When we evoke images of archetypes from myth, and contemplate their nature, we can bring personal and collective transformation into our lives. Each of the 64 Gene Keys is an archetype, resonating within the deep unconscious. And when we look into the myths of the ages we can see archetypes playing their roles. I want to share how we can also perceive the landscape we find ourselves in, and in myths, as archetypes for our contemplation as well.
If we read throughout many myths we see how certain landscapes held deep symbolism of one kind or another. From lakes, to oceans, to castles, to towers, to prisons, to caves, to gardens, to islands. These are stories of places that hold a meaning with our individual and collective psyche. And when we reflect upon them in myth we can begin to reflect upon them within our own lives. We can see them as something that is within us, not outside of us, and embracing these archetypes can support us in our day-to-day lives. It is beyond the scope of this article to write about all of them, but I can share a few to give an illustration.
A few weeks ago I felt an inspiration inside of me to do a webinar about the concept of the Wasteland, something portrayed in many a myth, especially the Grail Quest legends. But then my mind began to wonder if anyone would show up, it's not the most enticing of subjects, and so I postponed that thought and filed it away as something to share at an appropriate time. Less than a week later British Columbia found itself under water as a deluge of rain poured through the valley, carrying some houses and homes away, but plenty of livestock and other things of value. With hillsides washed away, across the highways, cutting off our supply chain, we were living in the wasteland.
And yet it has not gone unnoticed that what is happening is a symptom of something more. There are surely natural cycles, but as every spiritual tradition says, we are one with all of nature, and so this reflects something deeper. And so the allegory of the wasteland takes us into domains far deeper.
"In a wasteland, people are fulfilling purposes that are not properly theirs but have been put upon them as inescapable laws. This is a killer.... The spirit is really the bouquet of life. It is not something breathed into life, it comes out of life. This is one of the glorious things about the mother-goddess religions, where the world is the body of the Goddess, divine in itself, and divinity isn't something ruling over and above a fallen nature.... Our story of the fall in the Garden sees nature as corrupt; and that myth corrupts the whole world for us. Because nature is thought of as corrupt, every spontaneous act is sinful and must not be yielded to. You get a totally different civilization and a totally different way of living according to whether your myth presents nature as fallen or whether nature is in itself a manifestation of divinity, and the spirit is the revelation of the divinity that is inherent in nature.” - Jospeh Campbell
And so these recent events in BC are causing many to look a lot deeper. Those with a reverence for nature are only too aware of the connection. Back in the 1930s a lake was drained, and a community was built on the land formerly occupied by Sumas Lake. When that was done the first nations of the land moved to ground above where the lake had been, they did not build on that sacred space. When the recent floods came in, the land was reclaimed by the water.
So after the floods I spent time in contemplation, seeing this as something with a deeper meaning for all of us. Water is the great cleanser and the land was being cleansed. We as a community were being shown how truly interconnected we all are and out of it many arose stronger, but not because of the government, because of synergy and coming together for the good of others. The selfless work of thousands is still going on behind the scenes.
We are not separate from nature, we are a part of nature, so what we do to nature we do to ourselves. And as the ancient axiom says, 'As above, so below.' So what does the wasteland in your life reflect within your own being?
Towers have featured in many myths across time and space. Even Carl Jung, master of archetypes and symbols, chose to build a tower for himself, something that was more than just a form of self-aggrandisement, but something that reflected depth for him. It was a "representation in stone of my innermost thoughts and of the knowledge I had acquired... a confession of faith in stone."
And the same can be said for many towers featured in our ancient myths. Oftentimes we would find a maiden awaiting the rescue of the knight in shining armour, or they were a symbol of protection of virginity. They were also built to connect heaven to earth. But in many myths we hear of the towers that fall, such as the tower of Babel. The tarot card of that name, the Tower, indicates that a fall is coming, that the old is falling away to make way for the new on sturdier foundations.
Glastonbury Tor is a well recognised tower that still stands today, atop a sacred mound in Glastonbury, a town considered to be the heart of Avalon by many. It is seen as a gateway to the underworld, and is dedicated to the Archangel Michael. It sits upon a confluence of the Michael and Mary ley lines and is seen as a symbol of the sacred union. It holds a special place in my heart, it was where I got engaged to my wife, Nicole, and we return there whenever we return to England.
And so as a tower its meaning and symbolism has been put forth by many over the centuries. But there is nothing like meditating upon it, physically being there, or in whatever space you find yourself, and allow the mystery to unravel for you. Rather than relying upon somebody else's interpretation, to have your own experience of it, to reveal what meaning it has for you in your life.
"For the symbols of mythology are not manufactured; they cannot be ordered, invented, or permanently suppressed. They are the spontaneous productions of the Psyche, and each bears within it, undamaged, the germ power of its source."
-- Joseph Campbell
When we read novels, or myths, we are exploring the realms of the psyche, and there is much more to them than simply background. When you think of Hogwarts castle in the Harry Potter series it will likely evoke a whole host of feelings for you. Beyond a school, it was a school of magic, which is likely why many kids were drawn to the stories, it took them beyond the mundane conformity of their own schooling, it reconnected many with a love of learning. School has been a place where aspects of the psyche have been suppressed in our wasteland world, and our imagination can help break us free of those shackles.
Over the years I have been to sites such as Stonehenge and Avebury, and they have brought to me transformation on many levels. Seeing how interconnected they were throughout the world, and how they sat on specific energy spots on the land, helped unlock for me the deep interconnectedness of all of humanity, and that although oceans may separate us, when an idea's time has come, there is nothing that will stop it from emerging.
So, as well as playing with human archetypes, and drawing them deep into your being, you may find yourself inclined to explore the landscapes around you in greate depth. What do they reflect within your own psyche? What teachings do they have for you?
In the upcoming Journey Through Avalon, we will be journeying to many symbolic locations throughout Avalon, and Glastonbury, its representation in the physical world. Using a contemplative approach we will journey to locations such as Glastonbury Tor, Glastonbury Abbey, the Red and White Springs, Tintagel Castle, Merlin's Cave, and other locations that hold deep symbolism within our psyche. The visualisations will allow these places to come alive for us and as we embrace the mystery, we allow the wisdom to reveal itself. And that may look quite different for each of us. We have a wonderful group of people gathering and would love to count you among us. To register go here.
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