The New Heavens and the New Earth(s)
The Magnification – an update of the Magnificat
(with gratitude to the Gospel of Luke)
BLessed be your Presence
In the fabric of the cosmos
Blessed all life that you bring forth.
From whence is this to me
That I would create with you
This new day’s worth?
As soon as I heard your Call,
The sacred life in me awakened.
In and through your Courage shall
Flow the Beauty of the generations
I am the Beginner’s BodyMind,
The BodyMind of the Source of All that is.
I am the sensual, immanent and beautiful
Presence who is faithfully with (you)
I am the embodied life who labors
To birth the never-been.
I am the Beloved ever conceiving
The Age of Magnification and the Ur-constellations
c. 2017 by F. Christopher Reynolds, M.Ed. (This is a work in progress, citations coming)
We are living inside a story that is much larger than we are.
In July of 1986, my wife, Paula, and I went to France to study through Bowling Green with my French-teaching mentors, Drs. Michael and Lenita Locey. We stayed with a French family,took classes at Institut de Touraine and traveled. It was a very romantic trip as well because we were hoping to conceive our first child while in La Douce France. I am aware that the last sentence was intimate, but it is not gratuitous. There have been periods of my life when the stars seemed to align and the same theme resonated throughout the big picture to the most intricate details. That summer was a time of imagining the future and the theme was everywhere.
One of the excursions the Bowling Green group made was to Les Eyzies, a village of the Dordogne river region of southern France. There has been an uninterrupted human presence in La Dordogne for 55,000 years. For that reason, it is the location of the recently constructed Musée Nationale de Préhistoire.
Just outside of Les Eyzies is a Cro-Magnon painted cave called, Font-de-Gaume. In what was to be the most pivotal day of my life, most fortuitously, on a warm summer afternoon, I experienced an initiation into the old ways, in the sense of a primal, 20,000 years old indigenous way of being. If you visit Font-de-Gaume today, the tours are limited to 12 persons and feature only a partial visit. Luckily for us, in 1986, the rules were looser and we were able to enter into the heart of the grotte.
Our feminine underworld guide was a lovely blond Française. You could tell she knew something about how the painted caves were used for rituals long ago because of how she staged our visit. Once our group got inside the wooden gate that protects Font-de Gaume, she shut the door and kept speaking to us through the darkness. She told us to hold the shoulder of the person near us and to follow her voice further underground. Led by her sensual, and to me, nearly erotic, French, we were invited to enter more and more deeply into the dark cave passage that lead beneath a hillside.
It really was a journey back into the womb of time. The sides of the winding tunnel were smooth and warm to the touch. Our guide had us stop and stand side by side, and told us to keep facing her voice. She then said:
— Ce que vous allez voir n’a pas changé depuis vingt mille ans.
(What you are going to see has not changed in 20,000 years)
She switched on the light and before us.
To my left, a woman’s voice cried out,
— My God, I’m having a mystical experience!
The heart of Silence collapsed.
Before it so abruptly ended, I was opened by the awe of the enduring beauty of the red ochre animals before me. I experienced a simultaneous awakening to timelessness while at the same time being timelessness. I’m shy about sounding full of myself, but, I knew that my experience was gnostic, in the old sense of the term of a lived experience of the sacred. I had received a lightning strike of direct knowledge of the Eternal, but in slow motion, like an 8 second near-death experience. In that sudden flash of illumination, I came to know that I am Eternity and I am of Eternity. The ancient Greek word for an awakening to Eternity by becoming it is, apotheosis.
Within a 45 minute period that day, everything I had ever learned in my 25 years in Irish/German Roman Catholic culture, 10 years of the 12 Step Recovery Movement, Adult Children of Alcoholics with some 7th Day Adventism thrown in, even all my dream knowledge — ended.
A perfectly functional 20th century Jesuit education grounded in modern science, was decisively dissolved in the vastness of time unto timelessness. It could be told that I went to France in July 1986 and took a look at Paleolithic cave art. Going into that gallery turned me into some sort of accidental Cro-magnon gnostic heretic.
I became the divinity even as I was in the Presence.
I am Eternity.
When we re-emerged to the upper world of the 20th century, I was embraced by a renewed Earth in Creation. The best way to describe it was that I enjoyed a simultaneous seeing and feeling into the depths of Creation, surface (exteriority) and depth (interiority) at once. I could sensually feel into the energies of the historical and geological ages beneath my feet. They themselves rested, as if rooted, into a timeless ground. Without being able to explain in words, I understood the shape, color and motion of each tree, bird, plant, breeze. I knew the underlying pattern within them in-formed all the events. For the following 4 days, love-making with the intention of conceiving new life was like never before — a sacred sexuality.
Wherever I was alone, indoors or outside, I felt the persons of the Earth and Grandmother Herself loving me back in appearances of beauty. I also would feel an occasional warm tingling flow through my body. I recognized the invisible patterns that influence and transform meaningful events and their timing. It was clear how sensual moments and beauty announce the depths. Beneath it all, in a constant and faithful Silence, I understood the great open secret that Heaven is Earth and as Plotinus had stated some centuries earlier:
All Creation breathes together.
It would not be until 1990 that I would first hear Joseph Campbell use the words, transparent to the transcendent and aesthetic arrest with Bill Moyers on Power of Myth. The most valuable spiritual experience of my life connected me with the planet and a deep context of human history. It separated me from most everyone and everything else of our culture. You can imagine my happy surprise when I unexpectedly met someone who understood. In 1991, I met Gene Monick and we had a conversation. It turned out that he had gone to Font-de-Gaume himself and had what the guides there still call, la Revelation. Gene shared that after it happened to him, he sat speechless in a cafe with another woman from his tour group. In his writings, he used the term aura, to articulate the way the nature appeared to him after his own awakening.
The rest of our time in France, I worked on a song to better integrate the initiatory passage. I had been reading a lot of Alan Watts and stories of Zen. Inspired by Watts, I chose the word, Satori. In the closing days, I had an odd, poetic moment while walking alone one evening after sunset. It was a starry night and I came upon a small yard strewn with old sculptures. What caught my eye was a sculpted head that seemed to be pushing upward from beneath the Earth. His marble face was gazing up at the stars. That unexpected star-gazer was the other ‘bookend’ to the revelatory summer of 1986. He was the trigger for the lyrics which became my song, Satori.
See how slowly summer turns
to her own completion?
Bring your piercing reason
and seek this hidden love.
It’s quick as light!
Silent river, peaceful song
mocking your confusion,
feel your true emotion
and seek this hidden love.
It’s quick as light!
It’s quick as light!
Reach to touch your own hand.
This carved stone disk above was found in Moundville, Alabama. It is from the Mississippian culture that flourished from 800-1600 CE. I was taught by an elder that the rattlesnake symbolized time/no time.
Direct connection with Eternity made me a very lonely person. Even thirty years later, in most places I go, there are scant few who understand, appreciate nor even imagine that a Cro-magnon satori is humanly possible. Even I didn’t properly value it until I was in my 50’s. The essence of the general lack of appreciation, understanding and imagined possibility is because our culture is poor in understanding of soul. By soul, here, I mean soul as understood in the Western tradition that currently moves through Richard Tarnas and archetypal cosmology to James Hillman’s book, Re-Visioning Psychology. However, my lineage comes to me via Eugene Monick and Robert Sardello to Hillman, and then on back through Jung, who wrote in his Memories, Dreams, Reflections:
Prejudice cripples and injures the full phenomenon of psychic life (p. 299)
…to Freud, Dilthey, Coleridge, Shelling, Vico, Ficino, Plotinus, Plato, Heraclitis, who wrote expansively:
You could not discover the limits of soul (psyche), even if you traveled every road to do so; such is the depth (bathun) of its meaning (logos).
Heraclitis’ uniting of depth and soul, which dates to the inauguration of the axial age in 500 BCE is where James Hillman in archetypal psychology and Richard Tarnas in archetypal cosmology limit themselves. Tarnas’ 2006 Cosmos and Psyche does contain a call for the return of the primal world view that he left open for future development.
The lineage I am in moves further back into time, outside the temples of the Gods and Goddesses of the planetary archetypes to the primal archetypes of Earth (Gaia), Sky (Ouranos), all those archetypes who were demonized prior to foundation of patriarchal Greek world view. Millennia of this soul tradition still flourish in indigenous wisdom. It is symbolized by the Medicine Wheel of 7 Directions, the Ancestors and sacred persons of Fire, Water, Wind, Lightning and Thunder, all biological life, the stars, all that is — all that is Earth, Sky, East, West, North, South, centerless Center.
Returning to all that is Earth, Sky, East, West, North, South, centerless Center is decolonizing and re-indigenizing. Fr. John Stolzman, in his book, The Pipe and Christ, after all of his Jesuit formation, admitted that he knew nothing of the Grandmother and the 4 Directions. It was with the help of Lakota medicine persons at Pine Ridge that he learned by direct experience in 4 Hanbleychas, or Vision Quests. It was not just the Jesuits who did not know about the Grandmother, but all Western persons who trace their philosophy through Aristotle, Plato, Socrates and Heraclitis. This is what I mean when I write that my lineage goes outside the temples – like Stolzman, I have been helped by the Lakota at Pine Ridge to direct knowing through vision quest, sweat lodge, Sun Dance and the Canupa – the Sacred Pipe.
The journey of my life has allowed me to live through and to sort out life-sustaining wisdom from ideas that ‘cripple and injure the full phenomenon of psychic life’. Fortunately, the Gift of my birth was to be born right into the heart of American Irish Roman Catholic culture from family trees that stretch back through the Great Hunger in Ireland, to German Protestantism on my mother’s side and back through 240 years of American history through the Civil War, back over the ‘wilderness road’ on into Anglican England when Roman Catholic and Irish were unfavored adjectives.
I can honestly say that I made a full out effort to make the Western way of life work. There are many gifts of Western culture. It did not work for me for a number of reasons. This essay on The Age of Magnification represents me turning in my own homework. In short, I’ve had to de-colonize and re-indigenize myself to the ecosystem where I live. I’ve also had to expand or magnify Western ideas of soul so that they mirror current cosmology. In many ways, this is also my ancestors’ homework I’m turning in. Thanks to them, most importantly, my mother and father, I was able to work within a deep context. It’s important to know that all critiques or praise I level in this essay comes from my own lived experience.
I spent from age 19 to 21 being a Christian ‘true believer’ and though I have not flown a plane into a building for my cause, I’ve lived inside that mind-set and am empathetic. My heart goes out to all cause-possessed zealots. In another time-period, I would have gladly taken up the crusaders’ cross and sacrificed my life. My heart breaks for the destruction, trauma, loss and ugliness done in the name of a perfect power above, beyond, or outside the universe. Ohio, too, has paid in blood when James Garfield was assassinated by Charles Guiteau so Guiteau could – Go up to the Lordy - as he sang for those gathered for his execution.
The world is flat describes more than a global economy. It describes an inability to sense or respond to the beauty of activities, times and places like I described at Font-de-Gaume. In aesthetic arrest, you are held still in awe of what you are experiencing. This is the pattern that repeats – the archetype for spiritual experience of the power of the divine – or the numinous. When the world becomes transparent to the depths of eternity, the Joy, with the capital “J”, the Joy of being alive, is the fruit.
What enables us to recognize the difference between shallow flatness and depth of soul are psychological ideas. Their recovery was central to the preservation and nurturing of soul in Re-Visioning Psychology. Hillman stressed that without psychological ideas, the most valuable Joy in life is always overlooked, moralized, repressed, diagnosed, imprisoned, exploited, betrayed, drugged and mocked. What Hillman did not write is that the oppressive list of adjectives lands most on our children and grandchildren. If we add the words, polluted, degraded, exterminated, we can also take in how our lack of psychological ideas harms the awe of Earth’s biological beauty for the generations to come.
The psychological idea that makes my experience understandable is the idea of the collective unconscious, also known as the archetypal unconscious, objective psyche. The waking consciousness of human beings is informed by immense soul depths that, though we have a personal, biographic touch-point with them, are beyond our personality. The collective unconscious is, therefore, transpersonal.
In the Western tradition of soul that comes to us through Freud, Jung, Hillman, the archetypes tend to belong to the private experiences of the individual, like a person having access to great energetic library from the whole of human history. In indigenous wisdom, the collective unconscious is collective because it connects us to all humanity and all that is – All My Relations. So, for example, there is a Cree story I heard of how the people dreamed of the ships coming from Europe before the vessels arrived offshore. We are all connected.
Direct experiences of the archetypes of the collective unconscious are life-changing religious experiences – numinous moments of awe. A definition of archetype, then, is another psychological idea that brings clarity and understanding to the story I shared.
Hillman’s definition is my favorite:
Let us then imagine archetypes as the deepest patterns of psychic functioning, the roots of the soul governing the perspectives we have of ourselves and the world. They are the axiomatic, self-evident, images to which psychic life and our theories about it ever return. They are similar to other axiomatic first principles, the models or paradigms, that we find in other fields. For “matter,” “God,” “energy,” “life,” “health,” “society,” “art,” are also fundamental metaphors, archetypes, perhaps themselves, which hold whole worlds together and yet can never be pointed to, accounted for, or even adequately circumscribed…root ideas, psychic organs, figures of myth, typical styles of existence, or dominant fantasies that govern consciousness…
But one thing is absolutely essential to the notion of archetypes: their emotional possessive effect, their bedazzlement of consciousness so that it becomes blind to its own stance. By setting up a universe which tends to hold everything we do, see, and say in the sway of its cosmos, an archetype is best comparable to a God. And Gods, religions sometimes say, are less accessible to the senses and to the intellect than they are to the imaginative vision and emotion of the soul.
The archetypal perspective offers the advantage of organizing into clusters or constellations a host of events from different areas of life…in behavior…images…style of consciousness…psychopathologies…attitude. [RE-Visioning Psychology, pp. xix-xx]
Hillman clarified later in Re-Visioning:
Archetypes are semantically metaphors. They have a double existence which Jung presented in several ways: 1) they are full of internal oppositions, positive and negative poles; 2) they are unknowable and known through images; 3) they are instinct and spirit; 4) they are congenital, yet not inherited; 5) they are purely formal structures and contents; 6) they are psychic and extra psychic (psychoid)…every statement regarding the archetypes is to be taken metaphorically, prefixed with an “as-if”.
As I write, re-read, and copy the lineage of soul in the West, the definitions of collective unconscious, and archetypes above, my whole being stretches out and I feel at home. I breathe a sigh of relief. It is because the most valuable spiritual experience of my life feels seen, visible, and honored in a way proper to its effect on me. A need to protect myself goes away. My private experience of awe becomes ours to be shared when the knowledge of soul is recollected.
Mentally equipped with the psychological ideas of the numinous, aesthetic arrest, the collective unconscious and archetypes, my personal experience returns to what is acknowledged as fundamentally human. Jung, wrote that there is a space-timeless, diffuse cloud of cognition, that is present wherever a merging of consciousness with the archetypal ground occurs.
This same kind of expansion into the archetypal ground of the collective unconscious is described as an, Akashic Experience, in Ervin Laszlo’s 2009 book, The Akashic Experience: Science and the Cosmic Memory Field. In Sanskrit, Akasha, means cosmic sky. An Akashic experience is a Cosmic Sky experience in this way of understanding.
To give a basic definition of the Akashic experience– unlike giving a scientific explanation of it–is not difficult. An Akashic experience is a real, lived experience that conveys a thought, an image, or an intuition that was not and not very likely could not have been, transmitted by our senses either at the time it happened or anytime beforehand — at least not in our current lifetime. In a popular, though overused and misused formulation, the Akashic experience is a lived experience in the extra or non-sensory mode.
The Akashic experience comes in many sizes, forms, and flavors to all kinds of people, and all its varieties convey information on the real world — the world beyond the brain and the body. The experience ranges from artistic visualizations and creative insights to non-local healings, near-death experiences, after-death communications, and personal past life recollections. Notwithstanding the great variety in which it occurs, the Akashic experience has strikingly uniform features. Whatever else it may contain, the Akashic experience conveys that the experiencing subject is not separate from the objects of his or her experience — the sense that “I, the experiencing subject, am linked in subtle but real ways to other people and to nature.” In deeper experiences of this kind, there is a sense that the cosmos and I are one” (p.2)
Here in northeast Ohio, I tried hard to pass as psychically smaller than I really am for an embarrassingly great deal of my life. Now that I’m 55, I can assert that, my struggles are not limited to Ohio. In Western culture, pretending to be psychologically smaller than actual size in order to out-smart and dodge the rampant dogmatism is at epidemic levels. Most persons I meet are not aware of the possibility that the experience of I am Eternity is the birthright of all humanity. It’s not the exception to know this. In fact, after spending 15 years now participating in Lakota rituals, I know that when we manage to get our psychological ideas of soul right, all the voices of the ecosystem can be heard singing – I am Eternity.
I once spoke with a woman who had the gift of spirit sight about the death of her brother. By spirit sight, I mean that she had an intuitive mind’s eye to perceive the depths of soul that surround and saturate material life. This is soul perception that I called, ‘sensually feeling into’ in my opening story. As her brother lay dying in his hospital bed, she said he appeared to her stretched way out into time. It was as if his head was behind his head was behind his head…ad infinitum, in the way a person looks when 2 mirrors are held facing each other and you place yourself between them. He was out of his mind, mumbling and bobbing his head. However, sometimes he would stop and look at the clock on the wall for a moment, then return to his delirium. It went on this way for some time until suddenly, he stopped and turned to her.
There are so many worlds, is this the real world?
All the worlds are real, this world, though, is the material world.
He pondered a moment and spoke again:
So, if I get the time right in this world, all the worlds line up, right?
She said to him:
I think so.
On hearing that, a peace came over him and he smiled. From then on, he would spend time going out of his mind. She could see him stretched out infinitely beyond himself, but he was not disturbed anymore. Once in awhile, he would come back into awareness of the room, look at the clock on the wall, smile and then return to his adventures.
When you get the time right in this world, all the worlds line up. offers another way to understand I am Eternity and the Joy it brings. They both are religious experiences. By religious, I mean that the word comes from the Latin root, religio. It features the prefix “re”=”again” with the word, “ligio”, a derivation of “ligo” = to bind/link = “to connect”. Both experiences are examples of re-connections with Eternity. An experience of the depths of the worlds of meaning doesn’t belong to a particular new religion but to soul in our Western tradition. There is no Church of the Cro-magnon Gnostic Heretics, Churches of the Joy of the Infinite Depths, nor Temples of the Cosmic Sky. These are, however, religious experiences of the divinity that sustains life. They are psychological, thus, soul experiences indigenous to Western persons. Hillman affirms:
By soul, I mean, first of all, a perspective rather than a substance, a viewpoint towards things rather than a thing itself. This perspective is reflective; it mediates events and makes differences between ourselves and everything that happens. Between us and events, between the doer and the deed, there is a reflective moment–and soul-making means differentiating this middle ground.
It is as if consciousness rests upon a self-sustaining and imagining substrate–an inner place or deeper person or ongoing presence — that is simply there, even when all our subjectivity, ego and consciousness go into eclipse. Soul appears as a factor independent of events in which I am immersed. Though I cannot identify soul with anything else, I also can never grasp it all by itself apart from other things, perhaps because it is like a reflection in a flowing mirror, or like the moon which mediates only borrowed light. But just this peculiar and paradoxical intervening variable gives one the sense of having or being a soul. However intangible it is, soul carries highest importance in hierarchies of human values, frequently being identified with the principle of life and even of divinity.
In another attempt upon the idea of soul I suggested that the word refers to that unknown component which makes meaning possible, turns events into experiences, is communicated in love, and has a religious concern. These four qualifications I had already put forth some years ago; I had begun to use the term freely, usually interchangeably with psyche (from Greek) and anima (from Latin).
At this point in the text of Re-Visioning Pscyhology, Hillman made modifications to his earlier definitions of soul. He insisted that the soul’s special relationship with death was now necessary in order to understand the meaning it makes possible. I think his main reason for doing that was in order to truly honor the way pathologizing aims towards death. He did not go far enough, for the soul also has a special relationship with conceiving, labor, birth, evolution, Earth and cosmos which manifests as receptivity and creativity.
What this means is that sometimes what causes the pathologizing is less about a death and more about that part of suffering that is labor for what has never been, as when we suffer because of a Calling or for some Great Work. We need to open pathologizing to the soul’s freedom of in death or birth because that at this time in history when all life is participatory and invites us all to fully take up our parts not only as meaning makers, but also as future co-creators. The Hillman-Reynolds updated definition of soul is:
First, “soul” refers to the deepening of events into experiences; second, the significance soul makes possible whether in love, in receptivity, in creativity or in religious concern, derives from its special relation with death, with birth and with re-birth. And third, by “soul” I mean the imaginative possibilities in our collective and personal natures, the experiencing through reflective speculation, intuition, dream, image, fantasy, and co-creation (co-poesis) – that mode that recognizes all realities as relational, primarily symbolic or metaphorical and in service to the relationships by which the past and present are honored and through which the future is brought forth.
Lacking this definition of soul, a dogmatically enforced psychic limitation continues to cut off, cripple and poison life. Inside the boundaries of our late modern culture, life-transforming innovation is starved. Beyond our cultural borders, we are chronically consuming the ecosystems of Earth, bringing an end to the wealth of human wisdom perfected over thousands of years in traditions we label as other.
Author, Wade Davis, in his book, The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World, (2009) made a beautiful case for why it is such hubris for persons of modern Western culture to consider more traditional ways as failures to be modern. He invites us to look at all enduring human cultures to be the results of the choices of paths taken spiritually and intellectually. He coined the term, ethnosphere, to describe the living diversity of human wisdom. In the same way that preserving the diversity of species of a biosphere allows a higher quality of life and resilience, preserving the diversity of our ethnosphere is long overdue. (Languages are a key to seeing the diversity of the ethnosphere)
“There is a fire burning over the earth, taking with it plants and animals, ancient skills and visionary wisdom. At risk is a vast archive of knowledge and expertise, a catalogue of the imagination, an oral and written language composed of the memories of countless elders and healers, warriors, farmers, fishermen, midwives, poets, and saints — in short, the artistic, intellectual and spiritual expression of the full complexity and diversity of the human experience.
Quelling this flame, this spreading inferno, and rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of the human spirit as expressed by culture, is among the central challenges of our times.” (p. 34)
Ethnosphere is a word I shall use often in the pages to follow. Paraphrasing Wade:
By enthnosphere, I mean the living diversity of human wisdom, a vast archive of knowledge and expertise, a catalogue of the imagination, an oral and written language composed of the memories of countless elders and healers, warriors, farmers, fishermen, midwives, poets, and saints — in short, the artistic, intellectual and spiritual expression of the full complexity and diversity of the human experience.
Ethnosphere is our collective unconscious made collectively conscious. What is driving Western culture’s spreading inferno is a failure in awareness. As post-copernican late-moderns, we lack the idea of even the possibility for direct connection with the collective unconscious, therefore numinous experience. We are unable to discern the difference between the Comfort, spelled with “C”, that is the fruit of a life filled with collective and individual ritual experience in a radiant creation and the comfort, spelled with “c” of consumer goods, medications, temperature control, and technology.
In her book, Moral Geography: Maps, Missionaries, and the American Frontier, Amy DeRogatis described the mapping and missionizing of what is called, The Western Reserve, which is where I have spent most of my life. Those Moravians, Methodists, Congregationalists, Presbytarians, and Catholics, all came into the Western Reserve with the Biblical notion of the promised land in their minds. Centuries earlier in the Papal Bull of May 4, 1493, the “Doctrine of Discovery” stated that the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and be everywhere increased and spread, that the health of souls be cared for and that barbarous nations be overthrown and brought to the faith itself.
Coming west, our colonist ancestors felt as if they were enacting sacred history and drew their maps that way. The pioneers lacked psychological ideas like their own Western tradition of soul, the collective unconscious, archetypes, numinsosity, aesthetic arrest, and Akashic experiences, by which they could have known that the direct connection with divinity in their own tradition was also quality of the sacred traditions of those tribes who lived here before colonization.
It was not possible for the pioneers setting up a new life on their sections of purchased land to know that the waters running through their ecosystems were as sacred as any waters named in the Christian tradition. There is little mention of how the plattes they purchased were procured by near-genocidal warfare. There was no ritual knowledge in how to be in soul relationship with the new biosphere, especially, the water.
In a conversation I had with a man with Aztec roots, he told me that his ancestors were confused by the Franciscans coming from Europe. He said as they watched the Spanish Catholics raze shrines, burn sacred texts, and enslave the people, their 2 questions were:
Don’t they realize we worship the same God?
How do you talk to a people who don’t know they live in a solar system?
The second statement, How do you talk to people who don’t know they live in a solar system?, goes to the heart intention of The Age of Magnification text. The violent people who didn’t know they lived in a solar system were Europeans who came to America using Christianity and the Bible for their model of universe. They not only did not know they lived in a solar system, but very self-righteously did so.
The inability to transform the cultural world view when the scientific knowledge of the cosmos no longer supports that world view is pathogenic to the wholeness of individual souls and most notably, all cultural institutions. We become split from the cosmos, therefore, are numb and incapable of feeling truly related to our own source – split from the stars. The word, disaster – dis = split from and aster = star, names what I am describing. Ours is a culture in disaster (They don’t know they live in a solar system!) with a tendency to cause disaster (Destruction of the enthosphere, biosphere, atmosphere) because we have not taken the time to heal our most intimately meaningful, thus ensouled, relationship with our cosmos — neither personally, collectively, nor institutionally.
Just to drive this point home, another separation in the long sequence of dissociation from our own stars occurred in 1838 when science confirmed that the sun of our solar system is, in fact, a star. After 1838, any of our sacred texts or traditions that use the words, star, sun, universe, became disconnected, split from authentic human reality. Because star, sun and cosmos are recurring metaphors in humanity’s spiritual traditions, any tradition that comes to the West is subject to the same kind of pressures. This means that the sacred texts don’t quite square with the science. As a public school teacher, I witnessed that the students who suffer most from this are 2nd generation sons and daughters of immigrants who were not able to make the religion of their parents work in the New World.
The inability to see with soul or to experience life in a manner supported by the current cosmology causes chronic illness – perhaps literally, but I am speaking here of time sickness – as in Chronos. To suffer the inner division between psychological ideas based on cosmologies from different historical eras and psychological ideas of the current, participatory cosmology is chronopathology.
Note again Hillman’s definition of archetype. Imagine archetypally that our culture is blind and manifesting the possessive effects of one of the deepest patterns of psychic functioning, in behavior…images…style of consciousness…psychopathologies…attitude. If we do this, it would be Chronos, Kronos or Saturn, the archetype of time, who is forcing us into a new consciousness.
An expansion of the timeline of the cosmos is an expansion in consciousness. An expansion of consciousness is an expansion of soul. An expansion of soul is an expansion of heart. Based on the age of the cosmos that has come forth through Western scientific knowledge, our culture appears to be the culture invited to have the gentlest of hearts and generous capacity for compassionate understanding. Are we not called to an appreciation of the fragility and rarity of all life of Earth in proportion to our knowledge that out of 2 trillion galaxies, only one has a solar system with an Earth in one of its arms?
We live here:
and when we look out our nighttime front door, the galactic center in our awareness looks like this:
To compartmentalize our lives into separate worldviews from different centuries is chronopathological. Our time and timing problems afflict with incurable psychic entrenchments. We live at rhythmic odds with ourselves and each other, feeling born at the wrong time, living in an end time, having, even doing a hard time. We are nervous with internal and external anxieties caused by entire regions of the psyche split off into the past-thought structures, an arrhythmia of soul.
In our chronopatholigcal culture, the most valuable sacred moments of life are recognized too late because they are misjudged, misunderstood, marginalized, attacked, unacknowledged. The pearls of life become sources of affliction/misunderstanding that drain our lives instead of nourish them. Those persons who would bring us the Light and Love of Eternity into the here and now feel like motherless children who want to get the hell out of here. The old name for this is despair.
It’s similar to PTSD, but the triggering ‘trauma’ is being pierced by a direct experience of awe. It’s PASD – Post-Awe Stress Disorder:
Post-aesthetic arrest, Post-near-death-experience, Post-artistic visualization, Post-creative insight, Post-non-local healing, Post-after-death communication, Post-personal past life recollection, Post-dream, Post-vision, Post-ritual Stress Disorder.
We can silently carry on with our private compartmentalization and imagine that the suffering of souls in despair belongs to them alone. At work, we can look at our 21st century i-Pad that works with principles of 20th century quantum physics in microcircuits and at Church, pray with 4th century prayers for Salvation in the Afterlife, with an archaic idea of the structure of the universe set in place 4000 years ago. I did this from childhood into my 20’s. Yes, I have lived with the suffering and still struggle what I am railing about.
The September 11 hijackers flew with 21st century technology strapped to their butts and with 8th century ideology burning in their heads. As I drive across the American continent, preachers calmly describe a 6000 year old Earth in its final days, a 100 million dollar copy of Noah’s Ark opens in Kentucky. At the same time, members of the LGBTQ+ community ask to be accepted. We struggle over how the American Constitution’s language, first ratified in 1788, applies to how many automatic weapons citizens require in 2016. The coast line of Louisiana is disappearing under the sea while Florida’s governor won’t allow the words, global climate-change, to be spoken in the state’s political power centers. Kyrie Irving, the basketball player who made perhaps the most famous shot in NBA history, proudly insists that the Earth is flat.
Chronos, Saturn, Father Time, in our culture, is the also the divinity associated with the element lead – an element quite often malefic, poisonous and limiting to life. Lead was also the element used to bind curses upon others. To be time-sick is feel poisoned and cursed. It is also to engage in poisoning and binding curses upon others. Lead in our water causes birth defects and madness. Chronopathology and weaponizing go hand in hand. How much of American weaponizing has chronopatholical roots? Talk of God and guns seems to coincide with a chronopathologizing consciousness that Hillman named the senex god.
Personifications of this principal appear in the holy or old wise man, the powerful father or grandfather, the great king, ruler, judge, counselor, elder, priest, hermit, outcast and cripple. Some emblems are the rock, the old tree, particularly oak, the scythe or sickle, the time-piece and the skull. Longings for superior knowledge, imperturbability, magnanimity, express seen feelings as does intolerance for that which crosses one’s systems and habits. The senex also shows strongly in ideas and feelings about time, the past and death. Melancholy, anxiety, sadism, paranoia, anality and obsessive memory ruminations reflect this archetype. Moreover, the main image of God in our culture: omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, seated and bearded, a ruler through abstract principal of justice, morality and order, a faith in words yet not given to self-explanation in speech, benevolent, but enraged when his will is crossed, removed from the feminine (wifeless) and the sexual aspect of creation, up high with a geometric world of stars and planets in the cold, distant night of numbers…
The high God of our culture is a senex god; we are created after this image with a consciousness reflecting this structure.
Limiting our concept to a wifeless high God of limitations has had a crippling impact on the feminine over the centuries. Diane Price Herndl, in her brilliant book, Invalid Women: Figuring Feminine Illness in American Fiction and Culture 1840-1940 reminded us of the way life in a culture ruled by a wifeless patriarchal God made the feminine invalid, meaning not valid or worth as much and at the same time, sick with the crippling illnesses that seem to be in the senex god’s energetic field. She wrote of this:
…illness” is a defining term especially when it involves the categorization of someone as an ‘invalid'; it is a figure for explaining one’s place in society. Representing one’s self as an invalid puts into play a whole structure of care, attention, responsibility and privilege. Defining what counts as illness, setting boundaries around who can and connote be considered an invalid, however, ‘natural’ these definitions may seem, are functions of ideology; influenced by representation.”
The invalid woman, then, can serve as the focus for questioning the history and the ideological power of representation.
Of the feminine inflection of the senex impulse, Hillman continued:
The urge to “build cities” and “mint money”, the deep-seated concretization of the senex impulse may very well be taken as an attribute of this mother-sister-wife complex…this senex preoccupation with property, with the things and matters of the established order, its hoarding, and its greed, derives not from the ‘excess of pneuma’ and the exaggerated irritability of the vis imaginative, that is, Saturn’s own native spirit, but rather from the feminine side of this structure, the earth, and its materialism to which its ties are reinforced in triplicate.
By showing saturnine traits, senex femininity presents unpleasant, even maleficent, aspects of the feminine. Here we meet her mad moodiness, her peculiar fascinations with the occult or with power and possessions, or with the ‘way out’ of things of prisons, sewerage and magic. A state of mind occurs that seems obsessive, not anima and not feminine as we prettily conceive those notions. Senex femininity seems rather the crone side of the mother archetype. As if as we grown older not only do we whine and need helping, but use our infirmity for power. (p.25)
In communities and over the internet, it is a feminine-toned bullying that we call social bullying – not the one on one beat-down, but bullying though instigating a collective shunning, dismissal, or attack targeting one individual. In dreams, senex femininity of soul appears in militarized or dogmatically imposed institutions, persons, communities. The crone side of the mother archetype is the relational psychic body of the military-industrial complex, the Inquisition, the collective of colonizers. There’s a great image of this in Star Trek’s Borg. The dreamer is set apart and alien to this collective dream consciousness surrounded by death-threats, persecution and condemnation. In visionary states, Chris Bache described in his book, Dark Night, Early Dawn, how during his vision sessions, he entered into whole regions of collective suffering, prisons, psych wards, hospitals, war-zones. This, too, a collective body of infirmity for power, to turn the phrase, is senex femininity.
The senex high God is associated with weaponizing and war. This has often been a culturally enforced value that was established in Constantine’s victory where he was told he would be successful in battle if he fought in the name of the high God symbolized by what we call, the Chi Rho.
Later in European history, Clovis, the first king of France, made a similar bargain with that same high God. It is said that in Tolbiac, Clovis prayed to the God of his wife for victory. Upon winning, France became ‘la fille ainee’ de l’Eglise – the eldest daughter of the Church.
To continue now in Western way of life where we are created in the image of a senex god with a consciousness reflecting this structure is not whole. Even in the atheistic late-modern consciousness the mental structure remains. The belief in a highest God relies upon a dome of fixed stars above which is His Heavenly Dwelling Place with is Son at His Right Hand. The late modern mind forgoes the good above, but still keeps the flat dome of stars to be used as a pragmatic way to measure and record. Here is a map of the sky that reflects senex consciousness:
I wrote of this in my song, Creation, which is featured below:
Some people say
That this world was made
Dividing the darkness from the light.
They claim that you and me
Were the accident waiting to strike.
Our culture’s constellation map was completed in 1930. It was done in the same flat-sky-style that Ptolemy used in 150 CE. It is chronopathological with a time-divide 18 centuries wide.
When our sports figures take a knee or point to the sky for gratitude, it is this dome they have in their minds. When our philosophers struggle with meaninglessness and absurdity, they are still under that same old vault. This flat sky is the source of Western culture’s chronopathology. Wade’s alert that we are burning down the enthosphere means that it harms all children of the planet and it poisons the waters, air, ecosystems of Earth.
You can see the entrenchment I’m describing in the maps of Manifest Destiny:
Both Cleveland, Ohio and St. Joseph Missouri, pictured here, were the western boundary of the American project. You can see the geometric cold and distant world view imposed on what in both cases has been a sacred ground for centuries. Cleveland is a city that featured numerous mounds, including a huge one at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. St. Joseph’s grid is upon hills were once called, The Gates of Paradise. Here again, its the flatness that is apparent. Again, in Western culture, since God is on High, the Earth is ‘fallen’ and the place where the refuse of the cosmos has settled down. In the late-modern world view, a geometric grid is a pragmatic way to measure, record, buy and sell.
Because senex consciousness is so well-armed and self-righteous, it’s a very hard juggernaut to face. The continent is strewn with the lives of forgotten millions who died from diseases and war. Here is an apocryphal conversation between Tecumseh and William Henry Harrison in 1811:
Tecumseh:..You wish to prevent the indians from uniting and
considering their land the common property of the whole.
I do not see how we can remain at peace with you if you
continue to do so. Brother, this land that was sold and
the goods that were given for it, they were done only by
the few. If you continue to purchase land from those who
have no right to do so, I do not know what will be the
consequence…for Brother, we wish to save this land and
do not want you to take it..
Harrison: The United States has not treated the indians dishonestly,
nor unjustly. Indians are not one nation, nor do they own the land in
common. Has not the Great Spirit given them separate tongues?
August 12, 1810
Fort Vincennes, Indiana
At the heart of this disagreement is that, for Tecumseh, homeland and soul were both an individual as well as collective concerns. Soul, that which joins us to the sacred, for the natives, is throughout the Earth and Sky, shared by all. For Harrison, soul was private property and alien to the Earth because its true homeland was outside space and time — high above. For him, the Holy Land was thousands of miles away and he was a pragmatic man with a job to expand his president’s empire of liberty.
I’ve lived in France and traveled Europe, have been all over Western culture. I have read the histories of Europe’s wars. I have read accounts from prisoners and slaves. Throughout the length of it, there is no acknowledgment that Earth is sacred and is a person who can heal and who responds to us, sees us, recognizes us and delights in our lives. Western persons struggle to understand why those who lived here for thousands of years all say that water is the first medicine.
I have been beyond the grids of the Western mind. To the best of my knowledge, to live inside a materially comfortable, yet chronopathological culture that is unaware of its own tradition of soul is the exception and not the rule for human beings on the planet.
To live beneath this sky grid, whether in a chronopathological world of a senex God on High or a soulless place of measurement and commerce,
on this Earth grid, whether it is imagined as ‘fallen’ or ‘nothing but a fortunate and meaningless accident’, or a blend of both,
and stagnating inside a structure of senex consciousness where we harm children, women, annihilate any other culture than our own, where we overlook, moralize, repress, diagnose, imprison, exploit, betray, drug and mock men who do not measure up, where we pollute, deforest, exterminate the planetary ecosystems — need not go any further than your reading this sentence right now.
Our Western soul tradition that teaches that there is a God in the archetypal pattern of chronopathology, also teaches that within the time-pathology, is an unanswered Call by Chronos/Saturn to collective soul service. The West and Westerners are Called to become more sacred time-keepers. In fact, it is exhilarating to follow the Call and exit from inside to the outside. We can all recollect and feel the persons of Earth and Sky again. This was the essential Grace I received in the initiation cave at Font-de-Gaume.
This teaching is in the West’s indigenous tradition of alchemy. When individuals accept the self-discipline of the Great Work, it is through the Saturn’s previously-mean-spirited lead that the Gold of the philosophers comes forth. In fact, the Opus is inauthentic if we leave Saturn out of it. In alchemy, the timeline that is honored through the discipline is also our own biography – the narrative of our life when it causes inconsolable sadness is the Call to begin. Out of what seemed to be a ruined life-line, the Gold comes forth, present there, even from the Beginning.
Chronos, is not by nature, a poisoning archetype. When we have neglected the care of soul Chronos requires of us, only then does the imbalance poison and consume. Chronos/Saturn, in our culture is a divinity of harvest and abundance. We honor the collective soul when we get ourselves right with time. It is surely ever-possible to get right with time – the archetype, and enjoy the tremendous blessings of life in relationship that marries both the Eternal and the space-time cycles of life.
All the God Saturn asks of us is a disciplined recognition of the literal, material age of our cosmos to the best of our knowledge. When we value the timeline our science reveals it is more than good science, it is good psychology, good soul wisdom. The mind-shattering expansion of our timeline from 6000 years is evidence of our evolutionary expansion. In 2012, the Lambda cold dark matter model for judging the age of the cosmos arrived at the number, 13.799 billion years with room for a 21 million year margin of error. In 2013, the European Space Agency’s Planck mission arrived at the number, 13.82 billion years. This kind of careful science as regards time is where the West honors Chronos. It is best to always use the larger number, if a disciplined approach was used. In this case, the Clock of the Western Collective Soul is currently set at 13.820,000,000 years.
This is the cover to my 1997 Cd, Released from the Past. The image is from alchemy and is called, Saturn’s Stone. I chose it to mark the beginning of the Great Work of restoration and renewal of the world. I wrote above that Chronos does not have to be lived as a poisonous life-limiter. In fact, in our own culture’s lost tradition of alchemy, lead represents the substance of the beginning of the Great Work. Setting your soul’s clock is the necessary first step to bring forth the New Dawning. With this reading, time is ripe for a lot of us to begin the work on our relationship to Chronos, to time. Our sense of time and timing needs to be dissolved into a more beneficial form. The clock on the wall can recover a right relationship with the clock of the Earth, the solar system, the galaxy, the galactic neighborhood, the cosmos.
When you get Chronos right in this world, all the worlds line up.
We are at the new beginning in this reading. Here are the words I wrote in 1997 regarding the work of being released from the past. In my own psychological work, I had reached a point where my relationship with my birth family was healed and I could see how what our family suffered was part of a very long story, much bigger than our personal lives. I wrote:
The release of this Cd marks a threshold. Its title, Released from the Past, resonates at several levels. My greatest wish is that, in some way, the very personal journey traced by this trail of songs will assist in the neo-renaissance now occurring in the postmodern West. Perhaps it’s as if we all need some release from the past, some peace with what is dying away in order to turn full face to the time current coming from the future - that the deed of the son heal the pain of the father. I am not alone or the first to note that the archetype emerging in our midst has a quality of wholeness about it. That it’s like a sacred marriage of deep masculine and feminine or a reunion of long lost companions, that it is being ushered in – light by light, and that it rejoins us to the cosmos in a profouond, participatory way.
Set your soul clock on your wall to 13,820,000,000 years. The consciousness in which you are reading these words is in symbiosis with a infinitely deep consciousness within, beneath, beyond, that from the beginning is with you now. If there remains in you any trace of a Post-Awe Stress Disorder, whether of aesthetic arrest, near-death-experience, artistic visualization, creative insight, non-local healing, after-death communication, personal past life recollection, dream, vision, ritual, or any form not contained in this list, may you know this as a life Calling that has always shown the way forward. May you be free of condemnation or self-condemnation for your expansive awareness May you always remember how you are Eternity. Consider Joseph Campbell’s words:
Eternity isn’t some later time.
Eternity isn’t even a long time.
Eternity has nothing to do with time.
Eternity is that dimension of here and now
that all thinking in temporal terms cuts off…
the experience of eternity right here and now,
in all things, whether thought of as good or as evil,
is the function of life.
It’s time to awaken among friends inside our Age…
c. 2008 F Christopher Reynolds
You got your picture of
The perfect un-touched Love.
You never want to let her go.
That’s how it works,
Heart-scorched holes in your shirts
Those days you feel the over-load.
Lay your starry-blue guitar
Across your fiery, fuming heart
That’s inside you rising like a hill
All at once, the strumming breaks
And your whole body creates
Every kind of creature, large and small
Wild horses, flying birds, Eagle high overhead
Coyote calls out to the Grateful Dead
Enormous whales dive deep
Into your endless sleep
And forests rise from the ashes in your head.
Forests rise from the ashes in your head.
Some people say
That this world was made
Dividing the darkness from the light.
They claim that you and me
Were the accident waiting to strike.
Now, as for me
That’s not how I see.
And I have formed one planet or two.
In the Beginning, a lonesome Singer
Became the Creator
Because He was in Love with You.
Wild horses, flying birds, Eagle high overhead
Coyote calls out to the Grateful Dead
Enormous whales dive deep
Into your endless sleep
And forests rise from the ashes in your head.
Forests rise from the ashes in your head.
Forests rise from the ashes in your head.
Please listen to the song, Creation:
All human beings are one people and may we once again learn to hear the voices of the children, women, ecosystems, all other cultures. May our hearts be moved by learning the language of the overlooked, moralized, repressed, diagnosed, imprisoned, exploited, betrayed, drugged and mocked, all men who do not measure up. Even more, may we learn again to feel deeply into the Beauty of our life on Earth. May we walk ever and ever again into a Beautiful World. May we ever sing of the continuity of cosmos, consciousness, and life, with hearts and souls befitting the full stature of our cosmos.