I-Me-Mine

Is it the fear of what is other, the initial recognition of duality, that tempt us further into categorizations of duality? Is individuality, that necessary movement for freedom of action, what fosters a battle stance, a duality initiating all future duels?

Perhaps fear of the other must finally, as Jung suggested, reduce the gods to diseases, eliminating their autonomy, along with the autonomy of ideas, that now further reduces all human perception to the material causes of brain chemistry, neurons, or delusional thinking. Could we have moved from a world where once all was personified, to one where we’re not even sure of our own personhood?

“…the experience of the gods, of heroes, nymphs, demons, angels and powers, of sacred animals, places, and things, as persons indeed precedes the concept of personification. It is not that we personify, but that the epiphanies come as persons.”

Pan, Mikhail Vrubel 1900

“Epiphanies come as persons,” for us rarely, but to understand the truth of this we can look to dreams or art.

If you can possess your experience, all threats of “other” are “managed.” Filtering experience, we make sense of the world as fits our emotional state, religious viewpoint, cultural conventions, language skills, or whatever else fits the habits of our awareness. Barriers between us and the world are forged categorically: self and other, self and self (resistance even to unwanted thoughts and fantasies that have their way when all is quiet), self and world (especially the uncivilized worlds of forest, jungle, deep-sea and inner city). Sometimes, it is only through a dream or nightmare that we may be reached, and then, rather than hear a message, we might rather insist it was something we ate. 🙂

“When Pan is dead, then nature can be controlled by the will of the new god, man, modeled in the image of Prometheus or Hercules, creating from it and polluting in it without a troubled conscience.”

In their book, Pan and the Nightmare, Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher and James Hillman remind us of a historical account of Herodotus’ in which Pheidippides receives a message from the god Pan that saves Athenian democracy:

“Herodotus says Pan burst in on Pheidippides, cried out his name, and gave him a crucial message that saved Athens. The leaders of Athens believed Pheidippides, won the battle, and set up the Cult of Pan in Athens. Were the cunning and intelligent Greeks so deluded? Did all this come about because of the exhausted state of mind of a certain messenger who had a sudden bright idea and conjured up “Pan” to bless it with authority?”

Here Hillman mocks the modern prejudice which insists the phenomena of receiving messages from the gods is some form of delusion or power grab. I agree with Hillman that it is to the essence of the experience; that of being receptive to receiving messages, that remains relevant to us. What has modernity done for us by refusing to even entertain any such direct experience of the divine? Are we any wiser, safer, secure in our destiny, more civil in our interactions, more caring for home, city and planet for it?

I love the hints, suggestions, ideas and messages that come through experiencing the world as personal; alive, layered, varied, imprecise, whose purpose serves more than functionality. When fear provokes me into summarily dismissing a foreign way of looking at something, or a new way to hear an old idea, it leaves an unsettled feeling in my heart. That unsettledness, when attended to, eventually brings a gift of insight, understanding, compassion, beauty and love.

When ideas themselves can be seen as other, coming to us personified, as dream images do – without the threat of seeming like a foreign invasion, the desire to possess them and boss them around lessens. Their gravitas remain, but without weighing us down as their owners. If there is one gift I have received from spending time with Hillman’s ideas, it is this loosening and respect of fear, and an increase of interest in ideas for their own sake.

“Could we step back from our times, step out of the pretensions of the fearing ego who would bring every atom of nature under its control? Then we might realize again that we are not the source of personified gods. We do not make them up, anymore than we invent the sounds we hear in the woods, the hoof prints in the sand, the nightmare pressure weighing on our chests.”

As well, it is freeing when I recognize that others are also not the author of ideas. We may all be possessed by them, but who knows where their source lies?

Perhaps our need to possess ideas, shifting them away from an experience of the divine, comes from the absorption of polytheism by monotheism, and monotheism by scientistic materialism that takes monotheism one step further. If monotheism reduced the gods to one, separating divinity from the material world, materialism finished the job by removing altogether any notion of the divine, reducing the world to mostly dead bits and pieces bossed around by chemistry, math and physics.

But the shifting of states of awareness through the ages may be necessary, and the Greek imagination helps us to see Dionysus at work here. It may be Dionysus, the only god to have one mortal parent, that best represents the psychological style of modern consciousness, for he was both a god of the grapes, given to transcendent ecstasy, but also ripped apart by the Titans to avenge his father Zeus’ love of Semele, his mortal mother.

Can this myth tell us something about the modern tendency to reduce the world into bits and parts, along with a love of transcendent states, whether through drugs, alcohol, technology, apocalyptic visions or meditative states? Can we see the possessiveness in reducing the world to bits and pieces, and deadening it for the sake of control?

In slicing and dicing as we have throughout the last millenia, perhaps the resulting technology will come to serve another twist of fate. Through the transcendent impulse, we may see seeing, taking on a birds-eye view of not only our planet, but of the vastness beyond our understanding, which may foster in yet another Dionysian trait; a rebirth into another style of consciousness, one that expects variety, and without fear, experiences the divine everywhere.

All quotes, Hillman, James; Roscher, Wilhelm Heinrich (2014-10-09). Pan and the Nightmare. Spring Publications, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Gem Moon Magic: Explorations of the Gemini Moon

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“Gem Moon Mandala” by AmandaSeesDreams of http://www.Dreamrly.com

Welcome to the collaborative lunations of Gemini moon pals, LitebeingDreamrly, and yours truly, The Ptero Card. Yesterday marks the Gemini / Sagittarius full moon of 2014, and through our mutual love of art and writing we’re combining our efforts for a few reflections on our experience of lunar Gemini in our natal astrological charts. Each of our contributions was produced independently, without consultation other than assigning the art work to Dreamrly, poetry to Litebeing and intuitive writing to me. We present here the fruits of our work which we hope enhance your own lunations, where ever they may take you.

The basis of astrology, an ancient wisdom practiced by nearly all pre-scientific cultures, comes from the understanding that external cosmological events have a corresponding affect on our interiority, because human disposition is a microcosm of the macrocosm, or, as the ancients say, “as above, so below.” I suspect the exterior and interior worlds, until quite recently, were experienced as a more unified whole, both symbolic, and meaningful. To the ancients, the visible planets were the gods, each personifying a particular disposition and influence on us, according to our chronological birth placement in their world. The disposition of the cosmos at the moment we enter the world drama, is mirrored in our personality, character and fate.

I often wonder if a cultural agreement that suggests nothing can be true without first being scientifically verified, has cut us off from the ease of intuiting meaning, eroding our trust in the value of personal experience, to the point that we are no longer free to, or sometimes capable of, grasping the immediate animal sense of a thing or event. So, bring your own intuitions to this reading and imagine with us the myriad ways we encounter the moon and the Gemini twins.

Compared to other visible planets, the uniqueness of the moon is evident. 235,000 miles away from earth, she has the closest presence to us in the vastly huge, night sky. As the only planet that revolves around us, her presence and power is both seen and felt here on earth, from the mighty ocean’s tidal motion, to her stabilization of earth’s orbit, we need her. A force capable of pulling the oceans closer to our earthly islands, must certainly have some sway over our watery bodies.Unlike the sun, the moon seems exotically present with no perceptible purpose other than delighting our senses and drawing us outward. Her closeness and visual beauty are too hard to ignore and have served so many throughout the ages, from sailors to poets, from lovers to madmen.

Remarkably, the moon’s rotation is synchronized to her revolution around us, so that we only ever see one side, her dark side remaining forever hidden from our earthly view. It’s no surprise that we may be less aware of her influence. The man in the moon is now the man on the moon; us, and without a deep practice of the lunar skills of reflection that she gives, we risk losing her gift of seeing in the dark, and mistaking her imposing reflective moods and feelings as brain chemistry. With no place or time for occasional lunacy, feelings and reflections are unwanted by-products, brain states we seek to be rid of.

Astrologically speaking, in what ways does the moon affect us? I am no astrologer, and there are many resources available from those whose studies of the ancient art offer much wisdom. What I offer here are my intuitions.

Traditionally, the moon influences our emotional life, the coming and going, waxing and waning of cycles that affect us and any creature with a fluid and watery nature. Besides feelings, thoughts and senses are also fluid. In alchemy, the moon is the queen of the heavens who unites with the solar king, forming a marriage in which cooperation, devotion and love are united in service of the Great Work. The moon’s whiteness may also be significant. Alchemically, whitening is the stage that moves the work from the black and blue periods in which the base materials are yet to be purified. Whitening is an initiatory stage in which much knowledge is gained through the art of reflection. The lunar mind helps us go beyond the physical realm for spiritual knowledge and experience.

Moon placement in the natal chart perhaps shows the ways in which lunar influence affects and styles your senses, perceptions, reflections, and therefore your relationships not only to others, but to all that is differentiated from yourself. Lunar pals Litebeing, Dreamrly and I have our natal moon in the sign of Gemini, the twins. Initially, Gemini may be experienced through some form of duality. Perhaps duality manifests in different ways. For me, I think it manifests as a heightened sense of opposition, ambiguity and separation between self and other, driving a need to articulate distinctions and give voice to them through ideas, language and music.

Gemini Gals

Image: Artist Unknown

I find the symbolism of the twins ambiguous. Twins may share an identical nature, and yet in mythology and historically, they are frequently seen battling with each other, as Cain and Abel, or in stories of the evil twin. Opposites we see, can share a likeness, as they appear together and depend on each other as in the Gemini twins, Castor and Pollux. According to Wiki:

“When Castor was killed, Pollux asked Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin to keep them together, and they were transformed into the constellation Gemini. The pair was regarded as the patrons of sailors, to whom they appeared as St. Elmo’s fire, and were also associated with horsemanship.”

So twins may look the same, but may be oppositional, and, or complementary. Either way, we have an image of two selves facing each other, or two sides of one coin. Like the moon itself, Gemini is a relational influence with dual aspects, so this placement in a natal chart may heighten some deep, ambiguous feelings about self and other. True for me anyway.

Much of my life’s work has been to make peace with the sense of an ambiguous, often conflicted, sense, of not only myself and others, but also of ideas and feelings, some of which remain slippery, inconclusive, up in the air and unsettled. But each effort to solidify thoughts and ideas about who I am, who you are, or attempts to define this mysterious existence, only brings pain and disappointment. Like Gemini’s ruler, Mercury, or Hermes, traveling, communicating and intellectual movement are vital to me. Perhaps blogging itself, is one more stone-heap left here for all fellow travelers.

— Ptero9

 

Next, a lovely poem from our resident astrologer, Linda of LiteBeingChronicles, shedding light on the lived experience of a Gemini Moon Goddess!

 

Lunar babbles

 

Chatter, breathe, jump, sing,

Laugh, scream, analy-zing

Heart and mind racing together

Yet the split appears forever

 

The smell of paper, words in my hands

Fill me with excitement, freedom from demands

Hand me the keys of a quick, shiny ride

Throw in a CD, sound/motion collide

 

Chatter, breathe, jump, sing,

Laugh, scream, analy-zing

Heart and mind racing together

Yet the split appears forever

 

Quick wit so handy to block my pain

Why not let Mercury have free reign?

Jabber, chuckle, wax poetic

To hide my fear, how pathetic!

 

Chatter, breathe, jump, sing,

Laugh, scream, analy-zing

Heart and mind racing together

Yet the split appears forever

 

Lovin’ the teacher, but nary the lesson

Hermes’s so sly, always guessin’

Take every shortcut, prefer the easy

Inner currents prevail, surface seems breezy

 

Chatter, breathe, jump, sing,

Laugh, scream, analy-zing

Heart and mind racing together

Yet the split appears forever

 

Need to know, compelled to ask

My soul’s calling, a sacred task

Yearn to uncover hidden glory

Encoded within each human story

 

Chatter, breathe, jump, sing,

Laugh, scream, analy-zing

Heart and mind racing together

Yet the split appears forever

poem written by litebeing chronicles © 2014

  

We end our lunations with a few words and images from AmandaSeesDreams of www.dreamrly.com, who came into this world on the night of a full moon, and has long felt a deep connection to moon’s voluptuous power.

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Photograph by AmandaSeesDreams of www.dreamrly.com

 

The moon has always owned me in some ways. I have always been entranced by her beauty, by the one side she shows me, by her silent currents ruling my state of mind. I find it impossible to sleep when she is full, the waters of life flow through me with such vigor I am almost forced to admire her. She fills me. Over the years I have taken photographs of her crescent, of her full bare body, of her red eclipse. She even shows up when my inner child comes out to play, painting from the heart, with abandon…

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I paint my dreams of sailing through the unconscious, but not without a purple moon.

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I paint my daytime visions of buffalo medicine, but not without a purple moon.

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I paint my twins, honoring the gemini gift of balancing complex ideas and communicating dual truths – mixing pleasure and pain, fingerpainting bright colors that soothe a conflicted soul. Sweet Gemini Moon, gifting me with giggles and tears, pensive contemplations and wild dances in your light. Dear Moon, I love you, and am faithfully yours, for you chose (little old) me to live inside.

Love, Amanda

 

 

Break on Through

“I found an island in your arms 
Country in your eyes 
Arms that chain 
Eyes that lie 
Break on through to the other side” Jim Morrison

Oftentimes it is said that ideas are less important and that action is better; what counts then is what is done or made manifest. The favored status of action, an idea itself, has always struck me as a half-truth, which of course it is. An idea is as much an action as the mind is the body. I say this not to blur the lines or resolve that ideas and actions are somehow the same, but more to reveal a hidden relationship and unity between seeming opposites that reflect in many ways our condition. A condition which is itself unified in ways that we perhaps might not be accustomed to seeing or sensing. Separation then, is both a blessing and a curse. “Idea” from idein” is akin to archetype, model or seeing and is very much related to bodily sense. All seeing comes from the body.

The constructs of our mind are also constructs of our bodies; psyche and soma, and in this world anyway happen together. That we are capable of mentally splitting off body from mind and mind from body is an amazing human quality, but it points to a deficiency of perception. A blind spot in our senses. We can think in ways that carve the world up into fragments that don’t exist apart from our mental constructs. Mental constructs can be useful, and even necessary, but when division and separation are not seen as constructs for the sake of convenience, the pain of separation and the threat of loss and death become spectral enemies that haunt us, tempting us to destroy them, either through literal murder, or mentally by splitting them off from awareness. Here the past seems more real than the present, others become “not us,” foreigners, enemies and nature is moved to some place “out there.”

If it is in the realm of ideas that the splitting occurs, that will also be the place where reunification happens. We cannot and do not live without ideas, without thought, without mind or psyche. Broadening our ideas dissolves the hardened sense and boundary of self and other. The place of wounding (splitting) is then the place of healing (unifying). In alchemy there is first the separation of the substances, then a reuniting. But if wholeness is the background, or underlying nature of reality, seeing and sensing it may not come from ignoring the illusions of separation and parts but more from multiplying them, or seeing the many in the one. That is what metaphor, fairy tale, mythology or a good poem does for us. Instead of a literal account of reality, a metaphor intentionally takes us beyond the literal, singleness of meaning, opening up and expanding meaning by “a carrying over.”

Love's Body.jpgEach chapter of Norman O. Brown’s book, Love’s Body, uses the rich history of ideas, mythology, Freud’s psychology, religion and mystical insights to define and resolve the splitting off of pieces of the world into what is mine,  not mine, real, unreal, us, them, history, mythology, life, death. Do we suffer duality because language divides the world into things and we identify with the separateness of our bodies? Did primitive man experience a “participation mystique?” Do animals experience a more unified world? …and what does love got to do with it? Everything of course – because we love what is ours, we incorporate others and all that is “out there” into ourselves when we love. Love is communion, death and hate are then an excommunication, a disowning in which we separate out all that we don’t commune with. A tough pill to swallow.

File:Herz aus Muschelschalen.JPGPerhaps our sense of being a separate self, along with the nature of time – our one-at-a-time perception, powerfully convinces us that the nature of the world is really not unified, but separate pieces and parts. Even language is structured sequentially, one word following another in which we grasp meaning by putting the words together. Many of us sense both the split and the underlying unity of the world to some degree or another. But what is it that moves a sense of unity into the heart, to permeate our daily experience and slowly dissolve the need to take the boundaries literally? And, what does a sense and awareness of unity do for us? Does our sense of “I” as the unique owner and operator of “me” disappear, merging forever into the oneness? That, I believe is a false perception perhaps held by those whose mental constructs, mistaken for “reality,” are still too near and too dear to part with. Or, as Brown suggests, that is the “Fall” into division. He reminds us that “the erection of a boundary does not alter the fact that there is, in reality, no boundary.”

Borrowing largely from Christianity, Brown uses the analogies of rebirth, resurrection, and apocalypse to get at the problem of separation and reunification. Not following any creed or practice – every thinker, poet, mystic or philosopher is included in the conversation, and rightly so, as wisdom can never be “owned,” the exclusive property of any one of us because wisdom’s nature is to free us from our literlisms, possessions, boundaries, framings, and identities used to divide what is by nature whole.

” “The real apocalypse comes, not with the vision of a city or kingdom, which would still be external, but with the identification of the city and kingdom with one’s own body.” Political kingdoms are only shadows – my kingdom is not of this world – because kingdoms of this world are non-bodily. Political freedom is only a prefiguration of true freedom: “The Bastille is really a symbol, that is, an image or form, of the two larger prisons of man’s body and the physical world.” Political and fleshly emancipation are finally one and the same; the god is Dionysus.”

The apocalypse, or unveiling, is Dionysian, a madness in which the god is torn apart, broken, in pieces, no boundaries, moving beyond ordinary meanings into the multiplicity of symbolism, but instead of a breakdown, as in schizophrenia, a breakthrough. “Break on through to the other side,” as Jim Morrison put it. There is a danger here, for sure, but as Brown notes:

“The soul that we can call our own is not a real one. The solution to the problem of identity is, get lost.”

With the unveiling, symbolic consciousness accepts the mystery and empty space creates room for the not-known, the new. No longer do we have to figure it out, but live through our animal sense, in the present where love can find us without a purpose beyond itself.

“Symbolic consciousness is between seeing and not seeing. It does not see self-evident truths of natural reason; or visible saints. It does not distinguish the wheat from the tares; and therefore must, as Roger Williams saw, practice toleration; or forgiveness, for we never know what we do. The basis of freedom is recognition of the unconscious; the invisible dimension;  the not yet realized; leaving a space for the new.”