“In the world of Waking Consciousness, the fire of the hearth and of the funeral pyre, as well as the blazing sun door, open to this visionary world, which is beyond all pairs of opposites. For here, since the dreamer and his dream are the same, the subject-object opposition falls: the visions are of his own motivating powers; their personifications are his gods – or, if improperly served, disdained, or disregarded, become his fiends. Furthermore, since the powers of nature in this dreamer, in that dreamer, and in the macrocosm of nature itself, are the same, only differently inflected, the powers personified in a dream are those that move the world. All gods are within: within you – within the world. And it will be according to the inward tensions and resolutions, balances and imbalances, of the individual that his visions will be of either infernal or celestial kind: confused and personal, or enlightening and generic; negative, dark and monstrous (like Dante’s three-headed Satan) or positive and radiant (like his trinity). For the hells, purgatories, and heavens are within, as but modes of experience of the one terror-joy of Dream Consciousness at the burning point of what Goethe called “the becoming and the changing: the living,” through which it is the concern of Reason (Vernunft) “to stive toward the diving.” Here all pairs of opposites coincide, whether of subject and object, the dreamer and his dream, desire and loathing, terror-joy, or the micro- and the macrocosm.” The Masks of God Vol. IV (pp. 649)
All of the gods and all of the demons emanate from a central point along an axis of time – expanding in concentric circles – forming a halo of images – visions as diverse as the plants that grow and insects the crawl and scurry beneath soil chtonic dwellers, as variable as the birds in the sky and the feathers in their stretched wings, as colorful and multiform as the incalculable life which dwells in the darkest depths of the oceans – all generated from the flaming center – the “I” – inflecting the most basic constituents and most primary material of the universe into an infinite array of deities and spirits who inhabit every lying stone and bubbling brook – an infinitude of projected qualities formed within the fiery belly of nature herself – beautiful to behold – enchanting – spellbinding and hypnotic – each a burning star embedded in the vast night sky – each a celestial body suspended in the firmament of the mind’s eye.
“In the context of a traditional mythology, the symbols are presented in socially maintained rites, through which the individual is required to experience or will pretend to have experienced, certain insights, sentiments, and commitments. In what I am calling “creative mythology” on the other hand, this order is reversed: the individual has had an experience of his own – of order, horror, beauty, or even mere exhilaration – which he seeks to communicate through signs; and if his realization has been of a certain depth and import, his communication will have the value and force of living myth – for those, that is to say, who receive and respond to it of themselves, with recognition, uncoerced. ” The Masks of God Vol. IV (pp. 4)
What symbols speak? Symbols of rock and stone – carved by falling rain and warm winds. Symbols of scrub and manzanita twisting upwards – forming bridges between the earth below and the sky above – painted like hieroglyphs by a faceless creator – a self created self creator. Symbols made from deft wings arching and dipping – cutting apart the sky – projecting their shadows below. Symbols of water written with the tides and stored in pools – flowing forth from underground springs, evaporating into ink-like vaporous clouds – condensing – falling – giving life and meaning. Symbols of scampering feet tracking letters across the dirt and sand – telling stories like petroglyphs left upon cave walls – slowly eroding from exposure to the elements – decomposing links to past – harbingers of time.
“Mythology – and therefore civilization – is a poetic, supernormal image, conceived, like poetry, in depth, but susceptible of interpretation on various levels. The shallowest minds see in it the local scenery; the deepest, the foreground of the void; and between are all the stages of the Way from the ethnic to the elementary idea, the local to the universal being, which is Everyman, as he both knows and is afraid to know. For the human mind in its polarity of the male and female modes of experience, in its passages from infancy to adulthood and old age, in its toughness and tenderness, and in its continuing dialogue with the world, is the ultimate mythogenetic zone – the creator and destroyer, the slave and yet the master, of all the gods.” – The Masks of God Vol. I (pp. 472)
Stories are like striated layers of sediment – bands of ochre bending and curving with grace, showing contours along the manifold of time, eroding from exposure to the elements, composed in the most beautiful manner, revealing hidden patterns of deepest being, interfacing the subtle and the gross, imbuing matter with meaning. As the light begins to fade and the sandstone’s golden glow warms and then cools to crimson. I ponder – most historians agree there was an upsurge in number of paintings created that correlated with the arrival of the Spanish. Many of them seem to be pleas, prayers, made as a last attempt, a way of rectifying the real and tangible fear that came with the impending change on a mass societal scale. The way of life was threatened, a way that stretched back to time immemorial. Their intuition spoke to them and they knew – they prayed and performed their rites and ceremonies. If man is a perceptive organ of nature, what was it that was speaking through the fingertips that made these marks? What is speaking through us now and more importantly – have we forgotten how to listen?