The Synergetic Qabala


21st Century Alchemy

A Journey through Inner Realms of Wonder and Imagination
via Modern Iconography and Recycled Imagery

by Iona Miller, c1994-2000

Unicursal Hexagram

Under Construction : Some Links may still be inactive for a few more days...


The Nature of Art
The Creative Process
Table of Contents
Psychogenesis I: Alchemical Reality
Psychogenesis II: Chaosophy 2000
Psychogenesis III: Mythopoesis part 1
Psychogenesis IV:Mythopoesis part 2
***SLIDE GALLERY (Coming soon!)

"The psyche consists primarily of images, and the primary activity of the psyche is imagining." 
                                                            James Hillman

"Somewhere there was once a Flower, a Stone, a Crystal, a Queen, a King, a Palace, a Lover and his Beloved, and this was long ago, on an Island somewhere in the Ocean 5000 years ago.  Such is Love, the Mystic Flower of the Soul.  This is the Center, the Self."

                                                                    C.G. Jung


Welcome to my world--a world ensouled and enlivened by imagery.  A world of the seemingly familiar, yet peculiarly mysterious.

In our modern culture every image, mundane or divine, has been used and abused.  In the Postmodern Era there is no new iconography.  In imagery and art, there is nothing new under the Sun.  Everything which can be used from religion, myth and symbolism has been used and can only be recycled -- recycled like these collaged images from the trash-heap of society.  The materials for these images was literally someone's garbage.  My task was therefore, as usual, trying to turn "lead into gold."

Here, in this animated world, images are lovingly juxtaposed with their complements and opposites.  Some images just want to "live together."  The familiar is combined with the mysterious, reflecting a unique surrealistic vision.  Reflectaphors, or reflective metaphors, repeat themselves in each image or poster, as well as jump from image to image--i.e. they echo themes among the various pieces as the series unfolds itself in self-similar fashion, like the iterations of fractals.

So, Anima Mundi bids you welcome and acts as our tour-guide or hostess.  She coaxes you deeper into the labyrinth of desire and fulfillment, where each of you can find your own resonance, the imagery which speaks the loudest or clearest, or beguiles with the mere whisper.

To experience psychic reality means to be in soul, in the realm of the imagination, as if interacting with its inhabitants and locales.  Inner visionary experience, be it wrathful or beatific, is an expression of soul.  Through images the unconscious affects our worldview, health and relationships.  Soul is the middle world between gross materiality and the spiritual world.

Matter, spirit, and ego fight over the soul.  Yet soul is a primary experience, virtually our only way of being.  Each wants its unique fantasy to reign uppermost.  So, the first task is to distinguish soul from spirit, so the body may unite with and be enlivened by both.

This is a psychological approach to art and life--giving voice to soul, living life as art.  It means the return of a subjective feminine eye on reality.  It means the enlivening of our bodies and the world of nature with imagination.  When we see soul as the background of all phenomena, we becoming aware of the animating principle and develop a relationship with Her.

All images arise either from body processes (instinct) or psychic forms (spirit).  Whether instinct-controlled or spirit-controlled, they are related to physiological processes.  They appear psychologically as images, but work physiologically.  They produce emotional or visceral aspects, but not in any causal way.  The images don't produce reactions.  The image is the entire psychophysical gestalt.

The soul generates images unceasingly.  The soul lives on images and metaphor, especially epistemological metaphors--how we know what we know.  These images form the basis of our consciousness.  All we can know comes through images, through our multi-sensory perceptions.  So, this soul always stays close to the body, close to corporeality, to what "matters."

Let the images come into your body.  Embrace the image.


The ancient art of alchemy was the search for the God-head in matter.  The alchemical task was to unify spirit and soul in the body.  Psychic reality means to be in soul, esse in anima, as Jung put it.  It means an enlarged experience of concrete reality, a dialogue with events, situations and circumstances.

Psychic reality means to be in soul, through embodiment (soma) or enlivenment (psyche)--perceiving images viscerally and mentally.  Acknowledgement of this force does not constitute Goddess worship--only recognition of the archetypal nature of reality, and the archetypal reality of nature, and our own nature.  She is a way of reclaiming the divinity of body, matter, and world.  This notion is part of the cultural return of the Feminine.  Jungian analyst, James Hillman invites us into this world:

Let us imagine the anima mundi neither above the world encircling it as a divine and remote emanation of spirit, a world of powers, archetypes, and principles transcendent to things, nor within the material world as its unifying panpsychic life-principle.  Rather let us imagine the anima mundi as that particular soul-spark, the seminal image, which offers itself through each thing in its visible form.  Then anima mundi indicates the animated possibilities presented by each event as it is, its sensuous presentation as face bespeaking its interior image--in short, its availability to imagination, its presence as a psychic reality.  Not only animals and plants ensouled as in the Romantic vision, but soul is given with each thing; God-given things of nature and man-made things of the street.

This resurrection of the soul of the world means a raising of consciousness of created things, the world's psychic reality.  Physical reality becomes psychic, and psyche becomes real--it "matters."  The difference between soul and external things no longer matters.  Inner and outer world are both real and in fact One World.

Image, metaphor and symbol bridge the abyss between matter and spirit.  Images are the subtle net that unites symbols.  They are integrated with feeling, mind and imagination.  We can see soul in all natural objects.  We can notice our fantasies constantly conditioning our experience of reality.  Knowledge of spirit doesn't come from ideas, even revelations, but through a reflective process.

I began this series of collages shortly after the death of both of my parents three days apart from one another.  I am not a trained artist, but a clinical hypnotherapist with a strong Jungian background in symbolism.  Realizing I could use this for processing my own pain and grief, I began them as Art Therapy.  I had originally made a few as examples for my students in a college class I taught, "An Introduction to Depth Psychology."

I found in my therapy practice a tendency for clients to present certain recurrent motifs, such as black holes, "blacker than black," tunnels, images of chaotic breakdown, etc.  Prior, I had been writing a book called Dreamhealing with shaman/therapist Graywolf Fred Swinney.  It was about Aesklepian dream healing, a technique developed around the metaphors of the then-new science of Chaos Theory which is now known as Complexity.  In this deepening process, the client becomes each element the imagination presents in turn.  Immersed in this imagery, I sought to create some visual images which might intimate this process.

So, my posters are gestalts--where all elements are co-temporaneous, existing in time holigraphically--presented together even though they image a dynamic process.  Each of them constitutes a shamanic dream journey--a full immersion in the inner world.

None of them are contrived beforehand--all were emergent experieences of just letting the image work themselves.  No theme was determined in advance.  The posters themselves dictate some of what must happen on them.  In order for them to appear seamless, I had to hide or disguise the seams in various fashions.  Yes, sometimes "less is more," but most often more was needed to insure a seamless quality.  This was not a project were minimalism even could prevail.

Part of the burden and joy of working in this medium is using what one has, or can find, what is spontaneously available.  Jungian psychology uses the notion of the bricoleur, the craftsman who works with that which is at hand.  This includes the psychologial situation as well as the materials.  My grief work accentuated the death-rebirth motif which is ubiquitous in therapy in any case.

In their formative stages, the elements were not fixed on the canvas, and sometimes due to electrostatics, heat, and gravity "things moved of their own accord."  Almost invariably, this was an improvement over any intuitive or deliberate placement I might have made.  So, it was a process of flowing with the animating process, rather than dictating the process.

Later, they organized themselves into larger groups.  There were obvious thematic connections for some of them, but others were not so obvious until there were hundreds of them.  Their order has no relationship to the time of assembly.  I have never re-sorted them, but for some reason the over-all story of the text for each leads seamlessly into the next, providing a narrative stream.  The text for each piece suggested itself long after completion through a recognition process, or sometimes immediately by synchronicity.  They assembled themselves and with one another by a process I can only describe as "synarchy."

The awesome pandaemonium of imagery flowed forth spontaneously and my ego could not fight its way free.  Rather, I had to surrender to the forces that oftten crossed my subjective will.  I was a slave to the process for some time, producing several pieces a week for long periods of time, and sometimes even doing more than one per day.  The mystery images are a compelling source of transformation and healing, and it worked!  The physician healed herself, or rather opened to the inner healer and let time take care of the rest.

[The poster originals are 24 x 36, and are assembled completely by hand.  No computer enhancement has been used on any of them.  All were done between 1994 and 1999.]


What a picture means to the viewer is strongly dependent on past experience and knowledge.  In this respect the visual image is not only a representation of “reality” but a symbolic system.  Language distinguishes between the functions of expression, arousal and description, or symptom, sign, and symbol.  It is important to distinguish  the expression of an emotion from its arousal, the symptom from the signal, especially in the “communication” of feeling.

Communications may be symptomatic of emotive states or they may function as signals to release certain reactions.  Human language and art has developed the descriptive function to inform others of a particular state of affairs past, present, or future, observable or distant, actual or conditional, visionary or imaginal.  The visual image is supreme in its capacity for arousal, while its use for expressive purposes is problematic, and unaided it may require a matching statement for clarity or illumination to convey the creator’s intent or experience.  Art can fail to communicate its message because the viewer lacks the experience or context or code to “get it,” as the artist saw or intended it.

We are “programmed” to respond to certain visual signals; but this arousal function of sights is not confined to definite images.  Configurations of lines and colors have the potential to influence our emotions.  What is usually described as communication is concerned with matter rather than with mood.  Like verbal messages, images are vulnerable to the random interference engineers call “noise.”  They use the device of redundancy to overcome this hazard.  In art, this redundancy of imagery and themes creates the “style” of the artists and the body of work reflects the issues and concerns to be communicated.

The chance of a correct reading of the image is governed by three variables: the code, the caption, and the context.  Jointly the media of word and image increase the probability of a correct reconstruction or effect on the beholder.  The mutual support of language and image facilitates emorizing or memorability.  The use of two independent channels guarantees easier reconstruction in the mind’s eye.  The image works in conjunction with other factors to convey a clear-cut message that can be translated into words.  But the real value of imagery is its capacity to convey information that cannot be coded in any other way, frequently through the use of allusion or metaphors of known objects or entities.

The information extracted from an image (in particular, an archetypal image) can be quite independent of the intentions of its maker.  However faithful an image or reproduction, conveys visual information, thje process of selection always reveals the maker’s interpretation of what he considers relevant.  The “TELLTALE PICTURE” requires that interpretation on the part of the image maker must always be matched by the interpretation of the viewer.  It is only when we are confronted with a totally unfamiliar kind of structure that we are aware of the puzzle element in any representation.

The easier it is to separate the code from the content, the more we can rely on the image to communicate a particular kind of information.  A selective code that is understood to be a code enables the maker of the image to filter our certain kinds of information and to encode only those feature that are of interest to the recipient.  Such renderings are transitions from a representation to diagrammatic mapping and the value of the later process for the communication of information needs no emphasis.

What is characteristic of the map is the addition of a key to the standarized code.  It is only a small step from the abstraction of the map to a chart or diagram showing relations that are originally not visual but temporal or logical.  A network of logical dependencies (images held in the network of a piece), the diagram will always spread out before our eyes what a verbal description could only present in a string of statements.  The image is non-linear.

Reading an image like the reception of any other message, is dependent on prior knowledge of possibilities, we can only recognize what we know, consciously or a priori from the unconscious.  Mysticism and alchemy have often employed imagery or visual symnbols to appeal to seekers after revelations.  To such seekers the symbol is felt to both convey and conceal more than the medium of rational discourse.

One of the reasons for this persistent feeling is the diagrammatic aspect of the symbol, its ability to convey relations more quickly and more effectively than a string of words.  A symbol can become the focus of meditation.  If familiarity breeds contempt, unfamiliarity breeds awe.  A strange symbol suggests a hidden mystery, and if its known to be ancient, it is felt to embody some esoteric lore too sacred to be revealed to the multitudes.

Art is not produced merely for aesthetic effects.  It is the arousal function that determines the use of the medium.  The cult image and its shrine mobilize the emotions that belong to the prototype.  The power of such images is stronger than any rational consideration.  There are few who can escape the spell of a great cult image in its setting.  The mnemonic power of the image means the power of symbolism to transform a metaphor into a memorable image through vivid portrayal.  Allegorical images turn an abstract thought into a picture, a poetic evocation of feelings.

There is a contrast between the prose and the poetry of image-making.  The Romantic concept of genius stressed the function of art as self-expression, but the expressive symptoms of emotions is to be distinguished in the theory of communication from the dimension of arousal or description.


Innovation in either the sciences or arts occurs only when a single mind perceives in disorder a deep new unity.  Science is an attempt to control our surroundings by entering into them and understanding them from inside, and in a subjective reality, so is art and mysticism.  Both employ the processes of discovery, invention and creation.  A contemplative civilization values mystic immersion in nature and the immanent emptiness within all nature (the ground state), the union with what already exists.

Art is a personal, though often anonymous creation.  And scientific discovery may be as well.  Both science and art seek to find the design of nature in her detail.  It requires inductive thinking followed into the detail of nature, and our nature to develop visionary insight.

Theories are imaginative choices which often outstrip the given facts.  Induction images more than there is ground for and creates relations, which at bottom can never be verified.  Every induction is a speculation and it guesses at a unity which facts we know suggest.  Every innovator has a particular way of looking att and arranging the facts, guided by a sense of aesthetic unity and beauty.  Science shows us that nature has a unity, and this unity makes her laws seem beautiful in their simplicity.  Our demand that nature be lawful is a demand for unity.  We seek it instinctively.

We become creative, whether as artistis, scientists or mystics, when we find a new unity in the variety of nature, a likeness between things (symbols or images) that were not thought alike before, and this yields a sense of richness and of understanding.  The creative mind looks for unexpected likenesses, new analogies, and engaged the whole personality.

Art and science may likewise bridge the conflict between paradoxical analogies, between poetic metaphors, and enrich our understanding of the world without completing it.  The images we create depend on our factual grasp of the relation between the symbols in the image.  Power is contained in conjoining minute particulars which denote the change of scale between the metaphor and its application.  This is the value of originality.

We expect artists and scientist to be forward-looking, to fly in the face of what is estabished, to create new paradigms, not what is acceptable, but what will become accepted.  Like art, science is preoccupied less with facts than with relations, less with numbers than with arrangement.

New vision is the continuing search for structure.  A theory is the creation of unity in what is diverse by the discovery of unexpected likenesses.  In all of them innovation is pictured as an act of imagination, a seeing of what others have not yet seen.  It is indeed, a creative observation of outer or inner worlds: "The Tell-tale Art."





Click here to see The Sourceress: Fire & Ice with accompaning text.The Sourceress: Fire and Ice
Click here to see Pomo Baphomet with accompaning text.Pomo Baphomet
Click here to see Prima Materia est Ultima Materia with accompaning text.Prima Materia est Ultima Materia
Click here to see Black Sun: The Raven's Head with accompaning text.Black Sun: The Raven's Head
Click here to see Ignis Philosophorum: Conceptual Calcinatio with accompaning text.Ignis Philosophorum: Conceptual Calcinatio
Click here to see The Alchemical Homunculus with accompaning text.The Alchemical Homunculus
Click here to see Alchemical Peacock's Tail with accompaning text.Alchemical Peacock's Tail
Click here to see Magickal Child Mandala with accompaning text.Magickal Child Mandala
Click here to see Soma Sophia--Body Wisdom: The Natural Senses with accompaning text.Soma Sophia--Body Wisdom: The Natural Senses
Click here to see The Hierophant Trumped: Priest of the Mysteries with accompaning text.The Hierophant Trumped: Priest of the Mysteries
Click here to see The Great Goddess with accompaning text.The Great Goddess
Click here to see Fertility Rights with accompaning text.Fertility Rights
Click here to see Eros and Psyche with accompaning text.Eros and Psyche
Click here to see Mars-Venus with accompaning text.Mars-Venus
Click here to see The Magus: Bornless Babe in the Abyss with accompaning text.The Magus: Bornless Babe in the Abyss
Click here to see Unio Mentalis: Solificatio with accompaning text.Unio Mentalis: Solificatio
Click here to see Unus Mundus: The Unitive Mystical State with accompaning text.Unus Mundus: The Unitive Mystical State
Click here to see Lapis Philosophorum: The Philosopher's Stone with accompaning text.Lapis Philosophorum: The Philosopher's Stone
Click here to see Chaos Naturae with accompaning text.Chaos Naturae
Click here to see Radiant Forms with accompaning text.Radiant Forms


Click here to see Imagination: The Voice of Creativity and accompaning text.Imagination: The Voice of Creativity
Click here to see Postmortem Parthenogenesis and accompaning text.Postmortem Parthenogenesis
Click here to see The Illuminative Vortex and accompaning text.The Illuminative Vortex
Click here to see Animatio: Chaos as the Universal Solvent, I and accompaning text.Animatio: Chaos as the Universal Solvent, I
Click here to see Universal Solvent, II and accompaning text.Universal Solvent, II
Click here to see Demeter/Persephone: Return to the Womb and accompaning text.Demeter/Persephone: Return to the Womb
Click here to see A Pitstop in Some Bardo and accompaning text.A Pitstop in Some Bardo
Click here to see Recreational Ego Death  and accompaning text.Recreational Ego Death
Click here to see The Transcendent Function and accompaning text.The Transcendent Function
Click here to see Diamond Consciousness: One Star Insight and accompaning text.Diamond Consciousness: One Star Insight
Click here to see Aesculapian Dreamhealing: Purification Ordeal and accompaning text.Aesculapian Dreamhealing: Purification Ordeal
Click here to see Dreamhealing and accompaning text.Dreamhealing
Click here to see Divine Grace: Solution of Problems and accompaning text.Divine Grace: Solution of Problems
Click here to see Resurrection: Melting or Softening Process and accompaning text.Resurrection: Melting or Softening Process
Click here to see Lumen Naturae: The Heart of Mercurius and accompaning text.Lumen Naturae: The Heart of Mercurius
Click here to see Rebirth of the Self and accompaning text.Rebirth of the Self
Click here to see Knowledge and Conversation: The Holy Guardian Angel and accompaning text.Knowledge and Conversation: The Holy Guardian Angel
Click here to see Clowns and Christs and accompaning text.Clowns and Christs
Click here to see Coniunctio: The Royal Marriage and accompaning text.Coniunctio: The Royal Marriage


The Secret Teachings of All Ages

Click here to see The Anthropos: The Archetypal Man and accompaning text.The Anthropos: The Archetypal Man
Click here to see Sophia: Sapientia Dei and accompaning text.Sophia: Sapientia Dei
Click here to see Wheels Within Wheels: As Above/So Below and accompaning text.Wheels Within Wheels: As Above/So Below
Click here to see Kether is in Malkuth and accompaning text.Kether is in Malkuth
Click here to see picture and accompaning text.Mystic Eye: Sound & Vision
Click here to see Star Woman: Another Starry Night and accompaning text.Star Woman: Another Starry Night
Click here to see The Inner Egg Meditation and accompaning text.The Inner Egg Meditation
Click here to see Witch's Cradle and accompaning text.Witch's Cradle
Click here to see Voice of Athena and accompaning text.Voice of Athena
Click here to see Great Mystery of Life: Mystery Beyond Form and acompaning text.Great Mystery of Life: Mystery Beyond Form


Egypt:  The Doctrine of Eternal Life

Click here to see Egyptian Alchemy: Four Worlds Without End and accompaning text.Egyptian Alchemy: Four Worlds Without End
Click here to see Infinite Space is the Goddess Nuit and accompaning text.Infinite Space is the Goddess Nuit
Click here to see Isis: Veiled and Unveiled and accompaning text.Isis: Veiled and Unveiled
Click here to see Eyes of Isis and accompaning text.Eyes of Isis
Click here to see Serpent Flower and accompaning text.Serpent Flower
Click here to see Horus or Harpocrates and accompaning text.Horus or Harpocrates
Click here to see The Four Children of Horus and accompaning text.The Four Children of Horus
Click here to see Isis Raising Osiris and accompaning text.Isis Raising Osiris
Click here to see Sirius Rising and accompaning text.Sirius Rising
Click here to see Pharaoh's Barque and accompaning text.Pharaoh's Barque
Click here to see Stairway to Heaven and accompaning text.Stairway to Heaven
Click here to see The Heart of Osiris and accompaning text.The Heart of Osiris
Click here to see Circle of Selket and accompaning text.Circle of Selket
Click here to see Worlds Without End and accompaning text.Worlds Without End
Click here to see The Heart of Egyptian Magic and accompaning text.The Heart of Egyptian Magic


The Search for the Holy Grail

Click here to see Quest for the Grail Castle and accompaning text.Quest for the Grail Castle
Click here to see The Grail Quest and accompaning text.The Grail Quest
Click here to see Emergence: Unsuspended Animation and accompaning text.Emergence: Unsuspended Animation
Click here to see Multiplicatio: Jacob's Ladder and accompaning text.Multiplicatio: Jacob's Ladder
Click here to see Hypnos, Lord of Dreams and accompaning text.Hypnos, Lord of Dreams
Click here to see Qabalistic Cross: Promise of Consilience and accompaning text.Qabalistic Cross: Promise of Consilience
Click here to see Vision of Chesed and accompaning text.Vision of Chesed
Click here to see Regenerate Mars and accompaning text.Regenerate Mars


Eastern Enlightenment

Click here to see Tantric Hyperspace and accompaning text.Tantric Hyperspace
Click here to see Deathwatch: The Jewel Is In the Lotus and accompaning text.Deathwatch: The Jewel Is In the Lotus
Click here to see Buddha Dreaming and accompaning text.Buddha Dreaming
Click here to see Meditation of the Jade Warrior and accompaning text.Meditation of the Jade Warrior
Click here to see Secret of the Golden Flower and accompaning text.Secret of the Golden Flower
Click here to see Bardo Thodol and accompaning text.Bardo Thodol
Click here to see The Knot Without Beginning or End and accompaning text.The Knot Without Beginning or End

Mysterious Visitors

Click here to see Biofields and Tulpas and accompaning text.Biofields and Tulpas
Click here to see Earth Mother/Sky Father and accompaning text.Earth Mother/Sky Father
Click here to see Sumerian Echoes and accompaning text.Sumerian Echoes
Click here to see Sumerian Legacy and accompaning text.Sumerian Legacy
Click here to see What Ezekiel Knew and accompaning text.What Ezekiel Knew
Click here to see Ezekiel's Postmodern Vision and accompaning text.Ezekiel's Postmodern Vision
Click here to see UFOs II and accompaning text.UFOs II
Click here to see Mayan Mysteries and accompaning text.Mayan Mysteries
Click here to see Abductees Dream of Mutant Hybridization and accompaning text.Abductees Dream of Mutant Hybridization
Click here to see Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and accompaning text.Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Archaic Ancestors

Click here to see Evolution's Message: Recycle and accompaning text.Evolution's Message: Recycle
Click here to see Shamanic Dreams and accompaning text.Shamanic Dreams
Click here to see The Unbroken Link and accompaning text.The Unbroken Link
Click here to see Neanderthal Dreams and accompaning text.Neanderthal Dreams
Click here to see Ancestral Voices and accompaning text.Ancestral Voices
Click here to see Universal Truth No. 1: You Are Here and accompaning text.Universal Truth No. 1: You Are Here



Heir to the Campbell legacy, Jean Houston is one of the great mystery teachers of our time.  She is one of my personal Heroes.  Because some of my work parallels hers, her comments are germaine to my own experience--only she can put it so much better than I.  So, I take the liberty of selecting from some of her latest work, because it so suscinct and pertinent.

In A MYTHIC LIFE, (1996, Harper Collins: San Francisco; Jean describes her personal experiences.    I'm using her words for now, as her first-person account can substitute pretty much for my own consciousness experiments with myself and others:

"I began offering field trips in subjective realities.  Using hypnosis and trance, guided meditation, we entered inner realms of imagery and subjective realities.  [This is the model of archaic shamanism, magic, mysticism, and modern psychotherapy.]

After an initial experience of abstract images followed by images or feelings with more psychological content, my students would often experience a kind of visionary anthropology made up of fairy tale narratives, myths, archetypal figures, visits to "other worlds" and "other dimensions," and similar science-fiction-like schema.  It was fascinating to notice how many elements of the traditional hero's journey came up during these visits to inner worlds.  This suggested that, despite cultural variations, the pattern of the hero's journey might be coded universally in the human mind and psyche.

After some time in these inner worlds had elapsed, I would tell my students, "You are about to experience something that can be very powerful, a symbolic death and rebirth."  Next, I would tell them that a symbol would now arise in their consciousness that stood for their essential self.  Once they sensed this, I would ask them to opbserve this symbol as it grew smaller and smaller, until at last it disappeared.  "Then," I would add, "you may experience a kind of dying, and when this has been known fully, there will be a rebirth.  Please know that you do not have to have this experience but that it is now available to you if you do want to have it."

[As an evocateur of spiritual experience] I wondered what we are to make of such religious and mystical experiences?  Why, when the suggestion is given, are they so natural and ordinary and so readily evoked?  In fact, it warned me how close to the surface is religious ecstasy and how easily it can be called forth and misused.

[Session work showed me] that each possible human is not a member of some collective, but a profoundly individual and precious demonstration of life in its infinite variety.  This is certainly true on the physical plane and unimaginably more so when it comes to experiencing the internal realms.  Indeed, the possible human can think in inward images and experience subjective realities as strikingly as she can know objective ones.  She listens to inward music as complex as any symphony, in fact often richer, for instruments and sounds are added that are unknown...She uses these images to entertain herself as well as to provide the materials of creativity and invention.  She is already an adventurer into a vast reservoir of virtual realities and needs no machine to assist her.  She knows that self-creating works of art are always budding out of the fields of her mind, and she can capture and rework them as she wishes.

Consciousness for her is a vast landscape, a continuous landscape, and she travels its length and breadth at will.  She enters a state of meditation here, a region of deep trance there, finding shortcuts into the realms of fantasy and imagination, spelunking her way into the caves of creativity.  She continues to discover the many cultures of her psyche and has matriculated in the Innerversity, studying all manner of knowledge and wisdom that these cultures within provide.

She has many friends and allies in the inward and imaginal worlds, the most important of whom may be the beloved of the soul, the spiritual friend who is her archetypal partner and the companion of her depth reality.  And, whenever she feels ready, she journeys to the source places of her soul, where she partakes of the everlasting waters of life and the spirit.  She lives daily life as spiritual exercise, and her radiance affects all who meet her, for she is deeply empathic, knowing herself part of a seamless kinship with all living things.  Being more, and using more of herself, she feels and cares more deeply about the decay and degradation in the social and moral order.  In spite of evidence to the contrary, she recognizes others as God-in-hiding, and in whatever way she can, she calls them back to their own possible humanity.  This possible human is not mere fantasy.

I have found that most people, given opportunity and training, can learn to think, feel, and know in new ways, to become more creative and more imaginative, and to aspire within realistic limits to a much larger awareness, one that is superbly equipped to deal with the complex challenges of modern life.  True, we have never achieved the fully functioninbg person described above, but we are getting closer.

Many people have allowed me to tap into the streams of realities that exist within them, and what I see in these streams are other realms.  I must conclude that our local existence is nested in the domain that I call the "We Are."  This is the abode of symbols, guiding archetypes, and myths.  Enduring in an eternal world outside time and space, and thoroughly transhistorical, the We Are realm functions as the contact point for sacred time and space, the container for that which never was but is always happening.  Since its source is complex, its coding is intense.

By this I mean that the archetypal image bears within itself multiple meanings, modds, potentials, dimensions.  Thus the human psyche is inherently polytheistic, which is why sacred psychology has to honor the gods and goddesses in everyone.  To me, what we call "gods" are actually encoding of particular energy patterns from the We Are realm seen with certain qualities and moods to help us relate to them more personally.  That is today, this realm is the place where the self joins its larger possibilitiess--when perceived as gods and goddesses.  In Sanskrit, these being are called yidams, personified river to the ocean of being.

The gods are forces that have crystallized in the consciousness of human cultures and are revered as personalized emanations of a greater and unnameable power coming from both within and beyond the psyche.  Sometimes they assume a humanized, semihistorical form [a Master of consciousness exploration].  We may feel a particularly loving resonance with such beings who have been elevated to godhood, identifying with both their numinous power and their storied humanity.

Virtually every culture has tapped into this archetypal realm to acquire the energies of the stories that illumine rites of renewal and social transformation.  For example, since the We Are realm is the residence of creation myths and the energies of origins, many cultures have their priestesses, priests, shamans, and rulers enact a central creation myth at the time of the new year.  They play the parts of the gods who conquer the principles of chaos, restoring order and recreating the world.  In this way, they bring the Great Time of creation and deeper reaches of the psyche back into the local world of the This Is Me.  In so doing, nature is restored, and psyches of both community and individual are granted the healing energies of new life.

Today, what we call the gods come down to us as the imaginative products of earlier historical ages--Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Asian, Native American.  They are, in fact, numinous borderline personalities.  Embedded in earlier myths and ways of being, they serve as vehicles through which we may come to understand our strengths as well as our shadows. They grant us perspective into the ways in which certain behavioral patterns dominate our lives.  Part of the emergence of an archetypal spirituality and mythology is the ongoing story of our allowing the gods their growtth as we in turn deepen our humanity.  Only then can we see the divine beings as partners in creation.

The divine-human partnership hhas thus become the leading archetypal image for our time.  The partnership is one that mystics and poets have long known to be true, for myths and archetypes communicate from the poetic level of mind and thoughts, allowing nature to speak to the imagining soul rather than just presenting us with scientific laws and probabilities.  The poetic mind is of a higher order of coherence, because it has color, aesthetic form, rhythmic relation; it belongs to a finer frequency of the mind-brain continuum.  Indeed, evidence exists that in certain states of consciousness, the mind-brain system appears to move into a larger wave resonance, a frequency that may itself be nested in a continuum of m ind beyond the field of the experiencing body.  In this state, mystics and highly creative people come back enriched and enlivened to do or think remarkable things.  When we meet myths and archetypes in this state, we can speak directly to the inner imaginal realm in which mind, nature, and spirit converge, and our highest potentials become available to us.

I once studied fifty-five of the most creative thinkers, scientists, and artists alive in America.  These people had sustained a high level of creativity over many years.  I talked to them at length, ran tests, and observed them when they were boh "on" and "off" their creative bent.

What I found is that most had trained themselves to delve consciously into depth levels of reality in which the forms and creations of their imaginative life and works were conceived.  They drew their insights not only from their own capacious minds but also from the great creative archetypal realm wherein are "stored" the principles that source new ideas and forms.

I also discovered that a majority of them felt that they were partnered by an archetype, a beloved of the soul, a spiritual partner who amplifies the deeper aspects of the self.  This relationship disengages us for a while from the demands and demeanings of our local, ego-focused personalities and allows us to view our personal concerns from a universal perspective.

Beyond and within the other two realms lies the realm I call the "I Am."  This is the realm of Being itself, pure potency, love, the very stuff of reality.  This is the realm many know as God.  This does not mean "the gods," they live in the We Are; rather, it means God as the ground and unified Essence of being.

About this realm nothing and everything can be said.  The I Am is the supreme fractal wave from which everything branches, out of which everything comes forth.  We bear its signature in the wave forms of our cells, the curvings of our histories.  God is always calling to the human heart.  We are signalled all the time by the pulsings of original grace.

The seed within, which held and nurtured the divine spark, is now fully grown, and we find ourselves transplanted into the vast gardens of universal life.


Today we are in a period of cultural and personal expansion.  We are experiencing not just the revival of ancient images, but also the harvest of all the world's cultures, belief systems, ways of knowing, seeing, doing, being.  Gradually we discover that these stories are our own stories, that they bear the amplified rhythms of our own lives, deepending and enhancing us, filling us with a sense of the fractal resonance of the mythic life within our own.

Working with myth, we assume the passion and the pathos of Isis as she seeks to recover the remains of her husband Osiris; with Parsifal, we take on the quest for the Grail; we labor with Hercules and travel with Odysseus into the archetypal idlands of inner and outer worlds.  It requires that we undertake the extraordinary task of dying to our current, local selves and of being reborn to our eternal selves.

A psychology with a mythic or sacred base demands that we have the courage both to release the limitation brought about by old wounds and toxic bitterness and to gain access to theundiminished self with its vast inner storehouse of capacities.  We can then use these capacities to prepare ourselves for the greater agenda--becoming an instrument through which the source may play its great music.

Then, like the hero or heroine of myth, we may, regardless of our circumstances, become an inspiration for helping culture and consciousness move toward its next level of possibility.  At this we startle, we shake.  The scope of this dream demands that we live out of our true Essence, which is always too large for our local contracted consciousness to contain.  It requires many mythic adventures of the soul to reloom body and mind.

Myths have such power because they are full of archetypes.  Archetypes are many things--primal forms, codings of the deep unconscious, constellations of psychic energy, patterns of relationship.  Our ancestors saw them in the heavens, as Mother Earth, Father Sky, Sister Wind.  They were the great relatives from whom we derived, and they not only gave us our existence, they continue to personify as mythic characters and their stories, such as that of the holy child.

As major organs of the psyche, archetypes give us our essential connections, and without them we lose the gossamer bridge that joins spirit with nature, mind and body, and self with the metabody of the universe.  Archetypes are organs of Essence, the cosmic blueprints of how it all works.

Because they contain so much, archetypes frustrate analysis and perhaps can only be known by direct experience.  Thus, in the journey of transformation, we participate in these symbolic dramas and actively engage in archetypal existence.  We form a powerful sense of identity with the archetypal character, and this mythic being becomes an aspect of ourselves writ large.  Symbolic happenings appear with undisguised relevance, not only for our own lives and problems, but also for the remaking of society.

Joseph Campbell told Jean Houston that she is supposed to help find the correspondences between myth and everything else--history and science and psychology and what's trying to happen in the world--the pathways from the past and the pathways to the future.  Myth sheds its radiant light on the multiplicity of human learning as well as the mysteries of the human heart.  They are the "mything links."

Campbell summarized the process in his classic accounts of the Hero's journey with its characteristic tasks, such as "the call to adventure."  Some of us feel the call every minute.  The next stage in Campbell's cycle of the hero's journey is the refusal of the call, putting the summons off or delaying it because it comes at an inconvenient time or because one doesn't feel worthy.

The hero risks crossing the threshold of adventure, to enter a realm of amplified power.  In the traditional journeys, this stage involves leaving the world of ordinary reality and entering the inner, visionary realms, confronting the guardian of the threshold.  The real threshold guardian is in ourselves, the part of us who will not release our hold on consciousness enough to let the ego dissolve our boundaries and ooze into that deeper realm, the via positiva.

Once across, the hero is swallowed by the unknown, be it a whale, a wolf, a sarcophagus, or a cave.  It takes many guises and can take the form of a depression or ingression, even a strong need to get away from it all.  The road of trials in the hero's journey is a time of incredible tests, ordeals, and extraordinary adventures.

After securing the boon, there is magic flight back across the threshold with the boon intact...integrating the results of the journey.  Once you answer the call to a larger life, there is no turning back.  We learn to think mythically.  Life is allied with myth in order that we may advance along an evolutionary path carrying us nearer to the spiritual source that lures us into greater becoming.

It grants us access to the DNA of the human psyche, the source patterns originating in the ground of our being.  It gives us the key to our personal and historical existence.  Without mythic keys we would have neither culture nor religion, no art, architecture, drama, ritual, epic, social customs, or mental disorders.

We humans are the storied, mythic links between the great patterns of existence and the local experiences that assure their continuity in the world of time and history.  In my current work, I often use variations of this pattern as the loom on which to weave journeys of transformation drawn from the world's great myths and stories.  I find that regardless of the culture, people will go further and faster in developing human capacities if their training is tied to a story, especially a myth.  For myth transcends and thus tansforms our usual blocks and condititionings, carrying us into a realm in which these need not constrain us.  And if the myth is a familiar one, present in the fabric of the culture, it works even better.

How do we achieve our own renaissance of mind and spirit?  By connecting with a potent sense of our own Essence.  Essence is not a place or a time, an insight or even a state of mind.  It is the deepest part of our nature, an actual presence that is innare and inborn.  When it wears a personal face, it is called an angel or a daimon, or genius.  Still others think of it, in its incorporeal form, as the soul.  It does not develop with education or maturity.

It is beyond symbols, and is, therefore, neither archetype nor angel, neither wise old man or woman, nor divine child.  These symbols point the way to Essence, the incorruptible "diamond body."  Essence is so real, so substantial, that it exceeds all symbols, images, and language in deep and profound living embodied experience.

When we first climb out of the bottom of the well, we experience Essence as a strange and beautiful country of the soul.  It brings a clarity, a precision that seldom comes from reasoning, intuition, or insight.

The deepest values, purposes, and patterns for life, the richest potential coding for existence, the source level of creative patterns, innovative actions, and ideas become known to us from the perspective of Essence through its rediscovery of life's higher purpose through the images.


Click here for link to Jean Houston's MYSTERY SCHOOL

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flying dove

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