Sunday, March 11, 2007
MYTHOGENESIS AND THE LOST WAY
If one's God(s) and one's spirituality don't match, it is a sign that things are terribly misaligned. My experiences with the Divine have been playful and generous much more than stern and frightening. Most people I know who "know God" and have a working relationship with some form of the Mystery do not speak in terms of "going to hell" and "getting into heaven." Rather they borrow the language of the Buddhist path, which more and more people are turning to. The lifeblood of teh Judeo Christian faith has been, it seems, cut off from us. Needing this source so we may follow our hearts into the sacred, it only makes perfect sense that we would need to turn to other fountains.
I was reading the Dalai Lama's Little Book of Inner Peace the other day. I was deeply saddened by his suggestion that Judeo Christianity is a harmful religion. I agree that the way that it is practiced--with its patriarchal misinterpretation of Alchemy's deep symbols (in which the "male" and "female" references describe the active and passive nature of these psychic aspects)--is harmful. The Dalai Lama does not see the Alchemic metaphor in the text, otherwise he would not suggest we turn from it. He sees only the veil cast over it. But why not scrap the Judeo Christian faith? Why can't we just turn from it and pursue wisdom down other roads? Certainly, Buddhism is much more attractive and the Native American religions offer much more in the way of earthly connection.
According the Jung and Joseph Campbell, however, we achieve the heaven state of enlightenment through the symbols emblazoned on our psyches. A person whose pschye is forged in the "West" must fill the symbols of the Western tradition with meaning--these being the grail, the sword, the star, the cross (for Christians), the wheel-a-rollin' in the middle of the sky. These are the breadcrumbs back to the primordial mind, and connection with the God consciousness therein. Dreamcatchers, Totem Poles, yin yangs, and Buddhas may serve as cool reminders of the existence of sacred paths, but ultimately to cross over into the backlight of the ancient mind within us--to allow the "Buddha seed," or the "mustard seed" Christ speaks of, within to germinate, we have to go through the grail and the sword and the cross and the star. And there has been no way that we can know how to move through these symbols safely without knowing they were alchemical symbols for 7500 years before the Hebrew Bible was even written and added to 1500 years later.
My own path as definitely been a patchwork of world religions. From the Salish artwork, I learned the breakdown of hierarchy. From Buddhism, I learned self-examination and how to love without grasping. From the Koori in Australia, I learned about the dream ceremony and the power of imagination in traversing great distances. From Taoism, I became aware of some kind of balance between humans and nature. From Christianity, all I got was music, but damn I loved the music. But I also got something about the liturgical calendar. Teaching at an Episcopal boarding school I have to attend almost daily chapel services and I've come to see great correspondences between the sacred calendar and my own life. For instance, Lent is a time of death and letting go, whether I go to church or not. It's just a gloomy time. But I had to use all the other faiths I've explored to finally fill my experience in church with meaning. I have had to draw the connections that the church, long ago, severed. And it is through working with the alchemical symbols in the Holy Bible that I've crossed over into this other place of understanding. I think it's an important connection to make--this one between other faiths and Judeo-Christianity. After all, all faiths emerge from the same Mythogenetic zone in Asia thousands of years ago. In the end though, we each have our own mythogenesis in our psyches. To fully enter the enlightened state, one, I beleive, does so through the doorways laid out for one through centuries of gazing at them from infinitely deeply within.