Posted on

Aligning Soul and Ego

Individuation is the process of integrating the psyche – of becoming one’s true self.

• Symbolism of Alchemy
– The Psychological Symbolism of the Conunctio in Alchemy

• Wholeness and Gnosticism
– Self-Knowledge as Knowledge of the Divine, Gnostic Gospels, the Necessity of the Union of the Self

• What is Individuation?
– Jung’s Process of the Re-Unification of the Psyche, Integrating the Shadow

• The Authentic Self
– Aligning Soul and Ego allows you to live authentically

Posted on

Symbolism & Archetypes

Symbolism is the language of the soul, and archetypes are symbols of immense power.

• The Soul, Body and Spirit
– Subtle Matter, Aligning Soul and Body

• Concretizing the Symbolic
– Symbols point to the Transcendent, Dangers of Taking Symbols Literally

• Rituals, Symbols, Sacraments
– The Manifest to the Transcendent

• Jungian Archetypes
– A Priori, Innate, Universal Prototypes, Five Jungian Archetypes

• Learning the Language
– Listening to Your Soul by listening to your dreams, Active Imagination

Posted on

What is Consciousness?

Consciousness is a feature and function of time and space, it is how we know duality.

• What is Duality?
– The Dual Nature of Reality

• What is Consciousness?
– Definition, Spectrum of Consciousness, Duality Consciousness, Understanding Time and Space

• Soul, Body and Mind
– The Meaning of Soul, the Connection of Soul to Mind and Body

• What is the Unconscious?
– Jung’s Concept of the Unconscious, the Shadow and the Ego, Masculine and Feminine Energies

Posted on

The Goats and the Tiger

By Joseph Campbell

A fable tells of a tigress, pregnant and starving, who comes upon a little flock of goats and pounces on them with such energy that she brings about the birth of her little one and her own death.

The goats scatter, and when they come back to their grazing place, they find this just-born tiger and its dead mother. Having strong parental instincts, they adopt the tiger, and it grows up thinking it’s a goat. It learns to bleat. It learns to eat grass. And since grass doesn’t nourish it very well, it grows up to become a pretty miserable specimen of its species.

When the young tiger reaches adolescence, a large male tiger pounces on the flock, and the goats scatter. But this little fellow is a tiger, so he stands there. The big one looks at him in amazement and says, “Are you living here with these goats?” “Maaaaaaa” says the little tiger. Well, the old tiger is mortified, something like a father who comes home and finds his son with long hair. He swats him back and forth a couple of times, and the little thing just responds with these silly bleats and begins nibbling grass in embarrassment. So the big tiger brings him to a still pond.

Now, still water is a favorite Indian image to symbolize the idea of yoga. The first aphorism of yoga is: “Yoga is the intentional stopping of the spontaneous activity of the mind-stuff.” Our minds, which are in continual flux, are likened to the surface of a pond that’s blown by a wind. So the forms that we see, those of our own lives and the world around us, are simply flashing images that come and go in the field of time, but beneath all of them is the substantial form of forms. Bring the pond to a standstill, have the wind withdraw and the waters clear, and you’ll see, in stasis, the perfect image beneath all of these changing forms.

So this little fellow looks into the pond and sees his own face for the first time. The big tiger puts his face over and says, “You see, you’ve got a face like mine. You’re not a goat. You’re a tiger like me. Be like me.”

Now, that’s guru stuff: I’ll give you my picture to wear, be like me. It’s the opposite to the individual way.

So the little one is getting that message; he’s picked up and taken to the tiger’s den, where there are the remains of a recently slaughtered gazelle. Taking a chunk of this bloody stuff, the big tiger says, “Open you face.” The little one backs away, “I’m a vegetarian.” “None of that nonsense,” says the big fellow, and he shoves a piece of meat down the little one’s throat. He gags on it. The text says, “As all do on true doctrine.” But gagging on the true doctrine, he’s nevertheless getting it into his blood, into his nerves; it’s his proper food. It touches his proper nature. Spontaneously, he gives a tiger stretch, the first one. A little tiger roar comes out—Tiger Roar 101…. The big one says, “There. Now you’ve got it. Now we go into the forest and eat tiger food.” Vegetarianism Is the first turning away from life, Because life lives on lives. Vegetarians are just eating something that can’t run away. Now, of course, the moral is that we are all tigers living here as goats. The right hand path, the sociological department, is interested in cultivating our goat-nature. Mythology, properly understood as metaphor, will guide you to the recognition of your tiger face. But then how are you going to live with these goats?

This story gets to the story of life. When you talk of a tiger, you speak of a wild animal with particular needs and requirements – they need to hunt and eat to live. We think we’re something we’re not – we’ve been misled into thinking we’re something we’re not. We all get a description from our parents, our society telling us who we’re “supposed” to be. But that’s not what we are!

When the tiger finds out he’s not a goat, he lets out a fierce roar! The Goat and the Tiger is about exceeding the things you’ve been told you are, but becoming whom you actually are! We’re all so much more than the roles we play – don’t act like a Goat if you’re a Tiger! Let people know you care about them, be true and honest with yourself and everyone you know.

Posted on

The Story and the Meaning of the Grail King

What are the Keys to Contentment?

When the stories of Parzival, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table were initially written during the Middle Ages, there was a great change sweeping the Western World. The power of The Church was being challenged by powerful new ideas as well as the return of ancient ones like those represented in Gnosticism.

A conflict was brewing between the forces of social order and authority (the Church) and the influence of the individual and the direct experience of love and the divine (the Gnostics). The possibility that one could chart one’s own course, marry for love rather than duty, and experience the love of God directly rather than filtered through the Church hierarchy was considered a direct threat to the Church’s authority, and many who espoused these beliefs were branded as heretics, persecuted and killed.

This notion, however, that “the God within us is the one that gives the laws and can change laws . . . and it is within us” is at the heart of attaining contentment. When we follow our own path, we are participating in a heroic, divine activity that manifests the “God within us.” By living authentically, by listening to the divine within us, we make our own rules and serve the divine in the process.

What this essentially means is that we are Co-Creators with the divine. We create our fate, our destiny, our relationship with the divine. When we live authentically, following our own chosen paths, when we manifest our own unique potential and individual nature, we are serving the divine in the most pure sense.

When Parzival, out of compassion and love, heals the Grail King, he himself takes the throne and becomes the Grail King, the guardian of the highest spiritual values of compassion and loyalty. By choosing to live authentically, from the spontaneity of his own heart and soul, Parzival shows us how we might follow our own path with heart, loyalty and compassion, leading to a life of joy, passion and contentment.

Posted on

Transcending the Wasteland – Living Inauthentic Lives

Does Your Life Feel Empty and Meaningless?

Early in his illustrious career, Parzival, the greatest knight of King Arthur’s Court, encountered two fishermen in a boat on a lake. Weary from his travels, he inquired as to where he might find lodging for the night; one of the fisherman – the Grail King – invited him into his castle, if he could find it. Doing so, he was feted by the knights and maidens of the Grail Castle, who prepared a great feast in his honor, for it was foretold that the greatest of all knights would come to the Castle and cure the King.

Entering the Great Hall, Parzival was overwhelmed with compassion, seeing that his host, the Grail King, was wounded and in terrible pain, unable to sit, stand or even lie down. Rather than ask what ailed the King, however, Parzival kept quiet, for the rules of what constituted a noble knight prevented him from doing so. The dinner was concluded and in the morning, Parzival departed – and the Castle vanished, the King still ailing!

Suddenly, the great knight found himself cast out into the Wasteland, living by rules imposed upon him rather than by the spontaneity of his own noble nature, which longed to reach out and heal the ailing Grail King out of his deep compassion. Instead, Parzival is cast out into the Wasteland, and for five long years he searches fruitlessly for the Grail Castle and King.

Trudging aimlessly through the Wasteland is a metaphor for living an inauthentic life. Like Parzival, many people feel trapped and empty, their lives devoid of real meaning; they feel like they’re living someone else’s lives, living by someone else’s rules. We haven’t been able to embrace our passion, or even to feel compassion – to experience and understand the pain of others, and ourselves. In the Wasteland, people are living inauthentic lives.

The Key to Transcending the Wasteland is acting spontaneously from your noble heart – living an authentic life that is truly your own. After years of searching, Parzival finally earns another chance to visit the Grail Castle, and this time he doesn’t hesitate to act out of the compassion of his heart: “What ails you, Uncle?” he asks the Grail King, and this simple act – the spontaneous act of a noble, compassionate heart – immediately cures the Grail King, releasing Parzival from the Wasteland. Search your heart for your own authentic and noble desires, for therein lies your escape from the Wasteland.

Posted on

Following Your Own Path

Who’s Rules and Expectations do you Live by?

The Knights of the Round Table would leave for an adventure as a group, but each individual knight would enter the forest “at the point that he, himself had chosen, where it was darkest and there was no path.” (from Joseph Campbell’s lecture, In Search of the Holy Grail: The Parzival Legend). “If there is a path, it is someone else’s path, and you are not on an adventure,” Campbell said.

This was a key component of the Grail Legend – if you follow someone else’s path, you wind up going completely astray, you wind up in the Wasteland. For Campbell the part at which the knights enter the forest at their own points “is a wonderful story: that which we intend, that which is the journey, that which is the goal, is the fulfillment of something that never was on the earth before—namely your own potentiality.”

This emphasis upon manifesting your own potential as an individual was revolutionary in the Middle Ages (when the Parzival stories were originally written), and is still key today (as represented in the work of Carl Jung and Individuation). By following one’s own path, you manifest your true potential, you blaze a trail no one has ever done before, and one that no one will ever do again – this is the process of bringing into being the authentic, divine nature deep within every one of us.

The true value of the metaphor of the search for the Holy Grail is the realization that God – the divine, the sacred, the truth – is in your own heart. So, because the divine is within you – and you are a direct part of that divinity – you must follow your own path! There are no rules, no instructions, you can’t get a map because it would be someone else’s.

“Follow your bliss,” Joseph Campbell says, for therein lies your path, there is where you will manifest your true potential, blaze your own trail, and become the incredible, unique and divine individual you were born to be.

Posted on

Loyalty and Compassion

What are some of the Highest Spiritual Values?

One of the most important messages in the story of Parzival (and particularly Richard Wagner’s Opera entitled, “Parsifal”) is the importance of compassion. Wagner’s Opera was influenced by his reading of Arthur Schopenhauer’s work and his understanding of compassion as the only valid basis for morality. It is through compassion for the suffering of other beings that the fool, Parzival, acquires wisdom and becomes a sage.

The metaphysical message of Parzival, based on Schopenhauer’s ideas and having much in common with the Buddhist concept of Samsara (the cycle of birth, suffering, death and rebirth), is quite beautiful, and requires compassion to truly understand: Stop striving, stop denying the Will, accept that suffering is an inevitable part of life and that desires can never fully be satisfied.

All things in this world are impermanent – meeting inevitably brings a parting, every beginning and ending. This is the nature of life – to deny it is to invite suffering. In the light of wisdom, the darkness of ignorance is lifted. All life is precarious; one must always seek a path of salvation and deliverance, the path of wisdom. We learn the importance of compassion from the suffering caused by our attachment to the impermanent – this is why compassion is one of the highest spiritual values.

Toward the end of the tale of Parzival, the great knight is invited to celebrate with King Arthur and his knights after the knights and ladies of the Grail Castle were rescued; he declines the invitation because of his steadfast loyalty to his wife, Condwiramurs, to whom he decides to return instead. His loyalty is immediately rewarded by the Grail Messenger, who shows him the way back to the Grail Castle and another chance to heal the ailing Grail King, which he does. Loyalty, then, is one of the highest spiritual values because it affirms the power of love; fidelity to love is fidelity to the divine, within you and all around you.

Posted on

Medieval Poetry of the Troubadours

The Eyes are the Scouts of the Soul.
The Eyes are the Scouts of the Soul.

Giraut de Bornelh (Troubadour, 1138 – 1215)


So through the eyes love attains the heart:
For the eyes are the scouts of the heart,
And the eyes go reconnoitering
For what it would please the heart to possess.
And when they are in full accord
And firm, all three, in one resolve,
At that time, perfect love is born
From what the eyes have made welcome to the heart.
For as all true lovers know,
love is perfect kindness,
Which is born, there is no doubt
from the heart and eyes