The Arabian Nights illustrated by Charles Folkard
The Thousand and One Night is not something which had died. It is a book so vast that it is not necessary to have read it, for it is a part of our memory – and also, now, a part of tonight.
Jorge Luis Borges, Seven Nights.
The consultation with me begins with a meeting where the guest presents his or her problem. Hereafter I will present the guest to the concept of Mother Earth, and the importance of the Earth Chakra. Mother Earth is intimately connected to poetry, mythology, fantasy and folklore. Spending time in the forest is about getting in tune with Mother Earth and her power. One has the opportunity to walk in beauty, and to think in beauty. Mother Earth is central for shamanism and witchcraft, and therefore also for storytelling. Storytelling is about returning to the mythic life. Storytelling is healing because it comes from Mother Earth, and is therefore widely used by shamans and witches.
Shamanic counseling has to do with a particular, concrete frame of reference. It trains the lower chakras. But it has also to do with the universal and abstract. It also trains the upper chakras. You must begin with the lower chakras before you can move to the upper chakras in a balanced way.
Philosophical counseling is an expansion of Shamanic Counseling. Shamanic counseling has to do with the removal of harmful energy intrusions (in a broad sense: healing your painbody). Philosophical counseling is about healing your soul or "soul retrieval". Soul retrieval is again about re-finding your own philosophy (spiritual path), which always has been there. How does this happen?
Philosophy and storytelling belong together. They can work like the two lenses of a pair of binoculars. Philosophy argues abstractly. Storytelling argues too – it persuades, it changes the listener – but concretely. Philosophy says truth, storytelling shows truth.
Human thought is both concrete (particular) and abstract (universal) at the same time. You could also say that the thought has an Inner Side and an Outer Side. All things have an Inner Side and an Outer Side. It is connected to the three states which the Wholeness can be in: sleep, dream and awake. The Outer Side of things is the side most people experience. When you only see the Outer Side of things the Wholeness is sleeping, or the things are sleeping. The Inner Side is the side of enchantment. When you see the Inner Side of things, then the Wholeness is dreaming, and therefore the things are dreaming. This is the source of enchantment. Eventually the Wholeness, and therefore the things, can be completely awake (the spiritual practice where you are going beyond all images and ideas).
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. They see the Inner Side of 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 an 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 storytelling naturally reinforce each other´s vision. Philosophy makes storytelling clear, storytelling makes philosophy real. Philosophy shows essences, storytelling shows existence. Philosophy shows meaning, storytelling shows life.
You start out in the mythic life, or magical thinking, are using philosophy as a navigator (logos, discrimination), and return to the mythic life, transformed by an otherworldly enchantment. This is the shamanic journey, or the Hero´s Journey. You return with a gift. You have become a creative being, whether as an artist, storyteller, healer or philosopher.
Mythopoeia is a poem by Tolkien. The word mythopoeia means mythos-making, and has been used in English since at least 1846. Tolkien wrote Mythopoeia following a discussion on the night of 19 September 1931 at Magdalen College, Oxford with C. S. Lewis and Hugo Dyson. Lewis said that myths were "lies breathed through silver". Tolkien's poem explained and defended creative myth-making. The discussion was recorded in the book The Inklings by Humphrey Carpenter.
The poem is addressed from "Philomythos" (myth-lover) to "Misomythos" (myth-hater) and takes a position defending mythology and myth-making as a creative art about "fundamental things". The poem begins by addressing C. S. Lewis as the Misomythos, who at the time was sceptical of any truth in mythology:
"To one who said that myths were lies and therefore worthless, even though 'breathed through silver'".
Tolkien chose to compose the poem in heroic couplets, the preferred metre of British Enlightenment poets, as it was attacking the proponents of materialist progress ("progressive apes") on their own turf:
"I will not walk with your progressive apes,
erect and sapient. Before them gapes
the dark abyss to which their progress tends --..."
The poem refers to the creative human author as "the little maker" wielding his "own small golden sceptre" ruling his subcreation (understood as genuine creation within God's primary creation):
"your world immutable wherein no part
the little maker has with maker's art.
I bow not yet before the Iron Crown,
nor cast my own small golden sceptre down..."
The reference to not bowing before "the Iron Crown", and later reference rejecting "the great Artefact" have been interpreted as Tolkien's opposition and resistance to accept what he perceived to be modern man's misplaced "faith" or "worship" of rationalism, and "progress" when defined by science and technology: It must be stated though that Tolkien believed in rationalism, however, he did not believe that the modernist project was actually based on rationalism.
"man ...keeps the rags of lordship once he owned,
his world-dominion by creative act:
not his to worship the great Artefact."
Mythopoeia takes the position that mythology contains spiritual and foundational truths, while myth-making is a "creative act" that helps narrate and disclose those truths:
"...There is no firmament,
only a void, unless a jewelled tent
myth-woven and elf-patterned; and no earth,
unless the mother's womb whence all have birth."
Tolkien discusses his views on myth-making, "subcreation" and "faery" in the essay On Fairy-Stories, written in 1939 for presentation by Tolkien at the Andrew Lang lecture at the University of St Andrews and published in print in 1947. In On Fairy-Stories, Tolkien emphasizes the importance of language (the human linguistic faculty in general as well as the specifics of the language used in a given tradition). Notice how it contains the elements of philosophy already discussed:
Mythology is not a disease at all, though it may like all human things become diseased. You might as well say that thinking is a disease of the mind. It would be more near the truth to say that languages, especially modern European languages, are a disease of mythology. But Language cannot, all the same, be dismissed. The incarnate mind, the tongue, and the tale are in our world coeval. The human mind, endowed with the powers of generalization and abstraction, sees not only green-grass, discriminating it from other things (and finding it fair to look upon), but sees that it is green as well as being grass. But how powerful, how stimulating to the very faculty that produced it, was the invention of the adjective: no spell or incantation in Faerie is more potent. And that is not surprising: such incantations might indeed be said to be only another view of adjectives, a part of speech in a mythical grammar. The mind that thought of light, heavy, grey, yellow, still, swift, also conceived of magic that would make heavy things light and able to fly, turn grey lead into yellow gold, and the still rock into a swift water. If it could do the one, it could do the other; it inevitably did both. When we can take green from grass, blue from heaven, and red from blood, we have already an enchanter's power—upon one plane; and the desire to wield that power in the world external to our minds awakes. It does not follow that we shall use that power well upon any plane. We may put a deadly green upon a man’s face and produce a horror; we may make the rare and terrible blue moon to shine; or we may cause woods to spring with silver leaves and rams to wear fleeces of gold, and put hot fire into the belly of the cold worm. But in such "fantasy," as it is called, new form is made; Faerie begins; Man becomes a sub-creator.
This is precisely the same philosophy as Karen Blixen. Blixen liked to speak about herself as a witch, 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.
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, so that they often felt like they were characters in her 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, 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."
Blixen saw the human nature in the image of an artist, and she apparently saw it as her job to help people find this image within themselves. A tool to do this is witchcraft, and finding this image was the source of healing. In my view this was in fact what happened between Blixen and her male students. And with my concept of man as a life artist, I work with something similar.
The movement towards this is a Luciferian movement, it is not a movement up towards heaven. It is a movement down into the dark ancient depths, to Mother Earth, and the wild nature. First after having integrated this nature in yourself, you can move upwards in a balanced way. Therefore Blixen depicted herself as the Devil´s mistress.
Blixen´s 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. 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…”
In his book Defending Middle-Earth – Tolkien: Myth and Modernity, the philosopher Patrick Curry quotes Sean Kane:
Myths are not stories about the gods in the abstract; they are about ‘something mysterious’, intelligent, invisible and whole (page 136).
Curry says that something always come back to nature. Thus, ‘The proper subject of myth is the ideas and emotions of the earth.’ That includes people, of course, as one kind of living thing among many. But it is certainly not restricted to humanity.
Tolkien´s work is precisely a mythos. On page 151 Curry writes that the only books he can think of that seem comparable to The Lord of the Rings, are other examples of mythic fiction. Those that spring to his mind are Herman Melville´s Moby Dick, Mikhail Bulgakov´s The Master and Margarita, Alain-Fournier´s Le Grand Meaulness, Russell Hoban´s Riddley Walker, and [of course], Karen Blixen´s Out of Africa.
Shamanic/philosophical counseling is in this way an attempt of creating a mythic language in which we can talk about the abstract, as for example philosophical questions such as: 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? Shamans are keepers of stories. Just look at the Aboriginals.
The mythic language can concretize the abstract, or the universal. The need of being able to talk concretely about the abstract and universal is as old as mankind itself. And myths are precisely tales that gives abstract topics a visible form. They make an invisible universe visible, at least to the “inner eye”. In many cultures myths have probably been the only language in which they have been able to talk about the great questions of life.
The images of time are both personal, collective and universal, and therefore they are found both in us and around us in the movement of nature. They are energy-formations, and therefore also a kind of matter. Nethermost lie the universal images, the Great Vision or Dreamtime: “The Words of God”. Words were to Tolkien the most beautiful things in the world. The most beautiful thing human eyes have ever seen is called “the Word of God”.
Our language, all our fictional productions, is, as the above examples show, reflections of the universal images in the Great Vision of the creation. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, then a library therefore is a magical room with a lot of bewitched spirits. They wake up when we call them. When we open a book an aesthetic occurrence is happening. Because we are parts of the movement of time - which with it´s images both flows through us, and around us in nature - then the same book changes, as we changes. The text itself is after all also the River of Time, or Heraklit´s River. Language is in that way an aesthetical creation.
Bedtime Story by Jeanie Tomanek
The universal images work in synchronism with the Now, and therefore with the Wholeness. They seek to put together, to synthesize, to heal. In that way they constitute a common human consensus. We can all agree about them.
But in the consciousness´ identification with thinking and time, the Ego is created. And the Ego uses the negationpower of time to make resistance. The resistance consists in problematizing life itself by comparing with earlier and hoping, desiring or fearing something else. And in this evaluation-process the Ego splits up the universal images. It identifies ifself with one pole in a pair of opposites, for which reason the polar partner is expelled. In this dividing process the collective and personal images arise, and herewith all the disagreements: it is here The Black Speech of Mordor origins.
Consequently the universal language, and the movement of time, reflect themselves in your thinking, but because of the Ego´s evaluations the images are divided in words and analysis; what you could call thinking in opposites (subject as divided from object, good as divided from evil, love as divided from hate, perfect as divided from fiasco) - words and sentences which work in sequences in past and future, extremes, or analyses.
In other words: the Ego, in its identification with opposites, tends to debate, to work against other people, and seeks to demonstrate their flaws.
In accordance with Plotin then The One in its eternal and continual radiation, first of all manifests ifself as thought, which in it´s individualized form shows ifself in the Soul, which again find it´s way to the body, the lowest and the most random expression of being.
But there is more: strange as it sounds, things are in words for Tolkien. The language of The Lord of the Rings, and even more of The Silmarillion, is not merely a device for communicating thoughts and feelings. The words are not merely a label for concepts. Rather, it is in the words that the things live and move and have their being; and in the words they come to us. As Martin Heidegger puts it, language is “’the House of Being’. For words and language are not wrappings in which things first come into being and are. For this reason the misuse of language, in idle talk, in slogans and phrases, destroys our authentic relation to things.” (Martin Heidegger, An Introduction to Metaphysics, p. 11).
The naming does not consist merely in something already known being supplied with a name; it is rather that when a poet speaks the essential word, the existent is by this name nominated as what it is. So it becomes known as existent [real]. Poetry is the establishing of being by means of the word. (Martin Heidegger, Holderlin and the Essence of Poetry, in Existence and Being, p. 304.
Thus poetry is making, as its name says (poisis). Poetry is not ornament but fundamental speech; prose is fallen poetry. And fundamental speech is an act of creating. And unspeaking is uncreating. “Last of all is set the name of Melkor, He Who Arises in Might. But that name he has forfeited, and the Noldor, who among the Elves suffered most from his malice, will not utter it (Silmarillion, p. 31). And Gandalf will not utter the words on the Ring in the Black Speech of Mordor in the Shire, but only at the Council of Elrond in Rivendell, and even in that safe and holy place the words summon something of the presence of their Hellish source:
“Ash nazg durbatuluk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatuluk agh burzun-ishi krimpatul.”
The change in the wizard´s voice was astounding. Suddenly it became menacing, powerful, harsh as stone. A shadow seemed to pass over over the high sun, and the porch for a moment drew dark. All trembled, and the Elves stopped their ears.
“Never before has any voice dared to utter words of that tongue in Imladris, Gandalf the Grey,” said Elrond, as the shadow passed and the company breathed once more (LOTR, pp. 247-48).
From "The Joys of Storytelling 1" by Ben Okri (A Way of Being Free):
"The earliest storytellers were magi, seers, bards, griots, shamans. They were, it would seem, as old as time, and as terrifying to gaze upon as the mysteries with which they wrestled. They wrestled with mysteries and transformed them into myths which coded the world and helped the community to live through one more darkness, with eyes wide open and hearts set alight.
"They risked their sanity and their consciousness in the service of dreaming better futures. They risked madness, or being unmoored in the wild realms of the interspaces, or being devoured by the unexpected demons of the communal imagination."
"And I think that now, in our age, in the mid-ocean of our days, with certainties collapsing around us, and with no beliefs by which to steer our way through the dark descending nights ahead -- I think that now we need those fictional old bards and fearless storytellers, those seers. We need their magic, their courage, their love, and their fire more than ever before. It is precisely in a fractured, broken age that we need mystery and a reawoken sense of wonder. We need them to be whole again."
The power of words is based on the fact that real things are found in words. Words are not merely things among a world of things, things with one additional feature, the ability to point to other things. No, words are the encompassing frame of the world of things. Things constitute a “world” only by the creative word of the author, who names them.
And therefore, since the things are encompassed by words, our wonder at the things is encompassed by our wonder over the words.
In her article Stories are Medicine: "healing tales" in myth, folklore, and mythic arts, the folklorist Terri Windling writes:
“There has long been a mythic link between storytelling and the healing arts -- so much so that in some ancient societies storytellers and healers were one and the same. Stories are valued in many indigenous cultures not only for their entertainment value but also as a means to pass on cultural teachings -- including practices intended to prevent imbalance and illness (both physical and mental), and to help overcome ordeals of disease, calamity, or trauma. In some shamanic traditions, magical tales are told in a ritual manner to facilitate specific acts of healing.”
Shamanic healing and storytelling are to move yourself backwards through the whole structure of language, which is created by the outgoing movement of time. This is the core in primordial meditation. Shamanic healing and storytelling are therefore to remember the outgoing movement´s negation, namely the backmovement of time, the memory of the universal vision and the universal images. This was also something Plato made clear.
The purpose of life for the individual therefore is to move in this direction: from the low to the high, from the random body and all it´s lust to The One and all it´s light. Life is seen as a pilgrimage, or a shamanic journey.
In primordial meditation this consists in practising neutral observation rather than evaluating; it is to be in the Now rather than in the past or the future; it is to think between the opposites, rather than to think in extremes; it is to use dialogue rather than debate; it is to, together with other people, to work one´s way towards a mutual understanding; it is to use language from the universal images of time, rather than the personal or collective images of time. The universal images work in synchronism with the now.
When language is made transparent in presence it works from the universal images, and therefore synthesizing and healing. This is precisely how the Elvish languages function.
Cinderella by Edmund Dulac
If things come to us in their names, if language is the “house of being”, then the power of things comes to us in the power of their names. Words have power, not only to communicate, intellectually, and not only to suggest, emotionally, but also a magical power that can produce physical effects.
There are many examples of this in The Lord of the Rings. Bombadil is the clearest one. His words save Merry from Old Man Willow and Frodo from the Barrow-wight, for “None has ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the master: His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster” (LOTR, p. 139).
Frodo too uses the “magical” power of words: when he calls Tom´s name, two miracles happen, one spiritual and one physical. The name conjures up both Frodo´s courage and Tom, who actually comes. Kreeft says that if we find this unconvincing, it shows how little we have taken God at His word when He repeatedly promises the same thing Bombadil did. To put the promise in contemporary words, “You just call out My Name, and you know, wherever I am, I´ll come running to see you again…”
The most powerful words are proper names, names of persons or places. When the Black Rider bangs on Fatty Bulger´s door in Buckland saying, “Open in the name of Mordor”, all the authority and power and terror of Mordor are really present there. When Frodo, on Weathertop, faces the Black Rider, “he heard himself crying aloud, ‘O Elbereth! Gilthoniel!’” (LOTR, p. 191), as he struck the Rider with his sword. Afterward, Aragorn says, “All blades perish that pierce that dreadful King. More deadly to him was the name of Elbereth” (LOTR, p. 193).
In Shelob´s lair Frodo speaks in tongues again: “’Aiya Earendil Elenion Ancalimal!’ he cried, and knew not what he had spoken; for it seemed that another voice spoke through his” (LOTR, p. 704). And when the tiny Hobbit with the tiny sword advanced on the most hideous creature in Middle-earth with the phial of Galadriel and the name of Galadriel, Shelob cowered.
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 precisely therefore language is dangerous. You are in danger of involving yourself in an uncreating language game. For example, the thought-distortion Arbitrary inference which means that you make a causal linking of factors, which is accidental or misleading, and Communal reinforcement which opens you for the power of suggestion. When you use an Ideology (a system, an image), or other limited thought-constructions, to explain everything, you end in an Endless split of the thought.
The main reason for the rise of magical thinking is that you don´t discriminate between image and reality, the map and the landscape, subject and object. Such a discrimination is central in critical thinking, but it does not involve an ontological dualism, so that you can´t experience nondual, mystical states of mind. It involves a so-called epistemological dualism, or gnoseological dualism.
So central in a creating use of language is the discrimination between subject and object, dream and reality - and what is lie or illusion, and reality.
Discrimination is a central virtue in true spirituality. The Dominican mystics called this steps 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 practiced. The Orientals call it 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 for example New Thought does. It has nothing to do with the create-your-own-reality ideology, which is based on the subject alone.
An important part of this is the discrimination between yourself and the spirit, between your own energy and divine energy. As we can see from the above, Tolkien made this quite clear. Discrimination is essential for enchantment. Enchantment is only enchantment if you sense that it is real, and not a product of your own imagination. And discrimination is the central virtue in philosophy as well.
The thinking functions in language. And language is not only words and sentences. Language is music, mathematics, myths, archetypes, symbols, signs, etc. Language and thinking carry each other. And the collective history is so to speak lying in nature in the form of projected energy. The universal history though, is not projected energy, but is lying beyond Man, it is the actual foundation for the creation of the universe, it is the Great Vision, God´s plan you could say, the dreaming tracks and the songlines in the artwork of the universe and of Man. It works in synchronism with the Now, and therefore with life itself, and not projected in past and future.
The Pythagoreans were primarily mathematicians and astronomers. Their discovery of the mathematical relations of music made them assume, that the tones were the audible expression of the structure of the whole of the universe. They meant they had found consistency between for instance the movement of the planets and the individual tones, between the mutual location of the heavenly bodies and the intervals between the strings of the lyre. From this they concluded, that the movements of the planets in space had to bring forth tones, ”the music of the spheres”.
Since music in that way is an expression of divine or cosmic powers, it is also able to form the human Soul in compliance with the divine relations of numbers. A thought, which came to characterize both Plato, Aristotle, Aristoxenes and Plotinus. The Christian mystic Hildegard Von Bingen wrote a series of songs in the Gregorian tradition; songs, which she received in divine visions, because she in that degree was able to be completely existentially present in the Now. And a similarly philosophy of music you also find in Indian philosophy.
If the clarity of the mind increases because you are becoming yourself present, then the thinking can be made transparent, whereby it begins to unfold its components: sound-color and symbol-structure. In this structured clarity the mind meets the world in a new way, both the inner and the outer, even though inner, on this step, apparently still is clearly divided from outer. The Wholeness has, from its deep, dreamless sleep, begun to dream. The whole of Middle-earth is an example of a dreaming Cosmos. Therefore the paradox that Middle-earth, though based on fantasy, seems more real than our own world.
Instead of, that you via the senses, only meet a world of houses, humans, trees and things – or of feelings, thoughts, lust and pain - then you in this presence furthermore can see a world-image of auric colors, archetypical symbols and yantric, or other, energetical structures. Moreover you can in this presence hear sounds, not sound-images communicated through the hearing sense, but the presence itself hears directly: un-mediated sounds. Your mind is now in an astral state.
If you are absent in the thinking you meet a world divided in inner and outer, and constituted by closed things, substances, structures. This is what we meet in The Black Speech of Mordor. The Ego has, as we all know, not directly insight in, and access to, the inner of things, or the inner of other humans. If you however are present in passive seeing and listening, you can, in your thereby gained clarity - in the astral state of mind - furthermore see and hear a world of vibrant, soundfilled energyfields, which shimmer in symbols and colors. This world-image is open. Such a presence has to a certain extent directly insight in that, which to the thinking´s absence, is closed and inaccessible.
The clearness from the dissolved and evaporated thoughts and contents will widen the mind out towards the borders, where behind the collective common human structures are found: the images in time. These common deep thoughts of mankind, can the mind, by force of its increased clarity – the astral state - see as visions: primordial images, religious images and structures, symbols, wisdom-figures, figures from fairy tales, higher worlds, other dimensions. You could say that you now can look directly into Middle-earth.
The astral state of mind is also implying a so-called astral body, or a dream body, which is able to leave the physical body while it is sleeping. It is called astral travel, or astral projecting, because it is a kind of projection of the mind, which goes out over the borders of the five senses, though these also seem to follow. With this astral body you can travel elsewhere, both on earth, to other planets, into the astral worlds, into the kingdom of death, and into countless heavens and hells. It is like entering the fairy tale of Peter Pan. It is the source of the so-called shamanic journey.
The personality, when it is in this astral state, can receive supernatural information through such astral worlds, and their images and symbols, partly from the collective images, partly from the universal images.
Even deeper are the universal images lying, what Sri Aurobindo called vision-logic: language which no longer is verbal, but which is superior, visionary syntheses and wholes, that work more in synchronism with the Now, than in sequences in past and future. From this plane originates the world-images, the superior universal systems and paradigms: philosophical, scientifical, religious-spiritual and cosmic world-images and mappings. These are linguistical refined, highly abstract, stratospherical or ionospherical levels of language and systems of reference, but however still linguistic structures and interpretations. However, they are in their original form not human made, and there is in Indian philosophy many discussions about whether they are expressions of the actual divine unmanifested source, or whether they lie somewhere between the unmanifested and the manifested. They probably correspond to what the Western philosophers have called unmoved matter. To Christians, Muslims and Jews, they are the thoughts of God. To the Shamans they are the Dreamtime. They are what the Elvish languages are based on. The Elvish languages are open to these thoughts.
There is an old myth of an original language. It is in Plato (the “Cratylus”) and the Bible (the story of the Tower of Babel, answered by Pentecost). If this is true, it explains why every proper name of Tolkien´s seems exactly right. (This is a power even many of his critics marvel at.) When we read them we are remembering (Plato´s anamnesis); our cognition is a recognition. Our “word detector” buzzes when we meet the Right Word, the Platonic Idea.
The most powerful and magical language is music. The reason for this is that music is the original language. Music is the language of creation. In The Silmarillion, God and His angels sings the world into being: “In the beginning, Eru, the One, who in Elvish tongue is named Iluvatar, made the Ainur of his thought; and they made a great music before him. In this music the World was begun” (Silmarillion, p. 25).
It is not that the music was in the world but that the world was in the music. Many Indigenous Australians refer to the Creation time as "The Dreaming". The Dreamtime laid down the patterns of life for the Aboriginal people. Creation is believed to be the work of culture heroes who traveled across a formless land, creating sacred sites and significant places of interest through their singing. By singing the world into existence, the Ancestors had been poets in the original sense of poesis, meaning 'creation'. In this way, "songlines" were established, some of which could travel right across Australia, through as many as six to ten different language groupings. A songline, also called dreaming track, is one of the paths across the land (or sometimes the sky) which mark the route followed by localised "creator-beings" during the Dreaming. The paths of the songlines are recorded in traditional songs, stories, dance, and painting.
This mythology reminds in an astonishing way about “the music of the spheres,” in which everything is, the “Song of Songs” that includes all songs. All matter, space, time, and history are in this primal language, and if we know it we are able to heal.
Plato knew the power of music. In the Republic it is the first step in education in the good society and the first step in corruption in the bad one. Nothing is more powerful to the good society, to education, to human happiness in this world.
Music is not ornamented poetry, and poetry is not ornamented prose. Poetry is fallen music, and prose is fallen poetry. Prose is not the original language, it is poetry made practical. Even poetry is not the original language; it is music made speakable, it is the words of music separated from their music. In the beginning was music.
The Lord of the Rings is full of singing. One of its indices lists fifty-six songs or poems. The Hobbits sing high hymns to Elbereth and homespun Walking Songs and Bath Songs. Tolkien, like Bombadil, is a writer of prose who is bursting with poetry and music. Peter Beagle calls him “a writer whose own prose is itself taut with poetry”.
Music is an essential part of Elvish enchantment. When the Fellowship enters Lothlorien, Sam says, “I feel as if I was inside a song, if you take my meaning” (LOTR, p. 342). Both Tom Bombadil´s House, Rivendell and Lothlorien are places where the Hobbits are resting and where they are getting healed. And we say the same when we enter The Lord of the Rings.
Philosophical Counseling with Tolkien (free Ebook – especially related is the chapter on Philosophy of Language)
The Nine Gates of Middle-earth (free booklet about how to enter Middle-earth through correct opening of our chakras).
What is a Life Artist? (article)
What is a Life Artist? (article)
Witchcraft, Shamanism and Storytelling (article)
Karen Blixen – The Devil´s Mistress (free Ebook)
On the Nature of Longing (article)
On the Nature of Dreams (article)
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