© Marinus Jan Marijs
Index (Click on the links here below to select the stories)
1. The Hero archetype
2. Vergil’s Aeneid
5. Winged horses
6. Holy grail
8. Osiris, Set, Isis, Horus
10. Axis mundi (Yggdrasil)
11. Pilgrim’s progress
12. Rumi the flute
13. Rumi the bird and the egg
14. Tzuang Tse “The Butterfly”
15. Dante’s Divine comedy
16. Ramakrishna The bird and the boat
18. The tempest (Shakespeare)
19. Ship in a storm
22. The wild hunt
24. Depth psychology
25. Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
26. The underworld
27. The Kraken
28. Grim reaper
29. Sea serpent
32. The horseman.
33. The trickster
35. The Prophet
36. The Shadow
37. The Seer
38. Bruce Springsteen – I’m On Fire
39. Don Quixote
1. The Hero archetype
Hero, in literature, broadly, the main character in a literary work; the term is also used in a specialized sense for any figure celebrated in the ancient legends of a people or in such early heroic epics as Gilgamesh, the Iliad, Beowulf, or La Chanson de Roland.
These legendary heroes belong to a princely class existing in an early stage of the history of a people, and they transcend ordinary men in skill, strength, and courage. They are usually born to their role. Some, like the Greek Achilles and the Irish Cú Chulainn (Cuchulain), are of semidivine origin, unusual beauty, and extraordinary precocity. A few, like the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf and the Russian Ilya of Murom, are dark horses, slow to develop.
War or dangerous adventure is the hero’s normal occupation. He is surrounded by noble peers, and is magnanimous to his followers and ruthless to his enemies. In addition to his prowess in battle, he is resourceful and skillful in many crafts; he can build a house, sail a boat, and, if shipwrecked, is an expert swimmer. He is sometimes, like Odysseus, cunning and wise in counsel, but a hero is not usually given to much subtlety. He is a man of action rather than thought and lives b� a personal code of honour that admits of no qualification. His responses are usually instinctive, predictable, and inevitable. He accepts challenge and sometimes even courts disaster. Thus baldly stated, the hero’s ethos seems oversimple by the standards of a later age. He is childlike in his boasting and rivalry, in his love of presents and rewards, and in his concern for his reputation. He is sometimes foolhardy and wrong-headed, risking his life—and the lives of others—for trifles. Roland, for instance, dies because he is too proud to sound his horn for help when he is overwhelmed in battle. Yet the hero still exerts an attraction for sophisticated readers and remains a seminal influence in literature.
On his long journey home, Odysseus visits the Land of the Departed Spirits, where he encounters the spirit of Agamemnon.
The appearance of heroes in literature marks a revolution in thought that occurred when poets and their audiences turned their attention away from immortal gods to mortal men, who suffer pain and death, but in defiance of this live gallantly and fully, and create, through their own efforts, a moment’s glory that survives in the memory of their descendants. They are the first human beings in literature, and the novelty of their experiences has a perennial freshness.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
The story of the Hero is one of the universal archetypes.
While the narrative is normally a travel story, on a deeper level it is not about physical power or physical perseverance, but it describes mental processes which are psychological in nature.
On a still deeper level the battle is not with elements in the physical surroundings but by a developmental process, to conquer the psychological forces that inhibit the mind to reach a higher levels of functioning.
2. Vergil’s Aeneid
Virgil, the Roman author of the Aeneid, sends Aeneas through Sibyl’s cave by the shores of the foul-smelling Lake of Averno, across the River Styx on Charon’s ferry, past the three-headed dog Cerberus, and from there down the labyrinthine path as it forks right to the torture fields of Tartarus and left to the Elysian fields of the blessed. Virgil’s hell includes special compartments for infants and suicides and specific punishments for specific crimes, but the ordinary dead, who merit neither a hero’s reward nor a scoundrel’s punishment, remain unaccounted for. Further attention to the structure of hell came during the first centuries of the Common Era, as a rising tide of eschatological thinking, fed by currents of thought from western Asia, swept through the Roman world.
The voyage of Aeneas through Sibyl’s cave by the shores of the Lake of Averno, across the River Styx on Charon’s ferry, is a voyage to the depth of the subconscious. Past the three-headed dog Cerberus, means beyond the instinctual complexes.
And from there down the labyrinthine path, means an intricate combination of mental paths or passages in which it is difficult to find one’s way or to reach the exit.
Demiurge, Greek Dēmiourgos (“public worker”), plural Demiourgoi, in philosophy, a subordinate god who fashions and arranges the physical world to make it conform to a rational and eternal ideal. Plato adapted the term, which in ancient Greece had originally been the ordinary word for “craftsman,” or “artisan” (broadly interpreted to include not only manual workers but also heralds, soothsayers, and physicians), and which in the 5th century bc had come to designate certain magistrates or elected officials.
Plato used the term in the dialog Timaeus, an exposition of cosmology in which the Demiurge is the agent who takes the pre-existing materials of chaos, arranges them according to the models of eternal forms, and produces all the physical things of the world, including human bodies. The Demiurge is sometimes thought of as the Platonic personification of active reason.
In the Platonic, Neopythagorean, Middle Platonic, and Neoplatonic schools of philosophy, the demiurge is an artisan-like figure responsible for fashioning and maintaining the physical universe..
The word “demiurge” is an English word from demiurgus, a Latinized form of the Greek. It was originally a common noun meaning “craftsman” or “artisan”, but gradually it came to mean “producer”, and then eventually “creator”. The philosophical usage and the proper noun derive from Plato’s Timaeus, written c. 360 BC, in which the demiurge is presented as the creator of the universe. This is also the definition of the demiurge in the Platonic (c. 310–90 BC) and Middle Platonic (c. 90 BC – AD 300) philosophical traditions. In the various branches of the Neoplatonic school (third century onwards), the demiurge is the fashioner of the real, perceptible world after the model of the Ideas, but (in most Neoplatonic systems) is still not itself “the One”.
Plato, as the speaker Timaeus, refers to the Demiurge frequently in the Socratic dialogue Timaeus, c. 360 BC. The main character refers to the Demiurge as the entity who “fashioned and shaped” the material world. Timaeus describes the Demiurge as unreservedly benevolent, and so it desires a world as good as possible. The world remains imperfect, however, because the Demiurge created the world out of a chaotic, indeterminate non-being.
The first and highest aspect of God is described by Plato as the One, the source, or the Monad. This is the God above the Demiurge, and manifests through the actions of the Demiurge. The Monad emanated the demiurge or Nous (consciousness) from its “indeterminate” vitality due to the monad being so abundant that it overflowed back onto itself, causing self-reflection. This self-reflection of the indeterminate vitality was referred to by Plotinus as the “Demiurge” or creator.
The Demiurge of Neoplatonism is the Nous (mind of God), and is one of the three ordering principles:
- Arche (Gr. “beginning”) – the source of all things,
- Logos (Gr. “reason/cause”) – the underlying order that is hidden beneath appearances,
- Harmonia (Gr. “harmony”) – numerical ratios in mathematics.
While “the One”, The Absolute” is outside space and time,
The Demiurge as a creative force is within space and time.
Marduk was a late-generation god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon. When Babylon became the political center of the Euphrates valley in the time of Hammurabi (18th century BC), he slowly started to rise to the position of the head of the Babylonian pantheon, a position he fully acquired by the second half of the second millennium BC. In the city of Babylon, Marduk was worshiped in the temple Esagila. Marduk is associated with the divine weapon Imhullu. “Marduk” is the Babylonian form of his name.
When Babylon became the principal city of southern Mesopotamia during the reign of Hammurabi in the 18th century BC, the patron deity of Babylon was elevated to the level of supreme god. In order to explain how Marduk seized power, Enûma Elish was written, which tells the story of Marduk’s birth, heroic deeds and becoming the ruler of the gods. This can be viewed as a form of Mesopotamian apologetics. Also included in this document are the fifty names of Marduk.
In Enûma Elish, a civil war between the gods was growing to a climactic battle. The Anunnaki gods gathered together to find one god who could defeat the gods rising against them. Marduk, a very young god, answered the call and was promised the position of head god.
To prepare for battle, he makes a bow, fletches arrows, grabs a mace, throws lightning before him, fills his body with flame, makes a net to encircle Tiamat within it, gathers the four winds so that no part of her could escape, creates seven nasty new winds such as the whirlwind and tornado, and raises up his mightiest weapon, the rain-flood. Then he sets out for battle, mounting his storm-chariot drawn by four horses with poison in their mouths. In his lips he holds a spell and in one hand he grasps a herb to counter poison.
First, he challenges the leader of the Anunnaki gods, the dragon of the primordial sea Tiamat, to single combat and defeats her by trapping her with his net, blowing her up with his winds, and piercing her belly with an arrow.
Then, he proceeds to defeat Kingu, who Tiamat put in charge of the army and wore the Tablets of Destiny on his breast, and “wrested from him the Tablets of Destiny, wrongfully his” and assumed his new position. Under his reign humans were created to bear the burdens of life so the gods could be at leisure.
Marduk was depicted as a human, often with his symbol the snake-dragon which he had taken over from the god Tishpak. Another symbol that stood for Marduk was the spade.
Babylonian texts talk of the creation of Eridu by the god Marduk as the first city, “the holy city, the dwelling of their [the other gods’] delight”. However, Eridu was founded in the 54th century BC and Marduk’s ascendancy was in the second millennium BC, so this is clearly a revisionist back-dating to inflate the prestige of Marduk.
Mardoc has to beat chaos, to prepare for battle, makes a bow and fletches arrows. This symbolises the ability to reach ones goal.
Fills his body with flame means has the ability to pull together energy.
Makes a net to encircle Tiamat within it means can capture Chaos.
First, he challenges the leader of the Anunnaki gods, the dragon of the primordial sea Tiamat, to single combat and defeats her by trapping her with his net, blowing her up with his winds, and piercing her belly with an arrow. From that he creates the world, order.
Marduk became the most important & powerful god of the Babylonian pantheon, attaining a level of worship bordering on monotheism.
Marduk came to prominence in Babylon during the reign of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC) about 430 years before Moses.
5. Winged horses
In many cultures one can find stories of Flying horses:
Flying horses or winged horses are mythological and fictional creatures. They are horses which fly, some of which are equipped with wings. Flying horses include:
The horses of Eos, Helios, Apollo, and Sol Invictus:
Phlegon, Aeos, Aethon, Pyrios, Aethiops, Abraxas, Therbeeo, Bronte, Sterope
Pegasus, a winged horse in Greek mythology; or Chrysaor, the twin brother of Pegasus
al-Buraq, a winged horse in Islamic tradition
Haizum, a heavenly winged horse, ridden by Gabriel according to Islamic tradition
Chollima, in Korean myths
Ponkhiraj, a flying horse from Bangladesh
a wind Horse in Mongolian, Tibetan and ancient Turkish traditions
Horses stand as a symbol for the noble, the higher mental functions.
Flying horses stand for the mystical abilities.
6. Holy grail
Holy Grail, also called Grail, object sought by the knights of Arthurian legend as part of a quest that, particularly from the 13th century, had Christian meaning. The term grail evidently denoted a wide-mouthed or shallow vessel, though its precise etymology remains uncertain.
The legend of the Grail possibly was inspired by Greek, Roman, and Celtic mythologies, which abound in horns of plenty, magic life-restoring caldrons, and the like. The first extant text to give such a vessel Christian significance as a mysterious holy object was Chrétien de Troyes’s late 12th-century unfinished romance Perceval; ou, le conte du Graal, which introduces the guileless rustic knight Perceval, whose dominant trait is innocence and who quests for the Grail. In this poem, the religious is combined with the fantastic. In the 13th century, Robert de Boron’s verse trilogy Joseph d’Arimathie, Merlin, and Perceval (sometimes called, together, the Estoire dou Graal) extended the Christian significance of the legend, while Wolfram von Eschenbach gave it profound and mystical expression in his epic Parzival. (In Wolfram’s account, the Holy Grail became a precious stone, fallen from heaven.)
Prose versions of Robert de Boron’s works began to link the Holy Grail story even more closely with Arthurian legend. A 13th-century German romance, Diu Krône, made Gawain the Grail hero. The Queste del Saint Graal (which forms part of the Vulgate cycle [c. 1210–30]) introduced a new hero, Galahad. Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur, completed about 1470 and printed in 1485, transmitted the essence of the Queste del Saint Graal to English-speaking readers and helped it to exert the widest influence on the legend of the Holy Grail.
Robert de Boron’s poem recounted the Holy Grail’s early history, linking it with the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper and afterward by Joseph of Arimathea to catch the blood flowing from Christ’s wounds as he hung upon the Cross. The Queste del Saint Graal transformed the quest for the Holy Grail into a search for mystical union with God and made the pure knight Galahad the Grail’s ideal hero. Only Galahad could look directly into it and behold the divine mysteries that cannot be described by human tongue. The Queste del Saint Graal was influenced by the mystical teachings of St. Bernard de Clairvaux, the states of grace it describes corresponding to the stages by which St. Bernard explained an individual’s rise toward perfection in the mystical life. The work gained an added dimension by making Galahad the son of Lancelot, thus contrasting the story of chivalry inspired by human love (Lancelot and Guinevere, who was Arthur’s queen) with that inspired by divine love (Galahad). In the last branch of the Vulgate cycle, the final disasters were linked with the withdrawal of the Holy Grail, symbol of grace, never to be seen again.
The legend of the Holy Grail came to form the culminating point of Arthurian romance
Chalice, a cup used in the celebration of the Christian Eucharist. Both the statement of St. Paul about “the cup of blessing which we bless” (1 Corinthians 10:16) and the accounts of the institution of the Eucharist in the first three Gospels indicate that special rites of consecration attended the use of the chalice from the beginning. It was not until the recognition of Christianity by the Roman Empire in the 4th century that silver and gold became the usual materials for the chalice. In the Middle Ages the legend of the Holy Grail surrounded the origins of the eucharistic chalice with a magical aura.
The chalice as an ecclesiastical object represents the capacity to embrace the divine. It is to be found in a dark forest, in the depth of the soul.
Gilgamesh, the best known of all ancient Mesopotamian heroes. Numerous tales in the Akkadian language have been told about Gilgamesh, and the whole collection has been described as an odyssey—the odyssey of a king who did not want to die.
The Ninevite version of the epic begins with a prologue in praise of Gilgamesh, part divine and part human, the great builder and warrior, knower of all things on land and sea. In order to curb Gilgamesh’s seemingly harsh rule, the god Anu caused the creation of Enkidu, a wild man who at first lived among animals. Soon, however, Enkidu was initiated into the ways of city life and travelled to Uruk, where Gilgamesh awaited him. Tablet II describes a trial of strength between the two men in which Gilgamesh was the victor; thereafter, Enkidu was the friend and companion (in Sumerian texts, the servant) of Gilgamesh. In Tablets III–V the two men set out together against Huwawa (Humbaba), the divinely appointed guardian of a remote cedar forest, but the rest of the engagement is not recorded in the surviving fragments. In Tablet VI Gilgamesh, who had returned to Uruk, rejected the marriage proposal of Ishtar, the goddess of love, and then, with Enkidu’s aid, killed the divine bull that she had sent to destroy him. Tablet VII begins with Enkidu’s account of a dream in which the gods Anu, Ea, and Shamash decided that he must die for slaying the bull. Enkidu then fell ill and dreamed of the “house of dust” that awaited him. Gilgamesh’s lament for his friend and the state funeral of Enkidu are narrated in Tablet VIII. Afterward, Gilgamesh made a dangerous journey (Tablets IX and X) in search of Utnapishtim, the survivor of the Babylonian Flood, in order to learn from him how to escape death. He finally reached Utnapishtim, who told him the story of the Flood and showed him where to find a plant that would renew youth (Tablet XI). But after Gilgamesh obtained the plant, it was seized by a serpent, and Gilgamesh unhappily returned to Uruk. An appendage to the epic, Tablet XII, related the loss of objects called pukku and mikku (perhaps “drum” and “drumstick”) given to Gilgamesh by Ishtar. The epic ends with the return of the spirit of Enkidu, who promised to recover the objects and then gave a grim report on the underworld.
In a cycle of Sumerian and Akkadian poems, the god-king Gilgamesh, despairing over the death of his companion Enkidu, travels to the world’s end, crosses the ocean of death, and endures great trials only to learn that mortality is an incurable condition. Hell, according to the Gilgamesh epic, is a house of darkness where the dead “drink dirt and eat stone.” More details of this grim realm emerge in the poems about the Sumerian shepherd and fertility god Tammuz (Akkadian: Dumuzi) and his consort Inanna (Akkadian: Ishtar), Inanna is also the sister of Ereshkigal, queen of the dead. An impulsive goddess, Inanna, according to some versions of the myth, is said to have threatened, in a fit of pique, to crush the gates of hell and let the dead overrun the earth. In the poem Descent of Inanna, she sets forth to visit Ereshkigal’s kingdom in splendid dress, only to be compelled, at each of the seven gates, to shed a piece of her regalia. Finally, Inanna falls naked and powerless before Ereshkigal, who hangs her up like so much meat upon a drying hook. Drought descends upon the earth as a result, but the gods help revive Inanna, who escapes by offering her husband as a replacement. This ransom secures the fecundity of the earth and the integrity of the grain stores by reinforcing the boundary between hell and earth. It is the better part of wisdom, the tradition suggests, for mortals to make the most of earthly life before they are carried off into death’s long exile.
Relationship to the Bible
Various themes, plot elements, and characters in the Epic of Gilgamesh have counterparts in the Hebrew Bible—notably, the accounts of the Garden of Eden, the advice from Ecclesiastes, and the Genesis flood narrative.
The parallels between the stories of Enkidu/Shamhat and Adam/Eve have been long recognized by scholars. In both, a man is created from the soil by a god, and lives in a natural setting amongst the animals. He is introduced to a woman who tempts him. In both stories the man accepts food from the woman, covers his nakedness, and must leave his former realm, unable to return. The presence of a snake that steals a plant of immortality from the hero later in the epic is another point of similarity. (Wikipedia)
8. Osiris, Set, Isis, Horus
From the 1st dynasty (c. 2925–2775 bce) onward, Horus and the god Seth were presented as perpetual antagonists who were reconciled in the harmony of Upper and Lower Egypt. In the myth of Osiris, who became prominent about 2350 bce, Horus was the son of Osiris and Isis and was the nephew of Seth, Osiris’s brother. When Seth murdered Osiris and contested Horus’s heritage (the royal throne of Egypt), Horus became Seth’s enemy. Horus eventually defeated Seth, thus avenging his father and assuming the rule. In the fight, Horus’s left eye (i.e., the moon) was damaged—this being a mythical explanation of the moon’s phases—and was healed by the god Thoth. The figure of the restored eye (the wedjat eye) became a powerful amulet. Horus is also associated (sometimes as son, sometimes as partner) with the ancient cow-goddess Hathor, who is often depicted with cow’s horns, sometimes with cow’s ears.
Isis, Egyptian Aset or Eset, one of the most important goddesses of ancient Egypt. Her name is the Greek form of an ancient Egyptian word for “throne.”
Isis was initially an obscure goddess who lacked her own dedicated temples, but she grew in importance as the dynastic age progressed, until she became one of the most important deities of ancient Egypt. Her cult subsequently spread throughout the Roman Empire, and Isis was worshipped from England to Afghanistan. She is still revered by pagans today. As mourner, she was a principal deity in rites connected with the dead; as magical healer, she cured the sick and brought the deceased to life; and as mother, she was a role model for all women.
Isis had strong links with Egyptian kingship, and she was most often represented as a beautiful woman wearing a sheath dress and either the hieroglyphic sign of the throne or a solar disk and cow’s horns on her head. Occasionally she was represented as a scorpion, a bird, a sow, or a cow. There are no references to Isis before the 5th dynasty (2465–2325 bce), but she is mentioned many times in the Pyramid Texts (c. 2350–c. 2100 bce), in which she offers assistance to the dead king. Later, as ideas of the afterlife became more democratic, Isis was able to extend her help to all dead Egyptians.
The priests of Heliopolis, followers of the sun god Re, developed the myth of Isis. This told that Isis was the daughter of the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut and the sister of the deities Osiris, Seth, and Nephthys. Married to Osiris, king of Egypt, Isis was a good queen who supported her husband and taught the women of Egypt how to weave, bake, and brew beer. But Seth was jealous, and he hatched a plot to kill his brother. Seth trapped Osiris in a decorated wooden chest, which he coated in lead and threw into the Nile. The chest had become Osiris’s coffin. With his brother vanished, Seth became king of Egypt. But Isis could not forget her husband, and she searched everywhere for him until she eventually discovered Osiris, still trapped in his chest, in Byblos. She brought his body back to Egypt, where Seth discovered the chest and, furious, hacked his brother into pieces, which he scattered far and wide. Transforming into a bird, and helped by her sister, Nephthys, Isis was able to discover and reunite the parts of her dead husband’s body—only his penis was missing. Using her magical powers, she was able to make Osiris whole; bandaged, neither living nor dead, Osiris had become a mummy. Nine months later Isis bore him a son, Horus. Osiris was then forced to retreat to the underworld, where he became king of the dead.
Isis hid with Horus in the marshes of the Nile delta until her son was fully grown and could avenge his father and claim his throne. She defended the child against attacks from snakes and scorpions. But because Isis was also Seth’s sister, she wavered during the eventual battle between Horus and Seth. In one episode Isis took pity on Seth and was in consequence beheaded by Horus (the beheading was reversed by magic). Eventually she and Horus were reconciled, and Horus was able to take the throne of Egypt.
Isis was the perfect traditional Egyptian wife and mother—content to stay in the background while things went well, but able to use her wits to guard her husband and son should the need arise. The shelter she afforded her child gave her the character of a goddess of protection. But her chief aspect was that of a great magician, whose power transcended that of all other deities. Several narratives tell of her magical prowess, far stronger than the powers of Osiris and Re. She was frequently invoked on behalf of the sick, and, with the goddesses Nephthys, Neith, and Selket, she protected the dead. Isis became associated with various other goddesses, including Bastet, Nut, and Hathor, and thus her nature and her powers became increasingly diverse. Isis became known, like other fierce goddesses in the Egyptian pantheon, as the “Eye of Re” and was equated with the Dog Star, Sothis (Sirius).
The first major temple dedicated to Isis was built by the Late Period king Nectanebo II (360–343 bce) at Behbeit el-Hagar, in the central Nile delta. Other important temples, including the island temple of Philae, were built during Greco-Roman times when Isis was dominant among Egyptian goddesses. Several temples were dedicated to her in Alexandria, where she became the patroness of seafarers. From Alexandria her cult spread to Greece and Rome. Images of Isis nursing the baby Horus may have influenced the early Christian artists who depicted the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus.
The battle between Horus and Seth represents the battle between order and chaos.
Osiris represents the past order.
Isis represents regeneration.
Seth represents chaos.
Horus represents the new order; Horus eye represents the capacity for attention. The falcon means the capacity to see from a high level.
Horus gives Osiris his eye, which means vision to the old order.
Quetzalcóatl, Mayan name Kukulcán, the Feathered Serpent, one of the major deities of the ancient Mexican pantheon. Representations of a feathered snake occur as early as the Teotihuacán civilization (3rd to 8th century ce) on the central plateau. At that time Quetzalcóatl seems to have been conceived as a vegetation god—an earth and water deity closely associated with the rain god Tlaloc.
With the immigration of Nahua-speaking tribes from the north, Quetzalcóatl’s cult underwent drastic changes. The subsequent Toltec culture (9th through 12th centuries), centred at the city of Tula, emphasized war and human sacrifice linked with the worship of heavenly bodies. Quetzalcóatl became the god of the morning and evening star, and his temple was the centre of ceremonial life in Tula.
In Aztec times (14th through 16th centuries) Quetzalcóatl was revered as the patron of priests, the inventor of the calendar and of books, and the protector of goldsmiths and other craftsmen; he was also identified with the planet Venus. As the morning and evening star, Quetzalcóatl was the symbol of death and resurrection. With his companion Xolotl, a dog-headed god, he was said to have descended to the underground hell of Mictlan to gather the bones of the ancient dead. Those bones he anointed with his own blood, giving birth to the men who inhabit the present universe.
In addition to his guise as a plumed serpent, Quetzalcóatl was often represented as a man with a beard, and, as Ehécatl, the wind god, he was shown with a mask with two protruding tubes (through which the wind blew) and a conical hat typical of the Huastec people of east-central Mexico. The temple of Quetzalcóatl at Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital, was a round building, a shape that fitted the god’s personality as Ehécatl. Circular temples were believed to please Ehécatl because they offered no sharp obstacles to the wind. Round monuments occur particularly often in Huastec territory.
The name: ”Feathered Serpent”, is a universal archetype.
Within Hinduism: Kundalini is called the serpent power. It represents the Sushumna, the subtle energy channel within the spine, further snakes represent the subtle energy channels the Ida and the Pingala.
The Caduceus within Greek culture, is a winged staff with two serpents entwined around it.
Besides the Greco-Roman culture, the snake staff is found in other cultures. A vase excavated from the ancient Mesopotamian city of Lagash, now known as Tell al-Hiba in Iraq (east of Uruk), has a figure of two entwined snakes on a rod.
It dates from about 2120 BC and can now be viewed in the Louvre Museum.
The Navaho Indians in Arizona, North-America, also have notions similar to the Hindu system of the chakras and kundalini.
The symbol of the American Medical Association is a feathered snake.
The wings symbolize the ability to reach a higher level of consciousness.
10. Axis mundi (Yggdrasil)
The axis mundi (also cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar, center of the world, world tree), in certain beliefs and philosophies, is the world center, or the connection between Heaven and Earth. As the celestial pole and geographic pole, it expresses a point of connection between sky and earth where the four compass directions meet. At this point travel and correspondence is made between higher and lower realms. Communication from lower realms may ascend to higher ones and blessings from higher realms may descend to lower ones and be disseminated to all. The spot functions as the omphalos (navel), the world’s point of beginning. The image relates to the center of the earth (perhaps like an umbilical providing nourishment). It may have the form of a natural object (a mountain, a tree, a vine, a stalk, a column of smoke or fire) or a product of human manufacture (a staff, a tower, a ladder, a staircase, a maypole, a cross, a steeple, a rope, a totem pole, a pillar, a spire). Its proximity to heaven may carry implications that are chiefly religious (pagoda, temple mount, minaret, church) or secular (obelisk, lighthouse). The image appears in religious and secular contexts. The axis mundi symbol may be found in cultures utilizing shamanic practices or animist belief systems, in major world religions, and in technologically advanced “urban centers”. In Mircea Eliade’s opinion, “Every Microcosm, every inhabited region, has a Centre; that is to say, a place that is sacred above all.”
Within the central known universe a specific locale-often a mountain or other elevated place, a spot where earth and sky come closest gains status as center of the center, the axis mundi. High mountains are typically regarded as sacred by peoples living near them.
Jacob’s Ladder is an axis mundi image, as is the Temple Mount.
Because the axis mundi is an idea that unites a number of concrete images, no contradiction exists in regarding multiple spots as “the center of the world”.
The ancient Greeks regarded several sites as places of earth’s omphalos (navel) stone, notably the oracle at Delphi, while still maintaining a belief in a cosmic world tree and in Mount Olympus as the abode of the gods. Judaism has the Temple Mount, Christianity has the Mount of Olives and Calvary, Islam has Ka’aba, said to be the first building on earth, and the Temple Mount (Dome of the Rock). In Hinduism, Mount Kailash is identified with the mythical Mount Meru and regarded as the home of Shiva; in Vajrayana Buddhism, Mount Kailash is recognized as the most sacred place where all the dragon currents converge and is regarded as the gateway to Shambhala. In Shinto, the Ise Shrine is the omphalos. In addition to the Kunlun Mountains, where it is believed the peach tree of immortality is located, the Chinese folk religion recognizes four other specific mountains as pillars of the world.
Plants often serve as images of the axis mundi. The image of the Cosmic Tree provides an axis symbol that unites three planes: sky (branches), earth (trunk) and underworld (roots).
In some Pacific island cultures the banyan tree, of which the Bodhi tree is of the Sacred Fig variety, is the abode of ancestor spirits. In Hindu religion, the banyan tree is considered sacred and is called ashwath vriksha (“I am banyan tree among trees” – Bhagavad Gita). It represents eternal life because of its seemingly ever-expanding branches. The Bodhi tree is also the name given to the tree under which Gautama Siddhartha, the historical Buddha, sat on the night he attained enlightenment. The Yggdrasil, or World Ash, functions in much the same way in Norse mythology; it is the site where Odin found enlightenment. Other examples include Jievaras in Lithuanian mythology and Thor’s Oak in the myths of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis present two aspects of the same image. Each is said to stand at the center of the Paradise garden from which four rivers flow to nourish the whole world. Each tree confers a boon. Bamboo, the plant from which Asian calligraphy pens are made, represents knowledge and is regularly found on Asian college campuses. The Christmas tree, which can be traced in its origins back to pre-Christian European beliefs, represents an axis mundi. In China, traditional cosmography sometimes depicts the world center marked with the Jian tree. Two more trees are placed at the East and West, corresponding to the points of sunrise and sunset, as described in the Huainanzi. The Mesoamerican world tree connects the planes of the Underworld and the sky with that of the terrestrial realm.
The human body can express the symbol of world axis. Some of the more abstract Tree of Life representations, such as the sefirot in Kabbalism and in the chakra system recognized by Hinduism and Buddhism, merge with the concept of the human body as a pillar between heaven and earth. Disciplines such as yoga and tai chi begin from the premise of the human body as axis mundi. The Buddha represents a world centre in human form.
Anyone or anything suspended on the axis between heaven and earth becomes a repository of potential knowledge. Derivations of this idea find form in the Rod of Asclepius, an emblem of the medical profession, and in the caduceus, an emblem of correspondence and commercial professions. The staff in these emblems represents the axis mundi while the serpents act as guardians of, or guides to, knowledge.
The tree of life is a term used in the Hebrew Bible that is a component of the world tree motif.
In the Book of Genesis, the tree of life is first described in chapter 2, verse 9 as being planted with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”in the midst of the Garden of Eden” by God. In Genesis 3:24 cherubim guard the way to the tree of life at the east end of the Garden. The tree of life has become the subject of some debate as to whether or not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the same tree.
According to the one-tree theory proposed by Karl Budde, in his critical research of 1883, he outlined that there was only one tree in the body of the Genesis narrative and it qualified in two ways: one as the tree in the middle of the Garden, and two as the forbidden tree. (Wikipedia)
The world tree, also called cosmic tree, centre of the world, a widespread motif in many myths and folktales among various preliterate peoples, especially in Asia, Australia and North America, by which they understand the human and profane condition in relation to the divine and sacred realm.
It is an immense mythical tree that connects the Earth with the higher worlds. It is a physical symbol of a multidimensional Kosmos on different ontological levels.
11. Pilgrim’s progress
The Pilgrim’s Progress, religious allegory in two parts (1678 and 1684) by the English writer John Bunyan, a symbolic vision of the good man’s pilgrimage through life, recounts a dream of the trials and adventures of Christian (an Everyman figure, born with the name Graceless) as he flees his home, the City of Destruction, for the Celestial City, Heaven. In Part I (1678), Christian has fled the City of Destruction on the advice of Evangelist, who guides him to the path toward the Celestial City. Christian seeks to rid himself of a terrible burden, the weight of his sins, that he feels after reading a book (ostensibly the Bible); the weight, he believes, is pulling him down to hell. But he fails to persuade his family to accompany him. His journey takes him through dangers and distractions that have become proverbial, including the Slough of Despond, Vanity Fair, and Doubting Castle. His anguished struggle toward salvation, though it dominates Part I, does not totally eclipse other, contrasting, qualities. Written in homely yet dignified biblical prose, the work has some of the qualities of a folktale, and in its humour and realistic portrayals of other characters, such as Mr. Worldly Wiseman, Faithful, Hopeful, Pliant, and Obstinate, it anticipates the 18th-century novel.
In Part II (1684), which deals with the effort of Christian’s wife, Christiana, and their sons and their neighbour Mercy to join him, the psychological intensity is relaxed, and the capacity for humour and realistic observation becomes more evident. Christian’s family, aided (physically and spiritually) by Great-heart, their guide to the Celestial City who slays assorted giants and monsters in their way, has a somewhat easier time because Christian has smoothed the way, and even such companions as Much-Afraid and Mr. Ready-to-Halt manage to complete the journey.
The book is a Puritan conversion narrative, by which in a symbolic narrative the spiritual development of the main character through life is described.
The Pilgrim’s Progress is laced with a kind of verve, charm, and humour that one would not usually associate with puritanical works, and its many lessons—such as the importance of learning from experience, the reading of the Bible, and the practical and spiritual value of family and communal life—are among the most cherished tenets of Christendom.
12. Rumi the flute
“Listen to the flute” by Rumi
Listen to the reed (flute), how it is complaining! ***
It is complaining about the separations:
I want a heart that is torn, torn from separations, ***
so that I may explain the pain of this love.
Whoever has been parted from his source; ***
seeks to return to the days of origination.
Everyone became my friend from his (own) reasons; ***
yet none searched out the secrets I contain.
My secret is not far away from my lament,***
yet, eye and ear do not possess that light to understand it.
Body is not hidden from soul, nor soul from body, ***
Yet, none has the license to perceive the soul.
It is the fire of love that inspires the reed, (not just the wind!)***
It is the ferment of love that completes the wine.
Who has ever seen a poison and an antidote like the reed?***
Who has ever seen a consort and a longing lover like the reed?
In our sorrow the days of our life become unseasonable, ***
The days have become fellow travellers of burning grief.
If the days passed, say go it matters not,***
But You, You remain, for nothing is as pure as you are.
The raw do not understand the state of the ripe,***
Hence my words must be brief, so
Farewell! O Boy, break your bonds, and be free,***
How long will silver and gold enslave you?
If you pour the whole sea into a jug, ***
will it hold more than one day’s store?
The greedy eye, like the jug, is never filled, ***
Until content, the oyster holds no pearl.
Only one who has been undressed by Love, ***
is free of defect and greed.
Hail, our sweet-toughed Love, ***
healer of all our ills, Our Plato and Galen,***
remedy for our pride and our vanity.
With love this earthly body could soar in the air; ***
the mountain could arise and nimbly dance.
Love gave life to Mount Sinai, O lover.***
Sinai was drunk; Moses lost consciousness.
Pressed to the lips of one in harmony with myself,***
Like the reed I would tell all that could be told.
But without a common tongue, I am dumb,***
even if I have a hundred songs to sing.
The Beloved is all; the lover just a veil.***
The Beloved is living; the lover a corpse.
If Love withholds its strengthening care,***
the lover is left like a bird without wings.
How can I have awareness of before and behind,***
When the light of my Beloved is not before and behind?
Love wants these words to manifest. ***
(But) how is it that the mirror reveals nothing?
Do you know why your mirror reveals nothing? ***
Because the rust is not separated from its face!
Friends, listen to the tale of this reed, ***
For it is the story of our life, indeed!
The complaint of the reed (Flute) is Rumi’s story about the soul who is separated from its origin, the divine.
13. Rumi the bird and the egg
“Isn’t it remarkable that a bird who is still in the egg nevertheless can spread its wings”.
A description of the soul, who can rise up, still being in the body.
14. Tzuang Tse “The Butterfly”
“Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly,
fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly.
I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly,
unaware that I was myself.
Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again.
Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly,
or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”
About the nature of reality.
The butterfly as an image of the soul.
15. Dante’s Divine comedy
The Divine Comedy (Italian: Divina Commedia) is a long narrative poem by Dante Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed in 1320, a year before his death in 1321. It is widely considered to be the preeminent work in Italian literature and one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem’s imaginative vision of the afterlife is representative of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church by the 14th century. It helped establish the Tuscan language, in which it is written, as the standardized Italian language. It is divided into three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.
The narrative describes Dante’s travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise or Heaven, while allegorically the poem represents the soul’s journey towards God.
Allegorically, the Inferno represents the Christian soul seeing sin for what it really is, and the three beasts represent three types of sin: the self-indulgent, the violent, and the malicious. These three types of sin also provide the three main divisions of Dante’s Hell: Upper Hell, outside the city of Dis, for the four sins of indulgence (lust, gluttony, avarice, anger); Circle 7 for the sins of violence; and Circles 8 and 9 for the sins of malice (fraud and treachery). Added to these are two unlike categories that are specifically spiritual: Limbo, in Circle 1, contains the virtuous pagans who were not sinful but were ignorant of Christ, and Circle 6 contains the heretics who contradicted the doctrine and confused the spirit of Christ. The circles number 9, with the addition of Satan completing the structure of 9 + 1 = 10
Allegorically, the Purgatorio represents the Christian life. Christian souls arrive escorted by an angel, singing In exitu Israel de Aegypto. In his Letter to Cangrande, Dante explains that this reference to Israel leaving Egypt refers both to the redemption of Christ and to “the conversion of the soul from the sorrow and misery of sin to the state of grace.” Appropriately, therefore, it is Easter Sunday when Dante and Virgil arrive.
The first seven spheres of Heaven deal solely with the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Fortitude, Justice and Temperance. The first three describe a deficiency of one of the cardinal virtues – the Moon, containing the inconstant, whose vows to God waned as the moon and thus lack fortitude; Mercury, containing the ambitious, who were virtuous for glory and thus lacked justice; and Venus, containing the lovers, whose love was directed towards another than God and thus lacked Temperance. The final four incidentally are positive examples of the cardinal virtues, all led on by the Sun, containing the prudent, whose wisdom lighted the way for the other virtues, to which the others are bound (constituting a category on its own). Mars contains the men of fortitude who died in the cause of Christianity; Jupiter contains the kings of Justice; and Saturn contains the temperate, the monks who abided by the contemplative lifestyle. The seven subdivided into three are raised further by two more categories: the eighth sphere of the fixed stars that contain those who achieved the theological virtues of faith, hope and love, and represent the Church Triumphant – the total perfection of humanity, cleansed of all the sins and carrying all the virtues of heaven; and the ninth circle, or Primum Mobile (corresponding to the Geocentricism of Medieval astronomy), which contains the angels, creatures never poisoned by original sin. Topping them all is the Empyrean, which contains the essence of God, completing the 9-fold division to 10.
16. Ramakrishna The bird and the boat
Once a bird sat on the mast of a ship. When the ship sailed through the mouth of the Ganges into the ‘black waters’ of the ocean, the bird failed to notice the fact. When it finally became aware of the ocean, it left the mast and flew north in search of land. But it found no limit to the water and so returned. After resting awhile it flew south. There too it found no limit to the water. Panting for breath the bird returned to the mast. Again, after resting awhile, it flew east and then west. Finding no limit to the water in any direction, at last it settled down on the mast of the ship.
The bird represents the restless soul who cannot find peace of mind.
Finally it settled down on the mast of the ship and finds peace, a state of permanent tranquillity.
Philosopher’s stone, in Western alchemy, an unknown substance, also called “the tincture” or “the powder,” sought by alchemists for its supposed ability to transform base metals into precious ones, especially gold and silver. Alchemists also believed that an elixir of life could be derived from it.
The philosopher’s stone, variously described, was sometimes said to be a common substance, found everywhere but unrecognized and unappreciated. The quest for the stone encouraged alchemists from the Middle Ages to the end of the 17th century to examine in their laboratories numerous substances and their interactions. The quest thereby provided a body of knowledge that ultimately led to the sciences of chemistry, metallurgy, and pharmacology.
On a deeper level the work of alchemy (cloaked in allegorical images) also represented the transformation of the soul, inasmuch as alchemy was concerned with the perfection of the human soul, and bringing about spiritual revitalization.
The goals of alchemy in India included the creation of a divine body (Sanskrit divya-deham) and immortality while still embodied (Sanskrit jīvan-mukti).
This interpretation further forwarded the view that alchemy is an art primarily concerned with spiritual enlightenment or illumination, as opposed to the physical manipulation of apparatus and chemicals, and claims that the obscure language of the alchemical texts were an allegorical guise for spiritual, moral or mystical processes.
18. The tempest (Shakespeare)
Twelve years ago, Prospero was Duke of Milan. Being of a bookish disposition, he withdrew more and more into his studies, leaving the management of his state to his brother Antonio. Eventually, with the help of Alonso, King of Naples, and the King’s brother Sebastian – inveterate enemies of Prospero – Antonio usurped the dukedom for himself. Prospero and his baby daughter Miranda were put to sea in a rotten boat and eventually landed on a distant island once ruled by the witch Sycorax but now inhabited only by her son, Caliban, and Ariel, a spirit.
Since then Prospero has ruled the island and its two inhabitants by the use of magic arts derived from his studies. His daughter Miranda has grown up seeing no other human being.
Prospero divines that fortune has brought his enemies close to the island and he sees an opportunity to work his revenge. He uses his powers to raise a storm which shipwrecks them. When Miranda questions this, he tells her the story of their arrival on the island and assures her that no real harm will come to the survivors.
The shipwrecked travellers are separated. At Prospero’s bidding, the invisible Ariel directs their wanderings. He leads Ferdinand, the King’s son, to Prospero’s cell, where he and Miranda fall instantly in love. Prospero sets heavy tasks to test Ferdinand.
Plots to kill
The King of Naples searches for his son, although fearing him to be drowned. Sebastian, the king’s brother, plots to kill him and seize the crown. The drunken butler, Stephano, and the jester, Trinculo, encounter Caliban and are persuaded by him to kill Prospero so that they can rule the island. However, Ariel manages to make mischief between them and they are soon bickering amongst themselves.
Blessings of marriage
Satisfied that Ferdinand has met all his challenges, Prospero presents the young couple with a betrothal masque celebrating chastity and the blessings of marriage. He is distracted from this, however, when he remembers Caliban’s plot.
As Prospero’s plan draws to its climax, he vows that upon its completion he will abandon his magic arts. Ariel brings Alonso and his followers to the cell, and Prospero, in his own persona as Duke of Milan, confronts his enemies and forgives them. In the betrothal of Ferdinand and Miranda, the rift between Naples and Milan is healed.
Finally, Prospero grants Ariel his freedom and prepares to leave the island for Milan and his restored Dukedom.
The persons/ characters in the story are personifications of aspects within one person. They are personifications of archetypical psychological structures.
Prospero represents the conscious mind. Prospero and his baby daughter Miranda were put to sea in a rotten boat and eventually landed on a distant island, which represents the physical world.
Caliban was rebellious and unkind to his master, Caliban represents the lower nature of man.
The reason for Prospero for subjugating Caliban to slavery, is that Caliban has violated his daughter.
Prospero’s daughter Miranda represents the developing higher nature, which was violated by lower impulses.
Ariel represents the spirit, the transcendental element, which does everything to help Prospero. He is also highly skilled and casts the spells for all of Prospero’s plans.
Prospero now tries to conquer the forces that give him back his rightful dominion.
He defeats the elements that betrayed him.
The marriage between Prospero’s daughter Miranda and the king’s son refers to a union with destiny, life’s purpose.
Prospero prepares to leave the island for Milan and his restored Dukedom.
This means that the soul leaves the physical world behind and goes back to the higher ontological world where he came from.
Ariel, the spirit, regains his freedom
Prospero reflects on the fleeting nature of drama and life (The Tempest)
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on,
and our little life, is rounded with a sleep.”
19. Ship in a storm
Ship in a storm.
In many stories with deep archetypical elements there are descriptions of sailors who find themselves in a storm which threatens their existence. The ship with its crew represents the human psyche and the storm represents the psychological conflicts.
Simurgh is a benevolent, mythical bird in Iranian mythology and literature. It is sometimes equated with other mythological birds such as a “phoenix” which it shares several similarities with), Persian humā (Persian). The figure can be found in all periods of Iranian art and literature and is also evident in the iconography of Georgia, medieval Armenia, the Byzantine Empire, and other regions that were within the realm of Persian cultural influence.
The Persian word simurgh derives from Middle Persian sēnmurw (and earlier sēnmuruγ), also attested in Pazend texts as sīna-mrū. The Middle Persian word comes from Avestan mərəγō Saēnō “the bird Saēna”, originally a raptor, likely an eagle, falcon, or sparrowhawk, as can be deduced from the etymological cognate Sanskrit śyenaḥ “raptor, eagle, bird of prey”, which also appears as a divine figure. Saēna is also a personal name. The word was lent to Armenian as siramarg ‘peacock’.
The simurgh is depicted in Iranian art as a winged creature in the shape of a bird, gigantic enough to carry off an elephant or a whale. It appears as a peacock with the head of a dog and the claws of a lion – sometimes, however, also with a human face. The simurgh is inherently benevolent and unambiguously female Being part mammal, she suckles her young. The simurgh has teeth. It has an enmity towards snakes, and its natural habitat is a place with plenty of water. Its feathers are said to be the colour of copper, and though it was originally described as being a dog-bird, later it was shown with either the head of a man or a dog. “Si-“, the first element in the name, has been connected in folk etymology to Modern Persian si (“thirty”). Although this prefix is not historically related to the origin of the name simurgh, “thirty” has nonetheless been the basis for legends incorporating that number – for instance, that the simurgh was as large as thirty birds or had thirty colours (siræng). Iranian legends consider the bird so old that it had seen the destruction of the world three times over. The simurgh learned so much by living so long that it is thought to possess the knowledge of all the ages. In one legend, the simurgh was said to live 1,700 years before plunging itself into flames (much like the phoenix).
In classical and modern Persian literature the Simorḡ is frequently mentioned, particularly as a metaphor for God in Sufi mysticism. In the 12th century Conference of the Birds, Iranian Sufi poet Farid ud-Din Attar wrote of a band of pilgrim birds in search of the Simurgh. In the poem, the birds of the world gather to decide who is to be their king, as they have none. The hoopoe, the wisest of them all, suggests that they should find the legendary Simorgh, a mythical Persian bird roughly equivalent to the western phoenix. The hoopoe leads the birds, each of whom represent a human fault which prevents man from attaining enlightenment. When the group of thirty birds finally reach the dwelling place of the Simorgh, all they find is a lake in which they see their own reflection. This scene employs a pun on the Persian expression for “thirty birds” (si morgh).
The si morgh (thirty birds) and the Simorḡ (God) are of a same nature.
Krishna, one of the most widely revered and most popular of all Indian divinities, worshipped as the eighth incarnation (avatar, or avatara) of the Hindu god Vishnu and also as a supreme god in his own right. Krishna became the focus of numerous bhakti (devotional) cults, which have over the centuries produced a wealth of religious poetry, music, and painting. The basic sources of Krishna’s mythology are the epic Mahabharata and its 5th-century-ce appendix, the Harivamsha, and the Puranas, particularly Books X and XI of the Bhagavata-purana. They relate how Krishna (literally “black,” or “dark as a cloud”) was born into the Yadava clan, the son of Vasudeva and Devaki, who was the sister of Kamsa, the wicked king of Mathura (in modern Uttar Pradesh). Kamsa, hearing a prophecy that he would be destroyed by Devaki’s child, tried to slay her children, but Krishna was smuggled across the Yamuna River to Gokula (or Vraja, modern Gokul), where he was raised by the leader of the cowherds, Nanda, and his wife Yashoda.
Krishna refused to bear arms in the great war between the Kauravas (sons of Dhritarashtra, the descendant of Kuru) and the Pandavas (sons of Pandu), but he offered a choice of his personal attendance to one side and the loan of his army to the other. The Pandavas chose the former, and Krishna thus served as charioteer for Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers. On his return to Dvaraka, a brawl broke out one day among the Yadava chiefs in which Krishna’s brother and son were slain. As the god sat in the forest lamenting, a huntsman, mistaking him for a deer, shot him in his one vulnerable spot, the heel, killing him.
The rich variety of legends associated with Krishna’s life led to an abundance of representation in painting and sculpture. The child Krishna is depicted crawling on his hands and knees or dancing with joy, a ball of butter held in his hands. The divine lover—the most common representation—is shown playing the flute, surrounded by adoring gopis. In 17th- and 18th-century Rajasthani and Pahari painting, Krishna is characteristically depicted with blue-black skin, wearing a yellow dhoti (loincloth) and a crown of peacock feathers.
Krishna here is the personification of Kosmic consciousness.
His blue colour refers to the kundalini which is blue of colour.
The hundreds of gopis he dances with at the same time are the nadis, the streams of ecstatic energy.
Arjuna, who is famous for his archery, is a symbol for the ability to reach ones goal.
22. The wild hunt
The Wild Hunt is a European folk myth involving a ghostly or supernatural group of huntsmen passing in wild pursuit. The hunters may be either elves or fairies or the dead, and the leader of the hunt is often a named figure associated with Wodan (or other reflections of the same god, such as but may variously be a historical or legendary figure like Theodoric the Great, the Danish king Valdemar Atterdag, the Welsh psychopomp Gwyn ap Nudd, biblical figures such as Herod, Cain, Gabriel or the Devil, or an unidentified lost soul or spirit either male or female.
Seeing the Wild Hunt was thought to presage some catastrophe such as war or plague, or at best the death of the one who witnessed it. People encountering the Hunt might also be abducted to the underworld or the fairy kingdom. In some instances, it was also believed that people’s spirits could be pulled away during their sleep to join the cavalcade.
Magi denotes followers of Zoroastrianism or Zoroaster. The earliest known use of the word Magi is in the trilingual inscription written by Darius the Great, known as the Behistun Inscription. Old Persian texts, pre-dating the Hellenistic period, refer to a Magus as a Zurvanic, and presumably Zoroastrian, priest.
Pervasive throughout the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia until late antiquity and beyond, mágos, “magician”, was influenced by (and eventually displaced) Greek goēs, the older word for a practitioner of magic, to include astrology, alchemy and other forms of esoteric knowledge. This association was in turn the product of the Hellenistic fascination for (Pseudo‑)Zoroaster, who was perceived by the Greeks to be the “Chaldean”, “founder” of the Magi and “inventor” of both astrology and magic, a meaning that still survives in the modern-day words “magic” and “magician”.
from the east visit Jesus in Chapter 2 of the Gospel of Matthew, and the transliterated plural “magi” entered English from Latin in this context around 1200 (this particular use is also commonly rendered in English as “kings” and more often in recent times as “wise men”)The singular “magus” appears considerably later, when it was borrowed from Old French in the late 14th century with the meaning magician.
The first magi were Zoroaster priests. The biblical Magi, also referred to as the (Three) Wise Men or (Three) Kings, were, in the Gospel of Matthew and Christian tradition, a group of distinguished foreigners who visited Jesus after his birth, (2:1–2:12). bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They are regular figures in traditional accounts of the nativity celebrations of Christmas and are an important part of Christian tradition.
The staff refers to the kundalini and is also can be found in the story of Aaron and the Pharaoh.
24. Depth psychology
Descend into the subconsciousness.
25. Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Dr Henry Jekyll/Mr Edward Hyde
Dr Jekyll is a “large, well-made, smooth-faced man of fifty with something of a slyish cast”, who occasionally feels he is battling between the good and evil within himself, upon leading to the struggle between his dual personalities of Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde. He has spent a great part of his life trying to repress evil urges that were not fitting for a man of his stature. He creates a serum, or potion, in an attempt to mask this hidden evil within his personality. However, in doing so, Jekyll transpired into the smaller, younger, cruel, remorseless, evil Hyde. Jekyll has many friends and an amiable personality, but as Hyde, he becomes mysterious and violent. As time goes by, Hyde grows in power. After taking the potion repeatedly, he no longer relies upon it to unleash his inner demon, i.e., his alter ego.
Eventually, Hyde grows to be stronger than Jekyll, able to manifest whenever Jekyll shows signs of physical or moral weakness.
At this point, Dr. Jekyll resolved to cease becoming Hyde. One night, however, the urge gripped him too strongly, and after the transformation he immediately rushed out and violently killed Sir Danvers Carew. Horrified, Dr. Jekyll tried more adamantly to stop the transformations, and for a time he proved successful by engaging in philanthropic work. One day, at a park, he considered how good a person that he had become as a result of his deeds (in comparison to others), believing himself redeemed. However, before he completed his line of thought, he looked down at his hands and realized that he had suddenly transformed once again into Hyde. This was the first time that an involuntary metamorphosis had happened in waking hours. Far from his laboratory and hunted by the police as a murderer, Hyde needed help to avoid being caught. He wrote to Lanyon (in Dr. Jekyll’s hand), asking his friend to retrieve the contents of a cabinet in his laboratory and to meet him at midnight at Hastie Lanyon’s home in Cavendish Square. In Lanyon’s presence, Hyde mixed the potion and transformed back to Dr. Jekyll. The shock of the sight instigated Lanyon’s deterioration and death. Meanwhile, Jekyll returned to his home only to find himself ever more helpless and trapped as the transformations increased in frequency and necessitated even larger doses of potion in order to reverse them. It was the onset of one of these spontaneous metamorphoses that caused Dr. Jekyll to slam his laboratory window shut in the middle of his conversation with Enfield and Utterson.
Eventually, the stock of ingredients from which Dr. Jekyll had been preparing the potion ran low, and subsequent batches prepared by Dr. Jekyll from renewed stocks failed to produce the transformation. Dr. Jekyll speculated that the one essential ingredient that made the original potion work (a salt) must have itself been contaminated. After sending Poole to one chemist after another to purchase the salt that was running low only to find it wouldn’t work, he assumed that subsequent supplies all lacked the essential ingredient that made the potion successful for his experiments. His ability to change back from Hyde into Dr. Jekyll had slowly vanished in consequence. Jekyll wrote that even as he composed his letter, he knew that he would soon become Hyde permanently, having used the last of this salt and he wondered if Hyde would face execution for his crimes or choose to kill himself. Jekyll noted that, in either case, the end of his letter marked the end of the life of Dr. Jekyll. He ended the letter saying “I bring the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end”. With these words, both the document and the novella come to a close.
The story gives a description of a Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder):
Dissociative identity disorder, formerly referred to as multiple personality disorder, is a condition wherein a person’s identity is fragmented into two or more distinct personality states. People with this rare condition are often victims of severe abuse.
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a severe condition in which two or more distinct identities, or personality states, are present in—and alternately take control of—an individual. Some people describe this as an experience of possession. The person also experiences memory loss that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.
DID is a disorder characterized by identity fragmentation rather than a proliferation of separate personalities. The disturbance is not due to the direct psychological effects of a substance or of a general medical condition. DID was called multiple personality disorder until 1994, when the name was changed to reflect a better understanding of the condition—namely, that it is characterized by a fragmentation, or splintering, of identity rather than by a proliferation, or growth, of separate identities.
26. The underworld
Here a visual metaphor for the conscious and the unconscious world.
27. The Kraken
The kraken is a legendary sea monster of giant size that is said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland. Authors over the years have postulated that the legend originated from sightings of giant squids that may grow to 12–15 meters (40–50 feet) in length. The sheer size and fearsome appearance attributed to the kraken have made it a common ocean-dwelling monster in various fictional works. It was first described by the Dane Erik Pontoppidan in 1752–53.
The Kraken can be seen as a symbol for the forces in the subconsciousness, that pull the mind downwards.
28. Grim reaper
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Death, due to its prominent place in human culture, is frequently imagined as a personified force, also known as the Grim Reaper. In some mythologies, the Grim Reaper causes the victim’s death by coming to collect them. In turn, people in some stories try to hold on to life by avoiding Death’s visit, or by fending Death off with bribery or tricks. Other beliefs hold that the Spectre of Death is only a psychopomp, serving to sever the last ties between the soul and the body, and to guide the deceased to the afterlife, without having any control over when or how the victim dies. Death is most often personified in male form, although in certain cultures Death is perceived as female (for instance, Marzanna in Slavic mythology).
This personification is the related attribution of human form and characteristics to abstract concepts. Modern research into life after death deals with Out of the Body experiences, near death experiences, reincarnation memories and so on.
29. Sea serpent
Sea serpent, mythological and legendary marine animal that traditionally resembles an enormous snake. The belief in huge creatures that inhabited the deep was widespread throughout the ancient world. In the Old Testament there are several allusions to a primordial combat between God and a monstrous adversary variously named Leviathan or Rahab. Although the references to Leviathan usually indicate a dragon-like creature, the name has also been used to denote a sea monster in general (see dragon). Analogies to this combat are found throughout the ancient Middle East. Babylonian literature records a battle between the god Marduk and the multi-headed serpent-dragon Tiamat, and in Hittite myth the weather god is victorious over the dragon Illuyankas. Similarly, a Canaanite poem from Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit) in northern Syria records a battle between the god Baal and a monster called Leviathan.
The sea snake being an instinctual creature, represents the human instincts which can take one down. The sea represents the deeper levels of the mind.
In many mythological stories one will find the archetype of the warrior.
Every great civilization has a great warrior tradition and accompanying warrior myths.
While the battleground of the warrior is the surrounding world and its opponents, the myths refers to an inner battle, in which one tries to conquer one’s own inner landscape.
The battlefield here is littered with instincts, reflexes, frictions and lower emotions.
Swamp monsters and swamp creatures have been a staple of fantastic fiction for years.
The swamp has become an expression for a situation or place fraught with difficulties and imponderables.
The expression “The swamp” has become an expression for political corruption. The term “Swamp Creature” has had particular resonance in politics, where the political world is often referred to as a swamp and its occupants called Swamp Creatures or Swamp. But on a deeper level the swamp represents the subconscious, which activities are mostly out of sight, and where deeply hidden processes are concealed.
32. The horseman
The horseman is an archetypical image for a person who has control over the instincts and emotions, the way a horseman controls his horse.
33. The trickster
In mythology, and in the study of folklore and religion, a trickster is a character in a story (god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphisation), which exhibits a great degree of intellect or secret knowledge, and uses it to play tricks or otherwise disobey normal rules and conventional behaviour.
Tricksters are archetypal characters who appear in the myths of many different cultures. The trickster can be described as a “boundary-crosser”.
The trickster crosses and often breaks both physical and societal rules. Tricksters “…violate principles of social and natural order, playfully disrupting normal life and then re-establishing it on a new basis.”
Often, the bending/breaking of rules takes the form of tricks or thievery. Tricksters can be cunning or foolish or both.
34. The archer
In many mythological stories such as the Odyssey one finds the main character such as Odysseus and in the Mahabharata Arjuna who are both excellent archers.
The archer stands as an archetypical image for the ability to reach one’s goal, one’s destiny.
35. The Prophet
A person endowed with profound moral and spiritual insight or knowledge; a wise person or sage who possesses intuitive powers.
Creative and artistic people transcend the mechanical mode of functioning and enter into intuitional and inspirational states. A prophet reaches beyond this into states of revelation and union with the Kosmos.
36. The Shadow
The shadow, according to Swiss psychiatrist C.G. Jung, is the unknown ‘‘dark side’’ of our personality; dark both because it tends to consist predominantly of the primitive, negative, socially or religiously depreciated human emotions and impulses like sexual lust, power strivings, selfishness, greed, envy, anger or rage, and due to its unenlightened nature, completely obscured from consciousness. Whatever we deem evil, inferior or unacceptable and deny in ourselves becomes part of the shadow, the counterpoint to what Jung called the persona or conscious ego personality. The shadow is the ‘‘sum of all personal and collective psychic elements which, because of their incompatibility with the chosen conscious attitude, are denied expression in life’’. Jung differentiated between the personal shadow and the impersonal or archetypal shadow, which acknowledges transpersonal, pure or radical evil (symbolized by the Devil and demons) and collective evil, exemplified by the wars which personify the shadow embodied in its most negative archetypal human form.
37. The Seer
Seer: A person who prophesies future events; or otherwise has extra sensory perceptions.
While the normal mode of perception of humans is sensory and localised in space and time, a certain group of perceptions are not within that limits.
What is called the monad, the atman, which is our focus point of consciousness, is while connected with a point in space in time, exists itself outside space and time.
The monad itself has the ability to perceive non-local and trans-temporal.
And when it makes itself free from the limitations of space and time it can perceive intuitions or images from different times and places.
38. Bruce Springsteen – I’m On Fire
The Greek philosopher Plato stated that some poets expressed deep (mystical) insights in their poetry which seems to lay beyond their normal abilities. And that they were often not even aware of it.
An example of what Plato did refer to is:
152. Bruce Springsteen – I’m On Fire; Lyrics:
Hey little girl is your daddy home
Did he go away and leave you all alone
I got a bad desire
Oh Oh Oh
I’m on fire
Tell me now baby is he good to you
Can he do to you the things that I do
I can take you higher
Oh Oh Oh
I’m on fire
This song seems to be of a romantic or even a sexual nature, however it has some significant elements which points to a description of the mystical process of a kundalini awakening. While the term higher has a double meaning, this is hardly specific but the following few sentences are remarkable:
Sometimes it’s like someone took a knife baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six-inch valley
Through the middle of my soul
The soul seen from a mystical point of view exist of a field of subtle energies and in the middle of this field are energy centres called chakras which are six-inches in diameter, a valley is an area which is in the middle deeper than the surroundings, the chakras are funnel shaped energy structures which are in the middle deeper.
In a book called the Etheric double by Arthur E. Powell 1925 one finds DIAGRAM III with a description of a chakra, including its diameter: “Structure of Force-Centre: The appearance is that of a saucer-like depression, or vortex, in the surface of the Etheric Double.” Its diameter is indicated as “2 to 6 inches according to development.”
With kundalini activation, the diameter of the chakras is 6 inches.
At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet
And a freight train running through the
Middle of my head
Only you can cool my desire
The expression a freight train running through the Middle of my head expresses the activated kundalini, the highly activated and concentrated energy stream which goes through the Middle of the head
Oh Oh Oh
I’m on fire [x3]
The kundalini is frequently described as kundalini fire.
39. Don Quixote