A memory of truth (part three)
This post completes the third of three on the topic of an untraceable memory of truth I find to be inside of all of us, as described by Vedanta and as supported by modern science as being possible to be passed down from generation to generation, since time immemorial, and one expression of this ultimate truth we are trying to remember can be called an archetype, those symbolic bits of wisdom, of stories and their characters, as expressed from the beginning of our existence as a human species, universally resonating with all of us, in varying degrees, beacons of knowledge along the way as we remember the ultimate truth, that we are both an expression of the universe and the very universe itself.
Both Vedanta and Carl Jung say we are going towards this larger sense of ourselves as the universe, described by both as the Self but conceived by Jung as more of a guiding ideal of wholeness.
Part one and part two of these posts are linked here:
A memory of truth (part one).
A memory of truth (part two).
If we are trying to remember, whether knowingly or not, that we are the universe itself, and some of our purest expressions as begun and passed down from our beginnings as a species are known as archetypes, and they contain wisdom for us to know and act upon to be whole and more truly ourselves, reclaiming our understanding of ourselves as the universe along the way, then how do we pull all of this together, make this work for us in the modern world, living our lives on this earth?
Briefly, archetypes in a loose sense are to be found in any of the literature, movies, or dramas we can see today, whether made just yesterday or from times of long ago. When we become inspired by movies, literature, or any play we may be watching, experiencing any of the dramatic arts, or arts in general for that matter, we are potentially being touched by these universal themes, which have had meaning for us since the beginning of our species. Without being pedantic or teacherly in their ways, they can give us instruction, inspire us, each one of us on our own individual path. Certainly, there are specific ones which speak to us more than others. Whether they be about love, dramatic tragedies, or simple but meaningful subjects of escapism playing out before us, archetypes as contained in these expressions do not ever lose their meaning. Instead I believe, depending on who we are, and what times we are living in, some of these messages may be more relevant for different ones of us individually than others, even carrying more of a message for us as a culture, a continent, or as a global community as a whole, depending on who we are and what we may have been longing to hear collectively, what message we may have forgotten from long ago.
Archetypes, a vast subject, I like to think of them as just symbols that touch each one of us deeply. Depending on who we are and our particular need at the time, they can provide just that bit of wisdom we are looking for, for guidance, for inspiration, for remembering who we are.
(Not incidentally, dreams are a fervent ground for archetypes to emerge in, and perhaps using the term loosely again, with a related understanding, archetypes as the symbolism of dreams hold true to their sometimes obscure meanings, providing us with the current status of our psyche, an understanding of our deepest thoughts and our truest feelings.)
When we talk about archetypes as guiding us to remember ourselves as whole, and nothing less than an expression of the universe, as the universe itself, we are talking about a pure expression of ourselves from when we first emerged on this earth, back to a time when we were less removed from the source of it all, when our expressions and understandings were closer to this nature, certainly closer than we have been.
Nature, this is what I want to emphasize now, realizing this third and final post in the series may not capture all I want to say, but I want to finish with what is important to share and with what will perhaps do nicely as introductory words to further posts.
When I relate that archetypes are a pure expression of our original nature as human beings, closer to that source we came from, that we are trying to recall as ourselves, as an act of healing, specific archetypes come to mind, as does the very nature of ourselves before and after a glimpse of that ultimate understanding, of ourselves as the very universe.
Magick as a symbol, I have gravitated towards all my life, with its mystery, and of course its magic, the full potential it may hold, and the reality it may unveil--all of this, even more, carries a potent charge in the word "magick," and I have been glad to allow myself to use it here on this site, making it more available in my work.
(For more on this, please feel free to click on the category Magic found on the side of this page or at the bottom of it if you are viewing the mobile device version of this blog.)
Closely related to the idea of magick as an archetype or symbol follows a term which I may lose a few with here, but I had this chiefly in mind when I said archetypes are a pure expression of our original nature:
The history of this word comes from its Latin origins, described as meaning a division of land in the country and those who dwell there also, inferred as being "of the countryside" as well.
Let me be clear in saying this comes to the forefront of my mind when I use the term "pagan," but I also embrace the truth of those practices which people today call Paganism, some expression of which people certainly followed in their original forms back when we first emerged on the earth.
You have an honoring of mystery, of the unknown, you have a way of instructing through story and myth, if you will, in their practices; you have an honoring of the cycles of nature, of life and death, of the cycles of human life on this earth.
What more can we claim both uniquely and fundamentally as a species than our own way of living which honors these cycles of life, of the earth itself and our own precious seasons, practices best described perhaps as those of the country, or pagan?
I know there may be a lot to wade through to get to what I call the truth of Paganism, but I would simply point to overarching myths and stories that come up around it, which are found within it, for the archetypal contents they contain, which may speak to each one of us, including yourself, quite sincerely.
Do stories as a child or dreams from then, for idyllic pastures or sun-drenched meadows, for woodland creatures or faery folk who are friendly, do these bring to mind any feelings or emotional bonds remembered, from when you were younger, perhaps touching deeply similar feelings in you now?
I am speaking of wizards, and of witches, of magic, and of knights of round tables--these could easily be traded for genies and for desert plains, for sun-beaten sands and magic lanterns.
Choose a memory of stories you treasured from when you were younger, of lands you wished you had seen or maybe have since, and these are the powerful contents of archetypes, with their stories and their characters. I feel strongly that ours of the West (being not opposed to those of distant lands either) hold the keys to unlocking how it feels to live and implement a life of how we perhaps first did, as a pure expression of ourselves more complete and whole, as we climb the stairs and peek in the tower, as we ascend aloft in our dreams of nightly flying, as we reach the end of our winding maze or staircase, and we find the center of a secret garden, a paradise awaiting us, with everything we could possibly imagine--and yet, it is unlike anything we have experienced before.
It is our very Self.
Ineffable, a Mystery.
At least right now it is.
When we touch on these moments, when we get a glimpse of our very Self, we are changed--time stops and does not exist for us; our sense of self becomes thinned and distant.
But there is bliss.
(For more on this, please see the post: Mysticism, sacrifice, and power.)
I do think modern Paganism becomes rich in its guiding archetypal contents, as we try and remember and know the way, back to ourselves at the beginning of our universe: a pure expression of us from a land we had once forgotten.
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Mark Newlon, feeling the embrace of the sacred feminine daily!
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