by Kingsley L. Dennis
July 19, 2016
from KingsleyDennis Website
what is to happen now?
All of our old gods are dead,
and the new have not yet been
the operations of divine immanence
in the world
Many of the great spiritual traditions told of how the material world came into being out of a nameless domain.
Some traditions have spoken of the 'cosmic egg' from which form emerged; or, as in the Old Testament, out of the dark and formless deep where the spirit of God moved:
The Hindu spiritual traditions of India speak of an underlying reality that is Brahman - a reality that is eternal and eternally unchanging.
The world of space and time that we are familiar with is known as lila, which describes our physical world as the playground of unceasing creative play within Brahman.
In terms of this cosmology humanity is indeed at play in the fields of the Lord. The ancient Hindu Vedic rishis told that the essence of all things in the material world belonged to Akasha.
A Sanskrit term, Akasha refers to the fifth element of the cosmos, beyond,
The concept of Akasha is similar to the later western notions of ether - a space field that contains all the elements within itself.
In the late 6th century BC Pythagoras spoke of the 'ether' as the fifth element of the world, in addition to earth, air, fire and water.
In more modern
terminology we see similarities with the notion of the underlying
quantum vacuum (or plenum, matrix) that is described as the
energetic sea of the cosmos from which matter-reality manifests. The Akasha/ether/quantum matrix is the cosmic energy domain from which
everything has emerged, and into which everything will ultimately
According to Plato there was a realm of Forms and Ideas - a domain of Pure Forms - beyond our space and time, and that our material world is only an image or copy of this real, pure world beyond.
This pure realm was also spoken of by other Hellenic philosophers:
Perhaps the most famous illustration of Plato's thinking is his allegory of The Cave.
In this allegory Plato describes a group of people who have lived all their lives chained up and facing the wall of a cave.
All they can see is the blank cave wall that lies in front of them. The opening of the cave is behind them, and the light that enters casts shadows on the far wall of the cave. Upon this wall, day after day, the chained people watch shadows move across as they cannot turn around and see the 'real' objects that pass behind them. Thus, they view these shadows as their reality and ascribe forms, reason, and life to them.
This is the illusion - the shadows
from beyond - that we ascribe as
our 'reality' and give meaning to.
Are these non-spaces the realms where our gods
In his theory of anamnesis Plato says humanity possesses knowledge of its past, only that we have forgotten this knowledge and so we need to rediscover the knowledge within us.
Plato wrote that humanity could only know the 'real world' in the form of memories. That is, human thought was really a form of recollection, and that humankind generally existed within a state of collective amnesia, having only fragments of recollection as reference points for reality.
Plato was suggesting that humanity had lost - or fallen - from an earlier state of heightened awareness and now had only traces of this memory in their collective psyche as a reminder. In ancient Greek, truth is called aletheia which means not forgetting; and in Greek mythology before the human soul incarnates into this world it drinks from Lethe, the river of Forgetfulness and one of the five rivers of the underworld, so that it cannot remember its divine origins.
Similarly, there is a Jewish legend that speaks
of how we are struck on the mouth by an angel before birth so that
we cannot speak of our pre-birth divine origins.
We arrive in this earthly reality full of cosmic glory, only that we lack the key, the crucial guide, to unlock our memories and unleash the flood of knowing.
When we come across the scattered symbols and signs of truth, we inherently intuit and sense deep down some great significance.
Yet our minds are incapable of grasping the intangibleness of this hidden mystery. And that is how our lives play out, as we slip as souls within a playground of signs that are invested with ultimate meaning.
We need to find the Arianne's thread to help us through this labyrinth that we find ourselves in, and to remember that we have our origins in the Primary Imagination.
Our lives are not only unique creations but are acts of re-creation. They are attempts at entering once again into a lost remembrance which lies so far and yet so close to us.
The 13th century Persian poet Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī wrote that,
And yet so vain do we
search, as if we have fallen away from true remembrance.
What this generally suggests is a break with - or fall away from - another state. This is often interpreted as a break away from a heightened state of connection and awareness; or, a disconnection from the living truth.
This implies that collective images and myths reappear in our minds, in our histories, as grand archetypes that serve as signifiers to assist humanity in its recollection of lost memories.
Touching upon this, Carl Gustav Jung wrote that,
Here, Jung is highlighting the distinct correspondence between the human psyche and it's synchronization with the grander universe of which we are a part.
This emphasizes the notion of the participatory
mind, a concept that was known - if not articulated - amongst our
It seems that within our interior selves lies the hope of returning to something once 'lost' - a Paradise Lost, or some sacred state of communion.
This idea has been expressed in allegorical form in many tales, such as in this one, 'The Precious Jewel,' adapted from Eastern sources:
In a remote realm of perfection, there was a just monarch who had a wife and a wonderful son and daughter. They all lived together in happiness.
One day the father called his children before him and said:
This allegory/parable, amongst others similar, reveals that a latent
message lays hidden deep within us, and which acts as a chord of
remembrance keeping us connected with something 'essential' yet
This mythical narrative tells of the hero's journey to restore the world to its former glory and high state:
It is also a journey to reconnect ourselves with
a sense of the sacred; to restore the bond with a cosmos that
enfolds humanity within a universal sense of meaning, where the
human psyche merges into the significant whole.
Within this cosmological view all life was viewed as connected with an animating energy that interweaved throughout.
As mythological researcher Richard Heinberg writes:
The contact may appear almost severed, yet traces of it have remained in various traditions, some more obscure than others.
This once bygone state that the stories and myths refer to as the Golden Age - or Paradise - can also be regarded as a metaphor for an evolved state of consciousness as well as a highly evolved state of civilization.
Humankind's state is that of having fallen into the
grip of gross matter, and of having left behind a finer awareness of
subtle energies. We have, as all major spiritual traditions commonly
state, entered into a realm of separation from a divine or sacred
Also, that our world now contains symbols and signs that serve to jolt human consciousness into some degree of reawakened awareness and remembrance, such as in the tale of the 'Precious Jewel' told above.
Eliade reminds us that in so-called 'primitive' societies the act of understanding the symbol can help to succeed in 'living the universal.'
Similarly, mythologist Joseph Campbell describes how the
aim of ancient spiritual practices, tribal myths, and
teachings was to assist in recovering a lost mode of awareness.
Metaphorically, it may indicate that the inner being of the human, when in its natural and essential state, is in balance and harmony.
Perhaps there have been historical ages in which human beings shared a state of oneness or union with all life and with their environment, and that this peak of civilization was indeed lost.
The Hopi legend of the 'First People' talks of a time in the ancient past when people,
This legend describes a time when humans on the planet manifested a form of suprasensory perception, and where dialogue often occurred between various entities.
Anthropologist Roger Wescott writes that:
Eliade, likewise, noted in his research that ancient myths spoke of
a friendship between animals and human, with even knowledge of their
According to Eliade, the shaman goes into a transcendental state in order to 'abolish the present human condition,' which is regarded as a resultant state from the 'Fall' - and thus to re-enter into the natural condition of 'primordial man' as it was during the Golden Age. 5
Heinberg considers whether:
Heinberg is suggesting here that memories of Paradise/Golden Age may not only, or necessarily, refer to a physical reality or time but serve to activate and catalyze human neurological and psychic functioning into continued evolutionary growth.
The memory, then, is
not only as a remembrance of things past (as Proust would say) but
may also function as a 'design' wired into us as a social and
spiritual guide during dark ages - those times when our psychic, and
thus also physical, states are low and separated from a sacred
It is a state where the focus is almost entirely upon gross materialism.
Gnostic, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions also refer to humanity forgetting its true purpose; of how the distraction of, and attraction to, the physical world produces a continued state of separation.
Teutonic Norse myths state that a renewal of the world would only come after great destruction in which a period of chaos and disorder would arise that would see humans commit many degrading and tragic acts.
There are also numerous accounts in ancient and sacred texts that depict the theme of cyclic destruction and renewal, from biblical accounts, Hindu scriptures, and Tibetan narratives.
Our myths, stories, and narratives may serve to remind us of where we have been, and to where we need to return.
Yet can we rely solely on the old myths, or,
The many gods of times past were abandoned in favor of the one god concept with the rise of monotheistic religions. With this shift away from multiple gods - which played a more direct, intervening role in human affairs - a more individualized sense of self and self-consciousness began to emerge.
The spiritual focus was now not on the interaction with multiple gods but of a relation with a single source that was transcendent and beyond the lowly human. Humanity no longer played ball together with their godly caretakers.
The human psyche slowly became separated from a close communion with
the gods. This psychic bond, or participation, between cosmic forces
and the human soul gradually became severed, leaving the individual
more to their own devices and further away from a 'far off' god.
Along with this shift came the art of personal reflection, and the manifestation of individual thinking.
This can be seen in the external transition from ancient Egyptian spiritual traditions to the human philosophy of the Greeks. This marked a shift toward knowledge as grasped by the human mind, and thus led to the increased belief that no gods were needed to understand such lofty concepts.
Divinity, the realm of the gods, became a place to which certain elite human minds could broker access. This was seen as liberating the human soul from the direct and all-powerful influence of the gods in daily life.
A new independence arose within the life of humanity that preceded an era of increasing human autonomy at play within a material world. The human being was now born into an environment where the gods had withdrawn.
Humanity was now left to stand on its own spiritual feet, and to learn to navigate through a world given over to them by their gods. And yet it was precisely this kind of environment which made it possible for an individual human being to develop a sense of full responsibility for their own behavior and spiritual state.
The soul life of the human had now become their own task to contend with, and could no longer be seen as under the sway of external transcendental forces.
shift placed the onus of development upon the human self, it also
dissolved the reciprocal understanding between human and cosmos.
This process of separation between our interior and exterior lives was drawn out over centuries, and further exacerbated through orthodox religious thinking, scientific rationalism, Cartesian philosophy, and attitudes to the human body.
We are now coming to the end of the influence of the Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian era.
As philosopher Jeremy Naydler notes:
Individual selfhood came at a great cost.
In fact, it could only come about when the previous gods had faded from human consciousness. And yet from this came the emergence of self-consciousness, the focus on individual selfhood, and the possibility for self-transcendence through individual inner work. That is, to take the path back toward a cosmic, sacred communion through self-volition and individual choice.
This path back to the gods (the sacred source) does not imply 'going out' there - to reach them in some realm beyond - but rather suggests allowing them back into the human psyche.
This means receiving the sacred connection once again within the inner life/self of the human. We could phrase it as bringing the sacred impulse back down into material life - the re-sacralization of the material plane.
It could be said that human
destiny is to know the infinite without leaving the finite - both
exist simultaneously and both are necessary.
Our multiple gods, as depth psychology informs us, also represent aspects of the human psyche.
Astrology places a similar pattern upon the planets, as their alignment influences psychic correspondences and can affect the human physically, mentally, and emotionally. In some of the most ancient spiritual traditions that came out of Egypt and Mesopotamia thousands of years ago, the realm of Spirit existed in a transcendental pure form beyond matter.
It was human destiny for the privileged capable few to ascend through rigorous trial and initiation toward this otherworld and seek a connection with it so that it may manifest through them upon the material plane.
Hence such cultures were star-orientated as this represented a source beyond the terrestrial earth. In more modern times, the implication has shifted to a view that sees Spirit as having its destiny to become implicated in matter.
Together, spirit and matter form the necessary communion.
The re-spiritualization - the re-sacralization - of the material world must come about through humanity's involvement. The human must embrace the cosmos within themselves, and to bring it 'down to earth,' so to speak.
This is now a mass
endeavor, which suggests that the time for the elite special few
initiates is over. In other words, where once a 'higher' state of
consciousness was first developed through exceptional individuals,
it is now to be developed through the mass by receptive individuals
and communities connecting together across physical and temporal
Likewise, the natural world is not an obstacle that needs to be overcome if we are to strive towards a sacred communion and understanding.
On the contrary, the natural world is itself the playground upon which sacred energies move through, and within which lies the soul of the world. The old mythologies placed the gods within the supernatural world, where Nature was something to move through and beyond. Yet the old mythologies are no longer with us for they no longer serve the same purpose.
They too have been transcended for we are in a different era - an altogether different temporal and spatial state.
The old mythological world of archetypal energies has now been fused into an order where the supernatural, the natural, and the human mind-soul merge together.
We are participating in bringing the sacred back into the material realm - in bringing the gods back home!
The sacred source is to be encountered through ourselves and not within another world; through normal human consciousness rather than its denial.
We can say that,
From these ashes a new mythology must arise, one that has been gestating within the inner reaches of humankind for some time already.
It has been suggested that we are in a battle for the Western soul, as we have been largely sleeping through crisis after crisis of the spirit. A new mythology is rapidly becoming both a social and spiritual necessity, as our old frameworks and worldviews dissolve from usefulness.
Mythologies have the power to conduct and guide us through our lifetimes, as a companion upon the psycho-spiritual journey of transformation.
A mythology is a set of figures and symbols that can reflect and shape a state of mind; they can serve as a perceptual framework. They can be our filters and our friends, but they neither belong to us nor any particular locale.
They are available for everyone, and are beyond the individual mind.
According to Joseph Campbell, arguably one of the most respected mythologists of the 20th century,
Mythology then should serve to assist participation in our own transcendence amid the spectacle of the cosmos.
Unfortunately, it is
when mythologies become locked-in as social, political, and
religious control systems that the human developmental path becomes
distorted and muddy underfoot.
essential therefore that the new mythologies for a sacred revival
inspire within humanity a wish for interiorizing the cosmological
impulse that is pervasive and which irradiates our reality.