Posts Tagged spirit
The Second Retreat from the Natural Self — Patriarchal Culture: One Gains the World in Exact Proportion to Which One Has Relinquished One’s Soul
Ritual Is the Attempt to Control Something Symbolically, Indirectly That One Has Split Off from and Is a Poor Substitute for the Real Potential of At-one-ment with Reality
It is this attempt to control something symbolically, indirectly that is the basis of ritual…. Ritual is a poor substitute for the real potential of identifying with and acting in accord with that reality…. The tragedy is that the indirect attempt pre-empts and thus makes impossible the true relationship and true accord, the at-one-ment, that could otherwise be.
Ritual and matriarchal religion are thus the “act-outs” of our repressed identification with Nature and not a reattunement with Nature as the Goddess-religion advocates would have it. From this perspective, then, ritual is not a way of tapping into a deeper relationship with feeling and Nature, it is an avoidance of real feeling, a running away from Nature, from one’s natural self, from the real, the authentic, the genuine self, from genuine action, from spontaneous and ever-creative being-in-the-world.
The Second Retreat: Patriarchal Culture
Now, patriarchal cultures, along with their patriarchal religions, follow a parallel but different pattern from the matriarchal ones, as discussed. Whereas matriarchal cultures are associated with agricultural lifeways and thus tied to the Earth and to sedentary living, Patriarchal cultures are said to be associated originally with nomadic lifestyles. I say nomadic, but I do not wish to confuse it with the nomadic ways of the forager and hunter-gatherer cultures. Early lifeways were nomadic in the sense of following the food source. They were not nomadic by choice.
However, the nomadic cultures, and the great patriarchies, evolved on the vast plains of Eurasia where the disconnection from the land involved in animal husbandry, in particular sheep herding, gave rise to nomadic warrior lifestyles and a conquering mentality. But there are other reasons why this sort of consciousness arose.
Parallel to the matriarchal cultures splitting off from true connection with Nature as Mother—that is, adopting agriculture and thus controlling, and alternately appeasing, the Nature which they at one time followed, patriarchal cultures entail a splitting off from oneself as Father, as Spirit, and a consequent need to act out and appease those energies. To understand this better, let us back up a little bit.
In hunter-gatherer cultures, we tend to have shamans as religious practitioners. These shamans can often journey in altered states of consciousness, can journey in the cosmos so to speak. Thus, although such people, as all of us, are ordinarily limited in time and space, they have a freedom of spirit — a spiritual freedom — quite unlike anything we know.
Corresponding to this, it is true that some hunter-gatherer societies focus a great deal more on their inner states and on altered realities — their much noted concern with dreams and their dream life is an example. The notable example of this is the Australian aboriginal culture. And this involves a democratization, if you will, of shamanic experience. Everyone dreams, many go on walkabouts, or as in the case of Native American cultures, on vision quests. Many other examples of profound spiritual journeying—often involving hallucinogens—could be given that are available to most if not all members of indigenous cultures.
However, patriarchal cultures tend to be hierarchical and specialized. This means that spiritual journeying is relegated to a select few, a specialized sect of priests. The vast majority of individuals in patriarchal cultures live onerous and oppressive lives that do not allow much in the way of spiritual journeying.
Is it any wonder then that these cultures are nomadic? The usual pattern is that when some inner potential is split off from and repressed—when one disidentifies with it—that one begins acting it out in the external world. So we find that the inner potential for spiritual journeying and growing is acted out in patriarchal cultures in the form of nomadic wandering. The direct relationship with Spirit, with Father, which characterizes the hunter-gatherer, is repressed in patriarchal cultures; and Spirit and Father are projected outside of oneself where one must now seek to enter into a relationship with It.
In later centuries, nomadic wandering became nomadic invading and conquering, and ultimately imperialism. In all of these an inner journey into the self is replaced by a desire to extend one’s ego boundaries outward over greater and greater expanses of territory. The amount of territory gathered outside is equivalent to the amount relinquished inside, for what one doesn’t know inside one fears. And what one fears, one wishes to control and subjugate. So the fears of inner forces motivate the expansion outward; one projects one’s inner “unknowns” onto the vast unknown outside oneself, in the physical world of land and people, of geography and society. “What does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul?” is instead: One gains the world in the exact proportion to that which a man has relinquished his soul. (See Enlightenment Lobotomies – White Color Slavery… in Culture War, Class War)
Thus, in patriarchal cultures there are religions which seek to relate to and appease gods which represent their forgotten and repressed inner potentials of fate, destiny, spiritual growth, and adventure—their inner “fire.” The fire or light that one has dimmed within is sought without; one cannot help but do so. Since one cuts oneself off from one’s core creative and authentic decision-making center one feels oneself in the hands of a whimsical fate that is outside of oneself . . . and that is called Father and God, and is that which one must seek to appease.
Summary, Ritual as Symbolic Obfuscation and Addiction to Control
So the pattern is the same in both matriarchal and patriarchal cultures. It is the same pattern of disidentifying with some inner potential, repressing it, being forced to act it out symbolically in the outside world, projecting it outside of oneself as an external force or power, and then seeking to enter into a symbolic relationship with it wherein one can hope to have some indirect control over it since one has lost one’s direct relationship with it. And the reason for doing all this, in either case, is the same: It is fear, mistrust of the Universe, in either the Universe’s maternal or paternal aspects … or, of course, both.
The patriarchal person is fearful of the spiritual forces within him- or herself. Hence she or he disidentifies with them and projects them outside of him- or herself where they must be related to symbolically. The matriarchal person mistrusts the Natural world and disidentifies with It, and with the physical body which is a part of It, in an attempt to control It. In doing so, these natural forces are projected outside of oneself where they can then only be related to symbolically.
In either case, it is this attempt to control something symbolically, indirectly that is the basis of ritual. In both cases ritual is a poor substitute for the real potential of identifying with and acting in accord with that reality. And in each instance, the tragedy is that the indirect attempt pre-empts and thus makes impossible the true relationship and true accord, the at-one-ment, that could otherwise be.
Continue with Ritual As Shadow, Part Four: Ritual Is Hardly Transformation … In Actuality, We “Die” to Our Real Self and Are Remade Into Something Society Can Use
Return to Ritual As Shadow: Magic, Ritual, and Superstition Occur with the Beginnings of Ego and the Agrarian Desire to Control Nature — the Matriarchal Consciousness
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Rebirthing Rituals, Part One: There Is a Cycle to All Events … The Spiral Dance, Why We Can’t Get No Satisfaction, and Where There Is Real Hope
The Spiral Dance – The Cycle of All Events: Wedded to Rebirthing Rituals, the Inevitability of Disappointment, and Where There is Real Hope
Wedded to Rebirthing Rituals
In turning toward these feelings we embrace, feel, and if we go deeply enough into that, we relive the roots of them and resolve them finally.
If we face these inner forces—we call that feeling them…in this instance, feeling through or reliving one’s birth—we integrate them and heal the underlying trauma, the perinatal trauma.
Or the individual and society can avoid this going within—as depicted in the peace symbol—and can choose instead to act them out, which is the peace symbol upside down—the Satan symbol, the pentagram.
In acting them out, one distracts oneself from the uncomfortable feelings, which though not focused on, are still there. One tries to be “strong” in the face of feelings but one is actually driven and directed by them—they “take over one’s mind.” This is the source of the idea of spirit possession and in general of the idea that a devil or Satan can take over one’s soul.
So in running from our feelings we are captured and enslaved by them, we are forced to act them out in ways we would not otherwise choose which are negative to horrible but in all cases self-sabotaging. Of course war is the most horrible, most self-sabotaging, greatest, and most all-consuming form of such acting-out…the greatest struggle.
Humans are characterized by a particular kind of birth process. It is a coming into being that is traumatic and which is related to our distinction of standing upright and thereby decreasing the pelvic opening as well as suffocating the fetus prior to birth. The fact is that because of this “distinction” we are destined to go through periods of rebirthing purificatory rituals, whether for good or ill. [Footnote 1]
For we are psychologically wedded to reliving that which we could not fully experience at the time because of the overwhelming quality of pain associated with it.
A “Spiral Dance”
These rebirthing rituals we are doomed to repeat, one way or the other. We are going to act out this primal pain—this birth trauma—in an unending cycle of feelings having these components
- Periods of feelings of expansion
- Closedness or entrapment, guilt, and depression
In winning the “war” or having the success or achievement, there begins the same cycle of expansion followed by entrapment. Losing the war…the struggle, the battle…is akin to death, even if there is no death. There is numbness and repression…akin to a kind of “limbo”…before life can begin anew. A reconception is necessary.
The Pattern of Our First Nine Months Imprints Us For Our Entire Human Lives
The reemergence of hope in individuals and societies is biologically equivalent to conception. And following this reconceiving, there is a similar cycle of reemerging strength—akin to the expansion that follows winning. Then there is continuing depression or overarching gloom and helplessness feelings coupled with revenge feelings and blame as individuals and societies stew in the vessel of indecision, inaction, and doubt. This is quite like the closedness and guilt which follows achievement-success-victory. Note, however, that the revenge and blame feelings here are aspects of the BPM II matrix, just as is closedness and guilt.
Can’t Get No Satisfaction
And then the cycle is the same again. Specifically, there is aggression against the oppressor (War and revolution both see the foe as an oppressor, even if one is actually the one who is the aggressor.) What follows upon fighting is release or “death”; and so on around. The “happily ever after” that inspires such battle truly only exists in fantasies and fairy tales. Prosperity and feelings of success are unfortunately doomed, on this physical plane of existence, to be short-lived.
Where There Is Real Hope
It would seem we are fated to never be happy, for long. But progress is possible; herein lies our only real choice in the entire scenario. For we either work through these cycles in some deep psychologically transformative way that helps us deal with and pass beyond the difficult and painful parts of the cycle as well as helps to fade the imprints’ potency in determining our behavior or we are doomed to act them out in the external world in ways that we are blindly unaware are not congruent with the actual facts of our circumstances and are harmful to ourselves and others around us.
We are fated to experience these cycles of birth, and we will either act them out disastrously or we find ways of dealing with them inside of ourselves in some way—and some ways are better than others for doing this—so that we can have some inner distance from these patterns and therefore some conscious ability or choice around our actions when these pushes and pulls arise.
The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of “Reason”
What we absolutely don’t have, yet arrogantly think we do, is the ability—through will or reason alone—to choose light over darkness, to replace these inner veils of distortion with clarity of thought and perception and hence of positive behavior and actions while in the midst of them. Trying to reason with and to obtain truly desired outcomes is about as possible as trying to reason with a lizard and convince it to conform to one’s wishes for its behavior. For good reason: Indeed our rational mind is as split off from the “reptilian brain” inside us within which these imprints circulate and from which they arise as are we from the consciousness of a gila monster.
1. A. Briend, “Fetal Malnutrition: The Price of Upright Posture?” British Medical Journal 2 (1979): 317-319.
To Be Continued with Railing Against the Darkness: The Vanity of Will, The Impotence of Reason, Social Progress Requires Regression, and Healing Is Nothing if Not Messy
Return to Can You Handle Happiness? What to Do – We Get By With a Little Help, from Our Nature … Stand in the Place Where You Are
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Hunger Games: Prenatal Oxygen Hunger and Its Political Imprints – Greed, Oppression, Sycophancy, Class War, Revolution: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 17
Kaleidoscope of Postmodern Life, Part Seventeen: Fetal Malnutrition and Politics: Prenatal Roots of Greed, Sycophancy, Class War, and Revolution
Prenatal Roots of War
In a previous section I mentioned how our human tendency to warring has its roots in the uncomfortable crowdedness we experience in the late stages of gestation—a pain and trauma that stays with us for life and drives us to act it out in trying to push back lines and make more room (womb) for ourselves in many areas of our lives, including politically. I said our psychological state preceding wars, in line with deMause’s work in this area, is akin to feeling stifled and wanting to “breathe free.”
Hunger Games – War and Aggression
So of course our aggressions against others are connected to the long period of difficult immovability in the womb, but we can already see it is related to the reduction of oxygen at that time as well.
Looking into the feelings of latent oxygen panic rooted in fetal oxygen hunger, we see it has many more political implications, even, than war and aggressions toward others over space…over lines and perimeters and rooted in the feelings of being hemmed in—that constellation of “crowded” feelings I’ve previously teased out.
In the “gasping” or oxygen deprivation trauma of late stage gestation, we can’t get enough oxygen, we feel suffocated…suppressed, stifled, repressed, oppressed. It is out of these feelings carried over and restimulated again and again as adults that we create class wars, revolution, and culture wars. For we feel there to be an oppressive force inhibiting our self-expression, keeping us from “breathing freely.”
Hunger Games—Greed and Oppression
But more: On the other side of those panicky feelings of suffocation we are driven to gobbling up more resources than we need—greed. We experienced oxygen poverty in the womb, so poverty and reductions in finances feel stifling and suffocating. It is less desirable to not have money, of course. My point is that this prospect drives us to overreact and build our lives around major act outs of it, as so:
Suppression, Oppression, “Sucking” From
(1) Being politically oppressed, we feel we can’t move freely (the crowded feeling), but, interestingly, we feel we can’t “breathe freely.” We act this out on both sides of class war and revolution: One side always feels this lack because it has roots in the unconscious and cannot be satisfied and so over overcompensates and in doing so “sucks” up all possible resources (oxygen) from those lower on the totem pole…it “suppresses” the “masses”…it “sucks from” the masses.
Liberals hearts may “bleed” but not conservatives. For releasing blood is losing oxygen and conservatives have a prenatal “knowing” that you need every smidgen you can get to survive. You may even go so far as to try to “squeeze blood from a stone” (the aging placenta).
Sycophancy, Conformity, “Sucking Up”
(2) From another side of this discomfort we have a prenatal sycophancy showing itself. Conforming underlings, in a country’s economic array, act out their prenatal oxygen panic by investing all their energy in “sucking up” to those above them … seeking to insure a steady supply of resources (money, oxygen) by sucking from the rich stream (blood stream) of money “circulating” among those on rungs above them on the economic ladder.
Suffocation, Starvation, Being “Sucked” From
(3) And the other component in this political triangle—those poor and working class directly opposed to the greedy forces “sucking up” from the masses—feels this suppression as suffocation, starvation, and stifling unto death. So it wants to “overthrow” or “throw off” the forces weighing down upon and suppressing/suffocating them.
Basically, if you’re not “sucking” resources (oxygen) from below, you are either “sucking up” to those above you or being “sucked from” and wanting to “overthrow” them to “breathe more freely.”
Hunger Games—Freedom and Revolutionaries
Injustice, Inequity, Struggle – Throwing Off
This does not mean that revolutionary forces are act outs of early trauma and not real. It does not mean that oppression does not actually exist; it does not mean that struggles for economic justice are overcompensations. No. It is no more true that these are unreal than that struggles to save the environment are act outs. For we must remember that the prenatal forces drive us to actually manifest conditions that re-create our womb states. And just as we are driven to despoil our air and waters as act outs of our fetal malnutrition, so also our fetal oxygen panic causes us to create situations of dire inequity by pushing unnecessary greedy acts creating gross economic injustice. And these greedy forces are aided in their suppression by their sycophantic underlings, driven by their underlying panic of resource loss. Between the two, they are able to create human societies of economic inequality, suppression, and oppression which mirror the conditions of resource lack in the womb for the majority of folks throughout history and virtually everyone on the planet in these strange days.
Free Speech – Stifled, Inspire, Expire, Express…To Breathe Free
Interesting aspects of this oppression-revolution dynamic rooted in the fetal dynamic is the focus on free speech: The one side wants to suppress expression (expiration—release of air) of inspiration (to inspire—to take in air), thus directly slowing down the masses’ political equivalent of breathing, “stifling” its expression (its ability to “breathe out”). The revolutionary side of this wants the opposite: Folks want freedom of speech. They want to be able to speak freely (breathe freely), to be inspired (take in air or spirit), and to express this uninhibitedly (expire, let air out). These same dynamics apply to freedom of religion as well.
The oppressed masses feel they are deprived, can’t get enough of what they need (oxygen), want to “breathe freely,” and so need to assert self-expression, to expire (express) one’s inspiration freely as part of that “struggle.”
Hunger Games—Sycophancy and Conservatism
Reactionary and Conservative Thinking = Prenatal Conformity – Don’t Move Too Much, Don’t Stand Out, Maybe You’ll Get More (Oxygen)
But the basic dynamic is about resources: One side out of oxygen panic wants to suck up resources from everywhere around and wants to keep those resources from others. And the other side wants to take theirs back. And that third part is the conforming fetus hoping to get more resources from “above”…to “suck up”…by not moving too much, by staying compliant with outside forces, by not being too obvious or “standing out,” and if moving to do so only in ways remembered as safe…strictly prescribed, ritualistic ways.
For our prenatal memory tells us that doing so is the way of getting a little more in the way of resources (oxygen). We experienced that by not struggling, by not moving around too much…and further complicating and constricting the blood flow through the arteries to the placenta (the bank)…more oxygen (money) seemed to flow. Also, by not moving too much, by “conserving” our energy, “holding our breath” as it were, we might be able to survive…that being too “radical” and free risked death.
Hunger Games—Culture War
Oppressors Orchestrate a Panicked Population for Their Profits
One final aspect to this prenatal dynamic acted out politically is the culture war that comes of it: The greedy forces manipulate the latent panic of the masses in order to suck more resources by telling each segment of the masses that another sector of the population is actually the part that is sucking all their resources, stealing all their benefits and money (oxygen). So we have the creation of minorities and scapegoats out of this interplay. But the reason it happens unerringly in societies is because it works so well. And it works so well because the forces of manipulation are orchestrating powerful drives and forces within the masses—tendencies of people born of desperation and panic, which have roots in the earliest months of one’s individual existence.
Next: Hunger Games—Human Rights and Racism
More Mass Manipulation Around Bigotry and Anti-Semitism … Vampires and Blood Libel, Too
In the next section we look more deeply into this manipulation of the masses, this scapegoating of minorities. We see how racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism are themselves constructed out of prenatal pushes and pulls. We find out why we look at others the way we do, so that our errant ideas can be further used against us by the greedy ones. And we stumble upon the underpinnings of some of the most curious of human concoctions of thought—as in the ideas of vampires and blood libel.
Continue with Hunger Games – Vampires and Culture Wars … Fetal Roots of Racism, Bigotry, Anti-Semitism … Blood Libel: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 18
Return to How We Look to the Gods and Prometheus Redux … Building More Nukes and Drilling More Holes – Icarus Keeps Flapping and the Gods Can’t Stop Laughing: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 16
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Apocalypse Emergency: Apocalyptic Wake-Up Call – FULL
Go to Post That Precedes This: Apocalypse – No! Intro: Reversing Babel
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In the things ain’t changed much category.Historically, witches were convicted based up what was said (auricular evidence) not what was seen (visual evidence)…. hmm. thinkin of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Huckabee, Sara Palin, etc. making claims about Dems, the left, Obama (e.g., the Birthers), which though absolutely false become “legitimate” through being repeated (auricular) in spite of any actual (visual) truth to the matter. Palin’s “death panels” is another one. I.e., it don’t have to be true, it just has to be said enough. “The Big Lie” as wielded by Hitler, Stalin, also. I.e., it don’t have to be true, just to be said long enough, loud enough, from the highest rooftops enough. Bush and friends lies about Iraq wmd’s used to get us into the war…. So, Fox “News” can be compared to the Inquisition. (I knew it felt bad.)
(Witchcraft, Birthers, Obama, Palin, Huckabee, The Big Lie, WMDs, Bush)Amplify’d from thebrandeishoot.com
Krause probes Renaissance witchcraft
“‘She confessed and was burned’ was a refrain,” Virginia Krause, an associate professor of French at Brown University, said during her lecture yesterday, titled “Under the Witch’s Spell: Demonology in Renaissance France.”
During the lecture, held in the Mandel Center for the Humanities and sponsored by the Mandel Center for the Humanities, the Romance Studies Department, the History of Ideas Program and the Comparative Literature Program, Krause focused on the intangible evidence that many courts required while prosecuting witches.
Her main focus was on Jean Bodin, the 16th-century French author, who wrote treatises advising the French courts to rely on auricular evidence rather than visual, believing that the auricular was more trustworthy than the visual.
Due to this belief, most witches were prosecuted with their own confessions, obtained after torture. Bodin wrote that a confession “must pass from the mouth of the witch to the ears of the judge.”
Krause asked rhetorically, “What sort of truth must pass from the witch’s mouth to the judge’s ears? Secret crimes? Heresy? Witchcraft’s dark crimes—crimes that cannot be seen in the light of day but only whispered in the darkness?”
Krause explained that there was a set formula of speech, almost like a spell, that all judges had to say when sending an accused witch to be tortured for a confession; Krause said, “All the judges said, ‘Considering that your statements are not constant and that there is sufficient proof to warrant this and so that your speech will not offend the judges, you will be subjected to torture …’ on such and such a date.”
There was also a set formula for confessions, which has led historians to wonder what the accused witch actually said and how much of their testimonies have been honestly preserved.
In order to elicit a confession, Bodin suggested different ploys aside from torture. The main ploy was to send a friend of the accused witch to visit them in jail, where they would converse with the accused until nightfall, at which point they would ask to remain in jail overnight in order to continue their discussions. The court would place spies outside the jail cell to write down everything the witches say, the darkness both hiding them and setting the tone for the things being discussed. Once they had the auricular evidence that the accused was a witch, they would get the witch to confess.
The main question that Krause sought to answer during the lecture, however, was why auricular evidence is preferable to visual evidence. Courts tended to discount visual evidence because it was believed that the devil could confuse one’s vision.
The courts believed that the devil could cause visions in women, making them believe that they had the ability to fly. Krause said that “the eyes of these women are blinded” became a mantra during the Renaissance.
Additionally, Krause said, “Knowledge about some things, such as the sacred, could be gained by the senses such as hearing and touch, not vision.” Moses was the only prophet to see God; all the others merely heard Him.
Bodin, who believed that he was a prophet of God, had personal “proof” that the miraculous manifested itself in sound, not sight. He tells his story, paraphrased by Krause, that “during his 37th year, he became aware of a spirit and he had prophetic dreams. He heard something knocking on his door at 2 or 3 a.m., a time of darkness, but he could see nothing. He began to fear that it was some evil spirit.”
Bodin eventually became convinced that the spirit was not evil, but was in fact a sign that Bodin himself was a divine prophet. He claimed that this spirit communicated with him via touch rather than sound or sight. Bodin wrote, “Since then the spirit always accompanied me, giving a perceptive sign by touching me first on the right ear and then on the left ear.” Krause pointed out that it was significant that, although the spirit was not communicating by sound, it was touching Bodin’s ears.
Although Krause spent the majority of her lecture discussing the importance of speech and hearing during witchcraft trials, her respondent, Professor Govind Sreenivasan (HIST), focused on putting the prosecution of witches into a context that would be easier for modern people to understand.
“It can be related to questions of terrorism—there’s a tendency for the gloves to come off,” said Sreenivasan. “The rules have to be different for witchcraft because it is a very different kind of crime.”
Torture was not used in most criminal cases but, like with terrorism today, witchcraft was something that terrified people and caused them to behave drastically.