Pray to the Moon when She is round,
Luck with you will then abound,
What you seek for shall be found
On the sea or solid ground.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sciento-Paganism, Entry I: The Mystery of Relationship

I have been struggling with where to begin this discussion, so I begin here. Perhaps this is an arbitrary decision, perhaps not. I myself, cannot say.

I am reading a very peculiar book entitled The Jungian-Senoi Dreamwork Manual, a type-written & self-published text by Strephon Kaplan Williams & the Jungian-Senoi Institute. There are several reasons for my selection of this book, but an explanation would lead to tangential discussion & it is much too late in the evening to commence such an endeavour. What is important to this entry is how acutely relevant Mr. William's words are to the foundation of my beliefs. All the concepts & techniques he discusses are in relation to dreams & he constantly reminds the reader of his dream-centeredness; "The central factor is the dream itself. The dream. Always the dream." Yet, I cannot shake the feeling that he is talking about much more than just the dreamworld. 

Many passages in this book have moved me, inspired me to deeper thought, or even prompted a desire to write, but none so much as the following statement:

"The discovery of relationship is the experience of meaning."

I have a single, one-word response to this assertion: Exactly. 

Before I elaborate, I would like to add a few more points from the Dreamwork Manual which expand upon this principle. Williams places great importance on the process of "question-asking" during dreamwork & writes: 
"A question is the central response to life... A question is a great mystery... The more ways we can ask questions of ourselves, the more possibilities we will have for living life. Let my life end in a way that it ends as a question, a mystery, and not an answer. Answers end reality. Questions begin it anew." 
I would argue that this "question-asking" is essential to the pursuit of spiritual development & awareness. It is an avenue, a channel, a path to the mysteries & to the gods. It is not the only way, but it is a vital one. Of course, I speak for myself, but I could not be without it. It is my way.

Allegoria della vita umana, by Guido Cagnacci. @Wiki.
Encountering, uncovering, discovering the relationships, the connections that make up our universe is for me, a spiritual process. Every time I learn something new, two particularly significant phenomena occur: 1) I am forever changed by the new knowledge, 2) a deluge of new questions flood my mind. It is not unlike initiation: I enter the lesson a neophyte -- a small fragment, a thread, of the web that is Nature's Great Mystery is revealed to me & I emerge transformed, yet yearning for more. 

He will be surprised to learn this, but some of the most profoundly spiritual moments in my life were brought about by my father, a professor of biology who has spent the greater part of his research career working in the field of functional morphology (a branch of biology which seeks to understand, within an evolutionary context, how anatomical structures work to allow an organism to accomplish certain tasks). My childhood was filled with questions, relationships, wonder... & a deep reverence for mysteries of the Natural World. My father engendered this in me by asking me questions. He never simply explained something. He always asked me to figure it out myself, leaving me to ponder, to chew on it for awhile. When he finally gifted me with a lesson, he left me with more questions.

See photo credits below.*
If you have ever been in the presence of a researcher on the brink of a major discovery, you can attest to the alchemy that takes place as the observations, bits of data & ideas condense in the alembic of the scientist's mind. The same distillation of thought, the experience of personal epiphany, happens for me when I read a book, take a course, hear a lecture or have an encounter or insight which pieces together loose (sometimes seemingly disparate) ends in the great web of our existence. This process of stumbling upon connections, having "aha!" moments, recognizing, understanding & relishing relationships brings me closer to deity:

"The discovery of relationship is the experience of meaning."

Life, Nature -- the web of connections -- are wondrously intricate. They are the mystery of mysteries. They can be unpredictable, inspiring & sometimes unpleasant. Chasing their threads is part of my journey. Asking the next question is my way.

* The Alchymist, In Search of the Philosopher’s Stone, Discovers Phosphorus, and prays for the successful Conclusion of his operation, as was the custom of the Ancient Chymical Astrologers, by Joseph Wright of Derby, now in Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Derby, U.K. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


Magaly Guerrero said...

"The discovery of relationship is [indeed] the experience of meaning." And I agree with you that these words go beyond the dreamworld. We can take this concept and apply it to spirituality, romance, relationship with self... anything. We don't know what we are made of until we see how we relate to the world around us, and how that affect us.

This sounds like an excellent read!

Moma Fauna said...

Yes! Although I focused on connections in the natural world in the post, I would certainly extend the concept to everything. Sometimes it is very surprising what relationships become apparent!

As for the book, it is odd, very odd. But, I am prone to reading peculiar books -- while I may be enjoying it, I would not say it is for everyone. I believe the goal of the Institute was a sort of spiritual alchemy via dreamwork. For anyone who might be curious about Mr. Williams & his programs, I found a bio sheet w/links to other resources here:

Kourtney said...

What a wonderful concept and so well thought out. I mean, with just nine words you can answer so many of life's questions... or at least start moving toward a better understanding of them. I think this may be a wonderful book to pick up if for nothing else a better perspective on outlook. Thank you for such a great post and for linking up to PPBH!


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