So what is this inner voice of which I speak? Well, it really isn’t a voice at all–more something experienced, felt if you will. But once “heard” its truth is known. It’s not of you, but it is in you–a part of your inner firmament–the mother to all the arts.
In the Archipelago of Dreams Robert follows a mysterious star that shines where a star shouldn’t be and finds at the end of the story where the star actually lives. In scripture, Mathew says “ye are the lights of the world.” (Mathew 5:14, NIV)
The star seems to live within mankind. It’s what Paracelsus called the “lumen nature” or just astrum–the star within. According to Carl Jung it is this star that drives man toward great wisdom. He goes on to say that we are endowed at birth with this light of nature and it is through our dreams, meditations and prayers that we are able to give it a form.
“Said the nightwind to the little lamb…Do you hear what I hear?…A star, a star, dancing in the night… he will bring us goodness and light”
–Noel Regney, 1962
Though the song seems to refer to an external light, I contend that it is when this inner light, what some call the Christ light, is allowed the freedom to shine forth in the conscious world that it dresses itself in our creative projections. It ‘s when we are able to tap into this firmament that we allow the world-soul, the Anima Mundi that Jung referred to, to speak through us. Without going into too much detail this Anima Mundi may be the “multiple consciousness” that Jung transforms into what he called the “collective conscious” or the Hindu Purusha, or Cosmic Man. It is from this that introspective visions, or intuitions, arise. Together with the archetypal patterns of the unconscious and the conscious, the psyche is expressed and interpreted.
To Jung, the psyche, our inner self, is a conscious and unconscious whole–both personal and non-personal. It is my contention that mankind is ever more cutting himself off from the unconscious aspects by rejecting any access to them. By doing so we leave ourselves vulnerable to the instinctual sphere and without the means of regulating it.
The collectively shared images of the unconscious often act as regulators and the conscious patterns that show up in our conscious creations are mediated, or shaped, in many respects by our unconscious. I have noted that when these shared archetypal images appear through dream or artistic creativity, there is a numinous, or spiritual, some might even say magical quality that shows up as well. These may be the stimulators of creative fantasy and imagination.
It has often fallen to the poet, artist and storyteller to maintain the balance of the psychic wholeness.
Often it is the artist’s vision that captures the light of the collective and then reflects the ongoing instinctual projections of the psyche. A perfect example of this for me was Pablo Picasso’s 1937 painting Guernica where he was able to capture the horror of the Spanish Civil War and bring it to the consciousness of the rest of the world. Another example is the photo of Trang Bang the naked girl who tore off her burning clothes after the South Vietnamese Air force napalmed a suspected village where Viet Cong were hiding. More than anything this image brought home what was happening within the world’s soul and arguably helped to bring about the end of U.S. involvement.
Images of reality are often amended by the conscious psyche so as to protect the ego-self either as individual or collective. I think that when we strive to only present a singular view that the balance of what is expressed as the whole of the world’s psyche, the Psyche Mundi as it were, tips toward something that is not in humanity’s health and well-being.
But we live in an age where the exterior life has gained greater importance than the inner, where the extrovert commands much greater attention than the introvert–where the quiet cannot be heard over the loud, where extremes are more alluring than the quiet center. In the center we have experience. As we move outward from experience we have metaphor, or a representation of that experience. But in our society we interpret yet again the metaphor until we have a metaphor of a metaphor and the experience is lost.
When we desert the center, all we have are the extremes and the balance of the world’s psyche tips toward chaos.
In this age the most common of beings are those who, as Jung suggested, “live without a shadow” that is that they think of themselves as only being what they care to imagine themselves as being. In this state, mankind cannot take responsibility for much of anything, and thus exercise any free will, because it’s always the anonymous “them” who’s responsible for the way things are. Until our unconscious shadow selves have been recognized and then assimilated they often run our conscious lives. This development process is known as “Individuation.”
A poorly developed consciousness has only its huge unconscious projections to inform itself and is highly vulnerable to concretisms in its politics, religion, and day-to-day living. This being doesn’t, or can’t, look inwardly to discover who’s really responsible.
How to overcome this? Simply by getting in touch with your inner wisdom and sharing it with others. Be the center, be the light that Jesus spoke of on the Sermon on the Mount. The light isn’t someone else’s, it is yours, you are the Astrum, the star. It’s your shining light that needs to happen on a day-to-day basis that will bring about the balance. But alas, although I use the word, “simply” it is not all that simple until of course it is. By that I mean we can struggle mightily to look within to find our real nature, but it’s not in the struggle that the discovery is made, it is in the intention that the struggle represents that cracks open the cosmic egg and allows the psyche to become whole once again. It is only at that moment of transformation that it appears so simple. I wish I knew how to do it easier, but it was not on the easy path that I found it, so I can’t guide you down it.
As Harry said to Robert as they parted company at the end of The Archipelago of Dreams,
“Up to now you have been following a star, where a star shouldn’t be, a star from a world outside yourself, but now you can follow a star, a star that shines from within, where a star should be.”
This speaks to a world-wide awakening where the consciousness of man becomes aligned with nature and aligned with his unconscious i.e. when there is a conscious awareness of the archetypal effects on conscious content. To be successful in this might very well propel the species to the next level of its evolution, or in failing, doom it to its inevitable extinction.