God, suffering and evolution

6:27am50%
30.01.18 ~ 15/6

For whatever reason, I feel meh, today and yesterday. It may be due to coming off grains, one of the most insidious drugs we are addicted to. I’m back at Mum’s for a couple of weeks before I move to Darra, and it may be due to that re-entry problem: my life is settling down, and the prospect of doing something wit it is quite daunting, compared with the liminal space I’ve been in for so long, where I was able to imagine my life without feeling like I had to actually actualise it.

It’s an opportunity though, this feeling, because what I’m feeling is that general existential discontent: the mundane world feels meaningless because there is a disconnect from the supramundane; this feeling (though I cannot explicitly name it, beyond the word ‘discontent’) is the consequence of feeling a disconnect from Spirit.

This is the feeling we are otherwise distracting ourselves from, and for this reason (though it seems paradoxical) I know I’m doing the right thing, on the same right path, because this feeling motivates me to continue shaping my life so that it more readily connects with Spirit: the feeling is present because I am distracting myself less, become more sensitive to the iner and outer environment ~ discontent is an evolutionary signal akin to pain, telling us we need to change, adapt, grow.

These feelings are the teething problems we are facing as we emerge into a new stage in the evolution of consciousness. The act of long-handing ~ the craft of it ~ is helping, because it is like the work of any artisan, the process of bringing the Ideal down/into the Real is a process that creates meaning.

Having exercises, practices or projects that cultivate meaning, though, is not quite enough ~ these are not reliable sources of ~refuge~, for I know all too well how it feels to have these relative sources of meaning inaccessible. When we are deprived of these external sources, we suffer. So the trick is to be able to extract meaning from each of our moments, waking or otherwise, whether we are actively creating meaning or not.

Even this requires an ongoing practice of communion to continually refresh our Connection, which we also need to continually drop until we realise ~enlightenment~ (which we also need to drop), which is not even a reliable source anymore, for me at least … I’m currently feeling quite jaded about enlightenment (hence the tildes), which is probably a good thing as well, because of all attachments, attachment to enlightenment is perhaps the most corrosive of our wellbeing: to yearn for enlightenment is to spurn our current state, which is the only state we will ever have.

To further confuse the matter, it is probably true that we are always already enlightened, and it is only our refusal/inability to accept our current state that prevents us from realising/seeing this in each moment.

I didn’t at all intend to come here and write about enlightenment. I guess I’m just telling it as it comes.

I actually have a whole new view of enlightenment lately, from which I draw a deep sense of comfort. There’s another set of scribbles upstairs somewhere about how it’s not that we have lost our connection with Spirit, but more like we are coming into a time where our Connection is becoming stronger.

There is a common tendency among the discontented (such as myself, who feel the disconnect at an individual level) to say the problem with the modern age is that we have lost contact with the numinous force that animates the universe. (If we had, wouldn’t we be dead/nothing?) This almost constitutes a kind of blame, because behind such claims (at least when I have made them) is a rueing of the fact that our culture or ‘the society’ has become less ~spiritual~, a claim that comes from minds that seem to have forgotten that we are culture: if our culture is less spiritual, it’s because we have allowed it to develop this way, from which it follows that we can develop a more spiritual culture by making it so in our own lives.

Of course it’s hard to steer ourselves away from the dominant forces informing our culture (such as consumerism and scientific materialism), but this difficulty does not negate our individual responsibility to make our own lives more spirited. Fortunately, the forces are so strong that (~according to Newton~) any opposing force must be equal to or greater than the prevailing force, so that when the dam wall of discontent finally does reach a critical mass, the floodwaters in the direction opposing materialism will be such that all our false beliefs will be swept away and in their place will come a new form of enlightened humanity.

I promise, I did not sit down with the express intention to write about this either, enlightened humanity, but here we are.

A large part of my discontent comes from the welling up of ideas I don’t quite know how to express. I have an almost irrepressible tendency to fill myself up with ideas in my ongoing search for meaning (read: my ongoing search for distractions), and when I don’t have an outlet for these I get stuck, a kind of metaphysical constipation: I gorge myself on ideas that I seem to digest okay, but which I cannot digest express … and in that long-hando lies a clue: if I can’t express them, then I cannot have truly digested them.

Another large part of my discontent comes from having had a few ‘awakening experiences’ I have not yet been able to fully integrate. In deed, that feeling I mention above, the whole idea/experience of living as a human in the ‘mundane’ world after an awakening experience, is a subject I need to investigate, a primary subject of the book I’m writing ~ and I guess it’s something I’m investigating through experience. Those moments of non-abiding awakening (and the accumulation of trauma leading up to them) were a massive wake-up call, awakening me to the reality of non-ordinary realms of consciousness we can and need to access if we want to heal from our traumas and grow healthily into the new age of humanity.

When I really allow myself to think and feel about it, [10:33am30.01.08], I understand that much of my discontent has come from or comes from the frisson of being a human who has tasted his divinity and then let it out of his … *ahem*, grasp. But they have propelled and compelled me, onward and upward!

Since my first awakening experience in 2015 I have understood that expression is an antidote for depression, the inverse of which is … obvious. The weight of depression becomes all the more burdensome when the ideas needing expression come from direct experience of the ineffable. So I’m going to add the following to the page Psychosis or Spiritual Awakening, because it’s all part of the story that is teaching me things about myself and the true nature of reality. These are my interpretations of my experience, that is all. I’m including it here as well because I can’t quite extract it from this post yet, without the whole thing falling apart.

~ ~ ~

Around the time in 2015 when I first began to realise I might be experiencing ~depression~, there was a period of three to four weeks where I was manifesting the symptoms of what might be called bipolar disorder, except that I was more manic than I was depressed … unipolar disorder? (What even is bipolar anyway? Aren’t we all … isn’t everything … characterised by polarity? Isn’t that what the dualist human experience is? And isn’t it a tautology to say ‘bipolar’? Something can’t be tripolar, because that messes with the whole notion of polarity/duality. One or something can be unipolar though ~ stuck at one extreme of the polarity.)

One thing I realised (apart from the maxim, expression is the antidote for depression) is that maybe I had been depressed my whole life, the same as I had been deluded my whole life (see above, January 2017), because:

the peace, joy and awe I was frequently experiencing was like nothing I had experienced before;

the symptoms of depression ~I found on Google~ described feelings I had been having off-and-on my whole life.

In the state of hyper-awareness (and perhaps because of the life-regression practices I was somewhat-recklessly experimenting with) I was experiencing that month, I had a computational power I hadn’t known before (and which has since only been exceeded in January 2017), a power of ad hoc analytical meditation with which I was able to track back through experiences in my life I had been previously doing my darndest to forget, and I saw patterns of depression and even suicidal tendencies going right back into my early childhood. [This is what I talk about when I talk about the power of suffering to catalyse profound spiritual evolution.] (I used to daymare about running away from home and hiding in the creek to hold my breath until I died, certain that not only would I not be missed, but that my absence would be welcomed and celebrated by my ~family of origin~.

Now, to just call a spade a spade for a moment: that’s profoundly fucked up. ~My childhood wasn’t even that bad~, which is a stupid thing to say, because it negates the extent of my suffering (and if you’re reading this and you were belittled and neglected by your father and brother, then it has the potential to negate yours as well, which is the last thing I wanna do), and something we need to talk about as a community is the idea that to have suffered trauma in childhood you don’t need to have been [*TRIGGER WARNING*] raped or tortured:

putting aside the trauma of our clinical birth practices and the profoundly maladjusted society we live in from the moment we exit the womb, wailing, it is profoundly traumatic to feel unrequited love for your family in the formative years of your life, and potentially more problematic than having been actively tortured, because the wounds go unacknowledged for being ~not serious~.

Russel Brand talks about this, that ‘minor’ addictions that don’t wreak havoc in your life can be more problematic because they go unrecognised. Other addictions, such as workaholism and consumerism, are actively celebrated, applauded. Hardcore addiction/suffering can catalyse profound spiritual awakenings. Our mediocre suburban traumas can do the same. the events and their causes are on a spectrum, the same order of event to different degrees ~ our addictions to chemicals and behaviours are also on a spectrum, meaning we are all addicted to something.

There’s a line in the book I’m using as a mousepad right now:

During these first years of life, environmental conditions are crucial. On top of the basics of physical safety, food, and shelter, a sense of belonging is essential for all subsequent stages of development. A fragile sense of belonging can leave the individual prone to lifelong anxiety.

This is from Ego, which makes a compelling case for the probability that human suffering is and has always been driving our evolution through what they call the ‘post-conceptual’ revolution, comparable only to the conceptual revolution 50 000 years ago.

Reading this (and the whole book) was a bombshell for me, who (it was conceded to recently by Mum) was ‘always a rather anxious child, always worried about being liked’. That I didn’t inherently feel liked, or have a strong sense of belonging, could have been treated as a red flag, but instead I was frequently derided for being ‘too sensitive’, for ‘taking things too much to heart’ and for not having a thick enough skin.

I don’t want to have a thick skin! Who wants to be a dinosaur!? I want to be sensitive ~ it’s a quality, goddamn it!

I know now that my family did the best they could, but I evidently didn’t know this at the time, and an (un)fortunate paradoxical of family relations is that best is often still not good enough, because we’re all still a bit fucked up ~ Philip Larkin has a great poem about this:

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
….They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
….And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
….By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
….And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
….It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
….And don’t have any kids yourself.

This historical reality is one of the reasons we need to take all of those ‘basics’

[55%3:33pm! ~ destiny number being 5, tolerance of diversity/backgrounds, these are the numbers I received after receiving a call from P~~~ about where he’s at!]

we have secured for ourselves in the twenty-first century and begin putting them to use in the pursuit of thrival.

That said, it could be that our persistent failure to learn from the mistakes of history and the lives of our parents/ancestors is a fundamental and necessary quality of the human condition: without this paradox we would never encounter the cause to grow (the cause being suffering and the growth coming from the search to end, or at least transmute, that suffering). The Buddhists have a great teaching about this in the lojong: we can choose to feel grateful for our suffering because it gives us an opportunity to practise the dharma, and because a skilful response to suffering purifies our karma.

So this is not about my parents or my brother or ~the society~: this is just my lot, my karma. And I always, for some reason, had enough grit (enough knowing) to turn my childhood suffering into a cause to never be mean to others (a resolution I haven’t always been able have f(l)ailed to keep). I became a gregarious little boy despite (or because of) being relentlessly bullied by (among others) two of the main actors on the stage of my boyhood universe.

I bring this up only because these were important insights I had during that month in 2015, powerful catalysts for understanding what was happening to me. I see now that the suffering I had experienced throughout my life became a major catalyst for the awakening experience I had in that month. The accumulation of that suffering had gathered enough force that it broke me, but instead of exploding outward into a mess of retaliative fury, I broke inward … I imploded, and the weight of suffering drove me deep toward realising the true nature of myself.

So I suppose that when I say it broke me, I mean it broke ‘me’, the illusion of the ‘I-sense’ ~ at least, it put a bloody big dent in it, because it wasn’t until January 2017 that I had a genuine experience of no longer identifying one-hundred per cent with my ego.

I didn’t exactly see it this way in 2015, but I knew something profound was happening, and despite a few fleeting concerns about the state of my mental health, I didn’t feel sick ~ on the contrary, I knew that I had been sick my whole life and that now I was feeling healthier than ever: joy, wonder and awe … these are signs of good health.

Those concerns about my mental health (which I experienced to a similar extent in January 2017) were, I believe, due to the unfamiliarity of the experience ~ we are so familiar with our ego-identification that when it falls away, it can be scary and we can wonder if we are going insane. We are not ~ at least, most of the time we are not: pathological psychosis is almost certainly a thing, but all psychosis is not necessarily pathological.

This might be a good time to break down my interpretation of the word ‘psychosis’, though I feel like a broken record because I’m sure it’s scribbled down somewhere, and may even already be published on this site

When I say ‘awe’, I mean awe: there were moments in that month, around the full moon, when I stepped outside my girlfriend’s house, looked into the sky and understood that in the moon I was seeing the eye of God, and that God was watching over me. It should be noted here that I am essentially an atheist: when I say “God” I mean cosmos, and when I say ‘cosmos’ I mean divine order, as understood by the Ancient Greeks, so when I say ‘divine order’ I mean the antonym of chaos.

[8:03~4am48% ~ lojong reminder: do not seek out sorrow as a condition for happiness, replete with extra-long phone vibration

|
~> “This means that we should not hope for others’ sorrow as a means for our happiness.” Der.

Does it though? It can mean whatever I want it to mean, and I choose for it to mean “don’t over-identify with misery”, and it means I need to question whether suffering is necessarily a catalyst for joy: it can be transmuted, yes, but this doesn’t mean that one should seek it out ~ once suffering has done its work, we can move on to non-suffering, whereby we choose to not suffer when we experience pain (pain being, of course, an evolutionary signpost).]

When we suffer pain as a kind of evil, we live with a bias that chaos (disorder) is more predominant than cosmos (order), which is not true: the universe is profoundly and precisely balanced ~ it is only our perception that convinces us otherwise.

When we shed this bias in these moments of temporary (non-abiding) awakening, our lives are funda-mentally trans-formed because we have, for a moment, seen beyond the veil of our ego delusions. When I told a friend about this experience of ‘seeing God’ in the moon (and other experiences from that month), he said, “Congratulations!, you’ve seen through the matrix”, which, obviously, is a statement loaded with (un)fortunate pop-cultural references, but it’s a statement that points (as the finger points at the moon) at the same ineffable truth alluded to in the quote from Alan Watts above: we are all (aspects of) God; our misperception of the world this truth is what causes our suffering, and our suffering catalyses the experience of perceiving this truth, which is that, like God, the universe is equal parts benign and malign, and perfectly balanced whether we accept that balance or not.

To perceive the universe as predominantly one or the other (benign or malign) constitutes a profoundly and uniquely human pathology we must all go through before we emerge from our delusions into the light of awareness (of balance and truth).

From this perspective (of equanimity, of profound acceptance of all that is), we can begin to see that depression is not an illness (a malignant mental disorder) but a symptom (a benign psychological balm that is helping to bring us back toward order, as puss heals a wound). From this perspective we can begin to accept suffering as a necessary evolutionary force, which … *takes a deep breath* … might actually constitute an answer to the question, “Why does God allow suffering?”

I promise I did not sit down to answer this question this morning ~ this is just where my mind goes when I let it free.

God ~allows~ suffering because we allow ourselves to ask that question from the misconception (from the false assumption) that God is all-loving [4:15pm54%], which is a lie we tell ourselves because we lied to ourselves about ~man~ being made in the image of God: believing this, we are able to deny our shadow (another pathological behaviour that only humans are capable of). God is not all-loving: God is a bastard, the only unbegotten sun. God ~allegedly~ arose out of nothing ~ it doesn’t get much more illegitimate than that. We want to believe God is all-loving because then we can delude ourselves about our own nature.

We, who have made God in our image (not the other way round), are not all-loving. We are hateful cunts. Admit it. The moment we admit this in ourselves is the moment we see that God, who we made in our image, is equal parts yoni and lingham, yin and yang, Christ and anti-Christ, as … are … we, the whole fucking lot of us. To deny this is to be not-human ~ or else it is to be human after the image we have created of God, which is deluded, pathological and … just straight-up confusing.

I really did not intend to arrive at this point by sitting down to write this mourning.

All I really wanted to say is that depression is not an illness and suffering is not malign. It’s all just a matter of perspective. [3033 words]

Actually I sat down to write about feeling meh. I feel much better now, so this has been a case study in action ~ expression is an antidote to depression. What follows from this is that suppression and oppression are causes of depression, but that’s a subject for another day.

I am not the first person to say ‘depression is a call to spiritual awakening’ (in deed, I stole that from Jeff Foster), but I am the first person I know directly who has experienced this as a first-hand reality. (I mean, there’s Eckhart Tolle, but obviously he’s just an ~illuminati avatar~, right?) An extension of this view is that ‘psychosis’ is not necessarily a pathology, and may indeed be an experience that is more conducive to true health than any drug that may be prescribed to prevent.

a statement of Mission

after Snowden

I was watching a documentary about Snowden recently, and I was inspired again to start educating myself about a basic truth that our culture hides in plain sight: our government is not serving our best interests.

Maybe I can’t stop/change this entirely or totally, but I can inform myself enough that my complicity is minimised, and perhaps I can be involved in some community project that undermines the elite’s power over us, the ~pawns~, like maybe a community bank or helping to organise and distribute organic food from independent growers ~ Monsanto would hate that, right? Even publishing this website and blog is an act of dissidence, a way of challenging the fear-mongering of mainstream media, which the doco refers to as ‘the corporate media’.

I shared a video on Facebook recently, by a guy called Rob Dial, who explains that any piece of information we absorb is ~brainwashing~ us, which means that we can choose to watch the nightly news and scare the crap out of ourselves, engendering distrust of our fellows, or we can choose to watch … well, videos like this one, which explains that, contrary to what we are told by the corporate media, the world is actually a profoundly safer place today than it ever has been in history:

As a somewhat-serious student of psychology and as a human being who desires understanding of and a modicum of control over his own mind, I am fascinated by the very concept of brainwashing. I’m somewhat reluctant to indulge the subject because it sounds so conspiracy-theory-ey, but the reality is that brainwashing is happening to us at all times, whether it be through advertising, news media, unscrupulous religious leaders, or even just the things we unconsciously choose to give more of our attention to, whereby we brainwash ourselves. So it’s definitely somethig I’m trying to keep my eye on.

It’s a curious thing though, that making ourselves aware of these unfortunate realities can sometimes have an adverse effect before they have a positive one ~ a scene from the Snowden doco that I could especially relate to, is where he says that the more he learned, the more the anxiety mounted up.

This is a normal and healthy response to the dawning awareness that our so-called leaders, who we hoped and believed were serving our interests, are actually serving theirs. It’s not fair that we are treated like pawns in the elites’ game of chess. And something I find especially distressing about the whole situation is I know they are seeking refuge in the wrong object.

Seeking refuge is an idea in Buddhism that can be understood as ‘seeking happiness’ ~ we seek refuge, from suffering, in all sorts of things we believe will give us lasting pleasure or contentment. Some people seek refuge in power, control and unnecessary wealth, by brainwashing and exploiting the weak or disadvantaged ~ such ‘leaders’ are causing (or contributing to) the suffering of others, and ultimately they are doing this to perpetuate their own suffering by pursuing happiness/refuge where it doesn’t exist. As well as people, this kind of misguided behaviour exploits the planet, our habitat.

Distressing, no?

When we begin to understand this, anxiety is a natural response because anxiety is a natural response to threat, to the perceived danger of, say, immanent ecological collapse ~ called ecoanxiety. In Snowden’s case, it seemed the anxiety came from becoming aware that our own governments are spying on us, and not for the sake of our safety, as they would have us believe.

Whatever the case may be, I’m interested in understanding how to raise awareness of these realities without catalysing massive panic attacks or debilitating depression ~ much of my own experience of depression has come from feeling disempowered in wanting to make positive change in the world. So I’m interested in how to minimise the psychological damage of becoming increasingly aware that our greatest threat may come from within our own culture.

I feel a strong duty to inform myself and to help others free themselves from a system that does not have their best interests at heart ~ well, rather than free ourselves from “the system”, it’s about healing ourselves so that we, as aspects of that system, can begin to improve the system from within. It’s not enough (in fact it’s not healthy) to blame “the system” for all of our suffering ~ to do so is an abnegation of individual responsibility, and an expression of Ignorance.

What we need to do is liberate ourselves from psychological enslavement to the systems of power that control us, which is an entirely internal process ~ we don’t need to change the system externally, but change ourselves so the control mechanisms of culture no longer have any power over us.

So I’ve come here to declare the nature of my Mission, which I choose to accept in pursuit of a Vision:

I imagine a world characterised by harmony and diversity in unity, a world where each and every individual has realised the true nature of reality and therefore is happy to serve the collective interests over their own ~ imagine a world where everyone was watching out for everyone else … we wouldn’t need to worry about anything, there would be no cause for regret and we would all be free to enjoy the present again.

It’s been bouncing around in mind lately that my mission is to

help people heal so that our world doesn’t continue down a path where it’s okay for governments to spy on their citizens people and for businesses to plumb the earth to line their rubber wallets. Entheogens are being used to evolve consciousness and of course modern-day shamanism and other ancient soul-healing methods exist (they have survived the onslaught of scientific materialism), and I yearn fiercely to be involved with such transcendental forms of transpersonal psychology so I can 1) heal myself and, in doing so, learn how to 2) help others to heal the will to power.

If we can help each other to experience the divine connectedness that is at the heart of these ancient traditions of psychotherapy, we can begin to eradicate ruthlessness from the world. Call me an idealist, but I believe we create our own reality and we define our own meaning ~ if we can imagine utopia, then utopia will cease to mean ‘no place’ and instead come to mean ‘our place’.

If we can help each other to experience the profound empathy and compassion that is our nature, the world will begin to transform, which is already happening ~ we are very fortunate to be alive and working at this time, cresting a wave in the evolution of human consciousness and the planetary consciousness supporting such diverse forms of life.

I declare that I accept the mission to ride this wave along with the other awakening individuals I am beginning to encounter in the community. I declare that I will honour the powerful potential I need to fulfill by helping to create a world characterised by harmony and diversity in unity, a world where each and every individual has realised the true nature of reality and therefore is happy to serve the collective interests over their own.

In my burgeoning role as a transpersonal psychotherapist / shaman I imagine treating individuals who are operating at three levels:

  • the ~underdog~ who feels disempowered, so they might come into their own and realise their potential to contribute improvements as grassroots leaders within their communities
  • the ~average~ who is coping, surviving, but beginning to look for ways to pursue thrival instead of just survival
  • the ~leader~ who already has power, so they might wield it more compassionately and for the genuine benefit of all

I feel I am making the journey through these levels, having started out life as an underdog, raised myself to an average level of success and wellbeing, and begun to aspire to being a true leader in my community ~ when I say ‘leader’ above, I do mean ‘politicians, businesspeople, teachers and other heads of institutions’, but what I envisage is that in this millenium we will see a shift away from leaders and those who are lead, from elites and pawns, to a far-more-decentralised way of living and governing ourselves.

I am also interested in what I learned were the original aims of psychology ~ I don’t have the source with me here, but I recall from a textbook of positive psychology that the original aims of psychology were:

  1. the treatment of pathology
  2. the maintenance of wellness
  3. the nurturing and harbouring of talent and genius

Oh, I found the textbook!

In Positive Psychology: The Scientific and Practical Explorations of Human Strengths by Charles Richard Snyder and‎ Shane J Lopez, there is a quote from Martin Seligman saying the above three missions were the original aims of psychology, so, yay, I remembered!

What I definitely remembered (because I was especially impacted by it) is the idea, as described in the same quote (a breakout quote from the main text), that the second two were neglected throughout the twentieth century for reasons I don’t need to go into here, because the point is that I want to get behind the move in positive psychology to start focusing again on the other two objectives of psychology.

More than that, I would add that the fourth objective of psychology (or what I am starting to call ‘holosophy’ and what others might call ‘entheology’) is:

4. facilitate conscious evolution (the evolution of consciousness)

BAM! Homo evolutis.

 

the Western Way of consciousness evolution

“Mankind, more than is realised, is an expression of the part of the earth upon which he subsists. A rose of the West should not aspire to bloom like a lotus of the East.” ~ Gareth Knight, The Rose Cross and the Goddess, as quoted in The Western Way: A practical guide to the Western Mystery Tradition by Caitlín and John Matthews, from which I quote the following:

Magic, as we understand it, did not exist: the whole of life was magical, in one sense. Yet there was nothing within creation which was truly supernatural. These seemingly contradictory statements are resultant upon any attempt to enter the Foretime ~ wherein life was infused with the numinous nature of the gods ~ from the standpoint of today ~ wherein everything is explicable from a scientific premise.

Before we make that attempt we must understand where we are in relation to consciousness, for the Western Way is very much the path of consciousness and its evolution. Symbolic truth is as true now as it was in the Foretime, yet the means of that truth ~ often conveyed by image, story or music ~ changes as the consciousness of humanity evolves. According to the prevailing consciousness at any one historical cross-section of linear time, so will different levels of symbolic truth be revealed. The development and evolution of human consciousness is the motivating factor in the Western Way; it is the impulse which sets seekers upon the path, from shaman to scientist, determined to find the unifying factors of physical or outer life with spiritual life. The capacity to understand and equate these factors is dependent upon the level of consciousness brought to bear upon this search.

The first steps upon the way are taken within the Native Tradition [as compared to the Hermetic Tradition] where tribal or collective consciousness prevails: out of the tribe emerges the shaman who experiments with individual consciousness ~ the next step ~ by means of identifying with the numinous quality of creation as personified by the gods, by synthesising this experience and transmitting it in an appropriate form to the tribe. The necessary next step to individual consciousness is one which cannot be taken simultaneously by all: this evolution takes many generations and is partially achieved by the presence and work of the shaman and a growing body of initiates who have already begun to make the transition within the tribe. The Native Tradition of any country takes its people on the long journey from tribal to individual consciousness, just as its Hermetic or esoteric Tradition attempts to lead people from individual to cosmic consciousness, in which evolved humanity will perceive its collective responsibility. (Figure 2.)

Native Tradition ~~~~~~~~~~~>>> Hermetic Tradition

Tribal consciousness ~~~>>> Individual consciousness ~~~>>> Cosmic consciousness

The task of religions, both old and new, has been to inculcate this evolutionary process through the means at its disposal. The varying success of this movement can be gauged by a quick mental reconnoitre through one’s own life experience to date. In the Foretime this search was begun by means of contact with the mineral kingdom and with the earth’s vital energies, which led on to an understanding and personification of these energies with god-forms. While the Native Tradition works from the immediate and familiar forces of the earth towards an evolved understanding of a cosmic plan or single, centralised Deity, it is the way of the Hermetic Tradition to perceive the cosmic and hierarchical forces which motivate the universe and identify their operation within elemental and imagined god-forms, as we shall see in Volume 2. [Volume 1 being “The Native Tradition”.]

Currently, the Western World is still struggling to throw off the last vestiges of tribal consciousness which have not yet worked themselves out. The revival of the Old Religion under the form of the neo-pagan movement and renewed interest in the Native Traditions of many lands are resonances of this struggle: it is one wherein the best of the ancient ancestral wisdom is retrieved and the unregenerate forms discarded as inappropriate. We shall be looking closer at this phenomenon in Chapter 5 and assessing the development of the Native Tradition since the Foretime. But before we can follow the way of the earth and of the gods, before we take ship for the Otherworld, we must enter the world of the Foretime ~ the ‘once upon a time’ of our ancestors.