Kings, Chiefs and Shamans.

We had already been turned back at a police roadblock but finally managed to sneak into Pondoland in South Africa, hidden under the back seat of the only bus on the road. Pondoland, a tiny chiefdom tucked into the montains of Transkei, was off limits to white folk back in the 80’s. You had to keep your head down as you crossed the invisible cracks of Apartheid.

My friend and I knew it was an unwritten custom that we should announce our presence immediatly we arrived at our remote destination and ask permission to be there from the paramount chief. So we found his house, which was made of actual clay bricks and knocked on the door.

It turned out the chief wasn’t at home but his wives were very welcoming, saying we should stay until he arrived. We were shown immediatly to a room and bought refreshment.

Three days later he arrived, very pleased we were following the protocol of the land by waiting for him and asking for his blessing.

There was to be a meeting of all the chiefs the next day and we were invited, introduced, showing how our sleeping bags worked and what we had in our packs. It was all very enlivening.

The paramount chief then gave us horses to travel wherever we wished and his nephew as a guide for a week of trekking through the mountains of Pondo where we were expected and welcomed in every village.

And what I noticed about the people that I met was that they all had a serene, quiet confidence. And why should they not? They may have been poor as church mice but each person was cared for by the chief whom you could go and see when you needed to and discuss stuff.

How brilliant is that! We idealise our political system as an adjunct to the ‘evolution of consciousness’ myth, in so far as both stories have, as their central character, how wonderful we are. And yet we have a fraction of the voice that a Pondo has, despite his ‘lack’ of constitutional rights or codified freedoms.

I hear it argued a lot that the loss of such containing social structures and the ungrounded hurley burley of western life is ‘the price we pay’ for the individuation process.

There are apparently meagre examples of individuation in indigenous culture.

Its the same prejudice that says individuation only really began in our time.

I met a medicine man, clanking  with shells and beads. He threw a gourd of knuckle bones and told me of two women who would have to share me…. so quaint, until I had the perspective of twenty years hindsight to witness my two muses arm wrestling one another on a regular basis to see if I would be in my studio or at my desk that day.

The figure who embodies the individuation process in primitive culture is the shaman.. And anyone can be called to this role by the spirits. So, even though you may be an ordinary peasant that door may open and your individuation may begin at any time.

Lama Govinder tells the story of a taxi driver he caught a ride with who’d had a vision one day that he should go and shamanise at Lhasa, so he went and told the monks what had happened and he was duly instated, without a clue as to what was required of him. The spirits would know. And so everyone was quite calm about what would in fact be an extremely chaotic series of events. And then back to his cab driving till next time…

hey ho..

African culture is the same. The ancestors can call on you at any time. You may have to wander off on your own for a while. Aboriginals, too, have their ‘walkabout’, and the encounter with dreamtime.

As a society we don’t have that. And yet we feel that we are so much more spiritually sophisticated. Enough to want to take their stupid ancestors angrily away from them.

When Jung asked a headman in Kenya if he dreamed, the headman replied,  ‘we used to, now the district commissioner dreams for us.”

We gonna take your everyfing…

Its a shame C.J. didn’t take that into more consideration when he bewailed their lack of concentration at the palaver.

and then you gonna talk nice….

Kings are very different from chiefs and medicine men…

The archetype of the king is way more distant and power based than the archetype of the healer and, in my view, a less convincing candidate for a model of evolving consciousness. You can’t become the king. And the projection of the inner ‘nobleman’ sticks to him like glue because of his remoteness. so the most you’ll ever be is not-king…

But…

he will have your dreams for you. Walk down that red carpet of bling on your behalf. Die for your sin.

And the camera’s can click..

and the limo can run like silk,

and your piety can be everso great,

but for as long as the dark brother is reviled…

you will never be called..

and the ancestors will not be fed.

 

The Intrusion of Absence.

When i was about thirteen my father called me to one side and announced that it had been remiss of him not to tell me the story of my grandfather and would i like to hear it..

Ohyesohyesohyes…

So we went into his study which was more special and he sat me on his special footstool…

squealing delight..

yearning for the legend to unfold of the brave lancaster gunner who was killed over Turin in ’42

and so told me the special story.

‘When I was seven I was swinging on the garden gate and my father came along and swung me off…’ And he made a swooping gesture.

You can go now.

Its what I call a medusa moment. Its when there is a rider on an event, an ‘aubertext’, and what’s really being communicated is more like transmission, the passing on of some family wreckage rather than an enriching story. The moment turns to stone..

Falling like a stone…..

.and the place where  the nurture of ancestral tales..

So much smoke and, but…two engines still going, Ginger come in…GINGER! Oh God we’re going down, oh fuck, oh God..

.feeds the soul…..

If he had fallen like a stone, from say 1500m, physics says it would take a full 8 1/2 seconds to hit the ground, but then you’re built to float and are doing 200mph and Ginger’s still slumped over the throttle with those two engines still coughing…

.is lost…..

Even more intrusive by its absence was my father’s relationship with his mother. We had a rare, the only…ever.. family gathering one year.  My father announces for everyone to gather round for a video of the event to be taken for Nanny who couldn’t be there.

Hang on a minute….

Didn’t she die..like, twenty years ago?

But no, look, she has arisen in New Zealand.. where she went after her second husband gassed himself in the kitchen oven…

..so many fumes…can’t greath, choking now…sooo cold.

And what that stoney look does is worse than any beating. When moments are petrified by a parent’s need to pass on their own deadness it really does numb the child to its own life and teaches/compells the child to disown its potential.

About a year later we were playing chess one evening. I was on holiday from boarding school. We played quite a lot, or at least he regularly trounced me. Then, one delicious evening I won. For the first time. In history.

He studied the board in silence for a loooong time then scraped his chair back and left without a word. We never played again. And what i learned was not that i was a clever lad but that to shine is to be abandoned and so i went forward faithfully sabotaging myself at every opportunity and turning myself to stone.

Getting stoned….

thinking that was rebellion…

but in fact, unconsciously fulfilling one more silent expectation.

But all is not lost!

In fact, you now have a ticket to ride.

Because when the medusa moment has you up against the wall and whatever you do or say next will be wrong then you might as well fulfil your own destiny and find what you need out in the world

or deep inside

to reflect your truth..

to have I and me stay in the same vessel.

In the story of the golden fleece, Jason uses the reflection of his shield to defeat Medusa. So long as he is able to reflect he will be safe from being petrified.

So long as I can talk to me.

So that you know that being sent away is wrong..

And the swinging on the gate story is compensatory bullshit..

And the chess was all about beating me rather than playing..

..then the intuition and imagination of the stone child can come alive.

And where is your mother in all this..?

Veiled. Predominantly through the crack of the door to her room where she lay in valiumed haze behind tresses of shrouded  netting.

Thou shalt not be creative…

She was a brilliant artist, but didn’t have permission to be brilliant so she got migranes and valium instead.

Unlived life does not sit idly on the shelf. It will turn around and bite you. M.L.Von Franz.

Its amazing how mutual deadness can act as such glue in a marriage. The offspring involved are faced with a stark choice. Do the same thing as them or go on a veeeery long journey to find the fruit in the experience.

It’s in there somewhere, rippening in your adversity.

I had a friend who grew apples. One tree bore the most incredible fruit. They were sooo fantastic. Only it was bent double having grown in the shade of a massive firtree. To improve it’s lot she had the firtree cut down… but the apples never tasted the same after that. They just tasted like regular apples.

And so, for all those who’ve grown in  the shade of something seemingly deadening, don’t wish to be rid of it so easily. Would you be fruiting without it?

”Most of the people who are the greatest healers living on the face of this earth are unmothered children.”   Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

having had a rough start is kind of necessary to the individuation process. An old Gnostic saying captures this well,

‘ There is good and there is bad and that is good.’

When times are tough you grow. When they are easy, you rest.

 

 

 

Evolution of Consciousness?

We are not evolved…

not as much as we tink we are..

and we’ve been in decline for a rather long time..

So long, in fact, that we can give it the kind of spin that would make a politician blush and call what we are experiencing, ‘the evolution of consciousness’.

In reality, the erosion of consciousness, the process of becoming ever more internally divided that began with Gilgamesh being split off from his dark brother Enkidu way back in 3000BC, through the stories of Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, onwards and upwards to the sacred kingship of David, so idealised and golden that even God’s punishment of him failed to inform public opinion, is now ripped firmly in half by the 4th Century with all kinds of consequences for mental health.

you just summarised 3500 years in 7 lines mate. That is not cool. You lack intellectual rigour.

I’m not going for rigour, so shut up. I want nutshells and overveiw so we don’t get lost in how fantastic we all are.

Again.

In Revelation, written in the first century AD, we see some handover going on between Sophia/Wisdom, the Whore of Babylon, as prior embodiment of God’s shadow, and Satan whose name will become synonymous with evil.

The problem with scapegoating is that its not a one time thing. Psychic effluent must be continuously hived off and so getting rid of the shadow container immediatly necessitates the drumming up of another…

ethnic group.

When the Great Mother is banished the kids fall out, never more so than with the Christ and the Devil, who are now extreme manifestations of a split reality.

One in which modern psyche’s become bedevilled…

An aside, a story of possibility taught to me by ‘primitives’. I was in the wilds of Africa, the Transkian hills, very remote, places no white man had been. Seriously, one time people gathered around me and my mate Alasdair touching our hair and marvelling to one a another.

‘Told you they was real.’

‘Bloody hell, you really wos telling the truth.’

‘Do you think they know how babies are made?’

I digress, We were catching a ride with a couple of locals in an ancient vehicle. Sliding down muddy lanes, everything awash with pelting rain. On a hillside stood a young woman in a single shift singing to the sky, drenched, hands raised, dancing… I asked about her and was told she was crazy. I was young and inexperienced and asked if she should not be in a hospital. The guys looked at me with incredulity, ‘but, what would we do without her?’

She had value in the village.

No split reality.

So who was evolved?

In 325AD and 364AD the Council of Nicea and the Council of Laodicea respectively formed the official bible on the back of stirling efforts made by folk like Bishop Irenaeus of Lyons,

who was a right bastard,

and very keen for the split to become canon. Two legs good…

four legs bad.

The new book was good. The rest could get you killed. Even Enoch, who ‘walked with god’, was now kindling for those who refused to hand over their souls for safe keeping.

The devil leaps into focus in the public imagination despite all efforts to keep him in his pit and the world, both inner and outer, becomes sharply divided between good and evil.

that’s not a good thing for consciousness, mon.

It gets worse… From Constantine onwards, God’s representative and wordly power come firmly in the same vessel.

Kings are made at the Pope’s behest.

Or at least without sending armies…

The final blow to the feminine comes with the ejection of the books of Thomas and Phillip who regarded Mary Magdalene as  equal to the other disciples and Mary, the mother of Jesus, to have been divine herself.

Western culture is now firmly run by the archetype of the divine king…

but that’s very exciting, mon!

Well of course it is, but to what does it appeal? Oh, how wonderful that our great leader (place name here) is not only appointed by God but has backstairs access to Him in a way you and I do not.

but dats fantastic, mon!

No its not, everyone loses. It looks great for the king but he is now so inflated you can’t talk to him and everyone else is excluded from their own authority and knowing.

So him rule them better..

Sure, but what does it mean for the evolution of consciousness? Its the route of least resistance. The self is either projected, wherein we experience ourselves as lost to our own destinies, or identified with wherein we become psychopathic tyrants.

Neumann, whose book ‘The Origins and History of Consciousness’, seems as riven with controversy as content, says that this heroic individual, this divine king, becomes, ‘the forerunner of mankind in general’ as though he, the spiritual king were someone to realise as one’s own potential, an awakened archetype, at the least to emulate.

The Dark Ages disagree.

You going to read them whole book sometime then? Just quoting from at like that, like you de hexpert…

Fair cop, Its on my list.. Poor Neumann. To feel so accutely the disparity between the idea that consciousness simply unfurls and the fact of Nazi Germany…

How can this be the pinnacle of culture?

No more than the rest of our narcissistic society positively rewarding psychopathic adaptions.

If consciousness simply evolves how come the psychopath is so successful in our world?

An’ you can’t go callin’ for new ethics Erich, its too new world order all over again. Things never change much with rallying cries but with mourning and loss and grief and missing…

Which is kinda what the Dark Ages seem to be.

Centuries of monochrome and drench and rotting straw.

Consciousness seems to have suffered terribly under the model of the divinely appointed king. Not only would people’s daily round be largely at the level of subsistent survival, the common person hands over secular and spiritual power to some one prepared to subjugate them for their own good.

All of which culminates in the figure of Charlemagne..

know a lot about Charlemagne then…?

leave me alone.. enough to make a point..

your own point..

Waal that’s all I have. Charlemagne was made Emperor by the Pope, a gesture that inflates poor Charlie to such an extent that he began butchering for God. How do you corral 4,500 men and decapitate them one by one? Or would you do it in batches?

 

Creative Aggravation

I spent this last week finishing off my project, ‘Abundant Delicious’. It’s been five years in the making during which time ‘ordinary life’ had been very tough and I felt I somehow ought to be more buoyant about it all….

says I to myself…

But the truth is, I felt really dark and brooding and a bit…

bad tempered.

I began to question it..

then analyze it..

and then go, ‘hang on this is normal..’

Our creations create us back, have us brush with death and chaos, bend us into new and interesting shapes….

In the process of individuation, too, new contents can announce themselves in this devouring form and darken consciousness; this is experienced as a depression, that is to say, as being pulled downward. ~Carl Jung, Children’s Dreams Seminar, Page 373.

Acts of creation have their own lives. They inveigle your inner world, reroute your hard drive through the thermo link coupling and then via the auxiliary engines….

never would have thought of that, mon.

Somewhere between having a lama for a house guest and doing the 24 hours le Mans over half a decade, by snail.

When I first had the idea for this piece, when it had condensed itself in my imagination to the extent that the entirety of life’s aggravation could not put me off the scent, I sat myself down and wrote out a contract listing a number of annoying things I had to take into consideration and accept/agree to in the process..

stuff like repossession..

yes, ok….

And de policeman…

thankyou….

well, but the crucial thing was not the outer trouble I was in, it was that I and me had to hold fast enough together, create enough inner cohesion and bloody minded determination to get it done. Its like a military exercise..

as well as act of devotion…

…a route march through shade and tone and line.

people say , ‘oh, you must be so patient’, but mostly as a way of excluding themselves from Art’s possibility.. And so i go, ‘no, its just that I’m not in a hurry in the first place.’ I’m a plodder. A fizzing plodder. And finishing it all is bound to be a kind of damp, squibby, fizzly out….ish… depression.

Only when we bear our situation and accept our depression will it be possible for us to change internally. ~Carl Jung, Children’s Dreams Seminar, Page 373.

I once walked the Offa’s Dyke walk one summer. It’s 300 kms of Welsh hills all along the border with England, built by King Offa back in 1062 to keep the barbarian English out.

En route I teamed up with a couple of other guys who caught up with me at the foothills of the Black Mountains. The younger was 6’4”, 25 years old of muscle and testosterone. The older was 50ish slightly built, walking staff.. He continuously held us up with tea breaks and various nonsense, advising us on how to skruch up our toes in the dirt and air our socks………..

Only after a while did i realise he really knew what he was on about. He wasn’t just interfering. I began to study the man. He really knew how to walk. He always seemed to be lighting his pipe or taking in the view across the valley without falling back. The younger guy was huffing and puffing, passing up the umpteenth offer of a brew up in favour of ‘getting on’. but he never seemed to get ahead and by the time we got to Kington he was unable to walk at all and we had to shovel him onto a bus home.

The older guy and I then walked another 100km. Taking in the veiw, finding nice dry trees to have a brew up beneath and enjoying the Abundant Deliciousness of everything.

The key to success is to love what you do so much that you’d be happy taking forever over it. Where every delay is just one more opportunity to perfect the craft, and every moment of not knowing what comes next, the chance to muse on the wonder of life.

 

Narcissistic Seduction.

Its amazing what you can get away with.

you mean, not getting caught out by others…?

No silly, not getting caught out by that very worst of critics…

Brian Sewell, Robert Graves….

idiot, your own self!

what self?

Exactly! Narcissists are renowned for being obsessed with themselves, but its a misnomer. They have no self. Only self-image, which is very different.

How?

Self is the totality of who you are, spirit, shadow, warts and all. Self image is something you can  manufacture in your garden shed with paper clips and bits of string, breath life into and turn into a solid something. Someone to be reckoned with….

sounds great, just like God….

yep, only that’s where the hell begins, for you and everyone else in the equation.

How can it be hell if you are god?

Well, because giving yourself permission to invent yourself as you please comes with loads of small print. Narcissism is actually a torment, and much more for the narcissist than those around them though it may not seem like that.

Boyakasha! You kiding? I am so cooool…

yeah, for as long as you work at it. The torment of the narcissist is that its not just the shadow, the human imperfection and vulnerability of life  that has to be projected onto others  but also the Self, the sense of inner wholeness that comes from accepting who we are, that too has to be continuously exported….

takes a lot of effort…

oh yeah, its a full time job and like addiction, eats your life away… When the Self is projected, others are expected to redeem you which they can’t and are therefor experienced as sadistically witholding, or the Self is identified with in a grandiose way wherein others are experienced as worthless.

You make it sound lonely…

Oh yeah it is, but there is a super devilish bit in the contract that will make it aaaallll better.

tellmetellmetellmetellmetellmetellme..

you don’t have to feel any of it…

thank god

and your conscience is eternally clear, like you had some software that just wipes the slate clean from one moment to the next..

like an internal….negate and delete button.

You got it.

Yay!

lets take my favourite biblikal hero David,

wot slew Goliath..

the very same..

and became the first heroic king of the twelve tribes?

precisely

he who was beyond stain and beloved by god ?

yes,yes

immortalised for ever as the pure scribe wot penned the psalms?

exactly, now if i may conti…

who ruled the land  for forty years?

oh for fuck sake…

and was chiselled in marble by Michealangelo as a vision of masculine virtue….erotic yet innocent, powerful in form but gentle in demeanour…

dear god, can I tell the story?

of the greatest, most noble…

Murdered Saul and his general in cold blood…

most beautiful and comely..

commited adultery with Bethsheba and killed her husband Uriah with malice of forethought….

more praise…

killed two of his sons…

further adulation..

protected rapists..

further further further…

confessed the sins himself…

heaping even greater mounds of……

was punished by the Almighty…

of great and powerful ki….

and yet when the faithful are presented with the facts, out of their own book cry…

Who are we to critisise????

despite the breach of three commandments..

it was a lapse of judgement.

Narcissists feel superior and important and so entitled to be above the law and to engage in behaviors that are frowned upon and considered socially unacceptable in others. They reject and vehemently resent all limitations and conditions placed upon them.  Sam Vaknin PhD

As above…

The suggestion that a metaphorical Matricide is necessary for the evolution of consciousness is, I think, fatalistic. Its a confusion between what has happened and the way things have to be. Its like saying, ‘Oh, It was the will of God. It was meant to be.” Or, more crudely, ‘Whatever happens is deserved and therefore right,” and simply serves to absolve ourselves of responsibility and bestow the events of history with ad hoc justification.

Ok, come on what’s eating you now?

Well, its just that wherever you turn, learned heads nod over the demise of ancient and peaceable people who had a balanced gender perspective on things, claiming it couldn’t have happened differently.

and so…

Well, if we claimed that Hitler was inevitable and what he did was part of the evolution of consciousness I’d have an angry mob at the door in no time.

Yeeees…and…

So how is that different from saying that highly evolved civilisations where the goddess was venerated alongside her male consorts had to be overrun and destroyed as part  of some ‘natural process’?

clearly bollocks, but still… your point?

It means that my natural revulsion toward neatly tied packages has to overrun my attachment to my favourite pet theorists…

Oh dear, that.. Disillusionment in your heroes?

yeah

Sorry, never mind, you need to think about what the word disillusionment actually means…

Thanks, so …..the problem with stating that..

without illusion..

the problem with stating that amazing systems like the Sumerian civilisation which valued the masculine and feminine equally ‘had to crumble’ is that we are just handing over power and authority to others whose usurpation is given credibility and divine sanction simply by virtue of their having pulled off some act of uber aggression…

that’s the way of the world…

and 9/11?

er….

thankyou, now shut up and listen… The child only has to struggle free in a violent way if the maternal principle concerned is smothering him. Painting the feminine as some cthonic figure to be overcome as though she were simply a dragon to begin with, is a version of reality promulgated by the patriarchy which refuses to share the stage he’s busy smashing his guitar up on, and using spin that would make Alistair Darling blush, to present the feminine as though she were the shadow she throws.

Its like giving someone a character reference simply on the basis of negative traits, forgetting that the Principle of Relatedness wants her child to fulfil his own destiny and sometimes has to shove him out of the door to do so.

The equation between the unconscious/feminine and the conscious/masculine in some kind of Mexican stand off is excessively simplistic, though it is indeed a recapitulation  of an age old prejudice employed by the church to suppress and demonise what it can’t control…

just goes to show how deeply such attitiudes infiltrate modern thought…

And of course it is indeed a necessary part of the hero’s journey to discriminate and be torn between opposites but there is a distinction to be drawn between separation and being split, and its only in the latter situation that daggers have to be drawn.

In the judeo-christian system the divine image is only transcendent. This has led to the perception that consciousness can only be the same. As such it must be antagonistic to the unconscious on the basis that the father as Law and the mother as Nature are irrevocably set against each other.

In other cosmologies we find that differentiation is symbolically represented as a pair of lovers rather than as aggressors. The image of Geb and Nut in Egyptian mythology are presented as  co-operating equals in eternal erotic embrace as are Shakti and Shiva in the Hindu pantheon.

These cosmological beginnings  are older than written record or human memory. They suggest that consciousness of individuality originated way further back in antiquity than our capacity to trace it, anxious as we are to claim it as a recent phenomenon as though consciousness could only belong to us….

in our age..

like kids in the playground going, ‘Its my game’!!!

Also suggested is that the differentiation of I from Thou, with a corresponding inner dialogue between I and Me, or, in fact, the capacity for reflection, need not depend on violent subjugation of anything.

so below…

 

Anxiety and Depression.

Why do people regress?

Its a response to trauma. We go back to where it’s safe, to Mother.

But what if the trauma itself is loss of Mother?

Degradation of the status of Motherhood, stripping it of sacred context, is going to damage its modus vivendi. This is bound to give rise to compensatory, narcissistic defences to bulwark raging inner emptiness.

Sincs we can’t (daren’t) blame God for this we blame the Enemy, the rival predatory suckling, the dark brother, a phantasy demon born of deprivation who holds, who must hold, the good stuff.

Our spiritual emptiness is then ameliorated by riteous hate of the rival whom we can then blame for all our ills.

But there is a problem with this. In order to cover over our anxiety and depression we have to be at war. With ourselves and one another.

We go to war so as to afford ourselves the means to smooth an eternal path of prejudice and depersonalisation over our neighbour, the hated rival, whom we must experience as inferior as well as unduly favoured.

This means that prejudice and paranoia are intrinsic to monotheistic culture. It begins with mockery and ends with napalm.

Reducing the divine feminine to a whore riding her beast in Revelations, paraded up and down like a condemned prisoner prior to execution, has resulted in the collective depletion of the Western psyche. It has had consequences that have washed down through the centuries, culminating in alienation, compulsive aggression, instant gratification and the analyst’s couch.

The narcissistic schism this creates in families is not simply that parents are preoccupied with themselves and the nagging sense of their own incompletness. The absence of the Principle of Relatedness means that they struggle to find value in their kids or pleasure in their company.

The ‘me, me, me,’ is a default position resulting from a de facto failure to attribute sufficient significance to one another or to derive real nurture from our relationships.

Without value inherently invested in the Other we become isolated and shut off, compelled to revisit the underlying and unacknowledged horror of Mother’s loss in any number of substitute situations whilst vainly keeping our heads above water by the power that riteous indignation and eternal sabre rattling has to keep the fragmenting psyche together.

Freud observed that people lose their neuroses during times of war. Why? Because, win or lose, they feel vindicated, can band together and have something other than the condition they were born into to feel anxious and depressed about.

I have been to war so I know about this stuff. We were always so upbeat about everything, even when we knew we were losing. Why? Because the issue of an outer victory was a secondary consideration next to the inner need to have others carry our inferior feelings….

even though they won….

yep, just goes to show how non-rational such things really are. The losers can still de-value the victors and collectively identify with one another in lieu of relatedness.

Or just go and start another war…

Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, Iraq.

And its not for oil, or political ideology. Its the need to aggressively ramp up the projection of the Dark Brother so that the fractured template of our spiritual paradigm can be knit back together just that little bit more than it might if peace broke out.

Our Collective Narcissism is caught in a trap. To get out we have to afford the other with value, or at least validity. All the feelings of deadness and loss then wing their way home across the nomansland that formerly separated us from those fragments of soul which give testament to our inner poverty.

What this means is that the resolution to narcissim is by way of anxiety and depression.

Our only health is the disease,

If we obey the dying nurse-

Whose constant care is not to please,

but to remind of our and Adam’s curse

That to be restored

Our sickness must grow worse. T.S. Eliot   East Coker.

Rather than fixing them or using behavioural techniques of suppression we are challenged to live with our affliction, find meaning in them, to acknowledge that there really is something going on to be anxious and depressed about.

‘We become enlightened, not by imagining beings of light, but by going down into the dark’. Carl Jung

Anxiety and Depression are dirty words for the most part. We spend billions annually combating them, little realising that it is our defensive attitude that exacerbates and causes the very condition we are wanting to diminish.

If we would heal our divided self it is by way of embracing the loss of relatedness and mutuality that our superior, holier-than-thou attitudes have bought us. Being ‘positive’ won’t cut it. We have to find a way of relieving what we consider to be ‘negative’ of the stigma we are so determined to attach to it. Only then will we find the humility and compassion to live peacefully with ourselves and with one another.

Pathological Entitlement

One of my childhood memories is of my father pulling the family car up to a ‘Strictly No Parking’ sign and dinging it with the bumper.  We were the only car in the lot.

In time he bought me my first car, 50 bucks worth of ageing deathtrap. No MOT, no insurance, no licence. Every breach of the rules lost in his bestowing gift.

I abandoned it on the road side within a month ‘cos it wasn’t running right and bought a motorbike. No licence, no experience, no insurance, no helmet. Got to the first junction, crossed it on one wheel and very nearly killed a pedestrian on the far side.

I was Priviledged. I didn’t have to play by the rules. But the almost-accident bought me up short and made me begin to question my entitlement.

Entitlement was  what held my parents together, and the racially segregated community of which we were a part. It was their legacy to me and so I soaked it up like you do…

…being all there was on offer.

I began to realise, not only that it was all a con, but that I was actually a deprived child. All the specialness and priviledge and being exempt from the rules was compensation for lack of love. I was given a pile of ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ cards in lieu of affection.

It had a lot to do with the intensely patriarchal world in which I was raised. Colonial Rhodesia was an Edwardian garden party of Priviledge. Pimms, boaters and side arms. A man’s world in which women were pegged just a tad above non-white folk and Nature was just cover for gooks.

No surprise that the sons of Empire mostly turned out pretty narcissistic. Tin pot princelings who’d sell each other out, and their grandmothers, for any extension of rights and status. The motif at the local monument read, ‘ That Might have Right, and Have it More Abundantly.’

Thing is, such a compensation culture is only pitched a notch or two above what the rest of polite society is still up to. The feminine is collectively devalued. Nature is there simply for the plundering, or perhaps to lie down in on your favourite monogrammed beach towel and conventional religion is an old boy’s club that has been resting on its laurels for so long they’ve mashed it into the upholstery.

What all these sons of empire never got was that if the feminine is devalued then so is mothering. Their mothers. Their Ground of Being.

The problem for children in the West is that mother is invariably a dissatisfied woman.   S. de Bouvoir.

If mother is devalued but her face remains the primary mirror for a nascent sense of identity what is the child to experience of itself?

What a baby sees in its mother’s eyes is what baby takes itself to be. If the mirror is broken or distorted then baby is also broken/distorted.

Baby cannot move forward. Its not safe enough. There isn’t enough containment. If baby is not in his rightful place, in arms, because Mum is drowning her sorrows, or back at work trying to prove her worth, or off at bingo trying to top up on some girl time, or holding baby but gingerly because she’s had her own instincts and self confidence eroded to the point that she’s lost faith in her own abilities, then the need to be in his rightful place, a place to which Nature has promised him entitlement as though it were the Promised Land since he was still in utero, is frustrated and denied…

and unfinished…

Moreover, if baby is having to shoulder not only mother’s sense of inferiority, incalcated in her since she herself was a baby,  but,  in addition, projections of the Self which mother must also export given that society has afforded her no schooling or experience of owning this within her own psyche, then baby is landed with a heady cocktail of not being good enough on the one hand (which requires extremes of compensation) and Mother’s divine image on the other which is going to blow his own sense of self out of all proportion.

This ‘priviledged child’ is finally given the existential coup de grace by being allowed to behave pretty much as he pleases by Mum,  desperate to make up for the very real deprivation she senses she’s an unwitting party to – and there you have a recipe for all the petty despotism you can conceive, all getting gently baked on an oven setting marked ‘self importance’, and served up with a penchant for co-dependence and a side order of addictive tendencies.

The heady realms of the godlike must, after all, be regularly fuelled.

Splitting and Regression.

In the way that its so easy not to talk about stuff that isn’t there..

any more..

we puzzle over our symptoms endlessly because their roots are as lost in antiquity as they are in our earliest childhood.

back inna day..

the goddess Wisdom/Hokmah/Sophia was deposed. Our own connection to Nature was blocked. A millenial dam of unexpressed need began to build up seeking expression, but in a distorted  way.

When the Goddess is broken in three pieces and thrown into the sea in Revelations, this represents a final stage in the splitting of the feminine principle that has been underway since Gilgamesh chops down the sacred grove of Humbaba/Cybele.

In the story of Abraham  it is represented by him having three wives, one of which is Sarah his half sister and two others who are concubines. One, Hagar, is ‘given’ to Abraham by Sarah and therefor clearly a slave. The three fragments of the divine feminine become three archetypes.

none of them very happy, mon.

We think of all this stuff as not having much relevence to us but the plain fact is that the modern male is run through with this splitting of the feminine into virgin/mother/whore. Women are then either untouchable and simply to be provided for in a slavish way, or they are slappers to be treated like shit, or  they are jealously depersonalised as the embodied imago of romantic love to be longed for from afar.

doesn’t work very well…

Or, worse, the pieces of the goddess are projected into matter (mater) and we get  fascinated with possessions and all kinds of totemic stuff  which we crave, and polish, and stroke….

forever hungering…

By Abraham’s time we can already see the deterioration of consciousness that this rejection of the Principle of Relatedness has caused. In the epic of Gilgamesh, on the cusp of the new patriarchal order, we see both Enkidu and Gilgamesh punished for their inflation. There is a tacit expectation of them to be more conscious.

and to grow themsel’

In the story of Jacob, the ‘good’ grandson of Abraham, we find that inflation is rewarded. Jacob renounces his conscience and takes the route of least resistance in a regressed kind of way. He breaks three commandments in one go without any come back. He is special and exempt from the rules in a way that is reminiscent of aetiological factors in kids with Aspergers.

givemewhatiwantwhatiwantwhatiwant..

And so the die is cast that began with Gilgamesh’s ill fated attack on the Great Mother, now consolidated by Jacob who gets away with his attack on the natural man, Esau, beloved of the Great Mother who insists on people coming before power.

Jacob’s subsequent wrestle with his conscience dislocates his hip, a wound reminiscent of the wounded thigh of the Grail King, a wound symbolic of the failure to join the quest for the grail which must begin by honouring the birthright of the dark brother.

We think of the evolution of consciousness as a linear thing.

it ain’t neccessarily so..

We know perfectly well that trauma can cause splitting and regression. This can happen collectively just as it can individually.

There’s a tacit assumption in the literature that the subjugation of the divine feminine was essential, a neccessary condition for the emergence of consciousness. Erich Neumann uses the example of the natural shift of a child’s focus from mother to father as a metaphor, but Mum does not have to be chopped up and thrown into the sea in the process. The child’s frame of reference simply increases to include both without having to renounce anything except his own specialness.

The pattern of violent transition that it does fit however, with its corresponding ‘abaisment’, a lowering of the threshold of consciousness, and traumatic separation that can induce splitting is that of adolescent initiation.

This suggests a number of things. Firstly, that the birth of consciousness happened way before popular estimates, perhaps tens of thousands of years ago. Secondly that modern conscoiusness may well be way below what it was for perhaps the majority of the neolithic period. And thirdly, that the  transition to full human maturity requires a return to the Great Mother from the collective initiatory wilderness

… lest it swallow us up.

What we learn from stories is not necessarily the moral that was intended. What we learn from the disturbing story of Jacob is that specialness is a goal rather than something to be renounced and grown through.

De small print of the Covenant is dat God is not bound by it..

Well observed. In the meantime  that internal split is kept wide open with the double message that you must have absolute faith in whatever I do given the proviso that I may change my mind at any moment.

Dat’s not fair!!

And in return I will let you kill off your dark brother for generation after generation without remorse or guilt and live riteously in your own lands as kings of the world…….

Er… so that comes with a squeaky clean conscience and,..you know.. invading people for their own good… if our cause be just?

yes

And booty….

yes

and..dancing girls?

yes

Ok, its a deal.

Yes!

 

A Bit of Gossip.

The Apocrypha is a collection of  ancient books excluded from the official Bible. The term means, ‘things hidden away’, and they had to be for hundreds, even thousands of years. Possession of one of these books could get you killed.

Painfully killed.

And why?

because they were complicated?

No, because they made people think and ponder and ask embarrassing questions.

like why is God so cranky?

Yes, but way more than that. Some books were sooo forbidden that they didn’t even make it as far as the Apocrypha. The book of Enoch was one such super forbidden book.

How forbidden?

Well, it was thrown out by the Council of Laodicea in 364 AD…… and never seen again until the late 19th century when an explorer found a few copies in Ethiopia that had been squirreled away before the Council got their angry paws on it.

They suppressin’ consciousness…..

Big time. And when you read it, which you can these days without having your finger nails pulled out, it reads like a fairly standard Old Testament book. And it was written by Enoch himself mostly, who was only 7 generations from Adam which made him Noah’s great Grandad.

Aw, and still they didn’ wannit?

Nope, one of the few truly antediluvian texts, nearly 6 thousand years old, full of stuff about floods and wrath and angels. Just what you’d expect.

So, what was the problem?

Well, it didn’t quite match up to St Augustin’s veiws on… morality.

They had rude bits?

Very rude, and also.. er.. a different account of why the flood was necessary….

I know, because we’re bad..

Not quite. It was all a very embarrassing kerfuffle. The problem wasn’t human lust but Angels’ lust…

Angels got lust?

have a peek..

In the generation of my father Jared some of the angels of heaven transgressed the word of the Lord.  And behold they commit sin and transgress the law, and have united themselves with women and commit sin with them, and have married some of them, and have begot children by them….

There was more than  the one fallen angel…?

Yeees, about 200 of them actually, rebelled against you know who and decided to come down to earth and find human wives. Which is why women in that part of the world wear shawls over their hair to this day.

So, the Angels can’t spot them?

Quite so, anyway they didn’t stop there. They taught us all kindsa interesting stuff, like Secrets of Plants and Healing and beautification of the eyelids…

Wisdom/Hokmah stuff….

Shhhh….!

DONT SPEAK HER NAME…

Sorry, please forgive my foolish friend…. Like Prometheus, Azazel and his mates gave us lots of knowledge which pissed God off really badly. And there’s more…

more embarrassment?

You bet. Why do you think all those angels showed their fancy to the ladies?

‘Cos God was getting divorced and they were on …..Her side?

Ssshhh… and more…. The angel Uriel who was ‘good’, went and showed Enoch all the stars of Heaven and their names and what they meant.

They were constemlations  of power…….

Yes, he’s given the tour of heaven, knows where the powers are and how to access them. And it seems like even Uriel prefers the moon over the sun if you get my drift…

For the sun changes oft for a blessing or a curse,
And the course of the path of the moon is light to the righteous

Oooohh…

Yeah, and it turns out that the flood was sent to wipe out the children of the angels except…

What?

Noah was the child of an Angel himself…. when he was born

his father Lamech was afraid of him and fled, and came to his father Methuselah. 5. And he said unto him: ‘I have begotten a strange son, diverse from and unlike man, and resembling the sons of the God of heaven; and his nature is different and he is not like us, and his eyes are as the rays of the sun, and his countenance is glorious. 6. And it seems to me that he is not sprung from me….

Ooops! An God let him live..?

that all the children of men may not perish through all the secret things that the Watchers have disclosed and have taught their sons.

That is a bit embarrassing…

There’s worse.. He mentions She Who Must Not be Named himself…

Wisdom went forth to make her dwelling among the children of men,
And found no dwelling-place:

 Whom she sought not she found,
And dwelt with them,

As rain in a desert
And dew on a thirsty land.

So, Wisdom lives  amongst us .. and Noah was the son of an Angel…but if he, then we…

Ssshhh….