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 planetarysphereof 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)
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.
Tonight be with us and all the stars of Heaven.
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.
Irish author, James Joyce, has influenced my life. My felt-connection with him has to do with Irish Roman Catholic questions with which we both struggled. I’ve only come to truly read his work in the last 10 years, but I am happy that I had time to find my own answers to our shared dilemmas.
Find below the lyrics of my song, Broken God. The song represents a public smashing of the icons of my Catholic youth. This was my way of expressing what Joyce called his war with Catholicism.
I made my church in the streets In muddy holes, I set the seats A ruined child, I transfixed upon my crucifix
I took the blood of a poisoned whore, smeared it up across the door. All the filth, I raised up into a communion cup
God of pollution O God of waste God of suicidal grace
God of Chaos God of Loss O Broken God upon the cross
Broken God upon the cross
He struggled with the impact that the faith had on Irish originality and sacred sexuality. In July, 1992, at the Festival of Archetypal Psychology in Honor of James Hillman, I sang Broken God during a talk by Eugene Monick entitled, Phallos: Sacred Image of the Masculine and The Gulf War.
The song unexpectedly triggered a psychic opening in me that I understand as a shamanic calling. By shamanic calling, I mean an experience drawn from suffering the ills of our culture and finding powers to heal them. At first, there were 3 main messages:
Help to heal your culture’s sacred connection to Earth.
Help to heal your culture’s sacred connection to the Ancestors.
Help the stars to touch the Earth again.
In October, 2018. I went Vietnam to assist in the healing ceremonies for American veterans with the group, Warriors Journey Home. It was during that time that a new layer of understanding came clear to me. War is the deeper cause that splits us from the sacred of Earth, Ancestors and stars.
As I learned more about James Joyce’s life and work, I found in him a brother-in-arts. I feel joined in time and intention with his war on Catholicism by taking on my part in a larger work for peace on Earth. One thing I can do, due to my family’s 900 years or so living inside its doctrine, is directly address Catholic and Protestant Christianity’s God of War.
IF YOU MEET ZOE CHRIST ON THE ROAD…
There is a Zen saying that if we should meet the Buddha on the road, we should kill him. That has always seemed over to top to me. I realize that the message is that the Buddha we all seek is within our own experience and not to be met second-hand from authoritarian others.
There are unexpected insights that open up when we translate the Zen saying into a Christianized version:
If you meet the Christ on the Road….
My song, Orphan Soul, is based on having a conversation between two Christs who meet each other. There are advantages in a choice not to kill each other.
Here are the opening lines from Orphan Soul. It is an invitation to follow along in our ongoing (James Joyce/Christopher Reynolds) conversation. I can state up front that our mutual goal is a new realization of inborn universal worth and gratitude for life.
When you meet the Orphan Soul
May you talk all night because the time is full
May you know the growing edge of you
The secret questions, what your dreams told you.
Where did you wake up in this world?
These are the meanings, the signs and science I explored.
Feel your words grow thick, the synchronistic clues.
Feel the golden chills for the beautiful and true
Minds from all times visit our time.
Minds from all times are visiting our time.
I think one of the central messages of Joyce’s Ulysses is that theChrist we seek is to be brought forth from within ourselves and in relationship. Communities where that level of expectation for each person’s potential is where the Second Coming is.
Here is a passage from Ulysses:
THE GRAMOPHONE: Jerusalem! Open your gates and sing Hosanna…
(A rocket rushes up the sky and bursts. A white star falls from it, proclaiming the consummation of all things and second coming of Elijah. Along an infinite invisible tightrope taut from zenith to nadir the End of the World, a twoheaded octopus in gillie’s kilts, busby and tartan filibegs, whirls through the murk, head over heels, in the form of the Three Legs of Man.)
THE END OF THE WORLD: (with a Scotch accent) Wha’ll dance the keel row, the keel row, the keel row?
(Over the possing drift and choking breathcoughs, Elijah’s voice, harsh as a corncrake’s, jars on high. Perspiring in a loose lawn surplice with funnel sleeves he is seen, vergerfaced, above a rostrum about which the banner of old glory is draped. He thumps the parapet.)
ELIJAH: No yapping, if you please, in this booth. Jake Crane, Creole Sue, Dove Campbell, Abe Kirschner, do your coughing with your mouths shut. Say, I am operating all this trunk line. Boys, do it now. God’s time is 12.25. Tell mother you’ll be there. Rush your order and you play a slick ace. Join on right here. Book through to eternity junction, the nonstop run. Just one word more. Are you a god or a doggone clod? If the second advent came to Coney Island are we ready? Florry Christ, Stephen Christ, Zoe Christ, Bloom Christ, Kitty Christ, Lynch Christ, it’s up to you to sense that cosmic force. Have we cold feet about the cosmos? No. Be on the side of the angels. Be a prism. You have that something within, the higher self. You can rub shoulders with a Jesus, a Gautama, an Ingersoll. Are you all in this vibration? I say you are. You once nobble that, congregation, and a buck joyride to heaven becomes a back number. You got me? It’s a lifebrightener, sure. The hottest stuff ever was. It’s the whole pie with jam in. It’s just the cutest snappiest line out. It is immense, supersumptuous. It restores. It vibrates. I know and I am some vibrator. Joking apart and, getting down to bedrock, A. J.
Christ Dowie and the harmonial philosophy, have you got that? O. K. Seventyseven west sixtyninth street. Got me? That’s it. You call me up by sunphone any old time. Bumboosers, save your stamps. (He shouts) Now then our glory song. All join heartily in the singing. Encore! (He sings)… [Ulysses, 1922]
O, so many Christs!
Zoe Christ, Bloom Christ, Lynch Christ… In his way, he introduced a pattern to take in: (Your Name Here)-ChristThis pattern, it turns out, is trans-Christian.
(Your Name Here)-CHRIST AND THE CHRIST PATTERN
In his book, Pipe and Christ, Fr. John Stolzman wrote that he kept asking the shamans if the Lakota Spirits knew Christ.
They kept telling him to ask the Lakota Spirits himself! When he did ask the Spirits in a Yuwipi ceremony, they replied,
Mahpiya ekta na maka sitomni.
which means, roughly, “Into heaven (cloud) and throughout the Earth, Spirit who travels and helps the people.”
Stolzman interpreted the answer with colonial Catholic prejudice because he had trouble putting the Lakota Spirits on the same footing as his own Holy Spirit. However, the answer he received is worth further consideration as an indication of how an already existing tradition integrated the (Your Name Here)-Christ. The Lakota Spirits and culture have managed to integrate the archetype — even as they remained Lakota Spirits. In alignment with Joyce’s proclamation in Ulysses, Indigenous wisdom, too, demonstrates that the Christ-message was not an All-controlling God of War’s foundation of a new religious empire, but a message of blessing meant to be integrated into already existing sacred ways. All human beings are (Your Name Here)-Christ.
Orphan Soul, continued:
When you meet the Orphan Soul,
Talk of erotic love, the Southern and the Northern Poles
As philosophers held out their mirror,
Again you know yourself, together the mind is clearer.
Once in painted caves, all the Spirit rooms
Across the wide oceans, along the rivers and roads
Know each other by laughter and heart
By the passion for your Work and your Art…
ASTROLOGICAL CODES IN GREEK CHRISTIANITY FOR (Your Name Here)-Christ
Because its value was borne out by decades of personal experience, there were sound reasons for C. G. Jung to write:
Astrology represents the sum of all the psychological knowledge of antiquity.
To describe astrology as “the sum of all the psychological knowledge of antiquity” is to recognize astrology as Western Indigenous Wisdom. Using the idea from above, that the Christ-message was meant to be integrated into already-existing cultural traditions, it should also be in astrology as a Western Indigenous Wisdom that we find our own cultural version of Christian message.
Failure to carry forward our wisdom tradition appears in Bart Erhman’s 2014 book: How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. and in Dara Malloy’s 2009 book, The Globalisation of God: Celtic Christianity’s Nemesis.
In both books, there is a description of the centuries-long process of transforming an enlightened human person into an “all-knowing,” “all-good,” God who during the Second Coming will wage Holy War against the powers of evil and bring a New Heaven and New Earth.
Jesus who brings peace into the world because all persons are capable of the same enlightenment and Jesus, an Almighty I AM who imposes imperial rule by war, globalization, colonization, and ultimate control of the entire planet, are not the same guy.
(It is this second Jesus who is the God of War in Broken God. Jesus, in this view, is a spiritual fascist whose rules cut off our sacred connections to Nature and Ancestors. His empire beneath impotent stars no longer able to touch the Earth invokes the word, disaster. Disaster, in English, is derived from dis – “split from” and aster – “star.” For 500 years, we have been split from feeling at home on a living planet, in a living galaxy, in an ever-expanding 14,82 billion years old living cosmos.)
There is a helpful invitation to reconnect to Christianity as a development out of ancient Western cosmology in David Fideler’s, Jesus Christ, Sun of God: Ancient Cosmology and Early Christian Symbolism.
Fideler demonstrates how the Christos or Annointed was integrated into the Alexandrian Greek, Egyptian and Hebrew traditions. He drives home how the New Testament is mostly in Greek and that Christianity is essentially a Greek mystery religion with roots in long-developed planetary archetypal knowing.
Through the use of Gematria, sacred writing in which letters are also numbers, (most probably learned from the Hebrew tradition) scholars created, IHSOUS, which is a mis-spelling of Yeshua or Joshua. They did that so that the name could be included in the numbers associated with the celestial archetype of the sun.
The celestial archetype of the sun is one of the seven celestial powers of our ancestors: Sun, Moon, Venus, Saturn, Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter. Handed down over the millennia along with those sky powers are a series of magic squares that were associated with the number patterns of the powers above. How exactly they were created is lost to history. I think it’s safe to assume that they were received in dreams, visions, and moments of awe.
The magic squares were developed as understanding geometry, astronomy, music, the motions of the zodiac and the synchronicities (The stars are like letters. Everything breathes together) expanded. As archetypes, magic squares they can be recognized as examples of Western cultural understanding of the root patterns of meaning. If Pythagoras famously said, All is number, then there must be particular numbers that are connected to particular planetary themes you find in the All.
The symbolism of the magic squares was used with gematria to create the dimensions of temples, art, amulets, prayers, curses, and songs. The number-letters associated with the divinities were imagined as a way to have architecture and life resonate with the divinity in question – as a means to invite powers in the sky down to Earth and to anchor them with numerical musical beauty as the lure.
A temple to Artemis, Goddess of the moon, would use “lunar numbers.” A temple to Venus would use the number/letters/timing associated Venus. A temple to Mars would be created in the same way.
With gratitude to David Fideler’s scholarship, here are the magic squares and some temples associated with divine numbers derived from those squares:
Sun: Temple of Apollo in Delphi:
Why would the name, Jesus, be associated with the celestial archetype of the sun? Here are some other “solar numbers” derived from its magic square using gematria:
37, 74, 111, 222, 333, 444, 555, 666, 777,
Over the years, I’ve heard a number of stories of persons repeatedly seeing sets of numbers in threes. One of my old friends used to call these, “angel numbers”
An old version of the magic square of the Sun:
The letters for the name, Jesus, in this Greek rendering, add up to the “solar” number, 888
With gratitude to the math, geometry, architecture, music, and cosmology, in Sun of God, I would like to add a fundamental message that carried within the astrology of our ancestors.
I AM WHO AM
Using the information from Jesus Christ, Sun of God, it becomes possible to look at an astrological birth chart where the symbolism is:
sun = identity, the center of the personality.
In the depths of this “natal sun” is what Joseph Campbell referred to as, the inborn, sealed-in soul or “intelligible character” of the individual at birth.
Birthchart of James Joyce.
When integrated into the psychological knowledge handed down from antiquity, the Christian message reads that carried within each human soul is an unexpected potential Christ.You can find the sun in James Joyce’s birth chart next to the symbol of Aquarius – his birth sign or sun sign. This is a cosmological writing of the name, James Christ.
This idea concerning the sacredness of individual identity informs author Steven Forrest’s 6th principle of evolutionary astrology from his book, Yesterday’s Sky: Astrology and Reincarnation:
Astrology recognizes only 2 absolutes: the irreducible mystery of life, and the uniqueness of each individual viewpoint on that mystery.
Forrest invoked the sun as identity and moon as soul in his saying:
The sun is the secret of sanity. The moon is the secret of happiness.
As an evolutionary astrologer, he is referring both to true Identity (sun’s secret) as well as the relational, evolutionary soul-freedom of psychological awareness (moon’s secret) that nourishes and is nourished by that knowing.
This way of understanding within the Western tradition mirrors the Lakota. Jesus Christ is not an Only Son sitting on the right of a Sky-Father who controls the entire universe, but a sacred compassionate, merciful person to integrate into your awareness when you are truly yourself and to also acknowledge in all others.
Participate with humanity, See and Be (Your Name Here)-Christ. In the same way that all the planets are in the birth-chart, so all the Gods and Goddesses psychologically inform each person in a one-of-kind manner.
Just as the Lakota Spirits told the Catholic Jesuit using their cultural sacred vocabulary in the Yupwipi ceremony: Mahpiya ekta na maka sitomni.
INDIGENOUS VIRTUE OF THE WEST
The same in-born dignity of identity and soul is in Rupert Sander’s film, Ghost in the Shell. In the film, Aramaki reminds Major that she is not a weapon, but a sacred human being:
You are more than a weapon. You have a soul, a ghost. When we see our uniqueness as a virtue, only then do we find peace.
When we can see through Aramaki’s words and recognize the soul-respect he is living, then we, too, are Christian in the indigenous sense of the term. All human beings are capable of this awareness, though for some it comes easier and for some it comes harder. There is no honest way to measure which is which.
The Gift of sovereign individuality in soul that comes from all these centuries is one of the better aspects of patriarchy. Ideally, a gift of the West to the planet is a cosmically expressed fundamental worthiness of each human being, regardless of class, caste, nationality, faith, gender.
The end of patriarchy is to know that there is no goddamned boundary between one human culture and another – any jealous God now is an abusive Father in a world where all beings are worthy and deserve recognition. All traditions can learn to see through themselves into the sacredness of the others and all life. Be on the side of the angels. Be a prism. You have that something within, the higher self. You can rub shoulders with a Jesus, a Gautama, an Ingersoll. Are you all in this vibration? I say you are!
HANDS ACROSS THE WATER, HEADS ACROSS THE SKY
The burden on Western persons seems more to do with how we regard others, all others, including all of the life of Earth and Earth as well, than has to do with claims about ourselves. In mythic thought, to eat and digest is to become. To follow this developing line of reasoning, it does not seem like such a stretch to imagine that the Eucharist is eaten in the Christian mythology because the message is not to worship the Christ who will come down from the beyond to save unworthy you. The message is — become a Christ yourself, accept help from other beings and help all other beings become the I AM WHO AM who they are.
Is it an even greater stretch to imagine at Christmastide how the lowly unexpected location, neglected by the many and lost out in no man’s land, is human identity. Secreted away within each soulMary is a new and unexpected Christ who goes by your name? Share this and ingest it in community in an atmosphere of Mercy. Live in the world in this way – from the darkness of every round year, a Second Coming.
Here again is Joseph Campbell at the close of Creative Mythology:
God’s initiative is represented by the inborn, sealed-in soul or “intelligible character” of the individual at birth; and the initiative, the freedom to act, must thereafter be one’s own, guided not by what other people say, have done, or may tell one is God’s will, but by one’s own interior voice; for indeed (continuing to speak mythologically) it is in one’s sealed-in soul, its hidden, God-given difference from all others that “God’s will” has been secreted, and to be found and shown, like an Easter egg: and not by retreat into a bed of rapture, either in darkness or in light, but through action here in this mixed world (why otherwise be born?), where nothing is foul, nothing pure, but all, like a magpie’s plumage, mixed.
James Joyce, saying the same thing in his Irish lyrical madness:
Florry Christ, Stephen Christ, Zoe Christ, Bloom Christ, Kitty Christ, Lynch Christ, it’s up to you to sense that cosmic force. Have we cold feet about the cosmos? No. Be on the side of the angels. Be a prism. You have that something within, the higher self. You can rub shoulders with a Jesus, a Gautama, an Ingersoll. Are you all in this vibration? I say you are. You once nobble that, congregation, and a buck joyride to heaven becomes a back number. You got me? It’s a lifebrightener, sure.
(Your-Name-Here)-CHRIST AS AN ATMOSPHERE OF MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING
Rabbi Chaim Vital (1543-1620) taught and wrote that all humans are worthy of participating in G-d. From his book, The Gates of Holiness:
Part 3 Gate 7: On attaining Ruach Hakodesh (holy spirit) in our times
After our warnings in the previous gate of all the types of attaining (supernatural revelations/powers and the dangers), one should not despair (due to the difficulties involved). Because on the verse “And Devorah, was a woman prophet…”, (there is a commentary from) Tana D’Bei Eliyahu: “(says G-d) I testify on Myself heaven and earth, whether man or woman, whether gentile or Jew, whether slaveman or slavewoman, everyone according to his actions, the Ruach Hakodesh will dwell on him”. (i.e. anyone can reach Ruach HaKodesh even women, slaves, or non-Jews).
In the Hindu ways, the doctrine of the divine human, (Your-Name-Here)-Christ pattern, is called, Narayana.
In his book, Kali’s Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrisha, Kripal elaborates, affirming Joyce’s view:
“…for Ramakrishna’s teaching on the divine nature of every human being is unconcerned with the moral worth of the person in question. God plays every role in the play of the world. Thus, after he watched a play about the life of Krishna, for example, Ramakrishna declares: “I saw clearly that she herself had become everything, I see that whoever was dressed up [in a female role] was the Blissful Mother herself! Those who were dressed as cowherds in Golaka I saw as Narayana himself. He himself has become everything!” The world is a play in which the god and the goddess play all the parts.” (p. 228)
The Sufi’s are a mystical branch of Islam. It’s not a big leap to hear the (Your Name Here)-Christ/divine human with a part to play in the words of Rumi about the sacred individuality of each soul that has its hidden reasons for coming into being in this life:
There is one thing in this world you must never forget to do
There is one thing in this world you must never forget to do. If you forget everything else and not this, there’s nothing to worry about, but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing in your life.
It’s as if a king has sent you to some country to do a task, and you perform a hundred other services, but not the one he sent you to do. So human being come to this world to do particular work. That work is the purpose, and each is specific to the person. If you don’t do it, it’s as though a priceless Indian sword were used to slice rotten meat. It’s a golden bowl being used to cook turnips, when one filing from the bowl could buy a hundred suitable pots. It’s like a knife of the finest tempering nailed into a wall to hang things on.
You say, “But look, I’m using the dagger. It’s not lying idle.” Do you hear how ludicrous that sounds? For a penny an iron nail could be bought to serve for that. You say, “But I spend my energies on lofty enterprises. I study jurisprudence and philosophy and logic and astronomy and medicine and the rest.” But consider why you do those things. They are all branches of yourself.
Remember the deep root of your being, the presence of your lord. Give yourself to the one who already owns your breath and your moments. If you don’t, you will be like the man who takes a precious dagger and hammers it into his kitchen wall for a peg to hold his dipper gourd. You’ll be wasting valuable keenness and forgetting your dignity and purpose.
BECOMING CONSCIOUS OF THE FORGOTTEN SPLIT
At the beginning of the use of magic squares was the realization of the ecliptic. The ecliptic is the path of the sun, moon and planets across the sky.
The sun is at the center with Earth and Earth’s orbit in Tau’olunga’s image above. Due to the tilt of our planet and its orbit, the sun, moon and planets appear to follow the circle drawn in red that passes through the 12 constellations of the zodiac – the ecliptic. The light-blue circle in this drawing is called the celestial equator. Notice how the red and blue circles create a flattened “X” where they cross.
The moon in its orbit around the Earth is not drawn in Tau’olunga’s ecliptic image. The movement of the moon along the ecliptic is more nuanced. Here is Michael McCoy on Astronomy.com:
The Moon follows generally the same path, but with some important differences. The Moon’s orbit is tilted 5.1° relative to the ecliptic. So, theMoon can appear anywhere in a band extending 5.1° north (above) and south (below) of the ecliptic.
Each month, the Moon twice crosses the ecliptic on opposite sides of Earth. These intersections are called the nodes of the Moon’s orbit.
The nodal points also wander along the ecliptic. An imaginary line connecting the nodes through Earth’s center rotates around the planet every 18.6 years. When the Moon lies on a node, Earth, the Sun, and the Moon lie in the same plane. Rarely do the nodes line up exactly, but when they do — and if the Moon happens to be at new or full phase — total solar or lunar eclipses occur. However, due to the 5.1° tilt, eclipses do not occur every month. The 18.6-year period is called the Saros cycle, and it is used to help determine the periodic repetition of eclipses.
One result of the Moon’s orbital tilt is that when the Moon’s orbit is oriented such that it passes farthest north of the ecliptic in Gemini — which is the northernmost point of the ecliptic — the Moon stands much higher in the sky than usual. At the opposite side of the sky during the same lunar cycle — roughly 29.5 days — the Moon lies farthest south of the ecliptic; on these occasions, the Moon appears lowest in our sky. Such extremes are reflected also in the Moon’s rising and setting points, which then occur farther north and south than usual.
The Moon’s rising and setting points wander back and forth between the extremes, but not over an annual cycle like the Sun. Instead, the Moon performs this cycle every month (overlaid on a slow 18.6-year cycle as well), and with a swing relative to the Sun that can reach plus or minus 5.1°. When the line of nodes aligns with the solstices, the tilt of the Moon’s orbit causes the Moon to pass either 5.1° above or below the ecliptic at the nodes’ northern and southern extremes.
Knowledge of the ecliptic, of 18.6 year Saros cycle along with literacy, numeracy, and knowledge of the north and south nodes of the moon gave any person, priesthood, family, or people with that knowledge immense numinous influence over illiterate persons without that knowing. It was like harnessing the power of a sky dragon and using it.
(To this day, the north and south nodes of the moon on a birthchart retain their early symbolic shapes and names in a birth chart as head and tail of the dragon. If you look at Joyce’s birthchart, you can find his north and south nodes of the moon.)
Our Greek and Biblical texts still carry inherited vestiges of this split-off power above. In Plato’s Timaeus and in the Book of Job, there remains an assumption that the reader knows about the existence of the ecliptic. The Hebrew word, Mazzaroth, is the name of the ecliptic in their tradition.
Next, he cleft the structure so formed lengthwise into two halves, and laying the two so as to meet in the center in the shape of the letter, X, he bent them in a circle and caused them to meet themselves and each other at a point opposite to that of their original contact: and he comprehended them in the motion that revolves uniformly on the same axis, and one of the circles he made exterior and one interior.
Book of Job 38:
31 Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?
32 Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?
33 Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?
I traveled with my cousin, Penny, to watch the 2017 total eclipse of the sun in Princeton, Kentucky. During minutes of its totality, all human life around me stopped. I walked out into the middle of Main Street. A total solar eclipse was the single-most-powerful sky-sign I have ever witnessed. Even for me, a 21st century American, the eclipse was numinous. There was a man down the street with his church community nearly shouting as he read aloud from the Bible to proclaim the awesome power of the God on High:
Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?
As I noted above, it is clear that any human beings who figured out how to predict solar eclipses could claim to know the superior mind of a power on high. In this, the 3 current forms of monotheism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, have contentiously appropriated a way of the split sky that began in Sumer around 2350 BCE, according to Joseph Campbell.
In his Oriental Mythology, Campbell notes:
The world was no longer to be known as a mere showing in time of the paradigms of eternity, but as a field of cosmic conflict between two powers, one light and one dark.
The earliest prophet of this mythology of cosmic restoration was, apparently, the Persian Zoraster…The system associated with his name is based on the ideas between the wise lord, Ahura Mazda, “first father of the Righteous Order, who gave to the sun and stars their path,” and an independent evil principle, Angra Mainyu, the Deceiver, principle of the lie, who, when all had been excellently made, entered into it in every particle. The world, consequently, is a compound wherein good and evil, light and dark, wisdom and violence are contending for a victory. And the privilege and duty of each man–who himself, as part of creation, is a compound of good and evil–is to elect, voluntarily, to engage in the battle in the interest of the light..
It is obvious that a potent mythical formula for the reorientation of the human spirit is here supplied–pitching it forward along the way of time, summoning man to an assumption of autonomous responsibility for the renovation of the universe in God’s name, and thus, fostering a new, potentially political (not finally contemplative) philosophy of holy war. (p.8)
I think there is line of continuity from 2350 BCE in Sumer to the fortress of Khor Rori in Oman. I visited the fortress of Khor Rori with my son, Isaac, in 2016. It was there that a people, ancestors of the Hadrumat people, whose name means, Death has come, established a port and stole the lucrative frankincense trade by war in the name of Sin, the Divinity of the Moon, around 100 BCE
I think it’s reasonable to consider that human authority by relationship with a War God Above began with the consciousness of the ecliptic. Monotheism, as we experience it today, look a lot like elaborations over the centuries of ever higher and higher God the Most Highs chronically aspiring to destroy and replace each other.
LET THE CURSES BE UNBOUND
With a recollection of the developments that brought us here, it becomes possible to unbind ourselves, our relationships, our way of life from what is a cultural weaponization of soul. Humanity’s creation of nuclear armaments puts an extra burden on Americans. Since July of 1945, it has been our responsibility as citizens to become conscious of any leftover prejudice for the “saved” due to the ecliptic, numeracy, literacy, based on the Bible and its flat-earth cosmology.
There is a now-dying way of life that has landed in our laps that began some 4370 years ago. Its collective mental habit has assumed that the direction upward is the heavenly best and downward is the hellish worst. We are the inheritors of a way of life that has believed that the Earth is renewed at the end of time by force of will through an Almighty Power who is victorious in a battleground of good against evil after which the past, Memory, is forever forgotten in a brave New World.
Not all of Earth’s cultures share the rather recent battlefield concept. There are Indigenous peoples who continue to thrive after 10,000 years or more. For them, the world is renewed when human beings honor oral traditions, songs, dreams, visions, and participate with Creation in the co-creation of the future together. To live in right relationship with the planet, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually with all our relations calls for a balanced, yet dynamic merging of Memory and Will. In the enduring view, the world is healed when human beings remember who they are and choose to be the best form of themselves in service to the happiness of all beings.
I think James Joyce’s war on Catholicism and my struggles with Christianity’s God of War can now find a path forward. Joyce’s war can be imagined as against a Jesus Christ portrayed as a reboot of the Sumerian cosmic force of good in the battleground of the universe. This Son of the Father Almighty has been Catholic since 325 with the Nicene Creed. His proposal of Florry Christ, Stephen Christ, Zoe Christ, Bloom Christ, Kitty Christ, Lynch Christ,(Your-Name-Here)-Christ, represents a Gaelic integration of a divine human identity into Irish literature. In this, I agree with him and going forward, exclusionary, elitist, colonial, continuing memberships in ways of any Highest Gods are best checked for hidden hatred, racism, and if the Bible is involved, anti-semitism.
It is the Second Coming where my life experience can offer an affirmation that Earth is renewed by participation with deep reverence, communication and courageous human love in peace-making and not by militaristic moral discipline preparing for the end of time in cosmic war. I’ve enjoyed the unique experience of knowing both forms of the end of the world and a new beginning.
From 1980-1982, I lived through an apocalyptic group understanding of Christianity It was triggered by the death of one of my best friends, Dale “Butch” Fisher. My end-times mentality did not materialize out of nowhere. Growing up, my grandmother and her religious community were convinced the End was coming soon. In high school, a number of my friends and I were inspired by Black Sabbath’s song, War Pigs, and fervent believing adults around us, to become enamored with the Book of Revelation and its prophecies. Lastly, from the womb onward, as a Catholic, I was bathed in the Church’s ritual words – to wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Weeks after Dale’s passing in late August, 1980, during a prayer service, I suddenly became certain that we were in the Final Days. As pristine as in ancient Sumer some 4000 years before, the idea of my sacrifice for the good guys in a soul-saving cosmic war between good and evil possessed me as much as I possessed it. I can share that within this mindset, as an individual, you assume you are in the hands of a power beyond yourself. The best thing you can do is to pray together for the end, do good things for other people to store up treasures in the afterlife, and convert as many persons as possible to Christianity.
My family’s, friends’ and religious community’s Apocalyptic potential also did not materialize out of nowhere. In the 1980’s there were surprising numbers of fellow Ohioans and Americans who had the same certainty. Stretches of years in American history, from the Puritans onward, have always featured leaders, literature and ideas that foster an atmosphere of Apocalyptic expectation.
It turns out that American culture at large in August, 1980, was in one of those Doomsday periods. In 1970, Hal Lindsey and C. C. Carlson predicted that the end was near with the book, The Late Great Planet Earth.
The Late Great Planet Earth predicted that the Rapture would take place in 1981 and after 7 years of persecution by the Antichrist, the battle of Armageddon and Second Coming would be in 1988.
By November 1980, the book reached into the White House through the minds of Ronald Reagan and members of his inner circle. In Jonathan Kirsch’s, A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization, Kirsch notes:
To hear Lindsay himself tell it, Reagan was eager to win over the American military establishment to apocalyptic true belief. With the president’s blessings, Lindsey asserts, he was invited to brief Pentagon war planners on the divine implications of nuclear combat with the Soviet Union. And Reagan invited televangelist, Jerry Falwell, another prominent and outspoken apocalyptic preacher, to attend briefings of the National Security Council and deliver the same message. (p. 225)
Moving through the fever of End-times mindset into a post-Apocalyptic time in my case, came in four steps. The first step came through dreaming in which I was shown in a dream, in very direct language, that preparing for the End and saving up treasures for the afterlife were parasites on my life.
The second step came with a loving kiss to the center of my chest. When Paula, whom I would later marry and have children, pressed her warm lips up against my skin, my entire awareness dropped in from above me. It was as if, up until that point and all of my life before, my self-awareness had been living about one foot above and behind my body, up in the air and to the right. I woke up inside myself and outside any sense that the Earth was going to die.
The third step was reading Elaine Pagel’s book, The Gnostic Gospels. Her book gave me language for the direct knowing of the sacred of my dreaming and of my embodied loving — gnosis.
The fourth was watching Carl Sagan’s, Cosmos, on PBS.
I think my journey through the End-times mentality into a participatory Earth-centered future by dreaming, embodied loving, gnosis and into cosmos was a lot like Joyce’s path with Nora Barnacle. It was my path forward from 1982 onward until July of 1992 when the God of War broke me open into my Calling.
My 2018 trip to Vietnam confirmed for me how healing of God of War requires not only a personal, family approach. War is a collective experience. Surely, it is a gift to find how to heal from the collective. Unfortunately, to face Christianity’s God of War requires discovering strategies that heal the collective by finding way to participate with the collective to heal. American culture has never had this, nor have there ever been any Christian rituals nor Catholic sacraments to heal the faith from its own supremacy.
By an incredible miracle of my life, I was invited to my first Sun Dance ceremony at Pine Ridge, South Dakota by a friend whom I consider to be my big sister – ma grande soeur Lakota – I call her. It was there that I learned that the community of the world and humanity beings can be renewed through loving participation in Earth-based ritual. Sun Dance is one of them.
The Lakota themselves are “post-Apocalyptic” in their ways. Their hopes for a new world were destroyed along with the Ghost Dance Movement on December 29, 1890, at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. It would not be until 1978 that their traditions would be de-criminalized. What few people know is that during the years when it was a felony to pray, a small number of elders kept the Sun Dance Tree alive. I did not know this was true until I saw the Sacred Tree coming over the hill. I wept when I saw it. A woman standing next to me said, “They kept it alive when it was against the law.”
With tears in my eyes, I responded, “The Tree never died?”
“No, The Sacred Tree Lives!” — she exclaimed.
Sun Dance is a ceremony whose intention is to restore the balance of the people and all life of the Earth, including enemies. It was not difficult for me to notice the many similarities between the mythology of Sun Dance and the mythology of the Second Coming. The central theme they share is the renewal of the Earth. It also shone clear as the sun in the sky the many ways that dancing, loving, healing, singing, sharing, and praying together for the good of all for the world to come, as in the coming year, was so much more generous than praying, working, and saving the chosen for Final Days not far off. A world to come that is a long-awaited home cut off from condemned billions of people and many ecosystems and a world to come that is a flourishing of the many human lives now participating with a healthy planet Earth are markedly different.
During that first Dance in 2010, I felt a healing of those energies of my being, those deepest intentions, that were so unexpectedly overloaded during my 3 years in the American Christian End-times mentality. It came clear to me how every individual human consciousness appears to feature within an innermost, an axis mundi, that has the potential of self/cultural/world renewal or destruction, depending on how we engage it.
It came clear to me how the Final Days mythology birthed with the ecliptic, whether called, a split structure so formed lengthwise into two halves, and laying the two so as to meet in the center in the shape of the letter, X, or Mazzaroth, weaponized the entire cosmos and all the life in in it that is, that was, that is to come. The Earth was no longer imagined as a self-healing wise being. Saving the Earth was imagined as coming from Beyond. As Campbell noted, this shift also placed the burden on human beings. I know from being inside this mentality that it has a domesticating effect. You are no longer able to remember why you were born or feel your connection to your own loved ones — both your Ancestors in the Spiritworld as well as the sacred beings of your bioregion. It is a twisting-off of our life’s nuclear core, eventually mirrored by nuclear weapons. Inner worth seems derived from beyond and above, in service to the Purest Good and moral rules.
At the end of my first Sun Dance, I felt a seamless continuity between my being, the other people, and with the intricate varied beauty of the ecosystem, landscape, and sky. I felt proud to be a human being for the first time in my life
At the end of their prayers, the Lakota say, All my relations. This is a lived experience. Pride in being human came because I felt we did our part together to take care of the beauty of the world that is ours for which to care. I did not feel a pride like some kind of pharaoh in dominion, but simple, humble and fully human. I consider myself to be one among many post-Apocalyptic Americans.
I know that this innermost, or axis mundi, is an archetype that has the potential of self/cultural/world renewal or destruction, depending on how we engage it. That potential lived collectively can be a well-spring of life renewal. When ritually engaged in Earth-based, embodied ways, the well-spring beautifully and fiercely sustains human cultures.
It is now long past due for us to recognize the very real life-transforming psychological potential of each human being. It is wise now to become aware of how groups of people imagine, consider, and make plans for making a sustainable culture. For almost 5000 years in Western ways, the mental split that brought about by the sky-shattering realization of the patterns of the ecliptic, the sun, moon, and planets, appears to have personally split apart the inner worth of everyone. We have accepted the domestication of the archetype of world renewal and have struggled in the confrontation with the draft into service for the “good” side in a ruined universe.
It is time for us to consciously be able to get in touch with those who imagine that renewal of the world comes by actively participating in caring relationship with the self-renewing planet. It is time for us to kindly invite into new possibilities those who continue to imagine a ruined world redeemed by total cosmic war.
C. G. Jung wrote:
Indeed, it is becoming ever more obvious that it is not famine, not earthquakes, not microbes, not cancer but man himself who is man’s greatest danger to man, for the simple reason that there is no adequate protection against psychic epidemics, which are infinitely more devastating than the worst of natural catastrophes.
The supreme danger which threatens individuals as well as whole nations is a psychic danger. Reason has proved itself completely powerless, precisely because its arguments have an effect only on the conscious mind and not on the unconscious.
The greatest danger of all comes from the masses, in whom the effects of the unconscious pile up cumulatively and the reasonableness of the conscious mind is stifled. Every mass organization is a latent danger just as much as a heap of dynamite is. It lets loose effects which no man wants and no man can stop.
It is therefore in the highest degree desirable that a knowledge of psychology should spread so that men can understand the source of the supreme dangers that threaten them. Not by arming to the teeth, each for itself, can the nations defend themselves in the long run from the frightful catastrophes of modern war. The heaping up of arms is itself a call to war. Rather must they recognize those psychic conditions under which the unconscious [tsunami-like] bursts the dykes of consciousness and overwhelms it.
It has been a great gift of my life to know how it feels to be in the grips and be freed from a psychic epidemic brought on by the End-times mythology that believes life is renewed by annihilation of evil. I think it is this same kind of psychic epidemic is what drove so many millions to murder each other in the 20th century. Ruin of life, nation against nation, taken up enthusiastically by millions of people, ironically, happens when all those millions feel they are doing the right thing.
However, I also have learned that it is not enough to step away from masses of people who use those ideas and who encourage that mentality because I, as an individual, am healthier if I get to live in a way that I can participate at the Turning Point of my being in the renewal of life and the birth of the future. I have learned that to heal not only Christianity’s, but monotheism’s and scientific materialism’s God of War is participation in Earth-based rituals that place me in right relationship with the atmosphere of the planet, with others, and with my own inner Reason for being.
I don’t think each person needs a Sun Dance. I do think each person can feel better about life and the future of the planet in some collective ritual that is in sync with the symbolism of the season of the year in whatever ecosystem you may find yourself.
You will know those gatherings by the way you witness others and yourself coming to their senses.
My first sweat lodge teacher was a Vietnam veteran. He was sick for 10 years after the war. All the strategies of the VA and ways of self-medication did not work. He received 2 life-changing healings during his first two sweats. Later, he was invited to be a Sun Dancer at a Veteran’s Sun Dance. He passed away a number of years ago. I am sharing one of his sacred stories in a good way:
He chose to pierce during the round (one of 8 periods during a day) before the children’s healing round. To pierce means to be connected to a small harness attached to rope that is connected to the Tree by 2 wooden pegs. Each peg is slipped beneath a thin layer of your skin on either side of your chest, (In a Sun Dance, the Dancers offer a bit of themselves, feed the Tree, in order for those who come to have healing in the healing round after the piercing round.)
During the piercing round, there is a time when you pray and dance with the others who have pierced with you. Around the Tree in the center, there is the circle of Dancers who have pierced. Around the pierced Dancers, there is a larger circle the rest of the Dancers who did not pierce. Around them is the great circle of the people who pray and dance just outside the Sun Dance Altar. On the south side of that outer circle, there are the Singers.
After praying and dancing, the Sun Dance Chief will call the Dancers to approach the Tree 4 times in preparation to break free from their piercings. On the fourth time, my mentor described his experience as broke free:
When I broke, my Spirit was pulled up and out of my body. I flew upward over the Tree and went straight into the inside of the middle of the sun.
He did not share more, but he knew that I knew that he described how he experienced the deepest healing moment of his life. He did not go to be a Sun Dancer for his solar knowing. He was only told that, as a veteran, if he went to Dance for others, chances were favorable that he, himself, would experience a healing. He was not dancing for himself when he broke. He was dancing for the children and the future generations to have a good life. He was dancing so maybe he could take some of their pain and sorrow from them.
I share his story now as a example that brings all the above into a more peaceful way forward. A Western Christian can participate in a renewal of the Earth in a way that includes the Christ-message, but chooses to leave Apocalypse and the first father of the Righteous Order, who gave to the sun and stars their path, to a bygone, but never-forgotten, Era.
The same transformation, of liberating a human being who learned how to participate in divinity from a man of War and Apocalypse has already happened in the book, The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say, by an international group of schools called, The Jesus Seminar.
In their study, they offer the following:
Scholars are agreed that Jesus spoke frequently abut God’s imperial rule, or, in traditional language, about the kingdom of God. Does this phrase refer to God’s direct intervention in the future, something connected with the end of the world and the last judgement, or did Jesus employ the phrase to indicate something already present and of more-elusive nature.
The first of these options is usually termed apocalyptic, a view fully expressed in the book of Revelation. which is an apocalypse….One thing is clear, John the Baptist and the early Christian community espoused this first view: they believed the age was about to come to an abrupt end. Did Jesus share this view, or was his vision more subtle, less bombastic and threatening?
The Fellows of the Jesus Seminar are inclined to the second option: Jesus conceived of God’s rule as all around him but difficult to discern. God was so real for him that he could not distinguish God’s present activity from any future activity. He had a poetic sense of time in which the future and the present merged, simply melted together, in the intensity of his vision. But Jesus’ uncommon views were obfuscated by the more pedestrian conceptions of John, on the one side, and by the equally pedestrian views of the early Christian community, on the other. (p. 137)
Finally, I think we can deliver a post-Apocalyptic Jesus by recalling that the Earth as already gone through one Battle of Armageddon. It took place during the First War War from September 19 to September 26, 1918. The Allied victory was the reason that Field Marshall Allenby was given the name, Allenby of Armageddon. Here’s a short excerpt from Wikipedia with a link if you want more:
The Battle of Megiddo also known in Turkish as the Nablus Hezimeti (“Rout of Nablus”), or the Nablus Yarması (“Breakthrough at Nablus”) was fought between 19 and 25 September 1918, on the Plain of Sharon, in front of Tulkarm, Tabsor, and Arara in the Judean Hills as well as on the Esdralon Plain at Nazareth, Afulah, Beisan, Jenin and Samakh. Its name, which has been described as “perhaps misleading” since very limited fighting took place near Tel Megiddo was chosen by Allenby for its biblical and symbolic resonance.
In his book, The Great and Holy War: How World War 1 Became a Religious Crusade, Philip Jenkins makes the case for how both the Allied leaderships use of biblical Apocalypse to boost enthusiasm for the war and what appears to be the public’s psychic epidemic brought on by the End-times mythology made for a literal playing out of the script in the Bible’s last book.
COMING TO OUR SENSES
This image is a hybrid that expands the diagram below found in Richard Tarnas’ book, Cosmos and Psyche. The words that accompany the image are:
In the Western religious world view that emerged between the primal and the modern, forming a link between them, the human self bears a unique relationship to a transcendent divinity that is separate from and sovereign over the created world, a world that is increasingly perceived as devoid of meaning and purpose other than that associated with the human self.
I think Tarnas is describing the impact that awareness of the ecliptic had on Western culture, the impact that is comes down to us through the Bible’s Mazzaroth in the Book of Job and in Plato’s Timaeus.
Earlier in Cosmos and Psyche, he shared an image to represent the primal world view of the Indigenous and to contrast the primal world view with the modern world view. The words for the image of the primal world view are important here:
In the primal world view, intelligence and soul pervade all of nature and the cosmos, and a permeable human self directly participates in that larger matrix of meaning and purpose in which it is fully embedded
After years of participating in and leading sweat lodges, I offer this elaboration of Tarnas’ 2 circles and his shaded area of a larger matrix of meaning and purpose:
This drawing is the union of the red, black, white and yellow circle of the 4 Directions of the Medicine Wheel with the wholeness of a sweat lodge.
The 4 Directions represent many teachings: the cardinal directions of North, East, South, and West, the seasons of the year, the periods of a person’s lifetime and the 4 parts of the human being–mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual, are just a few of its lessons.
A traditional sweat lodge is imagined as a sphere with human beings sitting in the middle of all that is. The ‘dome’ above represents objective experiences of realities outside yourself. The ‘bowl’ below represents subjective experiences of realities that you experience by becoming them.
The Medicine Wheel, the Four Directions, the Lodge and its architecture are descriptions of all of life and all that lives. They certainly are meant to be experienced in the sweat lodge itself, but more importantly, they are realities that are always present to us whether we are conscious of them or unconscious.
The first layer of the lodge is our embodied relationship with the beauty that inspires and sustains life.
The second layer symbolizes our relationships with the dead, especially those we love and whose presence we feel as warmth, love, surprise, humor, and guidance.
The third layer represents our relationship with the love, warmth, surprise, humor and guidance of beings who are impersonal. Whereas a second layer experience would be one of my personal grandfather in the Spiritworld, this more encompassing layer is of experience is of grandfathers who are present, yet anonymous. as guides, messengers, healers, helpers, protectors, teachers etc. In my Catholic upbringing, these beings are angels, archangels, and saints. In the primal world view, they are animal beings, lights, orbs, elements, like Bear, Eagle, Wolf, the Thunders, Four Winds, Sun, etc.
The 4-layered experience, in our culture, has recently been named, an akashic experience by Irvin Laszlo. Here is his description. I have both the above and below in the image above to stress the wholeness of being experiencers describe:
The Akashic experience comes in many sizes, forms, and flavors to all kinds of people, and all its varieties convey information on the real world — the world beyond the brain and the body. The experience ranges from artistic visualizations and creative insights to non-local healings, near-death experiences, after-death communications, and personal past life recollections. Notwithstanding the great variety in which it occurs, the Akashic experience has strikingly uniform features. Whatever else it may contain, the Akashic experience conveys that the experiencing subject is not separate from the objects of his or her experience — the sense that “I, the experiencing subject, am linked in subtle but real ways to other people and to nature.” In deeper experiences of this kind, there is a sense that the cosmos and I are one.
The simplest way to know the subjective level or underworld, is to remember your dreams. The first level below is the beauty of dreaming that inspires and sustains life.
The second layer below is one of dreaming of or becoming one of your departed loved ones– Ancestors. It is an experience of turning into another person who you love, participating in their being together. This is being a medium where you merge with another human individuality.
The third layer beneath mirrors the third layer above. It is to become or dream of impersonal, beyond human powers, the archetypal beings, gods, goddesses, animals, angels…
The conscious, waking, visionary time of akashic experience has its mirror in what Jung called the Self which appeared in mandalic forms that expressed the wholeness and numinous presence of the Imago Dei, God expressed and known in dream image.
The extreme flattening of human experience can be seen quite clearly when you start with the wholeness of the primal world view:
Contrast it with first the modern world view, which Tarnas describes as:
In the modern world view, all qualities associated with purposeful intelligence and soul are exclusively characteristic of the human subject, which is radically distinct from the objective nonhuman world.
The modern world view does not consider dreaming, becoming, any subjective experiences of powers below to be valid. It does honor the physical body and material world, not for its beauty and meaning, but for its usefulness. There are no Ancestors, no higher powers, no akashic experience. There remains a definition of God above in modern sensibilities, but it us detached, above, beyond, outside, unknowable in life.
The late-modern world view finds meaning only in the material world. The individual personality, too, ends with the finality of death. Tarnas writes of the late-modern world view:
In the late-modern post-Copernican, post Nietzschean cosmos, the human self exists as an infinitesimal island of meaning and spiritual aspiration in a vast purposeless universe signifying nothing but what the human self creates.
Here they are together. These images offer a way to imagine the flattening and narrowing mindsets that form an atmosphere that John E. Mack called, ontological tyranny, by which he meant our collective severe limitation of what is socially allowed to be real in human experience.
I offer you the image below as a way to imagine what it looks like to re-unite the primal world view with the sum of all the psychological knowledge of antiquity. Here is a way for us to restore the Ancient Mother and Father, the Goddess and the God, to balance Western culture with the rest of the planet using the glue of the zodiac:
I’ve been approaching my own soul-life using the union of birthchart, zodiac, Hermeticism, alchemy, and stars, our own Indigenous Western tradition, in union with the sweat lodge.
At the end of his life, he would never reconcile the Ireland he envisioned, the Ireland he was embodying, with the nation as it was during his lifetime. For that reason, he is buried with his wife and son in Zurich, Switzerland:
For me, he got his death right. It has stood as a soul-marker in the sense that, his death-stone in the Zurich of Jung has been a doorway threshold to me, to my own family, and an affirmation of the importance of our continuing work.
WALKING THE TALK – EMERALD TABLET
It’s important to temper what I have been suggesting. Though all who live have come here with the potential to bring forth an awakened soul in relation to all that is, the Hermetic tradition also says that it does not come for free. You are called to participate in your own educational process.
Fully aware of the historical baggage that comes with teachings called the Emerald Tablet, I wish to close with what I think is the Indigenous tradition of the West as regards educare of the soul. Because it closes with the words, operation of the sun, I think what we are looking at is the operation of awakening of individual human identity to the realization of _(your name here)-Christ.
There are many more versions to be found on the web. This one is just to get it down:
Tis true without lying, certain & most true.
That which is below is like that which is above & that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing
And as all things have been & arose from one by the meditation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.
The Sun is its father, the moon its mother, the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth is its nurse.
The father of all perfection in the whole world is here.
Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
Separate thou the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross sweetly with great industry.
It ascends from the earth to the heaven & again it descends to the earth & receives the force of things superior & inferior.
By this means you shall have the glory of the whole world & thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
Its force is above all force. For it vanquishes every subtle thing & penetrates every solid thing.
So was the world created.
From this are & do come admirable adaptations whereof the means (or process) is here in this. Hence I am called Hermes Trismegistus, having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world.
That which I have said of the operation of the Sun is accomplished & ended.
Connected to this Hermetic root, it becomes possible to note the evolutionary transformation of human identity over time in the West. Here is Sir Oliver Lodge with an update from his 1908, Man and the Universe:
A discovery once made by the human race is permanent: it fades no more and its influence grows from age to age. We are now beginning to realize a further step in the process of atonement. We are rising to the conviction that we are part of nature, and so, a part of God, that the whole creation — the One and the Many and All-One – is working together towards some great end: and that now, after ages of development, we have at last become conscious portions of the great scheme and can co-operate in it with knowledge and with joy. We are no aliens in a foreign universe governed by an outside God: we are parts of a developing whole, all enfolded in an embracing and interpenetrating love, of which we too, each to other, sometimes experience the joy too deep for words. And this strengthening vision, this sense of union with Divinity, thus, and not anything artificial or legal or commercial, is what science one day will tell us is the inner meaning of the Redemption of Man. (p. 234)
Consider now too how Ervin Laszlo’s 2017 Credo , reflects the growing edge of science (and consciousness) Lodge prophesied:
I am part of the world. The world is not outside of me, and I am not outside of the world. The world is in me, and I am in the world.
I am more than a skin-and-bone material organism: my body, and its cells and organs are manifestations of what is truly me: a self-sustaining, self-evolving dynamic system arising, persisting and developing in interaction with other such systems and with the world around me.
I am one of the highest, most evolved manifestations of the drive toward coherence and wholeness in the world. My essence is this cosmic drive. It is the same essence that is inherent in all the systems that arise and evolve in the universe.
There are no absolute boundaries and divisions among the systems that arise and evolve in the universe, only transition points where one set of relations yields prevalence to another. In me, in this self-maintaining and self-evolving coherence- and wholeness-oriented system, the relations that integrate the cells and organs of my body are prevalent. Beyond my body other relations gain prevalence: those that drive toward coherence and wholeness in humanity, nature, and throughout the universe.
The separate identity I attach to my fellow humans is a convenient convention to facilitate my interaction with them. My family and my community are just as much “me” as the cells and organs of my body. There are only gradients of intensity in the relations that distinguishing individuals from each other and from the world, no absolute divisions and boundaries. There are no “others” in the world: we are all dynamic, coherence and wholeness oriented systems in the world and we are part of the world and so part of each other.
Collaboration, not competition, is the royal road to the wholeness and coherence that hallmarks healthy systems in the world. Collaboration calls for trust, empathy and solidarity. Comprehension, conciliation, and forgiveness are not signs of weakness but signs of courage. Harming others, even under the banner of patriotism and national or corporate interest is a mistaken intention. I am part of whoever I harm, and so I harm myself.
“The good” for me, and for everyone in my world, is not the possession and accumulation of wealth. Wealth, whether in money or in a material resource, is but a means for maintaining myself in my environment. As exclusively mine, it commandeers a part of the resources that all living beings on the planet need to share if they are to live and thrive. Exclusive wealth is a threat to everyone in the community of life on the planet, and because I as well as the holders of wealth are part of this community, it is a threat to the wealthy, and to me.
A healthy person has pleasure in giving: it is a higher pleasure than having. I am healthy and whole when I value giving over having. The true measure of accomplishment and excellence is my readiness to give, whatever I can give without harming myself, my family and those in my care. A community that values giving over having is a community of healthy persons, thriving through solidarity and love. Sharing enhances the community, while possessing and accumulating creates demarcation, invites competition and fuels envy. The share-society is the norm for all communities of life on the planet; the have-society is an aberration.
Only life and its development have intrinsic value as ends in themselves. All other things have value only insofar as they add to or enhance life and its development. Material things, and the energies and substances they need or generate, have value only insofar they contribute to the development of life in the community of all beings on the planet.
I recognize my responsibility for evolving my consciousness, and through my example for helping the evolution of consciousness in others. We have been part of the aberration of human consciousness in the modern world, and we need to be part of the evolution that overcomes that aberration. Living and working toward this goal is my duty, as a conscious member of a conscious species in a conscious cosmos.
Orphan Soul, continued…
When you meet the Orphan Soul
Talk of your loved ones from the young to the Invisible
Share this ritual, bless the human kind
With a Mysterious Heart that is in love with time…
No Man’s Folk is sobriety-based music for awakening peoples in awakening places. It unites what we call ‘traditional’ folk music with traditional, in the sense of Indigenous, folk music in a No Man’s Land of shared desire for a global climate change. No Man’s Folk sings of peace, clearmindedness and human flourishing on Earth and in a participatory ensouled cosmos.
— F. Christopher Reynolds
NO MAN’S FOLK – WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE AND WHAT DO WE DO?
No Man’s Folk is done mostly in homes, yet also travels where people come together for a better future. You need a space for about 30 people. It can happen with a group of 6. The persons who come are encouraged most to come because they love music and love to sing.
At the center of the space is a sacred drum or harmonium and a guitar. There are 4 chairs around the center with other instruments here and there. The way No Man’s Folk looks is a room, a drum or harmonim, a guitar, four chairs and other instruments here and there.
Everyone sits around the musical center. We begin with gratitude and a short ritual where we invite you to feel and let go of grief, fear, desire, anger, pain, insanity, despair, restlessness, shame, guilt, suicidal tendencies. The songs will be originals in both traditional folk styles as well as Indigenous style, the folk songs will be Indigenous and traditional. There is a rhythm between the center and the gathering. We will sing 4 songs and then songs/prayers/stories are invited from those gathered.
No Man’s music, therefore, invites a new understanding of American folk music that opens room for the ongoing original folk music — the songs and traditions of Indigenous resistance the world over that for 500 years now have endured and sustained culture and soul.
It calls for a de-colonized method of song-writing. Re-indigenized song-writing is an inherently sacred activity linked to revelatory experiences in dreaming, ritual, creativity in relationship with a sacred Earth, Ancestors. It is care for the soul of a people and the life-giving relationship with all ecosystems.
This is an account of a pilgrimage in remembrance of the 1914 Christmas Truce. In World War I, enemy forces left the safety of the trenches to the song “Silent Night” in their own language. Soldiers; sons, husbands, fathers wanted the peace beyond understanding. You are invited to follow the author’s pilgrimage to renew how we imagine the meaning of Christmas. Noel “New Sun” in Gaelic, has always been the unexpected birth of New Life in a most degraded, forgotten, even despised place. In our traditional telling, the savior was born into a forsaken shelter surrounded by animals. In the early 20th century, that unexpected location was No Man’s Land — the devastated landscape between the enemy trenches. This book is a recollection of the past in order to bring forth a more peaceful future.
Western culture is in the midst of the largest transformation in its history. What is passing away is a patriarchal coercive way of life that was set down 5000 years ago in Sumer. Joseph Campbell referred to this (following Frobenius) as the Monumental Stage. Its identifying features have been coercive government, literacy, numeracy, astronomy, astrology, cattle-breeding, agriculture, enslavement, and a patriarchal hierarchy bestowed by all-powerful sovereign on high who gives immortality to a chosen few.
A culture in its monumental stage is split from a feeling the Earth. Its people as a rule are not in relationship with their own ancestors as a spiritual practice. The sense of personal awe before the cosmos is no longer encouraged or nourished. Dreams are of little importance. This condition is called normative dissociation in the work of Jurgen Kremer.
We are emerging into a participatory way of life on Earth that honors all the voices and the dream-lives of every individual of the planet — Theodore Roszak called the collective individuality of voices, The Voice of the Earth. Thomas Berry prophesied of the collective individuality of dreams in his book, The Dream of the Earth. Joseph Campbell wrote of this as mythologiization. He reminded us:
“The Kingdom of the Father”, we have just heard, “is spread upon the earth and men do not see it.” Land nam, mythologization, has been the universally practiced method to bring this intelligible kingdom into view in the mind’s eye. The Promised Land, therefore, is any landscape recognized as mythologically transparent, and the method of acquisition of such a territory is not by prosaic physical action, but poetically, by intelligence and the method of art; so that the human being should be dwelling in two worlds simultaneously of the illuminated moon and the illuminated sun. [Inner Reaches of Outer Space, p. 62]
Failure to know the difference between a “Promised Land” in which the relationships with all that is are stewarded poetically in ritual, intelligence and the method of art and a realm taken by war has been a human stumbling block. I have named the cultural symptom of taking territory by war, prosaic physical action, chorapathology.
This is the Time of the The Third Great Awakening, the Preparation of the 8th Fire, in the Ojibway/Chippewa Prophecies. I call this, The Magnification. Author, Joanna Macy, named this largest shift, The Great Turning. Eco-spiritual theologian, Thomas Berry, called it, the opening into the environmental age. He wrote in Dream of the Earth:
It’s all a question of story. We are in trouble just now because we are in-between stories. The Old Story – the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it – sustained us for a long time. It shaped our emotional attitudes, provided us with life purpose, energized action, consecrated suffering, integrated knowledge, and guided education. We awoke in the morning and knew where we were. We could answer the questions of our children. But now it is no longer functioning properly, and we have not yet learned the New Story.
We are all trying to return to right planetary relationship and to awaken in the cosmos that magnification has revealed. The wholeness where I have lived with the circles here in northeast Ohio can be imagined in this way:
And a new soul-image we have been birthing can be imagined like this:
I am also the founder of Urrealism, No Man’s Folk Music and Earthbriety. I am a co-founder of archetypal ecology. My work as an adjunct professor in Art and Religious Studies is at Ursuline College. I also teach as an adjunct professor in Creativity Studies for the Gifted at Ashland University. My community includes Warriors Journey Home where I am a board member. WJH Minstries works to assist communities to welcome veterans home from military service.
I am also a faculty member of Lake Erie Institute that offers workshops, retreats, and leadership programs that support the emergence of an Earth-honoring global civilization. Our events and programs re-indigenize Western minds by fostering a relational worldview and an ethic of care for the Earth.
If you examine the word, addict, in its Latin roots are to surrender the voice. Culturally, we have a habit of ad-diction. This voice that is surrendered is to be understood in multiple ways at once: Your own point of view, way of perceiving, your way of creativity, your way of dreaming, your way of singing, writing, dancing, your way of loving. Expanding this with other languages, in French, the word for voice, voix, is also the word for vote. And the Chinese word, Tao, tao, when understood as a verb, means, to say.
It’s harsh, but true, that American culture is one that forces persons to surrender their relationship to the Tao, to surrender their Ways.
All of the singing, teaching and healing I do are intended to lead persons out of the Monumental world view and its ad-diction which is also known as normative dissociation.
My mission intends to invite individuals into the Third Great Awakening, a participatory world view of a New Earths and New Heavens, the New Story. This re-mythologization heals our ad-dictive cultural practices. Together, we can restore awareness of all voices and features of our ecosystems in such a way that all life and the cycles of evolution place our minds into relationship with the enduring and nourishing Beauty, the powers that sustain all that is.
Robert Almeder, among others, echoes my experience in the preface to his 1992, Death and Personal Survival: The Evidence for Life After Death. He wrote: “My 1987 book, Beyond Death: Evidence for Life after Death offered a brief defense of personal survival and concluded that the evidence garnered from the best case studies on reincarnation, possession, apparitions of the dead, near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, and trance mediumship is collectively compelling in ways not yet appreciated either by the public at large or by the scientific, religious, and academic community.”
More recently, theologian Marcus Borg (1942-2015) described this same kind of cultural reality in his 2014 book, Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most:
“The trigger for my third (conversion) was a series of experiences that began in my mid-thirties. They weren’t the product of thinking, even though over time they have greatly affected my thinking, perhaps more than anything else has. And they made God real to me.
In retrospect, I understand that they were mystical experiences. But I did not know that at the time. I knew nothing about mysticism. It had not been part of my four years of undergraduate education and five years of graduate study in religion. And whenever I had tried to read books about mysticism, they were utterly opaque. My eyes glazed over. I could not figure out what they were talking about.” (pp. 35-36)
Educational reformer, Elliot Eisner offered this insight into how our own educational methods actually teach our children to limit their own awareness through the null curricilum – that which is never spoken of in the educational process:
What school programs tend to emphasize is the development of a restrictive conception of thinking. Not all thinking is mediated by words or numbers, nor is all thinking rule-abiding.
Many of the most productive modes of thought are nonverbal and illogical. These modes operate in visual, auditory, metaphoric, synesthetic ways and use forms of conception and expression that far exceed the limits of logically prescribed criteria or discursive, mathematical forms of thinking. When attention to such intellectual processes, or forms, of thinking is absent or marginal, they are not likely to be developed within school programs… (p. 98)
Our family has been blessed by having a living folk music tradition. By that, I mean that we have songs that have been memorized and handed down, that a central aspect of our family gatherings is singing and music. It is expected that persons in our extended family will learn an instrument and sing. This can happen at any point in life.
All of my mentors, all of my family members, my father, my mother, aunts, uncles, brother, sister, my cousins, grandmothers, grandfathers, my students during 30 years of teaching high school, undergraduate, post-graduate, all of my closest friends, colleagues, conference attendees, teachers, veterans, doctors, lawyers, musicians, psychologists, artists, dancers, philosophers that I know – and I mean All, have suffered because of the awe of mystical experiences and psychological symptoms mis-understood, distorted and mis-valued, mis-diagnosed.
All of our cultural institutions I have experienced in my lifetime perpetuate that suffering. It occurs through chronic mis-appropriation of our attention and intention. Our voices and all the voices of nature are silenced. Our receptivity is dumbed down and numbed. The symptom is a collective feeling of powerlessness and profound underestimation of our full potential as human beings.
I am F. Christopher Reynolds, M.Ed., a singer-songwriter, teacher and community shaman from Cleveland, Ohio.
My mission is to sing the dream of Peace on Earth onward by inviting, welcoming and empowering as many as possible to share in the Third Great Awakening now occurring in the United States. All of my songs, chants, writings, art, workshops and ceremonies encourage waking up together and participating fully in this Awakening.
We are called to expand our founding American Declaration and dare to devote our flourishing in life to the pursuit of the happiness of all beings.
Our time of The Third Great Awakening is period of Western Renaissance. The rebirth is a cultural rite of passage out of the modern and late-modern world views, and into an emerging, participatory, holistic, and quantum worldview. We are being invited to courageously participate in tending a sacred relationship with the land and with the Ancestors so that literally, spiritually and metaphorically, the Earth takes its place as the most life-giving of celestial bodies we know, in a galactic consciousness in an ever-expanding cosmos of more than 2,000,000,000,000 galaxies. It has been unfolding now for more than 170 years.
Both world views that are passing away share a rare form of soul-poverty. We are impoverished by our inability to even imagine more than a single lifetime. In the late-modern world view, our personality is an illusion that dies with our brain. In modern and patriarchal forms of monotheism, our personalities are degraded as “ego” and our immortal soul gets one chance at a life that ends in a redeemed or damned Eternity. Both late-modern scientific materialism and modern patriarchal monotheism are unable to imagine that we live in a profoundly kind universe when it comes to survival of consciousness.
Our collective poverty of imagination is similar in scale to the poverty you find in what cosmologists call the Great Debate of 1929 between Shapely and Curtis. Shapely, a leading cosmologist of his time, argued that there is one galaxy in the universe. Curtis argued that there are many. Our current estimate nearly a century later is that there are some 2 trillion galaxies. I think it’s a fair comparison to consider. Imagining that we live only a single lifetime compared to our true nature is like imagining that the entire universe is only one galaxy in a universe of more than 2 trillion galaxies.
With this constitutional meanness of what we can expect from life is a coinciding loss of the sustaining relationships, the warmth, love, humor, and help that come from our loved ones who have died, yet who continue to care about our lives — Ancestors. In the primal world view, the modern and late-modern insistence of life without Ancestors is known as living at the suicide level.
Much of American culture appears to be consuming in order to make the suicide level comfortable.
To be alive now and be unable to distinguish between the suicide level of the modern and late-modern world views, and the delight of the emerging participatory world view is a form of personal and community soul-neglect. It is a soul-neglect that impoverishes our children and grandchildren most of all.
Humanity, for the most part, has lived with traditions of continuity of soul that care deeply for the future. There is wisdom in welcoming each child’s birth as a sacred re-birth. There is wisdom in educating each adolescent in such a way that helps connect them to the reason of his/her/their birth. There is wisdom in welcoming a sustainable awareness of soul that encourages living, savoring of the adventure of life, of all lives, of all that live. There is wisdom in singing each soul back to its place of origin at the end of life.
The First Great Awakening occurred in the 13 colonies and Britain in the 1730’s and 1740’s. It was a Protestant movement that emphasized experiences of transformation through conversion and knowledge of being saved by Christ whose Second Coming was not far off. The Second Great Awakening occurred in the United States from 1790-1820. It, too, was a Protestant movement that encouraged life and cultural reform, salvation, and, once again, the immanent return of Christ in the Second Coming.
The Third Great Awakening, also calls to a re-birth, an ecological conversion, life and cultural reforms, not for an Apocalypse but for an integration of essential love and compassion for all beings — a conscious return to the Tao. Our ‘salvational’ knowledge is to be found at the growing edges in new and unexpected cultural ways for the West. The awakening we are experiencing can come as a sudden stroke of awareness, lightning strike or flip, yet also may come as a slow, methodical development in lives that dismantle old conceptual structures.
Together we are creating a way for a new sense of “home” where we know from direct experience survival and evolution of soul over many lifetimes.
Here is William James reflecting in 1890:
“The result of Mr. Myer’s learned and ingenious studies in hypnotism, hallucinations, automatic writing, mediumship, and the whole series of allied phenomena is a conviction that he expresses in the following terms:
Each of us is in reality an abiding psychical entity far more extensive than he knows–an individuality which can never express itself completely through any corporeal manifestation. The self manifests itself through the organism; but there is always, as it seems, some part of the self unmanifested, and always, as it seems, some power of organic expression in abeyance or reserve.
The ordinary consciousness Mr. Myers likens to the visible part of the solar spectrum; the total consciousness is like that spectrum prolonged by the ultra-red and ultra-violet rays. In the psychic spectrum the “ultra” parts may embrace a far wider range, both of physiological and of psychical activity, than is open to our ordinary consciousness and memory. “
Nearly 130 years later, in 2018, the book, Changed in a Flash: One Woman’s Near-Death Experience and Why a Scholar Thinks It Empowers Us All, by Elizabeth Krohn and Jeffrey Kripal, Kripal reflects on Krohn’s experience, developing further William James’ and Frederic Myer’s participatory world view:
It is difficult to avoid the obvious next step here: the brain is more of a filter or reducer of reality than a total perceiver. It keeps out far more information that it lets in. But what would happen if this filtering mechanism temporarily shut down?…whatever Elizabeth was seeing, smelling, and hearing in the Garden (in her Near-Death Experience) was deeply informed by the human sensory system, since “seeing,” “smelling,” and “hearing” are all sensory capacities. And yet these events also went well beyond the ordinary limits of these particular sensory capacities. (p. 189)
The above affirms what William James presciently underlined, the psychic spectrum the “ultra” parts may embrace a far wider range, both of physiological and of psychical activity, than is open to our ordinary consciousness and memory. Kripal names how ordinary consciousness and memory and the wider range that they can embrace, Human as Two.
Richard Tarnas in Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View offered wonderful language for what we face together:
The Western mind must be willing to open itself to a reality the nature of which could shatter its most established beliefs about itself and about the world. This is where the real act of heroism is going to be. A threshold must now be crossed, a threshold demanding a courageous act of faith, of imagination, of trust in a larger, more complex reality; a threshold, moreover, demanding an act of unflinching self-discernment. And this is the great challenge of our time, the evolutionary imperative for the masculine to see through its one-sidedness, to own its unconscious shadow, to choose to enter into a fundamentally new relationship of mutuality with the feminine in all its forms. The feminine then becomes not that which must be controlled, denied and exploited, but rather fully acknowledged, respected and responded to for itself. (p. 444)
Jeffrey Kripal, names Tarnas’ “crossing of the threshold“, The Flip,in his 2019 book, The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge.
Kripal calls on readers to put Flips or epiphanies of mind front and center in our understanding of reality. He notes:
Flips are...extreme, life-changing experiences that intellectuals, scientists and medical professionals have been reporting for centuries now but have written about with increasing visibility and effort only over the the last few decades. (p.12)
One Flipped scientist, Eben Alexander, was Flipped by going into and waking up from a coma:
The scientific implications are stunning, and provide powerfully for the reality of the afterlife. But this is only the beginning. As we come to realize that examples of exceptional human potential (as in genius-level creativity, psychokinesis, precognition, and past-life memories) really occur in some people, we begin to realize that the latent ability is there in all humans. In other words, these are skills that one can cultivate and enhance. (p. 70)
The protests at Standing Rock in 2016 marked the largest gathering of Indigenous peoples in United States’ History. Environmental respect is a foundation of Earth-based spirituality. Besides the cry, Mni Wiconi! (Water is Sacred), a common statement heard was, Don’t let them fool you, our ways are sacred.
Knowing through direct experience of the emerging participatory world view generally includes a profound feeling of being connected to all that is, a deep reverence for Earth, experiential relationships with Ancestors, and an embodied appreciation for the beauty and vulnerability of life for future generations.
As we awaken to the direction of change, life becomes richer and wiser. By richer, I mean that life deepens as regards direct personal experience of the awe, also known as the numinous, that makes life worth living. By wiser, I mean that when we are mentally oriented so that the modern and late-modern world views are released, our “heart’s horizon” of the numinous becomes a central, guiding element in waking, dreaming, and creative life – especially in times of greatest suffering.
I am currently performing my new release, The Immanent Function
Immanent Function is a way to heal the centuries-old split between consciousness and matter/energy. Eternity and space/time are best imagined as cooperative, loving partners, even Beloveds. The spirit worlds can influence what happens in the sensual and the sensual can influence the spiritual worlds. We are at a time of side by side, Human as Two.
Here is the working definition:
Immanent Function: 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 meks 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. Written by F. Christopher Reynolds, M.Ed. on October 7, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio