LIFE AS MYTH

Index

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JOURNAL

Index

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JOURNAL 2013

A living myth

Seven year cycle

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AUTUMN 2013

A living myth

Index 2013

New beginnings

Telling an untold story

A different way of seeing

The power of unanswered prayer

Sitting with the buddha

Colliding with St. John

The beginning of wisdom

A single flower clearly

The deep uncanny mine of souls

Syzygy

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LIFEWORKS

About

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ARCHIVES

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AUTUMN 2013
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SYZYGY

Oxherding 10

(above) Picture Ten: In the world. Ten Oxherding Pictures. Attributed to Shubun (n.d.) Japan, Muromachi period. Handscroll, ink and light colors on paper. October 2013.   (left) The letter, psi, is the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet and a symbol for the science of psychology.  The root of psychology is psyche (Greek), meaning both soul and butterfly.  Expressing that dual meaning, the ancients Greeks symbolized the soul as a stick figure with wings. Finally, the myth of Psyche and Eros further explores the nature of the soul in relationship with the divine and the resulting transformation of consciousness.

11/03 - 11/07/13

When we discover that the truth is already in us, we are all at once our original selves.
Dogen (1200-53), Buddhist monk and philosopher

Diwali, or the Hindu festival of lights, is a five-day harvest celebration (November 3-7, 2013).  The name is a derivative of deepavali, meaning row of lamps.  Hindu mythology links Diwali to the worship of the goddess Lakshmi.  According to tradition, on Diwali, Lakshmi re-emerged during the celestial event known as the churning of the milky ocean.

In the final image of the Ten Oxherding pictures, the Self, like Lakshmi, returns to the world.  This newly enlightened Self is many things, both shadow and light. Our individual challenge is to balance our duality, the opposing potentials which reside within us. This enlargement of our core will transform us, the lives of those around us, the creation itself. 

When we call up our inner depths, we can reclaim our lost and hidden gifts.  According to the Hindu myth of The churning of the milky ocean, our effort will result in healing and new life.  The divine physician Dhanvantari will manifest in our lives, bringing us nothing less than the nectar of life.

 

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(left) Sri-Lakshmi (from the Sanskrit laks, meaning to see or perceive) also known as Padma (meaning lotus).  Sri-Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of material and spiritual abundance as well as the embodiment of beauty.  She is a protectoress of her devotees, shielding them from misery and poverty.

THE CHURNING OF THE MILKY OCEAN

During one of the prior ages, the goddess Sri-Lakshmi abandoned the gods for their overindulgence and neglectfulness. Without Sri, a great dark gloom descended on both heaven and earth. The divine ones learned that the goddess could be brought back only through a penance that involved the churning of the milky ocean.

A phenomenal effort was necessary for this task, requiring all the gods and demons to accomplish it. Vishnu himself assumed the avatar of a tortoise. This enabled him to hold the cosmic mountain Mandara in place and to prevent it from sinking while the ocean was churned. The celestial snake, Vaasuki, coiled around the Mandara mountain. The gods pulled one end of the snake while the demons pulled at the other and in this way, they churned the milky ocean.

Sri-Lakshmi returned, erupting out of the ocean, accompanied by the moon god Chandra. She summoned all the planets and stars from the ocean depths and sent them into the skies. Then she called forth a great number of celestial gifts. The celestial cow. The sacred gem. The divine elephant. The divine bow and the divine conch.

Yet the story does not end here. With Sri restored, the gods and demons continued churning the ocean for Amrita, the nectar of life and immortality.  But as they churned, the ocean released a powerful poison which gave off toxic fumes. The gods and demons appealed to Shiva for help and without hesitation, Shiva consumed the poison. It was then that the divine physician, Dhanvantari, rose out of the waters bearing the celestial pot of Amrita. The demons immediately began drinking all the nectar but Vishnu intervened. Taking the form of an enchantress, he charmed the Amrita away from the demons and served it to the gods.

 

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