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"The Sleeping Beauty, the Prince and the Dragon"

An Exploration of the Soul

Seminar 1
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Seminar Main Page What is the Soul? click here
Seminar 2
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Seminar 2 The Origins of the Concept of Soul click here
Seminar 3
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Seminar 3 The Myth of the Fall click here
Seminar 4
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Seminar 4   Myths, Fairy Tales and Dreams  click here
Seminar 4A
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Seminar 4   Animals in Dreams 
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Seminar 5
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Seminar 5  The Roots of Depression click here
Seminar 6
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Seminar 6 The Care of the Child click here
Seminar 7
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Seminar 7 The Great Web of Life   click here
Seminar 8
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Seminar 8 The Brain and the Neuro-psycho-immune System  click here  
Seminar 9
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Seminar 9 The Dragon: Integrating the Archaic Psyche and the Shadow click here
Seminar 10
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Seminar 10 Rebalancing the Masculine and the Feminine click here
Seminar 11
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Seminar 11 Base Metal into Gold: The Process of the Soul's Transformation click here
Seminar 12
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Seminar 12 Individual Soul, Cosmic Soul and Spirit
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Seminar 13
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Seminar 12 The Wisdom Texts
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Seminar 12



copyright©Anne Baring

Cosmos - Robin Baring


The old gods are dead or dying and people everywhere are searching, asking: What is the new mythology to be, the mythology of this united earth as of one harmonious being?
                                                   Joseph Campbell, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space

In the turmoil of our time we are being called to a new order of reality. Working toward that consciousness, we suffer, but our suffering opens us to the wounds of the world and the love that can heal.                                             
Marion Woodman, Leaving my Father's House

Man is compelled by divine forces to go forward to increasing consciousness and cognition, developing further and further away from his religious background because he does not understand it any more. His religious teachers and leaders are still hypnotized by the beginnings of a then new aeon of consciousness, instead of understanding them and their implications. What one once called the "Holy Ghost" is an impelling force, creating wider consciousness and responsibility and thus enriched cognition. The real history of the world seems to be the progressive incarnation of the deity.
                                                  C. G. Jung

The human world of today has not grown cold, but is ardently searching for a God proportionate to the newly discovered immensities of a universe whose appearance has completely revolutionized the scale of our faculty of worship.                                       
                              Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

As the hand held before the eye conceals the greatest mountain, so the little earthly life hides from the glance the enormous lights and mysteries of which the world is full. And he who can draw it away from before his eyes as one draws away a hand, beholds the great shining of the inner worlds.
                                                                                              Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav.


In these twelve seminars which have explored the deeper meaning of the imagery of the Sleeping Beauty, the Prince and the Dragon, we have explored a wider concept of the soul which connects us to our cosmic and planetary roots. We have reflected on the effects of the loss and the benefits of the recovery of the feminine aspect of spirit. We have discussed the importance of myths, fairy tales and dreams and a new approach to healing the soul through becoming aware of the shadow and creating a conscious and empathic relationship with the instinctive aspect of our nature (the dragon), so releasing it from the need to act blindly and destructively in our personal lives and in the world. We have looked at the relationship between mind and body and the parent/child relationship. We have explored the causes and effects of depression and the need to balance the masculine and feminine within ourselves in the way we live our daily lives. We have had a glimpse of the alchemical process of the soul's transformation. In this final seminar, I would like to touch on the quintessential message of the great Christian myth, the present emergence of a new myth and the important concept of the guiding self or spirit.
            I have wanted, in these seminars, to include the history of the mythic image in the sixteen thousand years or so which precede Judeo-Christian civilisation. I feel we needed to go back to traditions that have been lost to consciousness since the end of the Bronze Age. Christianity is diminished and impoverished by its inability to relate the meaning of its great myth to the inner dimension of the human soul as well as by its failure to understand its rich inheritance in the context of the contribution of older civilisations to it. It has presented its revelation as something totally new, inflating its followers with a sense of divine mission. But the mission of its founder was not to have more believers – certainly not to present himself as the only son of God – and conquer more spiritual territory, but to open human awareness to the possibility of a profound relationship with the spirit, to the need for the clarification of our vision and the transformation of our understanding of life. (for the reasons why John's Gospel with its insistance on the divinity of Jesus became the foundation of the Christian Faith, see Elaine Pagel's latest book, Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, 2003).
            As we have seen, the myth of the Fall was taken literally and this fostered a concept of human nature as innately flawed, separated from God. In response to this essentially tragic myth Christian teaching developed the myth of the Redeemer, the only Son of God, who has accomplished the redemption of all believers through his sacrificial death on the cross. These myths stand at the beginning of our cultural inheritance and so powerful is our long mythological conditioning that it is very difficult to become aware of the assumptions derived from them and their influence on our culture.
            The Christian myth needs to be set in the context of this older mythological history, for it cannot be isolated from it without cutting off the soul from the age-old roots of its experience. Christianity seemed at first (in the first two centuries) to mark the beginning of a third phase in the evolution of consciousness - the reunion and marriage of two aspects of the soul long separated from each other - the individual soul and the divine ground of being. The great themes of the quest, the dying and resurrected god, the struggle with the powers of the underworld, the birth of a divine child (second birth) and the sacred marriage are given new life through the words and example of a spiritually awakened man who tried to transmit the wisdom of a very ancient revelatory tradition to his own people. The essence of this tradition was the need for reconnection and relationship with the divine ground, and the indissoluble oneness and divinity of life in which every individual participates. The lineaments of the archetypal myth embrace the events of Jesus' life so completely that it is very hard to distinguish myth from historical fact, but knowledge of the pre-Christian mythological tradition discloses residual fragments of the older imagery hidden within the Gospel story.
            Tragically, however, the new mythic imagery which held the idea of the transformation or transmutation of consciousness leading to a second birth and a sacred marriage between the individual soul (the son) and the divine ground (the Father) became the foundation of a religion which insisted on belief and the worship of Christ as the only Son of God. It also insisted that this new religion superseded all other revelations and that the Christian Church was the sole repository of that revelation, the sole arbiter and dispenser of truth. Belonging to that Church was the precondition for being saved and redeemed. Anyone belonging to a different religion could not be saved and, incredibly, was thought to be damned. (the reasons why this happened are complex and I cannot go into them now but the unconscious desire for power, control and supremacy on the part of a religious institution is a partial explanation). The main problem constellated by the emphasis on belief and worship in Christianity is that, as Jung suggested, the divine figure who brings redemption stands outside us rather than within us, thereby leaving the soul fragmented and unable to evolve, with its darker elements still unrecognised and untransformed. After two thousand years of belief and belonging to a specific Church as the way to salvation, we know almost nothing about the life of the soul and how we are intimately connected to the life around us and the life of the universe;

"The general undervaluation of the human soul is so great that neither the great religions nor the philosophies nor scientific rationalism have been willing to look at it twice."
                                                                      (Jung, Man and His Symbols, p. 102).

Consequently, we do not understand the reasons for our suffering and how we continue to bring evil into being, and are ignorant of our latent potential for transformation. Fortunately, however, things are beginning to change.
            For some four thousand years the two great archetypes of life reflected in the images of goddess and god have been split apart and polarised in relation to each other. Spirit, which was once both immanent and transcendent is now wholly transcendent, carried by the image of a Father God. Matter, emptied of spirit, and no longer intrinsically divine, has become the chaotic force to be mastered and controlled by man, used in the service of our species alone.
            Yet the ancient teaching of the soul's potential for transformation was kept alive by the mystical traditions of the three patriarchal religions - in particular Gnosticism, Sufism, Kabbalah and Alchemy as well as by a chain of supremely enlightened sages within the mystical streams of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Meister Eckart, one of the greatest of the Christian mystics, put it this way:

"The supreme purpose of God is birth. He will not be content until His Son is born in us. Neither will the soul be content until the Son is born of it." (Sermon 12)

It is through the influence of these mystical streams, recently made available to the world, that an 'alternative' perception of life is emerging in many different places at the present time. But the danger is that people will cling to the old beliefs rather than growing into a new sense of communion, understanding and relationship that could supersede the old rivalries, hatreds and power struggles between different religions and peoples.

The great themes of the Christian myth are:
1. Transformation through "death" and "rebirth"
2. The awakening of the heart in love and compassion for others
3. Participation in a sacred earth and a sacred cosmos
4. Reunion with the Divine Ground
5. The continuation of life after death
Salvation open to all, not through belief but through self-transformation
7. Freedom from ignorance, bondage and suffering
8. The value of every individual as the vehicle and expression of Spirit (however buried and hidden)

2000 years ago, at the beginning of a new era, Jesus attempted to heal the fragmentation of the soul by returning men and women to its deeper instinctual wisdom, through which they might rediscover the kingdom - the divine ground of life and the treasure of relationship with spirit. The quintessence of Jesus's teaching is about developing the capacity for relationship, connection and love - all qualities of the feminine - and about the realisation that every man and woman in his or her essential being is a son or daughter of God. (Ye are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you. John 10:34) At the same time it is about freedom and choice - the freedom and the capacity for each man and woman to choose to become whole and complete and directly in communion with the divine ground - a conduit for divine love flowing into this world. It seems to me that as a messenger of this ground, a true son of God (not the only Son of God), Jesus was opening our awareness to the treasure of relationship with that ground. The revelation that he brought and that his disciples at first found so hard to comprehend was of opening the heart to awareness of the unity and divinity of life, and therefore, to love and compassion for all. Jesus himself lived his life from that perception of reality; knowing that he was one with the light and love of the divine ground — I and my Father are One. This astonishing revelation, this seeing truly into the hidden reality behind the forms of life, participating fully in it while living in this earthly dimension, is the pearl of great price, the treasure in the field, the grain of mustard seed which, tiny at the beginning when it is first planted in the soil of the soul, can grow into a mighty tree, hung with the fruit of insight, wisdom and compassion. This, in essence, is also the teaching of the Buddha and the many great sages of India, Tibet, Persia, China and Japan, who put the emphasis of their teaching on the experience of enlightenment and the opening of the heart to the flow of light and love emanating from the divine ground.

The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. (Matt. 13:31-32).            

Jesus' life married the relationship, wisdom and compassion of the feminine principle with the courage, insight and ability to act of the masculine one. Together they gave him the power to influence the consciousness of his time and, ultimately, the consciousness of humanity. He did not ask for worship, obedience and belief. He asked that we listen to him and change our understanding of life and our understanding of God and begin to live from that change of consciousness. He said that if we attuned ourselves to this goal, we would be helped and guided in all that we do.

I shall give you what no eye has seen and what no ear has heard and what no hand has touched and what has never occurred to the human mind. (Gospel of Thomas, logion 17)

Two thousand years after he lived, that revelation is at last beginning to act like yeast in the bread of our collective soul. We are beginning to understand the immensity of the change of consciousness required and the mind-numbing difficulty of it if we are to serve, protect and love life rather than to use, exploit and dominate it. He was almost alone in his vision and the world of his time was as brutal and unconscious as it was possible for it to be. Today, it is still brutal and unconscious, but many seeds sown by individuals in past centuries have grown into trees whose fruit is available to us and there are now many people from all parts of the world who are coming to awareness of the implications of the revelation that he and other spiritual teachers brought and who are drawing together to express their desire to respect and serve life and to protect the planet and future generations from the consequences of our abysmal ignorance.

Cleave a piece of wood, I am there; lift up the stone, and you will find Me there. (logion 77, Gospel of Thomas)

Much of the teaching of Jesus was disseminated in at least 30 gospels, including the recently discovered gospel of Judas. Some of these carried the more advanced teachings that Jesus gave out to his closest disciples. However, in the second century, a bishop called Irenaeus, living in Lyons, in France at a time when Christians were horribly persecuted by the Roman state, decided that this plethora of gospels should be reduced to make the teaching more accessible to his flock. He chose the four gospels we now know to represent the teaching of Jesus. We would not have known of the others but for the astounding discovery in 1947 of the texts hidden at Nag Hammadi, in Egypt, among them many of the lost Gospels, including the Gospel of Thomas. After Jesus's death, James, the older brother of Jesus (whether full or half-brother is not known) became the head of the small group of Jewish Christians in Jerusalem until the destruction of the Temple and his murder in AD 70 (other traditions says he did not die but went to Glastonbury). Thereafter, refugees from Jerusalem and Palestine took the teaching to Alexandria, in Egypt, joining the Jewish community that had long been established there. In this earliest and perhaps most authentic teaching (since it was closest to Jesus) there is no mention of the virgin birth, the resurrection, or Jesus being the Son of God. Jesus was looked upon as the servant of God and the emphasis was on following his teaching for right living and relationship with God. However, it was not this stream of Christianity but the one presided over by Paul, based in Rome, that became the foundation of the teaching of the Christian Church. And in this version, Jesus (from the Fourth century Council of Nicaea) was represented as the Son of God, whose sacrificial death on the cross was believed to redeem humanity from its sins. In the early fourth century the Emperor Constantine made Christianity the religion of the Empire. Any remaining versions of the gospels were destroyed except those buried by monks in the jars discovered at Nag Hammadi and a few others that somehow survived destruction and the ravages of time and climate.

          When you listen to the words that are spoken to justify the development and use of weapons, and see the devastation and suffering they cause, or the control and manipulation of crops, or realise the casualness with which chemicals are released into the environment, or see the cynicism with which governments manipulate people's emotions and sacrifice human life (by wars and the sale of arms), you begin to see how huge a change of consciousness is required. I don't think anyone can grasp the implications of it until they grasp the fact that nature, matter and body have never been regarded as an expression of spirit and why, therefore, we think it doesn't really matter how we treat the physical aspect of life. It is, so we think, ours to exploit.

A New Image of God
From time to time, the image of the deity formed by a culture may lose its numinosity and "die." When this happens - usually when the old tradition that contained it has become fossilised and rigid - a new image or new spiritual impulse will emerge from the ground of the soul, introduced by an outstanding individual. It happened 2500 years ago at the beginning of what has been called the Axial Age: in India with the Buddha, in China with Lao Tzu, 2000 years ago in Palestine with Jesus, in thirteenth century Italy with St. Francis of Assisi. At the present time, His Holiness the Dalai Lama holds this level of consciousness for the whole world. Today, as Joseph Campbell and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin have suggested, humanity is searching for a new myth, a new image of God, one that is proportionate to the scale of our discoveries about the universe, one that can transform and regenerate our brutal, spiritually bankrupt, materialistic culture. At the millennium, we stand at the threshold of a new phase in our evolution, one that is demanding new values and a new definition of our relationship to the universe. But we are faced with the effects of past beliefs, past actions that encase us in a veritable strait-jacket of habits of thinking that are very difficult to break free of.
            Over some four millennia, the loss of the feminine dimension of the divine has led us to injure the earth, abuse our bodies and interfere with the actual structure of matter (atom bomb) in order to defend ourselves but, with a new understanding, these wounds could be healed. Life miraculously assists its own regeneration. As the soul awakens from its sleep and begins to transform the habits of belief and the patterns of ignorance transmitted from the past, so we may begin to speak and act on behalf of life, not in obedience to any system of belief, nor in fear of divine wrath and judgement, but through the love of life that is an instinctive response of the soul. The soul needs relationship with the ground of life through the mediation of the sacred image; it needs the union of the feminine and masculine principles for its balance and further evolution - for the sacred marriage between the two great archetypes of life brings into being the child of a new quality of consciousness. This, I believe, is why there has been such emphasis in the last fifty years on the feminine aspect of spirit which, if we understand the promptings of the unconscious, now seeks to be included in the image of the god-head. The tremendous popularity of the Da Vinci Code, shows the hunger that exists, not just for a good story, but for a "marriage" between the human carriers of the masculine and feminine archetypes personified by Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
           The old image of God has increasingly lost its meaning for many millions of people, and science and philosophy have confidently proclaimed that "God" is dead. The effect of this supposed death of God has been profound because the belief that there is nothing beyond human consciousness deeply undermines the balance of the psyche. It leaves us alone in the silence and apparent indifference of the universe, echoing Pascal's bleak cry: I am terrified by the silence of these infinite spaces. But the conviction that God is "dead" suggests a profound ignorance of the soul and a lack of awareness of the need for the periodic death of an outworn image of the divine and the birth of a new one if human consciousness is to evolve further.
            The disintegration and barbarism of the last century (and the present one) reflect the decaying power of the "Old King" described in the alchemical tradition — the old belief system and the incomplete values that belong to it, values that have not included respect for the feminine principle or awareness of the oneness and sacredness of life. New values are emerging related to the emergence of a new image of spirit which embraces the long-devalued aspects of the feminine archetype. This transitional phase is dangerous. Because of the polarisation of conscious mind and unconscious instinct within us, everything around us is increasingly polarised: on the one hand there is the impulse to overthrow or undermine authority; on the other, repressive authoritarian tendencies, fundamentalism of all kinds, which attempt to repress and control any impulse for change. There is a danger that certain elements in the old religious systems may now seize control in a regressive form. Thrown back to its most archaic level (the drive for power), the instinct may reinforce both totalitarian tendencies and anarchy, so threatening the delicate fabric of civilisation.
           Yet a new image of spirit is beginning to emerge. The essence of this new understanding is that everything that pours into manifestation from the very core of the universe: every galaxy, every star, every planet, every cell of our individual being is the place where the universe is flaring forth into existence from the great cosmic sea of being. We ourselves are at the heart of the process of creation; we are the process as well as the processor, the life of the creator as well as the life of what is continually coming into being from a deeper source. Creator and creation, subject and object, cannot be separated as they have been in the past. When we are in touch with that almost inconceivable idea, we bring ourselves into relationship with the creative heart of the cosmos. Each one of us is at this moment this shining-forth-from and dissolving-back-into. Each one of us is eternally an atom in the being of God, a co-creator with God, a manifestation and an expression of the life of God.

Even in the darkest region beyond the Great Wall of galaxies, even in the void between the superclusters, even in the gaps between the synapses of the neurons in the brain, there occurs an incessant foaming, a flashing flame, a shining-forth-from and a dissolving-back-into. (Brian Swimme, The Hidden heart of the Cosmos).            

The image of the divine in any culture has, in the past, emerged through a single outstanding teacher. But now, it seems as if it is emerging through many individuals. As the old god-image breaks down and with it the institutions which have created and contained it, spiritual needs that were not acknowledged or allowed to exist before can emerge, can be articulated. At the centre of Jung's thought was the vital importance and relevance of the individual as the receiver and the carrier of revelation.

"We have forgotten the fact that God speaks chiefly through dreams and visions."(Man and His Symbols, p. 102).

In this last book written before he died that I would recommend highly to you now that you have done this course, he wrote:

As any change must begin somewhere, it is the single individual who will experience it and carry it through. The change must indeed begin with an individual; it might be any one of us. Nobody can afford to look round and to wait for somebody else to do what he is loathe to do himself. But since nobody seems to know what to do, it might be worth while for each of us to ask himself whether by any chance his or her unconscious may know something that will help us. (Man and His Symbols, p. 101).

Elsewhere he wrote:

I am neither spurred on by excessive optimisim nor in love with high ideals, but am merely concerned with the fate of the individual human being - that infinitesimal unit on whom a world depends, and in whom, if we read the meaning of the Christian message aright, even God seeks his goal. (The Undiscovered Self, pp. 110-13)            

Visions are one of the ways in which new elements of understanding can come through to the culture. Another is channelled messages (A series of books called Conversations with God by Neil Donald Walsch is typical or this new impulse). Here "God" or the numinous figure that engages in dialogue with Walsch is not the remote and terrifying being of the Book of Job, but approachable, deeply involved in this dimension of reality and longing to communicate with us and to change many of our fixed concepts about Him. With this kind of communication, it is always wise to ask of the voice - is it inflated and didactic or warm, wise and even humorous? One should never follow instructions or exhortations blindly without assessing their effects on others as well as oneself. Among the beautiful passages in volume 1 is this one:

My Truth is the whisper of the wind, the babble of the brook,
The crack of thunder, the tap of the rain.
It is the feel of the earth, the fragrance of the lily.
The warmth of the sun, the pull of the moon.
I cannot leave you for you are My Self.
Listen to Me in the truth of your soul.
Listen to Me in the feelings of your heart.
Listen to Me in the quiet of your mind.
Neil Donald Walsch, Conversations with God, vol. 1 .

Nearly 1000 years separate this passage from the one below yet if you compare these words with those of Hildegarde of Bingen (1098-1179) you will see how similar they are.

I am the supreme fiery force
That kindles every spark of life;
What I have breathed on will never die,
I order the cycle of things in being:
Hovering round in sublime flight,
Wisdom lends it rhythmic beauty.

I am divine fiery life
Blazing over the full-ripened grain;
I gleam in the reflection of the waters,
I burn in the sun and moon and stars,
In the breeze I have secret life
Animating all things and lending them cohesion.
I am life in all its abundance,
For I was not released from the rock of the ages.
Nor did I bud from a branch
Nor spring from man's begetting:
In me is the root of life,
Spirit is the root which buds in the word
And God is the intelligible spirit.

And this vision from the gnostic Gospel of Eve is 600 years older than Hildegarde's text yet in essence it is saying the same thing:

I stood on a lofty mountain and saw a gigantic man and another a dwarf. And I heard as it were a voice of thunder, and drew nigh for to hear; and he spake unto me and said: I am thou and thou art I, and where thou art I am,
and in all things I am dispersed;
and from wherever thou willst thou gatherest Me;
but in gathering Me thou gatherest thyself.
(from G.R.S. Mead, Fragments of a Faith Forgotten)

How does a new image of spirit emerge into the culture? With Neil Donald Walsch, he simply sat down, addressed God from his misery and resentment that his life was in such a mess and was amazed to hear words in reply. Out of that dialogue have come several remarkable books which are certainly contributing to changing the old god-image for millions of people. Some people are attracted to books like these because in them they find answers to the questions they ask. Others can't stand them. These answers are not final and complete. They reflect one man or woman's quest for meaning. To announce that one is a prophet of God and that God is speaking through one is risky, to say the least. The personality can easily become inflated by the numinosity of the material and identified with it. Time is needed to reflect on whatever is coming into consciousness, to ground it, to see whether it might help or harm the world, to find a creative, sensitive way of connecting what is being transmitted to the culture from a deeper ground of reality.
            My own quest led me to the early Christian writings of the gnostics and the many unknown gnostic gospels and sayings of Jesus discovered at Nag Hammadi (see Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels and her most recent book (2003) Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas). It led me, through Jung's writings, to Alchemy and then to the mystical tradition of Kabbalah which had once been called "The Voice of the Dove". It led me to explore the worldwide mythology of the feminine dimension of the divine and to write about it and about the mystical traditions of different religions: Hindu, Daoist, Buddhist, Islamic, Jewish as well as Christian, that I had first come across about forty years earlier on two journeys to the East. They showed how all mystics speak of the same experience of union with the divine ground and of their experience of the love and light flowing from that ground (The Mystic Vision). It also led me to study the documents and teaching of the Christian Church from the early Fathers onwards and to discover there the misogyny, the fear of the body and sexuality, and the desire for absolute control (and therefore absolute power) as well as the brutal extirpation of heresy and a massive ignorance and lack of respect for other religious traditions. Although Christianity has been one of the greatest positive influences for holding society together in a shared vision and aspiration and for raising collective consciousness - as in the building of Chartres Cathedral - these negative aspects of its shaddow have adulterated Christ's message of love and compassion and undermined its power to heal and make whole.

The Concept of the Self
"Man does not change at death into his immortal part, but is mortal and immortal even in life, being both ego and Self." Jung (find ref).

My own life experience has taught me that we receive continual help and guidance from something that is beyond yet intrinsic to our own consciousness, something that has brought our consciousness into being over aeons of time and that contains all of us within its embrace. With patient work and insight, we can learn how relate to that indwelling spiritual essence of our soul. What is it in us that urges us to grow beyond ourselves; who is it who guides us step by step towards the discovery of some truth that, in our blind suffering, we intuitively sense is there, or towards the realisation of a potential we feel we have? Who is it who knows the end when we can only see the beginning? What helps us when it seems there is no help to be found? Who leads us to the creative work that is right for us, work that helps us to grow, that leads us to discoveries of things we knew nothing about and that ultimately, might be of some help and encouragement to others? The poet Yeats wrote wonderfully about the self in his autobiography, The Trembling of the Veil:

"I know that revelation is from the self, but from that age-long memoried self, that shapes the elaborate shell of the mollusc and the child in the womb, and that teaches the birds to make their nest; and I know that genius is a crisis that joins that buried self for certain moments to our trivial daily mind."
In his book, Psychology and Alchemy, Jung tells the following dream of one of his patients:

In the sea there lies a treasure. To reach it, he has to dive through a narrow opening. This is dangerous, but down below he will find a companion. The dreamer takes the plunge into the dark and discovers a beautiful garden in the depths, symmetrically laid out, with a fountain in the centre. In his commentary on this dream he writes: The treasure hard to attain lies in the ocean of the unconscious [the soul] and only the brave can reach it. I conjecture that the treasure is also the companion, the one who goes through life at our side…This is the theme of the magical travelling companion, of whom I will give three famous examples: the disciples' encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus, Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita [who acts as charioteer for Arjuna], El Khidr in Sura 18 of the Koran, whom Moses found by the side of a fountain. I conjecture further that the treasure in the sea, the companion, and the garden with the fountain are all one and the same thing: the self. (pages 113-14)

In Christianity, the image of the Self is carried by the figure of Christ; in Buddhism by the Buddha; in Hinduism by the figure of Krishna; in Daoism by Lao Tzu, the wise old sage living close to nature; and in mystical Islam by the figure of El Khidr, known as the "Green One." All of them mediate the presence and love of the invisible spirit to the attentive soul. As Jesus said - those who have ears to hear let them hear.
           All religious traditions have recorded the words of the great teachers of humanity who embody the image of the self for those who are not yet awake and in touch with it. These beautiful words spoken by Jesus on the eve of his Passion (from The Gnostic Acts of John) often come back to me:

I am a lamp to you who behold Me;
I am a mirror to you who perceive Me;
I am a door to you who knock at Me;
I am a way to you a wayfarer.
You have me for a bed; rest then upon Me.

as does this vow of the Boddhisattva from the Lotus Sutra:

                                                       Living Beings are without number;
                                                       I vow to row them to the other shore
                                                       Defilements are without number;
                                                       I vow to remove them from myself
                                                       The teachings are immeasurable;
                                                       I vow to study and practice them
                                                      The way is very long;
                                                      I vow to arrive at the end.

All religious traditions speak of the spirit guide, the hidden presence, the angelic messenger, the revelatory voice. The tradition of the spirit guide is very ancient, going back to Egyptian, Cretan and Greek civilisation, as well as Indian, Tibetan, Chinese and Persian. The great dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita gives us the image of the profound relationship between the inner guide and the outer personality that can be brought into being once there is recognition of the existence and presence of that inner guide, the spirit. In the Bible, we find it in the beautiful story of Tobias and the Angel Raphael (The Book of Tobit, Apocrypha). There has always been a strong tradition of messages and guidance from angels in Christian culture. One has only to look at the paintings of the Renaissance to see how alive that tradition still was for the people of that time. It has only been lost because we have grown so out of touch with our soul, yet many people today are speaking of their experiences and visions of angels. It is equally strong in Islamic culture although only in the mystical stream known as Sufism, from which the following two passages are taken:

Some souls have learned everything from invisible guides, known only to themselves…The ancient sages…taught that for each individual soul, or perhaps a number of souls with the same nature and affinity, there is a being of the spiritual world, who, throughout their existence, adopts a special solicitude and tenderness toward that soul or group of souls; it is he who initiates them into knowledge, protects, guides, defends, comforts them. Abu'l Barahat, (quoted in Henri Corbin, Creative imagination in the Sufism of Ibn Arabi, p. 34)

What the sufi prays for from the depths of his being is a messenger, a teacher of truth, a companion, a spiritual guide, who points the way home. Corbin, p. 33            

The greater consciousness or greater dimension of soul in whose life we live, has a focus within the individual soul, functioning there as an autonomous intelligence that Eastern traditions call the self. Jung adopted this word to describe the deeper wisdom and intelligence of the Spirit. He also called it the god-image within us.

"The Self...is a God-image, or at least cannot be distinguished from one. Of this the early Christian spirit was not ignorant, otherwise Clement of Alexandria could never have said that he who knows himself knows God."

In the depths of our human nature, we encounter Spirit. The Self is at once the core of our being yet also the totality of our being since it holds the experience of all that has been, is and will be - all the power, wisdom and experience of life since its inception. This deeper intelligence (even when unrecognised) initiates and oversees the alchemy of the transmutation of consciousness whereby the centre of gravity gradually shifts from the ego or personality to the self or, to put it another way, where the personality grows and expands sufficiently to make possible the incarnation of the self in the personality. From the establishment of the ego in childhood and adolescence to its gradual development into an organ that can relate to the greater self that contains it (or that dwells within it), so bringing about the healing of the soul, the self or spirit is throughout the dynamic, regulating, integrating principle. If its need for relationship with the ego (and vice-versa) is for some reason blocked the result is neurosis, depression, illness and suffering of one kind or another which may, in time, lead the afflicted individual (or the afflicted culture) to seek healing, transformation and, ultimately, wholeness. There are so many passages I could quote to you that bear witness to the guidance of presence of spirit that Andrew Harvey and I included in The Mystic Vision , but I particularly love these words of Bede Griffiths:

Each man must discover this Centre in himself, this Ground of his being, this Law of his life. It is hidden in the depths of every soul, waiting to be discovered. It is the treasure hidden in a field, the pearl of great price. It is the one thing which is necessary, which can satisfy all our desires and answer all our needs. (Return to the Centre)

and these, from Jung's close colleague, Marie-Louise von Franz,

Some profound inner experience of the Self does occur to most people at least once in a lifetime. From the psychological standpoint, a genuinely religious attitude consists of an effort to discover the unique experience, and gradually to keep in tune with it...so that the Self becomes an inner partner toward whom one's attention is continually turned. (Jung, His Myth in Our Time)

To bring the latent self into manifestation involves becoming aware of the unconscious aspect of the psyche, of the shadow, of the many unconscious complexes and archetypal influences that can control and possess the conscious personality (in both a positive and negative sense). We may believe that we are strong and in total control of ourselves but an unconscious complex in the unknown aspect of the psyche can trigger uncontrollable rage or feelings of disintegration and powerlessness. It can block one's creative potential and destroy one's relationships, cause one to fall into an inflation or lead one into destructive sexual encounters. Many an ostensibly religious man in a public position has had his career ruined by a sexual episode that became public and was completely out of character with the image of himself presented to the public; many a woman has been attracted to a man whom she believes herself to be passionately in love and has been destroyed by him (and vice versa).
             Jung saw the individuation process as an alchemical transmutation of the base metal of our psychic life into the gold of relationship with the self. He saw the philosopher's stone of alchemy as a symbol of the self. The self is latent in us as a potential. To bring this hidden potential into manifestation is the work of a lifetime. As the relationship between personality and self grows stronger, the personality becomes more aware of its voice and its presence. The self is at the heart of the mystery of our existence. The relationship with the self can become the inner fabric and focus of our lives. This fabric is something that we can weave into being with our attention and our longing for understanding and connection.
          The experience of the relationship of the personal self to the transpersonal self can change the quality of our lives, giving them a deeper resonance, a different meaning and focus. Relationship with the self brings us into closer relationship with the whole of life. It is through the transformation of our relationship to our inner world that our outer relationships are transformed. Through developing a different approach to our personal relationships (lived in the light of this inner relationship) we are able both to resolve difficult problems in our lives and to transform our relationship with our inner world. Through this dual transformation, so gradual and subtle that it is almost imperceptible, our perception of the world is transformed. Ultimately, what in the beginning is perceived as separate - inner and outer - begins to fuse and become one: one life, one consciousness, one whole. It used to be thought that one could not become 'spiritual' without sacrificing the life of the body, renouncing sexuality, embracing an ascetic life. This is now understood to be a false attitude derived from the split between spirit and nature which is so deeply imprinted on the patriarchal religions. The body asks to be loved and respected because it too belongs to the spirit and is an expression of the soul's life.
            On the diagram of the Tree of Life in the kabbalist tradition, the place of the self lies at the intersection of the World of Manifestation and the World of Formation (see diagram, end of seminar 7) . It is the meeting place between the surface and the depths of our being. To receive the influx of revelation flowing from these deeper dimensions of consciousness, we have to prepare a vessel; to learn to hear and see and understand in a different way. This cannot be done all at once (or only very rarely). It must at every stage be grounded in everyday reality, in close relationships, in performing with care, skill and love all the routine and sometimes tedious jobs of daily life to the utmost of our ability. Above all, it needs time for reflection and contemplation.
            Every mystical tradition says that at the core of our being we are, in our essence, one with the divine. We are one with the immensity we contemplate. And it teaches that the eye of the heart can slowly be opened to awareness of this divine reality. But the ground has to be well prepared to hold the tension of this awareness and this preparation requires much time for contemplation as well as grounding in the world and the expression of a growing respect and love for all aspects of life. Each person's path is unique. There is no one way that is right for all. A great Indian teacher has described the process of awakening to the presence and guidance of spirit in these words:

As the crust of our outer nature cracks, as the walls of inner separation break down, the inner light gets through, the inner fire burns in the heart, the substance of the nature and stuff of consciousness refines to a greater subtlety and purity and the deeper psychic experiences become possible in this subtler, purer, finer substance; the soul begins to unveil itself, the psychic personality reaches its full stature. The soul then manifests itself as the central being which upholds mind and life and body...It takes up its greater function as the guide and ruler of our nature. (Sri Aurobindo, the Life Divine)           

The quintessential self appears in mythology and in dreams under many disguises. Years ago I had a dress shop in London where for about twelve years I designed and sold evening dresses. I loved buying the materials to make those dresses and I loved designing dresses because they made women look more beautiful and feel more confident. I had many dreams in those years of great warehouses filled from floor to ceiling with materials of unimaginable fineness and beauty, of dresses far beyond my capacity to invent or make, of rails filled with clothes that were a marvel of detail and magnificence. These dreams encouraged the proliferation of my own designs and the effort to make ever more beautiful dresses that would come closer to the ones I saw in my dreams. But my own designs could never match these either in the complexity of the design or in the beauty and magnificence of the material. I began to wonder - where were these great warehouses? Who was the dress designer of my dreams? Who created these extraordinary fabrics? Once, I remember, I had a dream of a tiny woman with the head of a greyhound - rather like a Mrs. Tiggywinkle (Beatrix Potter) - presiding over an immense room filled with about 100 seamstresses seated at sewing machines which filled the room with a steady hum. All the women were busily engaged in sewing the top part of a dress to the bottom part. The meaning of that dream only occurred to me years later when I discovered the number of women writing and speaking about the feminine principle, reconnecting spirit with nature, soul with body - the top to the bottom. That little greyhound woman was an image of the self; the warehouses were an image of the resources and spacious dimensions of cosmic soul.
Images of the Self
Fairy tales give us many images of the wise old man or woman living in the wilderness or the depths of the forest. In many stories animals act as guides and sometimes at the end of the story they turn out to be an enchanted prince like the bear in the story of Snow White and Rose Red or the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. Badger, living in a tree at the heart of the Great Wood in The Wind and the Willows, is an image of the Self. At the other end of the wide spectrum of the Self (from animal form to god or goddess) is the fairy god-mother in the story of Cinderella who oversees her god-daughter's process of transformation from drudge into royal bride.
            Sometimes in our lives another human being plays the role of the Self, opening new possibilities for us or giving us help when we most need it. In the therapeutic situation, the therapist carries the archetypal image of the Self, projected from the client's own psyche, as, indeed does the parent or any teacher whom the child trusts and loves. The responsibility of being a parent and teacher and therefore carrying this archetype is immense. Its betrayal (as in the sexual abuse of or cruelty to children) has catastrophic consequences. (see Donald Kalsched, The Inner World of Trauma).
            In dreams, the Self can take an abstract form such as a square (quaternity) or a circle (a mandala like the rose windows of Chartres Cathedral). It can also take an image of nature such as a mountain (like Mount Meru in Indian mythology) or a flower, tree or stone. It could take the form of an enclosed garden, a cathedral close or the interior courtyard of a university college or a cloister like the exquisite one in St. Clare's hermitage in Assisi or the one in Van Gogh's asylum at St. Rémy – any image which suggests the idea of a centre or container or the idea of the source (the waters of life). The Persian word for garden was paradis. Alchemists called the garden that often appears in their engravings "the rose-garden of the philosophers." (rosarium) - an image of the containing space or vessel – the stilled, receptive heart – in which the gradual illumination of the soul takes place and the flowers of immortality can blossom. The Self does not counsel perfection and being good in the sense of the morality we have learnt from religion or from our parents. Its intention is wholeness which seeks to include the dark, feared, traumatised or rejected elements of ourselves as well as the light. This does not mean, however, that one has blindly to live out the compulsions and addictions that are messages from these rejected or traumatised elements calling for attention from the conscious personality.
            The Self may also appear in dreams as the figure of a king or queen, prince or princess. In our society it is projected onto those individuals who are born into the role of king or queen as well as onto any political (Prime Minister or President) or religious leader (Pope, Dalai Lama or Guru) who has a "mana" personality and who unconsciously draws projections from others of the archetype of the Self. People who have no awareness or knowledge of the archetypal dimension of the soul, may follow these leaders blindly without reflecting on the content of their message or being aware of the dark aspect of the self. Political and religious leaders as well as institutions may unconsciously identify themselves with the archetype of the Self and encourage the dependency of their disciples or followers. A teacher, leader or institution has constantly to be aware of the danger of identifying with the immense power and numinosity of the Self. (Jung said that the dark side of the Self is the terrible temptation of power).
            When a channel has been opened to the Self or Spirit, certain things may happen. One may have powerful emotional swings between elation and depression as one moves back and forth between feeling a sense of connection with a deeper ground and losing it again. There may be an unbearable sense of constriction, as if one's energy was too great to contain and has to burst out of the prison of one's life situation (sometimes it does have to). There is great loneliness and, at times, despair. Some people fall into the trap of setting themselves up as a guru long before the power flowing from the self has been integrated and balanced because the contents emerging into consciousness are so powerful and numinous that they are sure they have been chosen as God's messenger. Recent years have seen many people follow cultic leaders to a sacrificial death (Jonestown). People who are convinced of the absolute rightness or truth of their beliefs may be unconsciously identified with the archetype of the Self. This attitude may be held as much by scientists as by religious fundamentalists, often as a compensation to unconscious fear or doubt.
            What is needed is to channel this charge of archetypal energy creatively so that one is neither possessed by it nor identified with its power. There are as many kinds of creativity as there are people. This involves the conscious part of the personality working together with the ideas, visions, longings and imaginative ideas and intuitions welling up from the unconscious to create a vessel to contain and balance the powerful influx of spirit. The whole of Spirit can never be contained by the personality and the personality can be overwhelmed or unbalanced by it. Sometimes one has to say to that huge power - "enough is enough for the moment, you are exhausting me." Many individuals today find themselves serving as vehicles for bringing into the culture elements that have been shut out of it for millennia. There may be no vessels in the culture to contain these new elements. Hence these individuals have to create the new bottles to hold the new wine but in a human, related way that does not do violence to current beliefs and values but gently widens the frame of reference so that deeper values and insights can be included. The Self is the eternal; human consciousness is focused on the temporal world. We often feel uncomfortable with situations where we seem to be losing control and may cling fiercely to "truths" – such as the current belief in the 'rational mind' – that have been presented to us as abolute by people we trust and admire. We cannot possibly connect with or assimilate the hidden dimensions of reality all at once but we can keep a humble attitude by accepting that there is always more to be known. To shut off the unknown as non-existent or irrational is to close the door to our potential for growth and understanding.
            The figure of an old man or woman may appear at a time which marks a new phase of one's life, or to lift the dreamer out of a state of stagnation and despair. Here are selection of such dreams:

An old man and woman, very ancient and unknown to me, are helping me to look for a cottage with a small garden that I will be able to manage on my own. We find one on the edge of a stretch of beautiful country. I go for a walk with them and suddenly see, lying on the ground, several eggs which seem to be hard-boiled and have had their shells removed. I discover more and more and call to them to come and look. (dream of a woman)

I look out over the garden from my window. I see a woman coming along the path between beds of flowers. She is very ancient yet her features are young and she carries herself erect and strong. She is wearing a long robe which covers her hair. In her arms she is holding a baby and a large black dog walks by her side. (dream of an old man)

I am with a little old man with a long white beard who takes me up to the attic of a house. It is empty except for twelve trunks. We look in each of the trunks and they are all empty until we come to the last. But in this one there is a tiny black horse with a jewelled saddle and bridle, studded with rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds. The horse is alive. The old man hands it to me. (dream of a child)           

I want to spend a little time on animals because animals can appear in dreams as images of the Self. The animal forms of the self might appear as very archaic creatures like the dinosaur or the mammoth, particularly when the person is deeply unconscious. Other animals that appear most frequently in dreams are the lion, the bear, the elephant, the bull, the serpent and aquatic animals like the dolphin and the whale. (birds often appear as messengers in dreams and the bee is a very ancient image of the Self). Sometimes these animals will appear in huge, archetypal form and will speak to the dreamer. The dreamer awakens from these dreams with a sense of wonder and awe and, sometimes, paralysing fear. Animals often appear in dreams at key moments of transformation in our lives. To reject or deny one's own creative life is to deny the self and the result is a dream like the following (my own dream):

I am in a zoo, in the house where the lions and tigers are. I see an enormous sabre-tooth tiger in a cage. It is dark and the stench is overpowering. I am afraid.            

This dream showed me that the instinct to create had been denied to the extent that it had become something as dangerous as a sabre-toothed tiger — dangerous to myself and to others. The stench was from the putrifying life that was not allowed to live. The dream was a stark warning. Sometimes a particular animal may appear over many years in dreams, to warn, to guide, to instruct, to point the way. I remember a dream I had that I was being chased by a golden mammoth that came out of the sea. Panting with terror, I tried to hide in all sorts of places but there was ultimately no place to hide. An encounter with spirit can be a terrifying experience because it is utterly unknown, utterly different from our normal everyday experience. It is very difficult to discover what the Self may be trying to convey by such a dream. How does one create a relationship with a mammoth? It is all very well to write and speak about the god within but quite another to experience the terror of coming face to face with with an archetypal image of Spirit in this animal form.
           Jung's words are a fitting ending to this section:

"Even the enlightened person remains what he is, and is never more than his own limited ego before the One who dwells within him, whose form has no knowable boundaries, who encompasses him on all sides, fathomless as the abysms of the earth and vast as the sky." (Answer to Job, CW 11, last paragraph)

Once we begin to look at things in a new way, there are many places that can speak to us of the greater dimension in whose life we live. When people enter the temples and cathedrals reared by our aspiration towards the infinite they enter the containing image of the soul: the cave, the temple, the cathedral, the walled city, the sacred grove or garden, even an opera house. When we enter the darkness of the Paleolithic cave, or cross the threshold of the Parthenon, St. Sophia, the Dome of the Rock, the sublime beauty of the Duomo at Orvieto or Chartres Cathedral, we cross the threshold into the mystery, wonder and beauty of the divine ground. With hushed steps we enter these places that have been venerated for centuries, marvelling at the ability of man to create such beauty. Where, we wonder, does our ability to create such beauty come from?
            Because we have not been taught how to recognise and interpret the communications that come from this greater dimension, the call from the Self may go unheeded. Only the outer aspect of life is experienced. Even that aspect, which may seem so rich and exciting to begin with, may lose its fascination because we do not look deeper. The routine of everyday life can become tedious and meaningless, as if the germ of wheat has vanished, leaving only the husk. We have no access to the soul because we do not understand its language or the ways in which it is communicating with us. Yet, there exists in us an organ that may be compared to an unknown or unused icon on our computers and this can be activated. If the path into the depths of ourselves is discovered and gently followed, greater understanding of life develops so that it is no longer lived unconsciously, responding blindly to events as they happen. As we tread it we gradually begin to comprehend and relate to the great Web of Being that binds all things to each other, and the spirit that informs the whole; we begin to align ourselves to this greater life, like a planet orbiting the sun.
            We have always sought in various directions for confirmation of the existence of supernatural powers, supernatural intelligence, supernatural guidance. Centuries of dependence upon established religions has inculcated the habit of looking everywhere outside ourselves for this power, intelligence and guidance. Yet, there is another voice, that of myth, fairy tale and legend and also, of mystic vision, which points us inwards, leading us, if we will allow it to, into the dimension of our inner life. In its simplest terms, the soul is the transcendent dimension to which we, in our soul essence, belong. It is this secret, hidden dimension that is accessible to our own consciousness if we can find out how to open the door to it. It is this dimension that is the goal of the hero's quest in myth and legend. It is the ultimate destination of all exploration; the unknown, mysterious, fabulous land. The way to it lies through the mysterious gates of horn so celebrated in the ancient world - the gates that guarded the threshold to the mysteries of the underworld and the Goddess. In the language of mythology and fairy-tale, it is the kingdom of faerie, the realm of the gods. In the language of visionary revelation, it is the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, the sacred ground of our being. It is the underlying matrix which constitutes the binding energy of the entire universe. It is the source of everything we are, everything we perceive. It is both creator and creation. Being all this, is it surprising that it transcends our present level of consciousness, that we cannot comprehend it after a few hours or years of search and study? Yet we are both that which seeks to comprehend and that which is the object of our comprehension. We are both part and whole.
            In this sense the totality of consciousness is as infinite as the universe, yet as small as the tiny part of it we use as a lens to try to understand that immeasurable greatness. How recent a development is our present consciousness in comparison with the age of the universe, even with the age of our planet. How difficult then, for us to encompass the meaning of soul and spirit. If I were to ask the question "Who am I?" the answer would be "I am the life of the universe discovering through you the marvel that I am."
            The soul is the source of mythology, revelation, art, poetry, literature, music, science, of all those ideas which have given rise to our social institutions, to the highest values such as justice, tolerance and freedom that we associate with civilisation. It is the root of visionary experience, of all love and longing which has been expressed as beauty, of all terror which has been lived as aggression and hatred. It is the source of both the divine and the demonic - the source, as Jung said, of all sorts of evil and also the matrix of all divine experience (CW 18, par. 1586). This duality is clearly expressed in Greek mythology, where the gods are both benevolent and malevolent; in Christian iconography where there are both angels and devils; in Hinduism which has both gods and demons, and in Mahayana Buddhism which has both light-bringing and blood-drinking deities. All these are within us or rather, we are within a greater dimension of being that contains all these powers.
            The soul is as old as the universe and can be imagined as a millions of years old stranger in whose house we live but whom we have never met. This stranger has been the witness of everything experienced since the beginning of evolution as well as everything that is still latent as a potential within it. This stranger, the greater consciousness of which our own consciousness is a part, is the basic energy of life which creates, destroys and perpetually transforms its own essential being. It has brought forth the cosmos, the galaxies, our planet, the life that has given us form and intelligence. From it has come the creativity and intelligence which has transformed our life on earth. From it also have come the insatiable will to power and the capacity to destroy, born of blind, unconscious drives which are the legacy of the archaic memories of our evolutionary experience on this planet.
            The idea of meeting this stranger may seem faintly ridiculous at first, even somewhat alarming. The soul speaks an unfamiliar language, like Chinese or Arabic, whose symbols have to be painstakingly learned before we can converse fluently with it. An understanding of the symbolic language of the soul can help to make communication possible. It begins to come alive as a reality – a living presence – through the growing capacity to listen to what it is trying to communicate, to interpret its symbols, its methods of communication, its intention and guidance.
            The unknown dimension of soul in which we live communicates through vision and dream; through all kinds of ideas and our capacity to make connections. It speaks through instinctual feelings, subliminal intuitions, physical sensations which may not be noticed or acknowledged. Longing is the voice of the soul; intuition the connecting ear of the soul. The soul communicates through ritual, myth, fairy-tale and all the channels of communication which have been endowed by us with meaning. The body, so split off from mind that it seems like a separate entity, is also an aspect of the soul - its visible form or "clothing", perhaps energy that moves at a slower rate of vibration than thought, feeling or intuition, yet is intrinsic to the whole. If we have no awareness of or insight into this deeper dimension of our life, there is no way in which it can reach us. Nor can we be enriched and developed by a relationship with something greater than ourselves. Cut off from soul, we become focused only on the external concerns of our lives - impoverished and diminished because something vital to our wholeness and well-being is not attended to and nourished.
            Perhaps if we became more aware of the need for listening and observing , we could begin to recover the awareness of connections that we used to have before we became so dissociated from the instinct, an awareness of our relationship with nature: not an inert, lifeless, mechanical nature but one ensouled by divine presence. We could learn how to move the focus of our lives towards the cultivation of an intuitive awareness of the subtle interaction of our soul with the greater matrix of relationships which contains us. The more we develop this intuitive awareness, the more we will discover that we are guided and helped in all kinds of subtle ways by this immanent intelligence. The more we trust its guidance, the more the world becomes sacred. This conscious participation in the sacredness of the world, where, in the simplest activities of daily life, even such things as cooking, gardening and cleaning our house, caring for our children, we engage in dialogue with the cosmos, gradually helps us to recover our connection with the soul and re-enchant our world. At the end of presenting this seminar, I asked if there was anything more that needed adding and drew the card "Receiving" from a pack of divination cards I often use for guidance:

Receiving follows prayer. The seeker is ready to receive the Divine Gifts. Being ready to receive means confidently proceeding with daily life in the certainty that what is needed and desired will be fulfilled. When we understand that our real needs come from the Divine desire within our own heart to accomplish our unique purpose, then we know, without doubt, that we will receive everything that furthers this purpose; the will of the small self and the will of the greater Self become united. Receiving becomes a natural process, an innate part of our being. Patience is not a state which must be endured, it does not require suffering; patience is a joyous certainty in the heart, a knowledge that the Divine unfolds perfectly and our participation empowers this perfection. We may stand silently or we may go about our daily business, either way we stay open to receiving the gifts which are due to us. If we have opened ourselves in prayer and meditation to new possibilities, we may later become uncertain of the results and close part of our being down. This will block Receiving. In order to receive we have to set aside doubt and proceed on our path, even though the map may still be unclear.
(Theolyn Cortens, The Angel's Script, Caer Sidi Publications, PO Box 156, Witney, Oxfordshire OX8 8YR)

One man I knew and admired was able to listen and receive. Before he died he wrote an extraordinary book called The Face of Glory (sadly out of print) which offers a template for the creation of a new kind of civilisation. In a beautiful passage he writes:

Creation begins and continues as a single sound. That sound includes all ideas, meanings and all expressions of meaning and all possible languages. It is Universal Consciousness letting itself be known as the Word. That sound holds within itself all rhythms, melodies, chords and all the possibilities of music. It is Universal Consciousness letting itself be known as song. That sound resonates in eternity and its resonances create voids and spaces and a diversity of experiences of time, the time experience of a galaxy, a tree, a man, a mayfly. It still holds within itself all lights and darknesses and all possible variety of colours. It also holds all natural laws and the principles of life and intelligent life. It creates beings capable of consciousness themselves who are the spectators and the audiences of its creation. It is Universal Consciousness letting itself be known as glory.

We, the human race, are the creation of that sound and, as we are made conscious by its light and will, so we share in its creative possibilities. Where we think we invent, we discover; where we suppose we originate, we are supplied from the true origins. In our ultimate essence, our true individuality, we are that sound and through our existence we are ears to hear that sound and mouths to utter that sound.

William Anderson, The Face of Glory: Creativity, Consciousness and Civilisation (Bloomsbury).


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