Settling The Manor At Tara: Part 2

Part 1: Introduction 
Part 2: Models and Mandalas of Contemporary Initiation
Part 3: The Provinces and Their Attributes
Part 4: The Masters and the Treasures
Part 5: Elemental Attributes
Part 6: Thelemic Initiation Through The Provinces
Part 7: Afterword

Part 2: Models and Mandalas of Contemporary Initiation

I am sitting outside on a crisp autumn evening, next to my dear friend Daniel, philosophising. In the background I can hear the subtle sound of the Liffey swelling and running after a day of rain. It wraps around the land I live on, and is ever present in my life. A kilometre to my South is the royal site of Dun Ailinne, the provincial centre of Leinster. Also within a few kilometres is the landscape of Brigid, and of Fionn and the warrior band the Fianna.

I am surrounded by myth, and meaning, and as I peer up at a jewelled sky I am filled with a sense of place and presence and realise this is what it’s all about for me – the land, and the mythic landscape, the moon, and the stars and the trees. Most of all it’s about a subtle spiritual sense of the immanence and living reality of nature Herself.

There is a certain truth to this kind of feeling, but it is not the stuff of written words. We as human beings have two tendencies – on one hand to systematise, and on the other to mythologise. Our drive to systematise creates attributes, and boxes and intellectual symmetries, allowing us maps of understanding. The map is not the territory, and we ask mythical questions to bring meaning and movement to potentially dead categorisations and attributes. This series offers a series of successive layers, which though initially appealing to the systematic drive, they offer imaginative doorways to meaningful mythical landscapes.

The initial layer I would like to look at is found in the work of the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung. While a psychologist, the works of Carl Jung form potent meaning maps and charter the process of initiation. Jung uses the word individuation to describe this process of becoming who you are, and uses the term Self to describe the true unfolded, equilibrated state which you arrive at.

Jung offers a series of symbols to describe his system of western esotericism and psychology and describes in his Red Book that “there are not many truths, there are only a few. Their meaning is too deep to grasp other than in symbols”. He describes a series of symbols for the Self, which he sees as arising as a third principle or reconciliation point out of a series of oppose qualities or perspectives. In his book Psychological Types he describes this as “The raw material shaped by thesis and antithesis, and in the shaping of which the opposites are united, is the living symbol” (Psych Types, par. 827).

He ascribes a series of symbols to this arising Self including the circle, the cross and the quaternary. He also ascribes the square which I will deal with as the latter part of this chapter.

The Circle

The circle is a symbol which has a deep and primal resonance for us, the wheel of life and nature, ever turning, ever beginning where an ending seems in sight, as we continue in the great drama that is life.

We are cyclic and rhythmic creatures, from the rhythm of our week, to the passing through the year and the cycle of the seasons. The circle is a potent symbol of the individual, the seasons, the world, and the universe.

Aleister Crowley speaks about this Great wheel, or dynamic circle in the Book of Lies, using the analogy of the tarot as a complete and inclusive cosmology

Wheel and Whoa!
The Great Wheel of Samsara.
The Wheel of the Law. (Dhamma.)
The Wheel of the Taro.
The Wheel of the Heavens.
The Wheel of Life.
All these Wheels be one; yet of all these the Wheel of the TARO alone avails thee consciously.
Meditate long and broad and deep, O man, upon this Wheel, revolving it in thy mind!
Be this thy task, to see how each card springs necessarily from each other card, even in due order from The Fool unto The Ten of Coins.
Then, when thou know’st the Wheel of Destiny complete, may’st thou perceive THAT Will which moved it first. [There is no first or last.]
And lo! thou art past through the Abyss.

 

Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies KEF.OH.

 

circle

The Cross

Jung dealt with the circle squared, being the circle considered as a series of dimensions or oppositions. This squared circle can be seen especially in mandalas.

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 The square implies four sides, or a series of two oppositions. In his cosmological system Jung describes four typologies of functions.

These form two groupings and oppositions also. To the east and west we place intuition and sensation which is a perceptual axis.

Intuition is the process by which we make connections and infer meanings beyond sensory data .

Sensation is the process of collecting concrete data through using our five senses

In the North and South we have an axis of discernment or judgement.

Thinking is evaluating information by applying objective and logical criteria.

Feeling is the process we use for evaluating information by considering what is important to me and you – the social perception of a situation.

Jungs typologies form a system of oppositions and reconciliations; at the centre of these the Self is encountered.

In Ireland we meet the four in the land through the four directions, four contemporary provinces, the dynamic form of the cross in the sun cross of Brigid, the four fire festivals, the four solar festivals, the four royal sites and lots more. In the place of reconciliation we have the fifth province of Meath.

The symbol of the circle, and its squaring (the cross) are brought together in one in the solar or so-called “Celtic Cross”.

cross

The Quaternary Reconciled (The Cross and Circle)

We began our journey with the circle, the self, eternal, undivided but also unrealised. Then we came to self-knowledge through a series of opposite experiences. In the combination of the cross and circle the Self is self-realised and works from a more conscious place. Jung referred to this process as ‘individuation’.

“Squaring the circle was a problem that greatly exercised medieval minds. It is a symbol of the opus alchymicum, since it breaks down the original chaotic unity into the four elements and then combines them again in a higher unity.

 Unity is represented by a circle and the four elements by a square.

 The production of one from four is the result of a process of distillation and sublimation which takes the so-called “circular” form: the distillate is subjected to sundry distillations so that the “soul” or “spirit” shall be extracted in its purest state.

 The product is generally called the “quintessence,” though this is by no means the only name for the ever-hoped-for and never-to-be-discovered “One.” ~Carl Jung

celtic-cross

Squaring the circle has also been called “fixing the volatile”, involving the processes of solve or breaking a symbol into its individual parts before coagula or putting back together consciously. This is the task of initiation and our journey through the provinces.

The relationship of the four typologies to the provinces will become more clear as we go on but the synthesis of these elements can be found in the lamen of our Order which is a rendering of the Celtic Cross.

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Part 1: Introduction 
Part 2: Models and Mandalas of Contemporary Initiation
Part 3: The Provinces and Their Attributes
Part 4: The Masters and the Treasures
Part 5: Elemental Attributes
Part 6: Thelemic Initiation Through The Provinces
Part 7: Afterword