Soul’s Maelstrom Revisited

Soul’s Maelstrom Revisited

Last summer, I presented two articles on this blog, The Involution Of Consciousness and Soul’s Maelstrom, that contained an image of the World Soul as a swirling maelstrom. In this article, I would like to revisit that discussion with some new ideas.

I said,

The metaphor of increasing consciousness is changing to one that increases inwardly, as our individual Souls spiral into each other. These are merging together as we whirl inward…We are swirling within Soul’s Maelstrom. Round and round we go in this world, and ever downward. But, as we move deeper into the Vortex of Life, we move, simultaneously, inward and closer together. The lower we go into the Maelstrom, the quicker consciousness increases.  Let this image burn within your mind.

There is no substance. All is process, including Soul. The image of an infinite maelstrom presents a beautiful idea of constant dynamism. The maelstrom is not something in which things ascend in a hierarchical fashion; rather, it pulls things ever downward into the depths. We are becoming deepened by the processes of the World Soul, thus enlarging our individual Soul experiences. And just as a vortex swirls faster the deeper one goes, so the process of deepening that is occurring now becomes more intense. There is also an intense movement to bring everything in the flow to a point of oneness. I believe such a movement is ongoing in the universe, a rhizomal movement toward infinity; the depths of this maelstrom are fathomless.

In a moving or evolving vortex the streamlines and pathlines are usually spirals (Wikipedia).

The spiral is the oldest religious symbol on the planet. What better symbol to use for Soul, the deepest of human experiences?

The circle and the spiral are found everywhere in nature. The circle is seen in the daily round of the rising and setting sun, as well as in the greater annual cycle as the seasons turn through the year. The spiral occurs in shells, in whirlpools, in the microcosm of our DNA and in the macrocosm of the spiral galaxies of deep space. As a symbol of growth and evolution, the spiral is used as a metaphor for the enfolding of spirit into matter and the unfolding of matter returning to spirit. The synthesis of the spiral path and the central “heart” combines to create the Labyrinth, a symbol holding both movement along the spiral path and the potential of stillness at the centre (Journey Of The Soul).

Joseph Campbell, with Jung’s help, basically discovered the discipline of comparative mythology. World mythologies are the global faces of Soul. Jung, from the similarity of myths, theorized the collective unconscious. From one perspective, I see the image of the maelstrom as all of human mythologies spinning in the vortex, and thus moving toward a sort of Teilhardian Omega Point, where, someday, we shall have one basic framework of mythology, but with all individuality retained. This is the way of Nature, i.e. the One and the Many.

Furthermore, in the above quotation, the author states that a “synthesis of the spiral path and the central ‘heart’ combines to create the Labyrinth, a symbol holding both movement along the spiral path and the potential of stillness at the centre.” The maelstrom and the labyrinth are different images for the same Soul reality. There are no deeper, more archetypal symbols for Soul in human experience than the spiral; the maelstrom and the labyrinth are two very sophisticated examples of this timeless image.

We are all linked together in a Soul-mesh by common instinctual motifs, “mental forms whose presence cannot be explained by anything in an individual’s own life and which seem to be aboriginal, innate, and inherited shapes of the human mind” (C.G. Jung). The claim that these motifs exist among all cultures has been much heralded by Campbell. He presents strong inductive evidence for the existence of the archetypes. As one example, the figure of a mother goddess exists in the mythology of many diverse cultures, even those separated by vast oceans.

The collective unconscious is a powerful rhizomal presence in human experience. It is an infinite, subterranean root system that snakes and intertwines all humans in the tangle and convolution of Soul. This collective entanglement will one day decentralize the self-aggrandizing and narcissistic tendencies of human ego. The rhizomal Soul will one day replace the Me Generation with the We Generation. No, it will not be perfect; Utopia will never totally manifest on earth, but we are a world of strivers, even though our goal may not always take us in a particularly linear evolutionary path. We may whirl n the maelstrom for a thousand years or more, but, eventually, the transition to deeper consciousness will come. The more we allow the rhizomal root structure of Soul to grow, the quicker we will get there. It is up to us to care for Soul and nurture it.

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