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Excerpts from “The Waste Land” by T.S. Eliot

I have heard the key T. S. Eliot's The Wasteland
Turn in the door once and turn once only
We think of the key, each in his prison
Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison


After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The crying and the shouting
Prison and place and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience


April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.

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Refusing to Listen to the Call


Sangreal - Arthur Rackham - "How at the Castle of Corbin a Maiden Bare in the Sangreal and Foretold the Achievements of Galahad", from The Romance of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, by Alfred W Pollard, 1917.jpg
Arthur Rackham – “How at the Castle of Corbin a Maiden Bare in the Sangreal and Foretold the Achievements of Galahad”, from The Romance of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, by Alfred W Pollard, 1917.jpg

In the Legend of the Holy Grail, the Grail King is wounded, necessitating a search for the legendary Grail holding the blood of Christ which will restore him. The Kingdom is stricken, the farmlands dying, the communities suffering, with everything reduced to a virtual wasteland.

So it is with many people who hear but do not heed “The Calling.” They live, as T.S. Eliot so eloquently described, in the Wasteland. When you fail to heed your true calling – a message directly from your soul – you live someone else’s life – your church’s, your family’s, your society’s.

You become subject to the world of “Thou Shalt,” living without initiative or passion, doing only what you have been told you must do – not what you were born to do. Refusing to listen to the Calling from your Soul leads to much unnecessary pain and anguish (as the knight Parsifal experienced in the Grail Legend).

But heed your calling, listen to and embrace the music from deep within your soul, and you will begin to embark on the incredible journey you came to this world to experience – and you will serve something far greater than yourself.

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The Creation of Duality

Unfolding from pure potential (Implicate Order) into physical being (Explicate Order) creates a new set of rules and apparent realities for us. We are seemingly no longer “one,” we seem to be individuals, disconnected from each other, with distict and separate identities.

Plato from The School of Athens by Raphael, 1509
Plato from the School of Athens, by Raphael, painted in 1509

The ancient Greeks were the first civilization to confront this apparent schism.

Plato, in his dialogue Phaedo, first articulated his Theory of Forms, wherein he suggests that there exists an abstract reality beyond the world of the senses. Aristole and other Greek philosophers refined this idea, but what essentially emerged was a description of reality in dual terms: up/down, light/dark, black/white, and the like, an idea that still guides us today.

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Wholeness and the Implicate Order

The concept of the Feminine refers to wholeness and interconnectedness – the “cosmic web,” in contemporary terms.

Photo of Professor David Bohm,
Professor David Bohm, from the Northwest Branch of The Theosophical Society website.

Physicist David Bohm expressed this idea through the concepts of Implicate and Explicate Order.

The Explicate Order – everything that we see in the known universe – “unfolded” from the Implicate Order, the world of unmanifest potential.

To demonstrate this, Professor Bohm referred to a famous experiment at the Royal Institute in London, where a drop of ink was placed into a device consisting of two cylinders of glass, holding a fluid. When the device was turned, the drop of ink was pulled into the liquid and then disappeared. However, when the device was turned in reverse, the droplet reappeared. This demonstrates that there is an order that “doesn’t show” – the implicate order from whence everything we know is derived.

Consciousness is much more of the implicate order than is matter . . . Yet at a deeper level [matter and consciousness] are actually inseparable and interwoven, just as in the computer game the player and the screen are united by participation.

— Statement of 1987, as quoted in Towards a Theory of Transpersonal Decision-Making in Human-Systems (2007) by Joseph Riggio, p. 66

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What is “The Calling?”

Your Own Path in a Beautiful Forest
The Calling is your Soul, beckoning to you to make your own path in life.

The Calling is a message from your soul; you are being called to make your own road. It is your first realization that you are here for something greater than yourself.

The Calling is your soul speaking to you, communicating your passion, your destiny, and giving you notice that the journey to discover your true life’s purpose is beginning.

Life is a spiritual journey, a soulful journey of finding meaning and awareness. Mythologist Joseph Campbell noted in his study of global mythologies that every culture has a hero myth that follows, more or less, the same pattern: The Calling, The Quest, The Fall, and The Return. We will explore each of these stages of the Hero’s Journey in this Portal.

The hero myth is really a metaphor for our own spiritual journey, from alienation to redemption.

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Where Are You In Your Life?

Grand explosion of light signifying the birth of consciousness and awareness about one's life.Have you heard the calling of your soul? Do you feel that you’ve been called to do, to be, something greater? This feeling, this calling, is your soul – your true self – telling you that your journey has begun.

You must heed this calling or risk missing out on your entire life. You must become open, quiet and empty of the chattering of the mind to hear your call, to see clearly where you are and where your journey will begin. As French author Antoine de Saint Exupery said in The Little Prince, “Only children know what they are looking for.”

The Hero’s Quest

There is an old Greek saying that “the soul is the fingerprint in the wax.” When life is breathed into us, when our souls enter this world, they make an indelible impression upon us, and upon the entire universe. Michelangelo described the process of sculpture as freeing the form from within the block of marble.

This is an insightful description of our own life’s task – to free our authentic selves to live the life we were born to live from within the confines of the rules, orders and expectations placed upon us; this is the heart of our calling.

No matter whom you are, or where you are in your life, you must be ready and able to answer the calling of your soul, for it beckons you to begin the journey of a lifetime. Are you ready?

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The Calling: The Myth of the Mother Goddess

In the Beginning, We Come from the Love of the Mother

The Mother Goddess Ishtar, Mesopotamia, Babylonian, circa 2000 B.C. Sculpture: Terra cotta Height: 5 3/8 in. (13.7 cm) The Phil Berg Collection (M.71.73.13) Art of the Ancient Near East
The Mother Goddess Ishtar, Mesopotamia, Babylonian, circa 2000 B.C.

We come into this world through the feminine, the Mother Earth, represented throughout the history of human mythology. We come from oneness, from love, the Mother Goddess representing the sacred and indivisible wholeness to which we ultimately must return.

The feminine energy, however, has been repressed in our culture; it is, however, an indispensable aspect of human consciousness. It must be brought back into consciousness and restored to full balance with the masculine if we are to achieve a harmonious balance between these two essential ways of experiencing life.

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The Fall: Dante’s Inferno

The third circle of hell, illustrated by StradanusDante Alighieri is widely considered one of the greatest poets in history, and his epic poem, La Divina Comedia, is one of our greatest works of literature. The Inferno, a description of the Christian representation of Hell, is the first of the three components of the Divine Comedy, the others being Purgatorio and Paradiso.

More than a religious work, Dante’s Inferno is a representation of the alienated individual. It is a beautiful allegory of that point in our life’s journey where, having achieved everything we are told we should want in life, we are left asking, “Is This It?”

Dante captures alienation and despair in mid life perfectly, and his harrowing description of his descent into the nine (9) Levels of Hell is a searing evocation of the pain and trials that accompany the point where we too lose our way in our journey.

To find our way back – back to our souls, as represented in Paradiso – we, like Dante, must go through Hell. We must experience the death of our “Ego” selves, of hubris, to reunite with the divine.