encoded in DNA form, actualizing and maintaining the basic relationship of form potential.
Here, as in all these collages, the UFO stands as a symbol of mystery, rather than implying "visitors from outer space." This facination is reflected in popular cultural concerns. On the internet, UFO interest is second only to that of sex. That is a pretty high ranking for any symbol of mystery, and is therefore, perhaps, the best symbolic choice for our era.
THE DOCTRINE OF ETERNAL LIFE
[Eye of Horus]
The original tale of resurrection to eternal life comes from the primal myth of Egypt, the cult of Isis, Osiris, and Horus. Isis and Osiris are born of the primal sky goddess Nut, or Nuit. So were their twin relatives Seth and Nephthys. One night Osiris slept with Nepthys, thinking she was Isis and Anubis was born--the oldest son but by the wrong wife. Seth, her husband, therefore schemed to kill his older brother Osiris, and the entire plot of murder, dismemberment, losing, finding, and restoration begins.
The death of Osiris was symbolically associated with the annual rising and flooding of the Nile, by which the very soul of Egypt was annually fertilized. It was as though the rotting body of Osiris fertilized and revitalized the land (Isis). Redemption comes through the grace of Isis. The goddess goes in quest of her lost spouse or lover, and through loyalty and a descent into the realm of death, becomes his redeemer through the magical child Horus. Out of death comes life, and this is the prototype of the divine mother with her child conceived by God.
Almost every aspect of religious faith and practice is found in this ancient religion, mythology, magic and ritual. The dynastic framework of sacred kingship placed direct emphasis on the literal importance of the Great House--shared divine heritage, shared sacred DNA. And behind all, the aura of mysterious forgotten secrets symbolized by the UFO, representing timeless mystery.
At death, the pharaoh (god on earth) ascended into the sky to join his divine father. In this context, Osiris was identified with the constellation of the same name. We now call it Orion, the nursery of stars. Isis embodied the dog-star Sirius, whose heliacal rising denoted the annual flooding of the Nile. The sungod Re, or Horus was moved across the sky by Khephra, the sacred beetle. The deified earth is the generative male god, Geb, who lay in close embrace with Nut until separated by She, the god of the atmosphere. Selket is the goddess of magic.
EGYPTIAN ALCHEMY: FOUR WORLDS WITHOUT END
The Egyptian Mysteries were great public institutions supported by the state, centers of national and religious life, to which all classes flocked. One who had passed through all their degrees became a highly-cultured person with ethical and spiritual training, which included knowledge of this world, a vivid realization of the future after death, our place in the scheme of things, and therefore what was really worth doing and living for.
They were not secret societies with their affairs concealed from the ordinary public. Thousands of people entered the ordinary degrees of Isis. But the teachings and training of the higher degrees were kept from those whom they did not concern, much like college is reserved for high school graduates. The Four Worlds included the physical, astral (or emotional), causal (or mental plane), and the spiritual or archetypal world.
Everyone in Egypt knew there were Mysteries, and nearly everyone knew they largely concerned life after death and the preparation for it. But the teachings were given to initates under binding pledges of solemn secrecy. The results of certain forms of action in the world after death were shown in elaborate detail.
The essential outline of this secret insturction in the Four Worlds was embodied in rituals of Initiation, Passing, and Raising, and have decended to us in the ceremonies of modern Freemasonry, where is is still protected by oaths of secrecy. They portrayed the higher evolution of man and his return to his divine Source, through the development of the higher part of his nature.
The sarcophagus is a typical symbol of the second portion of the hero's journey, which begins after "crossing the threshold." Once across, the hero is swallowed by the unknown, be it a whale, a wolf, a sarcophagus, or a cave. This stage permits us to dissolv eour identity in order to be rewoven into a stronger and brighter form. It is like the serpent sloughing off its old skin to form a new, fresh identity. We die to our modernity and are reborn to our eternity. It can take the form of a depression or a regression in the service of transcendence, or a strong need to get away from it all.
INFINITE SPACE IS THE GODDESS NUIT
Face of Nuit
24 x 36, 3/99
Isis and her husband Osiris were twins, born of the sky goddess, Nut or Nuit. And their younger relatives were Seth and Nephthys, who were also twins born from Nut. This is one of the oldest known tales of the mother conceiving of the spirit. Nut, or Nuit, is the whole heavenly sphere. When you have the Goddess as the creator, it's her own body that is the universe. She is identical with the universe, and the underlying matrix of that universe. She is the whole sphere of the life-enclosing heavens.
She is time and space itself, and the mystery beyond her is beyond all pairs of opposites: it isn't male nor female, it neither is nor is not. But everything is within her so that the gods are her children, everything is her production. Having no beginning, she abides with immanence, from which all things are born. She is the field that produces forms. She is the Source of your own life, and the energy that animates it.
Modern cosmology reveals a virtual mystery underlying the physical nature of infinite space. The standard of the 1980s, postulating a flat universe dominated by matter, is dead. The universe is either open or filled with an energy of unknown origin. Put another way, "nothing" could not possibly be more interesting, for it is indeed the womb of creation. There is pre-existenct ocean of virtual energy which continually, if briefly, bubbles over into phenomenal existence providing the matrix of embodied forms. So-called empty space is actually filled with elementary particles that pop in and out of existence too quickly to be detected directly.
Nothing is exact, not even nothingness. The aggregate energy of these virtual particles could exert a gravitational force, which either be attractice or repulsive depending on physical principles that are not yet understood. On macroscopic scales the energy copuld act as the cosmological constant proposed by Einstein. It bears on the age of the universe, the density of matter and the nature of cosmic structures. Total cosmic energy content determines the geometry of space-time. Nothing matters.
ISIS: VEILED AND UNVEILED
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Isis is the Egyptian form of the primordial Great Goddess, the universal mother. Her own voices declares, "I am the veiled Isis of the shadows of the sanctuary. Iam she that moveth as a shadow behind the tides of death and birth. I am she that cometh forth by night and no man seeth my face. I am older than time and forgotten of the gods. No man may look upon my face and live, for in the hour he parteth my veil, he dieth."
There are two deaths by which we die, the death of the body and the greater death of initation. She conveys that, "He who would die to this birth, let him look upon the face of the goddess in this mystery."
"I am the star that rises from the sea, the twilight sea. I bring men dreams that rule their destiny. I bring the moon-tides to the soul of men, the tides that flow and ebb and flow again. These are my secret, and belong to me. I am the eternal Woman, I am She. The tides of all men's sould belong to me. Out of my hands you take your destiny, the touch of my hands bestows serenity. I hear the invoking words--hear and appear. I come unto the priest that calleth me."
Isis is compared with other goddesses such as Artemis and Persephone, and reveals herself in many forms and always reveals new aspects. But in Her totality, she remains unknowable. Her whole being is impenetrable, but behind her many faces and names there is one and the same divine Unknown.
The consecration ceremonies of the Isis Mysteries during the Ptolemaic era are described in detail in The Golden Ass of Apuleius. They include the opening of the temple, various vigils, abstention from wine, meat, and love, cleanliness, and washing rites. The statue of Isis was contemplated by novices and worthy candidates were tested at a kind of hearing. The service of the deity included secrecy. In each procession, Isis sought the dead Osiris, and found him every time the holy water was drawn. Initation into Her mysteries was three-fold and consisted of a voluntary ritual death and revival by a journey through the elements, and probably a sacred wedding or sexual union. The initate received a new name and the mystics then celebrated with a ritual banquet.
THE EYES OF ISIS
Eyes of Isis
24 x 36, 11/98
The eyes of Isis are known for their sorrow and tears of compassion. Like her later counterpart, the Virgin Mary, she is not only the universal feminine principle expressed in nature, but also a real and very lofty Being. By virtue of her high development and office She is able to represent the Feminine aspect of Deity to us. She is the Mother of all that lives, and wisdom, truth and power. The Ankh is another symbol of life, and prototype of the cross.
There is an inscription at her temple at Sais where she declares, "I am that which is, which hath been, and which shall be, and no man has ever lifted the veil that hides my Divinity from mortal eyes." The moon was her symbol, and the influence which she outpoured on her worshippers to the music of the shaken sustrum was of brilliant blue light veined with delicate silver, as of shimmering moonbeams, the very touch of which brought upliftment and ecstasy. The whole scheme of Egyptian initation made it the prototype of the Mysteries of all nations. The essential outlines of secret instruction was embodied in the initations.
During the ceremonies, She declares: "I am Nature--the parent of all things, the sovereign of the elements, the primary progeny of time." The ceremonies of the Mysteries are also intended to prtray the higher evolution of man, his return to the divine source whence he came, through the development of the higher part of his nature, which is not merely consequent upon practices of meditation and ceremonial, but also upon the living out of ethical principles. Long ago ethical truths were new discoveries or revelations which required instruction.
Inner circles of students were chosen by the priests to awaken and train inner faculties. The initate was taught and shown what lies on the other side of death, and the ceremony of initation was a symbolic map to that realm.
Cirlot calls the sarcophagus symbolic of the feminine principle and, at the same time, of the earth as the beginning and end of material life. Its signficance corresponds to that of the receptacle, the amphora and the boat. Hence, in alchemy, it is known as the 'philosophical egg' (or vessel of transmutation). "Mumia", powdered medicinal mummy, was used for alchemical purposes and considered synonymous with the prima materia, the elixer, and physical life principle.
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In Egypt, the serpent was a symbol of wisdom, and the hooded cobra appeared on the royal crown, implying enlightenment or divine ordination. The divine nature of the pharaoh came from the sacred DNA shared among the various dynasties which came to wield power in this ancient land. The eternally spiralling helixes of DNA are the scientific equivalent of the Oroborous serpent, the snake which bites its own tail in a circular fashion. This serpent gives birth to the world egg in many cultures. When the sun god is in the underworld, he is said to be in his envelope or in his egg. The resurrection of the sun god is aided by the sacred scarab, Khepera. The scarab is a symbol of the rising sun and of the resurrection into eternal life.
In the tomb of Sethi I there is a drawing of a house with two sphinxes outside which represent the underworld, where the resurrection of the sun god takes place. Just before this resurrection, the sun god is represented as an ichthyphallic man lying on his back with an erect phallus, and around him is the snake which eats its own tail. The inscription says: "This is the corpse." In the underworld when the sun god has reached the moment when death and resurrection meet, when he is in his tomb att the depth of the underworld, hje is represented as surrounded by this snake, a guardian of the underworld. When the sun reappears after its journey through the underworld, it is analogous to the rebirth of consciousness. The great secret imparted by Isis to Horus is that of sexual generation, which both Egyptians and Greeks linked to resurrection of the dead and re-creation of the world, and the sprouting of grain.
If you hope for resurrection, then the body which has disintegrated (been dismembered) must be put together again somehow--remembered. If there is a basic matter, which can be transformed into something else, then that basic matter is immortal and can never be dissolved. That is the idea of the atom. It also means the individual cannot be split or disintegrate, and is therefore immortal, and touches the eternal--cosmic matter. Sacred DNA?
HORUS OR HARPOCRATES
The god Horus is associated with the falcon, the sacred bird who dominated the Egyptian skies. He was identified with the living Pharaoh, just as Osiris is identified with the dead pharaoh. Horus the child on the lap of his mother Isis is a common motif in Egyptian art, the prototype of the Madonna and Child. Isis is regarded as both the mother and wife of the Horus-Pharaoh.
A plea to Isis from the Papyrus Ebers addresses Isis in her healing function: "O Isis, great in magic, release me! Free me from every bad, evil and bloody thing...as you released and freed from (every evil) your son Horus." Awarded the sovereignity of Egypt over his rival Seth by a divine tribunal, Horus became the pre-eminent Egyptian god, in many different guises and roles. His name means, "he who iss on high." He is the god who restored the eye of Thoth.
In a royal contect, the ceremony of the restoring of the lost eye suggested that the sovereign power of the king had been confirmed. At a quite early stage, the myth of Horus was merged with that of Osiris. Horus the child was called Harpocrates by the Greeks and depicted as a child with a lifted finger up to its mouth, as if to conceal the Great Mystery from profanation by speech.
This poster also shows an icon displaying the characteristic upraised arms associated with that form of the soul the Egyptians called the Ka. It is a magical attitude assumed by supplicants wishing to invokle the blessings of the Great Goddess, the posture of epiphany when the godhead appears. In contradistinction to the Ka, which represents the world-creating power of a god or king and the life force in every human being, the Ba stands for an aspect of the soul, connected with the uniqueness of the individual.
The Ba, generally represented in bird form, is able to separate itself from the world and its polarities. The Ba is an immanent component of everyone, comparable to the concept of Atman in Buddhism. It is the innermost center of the individual and the all-embracing deity. The Ba is reckoned with in life as a power that can witness against consciousness. Ba is not interested in what is traditionally considered good--it expresses still-unrealized potentialities. The Ba cautiously leads the world-weary person to the real goal: the sense of at-one-ness with the Ba, newly gained through self-knowledge, which brings restoration of the personality, now consciously experienced as the result of transformation.
THE FOUR SONS OF HORUS
Four Sons of Horus
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The four children of Horus, or the gods of the four cardinal points, were called Mestha, Hapi, Tuamutef, and Qebhsennuf, and with them were associated the goddess Isis, Nephthys, Neith, and Serqet respectively. Mestha was man-headed, and represented the south, and protected the stomach and the large intestines; Hapid was ape-headed, and the represented the north, and protected the small intestines; Tuamutef was jackel-headed, and represented the east, and protected the lungs and the heart; and Qehbsennuf was hawk headed, and repreented the west, and proptected the liver and the gall-bladder.
The various internal organs were removed from the body before mummification and treated, then placed in the canopic jars. Each jar was placed under the protection of one of the four children of Horus. As it was hollow, and its cover was made in the form of the head of the god who represented it, the jar beame the abode of the god by sacred inscriptions. Therefore, the organ was placed inside the god.
The four supports of heaven also governed that quarter of the heavens which was above it. As the constant prayer of the deceased was that he should be able to go about wharever he pleased, both on earth and in heaven, it was necessary for his welfare to appease these gods and gain their protection. These deities connected with the Mysteries are depicted in the well-known judgement scene as standing on a lotus before the throne of Osiris. They are the kings of the elements: earth, air, fire, and water, and correspond with Cherubim described by Ezekiel. The beast with the face of a man stands for the physical body (earth), the ox or bull typifies the emotional or astral body (water), the lion symbolizes the mental aspect (air), and the eagle our spiritual side (fire). The Egyptian forms were a little different, but of the same essence. They are the scribes and recorders of all that is written, said, thought, and done.
Alternames for the Four Sons are Imsety (human-headed guardian of the liver); Hapy (baboon-headed guardian of the lungs; Duamutef (jackel-headed guardian of the stomach); and Qebehsenuf (falcon-headed guardian of the intstines). Curiously, sets of canopic jars are often found with either organs of lids incorrectly corresponded. The averge height of these jars is around 45 - 47 centimeters.
ISIS RAISING OSIRIS
Isis Raising Osiris
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Next to Isis are always her husband Osiris and her son Horus, and She can never be viewed individually without her family. The Isis religion contained greater and lesser Mysteries concerning the dismemberment and scattering of the body parts of Osiris, and their subsequent finding and restoration by the love and compassion of Isis. Seeking the dead Osiris is a metaphor for all of us who eternally search or are hunted through life by our destinies.
The cult of Isis became a mystery religion during the Roman Empire, and appealed to individuals by offering personal salvation, and promised regeneration after. With every new variation the sacred myth of Isis is restated, the seeking and the finding. In each procession Isis seeks the dead Osiris, and find him every time the holy water of life is drawn from the wellspring of our depths. The initiate gladly undergoes voluntary ritual death and revival. The corpse of Osiris is raised by magical chants. In addition to magical incantations, she may use her falcon wings to raise our consciousness aloft.
The Isis cult contains an entire vocabulary of religious symbolism: our lives are a pilgrimage or a sea journey, the sinful world is the sea, her religion is the ship and the haven, the arca dea. She herself is the mast and sail--the soul power which guies our tiny boats of personality to the farther shore. Her priests were fishermen who rescued the souls from the sea, the evil world, or bird-catchers who caught the souls (birds or butterflies) with their lines.
The mystics were soldiers on holy military service for Isis, or gardeners who laboriously cultivated the garden of insight. The Isis priests were the true philosophers, who attained the direct perception of God. The wheel was the symbol of Isis, the sponge indicated the purification of the mystics, and the ladder their spiritual advancement. The anchor symbolized the security of belonging, the bosom of the all-providing goddess, the amphora, the holy water, the winnow represents cleansing of the soul in initiation.
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Paracelsus recounts how powdered mummies were "resurrected" and used as medication. He defines life as follows: "Life, by Hercules, is nothing other than a certain embalmed Mumia, which preserves the mortal body from the mortal worms and from corruption by means of a mixed saline solution." There was a flourishing trade in real, pulverized Egyptian mummies, and they were so numerous they later came to be used as fertilizer and fuel for steam engines! Paracelsus attributes incorruptibility to a special virtue or agent named "balsam," a natural elixer by which the body was kept alive or, if dead, incorruptible.
They physical body was regarded as an essential constituent of human personality, and an afterlife could not be imagined as being possible wighout it. Therefore, they profoundly feared the decomposition of the body. They called on the gods for help: "Hail, Tait...proptect the head of Teti, so that it becomes not detached. Bind together the bones of Teti, so that they do not fall apart." The Egyptians believed that the ritual re-enactment on behalf of a dead person, of the acts that were supposed once to have raised Osiris from death would ensure to the personal concerned a similar resurrection. Being practical, in the meantime, they wrapped the corpse in linen bandages to hold it together, and treated it to arrest putrefaction.
They faced up to the fact that mummification, though it preserved the body from decay, left it immoble. They made provision to restore to the body its ability to see, hear, eat and speak by a magical ceremony known as the 'Opening of the Mouth,' which was performed just before the body was lowered into the sepulchre chambber. The tool used for this process was curiously shaped like the stars in the constellation of Osiris and made of meteorite metal.
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The journey of the soul through the heavens was made in a symbolic vessel so the pharaoh could "sail" the heavenly Nile, the Milky Way. Thus the stars above mirrored what the Egyptians saw below as their life-giving stream. In ancient times, the mystery of Osiris was more complete and impressive than that preserved today in the 3rd Degree rituals of modern masonry. In both, the candidate had to pass through a symbolical suffering, death, and rising which inclues the experiences between death and resurrection--the realm of judgement of the heart and soul.
The Book of the Dead says, "I shall not eat of the cakes of Osiris on the eastern side of the Lake of Flowers, neither shall I have a boat wherein to go down the Nile, nor another wherein to go up, nor shall I be able to sail down the Nile with thee...may the doors of heaven be opened unto me...May the goddess Sekhet make me to rise so that I may ascend into heaven." Plutarch says that Osiris was also regarded as Nilus, the river Nile, and Isis as the land of Egypt, periodically fertilized by his overflow.
Astronomically, Osiris was the sun, Isis the moon. This is the universal story of the sun god who struggles for existence and the development of his power in the early part of the year, and at last rises in triumph to the midheaven of his glory, and bestows his life on all creatures, ripening the corn and grapes, only to yield once more to the advance of winter.
The sun as the great life in the heavens pursues this cycle of death and resurrection, and the smaller life in the seed follows a similar process--it sprouts and comes to fruit, which is garnered and sacrificed for the nourishment of many and other creatures. Life is renewed by a reserved portion of the seed. Mankind has the cycle of childhood, adulthood and old age. For us there is no escape from the sacrifice that characterizes all life, but we are reborn again and again in the cycle of reincarnations. The story of the seed is that of ordinary man, but in the story of the sun is that of the person who is becoming divine. In the Egyptian mysteries, they called him the Osirified. It is the voluntary nature of the divine sacrifice that distinguishes it from the earthly sacrifice.
STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
Stairway to Heaven
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No not that one! The original Egyptian version--the Pyramid. The method of man's reaching divinity was always proclaimed to be unselfishness and self-sacrifice for the sake of others, and the entire story of Osiris (and Christ) is the epitome and example of how that sacrifice may be expressed on earth in human life, as it is in the heavens.
The researchers of the initiate in the Mysteries of Osiris were still further extended to include man's true home, that higher section of the mental or heaven-world in which the ego functions in the causal body. The great ceremony of raising was explained in many layers of interpretation as the descent of the Logos into matter. His mystic death and burial, His rising again to a kingdom without end; and also as the personal descent of the soul into bodies, his resurrection from the death-in-life of the lower worlds of form, and his reincarnation upon earth once more.
This practical instruction allowed the initiate to be carried into the higher part of the mental plane, so that the fully trained initiate in the Mysteries of Osiris acquired full consciousness as an ego beyond the limitation of the one personal life which is all that most people know.
The Pyramids were literally conceived of as the Stairway to Heaven, and a guide to the realization of the self.
HEART OF OSIRIS
Heart of Osiris
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Osiris was associated with the constellation Orion, as Isis was corresponded with the dog-star Sothis or Sirius, which played the important role of marking the annual life-giving flood of the Nile. He was savior, judge, and god of the underworld. Each pharaoh made a symbolic journey to the constellation of Osiris where he became a star.
In fact, one of the two so-called air passages of the Great Pyramid was aligned with the constellation in ancient times, and provided a sort of trajectory for the soul to begin its ascent. It is interesting to note that modern research with the Hubble telescope has found a stellar nursery in the heart of this constellation.
Though literature and art are replete with references to Him, there is no formal written account of beliefs about Him. Someauthentic traditions are recorded in the Pyramid Texts, or Book of the Dead, where he plays a strange but vital role in the mortuary ritual. The story of his murder, finding, annd restoration by Isis are included. Raised by magical chants, he embodies a primordial form of resurrection.
According to Plutarch, Osiris brought agriculture and was the king who civilized both the Egyptians and the rest of mankind. He was identified by the Greeks with their god Dionysus, god of the resurrecting vine, another vegetation deity of the dying and resurrecting type. The body of Osiris is represented in the form of a mummy, yet the face and hand protrude from the wrappings and firmly grasp the royal insignia. Osiris may rightly claim to have been worshipped longer than any other god, from approximately 2000 B.C. to the 4th Century A.D.
Association of the pharaoh with Osiris at death constitutes the prime theme of the Pyramid Texts, and is the basis of imitative magic. The dead king is ritually assimilated to Osiris. It is one of the oldest tales of death and resurrection, and formed the basis of a Mystery religion in Ptolemaic times, the cult of Isis and Osiris, which spread into the Roman Empire. Judge of the dead and redeemer, he echoes later savior gods who exercise that fateful office. Offering personal eternal life, he was a divine hero who suffered and died, rather than a transcendent deity.
CIRCLE OF SELKET
Circle of Selket
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WORLDS WITHOUT END
Worlds Without End
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HEART OF EGYPTIAN MAGIC
Mysteries of Magic
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The Search for the Holy Grail
QUEST FOR THE GRAIL CASTLE
Mankind's search for purpose and meaning has been characterized since the middle ages as the quest for the Holy Grail. "What is the Grail, and Whom does it serve?" is the question science has pondered, sometimes implicitely since we have sought answers about the nature of our existence. The Holy Grail of Natural Science may be embodied in our DNA, the fundamental basis of our enlivened embodiment. Our primal purpose may be seen in one sense, simply as the replication and continued survival of DNA in the multitude of forms it may take throughout the cosmos. One test of teh Truth of our theoriess is induction where we take one class of facts and coincide them with an induction obtained from another different class, such as natural science and metaphysics.
Epistemological confusion in "how we know what we know" arises when we mistake one world of experience for another. Theoretically, conceptual unity (consilience) ends such confusion by reaching across many leels of complexity, dissolving artificial boundaries between natural sciences. In the Enlightenment, science sought to map the entire cosmos in a disinterested objectivity...but even a holistic map of flatland is far from an experience of that vast territory. Bacon proclaimed a pyramid of disciplines, with natural history forming the base, physics above and subsuming it, and metaphysics at the peak, explaining everything below. He founded the discipline of the philosophy of science.
Descarte gave us a three-dimensional world, but he actually dreamed up his system of rationality where matter is seen as pure mechanism (causality), and systematic doubt is the first principle of learning. His separation of mind and matter carried humanity's self-image further from its perception of the remainder of the universe, and the full reality of the universe actually seemed to grow progressively more alien, and alienation is what the Grail Quest is all about.
Modern quantum theory and chaos theory have shown us that reality is not constructed to be easily grasped by the human mind and may be, insome cases, counter-intuitive. Our species and its ways of thinking are a product of evolution (DNA), but not the purpose of evolution. Yet, science travels iits own way, from Romanticism to the Postmodern ennui which currently infecting us. Most scientists are no more than highly-specialized prospectors. Enlightenment thinkers believed we could know everything, and radical postmodernists believe we can know nothing. Reality is a state consturcted by the mind. Thus, we have a postmodern prohibition against universal truth, and all becomes a deconstructed metaphor of reality.
These "root metaphors" are ruling images in the thinker's mind whereby he designs theories and experiments. Diversity of metaphors is found in the hereditary orderliness that has borne our species through geological time and stamped it with the residues of deep history. Original thinking either views disorder and tries to create order, or encountering order tries to protest it by creating disorder. This tension is what drives learning forward--the dance at the edge of chaos.
THE GRAIL QUEST
The Grail Quest
The Grail Quest is essentially about restoring life to that condition known as the "wasteland," which is a metaphor for an inauthentically lived life, which is role-bound and therefore sterile. It is a search for the deeper Reality which underlies the mundane.
The Grail Quest is part of the Arthurian legends, and one of its foremost characters is Parcival. In asking, "Where is the Grail?," he asks in essence, "where is the supreme reality, the essence, the source of existence, the creative potency, the holy kingdom." Parcival is the fool, or innocent, who stumbles through life's adventures and follies, never quite getting it, and getting caught as a result in a passionless life.
In mythic journeys such as Parcival's the shadow plays a large role. In psychological terms, the shadow is the repressed, disowned and unacknowledged aspects of the self. When these qualities are recognized and reconciled, a persosn often experiences a movement toward greater wholeness, depth, and maturity. Mythic knowing balances shadow and light in individuals and cultures. When liberated, this shadow energy is the fount of our finest qualities and taproot of our Essence.
According to Joseph Campbell, myth plays four major functions in our psychology and social functioning:
- facilitates communication with the transcendent realms and the eternal form;
- gives us the art, music, and poetry to express the realization that we belong to the universal with meaning and purpose;
- produces rituals of living and dying which have spiritual and moral roots (alienation leadds to the desperate quest for meaning to restore or replace the lost mythology);
- fosters the centering and unfolding of the individual in integrity with the self, culture and universe--the ultimate creative Mystery.
The Parcival myth illumines our modern times, where the vast wasteland looms in the proliferations of institutional megastructures and the breakdown of moral, political and social order. But the myth promises soul-changing ways of healing ourselves and society as we revision ourselves as the living Grail of the most sacred life, embodying that divine force which is essentially One with All. This legacy of ours if we can pierce through the Veil, like Parcival, to mindfulness, and sound our own depths and soar to our ouwn heights--awakening to full consciousness.
EMERGENCE: UNSUSPENDED ANIMATION
The new science of Complexity describes the emergence of self-organized systems at the edge of chaos. Self-assembly is the underlying mechanism of animation. Chaos Theory showed us the beauty of self-organization in fractals, but actually had very little to say about the fundamental principles of living systems or evolution. It didn't explain how systems starting our in a state of random nothingness could then organize themselves into complex wholes. More importantly, it didn't answer the old questions about the inexorable growth of order and structure in the universe.
Darwin with his natural selection, didn't kow about self-organization, which is nature's incessant attempts to organize itself into ever more complex structures, even in the face of the equally incesssant forces of entropy. The forces of order and self-organization apply to the creation of living systems just as much as inorganic matter. Atoms search for a minimum energy state by forming chemical bonds with each other, becoming the emergent structures known as molecules. Infused by the mystery of life, molecules form organisms; organisms cooperate and compete in the dance of coevolution. Great networks form which settle into self-consistent patterns at or near the edge of chaos. All are sensitive to the initial conditions of their formation and subject to chaotic turbulence which can sens them off on another phase transition.
Mutant genes can also self-organize themselves just as easily as ormal ones. Therefore, natural selection still plays a role in chooding adaptations. The edge of chaos is a special region unto itself where we find systems with lifelike, complex behaviors. Living systems are actually very close to the edge-of-chaos phase transitions, where things are much looser and more fluid. Natural selection constantly pushes emergent, self-organizing systems toward the edge of chaos. This fits alot of features about real embryonic development, real cell types, and real cell differentiation. It appears that a billion years of evolution has fine-tuned real cell types to be near the edge of chaos, so there must be something "good" about it, especially for the continuation of the ubiquitous selfish gene. In the theory of panspermia it is fundamental.
MULTIPLICATIO: JACOB'S LADDER
Here we see the product of the Solar and Lunar forces from the previous stages which are fused together in a coagulation, from which arises the Tincture and its Augmentation and Multiplication. The conception represents the sowing of the seed in the prima materia. The Moonchild incorporates the four elements in a spiritualized form. The spiritual essence is woven into substance. In Spiritual Alchemy, the energies of Sun and Moon flow into Sophia and give rise to the gestation of the Soul Child, the slowly developing spiritual perception of the alchemist. It involves soul purification through meditative exercises, inner prayer, contemplation of the Divine, and aspiration.
To see Nature as she really is, to understand what underlies the manifestations of this world, and of the emotions which move usm to see ultimate reality no longer veiled by custom, rationalization or illusion, means at last we face Reality. It means we acquire an experiential consciousness of immortality, for we have released the mind from the conditionings of time and space and the distortions of the ego. This change in psychic focus is an important and far-reaching attainment, symbolized as giving birth to the immortal child, or savior. The child born of the initiation to the Moon Goddess is not to be confused with a cernal child. This symbol of new individuality is brought to birth through meditative experiences. The creations produced by the outflowing of energy and attention comprise all our outer activities, work, social, relationships, etc. The inner creation produced by the inflowing of energy is the psychic child, which corresponds to Jung's concept of individuality. The Eros of the feminine principle is here united with the Logos or masculine principle and the fruit of the union, the Hero Child, or Moonchild, is the Self. An inner marriage gives rise to that inner child whose birth brings release from the power of death.
Thus, the Hindus say, "What need have we of children, we who have this Self?"; the fruit of psychic development, the child of the inner or sacred marriage.
HYPNOS: LORD OF DREAMS
When we fall asleep at night and enter the REM state, we undertake the hero's descent to visit, on a purely transitory basis, the kingdom of death, the archetypal realm in which time stands still. Anxiety, depression, meaninglessness result from loss of intimacy with the archetypal world. The pervading, though masked, depression in our civilization is partly the response of the soul to its lost underworld. Dreamwork provides the ritual necessary for re-establishing the connection by going deep.
Hypnos is the Greek god of sleep and dreams, and by deduction also the godform of hypnosis and hypnotherapy. His soothing touch brings dreams, which have traditionally been considered the chief means by which the gods communicated with mortals.
Dreams are central to the therapeutic practice. Jung showed that dreams upset sleep as often as they protect it. Jung looked into the purpose of dreams rather than inquiring into their causes. He found impartial photographs of unconscious psychic life, the compensation of our rational vision of things, the voice of the 'other' in us.
This voice uses a language which is strange or lost to us. It is a language which it is important to decipher, since it is archaic, symbolic, and sensual. Since the unconscious life is not static, dreams also express a search motive, a delving into the future.
Dreams open up the individuals paths of the future, which lie hidden from the conscious mind. Therefore series of dreams reveal more than singular dreams. The individuation process is rvealed through the lines of force of the unconscious. The individual integration of unknown parts of the personality is heralded and revealed in dream imagery.
Appearances of the Self begin as emergent possibilities and later become stabilized and integrated. The approach is amplifying the creative imagination, rather than reductive. It is a process/goal which leads toward wholeness.
The universal symbolism of archetypes is revealed in trance, art, and creativity; archetype, myth and dream. The deep primal images belong less to the individual strata of the unconscious and more to the collective inheritance of mankind: the collective unconscious is where we are essentially one, and we just "download" the relevant imagery from there. They shed light on the universal dimension of individual problems.
There is increasing difficulty in the later stage in the analytical process because dreams become more difficult to interpret. In the beginning, somethings are obvious, but the longer the process continues, the more the dreams become seemingly confused or paradoxical, or subtle and very complicated. Also the problems, if one should interpret them on the subjective or objective level, become much more subtle. The decision whether to interpret any metaphor on the subjective or objective level is a feeling one.
The closer one comes to the Self, the more dangerous the situation becomes and the more one gets into a cloud of confusion. So the cloud, or the removal of the cloud, has to do with an effort to penetrate this confused situation, just as in mysticism. The unconscious is first separated from the natural body, taking back its projections. But the cloud does not then disappear, it only moves into another realm, where anima and animus issues become confused and befuddled. Ultimately dreams are perhaps best left uninterpreted into any final "answer" as this stops the process of amplication.
QABALISTIC CROSS: PROMISE OF CONSILIENCE
In alchemy, the Holy Grail becomes the alembic or Hermetically sealed retort vessel, the primal container of all psychic contents, all knowledge and intuition. The Phoenix symbolism implies that such contents are born and reborn from the ashes of our varieties of ego death. In this process, anima and shadow play an integral part.
The process of integration or consilience means we continue to exist but in radically altered form. The humanities, including philsophy, history, moral reasoning, comparative religion, and interpretation of the arts draw closer to the sciences and partly fuse with them. According to E.O. Wilson (Atlantic Monthly, Mar. 1998) "Science offers the boldest metaphysics of the age: the faith that if we dream, press to discover, explain, and dream again, thereby plunging repeatedly into new terrain, the world will somehow become clearer and we will grasp the true strangeness of the universe. And the strangeness will all prove to be connected and make sense."
The enchanted loom of our brain constantly weaves a picture of the external world, creating a miniature universe. "The communal mind of literate societies--world culture--is an immensely larger loom. Through science it has gained the power to map external reality far beyond the reach of a single mind, an in the arts it finds the means to construct narratives, images, and rhythms immeasurably more diverse than the products of any solitary genius. The loom is the same for both enterprises, for science and for the arts, and there is a general explanation of its origin and nature and thence of the human condition...but the substantive base of this wisdom is fragmented and lopsided."
A balanced perspective cannot be acquired by studying disciplines in pieces or as sspecialities, as has been pointed our by such notable generalists as R. Buckminster Fuller. Consilience among them must be pursued, yet such unification is difficult to achieve. But the pursuit is nevertheless a fruitful journey toward underlying cohension and it gives purpose to intellect. To the extent that the gaps between the great branches of learning can be narrowed, diversity, and depth of knowledge increases.
This is the great promise of consilience--that all these multifarious content which are contained within us can find harmonious application and congruence with our real-time experience.
VISION OF CHESED: PHILOSOPHER KING
Temple of Zeus
In Qabala, the sphere of Chesed (#4 on the Tree of Life) is known as the sphere of the Philosopher King. In Greek symbolism, it corresponds with the godform Zeus, and the planet Jupiter. The lifestyle of Jupiter as King of the Gods is punctuated by amorous liasons with a variety of goddesses, nymphs, and mortals--spirit entering the animated world. Among the most well known of these adventures are the encounters of Leta and the Swan, and Danae inspirited in the form of a golden shower of coins. The eagle, lightening bolt, and bull are overt symbols of this penetrating and illuminating force.
Some of the Qabalistic attributes of Chesed, the sphere of Mercy, include the following: metaphorical perception, discernment, ethics, universal love, compassion, virtues, qualities; selects and orgaizes, protects and preserves. It is the Vision of Love, the realm of the hierosgamos or sacred marriage, the Via Amoris.
Chesed is the principle which expands the sphere of awareness of individuals, enabling them to realize their unity with all others. Chesed preserves the unity. Its synthetic intent tends towards form transcendence, so it can also be referred to as the destroyer of form, much like the Hindu god, Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva. Its force helps us assimilate the signficance of our experiences, our assimilation of the essence of our existence. The process of synthesis brings things together, not on the basis of their form similarities, but on the basis of their abstract qualities. We are all the differentiation of the same substance and ideas.
Jupiter is that mode of energy responsible for the expansion of the sphere of consciousness. Therefore Chesed corresponds to the realization in the sphere of awareness, of the unity of all life forms. This is the rational basis of Benevolence, Mercy, Grace, and Love.