The Immanent Function


copyright by F. Christopher Reynolds, December 18, 2019

The Immanent Function is:

Synchronistic, embodied becoming together when two or more choose to gather for the happiness of all beings. The immanent function is the partner to C. G. Jung’s transcendent function. Individual consciousness participates in communion with the collective ecological conscious and unconscious. When in partnership, the immanent and transcendent functions make manifest the awe that opens the human heart to the Mystery of life. Their intermingling is recognized by an atmosphere of warmth, love, surprise and humor that makes life-cycles worth living in enduring planetary and interplanetary relationships. Anomalous, synesthetic, paranormal, psychokinetic, miraculous, prophetic, numinous, aesthetic arrest experiences that are immanent to the transcendent occur in the midst of their union.

I’m carrying forward the work of Eugene Monick in this essay. His efforts were to help to separate masculinity from patriarchy. He encouraged a renewal of embodied sacred manhood via the recovery of a forgotten image of God in its male form that he named, Phallos. In Phallos: Sacred Image of the Masculine, he made the case that axis mundi and shamanic awareness are most needed by men now to draw away from the patriarchal melt-down. He called patriarchal culture, Present Consciousness. He named his goal, New Consciousness. In 1987, Eugene Monick wrote:

Axis mundi is the ancient image needed by men today as they experience the disintegration of patriarchal Present Consciousness. Surrender to reemerging matriarchy is not the solution, either cultural or personal. It is regressive and will produce, eventually, a stringent reemergent patriarchal attitude in vain defense of masculine identity. There is no need for males to fear females and act out such fear as tyrant or slave once a primary-process inner connection with phallos is engaged and dependably functional. Axis mundi, suggesting the rigorous, precarious heroism of the shaman, is just the ticket.” (p76 in Phallos: Sacred Image of the Masculine)

Gene got the ancient image right. However, he was unable to unbind Axis mundi  from the image of a flat-Earth found in the Ptolemaic cosmology of our ancestors.

His New Consciousness is the planetary sphere of galactic cosmology of the emerging participatory world view. In gratitude for my mentor’s life, it is an honor for me to advance his Great Work where he left off.

In Phallos: Sacred Image of the Masculine, after a lot of hard work reading all of the published works, Monick found that Jung used the feminine term, anima mundi quite often, but never used axis mundi. In fact, Jung is not clear that there is a difference between anima and axis. Gene observed:

Axis mundi is not an easy image to work with, since Jung, at least in his published work, did not mention the term. Not so anima mundi, to which Jung gave great attention and importance. Jung wrote, “It is clear from a number of texts that the alchemists related their concept of the anima mundi on the one hand to the world soul in Plato’s Timaeus and on the other to the Holy Spirit, who was present at the Creation and played a role of procreator, impregnating the waters with the seed of life, just as later, he played a similar role in the obumbratio (overshadowing) of Mary.”

This passage is taken from Jung’s long treatise on Mercurius, who was called, by one of Jung’s alchemical sources, the anima mundi itself. There can be no doubt that the process that Jung describes here, in its Holy Spirit aspect, is masculine. The choice of such words as procreator, impregnating, seed and ‘the overshadowing of Mary’ so indicate. Later in the paragraph, Jung comments that “here again matter and spirit are identical,” a reflection of the psychoid quality of the Mercurical presence in the unconscious. The active words used in the quotation point to the involvement of phallos.

Jung used the term, anima mundi, to describe masculine participation in creation, a situation which leads to the confusion in psychoanalytic thinking I have addressed in this work.” (Phallos, p. 72)

The Dreaming Shaft of Radius Mundi

An important detail absent from Monick’s work with phallos is that phallos is not an archetype who limits visitations to our waking hours. During REM sleep when we dream most vividly, not only do our eyes move rapidly, but we men become erect. In fact, a way that psychological impotence can be discerned from biological impotance is by observing a man while he is dreaming. Erection = dreaming. If a man shows REM and no erection, then his potency issues are of a physical/biological nature only.

Ron Reminick notes in his work on the complementary mirroring of masculine and female bodies that women display a private thickening that complements male erection called, clitoral tumescence. Like men, periods of REM sleep can be identified by feminine swelling. The implications are then, that in the same way that phallos is the archetypal ground for a man is participation in the masculine image of God, a woman’s participation in the image of Goddess, clitoral tumescence in eros and in dreaming has its own sacred image of the feminine.

It is not my work to create the name for this feminine image of the Goddess. I can tell you that a Beautiful Face for clitoral tumescence does not appear in the substantial catalogs of images of the Goddess of Marija Gimbutas, nor does it seem to be mentioned in the poems of Sappho, the Tenth Muse.

The New Consciousness that Eugene Monick was striving to establish is an ecologically proficient, embodied and also psychological human being, aka. psychoid. He proclaimed a ground for living in sacred ways on a sacred planet, ways that recognize both sacred celibacy that he called, Communion and sacred sexuality, that he called, Communion, in relationship with the planet, that he also called, Communion.  He was working to answer Jung’s unanswered questions. In his autobiography, Memories, Dreams and Reflections, Jung says:

It is a widespread error to imagine that I do not see the value of sexuality. On the contrary, it plays a large part in my psychology as an essential–though not the sole–expression of psychic wholeness. But my main concern has been to investigate over and above its personal significance and biological function, its spiritual aspect and its numinous meaning, and thus to explain what Freud was so fascinated by but was unable to grasp. My thoughts on this subject are contained in “The Psychology of the Transference” and Mysterium Coniunctionis. Sexuality is of the greatest importance as the expression of the chthonic spirit. That spirit is the “other face of God,” the dark side of the God-image.

If phallos is the sacred image of the masculine, the shaft by which a man displays his embodied participation in the masculine presence — Jung’s “dark side of the God-image,” then the shaft by which a woman displays her embodied participation in the sacred feminine presence is the other face of Goddess, the dark side of the Goddess-image.

Sharing Radius Mundi with the Tree of Life

Radius mundi, as a shared shaft, completes the process that Monick began using axis mundi in his Phallos trilogy. For New Consciousness, his encouragement to recover the rigorous, precarious heroism of the shaman, is just the ticket. However, to update this ultimately phallic heroism for a planetary life, we require its feminine mate. Phallos and its feminine mate can journey outward to the galaxy as well as inward. Axis mundi is to be imagined as the backbone, the turning point of our world. The backbone/axis mundi/turning point/spine of all human beings, then, belongs to a now more immanent archetype of the Tree of Life/Serpent Spine, by which human beings can know by merging with eternity in this life.

With Axis mundi taking up its role as a center of balance regardless of gender:

Phallos = Radius mundi

Imagine now that we are planets turning and orbiting upon an axis mundi. Bringing forth the fruit, the unexpected temporal moments of eternal significance, participating in the seasons of lifetimes, as we turn around an axis. Ultimately, this is an axis that is apprehended as both immanent and transcendent. We live with backbone literally, even as our entire volume and surface cycle in rhythm and pulse with invisible depth.

It is from our own Serpent Spine within that we variously embody as the worlds we are. It is from that turning center that we can know the beloved mates, phallos and she-whose-name-is-yet-to-be as radius mundi. the shaft that is the receptive emptiness and the shaft of offering fullness.

From our own personal Sacred Tree of the planet rises radius mundi — known as both a shaft that is the receptive emptiness as well as a shaft of offering fullness.

With axis mundi and radius mundi imagined this way, as embedded into the geometry of the volume of a planet, Monick’s rigorous, precarious heroism of the shaman can become a way of full participation whether as the masculine or feminine planetary form, as well as any combinations between the two. New Consciousness is living a life where we are meant to taste the direct knowing of Depths and psychic wholeness, the dark faces of God and Goddess illuminating their Dawn.

Joseph Campbell used the term, transparent to the transcendent, in many of his writings. He meant that the surfaces of things could be seen through into the radiance of Eternity when our hearts are opened to the experience of awe. In Earth-based spirituality, in ecopsychology, the Beauty that sustains the world is intimately present and deep — immanent to the transcendent – the Beauty that sustains the world draws us inward, too.

Radius Mundi, whether understood as phallos, a shaft of fullness toward opening or as the archetypal face of clitoral tumescence, a shaft of opening toward fullness, offer human beings the relationship through which transcendent is known, experienced, and furthered in an immanent and transcendent flesh.

The spiritual and erotic knowing or gnosis I have described is meant for all human beings. I am not the first to declare this. Here is Whitman:

Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.

Review of the Literature 

Four of my mentors have published dreams, life events, and creative works that are key to my own. To those four, I am going to add my own because it would feel cowardly to me to share the vulnerability of men I respect and hide behind them! Carl Jung, W. B. Yeats, Eugene Monick, and Walt Whitman have all been quite courageous about their authentic manhood.

Jung’s dream of phallos is in Memories, Dreams and Reflections. He was between 3-4 years old and went underground through a stone-lined hole:

“At the bottom was a doorway with a round arch, closed off by a green curtain. It was a big, heavy curtain of worked stuff, like brocade, and it looked very sumptuous. Curious to see what might be hidden behind, I pushed it aside. I saw before me in the dim light a rectangular chamber about 30 feet long. The ceiling was arched and of hewn stone. The floor was laid with flagstones, and in the center a red carpet ran to a low platform. On this platform stood a wonderfully rich golden throne…a real king’s throne in a fairy tale. Something was standing on it which I thought at first was a tree trunk twelve to fifteen feet high and about one and a half or two feet thick. It was a huge thing, reaching almost to the ceiling. But it was of a curious composition: it was made of skin and naked flesh, and on top of the head was a single eye, gazing motionlessly upwards.

It was fairly light in the room, although there were no windows and no apparent source of light. Above my head, however, was an aura of brightness. The thing did not move, yet I had the feeling that it might at any moment crawl off the throne like a worm and creep towards me. I was paralyzed with terror. At that moment, I heard from outside and above my mothers voice! She called out, “Yes, look at him. That is the man-eater!”…I awoke sweating and scared to death.”

W. B. Yeats in his 1916 Reveries over Childhood and Youth, shared his own phallos story many years before Jung shared his own. In 1926, as he confided to a friend in response to a reader’s reaction to Yeat’s book, A Vision that mystic vision and sexual experience were essentially the same and that the way through the first lay through the second. (p. 242 in Yeats’ Ghosts by Brenda Maddox)

In Reveries, he shared:

I was tortured by sexual desire and had been for many years. I have often said to myself that some day I would put it all down in a book that some young man of talent might not thing as I did that my shame was mine and mine alone. It began when I was fifteen years old. I had been bathing, and lay down in the sun on the sand on the Third Rosses and covered my body with sand.

Presently, the weight of the sand began to affect the organ of sex, though at first I did not know what the strange, growing sensation was. It was only at the orgasm that I knew, remembering some boy’s description or my grandfather’s encyclopedia. It was many days before I discovered how to renew that wonderful sensation. From that on it was a continual struggle against an experience that almost invariably left me with exhausted nerves…It filled me with loathing for myself.

Monick’s dream contribution follows. He had become the vicar at St. Clements in New York City. It was a heavy responsibility that included incessant reporting in the news media about parish events. This dream published in Phallos occurred when Gene was nervous and unsure of himself. He was working on his dreams at that time, 1968, with the first Jungian in America, Esther Harding. He writes:

“At that time, I was working analytically with Esther Harding, the first Jungian analyst in the United States. She was an elderly and rather delicate-appearing maiden lady, the daughter of an English vicar. I brought her my dream of a great phallos appearing in a circle of naked men who were lying on the ground. Each man had his feet placed upon the base of the phallos, and each man had his hand upon his neighbor’s erect member. Dr. Harding asked about the central image: “Was it a man’s phallos?” “Certainly not,” I replied, “it was much too big for that.” “Was it a giant’s phallos?” she asked, “No, it was much too big even for that.” Well, then, Mr. Monick, whose do you think it was?”

The implication was that it was for me a god-image, even a symbol of the Self. I remember that she was amused by her line of questioning and by my surprise. I remember that I was bemused by the possibility of a phallos being as strong a presence as divinity. As a Christian priest, I was not at ease with a phallic god-image, St. Clement’s or no St. Clement’s. I had nowhere to put such a suggestion, no way to incorporate it into my life.” (p. 33, in Phallos)

Nonakado Stone Circle

As for my sharing, Jung and Monick both shared dreams they had while Yeats’ published his initiation into phallos in his waking life. In the name of due diligence, I will share both kinds of experience. Something I have learned over the years is that the moments of embodying phallos, either in a wet dream or in play, there are crucial symbolic, metaphoric, and mythological (archetypal) understandings woven into the biological shift. Puberty runs much deeper than a physical transformation into an adult male body that can reproduce life via sperm production and successful delivery into a fertile human female.

As an young man from an Irish Roman and German Catholic family, the self-loathing and dilemma shared by Yeats was also my experience. Mine was between 12-13 years old. At the dawning of my own initiation, I remember that it was sudden. I had no memories of the actual size of my erection before this time. However, one day, as I took a bath, there it was. I found myself looking for ways to enjoy myself. What I discovered was that if I touched the tip of my phallos to the flow of the water coming out of the faucet, the full-body enjoyment was amazing. I enjoyed myself this way until all the hot water was gone from our house and my mom knocked on the door to tell me to stop using up all the water. From that day on, phallos water-loving was my practice. Early on, I was not able to have an orgasm. The pleasure grew with each passing week and after a time, fulfillment was mine.

Coming out of the bathroom, the self-loathing would be so heavy on me that I always felt like some alien life-form, a kind of hairy, slouching insect with slurred speech. It felt so obvious to me, it was hard for me to understand why no one else seemed to notice my mutation.

In dreams, I was 58 years old and facing the final year of my commitment to dance the Sun Dance for four years. Though I had been successful in the years before, I was still worried. This dream came unexpectedly the night before I headed for the first work day to prepare the Sun Dance Grounds.

In the dream, I felt joyful through the whole of my body. My breathing, especially, was deep, easy, even as if a wind was blowing through me with each inhale and exhale. I was naked and looked down to see my phallos shimmying from side to side. My awareness of how this felt in my dream body matched my vision. I thought to myself in the dream, “My God, my d##k is dancing.” The energy of this seeing, feeling and awareness carried me laughing upward out of sleep and into being awake in the morning light. I knew that the Sun Dance I faced would be a joy.

With Walt Whitman, in Section 28 of Leaves of Grass, I share the noun, headland. Whitman wrote:

I am given up by traitors,
I talk wildly, I have lost my wits, I and nobody else am the
greatest traitor,
I went myself first to the headland, my own hands carried me there.You villain touch! what are you doing? my breath is tight in its throat,
Unclench your floodgates, you are too much for me.

I think he is sharing in poetry the same of story told by Yeats’ prose. The refrain of my song, Headland, speaks of this same experience. Here I name the simultaneous shame and exhilaration, the isolation and communion, of a secret gnosis. In dreams and in awakening spiritual/erotic life, for all of my own generation.

Dear Friend,

I understand.

Tonight be with us and all the stars of Heaven.

Headland, Headland,

To talk of Heaven and walk in ruins,

To talk of heaven and walk in Ruins.

An Infinite Sphere Whose Axis is Nowhere: The Turning Point

The planetary Turning Point is a reminder that in our current cosmology, there is no such thing as a single stillpoint, like the dot in the center of a flat circle. To carry forward the symbolic and psychological language of our Ancestors, terms like divine spark, scintilla, monad, stillpoint, sacred center, core, etc…that appear in religious texts and in the works of thinkers like Joseph Campbell, C. G. Jung, W. B. Yeats, and, of course, Monick, require an update.

In our galactic cosmology, all particles show spin. In order to show spin, there needs to be an axis around which the spinning occurs. There can be a still point in a one or two dimensional reality, but life in space/time is far and wide and within with spinning, entangled spirals of evolutions and involutions.

“DEVS EST SPHAERA INFINITA CVIVS CENTRVM EST VBIQUE, CIRCVMFERENTIA NVSQVAM,” a quote used over the centuries from a book called, Liber XXIV Philosophorum, “The Book of the 24 Philosophers,” offers a good stepping off point for what I am describing. The Latin quote in English reads: God is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. The quote works fine as long as you live on a flat Earth with a celestial sphere overhead. The quote does not work if Earth is itself a celestial sphere.

This quote, updated, is:

God is an infinite sphere whose axis mundi is nowhere and whose radius, volume, and surface are everywhere.

Anywhere we find the terms that refer to a two-dimensional circle with a centerpoint, the 3 dimensional terms of a sphere, axis, radius, volume and surface, need to replace it. Human souls in the past were imagined as reincarnating monads. Now, and going forward, we are each a reincarnating axis mundi. In one of his last works, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space, Joseph Campbell described our time as the time of the birthing of the monad of mankind. Surprising vistas open when our time is the time of birthing the axis mundi of human kind.

Not only does monad require an update, the two-dimensional term, mandala, needs its own geometric magnification to a three-dimensional sphere with a volume and surface.

Here’s a quote from John Wier-Perry on spiritual emergency:

Whenever a profound experience of change is about to take place, its harbinger is the motif of death. This is not particularly mysterious, since its the limited view and appraisal of oneself that must be outgrown or transformed, and to accomplish transformation the self-image must dissolve. In severe visionary states, one may feel one has crossed over into the realm of death and is living among the spirits of the deceased. One is forced to let go of old expectations of oneself and to let oneself be tossed about by winds of change.

Far less familiar is the companion piece to this death motif–the image of world destruction. Like the self-image, the world image is a compacted form of the very complex pattern of how one sees the world and how one lives in it. We learn most about this from cultural anthropologists, who find that, in times of acute and rapid culture change, visionaries undergo the shattering experience of seeing the world dissolve into chaos and time whirl back to its beginnings. This dissolution of the world image clearly represents the death of the old culture to pave the way for renovation. Thus, in an individual’s life, when a transformation of one’s inner culture is under way, dissolution of the world image is the harbinger of change. Expressions of cultural reform are explicit.

These and other archetypal images have the function of implementing the process of spirit, of liberating and transforming its energies, which will then slip out of the old structures and into new ones geared to the future. All this happens in he interest of development, of cultivating a more capacious consciousness, open to new dimensions of experience.

Not only are these two motifs, self-image and world image, companion pieces in the process, but they also share the same representative image: the mandala. The entire process of renewal is evidently the work of this powerful image symbolizing the psyche’s governing center.

The energy that had been bound up in the structures of the old self-image and world image, the issues of who one is and what sort of world one lives in, is immense. In dreams or visions, nuclear explosion is a frequent expression of this enormous change of psychic energy that is loose during the renewal process and raises havoc for a period of time. Though one’s own nature is struggling to break through, one may feel that who one is and what one values is up for grabs. Indeed, values and the emotional issues of life seem to be clashing opposites…

What is the ultimate goal of spiritual emergence and the renewal process? It has the same goal as that of the mystic way or of meditation: in Buddhist practice, it is called wisdom and compassion or love.” (pp. 68-69, in Spiritual Emergency, Christina and Stan Grof, eds.)

Wier-Perry invites us into the fuller awareness of a sphere when he notes that self-image and world image are companion pieces. However, more than a two-dimensional mandala-self is required to reflect experience in our spherical world. Axis mundi, radius mundi, volume and surface of the sphere of the world now mirror psyche’s governing center. It is within us that this magnified image of the world is renewed. We are each a world with its turning point, unique and, as he notes, potentially capable of world-annihilation by nuclear explosion if we are not mindful of how we participate in our own power and self-image.

Sphere of Earth: The Energy Fields of the Two Partners Become One

In his 2007 book, Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion, Jeffrey J. Kripal shares an excellent account of what is the American soul’s dreaming edge. His chapter 16, The Tao of Esalen, contains insights from encounter group leader, John Heider. Kripal writes:

“Among this collection of essays is Heider’s “Electric Sex and Magnetic Sex,” probably the clearest statement we have from a major Esalen figure on the psychology and mechanics of a contemplative sexual practice. The essay begins with the obvious: More people experience energy sensations during sexual intercourse than during any other experience.” Heider then proceeds to explain how these energy fields can be expanded, deepened, and developed through a contemplative approach to sexual foreplay and intercourse. Crucial here is Heider’s distinction between electric sex and magnetic sex. “Electric sex is male sex, yang sex. Electric sex works when a body specifically stimulates sexual trigger points such as the head of the man’s penis or the woman’s clitoris. This in effect, “zaps” the body into arousal and eventually sparks an electric circuit through which the sexual energies can arc and discharge, leaving the body in a state of relaxation (or exhaustion).

Magnetic sex is different. Historically rare in the West but known throughout Tantric Asia, “magnetic sex is female sex, yin sex, Magnetic sex works when the fields of two people awaken and make contact. Magnetic sexual arousal is diffuse and felt more or less equally all over the body and in the space surrounding the body. It need not lead to a traditional orgasm and the pleasurable discharge off the energies. Energies can build and build here and be sublimated into deeper and deeper states of bodily bliss and contemplative consciousness — an electro-magnetic sex life, if you will….What Heider hopes for, then, is not a return to the sexual revolution of the 1960’s, but a “new convenant,” “a new Law” derived not from Paul and Christianity, which has always more or less ‘regretted that we [have] bodies with carnal impulses,’ but from the Asian tantric traditions and their use of sex ‘to help people become increasingly married to one another and to the cosmic whole.” Heider points out that this Tantric turn was anticipated in the West by Reich, who “specifically said that when sexual union is free from blocks, the energy fields of two partners become one unified energy field.” (pp. 362-363)

I unified the Taoist yin-yang with the structure of how a sweat lodge is imagined, as a sphere above and below the ground with human beings sitting where the inner/outer, above and below merge. It’s true that the American soul has been uniting the wisdom of the East of Tantra and Taoism with the Western body. However, a re-indigenization of Western bodies has also been unfolding. The merging of the Tao with the Lodge expresses this union of West-East-Re-indigenous.

What Heider describes as gifts of a contemplative yin sexuality — delight that is felt more or less equally all over the body and in the space (atmosphere) surrounding the body, a bodily bliss — belongs to all of life, not just the sacred sexuality of tantra and Reich. An experience of embodied delight felt more or less equally all over the body and in the space surrounding the body is native to our planet. I describe here a feeling-knowing of flow and joy to be alive that lives you and that you can recognize in all the world around you.

When you participate in traditional collective rituals like a sweat lodge, vision quest, Sun Dance, any traditional ritual meant for the good of all beings, the energy of delight all over and surrounding your body becomes a shared atmosphere of more expansive, supportive, relationship shared with all beings. In this comprehensive wholeness, you can feels the planet’s web of life supporting you alone and/or you and your Beloved becoming one unified field. When you feel the support and relationship with the wider web of life, you feel unified with all that is — an “I” who is simultaneously “All My Relatvies.”

This same embodied delight to be alive also comes forth in a space of shared creativity, in a living classroom– to live fully embodied and in relation to living in relationship with the grater planetary life, which John Bryde has called, the innermost, in his 1971 book, Modern Indian Psychology:

“Different tribes might call the value by a different name, but the meaning of the value is the same. The Lengua, for instance, call adjustment to nature “respecting the innermost.”

The innermost to them is not the soul of a person, but rather, it is the source or place inside of our behavior. It is something similar to a conscience. The innermost in a person must be kept in balance by that person and it must be kept in balance with other persons…A good person will have a stable or balanced innermost and will exercise great respect for the innermosts of other persons. The good person will not get even when the innermost is wavy or upset or if there is excitement or anger.

There is an effort to avoid actions that will upset the innermost of our neighbors.”

The Immanent Function is the union of innermosts, then and in that relationship, the miracles of life come forth, the Immanent Function, and can be lived:

Synchronistic, embodied becoming together when two or more choose to gather for the happiness of all beings. The immanent function is the partner to C. G. Jung’s transcendent function. Individual consciousness participates in communion with the collective ecological conscious and unconscious. When in partnership, the immanent and transcendent functions make manifest the awe that opens the human heart to the Mystery of life. Their intermingling is recognized by an atmosphere of warmth, love, surprise and humor that makes life-cycles worth living in enduring planetary and interplanetary relationships. Anomalous, synesthetic, paranormal, psychokinetic, miraculous, prophetic, numinous, aesthetic arrest experiences that are immanent to the transcendent occur in the midst of their union.