Friday, June 22, 2012

Our New Cosmic Story & The Passion of Matter

The Passion of Matter
            A soulless society feeds on ignorance, violence and poverty.  It has nothing to teach its citizens.  Americans take pride in the fact that we’re free, but real freedom is earned by responsibility and choice.  President Barack Obama’s Inauguration speech in 2009 stressed this Truth: “It is time to set aside childish things and grow up. It is time to take up the burden of freedom and choice.  It is time to take up our service to the world.  It is time to become responsible for ourselves, for each other, and for the Earth.”  For what good is served when politics and media culture fosters fragmentation and ignorance, rather than enlightened choice?  .
            An ancient alchemical text, the Corpus Hermeticum, explains why people remain in ignorance.
            Wickedness remains among the many, since learning concerning the things which are ordained does not exist among them.  For the knowledge of the things which are ordained is truly the healing of the passion of matter. 4

Healing the passion of matter!  How can we do this?  By taking responsibility to learn, to grow, to deal with the constant longing in our souls, because our souls know the answers to the questions of our life and can give us the knowledge we need to live consciously and well
          One of the meanings of the word passion is to suffer.  Matter, or our human nature, is suffering through a lack of understanding of the things that are ordained in our lives, that is, the natural laws of our human nature.  We have lost our connection to what it means to be fully human – body, mind and spirit.   We need to listen to our bodies, our minds, our emotions and our spiritual understanding so that we make good choices in our lives.
           What we have been told is that matter is dead, and that our human bodies are corruptible and ultimately evil. This philosophy gave rise to crass materialism and compulsive consumerism.  But healing the passion of matter entails seeing that matter is full of spirit; that life itself is sacred.  For the alchemist, the transformation of matter through the alchemical process was such a healing, for it entailed the spiritualization of matter.  While the Enlightenment scientific community rejected alchemy and astrology, scientists such as Galileo, Kepler, Francis Bacon and Isaac Newton were alchemists and astrologers, because they viewed matter as full of spirit.  And of course, our physicists now tell us that matter is most definitely alive and full of consciousness! 
            Perhaps we are suffering through our problems as a labor that gives birth to a new consciousness that can heal the fragmentation of the Western ego.  This seems to be our ultimate purpose this lifetime, for our world is at a turning point.  We are being forced into consciousness by the suffering of our ‘matter’ - both our personal bodies and the Earth's body. 
            Any sacrifice on our part can now be seen as a ‘making sacred’ or giving meaning to our lives.  We are beginning to understand that we have to suffer through a situation to find its meaning.  Ask anyone who’s gone through the pain of divorce or disease about the suffering that brings consciousness.  Although the suffering is bitter, no one comes away from the experience without coming into a conscious relationship with themselves for the first time in their lives.   Through all the emotional suffering people have learned that there is meaning in everything we do in life.   We just have to find a context for our suffering, a context that is the healing of the passion of matter.  That context is a cosmology, a sacred story that helps us understand the things that are ordained for us (i.e., living a joyous, conscious life).  We need to re-discover a sacred story about Life.

Our New Sacred Story   
            New stories are being told about our times, stories told by alternative healers, seekers, pagans, traditionalists.  Over a quarter of the people in our country, about 44 million people, are what sociologist Paul Ray calls Cultural Creatives, people who are active in transforming our political, social and spiritual heritage.  Many of these people are women, and all of them believe in the feminine principles of love, peace, service and interdependence.5  They are working to understand and bring about the ‘things that are ordained’, the necessary changes we all have to make if we are to continue living here on our mother, the Earth.  Many people believe that when a critical mass of these creative people is reached, (really only a small percentage of the entire population – very like the 144,000 righteous remnant of the Book of Revelation) then a new consciousness will become available to anyone who tries to access and ultimately understand and use the gifts of the imagination for its true purpose.
            We need to find our place in the universe once more.  We need to come home. The search for meaning was ignored when our modern scientific worldview focused on how things work rather than why things are.  This is what happens when we separate spirit from matter.  But the search for meaning has always been the work of our poets, artists, musicians, mystics, alchemists, great teachers, pure scientists, storytellers, psychologists and women.  So there is hope that we'll re-discover those stories and begin to live within them again.
            We are all being called upon to be the healers of our times, and we are seeing this happen. It seems there is a growing movement among baby boomers (an estimated 1.1 million already) to move out of the corporate world and go to work in non-profit organizations, with millions more to follow in the coming years.  About one half of the 78 million boomers are interested in jobs that help others, putting their talents to work for the group.
            Pluto symbolizes the energy of regeneration and evolution, with Leo ruling individuation and consciousness and Virgo ruling self-knowledge and service. Those of us who lived through the 60s or were born in the 60s came to renew our consciousness, our sense of what it means to be human and our responsibilities to each other.  We do this by discovering our own individuality and talents, and then contributing them to the greater life of the community.   Many people have had to face their own wounding and heal themselves, heal the passion of their matter, and in that healing have discovered their ability to heal others.  The idea of the wounded healer is a very ancient belief, and is at the root of shamanic lore.  To see this happening on a collective, cultural level is exciting, because it means that we have a chance to create the change that will heal the passion of matter.  For we are remembering that matter, our physical world, is alive and intelligent and knows the things that are ordained for the health of life on this Earth. 
            People are healing themselves by listening to the voices of the Earth’s imagination - the winds, the waters, crystals, plants, the stars, the body, the soul.  For only by going through the darkness ourselves can we become true guides for others who still reside there.  The great Western mystic, Hildegard of Bingen, said that "God has arranged everything in the universe in consideration of everything else."6   Perhaps the inner suffering and loneliness of many people has been Spirit arranging for the new creativity that our times so desperately need.
            We are living in a defining moment.  The times are calling upon us to envision the future life of this planet.  Ours is an age of rapid change and chaos; the violence of our culture reflects the violence of this chaos.  The transition of the ages always involves a return to chaos so new forms can arise.  These times give rise to great spiritual awakenings, and many people are opening up to the gifts of Spirit.  Once again, medicine people, visionaries and mystics are being heard and honored.  But it is a spiritual awakening that must take place within the heart of each individual, and each individual has to do the hard work to gain self-knowledge, which precedes the true gifts of the Spirit.  This self-knowledge is not only one of criticism of self but also of acceptance of self.  We have to name ourselves and our wounds for them to heal.  And we have to gather the tools for healing that can be passed on to others who are still suffering.

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