Copyright © 2004 by William R. Mistele. All rights reserved.
In this essay I respond to a question from a friend about the nature of patriarchy and matriarchy. I do not know what the young lady means by patriarchy and matriarchy but I do have some thoughts on the nature of male and female paths of growth.
And I could only really comment on Patriarchy and Matriarchy after reviewing the different archetypal paths of growth for men versus women and then correlating these to ancient and modern societies. I have not done that in this brief essay.
The electric and magnetic fluids are technical terms relating to the hermetic magical tradition of Franz Bardon. Bardon makes a big deal about them in terms of mastering them in the body and in using them for practical magical purposes. That is, to be a magician, you have to master both fluids in order to create new things.
The Electric and Magnetic Fluids in Magic
From a magical point of view, two of the most dynamic energies of transformation in the universe are the electric and the magnetic fluids. These are not the same as the electricity and magnetism in nature but are roughly analogous to them.
These fluids arise out of the four elements, earth, water, air, and fire. These elements and fluids are equally active within the human body and particularly in sexuality and attraction between the genders. They can be pursued on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels.
The Electric Fluid
In brief, the electric fluid is hot, burning, expansive, dynamic, intense, powerful, and explosive in sensation. It has the capacity to produce great light. In psychological terms, it is commanding, full of faith and conviction. It reaches for sovereign power seeking absolute control. It annihilates and destroys obstacles that stand in its way.
In more spiritual terms, it seeks to manifest its vision using all the previous qualities—with certainty, with dynamic will and expansive power, with implacable dedication and electrifying conviction. An example in the earthzone is the spirit referred to as Anamil in Aries or for that matter the archangel Michael. For both of these spirits, there are no problems that exist on earth that can not be solved. (See my story St. Columba for an example of Michael’s direct, masculine form of activity in history.)
You could say that independence, strength, courage, conviction, faith, will, determination, dedication, self-reliance, self-mastery, uprightness, clarity, order, adaptability, practicality, planning, productivity, excitement, exhilaration, creativity, and vision are qualities that are present when the electrical fluid is operating successfully.
In my other essay, Christianity and Judaism, I give the example of the “dark vision”
that came to Abraham about his descendents suffering in
Had these individuals possessed sufficient will and conviction they might very well have done whatever was necessary to avoid the destruction they intuited. But they did not. Their electric fluid, their faith and conviction, their will and decisiveness lacked both strength and quality necessary to prevent the disasters that followed their inaction.
Obviously, the electric fluid can be done in a positive or negative way. In the I-Ching, the great yang is describe as the most creative of all things. The prefect expression of its nature is the easy that it might overcome the difficult. In other words, you take a great task, project, or purpose and break it down into its steps and parts and master them one by one.
A great father systematically and persistently teaches his children in a simple but continuous manner so that when they are older they are fully equipped and prepared to face the challenges of life. He foresees the ends and objectives in advance, makes plans, and persists in carrying through with them so that the most difficult of problems can be solved. A father’s great accomplishment is in preparing his children to undergo the great transitions of life in a smooth and harmonious manner.
Once the decision is made to build a
What you do want is a commander in chief (Eisenhower) who knows that he is completely responsible for the outcome, who is willing to assume great risk, to act decisively, and yet who is willing to resign his commission should the invasion fail.
The electric fluid can be very destructive as well. As such, its burning and consuming power acts to dominate the wills of others. It tortures and torments, hazes and subjugates. It absorbs others’ wills into itself. It utilizes every means possible to corrupt, divide, undermine, and enslave others to its purposes.
An example of the electric fluid operating in a negative patriarchy is when the man in charge hazes those under him. One way he does this is to ask that they do something completely absurd that they know he knows is absurd. Doing this task degrades them but nonetheless doing it with full devotion is a test of their complete loyalty and obedience.
For the negative electrical fluid, the light is there but it lacks purity and clarity--the vision is distorted and twisted. The faith and conviction are there but are often expressed in a degraded form such as through arrogance and self-righteousness.
The positive electrical (or patriarchal for that matter) is seen in George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Gandhi—all acting to revolutionize society in a more just and inclusive manner. The negative is seen in Napoleon, Stalin, and bin Laden—all grasping after power in a regressive and exclusive manner. But in either the positive or negative forms, the electric fluid is willing to put itself at complete risk to accomplish its mission and manifest its vision.
The Magnetic Fluid
The magnetic fluid, by contrast, is cool, contracting, soothing, and attractive. It is nurturing, and supportive. It contains within itself so as to shelter and protect. Instead of intense and explosive, it is rhythmic, receptive, and gentle.
In psychological terms, it is empathic, sensitive and responsive. It draws together, bonds, joins, and unites. It accepts and affirms. In spiritual terms, it reaches towards an all-encompassing, all-embracing love.
Again, in the I-Ching the great Yin is the most receptive of all things. The perfect expression of its nature is the simple that it might overcome what obstructs. The yin in this case is known for its devotion. It is the mother whose love is always there, whose support is always felt and present. There is no end to its nurturing capacity physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
The Great Yin conveys an inner feeling of
affirmation, of support and love. This
devotion or conveyance of love serves to unite the individual from within no
matter how dissecting and dividing, conflicting and stressful the circumstances
of the individual’s path in life. This
is a feminine, a mother’s set of qualities and powers describe by King Wu in
ancient times in
An example in the realm of hermetic magic and Quabbalah is the archangel Gabriel presiding over the lunar sphere for whom there is no dream that can not be made real, no vision that will not manifest in the fullness of time in accordance with the strength and purity of the desire within your heart.
Gabriel can embrace any true desire because his vision encompasses all of history. He exists in a state of timelessness, outside of time. Or, as the poet puts it, “What the heart sees never die;” there are “worlds enough” for all dreams to be fulfilled. Gabriel affirms dreams and visions. He finds a time and place and a way and means (a means for sheltering, nurturing, and protecting) for the seed of light to manifest in history in spite of all opposing forces that seek to twist its message and destroy its vision.
Let me depart for a brief moment into the world of imagination, pure fantasy, or for those who are psychic and not dependent solely on words and imagery—the astral plane of the undines. In this realm of nature, an undine/mermaid such as Isaphil is “receptive, receiving, open, perfectly reflecting the sources of life that sustain your being and flow through your dreams. Amplifying them, weaving them together, she draws upon them, calls them down so they become more real. Through her caress, her touch, her words, her light--cool, soft, shining light--she revives and renews you. Peaceful, shimmering happiness, total contentment, she is a well overflowing with life.”
“These ecstatic delights exist within the sensation of touch--the magnetic embrace water reveals. It is all around you in every moment in the air you breathe. It is in your blood, your body's cells. It is in the rain, the rivers, and the sea. In every moment it is there singing to all of us.”
Or consider another undine, Istiphul, who one day asked me, “Where can an undine go to share with a human soul these things?
The dark depths of the ocean trench,
The slippery touch of the jellyfish and the nautilus,
The caress of arctic cold,
Or the warmth of curling up on a tropical beach
Of a woman walking out of the sea naked and free
Drops of water anointing her skin.
Let me review briefly one time when I called to Istiphul: “She appears at first dimly. But as I focus my mind, she takes on a clear form. She walks through the water and comes right to my side.
“With Istiphul near, I become acutely aware of tiny currents crisscrossing at the edges of the mirror like surface just where water begins to fold around a rock. As the water dips and turns around my ankle, I sense how the stream's bubbling ripples are like the hands of a dancer telling a story as they turn in countless swirls and curves. I hear too many streams across these islands as if they are suddenly near. Their sounds breathe and sigh, caressed by air, hiding in sand, seeping beneath rocks, falling in space, and circling in mountain pools. Drifting downstream to the sea, these waters laugh like young girls carrying baskets of fresh fruit to a celebration. Istiphul sits beside me on the same rock, her bare feet dangling in the stream.
“I say to her, ‘Tell me of the mysteries of love and your own secret desires. Show me too the mysteries of myself.’
“Istiphul touches my left forearm with her right hand and I feel as if she touches every nerve in my body. Every aspect of my self is drawn together by her touch. The sensation in her fingers pulses through me with an invitation to let go as strong as the brash, swift grasp of a riptide or an undertow.
“With Istiphul, I feel something I have never felt with any woman. Istiphul is here next to me with a hundred per cent of herself. She is joined with me--she feels everything I feel. Every thought and perception she feels as well.
“She knows where my eyes fall as I gaze into the distance--she is pure sensual, spiritual being. There is no intrusion of thoughts, words, or ideas to confuse our connection. Everything I am is within her heart.
“I reflect again on her touch. Her hand on my arm--what can it be to feel another is completely one with me, sharing all I feel and perceive? Her touch annihilates loneliness. Like Caesar, she commands an empire, but hers is of the heart.”
Well enough. Undines—the nature spirits who dwell within the water element—are the most enchanting of beings. And these two in particular are masters of the magnetic fluid.
We could say that peace, repose, calmness, happiness, contentment, serenity, tranquility, well-being, delight, kindness, gentleness, affection, empathy, tenderness, sensuality, pleasure, bliss, ecstasy, compassion, and love are qualities that are present when the magnetic fluid is operating successfully.
The electrical fluid is fairly pronounced in our society through the vast complex industrial, scientific, and technological and research establishments. These are not in any way matched by a magnetic fluid which has yet to convey to us an inner peace with the universe, a “peace that passes all understanding,” or a level of empathy and feeling that are able to communicate heart to heart between anyone on the planet.
We have been able to produce hydrogen fusion with temperatures hotter than the sun. But we are not yet able to contain this fusion with a magnetic “jar” which would then replace eighty per cent of the needs for fossil fuel on earth. In technology, psychology, and in spirituality, the magnetic fluid is far less understood than the electric fluid.
We have seen the negative masculine (or electric fluid) in Hitler, in Stalin, in Julius Caesar, in Alexander the Great, in the great burning of the Counter Reformation, the excesses and exploitation of capitalism, the exploitation of nature, the possibility of nuclear annihilation as well as in the subjugation of women in so many ways. The abuses of the masculine or the electrical fluid are obvious. The electric fluid and its activities, for better or worse, are usually out in the open for all to see. They usually involve some form of action, preparation for, or plan of action.
The electrical fluid empowering the human race with the active powers of and over nature have developed in history leading as I have mentioned to achievements in science, industry, and technology. The history of warfare is in part a history of mastering the electric fluid (will, order, power) in a destructive manner.
So what is the negative side of the magnetic fluid? The electrical fluid—hot, burning, intense, penetrating, and exploding--will attack you from without. The magnetic fluid—cool, soothing, releasing, receiving, and imploding--will attack you from within.
A positive magnetic field can get inside you and draw you together with its attracting force of love and affection. The negative magnetic field can also get inside you but it pulls you apart reversing itself into a repelling force of hate and hostility. In some relationships, the partners are so involved that they can not break the connection when they split up. But they can reverse the polarity from love to hate in order to complete the separation.
In brief, the negative aspect of the magnetic fluid is that it absorbs and contains without releasing or giving birth. It shelters without enabling growth. Instead of healing, it poisons. Instead of nurturing, it denies.
“Beware of sweetness” said the poet, for you know not whether it will refresh and make you more alive or whether, like cocaine and heroin, its “high” is subtly designed to drag you down into the depths.
The negative paralyzes, seduces, wastes, and numbs consciousness. It induces insanity—that is, it destroys consciousness with guilt, shame, fear, terror, illusions, delusions, obsessions, fascinations, depressions, nightmares, and false visions.
The electrical fluid will draft you to fight for a war machine. The magnetic fluid will get you hooked on drugs or overcome with emotional defects so that you are equally without will, drawn away from life and creativity.
In the I-Ching, the Great Yin, mother, or magnetic fluid offers an individual continuous support that nurtures and serves to integrate the inner self of the individual though his or her entire course in life. The negative magnetic fluid, by contrast, acts to undermine, dissolve, and reabsorb into itself the inner life of the individual throughout his or her entire life.
It is like an undertow, a whirlpool, or a riptide subjecting the individual’s conscious identity to a force that acts to dissolve its integrity. It sucks consciousness out and down into a sea of the unconscious in which the individual experience no longer has meaning. It destroys the individual vitality and poisoning his or her motivation.
But whether positive or negative, whether life giving or life destroying, the magnetic fluid is the guardian that reveals the deepest feelings and the mysteries at the core of the self.
Among the Archetypes
According to one perspective, Western civilization has pursued the electrical/masculine side of culture and consciousness. In doing so, it has actively sought to suppress or destroy the feminine side. The electrical fluid has ascended at the cost of the magnetic.
About thirty years ago, I did some research on this topic which I will review briefly here since it relates to a discussion of the magnetic fluid. A magician has to develop and balance equally both masculine and feminine fluids in his body and in his consciousness in order to work creatively. In a sense, then, this discussion is also about magical equilibrium, about the nature of spiritual growth, and the dynamics of a spiritual quest especially from the feminine side in relation to an archetypal point of view.
In a nutshell, as I understand Carl Jung (see Symbols of Transformation) and Eric Neumann (see The Great Mother and Amour and Psyche) on archetypes, and Joseph Campbell (for example, Myths to Live By) on the hero’s quest, for a male or a female to come into full spiritual maturity and psychological self-understanding, the individual must have a full fledged encounter with the good and bad as well as the very good—the inspiring/ecstatic—and the very bad—the malicious/evil aspects of both the masculine and the feminine archetypes.
Obviously, in each age and in each society, different archetypes will be in prominence, that is, active in the society and under conscious review and discussion. Equally, various archetypes will be latent or hidden and out of consciousness or passed over and mostly forgotten by the society and the individual.
But the full power of the archetypes, the various range and powers of transformation for the positive and destruction for the negative are always there regardless of whether individuals or societies recognize them. In other words, as the actor John Travolta said in one movie, “Assumptions are the mother of fuckups.” Never underestimate the power in the full positive and the full negative of the masculine and feminine mysteries. They will fall on you when you least expect it and devour you.
Four Archetypes of the Feminine
In a nutshell, there are four
main feminine archetypes. (This perspective
comes in part from a seminar by the American poet, Robert Bly,
who lectured at the
Like a mandala, two positive and the two negative poles sit opposite each other representing four different aspects of life. Each embodies a different quality and vibration of the magnetic fluid. These four archetypes embody great magnetic fields of force. By moving among them and through dramatic encounters with them, an individual generates great light and attains the very heights to which consciousness is capable.
First is the good mother. She is the mother Mary or the woman who loves you throughout your entire life. She is receptive, nurturing, tender, kind, and generous. If you want to participate in society and accomplish your work in life, you need to make peace with her. Without her you simply do not have the energy to follow through in accomplishing something that is of enduring value to yourself or to others. She is happy to see you succeed in life following the path you find within your heart.
A spirit in the lunar sphere said to me one day that “the greatest wealth on earth is a woman who loves a man with all of her heart.” Do not ever underestimate the good mother’s power and influence. She is the womb from which we are born and the peace we hope to have in the moment we die. She is the one who comes to greet us when we have passed beyond and she was there all along when we take our first step, when we graduate from school, and when we wed.
Have you ever felt really happy? I mean as if happiness is woven into your every breath and heartbeat making you feel fully alive? Have you ever felt a well-being in which you can sense that every thing good in life will come to you naturally? These are qualities and powers of this positive magnetic fluid operating within your soul. This is light from the archetype of the good mother shining upon your life.
Opposite the good mother is the stone mother. Her essence is that she makes you numb. She slows you down and gets you into ruts. She gets you to conform. This is because the only way she can feel close to you is if you think, do, and feel as she does. She is the superego, the accepted values and mores of a society. She is very traditional and hates anything new.
All individuals who seek to be accepted by and validated in other peoples’ eyes are the children of the stone mother. They are unable to grow because they are bound to conformity. When they attain success, wealth, and fame, they are slaves to what they have gained.
Most spiritual quests begin by leaving behind the stone mother. To quest for self-knowledge, you have to cross over the boundary separating the known from the unknown. The stone mother already knows who you are. She knows where your nitch in life is and where you belong.
Leaving her behind is a shocking experience because to do so you awaken to new perceptions and feelings that she does not understand (and no one around you understands). But the stone mother is willing to accept you, support you, and sacrifice for you. Who are you to cast such aspersion on all that she has given you, all she has done to make you who you are?
The minister, the priest, and the rabbi are her servants. They guard the boundaries leading into the unknown. The stone mother is the guardian and custodian of life’s limitations. She knows that if you leave her behind you will face naked and alone the full onslaught of the mysteries that society has not prepared you for. You had better find a new cloak and spiritual identity for your soul if you wish to venture beyond her protection.
In summary, her numbness, her safe harbors, reassurances, and her insane complacency protect against all the fears and terrors that society does not yet understand. Her warning? Don’t venture beyond my sphere of influence or you will be destroyed.
Well, for that matter, you can remain under her protection and you are just as easily destroyed. In homage to the stone mother from my poem, Women and the Sea,
One night, alone in a small craft,
The sky was overcast
I could hear the waves breaking not far off
Against a rocky shore hidden in darkness
But I could not turn out to sea
The waves were too great
When the wave’s crest broke
Over the stern I took on water
And so sailing only by sound
I listened to the waves
Bearing off when the breaking crest
Was too near
Until two hours later
I sailed past the tip of the island.
I know women like that:
Shoals hidden in darkness
Places where dreams are shattered
And lives are shipwrecked
And to survive them
You must make darkness your friend.
And even when you are ashore,
When you think you are safe and sound
When your feet are really on solid ground
It is still like visiting
I have floated naked in that mountain pool
At dawn as the sun’s golden, molten breath
Caressed the rocky heights
The water so cold yet inviting
So exciting, yielding all of its being to my touch
Like lips which finally surrender a kiss
But then later on when I had left
Falling rocks kill others right where I stood
That place, though sacred, is also a trap
I know women like that—
They can be incredibly sweet and kind
And then turn and stone you to death
Like their worst enemy from another lifetime.
On another axis are the ecstatic mother and the teeth mother. The ecstatic mother gives ecstasies, dreams, visions, and hope. It is not her nature to offer affection and support. Do not ever ask that of her.
You most likely will not find her each night in your bedroom or cooking breakfast in your kitchen. She will be out sailing around the world, living up in a tree, or dancing up a storm as the sun dawns. One ecstatic mother told me she can have an orgasm just watching the wind drip down and caress fields of golden wheat. But do not think she follows any form or tradition. She can appear anywhere and at any time in any women.
Perhaps in a taste of her lips you may be offered the choice to return to the man you once were or to leave behind all that you are to become the man you were meant to be.
And the beauty of her naked form? Some middle aged men possess a power and an authority greater than any pope or any rock star. This is because they are able to ask like no one else, What is missing from life?
The ecstatic mother’s beauty, if they ever see it, reveals a new and greater harmony that resolves all conflict, for beauty is harmony that speaks to the depth of every passion and desire and offers them satisfaction and completion. Dante met her one day and in one glance as a Beatrice she granted him a new vision of the union of heaven and earth.
Recall that the good mother revives and animates you. She heals and nurtures you. She satisfies and gives you that taste of life so that from the very beginning you know instinctively the difference between the good and the bad. And, as I mentioned, good mother supports you when you seek to fulfill what you find in your heart. But she does not know what is there.
By contrast, the ecstatic mother goes right down into the very depths of your self, into the core of your heart. And then she asks you that one question that must be answered before you discover who you are. Or, she finds a seed of light in the dark depths of your soul and says, “Look what I have found within you. You must nourish and bring this seed to life if you wish to attain to your destiny.”
The woman I am writing this essay for said to me, “I say what I mean.” But there is more to her than what she knows. The ecstatic mother often operates unconsciously in women. They don’t know she is there but some men will see or feel her presence instantly.
I have met a number of these women and for the most part our society gives them no rank or recognition. At the mere touch, one woman evokes the presence of my guardian angel. Another takes me immediately into the radiant sphere of the sun where I stand next to a being who is united with God from within. And a third woman somehow embodies the letter “J” in the JHWH that yields the vision of all beings becoming joined as one.
Like I say, never ask the ecstatic mother to nurture you or help you understand what she reveals in you. She probably does not have the faintest idea of what you are talking about. But inspire she can do. She is the taste of bliss in Joseph Campbell’s “follow your bliss” if you want to find something worth living for.
But you can not possess her any more than you can possess or own an archetype. The individual girl or woman reflects what is within your depths. It is your job to bring it to life.
The actress, Jane Fonda, married the business tycoon Ted Turner. When asked about her career, she replied, “With a man like Ted Turner, you don’t have any time for your self.” Ah, but deep down the modern woman expects the man to manage her career, to enable her to succeed. After all, women have sacrificed for eight thousand years for the masculine to come into its own. Now it is pay back time.
When Jane Fonda left Ted Turner—it was after all just a fling, something that never could have worked given its limitations--Ted thought of committing suicide. Here is a guy without contact with his feminine side—he is so masterful of the outer world that he has forgotten that there is a world within, a world of feeling and beauty. This is a world a man can neither enter nor possess by controlling a woman any more than a woman can come into her full maturity by devotedly supporting her dynamic and powerful man. At least that is the lesson in the story of Ted and Jane.
In any genuine and true initiation, the attainment of realization, the transformation of consciousness, or the movement from darkness into light requires discipline and preparation on your part. And then she (the ecstatic mother) comes and takes your hand and leads you across the threshold into the circle of the mysteries joining you to a community that is eternal and unending in its love, light, and life.
This is not always a smooth ride as Ted found out. Her love may tear your heart to pieces. She may ask you to die to all that you are or to give up all that you have for just the chance to taste her bliss, to unite with her essence. It will always be up to you to determine if what she asks of you is worth the price.
Like I say, the ecstatic mother is not so hot at nurturing. But she will show you things about your self that you have never imagined.
“Except a seed fall to the earth and die it can not bring forth new life.” This could be the motto of the teeth mother except she does not know about the new life, only about the death and the destruction of consciousness. Now we come to a great mystery, an aspect of the feminine celebrated equally in the heart of Buddhism and Christianity but which is almost unknown in our society.
To put it simply, the teeth mother is the guardian of enlightenment. She is right there guarding the threshold. If you want to become enlightened, you have to look into her eyes and pass before the light of her face.
She is seen in the sphere of Saturn: a realm of nightmare, horror, and domination. Her essence is in her power of concentration. Her stare is so intense she paralyzes and then destroys consciousness. She is every fear and terror you have never met.
To escape from the stone mother is shocking because of the new perceptions and feelings that break into your awareness. Leaving the stone mother is like being born into a new world that no one else seems to even be remotely aware of.
To survive or escape from the teeth mother you have to do more. It is like dying right here amid life while you are still alive. You to have to let go of everything—for to be enlightened is to be free of all attachment. It is to see the world as it is beyond all assumptions, beyond the need to even think or to have control.
“When I attained to perfect enlightenment, I attained to nothing at all,” said the Buddha. To be enlightened is to be nothing, empty, more clear than a mirror that perfectly reflects without disturbing what appears within it.
The teeth mother is like Kalachakra, the wrathful side of compassion who annihilates any form of attachment. The teeth mother will only be satisfied with the full death and destruction of your consciousness. And so her power of concentration—she gazes into the depths of your self searching for anything that you use to define who you are.
If you are Abraham, she requires the life of your son. If you are Jesus, she will only be satisfied with your death in order to put an end to your teaching on earth. If you are Orpheus, she requires not one glance on your part to see if your beloved remains with you as you cross over the threshold between the living and the dead. You can not turn from you path until your beloved speaks and says, “I am here.” (The Greeks were very clear on this point: to find love, you have to endure an indeterminate time of complete uncertainty and unknowing. If you grasp for love or flee from it, it will not appear to you.)
In the movie, Jacob’s Ladder, a dying man on an
operating table dreams he has returned from
Before Buddha was enlightened, Kama, the Lord of the demons, came to tempt him. In Hinduism, the demons arose from the tears of Shiva when his beloved, the Queen of the universe, Maya, abandoned him. To love Maya for Shiva was to be united with the universe. And then that connectedness, the inner unity, is gone.
The teeth mother is the dark night of the soul. I explored this somewhat in my story about St. Columba. She is absolute despair. The mystery the Christians may never comprehend is the “why hast thou forsaken me?” of Christ on the cross. What is required from Christ are absolute faith and trust even in the moment of abandonment and at the point of death. You have to let go of everything, even you knowledge of who God is or how He is supposed to act, if you wish to get by the teeth mother.
For me, the great feminine is the empty void that embraces all the stars and galaxies. It embraces the universe. It is that open, empty, void, and receptive. It is through its support that life appears on every world.
Similarly, Prajnaparamita is the mother of the Buddhas. Her name means emptiness. Hers is the Heart Sutra: “….form does not differ from emptiness and emptiness does not differ from form….” Tibetan Buddhists at least in their iconography like to put the teeth and the ecstatic mothers together. Parjnaparamita as well as Vishvamati are the consorts of Kalachakra. To gaze upon Vishvamati “is to experience bliss.” Amid the mandala of Kakachakra that uses time to annihilate all form is the presence of a transcendent bliss that is the light of pure consciousness.
In my story, Balaam, the Gentile Prophet, Balaam masters the masculine mysteries. And this mastery gives him power over the nations. But God requires something more of him. God asks Balaam to unite with the great feminine. But Balaam says,
If this love touched me for even an instant
There would be nothing left
Neither dust nor breath
If I tasted this bliss
I would cease to exist
No man on earth can endure or offer the love you seek.
And in my poem, Moses and Aaron, Moses makes a similar complaint to God. God asks Moses to reveal to mankind a temple not made of hands but rather one in which He is free to appear within Moses’ own body. And this temple was to have four gates being the four elements, one of which is water:
God said next:
Build the third gate to the West
This gate shall open to the Mystery of Water
Let those who Dare enter here
This is where empathy equally
Sees the world as it is
And as it can be in a dream
Those willing to risk all to find what they seek
As the Lover seeks his Beloved
They shall be as fountains
Overflowing with streams of living water
Their hearts shall contain Eternity
That sea which has no shores
Whose winds are bliss
Whose waves are ecstasy
And in whose depths are Divine dreams and visions
And Moses said:
Across the reaches of the desert
Across the waves of rolling sand
Is found an occasional oasis
The waters that flow through the soul
Often turn bitter or dry up
Love is so rare and precious men die for its touch
How can you ask for so much?
Is there no end to Your Divine Yearning?
Would You make the entire planet
Into a school for prophets and seers?
And God replied:
Every breath is a path of Love
Every tear, drop of blood, every raindrop
Proclaims this secret: the path leading between opposites
In each moment My Love is everywhere
Sustaining the universe
And everything within it
Dare to enter here!
After being prodded by Aaron, Moses goes on to ask God to reveal H And after God does Moses says, “Oh God, let me now die. For who can endure such Joy?” And God replies, “Only those who Love.” is feminine side.
And while I am tooting my own horn, also in my book Mystical Fables, a mythical king named Sustarna says,
“The path to self-knowledge is full of obstacles and barriers. There are places within the soul where men may not go. The waters are too deep. The flow is too pure. If a man dares enter the feminine mysteries he will drown.
“And there are places within the spirit where women may not enter: beyond the worlds of form opposites are overcome and the Bliss that exists there is infinite. If a woman dares to enter these masculine mysteries she will be burnt to a crisp. The light is that bright.
“But if a man could so enter and survive the Earth's womb, to dissolve within that dark place and not lose his masculinity; if a woman could journey into the heart of the sun and survive its fires and its light without loss of her femininity, then the their spirits would no longer be subject to gender limitations--
“They would have cast off their mortality and put on immortality. Such individuals are then appointed as the guides and Guardians of the Earth and of evolution. They become the creators of new worlds.”
In other words, these four
archetypes are not separate. You want
the perfection of the ecstatic mother, be prepared to endure the nothingness and
annihilation of the teeth mother. You
want the ability of the good mother to really heal, to find and reunite what is
The Myth of Eros and Psyche
Now the nature of mythology, like a good symbol, is that its meaning is constantly subject to new interpretation. A good symbol must contain imagery sufficiently primal that it can speak to the deepest part of our selves. And at the same time it must be sufficiently vague or open-ended that each person and age can use it to see themselves in a new way.
In this essay, I am, as do all writers, taking liberties with the story. I am bringing my own background as a spiritual anthropologist and magician to it. The story speaks to me and at this point I am still only at the beginning of my understanding of it just as I am only at the beginning of my understanding of women.
Psyche (the word means
“soul) is an extremely beautiful woman in ancient
Psyche’s father visits Apollo’s Oracle in
This is Eros, the son of Aphrodite, but no one seems to know that yet. Eros a tyrant? You bet. Like Kama, the god of love in Hindu mythology, Eros has power over all the gods and goddesses to cause them to fall in love. Even Apollo, the god of wisdom, is subject to Eros.
In the Jewish tradition, Solomon was given such wisdom that God proclaimed him the wisest in the history of world—no one past, present, or future would be wiser than him. But in the end, Solomon lost favor with God by becoming “enamored” with women who lead him to worship in their pagan temples. Wisdom is no match for Eros.
But abandon Psyche on a cliff for a monster? Not a very nice way to treat a beautiful women. But in that age of the world it was understood that beauty is dangerous.
(Well, think about Helen, the most beautiful women in her time and the Trojan War. Maybe the Oracle was trying to avoid another war.) But there is another side as well. Beauty can speak of a new harmony, one so great even the order of the gods may be forced to change to comply with its vision.
After a funeral and funeral procession to the top of the hill, Psyche is abandoned. Her family considers her now dead.
End of story? No. Eros, the son of Aphrodite/Venus, notices this young woman abandoned and alone. After all, he has had to put up with the constant ranting and complaining of his mother about her competition with a mortal woman. And now Aphrodite assigns Eros the task of humiliating Psyche by causing her to fall in love with someone utterly ugly.
On the other hand, maybe Eros had twisted the arm of the Oracle to slant the response to his advantage. Maybe the Oracle only meant to say, “She shall not wed a mortal” and Eros threw in the bit about abandoning her on a cliff so he could take her without anyone noticing. There is a Zephyr, a spirit of the wind, who has a brief cameo part here by carrying Psyche down from the cliff into a valley.
Eros flies down to Psyche and steals her away to a magical castle where she has servants and attendants and wealth beyond imagining. There is one condition. She must not look upon his face. Eros intends to remain invisible. Word might get out and then his very jealous and very powerful mother would be very upset. Maybe she would do a little investigating into how the Oracle, well, you get the idea.
Eros sleeps with Psyche and the love is fabulous and all would be content. (see my poem, The Song of Psyche at the end of this essay). And what the world does not know won’t hurt them.
But Psyche makes her first choice in this dazzling story line. Out of loneliness, she persuades Eros to allow her sisters a visit. To them she can reveal that she is not only still alive. In fact, it is not a monster who met her but a fabulously skilled and wealthy lover.
Well, it does not take any imagination to figure the outcome. Some sisters are very jealous and with a sister as beautiful as Psyche, well, the jealousy gets carried away. In other words, if you are woman in love, deep, passionate love, watch out. If you have something others do not have, it creates a great dissatisfaction in their lives.
The sisters tell psyche, “No, it is a monster with whom you are sleeping. That is why he will not permit you to gaze upon him. This is what you must do. Light a lamp in the middle of the night and stab him while he is fast asleep.”
Psyche falls prey to this wicked advice. Sisterhood is not always in the best interest of every sister. She lights the lamp but swoons out of passion and delight when she sees that it is the god Eros with whom she has been sleeping.
The lamp slips from her hand the hot oil spills out upon the naked form of Eros. Ouch. Wounded he takes flight and the magical castle disappears.
You want to wound a man? Take a really good look at him. You will see how fragile, vulnerable, incomplete, and unfinished is his soul. A woman’s gaze can reveal how he is only a shadow of what he is meant to be.
After all, in this case, Eros has been running this little affair with a mortal in secrecy in order to avoid his mother’s wrath. He is still under his mother’s domination. The keys to his soul are hidden under his mother’s pillow and he lacks the will to take them.
Well, here we have it: a mortal women with unusual psychic power causes disturbance not only in her society but she attracts the attention of a great feminine archetype. Aphrodite is after all the goddess of love. You would think this is all positive. But it is not so. These goddesses are often mixtures of positive and negative as are human women.
Aphrodite back in Greek time believes in and inspires love. But she does not believe in personal love. The gender roles are fixed. Men only fall in love with women out of lust. Men are not capable of rising to a higher level than that. Men are the patriarch and when does the patriarch ever really love a woman?
Eros proclaims to his mother his love of Psyche. But hey kid, your name means lust. Get over it. You don’t love her. You lust after her. End of discussion and anyway she is a mortal and you are a god. The two are not meant to consort with each other.
Psyche is really down in the dumps now. Not only is she abandoned out in the wilderness but, according to one version, she finds she is also pregnant. Woe and despair. Aphrodite is not about to have a grand child from a mortal women. That’s too much to ask. Surely Aphrodite will now seek to kill Psyche.
But Psyche encounters the god Pan out in the grasslands. Pan, the goat footed god, with his pan flute, knows much about natural desire and lust. (When it comes to this goat footed god, think Hugh Heffner—Playboy founder--as a reflection of Pan in our time). Pan in effect says to Psyche, Don’t be afraid. Everything in the universe and in nature has its place. Pray to Eros.
And a little later, Psyche chances upon an
abandoned temple which she cleans up and makes beautiful. This is the
In this case, throw your self on Aphrodite’s mercy. If nothing else, she will feel she has to offer you something in order for her to save face—I mean, she is the goddess of love and you are in love with her son and her son got it on with you. Isn’t that how things are supposed to work in the house of love?
Psyche does this. She goes to the
And so now we have what is perhaps the one genuine myth of feminine growth that has survived Christianity’s attempts to destroy all knowledge of the feminine mysteries and paths of transformation.
Let me say at the outset that Psyche’s task is indeed daunting. She has not only to gain the support of the power invested matriarch. She has also an equally daunting task of freeing her lover from his narcissistic and impulsive nature as well as from his subjugation to his mother. Her lover is a slave as well to the matriarchy—to the way the world is, to what is expected--to everything has its role and its proper place.
Are psyche’s sisters going to help her? No. Psyche’s sisters were glad when they thought she was dead. The sisterhood, the sweet “accepting” sisters are now completely out of the picture.
In a nutshell, the first test involves the sphere of the instincts. Different seeds are scattered on the ground and Psyche must separate them into their different groups. The clock is running. She despairs. The task is impossible.
But the ants come to her rescue. The ants appreciate past deeds are now return the favor. The ants are the instinctual sphere. They like order and they are ruled by a queen. The queen has absolute control over her realm.
And so the first task for a woman to attain maturity is to put her world together in a way that feels right. It is something she feels with her body and through her instinctual desire drawing upon her connection to nature.
This is not a masculine action. This is not a rational or intellectual action. But it does involve a great deal of will arising from within her. And so she passes the first test.
A few possible anecdotes. A woman psychologist gets pregnant and has children. She says, Nothing prepares you for this. Your day is constant chaos. You are pulled in every which way and never seem to have time for yourself.
This woman’s descent into the realm of the instincts was in conflict with the entire basis of her rational identity.
A woman I know has a mother who is schizophrenic. The mother has five separate personalities. This daughter has met only two of these five personalities. Schizophrenics are usually devoid of empathy. They have no feelings to share.
Yet the daughter is perhaps the nicest, most natural person I have ever met. With a mother like that and no father present, the daughter ended up raising her younger siblings. To do this she had to draw upon her natural, instinctive abilities. She became the mother and so developed nurturing and protective abilities far in excess of her peers.
This young woman’s confrontation with the stone mother, the mother who is numb and devoid of feeling, produced in herself the opposite—the good mother—her body emits love and affection without need of conscious commitment.
The second test is gather some golden fleece. These rams with the golden fleece as a matter of fact are quite hostile. They will kill you if they see you.
Psyche again despairs. The task is impossible. One interpretation is that Psyche is asked to go bring back some of that bright shiny stuff that men have, that radiant charisma and confidence they possess when they are at the height of their powers.
We are still dealing with animal nature here, but a very powerful and enchanted animal—the power of masculinity in its natural glory and strength.
Psyche gets a tip from the water nymphs. The power of masculine consciousness vanishes when it slips into the waters of sleep. Wait until the sun is high and the rams are drawn to the shade and fall asleep. They you can sneak into their domain and gather the fleece from the thorny brush that has caught some of the wool.
There you have it. For a woman to grow, she has to find a way to
enter the realm and acquire the skills of men without being attacked by their
hostility. My niece went to
And she was. One of the other male trainees tried to rape her. She stopped the guy by pointing out that she knew how to gut him with a small blade. He did not take her up on her bluff. Her employer failed to even record her complaint. A few years later, Dean Witter lost in a class action suit over the firm’s discrimination against women.
Another niece was making more money than her boss because she was being paid on commission for her sales. The vice president of her company used to have dinner with her twice a year to get her ideas.
One day he called her and asked to take her out to dinner again. She answered that she no longer worked for the company. Her boss put her on a salary knowing she would quit. The boss preferred she quit rather than make so much money for the corporation if it meant she would outshine him.
My mother raced sailboats and she was better than all the other skippers who were men. The consequence was that the men sold their sailboats and bought boats in other classes in order to avoid being beat by a woman.
My one cousin, by the way, was Miss
I was so young and innocent back then that the drama of the situation escaped me. I was trying to answer a question from her young son who was in the back seat, “If we are dead after we die, what are we before we are bone?” Technically speaking, that is a Zen question. Both of these women, I would mention in passing, have tried hard to form alliances with the masculine in a world that looks with both favor and hostility upon their beauty.
These days in the
But in this story at this point the application is more encompassing. The question is how do you deal with powerful and instinctual hostility to your attempting to accomplish a task, a task that involves learning the skills or acquiring the abilities of those who are hostile to you.
And answer is that you wait until that moment when they become passive and calm. You find a time when the hostility is diminished, the guard is down, and the watch is asleep. And then in safety you quietly go in and learn what you need to know or take what you need to succeed.
Colleges are often like this. They can be cold and incredibly hostile. But there are genuine teachers if you can find them and learn from them under the right conditions.
As I mentioned elsewhere, I used to sneak
into the French philosopher’s class at the
The third test is more mystical and involves the patriarchy yet also an
animal. Psyche must take a flask and
fill it with water from the river
The river flows from a great tower down into the depths and it is completely inaccessible, beyond the reach of the living.
Psyche gains the help of a father figure,
patriarch of patriachs—Zeus himself. Well, the word has gotten out. What else do they have to do on
I mean they assassinated Julius Caesar
because of his affair with Cleopatra.
How could Zeus not take sides when Eros had sought out such a beautiful woman? It might have been Zeus in fact who eloped with Psyche if Hera was not still on his back over an affair that produced Hercules.
this test and how does Psyche manage to play a part in it? The river
Lust ends when you come to death and perhaps for Aphrodite so does love. Aphrodite is asking Psyche if she can freely go right up to the boundary where lust and love come to an end and bring back something that shows she was there.
Aphrodite is saying, “This is my boundary. I know my place. Do you have my range?” Water is a symbol of life but this water is different. It separates the living and the dead. It draws you down into a place from which there is no return. And the great patriarch, Zeus, he has made it the boundary of our world. You will be stealing from him as well.
Or put simply, go bring me back an experience that shows that you see as I see and that you feel as I feel that all love and desire come to an end. See if you can manage this and having done so still want to love my son. Get real girl, life has its limitations.
But Zeus does not see it that way. I imagine it happened like this. Zeus came in disguise to Psyche as he often does when he moves among mortals. And he asked her, Tell me young woman, what do you really want?
And Psyche replies, “I have made love with a god. I have felt him within my body. And I love him with all of my heart, more than life itself.”
And Zeus thought right then and there that this was something he himself had never experienced—such profound love. Zeus had always been struck by one of Eros’ damn arrows of lust and then fallen upon a mortal woman without regard for her well-being or her part in the affair. The results of these unions have been the stuff of mythology. But again what Psyche is offering is more than Zeus had ever imagined. Zeus smiled to himself. He liked this girl and he began to think about how to use her to modify Eros’ wanton and careless archery.
And then Zeus recalled when Aphrodite first appeared on earth. Zeus had castrated Uranus, the god of time, and his genitals had fallen into the ocean which gave birth to Aphrodite. Her beauty was overwhelming and she was so new and unexpected. But this Psyche, she too is altogether new and utterly unexpected. More beauty than a god had thought to ask from life.
And so I suspect Zeus began plotting how to make Psyche a permanent addition to the celestial kingdom. It would not be easy. A lot of boundaries would have to be redrawn. A lot of favors called in. A few behind the scenes bribes or arms twisted through subtle persuasion. But it could be done.
For this beauty is not in her form but it arises form the depths of her heart. “I see it so clearly” said Zeus to himself “as I see the constellations—Orion, Gemini, Chiron—and the others I have placed in the sky.”
What is her test and her response? In my version, Zeus asks, What do you want? And Psyche replies, “I choose to love without fear of loss even if it means in the giving that I experience becoming nothing. I choose to love in a way that is more than desire and lust with a love that is heart to heart, with a love that is so deep there is no fear within it.”
If the stone mother rules a kingdom she rules it using fear. No matter how bad things are, there is something worse waiting for you if you risk change. If the teeth mother rules a kingdom she rules it because you are either something or you are nothing. And no one chooses to be nothing.
Psyche in her love stepped across the boundaries guarding both their kingdoms. Not an easy thing to do. Like I say, this story ended long ago for the jealous sisters. It ended when Psyche gazed upon her lover and wounded him in the process.
Relationships can not endure seeing each other as we really are. The man has run off and the woman has been disowned, dispossessed, and worse. End of story for the socially minded, upward mobile sisters. They do not want to know about a love so deep that society and religion have no ability to support much less understand it.
Feelings are only meant to run so deep and no further. If you get carried away, the magnetic forces may pull you down and out into a sea of the unknown. There is nothing there you can hang on to. No life preserver or life raft. You are on your own.
This all could have gone another way. Psyche could have said to Aphrodite at the beginning of the third test, “Look, I will make you a deal which we can bind to secrecy. I will abort the child. I’ll deny I had an affair with your son. And for the rest of my life I will hate men for their deceit, their fickle natures, and for their lack of loyalty. Just let me live. I want my life back again.”
And Aphrodite noticing the eagle hovering over the trees in the distance might have thought to herself that this girl takes after her my own heart. She understands exactly what life is about—that love is suffering as well as pleasure, that it is betrayal as well as union. And Aphrodite could with feigned sadness explain to the other goddesses, “She could not fulfill a few simple requests.” End of discussion. But not in this myth and not with this woman.
For the fourth test Psyche must travel much further this time—beyond the river Styx right into the heart of Hades and return with a vial of beauty kept by Persephone, the Queen of the Dead.
“Orpheus, sweet Orpheus,” said Aphrodite to herself, “He tried to pull off this journey for Eurydice, entering the land of the dead to bring her back to the land of the living. But at the very end his love was lost. Could it have been otherwise?
“I remember his song so well, so divine and
yet so mortal it swayed even Pluto to grant him his request with one little
condition—he had to dwell in a state of complete uncertainty until a woman
called out to him, ‘I am here.’ But in
this task, he failed. We still play that
song of Orpheus here on
So Aphrodite gives Psyche a small box to
take with her to the underworld for the elixir from Persephone. There are a few more characters we meet:
Cerberus, three headed demon dog and Charon, the
ferryman across the river
There might be a little celestial intrigue
going on here. Aphrodite thinks that
Psyche will not make it to the
And Aphrodite, of course, does not want Psyche to fulfill this task. And so Aphrodite has asked for something impossible—that the Queen of the Dead give to Psyche as the messenger for Aphrodite the elixir of eternal beauty, an elixir that is best hidden and protected within the depths of this land of death. Let’s consider these dynamics.
Persephone is the daughter of Demeter/Ceres,
the goddess of the earth and of Zeus.
Persephone was a very beautiful woman abducted by Pluto and taken away
to his kingdom of the dead. Now as
relations go, in ancient
I sometimes ask women whom I meet, What is the best thing that has ever happened to you in life? And if they have a daughter they almost always answer, “Giving birth to a daughter.” So far no woman has said, “Giving birth to a son.”
Demeter was so upset at the loss of her daughter that winter covered the whole earth. In order to preserve the world, Zeus sent Mercury to negotiate a deal between Pluto and Demeter. The arrangement? Pluto would get Persephone for three months of each year.
Thus the seasons arose: winter when Persephone was gone and Demeter mourned her absence and at the other pole summer when Persephone returned to her mother, mother nature at its happiest. Mercury coaxed Demeter with the words, “In this way, all the world will share in your joy as well as in your grief and so you will not bear this suffering alone.”
The name Persephone, by the way, means something like “she who destroys the light” because of her abduction into the underworld the light recedes in winter. “In a dark time, the eye begins to see” (Theodore Roethke) and the heart begins to consider what really matters. In Persephone, divinity and the limitations of mortality—wrapped about with death and darkness-- are combined.
Persephone, for her part, developed a sympathy for Pluto, for indeed she was the only presence in all of his kingdom that could touch his heart with life. So listening to Psyche’s request, Persephone could not help thinking, “Aphrodite has two springs which yield the waters of bitterness and of joy. But my well contains the elixir of eternal beauty.” If I give this gift to Psyche to return to Aphrodite, I give Psyche a choice when no one else has.”
Yet Persephone gives the elixir to Psyche with this warning, “Only death knows the secret to eternal beauty, and the elixir I have placed in this box carries that mystery. Do not open it.” Such beauty/harmony is too strong for a mortal to bear or else too dangerous.
Jim Morrison, Jimmy Hendrix, and Janis Joplin—great singers—they all got stuck in the door that leads between human and divine inspiration. On the one side of the door is life and on the other side is death. And being stuck, death came up and took hold of them.
You want the embrace of the ecstatic mother? Watch out. The teeth mother is waiting in the wings for the opportunity to come and claim you as her own.
In the more masculine “Hero’s Quest” the male hero has to enter the underworld and discover a treasure of immense value. But if he fails to bring the treasure back to the world of the living and share it with mankind his entire quest in invalidated—it is null and void.
The tree rock stars I mentioned above were able to share the wealth of inspiration they had found for a few brief years of their lives and then they were gone. That elixir of eternal beauty that inspired them belonged more to the realm of the dead than their electrical intensity--that desires to be fully alive and fully operational within the land of the living.
Let’s do a little more reality check on this mythology stuff. Can I put this in ordinary terms, I mean, where is the magnetic fluid here in action and what does it mean?
Well, consider that song, Candle in the Wind, written originally by Elton John for Marilyn Monroe with a phrase in it altered when he sang it live on TV at Princess Diana’s funeral. Maybe a billion people listened live to that song on TV and at least a hundred million of them were in tears before its end.
You see, part of a woman’s path of growth lies in her ability to effect eros, the primitive and primal instinct that bonds human beings together. Where was eros in Prince Charles when he married Diana? And where was eros in Arthur Miller who divorced Marilyn Monroe? What was the erotic intent in President Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy who had occasion to sleep with Marilyn? Did they do so with any soul or did they have sex with her playing the role of tyrants which is the way Eros would go? And by messing with Marilyn did they invite their own deaths as karmic retribution?
You see, we have kings and queens and a Kennedy reflecting a lost Camelot and women of surpassing beauty. The archetypes are still in play on the public stage and the powers of the magnetic are just as dynamic.
The Princess complained to her husband about his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles and Charles replied, “Its my birthright to fool around….I refuse to be the only prince of Wales who never had a mistress.” The Princess complained to the Queen and the Queen said, “I don’t know what you should do. Charles is hopeless.”
Aphrodite could not have expressed her scorn about male fidelity any better. Diana had no means, no method to get the “lower” energy in her royal husband’s body up into his heart so that they could share “soulful love.” Eros/Charles was still slave to the Queen/matriarchy/social conformity.
The only problem with Charles is that he failed to understand the “modern woman.” If he can fool around, then so can she and so questions arise about the legitimacy of the heirs to the English throne.
Later on, it would take the prime minister, Tony Blair, wearing the guise of Hermes, to explain to the royal family, “Get your sweet asses over here to Diana’s funeral and pretend that you are in mourning. Otherwise, you will have a popular uprising.” The Royal Family, with intent or not, had just killed Psyche (soulful love) and in this day and age that is a great crime.
So what Princess Diana did while she was still alive was to take her “love,” her soulful empathy and share it with the people of England and the children of the world through her social giving. For example, acting against the status quo, she sought to ban anti personal mines in all wars around the world. So many children are maimed or die each year stumbling upon mines left over from wars long gone.
But this is very dangerous situation for a Princess to be in—without allies personal or impersonal to offer her advice and support. And so she was captured by the underworld and Orpheus/Elton John was left to mourn her loss.
And Marilyn Monroe too, you know the conspiracy theories, well, my mother tells them to me every so often. The attorney general, Robert Kennedy, was tape recording Jimmy Hoffa’s private conversations in order to put him in jail. So Hoffa tape recorded the Kennedy’s affair with Marilyn.
Marilyn made the mistake one day of standing up and saying publicly, “I’m going to marry the president.” Wrong thing to say—like walking in the morning out into the pasture of the sheep with the golden fleece. When Marilyn was photographed one day with the wind blowing up her skirt at a photo shoot, her husband, the playwright Arthur Miller, could no longer handle it. He could not bear a woman whose eroticism extended past the bedroom door.
Marilyn’s gift was that she possessed a telepathic capacity to send images and feeling of what it is like to unite both the desire for love of a woman and the desire for gratification of a man—the two made one. She was decades ahead of her time.
Both Diana and Marilyn were in the same position: deep personal need and vulnerability in a very hostile, demanding external world which saw them as a direct threat to the status quo—to the military, to the political, to the patriarchy and matriarchy as well. Marilyn was perhaps the most beautiful woman of her century and Diana the most popular but both died violently under questionable circumstances and were lost to the world.
Part of the mystery of a woman’s growth is to feel with your body, to extend further and use the power of water/feeling to sense and perceive hostility as well as tranquility in the world so you can gain what you require. And extending your feeling even further and deeper, asking the question, “What do you really want?” so much so that you want it with all of your heart.
And finally, there is a turning within, not as a withdrawal or as a narcissistic search for self-gratification, but to find a beauty, a harmony that embraces all opposites, including the hearts of others. This too is a feeling and a passion that when joined are so potent that they work upon and within other’s hearts.
In terms of the magnetic fluid, you begin sensing the magnetic (contracting/attracting, life giving, nurturing) aspects of your own body. You proceed further upgrading and deepening the magnetic fluid by sensing the life within others as well—their desires, their hostilities, and their beauty.
And then you go further. You sense that which brings forth life within all of us—the rhythms and seasons of life—their tides, their currents, their movements, and their depths. Finally you sense the magnetism, the forces of life that exist purely within the realms of spirit. Your feeling/magnetism explores the invisible worlds, their mysteries and beauty as well.
I do not know a lot of women who do this—who feel with their bodies and also with the full power of their hearts. Not an easy thing to do. To feel in this way to this extent is to cross the boundaries of the world and to confront death as well.
In this myth, unlike so many others, it is the woman who acts to transform the world and to “rescue” the boy and turn him into a man. And in this myth, unlike so many others, the power of feeling and the mystery of beauty—both the outer form and the inner—are held in one woman’s hands.
If Diana and Marilyn had been Psyche and found answers to that question, “What do you really want?” and paid the price for it, then we might all be living in a different world.
Getting back to our story, why would Persephone possess the elixir of eternal beauty? The answer is that this elixir is the perfection of nature’s energies—the entire mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms refine, combined, fused, and united. It is the life animating the form of all things fused into an essence that is beyond all form.
To work this process within yourself, you must first embrace and penetrate and then let go of the outer world so that an inner union and unity can be created. Psychologically, this act of introversion is death. The unprepared can not endure it. Modern psychology has not the faintest conception of it though they like to write about it a lot.
Psyche’s coma was a mortal being turning so deeply within that her five senses lost their contact with the external world. The heavens and the earth, the gods and the mortals await the outcome and the result of this act—for it is the turning within through which you recreate yourself.
For Psyche, “Before I can truly love with all my heart, I must become love—I have to discover its source and find this source within myself.” Unlike with all her other tests, there are no gods, demigods, animals, sisters or oracles to advise Psyche with this act. It arises from her heart. It is her own choice. No one saw it coming because no one could imagine her doing it at this point when she is on the verge of success—of completing Aphrodite’s four tests.
But love has its own requirements that the matriarchy/Aphrodite can not understand. I can just hear the Queen of England saying, “Why is Diana doing all this social work? Is she just after personal glory?” No, she actually cares about other people’s suffering because she has been through so much herself.
As I mention elsewhere, Robert McKee was asked, “Is Michelle Pfeiffer beautiful?” And McKee replied, “Michelle Pfeiffer is proof of the existence of God.”
I kind of prefer Monica Bellucci. Mel Gibson cast Monica as Mary Magdeline in his movie The Passion of the Christ. This completely ruined the movie for me because when she entered a scene I could care less about Christ’s suffering. Her beauty stole the show. But then again the most beautiful thing I have ever seen is M100, a spiral galaxy. Gazing at its photo of red, blue, and white stars on the web I feel like I could count at least a billion of its hundreds of billion stars.
The thing for me about M100 is that for all its massive beauty and stars it seems to arise out of the emptiness of the void. The two, form and formless, are joined.
Psyche has paused right amid her journey between Aphrodite and Persephone—goddesses of the living and the dead. Psyche carries an elixir that is too valuable to give to Aphrodite—Aphrodite is unworthy of it. But Psyche steals it as a thief taking what does not belong to her or perhaps it really does.
If we could join for a moment these two goddesses into one, they might say with one voice to Psyche, “If you want to unite with Eros, to wed and become one with him (Eros--the essence of masculine eroticism, vitality, and exhilaration), then you must first become nothingness—a receptivity so great it can contain his fiery power over all the gods and goddesses without denying who he is and at the same time without annihilating yourself.”
And then there is the question of Zeus again, What do you really want Psyche? “I want the union of mortal with immortal, of heaven with earth, of a beauty so deep and rich it transcends both life and death. I want to be able to look at a man and feel that his innermost desires I understand—because I see that what he is is also part of my self.” And why do you want to do this Psyche? “To make the world new.”
In brief, Psyche drinks the elixir and falls into a coma. This is the second time she “dies” to the world just prior to meeting Eros. The first time she is abandoned on a cliff and Eros comes to her in disguise without her active choice.
this scene, again Psyche “dies” but this time consciously through choice and
design and again Eros flies down to her and revives her. Zeus grants her the ambrosia of the gods and
recognizes her as a member of
And Aphrodite, how does she take all of this? Well, I will tell you. Aphrodite always liked sacrifice, for both springs of joy and bitterness are part of Aphrodite’s art. And Psyche was willing to risk the sacrifice of her self for love. Now that act can reach even the heart of a future mother-in-law’s matriarchal heart.
In the end, Eros is no longer so whimsical and wild with his arrows of lust and thus is no longer “the terrible tyrant whose jurisdiction extends from heaven to hell” becoming instead bound with his passion to a soulful love.
This story runs counter to Jung’s view of a woman’s path of growth as well as to modern feminism. For Jung, a woman’s path of growth involves being out in the world and learning to do more of what men do. In short, women have to learn to think clearly, objectively, see the world as it is, and (considering feminism) jump right in and do all that men do. For Jung, it is men who have to learn to feel and turn within.
If Princess Diana had been more of a feminist following a Jungian path, she would have developed her role in the world by becoming more masculine, more aggressive and assertive. The Queen would not have liked it nor Charles but then again no one would have thought about killing her over it and millions would not have wept at her funeral.
Diana would then have sat on the boards of
the military/industrial complex producing land mines more cost
effectively. She would studied
accounting and demanded better oversight of
And Marilyn Monroe would have said, “Screw President Kennedy and Bobby as well. I am going to be CEO of my own corporation.” Marilyn would have then taken her career into her hands by running her own Playboy and Playgirl and Playcouple enterprises interviewing and hiring the most beautiful women and men in the country. Marilyn would have had extensive layouts in her magazines of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Conley, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones romancing it up in scanty clothes.
But at the same time Marilyn would have been the one to create a National Federal of Models and Strippers so that they were provided with health insurance, day/night care for their children, and retirement benefits. I notice that none of the supermodels with their agencies and lines of makeup and clothes have bothered to take any interest in their sisters’ plight.
The National Organization of Women (NOW) along with their affiliate organization—the Southern Baptists--would not have been happy with Marilyn for doing these things. But they would not have thought about killing her for it or at least it would not have been a necessity.
But these admirable paths of female growth
in modern times are not what Psyche does.
Psyche does get out into the world meeting remarkable figures but hers
is a path of love. Or, as the
Psyche’s path through the outer and inner worlds with all their conflicts is a direct result of her desire to love. Psyche changes herself from within and the heavens and the earth, Eros, Zeus, the matriarchy and the patriarchy can not help responding to her lead. In fact, the entire power structure both of the visible and invisible worlds is modified by the choices Psyche makes.
What then of our electric and magnetic fluids? The male and female have different routes no doubt to coming into full spiritual maturity. But it is in their joining that is the source of true creativity.
Again, Eros, the electric fluid, is transformed by the upgrade in the quality of the magnetic fluid that embraces him. Psyche replaces Aphrodite as his conscience and consort.
Psyche, the magnetic fluid, is transformed by continuous expansion of her depths and her wisdom through the intensification of her magnetism. This comes through experience and assistance from both magnetic and electric elements: ants, water nymphs, an eagle, goddesses of love and of the dead, the goddess of the earth as well as the elixir of eternal beauty bound within the mystery of death.
What do I want? I want to join with my opposite to celebrate the mystery and the beauty I see everywhere around me. The union of the electric and magnetic occurs in every act of love between a man and a woman.
In the aura of the planet Venus exists masterful teachers of beauty, art, and love. One of their highest realizations is that if you really become one with another person through love, then in this act you become one with all living beings.
The personal—hey, let’s jump in bed together—and the cosmic impersonal—love underlines everything that exists—these two spheres of perception, desire, and action intersect when you love another with all of your heart. Psyche (soul) is the sacred chalice in which this mystery is celebrated.
Approaching such a mystery requires a lot of hard work, for Psyche does a lot of hard work. And it takes a lot of experience. Psyche has her experience with the flattery of men and then the passion of Eros in the beginning. But she goes on to fly between and through the four great feminine archetypes as well as the various aspects of the masculine archetypes in her journey.
In this myth, Eros flies down and “rescues” Psyche from her coma. But it is really not a rescue as I see it. I have met a number of lovers who can sense and feel what is going on with each other through the day. I often ask them to keep a journal so that others might understand such experience. But they feel that writing about it would make them feel different or else more vulnerable.
Nonetheless, lovers forge an inner connection to each other. In part, love is about creating special and unique experiences through which two individuals can celebrate their inner union with each other. But there is also a “magical space” lovers create in which they exist within each other in a soulful place of oneness.
This is a genuine psychic and spiritual phenomenon. For the record, I am saying it is possible to observe where couples are in Psyche’s Journey toward uniting with her opposite. And from what I can tell this journey is full of woe as well as wonder.
When Eros rescues Psyche, he is responding to her need because at this point he genuinely feels that her needs are also his own. It is Psyche who pulled this off. It is Psyche who, with a power of beauty that can command the living and the dead, transforms the whimsical, fleeting, and overpowering erotic impulse of her lover into something far more potent and enduring.
So my little word to the feminists here is to quote Robert McKee: “Feminism is a good thing. But it kills romance.” Justice and equality are ideals every generation must strive to attain. But never underestimate archetypes, the deep powers hidden in yourself, where it is the “the quality of your intent” and your spiritual will that lead to freedom. That is, there really is a spiritual world and the struggle for power for its own sake is being like the jealous sisters who have no idea of what they are dealing with. In the original myth, the jealous sisters destroy themselves through their own illusions due to their presumptions about the nature of Eros.
In the hermetic magician Franz Bardon’s basic practice, a beginning magician arrives at the point where he can condense the electric and magnetic fluids from out of the universe using his body as a vehicle. The electric fluid is condensed into a small ball and then completely surrounded by the magnetic fluid. Together these two fluids become highly receptive to imagery and thought placed within them. And they are astonishingly dynamic in producing effects, in manifesting the imagery and thought they contain.
But this is not enough. This electro-magnetic “volt” must be placed within akasha: a state of mind of perfect emptiness penetrating through space and time. From this place beyond the worlds of form, the volt operates to influence the mental, astral, and physical worlds, mind, feeling, and body to bring about its spiritual intent.
In 1979, I placed such a volt in a small horse shoe magnet which was then connected to a spirit referred to as Cigila in the earthzone. Cigila presides over divine missions. Shortly later, I received a dream in which a high spirit of the earthzone contacted me with a “mission” that became part of my primary work in life.
Franz Bardon says that sex contains the “highest magic on earth.” But this magic is well-guarded. To abuse such magical wisdom through sex or equally in a magical “volt” is like getting hit in the head with a hammer.
To create you have to be well-acquainted with how to use your tools and supervise the entire process of your creation from conception to manifestation. And as with any act of love, the goal in part is to become one with your opposite in order to make the world new. If you lose sight of the future you are trying to create you become trapped in a part of the past your forebears had thought to escape.
That ancient master of water, Lao Tzu, wrote something to the effect (and this is my taking liberty with another writer’s translation) in the Tao Te Ching. This is one description of the result of the electric and the magnetic fluids in cooperation or if you will of Psyche’s path of growth that helped transform the Greek pantheon as well as our world.
One who has the wings of a man
And the wings of a woman also
Is in himself a womb of the world
And being a womb of the world
He continuously, endlessly gives birth.
One who preferring light prefers darkness also
Is in himself an image of the world
And being an image of the world
Continuously, endlessly is the dwelling place of creation.
One who is the highest of men
And the humblest also
Is in himself a valley of the world
And being a valley of the world
He continuously, endlessly conducts the one source
From which vessels may be usefully filled.
Such are destined to be the guides and guardians of mankind.
What follows are a poem, my homage to Psyche which I wrote a decade ago. This is followed by a short piece called Orion involving three goddesses and the Goddess of the Earth which I wrote for my book, Mystical Fables. Whether one “believes” in gods or goddesses, etc. or not, their influences are still operating quite nicely inside of us. (The layout of the poem is by Darren.)
The Song of Psyche
He comes to me at night
But though he is invisible
My every need is met
I have minstrels and bards
Attendants, jesters, and noble knights
Who keep me company
But my sisters so jealous say
“Look upon his face
Every relationship must withstand the light,
Men are not gods
They are puppy dogs.”
They tell me:
“Light an oil lamp
And stab him in his sleep.”
They think it is a monster
Who holds me in his keep.
I share with my Beloved their words
He says—“Love such as ours
Is in-between mortals and gods
And I have not been fair with you,
But I fear the Goddess of Love
Will test you
And seek your life
If you should learn my name
Or see my face this night.
But before you decide,
Let us once more embrace
To cherish this moment forever
For love annihilates time
And all barriers separating human and divine
Melt within its fires.”
Surely, my Beloved is Love Divine
I become the Earth
And he becomes the Sky
A lotus of silvery light
Blossoms in the night
And I its perfume,
With this love, this song,
I fertilize the stars
As I hold him in my arms.
Within my belly
A pool, cool and magnetic,
Captures the moon’s light
As my hands slide
Slippery and moist
Over every inch of his body
May this night have no end
I rise again
His lips, his tongue
The tides of my desire respond
I am the rain falling upon leaves, trees,
Slipping through mountain meadows, ravines,
To fall into the streams
Suddenly, throbbing for release,
Saturated, overflowing with burning need
Hurling through my body a flashflood
I explode over falls
Pools deep and serene
Can not contain me
An electrical storm within my dreams
Lights the darkness where I wander
My hunger now whirls and turns
At his touch
His lips devour me,
Were I to join with the sea
Were I to contain the stars in my embrace
I would still trade my freedom to see his face
Darkness can not bind a love such as this
No god or goddess can constrain this bliss.
You are the spark at the center of my being
At your touch
I become the whirlwind upon the seas
And this blossom of lunar light
Within my belly
Its petals open to embrace your heart,
More enduring than any constellation
Our love is a pathway to Eternity.
Light born from fire
I clasp you tighter
My breasts burn at your touch,
Soft and soothing
Drops of honey
This nectar an elixir
An intoxication without end
I drink your lips
The wine of passion
I savor, I sip,
I rise again upon your love
The ache taking flight
The cold shivering shining with light
I drop my head back
I draw closer, I press down
I dissolve into a place
Thoughts may not enter
But here you are joined with me forever
I no longer know who I am
Except a path of love that has no end
And I will travel it—
I meet the Queen of Death, Darkness, and Night
She offers me her gift of immortality
To celebrate our love—
Every desire and need
Every path and destiny
Return again to be revived
To savor the light within your eyes
To taste the Joy within your heart
To drink the beauty of this night
As I hold you in my arms.
With their legs dangling in
a pool on
As you recall, the three goddesses bound
themselves to arbitration relying on a royal shepherd, a mortal, Paris, to
decide the issue. Each goddesses offered
Great poets such as Homer appear once or twice every thousand years. The cycle renews itself and the ground is now fertile for another voice, one more powerful than all others before. After all, the goddesses are bored with war. These days they think of themselves as the mistresses of human passion, that is to say, of our character, fate, and destiny.
That's right, even goddesses can fall victim to human reason and mortal philosophy--it happened one day around that pool in the sky as they sat reading from the Great Books collection written by human beings. After having enough of Sophocles and Ovid, they began to read what Carl Jung had written about each of them. Beware. When vanity and reason collide, vanity has the advantage.
But there is one other Presence here and the three goddesses are not aware of Her. She is the Goddess of the Earth. And She also grants a gift of passion after Her own heart to the one whom the three goddesses would torment, tease, and confuse to settle their dispute. Let's listen in now on a recording I made of the conversation.
Aphrodite: I say let us turn again to a mortal to determine who is more powerful.
Athena: That did not work last time. Mortals are whimsical and their desires rule over them. Their judgment is worthless in my opinion.
Diana: Yes, but there is an option. This time, instead of choosing a mortal among the living, let us create a mortal after our own image.
Athena: You mean a woman with three distinct personalities or with three separate sources of inspiration like unto the Wiccans with their threefold goddesses?
Diana: No. It has to be a man and our powers will dwell within him as three separate passions.
Aphrodite: I begin to see your plan. No external gift to bribe him. His choice will be based on his own instincts. His body and soul will be the battleground this time around.
Diana: In this way, we shall see which passion is dominant. By his choice and the way his life unfolds, we shall know beyond all doubt whose inspiration has the greater clout.
The three goddesses bargained and strategically designed every facet of his incarnation. After a long period of negotiation, after inspecting every detail of their creation, they finally gazed upon a human being born in modern times. But this was all preliminary. Now the time has come for the three to slip inside this man's soul their individual ecstasies--the essence of their inspiration.
Aphrodite, with a smile of guile as sweet as Spring, Beltane, heartbreak, and desire, leaned over him as he slept. She planted a kiss upon his lips. What poet has metaphors for this?
In that touch was lust as intoxicating as the DNA molecule's craving to divide and to reunite, tinged with an endless hunger for gratification--amid a sea of bliss suddenly the terror of whirling toward birth, the pain of gasping for the first breath, and the warm comfort of arms, chest, and breasts. Aphrodite was waging that the needs of the organism for satisfaction are power enough to define and to bind the essence of love, the source of all inspiration.
Aphrodite then spoke: I have made him a Satyr both animal and divine and this is right for it is my design. Lust shall rise like lava spewing from a cinder cone. It shall flow molten and hot through his body like the fire in a lava tube. His desire shall teach him that only I can satisfy.
Athena: Not so. My light shall chart his course in life.
Athena then placed her hand on his forehead and spoke: By the power of wisdom burning eternal and bright, without beginning or end, this quest shall determine the path of his life, this ideal shall he make real--the highest love permitted to mortals shall he reveal. He shall be not a Satyr but a centaur as wise as Chiron who gave his life that a god, Prometheus, might attain freedom. Heart to heart, soul to soul--my blessing and wisdom shall he know.
At this point, you might wonder what is left to our huntress, Diana. What sensuality, touch, or words could she speak that would weigh the scales to the end she seeks? Well, let us listen in as she speaks.
Diana: I pity you two. You Aphrodite are so vain to imagine that lust can substitute for trust, that primal desire is the source of the heart’s fire. And you Athena envision dreams so noble and refined that men must sacrifice joy and the need to hold, caress, and touch in order to pass from mortal to divine.
Then Diana place both her hands upon his heart and said: I place within you my wild purity more hungry than lust and more necessary than any vision quest. The forests shall you know. The trees will share with you their dreams and the secrets of their souls. But this is not all.
The light of the moon and also its darkness ebb and flow through your soul. The tides, the songs of the seas, and the turning of the seasons will confide in you their mysteries. You shall partake of the highest dreams and yet as flesh to flesh express my love--wild, pure, and free, for I take satisfaction in the hunt and also the flesh of game I claim.
In the end after a lifetime of wandering, you shall be neither satyr nor centaur but like unto Orion in the sky above transformed from mortality into immortality by virtue of your honor and your nobility.
As if this is not enough contrary passions to rage for domination in one soul, as I mentioned, the Goddess of the Earth appeared after the other three had gone. She touched him also. She sang to him.
And then She spoke and said, “Earth, air, fire, and water shall you know--you will taste and partake of their essence that you might dream my dreams like no other before--you shall know my innermost desires.
“But before you can wield this power, before you can champion my cause, you must know my silence as old as the world and my tenderness that nourishes all life on earth. The needs of the body you shall gratify in due season. The ideals of the spirit shall you cherish and pursue. And the wild purity of forest and ocean this too shall be within you. But in the end your Muse will guide you and the Song of the Universe you shall sing, for My beauty is upon you. I have spoken it. It shall be so
“Yet even I demand a price for what I give. Thus My curse and My blessing entwine: each year after reaching manhood you shall fall in love with a different woman. Eternal, unrelenting craving shall rage unabated until you come to see the most obvious of all the mysteries and what it is that you seek: that I Myself reside within the eyes of every woman.”