Saturday, November 7, 2015

Excerpt: Stultifera Navis

The Ship of Fools - "But water adds to this the dark mass of its own values; it carries off, but it does more: it purifies. Navigation delivers man to the uncertainty of fate; on water, each of us is in the hands of his own destiny; every embarkation is, potentially, the last. It is for the other world that the madman sets sail in his fools' boat; it is from the other world that he comes when he disembarks. The madman's voyage is at once a rigorous division and an absolute Passage. In one sense, it simply develops, across a half-real, half-imaginary geography, the madman's liminal position on the horizon of medieval concern—a position symbolized and made real at the same time by the madman's privilege of being confined within the city gates: his exclusion must enclose him; if he cannot and must not have another prison than the threshold itself, he is kept at the point of passage. He is put in the interior of the exterior, and inversely. A highly symbolic position, which will doubtless remain his until our own day, if we are willing to admit that what was formerly a visible fortress of order has now become the castle of our conscience. Water and navigation certainly play this role. Confined on the ship, from which there is no escape, the madman is delivered to the river with its thousand arms, the sea with its thousand roads, to that great uncertainty external to everything. He is a prisoner in the midst of what is the freest, the openest of routes: bound fast at the infinite crossroads. He is the Passenger par excellence: that is, the prisoner of the passage. And the land he will come to is unknown—as is, once he disembarks, the land from which he comes. He has his truth and his homeland only in that fruitless expanse between two countries that cannot belong to him." ~ 'Madness and Civilization'

Sunday, November 1, 2015

On Ouroboros

My first encounter with Ouroboros was because of a Free Masonry book I read as a child. As my interest in mythology, symbolism, and world religions grew the symbol kept popping up. I recall the book 'Alchemy' by Marie-Louise von Franz; an Ouroboros emblazoned on its bright green cover and then having encountered it again in some literature I had the privilege of perusing in the Catholic National Library at St. Michael's Abbey in Farnborough, Hampshire; a Benedictine Monastery I stayed at for a time. From then on it would be through Jungian literature. Anyhow, I have always been fascinated by it.

The term Ouroboros is Greek in origin although the symbol itself predates its definition and has been used across cultures. The definition states the obvious, it is the Tail Devourer. The Ourboros consumes itself so that it may live. Existence is the source of its own sustenance (i.e. Life requires Life or the loss of Life to thrive). It symbolizes the eternal or immortal process at hand. According to Joseph Campbell, "...the goal of the myth is to dispel the need for such life ignorance by effecting a reconciliation of the individual consciousness with the universal will. And this is effected through a realization of the true relationship of the passing phenomena of time to the imperishable life that lives and dies in all."

Friday, October 23, 2015

On Attunement

We have all walked with empathy and sympathy to varying degrees. Although sympathy is traditionally defined as a feeling of pity and sorrow for others' misfortune, I've grown to understand it in terms of support, harmony and fellowship - giving or receiving. Sympathy is an acknowledgment of emotional hardship along with the provision of comfort and assurance. Empathy, on the other hand, is understanding what others are feeling because you have experienced it yourself or can put yourself in their shoes. Both indicate attunement. Both facilitate the free flow of life energy between energetic beings. It is being open to the way everyone and everything around us feels - observing and then deciding what we want to do with that sensory input. Empathy and sympathy serve as an access point to the more subtly communicated or guarded aspects of one another and the bigger picture we are a part of. They bond us.

We are often inundated by our senses. It can seem quite burdensome and exhausting in some instances and invigorating in others. The feeling realizations that we arrive at are like the ocean, with waves cresting and bottoming out or with tides ebbing and flowing continuously. That push and pull is very real. We develop ways of managing the uninterrupted stream of input. Some people block themselves off entirely, some build elaborate defenses, some are inspired by and channel it, some reroute it, some filter the desirable from the not so, some unconsciously own it (to both their benefit/detriment and others'), some gleefully drift in it and allow it to wash over them, and some of us absorb and transmute it. We all dabble in some way or another as there is no way for us to avoid its presence and effect. Our attunement, no matter the state or our current understanding and use of it, is a fundamental aspect of our Being. We are connected sensitive beings. I do not feel that there is any way to physiologically detach yourself from what you are inherently a part of, however, there are numerous ways that we attempt to do so intellectually and psychologically.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Poetry: 'Chattel'

When a hug becomes a cling
...a hold, a clench
...a tendency, a trench
...a feeling then a string
When what lends itself so freely
becomes what you wish to own
When the cage you find yourself in
was once considered home

So, what is willed then
of the children
who we rear and steer
who we naively hope to shield
from our insecurities and fears

When a doubt becomes a dread
...a thought, a pillar in the head
...a vision, laws for all to follow
...and others much too hard to swallow
While standing where you are 
you see all you wish to be
A lonesome star that churns afar
and yearns to be a tree

When what dances there before you
entreats acknowledgment and love
When what showers you with adoration
is insensitively snubbed,
is doused in conflagration
and fueled by your neglect
When "the best is yet to come"
because what's present is regret

"Turn then your eyes...," the Sun spoke,
"I am not too proud to state..."
"...that the darkness, just as I..."
"...is here besides to illuminate."
To see the night sky clearly 
it's best to walk the dark
to let go of what you think you need
the covetousness, desire, and greed
the bailing of stream waters
the seizing of a moment,
that's as fleeting as the seasons,
but in it's deft flow is most potent.

Sometimes the cling, the clench, 
and the trench we excavate,
are filled with fluid waters
which stagnate in such a state
And so, the very thing that heals
is poison in the well
It's tainted by possessiveness 
and lies we tell ourselves

Sometimes the fibs, so fanciful,
that dance enchantingly
before our eyes and in our minds
belie our genuine needs
They undermine our sense of presence
with veblen goods and feathered pheasants,
promises of life so pleasant,
pointing toward the mountain top
When strewn in bloom before your feet
is Life's majestic crop

And though it too will fade in time
to hug will be enough
For in abundance Life provides
that which it knows you need most of

Monday, August 31, 2015

Poetry: 'Love's Lament'

Have you ever been with someone;
someone who's slightly off?
Whose head, while yours was in the clouds,
was face down in a trough?
Have you ever noticed how you shine
eclipses all they are?
How your growth casts shadows of distress
and drapes them in the dark?

Have you seen beyond the flattery
and honeyed words received?
The deafening silence, loneliness,
and bitterness that seethes?
Have you ever tread the devil snake
who's writhing in despair,
beneath your heel of saintliness
and crying out for air?

Do you stop to wonder
how your shine precedes their thunder?
That when the stars align for you
their heavens burst asunder?
Or is the approbation
a buoyant buffer zone;
too distant although within reach;
too different dialects they speak;
one landscape lush the other's bleak?
Your throne fashioned from bone.

These gusts of laud which loft you up
buffet them tirelessly...
This windswept lonely moorland soul
erodes to steep ravine.
Have you ever been with someone;
someone who must pretend?
Who's never felt like they belong
to this world you're living in?

Have you noticed how you shine
is matched by how they gloom?
How what you celebrate as life,
to them is but a tomb? And,
how the love that you attract
contributes to their wounds?

Perhaps some day they'll change their tune.
Perhaps the tables turn.
But, for now the fable's writ is such:
one's quenched while one must burn.


Friday, July 31, 2015

On Honesty and Offense

For me, to live conscionably and unapologetically is to live honestly; to be oneself without pretense. But many of us project a false self due to the fear of being spurned. We'd rather be accepted for who we aren't than risk the rejection of who we genuinely are. We filter or censor parts of who we are so to comply with the standards of those we choose to have relationships with. It is an exhausting and impossible task as offense seems to be characteristic of interpersonal relationships, particularly open and honest ones. It is merely a fact of life. The reality is that I can never be freely and fully myself without the likelihood of friction, disagreement, and misunderstanding - principles will collide.

Many of us romanticize such a virtue as acceptance but find ourselves intolerant in our routine dealings with one another. Where I may say, "I am sharing my sincere self!" Another will assuredly respond from time-to-time, "But I'd prefer that you did so according to my understanding of decorum." Oddly enough, both parties are welcoming each other. Although they are both engaged in sharing exactly what it is they feel - inviting the other in - the occasional offense will arise. Blogger, magentamirror, posted, "I share with you a piece of my life and you think I am evaluating you, criticizing you, comparing you to others, rejecting you . . .And yet, all the while, I am welcoming you." What she perceived as an act of honesty and vulnerability was in turn perceived as an offensive slight. She goes on to point out the following: