Karen Blixen - The Devil´s Mistress (free Ebook)
In this Ebook I will explain Karen Blixen´s mysterious relationship with Lucifer. I will show that it has to do with the mystical experience.
In many ways Blixen´s work and life is a rebellion against the mediocre Christianity, which tried to clip her wings as a child. In her works this comes to expression in her “counter-stories”, for example when she reverses Kierkegaard´s three stages on the way to becoming a true self: the aesthetic, the ethical, and the religious.
The mystical experience is about returning to nature, which she decribes as a fall, a Luciferian movement from the religious and ethical, to the aesthetic. She claimed that the true human nature is that of an artist.
The concept of a return to nature is also the background for her depiction of herself as a witch, a concept which came to expression in her magical circle of male students, to whom she tried to transform creative energies and images. A relationship which they described as demonical, a kind of seducement into her personal Earth-Moon Kingdom.
In the book I will also describe my own mystical connection with Karen Blixen, and emphasize that her Luciferian relationship hasn´t anything to do with satanism, but with the surrender that is necessary in order to receive the mystical experience.
If it is my task is to continue Blixen´s work you could say that my concept of The Matrix Conspiracy is a counter-theory proclaiming: What if I told you that conspiracy theories are a conspiracy? Read more here: The Matrix Conspiracy updates).
Table of Contents (in the PDF version you can find page numbers):
1) My Mystical Connection with Karen Blixen
2) The Storyteller
3) The Devil´s Mistress
4) The Question of Satanism
5) Human Nature seen in the Image of an Artist
6) A Shadow Odyssey
This Ebook is the first of three about my main literary spiritual mentors. The other two are Philosophical Counseling with Tolkien and The Philosophy of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
The three Ebooks could be said to follow Kierkegaard´s three stages on the way to becoming a true self: the aesthetic, the ethical, and the religious. Each of these “stages on life’s way” represents competing views on life and as such potentially conflicts with one another. In my interpretation Karen Blixen belongs to the aesthetic stage. Tolkien and Saint-Exupéry belong to the ethical and religious stage, though this doesn´t mean that aesthetics not is a part of their work. It certainly is. Let me describe each of the stages:
The aesthetic is the realm of sensory experience and pleasures. The aesthetic life is defined by pleasures, and to live the aesthetic life to the fullest one must seek to maximize those pleasures. Increasing one’s aesthetic pleasures is one way to combat boredom, and Kierkegaard described many methods of doing so.
Ethics are the social rules that govern how a person ought to act. Ethics are not always in opposition to aesthetics, but they must take precedence when the two conflict. The aesthetic life must be subordinated to the ethical life, as the ethical life is based on a consistent, coherent set of rules established for the good of society.
Kierkegaard considers the religious life to be the highest plane of existence. He also believes that almost no one lives a truly religious life. He is concerned with how to be “a Christian in Christendom”—in other words, how to lead an authentically religious life while surrounded by people who are falsely religious.
The three stages on life´s way is in my version a grounding movement from the head to the heart. This might seem odd, since many would consider it to be the opposite way around, but in my interpretation the movement is intimately connected to my concept of The Peter Pan Project (here Saint-Exupéry´s philosophy is explained deeper), where the central message is: To become like a child again.
Karen Blixen is certainly not for children. She is for adults. Tolkien represents a movement towards the child, and Saint-Exupéry is about the child in us all. Ethics and religiousness belong to the heart. In my view.
Karen Blixen, Tolkien and Saint-Exupéry are not educated philosophers, but creators of wonder. The ability to wonder (or to be skeptical, critical) is the philosopher´s basic virtue. If you as a Life Artist want to start philosophizing, you must therefore become like a child again. Children seems to come from eternity, or the wholeness (the universal). It seems like you automatically begin to philosophize when you somehow get a sense of looking at things from the perspective of the wholeness (the universal). Therefore enlightened masters also always are philosophers, no matter whether they have any formal education in philosophy or not. Krishnamurti was an exceptional example of a philosopher thinking for himself all the time, but he hadn´t got any formal education in philosophy.
The works of my three literary spiritual mentors have opened my path into philosophy. Philosophy and literature belong together. The philosopher Peter J. Kreeft says they can work like the two lenses of a pair of binoculars. Philosophy argues abstractly. Literature argues too – it persuades, it changes the reader – but concretely. Philosophy says truth, literature shows truth.
Human thought is both concrete (particular) and abstract (universal) at the same time. We cannot think of abstract universals like “man” without imagining some concrete, particular example of a man.
Authors like Karen Blixen, Tolkien and Saint-Exupéry see the universals in man and life. Whenever we think of an abstract universal, we have to use a particular concrete image. But the converse is also true: whenever we recognize a concrete particular as intelligible and meaningful, we use and abstract universal to classify it, to categorize it, to define it: we see or imagine the Bedouin as a man, not an ape.
When you look through binoculars, you look through both lenses at once. Because human thought is binocular, abstract philosophy and concrete literature naturally reinforce each other´s vision. Philosophy makes literature clear, literature makes philosophy real. Philosophy shows essences, literature shows existence. Philosophy shows meaning, literature shows life.
This Ebook is an independent continuation of my article The Philosophy of Karen Blixen and my book Lucifer Morningstar – a Philosophical Love Story. Since my intention is that it could be read independently, there will therefore come some repetitions.
After my publication of Lucifer Morningstar many people have asked me the question of Satanism. I´m being asked: “Are you a Satanist?” or “Were Karen Blixen a Satanist?” I´m also getting the question: “Why do you call Karen Blixen a spiritual teacher, since she is so demonical in her approach?” Let me begin with answering the latter: because she has taught me about the shadow, the painbody, the dark ancient inertia which we all have to face if we want to ascend above it. This dark ancient inertia was the Earth-Moon kingdom in which Karen Blixen was the queen. This dark ancient inertia is Lucifer Morningstar, who offers us to play his game. We can´t pass him without playing his game. And Blixen were, with her own words, his mistress.
I will try to explain that the nature of this game is the paradoxical. It is therefore also a good beginning of my three books on my literary spiritual mentors.
In my first book Meditation as an art of life – a basic reader I presented what I call the four philosophical hindrances and openings in towards the Source. I presented them in order to show what I think characterizes the spiritual practice, as it exists in all the traditional wisdom traditions. Ever since I have become increasingly puzzled over, how the self-help industry - which claims to work in accordance with spirituality - is turning this upside down. The paradox is that while the self-help industry is claiming to create the authentic, autonomous, resource-filled and competent human being, at the same time is doing the exact opposite: it is making people dependent of therapists, coaches, others´ ideas and ideals; making them modeling and imitating so-called successful people, etc., etc.
In a broad perspective such beliefs are today rooted in what I call the mythology of authenticity. This mythology is the main mythology of popular culture.
The mythology of authenticity is characterized by two specific methods: psychotherapy and coaching. Psychotherapy and coaching are by no means methods, which only exist within a defined theory. The mythology is characterized by that people constantly are inventing new forms of therapeutic interventions, but the basic mythology is the same.
The two world-images can in other words be seen as two versions of the same superior psychologizing understanding of life, which I call the mythology of authenticity. This mythology is so to speak a compilation of the two world-images into one.
So, psychotherapy (with root in humanistic psychology) and coaching (with root in constructivism) can be seen as new, large, meaning-carrying world-images in a psychologized and therapized age. Even though they, in their sources of inspiration, at first specify two quite different views of Man and his possibilities and purposes in the world, they are common in explaining humans from a conception about, that humans have lost (or all the time are in risk of losing) himself and therefore constantly have to work with personal development in order to find himself (psychotherapy and the dream of a lost past) or to become himself (coaching and the hope of a richer future). You can say that the two world-images both are based on the claim, that a human being not is himself, before he becomes himself, and that both world-images see lifelong therapeutic self-improvement as a presumption for, that a human being can become and live authentic.
So the mythology of authenticity defines Man as a being, who continuously need to cultivate himself therapeutic. The mythology does so by making Man into a problem to himself. It is indoctrinating people to see the Now as a problem by comparing with earlier, and hoping, desiring or fearing something else. This is precisely what traditional spiritual practice seeks to avoid.
A central part of the problem is that the mythology of authenticity only is dealing with the content of mind, the personal content. Religion and philosophy have been reduced to psychotherapy (or coaching). The Wholeness (and the metaphysical and ontological realms) has been reduced to psychological realms. Humanity, in its relation to nature and universe, has been reduced to person and ego.
I hear protest, because the mythology is also working with the now. They also use mindfulness, which has become a buzzword in the mythology of authenticity. But when meditation, as in the mindfulness movement, are combined with the mythology of authenticity, mindfulness works as a hypnotic means of inducing the mythology into the mind. There will be created a conflict between the now (mindfulness) and the mythology of a lost past and a richer future.
The difference between mindfulness and traditional spiritual practice is that where authenticity in the mindfulness movement is the same as becoming another (authenticity is a dream, a mythology), then authenticity in spirituality is the same as being what you are (authenticity is reality); or said shortly: the difference between becoming and being. It is a culture of self-assertion.
The Matrix Conspiracy is my main term for the strange beliefs, amusing deceptions, and dangerous delusions, which today are manifesting in the outbreak of such a culture of self-assertion, where the classical deadly sins have been turned into virtues. Self-assertion is the main tool used in order to keep us in the illusion. The Matrix Sophists are the teachers of self-assertion. The Matrix Sophists play what I will call The Right Hand of Darkness. They play the position of the Ego, or the Sophist´s hand. The task is, in my view, to try the opposite: To play The Left Hand of Darkness, the negation of the ego, or the philosopher´s hand.
I will show that Karen Blixen actually is playing the Left Hand of Darkness. She is the dark ancient inertia itself though, the Devil´s mistress. She is therefore also one big paradox. You can namely recognize traits of both the left hand and the right hand.
She had, with her own words, a third eye. She had without doubt mystical knowledge of dark ancient powers. In the relation with her young male students she tried to share this mystical knowledge. But the tantric game became demonical since Blixen, as far as I can see, only had insight into one side of spiritual practice: the realization work, the third eye, but lacked the other: the ethical practice, the heart. Both are necessary in order to reach the full realization of the spiritual dimension.
I have often told about my own mystical connection with Karen Blixen, therefore I will begin my book with a description of that. The book is, as all my other writings, a part of my own realization work. It must be seen as a part of my own philosophical diary. It is created in a state of meditative writing, and functions in order to review my teaching and refresh my practice. The style of the book is therefore completely informel. It will give my own argument, and is nonacademical (in the PDF version you can find page numbers):
1) My Mystical Connection with Karen Blixen
2) The Storyteller
3) The Devil´s Mistress
4) The Question of Satanism
5) Human Nature seen in the Image of an Artist
6) A Shadow Odyssey
1) My Mystical Connection with Karen Blixen
Karen Blixen´s novel Out of Africa, is about finding the universal images behind everything, the original, as she calls it, the ancient, where you live in accordance with yourself, with God´s plan with you.
The God in Karen Blixen´s stories, is the wild God from the Book of Job. The God, which she in her letters calls the Devil, is therefore not the God of the common, mediocre life, which in Blixen´s childhood had clipped her wings, and made her live as a slave of other´s ideas; that is: the ideas of the mediocre moral order.
When Karen Blixen, after her time in Africa, was lying sick in a hospital in Copenhagen, she had lost her dream of Africa, she had lost her coffee farm, had got infected with syphilis from her husband Bror Blixen, and this illness had destroyed her sexuality, her possibilities for being together with men erotically, and for having children. And she had lost her beloved Denys Finch Hatton, who got killed in an airplane crash.
But now she began to realize, that this maybe also was God´s plan with her.
In Out of Africa Karen Blixen somewhere retells a small story, she was told as a child. She calls it The Roads of Life and gets it placed in such a way, that it tips one of her completely central ideas up in the light. It goes like this:
When I was a child I was shown a picture, -- a kind of moving picture in as much as it was created before your eyes and while the artist was telling the story of it. This story was told, every time, in the same words.
In a little round house with a round window and a little triangular garden in front there lived a man.
Not far from the house there was a pond with a lot of fish in it.
One night the man was woken up by a terrible noise, and set out in the dark to find the cause of it. He took the road to the pond. Here the story-teller began to draw, as upon a map of the movements of an army, a plan of the roads taken by the man.
He first ran to the South. Here he stumbled over a big stone in the middle of the road, and a little farther he fell into a ditch, got up, fell into a ditch, got up, fell into a third ditch and got out of that.
Then he saw that he had been mistaken, and ran back to the North. But here again the noise seemed to him to come from the South, and he again ran back there.
He first stumbled over a big stone in the middle of the road, then a little later he fell into a ditch, got up, fell into another ditch, got up, fell into a third ditch, and got out of that.
He now distinctly hear that the noise came from the end of the pond. He rushed to the place, and saw that a big leakage had been made in the dam, and the water was running out with all the fish in it. He set to work and stopped the hole, and only when this had been done did he go back to bed.
When now the next morning the man looked out of his little round window, -- thus the take was finished, as dramatically as possible,-- what did he see?--
I am glad that I have been told this story and I shall remember it in the hour of need. The man in the story was cruelly deceived, and had obstacles put in his way. He must have thought: "What ups and downs! What a run of bad luck!" He must have wondered what was the idea of all his trials, he could not know that it was a stork. But through them all he kept his purpose in view, nothing made him turn round and go home, he finished his course, he kept his faith. That man had his reward. In the morning he saw the stork. He must have laughed out loud then.
The tight place, the dark pit in which I am now lying, of what bird is it the talon? When the design of my life is complete, shall I, shall other people see a stork?
Infandum, Regina, jubes renovare dolarem. Troy in flames, seven years of exile, thirteen good ships lost. What is to come out of it? "Unsurpassed elegance, majestic stateliness, and sweet tenderness."
In Out of Africa Karen Blixen writes:
If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?
So, when Karen Blixen was lying in her sickbed, and after having realized, that this maybe was God´s plan with her - she made a pact with the Devil, that she from now on could change everything into stories. And in her stories, and in her following life as a storyteller, she realized the dreams she had had as a young woman.
All her following stories, for example Seven Gothic Tales, are reflections of her own experiences with destiny. They are all about how to find the dreaming tracks and songlines in the artwork of your life - God´s plan with you - and about people who live in accordance with these power lines, and about people who don´t live in accordance with them.
These themes continue in Karen Blixen´s storytelling ever after.
And Karen Blixen herself became, in her pact with the Devil, an embodiment of the same demonical element, which fascinated Milton, Romanticism, Baudelaire, etc. The Devil haunted in her, and around her, just like he haunted in figure of Prospero in Shakespeare´s The Tempest, as Mefistoteles in Goethe´s Faust, or as Conchis in John Fowles´ The Magus.
He haunts in the change of Karen Blixen´s looks, the change of the beautiful, brightly dressed woman, into the black dressed witch-like woman. Karen Blixen even liked to speak about herself as a witch (or the Devil´s Mistress), since she considered a witch as someone, who has contact with the deep, ancient secrets and powers. And this is not only something symbolical. Karen Blixen´s access to the collective time's astral worlds, her transformation into a witch, her paranormal abilities, are something completely real, which several times have been depicted by people, who stood her close.
In the realized transmission of energy and consciousness the sexuality is transformed through exercises, prayer and meditation. In Karen Blixen´s case it is happening through conscious taken over unhappy fate, partially her illness, partially the death of the beloved (a theme which by the way is well known and very used in art and literature, for example in Goethe´s Faust). This conscious turned inwards sexuality, opened her to knowledge about, and experiences of, the collective time and its images – and maybe also about the universal time and its images. Hereby was released an extensive and common human energy, which expressed itself in the existential environment around herself, as the Source of energy.
She created an energy-mandala around herself, a magical circle. You can directly feel the magic just by reading her books. It waves out of her stories, just like it also can be felt in books, which are written about her.
The magical circle of poets and men of letters (among whom Thorkild Bjørnvig, Aage Henriksen, Jørgen Gustava Brandt and Jørgen Kalchar), who moved around Karen Blixen on Rungstedlund, were after own statements, in works and scriptures, grabbed by a strange indefinable magic. They were lovers, but however clearly not lovers in ordinary sense. They were in apprenticeship, but not in apprenticeship in ordinary sense; they were in pact with, and weaved together with Karen Blixen, and at the same time they came deeper in towards their own creative potentials. They were drawn into the collective time. Both in their being together with Karen Blixen, and in their works, they melted together with a world of archetypes, primordial images, myths and dreams. All of it was changed into stories.
What she referred to as God´s plan with you, she also referred to, as that to find your role in the story, and since she herself was the storyteller, she didn't mind forcing the circle around her to find their roles in her story. To adhere to God´s plan with you, just like the man in the story about the stork, she could also refer to, as that to keep the author's idea clear. And the author was herself. The roles in this play she referred to as marionettes. The good marionettes are rewarded, not with wellbeing or special happiness, but with a fate, an image that was remembered, for example a stork. They would get to see the dreaming tracks and the songlines in the artwork of their lives – God´s, or the author's plan with them.
In "The Roads Round Pisa" (from Seven Gothic Tales) she writes:
At the end the witch appears again, and on being asked what is really the truth, answers: "The truth, my children, is that we are, all of us, acting in a marionette comedy. What is important more than anything else in a marionette comedy, is keeping the ideas of the author clear. This is the real happiness of life, and now that I have at last come into a marionette play, I will never go out of it again. But you, my fellow actors, keep the ideas of the author clear. Aye, drive them to their utmost consequences."
She could in other words refer to herself as God himself, or the Devil himself; the witch, or the Devil´s mistress. She could do this, because she apparently was conscious about herself manifesting an universal image. She referred to herself as being 3000 years old and of the same age as the prophet Esajas, whom she had an intensive, conflict-accented relationship with. And all of it, her own fate, the relationship with her students, can be found reflected in her stories in a fount of variations. Reality and stories are melting together.
The initiation ritual into this magical circle was the same for each of them. She told the individual person the story of her disease, and that she in her sickroom had a visit from the Devil, which she entered into the pact with, that she from that moment of would be able to transform everything that happened to her into stories. Furthermore that if they mixed blood with a witch (the Devil´s Mistress), they would get access to the same ancient, deep secrets and powers, which she herself possessed. They would get an image, they would get to see the dreaming tracks and the songlines in the artwork of their lives – God´s, or the author's plan with them.
So, Karen Blixen changed everything in her life into stories, depicted in the strange paradox that what she in her letters (real life) refer to as the Devil, she in her stories refer to as God.
And it is my own hope that I can change everything in my life into a philosophy as an art of life. The idea of making the whole of your life into a work of art, and how this idea differs from postmodernism and New Age, I have investigated in my pop culture file on David Bowie. In my book Lucifer Morningstar – a Philosophical Love Story, I have also used popular culture to shed light over my own life and suffering. The description of the book goes:
With a preface by the Devil we are introduced to the love story of Dracula and Mina, seen with the eyes of a philosopher.
We learn that the nature of the Devil´s game is the paradoxical. This is revealed when we guess that the Devil´s proper name is Lucifer Morningstar, which means Bringer of Light.
We hear about the Devil´s double incarnation in the pain-bodies of Dracula and Mina. In the search for the unification of their love we undertake a Hero´s Journey through the Earth-Moon Kingdom of the Vampire. Like Vergil in Dante´s The Divine Comedy our guide will be Karen Blixen.
In this book I´m using popular culture to shed light on my own pain-body and the dark ancient powers I have struggled with for over two decades. In this way the book is an analogistic portrait of the experiential background for my teaching Meditation as an Art of Life.
The book is an inquiry into the nature of suffering and love.
In all my life I have experienced a mysterious connection with Karen Blixen, which is puzzling me more and more the more progressive karma (divine providence) I´m experiencing.
If your spiritual essence (your Soul) is sleeping, the spiritual energy is quiet. Without traceable activity. A human being can live a whole life, yes, life after life, in absolute sleep.
If you however existentially begin to seek, to seek the spiritual, the divine, to seek love, if you choose to use your energy and your life in that way, then the spiritual energy will begin to vibrate, to become active. Only the images, which have achieved to imprint themselves in the spiritual energy, will be transferred as progressive karma. Your Soul (your spiritual essence) will remember its dreams from life to life. And your Soul will remember and accumulate the glimpses of being awake, it might have experienced. These, the dreams and awake moments of your Soul, are the progressive karma.
Concerning the progressive karma it applies, that each new life, in a quintessence, repeats the crucial stations on the development path of the Soul. The place, where you can find your own progressive karma, if such is available, is therefore in the life, you have lived, in the history of your present life. It lies as an invisible script underneath the history of your actual life. It is the dreaming tracks and songlines in the artwork of your life.
In the inexplicable events in my own life, in the rows of moments of spiritual longing, in the fateful incidents and actions - in them are contained the progressive karma (divine providence). In my spiritual history there is a map. This map shows the dreaming tracks and the songlines in my spiritual work of art. This map is a universal image. And I´m more and more seeing this in the image of a pilgrim. I have investigated this on my page The Art of Pilgrimage.
There is no doubt about, that Karen Blixen, though not fully conscious, had a sense of this map. All her books are about destiny seen in this way; they are about people who either live in accordance with this map, or in discordance with it.
This map, this universal image was, what she referred to as the ”ancient”, the ”original”, and which she always was seeking as authenticity, autonomy, possibility, freedom and adventure. And a universal image is of a holographic nature, therefore it contains all other images, personal, collective and universal, and therefore it also contains the dreaming tracks and songlines in the artwork of my life.
This mysterious connection with Karen Blixen has even made me wonder about the concept of reincarnation. Blixen died in 1962, I was born in 1964. Ok, this is just my private fantasy, I haven´t experienced it directly. But I will explain it differently: you could say that this speculation is my continuation of Blixen´s demonical tantric game with her surroundings (the game of the Devil´s Mistress). My own (semi) demonic rebellion started with the kundalini awakening; an irrational anger towards friends and family, an anger caused by my periodical alcohol abuse. This continued with my philosophical (rational) anger, and my critique of the Matrix Conspiracy. It also appears in my (humoristic?) concept of idleness as an important part of spiritual practice (about all this: read my article The Hermeneutics of Suspicion (The Thought Police of the Self-help Industry) and Why I am an Apostle of Loafing).
My own story of spiritual crisis contains many of the elements of the wife of the Czech-American psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, Christina Grof. I have described this in my booklet The Psychedelic Experience versus The Mystical Experience. My luck was that my spiritual practice began with Krishnamurti and his anti-authoritarian teaching of thinking for yourself; the key element in philosophy.
I would say that I have went through two dramatic Kundalini cycles, before I succeeded in getting the energy stabilized.
My Kundalini awakening happened after five years of Hatha yoga practice, beginning in London in 1985, where my only meditative exercise was the relaxation-meditation described in my first book Meditation as an Art of Life – a basic reader. In my article, Philosophy as a Rite of Rebirth (a Shamanic Ritual), I describe how the awakening happened in a dream. I was standing at the top of a mountain in a row of sinners. Demons were surrounding the row, and were forcing the sinners to jump out from the mountain, down into Hell. When I was forced to jump, I was falling for a while down into the flaming hell. Normally, when you have a falling dream, you wake up. I didn´t woke up, but hit the ground without dying. I looked down and saw that my legs were broken, and that the bones stuck out. And all around me I saw mountains of skulls and bones. Besides me there was a rock where some runes were carved. They said: You are Norna Gest. An old woman dressed in black was approaching. I thought it was a witch, but it was Karen Blixen. She bend over me, and took both her hands down around my throat, and drilled a finger hard and long into the back of my neck, for finally to stroke me over both shoulders.
When I was straightening up, she broked the silence with the unexpected request:
”Now say a verse.”
The first, which felt into my thoughts, was Rainer Maria Rilke´s poem Autumn:
The leaves fall, fall as from far,
Like distant gardens withered in the heavens;
They fall with slow and lingering descent.
And in the nights the heavy Earth, too, falls
From out the stars into the Solitude.
Thus all doth fall.
This hand of mine must fall
And lo! the other one:—it is the law.
But there is One who holds this falling
Infinitely softly in His hands.
Then she said:
”You shall go now.”
I began to scream. But the only sound coming up through me was a wordless auummm. Enormous powers of energy were following this aum. I felt like I was sitting on a jet motor. The powers moved up through my body in violent spinning movements and spasms.
Then I woke up. But I had taken something with me out of the dream, and that was the energy. A new energy was now working in me, an energy which was not mine, or psychological constructed by me. It was Kundalini. It couldn´t be stopped by will, though I later learned how to steer it.
After the awakening I had some wonderful time with great experiences of bliss without realization. In a slow, ingeniously way, this developed into a period of ego-inflation, which to my luck was too short in order to create some kind of grouping around me. I have often told that ego-inflation is the most dangerous manifestation of a spiritual crisis, because you lose any kind of self-reflection. It actually doesn´t matter what there might be happening of external things. Nothing will make you change your mind. Unless this balloon-like mind itself is getting punctured. To me this happened like some kind of nemesis. My ego-inflation changed into The Dark Night of the Soul, which should last about ten years, heavily filled with anxiety attacks.
To my luck I was still able to avoid spiritual authorities, and I knew something was going wrong (if you today try to find out about the Kundalini phenomena you almost certainly will meet New Agers who will give the same advice as Stanislav Grof). But I was already familiar with the concept of Kundalini, and I began to read everything I could find about it. I stumbled upon a book by Karlfried Graf Durckheim called Hara: The Vital Centre of Man. I simply knew that the concept of Hara was the answer to my prayers.
I found other books on Hara, and how to practice it (in Zen and Taoism it is quite explicit described, but you can see it depicted in different kinds of spiritual art, for example the Buddha sculptures). I also stumbled over a story that I immediately could relate to. In the story, Hakuin Zenji (1689-1769), describes the “Zen sickness” he contracted in his latter twenties and the methods he learned from the recluse Hakuyu in the mountains outside Kyoto that enabled him to cure the ailment. Hakuyu cures him by making him rediscover Hara - (read the story here).
The Kundalini was slowly turned around, so it streamed downwards instead of upwards. I realized that the most important for a beginner in a spiritual practice is the development of Hara, which is fundamental to all wisdom traditions and natural healing professions (you can find the hara-exercise described in my supporting exercises in my first book Meditation as an Art of Life – a basic reader).
The second dramatic cycle began due to my lack of realization work. It should be remembered, as I already have emphasized, that no one can go through a spiritual practice without realizing the shadow, the ego and the painbody, as well as karmic structures (under one: the dark ancient inertia). And the Kundalini obviously created some unconscious tensions in me, not as dramatically like Christina Grof´s, but still in a degree that I slowly began to use alcohol to calm it down. My unconscious conflicts had three components:
1) The painbody and dark ancient powers (this is the special issue of this book).
2) Problematic balance between sexual conflicts and spiritual longing (I have always been asexual, a fact that have caused a lot of conflicts, before I accepted it, and gave up any possibility for a sexual relationship with someone. The latter was made easier by the opportunity to go totally into the spiritual practice).
3) Problematic balance (contradiction) between living a temporal life and a spiritual life. A lot of problems with expectations and lack of comprehension from family. This conflict corresponds to Blixen´s basic conflict between the morality of a mediocre Christianity, and the freedom of the artist, whom she sees as a symbol of the fundamental creative human nature. This conflict has somehow also ceased due to dialogues, and an eventually accept.
The alcohol abuse ended with a liver disease, hospitalization, a near-death experience and the meeting with a Dream Master. The latter happened in form of a visit in a lucid dream from an external source – a guardian angel or spirit. It was Norna Gest. So, Norna Gest was not me, but my Dream Master.
Hereafter I moved to Rold Forest in order to go totally into the spiritual practice. I now consider the process to be stable. Today I would describe my experience of healing as a reverse form of Kundalini yoga: a downwards movement instead of an upwards movement. Said in relation to Indian religion: a Luciferian movement. This has to do with what I now began to call a top-down kundalini awakening, because that is the is most precise description of the kundalini awakening which I, like many other people in spiritual crises, was caught up in. It is precisely the kind of Meditation Sickness, which Hakuin Zenji told about.
A top-down awakening can manifest either as suffering (anxiety, the Dark Night of the Soul) or as intellectual, identifical or euphorical ego-inflation. (see my articles Spiritual Crises as the Cause of Paranormal Phenomena and The Ego-inflation in the Self-help and New Age Environment). The intellectual and identifical ego-inflation can happen without an awakened kundalini, but has very similar symptoms, which I will describe below. The euphorical ego-inflation is followed by a kundalini awakening, and often alternates between ego-inflation and the Dark Night of the Soul: a so-called “negative” and “positive” side. Both the “negative” and “positive” side can last for a short time, or can last a whole life. They can alternate between each other, or they can be fixed in one side of the poles. A false guru can live an entire life in the believe that he is Jesus or Buddha. He can be characterized as a megalomaniac, but often he (or she) can´t be diagnosed with a mental disease; that is: he or she is still able to lead a normal life.
I have found the expression “top-down awakening” in a book by the spiritual teacher Mary Shutan called The Spiritual Awakening Guide: Kundalini, Psychic Abilities, and the Conditioned Layers of Reality. The theoretical insight in this book is fully comparable to Stanislav Grof and Christina Grof´s work on spiritual crises, but in the same way as I can´t recommend the Grofs´s therapeutic practice Holotropic Breathwork, I can´t recommend Shutan´s large amount of visualization exercises. Also, before proceeding, I will say a few words about her concept of top-down awakening, since I will use the concept in another way. In her article, The Three Phases of Kundalini, she is writing that her account is based on experience, while many others are not. She writes:
It has been my direct experience as well as from hearing hundred of client experiences that there are three distinct phases of Kundalini. Most literature is focused on the first phase either because it is an intellectualization of the Kundalini process without direct experience (there is a lot of this out there) or because the author or experiencer has not reached past the first phase themselves.
The first phase of Kundalini is talked about a fair amount. This is in general the processing of the first three chakras. This is what 90 percent (yes, I made that number up) of people who are experiencing Kundalini are working through (if they are actually experiencing a Kundalini awakening and not a stirring or different type of awakening such as a Top Down awakening, channeling, psychic abilities, etc).
What I want to point out with this quote is that she discriminates between a kundalini awakening and a top down awakening. But then we are talking about two different things. When I had my first kundalini awakening I experienced the classical rising of energy, from the base of the spine, up through the body. In my article, The Awakening of Kundalini, I describe three different kinds of rising. The first years I had these experiences. That´s what I refer to as the first kundalini cycle. When I began to practice Hara, this process changed completely character. My anxiety was resolved, but something else began to happen, and that´s what I found striking similar to Shutan´s concept of a top-down awakening. In the beginning the kundalini energy was rising from the base of the spine, but now the energy had begun pouring in through the crown of the head. This phenomenon is also mentioned in Kaia Nightingale´s book Journey Through Transformation. It is called sahasraric energy. It could feel like white light pouring in, or stronger, like light or energy burning its way in. It could be painful. The pain could extend several inches above the head, or be in the crown itself, which invariable feels very warm to the touch. Energy could flow behind the eyes to the occipital and neck and down through the body. But since my neck wasn´t open enough, the energy tended to be stuck in the head creating an excruciating pressure. It could feel very intense.
Moderate amounts of sahasraric energy felt light, clear and insightful (in the period when I lived in Aalborg I wrote my first six books, ending with the two books on The Matrix Conspiracy). When more sahasraric energy flowed in, it can feel fine when the energy channels are clear and the energy flows right through grounding into the earth. This is something I have accomplished today, but not at that time. When insufficiently grounded, or when the energy channels aren´t sufficiently clear to handle the voltage coming through, energy was building up in my body. It felt like being under pressure from the inside. This was surprisingly uncomfortable. No one could understand because I looked just fine.
The problem is the ego and its illusion of control. Not trusting life, control is held in the neck and shoulders. When the energy was rising it had nowhere to go. It hit the block, circulated in the back of the neck, sometimes spilling out of the back of the neck. The block invariably created tensions. I could hear this block – it gave my voice a tight, grating often shrill resonance. As we shall see, this problem with the back of the neck, and the blockage of the throat (and heart), is also quite central in Karen Blixen´s life and stories.
My soul found safety by withdrawing from the physical plane, cutting off access to the feeling centre of the body. As Kaia Nightingale expresses it, you are like an owl, I could watch the world from the safe branch of a tree, intellectually aware of what was going on, but uninvolved. It was another way of staying in control – by being absent from anything that may not suit my preferences or belief. But I also had the belief that I had to conform. This kind of block arose when I were spiritual open but felt I needed to operate in the world as everyone else does – to be on time, meet my deadlines. I cut across my natural life flow. Energy rising and energy pouring in through the crown – it had nowhere to go and created an enormous pressure coming from inside.
I began reading the beat writers, and felt justified when I began to use alcohol to calm the pressure. I began to live a life which very much looked like the stream of the counterculture: a light stream about peace and love (in my case: my writings), and a dark stream of drug abuse (in my case: alcohol abuse). Underneath the counterculture´s light stream of peace and love, there flowed a much larger dark stream of occultism: Aleister Crowley´s Nietzchean sex magic, Timothy Leary´s psychedelic transhumanism, Robert Anton Wilson´s postmodern chaos magic, just to mention a few. The brief flowering of the psychedelic era ended abruptly when Woodstock gave way to Altamont, the achievements of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) were obscured by the terrorist acts of the Weathermen, and sensitive Beatles lyrics inspired the homicidal rages of Charles Manson´s Family. Nobody can say for certain to what extent psychedelic use led to the radical inquiry and eventual degeneration of the 1960s spirit – it was certainly one element in a much larger American story, that continues today. We see a psychedelic renaissance, and the counterculture has been replaced by New Age.
In the same way I were in a conflict between reason and feeling, rationality and irrationality, sun and moon. Today I have found out how to balance these opposition (see my page, My Teaching in a Nutshell). In this way it continued for about thirteen years. And at last my liver gave up and I was hospitalized with liver coma. It was a near-death experience. In a lucid dream I had a visit from a dream master. In a nutshell his message was to get the sophist out of the navigator´s seat and putting the philosopher in its place.
In the following though, I will follow Shutan´s description of a top-down awakening since it is, despite that we might talk about different things, a quite precise description of what I experienced.
A top-down awakening (or perhaps what you instead might call sahasrara awakening?) in simple terms means that your crown and third eye chakras are open and that you have quite a bit of energy surrounding your head and shoulders. Basically, you are receiving input from the heaven/sky but not the earth. This is figuratively speaking though. The heaven/sky is more akin to what I call the dangerous areas of the collective time. And the earth is the heart (love) and hara (existence). As I have said many times: heart and hara in this description must not be confused with psychic chakras, but rather with love and existence.
As we shall see during this book, it is my guess that Karen Blixen had a top-down kundalini awakening of a very special kind.
Due to genetics, spiritual pursuits, or other reasons you have opened yourself to what you might interpret as the divine, spirit, and different and hidden layers of reality. It is fairly easy actually to open to what you think is spirit and to begin to be more connected to what you might interpret as spiritual matters. In reality it is the collective time you have opened up to.
Many people end up with this type of awakening because they became interested in spiritual pursuits, started attending classes, doing drugs, reading literature, and finding gurus and other teachers who show them how to seek outside of themselves. Others begin life with a top-down awakening due to family history of psychic abilities or previous life abilities carried forward into this life. In Karen Blixen´s case it is my opinion that it started with her fateful experiences of crises in relation to unhappy love, losing her dream of Africa, as well as the lifelong illness (siphylis) that destroyed her sexuality.
The issue with this type of awakening is that it is not grounded in anything. It is not required to do much personal work or to open your first three chakras to have this type of awakening. The person experiencing this type of awakening begins to separate from this earth, this reality. They often will claim to not want to be here, or to originate from elsewhere. This very much may be true, but a recognition of the human body, the body that you are carrying this lifetime, and a desire to be grounded and do personal work which is often quite difficult is necessary for a full awakening or to come to a state of balance if you are experiencing this type of awakening.
In order not to confuse “personal work” with the mythology of authenticity I call “personal work” Art of Life, and I will describe this art in the two last chapters of this book: Human Nature Seen in the Image of an Artist and The Shadow Odyssey.
The person undergoing a top-down awakening will have immense energy circulating into their crown, third eye, and around their head and shoulders. Unfortunately for the experiencer of this, the energy is not able to move much further down because the throat chakra and heart chakra require the lower chakras to be open to open themselves completely.
It should now be easy to see how deceptive the traditional Indian descriptions of the Kundalini awakening can be. It is not because they are wrong, but because they are deceptive. You get a sense of that you must move your energy upwards, and this can actually also happen in a kundalini awakening. You can have an actual experience of the energy moving in your body, from your feet (often the left big toe) up through your legs, your abdomen, your breast, throat, head and out of the top of the head. I have certainly experienced that, without any realization happening. But this is not what is meant by a full kundalini awakening, though deceptively described precisely like that. You can have the experience of the energy moving up without that your chakras are opening. This is experience without realization. The realization is first happening when the chakras are open, and an opening of a chakra is an opening of the essence of the chakra (I have explained that in my article What are Chakras?)
So, the energy is stuck in the upper body- leading to a bottleneck of energy, headaches, neck pain, disassociation, ego issues (these are some of the people who tell others how awakened they are or that they are enlightened but still are quite judgmental and lack focus on their own issues), and significant mental health issues including mania and depression can develop.
It is also quite common for the top-down awakened to be in a great deal of physical pain. Hip, back, foot, and leg pain are prevalent, but the all-over pain that comes with issues such as Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, and other Autoimmune and Connective Tissue disorders are common in this category. It is also common for the experiencer to carry weight around the mid-section but have thin legs, and a constant raising of the shoulders towards the ears.
Other symptoms include: being open to spiritual guidance, psychic abilities, mediumship and channeling capabilities, understanding of patterns and concepts from a different vantage point (which is due to many of these individuals being halfway out of their body so they really do have a different perspective), headaches, sinus pain, closed off feelings in the throat, thyroid issues, cravings for meat, chocolate, carbohydrates, or other grounding foods, delusions, paranoia, and feelings of heaviness or stuckness in the shoulders, upper back, heart, neck, and head.
Alcohol became my grounding substitute for heart and Hara. Blixen´s substitute for heart and Hara was her attempt of controlling the male sexual energy of her young students. This resulted in a strange demonical tantra game.
What is happening energetically to the top-down awakened?
This is a significant energetic imbalance, and the energetic field of the experiencer often appears to look like an inverted cone. Often the experiencer is partially or fully out of their bodies/disassociated, and they prefer to remain this way (especially when they are euphorical inflated). They feel different and separate from everyone else, and some remain in elaborately set up illusions of their own creation. This is because the top-down awakened has awakened enough to be able to create in reality, but for this group it is rarely on a conscious level- so the creation of significant blocks, illusions, and other issues of a spiritual and physical nature is quite common due a relay of unprocessed personal and emotional material creating reality for them.
A top-down awakening is BY FAR the most common spiritual awakening to get stuck in. It also can be the most dangerous because it creates an environment energetically where you are not quite a part of any reality. With the ability to easily shift through dimensions, times, perspectives, and being fully or partially out of your body, it creates opportunity for other energies to attach, and for you to lose a sense of identity or purpose. Without the support that earth and grounding offers (heart and Hara, love and existence), it is difficult to filter the intense energies that are coming through. The more the lower chakras are blocked the worse the imbalance is.
With this type of awakening it is common to see people keep their spiritual lives and their physical lives quite separate. By this, I mean that they may be all about love, light, angels, and awakening in workshops or online, but in their daily lives they are often quite miserable and do not want to participate in life. Often I work with people struggling with depression and anxiety who put on an outward appearance, a mask of being spiritual and enlightened but in their daily lives they are struggling to function, to engage with others, or to want to be on Earth. This is an incredible common symptom in New Age circles due to the immensity of spiritual misguiding; spiritual misguiding which precisely are caused by the top-down awakened (here Karen Blixen is a paradoxical exception). It is all about role-playing: through courses and spiritual educations you buy yourself new levels and titles, just like in a role-playing game. It is not good to be on the low level where most people are (I have examined this peculiar phenomenon in my Ebook The Scientology Game – and The Matrix Player´s Handbook).
Indeed, I think we can speak about a collective top-down awakening within the enormous movement of New Age, which expresses itself in a variety of intellectual, identifical and euphorical ego-inflations (and the long wake of psychic wrecks who have ended up in The Dark Night of the Soul). I guess this is what New Agers are speaking about when they are talking about the “global spiritual awakening” which shall lead to the prophesized New Age: the Age of the Aquarius. Just try to google “how to open your third eye” and you´ll get 19.800.000 results (when I tried). Most of the techniques given are in my view examples of spiritual vampirism and directly criminal if there were any way of proving it (see my article Spiritual Vampires and also my book Lucifer Morningstar). In my book Philosophical Counseling with Tolkien, I describe the third eye in relation to Sauron´s burning eye, which precisely describes what is going wrong with a top-down kundalini awakening.
Talking about Sauron´s Eye: the most scary about this development is that there seems to be a thought behind it. I have called this the 666 conspiracy, a central aspect of The Matrix Conspiracy. I will deal in detail with it in the chapter on The Question of Satanism, but just mention that the 666 conspiracy is about Evil´s plot against mankind. Is the third Antichrist among us, and will our worship of him be a sign of Judgment Day? It is clear that the Antichrist must be about anti-love and anti-existence. The techniques of “how to open your third eye”, will, if you actually succeed, without question lead to a top-down awakening, which will block the opening down towards the heart and hara; that is: it will block the possibility for love and existence.
The most significant example of this teaching is the New Thought movement. The New Thought movement is all about the positive side of top-down awakening, about success, ecstasy, power, sex, money. Love (which the movement deceivable talk about all the time) is blocked through the teaching of moral subjectivism (which is difficult to discriminate from nihilism) and existence is blocked through philosophical idealism, which teaches that existence is an illusion. The most direct satanic teaching is to be found in New Thought´s “bible” A Course in Miracles (see my article The New Thought Movement and the Law of Attraction and the Matrix Dictionary entry A Course in Miracles).
Another thought-provoking thing is what I mentioned in the introduction: In my first book Meditation as an art of life – a basic reader I presented what I call the four philosophical hindrances and openings in towards the Source. I presented them in order to show what I think characterizes the spiritual practice, as it exists in all the traditional wisdom traditions. Ever since I have become increasingly puzzled over, how the self-help industry - which claims to work in accordance with spirituality - is turning this upside down. They teach the hindrances as positive and the openings as negative. About this peculiar phenomenon read my article The Four Philosophical Hindrances and Openings in Meditation.
The central difficulty with the top-down awakening is therefore that it is difficult for people to want to do their personal work. Or rather: what they believe is personal work is controlled by the mythology of authenticity: the Dungeon Master of the Scientology Game (my expression “The Scientology Game” has only figuratively something to do with the actual movement called Scientology).
It can be fun to go to workshops, to visit gurus, to spiritually seek. For the experiencer to be healed, to come to a state of balance, or to progress further in their spiritual path, they must begin to do the personal work that they have been avoiding (art of life). But the New Thought movement directly teaches people to avoid their dark personal baggage. So, to let go of the ego, the Facebook memes that tell you what awakening is supposed to be like, and go internally to find out is a scary proposition. You must be completely alone in this quest. By working through personal baggage and reestablishing a personal connection with the Earth (heart and Hara, love and existence), with ancestry (the dark, ancient inertia), and by dropping the mask that comes with being spiritual comes a state of balance, strength, power, and full realization. To do this I suggest that people find a religion to support them, and an accept of that the divine eventually is an external source you can´t control. Again: I will return to this.
I can only attribute the solution to my own two dramatic kundalini cycles to an intervention from the source, symbolized with the meeting with a Dream Master, or a guardian angel (an external source, not a product of my mind). Especially the solution to the ego-inflation and the alcohol abuse was something completely unsought and unintended. I guess that no one would want to end either in The Dark Night of the Soul, or with a liver disease. But still these events were necessary for my further spiritual development.
This thought is reinforced by the fact that I after the dramatic cycles is beginning to experience progressive karma, or divine providence. A strange aspect of my spiritual crisis is also that I all my life have experienced this mysterious connection with Karen Blixen, which is puzzling me more and more the more progressive karma I´m experiencing.
So, if you should talk about my work as a continuance of Blixen, it would be, to use Kierkegaard´s words, to point beyond the aesthetic Earth-Moon kingdom in which she was the queen and borderline figure, towards the more ethical and religious stages. Therefore the continuance of my work will be as a pilgrim, where I will put my whole work into a philosophy as an art of life. It will be a movement from art of life to the spiritual dimension, a Luciferian inverted form of Kundalini yoga, from the head to the heart. This is the same as “becoming like a child again.”
The Peter Pan Project is a term used to cover the whole of my work, and which I hope continues after I have left this life, and traveled on. In my next life, I will do everything to remember my dreams from this life, and I hope other people will find inspiration in my writings, which I have stored on the internet, and secured free accessibility.
I hope that other people, in my work, will be able to see a Stork, or an Albatross, like in this poem by Charles Baudelaire:
Often, to amuse themselves, the men of the crew
Catch those great birds of the seas, the albatrosses,
lazy companions of the voyage, who follow
The ship that slips through bitter gulfs.
Hardly have they put them on the deck,
Than these kings of the skies, awkward and ashamed,
Piteously let their great white wings
Draggle like oars beside them.
This winged traveler, how weak he becomes and slack!
He who of late was so beautiful, how comical and ugly!
Someone teases his beak with a branding iron,
Another mimics, limping, the crippled flyer!
The Poet is like the prince of the clouds,
Haunting the tempest and laughing at the archer;
Exiled on earth amongst the shouting people,
His giant's wings hinder him from walking.
Le Fleurs du mal/The Flowers of Evil
And this could be finished with Psalm 121: The Traveler´s Psalm.
Psalm 121 was, on Karen Blixen´s own request, read aload at her funeral under the shade of a huge old beech tree at the foot of "Ewald's Hill" at Rungstedlund.
A Song of Ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains--
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip--
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you--
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm--
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
2) The Storyteller
In the following it will be my main theory that Lucifer Morningstar represents a Guardian of the Threshold on the path of yoga and meditation.
The "Dweller of the Threshold" (or "Guardian of the Threshold") is a literary invention of the English mystic and novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton, found in his romance Zanoni (1842). Shortly after publication of the book, the term gained wide currency in theosophical circles.
The Guardian of the Threshold is a spectral figure and is the abstract of the debit and credit book of the individual. "It is the combined evil influence that is the result of the wicked thoughts and acts of the age in which any one may live, and it assumes to each student a definite shape at each appearance, being always either of one sort or changing each time."
"This Dweller of the Threshold meets us in many shapes. It is the Cerberus guarding the entrance to Hades; the Dragon which St. Michael (spiritual will-power) is going to kill; the Snake which tempted Eve, and whose head will be crushed by the heel of the woman; the Hobgoblin watching the place where the treasure is buried, etc. He is the king of evil, who will not permit that within his kingdom a child should grow up, which might surpass him in power; the Herod before whose wrath the divine child Christ has to flee into a foreign country, and is not permitted to return to his home (the soul) until the king (Ambition, Pride, Vanity, Self-righteousness, etc.) is dethroned or dead."
According to Max Heindel, the Dweller on the Threshold must be confronted by every aspirant—usually at an early stage of his progress into the unseen worlds—and is one of the main causes of obsession.
In Rudolf Steiner's play The Guardian of the Threshold, first performed in 1912 and the third in a series of four "Mystery Dramas", the appearance of the Guardian is connected with Lucifer and Ahriman. Steiner explained that the meeting with the Guardian of the Threshold as presented in those dramas was to show that a person (man or woman) who had made the soul clairvoyant, must go back and forth across that threshold and know how to be rightly in the spiritual world on the far side, as well as on this side in the physical world. I find that a very precise description, though my concept of Lucifer Morningstar is not based on Steiner, but on Karen Blixen.
Lucifer Morningstar is in that way both my alter ego, and the mirror of you and me. He is illusion incarnate, and raises the question of whether his fake character hides a deeper truth.
Karen Blixen regarded herself as a storyteller and has compared herself to Scheherazade, who in Thousand and one Night tells the Caliph Shahryar fairy tales. Her tales and adventures follow the tradition of storytelling, and most take place in the 19th century or earlier. In Denmark, the United States and England, Karen Blixen is most famous for the works Seven Gothic Tales, Winter´s Tales and Out of Africa.
So, Karen Blixen, who entertained Denys Finch Hatton in British East Africa with beautiful tales from distant lands and ages, considered herself a storyteller. This is seen in the writing that follows a traditional style of storytelling. About her conscious archaic (pre-modern) style, Karen Blixen mentioned in several interviews that she wanted to express a spirit of courage and destiny that is not found in modern times. In addition, Karen Blixen's tales and adventures are intellectual and intertextual in terms of world literature, just as many of her ideas can be traced to romance.
When Karen Blixen first began her writing at the age of 50, her narrator's universe can be said to have been completed and well established at the beginning of the writing. Therefore, the authorship is also without the common nuisance and phases that occur with other poets and writers who begin their writing early in youth - for example Nikolaj Gogol and Jens August Schade.
Her written works for most of the 1940s and 1950s consisted of adventures in the storytelling tradition. The most famous is the story of Babette's Feast, a cook who uses all her ten thousand francs lottery prize to prepare a Lukullian meal in a northern Norwegian village. The tale The Immortal Story was adapted to the cinema in 1968 by Orson Welles and Babette's Feast in 1987 by Gabriel Axel.
As an author, Karen Blixen maintained her image as a charismatic, mysterious, old baroness with an insightful third eye.
In certain dharmic spiritual traditions, the third eye refers to the ajna, or brow, chakra. The third eye refers to the gate that leads to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness.
People who are claimed to have the capacity to utilize their third eyes are sometimes known as seers. In some traditions such as Hinduism, the third eye is said to be located around the middle of the forehead, slightly above the junction of the eyebrows.
In Taoism and many traditional Chinese religious sects such as Chan (called Zen in Japanese), "third eye training" involves focusing attention on the point between the eyebrows with the eyes closed, and while the body is in various qigong postures. The goal of this training is to allow students to tune into the correct "vibration" of the universe and gain a solid foundation on which to reach more advanced meditation levels. Taoism teaches that the third eye, also called the mind's eye, is situated between the two physical eyes, and expands up to the middle of the forehead when opened. Taoism claims that the third eye is one of the main energy centers of the body located at the sixth Chakra, forming a part of the main meridian, the line separating left and right hemispheres of the body. In Taoist alchemical traditions, the third eye is the frontal part of the "Upper Dan Tien" (upper cinnabar field) and is given the evocative name "muddy pellet".
According to the Christian teaching of Father Richard Rohr, the concept of the third eye is a metaphor for non-dualistic thinking; the way the mystics see. In Rohr's concept, mystics employ the first eye (sensory input such as sight) and the second eye (the eye of reason, meditation, and reflection), "but they know not to confuse knowledge with depth, or mere correct information with the transformation of consciousness itself. The mystical gaze builds upon the first two eyes—and yet goes further." Rohr refers to this level of awareness as "having the mind of Christ".
According to the neo-gnostic teachings of Samael Aun Weor, the third eye is referenced symbolically and functionally several times in the Book of Revelation 3:7-13, a work which, as a whole, he believes describes Kundalini and its progression upwards through three and a half turns and seven chakras. This interpretation equates the third eye with the sixth of the seven churches of Asia detailed therein, the Church of Philadelphia.
In New Age spirituality, the third eye often symbolizes a state of enlightenment or the evocation of mental images having deeply personal spiritual or psychological significance. The third eye is often associated with religious visions, clairvoyance, the ability to observe chakras and auras, precognition, and out-of-body experiences.
We have looked at the problems in connection with top-down Kundalini awakening, and that I believe Karen Blixen had a such. In the following I will show how this both comes to expression in her stories and in her demonical approaches to her young male students, so that reality and mythology is melting together in a magical way. I will also show that Blixen had a very concrete goal with this, namely to awaken the artist in her students.
Blixen has sarcastically-self-consciously stated that: "In Denmark, my young author friends say that I [as the author of the author] is three thousand years old" and added that she gave Johann Wolfgang von Goethe right in his naked recital: "Whoever does not keep his accounting book for at least 3,000 years lives from hand to mouth." She also established herself as an inspirational figure in Danish culture and spiritual life.
The conscious archaic way of storytelling and life is not some kind of fake, snobby self-promotion, as she often is accused of. It is something completely real. She directly incarnated a collective image of the dark ancient inertia. It glows out of her whole being with the color of an orthodox icon.
In the end of the 1940s and the early 1950s Blixen came in connection with the authors of the Heretica magazine, and in the role of alternatingly Sibylle, the Devil's Mistress and Scheherazade, she gathered a circle of hopeful male talents around her, including Thorkild Bjørnvig, Aage Henriksen, Jørgen Gustava Brandt, Ole Wivel and Erling Schroeder. In the following I will especially focus on Aage Henriksen, since he very likely also had a top-down kundalini awakening (or sahasrara awakening). And he very likely experienced the start of the kundalini process as a rising phenomenon.
A part of Blixen´s archaic style reminds about the mythology theory of Joseph Campbell. Campbell´s mythology theory is exceedingly conservative and founded on a deep nostalgia: for him, the cure for modern problems is found by returning to earlier notions of spirituality and moral virtue. In promoting a “living mythology,” Campbell harkens back to a lost “golden age” from which we have fallen, but to which we can return with effort and guidance of a “sage.” This might have to do with the inspiration from Jung. It is a reductionism, a psychologism. And herewith there is the danger of ending in idealism, and the same psychologizing, emotionalizing and therapeutizing ideology of our society, which New Age and Self-help stand for (about Campbell, read my article The Hero´s Journey).
I have therefore supplied Campbell´s theory with my own metaphysical naturalism, and with this a philosophical principle, namely to examine, whether the karmic talk and experiences of the experts and clients remove their energy-investments in the actual reality. If focus is displaced backwards, then the collective time has taken over and spiritual seen there therefore happens an escape. Such an escape is seen both in Freud, Jung, Rank, Grof, Janov, rebirthing, regression. None of these people and theories can therefore be said to work spiritual. And if they use the karma idea in that way, it is no longer a spiritual help, it is a collective displacement of the focus backwards in time and therewith out of reality and into the unreality of the collective time. This is certainly not Blixen´s standpoint, who also shares a metaphysical naturalism.
Now, let´s look closer on the paradoxically in Blixen life.
Rolling Stones´ masterpiece Sympathy for the Devil is presenting the paradox of the Devil´s game. You could also say that the nature of the game is the concept of the paradoxical itself. As a main name of the paradoxical I have therefore decided to call the Devil Lucifer Morningstar (I will return to this). As a main symbol of the game you could use The Cross of Saint Peter or Petrine Cross. It is an inverted Latin cross traditionally used as a Christian symbol, but in recent times also used as an anti-Christian symbol (that´s the paradox).
In his book Isak Dinesen Reading Søren Kierkegaard: On Christianity, Seduction, Gender, and Repetition, the Danish scholar in Scandinavian literature Mads Bunch is claiming that Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) not only did read the works of her fellow-countryman, the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, closely, she also created a surprisingly large number of tales that critically engage Kierkegaard’s works. In this thorough comparative study, Mads Bunch uncovers Blixen’s exploration of Kierkegaard and shows how she in her tales subverts major ideas from Kierkegaard’s works concerning Christianity, seduction, gender and repetition. Bunch also shows how Blixen’s critical engagement with the ideas of Kierkegaard runs throughout her oeuvre and develops from the early tale ‘Carnival’ (1926-27) to ‘The Dreamers’ (1934), ‘The Pearls’ (1942), ‘Babette’s Feast’ (1950) and her last tale ‘Ehrengard’ (1963). Bunch’s close readings reveal that Blixen’s ironical counter-tales concerning Kierkegaard border at times on sheer parody.
Here I will just show Bunch´s relevance for the subject of this book, namely the paradoxical game of Lucifer Morningstar. Bunch claims that one of Blixen´s major ways of becoming a part of world literature was to deliberately deal with important works from it in her tales, for the most part in a subversive way. In her tales we find an unsually high, almost excessive number of allusions to world literature. Shakespeare above all, the Bible and Greek mythology, and in her Danish versions also numerous allusions to Danish literature (primarily nineteenth century writers).
When reading Blixen, Bunch says, it is easy to go astray in all the allusions that often seem to blur the picture more than they clarify. But when subjecting these allusions, plots and characters to an in-depth analysis and combining the analysis with extra textual historical and literary historical knowledge it is, however, often possible to uncover the underlying plan.
Previous research focusing on Winter´s Tales (Vinter-Eventyr) has shown that Blixen in the tale ‘The Heroine’ (Heloïse) reverses the female character and the plot in order to criticize Guy de Maupassant´s famous short story ‘Boule de Suif’ (‘Ball of the Fat’) from 1880. Here Blixen´s heroine, contrary to Maupassant´s overweight character, is an incredible beautiful, slim nude dancer, who – instead of being ruined by – triumphs over both the German officer and her fellow travelers, when Blixen reverses the character and the plot of Maupassant´s story. We also know from Blixen´s own pen (which is extremely rare) that ‘The Pearls’ (‘En Historie om en Perle’) was a kind of response to Sigrid Undset´s masterpiece ‘Kristin Lavransdatter’ and Behrendt has shown that the character Alkmene from the tale of the same name can be perceived as Blixen´s tragic version of Shakespeare´s character Perdita from his play The Winter´s Tale. Both ‘Alkmene’ from Winter´s Tales and ‘Tempests’ from Last Tales (1957) are significant counter-stories to Shakespeare´s plays with very detailed and well thought through character- and plot reversals. Blixen is skeptical of the happy endings in these two tales, and instead creates two tragedies out of Shakespeare´s comedies. In ‘Alkmene’ love does not prevail over the mésalliance, and in ‘Tempests’ Blixen creates a female Ariel and connects her to the element of the water instead of air. Finally, she subjects her female Ariel to suicide instead of freedom, which is how Shakespeare´s The Tempest ends for his male Ariel. Thus, Blixen used the title of Shakespeare´s comedy and the statement in the play to create a collection of tragedies.
It is, however, as Bunch says, important to pay attention to the fact that Blixen often in her literary responses does not mention the literary precursor or the literary background text in the tale. This, of course, makes the task of tracing the background texts and untangling the interplay between the background text and Blixen´s counter-story a rather challenging task. When it comes to Kierkegaard, Bunch continues, she sometimes has direct references, for example in ‘Carnival’ and Shadows on the Grass, but the most common strategy of her Kierkegaard counter-stories is that they through subtle and elusive allusions and reversals of plot- and/or characters carry a hidden interpretation of the characters and the story-world in the literary background text.
Bunch says that it was the Danish scholar and personal friend of Karen Blixen, Aage Henriksen, who discovered Blixen´s subversive narrative strategy at a very early stage in their relationship. Not surprisingly, since Aage Henriksen, as we shall see, was a part of the magical circle of young male students around Blixen on Rungstedlund, and therefore directly experienced her friendship with Lucifer, and how she tried to transform her mystical knowledge of dark ancient powers to them.
Henriksen began to send Blixen ’modhistorier’ [counter-stories] as literary comments to her own tales. For example ‘Vejene omkring Thunersøen’ [The Roads Round the Thuner Lake] he sent to her in a letter 20 December 1953 as a counter-story to ‘The Roads Round Pisa’ (‘Vejene omkring Pisa’). He also had plans of developing a counter-story to ‘Tales of Two Old Gentlemen’ (‘To Gamle Herrers Historier’) before it was published as we know from another letter to Blixen from 25 September 1956: “I have also imagined a counter-story told from the point of view of Medea, the two gentlemen´s aunt […] I also began to write it but did not think it was worthwhile. But if you want to hear it sometimes, I will tell it.”
To Henriksen´s idea of a story as a counter-story Blixen dryly replied:
“A counter-story,” she said, “is something that does not exist. There is no such a thing.” […] “Now, I´ll show you how a story looks like,” she said, drawing a pentagram. “Like this. There is nothing to add and nothing to subtract. The story is finished in the same way – when it is over.”
Blixen´s answer is, as so much else in her life, a paradox. The answer is both right and wrong since most of her tales are both counter-stories and at the same time completely original and fully finished pieces of literature in their own right as Blixen´s pentagram analogy is meant to show us.
A pentagram (sometimes known as a pentalpha or pentangle or a star pentagon) is the shape of a five-pointed star drawn with five straight strokes.
Pentagrams were used symbolically in ancient Greece and Babylonia, and are used today as a symbol of faith by many Wiccans, akin to the use of the cross by Christians and the Star of David by the Jews.
The pentagram has magical associations. Many people who practice Neopagan faiths wear jewelry incorporating the symbol. Christians once more commonly used the pentagram to represent the five wounds of Jesus. The pentagram has associations with Freemasonry and is also used as a symbol by other belief systems.
Based on Renaissance-era occultism, the pentagram found its way into the symbolism of modern occultists. Following Anton LaVey, and ultimately based on a drawing by French nobleman and occultist Stanislas de Guaita (La Clef de la Magie Noire, 1897), the Sigil of Baphomet, a pentagram with two points up inscribed in a double circle with the head of a goat inside the pentagram is the copyrighted logo of the Church of Satan.
Aleister Crowley made use of the pentagram in his Thelemic system of magick: an adverse or inverted pentagram represents the descent of spirit into matter, according to the interpretation of Lon Milo DuQuette. Crowley contradicted his old comrades in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, who, following Levi, considered this orientation of the symbol evil and associated it with the triumph of matter over spirit.
All these paradoxes are included in the pentagram and therefore fit very well into Blixen´s paradoxical worldview. In the above quote however, Blixen, as Bunch says, chose to focus exclusively on that her stories were completely original, probably annoyed with Henriksen´s nosey behavior and his counter-stories that suddenly subjected her to her own strategy. Bunch suggests that the right answer would be a combination of Henriksen and Blixen´s view on Blixen´s stories, thus a matter of both/and rather than either/or (to allude Kierkegaard). Blixen was of course inspired by (and loved) many writers of world literature and absorbed and adapted some of their ideas and made them her own, but it doesn´t show very much in her tales. This means that it is very difficult to directly detect the positive influence from the writers of world literature in her works compared to the tales that are polemic and subversive.
Bunch´s book is especially about how Søren Kierkegaard had influenced Blixen, and she was, just like Kierkegaard, a master of subtext and irony. Bunch says that when this general position of irony and subversion in Blixen´s approach to Kierkegaard is first discovered, things suddenly fall into place, and we discover that a hidden polemic to Kierkegaard and his works runs as a significant undercurrent all the way through Blixen´s oeuvre from “Carnival” to “Ehrengard.”
If we continue with the Lucifer theme in Blixen´s worldview we discover that the Danish critic and scholar George Brandes played a much bigger role as a decisive influence in Blixen´s oeuvre than has so far been recognized by Blixen-scholarship. As Bunch says then this holds true for her interest in Kierkegaard as well, since George Brandes´ Kierkegaard biography from 1877 had major impact on Blixen´s perception of Kierkegaard. Blixen actually managed to meet Brandes twice when she was back in Denmark in 1925, even though there is no mention of these meetings anywhere in her letters. Bunch says that the meetings fueled Blixen´s ambition to finally become a writer and gave her new momentum in 1926, when she started writing on the Kierkegaard-critical tale “Carnival” and a couple of marionette comedies. The most important overall impact is that Blixen adopted Brandes´ notion of Lucifer as the (atheist) angel of light and truth, which would later become an integrated symbol in Blixen´s oeuvre representing her critical approach to Christianity in general – and Kierkegaard in particular.
In one of the most important letters from Africa, dated 3 April 1926, written a few months after she had returned from Denmark where she met George Brandes, Blixen is making a decisive leap with regard to her writing and life view:
It occurs to me that I ought perhaps to explain in more detail what I mean by the symbolic expression Lucifer, so that it does not appear as if it means that I am longing for something wild and demonic, or be misunderstood in some other way. I conceive of it as meaning: truth, or the search for truth, striving towards the light, a critical attitude, - indeed, what one means by spirit. […] And in addition to this […] – a sense of humor which is afraid of nothing, but has the courage of its conviction to make fun of everything, and life, new light, variety.
This is the view of the left hand of darkness, the philosopher´s path.
Behind this notion of Lucifer we find George Brandes to be the inspiration. In a “Fakkeltale” [Torch Speech] at Saint Johns Eve, he spoke about Lucifer. First a bit about Saint John´s Eve.
When the sun sets on 23 June, Saint John's Eve, is the eve of celebration before the Feast Day of Saint John the Baptist. The Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:36, 56–57) states that John was born about six months before Jesus; therefore, the feast of John the Baptist was fixed on 24 June, six months before Christmas Eve. This feast day is one of the very few saints' days which commemorates the anniversary of the birth, rather than the death, of the saint being honored.
The Feast of Saint John closely coincides with the June solstice, also referred to as Midsummer in the Northern hemisphere. The Christian holy day is fixed at 24 June; but in most countries festivities are mostly held the night before, on Saint John's Eve. This holiday is celebrated in many places, and is loved by many people.
Saint John's Eve (Sankthansaften is celebrated in the same manner in Denmark, as the Walpurgis Night is in Sweden. At dusk large bonfires are lit all over the country, typically accompanied by communal singing of the Midsommervisen by Holger Drachmann.
Atop each bonfire often an effigy of a witch is placed (harking back to the days of witch trials, when real women were burned at the stake). The origin of this custom is a Danish folk belief that Saint John's Eve is also the night of a witches' meeting on the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains in central Germany.
Midsummer Eve Bonfire on Skagen Beach (1906), by P.S. Krøyer. An artistic depiction of the traditional Danish bonfire.
Traditionally, the bonfires were lit to fend off witches, but today - when the witch effigy catches fire - she is said to be "flying away to Brocken", which can be interpreted as helping the witch on her way. Some churches arrange Saint John's services, but despite the links to Saint John and despite the origins in heathen midsummer celebrations, the modern celebration is mainly a family reunion and an occasion for drinking and eating, with little religious importance remaining.
Brandes gave his Torch speech in Odd Fellow Palæet, Copenhagen in 1891, and we finde this verse about Lucifer:
“Lucifer, source of fire and bearer of the flames and spirit of the flames […] is the very spark of life that glows in the blood; it is the very star of knowledge that glows in our sky, it is the good spirit. He is the angel of light. Never believe that lie that the angel of light ever fell or could fall!”
For Christmas 1925, just a day before Blixen started her travel back to Ngong and a few months after her meetings with Brandes, Knud Dahl (Ellen Dahl´s husband) gave Blixen Brandes´ work Main Currents in Nineteenth Century Literature. VI Young Germany (1898) as a Christmas present. Brandes chose a quote from Balzac as the motto for his book:
“If the artist does not throw himself into his work as Curtius sprang into the gulf [..] and if when he is in the crater he does not dig on as a miner does when the earth has fallen in on him; if he contemplates the difficulties before him instead of conquering them one by one […] the artist looks on the suicide of his own talent.”
In the same letter to Thomas Dinesen where Blixen mentions Lucifer as her newfound ally, she continues with a very important statement about The Revenge of Truth that connects Lucifer´s fall and Blixen´s notion of what is necessary to become an independent individual and artist:
“I cannot, I cannot possibly write anything of the slightest interest without breaking away from the Paradise and hurtling down to my own kingdom. ‘The Revenge of Truth’ is a miniature of that, you know; I wrote it in Rome.”
So, now we both have the left hand of darkness, the philosopher, and the view of human nature seen in the image of an artist.
Bunch claims that, when combining Blixen´s strong interest in Kierkegaard in the period from 1923 to 1928, her meetings with George Brandes in 1925, her admiration for him and the obvious alignment in their perception of Lucifer and the critical Kierkegaard-tale “Carnival” she started working on in 1926, it seems very likely that Blixen was familiar with Brandes´ book about Kierkegaard: Søren Kierkegaard. En Kritisk Fremstilling I Grundrids from 1877, which at the time was one of the main works on Kierkegaard. Heinrich Anz mentions Brandes´ Kierkegaard book as the work about Kierkegaard that has had the most influence on the reception of Kierkegaard among Scandinavian writers:
Brandes´ Kierkegaard monograph is one of the most important and influential works within the literary genre of ‘biography’ in Scandinavia: It focuses on the great personality of Kierkegaard as a poet and, at the same time, eliminates the inner necessity of moving reflectively through the stages; [which I mentioned in the introduction] and thereby, he opens up for corrections and continuations. The combination of near proximity and critical distancing found in Brandes´ biography has shaped the literary reception history.
Bunch concludes that when juxtaposing the positive and less positive quotes about Kierkegaard and the critical allusions to his works in Blixen´s letters from Africa it seems reasonable to conclude that Blixen, just like her Kierkegaard-mentor George Brandes, had an ambiguous relationship to Kierkegaard and his writings. She probably viewed Kierkegaard´s two stages, the ethical and the religious, as one and the same as the mediocre moral order, which had tried to clip her own artistic wings in her youth.
Thus, in “Babette´s Feast”, Kierkegaard´s three stages, or modes of existence and how they are valued, are reversed in this materialist counter-story, where the religious, embodied by the Pietist, joy-denying and bitter Berlevaagians, is the lowest stage. Loewenhielm, who lives his life in the ethical, accounts for the middle stage, but his loveless, career-oriented life is grounded in “affection” as P.M. Møller defines it and is thus false. Babette and her culinary art represents the aesthetic, and the set-up of the evening is a perfect example: she decides to spend 10,000 francs, all that she owns, on a dinner which will only last a few hours, and where the majority, had they been able to choose, would have preferred water and bread. Babette, however, manages to create an evening of ecstasy and beauty, where body and spirit are united and people get insights and forgive each other. In the tale it is the aesthetic that brings peace and grace not religion. Thus, the aesthetic, even though fundamentally a materialistic phenomenon according to Blixen, both holds finite (lavish dinners and other bodily ecstasies) and infinite qualities (spiritual repetitions, immortal works of art) and has, in Blixen´s view, wrongly, been confused with the religious, also by Kierkegaard. “Babette´s Feast” is an ironical counter-story where Christianity and Kierkegaard´s classification of the religious is taken off the serious theoretical pedestal and brought down into the comical reality.
But two things have to mentioned: Bunch is using a popular phrase and says that Blixen at times is reading Kierkegaard like, well, the Devil reading the Bible. This however, doesn´t change the depth of Blixen´s own philosophy. The other thing is that Blixen must not be mistaken for a materialistic oriented atheist. Her insights are that of the mystic. Her mysticism is founded in nature, and in the creative powers of nature. And since man is a part of this nature, she sees human nature in the image of an artist. In Out of Africa she writes:
“People who dream when they sleep at night know of a special kind of happiness which the world of the day holds not, a placid ecstasy, and ease of heart, that are like honey on the tongue. They also know that the real glory of dreams lies in their atmosphere of unlimited freedom. It is not the freedom of the dictator, who enforces his own will on the world, but the freedom of the artist, who has no will, who is free of will. The pleasure of the true dreamer does not lie in the substance of the dream, but in this: that there things happen without any interference from his side, and altogether outside his control. Great landscapes create themselves, long splendid views, rich and delicate colours, roads, houses, which he has never seen or heard of...”
So, when she is talking about people as marionettes in the hands of God (nature) she is talking about the mystical experience. The good marionettes give up their will and surrender to the self-forgetful oneness with nature, and therefore the oneness with their own nature. They will be rewarded with an image of a stork. The movement towards this is the Luciferian movement. The bad marionettes fight against their nature by using their will. The movement towards this is the movement of the mediocre moral order.
Again this seems completely paradoxical, but it is my claim that it only can be understood if it is seen in the light of the mystical experience.
3) The Devil´s Mistress
Aage Henriksen, who was acquainted with mysticism, several times tried to persuade Karen Blixen to tell about her mystical experiences, but she refused to do that.
The immense depth of Karen Blixen´s philosophy is therefore not easy to understand, since she never put it out directly in words, only faintly in her letters and stories. The many paradoxes in her worldview don´t make it easier either.
In order to understand the whole picture I think it is necessary to know more about the unique relationship to her young male students at Rungstedlund. It is especially here the concept of the Devil´s mistress comes in, and my idea about that this relationship, and therefore the whole of her authorship, is based on some kind of inner tantric role-playing game, with her as the teacher, or the Dungeon Master, as I suggest in my Ebook The Scientology Game – and The Matrix Player´s Handbook.
In the Dungeons & Dragons game, each player creates an adventurer (also called a character) and teams up with other adventurers (played by friends). Working together, the group might explore a dark dungeon, a ruined city, a haunted castle, a lost temple deep in a jungle, or a lava-filled cavern beneath a mysterious mountain. The adventurers can solve puzzles, talk with other characters, battle fantastic monsters, and discover fabulous magic items and other treasure.
One player, however, takes on the role of the Dungeon Master, the game´s lead storyteller and referee. The Dungeon Master creates adventures for the characters, who navigate its hazards and decide which paths to explore.
In order to explain the tantric role-playing game Blixen created I will try to characterize a particular area of the polar relationship of some collective energy-processes, where information from the Source (the divine energy-source, the otherness – God, whatever you might call it), through individual persons, are transformed via the mandala-structures of the universal images, down through the polarized structures of the collective images, to the personal images.
In other words: the phenomenon, which often is called energy- and consciousness-transmission. In my article A Critique of The Indian Oneness Movement and its use of Western Success Coaching I have shown the false use of this ability; that is: the use of what they in Indian philosophy call Deeksha, Shaktipat, etc. This corresponds to the opening of the third eye.
In my booklet The Psychedelic Experience versus The Mystical Experience I have described Christina Grof´s experience with Shaktipat in relation to the top-down awakened Indian guru Swami Muktananda, and how he transferred a top-down kundalini awakening to her. Below I will show how the same happened to Aage Henriksen through a female yoga teacher, and the connection it had to Karen Blixen. Blixen obviously also worked with energy transmission, but as everything else in her life, also this was deeply paradoxical.
The images in the universal time include their polar partners, they are a kind of visionary mandala-structures, which work in synchronism with the Now. They therefore function synthesizing and healing. The images in the collective and personal time eliminate these polar partners, and therefore they work separating in polar tensions. Furthermore they work in sequences in past and future.
Images in the collective time are therefore a dangerous intermediate area between the universal and personal time. The collective time lies on a so-called astral plane, and its degree of fascination is known from fairy-tales, myths, archetypes, primordial images, dreams. As mentioned: Blixen talked about her third eye, which indicates that she had an opening to the collective images, and maybe even to an intuition of the universal images. But I guess that she lacked the final total realization due to lack of heart opening. The heart has to do with love, therefore Blixen sought some kind of tantric relationship in order to integrate her heart with her head (it´s important to know that she didn´t want to have anything to do with Indian philosophy, so all this is probably due to her intuitive mystical knowledge of such processes).
When individual people have an opening to the collective time, their creativity, and their reality-creating ability, are set free in fascinating degree. Experiences from here are experiences such as kundalini, clairvoyance, astral travels, mythological visions, miracles, channeling, UFOs, memories from past lives, Near-death experiences, possession states. I have many times explained all this.
However, you are, in this astral state, still on the plane of the collective images of time, which work in sequences in past and future, and you are in danger ending up in a spiritual crisis. A spiritual crisis is an expression of, that you have gone out in the collective time with your Ego, without having done the philosophical preliminary personal work; that is to say: the realization-work (the head) and the ethical training (the heart). The Ego will then make you lose your way in the collective time. This can happen in two ways: either as suffering (often called The Dark Night of The Soul), or as Ego-inflation. Both can take place in form of a top-down awakening.
Around ethical highly placed spiritual teachers (teachers who have integrated both head and heart), there seem to be formed existential mandala-structures, which, as great energy-whirls, canalize highly growth-advancing energy and consciousness-waves from the Source (the Now, life itself, God). These mandala-structures necessarily have to arrange themselves after the collective images´ polarization-patterns in past and future, whereby the lines are formed, which the energy and the transmissions can follow into the personal images, which after all also only work in past and future.
These energy-mandalas are in religious art archetypical portrayed in for example the classic configurations around Christ (the four evangelists and their symbolical power) and Buddha (the Dyani-Buddhas with their esoterical figures).
Such mandala-fields are constellated concretely among the students, who relate to such a teacher. And in these fields, constituted by human beings, the Source manifests itself concretely-existential. Such a mandala is an incarnated universal image.
When an individual person has a fully realized access (head and heart are integrated) to the collective time´s area of energy, we have to do with a true spiritual teacher of one or the other kind. The fully realized transmission of energy and consciousness will always be characterised by a spiritual teacher, who not only has realized the collective time´s astral worlds, but in addition to this also the universal time, and therefore truth and reality (which means that he or she is an enlightened master). This teacher is therefore able to discriminate between the image and the reality, and therefore able to relate relatively to the relative and absolutely to the absolute. The collective forms of energy are here used for spiritual purposes (where the energy is turned towards the Now, and therefore the Source and the essence).
Such teachers function as energy-distributers and energy-spreaders to individual persons, who are students and disciples of this teacher, a kind of transformation-phenomenon, where the individual persons are being lifted into the spiritual dimension with its universal images, insights and experiences of love.
To teach spiritual consists after all in, among other things, in passing on energy (love, information, healing, direct transmission of spiritual consciousness). Only an enlightened master can do this.
The transferred energy from the spiritual dimension is, from the medium of an enlightened master, spreading itself like waves out towards those, who are open, and those, who can learn and receive. This wave-vibration process goes through the mandala-structures of the universal images, which work in synchronism with the Now (the spiritual dimension, God) to the polar tension-tracks in the collective images, which work in past and future, in order to be able to reproduce itself in the personal images, which after all also only work in past and future. The waves have to be able to travel. The energy has to be able to spread itself from higher levels, via the teacher, and out to those, who can grow in this field.
Around such a teacher there in other words arises a universal image, a kind of mandala-structure, created by the teacher and the students around him.
Most known is as mentioned Jesus and his disciples, or Buddha and his disciples. But it can also happen in a monastery, for example around Francis of Assisi, Hildegard von Bingen, or around Socrates and his students.
In such a group-energetical mandala-structure in the Now, the polar relationship in the collective time is organized in such a way, that energy can be send and received, arise and travel like rings in water.
The greatest source of energy we, via our common Ego-consciousness (the personal images), have at our disposal, lies in our sexuality. All spiritual practice is about transforming sexual energy into spirituality.
In the work of spiritual teachers you can talk about a conscious making use of group-energetical mandala-structures. All such existential manifested mandalas have that in common, that the sexual energy here uses other lines than the usual.
Whether the sexuality is transformed through exercises, prayer, and meditation, or it happens through conscious taken over unhappy fate (illness or the death of the beloved, which I below shall investigate with reference to Karen Blixen), then the conscious turned inwards sexuality opens for knowledge about, and experiences of the collective images of time. Hereby is released an extensive and common human energy, which can express itself in the existential environment around the concerned energy-sources.
There exist traces of this many places; and there is often offence connected to it. The conditions are not realized for what, they really are. People choose to understand from their own conditions, understandable enough.
In addition to this shall be added, that these energetical structures are subtle, they are extremely powerful, and they are in themselves neither good or evil. This neutrality is the explanation of free will. The Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg has in his book, Heaven and Hell, written (in the chapter called Freedom Through Balance) that our freedom depends on the balance between Heaven and Hell. He writes:
I have just described the balance between heaven and hell and have shown that the balance is between what is good from heaven and what is evil from hell, which means that it is a spiritual balance that in essence is a freedom.
The reason this spiritual balance is essentially a freedom is that it exists between what is good and what is evil and between what is true and what is false, and these are spiritual realities. So the ability to intend either good or evil and to think either truth or falsity, the ability to choose one intend instead of the other, is the freedom I am dealing with here.
The Lord grants this freedom to every individual, and it is never taken away. By virtue of its source it in fact belongs to the Lord and not to us because it comes from the Lord; yet still it is given us along with our life as though it were ours. This is so that we can be reformed and saved, for without freedom there can be no reformation or salvation.
Anyone who uses a little rational insight can see that we have a freedom to think well or badly, honestly or dishonestly, fairly or unfairly, and that we can talk and act well, honestly, and fairly but not badly, dishonestly, and unfairly because of the spiritual, moral, and civil laws that keep our outward nature in restraint.
We can see from this that the freedom applies to our spirit, which does our thinking and intending, but not to our outer nature, which does our talking and acting, except as this follows the aforementioned laws.
The reason we cannot be reformed unless we have some freedom is that we are born into evils of all kinds, evils that need to be taken away if we are to be saved. They cannot be taken away unless we see them within ourselves, admit that they are there, then refuse them and ultimately turn away from them. Only then are they taken away. This cannot happen unless we are exposed to both good and evil, since it is from good that we can see evils, though we cannot see what is good from evil. We learn the good spiritual things we can think from infancy from the reading of the Word and from sermons. We can learn the moral and civic values from our life in the world. This is the primary reason we need to be in freedom (page 364-65).
In my online book Philosophical Counseling with Tolkien (chapter 10, part 2: The Nature of Evil) I write that this freedom, this balance between good and evil, hasn´t anything to do with relativism. Good and evil are real universal powers, but they are not equally powerful. Though Evil can seem more powerful than goodness, Evil will not conquer because of its very nature of being evil and false. Logically seen, evil is distortions of goodness and truth, and is therefore falsiable and unvalid. It will be exposed as false. It is in its very nature self-destructive. Existentially seen, evil is becoming, which is non-being. Evil is suffering, and therefore not worth living.
So, how people choose to use the neutral powers and functions of the balance between good and evil, depends on the participants and their philosophical integration, their realization work and ethical practice.
One can therefore not blame observers, partially that the phenomena are misjudged, partially that they easily awake suspicions. For surely is it namely, that such energy-phenomena often enough have become used in lesser beneficial situations.
The same energy, which can be used unselfish, can namely also be used turned stimulative into the Ego-structures, whereby the Ego can lose balance and expand to a super-Ego, or in another way be demonized. It is this, which happens in the spiritual crisis. You have gone out in the collective time with your Ego.
The lesser realized transmission of energy and consciousness is therefore characterised by people, who admittedly have an opening to the collective time, but not to the universal time (although Karen Blixen, in my view, seems to be an aesthetical border figure). Such people are often not able to discriminate between the image and the reality, and therefore they relate absolutely to the relative. They are caught in magical thinking.
In Out of Africa Karen Blixen somewhere describes the magic of the words. The natives named for instance an European after an animal, and a human being, who through many years, by all his surroundings, has been named with one animal-name, finally happens to feel himself related with the animal, he is named after; he recognizes himself in this animal.
In the natives´ ability to create myths they don´t discriminate between the word and the thing, the name and the named. The white men are really, in the eyes of the natives, both humans and animals. In the same way with their linkage of spirits and machines.
Karen Blixen tells about how the natives, because of this mythical “gift”, can put experiences on humans, which they can´t defend themselves against, and not get out of. They can make humans into symbols. She is telling, that it is a kind of magic, which is used on you, and that you later never completely can disentangle from it. It can be a painful, heavy fate to be exposed as one or the other symbol.
But also in the Western civilizations we become exposed for such a magic. It is not something, which we have come over. Now it is happening through one or the other kind of religious or political propaganda - and in particular through the media storm, which transforms humans into consumers. ”You are what you eat!”
It is also this magic George Orwell describes in his novel 1984, with the language called NewSpeak; a language created by the rulers in order to control thinking. We all know it more or less. If you, by your surroundings, constantly are being induced some kind of image, you will in the end begin to believe in it, even if it is not true. Especially in family relations we see how family members are being induced roles, which are incredible difficult to disentangle from, because family relations also have with love to do.
All this is magical thinking, and there are a lot of thought distortions built into it, for example the thought distortion arbitrary inference, which means, that you make a causal linking of factors, which is accidental or misleading . The main reason for the rise of magical thinking is that you don´t discriminate between image and reality, the map and the landscape.
True spirituality is about discriminating between language and reality. Discrimination is a central virtue in critical thinking. The Dominican mystics call this step Discriminatio, the ability to discriminate between how the energy is used temporal or religious. And despite that magical thinking actually can create something magical, then in true spirituality it is still something temporal, or relatively (black magic/occultism), which will create negative karma if practised (in my article on New Thought I have explained how this movement is a direct teaching of black magic).
The Orientals call the ability of discrimination viveka, discrimination, the ability to use your will on that part of the energy, you can steer yourself, and steer it towards exercises, prayer, mantras, meditation, instead of towards career, worldliness, self-unfolding, as the New Thought movement teaches it (for example, read the Indian philosopher Shankara´s book The Crown-juvel of discrimination).
The same energy-process and function, which realized spiritual teachers use, can therefore be used for other purposes than spiritual. When the collective time´s energy-processes are used spiritual, then the Ego, in its egoistic isolating and self-affirmative function, steps aside, and the energy is turned into the Now, and therefore in towards the Source and the spiritual dimension. The people, who around a spiritual teacher, constitute the energy-mandala, are in this way made transparent for a higher common human spirituality.
In a top-down awakening the contact with, and the ability to manipulate with such collective forms of energy, will be used for other purposes than spiritual. It can be creative, Ego affirmative, political, demonical and so on.
The powers that, by realized spiritual teachers, are given to others´ disposal in healing, energy transmission and spiritual information exchange, the same powers can themselves be turned in through the Ego-structures, and therewith into past and future. In this way there can be opened creative channels, created super Egos, created political leaders and popular seducers.
It is an action of free will, but it is a demonical element.
Many gurus seem to have fallen into this temptation. In the story about the temptation in the desert, we can see these free possible ways of using the energy pictured in anticipated form. Here you see the possibility of using the freedom and the power, to elevation of the Ego and the consequent power and material glory. But Jesus abstains from this deification of the Ego.
However, many false gurus have fallen for the temptation. And in the present time, where spirituality is controlled by the mythology of authenticity - the belief in, that worship of money, success and winner-mentality, is the same as being in compliance with the universal laws - we will undoubtedly see an explosion of such super Egos – and experiences show, that the world will follow them.
In Doctor Faustus Thomas Mann describes, how the main character Adrian Leverkühn discovers and releases such collective powers and is using them to intensify his musical creativity to genius heights. He goes deliberately into a demonizing-process by making love with the whore Esmeralda, whereby he conscious catches syphilis, for then to use the inner pole-tension of this disease to heighten his creative capacity.
Afterwards the universal energy-mandala unfolds itself out through lines of genius musical works, where both those, who perform them, and those, who listen, are being caught by the magical circle.
Thomas Mann partially builds his figure on Nietzsche, and the whole of the novel is on a collective plane about, what the Germans did under The Second World War, where demonical polarized energy spread from Hitler and the secret SS-rituals.
In Adrian Leverkühn´s dialogues with the Devil are clearly seen haughtiness and superman-feeling as the motives, which control the use of the collective creative energy.
This doesn´t mean, though, that all great art is coming through because a creative person turns the collective energies in through the Ego-structures: Thomas Mann´s musical image, which intuitively and poetical seeks to understand Hitler-Germany, is for example a contra-image to Bach´s music, which toned God to honour and mankind to uplifting. To all the great works Bach added ”Soli Deo Gloria”.
Karen Blixen´s paradox lies, in my view, somewhere in between these two different versions of creativity. The right answer would be a combination of Adrian Leverkühn and Bach, thus a matter of both/and rather than either/or (to allude Kierkegaard).
If you get in contact with collective energies it is in fact a good idea to seek to express your abilities artistically, but in a way, that directs them towards the spiritual dimension. I will return to this in combination with my view of the Life Artist and life seen as a shadow odyssey. So, I can agree with Blixen´s view of the human nature seen in the image of an artist.
Blixen´s relationship with her young male students is a kind of aesthetic-demonic scenario. You can easily see some of the above-mentioned group-energetical polarization-phenomena around her.
Karen Blixen seems, in line with the greatest artists, to be an aesthetical border figure between the realized and the lesser realized transmission of energy and consciousness. This is especially coming to expression in the paradoxes of her life and stories. For example you can see it in the oddity, that what she in her letters refers to as the Devil, she in her stories refers to as God.
In 1952, the young literature professor Aage Henriksen met the 66-year-old writer Karen Blixen. At that moment, a complicated friendship began, one that took on bizarre forms over the years and had an enormous impact on Aage's life. Blixen, who became particularly famous when her novel Out of Africa was turned into a film, refers to herself as a storyteller in public. For more intimate friends, however, she's the "devil's mistress." Her life is packed with sinister aspects, and they fascinate Aage to such a degree that he also gets absorbed in the supernatural world. While taking walks together, he told his 10-year-old son Morten all about Blixen, including the occult details (this is also why Blixen can´t be called an atheist like her mentor George Brandes).
Morten didn't understand everything, but the stories left a deep impression on him. After years of estrangement, he goes back to his now elderly father to get information. What possessed him to saddle his son with this intense story, and what of it is actually true? Morten therefore made a film called Karen Blixen - Behind Her Mask (Bag Blixens maske).
The film doesn't only shed light on the eccentric personality of Blixen, but it's also a crucial self-investigation. Morten has to know who his father is so he can know who he is himself.
That Karen Blixen herself, through her fate and her distinctive attitude to this fate, opened her mind to the collective time's polar relationships, is without any doubt. That she radiated an enormous witch-like eros and at the same time a dramatic tragic fate, is also without any doubt.
This, not only personal creative power, therefore constellated - in its quality of collective - a circle of highly intelligent and sensitive men, who together with Karen Blixen, constituted this fascinating energy-mandala-phenomenon.
That Karen Blixen wanted to transmit her special knowledge about how to intensify creative energy to her closest relatives in the circle, appears from Aage Henriksen´s energy-experience with her in 1958.
The following description of Henriksen´s energy-experience is very close to my own experiences with the kundalini awakening in my dream. I have been superficially acquainted with Karen Blixen my whole life and have always had a strange fascination of her, but it is first late in my life I found out what happened in the life of Aage Henriksen and Karen Blixen, and is of course even more mystified over that I somehow always have had an intuitive sense of this connection. My kundalini awakening happened by itself, though, through five years of yoga and meditation. Aage Henriksen had his kundalini awakening transmitted via Shaktipat from his female yoga teacher, who hereafter, like so many other partially awakened teachers, couldn´t help him with the enormous problems it caused him.
The problems he got was clearly a symptom of a top-down kundalini awakening: he had immense energy circulating into his crown, third eye, and around his head and shoulders. Unfortunately for him, the energy was not able to move much further down because the throat chakra and heart chakra require the lower chakras to be open to open themselves. The special problem for Henriksen, in my view, is that he obviously didn´t understood that the lower chakras needed to be opened. Instead he wanted to open more upwards. And after the energy experience with Blixen, which I will describe below, he accused her for not allowing the energy to ascend further up. This could be the case if he had energy rising. But he also describes himself as having clairvoyant abilities, etc. And on the whole, reading his descriptions of his paranormal experiences, it sounds like a top-down awakening.
So, his energy became stuck in the upper body- leading to a bottleneck of energy, headaches, neck pain, disassociation, ego issues, and significant mental health issues including depression developed.
Other symptoms included: he became open to spiritual guidance and psychic abilities, he understood patterns and concepts from a different vantage point (which is due to many of these individuals being halfway out of their body so they really do have a different perspective), headaches, sinus pain, closed off feelings in the throat, delusions, paranoia, and feelings of heaviness or stuckness in the shoulders, upper back, heart, neck, and head.
Aage Henriksen describes his experience with kundalini – and how Karen Blixen blocked this awakening - in The Irrepressible on page 146. Blixen had called him for a meeting after he (once again) had been quite “nosey” to her, and almost had begged her revealing her mystical powers and how she describes them in her tales. She was lying ill in her bed, and he starts referring to her tale The Cloak from The Cardinal´s First Tale in Last Tales:
”During the Christmas Holidays I had circled mystified around these stories and special around ‘The Cloak.’ In this story there happens a transferring of power and soul, from one human being to another, and it happens in that moment, where the old master takes the cloak of his own shoulders and puts it around Angelo´s. I now began to talk about the story and weaved Angelo´s night in the prison - where he sits as hostage for his teacher, and become torned up from the ground - together with bygone years´ events between her and me.
”’Yes, I don't really understand, what it is, you are saying,’ she answered.
“Then the conversation silenced, and there went some time, before I sensed, that the room between us somehow had become alive, as in the time with my yoga teacher, but now different. There came a radiation from her, which grew in power, until it was as a hard, dare wind, which somehow came innermost from the bones and which caused, that my eyes were watering.
“When I lifted my head and was looking at her, she was almost hidden in a cloud of scarlet aura, in which the white, whirling phosphorus-light floated as a disc. God must know, how I myself was looking like – as at a deathbed, or as a thief?
“In this way, it lasted for a long time, I don´t know how long, maybe ten minutes. She herself interrupted the mute, intense being together, by dry and short saying: ”Ok come then!” as if we had entered into an agreement. The situation developed itself and changed itself momentarily. Once again a being together with Karen Blixen had slowly changed itself into an optical instrument, in which the impurity of one´s own heart comes to sight.
“I knew, that if I went with her now, I would arrive somewhere, which I nothing knew about, but even if the Earth had begun to shake, I would never have considered the idea, that I still would be able to break off and say no. I then sat down on the edge of the bed and bent over her, as she wanted to, and at the same time I sent my thoughts miles around for help and protection for both of us. Then she took both her hands up around my throat, and drilled a finger hard and long into the back of my neck, for finally to stroke me over both shoulders. When I was straightening up, she broked the silence with the unexpected request:
”’Now say a verse.’
“The first, which felt into my thoughts, was the beginning lines to Sarastro´s aria in The Magic Flute, which also, as it probably was the meaning, contained my understanding of, what this hour was all about, or what I wished, it should be about [After Pamina pleads with Sarastro to have mercy on her scheming mother, Sarastro sings of the ideals of his Brotherhood.]:
Within these hallowed halls
One knows not revenge.
And should a person have fallen,
Love will guide him to duty.
Then wanders he on the hand of a friend
Cheerful and happy into a better land.
Within these hallowed walls,
Where human loves the human,
No traitor can lurk,
Because one forgives the enemy.
Whomever these lessons do not please,
Deserves not to be a human being.
“I felt dizzy, when I got up from the uncomfortable position. Is was as if the whole of my abdomen pulled itself together in cramp and sent strong streams up in the head. I wanted to say something, but she stopped me:
”’You shall go now.’”
We get the impression, that Karen Blixen knew – at least intuitively – what she did. She wanted to create artists out of her students, not intellectuals. Expression yourself artistically will lead the energy down to the heart. You should not be fixed in the head, and should avoid rational and logical thinking. But this is a paradox. A lot of my own rational and logical work with the Matrix Conspiracy saved me from irrational demonical influence. On the other hand, this rational and logical thinking made the top-down awakening worse. My solution was to finish the critique of the Matrix Conspiracy, and begin my imagination and storytelling period. I have found this described in Greco-Roman philosophy, and made it into a part of my teaching. On my page, My Teaching in a Nutshell, I have described it as the exercise, Critical Thinking:
Critical thinking (kritikos) has to do with three virtues: A) refutation of sophisms (elenchos), B) discrimination (the ability to discriminate between reality and illusion, good and evil, true and false - emphilotekhnein), and C) flexible thinking (learning to see, or rather, think about, things "from above", from alternative viewpoints, and, when doing this, focusing your thoughts on Beauty, Goodness and Truth).
I have called sophisms thought distortions. I introduced the concept of thought distortions in my supporting exercise the philosophical diary, where I described a Socratic inquire technique. Here they especially deal with psychological and personal matters. I have developed them further in my book A Dictionary of Thought Distortions.
Critical thinking is mainly about yourself. You should not go out and attack others with this technique, though it of course can be necessary when someone is trying to force you into their own thought distortions. Remember that it is a spiritual exercise. You can use the philosophical diary, but what´s most important, it is meant as a way of having a dialogue with yourself.
The interplay between the three virtues ensures the balance between logic and imagination, rational and irrational, philosophy and storytelling.
My own focus on logic and philosophy is mainly displayed on my website, with emphasis on The Matrix Conspiracy. My focus on imagination and storytelling is mainly displayed on my blog (see blog archive for the different categories).
Today I´m only concentrating on imagination and storytelling, and the energy is now running downwards, and opening the heart. I guess this was Blixen´s intention. The Luciferian movement has this logic: myth-logos-myth. You start out in myth, are using logos (philosophy) to navigate, and are returning to myth as an insightful storyteller.
According to Aage Henriksen (p. 148) the blockade obstructed the kundalini-stream at the back of the neck, so that the head started to shake. The intensifying of the creative energy necessarily has to do with the throat-chakra, since this centre is focus-spot for creative energy-transformations.
I have myself have had troubles with this center when I´m creative, for example when writing this, which means something personal to me. When this is happening my throat becomes tight, and I´m getting hoarse, and can almost not speak. But furthermore: it has caused that I somehow have “lost my voice” in the sense that it is very difficult for me to express my thoughts vocally. I guess this has caused that I haven´t tried to go public with my teaching in form of talks and so on. On the other hand, my writings are flowing in a kind of meditative writing. Therefore I have published my work on the internet, and have chosen to live like Epicurus “in secret.”
Also here I find a strange connection with Karen Blixen. I find the connection in her tale “The Dreamers” from Seven Gothic Tales. It begins like this (notice the archaic style of storytelling mixed with a sense of biblical destiny):
On a full-moon night of 1863 a dhow was on its way from Lamu to Zanzibar, following the coast about a mile out. She carried full sails before the monsoon, and had in her a freight of ivory and rhino-horn. This last is highly valued as an aphrodisiac, and traders come for it to Zanzibar from as far as China. But besides these cargoes the dhow also held a secret load, which was about to stir and raise great forces, and of which the slumbering countries which she passed did not dream.
This still night was bewildering in its deep silence and peace, as if something had happened to the world; as if the soul of it had been, by some magic, turned upside down. The free monsoon came from far places, and the sea wandered on under its sway, on her long journey, in the face of the dim luminous moon. But the brightness of the moon upon the water was so clear that it seemed as if all the light in the world were in reality radiating from the sea, to be reflected in the skies. The waves looked solid, as if one might safely have walked upon them, while it was into the vertiginous sky that one might sink and fall, into the turbulent and unfathomable depths of silvery worlds, of bright silver or dull and tarnished silver, forever silver reflected within silver, moving and changing, towering up, slowly and weightless.
The man who tells the story, Lincoln Forsner, tells the story to an old Arabic storyteller, while sitting on the deck. The story is about Pellegrina Leoni, an Italian opera diva, who lost her voice after having been hidden by a burning log at a fire in the opera. An obvious reference to a top-down kundalini awakening, which anybody who have experienced this can see, but which of course is impossible to see if you haven´t experienced it. In the story Pellagrina mysteriously disappeared after having lost the ability to sing, and thereby her divine mission, and was seeking a new anonymous life as a many-faceted mistress for three men, who dreamed about a woman who could confirm them in their self-image. She plays many roles but can be recognized by a scar after a burn that runs from her ear, down over her throat to the shoulder. When she dies the truth about her is told to the three men by her helper, an old rich Jew.
And so she lives on in the tale, as a woman who made men into dreamers.
The Dreamers is again a subversion of Kierkegaard, according to Mads Bunch. In this case Kierkegaard´s A´s Don Juan essay from Enten-Eller, Første Del. Blixen turns the Don Juan character and the notion of seduction in relation to gender radically upside-down (she insinuated the upside-down element in the above quoted beginning of the tale). Contrary to A´s idolization of Don Juan, we find Guildenstiern in “The Dreamers” to be a comical Don Juan version. A also claims that “the expression for Don Juan, in turn, is simply and solely music”, but here Blixen successfully utilizes her strategy of “artistic irony” and shows that A´s idea is a theoretical abstraction, since the most prominent example of the embodiment of music must be the female opera diva, who uses her body, her voice, on a very concrete level, to create music. Pellegrina is also an example of how women seduce without wanting to. She has no intention of seducing the three male characters in the tale, but the three passionate gentlemen are actively pursuing her against her will, which in the end kills her. Thus, Blixen here creates an original example of a tragic female Don Juan, who seduces without wanting it, which is a complete, and astute, subversion of A´s Don Juan with regard to gender and seduction.
Finally, Pellegrina is not escorted down to Hell by any demons, which is the fate of Don Juan in Mozart´s opera, when he is judged a sinner: “Such is the end of the evildoer: the death of a sinner always reflects his life.” Pellegrina is not a sinner, and Blixen lets her die with great dignity, glowing with heat and ecstasy. This reversal underlines the moral of the tale that Pellegrina, unlike Don Juan, has done nothing wrong and that her (noble) death reflects her life.
Blixen said to Thorkild Bjørnvig that The Dreamers was about herself (read the whole story here).
The Dreamers was made into an unfinished film by Orson Welles, who obviously shared my fascination with Karen Blixen and, at one point, announced plans to create a series of films based on her writing.
Aage Henriksen was atheist in the start, but the kundalini awakening, and the occult experiences in connection with Karen Blixen, forced him to find a frame of reference. The frame of reference he found was Western Esotericism.
He thought that Blixen with her interference had led his consciousness away from the spiritual dimension (or rather: his esoteric intellectual understanding of it), and into the area of the collective images. This is the demonic element, which finally forced him to break away from her. He writes, that she would stick at nothing in order to prevent her young friends and acquaintances in exceeding the borders of the Earth-Moon Kingdom, in which she was queen. For example she tried to interfere in, if not directly destroy their marriages, which she obviously considered as the mediocre moral order. For example, she tried to lure both Thorkild Bjørnvig and Aage Henriksen into adultery, not with her, but with arranged meetings with women. Again, paradoxically, this seemed to be an attempt to control their male sexual power. For example she told Bjørnvig that it would be good for him to have an affair with a female snake charmer.
A part of this same demonic element finally caused Thorkild Bjørnvig to break his pact with her. Henriksen directly called her interference criminal, but admitted that it of course was impossible to prove anything. Personally I´m also of the opinion that teachers with occult abilities who interferes with their disciples´ spiritual lives without the necessary knowledge, could be called serious criminals. But I´m in doubt whether Karen Blixen did something wrong. Both Bjørnvig and Henriksen had chosen the pact themselves, in fact they were thrilled by it like the three men in The Dreamers, and Henriksen had almost begged her to do the interference.
Henriksen himself also told that the interference stopped his psychic abilities and his depressions. Furthermore: how can he know that the kundalini would have made him enlightened if she hadn´t stopped it? I doubt so, since he in my view didn´t understood the necessary in opening the lower chakras. Taking into consideration that Henriksen didn´t had any knowledge of Hara, and how to balance the kundalini power, the development would in my view have developed into a deeper spiritual crisis. Hara, for example, also interferes in the top-down kundalini awakening. I will return to this, just say that the interferences don´t abort the kundalini, just makes it flow differently. Hara stabilizes it.
Henriksen for example, tells that his own psychic abilities (which disappeared after Blixen´s interference) didn´t gave him any realization, it was just paranormal experiences without meaning; “expanded sensations” as he calls them. He could for example see peoples´ auras, but it didn´t gave him any meaning before he found esotericism as an intellectual tool of interpretation. I have explained the difference between paranormal experiences without realization and paranormal experiences with realization in my booklet The Psychedelic Experience versus The Mystical Experience.
And the esotericism, which he was on his way into, is also one of my “villains”, especially in its later development into, for example, Theosophy, the central inspiration for various New Age directions. So, in my view: Henriksen was on the way to play the right hand of darkness…before Blixen stopped him.
In the next chapter I will show the role of Satanism in connection with Blixen and esotericism. I will also show the paradox between the left and right hand of darkness: the negation of the ego versus the position of the ego, because you might think that Blixen with her concept of the independent artist was supporting the position of the ego. On the contrary. We have already looked at that in connection with her paradoxically view of people as marionettes, but I will describe it further in the next chapters.
Did Karen Blixen maybe in the pact with Thorkild Bjørnvig, and in the energy-manipulation with Aage Henriksen, try to transmit the secret of the creative intensifying? Did she, like others, who are initiates in the collective power´s nature and ways, try to transmit this existential knowledge? It seems so.
All of Aage Henriksen´s books are about how he sees these processes reflected in various fictional works of art. His starting point is the transformation of inhibited sexuality into art, which Freud called sublimation. According to Aage Henriksen, a line of great Danish-Norwegian poets have personally experienced and pondered over this transformation, as for example Grundtvig, Henrik Ibsen and Sophus Claussen.
And here comes Henriksen´s interpretation. He says that their problems for a long time had been known within Europe's so-called esoteric traditions. In their highly extended and strange populated space of consciousness, it is seen, he says, that two streams, which each are surrounded by a respective experience-circle, cross each other in the love of human beings, and are the Source of many complications: the direction towards the one and the direction towards the many. It is, according to Henriksen, this knowledge, which Goethe, with his connection to the Masonic Order, has pictured in The Fairytale and in Wilhelm Meister´s Apprenticeship, and which Rudolf Steiner, who had the theosophical movement as one of his conditions, reproduced in his Mystery Dramas.
Furthermore, Aage Henriksen tells about Karen Blixen, who in her works, according to him, sovereignly managed the strong, ancient secrets. It was, among other things, she who opened the great background world for him. Henriksen gives many examples of how she in her stories already had depicted just about anything he experienced with her in real life:
1) The artist who lives in accordance with his, or hers, nature, and therefore are rewarded with the image of the stork (Babette´s Feast), and the artist who gets his, or hers, wings clipped by the mediocre moral order (Alkmene in Winter´s Tales);
2) The kundalini power (Adelaide in Copenhagen Season from Last Tales. Also here Blixen describes her kundalini awakening in a negative way; that is: as a top-down awakening – the same is, as mentioned, described with Blixen´s alter ego, Pellagrina Leoni in The Dreamers).
3) The transmission of energy and consciousness (Angelo in The Cloak from The Cardinal´s First Tale in Last Tales).
4) The interference in the throat/neck area (also Angelo in the Cloak. Here it is his old master, the artist Leonidas, who interferes in Angelo´s throat area, which means that Angelo now could make art out of what before was religious energy. Furthermore: Pellagrina Leoni loses her voice, and has a scar after a burn right across the throat).
It is fascinating to read her stories when you in this way have found the key.
Henriksen thought he re-found Christianity in Western esotericism, and says that what she did was an attempt to transform her young male students from Christians to artists.
How demonical was it? It is an open question, because as already mentioned, what she in her letters refers to as the Devil, she in her stories refers to as God. She keeps on being an aesthetic border-figure between the realized and lesser realized transmission of energy and consciousness. As Kierkegaard says, then God´s nature always unites the opposite. We also saw the play of the opposites in Swedenborg´s philosophy of the free will.
As already suggested: it was in my view a kind of inner tantric role-playing game.
Inner Tantra means the processes that unfold between conscious energy polarities within one person's personality system. These inner tantric processes consist of a combination of energy and meditative exercises, spontaneous events, and experiences of the most intense character that encompass both energy states, love states and states of extended and higher consciousness.
Inner Tantra apparently develops naturally from an outer tantric love relationship between two. A transformation experience often means harmonization in a three-pronged process: inner exchange between the woman's two poles (feminine and masculine); inner exchange between the man's two poles (masculine and feminine); and these two inner tantric phenomena linked to a common auric-energetic sensation and consciousness experience.
However, inner tantra can also be developed in a single living human being for one reason or another. This may be due to either an involuntary interruption of a common but deep and strong love relationship; or it may be due to a conscious, often religiously determined decision to live in celibacy. In Karen Blixen´s case it was the first.
5) The Question of Satanism
I will begin with my concept of the 666 Conspiracy.
When I talk about the 666 conspiracy I don´t think there exists any organized control coming from without; that is; secret societies, or groups of people who are speculating in what I here will present. The control is coming from within; it is coming from individuals who share the same ideas, namely that they are free and authentic humans, who help other people to become free and authentic humans.
My concept of The Matrix Conspiracy contains three other known conspiracies. Here is a short introduction, where I only will focus on The 666 Conspiracy:
1. The Bilderberg Group
3. The 666 Conspiracy
The 666 conspiracy is about Evil´s plot against mankind. Is the third Antichrist among us, and will our worship of him be a sign of Judgment Day? We have already touched this in connection with “the third eye conspiracy” where there seems to be a scary thought going through it. My concept of Evil is connected to the Antichrist, to what is in opposition to the life and philosophy of Jesus Christ. My concept of Lucifer Morningstar, and Karen Blixen´s love affair with Lucifer, have in that way not anything to do with Evil.
The relevance of the 666 conspiracy has five aspects:
A) That some of the subjectivistic and relativistic theories on the universities, which seek to undermine truth (and for instance philosophy and science) are so absurd, that there is nothing behind them than chaos.
B) That ideology is a malfunction in the human mind.
C) That there is introduced a false spirituality where the main worship is the Ego, contrary to the traditional spiritual directions, where the main goal is the elimination of the Ego (Remember that playing The Right Hand of Darkness is equivalent with a position of the ego, and playing The Left Hand of Darkness is equivalent with a negation of the ego.
D) That occultism within New Age creates spiritual misguiding, often with deep spiritual crises as a result.
E) That the Ego-extreme according to the true spiritual traditions will be contrabalanced by the laws of energy (hybris-nemesis, karma, the will of God, etc., or the Devil as a punisher) This will happen through crises, illness, natural disasters, etc.
The 666 conspiracy is presenting two metaphysical theories: materialism and idealism, which both seem to be attempts of blocking the way to heart and hara, love and existence.
When you today ask: What is a human being? most people answer, that Man ”is a product of heredity and environment”. This has become a whole ideology in the Western world, and a fundamental part of the Illuminati aspect of The Matrix Conspiracy. It is actually a kind of sociobiology, or social Darwinism; a reductionism.
Reductionisms are philosophical viewpoints, because they seek to answer the question about Man as such, but as philosophical viewpoints they are epistemological and ethical shipwrecks.
Atheist fundamentalism advocate some kind of sociobiology. Social biology became notorious in 1975, when the American biologist Edward O. Wilson published a major treatise on the subject: Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. Accusations of sexism and racism were leveled because Wilson suggested that Western social systems are biologically innate, and that in some respects males are stronger, more aggressive, more naturally promiscuous than females. Critics argued that all social biology is in fact a manifestation of Social Darwinism, a nineteenth-century philosophy owing more to the English philosopher Herbert Spencer, than to Charles Darwin, supposedly legitimating extreme laissez-faire economics and an unbridled societal struggle for existence.
But the search for a synthesis of the heredity and environment split, a holism, is common in the pseudoscience of reductionism.
Within the pseudoscience of New Age the American physicist Fritjof Capra, has in his book, The Turning Point, outlined an ideology, where he combines quantum mysticism with reductionism, especially reductionisms such as historism and sociologism.
And, since the first publication of his ideas at the age of 23, the American New Age guru, Ken Wilber, has also sought to bring together the world´s far-ranging spiritual teachings, philosophies, and scientific truths into one coherent and all-embracing vision. This integral map of the Kosmos (the universe that includes the physical cosmos as well as the realms of consciousness and spirit) should then offer an unprecedented guide to discovering your highest potentials.
The ethical shipwreck (the blocking of the heart) is as follows: if Man only is a product of heredity and environment, then he has no longer any responsibility for his actions. Even the murderer, who is standing accused in court, is able to defend himself with, that he basically can´t help, that he has committed a murder. Firstly he was born with some unfortunate genes, which did, that he wasn’t all too clever. Therefore he was bullied in the school, and thereby he was developed to become aggressive and hot tempered. All this caused, that he in a certain situation committed a murder, but this he could not help. Heredity and environment led him precisely to this situation. Guilty? No, many people would say today, he is no more guilty, than a person is to blame, that he came to cough in a place filled with smoke. No, on the whole it is society and environment, which are to blame for the murder.
When you are advocating a reductionism and are claiming, that Man is nothing else than for example a product of heredity and environment, then concepts such as responsibility, guilt and duty lose all meaning. And it becomes meaningless to talk about human ideals. Why admire people, who have achieved something great? They have only good genes and a beneficially environment. Why condemn people, who spoil and break down society? They can´t help it.
The self-help industry, and its belonging therapeutic techniques, for example exposes the paradox, that the more resource-filled a human being is conceived to be, the more it has to be supported therapeutic. The more self-actualizing a human being becomes, the more it is in need of help to actualize itself. And the more responsibility a human being is said to have for its own life, the more this same human being, as a basic starting point, is considered as a victim, as non-authentic, and therefore as powerless.
The one face of this paradoxical Janus head is the empowerment culture, the other face is the victimization culture (and the connected recovery movement).
The same fully individualized core of personality, which today makes us able to step out of the past´s fixed and subconscious attachment, has itself within New Age become the main interest, center for the identity in a degree, that almost all awareness here are directed inwards in a global seen exceptional narcissism. The ideological use of relativism and subjectivism sounds like this: “I have my truth, you have yours!” “You judge” is the same as “You condemn.” In true spirituality the central goal is the elimination of the Ego.
This New Age narcissism works finely together with the narcissism of atheist fundamentalism (remember how New Age from Theosophy has inherited a worship of evolutionism).
Typical enough (foolish enough), then heredity and environment also are being used as a political tool. Often with followers on the respective sides of the extremities. In the dispute between heredity and environment it is for example considered political progressively (”left wing”) to think, that the environment is more or less the sole decisive factor. The environment (upbringing, social conditions) is people themselves in the principle able to control and change through political actions. This is also background for, that Lamarckism in the form of Lysenkoism – which almost completely refuses the biological genetic meaning – got monopoly on engaging themselves with heredity in Soviet.
Similar it is regarded as political reactionary (”right wing”), if you believe, that the hereditament (genes) of the individual is the most important factor, which determines its actual development. Ideological this is connected with, that in that case a social reformatory policy is not for a lot of benefit: the biological inheritance has so far been a destiny, which you have to tolerate. Right wing politicians have for example claimed, that aggression or competition is inborn in the biological nature of man. Therewith the assertion can be used to justify, that specific social conditions, for example warfare or the capitalistic, economical system, is ”natural”. Evolutionism ”proves” that the unlimited competition is as natural, as the survival of the best fitted. Moreover we know Nazism´s use of biological theories.
The combination of the two extremities – the heredity and environment ideology – looks like a kind of social Darwinism. Before we go further it is important to mention, that evolutionism – also in its most modern Neodarwinistic version – is a natural historical report, and not a natural scientific theory. Neodarwinism can – as all other historical sciences – only retrospective explain the development up to now in a rational way. This appears clearly from the fact, that it can´t give any scientific well-founded prediction of the future development. It is not possible with any reasonable precision to predict the future biological development on the background of the theoretical foundation of evolutionism.
Until today Man has not been able to do anything in order to change his genes. This has been changed with the modern genetic engineering, which already in principle has made it possible to change the genes of our gametes. In the future the problem about conscious changing peoples´ genes in order to improve certain characteristics is not any technical difficulty. It is in turn a serious ethical and political problem about setting limits and about, where these limits have to be set.
As mentioned in my article The Fascism of Theosophy, then the reductionism of Theosophy is due to the attempt of synthesizing spirituality and science. Theosophy is especially inspired by Darwinism, and its theories about human evolution. And the idea continues today in New Age and Ufology, where spirituality, apart from Darwinism, furthermore is sought synthesized with new developments within psychology, psychotherapy, natural science, especially biology and quantum mechanics. The whole thing is presented as an ideology with a lot of attempts to predict the future evolution of Man, often connected with some kind of “spiritual eugenics,” or “DNA-activation practice”: the applied “science” or the bio-social New Age movement which advocates the use of “spiritual” practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of people, usually referring to human populations (see for example my articles A Critique of The Human Design System and Time Travel and the Fascism of The WingMakers Project and my Matrix Dictionary entry on Feminism as Fascism).
In New Age you constantly hear the expression “the evolution of consciousness.” It is an utterly reductive and distorted view of how consciousness is developing spiritual. Consciousness doesn´t “evolve” towards something, and certainly not as some kind of “collective evolution of consciousness” which Ken Wilber is talking about. The spiritual growth of consciousness has to do with a process of awakening, and this is exclusively an individual matter. Furthermore, it can only happen through a transcendental intervention from the divine.
With the Matrix Conspiracy we have two ruling metaphysical theories in the Western society: materialism (the bias of atheist fundamentalism) and idealism (the New Age bias). The consequences of both are a worship of the ego.
As a famous representative of the materialist worldview you could mention Richard Dawkins and his notion of The Selfish Gene. In her book The Solitary Self – Darwin and The Selfish Gene, the renowned philosopher Mary Midgley, explores the nature of our moral constitution to challenge the view that reduces human motivation to self-interest. Midgley argues cogently and convincingly that simple, one-sided accounts of human motives, such as the “selfish gene” tendency in recent neo-Darwinian thought, may be illuminating but are always unrealistic. Such neatness, she shows, cannot be imposed on human psychology. Midgley returns to the original writings of Charles Darwin to show how the reductive individualism that is now presented as Darwinism does not derive from Darwin but from a wider, Hobbesian tradition in Enlightenment thinking. She reveals the “selfish gene” hypothesis in evolutionary biology as a cultural accretion that is not seen in nature. Heroic independence, argues Midgley, is not a realistic aim for Homo Sapiens. We are, as Darwin saw, earthly organism framed to interact with one another and with the complex ecosystems of which we are a tiny part. For us, bonds are not just restraints but also lifelines. The Solitary Self is a significant re-reading of Darwin and an important corrective to recent work in evolutionary science, which has wide implications for debates in science, religion, psychology and ethics.
My own claim is that Richard Dawkins´s notion of The Selfish Gene (or The Selfish Meme) is a pure fantasy of how the environment is stored in some kind of postulated cultural gene, which has no more scientific or philosophical validity than many of the theories of “the evolution of consciousness” we see in the idealism of New Age. Both are paradoxically enough new kinds of Social Darwinism. And both are involved in the rise of a new kind of fascism (see the Matrix Dictionary entries Atheist Fundamentalism and The Matrix Conspiracy Fascism).
In idealism the ego-worship could be depicted as self-assertion (or even self-love): the ultimate narcissism. Idealism is the so-called create-your-own-reality ideology. It believes that reality solely is a mental construct, where materialism believes it to be solely a materialist thing.
Both materialism and idealism are included in The Matrix Conspiracy, though idealism is the ruling philosophy. The reason why both is included is that they define each other; they are so to speak complementary to each other, because they mutually exclude each other and at the same necessarily must supplement each other.
As a famous representative of the idealist worldview we could look at Oprah Winfrey. In Oprah Winfrey lore, one particular story is repeated over and over. When Oprah was 17, she won the Miss Fire Prevention Contest in Nashville, Tennessee. Until that year every winner had had a mane of red hair, but Oprah would prove to be a game changer.
The contest was the first of many successes for Oprah. She has won numerous Emmys, has been nominated for an Oscar, and appears on lists like Time’s 100 Most Influential People. In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She founded the Oprah Book Club, which is often credited with reviving Americans’ interest in reading. Her generosity and philanthropic spirit are legendary.
Oprah has legions of obsessive, devoted fans who write her letters and follow her into public restrooms. Oprah basks in their love: “I know people really, really, really love me, love me.” And she loves them right back. It’s part of her “higher calling”. She believes that she was put on this earth to lift people up, to help them “live their best life”. She encourages people to love themselves, believe in themselves, and follow their dreams.
Oprah is one of a new group of elite storytellers who present practical solutions to society’s problems that can be found within the logic of existing profit-driven structures of production and consumption. They promote market-based solutions to the problems of corporate power, technology, gender divides, environmental degradation, alienation and inequality.
In this climate of stress and uncertainty, Oprah tells us the stories of her life to help us understand our feelings, cope with difficulty and improve our lives. She presents her personal journey and metamorphosis from poor little girl in rural Mississippi to billionaire prophet as a model for overcoming adversity and finding “a sweet life”.
Oprah’s biographical tale has been managed, mulled over, and mauled in the public gaze for 30 years. She used her precocious intelligence and wit to channel the pain of abuse and poverty into building an empire. She was on television by the age of 19 and had her own show within a decade.
The 1970s feminist movement opened the door to the domestic, private sphere, and the show walked in a decade later, breaking new ground as a public space to discuss personal troubles affecting Americans, particularly women. Oprah broached topics (divorce, depression, alcoholism, child abuse, adultery, incest) that had never before been discussed with such candor and empathy on television (see my article The New Feminism and the Philosophy of Women´s Magazines).
The show’s “evolution” over the decades mirrored the “evolution” of Oprah’s own life. In its early years the show followed a “recovery model” in which guests and viewers were encouraged to overcome their problems through self-esteem building and learning to love themselves.
But as copycat shows and criticisms of “trash talk” increased in the early 1990s, Oprah changed the show’s format. In 1994, Oprah declared that she was done with “victimization” and negativity: “It ’s time to move on from ‘We are dysfunctional’ to ‘What are we going to do about it?’” Oprah credited her decision to her own personal evolution: “People must grow and change” or “they will shrivel up” and “their souls will shrink”.
In an appearance on Larry King Live, Oprah acknowledged that she had become concerned about the message of her show and so had decided to embark on a new mission “to lift people up”. Themes of spirituality and empowerment displaced themes of personal pathology. For Oprah, the transformation was total: “Today I try to do well and be well with everyone I reach or encounter. I make sure to use my life for that which can be of goodwill. Yes, this has brought me great wealth. More important, it has fortified me spiritually and emotionally.”
A stream of self-help gurus has spent time on Oprah’s stage over the past decade and a half, all with the same message. You have choices in life. External conditions don’t determine your life. You do. It’s all inside you, in your head, in your wishes and desires. Thoughts are destiny, so thinking positive thoughts will enable positive things to happen.
When bad things happen to us, it’s because we’re drawing them toward us with unhealthy thinking and behaviors. “Don’t complain about what you don’t have. Use what you’ve got. To do less than your best is a sin. Every single one of us has the power for greatness because greatness is determined by service—to yourself and others.” If we listen to that quiet “whisper” and fine-tune our “internal, moral, emotional GPS”, we too can learn the secret of success. Can we really? Well, a simple reductio ad absurdum argument can show how much lack of thinking this involves. If true it would mean that the starving mom in Africa who are trying to find ways to feed her children has drawn this situation towards her with unhealthy thinking and behaviors. It is not the external conditions (for example drought) that have determined her life.
Janice Peck, in her work as professor of journalism and communication studies, has studied Oprah for years. She argues that to understand the Oprah phenomenon we must return to the ideas swirling around in the Gilded Age. Peck sees strong parallels in the mind-cure movement of the Gilded Age and Oprah’s evolving enterprise in the New Gilded Age, the era of neoliberalism. She argues that Oprah’s enterprise reinforces the neoliberal focus on the self: Oprah’s “enterprise [is] an ensemble of ideological practices that help legitimize a world of growing inequality and shrinking possibilities by promoting and embodying a configuration of self compatible with that world.”
Nothing captures this ensemble of ideological practices better than O Magazine, whose aim is to “help women see every experience and challenge as an opportunity to grow and discover their best self. To convince women that the real goal is becoming more of who they really are. To embrace their life.” O Magazine implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, identifies a range of problems in neoliberal capitalism and suggests ways for readers to adapt themselves to mitigate or overcome these problems.
Oprah recognizes the pervasiveness of anxiety and alienation in our society. But instead of examining the economic or political basis of these feelings, she advises us to turn our gaze inward and reconfigure ourselves to become more adaptable to the vagaries and stresses of the neoliberal moment.
Oprah is appealing precisely because her stories hide the role of political, economic, and social structures. In doing so, they make the American Dream seem attainable. If we just fix ourselves, we can achieve our goals. For some people, the American dream is attainable, but to understand the chances for everyone, we need to look dispassionately at the factors that shape success.
The current incarnation of the American Dream narrative holds that if you acquire enough cultural capital (skills and education) and social capital (connections, access to networks), you will be able to translate that capital into both economic capital (cash) and happiness. Cultural capital and social capital are seen as there for the taking (particularly with advances in internet technology), so the only additional necessary ingredients are pluck, passion, and persistence— all attributes that allegedly come from inside us.
The American dream is premised on the assumption that if you work hard, economic opportunity will present itself, and financial stability will follow, but the role of cultural and social capital in paving the road to wealth and fulfilment, or blocking it, may be just as important as economic capital. Some people are able to translate their skills, knowledge, and connections into economic opportunity and financial stability, and some are not—either because their skills, knowledge, and connections don’t seem to work as well, or they can’t acquire them in the first place because they’re too poor.
Today, the centrality of social and cultural capital is obscured (sometimes deliberately), as demonstrated in the implicit and explicit message of Oprah and her ideological colleagues. In their stories, and many others like them, cultural and social capital are easy to acquire. They tell us to get an education. Too poor? Take an online course. Go to Khan Academy. They tell us to meet people, build up our network. Don’t have any connected family members? Join LinkedIn.
It’s simple. Anyone can become anything. There’s no distinction between the quality and productivity of different people’s social and cultural capital. We’re all building our skills. We’re all networking.
We are the perfect, depoliticized [sic], complacent neoliberal subjects.
When the stories that manage our desires break their promises over and over, the stories themselves become fuel for change and open a space for new, radical stories. These new stories must feature collective demands that provide a critical perspective on the real limits to success in our society and foster a vision of life that does fulfill the desire for self-actualization (read more in The Matrix Dictionary on Oprah Winfrey).
Both materialism and idealism are reductionisms and therefore self-refuting views. Reductionisms are philosophical viewpoints, because they seek to answer the question about Man as such, but as philosophical viewpoints they are, as mentioned, epistemological and ethical shipwrecks.
We have looked at the ethical shipwreck. Let us look at the epistemological shipwreck. The truth, which philosophy seeks to achieve, is a truth that raises over human views, yes over the whole of the human existence. That something is true means in philosophical sense, that it is true independently of, who claims it, and when it is claimed. And independently of, whether anybody at all has claimed it, thought it, believed it or knows it. Truths are therefore, in philosophical context, both time-independent and mind (thought)-independent.
Since all philosophical views qua views claim to be true in precisely this sense (also materialism and idealism), then it should be clear, that views, which try to reduce or cause explain all views, are self-refuting views.
It seems to be a common trait of the self-refuting philosophical views, that they pull the carpet away under themselves, because they seek to reduce fundamental concepts such as ”meaning,” ”truth,” and ”validity” to something factual, for example physical, biological, psychological, social or historical. Herewith they at the same time claim, that if these conditions had been different (because they are changeable), then all our concepts about meaning, truth and validity also had to be different. But therewith they deprive themselves the possibility for being regarded as meaningful, true or valid.
A self-refuting view can´t be saved by saying, that it shall apply to all views except itself. For in that case you have to accept, that there exists at least one scientific and/or philosophical doctrine, which are independent of what you seek to reduce everything to, and this is precisely what the understanding itself claims, that there isn´t.
If you should explain how materialism and idealism has developed into this narcissism, you need to talk about individual constructivism, the background for the management-oriented postmodernism. According to Nietzsche the will to power is the basic power of all life. He therefore thought about a special meaning of the word will. Normally the will is understood as Man´s ability to bring a more or less reasonable decision out in life. And ahead of the will´s effort goes the consideration. But Nietzsche´s will to power is neither connected to reasonable considerations, nor consciousness. On the contrary it describes life´s fundamental character of striving towards increase.
Will is normally a psychological concept. It describes an ability, or an aspect, of the human consciousness. In contrast to this Nietzsche is seeing it as an ontological, or metaphysical, concept. The fundamental idea is, that if we shall understand the multifold expressions of all life, then we must interpret them as outcome of will to power. This idea led to Nietzsche´s revaluation of all values. The eternal values are only a slavemoral without reality and truth. They are illusions or fictions. Therefore he dethroned reason as the ability to insight in the eternal values. Body, desires, and nature, are the central in Man, not reason. God is dead and the world is chaotic, empty, absurd; something, which Man himself must control. Man must himself create his values: a master moral created by the so-called superman.
Now, if we take Nietzsche, then his idea about the will to power has to do with the outgoing movement of time, the future; but as an ontological principle. What he is talking about is the becoming of everything, becoming and not being; that is: a state of non-being, nothingness, which only you yourself can fill with meaning. So - though Nietzsche is talking about the will to power as a creative force - this is not something positive connected with life itself. Nietzsche´s view of life itself, the eternal recurrence of the same, is a view of life devoid of values. God is dead.
According to Nietzsche there neither exists a sensuous, a material, or a spiritual world given in advance. Everything is created by being interpreted. Nietzsche believed that the will - that is to say: the defeating, the remodeling, the striving - is something creative. The will to power, according to Nietzsche, is a creating power. That this power is the basic power in Man means, according to Nietzsche, that all expressions of the human life must be understood as forms of will to power; intake of food, arrangement of the everyday life with home and clothes, cultivation of nature, as well as sensation, feelings, thinking and will in usual sense - are expressions of the will to power. Nietzsche is not least thinking about the will to power in the image of art. All human unfolding is actually a creative process where a content, or a material, is formed. Life is seen as a work of art. This is also the American New Age guru Jon Rappoport´s view. He sees a human being as an artist. A reality-creating artist. Actually, a kind of God (see the Matrix Dictionary entry Jon Rappoport). Here we see something that might sound similar to Karen Blixen´s worldview, but which isn´t.
A similar thought exists in the so-called self-production thesis, which is the thought about, that Man is the being, who creates himself through his history, and thereby controls his own freedom. The thought exists in the German idealism, for instance in Fichte, Schelling, Hegel. Both Existentialism, as well as Marxism, also builds on the understanding of the freedom of Man to form his own life, and that this is an unconditional value. Freedom is a good thing, a demand and a responsibility. What it is about, is the freedom to be the creative power in your own history. In the Existentialists it is the life-story of the individual, in the Marxists it is the world-history of the community.
The self-production thesis builds on the thought, that Man is in a continual state of becoming. The concept formation also often becomes used in connection with the concept of becoming. In my book A Portrait of a Lifeartist I have examined this in details in the section The Lifeartist as a Desirous Being.
With this Nietzsche introduced a quite central concept: perspectivism. Through our interpretations (language) we directly construct the world. And you must therefore have the will and power to create new values, and you must have the power to give them name in a new way, because namegiving is the same as an unfolding of power. Or else you end up as a slave.
To live is to will, to will is to create values. The will to power is becoming through us, and in that way we get control over the things through a perspective. All this is also the New Age guru (and conspiracy theorist) Jon Rappoport´s view. He just has another name for perspectivism, namely imagination. Imagination is the creative power, and this power is unlimited. But imagination is the position of the ego, or the position of the power of the mind to control everything. This is just about the opposite of Karen Blixen. It is the Right Hand of Darkness.
It is now easy to see how much the modern management theory and coaching industry is inspired by Nietzsche: the relativistic and subjectivistic ideas about that it only is the individual himself who, through his interpretations, or stories, can supply the world with values – or rather, not supply, but directly create it like a God; the denial of the past, and the orientation towards future; the superman idea about being a winner, a success, a person standing on the top of the mountain; the preaching about that it is not facts, but the best story, which wins.
Also existentialism can be used to justify these thoughts. The act-oriented ideas of existentialism match as hand in glove with a capitalistic-liberalistic ideology about being the architect of your own fortune, the right for each individual person to seek his own idea of happiness – the philosophical point of view, that there isn´t any objective value-goals for the human life, only individual subjective choices. That is: value-subjectivism.
Heidegger and Sartre both think from Kierkegaard´s philosophy of existence, but without his Christianity and humanism, and therefore they end in subjectivism and irrationalism. They both show, in different ways, what the danger is in subjectivism and its belonging irrationalism. Irrationalism led Heidegger to Nazism, though only for a shorter period, and Sartre had difficulties explaining why you not as well could choose an anti-humanistic project of life such as Leninism or Nazism.
The New Thought movement, or New Thought, is a spiritual movement, which developed in the United States during the late 19th century and emphasizes metaphysical beliefs. It consists of a loosely allied group of religious denominations, secular membership organizations, authors, philosophers, and individuals who share a set of metaphysical beliefs concerning the effects of positive thinking, the law of attraction, healing, life force, creative visualization, and personal power. Here we see another of Rappoport´s sources of inspiration for his concept of imagination.
The three major religious denominations within the New Thought movement are Religious Science, Unity Church and the Church of Divine Science (so it is important to know, that there is a special religious movement behind the management theories and the self-help industry, which everyone today, through education and work, is forced to accept).
The main theory is also here the subjectivist belief, that your thoughts create reality. By focusing on positive thinking, and by avoiding everything you find negative, you can create your life in accordance with your needs, feelings and wishes. The “positive” is identified as success, money, sex, material glory, etc. Examples of book-titles are: “Prosperity Through Thought Force”, “The Science of Getting Rich”, “Think and Grow Rich”. Rappoport doesn´t care about specific goals. He is utterly subjectivistic (nihilistic) and says: “just create your own reality.” He obviously doesn´t bother to ask about what kind of reality that might be.
All the above theories is today seen in a whole tendency of time within school, folk high school and continuing education, where you focus on so-called ”personal development” and ”Personality-developing courses” in connection with demands about lifelong learning, continuing education, readiness for change and flexibility; precisely what management theory and coaching are all about.
For instance they use Sartre´s scriptures as a request for uninhibited and egoistic self-expression, where the individual person is letting his choices decide everything. The existentialists say that Man has the freedom, through his choices, to be the creative power in his own history. As management theorists and coaches say: ”It is not facts, but the best story, which wins!”
In the existentialists the choice gives reasons for all meaning, but can´t in itself be given reasons for in anything. The viewpoint is called decisionism, because values at base are founded on a choice, or a decision. Nietzsche called it perspectivism, Rappoport calls it imagination. New Thought calls it visualization. It doesn´t matter, it is all expressions of the same mix of materialism and idealism. So, don´t get fooled over that these two metaphysical theories apparently are in war with each other.
Now, let´s return to the explained theory of energy- and consciousness transmission. The same energy, which can be used unselfish, can also be used turned stimulative into the Ego-structures, whereby the Ego can lose balance and expand to a super-Ego, or in another way be demonized. It is this, that happens in the spiritual crisis. You have gone out in the collective time with your Ego.
If you preach subjectivism and believe that everything is subjective and for that reason equally true, you have thereby accepted that nazism, fascism, dictatorship, popular murder, terror and violence, are as equally great blessings for mankind as democracy, negotiation and dialogue. Then you have no basis in order to criticize, because you haven´t got any rational frame to start from. You can´t criticize anyone for argumentation bungling, or to replace arguments with machine guns, because this presupposes, that there is a rational foundation in your arguments. We looked at the problems Sartre and Heidegger faced. And we have seen how Nietzsche´s philosophy can justify just about anything. The same we see in the New Thought movement.
So, now we have the tools for looking at the question of Satanism. I will just give an overview and let the reader remember how all of the above mentioned is a part of it. It is the 666 Conspiracy, and evolutionism goes as a red thread through all of it. In Satanism the whole thing has just got it´s proper name.
For most people, Satanism brings to mind black cloaks and candles, ritual sacrifices, pentagrams, and black magic in the presented, for example, in Dario Argento´s 2007 movie The Mother of Tears. This stuff could be considered Devil worship, not Satanism, and Devil worship is seen largely as a construction of the media and entertainment industry – no sane grown-up would practice it in reality.
In the Blackwell series on pop culture and philosophy (The Devil and Philosophy), Olli Pitkänen (MSS) has written an article called Satan – A Good Guy? where he writes that Satanism is an atheistic, Nietzschean-based philosophy of life given this name by Anton LaVey (1930-1997), who founded the Church of Satan in 1966. He says that Satanists here don´t actually believe in Satan. A Satanist doesn´t consider Satan a real entity, being, or thing, but a symbol of the human carnal nature repressed by the Christian tradition. The latter is very similar to Karen Blixen. As a symbol, Satan represents a radical rebellion against Christian morality and elevation of sensuality, individuality, and positive pride over conventionality and the illusory idea of agape love. Satanist followers of LaVey would like to reserve the term “Satanism” exclusively for this kind of thinking.
In Pitkänen´s view this is too narrow a description of Satanism, since there are many more interpretations. He suggests that the clearest division between different conceptions of Satanism is the division between atheistic and theistic Satanism. An atheistic Satanist – like Anton LeVey and todays members of the Church of Satan – understands Satan merely as a symbol for the way man should conceive himself, not as an actual entity. Satanism is seen as a way to finally break with the repressing Christian tradition. The masses find comfort and safety in dogmas, but a Satanist values more the (often brutal) truth, and strives to realize the authentic self beyond conventional morality. Although there are many different variants of atheistic Satanism, atheistic Satanism generally endorses moral subjectivism – the view that there are no eternal, transcendent, or context-independent values, but that morality is in practice just your own choice, and metaphysically just a result of evolution. A blockage of the heart, and therefore also existence. It ends in self-contradiction and hypocrisy.
A theistic Satanist, on the other hand, believes that Satan is an actual entity of some sort – interestingly enough, usually not the personified Devil of Christianity. If atheistic Satanism is morally subjectivist, theistic Satanism is often nihilistic. Pitkänen mentions as example the Order of the Nine Angels which combines a radical interpretation of Nietzsche´s idea of the Übermensch (overhuman, superhuman, above-human) with certain neopagan metaphysical doctrines.
The Übermensch is someone who is enlightened, rises above other humans, and has to create a whole new set of values and worldview. The aim of the Order of Nine Angels – a loose umbrella term organization consisting of several independent groups – is to create a new, “more sinister” (complete unethical) human being, as Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke notes in his book, Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity.
If the Church of Satan emphasizes moral subjectivism for purifying humanity from sick and life-denying values of Christianity, the Order of Nine Angels sees humanity in general as an obstacle for limitless self-overcoming. Initiations in this extreme form of Satanism are taken by forcing oneself and others beyond one´s physical and mental limits. The use of violence is not only allowed, but also encouraged as it will weed out the weak and harden the competent.
Similar ideas are found in the doctrine of the Temple of the Black Light. Their anti-cosmic Satanism (also known as “chaos-gnosticism”) conceives the whole cosmic order ordained by God to be an illusion.
Pitkänen has a solution to the problems of atheistic and theistic Satanism, namely his own favorite: the Star of Azazel. I won´t go further into this group besides that mention that this group is based on Theosophical occultism (which as mentioned is a part of Western Esotericism). The only thing that differs from traditional Theosophical occultism is some kind of Satanic philosophy; that is: a rebellion against Christianity, or God. Satan is seen as the painful aspect of the evolution of consciousness, which also is a religious evolution, an evolution towards the unity of all religions in a New World Order. In other words: a totalitarian Theosophical ideology.
I find it weird that Pitkänen can´t see the self-contradiction in this, since the Luciferian movement is an anti-authoritarian movement. But his argument is the same as another Theosophical inspired New Age guru, Ken Wilber: and that is the Hegelian dialectic: Hegelian dialectic, usually presented in a threefold manner, was stated by Heinrich Moritz Chalybäusas comprising three dialectical stages of evolution: a thesis, giving rise to its reaction; an antithesis, which contradicts or negates the thesis; and the tension between the two being resolved by means of a synthesis, etc., etc. Hereby you can eliminate all critique since the critique already is involved in the dialectic movement towards higher states (about this: see my article A Critique of Ken Wilber and his Integral Method and the Matrix Dictionary entry Ken Wilber). The problem is that it like all other idealism can be used to justify evil as being progressive when viewed retrospectively, and explaining away personal responsibility. The individual´s free will seems impossible. This is therefore not a Luciferian movement.
No matter whether you talk about individual constructivism or social constructivism, or the many various version of the evolutionary self-production hypothesis (Hegelianism, existentialism, Marxism, Social Darwinism), it all comes down to the idea of create-your-own-reality ideology. The whole thing is seen in the image of art with the human ego at the center. The problem of the ego itself is completely neglected, it is repressed into collective darkness.
This doesn´t mean, though, that all great art is coming through because a creative person turns the collective energies in through the Ego-structures: We saw that Thomas Mann´s musical image, which intuitively and poetical seeks to understand Hitler-Germany, is for example a contra-image to Bach´s music, which toned God to honour and mankind to uplifting. To all the great works Bach added ”Soli Deo Gloria”.
Karen Blixen is in between. Though Karen Blixen´s philosophy clearly has a demonical element, she is a borderline figure between the ego and the spiritual dimension. She also has a concept of the anti-authoritarian artist as a central idea in her worldview but this is the direct opposite of the self-production hypothesis. True creativity rises in total self-forgetful openness in the now, where all will is given up in self-surrender to an external influence: nature in itself. The movement towards this is what Blixen calls a Luciferian movement. This is playing the Left Hand of Darkness. This is Lucifer Morningstar. The possibility for the free will is maintained as the will to steer that part of the energy you can control yourself towards the Luciferian movement.
Whether it is through victimization (psychotherapy: “self-denial”) or empowerment (coaching: “self-assertion”) the mythology of authenticity reinforces the ego. The Right Hand of Darkness. Let´s look at the consequences of this when we see it with reference to the already investigated question of transmission of energy and consciousness.
Energy will tend to dance in a polar mandala around people, who have broken through to the polarity of the collective images. Whether this energy comes into sight as music, as art, as religious love or as wisdom, then the energy will seek to stream out and spread out in polarized circles around the Source. The more knowledge, that exists about this, the larger the pedagogical effect after all can be. But with knowledge follows choices. When these structures become conscious, then people partly themselves can decide, which forms and which motives, should be the definitive.
As observations of the great spiritual teachers show, then the possibility for unselfish use constantly seems to be neighbour to the possibility of Ego-reinforcing use. The same energy, which freely can be given to others as growth, the giver himself can take to intensification of his own isolating particularity. The choice seems to be dependent of the level of realization work and ethical practice.
The third type of polarized collective energy-phenomena, is the mainly unrealized transmission of energy and consciousness.
The unrealized transmission of energy and consciousness is, just like the lesser realized, characterised by people, who admittedly have an opening to the collective time, but not to the universal. Such people are often not able to discriminate between the image and the reality, and therefore they relate absolutely to the relative.
The collective time manifests itself in a widely and indefinite area, for example could a broad spectrum of common human activities and organizations be called manifestations of the collective time: parties, state formations, wars, work communities, concerts, clans, tribes and sects, mass psychological phenomena, religious parishioners, fashion streams, group souls.
Such incalculable common human undertakings are manifestations of collective energy– or life-processes, in which there are great powers in play in the form of collective images, which work in opposites; energy, which originates from sexuality.
In individual persons, who pass on an unrealized transmission of energy and consciousness, the opening to the collective time today often lies around that to be well-known or famous.
We live in a postmodern society, where the distinction between reality and appearance/superficies is about to disappear. Reality is often the images, we receive through the stream of information. And it becomes more and more difficult to see, which objective reality that lies behind. It seems more and more to be the images, which are real, and not some behind lying reality. In that sense all images are equal true, but they are not equal good, for some images are more fascinating than others, some images affect us more than others. Therefore the expression of the image has come in focus. The expression of the image – its aesthetics – decides, whether it fascinates us or bores us. What apply for today, is the intensity and seduction of the expressions. The new truth/value criterion is, whether something is interesting or boring. Eternal values such as goodness, truth and beauty fall more and more away.
Around the so-called ”celebrities” - rockstars, movie stars, models, royals, - there are therefore today formed energy-mandalas, which transmit the forces from the collective time; powers which release, and manifest, collective images, and therefore behaviour. Just try to notice, in what degree ”the celebrities” make people behave, dress, act and believe.
But the energy-mandala can also form itself around ordinary people, who of one or the other reason, through transformed sexuality, have accomplished an opening to the collective time, and who, by turning the energy in through the Ego-structures, develop themselves into super Egos, political leaders and popular seducers such as Hitler and Stalin.
In the wars and collective orgies, which such people bring about, there also are triggered, and manifested, different collective images, which always are polarized in opposites such as for example hate and love, good and evil.
And the energy, which brings about this, builds on transformed sexuality. Ordinary sexuality is saved against, and closed, in relation to the collective time. But not entirely though. Underneath the common sexuality smoulder the depths. Underneath lie the fantasies and the images, all the tabooed and suspected desires.
These backgrounds have, in our time, clearly become visible in pornography, in brothel-activity, in the sex advertisements of the daily newspapers. But the whole of this underlying sexual astrality is precisely characterized by being split from the respectable accepted prescribed sexuality. There are many reasons for this: anxiety, condemnation, sin-conceptions, society repression.
The Western civilization has from Christianity inherited and taken over a very characteristic religious worldimage. Sex is sin. Sex is in the highest a necessary evil, you in the safe, god-guaranteed and eternal-made institution of marriage have to give way to. And God is good. God is creative.
Therefore the destructive, the subversive, has become overlooked. It doesn´t belong to the productive nature of God. But because it is such evident a fact, you have to do something about it. We have then suitable handed the destructive over to the Devil, who is a fallen angel, an outcast and unhappy, without possibility for salvation and redemption. Unfortunately we have in this religious worldimage got the Devil, the evil, the destructive, and the sexual weaved together. And this enormous complex can we basically not do anything about. Of course. Since it after all constitutes half of the world and reality. God maintains the creation every moment. But what or who is then the great power, which every moment breaks down? Is that not created by God? And unless it is created by God, then God is after all not almighty. The whole of this world-image seems insufficient.
Since the destructive (aggression, breakdown, violence) not belongs to God, then it is of evil. But life on our planet is however build up in that way, that all higher forms of life live by destroying, eating and breaking down and digesting other life! So if life itself, in its nature, is of evil, then there is no meaning of life.
In order to rescue this scheme of things you either end up in Manichaeism or heresy. Either there are two worlds and two gods: the one god is good and creative and loving. Opposite this god there then exists a dark, destructive and evil devil. The children of the light, who eternally are fighting and leading wars against the children of darkness. A war-crazy religiousness.
Or you end up, Christian seen, in heresy by being led to believe the following:
1: God is also destructive and is responsible for breakdown, death and dissolution and entropy.
2: The Devil is therefore a repressed, outcast unhappy redemption-needing structure.
Sexuality, as the most direct urge of life, is not sin, on the contrary sexuality is a holy and creative activity. This, Christian seen, heretically outlook on life can however rescue the meaning and connection in cosmos and in the inner and outer reality of Man.
Because when the destructive and the sexual also belong under the divine, then Man has the possibility for, in religious spiritual openness, to take the responsibility for his part of the sexual, and his part of the destructive.
We can now see that the whole of the 666 conspiracy is a central part of creating a justification for not wanting to take on responsibility. The danger is, that when sexuality and destruction are excluded from the divine – and herewith from the spiritual dimension – then people are tempted, in powerlessness, to run away from their responsibility. And that is precisely what mankind do. Wars, torture, anger, atomic bombs, chemical war, plague-weapons. No one have the responsibility. All of it makes it difficult to assign responsibility. And the result is, that no one responsible is taking care of destructivity. It rambles wrestless around, un-released, demonized. Everybody is afraid of this destructive evil, but no one takes the responsibility for his own anger. The 666 conspiracy, and it´s direct supporters of Satanism, are as much afraid of this destructive evil as anybody else, since they don´t want to take care of their own anger. In fact: their philosophy is about justifying their own anger, or whatever immoral ideas they might have. The devil has cheated them seriously.
Therefore it becomes so, that the opposites in the collective time (right/wrong, good/evil, light/dark) constantly slide over in each other. They can´t be separated. What you believe is good, shows suddenly to have evil consequences. This we learn again and again.
And it all originates from transformed sexuality. Practically all people have contact with some kind of sexual fantasy based on a primordial image. It can shine through in daydreams, masturbation-images, pornographic fascination or similar. It is concealed. Often unspoken. Frequently people play an inner video at the same time as their intercourse. And as a rule these hidden and blacked out fantasies and stimulations are not open, nothing the partners dare to tell each other about. Sometimes these astral images are shining through in the nightly dreams. But the usual is, that these hints are not explored, nor integrated in the partners´ normal life together. If they are realized, they live a fantasy-life. These desires and wantings are maybe fulfilled through novel-magazines, through pornography or lived through afar from the daily life in the sexworlds of the large cities, with their specialities and offers.
Hereby the shadowy and wild growing underground of sexuality, are split from the more accepted love-life. The so-called perverted or romantic-fantastic images and desires, are excluded from the space of love. And when these dark fantasies and desires are excluded, they become darker, more distorted, more repressed, more perverted. In the collective image of the good, the right, there is build up energy, and finally the energy will swing over in its opposition, the evil, the wrong, in order to balance an imbalance.
The astral sexuality contains the backside of the Ego and of the desire. This collective shadow is repressed to the sexual subconscious.
Daphne Patai is a feminist scholar and author. She is a leading critic of the politicization of education, in particular of the decline of free speech on college campuses as programs conform to pressures from feminists and other identity groups.
After spending ten years with a joint appointment in women´s studies and in Portuguese, Patai became highly critical of what she saw as the imposition of a political agenda on educational program (what I call The Matrix Conspiracy). Together with the philosophy of science professor Noretta Koertge she wrote the book Professing Feminism (1994). The book analyses practices within women´s studies that the authors felt were incompatible with serious education and scholarship – above all, the explicit subservience of education to political aims (the background for this is the so-called postmodern intellectualism – read my article Constructivism: the Postmodern Intellectualism behind New Age and the Self-help Industry).
Patai´s thesis is that a failure to defend the integrity of education, and a habit of dismissing knowledge and research on political grounds, not only seriously hurts our students but also leaves feminists helpless in trying to defend education against other ideological incursions.
Prominent among Patai´s concerns are what she sees as draconian sexual harassment regulations as implemented in the academical world. She argues that contemporary feminism is poisoned by a strong element of “heterophobia”: a pronounced hostility to sexual interaction between men and women and an effort to suppress it through micromanagement of everyday relations. This thesis is developed at lenght in her 1998 book Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the future of feminism.
Daphe Patai is the inspiration to my thesis about the development of a new Puritanism, where traditional religious confession-techniques have been transformed into psychotherapy (see my article The New Feminism and the Philosophy of Women´s Magazines and the Matrix Dictionary entry Feminism as Fascism).
This new Puritanism has from Christianity inherited and taken over the above-mentioned characteristic religious worldimage, that sex is sin. Sex is in the highest a necessary evil. Like in Christianity they have namely suitable enough handed the destructive over to the Devil. Therefore the destructive, the subversive, again is becoming overlooked. But because it is such evident a fact, the radical feminists have to do something about it. And in this worldimage they have got the Devil, the evil, the destructive, and the sexual weaved together.
There is namely a painful irony in the fact, that our days feminists so uncritical have affiliated the methods, which psychotherapists and hypnotists pretend can uncover repressed memories from childhood about sexual abuse and more bizarre things such as satanic rituals, cannibalistic orgies, alien abduction, past lives etc. In this way they paradoxically come to remind about earlier times´ Christian inquisitions, a kind of psycho-religious inquisitions (see my articles The Devastating New Age Turn Within Psychotherapy, and Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy and the Art of Self-deception).
There is another aspect of this, which might seem like an opposition to the New Puritanism of radical feminism, but which is a part of the same Matrix Conspiracy: because those of the New Age worshippers who today call themselves witches or sorcerers are often anti-Christian, pagan, and woman-centered, or satanic. New Age often exalt whatever the Church condemned (such as egoism and healthy sexuality in adults whether homosexual or not) and condemn whatever the Church exalted (such as self-denial and the subservient role of women). It all comes from Western Esotericism.
Let´s summarize: we have an ancient mediocre moral order which has preached that sex is sin. This has caused an enormous dark collective complex, which lies in, that we have managed to weave the energies of our sexuality together with destruction and evil (because sex is sin). The problem is therefore that no one will take the responsibility for their part of the sexual energy, and therefore for their part of the destructivity and evil which the sexual energy is canalized into. It doesn´t matter if you are Christian, Satanist, or atheist. They all share the lack of ability to take on their own responsibility for destruction and evil. It is all due to that sexual energy is canalized into the ego-structures instead of out towards others in healing and love. And it is maintained by the different kinds of intellectual theories that block the energy in the throat and hinders it in opening down to the heart (love) and Hara (existence).
The Ego wants. The backside of this Egocentredness is radical Ego-sovereignty. So the Ego, the desire, the violence and the power, are combined in the dark collective primordial images and fantasies: incest, sado-masochism, homosexuality, group sex, cannibalism, sacrifice, death-images – all these archetypes lie underneath the common sexuality, and constitute the dark astral underground in the collective time. Often illustrated in the Gothic tale, first by Edgar Allan Poe in his Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1839), later by for example Henry James in his The Turn of the Screw (1898), which dealed with the corset tight Victorianism. And of course Karen Blixen. Today we perhaps see the works of Tim Burton as a respond to our time´s Puritanism.
When you in that way bind yourself in the one pole of an opposition, yes, then you create a resistance, and therefore a force to, and a dependence of the opposite pole, which causes, that the mind, the sexuality, is becoming anchored in, and determined by these basic mechanisms.
The magical mean, which can raise the mind´s hypnotic fascination of the primordial images of desire, of power game and of Egoism - is religion and supporting exercises, including the monastic vows about poverty, chastity and obedience. Religion and supporting exercises consist in realizing the collective time, not opening up for it, not living through it, as psychotherapy wants it, but in realizing the nature of the demonic primordial images of desire, violence and Egoism (in the last chapter A shadow Odyssey, I will return to the value of having a religion in a spiritual practice, which also is a part of my further development of Blixen´s philosophy).
Why the vows about poverty, chastity and obedience?
Because falling in love (and having a sexual relationship) with another human being depends on images, partially collected from the more collective depths of time, partially from your personal images, and therefore from your growing up conditions. However, the original images of falling in love (sexuality) are coming from the deepest and most universal images of time. These images are, like mandalas, composite by opposites, therefore a kind of syntheses. As Aristophanes claims in Plato´s Symposium (which is about love itself), then Man in his original mythological state was a double being. But when the Ego is coming in contact with such an image, then the Ego divides it in pieces in order to analyze it, understand it. And by doing so you get all the comparisons with earlier and the hopes/fears of something else, and the separated opposites such as subject and object, love and hate, male and female.
In this way a female gets an inner male image. A man gets an inner female image. Concerning homosexuality, then the circumstances, which constitute the life-situation of the individual, have created another situation, but the inner image will under any circumstances reflect a longing after unification with an opposite pole, therefore a longing after wholeness. Falling in love (sexual turn on) arises when these images become projected on another human being.
That way falling in love, and sexual turn on, implies a fount of contradictions. Falling in love is for example dependency. The other side of dependency is anger and fear and powerlessness over being so dependent. Furthermore the inner images can themselves be split. This can imply, that you cannot turn on sexually upon types you fall in love with, and vice versa. The man´s inner female image can for example be divided up in the madonna/whore type. The woman´s inner male image in the hard/soft type.
And since falling in love, and sexual turn on, depends on images, then reality will gradually uncover these illusions, and then the alienation and apartness appear, and therefore the mistrust. Concerning sexual turn on, you therefore have to create new, more and more extreme, images, in order to have an ongoing turn on.
All this lies in the collective time as a kind of original sin, and it is therefore almost impossible for the individual person, for the personal time, to dissolve this, at the same time as you are in a sexual relationship. Especially in the Ego-extreme of our time.
Within the New Age-ideology the concept of Tantra is admittedly very popular; that is: where you transform sexual energy into spiritual energy through relations with one or several sexual partners. There is no doubt about, that Tantra in its original form in monasteries in India has produced enlightened masters, but the Tantra, which I see widely-spread in modern Western forms – based on the mythology of authenticity - is, in most cases, thoroughly distorted. Here it is of course the Ego, which invents one of its usual tricks in order to get its primordial image (sexual wishes/fantasies) satisfied: “It is God himself, who justifies my sexual wishes/fantasies, and that I therefore have to live them through!”
I have in my philosophical counseling-practice talked with many people, both men and women, who have practised tantra. All the men I have talked with, directly admit that they exclusively did it for, either to have sex with one, or preferably several, beautiful women. When it comes to the women I talked to, then the admission is not so directly. But it is evident, that especially women, in Tantra, gets a justification of being able to get a primordial image of a sexual fantasy satisfied; that is to say: to practise sophisticated sex, both with one partner, but also with many different men.
Many of these tantra-movements, and their rituals, therefore in a remarkable way remind about the rituals in swinger clubs and sequences from porno movies, where they also seek to get primordial images of sexual fantasies satisfied.
But in Tantra the shadowy and wild growing underground of sexuality doesn't become split from the more accepted love-life. The so-called perverted or romantic-fantastic images and desires are not excluded from the space of love. And therefore these dark fantasies and desires don't become darker, more distorted, more repressed, more perverted.
This is because that it becomes justified through the combination with some spiritual concepts, such as meditation. That is of course fine enough, but there is a lot of spiritual self-deceit involved in it, because it is the Ego, which controls the process. This is reinforced by the postmodern intellectualism in New Age, where very few people actually have an ongoing and continuous spiritual practice, but go shopping from master to master, teaching to teaching (or as in most cases: New Age books).
The ordinary Ego-consciousness functions by being identified with the physical world, with instincts, sexuality, emotions and collective ideals. Religion and supporting exercises work through these aspects by means of for example the essence, which exists in the basic monastic vows: poverty, chastity and obedience. These promises work with a restructuring of the Ego´s ownership to things, food and power, and they re-structure sexuality and emotions. First thereafter the mystical process can begin. No form of modern Tantra can, as far as I can see, bring about this. On the contrary the Ego uses it as a trick of self-assertion.
But it also has to be mentioned, that religion and supporting exercises necessarily must develop into an art of life, where you actually are working with realization and ethical practice – or else you end up as a hypocrite. And that we also have seen many examples on.
In our time, where the Ego-structures are in a maximum, the astral caricatures of Egoism therefore also are in their maximum. In our time, which is characterized by a consumerism, where all deeper values have been split off, and where everything is measured after whether it is boring or interesting, sexuality has got an exaggerated big importance, because it maybe is the only experience we have of something deeper. But sexuality works, just like all energy, in wave movements and pendulum movements. In order to be able to get a sexual ignition and experience, it requires that you build sexual energy up in a wave. This wave then breaks in the sexual experience. Hereafter follows a trough of the waves. But in our growth-fanatical consumer culture (caused by evolutionism), we don't accept the valley. We want the peak experiences, the rises, but we complain over the valleys, the falls. Therefore we all the time try to maintain the rise by providing it with new sexual images, fantasies etc. The movement of positive thinking is a direct teaching of this denial of the valleys. If the energy laws were really understood, we would accept the trough of the waves as well as the wavecrests.
And these, the Ego´s images of desire and of sexual pleasure, will, because of, that energy also functions as pendulum movements, gradually begin to switch over in their demonic primordial images, which we have repressed to the collective time - they begin to become more and more extreme and therefore perverted.
And because we have got the Devil, the evil, the destructive and the sexual energy, weaved together, this also begins to appear in a rise of aggression, violence and pollution. The outer pollution corresponds in that way to an equivalent dark collective inner pollution. The outer war-crazy armament, corresponds to an inner astral tension in power, aggression and anxiety. That which caused, that the wise old of the East termed our time Kali Yuga, the dark age.
Most obvious these dark primordial images manifest themselves in acts of war. Beside the actual acts of war, which never can be said to be true, but always distorted and perverted, the sexual energies - which you have got tied together with destructivity - are triggered in the soldiers, who rape and plunder the conquered women and towns.
In acts of war exist the clearest demonical element. There is not so much to misunderstand. No, the misunderstandings take place in the actions, which lie ahead of the war, in which a lot of seduction-art, and therefore thought distortions, are active. And the archetypical popular seducer is of course the Devil.
Everywhere we see a tendency to that the images of the Ego-extreme (which is about becoming something, to get success, to conquer a place on the top, to become a winner) have begun to switch over in their demonical primordial images, all that which Western esotericism and occultism loves. The dark images in the collective time have begun to manifest themselves. We see it in the medias, in movies and in books. In 2013, Asprem and Granholm highlighted that "contemporary esotericism is intimately, and increasingly, connected with popular culture and new media."
Granholm noted that esoteric ideas and images could be found in many aspects of Western popular media, citing such examples as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Avatar, Hellblazer, and His Dark Materials. Granholm has argued that there are problems with the field in that it draws a distinction between esotericism and non-esoteric elements of culture which draw upon esotericism; citing the example of extreme metal, he noted that it was incredibly difficult to differentiate between those artists who were "properly occult" and those who simply utilised occult themes and aesthetics in "a superficial way".
In movies and TV series you see it in the popularity of depicting so-called “parallel worlds” and “interdimensional gates.” With the words of Jorge Luis Borges we are witnessing the beginning invasion from the fictional planet Tlön (see the Matrix dictionary entry Jorge Luis Borges).
Behind the whole of this Midnight Rambler-complex in the individual, a collective image shows itself. The complex exposes itself as an emanation of evil, of the Devil.
In one of Rolling Stones´ masterpieces Sympathy For The Devil the text goes:
Please allow me to introduce myself
I´m a man of wealth and taste
I´ve been around for many a long, long year
I´ve stolen many a man´s soul and faith
I was around when Jesus Christ had his moments of doubt and pain
I made damn sure that Pilate washed his hands and
Sealed his fate.
I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was time for a change
I killed the Tzar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain
I rode a tank, held a gen´ral´s rank
When the blitzkrieg raged and the bodies stank
I watched with glee while your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades for the Gods they made
I shouted out, “Who killed the Kennedy´s?”
When after all it was you and me.
Just as every cop is criminal
And all the sinners, Saints
As heads is tails, just call me Lucifer
“Cause I´m in need of some restraint.”
So if you meet me, have some courtesy
Have some sympathy and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I´ll lay your soul to waste.
In ”Sympathy for the Devil” Mick Jagger seems to have sensed the above-mentioned connections. At some of the concerts, where this tune was played and sung, there was triggered off rape, ordinary sexuality, murder and births. The song is the hell preacher´s hint of the only way out. The Ego has to descend down into the deep of evil (the lower lying closed chakras, the blocked path to love and existence), has to take it seriously, see it in the eyes, realize and feel, that evil is in there. The Ego has to learn to get on with its complex, instead of avoiding/ignoring it as the New Thought movement is advising people to do.
The complex is there, it requires a name, it wants voice, time, awareness. If not, it destroys the consciousness and drowns the world in pollution and violence.
I guess this is Karen Blixen´s message with her Luciferian work. She often said to Aage Henriksen that she had found peace in the Devil.
The way Christian theology has always painted things, you have to start out talking about the other guy, the anti-God if you will, and this is probably because God created him in the first place, as well as because the bad guy always needs to be contrasted with the good guy.
Satan was viewed as a really bad guy throughout most of medieval Christian history. The traditional Devil, the guy from feudal times was a rebel against his liege lord. He´s broken his covenant and was going to pay for it.
Then, somewhere in the 1700s, Satan started to look kind of coolly rebellious and “Romantic.” By the times of the French and American Revolutions, the idea that Satan has rebelled against his Lord actually turned from a minus to a plus. This idea of Satan culminated in the Romantic era, an intellectual, literary, and artistic movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the eighteenth century and advocated emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience – a reaction to the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions.
During this Romantic period, Satan is envisioned as rebelling against the supreme tyrant, the great king God who wouldn´t change for anything even if you were being starved to death by some earthly tyrant that He´d placed there to be your king. After all, God had created the Great Chain of Being and placed the King and the nobles up near the top, and a little tin snipper like you down on the bottom. You were above all most of the animals and plants, to be sure, but still pretty far down there, so you shouldn´t be mouthing off to your betters. If you´re good and do what you´re told by your betters, you´ll be able to sing God´s praises for eternity in the heavenly choir.
Against this tyranny, the Devil is a romantic rebel, fighting the power, a loner against the unjust order of the world. He´s a rebel and he rebels against anything that blocks the way of progress to liberty, beauty, and love, like the King and God. The status of a lot of people, including literary and religious characters, changed in the revolutions. The medieval poet Dante had placed that assassin Brutus down in the sixth circle of Hell where Satan munched on him for eternity. The revolutionaries turned him from an assassin and traitor into a revolutionary hero. He´s killed the tyrant Caesar! Call this version of the Devil, Satan the Rebel.
William Blake (1757-1827), who was really good at turning a phrase and is widely considered one of the fathers of Romanticism, said that we really need religion somehow or other and if we don´t have the religion of Jesus, we´ll have the religion of Satan. Blake, like the other Romantics, liked Milton but the problem with Paradise Lost (1667) was that the Devil comes out far better than God. Blake wrote:
The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of Angels & God, and at liberty when of Devils & Hell, is because he was a true Poet and of the Devil´s party without knowing it.
Milton himself was a rebel, a soldier in the army of Satan, in rebellion against tyrants in Heaven and Earth. On Earth he helped the folks who separated Charles I,s head from his body. Blake has both takes on Satan – the rebel-hero and the asshole who just wants to replace God – but then for Blake God or “Nobodaddy” is really just an asshole Himself.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) read Milton´s Paradise Lost and re-created Satan as the romantic hero. Satan, the romantic rebel has inspired countless Heavy Metal bands and kids who like to dress in black outfits and talk about how meaningless it all is as they rebel against “the Man.” This is repeated in countless vampire movies with their incredible sexy vampires. (Of course the new sparkly vampires are much nicer but also less awesome). Dracula´s given a tragic past where he´s lost the woman who would have made him a very nice guy had God not stolen her away in death. The 1979 Dracula, for example, had the tagline: “Throughout history he has filled the hearts of men with terror, and the hearts of women with desire.” How can you not be drawn to such dark, tortured, coolness? Satan rebels against the tyrant God just as humanity rebels against the tyrant kings, and he´s sooooo misunderstood.
So here´s the question: Why should we have sympathy for the Devil? I mean, we´re clearly fascinated by the guy, we write a book like this, endlessly pondering his motivations and the morals we ought to take from his story. And with that endless pondering comes a shift in our view of the Devil from a boring old baddie to something far more complex and interesting.
Modern representations of the Devil – whom I refer to with his proper name of Lucifer Morningstar – believe it´s in Lucifer´s prime motivation that our sympathy is centrally located: Lucifer´s desire is simply to have free will in a world determined to prevent free will. That desire is so quintessentially human, it engenders sympathy even for the guy who tried to storm Heaven and dethrone God.
Meanwhile I mean, that the concept of free will and free choice can be unfortunate concepts. In my understanding, and in Blixen´s, the will is the will to power, and belongs to the Ego, which makes it choices on background of the past, and which therefore is determined by both its personal and collective history. Therefore the Ego always strives towards being something else than what it is, it imitates others, are a slave of others ideas and ideals, and its actions are characterized by irresoluteness and doubt. A more fortunate concept would in my understanding be the freedom that lies in the existential concept of being yourself; that is: where you live in accordance with your own artistic nature and thereby achieve authenticity, autonomy, decisiveness and power of action; that is: the ability to use your will on that part of the energy, you can steer yourself, and steer it towards your artistic nature; the Luciferian movement where you finally have to give up your will and in self-forgetful oneness with nature become one with its creative power) - instead of towards career, worldliness, self-unfolding, as for example New Thought does.
It is not possible to go beyond good and evil, as Nietzsche and the relativists think. Only the freedom in the balance between good and evil is neutral. And this freedom is the freedom to chose either good or evil. The freedom is given so that we can learn the art of discriminating between good and evil. And it seems that precisely this freedom has to do with the concept of Lucifer Morningstar. You can choose the Left Hand of Darkness, or you can choose the Right Dand of Darkness. In that way you can´t avoid the meeting with darkness, or the guardian of the threshold.
Free will is the capacity to govern oneself and not be restricted by any mediocre moral authority, and autonomy (freedom) is when one uses that capacity. If someone is being coerced, perhaps with violence or threats, or if someone is enslaved outright, then they clearly lack autonomy. Conversely, when someone chooses to value something without any external pressures from a mediocre moral authority, and then is allowed to pursue that thing without hindrance, then that would be a clear-cut case of autonomy. Anyone who values the idea of pursuing life, liberty, and happiness without interference from any mediocre moral authority clearly understands the desire for autonomy.
The idea that Lucifer personifies the desire for free will might seem odd. We know the Devil for his rebellion against Heaven, his hubris, and his willingness to do anything to get what he wants, but we´re often hazy on the motivations. Why does Lucifer try to overthrow God? Is he just a jealous prick, or are there legitimate reasons for his actions? This is where modern representations of Lucifer in various storytelling mediums have done us a great service, by clarifying something that ancient authors either couldn´t quite see or were afraid to write: why Lucifer did what he did. These modern authors have found the consistent line that exists in all the myths about Lucifer, and that line is the passionate desire to break free from God´s overbearing plan (as depicted by a mediocre human made authority, that is) and to act from a place of real autonomy – to be a real person, not a puppet in someone else´s show. This is the paradox in Blixen´s concept of humans as marionettes, which she turns upside down, so that humans are seen as the puppets in nature´s hand.
Consider in the Bible that Satan is mostly only used as a plot device rather than as a character, and so his motivations aren´t really discussed. However, if we look at Lucifer´s actions in the Bible through the lens of valuing free will above all else his actions appear not only reasonable, but possible even commandable.
As the serpent in the garden, Lucifer contravenes God´s authoritarian command and encourages Eve to exert her free will and make her own choices, whether God likes them or not. He facilitates the first act of human free will. Note that I also think that the serpent in the garden, and God´s warning about it, could symbolize a warning against a wrong use of energy – (the opening of the third eye causing a top-down awakening) – which is a central issue in this book. But in the context of free will Lucifer is to free will as Prometheus is to fire, bringing autonomy down to human beings from on high, against the orders of upper management.
Furthermore, he isn´t exactly urging Adam and Eve to do some unspeakable evil with their free will. All he does is urge them to eat of the tree of knowledge, which to me seem like a good thing, not something that should get you banned from paradise. It ends up feeling as if God´s an overbearing authority figure and Lucifer is the more mature alternative, encouraging humans to think for themselves and not just blindly follow God´s commands. If not for Lucifer´s influence, humans would still be ignorant automatons, living in Paradise but with no self-awareness. Viewed in this light, I find it difficult to see anything Lucifer does in the Garden as evil. But we need to remember that we here speak about God and Paradise as these are depicted by humans (the mediocre moral authority), not about god himself. Blixen saw God himself as one and the same as nature, and Lucifer as the movement towards becoming one with this creative power.
In the book of Job, Lucifer takes a bet with God over whether Job will maintain faith in God´s super-secret divine plan even in the face of extreme suffering. I have no idea what God is doing making bets with Lucifer, but it´s easy to see why Lucifer would bet the way he does. He really wants to see Job, and all if humanity by extension, reject a God who makes people suffer both for his secret plan and, in this particular case, just to prove a point. It´s no wonder that the story of Job doesn´t get as much play these days, as the Adversary seems like the only reasonable and humane person in the whole debacle.
The Devil, to the Hebrews, was known as “the adversary.” He didn´t choose to take up the mantle of prosecutor (or persecutor); he was appointed that task as an angel. The Hebrew translation of Satan´s name makes him sound far more like our opponent than the incarnate evil opponent of God. In fact, it makes him sound like the guy who´s doing God´s bidding by prosecuting those who deserve it.
But the naming problem gets even worse. “Lucifer,” today, is synonymous with the Devil, though it has not always been. The translation of Lucifer means “bringer of light.” It was a reference to the morning star that comes right before the dawn. The “Lu” in “Lucifer” shares with it words like luminous, luminescent, and lumens, all words meaning “light.” If we look at the book of Genesis, the fall of Lucifer is the verbal equivalent of “light-bringing.” And what happens as a result of Lucifer´s fall? Well, we´re all damned, but also, we´re granted knowledge: tremendous knowledge of Good and Evil. In other words, the darkness of our minds is illuminated! I would guess, seen in that light, that the proper name of the Devil is:
Aage Henriksen noticed, that when his conversations with Karen Blixen became especially intense, she drew a scarf up over her mouth, as if she tried to hide something. During a conversation the scarf slipped down, and he saw that there streamed a white light out of her mouth, so that she beamed like a light in the darkness of the living room: “It came from a bright field around her mouth”. Later he found out that also this phenomenon had she depicted in her stories. In Out of Africa she writes that you will find this beaming light in people “who have found peace in the Devil.”
But the self-forgetful element in Blixen´s Luciferian movement is what makes her philosophy conclusively different from Satanism and for example Nietzsche. Satanism and Nietzsche are all about self-assertion and self-production, the direct opposite of Blixen´s philosophy of self-surrender to the hands of nature. Instead it places her in the context of some kind of Christian mysticism. What makes people misunderstand Blixen as selfish and arrogant is in my view her rebellious and ironic attitude towards authorities.
The Luciferian self-forgetful and surrendering mystical movement in Karen Blixen can be seen already when she in 1913 travelled to Africa. She was 28 years old. She was at that time lonely and proud as a descendant of great rulers or great dreamers. It was her youthful longings and dreams she travelled into. The strange, wild and dark world, which she met, she recognized. In the woods of North Zealand in Denmark, which are high and light and are penetrated by hundreds of roads and paths, like parks or great gardens, she had seen the ancient wood for her inner eye, a flowing world of great passions, which still was untouched by consciousness. In The Plough, a small story, which was printed in 1907, she had depicted the ancient wood:
”In the wood there is not safe in the night, the ancient woods are haunting. Though fallen and died for so many thousand years ago, and forgotten in the day-time, they wake up at night again, rise, just like the fallen from their graves on the battle field, and transform the world. Impassable and terrible, with a gnarled and unlimited power, the ancient wood rises. And there are heard booms in the wood from the heavy steps of the great ancient elephants, and in the whoosh of the great tops is another sound, it is the nightsong of the wood, it is the ghost of the ancient songs, which were sunged, when Earth was new. Oh, it is the voices of the ancient woods and their song about the great free Earth. It is the song of the great rivers and lakes and the great plains and the great changes, the song of the great battles, of loneliness, of freedom, of darkness, the great songs about ancient times, about the youth of the Earth, when it was wild and free - and the woods, the marshes, the great lakes and plains were its thoughts. Mankind was not born and nothing had name…”
5) Human Nature seen in the Image of an Artist
This wild nature (devoid of the culture of Mankind) is according to Blixen a part of our own original nature, which she sees in the image of an artist. She was actually quite a good painter.
She created her pictures not only in words but also in drawings and paintings. Her handwriting is, in and of itself, a beautifully rendered movement across the page, as if the writing´s very form has a story of its own:
As a young girl she often mixed her writing exercises with her sketches, the one form of expression inextricably tied to the other.
As an author Karen Blixen was much indebted to the art of painting:
”I would have always had difficulty seeing how a landscape really looked if I had not learned the key to doing so from the great painters.”
It all began in the sheer joy of reading and came to fruition when, as a seventeen year old, she entered the art school run by misses Sode and Meldahl in Copenhagen. Learning the fine art of perspective drawing was a revelation for her. The discipline and rules of law involved in constructive drawing served as the basis for her work as an author.
Blixen received her first real training in drawing from Charlotte Sode and Julie Meldahl in their art school on Bredgade, in 1902-03, where she prepared for further studies at the Academy of Fine Arts and in 1910, twenty-five-year-old Karen Dinesen attended an art school in Paris.
Karen Blixen´s letters from Africa speak only occasionally about artistic activities. The result, however, consist of some brilliant portraits of the native helpers on her farm, evidence of a considerable talent and a special insight into her models´ personalities:
After the farm in Africa was sold in 1931, she returned home to Denmark. From then on the pictures appeared not on paper or canvas but in words. One form seemed to replace the other. At the same time, all her painterly insights were integrated into the written picture.
I will in the two last parts of this book develop Karen Blixen´s philosophy from the aesthetical stage into my versions of the ethical and religious stages, without losing her concept of the original artistic human nature. I will do this with my concept of the Life Artist.
Imagine making art, not with paint or clay, but with life itself as your medium. A “Life Artist,” or “Lebenskuenstler” as the Germans would say, is someone who finds beauty in the colors life puts at their disposal, someone who makes do with the brushes they’ve got and doesn’t pout over a few mistaken strokes.
On the website Lebenskünstler, a Life Artist connotes a person who approaches life with the zest and inspiration of an artist, although he or she may not be working recognizably as an artist. He is a Lebenskünstler. Someone who pieces together his living from various activities that, collectively, bring in just enough money to live. No office, no suit, no boss, no rules. German has a word for such people, the website claims, and English doesn’t. There’s even a higher form of Lebenskünstler, the website says, and that is the Überlebenskünstler, or “survival artist.”
Lebenskünstler – one who recognizes opportunities in life and takes advantage or makes use of those opportunities to make the most out of one’s own life; one who lives life deliberately and to the fullest capacity (concept from Henry David Thoreau of “living deep and sucking out all the marrow of life”); one who gambles with the outcome of his/her own life by seizing opportunity; one who makes living an art.
So, the German word Lebenskunstler means ‘an artist of life’. It acknowledges that being an artist is not, in the first instance, about what you produce, but about your contribution to your environment based on the way you live. As creative entities, we can share our creativity in many ways. By how we dress or decorate our homes, by what we cook, by how we educate our children or entertain our friends, by how we dance and make love, by how we speak about our lives.
The website says that Lebenskünstler refers not so much to people who turn their life into a piece of art, and that it is not for nothing that Berlin has been dubbed a graveyard for ambition. The German capital has a particularly impressive record of attracting those eager to make a living as artists, many of whom succumb to the many initiative-numbing charms and morph into Lebenskünstler ,
Oscar Wilde once purportedly said “I put my talent into my work, but my genius into my life.”
The website focuses on the Lebenskünstler of Berlin. Going back to the 1970s – or maybe even to the 1910s – there has existed a decadent, artistic underground in Berlin which has placed little value on “making it” for the sake of making it. The king of decadent Berlin is the “poor but sexy” Lebenskünstler, an archetype who has had a huge influence on culture and nightlife here till this day. The Lebenskünstler cares little about his next record deal or art opening or publishing deal. Instead, life is his art. Only “now” matters and how you can make the most out of each moment. Screw success and any concept of “the future” because for decades Berliners – think of WWII, the Cold War etc. – have felt there is NO tomorrow (and they are right of course – we will all die).
The Lebenskünstler’s dilettantish self-expression might have no audience other than his circle of friends or 30 people in some tiny Kleinkunst venue.
So with the concept of the Lebenskünstler we actually have a quite good idea about what it might mean to be a Life Artist. We´ll soon find out that the term fits very well to many other people than the Lebenskünstler of Berlin, and in that connection we will ask whether the Life Artist is a person who creates himself through his will, or whether he in an act of surrender and self-forgetfulness is letting an external source of creation work through him?
Art of life is a sovereign life expression. In the sovereign life-expressions we clearly meet something, which arises as richness, gift or grace in our life, something we have not created ourselves, and which at the same time is the actual and carrying in all being together between humans.
The Danish philosopher of life K.E. Løgstrup says, that the spontaneous life-expressions come from the universe, and that the Universe therefore not is irrelevant to Man. He isn´t self-dependent, but is connected with the Universe. So Løgstrup claims, that we must interpret the Universe, and the sovereign life-expressions, as created. In that way we have an external source of creation, which we, with the right kind of living, could become one with. But how?
The relationship is the mirror, in which you can discover yourself. Without the relationship you are nothing. To be is to be in relationship, which is the actual life. You only live in relationship, otherwise you don´t live, life is then without meaning. So it is not because you - as Descartes says: ”I think, therefore I am!” - that you live. Nor do you live because you create yourself, as Nietzsche, Sartre, Rorty, Foucault and all the other supporters of the self-production thesis claim. You live because you are in the relationship, and it´s the lack of ability to understand this, which causes conflict.
The reason why that there is no understanding of the relationship, is that we use the relationship to achieve something, become something, to be remoulded. We use the instrumental reason on human relationships, where it only should be used on technical relationships. It is the thinking´s dangerous course, the course of the will to power. The communicative reason has vanished.
But the relationship is the means to expose yourself, because the relationship is to be. It is the actual life itself. Without the relationship you don´t live. In order to be able to understand yourself you must understand the relationship. The relationship is therefore a philosophical sparring partner, a mirror in which you can see yourself. To understand this is to use the communicative reason, which in the context of art of life is a meditative-existential reason.
The mirror of the relationship can either distort or expose the truth about yourself. Most of us see in the relationship, in the mirror, that, we preferably want to see, but we don´t see that which is real. We will preferable idealize or escape, and rather live in the future than seeing the relationship in which we are in the moment.
Becoming is the thought-process, and both Nietzsche, Foucault and Rorty are seeing this in the image of art, as a creative process, but they don´t come out of the intellect, and confuse the thinking, the intellectual training, with the whole of the human unfolding and life itself. They see the whole of the human unfolding as a creative process, which with will can be controlled; that is: controlled by the thinking. Life is seen as a work of art, which Man, with his will, can model as he wants to. In short: the create-your-own-reality ideology. The artist´s brush is the thought, and the colors of the thought is the old, the past. It is therefore not new colors. He is an imitator.
This is not how a true Life Artist works. A Life Artist doesn´t imitate, he creates something new, and the new is life itself, not the thinking. Life itself is his colors.
In order to get in contact with life itself, the Life Artist often spend an inordinate amount of time engaged in carious leisure activities. The question then becomes: are such forms of recreation a waste of time? Everyone needs a break from work, responsibility, and even other people. As Aristotle observed, shared leisure activity is often the glue that bonds friends together. Indeed, the philosopher Josef Pieper went so far as to claim that leisure is “the basis of culture.”
Pieper based his theory on – you guessed it – Aristotle, who said, “Happiness seems to be found in leisure; for we deny ourselves leisure so that we can be at leisure.”
Basically, we´re all working for the weekend. Pieper, though, had a specific notion of leisure in mind; not just any old form of rest and relaxation is beneficial for us. Pieper agreed with Aristotle that we must strive to flourish in our nature as “rational animals.” Hence, leisure is most properly that time preserved from the work a day world to spend cultivating our intellectual tastes. Pieper, picking up a line from another Aristotelian philosopher, Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), said that the right sorts of leisure activities – those involving intellectual contemplation – can even make us more like God: “’Because of the leisure of contemplation’ the Scripture says of the Divine Wisdom itself that ‘it plays all the time, plays throughout the world.’”
Many philosophers and other intellectuals have also been, and sometimes still are, accused of being bums in the sense of being useless to society – often forgetting that the democracy and the human rights they live by, are created by philosophers. For any philosophy majors out there, recall the look on your parents´ face when you told them what you were spending their hard-earned college savings to study philosophy!
Aquinas, though – in an admittedly self-serving statement – asserted that it is “necessary for the perfection of the human community, that there be persons who devote themselves to the [use-less] life of contemplation.” The problem with society, as Mill has noted, is that we get so caught up in making a living – working to make money so we can have shelter, food, and green nail polish – that we forget to live.
Already the ancient Greek philosopher and Life Artist Epicurus was a misunderstood man with an image problem. Because he recommended that his followers steer clear of lives of political and financial ambition, he was commonly thought to advocate a life of idleness and lazing about. Because he taught that pleasure was the proper goal of good life, Epicurus and his colleagues were dismissed as decadent sensualists. Because he occasionally wrote about food and drink, his philosophy has been characterized as one of wanton indulgence and gluttony. Even today, the term “epicure” is popularly associated with the pleasures of fine food and wine. Add to this the fact that Epicurus, breaking with ancient Greek custom, welcomed nontraditional students – women, servants, and prostitutes – to his school of philosophy, and we can see why Epicureanism was associated with sexual license and rumours of debauchery.
A modern English idler and Life Artist, which promotes all the qualities of an idle way of life, is Tom Hodgkinson (born 1968). His philosophy, in his published books and articles, is of a relaxed approach to life, enjoying it as it comes rather than toiling for an imagined better future. Together with his friend Gavin Pretor-Pinney he founded The Idler which is a bi-yearly British magazine devoted to promoting its ethos of 'idle living' and all that entails (read an additional account on idleness in my pop culture files on The Hobbit and The Big Lebowski).
Ronald Hutton´s book The Rise and Fall of Merry England: The Ritual Year 1400-1700 demonstrates how the festive culture of the Middle Ages was gradually eroded by the Reformation and the Puritans. It was in this merry time the legend of Robin Hood was formed. Robin Hood is a heroic outlaw in English folklore who, according to legend, was a highly skilled archer and swordsman. Traditionally depicted as being dressed in Lincoln green, he is often portrayed as "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor" alongside his band of Merry Men. Robin Hood became a popular folk figure in the late-medieval period, and continues to be widely represented in literature, films and television. In The Hobbit we discover that this idea of gift economy is shared by Bilbo Baggins, who gives most of his treasures away. Also it is seen in the hobbit custom of giving presents when they celebrate their birthdays, instead of receiving them.
And Max Weber´s book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism shows how the competitive Protestants booted out the co-operative Catholics; it shows how a new ethic based on work and earning a lot of money came to replace, in the eighteenth century, the old medieval ethic, which was based on mutual aid. The medieval culture (which wrongly are depicted as a dark age by the Protestant work ethic) combined a love of Jesus, who preached idleness, and a love of Aristotle, who argued that leisure and contemplation led to happiness. (I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to banish their guilt around work).
And with Jesus we have the spiritual practice, which I consider to be the central art of life. A spiritual practitioner is namely always also a genuine Life Artist.
In my book A Portrait of a Lifeartist I set up six steps in the spiritual practice: that is: some existential conditions, and some, common to all mankind, growing conditions, and growth levels, in the Life Artist´s voyage of discovery into himself, and thereby into life itself. The steps are:
1) The separation of the observer and the observed
2) Religion and supporting exercises
3) Passive listening presence
5) Creative emptiness
6) The wholeness of the observer and the observed
Step 5, Creative emptiness, is the condition where the mind is completely released from your perspective, from images of any kind, and the ideas, symbols and conceptions, which are their manifestations. The known has stepped aside for the benefit of the unknown, the beauty of creation. Everything is new, unnamed, unformed, non-linguistic presence. The mind is pure, fresh, young, innocent; completely open and receiving. The mind is awake and the heart is open, awareness and love in one. And in this creative emptiness reality and truth can be discovered, or received, it is one and the same.
Lao Tse said it so simple as it can be said, that the wise rules by emptying the mind and filling the stomach. Eckhart called the creative emptiness Virgin Mary, or the Virgin Mary-state, where God the father can give birth to Christ into Man. The creative emptiness is the possibility for the birth of Christ in us.
Jesus said it with the words about, that unless we change and become like children again, we shall never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (see my post On Asking Philosophical Questions and The Peter Pan Project).
This creative emptiness can in other words not be reached by an act of the will. The creative emptiness comes when you in self-forgetful openness are one with nature. This is a so-called communicative view of nature, which claims that nature is of value in itself, that there is a beauty and richness in nature, which is of non-causal and non-mechanical kind, and that Man as a natural being has a community with this nature. You could call it metaphysical naturalism.
Mogens Pahuus has in his book Karen Blixen´s Philosophy of Life argued, that Blixen, when she speaks about God, is using the word in a quite another meaning than the traditional. According to him she uses it completely synonymous with nature, or rather, the creative powers in nature. It seems like she thinks of the human nature as being related to the rest of nature. The human nature is a unity of spirit, instinct, sensation, body and feelings, something which you can´t control and master by standing outside it, but which is connected to life-feeling, spontaneity and self-forgetfulness, when you are one with it. Reason, you can say, is lying in an adaption to the realities, both in oneself and the surroundings. Therefore she sees the human nature in the image of an artist. One of my Sûnyatâ Sutras goes like this:
Only meditative-existential you can be in the Now.
The passive listening presence is meditation.
Meditation is to see completely with the heart and the mind; that is to say: with the whole of your essence.
The human essence is therefore meditation.
Meditation is the self-forgetfull openness for, and absorption in life itself.
The meaning of life is therefore to express the human essence.
Human essence is therefore an appearance-form of the Now.
Why? Because the essence in the human life is meditation.
Total existential presence in the Now is meditation.
The essence is therefore one and the same with existence; and this realized oneness is precisely meditation, or the wholeness of the observer and the observed.
But the mediocre (human made) moral authority is seeking to control this nature. Therefore the movement towards finding one´s true nature is a Luciferian movement. The meaning of life is, according to Blixen, to express the human nature in a creative way.
This can of course only happen in the Now. You can also say, that where the old before was characterized by personal and collective images, which worked in sequences in past and future, then the old now is characterized by universal images, which work in synchronism with the Now, or with nature. It was this Karen Blixen was describing as the ancient, the original, and which she always was seeking as authenticity, autonomy, possibility, freedom and adventure. It is a return to the Now, to the timeless eternity. As Rabindranath Tagore said: ”The light is young, the eternal ancient light; the shadows are a brief moment´s matter, they are born aged.”
In India, as noticed by Ananda K. Coomarasway, works of art representing indifferent objects, local personages and scenes, such as fill the walls and rooms of most of our museums, have been characterized as desi (“local, popular, provincial”) or as nâgara (“fashionable, worldly”) and are regarded as esthetically insignificant; whereas those representing deities or revered ancestors, such as might appear in temples or on domestic shrines, are perceived as tokens of an inward, spiritual “way” or “path,” termed mârga, which is a word derived from the vocabulary of the hunt, denoting tracks or trail of an animal, by following which the hunter comes to his quarry.
Similarly, the images of deities, which are not local forms of “elementary ideas,” are footprint left, as it were, by local passages of the “Universal Self” (âtman), through contemplating which the worshiper attains “Self-rapture” (âtmânananda). A passage from Plotinus may be quoted to this point: “Not all who perceive with eyes the sensible products of art are affected alike by the same object, but if they know it for the outward portrayal of an archetype subsisting in intuition, their hearts are shaken and they recapture memory of that Original.”
I have termed these tracks, trails and footprints as “the dreaming tracks and songlines in the artwork of Man and the Universe,” or as “the universal images in time.” They correspond to progressive karma. When you see them you see The Stork. I have, also with inspiration from Karen Blixen, termed the Original as “The Ancient.”
6) The Shadow Odyssey
Odysseus is renowned for his intellectual brilliance, guile, and versatility, and is thus known by the epithet Odysseus the Cunning. He is most famous for his homecoming where he reasserts his place as rightful king of Ithaca. His journey took him ten eventful years after the decade-long Trojan War.
Odysseus' journey home involves many problems: he encounters the Cyclops, he almost loses some of his men in the Land of the Lotus Eaters, he deals with Scylla and Charybdis and loses men to both monsters. He meets his fate of being away from his family for twenty years; these are the true adventures told in the original story of his journey.
Odysseus fate is his negative karma, it is his shadow. Negative karma is created by thoughts, and thoughts are not only personal, but arises from an immense depth of collective and universal structures. This structure lies as a shadow under the individual´s personal history. In that way Odysseus´s journey is a Shadow Odyssey. In many ways it is an intellectual journey, a journey of thought training. Odysseus is an intellectual. Often he openly evaluates a situation, demonstrating the logic he employs in making his choices. Spiritual thought training is mirrored in that of the Hero´s Journey.
Such a Shadow Odyssey can be said to have two phases:
1. Art of Life
2. The spiritual dimension
These two phases are intertwined. Art of Life will by itself develop into the spiritual dimension.
1. Art of Life
In meditation-circles it's a widely-spread misunderstanding, that meditation is about being completely without thoughts. Because you can´t stop the thoughts. This is due to that the thoughts originate in a very deep structure of personal and collective images, eventually universal images. And all this is revolving around your painbody, which is one and the same as your instinctive survival strategy (the ego).
The instinctive survival strategy, the ego, is the whole of your thought-pattern. The whole of your negativity, or suffering - which your own resistance against life has condemned you to, consists very simply in that you are making the Now into a problem by comparing with earlier, and hoping, desiring or fearing something else.
This thought-pattern is one and the same as your mind. So, thought training is the same as mind training.
Your thought-pattern has normally created an enlarged and energy-charged reflection of itself in your body. And if your past is filled with pain, then it can show itself as a negative energy-field in the body. This is the emotional painbody. It contains all the pain you have accumulated in the past. It is the sum of the negative feelings which you have ”saved together” through life and which you carry. And it can nearly be seen as an invisible, independent creature. Therefore we also could, as H.C. Andersen does in his fairy tale, call it the Shadow.
And the painbody is, through the inner evaluating ego, which the painbody is constructed around, connected with the more dangerous dephts of the astral plane´s collective history, which also are a kind of dark, ancient inertia, which opposes any change of the ego. That is also the reason why you, through psychotherapy (or coaching), can´t heal Man from the ground. Psychotherapy and coaching are in my view corrupt life practices. They are claiming to be neutral (science-based) but are exclusively building on the psychotherapist´s and or/coach´s personal idiosyncratic beliefs. I´ve called them the mythology of authenticity: the dream about a lost past and hope for a richer future. The now has disappeared.
In order to heal Man from the ground you need to go into a traditional spiritual practice. It is only within the religions and their spiritual traditions they have knowledge and names for the more dark sides of the astral plane´s collective history. The West has very precisely called this factor the original sin. The East has called it negative karma. The concepts indicate, that the inertia projects beyond the personal history (growing up conditions, traumatic bindings, painful experiences etc.) and far down into the collective inherit-backgrounds of history (genes, environment, society-ideals, the archetypes and the primordial images of the dreams, fantasies, fairy-tales, myths, and finally: instincts inherited from the animals). It is a factor, which lies in the evolution itself, in the genes, in the collective subconscious, in the collective history.
When therefore psychotherapy and coaching require a change, then the instinctive survival-preparedness in us reacts and protests. Man has survived on willfulness and a consciousness-structure, which mental and psychic sign is Egocentredness. The bigger Ego, the bigger survival chance.
Seen from a spiritual perspective, this instinctive survival strategi (the ego) appears as a resistance, an invincible inertia: original sin, negative karma. You can´t, by psychotherapeutic strategies, free the consciousness for its attachment to this inertia. You can therefore not dissolve or dilute or convert the original sin through therapy. Only the intervention of the Source (God, Christ, the enlightened consciousness – Blixen´s nature) can basically help Man with a transcendence of the negative karma of the original sin. But in order to, that a human being should be able to receive this help from the Source (gift of grace), then this requires an eminently precise and profound preparation. And as part of this preparation serve the true spiritual practice within the religions.
As already shown: in my book A Portrait of a Lifeartist I set up six steps in the spiritual practice: that is: some existential conditions, and some, common to all mankind, growing conditions, and growth levels, in the Life Artist´s voyage of discovery into himself, and thereby into life itself. The steps are:
1) The separation of the observer and the observed
2) Religion and supporting exercises
3) Passive listening presence
5) Creative emptiness
6) The wholeness of the observer and the observed
Step 1 has to do with the ordinary mind, the negative thought-pattern which has created the painbody, and the instinctive survival strategy, the ego.
Step 2 has to do with thought training. Very shortly said then thought training has to do with that you allow your thoughts to do the personal work with the dark, ancient inertia (the devil in the heart) and accept its existence; that is: that you become a Life Artist. The two main reasons why religion and supporting exercises is a necessity is partly, that the ongoing self-confirmation of the ego and its negative automatic thoughts, is replaced by a spiritual remembrance, partly that the collective inertia is purified and prepared, so that the Ego is made transparent along with that original sin and negative karma are transformed and transfigured in the contact with the Source (God, Christ, the enlightened consciousness, the saints – Blixen´s nature). And these two processes mutually fertilize each other. It is the Luciferian movement.
The supporting exercises are the beginning of the spiritual practice, where you begin to activate the higher functions of the mind. In my first book Meditation as an Art of Life I describe five supporting exercises. The most important is the re-discovery and development of your Hara center. Hara is fundamental to all wisdom traditions and natural healing professions. So where everything before were revolving around your ego, everything is now revolving around Hara. Hara is primarily known from Zen Buddhism and Taoism, but is also central in Hesychastic mysticism. The Hesychasts Omphalopsychites) is an order at Athos, who with the chin supported at the breast look at their navel (Omphalos), until they see the uncreated light.
Hara is in other words called Omphalos in Hesychastic mysticism. In symbolism the omphalos was an object of Hellenic religious symbolism and world centrality. So, in symbolism Hara is a symbol of world centrality believed to allow direct communication with the gods. Another symbol is the Philosopher´s Stone, which is a legendary alchemical substance capable of turning base metals such as mercury into gold. That´s a good analogy since the work with Hara slowly and securely will transform your whole energy system.
I have often compared the balance of the human energy system with a cone. An unbalanced energy-system could be like that of a reversed cone, and a balanced energy-system is that of a normal cone. To be able to handle the increased energy you receive in meditation, you must have a ground connection like that of pyramid.
In order to discover and break the identification with the samsarical producer of the mind, the subject must discover the hidden source in the awareness or in the innermost of consciousness (God, Christ, the enlightened consciousness, the saints – Blixen´s nature). It happens by neutralizing the Ego´s, or the thinking´s, functions. And the basic supporting tool is Harameditation. Today I call the Harameditation: The Compass. For a short introduction, see my page The Compass. For a longer examination, see my article The Philosophy of Hara Healing.
The magnet of attraction, which the ego is controlled by – (the ego´s identity with the material world: instincts, sexuality, emotions, desires, collective ideals, ownership, personal power) – will in a true spiritual practice lose its attraction. Investments in the material world´s ups and downs, its demands, temptations and dramas, become undramatized, uninteresting, even meaningless, when seen in relation to the consciousness´ opening direction in towards its spiritual essence: the now, the wholeness, life itself, and finally: the eternal otherness, from where the good, the true and the beautiful are streaming as grace and forgiveness.
The source of awareness, the naked consciousness, is hidden because it has melted together with the negative thought-pattern. It has become a kind of veils, or layers, which are maintained by what you could call the ego-religion and the ego-exercises. The ego-religion and the ego-exercises are the ego´s incessant confirmation or denial of the ego: “it is no use with me!”; or: “wonderful me!”. Both, either the denial or confirmation (which is what positive psychology is focusing on) of the ego, maintain the ego-process, the ego-identity and the ego-centralization. The ego´s religion and exercises are the ego´s needs and longings and will: I want to, I think, I believe, I feel, I wish, I hope, I think, I believe, I feel, I wish, or, in its most common core: I, I, I….
Religion has to do with the pious attitude and way of thinking, which stands for the observance of religious virtues, duties and rituals. In this way you can bring a unity and direction into the mind, an order and tranquillity in the thinking, a consistency between thought and conduct of life, an awareness of your relationship with persons, things and ideas, which no therapy is able to. In a spiritual practice it serves as a frame of reference.
Spiritual practice has always emphasized the simple life. If you simplify your life, you also simplify your thoughts.
Therefore: find your passion, your true calling in life, no matter how devalued it might be in the eyes of others. That being invisible to the mythology of authenticity – that being unregarded, ignored, devalued, is namely in such a culture of self-assertion a curse. The mythology of authenticity is our day´s mediocre moral authority, which tries to clip our self-forgetful artistic wings.
But to understand and be free from self-assertion, and to do something, which you really love to do – regardless what it is, how small or how little remarkable it is – awakens a spirit of greatness, which never is seeking others´ approval or reward, and which do a thing for its own sake, and therefore possesses strength and ability not to lie under for mediocre influences.
Here is that being invisible to the culture directly a blessing – that being unregarded, ignored, and devalued, can be an impetus to take another route: the quiet way, the gentle, steady, behind-the-scenes path. This is the invisible way of the Life Artist, the slow path of alchemy. Soul work takes time. This means that you intentionally have to make time, especially in our increasingly hyperactive, extroverted secular culture.
I have called this phase Art of Life.
Two thought training techniques can be used in order to find your true calling in life:
1) The Philosophical Diary
1) The Philosophical Diary
The stoics, for example Marcus Aurelius, kept philosophical diary, or lifebook, in order to explore, change and restructure negative thought-patterns. But so-called ”meditative writing” also exists in other wisdom traditions as a priceless help to the meditative development; that is: to learn to know who you are. Krishnamurti, for example, also recommended it. Montaigne´s Essays are also a kind of lifebook. Montaigne said about his Essays that: “They are attempts to paint myself.”
I have two versions of the philosophical diary. The first is described in the supporting exercises to my first book Meditation as an Art of Life - a basic reader. Here I combine the supporting exercise Harameditation with meditative writing and a Socratic enquiry technique used in cognitive therapy.
When you sit and practice the sitting Harameditation (you can of course also do it in other situations) and your negative thoughts/feelings can´t become silent, then take a piece of paper out (or a side in your philosophical diary), and write the thoughts down. Just let them bloom as they want to, but write them down at the same time as they arise in your mind. Don't evaluate what you write. Write all thoughts down, regardless how trivial, incoherent or foolish they occur to you. Continue until they fall to rest.
The intention is now, that you try to find all the various inappropriate basic assumptions, rules of living, thought-distortions, negative automatic thoughts, values, ideals and conceptions, which are hidden in the writings. Or differently said, that you explore the problem, which causes, that your negative thoughts/feelings can´t become silent.
The other version is described in my book A Portrait of a Lifeartist. This version is more existential experimenting than logical analysing, it is more observing than thinking, more listening than arguing. Here you just write your thoughts down as they bloom, with analysing them.
The surprising thing about this writing exercise, is that you in this way actual can finish unfinished situations. It's after all precisely the thoughts which all the time (without luck) try to finish situations. The existential guilt about an unfinished situation exists after all precisely only in your thoughts. When you then practice meditative writing, yes, then you can help the thoughts in finishing the situation. To finish situations has in this way not necessarily anything to do with, that you have to confront the specific situations, and for example the implicated persons (it could very well be dead persons).
Tonglen, or the supporting exercise The Heartmeditation, originates from Tibetan Buddhism, but the same elements can be retrieved in different forms in all great wisdom traditions. In Tibetan Tonglen means ”give and receive.” It´s about using your personal suffering to increase your compassion – which means: where you mentally receive and give. Tonglen can change one´s whole attitude toward pain. Instead of fending it off and hiding from it, one can open one’s heart and allow oneself to feel that pain, feel it as something that will soften and purify you and make you far more loving and kind. Tonglen is the ethical side of spiritual practice.
The exercise is about, that you receive other peoples´ suffering in your heart. Here you let it dissolve in the light of compassion, whereon you give the compassion on to these others. This can be done as a formal meditation practice, lets say, for about half an hour a day. Normally this is done by using your breathing as a medium. You inhale suffering, and exhale compassion. Meanwhile, as I make aware of in my updates to the supporting exercises, this can easily develop into a mechanical act without the important accompanying heart-feelings. Instead I today advice people to use Tonglen as thought training; that is: use texts about Tonglen for meditative reading.
In particular, to care about other people who are fearful, angry, jealous, overpowered by addictions of all kinds, arrogant, proud, miserly, selfish — you name it — means to not run from the pain of finding these things in yourself. Here the New Thought inspired positive thinkers begin to get in trouble (they loudly speak about love, but in reality it is self-love). Their whole teaching has been about blocking the way to the lower chakras: the heart (love) and Hara (existence). They have done this by preaching moral subjectivism and material abundance, as well as existence (and therefore pain) as an illusion (all the things the Devil tempted Jesus with in the desert – incredible they can´t see it). And when they get to know the following they are directly getting frightened.
Because in fact, one’s whole attitude toward pain can change. Instead of fending it off and hiding from it, one can open one’s heart and allow oneself to feel that pain, feel it as something that will soften and purify you and make you far more loving and kind.
The tonglen practice is a method for connecting with suffering — yours and that which is all around you — everywhere you go. It is a method for overcoming fear of suffering and for dissolving the tightness of your heart. Primarily it is a method for awakening the compassion that is inherent in all of us, no matter how cruel or cold we might seem to be.
The three fundamental aspects of meditation are relaxfullness, awareness, and heartfullness. These are trained in my five supporting exercises, including the above-mentioned exercises.
The refinement of the consciousness and attention which is trained in the supporting exercise Relaxationmeditation, slides imperceptible over in neutral observation. You discover the uniformity concerning tension in so different phenomena as muscle-tension, will, thoughts and form-formations in more collective patterns. The Relaxationmeditation creates a neutrality in your attitude to all the different expressions of tension. This neutrality is refined in the Harameditation.
The Harameditation´s neutrality in relation to the different expressions of tension, will more and more lead into a melting, a letting go, a devotion. And the absorption, which takes place in such a relaxfull melting and letting go, leads by itself in towards your heart. This is refined through the Heartmeditation.
Finally the Now opens ifself and the three fundamental aspects (relaxfullness, awareness and heartfullness) are melting together in an open, all-embracing silence. This silence is what you in reel sense can call Meditation as an Art of Life, because it's in this silence you in wonder ask the philosophical questions in a meditative-existential way, open both inwards and outwards, listening and observing, without words, without evaluations.
In this movement in towards the source you begin to ask philosophical questions in a meditative-existential way: Who am I? Where do the thoughts come from? What is consciousness and where does it come from? Is there a meaning of life? How does man preserve peace of mind and balance in all the relationships of life? How do we learn to appreciate the true goods and flout all transient and vain goals? Is the destiny of Man part of a larger plan? In this way the grab, which the material world has in your mind, is automatically reduced.
2. The Spiritual Dimension
In a culture ruled by the mythology of authenticity, Art of Life offers central tools for increasing our capacity for mature personal processing. It promotes proper self-care, help people come to terms with the painbody, original sin and negative karma, as well as their calling in life and the development of creative expression. It is a prerequisite for a secure and sober process of spiritual training that these areas have been thoroughly developed and are consistently tended and balanced. Hereafter the spiritual dimension opens by itself.
In all simplicity spirituality is about being present in the now. This is almost a cliché today, where everybody is talking about being in the now, paradoxically enough also the mythology of authenticity, which dreams about a lost past and a richer future. But precisely the paradox in this also show how easily we are letting ourselves be deceived by the past and the future. The mythology of authenticity has in that way developed into a globally seen exceptional narcissism.
An ordinary state of consciousness – an ego – either is or is not in the present moment. Most often the ego is not fully present. Most frequently the mind is caught up in the past or lost in the future. The busy to-and-for in consciousness is unceasing, and as a rule the mind is either filled with past memories or looking ahead with worries and plans, with hope and longing. When the mind finally becomes more focused on the here and now, it is usually busy thinking and commenting on whatever is happening at that moment.
Nonetheless, it is possible for the ego to be fully present in the here and now. This means that the attention is focused in Hara, as well as the sensations of the body and the stream of emotions and feelings. The sense-portals to the outer world are open and receptive, and the ego is ready to express, communicate, listen, or act. This could be a fair description of a state of ordinary ego consciousness that is present at this moment, in this situation. It is a fairly sharp and intense state of being.
A person with a lot of life experience and personal processing from Art of Life will bring an even wider range of him- or herself to the here-and-now and will be even more fully present. This person will have a deeper, more integrated, and expanded presence – the sense of connectedness with the world and people around him will be richer, the centeredness clearer. This kind of presence is more whole, more restful, and yet attentively transparent. It is a fairly satisfying and pervasive state of wakefulness and coherence. This is what happens in step 3, 4, and 5: Passive listening presence, discrimination, and creative emptiness.
Mythologically this is what happens when Odysseus uses the bow at the end of his journey.
Primarily, the bow symbolizes the physical superiority of the king — an important point in a world in which the mighty prevail. But the bow also symbolizes the maturity and perhaps the character of the king. In the Odyssey the suitors can't come close to stringing it (Book 21), illustrating the fact that none of them is capable of leading Ithaca. Prince Telemachus, trying the bow just for sport, comes close. The reader is told that Telemachus probably could string the bow on his fourth attempt, but his father signals him to desist. We take from this passage that Telemachus is almost ready to be king but patiently and properly acquiesces to his father's judgment. Only Odysseus can string the bow on his first attempt, and he does so with ease, showing that he is the proper mate for Penelope and the only man ready to be king of Ithaca.
Finally, there is the open now of transdual consciousness. This is step 6, the wholeness of the observer and the observed. This state of presence is qualitative different, since it is based on the entirely different perspective of unity consciousness. This is an almost ecstatic state of completion, a luminous, blissful wakefulness in which consciousness is also fully relaxed, not holding on to the bliss, not desiring the ecstasy, just an open transparency. It is a wondrous and heavenly state. The transdual presence is like the open sky, and this open sky is present here on earth at this moment.
Meister Eckhart describes this heavenly state in this way:
The now in which God created the first human, and the now in which the last human perishes, and this now in which I speak: they are equal in god and they are nothing other than one single now.
And Master Tilopa:
Do not pursue the past
Do not invite the future
Do not think about the present
And do not meditate with the intellect.
Avoid all logical thought
And completely relax the mind.
Especially Eastern texts like Tilopa´s are the cause of New Agers confusing this with Western irrationalism, subjectivism and anti-intellectualism, forgetting that these themselves are intellectual views. You don´t get enlightened by accepting a theory. You can´t stop the thought. This confusion is tragic, since what Tilopa is talking about is complete objectivity and absolutism. The preparation for such a state is precisely the use of philosophy, rationality and logic: thought training and art of life.
The more advanced forms of consciousness training are traditionally thought only to take place in a face-to-face exchange with an enlightened master. It is indisputable possible to use books as sources of inspiration, and in particular to review one´s insights and refresh one´s practice. This is something I advise people to do, but unfortunately it is not possible to obtain the subtle practical adjustments and individual corrections required to avoid getting stuck or losing one´s way in the unimaginable abundance of states and pathways of consciousness. Traditionally, this kind of teaching can only take place in an existential, individually responsible, and deeply engaged mutual process with a competent teacher.
But precisely the mythology of authenticity, and it´s whole spiritual role-playing game with its self-designed gurus and masters without experience, has in my view put an end to this tradition.
In the former time´s spiritual pedagogics the teacher took the central place in so-called energy-mandalas, whereby the hierarchical structure was able to be unfold (Christ and Buddha in the centre). In the newer time´s spiritual pedagogics a true spiritual development aims, in my view, towards holding free the center of the circles, whereby an ideal equal spirituality can begin to unfold.
This development is especially represented by Krishnamurti, who in this way seeks to make the Source common. In such a mandala-structure that, which before symbolical was gathered in the centre, is now unfolded and made common in the periphery. The aim is completely to avoid the guru-centric. Anybody, who has worked with Krishnamurti´s teaching, can recognize this. And in the connection with philosophy this is also interesting since Krishnamurti´s teaching in that way follows the central virtue of philosophy: Think for Yourself! This was also Blixen´s force. Indeed, his teaching is characterized by the use of philosophy, instead of religious preaching or psychotherapy and coaching. Krishnamurti time after time emphasized that you must be completely alone in your spiritual development. You must be a spiritual anarchist. The help you need will so to speak come from above when you are completely alone.
In philosophical pedagogic, there isn´t given answers. Philosophical pedagogic is an invitation to wonder, to think for yourself, to become a light for yourself, to develop your own teaching. Krishnamurti said: “I invite you to become aware of your unawareness.” Kierkegaard said basically seen the same: “The only thing I do is to invite to awareness of your paradoxical nature.” Philosophy is about awakening our innate awareness.
Think for Yourself! This was also Blixen´s force, what she in fact meant by the Luciferian movement. But the paradox of her magical circle of young students shows that she probably hadn´t reached the final goal, which includes the ethical and religious stages, which in my view belong to the heart. I deal with these stages in my next books in this series of three about my literary spiritual mentors: Philosophical Counseling with Tolkien and The Philosophy of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
To summarize: seen from a spiritual perspective, our instinctive survival strategi (the ego) appears as a resistance, an invincible inertia: original sin, negative karma. You can´t, by therapeutic strategies, free the consciousness for its attachment to this inertia. You can therefore not dissolve or dilute or convert the original sin through therapy. Only the intervention of the Source (God, Christ, the enlightened consciousness – Blixen´s nature) can basically help Man with a transcendence of the negative karma of the original sin. But in order to, that a human being should be able to receive this help from the Source (gift of grace), then this requires an eminently precise and profound preparation. And as two phases of this preparation serve: firstly: Art of Life, and secondly: the spiritual dimension where you must be completely alone. It´s a Shadow Odyssey.
The human experience that helps us best understand the universal images of time is the artistic creativity. Art is very different from science in that it creates worlds; it creates meaning and beauty and forms and structures and natures, while science discovers them. In science, the world is the standard for our ideas about it. If we believe the earth is flat, we are wrong. But in art, it is the reverse: the artist´s ideas are the standard for the world she creates. For example, in Tolkien´s world, Elves are tall and formidable; in Shakespeare´s world, they are tiny and cute. In art, the world conforms to the creative idea; in science, the idea conforms to the world. Truth in science is the reverse of truth in art. If God created the universe, all science is reading God´s art.
Heliocentrism, evolution, and relativity are true ideas only if it conforms to the divine Idea and design for it. And everything does that except man. Only in man is there a gap between God´s eternal design and temporal fact. I have called this gap the painbody. And the painbody is, through the inner evaluating ego, which the painbody is constructed around, connected with the more dangerous dephts of the astral plane´s collective history, which also are a kind of dark, ancient inertia, which opposes any change of the ego. This dark ancient inertia is Lucifer. And with his proper name, Lucifer Morningstar, he offers us to play either the Right Hand of Darkness, or the Left Hand of Darkness. Karen Blixen was the Devil´s Mistress, and this is also what she offered us.
It is because we can look at the things in the universe in a Platonic way that we can rank them. For example, one lion can seem truer, more leonine, than another (say, a weak, scuffy, cowardly lion). We say, “He´s a true man”, or, “She´s a real woman”, and that another is false, fake, or inauthentic.
The universal images in Blixen´s concrete literary work moves you more than my abstract philosophical explanations of the universal images. This is the strategy of the storyteller: to creep past the “watchful dragons” that guard the conscious reason that excludes these things as unbelievable; to open the back door of the heart when the front door of the mind is locked; to appeal to the wiser, deeper, unconscious mind: the archetypes and the primordial images of the dreams, fantasies, fairy-tales, myths, and finally: the universal images.
A great mythmaker awakens the longing for these universal images, these Platonic archetypes, which are buried deep in human knowledge, through using a magic language: the language of storytelling.
The Nine Gates of Middle-earth (here we see the shadow odyssey described in relation to the chakra system).
Lucifer Morningstar - A Philosophical Love Story (This is the first book about Karen Blixen´s relationship with Lucifer. My own concept of Lucifer Morningstar is inspired by Blixen, and is a provocative counter-story to chaos magic, the left-hand path and satanism, since I support many of the same topics: anarchism, civil disobedience, rebellion. The practice of these was what Blixen referred to as "The Luciferian Movement". In the below links you can find examples of my counter-theories):
Timothy Leary - A Psychedelic Shaman Playing a Fascistic Game (Timothy Leary was a supporter of chaos magic and the left-hand path. In this article I explain agreements and disagreements).
Final Secret of The Illuminati (about Robert Anton Wilson. Robert Anton Wilson was also a supporter of chaos magic and the left-hand path, and in this article, I also explain agreements and disagreements).
Philosophical Counseling with Tolkien (Tolkien is supplying us with a counter-magic to our days chaos magic and technological magic. It is quite rebellious and anarchistic, and could therefore be seen as an example of Karen Blixen´s “Luciferian Movement”).
Copyright © by Morten Tolboll.
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