Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Temperance, your guide through the belly of the whale. . .

The tagline for Disney's 1979 The Black Hole is "a journey that begins where everything ends!" which naturally tickles me into thinking about the recent pirate movie which had this tagline "at the end of the world, the adventure begins."  What is this adventure?  Dante took the same trip Easter weekend in the year 1300.

This is what is known as the "night sea journey".  The Odyssey is one such example.  The Divine Comedy is another.  Campbell relates in his definitive Hero WATF that the hero "is swallowed into the unknown, and would appear to have died."  The hero travels to the underworld, into the belly of the whale which is a metaphor of rebirth representing the worldwide womb.  Recall that Dante was invoked at the beginning of The Black Hole and then also at the end.  After they go into the black hole, they travel to hell and then are led by an angel to heaven.  Before this though, while the ship initially travels into the black hole, the camera travels into the Dr.'s eye. Interesting.

I'd like to introduce you to Iris (she is pictured above), the goddess of rainbows, and the messenger of the gods who dressed in raindrops travels between heaven and earth fleetly on her rainbow.  She appears on the card of temperance in The Mythic Tarot.  She is our guide to the underworld, because, she is our anima.
anima |ˈanəmə|
noun Psychology
Jung's term for the feminine part of a man's personality Often contrasted with animus (sense 3).
the part of the psyche that is directed inward, and is in touch with the subconscious. Often contrasted with persona .
ORIGIN 1920s: from Latin, literally 'mind, soul.'

animus |ˈanəməs|
1 hostility or ill feeling : the author's animus toward her.
2 motivation to do something : the reformist animus came from within the Party.
3 Psychology Jung's term for the masculine part of a woman's personality. Often contrasted with anima .
ORIGIN early 19th cent.: from Latin, 'spirit, mind.'

persona |pərˈsōnə|
noun ( pl. -sonas or -sonae |-ˈsōnē|)
the aspect of someone's character that is presented to or perceived by others : her public persona. In psychology, often contrasted with anima .
a role or character adopted by an author or an actor.
ORIGIN early 20th cent.: Latin, literally 'mask, character played by an actor.'

If the Hierophant was the educator who prepares the hero for the journey into the outer world, Temperance can be seen as the soul guide for the journey through the night.  .  .  [T]he soul guide leads us out of our sins by letting us find our center (what is authentic) (151).

But here, in the depth of the night, dwells a very special shadow that we encounter time and again in the course of our lives.  It is our unconscious opposite sexuality, which Jung called the anima or animus.  Both always have, like all inner images, two sides: A light [The Star] and a dark one [The Moon] (163).

"In any case, it is the message of many myths that it is not the loner who reaches the goals, but only the hero who lets himself or herself be led by the soul guide of the opposite sex (165)."

"one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious (167)."
(above quotes from):
Hajo Banzhaf,
Tarot and the Journey of the Hero (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1976).

"Here we meet the ancient underworld goddess Hecate, ruler of the moon, magic and enchantment (72)."  

.  .  .  Hecate, the moon-goddess is an image of the mysterious watery depths of the unconscious.  .  .  Here, in the card of the Moon, we find in the image of Hecate an experience of the great collective sea of the unconscious from which not only the individual but the whole of life has emerged.  Hecate is more than a portrayal of personal depths.  She embodies the feminine principle in life itself, and the three faces and three lunar phases reflect her multifaceted power over heaven, earth, and underworld (73).

.  .  . But the dark waters of the collective unconscious contain both negative and positive, and it is sometimes hard to distinguish its shifting movements from madness and delusion.  It can be a frightening, anxiety-provoking world, for living in the the realm over which Hecate presides means living without knowledge and clarity.  .  .  We have nothing but the dream-world and the Star of Hope to guide us, for this image of the feminine is not a personal one like that of the High Priestess.  It is vague and elusive and impersonal, embodying itself as shifting moods and confusion.  Hecate is never really graspable, for she is a goddess of magic, and initiates the Fool into a world greater than himself, that primal water out of which all life comes [emphasis mine] (74).
~from The Mythic Tarot by Juliet Sharman-Burke & Liz Greene. Fireside, NY: 1986.

They tracked the movement of 28 stars circling the centre of the Milky Way, using two telescopes in Chile.
The black hole, said to be 27,000 light years from Earth, is four million times bigger than the Sun, according to the paper in The Astrophysical Journal.
Black holes are objects whose gravity is so great that nothing - including light - can escape them.
According to Dr Robert Massey, of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), the results suggest that galaxies form around giant black holes in the way that a pearl forms around grit.
'The black pearl'
Dr Massey said: "Although we think of black holes as somehow threatening, in the sense that if you get too close to one you are in trouble, they may have had a role in helping galaxies to form - not just our own, but all galaxies. ~BBC

.  .  .  the card of Hecate, the moon-goddess augurs a period of confusion, fluctuation and uncertainty.  We are in the grip of the unconscious and can do nothing but wait and cling to the elusive images of dreams and the vague sense of hope and faith.  Thus the Fool awaits his rebirth in the waters of a greater womb, dimly aware that his journey of personal development is only a small fragment of a vast unknowable life which spans millennia and which remains eternally fertile yet eternally unformed (74).  ~The Mythic Tarot
However, the work has still not been completed.  Although the monster has been overcome, and the imprisoned soul freed, the hero still has the difficult return ahead.  He or she must find the way out and should not lose the way in the labyrinth of the underworld.  Insidious dangers lurk on this return route and become traps for great failed heroes (192).

As long as the hero is fascinated by the light side of his anima, the star woman, he will also remain enslaved to her dark aspect.  This dark aspect has pushed itself in front of the sun here as the moon.  Only when the hero recognizes that the actual goal, the sun (as a symbol of the self), lies behind this darkness, can he escape from the labyrinth, or the enchanted woods (197).
The guide of souls can also be understood as the power to maintain the proper and necessary relationship of tension between various counterpoles:  masculine and feminine, action and inaction, courage and discouragement, euphoria and depression, but above all, between moderation and immoderation.  The journey through the night, diving into the depths of the unconscious, has led the hero to an enormous expansion of consciousness.  The danger of losing everything at the last moment through a greedy maneuver by the ego, through betrayal or megalomania, is great (202).   ~Tarot and the Journey of the Hero


M. C. Eschaton said...

"Dante took the same trip Easter weekend in the year 1300."

You know, I've never actually read that story, but I'm going to have to now that you pointed that out!

In 2006, I went through a "dark night of the soul" (the first of two I've had so far), which lasted for 3 days and finally ended on Easter Sunday. I didn't even realize what day it was, because I was amazed that I was still alive...and when I woke up after finally getting some sleep, I saw the chickens in my backyard shapeshifting into rabbits, and the grass and leaves looked just like plastic easter basket grass! Colors were more beautiful, and...well, you'd just have to read the whole lengthy mess.

But I'm going to finish reading this post, since I had to blurt that out after barely reading the first paragraph. lol

M. C. Eschaton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.