Soul Spelunker

Exploring the caverns and grottoes of Soul.

Monthly Archives : January 30, 2012

Becoming the Real You

Uncategorized / January 30, 2012 / 1 Comment

Photo by James K. Lindsey What exactly does it mean “to become?” It is change, of course, activity, movement from one state to another. It is a flower closed that turns and opens to the rays of the sun. It is the metamorphosis of a moth into a brilliant butterfly. We can’t help but become. We are constantly changing. Do we need to worry and wring our hands about the future, if becoming is continuously occurring, anyway? If the saying, “Tat Tvam Asi” (Thou Art That), written in the Upanishads is at once true, then what is it I need to become? The whole idea of striving toward an endpoint, …..

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Can We Know the Meaning of Life?

archetypal / January 27, 2012 / No Comments

I realize I’ve been discussing meaning in other articles, namely in my Giegerich commentaries, but I thought I would jot down a few passing thoughts before they flit out of my head. Meaning is a very nebulous topic. Some of us claim we are searching for “meaning in life,” or the lofty “meaning of life.” This sounds very nice, spiritual, and important. But do we really think about what we’re saying? Are we saying we want to translate life’s puzzlements and perplexities into something the rational mind can fully comprehend? The word, meaning, means “the end, purpose, or significance of something (Dictionary.com). Can the mind comprehend the vastness of the …..

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Musings On Atoms, Images, And Monads

Uncategorized / January 24, 2012 / No Comments

Democritus believed the soul is composed of globular atoms of fire. Referring to Democritus, Aristotle wrote, Some say that what originates movement is both preeminently and primarily soul; believing that what is not itself moved cannot originate movement in another, they arrived at the view that soul belongs to the class of things in movement. This is what led Democritus to say that soul is a sort of fire or hot substance; his ‘forms’ or atoms are infinite in number; those which are spherical he calls fire and soul, and compares them to the motes in the air which we see in shafts of light coming through windows; the mixture …..

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The Rejected Woman: A Jungian Take on Hamlet

archetypal / January 23, 2012 / No Comments

The human experience is one of fragmentation. We are dichotomous creatures in a state of disintegration. We have within us both good and evil, love and hate, cruelty and compassion, temperance and excess. We have the ability to experience both pain and pleasure, depression and elation, fear and courage. As Hamlet said, ” ’tis an unweeded garden” (1.2.135), that is, the world is like an Eden overcome with weeds.  Using the model of humans as micrcocosms, one could also interpret Hamlet’s words as pointing to human experience being an unweeded garden. In all of us, there exists things of a goodly sort and things of an evil sort. There also …..

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Vision

Uncategorized / January 22, 2012 / No Comments

Through the imagination man has access to the Gods: through the memoria the Gods enter our lives (James Hillman, Myth Of Analysis, page 180). Imaginatio is the Star in Man, the Celestial or Supercelestial Body (A Lexicon of Alchemy, by Martin Rulandus). Living with the images from a vast storehouse seems god-like. When we access the imaginal realm and its treasure of images, we have scaled Mount Olympus and are communing with the Gods. One of the most significant characteristics of this realm is that within it the things that one encounters—and they are very specific things indeed, ranging from rocks and trees to buildings and entire cities have about …..

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Soul Is Imagination

Uncategorized / January 22, 2012 / No Comments

There seem to be two types of imagination. One is called daydreaming, where one intentionally forms a mental image of something. The other, however, brings forth images spontaneously. This type of imagining seems to be similar to what Jung called active imagination. This is what occurs in dreams and when we enter dreams, allowing them to take whatever shape they want. Soul is imagination.  Soul is vulnerable and suffers; it is passive and remembers. It is water to the spirit’s fire, like a mermaid who beckons the heroic spirit into the depths of passions to extinguish its certainty. Soul is imagination, a cavernous treasury—to use an image from St. Augustine—a …..

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Solve et Coagula

Uncategorized / January 22, 2012 / No Comments

Solve et Coagula is the alchemical process of “dissolve and congeal.” This is a very interesting metaphor for me, since I’ve been discussing the Metaxy, this idea of a middle-region between opposites. I came across this alchemical notion again in the past few days and really connected with it. Some alchemists believe that Soul can become disconnected and lost. It can either be trapped in matter or it can be so high in the ethereal that it is totally ineffectual. Their answer, in the form of their art, is to dissolve the dense and literal substance into something more gaseous (spirit or mind). This is equivalent to matter giving up …..

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Perpetual Motion Machine

Uncategorized / January 22, 2012 / No Comments

Marsilio Ficino’s idea of Soul includes this thought from his commentary on Plato’s Phaedrus: The soul is self-moving; so it is the principle of motion; so it is always being moved; so it is immortal. Thus begins his commentary on Socrates’ argument of the immortality of the soul in the Phaedrus 245c-246a. The syllogism is easily understood and works fine if the basic premise is accepted. That is not, however, what I want to deal with. I want to examine this passage more deeply, as pointing toward a curious idea which first arose in the Middle Ages and was later pursued by hundreds of people for centuries afterward, including some …..

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Insects

Uncategorized / January 22, 2012 / No Comments

The door swung open noisily, as if the answers were riding on molten wings. In the cold blackness within, I saw the key to the abyss lying on a golden nous. When I exhaled, it vibrated eerily, its voice loud and strong. It glowed a brilliant emerald green, indicating the time was at hand.The dawn was coming, but I dared not speak the words I knew should be spoken. I merely listened to the colors which emanated from the key. Suddenly, I felt very inchoate. The wind had blown open one of the frozen clocks on the mantle, which caused it to speak of a bygone era. It told me …..

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The Call Of Hades

Uncategorized / January 21, 2012 / 1 Comment

 I’ve recently reread James Hillman’s book, Dream And The Underworld. It is a truly fascinating work. It’s one of those books that bears reading over and over, for its ideas are very profound. I am most interested in Hillman’s thoughts on Hades and Death. Specifically, I would like to focus on what Hillman refers to as, “the call to Hades” (page 31). He states: Because his realm was conceived as the final end of each soul, Hades is the final cause, the purpose, the very telos of every soul and every soul process…All soul processes, everything in the psyche, moves toward Hades (page 30). Typically, when we hear such statements, …..

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The Watercourse Way

Uncategorized / January 21, 2012 / No Comments

 There is a Taoist principle called Li, which means something like, “the watercourse,” or “patterns of flow.” It is the “order of flow.” It is the amazing dancing pattern of liquid. Lao Tzu taught that water always seeks the lowest, most basic level. In this most basic state, lies a powerful energy. The typical Westerner would find this state of being too passive. The Protestant work ethic, which helped to create the monster, Capitalism, considers this a lazy way of life. Passivity, however, is a good thing. It is a compensation or corrective to our Western hyperactivity. It cools the heat of action. It quiesces our chattering minds. It is …..

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Heaven and Hell

Uncategorized / January 21, 2012 / No Comments

Heraclitus said, “The way up and the way down are one and the same” (Wheelwright 78). Just a few thoughts on this passage: To Heraclitus, there is no difference between up and down. This is totally antithetical to the Western mindset. In our culture, we think of the way up as success and the way down as failure. This motif can be traced back hundreds, if not thousands of years. Where did we get the idea that down is evil and up is good? For example, up is heaven, down is hell; “human development” is good, degradation is bad; maturation is positive, infantile behavior is negative; etc. I think it …..

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A Great Mystery

Uncategorized / January 21, 2012 / No Comments

The thing I am most certain about is the uncertainty of life. For all my years of reading philosophy, mysticism, religious texts, etc. I have no idea what life is about. I have theories, but there is never certainty. There is always a skepticism lurking nearby, which I suppose is always healthy. I am certain that life is a mystery and that I will never rationally comprehend it. Life is the mysterium tremendum. I am certain that profound experiences are authentic, but their source eludes me. In his book, The Idea of the Holy, Rudolf Otto wrote, this mystery is [for humans] not merely something to be wondered at, but …..

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Dark Places

archetypal / January 21, 2012 / 1 Comment

In chapter four of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic work, The Hobbit, the travelers are seeking a path over the Misty Mountains when they are assaulted by a monstrous, soul-wrenching storm. This is how Tolkien describes it:…one day they met a thunderstorm – more than a thunderstorm, a thunder-battle. You know how terrific a really big thunderstorm can be down in the land and in a river-valley; especially at times when two great  thunderstorms meet and clash. More terrible still are thunder and lightning in the mountains at night, when storms come up from East and West and make war. The lightning splinters on the peaks, and rocks shiver, and great crashes …..

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The Eyes Are The Windows To Soul

Uncategorized / January 20, 2012 / No Comments

One of the most important symbols in ancient religion was the eye. A ubiquitous aphorism says, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” I’ve tried to trace the origin of this saying, but it may go back too far. The notion is very old. The Solar eclipse probably played a large role in the formulation of the phrase, for the ancients saw the eyes as solar orbs, enlightening the body.In many parts of the world, the winged sun-disk symbol resembling an eye has been found graven in stone. In ancient Assyria, it represented the sun god, Shamash; in Egypt, the sun god, Re. Many believe that the symbol was …..

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Remembering

archetypal / January 19, 2012 / No Comments

Again we ask: Why don’t we remember? Plato gives us a hint near the close of his Republic, when the souls had each one chosen their lot for their coming birth on earth. Having been warned to have a care and not be covetous, they pass before the three Moirai or Spinners of Destiny. Arriving at sundown at the arid plain of Forgetfulness, they were enjoined to drink “a certain quantity” from the river Lethe. Sagely he notes that “those who were not saved by wisdom drank more than was necessary,” and so forgot “all things.” In those few words lies the whole drama, the tragi-comedy of human existence, and …..

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Encounter With Death

Uncategorized / January 19, 2012 / No Comments

Life and death come into the world together; the eyes and the sockets which hold them are born at the same moment. The moment I am born I am old enough to die. As I go on living I am dying. Death is entered continuously, not just at the moment of death as legally and medically defined. Each event in my life makes its contribution to my death, and I build my death as I go along day by day (Hillman, 59). This is a most curious statement to the literal-minded masses, but it is the most profound truth. Death is encountered within oneself on a daily basis. We would …..

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Musings On Poe’s Descent Into The Maelstrom

Uncategorized / January 18, 2012 / No Comments

We had now reached the summit of the loftiest crag. For some minutes the old man seemed too much exhausted to speak (Edgar Allan Poe, A Descent Into The Maelstrom). On a theme as slight as falling, Edgar Allan Poe succeeds in providing, by means of a few objective images, enough substance for the fundamental dream to make the fall last. To understand Poe’s imagination, it is necessary to live this assimilation of external images by the movement of inner falling, and to remember that this fall is already akin to fainting, akin to death. The reader can then feel such empathy that upon closing the book he still keeps …..

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Transmundanity

Uncategorized / January 18, 2012 / No Comments

The cusp between land and sea beckoned to me from the myriad existences gone before. I stood on the Rim of Time, peering into something, yet nothing. Truly, at this point, “thing-ness” had ceased to be and I was thrown into an enigma.I was blind and saw everything in sweet lucidity. The land was in the grasp of Winter. The forest, hot and steamy, was a haven for living creatures who could not endure the sweltering sultriness of the winter morning. Snow gracefully draped the trees making for a masterful adornment. Nearby, a small pond was ice.Night came and the sun was a roaring conflagration. I heard a flute singing …..

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The Broken Wheel

Uncategorized / January 18, 2012 / No Comments

 I stood before the four judges and wondered what would become of me. Or is it me? Is it Them? Me seems so selfish, so single-minded. I wondered whether they would realize that I wasn’t only me? After much ruminating, it was decided I would spend a season in the bowels of the earth, but not a season. Actually, it was a non-season, if you will. Soon afterwards, (or was it prior to?) We found ourselves in a lovely green meadow, filled with richly colored flowers and emerald grass. There were other selves there as well, all having returned from their just deserts. We told ourselves about our experiences. There …..

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Imagination, The Star Within Us All

Uncategorized / January 16, 2012 / No Comments

Imaginatio is the Star in Man, the Celestial or Supercelestial Body (A Lexicon of Alchemy, by Martin Rulandus). We don’t realize what is available to us. We go through our daily lives, often extremely depressing, usually focused on material things. We forget that all we need do is close our eyes and enter another world. The Imaginal is a vast landscape, an immense cosmos where nothing is impossible. It is not limited by physical laws, the constraints of logic, or space-time constructs we are accustomed to. One of the most significant characteristics of this realm is that within it the things that one encounters—and they are very specific things indeed, …..

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Comments On Jungian Dream Theory

Uncategorized / January 16, 2012 / No Comments

 One flaw to be encountered in Jungian dream theory is the agreement of Jung with Freud that the dream must be brought to the daylight world via interpretation. This is the work of ego-consciousness, forcing the dream up from its abode in the Underworld and away from its natural state. Jungians wants to bring the unconscious into consciousness because they believe this will bring them to a state of wholeness. The alchemical Jungian calls this the opus contra naturam, the work against nature. This is the process of compensation, whereby the psyche, according to Jung, regulates itself: The activity of consciousness is selective. Selection demands direction. But direction requires the …..

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Transmogrification

Uncategorized / January 16, 2012 / No Comments

http://venomxbaby.deviantart.com/  A fierce whipping wind thrust me suddenly into consciousness, albeit a semblance. I was lying on an aery protuberance, jutting out onto a sort of transmogrified terracing of translucence. In the wind-speak, I could hear the voices of aeons gone by. Myriad images raced through my mind, as the inarticulations gushed forth from the violence of the blast. I had chosen this odyssey, and now I was facing the full brunt of its burden.  I had been on a long journey to the least understood parts of the earth, where I had experienced things mere immortals should never witness. It was summer here and rays beat down like drunken …..

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Swimming In Two Worlds

Uncategorized / January 16, 2012 / 2 Comments

Even as a great fish swims along the two banks of a river, first along the eastern bank and then the western bank, in the same way the spirit of man moves along beside his two dwellings: this waking world and the land of sleep and dreams (“Supreme Teaching” in The Upanishads). What would happen to us if we did not visit the Underworld via sleep on a regular basis? There are all sorts of maladies brought on by sleep deprivation that you can read about here at the Wikipedia site. I grow weary of asking why something occurs as it does because this usually ends up at an impasse. …..

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Blackened

Uncategorized / January 16, 2012 / No Comments

Frozen by Sol, I made my way through the labyrinthine forest, stopping only occasionally to gaze at hoary stalagmites growing upwards toward a blackened ceiling. This was a strange place to be for one in my condition. For, you see, I have a disease known as Discontentedness. Some learn to live with it for many years, to the detriment of all green things. But, me, I am one who has sought to escape its fatal clutches. I have chosen this twisted, tangled road I now find myself on, because of its high magic. The horrid sickness is terminal, if allowed to fester. So, I continue on, ever searching. Antagonistically, I …..

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