This is what the Assumption of Maria means in actual living: to take back into the psyche what has been put upon the body, to take back centuries of misogyny, to take back into consciousness the physical, the feminine, and the inferior.~ James Hillman, The Myth of Analysis
Arwen, her flashbacks / forwards woven into the story --which wasn't in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but extrapolated from the Silmarillion -- makes it also Return of the Queen... and she joins her king at the end as a conclusion that rides whole into the future, dynasty and all.
I thought: as a woman, if I could choose between having children or immortality, I would choose children. At some point, this choice was made on a cosmic scale: It's a wondrous gamble, all of it, powers unimaginable putting will beyond reach into creatures like us... the ultimate thwarting of Sauron: Ring bearers, all.
from Answer to Job, CGJUNG, in Psychology and Religion: West and East, CW Vol. XI
What is the use of a religion without a mythos, since religion means, if anything, precisely that function which links us back to eternal myth?
from Answer to Job, CGJUNG, in Psychology and Religion: West and East, CW Vol. XI
What is the use of a religion without a mythos, since religion means, if anything, precisely that function which links us back to eternal myth?
The promulgation of the new dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary could, in itself, have been sufficient reason for examining the psychological background. It was interesting to note that, among the many articles published in the Catholic and Protestant press on the declaration of the dogma, there was not one, so far as I could see, which laid anything like the proper emphasis on what was undoubtedly the most powerful motive: namely, the popular movement and the psychological need behind it. Essentially, the writers of the articles were satisfied with learned considerations, dogmatic and historical, which have no bearing on the living religious process. But anyone who has followed with attention the visions of Mary which have been increasing in number over the last few decades, and has taken their psychological significance into account, might have known what was brewing. The fact, especially, that it was largely children who had the visions might have given pause for thought, for in such cases the collective unconscious is always at work. Incidentally, the Pope himself is rumoured to have had several visions of the Mother of God on the occasion of the declaration. One could have known for a long time that there was a deep longing in the masses for an intercessor and mediatrix who would at last take her place alongside the Holy Trinity and be received as the “Queen of Heaven and Bride at the heavenly court.” For more than a thousand years it had been taken for granted that the Mother of God dwelt there, and we know from the Old Testament that Sophia was with God before the creation. From the ancient Egyptian theology of the divine Pharaohs we know that God wants to become man by means of a human mother, and it was recognized even in prehistoric times that the primordial divine being is both male and female. But such a truth eventuates in time only when it is solemnly proclaimed or rediscovered. It is psychologically significant for our day that in the year 1950 the heavenly bride was united with the bridegroom. In order to interpret this event, one has to consider not only the arguments adduced by the Papal Bull, but the prefigurations in the apocalyptic marriage of the Lamb and in the Old Testament anamnesis of Sophia. The nuptial union in the thalamus (bridal-chamber) signifies the hieros gamos, and this in turn is the first step towards incarnation, towards the birth of the saviour who, since antiquity, was thought of as the filius solis et lunae, the filius sapientiae, and the equivalent of Christ. When, therefore, a longing for the exaltation of the Mother of God passes through the people, this tendency, if thought to its logical conclusion, means the desire for the birth of a saviour, a peacemaker, a “mediator pacem faciens inter inimicos.” (180) Although he is already born in the pleroma, his birth in time can only be accomplished when it is perceived, recognized, and declared by man.
The motive and content of the popular movement which contributed to the Pope’s decision solemnly to declare the new dogma consist not in the birth of a new god, but in the continuing incarnation of God which began with Christ. Arguments based on historical criticism will never do justice to the new dogma; on the contrary, they are as lamentably wide of the mark as are the unqualified fears to which the English archbishops have given expression. In the first place, the declaration of the dogma has changed nothing in principle in the Catholic ideology as it has existed for more than a thousand years; and in the second place, the failure to understand that God has eternally wanted to become man, and for that purpose continually incarnates through the Holy Ghost in the temporal sphere, is an alarming symptom and can only mean that the Protestant standpoint has lost ground by not understanding the signs of the times and by ignoring the continued operation of the Holy Ghost. It is obviously out of touch with the tremendous archetypal happenings in the psyche of the individual and the masses, and with the symbols which are intended to compensate the truly apocalyptic world situation today. (181) It seems to have succumbed to a species of rationalistic historicism and to have lost any understanding of the Holy Ghost who works in the hidden places of the soul. It can therefore neither understand nor admit a further revelation of the divine drama.
This circumstance has given me, a layman in things theological, cause to put forward my views on these dark matters. My attempt is based on the psychological experience I have harvested during the course of a long life. I do not underestimate the psyche in any respect whatsoever, nor do I imagine for a moment that psychic happenings vanish into thin air by being explained. Psychologism represents a still primitive mode of magical thinking, with the help of which one hopes to conjure the reality of the soul out of existence, after the manner of the “Proktophantasmist” in Faust:
Are you still here? Nay, it’s a thing unheard. Vanish at once! We’ve said the enlightening word.
One would be very ill advised to identify me with such a childish standpoint. However, I have been asked so often whether I believe in the existence of God or not that I am somewhat concerned lest I be taken for an adherent of “psychologism” far more commonly than I suspect. What most people overlook or seem unable to understand is the fact that I regard the psyche as real. They believe only in physical facts, and must consequently come to the conclusion that either the uranium itself or the laboratory equipment created the atom bomb. That is no less absurd than the assumption that a non-real psyche is responsible for it. God is an obvious psychic and non-physical fact, i.e., a fact that can be established psychically but not physically. Equally, these people have still not got it into their heads that the psychology of religion falls into two categories, which must be sharply distinguished from one another: firstly, the psychology of the religious person, and secondly, the psychology of religion proper, i.e., of religious contents.
It is chiefly my experiences in the latter field which have given me the courage to enter into the discussion of the religious question and especially into the pros and cons of the dogma of the Assumption—which, by the way, I consider to be the most important religious event since the Reformation. it is a petra scandali for the unpsychological mind: how can such an unfounded assertion as the bodily reception of the Virgin into heaven be put forward as worthy of belief? But the method which the Pope uses in order to demonstrate the truth of the dogma makes sense to the psychological mind, because it bases itself firstly on the necessary prefigurations, and secondly on a tradition of religious assertions reaching back for more than a thousand years. Clearly, the material evidence for the existence of this psychic phenomenon is more than sufficient. It does not matter at all that a physically impossible fact is asserted, because all religious assertions are physical impossibilities. If they were not so, they would, as I said earlier, necessarily be treated in the textbooks of natural science. But religious statements without exception have to do with the reality of the psyche and not with the reality of physis. What outrages the Protestant standpoint in particular is the boundless approximation of the Deipara to the Godhead and, in consequence, the endangered supremacy of Christ, from which Protestantism will not budge. In sticking to this point it has obviously failed to consider that its hymnology is full of references to the “heavenly bridegroom,” who is now suddenly supposed not to have a bride with equal rights. Or has, perchance, the “bridegroom,” in true psychologistic manner, been understood as a mere metaphor?
The logical consistency of the papal declaration cannot be surpassed, and it leaves Protestantism with the odium of being nothing but a man’s religion which allows no metaphysical representation of woman. In this respect it is similar to Mithraism, and Mithraism found this prejudice very much to its detriment. Protestantism has obviously not given sufficient attention to the signs of the times which point to the equality of women. But this equality requires to be metaphysically anchored in the figure of a “divine” woman, the bride of Christ. Just as the person of Christ cannot be replaced by an organization, so the bride cannot be replaced by the Church. The feminine, like the masculine, demands an equally personal representation.
The dogmatizing of the Assumption does not, however, according to the dogmatic view, mean that Man has attained the status of a goddess, although, as mistress of heaven (as opposed to the prince of the sublunary aerial realm, Satan) and mediatrix, she is functionally on a par with Christ, the king and mediator. At any rate her position satisfies the need of the archetype. The new dogma expresses a renewed hope for the fulfillment of that yearning for peace which stirs deep down in the soul, and for a resolution of the threatening tension between the opposites. Everyone shares this tension and everyone experiences it in his individual form of unrest, the more so the less he sees any possibility of getting rid of it by rational means. It is no wonder, therefore, that the hope, indeed, the expectation of divine intervention arises in the collective unconscious and at the same time in the masses. The papal declaration has given comforting expression to this yearning. How could Protestantism so completely miss the point? This lack of understanding can only be explained by the fact that the dogmatic symbols and hermeneutic allegories have lost their meaning for Protestant rationalism. This is also true, in some measure, of the opposition to the new dogma within the Catholic Church itself, or rather to the dogmatization of the old doctrine. Naturally, a certain degree of rationalism is better suited to Protestantism than it is to the Catholic outlook. The latter gives the archetypal symbolisms the necessary freedom and space in which to develop over the centuries while at the same time insisting on their original form, unperturbed by intellectual difficulties and the objections of rationalists. In this way the Catholic Church demonstrates her maternal character, because she allows the tree growing out of her matrix to develop according to its own laws. Protestantism, in contrast, is committed to the paternal spirit. Not only did it develop, at the outset, from an encounter with the worldly spirit of the times, but it continues this dialectic with the spiritual currents of every age; for the pneuma, in keeping with its original wind nature, is flexible, ever in living motion, comparable now to water, now to fire. It can desert its original haunts, can even go astray and get lost, if it succumbs too much to the spirit of the age. In order to fulfill its task, the Protestant spirit must be full of unrest and occasionally troublesome; it must even be revolutionary, so as to make sure that tradition has an influence on the change of contemporary values. The shocks it sustains during this encounter modify and at the same time enliven the tradition, which in its slow progress through the centuries would, without these disturbances, finally arrive at complete petrifaction and thus lose its effect. By merely criticizing and opposing certain developments within the Catholic Church, Protestantism would gain only a miserable bit of vitality, unless, mindful of the fact that Christianity consists of two separate camps, or rather, is a disunited brother-sister pair, it remembers that besides defending its own existence it must acknowledge Catholicism’s right to exist too. A brother who for theological reasons wanted to cut the thread of his elder sister’s life would rightly be called inhuman—to say nothing of Christian charity—and the converse is also true. Nothing is achieved by merely negative criticism. It is justified only to the degree that it is creative. Therefore it would seem profitable to me if, for example, Protestantism admitted that it is shocked by the new dogma not only because it throws a distressing light on the gulf between brother and sister, but because, for fundamental reasons, a situation has developed within Christianity which removes it further than ever from the sphere of worldly understanding. Protestantism knows, or could know, how much it owes its very existence to the Catholic Church. How much or how little does the Protestant still possess if he can no longer criticize or protest? In view of the intellectual skandalon which the new dogma represents, he should remind himself of his Christian responsibility— ”Am I my brother’s (or in this case, my sister’s) keeper?”—and examine in all seriousness the reasons, explicit or otherwise, that decided the declaration of the new dogma. In so doing, he should guard against casting cheap aspersions and would do well to assume that there is more in it than papal arbitrariness. It would be desirable for the Protestant to understand that the new dogma has placed upon him a new responsibility toward the worldly spirit of our age, for he cannot simply deny his problematical sister before the eyes of the world. He must, even if he finds her antipathetic, be fair to her if he does not want to lose his self-respect. For instance, this is a favourable opportunity for him to ask himself, for a change, what is the meaning not only of the new dogma but of all more or less dogmatic assertions over and above their literal concretism. Considering the arbitrary and protean state of his own dogmas, and the precarious, schism-riven condition of his Church, he cannot afford to remain rigid and impervious to the spirit of the age. And since, in accordance with his obligations to the Zeitgeist, he is more concerned to come to terms with the world and its ideas than with God, it would seem clearly indicated that, on the occasion of the entry of the Mother of God into the heavenly bridal-chamber, he should bend to the great task of reinterpreting all the Christian traditions. If it is a question of truths which are anchored deep in the soul—and no one with the slightest insight can doubt this fact—then the solution of this task must be possible. For this we need the freedom of the spirit, which, as we know, is assured only in Protestantism. The dogma of the Assumption is a slap in the face for the historical and rationalistic view of the world, and would remain so for all time if one were to insist obstinately on the arguments of reason and history. This is a case, if ever there was one, where psychological understanding is needed, because the mythologem coming to light is so obvious that we must be deliberately blinding ourselves if we cannot see its symbolic nature and interpret it in symbolic terms.
The dogmatization of the Assumptio Mariae points to the hieros gamos in the pleroma, and this in turn implies, as we have said, the future birth of the divine child, who, in accordance with the divine trend towards incarnation, will choose as his birthplace the empirical man. The metaphysical process is known to the psychology of the unconscious as the individuation process. In so far as this process, as a rule, runs its course unconsciously as it has from time immemorial, it means no more than that the acorn becomes an oak, the calf a cow, and the child an adult. But if the individuation process is made conscious, consciousness must confront the unconscious and a balance between the opposites must be found. As this is not possible through logic, one is dependent on symbols which make the irrational union of opposites possible. They are produced spontaneously by the unconscious and are amplified by the conscious mind. The central symbols of this process describe the self, which is man’s totality, consisting on the one hand of that which is conscious to him, and on the other hand of the contents of the unconscious. The self is the teleion anthropos,* "the whole man", whose symbols are the divine child and its synonyms. This is only a very summary sketch of the process, but it can be observed at any time in modern man, or one can read about it in the documents of Hermetic philosophy from the Middle Ages. The parallelism between the symbols is astonishing to anyone who knows both the psychology of the unconscious and alchemy.
The difference between the “natural” individuation process, which runs its course unconsciously, and the one which is consciously realized, is tremendous. In the first case consciousness nowhere intervenes; the end remains as dark as the beginning. In the second case so much darkness comes to light that the personality is permeated with light, and consciousness necessarily gains in scope and insight. The encounter between conscious and unconscious has to ensure that the light which shines in the darkness is not only comprehended by the darkness, but comprehends it. The filius solis et lunae is the symbol of the union of opposites as well as the catalyst of their union. It is the alpha and omega of the process, the mediator and intermedius. “It has a thousand names,” say the alchemists, meaning that the source from which the individuation process rises and the goal towards which it aims is nameless, ineffable.
It is only through the psyche that we can establish that God acts upon us, but we are unable to distinguish whether these actions emanate from God or from the unconscious. We cannot tell whether God and the unconscious are two different entities. Both are borderline concepts for transcendental contents. But empirically it can be established, with a sufficient degree of probability, that there is in the unconscious an archetype of wholeness which manifests itself spontaneously in dreams, etc., and a tendency, independent of the conscious will, to relate other archetypes to this center. Consequently, it does not seem improbable that the archetype of wholeness occupies as such a central position which approximates it to the God-image. The similarity is further borne out by the peculiar fact that the archetype symbolism which has always characterized and expressed the Deity. These facts make possible a certain qualification of our above thesis concerning the indistinguishableness of God and the unconscious. Strictly speaking, the God-image does not coincide with the unconscious as such, but with a special content of it, namely the archetype of the self. It is this archetype from which we can no longer distinguish the God-image empirically. We can arbitrarily postulate a difference between these two entities, but that does not help us at all. On the contrary, it only helps us to separate man from God, and prevents God from becoming man. Faith is certainly right when it impresses on man’s mind and heart how infinitely far away and inaccessible God is; but it also teaches his nearness, his immediate presence, and it is just this nearness which has to be empirically real if it is not to lose all significance. Only that which acts upon me do I recognize as real and actual. But that which has no effect upon me might as well not exist. The religious need longs for wholeness, and therefore lays hold of the images of wholeness offered by the unconscious, which, independently of the conscious mind, rise up from the depths of our psychic nature.
footnote(Jung 180) "A mediator making peace between enemies"
(Jung 181.) The papal rejection of psychological symbolism may be explained by the fact that the Pope is primarily concerned with the reality of metaphysical happenings. Owing to the undervaluation of the psyche that everywhere prevails, every attempt at adequate psychological understanding is immediately suspected of psychologism. It is understandable that dogma must be protected from this danger. If, in physics, one seeks to explain the nature of light, nobody expects that as a result there will be no light. But in the case of psychology everybody believes that what it explains is explained away. However, I cannot expect that my particular deviationist point of view could be known in any competent quarter.
* this is initiation language. other phrases under "teleios" in the LSJ (The Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon): having reached its end, finished, complete: of victims; perfect without spot or blemish; of sacrifices, Thuc. "the surest bird of augury." Of persons: absolute, complete, accomplished, perfect in his or its kind (Plato), of prayers, vows (Pind., Aesch.); a vision which imported nothing (Herodotus); of the gods (Zeus the fulfiller: Pindar, Aesch., of Hero), of paterfamilias (Aesch); in aristhmatic, those numbers which are equal to the sum of their divisors, as 6=3+2+1 (Plato). Homer uses a comparative version (teleoteros).
Jesus taught in parables, and (as is so common of products of his time: read Philo, etc.) was also a parable. Does that take away from from any wisdom one might find in his tale? Why? Must he be the only tale allowed?
Consider this: Some thousands of years from now, when the grass has grown up and covered the interstates, after books have been burned, and people and whole civilizations have been forgotten, what if some copy of Tolkien's work persists--hidden below sands or in a crevice--and Frodo is thought to be real, and the Return of the King becomes a literal lost King sought to the point of desperation and obsession, onto madness and destruction and loss of the conscious moment...
Extrapolate. Forward. Backward. Now.
The clutching misogynistic mantis. It doesn't have to be like this.
This isn't on the internet anymore, but I think it should be:
nice synthesis from Bonnie Waters
(and now I understand the White Lady!)
Copyright ©2000-2006 Bonnie WatersFebruary 21, 2007
On the weekend, I again woke with a "knowing"...that matter is light in particle form, and spirit is light in wave form. As I'm not a physicist, it seems to have come to me in relation to another knowing that I've had for a while now.
I was intrigued when, some time ago, I began searching on the web for the meaning of the name Guinevere. There are many variations of the name, including Jennifer and Genevieve, but the original spelling in the earliest of the Arthurian legends was Gwenhwyfar. It's meaning has several variations, which combine "white, shining, holy" and "phantom, ghost or wave." Common meaning is given as White Ghost or White Wave...but it isn't a stretch to define the meaning as "Holy Ghost."
In my recent reading of Alice O. Howell's "The Dove in the Stone," I found mention of the early terms for Holy Spirit, which was "Hagia Sophia," Greek for "Holy Wisdom." Somehow this was translated into Latin as "Spiritus Sanctus" or "Holy Spirit." This was then translated into English as "Holy Ghost"...So, from Holy Wisdom, to Holy Spirit, to Holy Ghost, which, to me, seems to be a steady dilution of the original concept.
In the earliest versions of the Arthurian legends Guinevere, "The White Ghost" was depicted as a loyal wife and queen. But she was diminished first to an adulterous wife and later to a traitorous queen. In any case, Arthur was said to have lived in the 6th century, while the Arthurian legends began to be written in the early 12th century. It's interesting to read what Wikipedia has to say about the historical accuracy of the legends of King Arthur: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_arthur
And another interesting link concerning the writing of the Arthurian legends:
In my reading in recent years, I began to come across many interesting, sometimes violent, events of the late 12th century to the early 13th century, including:
1)the Albigensian campaign (Albi meaning "white"), which wiped out, mostly through burning at the stake, large numbers of the Gnostic sect commonly referred to as Cathars, who honored the Divine Feminine, "Holy Wisdom", Sophia.
2)institution of The Inquisition, which brought the beginning of the Witch Trials, and burning at the stake of huge numbers of "wise" women, whose "knowings" brought accusations of heresy and witchcraft.
3)the simultaneous arrest of the Knights of the Templar, followed by accusations of heresy, and confessions (brought about through torture) related to, among other things, worship of the "Baphomet" head (the term said to be an encryption of the word "Sophia", using the Atbash cypher...information can be found here, halfway down the page, under The Goddess Sophia (though the whole page is quite interesting: http://altreligion.about.com/library/weekly/aa030103a.htm
4)the first appearance of the story of Pope Joan, again, hundreds of years after her supposed lifetime...a woman who was said to be the only woman to rise through dedicated study to the position of pope, only to fall in disgrace, at the birth of her illegitimate child (that I would say was an allegory meant to prove that women are not capable of being head of the church). What is interesting is the timing of the appearance of this story, which was in the early 13th century, around the time of the disbanding of the Templars and the crushing of those who worshipped Sophia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Joan
I think there were many hidden conflicts going on during that time, among other things, having to do with the Merovingian claims, which seem to be alluded to in the Grail legends. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_grail
As with the stories surrounding Mary Magdalene, one would have to know the political motives of the writers, and the various factions that existed in those times, before being able to sort out truth from fiction. Still there are certainly some indications of possible motive that come into question with all of these events.
I leave you with this...all of the history cannot define her, though I'm sure she would forgive any infractions against the truth of her being. "Knowing" Sophia is experiential - and can't be held in a book, or a history, or a concrete idea, or a doctrine, or a name. Her essence is known and experienced through the heart. Love and all blessings, Bonnie
P.S. Couldn't resist adding a close-up of the lily photo from 6/6/2007...it seemed appropriate.