Meeting a modern Shams (Shams is the friend and teacher of Rumi – the best selling poet in America and a Sufi from the early 12th Century in the Near East).
In this piece, I primarily focus on the Western myths here because the East isn’t the issue. What is the issue with the modern world is the need to grow very fast which is a product of Western mythologies and technologies and choices. So you have to back to the roots of that movement to see what is causing our problems today.
At the temple of Apollo in Delphi you find three statements.
Apollo is the god of light, medicine and music. The yang of souls. The active principle. In contrast to the passive. His brother Aries is the god of war. But Apollo when misunderstood, when retarded is related to the shadow war in man and so he is the god of archery too (arrows fired carry the traits of war or judicious hunting). As the god of light, he must, naturally, also be the god of shadow.
If Zeus is like King Arthur – the overlord of the Kingdom, Apollo is like the knights, the warrior, this active principle – when not guided by the archetype of the wise king his three tenets are not illuminated.
Those tenets are (a tenet is like a beam of the roof of a culture – it is foundational stuff that protects our ecology and us from the unrelenting natural elements):
The three statements that assure balance in action –
“Learn the value of balance/nothing in excess”
“Surety brings ruin.”
“Wrenched” means to take away, to fork, form something new, divorced.
There is nothing like the stories of the Titans or the Olympians in Eastern myth.
The three tenets on the temple of Apollo in Delphi are key to the western mythos when it was wrenched from the Eastern model of dharma. Freud may have coined the phrase the “Id” but what it mapped was born in Ancient Greece and its epicurean nature took centuries to develop.
In my life, as a young man, I met an emissary of the ancient world in the form of an older man. He was born in India in the early part of the 20th Century.
He spent from 0 to 9 in India then 9 to 18 in Panama and then back to India and then settled in the United States. Once he rebuked me. Our friendship was not casual.
He had spent 5 years in Silent mediation in Carmel, California. I recognized him as a man who was deeply grounded in an ancient wisdom: Someone who knew and witnessed eternal laws at work.
He was friends with Eleonar Roosevelt and Prime Minister Nehru, Pearl Buck and Alan Chadwick and he was a deep and enlightened man.
In India, there are a lot of gods and goddesses. Kali is one of the most interesting. She has a belt of bleeding arms. She has a necklace of skulls. My teacher did not go to the books. He meditates with a pure heart and that archetype/particular architect of human nature is honored. And so in his mind this incredible vision of Kali appears to him and he asks her why she is so horrific.
All he feels is love in her presence. And she says to him: “I look this way to warn of ill-thought out action that leads to unnecessary pain.”
My teacher once chastised me while reading my mind in a meditation. We were in Los Angeles. This man had used sandalwood essential oil to coat his skin for many years.
Sandalwood smells quite extraordinary. I am not a violent man. I am a man who studies the shadow. But maturity happens at different stages in the journey of a life. I didn’t know Carl Jung’s work back then really.
But he coined the terms: anima, animus and the shadow.
The shadow is the warehouse of creativity. The cave of Apollo and the ordering mechanism to the refined world. In it you find anger, hatred, pain, hurt, music, medicine and the path to harmony.
Greek mythology is fully rich and I do see that Western culture has to an extent lost Hestia (the goddess of the hearth). I’m not sure who Kali’s equivalent would be.
She was likely Athena – the feminine counterpart to Apollo and Aries. She is a favorite daughter of Zeus, and was, perhaps, the wisest, most courageous, and certainly the most resourceful of the Olympian gods. Either way, these energies were sacrificed and replaced by Mary, mother of Jesus/Jesse/the ‘I am’ principle in the West.
This, by the way, is why Jung returned to the Alchemical texts because he recognized Western society had lost these energies – and how dangerous the loss was. To essential balance.
However, no primordial is ever lost. Not Kali, not Athena, not even Hestia. Certainly not what they stand for; it can be buried. Never lost.
Athena is the god of just war. Aries her half-brother is god of war for the excitement of it all. Apollo’s tenets on his temple, when fully lived, prevent Aries’s dark madness. And Athena balances when her warnings are heeded. Athena (later Sophia) is depicted by the sign of Libra. Balance. I was born under the constellations of Libra.
As Sophia, Athena was also the god of wisdom. Hence: “Philosophia.” Apollo needs her to balance himself out. And so the city that framed the Western foundations is named after her: Athens.
Yet, down the line, with the dark feminine and the hearth gone from the culture, and, I being a child of that culture – well, I was looking for the archetypes. I sensed something was missing in my education; I warmed to this man as I unconsciously felt he could pull out things in me that others would not be able to. Education means ‘to pull out.’
The hearth is where the deep important impactful stories are told. Stories like Plato’s Cave. It is the place of storytelling by the fire and it is out of such culture that the axioms of a race are established.
The shadow is the warehouse of creativity. The cave of Apollo and the ordering mechanism to the refined world. In it, you find anger, hatred, pain, hurt, music, medicine, and the path to harmony,…
Apollo may be understood better as the god of peace. He is, make no mistake about it, the god of war. But to see war for what it is fully – is to extinguish it. Apollo missions went to the moon on the back of missile tech born of lots of war.
I remember this moment in quiet meditation. I was likely 27 at the time. I smelt the sandalwood ingrained perfume of his body odor and a thought, that was not my own, and yet a glimpse of the shadow nature – this mind randomly thought philosophically, “What would be the karmic consequence of killing this man?”
I did not wish to kill him. It was an intellectual thought. I might as well have been at the temple of Delphi talking to Apollo himself. He read my thought and he immediately said, breaking the long silence, “You Westerners have no reverence.You need a teacher.”
The most important phrase at that temple is “Know thyself.” Once my teacher spoke in my mind: he merely said: “I know.” It was his voice who spoke it. Again, I was sitting in quiet meditation across the room from his quiet seated self.
The other phrases at the temple of Apollo in Delphi are- “nothing to excess” and “surety brings ruin.”
The West was established by the Ancient Greeks and it shifted in the 12th Century, prior to that, and for a long time after the advent of Abrahamic religions, the dark feminine wasn’t honored, witches who warned were hunted for a long time. I don’t know why that schism happened.
But, by the time the King Arthur myth came along this mortification of the dark female created Morgan le Fay, Arthur’s sister. Because the dark feminine was suppressed she became cancerous and that bequeathed her magical (dark magic because the dark feminine was not honored) driven son Mordred who kills Arthur – and Arthur kills him.
Morgan le Fay casts a dark spell on her brother – as his father had done on her mother – in retaliation – and so birthed a male heir to the throne and those two masculines – the king and his incestuous heir killed each other and the sword of power of the Western unfolding was returned to the lake of the unconscious to be rediscovered later when the larger world was ready for new balance. So they were grappling with this back then in the collective consciousness.
But in India, they had not lost the goddess of the hearth – or this man had not. And he knew the value of the dark feminine. Kali had even spoken directly to him. He knew the axioms of the world. So why did he say I had no reverence?
Steve Jobs created the iPhone. Star Trek sort of imagined it. Jobs made it. The Ancient Greeks were more like Indians, easterners than they were like modern day westerners. They knew the nature of things. How Apollo could be tamed. They had less issues with the shadow than modern humans do.
If you meet someone from the East, without the Id, they have their family, their work, their god and reverence for all – at the center or the hearth is the life dedicated to being guided by the impersonal.
That’s the central axiom of the East – to do ones dharma – to live a meaningful life. But if you meet someone from the West, with the Id, this personality – you walk into the world of what the West made of the Abrahamic traditions.
My teacher, having lived in India, Panama, America and many other countries, he understood reverence and how it orders an individual and a society. Reverence for wisdom. Like the wise words on the temple at Delphi.
Now with the id you can plot a line of evolution from the ancient Greeks to the medieval knights and the fief lord or king (and on to Emerson, the Beatles, Nureyev, Steve Jobs etc). The troubadors enter the story in the Middle Ages and they are the minstrels (which connect to Shakespeare, the Beatles and Nureyev later).
And they hear from the Sufi mystics about the bounty of love in the impersonal life – and these Sufis are totally ecstatic and quite joyous and clear minded. Completely taken care of by the fire of love in their hearts.
The troubadours, in the company of the sun, the company of the resurrected Apollo, reborn after his battles in the world, as reflected in the smiling happy coherence and dignified beauty of the Sufi mystics….in this Eastern (no id) throng of travelers who travel the lands of Id between Spain and Turkey – shaped by the influence of the Sufis these troubadours then take the id, this tool of choice, and they project the divine experience on to what they loved the most – women.
And, of course, there had been lots of falling in love before that point, great poets and musicians in love with life…aching to break through the puzzles of Apollo/the shadow nature (the central battlefield)…but what the troubadours did – and this movement evolved, over time, into the Beatles and Nureyev etc – …..what they did, what that mix of Western culture did…. is it ended arranged marriages.
It sparked personal choice and personal aesthetic arrest and became a great trophy of the divine experience that was humanized and stolen from the gods by the human ego – symbolized by the theft of fire by Prometheus It made romantic love more important than cultural cohesion (from the viewpoint of the eastern way without the id).
But Apollo’s wars can go underground, become devious, and so, with this experiment to project this romantic experience into form, this 100 000 volt experience that is romantic love, great new enterprises entered the language and the arts.
Romantic love, a baby, was immediately hit by the incredibly frightened initial reaction of the Inquisition where fear and repression tried to outlaw such “dark” explosive thoughts. Only God deserved our craven soul and everything else was sacrilege.
But the humanizing of god / the divine experience of humans – it suddenly introduced a new explosive avenue to explore. And we grappled with it and matured. Later, the divorce rate skyrocketed. Because men and women were ignorant of the dance of the anima and the animus which must accompany the 100 000 volt experience of romantic love and connect it to the “oatmeal love” of the “id-less” East/agape.
The troubadors gambit evolved and spawned Shakespeare, Beethoven and Mozart and their ilk in the period around and following the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. And Ballet (born in 1500 in Italy). The West is the place “touching partners” dance flourished and came to find its natural habitat.
The Far East could create Samsung – Samsung is itself a “chaebol” or giant company in South Korea. It is an example of the hive mind working to create synthesis. But it copied the iPhone. It took what was and refined its essence in proficient ways. It was less about innovation. More refining.
The first engineers to rebuild South Korea were plucked from post world war 2 England. They came from companies like Rolls Royce and they were good teachers of their art.
They were studied to create companies like Samsung and Hynundai. This adventure outside of the confines of the dharmic system of the East created great ingenuity in the arts and sciences. But it also spawned a lot of pain.
That meme where emphasis on choice and the individual experience was championed over the impersonal life rushes in with incredible ingenuity and development, on the backs of centuries of advances in science and philosophy that go back to Ancient Greece and prior.
The concept of the atom and Plato’s Cave came from Greece. The atom was broken apart and will soon be fused – both creating enormous amounts of energy (nuclear fission and nuclear fusion). The World Wars, initiated mostly by Western countries, lead to the pulling a part of the atom and Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
As well as the creative side to Apollo – there is the shadow nature. So such power, such enlightenment requires understanding or we don’t know how to navigate it and it sinks us.
Now nuclear fusion is around the corner. Cohesion. Pulling together, uniting. Not tearing apart. So with fusion, with synthesis, with maturity, we come to the age of understanding, beyond this period of efflorescent change born of the cementing of the id and the obscuring of the transcendent focused society (the dharmic East). They must find a way to unite.
This synthesis means reuniting with the impersonal. Bringing back the dark feminine to inform in the mythic realms of the hearth. The Kali to balance Mary. But keeping the personal.
It also means that the knight’s archetypal quest now is to work out the shadow nature, the threatened and threatening voice within that drives neurosis when imbalanced and creative fire when aligned.
That’s why westerners can lack that reverence, because they have tended to trade security and materialism for self-knowledge. And the former is destructive if not tempered by the latter. Apollo knew. The oracle sees.
That’s why the third pearl of wisdom at the temple of Apollo is there is “surety brings ruin.” What it means is that making comfort god is the death of creative minds. In India, you had your parents, your wife and your teacher.
But the West shifts your choice of wife from she ordained by parents and temple to your own mantlepiece of individual choice.
There, in India, your teacher introduces you to the impersonal, to the certain (like with those Sufi mystics that passed through Provence in Southern France in the Middle Ages). but it is the surety of knowing yourself – the first and most important edict on the temple wall – the wall of the Western god of war who teaches how to avoid and end war in oneself by doing shadow work.
Surety brings ruins when we fail to adapt. Blockbuster video is a great example of a company that was confident it would last forever and yet it failed to adapt when the technology of video was upended/usurped with the internet. It was too sure of itself. It did not know connect with the backbone certainty of knowing self.
When you make security your god in the Western culture, you have failed. There was no way the iPhone was guaranteed. It was not a surety. It was not established. Blockbuster’s belief in surety was its own ruin.
The iPhone invented. By a creative imagination. And when that creative imagination is cheated of its expression the society dies – it becomes stagnant – creates wastelands.
Society must evolve and so must the individual. But if it doesn’t do it in balance conflict follows. Apollo fights when the three teachings on the temple wall are not heeded.
The Eastern world often understands this because it has prided itself on wise kings informed by wise men. But the East, without the id, WITH the arranged marriage, it wasn’t so fast paced and reactive; less individualized, simpler in its loyalties, on easier and faster, simpler tracks to the transcendent.
Until the 13th Century there were no “love marriages” – the world over – it was all arranged marriages. Everywhere. And this launched a torrent of creativity and lots of war.
Because the shadow nature isn’t aligned. It dominated; and it stormed the palace walls,…and all that ingenuity makes the king affluent. Still, affluence/hunger for gold doesn’t guarantee wisdom. That takes plumbing the depths of ones soul. Consciously.
Only actively seeking self-knowledge guarantees that. And, as if a grounding rod to respond to my deepest questions about the nature of things, my teacher informs me with his own words, and telepathically – he simply says: “I know.” And he laments that Westerners have no reverence until they do the shadow work and so consciously sort out their adoration from their destructive and conflicted inner wirings/workings.
He recognized that the post-industrial society can’t be reversed, it must find synthesis. And so Prime Minister Nehru (after the 2nd world war, after President Wilson tries to warn the British and French not to exact too many sanctions on the Germans for fear of reaction – they did not listen and the 2nd world war follows) sends him to study the Western mind and what can be learned from it and how he can be helped/ re-aligned to restore reverence.
That’s what I really felt my meeting with him was inspired by.
The Ancient Greek wisdom still speaks like an Oracle of wisdom as if predicting the essential tenets that would support and balance the equation of the torrent of creative sparkle the West would become.
Those three pillars of wisdom, were recognizing the axioms of the psyche that had to be united to afford stability and manageable growth in accord with the symmetry of the whole – they were the cypher that could handle the shock of energies, born of, and associated with, what its divergent path from the model of the id-less East represented.
The Easterners wanted peace and had it for long periods. But then Islam and Christianity streamed in. And their shadow culture came too.
And when I met my teacher it was as if he was confronted with an anomaly. A western student to discipline. And he was looking to understand how that ingenuity could be preserved without destroying itself. He was, like me, trying to make sense of Apollo’s conundrum.
Because his original culture had seen the world almost destroyed by that warring west. And like any wise teacher of the East he asked me – well I asked him, but he wanted me to ask it – he drew it out of me: “What is certainty?”
Because all that passes away is uncertain. And the mind seeks certainty. The transcendent. Creativity isn’t blinded by security. But it is part of certainty.
So he gifted me my awareness of that aspect of a human being. Or he helped open the door to explore it. His presence invited that.
But he also questioned how that science and fast pace of the West, with its rock and roll music, its reckless ingenuity,….how all that could rise above its hidden inner violence and seat itself in tune with reverence.
That’s what I felt meeting him was about – East met West. That was the challenge. Find the reverence and make contact with the archetypal king that could restore balance to the emerging larger unified world, resurrect the sword of power in an age of united understanding – do all of that without condemning or falling pray to the West’s creative sparkle.
In other words:
Take Apollo’s test and don’t lose balance in your dance in his riotous “nightclub.” Not start a bar fight but end all bar fights and enjoy the dancing.
That’s what the age of understanding and the time of nuclear and quantum fusion was ushering in/inviting expression and experience of.
That was my meeting with a modern Shams.
I asked him ‘what is certainty?’ and he asked me how the world reflects on, and ends its shame – itself a direct consequence of putting the impersonal on to the form of the personal and blowing up a simpler dhama in the process – this was the “price” of the romantic revolution – to solve that riddle was the holy grail of the age.
perhaps, intelligence asked these questions through us.
To attain the Grail you must become who you are, realize your unique potentiality, become a type unto yourself. For no one else exactly like you has ever lived before, and no one exactly like you will ever live in the future.
~Keiron le Grice
You can see when a society is lost. Or an individual for that matter. It happens either when its myths are read literally or it has lost the myths or crucial aspects of them. You can also see in such a loss what will revive the society. A society’s dreams are its myths and the myths of an individual are its dreams. When the mythic dimensions are out of balance, social decay follows.
In every man, there is a king and in every man there is a knight. The king brings moral order to his cosmology and the knight is the warrior energy that finishes what he starts. The woman’s animus reflects the same constitutional awareness but in her realm of influence.
Joseph Campbell went into a hut in New York and read books during the Great Depression. He read and read and read and underlined. He read as many myths as he could get his hands on. And one book lead him to the next. Such an approach wasn’t on any university syllabus. He figured it out. That was his maverick energy at work and his inner warrior within in service to the king in him who championed truth.
He did it for years until the process indicated to him it was complete. Then he wrote a book and the book changed the world and he had a career.
The book is called: “The Hero with a thousand faces.”
“Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth–penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words. Beyond images, beyond that bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming.”
If you look at George Washington, it’s rumored that King George III said that he was the greatest man alive because he gave up his “throne” for a constitutional democracy. And that makes sense because the monarchy had lost its value. But the archetype of the King was not lost. Society, wherever you go always involves those two very important archetypes – the king and the warriors. And If the King is sick then the warriors tend to be maligned too and addiction and social decay ensue. Addiction comes in to numb the pain that is not being addressed at root.
The legends of King Arthur and his knights come from a collection of texts, many from Chrétien de Troyes and many from Wolfram von Eschenbach.
Monty Python covered the Biblical themes in The Life of Brian and the Arthurian legends in the search for the Holy Grail. Because comedy does best in the company of power. Comedy is tragedy through another lens. And those two movies deal with spiritual power in the world and how it connects to the transcendent.
When you look at the myths you have to know that none of them were true. That’s the thing about myth – it isn’t a lie but it’s not true either. It’s dealing with the archetypal energies. So it becomes paramount to recognize how you read the myths is going to define your life. And when the mythic dimension is not happening in alignment with the needs of human beings you get discord and gangs and idols who are misunderstood. You get theocracies based on literal readings of the myths
And dictators and spiritual teachers who have not undergone the inner journies that lead to maturity. They become inflated – that’s what Carl Jung called it. Their ego has made them think they are super important or super powerful and they are really like the dwarves or goblins from fairytales – stunted and equating materialism with value. They haven’t gone deep enough into their nature. And they cause a lot of mischief because of it.
The King Arthur myth is not about ruling over people. It’s about the constitution within and when we lose sight of this, the mystical dimension is lost.
I was in a supermarket yesterday and I saw a 3-year-old girl pushing her doll around in buggy. Preparation for motherhood is there in the mythic dimension from very early days in a child’s life. Now having a child is not the path for all women. Nor is it the journey for all men.
But if you read Emerson or the tales of King Arthur and his knights as separate from the Western tradition of which they are a part…you do not see the meaning of the archetypes.
Emerson really is the next step after King Arthur. Arthur is the president of the day and he is given power and he rules fairly. But among his knights, all the archetypes get expressed. Cracks start to appear in the story of power and so he says, go find the grail of balance in society by locating it first in yourselves.
And three knights find the grail.
Parzival is the wise fool. His mother doesn’t want him to be a knight because her husband died being a knight.
Bors is a king.
Galahad is perfect. Too perfect really. Celibate. Handsome. Just no flaws.
Sometimes people are born in very advanced states of maturity. Such people are very valuable but they don’t tend to make good teachers. Because they can’t relate to the challenges a normal mortals face. The Indians called such people gurus. Galahad is like that.
Someone like Parzival is an “acharya.” He starts out as a fool (Galahad does not) and grows into maturity. That’s an acharya / one who teaches by growing into maturity. He knows the labyrinth. Galahad doesn’t. Jiddu Krishnamurti was like Galahad.
Now to be a king you have to learn to be a knight first. To be a CEO it helps to have cleaned toilets. To have been the lowliest janitor. Because if you don’t have that common touch you are going to be aloof and disconnected. So Bors represents the King who finds balance but changes in himself. Parzival isn’t destined to be a king or president (whether elected or not – the role of king and spiritual guide are very close – Arthur has Merlin, Emperor Akbar has Birbal, JFK has RFK and Martin Luther King. Lincoln had his first knight (in the end) – Grant…but he had to be both king and wise man. He was alone in that sense.
And what you get with the Arthurian myth is this sense that the sword of power gets buried because there is no maturity to handle the power – colonialism with all its inner ogres takes over.
So the West splits into Russia and her ideologues and America and hers (the Cold War) – all of this comes after the European powers almost tear the world apart (the symbolism of the sword going into the unconscious waters and not being wielded with any wisdom – Arthur’s father Uther was a brute and Arthur tries to rectify the energy, succeeds (early days of Camelot) then fails (the cracks that come with his wife and Lancelot and his sister Morgana) then sees the import of the grail and sends out his knights to find that symbolic balance. Only three achieve it.
Then Jung and Neville Goddard appear. Apollo and Dionysus. And the sword is starting to be better understood. It’s not about power over others. It’s about power over oneself. That power can make one sink or swim and so Campbell says:
“The schizophrenic crackup drowns in the waters that the mystic swims in.”
His marriage was happy because he knew the anima and animus story he had inherited. If you don’t get that then “the sins of the father” tends to repeat for three generations.
And if you look at Jung who comes out of the Germanic culture – the greatest threat to the world in modern times came from the German people’s shadow nature…he is saying: you have to deal with that shadow stuff. Or there are consequences. And he is also cognizant of how the dark feminine has been pushed out of the mythos. That and Hestia. The goddess of the Hearth.
So men and women are growing up without these things in their culture to feed them. And since the Russian revolution the grumpy man has come up. He is working too hard and so he isn’t connecting with his sons. The masculine energies aren’t getting transferred at the hearth. And the women aren’t finding their power with the dark feminine because she isn’t there in the culture either.
So the males are overstretched trying to go ever higher. And the women shame them because they are never enough. And that’s a toxic mix that the West created.
A friend of mine knew an enlightened man in India and this man used to smoke marijuana. But the moment the Westerners came in he stopped. Now Romantic love arrived on the planet in the 12th Century. The divine was projected onto the opposite sex rather than the temple deity. You married who your eyes found most noble and pleasing. 100 000 volts of energy suddenly hit you. But you cannot sustain that kind of energy. And the Westerners tried to. So they tried to be leaders in more and more “upness” – they went to the moon, the wanted more and more. They were never satisfied. And when Carl Jung goes to the mesas in the American south West he gets talking to a chief and shaman and the shaman says:
‘You white men have like a hooked nose and it wants to hook more and more things and you are never satisfied.’
“And that is your disease.”
One healer speaking to another across the divide of two different people’s paradigms.
I came across Neville Goddard about 5 years ago and no one I have come across knew the Bible like him. But you can’t find a Wikipedia entry about him. He is one of the more influential minds of the West. He and Joseph Campbell both have had a huge impact on filmmaking in Hollywood. If you know how to look you can see their impact left, right and center. But we bury him because a part of us can’t handle his impact. There’s something dark in it that we haven’t processed in ourselves yet.
The path in the West that you see highlighted in King Arthur – at the end of the tale, when the sword is returned to the lake, that’s the collective unconscious recognizing there is no king steering.
So what follows? More technology and renaissance. More upness. More enlightenment but no deeper understanding. 6 centuries of the French fighting the English, then the American revolution (French supporting the Americans against the English) and you have the continued unconscious messes of the American Civil War, the World Wars, then the Cold War and then the old problems between Islam and the West resurfacing. Because the oil is in the hands of those with the biggest guns but the “king” who is giving the orders isn’t up to the responsibility of the sword of power and so more mayhem and consequences.
Neville Goddard is a profound and important teacher. But when he dies he dies in a pool of his own blood.
When the authors of the Course in Miracles die – and the Course is an important work because it says: – “nothing can hurt you but your own thoughts” – “you are not a victim of the world you see.” Well, the gay man who helped the writing process, he has a massive heart attack and dies smiling. But the woman who wrote it (who was in love with the gay man) dies of a painful cancer. And she adored Jesus and Mary.
But if you look there is no counterbalance to Mary. No Athena or Kali or Morgan le Fay – no dark feminine – certainly no balanced dark feminine. In fact, Morgan le Fay and Joan of Arc are the last dark female characters in the Western mythos and both get killed.
Morgana’s son kills his mother when her magic is weakened by Merlin (and rightly so because her revengeful spirit and the subjugation of the dark feminine has made her into a cancer). And Joan of Arc is murdered by the English. Just one more casualty in the 6 centuries of war between the English and the French.
So the gay man has his anima in balance and the straight woman doesn’t have her animus in balance. And the straight man is grumpy because he’s not doing his job – not his mythological job. He is a slave to “upness.”
And this dance between Dionysus and Apollo – between flights of the imagination and the shadow nature…that resurfaces with Neville Goddard and Carl Jung – it has to in order for the Western trajectory to find its balance again. But the dark feminine and the goddess of the hearth have to be reinstated somehow too. In the culture. Jung understood this (so did Marie Louise Von France).
Otherwise, the race to the moon isn’t balanced out. And I find it illuminating that Carl Jung’s best female student/colleague was Marie-Louise Von France. And she met Jung when she was 18. He told her about a patient he had who lived on the moon. Von France immediately understood that we live in two realms. The world outside and the world in our head.
But that female patient’s predicament sort of sums up the Western predicament today. What is the use of going to the moon if you get stuck there? Thoreau said if you have built castles in the air, great!, now put foundations under them. But if you are stuck in the air without grounding you lose sanity.
If you have dreams – honor them, but do the shadow work too. Or else.
So we have the technology to get to the moon and we have done that and now Elon Musk wants to go to mars and he builds futuristic pickup trucks for the wealthy with bulletproof glass.
But the lack of shadow work being done is represented by the bulletproof glass (defending an outer enemy that is actually the product of your own self-projected ignorance / Affluence without wisdom is self-destructive) and the race for more and more “upness” that goes from the moon to Mars and never balances the deficit because we aren’t thinking in balance with the whole is not confronted as the disease it is. Because if we were confronting it we would be doing agriculture in such a way that reverses the deserts..not makes more of them (upness without shadow work to bring balance to the masculine drive).
And so that’s the connection between Arthur’s swords going back into the unconscious and the feminine hand that returns it – but it can’t come back as a sword – it must come back as a spoon. Because the sword represents clear boundaries and that is important for men and women – the king or queen within them makes those boundaries.
Now when the land is managed wisely and the harvest is managed wisely then the spoon is yielded. It comes out of the stone. The spoon is pulled from the stone of Kings. For the archetypal King Bors (the fruit of the archetypal Arthur’s search for meaning) feeds his people justly.
Emerson is saying – we don’t need the king now but we need to be aligned with that archetype within and then we can marry Neville and Jung and not bleed out or have energies cauterized inside of us.
We too can find the grail of the balanced life or there will be consequences. And for that, you need Hestia and the likes of Athena/Kali to help men process their grief and help women clarify their boundaries without reverting to shaming.