The Message of the Starry Messenger is:
You, human beings, are all one people.
DEFINITION OF THE UR-CONSTELLATIONS
I created the first six ur-constellations in response to the violence of 9/11/2001. They were placed into the sky in a healing concert that was held at Landmark Studios with Chris Keffer and his Magnetic North in 2002 before a live audience. The highlights of that performance art recording session formed the tracks for The New Heavens and the New Earth: The Urground Railroad. Landmark Studios was housed in one of the oldest churches in Cleveland, Ohio, St. John’s Episcopal Church. St. John’s was known as Station Hope during the days of the Underground Railroad.
Those first 6 ur-constellations of 2001 appear in the clip for Creation. The process for making them appears in the unveiling that is the graphics. The first ur-constellation you see is the most recent, The Singer, of 2014. It is followed by Recollector of 2007. More teaching images appear, including a NASA photo of the literal dark side of the moon, where Pink is going to see us, if you are a fan of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. About 2/3’s into the song, after you see the You are here. image of Earth seen from the surface of Mars, the first ur-constellations appear as they were presented in 2002 as the Ur-ground Railroad:
2. Eagle-headed Harp: Vision Through Music
4. Transparent Body of the King
5. Dragon Dissolved: Cities of Light Appearing
6. The Signal Tree: Tree of Life
I invite you to watch again, looking for the revelatory solid transparency of the updated star map.
The cover art was done by Jim Bycznski, a fellow-teacher and artist. The image above is the galactic center out of which a tree is growing. In this image, was a Station Hope for our times. The hope is for an expansion of our hearts’ capacities for compassion and creativity in proper proportion to human beings as a galactic species. It is also a hope for a new dawning awareness of the continuity of consciousness from lifetime to lifetime, in proper proportion to the age of the cosmos. Human consciousness is like a tree that endures for many growing seasons (many lifetimes), as vitally and generous as a tree.
It was clear as I watched the Twin Towers burn with my students at the then Berea High School, that the mostly Saudi attackers and we Americans were not on the same page as regards the cosmos. We were not living with the same cosmic map, though we were all human beings. At first, I attempted a new collection of constellations entirely. However, when doing more research into our own sky map, I found a constellation model for the heavens that reflected our current awareness in Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncias of 1610.
Human consciousness is surrounded by, has within itself, is interwoven with, a personal and a collective unconscious depth.
Ohio was once the Promised Land during the days of the Underground Railroad. The community that was the Railroad was one that united all social classes and races. It was one dedicated to free those in bondage. I took from this the idea that now the bondage we seek to throw off is the bondage that holds our conscious awareness prisoner. The Urground Railroad used the six ur-constellations I created as a path into full awareness that matches our psychological, spiritual, ecological reality. Perhaps, too, was the hope that this renewed art of heavenly correspondences would help the ongoing effort for human beings to realize we are more alike than we are different. I created a sky map that hopefully was a journey to fully awaken to the cosmos of the times and then to join into the efforts to unchain all others.
I wrote earlier Thomas Berry’s words, …the human mind has been placed within the narrowest confines it has experienced since consciousness emerged from its Paleolithic phase My goal was then and remains to create a new cultural star map, an image of our dreaming consciousness that is capable of the spaciousness of soul for those who find their way out of those narrowest confines of the human mind.
The ur-constellations, then, are our inherited Western constellations transformed and updated by literally and poetically integrating magnification into them. They continue of the art of Galileo in his proto-ur-constellations that appeared in Sidereus Nucnias. The goal is to complete our cultural cosmological work in order to offer it as a gift from the Western soul – a sacred time-keeping on behalf of all Creation.
The gift is to encourage humanity to live together under a sky that ever-reminds us, as we have learned in our own disciplines of archetypal psychology, cosmology and ecology of soul that we are all one people. There are many cultural ways of knowing the energies of eternity through the myths we live by in the here and now. (ethnosphere/collective unconscious/cosmic memory field)
Ur-constellations announce that humanity flourishes more peaceably through lovingly shared, non-dogmatic relationships with the unseen and each other. An ur-constellation dissolves the urge to hegemonic cultural certainty because it proclaims that even our most life-transforming moments of awe, when we experience eternity in the here and now, are rooted in an even more enigmatic Mystery. Meaning comes forth from infinite depths that surpass metaphoric attempts to hold and share them.
Literally, ur-constellations integrate celestial lights and motions that can only be known by seeing through a telescope. By including magnification, ur-constellations are literally and metaphorically complex enough to reflect planetary biology, cosmology and consciousness. The mature awareness our cosmos requests of us is to know that what presents itself to the naked eye alone is merged with the unseen, a solid and revelatory transparency. In this way, cosmologica, psychological and ecological language can once again coincide. Cosmos = Psyche, something Jung hinted at when he said that in its depths, psyche is world.
Dr. Galilei’s 1610 approach has remained un-answered. The Roman Catholic astronomer’s proto-ur-constellations showed the naked-eye stars as single points outlined with 6-pointed star-shapes. He drew the stars he could only see through his telescope as un-outlined asterisks.
The prefix, Ur, of ur-constellation is from the work of Eugene Monick, Alice Peterson and Lee Irwin. They used Ur to represent wholeness in the profoundest sense – whole, yet always in evolution and involution. Monick and Peterson applied ur- to humanity in hopes of removing gender-bias from theological terms like: “mankind”, “man” and the patriarchal image of God. Together, they coined and employed the term, Urperson.
Urperson allowed for a proper post-patriarchal update for the Greek ‘anthropos’, original man or mankind, also the Second Adam or Christ. Their use of Urperson acknowledges and celebrates the primal co-presence of the feminine in the body of human and divine wholeness. An Urperson is neither completely a ‘he’ nor a ‘she’, but a ‘they’. Urperson also acknowledges and embraces the presence of the unconscious and the suffering of evil, sexuality, disease and turmoil woven at the heart of human experience, even unto the knowledge of God. All human beings are a union of 2 — of embodied consciousness and unconsciousness.
Irwin coined the term, Ur-space and described it as, the womb of all becomings, the Spacio-Psychronic Continuum, multiverse. Irwin applied Ur to the image of the containing/uncontaining matrix of reality. This necessarily implies quantum physics and a participatory world view in which human beings are not victims, but are playing a co-creational role in the unfolding of life.
Surprisingly, the Copernican revolution moved us out of Ptolemy’s universe of celestial spheres (except for the moon) but not out from under his constellations. The way Ptolemy described his constellations, based on stars visible to the naked-eye, appeared in his Almagest in the year 150 CE. When more constellations were added by our culture, as in those placed below the equator, the same approach was used. When Delporte created his list of 88 officially recognized constellations in 1930, he was continuing Ptolemy’s method — frozen in place for nearly 18 centuries.
In indigenous teachings, their constellations all have stories and messages about the “where” and “when” of the cycle of the year. In our own Bible, G-d seems to share this same notion when He reprimands Job in the King James Version:
Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season?
or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? [Job 38:32]
For the Lakota, when you would see the constellation of the Chief’s Hand in the sky, you were to be at the Winter Camp.
When the Milky Way was aligned North-South at night, it was a symbol for Sacred Tree and you were to be Sun Dancing near the Summer Camp. The Lakota circled the Black Hills through the seasons of the year. They mirrored on Earth the procession of the constellations overhead. Ronald Goodman wrote in his wonderful book, Lakota Star Knowledge: Studies in Lakota Stellar Theology:
“A fundamental archetype in Lakota thought and one which shapes first the conceptions
and then the perceptions of Lakota stellar theology is the notion of mirroring; the concept
that what is below on Earth is like what is above in the star world. In order to
understand the star knowledge, at least partially as the Lakota do, It is necessary
to activate the symbols and archetypes by means of which they perceive the world.
By ‘archetype’, I mean a mental pattern which is constitutive of experience….
We are told by Mr. Stanely Looking Horse, father of the Keeper of the original
Sacred Pipe, that, “They are the same because what is on the Earth is in
the stars and what is in the stars is on the Earth.”…We can see that the circle
of stars which is correlated to the Black Hills looks like the red clay valley
which actually encircles the entire Black Hills.” (p15)
Notice in Goodman’s writing, his cogent use of archetype as a mental pattern which is constitutive of experience. Notice too how he understands the notion of the enthosphere of the well of human wisdom shared by all cultures when he wrote,
In order to understand the star knowledge, at least partially as
the Lakota do, It is necessary to activate the symbols and archetypes
by means of which they perceive the world.
Here he offered us an invitation to develop the capacity to ‘activate the symbols and archetypes’. It’s a normal human capacity which has been true for all times, yet it is one that has gone missing in Western culture. To approach another culture’s symbols and archetypes, sacred awareness is to be sought after in a good way. You will find this notion throughout the indigenous world, that so long as you come in a good way, you are welcome to pray with us.
It’s helpful to remember that the connection between us and the activated symbols and archetypes is through our hearts. The mind can offer an abstract or map of an experience, but that is not the wholeness of the experience. To enter in a good way by way of the heart is through our personal emotions. There are collective currents that are present in our personal emotions – especially as regards suffering and inspiration both. To move out of your head, begin with grief and pain – what ails you? That same woundedness is also a location where what you feel ails us all in some way, though mostly unconsciously.
In all ritual, there is a threshold that is a boundary between the sacred and the profane.
As you cross that boundary, prepare first by feeling and by imagining a giving to the Earth your personal grief, fear, desire, anger, depression, pain, disappointments, resentments, confusions, despair, unworthiness, shame, terror, all emotions. As long as you touch upon them with your feeling and awareness, it is enough. Enter the sacred space with Love and Compassion, with a heart to serve the good of others, even as you let go of the personal emotional baggage. Come with generosity and a willingness to offer a helping hand and participate. Enter in the direct experience of the events – when your feel your awareness go up into your head, bring your awareness back to rest upon the warmth of your feeling heart. This is one manner to activate the symbols and archetypal depths that are present in ritual. What at first seemed like the deepest suffering of your life will become the very place through which the sacred will flow to help others. You will be fulfilled, even as you participate in what is giving away of your gift. You unexpectedly understand Lakota star knowledge from the inside.
You begin to understand from the inside because once inside sacred space, all of nature participates with you, the wind in the trees, the sounds and motions of birds, the movement of the fire, the sudden appearance of particular animals everything becomes potentially message-bearing, synchronistic. Participation includes listening with your entire being and your entire being is holistic, meaning of body, mind, emotions and spirit. Not only holistic, but also holotropic, Stan Grof’s word for not only whole, but also moving in the direction of, expanding, transforming into more complex wholeness. The way the stars feel to you changes – in all of the above, you will know you are comprehending from inside the myth because of the Beauty, moments of beauty that bring tears to your eyes, moments of beauty that, even years afterward, are as easy to remember as if they had happened just yesterday.
This has been the work of Malidoma Some, who has been teaching Western persons how to pray in the style of the Dagara. He offers this teaching because that is his calling, in fact, that is what his name means – Malidoma = Makes friends with the stranger/enemy.
If you look in his text, The Healing Wisdom of Africa, you will see Western altars dedicated to Ancestors, Water, Earth, Nature, Stone. They are not like those from West Africa, yet they are in the same Spirit of creativity, healing and peace. His notion is that ritual is a form of technology that can be learned and shared. I have studied with him and what he shares works. In the framework I’ve been using, ritual is the technology to enter into conscious relationship during waking life to the “numinous precincts” of the unconscious, of the imagination. (Hillman, 1973)
We now know that the pathways to the numinous precincts of the imagination can be shared between human beings. Whether it be entering into Lakota stellar theology, praying with an altar for the Ancestors, navigating across thousands of miles of ocean to pull islands up out of the sea by intuition, stars and the subtle patters of waves striking a vessel, or weaving traditions in a Braided Way, it’s clear that humanity does share a collective soul and that the conception of the ethnosphere is a very helpful gift to thought. That these non-Western paths of Wisdom, this Original Instructions, are shared the way they are shows that human beings in other cultures know that we are all one people, that each person is capable of coming in a good way, that Wisdom is not owned by anyone’s tribe. Therefore, there is a deep wisdom in holding close to the tradition of soul in our own culture. Remember how in Re-Visioning Psychology, Hillman described entering into participation in a good way in this way:
In archetypal psychology Gods are imagined. They are approached through psychological methods of personifying, pathologizing, and psychologizing. They are formulated ambiguously, as metaphors for modes of experience and as numinous borderline persons. They are cosmic perspectives in which the soul participates. They are the lords of its realms of being, the patterns for its mimesis.
The ur-constellations we live within remind us of the potency of approaching all life through psychological methods. An ur-constellation, then, is a mesocosmic mirror for the archteypal depths of the flourishing of the human ethnosphere and all our relatives at this time in history. A brief definition of mesocosm may be helpful at this point.
The cosmos is a harmony resounding with synchronistic patterns that recur and align at three inter-dependent levels – . The layers are are: the “big picture” cosmos – macrocosm; the “middle picture” cosmos – mesocosm; and the “small picture” cosmos – microcosm (Campbell, 1968) For a concrete example of what I am describing as the mesocosm, which is the cultural bridge between the person and the cosmos, consider statements from the Lakota culture. These are mesocosmic statements:
The whole universe is in this Pipe.
The whole universe is in this sacred fire.
The whole universe is this Medicine Wheel.
The whole universe is in this Lodge.
The whole universe is in this Sun Dance Tree.
When you (the microcosm) come in a good way, you can enjoy direct experience of the Beginner, Sustainer and Ender of all things (macrocosm) simultaneously present in, as well as, beyond the mesocosmic symbol, whether that be Pipe, sacred fire, Medicine Wheel, Lodge or Sun Dance Tree. Of course, the Lakota culture is not perfect. They have suffered and are suffering from years of genocidal colonialism and they have their own struggles to find balance between men and women, deciding who is in and who is out. However, the Great Mystery, Wakan Tanka, who is symbolized by the nighttime sky, is still present in their mesocosmic ways. Miraculously, the art of heavenly correspondences is thriving again for the Lakota. In the ancient way of saying, the Dream of the People lives.
As human knowledge evolves at any resonating level of the 3-part song of Creation, time and effort need to be taken to atone and attune, so that life continues to flourish. In this case, we are studying the impact of the telescope and the accompanying Copernican/Galilean findings on Western culture. It was a magnification of the macrocosm. Any magnification of the cosmos (macrocosm), should inspire a magnifying transformation of culture (mesocosm) and magnification of the value of persons. (microcosm) A tetrahedron can be used to imagine the work of maintaining the macro/meso/microcosmic mirroring. In the past, this work was done for the collective by a priestly or shamanic class. The work now falls to the individual, who is represented as the base of the tetrahedron.
With this in mind, because of the magnification of the macrocosm and the psychological depths of the microcosm of human consciousness, the ur-constellations are the necessarily updated mesocosm. They offer the sky-mirror that reflects how peace on Earth for human beings can flourish in right psycholoogical relationship with the planet. That’s the function of the sky-mirror in most human cultures the past 61,000 years. When the mescosmic sky (star stories) is alive and working in harmony, the benefit is the harmonizing of time and eternity, nourishing the cycle of life and death Ur-constellations reflect, remind us all of the message of the dream-state. A sky of ur-constellations is a revelatory solid transparency that hold the teachings that, as I wrote above, the revelatory quality of sensual life is based has a wise rhythm. Invisible direct knowing of Emmanuel: God is with us coincides, constellates, with Sensual, Beautiful, Immanent Presence.
Immanent Anima Mundi is in union with Transcendent Axis Mundi.
There remains one additional recollection of our own tradition before defining the ur-constellations. It is the restoration of Aristotle’s formal and final cause. This restoration, too, has been prepared over the decades. The 2nd and 3rd stages of awakening to synchronicity as a fact of life, when examined, are in service to a larger whole. Here they are again:
2. A second experience of coincidences that are especially powerful. They mark a threshold in a person’s psychological and spiritual development. They often occur in association with births, deaths, crises and other major turning points. This can bring new meaning and purpose in the life of an individual.
3. A the mature stage, synchronicity is an accepted fact of life, part of life’s intelligence and artistry. It is known that the world is talking to you all the time.
The new meaning and purpose come forth due to the depth and generosity of and in relationship with the all. The all, in this case, includes even the elemental quantum structure of space-time. Another helpful understanding of the reality of psyche woven throughout space-time is Whitehead’s panexperientialism. Grant Maxwell, in his essay, Archetype and Eternal Object, offered a good working definition of panexperientialism. He wrote that it:
“…represents the recognition that all occasions, all matter and energy, have both exteriority and interiority and that the two realms are intimately connected. This recognition does not mean that rocks or electrons are conscious, but rather that inanimate matter always already contains within it the potentiality for consciousness, engaging in the subjective relationality, the meaningfulness that is the precondition for the emergence of consciousness.”[p. 66 in Beyond a Disenchanted Cosmology, Archai vol 3]
Here, we return to Western philosophy’s own roots in Aristotle. Aristotle’s 4 causes were; material, efficient, formal and final. That material cause is the material out of which things come and the efficient cause is what we understand as cause and effect. Formal cause and final cause are acausal because they function in archetypal dimensions that though they encompass and participate in space-time, are also beyond it, beneath it, within it.
Two independent events having no causal connection nevertheless seem to form a meaningful pattern and all occasions, synchronicity, and panexperientalism, where all matter and energy, have both exteriority and interiority with the two realms are intimately connected, can comfortably find their home in formal causation. Maxwell concluded:
…the two seemingly unconnected concepts of synchronicity and panexperientalism are shown to be related by their mutual participation in formal causation. Perhaps this fractal pattern can be extended to a third level to encompass the mutual participation by Whitehead and Jung in the conception of a new world view. (p. 67)
This multi-dimensional understanding where the 3 dimensions of becoming subjects and objects are nested and entangled with dimensions that are unbound from time appears in descriptions of near-death experience, in the indigenous tradition of masks, in ritual, art-making, dreaming, and visionary moments – at moments that are the pearls of our lives The union with all that is of our dreaming wholeness is in visionary moments of the profound peace that surpasses understanding and in near-death experiences when persons describe knowing life and love as they really are.
To understand our sky, you do so by seeing through it. Completing the Galilean update of our constellations heals our mesocosm. Because our moving image of eternity can be seen through, we once again can awaken our capacity to step out of our splendid and awful isolation through the lens of the magnifying glass.
Ur-constellations are the constellations of Western culture during the The Age of Magnification as we birth the participatory world view. They remind you each night and even through the day to see through the revelatory solid transparency of being human in a universe that contains the hidden spark of resurrection and that is entangled in Aristotle’s formal cause and implies the now Great Evolutionary Mystery far beyond any conception of any “final cause”.
As beyond, so beneath and within,
As beneath, so within and beyond,
As within, so beneath and beyond.
The is that is, that was,
and the never-was-nor-will-be-again, all coming to be,
to which we are invited to participate in the revealing.
Ur-constellations remind you that future generations will wish they could visit our lifetimes. Your identity is an incredible opportunity during a pivotal historical epoch. You are living in a participatory, quantum womb of all becomings, the Spacio-Psychronic Continuum, multiverse, as an Urperson, an original being, who has never been before and who will never be again – and you are in direct relationship with a long-enduring Eternal consciousness.
Psyche = MC2
Energy = PsycheC2
Psyche = PsycheC2
C2 = Psychic Reality
You are whole in the deepest sense, embodied, erotic, spiritual, creative. You acknowledge and celebrate the primal co-presence of the masculine and the feminine and comprehend their phases. You know this in the body of human and divine wholeness. You acknowledge and embrace the presence of the unconscious and the suffering of evil, sexuality, disease and turmoil woven at the heart of human experience, even unto the knowledge of God. You are that peace beyond understanding every night you dream, You are capable of knowing this consciously through all relationships. You are a sacred time-keeper.
Under the new sky, simply shift any language about stars into psychological symbols. The way your life is going on Earth, as a person, a couple, a family, a community, a city, a state, a country, a species, is mirrored in what is in your sky/conscious- unconscious. All the surfaces of lived experience are connected to infinite depths of energy, matter, space, time, meaning.
Here again is Galileo’s proto-ur-constellation that transformed the Pleiades.
Because I’m continuing his starry art some 400 years later, I need to include knowledge we have gained since his day. Ours is an ever-expanding, quantum, 10 dimensional, 13.82 billion year old universe within which we are the co-creating participant witnesses. Our forever expanding universe is full of vast empty spaces and innumerable galaxies where our sacred home planet is one of many in a life-sustaining, Goldilocks, orbit around an average-sized star in a galactic arm. Beyond the capability of the un-magnified eye there are all kinds of stars, nebulae, exoplanets, black holes, quasars, super-novae, our list at this time has been growing steadily. In the past year, cosmologists discerned that nearly half of Earth’s water is older than the sun because it is galactic water. (The astronomical expansion is moving so quickly, I can hardly keep up with the ur-constellation work!)
I have done my best to include celestial motions unknown in the past. For example, we know our sun orbits the galactic center once every 260 million years. We live in an age of where our work includes imagining what galactic years mean in our lives. We know that the Milky Way Galaxy is one of many in a local neighborhood where we are all slowly moving towards the Virgo Super Cluster in the Virgo-centric Flow. We know that at the center of a galaxy are billions of stars orbiting a massive black hole…and so on. All this is to be integrated in order to complete the picture of how we see our universe now.
Here is how to make an ur-constellation. Please find below our inherited constellation of Cassiopeia., imagined as a queen sitting in her chair. It’s unsure when she was placed into the heavens, but she appeared as one of the 48 constellations identified by Ptolemy in his Almagest.
Her pattern, when see with the un-aided eye, looks like a large W in the sky:
(Yeh, I’m not sure how they came up with the image either.)
To move out from the Ptolemaic star-paradigm, we follow Galileo’s example and add stars beyond and within Ptolemy’s constellations. The sheer number of observed and cataloged celestial objects boggles the mind. There are over 200 catalogs in our hands today. To form the ur-constellations, I use 4 of them.
They are: the SAO – Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Star Catalog of 258,996 stars; the New General Catalogue (NGC) first published in 1888 by the Royal Astronomical Society that lists 7,840 objects; he Index Catalogue, IC, lists an additional 5,286 galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters discovered between 1888 and 1907; and the Messier objects, M, that are 110 astronomical objects cataloged by the French astronomer Charles Messier in his “Catalogue des Nébuleuses et des Amas d’Étoiles”
An ur-constellation requires using at least one of the astronomical objects visible only with a telescope, conceiving a new name and grounding the idea in some writing or geographic feature that embodies the ur-constellation’s main ideas.
Then, using the expanded symbolic capacity of the update of Ptolemy’s sky, bring current psychology, spirituality, creativity and cosmology all into alignment with our 13.82 billion years old, chronically expanding universe.
The first time you see how many stars there are surrounding and beyond the 6000 or so “fixed stars” visible to the un-aided eye, it will astonish you. Uranima was my first ur-constellation, so I wanted her to be very simple, just one star beyond and within. There were so many to choose from, the concept seemed overwhelming. My solution was to look at the given names of the stars of Cassiopeia. It was not clear to me how those stars are a queen in a chair, but the star, Schedar, is derived from the arabic word for ‘breast’. Caph is derived from the arabic word for ‘elbow’. I made an educated guess where the heart would be located between a breast and an elbow – SA0 21415
If you go on Google Sky and do a search for Cassiopeia, once you have Cassiopeia, you can click on the option, historical, for your viewing. You will be able to see the drawing of the queen in her chair shot through with more stars than you can number. It even has an option to dim the drawing and brighten the stars.
With apologies for such a simple beginning, here is Uranima, had Galileo put her in Sidereus Nuncias:
This is my song about Her, Belikane.
c. 2008, Reynolds
Falling, falling, falling stars
Trace light-lines across your dark skin,
Lost along the Silk Road
Of your black, black curls again.
Frankincense perfumes the emerald moon
Of your navel jewel.
I stumble past your smile, down,
Collapse beside your oasis pool
All night long, I pray, I pray,
Allah, Allah take my pain away
My measure aches with a fever.
The dry clay jar of my heart’s essence
Is shattered by your beautiful Presence.
I call out, O Holy, Holy!
How you tremble when you hold me.
Falling, falling, falling stars,
Trace light-lines across our night-skin
Lay upon your Spice Road
Where 10,000 caravans have been.
From your waters cool,I swallow deep renewal.
What dawn breaks my soul?
What white bird sings up in the palm trees?
All I thought my life was – empties.
Through the night, I prayed, I prayed,
Allah, Allah, take my pain away.
My measure burns with a fever.
The dry clay jar of my heart’s essence
Is shattered by your beautiful Presence.
I call out, O Holy, Holy!
How your body trembles when you hold me.
I call out, O Holy, Holy!
How I tremble when you hold me.
Hold me Fallen, Fallen Star
Fallen, Fallen Star.
This is the art of the heavenly correspondences for our psychological mythology. It’s all literal and metaphor for the times and it requires the growing edge of cosmology and consciousness to function effectively.
By function effectively, I mean that you can feel into the sky as if you are related, as if what is occurring in your life is held within a much larger, compassionate context. I’ll offer some examples. In the film, Babette’s Feast, Babette, a French refugee fleeing Paris after the fall of the Second Empire is taken in by 2 sisters who are the leaders of an aging Christian sect. Out of gratitude Babette offers the small and very acetic Christian community — a beautiful evening with nourishing food and drink — un vrai diner francais. She offers them food on all levels: body, soul, spirit. In the end, her culinary art restores the community and herself.
The general who shares in the feast served in Paris under General Gallifet. Gallifet was the military leader responsible for the execution of the last Communards in Pere Lachaise Cemetery, in May, 1871. Babette does not share much information. Her husband and son were killed and that there was nothing left for her in Paris, she confided with her hostesses. She offers words at the end of the film, There are hints in how the film used an image of the execution of the last of the Commune and in how she speaks as an artist where there is an indication that the feast was also about redemption and forgiveness for Babette. Here’s an image of what occurred under Gallifet, May, 1871:
Throughout the world sounds one long cry from the heart of the artist:
Give me the chance to do my very best.
When the people come outside after the banquet, they look up into the nighttime sky. One of them says:
The stars have come closer.
Since my first visit to Sun Dance at Pine Ridge in 2010, the same words are spoken often. You’ll hear it said repeatedly.
The stars come in closer during Sun Dance.
Conversely, there is a harrowing account of the draining of all meaning out of the cosmos in the Archai Journal vol. 3, Beyond a Disenchanted Cosmology. Joseph Kearns in his essay, The Shape of Nihilism: A Cosmological Exegesis of Nietzsche’s “The Madman”, shared how at age 14, his brother asked him if what came after death was nothing, just blackness? Once the question was in his mind, though he tried to dismiss it, he slowly became obsessed with it. One night, under the stars, he let himself think on Nothingness. He wrote how, to his dismay, all meaning, purpose and love slowly drained out of his universe, and worse, he was participating in it. He felt a sense of dread rise up as infinite space was devoid of loving care. (Ces espaces infinis m’effraient (These infinite spaces terrify me.) – Pascal, 1637)
Kearns wrote poignantly,
“God — a childhood fantasy perpetuated by adults who
were either irresponsible or thoughtless — was no longer there: He had died.” (p.148)
He went on to say, I felt as if I had woken up from an illusion that still
held countless minds captive, but
I had woken up into a nightmare. p. 149
My experience was similar to Kearns’ ordeal with meaning draining out of the cosmos. Mine, however, seemed less nightmarish. It came in a dream that connected me to a mysterious and deeper layer of meaning. Though I had a more positive shedding of my former life, there was no new horizon for me to arrive under. I enjoyed a new inner warmth, but lived as a stranger in a strange land inside the coldness of infinite spaces. I was 17 when, as Kearns would say, I woke up from an illusion that still held countless minds captive.
Once again to clarify, when the stars function well as during the time after the banquet in Babette’s Feast and during Sun Dance, you feel the stars come in close. They can even appear physically larger, as odd as that sounds. In the disenchanted cosmos, the nightmare that Kearns woke into and the mis-leading world that I woke into the entire cosmos is infinite, empty and cold.
My first Teacher, with the capital “T”, was Michael Hay at Norwalk St. Paul’s. Though I never had him as a classroom teacher, he invited me into the church folk group to play a stand-up bass named “Conrad”. He also gave me books to read. The year in question was my Senior year, 1978-79. Like a number of young men of my generation, I had a letterman’s jacket and competed hard to get the medals for it. In my quest for letterman’s medals, I had gone for wrestling, not because I felt any love for the sport — for the letterman pins for my jacket
What made Mike Hay special, besides his musical and intellectual talents, was that he was a delok. A delok is a person who has died and has returned from the dead with messages for the living. It was a terrible car-crash that crippled him below the waist and brought him back to Norwalk where he had grown up. He gave me Ann Farraday’s book, The Dream Game. I had been guided by dreams my whole life to that point, but I never had any psychological texts to deepen my intuitive understanding. In particular, Ann Faraday advised that if you are chased in a dream, try to become lucid and turn to face what is chasing you. Ask your pursuer, why?
In the 70’s, there were no rules in place about how much weight you were allowed to lose as a wrestler. A couple of my friends lost a ton of weight in order to be in the lightest weight classes. My first year of wrestling, I competed in the 126 lbs weight class. My second year, I went up to 132 lbs. I did well my second year, so I decided, on my own without asking anyone, that I would go down to 119 lbs. I began the last week of school and dropped weight through the summer and fall. I think by today’s standards, I may have been labelled anorexic.
When wrestling started in winter 1978, things were going well, until I had a dream:
I dreamed I was being chased by thousands of cats. They covered the
city streets and pursued me everywhere I went. It was one of those
dreams when you can’t run very fast and when you try to lock
doors, they won’t lock. I was running from cats all night until
they finally drove me into a house I had lived in when I was younger.
They pushed and pushed until I was trapped in a tv room. Just then,
the tv came on by itself, scaring the crap out of me, I might add, and
Mike Hay came onto the screen. He was laughing at me. This enraged
me. I started to shout: What is so f-ing funny?! Suddenly, I
remembered the dream advice – ask the cats, why?
In the dream, I shouted at the top of my lungs – YOU F-ing
CATS! I HATE YOU F-ING CATS. WHY ARE YOU CHASING ME?!
As soon as I asked the question, the cats drew back and the tv screen changed to an old wizard who said:
“Chris, the cats want you to know that you are going through something psychological.”
When I woke up, I knew that I had to quit wrestling. I had to quit because in my core, I knew my motives were false and I knew from deep inside me that I would not do anything like that anymore. This inner connection to my dreaming mind established in inner strength inside me that made it easy to stand for myself and let everyone know that I did not want to wrestle anymore. There was a lot of opposition from team-mates, teachers, priests, persons who felt I was a good wrestler and keep on doing it. My life was transformed by direct connection with the Collective Cat Redeemer and the Wise Old Man.
What occurred then was that a great deal of the Catholic thought structures had little relation to what my inner knowledge was. Whereas Joseph Kearns seemed to have been able to step out of his Catholicism, I continued to try for a few more years to make it work. The reason why was because I did not know that dreaming and spirituality were related. I also thought the prayers I was taught that did not work, did not work because of the way that I was praying them. I thought I was unworthy of God and hoped that somehow I could figure out how to get it right.
On the other hand, the cosmology of my town was taught by persons deeply invested in the cartesian/newtonian de-sacralized universe. They were a bit like those kids, when you were little, who liked going around telling the younger children that Santa Claus isn’t real– out of smug cruelty more than care.
Wise guidance from dreams was never mentioned by those teaching science where I lived. I found myself simultaneously rooted in a deeper mystery, yet completely isolated, orphaned, from those around me. I stayed for a long time caught between the toxic structure of those 2 world views. I stayed longer than I needed to, quite frankly. The issue was that I thought the problem was because of me. Those world views, the medieval Catholic and the late-modern scientific were both presented to me as whole and healthy. Dreaming did not live well in either one. Still, I was not convinced that the world views I had been presented represented the whole truth. Because of dreaming, I knew too much to make myself smaller.
My path of awakening by dreaming came just after The American Indian Religious Freedom Act became public law – August, 1978.
The dissolution of an out-of-date worldview into the deeper awareness of maturity can be a time of transformational joy, as in a traditional rite of passage, falling in love, or moving from the passenger-seat in the back of Mom’s car into the driver’s seat, wheel in your hands and keys in the ignition. However, in late-modern culture, the individual is, more often than not, left to fend for him/herself. It’s often an unacknowledged initiatory ordeal. Kearns shared what it was like for him:
Never before or since have I felt so utterly alone in
the universe. I appeared to myself as an alien being,
strangely conscious of myself, yet disconnected from
everyone and everything around me. (p. 148)
My passage, too, separated me from the friends and the stars as a source of comfort. As I grew older, there were magical times when the stars did seem closer, like in Babette’s feast. What I have discovered, though, is that when we work imaginaly and soulfully with the sky, the response is sudden. I have found that the sky responds in the same way that Earth responds to approaching in sacred, creative ways. You don’t need to take anyone’s word for it, you can try it out yourself.
I’m writing this in order for your own passage to be gentler. The kindness and love that participates with you in your own participatory walk to the new horizon can be exhilarating and a journey that makes all life worthwhile. This is not an exaggeration. When the celestial shores moved because of direct observation of the world, they moved into our unconscious which surrounds us and is within us. To find God, seek within your own interior unknown depths. When God falls out of the sky for youth, they need help and just a pointer back into their own untapped well-springs. Joseph Campbell’s words from above are medicine about this:
“It’s your dream, the manifestation of your will, and yet, you are surprised by it.
This is the relationship of ego-consciousness to the unconscious.
Ego-consciousness has to learn about the unconscious and dreams
are the vocabulary of the unconscious speaking to the conscious mind,
yet in dreams and in vision, subject and object are the same. Dream,
vision, God–God is a luminous vision. The image of God is
equivalent to the dream vision…Write down your dreams.
They are your myths.”
What we do for youth when we honor the sacred dreaming grounds within them is to help them move from the dependency of the child’s seat and put them behind the wheel of their own destiny – remember those words, “I am the captain of my soul.”
Come outside under the ur-constellations and experience them for yourself. Step out and you can always come back. If you have already made the step out, then I hope the path will affirm your own experiences and give you a sense of companionship. The stars to come closer. It’s a psychologically significant experience that is fundamental to human culture – archetypal.
This is the ur-constellation of Uranima, Cassiopeia deepened and transformed by including just one star — SAO 21415. My choice of child-like simplicity is a reference to the constellations painted by Joan Miro for his series with Andre Breton, Constellations, published in 1958.
The printed words at the bottom,
In the Beginning, a Lonesome Singer became the Creator
because He was in love with you.
come from, Creation, which I shared in the introduction. It was released to the public in 2010 on the Tipping Point Compilation, next in 2015 on the EP, Unio Corporalis: And the Flesh Was Made Words, and again in 2016 on The Singer EP.
Uranima introduces the idea that our world presents itself as a revelatory solid transparency that invites us in. We have an unconscious that we can enter by observing our own hearts’ recurring desires and terrors. The light within that drives us to deeper awareness goes by many names. In the West, this hidden guide we know by heart is known as the Daimon. In the work Jane Piirto and I did on depth psychology and giftedness, we used the name, Thorn.
Uranima is a response to the issue Hillman raised in Re-Visioning Psychology:
…without ideas the soul is a victim of literal appearances
and is satisfied with things just as they present themselves.
It has no idea of anything further, is without doubt or prompting to
The inspiration to do this requires the archetypal person of many names, but She is sometimes known as Anima. When we begin a story, as I have heard story-tellers begin, One upon a time, once under a time, once above a time, once in a time where this is always true….we are crossing into Her realm. I can do no better than Hillman, just add the cosmos to his definition
To experience imaginal reality, a psychic function, the specific function of the imaginal soul–must be active. This soul person is the person of our moods, self-reflections, and reveries, of our sensuous longing beyond the sensately concrete, the spinner of fantasy who is the personification of all unknown psychic capacities that lie waiting, drawing us seductively, uncannily inward to the dark of the uncut forest and the deeps below the waves, into the Mystery of the cosmos. Anima means both psyche and soul, and we meet her in her numerous embodiments as soul of waters without whom we dry, as soul of vegetation who greens our hope or blights with symptoms, as Lady of the Beasts riding our passions…
Uranima is the ur-constellation who is the prompt to begin. To the constellation, Cassiopeia, a queen sitting in a chair, seek beyond and within for star SAO 21415 at the place of the heart, between the stars, Schedar and Caph. She offers a Call for consciousness to enter into relationship with the unconscious, for the daytime mind to enter into deeper relationship with intuition and imagination in order to re-gain the symbolic life of the nighttime mind.
From within the Christian mythology, Uranima is Mary Magdelene, the evolution in soul reflected by the transformation of glass, metaphor par excellence for the solid transparency, into the participatory clear-seeing magnification lens. Stained-glass windows once passively carried this metaphor.
During the Age of Magnification, then, the illumination that was once imagined as shining into the world from beyond now abides within the solid transparency of the entire space-time cosmos. Not only seeing through, but also a consciously engaged most-subtle receptivity that can take in illumination and respond to it in ways un-imagined in the past. There is a concrete example of this in the Hubble Deep Field or HDF image. Even Wiki wrote:
The Hubble Deep Field (HDF) is an image of a small region in the constellation Ursa Major, constructed from a series of observations by the Hubble Space Telescope. It covers an area about 2.6 arcminutes on a side, about one 24-millionth of the whole sky, which is equivalent in angular size to a tennis ball at a distance of 100 metres. The image was assembled from 342 separate exposures taken with the Space Telescope’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 over ten consecutive days between December 18 and December 28, 1995.
The field is so small that only a few foreground stars in the Milky Way lie within it; thus, almost all of the 3,000 objects in the image are galaxies, some of which are among the youngest and most distant known. By revealing such large numbers of very young galaxies, the HDF has become a landmark image in the study of the early universe, with the associated scientific paper having received over 900 citations by the end of 2014.
Learning your family history, your national history, your environmental history, geological and cosmological history takes you beyond yourself and into relationship with time. Using tools like the Myers-Briggs, the Enneagram, or any psychological instrument takes you beyond yourself and into relation with the deeper layers of your consciousness. Dreams and creativity that inspire, that expand consciousness in the direction of the unconscious correspond to the heavenly heart of Uranima.
Our Sky-woman reveals knowledge of the manifest and the hidden, meaning that consciousness and the unconscious, material and spiritual are to be brought into relationship with the wisdom of the thought of the heart (myth), the heart of image (symbol).
She represents the capacity for perceiving and producing the beauty of heart’s desire. Queen of the Heavens, Invitation and Fulfillment both. The Ur-image is the seeing through of a queen in touch with her heart. Her name,Uranima, Soul of Ur (primal wholeness), indicates not only the material and physical power to produce and nurture singular beauty as Cassiopeia did with Andromeda, but also the soul capacity for seeing through, now called for by the times.
The unseen light beyond and within, star SAO 21415, is the anchor for our soul’s Purpose that is secreted away in the unconscious beneath the surface concerns of waking life. The recurring inclinations of our heart’s terrors and fascinations, our nightly dreams, symptoms and visions (Daimon) are all available to us if we consciously enter into relationship with our own unconscious, allow ourselves to be completely vulnerable to the piercing of our hearts that is falling in love.
In this is a revisioning of The Fall, for this 4.3 billion year old Earth and the surrounding 13.82 billion year old, ever-expanding cosmos, came into being through an act of sacrifice due to Love’s Longing.
“In the Beginning,
A Lonesome Singer
Became the Creator
Because He was
In Love with You.”
— Reynolds, in the song, Creation
Hillman wrote of this:
Love’s arrow, then, is to strike the soul, hit its vulnerability, in order to
begin that state of deep pathologizing we call being-in-love.
The psyche would not be loved out of its pathology, nor forgiven.
Grace, yes, and “caritas”, send down what you will, but do not
forgive me the means by which the divine powers connect and become
real: my complexes, which are my sacrifices to these powers. Until
I sense them in my confusions, the Gods remain abstract and unreal.
Forgiveness of the confusions in which I am submerged, the wounds
that give me eyes to see with, the errant and renegade in my behavior,
blots out the Gods’ main route of access.
Lastly, the current Creative Mythology of the West is the mythology devoted to Sovereignty, which Campbell stressed was the Grail mythos.
The West has paid dearly for this contribution. First appearing in the 1200’s out of Provence (Occitanie), the story is a path of the Heart to the Beloved, for it ends in a marriage and the restoration of the Cup. The path to walk is to begin where the way seems darkest, and this entry-point is as unique as each individual. There is a light that will guide you within and through the darkness. This is poetry for the prompt to enter into the darkness of your unconscious.
Campbell didn’t not go into it, but to take his thinking seriously, all the many ways that the human heart falls in love with another in our cultural tradition this includes LGBTQ+ persons, affirms all paths to the Heart of the Beloved.
Sappho of Lesbos:
I HAVE NOT HEARD ONE WORD FROM HER
Sappho of Lesbos
Frankly I wish I were dead
When she left, she wept
a great deal; she said to me, “This parting must be
endured, Sappho. I go unwillingly.”
I said, “Go, and be happy
but remember (you know
well) whom you leave shackled by love
“If you forget me, think
of our gifts to Aphrodite
and all the loveliness that we shared
“all the violet tiaras,
braided rosebuds, dill and
crocus twined around your young neck
“myrrh poured on your head
and on soft mats girls with
all that they most wished for beside them
Michelangelo’s Beloved was Tommaso Dei Cavalieri. Here’s from the Web Gallery of Art:
In 1532, Michelangelo was 57 when he met the 17-year-old Tommaso dei Cavalieri, who came from a well-respected patrician family. The artist was immediately and utterly smitten by the youth’s beauty, distinguished appearance, and intellect, and their meeting marked the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Michelangelo sent Tommaso sonnets, letters, and drawings, in which he expressed his love for him. He promoted the young man’s artistic interest by teaching him how to draw and by imparting architectural knowledge to him.
Michelangelo presented as a gift to Tommaso a series of drawings on classical-mythological themes. These included The Rape of Ganymede, The Punishment of Tityus, The Fall of Phaethon. All these heroes symbolized the “fire that burned in him”. According to Vasari, the master created many other drawings for Tommaso, among them the “divine heads” in black and red chalk, such as the portrait of Cleopatra. The works that Michelangelo dedicated to Tommaso possess an extraordinary refinement and decorative ingenuity that certainly reflect the feelings of the master for his beloved friend. The years between 1532 and 1534 marked a phase of beauty and grace in Michelangelo’s drawings.
The Grail myth represents a form of divine love that can run contrary to human union based on a goal of procreation only, even as it includes the way of a family. As a species, I have wondered, are human beings are like other species of the planet that shift in gender according to the pressures of population? Are we doomed to over-populate the planet? Is possible that it trusting more in the direction of educated hearts has planetary wisdom in it?
As with the poetics of our Age, surface and depth are seamless. This means that the entry point where the way is darkest presents itself in the apparent. The psychological clue is to look at your recurring joyful play as a child, at symptoms, suffering, addictions, numbness, yet also your moments of awe, falling into love and risking all in laboring for Love. What seems to be the recurring guiding theme, moments that make a difference? What matters most? What is the matter? Bring your mind to your heart, ask inside yourself –
What ails thee?
The gateways to the invisible worlds are your own personal emotions. You can check your heart at this moment, for your grief, fear, desire, anger, pain, confusion, despair, disappointment, all feeling and where you feel them with your body. As you discover memories, dreams, reflections, words, creative images, intuitions and insights, the Path of the Heart will open and your own heart’s horizon will come forth to you. Our emotions are collective, the way the relationships in which we participate also participate in us. Unexpectedly, personal emotion turns out to be what many were also feeling, but was below the radar, even repressed, suppressed, denied. This ‘collective soul’, then, is the ligament to the archetypal powers/akashic relationships, Mysteries.
The Grail would not be a healing force for an entire realm if the Path that one makes to recover it were not also intimately woven with the Collective – both unconscious and conscious.
For persons living after 1610, most of the cultural mesocosm no longer revealed a connection to the transcendent source. Our cosmology, spirituality, psychology, architecture and art, consciousness and cosmos (Tarnas, 2006) separated from each other, a condition that I called a chronic or time disease, chronopathology. of a culture split from the stars, in dis-aster.
In the Grail Legend chronopathology and dis-aster are expressed when the inherent virtue of Earth, of our bodies, and the affirmation that spiritual experience is sensual and joyful– all disappear — the Wasteland.
I’ve had mixed feelings about watching our children walking upon the living Earth that is beautifully open to the depths staring at their electronic devices playing Pokemon Go. Here in Medina, in the evenings this summer,the children have come outside for the first time in years to wander over the Square with their minds logged into a virtual world that has nothing to do with the authentic reality of their own breathing and heart-beats upon the Sacred Earth. It has been this disconnect that has been our inherited wound since we split from the stars. Our children are being children.
It’s us, the elders, who I feel have passed on a material form of child-neglect. The summer of 2016 has been yet another wake-up call.
The Swiss artist, Birkhauser, expressed this split from the stars with his painting, The World’s Wound, pictured below:
Uranima, and all the ur-constellations call out to you. She attracts you to fall, to fall in love, to fall in love with the stars and with your life again. The stars in the pattern of the Robe of our cultural Cosmic Beloved now come in ur-constellations.