Monday, November 30, 2015

ALCHEMY AND MEDUSA

I’ve wanted to write something since the wonderful premier of Awakening in Taos. It was a great experience. Many ideas have flickered through my mind but not when I had something on which to write or time to write. Usually, I start a blog with the desire to explore one thing and something entirely different takes over. It’s a bit like catching butterflies. Many ideas flutter by but I only catch a few here and there. It’s probably better that way. Actually, that is also the way I paint.

This week, two such butterflies laden with potent pollen flew into the living room from the TV. The first was a biography of Albert Einstein and the second a biography of Paramahansa Yogananda. They seemed to fit together well in my mind like two kinds of lights shining on the same exalted path. I still have to look to it in more detail but it occurred to me that E=MC2 was a pretty good start to explaining multiple dimensions.  At least it started a process in my mind. I find that insights are often like that. I know they are there lurking in the background teasing me with a delicious inkling. I once dreamed of an adobe building occupied by alchemical scholars probably somewhere in North Africa among the Moors long ago but yet timeless.  Curiosity drew me in and as I walked into a smoothly plastered mud room, empty of furniture and decor, I saw a man’s departing foot and trailing robe disappearing through an arched doorway into another room and then another. I could never catch up with this man although I followed him from room to room. It was so real that I could smell the adobe earth and feel the warmth  of the sun streaming through the tiny windows.

I believe this man represented my teacher and guide and my denied destiny. He comes from a place and time of great learning in science, mathematics and especially esoteric spiritual knowledge. I didn’t see it as odd that the building was very plain while the man was dressed in silk brocaded with golden threads. I’m sure it was set in the dazzling time before the inquisition when Muslims, Jews and Christians pursued the most advanced knowledge of the ages.  Nevertheless, I am sure it was also timeless.  It is still there waiting for another dream to take me through a very plain doorway to the dimension where everything imagined can be given substance.

The video on Yogananda was very rich in content, which isn’t often the case with such productions. It revealed how his Guru Sri Yukteswar had the future vision to recognize that Yogananda was fated to introduce the spiritually needy West to meditation and spiritual wakening.  This was truly enlightened parenthood because he recognized that Yogananda’s fears were a reaction to his life calling that in his immaturity seemed overwhelming. He went for the point of energy, which is often negative when an individual is confronted with his/her destiny.

While writing the above, I took a break and did some random web surfing.   I came across a thought from James Hillman, the great post Jungian analyst (I hate that word but don’t yet have a better one).

Winston Churchill, for example, when he was a schoolboy, had a lot of trouble with language and didn't speak well. He was put in what we would call the remedial class. He had problems about writing, speaking and spelling. Of course he did! This little boy was a Nobel Prize winner in literature and had to save the Western world through speech. Of course, he couldn't speak easily when he was eleven or fourteen - it was too much to carry.

Or, take Manolete who, when he was nine years old, was supposedly a very frightened little skinny boy who hung around his mother in the kitchen so he becomes the greatest bullfighter of our age. Psychology will say, "Yes, he became a great bullfighter because he was such a puny little kid that he compensated by being a macho hero." That would be Adlerian psychology - you take your deficiency, your inferiority, and you convert it to superiority.

Yet, suppose you take it the other way and read a person's life backward. Then you say, Manolete was the greatest bullfighter, and knew that. Inside his psyche sensed at the age of nine that his fate was to meet thousand pound bulls, with great horns. Of course, he fucking well held onto to his mother! Because he couldn't hold that capacity - at nine years old your fate is all there and you can't handle it. It's too big. It’s not that he was inferior; he had a great destiny. Now, suppose we look at the kids who are odd stuttering or afraid, and instead of seeing them as developmental problems we see them as having some great thing inside of them, some destiny that they're not able to handle. It's bigger than they are and their psyche knows that. So that's a way of reading your life differently....

In our culture, so unfriendly to the feminine element, and I’m including feminine qualities in both sexes, mothers and mothering are crippled.  The angry Medusa robbed of her beautiful face and magnificent locks rages subtly under the load of dishonor, abuse, and being demoted to the background. She can only succeed if she plays with a masculine persona. More importantly, she is hostile to her children in subtle ways. We are all victims of the shadow side of the feminine. It has distorted everything it touches and leaves a brood of writhing, angry cold-blooded predators in every hole and shadow. The mother projects on the child her own maimed face.

My own mother haunts me. I still want to comfort and heal her. We had several good years before she left this dimension. I didn’t try to change her although I know she came from a long line of poisoned and poisonous mothers. On the other hand, there is much deep rage about being blocked at every turn from following my own path. I came to feel guilty of unforgivable crimes for wanting to live who I am in the world. I could be intelligent, wise, creative, insightful, cutting edge and independent as long as I did so in near isolation. In the world I grew up in, children were not to be seen or heard and neither were women. 

As usual she is punished
for her own defilement
from Humphries translation:
She was a very lovely one, the hope of many
An envious suitor, and of all her beauties
Her hair most beautiful - at least I heard so
From one who claimed he had seen her. One day Neptune
Found her and raped her, in Minerva's temple,
And the goddess turned away, and hid her eyes
Behind her shield, and punishing the outrage
As it deserved, she changed her hair to serpents,
And even now, to frighten evil doers,

She carries on her breastplate metal vipers
To serve as awful warning of her vengeance.


Throughout my life, I’ve hoped for a chance to come out in the open to exchange knowledge with that richly robed figure that is always disappearing into the next room in that mazelike building. I wanted to be like Mabel Dodge Lujan and know the movers and shakers of the age, but I also wanted to carry the message myself in my own words but an invisible barrier always stopped me.

Well, I’m running out of time. I can’t have those lost years back but I must enter the door of that ancient adobe house of wisdom teachings as someone who belongs rather than in the tone of a curious and probably unwanted stranger.