Eclectic Paths To Integration
Part 3: Shaman/Shadow
By Jonathan Bethel
The dualistic nature of our universe sets the stage for the many rifts that form in our own mind, as well as the neurosis that we experience in our modern culture. The Us-Them, Light-Dark, and Good-Bad dichotomies are constantly pulling us back into a dualist mindset. The meta-programmer, the wise man, and the shaman have all learned the mental techniques whereby the fusion of opposites is assimilated into a higher synthesis of wholeness. This gnosis does not come easy; however, it is through consistent practice in mindfulness, and moving with the Tao that we progress on the path of integration and completion. These states of mind are engineered by the meta-programmer, who rewires the lower circuits of consciousness to his liking. This is the silent watcher within that is in the world, but not of it. Every moment is a test, for the binary forces unceasingly accost us, attempting to pull us into division and suffering. Only by yielding to the moment and abiding in the now, does master achieve success.
Kashmir Shaivism – “It’s all Shiva”
Analogous to the integrative concepts of Taoism is the concept of Shaivism. Shaivism, however, posits a deity, where Taoism does not. Kashmir Shaivism, or Trika Shaivism, formulated around 900 A.D. in an area that is now the state of Kashmir, in the northwestern section of India. Shaivism is a pure monotheistic religion that arose in a climate of dualistic thought that pervaded the Kashmir region at that time. Kashmir Shavism is the most integrative of all religions. All aspects of one’s reality are subsumed in the ideal of Shiva/Shakti, or ParamaShiva. This is the dynamic unity of all things. Shaivites see no distinction between themselves and the universe, all is a dynamic divine play of the dancing of Shiva and his lover Shakti. Shiva represents pure consciousness, unadulterated by color, size, texture and description. Shakti represents the force and allure of manifestation, herself being just the outer garment of Shiva. Together, their love embrace creates the cosmos. These two polarities are the identical pair of yin-yang, male-female that we experience in many other mystical paths. This couple holds archetypal positions within the recesses of our mind, masking themselves in layers of cultural and religious symbology.
By living out of balance with these forces, society has become lopsided, and now the pendulum is about to swing in the other direction. As individuals, and as a society, it becomes a matter of survival and integrity to bring these aspects of our self back into awareness and proper balance, thereby integrating ourselves and healing the community at large. The shaivites create no dissonance between themselves and the world; they see Shiva in all things, whether it be the holy man, the dog, or the dung. This is not the same as Pantheism, although similar, Shaivism implies an oneness with god, with what can best be called a “Dynamic Stillness.” This is pure being in the process of becoming, the highest level of self-realization. Shaivism gives us a pragmatic guide to the art of life, because all diversities are merged into one unity. Therefore, instead of repression, negativity, and denial, it celebrates the human condition and the beauty of the world around us. It sees everything as God, since god is everything. It is very infuriating to watch the dualistic oppressions of the western Judeo-Christian mind consistently locking the world into its good-evil dynamic, this stems from a denial of their own jeckle-hyde complex. When we learn that the recesses of the shadow and the self are one in the same, then we will be one step closer towards the reification of the holistic self, the one that sits as a dynamic totality, sovereign unto itself.
Thelema – “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”
At the very beginning of the twentieth century, the magickal revival was in full thrust. Groups like the Theosophical Society and the Golden Dawn woke the dormant cells of the divine genius within the collective unconsciousness. From the Golden Dawn emerged a man who would change the face of mysticism forever. Aleister Crowley brought forth his Law of Thelema and set a tidal wave in motion into the twentieth century.
The Law of Thelema was a very libertarian religious ideal, one that promoted individual liberty, life, light and expression of the inner will. Thelema in Greek means will, and by Greek qabbalistic gematia it equals the number 93, which is an esoteric symbol for the true will of man. The formula for the law of thelema is a two part formula. The first part of the formula states, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”. The second part cites, “Love is the Law, Love under Will”. The word Love in Greek is Agape, which by Greek qabbala again equals 93. 93 is the formula whereby an initiate integrates the entirety of his being into a point of Will, at point which is one in the same with Love. True Love and True Will are identical, once oneness with the dynamically evolving universe is achieved.
Following on the willful love of life that the Kashmir Shavites display, the law of Thelema calls the soul to divine action, whatever that action may be. Therefore it is the duty of every Thelemite to rid himself of the impediment of inner conflicts and complexes and the discover the true will. To live by the Law of Thelema, one cannot be split into one sided judgments and opinions, for everything is a manifestation of the divine will. In actuality, Shavism and Thelema are nearly identical models; both contain the ultimate dichotomy of the yin-yang resolved into the bliss of Dynamic Stillness. With Thelema, the Shiva/Shakti dichotomy is replaced by the Hadit/Nuit conjunction, which derives from the ancient pantheon of Egypt. To engage the True Will is to embark on “The Great Work”, which is to resolve your will and that of the universe into fused alloy of blissful intent. It must be stressed, this state is not a resolution into nothingness, this is a resolution into a “Dynamic Stillness”, what the ancient kabbalists called the negative veils of existence, the “Ains”. To describe this state as “Nothing” would do it injustice, more aptly it should be called “NO-THING”. This again is the state of pure being in the process of integrative becoming. The universal intent is integrative; the universal intent seeks closure. Therefore, you being an expression of universal intent, you too seek closure and integration, and our bodies and minds are wired perfectly to carry out that transformation.
The Shaman – The Trickster – The Meta-programmer
As each person moves forward in their own process of introspection, it is important to have a mental role model and archetype to fashion oneself after. This mental idealization of the self should be capable of handling the often confusing and chaotic content of the unconscious mind. The mental image and spiritual essence of the shaman, the seeker and voyager within, is the archetypal psychonaught par excellence. The shaman is the great agent of evolution. He is the primal current behind the wise man, the medicine woman, and the voodoo doctor. His way is through mischief, humor, and trickery. He tricks himself and others until they all see the treasures within. It is the shaman who enters the great sea of the collective mind and brings back strange and unusual gems of wisdom, from the unconscious deepest levels of the self. In ancient times he was called by many names: Hermes, Mercury, Thoth, Tubalcain, and Mescalito. He is the great Elvin healer and integrator, and it is through his vision that the rifts in the social fabric of the community are mended into abundance and celebration. He is the bringer of technology, mysticism and knowledge, and therefore is a guide to unify the personality and the soul. The meta-programmer is the new cyber-shaman, a neuro-tech psychonaught who is outfitted with science, technology and multiple reality maps to navigate the circuits of his own neurological space.(Meta-programming and the eight circuits of consciousness will be fully discussed in a later sections of this series.) The goal is integration and completion through the medium of shamanic ecstatic trance. Jonathan Ott, obviously familiar with the shaman’s trance, says that, “Shamanic ecstasy is the real "Old Time Religion," of which modern churches are but pallid evocations. Shamanic, visionary ecstasy, the mysterium tremendum, the unio mystica, the eternally delightful experience of the universe as energy, is a sine qua non of religion, it is what religion is for! There is no need for faith, it is the ecstatic experience itself that gives one faith in the intrinsic unity and integrity of the universe, in ourselves as integral parts of the whole; that reveals to us the sublime majesty of our universe, and the fluctuant, scintillant, alchemical miracle that is quotidian consciousness.”
The Shadow - “Our name is Legion, for we are many”
In searching for the Holy Grail, the pinnacle of self-realization, it vital that any worthy meta-programmer face the Shadow in order to assimilate all the fractured aspects of the self. In hermetic lore, this shadow is called the Dweller on the threshold or the Doppelganger. It lies lurking within the dark quarters of the mind where the million voices of the sub-personalities screams in discontent. The layer of consciousness that most of us call the coherent “I” is in reality just the surface layer the deeper seething stratum of sub personalities. These sub-selves are comprised of archetypal forces, desires, aversions, and childhood neurosis. Each of these sub-personalities competes for attention in order that it may fulfill its own mission. Many of these subconscious impulses are in total opposition to each other; consequently, this many faced mental demon locks up vital personal energy in hundreds of toilsome inner conflicts. These pockets of conflict, like deep infections, manifest on the surface of the personality in crude in disgusting forms, stealing the vital energy and awareness of the self like a vampire. It is the goal of the meta-programmer and shaman to unloose these inner complexes, releasing the locked up energy to be utilized and integrated by the self. Each time a complex is brought to the surface and its energy released, then self organizes on a higher level and moves closer toward integration and enlightenment. This act is the liberation of the self from the oppressive grip of a nihilistic shadow.
The Shadow forms during the process of individuation and the formation of the ego. Everything the ego does no identify with, it casts into the shadow. Over the years this shadow gets filled with everything the ego shuts out. At some point, all this pent up pressure creates distresses in the personality, leading to negative behavior, emotional problems, and bad health. Although the Shadow contains the nasty and the ugly aspects of us, it also contains all the wonderful things and ideas that we do not individually identify with. The poet, the mystic, the shaman are usually dormant in the average person, and therefore lies in the shadow. Through the Eclectic Paths to Integration Series, I will discuss safe and effective techniques for bringing the shadow into awareness and assimilating it in to the consciousness of the self. For nearly 2000 years, the shadow has been kept locked in the recesses of our unconsciousness where it was labeled as the boogey man. Now it is time to open up the windows and let the light of awareness illuminate the shadows and reveal the contents inside. In that search we may find pain, horror, and sorrow, but we will also find secret trails that lead to the Holy Grail. In Dante’s, “Divine Comedy”, when he finds himself lost within the forest, the only path back to paradise is to descend into the pit and observe the shadows. Once he had traversed the depths, only then was he able to climb to the summit and experience perfection. Such is the nature of the path.
Articles in This Series:
Eclectic Paths To Integration
Centers of Power
The convoluted path that leads to the integration and illumination of the soul and personality is often a daunting, yet rewarding, undertaking, simultaneously riddled with pitfalls of despair and plateaus of bliss. To tread this path is one of the highest aspirations an individual can have, second only to the desire to help others on this path.
Eclectic Paths to Integration
Part 2: Psychological Models - Freud
The Psychoanalytic schools of the twentieth century attempted to bring the psyche under the dominion of various maps and models, whereby the personality could be gauged, studied, and integrated. The psychological theories of Freud, Jung, Maslow, Assigoli, and Leary paved new roads in our understanding of the over all structure of the mind.
Jonathan Bethel is a writer and lecturer in the areas of futurism, philosophy, esoterica, psychology and science. Additionally, he runs an ezine called OmegaPoint.org focusing on the esoteric and philosophical implications of futurism. http://omegapoint.org