Integrating the Feminine Principle,
Body, Soul and Spirit.
Wessex Psychotherapy Society, Southampton - September
Picture of Jacob's ladder
I would like to begin this talk with a dream because images can sometimes
convey more than words. Next, I would like to explore with you why I
feel the western psyche is unbalanced, how this imbalance arose over
the last 4000 years and the effects it has had on western civilisation,
leading to the political and ecological crisis that confronts us today.
Finally, I will attempt to show how, over the last fifty years, the
feminine principle has begun to be integrated with the masculine one.
We live in a time of immense danger but this time also offers us the
possibility of a crucial change in our understanding of life which the
integration of the feminine could effect. I hope that your questions
afterwards may develop these reflections in any direction that may interest
Jung said that we are partly fated and partly free and the measure of
our freedom is our capacity to relate to our fate. By the word relate
he meant insight into the circumstances we find ourselves in and the
ability to act on it. I think psychotherapy has increased our measure
of freedom as individuals by giving us greater insight into our
fate: it has given us a tool which can release us from the powerful
spell of unconscious complexes and it can release energy which can help
us to grow in directions that were not previously available to us. I
believe that insight into collective complexes can invite a greater
freedom for humanity by giving us a greater possibility of choice
and this is what my talk is about. As the present possibility of war
with Iraq suggests, we are in no sense free, rationally directed creatures
but are still bound by the spell of archaic and unconscious instincts.
Awareness of this fact gives us a measure of choice.
The dream was one I had about thirty years ago at the
end of a long Jungian analysis when I had applied to train as an analyst
myself. In the dream I was flying in a rocket to the moon. Arrived there,
I saw that a huge rusty iron structure, rather like the Eiffel Tower,
had been constructed on it, so huge that it rose high above its surface.
I then got onto a train that was strangely empty of passengers and travelled
over the lunar landscape. I saw from the windows that there had been
vegetation at one time but that this was now withered and dessicated,
like a landscape blasted by a nuclear bomb or shrivelled by a terrible
drought. I was shocked to see this and wondered what had happened. The
dream ended with my being propelled at great speed into a swimming pool.
I woke up with these vivid images imprinted on my memory and took the
dream to my analyst but he could offer no interpretation of what the
image of the dead planet and the rusting iron structure referred to.
However, I also mentioned it to Dr. Gerhard Adler, who
had worked closely with Jung in Zurich, when he interviewed me about
my application to train as an analyst. He gave me an interpretation
that immediately struck a chord with me. He said he thought the dream
was drawing attention to the neglected state of the feminine principle
or archetype - the moon being one of the primary images of that archetype.
He suggested that the dream was showing me the plight of the feminine
value, both in relation to myself and to the culture; the iron structure
was, in both cases, something that had been imposed on the deeper levels
of the psyche by the rigid control of the rational mind. Tactfully,
he suggested that more analysis was needed before I could be accepted
for training. I had to dismantle that iron structure and regenerate
the surface of the moon. So I began to work with another analyst, this
time a woman who had worked with Emma Jung, who was able to initiate
me into a deeper understanding of the feminine principle.
Chartres rose window
The Talmud says that a dream not interpreted is like a letter not read.
The best we can do is to read the letter and ponder its meaning. Over
many years of pondering, I realised that this dream was a wake-up call
from the soul and not only that. It was a warning of what could happen
to our planet if we didn't wake up to where our present course is leading
us. It drew me to explore the imbalance between the masculine and feminine
principles in Western civilisation and how this imbalance affects every
single one of us. It affects our values and how we educate and treat
our children. It affects science, medicine, psychology and how we conduct
politics; it affects the formulation of our aims and goals and all our
relationships with a wider world. Most important of all, it affects
the way we relate to life and to the universe. I began to understand
that many of the problems we now face were created by attitudes towards
the feminine principle that were formed centuries ago and have never
really been recognised and addressed. Summed up in a sentence, the main
problem is that we have lost our connection to soul, not only soul in
a personal sense but soul as an entity in whose greater life we participate
and through which we are linked to each other, and to the life of the
planet and the cosmos.
Feminine and masculine principles (see end notes)
When reading these, please remember that they are not gender specific.
Although certain qualities and attributes have been associated over
millennia with men and others with women, they are characteristics and
qualities that can be developed in both.
Today we live in a culture that has given overwhelming
preponderance to the masculine value and to mind and has neglected many
aspects of the feminine value, above all, the deepest longings of the
human heart. Technological progress, scientific advance and political
power have become the supreme goals. The human mind has virtually replaced
God: it no longer recognizes a dimension of reality beyond the physical
universe, nor any form of consciousness transcendent to its own. The
culture is driven by a predatory and rapacious ethos of competitive
struggle and the pursuit of power, conquest and control. Jung would
have said that the brutality and omnipotent fantasies of Saddam Hussein
reflect back at us the face of our unrecognised shadow. How did this
ethos and this belief system come to dominate our lives? To answer this
question, I need to go back several thousand years to uncover the influences
that have led to the formation of our present attitudes, beliefs and
Painting of Piero dela Francesca's Great Mother.
Once upon a time, the whole cosmos was seen and experienced as a living
being. The root of the concept of soul as a feminine, containing entity
or womb was the Great Mother or Great Goddess of the Bronze Age - a
goddess like Isis or Hathor in Egypt or Gaia in Greece. For many thousands
of years these goddesses personified the principle of relationship,
the interconnectedness and interdependence of every aspect of life,
above all, the sacredness of life. Stars, trees, mountains, rivers,
rocks - all were sacred and animated with spirit. Soul was the invisible
gossamer-fine web of relationships which connects our human lives in
ways which are not yet understood by science to the matrix of planetary
life and beyond that, to the immensity of the life of the universe,
perhaps to universes or dimensions as yet undiscovered The primary experience
of human consciousness prior to 2000 B.C. was participation in
an organic, sacred and living whole, a great sentient web of being.
Nature was seen as the visible manifestation of this unseen matrix or
web of life. The Earth was a Mother, a "thou", not an "it". It is this
sense of participating in, of belonging to a sacred universe that we
have lost. Interestingly, physicists have just discovered what they
call the 11th dimension - a membrane of limitless extent that may hold
within it an infinite number of parallel universes that are continually
coming into being and dissolving. It is, they say, invisible to us yet
right next to our skin. Physicists call this hypothesis M-theory - M
standing for Mother and membrane. (Horizon BBC2, February 2002) This
sounds very like a modern description of cosmic soul.
God the Father creating Adam and Eve(tapestry)
About 2000 B.C. the image of the Great Father begins to replace the
Great Mother as supreme creator. In Judeo-Christian culture the image
of God as Creative Mind or Creative Intelligence replaces the older
image of the Goddess as Creative Womb, the source of all forms of life.
The roots of this immense change lie in the Babylonian myth of creation
where the solar god Marduk kills the mother goddess Tiamat, splits her
dead body in half and creates heaven and earth from the two halves.
The Babylonian myth had a great influence on the formation of the Biblical
image of God which, in turn, gave Christianity the image of God that
has come down to us today. In relation to the psyche, this myth reflects
the emergence of the self-aware ego from the matrix of instinct - Marduk
being an image of the ego and Tiamat of the matrix of instinct. It also
marks the beginning of the process which, over the next 4000 years,
was to bring about the separation of spirit and nature and the polarisation
of the masculine and feminine archetypes. The primary experience of
human consciousness from this time until the present day has been one
of separation and increasing alienation from the matrix of nature and
instinct. The myth of the Expulsion from the Garden illustrates this
experience and the beginning of the perplexing awareness of duality
What were the effects of this tremendous shift in emphasis
from God (or Spirit) as Mother to God as Father? Why did it occur? I
think it occurred because at this stage in the evolution of consciousness,
the fragile ego needed the support of the masculine archetype to help
it emerge from the matrix of instinct, to strengthen and focus it. However,
the belief that God was male and paternal has had unrecognised effects
on the formation of the western psyche and western civilization. Creation
was believed to have been brought about by a God who was beyond it,
transcendent to it. All the emphasis was on God and obedience to God.
But as God moved further and further away from His creation, so earth,
nature and matter lost the sacredness which had once been associated
with the immanence of the divine in the manifest world. The religions
of the last two and a half thousand years, both eastern and western,
put the emphasis of their teaching on the rejection of human existence
on earth, the rejection of the body and natural instincts; the rejection
of woman. They drove a wedge between spiritual life and human life and
split the human organism into two irreconcilable parts, mind and body,
the controller and the controlled. Gender roles became fixed: man was
creative mind; woman was fertile womb. Spirit and nature, mind and body,
became fixed in opposition to each other.
Diagram of the Polarisation of Opposites (see end notes)
So a profound duality developed in our thinking. Eventually,
matter and nature came to be thought of as dead, without life, consciousness
or spirit: we could do anything we wanted to them. Instead of feeling
an instinctive sense of relationship and participation in the life around
us, we began to experience ourselves as separate from it, with the right
to dominate and control nature.
Over the course of 4000 years, everything traditionally
associated with the feminine principle - nature, matter, woman and body
- was devalued in relation to spirit, mind and man. Most importantly,
the idea of soul as the invisible connecting web of life which could
hold these two polarities together, was lost. The idea developed that
spirit was separate from and "above" nature; that man was spiritually
and mentally superior to woman and should rule over her, that thinking
was superior to feeling and that mind should rule over and control body.
Women were increasingly deprived of a voice and a role in patriarchal
culture. Until very recently, we have not heard woman's perspective
on life nor has woman's experience been considered of any relevance.
We have only heard man's perspective on life (in politics, religion
and science) and his definition of our place in the universe. Inevitably,
with the rise of science, it was believed that man should conquer and
control nature. These fixed concepts found their way from religious
beliefs into science and medicine and into social attitudes governing
men and women's relationship with each other. Human nature is immensely
conservative and, like an animal defending its territory, fiercely resists
any impulse to change. Once an idea has become established in religious
or scientific dogma, it is very difficult to change it. This can be
seen most clearly in relation to the current issue of women priests.
Because of the influence of this long formative experience
on western religion and science, western civilization developed an overwhelmingly
masculine character. In relation to the psyche, the conscious ego became
increasingly dissociated from and fearful of the matrix of instinct,
Increasingly, it came to identify itself with transcendent spirit. As
time went on, it became more and more inflated and omnipotent. The image
of the hero slaying the dragon - originally derived from the Babylonian
myth - became a metaphor for man's subjugation of nature and his own
instinctual nature. At the same time we have the appearance of mythologies
which dramatise the battle between good and evil and we also have the
image of the warrior-king vanquishing his enemies, first depicted on
Egyptian temple walls, later on Assyrian reliefs and with us still today
as a modern leader prepares to vanquish the "axis of evil".
Painting: God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit welcoming
the Virgin Mary.
Because of the process I have described, Christian Theology inevitably
took on a masculine bias. The Trinity was defined in wholly male imagery
although, in the earliest Jewish Christian communities in Jerusalem
and Alexandria, the Holy Spirit had been regarded as feminine. This
was one factor which helped to establish an imbalance in the western
psyche. This unique sixteenth century painting shows the Trinity welcoming
the Virgin Mary, thereby including the feminine in the image of the
Divine (making a Quaternity).
Tapestry of God with Adam and Eve
A second factor was the influence of the Myth of the Fall and the Doctrine
of Original Sin. The myth says that Eve was responsible for bringing
sin, death and evil into the world (because she listened to the serpent).
In Christian teaching, woman was identified with Eve. Woman, the body
and sexuality were demonised and became the target of every kind of
negative projection. (One has to read the documents of the Christian
Church from the Early Christian Fathers to Calvin to understand the
roots of misogyny in Christian culture). Repressed and greatly feared
instincts in men gave rise to negative projections that were directed
at women and their sexuality. The body was not loved and honoured but
despised and punished (even tortured) because of the carnality that
led to sin. Asceticism was equated with spirituality. In the fires of
the Inquisition the flesh was sacrificed in order to save the soul.
Sado-masochism became an established pattern of behaviour disseminated
through religious instruction.
Jung's painting of the Spirit above a World of War
The third factor which has contributed to an imbalance in the psyche
and the culture as a whole is the belief system of scientific reductionism
or scientific rationalism. Although, from the sixteenth century, science
developed in opposition to religion, it nevertheless carried forward
attitudes which were antithetical to nature, matter and the feminine
in general - attitudes that were deeply embedded in Christian beliefs
and social behaviour. The metaphor of conquest, control and dominance
that is so intrinsic to many aspects of modern science derives from
an attitude towards nature which regarded it as something insensate,
inferior to and separate from ourselves, that we are entitled to subjugate
and manipulate for our benefit. A modern physicist writes: "A fundamental
assumption of modern scientific inquiry is that the whole of reality,
at whatever scale we take it - as the whole universe, an animal, a tree,
or a stone - is a machine…Nothing whatsoever has any purpose…objects
or creatures do not have purposes; they merely have functions." (1) In scientific reductionism the ethos of dominance and control
has stifled the instinct for connection, relationship and participation.
Life has no meaning or purpose. There is nothing beyond the brain. (2)
I think that this belief system - erected over some four
centuries but deeply rooted in earlier beliefs - is what the towering
iron structure of my dream referred to.
Diagram of Effects (see end notes)
What are the effects of this belief system on the human psyche and on
our culture? As psychotherapists, I feel it is important to be aware
of this historical background when we approach the malaise in the modern
psyche, the mood of depression and powerlessness and the aggression
which are increasingly prevalent today, and the collapse of moral parameters
in the culture as a whole. Depression as I am sure you are aware, affects
some 25% of women and 12% of men in this country. Faced with an iron
curtain of denial, many people feel a deep, inarticulate despair. They
feel something is radically out of order.
I think the distress and disorientation of so many people comes from
the fact that there is nothing beyond the horizon of the human mind
to give them a sense of relationship with and participation in the life
of the universe and the life of the planet. Men and women and, above
all, children, are increasingly becoming the victims of a harsh, competitive,
uncaring ethos: women, in their desire to enter a world still entirely
controlled by men and because the feminine value has no clear definition
or recognition in our culture, are drawn to copy the model offered by
men and the obsessive focus on power, control and achievement. This
naturally creates great anxiety and stress. Above all, there is no time
When there is too great a repression of an instinctive
need and an obsession with power and control, whether in an individual
or in a culture, there will be an increasing polarisation of opposites
and, eventually, a volcanic eruption of feeling. I think we can understand
the events of September 11th as an eruption of the unconscious against
the whole ethos of domination and control that pervades modern culture
- including Islamic culture. To counter that horrific attack with another
demonstration of omnipotent power rather than with an increase of insight
into the despair and disorientation that lie behind it is, I believe,
the greatest mistake we could make, one that could cost us all that
we mean by civilisation.
Diagram of conscious and unconscious
In the past, the word soul carried great meaning: the work of the greatest
artists, architects, musicians, poets and mystics connected people with
the soul. Today, the focus of our culture is entirely on the external
world. It knows nothing of an inner, imaginal life, or of how to connect
with an invisible reality. What connects us to soul? Two aspects of
our nature: our instincts and our heart. What part of the body do you
touch when someone asks "Where is the seat of your feeling?" Most people
instinctively touch their heart or the centre of their chest. The heart
mediates the instinctive longing to seek relationship with the universe.
It is precisely through our instinctive longing to understand, our capacity
to feel and to imagine that we are most closely connected to nature
and the cosmos. It is feeling and intuition which make the connection
with a reality beyond the reach of the conscious mind, acting like a
plug connecting us to the socket of that deeper reality.
Jung was a shaman, a visionary and a pioneer in this field.
He saw his life work as building a bridge between two dimensions of
reality so that there could be an interchange, a dialogue, a relationship
between them. He felt that the integration of the lost or neglected
feminine principle with the dominant masculine one was crucially important
to the survival of our species. He believed that as long as mind and
instinctive soul, conscious and unconscious were dissociated from one
another, the dissociation would be projected into countless conflicts
in our personal relationships and the wider world.
The feminine principle carries the instinctive, feeling values traditionally
associated with the heart or the soul; the masculine principle carries
the questing, goal-defining, ordering, discriminating qualities associated
with rational mind or intellect. For several thousand years women have
carried the principle of soul and the feeling values of the heart; men
have carried the principle of mind - the ability to conceive ideas and
the power to bring them into manifestation in the world. But now, there
is a deep impulse to "marry" these two great principles within ourselves
and our culture, to become both healed and whole. This invites a much
greater insight into and a more compassionate understanding of our nature.
It is very difficult for men to trust feelings long regarded as inferior
to the rational mind. But it is also very difficult for women, having
for so long been regarded as inferior and emotionally unstable, to trust their deepest feelings, even to be aware of them.
Picture of the earth
The last 50 years have seen the birth and growth of a new paradigm -
a paradigm of reconnection born of the longing of the human heart
for a different way of living and a different vision of reality than
that offered by either reductionist science or conventional religion.
It can be seen as an evolutionary awakening of global proportions, a
reconnection with the soul: the activation of the feminine principle
expressed as the law of relationship and love. Jung said that "the ultimate
fate of every dogma is that it gradually becomes soulless…When a dogma
loses its vitality, it must perforce activate the archetype that has
always helped man to express the mystery of the soul." (3)
This awakening is summed up in the words of Chris Clarke,
Professor of Mathematical Studies at Southampton University:
"I believe now that our fractured society is longing
for a world in which the unity of humanity and the cosmos, the wholeness
of body, soul and spirit and the unity of the masculine and feminine
principles is valued, in which meaning is restored." (4)
The birth of this new paradigm can, I think, be traced
to three events: the first was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
which showed us the abyss of evil into which we had fallen in our omnipotent
desire to develop ever more powerful weapons. Secondly, Rachel Carson's
book Silent Spring, published in 1962. For the first time a woman's
voice was heard articulating the values which challenged the ruling
scientific belief that we could do what we wanted to nature with impunity.
She was the first to speak up in defense of nature and to use the expression
"web of life". Thirdly, in 1968, the miraculous view of our planet from
the moon gave us an awareness of the essential unity of humanity and
the beauty of our home in the universe. The very fact of an expedition
to the moon - image of the archetypal feminine - was significant.
The small seeds of change sown by these events and the
awakening soul of thousands of individuals are slowly bringing about
a change in the culture as a whole. I would like to look at several
areas where new ideas and new values are appearing.
1. The Recovery of the Feminine Dimension of the Divine
The "goddess movement" has been mediated by women deeply disturbed by
the absence of the feminine dimension of the divine in the image of
the Judeo-Christian god-head.
In 1950, in response to a document signed by 8 million
Catholics, a Papal Bull declared the Virgin Mary to be assumed, body
and soul into heaven. Four years later she was named Queen of Heaven.
Interpreting the symbolic implications of this event, Jung anticipated
that the feminine archetype or principle, personified by the Virgin
Mary, was raised to the level of spirit and that this sacred marriage
of the masculine and feminine archetypes heralded a profound transformation
of human consciousness which would soon be given expression in the collective
life of humanity. In further confirmation of this rising impulse in
the collective psyche, in August 1997, a petition was presented to the
Pope asking for the Virgin Mary to be made co-redemptrix with Christ.
2. The Emergence of a New Image of Reality mediated
A new scientific hypothesis, derived from Quantum Physics, suggests
that our consciousness does not begin and end with the brain but is
part of a primary consciousness, a great sea of being that has been
named as quantum reality (quantum vacuum or quantum plenum or, more
recently, Metaverse). A new concept of spirit is emerging, not as something
remote from ourselves but simply all that is, invisible and visible.
This idea may be shocking to some but is immensely exciting to others.
The second exciting idea is that consciousness is primary, not something
generated by the brain but something that the brain has access to and
processes, which apprehends it in a way similar to how a radio converts
radio waves into audible sound. See Amit Goswami, The Visionary Window,
3. Extending the Boundaries of the "Rational" to include
the "Non- Rational".
The interest in the near-death experience. The question of the survival
of consciousness after death. Einstein said: "The paranormal is the
normal of tomorrow." This interest reflects something that is essential
to our spirit of exploration and cannot be censored or repressed.
4. The Resacralisation of Nature
The recovery of the ancient instinctive awareness of the interdependence
and interconnection of all things. Beginning of a sense of responsibility
towards other species. The image of the ancient goddess of Earth restored
in James Lovelock's concept of Gaia. Friends of the Earth. Certain scientists
and philosophers are beginning to challenge what someone has called
"the biggest con job in the history of human thought - the idea that
matter and nature are dead, mindless, unfeeling, and disconnected from
ourselves." (5) The understanding is growing that
"Matter tingles with the spark of spirit and therefore nature, in all
its forms and glory, is sacred to its deepest roots." (6)
5. The Recovery of the Soul: the growth of interest
in psychotherapy and the many ways to heal human suffering. A deeper
understanding of the psyche and the development of insight into where
we are still controlled and driven by un- conscious complexes. The uncovering
of the appalling suffering of children.
6. The Delight in the Body and the Removal of Guilt
The reconnection with instinct; a Dionysian eruption of sexuality and
eroticism and a release of creative energy in both men and women. Delight
in cooking, gardening, singing, dancing. At the same time an absence
of moral values whose dark side is manifested in promiscuity, pornography,
paedophilia and violence.
7. Woman's Growing Sense of her Value and her increasing
participation in the culture - to its enormous enrichment. Freedom to
follow any career.
8. The Changing Relationship between Men and Women.
Partnership instead of control and subservience. Men are no longer so
contemptuous of and frightened of women. Women are no longer so dependent
on men for financial support.
9. Healing the Mind/body Split: Traditions of healing
brought to Europe and America from China, Tibet, India: Indian (ayurvedic);
Chinese (acupuncture, herbal medicine) have formed the basis of what
is called Alternative or Complementary Medicine. The focus of this medicine
is the treatment of body and soul as a single organism and the prevention
10. The Influence of Eastern traditions on the West:
Hinduism, Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism; Sufism. The idea of a direct
path of communion with a transcendent order of reality unmediated by
priests. Many Buddhist, Taoist and Hindu and Sufi texts have been translated
by individuals from the West as well as the East. Many teachers from
the East have established centres in the West. Influence of Yoga, Chi
11. The Integration of Different Races, Religious Traditions
and Ethnic Groups. The growth of a multi-cultural society.
12. The Awakening of Compassion for the poor, the
deprived, the exploited of the world. Growing pressure on governments
to act ethically and with the welfare of the planet in mind. Participation
(through witnessing on TV the suffering of people remote from ourselves).
Awareness of the outrageous suffering of the victims of war and
Each of these influences and many more which there is
no time to address in this talk are healing the dissociation in the
psyche and the culture between spirit and nature, mind and soul, and
between the conscious personality and the deeper instinctive matrix
of the psyche. They cannot really be separated from each other because
each is intrinsic to a psychic impulse that I would call the recovery
of the feminine principle. It is to be expected that the emerging paradigm
will be fiercely resisted because entrenched habits of thought and behaviour
die hard. Moreover there are billions of people who are not aware of
these issues and who have no means of access to them.
There is also a negative aspect to this awakening. The
weakening of the Christian belief system and the obsessive materialism
that is the offshoot of scientific rationalism are threatening to some
and addictive to others: the collapse of the old order arouses fear
and activates the survival instinct and the defensive and aggressive
responses associated with it. Some people succumb to drugs and to hopelessness
and despair or to acquiring more and more things; others are drawn to
the security of fundamentalism; others regress to totally unconscious
and predatory ways of behaving.
The Coronation of the Virgin (Agnolo Gaddi)
As this deep soul awakening gathers momentum, the integration of the
feminine value with the ruling masculine one is beginning to change
our perception of reality. What is being birthed in the culture today
is, I think, anticipated in this fifteenth century painting. Christ
personifies the highest level of insight we are capable of attaining,
the greatest capacity for insight, wisdom, compassion and relationship
with each other. Here we see the feminine principle, personified by
the Virgin Mary, honoured, valued and, as it were, raised to conscious
awareness by the man who embodied the most complete and conscious integration
of the masculine and the feminine principles in his teaching.
The voice of the feminine, whether spoken by man or by
woman, speaks on behalf of life, on behalf of nature, on behalf of the
great web of life that is soul. It is a voice which seeks to protect
and cherish life rather than to exploit and manipulate it for our own
advantage. It is a voice that seeks to make conscious and defuse the
immense power of the survival and tribal instincts which still hold
us enslaved to predatory patterns of behaviour and to replace them with
patterns of trust, caring and relationship. It is a voice which seeks
to heal the old wounds which fester still in the unconscious of the
Man looking into space
The awakening of the soul is helping us to formulate a new vision of
reality. It is a vision that takes us beyond an outworn paradigm where
we were held in bondage to beliefs and attitudes specific to race, nation,
religion or gender. It is a vision that offers us a totally new concept
of spirit as an energy field - a cosmic sea of being - as well as the
creative consciousness or organising intelligence of that sea or field,
and a totally new concept of ourselves as belonging to and participating
in that consciousness. It is a vision that recognises the sacredness
and indissoluble unity of life and imposes on us the responsibility
to become far more sensitive to the effects of our decisions and our
actions. It invites our recognition of the needs of the planet and the
life it sustains as primary, with ourselves as the conscious servants
of those needs. Above all, it is a vision that asks that we relinquish
our addiction to violence and the pursuit of power; that we become more
aware of the dark shadow cast by this addiction which threatens us with
ever more barbarism, bloodshed and suffering, leading ultimately to
the possible extinction of our species.
The crisis of our times is not only an ecological crisis
but a soul crisis. The answers we seek will not come from the limited
consciousness which now rules the world but from a deeper understanding
born of the union of heart and head, bringing the recognition that all
life is one, that each one of us is a marvel, an atom in a cosmic body
of immeasurable extent. The urgent need for this psychic balance, this
profound intelligence and insight, this wholeness, is helping us recover
a perspective on life that has been increasingly lost until we have
come to live without it - and without even noticing it has gone - recognising
nothing beyond the human mind. It is a dangerous time because it involves
the disintegration of long-entrenched belief systems and institutions.
But it is also an immense opportunity for evolutionary advance, if only
we can understand what is happening and why.
We can choose whether to imitate the patterns of the
past, continuing to live our lives in servitude to the power principle,
however subtly expressed, or we can choose relationship with life, respect
for life, love of life, and the immense advance of consciousness we
need to make to understand and serve its mystery. After so many billion
years of evolution, it is simply unacceptable that the beauty and marvel
of the earth should be ravaged by us through commercial greed, the destructive
power of our weapons or the misapplication of our science and technology.
It is inconceivable that our extraordinary species which has taken so
many million years to develop a physical vehicle for consciousness out
of the life of the planet, should destroy itself through a deliberate
or inadvertent act of violence. The choice - and we do have a small
measure of choice - is ours. So, in the way that an oak can grow from
an acorn, all this grew from my dream of the desolate surface of the
moon and the rusting iron structure erected on it by man.
1. Ravi Ravindra (Prof.), Science
and the Sacred, Quest Books, 2002
2. Christian de Quincey, Radical Nature:Rediscovering
the Soul of Matter, Invisible Cities Press, 2000 "This philosophy
expresses the terrible poetry of a meaningless universe, rolling along
entropic channels of chance, blind and without purpose, sometimes accidentally
throwing up the magnificence and beauty of natural and human creations,
but inevitably destined to pull all our glories asunder and leave no
trace, no indication that we ever lived, that our lonely planet once…reached
out to the stars. It is all for nothing… such is the plot and substance
of modern science boiled down to its bare essentials."
3. Aion, CW 9, par. 126
4. Chris Clarke, from notes for a presentation
at the Scientific and Medical AGM, 2002
5. Larry Dossey, quote from the back cover of
6. Christian de Quincey, Radical Nature: Rediscovering
the Soul of Matter "Matter is inherently sentient all the way down.
Therefore, nature, the cosmos - matter itself - is inherently and thoroughly
meaningful, purposeful and valuable in and for itself. Nature, we must
see, is sacred." (p. 260)
THE FEMININE PRINCIPLE
The archetypal pattern of:
Concepts associated with the Feminine:
The soul (personal and universal)
contrasted with doing)
Primary images associated with the Feminine:
sea and water
heart (seat of feeling)
right hemisphere of brain
rose and lily, dove
the circle or sphere
red and black colour
Innate faculties associated with the
instinct, intuition, emotion, feeling
to nurture, protect, cherish
Highest attributes associated with the
Justice, Wisdom, Compassion, Love
THE MASCULINE PRINCIPLE
The archetypal pattern of:
orientation towards a goal
contrast to Being)
Primary Images Associated with the Masculine:
left hemisphere of brain
breath, air & wind
straight line, square
Innate faculties associated with the
Thinking: linear, logical, analytical
to focus on a goal
to bring ideas into manifestation
to exercise control; self-control
Highest attributes associated with the
Justice, Insight, Discrimination
PARTICIPATION - PRIOR TO 2000
Creation emerges from womb of Great Mother
Earth and Cosmos are sacred
Human beings experience themselves as living within an organic, sacred
and living cosmos.
SEPARATION - AFTER 2000 B. C.
God is transcendent to Creation
Earth is a place
of punishment for primordial sin (in the Christian teaching)
Man is no longer
part of Divine Order
The Polarisation of Opposites in
the Phase of Separation
1. Our concept of God or Spirit contains
no feminine dimension. The Christian Trinity was defined in wholly male
2. With the loss of the feminine image
of spirit, the concept of soul as an invisible, all-embracing dimension
of reality was lost. Nature, matter and earth were progressively desacralised.
3. The Myth of the Fall and the Doctrine
of Original Sin had a huge impact on the Christian psyche. Woman, the
body and sexuality were effectively demonised and became the target
of every kind of negative projection.
4. Scientific Reductionism (Rationalism)
was the end-result of this 4000 year historical process.
The Awakening of the Soul today is
creating new values:
A growing sense of responsibility towards the planet.
A new concept of Spirit as both creator and creation - as the consciousness
of the universe, our planet and ourselves.
A recognition of the inter-connectedness and inter-dependence of
all aspects of life.
An effort to heal the mind/body split and the realisation that the
emotions are the factor which connects each to the other.
A deeper understanding of the psyche and the growth of insight into
where we are still controlled by unconscious complexes.
The emergence of a different quality of relationship between men
a new awareness
of the suffering and needs of children
An awareness that we need to treat animals with greater compassion.