The Evolution of Consciousness


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I have included some of my lectures in this section:
(See also 'Seminar' pages)

Lecture 19
The Dream of the Cosmos
The Lunar and Solar Hero
The Great Work: Healing the Wasteland
The Myth of the Solar Hero
Lecture 15
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Voices of the Ancestors
A Unified Vision of Reality
A Metaphysical Revolution? Reflections on the Idea of the Primacy of Consciousness
Lecture 12
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Rebalancing the Psyche: Integrating the Feminine Principle Body, Soul and Spirit
Lecture 11
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Love as the Pulse of the Cosmos: Reconnecting With the Divine Ground
Lecture 10
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Seeing through the Veil: Reuniting Three Dimensions of Reality
Lecture 9
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Unexplored Dimensions of Consciousness
and The Visionary Experience
Lecture 8
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An Alchemical Quest
Lecture 7
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Healing the Heart: An Alchemy of Consciousness
Lecture 6
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The Sleeping Beauty - The Awakening of Instinct into Consciousness
Lecture 5
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Rebalancing the Masculine and Feminine
Lecture 4
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The Dream of the Water: A Quest for the Numinous
Lecture 3
This page
The Evolution of Consciousness
Lecture 2
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Jung's Septem Sermones ad Mortuos 
Lecture 1
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The Relevance of the Visionary Experience to Culture  



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Lecture 3


The Guild of Pastoral Psychology - March 31st, 2001

©Anne Baring


I would like to set this talk against the Grail legend and the story of Parzival and his journey through the Wasteland - a land laid waste by war and greed, where crops withered, animals sickened and died and the people lived in misery and fear. If you remember, Parzival was guided to the Castle of the Grail and taken into the presence of Anfortas, the Fisher King, who lay bleeding from a wound in the groin. His conventional training as a knight forbade him to ask the instinctive question, 'What ails thee, Lord?' But he was invited to sit at the table of the knights and to witness the procession of maidens bearing the Table of the Grail and the Grail itself into the hall. The next morning, sensing that he was in disgrace, yet not knowing what he had failed to do, Parzival left the Castle. It immediately vanished from his sight and he embarked on many years of pilgrimage, seeking to find again the place that meant more to him than anything else, even his beloved wife, Condwiramurs. After years of wandering and search he was again guided to the Grail Castle, this time entering it with his newly discovered half-brother, Feirefiz, with whom he had been reconciled after a fierce fight. Deeply moved at the sight of the king's suffering, he asked the question, "What ails thee, Uncle?' With these compassionate words, the old man's agonising wound was healed, the Wasteland was regenerated and Parzival reunited with Condwiramurs. I have told this story because I feel that in the context of the blight that has recently fallen over this land, we too might perhaps be moved to ask the question 'What ails us?' What ails our culture that we can behave in this appalling way towards animals, with so little evidence of emotional and spiritual intelligence? If we could respond to this question we might awaken to our soul, as Parzifal did in the course of his quest to find the Castle of the Grail.
----- What is happening in this country reflects a catastrophic loss of soul, a loss of the ancient instinctive awareness of the sacred interweaving of all aspects of life. For decades, we have been influenced by a narrow philosophy which insists that we live in a mechanistic, lifeless universe where stars are seen as objects instead of divine beings, where angels, stones and trees no longer speak to us and we do not stand in awe before the great mysteries that surround us. The arrogant and dissociated human mind stands supreme over and against Nature. This leaves the human heart lonely and afraid and the neglected territory of the soul a barren wasteland. Yet, like Parzival, we could go in search of the values we have lost; we could, like him, regenerate our decadent culture; we could refuse to accept insensitive behaviour which desecrates not only the soul of the animals we slaughter and burn, but our own fragile and hard-won humanity.
----- I should say at the beginning that this subject is so vast that I feel overwhelmed by it. I hope I can carry you with me through this very personal approach to the subject and that this will stimulate discussion afterwards. I thought I would begin with these words of William James from his Varieties of Religious Experience:

"Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence, but apply the requisite stimulus and at a touch they are there in all their completeness…No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded." (1)

----- Our attention today is focussed on the daylight world - the world of physical reality; we have no awareness of the existence of a dimension of consciousness which might be compared to the starry night sky - a dimension which can only reveal its presence when the sun's bright radiance is dimmed. What is consciousness? Is the universe conscious? Can we enter into dialogue with that greater consciousness of which our own may be a part? These are the great questions at the dawn of a new millennium. There are brilliant pioneers now exploring the immensities of the visible universe revealed by Hubble but there are others who are exploring the immensities of an invisible universe whose existence is not recognised or even imagined by many of us.
----- I would like to share with you this vision of our potential future described by Christopher Bache (Baeshe), who for twenty years has been Professor of Religious Studies at an American University and is now Director of Studies at the Noetic Institute in California. He has recorded his experience over these years of transcendent or non-ordinary states of consciousness, following the method developed by the psychiatrist Stanislav Grof. (2) This is one striking passage from his recent book: Dark Night, Early Dawn.

"I saw humanity climbing out of a valley and just ahead, on the other side of the mountain peak and beyond our present sight, was a brilliant, sun-drenched world that was about to break over us. The time frame was enormous. After millions of years of struggle and ascent, we were poised on the brink of a sunrise that would forever change the conditions of life on this planet. All current structures would quickly become irrelevant…In being given glimpses of the future, in touching the edges of the Creator's intent, I saw that evolution was indeed no accident but a creative act of supreme brilliance and that humanity was being taken across a threshold that would change it forever." (3)

----- I believe this new epoch we have entered could bring us a breakthrough to:

a new understanding of spirit,
a new understanding of nature,
a new understanding of ourselves. We will be able to view, perhaps for the first time, the whole panorama of the evolution of consciousness and know both our origin and our goal.

----- However, there are two major impediments to our reaching this more advanced level of understanding. One is the fixed concept of God we have inherited from the past. I will return to this problem later. The other is the scientific paradigm which currently directs the culture. I often use the image of the hedge of thorns in the fairy tale of the Sleeping Beauty to describe the beliefs which block off access to the deeper dimensions of the soul and impede the further evolution of consciousness. Briefly, these are as follows:

Matter is primary and gives rise to mind as a secondary phenomenon. Consciousness is therefore a by-product of the physical brain.
There is no survival of consciousness after death. The death of the brain is the death of the individual.
God is an unnecessary hypothesis and the concept of the soul an irrelevance.
The life of the universe has come into being by blind chance.
There is no transcendent purpose or meaning to our lives.

        This is the view presented by Dawkins, Wolpert and other scientists. It's what I would call a "flat earth" hypothesis which empties the entire human endeavour of existential purpose and significance. There is no vertical axis, nothing that might connect us to a field of consciousness that is beyond our sensory experience, beyond the literal mind.
----- But there is an alternative hypothesis - one that opens the way through the hedge of thorns and invites us to explore the deeper ground of our being. It might be called the Perennial Philosophy:

Consciousness is primary and matter secondary. That is to say, the phenomenal world emerges from an invisible dimension or implicate order of reality.
The universe is conscious and there are many dimensions to this consciousness. 'In My Father's House there are many mansions.'
Our human consciousness is integral to that greater consciousness, even though it is still partially developed or immature.
Consciousness in some form survives the death of the physical body.
What we have called God or spirit is the divine ground as well as the process of life in the universe, our planet and ourselves. There is nothing outside or beyond God.
The soul is a vast and complex field or web of relationships connecting invisible spirit with the phenomenal world. Our body/mind organism is intimately connected to that wider soul, field or web of relationships.
The purpose of our lives on this planet is to be reunited with the source or ground of our being.

----- Over many centuries, we have constructed a view of reality based on the daylight world of ordinary states of consciousness and have rejected the insight of individuals who have experienced the night-time sky of non-ordinary states. We are currently trapped within the narrow prison of the literal mind and dismiss everything we don't yet know or understand as scientifically unprovable and therefore irrelevant. Bache comments:

"…When one gains access to the inner experience of the universe, one learns that, far from being an accident, our conscious presence here is the result of a supreme and heroic effort. Far from living our lives unnoticed in a distant corner of an insentient universe, we are everywhere surrounded by orders of intelligence beyond reckoning" (4)

----- What stands out in Bache's experiences is the revelation that the entire universe, visible and invisible, is:

'a unified organism of extraordinary design reflecting a massive Creative Intelligence. The intelligence and love that was responsible for what I was seeing overwhelmed me and filled me with reverential awe.' (5)

----- Having laid this foundation, and because I want this talk to have a sense of the whole trajectory of evolution, I thought it might be helpful briefly to review the process of how we have come into being. 13 billion years ago as we understand time on this planet a stupendous explosion of cosmic energy took place. The first second held the inconceivable energy that fuelled not only the creation of a hundred billion galaxies through billion-year paths of expansion but also the evolution of life on this planet and aeons later, the evolution of human consciousness. Nothing in the universe ever dies. The form changes but the energy is eternal, co-existent with the source. The manifest universe we see and the life that we are arises from an invisible sea of light which is the deep, cosmic ground of the phenomenal world and our own consciousness. The world we know is like a minute excitation on the surface of this great sea of being. We move in this sea as a bird flies through the air or a fish swims in water. What separates us from awareness of it, communion with it is, I believe, the long phylogenetic programming we have received as our species evolved out of the matrix of nature. It is exceedingly difficult to step outside that formation and see things with new eyes.
----- The Milky Way Galaxy is our cosmic home - there are perhaps 300 billion stars in it. The Milky Way Galaxy is part the Virgo Cluster - an immense cluster of 1000 galaxies. Any one of ten million planets in this single cluster of galaxies might support life as we know it here. There are perhaps a trillion galaxies in the universe we know and there may be parallel universes as yet undiscovered. 87% of the universe is invisible "dark matter"; what we see is only 13% of what exists.
----- Perhaps the most amazing discovery of all is that although we are 13 billion years away from the beginning of our universe, nevertheless we exist at the very heart of it. Every galaxy, every star, every planet, every cell of our being is the place where the universe is continuously flaring forth into existence from the great sea of being. I would like to read you these words from The Hidden heart of the Cosmos by Brian Swimme.

"Even in the darkest region beyond the Great Wall of galaxies, even in the void between the superclusters, even in the gaps between the synapses of the neurons in the brain, there occurs an incessant foaming, a flashing flame, a shining-forth-from and a dissolving-back-into." (6)

----- It increasingly appears that the process, the manifest forms and the invisible source of life are inseparable: we cannot finally separate a creator from creation. The implications of this statement for long-established beliefs in a God transcendent to creation, distinct from nature and ourselves, are enormous and for some, disturbing. In visionary language, this insight is summed up in one verse of the Bhagavad Gita where Krishna says:

"I am the one source of all: the evolution of all comes from me. I am beginningless, unborn, the Lord of the worlds. I am the soul which dwells in the heart of all things. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all that lives. I am the seed of all things that are: and not a being that moves or moves not can ever be without me." (7)

----- Many of you may have watched the thrilling series "Earth Story". Imagine taking an hour's walk where every large step is 10 million years. Some four billion years ago our planet came into being. Our human species appears in the last second of this walk - the final two inches of earth or grass under our feet. And human consciousness? In perhaps the last millimetre. The ground for the formation of human consciousness was the reptilian and mammalian brain system, the first forming from 500 million years ago and the second from 200 million years although the earth experienced three massive extinctions of life - probably due to the impact of asteroids - which radically disrupted the process of evolution.
----- It has taken some 5 million years for homo sapiens to evolve from homo habilis. During this time the size of the brain tripled. The female pelvis expanded to allow the birth of infants with a larger skull. A million years ago an extra pound of neural tissue increased the size of the brain leading to the differentiation of the functions of the two brain hemispheres - a differentiation unique to humans. By the time homo sapiens appears roughly 50,000 BC, a vastly increased nervous system allowed speech to develop because of the increase in brain size, the development of the lungs and the left hemisphere of the brain.
----- We know today that the right hemisphere is the oldest and the first to develop in the foetus and that this hemisphere is the non-verbal connective system to the older limbic brain system. We also know that the left hemisphere was a crucial new sense organ that could perceive time, sequence and duration. A dense bridge of 300 million nerve fibres connects the two cortical lobes. Women have more of these than men. The human brain only weighs 3-4 pounds but contains 100 billion neurons - about the same number as the stars in the Milky Way. Everything I have said here may have to be modified as we discover more.
----- Around 50,000 BC there was a huge leap in technological skills and we find the exquisitely crafted tools of Cro-Magnon man. Millennia of practise in making tools helped us to develop different kinds of awareness and to connect the internal image and intention with the focused eye and hand in specific endeavours such as painting, weaving, making vessels to hold food and water and, no doubt, cooking. Magnificent cave paintings dating to 32,000 BC have recently been discovered in France, 20,000 years older than those of Lascaux (Chauvet Cave, Vaucluse). This shaman figure from Lascaux shows that at this time there was the ability to go into trance states, to travel to another dimension of reality, there to communicate with the soul of the slain animal.
----- I don't know how to convey to you the immensity of what Jung called the "mighty deposit of ancestral experience" - and what we might call phylogenetic memory - all the memories of this unimaginable process of evolutionary experience that we carry within the cells of the physical body, and may also connect with in morphic fields beyond the body; the memory of patterns of behaviour laid down over billions of years of plant life, cellular life, animal and finally, human life. All this incredibly complex patterning of memory incrementally increasing over thousands of millennia has contributed to the evolution of the planet, the evolution of our species and finally, the evolution of consciousness. We are the only species on this planet that can speak, write, reflect, discover and communicate with each other on this experience and give expression to our understanding and love of life in beautiful artefacts. Our life depends on the life of other species and the life of trees, plants, soil, water and air yet, as a species, we are still barely aware of this and of the complexity of the planetary life that sustains us. James Lovelock's insight is helpful here: "So closely coupled is the evolution of living organisms with the evolution of their environment that together they constitute a single evolutionary process." (8) Life is not so much a competitive struggle for survival as a triumph of co-operation and creativity. These beautiful words written by a modern artist called Cecil Collins gives the poetic insight into the significance of these memories:

"Beneath our technological civilisation, there still flows the living river of human consciousness within which is concentrated in continuity the life of the kingdoms of animals, plants, stars, the earth and the sea, and the life of our ancestors, the flowing generations of men and women: the sensitive and the solitary ones, the secret inarticulate longing before the mystery of life. The artist is a vehicle of the continuity of that life and his instrument is the myth and the archetypal image."

----- When did we develop the ability to reflect? Anyone who has grandchildren can, I think, follow the trajectory of the evolution of consciousness in the species, seeing how self-awareness slowly comes into being in the first five years as the child separates from the mother's body. With the sense of self comes the power to reflect and the shocking awareness of death. Jung observed that in the child, consciousness arises out of the depths of unconscious psychic life, at first like separate islands, which then coalesce to form a 'continent' a continuous land-mass of consciousness. Was it the same with primordial man, as the capacity for self-awareness gradually evolved out of the matrix of the older brain system? We know that the fabric of the conscious self, even in adults, is very fragile, easily permeable to the programming of the older brain system, particularly when that fabric has been damaged by traumatic experience in childhood.
----- How can we define consciousness now? Consciousness is not only the capacity to observe a visible world and an invisible inner world of thoughts and feelings, to reflect on them, but also the capacity to evaluate them; to make a distinction between what is meaningful and what is not. But if it excludes or censures too much, its capacity to evaluate is diminished. Consciousness is not only cognition and self-awareness but the extraordinary power of the intuitive imagination. It is also feeling, instinct and the miraculous workings of the autonomic nervous system. So there are many levels or kinds of consciousness, not only what we call the rational mind, and our understanding of it will need to be continually revised as we discover more. Candace Pert's remarkable discovery of the "molecules of emotion" has revolutionised our understanding of the connection between mind and body. The brain is one organ that co-ordinates the relationship between all these "systems" but the heart is apparently another. Might there be a co-ordinating intelligence transcendent to these two yet including them that we may call soul or spirit - that connects us to a wider plane of consciousness?
----- Why do I feel this all this experience is so important? There is a memorable sentence in a book by Bede Griffiths called Return to the Centre:

"The evolution of matter from the beginning leads to the evolution of consciousness in man; it is the universe itself which becomes conscious in man…It is the inner movement of the Spirit, immanent in nature, which brings about the evolution of matter and life into consciousness." (9)

         From this perspective, spirit is drawing us towards reunion with itself. When I first read this sentence, it struck me with the force of a revelation. It transformed my view of both matter and spirit. I saw that consciousness grows like a plant which has its roots in an unknown depth in the cosmos and planetary life. Its flowering is a potential within us - a potential that we have still to experience, that only a few pioneers of our species have experienced. Spirit has formed, over countless aeons, the mind/body vehicle that is capable of growing into awareness of its source and, ultimately, communion with it.
----- Our mind/body organism is slowly awakening to awareness of the greater consciousness of the universe which has brought it into being. The five to seven million years of our emergence from the animal kingdom can be seen as a stupendous process of birth that separated us from the matrix of nature. For countless millennia the potential for human consciousness was hidden within nature, like a seed buried in the earth. Then, slowly, very slowly, it began to differentiate itself from nature, from what Jung called 'the root and rhizome of the soul.' As consciousness evolved, the separation from nature was increasingly experienced by us as a state of disharmony and disunion and from it has come our present dualistic, fragmented consciousness and the fears and anxieties that torment us. But the memory of the experience of union we once knew lives on in us as a longing for reunion, the longing to belong once again, to a greater entity. We have created all kinds of myths to explain the human condition and to re-connect us to the whole. We can understand this immense evolutionary step more easily when we look at the life of a child, who recapitulates in its separation from its mother the evolutionary experience of becoming aware of ourselves first of all as a species, different from the life around us, and then as individuals, separate from the collectivity of the tribe.
----- But precisely because of this long experience of separation, we carry a deep and unrecognised wound. Our very being has been fractured by the process of differentiation leading to the separation of ourselves as observer from what we observe: the conscious, rational mind has become dissociated from instinctive participation in the life of nature; mind has become dissociated from heart, thinking from feeling. This process of separation accelerated with the invention of writing around 3000 BC which tore us out of the matrix of nature and led to an unbalanced emphasis on left-hemispheric skills and to the increasing neglect of the more participatory, even visionary faculties of the right hemisphere. The end result is that in our highly educated and technologically advanced culture we have lost something vital that earlier cultures still had - the ancient sense of participation in a sacred world and a sacred cosmos, where, in Blake's words, everything that lived was holy. We now live in a mechanistic, lifeless universe no longer ensouled, where stars are seen as objects instead of divine beings; where angels and stones and trees no longer speak to us and we no longer stand in awe before the mystery of life.
----- From the first stirrings of conscious awareness, we have sought relationship with the cosmos. This is perhaps our deepest instinct. Gazing in wonder at the stars, naming the constellations, minutely charting the rising and setting of the moon (the earliest lunar notations date to 40,000 years ago), imagining a divine intelligence that has created the beauty and marvels of the earth, and longing to communicate with that intelligence, we have created many images to draw us closer to the Mystery. These images have been hugely influential in providing a focus for the evolution of human consciousness and, therefore, in assisting it to develop. The transcendent image gave us a vertical axis, an Archimedean point beyond ourselves towards which we could aspire and grow. Now the outworn image of God which has structured Judeo-Christian culture for two and a half thousand years, is dying and we are living through an interregnum, made critically dangerous because of our enhanced ability to destroy ourselves and irreparably damage the life of this planet.
----- Now I want to look at another aspect of this process of separation. Owen Barfield, in his wonderfully concise book Saving the Appearances, (10) defines three phases in the evolution of human consciousness: the first as the phase of Original Participation; the second as the phase of Separation and the third as the phase of Final Participation. This framework gave Jules Cashford and I the ground-plan for our book, The Myth of the Goddess. We realised that the first phase of Original Participation was reflected in the image of the Mother Goddess when life was experienced as an organic, living and sacred whole; the second phase of separation and duality was reflected in the image of the Father God when spirit and nature came to be regarded as separate and distinct; and the third phase of Final Participation was reflected in the image of the Sacred Marriage of spirit and nature, Goddess and God. This last phase invites the reconnection of masculine mind with feminine soul, the conscious recovery of the lost feeling of participation in an ensouled universe reflected in a fully awakened and mature consciousness capable of serving life with insight, compassion and intelligence. I have chosen these three powerful images to reflect the phases of Separation and Final Participation:

----- The Fall (Massacio)
----- The Resurrection (Piero della Francesca)
----- The Coronation of the Virgin (Agnolo Gaddi)

----- The last painting shows the fully awakened consciousness, personified by Christ, crowning the Virgin Mary, who can be understood to personify the feminine principle.
----- Now I have to spend a little time explaining why the image of the Mother Goddess was so important and why its loss has been so damaging to the psyche. For some 16,000 years the Great Mother was the archetypal image that presided over far distant eras which have become accessible to us only in this century: the Palaeolithic, the Neolithic and the great civilisations of the Bronze Age. Her image inspired and focused a perception of the universe as an organic, sacred and indivisible whole, in which humanity, the Earth and all life on Earth participated as 'her children'. Everything was woven together in one cosmic web, where all orders of manifest and unmanifest life were related, because all shared in the sanctity of the original source.
----- The Great Mother was experienced as the womb of life, the great web of life, the cyclical process of the death and regeneration of life. Life was an epiphany of her being. In the imagination of the people of this time, she unified the three dimensions of sky, earth and underworld or the world of the dead - for the dead were taken back into her womb for rebirth. She personified the web of relationships we call nature but also the web of relationships which connects the life of nature to the life of the cosmos - what Plato millennia later called the soul of the cosmos - psyche tou cosmou. This sense of the indivisibility or permeability of spirit and nature survived far into the phase of Separation - into Celtic Christianity and into the religious climate of the Middle Ages, when people still felt they were living within the being of God. It is vividly expressed in these lines from a poem by Hildegarde of Bingen:

----- ----------I am the supreme fiery force
----- ----------That kindles every spark of life;
----- ----------What I have breathed on will never die…
----- ----------I am divine fiery life
----- ----------Blazing over the full-ripened grain;
----- ----------I gleam in the reflection of the waters,
----- ----------I burn in the sun and moon and stars,
----- ----------In the breeze I have secret life
----- ----------Animating all things and lending them cohesion…

----- The myth of the Fall and the belief system that has been constructed on it clearly records the loss of that ancient sense of participation. There are now two dimensions, the heavenly world and the earthly world, the divine and the fallen. In the Judeo-Christian myth, the conviction of guilt related to a primordial transgression which brought death, sin and suffering into the world suggests the despairing awareness of separation, and of exclusion from a divine world. The myth accurately describes the birth of self-awareness and our entry into the phase of Separation. Condensed within the imagery and language of the myth is the story of how the Father God replaced the Mother Goddess and the downgrading of the goddess into a human woman, Eve - who strangely carries the title of the former goddess - Mother of All Living. The goddess came to be feared and distrusted and with her woman and every facet of the feminine value. (Since Greek times, soul and nature have always been imagined in feminine imagery and associated with woman). As the goddess was rejected or downgraded in relation to the god, so spirit and nature, mind and soul became divorced and polarised in human consciousness, leading finally to the spiritual, ethical and ecological crisis we face at the present time.
----- One of the greatest difficulties in understanding the concept of soul as the great web of life is that for almost three thousand years in Judeo-Christian civilisation the image of God has contained no feminine dimension. This meant that everything which the image of the Great Mother embraced in earlier civilisations - most importantly the feeling of the indivisibility and sacredness of life - was lost. Spirit was withdrawn from nature and gradually came to be defined as something beyond the world, something infinitely remote, transcendent, beyond nature and ourselves. Moreover, it was defined as male and paternal. Two things resulted from this: nature, matter and body were split off from spirit. Woman and body were named as what was inferior to man and mind. Nature, woman and body were seen as what had to be conquered, controlled, made subject, because instinct within and nature without were perceived as chaotic, overwhelmingly powerful and threatening. Is it surprising then that, ultimately, Mother Earth, nature and matter should come to be regarded as something mindless and mechanical - to be exploited, dominated and controlled as we choose?
----- Deeply imprinted in Christian teaching - particularly the priesthood - is the belief that the spiritual life required the rejection of matter, earthly life, sexuality and woman, the sacrifice of sensory enjoyment and the mortification of the body. (read the texts of the Christian Fathers) In splitting nature from spirit, emptying matter of soul, and contaminating the instincts and the body with guilt and fear, an essential part of our wholeness was wounded and rejected. As this instinctive part of our nature was repressed and vilified, so the negative feelings coming from it were projected onto other groups, belief systems and races. From this fundamental dissociation of spirit and nature at the heart of our belief system has come not only an enormous amount of unnecessary suffering and negative projections onto women but the current suppression of the feeling soul by the rational mind which lies at the root of scientific rationalism. Although there were positive effects, I think few people are aware of these profoundly negative effects of the Christian teaching about the Fall of man.
----- What was also lost to Judeo-Christian culture during the phase of Separation but is now being regained, is the mystical or visionary traditions transmitted from older cultures over many millennia. This alternative stream of human experience knew of the existence of invisible worlds or dimensions of consciousness and knew how to enhance awareness of them through shamanic rites of incubation, meditation and ritual. It knew that light was the primordial ground - the universal primary matter, and that this light was the origin of our own consciousness and the ground of all manifest life. Above all, it was aware of the interconnectedness of all life, visible and invisible. These vital streams of esoteric teaching are the "complementary" or missing counterpart of the orthodox traditions that are familiar to us. They are an essential yet largely unknown aspect of our spiritual inheritance. Kabbalah, for example, has for centuries taught the way of communication with other dimensions of reality and presented the evolution of consciousness as a slow ascent of the ladder of the Tree of Life. One cannot become aware of the existence of other dimensions until one has reached what is called the "threshold of awakening" when relationship with a deeper source of consciousness is sought and responded to.
----- This theme of reunion has been the message of all the great teachers - forerunners of the race - who have tried to awaken humanity to awareness of the divine ground and the essential god-hood of man. The teaching of the great Vedic and Taoist sages, the Buddha and Jesus mark the beginning of the third phase in the evolution of consciousness - the Sacred Marriage or conscious reunion of the individual soul with the divine ground. ("I and My Father are One"). But these forerunners were far in advance of the mass of humanity.
----- It seems today as if this powerful creative process of awakening is becoming active in the depths of the soul of humanity - the impulse to heal the dissociation between spirit and nature, mind and soul caused by the phase of Separation. It is vitally important now that we balance the predominantly masculine focus of the culture with its emphasis on the supremacy of reason, power and control by creating a conscious, healing and redemptive relationship with the neglected feminine aspects of spirit. Today the feminine archetype is becoming numinous to many individuals, particularly to women, but also to those men who are sensitive enough to perceive the need for a transformation of our understanding and our values. The four key qualities of the feminine principle are relationship, wisdom, justice and compassion. What the integration of these qualities requires is not a new belief system but a spirituality leading to ethical responsibility towards life in all its aspects, seen and unseen. Such an integration, consciously undertaken, could further the evolution of consciousness by deepening our insight into many things that now perplex us. But there is a danger that our lack of awareness of the reality of spirit may lead to our becoming hypnotised by the power of our technology and to the destruction of ourselves and our environment through blind ignorance.
----- We are living at the end of a great trajectory - some five million years or more - which has brought about the gradual differentiation of human consciousness from the matrix of nature. We have developed the capacity for reflection and self-awareness as well as a highly developed intellect but we lack what has been defined as emotional and spiritual intelligence. 11 We can view this story as an heroic ascent to autonomy and individuality but also, because of the loss of participatory awareness, a tragic fall from unity. (12) Richard Tarnas has graphically described the history of the last two and a half thousand years as a series of births which have forged Western consciousness and Western civilisation. In his book, The Passion of the Western Mind, he suggests that we may

"stand at the threshold of a revelation of the nature of reality that could shatter our most established beliefs about ourselves and the world. The very constriction we are experiencing is part of the dynamic of our imminent release. The driving impulse of the West's masculine consciousness has been its quest not only to realize itself, to forge its own autonomy, but also, finally, to recover its connection with the whole…to rediscover and reunite with the feminine, with the mystery of life, of nature, of soul." (13)

----- For the countless millions of people murdered or left destitute and traumatized by human barbarism, the last century was a dark night of the soul, the culmination of living for centuries without respect for life and a deep communion with spirit. But, seen from another perspective, the last 50 years may be understood as a rite of passage between the dissolution of a ruling paradigm or vision of reality and the formulation of a new one which represents an immense advance of consciousness for humanity. What I believe we are witnessing today is an evolutionary awakening of global proportions, what might be called the awakening of the soul of the world.
----- Bache writes of this powerful impulse rising from the soul:

"The great difficulty I have is in describing the enormity of what it being birthed. The true focus of this creative process is not individuals but all humanity. It is actually trying to reawaken the entire species. What is emerging is a consciousness of unprecedented proportions, the entire human species integrated into a unified field of awareness. The species reconnected with its Fundamental Nature. Our thoughts tuned to Source Consciousness." (14)

----- One of the great themes of ancient myth is the hero's journey into the underworld, his encounter there with a fearsome adversary and his return to the world of everyday life, bringing with him a priceless treasure. With this treasure, he is able to regenerate his culture, heal the sick, free the people from the spell cast on them by demonic powers, release the waters of life so that fertility is restored to the Wasteland. The treasure is clarified vision and a compassionate heart. This theme has its root in the sun and moon's nightly and monthly journey into darkness and their return to illumine our world - a timeless theme of life, death and regeneration and the essential relationship of the light and the dark, the known and the unknown. It descends to us from Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece and underlies all later mythologies, including the Christian and the Gnostic one, which taught that we have become separated from our home in the divine world and are therefore exiled, fallen, lost or asleep. It tells of the need to enter the unexplored depths of ourselves in order to recover our instinctive connection with that world, thereby bringing about our awakening, transformation and return to the source.
----- Psychotherapy has contributed immeasurably to this exploration and to healing the dissociation between mind and soul. But it is riven by rivalries and dissentions belonging to the phase of Separation that waste much precious time and energy and diminish its great power to help suffering humanity. Jung knew that it is the approach to the numinous that heals the soul. His greatest longing was to build a bridge between the reality we see and know with our physical senses and another unseen reality. He recovered for us the neglected dimension of the soul as the intermediary between spirit and nature, connecting each to the other. He knew that our greatest need is for connection with the transcendent, not through belief alone, but through deeper experience of our own nature and of the invisible world that underlies the physical one. He knew that the modern psyche was in a state of suffering and alienation because the conscious mind knew nothing of this deeper ground, and therefore could not grow to its full potential through relationship with it. He defined sickness or neurosis as a state of incompleteness, and health as a state of wholeness brought about through the reconnection of the conscious mind with that unrecognised matrix of reality. A few years before he died he said to a friend that he felt he had failed in his foremost task - "to open people's eyes to the fact that man has a soul, and that there is a buried treasure in the field and that our religion and philosophy were in a lamentable state."(15) But he did not fail. We are immensely in his debt.
----- Jung was deeply aware of the need to integrate the shadow - that is - the unconscious drive for power and control and the habits of belief and behaviour which perpetuate war, oppression, and suffering. In their suffering, millions have cried out: "Why does God allow these things to happen? Why can't He intervene to help us?" I hope this talk has shed some light on how evil has come into being during the course of evolution through our inheritance of the millions of years of predator/prey programming of the reptilian and mammalian experience but also through the separation from nature and the negative projections onto others deriving from our various belief systems.
----- The addiction to power, primacy and control and the struggle over territory and resources will continue as before - leading to ever more suffering, perhaps even to our extinction as a species. As long as we remain unaware of the immense power of that triple inheritance we are condemned to repeat the habits of the past. We have to rescue ourselves from our own predicament, which at the same time is God's predicament, since God depends on us for the transformation of consciousness and therefore the transformation of our values.
----- Today there are certain questions that the soul asks ever more urgently: "What is the deeper purpose of my life on this planet? Does God exist? What is the source of evil? Will I survive death and see my loved ones again?" Many people are searching for answers which go beyond religious or scientific belief systems, answers from individuals who have had experience of the unexplored side of life. They are seeking knowledge and insight and above all, communion with the unseen dimension of soul to which we are connected through our instincts, our feelings and the longing imagination of our heart. They are seeking healing for the great wound in the psyche which originates in the evolutionary process itself. Cecil Collins writes:

"There is in all human beings a secret, personal life, untouched, protected - won from communal life; and of which all public life is the enemy. It is this sensitive life which my art is created to feed and sustain, this real life deep in each person."

----- I believe the true art of psychotherapy is to bring forth, nourish and sustain this secret life.

----- In the last minutes of my talk, I would like to return to the idea put forward at the beginning, that there is no essential separation between ourselves and the cosmic intelligence, soul or mind of the universe. The separation exists in our present perception of reality. The Consciousness which gave birth to the universe waits for us to be able to recognise its longing to communicate with us, to recognise the divine source of our being. This image of Dante and Virgil gazing at the empyrean conveys the mystery, ecstasy and wonder of this realisation.
----- I would like to end with two passages, one from an earlier time and one from today, which reflect the insight that Love as the cosmic pulse of the Holy Spirit flows to us in the creation and becoming of our own being, holding the world of time in the embrace of eternity. First, the words of the great Flemish mystic, Ruysbroeck:

"When love has carried us above all things we receive in peace the Incomprehensible Light, enfolding us and penetrating us. What is this Light, if it be not a contemplation of the Infinite, and an intuition of Eternity? We behold that which we are, and we are that which we behold; because our being, without losing anything of its own personality, is united with the Divine Truth." (16)

And finally, these passages from Bache:

"The unified field underlying physical existence completely dissolved all boundaries. As I moved deeper into it, all borders fell away, all appearances of division were ultimately illusory. No boundaries between incarnations, between human beings, between species, even between matter and spirit. The world of individuated existence was not collapsing into an amorphous mass, as it might sound, but rather was revealing itself to be an exquisitely diversified manifestation of a single entity." (17)

"Though these experiences were extraordinary in their own right, the most poignant aspect of today's session was not the discovered dimensions of the universe themselves but what my seeing and understanding them meant to the Consciousness I was with. It seemed so pleased to have someone to show Its work to. I felt that it had been waiting for billions of years for embodied consciousness to evolve to the point where we could at long last begin to see, understand and appreciate what had been accomplished. I felt the loneliness of this Intelligence having created such a masterpiece and having no one to appreciate Its work, and I wept. I wept for its isolation and in awe of the profound love which had accepted this isolation as part of a larger plan. Behind creation lies a Love of extraordinary proportions, and all of existence is an expression of this love. The intelligence of the universe's design is equally matched by the depth of love that inspired it." (18)

1. Published by Longmans. Green and Co. London, New York 1929, p. 388
2. see his books Beyond the Brain, State University of New York Press, 1985 and The Cosmic Game, State University of New York Press, 1998.
3. Dark Night, Early Dawn, State University of New York Press, 2000, p. 220 and 221
4. Dark Night, Early Dawn, p. 4
5. Ibid, p. 74
6. The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos, Orbis Books, New York, 1996, p. 101
7. translated by Juan Mascaro, Penguin Books, 1962
8. Healing Gaia, Harmony Books, New York 1991, p. 222.
9. Collins, St. James's Place, London, 1976 and Templegate, Springfield, Ill. 1977.
10. Second Edition, published 1988 by Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, Connecticut, USA.
11. see Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence, Bloomsbury, London 1996, and Danah Zohar and Ian Marshall, SQ - Spiritual Intelligence, the Ultimate Intelligence, Bloomsbury, 2000.
12. Ballantine Books, New York 1991, epilogue
13. ibid
14. Dark Night, Early Dawn, p. 220
15. From a letter written by Jung in 1960 quoted by Dr. Gerhard Adler in Dynamics of the Self, Coventure, London 1979, p. 92
16. The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage, The Book of Truth, The Sparkling Stone, Dutton and Co. New York and J.M. Dent & Sons, London 1916.
17. Dark Night, Early Dawn, p. 74
18. Ibid, p. 70

----- The story of Parzival as told by Wolfram von Eschenbach has been retold for our time in a book called Parzival and the Stone from Heaven by Lindsay Clarke.
----- For the writings of the Christian Fathers, see Henry Bettenson, Documents of the Christian Church; The Early Christian Fathers; The Later Christian Fathers, OUP.

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