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Month: September 2013

Love Is Not All There Is

Love Is Not All There Is

  There is a curious tradition in ancient Greek art which shows Eros, the God of love and Pan, the God of nature and sexuality, engaged in a wrestling match. What possible reason would the Greeks have for portraying these two gods battling against each other in this manner? One reason could be that the rise of Christianity, a religion of love, wanted to permanently stamp out Pan, the passionately sexual god of nature. James Hillman comments: The contrast between…

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Pan and Philemon

Pan and Philemon

In his essay, Alchemy and the Subtle Body of Metaphor, psychologist, Robert D. Romanyshyn, makes the argument that soul is neither mental nor physical, but is “another country, as different from mind as it is from matter” (Romanyshyn 24). It is from this country that Philemon, one of Jung’s imaginal guides, originates. One of the questions Romanyshyn asks is whether Philemon is a projection of Jung’s psyche? The answer is no because Philemon “is neither a factual object in the…

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Pan and Synchronicity

Pan and Synchronicity

  In the mythology of Pan, high noon seems to the very best time of day. It was usually at noon that Pan suddenly appeared, causing great panic and terror among whoever was present at the time. Midday, when the sun was at its zenith, a fearful panic would ensue. Noon is one of two liminal times of the day, the other being midnight. These times are almost paradoxical moments, noon being both the height of the sun’s ascent and…

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Animaterialism Modified

Animaterialism Modified

I would like to modify, somewhat, what I have written concerning animaterialism. After reading a passage from Jung, and examining the situation alchemically, I began to rethink my position on the subject. Here is what Jungs says: it always remains an obscure point whether the ultimate transformations in the alchemical process ought to be sought more in the material or more in the spiritual realm. Actually, however, the question is wrongly put: there was no “either-or” for that age, but…

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Pan and the Nymphs Unite

Pan and the Nymphs Unite

Pan and Selene, by Hans von Aachen (1552–1615) There is no access to the mind of nature without connection to to the natural mind of the nymph (Hillman lii). In Greek mythology, the Nymphs are beautiful and nubile female nature deities who rule over a variety of natural phenomena. They are “personifications of the wisps and clouds of mist clinging to valleys, mountain-sides and water-sources, veiling the waters and dancing over them” (Hillman xlvi). Pan spends much of his time…

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Pan and Panic

Pan and Panic

Pan and Syrinx, by Jean François de Troy One of the primary characteristics of the goat-god, Pan, is that he incites panic when he is present. The Online Etymological Dictionary, under “panic,” says Pan “is the source of mysterious sounds that caused contagious, groundless fear in herds and crowds, or in people in lonely spots.” Psychology says that panic, or fear, is one of the four primary affects in animal behavior. It is a natural instinct. We all experience it…

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The Denial of Soul

The Denial of Soul

NASA StarChild image of Stephen Hawking Psychological dictionaries and schools of all orientations agree that reality is of two kinds. First, the word means the totality of existing material objects or the sum of conditions of the external world. Reality is public, objective, social, and usually physical. Second, there is a psychic reality, not extended in space, the realm of private experience that is interior, wishful, imaginational. Having divided psychic reality from hard or external reality, psychology elaborates various theories…

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Pan, the Goat-God of Nature

Pan, the Goat-God of Nature

Art from “Le Imagini de gli Dei de gli Antichi” by Vincenzo Cartari, 1664 There is no Greek god as strange and bizarre as Pan, part man, part goat. Pan was depicted as a man with the horns, legs and tail of a goat, and with thick beard, snub nose and pointed ears. He often appears in the retinue of Dionysos alongside the other rustic gods. Greeks in the classical age associated his name with the word pan meaning “all”….

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The Immortality of the Soul

The Immortality of the Soul

Oil painting of Roger Penroses 5-fold tile configuration * Artist: Urs Schmid * Photo by: Urs Schmid It is as if consciousness rests upon a self-sustaining and imagining substrate — an inner place or deeper person or ongoing presence — that is simply there even when all our subjectivity, ego, and consciousness go into eclipse. Soul appears as a factor independent of the events in which we are immersed. Though I cannot identify soul with anything else, I also can…

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The Branding of the Soul

The Branding of the Soul

Boats on the Neva River (1947), by Nadezhda Pavlovna Shteinmiller (1915–1991) Your body bears a very distinctive mark or brand that exemplifies your purpose, your reason for existing, your fate. What the English language refers to as “character” is an attempt to capture this reality in word form. The word, character, has the following etymological origin: mid-14c., carecter, “symbol marked or branded on the body;” mid-15c., “symbol or drawing used in sorcery,” from Old French caratere “feature, character” (13c., Modern…

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