... and what you are doing!
Can the mind leave the body? If so, what are the implications? Would the military explore these possibilities?
In 1983 the cornerstone BBC science program did a programme called The Case of ESP. The current writer used it later with his psychology students to raise questions about the nature of the mind.
Although Horizon presented many aspects of Extra Sensory Perception in considerable detail, much space was given to the total sceptics who affirmed that phenomena like Remote Viewing and remote control of physical objects was simply impossible. No real evidence existed they argued, and where there was so called evidence, it was simply fraudulent.
The programme is still available via YouTube, and remains of great interest even today.
Here is the original episode, uncut. It is still well worth watching.
This sceptical position was the accepted ‘scientific view’ of the time. It is the accepted view now. Science does not allow that the mind and body are separate. If you believe in this separation you are a dreamer, and as Rupert Sheldrake discovered, your career in mainstream science is ruined.
The idea that the alphabet agencies were doing Remote Viewing or similar in the 1980's or later in the 1990's, was vigorously denied. Anyone seriously suggesting extra sensory perception was feasible and being used by the military would be considered a crank at best or a ‘conspiracy theorist’ if they made too much of it.
So what is Remote Viewing?
Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff, working at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) cooperated with psychics, using various protocols. A target (usually a place) would be chosen randomly and someone would go to the place assigned (usually through a map reference). The subject, in a Faraday Cage, in other words without any access to electromagnetic information, would 'tune in' and then would draw what they saw.
As is evident in the examples shown in the old Horizon programme, the 'hits' were simply extraordinary. It is hard to see what they achieved and to still maintain that it was all by 'chance' or by picking up on cues or fraud or any of the other ways the phenomenon was explained away.
One of the most successful subjects was Pat Price. See below for the accuracy of the target he was able to envisage using only remote viewing.
So, it's still rubbish, right?
Actually, not! Now, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), it is clear that the official denials were simply convenient lies. Those scientists most vociferous about the ‘impossibility’ look a little bit like shills now, seeking to prevent serious consideration of the implications of the mind being quite distinct from the body.
That is in many ways still the case. The only difference now is that we have abundant evidence that Remote Viewing was being successfully employed by the American military (and we must assume the Chinese and Russian military too), and the denials were a distraction.
Here is a screen shot of the CIA page presenting a link to some of the Targ Puthoff research.
"Kept top secret for "national security" reasons, hundreds of thousands of pages of remote viewing documents were carefully stored away as the nation's remote viewers gradually refined their ability to produce drawings of what they saw at a distant location. The existence of the program was flatly denied. Finally in 1995, a small percentage of these documents were released to the public through the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), proving the existence of the program. Even this small percentage released amounts to nearly 100,000 pages of official remote viewing documents."
"The existence of the [remote viewing] programme was flatly denied."
At the time, anyone suggesting that was so would be labelled a conspiracy theorist. In fact if you suggest to the average person in the street nowadays that these powers exist and are used by the military and intelligence services you will still be considered a 'conspiracy theorist' even though the evidence is now available for all to see.
But two things have now become clear. The military and intelligence services in the USA were doing 'psychic' research and were using sensitive and unusual individuals to 'mind travel'. They were also quite happy to deny they were doing this and label those who asked awkward questions as nuts, conspiracy nerds or worse.
One of the best or most successful of the psychics employed was Ingo Swann. His story is given below, and involved 'viewing' parts of the solar system in his mind. In an autobiography that he wrote, he claims to have viewed parts of the moon in great details. His extraordinary story can be found in various of his many books, including this one, here.
A selection of declassified evidence can be found here
Short example, with Russell Targ - 5 minutes
Ingo Swann and the sealed predictions
The most famous of all remote viewers was a flamboyant civilian by the name of Ingo Swann. This remarkable man was noted for predicting in 1973 what NASA's pioneer probes to Jupiter would find once they reached the gaseous planet for the first close-up view ever. Swann sealed copies of his predictions in envelopes and gave them to many noted scientists who were later astounded at his near 100% accuracy. He also scared military security by being able to literally read files locked in a thick safe on a secure base.
More about Swann can be found in the article, here
And today ... ?
We now can be reasonably certain the US military and intelligence agencies were using psychics to do remote viewing. Evidence of this is now in the public domain because of the FOIA. In the 1980's and 1990's those suggesting this was the case were considered credulous fools with no scientific acumen.
Why would we assume that the intelligence and military would have simply stopped what is - on the face of the evidence - a very effective means of espionage? Would anyone 'whistleblowing' today be believed? Or would they be dropped in the dustbin marked 'conspiracy'.
Given the documentation of this piece of recent history is now available, and given also that the implications for science are so huge, is this another case of the dog that did not bark?
The very fact that this has not been the subject of in depth journalistic exploration is itself intriguing, is it not?
Outrage at a brilliant drama
In The Guardian today, Denis Campbell summarises the 'professional' criticism of Netflix's new drama, 13 Reasons Why. The article is worth reading, but how many of those who criticised the drama actually watched it, in sequence, all through? Any?
This writer and his family did watch over the Easter period. The drama is compelling. It is not horrific, in the sense of a 'horror story'. It is horrific to be presented, dramatically, with the way in which the teenage years are a universe unto themselves, and how fraught they can be for many of us, and difficult to pass through unscathed.
Many years ago a book came out called The Art of Inner Listening. by Jessie Crum.
It is long out of print. In it she described how she had asked questions of herself, and then learned to go very still and listen deeply for the answers. These she wrote down, and published in the short guide book. The answers were often in beautiful language and full of insight. She provided a useful step by step approach as to how to do this.
Anyone who has tried this, or done many of the various forms of journalling that use similar techniques, will know how rich the response can be. The words that gently settle in the mind are often poetic and have a subtle beauty. Read later, they can appear as though someone else entirely has written them.
The source appears wiser than we are.
So what is the source?
What do the Dreamtime of the Aborigines, the visions of William Blake, the theory of the Electric Universe and the ancient Gnostics, all have in common? They all suggest mankind is subject to forces that they do not comprehend, and that may not have their best interests at heart.
The question is, are they all talking about the same thing?
Whether at the level of the Solar System, Planet Earth or our own national societies, it must now be obvious to everyone, we are passing through a time of unprecedented change.
The quote attributed to the Buddha, given above, is a solace. It is a central Buddhist teaching that everything is impermanent.
There is another quote:
"No-one likes change except a wet baby".
So how should we cope?
There is a consensus view in science that everything started with the Big Bang. (The Pope recently agreed.)
The scientists who hold this view suggest there was a 'Singularity' and from this Singularity everything in the Universe came into existence.
The scientists – who tend not to have a training in Philosophy, Theology or Ethics – suggest nothing meaningful can be said about "What was there before the Big Bang?" or "Where did the Singularity come from?"
After the Big Bang, they (the scientists) can hold forth in great detail about what happened in the first second or first three seconds and so forth.
Remember that old conundrum, 'does a tree falling in a forest make a sound if there is no-one there to hear it'?
Well maybe, the universe is not there if there is no-one there to observe it?
Such an idea we know is preposterous. But is it?
Some interesting science suggests the observer and the observed cannot be separated in the way some scientists (and materialists) would have us believe.
Light knows you're watching, seriously!
As an antidote to the important, but disturbing post about brain washing, here, two acts of creativity with chalk to bring a smile to the heart and a song to the soul.
For a different experience with chalk watch the video below - time lapse - of monks producing a Mandala in chalk.
Both types of artists are aware of how life is ephemeral - but beauty (in its essence) is eternal.
The post below is summarised from Want-to-Know article to be found here
Can people be brain-washed?
Sadly, the answer undoubtedly is "yes".
Are people being brain washed in the West?
Sadly, the answer also is "yes".
In April 2010, an American professor of Psychology, Professor Hammond, spoke out on this topic to his colleagues. in a lecture entitled "Hypnosis in MPD: Ritual Abuse".
The full transcript of this lecture is available.
He has never spoken in public on this topic again.
Prof. D. Corydon Hammond
University of Utah School of Medicine
His full credentials are given here:
Some key points from his 2010 talk
I came out of that with a grasp of a variety of brainwashing methods being used all over the country. I started to hear some similarities. Whereas to begin with, I hadn't known how widespread things were, I was now getting a feeling that there were a lot of people reporting some similar things, and that there must be some degree of communication to cause this.
The material in his talk is very disturbing. the implications are profound, We have touched on some of them here (see end of this post).
This is how Hammond ended his 2010 presentation:
"My personal opinion has come to be if they're going to kill me, they're going to kill me. There's going to be an awful lot of information that's been put away that will go to investigative reporters and multiple investigative agencies. If I ever have an accident, an awful lot of people like you, I hope, will be pushing for a very large-scale investigation. I think we have to stand up at some point as some kind of moral conscience."
How dare you talk intelligently about design!
You have to look quite hard to find out, in a dispassionate way, about Intelligent Design.
Generally, you will be told that those who suggest there might be an over-arching Intelligence behind the Earth and the Human Race, are simply Bible-bashing God-botherers, who have no scientific credibility at all.
But if you read what the founders of this critical movement within science actually say, you find something else altogether.
No! The world was not created in six days, with a day off on the seventh because the Creator was tired. (That description is purely symbolic.)
To show an interest in Intelligent Design, and the provocative work of Stephen Meyer and Michael Behe, is not to buy into simplified versions of Creation Myths as though they were reality.
Yet, it is easy to discover, that if you write about topics like this on Facebook or similar, you quickly invite the comment that you are a creationist, and Behe and Meyer are creationists too.
Try it and see!
The Consensus Reality
The consensus reality is that Darwin got it right. It asserts – as though there was proof – that the theory of 'Survival of the Fittest' has been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt, and all that is happening now is filling in the details of Evolutionary Theory.
To step outside of this consensus reality, and raise awkward questions, is to find yourself embroiled in a war of words and ideas that can quite literally destroy reputations and careers.
We considered an example here.
Darwin be Damned
The proponents of Intelligent Design are articulate, thoughtful and thought provoking. Their ideas deserve to be considered seriously and in their own terms. They should be taught in schools, not because they are correct, (they may or may not be) but because they are an alternative scientific viewpoint, to a very intriguing question: namely, "what is the origin of species?"
The current writer taught for many years and had a specific interest in the Sociology of Science. One of the Intelligent Design sites has a list of Questions for a Biology teacher. These simply are gold dust for developing critical thinking, whether there is any merit in the theory of Intelligent Design or not. And yet, in America at least, there have been court cases to ensure such questions are not asked (in this way) within school classrooms.
This is censorship and it is pernicious.
Below is one example of a really good question for intelligent people of any age to grapple with. It involves The Mousetrap Dilemma.
Michael Behe’s concept of irreducible complexity raises acute difficulties for Darwinism. Irreducible complexity is a 'package-deal” feature of many biological systems. Package deals are all-or-nothing deals. You can have the whole package or you can have none of it, but you can’t pick and choose pieces of it. In biology,especially at the molecular level, There exist molecular machines that cannot be simplified without losing the machine’s function. In other
Quote taken from Discovery.org and the full set of Questions to ask your biology teacher, can be found here.
Above - images of the 'flagellum machine' as found in textbooks
Behe, using an analogy for the complexity in the flagellum above, talks of the humble mousetrap. It is simple, but is designed with intelligence. It is hard to conceive of a mousetrap arising by chance.
Behe makes the point that a mousetrap - to work - needs a level of complexity that has to be designed in. Someone with a mind thought it into being first. Without this it will not work.
He draws the analogy with highly complex 'machine-like' aspects of cells (illustrated above). Neo-Darwinism as professed by Richard Dawkins and similar writers, says the Blind Watchmaker (random chance over incredibly long time periods) produce all the complexity we see in cells.
It is worth commenting, that Darwin had no idea at all that cells were as complex as we now know they are. You can search high and low on Google or in Biology text books, you will not find a single example of a complex cell (or indeed any cell at all, as they are all complex) arising from a molecular soup, under lab conditions. And yet the current writer is old enough to remember in Zoology lessons in the 1960's, being told that this would be achieved in a few years.
It has not been.
Debunking the mousetrap
The thought police are quickly deployed, if you have the temerity to mention Michael Behe in a Facebook debate. You will be told that John H. McDonald has shown that Behe's argument is simply wrong. McDonald does so here and you can read his argument in full if you wish.
It is closely reasoned and on the surface appears to confound Behe's proposition. And of course, it comes with the imprimatur of a University Department, meaning it is the work of a real scientist, not a specious (and secret) God follower.
McDonald suggests that a series of simple springs can be used to strangle mice. Gradually, they get more complex. The early ones are not very efficient, but the later ones become more so. Eventually we get the efficient killing machine like the one shown above.
But the argument he puts forward is simply wrong.
Read it for yourself and you will see. He states there have been simpler mousetraps and they have become more complex. But he makes a huge error in logic.
Mousetraps live in the universe of the market place. They are made to be sold (or are made to achieve an effect, killing mice). If they simply do not work efficiently, then no-one makes them or buys them. If they do not work - they will not 'survive'. Everyone will get a cat instead.
This destruction of McDonald's so called 'debunking' article does not mean Behe is right. But his work, and that of Meyer, is very carefully reasoned. Meyer in particular, writes beautifully, and sets out his arguments with great care and attention to scientific facts. But he is implicitly criticising the consensus reality - that Darwinism (not what Darwin actually wrote) is right and the final explanation of life on Earth. For this sin he is attacked relentlessly by the thought police and the academic establishment.
A beautiful example of the complexity of the operation of the cell can be seen below. The video lasts around 3 minutes.
We are in the middle of a war. It is undeclared, but very real. And it is for your mind.
Have you noticed that certain ideas are allowed and certain ideas put you outside of what is taken as 'common sense'? Those who are the guardians of the Common Sense perspective will often quote science and scientists, as though there is one scientific view and it is always correct. They will direct the unwary to sites devoted to self-proclaimed rationality to 'debunk' any ideas that do not form part of the acceptable reality.
This war is every bit as real as the great battles, real and philosophical, between the Catholic church and the Reformed church. The stakes are just as high (only now we do not burn people at them - but we can completely burn reputations).
Not long ago, two remarkable thinkers were invited to share their ideas on TED. This site, Ted.com invites people at the top of their game, to share their ideas on the arts, science, psychology and so forth. They do so in around 15 to 20 minutes; many of these presentations are electric and some have been seen by millions.
The idea behind TED was excellent. And then the thought police arrived.
Both Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock, separately, had been asked to talk about the ideas engaging them at the present time. Both men have diverged from mainstream thought, but have done so with ideas based on deep research. Sheldrake is a Cambridge graduate with a double first, and a PhD in science; Hancock is a highly successful author, journalist and TV presenter, who has done deep research into Ancient Societies.
Rupert Sheldrake had started a brilliant career at Cambridge University, involving plant biology, when he came up with the idea of Morphic Resonance. This idea suggested that within species, information could be passed non-locally.
One example he used was Blue Tits learning to peck through the foil tops of milk bottles (back in the day when milk was delivered in bottles on the doorstep). He pointed out that for years no bird had ever pecked through to the cream at the top of the milk. Then one did. And then the phenomenon spread, rapidly, and was occurring over a wide geographical area. He suggested that what one bird had learned, passed – through morphic resonance - to the others of that species.
This idea threatened his tenure at Cambridge, and in the end he left, but published his views in books that have been very widely read, but never accepted through main-stream science.
The reason his ideas have not been acceptable is because they suggest a non-local consciousness and parapsychological aspect to reality that is anathema to the acceptable consensus view of the world, monitored by the thought police.
His TED talk - removed at the request of fellow scientists - can be found below, and is well worth watching. Paradoxically, it has now been viewed on this one You Tube posting, by over one million people.
Graham Hancock has had a particular interest in Ancient Egypt. His work with Robert Bauval in this context deserves a post of its own. But in his banned TED talk, he was speculating on the effects of psychotropic drugs (and why these are banned - drugs like LSD and Marijuana) whereas the pharmaceuticals that are not banned have a profoundly deleterious effect on consciousness.
As it happens, the current writer disagrees with Hancock's take on spirituality and the 'reality' discovered through hallucinogens, but his views should be heard.
He, like Sheldrake, was banned from TED because he challenged powerful interest groups as well as the very active thought police in the scientific community. His talk has also been seen now by well over one million people.
One of the most famous adventures of Odysseus, is when he comes up against the Cyclops. These one eyed monsters live on their own island (which some say is Sicily!).
Odysseus arrives with twelve sailors and starts exploring. He finds a cave and decides to enter!
(For his previous adventures click on 1 or 2 below)
Polyphemos and the Cave
The Greeks, accustomed to plundering, steal cheeses and lambs from the cave. Odysseus is interested in who lives there and remains behind with his men. A huge creature blocks all the light from the cave entrance, and proceeds to roll a stone to block it, that twenty teams of horses could not shift. Expecting hospitality (for Zeus punishes those who do not offer it) Odysseus makes himself known, but the great giant, Polyphemos, with one eye in the middle of his forehead has no time for Zeus and hospitality, and promptly eats two sailors raw!
Odysseus dare not kill the giant with his sword, as they cannot move the stone, and at dawn the hungry monster breaks his fast with two more hapless sailors, and leaves, rolling the stone across the entrance. Wily Odysseus plots their escape, and using a club of olive wood left by the giant, they sharpen it and harden the point in the smouldering fire.
When Polyphemos returns, he eats two more sailors and, drunk on Odysseus's wine, asks his name, and is told 'Nobody'. When he falls into a drunken stupor, Odysseus and the remaining six sailors drive the stake of hardened olive wood into his eye, blinding him. He screams out and other giants come running to help him. when they ask who is hurting him, he responds "Nobody is", so they ask him to quieten down and go away.
The giant guards the entrance to the cave when the sheep and goats need to get out, so Odysseus groups them in threes and ties a man under each group; he leaves hanging under the biggest ram. Polyphemos feels their backs but misses the fleeing mariners.
When they reach their ship Odysseus calls out a taunt, and reveals his real name. the outraged giant hurls a rock that nearly sinks their vessel, and Polyphemos calls on his father Poseidon to avenge him, ensuring Odysseus has a most uncomfortable journey home.
There are various motifs here that are indicative:
This is a beautiful analogy of the skull, bearing the brain and the mind. Odysseus enters in as a thief. He has no idea whose cave it is or that he might be in real danger. His arrogance leads to the death of six of his sailors.
This lawless giant (and shepherd) devours human beings. He can be seen as the baser instincts and the lawless mind. He is destructive and indolent (and so represents the way the crew of Odysseus were raping and looting, as well as 'under the influence' in the land of the Lotus Eaters).
The one eye lacks perspective. It is also suggested by Rudolf Steiner that such a single eye (or three eyes) represents an older clairvoyant awareness, whose time has past. Odysseus is moving on to the power of reason and (eventually) spiritual intuition.
Olive wood club:
The olive features five times in The Odyssey, and is associated with Athena (who is helping Odysseus's son, Telemachus to find his father). In other words the presence of the olive suggests the deployment of wisdom.
The sharpening of the wood:
The making a sharp point and the hardening in the fire both symbolise the use of intellectual power, and being 'one-pointed' about things.
By putting out this one eye, that clairvoyant faculty is blinded or restrained, and also instinctive wild emotion or dream consciousness no longer drives thought.
Clever means of escape:
Polyphemos blinded, says 'Nobody' is hurting him. Odysseus uses his cunning to escape under the sheep and goats, rather than riding on them. The power of Polyphemos has been limited and Odysseus can get away from the limitation of this archaic form of thinking.
Taunting the son of Poseidon:
However, Odysseus is still is foolish enough to taunt the immortal giant, who calls out to his father, Poseidon, to revenge him and nearly destroys Odysseus's ship. Odysseus still has much to learn.
Poseidon, God of the 'Waters of Transiency') is ruler of the realm of life where Odysseus is. It is his tempestuous environment that Odysseus has to contend with, and by blinding the Cyclops he makes an enemy of Poseidon.
Dealing with the one-eyed Cyclops is the first step taken by Odysseus to rise above instinctive consciousness, and to - essentially - wake up.
He manages to escape the limitations of dream-like thought and takes the first tentative steps towards wisdom, hanging on the underside of a sheep (sheep's wool is symbolic of knowledge and wisdom as in the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece)
Odysseus is beginning to think, and not just react.
Below, is one of the cleverest tests you will come across on the Internet. It has been around a bit, but maybe enough time has gone past that some of you have not seen this.
How many basketball passes does the team in white make?
This is NOT a trick question.
In the image above, which is the longer table?
Now measure them. Use a bit of paper ...
One of our favourites, below
We would often start programmes with executives, using this picture (amongst others).
A volunteer would read out what they saw, provided they thought there was nothing unusual. We would have this written on a flip chart.
We would invite someone who was sure there was nothing odd, to walk out and read each word touching it with their finger. The result was dramatic
If you can see nothing unusual about the image above, read it word by word, with your finger on each word in turn.
(Originally in Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopaedia ... anyone remember that?
The first post in this series can be found here.
Warriors will be warriors
Land of the Lotus Eaters
The whole story of the Odyssey can be seen as the journey of the Soul back to its Source. More precisely, it is a journey in awareness, and the awareness is that of Odysseus. Odysseus's name means wrathful, he is an angry man. We also know he is a clever man, The anger never leaves Odysseus, and he draws on it when he finally gets back to Ithaca, and has to deal with the feckless suitors and their faithless maids.
At first, his mind is unwise. This is represented by the rape within the temple of Athena. The band of sailors is beaten back by the Cicones.
Their next trial is to even be bothered. It is easy simply to stay in a state of lethargy. Soul culture, soul growth, training the mind and hear and will, is hard work. Mostly the indolence and lethargy of the untutored soul has to be overcome. One of the major inner battles is against inertia.
Odysseus, being a hero, knows this and thus forces his sailors, less developed aspects of himself, back on the ships and their return journey.
This will bring him against one of the most fearsome of his opponents, a story we will consider in the next post.
The first two ports of call for Odysseus represent the great interior trials of the Soul, underpinning much else. He has to deal with:
The stories associated with Masters often have elements of the hero's quest about them. Often divinity is involved with their birth, and miracles abound. Buddha has his time of wandering and his testing under the Bodhi Tree. Jesus also has his (supposed) travels and his testing in the desert. Krishna deals with demons.
With those Masters who did not found religions, there are elements too, like the wanderings of Pythagoras or the mysterious powers of the Theosophical Savants.
In this post we will consider the relevance of heroes to our own spiritual journey today.
In the recent post on Masters, we looked briefly at the life of Orpheus. His story rests somewhere between myth and history, as it is very likely there was an individual called Orpheus, and there was an Orphic School. However, his life story follows the pattern of that of a hero, complete with the (almost) obligatory visit to the Underworld or Land of the Dead.
He fits the pattern of a hero, because like so many he has to cope at some point with the Underworld. In our earlier consideration of the story of the Soul and Persephone, we saw how that myth indicated the Underworld was - in fact - this world, the Mundane, or in some cases Mundi. The great love of Orpheus, Eurydice, running from the amorous advances of a Satyr, dies through a snake bite. Orpheus, inconsolable, travels (safely, because the Gods love his music) to the Underworld to retrieve her. Hades and Persephone whose hearts are softened by his music, take pity on the couple. He is allowed to return with her following him, to 'the upper world' but only if he does not look back. But when he is safe, he looks back and she is lost to him for ever.
The full story is given here.
Meaning of the myth
Myths can be considered to have layers of meaning and are always worth thinking about as they reveal their treasures slowly. One way of considering this myth is seeing Orpheus and Eurydice as different aspects of the Soul. Orpheus is in touch with the harmonies of Apollo; he is the spiritual soul. Eurydice (whose name means 'wide justice') is that aspect of the soul that descends into time and space. She, entangled with baser desires (the satyr) receives the deathly bite of a snake and so enters the underworld (in other words the Mundane realm of 'dream existence').
Orpheus, the heroic aspect of the soul, is unable to sustain the divine law (the interdiction to 'not look back') and indicates the soul that is not yet ready fully to 'ascend'. So part of the soul (Euridyce) remains under the rule of Hades and Persephone.
Jason and the Argonauts
Jason, raised by a centaur (half man half horse), returning to his home, carries an old woman across a river. But she is Hera, Queen of the Gods, and gets heavier and heavier. He struggles and loses on gold sandal.
Later he travels with other heroes (the Argonauts, who include Orpheus and Herakles. to recover the Golden Fleece from Colchis. If he is successful, he will gain his father's throne.
On the way he has various trials, which he largely succeeds in overcoming. Herakles leaves them along the way (having lost his lover, Hylas). He copes with the Harpies, and like Odysseus, learns how to manage to get past the clashing rocks. When he arrives at Colchis, where the Golden Fleece is to be found, he is seen by Medea, the beautiful daughter of the king, but one who has the powers of a sorceress.
She helps him with the task of dealing with the dragon's teeth that turn to soldiers, and the yoking of two great bulls; Medea guides him in dealing with the dragon that guards the fleece. Her price, in his success, is to escape with Jason, and to marry him. She does this when they reach the land ruled by Alcinous.
Later, when Jason is unfaithful, Medea wreaks destruction on Corinth, where he rules, igniting the city with her fire breathing dragons.
A fuller version of the myth can be found here
Meaning of the myth
Each element of a story like that of Orpheus or Jason, or indeed Herakles and Odysseus, can be seen to have symbolic significance. The hero's journey is the journey of the Soul.
We will consider just a few of the elements.
The Golden Fleece
The golden fleece of the ram travels from West to East, and can be seen as representing the knowledge pre-dating both Egypt and Greece (some would say from the – Druids – of Ireland. This will be the subject of another post in due course.)
Jason, cannot carry Hera as he crosses the river (moving from the spiritual reality of the centaur to the ordinary world) and he loses one golden sandal. In other words he has not sustained all his youthful spiritual power and strength, but must now prove himself. To gain his throne by right - from his uncle who has usurped it – he must find the lost wisdom (Golden Fleece). His uncle Pelias who has stolen his throne represents ignorant power,
Jason gathers many talents in his ship the Argo. But in time he loses Herakles, whose lover, Hylas, has been abducted by a river nymph (Hyle = illusion). The loss of Herakles, who represents a Soul who has mastered all twelve challenges of the Zodiac, indicates Jason still has not overcome the illusions of this transient world.
Medea, (a sorceress like Circe who beguiles the sailors of Odysseus), loves Jason and is prepared to help him, provided he takes her with him. She – like Circe – has enormous power, for she can be seen as representing the power and knowledge of Nature. She therefore provides Jason with the wisdom to deal with the dragon's teeth, the two bulls and the dragon that guards the Golden Fleece.
As long as Jason is in right relationship with Medea, he is safe. he marries her when they reach the realm of Scheria and King Alcinous. The name of the King has the suffix 'nous'. The meaning of Nous as Highest Mind has been discussed here. Jason, in reaching Scheria, has attained the power of reason. He marries Medea there, meaning the powers of Nature are under the control of reason, and are safe.
When, later, he is unfaithful to Medea (unreasonable) then she wreaks havoc, using her chariot driven by two (duality) dragons. Like Circe, she is a goddess and cannot be destroyed.
Relevance of the Hero Myth
Find the hidden tiger.
We used to use the picture below with clients, to make the point that something that was right in front of them could be missed. The take away from an exercise like this was that the obvious is not always so obvious when you are expecting something different.
So in the picture below, find The Hidden Tiger. You will know - for sure - when you have found it. If in doubt ... you haven't.
This picture has been around is Psychology circles for a long time. But there are still some for whom this is new.
The simple question - if you have not seen this picture before - is "how old is this lady"?
When you have your answer, show it to a friend and ask them. Eventually you will find someone who estimates the age decades different to your estimate. Go figure.
Seeing is believing - but then what do we see?
Part 1 of this post is found here
Ancient Alexandria was home to one of the greatest minds to walk this planet, namely Plotinus. Although he is considered a 'pagan'*, his writings have been hugely influential on Christian thought. He is considered by certain authorities to be equal in stature to Plato and Aristotle in terms of the power of his thought and ideas.
*Pagan is an interesting word, that relates to the dwellers in the countryside (Latin paganus meaning villager or rustic). The towns adopted the official religion of Rome, namely Christianity, quicker than those who lived in more rural, and less accessible, settings. Hence the non Christians were referred to as pagan.
Plotinus developed the theory of Soul more fully than any of his predecessors. As he uses the term (he of course spoke of psyche) it can refer to a 'world', zone or state of being, as well as the individual identity of a human being.
One definition that can be applied to the Soul is
"that which has its centre everywhere and its circumference nowhere"
The soul is not something the body has, tucked away somewhere. Rather it is the limitless reality that is the source of all that the body can do.
Soul can be seen as midway between Spirit and Body. The body is limited in time and space. Spirit is eternal and without any limitation. Soul is the principle that connects the two.
In this sense, Man (women and men) live in what has been called, "The blessed station of the midst". Created with an individual Soul human beings dwell between the eternal heavens and temporal Earth and can participate in both.
The Soul is a mystery and will not reveal her secrets quickly or to those who are not prepared to make an effort to seek.
The Delphic Oracle rightly stated "Man Know Thyself", for that is the journey of the self-realisation of the Soul.
The Soul is free, but that freedom may be curtailed by the Soul's own choices. The more she immerses herself in the world, its ways and its multiplicity, the less she will be likely to experience the simple unity of her essential nature. Identifying with the world, dims the awareness of that that is - to use Plotinus's word - Yonder (the Realm of the Divine Life)
Taken at the level of the individual, certain things can be said about the Soul.
The Soul is self-consciousness, or is the quality of self-consciousness. It is the principle that enables awareness of the continuity of self, throughout all the changes in an individual's condition. It provides the sense of 'I am'.
It would be wrong, though, to say that Soul can be defined as 'self-consciousness' as it is more than that.
The Soul is self-motivity. It moves itself, rather than being moved by another force outside itself (remember we are referring to the Soul here, not the body). In an earlier post here we mentioned the book Meditations on the Tarot. In that book, the anonymous author points out that the symbology of the arms and legs (on the Tarot cards), often refers to the will. The legs carry us where we want to go, once we decide to go. The arms and hands enable us to manipulate our environment, by picking up and letting go. When we act consciously, then that action (or movement) derives ultimately from the Soul. It is at the level of Soul that we have free will, rather than the level of the specific body.
The Soul is self-vitality. The Soul is alive and cannot die. It is not Life as such (that is a superior and Divine Principle) but it enables lesser natures to have life. This life is expressed through desires, instincts, appetites and similar. This is true of the individual Soul as well as what is described as World Soul.
The Soul is self-subsistent. The body and its faculties, as well as its characteristics and personality, persist over time. This permanence indicates a quality that 'stands under or sustains'. This is subsistence.
These aspects of the Soul and how they interelate are dealt with a a very fine book, recently republished after a thorough revision, called Plotinus and the Path to Liberation.
The Soul and the Mind
The Soul is self-conscious. However, the Soul is not the mind. Plotinus and ancient Greek philosophers were clear on this point. We saw in an earlier post that Hermes is necessary for Persephone to be released from Hades. The same idea is represented when the same caduceus bearing god protects Odysseus from the enchanting ways of Circe. His crew have become like wild beasts, but Hermes gives Odysseus a way to remain clear thinking amongst her charms.
Odysseus can only free himself from the clutches of the endless cycles of life, if he uses his connection with Divine Mind. That comes through his soul and through the god Hermes (the power of Divine Thought). When Hermes aids Odysseus, then Circe has no direct power over him. Rather she can help him with his journey home, for through mastering her realm (she is Divine herself), wisdom is revealed that enables Odysseus to journey further.
The Soul is self-conscious but is not self-gnostic. In other words all knowledge is not within the Soul but must be found by experiencing all the realms above and below. The self-gnostic principle for Man is nous in the Plotinian system of thought. Nous is at one with Divine Mind, and knows All.
Just as Hermes guides Persephone home, and helps Odysseus in his return to Ithaca, the Higher Mind is companion to the Soul throughout its journey. These gnostic powers range from the senses and instincts shared with the animals, through the speculative powers shared with higher animals, to reason, that is Man's alone. But above the faculty of reason lies Intuition*, where truth is beheld as whole and complete. And above Intuition lies Nous.
The Soul on its path of return, has to master these different powers of gnosis. Each have their part to play. But the City of God (if we may put it that way) will only be revealed to the Intuitive vision. It cannot be simply reasoned about, as its origin lies above human reason. And dwelling in the City of God comes through nous. where the Soul is raised to the its Spiritual Essence.
*Intuition as used here, is different from hunches, gut feel and instinct, which are about specific things. Intuition, in this context, is always impersonal and about universal ideas in relation to the All. Some describe intuitions as 'wholenesses of truth'.
We have already suggested that Soul may be considered as an individual attribute or reality, but also it refers to a World or Plain or Zone of the greater Reality of All That Is. Soul, as World Soul is the true dwelling place of all individual souls. It is where they are truly at home. It is where we are seeking to return.
World Soul, as an idea, is represented by Dionysus and by Osiris, and the myths of these two gods explain much about the relationship of World Soul to the Mundane World analogically 'below'. For more on the Mundane World click here and here.
Abdul Hadi Badi-al-Zamar, a Sufi, set off at dawn to climb a mountain. He left his trust steed, Aqil, tethered with food and water and set out as the sun peeped over the horizon.
He enjoyed the journey, following the single pilgrim path as it mounted past the Tomb of the Saint, and through the grove of beach trees, skirting the Lake of Tranquility, where he sat and ate his simple lunch, drinking from the lake's healing waters. He slept for a bit and then continued up, climbing the steps hewn into the rock-face, and stopping briefly to admire the view from the Great Cave with its wonderful frescoes of geometric designs. After reaching the top of the cliff he scrambled up the rock and stone strewn path till he reached the summit, exactly as the sun set.
He decided to spend the night on the mountain summit, meditating beneath the stars. This he did.
Abdul Hadi rose while it was stll dark, did his ablutions, and started his descent just as the sun peaked over the horizon. Again, during his descent, he stopped at various places, including the Buddhist Stupa, where he prayed briefly, the High Meadow, with its lovely mountain flowers, and once more, the Tomb of the Saint.
He reached the bottom of the mountain just at the moment the sun set.
The Sufi smiled to himself when greeted by one of his disciples. He explained that his journey up and his journey down the mountain had taken exactly the same time. The path was one, and he had never left it.
"Can you prove," he asked his disciple, "that there has to be one place, somewhere between the bottom and the top, where I was at exactly the same time of day, on the way up and the way down?"
His disciple thought for a moment, and then said, "No, it is not possible to prove that."
"Think again," said the Sufi, "it is certainly possible. It can be shown incontravertibly. What you or I cannot be sure of is where. But that it occurred there is no doubt."
The next day the disciple was very excited and said, "Yes. I can prove it."
And he could. Can you?
The proof offered by the disciple will be posted in about a week.
This problem was first posed by Arthur Koestler in his book, The Act of Creation.
For earlier problems posed by Sufi Abdul Hadi click on pictures below.
Murray Morison is a novelist living in Crete
Posts can be reproduced in other blogs provided they are copied in full with a link back to this site.
When a teenage priestess, living 5,000 years ago in Ancient Egypt, connects with Rhory, an English schoolboy visiting the British Museum, she puts herself and him in grave danger.
Click here to learn more about M C Morison's time slip book
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