THE LUNAR AND SOLAR HERO
A Philosophical and Psychological Approach
Symposium on Mythos and Logos, Ikaria, Greece June 17th-20th, 2005
copyright ©Anne Baring
The word 'myth' is generally used today to describe something that is
false, unreal, unproven—a fantasy. But myth in its original Greek
sense is a mighty belief system that can structure and influence a whole
culture. Certain myths from the ancient past act as powerful belief
systems whose subtle influence endures for thousands of years and is
still active in the modern psyche. One of these is the myth of the solar
hero who, in Greek mythology, is represented by the sun god Apollo,
as well as by Prometheus and other heroes. Viewed from a historical
perspective, solar mythology has inspired the quest for knowledge, truth
and freedom. It lies at the very root of western civilisation and has
been the driving force behind its longing to transcend all limitations,
to alleviate the blind suffering and ignorance of the human condition.
But its shadow aspect has been tragically focussed on the goal of conquest,
power and dominance. The Greek philosophers and playwrights knew the
importance of honouring the archetypal dimension of the gods, and the
danger of hybris but we, with our belief in the omnipotence of the rational
mind, and our loss of relationship with any dimension beyond it, have
forgotten their ancient wisdom. Unaware of the power of myth to influence
our decisions and actions in the world, we may fall victim to that state
of psychic inflation or hybris that the story of Ikaros illustrates.
We may ignore the message of Sophocles, in his great play Oedipus the
Tyrant where Tiresias says to Oedipus: “You have your sight, but
do not see what evils are about you.” No-where is this hybris
and blindness more apparent today than in the sphere of politics.
In this paper I would like to share with you my fascination
with the myth of the solar and also the lunar hero, reflect on the influence
they have had on our psyche and draw attention to the danger of mythic
inflation when we identify ourselves with the role of the solar hero
without being aware of its shadow aspect.
I will focus first of all on solar mythology. The most
important image in solar mythology is the sun and light. Gold is the
solar metal; the lion is the solar animal, just as the bull and the
serpent are lunar animals. The theme of solar myth is escape from the
bondage of mortality and ascent to the light. It carries the Promethean
longing for knowledge, for power, for freedom, the longing to go beyond
all constraints and limitations, to reach higher, go further. One could
say that humanity itself is the ultimate solar hero, struggling to survive
through countless generations, searching for the reason for our presence
on this planet. Naturally we remember and celebrate those heroes whose
vision takes us beyond the present horizon. The struggle for greater
consciousness, greater understanding is heroic. Solar heroes are courageous
explorers of the unknown who, like Prometheus, face great risks to achieve
incredible goals. They often have to stand against the values of their
culture, even to sacrifice their lives in pursuit of their vision. Solar
mythology carries with it an impulse for change, progress and transformation.
The solar hero is the individual who stands out from the mass of humanity—in
whatever his field may be. He shines like a god. He redeems. He brings
great gifts which bring solace, enlightenment and advance to humanity.
Obviously there is a great range of solar heroes: Christ is a solar
hero whose title is “The Unconquered Sun.” In the field
of science, Einstein is a solar hero; in that of music, Mozart. The
astronauts are solar heroes. Gandhi and Nelson Mandela are solar heroes.
There are also the lesser heroes of popular culture — those who
have achieved fame and wealth through their talent — such as pop
stars and footballers. Solar mythology is overwhelmingly male because
it is the male psyche which has been the creator of civilisation over
the last 5000 years and it is the names and achievements of exceptional
men which have been remembered and which have inspired other men. Yet,
today, women, in their struggle to find a place and a voice in a culture
entirely dominated by men, are taking on the role of solar heroes. One
example is the yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur; another is Wangari Maathai
who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2004. In the field of politics,
we have Condaleeza Rice.
But to understand the root and origin of solar mythology,
we need to go back to lunar mythology which was far more ancient and
enduring. The moon has been the inspiration of the greatest myths and
stories to emerge from the human soul. Lunar mythology has its origins
in an unrecorded past — going back at least 40,000 years —
and is the foundation of the Bronze Age civilisations of Egypt, Mesopotamia
and Greece. The major theme of lunar mythology is death and regeneration—sometimes
expressed as resurrection or return from the underworld. The Egyptian
myth of Isis and Osiris, the Eleusinian Mysteries of Greece, and the
later Christian myth all carry this same ancient theme of lunar mythology;
all endured for thousands of years.
In the ancient world the moon was our great teacher. The
long observation of the moon gave us an image of cyclical time; it laid
the foundation for astronomy, mathematics and a way of thinking that
observed the relationship between different orders of life. For hundreds
of generations people watched the night sky and studied the formation
of the stars. They saw the moon appear as a crescent, wax to fullness,
then wane and disappear into darkness and re-appear after a three day
absence. They related the cycles of the moon to the seasons of the year
and they related these in turn to the cycles of planting and reaping
the crops and to the cycles of their own lives—youth, maturity,
old age and death. This long observation of the moon gave them an instinctive
sense of connection with the life of the cosmos, and with the earth’s
cyclical process of death and regeneration. The return of the crescent
moon after the three days of darkness laid the foundation for trust
in the survival of the soul and the renewal of life after apparent death.
Most importantly, lunar mythology held both light and darkness in relation
to each other because the totality of the moon’s cycle contained
both light and darkness and therefore symbolically embraced both life
and death. In lunar mythology, death is not final and terrifying but
a rite of passage between the manifest and hidden dimensions of life.
Shamanic rituals kept alive the sense of connection between these two
dimensions. Poets, artists, philosophers and musicians received their
inspiration from an invisible dimension of which the moon was the symbol.
In the Neolithic era the labyrinth was the great symbol
of the pathway connecting this world with another, the path that the
souls of the dead took into the womb of the Great Mother and from which
they returned again to this world in a new phase of life. We need to
remember this when we think of Theseus making the hero’s journey
into and out of the labyrinth.
It is possible that the idea of sacrifice or propitiation
of the powers of darkness developed originally in order to ensure the
return of the crescent moon. The lunar hero was the one who could rescue
the crescent moon — the maiden — from the darkness of the
underworld or the power of the dragon that was associated with the dark
phase of the moon. When Hermes fetches Persephone from the underworld
and restores her to Demeter, he is following in the footsteps of the
lunar hero. Perseus is a lunar hero when he rescues Andromeda from the
dragon. Out of this lunar experience, rituals developed where a man
or woman who personified the life of the crops was sacrificed —
possibly at the dark of the moon — to ensure the return of the
crops in a new cycle or to regenerate the life of the community. We
hear echoes of this ancient rite of sacrifice in the rape of Persephone.
In certain places, the king was sacrificed if he showed any sign of
sickness or weakness or if sickness had fallen on the community—as
in the story of Oedipus. We find this theme carried forward into the
Biblical idea that the ritual sacrifice of a scapegoat – whether
human or animal - would remove sin and evil from the community. Lunar
mythology carries with it the very ancient idea of sacrifice and redemption.
We find this transmitted to the Christian myth and it is still unconsciously
acted out today whenever we sacrifice the life of an enemy in the belief
that his death will protect and prolong our life..
Out of this archaic lunar experience grew the seven great
themes of heroic myth which are deeply rooted in Mediterranean culture.
The theme of the dying and resurrected god
The theme of the descent into the underworld and the return
The theme of sacrifice and redemption
The theme of the struggle with a superhuman adversary - a dragon, serpent
The theme of a journey and the quest for a priceless treasure
The theme of the rescue of a maiden and a royal marriage
The theme of the birth of the divine child
These seven lunar themes are all present in Greek myth.
All are carried forward into the Christian hero myth and all are present
in the alchemical tradition.
I want to spend a little longer on lunar culture because
it reflects the primordial matrix or foundation out of which our present
kind of consciousness has evolved. In the greatest civilisations of
the ancient world there was a stairway between the human and the divine.
The earth and the cosmos were addressed as “Thou”, not “it.”
People felt they participated in a great cosmic Mystery to which they
belonged. People experienced the divine as immanent in the material
world, present in the temples they built to worship their goddesses
and gods. Nature and cosmos were ensouled with divine presence and were
imagined as a Great Mother, the source or womb of All. I will use just
one example to illustrate this fact. Hera was originally a moon goddess
and the greatest female deity in Greece — addressed as Panthon
Genethla — the origin of all things. She is not the Hera
we know from the Iliad but the Great Goddess whose temple presided over
the plain of Argos. Hera’s temple was to the Greeks of 1000 BC
what the temple at Jerusalem was to the people of Israel: it was the
sanctuary and spiritual focus for the whole land.
Ceremonies like those at Eleusis strengthened the sense
of participation in a divine reality and gave initiates an experience
of the immortality of the soul. People communicated with gods and goddesses
in dream and vision and entered into dialogue with them as they do in
the Odyssey. Birds were recognised as messengers of that dimension,
very possibly because people dreamed about them in this role: we may
remember Athena taking the form of a sea-eagle or swallow as she guided
Odysseus home to Penelope. Oracles like those at Delphi and Dodona were
consulted as a way of listening to the guidance of an unseen reality.
Rites of incubation and healing were practised in many sanctuaries such
as that of Epidauros. Dreams and visions were of great importance in
the diagnosis and healing of disease. Music was used to heighten receptivity
to the presence of that invisible dimension, a world that was considered
to be the foundation of this world and as real as this one. In lunar
culture, the visionary imagination was nourished and developed. Everything
was connected, everything was sacred. The idea of relationship was supremely
In the sixth century bce the greatest of the Pre-Socratic
philosophers — in my view Pythagoras and Parmenides — kept
alive this lunar consciousness and were the last protagonists of it.
The original role of the philosopher was to travel through the veil
of our "normal" consciousness to the invisible dimension that
underlies the visible world and bring back what was seen and heard in
that encounter to teach the human community how to align ts life with
the sacred life of the cosmos. This experience was their most important
Many of you will know that Parmenides wrote an extraordinary
poem that describes his journey into the Underworld — riding in
a chariot drawn by mares through great gates that stretched from earth
to heaven, and his encounter with one whom he calls simply "Goddess"
although we know that her name was Persephone. He was her messenger
– bringing back into this world the wisdom she taught him in another.
Parmenides' poem reveals that he was a master of the shamanic
rites of incubation and that his writings about Truth, Justice and the
right ordering of human existence were not the creation of his "rational
mind" in the Platonic sense, but were derived from his encounter
with a dimension of reality that he calls “the vast and dark unknown.”
It also reveals that the great divide which has grown up between the
rational and the non-rational in our culture did not exist for him and
does not need to exist now. It is the creation of our ignorance of a
dimension of reality that we have lost all knowledge and experience
of. For Parmenides and Pythagoras, the word philosophy did not suggest
an intellectual discipline but an experience that involved the whole
of their being, that led to completeness and freedom as well as to wisdom.
With the loss of the breadth of that vision, everything has become distorted.
Three ancient titles described these initiates of the
vast and dark unknown: the title Iatromantis meant a healer
of a particular kind, one who could enter a dimension of consciousness
that is beyond waking and dreaming yet is mysteriously present in both.
The title Phôlarchos meant 'Lord of the Lair' or master
of the technique of incubation through which they gained their power
to heal and to teach. The title Ouliadês meant 'priest
of Apollo' - an Apollo who was not the god of light but a god of darkness,
associated with healing, the underworld and death, who presided over
the caves where the rites of incubation were practised at dead of night.
A chain of shaman-healers who called themselves the “Sons of Apollo”,
descended from Parmenides for some 500 years. But he in turn was taught
by a Pythagorian called Ameinias. The names of these heroes have recently
been discovered at Velia in Southern Italy — the city where Parmenides
lived and taught.
I hope I have made clear to you the essence of lunar mythology.
I think you can understand that, at the highest level, the lunar hero
made the shamanic journey into another dimension and brought back healing
and teaching from it for the enlightenment of the people. This theme
and the imagery is intrinsic to Orphic myth and underlies all those
Greek myths that speak of the hero’s journey into the underworld,
his meeting with or guidance by a goddess or royal maiden, his struggle
to subdue a great dragon or serpent, his return with a treasure, and
his marriage to a king’s daughter. We find it marvellously told
by Apollonius of Rhodes in the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece.
The Odyssey is impregnated with this lunar theme which can be followed
in the trials and initiations of Odysseus, in the guidance he receives
from the goddess Athena and his reunion with Penelope.
From about 2500 BC, however, we enter a different world, the world of
solar mythology, and a new phase in the evolution of human consciousness
which is focused on the emergence of the conscious or rational mind.
Linear time begins to replace cyclical time. The solar hero does not
strive to descend into the darkness, assimilate its mysteries and return
with the treasure of insight and wisdom. He strives to conquer and overcome
the darkness, to kill the dragon, to associate himself with the light
in the battle against darkness and evil. The emphasis is no longer on
relationship with another world but on the mastery of nature: the solar
hero is a victorious warrior and conqueror. In this phase — which
has lasted until the present time — the male hero stands over
against nature, attempting to conquer, dominate and control it. Good
and evil, light and dark, life and death are polarised—perceived
as opposites inimical to each other. George W. Bush’s desire to
eliminate the “Axis of Evil” and his words: “Those
who are not with us are against us” have their distant origins
in this new solar mythology.
Now the older Bronze Age vision where the Great Goddess
or Great Mother presided gives way to the Iron Age emphasis on the supremacy
of male gods and ultimately the image of the Great Father God. In Greece,
the ancient lunar goddesses like Hera and Demeter whose cults had their
roots in the Neolithic era are overshadowed by Zeus and his brothers
who now rule the sky, sea and underworld. There is a radical change
of emphasis in mythology from the feminine to the masculine archetype.
During this era, whatever is named as feminine, whether nature, body
or woman, is downgraded in relation to the masculine: light and good
are associated with the masculine, darkness and evil with the feminine.
Women lose the position they held in lunar culture and are regarded
as an inferior creation to man. Eventually, their ancient role as priestess
is barred to them. At the same time, we hear of the hero who is invincible
in battle, and a warrior ethos that glorifies war and conquest, a theme
that is vividly portrayed in the Iliad. Throughout this time there are
wars between city-states and the rise of huge empires—Babylonian,
Assyrian, Persian, Greek and Roman.
The first written record of this change in mythology is
the Sumerian story of the hero Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, and his battle
with a great monster called Humbaba. Gilgamesh is warned by the gods
in dreams not to proceed with this heroic adventure because Humbaba
has been appointed by the gods to guard the great cedar forests of the
Lebanon. But Gilgamesh defies the gods and, with the help of his companion
Enkidu, kills Humbaba and cuts down the forest. Enkidu dies and Gilgamesh,
heartbroken at the loss of his friend, sets out on a heroic quest for
the Herb of Immortality. This is the earliest story of the quest and
we find the same theme reflected in later Greek myths. There is a fascinating
connection between Gilgamesh and Odysseus: Gilgamesh celebrates his
marriage to the goddess Inanna by making a bed for her from the wood
of a special tree that was sacred to her. Odysseus, before he sets out
to join Agamemnon in the war with Troy, carves a marriage bed for Penelope
out of olive wood, the tree sacred to Athena.
Then, a thousand years after Gilgamesh, the Babylonian
Myth of Creation tells of a mighty battle between the god Marduk and
a great goddess-dragon called Tiamat. Marduk kills Tiamat, splits her
body in half and creates heaven and earth from them. This is a new and
violent creation myth which was hugely influentual on later cultures,
particularly on Greek culture. Marduk provided the model for all heroes
The theme of a great battle between a hero-god and a dragon
or monster is transmitted from Mesopotamia to the mythology of Persia
and Greece. In Persia the story is told of a mighty battle between the
forces of light and darkness and the ultimate victory of light over
darkness. In Greece we hear of the sun god Apollo killing the She-dragon
that guarded the sacred spring at Delphi. And the myth of Perseus overcoming
the Gorgon with the help of Athena and, of course, the famous myth of
Theseus and the Minotaur.
Sung by the bards, they were heard by the people as heroic
tales that glorified the power of an individual with the god-like strength
who is able to subdue and vanquish a terrifying and powerful adversary.
This was the image that entered deeply into the male psyche and inspired
it to achieve great heights of heroism. We find it in the Old Testament
in the story of David and Goliath and it is with us still today in the
many struggles to overcome tyranny and establish justice.
However, the solar myth provided the archetypal imagery
for the tribal and national conflicts that are still with us today.
From the blood stained triumphs of Sargon of Akkad in 2300 BC to the
contemporary tragedy unfolding in the Middle East, we can follow the
cosmic battle between light and dark, good and evil projected into the
arena of the world through four thousand years of tribal warfare and
In the record of western civilisation, history becomes
the record of an endless series of battles and a succession of warrior
solar heroes from Achilles to Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar to
Napoleon, Hammurabi to Saddam Hussein. We hear of the rise and fall
of a succession of great empires and everywhere, massive sacrifice of
life. For over 4500 years, under the influence of solar mythology, war
has been glorified as the noblest activity for man; victory and the
spoils of war the coveted treasure to be won in battle, courage in battle
the supreme virtue in man. Wherever today we find the tendency to omnipotence
and grandiose ideologies of empire and world domination, we find the
influence of solar mythology and the inflation of political leaders
who unconsciously identify themselves with the role of the solar god
or hero who brings light to the world and eradicates evil or darkness.
If we place this solar myth in the context of the psyche
I think we can understand that the myth of the solar hero describes
the Promethean effort of our conscious rational mind or ego, our sense
of self and individuality to achieve separation from the matrix of the
older, primordial, purely instinctive level of the psyche. This supreme
effort is carried by the outstanding individual who stands out from
the collective life of the tribe. In solar mythology, the hero’s
struggle with a monster or dragon describes our struggle to differentiate
ourselves from nature, to gain a sense of self-awareness and autonomy,
to overcome fear. It could be said that this is the supreme achievement,
the truly phenomenal achievement of the male psyche. But this very process
unfortunately led to the polarisation of spirit and nature, thinking
and feeling, conscious mind and instinctive soul —the masculine
and feminine aspects of our being. It encouraged the conscious mind
to try to control everything it surveyed and the very matrix from which
it had emerged— projecting the inner struggle into the world as
the mastery of nature and the battle for territorial gain and power.
Because solar mythology carries with it a tendency to
polarise opposites, it turns nature and instinct into something that
is dangerous and threatening, into an enemy. With Christianity, it led
to the repression of sexuality and the subjection and demonisation of
women. Most important of all, its effect was to separate us from nature
and to deny us access to that mysterious other dimension of reality
that we had once experienced through dream and vision.
Over the centuries, the effect of solar mythology was
to divide life into two halves: spirit and nature, light and dark, good
and evil, mind and body, subject and object. These oppositions became
fixed in our consciousness as an actual belief system. The solar myth
is carried in all ideologies which strive to reach the light and split
off the darkness. Its focus became the quest for power rather than for
connection and relationship. It perceived darkness as inimical to the
light, the enemy of the light. This myth entered deeply into the sacred
texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It entered into our behaviour
towards the “dark” and so-called primitive races or anyone
different from ourselves. As time went on religions took on the mantle
of solar mythology in a struggle for supremacy and are tragically engaged
in it to this day.
However, I think it is true to say that for thousands
of years the solar myth of the hero’s fight with the dragon has
inspired men to fight for freedom, for justice, for human rights against
all kinds of tyranny and oppression. It has also inspired every kind
of exploration, scientific endeavour and technological achievement and
this is the positive aspect of its influence. But the pathological shadow
aspect has been a huge inflation of the ego and the tendency to project
the image of the dragon onto an opponent, demonising that opponent,
and claiming all light and goodness for oneself or for one’s tribal
group and tribal religion. The power and endurance of this solar myth
is, quite simply, phenomenal.
Solar myth is a two-edged sword: it can be of immense
value to us but also a great danger. Its pathological aspect may be
activated when we are offered ideologies which promise salvation and
deliverance from evil. Because we are so programmed to follow leaders,
millions of us may fall under the spell of this ideology, projecting
the archetype of the saviour onto a leader or a religion, and the archetype
of evil onto a demonised enemy. Leaders will justify the sacrifice of
human life because of an implacable belief in the rightness of their
cause or their religion. Because solar ideology polarises the light
and the dark, some portion of humanity will always be split off from
the rest, demonised and sacrificed. In Christianity, only believers
can be saved. In the “rapture” awaited by certain Christian
sects, only the elect will be taken up to heaven. In fundamentalist
Islam, it is believed that it is God's will that the “infidel”
is sacrificed. The martyr is rewarded in heaven for murder and becomes
a hero of the tribal group.
Myth can therefore be used as a lethal political weapon.
Wherever negative projections of fear, hatred and the demonisation of
others are encouraged, the archetypal power of solar myth can become
active, take possession of millions of individuals and justify unspeakable
acts of barbarism. When under the spell of this mythology, leaders will
play the role of the solar hero and call for the sacrifice of life.
The end justifies the means. Terror silences any opposition.
Mao Tse Tung, Stalin and Hitler were solar heroes who
each proclaimed an ideology of salvation to their people. In their capacity
to terrorise others, and their desire to purge their nation of “undesirable”
elements, they assumed the mask of the Gorgon that can turn men to stone.
They demonised groups of people whose lives they sacrificed without
remorse or guilt. Wherever the word cleansing and purification are mentioned,
there is the influence of the solar myth. With Hitler, the idea was
to produce a race of blond solar heroes. 70 million died in the Soviet
Union, and 70 million in China. Some 200 million souls perished as a
direct result of the pathological inflation of these three men.
When Khrushchev denounced Joseph Stalin in 1956 as a fanatical
tyrant who had murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens,
people were shocked. Some even fainted because the hero they had worshipped
had been knocked from his pedestal. Khrushchev's words encapsulate the
danger of the inflation in political leaders when, unconsciously, they
fall under the spell of the archetype of the solar god. This is an extract
of what he said: “It is impermissible and foreign to the spirit
of Marxism-Leninism to elevate one person...into a superman possessing
supernatural characteristics akin to those of a god.” I don't
think it occurred to him that an ideology can also take on the posture
of a god and be equally dangerous. Khrushchev's daughter recently commented
that “millions knew about these things but millions did not know.
And we were all brought up in an atmosphere where Stalin was the great
leader—it was in the air we breathed.” (The Times, 25/2/06)
The myth continues to cast its spell. George W. Bush invoked
it when he planned the invasion of Iraq to get rid of Saddam Hussein
and “deliver” the Iraqi people from his tyranny. Osama bin
Laden’s aim is to create a global Islamic Caliphate. Each believes
that God supports his cause. Each insists that he must prevail.
If we turn in another direction, the dangerous influence
of solar mythology can be detected in the omnipotent attitude of science
and technology, our tendency to exploit and control nature in service
of our species, in our weapons of mass-destruction, in our dreams of
competing with each other for full spectrum dominance of the world,
even for the control of space in order to pre-empt attack by future
enemies. The sacrificial rituals of lunar mythology are still with us
but are now enormously magnified by the polarising emphasis of solar
myth, our complete unconsciousness of its ability to possess and direct
us, and by the lethal power of our weapons of mass destruction..
During the millennia that solar mythology has been the
dominating influence on western culture, we have reached amazing heights
of scientific and technological achievement but have also suffered a
catastrophic loss of soul, a loss of the ancient instinctive awareness
of the sacred interweaving of all aspects of life, a loss of the sense
of connection with nature and an invisible dimension of reality, a loss
of instinct and imagination. The human mind is now the supreme value
– the solar hero - but at the same time, the Cyclops. In its one-eyed,
hybristic stance, it has banished the unknown, unexplored, non-rational
and feminine aspect of life. Arrogant and dissociated it now stands
like a tyrant over and against nature, over and against the earth, over
against life and whoever it names as its enemy, seeking ever more power.
This leaves the human heart lonely and afraid and the neglected territory
of the soul a barren wasteland.
Today there is tremendous pressure on us to interpret
the myth of the solar hero in a new way, because the myth itself has
become a danger to us. We need to renounce its pathological manifestations
and move into a new phase in our evolution where the divided psyche
is reunited and the polarized opposites in our way of thinking reconciled.
Our solar mind needs to reunite with our lunar soul. The insight we
have now developed into our psyche could help us to understand that
the root cause of all the splits in our thinking is the original split
that has developed between the conscious, rational mind—the hero,
and the deep instinctive matrix of our soul that is symbolised by the
dragon. The dragon that has been so feared and despised is a vivid image
of our unconscious predatory instincts and their power over us. At present
we have no understanding of the subtle ways in which this primordial
aspect of the psyche can take control of the conscious mind. Paradoxically,
the dragon that is such a danger to us is also, as the instinctive matrix
of our being, precisely that which connects us to nature, to the life
systems of the planet and, ultimately, to the deep ground of life. The
dragon could be transformed. It could become a guide instead of a threat
to our survival as a species.
As Richard Tarnas suggests at the end of his book, The
Passion of the Western Mind , we are in the midst of a great awakening
of the soul, one that could see the “marriage” of the masculine
and feminine aspects of our psyche, the reunion of the conscious mind
with its deepest source and ground:
The driving impulse of the West's masculine consciousness
has been its quest not only to realise itself, to forge its own autonomy,
but also, finally, to recover its connection with the whole, to come
to terms with the great feminine principle in life, to differentiate
from but then to rediscover and reunite with the feminine, with the
mystery of life, of nature, of soul. (see New Vision 1 for further
To accomplish this we need to live the myth of the hero
in a different way, reconnecting with the deep ground of life, recognising
the oneness and the sacredness of nature, cosmos and soul. Mythically
speaking, this is the marriage of solar and lunar consciousness which
could lead to the birth of the divine child—that stellar quality
of consciousness that was known long ago to Pythagoras and Parmenides
and could become available to us now if we could free ourselves from
the unconscious compulsion to repeat the patterns of the past.
1.Peter Kingsley, In the Dark Places of Wisdom,
The Golden Sufi Center, California 1999 and Element Books, UK, 2000.
2. Apollonius of Rhodes, The Voyage of Argo, Penguin Classics