Contra Misanthropy; The Meaning of Peace — A Metapsychology of Liberation, part 2

Screenshot-2017-11-27 Contra Misanthropy; The Meaning of Peace — A Metapsychology of Liberation, part 2
The Apotheosis of the Slavs, Alphonse Mucha (1926)

We commonly see practitioners of various spiritual traditions—serious and learned practitioners, at that—who spend a lot of their time and energy in criticizing human social and political tendencies. There is no inherent problem with this, as an increasingly “spiritualized” perspective on psychology tends to reveal these and other outward behaviors certain occult interactions of the mind (see my article Politics as Counterfeit Spirit.) We do see, however, that many of these Gnostics and Yogis come to resemble the very things for which they criticize others.

Such criticisms often come along with name-calling, such as the now-infamous “sheeple” or just a sneering inflection applied to words like “humanity” and “people”. Terms and phrases are coined or co-opted for labeling a particular in-group, not just for the practical sake of distinguishing practitioners from non-practitioners or a spiritual family group, but to differentiate between people who are worthy of existence versus those who aren’t.

In so doing, these practitioners come to embody the very things about humanity which they spend so much time decrying: lack of charity, braggadocio, violence (social or literal), and bigotry. Just as we tend to become more like that which we love, we also come to resemble that we most hate.

The key factor, here, is a lack, or even rejection, of peace.

Peace has suffered a public relations problem ever since the failed hippy experiment of the ‘60s and ‘70s gave most Americans the impression that the word implies, at best, a shallow failure to recognize the necessity of strength and, at worst, utter cowardice. But there is no long-lasting spiritual or religious tradition in the world which does not hold peace as an ideal—however, representatives of these traditions often fall far from it.

It seems that to ignore peace is to reject spirituality itself.

We must rework our vision of peace to the individual rather than society. If social peace is even a possibility, it must come from individuals anyway, a fact which would-be revolutionaries all too easily forget. Peace is simply samarasa, the pinnacle of what we know in the West as equanimity. As with all virtues, it isn’t likely that we’ll suddenly find ourselves in full possession of it after a few weeks, months, or even years of effort, but cultivation of it is entirely within our abilities. We will all have our ups and downs, but steadiness of effort will carry us, as ever; progress, not perfection, is the watchword.

Peace and inner stillness do not mean lack of effort, but that effort is directed where it most needs to go without getting drawn out into petty distractions. It also does not imply apathy, for then no effort is directed at all.

The Stoic virtue of apatheia is a far different thing from the apathy of the slacker. It does not indicate lack of care or concern, but distance from unnecessary suffering. Pain is inevitable but, as the saying goes, suffering is a choice. That is to say that suffering arises from the engagement of consciousness with the fact of pain rather than the simple experience of pain. Pain is what the body and brain do; suffering is what the mind does when it won’t stop pouring over the pain, grinding its gears over the present situation rather than calmly taking the message of pain (namely: there is a problem) and finding a solution for it. Suffering therefore arises concomitantly with lamentation, whether it takes the form of fears or anger matters very little.

Equanimity is a skill which we develop through practice. Meditation is, of course, a major tool in this process, as it provides us with the intellective distance necessary to watch the workings of the mind and its habits. As we see suffering, despair, anger, hatred, and other unhelpful patterns arise, we can begin to also see—bit by bit, don’t worry—how we may stop them in their tracks, turning our minds to thoughts, words, and deeds which help rather than hinder.

Equanimity is poise, a stance whether of gymnastics or martial arts which allows us to remain calm and relaxed while observing, yet ready to act, explosively if necessary, at the very moment it is most necessary. Peace is activity with meaning rather than a mere reason or justification.

(Reblogged from Phalanx)

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Halloween Disambiguation

8850-munch-the-scream-Many well-intentioned people conflate spirituality with religion, but the two differ considerably. Spirituality can be likened to a crystal-clear, free-flowing stream; religion, on the other hand, is the dam that arrests the crystal-clear flow and then seeks to define the brackish muck that collected behind the dam. Halloween can help to illuminate this point.

The word Halloween is a contraction of All Hallows’ Eve that denotes the evening before the Christian celebration known as All Saints’ (All Hallows’) Day, a festival invented by the church in the 8th century. But the rich history of celebrations on this day is well over 2,000 years old.

The ancient Celts celebrated New Year on November 1. The Celts, of course, were Pagans, a word that simply means country folk but has become a pejorative. The Pagan feast, which the church sought to eradicate, is known as Samhain (pronounced SOW-in). The word itself comes from an Old Irish term meaning summer’s end. Pagan feasts begin the evening before the feast day itself. Indeed, Samhain is still celebrated on Oct. 31-Nov 1.

Samhain calls attention to what is known as a “liminal” time – that betwixt and between separating spiritual time (eternal) from worldly time (temporal). It’s a time when ancestral spirits danced on the curtain separating the two. Liminal time is also associated with the hypnagogic state between wakefulness and sleep;  with out-of-body experiences resulting from deep meditation, and with bilocation, the ability to be in two places at once – to possess an earthly body and an astral body simultaneously.

Eight of SpiralsPropitiation of the ancestors, which the church vulgarized and anathematized as “ancestor worship,” as well as paranormal expressions of liminal time, are heresies. Hence the dam named “All Saints’ Day” was built so that this unseemly Pagan spiritual nonsense could be corked, codified and rendered respectful. This is what dogma (correct beliefs) does to living, breathing spirituality.

As a secular holiday Halloween is a joyous occasion, as are all holidays that sharpen our focus on kids and families. But there comes a time to “put away childish things,” said Saint Paul. You can do that by mitigating the brackish water of dogma and by not allowing it to morph into a self-satisfied entropy of your spirituality.

For adults, tonight is also a night to remember and honor our ancestors. It is a night to light candles, muster courage and venture behind the threshhold curtain; a night to experience the spiritual wonderment commonplace to our ancient pagan ancestors – Celtic, Greek, Roman, First Nations, Latin, Asian, Aboriginal, Egyptian, et al., but especially to the shamans of the world, masters of the ultimate liminal experience.

Politics as Counterfeit Spirit: A Metapsychology of Liberation, Part I

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An astute piece about the toll political disputations and other group-think activities take on the psyche and essence of who we truly are (Higher Self).

 

Rise above the chaos and ego-obsessed Egregores, characterized by the dispirited fellow on the left!

Phalanx

I find it interesting to watch and listen to “political discourse” not because I care about the politicians or parties themselves but because of the patterns and forces which they reveal. Saying this is liable to bring accusations of disconnected or apathetic privilege from the impassioned Left or else of Satanic refusal to tow the Nationalist line from the effusive Right, but this is evidence of the selfsame patterning.

In the occultism of the West, we might speak of egregores: group-minds which take on a literal life of their own, directing human activities on a more or less large scale in line with their own survival and expansion needs rather than the explicit desires of the human agents themselves. These egregores, however, may be dealt with, tricked, trapped, or, more commonly, compacted with just like any other spirit-being. Such pacts, whether explicit or implicit, are more common than not.

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Happy Diwali!

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Happy Diwali to our Hindu friends, Jains and Sikhs!

Diwali is the annual Festival of Lights that marks the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, reason over superstition and hope over despair.

The festival honors Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of Good Fortune. Chrysalis Tarot will offer up Lakshmi’s intentions via the intercession of Elpi.

 

Ancestors and Soul Loss

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Soul Retrieval, by Sanda Cook

In metaphysics when we speak of soul loss, recovery or retrieval, we refer to a spiritual malady best described as an experience of isolation and brokenness that makes us feel, well, like a lost soul. There are many beliefs about soul loss and retrieval and many approaches to healing it. We shall concentrate on Chrysalis Tarot’s approach and the shamanic healing power of individual Family Constellations composed of ancestors.

Ancestors help us understand who we are and discern our purpose in this life.

Describing soul loss, psychologist Sandra Ingerman states, “There are many common symptoms of soul loss. Some of the more common ones would be dissociation where a person does not feel fully in his or her body and alive and fully engaged in life. Other symptoms include chronic depression, suicidal tendencies, post-traumatic stress syndrome, immune deficiency problems, and grief that just does not heal. Addictions are also a sign of soul loss.”

Water Naiad

Recovering lost fragments of soul and restoring wholeness most probably do not require spiritual or psychological counseling, let alone intervention of an experienced shaman.  Treatment will depend, of course, upon the severity of soul loss/fragmentation and correct identification of its cause(s).

However, in this exercise it will require that you task your imagination, the most effective healing tool we possess, to the matter at hand. The painting above by Russian artists Svetlana and Igor Anisiforov is titled Water Naiad affords perfect symbolism. Water is appropriate because it symbolizes higher wisdom; the unicorn symbolizes creative imagination; the castle is the abode of The Ancestors, and the moon symbolizes both personal and collective unconscious.

The fish symbolizes the dream world, the world you will allow your imagination to inhabit during this meditation. To enter it you need only to still your mind and tune to your family frequency – every family has a discrete frequency or vibration. It’s always there and available, but we seldom pay much attention to it. This is likely due to cultural biases against an active afterlife in an unseen world of dynamical information.

harameinFamily Constellations by definition presume the reality of an active afterlife. They recognize that our ancestors and ancient lineage determined who we are, physically and spiritually, and that any dissociation, isolation or fragmentation we experience likely stems, at least in part, from benign neglect of our ancestors.

In Chrysalis, we came up with the idea of an Ancestral Council Reading. We use the cards, mostly members of The Troupe, to represent individual ancestors to whom we feel closest. The cards then form the foci for the meditation.

An Ancestral Council Reading and a Family Constellation are effectively the same thing: by tuning into our family frequency, we engender a silent exchange of information heard only through faculties of intuition and creative imagination. It’s not at all difficult.

Maple Leaves
Maple Leaves by Svetlana and Igor Anisiforov

Soul loss is first and foremost about imbalance, therefore soul recovery is about restoring balance. In Japan maple trees are called kito, which means calm and restful peace – the primary attributes of balance and wholeness. These attributes are constant themes throughout Chrysalis Tarot. They also are attributes of Gaia, interpreted below by visionary artist Alex Grey.

gaia-alex-grey

 

Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self by Sandra Ingerman.

Ancestral Connections

Talking ancestors. Anne Deon . annedeon.com
Talking Ancestors by Anne Deon
Since Chrysalis Tarot was published in 2014, it has been recognized and lauded as a healing deck. We focus chiefly upon 3 specific streams of healing energy: shamanic, Earth-centered spirituality and ancestral, although there are others, e.g. archetypal psychology.

The second and third streams are closely related; Earth or nature-centered spirituality is not just about looking outward into the natural world but also about looking inward. It’s about celebrating the spiritual connectivity to our ancestors by honoring them as an important key to soul recovery and healing – a portal for increased self-awareness.

Ancestral constellations are our guides to increased self-knowledge, a requisite to healing. The ancestors are much involved in our day-to-day lives, more so than we imagine. Ancestral energies affect synchronicity, dreams and decisions made by the personal unconscious mind.

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With the harvest festival of Mabon rapidly approaching, we will celebrate special days of heightened ancestral awareness that will culminate on Samhain (All Hallows’ Eve).

Four of Spirals image from the Chrysalis Tarot App by The Fool’s Dog.)

 

For more on the healing power of Ancestral Constellations we recommend Connecting to our Ancestral Past by Francesca Mason Boring as well as the collected works of Bert Hellinger.

The Cycles of Time

FourScrollsBWThere’s a cute line in the most recent Pirates of the Caribbean film as Kaya Scodelario’s character explains to Captain Jack Sparrow that “horology” is the study of measuring time. You can imagine what Captain Jack thought it meant.

Horology is an interesting subject, particularly with regard to the study of cycles. As you know, the importance of cycles and cyclical time are stressed heavily in Chrysalis Tarot, astrology, history, philosophy and in nature (Gaia) itself.

This is the foremost reason Chrysalis evolved as an archetypal goddess/nature oriented deck crafted to steer minds away from its daily preoccupations with linear time so to appreciate the bigger picture.

Historical divisions of time are customarily divided into four distinct cycles with the fourth cycle nearly always pointing to crisis, as well as the transformation from an old order to a new one (Nine of Spirals, Kali, Phoenix and others) – in other words, a paradigm shift.

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When designing Chrysalis we felt it was important to recognize that this fourth cycle was upon us and that a new, cyclical approach to tarot would be needed to prepare for the coming Shift; at least to understand, if not embrace, the gnawing feeling of global unravelling we see today.

An understanding of cycles and of cyclical time, which are manifest not only in human history but in our time-obsessed daily lives, are part and parcel of a profound evolution of consciousness driving this paradigm shift.

 

~ “The Fourth Turning” is an excellent book on the subject of cyclical time. http://amzn.to/2xOC9JC

The Chrysalis Nines

Tarot cards numbered nine traditionally indicate successful completion of a cycle. But that interpretation may not serve you well. There’s still work to do. The nines actually presage an opportunity for you to successfully complete a cycle that requires making tough choices. Those choices demand that you recognize and personally adapt to a particular dynamic of change. We’ll detail those dynamics of change directly.

But first, a word about what contributes to Chrysalis’ uniqueness. It’s goal is to help you attain higher consciousness – a greater awareness of the material world, of Self, of the unseen world and of your healing ministry. You would not be reading this unless you have a healing ministry – for yourself and for others. The Nines symbolize the four cornerstones of Chrysalis.

The Nine of Stones bolsters your courage, the courage you need to renounce material attachments and grow indifferent to ego gratification. Material attachments are by definition ego-driven attachments. They are obstacles to personal and spiritual growth.

The Nine of Mirrors engenders peace, joy and self-reflection, the external peace we experience in nature’s beauty and bounty and the internal peace we experience in joy and surrender of control.

The Nine of Spirals is Chrysalis’ icon for reorganization and perseverance. Aeolus, the master of the four winds, appears on the cover of our Chrysalis Companion book. The companion book attempts to dispense with gnawing tarot superstitions by offering for consideration the science of interconnectivity and oneness. Quantum physics shows that our universe is an infinite storehouse of information¹ – of all the information ever generated by thought, word, deed and emotion. The permanency of what we might term cosmic consciousness references an early Buddhist belief known as the Akashic Records.

The Nine of Scrolls is Chrysalis’ Dark Night of the Soul card. This card depicts the despair often suffered during times of intense spiritual growth or personal transformation. It’s allegorized as the darkness a caterpillar experiences when encased in its chrysalis before becoming a butterfly. The Dark Night of the Soul points to the process of becoming.

¹ The Quantum Thermodynamics Revolution

Images of the Chrysalis Nines were taken from the Chrysalis Tarot app by The Fool’s Dog.

~ Toney

Happy Lammas!

C03This week’s featured Chrysalis Tarot card is Gaia, the primal Mother Earth goddess of Greek mythology. The occasion we celebrate today is the Festival of Lammas, the first of three annual harvest festivals on the Chrysalis calendar. The others are Mabon and Samhain.

Lammas means loaf mass. Its origins can be traced to the mythology of the dying god of light, the son of the Sun whose (self-sacrificing) energy produces life-sustaining grains, fruits and vegatables (resurrected) annually.

In Gaelic lands this First Fruits festival celebrates the funeral rites of Lugh, the Celtic god of light. It’s called Lughnasadh meaning “assembly of Lugh.” In Judaism Shavuot celebrates the wheat harvest and concludes a 7-week celebration that begins with the barley harvest at Passover. On the Jewish calendar this event occured this year in June.

The dying god archetype is universal. The Haida people of the Pacific Northwest believe that salmon are supernatural spirits who assume fish-like form to sacrifice themselves annually for the benefit of humankind.

Whether you bake a loaf, make a corn dolly, take a nature walk or go fishing, Happy Lughnasadh this August 1st! Fall is in the air.

 

Salmon art by Haida artist Bill Reed

Corn dolly by Brandon Thatchers.

Watchers – The Prophets of Our Time

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For this week’s Chrysalis card I chose The Watcher, our resident prophet archetype. But first a few choice words about prophecy.

Prophecy, at least in the Classical sense, is not about painting a perfect picture of the future but about a fresh interpretation of the frayed canvasses of the past. Watchers envisage the future not as a product of causal, linear progressions but as an emergent property of recurring cycles.

A watcher’s mind projects the Big Picture of an “Eternal Now,” where past, present and future are simply convenient and mostly meaningless human constructs.

Prophecy is not a “gift,” but forthrightly an acquired skill set. Most adults can become adept at reading cyclical patterns and “predicting” the future using little more than synchronicity, creative imagination and solid historical perspectives.

Bear shaman viewing butterfly . Norval Morrisseau

In Norval Morriseau’s painting, the bear-shaman converses with a butterfly, the preeminent symbol of the psyche. Psyche is not something within us; we exist within psyche. Our common goal is to become one with psyche, one with higher Self.

When Self has become fully formed and informed by psyche, when Self looks destiny in the eye, only then can we humans, strapped to the straight-backed chairs of mortality, leave the chrysalis.

Watchers, shamans and countless other soul-butterflies have left their chrysalis behind forever and discovered their destiny. They are the prophets of our time.

When we Westerners think of prophecy, we usually conjure up a familiar Bible story from Sunday School, church or Charlton Heston. A case in point:

Regardless of whether you believe in a monotheistic God (the Chrysalis schema embraces spiritual naturalism), at least to some degree the mythology of Jesus the Hebrew Prophet has helped shape your worldview. Jesus made many predictions. For example, he predicted that the Jewish Temple would be destroyed: “Not a stone will be left unturned.”

Many Biblical scholars regard such predictions as prophecy historicised rather than as history remembered, an important distinction. The former implicates disingenuous 20/20 hindsight; the latter genuine 20/20 foresight or true prophecy. Let’s choose foresight. How could Jesus, an obscure prophet from Nazareth, as well as many other Hebrew prophets, have foreseen the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple?

Monday-Jesus-drives-out-money-changers

Well, a Talmud scholar would explain simply that the Jewish Temple had been defiled and, accordingly, would certainly be destroyed. But the temple was not defiled by hardworking money changers, who were an important facet of temple life and commerce. A foreign Jew on pilgrimage to Jerusalem was unable to buy doves for sacrifice using foreign currency. He first had to convert it to shekels.

The Herodian Temple became a symbol of self-righteous power and gross indulgence rather than of holiness, perhaps not unlike like today’s Vatican. Jesus’ tirade was not aimed at money changers, per se, but at the ungodliness of what Herod’s Temple and King Herod himself represented  – a den of corruption, greed and power. By tossing a few tables and bird cages about, Jesus in fact mimed the destruction of the temple. That act of sedition was not lost on the Pharisees and Romans.

That contrived act itself was both prophetic and purposeful. In Roman law, sedition was punishable by death. Jesus didn’t “lose his temper,” regardless of what Pastor Tim may have you believe.