The Migrations of the Soul, II

Animism, vitalism, spiritualism, and mentalism (or psychism) — let’s continue with this theme and pattern as being “four ages” and as being the migrations of “the soul” through the fourfold human form.

And in no way should these be thought of as “progressions”, but more as “articulations”. While it is indeed “evolutionary”, it’s a mistake to think of that evolution as a progression following a linear trajectory and timeline. Evolution here means simply an “unfolding”.

Questions of truth or falsehood here are irrelevant. One is not truer than the other. They have an effective mode of functioning and a defective or aberrant mode of functioning which we call “decadence”. Where they are found in close proximity to one another, they are typically hostile to one another. That hostility, though, typically reflects the exhaustion of the further possibilities for development of one mode of being now become aberrant or defective, and the emergence of another or new development as it enters into its “effective” mode. Thus, “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” expressed the antipathy of the mythical consciousness for the magical consciousness, or of vitalism for animism, while the dismissal of the mythic as “lie” (Plato) expressed the antipathy of the emergent mentalism for the mythic consciousness as it, in turn, entered into its defective or aberrant mode of functioning, having exhausted its possibilities for further articulation.

Today, in our time, “mentalism” itself has become deficient, aberrant, and decadent, and has exhausted its possibilities for further articulation and development, which many are calling “post-Enlightenment”. Many sense this, and express that sense as fear of a new “dark age”. But unless the life essence has now completely exhausted itself in physical reality in pursuing all its possibilities of expression, then this “dark age” is simply another transition from a mode of being and structure of consciousness that has reached the end of its tether, and will be superceded by a new and more effective expression and articulation. Or, just as possible, it may revert itself to other modes of articulation — animistic, vitalistic, spiritualistic, and no doubt all will be attempted. Fascism already attempted the return to vitalism, the magical, and the myth of blood. Others, contemptuous of “modernism” (ie, the mental-rational) wish to return to the “spiritualism” of the High Middle Ages, or to nativism and shamanism (animism). While such reactionary responses may be tried again, they proved not to be sustainable, and indeed are not sustainable.

The anticipation of a new articulation (not reactionary) is what informs Nietzsche’s “overman”, Gebser’s “integral consciousness”, Aurobindo’s “supermind”, Rosenstock-Huessy’s “metanoia”, or William Blake’s “Albion”. Everything has been tried except the impossible. So why not try the impossible? The impossible is what has been also called “cosmic consciousness”.

What we call “soul” is, in human beings, the life essence or the vitality becoming self-aware and individuated, sometimes to an extremity which we call “egoism”. Animism, vitalism, spiritualism, and mentalism are just so many responses of the vitality or life essence of “soul” to the circumstances of physical existence. A lot of people confuse these things as being of the same nature. As far as the mental-rational or psychistic consciousness goes, animism, vitalism, and spiritualism are all “occult”, but they are quite distinct, and they are, and remain, part of our human autobiography, with one or another achieving dominance and the others returning to semi-latency or subordination (suppressed or repressed). So, with animism, the life essence is associated with the limbs, members or sinews; with vitalism, with the heart and blood; in spiritualism with the air and tongue; and in mentalism with the brain and nervous system. Earth, air, fire, water, or respectively, metabolic system, respiratory system, nervous system, or circulatory system. Obviously, the full life is not contained in any one of these systems, but is expressed in all of them.

So, in that sense, the human form has never been in equilibrium, except perhaps in a few isolated cases. Some one function or another of that awareness has asserted dominance — sensing, feeling, willing, or thinking. But there is a fifth possibility, which has been only weakly sensed and realised in human history as the “quintessence” or as mysterious “fifth element”. That is the intuitive, and basically the intuitive is another term for “integral consciousness”. What we call “hunch”, “lucky guess”, “gut feeling”, and so on is the latency of the intuitive, but it is, in effect, associated with everything that is considered “the uncanny”. The intuitive is the harmonious functioning of all these different aspects of consciousness, and is the state we call “equanimity”, and which is represented in the mandala form when the “four souls” as it were, are in balance.

But quite evidently, if this intuitive is indeed the “fifth” (and which is called “the Self” or “true self” or Atman, or what you will) it required the articulation of the other four functions of consciousness — equivalently, Gebser’s archaic, magical, mythical, and mental — before it could become emergent possibility and to know itself as identical with the life essence and the life process.

At present, the “intuitive” seems wispy, effervescent, vague, “mystical”, but that is because it hasn’t been developed. It is, nonetheless, the same as the empathetic, and if there is an “empathy deficit” today (and that is certainly a chief aspect of the mental-rational deficiency) it is because the intuitive has not been activated. And everything that the mental-rational consciousness today finds “spooky” or anomalous or impossible, like synchronicity, entanglement, telepathy, “paranormal” — all that is associated with the intuitive. So “integral consciousness” and “intuitive awareness” are practically interchangeable terms in that sense, and in that sense too, intuitive awareness is something distinct from sensate consciousness or analytical rationality. It’s not a “synthesis”, but an integration.



16 responses to “The Migrations of the Soul, II”

  1. abdulmonem says :

    I like to cater to the migration of the soul something from the Islamic literature. Soul in that literature comes to be understood as that what makes the human aware, speak and communicate. It is part of the creator that engenders in her the yearning to the whole, that is the return to him. It goes further to say that soul is the intellect that has come to know and realize its full potential and its ability to understand, its self, its cosmos and its creator. It realizes also that nothing can be gained through the listening to others or reading books without the activation of its inner faculties. Finding the meaning of the self that knows, since we are what we know. it goes to make distinction between transmitted knowledge and real knowledge, between animal soul and the talking soul. The first is the functioning of our body without our involvement the second and the most important is the function of the human awareness in both the realm of thought and action. the realm of responsibility and self-realization. Islam starts his inquiry by addressing four basic topics, god, cosmos, human soul and the interpersonal relationships, avoiding the mistake of knowing everything one possibly need to know about a text except what the text says. The universe speaks loudly of the majesty of its creator. Any fool knows this only if he honestly pay attention. Our time lacks a single center that is the unity of everything in order to provides that center. The list of our modern gods is endless, augmented by the tyranny of a modular language that have so many connotations and no denotation. We need a language of unity that is characterized by harmony, integration and synthesis.In a world of plastic words all interpretations are accepted. Understanding can not be imposed, it can only grow up in the heart. Truth can not be obtained through consensus or vote. No one can achieve true and real understanding until he stops imitating others and find the real for himself. Break the chains of dogama, assert the absolute as the only real in himself and activate the imagination of the unseen.No wonder some Sufis call themselves men of the unseen. Men in Arabic means the one that walks that is why it covers both sex. Ibn Arabi maintains that we must see the seen and the unseen, the imagination and the reason as coexisting in harmony. The real appears dichotomously to contingent beings. God is both creator and destroyer, merciful and wrathful. He asks to open both eyes , the eye of reason and the eye of imagination to avoid spiritual fatigue and harmony between the self, its creator, the cosmos and others. only a standpoint of no standpoint can allow for transcending standpoints and arriving at the real. The real says no one can encompass any of my knowledge save what I will. God is thought through his names but unknowable through his essence. Rumi says, brother, you are this very thought. The rest of you is bones and fiber. If roses are your thought , you are a rose garden.If thorns, you are the fuel for a furnace. Unrecognizing god is the one unforgivable sin. I do not remember who said that science in its present form is like many vultures falling on the dead body of nature, each running away with a piece of its flesh. Setting the record straight is the only path to spiritual realization, the purpose of our creation, to be honest with our god. May god protects us from cultural schizophrenia. I wonder why Jasper did not mention in his Axis.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Very interesting comment, abdulmonem. I like that statement about the “standpoint of no standpoint” as an objection to what I’ve also been calling “point of view” consciousness and the “method of no-method”. The “activation of the inner faculties” is what I referred to above as the emergent “intuitive” consciousness as synonymous with the “integral consciousness”.

      Rumi also has the four “nafs” or animal spirits, and I’m taking these also to correspond to Blake’s four “beasts” or Zoas of the disintegrate human form, and correspondingly having something to do with animism, vitalism, spiritualism, and mentalism, but which have not yet attained to the “intuitive” as being the as-yet unrealised whole.

  2. alex jay says :

    Excellent Scott! (both posts) …

    I like the “migration of the soul” comments, and to add to it from another “perspective” (sorry for using the dreaded ego-centric word Scott) for abdulmonem, perhaps we might want to go back farther into its origins. I will leave you with an ancient astro-theological crafted interpretation (symbolic metaphors) from Manly P. Hall (much maligned, I might say, due to his involvement with dubious clandestine organisations – 33rd degree Mason – just kidding). Nevertheless, the migration of the soul, I think, is wonderfully portrayed in this 1 hour plus lecture.

    • Scott Preston says :

      The lecture was actually almost 2 hours, not the 1 hour 12 minutes as advertised on the website. Odd that they would get that wrong.

      But, anyway, far too much in that two hour lecture to adequately cover in a comment. It’s very rich, and much of what Hall has to say has also been covered in the earlier TDAB and the present Chrysalis. I would say that anyone who cares to could profitably spend their entire life just following up on the material Hall presents there in this one lecture on astrotheology, and they would definitely be changed by it.

      Some of it is “Jungian” of course (and nothing wrong with that), but also goes much further. I’ll just comment here on a couple of themes that I’ve previously touched on.

      “The Bull of Heaven”, who is Taurus, and who is Moloch or the Minotaur, as we encounter him in, say, the Epic of Gilgamesh, is Saturn. Saturn is indeed the “Bull of Heaven”, the reason being that the ancients saw, even with the naked eye, the Rings of Saturn, but which appeared to them that Saturn had rather “horns”. Saturn – Taurus is associated with the virtue of “prudence”, as Hall points out. This “virtue” is what Gebser would call “effective” or “efficient” mode. But the polarity of this prudence is “stubbornness” or incorrigibility. This is the “vicious” (or “deficient”) mode of manifestation of the god, and this is the mode that is called Moloch, the bull-headed god. This polarity of the gods or zodiacal signs is also reflected in the polarity of Minerva-Medusa, Athena-the Gorgon, or Dionysus-Hades, or in contemporary terms, as Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

      Some people might be confused by Hall’s cosmic numbers — 4, 7, 12, which recur. For example, he speaks of the 7 spheres, of how the soul migrates “down” through the 7 spheres (corresponding to the 7 planets) and then reverses the migration (enantiodromia) ascending again through 7 spheres of influence. Hall calls these also “the yugas” or “ages” of yogism. But the yugas are four, not seven. But, indeed, some in the Wisdom Tradition say that the human form is sevenfold, having seven “sheaths” as it were, while we have insisted it is fourfold, rather than sevenfold in nature.

      This confusion is clarified when one includes the “interstices” between the four ages, (the “interstices” are what we are presently calling “chaotic transitions”). The interstices between the four ages are three in number, precisely because the yugas DO NOT form a cycle or circle. The first becomes the last. The last becomes the first in the process of descent and ascent. The first age and last age do not abut one another, as in a circle. Enantiodromia does not describe a “cycle” or “circle” but a reversal. So, there are only three, and not four, interstices or transitional stages or zones of transit. This process, rather than “cycle”, corresponds to what Castaneda experienced as “elastic bounces” in his terms.

      Hall’s explication of the meaning of the 12 zodiacal signs as “astrotheology” I touched upon in other terms earlier.They are also reflected in Rosenstock-Huessy’s essay on “The Twelve Tones of the Spirit”. This also pertains to the mystery of the Christian “12 disciples”. The “Twelve Tones of the Spirit” are also the twelve winds of ancient maps, called “The Rose of the Winds” or “the Wind Rose” or “Compass Rose”. Each of the twelve winds has its own name, and to a certain extent, the Wind Rose is represented also as the Buddha’s Lotus Flower, although the Lotus is typically depicted as having 8 petals (rather than 12) to represent the Eight-fold Path, or virtues, rather than the twelve tones of the spirit. I wrote something about this earlier

      To wit: human beings have ALWAYS structured the cosmos as a symbolic form, even today, as a mirror of their own self-understanding. When that cosmic image changes, it means something very profound is going on inside the human form itself, which comes to be reflected in its symbolic and symbolising activity, even if the “mind” is not even aware of this. Cosmos and consciousness co-evolve, and this is how the “soul”, as such, comes to learn about itself and its potentialities — through the looking glass, as it were, of the cosmos. This is ultimately the truth behind the so-called “Measurement Problem” in quantum physics. The “forms are empty”, meaning they are constructions of intent or intentionality. Consciousness or “soul” itself creates forms, and through these forms, comes to know itself.

      So, “You are the World”, as Krishnamurti puts it, is fundamentally the case, and as Nietzsche also put it “fundamentally, we experience only ourselves”. The truth is, everything you experience is some aspect of yourself. The whole world is, in effect, your own autobiography made visible, sensible, palpable. When you gaze out into the vastness of the cosmos, or around yourself in your circle of experience, you are gazing into the depths and dimensions of what we call “the soul”. There is no separation. The sense of separation or “apartness” or “objectivity” is supplied by the ego-consciosness, which is a useful servant (as Hall speaks of “servant”) but a very lousy master — in effect, the “petty tyrant” itself.

      • alex jay says :

        Wow! So much to say, so little time to go through each sentence. That aside, can you interpret this for me in layman’s terms from your “all roads lead to Rome” link (Huessy’s “twelve tones”)?

        prophet or warner
        teacher or educator
        leader or legislator
        sufferer or perseverer
        protester or rebel
        critic or analyst
        doubter or despondent .
        player or singer
        learner or wanderer
        reader or conceiver
        listener or obeyer”

        I’ll begin with “testator” (someone leaving a will?). That is the legal term. I’m not sure how that defines a social type, as most people die intestate (duh?).

        As far as the other eleven, they’re actually twenty-two with potentially different meanings for most depending on context, how can you combine “listener” with “obeyer”? Obedience, unlike poverty and chastity (I have no problem with the latter two), was the reason I left the cloth … but I sure listened. “Obeyer” is one of the nastiest words in the English language (any language) and a totalitarian’s wet dream as the enemy of free will.

        What pearls of wisdom do you get out of the “twelve tones” (twenty-three actually – and “testator” baffles me), which have absolutely nothing to do in the remotest sense to the astrotheological significance of the number 12 in the context of the discussion. Unless, you’re emulating the Venerable Bede in converting the “pagan” cosmos with Christian symbolisms.

        Enlighten me …

        • Scott Preston says :

          Testator is related to the word “testes”, and so to meanings of fertility, as in “fertile mind” or even in “bearing” witness (or “testifying” or testament) or planting a seed. For Rosenstock, it means generative or regenerative, creative or procreative. A testator is a founder or originator.

          There aren’t 22 tones. Quite obviously the words are used as synonyms and interchangeable. The same goes for “obey” as an aspect of the listener. Obey (ob + audire is its root) means “to heed”.

          The arrangement is not entirely arbitrary. It begins with the “testator” and concludes with the “heeder”, but in between are all these intermediate processes. The “seed” planted by the testator must run the gauntlet, as it were.

          Take the prime directive or imperative of the Christian Era — it’s founding commandment, as it were: “be thou therefore perfect, even as thy Father in Heaven”. This is the “testament” of the testator. But then, the imperative must be “tested”. It will have to pass through the crucible, as it were, of all these processes before it ends in “obedience” or acceptance. Perhaps it may fail the test at any one of these stages, in which case it will never be heeded or fulfilled.

          • abdulmonem says :

            Beautifully sketched that needs further elaboration. Our life starts with a testimony, bears witness and makes stand regarding the polar ladder of our existence, and this is the purpose of being aware without forgetting the oneness the source of all this diversity. the unity of existence. Returning to the origin. In that context, I was thinking about Blake testimony and why he was crying for the return to Jerusalem, that is back to Christianity in its original pure form. In his profound insight he detects the danger of moving from Jerusalem to Athene, a move he was afraid will lead to the despotism of reason, a move , as history shows is a disastrous move . As its is expressed by the writers who, you always quote, who all aspire to return to the pure Christianity whether in the terms of the ever present origin or the real cross and gains its independence from the older books as Blake envisaged. His move from a three-fold god to a fourfold god made me wonder whether Blake is trying to absolve the god from the human box, that is refusing to descend god to human image, in concurrence with the original concept that the human and the universe are created in his image, avoiding turning god in a human image or in the image of the universe. We are in a time the waves of the sea of ideas never stop until we find our way back to Him, thus entering the house of peace in both its polarity .

          • alex jay says :

            Thanks. However, I can’t see how it’s “quite obviously the words are used as synonyms and interchangeable” at all? As an example: the “listener or obeyer” (and most others in the list) have, or coud have, unrelated connections. Just because I listen, doesn’t mean that I will obey (“heed); just because I’m a doubter doesn’t mean I’m despondent; just because I’m a teacher doesn’t mean I educate etc. etc. They are not synonyms at all, except in the context in which you apply them. Without going into the etymology (you’d wipe the floor with me as that is your strength, and why you have influenced me more than most), a teacher projects informaton, whereas an educator elicits (draws out) information from the subject. The former is the captain and the latter a navigator. They could be both, but not necessarily (and in today’s educational climate they appear to be antithetical by most observers that haven’t swallowed the “blue pill” – “Matrix”).

            Oh well …

            Aside from that little diversion into mental flatulence, I’d be interested in you reconciling, for me, Abraham Maslow’s hierachy of needs with the 4+ 1 model that is the theme of Chrysalis.

            Simply, as you’re aware (so I’m not gonna bore you), the five stages of human motivation begin with the physiological (survival), then safety (security), love/belonging (social), esteem (ego-centric), and culminate in self- actualisation (the complete human). Now, incorporated into the many models you cite, Maslow could find an additional niche with the others.

            So far (off the top of my head), the 1st stage “physiological” stage is clearly Gebser’s “archaic”; the “esteem”/ego-centric is the “mental-rational” 3rd stage and the “self-actualisation” is the integral. The other two — magical and mythical — must, therefore, be creatively worked into the “magical”/”security” and the “mythical”/”social”?

            There’s your challenge Scott? Help me work Maslow into Gebser, Huessy, Jung etc. … you only need to help me with the other 2 out of 5. It would take me hours; I’m sure you can do it in 5 minutes.

        • Scott Preston says :

          You’re having a problem with the meaning of “obey” only because you are isolating it from the other moods of the spirit. However, anyone who responds to what they feel is their “calling” is obeying that calling, and usually joyfully. In fact, obedience does not preclude the rebel or the critic, because the rebel or critic is a rebel or critic inasmuch as they are obedient to some other imperative or calling — the search for truth or justice, for example. Or maybe some people are just obedient to their addictions, and obey that voice in their heads that tells them — “man, you really need another drink” — obey the voice of the nafs or animal spirits, even. Or maybe its just obedience to their self-image, to the voice in their heads.

          “Despondent” is meant to contrast with respondent, as a different movement of the spirit. I’m surprised you have difficulties with that one, since Manly Hall noted that as the feature of Gemini. I found that quite funny, too, because I am Gemini. Indecision because of doubt does lead to despondency. Doubt means lack of convictions, lack of decisiveness. When one gets stuck in this mood, despondency is the result. One can’t be done with anything. One can’t even act on anything without doubt.

          Don’t try to isolate these moods from one another. They aren’t isolates, they are the twelve tones of the spirit because they are moods of the soul. Anyone who gets stuck in one of them ends up as a caricature. The Wind Rose or Compass Rose (in terms of the twelve winds) is also a mandala of the whole human form. The winds are moods. And as Rumi says, welcome them all — they all serve some purpose, and all are obedient to some greater design.

          Can’t help you with Maslow. I have only passing familiarity with Maslow. Oddly enough, I was thinking of his idea of “peak performance” as I wrote today’s post on “Being”, but I didn’t mention Maslow because I’m not versed in his work. Always something I wanted to do, but never have yet found the time to do it. I think I have a book by him around here somewhere, so maybe I’ll dig it up and see how his model might fit in with the Chrysalis.

        • Scott Preston says :

          The poem by Rumi that I had in mind, and which is pertinent to this issue of the “Twelve tones of the spirit” is called The Guest House, and runs as follows:

          The Guest House
          This being human is a guest house.
          Every morning a new arrival.

          A joy, a depression, a meanness,
          some momentary awareness comes
          As an unexpected visitor.

          Welcome and entertain them all!
          Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
          who violently sweep your house
          empty of its furniture,
          still treat each guest honorably.
          He may be clearing you out
          for some new delight.

          The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
          meet them at the door laughing,
          and invite them in.

          Be grateful for whoever comes,
          because each has been sent
          as a guide from beyond.

  3. abdulmonem says :

    Yes Scott we are moving toward realizing the unity of everything, that is the road to integral consciousness.
    You are right Alex, I think you have mentioned Manly in a previous comment, there is another being, his name is Mark Passio who talks about astrotheology, who is worth listening to.

  4. abdulmonem says :

    I like to be clear on the concept of returning to the origin. I mean returning to the divine reality and to use the return to old cultures to serve the original purpose.By the way I listened to Manly speaking on the victory of the soul over circumstance, a speech relevant to the topic of the migration of soul to its origin. I like to thank Scott again for reminding us that our life is a migration process, that need our intentional involvement.

  5. Scott Preston says :

    “Humankind is being led along an evolving course,
    through this migration of intelligences,
    and though we seem to be sleeping,
    there is an inner wakefulness
    that directs the dream,

    and that will eventually startle us back
    to the truth of who we are”

    (The Dream That Must Be Interpreted, Rumi. Coleman Barks, trans.)

  6. LittleBigMan says :

    “The truth is, everything you experience is some aspect of yourself. The whole world is, in effect, your own autobiography made visible, sensible, palpable.”

    Very profound. Thank you. And the knowledge of that truth has a very calming effect when facing an adversary, similar to this one of my favorite scenes from the motion picture Matrix:

    I’m not certain about the migration of my own soul, but in terms of units that are measurable within a time and space frame, I am light years away from where I was as a teenager. Now, how much of that change has any value whatsoever in terms of cleansing the doors of perception, and opening the doors of intuition, I have no idea. Of course, one would hope to access the ocean of intuition held in the subconscious before leaving this plane of existence.

    As a person born under the zodiac sign of Aquarius, there should be some hope for me to get to that intuitive knowledge bank some day while still kicking around on the blue dot 🙂

  7. Scott Preston says :

    I receive a regular notice from about new videos, and this one I received this morning on “Mindfulness and Consciousness” really addresses some of the same issues we’ve discussed here, and recently in other blog posts of the Chrysalis. Worth a listen.

    • LittleBigMan says :

      An illuminating (the first 45 minutes) and enlightening (after minute 45) video. Thank you for posting that, Chief.

      Toward the end, the discussion was drawing toward “a path to clear consciousness,” and Richard Moss described a physical exercise of achieving it (grabbing onto a chair with various tensions in the grip, concentrating on one’s breathing rhythm and so on). I definitely think his method works, but that it requires patience.

      But, I personally think don Juan Matus’ method – that is, to begin with dreams (starting with finding your hand in a dream) – is much quicker. Years ago, when I began the practice, after 2 months when I was able to find my hand in my dreams at will and as soon as I was asleep, I noticed that my dreams were rapidly becoming crystal clear, and also that I was becoming more and more able to control my dreams (where to go in them and what to do and when to leave one and enter another dream, etc.) which was very cool. Now, to where that clarity and ability in the dream state leads, I have yet to find out.

      I don’t exactly remember why I stopped the practice, but I intend to get back into it.

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