LECTURE 18
The Lunar and Solar Hero




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Lecture 19
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Lecture 18
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The Myth of the Solar Hero
Voices of the Ancestors
A Unified Vision of Reality
A Metaphysical Revolution? Reflections on the Idea of the Primacy of Consciousness
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Rebalancing the Psyche: Integrating the Feminine Principle Body, Soul and Spirit
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Healing the Heart: An Alchemy of Consciousness
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The Sleeping Beauty - The Awakening of Instinct into Consciousness
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The Dream of the Water: A Quest for the Numinous
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Jung's Septem Sermones ad Mortuos 
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The Relevance of the Visionary Experience to Culture  



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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 or monster.
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 important.

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 legacy.

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. (1)

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. (2)() 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.

Solar Mythology
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 to come.

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 "holy wars".

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 extracts)

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


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