Friday, March 27, 2009

Gnostic insights from VALIS

An irruption from the collective unconscious, Jung taught, can wipe out the fragile individual ego. In the depths of the collective the archetypes slumber; if aroused, they can heal or they can destroy. This is the danger of the archetypes; the opposite qualities are not yet separated. Bipolarization into paired opposites does not occur until consciousness occurs.

So, with the gods, life and death – protection and destruction – are one. This secret partnership exists outside of time and space.

“Don’t be afraid” Eric said. “You know how Shiva holds up one hand to show that there is nothing to fear.”
“But there is,” Fat said. “Shiva is the destroyer; his third eye destroys.”
“He is also the restorer,” Linda said.

The period of Shiva the Restorer had begun. The restoration, I thought, of all we have lost.

It is not God or the gods which must prevail; it is wisdom, Holy wisdom. Not Brahma the creator, Vishnu the sustainer and Shiva the destroyer, but what Zoroaster called the Wise Mind.

God can be good and terrible – not in succession – but at the same time. This is why we seek a mediator between us and him; we approach him through the mediating priest and attenuate and enclose him through the sacraments. It is for our own safety; to trap him within confines which render him safe. The gentle sounds of the choir singing “Amen, amen” are not to calm the congregation but to pacify the god.

When you know this you have penetrated to the innermost core of religion. And the worst part is that god can thrust himself outward and into the congregation until he becomes them. You worship a god and then he pays you back by taking you over. This is called “enthousiasmos” in Greek, literally “to be possessed" by the god. Of all the Greek gods the one most likely to do this was the god of intoxication, Dionysus. And, unfortunately, Dionysus was insane.

- excerpts from VALIS by Philip K Dick