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Thread: Joseph Campbell's Monomyth

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    Joseph Campbell’s fourth function of myth…

    …myth is psychological. The myths show how to live a human lifetime under any circumstances. It is this pedagogical function of mythology that carries the individual through the various stages and crises of life, from childhood dependency, to the responsibilities of maturity, to the reflection of old age, and finally, to death. It helps people grasp the unfolding of life with integrity. It initiates individuals into the order of realities in their own psyches, guiding them toward enrichment and realization.
    It’s a lot like Jung’s idea of individuation…

    To Jung individuation means becoming an in-dividual, it implies becoming one's own self. We could thus translate it as "self-realization." The aim of individuation is nothingness than to divest the self of the false wrappings of the persona and the suggestive power of the archetypes.

    Individuation must not be confused with individualism, which over-looks collective factors and seeks some peculiarity valued by the ego. Although Jung calls individuation an "ineluctable (not to be avoided) psychological necessity" he also says that its nature is aristocratic, and that it is available only to individuals who are predisposed to attain a higher degree of consciousness and who are called to it from the beginning (elitism). To Jung the average person is content with limited horizons that do not include knowledge of the collective unconscious. (What does this mean? Is reading Jung enough? Must one go through a crisis?) Still he presumes that wider consciousness may be a universal capacity.
    Jung saw the psyche or total personality as several interacting systems. In place of Freud's superego, ego and id, Jung recognized an ego, a personal unconscious and a collective unconscious. In the personal unconscious were to be found various complexes, and in the collective unconscious were archetypal dispositions to think, perceive and act in a certain way.


    Jung {1} regarded the psychic energy as a basic life-force which would manifest itself as needed (eating, moving, thinking, sex, remembering, etc.) not concentrating through childhood in various body zones (oral, anal, genital) as Freud envisaged. The psychic energy resembled physical energy: it could be exchanged with the external world in muscular effort or ingestion of food, but otherwise remained as a reservoir to be used for thought, sexual activity, artistic creation and so on.
    The ego was a person's conception of himself: his sense of identity, his memories, his understanding of his physical and mental makeup. The personal unconscious is interior to the ego, and corresponds to a mix of Freud's unconscious and preconscious. Containing elements of the outside world and of personal experiences repressed by the ego, the contents of the personal unconscious can be accessed by therapy, art and cultural expression. Beneath the personal unconscious lies the collective unconscious, an obscure region inherited as a race memory and peopled by archetypes that appear in the same form in cultures widely separated in time and space: the child, hero, birth, death, numbers, God, etc. But the most important archetypes were the persona, animus, anima, shadow and self. The persona is the mask presented by each individual to society: it may or may not conceal the real personality. The anima is the feminine part of a man, which evolves as a result of a man's experience with women but also recognizes the bisexual nature of all human beings. The animus is the masculine part of a woman. The shadow is the reverse of the outward personality we show to the world. The self is the most important archetype and holds all the other systems together. Achieving oneness and self-realization (individuation, Jung called it) is a long process and one not reached until middle age, if at all. Usually we avoid matters by projecting the contents of our personal unconscious onto other people or events. But first we have to confront and assimilate the shadow archetype, and then the anima (animus if we are women). The anima may have a positive or negative influence on us, but is always difficult to accommodate. Indeed there are stages, perhaps symbolized by Eve, Helen, the Virgin Mary, and the transcending wisdom of Sapentia. Few reach the last stage. {2}
    I found these pretty interesting…


    The Hermetic Nietzsche

    1. For Jung the death of God is a phase of an archetypal process when "the highest value, which gives life and meaning has got lost." This dramatic event is central to the Christian mystery where, Jung says, "The death or loss must always repeat itself Christ always dies and always he is born; for the psychic life of the archetype is timeless in comparison with our individual time-boundness. According to what laws now one and now another aspect of the archetype enters into active manifestation I do not know. I only know - and here I am expressing what countless other people know - that the present is a time of God's death and disappearance."1
    It is inconceivable that Nietzsche could have ever seen the death of God in terms of the Christian mystery! Moreover in his famous account of this event there is no reference to the mythologem of death and resurrection. The deed is irrevocable and the burden of responsibility falls entirely onto man. Here is the text in full:

    The madman - Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: "I seek God! I seek God!"-As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated? - Thus they yelled and laughed.
    The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him - you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually?Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not the night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

    Delivered as a lecture at the 1st Conference of the Guild of Pastoral Psychology and the University of Kent, London, 9th March 1996.

    "How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto."
    Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners; and they, too, were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke into pieces and went out. "I have come too early," he said then; "my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than the most distant stars - and yet they have done it themselves."
    It has been related further that on the same day the madman forced his way into several churches and there struck up his requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: "What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?"2

    Unlike Jung who was immersed in Nietzsche's writings, Freud avoided them for fear of coming under their influence. Yet in "Moses and Monotheism" he presents an account that is much closer to Nietzsche than Jung's version. Perhaps there was an archetypal factor at work here. If so, it is understandable that Freud wished to keep his distance from Nietzsche. Archetypes often compel a man to say things that shock our sense of credulity and provoke the ridicule that befell the madman in the marketplace.
    As I intend to look at Freud in some depth I will begin by mentioning a perceptive remark made by Adolf Guggenbühl-Craig and recorded by James Hillman. He said that, "the Freudians cannot properly understand Freud because they take him at his word. The Jungians may be better at understanding Freud because they can read him for his mythology."3 It is important to bear this constantly in mind when reading "Moses and Monotheism" or "Totem and Taboo" which was written around the time of the break with Jung.4 In the beginning, said Freud, there was the Darwinian primal horde ruled by the despotic father. This father kept all the females to himself and the younger males resented him bitterly. Eventually this patriarchal system of domination came to an end when the sons bonded together, killed the father and devoured him in common. So as to avoid a reversion to the status quo ante the brothers all agreed to forego the privileges the father had enjoyed and instituted exogamy. But they also felt a deep remorse on account of their patricide and this was appeased by means of the totemic feast. A particular animal was revered as a totem and regarded as an ancestor and protective spirit. It was forbidden to kill or injure this animal except for one day of the year when it was ritually dismembered and eaten by the entire male clan. The ceremonial repetition of the killing of the primal father formed the basis for a new social order with its laws and religious rites. Freud suggested that this drama occurred in countless primal hordes and that the memory of it became a phylogenetic imprint in the mass unconscious. Without this idea it was impossible to extrapolate from individual to group psychology but, of course, it entailed some discomfort for Freud. "I do not think," he argued, "we gain anything by introducing the concept of a "collective unconscious." The content of the unconscious, indeed, is in any case, a collective universal property of mankind."5
    In "Moses and Monotheism", Freud develops his myth of the primal father. Moses, according to Freud was not a Jew but an Egyptian. He belonged to the entourage of Akhenaten, the Pharaoh who attempted unsuccessfully to impose a cult of solar monotheism on his subjects and whose zeal brought the 18th Dynasty to a tragic end. Moses was a passionate adherent to the Aten religion but when Akhenaten died there was a tremendous backlash. He was in an untenable position and this drove him to a most unusual expedient. Freud conjectured that he might have been the governor of a frontier province and had come into contact with a semitic tribe that had migrated to this region. As he could not return to Egypt after the death of the Pharaoh he decided to adopt this tribe and convert them to his monotheistic faith. He made them his chosen people, gave them their laws, and taught them the precepts of the Aten religion. He made them holy by the mark of circumcision which was in fact an Egyptian custom. However the interdicts of Moses' religion proved too much for the tribe who eventually rebelled against their self-appointed leader and killed him. According to a tradition that Freud came across in his researches Moses was indeed killed by his followers.
    "Deeds though done, still require time to be seen and heard," said Nietzsche. The intense guilt that arose after the murder of Moses as the primal father called forth a massive repression. Only the biblical prophets preserved Moses' monotheist doctrine as a tradition, while his memory lived on as a content of the mass unconscious. In times of national crisis the dormant image of the primal father was reactivated and then gripped the community with an intensity that compelled belief For Freud the messianic longings of the Jews were an instance of the return of the repressed.
    What was it that compelled Freud to advance claims that were deeply offensive to his fellow Jews and which met with rejection from almost every biblical scholar, historian of religion and anthropologist? That the evidence for his reconstruction was slender was conceded more than once by Freud. But he defended it on account of its considerable explanatory power. It enabled him to account for the special character of the Jews which has survived to the present day in the face of extraordinary adversity. In a word, it was the Egyptian Moses who created the Jews, who gave them their monotheistic faith and the self-esteem of being God's chosen people.
    If we take Freud at his word, all this looks like a dubious hypothesis but if we read him for his mythology, the narrative becomes compelling. Kerényi once said that, "The philosopher tries to pierce through the world of appearances in order to say what "really is", but the teller of myths steps back into primordiality in order to tell us what "originally was"."6 "Moses and Monotheism" involves the same step back to that formative moment in which the Jewish faith and character was created. The Greeks had a name for such a moment and called it "Kairos". Philip Rieff, a leading Freud scholar who has penetrated deeply beneath the manifest level of Freud's texts, has shown that the idea of Kairos is central to Freud's outlook:

    For Freud, a given life-history, even as a given group history, must be examined in terms of the experience of crucial events occurring necessarily at a specific historical time. What is crucial needs to have happened early. There had to be a Kairos, that crucial time in the past that is decisive for what then must come after.7

    The Freudian Kairos is not an event to be awaited as is the case in Christian eschatology, for it belongs exclusively to the past. Once it has occurred it determines the subsequent fate of an individual or an entire community with an inexorable logic. The murder of Moses was, Freud maintained, the crucial Kairos-moment for the Jews.
    In Freud's myth the death of God the primal father is a Kairos that brought the Judaic tradition to birth. With Nietzsche the death of God marks the end of Judaeo-Christianity and seems to be a Kairos in a wholly negative sense, perhaps an "anti- Kairos". However this is not how he evaluated it. At the beginning of Book 5 of "The Gay Science" Nietzsche tells us that the death of God has not induced the sense of apocalyptic gloom one might expect but rather "a new and scarcely describable kind of light, happiness, relief, exhilaration, encouragement, dawn." He goes on to expand this statement:

    Indeed we philosophers and "free spirits" feel, when we hear the news that "the old god is dead", as if a new dawn shone on us; our heart overflows with gratitude, amazement premonitions, expectation. At long last the horizon appears free to us again, even if it should not be bright; at long last our ships may venture out again, venture out to face any danger, all the daring of the lover of knowledge is permitted again, the sea, our sea lies open again; perhaps there has never yet been such an "open sea".8

    This is a fine example of Nietzsche's "joyful wisdom" but what are the grounds for his paradoxical claim?

    2. In Book 4 of "Thus Spake Zarathustra", Nietzsche introduces the murderer of God, the Ugliest Man. This man's motives go far beyond what Freud conceived. (He claimed Moses was murdered for his severe monotheistic ethic.) Neither is it much help to equate the Ugliest Man with the Jungian shadow. Rather than strain the text to support this hypothesis we should let the Ugliest Man speak for himself.
    When Zarathustra encounters this man in a desolate wilderness he is asked the enigmatic question, "What is revenge on the witness?" Zarathustra recognizes the speaker at once as the murderer of God and is overwhelmed with pity and revulsion. But he does not reject the Ugliest Man and even enters into dialogue with him. This leads to an explication of the riddle:

    But he - had to die: he looked with eyes that saw everything - he saw the depths and abysses of man, all man's hidden disgrace and ugliness . . . He always saw me: I desired to take revenge on such a witness - or cease to live myself. The god who saw everything, even man: This god had to die! Man could not endure such a witness should live.9

    What was it that the Ugliest Man found so unendurable? According to Nietzsche an omniscient deity would have knowledge of every event in the past, present and future. The world would follow its preordained course and each of us would be bound to our preordained existence. If such a being presided over us it would be existentially intolerable.
    In his revolt against repressive monotheism the Ugliest Man was not motivated simply by revenge. Divine omniscience is an offence against the soul's deep desire for radical spiritual autonomy. This is why Nietzsche regarded the death of God as the great liberation. It freed man from accountability and restored his innocence. Previously he had been accountable not only for what he did but for what he became, now he was free to choose his own identity rather than have it chosen for him. Without this freedom there can be no experimental life, no growth of reflective consciousness, only a life confined to tradition. Jung's debt to Nietzsche exceeds even his own estimation of it.
    Nietzsche abolished the notion of ultimate purpose in life but put a new imperative in its place. "What does your conscience say?", he asks, "You shall become the person you are."10 Jung endorsed the same imperative and he also expressed it eloquently:

    Personality is the supreme realization of the innate idiosyncrasy of a living being. ln is an act of high courage flung in the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitutes the individual, the most successful adaptation to the universal conditions of existence coupled with the greatest possible freedom for self-determination.11

    When this self-determination is repressed or negated the soul seeks "revenge on the witness" and becomes hideously deformed like the Ugliest Man.
    The freedom Jung speaks of is the prerogative of a truly modern person. Such a type, who is only encountered rarely, must be emancipated from the authority of the past so as to be able to live fully in the present. This is very reminiscent of Nietzsche's much misunderstood ideal of the superman who embodies the sole source of meaning after the death of God. As Jung puts it in his essay on modern man:

    Indeed he is completely modern only when he has come to the very edge of the world, leaving behind him all that has been discarded and outgrown and acknowledging that he stands before the Nothing out of which All may grow.12

    A transvaluation of values of this magnitude is not the work of a single day or night. Jung has shown how the ground was prepared centuries before by means of alchemy. Although they sincerely regarded themselves as loyal sons of the Church, the alchemists were in fact undermining the basic premises of orthodox dogma. Rather than seeing man as being wholly dependent on God for his salvation they conceived of him as a co-creator responsible for the salvation or transfiguration of the universe. This shift from "I under God" to "God under me" had incalculable consequences which Jung spells out in his essay on Paracelsus:

    Medieval alchemy prepared the way for the greatest intervention in the divine world order that man had ever attempted: alchemy was the dawn of the scientific age, when the daemon of the scientific spirit compelled the forces of nature to serve man to an extent that had never been known before. It was from the spirit of alchemy that Goethe wrought the figure of the "superman" Faust, and this superman led Nietzsche's Zarathustra to declare that God was dead and to proclaim the will to give birth to the superman ... Here we find the true roots, the preparatory processes deep in the psyche, which unleashed the forces at work in the world today.13

    Jung thought that Nietzsche was in the same situation as the medieval alchemists and even suggested he would have been one had he lived at any time between the 15th and 18th centuries. But the Hermetic philosophy was a matter of derision in the 19th century and he could not go back to it. However in the Zarathustra seminars Jung finds numerous alchemical motifs in Nietzsche's text. To conclude I will cite one particularly fine example.
    Zarathustra's discourse "On the Blissful Islands' contains the famous saying: "If there were gods, how could I endure not to be a god! Therefore there are no gods". The existence of a God or of gods would deny Zarathustra the full freedom of his creative will which he likens to a hammer striking a stone:

    Ah, you men, I see an image sleeping in the stone, the image of my visions! Ah, that it must sleep in the hardest ugliest stone!
    Now my hammer rages fiercely against its prison. Fragments fly from the stone: what is that to me?14

    Jung points out the parallel here with the stone that has a spirit from an ancient formula that Zosimos attributed to Ostanes:

    Go to the waters of the Nile and there you will find a stone that has a spirit. Take this, divide it, thrust in your hand and draw out its heart: for its soul is in its heart.15

    Zarathustra's rage and vehemence are contrary to the way of alchemy. Morienus, a 6th century Christian adept, taught that one can never attain the art in this manner but only by the grace of the Holy Spirit. The rage dies down and Zarathustra concludes with:

    I will complete it: for a shadow came to me - the most silent, the lightest of all things once came to me! The beauty of the Superman came to me as a shadow. Ah, my brothers! What are gods to me now!16

    Jung remarks that this extraordinary passage conveys the essential experience of the spirit and that we can see from it what the superman really meant to Nietzsche: "It is the manifestation of God in man, God born out of men and that is the mystery of transmutation or transubstantiation: namely, God born and generated in the flesh".17 To the best of my knowledge no one else has interpreted Nietzsche in this way. I will be looking at the theme of the deification of man in Nietzsche's thought at more length in the second essay.

    Individuation and Angelology

    1. For James Hillman and the archetypal psychology school the death of God implies the rebirth of the gods.1 This "new polytheism" was already anticipated by Nietzsche's Zarathustra who declares:

    With the old gods, they have long since met their end - and truly, they had a fine, merry, divine ending! They did not fade away in twilight - that is a lie! On the contrary they once laughed themselves to death!
    That happened when the most godless saying proceeded from a god himself, the saying: "There is one God! You shall have no other gods before me!" - an old wrath-beard of a god, a jealous god, thus forgot himself:
    And all the gods laughed then and rocked in their chairs and cried: "Is not precisely this godliness, that there are gods but no God?"2

    Later in the text Nietzsche calls for a new nobility to oppose mob-rule and he repeats this last line to suggest that this elite will be truly godlike.2a Jung comments on this in his Zarathustra seminars but uses a different translation for the line in question: "That is just divinity, that there are gods but not God". He takes the word "divinity" as a synonym for Meister Eckhart's "Godhead" and thereby transposes Nietzsche's text into a new key:

    We know that Nietzsche has declared God to be dead and here is appears as if God were not so dead; that is, as if there were no personal or monotheistic God, but there was divinity. In the language of Meister Eckhart, it would be Godhead, not God. The divine element is still there, but not in the form of the monotheistic God ...

    In Eckhart's mystical theology the Godhead is beyond all categories of thought, even that of Being. It is the unfathomable ground from which the three persons of the Trinity proceed. Unlike the monotheistic God, the Godhead can never die. Jung's commentary on Zarathustra's discourse continues as follows:

    ... Nietzsche thinks here of a peculiar transformation namely that through the abolition of Christianity, the divine element will leave the dogmatic idea of God and will be incarnated in man, so there will be gods. That is a sort of intuition of an individuation process in man, which eventually leads to the deification of man or the birth of God in man. Then we are confronted with that dilemma: is it the deification of man or the birth of God in man?3

    ________________________________________ ___________________________________Deliv ered as a lecture at the 1st Conference of the Guild of Pastoral Psychology and the University of Kent, London, 9 March 1996.

    With one masterstroke of creative misinterpretation Jung has gone beyond the death of God and raised a profound metaphysical dilemma. We will be in a better position to address the issue after looking at the angelology of Henry Corbin.

    Orthodox monotheism refuses to acknowledge any distinction between the Godhead and God. It is, as Corbin has shown, caught up in a disastrous category error and ironically this brings about "the death of God":

    By confusing the uniqueness of the Divinity with a singular God, which excludes all other Gods, monotheism perishes in its triumph. It elevates an idol just at the point where it denounces such in a polytheism it poorly understands.4

    Against this the monotheist can object that a Divinity beyond all categories of experience can be of no relevance to man. Corbin would concede that the Divinity is indeed unknowable but that it reveals itself in an unlimited number of theophanies. He invokes the intimacy of this mediation with these words:

    Israel was able to serve only "its" God and could proclaim the unity of only "its" God ... Each of us, as well, has to recognize "his" God, the one to which he is able to respond ... The Angel is the Face that our God takes for us and each of us finds his God only when he recognizes that Face.5

    Jung called this face the imago Dei, a term he took from the Church Fathers who taught that the image of God is imprinted on the soul. For analytical psychology the manifestation of this image in dreams or visions is a symbol of the Self while for Corbin it is the celestial twin or the Angel. Admittedly this correlation requires qualification but it will serve as a reference point as we explore the recondite subject of angelology.

    2. Corbin's writings encompass Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Shi'ite and Ismaili gnosis. His book on "Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn' Arabi" is a major contribution to Sufi studies while his researches into Avicenna, Suhrawardi and Mulla Sadra revolutionized the study of Islamic philosophy. Throughout all these diverse works there is a constant theme, namely the essential unity of the three Abrahamic faiths.6
    In "Avicenna and the Visionary Recital" Corbin undertakes a phenomenology of the reciprocal relationship between the individual soul and the Angel. Avicenna's cosmology is based on a hierarchy of ten separate Intelligences or Archangels who proceed from One Necessary Being. Each of these Intelligences, from the first to the ninth, is connected to its own celestial sphere by an Angel-Soul. These spheres are supra-sensible and correspond to the nine heavens of Islamic astronomy. The Tenth Intelligence is the Archangel of the sublunary world and does not possess a sphere. Creation, or rather emanation, proceeds from the One Necessary Being who brings forth the First Archangel. This Intelligence then contemplates the One Necessary Being and thereby brings forth the Second Intelligence. Two further acts of contemplation follow: the First Intelligence contemplates its own being insofar as it is necessary and brings forth the Soul of the first heaven. It contemplates its being insofar as it is merely possible and brings forth the body of the first heaven. This threefold act of contemplation is repeated in each successive heaven. Thus the Second Intelligence contemplates the First Intelligence that brought it into being and, in so doing, brings forth the Third Intelligence. Then the Second Intelligence contemplates its own being twice to bring forth the Soul and then the body of the second heaven, Each subsequent Intelligence contemplates the one above to produce the one below until the process terminates at the Tenth Intelligence. All the archetypes of the creatures of the sublunary world proceed from this Tenth Intelligence which Avicenna calls the Giver of Forms. In Islamic gnosis the Tenth Intelligence is identified with the Holy Spirit and the Angel Gabriel of the Koran. It is the Angel of humanity and it reveals itself to the individual soul as its "Perfect Nature".
    The relationship between the Angel-Soul and its Intelligence is like two mirrors face to face reflecting the same image to each other. Similarly the relationship between the individual soul and its Angel conforms to the same pattern. In "Avicenna and the Visionary Recital" Corbin defines this latter relationship as "angel pedagogy":

    This is why the ancient Sages, those who have the gnosis of direct vision, and have been initiated into things the sensible faculties do not perceive, taught that for each individual soul, or perhaps for 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 the soul or group of souls; it is he who initiates them into Knowledge, protects, guides, defends, comforts them, brings them final victory, and it is this being who the Sages call the Perfect Nature.7

    If the Divinity reveals his face to each one of us through the Angel, what need is there for any institutional mediation? And if a man has access to angel pedagogy why should he remain subject to the authority of the Magisterium? These considerations led the doctors of the Church in medieval Europe to reject Avicenna's cosmology and endorse Averroes, who was a strict Aristotelian in all things. It was on these grounds that he had criticized the Avicennan angelology and repudiated the notion that the Angel-Souls connected the nine Intelligences to their respective spheres. Moreover Avicenna maintained that the Angel-Soul yearns for the Intelligence that brought it into being. This yearning made the spheres go round and as Corbin put it, "The cosmic revolutions in which motion originates are the result of love that remains forever unassuaged".8 But Averroes had no time for this Avicennan romance and insisted that the notion of a Soul moving its sphere with its perpetual longing was merely a metaphor.
    In the Avicennan angelology the reciprocal relationship between the Angel-Soul and its Intelligence served as the model for the relationship between the individual soul and its Perfect Nature. But when Averroe's reductionism became the ruling orthodoxy among the Scholastics this correspondence of macrocosm and microcosm was shattered. Once the Angel-Souls were eliminated a psychological trap door came down between the ego and the Self. Man became alienated from the God-within and projected the imago Dei as an external entity. Corbin leaves us in no doubt as to the magnitude of this ontological catastrophe:

    No longer able to appeal to his Lord, each man is at the mercy of a single undifferentiated Omnipotence, from which all men are equidistant, lost in the religious collectivity. When this happens each man tends to confound "his" Lord, whom he does not Know as He is, with the Divine Being as such, and to wish to impose Him upon all.9

    Jung also deplored this "unilateral monotheism" and complained about those who have "all God outside" and nothing in their souls.10
    When Nietzsche announced the death of God was he telling us that we are now free of the burden of this "single undifferentiated Omnipotence"? If so, it is not surprising that he felt such as indescribable sense of relief. Did he then encounter his Perfect Nature in Zarathustra? A little poem titles `Sils Maria' describes the genesis of his great visionary work:

    Here I sat, waiting - not for anything -
    Beyond Good and Evil, fancying

    Now light, now shadows, all a game,
    All lake, all noon, all time without all aim.
    Then, suddenly, friends, one turned in two -
    And Zarathustra walked in view.11

    The words "one turned into two" evoke the moment in which the ego confronts the transpersonal Self. Here is how Jung describes this experience:

    When a summit of life is reached, when the bud unfolds and from the lesser the greater emerges, then as Nietzsche says," One becomes two", and the greater figure which one always was but which remained invisible appears to the lesser personality with the force of a revelation.12

    But not everyone is up to this challenge. A mediocre person will attempt to drag the revelation down to his own level. Only someone who is inwardly great will recognize his celestial twin, "the long expected friend of the soul" who has really come "to seize hold of him by whom this immortal one has always been confined and held prisoner, and to make his life flow into that greater life - a moment of deadliest peril!"

    3. Zarathustra's paradoxical saying: "That is just divinity, that there are gods but not God" prompted Jung to ask whether this entailed "the deification of man or the birth of God in man". What does this distinction amount to? The first proposition, deification, denies that there can be any absolute qualitative difference between the divine nature and human nature. This seems to be Corbin's position and he suggests that, "What we call man is only a Not-yet: either an Angel or a demon in potentia".13 Jung by contrast believed that it was impossible to extricate oneself from the shadow and the instincts. He favoured the second proposition and in `Answer to Job' he speaks of the birth of God in the soul of creaturely man. But the man remains just what he is even after the event14 or as Jung puts it elsewhere, "We are no more than the stable in which the Lord is born". 15 Whereas Corbin adhered to a radical Gnostic tradition, Jung was much closer to St. Paul who could never rid himself of the thorn in his flesh.
    The doctrine of the birth of God in man can be traced back to Gregory of Nyssa. It finds its fullest expression in the mystical theology of Meister Eckhart and is central to Jung's model of psycho-spiritual development or individuation. Nietzsche, on the other hand, regarded his teaching as the antithesis of everything Christian. for this reason he would not have been drawn towards the tradition of the divine birth in the soul. However his elusive remarks about the superman begin to fall in place when understood from the standpoint of the deification of man.
    Towards the end of `The Vision and the Riddle' Zarathustra's deliberations on eternal recurrence are interrupted by a howling dog. The scene changes abruptly and he sees a young shepherd writhing and choking with a heavy black snake hanging out of his mouth.Zarathustra tugs at the snake, which had crawled into the man's throat, but to no avail. Then, shouting with all his might, he tells the shepherd to bite its head off:

    The shepherd, however, bit as my cry had advised him; he bit with a good bite! He spat far away the snake's head - and sprang up.
    No longer a shepherd, no longer a man - a transformed being, surrounded with light, laughing! Never yet on earth had any man laughed as he laughed!
    O my brothers, I heard a laughter that was no human laughter - and now a thirst consumes me, a longing that is never stilled.
    My Longing for this laughter consumes me: oh how do I endure still to live! And how could I endure to die now!16

    In his Zarathustra seminars Jung remarks on how the normal situation, where the serpent swallows the hero, has been inverted. Nietzsche's surreal imagery has no precedents in the world's mythologies. Jung then goes on to argue that the black snake embodies everything that Nietzsche has refused to acknowledge in himself. Despite the utter incompatibility between an innocent shepherd and the black snake he maintains, "Nevertheless the two sides should come together" and, "He really should swallow the serpent in order that the regular thing should happen".17
    But how could the regular thing take place in such an irregular situation? If the serpent represents an unconscious content that is so archaic and so chthonic, how could it be integrated and humanized? Zarathustra took the only possible course of action in the circumstances and when the shepherd bit off the snake's head he was transfigured. The language that Nietzsche uses here suggests the deification of man. The shepherd underwent what Corbin has called an "angelmorphosis" not the terrible psychosis that Jung reads into the text.18 Should this interpretation prove to be correct, the Jungian myth of the inflated Nietzsche would need to be reconsidered.
    During a discussion about Goethe in "Memories, Dreams, Reflections" Jung refers to the traditional sources for his model of the individuation process:

    The second part of Faust ... was more than a literary exercise. It is a link in the Aurea Catena which has existed from the beginnings of philosophical alchemy and Gnosticism down to Nietzsche's Zarathustra.19

    The Aurea Catena is the Golden Chain of alchemy that was traced back to Hermes Trismegistos. But this tradition is "unpopular, ambiguous and dangerous" and Jung likens it to "a voyage of discovery to the other pole of the world". Does this not recall the open seas that Nietzsche looked out on after the death of God? But everyone knows the terrible outcome that befell this bold adventurer. No wonder Jung dreaded the possibility that he too might meet the same fate.20 However he also knew that should the long expected friend of the soul walk into view with the words, "If thou wilt follow me" it would be advisable to "collaborate with the inevitable".21

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    Academicists, historians of religion, scientists of religion, are all very wrong in their interpretations of myth; they are more or less influenced by anthropology, which views myth as primitive and creative expressions of nature, and psychology, which sees mythical symbols as archetypes of a "collective unconscious." From this view derives people like Eliade who Campbell takes after, yet who believes the old myths are somehow obsolete and that man needs new myths to devote themselves to, as if we somehow "evolved" after the "Age of Reason." In this they dismiss myth as mere literature and create of themselves an involution rather than an evolution. Understand that what we have here is a confusion of the psychic and the spiritual which are in no way equivalents. It is humorous to note that the psychic belongs to what we classify as demonic, a mirror or even inversion, which if applied to the aforementioned interpretations by these fraudsters would necessarily raise charges of blasphemy.
    "The human state is an exit." -Frithjof Schuon

    "Make me immortal in that realm where they move even as they list, in the third sphere of inmost heaven where lucid worlds are full of light." -Rig Veda IX.113

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofburi View Post
    Academicists, historians of religion, scientists of religion, are all very wrong in their interpretations of myth; they are more or less influenced by anthropology, which views myth as primitive and creative expressions of nature, and psychology, which sees mythical symbols as archetypes of a "collective unconscious."
    So just what may I ask is the correct interpretation of myth? This is a subject which seems as deep as the deepest depths a human can fathom. It is after all what makes a human a human if you ask me? So seeing as to how we’re humans talking about it we’re going to come up with different ways of looking at it. So which is the correct one? Is there a correct one? To me mythology leads one on a heroic journey inward to Self discovery.

    I wot that I hung on the wind-tossed tree
    All of nights nine,
    Wounded by spear, bespoken to Othin
    Bespoken myself to myself
    { upon that tree of which none telleth
    From what roots it doth rise }.

    Neither horn they upheld nor handed me bread;
    I looked below me--
    Aloud I cried--
    Caught up the runes, caught them up wailing.
    Thence to the ground fell again.
    Quote Originally Posted by sonofburi View Post
    Understand that what we have here is a confusion of the psychic and the spiritual which are in no way equivalents. It is humorous to note that the psychic belongs to what we classify as demonic, a mirror or even inversion, which if applied to the aforementioned interpretations by these fraudsters would necessarily raise charges of blasphemy.
    What is this talk of confusion between the psychic and the spiritual? I’m really confused?

    Here is a quote from Occidental Mythology that might have something to do with it..

    A distinction must be drawn, through all our studies of mythology, between the attitudes toward divinities represented on one hand by the priest and his flock, and on the other by the creative poet, artist, or philosopher. The former tends to what I would call a positivistic reading of the imagery of his cult. Such a reading is fostered by the attitude of prayer, since in prayer it is extremely difficult to retain the balance between belief and disbelief that is proper to the contemplation of an image or idea of God. The poet, artist, and philosopher, on the other hand, being themselves fashioners of images and coiners of ideas, realize that all representation--whether in the visible matter of stone or in the mental matter of the word--is necessarily conditioned by the fallibility of the human organs. Overwhelmed by his own muse, a bad poet may imagine his visions to be supernatural facts and so fall into a posture of a prophet--whose utterance I would define as “poetry overdone,” over-interpreted; wherefore he becomes the founder of a cult and a generator of priests. But so also a gifted priest may find his super-natural beings losing body, deepening into void, changing form, even dissolving: whereupon he will possibly become either a prophet, or if more greatly favored, a creative poet.

    Three major metamorphosis of the motifs and themes of our subject, therefore, have to be recognized as fundamentally differing even though fundamentally related, namely: the true poetry of the poet, the poetry overdone of the prophet, and the poetry done to the death of the priest.

    Pages 518-519
    Poetry itself was Othin’s ale, and in poetry of his sort resided the power of life…to those who had learned the reading of the runes--for which Othin gave himself in gage--nature itself revealed the omnipresent jewel.

    Pages 489-490
    Quote Originally Posted by sonofburi View Post
    From this view derives people like Eliade who Campbell takes after, yet who believes the old myths are somehow obsolete and that man needs new myths to devote themselves to, as if we somehow "evolved" after the "Age of Reason." In this they dismiss myth as mere literature and create of themselves an involution rather than an evolution.
    MOYERS: Does your study of mythology lead you to conclude that a single human quest, a standard pattern of human aspiration and thought, constitutes for all mankind something that we have in common, whether we lived a million years ago or will live a thousand years from now?

    CAMPBELL: There's a certain type of myth which one might call the vision quest, going in quest of a boon, a vision, which has the same form in every mythology. That is the thing that I tried to present in the first book I wrote, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. All these different mythologies give us the same essential quest. You leave the world that you're in and go into a depth or into a distance or up to a height. There you come to what was missing in your consciousness in the world you formerly inhabited. Then comes the problem either of staying with that, and letting the world drop off, or returning with that boon and trying to hold on to it as you move back into your social world again. That's not an easy thing to do.

    MOYERS: The writer Thomas Berry says that it's all a question of story. The story is the plot we assign to life and the universe, our basic assumptions and fundamental beliefs about how things work. He says we are in trouble now "because we are in between stories. The old story sustained us for a long time -- it shaped our emotional attitudes, it provided us with life's purpose, it energized our actions, it consecrated suffering, it guided education. We awoke in the morning and knew who we were, we could answer the questions of our children. Everything was taken care of because the story was there. Now the old story is not functioning! And we have not yet learned a new."

    CAMPBELL: I'm in partial agreement with that -- partial because there is an old story that is still good, and that is the story of the spiritual quest. The quest to find the inward thing that you basically are is the story that I tried to render in that little book of mine written forty-odd years ago -- The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The relationship of myths to cosmology and sociology has got to wait for man to become used to the new world that he is in. The world is different today from what it was fifty years ago. But the inward life of man is exactly the same. So if you put aside for a while the myth of the origin of the world -- scientists will tell you what that is, anyway -- and go back to the myth of what is the human quest, what are its stages of realization, what are the trials of the transition from childhood to maturity and what does maturity mean, the story is there, as it is in all the religions.

    The Power of Myth
    Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for
    the heroes of all time have gone before us; the labyrinth is thoroughly
    known; we have only to follow the thread of the heropath.
    And where we had thought to find an abomination, we
    shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall
    slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we
    shall come to the center of our own existence; where we had
    thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.

    The Hero with a Thousand Faces Page 23
    Good Day,

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