Monday, August 13, 2012
The Transformation of Collective Consciousness
Working as a dream analyst, I can see a recurring motif of movement in the stars; either a single star bursts into many lights or there is a movement in the pattern of the stars. This dream marked a real turning point for this woman in her spirituality. It became a deep, indwelling connection and a true knowledge that she was indeed blessed. As people look within to their own inner light, the old patterns of belief (the single star or old constellation) die out and new patterns emerge. The next step in their evolution is upon them. The most outstanding part of the dream is usually the feeling of awe and connectedness that the dreamer feels as s/he is affected by this movement. It is through the power and energy of this movement within the deep psyche that people are finding the courage to listen to Wisdom's voice and open themselves to their creativity and to Spirit.
There is deep change going on in the collective unconscious at this point in time. Our technology is changing so rapidly that there is a corresponding change in the unconscious. As we deepen our consciousness, and learn to use both sides of the brain, our perception of our human capabilities will broaden to include those psychic, intuitive, feeling aspects which our rational culture has rejected along with the Goddess. Many years ago, I had a dream that spoke to these changes occurring in the collective. I was looking at some old star charts and comparing them to the constellations that were in the sky at the present time. I noticed that some were the same, but many constellations had changed. Interpreting this dream personally, I realized I was seeing the changes that had taken place in me over the years. But this dream felt like it had a collective meaning, since the stars are our collective guides. It showed me early on that changes were taking place in the collective psyche. And it's proven true.
Now we have only to look at the brutal truth of our unstable economy, our wars, the widespread environmental destruction, the greed and corruption of those in power, and the loss of cultural values to see how we have ignored or been unconscious of the forces that are moving within our society. Happily, people are awakening and stepping forward again to take responsibility for their lives and our collective life. Just as the dream star charts were changing, we are now seeing changes in our collective lives, and it would seem there are enough people to tip the balance of collective consciousness to a higher, more balanced state. We have to renew our collective life through living out our individual values and highest collective ideals. We have to discover a more sacred, graceful, truthful and fulfilling way to live and relate to each other and to the Earth.
When we wear Allerleirauh's star dress, we open ourselves – body, heart and spirit - to the conscious voice of Wisdom. We accept our true nature as Spiritual Beings and co-Creators of Life, centered by the treasure of a golden reel, the world center. All beings need a center. Otherwise, the chaos rips us apart. If we reject our true nature, our spiritual nature, then the center is lost. Our culture has lost its center, and we substituted the pursuit of wealth and happiness here on Earth for our spiritual center. This is the princess's task, a task we all share in: we have to put our spiritual values back at our center and our highest ideals back in the center of our public discourse. Allerlierauh has become the true Queen, and it is her inspiration and passion that will drive our collective transformation in the future.
The stars are waiting to give us their wisdom. When we strive to become conscious of the sacred context of our lives, the power of the archetypes will work through us creatively. Before moving back to the United States from Zurich, I had a dream about the stars that showed me all the changes I went through in analysis and in training at the C.G. Jung Institute, as well as the experience of living in a foreign land with young children. An older friend of mine who had died recently came to me in my dream, and told me that I had to bring those new things back to the States with me, so that they could grow in different ways. In many traditions, the stars were thought to be the spirits of the dead; those spirits who could now shine the light of their wisdom on their descendants.
I have moved back to R.I. and find that we are living in the old curate's house in Wickford. R. is out and I go for a walk. It is night, and I look up at the stars. There is a row of constellations spread across the whole arc of the sky, all of them shining brilliantly. I recognize them: they are all the constellations I have dreamed about through my years of study.
I lie down in the grass to keep the stars in sight, when suddenly I see Dorothy standing by an old wooden fence near the road. I consciously know that she is dead, but there she stands, obviously alive and definitely vibrant! There is a beautiful light surrounding her. She has come to tell me some important things about what I must do now that I am home.
After we finish talking, she tells me it's time to leave. I want to stay, but as I walk away, I look back at her once more. I see that she is different now. She has a gentleness and a numinous quality that makes me realize that she is a representative of the Goddess.
When Wisdom's daughters see our transformation in terms of the Divine Story, we do not become extraordinary as much as we begin to see that all life partakes of the Divine. This is what Jesus meant when he said that the Kingdom of Heaven is right here amongst us. Matter and Spirit are One, just as all people and species are one in the Earth's embrace. Wise daughters understand the meaning of our experience and respond to it with the innate wisdom being in touch with our inner truth elicits. Lady Wisdom invites us to develop new eyes with which to see our world, and understand our lives in the world. We need a new cosmic story that only Lady Wisdom can tell us. Letting this greater spirit infuse our awareness gives us the courage and the ability to find out just who we are and what we might become. The path of Wisdom challenges us to be our best selves, our most conscious selves, our most compassionate selves. What else makes life worth living?
From this look at the realms of Earth and Moon and Stars, we can see that, although the task is hard, the rewards of reconnecting with the Feminine Spirit are great. The Woman Clothed with the Sun combines these realms, for She is woman, earth and body made conscious by the light of solar consciousness. She stands on the Moon, taking Her standpoint from the ancient rhythms of life, allowing those rhythms to be lived consciously, allowing the dark, the unconscious, to have its say. She is crowned with Stars, for She knows the archetypal patterns that make up our humanity, and she lives out her individual destiny so that she can give birth to the Savior. We are the women who are learning from this image. We are the women whom this image wants to speak to.
Getting in touch with the rhythms of life is hard work for Father's Daughters, and we constantly fall back into an easier, familiar, goal-oriented, stressful schedule. But this is only half the picture. This is the masculine spirit of doing living within us. We also have to undertake the task of learning to be, of learning to listen to our instincts about what makes life worth living, of learning how to bring joy back into our lives once again. When we learn this lesson, we can start to re-learn doing, but this time our doing will come out of an authentic necessity of the Self. It is especially hard to go into the darkness of the Unknown, for we have lost the tools and the knowledge of the type of consciousness which can get us through the dark places. Luckily, the knowledge is not irrecoverable, for it is still imaged in the world around us and within us.
Now we will find that the rhythms, though ancient beyond measure, are still new. We are different from the peoples who came before, and yet we are the same. Now that we know what we have lost, perhaps we will honor the wisdom of the Feminine Spirit all the more once it is recovered. Gratefully, we have the ancient images to look back to, and we have our imaginations to help bring these images living into our modern world. This is the mystery and the reality of our task, which will be explored next as we look at the Dress of the Sun, because as Wisdom's daughters, we will be clothed in Light.
To connect to your own ‘star’ you need to understand who you are and what you value. It never hurts to get a good astrological reading which can help you work with the blueprint of your soul to find your unique purpose.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Understanding the Cosmic Story
The ancients used the sky as a tool, to tell time, to mark the changing seasons, to give direction, and to look into the present and the future. It was a star (or perhaps the conjunction of three or more planets) that prefigured and then led the wise men to the Christ Child. At the moment of our birth, there is also a special configuration of stars in the sky that symbolizes who we potentially might become. This is the astrological blueprint of our birth charts, which shows the dynamic interplay of cosmic rhythms and energies that form the patterns of our lives. As we become more conscious of the pattern, we participate to a greater degree in the unfolding of our destiny. We can use these star charts, just as the ancients did, as one way of understanding the meaning of the divine pattern manifesting itself in us. By looking to the configuration of the planets in the birth chart, our experience can be seen as a process of becoming, a dynamic energy flow. Just as you can keep track of your dreams in connection with the moon's cycle, you can track the energies at play in our star system and how they relate to you specifically through your birth chart.
Since July 1997 when Look Magazine’s cover story was on Astrology as a Blueprint for the Soul, people are paying more attention to astrology and the sky. At that time, over 48% of Americans believed in the efficacy of astrology. Today, the younger generation use astrologers the way baby-boomers went to therapists. Astrology has a long and illustrious history. Most of the philosophers and scientists of western society were astrologers, believing that we are indeed connected, not only to each other, but to the cosmos and its natural laws.
For example Pluto symbolizes the evolutionary energy of life, like the transformation sought by alchemy. Pluto is the Roman name of the god Hades, the Lord of the Underworld and of hidden wealth. All the tremendous energy of the unconscious, with its potential for destruction, for transformation and for richness of life, is symbolically focused through this planet. When Pluto moves through an astrological sign, it brings up what is old and outworn, twisted and dead so that the old forms get released and new forms are energized. On both a personal and collective level, this energy feels dark and extremely powerful. That's because our ego and our society does not like change, although evolution and change are the universal laws of life. Whenever we experience a transit of Pluto, we are forced to face what is dead in our lives, whether a relationship, a job, a belief system or a way of life. If we fight it, we feel as if we literally might die. If we open ourselves to the changes, new life comes into our lives. A few years before I ended my marriage of seventeen years, I dreamed of a Plutonian figure to whom I had to submit. I had to freely choose to face him and go through the initiation of death which he offered. Although divorce is a sad and often traumatic process to go through for all involved, it appears that this was the only way for me to die to my old life and be reborn.
On a collective level, this power wants to change our societal, collective forms of government, religion, relationships, education and social structures. For the first time in 240 years, Pluto moved into the sign of Capricorn in 2008-2009. The last time Pluto was in Capricorn was before the American Revolution. Capricorn rules government, corporations, our money system, our societal values. As you well know, this aspect of our collective life has significantly changed since 2008. We are seeing the beginning of the end of patriarchy. The old powers are fighting the changes, but in the end, we will have a different society. The hardships we are going through are really the necessity to evolve our cultural institutions. Once we have completed the process of change, we will have a society that values the feminine dimensions of life along with the masculine ones.
As we accept this dark energy of death and transformation and work with it, these energies will help us evolve our lives and our society. It helps immeasurably to understand that there are archetypal structures that will direct the energy flow for us. Once we stop projecting our shadow qualities upon people or countries that displease us, we will be able to let these forces work on us. If we become conscious partners in this rebirth, we'll see an easier transition in the collective culture. I sense that we linger on our fear of nuclear war and our war on terror because we have no images of a different world to take us beyond that point of destruction. Only our own psychological deaths and rebirths can give us the wisdom we need to create a healthy environment in which the whole world prospers.
Pluto is a symbolic representation of the archetypal patterns of death, rebirth and evolution. The planets represent the archetypal energies, the instinctual patterns of behavior, which are the very essence of what it means to be human. But the contents of the archetypes are not predetermined, and the ideal pattern includes the lowest as well as the highest consciousness available to our species. The old myths and stories show us the archetypal wisdom, but we have to remember that these myths can be transformed as we consciously live them out. Depending on the inherent potentials at birth, as well as the environment the soul is born into, each of us works out different patterns of being human and of being in relationship. This is how we manifest the "astrum" or star within. Every time we look up at the stars, we see that their ever-changing, yet basic, patterns shed light on our earthly existence, on each moment in ordinary time; yet the light that we see began its journey to earth millenniums ago. This light that we see is somehow eternal, for it deals with a different sense of time. The light and the wisdom of the stars are ancient, and knowing this helps us engage in life in an eternal context.
A 45 year-old woman, who was getting in touch with her feminine spirit, was becoming disenchanted with Christianity. Her religion was very important to her, and yet she began to realize that there was no longer any life and soul in the church for her. Her main worry in leaving the church was "Where do I go from here?" This dream showed her the emptiness she felt in church, and then gave her an experience of spirit when she left it.
I'm at my church for Easter service. There is no altar, just rows of seats. I wonder if I should stay to play the organ, but think, "God, I haven't played it for a year and a half." When I look for the music for "Jesus Christ is Risen Today" it is not there. They only have what I consider to be one-dimensional music there.
Later I'm outside with my mother, who is blind. I'm helping her up some wide steps. It is night, and the sky instantly lights up with all these stars. I'm just overcome by this - it's the biggest thing that's ever happened to me. Somehow, my mother can see all of this, too.
I'm looking at a constellation and far away I see stars exploding like fireworks. There are wonderful showers of green, red and yellow lights. I think, "This is a star bursting." The green sparks fall to earth and we're caught in the shower. As we move away I say, "We are blessed, we are blessed." I feel a real heightened consciousness.
This woman realized that for her the church no longer energized the appropriate feeling response about the rebirth of life, through the image of the Easter service without altar or music. The missing altar indicates a lack of sacred focus. The feeling connection, the passion of true spirituality, is represented by the beauty of the song she is looking for, "Jesus Christ is Risen Today." She wants to feel rebirth. Even though she feels as if her musical ability (feeling life) is rusty, she is willing to take the chance. But there is only 'one-dimensional music' in that church. She only finds the experience of rebirth imaged for her outside, in the night sky. As the star bursts (dies) it showers her with such feeling that she can exclaim, "we are blessed!" She stands there in a heightened consciousness with her blind mother, who is not denied this vision either.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Star Stories and the Evolution of Consciousness
The primary myths of all cultures are imaged in the stars and constellations. The North Star, our Polaris, has been known by many names in different cultures - the Lodestar, the Steering Star, the Ship Star, and Stella Maris - Star of the Sea - one of the Goddess' many titles. But in all mythologies it is the point that holds the universe together - the World Center.
Our own Big Dipper is in the constellation Ursa Major - the Great Bear. The ancient Greeks imagined two bears in the sky, the Great Bear and the Lesser Bear, our Little Dipper, as the maiden Callisto, a follower of Artemis, and her son by Zeus, Arcas. Many Native American tribes also see these same two constellations as bears, with hunters following them. The name for the brightest star in this constellation, Dubhe, comes from the Arabic Thahr al Dubb Al Akbar, meaning "the Back of the Great Bear." And in ancient Britain, this constellation was called King Arthur's home or Arthur's Chariot, and Arthur is connected to artois, the Bear.17
We are still in touch with the stars. A woman dreamed:
My husband and I are outside, in the front area of our yard. It is daytime and the sky is particularly blue. I look up and see the big dipper. I think this is odd, since it is full daylight. As I look, a new star formation forms where the big dipper had been. It is four stars in a square, and two at the bottom end of the square like a tail, not in the corner, but in the middle of the bottom. Then the stars began to shift position in unison, becoming horizontal, and descend to my yard. They become a tent - really, a canopy - in my front yard, with the four corners where the stars are becoming the four spots where the tent is staked to the ground. There is a luminous, bright side to the canopy. I see that other neighbors have tents in their front yards too, but these are actual tents, not canopies. I know my tent is a "center for peace." We will hold a ritual or discussion under the canopy.
This woman is welcoming change into her life. The unconscious offers her a vision of change that is not just for herself alone, but for everyone. When we see a constellation in the daytime sky it means that it is becoming conscious in the collective 'sky'. This woman is a channel for this energy. The change in the constellation means that an archetypal collective complex is changing. It becomes a square, which denotes manifestation. As I mentioned, the big dipper is often associated with bears, who carry warrior energy, but in service to life. The canopy represents sovereignty and power, as if this canopy covers the sacred person, marking a sacred space with power. In freemasonry, there's an image of a starry canopy that represents the heavens as a shelter and as a sacred space, a place of power. This woman is being offered the chance to change the archetype of the warrior. She is being called to be a spiritual warrior, who defends life. She is being called to her life's purpose. Her neighbors have regular tents, what we use when we go camping, when we rough it. The dream says that while others are experiencing these times as 'roughing it', this woman can offer them wise insights into their lives. She will open her 'canopy' to them for nurturing and healing.
Then there is my dream of seeing the Pleiades in the daytime sky. There are many myths about the Pleiades star cluster from all over the world. Many cultures use the rising and setting of the stars of this constellation to signal the beginning and end of the seasons, to time the sowing and harvesting of food, and to expect the rains. The Pleiades act as a calendar, setting times for these activities as well as festivals and ceremonies. There are also ancient references that make the Pleiades the marker for the precession of the equinoxes, which signal the changing of the astrological ages, most specifically marking the end of the 25,900 years of a Great Year. Along with the stars of the Great Bear/The Big Dipper, they are responsible for the timing and turning of the celestial wheel in the sky that determines the world's ages, including the destruction and recreation of the world. It makes sense that this star cluster is seen all over the world as the Keeper of Time, Fate and Destiny.
The Mayan calendars that all come to an end in 2012 also are based on the Pleiades as well as the planet Venus. On December 21, 2012, the Winter/Summer Solstice, the conjunction of the Pleiades with the Sun at its zenith was believed to mark the return of the Mayan Plumed Serpent God, whom the Aztecs called Quetzalcoatl. It seems that both the Sun and the Pleiades will mark a special alignment with the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, a rare event that only occurs every 25,800 years.18
Many ancient cultures believed that our ancestors came from the Pleiades. Since we know that this star cluster is younger than our own solar system, these stories must have another meaning. If we look at the galaxy as a whole, we could say that the center of the Milky Way Galaxy is the womb of the galaxy. We can also think about it as the root chakra of the galaxy. When we look across the universe we find that the Pleiades sit at the anti-Galactic center. We could call them the galaxy's crown chakra, the spiritual source of inspiration and wisdom. Whether we call them ancestors or spiritual guides, the energies of this galactic crown chakra seem to want to support life here on Earth. My dream of the Pleiades appearing in the daytime sky is similar to this woman's dream of the Big Dipper. Neither myself nor the woman knew any of this information when we had our dreams. But our relationship with Lady Wisdom opened us to receive these dreams. We each were gifted with an insight into the mysteries of the changing of the ages. We each have been touched by the mystical knowledge that these times we live in are important. As two of Wisdom's daughters, we have to find ways to use the wisdom and knowledge given us.
Each constellation tells a story of the human condition here on earth, yet different cultures saw similar stories in these sky pictures. Through these myths we are offered the wisdom of the ancients, as well as the wisdom of the archetypes. Yet how many of us take time to go out and look at the starry heavens with any knowledge of their ancient meanings?
Once, people used the stars to guide them on their way, just as sailors still use stars to guide them across the waters. Similarly, when we find ourselves in the darkness of the unconscious psyche, we need to find guiding lights to direct us. The unconscious psyche is that part of our psychic makeup which is still unknown to us, and also that part which is the vastness of the collective unconscious. Jung speaks of the regression of psychic energy back to the archetype itself. By this he means that as we trace back our complexes to our early personal history, we reach a point where we break through our personal unconscious material - that it, we become conscious of it and integrate it into our lives or leave it behind - to the collective aspect at its center - the archetype itself. This happens when we experience the breakdown of our old habits, the things that help keep our world in place, which give structure to our reality. As our old world view dies, and as our old personality starts to break up so that new and repressed parts of ourselves can come into life, we can directly experience the power of the archetype and let its images inform the new life within us. It is a question of chaos and form, of death and rebirth.
Just as the stars overhead help us to find out where we are and the way we have to go, the inner stars, which are the basic spiritual realities which manifest through the archetypal images, show us the way we need to bring our potentials into life. When we make direct, personal contact with the stars within - through dreams, fantasies and the flow of psychic energy in our bodies – our work is to give concrete and individual expression to their power, which we do with the help of that other more directed, naming, discriminating, individualizing consciousness that we have come to associate with the solar, masculine spirit. The image of the Woman Clothed with the Sun is so powerful exactly because she exemplifies this process of individualizing the spiritual life force within each person.