On that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth,
and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.
Genesis 7. 11
On Archetypes Myth, and Dreams Analogy
“The archetypes to be discovered and assimilated are precisely those that have inspired, throughout the annals of human culture, the basic images of ritual, mythology, and vision. These “Eternal Ones of the Dream” are not to be confused with the personally modified symbolic figures that appear in nightmare and madness to the still tormented individual.
Dream is the personalized myth, myth the depersonalized dream; both myth and dream are symbolic in the same general way of the dynamic of the psyche. But in the dream the forms are quirked by the peculiar troubles of the dreamer, whereas in myth the problems and solutions sown are directly valid for all mankind.”
I pretty much agree with Joseph Campbell statement, although I go further reasoning that there is no difference between the individual, and mankind, yes cultural patterns may be different but the essence of the Archetype remains the same regardless of the changing circumstances of the dreamer, or the details of the dream. The whole point of it is the analogy that points to the solution of the dreamers problem, it serves a s a guide, or sketch map, that would help the psyche, or soul of the individual in question to solve the existential riddle. A sort of finding our Soul, or Heart revelation of a Spiritual nature, that would bring us to an Eden like place after facing turmoil, ugliness, suffering, constriction, and all kind of troubles that afflict our spirits at certain times in our life.
Campbell, then goes to describe the dream of a woman:
“I was walking alone around the upper end of a large city, through shimmy, muddy streets lined with hard little houses,” writes a modern woman, describing a dream that she has had. “I did not know where I was, but liked the exploring. I choseone street which was terribly muddy and led across what must have been an open sewer. I followed along between rows of shanties and then discovered a little river flowing between me and some high, firm ground where there was a paved street. This was a nice, perfectly clear river, flowing over grass. I could see the grass moving under the water. There was no way to cross, so I went to a little house and asked for a boat. A man there said of course he could help me cross. He brought out a small wooden box which he put on the edge of the river and I saw at once that with this box I could easily jump across. I knew all danger was over and I wanted to reward the man richly.
In thinking of this dream I have a distinct feeling that I did not have to go where I was at all but could have chosen a comfortable walk along paved streets. I had gone to the squalid and muddy district because I preferred adventure, and, having begun, I had to go on… . When I think of how persistently I kept going straight ahead in the dream, it seems as though I must have known there was something fine ahead, like that lovely, grassy river and the secure, high, paved road beyond. Thinking of it in those terms, it is like a determination to be born—or rather to be born again—in a sort of spiritual sense. Perhaps some of us have to go through dark and devious ways before we can find the river of peace or the highroad to the soul’s destination.”
My Analogous Dream
Personally, when as Dante’s open lines to “Inferno”from his magnificent Divine Comedy:
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,ché la diritta via era smarrita.
Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte
che nel pensier rinova la paura!
Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.
Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say
What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,
Which in the very thought renews the fear.
I have found myself in that place many years ago at the Midway upon the journey of my life at 42 years of age, by my unconsciousness, bad judgment, and ignorance found myself facing the dark forest of middle age, it was not a nice place having lost almost everything, materially, emotionally, and not in a very good shape spiritually speaking, I was in a hole, a dark situation in every sense you can imagine, no money, a work I hated, lost love, few friends of not much help, and no sense of where to go, or what to do in order to extricate myself of that situation, I was very depressed, and very much in pain, to the point were my heart hurt so badly it was almost a physical feeling on my chest. Regardless I was determined to ride the storm, and face the consequences of my actions face on, I was willing to take the bull by the horns and die if this was necessary, and above all I kept quite about the whole thing, and pretended in front of my few friends everything was fine, despite my sense of hopelessness, and despair. But something was clear, I wouldn’t take the lower road, and turn bitter towards the person that hurt me the most, and I wouldn’t blame anybody for my situation. But I was dying from the inside.
Ironically at one point my dally life a drudgery, my dreams turned in to incredible visions of beauty, paradisiacal in nature, when waking up, to my dark reality my thought was that I was about to die, and somewhat disconcerted about the whole thing couldn’t figure out what was going on.
The night before my climatic spiritual experience, I dreamt that I was traveling to my father’s town, but we were stop by a block on the road by police, a river was flooded, and had took the bridge down, a line of cars, were being turned back, and I was advised to so as well, curious I parked the car, and went to the river shore to look at the disaster, the river was rough cresting with waves and a hard current, in my youth I had witnessed several floods of this nature, and I thought myself full of confidence, “I bet I can cross it!” Somehow I produced a painted canvas, and used it as a surf-board, I defied the current of the flooded river, and safely reached the other shore, and proceeded with ease to my father’s town with no further trouble.
Ibn Arabi on Moses
The analogies are many, and vary in many different stories, from Noah building an Ark, Moses is left in a basket amid the reeds and bulrushes along the Nile, to latter part the waters of the Red Sea, on the flight from Egypt. Ibn Arabi wrote in is Fusus al-Hikam:
“As for the wisdom of Musa being put into the ark and then cast into the river, the ark (tâbût) is his human nature (nâsût). The river is what he received of knowledge through his body by what the power of discernment and the sensory imaginative faculties accorded him. Only by the existence of this elemental body does the human self have these faculties or their like. When the self comes to this body and is commanded to freely dispose of it and manage it, Allah gives it these faculties as instruments by which it obtains what Allah wills that it obtain in the management of this ark which contains the sakina of the Lord. Musa was cast into the river in order to receive various knowledge by these faculties. Thus Allah taught him that the spirit which manages him is the ruler. He is only managed by it. It gives him the command of these faculties of phenomenal being which are in this nâsût that is designated by the ark in the field of indications and wisdoms.
The form of casting Musa into the ark and then casting the ark into the river is outwardly a form of destruction. Inwardly, it was his rescue from being killed. He was brought to life as the self is brought to life by knowledge from the death of ignorance as Allah says, “Is someone who was dead (i.e. by ignorance) and whom We brought to life (with knowledge) and supplied with a light by which to walk among the people (which is guidance) the same as someone who is in utter darkness (in being astray) unable to emerge from it (i.e. will never be guided)?” In itself the matter has no end at which it stops.”
The solution to the Soul riddles are based in our willingness to face the dangers face on, and give ourselves to the mercy of God, the keyword is trust on a higher wisdom than ours, the life of Moses exemplify the Myth of the hero who overcame trials, tribulations, and great peril, armed with courage, oblivious to his mortality, but trusting in faith.
Cracking the constructs of the ego, and be able to let go of the unnecessary things that keep us slaves in a foreign land, like the story of Israel in Egypt, a great analogy for the soul enslaved to a material existence without a sight of it’s promised land who flows with the symbolic spiritual milk and honey for the soul, a return to the paradise lost, that Moses exemplify abandoning the life of a prince of Egypt for the uncertainty of persecution, the escape to the perils of the desert where he s offered water and shelter by the daughters of Jethro, the priest of Midian the archetype Abraham encounter as well as Melchizedek.
The Story of Musa and Al-Khidr
On the Qur’an Musa (Moses) meets Khidr. Musa got up to deliver a speech before the Children of Israel and he was asked, “Who is the most learned person among the people” Musa replied, “I am.” Allah rebuked him because he did not refer the knowledge to Allah. So Allah revealed to him: “At the junction of the two seas there is a servant of Ours who is more learned than you.” Musa asked, “O my Lord, how can I meet him” Allah said, “Take a fish and put it in a vessel and then set out, and where you lose the fish, you will find him” So Musa took a fish, put it in a vessel and set out, along with his boy-servant Yusha` bin Nun, peace be upon him, till they reached a rock (on which) they both lay down their heads and slept. The fish moved vigorously in the vessel and got out of it and fell into the sea and there it took its way through the sea (straight) as in a tunnel. Allah stopped the flow of water on both sides of the way created by the fish, and so that way was like a tunnel. When Musa got up, his companion forgot to tell him about the fish, and so they carried on their journey during the rest of the day and the whole night. The next morning Musa said to his boy-servant, (“Bring us our morning meal; truly, we have suffered much fatigue in this, our journey.
Musa did not get tired till he had passed the place that Allah had ordered him to look for. His boy-servant then said to him, (“Do you remember when we betook ourselves to the rock I indeed forgot the fish; none but Shaytan made me forget to remember it. It took its course into the sea in a strange way.”) There was a tunnel for the fish and Musa and his boy-servant were amazed. Musa said, (“That is what we have been seeking.” So they went back retracing their footsteps.”) So they went back retracing their steps until they reached the rock. There they found a man covered with a garment. Musa greeted him. Al-Khidr said, “Is there such a greeting in your land” Musa said, “I am Musa.” He said, “Are you the Musa of the Children of Israel” Musa said, “Yes,” and added, “I have come to you so that you may teach me something of that knowledge which you have been taught.” Al-Khidr said, (“You will not be able to have patience with me.) O Musa! I have some of Allah’s knowledge which He has bestowed upon me but you do not know it; and you too, have some of Allah’s knowledge which He has bestowed upon you, but I do not know it.”
The rest of the story is well known, however what I want to point out is the importance of the meeting place, that is primordial to our point. They need more detailed information about the exact location, because the area described as “At the junction of the two seas ” is quite large. Without this detailed knowledge, they might have trouble finding this person. This is where one of the reasons for the fish’s escape becomes apparent: It is a sign, because the fish pinpoints the exact location for this meeting.
He has let loose the two seas, converging together, with a barrier between them they do not break through Q. 55. 19,20
The junction of the two seas is a barzak is something that separates two other things while never going to one side, a line like the one that separates light from shadow, an unknown, from a known, an existent from a non existent, consciousness from dream, a gate, a passage in to an Imaginal world, where coincidentia oppositorum.The meeting place of opposite things can take place. A gap like a tunnel the kind like the one the fish fall through and was the signal to the place where this spiritual meeting should take place, an entrance in to a numinous state of consciousness were truth it is revealed to the individual going through this barrier. The Symplegades (Greek: Συμπληγάδες, Sumplēgades) or Clashing Rocks, also known as the Cyanean Rocks, were, according to Greek mythology, a pair of rocks at the Bosphorus that clashed together randomly. A common myth through the world in different cultures, were the individual, or the shaman, look for revelation of spiritual nature, as to the quandaries he may be facing.
Gilgamesh, the Waters of Death and the Sacred Reed
The Sumerian Hero Gilgamesh a legendary king, who set forth to attain the watercress of immortality, the plant “Never Grow Old.”After he had passed safely the lions that guard the foothills and the scorpion men who watch the heaven-supporting mountains, he came, amidst the mountains, to a paradise garden of flowers, fruits, and precious stones.
This numinous place once the gate is trespassed if bearing a familiarity to a geographical place of our own we realize is the archetype of such location, in it rivers of clear waters, and sceneries of heavenly beauty, were even the light, and colors are more vivid give the dream a psychedelic like experience, were colors, and moods are so closely related that we can say we can taste them, or experience them as bliss, and joy.
Gilgamesh pressing on, he arrived at the sea that surrounds the world. In a cave beside the waters dwelt a manifestation of the Goddess Ishtar, Siduri-Sabitu, and this woman, closely veiled, closed the gates against him. But when he told her his tale, she admitted him to her presence and advised him not to pursue his quest, but to learn and be content with the mortal joys of life: Gilgamesh, why dost thou run about this way?
The life that thou art seeking, thou wilt never find.
When the gods created man,
they put death upon mankind,
and held life in their own hands.
Fill thy belly, Gilgamesh;
day and night enjoy thyself;
prepare each day some pleasant occasion
Day and night be frolicsome and gay;
let thy clothes be handsome,
thy head shampooed, thy body bathed.
Regard the little one who takes thy hand.
Let thy wife be happy against thy bosom.
Gilgamesh of course pay no attention to the Goddess and our hero with the ferryman Ursanapi convey him across the waters of death. It was a voyage of one and one-half months. The passenger was warned not to touch the waters. once reaching Utnapishtim a Noah archetype who instructed him in how to obtain the reed of immortality “Gilgamesh, something secret I will disclose to thee,and give thee thine instruction: That plant is like a brier in the field;its thorn, like that of the rose, will pierce thy hand. Bat if thy hand attain to that plant, thou wilt return to thy native land.The plant was growing at the bottom of the cosmic sea. Ursanapi ferried the hero out again into the waters. Gilgamesh tied stones to his feet and plunged.
Down he rushed, beyond every bound of endurance, while the ferryman remained in the boat. And when the diver had reached the bottom of the bottomless sea, he plucked the plant, though it mutilated his hand, cut off the stones, and made again for the surface. When he broke the surface and the ferryman had hauled him back into the boat, he announced in triumph: Ursanapi, this plant is the one . . .By which Man may attain to full vigor. I will bring it back to Erech of the sheep-pens. . . . Its name is: “In his age, Man becomes young again. ” I will eat of it and return to the condition of my youth.
Gilgamesh didn’t enjoy the fruit of his labors, meanwhile he slept a serpent took hold of the sacred reed and ate it.
The River Acheron, or Styx
The myth is archetypical some years before reading this story, but after my dream of flooding I dreamt I was in a paradise like shore, with beautiful forest around me the place was of unimaginable beauty, as I walked delighted I run in to this wide river, it’s waters looked fresh and clear, intrigued by the other side decided to take my clothes off and swim across, the water was very clear, and nice to swim in to, after some time I reached the other shore with no problems, as I got in to a place somewhat different than the other shore, there were fewer trees, and some people come to my encounter, and asked me where I come from I told them I swim the river from the other shore, their face changed immediately and said to me: “That’s impossible, no one can cross that river and be alive!” I thought estrange their claim, and I said “Well I just did.” As I stand there naked more people began to congregate and tell each other: “He just cross from the other shore!” Feeling somehow aware of my nakedness I said, “Well I will have to go back, I left my clothes there.” Immediately everybody exclaimed: “No, no, you can’t do that, you will die if you do that!” Finding the whole thing ridiculous, and sure of myself, at the same time I considered important to get back in to my clothes, without further delay I jumped back in to the river and start to swim back listening to a clamor of voices telling me to come back to the shore, as swam deeper in to the river, the river seemed the same, but then a multitude of death animals, and human corpses floated down the river alongside me, my only thought was that they were not there on my first swim, after avoiding the corpses, finally reached the other shore, were I found my clothes and put them on, and that was the end of the dream.
It didn’t take me long to figure to figure the meaning of the dream, I had been at the threshold of Life and Death, a sort of crossing the river Acheron, or Styx, at first my thought was there was no difference between one shore and the other, returning to my clothes seem obvious enough to consider I returned for my body, however the more I think about it, the more convinced it was the other way around, the first shore was amazingly beautiful, heavenly and there was no people on it at all, the fact the waters were crystal clear, and unpolluted by carcasses, besides why the dead should fear death? And why the trial should be in the return? And not in the first crossing, I still ponder?
Entering the Waters of Wisdom
Besides this dream many dreams I had of bathing in clear waters, or crossing familiar places were there is crystal clear waters, when in reality there are non, and the strange fascination I had since a child of bathing in rivers of clear waters, that later impulse me in to pursue snorkeling, and diving in my younger days, of course at the time couldn’t figure out the symbolic analogy between the two.
However the important thing about it is the knowledge we receive out of this experience, is a knowledge that is transmitted in a richly symbolic way, sort of the equivalent of bathing on the waters of wisdom, and thus acquiring wisdom by the fact we bathed on it’s Sacred waters, like the many familiar myths of yore, like the fountain of youth, or like Achilles by been submerged on the river Styx, now I do not want to confuse the reader, in to believe this can be easily obtained, the Hero has to successfully pass the trials and tribulations of the path, were these are many. Like Musa’s journey, Some of the scholars of the Arabic language said that Huqub means a year in the dialect of ﴿the tribe of﴾ Qays,” then he narrated that `Abdullah bin `Amr said, “Huqub means eighty years.” Mujahid said, “Seventy years.” Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said that it means a lifetime. Qatadah and Ibn Zayd said likewise.
Regardless, entering the waters of wisdom it is possible, if we are ready.