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.
THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN: As Within, so Beneath, so Beyond
The ongoing epochal shift of the Magnification, invoked by the ur-constellations overhead;
is mirrored by a transformation in Christian architecture that came in the 1990’s with the appearance of labyrinths upon the land. See below an example from Crown Point Ecology Center in Bath, Ohio.
In 1240, the 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, in our times, the journey to the center of the heart needs to include the ecological Holy Lands right where we live. The world issues we face require a profound deepening in our capacity to love, something I have already described as moving from imagining our hearts as a single sun to our hearts 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. 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 move 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 the prison of death or the 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.
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 Christian creed meant eternal damnation. The labyrinths we find outside were once Catholic. No one owns the labyrinth now. 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 to the public now. 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.
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. Denis. He was the first Christian bishop of Paris and was martyred by the Romans in 250. 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.
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, first, to separate masculinity and femininity from patriarchy by restoring them to their own sacred images of Axis Mundi and Anima Mundi, and, second, to invite the reunion, the wholeness and fulfillment of both 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. Note Richard Tarnas’ description of the end of the late-modern patriarchal world view – the end of man:
…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 if 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.
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 and dependably functional Axis mundi, suggesting the rigorous, precarious heroism of the shaman, is just the ticket. Eugene Monick, Phallos, p. 76]
Thus, 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 women imagine when they seek to get in touch with their 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.
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. 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 — the lone hero or Great Leader/Anti-Christ, and so on.
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 real.
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 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.
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 atmosphere and collective breath of all that lives has come back to Earth after a very long absence in the remote distance.
As I shared, I spent years inside the patriarchal spiritual practices. They do not acknowledge the dimension of being male where you feel the space 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. I think more men and woman need lodges than people realize.
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. In all cases, the unified spaces described are a form of collective consciousness that can learn and evolve over time. In this, the atmosphere that forms around 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.
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 play rock and roll in Norwalk, Ohio, or 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.
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, to describe 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.
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:
…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.
Turning the old teaching inside out:
1.In this way: Intellect (sun) and Emotion (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.
3.May you know your sacred nature walking the celestial Earth.
4. You have the inner direction of the axis mundi within you and you are Beloved to the soul of the world, anima mundi.
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.
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 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.
Like you, if this is the first time you are reading about astrology as a cultural value, I scoffed at first 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 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 illumination 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.
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, 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. 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.
The scepter we receive as we step into the participatory world view is Axis Mundi. No longer subjects, nor servants, but sovereign in soul. One 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. 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.
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.