Discussions & Dreams part 2
"At first we cannot see beyond the path that leads downward to dark and hateful things - but no light or beauty will ever come from the man who cannot bear this sight. Light is always born of darkness, and the sun never yet stood still in heaven to satisfy mans longing or to still his fears."
~C.G. Jung, Modern Man In Search of a Soul
Kurt Papke wrote:
There is no benefit in getting into a debate over the historical validity of the Bible, but by looking at it from that perspective we could explore the general issue of "what compensatory role(s) might be played by a post-mortem dream of a leader that broke new ground on spiritual issues?
I reckon this valuable comment is worth further reflection. Firstly, the OT God: Aries/agro/macho/authoritarian/patriarachal/no sense of humour/one-sided (= egocentric). Interesting that in my Bible dream Jung picked an OT passage (on the valley of the shadow). But in the dream he was full of fun, compassionate, non-authoritarian (the passage flicked to via mischief - "Ill be with you in the valley of shadow" - was the light-hearted but genuine comment of a friend and guide - this was the dominant feeling tone of the dream.) In other words, Jung was playing God - not the Arian/Piscean God who is above humanity, but the Mercurial/Aquarian divine human, whom we each are called to incarnate through individuation, and through our honouring of the the Eros that binds all together in a non-hierarchical web of relations. In this sense, my association of the valley of shadow with the title of a chapter I was writing from my mythology is also surely relevant. In my book, this Shadow, as a vague, parasitic enemy of all (Blakean) contraries, is hostile to both dark and light, whereas the OT bods and mainstream Christianity foster a metaphysical split between dark and light, good and evil, male and female, human and divine, spirit and matter. As Jung makes clear (in Answer to Job etc.) the challenge of the New Age of the Holy Spirit is the restititution of the original androgyny and dark/light unity of the God archetype - this time on the conscious plane.
Angels and devils will indeed dance in the Circle together . . .
Maureen (semi-sane androgyne)
On another list (Gaslight - a great group that reads stories from the Gaslight era - plenty of banter and note comparing there), we were talking about Edgar Rice Burroughs and early sci-fi/speculative fiction efforts. I wrote an elementary (my dear Watson) bit about the fx of Art that certainly applies to Jung Circle. Jungs essay Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry was published in1922 and discusses the function/purpose of active imagination or artistic dreaming in the collective culture. The idea is that art tends to compensate things that are repressed in a cultures popular consciousness, the same way you find yourself dreaming about things you fear or avoid. Ive always looked at the Romantic poets (Maureen and I met because of this common passion and her groundbreaking paper on Keats & Jung!), Gothic novelists, and the Pre-Raphaelites as portals to this sort of compensation in their times of rising pure-thinking- mode positivism; i.e. when scientists make claims such as "In 100 years we will know all there is to know!" and ideas such as planned eugenics are taken seriously, fantasy goes into bull market mode (sorry).
Fantasy is the mainline to archetype, as anyone who has occasionally let the bottom fall out knows. Space sagas and semi-naked swordspersons possess the logic system of dreams. The novels and stories that came out of the Oxford Inklings movement (Tolkien) were consciously aware of their compensatory role. Later speculative fiction even explored the idea in itself. Recently, weve had all those wizard role playing games. Weekly, we pilot starships at warp speed. Folks routinely wear a mask, whether it is a kid who talks like Buffy or an adult who defines themselves by their job. Guess we feel out of control...
(I recall that Jung was also quite taken himself with Rider Haggards She . Dear Carl did have some odd ideas about women that he drew from the dregs of the Victorian vapors...
(PS: Isnt Stephen Kings The Stand about soulless tech-ies sans intuition wrecking the world? Compensation for the old either-or!) Anyway, this is certainly my working perspective. In my experience, active imagination does open a door on archetype, and the Library angels - synchronicities that writers seem to experience just seem embedded in the territory. It is a province of meaningful coincidences.
Kurt is also right that some would see Riverworld as sacrilegious. Again, Jung would see that as the absolutism of insisting faith is fact. Some also see Disney in the devils business, but that is the business of seeing the devil everywhere.
Summa felicitas, ~Deborah
Is dear ol' Phil Farmer still on this side of the veil? I sure would love to see that series (Riverworld) on the big screen. Who should play Twain?
Ol Phil, if still on this side of the Great Divide, would now be 80 years old, so he may still be with us(?) Deborah, youd love this one by him - have you read it? - A Feast Unknown - in which Tarzan and Doc Savage duel with giant erect penises. Farmer often uses existing fictional characters to investigate the process of hero and myth-making in such works as Tarzan Alive and The Other Log of Phineas Fogg . His short fiction is noted for experimentation; a good collection is The Book of Philip Jose Farmer, which includes the Hugo-winning Riders of the Purple Wage, a dazzling description of the authors life in a future utopia. In To Your Scattered Bodies Go (one of his best, I reckon) all of humanity has been resurrected along the banks of a huge river by an unknown agency (God as superior alien theme - I mention this in my Jung Circle paper on science fiction). Among the protagonists are Richard Burton, the explorer, Alice Hargreaves of Wonderland fame, and the sf writer Peter Frigate. The sequels That Fabulous Riverboat, The Dark Design and The Magic Labyrinth look at religious belief, power in personal relationships and the possibility of absolute morality through the characters search for the identity and purpose of their mysterious benefactors. (Unfortunately sequel syndrome set in here - the first in the series was by far best).
And what with Deborahs shrewd and imaginative delineation of Dark City Id best be off to the flicks pronto (thanks, Deborah).
Warp 9.9 - Engage!
Maureen (sf buff - as if you didnt know . . .)
Dark City: Reviewed by Maureen Roberts
I revelled in and am very impressed with this film, which deals in immense complexity - and with delightful artistic force - with science fictions two foremost issues: what is real, and what does it mean to be human? The film, which concerns a citys induced amnesia by a parasitic bunch of dark aliens called Strangers, is undoubtedly destined to be slotted into the film noir genre, along with Blade Runner and other dark art as social comment movies. Dark City is a deft hybridization of a surrealist dreamscape and the kind of gloomy atmospheric consistency that made Blade Runner similarly impact and resonate on the mythic plane. Like Blade Runner, its also about human empathy and soul versus individual and collective soul loss.
In Dark City the central theme is (pre-Jungian i.e.) Platonic: the loss of memory that we all suffer in having forgotten our original home and ground of being, in this case appropriately symbolized by the ocean. The challenge of the human characters is thus Platonic anamnesis - the recovery of memory, or re-collection as reconnection to lost soul. In this sense, one of the films opening, then recurring metaphors is perhaps the key: a goldfish bowl, belonging to the hero figure, John, is accidentally shattered and we see the floundering fish gasping for air amid broken glass, then John carefully rescuing it and putting it in his abandoned bath of water.
The soul-robbing aliens, in a vain effort to discover what makes humans tick, are meanwhile busy erasing and replacing everyones memories, and dissolving and reforming the City at midnight to fit
the swapped identities. John, an imaginative type, and his alter ego, another artistic guy whos been driven mad by knowing whats going on, are two of only three humans who know what the aliens are up to. Here, then, is a comment on firstly, the fine line between creativity and madness - its ablity to push the individual either way - secondly on the awesome burden placed on those few who see whats really going on (= visionaries, such as genuine artists): John survives and grows stronger, in other words, but his victimized alter commits suicide.
John keeps searching for his home, called (not surprisingly) Shell Beach. Again not surprisingly, no-one seems to remember where it is. John asks the advice of one Uncle Carl (could this be an allusion to Jung?), a friendly old guy who lives in a fish-filled place called (wait for it!) Neptunes Castle, but it proves to be a red herring (sorry, couldnt resist the pun). All John can find is advertising boards, facades, saying, Welcome to Shell Beach. (Interestingly, another written sign that keeps reappearing is Book of Dreams). A fascinating figure - and the other of three humans who know that something fishy is afoot (double pun!) - is a limping, half-blind psychiatrist, a Hephaestus figure who is at first aiding the aliens, but later goes over to the human camp (again, another comment on the needed fate of psychiatry?)
Uncle Carls nasty alter ego is the cold old chief alien, whom John ends up battling with telepathically. John wins and is able to imagine (tune) back into reality his home, Shell Beach, the sunlight which has been absent throughout the entire film, and his lost wife. (Again, theres a visual and mythic resonance here with Blade Runner, which is similarly set in a dark city void of sunlight; only at the end of the film do Decard and Rachel escape the dark clutches into sun-filled Nature, hence in both films the male-female union is inextricably melded with a reunion with Nature and with an escape from urban soul loss and dehumanization).
The Strangers revamp the familiar science fiction theme of the soulless and dying alien collective, a motif which films such as War of the Worlds, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Village of the Damned deal with. A key statement at the end of Dark City is Johns comment to the last remaining alien on the Strangers failure to discover what makes us human: "You were searching on the wrong level" (here he points to his head). The Strangers have missed the human centrality of heart, soul and individuality, as is reflected in some of their names, Hand, Brain, Book.
In summary, owing to its rich tapestry of archetypal themes, Dark City is one film that would definitely reward repeated viewing by those who are intrigued by the role which science fiction plays as contemporary myth.
( http://www.darkcity.com./ Dark City on the Web)
Blessings & Goldfish from the Event Horizon
Maureen/"The Dark" Nathair
From: Andrew Walker
Wow! Thats quite a commentary! It merits posting, with links to earlier comments. I watched the video last night with my sister and brother-in-law. (Roughly11 am to 1 pm, Adelaide time). By the end of the movie I found myself in a semi-stupified state, not even trying to process things on a linguistic level. When I hit the sack, I dreamed a lot, but cannot remember much that I dreamt, other than recognizing with great clarity why the movie opened with the protagonist being a suspect for murder: the stage managers were troubled over his achieving powers equal to theirs, which included the power to take life, and wanted to confront him with the consequences of this to see how he would cope. Perhaps more on this when Ive read the commentary.
I rented the video of Dark City, which brought to mind this old saying:
There was a man who dreamed he was a butterfly flitting among the beautiful flowers, when he awoke he began to wonder, was he a man dreaming that he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was a man?
I also love sf and see it as an exploration of the dark. Darkness is a double-edged sword, on the one side rather scary because its hard to know where we are or whats going on, but on the other
hand it can be comforting, since we are not blinded or distracted by the over-powering light. Even on the physiological level it is during sleep (darkness) that we are restored, rejuvenated, unencumbered by the burning flame of day-consciousness.
One of the problems Ive been dealing with for years is relevance, unity, framework, meaning, and how I fit in to all this. When we finally do make contact with aliens, what criteria shall we use to compare ourselves?
Is darkness merely the absence of light, or does it have a soul of its own? Im reminded here of the alchemical "Sol Niger", the black sun. There was a wonderful TV show here called "Tales from the Dark Side" which opened with a beautifully sunlit countryside and then transformed into a sort of grey photographic negative. A new world was revealed.
Another thing which interests me is fear of the dark - why some have it and some dont, and its significance. Personally I feel very much at home in the dark with its peace and quietness. I can move about unseen within this protective blanket. I can take long walks alone at night in dark, thick forests and feel very good. Anyways these are my ramblings of the day and any thoughts would be welcomed.
Al - your thoughts are beautifully put. Does darkness have a soul of its own?
I feel it. I think it necessary. A balance, a closing of the circle to make a One. Celtic decorations and symbols - they frequent a symbol very like the one the Stranger embedded in the flesh of the girls. An explanation of it is that it is the trance tunnel - any fire-sitting cosmic voyagers here been there and seen it? So the symbol of the circle without closure, the spiral going on forever (to where? Nowhere... it is nothing) evokes the tunnel the mind enters as it burrows into an altered state (to use the old Tard terms). The symbol is all over the old sacred places, first in the burial grounds as a way to keep touch with those on the other side of the veil (to use Blavatsky-speak). Then it appears later in the purely sacred circles, the Temenos where one seeks union with the Gods. Sure seems like an attempt to hold onto soul. Touch it.
Another Dark City point, from what Andrew brought up (I keep seeing the fish!) about the Strangers calculatingly inoculating John Murdoch with a murderers memories. Even more, Murdoch refused to accept these memories, even when unconscious. He broke the syringe as the
Doc tried to inject him. He said later that he knew he didnt have it in him to do those things. He consciously rejected rule by unconscious content: i.e., he was centered. He cries beautifully, by the way.
Al says: Even on the physiological level it is during sleep (darkness) that we are restored, rejuvenated, unencumbered by the burning flame of day-consciousness.
Interesting. Nurturing darknesss feminine quality. I had just asked Maureen earlier where she thought men did their crying. (Thinking of Gen. Swartzkoffs remark that "A man who doesnt cry cant be trusted.") She said, In their dreams.
From: Robert Champ
Here is a little poem I wrote on this subject awhile back.
A TEMPORARY BLACK-OUT
In a stiff wind, the electric has gone out.
I feel like a nursing baby whose mother Has just pulled the nipple from its mouth:
No cassette player,
(If I werent so old, Id bawl!)
Still, sitting in this murkiness,
Waiting for the power company
To send out a crew,
I find there is not much trouble
In the silence, not much
Of the old scariness left in the unplanned dark.
Or maybe I am just less cranky
Than I thought -
Or have lived before
In a house without lights
And remember it here with an unsuspected affection, As you'd remember a cartoon villain:
Dark-hatted, familiar, sly.
Could it be that all this quietness and shadow
Are the chaos of withdrawal?
That all this cessation
Holds out no protest?
I have been taught to honor light
As the one desideratum;
To find in the busyness of light,
Sustained by socket and prong,
The one connection worth making:
Elaborate interchange of being and doing.
Yet now, unconnected, I float
From wall to wall;
Rest easily in the endless pitch-blackness,
Helpless to resist.
In a blackout, candleless, one's options are few -
As if one had just died and were learning
To deal with an unexpected afterlife,
As if one were a child put abruptly to bed.
From: Phoebe Wray
Ah relevance, structure, manifested everywhere and then seeming to elude us. Does darkness have a soul of its own? (Doesnt everything?) I think a lot about the meaning of the dark. Came up with this:
OPPOSITES OF MANIFESTATION
Here in the darkness the light is growing.
Growing as the seed grows
first softening, then strengthening:
and in the softness, strength.
This is the paradox and the promise.
Here in the darkness the light dissembles:
streaks and sighs graysilver days
against the wet darkness of living trees:
whispers winter bringing hunger
for the light for the seed for the promise.
Here is the soft strength of life:
that in the darkness there is always light;
it is in the belly of the deep-water fish
and in the heart of the tulip,
both know the secret of winter growing.
Here is the manifestation of opposites:
contain the light, and you will embrace all darkness; contain the darkness, and light will appear.
Here is the love that life delivers:
we are never not alive.
For proof, consult the mountain.
There was a very interesting article in Discovery magazine June 1998:
Vol.19, No.6 entitled "Ancient Altered States" By Mary Roach which discusses recent research into such spiral and other shapes. The anthropologists work described in the article comes to the intriguing conclusion that these shapes seem to be fundamental to structures inherent in our brains that are expressed as visual symbols in altered states. Hmm, starts to sound like an archetypal image.
For a dramatic treatment of (Golden) spirals as a constellation of the archetype of Order, see the movie "PI". Its not for the weak-of-stomach, but is a wonderful story of what can happen to someone "grabbed" by an archetype.
Did anyone see the in-depth program on the PBS channel, which was about the hearing impaired who also suffered the loss of sight later in their adult lives, and who now communicate through the sign-language of touch? When these individuals where asked if they still had dreams, they replied, Yes! Whatever they touched in their conscious state, later took form in their dream state, so that they maintained a world of sight in their mind. But those born without sight and hearing had no dreams and truly lived in a silent, dark world, but still in a world of heightened sense of touching, smelling, and tasting. This reminded me of the law of compensation, that for every loss there is a gain, that for everything, there is a price to pay.
From: Phoebe Wray
I wonder if certain properties of shapes - smoothness, textures, thinness, fragility, etc. - become grouped as a rebus of "forms." Would that not constitute constructions in the darkness, so to speak. Of course in that dark world there is perfectly good memory - everything they touch or smell is not new, and there must be a grouping of like things. But how is that accomplished? We are used to heirarchies, lists, certain spatial arrangements that tell us immediately of grouping by the way they look. It must be different to the blind/deaf from birth, or are there certain archetypes of ways to group that transcend sight? I stretch my mind to imagine such categories without visual cues.
Yes it would be interesting to know what goes on in these dark and silent worlds. During the program about the hearing impaired, the camera records one born blind/deaf person, standing in the centre of the room, surrounded by deaf, but seeing persons; his feet together, he falls forward and is caught by the hands of the deaf, and pushed up-right again; he falls backward, caught again, he is pushed upright. Soon he is being revolved in a Circle, and a smile appears on his face. Later, when asked through the sign-language of touch, how he felt during this act, he replied, "I was dancing through the fingers of my friends, and I was happy." Emotion was there in his dark and silent world.
Then there is another world, the world of autism; the autistic person appears to have total disregard for external reality, yet they are intuitively aware of it. What kind of world are they living in?
Gday from Down Under . . .
Al mentioned the sol niger - synchronicity! Deborah has just added delightful sol nigers (and rotating red ones!), plus flickering flames, to the JC main page - which now looks wonderfully Underworldly. Miltons Satan would feel at home here. Check it out, folks . . .
Deborah also ponders the question of whether the darkness has a soul of its own . . . Poetic visionaries such as Hillman reverse the perspective through imagining soul as being in essence depth, darkness, seductive Hades, Nights strange brood of dreaming (while spirit thrives on
escaping the vale of Soul-making into the heights of airless summits and celestial brilliance). Its intriguing that the quest for soul in Dark City takes place entirely in labyrinthine darkness (hence the recurrent spiralling labyrinth symbol, which Deborah entions, also perhaps aligned with Dionysian madness, creativity, blood and death?) Only at the end does sunlight compensate the sol niger, and even then, the surviving protagonists are still on-board the circular City, enclosed by darkness and still wandering, as is souls fate, even though theyve arrived as well (hence the symbol of Tao as a person passing perpetually through the Door).
Even the term depth psychology implies the darkness of a more profound understanding of psyche that depends not so much on analysis (as taking things apart), but more on seeing things in depth (hence, as I once realized, understanding as standing under means literally to view from below - and from a position of humility). As Heraclitus said: "You could not find the ends of the soul though you travelled every way, so deep is its logos." The latter reminds me of the sf movie "The Abyss" (one of the I Ching hexagrams); in one fascinating scene - possibly the only one in an otherwise mediocre flick - the characters see their faces mirrored and mimicked in the head of an alien water serpent that has formed itself from a blend of the ocean and their submarine indoor pool (ego-Self axis stuff?)
To understand soul, in other words, we must venture deep into darkness, hence the dominant sf mythic theme of inner depth mirroring the darkness of outer space. Likewise, as Hillman notes, dreams are the children of sleep and death and as such have no father, no call upwards. They come only from Night, and they have no other home other than in that dark realm. Perhaps this connects with the sign "Book of Dreams" which keeps popping up in Dark City - as the logos and topography of souls innate darkness?
[Extract from Sea Poem by MBR]:
They say that on a dark world far from here fountains of burning ice cleave a star-infested sky.
Watching the sea now, scintillant as elusive beings,
closer than a memory of beginnings,
I live and relive a heat-infected burning
in volcanic flame that craves the cool embrace of water.
Both yearn for the other, as I desire my one lost love.
Both watch black aeons of peripheral events run by
as across the dark coals of the sea
the Sun rising slants down swords of light
like a great melon tossed to the sky.
Thoughts on darkness by "The Dark" . . .
Antoni Tejero wrote:
My name is Eleazar and I am new in the circle, I will like to ask a general question into the circle: can anyone tell me what is the relation between dark night soul mood state, the shadow, and the alchemists "sol niger"?
Theres not necessarily any difference between the three, since the sol niger, or alchemical nigredo (blackening) is synonymous with melancholia (as your dark soul mood), and is also symbolic of psychic suffering and the putrefactio of symbolic death. The albedo (whitening), or rising of the
alchemical Sun from the darkness of Earth follows it, as day follows night and as ego emerges from unconscious. The symbol of the black Sun (sol niger) is, in other words, based on the truth that without light there can be no shadow, such that, as Jung points out, the shadow, too, is emitted by the Sun. Since Sol or Sun is a symbol in alchemy, it is (like all alchemical symbolism) automatically ambivalent, i.e. both dark and light. Emotionally, the sol niger corresponds as well to depression, as the descent, or lowering of energy that precedes en-lightenment (hence the need to honour souls need to descend through the valley of the shadow of death). Jungs Mysterium Coniunctionis is probably the best of his CWs if you want to read further on all this and more . . .
But would you care to share why you have asked the question?
Safe journeys - and welcome to the fireside Ring
From: Mike Dickman
Hmm... Its the coincidence I argue with.
This stage in alchemy IS often referred to as the eclipse of the Sun and/or Moon, but not as the Sun/Moon themselves. That particular phase - the phase where the darkness is first recognised as being the the womb, the flask, the materia and the fire - or where the first glimmerings of such a
recognition begin, very slowly and uncertainly, to dawn - THAT is what I would argue is the real black Sun - Light not dark. That alchemical symbols are ambivalent I will not argue (God knows I spend enough of my time working on them and translating them!) The point Im pointing at is that where there is sun, we are already on the threshold of - as you put it - "the whitening, or albedo, coming out of the seed of light that the dark contains." Just a detail, perhaps, but - I think - a telling one.
It is true that, throughout the oeuvre noir, the black glistens and shines with reflected light, but this is not quite the same thing as realising that it is - in itself - its own very source and star. The dark animus being very much a case in point, nest ce pas?
Forgive me if I am rushing in where angels fear to tread.
Greetings fire sitters, water-sisters & brothers,
Invoking again the expanded reality of the alchemist, Jung contrasts the then and nowism of it at the end of the essay The Spirit Mercurius in Alchemical Studies [Bollingen Series XX, Vol. 13] This is the movie all of us write right here, now playing in your dreams. I see we are also doing the CD to it: your gifts of poetry and song, the moment set to time:
"It seems to me that Augustine apprehended a great truth, namely that every spiritual truth gradually turns into something material, becoming no more than a tool in the hand of man. (*Art?) In consequence, man can hardly avoid seeing himself as a knower, yes, even as a creator, with boundless possibilities at his command. The alchemist was basically this sort of person, but much less so than modern man. An alchemist could still pray: "Purge the horrible darkness of our mind," but modern man is already so darkened that nothing beyond the light of his own intellect illuminates his world. "Occasus Christi, passo Christi."
"That surely is why such strange things are happening to our much-lauded civilization, more like a Gotterdammerung than any normal twilight. Mercurius, the two-faced god, comes as a lumen naturae , the Servator and Salvator, only to those whose reason strives towards the highest light ever received by man, and who do not trust exclusively to the cognitio vespertina . For those who are unmindful of this light, the lumen naturae turns into a perilous ignis fatuus , and the psychopomp into a diabolical seducer. Lucifer, who could have brought light, becomes the father of lies whose voice is our time, supported by press and radio, revels in orgies of propaganda and leads untold millions to ruin."
Following Neutral Angels, leaning towards the Light . . .
[Covert writes: This is of course very interesting. Does anybody know what C. G. said about the blind and dreams? Does anyone have data regarding any related studies? This suggests to me that archetypes exist in sort of machine level code: 1, 2, 3, etc., in Is and Os; so that to come up with a father, a son, and a holy ghost, youve got to see a guy or two (or at least a billy goat) with whiskers.]
This is a fascinating line of inquiry! Seven months ago my first child was born. During the pregnancy we had the opportunity to do more than the usual amount of monitoring of the fetus as it grew. Towards the last part of the third trimester, the question that completely consumed my imagination was - what on earth was this unborn child dreaming about?! According to various authorities, at this stage of growth the baby is going through all the physical stages of normal sleep patterns except for the frequency of sleep time. This includes the REM stage when we dream.
According to Jung and as far as he could guess, the archetypes exist in the unconscious in undifferentiated potentiality and only take on form when they "hit consciousness". They exist in the unconscious in potential and need the catalyst of consciousness to take any shape or form. He makes at several points in his writings along the lines that it is impossible for us to make much if anything in the way of definitive descriptions or statements about the deeper and more collective regions of the unconscious, because it is quite simply, unconscious! The interesting thing about
dreams is that they contain symbolic images that we have never seen before. While in waking life we may have seen a horse, a shiny green frog and a magnificently winged eagle, we have never seen a shiny green, magnificently winged horse! Jung seems to think that the deeper levels of the unconscious appear to cause the manifestation of more abstract, geometrical images such as the mandala symbols. But, again we could say that we have seen examples of light, colour, shape and perspective in waking life and that these mandala symbols are still only variations of things we have seen before.
The other night I had the most moving and vivid dream where (to cut a very long story short). I ran down some stairs to a basement room in my house. As I descended, the air smelt musky and damp. I went to a door and opened it. The air from the open doorway smelt amazingly fresh and clean. Inside the room I found my maternal grandparents (both whom have been dead for over 20 years) sitting upright in the middle of a huge square bed in an enormous square bedroom. There in front of them on the bed was my little seven month old boy Jack playing with the sheets. When I walked into the room the three of them turned towards me beaming huge smiles. I exclaimed with immense excitement "There your are! Youre all here! I knew it!" Throughout this dream there was a strange form of music that seemed to hang in the air like a light mist. I ran to my grandmother and embraced her and started to sob. My weeping was so intense at that point I woke up sobbing!
Now this dream contained a combination of images, sounds, smells, emotions, tactile contact, geometrical shape, intuitive pronouncements, various archetypal themes, a whole bunch of things. The dream has stayed with me for days and, as it usually is when I have a big dream like this, I feel changed by it. Some kind of autonomous, purposive force welling up from my/the unconscious has commandeered various "things known to me" and combined them into something new in order to change me. I didnt have this dream - it had me!
As far as I can tell, before a child is born it has no ego or self consciousness. It has no sense of separation from the universe; it just "is". The agony of separation through birth and the ensuing formation of ego separateness is all there on the road ahead. So, what was he dreaming about in there, safe in his mothers womb? Perhaps a preparation process for the coming "fall from the heaven of universal un/consciousness"? God only knows what that must look like! :)
From: Steve Kalec
Reflecting on this painting of the Transfiguration by Raphael seen at http://sunsite.unc.edu/cjackson/raphael/p-raphae49.htm I am inclined to say that the whole painting can also be seen as an inner subjective event happening not just as an outward story or a recorded event. I believe that we could look at the masterpiece as being oneself in its entirety. The lower darkened half representing the unconscious aspects of our being is still in needs to be purified and rendered into light from its chaotic condition. These characters are in the lower darkness of our
mind and are unconscious contents of our being that are imprisoned into the darkness of matter. These contents want be free and evolve out of the chaotic condition they are in. But this darkness is also the blackened blessed darkness as the prima materia of the alchemists. It is the passive feminine aspect of our being as the nurturing mother element or the receptive womb out of which will come or be born the Divine Son as the light of the Self.
This I believe is represented by the beautiful attracting woman in the middle of this darkness. None of these characters see the Christ as being above them for none are looking at the Christ. They are all pointing in different directions for their answer to the way which is really somewhere above them. Notice that even the woman is pointing backwards, behind her with her left hand as if indicating to go back deeper into the attracting beauty of matter. She could even be indicating the Hermetic Law of "As above, so below". Even the child has the eyes of a blind person groping in the dark. The philosopher with his book in his hand is also in the dark because he is not looking at the light from above. He is unaware that he needs only to look within to find and realize those truths that are written.
Those who attempt to climb the stone to be closer to the light are not quite ready to behold the awesome energetic power of this Greater Light. The power of this light is too much for them and they are struck down and blinded by it. Though they had the courage and the daring, they are stricken by a sort of Promethean ordeal. They had not the ability to contain the light due to their unreadiness for the greater light of the illumination. This readiness is cultivated by patient and loyal vigil and the gentle steady tending to the inner fire of mystics and alchemists, thereby gradually getting accustomed to the lesser light. Through the practice they learn to control the inner psychic heat generated in their vessels, in their psychic body and in their sympathetic systems. Without this spiritual heat they can do nothing in the art of transmutation. It is through this slow, gradual, steady and unceasing tending and control of the inner secret fire that the energy of the soul is awakened and fanned into the intensified light of the inner master and saviour, the Transfigured Christ within, the albedo, the whitening purification of the first order of transmutation from lead to silver.
To receive this Light, this divine constructive, life giving, rejuvenating and creative energy, or essence of the Inner Divine Self, one must be initiated. One must pray for the Divine Grace to be granted and must contemplate the mysteries of Being and consciousness. One must meditate and inwardly raise his/her consciousness upwards towards what is the Divine in him/her, as do the two initiates as can be seen in the left hand side of the upper level of the painting just adjacent to the stone. They are the only ones in the whole painting who are truly beholding the transfiguration as the alchemical process occurring within themselves. These two figures seem to be apart from, above and outside of the mass below as if they have transcended themselves. They can be seen as if they are in ecstatic adoration and in union with the Divine.
Christ in between Moses and Elijah represents the three evolutionary stages of the Great Work of alchemy. Moses representing the water element (Drawn from the Water), the emotional energies under control and mastership as in the separation of the Red Sea. Elijah represents the spiritualized intellect. Elijah (Helios) as the illumined intellect and the second stage of the Great work. Christ the final stage, as in perfection and attainment in the purification of the whitening stage of the ultimate spiritual energies of the Self.
[Editors Note: Hmm, in light of the 3+1 structure of the God-archetype, me wonders where the feminine Fourth is in all this, given that we end up here with a dreadfully imbalanced, all-male Trinity? And not all of us image the Self as a masculine figure . . .]
From: Jeffrey Anderson
Hi there, I am Jeff and a newcomer to the circle, too. In response to Eleazers interest in the conjunction between "dark night of the soul", the shadow, and the alchemists "sol niger": I suggest a look beginning with the end of paragraph 41 of Carl Jungs Psychology and Alchemy.
"Thus an old alchemist - and he a cleric! - prays: "Horridas nostrae mentis purga tenebras, accende lumen sensibus!" (Purge the horrible darknesses of our mind, light a light for our senses!)
The author of this sentence must have been undergoing the experience of the nigredo , the first stage of the work, [i.e. individuation] which was felt as "melancholia" in alchemy and corresponds to the encounter with the shadow in psychology." (p.36)
I too am wondering Eleazar, from whence comes your personal interest in this conjunction? Has the journey begun? Any interesting dreams?
Pax et amo
Mike Dickman wrote:
Just a brief note on the sol niger... Sol is and has always been used by all alchemists as far as I know to represent the fixed and perfected state of all metals (cf., e.g., the last two or three cantilenae in my translation of Michael Maiers Cantilenae Intellectuales de Phoenice Redivivo (Magnum Opus Sourceworks, 1997). The black sun, therefore, is not identical with the nigredo. The nigredo as a state of digestion/putrefaction is UTTERLY DEVOID OF LIGHT as must all gestation always be, but not of warmth or of moisture.
Oh? Jung, on the other hand, and as I suggested, identifies the two (see MC 14 para. 113): "Sol niger, a black sun . . . coincides with the nigredo [corresponding to a state of incubation, or pregnanacy] and putrefactio, the state of death." As I also mentioned, all alchemical symbols are ambivalent, hence Sol, as Jung again notes, contains both light and darkness. As in Tao, the seed of each opposite is contained in its opposite; hence the whitening, or albedo comes out of the seed of light that the dark contains (cf. yin/yang mutual gestation). Such is the basis of enantiodromian reversals. The Sol niger is also one form of the animus in women (hence the animus often appears as a dark figure).
I find it interesting that since I have been lurking and delurking on this list, my dreams have come fast and furious. Must be stirring things up just in the linking. Last nights is a good example.
I was ceremonially kidnapped by a shaman - he made me think of New Guinea style of dress and ornamentation, but this was not set in New Guinea. I was taken to a tent that was closer to US Plains Indians in design; circular structure of light-colored skins over a frame. (It reminded me a little of a geodesic dome.) Open fire in the centre, ceremonial pole with eagle feathers and coyote/wolf tail dressing, the top leaning against the wall I could see near my head. Dirt floor and a high dome, glowing with the light from outside. It was daylight, but murky inside and a bit smoky from the fire. I am not positive about my own clothes, but I think I was in my regular shamans garb of my vision world, which is a shirt and baggy trousers, barefoot. My hands and feet were bound and I was on my side at the fire, watching the shaman through the flames.
There is no fear in this at all. I was not imperiled but was surprised that I was tied up. The fire was sparking. The shaman was chanting, using a rattle. Everything seemed to be turning red - the dusty smoky air was glowing. Then - total change of scene. I was sitting in my backyard, in my regular sloppy "Im-writing-today" clothes, on the grass, in the daylight, with my dog, Sinjin. He was sitting, too, leaning against me, and I had my arm around him. I looked across the lawn and coming at us full-tilt was a gorgeous wolf. It looked rather like a coyote because the legs were long and not well-feathered, but it was a silver-coated wolf. I whispered to Sinjin to be still and wait. The wolf ran at us and ran through us and disappeared. It was a spirit wolf. Again, there was no threat. Another interesting symbol in the backyard part - Sinjin and I were sitting on the grass, but at an old covered-over well, which is a circle of cement. So I went from the circle of the tent to the circle in my backyard. The wolf and the shaman were not the same, at least I didnt get the feeling that they were.
My dreams (and visions) tend to be pretty action-adventure and although they are sometimes painful, I am rarely frightened. The binding part still eludes me (I go willingly to visions and dreams), and thats why I decided it had to be a ceremonial binding. I was not a "captive" but I
was physically restrained. The lesson, however, was not about that. I seemed to be with the shaman to learn something - the ritual, the chant? Dont know. But it is spinning in my head still. Maybe this will trigger some good visions for others.
Im not sure what to tell you. Your share felt wonderful, as a few others also have recently. After reading about the blind visions, I have a slightly different perspective: experiencing more, seeing differently. One thing is I have a new computer with a much larger screen. I hope the medium is
not the whole message. Also, it seems as though a lot of the JC members are centred in the U.S. North East. It would be fun to plot the members on the globe. What if we came up with an eye in Australia, another in Spain, a nose in the U.S. West, and a smile in the North East, like the face on the Cool Aid Man, or the Man In The Moon. Then we could have a laugh and pack it in permanently. Anyway, I enjoyed your shares immensely, and dont have anything else to say amid the cold dumb sober work week.
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