This past summer, Morpheus Ravenna delivered the keynote speech at the Many Gods West polytheist conference. Her speech was entitled, "Deep Polytheism: On the Agency and Sovereignty of the Gods". It was later published at polytheist.com, and I encourage you to read it in its entirety. I’ve been meaning for some time to write a response to Morpheus’ speech, for a couple of reasons. First, I am always interested in the intersection of Jungian psychology and polytheism. In fact, it was the pairing of these ideas in Margot Adler's 1979 Drawing Down the Moon that drew me to Paganism in the first place. Second, I think Morpheus is one of the most interesting polytheist writers out there, and I am often surprised at how much of what she writes I agree with. Her keynote speech was no exception....
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I have heard hard polytheists come up with all sorts of words to distinguish their gods from Jungian archetypes. The gods, they say, are "real", "literal", "individual", "distinct", and "separate"; they are "persons", "beings", "entities", or "agents". The archetypes, it is implied, are none of these things....
"In Hunab Ku, you'll find seventy-seven images of home-multiple ways to view or earth and ourselves. These images, like the Hunab Ku itself, measure and move us and encourage us to embark upon our own sacred journey. The Hunab Ku lies at the very center of these images, reminding us to balance our intentions, to center our understandings, and to become more conscious of what ancient wisdom continues to teach all of us today." -- From Hunab Ku: 77 Sacred Symbols for Balancing Body and Spirit
Hunab Ku is an ancient Mayan symbol that represents the joining of opposites. Hunab means "one state of being" and Ku means "God". Masculine and feminine, analytical and intuitive, objective and subjective, yang and yin, conscious and unconscious, external and internal-the Hunab Ku speaks to the abyss between opposing forces and, in fact, serves as a bridge between them. The archetype of the Hunab Ku is the "space between" that reflects oneness with God and the unity of all things.
The Mayans constructed several detailed calendars and these calendars reflected cycles of the Earth and humanity itself. After each cycle of 5,125 years, the "universe takes a deep breath and begins again", and according to the Maya Long Count Calendar, humanity is posed on the edge of a great unfolding of balance and understanding. Many have called this the Age of Aquarius, but the Mayans called it the Age of Itza-Age of Consciousness. Some interpretations have set the winter solstice of 2012 as the time marking a gateway to the galaxies where Hunab Ku-the great mover-will pulse and fill us all with intelligent energy.
Authors Karen Speerstra and Joel Speerstra have presented 77 sacred symbols that create an interactive system for learning, healing, and meditation. These 77 symbols are archetypes that are universal, arising from the collective unconscious. As visual metaphors, the symbols reflect, like mirrors, the patterns that are deeply embedded in each one of us. These archetypes bypass the rational mind, arrive on the wings of synchronicity, and invite us to journey inward. Archetypal symbols like those presented in Hunab Ku can explode us into different dimensions of understanding, restoring balance, energizing creativity, and promoting healing if we but allow them entrance.
In the book, the 77 archetypal images are organized into groups of seven color palettes, each reflecting the seven chakras. Eleven archetypal symbols are associated with each chakra, depicting the energetic pattern of the image as it relates to the seven energy vortices and their corresponding issues, gifts, and challenges. The lower chakras--represented by red, orange, and yellow-connect to the physical side of life. The upper chakras-represented by blue, indigo, and violet-connect us to the spiritual side of life. In the center likes a field of green which connects to both the heart chakra and the Hunab Ku. This area marks our central union with one another and joins the images of the body and the spirit.
There are several ways Hunab Ku can be read:
* Conventionally, from beginning to end, as a mini ancient art history tour
* One color group of eleven images at a time
* As an oracle where you ask a powerful open-ended question and then turn to a random page
* Roll dice and generate random numbers for different types of intuitive readings
* Use a pendulum to dowse the Hunab Ku symbol for numbers/images that speak to your questions
Hunab Ku is an unconventional book that serves as a spiraling labyrinth of archetypal consciousness. The physical images span from Red 1 Great Bear (Solitude) to Green 39 Hunab Ku (Lover). The spiritual images span from Green 39 Hunab Ku (Relationships) to Violet 1 Unicorn (Unity). So one could move down a path towards the center (39) and then move back out towards the world again by passing through numbers 38 through 1.
Here are a few symbols from the book:
Wise Old One (Rest)
Double Spiral (Infinity)
For each symbol there is a re-drawn color plate of a petroglyph, artifact, figurine, carving, wall mural, etc. These archetypes are from diverse areas such as the Americas, Africa, British Isles, Babylon, India and beyond. For example, Under Mystic (Violet 8), there is a picture of a stone labyrinth (1200 CE) from Chartres, France. For the Serpent (Red 7), there is a picture of the Great Serpent Mound (c. 1000 BCE) from Ohio, U.S.A.
For me, one of the most fascinating elements of this 330-page book is the symbol readings in the back. Each of these readings is comprehensive, combining a series of archetypes for an incredibly accurate and insightful reading. There's an Insight Reading, Work Reading, Rainbow Reading, Courage Reading, and The Bard: Telling Your Story. The authors provide easy to read charts if you want to generate numbers by throwing dice or by assigning number values to the letters of your name, for example.
Frankly, I am amazed at the depth of this book. It "speaks" profoundly on so many levels.
"Jacob's Ladder" by William Blake
In my last post, I discussed dreamwork as a form of Jungian Pagan spiritual practice. In this post, I want to offer some practical advice for turning dreaming into a spiritual practice. The following comes from Anthony Stevens' Private Myths: Dreams and Dreaming and Robert Johnson's Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Inner Growth.
I've been fascinated with Archetypes for well over a decade. It's one reason I blog on the topic (along with Symbols) here at PaganSquare.
Turns out that Caroline Myss, a modern pioneer on Archetypes is out with a new book on the topic (that's coming under fire on Amazon from seasoned fans of her work) called Archetypes: Who Are You?. I guess it's a watered down version of Sacred Contracts that reads like a commercial tie-in....
Symbols are motifs, letters, numbers, figures and characters that represent something else.
Ultimately, symbols are short-cuts. Like the tip of the funnel, they lead to something wider and deeper. But the entrance to that "biggerness" lies at the point of symbol....