Soul Spelunker

Exploring the caverns and grottoes of Soul.

Tag Posts : Depth

The Tragedy of Orpheus

archetypal / December 31, 2014 / 1 Comment

The story of Orpheus is very deep. As all archetypal symbols are, one can never exhaust their meanings. This tragic saga is one of the primary myths of depth psychology. According to Robert Romanyshyn, “Orpheus is…the poet of the gap, the poet of the border realms.” 1 Soul is the mediatrix between spirit and matter. This is the realm of the mundus imaginalis, Corbin’s world of the imaginal. Orpheus is its poet. This realm is also the territory where one is haunted by knowing and unknowing, where one discovers something only to realize that one has lost it again. I will deal more with this in my next article.According to …..

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Heraclitus and the Deep Soul

archetypal / October 4, 2014 / No Comments

Heraclitus said, “One would never discover the limits of psyche, should one traverse every road–so deep a logos does it possess.” In this passage, Heraclitus gives birth to a new idea of Soul as limitless depth. He also has some other things to say about Soul which are different than his predecessors. I may explore these in later essays. For now, I will deal with this idea of depth, which is, as far as I can tell, quite a new development in early Greek thought. Prior to Heraclitus, the Greeks understood Soul as “the life-breath or animating ‘spirit’ which departs as a ghost” at the point of death (Kahn, 126). …..

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Treasure of the Unfathomable

archetypal / July 11, 2014 / No Comments

Using the terms of today, we might translate this art as a method of presenting the organization of the collective unconscious too–according to archetypal dominants. The archetypes would correspond to divine imaginal forms used as Aristotelian or Kantian conceptual categories. Rather than logical or scientific laws, mythical figures would provide the a priori structures within the caverns and dens of the immeasurable imagination. All psychic events might be placed in meaningful coherence by means of these mythical structures. In fact, the categories of logic and numbers, of science and theology, could themselves be reduced (i.e., led back) to more basic metaphors of myth. No concepts, no matter how general and …..

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Why is Hermes Important?

archetypal / May 10, 2014 / No Comments

Hermes, as the World Daimon, plays a crucial role in the lives of all human beings. It is he who is responsible for guiding us through our lives via our individual daimons at his command. Don’t forget, we are not speaking literally here; we are creating mythology. Since there is a correlation between the individual and the collective, microsom and macrocosm,  as above, so below, we can compare the roles of the World Daimon and the various invidual daimons. Their whispers in our ears come to us from Hermes, since he is responsible for guiding our souls  to their ultimate destinies. In fact, he is the guide of the collective …..

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The World Daimon

archetypal / May 2, 2014 / No Comments

It makes sense that the World Daimon is the god, Hermes. The World Daimon, as I proposed in my last article, is a god of many faces, ever changing, mercurial. Hermes has traditionally been called a god of many faces. He is guide of souls and messenger of the gods. Hermes is closely linked to the Anima Mundi, as we are closely linked to our daimones. The relationship between soul and daimon is really that of mirror image. According to Henry Corbin, the human soul is individuated not through the union with a physical body (as in Aristotle) but by becoming a perfectly polished mirror of its angel in a …..

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The Changing Face of the Daimon

archetypal / April 29, 2014 / No Comments

Guardian Spirit of the Waters, 1878, by Odilon Redon For this article,  I am assuming James Hillman’s thesis to be true, that everyone has a personal daimon that accompanies one throughout one’s life. Hillman’s book, Soul’s Code concerns this issue. I also take the words of Marsilio Ficino to be true when he said, Whoever . . . scrutinizes his mind . . . will find his own natural work, and will find likewise his own star and daemon, and following their beginnings he will thrive and live happily. Otherwise, he will find fortune to be adverse, and he will feel that heaven hates him (Ficino 169). For background information …..

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Danger Lurks Below

archetypal / March 23, 2014 / 5 Comments

 The supreme danger which threatens individuals as well as whole nations is a psychic danger (Jung 590 ).We usually think of the unconscious mind as being the source of creativity and blessing for our lives. We have been taught that if we could only become more conscious of what lies in the depths below, we would become more balanced and whole. This is true to a certain extent, but there is a ferociousness in the dark abyss of the unconscious that can rip us to shreds. And this is not the case for individuals only. Human societies are also subject to the volcanic, eruptive fury of the unconscious. We have …..

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Aquinas and Spinoza: The Concept of God

Uncategorized / January 10, 2014 / 1 Comment

Throughout recorded history, mankind has envisaged an ultimate being, omnipotent, omniscient, infinite. This being, which we call God, has been described in many different ways, in cultures all over the world. It seems there are as many ideas about God as there are stars in the heavens. In this article, I will set my sights on the ideas of two very famous Western thinkers concerning the conception of God, these being Thomas Aquinas and Benedictus de Spinoza. Initially, an examination of Aquinas’ views will be undertaken. I will then proceed to Spinoza’s ideas of God. Comparison and contrast will be followed by a few thoughts of my own. For Aquinas, …..

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Entelechy and the Will to Power

Uncategorized / January 6, 2014 / No Comments

Ship’s Motif, by Alfred Jensen (1859-1935) In The Entelechy of Animatter, I presented my ideas concerning how the soul serves as the entelechy of all things. Entelechy is the realization of potential. In Aristotle’s thought, soul gives form to matter, thus bringing about the actions necessary for the potential within a thing to come into realization, to be what it is meant to be. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said, “Entelechy is inside of you, like the butterfly is inside of the caterpillar…” Form and matter, as in Aristotle, cannot be separated; they can only be distinguished. In other words, they are a holistic entity that I have called animaterial. …..

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The Benefits of Boredom

Uncategorized / January 2, 2014 / No Comments

L’ennui, by Gaston de la Touche In 1964, Isaac Asimov peered down through the corridors of time to 2014 and made the following prognostication: …mankind will suffer badly from the disease of boredom, a disease spreading more widely each year and growing in intensity. This will have serious mental, emotional and sociological consequences, and I dare say that psychiatry will be far and away the most important medical specialty in 2014. The lucky few who can be involved in creative work of any sort will be the true elite of mankind, for they alone will do more than serve a machine (Visit to the World’s Fair of 2014, New York …..

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Call of the Daimones

Uncategorized / January 1, 2014 / 1 Comment

Aeneas and the Sibyl, by John Martin When the daimon calls, one must answer. I get these incredible urges to read, write, soak up every bit of wisdom and knowledge from those who have followed their daimons before me. I regret the times I have not been pulled in this direction. There are several selves within, however, which compel all of us. I have written of this before. My primary ones are the philosopher self and a computer technologist self. There is also a musical self there, as well. The philosopher archetype is the most potent and compelling of the three, as this blog is testimony to. The technology self …..

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Time for Art

Uncategorized / January 1, 2014 / No Comments

Portrait d’Aristide Capelle, by Richard Heintz To the introvert, there can be no creative insight without time spent with oneself, with one’s daimon. Time is so precious, especially as one grows older. In youth, it seemed devoid of meaning; life was so carefree and frivolous.There was so much time to do whatever one desired. But now, it races by at a breakneck pace. Having the ability to spend sufficient time with oneself is a privilege reserved for either the unemployed, and thereby destitute, or the very wealthy. The working-class, even if intensely moved by the Anima Mundi, must be excellent time-managers in order to bring forth any innate creative gifts. …..

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Introduction to Animaterialism

Uncategorized / December 29, 2013 / No Comments

Khan Altai, by Grigory Gurkin These are a set of revised statements that have appeared in previous articles. They reflect my evolving views. -MD We are…left dangling in the paradox of corpsed matter and incorporeal mind – the first dead, insentient and without the possibility of meaning or creativity, the second a ghost, a mere figment or phantasm “squirted out” by chance arrangements of the first. Yet it was precisely this subjective “fiction” that had somehow managed to construct the objective world picture in the first place (de Quincey 37). The source of all dualistic concepts is our Western tendency to project onto Nature two distinct substances from what I …..

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Alchemy: The Vessel

archetypal / December 23, 2013 / No Comments

Without a proper vessel, none of the processes of of alchemy can be accomplished. There must be a container in order to differentiate the various substances from the massa confusa, of which Thomas Moore writes, “It takes a special frame of mind, a particular archetypal viewpoint…to enter the alchemical massa confusa…” The unconscious is this chaos, the prima materia of the Great Work. The need for a vessel begins the alchemical stage called separatio.The alchemical vessel is a space that performs the function of transformation. It is both an imaginal space and a physical space. What is in the earth composes the animaterial vessel, whether it be glass, metal, stone, …..

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Alchemy: The Soul of Metals

archetypal / November 28, 2013 / No Comments

…perhaps the metals take pleasure in their alterations and enjoy the discipline imposed upon them by extracting their ore-bodies and the smelting (Hillman 491). The soul spelunker is always searching for treasure beneath the surfaces of things. In the alchemical inquiry, one is richly rewarded in this endeavor. The metals of alchemy, because they are animaterial substances, correspond to the gods, just as their associated planets do. In fact, all things can be imagined back to a specific god. In the previous article, I touched upon the planetary associations of the seven noble metals: Moon    Mercury   Venus    Sun    Mars    Jupiter    Saturn silver      mercury    copper  gold   iron      tin           …..

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Alchemy: Spirits in the Earth

archetypal / November 27, 2013 / No Comments

  Things on earth, especially the metals in the earth, are in touch with the gods; they bear mythical messages. There is a spirit in the iron, in the lead, a spiritus rector, a guiding principle that teaches the artisan (Hillman 477).It is not the artist alone who creates the masterpiece. Materials, brought forth from the earth, also contribute to the work. As with alchemy, art is never an objective work of artist upon the materials. The materials are close to the gods and have a voice in how they are transmuted. I am reminded of Michaelangelo and the manner in which he chose a block of marble. He saw the …..

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Alchemy: In the Service of Nature

archetypal / November 23, 2013 / 2 Comments

  The Promethean archetype, the desire to steal that which was meant to serve Nature and use it exclusively for human purposes, should not be the blueprint for the practitioner of alchemy. Even individual soul-making, if focused solely on the human, does not assist the Anima Mundi in her transmutation. The primary task of the alchemist, his passion, is to further the improvement of the World Soul. The alchemical practice is not to carry out the Promethean aim of what is best for humanity. Rather, it is more akin to a religious devotion to Nature. Certainly, this is a dichotomizing of humanity and Nature. In reality, they are one and the …..

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The Fire of Alchemy

Uncategorized / November 20, 2013 / 3 Comments

Photo by Malene Thyssen Most of us who delve into the work of Carl Jung have encountered at least something he said about alchemy, that ancient art which Jung single-handedly restored to serious study in our modern age. Many of us know that, in it, he saw parallels with his theory of individuation, lead being transformed into gold, the integration of the Self. Yet, how much do we realize the immense importance of the truths he uncovered with this discovery? Of a surety, the alchemical process is probably the single best description, in metaphorical form, of not only what occurs in the human psyche, but what occurs in Nature in …..

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Neykia: Descent to the Underworld

archetypal / November 10, 2013 / No Comments

Illustration of Dante’s Inferno, Canto 22, by Stradanus, 1587   In many accounts of the lives of individuals of genius, there are mental and/or physical breakdowns, where the person is hurled into a torturous abyss for a time. Their souls become a whirling vortex of suffering, confusion, and disintegration. Usually, this experience precludes normal activities and is many times accompanied by some physical malady. The person becomes withdrawn as if buried alive under the weight of suffering. Usually, their souls split into fragments and war against each other. Jung used the Greek word, nekyia to describe the “perilous adventure of the night sea journey” (Jung Alchemy 329), which he describes …..

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The Doctors of Soul: Gustav Fechner

archetypal / November 10, 2013 / No Comments

Gustav Fechner I thought I had ended my Doctors of Soul series, but I keep coming across remarkable individuals like Gustav Fechner who have contributed so much to modern depth psychology. Therefore, from time to time, I’ll post another installment in the series. I have other subjects in mind for future articles. For instance, one must say something about Henry Corbin. As James Hillman said there are “even more branches which have yet to be traced” (Hillman xvii) in the ancestry of psychology. Gustav Theodor Fechner was born in 1801 in Groß Särchen, a village in western Poland, Fechner rose to prominence in the nineteenth century as a brilliant philosopher, …..

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Going Deeper Into Hades

archetypal / November 5, 2013 / 2 Comments

Elisium, by Leon Bakst Everything would become deeper, moving from the visible connections to the invisible ones, dying out of life (Hillman 30). The realm of Hades is the source of the soul’s limitless depth. There is no time there, thus there is no movement, no change at all. Needless to say, Hades is not a literal place, but a psychological domain. It is a land within the mundus imaginalis. Hillman writes that “all psychic events have a Hades aspect” (ibid.). All experiences of the psyche are like leaves floating on the surface of the Acheron, drifting ever gently toward the abode of the dead. One deepens one’s experience by …..

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The Doctors of Soul: Sigmund Freud

Uncategorized / October 27, 2013 / No Comments

Freud, circa 1900 What can we say about the great Sigmund Freud that hasn’t already been said? Even though I disagree with him on many points, there is no doubt the man was one of history’s great minds. Without his paving the way for those who followed him, especially C.G. Jung, would we even be discussing depth psychology as we do today? Instead of rehashing Freud’s biography, I will merely quote two pertinent paragraphs from the Wikipedia article about him: Freud was born to Jewish Galician parents in the Moravian town of Příbor (German: Freiberg in Mähren), part of the Czech Republic, the first of their eight children. His father, …..

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The Doctors of Soul: Wilhelm Dilthey

Uncategorized / October 25, 2013 / No Comments

Wilhelm Dilthey, circa 1855 Wilhelm Dilthey has earned a place among the Doctors of Soul, primarily, for his work in hermeneutics, and the humanities. Dilthey was a German philosopher, historian, and psychologist. In 1833, two years after the death of Hegel, Dilthey was born in Biebrich, Hesse, which is a borough of Weisbaden. His father was a Reformed Church theologian, his mother the daughter of an orchestral conductor. Dilthey studied theology in Heidelberg and Berlin, but then transferred his attention to philosophy, taking his doctorate from Berlin in 1864. He taught at Basel, Kiel, and Breslau from 1866-1882. With the passing of R.H. Lotze In 1882, he would be elevated …..

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The Doctors of Soul: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

archetypal / October 20, 2013 / No Comments

In his own words, Coleridge only ever ‘seem’d’ a poet (PW I 2 1145); what he was was a sort of Sandman, a weaver of elusive ‘Day-Dreams’, ‘Sorts of  Dreams’, ‘Reveries’, ‘Visions in Dream’, and ‘Fragments from the life of Dreams’ (Toor 1). Samuel Taylor Coleridge is considered one of the greatest of the English Romantic poets. He was born in 1772 in Devonshire, England to his father, the Vicar of Ottery, the Reverend John Coleridge, and his mother, Anne Bowden Coleridge. We know him best for his epic poems, Kubla Khan, and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. He attended Jesus College, Cambridge, where he had a most tumultuous …..

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The Doctors of Soul: Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling

Uncategorized / October 19, 2013 / No Comments

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling was born in 1775 to Joseph Friedrich Schelling, a chaplain and professor of Oriental languages, and Gottliebin Marie, in the town of Leonberg in Württemberg (now Baden-Württemberg). He was good friends with Hegel and the poet, Holderlin. The three were roommates for awhile at Tübinger Stift, a seminary of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg. Here, Schelling studied the Church Fathers and the ancient Greeks. We are now getting very close in our series to the beginning of modern depth psychology. By the time Schelling publishes his first philosophical work in 1795, we will be a mere one hundred years or so away from Freudian psychoanalysis. We …..

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