Clarity is artistic discovery of the universal. There is enchantment in the quality of wholeness. There is beauty in the rhythms of nature and our nature. Aesthetic response is an essential emotional aspect of alchemy that lends flow and harmony to the process of balance, rhythm and synthesis of immediate perception. That flow is lyrical, epic and dramatic. Aesthetic signification is one thing, but the deep emotional impact of aesthetic arrest -- being suspended for a thrilling radiant moment in the eternal -- stops us in our tracks in a moment of realization.
We dissolve in the mysterious ground of being, the sublime wellspring of creativity. The mind goes still as primal awareness expands into wholeness. Something without physical form shines forth from the hidden world in that very moment. These luminous experiences, true works of art, drive us onward in the Quest. We are struck with divine inspiration and the passion to see it through to completion. Sensuous cognition of beauty is a revelation, an astonishment.
Aesthetic arrest blows apart the illusory differences between the sacred and the profane. We are inspired in the A-ha moment, utterly dissolved in the momentary ego-death that blows apart illusory nature. This aesthetic experience is an act of surrender that is an epiphany. It makes us gasp for air and sparks a cascade of pleasure. We are connected to beauty and wholeness. We know what it means to exist rooted in the mysterious creative ground of being.
Soul is made by narrating events in terms of myth, the metaphoric and symbolic dimensions of our experience. Poetics brings the archetypal into participation with the mundane by tending the currents of life. The alchemist in us is an imaginative variation of our mundane character through which some of us come to recognize our life story. Our enlivened art speaks to our depths, a direct way of knowing -- experience-based knowledge.
'The Fool', Hans Bauer The Divine Fool, Osiris-Orion, Iona Miller We can match this passage very closely to the card’s design: “stretching his arms over a vast expanse ... (three stars) mark Orion’s head, which is embedded/ in the high heaven with his countenance remote... It is Orion who leads the constellations." --Astronomica Book 1, ll 388-395
~Natural Born Philosophers~ presents ARCANE CINEMA Image, Film, & the Soulful Arts
Post-Jungian Video Collaborations of Iona Miller & Nate Drendel Cryptoporticus Productions by Iona Miller, (c)2018 ----------- "We are lived by powers we pretend to understand: They arrange our loves; it is they who direct at the end The enemy bullet, the sickness, or even our hand.
It is their tomorrow hangs over the earth of the living And all that we wish for our friends; but existing is believing We know for whom we mourn and who is grieving." —W. H. Auden
Mark Cowan, Photographer
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” ―C.G. Jung
It is not I who create myself, rather I happen to myself. ~Carl Jung, CW11, Para 391
We are making our video series on the 'Major Arcana: Paths of Awareness & Soul-Making,' available [below] for educational purposes. We invite participation from the archetypal perspective in this theater of human nature and its life-enriching enchantment. You'd better watch yourself.
"We are really enclosed in a psychic world of images. We label everything as physical or spiritual but the only reality is purely psychic." (Carl Jung, ETH Lecture XI, 3 Feb 1939, Page 75.)
Hermann Hesse cautioned that the Magic Theatre of self-generative imagery is "for madmen only." Hesse himself proposed a comic reading of Steppenwolf, likening it to a three-movement sonata and linking it more with The Fool's double perception of a single fabric -- a de-structuring and re-educating succession of fantasies.
“Whatever we call reality is a fantasy that has got stubborn and blocked and become obscured to the flow of psychic energy in it.” James Hillman suggests image-making is a "royal road to soul-making." (RVP, pg. 23)
Such non-reductive magical thinking is the point of reality and counterpoint of the imaginal. This liminal place, the threshold of the known and unknown spans from center-stage to the wings, where pre-existent images hover, animating, energizing, and afflicting us.
Metaphorical reflection breaks the boundary of the 4th wall, carrying the action beyond reaction into non-ordinary states of consciousness. Our characteristics are rarely safe from inversion into their opposites. No one can deny the mass effects of television and film, even video as our cultural technological unconscious.
Soul comes to us from what can be. Jung was explicit: "You must step into the fantasy yourself and compel the figures to give you an answer." (Letters Vol. 1, Page 561.) Perception is a primal intention. The deeply gripping emotional energy of symbol-making can be therapeutic.
Our cultural syntax includes root symbols with explanatory value. We have an inherent appetite for narrative, cathartic drama and the emotional logic of stories, including our biographical drama -- emotional growth through catharsis and the creation of a personal myth, which may include cosmic mythologies, alternate universes, metaphysical realms, and non-duality.
James Hillman says the main question is "What does this move in my soul?" Facing the world with soul, we become accustomed to receiving stories in a different way. Self-discovery is the nature of the calling; so is our inertia. He (1976) identifies soul with "the deepening of events into experiences, the connection to death that lies in love and religion, and a sense of the metaphorical, symbolic character of reality." (Sipiora). http://www.janushead.org/12-1/sipiora.pdf
Stories form the core of every artform. Mythos as a form of thinking in stories, images, and intuitions brings us closer to the gods unseen allies, mentors, and strategic partners in each nuanced moment. Mythological intuition suggests our struggles are important beyond our personal life drama. Event patterns don't vanish but continue to inform the whole.
This is the numinous world with its surrealistic retinue, parallel processes, synchronicity, and refining lenses of transformation -- archetypal images, implicit communication, and transitional states.
Such dynamics bring Tarot to mind as an exemplar. The Fool is the play of imagination, pure narrative and dialogue, not description but an essential way we engage reality and our initiation into psychological reality.
Tarot functions as a sort of archetypal superhighway to the unconscious using symbolism and multitudes of associations. Above all, symbols are languages which we all serve.Imaginative perception, knowledge, and imaginative consciousness pervade the ordinary and subtle worlds. This is how soul perceives reality. Survival is a dramatic process of creation.
Informed by soul, multisensory images take on a life of their own. Our life cycle from birth to death is the template for narrative. Campbell suggested the narrative journey brings new beginnings, symbolic resurrection and the capacity of art to bring release. Everything is talking to each other. The self-communication of imaginal dialogues develops into internal speech.
James Hillman speaks of "the multiple souls who inhabit our night world of dreams, the complexes we speak with, the invisible guests who pass through our lives, bringing us the gifts of urges and terrors, tender sighs, sudden ideas." They interpenetrate the ordinary world with the plural complexity of all the characters we have or will play in our lives.
Psyche's stage may be veiled or revealed, but much remains hidden backstage in the archetypal practice of mystic-theatre. Here we can entertain even crazy ideas, compulsions, and rituals for a while, an intuitive inquiry to explore beyond programmatic problem-solving and ego-psychology.
We let the masks the soul wears come and go, reflecting the inherently metaphoric and metamorphic character of psychological life. We finally hear the gods entreating us to trust and surrender.
The Fool informs us with the comic vision of “faith, hope, and love in a fallen world” (Cowan, 1984, p. 9). The dichotomies (flesh/spirit, subject/object, inner/outer) give way to humor and imagination as preferred responses to the soul’s alienation and homelessness.
Tarot illustrates such rituals of transformation. The medium is creative imagination, reverberating across multiple dimensions. Just as imagination can be voluntary or involuntary, it can be active or passive. Sooner or later something seems to call us onto a particular path in soul to experience the fantasy in all realities as the basic reality of fantasy.
Consciously or unconsciously we take up whatever the stories are telling. Genres are greater metaphors. These fantasies are not intuitive constructions of conscious intention, but eruptions of the autonomous unconscious as a spectral multiplicity. It doesn't try to convince you; it shows you what it is like to endure life creatively.
We take on the burden of those stories, putting them in our hobo stuffsack where they become The Fool's baggage on the borderland journey along that razor's edge. There is a fascination in the leading edge but the innovation of one moment rapidly becomes the cliche or meme of the next. Balancing harmonious and obsessive passion is essential.
Our chosen path, passage to the world of numinous phenomena, is the Beloved, a passion and commitment that engrosses. We take responsibility for what we are feeling. This is a mythopoetic symbol for the mystical dimension of gnosis and extinction of the self in the Soul of the Life Cycle, transpersonal consciousness with a universal character.
Rumi said the Beloved is always present even if we are unaware. Larger identity encompasses not only the beloved and transcendent individuality, but also all of life and the cosmos itself.
Hillman says, "As an instinct the creative is a necessity of life, and the satisfaction of its needs a requirement for life. In the human being , creativity, like the other instincts, requires fulfillment." (The Myth of Analysis)
Art is the spearhead of human development, both collective and individual, giving form to the apparitions of our imaginations.New art is always shocking, because we don’t know what we’re looking at. It’s about boundaries being permeated and transgressed. The transgressive potency of tarot is in its ability to shock, seduce, immerse, confront, and persuade.
The unconscious itself produces all kinds of wisdom and folly, portrayed as the Quest of The Fool in tarot, who inhabits the enigmatic gaps between contrasting perspectives. Zero is the point of self-intersection. Such living symbols compel unconscious participation. There is gnosis and utter nonsense that requires discernment and above all, de-literalization.
It is a poetic journey as Yeats implies: "The winds that awakened the stars ... Are blowing through my blood." Our archetypal personal narrative is an adventure we personally live -- soul's own story. This Fool is everyone, as Jorge Luis Borges contends.
"No one is anyone, one single immortal man is all men. Like Cornelius Agrippa, I am god, I am hero, I am philosopher, I am demon and I am world, which is a tedious way of saying that I do not exist. Any life, however long and complicated it may be, actuallyconsists of a single moment — the moment when a man knows forever more who he is. Doubt is one of the names of intelligence."
Before they mists of time, someone had a vision and told a story about it. All lesser stories take place within the great story of the Precession of the Equinoxes -- the Myth of the Eternal Return. All sacred stories are coded relationships with the many voices of intrapsychic multiplicity.
This is how unstructured associations acquire structure by free-association recursively, retrospectively, and concurrently. Such mystery plays arephilosophical, symbolic, allegorical and metaphorical, not to be taken literally. The keys, the strange attractors of the psyche, occupy the time dimension on the inside, but not the outside.
When we reach our archetypal boundaries we begin projecting the qualities of the deep unconscious. As we journey, we reincorporate those misattributed projections. Unknown influences in the hidden reality include intruding fields, disorganizing predispositions, entrainment to issues, distorted communication, dormant patterns, and compartmentalized parts. which can be transformed into our coherent psychic field or virtual reality.
Tarot suggests stacked or layered memories with its card system. The ordinary conscious mind is a serial processor. Only one thing at a time is discriminated in its awareness. But the unconscious mind is totally conscious--but multiply so, since it is a parallel processor of many discriminations at once. The linear mind cannot directly perceive the individual discriminations of the parallel processor, since these appear only as a blur or Nothingness to it.
To a monocular perception process, multiple presence appears as absence of the exclusive presence of any particular one. Such a multiple presence is monocularly unperceivable, and becomes a zero to a monocular detection process.
In this definition of zero, a monocular detection process asks the question, "Is there a single exclusive thing present in my input?" If the answer is yes, an output is generated and perception occurs. If no output is generated, perception does not occur. The answer "no" occurs as either total absence, or presence of two or more simultaneously. So, total absence and multiple unseparated presence appear identical to ordinary awareness.
This mechanism is the barrier between the conscious and unconscious minds. Projections from the unconscious onto the scenes of the conscious mind will thus appear symbolical with many hidden meanings at once. This is why our dreams, for example, appear to our conscious minds as weird and distorted, but highly symbolic in nature.
Tarot represents such a field or ecology of creativity and unusual associates. Somehow the Fool develops participatory consciousness by communicating with the subconscious while meandering in the chaotic landscape, including memory structures associated with painful memories or trauma. Gradually, that history, the hidden order in randomness, comes into conscious awareness as story. Modern myth is in search of a soul.
As Joseph Campbell suggests: "What is it we are questing for? It is the fulfillment of that which is potential in each of us. Questing for it is not an ego trip; it is an adventure to bring into fulfillment your gift to the world, which is yourself. There is nothing you can do that's more important than being fulfilled. You become a sign, you become a signal, transparent to transcendence; in this way you will find, live, become a realization of your own personal myth."
Psyche is a loose unity of the multiplicity of psychophysical phenomena. It is the source space where we meet the god's deep space gaze where each unique thing reflects all the others. They perform their own particular drama under the same proscenium arch, repeating their mythic roles in the eternal cosmic drama. "The question is not what you look at but what you see," as Thoreausuggests.
Such stories in oral, literary, and cinematic forms have been with us from the earliest paleolithic campfires. Later, alchemists watched the transformations in their retorts or alembics like televisions noticing they matched their own. The only failure of imagination is the assumption that something can't be done.
Soul-making is attentiveness to imagination as we confront our personal demons, passions, and destiny. The Great Work is aspirational, and thus we entreat Anima Mundi, Sophia, Shekinah, or Psyche:
"Oh soror, assist me with the work, for it is not for the sake of "I" but for the stone, and though I am unworthy of the art, I am also foolish, and so I go again to the prima materia dark and laden in mist and of unknown origin. Help me to transform you unknown one to achieve the stone and to be transformed by it."
Imagination can be anything just beginning, an inception, the establishment or starting point of any activity. Synonyms: foundation, founding, start, origin, formation, initiation, setting up, origination, inauguration, opening; beginning, starting point, outset; birth, dawn, genesis, rise; debut.
The stories work when we give them our hearts with emotional vibrancy and intellectual vigor. Our denial of an approach we never tried, or the path we haven't walked is based in ill-informed assumptions. The stories of our own existence unfold continuously before us.
We get a glimpse of who is pulling our strings behind the scenes, of mythology, and poetic intuition. In archetypal psychology, the gods not the ego take precedence when habitual consciousness collapses into openness to possibility. Creativity is a basic instinct like hunger and sex.
In Re-Visioning Psychology, James Hillman suggests, "it is not about my detection, but of the daimon's; it is not my destiny that cares about the Gods, but the way I take care of the psychic people entrusted to my assistance during my life. It's not life that matters, but the soul and the way life is used to take care of the soul." (PP. 297-298)
This journey doesn't mean leaving for anywhere, but giving each key its own validity as transitional phases of the life cycle. They are capable of many dramatic configurations, demonstrating the inner meaning of cosmos and our instinctual life or primary awareness.
The nature of entanglement is that cause and effect happen at the same time. Soul is an active intelligence because myth leads to practical moves. Entanglement is revealed in the god's rather leaky, promiscuous, incestuous natures. They violate each other and our boundaries, interbreeding and shifting shapes, merging, converging, and influencing the fluid phenomenal world from the all-pervasive boundlessness of the unconscious.
Soul is made through suffering the process and by taking up myth as a poetic perspective – a dramatic complexity of multiple metaphorical and symbolic dimensions of experience. The narration is one of life’s possibilities, of our alternative selves as realizable potential, including discordant elements, into meaningful story.
Like metaphor, soul is an ambiguous phenomena, an alembic of chaotic material which resolves into the aesthetics of transformation and mystery. Phenomenology itself is the unveiling of psyche, the fountain-head of our story, which helps us stay fluid.
“A kind of fluid interpenetration belongs to the very nature of all archetypes. They can only be roughly circumscribed at best. Their living meaning comes out more from their presentation as a whole than from a single formulation. Every attempt to focus them more sharply is immediately punished by the intangible core of meaning losing its luminosity. No archetype can be reduced to a simple formula. It is a vessel which we can never empty, and never fill. It has a potential existence only, and when it takes shape in matter it is no longer what it was. It persists throughout the ages and requires interpreting ever anew. The archetypes are the imperishable elements of the unconscious, but they change their shape continually.” – C. G. Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious
This is a mythological approach to drama pulsing with the same rhythms as pre-history. The tarot Keys are root metaphors. These most basic assumptions about the nature of the world or experience, the perspectives of the mythic gods, arise in context. Symbolic applications to life are as inexhaustible as changes in self-perception.
The over-arching story of tarot encompasses the path of everyone's life at every level, interacting with irrational, overwhelming impersonal forces. The animated field extends beyond humanity and into the world of nature and cosmos.
Images that begin unfocused gain higher resolution. Because they remain largely unconscious, such images are never clear nor categorical, so remain universal. Moving pictures are moving pictures.
Nietzsche said, "Art … wishes to convince us of the eternal joy of existence: only we are to seek this joy not in phenomena, but behind them." Phenomena reveal the structures of intentional consciousness and their enabling circumstances.
They include: attention, temporal and spatial awareness, perception, self-awareness, thought, empathy, memory, imagination, emotion, desire, conceptual blending, volition to bodily awareness, embodied action, social activity, including communication and context.
McLuhan suggested that the only way through the media maelstrom is "through synthesis and pattern recognition." In the age of disembodied communication, the meaning, significance, and experience of the body is utterly transformed and often distorted.
Conceptual blending melds words, images, and ideas in a network of "mental spaces" to create meaning, and so does tarot.A tarot key is the blend of the parent mental space qualities represented by their connecting spheres on the the Tree of Life -- recognition of the coherence between them.
The spheres are the input spaces for compressing and modifying of the emergent structure of the key. They are creative idea generators, evoking complexity from emergent structure.
The first key, The Fool symbolizes ether, the subtle element of the vacuum that underlies all manifestation, like the circle with no beginning or end.
"The skillful are not obvious They appear to be simple-minded Those who know this know the patterns of the Absolute To know the patterns is the Subtle Power The Subtle Power moves all things and has no name." --David Hawkins
As Milton describes in Paradise Lost, we emulate cosmic creation with ourselves as a Golden Compass when we plant one foot on the ground"and the other turned Round through the vast profundity obscure, And said:—'Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds, This be thy just circumference, O World!'"
The Fool sets off to meet this world. Emerson said, "The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end. It is the highest emblem in the cipher of the world."
Black Elk speaks of the sacred hoop: "Everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the power of the world always works in circles, and everything tries to be round."
This is the original magic circle, the circumpunct. Comprised of the fixed foot and the moving foot, the Fool becomes a center of creation. The compass keeps going to produce the hexagon and Flower of Life, symbolizing the primordial acts of creation. The Fool and his Flower as a glyph of the creation of the world is a coherent image.
The Fool is a life artist. The idea of living life creatively is embodied in Nietzsche's idea of living life as an artist. Hermes Trismegestus allegedly said,"the vice of a soul is ignorance, the virtue of a soul is knowledge."
Conceptual metaphoris the process of establishing cognitive links, or mappings, between several concepts (conceptual structures), of different domains. Metaphor is “understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another ” (Lakoff, Jonson, 1980:5).
This perception is psychological vision -- intensely emotional psychophysical feedback loops.Recursive loops bind functioning into a coherent whole. The human brain acts like an electrical circuit called a phase-locked loop.
A control system generates an output signal whose phase is related to the phase of an input signal. That implies keeping the input and output frequencies the same. The circulating position of The Fool, the daimon or genius of the tarot, suggests the end lies in the beginning, even it remains a lifetime away.
Tarot keys serve an analogous function. The zero is the primordial unconscious symbolized by the ouroborous serpent who bites its own tail. The Fool represents each of us on the Path of Return of consciousness to its inherent origin, which loops back from the mundane to our Source, cosmic consciousness.
Faulkner noted, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” We can't read history backward, but can do so with the archai who remain eternally the same. The Fool launches the archetypal journey from the very Edge of the World.
The Path of Return is like drawing genealogical lines into deeper time, only plunging beyond our named ancestors into the pool of all species. All those ancestral loops are what make each of us, and make us unique -- a life not only in sympathy with, but in resonance with being, acceptance of life and death.
The image-making psyche or soul is the primary creative capacity, not only in art. Perhaps, this is what is meant when we say an artist has ‘soul,’ the capacity to draw on the inspirational mythopoetic taproot to Source, the creative field. Imagination is the basis of soul.
To live the artistic life is to be immersed consciously in that aesthetically-nuanced Reality.We consciously attend to the unknown and make something new of it. “Seeing is believing” we say, but our worldview is an interlocking system of irrational beliefs based on falsely assumed truths; assumptions aren't evidence of truth.
Only a Fool's perspective saves us from lunacy. The soul doesn't mind asinine or ludicrous depictions of itself. The Fool's wisdom is knowing just enough to know they don't know.
As all parts of the Key, we embody a human upper part and an archaic reptilian lower part, our animal nature and dark shadow, the functional basis of instincts. To lose sight of that would be a great folly. A necessary foolishness accomplishes something for the soul.
We move from immaturity, ignorance, and naivete to the kind of openness that is both intelligent and worldly-wise, realizing how much remains unknown. It does not deny the reptilian shadow of our animal nature. The quest is not for truth but for the process of desire, of perspective leading to expressions of truth -- imagistic resonance.
Metamorphosis takes active engagement. The autonomous motive force of the imaginal figures is 'other' and must be approached with its own integrity. In tending the soul, we learn to distinguish ourselves from psychic autonomy, the archetypal contents of the unconscious. Such expression evokes moods and ideas, revelation of our humanity -- the creative life.
The imagining perspective sees through an act of imagination, the 'body' of the image, continually cultivating the depth, relatedness, and value of soulfulness. Rather than integrating, this approach honors the tensions and interrelationships of the variety of gods and goddesses, self-displaying forms of consciousness.
It is an attitude to life and a way of 'seeing through' the mythic grammar to the informing archai of a soul-centered approach. The soul is only approached through creative thinking, the poetic, metaphorical, and imagistic, not the literal.
Creative thinking means looking at something in a new way, “thinking outside the box,”a fresh perspective inspired by structured and unstructured processes that perceive patterns that are not obvious.Tarot facilitates creativity instead of waiting for it to bubble up. We learn how it feels to look like a fool because a lot of things won’t work out.
Soul is our fount of being, but we can only cultivate or tend to it by living artfully. We re-imagine unfathomable mystery, forces that cannot be contained through a personal story, through the poetics of everyday life and by engaging our latent creative possibilities.
It also means being seen by an abyssal imagination that stares back, a Presence fixating our attention and compelling our behavior. Psyche, art, and tarot each have a hypnotic quality of fascination, immersion, and numinosity. Imagination holds the lost history dimension of our lives. We are linked into that network. They hold us in evolutionary thrall.
The arts connect us to the source of our lives. Our approach is care of the soul through engagement with the soul's coded metaphorical language. The tunnel-vision of conventionality blossoms into a pulsating organic kaleidoscope. Soulful arts open up an imaginative space, cascades of processes, and the masquerade of self that is within us, anyway.
The parts we conceal and reveal, even how we lie to ourselves informs the way we think about ourselves and the lack of fit between the models and realities that needs to be explored. The inability to tolerate mystery is a failure of imagination. If we lose our art, we lose our soul, that window into the image and the imaginal realm.
The tension between light and dark gives life meaning, starting with liberation from the darkness of the womb into the light of day. Great and small Rorschach screens are the millennial version of Plato's cave projections. Art, vision, and transformation are fused.
As Henri Matisse says, "When we speak of Nature [we should not] forget that we are ourselves a part of Nature. We ought to view ourselves with the same curiosity and openness with which we study a tree, the sky or a thought, because we too are linked to the entire Universe."
Songs, innocent invitations to transform ourselves, appear in the darkness-without-knowing, '0 Divine Fool...', followed by paeans to the gods from the unheard voice of the silence. Longing for life sings to us out of the tangled roots of dreams.
"Those who know, not only that the Everlasting lives in them, but that what they, and all things, really are IS the Everlasting, dwell in the groves of the wish-fulfilling trees, drink the brew of immortality, and listen everywhere to the unheard music of eternal concord. These are theimmortals." (Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, 2008, p. 142)
The long dead being breaks into the light demanding the present.Telos, the light shining in the darkness, the incandescence of the luxuriant imagination, illuminates our potential like a projector illuminates a film.
Such stories powerfully describe how we understand reality. As the fundamental instrument of thought, they help us make sense of the world. Narrative imagining is our main way of looking into the future, or predicting, of planning, and of explaining.
We make up stories that may beuseful or plausible to explain our behavior, but they are likely false interpretations of mental modules, confabulations beyond conscious access. Our stories tend to defend our worldview, rather than improve it.
Why do we believe the stories we believe in, choosing coherence and false continuity over accuracy? Why do we think our fallacious stories help us predict the future? There are consequences to only interpreting stories within our repertoire, depending on how large or small it is.
Confirmation bias is a pre-existing pool of stories which are the boundaries of our capacity to understand. The more frames we have to engage with life, the better. Too few personal constructs and narratives limit our ability to make sense.
We justify our moral intuitions, our web of beliefs and convictions, of how the world should be to defend prior moral commitments, not acquire better-informed ones. So we believe what we want to believe.
The depth approach (aesthetics), cinema, and tarot value imagination for its own sake. Thomas Moore suggests, “Get a beautiful edition of the Tarot Cards. They are full of traditional images that relate to your life. Read them as you read a dream.”
The arcana are archetypal approaches to life, powerful rites of passage with autonomous transformative guides, the personified masks and mirrors of the self. We rely on the interaction of complex flows of energy to thrive and survive.
Such shifts in perception open up natural intuition and guidance from non-rational sources: desire, fear, interest, fantasy, inclination, persuasion, even divination. The dayworld is permeated with their voices, the instinct for the symbolic, philosophical, and imaginal.
Psyche moves by analogy, the 'as if'philosophy, and is fundamentally poetic. The animated soul shapes us aesthetically by finding analogies of itself, useful fictions with powerful emotional qualities. Thomas Moore says, "The point of art is not simply to express ourselves, but to create an external concrete form in which the soul of our lives can be evoked and contained."
There is a wild difference between the notion of the religious soul and the psychological soul or psyche as anima mundi, our animator. Burton Mack claims that this imaginative horizon describes how "Myths can do this by creating a space between the narrative account, set in an imaginary time, and the current situation as the occasion for telling the story."
Psyche, cinema, tarot, and dreams are all visual storytellers, as is the alchemical art -- the mysterious, tremendous, and fascinating. They give us more experiences with the sacred.In 'Psychology & Religion,' Jung says, "The unconscious is the matrix of all metaphysical statements, of all mythology, of all philosophy, and of all expressions of life that are based on psychological premises."
Fields are domains of influence. Symbolic content is a mythic field, the realm of the unconscious. Shift the field, change the myth. Rituals shift the field. Transcendence parallels the emergence of myth as new life experience. We imagine our experience with all the depth and insight that imagination allows. The soul is image, a poetic basis of mind.
Noetics, direct knowing, is the connection between mind and the physical universe - how the ‘inner cosmos’ of the mind or psyche relates to the ‘outer cosmos’ of the material world and somatic field of our psychophysical being. A noetic field consists of all mutually interdependent facts and symbols. All are components of the Ritual Field of mythic sensibility.
The form of myth emerges as patterns from the field of the Collective Unconscious. Pattern is a language, using fields to describe dynamic relationships and energetics. Each pattern is a field. The field of myth is emotional -- emergent, resonant, challenging -- inviting ritual enactment to animate and embody it. Thus, we recognize and develop our own style of mythic consciousness.
Storytelling describes a deep field of myth and archetype. Elements are woven together by narrative, metaphor and illustration. A semantic field is a set of words grouped by meaning referring to a specific subject, much like symbols are held in the subtle net of an image. The language of symbols is older than speech.
A cosmological sensibility and a living metaphysics describes process structures and emphasizes relationship. It describes hidden formative principles, and a webwork of multiple perspectives.
The actor symbolizes our search for freedom of self-expression and self beyond roles to discover the excitement of being. The creative is complicated, complex. Method is a way of moving through a path. Remember the journey first and relationships will follow.
This is a way we shape our consciousness and carry our destiny, transforming the experience of life into a living experience. The art of life is the necessity to create and express in our own particular way. This aesthetic mode of perceiving, this attitude, is a way to move into the mythic, poetic, mystical, and transcendent qualities of being.
Sustained engagement with mythic figures is aesthetic, dynamic and experiential, not static, developmental, and conceptual, but patterns of awareness. Myths can change the way a person acts, shaping by raising mythic images to symbolic significance that transforms psychological impulses.
Even Plato's dialogues do not propose universal truths, but philosophical dramas, readin relation to its other parts. For example, we understand the last scenes of Hamlet as illuminated and prefigured by the opening scenes. Or, the wandering of Ulysses is set against the theme of 'returning home.' The catharsis of Antigone or Othello.
We should understand that what happens in the drama is more important than what is said in the dialogue. As Rhodes notes, "In Plato's dramas, we behold a midwife endeavoring to deliver beautiful virtues and visions." (Metaxy)
Journey of the Soul
The Fool's Quest through the field of consciousness is the great journey through our own soul -- the pain, the stress, the drama, the hard work, the mistakes, the depression,and the joys. We are all travelers along the path, whether aware of it or not.
Like a child, The Fool is a Natural Born Philosopher, a naive Seeker of wisdom. Truth is a story; writing is a ritual -- a coherent narrative of greater awareness and a wider orbit of understanding. Our unconscious personalizes and expands the narrative, opens us to potential. Psychic energy propels the plot. Intuitive consciousness directs the process.
Without spiritualizing the idea to some otherworldly plane, Jung suggested our primordial behavior is informed by self-authenticating archetypal images. This is the difference between a psychological and a metaphysical, "spiritual," or religious approach and worldview.
Jung saw consciousness as "essentially the psyche's organ of perception, it is the eye and ear of the psyche." ... "all that comes into our heads proceeds from the unconscious." (ETH Lecture II, April 27, 1934, pg. 98).
Natural philosophy or philosophy of nature was the philosophical study of nature and the physical universe, including human nature. What we find is not only our personal myth, but the vast mythic realm of world-in-process. Pathworking engages by image and by enactment, calling up effects within the self.
Pathworking provides for the opening, amplification, and exploration of specific feedback channels, and the induction of specific altered states of consciousness. It is full immersion in the characteristics, significance, and associations of each path. The character of each path remains unchanged.
It is a method of using imaginal processes to get actual experience. It is a course of meditations which leads to the awakening of inner potentials or psychic effects, and produces outer effects in the form of synchronistic events, challenges, or growth. It is a means of conscious self-discovery and self-actualization, unfolding our innate essence, "true self".
We complete a transformative circuit with Universal Mind. A new aspect of the collective unconscious is made available to our conscious minds. The transpersonal becomes personal and finite as it manifests within us. The practice of this meditation eventually leads us through the paths on the Path of Return.
Gradually, we learn to see through the fictions of identity, culture, and world. We learn to catch psyche in the act of creating our imaginal reality, in the mythic context of psychic life, where everything is personified and speaks through the masks of image and symbol. The world's meaning is as immense and immeasurable as the cosmos.
Natural Philosophers were alchemists and proto-scientists, like Heraclitus, Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, Plotinus, Albertus Magnus, Ficino, Bruno, Newton, Novalis, Bacon, St. Germain, Kant, Goerthe, and Jung.
Like children, we constantly look for reasons, justifications and patterns, and our inquiry knows no bounds. Each answer leads to another question, digging down to our most basic beliefs and preconceptions. We ask philosophical questions, such as, What makes the universe exist? Where do we come from? and, How do I know this isn't all a dream?
The polyphonic archetypal view is less 'scientific' and more mythopoetic and dramatic. Individual destiny supersedes god-determined fate only by leaping into the unknown.The Fool as the first and last card of the Major Arcana ties the journey together in a loop represented by zero.
Kant thought each intuition contains a manifold or multiplicity, a synthesis of a manifold of intuitions in a single representation. The synthesis of apprehension is the transcendental ground of both pure a priori and empirical knowledge.
We can become aware of the activities of many divinities in our psyche. Since no connection is necessary, it can be said that in apprehension, empirical intuition is just placed together, like the nonlinear frames of an edit randomly joining files together, much like the cards fall together synchronistically.
But, non-linear editing is digital and fully asynchronous. The original material is not destroyed by any of the editing actions and shots can be placed in any order with ease and rearranged without degradation.
We are reined in by necessity and the instinct to follow our unique yet universal path. The Fool walks off the cliff and into the abyss of the transcendent imagination. That water is a symbol of the unconscious, lair of the archaic crocodile of creation/destruction and lord of the serpentine path.
We are informed by and embodied in images. As embodiments of the soul, the Arcana is one way psyche introduces itself through 'speaking pictures.' Tarot teaches us how to create a soul. Focus and clarity ground us enough to see through to the depths which summon us from chaos. Imagination is a transcendental act of the mind.
In Heaven and Hell, William Blake said, "If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise."He also associated the Fool with the constellation of the archetypal man, Orion. The Hebrews called it Kesil which means fool, perhaps implying that hunter may be overconfident due to unforeseen consequences.
This brightest of all constellations stands for them all through metonymy– referencing a whole by one of its parts or aspects. Another Hebrew name for 'fool', nabal specifically means 'null' or 'void.'Ninety degrees from each Pole is zero degrees celestial latitude.
The brightest star Mintaka in Orion was recognized as the celestial ‘East’ marker. In Latin, oriens means ‘east.'Rising precisely due east, at 0 degrees latitude, only this star can mark ‘due west’, when setting, being 90º from both the north and south celestial poles.
The Seeker with a Thousand Faces
The Fool is the Seeker, the Wanderer between worlds, the first and last key card. A serious seeker has to prepare a fertile ground within his or her inner Self.Despite the pains of the journey, the spiritual traveler on the sacred path, although not seeing the divine for many years, does not waiver from the path. Rather, the seeker endures.
Like the theatrical model, tarot is a dynamic complexity, a complete entity of complex interacting personalities. The various tarot representations are connected in a synthetic unity that can be revivified in memory.
Otherwise no experience would be possible. As Jung says, "Your indispensable condition is that you have an archetypal experience, and to have that means you have surrendered to life.” (Nietzsche’s Zarathustra: 1934-1939, Vol. II, 1936, p. 972.)
A transition or initiation to a new stage of life means sacrifice of the archetypal core of the old pattern. The old state of dying consciousness transforms to a differently focused state of mind, observations, and our ever-changing experiences. Our search for soul is the search for the images it is made of, an internal meaningful act of depth and ensoulment. Jung describes life as the "story of the self-realization of the unconscious."
Art is an edge co-extensive with the edge of our own lives, our own avant-garde -- edge magic and edge mystery. The unconscious is the edge of our mental space, intuitions, and conceptualizations. Each stage of life has an image or cluster of psychological themes compelling participation. They are generated by internal archetypal experiences, not events or trauma.
James Hillman says, "It's only in the stories, our stories that the gods will still show." “… our life is less the resultants of pressures and forces than the enactment of mythical scenarios.” (Hillman, 1976, p. 22)
Our mutual effort is to advance understanding of common universal themes in the collective art, heart, and soul of humanity.Myth spans archetypal psychology, cinema, and tarot with a multiplicity of personified inner others.
In cinema, the face and the glance loom large. Micromotions speak volumes. All are means of transformative interplay, psychodramatic consciousness, of walking the tightrope of the tension of opposites.We might ask ourselves what tightrope we walk everyday.
What is the proverbial razor's edge, the threshold, the liminal boundary? One side is hidden, the other revealed. One side is collision, the other passage. The edge opens to unbounded space or time that takes many unpredictable forms, beyond knowledge or expectation. There is no getting around the edge that is intensification and amplification. (Casey, "Keeping Art to its Edge")
What is the dramatic tension that impels us forward in our journey?With art we can gesture beyond our own periphery. The gaps between are the matrix of edges. In the pre-concious even the edge of mind-body is indistinct. We reach toward new edges previously unrecognized or unrealized. The Platonic metaxy represents psyche as such an in-between or 'middle ground.'
We are not struggling to overcome, develop, or ascend through metaphysical ego fantasies, tropes, and concepts. When we stop struggling with ways to become superhuman (heroic journey), we can find ways to become more fully human in a deeply connected more-than-human world. This Journey is represented by the Major Arcana sequence of the Tarot, beginning with The Fool.
The journey of life is not always about growth. Rather than a Hero’s Journey, it is (more wisely) known as the Fool’s Journey: the pilgrim soul making its rather more humble way through life. The human journey itself--collectively as well as individually--is unknown, difficult, and improbable.
We step between the worlds and fall into the magic, mystery and wisdom of theunconscious. There are many kinds of archetypal journeys, soulful innerworld journeys, visionary journeys.
We can enter the inner drama as a participant. Freedom needs to be internalized as an inner freedom from “demand” itself… that comes when you’re free from those compulsions to have and to own and to be someone.
Open-ended creativity is essential for works that establish their own form with transcendent intentionality.They invite us to actively imagine what lies on their other side. Such a gathering of energies of creativity exceeds the work in ecstatic outflow, an energy expressing itself in several dimensions.
The question remains, "What is the fantasy now?" What is its relation to the profoundly personal, the encounter with one's particular soul?Where do we find the continuity of themes in our lives, or lose the plot?Art that is edgy or on the edge is beyond the guard rails of conventionality.
We engage in uncovering the fateful aspects of the soul given to each of us, as revealed in our psychodramatics."The soul returns by the same door as its exile" (Hillman 2010, 290) -- enter Stage Right of our own personal mystery play.
“Asking the proper question is the central action of transformation - in fairy tales, in analysis, and in individuation. The key question causes germination of consciousness. The properly shaped question always emanates from an essential curiosity about what stands behind. Questions are the keys that cause the secret doors of the psyche to swing open.” (Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves)
In Healing Fiction, Hillman notes, “The unconscious produces dramas, poetic ﬁctions; it is a theater,” the “theatrical logic” of “the dreaming soul” and its “theatrical poetics.” Healing or catharsis comes as “freedom in playing parts, partial, dismembered…never being whole but participating in the whole that is a play” of our particular life which overflows with a plurality of persons. https://www.academia.edu/29810474/Dionysus_in_Depth_Mystes_Madness_and_Method_in_James_Hillman_s_Re-visioning_of_Psychology
Archetypal images are the means by which we imagine and by which we 'see through' to the archetypal core of being. The archetypal approach restores the image as "that which gives psychic value to the world. Any image termed archetypal is immediately valued as universal, trans-historical, basically profound, generative, highly intentional, and necessary."218-221 --Hillman, Archetypal Psychology
Images work for, through, and against us. The images are also voices. We allow the phenomena to speak by letting the multitude of voices speak -- a multiple, or “polytheistic” approach to the psyche. "...The very point of vulnerability is where the surrender takes place -- that is where the god enter. The god comes through the wound." (Marion Woodman (1993).“Conscious Femininity)
A poetic approach to psyche as “soul” forms an inherently mystical, erotic, and transformational dimension of the unconscious.Being on the way is a way of being within the multiplicity of psyche.
We can begin by watching ourselves, archetypal cinema, and the key cards dramatically seeing through psyche's eyes the living presences of direct encounter with Mystery.Engagement with archetypal material as image is esoteric, initiatory, gnostic, revelatory, and numinous.
We present a finely-distilled visual alchemy of the The Fool's Journey in each encrypted card, a retinal poem for each Key, a poetic usage of the powers that have us.Art is an emergent flow state, welling up from deep within -- the aesthetic power of the divine.Concentration produces a clarity and effortless melding of action and consciousness.
Flow isthe way we perform an activity fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.In all process arts, "flow" means parareception: "access"to the timeless depths of the psyche with the doors of perception wide open.
We showcase the creative power of the image. In flow, the creator and the universe become one. A continuous narrative of universal motifs and alternative states of consciousness emerges through a discontinuous montage of film, documentary, music videos, and iconography.
Cinophiles will recognize many of them. We can discern their probabilities of interconnection, shifting from objects to relationships, the inherent organizing relations embedded in matter and psyche. Our task is to attend to the images we are given by life and bring them into relationship with our world.
This transdisciplinary practice, integrates philosophical, mathematical, psychological, and spiritual theory in an imaginal mythopoesis. The image has the capacity to move us outward by embodying an alternative vision of reality, creating another world to enter a fuller consideration of the mythic, the metaphoric, and the imaginal qualities of soul.
Images surround us, clamoring for attention, for us to attend to a moment that resonates or illuminates our experience. Thomas Moore plainly states, "the idea is to see every fragment of life and every dream as myth and poetry." Every artform and oracle partakes of this process. Psyche is rooted in imagination and heart when we tend and cultivate soulful lives.
Our 'boggle threshold' is the point at which our mind boggleswhen a supposedly true story becomes so outlandish it's not believable. Some awkward alien idea or awareness of something unexplained impacts the psyche.
Faith begins where reason ends, the degree to which we are willing to deviate from normative beliefs. When we exhaust our willingness to believe, skepticism takes over. It also reflects our worldview, preconceived notion about what can and cannot happen in the world.
We each have individual limits where phenomena are simply too weird to be true or seem threatening.This is where we draw the line on our belief continuum, on our acceptance of anomalous phenomena, from belief to incredulity.
The boggle line reassures us we are sensible and reasonable in our beliefs. But symbol and metaphor don't require belief, faith, or reason; they simply are.Symbols reflect potential intrinsic mental states, actual conditions, and cultural artifacts, constructs, or memes. We comprehend them best with mystical consciousness.
We see not only the Fool’s journey clearly but intuitively start to see connections between the cards themselves.These are the elements that compose our present moments, creatively living the present moment that unravels the plot.Hillman claimed, psyche'sdramatic structure, nature and content can be "read as theater.”
Resolution comes through dramatic tension,the polyphonic, theatrical, and “Dionysian” hermeneutic of enactment, personae, movement, and ﬂow.Consciousness itself is multivalent, with a variety of actors invoking numerous gods through multiple masks.
This is a Romantic pastichewith an aesthetic approach, that is, non-rational and passionate. The interplay of graphics transforms the visual field. The creative center of the film should work on us slowly after grabbing us by the gut and intuition. We are provoked further by engaging with our responses to it and their immersive qualities -- imagination, memory, and experience.
Whether we see the gods as inside or outside makes very little difference to thenotion of their existence.Wisdom, knowledge and self-knowledge was holy in the ancient world -- hearing the voices of the heavens. With a mythic sense, we discern what literal eyes cannot. Life feels its way along toward the larger system which emotionally nourishes it.
We put ourselves into the story no matter how we frame it and make decisions.We can't change the archetypes but we can change how we frame them.Here we refer to the activity fields, the conceptual and contextual frames of psychological, film, and esoteric cultures.
The gods might be reborn, not as distant deities above or behind the things and elements of life, but within us as awakened spirit, essence or soul. Consciousness in the unconscious, a dark and psychological eye on each external event, is paradoxically preconscious and superconscious, immanent and transcendent.
We are The Fool as the uninitiated neophyte who undergoes many changes in consciousness by stepping into the unknown. Much depends on how we approach the path. Soul journeys initiate change and transformation through awakened imagination, movement, and feeling, including ideomotor communication.It is the adaptive side of dissociation and absorption and boggle rate.
Consciousness flickers on and off at the rate of much like the illuminated frames of a film or a TV refresh rate. Our brain has a flicker refresh frame rate around 50-60 Hz. Consciousness itself flickers on and off at planck speed. It is not a metaphor that, Reality is "flashing in and out of existence,"oscillating between form and the pure energy state of the field of our awareness.
Discrete moments of 'now' are held together by related fields of meaning, as tarot suggests with its succession of cards. Then there are the gaps between flickers of consciousness in which universe recreates itself instant by instant -- traits fuse in the gap. Meaning fields hold the ordinary and non-ordinary patterns of what can happen.
Jung said, "It is as though consciousness were aware that the dragon is the lower half of man, which indeed and in truth is the case." (Letters Vol. 1, Page 489). It is our earthly essence of which we are not conscious.The poet Rumi said, "To change, a person must face the dragon of his appetites with another dragon, the life-energy of the soul."
The self-arising crocodile or dragon from the living waters of psyche symbolizes depths which threaten to engulf our entire personality. To a rigid consciousness, the primal ocean of the unconscious is experienced as chaotic, violent, irrational processes of generation and destruction.
In this gestalt, The Fool is the figure, the crocodile is primordial ground, a fathomless depth. It embodies the raw undifferentiated psychic energy of the unconscious: death, rebirth, healing, immortality, knowledge, wisdom, and wealth. Consciousness studies suggest that "conscious thought, judgment and volition are illusions. They arise from processes of which we are forever unaware." (Steve Ayan, SciAm, Dec. 20, 2018)
The self-generated sacred crocodile deity of primal originating force is both celestial and chthonic. The archaic meaning of the Dragon is wisdom and eternity. The abyss of our own being threatens to devour us. The devouring teeth of pain can be a dragon that reduces us to a primal level.
Thecreative and destructive forces of nature conceal our inevitable fate, death, who always journeys with us. Transformation moves energy from the unconscious to consciousness. The transcendent function emerges through appropriation of the self-arising image.
We interiorize events, then go into them in search of psychological depths. We internalize body and externalize psyche. Psyche is imaginal -- the transformative power of images.
In Lament of the Dead, Hillman contended that literary language and metaphor "releasesthe person to the story and that changes the feeling about who you are. You are part of a story, and that’s different” (p. 90).The stories come to life.
As in our tarot Fool's journey, "a procession of figures moves psychology from the psychodynamic to the “psychodramatic” and thereby brings it to face the need for a more Dionysian flair, a more Dionysian language, to express its concerns" (p. 33).
To realize our true selves, we traverse the depths of our souls, ensnared in darkness, and come back. The way of transcendence is self-discovery.Going deep into our own “dark waters” -- the unseen wavelike infinite spirit -- we must trust the unconscious mind, letting go of identity, thoughts, and concepts.
It is a journey where we do not move spatially or temporally at all, a nonlocal state. We may never stop 'seeing through' psyche. Our internal images also exteriorize in cinema, or the wisdom cards, (the probability and composition of an ensemble).
Divination, as interiorization, can only be done in the present. The effects are pragmatic. The more familiar lifepaths are the endless stream of thoughts all centered around the concept of ‘me’.
Choosing a state without thought takes considerable control. It means choosing the state of the Seer rather than the sum of momentary histories generally found in our thoughts.Jung concentrates on the collective image that dominates when there are no other rational thoughts.
We don't have to interpret our images, or make symbols out of them, but form a living relationship with them, with that mighty stream of consciousness. Our therapeutic method is more magical than rational, more a process of discovery, or an initiation.
The dark is a brooding magnificence, a portal into celestial and inner space itself. Hillman suggestsRenaissance Neoplatonism provided a "theater of the mind," an imaginal world or vessel to contain and provide structure for the archetypal images in their souls [HRP 199]. In the theater we enter a darkened room, in the tarot epic we enter the psychospiritual unknown -- mighty darkness, magical darkness.
Lord Byron's poem 'Darkness' summarizes the panic in his day over the year with no summer. His poem starts as a “dream” but “not all a dream” (line 1), immediately casting doubt upon the imaginal narrative to follow. The dream may or may not be real but presents a frightening vision of our mortality and the world’s demise by a force known only as the rayless, pathless “darkness” of absolute space -- fiction as imaginal fact.
Byron taps into hysteria and fear of mortality and imminent death for the outlandish future of the human race through an 'epic' style of poetic storytelling. It is a warning prophecy about what can happen if humanity continues our toxic behavior in general. Humanity, past present or future is always taking the world to an end, through human actions.
Reversing the Biblical creation, he recounts the ruin of mankind and the destruction of the very universe itself.He then imagines the end of the world swallowed by the abyss through a series of natural, social, and possibly supernatural events.Yet, into the darkness we must go, like any seer in our desire for light.
Entering our own opaque depths in dreams and imagination drops the ground of psychological life into the fertile darkness which is the ground of all things, promising a resurgence of life into meaning, experience, and significance.
Passage to the next world begins in total darkness; visions light the way. The water of life is within this fertile darkness where mystery lives, the great cloud of unknowing. Nonegoic potentials are buried beneath consciousness: biological instincts, emotive potentials, autosymbolic imagination. It is a source of psychic energy, covert impulses, and unconscious projections.
Archetypal stories live beneath our conscious awareness.It is the nature of the cards to reflect the patterns informing human life, the central metaphors of psychology, spirituality, and adaptive mutation. Symbols conflate with other symbols and link with additional images -- the underground stream of anima mundi and the 'great memory' of humankind.
When the Tree of Life becomes a narrative, the plot becomes a miniseries of pathworkings with focused concentration and intent. The mystical trope is 'asking the question,' knowing how to ask the question that is the quintessence of all our experience.
The cards can be read in any nonlinear sequence. They represent the dynamic flow of information, composed of an ensemble of symbols of a certain sequence. Shuffling and layering forms (entanglement) suggests a deep singularity connecting to the timeless at the edge of order and chaos. Sychronizing incoming forms to the system that swings between regularity and chaos makes a system resonance.
For each one of us, our body is a collective of singularities within every cell, each of which holds the collective experience of the cell’s sensory histories. Because the entire system iscomposed of multiple layers, new “possibles” (i.e., new states of coherence) present themselves in the wake of “actuals” that form.
Much of this information is unconscious because we are only consciously aware of changes in the current moment in the context of ‘me.’ The deeper forms of ‘me’ at the level of the many singularities contribute to the whole that is this consciously aware me.
From a traditional and scientific point of view 'information' refers ultimately to forms and the concept of non-physical transmission without any movement in space. Time finds itself through the synchronization process. The essence of information is its capacity to signify. Such forms are not bound by time and space. They are not 'things' but constitute things and bestow them with 'reality.'
Philosophically, a complete description of reality includes the transcendent and immanent components of information -- the probability of certain kinds of information.A panpsychic emotive source conjoins our inner and outer perceptual frames. Jumps beyond one-sidedness are quasi-determined bridges that cannot be presented but emerge from layering like the stacked deck.
Our reality is a feedback process of the production and transformation of information, like the cards. Tarot depicts a universal grammar, a synchronization of time's windows, also followed by our psychobiology.
Potential information is associated with the number of yes-no questions we need to determine a particular state. The seer simply lets nature follow its course, undistracted by the ‘possibilities’ we may try to imagine. The decision manifests itself in a way that serves the whole rather than the individual.
The High Priestess advocates a need for passivity when it is not necessary to act. Sometimes goals can be realized through inaction, a "wait and see"approach. The Chinese concept of Wu Wei literally means non-action, non-doing or non-forcing.Our behavior becomes spontaneous and inevitable as certain natural processes. We swim with rather than against currents.
Least action also comes from not imagining. The more information we have, the fewer questions we have to ask for the missing information. Unselected parts of our reality become parts of our shadow, the dark energy of psyche, the trickster in the magician.
In his Red Book Jung said, "The ancients devised magic to compel fate. They needed it to determine outer fate. We need it to determine inner fate and to find the way that we are unable to conceive." (Page 311).
Perhaps The Magician or The Juggler represents an emotive balancing act that actually carries a reverse-time connection with the creation of new functions at the critical point separating order and chaos. The backward and forward, internal and external windows come together as time finds itself in a process of targeted synchronization, when the two widows oscillate.
This tension leads to an emotive climax where something new erupts on time’s manifold and comes into being. It is significant enough to likely enhance the utility of the targeted change sought by proto-emotion.
It can appear as action-at-a-distance, which it is, and it is also about having the same context. Each change of context is in the simultaneous or nonlocal state, so it can be regarded as information related to an observation and to be a fundamental of the whole reality.
In Care of the Soul, Thomas Moore) says, “soul” is not a thing but rather a dimension of experience. It is related to depth, to substance, and to relationship to the world (Moore, 1992). There is no reason the soul cannot have many lifetimes of experiences in many bodies, possibly at the same time, as the Bene Gesserit priestesses claimed in Dune.
The experience of particles which become real matter is retained in the nonlocal state, and this information has an influence on the real matter in the next moment of real time. Memory is retained about experience as information in nonlocal space.
Every history of the path exists simultaneously because in that nonlocal space, time and place are not relevant. That defines the context which has every possible path.
From the first appearance of living matter, experience would be retained in that nonlocal space as described in entanglement, available through context from this collective unconscious.
The unconscious impels us in an entirely different direction that often stops making sense.As Jung said, "Thoughts rise to the surface which reach back into the centuries, and accordingly anticipate a remote future."
Myths evoke numinous relationships. These keys encode the mysteries of myth, of gods and goddesses, letters and numbers, plants, animals and spirits as dynamic effects. Numbers are not symbols of something else, but real and alive.
The vestiges of these motifs in myth testify to the development of a conscious ego from a primal self unknown to itself as distinct from nature -- primordial awareness. This primordial ground is the foundation not only of the universal forms and the purpose of the world, but also of distinct being and the source of all these psychic manifestations -- the infinite impulse of the unconscious.
Zero is the Cosmic Egg, from which everything including life to undifferentiated- and super-consciousness emerges. Our unconscious is always an ecology of liminal space in theater mode, cosmic pattern recognition. We cultivate the ground between art and spirituality with a living ethic in conversations with heart. We see with the eyes, ears, and understanding of the heart.
Our concern is process, meaningful connected patterns over time, not just outcome but transpersonal as well as individual arc. Emergence is a process by which order appears “spontaneously” within a system. We increase our ability to create, express, collaborate and enliven our life.
If our experience consists solely of images, does that mean it consists solely of archetypes? At its primordial root, 'Imagination is God'. As Jung said, we can only know the god-image and nothing more. Transformative images include creative play, novelty-seeking, context, crisis, quest, encounter, interaction, commitment, and consequences.
Joseph Campbell asks, “What is it we are questing for? It is the fulfillment of that which is potential in each of us. Questing for it is not an ego trip; it is an adventure to bring into fulfillment your gift to the world, which is yourself." (Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation)
Both tarot and films are polysemic, capable of having multiple possible meanings within a related semantic field or narrative. Sometimes only one of those meanings is intended, depending on context, and sometimes multiple meanings are intended at the same time. Archetypal lenses color our observations, the magnificent cyclesof self-consciousness.
As in tarot, we create reality from a superposition of probabilities. The deck is stacked through the creative impulse of The Fool. Precognition reverses time. Or, as Wilhelm Reich expressed it, "We shall no longer hang on to the tails of public opinion or to a nonexistent authority on matters utterly unknown and strange. We shall gradually become experts ourselves in the mastery of the knowledge of the Future."
Words in one lexical context can then be used, in a different form, in a related context.In non-linear polysemy, the original sense of a word is used figuratively to provide a different way of looking at the new subject (metonymy, metaphor).
But how do we "know what we know"? In many cases it can only be expressed metaphorically, moving from the supposedly known into the unknown territory, describing what it is "like."
Metaphors create realities in our conceptual system. We relate emotionally to the notion of 'transformation' in typical metaphors, including love, laughter and silence.Metaphors of the underlying order in chaos connect our impulsive departures from the ordinary world of disappointment, suffering, and grief.
Our ethic remains the practice of creativity. Creativity embraces the fiery potential saturated with the sacred fire of the heart.This heartful approach to psyche remains the focus. Like the storytellers of old, we are lit up through impressionistic leaps of imagination with fiery hearts and luminous hair.
The campfire is the pyrotechnic ancestor and pregnant metaphor presaging electronic media, fabulist poetry and art, and prognosticative arts -- fortune telling, soothsaying, foretelling, divination. Only new circumstances reveal the path to the future. The art or gift of prophecy anticipates or binds the future, creating and controlling anticipation while narrating our fascinations.
"Fire lights up the dark. By means of it we can see in the dark, advance into the dark, hold back the night. Yet, this same fire sharpens and deepens the dark. Standing close by its light, near into the fire (lamplight, candle flame, camp fire), the corners and shadows of the farther perimeter become pitch, impenetrable."
"The more light, the more darkness, requiring ever brighter enlightening. Light and dark, contraries defining each other; eventually, opposites warring each other. Enlightenment, a via longissima because unconsciousness increases in proportion to illumination. Resolution of the paradox? An epiphanic illumination, only an apocalyptic fire of spiritual awakening evacuates darkness itself..." (James Hillman, AlchemicalPsychology)
The heart is the secret of the source of the perceptual eye and wild vigor, mediating passions of rapture and despair. Names and latent symbols become oracles and omens. Each card is a separate entity, a living form, a distinct catalyst.
With the thrill of sympathy and resonance, the characters of the soul help us see in the dark, both in our mysterious occulted interiority and in the collective world of cinema. Each is it own plenitude of presence.
Aristotle thought mastering metaphor was a pinnacle of human endeavor, now seen as a form of thought with epistemological functions -- how we know what we know. Tacit metaphors guide history and theories in the sciences and humanities as well as the personal, social, and transpersonal unconscious.
All disciplines rely on metaphorical perception and thinking. Metaphor is a way of illuminating what is unknown with something similar in dynamics that is known. We intuitively perceive the similarities and differences.
A small number of motifs produce phase structure, highly complex and unified patterns. This is the basis of visual arts and tarot, mingling metaphysics and magic, rudimentary mathematical mythology, the universal in the mundane.
Heart is the vehicle of metaphor. Individuation attends to what emerges from the unconscious in the natural psychic life cycle. Soul-making extends self-reflection, dreaming, and active imagination into all aspects of life and emergent phenomena -- an artistic, soul-based fusion of inner and outer worlds and knowledge by acquaintance.
The aesthetic approach preserves the autonomy of the psyche. There are dimensions of experience—self-understanding, religious experience and aesthetic dimensions of experience that point toward ecstatic primordiality. Implicit beliefs are based on deeper belief systems.
Our myths involve the quality and context of our lives, bending and stretching temporal cohesion. Rumi tells us, “Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”
Hillman describespsyche "as a polycentric realm of nonverbal, nonspatial images. Myth offers the same kind of world. It too, is polycentric, with innumerable personifications in imaginal space."However,"myths resist being interpreted into practical life. They are not allegories of applied psychology, solutions to personal problems."
We find extraordinary continuities of symbolism, in religion, mythology, and across the arc of history. We put concepts together to tell stories. The universal aspects of art across cultures make aesthetic experiences an important aspect of human life.
Psychological story-telling does not claim proof or truth. It starts with phenomenological experience and a poetic aesthetic approach that calls, seduces and charms. This narrative relies on images, language, emotion, irrationality, and texture submitting the content to psychic transformation.
Aesthetics conceals and reveals; it leads deeper and "connects all the stories and persons existing together in the same field, without "interpretations and personalistic contents." "Sudden openings of the heart and mind and senses, especially of the eyes; insights, aha's, analogies, unique epiphanies that shake the soul, carry it to the edge, and free it from the box" of methodological theory and preconceptions. (Hillman, Blue Fire)
In ancient Greece, drama developed from the worship of Dionysus. Theater became the scene of splendid dramatic performances. Catharsis was the purging of the feelings of pity and fear.
Aristotle thought the audience should experiences catharsis at the end of a tragedy after foreshadowing conflict, complications, irony, foils, flashbacks, tragic flaws, and unforeseen consequences, after the climax, reveal, and resolution.
The poets were the prophets and priests. "Old myths, old gods, old heroes have never died. They are only sleeping at the bottom of our mind, waiting for our call. We have need for them. They represent the wisdom of our race," said Stanley Kunitz, former U.S. Poet Laureate.
Classic plays covered the spectrum from self-deception and denial, abandonment, betrayal, unwitting dupes, ambition, murderous rage, incest, violence, and resilience to exaltation.
They reveal the difference between appearance and reality, magical realism, and mystery. They show us judgment, suffering, love, irony, humor, deception, survival, rise and fall, war and peace, good and evil, visions, and the passages of life.
Quest and Keys are motifs. Symbolic images represent a larger idea, and can become a motif through repetition that reinforces the main idea of the piece. Paradox constantly reenters itself through the process of iteration -- feedback loops involving the continual reabsorption or enfolding of what has come before. A theme is the life lesson or the point of the story.
Aesthetic judgement style is related to personality traits and emotional factors that predict art-related behavior: Culture, Philosophical Intellect, Openness to Experience, and Imagination. Openness is reflected by adjectives such as artistic, perceptive, poetic, and fantasy-prone. Imagination can manifest both intellectually and aesthetically, consisting of creativity- and art-related facets.
Aesthetic styles are significantly associated with cognitive styles and thinking styles. In other words, we perceive, evaluate, and experience art differently. Our reactions can be concrete, analytical, symbolic, and emotional. Art interest is significantly associated with Openness to Experience, Emotional Stability, and aesthetic judgment styles.
Rather than outside the field of meta-consciousness,the appearance of unconsciousness arises from our dependence on self-reflective introspection for gauging awareness. If consciousness is inherent to all mentation, it may be fundamental in nature, the realm of generative, intrinsic, natural principles,as opposed to a product of particular types of brain function.
Depth psychologists say the “unconscious” is beyond introspection but still able to influence conscious thoughts, feelings and behaviors, conditioning our conscious thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Mental activity the ego cannot access through introspection could still be conscious, in the sense of being phenomenally experienced somewhere in the psyche as direct experience.
Mental activity corresponds to experience if, and only if, it is conscious. Raw experience is conscious non-self-reflexive experience. Ego can access direct insight into our conscious inner life through introspection. Mental processes unaccompanied by introspective reports of experience can be conscious nonetheless as non-self-reflexive experiences.
These unconscious processes can can perform high-level functions like cognitive control, the pursuit of goals, information broadcasting, reasoning, choice, decision making, attitude formation and attitude change, impression formation, problem solving, and creativity.
Re-representation is necessary for introspection. The bulk of our existence takes place in the narrative or story that extends into the deep past and future, opening the finitude of now, a vanishingly small singularity. Correlations ofnarrative and cognitive variables replicate better than actual results, mapping patterns of interrelationship and reframing consciousness.
Both cinema and tarot can be imagined as novel stimulation and psychic events that essentially dream themselves forward by analogous implications of the poetic basis of consciousness. Both are vehicles of metaphor. The screen becomes a clear pellucid crystal able to be 'seen through' with clarity, a glimpse of psyche through its images.
We might imagine that The Fool carries the 50,000 year old novelty-seeking gene, the 'adventure gene': the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4). Its two main traits are persistence and self-transcendence, a willingness to move outside of our own individualistic concerns and see ourselves as an integral component of the universe as a whole. This makes The Fool a natural neophiliac.
We are naturally inquisitive. Novelty seeking is related to individual risk preference and brain activation associated with risk prediction during decision making.It could conceivably relate to our interest in cinema and theater where novel situations with intense exhilaration and excitement are presented, encouraging exploration of stimuli or environments, the discovery of spontaneous initiatic activity.
In our own lives, succeeding requires regulating our impulses while also having the imagination to see what the future would be like if we try something new. Sometimes that leads us toward divination via tarot or other means of predicting outcomes or overcoming blocks.
The ability to have big ideas or creative inspiration seems to require a certain degree of enjoyment of expanding mental horizons into new territory.Tendencies toward achievement and a larger perspective balance one another.
As Joseph Campbell suggests, "So the way to keep from becoming blocked, is to make yourself...transparent to the transcendent.""You become a sign, you become a signal, transparent to transcendence; in this way you will find, live, become a realization of your own personal myth.”
In its own poetic way, narrative pursues its own method of consciousness research. The narrative unconscious is rooted in our cultural history that is not yet an explicit part of our story. The narrative unconscious moves us beyond the particulars of personal life into the shared life of culture. (Freeman)
Both arts explore images rather than explain them. They contain soul sometimes missing from contemporary visual arts.Our own personal metaphors are dynamic living symbols, deeper emergent imagery, beyond static or worn out collective formulations.
That our material world reflects our spiritual condition is the very premise of tarot. Such metaphorical shifts are revealed in cinema and inherent in tarot as a historical telescope of archaic imagery. All media reflect it.
"The effects of new media on our sensory lives are similar to the effects of new poetry. They change not our thoughts but the structure of our world.” (Marshall McLuhan, Foreword ‘The Interior Landscape: The Literary Criticism of Marshall McLuhan 1943-1962 (McGraw-Hill, 1969)
Mass media is the main manifestation of spectacle. As in tarot, we see spectacle shifting toward an animated presence. Debord claimed we contemplate the reified spectacle, a seductive concentration, diffusion, an integration of a kaleidoscope of situations, scenarios, phrases, moods, catastrophes, and atmospheres.
Our memory becomes a crushed amalgam of more than fact and fiction, experiences and texts, documentary footage, dramatizations, movies, plays, television shows, fantasies. We are born into a deeper history we have to make our own.We happen upon experiences that jar this history loose and bring it into view; it can be quite startling and revelatory.
"We live in a spectacular society, that is, our whole life is surrounded by an immense accumulation of spectacles. Things that were once directly lived are now lived by proxy. Once an experience is taken out of the real world it becomes a commodity. As a commodity the spectacular is developed to the detriment of the real. It becomes a substitute forexperience." (Lawrence Law (2009) Images and Everyday Life)
The means of approach is an inspired act, an energized act of beauty in the physical world, emergence of the dynamic potential of inherent permanence.Love of those images arises from the depths of our own being. Poet Robert Bly suggests, "These awesome forces ... represent our instincts, as well as our ability to experience both the animal and the divine." (More than True)
They spark our poetic polytheistic imagination, a multiplicity of subjective states, different vectors of human consciousness. This is the "The Tell-tale Art," a sacred art of creating meaning in a powerful artistic vocabulary with the transformative guide. The archetypes put on and take off a myriad of physical forms om their dazzling manifestations.
A deeper layer of existence informs the foundation of the physical world. There is a substrate of mythical mentality pulsing in everyone, an epic panorama of archetypes, their analogous affinities, and states of consciousness that scrambles our conceptual categories and scaffolding. a steep descent into the underworld of the unconscious.
Our epiphanies shake and shape the senses, mind, heart, and soul.The shocking beauty of events can propel us to the ragged edge of comprehension, awe and wonder.Film and tarot constantly induce moments of apercus, comments or brief references, impressions or short sketches thatmake illuminating or entertaining points.
It creates a numinous magical atmosphere that awakens, ensouls and vivifies everything.The essence of things nourishes our souls.Like cinema, we are freed from the order of time for new pulses, rhythms, and appetites for life.We often speak of films as escape.
Narrative is the fundamental way our mind works, forming the basis of how we perceive and conceive of our world through the basic elements of narrative plot, character, setting or situation,style, and symbolism.We feel the collective commonality with our spirits and our hearts connected with our passion.
Philo spoke of the prevalence of the motif of 'going out,' departure, or migration as a struggle of the soul in the wilderness, an allegory of escape from the body and its shadow world of phenomena. The symbolic life is transformative. Psyche is the primordial reality, the first reality.
Mythical or archetypal images constitute the very essence of psychic life. They are the psyche, shifting our conception of life from personal pursuits to transpersonal purpose.We dream asleep and awake while another part knows that we are dreaming.
The threshold is an archetype of beginnings, the initial conditions of the unfolding of our psychic process. The threshold challenges us to follow the inner call.The threshold implies we are entering a sacred space.
We are simultaneously outside and within the waking dream of threshold consciousness, between self-reflexivity and awareness, torn from the past but denied a sure future. Our ego consciousness may be challenged with another way of knowing, the knowledge of the soul on the road to Self.
As Greg Nixon says, "our fates are tied by our fears & desires to our inner allegiances among the archetypal forces.""Immersion in soul instead of escape to spirit keeps the imaginal realm right here amongst us permeating our lives, though it is invisible to most."
Wisdom is not a given, but an inner orientation, a psychic compass.When the outer symbols no longer provide meaning or containment, our challenge is to undertake an inner journey in order to find orientation and guidance from our inner compass.
That journey is exemplified in the arcane alpha-numeric associations of the Tarot keys. They evoke synchronous moments of self-organizing sequencing and clarifying insight. There may be a missing dimension in our worldview. All reality has rhythmic, musical, emotional, and artistic correspondences.
In Dialogues (1954), Alfred North Whitehead said, "Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern."Perceived through the heart, the beauty and ugliness of the world resets our moral compass.
We explore soul-making here in juxtaposed realms of cinema and divinatory rites, using a detailed series of philosophical principles. We're empathetic, so we cry, flinch, and cheer. We recognize the plaintive chords of minor keys and noir style. When confronted with stimuli, we tend to perform the behaviors that produced good outcomes in response to similar stimuli in the past.
Cinema creates an essentially hypnotic state of “mental relaxation” and “mental absorption." The attentional system is aroused, the body has reduced sensory response. The eye slows to the cadence of the images. First sense intuits felt-sense present in each situation.
The phenomenal experience induces the modulation of activity within brain areas critically involved in the regulation of consciousness. The hypnotic state relates to the activation of a widespread set of cortical areas involving occipital, parietal, precentral, premotor, and ventrolateral prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices.
This pattern of activation shares some similarities with mental imagery, from which it mainly differs by the relative deactivation of precuneus, a part of the superior parietal lobule in front of the occipital lobe (cuneus).
The aesthetic approach considers the struggle beautiful, an enthusiastic leap into the ordinary world, a leap from the heights into archetypal depths. In common use, the tarot generatesinnumerable, remarkably coherent stories in the archetypal mode. In the playing card deck, the 0 or Joker can stand in for any card. The Fool opens the door to the secrets of the universe.
"These palaces are not built in space, then. They are the only space available. They project their own space when they arise. There is no repressed negativity around them that seeks to enter. Nothing exists, then, but what the imagination, which has brought forth the palace, has constituted." Paul Veyne, *Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths?*, trans. P. Wissing. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1988, pp. 121-2.
What starts with The Fool ends with The World -- the Universe, cosmic consciousness. There is no leap to a higher plane or level that integrates interests, just the imaginal knowledge that is no knowledge.
If you are completely sincere, the light of mind naturally overflows, and the spirit of knowledge will naturally leap into enormous hidden dimensions.All can be penetrated and understood through trajectories of fantastic transformation.
Eldo Stellucci describesthe transition between the confusion of psychic phenomena and the order of meanings. "This process implies a return to different and articulated possibilities, particularly to those matches with images that no other type of systematic description can embrace."
With a leap of faith, The Fool is awakening to psychic reality, to a more comprehensive perspective by following the instincts -- a leap into the void of the unconscious. At this point we should keep it in and nurture it, not letting it gallop off losing essence and life.
He carries his stick like a tramp, but it is actually a powerful wand. The Fool really belongs anywhere in the deck there is transition. The Magic Flute exposes the clumsiness of our passions that repeatedly make a fool of us. The court jester in King Lear, is by far the most intellectual and noblest of Shakespeare's fools.
Zhuangzi says, "Those who realize their folly are not true fools."He suggests we, "leap into the boundless and make it our home."Paradoxically, sometimes we leap forward, sometimes backward, or in any direction, pursuing whatever we are after as the simpleton fool, clever fool, and serendipitous fool, dramatically transforming our storytelling.
The Chinese praise folly. Lin Yutang spoke of the wisdom of the foolish. Lao-tzu said: “Blessed are the idiots, for they are the happiest people on earth,” and “The greatest wisdom is like stupidity; the greatest eloquence like stuttering.”
Cheng Panch’iao in the eighteenth century claimed, “It is difficult to be muddle-headed. It is difficult to be clever, but still more difficult to graduate from cleverness into muddle-headedness.” Folk wisdom suggests,“Don’t be too smart.” The wisest person is often one who pretends to be a “damn fool.”
Our intent is not to map or describe liminal space, but to explore the poetic basis of mind openly without succumbing to the heroic paradigms of human potential, spirituality and self-help style ego empowerment. The tiny and huge of Above and Below can only be experienced in the neuroaesthetics of the awesome sublime, the transcendent, omnipresent, nonlocal field.
It is a truism that what we perceive is bound to the way we look.From a narrative viewpoint there is no end to the visions and the voices.Narrative thinking canalways be tied in some way to myth. Our creative ability can see through any story.
When the myth is revealed, the story is revealed, the power of understanding is created, and the story is over. A new story can be started, a new myth of enacting understanding and wisdom of life, of being truly present in, and mindful of, the world.
In narration sense emerges at the end, but there is sense throughout the image. When we are in a story we can't see it orstop living that story. When the story does get revealed, life and possibility are manifested.The story of 'Know Thyself' unfolds without end, and is ouroboric, being outside of time, revelatory, imagistic, nonlinear, and discontinuous.
Some believe such sublime aesthetic experiences constitute religious or spiritual experiences of God or a ‘numinous’ reality. Arguably, it is our strongest emotion, that paradoxically reduces and elevates us. Ultimately, we are one with Nature, connected by autonomous patterns or instincts that organize the contents of the unconscious, mysteries of inexhaustible meaning.
We can only imagine connections between revelatory events. Each lyrical image is its own beginning and end, healing by and in itself, as Hillman suggests in Healing Fiction.Amplifying archetypal significance with myth is an imagistic, not hermeneutic interpretive move into embodied meaning.
Jung’s individual versus collective trope was aimed at avoiding the numbing and inflating impact of collectivization, while maintaining community or the sense of connection to our surroundings. In giving substance to the reality of the psyche, we invite further images, a truth which can only be realized with senses beyond the flesh.
Thus, we can explore the non-growth, non-upward and non-ordered, even failing, dissociated, and pathological components of the psyche. The field is the archetype of process. The play of the gods in all things is our point of entry into that divine drama, a pluralistic notion of truth(s) of imaginal, metaphorical thinking. Metaphors, our own metaphors, are dynamic symbols.
Logic or reason alone do not sufficiently describe our reality. This is no belief, growth, or salvation, but the complex interrelations of what inhabits the psychic field -- the play of soul, itself -- from fleeting intuitions, to transgressive archetypes, to bad omens, from primal urges to civilized sensibilities.
Owen Barfield. (1977) claimed, “It was not man who made myths but myths, or the archetypal substance they reveal, which made man.” (The Rediscovery of Meaning, and Other Essays, p. 75).Myth itself is the hero of our tale, not 'what' but the way we see, how we imagine life into being.
****** "The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives." --James Hillman
Arcane cinema is an imaging of psychological life, including the Mysteries, such as those of existence, the quest for identity, and the transformative power of symbolicexperience in moment-to-moment unfolding.
We play them out in our life history just as characters play them out in film.In the fool's journey we retread and recapitulate the natural history of the psyche, 'trying on' different temperaments, attachment and interactional styles. Symbolic work with an image seeks understanding of its subjective impact on us as meaning.
This approach is mythopoetic. Tarot itself is a narrative generation system, a tool for recombinate narration. Is each style of consciousness in tarot substrate specific?We must understand the story we are in and recognize ourselves in every aspect of the universe, before the story ends and we can move on to another, according to Hillman.
"The initial Mystery that attends any journey is: how did the traveler reach his starting point in the first place?" (Louise Bogan, Journey Around My Room).Archai derives from the Greek word, arkhe, meaning 'beginning.'
We all begin as the undifferentiated archetypal child, needy, vulnerable, impotent. We regress to archetypal imperatives whenever we are wounded, when we need compassion, care, and unconditional love. Archetypes are the source of our renewed potential.
"We understand this pathologized language to be intentionally not speaking of human perfection, or even about the complete human being carrying his wounds and his cross; rather the psyche is telling us about its lacunae, its gaps and wasteland. And we believe that the tale told in these images is not even about us, men and women, not about human being mainly, but about itself, about psychic being; so that the deformation of human images with maimings, breaks, and suppurations decomposes our humanistic icon and our spiritual vision of the perfectibility of man, cracks all normative images, presenting instead a psychological fantasy of man to which neither naturalism nor spiritualism can apply. Both spiritual man and natural man are transformed by being deformed into psychological man." (James Hillman; Revisioning Psychology, p. 89)
Tarot is a way of moving through archetypal intent to realization. The Fool takes a leap. Jung (1959) said, “Were it not for the leaping and twinkling of the soul, man would rot away in his greatest passion—idleness . . . to have soul is the whole venture of life. . . ” (p. 27, para. 56)
Universal principles or original forms are fundamental essences. Archetypes are generating entities. Primordial forces animate the cosmos, the deepest patterns or root metaphors of psychological function. The Fool's journey is one large closed loop, so the Fool is depicted at both beginning and end of the cycle of archai.
Symbols can overcome psychic splits and redirect human instinct through adaptive self-organization.Psychic coherence reveals symbolic feedback loops that operate at all scales. Closed loops circle back to older images, pervading all scales of structure and adaptation to the environment.
Loops that happen to be arranged appropriately to carry forces survive. Structure arises in the moment in resonance with its environment. But in a universe of constant evolution each form eventually becomes dissonant as the evolving environment surrounding it changes. The changed surroundings stress the form and begin a process of its dissolution back into chaos.
The gods found, ground, establish, and substantiate reality. The return to primordial origins is fundamental to all mythologies -- expressing a spontaneous regression to the ground that pierces through the world of appearances to 'reality', to immediacy. We experience our own origins through a kind of identity, through countless beings before and after oneself as the germ of infinity.
Our journey re-unfolds those same images which stream out of the ground, out of the abyss. In this way we are "grounding" ourselves. When we dive down to our own foundations we find the world of our common divine origin. Ceremony translates the mythological value into an act. The world of the ancestors is a subterranean storehouse of everything that grows and comes to birth.
The place between conscious and unconscious is the Platonic metaxy, the place where soul ismade through an intense level of engagement. As more than an inner phenomena, we can also look outside with an interiorizing vision. Depth imagination consists in seeing the particular as a dynamic embodiment of more universal significance.
We choose how to plot our autobiographical narratives, which unify the chronological and nonchronological. This interweaving of non-linear narrative time is not reducible to linear time, and the beginning and end are often confounded with significance and explanations. We weave convoluted tales of stories within stories, shaping memory and events.
Narratives are a way to articulate and resolve core issues, or universal problems and paradoxically a way to either avoid or heal biographical discontinuities. In storytelling, we organize, display and work through our experiences. Narratives can be a potent force mediating disruptions. Experience is reframed and reshaped in the narrative process.
Novelists, dramatists, artists, naturalists, and poets reveal rich, deep wisdom about human nature from inside consciousness. We see the gods at work through mostly unconscious fantasy, image, metaphor, and motif -- the archetypal infrastructure and expressions of the psyche. Our environment activates the archetypes which mediate our behavior and experience.
Myth is a body of stories, foundational to cultures and worldviews -- the plurality of experience, beliefs, and motivations. Mythologies bring value, meaning and richness to our lives. We suggest opportunities to bring awareness to the experiences of myth and ritual, to benefit from the gifts these practices offer us.
Mythopoesis means literally, "myth-making," the natural expression of the visionary wisdom inborn to the human species. It is a creative act of story telling or narration, by which human beings "track" their experience and orient themselves to the cosmos at large. The mystic Void becomes the womb of creation.
Psyche is mythic unfolding. Myth's spirit and substance have been obscured but find traction in the archetypal perspectives of cinema and predictive arts, in the humanities. There are no 'new' paradigms, only re-visioned antiquarian ones, but they are myths not prescriptions.Fictions dissolve the literal into metaphor and the truth into poetry. Rumi says, "“Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”
Recall the ubiquitous qualifier, "based on a true story," the botched biopic, anachronistic historical drama, or the cinematic mangling of classical literature.Mythos is primary; unconditioned fantasy is the common element of all our human endeavors and the universal scope of archetypes, and re-establishing archaic relationships.
Meta-Plot Film composers often use musical leitmotifs to help build a sense of continuity. A leitmotif is a recurring musical idea (a melody, chord sequence, rhythm or a combination of these) which is associated with a particular idea, character or place. Leitmotifs are manipulated for cohesion, to match the action and mood of a scene.
Through this imaginal reality we find soul, meaning, and significance in our suffering. In story we develop creative ways of interpreting disruption and draw together disparate aspects of the disruption into a cohesive whole.
Films affect us through empathic identification with screen characters, interaction or connections between our personal experiences and the film events, and the emotionally moving aspects of the film. We suspend of disbelief in the simulated reality; symbols stimulate images in the viewer's unconscious.
There are many allusions surrounding the metaphor that "life is a journey." It implies that purposes are destinations, means are routes, difficulties are obstacles, achievements or catastrophes can be landmarks, and choices are crossroads. Our "healing" stories all have a common plot: a disruption to life is followed by efforts to restore life to 'normal.' There are many journeys, yet just one road.
According to Christopher Booker (2004), there are only seven basic plots in the whole world -- plots that are recycled again and again in novels, movies, plays and operas. They are: 1. Overcoming the Monster, 2. Rags to Riches, 3. The Quest, 4. Voyage and Return, 5. Rebirth, 6. Comedy, and 7. Tragedy.
All trace a hero's journey from immaturity to self-realization, and all end with the restoration of order or the promise of renewal, as the tarot keys do. Several of these plots, such as 'Star Wars', can be seen as reworkings of Joseph Campbell's, work on the quest and return in The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
The meta-plot begins with the anticipation stage, in which the hero is called to the adventure to come. This is followed by a dream stage, in which the adventure begins, the hero has some success, and has an illusion of invincibility. However, this is then followed by a frustration stage, in which the hero has their first confrontation with the enemy, and the illusion of invincibility is lost. This worsens in the nightmare stage, which is the climax of the plot, where hope is apparently lost. Finally, in the resolution, the hero overcomes their burden against the odds.
Our stories spontaneously become bigger than our puny selves when destiny pulls the strings in this process. Our perspective can enlarge instantly, even violently, as the personal is engulfed by the universal. Our struggles to deal with that embody those of collective mankind. Chaotic twists and turns mold our lives.
The 'journey' is a core guiding metaphor for our multifarious experiences. It is a poetic journey of self-discovery. The spiritual path is a deeply experiential journey to wrest our consciousness from the purely collective, to own one’s particular bit of history. The rupture that leads to the adventure can come from within or without oneself.
It means surrender to the Great Unknown, which overwhelms the ego and rational comprehension. It repeats the classic theme of archetypal death of the old rigid self or ego and rebirth as a transformed individual with a more inclusive consciousness.
Tarot Keys embody a series of archetypal motifs to be experienced and differentiated from ego and the overwhelming psyche. In tarot, physical fact meets metaphysical reality in the soul-world relationship. Metaphoric possibility deepens and opens to meaning in art.
Our Great Work is revealing and explicating the archetypal perspective in all of our experience -- to see things mythically and metaphorically, an "imaginative realism." We interact with rhythms of energy in non-spatial relationships so involved that their energy, transformed, becomes our thought.
Heraclitus said, "You could not discover the limits of the soul, even if you traveled every road to do so; such is the depth of its meaning."The Fool's journey heads toward where the seed originates and attempts to follow its deepest intuitions toward metaphorical enactment. It is a way of respecting the power of the 'call,'the world-creating capability of the mind, which values bringing awareness and creative expression to psyche in its myriad forms.
Both tarot and cinema are great arts of light and shadow. Our polycentric, poetic imagination bridges the ancient and modern world, where 'give me a reading' means 'tell me a story' and is the key to understanding our own psychological wounds.
Introjection is the opposite of projection. Projection occurs when we project feelings or characteristics onto another person. Introjection occurs when we internalize the beliefs of other people. Without a conscious faculty for symbols and images the deeper reaches of the unconscious remain foreign and unruly. The arts of cinema and tarot help raise just such symbols and images to consciousness.
Psychic material arises from the unconscious or sinks down into the unconscious and a way is required to track the movement. Just as we have brought the outside inside, we can get what's inside outside by expressing our psychological, aesthetic, and spiritual depths.Soul makes significance possible.
Mythos is the fundamentals which become present in the telling of a traditional or recurrent narrative theme or plot structure. The metaphoric part of our experience induces natural trance, revealing that which becomes present.
A set of beliefs or assumptions conceals an epiphany of gods and mortals, earth and sky.These gods are part of the world we experience, mediating the transcendent and ordinary.They are a presence within the world or modes of the world's presence.
In cinematic narrative structure, the reveal may be a plot twist or close-up, wide shot, or other unusual camera point-of-view that shows us an important visual clue often not known to characters in the same scene.Myth presents disclosure in a play of images rather than an explanation -- "so it has come to this."A mythos calls a world into presence, a relational and dynamic understanding.
Worlds appear from thin air in our perceptual space, a context, an inner landscape, an interface between the external and internal worlds opening questions without presuppositions. Answers come from the source of information. This is how we endure ourselves, by 'soul-making,' not striving for development or enlightenment. Once we leave the developmental model we can seek true wisdom that funds our compassion.
Art symbolizes the meaning of our existence, as director Tarkovsky said.The artistic impulse arises when our passive awe becomes an active desire to express that as a celebratory rite, a homage (respect, honor, reverence, worship, admiration, esteem; tribute, acknowledgment, recognition, paean).It includes poetry, naming, meeting, engaging.
The heart responds to the senses; the unfolding Mystery at the heart of our existing. The truths of the heart, the mindbody link, are elemental. Hillman says, "The heart in the breast is not your heart only: it is a microcosmic sun, a cosmos of all possible experiences that no one can own."
We never apprehend reality directly--only our world-simulation which is congealed from the convergence of our sensory input channels and the information-creating processes of chaotic neural activity.
The brain filters and creates reality. Brains are chaotic systems which create internal perceptual patterns that substitute directly for sensory stimuli. These stimuli are evoked potentials or evoked fields--standing waves in the brain.
Imagination has the ability to induce real-time changes in the psychophysical being. Imagination embodies the power of transformation. It may be accessed through obvious imagery, such as dreams, vision, and other sensory analogs, or viewed directly in symptoms, behavior patterns, emotional patterns, mental concepts, and spiritual beliefs. The imaginal process is our primary experience and it permeates and conditions all facets of human life.
The emergent self-organizing process a key component of the mind, both embodied and relational. It regulates energy and information flow within and among us. Without optimal self-organization, we arrive at either chaos or rigidity. Our mind is more than our perception of experiences, but those experiences themselves. We cannot completely disentangle our subjective view of the world from our interactions.
We are born into a community, a culture, a tradition, a society that imprints our mind with a story that has been told and retold from ancient times.The Key cards emerge from the archetype of transformation, much like the great myths, tales of literature and film reflect the cosmic reference frame, a deep unconscious necessity.
We travel through the 22 initiatory paths of archetypal fictional presences. We learn to discern the distinctions among forces in the creative field.As personified archetypes, images signify both the meaning and ground of that specific potential and the possibility of other meanings (metaphorical ambiguity) and synchronicity.
With the simple question, 'what is it like?', we change our alignment to such immutable fields articulating a vision of the soul, the mythos and metaphysics of the aesthetic sense. We naturally start using metaphor to describe our experience. For example, information contained in a metaphor can transform a memory.
This is not a concept but a fantasy-image, the experience of recalling or envisioning happening right now framed in the present tense.We direct our attention to one aspect of our experience in a quest for self knowledge about the structure of subjective experience, agreeable with the heart and soul.
Metaphors help us discover how our symbolic perceptions are organized, what needs to happen for these to change, and how they can transform as a result. This metaphorical method provides a temporal space and induces a nuanced tone of transition in the circulating field of powers.
The metaphor reveals what is concealed or overlooked in its presence when the focus of the method remains purely on the image itself.Hillman advises we 'stay with the image,' as presented by psyche, the mirror of our lives, rather than veer off into interpretations.
The keys to self-actualization are our own internality, though appearing in an external form. Once we have that visualization, we try to feel the essential life of the thing, to allow it to move us, to become part of us.Hillman suggests soul is both "the stimulus and the differentiated container for the extraordinary psychic richness..."
Each Key has a face, a palpable presence that we acknowledge as we look upon it, toknow, to discern by seeing the face of the divine in each thing. This sense of discernment is 'seeing through,' to the psychic image and the god present in it, to recognize, to acknowledge through experience.
They are the heart of the action approach to universal mind and deep narrative structure, the neurophysiology of the sense of meaning.Human symbols function in the context of life and are path-dependent as well, and that path is evolution.Symbols carry value of the concepts they symbolize. Identity is embedded in the environment.
Hillman also insists, "But the heart's way of perceiving is both a sensing and an imagining: to sense penetratingly we must imagine, and to imagine accurately we must sense." Gibran urges, "Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights. But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge."
Our whole person is the sensorium. Hillman suggests, "we are serving the body of imagination, the bodies of our images. And what gives fullness to the soul and body of our images and experiences is that sense of necessity, which always... is associated with the "body". (The Vain Escape From the Gods, PP. 120-121)
Psyche, the imaginal or divine sensorium mediates our engagement with the soul of the world, the emotionally charged archetypal realm. This sphere of the vibrant gods has a non‐human component. Jung called symbols the "best possible expression at the moment for a fact as yet unknown."
Fantasy, the creative process and human interiority is the imaginative capacity and ability to know from the inside out, We explore the inner world of things and people, as they are and as they are‐coming‐to‐be, the specific qualities that characterize moments in time.But is the matter of image more than a triumph of style over substance?
Humankind is the sensorium commune of nature, where we experience and interpret the environments within which we live. Our senses include reason, self-awareness, phenomenal and psychological perception, nonlocality, cognition, and intelligence, learning, emotional knowledge, creativity, and planning. Attention is the highest value.
Both tarot and cinema are forms of exteriorized imagination. Perception, insight, intelligence, and problem-solving need circumstances or a place -- symbolic context. Meaning comes from the symbolic context of mind and culture in which we are embedded and through which all human meaning emerges.
We are the natural consequence of all who have come before us. Jung described two kinds of people: some need solid factual steps to resolve a pressing problem, while others are in touch with the Collective Unconscious and capable of dialoguing with the imaginal realm, engaging perception with desire.
Sometimes we notice that archetypes and the mythic images they attract inhabit the places where we live, like some larger holographic memory. They certainly haunt the theater and cinema and our psyches as ontological dependents of our own mind.
Marshall McLuhan thought media were biased according to time and space. He defined the sensorium as the effects of media on our senses by manipulating the ratio of our senses. For example, the alphabet stresses the sense of sight, which in turn causes us to think in linear, objective terms. However, Tarot is based on the alphabet, but is used in nonlinear ways.
Cinema, too, is often nonlinear, a refracted layer of consciousness, beyond framing, staging, rhythmic pattern, atmosphere, texture, a poetic thread, the pressure of time in a scene. Intensifying the emotions inside the image makes it feel real, makes it feel relevant to the viewer.
Hillman notes, "…psyche is the life of our aesthetic responses, that sense of taste in relation with things, that thrill or pain, disgust or expansion of breast: these primordial aesthetic reactions of the heart are soul itself speaking" (The Thought of the Heart and the Soul of the World, p. 39).
Cinema manifests emotion by building character through action, even without a word spoken. The camera can track the train of thought, making no more sense than real life. Meaning forms of its own accord, the field and the force of the drama. Plots are myths. Action is the energy that drives mythical reality forward.
Throughout aeons, gifted storytellers have produced works that, like ritual, have resonated with our souls to far greater depth than we can consciously know. These tales spoke to and awakened each in their own way in their secret private language. They provoke, make us pause, reflect, and consider.
"The distinction between concrete and literal, so important to alchemy, is the essential distinction in ritual. The ritual of theater, of religion, of loving, and of play require concrete actions which are never what they literally seem to be. Ritual offers a primary mode of pathologizing, of deliteralizing events and seeing them as we "perform" them. As we go into a ritual, the soul of our actions "comes out"; or to ritualize a literal action, we "put soul into it."...Ritual brings together action idea into an enactment." --James Hillman/Re-Visioning Psychology
Humans have told each other stories for millennia, long before the first written word, fulfilling our deep need for psychological wisdom in narrative, symbolism, and metaphor.For example, The water of life we yearn for relates to the waters of the unconscious.
Norman Brown claimed, "The thing to be abolished is literalism...the worship of false images; idolatry...Truth is always in poetic form; not literal but symbolic; hiding, or veiled; light in darkness...the alternative to literalism is mystery."
The world is explained and experienced differently depending on the specific "ratios of sense" that each culture shares in the sensoria they learn to inhabit. Our unique sensoria may include perceptual proclivities that exceed our cultural norms as in the experience of synesthesia, or sensory melding.
The 'magic theatre' is psyche's sensorium, the point at which all values are interchanged within our sensitive, impression-receiving faculties together. This is how we receive and interpret information. It always has deeper, unconscious imaginative roots and a fantasy overlay or imaginal context.
Imagination, psyche, or soul is real. The psychic aspect of matter is the world seen from within. We can help save the soul of the world by returning color and taste and texture to the things of the world, a world alive and reactive, no longer pretending that they take place only in the subjective sensorium. Goethe developed an “exact sensorial imagination”. James Hillman suggests:
"Re-awakening the sense of soul in the world goes hand in hand with an aesthetic response - the sense of beauty and ugliness - to each and everything, and this in turn requires trusting the emotions of desire, outrage, fear and shame as the felt immediacy of the Gods, Mars and Venus and the Moon, in our bodily lives, and their concern that this world, our planet, their neighbor, does not become the late great planet earth." (Resurgence, No.134. "And Huge is Ugly", Nov., l988.)
Those practicing predictive arts often describe their approach as archetypal, as a dialogue with universal experiential templates. The building blocks of the psyche inform images, narratives, and styles of consciousness conforming to these templates.
Each tarot Key and godform comes with a retinue of associations, including astrological attributions. Both practices are essentially ways of 'deep reading,' listening to interacting archetypal voices.
"What does the recognition of this highly precise, yet poetically subtle, correspondence between planetary movements and events on Earth indicate about the nature of the cosmos? The evidence for planetary correlations with human affairs can, in many ways, address the alienation from the rest of the cosmos felt by the human being in late modernity. Through the recognition of such symbolic patterns, we can feel the deep interconnection that has always been present between us and our world. We are our world" (Tarnas).
In archetypal astrology, planetary configurations in the solar system are thought to bear a significant and coherent correspondence with archetypal themes and patterns evident in human experience. Religious experience is an interior phenomenon that is ontologically within the experiencing subject—a confluence of objectivism and subjectivism.
The archetypes are seen as cosmological, rather than merely psychological principles. They are a means of exploring fields of consciousness and creative transformation, a practical guide for the psychic quest and spiritual adventure within an archetypally-patterned, astronomically-grounded cosmology. Our reactions to it remains a way to "Know thyself."
Hillman writes, “Modes of knowing are never altogether purified of the ‘subjective factor,’ and this factor is one or another imaginal person who casts our consciousness into specific epistemological premises. Thus the first task of knowledge is knowledge of these premises, or Know Thyself” (Healing 77-78).
An archetype is a beginning figure or image, an original pattern or model that gives shape and direction. Archetypes or gods are perceived as greater-than-human configurations of reality, personifications of psychological principles active within the psyche, our larger perception of the world. These living symbols we share in common are the collective unconscious, our window on eternity with gods or mythic archetypes which are powerful, numinous realities.
We can interpret natural events like storms and earthquakes as meaningful symbols: non-verbal, imagistic words in the vocabulary of animate Earth. We listen deeply into the natural occurrences unfolding around us, to discern the panpsychic primal forces and currents that shaped human intelligence and continue to interact with it.
Jung describes the mythological character of the human psyche as a natural phenomena. He cautioned, "Whenever it is a question of archetypal formations, personalistic attempts at explanation lead us astray. The method of comparative symbology, on the other hand, not only proves fruitful on scientific grounds but makes a deeper understanding possible in practice" (1964, para 646).
Archetypes are universal principles, or forces that affect, impel, structure, and permeate the human psyche and the world of experience on many levels. They can spontaneously come alive, arrest our attention, draws us to them.They reside in our psyche as patterns of potential but they also manifest in the physical world and in the depth dimension of soul through the imaginal process -- our stream of consciousness.
Tarot and its Key images, the Arcana, illustrate a metastory narrative and social ideals when read consecutively in deck order. They are a practical guide to the mystery traditions of symbolism. Esoterics is psychologically grounded by valuing psyche itself as the deep root of sacrality.
It is a living system describing humanity and cosmos that allows the phenomena to speak. Psyche, our "larger self", reveals itself in symbolic form through manifestations of the archetypes. They organize experience giving it collective meaning.
In the context of the spread, archetypes may inspire more personal narratives in powerful emotive symbolism, in all realms of consciousness: natural, artistic, moral, ethical, philosophical, metaphysical, religious, theological, mystical, and occult. Such natural metaphors are 'how we know what we know.'
Archetypal cinema reflects the magic realism of the unconscious, a catalyst to introspective self-discovery. Images, metaphors, symbols, symptoms, and themes bring order and plotline to the flux of human consciousness.Tarot and archetypal cinema share relational complementarity. Both domains are separate but complete one another in some way.One picks up where the other leaves off.
We are all students of the psyche whether we acknowledge it or not. Individuation brings the Self, the holistic archetype of the range of psychic phenomenon, into actuality. This is the archetype of wholeness and the regulating center of the psyche. The Self is the common denominator of all symbolic sets.
Jung insisted that our individuation is not about becoming "divine" like the transpersonal Gods, but in distinguishing, relating, and freeing ourselves from them in a creative way. A self-initiatory path is a life lived with a unique, particularized connection to source, meaning, depth, and soul.
He encouraged becoming more fully human, with self-direction and self-initiated behavior. Most of us have experienced the power present in a collective field – moments when a deep well of meaning suddenly opens, expanding awareness.Each god has it own logos or style of consciousness, of making sense of our lives with insight.We don those particular masks like camouflage in each specific fiction it is our fate to enact.
A transpersonal power transcends the ego. Its essential nature is unknowable, like any archetype. Encountering the self means we re-consider the ego and rejected aspects of self in light of meaningful transitional relationships of psychic and symbolic transformation.
Tarot provides a self-organizing structure or referential framework for moving through the figurative tropes in cinema that express the relationship of the individual with the collective. Such images have impact through the discursive entanglement of mutually independent overlapping strategies.
More than mental juggling of symbols, tarot describes the space of all possible configurations. We first internalize and then externalize this interplay. Trusting the psyche, we dialogue with our own soul.
Symbolism gestates in the subconscious, revealing its relationship to the mind and heart with previously assimilated symbolism.When we tap a central symbol, all related imagery flows up from the unconscious.
Films reproduce tropes (familiar patterns and conventional devices) of other arts and also make tropes of their own. Here we experience and interpret the environment within which we live,helping us sense our way forward.
Tarot images express the subjectivity that learns from experience by passing through the intellectual, moral, and spiritual lesson of each Arcana by projecting and absorbing.
Emergent images are unformed potentials. Not just subjective feelings or emotions, 'becomings' are affects. They do reflect the objective structure of experiential events that draws a hidden universe out of the shadow, the knowledge or gnosis of life or human nature itself.
This educational journey decodes the deep structures and esoteric themes of the unconscious. The connection is established by making the unconscious conscious through contextualized meanings that can be reinterpreted for today. Some ideas are so deeply embedded in the soul that we cannot rationally unfold theirmultiple – actual and virtual – levels of reality.
Ordinary movies can harbor esoteric themes. We learn the metaphorical and symbolic language of the tarot and cinema. This language of images is one of the transformations in the experiential journey of self-education and the deep analysis of real events in human culture.Maximum intensity of experience has a power to affect itself, a transformative affect of self on self.
The Fool’s journey ultimately leads toward the fullness of experience. Through multiple interactions and transactions, The Fool becomes the fully individuated self. Self-realization can come by illumination, accident, or an induced state.
Self-realization can emerge through self-education -- active participation in the self-organizing process of life experiences. Experimental practice is embodied in lived experience of deep knowledge leading to healing through sympathetic resonant patterns.
In Steppenwolf, Hesse describes the Magic Theatre as "not for everyone." It is a place where he experiences the fantasies that exist in his mind, "for madmen only." In the beginning it represents only the fractured ego. Harry believes he has two natures: one high, the spiritual nature; the other a lower animalistic, "wolf of the steppes."
Or, as Clarissa Pinkola Estés says, “A healthy woman is much like a wolf: robust, chock-full, strong life force, life-giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving.”
Pablo brings Harry to his metaphorical "magic theatre", where the concerns and notions that plagued his soul disintegrate as he interacts with the ethereal and phantasmal. He steps across the liminal threshold of nonordinary reality urged to “Become who you really are!”
He responds to the call to self-realization and selfhood, higher self, or a more authentic inner person. Hesse is an artist. His creative fiction is not in words or concepts, or logical arguments, but solely in images, metaphorical prisms, symbols, and visions.
Orestes at Delphi flanked by Athena and Pylades among the Erinyes and priestesses of the oracle
The Theater is a long horseshoe-shaped corridor or labyrinth with a mirror on one side and many doors on the other. The middle-aged protagonist enters five of these labeled doors, each of which symbolizes a fraction of his life.
It is not unlike choosing a film at a modern cineplex or choosing the cards for a tarot reading.Tarot teaches us how to create our soul. Reorganized implicit information becomes meaningful and functional as active transformation in the material world.
We don't go to the movies to find out the meaning of our lives, but we might just find something there that leads to further contemplation, something that deepens us, something with which we connect. Slivers of insight, fragments of a lively examined life, can coalesce in myriad ways.
We submit ourselves again and again to the intrigue of a hall of mirrors where ideas and images bounce off one another. Divine light illuminates memory and faith stares down doubt and fear. We hear the siren songs of possibility, of creation, We see our mind, body, and soul reflected through the eyes of another and call that divine, a bridge to the gods.
“The creative process, so far as we are able to follow it at all, consists in the unconscious activation of an archetypal image, and in elaborating and shaping this image into the finished work. By giving it shape, the artist translates it into the language of the present, and so makes it possible for us to find our way back to the deepest springs of life...” (Jung, v. 15).
Both modalities, ancient tarot and modern cinema, have not been considered together in a suggestive or coherent framework as ways of making meaning. Both imply polymorphic gods, eternal metaphors of imagination, perspectives toward events which shift the experience of events, helping us understand the deeper implications of myth.
Myths are always happening, but never really occur. They are likenesses to happenings, making them intelligible, but they do not themselves happen. We are describing a social construction.
Healing fictions rest on our tendency to see the cosmos in human terms and to see humanity in universal terms.They give an account of the archetypal story, the myth in the mess -- pathologies, shadows, and dysfunctionalities.
Over the decades, remakes about King Arthur, Robin Hood, Odysseus, even Frankenstein, and by-gone empires have reflected our evolving sensibilities. How many old films are now just an anachronistic stew of obsolete cultural views? Rather than portraying their root literature, new productions of classics are more like fan-fiction alternate realities, with collapsed timelines and composite characters, point-of-view, and plot points.
Soul is depth and connection, We need myth to live soulfully, with 'mythic consciousness.'Each divinity is a style of consciousness. The poetics of soul is a mythical method.
Mythic stories embrace the whole potential range of character, not just those with whom we identify in cinema or tarot, because we believe they most represent us. As in dream, we are all the characters. Tarot and cinema are virtual arts or psychological realities for unveiling psychic multiplicity.
Tarot has often been a tacit or explicit point of inspirational reference in the arts, such as dance, literature, theater, and poetry. Such images speak directly to our process of recomposing life into a new story.What we haven't yet discovered seeks its voice and embodiment in art, taking heart in the poetics of our depths.We work on psychic expression while psyche simultaneously works on us.
We exploreinsights and experiences of everyday life through film with Post-Jungian concepts of film, image construction, narrative, and cultural issues.A confrontation with fictional figures is part of the ancient mandate to 'Know thyself.'
Arcane Cinema does not have to be explicitly occult, mysterious, fabulist, religious, or mythological. It simply tells an archetypal story. But when it is explicit it can create social phenomena, such as 'The da Vinci Code,' (a myth of The Healing Feminine), or 'The Passion,' or even 'Cleopatra,' (lost matriarchal, Great Goddess) which are narrative revisionism. 249 https://search.proquest.com/openview/25f51ac5df2658912c3552d069d33ed2/1.pdf?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y
Hillman suggests, what has remained undigested continues to be projected into the sociocultural narrative. The personal implications supersede historical accuracy. These are the truths that are made up “as we go along,” verified by the plots the psyche narrates (Healing Fiction).Our focus on personal psyche gives way to an interest in the polis as the place where narrative is experienced while exploring personal psychic material as well. https://search.proquest.com/openview/25f51ac5df2658912c3552d069d33ed2/1.pdf?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y
In projecting ourselves on the past, we may or may not find self-knowledge if we begin with a vision of the world as we would like it to be.Some mistake healing fictions for historical truth, which is actually re-mythologizing literature and art. But they only occur in mythical time.
For example, matriarchalists and creationists both fall for the 'myth is true' narrative of polarized genders, and find support in narrative interpretations of archaeology. The historical reality is not the point, but the fact that both feel empowered by their narratives.
Mythopoesis creates the possibility of exploring what is unknown in the unconscious. Larger narratives affect the collective. They challenge normal sociocultural views and urge us to pay attention to what may be unconscious in culture.
The relationship between cultural context, myth, belief and truth helps to define fictionalization of psychic experience. The images and symbols, stories and current narratives all contribute to the way in which these fictions are created over time.
Narratives that result from mythopoetic collusion between psychological fictions are believed as true. Applied retroactively, they are used to reframe historical personal and cultural experiences.
Wallace Stevens said, "The final belief is to believe in a fiction, which you know to be a fiction, there being nothing else. The exquisite truth is to know that it is a fiction and that you believe in it willingly."
That belief may not exceed the viewing period during which we voluntarily 'suspend disbelief.' Divination is much the same in this regard. We revision apath of psychic discovery in both domains. In his book Healing Fiction, James Hillman suggests asking, "What does the soul want?"
His answer, "Fictions that heal,"implies we create our reality through fictions that are the source and illustration of both our soul life and 'illness.' They become 'healing' if we reclaim their intrinsic therapeutic function.
This basis of mind itself is the root of authenticity, which is truth that may or may not be 'real,'but helps us accept life as it is.Perhaps our biggest fiction is that our pathologies and dysfunctions can finally be cured, when they are central to our way of being in the world, including the psychic texture of fantasy and myth.
Images sustain and guide our conscious participation in the psychic world where healing is a life process that begins with our acceptance of our fictive realities that we create for specific independently originating psychic forces.The fictional mode is always in play as the pandemonium of images.
We 'go with' the story rather than interpret it.We do the same with our own fictive story, self-image, and narrative -- the stories we tell ourselves.This 'psychic logos' is the secret that opens our into our lives.Ourmind composes itself and inhabits an art-space.
Cinema is metaphorical and implies transformative potential. Imaginative acts embody the faculty of transformation itself at the liminal margins of the psychological and literary. It can be noetic, numinous, and ambiguous -- but rarely historically accurate. Both film and tarot are selective fields of convergence that broaden our conceptual awareness and reveal the poetic basis of mind.
The orientation is self-exploration, not self-overcoming -- an imminent not transcendent perspective.The theory is transformational.The approach is imaginal, synchronistic, montage, dynamic multiplicity, a flow of signs, forms, and imagery, a representational language, a perceptual symbol system.
The film experience in the darkened interior is sensuous, affective, connective, relevant, meaningful, and intimate. Music can expressurgency, tension and even breathless excitement.
Undulatory tonal harmonics, chromatic and triadic progressions, plot points, visual perceptions, and accessible emotions are the heartbeats of the storyline.We acknowledge the meaning it conveys, the pleasure it initiates, and the value it currently assumes for us.
Soul is a dynamic activity, an on-going imaginal event, not a thing -- shifts of thought, language, perception, and experience.The myth of individuation ennobles and deepens our journey.Cinema and tarot often foreshadow or predict future potentials.Our initiatory experience is a symbolic template that conditions our biological and psychological developmental life cycle.
These myths still move us through their archetypal power, since they express and embody psyche or soul, center of desire, of feeling, of awareness, of freedom, of choice, of aesthetics.Depth is synonymous with imagination, shaping and deepening events into diverse, rich, and precise experiences.
Archetypes are initiating forces. The juxtaposition of cinema and tarot is useful for understanding multifaceted archetypes, the depth dimension of cinema, other forms of culture, and our own nature.Cognition is a biological phenomenon with a firm grounding in bodily, social and cultural experience.
We make use of our own mental states or processes in functionally attributing them to others. We assume we can attribute mental states to characters, that meaning in film is metaphorically mapped within our sensory-motor system, and that embodied simulation processes in the brain allow us to infer this meaning from the evidence provided by the film.
The arts culminate in self-aware being, a reflected luminous light, noetic in character and recognized as visionary and ideational mind.Images can educate us condensing a terrifying amount of mental potential.
Noetic intelligence includes past and future memories accessible by understanding the implicitly meaningful and functional language of images. Ultimately, we are a self-referencing sign of ourselves.
We can imagine anima mundi communicating through dream, cinema and tarot signs, symbols, and images. What is psyche saying here? We can discern more about that to live closer to our own destiny -- what we seek to become.Just as a movie can use tropes from other movies as a motif or point of reference, we can apply the motif of tarot to depth cinema as well as our psyche.
Noetics is an interdisciplinary discourse and an experimental metaphysics, the art of revealing the depths in the works of civilization, connecting us with the outside world. Intentionally or not, they change and guide our human lives, ethical, and aesthetic responses. All things human are part of our own personality.
Tarot consists of icons of reality and wisdom, the same route to the unconscious used by artists and our dreams. It makes explicit use of mythology, aesthetic awareness, archetypes, and shared resonance, and so can cinema. Numinosity is also a quality of some movies -- a Dionysian ritual harking back to therapeutic Greek drama.
Some of the intentional styles highlighting scope, object, and approach of noetic cinema include the following:
Individual (“Soul Seekers”): stories of actual personal transformation. They are anchored in that timeless mythology of “the hero’s journey” and are a staple of Hollywood filmmaking — but also show up in many documentaries and independent narrative films that profile protagonists facing inner as well as outer demons.
Institutional (“Drum Beaters”): the most popular, often characterized as “social change” movies. They present stories of widespread abuse or system failure along with remedies of healing and renewal and are the staple of documentaries and many film festivals.
Cosmological (“Mind Benders”): the newest genre of transformational filmmaking. They challenge current theories of consensus reality (“You mean the Earth isn’t flat?!”) and focus in some way on the mysteries of human consciousness and the evolving story of who we are and what we are capable of — which often occurs at the intersection of ancient wisdom, leading-edge science, and logic-defying events. (Gilbert) https://www.cinemanoesis.com/about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seven_Basic_Plots
The Big Picture: A Post-Jungian Global Cinema
There is a continuous movie going on inside us, an inner cinema fueled by sight, taste, touch, and smell -- the stream of consciousness, the subject of experience of the mind and the world, subjective experience. We can ask, what is the transformational tonality of our inner story?
Some even suggestthat moving pictures are 'Film as Transformational Tool,' where we can observe the arc of character transformation.Cinema and divination are archetypal poesis or making.The more you bring to them, the more you get from them.
Popular film is a medium of communication, expression and storytelling -- one of the most durable and fascinating cultural forms that can evoke emotional and empathetic engagement with its audience.
Consciousness is the most mysterious phenomenon in our universe, the direct experience of intrinsic nature. Actuality is the decision among potentials, deepening the conversation between conscious and unconscious life.
“And then the knowledge comes to me that I have space within me for a second, timeless, larger life.” — R. M. Rilke, "I Love My Being's Dark Hours"
Neither here nor there, The Fool is everyone who knows just enough to be wise but never enough to be a god.Gods are archetypes, the hidden movers behind each instinctive behavioral response.
James Hillman calls them, "the deepest pattern of psychic functioning, the roots of the soul governing the perspectives we have of ourselves and the world. They are the axiomatic, self-evident images to which psychic life and our theories about it ever returns." (RVP, 1975, pp. xiii-xiv)
Archetypes are amoral and don't care about our personalities at all as they play through our lives. Imaginal is more descriptive than unconscious. They are collective patterns of potential representation that frame our consciousness. When they are conscious they become instincts and imaginal images.How often only humor and wit save us from our failures.
Tarot, like cinema, can present disjointed images, requiring us to provide the embodied connective tissues that keeps a narrative coherent, even if non-linear.When we put the cards together, they create a story of encounters, of engagement, collective relationship and variations on age-old themes.
Each has their own divinatory significance that show us how to live authentically, with integrity in our humanity.The shadow is secretive; the illuminated is transparent, an authentic visionary mode of experience.Tarot weaves a tapestry of entangled ideas through complex symbolic language.
Tarot is a process philosophy, method, and vocabulary based on complex temporal relationships that is the unfolding of embodiment and consciousness. It is a penetrating examination of the imaginative life and a rich description of archetypes -- a language to interpret the interactive complexity of the psyche.
We apprehend or feel our place within that collective network. One card morphs into the next as we move into the domain of myth leading us deeper into the mysteries, the vulnerability to transformation and transpersonal commitment.
Arguably, the misfit Fool is the most important character archetype, whether clown, klutz, sidekick, comic relief, or conscience. The Fool invites us to the pure consciousness of a mask-free life of freedom. We dis-identify from the false ego with crazy wisdom, enjoying life as it is, with all its paradoxes and dilemmas, seeking the stimulation of 'being alive.'
This is the very Breath of Life, whereas, the Magician is the Word, creative spirit that proceeds from that breath. The Book of Thoth is the book of the magician containing the secrets of the gods. Hermes is our guide through the psychic landscape. Its not the image but the underlying archetypal Presence that informs us.
In the God game, or magic theater of the gods, the Fool is the innocent, unaware or in denial, floundering through the masque with or without therapeutic intentions. The Fool is the opposite of the self-creating Magician, a guinea pig of the impersonal psychic process, the autonomous force of the unconscious, inner initiation to the deeper levels of psyche.
Myth-making is natural and impersonal. The fool's journey is one of active imaginal participation differentiating the basic elements and the other 21 keys. What we can describe conceptually is only a small part of the meaning. Engaging the masque allows us to drop the inauthentic social masks of our role-bound personality and dry intellect. How do we discover the hidden world?
Jung said, "intellect does, in fact, violate the soul when it tries to possess itself of the heritage of the spirit. It is in no way fitted to do this because in that it includes the feelings as well."
Fate comes to re-establish our lack of real identity. The wandering Fool encounters the Magus. T.S. Elliot wrote, "We shall not cease from exploration/ And the end of all our exploring/ Will be to arrive where we started/ And know the place for the first time (Fowles, The Magus 1991, 226).
Inroads of the Imagination
The mystery of the journey is a quest in the outer world to come back within ourselves with understanding. When pathworking the qabalistic Tree of Life, all pathworkings return the traveler to the point of origin.Their correspondences produce an awareness of soul through its own system of metaphorical language.
We start at the bottom and work up the Path of Return with astral exercises in imagination, exploration of the 22 paths, or modes of consciousness. But we can consider the archetypes from the top-down, rather than bottom-up view.
Consider pathworking as a form of "locomotion." The physical aspect of pathworking includes the life experiences which precipitate into daily life as the result of an astral pathworking. These images require metaphorical insight into conceptual forms through meditation.
Pathworking uses a doorway of some type to initiate the experience. This might again be a Tarot Card, a Hebrew letter, last night's dream image, etc. The difference is that instead of following protocols on where to go, and what to visualize (from the correspondence system), we allow the pathworking itself to present the images.Each path blends the forces represented by the two spheres it unites.
The unconscious may even draw on our dreams, films or books we know, or our imaginal journeys to reconfigure motifs.Pathworking produces a conscious contact with the archetypal powers connected with the particular path, radically shifting modes of perception.This form of active imagination conforms the imaginal reality of the place through personal experience.
The Fool makes the journey through the winding paths of the Tree via Tarot imagery. S/He is nowhere (now-here) because of an ability to make quantum leaps. We are gripped by only one story at a time, which contains many images and its own inherent rhythm.
Thus, spheres represent "Being." Each sphere represents a personal and cosmic archetypal spiritual state. The Fool "Becoming" is transformed through his experiences on the various paths. When we change position, different locomotions become possible and impossible. The paths are lines of association, a deeper conversation with the unconscious.
Even when a region is still attainable, the course of the path followed has changed fundamentally because of the new point of departure. This point of departure is "where you are at" in the moment. The Fool is the reference level of consciousness. The Arcana are profoundly imaginative stimuli that open discrete states of consciousness.
The Fool activates the Magician, a Hermetic adept, trickster or a juggler, sorcerer, visionary, inventor, a maker of magic or deception. The One knows what they want and puts every ounce of energy into its realization.Theurgy is practical magic invoking the godhead. Its side-effect can be an ego inflation that should remind us this is divine affect, the god, rather than ourselves.
The archetype of wizard, theurgist, or thaumaturge is associated with mystery, alchemy and transformation -- creating sacred space. The magician can pronounce the divine names, penetrate the four worlds, and is a conduit of primal will. Every key is fourfold: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
The harlequin or magician waves his baton or wand to change the scene in psyche's drama, as a hypnotist and master of misdirection.The Magician has an innate relationship with potentiality and possibility.
Like every archetype, the Magus has a dark figure shadow mountebank who also shuffles the deck; he loads the dice. There are hidden influences in the constructive and destructive types of shadow, like power-driven manipulators.
The paleolithic trickster archetype is a god, goddess, shaman, exorcist, priest/priestess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphic animal who plays tricks or supersedes conventional behavior, ranging from the self-aware and purposeful, through the merely impulsive and mischievous.
When things are chaotic, a breakdown of random patterns comes through a flash of intuition, overthrowing the old system with a new vector, spontaneous creative energy. A magician createsunexpected results, realities in the duality of time and illusion: subhuman and cosmic, clever and foolish, animal vs human, dark vs light.
Trickster is proudly destructive, immature, devious, quick-witted, sly, deceiving, lying, thieving, villainous, cowardly, mischievous, shrewd, cunning, wise, self-centered, ingenious, ambiguous, shape-shifting, bi-sexual, fool, lecher, and a cheat.
In the shadow it can be used to deceive, distract and manipulate by altering perceptions of reality.An individual ego as the sum of the superficial and abyssal egos of the individual can be caught in the trap of a perpetual perilous journey through their own unconscious, "the fundamental fantasies that animate all life."
The Priestess, oracle of cryptic foresight or seer, both reveals and conceals, a "Veiled Isis," a Divine Feminine counterpart to the Magus. The wise woman sees the unseen. She embodies the meaning of the holistic wisdom of intuition and spirituality concealed in her scroll.
She is the prophetess, spiritual mediator of secret knowledge, the healer, counselor, teacher. The Wise Woman may have a tendency to abuse her power. The ambiguity of the oracle can be interpreted in many ways on many levels.
The Virgin of the World is the Anima Mundi, the soul of nature and our nature, psyche; Gnostic Sophia, Soul, Mother of the World, spiritual consciousness, psychic imagination, mystical lady, alchemical queen, soror mystica, magical feminine image.
"The archetype of the Wise Women inhabits not ethereal regions where all appears as bright and luminous, the Wise Women inhabits like the magician the shadows. She is at home near the earth, even inside the earth, inside the dark, moist, primordial womb, the source of all fertility."
"The Wise One is no longer young. She started as precious child, but is mature now, rooted. She is likely to be old. Like a priest, she may have even loved, but she has now transcended all sexuality and reproductivity and has reached a state of superior wisdom."
"Also in contrast to her male counterpart—the Magician— a non spiritual mind seeks not to penetrate beneath the surface of things and probe the mysteries of nature, rather, she looks inward into the mysteries of Being. This earthly knowledge extends to the body and more specifically to the very distinct realities of the female body, with its mysteries of fertility and procreation." https://stottilien.com/2013/02/01/queen-mother-wise-woman-and-lover-rediscovering-the-archetypes-of-the-mature-feminine/
Tarot motifs are perennial tropes. Tropes help frame our stories. They summon ideas about Fate and Destiny; they keep us imagining by sticking to their traditional images.They reveal themselves to us in the inner and outer world, and particularly in the cinema.
Our interactive experiment explores a set of tropes, universally identified images imbued with several layers of contextual meaning creating new visual metaphors, and primordial correspondences.Beyond cliches, the Arcana are dynamic supertropes rooted in archetypes, packed with symbolic notions specific to imagination, constantly reborn in fresh form through each generation.
Psyche is images, a condensed representation of the whole psychic situation, full of meaning and purpose, picturing vital activities.James Hillman suggests in the underworld perspective image is all there is and films reflect those images back to us as figures of the unconscious with narrative coherence.
Past and future are always present, speaking to us when we listen.There are ancient gods behind each image as there are gods and goddesses for each major Tarot card.Psyche is the more-than-human archetypal realm of transpersonal forces that shape and drive us.
We project and identify with them. Cinema awakens an emotional-affective state with a capacity to open our real transformational responses. Films reflect on society through complex characters, often falling into familiar patterns called “Tropes,” devices and conventions that a writer can rely on as present in the audience’s minds, conscious or unconscious.
Divination also produces spontaneous, momentary images. The etymology of “divination” is from the Latin divinare: “to foresee, to be inspired by a god,” the diverse epistemologies and ontologies of the Classical era and collective unconscious.
The archetypal figures are the common link between cinema and Tarot. They enable us to allocate certain figures with certain Trumps. Both cinema and tarot enable projection, identification, and introjection into the psyche. This deeply spiritual experience is an integrated way of addressing concern for the environment and for humanity’s future.
Films are emergent creations with a core of archetypal dynamics, an intense, immersive, and rich emotional environment that help us explore our personal lives in a collective way, similar to divination. Both help us see archetypal patterns and dynamics in motion. Does film plant the seed for a culture that can find means to live with the new, more chaotic, and vengeful on a daily basis?
Orestes at Delphi flanked by Athena and Pylades, reason and compulsion, among the Erinyes and priestesses of the oracle
We are not struggling with ways to become superhuman, but with the ways in which we can become more fully human in a deeply connected more-than-human world. This Journey is represented by the Major Arcana sequence of the Tarot, beginning with the Fool.
Rather than a Hero’s Journey, it is (more wisely) known as the Fool’s Journey: the pilgrim soul making its rather more humble way through life coalescing in a psychosensory awareness. Tarot is a wheel of decision animating many tropes, sister tropes, and characters. Archetypes are super-tropes, the center of complex constellations of related symbols. With film, we don't need to over-interpret them.
Our souls are planted in the same ground that gives rise to honest stories which reverberate with tangible and vital spirit -- the 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,'(from the 1717 poem Eloisa to Abelard by Alexander Pope). In this regard, both tarot and cinema share a similar function helping us understand more fully who we are, patterns of remembering and transforming.
Film, the gift of sound and vision, is a secret language that makes us all intrepid voyagers into the unknown of a hypnotic dream with a distinct beginning and an end. Cinema affects us much like the unconscious. We dissolve in the relentless flow of cinematic images and buoyant sound that carries us along through the story deeper into our own unconscious. This is also the purpose of the Tarot journey.
As well as visual and auditory modes, film also has a distinctly visceral quality, stimulating our mirror neurons and firing off kinesthetic reactions leading to deep absorption. Films have an immersive and affective power, which is a core component of psyche.
Sensations, physiological response, and emotions can remain intensified long after a movie is over. Their beats and pulses are modulated by the rise and fall of music that activates feelings. The unfolding drama creates real feelings, stirring up a vortex of emotional energy arising from archetypal activity in the psyche.
Identification can produce euphoria or dysphoria from common emotional resonance. Libido investment is like psychological projection. Introjection releases affects related to personal psychological situations and history.
Viewers have an emotional relationship with films. We evaluate with feelings but emotions are purely experiential, instinctual energy fluctuations. We experience deeper affect when a film strikes a resonant chord with our present situation. A similar effect arises from a divination that hits home. Emotion reveals symbolic truths about reality and transformation.
As a language, art creates a space to share and transcend boundaries. We transcend our own finite pool of worry through relevant cinema because there is only so much we can be concerned with at one time.
We tend to shut down in the face of massive challenges, to go numb. We did not evolve to handle today’s complex problems. We are designed to respond to four kinds of threats: instantaneous, imminent, personalized, or repulsive.
Films provide a way to receive this information and the emotions it stirs up—maybe fear and anxiety, perhaps anticipation or hope that we can meet these challenges. But Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche suggests, “We must surrender our hopes and expectations, as well as our fears, and march directly into disappointment, work with disappointment, go into it and make it our way of life.”
We choose the film, we draw the cards, we choose our fate. Beyond the hype and box office, film is always archetypal, because there is nothing else film worthy. Through film, we willingly suffer the unfolding of other than our own unique lives, a different way of seeing and understanding with the imagination. Theater is a protected sanctuary where we temporarily escape our own blunt realities in a space that expresses heaven and earth, past and future.
Its images are real, even if collective. Shadow, anima, and animus run amok. Images never take the place of reality. But to the degree we are complicit in suspending our disbelief we temporarily accept it as real. Coleridge said the willing suspension of disbelief for the moment is an act of poetic faith, a soulful aesthetic choice. That exchange makes all imaginal media succeed.
The same is true for the archetypal figures of our inner landscapes. Without bodies they move into and out of us like dream figures. An archetypal approach gives value to everything that happens. With a semi-conscious decision, we sacrifice reason and logic to believe something surreal for the sake of knowledge or enjoyment, even though it only works to a point. Is film really any more illusory than conscious or psychological reality?
Much the same might be said about the cognitive estrangement of using predictive arts like Tarot or other forms of divination to 'read' into a situation or divine the future. Divination helps us cope with anxiety about the unknown. It confirms its own correctness despite manipulation, indeterminacy, or objective confirmation. Acceptance of results requires some degree of self-delusion. The beginning and the whole future is with us embodied in the archetypal daemon, our innate creative genius.
The left brain suspension frees us to act on right brain images, feelings and intuition, despite glaring discrepancies or paradoxical ideomotor manipulation to get the desired result -- as in vision and transformation through art. Mark Twain famously said, “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
Creators are society’s bastions of creative empathy, collaborative thinking, and instigators of new perspectives. Arguably, sight is our most important sense enabling us to communicate in images and symbols. This expanded language allows us to think in abstractions and feel more than we can clearly say.
Art helps us integrate body, mind, spirit, and culture -- the spiritual legacies of modernism, cultural pluralism, and the changing role of art and artist in technology, ethics, and environment. There are historical and cultural foundations for the re-emergence of art as a non-religious, spiritual, and self-integrative practice.
Art creates our community and expands our world as we explore perceptions, emotions, fantasy, and feelings. We recreate the artist’s process in empathetic ways. Through expression and exploration we collectively process our inner states.We marginalize the transformative dimension of art at our own risk of cultural authority and meaning.
Through art we gain a voice, a sense of power to affect the outcome of circumstanceswe face. Art means seeing what goes unnoticed, collecting the overlooked, and provoking the future with our questions.
Fate is the final arbiter, as in films, with their steady march of plot points to the metaphorical denouement, the final resolution of a drama contained in its initial conditions. How often film functions as a predictive art, blindly groping toward imaginal and real futures as much as any form of divination or situational analysis.
When we make our inquiry, we recognize the simultaneity of events in synchronicity that the cards can reflect and illuminate our situation. Diviners may enter a light trance to reveal fate or transcendent powers by giving voice to divine powers, much as an audience enters an alternate reality.
A story is a tragedy or comedy depending on whether the protagonist is worse or better off at the end where events are drawn together and conflicts resolved. But all the knots of a story may come together, even though a conclusion beyond the 'happily ever after' is denied by a cliffhanger.
The revelation of art comes out of the incomplete work at the threshold of the unknown. That is the moment when you must trust that your brain is assembling the fragments, and that the moments you are digesting and learning from today are the keys to your future clarity. https://stories.moma.org/thinking-like-an-artist-translating-ideas-into-form-1ebed5bbd45
Blurring the boundaries between conscious and unconscious psyche, some films speak in a resonant, relevant, and meaningful way. We embrace the liminality of the ambiguous space to navigate the change in our soul. It is a deeper way of apprehending and transcending the personal -- of unmasking the shadow, the lover, and the self, letting them speak for themselves. Atmospheric settings confer lucidity and arouse empathy or animosity.
Marshall McLuhan described movies as "hot" and "high definition," intensifying one single sense, demanding a viewer's attention.Hot media engages at least one sense completely, demanding little interaction by spoon-feeding the viewer the content offered at that specific time. But film is far more than visual, reflecting our ability to see, hear, and feel our experience in the world with criticality and nuance that makes us human.
Attention is focused on the content, so participation is minimal. It suggests that the medium itself--its form-- shapes its limitations and possibilities for the communication of content. One medium is better than another at evoking a certain experience. This remains true for Tarot and the embodiment of archetypal dynamics in films. Tarot can be much more interactive.
He contrasted with a comic book which is "cool" and "low definition", requiring much more conscious participation by the reader to bridge gaps and extract value. Tarot is sort of the original cartoon of media with a message.
The movie mechanically speeds us up and carries us from the world of sequence and connections into the world of creative configuration and structure, not just transition from lineal connections in configurations.. This transition produced the post-modern observation: "If it works, it's obsolete."
More than entertainment, film is a transcendental space and collective ritual. The plot and narrative is thinking space; the screen is a phenomenological action space. The metaphor unfolds and the picture becomes more clear as we go through the process, understanding mental interconnections by carrying over of one thing through another.
Films and literature form a multisensory metalanguage that resonates with traces in our souls as collective active imagination, windows into other worlds. They return to us what has been erased from memory or has not occurred yet, and may never come. In much the same way, powerful artistic forces arose after the dark ages.
As in ancient Greece, drama opens particular stories and engages our feelings with characters, landscapes, and incidents -- by-gone and future eras, amusing and ironic comedies, psychological thrillers and nonlinear narratives, They seamlessly blend politics and myth with religion by collapsing the timeline of contemporary society.
The ancient actors became women, slaves, and even gods -- a dangerous proposition requiring masks and archetypal roles. The chorus provided emotional commentary. It ends with the open-ended question, 'what would you do in the same situation?' The tarot poses similar dilemmas.
Film embodies wide sweeps of the electro-acoustic environment of love, war, fear, sacrifice, and death. It reminds us of ancient culture, drama, and architecture. It dreams of futures once beyond imagination until CGI brought them to life as realities that enfold and engulf us with archetypal evil.
The screen unlocks the unconscious of normally internal psychological processes, the horrible pains of the artistic mind, even rewriting and exaggerating history into dystopian and apocalyptic demise. Films demonstrate that life is created and sustained at the very edge of chaos and the fringe of consciousness, conditioned by unacknowledged terror, about death, impermanence, human limitation.
Our dreams of apocalypse are initiations to the underworld, the final end, the telos, of the soul. In the liminal present, apocalypse is a rite of passage, our own revelation. Are the dreams in which we're dying the best we've ever had?
They provide sublimation and catharsis for the energy that is moving through us -- the conflicts of identity, roles, divided loyalties, horror, betrayal, brutality, and futility -- to open to its intelligence and way of knowing. The archetypal approach is 'who's visiting here?' and what is happening? We invite it into our lived experience and relationship to make creative aesthetic responses in the world - frames of mind.
We are in service to the soul and film vivifies and animates that world. The storied dynamics of our inner and outer lives, soul and spirit, include dream life. Often filmmakers are inspired by surreal dream imagery. In film theory, the term oneiric, "pertaining to dreams", refers to the depiction of dream-like states or to the use of the oneiric metaphor of a dream or the dream-state in the analysis of a film.
What animated our ancestors still animates us and our stories and screens. We only challenge those patterns when they have consequences, when we are dislocated or feel disconnected. The nature of fate is disturbance, turbulence, arrivals and departures.
The major arcana, paths of individuation, reflect our personal myths in turbulent times...just the times we might feel moved to read the cards and divine a tale of our current situation. We are actors in a divine drama with either projected or internal implications for our life and the natural order around us.
Myth, metaphor, and symbol are a tiny aperture in the immense mystery, the phenomenon of being human in a larger reality. We see the other who crosses our path or our historical situation reflected back to us as our own complexes with a degree of objectivity, as an observer self seeing through the compass of our intuition and beliefs.
Psycho-social realities, the gods, and powers of nature range from personal scenarios, family life, and interpsychic dynamics to tribal values playing out on the global stage as force fields of energy that affect us, that drive us, consciously and unconsciously to stay out of harm's way.
The Atu illustrate corresponding tropes -- love, power, wealth or lack of them -- universals depicted in well-known movies, well-imagined cultural dreams. Still, nothing supersedes 'contact with life,' the crucible of our deepening perception and the devastating vision of Beauty at the core of our existence, beyond failed grief and lost radiance.
Showing not telling how they appear and reappear as primordial images, they are constructed on the scaffold of narrative tropes, archetypal characters, spectacle, symbolism, and visual metaphor. The journey may mean a mystery arc, romance, flawed and deranged characters, exposition, power struggle, flashbacks, insecurities, missteps, and triumphs, conflict, twists, dueling and death tropes.
Archetypal characters are universal, appearing over and over in legends far and wide, each with a particular characterization.Personality supersedes even plot. We connect ourselves with the people in the story, so long as they are us, but not us.
Mysteriously, the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet (Aleph-bet) correspond with the 22 "Major Arcana" cards of Tarot. Each card in particular also correlates with resonate archetypes, gods or goddesses. They are part of the qabalistic Tree of Life -- each card corresponds with a particular path between the spheres. The Tree forms an archetypal map of consciousness, ways of being and becoming.
Modern magic has uprooted Qabala from both the religious and secret society formats, creating a personalistic framework for self-help, self-initiation, and self-transformation. Nonlocal qabala isn't rooted in ancient cultural traditions. Certain linguistic matrices are themselves derived from primordial images.
Hillman writes, “In analytical practice, we have learned that an archetypal understanding of events can cure the compulsive fascination with one’s case history. The facts do not change, but their order is given another dimension through another myth. They are experienced differently; they gain another meaning because they are told through another tale” (“An Aspect” 34).
Digital qabala, a transformative state-space, is an infinite virtuality not confined by consensus reality. It is rooted in the Zero-Point fluctuation of subspace, quantum mechanics, chaos theory, synchronicity, parapsychology, and hyperdelic consciousness. Radical things and experiences are possible that weren't before.
The new Qabala relies on radical self-confrontation and self-commitment. Practice does generally retain a connection with the wisdom of Tarot and the elegant symphonic symbolism of the correspondence system, and often classical number mysticism. Many embrace novelty-seeking rock and pop culture elements, others "tales from the darkside", yet others realize it's all a "put on" and that identity and personality are mutable facades through which we can reinvent ourselves.
The whole endeavor of mystical aspiration is called the Path of Return, and involves working one’s way philosophically back up the experiential Tree of Life to Kether by intentional participation in the Great Work.
The object is to pick a path with Heart and to develop one's inherent potential artfully and heartfully, whether you "believe" in God, or not. This "church of self-amplification" recognizes the potential latent in us all, and it is divine. The self to be amplified is the transpersonal not finite Self.
Qabala is an underground spiritual current, a distillation and synthesis of some of the main threads of western spiritual technology. Multidimensional perception of deep natural processes informs our unconscious being and behavior. The processing of mental forms occurs within the context of a part/whole relationship.
The identified part exists within the code of the whole. This paradigm can be applied to the energetic archetypal field. It is a path of Knowledge, a Way of being in the world enlivened by deeper dimensions with a visionary, intuitive nature.
Hermetic Qabalah is the basis of Western occultism, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Both traditional and metaphysical currents offer profoundly personal experiences of the divine nature of life, transforming the ordinary and creating a journey to the center of the self, where all things are made whole, kindled by divine love.
Postmodern "generic" forms of magic, in particular Thelema and/or Chaos Magick strip the religious veneer from the purely technological spiritual practices. In today's occulture we are each the lords of creation; we create our own lived realities.
Each of us is autonomous, even our own form of divinity if we choose to manifest that. This may strike some as narcissistic and grandiose. It is, if one does magic in the name of ego rather than Higher Self. The main quest of magic is for the transpersonal Self - the Angel, the Daemon, the Genius. Presence in the Now means optimal expression of human potential.
As paths of self-development, traditional and metaphysical currents are esoteric psychologies with a metaphysical worldview. One substitutes a pragmatic philosophy of Self-Realization and self-actualization for the religious bedrock of the traditional forms.
The modern search for the Self in a conformist culture is encompassed by the lower half of the Tree: in the Spheres from Malkuth (Earth) to Tiphareth (Heart). So, the premise of generic magic is to control and deploy your own thoughts creating your own reality via cybernetic technologies.
Semantic, Symbolic & Noetic Field
Archetypes are transubjective psychic systems -- emergent representations of emotions as images. Most of our responses are precipitated unconsciously. If we know the patterns, we can recognize their dynamic emergence in self, others and world, preserved in our understanding and immense inwardness.
These aren't so much repetitious as happening again for "the first time." Rather than the same thing, "repeating," the original thing originates and self-arises over and over again in that moment not to be repeated from the Ground of consciousness. It broadens us to dissolve in the wonder of our own origins.
Archetypes arouse passion, not just inform the intellect. We know what we know because of images. Our embodied experience of reality is both "inner" and "outer", corporeal and psychic. Psyche is now likened to a dynamic field of energy.
Fields are domains of influence. Storytelling describes a deep field of myth and archetype. Elements are woven together by narrative, metaphor and illustration. A semantic field is a set of words grouped by meaning referring to a specific subject, much like symbols are held in the subtle net of an image. The language of symbols is older than the Ouroboros, Vortex, Yin-Yang, Ankh, Pentagram, Solar Cross, Circumpunct, Vesica Piscis, or Flower of Life.
Noetics, direct knowing, is the connection between mind and the physical universe - how the ‘inner cosmos’ of the mind (consciousness, soul, spirit) relates to the ‘outer cosmos’ of the physical world - the somatic field of our psychophysical being. A noetic field consists of all mutually interdependent facts and symbols. All are components of the Ritual Field of mythic sensibility.
Archetypes represent a paradoxical synthesis of opposites and are therefore neither "good" nor "bad." Krippner identifies fourteen mythic polarities: creation vs. apocalypse; nurturance vs. deprivation; achievement vs. failure; completion vs. fragmentation; affirmation vs. cynicism; acceptance vs. debilitation; hope vs. despair; reconciliation vs. polarization; wisdom vs. ignorance; celebration vs. betrayal; rebirth vs. death; questing vs. passivity, and intimacy vs. separation.
What is desirable is the experience of archetypes consciously, not any certain archetypes over others. Each archetype has its values and drawbacks, strengths and weaknesses, conflicts and harmonies. We seek to know the range of archetypes which are within us when we enter the inner adventure -- the unconscious. In this manner we gain in humanity, versatility, wholeness.
The mythic field is the realm of the unconscious. The form of myth emerges as patterns from the field of the Collective Unconscious. Jung wrote that archetypes are ideas in potential that are fully realized only once they have emerged and taken on the content of a particular culture and historical epoch. Pattern is a language, using fields to describe dynamic relationships and energetics. Each pattern is a field.
Multidimensional perception of deep natural processes informs our unconscious being and behavior. The processing of mental forms occurs within the context of a part/whole relationship, where the identified part exists within the code of the whole. This paradigm can be applied to the energetic archetypal field.
The field of myth is emotional -- emergent, resonant, challenging -- inviting ritual enactment to animate and embody it. Thus, we recognize and develop our own style of mythic consciousness, stepping in to join with others, daring to live our larger lives within the field of historic life. Such journeys are rites of passage.
Components of the unconscious emerge in conscious life. Personal myth, (a biochemically-coded internal model of reality and a field of information), shapes individual behavior as cultural myths influence social behavior, Symbolic content is a mythic field. Shift the field, change the myth. Rituals shift the field.
Transcendence parallels the emergence of myth as new life experience. Jung described the transcendent function as a reconciliation of conscious and unconscious elements, remapping our boundaries. Adaptation is a combination of individual and group work.
We are walking compendiums of universal forces from which the details of our individual stories flow. Every story is a unique version of universal themes, the infinite in the finite. We are the very embodiment of universal themes of life, death, and rebirth.
All of our human potential for both "good" and "evil" comes through this subconscious source. It reveals itself through dreams, visions, art, fantasy, imagination, and myths or tales in all cultures -- and especially in films.
These themes and myths contain a value far greater than their creative or literary merits. Not only do myths inform us of the origins of thought and philosophy, they also reveal an ancient, sacred dimension of human experience.