Symbol Reader’s posts are always insightful. Her development of a subject is resonant with my mind, and she draws upon sources that are wide culturally and often unfamiliar to me. Therefore, I look forward to every post.
A few of her recent explorations caught my mind and, as if like a boomerang, sent it flying. I’ve been waiting for the “ring” back. Those posts were:
- The Myriad Forms of Meaning (a quote from The Waking Dream by Ray Grasse)
- Where do you go after you’ve been to the moon?
- and The Shadow Archetype
In the first post, Meaning, through its myriad forms, is likened to a dismembered god. Osiris is given as an example. Why do we separate this from that, I pondered? Why is the whole not our default? “Spirit fractures into many parts. … In a sense, the archetypes can be regarded as fragmented aspects of our own being.” Why fragmentation?
“All symbols stand in relationship to the ground of Spirit, or Self-conscious awareness. We might say that any archetype expresses a particular trajectory relative to the Divine…” … “Through this act of Self-reflection, the Self not only regenerates its own existence, but all the existences of which it is aware.” Therefore, all existence is various symbolic presentations to awareness calling forth greater or deeper awareness, a trajectory of awarenesses. The Tibetan master, DK, calls this a “series of graded realizations.” The dismembered parts that once comprised a Whole might or might not be able to be stitched together again, but the puzzle of existence becomes increasingly obvious in the attempt to do so. Often in the classical myth/symbols, a piece is missing in the attempted reconstruction. With Osiris it was his penis. With the Buddha, it was desire that had to go missing. With Iktomi in the Native tradition, his cunning has to give ‘way to accepting what IS. He doesn’t do that easily or often! Yet in each case, a new wholeness is experienced, one that is always expanded.
The first post listed brings forward that we are Existence’s reflection, and existence is the reflection of self-aware awareness. Therefore, existence only exists to a Perceiver. Symbols only have meaning to the one who is inquiring. White light is white light only until a prism is placed in the beam or a crystal is hanging in a window. Something needs to happen for awareness to take note. This must be why insight, aha, intuition, or inspiration seem to happen out of the blue; and why every time it does we feel the happiness of awareness. Parts have come together.
Then, Symbol Reader, gave us the Moon, Wallace and Gromit, and the Maenads. Somehow it all made sense. First, I totally resonated with (and resembled) the happy couple. “Wallace is a bachelor with delightful quirks, a pair of timeless slippers and a cozy waistcoat. They live in a tiny cozy bubble of their own world, building bizarre contraptions together and not needing the outside world to be blissfully happy together.” I always have socks on for disabled dragging feet so they slide. I wear a blue fuzzy cardigan almost every day ten months of the year. It is probably 10 years old and quite threadbare. Recently, a Salvation Army kind of place had a fuzzy replacement, but I haven’t thrown away the tried and true just yet. I am most fortunate to live in a bubble: the Shangri-la of Spirit Fire, a meditative retreat center, and don’t leave “the mountain” too often. So, the personal touchés were glaring. That began a pondering. And then there were the Maenads.
I wondered if there was a relation between this word and the word monad. Greek origins, yes, but was there more? To quote Symbol Reader explaining the maenads, “Lunar darkness has to do with lunacy, depression, hysteria and compulsiveness – the mythical maenad within. The maenads, whose name meant “the raving ones,” followed the god Dionysus and were associated with orgiastic frenzy and a total lack of control. They were the antithesis to culture and civilization. They were said to devour raw flesh and they murdered King Pentheus by tearing him to pieces because he had banned the worship of Dionysus. There is uncontrollable lunar wildness in every one of us and the position of the astrological Moon may reveal more details on the extent of it.”
This was describing dakinis and the seeming non-civilized way of Being lived by the mahasiddhas and enlightened “lunatics” of the East. (See my series on Naropa and Tilopa from 2012.) The awakened ones had sloughed off external based passions and desires for a completely consuming one: the desire to end all suffering for all beings and therefore the non-compliance with anything that furthers entrenchment or imprisonment of Being. Dakinis are called “flesh devourers” and require that we fully engage how our passions are driving everything of our life. In other words, we must go face to face with how we are devouring the flesh of the spirit by f@%#ing our life away with silly pleasures and avoidances. In so doing, we come to understand the longing for bliss, the unmet promises to oneself, and the ignorant cherishing of the false ideas of permanence and identity itself. We must go mad to be monad. We must completely engage the full power of lunar wants to experience the sensual nature of our Nature. And doing so, we will be birthed by the Great Mother, the great Moon-Womb-of-Impermanence. In Buddhism, “she” is the Mother of Buddhas. In life, she is the spiritual insanity that has recognized that only those who engage crazy wisdom are sane. The world, duped by desire and ignorance, is who really is crazy. The Tao says similar and tells us to “look inside ourself” if we doubt it.
I know why I have a cardigan that is ten years old and why I live at a meditation center. I don’t need another sweater, one is enough and the world is crazy and makes me sad with its suffering even when residing in Shagri-la. So why would I leave and walk around in it except out of compassion and necessity? Thus, reading Symbol Reader’s thoughts on the Moon, my Moon, its lunar nature and sensitivities, personal identifications, and rationalizations-resonances all bayed loudly. The maenads stirred. Vajrayogini stared at me through all three of her Mother of Buddha eyes, and I smiled back with a bow.
The third stream that swirled me about was The Shadow Archetype. I was grateful for Symbol Reader’s expansion upon the quotes used because I disagreed with the first quote from author Haruki Murakami and with the definition of “shadow” from the Critical Dictionary. Like Symbol Reader, I, too, found these inadequate. But what was the inadequacy, I asked myself? It was the all or nothing quality of the quoted authors and the example from the Sopranos that troubled my mind.
The character played by James Gandolfini actually has no choice but to open the Pandora’s Box of his psyche, just like all of us. We can, in lunar fashion, think that we don’t have to, or that that can be done in a clean or neat way, but that is insanity again, and not of the spiritual kind. We all must bring our parts into the open so as to assemble them into a truer Whole. Thinking, like the Soparano, that he can get away with not doing so, is to sabotage his psyche, and even more damaging, is to live haunted from within and daily cultivate negative karma. And that is so for everyone, not just Mafioso. As we keep the lid of our psyche closed, muffle the inner calls of truth and authenticity, then we do ourselves karmic, psychic, and energetic harm, all the while interacting with others from those delusions. Harm again. As such, we are dismembered Osiris, we are Iktomi thinking he has outwitted a moment, we are Buddha emaciated but no smarter.
Only one of the three “woke up.” Buddha said to himself a version of “enough with this shit.” Enough with deluding myself and thinking that benefit will come from it. Maenad, monad, dakini, and crazy wisdom all collided under a May full moon for him. All the pieces came together. The rainbow is One not seven. Wholeness is always whole no matter its size, so stop looking for parts to add to it. These little realizations (graded and in series) are what are really in the Pandora’s Box of our psyche, not creepy weird things.
I am grateful to Symbol Reader for her blog. It always makes me ponder. Thanks, Monika!