Literalisation

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literalisation

James Hillman says that ultimately there is only one sin, which he calls ‘literalisation’. Sin taken in its original meaning of ‘to miss the mark’. There are many layers and meanings to the notion of literalisation. One example is when we are open only to the literal meanings of events, ideas, myths or stories. Or fixate on their functional implications and applications, always turning them into allegories. Literalisation is a failure to grasp or acknowledge how poetic language more precisely captures inner experience than scientific formulation. Not grasping how metaphor has the power ‘to transfer us’ from one experiential reality to another. Ultimately, literalisation points […]

Overworld

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overworld

The overworld resembles what is called ‘heaven’ in many traditions. It is the place where beings such as gods, angels, spirits and holy ancestors dwell. In shamanism, the shaman’s soul leaves her body in a state of trance and she travels to either the underworld or the overworld. Usually for the purpose of healing others. In contrast to the underworld, the overworld is a place of brilliant light, ‘high up’, light as a feather, transcendent and spiritual. Many traditions posit these ‘peak experiences’ as the goal, including humanistic psychologies and new-age spiritual traditions. In contrast, the tradition that became modern depth psychology, including Neo-Platonism and […]

Underworld

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underworld

In Greek Mythology, the underworld is called Hades, as is the god who reigns there. The underworld is the place where the souls of the dead go. In Shamanism, the shaman’s soul leaves her body in a state of trance and she travels to either the underworld or the overworld. Usually for the purpose of healing others. In contrast to the overworld, the underworld is dark, low, turbulent, difficult to navigate and emotionally ‘heavy’. It is said to be very difficult to travel to the underworld and impossible to return, once there. In most traditions there is usually a very dangerous river one has to […]

The artful lovemaking of darkness and light

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Lovemaking darkness and light

‘Some say that all gods and all living creatures originated in the stream of Oceanus which girdles the world, and that Tethys was the mother of all of his children. But the Orphics say that black-winged Night, a goddess of whom even Zeus stands in awe, was courted by the Wind and laid a silver egg in the womb of Darkness; and that Eros was hatched from this egg and set the Universe in motion.’ – Robert Graves, from The Greek Myths The one and the many What are creation myths if not stories and patterns for the rebirth of soul? That our consensus culture utterly […]