Thursday, March 17, 2011

O Starry Spangled Shock of Mercy - Of Human Presence In Apocalypse

The Ego, being conscious, the very center of consciousness, is apriori and derives it's existence from the older unconscious, and symbolically has a heavenly origin to which it will return, a Star. - Kevin F. [here]

APOCA-LATTE NOW. What image do you see in the foam?
Click on the image to enlarge it.

[Many have written to me asking my opinions and views of recent events which appear to point to "apocalypse impending" & "apocalypse now". I have culled from my various email responses stitching various parts of them together to comprise what is below. An email response is more casual, one lets one's hair down and thus paints, as do I, in broad strokes, in generalities with very few if any footnotes. I have published a few of these email responses elsewhere on the blogspot - to read these longer pieces click
here. Throughout the essay are words or phrases underlined in red which link to footnotes and essays quoted. Click on those to read the sources referred to.]

Most apocalyptic predictions from indigenous cultures ancient and new are based upon interpretations of stellar events which were/are and will be out of human control (but for blood sacrifices, sympathetic magic, appeasement by apotropaic rituals, etc. Apotropaic is "an adjective that means warding against evil, or deflecting misfortune, and commonly refers to objects such as amulets or other symbols" - Wikipedia). Given New Age "bloodless" souls the sacrifices to be made are those of intellect, alas. Any blood that they shed to appease the offended powers will be made of pureed beets and guar gum. And Fundamentalists of all stripes are also required to sacrifice critical thinking and to adhere rigidly to official doctrines and interpretations which are not to be questioned. Emotions rule the day and sway of interpretations which are subjectively skewed from what might be "objective" images derived from psyche, from sciences old (astrology, divination, dream, etc.) and new (research, reason, verification, etc.).

I have a well-educated astrologer friend and teacher who is brilliant on all this "end times/2012 Mayan-and-other-ancient calendar" kaputski stuff. She practices what she calls "mythic astrology" which is pre- modern astrology. Modern astrology roughly came into being more or less 2000 years ago with a more sophisticated mathematics at the disposal of magi/astrologers (yes, Virginia, the ZERO was invented! and by the Arabs!!), the sky was laid out in grids with calculated time in linear measurable segments - past, present, future, with numbers attached. Ancient astrology was devalued; mathematics cut the once fluid material and mental world of space and time into more and more static segments, lines, shapes with numbers, into measurable discriminate chunks/pieces. Space and time became categories of knowledge. Thus "the end of time" came into mental being inevitably/officially/theologically to be calculated and predicted via math and "signs" which reflected the cosmologies and values of cultures around the world observing the same events while developing each their mathematics and interpretive slants as to when The End would arrive. Stars and synchronistic events on earth whose elusive dots from heaven to earth were, and are still, connected - psychologically associated - from mostly reptilian brain fears of The End by prophets, priests, priestesses, and seers. They observe the heavens and events upon earth interpreting these projected-upon events according to the prevalent, mostly ancient, pre-modern religious cosmologies at hand.

Even today such interpretations/expectations are still derived from ancient prophesies. This is problematic as these old "messages" are delivered into modern/postmodern psyches which think concretely regarding symbols, their "spiritual" brains, if you will, are atrophied and are thus prone to uncritically believe almost anything which smacks of ancient primal (instinctual based) mind manifest in part by a regression into concretistic thinking regarding symbolic content. One hopes - in order to rejuvenate atrophied spiritual mind into conscious, thoughtful congress with modern/postmodern advances of understanding and knowledge - that that very reptilian fear will compel/spur a "search and recovery" mission to tolerate, celebrate and calibrate the tensions between, and revelation therefrom, reason and faith. This may ultimately lead to greater capacities to sit with apparent opposites in complementarity to/with each thus inhibiting acting out the real discomfort/dis-ease/fright and confusion. Developed capacities to be more or less in equanimity with "not knowing" absolutely in head or in "gut" (the gut/bowels are symbolic of deeply felt intuitive knowing") while self-preservation instincts are revved up into highest gear may allow panic moments time to process discharge/calm neurological/emotional storms and then more cooler heads and calmed nervous systems may prevail.

To greatly and practically assist all this now, an understanding that a symbol is not a sign is needed. This may seem like a minor distinction but it is of archetypal importance to know the difference between the two. One need only look to Fundamentalist concretization and acting out of symbols to know that this understood distinction has life or death consequences:

"The Sign, an abstract word, picture, etc...points to the state of the objective, exterior world, while the Symbol, living breathing signifier of the internal, subjective world is understood to provide meaning for the individual. The perfect state of things is to know the difference between the two, to not mix their properties, and to allow deep religious truth to be communicated symbolically [as opposed to concretistic and/or reductgive interpretations which lead to either "acting out" in 2 year old primal mind or in denial of any reality to symbols resulting in a materialistic view of the world], as opposed to signally, and vice versa, for the Sign to communicate external factual data of the way things are." This distinction between symbol and sign ascribes the territory of faith/belief, symbol, and of science/knowledge, sign. Jung helps us to understand that in every sign, or beneath every sign, is an archetype from which the sign (a finite representation of a symbol) is derived. AND it is of utmost importance to know this and to also keep the distinction for practical purposes for the attainment of knowledge and understanding of both symbol and sign, all the while understanding and valuing the profound relationship/revelation within both in their functional distinctions.

Time in the ancient world did not exist as it does for us postmoderns (modern astrology is 2000/2500 years old). The more or less official END of our so-called "civilized Western world" as we know it began (Jung writes of this in one of his last books, Aion) with "the time of the second fish" meaning that the 2000 year old Piscean era's "first fish" - the Pisces symbol is of two fish swimming in opposite directions thus symbolizing an aion where the opposites and awareness of them will be the singularly, most significant developer of human consciousness - was that of the spiritual Christ and other-worldly values. The "second fish" - swimming in the opposite direction of the first represents the "material" realm with earthly, "Satanic" values, man-centered, not God-centered and thus, according to folks of the "first fish" ("spiritual ones), is to be condemned and transformed if possible.

The material "anti-Christ" second-fish period of science, philosophy, alchemy, and humanism sped up mightily during the man-centered Renaissance and zoomed ahead to what we have now; in other words, we are already in the "apocalypse" and have been for 1000 years or more (and there are many apocalypses throughout human history). Jung says that in the Renaissance "the gods fell out of the heavens and into the psyches of humans, into matter". Humankind took center stage in human awareness, Alexander Pope proclaiming:

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan
The proper study of mankind is man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise, and rudely great:
Created half to rise and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all,
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd;
The glory, jest and riddle of the world.

What is "apocalypse" after all but a revelation. It means a "lifting of the veil", a revelation, "a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception." Most "falsehoods and misconceptions" were once the received cosmology and knowledge of the day. As humans change and evolve those once received beliefs, knowledge, values and views are changed by "what is revealed", by new knowledge and awareness. Cultural values change (with warfare between those of the old values and those of the new), even gods change (gods represent the highest values of a culture) and thus there is a clash of cosmologies, of literal groups and nations which surely feels like the "End Times" and they ARE the end of the world as we know it which gives way, usually with blood - the evolution of consciousness does not come about sweetly - and synchronistic outer events, to some new center. Poet W.B. Yeats says it true in his poem, "The Second Coming", about the falling apart of the old center, the old values, "Turning and turning in the widening gyre, The falcon cannot find the falconer, Things fall apart, the center cannot hold, Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world...And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?" It is rough with an animal slouch for the new center always appears darkly threatening at first because it threatens the old "calcified and sanctified" center/values/order, and heralds a return of the instincts which need, too, to be reintegrated into "spirit/etheric-oriented religions).

Thus the ongoing cycle of apocalypse in world civilizations is a dramatic shift in values, cosmologies, which means the old ones which were once valid and descriptive of consciousness of their time recede, fade, diminish, morph, are absorbed and built upon by the new Value reflecting and encouraging the next stage of consciousness coming to be (it is presumed) toward greater refinement and innovation. That civilizations regress is a fact of history which certainly is an experienced apocalypse true. The "apo" of the word signifies "ap-, prefix meaning "from, away from, separate, free from," from Gk. apo "from, away from; after; in descent from," in compounds, "from, asunder, away, off; finishing, completing; ceasing from; back again," from PIE base *apo- "off, away" (cf. Skt. apa "away from," Avestan apa "away from," L. ab "away from, from," Goth. af, O.E. of "away from")" -Wikipedia. From the very etymology of the word "apocalype" we see that there is a moving away from, a sundering of and from once were valid values/world views with a rough entry into newer values/world views. There is a violence implied which becomes certainly manifest in the world.

Since the Sun is the "God" of our physical solar system (and thus the center of the universe/LIFE for us) another Sun is now being born, a new center, a new value in our inner solar system. For all of the sobering personal work that must be efforted on our part with help from understanding others, we are enduring a collective dream of apocalypse which can and must be interpreted historically/archetypally in terms of how human consciousness has evolved, how such changes have been expressed in culture, in history. Whether we like it or not a BIG change has truly pivoted on the downward slide of the "Meaning Star" moving past it's apogee in the night sky, has begun it's "fall" down toward the horizon's new dawning "Morning Star"; there is a new sun, a new Key Value, a new "god-image" dawning, it is now upon us. The movie "2001, A Space Odyssey" hints at this dawning greatly; planetarily consciousness of "just ourselves alone" as a species and planet will shift to a more universal awareness of our hopefully more conscious participation in the "web of life" with the rest of the material universe which is, indeed, the end of the business as usual, of the world as we know it.

Edward Edinger's book on the apocalypse speaks of "the archetype of the apocalypse" [click here for a book review]. I have to remind myself that archetypes are living symbols, active dynamic energies distinctly formed, which shape our experience of reality and which, it is surmised, shape reality because they are the very building blocks of experienced and interpreted reality, so the apocalypse (which partakes of death/rebirth symbolism) is an activated archetype which has been activated ongoingly since homo simians became homo lumens/homo sapiens. Now at the end of the Piscean era which has been happening since the "Second Fish", moving rapidly now into the "Water Bearer/Aquarian era with global communication, technology, rockets, H-bombs, information explosion and uneasy co-mingling of cultures and DNA (including theological DNA of "local deities" (and ALL DEITIES ARE LOCAL), we, the human collective WE, must shift out of the old local deity/suns/values and into another one that's "falling" to what will be called "a new earth", incarnating, coagulating, bringing with it reorganizing chaos until some order begins to emerge and what is new and valuable (one hopes) can begin to be discerned.

However, in such major transitions from the twilight of old gods/values to the new gods/values the tendency is to anally cling to the older, to resist or outright war with those "stellar" alien forces "invading" consciousness - all those UFOs and "aliens" image this event of new emerging/invading consciousness/wholeness. C.G. Jung's book on UFOs, Flying Saucers, A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies, examines these "mandalas of the skies". Since mandalas are symbolic images of wholeness, these "saucers" with their aliens bring aspects/values to be consciously integrated into collective consciousness, and they are greatly feared and resisted. These images/energies of the Self, Jung's notion of that greater central organizing factor in the human psyche, are yet to be integrated as they are only now just "landing" in human consciousness. The ongoing task which now and future humans must set to is to integrate the "new sun", the new light which represents a new value. Ancient humans have always intuited that this was coming else they would not have drawn the images of strange creatures and stars and mandalas descending to earth discovered on cave walls, on petroglyphs, carved bones, etc.

In sum, what is coming is NEW CONSCIOUSNESS, NEW CULTURE variously expressed in unique world cultures. As this sea change occurs hard times are here and ahead but this is the ongoing stuff of material existence magnified by expansions of technology which bring the once remote (and unknown) "other" and threatening world into our homes with live footage of catastrophe and war. Allen Ginsberg's apocalyptic poem, HOWL, speaks to this tumultuous confusion and conflict when once were meaningful centers of civilization are no longer meaningful, when a culture's center cannot hold, "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn." In this new dawn that we are dragging ourselves in, of new values as yet to be fully kenned and formed much less integrated, we all are shaken by this dawn overload of unleashed, once-repressed instincts/information with less restrained access to the human body (insertive cameras penetrate our very intimate canals and cavities revealing meat mysteries rendered into functions no longer occupied by gods) and to the world body, its cultures unveiled , their religions, cosmologies digitally displayed on screens large and small enough for a hand to hold, for eyes to behold.

In the midst of collective disorientation Ginsberg's HOWL [here] offers us a powerful hint at what can center individuals and cultures in the midst of apocalyptic changes; he repeats over and over in refrain to various beloved persons, "I am with you...I am with you...I am with you..." In varying contexts of sure human suffering and insanity Ginsberg offers us the healing value and experience of utter human presence, of humans showing up in the midst of "the machinery of night [in] poverty and tatters hollow-eyed and high...smoking in the supernatural darkness [of] hydrogen jukeboxes" in heart-broken openness, presence-with, "in poor human prose" which are "starry spangled shocks of mercy," merciful presence in the dark and din as The End ensues, the Wheel turns and once again we begin, and begin, and begin, blinking in the light of a second sun.


From HOWL, Part One, by Allen Ginsberg:

Carl Solomon! I'm with you in Rockland
where you're madder than I am
I'm with you in Rockland
where you must feel very strange
I'm with you in Rockland

where you imitate the shade of my mother
I'm with you in Rockland
where you've murdered your twelve secretaries
I'm with you in Rockland
where you laugh at this invisible humor
I'm with you in Rockland
where we are great writers on the same dreadful typewriter
I'm with you in Rockland
where your condition has become serious and
is reported on the radio
I'm with you in Rockland
where the faculties of the skull no longer admit
the worms of the senses
I'm with you in Rockland
where you drink the tea of the breasts of the
spinsters of Utica
I'm with you in Rockland
where you pun on the bodies of your nurses the
harpies of the Bronx

I'm with you in Rockland
where you scream in a straightjacket that you're
losing the game of the actual pingpong of the abyss
I'm with you in Rockland
where you bang on the catatonic piano the soul
is innocent and immortal it should never die
ungodly in an armed madhouse
I'm with you in Rockland
where fifty more shocks will never return your
soul to its body again from its pilgrimage to a
cross in the void
I'm with you in Rockland
where you accuse your doctors of insanity and
plot the Hebrew socialist revolution against the
fascist national Golgotha
I'm with you in Rockland
where you will split the heavens of Long Island
and resurrect your living human Jesus from the
superhuman tomb
I'm with you in Rockland
where there are twenty-five-thousand mad com-
rades all together singing the final stanzas of
the Internationale
I'm with you in Rockland
where we hug and kiss the United States under
our bedsheets the United States that coughs all

night and won't let us sleep
I'm with you in Rockland
where we wake up electrified out of the coma
by our own souls' airplanes roaring over the
roof they've come to drop angelic bombs the
hospital illuminates itself imaginary walls collapse
O skinny legions run outside O starry
spangled shock of mercy the eternal war is
here O victory forget your underwear we're free
I'm with you in Rockland
in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-
journey on the highway across America in tears
to the door of my cottage in the Western night.

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