Spiral Awakenings

21 - PsycheAccording to Spiral Dynamics, a mere 1% of the world’s population can legitimately claim to be in an Awakened state of second-tier consciousness. It’s the goal of Chrysalis Tarot to help boost this percentage. Before delving into how we all can accomplish that together, allow me to present a brief overview of the concept of Spiral Dynamics. I believe all Chrysalids (that’s what I call us) should be familiar with the concept.

Simply put, Spiral Dynamics identifies eight memes that detail the ways we think (our worldview) by assigning arbitrary colors to eight ascending waves of a spiral vortex listed below. Incidentally, the Chrysalis Suit of Spirals was named after this revolutionary theory. The first six are known as first-tier memes (memes, as opposed to genes, are cultural DNA). By way of explanation, I include a few main characteristics or attributes for each meme. This maze falls neatly into place as you move along.

  1. Beige – Basic survival needs. Distinct selfhood is practically nonexistent. Individuals gather into groups to sustain life. Beige represents probably less than 1% of the adult world population; remnants of early human societies.
  2. Purple – Magical, Superstitious and Animistic. Good and evil spirits roam about the Earth and determine events. Perhaps as much as 10% of the population, located mostly in developing countries, are Purple. Note: These percentages are only estimates; there’s no database.
  3. Red – Power Gods. The first emergence of the ego-conscious self and of capricious archetypal gods and goddesses who meddle endlessly in human affairs to achieve both good and bad ends. At least 15% of the population.
  4. Blue – The Mythic Order. According to transpersonal psychologist Ken Wilber, a leading expert on Spiral Dynamics, “Life has meaning, direction and purpose with outcomes determined by an all-powerful Other or Order … with absolutist and unvarying principles of right and wrong.” We call this “religious fundamentalism.” The Blue meme represents a somewhat scary 30% of world population.
  5. Orange – Scientific progress. “Truth and meaning are sought in individualistic terms.” This Orange meme is, like religion, rigidly dogmatic. It is also rigidly materialistic and mechanistic (linear cause and effect). The Orange meme worships technology and advocates “Mankind’s dominion over all the Earth.” It is characterized by secular humanism and makes up 25% of the population.
  6. Green – The Sensitive Self. “The human spirit must be freed from greed, dogma, and divisiveness; feelings and caring supersede cold rationality; cherishing of the Earth, Gaia, life.” This meme probably represents around 10% of world population, but 20% or more in the West. Many of us probably identify with the Green meme.

These six memes represent first-tier worldviews. From time to time, we all think and act in terms of more than one meme, but only one best represents those core beliefs that form an individual’s worldview. It’s important to note that first-tier thinkers stubbornly believe that only their worldview is the correct worldview. Indeed, they feel quite threatened and become downright belligerent whenever their cherished beliefs are challenged.

Second-tier thinkers, on the other hand, recognize that all waves of the spiral must exist in the world simultaneously and in harmony (think the Ma’at card), and that all stages of consciousness are important to the overall health and well being of humanity’s Global spiral. In this regard, the eight memes behave kind of like brainwave frequencies; all are necessary because at different times we all think and behave differently.

spiral-dynamicsKen Wilber goes on to point out that as each wave transcends its predecessor, it carries forward some of its core beliefs. Each successive wave, therefore, adds to and expands upon the wave that came before it, as the spiral suggests. As humanity ascends the spiral, memes grow in complexity and consciousness.

Here’s an example: as Green transitions to Yellow, the “cherishing of the Earth” attribute is carried forward while Green’s selfish, ego-driven unwillingness to abide “big picture” solutions remains in place. By definition, second-tier memes require a modulated, healthy but selfless ego. In Chrysalis parlance, the morphology of second-tier consciousness is what Jung called psychic death (think the Phoenix card).

Chrysalis engenders second-tier thinking and encourages growth both in knowledge and cognitive awareness of the next wave up the spiral. Dr. Clare Graves, originator of the theory of human development that inspired Spiral Dynamics, referred to the emerging worldview as a “momentous leap,” where “a chasm of unbelievable depth of meaning is crossed.”

wisdom14The next two (second-tier) memes are called Yellow – Integrative, and Turquoise – Holistic. Combined, they account for a mere 1% of world population! Seems the West is not as advanced as we’re led to believe.

When we designed Chrysalis, we felt that we must transcend some of the stalwart characteristics of first-tier consciousness prevalent in tarot. These included Purple: superstition and esoterica; Red: monotheism and hierarchy; Blue: dogmatic authoritarianism (civil, religious and scientific), and Orange: power-driven institutions and militarism.

Therefore we felt it necessary to say godspeed to emperors and empresses, queens and kings, devils and demons, knights and swords, Judgment Day and death, and to archaic first-tier archetypes such as the hierophant and hermit. We also bade farewell to Green political correctness, value ranking and egalitarianism. Instead, we reintroduced nature-oriented goddess spirituality (Gaia, Storyteller, Green Man) as a scientific fact (as detailed in the new companion book). Note that goddess spirituality doesn’t tilt the scale toward the feminine, it balances the scale by deifying Nature.

Moreover, we renounced the pernicious illusions of duality and Cartesian separation between matter and spirit, and instead embraced the connectivity of all things in a Living, Conscious Cosmos. With Chrysalis as our handy telephone, calls to the divine realms of transcendent consciousness are local calls where no priestly intermediaries are ever required. As one member of the Chrysalis Study Group on Facebook put it, “I embraced my inner shaman.”



In a follow up piece, we’ll dote on the characteristics of the all important second-tier Yellow (Integrative) and Turquoise (Holistic) memes, colors celebrated in the Sun card, and explain why we believe it’s vitally important for a creative minority of Earthlings to transcend first-tier consciousness yesterday.

You must unlearn what you have been ‘programmed’ to believe from birth. That software no longer serves you if you want to live in a world where all things are possible. ~Jacqueline E. Purcell


3 thoughts on “Spiral Awakenings

  1. Thank you Toney for a wonderful ‘wake up’ piece. This entry is my first read today and I am excited to comment. I appreciate all of the knowledge you have to impart and I am thrilled with your writing style and vocabulary. Thank you for staying ‘up’ with your communication language. I enjoy exploring any terms or words I am currently unfamiliar with, or not overly familiar with and seeing them in context so that I may also grow my vocab!! Informative and enjoyable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jacquie! Writers love words, all kinds of words, and love crafting words. For my part, words are shoes that ideas walk in. I don’t always wear the right shoes, but I do try.


  2. This post gave me a whole new view on the Chrysalis Tarot … makes me glad I have the deck! Looking forward to the next post. Thanks for the post fellow Chrysalid!

    Liked by 1 person

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