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.
As Halloween or Samhain approaches, I want to share my take on whether magick in the traditional sense has any kind of reality to speak of. I have my own definition of it, which may lean more towards a psychological understanding (click here to see this definition: Esoterica), but does magick, assumed throughout the remainder of this post to be of the traditional kind, does it have any reality in or bearing on the work I do? As one in a helping profession of healing, do I think magick ever really becomes involved when helping others?
I will share with you what I learned from two trusted sources as I answer.
After reading one contemporary historian's account of his experiences witnessing groups of others performing magick over the course of three years, his conclusion being that the practice of magick does have an efficacy and a reality of success, assuming that there are certain conditions or circumstances when performing a magickal working which do lend themselves to it, I would say that, yes, I do believe magick can and does become involved when helping others.
At least, I trust in the evidence above concluding that magick can work effectively, given the right circumstances.
Carl Jung, when writing about his belief in synchronicities or meaningful coincidences, acausal events which happen simultaneously between a person and a phenomenon or a person and another person without seeming explanation, highlighted the need for a strong experience of emotion to exist for a synchronicity to occur. He cited one medieval scholar's belief in magick, in its similar requirement for an emotional component being present which lends itself to the magickal working.
I believe in Jung's conclusions in his work on synchronicities, how they parallel the need for an emotional component to be present and felt for magickal workings to be effective.
In other words, I believe magick can work and it does become involved when helping others.
When a strong emotion is present and being felt, either by me or the person I am helping, the information provided and felt during that time can have a healing and lasting effect, make an impression, this being the intention of release or the pureness of it being felt, for whatever it is one may want to tell and never think about again, the experience of a heartfelt sense of being with someone during their emotional recollection of difficult or traumatic times, the inspired sharing of insight and information, shared with emotional strength, to convey the belief and meaning of what is being said to guide another on their path--any or all of these could be viewed from the above examples as being ripe for magick to occur, for magickal happenings to happen, where one, or both of us, feels a strength and clarity of emotion and intent, wanting and willing almost for what is said to be released or embraced, and it is believed in that moment, for what is said, to be how it is, to be how it is said, and that belief and togetherness, through emotion, help wield the workings of what could be called magick, whether the work ever formally arises or is talked about that way.
Yes, I believe magick exists in helping others, and it is the emotional connection and experiences in and of those encounters which lay the groundwork for it to occur.
Please ponder and enjoy as final thoughts the following from historian Ronald Hutton on his experiences observing magickal workings which actually work, in reference to his earlier account above:
"The other consists of those workings in which the operators have a deep personal interest and invest powerful emotions. They are rarely undertaken if they appear to run against the natural course of events or to be based upon unreasonable expectations. They are employed most commonly, and avidly, if a natural process ought to have occurred but seems to be mysteriously blocked, or if the odds for a desirable and an undesirable outcome to a process seem to be evenly balanced. This pattern has been very clear in the five covens which I have observed steadily over lengthy periods, and the apparent success rate of that class of operation is very high indeed."
From The Triumph of the Moon (p.396). OUP Oxford. Kindle Edition.
I hope you enjoy a happy and safe Halloween coming up.
I wanted to share a song that has meaning for me, since I heard it on television as a younger person, being carried away to other lands, remembering those journeys as I hear it now.
It captures the seasons, and captures my own journey recently, to settle into another place for my practice, my former place of five years having had to be reclaimed as a home, a peaceful older building in which I enjoyed helping others.
Please enjoy hearing the unique sound of this artist and the lyrics, which come straight from J.R.R. Tolkien's book, The Hobbit.
I welcome you to my new practice home, which brings up a few feelings, not unlike those I experience when I hear this song.
From the original soundtrack of The Hobbit (1977) animated movie by Rankin/Bass.
Music by Maury Laws. Vocals by Glenn Yarbrough.
During this changing of the seasons, I thought it appropriate to share a letter from long ago, from a sannyasin or monk of the Ramakrishna Order to a student in California.
Letter excerpted from the book, Spiritual Treasures: Letters of Swami Turiyananda (edited by Swami Chetanananda).
I hope you enjoy, and enjoy the season.
17 February 1914
The life of renunciation is the only life that can make us truly happy. No other life can ever do so. It is certain that one day we shall have to give up everything whether we want to or not. It is much better to give it up gladly and freely before we are compelled to do so. But if one cannot do that, the next best course is to turn everything over to Mother and abide by her decree. Know her to be the only guide in life under all conditions. Pleasure and pain pass away. They do not last long. We gather knowledge through experience; and by not identifying ourselves with pain or pleasure we gain freedom. Be always content with what Mother ordains. She knows what is best for us. Such a life also brings peace and consolation; and then the world can do us no harm.
You are Mother's children; you need not be afraid of the world. Be devoted to her and she will take care of you. She alone is Real. All else is vanity and vexation. Did not Jesus say, 'What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose is own soul?' Mother is the Soul of our souls. If we have her we no longer care much for the things of this world.
The world goes on its way and will continue to do so for all eternity. But he who sees Mother in everything and knows for certain that it is all her play will have rest for his soul and peace within. May we see her hand and guidance in everything. May she bless us.
Yours in the Mother,
[Update: I have come back from vacation since first posting this.]
I wanted to share what you may have already come across before, but I am just about to head on vacation and want to share this here.
Many of the lines and lyrics speak to me personally, and I hope they do for you.
Thankful this is out there to share.
Please enjoy . . .
Music video by Katy Perry performing Daisies.
(c) 2020 Capitol Records, LLC
Although I had originally intended this blog post to be a recurring one which I would update as the global virus continued to make its impact on the world, I have decided I do not want to continue updating it like that, which would make it always be the entry on top of all others.
I realize in addition to what I've shared below that the fear generated by the virus has had some impact on my life and approach to living it.
In the spirit of enjoying the spring more now, being informed about the goings-on of the world, but not letting specific information about it influence me as it has, I am just going to share my thoughts below as a single blog post, complete unto itself.
Without updating it further, here are my initial thoughts.
I see what is happening as a doorway to true knowledge.
What do I mean by true knowledge? I mean that by which we know all other knowledge. I mean that by which the world shimmers and shines in a way which does not posses us, with craving, with need, with lack, with desire, with anything that grabs hold and becomes a tyrant of need in itself, needing to be fed, or nurtured, or placated, or given energy to, other than just allowing it to be itself, seen as the background of all we experience, seen as the other side of the doorway which has been opened, and continues to be open wider for us, for the time being.
The virus and its fears, which we find hard not to feed, become an opportunity to let go, as we try and cling to previous notions and ways of being, which may ultimately have not been serving us. We find, with perhaps not much effort at all, a way to glimpse what it is like to not have so many complications or created ideas, of what to do, of what we need to do, of what we think we need to do, so many notions.
The doorway becomes a relief from modern life, a relief from the struggles and efforts that may have ultimately been in vain, or perhaps truly are when seen in the light of how life unfolds and ultimately ends.
What really becomes important to you? What do you see as the doorway opens and ways and thoughts of being and living come to an end, if mostly only temporarily now?
What opportunity do you have which may not be so open again, to tap into a more clear and less troubled way, of peace, within peace, dipped in peace, the stillness of this night, from hustle and bustle, of busyness and all its ways.
What opportunity just waits there, coolly waiting, warmly waiting, to touch your face, reach your hand, perhaps embrace your soul, and let you feel a different way of living?
The doorway awaits you right there.
Truly living life.
Step in, and you'll see.
Fall has arrived again, although the leaves have yet to change. Rather than focusing solely on this season this time of year, I would like to share how each season may lend itself to a skill, a wisdom, which I find helpful in providing to everyone, which I try and do myself and will be reminding myself of in this post
Take time out for yourself.
This element of living, this necessary way to be healthy and happy in life, I do not think can be underestimated.
Culturally, it is positive and healthy to disconnect, from obligations, responsibilities, pulls towards others, pulls towards any needs one is feeling for oneself.
In short, without escaping from it all, the requisite downtime we all come to miss does not happen.
So, how does this look for each season? How does each season lend itself to this requisite downtime?
In winter, I think it may happen more naturally and be easier than most for finding this time. The weather gets bad and the roads are impassable, the snow plows have yet to make their way through our travel lanes, our thoroughfares, for getting where we normally go.
Not only that, but when the weather gets colder, when the temperatures plummet and drop, we naturally have less motivation to be active and perhaps be so actively around others.
Take these nudges and times to oneself. I think we are naturally made to adapt to the seasons, and winter lends itself certainly to this time away from our regular lives.
What about spring? How does spring lend itself to time away from others and spent with just our own company?
I think wherever you may find nature, I think wherever you may be inspired to see the life of the earth returning to its more colored and vibrant shades and splendors, this is where to go and be alone to enjoy this time, without other distractions from people or life in its regular routines and obligations.
Summer. Summer has many distractions, but it also can let us know the wisdom of staying in, lounging around, whether by pools or other bodies of water, or away from it all, perhaps to get away from the heat, the less than natural flow of our life routines, a time when vacations are to be taken, when perhaps we know culturally about this being the time to get away. But how about for the next time it rolls around, take a day trip or two, or plan a getaway for oneself, to oneself, so one can enjoy the variations of the season unique to summer? A time to be creative and get away for oneself.
Finally fall. Fall almost upon us now in its change of colors for the season.
We cannot help but start to slow down from the summer having just past. We feel the cold coming in, and we feel the adjustment, within our bodies, as our clocks are likely to change, setting time back as we approach this time of year.
The first nudgings and inklings of winter that come when the air first starts to get cold, this may be one of the best times of the season to stop and honor this feeling of slowing down, this change from the summer just past.
Slowing down, this begins the season of fall, and provides an opportunity for us.
Nature comes to present itself in its changing colors, perhaps a time to just walk in this transitioning season of russet splendor.
The dark seems to come in, the night comes up to greet us more readily.
Welcoming the gifts of this slowing, darkening, crispening time of year, this presents a self-gifting way to meet the fall.
Perhaps chilling in more ways than one, we can each come up with ways to be thrilled by the season, in solace or more enlivening ways.
Slowing down, let us be in mind to greet the season.
Wishing you all, in that time to yourself, a happy and self-nurturing fall.
During the cooler months, when the light grows dimmer as suppertime approaches, we might naturally turn towards reflecting on our lives, on ourselves, thinking of maybe where we would like to be, a place different from where we are now, thinking of what may still be of concern in our lives to address, to look at, so we can get to this better place.
If you think of this like a mirror, then imagine the dark and silvery backing to a mirror, the darkness and bit of light that help allow the glass we look into to reflect ourselves back. When we turn the mirror over, we see this kind of backing, which allows us to see ourselves when the mirror faces us.
What if we removed this backing, chipped away at the silvery and dark material on the back of the mirror? We may not be able to see ourselves then, but we would have a clear view at that point, a clear piece of glass to look through, with nothing blocking our view.
I feel that at this time of year, in the cooler months, turning colder and darker as the year progresses, we are given the opportunity to reflect on ourselves and our lives, perhaps seeing what needs to be seen, perhaps looking at what needs to be looked at, within and by ourselves, or, if we are needing help then, with another supporting us on our journey to look at what we are seeing once again.
When we remove this material more and more, by looking at it, chipping it away, our view becomes clearer, the range of vision we have becomes wider in a sense--certainly, we can say we can see farther, further into ourselves with a clearer viewpoint.
Turning the mirror over, what might you see, what gives you cause for reflection?
During this time of year, the mirror turns naturally, so we can see what may be of importance to consider. We make room for more light as we continue to work at it. The darker months approach with the light fading away--but naturally, this light returns, and we may be in alignment with it, clearing our way.
The mirror turns.
What can you see?
Sitting where I usually sit to do a certain meditation every now and then, I spied two cardinals out the back window on a slanted beam of the deck. They seemed to be playfully with one another, one of them seemingly feeding or pecking into the mouth of the other.
Standing up to confirm whether it was a couple, as in mating or mated birds, I did indeed see the colored male cardinal, and the more neutral-colored female cardinal.
In this meditation, I always hope to, and usually do in some way, uncover that sense of connection to what I believe in about life, what I know of it, a spirit of life that nourishes, contains a true peace, feels full of possibility, and has an exchange of love with me in all of these areas.
I did begin to feel this just as the two cardinals alighted on the beam.
I thought this fitting, as I confirmed it was a playful couple, and was smiling as I intuited a sense about this: whenever we are just relaxed and enjoying our connection to life, feeling a love about it, this is not unlike a subtle but present feeling of a give-and-take, a subtle exchange between the universe and ourselves, between life and who we are.
Everything became or was all right in those moments.
That is what I hope from the meditation each time.
That is what I hope for you, for each of us.
We can find our moments of relaxed peace and love.
As summer starts heading into fall, maybe we can start to thoughtfully set some time aside to allow these moments to happen.
Right before the Fourth of July, I am writing this entry. I felt I needed to update posts past the last one, it having mentioned the end of spring.
This year for myself, towards the middle of the summer, it will be ten years of having dedicated my life to more consciously incorporating deeper ways of understanding, doing the practices and setting aside the time to nourish that part of my life.
Wherever you are in your path in life, whether this be for achieving basic or manageable wellness, or for doing that, along with moving deeper into your own precious and unique path of experiencing, for who you are as a person, I am hoping for you more freedom, more ease, more enjoyment, for the enjoyment of your life, and for moments of seeing past your habituated routines, to a truer sense of freedom, where you are not bound by limitations, whether inside or out, past or present, or even those you might be projecting into the future.
I believe in this path, and continue to dedicate myself to walking in it.
May I meet your reaching out, if you wish to walk this path, and what I am offering speaks to you.
I am truly so happy helping in such a way, seeing and watching this path unfold for others.
Mark Newlon, feeling the embrace of the sacred feminine daily!
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