Rebalancing the Psyche: Integrating the Feminine Principle: Body, Soul and Spirit


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Rebalancing the Psyche: Integrating the Feminine Principle Body, Soul and Spirit
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Rebalancing the Masculine and Feminine
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Lecture 12

Rebalancing the Psyche:
Integrating the Feminine Principle,
Body, Soul and Spirit.

©Anne Baring

Wessex Psychotherapy Society, Southampton - September 18th, 2002

Picture of Jacob's ladder
I would like to begin this talk with a dream because images can sometimes convey more than words. Next, I would like to explore with you why I feel the western psyche is unbalanced, how this imbalance arose over the last 4000 years and the effects it has had on western civilisation, leading to the political and ecological crisis that confronts us today. Finally, I will attempt to show how, over the last fifty years, the feminine principle has begun to be integrated with the masculine one. We live in a time of immense danger but this time also offers us the possibility of a crucial change in our understanding of life which the integration of the feminine could effect. I hope that your questions afterwards may develop these reflections in any direction that may interest you.

Jung said that we are partly fated and partly free and the measure of our freedom is our capacity to relate to our fate. By the word relate he meant insight into the circumstances we find ourselves in and the ability to act on it. I think psychotherapy has increased our measure of freedom as individuals by giving us greater insight into our fate: it has given us a tool which can release us from the powerful spell of unconscious complexes and it can release energy which can help us to grow in directions that were not previously available to us. I believe that insight into collective complexes can invite a greater freedom for humanity by giving us a greater possibility of choice and this is what my talk is about. As the present possibility of war with Iraq suggests, we are in no sense free, rationally directed creatures but are still bound by the spell of archaic and unconscious instincts. Awareness of this fact gives us a measure of choice.

The dream was one I had about thirty years ago at the end of a long Jungian analysis when I had applied to train as an analyst myself. In the dream I was flying in a rocket to the moon. Arrived there, I saw that a huge rusty iron structure, rather like the Eiffel Tower, had been constructed on it, so huge that it rose high above its surface. I then got onto a train that was strangely empty of passengers and travelled over the lunar landscape. I saw from the windows that there had been vegetation at one time but that this was now withered and dessicated, like a landscape blasted by a nuclear bomb or shrivelled by a terrible drought. I was shocked to see this and wondered what had happened. The dream ended with my being propelled at great speed into a swimming pool. I woke up with these vivid images imprinted on my memory and took the dream to my analyst but he could offer no interpretation of what the image of the dead planet and the rusting iron structure referred to.

However, I also mentioned it to Dr. Gerhard Adler, who had worked closely with Jung in Zurich, when he interviewed me about my application to train as an analyst. He gave me an interpretation that immediately struck a chord with me. He said he thought the dream was drawing attention to the neglected state of the feminine principle or archetype - the moon being one of the primary images of that archetype. He suggested that the dream was showing me the plight of the feminine value, both in relation to myself and to the culture; the iron structure was, in both cases, something that had been imposed on the deeper levels of the psyche by the rigid control of the rational mind. Tactfully, he suggested that more analysis was needed before I could be accepted for training. I had to dismantle that iron structure and regenerate the surface of the moon. So I began to work with another analyst, this time a woman who had worked with Emma Jung, who was able to initiate me into a deeper understanding of the feminine principle.

Chartres rose window
The Talmud says that a dream not interpreted is like a letter not read. The best we can do is to read the letter and ponder its meaning. Over many years of pondering, I realised that this dream was a wake-up call from the soul and not only that. It was a warning of what could happen to our planet if we didn't wake up to where our present course is leading us. It drew me to explore the imbalance between the masculine and feminine principles in Western civilisation and how this imbalance affects every single one of us. It affects our values and how we educate and treat our children. It affects science, medicine, psychology and how we conduct politics; it affects the formulation of our aims and goals and all our relationships with a wider world. Most important of all, it affects the way we relate to life and to the universe. I began to understand that many of the problems we now face were created by attitudes towards the feminine principle that were formed centuries ago and have never really been recognised and addressed. Summed up in a sentence, the main problem is that we have lost our connection to soul, not only soul in a personal sense but soul as an entity in whose greater life we participate and through which we are linked to each other, and to the life of the planet and the cosmos.

Feminine and masculine principles (see end notes) When reading these, please remember that they are not gender specific. Although certain qualities and attributes have been associated over millennia with men and others with women, they are characteristics and qualities that can be developed in both.

Today we live in a culture that has given overwhelming preponderance to the masculine value and to mind and has neglected many aspects of the feminine value, above all, the deepest longings of the human heart. Technological progress, scientific advance and political power have become the supreme goals. The human mind has virtually replaced God: it no longer recognizes a dimension of reality beyond the physical universe, nor any form of consciousness transcendent to its own. The culture is driven by a predatory and rapacious ethos of competitive struggle and the pursuit of power, conquest and control. Jung would have said that the brutality and omnipotent fantasies of Saddam Hussein reflect back at us the face of our unrecognised shadow. How did this ethos and this belief system come to dominate our lives? To answer this question, I need to go back several thousand years to uncover the influences that have led to the formation of our present attitudes, beliefs and behaviour.

Painting of Piero dela Francesca's Great Mother.
Once upon a time, the whole cosmos was seen and experienced as a living being. The root of the concept of soul as a feminine, containing entity or womb was the Great Mother or Great Goddess of the Bronze Age - a goddess like Isis or Hathor in Egypt or Gaia in Greece. For many thousands of years these goddesses personified the principle of relationship, the interconnectedness and interdependence of every aspect of life, above all, the sacredness of life. Stars, trees, mountains, rivers, rocks - all were sacred and animated with spirit. Soul was the invisible gossamer-fine web of relationships which connects our human lives in ways which are not yet understood by science to the matrix of planetary life and beyond that, to the immensity of the life of the universe, perhaps to universes or dimensions as yet undiscovered The primary experience of human consciousness prior to 2000 B.C. was participation in an organic, sacred and living whole, a great sentient web of being. Nature was seen as the visible manifestation of this unseen matrix or web of life. The Earth was a Mother, a "thou", not an "it". It is this sense of participating in, of belonging to a sacred universe that we have lost. Interestingly, physicists have just discovered what they call the 11th dimension - a membrane of limitless extent that may hold within it an infinite number of parallel universes that are continually coming into being and dissolving. It is, they say, invisible to us yet right next to our skin. Physicists call this hypothesis M-theory - M standing for Mother and membrane. (Horizon BBC2, February 2002) This sounds very like a modern description of cosmic soul.

God the Father creating Adam and Eve(tapestry)
About 2000 B.C. the image of the Great Father begins to replace the Great Mother as supreme creator. In Judeo-Christian culture the image of God as Creative Mind or Creative Intelligence replaces the older image of the Goddess as Creative Womb, the source of all forms of life. The roots of this immense change lie in the Babylonian myth of creation where the solar god Marduk kills the mother goddess Tiamat, splits her dead body in half and creates heaven and earth from the two halves. The Babylonian myth had a great influence on the formation of the Biblical image of God which, in turn, gave Christianity the image of God that has come down to us today. In relation to the psyche, this myth reflects the emergence of the self-aware ego from the matrix of instinct - Marduk being an image of the ego and Tiamat of the matrix of instinct. It also marks the beginning of the process which, over the next 4000 years, was to bring about the separation of spirit and nature and the polarisation of the masculine and feminine archetypes. The primary experience of human consciousness from this time until the present day has been one of separation and increasing alienation from the matrix of nature and instinct. The myth of the Expulsion from the Garden illustrates this experience and the beginning of the perplexing awareness of duality and self-consciousness.

What were the effects of this tremendous shift in emphasis from God (or Spirit) as Mother to God as Father? Why did it occur? I think it occurred because at this stage in the evolution of consciousness, the fragile ego needed the support of the masculine archetype to help it emerge from the matrix of instinct, to strengthen and focus it. However, the belief that God was male and paternal has had unrecognised effects on the formation of the western psyche and western civilization. Creation was believed to have been brought about by a God who was beyond it, transcendent to it. All the emphasis was on God and obedience to God. But as God moved further and further away from His creation, so earth, nature and matter lost the sacredness which had once been associated with the immanence of the divine in the manifest world. The religions of the last two and a half thousand years, both eastern and western, put the emphasis of their teaching on the rejection of human existence on earth, the rejection of the body and natural instincts; the rejection of woman. They drove a wedge between spiritual life and human life and split the human organism into two irreconcilable parts, mind and body, the controller and the controlled. Gender roles became fixed: man was creative mind; woman was fertile womb. Spirit and nature, mind and body, became fixed in opposition to each other.

Diagram of the Polarisation of Opposites (see end notes)

So a profound duality developed in our thinking. Eventually, matter and nature came to be thought of as dead, without life, consciousness or spirit: we could do anything we wanted to them. Instead of feeling an instinctive sense of relationship and participation in the life around us, we began to experience ourselves as separate from it, with the right to dominate and control nature.

Over the course of 4000 years, everything traditionally associated with the feminine principle - nature, matter, woman and body - was devalued in relation to spirit, mind and man. Most importantly, the idea of soul as the invisible connecting web of life which could hold these two polarities together, was lost. The idea developed that spirit was separate from and "above" nature; that man was spiritually and mentally superior to woman and should rule over her, that thinking was superior to feeling and that mind should rule over and control body. Women were increasingly deprived of a voice and a role in patriarchal culture. Until very recently, we have not heard woman's perspective on life nor has woman's experience been considered of any relevance. We have only heard man's perspective on life (in politics, religion and science) and his definition of our place in the universe. Inevitably, with the rise of science, it was believed that man should conquer and control nature. These fixed concepts found their way from religious beliefs into science and medicine and into social attitudes governing men and women's relationship with each other. Human nature is immensely conservative and, like an animal defending its territory, fiercely resists any impulse to change. Once an idea has become established in religious or scientific dogma, it is very difficult to change it. This can be seen most clearly in relation to the current issue of women priests.

Because of the influence of this long formative experience on western religion and science, western civilization developed an overwhelmingly masculine character. In relation to the psyche, the conscious ego became increasingly dissociated from and fearful of the matrix of instinct, Increasingly, it came to identify itself with transcendent spirit. As time went on, it became more and more inflated and omnipotent. The image of the hero slaying the dragon - originally derived from the Babylonian myth - became a metaphor for man's subjugation of nature and his own instinctual nature. At the same time we have the appearance of mythologies which dramatise the battle between good and evil and we also have the image of the warrior-king vanquishing his enemies, first depicted on Egyptian temple walls, later on Assyrian reliefs and with us still today as a modern leader prepares to vanquish the "axis of evil".

Painting: God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit welcoming the Virgin Mary.
Because of the process I have described, Christian Theology inevitably took on a masculine bias. The Trinity was defined in wholly male imagery although, in the earliest Jewish Christian communities in Jerusalem and Alexandria, the Holy Spirit had been regarded as feminine. This was one factor which helped to establish an imbalance in the western psyche. This unique sixteenth century painting shows the Trinity welcoming the Virgin Mary, thereby including the feminine in the image of the Divine (making a Quaternity).

Tapestry of God with Adam and Eve
A second factor was the influence of the Myth of the Fall and the Doctrine of Original Sin. The myth says that Eve was responsible for bringing sin, death and evil into the world (because she listened to the serpent). In Christian teaching, woman was identified with Eve. Woman, the body and sexuality were demonised and became the target of every kind of negative projection. (One has to read the documents of the Christian Church from the Early Christian Fathers to Calvin to understand the roots of misogyny in Christian culture). Repressed and greatly feared instincts in men gave rise to negative projections that were directed at women and their sexuality. The body was not loved and honoured but despised and punished (even tortured) because of the carnality that led to sin. Asceticism was equated with spirituality. In the fires of the Inquisition the flesh was sacrificed in order to save the soul. Sado-masochism became an established pattern of behaviour disseminated through religious instruction.

Jung's painting of the Spirit above a World of War and Technology
The third factor which has contributed to an imbalance in the psyche and the culture as a whole is the belief system of scientific reductionism or scientific rationalism. Although, from the sixteenth century, science developed in opposition to religion, it nevertheless carried forward attitudes which were antithetical to nature, matter and the feminine in general - attitudes that were deeply embedded in Christian beliefs and social behaviour. The metaphor of conquest, control and dominance that is so intrinsic to many aspects of modern science derives from an attitude towards nature which regarded it as something insensate, inferior to and separate from ourselves, that we are entitled to subjugate and manipulate for our benefit. A modern physicist writes: "A fundamental assumption of modern scientific inquiry is that the whole of reality, at whatever scale we take it - as the whole universe, an animal, a tree, or a stone - is a machine…Nothing whatsoever has any purpose…objects or creatures do not have purposes; they merely have functions." (1) In scientific reductionism the ethos of dominance and control has stifled the instinct for connection, relationship and participation. Life has no meaning or purpose. There is nothing beyond the brain. (2)

I think that this belief system - erected over some four centuries but deeply rooted in earlier beliefs - is what the towering iron structure of my dream referred to.

Diagram of Effects (see end notes)
What are the effects of this belief system on the human psyche and on our culture? As psychotherapists, I feel it is important to be aware of this historical background when we approach the malaise in the modern psyche, the mood of depression and powerlessness and the aggression which are increasingly prevalent today, and the collapse of moral parameters in the culture as a whole. Depression as I am sure you are aware, affects some 25% of women and 12% of men in this country. Faced with an iron curtain of denial, many people feel a deep, inarticulate despair. They feel something is radically out of order.

I think the distress and disorientation of so many people comes from the fact that there is nothing beyond the horizon of the human mind to give them a sense of relationship with and participation in the life of the universe and the life of the planet. Men and women and, above all, children, are increasingly becoming the victims of a harsh, competitive, uncaring ethos: women, in their desire to enter a world still entirely controlled by men and because the feminine value has no clear definition or recognition in our culture, are drawn to copy the model offered by men and the obsessive focus on power, control and achievement. This naturally creates great anxiety and stress. Above all, there is no time for relationships.

When there is too great a repression of an instinctive need and an obsession with power and control, whether in an individual or in a culture, there will be an increasing polarisation of opposites and, eventually, a volcanic eruption of feeling. I think we can understand the events of September 11th as an eruption of the unconscious against the whole ethos of domination and control that pervades modern culture - including Islamic culture. To counter that horrific attack with another demonstration of omnipotent power rather than with an increase of insight into the despair and disorientation that lie behind it is, I believe, the greatest mistake we could make, one that could cost us all that we mean by civilisation.

Diagram of conscious and unconscious
In the past, the word soul carried great meaning: the work of the greatest artists, architects, musicians, poets and mystics connected people with the soul. Today, the focus of our culture is entirely on the external world. It knows nothing of an inner, imaginal life, or of how to connect with an invisible reality. What connects us to soul? Two aspects of our nature: our instincts and our heart. What part of the body do you touch when someone asks "Where is the seat of your feeling?" Most people instinctively touch their heart or the centre of their chest. The heart mediates the instinctive longing to seek relationship with the universe. It is precisely through our instinctive longing to understand, our capacity to feel and to imagine that we are most closely connected to nature and the cosmos. It is feeling and intuition which make the connection with a reality beyond the reach of the conscious mind, acting like a plug connecting us to the socket of that deeper reality.

Jung was a shaman, a visionary and a pioneer in this field. He saw his life work as building a bridge between two dimensions of reality so that there could be an interchange, a dialogue, a relationship between them. He felt that the integration of the lost or neglected feminine principle with the dominant masculine one was crucially important to the survival of our species. He believed that as long as mind and instinctive soul, conscious and unconscious were dissociated from one another, the dissociation would be projected into countless conflicts in our personal relationships and the wider world.

The feminine principle carries the instinctive, feeling values traditionally associated with the heart or the soul; the masculine principle carries the questing, goal-defining, ordering, discriminating qualities associated with rational mind or intellect. For several thousand years women have carried the principle of soul and the feeling values of the heart; men have carried the principle of mind - the ability to conceive ideas and the power to bring them into manifestation in the world. But now, there is a deep impulse to "marry" these two great principles within ourselves and our culture, to become both healed and whole. This invites a much greater insight into and a more compassionate understanding of our nature. It is very difficult for men to trust feelings long regarded as inferior to the rational mind. But it is also very difficult for women, having for so long been regarded as inferior and emotionally unstable, to trust their deepest feelings, even to be aware of them.

Picture of the earth
The last 50 years have seen the birth and growth of a new paradigm - a paradigm of reconnection born of the longing of the human heart for a different way of living and a different vision of reality than that offered by either reductionist science or conventional religion. It can be seen as an evolutionary awakening of global proportions, a reconnection with the soul: the activation of the feminine principle expressed as the law of relationship and love. Jung said that "the ultimate fate of every dogma is that it gradually becomes soulless…When a dogma loses its vitality, it must perforce activate the archetype that has always helped man to express the mystery of the soul." (3)

This awakening is summed up in the words of Chris Clarke, Professor of Mathematical Studies at Southampton University:

"I believe now that our fractured society is longing for a world in which the unity of humanity and the cosmos, the wholeness of body, soul and spirit and the unity of the masculine and feminine principles is valued, in which meaning is restored." (4)

The birth of this new paradigm can, I think, be traced to three events: the first was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which showed us the abyss of evil into which we had fallen in our omnipotent desire to develop ever more powerful weapons. Secondly, Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring, published in 1962. For the first time a woman's voice was heard articulating the values which challenged the ruling scientific belief that we could do what we wanted to nature with impunity. She was the first to speak up in defense of nature and to use the expression "web of life". Thirdly, in 1968, the miraculous view of our planet from the moon gave us an awareness of the essential unity of humanity and the beauty of our home in the universe. The very fact of an expedition to the moon - image of the archetypal feminine - was significant.

The small seeds of change sown by these events and the awakening soul of thousands of individuals are slowly bringing about a change in the culture as a whole. I would like to look at several areas where new ideas and new values are appearing.

1. The Recovery of the Feminine Dimension of the Divine
The "goddess movement" has been mediated by women deeply disturbed by the absence of the feminine dimension of the divine in the image of the Judeo-Christian god-head.

In 1950, in response to a document signed by 8 million Catholics, a Papal Bull declared the Virgin Mary to be assumed, body and soul into heaven. Four years later she was named Queen of Heaven. Interpreting the symbolic implications of this event, Jung anticipated that the feminine archetype or principle, personified by the Virgin Mary, was raised to the level of spirit and that this sacred marriage of the masculine and feminine archetypes heralded a profound transformation of human consciousness which would soon be given expression in the collective life of humanity. In further confirmation of this rising impulse in the collective psyche, in August 1997, a petition was presented to the Pope asking for the Virgin Mary to be made co-redemptrix with Christ.

2. The Emergence of a New Image of Reality mediated by Physicists
A new scientific hypothesis, derived from Quantum Physics, suggests that our consciousness does not begin and end with the brain but is part of a primary consciousness, a great sea of being that has been named as quantum reality (quantum vacuum or quantum plenum or, more recently, Metaverse). A new concept of spirit is emerging, not as something remote from ourselves but simply all that is, invisible and visible. This idea may be shocking to some but is immensely exciting to others. The second exciting idea is that consciousness is primary, not something generated by the brain but something that the brain has access to and processes, which apprehends it in a way similar to how a radio converts radio waves into audible sound. See Amit Goswami, The Visionary Window, Quest Books

3. Extending the Boundaries of the "Rational" to include the "Non- Rational".
The interest in the near-death experience. The question of the survival of consciousness after death. Einstein said: "The paranormal is the normal of tomorrow." This interest reflects something that is essential to our spirit of exploration and cannot be censored or repressed.

4. The Resacralisation of Nature
The recovery of the ancient instinctive awareness of the interdependence and interconnection of all things. Beginning of a sense of responsibility towards other species. The image of the ancient goddess of Earth restored in James Lovelock's concept of Gaia. Friends of the Earth. Certain scientists and philosophers are beginning to challenge what someone has called "the biggest con job in the history of human thought - the idea that matter and nature are dead, mindless, unfeeling, and disconnected from ourselves." (5) The understanding is growing that "Matter tingles with the spark of spirit and therefore nature, in all its forms and glory, is sacred to its deepest roots." (6)

5. The Recovery of the Soul: the growth of interest in psychotherapy and the many ways to heal human suffering. A deeper understanding of the psyche and the development of insight into where we are still controlled and driven by un- conscious complexes. The uncovering of the appalling suffering of children.

6. The Delight in the Body and the Removal of Guilt from Sexuality.
The reconnection with instinct; a Dionysian eruption of sexuality and eroticism and a release of creative energy in both men and women. Delight in cooking, gardening, singing, dancing. At the same time an absence of moral values whose dark side is manifested in promiscuity, pornography, paedophilia and violence.

7. Woman's Growing Sense of her Value and her increasing participation in the culture - to its enormous enrichment. Freedom to follow any career.

8. The Changing Relationship between Men and Women. Partnership instead of control and subservience. Men are no longer so contemptuous of and frightened of women. Women are no longer so dependent on men for financial support.

9. Healing the Mind/body Split: Traditions of healing brought to Europe and America from China, Tibet, India: Indian (ayurvedic); Chinese (acupuncture, herbal medicine) have formed the basis of what is called Alternative or Complementary Medicine. The focus of this medicine is the treatment of body and soul as a single organism and the prevention of disease.

10. The Influence of Eastern traditions on the West: Hinduism, Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism; Sufism. The idea of a direct path of communion with a transcendent order of reality unmediated by priests. Many Buddhist, Taoist and Hindu and Sufi texts have been translated by individuals from the West as well as the East. Many teachers from the East have established centres in the West. Influence of Yoga, Chi Gong etc.

11. The Integration of Different Races, Religious Traditions and Ethnic Groups. The growth of a multi-cultural society.

12. The Awakening of Compassion for the poor, the deprived, the exploited of the world. Growing pressure on governments to act ethically and with the welfare of the planet in mind. Participation (through witnessing on TV the suffering of people remote from ourselves). Awareness of the outrageous suffering of the victims of war and tyranny.

Each of these influences and many more which there is no time to address in this talk are healing the dissociation in the psyche and the culture between spirit and nature, mind and soul, and between the conscious personality and the deeper instinctive matrix of the psyche. They cannot really be separated from each other because each is intrinsic to a psychic impulse that I would call the recovery of the feminine principle. It is to be expected that the emerging paradigm will be fiercely resisted because entrenched habits of thought and behaviour die hard. Moreover there are billions of people who are not aware of these issues and who have no means of access to them.

There is also a negative aspect to this awakening. The weakening of the Christian belief system and the obsessive materialism that is the offshoot of scientific rationalism are threatening to some and addictive to others: the collapse of the old order arouses fear and activates the survival instinct and the defensive and aggressive responses associated with it. Some people succumb to drugs and to hopelessness and despair or to acquiring more and more things; others are drawn to the security of fundamentalism; others regress to totally unconscious and predatory ways of behaving.

The Coronation of the Virgin (Agnolo Gaddi)
As this deep soul awakening gathers momentum, the integration of the feminine value with the ruling masculine one is beginning to change our perception of reality. What is being birthed in the culture today is, I think, anticipated in this fifteenth century painting. Christ personifies the highest level of insight we are capable of attaining, the greatest capacity for insight, wisdom, compassion and relationship with each other. Here we see the feminine principle, personified by the Virgin Mary, honoured, valued and, as it were, raised to conscious awareness by the man who embodied the most complete and conscious integration of the masculine and the feminine principles in his teaching.

The voice of the feminine, whether spoken by man or by woman, speaks on behalf of life, on behalf of nature, on behalf of the great web of life that is soul. It is a voice which seeks to protect and cherish life rather than to exploit and manipulate it for our own advantage. It is a voice that seeks to make conscious and defuse the immense power of the survival and tribal instincts which still hold us enslaved to predatory patterns of behaviour and to replace them with patterns of trust, caring and relationship. It is a voice which seeks to heal the old wounds which fester still in the unconscious of the collective psyche.

Man looking into space
The awakening of the soul is helping us to formulate a new vision of reality. It is a vision that takes us beyond an outworn paradigm where we were held in bondage to beliefs and attitudes specific to race, nation, religion or gender. It is a vision that offers us a totally new concept of spirit as an energy field - a cosmic sea of being - as well as the creative consciousness or organising intelligence of that sea or field, and a totally new concept of ourselves as belonging to and participating in that consciousness. It is a vision that recognises the sacredness and indissoluble unity of life and imposes on us the responsibility to become far more sensitive to the effects of our decisions and our actions. It invites our recognition of the needs of the planet and the life it sustains as primary, with ourselves as the conscious servants of those needs. Above all, it is a vision that asks that we relinquish our addiction to violence and the pursuit of power; that we become more aware of the dark shadow cast by this addiction which threatens us with ever more barbarism, bloodshed and suffering, leading ultimately to the possible extinction of our species.

The crisis of our times is not only an ecological crisis but a soul crisis. The answers we seek will not come from the limited consciousness which now rules the world but from a deeper understanding born of the union of heart and head, bringing the recognition that all life is one, that each one of us is a marvel, an atom in a cosmic body of immeasurable extent. The urgent need for this psychic balance, this profound intelligence and insight, this wholeness, is helping us recover a perspective on life that has been increasingly lost until we have come to live without it - and without even noticing it has gone - recognising nothing beyond the human mind. It is a dangerous time because it involves the disintegration of long-entrenched belief systems and institutions. But it is also an immense opportunity for evolutionary advance, if only we can understand what is happening and why.

We can choose whether to imitate the patterns of the past, continuing to live our lives in servitude to the power principle, however subtly expressed, or we can choose relationship with life, respect for life, love of life, and the immense advance of consciousness we need to make to understand and serve its mystery. After so many billion years of evolution, it is simply unacceptable that the beauty and marvel of the earth should be ravaged by us through commercial greed, the destructive power of our weapons or the misapplication of our science and technology. It is inconceivable that our extraordinary species which has taken so many million years to develop a physical vehicle for consciousness out of the life of the planet, should destroy itself through a deliberate or inadvertent act of violence. The choice - and we do have a small measure of choice - is ours. So, in the way that an oak can grow from an acorn, all this grew from my dream of the desolate surface of the moon and the rusting iron structure erected on it by man.

©Anne Baring

1. Ravi Ravindra (Prof.), Science and the Sacred, Quest Books, 2002
2. Christian de Quincey, Radical Nature:Rediscovering the Soul of Matter, Invisible Cities Press, 2000 "This philosophy expresses the terrible poetry of a meaningless universe, rolling along entropic channels of chance, blind and without purpose, sometimes accidentally throwing up the magnificence and beauty of natural and human creations, but inevitably destined to pull all our glories asunder and leave no trace, no indication that we ever lived, that our lonely planet once…reached out to the stars. It is all for nothing… such is the plot and substance of modern science boiled down to its bare essentials."
3. Aion, CW 9, par. 126
4. Chris Clarke, from notes for a presentation at the Scientific and Medical AGM, 2002
5. Larry Dossey, quote from the back cover of Radical Nature
6. Christian de Quincey, Radical Nature: Rediscovering the Soul of Matter "Matter is inherently sentient all the way down. Therefore, nature, the cosmos - matter itself - is inherently and thoroughly meaningful, purposeful and valuable in and for itself. Nature, we must see, is sacred." (p. 260)


The archetypal pattern of:


Concepts associated with the Feminine:

The soul (personal and universal)
The non-rational or irrational
The unconscious
Being (as contrasted with doing)

Primary images associated with the Feminine:

sea and water
heart (seat of feeling)
right hemisphere of brain
rose and lily, dove
the circle or sphere
red and black colour

Innate faculties associated with the Feminine:

instinct, intuition, emotion, feeling
the capacity to nurture, protect, cherish

Highest attributes associated with the Feminine:

Justice, Wisdom, Compassion, Love


The archetypal pattern of:

Consciousness, self-consciousness
Reason, rationality, logic
Focussed orientation towards a goal
Structure and Order
Doing (in contrast to Being)

Primary Images Associated with the Masculine:

left hemisphere of brain
the hero
the quest
breath, air & wind
straight line, square
colour white

Innate faculties associated with the Masculine:

Thinking: linear, logical, analytical
Ability to focus on a goal
Ability to bring ideas into manifestation
Ability to exercise control; self-control

Highest attributes associated with the Masculine:

Justice, Insight, Discrimination
The Power to Protect


Creation emerges from womb of Great Mother

Earth and Cosmos are sacred

Human beings experience themselves as living within an organic, sacred and living cosmos.


God is transcendent to Creation
Earth is a place of punishment for primordial sin (in the Christian teaching)
Man is no longer part of Divine Order

The Polarisation of Opposites in the Phase of Separation

Good Evil
Spirit Nature
Man Woman
Spirituality Carnality
Mind Matter/Body
Thinking Feeling/Instinct
Controller Controlled
Observer Observed
Right hand Left hand


The Effects:

1. Our concept of God or Spirit contains no feminine dimension. The Christian Trinity was defined in wholly male imagery.

2. With the loss of the feminine image of spirit, the concept of soul as an invisible, all-embracing dimension of reality was lost. Nature, matter and earth were progressively desacralised.

3. The Myth of the Fall and the Doctrine of Original Sin had a huge impact on the Christian psyche. Woman, the body and sexuality were effectively demonised and became the target of every kind of negative projection.

4. Scientific Reductionism (Rationalism) was the end-result of this 4000 year historical process.

The Awakening of the Soul today is creating new values:

A growing sense of responsibility towards the planet.

A new concept of Spirit as both creator and creation - as the consciousness of the universe, our planet and ourselves.

A recognition of the inter-connectedness and inter-dependence of all aspects of life.

An effort to heal the mind/body split and the realisation that the emotions are the factor which connects each to the other.

A deeper understanding of the psyche and the growth of insight into where we are still controlled by unconscious complexes.

The emergence of a different quality of relationship between men and women.

a new awareness of the suffering and needs of children

An awareness that we need to treat animals with greater compassion.

©Anne Baring

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