Saturday, February 2, 2008

NOTES on The Power of Myth, Episode 5

Episode 5 – Love and the Goddess

Let’s talk about LOVE. But where should we begin?
The troubadours in the 12th century – the first ones in the west that really thought of love as we think of it now. Romantic love, from person to person. Your soul’s counterpart in another.

Before that LOVE had been Eros – the god who excites you to desire. Not a “Falling in love” Eros is the zeal of the organs for each other. The biological urge. Cupid. Kama. Agape – Christian love – they neighbor as thyself.

But the kind of love in the troubadour tradition “the meeting of the eyes” originates in the 12th & 13th centuries. A new way of experiencing love. In opposition to the ecclesiastical despotism of the heart.

Against arranged marriage by families.

In Tristan & Isolde – this love is bigger than death, than love, than pain, than anything. And I would choose this pain now even if it would mean everlasting pain and damnation. This is my bliss. Nobody can fight me off this thing.

This has now become the ideal of love in the western world. This agony, this mystery. The sickness the doctors cannot cure. The wound that can only be cured by the weapon that caused the wound.

“Libido over Credo”

Libido – the impulse to life. Comes from the heart. The opening up to something else.
Credo – the weight of God, of rules, of societal expectation.

The opening of the heart.

Why was this important in the evolution of the west? Because it gives this accent in the weight of the individual. Validity of one’s individual experience against the monolithic system. This is so much of what defines the west.

The Holy Grail. “The Grail was brought from heaven by the neutral angels.” The Grail becomes that which is attained and realized by people who have lived their own lives. The fulfillment of the highest potentialities of the human consciousness.

the Grail legend:
- “The grail King a lovely young man. He rode froth from his castle with the war cry “Amour” and as he rides, a Mohammedan warrior comes from the woods. They joust with their lances. The lance of the Grail King kills the Mohammedan, but the other’s lance castrates the Grail King. What that means is that the Christian separation of matter and spirit, of the dynamism of life and the spiritual, natural grace and supernatural grace, has really castrated nature. And the European life, the European mind, has really been castrated by this. True spirituality has been killed. What did the pagan represent? he was a person from the suburbs of Eden, a nature man and on the head of his lance, was written the word Grail. That is to say Nature intends the grail. Supernatural life is the bouquet of natural life, not a supernatural thing imposed upon it, and so the impulses of nature are what give authenticity of life, not rules given from a supernatural authority. That’s the sense of the Grail. …The Grail becomes symbolic of an authentic life lived in terms of its own volition, of its own impulse system which carries it between the pairs of opposites of good and evil of light and dark. Every act has both good and evil results. The best we can do is lean toward the light. Intend the light. And the light is that of harmonious relationships that come with com-passion.”

“God is Love” well then love is god. Okay. Love bears all things, endures all things… love knows no pain.

The Muslim idea that Lucifer was sent to hell because he loved God too much… more than anyone else. This is a Muslm basic idea. Lucifer would not bow to man. In Christian tradition it’s interpreted as the egotism of Satan. But in this view, he could not bow to man because he could only bow to God. The worst of the pains of hell is the absence of the love of God. How is he sustained? By the echo of the memory of God’s voice when God sentenced him to hell.

The main teaching of Christianity is “Love your enemies.” as when Peter cuts the ear off the centurion… and Jesus says put away your sward and heals the ear.

The doctrine of agape. True Love for he who is your enemy. How to do that? Do not pluck the mote from your enemy’s eye, but pluck the beam from your own. That’s how.

There is no life apart from suffering. In every religion, in every myth there is acknowledgement that suffering is part of life. They’ll tell you how to understand and bear and interpret suffering. And when the Buddha says there is escape from suffering, Nirvana is a psychological position where you are untouched by suffering and desire and fear. And your life becomes harmonious, well centered and affirmative of life. Even with suffering.

Abilard’s idea (12th century) - Jesus’ death was not ransom paid, penalty applied, but as Atonement, At–one-ment with man. That the coming of Christ to be crucified and illustrating the suffering of life, removes mans mind from commitment to the things of this world in compassion, in com-passion with Christ we turn to Christ and so the injured one becomes the savior. It’s the suffering that invokes the humanity of the human heart. By contemplating the cross you are contemplating the true mystery of human life. That there is joy and pain in love.

Love is the burning point of life. And since all life is suffering, so is love.

Love is the pain of being truly alive.

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The golden Age of the goddess

Gaia, the virgin birth

“Our Father who art in heaven…” could it have been “our Mother?” Of course. This is a symbolic image… meant to evoke attitudes that are appropriate to a meditation of the source of your own being. Gender has no meaning.

There have been systems where the Mother was the prime source. She is the immediate source… the image of woman is the image of the world. Mother earth & so forth.

But what happened to this reverence that was directed to the goddess? It has to do with agricultural societies. Woman magic and earth magic are the same. The personification of this energy is properly female. and so, it is in the agricultural world of ancient Mesopotamia, but in the earlier planting cultures the goddess is the mythic form which is dominant.

When you have a goddess that is creator, it is her own body that is the universe. In a philosophical point of view, the female represents time and space in the Kantian terminology - the forms of sensibility. The mystery beyond her is beyond pairs of opposites. The gods are her children. EVERYThing is the production of the goddess.

What psychological difference does it make to see god as Female vs Male? Planting cultures vs hunting (killing) cultures. In the near-east you have the basic birth of civilization with the river cultures. These rivers have Goddess names. then you have the invasions . The fighting people are herders of sheep and livestock. The warrior gods come in with the hunting cultures of the east… The indo-Europeans married the goddess to the Gods, The Hebrews really wiped out the goddess. The sword and death vs. fertility. There’s a very strong accent against the goddess in the Hebrew. The bible is an extreme case, and our own western subjugation of the female is really a function of biblical thinking.

The virgin birth comes in by way of the Greek tradition. Luke is the only Gospel with mention of the Virgin birth. Luke was Greek. And all the Greek traditions have mention of virgin birth. What is the meaning of the virgin birth? This was not a new idea. In India, the Kundalini – the idea of the centers up the spine. Psychological centers of consciousness and action
1 – the serpent at the rectum – traveling consciousness, eating eating eating (Lingam and Yoni)
2 – the sex organs center – urge to procreation
3 – the navel. Eating, not consuming, but mastering, trashing and mashing of others.
all three of these first three are animal instincts. in the pelvic basin. but,
4 – the heart. The opening of compassion. Out of the field of animal action in to a human, spiritual field. This is the virgin birth, the birth of spiritual man out of animal man. And it happens when you are awakened to compassion and shared suffering at the heart.

But all these pictures of the birth of Gods are YOU. Have YOU been reborn? Have you died to your animal nature and come to life as a human reincarnation? It is a spiritual birth. The Buddha was born from his mother’s side, at the heart chakra. Christ was born to a virgin, and according to Roman Catholic doctrine, her virginity was restored, in other words, nothing physical happened. It’s not a physical birth; it’s symbolic of a spiritual transformation. Deities are born that way representing beings that act in terms of compassion and not in terms of the lower three centers.

Isis is the model of the Madonna. Isis with Horace at her breast. A prime myth of goddess as redeemer.
Isis and Osiris are twins born of the goddess Nuke. Their younger relatives were Set and Neftis. Set planned to kill his brother osiris. He measured him and has a sarcophagus built that would fit him exactly. There was a huge party, and set brought in the sarcophagus and said “anyone whom this fits can have it as theirs.” they all try it on, and as Osiris gets in, 72 men run in and clap it shut. They throw it in the Nile. It’s washed ashore in Syria. A Beautiful fragrant tree grows and incorporates the sarcophagus into its trunk. A local king has just had a son and is about to build a new palace. The aroma is so wonderful he cuts it down to be a pillar in the main room of the palace. Poor little Isis starts a quest for Osiris. She comes to the palace and learns of the wonderful aroma, and suspects this is Osiris, She get s a job as a nurse to the new child. She loves the child and decides to give the child immortality by placing it in the fire and gradually burning away its mortality, but not letting it die since she’s a goddess. And every night as the child is burning she turns into a swallow and flies around the fragrant pillar. One night while this is going on the child’s mother comes in and panics at the sight of her son in the fire and the bird flying around. The swallow turns into the gorgeous nurse, Isis, and she explains the situation and says that it’s her husband who’s in the pillar. The king comes in and says sure… they put it on a barge, and on the way back to the Nile, she removes the lid and lies on top of her dead spouse, and conceives of her dead spouse and when thy land she in the swam gives birth to Horace with the dead Osiris beside her. This is the motif for the Madonna. Isis represents the throne. The pharaoh sits on the throne of Isis, and if you look at the cathedral of Chartres you’ll see the Madonna as the throne and the child on her lap as the emperor.

2 Peter – “Those forms which were purely mythological in the past are now incarnate in the life of our savior.” They intentionally incorporated these ideas into their culture.

The goddess is the one who brings it about. The second birth is through the second mother. The mother church. Notre Dame de Paris. Notre Dame de Chartres.

The woman becomes the regenerator.

So how do we learn to live spiritually? In ancient times that was the point of the teacher, and that’s what the ritual was for. Enactment of the myth. You’ve got to have a clue. A road map. And these are all around us. And the road map to which the goddess stories are pointing is that of elevating the spiritual an equal quality so that you live in union with those two. the earth is the body of the goddess… Yahweh creates the earth, and breathes his life into it. Her body is your body.

1 comment:

Rob said...

do you have that reference in 2 Peter that you quoted from Joseph Campbell?

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