Feet of Clay.

If there was a prize..

like an Oscar..?

like an Oscar,.. for who most influenced the course of history, who would get your vote? Darwin, Einstein…

Bob Marley, Jimi Cliff..

Charlemagne, he’s a goodun, uh uh uh, beheading in the name of the lord, that’s culture, real culture. Yep, you don’t get visionary kingship like that anymore…uh..

My vote would go to Nebuchadnezzer…

Neb.. I cant even pronounce that.

Neb, Great King Neb, scourge of the Assyrians. He was more than your average angry man in a chariot.. he shaped the way you and I think, feel and value.

..well, being at the head of chariots without number has that effect…

..he was on a mission to shape experience itself. Its with him that being separate from Nature becomes a collective paradigm.

..and cavalry, loads of cavalry..

..with a bee in his bonnet about having been a vassal for three centuries to an oppressive mother that holds you back and sucks you dry, Neb rose up with twelve generations of frustrated individuation and subjugation unchained..

…and well, it wasn’t very nice for everyone else.

The main thing however is not.. What Neb Did.

My nomination is not for all the brave and manly tearing up of everything, but for what was going on in his inner world. Its for the way he was going about all his vanquishing and the absentminded power that he had in order to be able to leave vacuums of power wherever he went.

First off, he’s named after Nabu, son and usurper of the goddess Tiamat.

So we know where his allegiances lie..

He wasn’t just conquering lands, he was unifying a mind set.

…like you do when you are desperatly screwed up having torn down your own ontological security symbolised by Neb’s dream of cutting down the Tree of Wisdom….

and you need people to think like you in order to keep a lid on it all.

And if you are vassal king Zedekiah of Jerusalem and you decide to do your own thing one day….

Mesopotamia being faaaaaar away….

Neb will come and do very horrible things to you….   and its the way that he does the horrible thing… that’s so horrible.

Neb praised Marduk, a sky father god  who’d recently tipped his own missus in the sea and so he was alright with Yahweh..

cos they agreed…. on certain things.

What a bastard! And you would give him your vote for the Oscar…?

I didn’t say I liked him. Its the person who’s influenced us most…. I didn’t say it had to be in a good way.

Anyhoo, Neb’s story amplifys the story of Gilgamesh millenia before, the first solar king who chopped down the sacred grove of the Great Mother, only with Neb the consequences are now spelt out a little…

…you don’t just get away with losing the elixir of life, swallowed back up by the snake goddess because you didn’t value it enough..

No, there’s more…

What he then dreams, after chopping down the Tree of Life and cementing his pact with Marduk, speaks to the consequences of such actions for the evolution of consciousness itself.

Its not pretty.

And its not just about what he has done but what he has become.

and what him trying to sell…..

He dreams of a great statue with a gold head, chest and arms of silver, legs and thighs of bronze and feet of clay and iron. A great stone is thrown down on the feet. They crumble and everything collapses.

Daniel, is unequivocal, ”the statue is you, oh great king.’ He prudently dwells on the way this will pan out years from now …  But the statue is also him, Neb and the pivotal place his divided, narcissistic self,  will now have in the collective psyche.

Centuries later its on every corner store magazine rack.. the tarnished star, the false glamour, the cult of persona, bling and celebrity. The drama, the anxiety, the manufactured veneer of feeling.

The symbol of the now divided/constructed king with his secret weakness speaks of a regressed  state, one in which defensive splitting  has to be used to maintain a system that is both imbalanced and lacking internal cohesion.

Without Her you become divided…

It may please us to identify with the gold head and maybe just wear a really snappy suit over the rest, but constructs are temporary and what isn’t taken down will be torn down.

Neb duly succumbs to the inevitable madness that goes with such fragmentation. He cries to Marduk to save him but Marduk seems powerless to intervene and the foolish king is made to live seven seasons in the wilderness.

And still doesn’t get it.

Seven was the sacred number of She Who Mustn’t be Named.


er, ‘course your thing, er greatness…

The thing is that Neb and his jolly cohorts have been moulding consciousness at the point of a sword for over a hundred generations, touting the flaming-rock-in-the-shins version of events as a viable way to live…

Consciousness, which had previously been under shared divine parenthood for the entire neolithic period, does what any kid does in a divorce situation, he barricades himself into ever more restricted corners of the psyche, defensively splitting himself to maintain going-on-being.  But its like drugs, you have to keep doing more of it in order to maintain it.

The child becomes grandiose but mechanical, golden bright but with feet of existential clay that the story tells us will crumble…

that have to crumble….

and in the meantime we have being the best at everything..



The Continuum Concept.

Jean Liedloff wrote a great book called, ‘The Continuum Concept’. She describes in detail the process by which we lose our connection to Nature.

The Continuum, based on instinct and rooted in the body, has been interrupted.

Babies are born with inherant expectations.

top of the list….

that the mother/baby continuum is sacred…

but it ain’t… no mo’

”When the expected does not take place, corrective or compensatory tendencies make an effort to restore balance.”

Like Gilgamesh building de Mother’s bones into him walls….

which just makes things worse because those compensatory gestures have to run forever in order to maintain equilibrium..

which mean that…

”deprivation… will be maintained indiscriminantly as part of development. Instictive forces do not reason. They assume that it will serve the individual to be stabilised according to initial experience.”

that not a good thing…

Not if baby’s experience is that access to mother is restricted…

By her ‘avin no place of honour.

”…a mindless terror of silence. The motionlessness. He screams. Afire from head to foot with want, with desire, with intolerable impatience… He listens.. he opens and closes his fist. He rolls his head from side to side. Nothing helps, it is unbearable.”

Could we compare the experiences of the infant state, Israel?

Being lost in the Desert….

crying into the wilderness…   rending  garments and gnashing teath…with tears and lamentations and ‘wherefore art thou…..?’

For the first time people want borders on their land and start to fight over it, not because there’s not enough to go around but because a defuse panic of disenfranchisment is sweeping consciousness with the absence of Mum. The land is now a part-object, the down graded receptacle for the experience of the divine feminine, and land-to-have rather than Nature-who-provides.

Suddenly there’s a limit on plenty.

If  the Principle of Relatedness is repressed, all kinds of ontological insecurities will rush to the surface. And though, ostensibly, the person has become perhaps more competent and single minded, underneath they are clingy, vulnerable and controlling. The need for ownership it generates and the use of people as a means to an end can never be sated because the maw it is being used to fill is not of this world.

And the danger is not simply that I immediatly make war on my neighbour. That is the least of my worries. No, it’s that I’m liable to go to war with myself.

Capacity to hold together in times of stress -reduced.

Capacity for inner conflict resolution -reduced.

Capacity to use reason -reduced.

Compassion for self -reduced.

Of course we’re anxious. The inner facets of our psyches are actually less well hinged together than they might be. We need therapists like no other culture. Western Civilization is ontologically riven in its foundations. A fault line that gives rise to the eternal nameless anxiety of our age. Something isn’t quite right. A vague apprehension of having lost… something. An emptiness.

The perennial issues bought to the consulting room, though each is unique in its content, all have the grey tolling of self-estrangement, the anxiety of being un-held by the universe, the unnamed longing and creeping depression that was never supposed to be part of priviledge.

What we’re suffering from is a kind of divine homesickness, of redeeming the dark brother and revaluing the Mother, of really feeling in its proper context what we’re missing…

so that it can be different……

But we don’t because then we’d see who we are and have to act accordingly.

Which is tough..

and so we pretend its not a big deal.

back inna soup.

”The most common form of despair is not being who you are.” S. Kierkegaard.

Not knowing who you are is a lesser demon, one that can almost be house trained by comparison.

We can try to shore up not being who we are, but it takes increasing effort, lashings of co-dependence and covert agreement to a sado-masochistic arrangement thereafter….

which can be useful.

excuse me…?

If a person can’t be clear about who they are, if the temenos created by the Great Mother in which autonomy can safely be explored without loss is then cracked, and I can’t talk to me very well without turning into bits on the kitchen floor..

then definite roles and rules are life-savers.

Hurting and being hurt is predicated on someone-hurting and someone-else-being-hurt….. so the collusive blancmange of  the Mutual Admiration Society needn’t swallow you up.

Everyone knows where they are…

Me Tarzan on steroids

… you Jane on valium, and a little love is allowed into play..


Sure, when everyone is really clear about their roles, as limiting as they might be then anxiety is quelled because everyone knows what the rules are. And when anxiety is quelled a little love might be allowed. Its constricted somewhat but still a creative solution to the problem of how to be together without getting devoured.

I’m not into allat kinky stuff man.

S/M is rarely found at the flamboyant end of the scale. It has a mundane cousin far more common or garden. Circles of domestic spite, dumping and guilt tripping, that serve without fail to create difference and sharply defined identities. Doesn’t really matter what it is , so long as you’re being can be reconfirmed for the umpteenth time.. and if relatedness has to be sacrificed on the altar of ontological security…..

You wonder why the masochist stays, forgetting how much identity and emotion there is in being done to with a clean conscience.




A Psychology of Jacob’s ladder.

So Jacob, having sorely ripped off his brother,

flees Esau’s wrath…

like a bitch..

er, yes… and in the desert he stops for the night. He dreams that a great ladder appears linking Heaven and Earth, with angels and a whole host of beings wandering up and down.

like the Oscars.. with the red carpet?

Kind of….

This dream is usually given the twist of meaning a new and progressive relationship with the Divine. An evolutionary step forward in consciousness. It seems like a two way street is opening up, a fresh concordat rather than just Yahweh plus megaphone. But as with all dreams we carefully need to take up the context…..

Jacob has just betrayed both his kinsmen to the bone,

and no goin’ back…

and he’s done it for earthly power…

and got away with it.

His transformation from Jacob to Israel indicates a new state of consciousness. But in what direction?

Jacob’s new incarnation of himself is as Vanquisher of the Dark Brother.  He has, developmently speaking and in terms of his own individuation, taken the easy road and passed up an opportunity for real growth . He opts to entrench the role of solar hero by being ‘The One’ at any price.

His dream comes on the heels of him depersonalising his brother, disenfranchising him, and cruely mocking his father.

This humiliation of God’s representative, his father, is lost….

..in the drama of looking to the self-same authority for blessing…….

and so the collusion is complete.

Everyone gets to live in bad faith.

When a child is allowed to get away with such stuff they regress and so does Jacob. This ‘special’ back door to God’s private apartments is the very same manipulative ‘gift’ you see time and again bought to therapy, touted as the happy childhood.

The child has in fact been bundled from the trail of how there seems to be no boundaries or rules around, care in fact, and is given some symbolic trinket of superiority as a compensatory gesture that, furthermore, keeps people’s eye off the ball…

of what is going on…

The golden boy has been blessed by Yahweh for stamping all over Esau as a representative of natural law and the Principle of Relatedness irrespective of his humanity.

Now, might has right rather than the other way around. The idealised Yahweh, having split off his shadow into Moab and She who must’nt be named, has a new-best-friend in the equally idealised Jacob/Israel who’s split off his darkness onto Esau.

Its a bromance.

…where both parties can indulge themselves.

God can act out his co-dependence without anyone noticing and Israel can behave without having to reflect or consider, in reality to stay comfortably small , abdicating choice (given I’ll smite you if you exercise the priviledge), and limiting the ceiling of success to the dizzy hights of being well mannered.

This ‘increase’, is only one from the point of veiw of the persona, which has indeed been refined and polished in one tiny corner of the psyche until it shines…

… with the proviso that any kind of relationship is better than none at all which is scarcely the careful  discrimination you might expect from a claim that consciousness is evolving here.

Consciousness is actually traded off against being special. You can do whatever you want so long as you subjugate yourself to Me.

I was at a wedding. A kid of about 7 was running about flicking up the ladies skirts. I grabbed a hold of his arm and growled at him that I’d tell his father if he did it again. My heart sank a little while later when the kid went up to his dad asking for something and the old man said, ‘take what you want..’

Jacob, as representative of the human condition regresses to an earlier developmental stage because Yahweh’s absence of involvement and failure to set more relational boundaries means that the temenos, the sacred space within which transformation takes place is not sufficient to allay overwhelming anxiety.

I can no longer talk to me.

an’ Yahweh acting very strangely…..

So what are we being taught about how to be in a relationship, about family loyalty and …about feelings?

Esau is landed with all the chaotic feelings and Jacob flees his ‘aggression’.

feelings are bad.

But values come from feelings.

‘Feelings always bind one to the reality and meaning of symbolic contents and these in turn impose binding standards of ethical behavior from which (we) are only to ready to emancipate ourselves.’ C. Jung

So, the luxury of being rid of ‘negative’ emotions comes at the price of being able to tell right from wrong.

An being special inste’ of loved.

And the expectation, repeated time and again, of relationships that are soured by a particularly toxic kind of jealousy. Not the jealousy of, ‘oh, you’re going off with someone else’. Or even, that its somehow bound to happen.

Its that you need anyone else in your life but me……..

because I really can be all things to you. Parent, muse, lover, confidant, drinking partner…etc.

No end to dat lis’.

And it would all be perfect and wonderful if only it weren’t for…


red team blue team

Our most ancient stories are full of brothers who lack respect or don’t get on. These stories are more than quaint tales. They are archetypal patterns that can run us from within, default positions that we are patterned for like an old pair of comfy shoes that can, nevertheless, dance you to death.

Tell de story, mon.

I see a lot of people grappling, not with this issue or that, but the fact that we keep doing the same thing over and again. It suggests to me that the repeating stories we find at our earliest beginnings might shed some light on the compulsive repetitions of our own time.

De story…

The theme we find over and again is the one of divided brothers. One of the most fascinating and relevant to our time is the story of Isaac, Esau and Jacob.

I want to ask what this story is doing in such a prominant place, at the birth of a nation-rooted-in-one-God, and what the psychological consequences might be for those who inherit it.

tell de frikkin’ story, for cryin’ out loud…

I’m getting there, shuttup. The story of Esau and Jacob  moves the older story of Gilgamesh and Enkidu on a notch. If you recall, our earliest ever recorded tale is from Sumeria and describes the fate of a king who would not be bound by natural law, who caused the death of his dark brother, Enkidu and built the first city walls to separate himself from the natural world.

Him come to a bad end…

Esau and Jacob, sons of Isaac are likewise divided, light/dark, hairy/smooth, with Esau clearly personifying the natural man, the dark and primitive brother who gets it in the neck.

But dis time with a twist, mon.

A thousand years have passed since Enkidu had to die. And in his absence, the golden boy imago has had the stage more to himself and we find that he has deteriorated quite badly.

De split mo’ subtle…

The demise of the dark brother is now ontological. Esau has his birthright stolen by Jacob who pretends to be his brother by covering himself with the wild skins that Esau wore, then goes to his father Isaac who is almost blind and ask for the blessing that would confer the family inheritance on him…..

So Jacob get de land…

But there’s more. The main piece of this is that despite this awful desecration of natural law and the wicked deception involved, Yahweh sanctions Jacob’s claim rooted in the fact that he was the one to be blessed by Isaac their father.

How he went about it was not material to de case…

Jacob gets to be big boss of twelve tribes and Esau gets…. Edom, you know tucked in there by Moab, washpot thingy..

The significant thing in terms of collective existential security is that you can now no longer count on anything. A blessing is more important than a birthright under even the most deplorable circumstances. Doing now has precedence over Being, and trickery is fine so long as it is sanctioned by authority.

… days of natural law are over…

and Yahweh will hand over the whole of Israel into the hands of a callous cheat simply because he punctuated his betrayal of everything you might hold dear, with submission to the patriarch. The submission is more important than the deception and of greater weight than the Principle of Relatedness which is sacrificed in the process.

But what does this have anything to do with anything…?

Because its the forge in which the Western psyche was shaped. We’re already strapped with the double bind of original sin:


carrying god’s shadow:


but this is a new and different landscape of depersonalisation.

Him get worse…

The way you behave is no longer of any account, for good or ill. Your personhood and character are no longer of interest.  And if I have to stamp all over the ageing bones of my loyal servant to do it I will. Without noticing that I have just emancipated myself from my Conscience…..  and caused the Chosen to Doubt…

God’s mental state is deteriorating. He’s not even trying to justify it by pointing and shouting, or roaring about sin. The ignominious betrayal of Isaac is just shrugged off. He seems less able to give feeling responses to situations, cannot reflect and seems less present as though he were preoccupied with something or some one


I wasn’t… no…. . sorry…. I was just saying, you look a bit… off colour,… bit peaky..


Something particular keeping you awake?


Nothing,.. its just that ….sometimes our conscience keeps us awake, perhaps something you might have… regretted.


….or perhaps inuited, in a sleepy kind of way,  that you just gave us permission to destroy the planet provided we do it in your name.


and that because of  your centre-stage-for-eternity-caper you’re lonely and going a bit mad,


and that without Her we’re all going a bit mad…


and it matters, Oh jewel of my heart, because this is all a bit borderline now.


and as the split grows in you, Oh bounding deer of the Verdant Meadow…


it grows in us.