Synergetic Qabala: Netzach

"Ars longa, vita brevis"

Netzach Gallery presents. . .




Imagination: The Voice of Creativity

Imagination: The Voice of Creativity

Imagination: The Voice of Creativty
24 x 36, 1/94

Soma Sophia, the Body of Wisdom is the inherent dwelling within the body of the Anima Mundi.  Alchemy is the search for the godhead in matter, specifically in the guise of The Feminine.  The feminine counterpart of the spiritual creator is a fully equivalent principle.

At first the body cannot understand the symbols but always says to stop, leave off that symbolic way of talking and be concrete, for it does not understand it.  But after a while it begins to understand the symbolizare and then they can be reunited in a new oneness: the mind-body.

For the true alchemist, the real body (not a so-called astral body) has been purified or undergone treatment.  The alchemist never tricks himself away from the fact that the real concrete body, inclding the shadow is the object of treatment.

True knowledge of oneself is the knowledge of the objective psyche as it manifests in dreams and in the manifestation of the unconscious.  You have a second source of information.  You don't always have to follow your own voice.  This gives the ego a patient attitude and a certain continuity, for it waits to hear the inner source of information through which it will cope with the impossible situation.

In alchemy, the body must be repeatedly open and made thin after its fixation and dissolved and purified...It is purified by separation, and is dissolved, digested, and coagulated, sublimed, incinerated, and fixed by the reciprocated action of its own proper identity, as agent and patient, alternating to improve.

According to the Gnostics, Sophia was compelled to depart from the Pleroma into the darkness and empty spaces of the void.  Then she was given a form, which becoming sensible suffered because of separation from the Pleroma.  Sophia, partly by an act of reflection and partly driven by necessity, entered into relation with the outer darkness.  Various emotions befell her--sadness, fear bewilderment, confusion, longing.  She laughed and wept, and from this affect arose the entire created world.

Psychotherapy is also an "alternating to improve."  We are thrown back and forth between the opposites almost interminably.  But very gradually a new standpoint emerges that allows the opposites to be experienced at the same time.  This new standpoint is the coniunctio, or Royal Marriage, and it is both releasing and burdensome.


Postmortem Parthenogenesis

Postmortem Parthenogenesis

This piece illustrates the nutshell of the deamhealing process--the attack of astral complexes, the fragmentation and disintegration (ego death), the surrender to the dissolution (solve) and the getting it together again (coagula).  The High Priestess oversees the process of consciousness transformation by immersion in chaos.  The overall gestalt is the calm healing sensation that nurtures "the blues."

A wounded child peers out from a cracked-open stone, the same stone which earlier or later functions as the Philosopher's Stone presaging illumination or healing.  Floating over her is the Pearl of Great Price.  Behind the fractal is an actual cellular picture of parthenogenesis, the spontaneous dividing of a cell recreating itself--unicellular, and unisexual reproduction--one form of rebirth.  The mathematical manifolds or topologies function here as psychic transducers, transformers of consciousness for the next step in the process.

Liquification of consciousness implies a return to the womb for rebirth, baptism or heaing immersion in the vast ocean of deep consciousness.  In symbolism, scalping is equivalent to sacrificeand dismemberment.  It lays bare that which is below.  It facilitates feedback via creative regression: de-structuring or destratification by immersion in the flow of psychic imagery through identification with more and more primal forms or patterns--a psychedelic, expanded state.  Chaos Theory provides a metaphorical language for describing the flowing dynamics of the chaotic process of psychological transformation.

Transformation can be effected within the autonomous stream of imagery, through image processing via experiential therapy--change the imagery and you change the feelings.  The fractal nature of imagery is such that it encodes, enfolds, or compresses the informational content of the whole.  Strange attractors condition and govern the transformative process through the complexity of information in dynamic flow.  Nonlinear systems change radically through their feedback.

Emergent consciousness is not an epiphenomenon of the brain.  Rather, it is the transformational process of non-manifest, undifferentiated consciousness emerging into manifestation.  Random iterations or repetitions of imagery are more efficient than direct transformation replacement.  Shortly you will find the attractor, and stay on it as you transform.  The changes you make become the new self image.

They key is the self referential repetition of the process over and over, such as reiterating dream images.  This liquification symbolized by water possesses the power of resuscitation.


The Illuminative Vortex

The Illuminative Vortex
The Illuminative Vortex
24 x 36, 5/94

The process of dreamhealing is based on the metaphors of Chaos Theory, and therefore fractals are one of its common visual images.  The essence of the transformative process is revealed in the fractal nature of imagery.  In each dream journey we encounter a state of consciousness that is personal experience of primal chaos.  The disorienting, dizzying surrender to the chaos is an experience of no-form, total confusion, and disorientation.  The personal, subjective responses within this state are visceral as well as sensory imagery.

The closer one is to the chaos field the more undifferentiated the imagery becomes, dissolving into impressionistic colors, intuitive perceptions, vague awareness, even total blankness of being overwhelmed by sensations. Another perception is characterized as a spiral or vortex.  It exerts a magnetic draw on the journeyer who is drawn into it.  Strange attractors condition and govern the transformative process through the complexity of information in dynamic flow.

Sensations of spinning and being drawn deeper often cause intense dizzyness and disorientation.  There may be feelings of entering a long dark tunnel, or flying apart in fragmentation or dismemberment becomes invisible because it is not-yet-visible.

Reaching the most primal state, one has the sense of deep transformative processes at work--a feeling of almost palpable relief, a sense of peacefulness and security which is the essence of the journey itself--timelessness, boundarylessness, tingling, effervescence--the ground state of being.  Here we are simultaneously everything and nothing.

We are not separate from the universe: both science (holism, new physics, philosophy) and mystics (shamans, saints, and gurus) tell us so.  And it can be experienced directly.  The whole is reflected in the part and the part is seamlessly unified with the whole.  Chaotic systems exhibit holistic behavior, and senstive dependence on initial conditions.

Fractal Therapy allows us to penetrate deeply into the psyche--into the vortex of the internal structuring process--through progressively de-structuring patterns of organization.  The undecomposable level of chaotic consciousness is experienced as the pure, unconditioned imprint of the whole, resulting in a new primal self image--self-organized emergent order.  A vortex is remarkably stable to fluctuations and change, but under the right perturbations, it may either spontaneously disintegrate or evolve into a new form.


Animatio: Chaos as the Universal Solvent I

Animatio: Chaos as the Universal Solvent I

Animatio: "She is herself the truth, all ye seekers of wisdom, for liquified in her substances, she brings about the highest of works."

                                                                     Parmenedes, Turba Philosophorum

There is a generic process in nature and consciousness which dissolves and regenerates all forms.  The essence of this transformative, morphological process is chaotic--purposeful yet inherently unpredictable holistic repatterning.  The Great Work of the art of alchemy is the Philosopher's Stone, or the Elixer (Panacea)--symbols of healing, wholeness and integration.

The liquid form of the Stone, called the Universal Solvent, dissolves all old form like a rushing stream and is the self-organizing matrix for the rebirth of new forms.  It is thus a metaphor or model for the dynamic process of transformation, ego-death and re-creation.  The "root" of alchemy, solutio, corresponds with the element water, and implies a flowing state of consciousness.

Alchemy had one great prescription for the accomplishment of the Great Work: "Solve et Coagula."  It sought to reduce or dissolve all to its primary, most fundamental essence and then embody that creative, holistic spirit.  This is also the goal of transpersonal therapies--as of old, to turn the dross of life (lead) into "gold."  We repeat this process as modern alchemists when we seek the transformative medium which allows us to recognize our rigidities (lead) and facilitates our healing and expression of our full creative potential (gold).  That medium is the ever-flowing river of our consciousness which can only be expressed through imagery.

This liquid form of the Philosopher's Stone--Universal Solvent--has a twofold effect: it causes old forms to disappear and new regenerate forms to emerge.  Through "creative regression," the generic form of ego death, consciousness recycles by recursively bending back upon itself.  The direction is a recapitulation of, a re-experiencing of sequences from earlier life, conception and birth, ancestral awareness, generic and physiological recognitions, molecular and atomic perceptions, and quantum consciousness.


Universal Solvent II

Universal Solvent II

Solutio implies the liquification of consciousness through the dissolution of rigidities which inhibit free flow.  They include roles, game patterns, defense strategies, rackets, scripts, interpretations, complexes, "old" myths and "frozen" energy surrounding traumas which manifest as fear and pain.  Destructuring transformative processes can dissolve them into an expanded awareness of the Whole.

As consciousness explores and expands, ego dissolves.  Pure consciousness, the fundamental luminosity, is the ground state of unborn form.  The generic purpose of ego death is to liberate our embodied being.  When all forms finally dissolve into unconditioned awareness, the ground state of the nature Mind is revealed as the mystic Void, the womb of creation.

The Universal Solvent dissolves the problems, heals, allows life to flow in new, creative patterns, and this free-flowing energy is capable of self-organization.  Re-creational ego death provides for periodic destruction of outmoded systems and implies the value in recycling consciousness through death-rebith experience.

The Universal Solvent is not ordinary water, but "philosophical" water--the transmutational water of life-aqua permanens.  It is also the panacea, elixer vitae, tincture, or universal medicine.  To periodically dip into these healing waters has a tonic, rejuvinating effect which pervades all aspects of being, acting like a soothing balm.

This divine water signifies a return of The Feminine, a reflective consciousness with inner awareness and archetypal spiritual perceptions.  This Feminine Divinity is the Anima Mundi, or Soul of the World, the universal animating principle, the upwelling of the creative Imagination, the dynamic flow of imagery, pattern, and for.  This dynamic has been known as Isis, Shakti, Maya, Shekinah, Sophia, Demeter/Persephone, Mary and Gaian Consciousness.  It is a rebirth of ancient, ecstatic, communal consciousness.  It is the psychobiological basis of deep ecology and the flow of relationships.

Anima is the projector of psyche.  We are contained within Her fantasy, not She within ours.  She is the fluid, mobile basis of consciousness.  Mystic ecstasy, or the (non-drug induced) psychedelic state is mind-manifesting, consciousness expanding.  It dissolves the identification with our histories, bodies, emotions, thoughts, and even beliefs.  We are free to explore myriad identifications, structures, and patterns or to rest in that unborn, unconditioned, unmodified healing state.  We imbibe the life-giving qualities of this "water" through mind-expanding experiential contact with deep consciousnesss.

Demeter/Persephone:  Return to the Womb

Demeter/Persephone:  Return to the Womb
24 x 36, 1994

There are seven major aspects of Solutio symbolism, as outlined by Edinger in Anatomy of the Psyche:  1) return to the womb or primal state; 20 dissolution, dispersal, dismemberment; 3) containment of the a lesser thing by a greater; 4) rebirth, rejuvination, immersion in the creative energy flow; 5) purification ordeal; 6) solution of problems; and 7) melting or softening process.  The ego's confrontation with the unconscious brings about solutio.

The alchemists Paracelsus said, "He who enters the Kingdom of God must first enter his mother and die."  That death-like silence is also our mother, the virgin womb of the imagination.  They dynamics of "creative regression" are common to mystical experience, psychedelic exploration, and therapeutic consciousness journeys.  All lead to immersion in the flow of the stream of consciousness.  Creative regression is a generic form of the myth of the eternal return, chronic recurrence, reiteration.

This spiritualizing instinct is a recursive "bending back" of instinct toward that which is primordial and divine.  Experiential therapy typically recycles, recapitulates or reiterates cascades of impressionistic transformations spanning the entire spectrum of archetypal experiences--morphological transformations.

These include but are not limited to childhood, birth, embryonic development, ancestral, mythic, genetic, evolutionary, universal, and quantum consciousness.  That information which is most vital to the whole self emerges in the stream of consciousness as virtual unconsciousness, repeating the basic issues in yet another creative way.  Stan Grof has catalogued an extensive taxonomy of these states in The Adventure of Self-Discovery.

Such experiences of cosmic consciousness constitute a "return to the Mother," the blissful fusion of primal union, at both the personal and universal levels.  The direction of this dynamic process is recursive, bending back through deep time, ontology, and phylogeny.  It echoes the semantic roots of the words religion and yoga, which imply a "linking backward" in the bond between gods and man, a craving for ecstasy, and transcendence of the limitations of physical form.

So, Jung called it an opus contra naturam, a work against nature.  But chaos theory shows it is actually quite organic, natural and instinctual to destratify and destructure each level of organization when diving deep inside toward the unconditioned, formless beginning, or "unborn" state.  This is the amniotic bliss of the Void, the Cosmic Womb.


A Pitstop in Some Bardo

A Pitstop in Some Bardo

Out of what womb are symbols born?  The collective unconscious.  They open levels of reality which otherwise remain hidden and cannot be grasped in any other way.  Every symbol has a special function and is irreplaceable.  Religious symbols open up experience of the depth dimensions of soul--ultimate reality, the dimension of the Holy.

Images of the Great Mother become reactivated, though not exactly in their original form.  Imagery like fractals is self-similar but not entirely identical.  This creative regression is to the prepersonal domain, the preverbal, preconceptual domain, not the transpersonal spiritual domain (transverbal, transconceptual).

Typically in the first few Dreamhealing sessions, a person will enter a dream symbol doorway which leads back to a conception memory.  They may or may not recognize it as such during the journey.  But in content, the symbolism is very clear.  The imagery is fundamental or primal, appearing as a dance of energy, matter, and consciousness--the body-ego's conscious experience.

These images are close to the stuff of our creation--the prima materia--of our existence.  We may experience it as free-floating: a paradox of chaos and a deep-felt sense of flowing and peace.  The imagery here is psychedelic -- consciousness-expanding -- an automatic manifestation of imagination.  The panoply of ceaseless transformation of energy may overwhelm the senses, leading to a sense of total chaos.  There is nothing to do but let go, surrender to it, merge with it, flow with it.

The dancing energy waves and patterns are perceived as deep whorls, spinning spirals, black holes, infinite voids, gray clouds of nothingness.  There is melding of the senses -- synesthesia -- such as tasting music, seeing sound, etc.  Simple throbbing and other extremely primitive sensations may be experienced.  Experience of this state produces a new acceptance of the original conditions of conception, and resturcturing of the primal self image.

We go into the primal chaos to begin the process of reformation from our pre-structural beginning.  In essence, we re-enter the womb as we are initiated into the mysteries of the psyche.  We re-conceive our primal self image, healed by communion with the creative Source.


Recreational Ego Death: Dissolution

Recreational Ego Death: Dissolution

The classic text of Re-creational surrender or sacrifice of self is the Bardo Thodol, or Tibetan Book of the Dead.  It is explicitly for the living who undertake the death-like regression into the unconscious, as well as the dying.  Because of their orientation toward consciousness journeys The Psychedelic Experience and American Book of the Dead are useful translations or contemporizations of the transformational classic.

The realm of death is the twilight zone between consciousness and matter.  Here psychoid pheomena manifest through the mingling of these modes.  Here mind/matter duality ceases, creating enchantment, uncanny synchronicities, time warps, psychic experience, revelation of the mind and matter, the Nature MInd.

The moment of ego death is heralded by certain symptoms of transition.  Resistance by the mind to this creative dissolution brings about physical symptoms which range from shaking and a sense of increasing pressure and anxiety, to paradoxical flashes of hot and cold, to extreme dizzyness and disorientation.  As the classic psychedelic manual says, "The hard, dry, brittle husks of your ego are washing out; Washing out to the endless sea of Creation." (Leary, et al, 1964).

Distressing or disturbing symptoms symbolize the violence of the passage of consciousness from form to formlessness.  Images of the body disintegrating or being blown to atoms are characteristic psychedelic experiences (fear of exploding=fear of expanding).  Perhaps the very elements of our bodies "remember" their formation in the crucible of some supernova.  There may be identification with merciless destruction, the Dance of Shiva, the raging elements of nature, a variety of forms of explosive discharge.  Here are vision of fires, floods, raging storms, earthquakes, volcanoes, turbulent lakes of magma.

Consciousness "breaks up" into its elemental forms, manifesting as overwhelming imagery.  This first phase of dissolution may be characterized by the futility of resistance, magnetic downward spirals, gravity wells, loss of morphological identity.  We remain the state of dis-integration until we re-member our essential self, emodying the sounded healer.

Disintegration comes as the ego gives up its unified perspective to the multiple consciousness of the deep self.  Fear makes it feel like fragmentation, but in truth there is nothing in that imagery that is not us.  The death throes of the ego prepare it for rebirth, a new incarnation of the spirit.


The Transcendent Function

The Transcendent Function

Jung spoke of the transcendent function as a symbol-forming force continuously creating emergent imagery which facilitates whole-self realization.  It is thus an evolutionary and adaptive force.

The ego "takes the plunge," it lets go and dissolves into deep consciousness.  The wave merges with the ocean and experiences its own deep transpersonal nature.  It moves swiftly through the fear and pain, awakening to an infinitely wider reality of universal energy waves.  In the ocean of creativity, "your own consciousness, shining, void, and inseparable from the great body of radiance, has no birth, nor death." (Leary, 1964).

Experience of the pure unmodified state of consciousness transcends all opposites, and therefore consciousness journeys provide an experiential "container" for the reconciliation of paradox within a larger field of experience--a broader, transcendent perspective.  The transformational process acts as a "container" (alchemcial retort) of the contents of the psyche.  But these contents, reduced to their essence are "nothingness," simlply dreams and imagination.  Emptiness is the real Philosopher's Stone.

By dissolving into non-relative consciousness, mood swings, or identification with conflicting polar positions may be transcended by an enlarged state of consciousness which embraces and contains the entire continuum.  Flow replaces polarity.

Dreams, visions or the stream of consciousness can be used therapeutically as an evolutionary force to guide people from a small sense of self and expand them toward a larger image.  This expansion of the sense of self may require some adjustment.  The illumination (awakening to larger Reality) may also come through a nature-mystic experience, intense sexual experience, ESP, a consciousness journey, or meditation.  Enlightenment (even "the seed of enlightenment") is an experience of awe, bliss, and infinite possibilities.

The ego realizes it is not the center of the whole person, but only manages the personality.  There are autonomous archetypal forces which inhabit the psyche with their own agendas, patterns, and goals.  Our psyche is transpersonal; it has no boundaries.  Our conscious awareness is only a manifestation of this larger consciousness.  Within this larger consciousness, we are at home with a plurality of visions.  The parts contain the whole (to a degree), enfolded or embedded like a fractal or hologram.  Containment takes place symbolically in the therapeutic relationship.  The shamanic personality contains, then expands the journeyer through rapport or psychic contagion.


Diamond Consciousness:  One Star Insight

Diamond Consciousness:  One Star Insight
One Star Insight
24 x 36, 1995

Mystical literature contains many examples of surrendering, letting go, accepting, merging, and joining the flow of the Nature Mind, where all is consciousness--the audible life stream.  This "Diamond Consciousness" is awareness of the creative flux of the Void, the fluid unity of life.  We flow within it, and it flows through us.

The death-rebirth sequence typically opens a person to the transpersonal domain with its virtually infinite creativity.  It reveals and unfolds our future potentials.  In dreamhealing, chaotic consciousness is also creative consciousness, representing the flowing of forces over inscapes.  The key is surrender and dissolution of boundaries, dissolution of the ego.

When we immerse ourselves in that creative energy, we find healing on many levels of our being--a true sense of oneness with all that exists, the seamless fabric of existence.  It opens us to repatterning by the Whole at the most fundamental level.  Immersion in the oceanic experience of universal consciousness is a life-changing experience of the web of life, the biological life flow, an ineffable current of bliss.  Once we experience that larger world and self--the rhythmic pulse of all life--we are never the same again.

Joy suffuses the whole nature.  This is the Elixer of Life, the Water of Life, Baptism.  It is identical with immortality.  When the ego is completely dissolved in this renewing bath, we experience timelessness and are reborn based on a new, healthier primal self-image.  This rejuvination comes from connecting with pristine consciousness, the eternal aspects or forces of nature--the infinite, transcendent Source.

The original sense of identity (romance and comedy), its loss (tragedy and irony), and its recovery in the regenerate world of romance and comedy is mirrored in the mythic quest.  Myths of the birth of the hero, revival and resurrection, creation and defeat of the powers of darkness and death are perennial themes.

The descent and subsequent ascent, going deep into the consciousness journey and emerging transformed, is a form of death/rebirth, a powerful archetypal theme which is initiatory in character.


Aesculapian Dreamhealing: Purification Ordeal

Aesculapian Dreamhealing: Purification Ordeal

Aesculapian dreamhealing uses many ritual forms of purification including incubation, diet, sweats, and baths.  But the psychic purification is a process of shedding fears and pain which prevent us from flowing.  Fear and pain are what keep us stuck.

Each initiation contains an ordeal within its enfolded nature.  At least it feels like an ordeal to the old ego structure which must dissolve or die.  The quantum leap of initiations, being seized from one state and moved to another, involves a sudden and profound change.  It requires an adjustment.  Also, life may present synchronistic challenges, outside the sessions.

Yoga teaches many forms of purification for clearing blocks from the various chakras.  Progressive stages of purification allow the energy of the serpent power to flow or rise ever-higher through the chakra system.  This healing serpent power was also ackowledged in the dreamhealing cults of Greece where the serpent was the theriomorphic form of the god, and whose appearance heralded the healing process.  We realize the true nature of the self.

In the ancient myth, the blood of the slain Medusa was a chemical agent for good or evil--that from the left side of the serpent-crowned head was considered a poison, while that from the right side was a healing elixer.  It is much the same for someone who tries to force the process with drugs--they can begin as pleasurable, but turn into pure poison for the uninitiated without an authentic spiritual guide.

At this stage there is a mental purge of gross karma which manifests as wrathful visions or second bardo nightmares--thus the famous painting of the nightmare at the bottom of this piece.  These visions, as well as the peaceful ones must simply be endured, despite awe and terror.  They may be horrific visions of apocalypse or catastrophe--even bloodthirsty hallucinations, which come as the ego struggles to maintain its boundaries.  But not every journey has this hellish state (bardo thodol); recognition of the greater Reality brings instantaneous liberation from this ordeal.

All these struggles in the cycling of death-rebirth may be linked back through symbiotic similarity to the individual birth ordeal.  It is characteristic of chaotic systems that events originally separated by time and space can become enfolded closely together.  Events linked by the same state of consciousness are related; leaning is state-related.  Our lessons and our ordeals are related to our states of consciousness.  Thus personal and transpersonal experience of this eternal cycle of the generation of forms become fused and conditioned by the individual aspect of archetypal experience.




Dreamhealing is not an interpretive or analytical way of understanding a dream, but is a non-linear consciousness journey into its healing heart.  Dreamhealing is not guided imagery.  The guide follows the autonomous flow of psychic imagery while guiding the focus to deeper, more primary imagery.  Then,the process moves to letting go of that form and entering a yet deeper one, much like entering deeper into a fractal image to find yet deeper images.

In dreamhealing one "becomes" the image which leads to sensing, identifying, empathizing with the essence of a color, shape, form or pattern--then letting go of form.  It is a process of initiation: becoming, sharing, feeling, releasing, yielding, accepting, deepending, intensifying, surrendering, healing, and integrating.

Everything in the dreamtime occurs in the present tense; it is happening.  But it is linked in a non-linear fashion--through association--with the past and the future.  Becoming the image creates the experience of new state of consciousness, new sensations, awarenesses, feelings, visceral and kinesthetic reactions, responses, acceptance.

Dreams are chaotic by nature and so is much of shamanic practice.  Both evoke the irrational and of all healing modalities, these two reflect chaos theory.  The forte of shamans is the dream journey or consciousness journey, based on the assumed ability to experience multiple consciousness states other than ordinary reality.

The shaman/therapist acts as guide by entering a co-consciousnessness state or shared experience with the journeyer.  This virtual experience has the ability to create natural consequences of results in real-time.  The experience of multiple states of consciousness leads away from egocentricity toward a biocentric perspective.  A larger sense of participation counteracts existential alienation.

There is a complementary notion in psychotherapy that one traumatic event can shape a life and a therapeutic event or experience can re-shape it.  Small changes can make phenomenal differences in outcome.

A dream is a stream of chaos--turbulent, undifferentiated consciousness and creativity, flowing through the self-scape of the psyche.  It is shaped by the frozen states and complex feedback loops of consciousness, the existential images and plots that are presented to our almost-waking self are reflections of these states.  They are another way of seeing the self and the reality we create that is less prejudiced by the ego.


Divine Grace: Solution of Problems

    Divine Grace: Solution of Problems

    Faith, Hope and Grace are the three sisters known collectively as the Graces.  These differentiate the essence of the healing balm that seems to come from a heavenly source outside of ourselves--Divine Grace--blessings that we could never earn on our initiative.

    There is more than a linguistic link between metaphors of a liquid solution, and the solution of a problem.  The moment of "a-ha" comes frequently in process-oriented therapy, as direct realization brings fresh understanding through the "empty mind" or "beginner's mind."

    During reverie states, the mind goes into chaotic patterns for problem-solving.  The more difficult the problem, the more chaos.  Dreamhealing facilitates entry into these healing states of consciousness.

      We can draw a direct analogy between the dreamhealing process and creative process:

    1. Dreamhealing begins with the pilgrimage, expressing one's intent or commitment, then comes identification of the problem in the confession, followed by purification or cleansing, then the letting go of the offering.  The heart of the quest is dream incubation, a reverie which permits unconventional responses, leading to the illumination of chaotic consciousness, followed by amplification and the re-entry of actualization.
    2. The creative process begins with receptivity, immersion, followed by identification of the right questions, and a generalized sensitivity to problems (attunement), then the surrender of self to the process of flow.  Creativity also requires reverie or incubation leading to a moment of invention or illumination, followed by utilization of the result--real-time application.

    The stabilization of steady states of creative consciousness is the result of contact with a deep internal wellspring of creativity which is also healing.  These resources well-up from the deep Source which sustains and guides us all.


Resurrection: Melting or Softening Process

Resurrection: Melting or Softening Process

In alchemy, melting precedes recasting.  Melting turns what was a solid into a liquid.  Variations on this theme include moistening and softening.  Whether we look at modern consciousness journeys, ancient reports, or psychedelic experiences the metaphors are the same.  The aim of this meditation is self-incubation for transformation and resurrection.

The Psychedelic Experience offers such suggestions as "Let the feelings melt all over you; let your body merge with the warm flux; allow your mind also to melt away very gradually."  Boundaries dissolve in the liquifaction characteristic of this flowing or fluid state.

An older report, from medieval times, The Book of Lambspring, speaks of the old body being moistened and softened by the help and grace of God, until it finally sweats and glows while the True Tincture begins to flow from it.  The hidden fire causing the sweat is the antithesis of the moisture it produces.  The aim of this heat of incubation is resurrection--the raising of revelations, new images and concepts unavailable in a rigid, non-flowing state of consciousness.

In reducing all to pure water, the prima materia and the ultima materia become synonymous.  That primal consciousness state, that creative and chaotic consciousness is the beginning of the operation of water, and its ultimate realization.

It becomes easy to see why the operation of water is the "root of alchemy."  Through consciousness journeys which liquify our rigid notions of self and world, we recreate the adventures of the hero or heroine.  The theme is the loss and recovery of identity.

The hero is deserted, betrayed or even killed, but then comes back to life again.  The shift is from abandonment and isolation, through struggle, to the triumph or marriage phase (unitive consciousness).  The myth of the defeated ego (rigid ego) brings images of the triumph of dark forces, myths of floods and the return of chaos.  Then the stage is set for miraculous rebirth, and this process of rebirth is the Universal Medicine.


Lumen Naturae: Heart of Mercurius

Lumen Naturae: Heart of Mercurius

The light of nature is the quinta essentia, extracted by God himself from the four elements, and dwelling in our hearts.  It is enkindled by the Holy Spirit.  The light of nature is an intuitive apprehension of the facts, a kind of illumination--one's own experience of nature.

The general signficance of the salamander in alchemy is as a mythological fire-spirit, denoting the element of Fire.  Its psychological meaning revolves around the frustrated expectations and desires we experience which arise from projection.  This is the basic material of analytical work.  M.-L. von Franz likened the emotional reactions involved in the process of withdrawing projections to the alchemical image of the salamander, as prima materia, roasting in the fire.  Because they prove their incorruptibility in the fire, such creatures enjoy a particularly long life.  The salamander is an immature, transitional form of the filius, that incorruptible being whose symbols indicate the self.

Fire is one of the archetypal forms of Mercurius.  Even the aqua mercurialis is a form of divine fire, paradoxically.  This fire is highly vaporous, indeed really the only fire in the whole procedure.  It is the universal and scintillating force of the light of nature, which carries the heavenly spirit within it; the source of mystical knowledge second only to the holy revelations of the Scriptures.  But it shares in its essence an abysmal nature, even hell fire.

The paradoxical merging of fire/water reveals the principle of the coincidence of opposites which is completed by absolute opposition in order to attain psychological validity.  Hermes is a god of revelations, and this mystic fire is the fire in which God himself burns in divine love.  Since Mercurius is of fiery nature, the fire does not harm him: he remains unchanged within it, rejoicing like the salamander.  This fire is a portion of God's spirit, but is also Lucifer who became the fire of hell after his fall.  Eleazar says, "This old Father-Begetter will one day be drawn from the primordial Chaos, and he is the fire-spewing dragon."

The igneous spirit of the natural fire is corporified in the substances which are analogous to it.  Our stone is an astral fire, which sympathizes with the natural fire, and which as a true salamander receives its nativity, is nourished and grows in the elementary fire.  The natural fire is proportionate to the astral life, and therefore, the former corporifies or coagulates the later.

The body of the universe is created (coagulated) by means of proportion or analogy.  Analogy is a process of relationship, making connections by "as if."  Analogy corporifies or coagulates spirit.  Alchemy is a treasury of analogies that embody the objective psyche and the processes it undergoes in development.  The same applies to religion and mythology.  The importance of analogy for realization of the psyche cannot be overestimated.  It gives form and visibility to that which was previously invisible, intangible, not yet coagulated.  Dream images and active imagination coagulate.  They connect the outer and inner worlds by means of proportional or analogous images and thus coagulate soul-stuff.  Moods and affects toss us about wildly until they coagulate into something visible and tangible; then we can relate to them objectively.


Rebirth of the Self

Rebirth of the Self

The experience of the Self is experienced as one's inner soul, touched by the dynamic aspect of the God-image.  It is from here that grace and peace emanate in the meditative experience when the unconscious begins to flow.  But at first the flood of imagery is overwhelming.

However, by sticking to the process and being true or devoted to the internal imagery, the process begins to transform.  Fpr a while you have to meditate and concentrate and experience your unconscious deeply.  From this constant repetition and devoted concentration on the inner life of the soul, something is born within one that represents the new state--namely, a constant realization of the Self.

This child was born in the fire of the libido concentration on the inner world.  It nourished itself like a salamander in the alchemical fire, and grew-up to become reddish--even blood-red.  Its effect becomes contagious and it begins to heal others, spontaneously.

Having gone through the meditative work, through the death and inner resurrection, it can produce ego death in others because of its more encompassing perspective, but through that the soul becomes healthy, and can return others to a pristine state, too.  This is the meaning of the wounded-healer; there is a multiplying effect.  The Gold Medicine which cures souls is synonymous with this magickal child.  We call it psychological healing through getting in touch with the Self.

According to ancient alchemists, this medicine, or child, or gold form, is really a resurrection of the Holy Ghost.  It is the unification of Spirit, Anima, Body, and Cosmos.

Naturally after a while, the waters dry up--dream material lessens and the outer world calls again.  Analysis is a temporary, artificial state of complete introversion which eventually is left for the balanced, regenerate lifestyle.  When the thing goes right, relapse does not happen because something precious has taken place in an inner conception, which is compared to an inner child.

When we realize the Self through a conscious effort, by concentrating on our dreams and imagination, it becomes part of our conscious personality.  The inner child now nourishes itself and grows on--the importance of the awareness of self increases more and more.  The multiplying effect triggers the same process in others, synchronistically.  At first they find it disturbing, but the part of personality that resists the most strongly--the shadow--is the healing medicine.


Knowledge & Conversation:
The Holy Guardian Angel

Knowledge & Conversation: Holy Guardian Angel

In theurgic Magick the primary operation of Tiphareth is the invocation of the Holy Guardian Angel--deep knowledge of and conversation with one's holy Genius, a flow state which arises from equilibration.  The Retirement Ritual comes from The Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage, translated into English in 1883 by S. L. MacGregor-Mathers.

The H.G.A. is a beam transmitted from the Supernal region which defies symbolic description.  This being of living light and love forms a soitary relationship with the Adept.  The angel is the personification of Grace, or the personal daimon (ala Plato) or genius, or the transcendent function.  The personification of the higher Self allows us to take up a relationship with the inner guide, which restores a balance between the ego and the unconscious.  When the contact is stabilized, the guide can take the aspirant to the heights of mystic rapture.

Through alchemical meditation one is able to perceive the radiant form, in its pure form, uncontaminated by the personal complexes which denegrate its refulgence.  The level of internal talk, the dialogical level, facilitates inner growth and guides moral decisions.  The transcendental Self appears cross-culturally in many form identical with one's image of God.

Images of the Self appear spontaneously throughout the entire transformative process.  It appears in symbols beginning with animal and plant forms, and progresses through metaphors of sexual union into human and mandala forms.  The angel is a personified soul-image in the traditional of the alchemical Anima Mundi or the eastern Gurus.  It is the magickal version of daimon or muse, in its most exalted aspect.

The soul can rise but cannot transform itself into the mode of existence of the Spirit.  Apprehending the pure archetypes takes the assistance of the Intuitive Mind.  The descent of the Intuitive Mind to the level of Ruach takes place when Briatic Consciousness awakens and the adept sees his angel.  Under the stimulus of the angel, the Adept learns to control his new faculty.  The higher mind does not have the capacity to transcend itself.  It must rely on Grace.  When the penetration is accomplished, the soul unties the knot with the mind, and the liberated soul realizes its pristine condition.  The unfettered soul realizes, "I am That."  The fullness of inspiration leads to mystic rapture, merging, and ultimate union.


Clowns and Christs

Clowns and Christs
Clowns and Christs
24 x 36, 1994

In chaos theory, when an attractor disappears due to sudden catastrophic change, the system becomes structureless and experiences a term of "transient chaos" before another attractor is found.  We can experience identity crisis during major life passages.

Perhaps it is not by chance that Jung's theory of the complexes shares a semantic and essential relationship with complex system dynamics.  Both complexes and archetypes function like strange attractors, drawing numerous associations around themselves.  These psychic nexus points are instrumental in the foundation of belief systems, thoughts, emotional rsponses, and behavior.  Each archetype has its parameters, but within the myth there are a jumbled myriad of possibilities that play through the personality seeingly at random; yet each has its agenda and characteristic mode of appearance.  The activation of a mytheme in a life is decoded by noticing its corresponding effects, in dreams and waking life.

An individual's personal myth or mytheme might be conceived of as an activated chaotic attractor.  In another phase of life, the focus could change to others.  Sometimes these transitions are fairly smooth, sometimes competitive, other time catastrophic, sweeping the old structure away in an uncontrolled fashion.

The ego can suffer greatly from the pull of deep forces within, especially if it doesn't have enough information about its purpose to derive meaning from the experience.  For some, disruption may lead to a psychotic break (dissolution), while for others it opens the door to new freedom and an expanded sense of self and creativity.  The first step in understanding how these attractors affect us has to do with our personal complexes, our distorted experiences of raw archetypal power and conflicts.

Even the Self, or God-image, has a dark side.  We can imagine Dionysus, the god of intoxication and dissolution in communal orgiastic revel as the antithesis of the Christian god-image which is only light and only good.  The Dionysian is daimonic and ecstatic, prefering intensity of experience to clear structured meaning.  Fertility and phallic creativity are opposed to its clinical symptoms of alcoholism, drug addiction and Don Juanism.  Anyone identified with this god gets dismembered, psychically fragmented, emotionally impotent.  But the wine of Dionysus and the blood of Christ are symbolically equivalent.  In this picture, both are undergird by the presence of the Trickster, Hermes, or the archetypal clown--the unconscious Hermetic process as a unifying symbol.  Conflict is created by the unconscious itself in order to reunite the opposites on a higher level.


Coniunctio: The Royal Marriage

24 x 36, 1994

In alchemy, marriage is a symbol of "Conjunction," represented symbolically also by the union of sulphur and mercury--the King and Queen, or Sun and Moon.  There is a parallel between this alchemic signficance and the intimate union or inner conciliation--within the process of individuation--of the unconscious, feminine side of us with our spirit.  The royal marriage is a transcendent symbol of the Self, and embodies psychic totality. Coniunctio is a culminating point of life and at the same time a death.

The mystic marriage also appears in Qabala as the marriage of divine Kether, the highest sphere with Malkutth, the earthly sphere as its bride.  Love is fundamental to the imagery of the coniunctio.  But it is love purged of personal desirousness, not cleaving to one side of the pair of opposites, but rather beyond the opposites.

Transpersonal love is the extroverted aspect of coniunctio which to or promotes social interest and the unity of the human race, while the introverted aspect promotes connection with the Self and the individual psyche.

Jung wrote his final work on this holding of the tension of inner and outer opposites, his magnum opus, Mysterium Coniunctionis.  Mystic marriage has seven basic stages:

        1.) the quest; 2.) the awakening of love; 3.) the attainment of Knowledge; 4.) detachment
        5.) unification or blending; 6.) annihilation; and 7.) divine consummation.

The marriage of King and Queen is an intrapsychic process which is not projected onto another living individual.  The meeting point of Kether and Malkuth is the heart-center Tiphareth, where the soul marries the Self.  Projections of anima or animus have been retrived and returned to their proper level in the unconscious.

There are lesser and greater forms of coniunctio.  In early stages, there is union with the shadow which is the reunion of mind and body.  Later comes the reunification with anima/animus, then union with the Self, which produces the unus mundus, or experience of the "One World," where body, soul, and spirit are reunited.  The greater coniunctio is a high mystery, which engaged the speculation of the alchemists as the "Chymical Wedding."

Psychologically, the self is a union of conscious (masculine) and unconscious (feminine).  It stands for the psychic totality, which is discernable above all in the mandala form and its countless variants.  Historically, these symbols are authenticated  as God-images.  The mystery of the reunion of God and his Shekinah leads to the indwelling presence of God, or the Holy Spirit.  The Heart is the throne of God in man.



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