IN THE BEGINNING…
A friend of mine told me felt that the passion that runs through my life has always been to bring awareness. He was right. To bring awareness is the heart of all that follows. The awareness is important is because we are living in the largest shift in human consciousness – ever. There have never been times like the present.
Theologian Thomas Berry wrote:
We are just emerging from a technological entrancement. During this period, the human mind has been placed within the narrowest confines it has experienced since consciousness emerged from its Paleolithic phase.
Another way to understand what my friend called my passion to bring awareness is at the root of the word, educate – educare Educare means, to lead out from. My passion is to lead you, the reader, out from the narrow confines within which your mind has been placed.
It is possible to become aware of the “technological entrancements” that have held consciousness prisoner the past 400 years. Once aware, it is possible to choose to no longer participate.
It is possible to co-dream, to co-create a whole and beautiful future for our children and grandchildren.
The Paleolithic phase that Berry described is where this story begins. That time-period featured painted caves of the Cro-magnon peoples of Southern France and Spain. Some 20,000 years ago, they lived at the edge of ice-shelf that covered Europe.
I got to live the experience how consciousness emerged in the belly of one of those Paleolithic caves.
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 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 through aesthetic arrest 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 possible. The essence of the general misunderstanding is because our culture is poor in understanding of soul. By soul, here, I mean soul as understood in the Western tradition. It is, essentially, the imaginative capacities of our being. (Sardello, 1995)
This is the tradition that holds that the unconscious mind is the source of consciousness. The unconscious informs and surrounds the mind you are now using to read these words.
The journey of my life has allowed me to live through and to sort out life-sustaining wisdom from ideas that Jung would say, 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 write to you now about soul only after centuries of forgetfulness.
Coffin Ship from Ireland to America, 1847 (My great-great-grandmother, Winnefred Reynolds, came to America on one of these – at age 2. Her father, Thomas Reynolds came to America earlier to establish a new life and called for her to come after finding work with the Pennsylvania Railroad in Dayton, Ohio. )
TREE OF LIFE
The Western soul tradition is thick tree with a branch that currently moves through Richard Tarnas and archetypal cosmology to his mentor, James Hillman, who, perhaps more than any scholar since Jung, kept this soul oak alive.
In his Re-Visioning Psychology, Hillman traced his archetypal psychology through C. G. Jung, Freud, Dilthey, Coleridge, Shelling, Vico, Ficino, Plotinus, Plato, finally to Heraclitis, whom Hillman quoted:
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).
To fully appreciate my Cro-Magnon satori, you have to unearth what was buried beneath Heraclitis’ uniting of depth and soul in 500 BCE. The Western mind rests upon an even more ancient living tradition. Beyond walls and beneath the temples of the Gods and Goddesses still abide the primal archetypes of Grandmother Earth (Gaia), Grandfather Sky (Ouranos) — all those indigenous archetypes who were demonized prior to foundation of patriarchal Greek world view, endure. This soul tradition has sustained indigenous cultures for thousands of years.
A wide-spread pattern of primordial wisdom 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. When you include the primal world view to the Western soul tradition, the unconscious that is the source of the consciousness you are using to read these words now surrounds and informs your mind because it is spread throughout the planet, solar system and cosmos, in all directions – outward and inward.
Those who are my mentors, hold and honor the Deep Mystery of psyche, such that when I write that the unconscious that is the source of consciousness, I am expressing a Western understanding that is expressed in writings of the Tao in the East:
The great Tao flows everywhere.
All things are born from it,
yet it doesn’t create them.
It pours itself into its work,
yet it makes no claim.
It nourishes infinite worlds,
yet it doesn’t hold on to them.
Since it is merged with all things
and hidden in their hearts,
it can be called humble.
Since all things vanish into it
and it alone endures,
it can be called great.
It isn’t aware of its greatness;
thus it is truly great.
That summer of 1986, when I returned to the surface world and could feel all that is Earth, Sky, East, West, North, South, center less Center, I was decolonized and re-indigenized.
There is a similar decolonization narrative in Fr. John Stolzman’s book, The Pipe and Christ.
Stolzman wrote that after all of his Jesuit formation he still 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 is not just Catholic Jesuits who do not know about the Grandmother, but all Western persons who trace their philosophy through Aristotle, Plato, Socrates and Heraclitus’ primarily patriarchal floor plans.
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. By re-indigenize, I mean both a reconnection to the thousands of years ways of wisdom that have been the key to human flourishing all around the Great Lakes and what the Indigenous call, Turtle Island, as well as unearthing this same kind of wisdom through my own Irish, English and German ancestors. The life-enhancing, nurturing gifts of the Western way are still very much a part of my life. I’m writing on a laptop that is the result of Western knowing. I have done the same in learning from Indigenous wisdom – to integrate the best and leave any life-crippling concepts to the past.
There is a name for the creation of an in-between meeting place for Indigenous and Western ways of knowing. It is called, Ethical Space. Marie Battiste wrote a wonderful description of Ethical Space in her 2013 text, Decolonizing Education: Nurturing the Learning Spirit
She described Ethical Space as:
…the in-between space that connects Indigenous
and Eurocentric knowledge systems…the space that is created
when Indigenous and Western thought are brought together…
It is not a merge or a clash, but a space that is new, electrifying,
even contentious, but ultimately has the potential for an interchange
or dialogue of the assumptions, values and interest each holds.
Adding ethics to this space entertains our personal capacity and
our integrity to stand up for our cherished notions of good,
responsibility, and duty. (p. 105)
The above words describe the struggle of my life in a nutshell.
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.
This writing is also indebted to the work of Vocata George, Eugene Monick, Jack Marsick, Jane Piirto, Patrick Slattery, Diane Pinchot et les Bonnes Soeurs Ursulines, Pastor Carol Vaccariello, Carol Dombrose, Robert Sardello, Stan Grof, Chris Bache. In the indigenous traditions, I am indebted to Andy Papp, Alex Farkas, James Beard, aka. Noodin, Francine Zephier and the Oglala Lakota. In 1975-76, our family entered in the 12-Step Recovery Movement. I feel rooted to Ohio through the ongoing Recovery efforts and earlier in the Underground Railroad.
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 for God, King, Queen, Country, and Cause. 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 life’s deepest beauty in activities, times and places. Our hearts enable us to recognize the difference between shallow flatness and depth of soul. There is certainly a physical component when our hearts are in the presence of life’s deepest beauty. If someone were to monitor your heart during those times, there would most certainly be a quickening. Seeing with our hearts requires a particular style of education and vocabulary. It is by spontaneous intuition, a knowing feeling – feeling into, is how I described this way of the heart.
Our hearts feel, know, recognize, reflect, by means of psychological ideas. Their recovery was central to the preservation and nurturing of soul in Re-Visioning Psychology. Hillman stressed that without psychological ideas, the divinity 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.
I’ve shared a few psychological ideas up to this point: gnosis, power of myth, transparency to the transcendence, aesthetic arrest, satori, indigenous wisdom,. Another concept that provides insight is from Rudolf Otto’s concept of the numinous that he found was shared by all traditions that value the holy. He wrote of the numinous in The Idea of the Holy: An Inquiry into the Non-Rational Factor in the Idea of the Divine and its Relation to the Rational.. The English translation was published in 1923.
He defined the numinous as:
“Mysterium tremendum et fascinans” (fearful and fascinating mystery):
“Mysterium”: Wholly Other, experienced with blank wonder, stupor
“tremendum”: awefulness, terror, demonic dread, awe, absolute unapproachability, “wrath” of God overpoweringness, majesty, might, sense of one’s own nothingness in contrast to its power creature-feeling, sense of objective presence, dependence
energy, urgency, will, vitality
“fascinans”: potent charm, attractiveness in spite of fear, terror, etc.
In July, 1986, I had a numinous experience of awe and became blank with wonder. I knew a potent sense of both my nothingness/everythingness under the ground.
THE DEPTHS THAT PARTICIPATE IN CONSCIOUSNESS
The idea of the collective unconscious, also known as the archetypal unconscious/objective psyche, expands our horizon further. The waking consciousness of human beings is informed by immense soul depths. Human beings have a personal conscious and unconscious that share biographic touch-points with a collective unconscious. There is enough evidence now in the research. A simple word association test can prove that though our conscious minds may have will and intention, deeper layers of our awareness also participate in our lives, minds, emotions and relationships.
The word association test was more than a century ago. Consciousness studies have carefully established a body of knowledge, an incredible gift to future generations, that opens the heart the way the telescope and magnifying opened the mind 400 years ago. It’s waiting for you to look through it, even as institutional authorities warn you of bedevilment.
The most recent publication in consciousness studies is the 2016 text: What is Reality?: The New Map of Cosmos and Consciousness.
Our minds are as deep as the cosmos we inhabit. The majority of the unconscious is shrouded in mystery – Is the Mystery.
Our minds are the cosmos we inhabit. — is the central message of Lazlo’s 2016 text. Much of our consciousness is beyond our own biographies, cultures, even beyond our species-mind. This is where current quantum physics and consciousness research has its growing edge.
My Font-de-Gaume experience, then, was a becoming conscious of what was before that moment, of my unconscious and collective unconscious. Not very much of 25 years of life that led me to that point can account for the experience. When I was in primary school, I loved drawing underground tunnels. During ages 13-17, my friends and I dug tunnels to be our forts to play in. My experience took me beyond my biography, beyond my culture – it was a transpersonal experience. Transpersonal is the term coined by Stanislov Grof that his research required. In his consciousness studies, there was just too much beyond individual lifetimes. He wrote of this:
…probing of the depth of the unconscious revealed another vast transbiographical and transexperiential domain for which I chose the term, transpersonal. It comprises a rich array of experiences in which consciousness transcends the boundaries of the body/ego and the usual limitations of linear time and 3 dimensional space. It took me three years to map this territory before I felt that the new cartography included the most important categories and types of transpersonal experiences and phenomena. (p. xxvii, in What is Reality?)
To be human where the most meaningful experiences of our lives are numinous non-rational transpersonal knowing of transbiographical, transexperiential, moments – means that we are in a conundrum in how to speak of such things? This question has been solved for us already. We need metaphor to approach as best we can our experiences where words fall away. We need art, music, all cultural forms, myths, and mythic modes of speaking/listening. All the metaphoric styles of language are then, symbolic – they require images. The images that do this for us best are the archetypes.
I can share now that the image I looked at when the lights were switched on was the side of an ochre horse. This cave painting is similar to what I saw:
Numinous phenomena of the archetypes of the collective unconscious are life-changing religious experiences – transpersonal moments of awe. A definition of archetype us now in order. James Hillman’s in Re-Visioning Psychology:
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”.
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]
As I write, re-read, copy, and weave my knowledge into the lineage of soul in the West, all the psychological ideas, 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.
With a psychologically equipped intellect, my private and personal experience returns to what is acknowledged as fundamentally human. This is very healing to me.
I need to decolonize the term, archetype of the collective unconscious in order for my experience to feel comprehensively understood. In the Western tradition of soul that comes to us through Freud, Jung, to Hillman, the archetypes of the collective unconscious have often been relegated to the private experiences of the individual in therapy. The West has a habit of making everything into private property. This was Hillman’s lament. His driving passion was that soul belonged to the world. Richard Tarnas carried forward Hillman’s passion by founding archetypal cosmology. Archetypal cosmology offers a vision of the cosmos woven with meaning. In 2006 with the publication of Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of an Emerging World View. Western persons were invited to imagine the discovery of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, as collective soul events that now inform how we can imagine the development of consciousness of all humanity – consciousness woven with the deeper patterns of the universe.
This same returning awareness in the West was never lost in indigenous wisdom. Understanding, experiencing, and participating in an inherently meaningful cosmos endures. The collective unconscious is collective because it connects us to all humanity and all that is – now and into the future. The collective unconscious is not of the past alone.
The Lakota, Mitakuye Oyasin- All My Relations. – is real and lived. There is a Cree story I heard of how the people dreamed of the ships coming from Europe before the vessels arrived offshore. It was a dream of what looked like islands with trees hung with white fabric. After much discussion, the people were still mystified. However, when they saw the first ships arrive, they understood the dream. Beneath our day to day consciousness, we are all connected.
What Hillman called organizing into clusters or constellations a host of events from different areas of life…in behavior…images…style of consciousness…psychopathologies…attitude. Jung named a diffuse cloud of cognition. He wrote that there is a space-timeless, a diffuse cloud of cognition, that is present wherever there is a merging of personal consciousness with the archetypal ground of the collective unconscious.
At the heart of what Hillman and Jung before him described is synchronicity or meaningful coincidence, that surrounds direct contact with the archetypal unconscious. So, for example, not long after my re-emergence from Font de Gaume, we were all riding on our tour bus. At an old French village where we stopped, I watched a bent-over old woman dressed in black carrying a heavy bundle of branches along a small road. I was not able to photograph that woman, but there are many images like the woman I saw.
She carries the burden for them., occurred to me as I watched her. The appearance of this burdened woman in black was one of the images that surrounded my underground awakening/becoming. This is Hillman’s constellation, Jung’s diffuse cloud of cognition – a knowing that appears in the vicinity of the deeper knowing – a field of awareness in touch with the Eternal.
Feeling into the constellation, diffuse cloud of cognition, of the archetypal ground 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. Laszlo wrote:
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 56, 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.
THE SOUL IS SAFER OUTSIDE THE HOUSE
There is a warning from indigenous wisdom that our souls are safer outside the house. It comes from imagining the living space of our lives inside the wider vessel of the soul. Our bodies are imagined in that same way, as a concentration and living form of our souls around and through us.
For many years, my experience in all institutions, whether in churches, schools, hospitals, seats of government, museums, businesses, etc…was as if there were hard psychic walls around them. I felt like most of me was outside the windows looking in, even as I participated in the communities inside them.
Only over time did my sense of perspective turn inside out with the wider, felt connection of meaningful relationship. Feeling connected to the ecosystems, Ancestors and stars, after many years of dreamwork, became strong enough to withstand what felt like a cookie-cutter to my awareness.
Moreover, inside Western institutions is not only this cookie-cutter, but also a filtered environment that can have a numbing, blinding effect on any sense of remembering how we and Eternity are in union. Soul. We seldom see the greater part of ourselves reflected back.
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 and humans in non-Western cultures know this, have known this for millenia.
After spending 15 years 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 and the cosmos are one.. I can also affirm with some authority that each night when we go to sleep, we are reminded of our root in Eternity because the fundamental message of the night and dreaming is – We are Eternity
A CHANCE TO SEE WITH THE EYE OF THE HEART AND TO HEAR WITH NEW EARS
This next story invites you to see with your heart with the psychological ideas presented above. Find below gnosis, the Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans, transpersonal knowing, the collective unconscious, a synchronistic and akashic experience:
A woman I once met had the gift of spirit sight. In our sharing, she told me 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.
The above image is close to what I am describing – the infinity of worlds when the time is right in this world is not a simple endless repetition. The above image, in fact, would offer a way of imagining infinity with no root in the material world – a dry and even hellish endlessness. To get at what I am describing, use the above image, and allow each surface its own nuanced meaning and mystery – let there be unique cracks in each that allow you to feel into the warmth, love, joy and humor, of each – at the same time, with a realization that you are learning about yourself by entering more deeply into the Mystery. This is another way to think about I am Eternity .
ELABORATION OF SOUL AND RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE
My Font-de-Gaume awakening and this man’s NDE are both 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.
RETURN TO ANCIENT WISDOM
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. Psychological ideas like the collective unconscious, archetypes, numinosity, aesthetic arrest, and Akashic experiences, were still 150 years into the future. Due to a poverty of ideas in the American frontier, those Christians who came to the Western Reserve were incapable of knowing that the direct connection with divinity in their own tradition was also a reality 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 rivers flowing through their ecosystems were as sacred as any rivers 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.
DIS-ASTER BEGETS DISASTER
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 of that culture’s institutions. By pathogenic, I mean that it causes pathos, which means, suffering. The degree of suffering generated is related to the intellectual capacity of the individual. Nietszche is a prime example who suffered because God had gone missing. Earlier, this was Pascal’s terror in 1639. He suffered the mental division between the devotion of his Christianity and the infinite spaces discovered by the telescope.
It is cosmological knowledge that represents a culture’s metaphorical ground that supports its reason for being. To become split from the cosmos is to suffer an obstacle that numbs and renders the people 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.
Western culture, then, has been 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.
Consider this poem as a description of a modern Western person who is split from the stars:
Poem by David Wagoner:
When Laurens van der Post one night
In the Kalihari Desert told the Bushmen
He couldn’t hear the stars
Singing, they didn’t believe him. They looked at him,
Half-smiling. They examined his face
To see whether he was joking
Or deceiving them. Then two of those small men
Who plant nothing, who have almost
Nothing to hunt, who live
On almost nothing, and with no one
But themselves, led him away
From the crackling thorn-scrub fire
And stood with him under the night sky
And listened. One of them whispered,
Do you not hear them now?
And van der Post listened, not wanting
To disbelieve, but had to answer,
No. They walked him slowly
Like a sick man to the small dim
Circle of firelight and told him
They were terribly sorry…
Richard Tarnas named this dilemma the post-copernican double-bind. He suggested that there is a similarity betweem the double-bind that schizogenic (mind-splitting) mothers impose on their children and the cultural double-bind that is caused by insisting on pre-Copernican ways during a time when those ways are disassociated from the actual solar system. This condition is a constant yes-no that ultimately splinters the psychological bond with the source of life.
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.
CHRONOPATHOLOGY OR TIME SICKNESS
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.
Let us imagine that Chronos, Kronos or Saturn, the archetype of time, 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, Post-falling-in-love, Post-co-creativity 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 to 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.
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 grow 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. Culturally, this ‘social bullying’ includes collective exploitation, enslavement, degradation, prejudice, not just toward a person, but toward a group considered inferior and criminal.
In dreams, senex femininity of soul appears as in Plato’s Cave of slaves in chains looking at shadows, in militarized or dogmatically bound institutions and communities. The crone side of the mother archetype is the relational psychic body of the military-industrial complex, the Inquisition, the collective of colonizers and their slave-ships. There’s a great image of this in Star Trek’s Borg and in the Matrix film series. 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.
FACING OUR GOD OF WAR
Collective senex possession associated with weaponizing and war has often been a culturally enforced value. It was certainly 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 intellectual senex structure remains. The belief in a highest God relies upon a dome of fixed stars above which is His Heavenly Dwelling Place with his 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 our current map of the nighttime sky. Its flatness 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 once 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, that which serves our economic, scientific, technological interests.
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.
THE CALL TO COLLECTIVE SOUL SERVICE
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 Hermetic traditions of alchemy, sacred geometry and astrology. When individuals seek a connection to the Golden Chain and 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 includes 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.
A DISCIPLINED APPROACH TO THE MATERIAL
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.
Chronos becomes Kairos – the right timing.
This same notion of Chronos and Kairos runs all through the chapters of Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology, issue 5, Saturn and the Theoretical Foundations of an Emerging Discipline, in 2016.
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.
Click below for Chapter 1
The Age of Magnification: Chapter 1, Juste Sous l’Etoile