Creating the New Earth Together

Posts tagged ‘Conscious Evolution’

Planetary Archetypes . . . . . . . . . . Man in a Cosmic Context

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about….  Rumi

Thank you, Rumi, for your rumination. The world is indeed too full to talk about, so I will simply write about it.  In this series, I’ve been considering the history of archetypes and its parallel evolution with that of human consciousness. The source of my research is Richard Tarnas’ epic book COSMOS AND PSYCHE, which I am finding incredibly fascinating and enlightening a read and study.  

In the previous post I shared Tarnas’ research into the history and evolution of the concept of archetypes and how human consciousness has evolved with it, as though the archetypes and human psyche are intimately blended and impacted by one another. (It may well be that the human psyche itself is the originator of the concept of archetypes.)  In this post, I will share the planetary aspects of the author’s perspective gained in his exhaustive and detailed research.

Listen to the Message of the Planets Aligned

It is not by happenstance that this material has come into my hands just prior to the time of the current planetary alignment, which will end on February 20th, two days before this post will be published. My consciousness is attuned to the energetic messages being transmitted to Earth at this pivotal and chaotic time when the most powerful person in man’s world is about to be chosen by the citizens of the United States of America—who are divided amongst themselves with fear and hatred governing hearts and minds. There is an encoded message for us in the music streaming from these aligned spheres, and one message I am hearing is

“Nothing is wrong. Everything matters. Let not your hearts be troubled. Let love fill them and radiate without concern for results.” 

As I write, I am aware that some of my readers may not have space in their minds and hearts to think and care much about these cosmic events. There is so much to keep up and deal with in our lives these days. And with one’s “nose up against the grindstone,” so-to-speak, one is understandably oblivious to the larger drama of life taking place in the cosmic context.  I say this not in judgment or criticism but with compassion for the busy human state. For reasons that are emerging even as I write, these larger events taking place in our cosmic habitat have projected themselves into my consciousness for consideration at this time.  So I will indulge them and give them due consideration—and I do welcome and appreciate comments and feedback from my readership, which fluctuates up and down with the subject matter.  Currently it’s up, so I’ll keep moving with this consideration—the next one already presenting itself in the back of my mind and having something to do with myths and memories of Paradise.  Hmm, sounds inviting.

Asking your forbearance, I burden you once again with an excerpt from COSMOS AND PSYCHE for your consideration and, hopefully, your edification and intellectual pleasure.  My mind loves to be engaged by truth—not that what follows is true at all levels, as there is always a higher truth.  This author writes from a higher level of consciousness than simply scientific and mental. It’s his spiritual perspectives, which he shares amidst all the astronomical and astrological data, that draws me to his writings—and to sharing them here. (Emphasis mine) 

PLANETARY ARCHETYPES

The astrological thesis as developed within the Platonic-Jungian lineage holds that these complex, multidimensional archetypes governing the forms of human experience are intelligibly connected with the planets and their movements in the heavens. This association is observable in a constant coincidence between specific planetary alignments and specific archetypally patterned phenomena in human affairs. . . . It does not appear to be accurate to say that astrologers have in essence arbitrarily used the mythological stories of the ancients about the gods Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Mars, Mercury, and the rest to project symbolic meaning onto the planets, which are in actuality merely neutral material bodies without intrinsic significance [I cannot agree with Tarnas here, as all material forms, especially the planets, have spiritual, or vibrational, significance.] Rather, a considerable body of evidence suggests that the movements of the planets named Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Mars, and Mercury tend to coincide with patterns of human experience that closely resemble the character of those planets’ mythical counterparts. That is, the astrologer’s insight, perhaps intuitive and divinatory in its ancient origins, appears to be fundamentally an empirical one. This empiricism is given context and meaning by a mythic, archetypal perspective, a perspective that the planetary correlations seem to support and illustrate with remarkable consistency. The nature of these correlations presents to the astrological researcher what appears to be an orchestrated synthesis combining the precision of mathematical astronomy with the psychological complexity of the archetypal imagination, a synthesis whose sources seemingly exist a priori within the fabric of the universe.

Here is where the distinction between the ancient philosophical (Platonic) and the modern psychological (earlier Jungian) conceptions of archetypes becomes especially relevant.  Whereas the original Jungian archetypes were primarily considered to be the basic formal principles of the human psyche, the original Platonic archetypes were regarded as the essential principles of reality itself, rooted in the very nature of the cosmos.  What separated these two views was the long development of Western thought that gradually differentiated a meaning-giving human subject from a neutral objective world, thereby locating the source of any universal principles of meaning exclusively within the human psyche. Integrating these two views (much as Jung began to do in his final years under the influence of synchronicities), contemporary astrology suggests that archetypes possess a reality that is both objective and subjective, one that informs both outer cosmos and inner human psyche, “as above, so below.” 

In effect, planetary archetypes are considered to be both “Jungian” (psychological) and “Platonic” (metaphysical) in nature: universal essences or forms at once intrinsic to and independent of the human mind, that not only endure as timeless universals but are also co-creatively enacted and recursively affected through human participation. And they are regarded as functioning in something like a Pythagorean-Platonic cosmic setting, i.e., in a cosmos pervasively integrated through the workings of a universal intelligence and creative principle. What distinguishes the contemporary astrological view is the additional factor of human co-creative participation in the concrete expressions of this creative principle, with the human being recognized as itself a potentially autonomous embodiment of the cosmos and its creative power and intelligence. 

In Jungian terms, the astrological evidence suggests that the collective unconscious is ultimately embedded in the macrocosm itself, with the planetary motions a synchronistic reflection of the unfolding archetypal dynamics of human experience. In Platonic terms, astrology affirms the existence of an anima mundi informing the cosmos, a world soul in which the human psyche participates as a microcosm of the whole. Finally, the Platonic, Jungian, and astrological understandings of archetypes are all complexly linked, both historically and conceptually, to the archetypal structures, narratives, and figures of ancient myth. Thus [Joseph] Campbell’s famous dictum: 

It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation. 

. . . .  For conceptual clarity, then, when we consider the meaning and character of each planetary archetype in the following chapters, it will be useful to understand these principles in three different senses: in the Homeric sense as a primordial deity and mythic figure; in the Platonic sense as a cosmic and metaphysical principle; and in the Jungian sense as a psychological principle (with its Kantian and Freudian background)—-with all of these associated with a specific planet.

For example, the archetype of Venus can be approached on the Homeric level as the Greek mythic figure of Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love, the Mesopotamian Ishtar, the Roman Venus. On the Platonic level Venus can be understood in terms of the metaphysical principle of Eros and the Beautiful. And on the Jungian level Venus can be viewed as the psychological tendency to perceive, desire, create, or in some other way experience beauty and love, to attract and be attracted, to seek harmony and aesthetic or sensuous pleasure, to engage in artistic activity and in romantic and social relations. These different levels or senses are distinguished here only to suggest the inherent complexity of arche­types, which must be formulated not as literal concretely definable entities but rather as dynamic potentialities and essences of meaning that cannot be localized or restricted to a specific dimension.

Finally, alongside this essential multidimensionality of archetypes is their equally essential multivalence. The Saturn archetype can express itself as judgment but also as old age, as tradition but also as oppression, as time but also as mortality, as depression but also as discipline, as gravity in the sense of heaviness and weight but also as gravity in the sense of seriousness and dignity. Thus Jung:

The ground principles, the archai, of the unconscious are indescribable because of their wealth of reference, although in themselves recognizable. The discriminating intellect naturally keeps on trying to establish their singleness of meaning and thus misses the essential point; for what we can above all establish as the one thing consistent with their nature is their manifold meaning, their almost limitless wealth of reference, which makes any unilateral formulation impossible.

This discussion is directly relevant to the outcome of our earlier consideration of free will and determinism in astrology. If I may summarize that thesis in a single statement: It seems to be specifically the multivalent potentiality that is intrinsic to the planetary archetypes—their dynamic indeterminacy—that opens up ontological space for the human being’s full co-creative participation in the unfolding of individual life, history, and the cosmic process. It is just this combi­nation of archetypal multivalence and an autonomous participatory self that engenders the possibility of a genuinely open universe. The resulting cosmological metastructure is still Pythagorean-Platonic in essential ways, but the relationship of the human self and the cosmic principles has undergone a metamorphosis that fully reflects and integrates the enormous modern and postmodern developments.

Our philosophical understanding of archetypes, our scientific understanding of the cosmos, and our psychological understanding of the self have all undergone a profound evolution in the course of history, and they have done so in complexly interconnected ways at each stage in this development. Our experience of all these has evolved, century by century, and thus our theories have as well.

Theories abound in the mind-made world, but they only tend to confuse rather than clarify understanding. The questions I ask are: “Who is it that is trying to understand? And what self?”  It seems that the self who is looking IS the self who are trying to “psychologically” understand.  However, as we know, a state cannot observe itself.  I am reminded of words attributed to Saint Francis:  “What you are looking for is who is looking.”

There is one final excerpt I wish to share from Richard Tarnas’ book in which he speaks to where we are now in the 21st century relative to a century-long planetary configuration.  I think you will enjoy his take on the archetypal profile presently at play in the human psyche shaping human behavior and global events.

In the next series I will do my best to offer clarification and enlightenment from a higher perspective. Until then, I greet you in Rumi’s field “beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing.” 

Be love. Be loved.

Anthony

Email: tpal70@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

Archetypes, Gods and Planets and The Evolution of Consciousness

“The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof: the world and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.” (Psalm 24)

The Heart Nebula

Our conscious presence in a cosmic context has been more vividly and visually brought to our awareness, as well as recalled to remembrance, by pictures of the vast cosmos made with the Hubble Telescope and shared with the world by our tenaciously adventurous astronomers who keep peering deeper and deeper into the “dark space” around us. 

What they have brought to us is virtually overwhelming, certainly unfathomable. The greater wonder of it all, however, is our ability to take it all into our consciousness through our very tiny eyes and our very tiny brains. This speaks to the largeness of our Being and our shared Consciousness. We are truly Gods in the midst of Creation enjoying what We have co-created with the Great Spirit Creator, the Lord God and heavenly King, whose Earth it is, “and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein.” 

ARCHETYPES, GODS AND PLANETS

With that inspirational preface, I will continue from where I left off in my previous post with a consideration of the nature of archetypes and their planetary associations as explored by cultural historian and philosopher Richard Tarnas in his epic work COSMOS AND PSYCHE.

[A graduate of Harvard University and Saybrook Institute, Tarnas is also author of The Passion Of The Western Mind, currently holding professorship of philosophy and cultural history at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where he founded the graduate program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness, and at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara.]

As we were considering, archetypes in Greek mythology were gods and goddesses who were enshrined by heavenly bodies, such as planets and constellations. As the Greek mind evolved out of “myth to reason,” archetypes lost their divinity with Plato’s philosophical mentality: (Emphasis mine)

Plato gave to the archetypal perspective its clas­sic metaphysical formulation. In the Platonic view, archetypes–the Ideas or Forms–are absolute essences that transcend the empirical world yet give the world its form and meaning. They are timeless universals that serve as the fundamental reality informing every concrete particular. Something is beautiful pre­cisely to the extent that the archetype of Beauty is present in it. Or, described from a different viewpoint, something is beautiful precisely to the extent that it participates in the archetype of Beauty. For Plato, direct knowledge of these Forms or Ideas is regarded as the spiritual goal of the philosopher and the intel­lectual passion of the scientist.

In turn, Plato’s student and successor Aristotle brought to the concept of universal forms a more empiricist approach, one supported by a rationalism whose spirit of logical analysis was secular rather than spiritual and epiphanic. In the Aristotelian perspective, the forms lost their numinosity but gained a new recog­nition of their dynamic and teleological character as concretely embodied in the empirical world and processes of life. For Aristotle, the universal forms primarily exist in things, not above or beyond them. Moreover, they not only give form and essential qualities to concrete particulars but also dynamically transmute them from within, from potentiality to actuality and maturity, as the acorn gradually metamorphoses into the oak tree, the embryo into the mature organism, a young girl into a woman. The organism is drawn forward by the form to a realization of its inherent potential, just as a work of art is actualized by the artist guided by the form in the artist’s mind. Matter is an intrinsic susceptibility to form, an un­qualified openness to being configured and dynamically realized through form….

The Aristotelian form thus serves both as an indwelling impulse that orders and moves development and as the intelligible structure of a thing, its inner nature, that which makes it what it is, its essence. For Aristotle as for Plato, form is the principle by which something can be known, its essence recognized, its universal character distinguished within its particular embodiment.

The idea of archetypal or universal forms then underwent a number of important developments in the later classical, medieval and Renaissance periods.” It became the focus of one of the central and most sustained debates of Scholastic philosophy, “the problem of universals,” a controversy that both reflected and mediated the evolution of Western thought as the focus of intelligible reality gradually shifted from the transcendent to the immanent, from the universal to the particular, and ultimately from the divinely given archetypal Form (eidos) to the humanly constructed general name (nomina) after a final efflorescence in the philosophy and art of the High Renaissance. The concept of archetypes gradually retreated and then virtually disappeared with the modern rise of nominalist philosophy and empiricist science. The archetypal perspective remained vital principally in the arts, in classical and mythological studies, and in Romanticism, as a kind of archaic afterglow. Confined to the subjective realm of interior meaning by the dominant Enlightenment world view, it continued in this form latent in the modern sensibility. The radiant ascent and dominance of modern reason coincided precisely with the eclipse of the archetypal vision.

The concept of archetypes evolved further over the decades, which Tarnas details further. I will conclude with his summary of its evolutionary journey: 

It was not until the turn of the twentieth century that the concept of archetypes, foreshadowed by Nietzsche’s vision of the Dionysian and Apollonian principles shaping human culture, underwent an unexpected renascence. The immediate matrix of its rebirth was the empirical discoveries of depth psychology, first with Freud’s formulations of the Oedipus complex, Eros and Thanatos, ego, id, and superego (a “powerful mythology,” as Wittgenstein called psychoanalysis), then in an expanded, fully articulated form with the work of Jung and archetypal psychology. Jung, as we have seen, drawing on Kant’s critical epistemology and Freud’s instinct theory yet going beyond both, described archetypes as autonomous primordial forms in the psyche that structure and impel all human experience and behavior. In his last formulations influenced by his research on synchronicities, Jung came to regard archetypes as expressions not only of a collective unconscious shared by all human beings but also of a larger matrix of being and meaning that informs and encompasses both the physical world and the human psyche….

Finally, further developments of the archetypal perspective emerged in the postmodern period, not only in post-Jungian psychology but in other fields such as anthropology; mythology, religious studies, philosophy of science, linguistic analysis, phenomenology, process philosophy, and feminist scholarship. Advances in understanding the role of paradigms, symbols, and metaphors in shaping human experience and cognition brought new dimensions to the archetypal understanding. In the crucible of postmodern thought, the concept of archetypes was elaborated and critiqued, refined through the deconstruction of rigidly essentialist “false universals” and cultural stereotypes, and enriched through an increased awareness of archetypes’ fluid, evolving, multivalent, and participatory nature. Reflecting many of the above influences, James Hillman sums up the archetypal perspective in depth psychology:

Let us then imagine archetypes as the deepest patterns of psychic functioning, the roots of the soul governing the perspectives we have of ourselves and the world. They are the axiomatic, self-evident images to which psychic life and our theories about it ever return …. There are many other metaphors for describing them: immaterial potentials of structure, like invisible crystals in solution or forms in plants that suddenly show forth under certain conditions; patterns of instinctual behavior like those in animals that direct actions along unswerving paths; the genres and topoi in literature; the recurring typicalities in history; the basic syndromes in psychiatry; the paradigmatic thought models in science; the worldwide figures, rituals, and relationships in anthropology.

But one thing is absolutely essential to the notion of archetypes: their emotional possessive effect, their bedazzlement of consciousness so that it becomes blind to its own stance. By setting up a universe which tends to hold everything we do, see, and say in the sway of its cosmos, an archetype is best comparable with a God. And Gods, religions sometimes say, are less accessible to the senses and to the intellect than they are to the imaginative vision and emotion of the soul. They are cosmic perspectives in which the soul participates. They are the lords of its realms of being, the patterns for its mimesis. The soul cannot be, except in one of their patterns. All psychic reality is governed by one or another archetypal fantasy, given sanction by a God. I cannot but be in them. 

There is no place without Gods and no activity that does not enact them. Every fantasy, every experience has its archetypal reason. There is nothing that does not belong to one God or another.

Archetypes thus can be understood and described in many ways, and much of the history of Western thought has evolved and revolved around this very issue. For our present purposes, we can define an archetype as a universal prin­ciple or force that affects–impels, structures, permeates–the human psyche and the world of human experience on many levels. One can think of them in mythic terms as gods and goddesses (or what Blake called “the Immortals”), in Platonic terms as transcendent first principles and numinous Ideas, or in Aris­totelian terms as immanent universals and dynamic indwelling forms. One can approach them in a Kantian mode as a priori categories of perception and cogni­tion, in Schopenhauerian terms as the universal essences of life embodied in great works of art, or in the Nietzschean manner as primordial principles sym­bolizing basic cultural tendencies and modes of being. In the twentieth-century context, one can conceive of them in Husserlian terms as essential structures of human experience, in Wittgensteinian terms as linguistic family resemblances linking disparate but overlapping particulars, in Whiteheadian terms as eternal objects and pure potentialities whose ingression informs the unfolding process of reality, or in Kuhnian terms as underlying paradigmatic structures that shape scientific understanding and research. Finally, with depth psychology, one can approach them in the Freudian mode as primordial instincts impelling and structuring biological and psychological processes, or in the Jungian manner as fundamental formal principles of the human psyche, universal expressions of a collective unconscious and, ultimately, of the unus mundus.

The Evolution of Human Consciousness

I bring this consideration of archetypes and the evolution of their meaning to the human experience of life on planet Earth forward for the overview it provides of the evolution of human consciousness and how we human beings viewed the larger cosmic context in which we live and have our being. For one thing, how we have desperately sought out God and our origins in the external world, hoping to find both “lo here or lo there.”  

Finally, after all these decades, our consciousness has evolved sufficiently to bring to our awareness the awakening realization that the “image and likeness of God” is within us and is who and what we are.  The Archetype of all archetypes is the Light from which all things are made. I love this passage from The Gospel of Thomas:

Jesus said: “The images are revealed to people. The light within them is hidden in the image of the Father’s light. He will be revealed. His image is hidden in the light. . . .  You are pleased when you see your own likeness. When you see your images that came into being before you did, immortal, invisible images, how much can you bear?” 

The Archetype of Man is God, is Spirit, and is hidden in the Light of Love. Our Sun is the origin of the light that encompasses Earth and all the planets. In that light is the essence, the Truth, that makes all things created what they are, what their purpose is in the larger Design, and how they function as integral and essential parts in the One Whole.  As the current planetary alignment draws to a close in six day on February 20th, let us let Love be the Archetypal Spirit that moves us forward as we co-create the New Earth.  

I will conclude this series with my next post. Until then,

Be Love. Be loved.

Happy Valentine’s Day !

Anthony

tpal70@gmail.com

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