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


more from archives: It thrives close to the dragon

Thursday, July 05, 2001 Re: [Negative-Capability]
Re: salt of soul, sulfur of spirit
You might recall an animated discussion we had here on the distinction between soul and spirit a while back. I am still not sure if we need two different constructs (*spirit* and *soul*), as in the line, "When a spirit is imagined as above human life, as fundamentally masculine, as abstracting and distancing, and as pure and uncontaminated, the soul is particularly denigrated." In my experience thus far, spirituality = soul-making (I think). What say you?
The rest I agree with wholeheartedly, of course.
Soulfully yours,

 from Deborah:
>>Your Birth of Kali picture/s is/are very funny, Deb.
"The idealizations which Eros tends always to constellate can be counterbalanced: creativity expresses itself also as destruction.  Love's torture may not always lead to the happy ending of our tale.  The idealizations may further be weighted by recalling the connections in Hesiod, the Orphics, and renaissance Neoplatonism between eros and chaos.
"Eros is born of Chaos, implying that out of every chaotic moment the creativity of which we have been speaking can be born.  Further more, Eros will always hearken back to its origins in chaos and will seek it for revivification.  ...  Eros will attempt again and again to create those dark nights and confusions which are its nests.  It renews itself in affective attacks, jealousies, fulminations, and turmoils.  It thrives close to the dragon." 
That quote is James Hillman (Love's Torturous Enchantment in A BLUE FIRE)  *This book -- by the way--  has been a real affirmation for me.  It's in keeping what interests me in Jung -- and also with my fascination with Platonic Eros.
What Diotima is telling Socrates in Plato's Symposium is this reading of the Eros and Psyche myth.
Neoplatonism--the post earlier today on Plotinus (think Ficino)--reread Plotinus and the birth of Venus in Beauty.  The pairs, above below. Read it as spirit--soul. ?  One is Two. Plotinus: the earthly Venus, the heavenly Venus.  And Eros, her son or brother,but always her companion.  Speaking of comPASSION and what moves it -- desire.  Erotic, all, this force that inspires -- that 'breathes life.' Anima / Animus in the flame of becoming, at once holding on and letting go.
Anand was telling me the Hindu story of the goddesses...  as 'the void' projected desire and created Space... then Time... then... The same story again and again. And in each of us.(And fascinating to see Saturn figure in the Hindu Parvati myth--just as Chronos does in Plotinus's birth of Venus.)
Catholic catechism:  We are born to know love and serve god.  The void looking in the mirror with the same impulse: creation and Self.
I keep drawing all that out -- seeing these myths as archetype, as they played on Richardson's imagination.
Have long been intrigued with the Eros-Psyche myth and its earlier alt.form Persephone-Hades and the ways it mutated as it passed itself down, both drawing from the same underground stream somewhere beneath Mt. Etna.  Hades and his brother Hephaestus: Peter Kingsley tells us in the early fragments of Empedocles they form a pair: fire as erotic creativity: destructive and creative at once.
I see so much of Hillman drawn from deep reading of Symposium -- which is an amalgam of earlier myths.  Eros reflects the earlier goddess myth and often is seen as hermaphrodite.  Anima Animus analogs.
I wrote Anand:
Before archetype theory was there to guide and pull things together, there was myth, story.  Novels came about in following down these fascinations, the demons who lead us on into the interior.  So -- maybe archetype theory came about for math and business majors who don't have time to read novels (oh, professor!) ;)  I'm kidding of course, but -- empiricism is based in experience.  Art and analytical psych orient and ground the journey, is all.   And art is too often neglected and so mass produced and mass fed that maybe a crutch is now needed that wasn't needed before.  The 'primitives' were not primitive.  They certainly knew the power of myth and story in living life. In a living cosmos.  A thing we -- especially in the west, as we become these machines we serve -- have undervalued, lost.
The Philosopher's stone.  The Foundation Stone. The orphan.
I love your dream of the two halves becoming one.  I think it is both sides of Venus, both sides of Eros, the one and the One.  Our face in the mirror, the longing that created us us, Longing longing back... Wonderful dream. Please, just enjoy the experience, the memory of it.  A gift.  Fascination is enough.
Anand said: >>So one path is seeking 'detachment' through renunciation: a merger with Shiva; the other, with the joyful energy of Shakti. Of course they converge. >>
It's the whole of Eros, the whole of Venus, both Janis face sides.  Earthy, heavenly, both at once.  Holding on and letting go all at once: *standing in the upsurging draft of love* and that IS the whole message of the Symposium.
Self.  The deity dressed in time and space. Our living.
So they put it to us superior westerners as we first come across words like heathen and pagan -- that we aremonotheistic, unlike those other primitives!  Those heathen lost souls and their polyglot polygods!  See the Greeks worship Zeus!  Them Hindoos, they worship all sorts of melon-breasted eroticons!  Them pagans and all their calling up them demons in the night, dancing naked beneath the moon!  And them Buddhists!  Why, they have no god at all!  And yet -- and yet -- the Void, the ground of Being, the Forms.  All are the same One, and the many gods and godlets the archetype, the matrix that we cast our images of godhead upon.
As I see it, Archetype is the psyche's analog to the knowledge / matrix intrinsic within matter: the 'memory' of hydrogen bonding in water that ' knows' to form ice, the crystal lattice that forms diamonds from carbon. Not the elements, not the image per se -- but the matrix behind, within.
Anand asked:
>...In  my experience thus far, spirituality = soul-making (I think). What >say you?
To answer -- I am seeing the distinction -- and understanding that for you -- and for one conscious of anima / animus and able to see the archetype revealing itself and speaking in its cryptic, wordless, imaginal way -- they can be the same.  But there is always a danger in transcendence.  Seeking only the high of peak consciousness, in churches, ritual, piety, magic, etc.  The peaks that skim the cream off the valleys. Soulmaking IS finding the sacred in the commonplace, the temple everywhere, the deity in your child's face, the godhood in your mortal lover.
Hillman writes:
"At first the entanglements which Eros constellates seem personal, as if all of love hung on the right word or move at the magical right time, as if it were a matter of effort and doing.  But then the entanglements become reflections of archetypal patterns that appear in everyone's life.  The images (eidola) are what everyone has experienced in his psyche through loving.  In this way Eros leads to the archetypes behind the patterns, and we are played into myth after myth: now a hero, now a virgin running, now a satyr who must clutch, now blind, now soaring.  Precisely this mythical awareness and enactment result from psychological creativity.
Thus we begin to recognize in ourselves that eros and psyche are not mere figures in a tale, not merely configurations of archetypal components, but are two ends of every psychic process*.  They always imply and require each other.  We cannot view anything psychologically without it entering our soul.  By experiencing an event psychologically, we tend to feel a connection with it; in feeling and desire we tend to realize the importance of something for the soul.  Desire is holy, as D.H. Lawrence, the romantics, the Neoplatonists insisted, because it touches and moves the soul.  Reflection is never enough." (*Ouroboros again.) 
"Desire is holy."
Summa Felicitas,
"Call the world, if you please, the vale of soul making. Then you will find out the use of the world."
~John Keats 

Carroll wrote:
Spirit and Soul
How about spirit is the God that's seeking us and soul is the God
the spirit is seeking?  I don't know where that puts Us --
more than spectator certainly.  I think it's hide and seek
and spirit comes together with soul and then they go off
for a new place to hide.  Why all the hiding though?

Anand wrote:
Are you thinking along the lines of individual soul (= 'soul') and Cosmic/Universal soul (= 'spirit')? A distinction, perhaps germane to the Moore quote, that has emerged in my thinking lately is between the path of eros and the path of detachment/renunciation, with my path currently squarely in the former. [Jung's Anima = Soul really gels with me now. Anima work = soul work.]
Another possibility:
Spirit= Pure Consciousness = Shiva (inert corpse)
Soul= Animating Energy / Will = Shakti (e.g. Kali dancing on Shiva to animate or give him life).
So one path is seeking 'detachment' through renunciation: a merger with Shiva; the other, with the joyful energy of Shakti. Of course they converge. And, of course, oversimplifying.
Tripping on soul,
- Anand

mike writes:
The Buddhist's have a threefold manifestation, a triplicity of dimensions of being, named dharmakaya ('absolute dimension of being'), sambhogakaya ('dimension of blissful enjoyment') and nirmanakaya ('emanational dimension') which correspond, more or less, to the alchemical sulphur=life- energy/spirit, mercury=becoming/soul, salt=formation/body. One of the images used is that of the sun, its rays, and its reflections in various bodies of water; another, that of space, the sun, and streaming rays of sunlight... There is no hierarchy; when the first is attained, the other two are inherent in that attainment. The first is jñana (primordial knowing, lamely translated as wisdom); the other two are upaya (skilful means/compassion).

from Carroll 7/5/01 11:33 AM:
 Well you guys of course have very different concepts  of and feelings  about Anima (Jung gave us women the Animus, what a gift! instead)  -- I can't  imagine the Anima though I sure know what an Anima  Woman is like and what they/ we have to disintangle from in terms  of male projections.   That's why I threw both Anima and Animus  away (I'm now throwing away that tiresome Baby in the Bathwater, too). and substituted ideas  that have meaning to me for instead: Soul and Beloved of the Soul.   You can dance with Shiva or Shakti or both, why not?   The Baby can dance with everyone.

alice writes:
In a message dated 7/5/01 11:19:02 AM Eastern Daylight Time, anandk writes:
> How about spirit is the God that's seeking us and soul is the God
> the spirit is seeking?  I don't know where that puts Us --
HOW AB THE SPIRIT IS THE GOD THAT IS SEEKING US AND THE SOUL IS THE goddess the spirit is seeking i.e. Div Guest seeking Sophia to rebirth the ego?
Alice O. Howell
"Look for the sacred in the commonplace!" :)

Phoebe writes:
In a message dated 7/6/01 7:57:07 AM, Deborah writes:
<< ...And yet -- and yet -- the Void, the ground of Being, the Forms.  All are the same One, and the many gods and godlets the archetype, the matrix thatwe cast our images of godhead upon. >>
The Egyptian image is one of simultaneity... all things at all times alive and co-existing: the gods are in and with us always as they have always been; we are backwards and forwards always -- that Boat of Millions of Years I talk about... We are never not in the presence of deity. All things manifest as themselves and their opposite: the harvest is present in the planting.
Of all the profound lessons learned on my shamanic path, the one that continues to work both unseen and knowingly in my life is the simple, hard one: What is Is. After four years of breathing this lesson, I feel I'm finally getting a handle on it. Aha! Crooked things are made straight; rough places are made smooth...
Life living itself is an immense and wondrous thing.

from Anand:
Great post. Not sure where I can begin to respond.
>Before the archetypes were there to guide and pull things
>together, there was myth, story.  Novels came about in following down these
>fascinations, the demons who lead us on into the interior.  So -- maybe
>archetypal theory came about for math and business majors who don't have time to read novels.
Frighteningly true. Not that the "math and business majors" (you forgot to mention my Bachelor's in Computer Science :-)have much patience with non-fiction. I think this whole attitude is also related to the Enlightenment, and the dissing of the non-rational images. Consider that 'Deity Yoga' (Active imagination with Deities, but also much more than that) has been around for eons. The rational mind scoffs at this: working with images is so infra-dig, unless you are a famous artist making oodles of moolah. But now, when I look at the older texts on Yoga/Tantra, I see variants of active imagination *everywhere*. How *could* I have been blind to this before? Call them "archetypes" to cloak these practices with some respectability: I know I often do this to 'communicate' to the Western educated (Indian or American) mind [protect myself, more likely. Why do I feel under siege?]. Old wine in a plastic cup.
>cosmos.  A thing we -- especially in the west, as we become
>these machines we serve -- have undervalued, lost.
Unfortunately, this disease is spreading everywhere, certainly in the cities of India. Like Jung's description of the tribe's Medicine Man who no longer gets Big Dreams because the English Commissioner knows all the answers. The Goddess weeps from loneliness-- as we value the distracting trinkets She strews in our path, more than Her Self and Her Love that She wants to give.
>;)  I'm kidding of course, but -- empiricism is based in experience.  Art and
 >analytical psych orient and ground the journey, is all.  And art is too often
>neglected and so mass produced and mass fed that maybe a crutch is now
>needed that wasn't needed before.
To address the latter point first: I think the problem is the overvaluing of rationality, stemming from the phenomenal material successes of the Industrial Revolution, and the appalling poverty in  those societies that missed that boat. Can we marry the two-- scientific rationality and the image-ination, or at least use them as appropriate? On the former, specifically:
> Art and analytical psych orient and ground the journey, is all. 
That is an *exact* and excellent summation of my own journey of late. A friend of mine who is very much into tantra and other Hindu paths wrote asking me what exactly I practiced. (He does not know Jung). I include my reply to him below, with some clarification of Sanskrit terms (You know all this already):
In response to your question on Jungian Psychology and the live process:
When all is said and done, my process has converged (for now) into a form of free-flowing deity yoga. That is where Jung's Active Imagination process and worship of SriDevi have converged. I didn't plan on it. Read this fine article about Kabir (did I send you this earlier, along with the Ramana site? I don't remember). The process of active imagination is very similiar to Ramanand's manasika [Mental] puja of Rama mentioned here, except that it is much more free-flowing. . . . .
The 'simple fascination' should be enough, and would be for the 'simple' man. But She has to hammer the message into my addled head. One last aside on this, and then I will shut up. One of the fundamental tenets of analytical psychology is that the anima can 'lead' one to disaster (as seductress/ temptress/ Marlene Dietrich's Blue Angel), to mawkishness, etc.: the Persona's enantiodromia into the Absolute Other. But this is at best true only when the anima is led awry by other active complexes that thwart the Self's teleology. Following the Self, on the other hand, is the path of individuation. . . . .
What do we have in our banal lives, other than the exhilaration of Insight into the Divine?
Lots of Love,
- Anand

                     Carroll wrote:

There is a lady sweet and kind
Was never face so pleased my mind,
I did but see her passing by
And yet I love her till I die.

Her gestures, motions and her smiles,
Her wit, her voice my heart beguiles,
Beguiles my heart, I know not why,
And yet I love her till I die.

Cupid is winged and doth range,
Doth range her country, so my love doth change,
But change the earth, or change the sky
Yet will I love her till I die.

(Words from Thomas Ford's MUSIC OF


(thinking of carroll, with love. I miss you.)