Monday, April 7, 2008

Our Labors of Desire

Consider Brothers, the indelible image of Salome, dancing for the head of John the Baptist. Was not this audacious display more than a moment of desire, lust or power? In such infamy is a curious thing, a truth. This truth then, that our flesh, and its array of natural passions labor to cleave us of our reason.

Always we are beset by the lower demons of our nature, these instincts of carnal reward or simple survival. And we have our angels as well. We play a kind of chess game with this instinctive nature of ours. We are, after all, born with the archetypal pieces and the playing field already layed out before us. Knights, we find in friends perhaps, brothers. Pawns we make of those nameless many that move about our lives. Bishops we turn to for guidance and when our souls weary. A Queen we desire to conquer even though she is the most windsome - and powerful - of all. The King, our own ego, awaits the turns of the Game with us. And behind it all, we play the patterns out, move by move as we have been taught or as we learn to act and react. Instinct, an inborn program mapped on our soul, seems determined to Fate us. Still, we might pause and reflect not only upon our opponent, the world, but - finally - upon ourselves.


The Papyrus of Ani, familiarly known as the Egyptian Book of the Dead eloquently portrays the 'weighing of the heart' by Thoth as man seeks entrance into the afterlife. If the heart weighs more than a feather then the soul is devoured by a crocodile!


How important is the heart, long considered the emotional seat, in relation to the head that thinks its way through? Much is said of 'purity of heart' but what does this mean? Is it simply a purity of intent?


When we reflect upon ourselves, circunambulating that great inner temple, we find our reason blinded by our emotions. Led by reason we could see. But would we truly 'see' with the sight that 'feeling' gives us there...at once in the moment? Eyes are ravenous and, like hungry things, devour ready truths as that very crocodile. The heart, however, fits the scale well. For it simply is. Emotion is not an endless, changeless thing. Emotion is the moment.


We labor like Heracles between the conscious and the unconscious. From that unconscious field springs both thoughts and emotions. And, of these, which of them are we? Which moves on the chessboard will 'we' make if we could be divested of this wellspring? Would we, could we, move at all?


And so we are the Player and the Board, the thoughts, the feelings and the actions we take in 'light' of them. To reach to the True Light beyond them...Is it even possible? 'Know Thyself' says the Pythian Oracle of Delphi. Can we achieve this balance of head and heart and set our inner angels and demons to rest at peace?

Salome dances, the Archetypal female Anima. She embodies that unconscious spirit that demands the spirit of reason to acquiesce to the flesh, the natural soul from whence it came. Come to balance after all, she decries, in death. And so, John the Baptist's head is hers on a platter. This Occult Nature is greedy...demanding.

An accord must be made with the windsome chess Queen, Salome. As she moves about the field, she must be understood to Be the field...as all pieces are. The Enlightened Player knows no opponent. The Enlightened Player fears no outcome. For the Game is his, won or lost.

We simply need to subdue our passions by accepting them as parts of ourself that we may learn to understand; thus keeping our heads as it were. To this end, we strike a balance with our innate nature and the world at large. Oft blinded by our articles of fate, we still possess the capacity to reflect in the moment; to be in the moment; to be it All. Would that passion and reason could share such space?

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