our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness Phaedr. 244a


the lengths that I will go to

letters from negative capability*
Not everyone is here, but had these on a hard drive, why not? We've  thousands of letters, written over the past dozen years. These from winter 2003, I think. Now, alice is closing in on 90, still amazing us (and I'm smiling at how INTENSE I was. And am).

Mike Dickman
Krishnan Anand
Phoebe Wray
Mary Leue
Alice O Howell
Carroll Bishop
Deborah Conner

From Deborah:
Eros, the creative / destructive. That death connection, and that out-of-control force that blazes hot through life, sexual or not, more Mars than Venus, seems in fact, quite like the idea of desire in Buddhism, the general cause of misery.

We can't be Greek, we can't be Romantics, Victorians, or even reactions to or against them. We can only be of our time, only speak from our experience of life. As for Archetype, I think often of this:

Jung never held that the archaic contents rise up in modern man with all their original coherence and consistency, like a massive and fully visible mountain, but only that enduring elements of forgotten myths emerge, like the summits of sunken mountain ranges." (from ELEUSIS, Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter by Carl Kerenyi)

The enduring elements of forgotten myths emerge, like the summits of sunken mountain ranges.
C wrote:

>>Pity and fear, the Aristotelian pair underlying tragedy (drama?) I was taught. I guess I'd lump those into identification. I tend to identify with the whole cast. Or conversely to not care about play, plot, and characters. That goes for tragedy and comedy and all the shades between.>>
>>I recommend Neumann (Amor and Psyche: The Psychic Development of the Feminine)-- he's writing in terms of the man's anima, and that is partly the work of both Deborah and me --Anand too. I think Deborah and I share a love for the animus (genius, daimon) -- and both of us went through periods of being sorry for Bluebeard and his tribe. Well it's the Gothic tradition. I have the impression that her Lovelace and my Macheath are both pretty well translated into dark-a-vised tricksters -- good company and not sipping our respective bloodstreams and telling us we're no good. So they're behaving better and sounder, more grounded men are revealing they are the geniuses for this stage. (we knew that.) >>

With the myth of eros and psyche, I am cognizant of having a peace, a negative capability, a trust, that 'he' --the animus-- reveals itself as I'm ready to see it; that Eros as Animus reveals the unconscious itself. That all these myths, Eros & Psyche, Orpheus, even Persephone in her early incarnations, speak to the dangers of prying into things beyond understanding / "the mysteries" ( a la the early Greek Mystery cults) strikes me profoundly:

... man derives his human personality only secondarily from what the myths call his descent from the gods and heroes; or, to put it in psychological terms, his consciousness of himself as a personality derives primarily from the influence of quasi-personal archetypes. ~CGJUNG, in CW5, SYMBOLS OF TRANSFORMATION

Wax from our candle dripping on the god's shoulder... (see alice's poem http://www.amazon.com/Archives-Heart-Collected-Poems/dp/1584200804) My reading of Clarissa was all shadow work, viewing Eros as Animus. It's also an exploration by a woman of a man's relationship with his Anima (both Lovelace and Richardson).

Phoebe writes: >>I think you both are looking at these gods as literary inventions, not as first causes, real deities.>>

True. I'm looking at them as archetypes. This is about the human experience, speaks only to that.

I've posted some of Jung's letters
(moved here)

x's Deborah

from ao:

To the Editor:

Given the terrible clash of fundamentalist aspects of the major religions in the
world today, the world-wide attacks on temples, churches, mosques, synagogues, and the total convictions of zealots of all stripes, I was chagrinned to read of the narrow definition of a true Christian in a recent letter to the Eagle. I urge every such Christian to study the teachings of the founders of other religions. All of whom also spoke of "the Only Way" The problem is that most people do not realize that "way" is not a special road for special people but means a process, a method, and that all the avatars recommended the same only way or "how-to" within each individual! Jesus said, "The Kingdom of Heaven lies within." These great Teachers revealed to the people of their historical time and geographical place the bliss that they experienced first-hand in finding God or the ultimate meaning in life within themselves, and tried to share it with humankind. Hinduism, one of the oldest still extant religions, is a good example of this and their many gods and goddesses are to be seen as personifications of the aspects of the One unmanifest Spirit they call Brahman.

If we study the founding of religions, it comes as a shock to find out that Krishna, Buddha, Lao Tzu, as well as Jesus, had a virgin or miraculous birth. Viewed symbolically this tells us that Spirit is the invisible, unknown source of all life, light, love but that this requires a mortal woman to give it form. Symbolically, even prehistoric worship of the Mother Goddess or Mother Earth underscores this. In Judaism, Eve means 'mother of all living'.

Religions then have two aspects, the outer or exoteric which involve ethics, creeds, collective customs of worship and literal interpretations; the other or inner esoteric aspect involves symbolic understanding which can yield deeper and deeper individual experience of the Divine. This is why Jesus, Buddha and others spoke in parables, stories that can be grasped by children and adults on different levels. The curious thing is that the mystics of all the religions seem to say the same things. In essence, .that just as 1 exists in all numbers, so unity underlies all multiplicity; that the light/life given us by the physical sun can be symbolic of the "Sun behind the sun" or the ongoing mystery of Creating. That the flame on all the candles of the world is the same fire, and, like love, can be shared without being diminished. That no matter how many lanterns or bodies that Spirit gives life to, it is the same Spirit Christians know this light as the Christ Within, the Eastern religions term it the atman. The mark of a saint or enlightened being anywhere is always both a devotion to Spirit and a kindness to others, animals included. Today we might say that Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama have that in common.

Thus it should be logically inconceivable that any truly religious person of any persuasion should deny the presence of the Divine Guest within any other human being. Alas, as long as we take things only literally, we fall into the trap of thinking if my Teacher is right, yours has to be wrong and thus today, it's "God is on my side, so bang, you're dead!"

All of us, Christians, Jews, Muslims should be more cautious about projecting evil on one another and see that our real common enemy is this literalism fomented by structures hungry for centuries for political control and power. Never, in the history of the earth, has it been more important for us to realize that underlying all the explosions and weaponry of fanaticism are fear and ignorance, the total lack of understanding that the great Teachers spoke not of hatred but of love - love and awe for the mystery we call God, and love for one another - even our enemy! because, unconscious or not, whoever has life has also a Divine Guest. Whatever we do to another we are doing to our Self as well.

How can we acquire this wisdom? Only slowly, one by one by one. 1x1x1=ONE!
And remembering "Let Peace begin with me."

Alice O. Howell

from Deborah,
alice wrote:


I keep relating the idea of Nature as Divine Guest as well.... that's a very old sense of it, yes? In Origins of the Sacred: The Ecstasies of Love and War, Dudley Young spends a good part of his long intro orienting towards this.


Thus C's chiding me for dancing where the wild things are, ala participation mystique. But I think Jung would agree with Young, that to do so with eyes as wide open as possible, without phobia, and with full acceptance of all it is to be human, is shadow revealing. Coupled with the first caveat, that to try to be too good is bad for you -- avoids projections. A light into the dark places.

Another way of saying it... correct me if I'm wrong.

Jung's attitude that a neurosis is *the psyche's attempt to heal itself* is beautifully and essentially liberating. Healthy: free of dis-ease. And descriptive: revealing, rather than judgmental.

>>I assoc this w/process of Pluto, or tonglen.......Pluto [Hades} means wealth. The neg is the nigredo, the coll karma of pain, violence, hatred, cruelty etc down thru the ages. Hercules n the Augean stables. As we transform our own darkness, we find a seed of released light [gold] wh then can help redeem the collective. This, presumably, is one of the goals of the Age of Aq.>>

"Isn't it good there is something inside us that knows more than we know," as Hesse's Demian says. Being in accord with it: the process of individuation.

>>Mebbe the hideous dramas being enacted the world over help some of us to realize that endless fighting gets fewer results than collective commitments of the populace, ex. demise of USSR n hopefully sit in Georgia.........

These were not mobs but volunteering individuals.>>

Individuation, Harry, is what will defeat Lord Voldemort.

Watched long Lord of the Rings last night. Tolkien's antiwar story of war. I think he was trying to explain things to himself after horrors he'd known firsthand. Eros' two sides as reflected in Hades/ Hephaestus: Creation/Destruction. Where, how does the heart sit between these: that's the great human task of consciousness, and it's always a question, a search to accept, not turn away from. Holding the mystery: out of and between birth and death, the movement of life. That is Eros. Thought so much re LOTR of William Morris, his instinct in the light of the industrial revolution was, like DHLawrence's, to return to Nature. ('the goal of science is to build better mousetraps. The goal of nature is to build better mice' as Phoebe says... which is to say: it's the Self, heart chakra -- or as Alice calls it, the Divine Guest-- that builds the better mouse.)

To be in accord with that split force present even in those closest to Nature--the Hobbits--the seductions of power, the need for compassion even when it increases danger. Even when it fails... that's wot it is to be a ring bearer. And we must all be ring bearers now.

As the ancients said, the beautiful is difficult.

If a religion's god is all-perfect all-knowing brightness, he's bound to cast shadows. Like Psyche bringing up the box from Persephone, opening it can be fatal without the intervention of the old gods: Beauty torn from remembrance is dismembering, leaves one drawn and quartered. So the Viking nature must board those old ships, explore their deep oceans, the dark and murky rushes along the shore. Gollum says not to follow the lights... but he doesn't say not to see them.

much love,



Maureen writes:

Will keep your treasured wisdom to savour and water the heart. This is beautiful: 'Holding the mystery: out of and between birth and death, the movement of life. That is Eros.'

Was always wary of Neumann for equating unconscious with the feminine - an androcentric bias! Hillman agrees. I see ego as a conduit and vessel for the paradox of Self - the alchemical Christ bathing in the red and white wine -hence consciousness must become ambivalent - a safe yet wild space where no god is at war with any other. This means befriending yer demons - using the wrathful deities with compassion!

The Tao of Self (according to MBR): 'The Self embraces the love of power through the power of love.'

Love of power here means not egoic possession of it (hence of others), but detached appreciation of it!

The 'Negative Quest ' - losing the Ring - is about sacrificing power in order to attain wisdom (Saturn, hence the Ring gets heavier) - which is always about earthing the divine through mortality and limitation.

Much love - missing the Fireside

from alice:

Haven't seen any of the movies!

But wh struck me in the book was that Frodo, the faithful Jederman, was the one who got it in the end.

That is very Aquarian.

Remember the Milkstool: wisdom, love, power - need all three, just reason it out.......

Power is only safe wh used w/wisdom n love. Try telling that to political leaders today!

Mandela n Dalai Lama come closest..........

btw Maureen, I don't think Neumann meant unconc=fem in a pejorative way - more as yin, receptive, pregnant w/baby attacks of insight for ego to make consc = ego/moon as matrix of consc. See p 37 WEB IN THE SEA .




from Deborah:

(Maureen knows that, of course.)

You must see the movies. They are stunning, true labors of love -- a bond there that all those who watch become part of.

True, Frodo loses his reason at the fatal moment, but it was his prior compassion for Gollum that indirectly sets things up to ultimately let the ring send itself down into the fires. Wise in the heart's way works too, or so it seems. At any rate, he saw his shadow in Gollum, what he would become... yet Gollum saves him from that by falling... by falling all along.

Seems the better mouse (Phoebe's 'the goal of science is to build better mousetraps. The goal of nature is to build better mice' ) is being knit in the shadows, despite all our Robbie Burns best-laid plans!

"...if the ego has totally forgotten the Self, this does not mean that the Self has forgotten the ego. It, too, has its agenda. So when things are at their worst, rescue is closest." ao

New Years Eve:
An important point about Tolkien is William Morris's influence on him. Morris, who said human work and creation is 'beautiful if it is in accord with Nature, and helps her; ugly if it is discordant with Nature, and thwarts her.' It always struck me, and I'm glad to see John Garth bring it out in his book Tolkien and the Great War :

For all his interest in science and scientific stringency, and in keeping with his irrepressibly 'romantic' sensitivities, Tolkien was not satisfied by materialist views of reality. To him, the world resounded to the echoes of the past. In one Stapeldon Society debate he proposed 'That this house believes in ghosts', but his idiosyncratic personal belief, nearer to mysticism than to superstition, is better expressed in a poem published in Exeter College's Stapeldon Magazine in December 1913:

From the many-willow'd margin of the immemorial Thames,
Standing in a vale outcarven in a world-forgotten day,
There is dimly seen uprising through the greenly veiled stems,
Many-mansion'd, tower-crowned in its dreamy robe of grey,
All the city by the fording: aged in the lives of men,
Proudly wrapt in mystic mem'ry overpassing human ken.

In its rather grandiloquent fashion (with a long line probably inspired by William Morris) this suggests that the enduring character of Oxford predated the arrival of its inhabitants, as if the university were meant to emerge in this valley. Here is an early glimpse of the spirit of place that pervades much of Tolkien's work: human variety is partly shaped by geography, the work of the divine hand. Studying the literature of the Old North in Oxford, Tolkien's imaginative faculties began to strain after the forgotten outlines of 'mystic mem'ry' which he believed had made the world what it is. (p 35)

(Interesting that Philip Pullman is a product of Exeter. I adore Pullman's His Dark Materials... as well as the way he takes on CSLewis. )

In the paragraph before, Garth has told us Tolkien bought books about medieval Welsh and William Morris's The House of Wolfings, The Life and Death of Jason, and his translation of the Icelandic Volsunga Saga with his Skeat Prize money in 1914.

It was The Earthly Paradise that Tolkien carried with him into the war...

"Forget six counties overhung with smoke,
Forget the snorting steam and piston stroke,
Forget the spreading of the hideous town;
Think rather of the pack-horse on the down,
And dream of London, small, and white, and clean."

Bartleby's description of The Earthly Paradise:

...a series of twentyfour tales in verse, two for each month of the year, published in three volumes between 1868 and 1870. They are bound together, in imitation of Chaucer, by a connecting link which forms the subject of the prologue. A company of wanderers, driven from their Scandinavian home by the great pestilence which overspread Europe in the middle of the fourteenth century, after long journeyings in search of the fabled earthly paradise, come, “shrivelled, bent, and grey,” to “a nameless city in a distant sea,” where Hellenic civilization and culture have been preserved. Here, they find rest and hospitality, and twice a month they and their hosts meet at a solemn feast, at which a story is related. An ingenious medley of romance is thus provided. Twelve of the stories, told by the elders of the city, come from classical sources; the other twelve, told by the wanderers, are derived chiefly from medieval Latin, French and Icelandic originals, with gleanings from Mandeville and The Arabian Nights. The metrical forms employed throughout are Chaucerian, with those inevitable modifications which the progress of literary form had brought to pass.

That 'Mystic Mem'ry' Tolkien writes of... we keep forgetting and remembering. Art never forgets, even as the corporate church does. It's the heart of LOTR, and modern works like the movie ( http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/adaptation/index.html ) Adaptation... those bees that look like the orchids they make love to: all they do is follow their heart... all they do is what Nature made them to do, and they do it without any knowledge but love. Nature is wise, wiser, wiser than any of us. The great scheme unfolds when we follow the heart. Do that, is all. It's why you were born. All the rest is a flash in the pan.

Symbiosis is the principle of what endures.

When you've studied biology, macro and micro, you find you fall in love with such things. Everyday, steeped in soulful colloids sleeping on the brink of life: impregnate them with -cides and -stats, and they become battlegrounds of the chosen stillborn, poppy fields of abjuration...

Romantics, all, deep in the blood agar agar. :)



The implicit message of the fairy romances then is plain: heroism is not dead; the earth calls to each man and woman in her hour of need; she will be saved and revitalized by those strong of heart who heed the call; and those are blessed indeed who give their all to destiny. Morris once described himself as 'careless of metaphysics and religion, as well as of scientific analysis, but with a deep love of the earth and life on it, and a passion for the history of the past of mankind". On another occasion he remarked, "In religion, I am a pagan." That is to say, Morris's concern first and foremost was for the life of this earth, and the romances would be anomalous if they did not evidence the same abiding concern.

Amidst the storm he won a prisoner's rest;
But in the cloudy dawn the sun arisen
Brings us our day of work to win the best.
Not one, not one, nor thousands must they slay,
But one and all if they would dusk the day.

~William Morris
Deb again -- C said something about Tolkien taking space and csLewis taking time, covering the same tale from those perspectives. And Tolkien does do that, and in a holistic way. The interrelationships of place. It's the circle with the point in the stillpoint middle, the individual and her relationship to the other and whole, the Fellowship that is Heaven and the lack of Fellowship that is Hell.

And it ain't Mr Ashcroft's especial fellowship we speak of. It's Morris's.

Meaning, morality, all that is taught is taught by the experience derived through the living relationships of the web of nature. Men living holed up in monasteries / corporations / castles apart and womanless! (and Ann Coulter doesn't count; she's a toady, small breasted and sterile.) They are that which believes man has dominion over nature, which leaves us cut off, all sickness and warped ideas, bleeding stumps of arms. As if wisdom and morality can be inflicted, the 'spare not the rod!' Beat it into them, they only understand reward and punishment? Nonsense. But we understand nothing unless it's through the relationships we make in life.

Forget I said all that. It's just a blurt. I stumble. (As the old farms and manors and good rulers fall apart... ) The story for me will always be about the mystery of life/death, the scintilla, and how we come to terms with a creator that lets us die. As for me, I think it's nothing personal, just that best that can be done as yet. But together we'll think of something.

The energy freed up by forgiving others makes it possible for us to withstand the pain and disappointments of a world that has too much pain and too little love, a world that in various ways crucifies all those who struggle seriously for a world based on love. ~Michael Lerner

from mary:

deborah writes:
Jung's attitude that a neurosis is *the psyche's attempt to heal itself* is beautifully and essentially liberating. Healthy: free of dis-ease. And descriptive: revealing, rather than judgmental.

Yes, perfect!

To be in accord with that split force present even in those closest to Nature--the Hobbits--the seductions of power, the need for compassion even when it increases danger. Even when it fails... that's wot it is to be a ring bearer. And we must all be ring bearers now.

Yeah. I re-read it last summer, and that was exactly my reaction! And the movie reinforces it tenfold, because of the visual/auditory impact! But please, sweet Deborah, don't put good deeds in the place of the number one precept, BE GOOD TO YOURSELF!! Follow dear little Pippin! You know, Dominick, is it?* The Scottish one! Oh, I love his delight with his Hobbit friends, and with life! And Merry is such an amazing mimic! That's what matters, not what Jung (even!) or some other icon said about life! Isn't it?

Much love,
Mary Leue
Down-to-Earth Books

*Nope: Billy Boyd. But why stop at one? :)

New Years Day

We watched Return of the King (ROTK) last night, riding home beneath clear skies, stars, half-moon, down through the mountains. Thinking about what Mary said.

That's what matters, not what Jung (even!) or some other icon said about life! Isn't it?

It is.


"What really happens is that the story-maker proves a successful 'sub-creator.' He makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is 'true:' it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside. The moment disbelief arises, the spell is broken; the magic, or rather art, has failed. You are out in the Primary World again, looking at the little abortive Secondary World from outside." ~JRTolkien


Novels take you in, unconscious and all; they're portals with stairs that you can take down into your own cellar, and up onto your widows walk, revealing your own stars. Good novels, anyways. And it's why kids need to read them, as well as adults.

If Lord of the Rings re Jackson is Christian, it's the Marian / Magdalen / Holy Ghost as forth to the Trinity Christian. The Quaternity. (For a discussion, see blog post below: on Jung's Answer to Job, XIX, CGJUNG CW XI.) 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 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 their will beyond their reach and into creatures like us...

Jesus taught in parables (as is so common of products of his time) , and was also a parable. Does that take away from from any wisdom one might find in his tale? Why? And -- Must Jesus 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...

Just extrapolate. Forward. Backward. Now.

The clutching misogynistic mantis. It doesn't have to be like this.

(Course correction, sir. Sail us right into that gathering storm... )

"Jesus is My Home Boy" T-shirts. Ariel has one. She also has a name tag that says "Hello, I am God." Well, she is--among other complexes, constellations, and various guises of the Divine...

Numerous mythological proofs could be advanced in support of this view. .... It is, then, in the first place the god who transforms himself, and only through him does man take part in the transformation." CGJUNG CW5
Personifications of the libido, the life-force itself. Eros exactly manifests this. Follow this myth's evolution, his paradoxical transformations. It's about the movement of life. Seed to seed to seed.


A thinking fx that doesn't know its products come half or better from the unconscious has set up inquisitions past and the positivism we have today.

Humans understand in the human way. We can't know more than that. All we have are MODELS for things. Always incomplete. The old story of the elephant and the blindmen, taking the tail for the whole beast.

with love, Deb

from Phoebe,
re: Pat Robertson: God tells me it's Bush in a blowout

God certainly seems to talk a lot, and give a lot of advice. I watched a tv show (for awhile) this afternoon on The Creation Network. You got it --Creationists have their own channel. A string of Dr this and Dr that (all men) talked about creation and biology (there are modern dinosaurs), astronomy (the solar system is absolutely 7000 years old etc etc etc.

The 7000 years. I guess that means God's day is 1000 years long. Why not a million? Would that not be more of a wonder?

I should not disparage those who claim to hear from their deity. I talk to mine a lot. I just don't talk politics. Maybe I should check that out.




I am reminded of the lesson I found on my first vision quest, when confronted with what seemed an insurmountable trial: Do the hard things as if they were easy; do them first.

This morning walking Sinjin at dawn was like moving through a cloud. I could see stars but not the trees and houses. The ground fog was so thick Sinny was leaning against my leg as we walked to guide himself (his eyesight is poor). Jenny came with us, leaping ahead like a wraithe--disappearing white-on-white and returning. It was very quiet. Peaceful. The earth and the innocents heal us by their very existence.

Buster comes up on the porch while I'm standing there, so he's coming around.

Choosing first things.



from Deb

(Bush in a Blowback...) Forget him a moment. Forget six counties overhung with smoke, Forget the snorting steam and piston stroke, Forget the spreading of the hideous town...

C wrote: [...] Morris goes from strength to strength, doesn't he. I still have some queasiness about "Victorian" as an era -- so good and so awful -- but what a rich vein, it turned out to be.

William Morris -- that he isn't better known is directly linked to his Socialism, don't you think? Our mass culture--look at google news today, and there's a huge amount of space devoted to a story about nothing about Britney, we care about this?--but in our mass culture which depends on 3 things: 1) people working, making cash to spend; 2) cars, roads, oil, 3) getting to the mall to spend the money so we need cars and oil ---speaking positively of socialism is the kiss of death. It matters not that socialist programs like the GIBIll, the Marshall Plan, public Education... have paid for themselves in incalculable ways over and over... Churchill opposed the socialist leanings in Britain because he said you would always need a Gestapo to implement it... but we have a burgeoning Gestapo now, without the benefits of socialist safety nets. The public has been sold the concept that socialism is what Stalin put over, or even Hitler... and both were the least socialistic of all.

We all say things here that aren't often said... so I suppose that's why I was moved to do the whole Clarissa thing with its daemons and all the rest: I didn't hear anyone else saying these things, I felt alone in my perspective -- so I put it out there and --I suppose it's because I exist. Does anyone care what I say? I don't say it with that consideration. It's just --existing. I write.

The early Greeks who prized oral tradition were followed by those who were long suspicious of written things, who felt it was the direct connection to the gods speaking through us that was important. Like Beauty, it's about mainlining the Forms: a direct experience of the Forms, as opposed to the written word which could never be better than twice removed. Compare that to the more modern prejudice for doctrine and scripture.

Dead things inspired monuments written in stone, but the living were too aware that we'd not long been broken off from the unconscious ... their awareness of consciousness was so new and so threatening, exciting, I suppose... inspiring myths of eating at the tree of knowledge, woman and her snake... (and that misogyny had been floating around since Homer). But consciousness moves individuals to see themselves as individuals, to think from their own center, as opposed to the reflex of tribal dogma.

(Extrapolations: the noosphere )

And now we speak and probe the unconscious in this hallway... where it's all understood that we write in water.

Just some scope. A light in a window as someone passes.


excerpt: What is Polis Religion? Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood, p18-21 in Oxford Readings in Greek Religion, ed. Richard Buxton

Greek religion is, above all, a way of articulating the world, of structuring chaos and making it intelligible; it is a model articulating a cosmic order guaranteed by a divine order which also (in complex ways) grounds human order, perceived to be incarnated above all in the properly ordered and pious polis, and providing certain rules and prescriptions of behaviour, especially towards the divine through cult, but also towards the human world—prescribing, for example, that one must not break one’s oaths (e.g. Hom. Il. 3. 276—80; 19. 259—60), or that one must respect strangers and suppliants who have the special protection of the gods, especially Zeus, precisely because they are most vulnerable. The polis was the institutional authority that structured the universe and the divine world in a religious system, articulated a pantheon with certain particular con­figurations of divine personalities, and established a system of cults, particular rituals and sanctuaries, and a sacred calendar. In a religion without a canonical body of belief, without revelation, with­out scriptural texts (outside certain marginal sects which did have sacred books but are irrelevant to our present discussion), without a professional divinely anointed clergy claiming special knowledge or authority, without a church, it was the ordered community, the polis, which assumed the role played in Christianity by the Church—to use one misleading comparison (for all metaphors derived from Christianity are inevitably misleading) to counteract and destroy alternative, implicit models. It assumed the responsibility and author­ity to set a religious system into place, to mediate human relation­ships with the divine world. [We can observe the polis putting into place its religious system, and find through this creating itself, its own ‘centre’, in the foundation of colonies (on which ef. Malkin, RC, passim, esp. pp. 1—2).] Connected with this is the fact that, as we shall see, polis religion embraces, contains, and mediates all religious discourse—with the ambiguous and uncertain exception of some sectarian discourse. Even festivals common to different poleis, such as the Thesmophoria, the most widespread Greek festival, were articulated by each polis, at polis Level. Hence, the same festival could take different forms in different, even neighbouring, poleis. For example, the Agrionia at Orchomenos was celebrated differently from the festival of the same name at Chaironeia; and at Eretria the Thesmophoria had certain unique features: Kalligeneja was not invoked, and the meats were grilled in the sun, not on the fire (Plut. Mor. 298b—c).

Connected with the absence of revelation, of scriptures, and of a professional divinely anointed priesthood is the fact that a central category of Greek religion is unknowability, the belief that human knowledge about the divine and about the right way of behaving towards it is limited and circumscribed. The perception that the articulation of religion through the particular polis systems is a human construct, created by particular historical circumstances and open to change under changed circumstances, is in my view con­nected with this awareness of the severe limitations of human access to the divine, of the ultimate unknowability of the nature of human relationships to it. The Greeks did not delude themselves that their religion incarnated the divine will.

The only anchoring for the polis’ endeavour to ensure the optimum behaviour towards the gods was prophecy. which offered the only direct means of access to the divine world in Greek religion. But this access also was flawed, because, according to Greek ideas about divination, human fallibility interferes, and the word of the gods is often misinterpreted. Nevertheless, through the Delphic oracle (above all), the polis could ensure some, if ambiguous, assurance of the correctness of its religious discourse.19 Thus cities consulted the oracle to ensure that the appropriate worship was offered to the appropriate deities either on a particular occasion such as that of a appropriate (e.g. [Dem.] 43. 66) or more generally for health and good fortune:20 a vast number of cults and rites were established at the Delphic oracle’s instigation and/or on its advice or with its simple approval (e.g. LSCG 5. 4—5, 25—6; LSCG 178. 2—3; Hdt. 4. 15).21 The introduction of new cults22 was connected with the awareness of the fallibility of human knowledge of the divine and the appropriate forms of worship, which entailed that potentially there was always room for improvement. Especially in times of crisis or difficulties, the question ‘is there some god we have neglected?’, or more generally ‘how can we improve our relationship with the divine?’ would have arisen, generating pressures towards innovation, especially the introduction of new cults (e.g. Hdt 7. 178-9). The oracle provided the authority for such changes; but because prophecy is flawed, the danger of getting things wrong could not be eliminated.

It is in this context that we must place the tension between conservatism and innovation in polis religion, which is revealed and exploited in Lysias 30, on Nikomachos’ codification of the Athenian sacred calendar.23 The most important argument for religious conservatism in this speech24 is that the ancestral rites have served the Athenians’ ancestors and themselves well, and thus could not be changed. On the desirability of the new sacrifices the speech is ambivalent—an attitude which certainly fits the rhetorical content. In classical Athens, the tension between conservativism and innovation tended to be resolved with the former drifting toward non-abandonment of old cults and the later towards the introduction of new ones.


19 One safeguard against the flawed nature of the prophetic vehicle was to consult more than one oracle (cf. e.g. Hyp. 4. 14—15). But even this could not guarantee unflawed access to the gods. On the role of oracular divination cf. R. Parker, Ch. 4. below.

20 Cf. Dem. 21. 52; P1W, pp. 114—15, no. 282. Cf. Parker, Ch. 4, p. 83.

21 The poets’ mythological/theological articulations were not authoritative; for the Muses who inspired them often lied. Cf. Hes. Theog. 2 7—8; M. L. west (ed.), Hesiod: Theogony (Oxford, 1966), p. 163 on 28; K. J. Dover, Greek Popular Morality in the Time of Plato and Aristotle (Oxford, 1974), 130. On Greek poetry and religion, P. E. Easterling. P. E. Easterling and J. V Muir (eds.), Greek Religion and Society (Cambridge, 1985).34—49.

22 See e.g. J. K. Davies, Democracy and Classical Greece (Glasgow, 1978), i8o—1, and below, 28.

23 See esp. S. Dow, Proc. Massachusetts Historical Soc. 71 (1953-7), 3—36; id., BCH 92 (1968), 177—81; id., Historia, 9 (1960), 270—93; K. Clinton, Studies in Attic Epigraphy, History and Topography Presented to Eugene Vanderpool, Hesperia, Suppl. 19 Princeton, 1982), 27—37.

24 I am concerned with the rhetorical strategy, which operates within the param­eters of collective assumptions; the speaker’s ‘real’ beliefs and motivations are irrelevant.


From: Mike Dickman

The dissolving of the so-called 'self' in the Self allows the dross to burn off, à la alchemy and blacksmithing. What emerges from the dissolution in ultimate openness is openness of vision manifest as all-encompassing compassion.

The compassion of the goddess is very strange: she doesn't brook intrusion, true, but she also never lets any serious postulant down (though she may do some very serious ass-kicking in between the request and the fruition)... That's her job: to purify. The problem is when one thinks one's spiritual path is going to redound positively on one's worldly ends in view. It *does*, of course, but only extremely rarely in the terms one's requestion of it. Why? One's ends in view are only as far as one can see; reality has nothing to do with our versions - our opinions. If you want it, you can have it, but you don't get to pick and choose the bits that suit you. Reality is reality; anything else is a version of reality (and hence imaginary) and no better than where you were before.

Yet, time and again, we swap our chains of iron for chains of gold and then crow on about freedom! Strange beings, us...

I just want to come back to your idea of emptiness: You seem to imagine that emptiness is nothingness - that the Self is the great stasis, and that only the life energy of the ego - the imagined self - is real, vibrant, worth anything... This is absolutely not the case: the Self (to use Jungian jargon) is the very fount and mother of all that comes into fleeting existence, not as some ultimate 'other' but the very openness in which life and change arise as its own display... Emptiness IS form; form IS emptiness... only IN its emptiness can form ever come to be. If form were ultimately real it would be incapable of movement, life, dynamism... if it were ultimate it would be perfectly what it was, but we know form changes, second by second and that the form of the seed is not in the sap of the tree nor that of the teenage girl in the old woman (or boy in the man); that form has gone - disappeared - this form is going even as we speak of it, and the form of the future has no existence yet but will certainly come to be....

That is what emptiness is: the enormous (infinite, actually) concatenation of cause and effect that manifests here as this and there as that as cause and condition meet. ALL of this is emptiness, ALL of it a miraculous dragon dance of space dancing space into space as fleeting instances of formed space, unformed space, whatever... It is its emptiness that IS its life.

As the tantric teachers say: "The tantrika is like a snake caught inside a hollow bamboo; either he comes out the top a dragon or falls out the bottom a worm. There is no third alternative." Whence its danger. And whence, too, the need for a teacher you love and trust as one you know has completed the path, or - at the very least - made serious progress in it, well beyond where you now are... Far better to give up and start again on a different path with someone you *can* trust than to try and use a path you don't trust to your own ends, no? I think so. That's my lot for this Orthodox Christmas day (good lord! - it ended an hour and a half ago! oh well!)

Much love, m

from Deborah:

mike wrote: just want to come back to your idea of emptiness: You seem to imagine that emptiness is nothingness - that the Self is the great stasis, and that only the life energy of the ego

Just--as my father told me as he was dying and returning in the process of cutting himself free from that ravaged body of his--Bliss is seductive. I fear this is what many seek.

What I'm saying about Ego and our suspicion of who we are is just trying to express what Chiaro learns in DGRossetti's Hand and Soul. All the intellectualizing and chanting and reaching that comes along the way: the better we get at those things, the further we seem to get away from the buzzing flower to flower in the dance, the nature we were born with, that star that moves us. The living and all the simple things we do as we are moved by Compassion's inhalations and exhalations... Making bread is a prayer, the joy of seeing the sun is a prayer. My acts of rashness, a prayer. *I was moved.* I held hands with the divine in a certain big dream and *we ran* together. And movement happens only in the Field of Opposites. Life is simply where we can dance. A dancehall with a good wood floor.

The Sacred we find here is as good as anywhere. It's all the same.

Saw big fish movie yesterday... http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/bigfish/

What could be more Jungian? It's Bloom's anima, his fishy self he's always meeting and moving toward... and it's what he becomes. A brush with death (the scene with his car in the tree), *she* swims around him, her beauty naked before him... and that magic smile of his! He knows her; he recognized her first in a woman as love-at-first-sight. (Which happens: it happened to me.) And there at the end--in the arms of his well adjusted-scientifical-modern son, who has finally caught on--he sees her, half-in / half-out of the river... manifested as his wife, just like he always said... and he gives her the golden ring that caught him -- now in his mouth -- becoming the Big wondrous Fish he always was. Spawn of memory (which is what he saw in Moneta's eye: that which made a god of Apollo...), he's memory again.... love transcending even death...

The mystery we come out of and go back into.

mike says:

ALL of this is emptiness, ALL of it a miraculous dragon dance of space dancing space into space as fleeting instances of formed space, unformed space, whatever... It is its emptiness that IS its life.

Wonderful film.


mike wrote:

inner-stirring you send me this as i am reading this


from alice Friday, January 23, 2004 8:37 PM

I am beginning to grasp why Jung always referred to God as our 'imago Dei' - diff for each of us.

Jung wrote that when the intellect only serves the ego, it is the very devil.

So, the ego, functioning thru duality, can never grasp the mystery we call God. It is disqualified as an instrument.

It is as if we were to try to define space! We cannot get outside of space, we are in it! Not only that but in each atom of our bodies there is more space!

So our struggles at definition are fruitless. The joke is on us - a loving joke - we live n have our being in Spirit. To struggle against this seems to be our fate as we develop an ego n identify w/it.

Who can see life in a body? fragrance in a flower? or separate light from fire?

Or the quiet awareness hidden in consciousness?

musings of

yr loving


This opens 'the peace that passeth understanding', does it not?


Quotation from Jewish history book I read for you last week (Barclay, John G. "Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora: From Alexander to Trajan (323 B.C.E.-117 C.E.)," Berkeley: UC Press, 1996):

"The concern for tolerance cuts in many directions and is reflected in my unwillingness to use the pejorative term 'pagan' with respect to non-Jews. Readers may also notice my decision to capitalize the word 'God' in all contexts, whether in reference to the God of Jews or the God/God of Gentiles. While the linguistic arguments on this matter are indecisive (is 'God' a proper name or a title?"), I have felt it better to equalize all parties in this matter, rather than succumb to the Jewish and Christian presumption that only their Deity is truly 'God,' while the rest are merely 'gods' (or worse). As we shall see, Jewish theology and religious practice were often as offensive to Gentiles as the other way around. Of course no stance here is truly 'objective', since 'tolerance' and 'respect' are just as value-laden as is any more particularized commitment. But I think I know which is more conducive to that 'civilized behavior' (kalokagathia) which Josephus identified as the only basis on which a pluralist society can survive (Ant. 16.177-78).

Love to all,

from phoebe:

From another list ... good grief! the hubbub eclipsing the Superbowl!!!! http://www.flakshack.com/yabbse/attachments/jjt.jpg

one does see "naughty bits" (it's a piercing ornament, not a pastie or some such) and it's doubtful the homage is to the Planetary Society (it's Aleister Crowley's "black sun" glyph).<< id="ns24301"> Ancient burial looks like human and pet cat About 7,500 years before Egyptians, a surprising find in Cyprus By Marsha Walton CNN


From deb
Subject: The passion

mike asked about The Passion, should he see it. I won't and here's why: I know Jesus as a little boy dragged miles down the freeway to his death when I was in MO, and as all of those kids shot by their father that one spring morning, and as the little boys who just got their brains stoned out by their mother so she could be one of the Witnesses after the Rapture... and how many thousands in Iraq, Africa... he's my father, anyone who suffers... so any good it might do me I imagine I don't need. Most of all I won't see it because I won't participate in dragging up this blood-sacrifice archetype. Like using psychedelics, Jung warned against pulling up such things so directly. It simply isn't needed unless they have their hand on you. These images live on in you, in your unconscious. If you are at peace with the dark and its inner light, why coat it over with such ancient clotted blood? What soul is in it?

I don't fear it. I only have misgivings about what it does to people who come out of a culture that is so very literal and has such a great shadow.

Again: I won't participate in dragging up this blood-sacrifice archetype. For it is only that. What is begun doesn't resolve unless it can be resolved within the viewer's psyche: the transcendent resolution, the absorption in the heart: the incarnation is the resurrection. YET Gibson has staged a mass spectacle and it can only be resolves in a mass MASS. An exact manifestation of the Magnum Opus in shared consciousness. Gibson isn't pulling that off. I hear people coming from the film blaming, saying "everyone killed Him." Sinners, all sinners: Mass tribal blame. And the usual projections inevitably follow, even when one admits being a sinner too: part of them will never believe that.

Life, resolution, the transcendent fx, incarnation--all happens in the individual; the individual is the pelican, the beaker, the container for all life, because that's where things move and are moved. But Gibson is activating an old tribal archetype, a tremendous volatile energy, and offers no resolution, except more tribalism.

This is a great step backward.

How can this be resolved?

HH is going to be even busier than usual I suspect.

"For as long as space endures,
And living beings remain,
So, too, may I remain
To ease the suffering of the world."

more: A VIEWER'S GUIDE TO CONTEMPORARY PASSION PLAYS for those who view Mel Gibson's The Passion

* THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION AND SOCIETY has a special edition (vol. 6, 2004) on Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. http://moses.creighton.edu/jrs/toc/SS01.html


[ Introduction ]

Are the Gospel Passion Accounts Anti-Jewish?
Dennis Hamm, SJ, Creighton University

Christ's Passion on Stage: The Traditional Melodrama of Deicide
Gordon R. Mork, Purdue University

Christian Anti-Semitism: Past History, Present Challenges
John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, Catholic Theological Union

Passion-ate Moments in the Jesus Film Genre
Adele Reinhartz,Wilfrid Laurier University

Romans, Jews, and Greeks: The World of Jesus and the Disciples
Sidnie White Crawford, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The Arrest and Sentencing of Jesus: A Historical Reconstruction
Philip Cunningham, Boston College

Gibson's Passion: A Case Study in Media Manipulation?
Mark Silk, Trinity College

Sectarian Catholicism and Mel Gibson
Michael Lawler, Creighton University
* from PaleoJudaica.com


(Have you read Homo Necans: The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth ? And Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman Period by the wonderful Erwin R. Goodenough)

The below excerpted from the "John Opsopaus" Homo Necans review, where we see the mysteries acted out and resolved communally. These mysteries were married into a mystical Judaism spawn during their Greek Diaspora, and seem an obvious source for the later Christian ritual:

Chapter IV (35 pp.) is devoted to the Anthesteria, an important Dionysian festival. In it the "bloody sacrifice" takes the form of sacramental drinking of wine, and restitution takes the form of a sacred marriage, in which the victim (Sacrificed God) is appeased by being given a woman (the queen) and is revitalized by her embrace. The well-known but poorly understood sacred idol, in which the mask and clothing of the God are hung on a cross, is a symbolic restoration, analogous to the bull-skulls hung in the sanctuary. As is common in rites of restitution after the sacrifice, the people enjoy a panspermia (boiled whole vegetables and grains), since it requires no "aggressive" acts (killing or grinding). There are also contests, in which young men take the largest role, because establishing the new order is the responsibility of the younger generation.

Moyers had Karen Armstrong on the other night on NOW. She's no historian, but one point they made about the Jesus tale is that it was the women who stayed with Him, and the men who ran and hid in fear after the crucifixion. Parable.

And Anand just sent me this from steinbeck:

The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second. -John Steinbeck, novelist, Nobel laureate (1902-1968)

It isn't easy, this time, and its resistance to opening. But that's birth. Keep riding the tide, breathing, making it open, open. Open with it. We all incarnate as Mother in this age:

"...though Spirit may give us Life, it is Mother Nature that gives life form, and perhaps that is a symbolic message of Incarnation." ~aohowell

Interesting: Jimmy Carter explaining how the Christian right isn't Christian at all.

The truth is simple...

Easter is a story, linked to a collective experience. The collective experience is our shared knowledge of death, our experience of seeing those whom we love die, and our knowledge that we ourselves are shuffling forward in the queue that stretches down cemetery road.

To be a fully fledged Christian, no doubt, is to feel some inner certainty that death has itself been conquered, swallowed up in victory. There must be many of us who cannot really claim any such conviction. It is not so much that we think that the resurrection of the body is impossible, and spiritual survival meaningless – though such thoughts do, of course, flit in and out of our minds.

It is that we cannot use the word "death'' unless it means just that: death, the end. Yet we can recognise that a life lived permanently under death's shadow can turn into one of negativism, cynicism, death-in-life. The yearly return of spring seems to belie the emotional burden that death-consciousness imposes. Even Larkin, gloomiest and most negative of poets, could hear a message from the trees as they came back into leaf: "Last year is dead, they seem to say./ Begin afresh, afresh, afresh."

The earliest Gospel, Mark's, does not end with a sermon, nor even with a miracle. It ends with a group of people finding an empty tomb, and fleeing, "for they were afraid".

From the literary point of view, it is one of the most paradoxical endings to any book, since it is not really an ending. For the book would not have been written if all that had remained of these people had been fear.
~ A N Wilson

"Last year is dead, they seem to say./ Begin afresh, afresh, afresh."

The energy freed up by forgiving others makes it possible for us to withstand the pain and disappointments of a world that has too much pain and too little love, a world that in various ways crucifies all those who struggle seriously for a world based on love.

As Christian theologian Ched Myers recently pointed out to me, (echoing a message that has been put forward in these pages by Michael Bader and Peter Gabel, among others), the call for a world based on love, generosity, compassion, and kindness often provokes anger and resistance from those who feel that their lives have been built around "being realistic." They resent the very assertion that something else is possible. This is why, Myers teaches, the cross has remained a powerful symbol for Christianity-understood as the reminder that if you live a life committed to love, you may end up facing the powers that be (including the powerless who have internalized the oppressor's message and fear of love) and their determination to crucify you for daring to shake their certainty in the inevitability of domination and control by the few of the many. Nothing upsets them more than the "naivete" of those who talk about love and kindness-they base their lives on the assumption that "the real world" requires you to dominate others before they dominate you; so if you claim that something else is possible, they feel that you are invalidating everything they stand for.
~Michael Lerner, Jesus the Jew

The sun today. The flowers coming up. It's the joy of wonder, all beings, the light born in them. Everything is lost on me but opening the door to the sun in the morning... going out to see the moon at night, A and I running up the lane with it as it seems to move under the clouds.

Again and again:

(from Alcibiades) : Alcibiades speaks of Socrates by means of images.
Socrates, he says, is like those figures of Silenus, made by craftsmen,
which sit in carver's shops: the kind that portray the satyr with a pipe or
flute in his hand, but are made so they can be opened, revealing images of
gods within. . . .
. . . .Here the word for 'image' is *agalmata*: originally, images
specifically of the gods, though eventually coming to refer to statues
generally. But it did so out of an original meaning of 'praise',
'exultation', 'rejoicing'. In other words, these images do not just stand
there like our 'sta-tues', 're-presenting' their object. Instead, they glory
the gods, they rejoice them. * It is out of this activity that the gods come
to visibility in these images. *
from Robert Lloyd Mitchell's Hymn to Eros A Reading of Plato's Symposium



The question of "who killed Jesus?" is a silly question in the sense that it was done 2000 years ago. No one alive today killed Jesus. How could we? We were not there. We are fully capable of killing the Christ, however, that is the God-self (or Buddha nature) in all beings. We do this when we destroy rainforests, render species extinct, starve the children, refuse health care to the people, allow starvation and unjust distribution of the earth's resources—in short, when we ignore the teachings of Isaiah and Jesus and others about the need for justice and compassionate works. ~Matthew Fox

Also, note in the article the above is excerpted from that Matthew Fox says Gibson is Opus Dei. This is scary stuff.

from deb again --

the leaves are stirring: let us watch awhile.

"Stephen, Jesus is watching you." ~overheard in grocery, mother to ruminating child

"Not to know what happened before one was born is always to be a child." ~Cicero

"A conquered universe, a dead Pan, leaves us nothing to live with." ~dhlawrence

LONG ago I read CSLewis's Mere Christianity. I disagreed with him somewhere in the first 10 pages. He could go on forever--which he does--but he does it without me.

Daemons, geniuses: concepts enormously important for us to recover. Why? Because those who hold scripture as The Word Of God claim God speaks through the writer. So who decides when it's Really God? The assemblers of the Bible gave that power to themselves: the Church. What is The Church? Who decides that, who decides True, False? Once this sort of rationalization begins, it never ends. God is good, yet -- Job. Paradox. Thus Augustine and the hordes of scholars addressing the problem of Evil. This assigning of blame, the story of Lucifer. The Devil is a major player in this religion, as important as the deity. And now in our time, the concept of Evil is used to galvanize a modern Holy War.

As if Daemons have to do with evil. As if evil exists.

Making a devil, jinn, angel, genius a real, living, and / or alien force within one's consciousness is a powerful form of control. Scripture is the centerpiece of Fundamentalism, after all. And the concepts of Daemons, *the modes of transmission of information from a Deity*, is the axis it all spins around.

The other issue is the history, the period that scripture was created from and in. There's a movement with theologians at the moment to place "Paul" in a firm Jewish tradition. Fine. So *what was that tradition in his time?* What did it mean to be a Jew? Many many things at this time.
(And if Paul is firmly placed in some argument that results inevitably in the ultimate Messiah Jesus, why is it that we have firm evidence of his letters being doctored, sometimes even reversing what he was saying. Only 7 of his New Testament letters are not considered forgeries. Moreover, why does Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha attributed to him place him so firmly in mystical magical traditions? As does the logic of his history. Why was he claimed later as the leader of Gnostics in other texts?)

Influence re the Diaspora discussed in Ch 8 of Freke and Gandy's Jesus Mysteries:

If we can throw off the traditional picture of Paul and look at the evidence with an open mind this anti-Paul rhetoric is understandable, since his letters show distinct Gnostic and Pagan influences. Paul is a Jew who had embraced the ubiquitous Greek culture of the times. He writes in Greek, his first language. He quotes only from the Greek version of the Old Testament. His ministry is to Pagan cities dominated by Greek culture.32 Of these, Antioch was the center for the Mysteries of Adonis, Ephesus was a center for the Mysteries of Attis, and Corinth was a center for the Mysteries of Dionysus.33 Paul was a native of Tarsus in Asia Minor, which by his time had surpassed even Athens and Alexandria to become the major center of Pagan philosophy.3" It was in Tarsus that the Mysteries of Mithras had originated, so it would have been unthinkable that Paul would have been unaware of the remarkable sim­ ilarities we have already explored between Christian doctrines and the teachings of ­Mithraism.35
Paul frequently uses terms and phrases from the Pagan Mysteries, such as pneuma (spirit), gnosis (divine knowledge), doxa (glory), sophia (wisdom), teleioi (the initiated), and so on.3" He advises his followers to "earnestly seek cater charismata."37 The word "charismata" derives from the Mystery rnakarismos, referring to the blessed nature of one who has seen the mysteries.38 He even calls himself a "Steward of the Mysteries of God,"39 which is the technical name for a priest in the Mysteries of Serapis.40
Paul quotes the Pagan sage Aratus, who had lived in Tarsus several cen­turies earlier, describing God "in whom we live, and move, and have our being."41 He also teaches Mystery doctrines."42 Like the Pagan sage Socrates, who was deemed wise because he knew he knew nothing,43 Paul teaches: If someone thinks he knows something, he still doesn't know the way he ought to know. 44
Just as Plato had written that we now only see reality "through a glass dimly," 45 so Paul writes, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face."46
This famous passage from Paul has also been translated: At present all we see is the baffling reflection of reality; we are like men looking at a landscape in a small mirror. The time will come when we shall see reality whole and face to face.47
This translation clearly brings out the Platonic nature of Paul's teachings. Plato had used the image of prisoners trapped in a cave who are only able to see the shadows of the outside world cast on the cave walls as an allegory for our present condition of mistaking for real what is in fact only a reflection of ultimate reality.48 For Plato, as for Paul, "At present all we see is the baffling reflection of reality."
Plato teaches that philosophers are those who are released from the cave to go outside and see the reality of the dazzling light of day for themselves— "face to face." This phrase is a ritual formula of the Pagan Mysteries. In The Bacchae we read: "He gave these Mysteries to me face to face."49 Lucius Apuleius writes of his initiation: "I penetrated into the very presence of the gods below and the gods above, where I worshiped face to face."50 Justin Martyr acknowledges that: "The aim of Platonism is to see God face to face."51 Plato describes how in the temple of the "true earth," which exists in the realm of ideas of which this Earth is a mere image, "Communion with the gods occurs face to face." 52

1st Century ce. Look at the diversity: Philo and St. Paul were ~contemporaries of Christ.
philo 25 bce - 50 ce
paul 3 bce - 65 ce
What I'm showing is the RANGE shown in that (link) to that history essay above, a perspective enormously important in seeing that in the First Century CE, not only was there no mass / no well defined single movement of Christians, but this was also true of Jews. Philo and Paul illustrate the range of what happened in the Diaspora. Yet we look back, sorting people in pigeon holes that didn't yet exist.

"The Jesus Mysteries Thesis proposed that the Jews had created their own version of the ancient Mysteries with Jesus as their Osiris- Dionysus. How could this have happened? The traditional history paints a picture of the Jews as an insular people, separate and distinct from the other Mediterranean cultures, staunchly nationalistic and fanatically devoted to their religion, fiercely loyal to their one god Jehovah and entirely hostile to the Paganism of their neighbors. From this perspective, the idea that the Jews could possibly have adopted the Pagan Mysteries seems unthinkable. And so it would be, if any of this were true." Freke & Gandy, Jesus Mysteries

That old dark glass still with us.

.. man derives his human personality only secondarily from what the myths call his descent from the gods and heroes; or, to put it in psychological terms, his consciousness of himself as a personality derives primarily from the influence of quasi-personal archetypes. ~CGJUNG, in CW5, SYMBOLS OF TRANSFORMATION


ps Thinking about C's comments to me on Kingsley's very direct (journalistic?) style. Alice also mentioned it re Dark Places. I think (and always have thought) it intentional: His Empedocles book is wonderful, but sense it's the stuff of deep snoring for non-academics. I think he's trying to speak to a broad audience... and that includes the many people now drawn to Jung and esoteric ideas.

It's also a bit of his Red Book in tone. Oracular. Appropriate for what he conveys and must feel.

Anyway--short attention span is pandemic, symptomatic of our drive-through (would you like fries with that?), commercial breaking (what was I watching?), ready-thumb at the remote world. Zoom zoom zoom..........

x's deb

from mike:

*Awareness, which is always just a little larger than the 'universe' it 'contains' and the very nature of sentiency seems - as far as i can make out - to manifest simultaneously as *quintillions* of ants, stars, fellow sentient beings and other sundry possibilities of similar nature. To imagine that one is only one of these - let alone an infinitesimally small speck of nothing within it - is the gateway to hell.

Listening - in the blazing sunlight - to Arvo Pärt's exquisite Ode IX, from Kanon Pokajanen (album I Am the True Vine, put out by harmonia mundi usa). If you don't know Pärt's work at all, GET to know it: in my opinion the most beautiful stuff being written today. Suggested albums are:

Tabula Rasa (ECM)
De Profundis (HMU)
Te Deum (ECM)
I Am the True Vine (HMU)

Aside from Sainte Colombe and certain Dhrupad artists, this is about all I listen to while working.

A. N. L. Retentif


From: deborah
Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2004

More ants:

Joseph Campbell
Wisdom Stories




Radiant in his light, yet invisible in the secret place of the heart, the Spirit is the supreme abode wherein dwells all that moves and breathes and sees. Our whole business, therefore, in this life is to restore to health the eye of the heart whereby God may be seen. ~St. Augustine

I am blind and do not see the things of this world; but when the light comes from Above, it enlightens my Heart and I can see, for the Eye of my heart sees everything: and through this vision I can help my people. The heart is a sanctuary at the Center of which there is a little space, wherein the Great Spirit dwells, and this is the Eye. This is the Eye of Wakantanka by which He sees all things, and through which we see Him. ~Black Elk

In the oldest Upanishads the heart (four ventricles!) is the seat of the soul or of knowledge, of waking consciousness. It is the root of all limbs and the seat of prāna, the breath of life. Prāna is vāju. Vāju comes from mulādhāra, the root support. The Hangsa Upanishads teach: in the heart region there is an eight-leafed lotus. The eight leaves correspond to the compass and portray both moral and psychic states. At the center lives Vairagya, passionlessness, disinterest, and detachment (cf. Meister Eckhart). ~C.G.Jung

The secret of the Philosopher’s Stone is to look with the eyes and see with the heart. ~Petrus Bonus, alchemist

Look at the world with a loving eye.
~Mercy Muchmore

To follow up on Jung's comment that the longest journey for some of us is from the head [ego-consciousness] to the heart [Self,Divine Guest] wh dwells at our centerpt., I thought u might be interested to see how universal the concept of the indwelling center of the atman, Christ Within et al is and only to be reached by the 'heart' because it dwells in the unconscious. This concept is held by all mystics.

Astrologically, the heart is ruled by the Sun, the glyph of which is the circle w/the dot in the middle! So, symbolically, as the sun is to the solar system, so is the heart to the body n so is the indwelling 'heart' [Div Guest] to the psyche of each indivifual. It is the mystery that gives LIFE to everything, even an atom. Remember the story that Sophia [personification of Holy Wisdom/Holy Spirit] is hiding in matter as drops of light n the task of coll humanity is to reassemble her as the Woman Clothed in the Sun [anamnesis of Sophia].........

Next time u are in a supermarket n see a glass container w/a crude pic of Jesus n his Sacred Heart on it it might make more sense. I used to shudder at the artistic crudity of them n now see my own snobbish blindness!


Speaking of grocery stores. I had a marvelous epiphany in one about 23 yrs ago. I was in the cereal[ grain is ruled by Virgo] aisle n saw a box of Cheerios adv a free decal inside. I bought it n the decal was of a red costumed "7 Million Dollar Man" w/a boulder bouncing off him. Now the USA is ruled by Cancer wh is ruled by the moon. Cancer rules containers, n the USA's cht July 4, 1776 has Mars [red hero] in Cancer. Hmmm. Went and bought anoth box. This one had the "Bionic Woman" dressed in light blue jumping over an electric fence! The USA has the Moon in Aquarius[wh rules electricity]! Now comes the clincher: on the back of each decal printed were the words: DO NOT APPLY WHERE MOM WOULD NOT APPROVE! [We are said to be a mother-bound nation, so many puer aeterni, n our mandala is apple pie. Shades of Philip Wylie's theory of momism.] Since then feminism has turned a generation of women into developing the archetypal empowering of the Amazon. A huge shift for my generation! I was expected to be a wife, mother. Period. So the coll psychological situation of our country was sitting on a grocery shelf!

Anyway, if u have studied astrology and found it to be a symbolic language pf archetypal processes, I guarantee that u will never be bored!

Virtutes divinae in res diffusae, Divine powers are diffused in things. - Agrippa

So look w/a loving eye n see what cn happen!


Silly Old Woman

ao :}


in brief:


I'm not sure what to make of the native tongue of the writer of the below marketing ploy... maybe mike and you linguists can tell by the anatomy. But wouldn't old William Strunk have loved to use it as an example in his chapter on elementary use of language. ("Sentences violating Rule 11 are often ludicrous." ) !

I just wanted to share with you the experiences I've had in the past year. As many men are familiar with, my wife was never really satisified with my size. This caused many problems within our relationship and made me feel very insecure.
Well, just like a lot of you out there, I was ready to do anything to make my wife happy. I tried everything, pum.ps, ex.cercises, pil.ls, but never found anything that actually worked until now. I was talking to a friend which recommended to a website that carried a new type of pill which I had never seen before. To my surprise, it actually worked. Now, i'm not going to lie and say that I grew a foot but it was definately a noticable increase, which has seen made my life a happier.
If your sick and tired of trying pro ducts that just don't work check this out.

Vonda Wolff

(url to ad or maybe worse removed : wunna want ter tempt ya!)


i get hundreds of these every day. one of these days i'm gonna unwind my john thomas from around my thigh an' SHOW the buggers what a dickman really is.

but not yet...

don' wanna scare 'em...



O Mike!


What did I miss to provoke such a response? go on, show them, Mikey!




I'm with C.




Long as it don't grow a foot!


from alice:
Dears all,

I have finally finished a brilliant book by Sonu Shamdasani, the historian of psychology and Research Associate of the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College, London. The bk won the Gradiva Prize for the best hist n biog work fr the World Assoc for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis. He is also the Archivist for Jung's unpublished works n co-leader w/Dr. Steven Martin of the Philadelphia Jung Institute of the Philemon Foundation which oversees even the publication of Jung's famous Red Book!

It has taken me a while to digest this work which traces the threads of influence that led to Jung's thinking. There are also quite a few quotes removed fr MDR. I am encl a quote fr the final chap. wh struck me as highly relevant to the world today.

In MHO this book shld be read by every one interested in Jung n in the helping professions [thinking types!] as it is that rich and thought-provoking. Take my word for this!

From Jung and the Making of Modern Psychology by Sonu Shamdasani [Cambridge Univ. Press]

In his [Jung's] social vision, the individual was suspended between the collective consciousness and the collective unconscious. In 1947, he stated that ego consciousness was dependent upon the conditions of the collective or social consciousness, and the unconscious collective dominants, or archetypes. This dual dependency resulted in a conflict, for there was an "almost unbridgeable" opposition between the "generally accepted truths" of the collective consciousness and the contents of the collective unconscious. From the standpoint of the former, the latter were rejected as irrational. The individual was caught in this opposition (CW 8, § 423). Thus if subjective consciousness identified with the ideas and opinions of the collective consciousness, the contents of the collective unconscious became repressed. This tendency led ultimately to the absorption of the ego by the collective unconscious, which gave rise to the "mass man", who is always enslaved by an 'ism'" (§ 425, trans. mod.). The identification with the collective consciousness and the apotheosis of the masses inevitably led to a catastrophe. The only solution was the avoidance of identification with the collective consciousness, and the recognition of the "existence and importance" of the archetypes, as "these latter are an effective defence against the might of social consciousness and the mass psyche corresponding with it" (§ 426 trans. mod.). In this respect, contemporary religion failed the individual, due to the fact that

in as much as religion for the contemporary consciousness still essentially means a denomination, and hence a collectively accepted codified system represented in dogmatic precepts of religious statements, it belongs more to the sphere of collective consciousness, even though its symbols express the originally effective archetypes. (Ibid., trans. mod.). p.339

...................It was only through individuation that the agglomeration of individuals could be, instead of an anonymous mass, " a conscious community". Hence in individuation, there lay the seeds of a new community.

This I believe is the task of the coming new eon of Aquarius in a nutshell. [ao]

N this shld give us in our Jung grps a conscious purpose for our existence.



Old Lady


from ao:
I asked Edinger ab projection n he answ simply. All ego consciousness depends on projection.

In my research for editing HOW LIKE AN ANGEL CAME I DOWN: A. Bronson Alcott's Conversations on the Gospels [1846], I came across a letter written to him by a 12 year-old ex-student in which he commented that life offers us 'a mirror of circumstance'! I cannot think of a better metaphor!

Just as the bread analogy in my former post, we can see that 10 people looking at the same painting will see 10 diff paintings or 100 peop listening to the same lect will hear 100 different lectures. This is the secret of the archrtyp process of 'creating'! In the same way Spirit out of its unity incarnates over n over into individuals who will all co-create their own microcosms of consciousness - our gift to the collective, our widow's mite, so to speak.

At 81, my days are numbered. I accept this joyfully. I realize that my, what the Dutch call 'stoffelijk overschot' :} will be reduced to a lunch pail of ashes. The only gift I can give is what I have made conscious n how much I have loved others n how much I have been grateful for and appreciated. "c'est tout!"

The Self [Divine Guest] Jung tells us dwells in the unconscious n so needs the ego to make creation conscious. I call this "God can't eat a poached egg!' But we can n remember to SHARE this w/our DG. This huge 'aha!' hit me one morn wh my darling husb made poached eggs one Sun brkfst. They were so perfect, I humorously bowed over them saying I shld share them w/my DG!

This action = the return radius fr the ego at circumference of the circle [mandala] to the centerpt, wh Jung said, as Self, was the center n totality of the psyche. N that going n returning radius is symbolic of the process of Hagia Sophia [Holy Wisdom, Holy Spirit, feminine third of the Trinity, as Jung said, symb by the Dove]. I suspect that I am just putting Robert's excellent psychol definition into another mode of expression. I think more simply, that's all.

Wh I have realized is that when we consc share w/DG, we lose all that superstition of 'never say u are happy, cos something will snatch it away!' The odd thing is that whatever u share w/DG u get to keep!!! After discuss this w/Walter [now deceased, alas], we simply out of the blue wld say: 'U know what? I'm happy!' Followed by a mutual hug. Thus, for me, I still have - right now - the love n joy of those moments. Anyone who has seen his pic in THE DOVE IN THE STONE cn see wh a loving Polar Bear he was.

I am reading a REMARKABLE book - Sonu Shamdasani's CG JUNG: The Making of Modern Psychology. SS is a historian of medicine, an incredible researcher, n archivist, it turns out, of J's unpubl wrks for he J heirs. He is seeing over the pub of the famous Red Book. Anyway, he traces the discov of the unconsc thru sev centuries n ment the huge discussions that arose, early in 20th cent, among budding psychologists over 1) the definit of terms! n 2) the personal equation of each person's approach. N as Rob pts out this depends on proj. However, I am reminded that there are a few things that are, to quote Jung, JUST SO. Things that are built into the system n which humanity slowly uncovers. Ahem. Numbers are one of them n the Solar System is another. The musical scale, the power of prisms to produce colors, etc. And Sacred Geometry. Pythagoras.

Science takes 3 steps: 1 - observes; 2 - compares; 3 - draws conclusions. Period. But there is a 4th step: what can the visible world reveal about the invisible world of meaning? This is where thinking symbolically comes in n we discov as below, so above n as within, so without. So a sacrament cld also be defined as 'an outer n visible sign of an inner n spiritual meaning! This puts us in a position to glimpse the reality of the unus mundus! Of finding the sacred in the commonplace. "Heaven is spread upon the earth, but men do not see it!" [Jesus in The Gospel acc to Thomas]. What I am humbly suggesting is that astrology n alchemy offer 'keys' to symbolic perceptions. Just as Xmas gifts are wrapped in paper, the physical world is a gift to be unwrapped. All 'matter' is slowed down energy n we are delightfully deluded [ludere=to play] or terrorized during a lifetime. But the keys to how outer/inner coincide are there for anybody willing to try them. Wh is why I like to define astrol as a symbolic language of archetypal processes.

Forgive me for rambling!



In a message dated 1/17/05 12:57:37 PM Pacific Standard Time, Suzanne writes: And, I could never understand why the German people did not arise en masse to rebel against him, until now, living in the US today.

ao writes:
Jung had an interesting theory to answer that question. He felt that the Norse religion was never allowed to bloom bec of the forced conversion to Christianity in the 9th cent. So it went into the collective tribal unconscious. Hitler was able to tap into this n spread out a whole Aryan pseudo-myth wh captivated so many unc 'decent' Germans. One has to remember in the beg, H tried to do a lot of pos things to rebuild Germany after WWI but he got drunk on power.........

The inauguration was summed up in the Benediction - Christianity is being used as a political tool. I'm all for more spirituality but it does not ring true wh it is exclusive of other paths. Where is Jefferson wh we need him!

Well, fasten yr seatbelts.............

there IS only ONE WAY - it's the SAME ONE WAY [process!] that all the mystics of all the faiths agree on. It looks as if history in the grand scheme of things is rubbing our noses into pain n slaughter until we realize that the light shining in every lantern is the same Light! Love thy neighbor because he IS thyself!

See Chap in The Beejum Book........

Poor Jesus, to be so misunderstood n so manipulated. "Love one another, even as I have loved you."

Dalai Lama: My only religion is kindness.


As long as we live in the manifest world, we have to have an ego.

The ego is the center of consciousness.

As long as we are thinking, conscious, we are subject to duality.

Hence ANY speculation ab God is going to involve paradox.

Wh is why Jung spoke of the IMAGO DEI.

Only the heart, only the heart, only the heart can KNOW. It is ineffable n
cannot be put into words. Rumi, perhaps? Music? or 'silence ,'le grand calme de

The mystery lies in the fact that, as Jung reminds us, the Self [Divine Guest] dwells in the UNconscious n yet is the center n totality of the psyche. The ego is only a small part of it, circumambulating at the circumference, mediating constantly between outer/inner; time/space; visible/invisible.

gnosis = knowing

a-gnosis = not knowing.

Wh is why Gezeebius, The Wise old Man of Beejumstan, travels around on the "Cloud of Unknowing". Wisdom consists in knowing how much we DON'T know! wh is why it is wise to know that one is a Fool [one of my fav archetypes ] n why I sign myself off as

Silly Old Woman!

ao writes:
Jung had an interesting theory to answer that question. He felt that the Norse religion was never allowed to bloom bec of the forced conversion to Christianity in the 9th cent. So it went into the collective tribal unconscious. Hitler was able to tap into this n spread out a whole Aryan pseudo-myth wh captivated so many unc 'decent' Germans. One has to remember in the beg, H tried to do a lot of pos things to rebuild Germany after WWI but he got drunk on power......... >>
See pg 11 for a lead-in re this theory a la tolkien:
Returning the Ring The Inner Dimension of Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings

I did stop to smile at :

"The teachings of Christ were an important counter-balance to the more savage and inhumane practices often associated with the rise of the Roman Empire."

Actually, it's been abit more like Rome on wheeels: "By this sign you will conquer!" The Dominicans and their stick.



mike adds:

"The teachings of Christ were an important counter-balance to the more savage and inhumane practices often associated with the rise of the Roman Empire."

*Jesus Christ! Who wrote THAT bit of hogwash?
I think early Christianity possibly was fairly gentle par rapport all that was going on around it, but (a) to imagine it had anything like the drawing power or (b) the actual power to act as a veritable counterbalance is a a leap of faith tantamount to literal belief in the Christ's divinity or virgin birth... You'd have to be a modern (that is to say, separated from your roots by 2000-odd years of misrepresentation) and very non-critical Christian to even conceive of it.
Stack that with your non-Jewish, blonde, blue-eyed boy...

Holy mother o' god!

from mike dickman:

As i watched it (the US pres election) happen, i thought: you guys have just *consciously* voted yourselves into 'rogue nation' status.
I cannot begin to tell how appalled the rest of this planet is - the heartbreak of those you are smashing, the rage and terror of those who might be "next"... and the all-consuming fear of everyone else. Bush may think that a mandate from the Xtian right is the 'mandate of heaven', but it is not. It won him the election through the twisting of information and the fomentation of fear, through promises of armageddon and the 'rapture'... It will eventually lose him the entire world.

He has become the single most important recruiting sergeant for Islamic terrorist groups... nothing convinces the young of the justness of their cause faster or more totally than George Walker Bush=the US=any American. Unaware - uncaring even - that you have totally lost anything like a 'moral highground', you guys are handcrafting a nuclear jihad.

It therefore becomes the duty of every sane American (and that means more than half of you) to fight him on every front, no matter what the cost... There is no room for 'depression', 'disappointment'...

As Kerry said, JOIN with him (cf. Yi Jing, gua no. 61, Zhong Fu - "Inner Truth"), learn him, feel him out to his subtlest... and then - when you have won his trust and found out HIS secret goodnesses - begin, subtly, to transform him wherever the goodness is not... Ye gods! It's blatant enough! What is sure is that, if you use his weapons, they will turn in your hand. He has used them and perfected them over millions of years and knows exactly what he's doing. It is up to you to change the ground, to work beyond individual hope and fear, beyond parochial need, beyond any belief in the actual solidity of things, but this you can only do if you are prepared to love him, to cherish him and to allow his psyche to play fully on yours.I say it again, for the umpteenth time...

How many times has Tokuun, that idle old gimlet,
not come down from the seat of marvellous attainment?
He hires foolish 'wise men' to bring him snow,
and he and they, together, fill up the well

Finally, rather than fight a rearguard battle, blow for blow - a battle you can never win because the clearer you are in your criticism, the more he will fear and hate you and the more he will fall back on superstition and belief - the only solution is (to quote the Yi Jing once again) "to make energetic progress in the good". This requires very subtle attention to the timing.

Sorry for this tirade, but I've been through this. Believe me, you cannot fight him directly, he has all exits covered.

Love you guys!


from ao

Had an insight today after reading something by Paul Coelho: "Yesterday's pain is for the Warrior of the Light the source of his present strength."

How true. It reminded me also of an observation I have often made while driving on a road that runs straight n then confronts an enormous incline. U wonder if the car will make it n then as u begin the ascent, it turns out not to be as tough as you thought.

Another saying that is helpful for the faint of heart [me!] is that, to paraphrase Goethe, 'Beginnt! Nur den der streibt, koennen wir helfen -" Spirit can only help the one who starts to strive!" Emphasis on start.......

I wonder how many of us perceive ourselves as starters or responders?

Well "In we are, n on we must!" as the Bishop of Woolwich remarked.---------------

As for them aspects: 3 lightbulbs blew out n at 1:16 am,a huge potted Boston fern crashed fr the hook on the wall, causing my cat Bunky to spit n freak out on the bed in my defense! Aspects will work out, but u never know at wh level. The hurricane n Najaf seem to be the most serious threat.......

Wh reminds me of my Mercury retrograde story. I was still teach astrol, so wh W n I traveled to Scotland the last time, Merc was retro. I decided to keep track of all the incidents: keys, papers, missed or canceled appts, mix-ups etc. - Trickster stuff. They came to 26 events. After our return, went to get list for class - zap! The wee notebk must have fallen in w'basket!! Never found! Merc had the last laugh!

Gotta go to work


Same old silly