The Dream of the Cosmos


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

Lecture 19
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The Dream of the Cosmos - This page
The Lunar and Solar Hero
The Great Work: Healing the Wasteland
Lecture 16
This page
The Myth of the Solar Hero
Voices of the Ancestors
A Unified Vision of Reality
A Metaphysical Revolution? Reflections on the Idea of the Primacy of Consciousness
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
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
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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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Who are we and why are we here?

A Talk for the Guild of Pastoral Psychology
Heythrop College, London, February 4th, 2010

©Anne Baring

1. The Dream of the Cosmos (pictures in bold that I cannot unfortunately show: see notes at end)
First question: What is the dream of the cosmos? And a second question: who are we and why are we here?

2. Small Galaxy (Hubble) and quote
Not long ago in Italy, a burial mound was discovered with a tomb in it. The tomb held the skeleton of a man. A thin sheet of beaten gold had been folded over and placed near his head. On the sheet of gold were these words — words known to have been spoken by those taking part in the Orphic Mysteries of Greece some 2500 years ago: “I am a child of earth and starry heaven but my race is of heaven alone.” I find these words from such a distant past intensely moving. I think they are as relevant to us today as they were then. They suggest that we belong to two dimensions of reality — one visible, the other invisible and that this is something we need to know, particularly as we approach the frontier of death.

3. Man Looking into Space
This picture shows a man breaking through the boundaries of the known world, gazing in wonder at a vision of another dimension of reality. Here is an image of exploration, of quest and discovery that is so intrinsic to the human spirit.

There will always be people like Jung who will risk going too far, beyond the restricting parameters set by a culture. Possibly because of his influence, something very exciting is happening. The soul of humanity is awakening. A new worldview is being birthed, a worldview that could profoundly alter our present perception of life and our place in the cosmos.

4. Blue Starry Field with Earth
I think it is an amazing thought that we, on this planet, are the agents through which the universe is coming to awareness of itself. We are discovering our cosmic origins and the fact that in our essence we are literally star-life, star-energy, star-matter in every cell of our being. Our consciousness is the infinitesimal spark of cosmic light that is now sufficiently developed for the universe to reveal itself to us. As Jung recognised, without that spark of consciousness, without that capacity to explore, discover, observe and reflect, countless ages might have passed with no-one and nothing on this planet to witness its life. Thanks to that spark of consciousness, we can explore the stupendous creativity of the life process in which all our lives are embedded.

Equally awesome is the discovery that everything we are observing arises from an invisible sea of being which is the deep cosmic ground of the phenomenal world and our own consciousness. The world we experience is like a minute excitation on the surface of this cosmic sea – what the physicist David Bohm named “The Implicate Order”. As William James said, “We are like islands on the surface but connected in the deep.”

5. The Earth
The astronauts’ journey to the moon in 1969 brought billions of us together in awareness of the beauty of our planetary home and a dawning feeling of love and respect for it. It was the beginning of a transformation of our relationship with the Earth. It enlarged the horizon of our vision. It put us in touch with the cosmos. These are the words of the astronaut Edgar Mitchell:

I saw that the human being is part of a continuously evolving process, a more grand and intelligent process than classical science and the religious traditions have been able to describe. I was part of a larger natural process than I'd previously understood, one that was all around me in this command module as it sped towards Earth through 24,000 miles of empty black space…My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity.

6. Cosmic Heart image and Earth
We are living at a time of momentous evolutionary change which involves both rapid breakdown and unprecedented creative endeavour on our part. The cosmological discoveries of the last 100 years have shattered the foundation upon which our culture was built in the way the discoveries of Copernicus shattered the medieval view of reality. The revelation that the Universe came into existence 13.7 billion years ago, that it is clearly moving toward increasing complexity, that life and intelligence are the outcome of an extraordinary evolutionary dynamic, challenges us to rethink all our ideas. Old structures, old beliefs are breaking down.

It is true that certain scientists declare that we live in a universe that is without consciousness, direction, meaning or purpose; that matter is the only reality; that our consciousness begins and ends with the physical brain. They tell us that there is no transcendent purpose or meaning to our lives. But other scientists are re-discovering the ancient idea that the universe is conscious. This is a revolution that is altering the terms of our relationship with the cosmos, giving us a new vision of our purpose here. This revolution or revelation tells us that Hubble is not exploring a dead universe but one that is vibrantly, thrillingly alive. Cosmic Consciousness is the ground of our own consciousness, the ground out of which matter unfolds or manifests. Imagine that the extraordinary organism of our body and our brain is an expression or vehicle of that deeper ground of consciousness. In Philip Pullman’s book Northern Lights, a professor of cosmology says to Lyra, the heroine of his trilogy, “The stars are alive, child. Did you know that? Everything out there is alive, and there are grand purposes abroad! The universe is full of intentions, you know. Everything happens for a purpose.” How incredibly refreshing it is to hear this!

7. Two galaxies Meeting
If the cosmos is alive, intelligent and the ground of our own consciousness — what might be its Dream? Surely it is for us to become guardians rather than exploiters of life on this planet and to awaken to the intelligence of the mysterious energy that animates and sustains every element of the phenomenal world. And what might be our greatest longing, our greatest wish? Surely it is to know that we are not an insignificant speck in a lifeless universe, but that our lives have meaning and value in relation to a cosmic plan, a cosmic intention infinitely greater than ourselves that is slowly being revealed to us as we make more discoveries.

From both perspectives we urgently need a worldview that would connect us to a conscious universe, a universe with a Soul. The Soul in this sense is not so much something that belongs to us as something to which we belong, in whose life we live. The soul is not only in us. We are in the Soul. I will come back to this idea later. I would like to read you Jung’s words in the Red Book where he draws a distinction between the Spirit of the Times and the Spirit of the Depths.

The spirit of the depths sees the soul as an independent, living being, and therewith contradicts the spirit of the times for whom the soul is something dependent on the person, that is a thing whose range we can grasp. Before the spirit of the depths this thought is presumption and arrogance. Therefore the joy of my re-discovery was a humble one…Without the soul there is no way out of this time.

8. Mandala Crop Circle (Milkwood)
That is one revelation. But there is another. Evidence exists that there are other inhabitants in the universe who are trying to get through the thick fog of our consciousness, trying to make us aware of this extraordinary fact. It is a staggering thought that cosmologists estimate that there could be up to 40,000 planets in our Milky way galaxy alone that could be home to intelligent life.

What might be the impact on us of communication with extra-terrestrial life? A connection with other cosmic beings would prove that we are not alone. It would be the end of our isolation in our solar system. It would show us that other beings have developed technologies far in advance of our own and are capable of travelling faster than the speed of light and of observing what is going on here, on this planet. It would surely be one of the most extraordinary revelations in the history of our species. This crop circle, which appeared in 2001, is an exquisite mandala of 900 circles. There is no possible way that those stalwart characters Doug and Dave could have made it in a night.

9. Netherlands Butterfly-Man
Here is another crop circle that appeared in the Netherlands last summer. This time we are given an image of a butterfly-man, complete with wings and antennae — an image of transformation — with a circle defining the heart chakra. It was nearly 500 metres square. So who is imprinting these amazing images on the fields of the Earth? Where do they come from and what do they think of us — immersed in our wretched conflicts and our illusions of progress? Are they sending us messages — 70 in this year alone — that we consistently ignore?

If it were accepted beyond a shadow of a doubt that these complex, beautiful and mathematically coded patterns were made by an intelligence other than our own, it might engender the biggest shock to our thinking since Copernicus’ discovery that the sun rather than the earth was the centre of our solar system. It might help to focus our minds on the question: who are we and what is our purpose on this extraordinary planet? It might shatter the spell of our beliefs and launch us into a different concept of reality.

10. Mandelbrot image
So are we the random creation of a mechanical, mindless universe as scientific materialism proclaims, or do we participate in the life of a living universe that animates and orchestrates its evolution from within its own cosmic, planetary and biological processes? Years ago, I came across this sentence in a book called Return to the Centre, written by Bede Griffiths, a Benedictine monk who was one of the greatest sages of the last century.

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.

11. Dodecehedron mirror image
This is a stupendous idea because it puts spirit within nature, within ourselves, and the process of life on this planet within the context of a cosmic plan. It draws things together that have been fragmented for centuries. What we call our conscious mind is embedded in a living matrix of patterns of incredible beauty and complexity.

12. Blue flower image
This matrix of expanding, complexifying life embraces not only the whole evolutionary experience of the life of the universe but the total experience of life as it has evolved on this planet; not only the experience of the physical organism but the experience of instincts, thoughts, feelings, imagination — all that we call consciousness. Infinitely slowly, as if in response to an innate directing impulse, the consciousness latent or present within nature and matter, has slowly become conscious of itself. Life is revealing itself to us through the amazing discoveries that scientists are making. But do we realize that this is revelation?

Over these aeons of time as we understand it, life on this planet has evolved from undifferentiated awareness to the self-awareness of our species. There has been a rising tide of consciousness expressed through the evolution of species with ever more sensitive and elaborate nervous systems.

13. Mandelbrot spiral detail
We carry all this immense evolutionary experience — this geological memory bank — in the cells of our body. However, as the ability of our human species to develop a sense of self, to inhibit instinctive reflexes and to control the environment evolved, so we became cut off from the vast organism of relationships in which we were once embedded — the organism we call nature. This was in no sense our fault. We have simply instinctively followed the gradient of our evolution and have not been able to understand until now what has happened and why it has happened.

But there is further to go in the sense that an acorn has further to go before it becomes an oak. I am sure that our nervous system and our consciousness are evolving towards the illumined state attained by mystics and enlightened human beings in past ages. This illumined state is a potential within us — a potential that only a few individuals have experienced. As we evolve, so we become intelligible to ourselves; as we grow into the full potential of consciousness, so we are able to experience the true nature of reality, to connect our consciousness with the invisible ground of cosmic consciousness and live from awareness of that ground. All truths must be relative until we reach that illumined state.

14. Nebula
Now, it seems as if science is being led to rethink its basic premises. “We are,” writes James Le Fanu, author of a recent book called Why Us? “left to stare into the abyss of our radical ignorance about virtually every aspect of the history of life: the mysterious creative evolutionary force which from the beginning has elaborated ever more complex forms of organisation from the simplest elements of matter; the inscrutable origins of the primordial cell with its capacity to bring into being every form of life that has ever existed; the sudden dramatic emergence of new forms of life from the Cambrian explosion onwards; the mechanism of those transitions from fish to reptile, to mammals, to birds, each stage initiating a further ‘explosion’ of millions of new and unique species.” And he concludes: “The substantial point remains that science has quite inadvertently broken the stranglehold of the materialist view on western thought.” (article in Scientific and Medical Network Review 2009)

15. Diagram of Two Phases of Consciousness
Now, I would like to explore with you the reasons why we became disconnected from nature and the cosmos, why in 1929 D.H. Lawrence cried out, “We have lost the cosmos”. Certain fixed beliefs have had a tremendous influence on the way we think.

This diagram shows two phases in the evolution of consciousness that Jules and I called the lunar and solar phases. In the first lunar phase, we lived in participation with the life of nature. In the second solar phase, conscious mind and instinctual soul became separated and we came to see God, Nature and the Cosmos as something separate from ourselves, no longer as something we were part of, in whose life we participated. Nature was feared as something chaotic that man must overpower and control. As this phase of separation developed, so duality, polarisation and ever-increasing conflict came into being.

16. Phase One – the Lunar era – from c. 25,000 BC until about 2000 BC
This era was ruled by the Feminine Archetype. The two figures on each side of the central one date to around 25,000 BC; the central one (Artemis of Ephesus) to about 200 BC. During this time the Great Mother or Great Goddess was the image of spirit. She was the creative matrix or womb of life. All life emerged from her and returned to her womb. All aspects of life were connected through her being. Earth and Cosmos were sacred because they were the body of the Mother.

This was the phase when we lived much more instinctively, more connected to the life of the earth. Shamanic rituals which connected earth and cosmos originated in this lunar phase. They survive in indigenous cultures to this day.

17. Chinese Moon
The Moon as the Goddess or Great Mother was the mythic focus of that time. The cycles of the Moon were connected to the cycles of the seasons, the cycle of the crops and the cycle of people’s lives. (mention Jules’s book, The Moon: Myth and Image

The Milky Way was the passageway by which souls entered and left this world…to return in a new cycle of life

Following the cycles of the moon, the mythic theme of lunar culture is Birth, Death, and Regeneration and this theme was reflected in the great myths of the lunar age. In the image of the lunar cycle which embraced both light and darkness, these were held in relation to each other, in balance, not in opposition. Light and darkness were not polarised as they were to be in solar culture.

The Christian myth of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection carried forward the ancient lunar mythology of death and regeneration but it did not retain the shamanic rituals which honoured the sacredness of the Earth and the age-old connection to the great cycles of nature and the cosmos.

18. Blake – Jacob’s Ladder
You have to imagine that in these early lunar cultures there was a stairway between earth and heaven, between the visible and invisible dimensions of life. The whole cosmos was alive. The Earth was addressed as a “thou”, not an “it”. People felt they participated in a great cosmic Mystery. People experienced the divine as immanent in the material world. Nature and cosmos were ensouled with divine presence. Ceremonies like those performed at Stonehenge and Avebury, connected the earth with the heavens and strengthened the sense of participation in a divine drama. People communicated with their goddesses and gods in dream and vision and entered into dialogue with beings who were seen as personifications of spirit. Birds were recognised as messengers of an invisible dimension, very possibly because people dreamt about them in this role. Oracles were consulted as a way of bringing us into closer alignment with the guidance of an unseen reality. The spirits of plants communicated their healing powers to us. Music was used to heighten sensitivity to the presence of that invisible dimension, a world that was considered to be as real as the material world we know and the foundation of this world. The role of the shaman, the visionary, the seer as well as the artist, poet and musician, was to travel through the veil of our ‘normal’ consciousness to that invisible dimension and bring back what was seen and heard in that encounter to help the human community to align its life with the sacred life of the cosmos. (Pythagoras and Parmenides)

The emphasis of this shamanic tradition was on the awakening of subtle faculties through practices which heightened the ability to see, hear and understand things which are not accessible to our normal range of consciousness The visionary imagination was nourished and developed in cultures where these individuals were held in high esteem as messengers of the invisible.

19. Hidden Reality of the Highest Order
The shamanic tradition of the lunar era survived in alchemy as well as in the Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah. The greatest alchemists and kabbalists knew that beyond visible reality there is a another reality of the highest order. It is the invisible ground of the world we see. It gives rise to the world we see. It permeates and interacts with the world we see. They knew that an immeasurable field of consciousness continually interacts with our own. I call this field cosmic soul.

20. Taoist Scene
We also discover the shamanic tradition of a relationship with an invisible ground in the teaching of the great Vedic seers of India and the Taoist sages of China. We find it in the teaching of Jesus where he not only says that the kingdom of God is within us but that it is “spread out upon the earth and men do not see it.” He also says, “Cleave a piece of wood and there I am; lift a stone and I am there.” (Gospel of Thomas) Was the whole point of Christ’s teaching to connect us with this invisible ground not through belief but through direct experience?

21. Cecil Collins picture of Goddess and Earth
To summarise: This lunar shamanic experience of a deep relationship with a sacred earth and a sacred cosmos is grounded in a Feminine perspective on life that Western civilisation has utterly lost. It was feminine because it was receptive to the presence of the eternal and in relationship with the eternal. All that I have been speaking of has been dismissed as superstition that the Western mind has thankfully outgrown. Only some of the indigenous cultures and certain hidden traditions which are now emerging have carried foreword the ancient shamanic wisdom of this time and the understanding of the unity and connection of all orders of life.

22. Phase Two: The Solar Phase of Separation. from 2000 BC.
Now I come to second phase, the solar era—the phase of our Separation from Nature. It has lasted roughly 4–5,000 years until the present time. During this phase, in Western civilisation, God comes to be seen as transcendent to the created order, and Earth as a place of punishment for original sin. In this era the spiritual focus moves from the Moon to the Sun and from the Mother Goddess to the Father God. The primary effect of this phase is a profound split between spirit and nature. Although created by God, Nature is no longer experienced as

23. The Solar Era
The solar era saw the emergence of the ego or conscious mind from the matrix of Nature and Instinct — separating ourselves as subject from the world and God as object. The focus of this era is on ascent from darkness to light, ascent to the sun, heaven and the Father God. It saw the development of the sense of individuality, the conscious ego and the rational mind. Two major events were responsible for this change of focus. One was the invasion of the Goddess-worshipping cultures of the Mediterranean area by tribes imposing a totally different kind of culture and the worship of war-like sky gods. The second was the discovery of writing around 3000 BC. As literacy spread, so the emphasis moved to revelation through the written Word of God inscribed in sacred texts. Shamanic practices were outlawed and replaced by religion. This phase has been ruled throughout by the male psyche and the masculine archetype.

24. Polarisation and the Greek myths
As this evolutionary process strengthened and we drew further and further away from nature, we lost the ancient instinctive sense of participation in a sacred earth and a sacred cosmos. We turned against the matrix out of which we had evolved, attempting to dominate and control it. The hero myths of Babylonia and Greece show a solar hero battling a dragon, a monster or a Minotaur. It could be said that this battle is a battle against the fear of regression into the unconsciousness of nature, fear of falling back into what was imagined as a devouring maw. During this era the warrior king is the cultural hero. Huge empires rise and fall. The glorification of war and conquest and the exaltation of the warrior is a major theme of the solar era — still with us today.

George W. Bush’s “We will accept no outcome except victory” echoes down the centuries, ensuring that hecatombs of young men were sacrificed to the god of war.

25. the Psyche in Conflict
The mythic theme of the solar era is the cosmic battle between Light and Darkness, Good and Evil. Throughout this 4000 year long solar era, the psyche has been in a state of conflict because spirit and nature within us, head and heart, conscious mind and instinctual soul, have been split apart, set in opposition to each other. The rational mind came to be associated with Light; the body and the instincts with Darkness and Evil. Chaotic nature had to be conquered and controlled. Woman was associated with nature, regarded as an inferior creation and a sexual temptation to man. Like nature, her emotions were chaotic; she had to be kept under control. The body was despised. sexuality was sinful. All these beliefs came from the split in the psyche and all of them still influence us today. Look at the influence of solar mythology today on Tony Blair, for example. Look at the oppression of women still prevalent in many parts of the world.

26. Theseus and Minotaur
The danger of this phase of Separation from Nature was a rejection of the world, a splitting of sexuality from spirit and a loss of connection with the Earth.

As Jules and I observed in The Myth of the Goddess, “Nature is no longer experienced as source but as adversary, and darkness is no longer a mode of divine being, as it was in the lunar cycles, but a mode of being devoid of divinity and actively hostile, devouring of light, clarity and order.” (page 298)

For the next four thousand years, nature becomes something to be conquered, controlled and manipulated by human ingenuity, to human advantage. Earth, once alive with spirit, is desouled. Body is disconnected from mind and mind from soul.

The drama of the solar quest for light and enlightenment and victory over darkness is the drama of our own quest for consciousness and our fear of falling back into the darkness of unconsciousness. From the ego’s perspective, the darkness had to be overcome for the light to prevail, a concept utterly different from the earlier time where the darkness was a mystery to be entered into and explored.

27. The Myth of the Fall
As we enter the Christian era, this process intensifies. The Myth of the Fall of Man and the Doctrine of Original Sin that developed out of it have been immensely influential because they both reflect and perpetuate the Phase of Separation. This myth of loss and exile and the belief in the sinfulness of the human race reflects an immense change in human consciousness, an entirely new perception of life. A disastrous emphasis on sin and guilt, a distrust of the body and the fear of God’s punishment take root in the soul. Religions extol celibacy and virginity and instil a fear of sexuality and a rejection of the world. There is a radical shift of focus as Spirit is projected upon a distant deity in the sky and no longer experienced as the invisible ground of the phenomenal world. In the age-old lunar mythology of the earlier phase death always held the promise of rebirth. But now death becomes something deeply feared.

28. Expulsion Masaccio
I believe the roots of our alienation from nature lie in the immense influence on Western civilisation of these two beliefs — the Fall of Man and Original Sin. In the Book of Genesis we find the story of our expulsion from a divine world and our exile to a world of suffering, sin, and death that was brought into being by a woman, Eve, who listened to a serpent and disobeyed the command of God. A virulent misogyny developed out of this myth as well as the belief — imprinted through the influence of St. Augustine in the late fourth century — that the whole human race was mired in original sin that was transmitted through the sexual act and that only some were predestined to be saved. I think we need to pay far more attention to the effects of these beliefs on our culture. The literal interpretation given to this myth effectively demonised woman, the body, and sexuality and made them the target of every kind of negative projection. St. Augustine couldn’t tolerate a woman in his house. Woman’s face, he said, reminded him of Eve. We are still not free of the legacy of these beliefs today. It deeply affected the relationship between men and women and between men and nature.

29. Adam accusing Eve
Possibly because of the many negative beliefs arising from this myth, the patriarchal religions placed the emphasis of their teaching on transcending the world, transcending the body, controlling and subjugating nature, woman and the body. Gradually, through a complex interweaving of religious teaching and scientific beliefs, the mind assumed a position of dominance over the body and man assumed a position of dominance over nature and woman. Once science began to dissociate itself from religion in the sixteenth century, matter lost any residual numinosity which it still retained. Since it was now viewed as ‘dead’ and devoid of spirit it could be rendered subject to man with impunity. Yet the very fascination of science with matter can be seen as a necessary compensation to the former unbalanced emphasis on spirit.

30. Uccello - the fight with the dragon
However, we need to place the story of the Fall and the doctrine of original sin in the wider context of the mythic theme of the whole solar era - the Battle between Light and Darkness, Good and Evil, that was symbolised by the hero’s fight with the dragon. Thousands of images illustrate this battle and it is with us still today in the war on terrorism but it really symbolizes the battle of consciousness against the terror of regression into unconsciousness. If the battle is perpetually projected out into the political sphere, nothing changes within the psyche and we actually run the risk of regression.

31. The Fight with the Dragon modern image
The dragon personifies the power of instinct. This modern picture of the hero and the dragon shows the fragility of the conscious mind in relation to the huge power of instinct. Instinct can never be conquered and subdued because it is the creative power of life itself but certain aspects of it can be transformed as we become conscious of their power over us. The more the conscious ego lost the older sense of participation in a sacred earth and a sacred cosmos, the more we became disconnected from our own deepest instincts. As this process developed, the power of the instinct became an increasing danger as we began to see other people, other groups, other religions, as enemies whom we had to conquer and subjugate, or as an evil we had to eradicate. Whole cultures fell under the spell of this pathology and I stress that this is a pathology. Christianity and Islam copied the ethos of conquest for the greater glory of God with terrible sacrifice of human life. The increasing dissociation between the conscious mind and the realm of what Jung called our primordial soul gave rise to the multiple fragmentations and projections that are at the root of many of the problems that we face today.

To counter this pathology, Jung tried to build a bridge between the conscious mind and the instinctual soul: In his last book, Man and His Symbols, he wrote:

As scientific understanding has grown, so our world has become dehumanized. Man feels himself isolated in the cosmos, because he is no longer involved in nature, and has lost his emotional "unconscious identity" with natural phenomena…No voices now speak to man from stones, plants, and animals, nor does he speak to them believing they can hear. His contact with nature has gone, and with it has gone the profound emotional energy that this symbolic connection supplied.

32. Cyclops (Odilon Redon)
Early in the 20th century the French artist Odilon Redon painted a picture of the Cyclops. Its single eye gazes down on the flower-strewn expanse where a naked woman lies in a brilliantly luminous landscape. To me, the image of the Cyclops reflects the constriction as well as the inflation of the human mind which, ignorant of the vast dimensions of planetary and cosmic life on which it rests and out of which it has evolved, believes itself to be in control of nature and its own nature. It evokes the much-quoted words of Blake —“May God us keep from the single vision and Newton’s sleep.”

Yet the painting communicates a tremendous sadness, the sadness of a one-eyed consciousness that is cut off from its ground, that has no relationship with soul and with nature—personified in this painting by the woman lying on a flower-strewn ground. The rational or literal secular eye stands lonely and supreme, alienated from the landscape of the soul.

33. Christ Before the Judge
In this very powerful painting by Cecil Collins, currently on loan to Winchester Cathedral, we have a graphic image of the Judge who stands for the secular values which dominate our technological culture. The figure of Christ in Collins’ view, stands for the eye of the heart and the neglected lunar experience which carries a deep sense of relationship with the eternal ground.

34. brain hemispheres (internet)
A remarkable book, published last year and called The Master and His Emissary, the Divided Brain and The Making of the Western World, has been written by a psychiatrist called Iain McGilchrist. It is a fascinating and deeply intelligent study of the imbalance or lack of relationship between the right and left hemispheres of the brain and how the left — which should be the executive but not the controller of the right — has gradually usurped the role that belongs to the right hemisphere. This means that we have become virtually cut off or shut out of the deeper levels that the right hemisphere gives us access to — the sense of relationship with the cosmos, and the values arising from empathic relationship with each other and all creation. (see also Jill Bolte Taylor – My stroke of Insight)

Science is not aware that all the knowledge we have gained about the evolution of our species, including the consciousness aspect, might be limited by the perspective imposed by our literal-minded left hemisphere alone, disregarding the more subtle and comprehensive vision of the right. (1) The left hemisphere can actually block off views which conflict with its own established convictions. (2)

Nor does science acknowledge the presence and influence of what Jung called the “root and rhizome of the soul” — all the multi-layered memories of our evolutionary experience that we carry within our cellular memory. This complex patterning of species memory, incrementally expanding and increasing over thousands of millennia has contributed to the evolution of planetary life, the evolution of our species and, finally, the evolution of human consciousness itself. We are the only species on this planet that can speak, write, reflect, discover, create and communicate with each other in words and gestures and give expression to our imagination and our skills in beautiful artefacts, exquisite musical forms and brilliant technological inventions such as the Hubble telescope. How is it possible to believe that this entire creative panorama has no meaning, no purpose?

35. Three Phases in Evolution of Consciousness – stellar consciousness
This diagram shows a third phase in the evolution of consciousness. We need now to bring the lunar and solar aspects of ourselves into union with each other, reuniting our rational mind with our instinctual soul, our left hemisphere with our right hemisphere, bringing into being a new kind of consciousness that I call stellar consciousness.

36. The Sleeping Beauty
This brings me to the fairy-tale of the Sleeping Beauty and the marriage of Prince and Princess. Symbolically the Prince stands for the sun and our rational solar mind. The Sleeping Beauty stands for the moon and our lunar instinctual soul. The Sleeping Beauty carries the neglected feeling values (eros) which are undeveloped or inarticulate in relation to mind (logos), and have, so to speak, lain under a spell for centuries. The solar age saw the repression of these values as many cultures yielded to the powerful drive of the masculine archetype unbalanced by relationship with the feminine. There was no marriage between them. But now the Feminine is returning as we face the effects of four thousand years dominated by the polarising effects of solar mythology. The story says that when the right Prince arrives, the hedge of thorns turns to roses and he is able to pass through it into the castle of the soul and awaken his bride. With this act, the whole court awakens and preparations for the celebration of a marriage can begin. I think this is what is happening now in the ferment of our time, in what is called the “Shift” or the Awakening of the soul of humanity.

37. Cecil Collins, The Eternal Bride
The recovery of the feminine principle may be compared to the excavation of a precious treasure. One of the most important aspects of the Feminine Principle is the soul. Long before the idea of a personal soul took root, the soul was understood as something all-embracing in whose life we lived, through which we were connected, at the deepest level, to each other and to all living things. Ralph Waldo Emerson, writing in 1841, understood this concept of soul that Jung has recovered for us.

We live in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole, the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal One. And this deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the subject and the object, are one. We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole, of which these are shining parts, is the soul.

38. Cecil Collins, “The Voice”
If we could see through the physical forms which appear so fixed and solid to us, we would see billions of patterns of energy interacting with each other. We would see tiny particles of light flowing through every cell of our bodies and merging with a wider field that we call the planet which, in turn, merges with the immeasurable field of the countless billions of galaxies. All is one life, one integrated intelligence. The ancient tradition of cosmic soul says that this great matrix of life, this immeasurable sea of being is conscious and that this Consciousness longs for us to awaken to awareness of itself, not as something beyond us but as something in whose life we live.

39. Light as the Ground of Being
While there are many individuals from many cultures who have experienced it, to end I would like to offer you the words of two people who have experienced the light of this cosmic sea of Being that is the ground of all that we call reality:

For me the universe is alive: I am conscious of a Living Radiance both within and outside of myself. I have gained a new power of perception that was not present before. In every state of being I dwell in a rapturous world of light… that pulsates with life and intelligence. Gopi Krishna, Kundalini Rising, P. 295

Bache page 67 – Dark Night, Early Dawn

I was brought to an encounter with a unified energy field underlying all physical existence. I was confronting an enormous field of blindingly bright, incredibly intense energy...This energy was the single energy that comprised all existence."

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.

40. Cosmos and Robin Baring “The Wave”

"Though these experiences were extraordinary in their own right, the most poignant aspect 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 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." Dark Night, Early Dawn, page 70

41. Robin Baring “Cosmos”
So, to end, I believe that the crisis of our times is not only an ecological and political crisis but a spiritual crisis. The answers we seek cannot come from the limited consciousness which currently rules the world, but could grow from a deeper understanding born of the union of mind and soul, helping us to see that all life is one, that each one of us participates in the life of a cosmic entity of immeasurable dimensions. The urgent need for this psychic balance, this deeper intelligence and insight, this wholeness, could help us to recover a perspective on life that has been increasingly lost. We have come to live without it—without even noticing it has gone—not recognizing the existence of any dimension of reality beyond the parameters set by the human mind. It is a dangerous time because it involves transforming entrenched belief systems and archaic survival habits of behaviour that are rooted in fear and ignorance, as well as the greed and desire for power that are born of these. But it is also an immense opportunity for evolutionary advance, if only we can understand what is happening and why.

Because at the quantum level, we are all connected, when thousands of us begin to change our consciousness, millions are affected. I believe that we can heal the terrible wounds our beliefs have inflicted. We can choose whether to continue in these beliefs or to live and act from a different relationship with life. As we do so, we would begin to align ourselves with the luminous ground of reality. Our minds would serve the deepest longing of our hearts, the deepest wisdom of our soul. We would transmit the light and love flowing from this ground. We would know who we are and why we are here. We would begin to live the Dream of the Cosmos.


The talk and accompanying pictures can be heard and seen on http://www.guildofpastoralpsychology.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=222&Itemid=109
click on Guild Lectures and then Anne Baring

1. Writing represented a shift of tectonic proportions that fissured the integrated nature of…brain cooperation. Writing made the left brain, supported by the incisive cones of the eye and the aggressive right hand, dominant over the right. The triumphant march of literacy that began five thousand years ago conquered right-brain values and with them the Goddess. Patriarchy and misogyny have been the inevitable result…The hand that held the pen also held the sword. (Shlain) Leonard Shlain, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess.

2. The Institute of Noetic Sciences in America has found that we can actually block off views which conflict with our own established convictions. i.e. the left hemisphere can block of the right one.

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