World Mythology, Mysticism and Meditation – Part 2
World Mythology, Mysticism and Meditation – Part 2
Interesting parallels also exists between the Bhagavad Gita and the book the Odyssey, which describes the Myth of Odysseus. Both books are contained within a much larger body of Mythology and exist as jewels in the crown with respect to the larger works in which they are embedded. We have already mentioned that the Bhagavad Gita is found within the Indian Mythic Epic called the Mahabharata. So it is in the same way that Odyssey is found within the famous Greek Epic called the Illiad. Also both great works have or have had a most special significance for their respectively Civilizations, i.e. Indian and Greek. In fact, the Illiad and Odyssey may be regarded as the most important texts of Classical Greek literature.
Interesting both the civilizations of ancient India and Greece had strong mystical traditions where the idea of a person’s ultimate identity being God was central. In India, both past and present, this idea of everyone being God is more formally called Advaita Vedanta and is described in ancient texts such a the Upanishads, Brahma Sutra and as already mentioned The Bhagavad Gita. The pursuit of the goal of union with God has always been the main pre-occupation of India’s Holy men known as Saddhus and is also behind the mystical Tantric practices found in India through the ages.
Correspondingly, in ancient Hellenistic civilization we have the Greek Mysteries, where again the central aim was unification with the deity or God. Given this background, therefore in a sense the ancient Myths of the Mahabharata/Bhagavad Gita and the Illiad/Odyssey would have served as a sort of introduction to the mystical beliefs of their respective cultures and the idea of union with God or the notion that Everyone is God.
One further parallel exists between the Bhagavad Gita and the Odyssey which is the allusion to idea that certain substances, i.e. plant extracts, can facilitate states of Union with the divine.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali says that psychic powers are born of past lifetime experience, hallucinogens or meditation, samadhi, samyama.
These sort of substances as sometimes labelled as Entheogenic in that they produce states of closeness to the divine which can not be maintained without constant massive drug intake. Sometimes the expression Psychedelic or ‘mind manifesting’ is used. This is a recurring theme in early religion and also Mythology. Here we’d like to point out the correspondence between the Soma Drinkers of the Bhagavad Gita and the Lotus Eaters mentioned in the Odyssey who dreamed away wasted lives in druggy sleep.
The Bhagavad Gita clearly states that the Soma drinkers as a result of their ingestation attain certain mystical states. Though the Odyssey with regard to the Lotus Eaters describes an island where the Lotus Eaters lose all will power due to the drugs they take, living in a land of dreams.
Odysseus and his men found it very difficult to get off that island but get off it they did, in order to pursue the aim of union with God.
A clue to its meaning is derived when we consider that ancient sanskrit texts discovered in India describes a variety of the Lotus plant as Soma. Soma in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World where Soma was the drug, like marijuana, which was used to make humanity like happy cows, chewing the cud, used as a method of social control.
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We know that the sanskrit word Soma literally means ‘to press out and extract’. So from this we could sensibly presume that at some point people in ancient India were pressing out and extracting something from the Lotus plant in order to make Soma and thus attain its mystical effects. Therefore we can reasonably extrapolate from this the true meaning behind the Lotus Eaters found in the Myth of Odysseus. That here too we are seeing the allusion to the idea that the ingestion of some plant or substance, in this case Lotus, can illicit in the user some sort of mystical experience and perhaps spiritual insight.
Further support for this interpretation comes from the Greek Mysteries and in particular the Eleusian Mysteries which took place at a sacred spot near ancient Athens where the participants drank a concoction called Kykeon which was key to producing a state of mystical union with God. Also the very ancient Sumerian Myth called Gilgamesh, which is probably the oldest recorded story know to humankind, makes mention of a ‘plant of immortality’, which can be interpreted in the same way as Soma and Lotus.
It is known that Homer, the Greek sage who wrote the Illiad and Odyssey was influenced by and derived of some of his storyline from the myth of Gilgamesh. It is also highly probably that Homer would have know of the Eleusian Mysteries and may even have been a participant as many of the cogniscenti of his time and locale were. So this adds further support to a Psychedelic interpretation of the Lotus Eaters encountered by Odysseus on his Mythic journey.
This connection between Mythology and Psychedelia is also apparent in modern Myths such as the Matrix movie and the Dune Trilogy. In Matrix the hero’s journey begins with the ingestion of a pill which allows him to ‘awaken’ from the illusion of the Matrix. In the Dune Trilogy a substance called Spice produces mystical states in people and gives users immortality and the power of prophecy.
Above, the dark side is propagandising the drug path.
Hallucinogens are dangerous, giving psychic experience before trauma, sticky trauma held inside the body, has been removed, rather like the glass half empty, glass half full paradigm.
After Trauma and Energy Blockages have been easily removed by the Energy Enhancement Meditation Course process, there is no need to take drugs because psychic powers naturally appear by themselves.
Trauma always shows the evil negative, glass half full, side of existence.
Hindu culture says that for that reason drugs are not the true path and are never enjoined although these drugs are used in Hindu dark side cults.
Instead the path of the side of Light always starts with Meditation, grounding the trauma, powering up with connection to infinite spriritual energy, accessing past life memories and psychic talents, integrating the mind, Nirbija Samadhi, Samyama, becoming enlightened – naturally.
This is the Path of Jesus Christ.
This is the Path of the Buddha.
This is the Path of Energy Enhancement.
TO UP YOUR GAME IS PREPARATION FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST ABSOLUTE EVIL..
Mythology: Freud, Nietzsche and Jung
In modern times, this idea that stories about Mythological Quest are really coded allegories representing a person’s evolution and journey towards some sort of existential goal, was initially best elaborated upon by the renowned explorer of human psychology Carl Gustav Jung. His one time friend and mentor the equally well known Sigmund Freud, also explored the themes of Mythology in relation to the human mind and behaviour.
However it was Jung who saw Myths as representing a spiritual and transcendent dimension. During the course of Jung’s life, he was always something of a mystic. Later on he became very interested in Gnosticism and other ancient mystical ideas. His mystical leanings were captured in his notion of a ‘Collective Consciousness’, which is a common pool of memories and archetypes or universal themes, shared by all human beings. His idea was that this Collective Consciousness was normally occluded during normal wakefulness. But also that through intuition and in our dreams, we could access this deeper knowledge. At various stages of his life he was not totally sure about the basis for this Collective Consciousness, vacillating variously between a biological and cultural interpretation.
His investigation of the Shadow side of our consciousness was an investigation of the subpersonality sabotage of the consciousness, the will, our life path our path of the Soul.
As we reduce the evil subpersonalities we become One.
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“You and I have passed through many births, Arjuna. You have forgotten, but I remember them all.”- Krishna, the Soul, Bhagavad Gita
Therefore supposing that the knowledge of the Collective Consciousness was something either transmitted in our Genetic DNA or else culturally i.e. through symbols, language or ritual. However he eventually settled on a mystical interpretation seeing the Collective Consciousness as something transcending biology, culture and matter.
In this way Jungian Psychology intersects with Religious and Mystical notions that somehow we need to be all One, together with the closely related idea that God is One and existing within us individually yet at the same time undivided and indivisible. A shared divine essence at the heart of the being of everywoman and everyman in a way that is completely analogous to and convergent with the Jungian notion of the Collective Consciousness. Later on Jung’s idea of a Collective Consciousness and the Shadow would be taken up by various psycho-analytical schools which called themselves Transpersonal.
Mythology: Joseph Campbell and the Mono-Myth
Another related thread in the development of our modern understanding of Mythology has been the work of the scholar and great popularizer of Myth Joseph Campbell. Partly influenced by the ideas of Jung, Joseph Campbell synthesized a concept know as the Monomyth which he described in his influential work ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’. Essentially what he did, was to survey a vast array of World Mythology from many of the major ancient cultures and also indigenous peoples of this planet, including well known Myths such as Odysseus and the Grail Legends. As a result of this study he identified certain themes and central storylines which occurred in these Myths time and again. It is this distilled recurring story that he called the Monomyth. It is as if a common template was being used to produce most of the World’s great myths, even though there would be various variations in the main storyline and differences in their details or specifics.
This Monomyth is therefore a generalization of the Mythological quest and involved a main character, the Mythic Quest Hero, whose purpose was to realize some transcendent or spiritual goal. So even though there is a huge variety among all the different stories about Mythological Quest from all the cultures of the World; what the concept of the monomyth is saying is that there is a universal story underlying all these different Myths. What we have then is the distillation of the central and recurring underlying narrative that seems common to most of the Hero Quest Myths of the world.
So in a sense these tales are really about the same character in different guises, inhabiting various contexts and epochs. But all the while playing out the same drama and encountering recurring situations and circumstances. Hence ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’. The title of his other great work, the three volume ‘Masks of God’, also alludes to idea of Myth as religious and mystical allegory, which is one of the main idea behind his writings. This religious aspect of Campbell’s interpretation of the meaning of the Hero Quest Myth is further highlighted by his use of the Mono-Myth concept to explain the lives or experiences of some of the founders of Religion such as Jesus Christ, Buddha, Moses and Muhammad when he was interviewed at length over the course of the TV series ‘The Power of Myth’. It was his assertion that their respective personal life journeys and formative episodes were really expressions of the Mono-Myth and best understood in this light.
A Basic Outline of the Mono-Myth
The Mono-Myth is the idea that there exists a common underlying storyline behind many of the Hero Quest Myths found various cultures and times from around the world. The Mono-Myth can be depicted as a diagram where the hero’s journey is mapped out on a circle which is meant to convey the idea that the mythological quest is a recurring undertaking(See Figure below). That is it is a repeating process that happens periodically over the course of succeeding generations or epochs. It is as if it is a necessary quest that is essential for the maintenance of the life of a culture and also perhaps its progress. This cyclical aspect of the Hero Quest Myth implies that every so often in the course of the history of a civilization, fictional or real, a person or group of people will embark on the Mythological Hero Quest in order to find some spiritual or transcendental prize that is necessary for the life of the culture to carry on and thrive.
Put another way, the Myth Cycle and cyclical nature of the Mono-Myth is really saying that Camelot will recurrently enter into phases of malady and disarray. And when this dark periods occur then this necessitates the Holy Grail to be repeated sought, found and brought back to Camelot in order to remedy the situation.
Seen in this light we can grasp an important aspect of Mythology and the Hero Quest. For not only are they tales serving as allegories for a person’s journey towards Enlightenment and God but they are also about the spiritual renewal of societies and perhaps entire civilizations.
In this way the story of the Mythic Quest Hero takes place as a part of a wider drama involving the Hero’s societal context and special circumstances he or she finds himself or herself in. And the Hero Quest becomes within this wider context not merely a tale of personal redemption or enlightenment but also something undertaken in order to save a world from calamity and disaster and/or to spiritually revive and culturally revitalize a society. In the words of Joseph Campbell, ‘If we could dredge up something forgotten not only by ourselves but by our whole generation or our entire civilization, we should become the boon-bringer, the culture hero of the days – a personage of not only local but World historical moment’. So to repeat, the concept of the Myth Cycle inherent to the idea of the Mono-Myth suggests that the process of Mythic Quest is a recurring undertaking which is not only a personal journey of spiritual discovery but also one which has implications for the wider context, i.e. society, from which the Mythic Hero emerges.
This diagram shows the basic outline of the Myth Cycle and which was a concept formulated by the great scholar of World Mythology, Joseph Campbell. It was first introduced in his influential work ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’. It represents the various stages of the Mythic processes described by Campbell’s idea of the Mono-Myth, which captures the recurring and essential underlying storyline that is common to many of the Worlds Hero Quest Myths.
It is important to point out at this stage that this Myth Cycle and MonoMyth idea act as a sort of complete template from which Mythological Hero Quest stories may be created, as in the case of the Star wars discussed early. Also vice versa, existing Hero Quest Myths found in the ancient cultures of the world may also be mapped to this MonoMyth template and corresponding stages or features identified. However it will not always be the case that a complete mapping can be made. That is, though just about all the worlds Hero Quest Myths are made up of central elements contained in the MonoMyth, not all these myths will necessarily contain all the themes and stages outlined in the Mono-Myth. And in turn various Myths may contain unusual elements or themes that don’t quite fit in neatly with the Mono-Myth template. Yet the Mono-Myth can still be a useful guide for understanding the key aspects or motifs of the Worlds Hero Quest Myths. With these qualifications in place we’ll summarize the different stages of the Mono-Myth.
The Mono-Myth as represented by the Myth Cycle starts with things in a state of equilibrium or place of peace and this is represented by the topmost point of our myth cycle diagram.
The Mythic Hero and adventurer is usually to be found in a state of relative youthfulness, inexperience and perhaps one of naivity – he does not believe people and organisations can be bad, he does not believe Myth is real, he has, “nothing to hide”.
The setting here may be the homestead, perhaps a village, farm or palace. But then something happens which upsets this equilibrium. For instance a princess may be abducted or some precious item may be stolen. Buddha saw an old man, dying, for the first time in his life. Christ whipped the Banksters out of the Temple.
Another example would be that perhaps the society or home in which the hero lives falls into disarray for some reason such as a sudden of death of some person, or else a natural disaster.
Perhaps he understands that Only Meditation can take him to the goal he seeks?
After this perturbation occurs then the goal of the mythological quest is communicated to the Hero to be by a messenger perhaps in the guise of a wise old man or some Oracle.
“The senses are higher than the body, the mind higher than the senses; above the mind is the intellect, and above the intellect is the Atman. Thus, knowing that which is supreme, let the Atman rule the ego. Use your mighty arms to slay the fierce enemy that is selfish desire.”- Krishna, the Soul, Bhagavad Gita
Once this goal is understood the quest is taken up by the hero.
This goal may come in the form of a princess or some other beautiful woman who needs to be rescued or found. Or else some precious item such as a holy grail or perhaps a magic sword needs to be recovered that will restore things to the previous equilibrium and the tranquil way things were before the upheaval. This stage is labelled the ‘Call to adventure’.
So events transpire that cause the hero or heroine to leave his or her natural context and embark on a perilous journey in search of some goal. Once the hero is determined to pursue his goal then he is said to be crossing over the ‘Threshold of adventure’. This step may involve defeating the ‘Guardians of the threshold. These obstacles initially facing the Mythological Hero may be internal, i.e. self doubt or fear of the unknown. They may come in the form of friends or family members who try to persuade against pursuing the quest. Or else they can be physical adversaries. Once this threshold is crossed then the mythic adventurer is at the start of his journey.
Having crossed over the threshold of adventure the quest begins in earnest. The hero enters into another world quite different from whence he come. He enters into the realm of the mythic quest and somewhere within it lies his sought after prize. This ‘other world’ may be represented in the myth as a Labyrinth, a Cave, a Dark forest, a Sea Voyage or some other environment that is far removed from the hero’s natural context. In this alien land the Mythic Hero will encounter all sorts of trials, obstacles, tribulations and challenges.
All sorts of adversaries will confront our intrepid seeker coming in the form of strange humans or weird beasts. A necessary part of the journey is that the hero must finds ways of somehow overcoming them, perhaps winning them over or else destroying them. Also along the way friends and helpers will be encountered who may offer guidance or provide the hero with useful tools and magical talismans. Some of these characters may even join up with the hero and become travelling companions helping our central character to complete his or her journey of mythological quest. As the journey progresses and the challenges are met, then all the while the hero becomes more experienced, grows in knowledge and develops special abilities. This prepares the hero for one last struggle before the ultimate prize is reached.
This final conflict may come in the form of a Dragon, a Master Sorcerer or some other potent adversary.
After a great battle or else through a some cunning trick that the hero employs, perhaps taking advantage of knowledge of the enemy’s weak spot, gained during the quest, then this last adversary is defeated. After this the prize is attained, i.e. the princess is saved or the holy grail found. This is represented by the bottom most point of the circle on our myth cycle diagram. Often Myths will make allusions to the transcendental or spiritual nature of this final goal pointing towards some sort of mystical interpretation of the Mythic Quest. The Hero is somehow transfigured or in some other way illuminated. After achieving the final prize the hero has become a different person having undergone a profound transformation.
THE WORLD TREE, YGGDRASIL, SPRINGING FROM THE NUCLEAR ALCHEMICAL VITRIOL CENTER OF THE EARTH – A FIRM FOUNDATION FOR THE TOWER OF THE ANTAHKARANA THROUGH THE ASTRAL PLANE CHAKRAS ABOVE THE HEAD.
THERE IS ODIN, HANGING FROM THE BRANCHES – AS CHRIST ON THE CROSS – IN SAMADHI FOR NINE DAYS IN THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE – BECOMING ENLIGHTENED.
ODIN LOST ONE EYE..
Christ himself told us, “When your two eyes become one, your body will be filled with light.”
Odin is the Norse god of warfare, poetry and magic. He gave up an eye for all the knowledge in the world and hung on a tree like the antahkarana cross for nine days to learn the magic runes to manipulate the world, and fought a giant – energy blockage – for the Mead of Poetry so he could pass on his knowledge.
He is the father of Thor.
In stanza 34 of the poem Hávamál, Odin describes how he once sacrificed himself to himself by hanging on a tree – like hanging on the antahkarana cross with the astral chakras above the head – which ends in higher Initiations of Illumination – symbolising the sacrifice of the Selfish Competitive Ego in Samadhi.
The Stanza 138; reads:
I know that I hung on a windy tree
nine long nights,
wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows
from where its roots run.
“No bread did they give me
nor drink from a horn,
downwards I peered,
I took up the runes,
screaming I took them,
then I fell back from there”.
So the hero having achieved his goal, then has to bring his prize back from the perilous realm of adventure and this involves a process of escape where a few more obstacles may present themselves. After overcoming these last challenges the hero crosses another threshold that separates the realm of the quest from the more mundane reality from which the hero emerged at the start of the tale. After this we arrive at the penultimate stage of the myth cycle which is called ‘The Return journey’. It involves a triumphant homeward course to the ending of the story and the last stage of the Myth Cycle.
Here the initial equilibrium is restored, the hero’s world is restored to its previous tranquil state and Mythological Quest has served its purpose. His or her society has been saved or otherwise restored, the Holy Grail has been brought back to Camelot. So in the end we arrive at the point in the circle of our Myth Cycle diagram which also represents the beginning of the cycle. This represents the fact that this happy ending and harmonious state of affairs is only transitory. That is at some point in the future, perhaps many generations on, the tranquility will be perturbed and the Myth Cycle will begin all over again.
So in abbreviated form this is the essence of the Myth Cycle that is described by the concept of the Mono-Myth. It is a stereotypical sequence of events and actions that seem to be recurring themes in many of the Worlds great Hero Quest Myths. And with their allusions to the transcendent and spiritual, Hero Quest myths are also allegories pointing towards hidden metaphysical meanings. Without this important and key ingredient then Hero Quest Myths would be nothing much more than very elaborate adventure tales. However it is this added component, which may involve experiences of the numinous, encounters with gods, the divine or notions of eternal life, that gives these Hero Quest Myths their quite distinctive character.
So for instance in many renderings of the Holy Grail myths from Medieval Europe, the Grail is not some physical object but rather a rarefied state of being that is achieved by certain chosen knights who are endowed with certain virtues. In one version of the grail myth at the end the knight Galahad is lifted up in into Heaven. In this way the grail is used as a metaphor for spiritual perfection.
The Holy Grail is the cup Jesus Christ used to give his blood to his disciples at the Last Supper.
The Cup is the empty mind, the crown chakra into which falls the energy of the Soul, the blood of Christ.
It is the same blood, symbolised by wine taken at the Mass.
It is the sword passed on the the Emperor in, “The Last Samurai”
It says, “You are of the blood of Christ” “You are the Son of the Father” “You are the Son of Man”
It says, “take up the burden”
These allusions to the transcendent and mystical are also found in the contemporary Modern Myths. For instance at the end of the third installment of the Star Wars Myth called ‘Revenge of the Jedi’, some of the main characters who had died earlier return as immortal beings.
In the Lord of the Rings story, the main character Frodo Baggins goes off to live with the elves and earns immortality for himself. In both the Dune trilogy and the Matrix myths, the central characters of the two tales Paul Atreides and Neo respectively, both become Messianic figures with superhuman powers.