Samantabhadra: Syzygy in the form of divine union

Adi Buddha Samantabhadra, Unknown artist, unknown date, via Wikimedia Public Domain.
Adi Buddha Samantabhadra, Unknown artist, unknown date, via Wikimedia Public Domain.

As a basic principle, archetypes are not realized in static form but present in dynamic form, expressing transformations in consciousness. Archetypal images transform as awareness transforms. Or said another way, archetypes appear in various forms as consciousness shifts.

In terms of enlightenment, sacred images represent transformations in consciousness, expressing a movement from duality to integration and wholeness. Archetypes are therefore expressed in symbols of transformation: representing transformations in consciousness; transforming as consciousness transforms. [1].

The syzygy is a potent symbol of transformation, representing core transformations in the phenomenology of the Self [2]. The transformations in the syzygy archetype emerge along with transformations of the self, movements from duality to integration.

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Durga: encountering the demon of ignorance

Durga Mahishasura-mardini, the slayer of the buffalo demon, Raja Ravi Varma- 1910 US public domain via Wikimedia
Durga Mahishasura-mardini, the slayer of the buffalo demon, Raja Ravi Varma- 1910 US public domain via Wikimedia

In the above image we see Durga Mahishasura-mardini, the slayer of the buffalo demon. The painting is by Raja Ravi Varma- 1910 (via Wikimedia, US public domain).

In becoming aware of the supreme Self, we are likely to behold the demons and shadows of the individual self. Carl Jung believed that an encounter with the demon or monster represented an archetypal stage in the process of individuation. He says, “the initial encounter with the Self casts a dark shadow ahead of time.” In mythic terms the shadow may present itself as a monster, a demon, a darkness or a drought. Here is the full quote from Jung’s Man and His Symbols:

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Marriage of the Lamb

The Marriage of the Lamb. Circa 1255 - 1260. US Public Domain via Wikimedia
The Marriage of the Lamb. Circa 1255 – 1260. US Public Domain via Wikimedia

In the image above, we see the Marriage of the Lamb. What follows is the description from the Getty Museum:

“This artist represented the scene as a medieval marriage ceremony with the bride depicted as a beautiful young woman. The illuminator took some details directly from the text, such as the bride’s clothing, “glittering and white,” but he also added details not mentioned, such as the white cloth over the couple’s heads and the large ring that the Lamb gives to his bride.”

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Snake Dreams: instinct, energy, life force

 

Vishnu Vishvarupa, Victoria and Albert Museum, London Date approx. 1800–1820
Vishvarupa (notice the snakes at the feet of Cosmic Vishnu). c. 1800–1820. US Public Domain, Wikimedia.

A Dream:

“I am up in the hills and looking for a place to camp. The hills are golden-colored, rolling, as you would find in Northern California. I am walking along the hilltops for a while and then I come to a cave. I peek inside the cave and I see a little old hermit. I say to the hermit, “Hello.” And I ask, “Is there a place to camp up here upon the hilltops?” The hermit says, “No!” I look around and I say, “But there is so much room up here in the golden hills.” Then, as I am looking around, I see that at the entrance of the cave, there is a hill and the hill is the head of a huge snake. I shift my perspective and look into the distance: seeing that this snake spans into the distance, running for many miles over the hilltops.”

In the dream, we find the image of cave. In the Upanishads, a cave is found in the depths of the heart. In there, in the cave of the heart, the cosmic Self is discovered. The Katha Upanishad (1.11-13) says “he [the cosmic Self] dwells in the cave [of the heart] of all beings.”

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Maya: the projection-making factor

Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita Queen Maya Birth, Nalanda, Bihar, India., c. 8th - 12th century, Us Public Domain
Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita Queen Maya Birth, Nalanda, Bihar, India., c. 8th – 12th century, Us Public Domain

In the image above we see Queen Maya, the Mother of Buddha in the Buddhist tradition. In Mahamaya tantra (Tantric Buddhism), Maya is the goddess who creates the illusion of duality.

Indian philosophy also speaks of Maya, as mother world, as illusion. Māyā माया is a Sanskrit word from the root “mā” which means “to measure”.[1] Maya, as mā, is an expression of the mother archetype, as mother of soul. In Aion, Carl Jung speaks of Maya:

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