I wanted to get my thoughts out about the three topics in the post title, reflecting on how I see them, how I experience them, how I define them, to a degree, and their relation to one another, and what I hope to share about them in looking at them here, a discovery I have yet to make, even for myself.
Beginning with science, I want to emphasize what I consider truth, and how science may interoperate with it, truth being the connecting piece for the topics.
I believe in my experiences as outlined in Vedanta, or Advaita Vedanta, which expresses ultimate reality in terms of an absolute which can never be explained or defined in our regular understanding.
It says we are going towards this truth of reality, which it does try and describe, and all of us are going towards it, no matter who we are.
Bringing science into this perspective, the attempt to see it through science will always only be an attempt, because if you can never define or explain what is put forth as real, this reality as put forth by Advaita Vedanta, then science perhaps will just leave it alone and never try.
However, science, its practitioners, do continually try to express an explanation of any and all things, at a fundamental level, whether this be for the beginning of the universe or for the makeup of what has been called matter.
Science, in its own way, tries to define and explain the ultimate understandings of reality.
Advaita Vedanta and science both at least attempt to explain reality at a most basic and fundamental level like this.
This reality, this absolute, whatever word you use, this I call truth. This is what I speak of when I refer to truth.
Focusing again on science, it has and puts forth many ideas, or more specifically, theories.
The world of reality in science is one of theories.
Again, the world, as expressed and explained and defined by science, the best explanations we can ever have of it, according to science, are theories.
This it will readily admit, or should, and I mean its practitioners as scientists admit this.
This does not seem too far from the inexpressible truth that Advaita Vedanta says is real.
Sharing this now, it seems that science seems the better and safer perspective, to not get too far out there in terms of what we base our lives on, what perspective we live from--if science readily admits all of reality can ever be considered a perspective of theory, never provable, then why not live from here versus an ancient understanding supposedly knowing reality, which admits itself at the same time that no one can ever express it?
Taking this further, in answer to the question above, the ancient scriptures of Advaita Vedanta do say we can know ultimate reality, we ourselves can. Even if we cannot express it.
That is the difference.
Science may never be able to prove anything one-hundred percent, and that is its nature, that is its modus operandi.
However, Advaita Vedanta says that not only can we know reality at its most fundamental level, one-hundred percent, but it invites us to.
Science may one day reach this fundamental level, but any attempts to define it and express it in this world will be frustrated.
The truth of truth is that you cannot be in this world and define it and express it as we would here. You can approach it, in whatever way and perspective, using whatever methods you like, but this approach will only yield your own unique expression of truth, not a defining expression of it, for all to understand.
Shifting to a practical application of all of this, all of this information shared, perhaps now answering the question of what I hoped to gain from looking at this information, I pull in that symbolic representation I call magick, full of potential ideas, understandings, and yes, misunderstandings, but I have felt compelled to use this word, make use of this word, make it a symbolic reference for us in the West, bridging any gaps between Eastern Advaita Vedanta and Western ideas that may come to mind when I say magick.
The practical application, in my mind, of the ideas of Advaita Vedanta, of the truth we can fully know, if not fully express, becomes expressed in magick.
The expression of the universe that we do know, in a limited way, can be called Maya in Advaita Vedanta or Eastern understandings. If we are the universe itself, as Advaita Vedanta ultimately says we are, and the expression of the universe itself, including ourselves, comes in the form of an almost illusory appearance called Maya, then what does this mean? How does this fare beside the scientific world of theory, of one needing proof?
If science, as has been shared, can never fully prove anything one-hundred percent, then you have to grant that it goes on the basis of faith, if however small a percentage.
Science will never and can never through its own protocols or parameters prove anything--no facts, just theories in the world of science.
Through my own experience I have known the reality of Advaita Vedanta, touched on it briefly, at the very least, while living in the world, on this earth.
I would rather choose and do wholeheartedly choose the path of Advaita Vedanta, the ultimate reality I have known in some way through my own experience, versus a blind allegiance to more illusion through the world of theory, of science.
There no more should be a world of science than there should be a world of any one approach to solving problems, any one approach to living your life, any one approach to going about what feels right and is right to you in your own experience.
Simply put, to wrap up any loose ends in the topics explored here, science becomes a method of solving problems, of thinking, of hopefully making things right, or more comfortable or more amenable, for who we are as a people living on this earth.
But it just ultimately becomes one way, one approach. It is like making one tool in your tool belt the only tool you ever use, at the expense of any other.
Your own experience with respect for others, if you want to do it like that, should be the guiding scientific method or approach to what is right for you as a person, for what you choose.
If we solely lived in a world of science, how could anyone realistically do anything without having to check so much on outside authority? To even brush your teeth safely, walk your dog, walk out of your house even, or even now safely talk to someone else, science would become the ultimate authority to turn to for any and all things.
Does this seem right?
Magick, I have said, becomes the practical application of what I have been exploring here, and I will echo that again.
There was a time when science as we know it was not the only approach to solving and working through problems and knowing things, and to connect this with magick, and this with traditional Tantra, I will share with you now the topic of an upcoming post: alchemy.
I have found this so interesting and heartening in the Western history of ideas and problem-solving approaches, that we at one point had a method which was more holistic, incorporated more of our whole being, in going about thinking and living, for reaching for our best on this earth.
If I say magick becomes a practical application of Advaita Vedanta, then I say alchemy touched on its ultimate ideals.
This along with Tantra, together, in another post.
... this being the story of a wizard, the third part, continued from Darkness and light ... it began in Return of the wizard.
A hairy potter?
I am not sure how a hirsute ceramics maker got mixed up in this, he thinks, but I plan to continue writing down what I know to pass on.
"Wizarding 101," he begins.
His ink drying quicker this time, his quill not dripping so much as he writes.
The light from his curtained window coming in with just a gentle breeze to help drying.
The sky blue, the clouds absent, the cold sconce without torch helping tie back the curtain on his wall.
"Power present everywhere, we must allow it, honoring mystery as we go."
He dabs his quill again in the ink, catching the light from a mirror fragment hanging by his table, thankful not to be hearing the sounds of the world outside again.
"A wizard maintains his power as the basis of his magic.
Wherein lay his attention, therein lies his power.
This includes people, dwellings, possessions, places."
Nodding his head.
"Maintaining a balance within requires a knowledge of one's power.
Where you may want to exert it, or not, how much, and for how long, these become important."
"Earth-bound living requires a 'practical' magic; or, the judicious use of one’s power.
Knowing where it flows allows adjustments to be made.
Gathering it in, or releasing it more, you allow yourself to flow with it."
Pausing to consider his writing, he stands up and looks out his tower window again: his view of the sky was true enough, but looking further down than it was looking back in time, to eons before whatever moment this was, his spell of hiding himself in his tower to blend in with any modern landscape taking effect and working evidently still.
He lets several fragments of hanging mirror catch the light and reflect in his eyes as he sits down.
He lets himself float almost as he does so, like the fragments on their rope and twine.
What day was it when I begin all of this ... let myself die for the first time, casting the containment spell to keep me safe, and the illusion spell upon waking to prevent me from experiencing anything outside?
The light feels as if it is entering him now.
A power in itself.
The ability to dream, to daydream, casting a spell of light and shadow.
Relaxing, closing his eyes, the quill slipping from his hand, he remembers.
Copyright © 2022, Mark Newlon
A shift in perspective of reality where mystery and symbols hold power and the key to providing answers and knowledge which can alter reality.
I find myself thinking of this more, magick, as an idea, an addition, one of value, in my practice.
Continuing to be happy with this definition of it, my understanding and ways of wanting to make use of and work with it continue to evolve.
Helping to define it further may be a part of this.
Unpacking the definition, or looking at it in more detail, may serve this purpose.
When I mention a shift in perspective of reality, what kind of perspective am I talking about? If we substitute the word "viewpoint" instead of "perspective," the definition starts out by saying that magick is a change in viewpoint of reality.
I know I wanted my definition to capture all iterations of magick I could think of, magick with a "k" so as to distinguish it from stage magic.
If we do not believe in magick, cannot shift our viewpoint to accommodate it, it becomes hard to see it or view it, and we just dismiss what may be signs of it actually occurring when they occur, again assuming we believe in it or any of its possibilities at all to begin with.
I connect magick with the sacred feminine, the understanding that the universe always has a love for us, not bound by any requirements or conditions other than us just being.
Magick represents the agency we can implement as we feel, and therefore believe in, this love present for us from the universe.
I focus on where power comes from in the definition, by omission and implication that it does not come from brute force or amassing monetary wealth.
Summarily speaking, magick first and foremost empowers us through symbols and mystery, actually through not knowing, not through the power of might or financial gain.
Linking it with us having an untraceable memory of truth within us, where each of us are trying to remember and follow this truth, whether consciously or not--the truth that we are the universe itself, as well as an individual expression of it--magick shifts us closer to this reality, away from the material world, and in definition intentionally focuses us, and assigns power, here.
When we shift into a different viewpoint of reality as mentioned above, or begin to entertain this as a possibility, we are opening a door into an older perspective of the world, moving back the veil of mundane reality; we see into greater possibilities and options than we might have imagined before; and we align ourselves more genuinely with ourselves, doing what was once a natural act, that of honoring the mystery of life.
Without mystery there can be no life as we know it. Without not knowing, how can we know? That is impossible. Our relation to not knowing, or mystery, needs to be looked at, for if we are not having a conscious relationship with what we do not know, symbolized and designated as mystery, then this relationship will evolve on its own and in some ways summon the demons of ignorance to come out and play and wreak havoc on our refusal to acknowledge their source: we can never know ultimately as human beings without honoring mystery, and by sacrificing our belief that we can know all, we honor it.
When we ultimately shift our perspective or viewpoint of reality, we are sacrificing the desire to know with the fact that we do not know, and this opens the door to other ways of knowing, perhaps ironically. When we surrender to the mystery, that we do not know, accept this as a reality, that we will never know everything as human beings, then doorways open into the unconscious and other possibilities of knowing.
When we consciously honor the mystery, we allow the universe to provide answers and knowledge in the form of inspiration, symbols, insights, and synchronicities.
Our unconscious opens to us, and the mystery of life honors us honoring it, providing us with guiding signs.
A shift in perspective of reality where mystery and symbols hold power ... this means honoring the mystery of not knowing, allowing the unconscious knowledge we hold or the need for meaning we have to emerge symbolically.
These unconscious symbols, which can emerge from within and without, are a closer representation and representative of that ultimate truth we are trying to remember and are ultimately guided by, that we are the universe itself and an expression of it.
As we allow another way of knowing to emerge, through honoring mystery and surrendering our belief that we can know all, we are gifted with the reminder of who we are, as powerful means of knowledge unfold, as we ultimately feel the embrace of the universe itself, gifting us the knowledge: the means of knowing through other ways comes from us, more natural and whole.
... this being the story of a wizard, the second part ... it began in Return of the wizard.
He was dreaming for quite some time, but not long enough to die and come back again; for him that ancient and repeated cycle of slumber and awakening had occurred for many eons, but not just now again.
He was on his tower, literally, a winged dragon of black wings and dark ethereal body, not looking much like a wizard now, save for his ability to think and try and act as one.
What?! Oh. I must be dreaming. And this strange one again. Where I am the last One I sundered. As if out of guilt, as if out of something I missed, this last dragon of mine becoming me, or I the dragon.
There was a primal force in his nature, as this creature, more feminine in the serpentine ways he felt ... the licking flame and tongue of fire wanting to come forth, the instant ability to spring himself up from Earth and take flight, the way he seemed to fade in and out, happening more in his body than his wings, a vaporous mist himself, black plumes of ...
A strange noise outside awakens him.
That and the memory of his quill.
All on his face now, the ink, as he awakes and catches sight of himself in the fragment of mirror hanging closest to his table.
Catching the light--that strange noise again.
It sounded like a thunderous rooster, yet not quite one, and almost mechanical.
He scrubs the ink from his face, not becoming too red from the process.
His face changing from light to shadow and back again as the curtained window reveals itself in brief gusts.
There, now. If only I can discover the ink remaining on my manuscript.
He glances and sees it there, enough to fill in the missing lines and continue again.
At least, at some point.
He looks out the window, adjusting to the bright light finally, holding the curtain back as the wind slowly dies.
His spell of containment and self-illusion he intentionally fades for a moment from around the tower, surprised but not quite bewildered at what he sees on the ground, a somewhat smaller vision for his height in the tower--diminutive metal wagons or inventions of colors, of metal, with small wheels, one invention larger and longer than the others on the gray road, a thunderous HONK-ing from it as it seems impatient to move with the others, their prompt reply coming in their own diminished sounds.
He lets go the curtain, blinking his eyes momentarily, then closing them again, rendering the spell once more.
He has not survived eons in the tower without a few abilities to cast lasting spells, those which continue even when his cycles of death and birth repeat themselves.
Whatever and whenever might be outside, to him it appears as when he first took to the Other realms of death and rebirth.
That is, however long he keeps up the spell, it does.
Dropping the veil of illusion for these instances after awakening, this became an unnerving experience for him almost every time now, more so as the eons have passed.
Settling into himself once more, he sits down in the tower again.
Copyright © 2021, Mark Newlon
(Continued in Wizarding 101.)
I wanted to commemorate ten years of counseling as of tomorrow (December 1, 2021), this comprised of leading groups for adults with severe and persistent illnesses for three years, one year combined of helping others in internship and practicum at universities, as well as six years now of private practice work, helping adults of all identities with their concerns.
What do I do, are my specialties, where am I at in terms of my evolution as a counselor?
I sometimes in fun say I follow the theory of the two Carls: Carl Rogers and Carl Jung.
I am first and foremost an empathetic counselor, putting my energy into understanding whomever I am helping in a way that simply desires the best for that person, however that may look, whatever that may be, knowing this may change over time and take different pathways to arrive there.
For Carl Jung, the above being the cornerstone of Carl Rogers' approach, called Rogerian counseling--Carl Jung believed in the healing ability of the psyche, as do I, as it helps us to know what we need to for being more whole as a person, bringing to our attention those areas we have neglected, allowing them to come to the surface of our awareness when we least expect them, so we can work on this material, however unpleasant the process or these areas may be at times.
For helping others with trauma I make use of the very Rogerian Narrative Exposure Therapy. Making a more complete memory of what happened through this approach helps us to make sense of what transpired, providing more understanding and peace as well, in the context of our entire life. This approach becomes an intense but powerful experience of reliving memories in a more understanding way, with more peace resulting as well.
It just works.
I enjoy leading others in meditation also, giving them access to that place underneath any moment, which becomes an experience of peace and well-being, available more and more as we continue to go there and do this on a regular basis.
That sums up my main and what could be considered more traditional approaches to helping others. Adding to this now I would say are the evolutionary extensions of these approaches.
When I speak about the sacred feminine in person or on this site, I am in some ways talking about the cultural material and area and related areas I feel we all are needing to or do finally look at, what the collective sense of ourselves needs to be aware of to be more whole, the balance to the learned and ingrained ways of production and success and goals, the driving treadmill of life that never seems to stop or allow ourselves our humanity.
When I first expressed the sacred feminine on the site, the emphasis was and still is in some ways on the just being with this love, this love within, the love of the universe, which I truly feel awaits us all, past our conditioning and our concerns.
To actively be with this love, this sense of a universe that loves, as a fundamental way of being, this became the next area to evolve into--how does one live and still abide in this love?
Downtime away from it all, these are moments to find inspiration and guidance in, an opportunity to be with the sacred feminine, the energy represented there.
To do past this, however, once the inspiration is found, this I never want to fall back into the treadmill of life, into any imprisoning ways of being. As a result, magick, magick becomes an active way of knowing, of gaining the answers, and perhaps, as implied in my approach and messages on here, this becomes a way of actively changing and shaping reality, for our better selves, or in whichever ways one feels led.
Magick, if in no other way, represents the sacred feminine as a more balanced and empowered way of actively living, of actively being and doing in the world, one which does not forsake the wisdom of intuition, that does not forgo our humanity, or lessen ourselves for anyone.
These are the recent additions to my practice, as I continue to enjoy evolving and helping others.
We are the dream, dreaming the dream, and I simply want to help you enjoy yours.
Getting up for the day cannot always be easy, he thought. After an unknown period of time he was awakening once again, in obvious ways and in ways he had missed for quite some time.
Long stretching of long bones, a big yawn, a ... well, a need to do something about a dry mouth, and a not-too-friendly breath.
Dragons breath, he thought, absently, banging into this pile, then that pile of books, some toppling.
Opening the curtain--blinding!
Closing them again to be just a chink, just a crack.
In the armour of Smaug? he chuckled within.
Now why am I thinking so much about dragons?
Being a wizard had its pluses, and certainly many minuses, one of them occurring right now: sleeping for Goddess knows how long, then waking up to a largely unknown world, for getting back into the regular every day.
How long had it been, he didn't know.
Squishing and squiggling of somewhat clean water around, blinding again to be spittooning it out into the daylight of the tower window.
Closing the curtain again, sitting down.
Taking stock now of what had occurred, what had he known, what were the lessons to pass on before dying.
Oh, yes, that cannot be fun: to die and sleep and awake again, a new world each time, but, if only for a short life time, it kept up the variety, with centuries in between.
A wizard had its momentary glimpses of infinity, being one.
What lessons can be learned from what I know?
"Lesson One," he wrote in plumed and not-too-ancient ink, having sat down.
On this vellum parchment--cracking of his hip and neck, slight adjustments from side to side--I will begin with myself, what I know for myself, lest I forget my identity after such a long sleep.
"Way of the Wizard
I am a wizard and have F.O.R.C.E.S at my disposal ...
Friend of death
Open to love
Resilient, resonating, responsive
With my staff I have/am
Center of the universe
Entry into mystery
Strength in repose"
The ink blotting a bit and making the bolded letters not as tidy as he would have liked.
Well, should we go into each entry now, these FORCES at my disposal? he wondered, smirking and laughing a bit with this.
I think I shall await this for another day.
Perhaps just a short nap, not too long, then I'll have some mid-morning or perhaps mid-afternoon breakfast.
Then falling gracefully to sleep, folded hands around the parchment, with face, unfortunately, centered firmly on the drying ink.
Oh, to be a wizard.
Copyright © 2021, Mark Newlon
(Continued in Darkness and light.)
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.
After this post I plan to share one more to complete this set of three, on the topic of the memory of truth I feel, and understand from Vedanta, as being within all of us. Please see the first post in this series for more on this, or please click here to see this post: A memory of truth (part one).
I ended last time with sharing how I felt as a human species there is an untraceable memory of truth within us, as shared by Vedanta and as implied as being possible from modern science's understanding of how memory can be passed from one generation to the next through one's genes or DNA, this truth being that we are nothing less than the universe itself, as an expression of it.
Vedanta does prescribe methods for reaching this understanding, for bringing back to mind this recollection of our ultimate sense of Self, which ties in with Carl Jung's idea of what we are trying to do psychologically and wholly as humans, which I will reference again shortly. We are trying, whether consciously or not, to bring back our ultimate understanding, that we are not each of us a smaller sense of self but Self, another designation for that ultimate understanding, which could be given a name or label of any kind, whatever feels appropriate and designates the meaning for you.
Vedanta prescribes four methods for reaching this understanding, really a combination, depending on your temperament and your sense of self. Without going into them here, I will relate how many major religions have these approaches within them. (Please feel free to see the local Vedanta Society's website for more information: Vedanta Society of Kansas City.)
Carl Jung, the psychologist who pioneered many ideas of the psyche or mind which we still use today, put forth his theory of archetypes, variably defined or explained in his works as being templates for action or knowledge, wisdom we can make use of, or ignore at our own expense. He said they were universal symbols, of stories and their characters essentially, and they were instructive and resonated for us as a human species, being passed down from time immemorial.
Because they are found within us, in our psyches, it does not become hard to link Jung's theories of archetypes, these universal symbols of stories and their characters, to the modern theory of passing down memories genetically from generation to generation. Conceivably, if you take time as a linear concept, and here is where I think Jung may not speak too much of this, the first creations, the first fruits of them, if you will, back whenever one may conceive of humans as first existing, closer to the dawn of creation, period, whenever or however close to that time period these first humans lived, these stories of theirs, their theories and principles, their artistic creations and expressions--I do believe Jung argued that this is when these universal symbols first developed and emerged, back at the dawn of humankind's creation, or whenever we first emerged from evolution--my theory is that due to the time period in which these stories and their characters emerged, with a universal sense of them stemming from then, this allows archetypes to be conceived of as being closer to a pure representation of and from that dawn of creation and its source, certainly a time period when the universe itself began.
If you want to believe in archetypes and believe in them as another method or way to reach that memory of truth, of who we are as put forth by Vedanta, nothing less than an expression of and the very universe itself, then I think archetypes, if conceived of as being a purer expression of that source, with the accompanying strength of resonance for us that they have, by their very proximity to when humans first emerged, being closer to when the universe itself began, certainly closer than we are today, these archetypes, or universal symbols of stories and their characters, hold the key to unlocking the memory of who we are, where we came from, and where we are going.
How could they not resonate within us at a deeper level, calling to mind a time when we first knew and walked and learned? How could they not hold deeper truths within them that may be buried beneath the thoughts of today, removed so far from when we were perhaps more ourselves and more natural, more closer to the source, in time and in our own pureness of creation?
Jung designated our understanding of wholeness as "Self," perhaps knowingly borrowing from Vedanta in this case, his perceived goal towards which we are all going.
If archetypes are a way to resonate with a deeper level of knowledge, of knowing, which can guide us with wisdom, provide us with instruction that we have always needed and known, then adding to this would be the needed understanding of how archetypes may arise within us or speak to us from outside of ourselves. Depending on who we are and where we are on our path in life, different symbols or depictions of archetypes may be needed for us to know.
They all lead to that ultimate knowledge of understanding--by their very nature, they are closer to when we more purely knew what was known, back when we first emerged, closer to when time itself began, and the universe began to unfold.
If I were to bring together all of my knowledge and understanding as a person and as someone who helps others in their healing, what may emerge may just be beginning to be glimpsed in this post.
No more than science can prove the existence or non-existence of any universal beginning to all things, neither can anyone ever hope to achieve this.
I will trust when I share understandings I learned, dated from thousands of years ago, trust that what I have felt and resonated with as true from this knowledge, that this knowledge does speak the truth of what it shares, and trust it may resonate with you as it has for me.
I know there has been talk of generationally passing down knowledge through one's genes and DNA. I think there is validity to this.
Likewise, this knowledge of truth from thousands of years ago, from India, I believe as well. It helps lead to a conclusion I find to be a culmination of what I know.
Vedanta as put forth by the Ramakrishna Order or the Vedanta Societies as they are known here in the West, this knowledge, dated to be thousands of years old, I believe with everything I know to be at the heart of any ultimate understanding, or understanding of beginnings or endings, even what meaning we are searching for as we walk this earth.
Vedanta shares how we are really trying to remember who we are, and in the ultimate sense Vedanta says we are that which we are seeking, this meaning, this ultimate understanding--call it God or Goddess, the universe, any name or label or designation that could be thought of as appropriate--as Vedanta says: "Tat Tvam Asi." That thou art.
When you add to this the understanding from Vedanta that we are all moving towards this recollection or understanding, and all that it implies, you may give a nod to modern science in the idea that we have as a species passed on a knowledge of this, this ultimate understanding, and it takes the right environment, grace, or circumstance (or happenstance), what have you, to help bring about this recollection.
We have an untraceable memory of truth within us, and all healing, all things, derive from this truth, as we are trying to remember, as we are living our lives on this earth.
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.
Mark Newlon, feeling the embrace of the sacred feminine daily!
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