THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN: AS WITHIN, SO BENEATH AND BEYOND
The ongoing epochal shift of the Magnification, affirmed by the ur-constellations overhead and the returning awareness of the collective care of Earth in water maps:
was prophesied by a transformation in Christian architecture that came in the 1990’s with the appearance of labyrinths upon the land.
In the Gothic era, labyrinths like those inside Chartres and Amiens Cathedrals represented both a journey to the center of the heart and a journey to the Holy Land.
An outdoor labyrinth is an invitation to realize how, in our times, the journey to the center of the heart needs to include the ecological Holy Lands right where we live. The bioregion is the floor, the atmosphere and cosmos are the ceiling because the cathedral we share stretches to the community of the entire planet – Our Mother has returned to being Our Mother We are the prodigal, orphaned ones who had been so long away from Home. The world issues we face require a profound deepening in our capacity to love. We are called to move out from imagining our hearts as a single sun in order to enter into a heart capacity as abundant as the galactic center.
For the past 25 years, even our architecture has been calling us to Earth as a celestial archetype, a sacred being.
Our architecture has already declared the invitation to an archetypal ecology.– F. Christopher Reynolds
The call to come out upon the land because the church has emptied of meaning has been around awhile, however. It’s dramatic and harsh, but Nietzsche was trying to move people out under a new horizon 110 years earlier in his Gay Science (1885), where the Madman exclaims from inside a church:
What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?
It is this same prompt that I am singing in my song, The Magnification. (2002)
People come out now from wherever you been
Your comfort’s no longer inside where you live
Be wise near them shallow ones creeping the Earth
Preaching salvation, damnation and truth….
There are cathedral teachings that came with the outdoor labyrinths. In the 1100’s gothic architecture appeared out of nowhere. Because it appeared after the First Crusade, there are rumors that the sacred geometry that made the new structures possible was learned in the East from Muslim and Jewish adepts. The first example was at the basilica of St. Denis outside Paris.
The movement of cathedrals into the cities marked an epochal shift in those days because during the preceding centuries, education happened in remote monasteries. To bring cathedrals into the heart of cities was a hope to illuminate everyone. A gothic cathedral was not only a place for worship, healing and learning, it was also a symbolic text. In those days, what was outside the walls came inside. If the labyrinths moved outside in the pre-dawn hours before the millennium, then a brief look at the way they moved from inside out is useful to consider.
MOVE OUTWARD TO MOVE INWARD
Since the 1990’s the way in has turned inside out to become the way out. The epochal shift reflected in the architecture encourages us to take a step beyond what we once thought to be the truth. Finding a familiar symbol outside means that we are not leaping out blindly, but merely stepping forward to all that has been prepared by the emptying out of the past. There were many centuries when participating in any other than the Christian creed meant eternal damnation.
The outdoor labyrinths I’m bringing attention to are the ones that once were Catholic. The labyrinth, as an archetype, belongs to no one group. (Most of them across the planet have always been outdoors) No one owns the formerly Catholic labyrinth today. You don’t have to pay Rome in order to build the path of the heart in your own back yard. There are brick companies who sell the pattern. Catholics do not complain that the labyrinth was appropriated by others who find meaning in them. The labyrinth that was once Catholic is now catholic, universal in the truer sense. With the Path of the Heart outside, Earth is a place for worship, healing and learning with a hope of illuminating everyone. The Holy Land is right here where you walk.
Turn this welcoming portal inside out and backwards.
This series of figures below is on the left-hand side of the left entrance to Notre Dame de Paris. The third person, St. Denis, who also happens to be decapitated , is someone known as a cephalophore saint. He is carrying his head. In the middle ages, when you would go to Notre Dame as a child, your parents would tell you the odd story of St. Denys.
A long time ago, St. Denys was the first Christian bishop of Paris. He was martyred by the Romans. It happened on the hill now called, Montmartre, (mount of the martyr). After his head was chopped off, it bounced down the hill. At each place it struck, a fountain sprang up. His head bounced 7 times. By a miracle, his body got up and went down the hill to retrieve his missing head. He found his head, rinsed it in one of the fountains, held it like you see him in the statue, and then walked north for 6 miles. The whole time, his head preached a sermon. He walked until he finally died at St. Denis, the French village that has his name to this day.
Once you reached the age of reason, the deeper meaning of the story was revealed to you. The angel on his right is making a gesture that says:
In this way.
She looks to his third eye which has been aligned to his heart. Intellect (sun) and Emotion (moon) require each other. She means here to unify a feeling mind and thinking sensuality through relational, heart intelligence. From this Union with your heart, Listen, see, taste, speak, feel, smell, sense, with all you are, use your intuition. In our times, she adds:
Become psychological with archetypal wisdom (All of this is symbolic)
The angel on his left, raises his robe and gestures to the entry:
It will be revealed, so, enter.
The king who holds the fruit of wisdom also holds the scepter of personal agency:
Thus, you too will taste the fruit and become royal, sovereign in soul.
BI-POLAR AND SEASONAL COSMOLOGY OF SOVEREIGNTY
The original Christian teachings were that the entire gender spectrum, all human beings of all cultures, are royal, prophetic and worthy of Creator. Over the centuries, the equiplurality of European Christianity was not how it all unfolded. It’s just here, with the image of the king who holds the scepter and fruit turned inside out, where the West has been struggling to move forward.
Following the rhetoric of this essay, it is because we have yet to transmute the senex consciousness hidden within the tenacious symptoms of our chronopathology. We have yet to get the time right in this world. Fortunately, the ground work has been completed by depth psychologists Eugene Monick and Richard Tarnas to revision this king. He’s the one who holds soul captive inside his mighty fortress. He makes it very hard to get down to Earth. This kind of borderline Christian consciousness means well, though the impact be limiting.
To get past him, the work is to see through, psychologize him. First, open your imagination to understanding him as an Urperson – an Urperson with the primal co-presence of the feminine in his body and divine wholeness. Imagine that he embraces the presence of the unconscious and the suffering of evil, sexuality, disease and turmoil woven at the heart of his life, even unto the knowledge of God. Imagine this king as a union of 2 — of embodied consciousness and unconsciousness symbolized by the evolutionary union of Axis Mundi and Anima Mundi. Second, imagine that even in his wholeness as Urperson, he is only complete when in relationship the the life of our planet. Imagine that his fulfillment comes only when he learns to walk again into a Beautiful world.
Though patriarchy would degrade sacred knowing through the third, the second and the first chakras, in the Age of Magnification, the embodied Mystery, the humor, connection to life represented by outdoor labyrinths is all there. The struggle to move through the patriarchal unconscious degradation of Anima Mundi and Axis Mundi and their sacred images of the masculine and feminine, is at the crux of what we now face as a culture.
…the evolution of the Western mind has been founded on the repression of the feminine — on the repression of unitary consciousness, of the ‘participation mystique’ with nature: a progressive denial of the ‘anima mundi’, or the soul of the world, of the community of being, of the all-pervading, of mystery and ambiguity, of imagination, emotion, instinct, body, nature, woman — of all that which the masculine has projectively identified as “other”
But this separation necessarily calls forth a longing for a reunion with that which has been lost–especially after the masculine heroic quest has been pressed to its utmost one-sided extreme in the consciousness of the late-modern mind, which in its absolute isolation has appropriated to itself all conscious intelligence in the universe (man alone is a conscious being, the cosmos is blind and mechanistic, God is dead). Then man faces the existential crisis of being a solitary and mortal conscious ego thrown into an ultimately meaningless and unknowable universe. And he faces the psychological and biological crisis of living in a world that has come to be shaped in such a way that it precisely matches his world view — i.e., in a man-made environment that is increasingly mechanistic, atomized, soulless, and self-destructive. The crisis of modern man is an essentially masculine crisis, and I believe that its resolution is already occurring in the tremendous emergence of the feminine in our culture.
[Passion of the Western Mind, p. 442]
It’s important to notice how Tarnas has presented ‘anima mundi’, yet is silent about ‘axis mundi’. This is the most difficult place to become conscious, to separate masculinity from patriarchy. He’s got it right that it’s an essentially masculine crisis.
He’s got it half-right that the resolution is in the tremendous emergence of the feminine. Anima Mundi is deeply nourishing for the emerging feminine. It is comforting to men who wish to separate from patriarchy. It can be castrating, though, when anima mundi is presented without Her Beloved, axis mundi. The culture becomes all heroine with no heroes. Monick comes to our aid here. He wrote cogently:
Unless masculinity is differentiated from patriarchy, both will go down the drain together. [p. 9, in Phallos]
Like glass, axis mundi brings with it a wealth of scholarship from the depth psychology tradition of soul. We can start with Phallos. This has been the central message of the mythopoeic Men’s Movement (also in the 1990’s), in particular through the work of Robert Bly, Michael Meade, James Hillman, the now-tragic suicide king, Robert Moore, Martin Prechtel, Malidoma Some and others.
ENGAGED AND DEPENDABLY FUNCTIONAL AXIS MUNDI
The message of men’s work is that without a grounding in its own embodied and underworld Depths, the masculine cannot sustain vitality in relationship with the feminine. Just prior to this depth seeking wave of collective transformation that swept along the labyrinths outside cathedrals, Eugene Monick began his Phallos trilogy with the 1987 book, Phallos: Sacred Image of the Masculine. The timeline of this Phallos trilogy was Phallos: Sacred Image of the Masculine, in 1987, Castration and Male Rage: The Phallic Wound, in 1991 and Potency: Masculine Aggression as a Path to the Soul, in 2006.
First a definition of phallos:
To write of archetypal masculinity means to concentrate upon phallos, the erect penis, the emblem and standard of maleness. All images through which masculinity is defined have phallos as their point of reference. Sinew, determination, effectuality, penetration, straightforwardness, hardness, strength — all have phallos giving them effect. Phallos is the fundamental mark of maleness, its stamp, its impression. Erection points to a powerful inner reality at work in a man, not altogether in his control. This inner reality may be different from a man’s conscious desires at a given time. Phallos is subjective authority for a male and objective authority for those who come into contact with him. This is what makes phallos archetypal. No male has to learn phallos. It presents itself to him, as a god does. A male uses phallos; he is not a man if he cannot do so. Men need to know the source of their authority and to respect their sacred symbol. Phallos opens the door to masculine depth. [pp. 9-10, Phallos]
Here are some field notes from Dr. Monick:
1) Patriarchy is not the same as masculinity and must not be equated with it. It is not necessary to diminish or to subordinate masculinity as one draws away from patriarchy. Quite the opposite.
2) Phallos is sacred to men as the manifestation of the inner self. I use Mircea Eliade’s notion of sexuality as “hierophany”, as a means of understanding the holiness of phallos to men.
3) Phallos is co-equal with the feminine in origination. “Phallos protos” is the psychological equivalent to the maternal oroboros in the origin of life, and therefore also in the origin of psyche. Phallos is god in its masculine form.
4) Both solar (sun, light, spiritual) and chthonic (underworld, dark, material) phallos are sacred and essential to masculinity. All phallic–masculine–attributes are derived from the phenomenon of erection as enspirited flesh. This follows Jung’s correlation of instinct and archetype. It is incorrect to value solar phallos and devalue chthonic phallos, since in Jung’s understanding of the psychoid dimension of the archetype, polarities finally “transgress” on another”, unifying the opposites. To judge one as superior and the other as inferior is, at the least, misleading.
5) The shadow of phallos, its negative and destructive element, is present in both solar and chthonic phallos. [Eugene Monick, Castration and Male Rage, pp 9-10]
After considering many images, Monick offers that the image necessary to move forward, the image that is the ground of phallos is axis mundi:
Axis mundi is the ancient image needed by men today as they experience the disintegration of patriarchal Present Consciousness. Surrender to re-emerging matriarchy is not the solution, either cultural or personal. It is regressive and will produce, eventually, a stringent re-emergent patriarchal attitude in vain defense of masculine identity. There is no need for males to fear females and act out such fear as tyrant or slave once a primary-process inner connection with phallos is engaged. A dependably functional Axis mundi, suggesting the rigorous, precarious heroism of the shaman, is just the ticket. [Eugene Monick, Phallos, p. 76]
It will be through an engaged, dependably functional, precarious, heroic and shamanic Axis Mundi as the partner to Anima Mundi that we can complete the full recovery of Earth as sacred.
Monick arrived at the same conclusion as other leaders in the leading edge of consciousness. Here, again, is Matthew Fox reflecting on the call to shamanic personality for moving forward as a culture:
…He believes that it will take a shamanic personality, a type that is emerging once again in our society, to bring about this deeper sense of the sacred. Not philosophers, not priests, not prophets, but shamans are needed. This intimacy with our genetic endowment and through this endowment with the larger cosmic process, is not primarily the role of the philosopher, priest, prophet or professor. It is the role of the shamanic personality. Berry used to say that the two biggest failures of the 20th century were education and religion. Here he seems to be naming also why they failed. Lacking a sense of intimacy with the cosmic process, neither priest, nor professor is offering what the young need today. The young need something greater than “our own rational contrivances.” We need to become “sensitized to the spontaneities of the “ultimate powers of the universe” and this intimacy with our genetic endowment is the work of shamans. Maybe if we had shaman schools (instead of what Berry labeled present education — “barbaric academia”) neither education nor religion would be failing us so profoundly.
Becoming more conscious of how the reunion with the feminine that is being sought is work for both men and women and all genders in-between. (Even the trans of transgender, which means ‘going across’, has a destination on the other side of its crossing.) For we know that all human beings are a particular balance of and between the genders. What do we imagine when they seek to get in touch with our inner man? To keep masculinity imprisoned in patriarchy is to leave everyone un-initiated and co-dependent due to loss of relationship with death and depth.
SEPARATE MASCULINITY FROM PATRIARCHY
A good image for this condition is in the fairy-tale, Iron John. The narrative towards the sacred marriage cannot proceed so long as the wild man, who was found dwelling in the depths of a pond in an un-known section of the forest, is kept in the cage inside the castle walls. The wild man locked inside the castle is the sacred masculine imprisoned. The story includes the senex feminine participation in patriarchy with the image that it is the queen of the castle, the mother of the son, who hides the key to moving forward. Yet, this wild man knows and protects the deep spring which, if ever polluted, will end the world.
Through the counsel and generosity of the wild man the young masculine learns the gift of his childhood hurts, the sacredness of his bodily instinct. The deep masculine space is the initiation ground where the young man finally sees his own face, looks into the reflection of his own eyes, in the deep well-springs of Eternity. (special relation with death) The deep collective wellspring that the Wild Man protects is the Dreaming of Earth, the Dreaming of the persons of the ecosystem and the Dreaming of embodied men. It is also the stories of a People, their deep imaginal waters and guiding stars, psychically beneath, within and beyond. It is a vigorous support that comes when you can see the way the ancient wellspring mirrors your own face.
That same wild man archetype is Nanabush, who is also the constellation of Orion for those tribes living in the Great Lakes watershed. Wild Man appears at times of ritual and at times of rites of passage.
A good way to think of Nanabush is to remember what Rupert Sheldrake has named, the extended mind. There is a masculine-toned capacity to feel into all that is around us in the wilds. There is also a felt-sense of esprit de corps when engaging side by side in a shared Purpose as one body. Esprit, in French means mind or spirit and corps, in an unusual poetic turn, means both body and bodies.
There is a bodies-spiritmind that is both symbolized by Nanabush and also is the collective masculine ground, spirit, embodied unified action. The issue of feeling each other’s emotions and condition is a real experience. It is for this reason that the cleansing of the whole being is so important for men – to get clear within as regards our own Purpose and also with the Purposes of each other.
A first example of this can be found in the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address:
Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty and responsibility to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give our greetings and our thanks to one another as people.
NOW OUR MINDS ARE ONE
We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our mother, we send our greetings and our thanks.
NOW OUR MINDS ARE ONE
We give thanks to all the waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms — waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send our greetings and our thanks to the spirit of Water.
NOW OUR MINDS ARE ONE… full text
There is another description of this sacred rooted atmosphere that honors life in the book, The Killing of Crazy Horse. It appeared in the description of native warriors riding to face the US Army under General Crook.
…what rode toward the Rosebud on the night of June 16-17: thunder dreamers, men who could turn aside bullets, men on horses that flew like hawks or darted like dragonflies. They came with power as real as a whirlwind, as if the whole natural world — the bears, the buffalo, the storm clouds, and the lightning — were moving in tandem with the Indians – protecting them and making them strong.
Without the care of the collective masculine, men are forced to ‘suck it up’ and deal with a lot of collectively sensed emotions, questions and issues, in isolation from each other. This collective esprit de corps has been repressed in favor of ownership and private property — separated absolutely from the kind of protection and power described above.
AXIS MUNDI, ORBIT, AND ATMOSPHERE = INVISIBLE GUIDING PATTERN = SKY FATHER
I know I have made a case for the inclusion of axis mundi, as fundamental to the balancing and wholeness we seek in a post-patriarchal world. Axis mundi, however, needs one more sensual touch-point – atmosphere. There is little awareness in the public mind about what Galileo was doing after he was under house arrest and not doing his work with the stars.
In her wonderful 2007 book, In An Ocean of Air, author Gabrielle Walker reminded us that what consumed Galileo at the end of his life was the weight of the air. She described how he would put as much air as he could into a vessel and use grains of sand to show that when the air was released, there was a loss of weight. The invisible air we breathe is materially real and measurable.
Before his magnification, the air we breathe was held by the sphere of the moon – thus the term, sublunary – for our world, imagined as under the moon. Because he found there was no sphere of the moon, the obvious question was how is it we are breathing?, what are we breathing? and what is holding this air around the Earth? The word, atmosphere, did not appear until 1630. At first, it was not considered a reality for Earth. Atmosphere – a sphere of vapors, had to do with the thin layer of gasses that astronomers could see around the moon during an eclipse. Atmosphere, that protects the life of Earth, is our empirical reality. Axis and atmosphere are how the planet is moving through the universe as a vessel of life.
In 2003, the fact that a typical cumulus cloud weighs 550 tons or 100 elephants became more aware in the public minds:
“The water in the little cloud weighs about 550 tons,” she calculates. “Or if you want to convert it to something that might be a little more meaningful … think of elephants.”
Assume an elephant weighs about six tons, she says, that would mean that water inside a typical cumulous cloud would weigh about one hundred elephants.
There is a Lakota teaching about the teepee, that the poles are the women and the covering around them that protects them is the men. I think this idea opens us a way to recover the embodied ground of fatherhood for our participatory world view. There is a very rich set of masculine images from the past that surprisingly return to the West. Breath, Spirit, Invisible, Wind, Axis, Protector of life, esprit de corps, extended mind – cloud atlas, all seem to partner nicely with Breath, Soul, Visible, Water, Globe, Mother of life, being, intimacy – Earth Mother and Sky Father. In the poetics of the times, Sky Father as protective atmosphere and collective breath of all that lives has come back to Earth after a very long absence in the remote distance.
When we approach the invisible, yet massive sustaining and protecting atmosphere of Earth in and through soul, Sky Father returns to His own living metaphoric atmospheric foundation – Here’s John Wier-Perry again:
People often define the word, spiritual, loosely to signify anything uplifting: at the other extreme it is considered lofty, seraphic, rarefied, high above nature, in some other realm, hence supernatural. In descriptions of cultures, the word often designates any aspect that is not material, economic, political.
When we look to the actual phenomenology of spirit, we get a different impression. The ancient words for it imply breath or air, particularly air in motion, and thus wind — in Hebrew, ruach; in Latin, animus, in the Far East; prana or ch’i. The word itself conveys the meaning of breath, derived from the Latin, spiritus. All these clearly denote a dynamism that is invisible as air but capable of being powerful as wind. It “bloweth where it listeth” the Bible says, suggesting a will of its own. In short, spirit is a strongly moving dynamism that is free of material structure.
These descriptions lead us to think of spirit as pure energy, but on closer look, we find more than that — it is typically experienced as having a voice, when persons are moved by the spirit. It seems then to have a property of intention, to be freighted with information, and this aspect could be defined as “informed energy” or energy with quality of mind….
From this cursory glance at the range of manifestations of spirit and spirits we may see that spirit can be either free of bodily structure or engaged in a struggle to be liberated from it.
I find this helpful in understanding how spirit operates in psychological experiences. For here again we find spirit constantly striving for release from its entrapment in routine or conventional mental structures. Spiritual work is the attempt to liberate this dynamic energy, which must break free of its suffocation in old forms: emotional patterns such as the complexes engendered in the family system: assumptions about the nature of the world and human life; values that need revision as conditions change; and cultural forms derived from family, subculture, or dominant cultural conditioning that must change with the times.
ATMOSPHERE, ESPRIT DE CORPS, ALL-FOR-ONE IN A COLLECTIVE SPIRIT
As I shared, I spent years 0-22 inside patriarchal Catholic ceremony. It did not acknowledge the dimension of being male where you feel the Earth and atmosphere around you, where you sense the ‘spirit’, as in the tone and quality of persons in a group. It has grown in me over the years through monthly sweat lodge rituals. It has grown in me over the years through dreaming, creativity shared, waking up together in the dream already going on.
Axis mundi is not a material reality, you can’t trace a literal line that will always be there – it’s an invisible reality that you can observe in the sensual events around you, much like the wind whose influence can be sensed though it can’t be easily seen. Atmosphere is similar. Though unseen and collective, it is known by the degree of collective reverence for all, as well as by Jung’s diffuse cloud of cognition around synchronistic awe.
Turning on an axis literally gives a sense of direction, which, in soul, is Purpose. One heart, one people – this has to do with the atmosphere, the public climate, the civility and nobility in which all are held in highest regard. It is also your personal mood – the cloud or clarity around you. As controversial as it sounds, Western men have sacrificed their collective spirit, mind, breath, esprit de corps, Purpose, rituals that allow for sustaining a proper atmosphere, clear-mindedness, with self, others, family, community, environment. It is when all who enter a space together enter with love and mutuality that the atmosphere that human beings deserve comes forth.
Look again now at the examples I gave for awakening together within the dream . See these examples of axis, atmosphere and the sacred space of the masculine – (Yes, the feminine has this too. I’m trying to draw out the particulars of an experience that features the poetics of the sacred image of the masculine – Phallos, Axis Mundi, Atmopshere.
In Intercede: The Urrealist Manifesto:
…there are always invisible visitations that enter the manifold space.
Something divine can come to the table. These emerge as as-if presences,
are felt as shifts in time, are perceived when turns of phrase come forth
thick like sandwiches, trailing scintillae, are recognizable where the
cramped and constricted ease with re-newed life. In Urreality, the full
body begins to awaken to the conversation, golden chills wash over the
shoulders, warm the heart, draw attention to depth. There is a sense of
clarity about the face, a clarity of sensing. One is aroused and even
the sensate world unveils herself delighting to be seen and truly
appreciated. The heart flutters.
…it became gradually obvious that the revision I was proposing could be more
accurately conveyed not so much in terms of an epistemic turn, from experience to knowledge, but of a participatory turn, a shift from intrasubjective experiences to participatory events which can be equally understood in both experiential and epistemic terms. Human participation in transpersonal and spiritual phenomenon is a creative, multidimensional event that can involve every aspect of human nature, from somatic transfiguration to the awakening of the heart, from erotic communion to visionary co-creation and from contemplative knowing to moral insight. (p.12)
It’s as if the floor suddenly falls away. The atmosphere in the room becomes
supercharged, and everyone seems to congeal into a unified state. My mind becomes unusually spacious and clear, and my students’ eyes tell me that they have moved into a particularly receptive state. Our hearts seem to merge, and from that open field of compassion comes a slow stream of thoughts that I, as spokesperson for the group, unfold and work with. In these transient moments of heightened awareness, I sometimes have the acute sensation that there is only one mind present in the room. (p.46)
Jerzy J. Maciuszko:
One day, however, something uncanny occurred. During the rehearsal of the second symphony, the whole orchestra, including the conductor, went into a kind of trance. We played and the conductor went on conducting without stopping. We were out of tune and we went on. Somebody’s string broke. He put his instrument on his knees and we went on. We played the whole symphony uninterrupted until the very end. When the finale finally came, we all felt that we had gone through some kind of transcendental experience. The first few days after it happened, no one talked about it. Gradually, we felt we could speak on the event as we wondered what actually took place. Perhaps, for an instant, we had forgotten where we were. We had forgotten about everything and were transported somewhere else. (p.63)
However, it was as if we would create together a form of nourishing and safe space inside the thunderous roar of our music. There were many times when we unified into a single wholeness. Maybe more than anything, rock and roll saved our lives during those years.
The atmospheres of the above are called Urreality in Urrealism, mindfields of collective consciousness by Chris Bache in transpersonal psychology. They are morphogenic fields, in the work of Rupert Sheldrake, which I think is a form of archetypal ecology. One Heart, One Mind, One People, I’ve heard and experienced in native ceremonies. In all cases, the unified spaces described are a form of collective consciousness of shared intention that can learn and evolve over time.
In this, the atmosphere that forms around being of one spirit (shared intention) is part of the stewardship of the quality of life, of culture. The West lacks this collective ritual space of collective consciousness, though I think the experience of loving, protective, collective atmosphere was appropriated as exclusive property of Christianity and called The Mystical Body of Christ. One bread, one body, one Lord – is how I learned it and experienced it a few times as a church musician in Irish Roman Catholic masses.
Like the No Man’s Land of the Christmas Truce, the collective consciousness formed with shared intention does not belong to any creed, culture, nor race.
Moving outside from inside, all the effort it takes, is a loving act of labor through which the West is in a mid-point for restoration of outdoor collective ritual space of collective consciousness.
AXIS MUNDI AND ATMOSPHERE
There is a remarkable body of wisdom in the Sufi tradition. I am not a Dervish, but I know from my experience in Font-de-Gaume what Mansur al Hallaj, a disciple of the great Sufi Sheikh Junaid of Baghdad, meant when he said:
When Truth has overwhelmed a human heart,
it empties it of all that is not Truth.
When God loves a being, He kills everything
that is not Him.
In her essay, The Dervishes Dance — The Sacred Ritual of Love, Jale Erzen offered some images of axis, atmosphere and the spiral from the Sufi tradition. Beginning in the abstract of her essay:
In the Sufi Way, the experience of the world and its perception is aesthetic in an ecstatic fashion. The awareness of the overpowering beauty of the world fills the heart with love and opens the mind to cosmic relations. The integration of reason, form-making, and imagining, along with yielding the body and mind to the powers of the earth, is a total aesthetic in Sufism.
Contrast her description of the Sufi Way with my experience of a Cro-Magnon initiation:
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.
This is how you feel after a sweat lodge and in an even more powerful manner after a Sun Dance. We are at a time when all persons, men, women and all those in-between are worthy of this same experience. It does not belong to Sufism, nor Catholic musicians, nor Sun Dancing Lakota, nor to rebels in a garage playing rock and roll in Norwalk, Ohio, nor in an orchestra in a Nazi prisoner of war camp, and so on. They are various forms of an archetype of the enthnosphere. If experiences like them have gone missing in a home, neighborhood, school system, city, state, nation, it is because of a profound forgetting, loss of beauty and culture — our atmosphere has become polluted without our realizing it.
Atmospheric Healing Dream
It’s possible to describe what the end of patriarchal oppression of Earth-based awareness feels like by considering how it felt to enter into relationship with us in the first place. Read again White Bull’s description of how it felt to sign the Fort Laramie Treaty in 1868 with the notion of atmosphere in mind:
The clouds pressed down above me and the earth seemed to tremble when the first paper was signed.
I think it’s safe to consider that this is how it has most often felt to be colonized by a patriarchal power, starting in Khor Rori all those centuries ago. It is an authoritarian power hierarchy – a pyramid, claimed in the metaphors of powers above and the intellect — all in service to an All-Mighty.
I dreamed of being in a time when that invisible rage against the life of Earth was lifted. In Fish Made of Water, I shared this dream. I also think the Messenger’s response is worth reading as well:
Christopher: …I had a dream that has given me hope for many years, and I’ll speak it, and then I ask that you would respond. I’m in a time when the rage against the Earth has stopped, and I can feel that because of the way the atmosphere feels around me. I’m walking on a road with some friends and life is coming up through the stones, and I look to the river and the rivers are coming back, and it’s very moving. And I feel somehow, I am in that place, and I wish you to speak to that one.
The Messenger: You wish me to speak on a new Heaven and a new Earth. But I tell you, the Heavens and the Earth shall not be new but the awareness of the people shall be re-newed. It is a great hope, what you see and feel in this dream. It is what you feel that is the most important. For what you feel is the connection with the atmosphere and the environment so much that you can feel the restoration. Yes, it is a good dream. And is it possible for humanity to live such a dream, to come to a place where there is rejuvenation to the point that the atmosphere is thicker and the streams are clearer? IN the Spirit of generosity and creation which sweeps through the cosmos and resonates in your Earth, it is indeed possible. It is the hope of the Holy.
Call to Cultivate Phallos Wisdom
One last and vital point as regards Phallos, axis mundi and the precarious rigor of the shaman as the medicinal idea men need now. There are not a lot of men who are cultivators of Phallos wisdom. What I mean is, the unspoken assumption that I encounter everywhere I go is that erection as enspirited flesh is a passing phase in a man’s life. I have found the opposite to be true. Moving ever more deeply and lovingly in relationship with Phallos has made it clear to me that men are in relation with all that is and very strongly so in Phallos.
Manhood can be cultivated into a vintage sensual, spiritual, ecological awareness. The idea is easily spoken that we are Creator’s hands, voice,hearts, minds, Presence. Phallos also is in relationship with the deep and is the Beloved, patrix, to the Cosmic Beloved, matrix. Phallos, connected to all that is and those relationships, Ancestors, Earth, Stars, can all be sensually and expansively felt and also perceived by feeling, pushing into. When Phallos aligns with soul, it becomes possible to know and to be known as God and/or Goddess in the flesh.
I described this in my song, Only a Piece of Us:
I am astounded by you, always astounded by you.
O, my Love, I feel stars shine through.
How they shine through you….
I am surprised by you, always surprised by you.
O, my Love, I know that you feel it too.
All my Love ’round you….
The tempering knowledge required to understand this is to become aware for how Phallos, as enspirited flesh, is in Its greatest strength when It is completely vulnerable – when a man suddenly goes soft – yet is still Present. It is at precisely that moment in time when a remarkable new potential for intimacy is making an invitation. Here, I offer the term – inspirited flesh.
Inspirited Flesh is the Presence and instinctually informing embodied living of Phallos when, though still thick with the future, softens into vulnerability due to the atmosphere of the intimacy, whether asking for more openness or more protection. –F. Christopher Reynolds
THE RETURN OF THE LOVERS
In agreement with Richard Tarnas’ insight about the essentially masculine crisis of our planetary rite of passage, I offer another way through, downward to the starry heavens beneath, of the Underworld and the under-the-world, which is only possible because there is now an Axis Mundi who also makes the day and night possible. There is an atmosphere that invisibly surrounds, nurtures and protects all life. If we add the return of the sacred image of the masculine to Tarnas’ text, the rootedness birthed through the crisis of the essential masculine prepares the marriage bed. As I did with Hillman’s definition of soul, here is Tarnas-Reynolds adapted text:
…the evolution of the Western mind has been founded on the repression of the feminine and the repression of the sacred image of the masculine –on the repression of unitary balanced consciousness, of the ‘participation mystique’ with nature: a progressive denial of the ‘anima mundi‘, the ‘axis mundi‘ and the atmosphere or the Beloveds who are the soul of the world, of the community of being, of the all-pervading, of mystery and ambiguity, of imagination, ritual, emotion, feeling, instinct, insight, body, nature, woman, man — of all that which patriarchy has projectively identified as “other” and in the case of the sacred masculine; appropriated, enslaved, militarized.
Our outdoor labyrinths are carriers of the gifts of the West to the rest of the cultures of the ethnosphere. The ancient private teachings that once taught the way in now all belong outside. An outdoor labyrinth is a treasured element for how Western persons can make the journey out of patriarchy to right relationship. They are already a the image of the union of anima and axis.
EVOLUTION INTO PARTICIPATORY COSMOS
Turning the old teaching inside out:
1.In this way: Identity (sun) and Relatedness to all (moon) require each other. Unify a feeling mind and thinking sensuality through your relational, heart intelligence. From this Union with your heart, Listen, see, taste, speak, feel, smell, sense, with all you are, use your intuition. Become psychological with archetypal wisdom. This is all soul, so deepen events into experiences. In love, in receptivity, in creativity or in religious concern, know the special relation with death and with re-birth. Engage the imagining possibilities in your collective and and personal nature. Experience through reflective speculation, dream, image, fantasy, and co-creation (co-poesis) Recognize 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.
2.It will be revealed, so, come outside.
We require the update of the poetics of revealing for our times. All that was imagined as un-veiling, rolling back to show, revelation to bring out the hidden, the original meaning for the Greek ἀποκάλυψις, apokálypsis, is uncovering — is now enfolded into magnification. I defined the poetics of magnifying earlier as:
1. to see through, psychologize, the apparent to the depths within, beneath and beyond,
2. to amplify,
3. to understand more deeply,
4. to acknowledge and celebrate what is, was and coming to be,
5. to awaken together in the dream, to co-create and deepen the foundations of the real.
Thus, now we are reminded:
Through what is apparent it will be revealed, seen through, psychologized, to the depths within, beneath, and beyond, amplified, understood more deeply. What is was and coming to be will be acknowledged and celebrated. You will be awakened within the dream, your foundations of the real deepened.
It will be Magnified, so, come outside.
3.May you know your sacred nature walking the celestial Earth.
4. Urperson, You have the inner direction of the axis mundi within you and you are Beloved to the soul of the world, anima mundi. Be the Magnifier and the Magnified.
When all the worlds lined up, you came at the right time into this world.
Come participate fully within the Beginner’s BodyMind of the Source of all that is.
Feel into the Sensual, Beautiful, Immanent Presence faithfully with.
You are the embodied life who labors to birth what has never been.
May you delight each day in the awe of being and be grateful to live.
May we live together in a way that future generations will find worthy.
The clocks of our souls are to be set to 13,820,000,000 years.
The space-time we are in currently contains 2,000,000,000,000 galaxies.
Your Gift of Life invites you:
1. to see through, psychologize, the apparent to the depths within and beyond,
2. to amplify,
3. to understand more deeply,
4. to acknowledge and celebrate what is, was and is coming to be,
5. to awaken together in the dream, to co-create and deepen the foundations of the real
May our Presence bring blessings in the space-time fabric of the cosmos,
and and so too all life that we bring forth.
And from whence is this to us, that we would participate with the Mystery?
May we ever hear the Call, may the sacred life in us ever awaken
May our knowledge bring goodness: May there be a beautiful future
brought forth in a way that generations to come shall find worthy.
Here again is the outdoor labyrinth at Crown Point Ecology Center in Bath Township, Ohio. It is a working sacred site. When you walk it, you can feel the healing energy of the Earth rising in and through you. This feels like warm tingles or chills. It is synchronistic as regards the movement of animals, birds, insects, the wind and weather. There are many labyrinths like this now. The inside has come outside.
I have placed next to it one of the teaching images from the Western hermeticism. It is the symbol for the Anima Mundi – Monde = World.
THE UNEXPECTED GUESTS
The other side to the turning inside out of our sacred architecture. If that the outside is now moving in. Imagine that in the empty circle left by the departing labyrinth, that a visitor comes in:
In areas where the growing edge is flourishing, the architecture is breathing in and out and there is a circulation as if our buildings have become pulsing hearts.
Indigenous wisdom is coming from the outside in. The wisdom of the Medicine Wheel is also rising up from beneath the ground. An old friend from New Mexico shared with me that in areas where the Spanish Franciscans journeyed in the New World, they annihilated all the indigenous sacred structures, texts and regalia. Churches were built directly upon Aztec and Maya locations that had been sacred for generations. The old ways were not forgotten, but kept alive and in the mid 90’s into those colonial churches, the Aztec and Maya healing ways were returning. He, himself, participated in an all night Aztec healing ceremony done with the petals of flowers inside a Catholic church. All persons who could come in a respectful, loving way, were welcome to join in and be healed. This is an example of one of our emptied out sacred buildings learning how to breathe in again.
Here in Ohio, into the Chapel at Ursuline, we prayed together and built a Medicine Wheel in the space in front of the altar. All persons who wanted to enter into the sacred space of the 7 Directions of the Earth walked and prayed the Wheel. We sang together and offered healing to the past, present and future.
I had the experience of a lifetime being the ‘shaman in residence’ at Carol Dombrose’s Angel House in Strongsville, Ohio. From 2002-2013 I worked there and was able to live there for 5 years. It was a place of miracles where persons who were called could each have a room of his/her own.
My friend, Gail, came downstairs one morning and shared that she could feel the house breathing.
As odd as a breathing and living house might seem, as regards the long story of human beings, for most of the centuries, home has been a living person. It’s been awhile, but, finally, we are at a time when our homes can begin to live and breath again.
I shared the map of Cleveland just after colonization:
Restoring rootedness into the sacred ground includes learning how to bridge the 2 worlds on either side of the river into some new synthesis. That synthesis is already underway in small circles across the world. It is an unexpected merging which acknowledges and celebrates what was, what is, what will be.
With the labyrinth moved outside and the Medicine Wheel moved inside, an exciting new circulation has now come to be.
This is The Labyrinth Wheel Prayer Walk at the Medina First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
It is a braiding of the celestial archetype of Earth with the planetary archetypes of the West. The way its shape and placement were decided was through prayer and asking the Earth in this particular place for guidance and dreams concerning its construction. It was from seeking dreams in that very space that the guidance came. As in indigenous experience, this sacred space is alive and responsive to human interactions.
THE WAY IS THE GOAL
In the Medicine Wheel teachings, the 4 Directions are the 4 seasons. With the labyrinth, the seasons are also present, but they are expressed astrologically, in the indigenous style of the West. Here is the window of the 12 signs of the zodiac as the activities and seasons of the year at Chartres.
In indigenous wisdom, each person is born in a particular and unique place in the wheel, a gift of birth.. The journey of life is to move through all the other positions and points of view in the wheel until you return to the place of your birth – and look upon it again, as if for the first time. The cycle of the years invites you to move ever more deeply into the gratitude and richness of the place in the wheel that marks your birth.
There is quite a similarity as regards a gift of birth and an astrological birth chart – in French, a birth chart is called a Theme – same meaning in English. As you walk the cycles of the labyrinth, you are also walking the archetypal patterns of your soul, inward to the heart-center, then outward. It is the theme of your life. The Medicine Wheel teachings of the 7 Directions, which are qualities of the celestial archetype of Earth, helps us recover our own culture’s lost art of astrology. When the Mystery School of Chartres was re-created for the 21st century, an astrologer was a member of the teaching staff.
Wherever labyrinths similar to Chartres or Amiens are out on the land, we unconsciously trod upon or consciously awaken within the astrological tradition when we walk them. There are good books now that encourage the West to recover its own sacred soul tradition in the discipline called, archetypal cosmology. Tarnas’ 2006 Cosmos and Psyche, Keiron LeGrice’s 2011 book, The Archetypal Cosmos: Rediscovering the Gods in Myth, Science, and Astrology. The journal, Archai, is dedicated to the advancement of archetypal cosmology.
Ray Grasse‘s books, too, offer an excellent portal through which to step out of the dying world view and into the participatory. His elucidation of the role of synchronicity in waking life, in his book, The Waking Dream, is a very good place to begin.
Evolutionary Astrology is another burgeoning field where the recover of the West is now occurring. Steven Forrest’s work, especially as regards the nodes of the moon as a way to understand the relationship with our immediate past life, the archetypal patterns that are our ‘habit’ and the evolutionary direction we have come here to develop, if we choose, also resonates with the Medicine Wheel teachings.
If this is the first time you are reading about astrology as a cultural value, perhaps you may scoff, as I did, when I heard the idea proposed. However, if you approach the tradition in a good way, as if you would any other indigenous tradition, you will not be disappointed. Just another reminder that to approach the sacred in a good way is to approach it in soul, thus, shift into 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. Depth psychologists have been using birth charts for more than 100 years already, though under the radar. Richard Tarnas risked his entire academic credibility on the creation of archetypal cosmology with deep soul wealth resulting for many.
There were sound reasons for Jung to write:
Astrology represents the sum of all the psychological knowledge of antiquity.
There are versions of how astrology went out of favor in the West. You need to have synchronicity included as part of your world view to understand the workings. You need to have experience in the mythic depths of the collective unconscious to understand the dimension of formal cause in which astrology is one of the ‘languages’. Astrology can live in a quantum, participatory universe. It cannot in atheistic Newtonian physics, nor can astrology make sense when bound by the curse put on it by the Bible in any of the Abrahamic faiths.
During my pilgrimage for the 1914 Christmas Truce in 2014, I visited the Basilique St. Denis and the royal cemetery of the kings and queens of France. I had forgotten that part of the purge during La Revolution was the elimination of all traces of the nobility, Catholic Church and monarchy. The royal burial ground was desecrated and all the bones, France’s own historical memory was thrown outside and buried in mass graves. This may seem like a great victory for the Enlightenment, but for traditional persons, the ‘indigenous’ French, if you will, this was a trauma. In my opinion, the West’s complete dismantling of the astrological tradition on ‘scientific grounds’ needs to include this history. Astrology marks a place where our own culture has an unspoken intergenerational trauma.
TRANSPARENT BODY OF THE KING
Just here, I think, is another reason that it’s so difficult to get past the patriarch of our portal turned inside out. Seen only through the archetypal lens of senex consciousness, the jovian (Jupiter’s) abundance of the patriarchal world view we are leaving gets repressed. I suspect part of why its so difficult to make it outside is that we sense intuitively that there are gifts, like astrology, alchemy, hermeticism, like the way of the spiritual pilgrims who wandered the many a camino, all the beauty, craftsmanship and wisdom of the monarchy, aristocracy and theocracy, that are still waiting for us to be claimed within ourselves and carried forward.
I have dear friends whose aristocratic families took the concept of noblesse oblige, quite seriously. Noblesse oblige, from the patriarchal tradition, means that if you experience privilege, it infers that you will act nobly and with generosity to those less fortunate. Their family members during La Revolution did not go to the guillotine due to the gratitude felt towards them by the people after many years of generosity. May we go forth nobly, stewards of the virtues of the past that are blessings for the future. The gift you receive from the passing sovereign is sovereignty.
These things said, it’s still true that astrologers participated in imposing an order upon society using a false authority. Many still engage in imposing interpretations. What I mean is that the astrological tradition, more often than not, was complicit in keeping the idea alive that some humans are born better than others, due to their birth charts.
Evolutionary astrologer, Steven Forrest, calls persons like that, fortune tellers. His 7 precepts of evolutionary astrology are helpful here, so you are aware of the spirit of the art in our day and Age. Forrest calls these his 7 Principles:
1. Astrological symbols are neutral. There are no good ones, no bad ones.
2. Individuals are responsible for the way they embody their birth charts.
3. No astrologer can determine a person’s level of response to his/her birthchart from that birthchart alone.
4. The birthchart is the blueprint for the happiest, most fulfilling, most spiritually creative path of growth available to the individual.
5. All deviations from the ideal growth pattern symbolized by the birthchart are unstable states, usually accompanied by a sense of aimlessness, emptiness and anxiety.
6. Astrology recognizes only 2 absolutes: the irreducible mystery of life, and the uniqueness of each individual viewpoint on that mystery.
7. Astrology suffers when wedded too closely to any philosophy or religion. Nothing in the system matters except the intensification of a person’s self-awareness. [The Inner Sky, pp. 8-9]
In indigenous wisdom, there are 7 virtues and 7 ‘rascals’ that are associated with the Medicine Wheel. In the Christian labyrinth, you find a similar teaching about 12 virtues and vices. The teachings of both are nuanced. Depending on the tribe, the virtues shift. For the Anishinabe, the 7 Grandfather Teachings are of – Love, Respect, Honesty, Courage, Humility, Truth and Wisdom. The wisdom is that they all need to be united together as one, otherwise, the one that you leave out will become its opposite. Six of the virtues associated with Chartres are: Love, Humility, Courage, Chastity, Patience, and Self-control. Vices come when you miss the mark and go off balance.
In both mythologies, if you add the recent work in evolutionary astrology as regards reincarnation and the nodes of the moon, human beings live many lives as part of the Great Journey of soul that is the life of our cosmos.
In his book, Pipe and Christ, Fr. John Stolzman wrote that he kept asking the shamans if the Lakota Spirits knew Christ.
They kept telling him to ask the Lakota Spirits himself! When he did, they replied,
Mahpiya ekta na maka sitomni.
which means, roughly, “Into heaven (cloud) and throughout the Earth Spirit who travels and helps the people.”
Stolzman interpreted the answer with prejudice because he had trouble putting the Lakota Spirits on the same footing as his own Holy Spirit. However, the answer he received is worth further consideration as an indication of how an already existing tradition integrated the Christ archetype. The Lakota Spirits, as in many traditions, integrated the archetype of the Christ, even as they remained Lakota Spirits. I think this is very important information for Christians. This is because it appears that the message was not the foundation of a new religious empire meant to wipe out all other traditions, but a message to be integrated into already existing sacred ways.
If astrology represents the sum of all the psychological knowledge of antiquity then the recovery of the logical development of Christianity out of Hellenistic Greek culture becomes accessible. Christos is how the Greeks integrated the archetype that honors the divinity and sovereignty of the individual soul into their sacred ways. Christos is the Greek “Mahpiya ekta na maka sitomni”, native to the ways of the West.
Bart Erhman did a magnificent job in his 2014 book: How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. So does Dara Malloy in his 2009 book, The Globalisation of God: Celtic Christianity’s Nemesis In both cases, there is a process of transforming Jesus into a God-man that enabled globalization and colonization of the planet.
The living connection to Christianity as a development out of the West can be teased out through David Fideler’s book, Jesus Christ, Sun of God. He demonstrated how the message of Jesus and Mary Magdelene was integrated into the inherited Greek, Egyptian and Hebrew traditions. Fideler reminded us how the New Testament is mostly in Greek and that Christianity is essentially a Greek mystery religion. Through the use of Gematria, sacred writing in which letters are also numbers, (most probably learned from the Hebrew tradition) scholars had to use what is essentially a mis-spelling of the name Jesus, who in his own language was Yeshua or Joshua. They did that so that the name could be included in the numbers associated with the celestial archetype of the sun.
Handed down over the ages were a series of magic squares that were associated with the patterns of the celestial powers. How they were developed and received is lost to time. As archetypes, they can be understood as examples of Western cultural understanding of the root patterns of meaning. The symbolism of the magic squares was used to create the dimensions of temples, art, amulets, prayers and songs. The numbers associated with the divinities were imagined as a way to have architecture and life resonate with the divinity in question – as a means to invite powers in the sky down to Earth and to anchor them.
With gratitude to David Fideler’s scholarship, here are the magic squares:
An old version of the magic square of the Sun:
Why would the name, Jesus, be associated with the celestial archetype of the sun? Here are solar numbers derived from its magic square:
37, 74, 111, 222, 333, 444, 555, 666, 777, 888,
1480 = Christ
2368 = Jesus Christ
Fideler was silent as regarding how the information concerning the sun in Sun of God was fundamental to astrology. If we look at a birth chart – the sun represents the identity, the self, of the individual soul in question. Hidden within each human born is a potential Christos.
As I wrote above, Christos was not as much a power to be praised as an all-powerful God, but a sacred compassionate, merciful person to be when you are truly yourself. Participate and Be a Christ. In the same way all the planets are in the birth-chart, so the Gods and Goddesses are in each person – Ye are Gods.
This idea concerning the sacredness of individual identity is informs Steven Forrest’s dictum mentioned above:
The sun is the secret of sanity.
The moon is the secret of happiness.
As an evolutionary astrologer, he is referring both to true Identity (sun’s secret) as well as the relational, evolutionary soul-freedom of psychological awareness (moon’s secret) that nourishes and is nourished by that knowing.
This same idea appeared recently once again in Rupert Sander’s film, Ghost in the Shell.
reminds Major that she is not a weapon, but a sacred being:
You are more than a weapon.
You have a soul, a ghost.
When we see our uniqueness as a virtue,
only then do we find peace.
Look again at what Michael Olin Hitt’s Messenger said about the sun’s secret:
So, there is the self, the self within, and the Self beyond. My children, listen well: To be fully human is to be aware of the Self beyond the self. It is a selfless Self, a sacred Self. You may wonder how can the Self be selfless? It is an identity that stretches beyond imagination, beyond reason, beyond sensibility, to fearsome extensions. When you come in contact with the sacred Self, you realize that you are indeed connected to all that is, and your sense of self appears to disseminate, and you extend beyond the border of your awareness. It is a mystical union with the Holy.
To surrender the self and receive a selfless Self is the heart of all religions.
Here’s Rumi expressing this same kind of fully flourishing human awareness:
A gnostic says little, but inside he is full of mysteries,
and crowded with voices. Whoever is served
that cup keeps quiet…
…He has so completely dissolved
his ego, nothinged himself, that what he says
is like God talking to God.
All human beings are capable of this awareness, though for some it comes easier and for some it comes harder. There is no honest way to measure which is which. The Gift of individuality that comes from all these centuries of patriarchy is this fundamental worthiness of each human being, regardless of class, caste, nationality, faith, gender.
The burden on Western persons seems more to do with how we regard others than has to do with claims about ourselves. There are persons all over the planet who ‘nothing’ themselves, as Rumi wrote, not in a sense of annihilation, but in wholeness and original being. I wrote above:
In mythic thought, To eat and digest is to become. Perhaps this is why the Eucharist is eaten in the Christian mythology. The message is not to worship the Christ. The message is to become a Christ yourself. The lowly manger, neglected by the many is the human identity. Secreted away within each individual is a new and unforeseen Christ who goes by our own name.
The full awareness of this kind of “I am” requires all 4 layers of consciousness. It’s possible here to see the inherent danger with such a teaching because if the understanding is restricted to the personal identity of daytime awareness alone, the human ego can behave like a willful tyrant who has the potential of consuming the whole world. This was Jung’s concern about the individual becoming possessed by the collective psychic shadow, also Hillman’s warnings about the dangers of monotheism and the literalization of the Self that he named, Titanism.
For to be about the Self is not to be about the Gods. I would not encourage Titanism, a menace far greather than Narcissism, which presents only a pensive pretty-boy compared with the grandiosity of Self.
If language has been cut loose from the signified object of its discourse (as contemporary philosophy asserts) and if the use of a term does not refer to a thing, there are no clear references to fixed identities. Then, the term, “Self”, doesn’t refer either. Nor is there even the comfort of self-identity. The “me” is anchored elsewhere, floatingly, and that’s what keeps the ship from foundering. Consequently, if there be no literal self, there can be no self-improvement or self-knowledge (only improvement and knowledge as such) and all self-revelation merely adds to the culture’s delusions of psychological grandeur rather than to the culture itself.
Yet, simply by pronouncing the term we are seized by the inflating belief that there is such a thing, a Self, which transcends any limitations that might be imposed upon it. And so it can never really be “wrong.” Self can be defined only from within itself by its own representations. Principal among these are the irrefutable truth of personal experience and the inflating feelings of personal significance. Utterly self-referent, it knows no God greater than itself. Now, most psychology takes this quite literally, so that behind psychology’s devotion to the personal stands neither humanism nor individualism, but rather a literalism of Self like a non-existant God absolutely believed in. Absolute belief is either fundamentalism, delusion, or literalism — or all of the Above. Perhaps, it’s then right to say there is no greater literalism in psychology than its idea of Self, a literalism that converts our supposedly investigative field into a branch of mystic fundamentalism. This leads me further to think that our culture’s omnipotent and omniscient Godhead who supposedly replaced the mutually limiting pagan beings of myth is non other than a Titan returned from Tartaros to a too high place, and worse, all alone.
He could not be more direct about the warnings inherent in calling the archetype of the sun a potential Beast.
I can include that in July of 1992 I suffered Hillman protested about. For me, I own all my short-comings, my weakness for prestige and power. Yet, there was also a collective aspect of our culture’s spiritual poverty of psychological ideas. In all the books I had read, even in Joseph Campbell, there was an assumption that the spiritual Self, the God-within, was in the center of my being – a reincarnating monad. The Messenger text from Fish of Water that reads, To be fully human is to be aware of the Self beyond the self. It is a selfless Self, a sacred Self, would have been very helpful to me!
The Self-within, as Hillman warned, when not selfless, becomes truly titanic and tyrannous. The wisdom that comes from the God-image within can be insightful and healing. As prestige intensifies, it burns with a terrible heat and light, very much like our ancestors warned. The temptation to cling to that inner power is much like the Lord of the Rings described the One Ring that binds all in darkness. My experience was of recurring mythologically-toned deaths and re-births that continued until I truly surrendered my knowing as an act of love. It’s just as John-Wier Perry wrote:
The renewal process begins with a predominance of images and feelings of prestige and power, many of which compensate for a debased self-image, a low opinion of oneself; these images reflect the idiom of the family subculture in which the person was raised, but the direction of the process is toward the stirring of motivations and capacities that lead to lovingness and compassion. This is the prime fruit of the spirit, its chief and crowning goal, and may be experienced both as warmth and intimacy in relationships and as a direct sense of oneness with all beings–not just as a belief or view of how things are, but as the actual realization of it. The outcome of the process has evolutionary implications; among the myth and ritual parallels in history, one can trace the rise of this human-hearted capacity into a cultural awareness and expression that displaces a previous predilection for dominance and violence.
Here’s the Messenger describing the same concern:
For many become enamored with the gifts that are associated with the spiritual self, for when you become in touch with the spiritual energy that flows through you, gifts are manifest. Sacred gifts, certainly, Purposeful gifts. Gifts of healing, gifts of interpretation, gifts of vision, gifts of sight, gifts of exuberance, gifts of communication, gifts of discernment, gifts of divination, gifts of prophecy, gifts of wisdom.
But there are those who will use these gifts to strengthen the identity of the self so as to be acceptable to society. Such people my become enraptured with the rapture of the Sacred. They may become entranced with the trance. They may become, shall we say, addicted to the sacred flow. Though it allows you to be aware of the Sacred, it does not empower one to use the power of the Holy for the Holy. Instead, such people combine the ideals of self and power in society with the awareness of the Sacred. It is a hybrid life, partially inspired by the Holy, partially inspired by society.
These people often have a spiritual presence, for they are in touch with the spiritual energy that is in all things. And they may declare, “this is the way to fulfillment. This is the way to properity.” My children, listen closely to their words to be sure they are following the Sacred Way. The Sacred Way will not point to them, it will point to the Holy. The Sacred Way will not point to the importance of you; it will point to your place in the wholeness of being. For, my children, the goal of the Sacred journey is to come in touch with the sacred Self. The Self with a capital “S” The Self beyond the self. (p.76)
However, we are invited to take heart and remember that in our own tradition, the sun is only one among many. There appears a compassionate message that if the sense of “I” can be harmonized at all levels, human flourishing occurs. (Fideler, 1993) This, second, harmonized “I”, which the Greeks called, The Harmony of the Sun, is very difficult to achieve, but easy to recognize by the impact on the world for such a person is a peace-maker who can see Christ in all others, even the most rejected. The compassionate, illuminated person is an archetype (Olin Hitt, 2011) found in all traditions, where in the depths of the inner, there is a felt relationship with all the life of the planet, even the cosmos.
EMERALD TABLET RECOVERED
The very difficult and disciplined process of soul transformation of identity, a birth into self through self-within to Sacred Self beyond, if understood within Western context of a birthchart looks a lot like the operation of the sun from the Hermetic tradition. The operation appears on the Emerald Tablet.
This is Issac Newton’s translation, circa 1680.
1) Tis true without lying, certain & most true.
2) That wch is below is like that wch is above & that wch is above is like yt wch is below to do ye miracles of one only thing.
3) And as all things have been & arose from one by ye mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.
4) The Sun is its father, the moon its mother,
5) the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth its nourse.
6) The father of all perfection in ye whole world is here.
7) Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
7a) Seperate thou ye earth from ye fire, ye subtile from the gross sweetly wth great indoustry.
8) It ascends from ye earth to ye heaven & again it desends to ye earth and receives ye force of things superior & inferior.
9) By this means you shall have ye glory of ye whole world & thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
10) Its force is above all force. ffor it vanquishes every subtile thing & penetrates every solid thing.
11a) So was ye world created.
12) From this are & do come admirable adaptaions whereof ye means (Or process) is here in this.
13) Hence I am called Hermes Trismegist, having the three parts of ye philosophy of ye whole world.
14) That wch I have said of ye operation of ye Sun is accomplished & ended.
Knowledge of how the Emerald Tablet was a secret teaching that used the sun (identity in a birth chart) reserved for only a Chosen few makes for a convincing case as to why the Greeks would incorporate the Christ Pattern the way they did. It was an integration of an already existing, but hidden archetype that was at that moment openly available to all persons. Archetypal ecology stresses that this Christ pattern draws its evolutionary wisdom from Earth, so, it rightly belongs to a way for human beings to learn to see each other as the full flowering of their unique bioregions. Mahpiya ekta na maka sitimni is the Harmony of the Sun and so on.
It’s simple to write and read about the above, self, self-within, Self-beyond. As a lived experience, in my life and in the literature, we do well to learn about what a mother lives through when she brings a child into the world. It presses her to her limits, even beyond. It’s exhausting and there is always a risk of injury, even death for the mother and child both. It requires all she is. It’s not a clean and tidy process. There is a lot of blood involved.
I wrote earlier of personal apocalypse as a rite of passage. Here is the list again:
1. The shamanic crisis
2. The awakening of Kundalini
3. Episodes of unitive consciousness (“peak experience”)
4. Psychological renewal through return to the center.
5. The crisis of psychic opening.
6. Past-life experiences
7. Communications with spirit guides and ‘channeling’
8. Near-death experiences
9. Experiences of close encounters with UFOs
10. Possession states.
11. Amor, Falling in Love so that your Heart is Pierced
12. Inspired Creative Process
13. Going to war and returning home, Fathering a Child
14. Pregnancy, Abortion, Miscarriage, and Childbirth
15. Crime perpetrator or victim
18. Death and dying
19. Psycho-somatic illness
21. Suicide attempt
23. Catastrophe of fire, water, wind or earth
24. Genocide, ethnic cleansing, racism, apartheid
25. Epidemics – like the opioidd epidemic, psychic epidemic states
26. Chronic illnesses
27. Gender transformations
28. Homelessness and extreme poverty
29. Refugee driven from homeland
31. Widow or Widower
32. Global climate change
33. Mass extinction
34. Persecution and torture
As far as solving the psychological state of a God-man, God-woman, Super-man, Super-woman, Chosen Ones, Church Triumphant, in the human story, our learning curve seems embarrassingly slow. From the perspective of archetypal ecology, Yeshua and Magdalene’s message was about being saved from humanity’s collective Messiah complex itself – a biological necessity, if we are to return to Earth-based consciousness in relationship with all that is.
The ego-driven, willful tyrant who thinks He or She is God, is the meaning of 666 in this system. It is the sum of all the numbers of the magic square of the sun added together. It’s meaning is the literal, physical sun. This is how the ancients warned about fundamentalist literalisms and Self-possession that could destroy planets.
RETURN THE LIGHT TO ITS SOURCE
Yes, there are many Christian teachings about being the Light of the World, but this is to steal the Sun out of its mesocosmic context. If we follow the rhetoric that Christianity as we know it comes to us through the Greek tradition, then to truly understand it requires all of the celestial archetypes of their cultural mesocosm that accompany the Sun. What we now call the poetic basis of mind are 12 archetypes, psychologically immanent forces to become made conscious.
Christianity, then, requires the astrological birth chart as a psychological mirror to be more deeply apprehended because that was the mesocosmic place where all the archetypes were gathered and hopefully integrated in order to bring wisdom to an individual life.
It also requires bringing back the idea of this new revelation as The Harmony of the Sun. where 2 or more are gathered. It takes Loving another, the gaze and embrace of the Beloved for there to be Christos. Was this not the open secret of the Grail? Be the Beloveds. The message appears in relationship and is relational – of the soul.
The same relational wisdom teaching is present in the Islamic mysticism of Rumi and Shams, of Hafez, and mystical poets like him where the Beloved merges with and is present in the loving between human beings.
Come to the orchard in Spring.
There is light and wine, and sweethearts
in the pomegranate flowers.
If you do not come, these do not matter.
If you do come, these do not matter.
It’s in the Song of Solomon and it is one of the many fundamental teachings of the Sacred Pipe as a mutually beneficial union and rhythm of all that is.
THE GRAIL, THE STAG AND THE GODDESS
Another reason that we require an archetypal ecology is in order to update the Christian tradition of the harmony of the sun into the current cosmology. Much is made of the Beloveds that is true and helpful. Because of witnessing the suicides of the broken hearted and because of my own experiences of the piercing of my heart, I know that the experience of a celestial human body requires the celestial archetype of Earth. I described celestial body above as a body in which all the chakras are sacred and meant to be deeply experienced. Without the Earth-root, the passage of the Twin Flames or the Beloveds is a soul-trap that makes for a potentially brutal economy of loving that must be always balanced.
The 2015 Yorgos Lanthimos film, The Lobster, played on this theme. Throughout the film, couples strive to be exactly like each other, in giving and in suffering. So, in order to marry a woman with nosebleeds, a character repeatedly smashes his own face so he bleeds like her. At the same time, persons who refuse this game play out the opposite extreme of being completely isolated from each other. The tragic turn at the end leaves you with the expectation that the lead character is going to blind himself with a restaurant knife so he will be blind just like the woman he loves.
There is a Lakota tradition of the Turtle and the Salamander/Lizard that opens the way through this second chakra – lobster dilemma. Both Turtle and Salamander are Lakota constellations with their wisdom, songs, stories, etc. When a girl child is born, her umbilical cord is placed inside a turtle pouch. A boy’s umbilical is placed within a salamander. In the stories I know, those umbilical cords are taken by the young adult child to be buried in the Earth in the place where they sit for a vision quest. This action symbolizes a psychic break from the birth-mother and a deep rooted connection with Earth-Mother.
Though I came to this only in my 50’s, I can share that the experiential difference this makes is subtle, but vital to love relationship. Before I had such a root, (mine came in a vision quest, but it did not require my own umbilical, just intention) synchronistic events that occurred during times when my heart was pieced by my Beloved seemed to carry both of us along. We were both carried along inside an all encompassing universe full of meaning and Beauty. However, as we deepened, this set up a dynamic similar to what was darkly shown in The Lobster.
After my first, and then many experiences of being held and loved by the Mother, there were 2 layers of synchronicities around our loving. Some of them were for both of us, but some of them were just for me. This made a huge difference. In the Grail cycle, this important Root appears in some versions where after Perceval obtains the Grail, he must find and deliver back to the Goddess her Sacred Stag.
Offering the Goddess her proper recognition never appears in Joseph Campbell’s tellings, or even Robert Bly’s tellings of the Grail Cycle. I know that it needs to be included and recommend it. The Stag for a man in Western culture is the Salamander/Lizard for the Lakota.
THE ROSE IS THE EARTH
An archetypal ecology stresses the necessity for a direct knowing of the sacred of Earth and Sky, the ability to live wisely the bipolar and seasonal rhythm of the year and of lives. Rites of passage from each season of life are expected because each season of life is itself a Direction, an archetype with its constellated behaviors, attitudes, and pathologizings. In the West, without this, it is Lovers who initiate each other into adulthood, no matter the genders of the Beloveds. It’s the power of a sacred erotic wholeness that initiates.
The down side to this way of culture is that lacking Earth, the shadow side is death-bringing. Apollinaire in the calligramme below, entitled, La Colombe Poignardee et Le Jet d’Eau (The Stabbed (bleeding) Dove and the Fountain)
It’s difficult to read, but at the bottom, the poem closes with the following:
Ceux qui sont partis à la guerre au nord se battent maintenant
Le soir tombe Ô sanglante mer
Jardins où saigne abondamment le laurier rose fleur guerrière
(Those who left for the war in the North are fighting now
Night falls O! blood-dreched sea
Gardens where bled in abandon
the laurel rose flower of war)
A similar juxtaposition of Rose, Beloved, and Dying Heroically for a Great Cause is in the lyrics to the song, Red and Black, in Les Miserables:
What’s the price you might pay?
Is it simply a game
For rich young boys to play?
The colors of the world
Day by day…
Red – the blood of angry men!
Black – the dark of ages past!
Red – a world about to dawn!
Black – the night that ends at last!
I feel my soul on fire!
My world if she’s not there…
The color of desire!
The color of despair!
TAKE UP THE SCEPTER
Consider the scepter we receive as the blessing of our own inherited Western tradition as we step into the participatory world view. It is a personal Axis Mundi. No longer subjects, nor servants, but sovereign in soul. On one hand, this implies freedom, on the other, a new sense of personal worth and empowerment where you are called to bless Creation, the collective soul, and to bring forth what is in you. Your agency is also betrothed to the land where you live. You are Called to the deep reverence for all other human beings, all beings, with the knowledge that this same sacredness lives in and through the world.
At the forgiveness ceremony at Standing Rock, Leonard Fools Crow said, We belong to the land. This means that Western culture, in order to empty out of the past, needs to take collective responsibility for the Earth of the future generations. We are each responsible for the Holy Land right where we are, for all the persons in it.
The crown is the Pleiades. This implies you are sovereign in what was named the three worlds, something that you continually grow into, something that will be explained further as we proceed.
ARCHETYPAL ECOLOGY’S EARTH AS SELF-BEYOND, AS SOURCE OF ALL LIFE
I was with my friend, Victor Krebs, in July of 1992 at the Festival of Archetypal Psychology in South Bend, Indiana. Those were days of psychological storms for me. It was my time of spiritual emergency and awakening. The temptation of power and prestige that John Wier-Perry described in his essay on the Renewal Process was a reality for me. It made me lusty. I’ll always be grateful to Victor for getting after me about my too-hungry stare at a beautiful woman who was near us. He scolded me and lamented
– You used to be like a green garden to be with, but now you are like a burnt-out cinder!
I was cut to the quick. I did my best through will-power to try to shut down the intense light and heat that was burning out of control in my solar plexus. I was powerless. If there ever was a time that I felt that my soul had always been pre-ordained to the road to perdition, that was it.
It was only by going outside in the summer evening, taking off my shoes, then walking barefoot on the dew-covered grass. At first, it all seemed like a waste, but over time, the ashes of my burning cooled and my whole being as well. Rabbits began appearing around us. They are here for us, Victor claimed. I was not so sure. It felt more like I was the person who had the honor of being with them.
It was Earth that helped me make the important passage through the self-within to a sense of Self-Beyond. It’s tempting for me to gloss over the above and pretend that I was fine after this initial cycle through the incredible illumination within me and the surrender of that Light, and it really is a Light with the big, “L”. In Coyote-code – many rabbits = many times dying and being brought back to life! Recall how Krishnamurti spent 3 years each night being slammed against the walls of his bedroom? He’s pretty typical of this awakening.
My own continued until I truly surrendered and signed myself into the psych ward. Still, it took 6 days there to complete the Passage:
This was in July, 1992. Archetypal ecology is based on this seed. What I have learned is that every summer of my life has been a pulse of soul growth, a quantum leap. You could imagine this as the Calling to be a Sun Dancer, but that would be once again to privatize it. I know from direct experience that our consciousness participates in the seasons of the year and it participates in the seasons of life. You have to be heavily medicated to go against this rhythm. There is a bi-polar order and a seasonal order. Those both also belong to Chronos – a disciplined awareness of the Wisdom of the Seasons. As an archetype, Saturn is not enough. The movers and guides of the bi-polar and seasonal order are the planet as a conscious being, Gaia, in the true sense of the Name. Our bodies, too, have a seasonal wisdom – a sacred ordering that we do well to keep in heart and mind.
Our ancestors knew that we need collective soul care for this bi-polar seasonal awareness. So, they celebrated, sang, danced and prayed together! Eight times a year, every year – each party in its order, with its music and logos.
Archetypal ecology declares that we could celebrate much better than we do.
THE BLINDING SUN WITHIN
The self-within was a major recovery on Jung’s part. Yet, we set ourselves up for madness if we remain Jungians.
That knowing came forth with the mandalas that filled his Red Book:
When I began drawing the mandalas, however, I saw that everything, all the paths I have been following, all the steps I had taken were leading me back to a single point — namely, to the mid-point. It became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the center. It is the exponent of all paths. It is the path to the center, to individuation… I knew that by finding the mandala as an expression of the self I had attained what was for me the ultimate. Perhaps someone knows more but not I. [Memories, Dreams, Reflections, trans. R & C Winston, London, 1967, p. 222]
It is this very self-within that Hillman fought so hard to see through with archetypal psychology. What saved me was not the Gods or Goddesses, but Gaia and Ouranos. In native myths, Rabbit is often the friend to Coyote who gets into all kinds of trouble. Each time Coyote dies, Rabbit brings him back to life by jumping over his corpse. Looking back over my keyboard now, I can see some care and a warning in the appearance of those long-eared friends.
I have borrowed the term, Self-beyond, from the writings of Michael Olin Hitt. However, it is only due to an extreme poverty of soul that the West lost awareness of the natural state of being for humanity and the life of the planet. Here’s another warning about making the mandala of the self-within the ultimate center-point. I need to apologize for how the text used the chronopathogenic proper nouns – Most High and Almighty. I have switched those terms out and used the more temporally appropriate term, Mystery.
The text was one that I participated in creating. I was still entranced and only starting to come out of the patriarchal mind-set. We just didn’t get the time to clean up errors like Almighty and Most High. This can be an object lesson. Our own education, culture, thinking, imagining, rituals, our development as human beings are what the Mystery has to work with. With that caveat:
…The you who strives and who decides is superficial…there is the you below this, within this, the seed of the Spirit planted by the Mystery: the you within the you, the you within the self, the potential, the seed of the Mystery, which contains in it the origins of all creation. This you yearns for the depths. This you seeks the heights. This seed of the Mystery is pure, unified, glorious, beautiful.
This seed burns with potential. Is the seed not indeed a spark, an ember that glows and calls? It is a burning seed, and as it grows, it becomes a burning bush within you, a tree of flame. And to be understood, this inner you must be in relationship with the “you” beyond. For when it is burning unto itself, it consumes the self. But when it burns in unison with the Holy, it uplifts the self. When in isolation, the burning, the passion of creation, leads to madness…have you seen the isolation lead to madness? For the holy ember seeks companionship and reflection in the Holy. The fuel of the fire is the Holy, not the self or anything made by the self or anything known by the self. The Source, the fuel, the origin of this you within the you, is the you beyond the you. How can there be a you beyond the you? Herein lies the Great Mystery.[Olin Hitt, Messenger of the Holy, p. 151]
From my experience, there is now a very necessary need to include all the life of the ecosystems of Earth in our imagination and experience of the Great Mystery. Beyond the mandala of the self within is the healing, balancing, Mystery of Earth. That Earth and Sky are sacred and within The Great Mystery, Wakan Tanka, is what Christian architecture has been saying for 3 decades now — in other words, Mitakuye Oyasin – All my Relatives.
Mandala within, Mandala upon the celestial mandala planet in mandala system, its galactic mandala, its infinite mandala spaces.
To continue, click on the link below:
Chapter 8: Bi-Polar Seasonal Consciousness in a Bi-Polar Cosmos
4. Transparent Body of the King
Beyond and within the constellation of Cepheus, within the tilted house, are three galaxies and one nebula. They are, IC5132, IC5133, IC5134, and NGC7133, respectively. As in the Eagle-headed Harp, what first appears as one becomes fourfold when magnified. For the individual, this means that you will recognize fellow travelers by the knowledge of your heart. There is a mirroring, a spark of awakeness, a heart response of those awake in creation. There is also a heart’s desire to be in community. Knowing your reason for being is incomplete without community where you can give completely and receive completely. The Transparent Body of the King represents any healing concert, ritual, temporary festival, retreat, seminar or teach-in, or structures like the Chapel of the Unspoken Word, in Porterville, Mississippi, where such hearts can gather.
It also represents the temporal clarity, the synchronicity, that forms around such relationships. Any ritual space where care of soul is the intent is an example of this ur-constellation. The urreality of 2 who converse artfully, who affirm and awaken the with the dream to see through to the dreaming edge, is yet another example. This body of the seeing through of the order of love has many other names: Font, Conjugal Love, House where Ancestors Commune, Coniunctio, 3+4, 5 Dogs Walking, Convergence, Fuel Cell, Philosopher’s Mirror, Mediation, Alternation, Tent of tents, Matrix and Patrix, where 2 or more are gathered in His Name, Heart of Elders holding Council Fire, Sun Dance, Palace of the Merrie Monarch, Communitas, Peace Shield.