As Above, So Below

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Showing 7 posts tagged Seeker

Soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions and abstractions. Simple free being becomes encrusted with the burdensome armor of the ego. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines, and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, we become seekers.

Peter Matthiessen  (via eternalconsciousness)

(via moreofamore)

The Shadow Seeker, Self-Destruction, and Transformation

If we do not respond to our inner Seeker’s call, we may experience it in its shadow forms. The shadow Seeker manifests itself as an obsessive need to be independent that keeps us isolated and alone. If the urge is totally denied, it will be expressed through physical or mental symptoms. As James Hillman eloquently states, our pathologies are calls from the gods.

The urges to ascend spiritually can manifest itself in shadow forms as an urge to “get high” with chemicals, the adrenaline rush of crisis and excitement, or an obsessive and ruthless ambition. Usually this is the ambition in the world—to climb the ladder of success—but it can also be untempered spiritual ambition. Perhaps the most frightening story of spiritual ambition in its shadow form is the story of Lucifer, who is cast into hell for his audacity in wanting to usurp heavenly power. Lucifer means “light-bringer,” and somehow his very search for more light causes him to be thrown down into the outer darkness because he does not want to just ascend—he wants to be better than others. The shadow form of the Seeker archetypes often manifests itself in pride.

Many myths warn us that spiritual ambition is dangerous, and not only in its shadow forms. The Seeker is the archetype of transition from Ego to Soul, and often it is our ego aspirations alone that motive our quests. Prometheus, for example, steals the fire from the Gods and is punished by having birds eat his liver. Daedalus warns his son Icarus not to fly too high, but Icarus, whether from pride or simply the recklessness of the aspiring Seeker, flies too near the sun, which melts the wax wings and sends him plummeting into the sea.

The stories of Lucifer and Icarus do not inherently discourage the quest, however. They merely warn against presumption and pride—flying higher than you have the skill or the right to fly. It is not the attempt to ascend that is punished in these stories, but rather presumption and obliviousness to appropriate limits.

— Carol S. Pearson, Awakening The Heroes Within


» The Call to the Quest: Crossing the Threshold

» The Appearance of the Grail

The Appearance of the Grail

The internal Seeker is a meaning-seeker, who is symbolically represented in the grail myths by the knight in search of the Holy Grail. However comfortable and successful we might be, our inner Seeker is disconsolate unless we find a sense of high meaning and value in our lives.

In the twelfth century, the great grail myths encoded ancient truths of spiritual questing. The knights of King Arthur’s castle swore to search for the grail, an expression of the search for vision or enlightenment.

Like Christmas, the grail legends combine pagan and Christian symbolism. The Holy Grail is sometimes said to be the cup of the Last Supper, which came into the hands of Joseph of Arimathea, who used it to catch blood and sweat from the body of Christ. In this way, it became a holy and magical object. In King Arthur’s time, the grail appeared at Camelot, feeding all the assembled with “the food and drink of their choice.” According to one source, this was “a symbol of the spiritual food to be obtained from the grail.” Many knights go in search of its power, but only the pure and the good can find it.

The inner Seeker will stop at nothing to find the truth about the cosmos and the meaning of our lives. So strong is the urge that the Seeker is willing, if necessary, to sacrifice the most valued relationships and accomplishments—home, work, friends, loved ones—to the quest. Whatever horrible or degrading things we do in life, the inner Seeker remains pure in its fidelity to the quest. Most profoundly, the search for the grail symbolically represents the search for our true selves.

Brian Cleeve says the grail serves each of us in our dying: “The last thing we see before we see no more, communicating to us the gift of eternal life.” The inner Seeker is quite willing to die—literally or metaphorically—to experience the ultimate beauty of cosmic truth. But it is not so much physical death that is the issue here, but the willingness to die to our old selves, to give birth to the new.

Most importantly, the quest helps us learn that God is within us. When we discover this truth, we do not “disappear into a never-never land of no return, our duty is to return bearing the gifts of the grail within ourselves, that we might be a cup, a means of regeneration, and remembrance to every living creature. We become the Grail that others might drink, for to find the Grail is to become it.” This means dying to one’s egotism and being reborn in love for all humankind. The inner Seeker is the part of us that is willing to seek no only for ourselves but for all humanity.

— Carol S. Pearson, Awakening The Heroes Within


» The Call to the Quest: Crossing the Threshold

» Ancient Mystery Religions as Sources of Psychological Truth

The Call to the Quest: Crossing the Threshold

The quest always begins with yearning. We feel discontented, confined, alienated, or empty. Often we do not even have a name for what is missing, but we long for that mysterious something. Cinderella longs for her prince to come; Gepetto longs to have a child. Telemachus searches for Odysseus; the prince searches for a great treasure.

The urge to seek the grail, to climb the mountain in search of visions, to seek wisdom, to cross new frontiers, to achieve the formerly unachievable in all areas of life seems endemic in the human race. The Seeker responds to the call of Spirit—to ascend.

We begin by longing for a return to the time of innocence before the fall (which may be the primal connectedness of life in the womb or as a small infant). The urge motivates much of our seeking and striving in life; but whatever we attain, it is not satiated. No love, no work, no place, no achievement will give us the paradise we yearn for, although it does motivate our quest and get us going.

The call to the quest can come at any age, but it is clearest and most distinct in late adolescence and early adulthood. This is the time of exploration—exploring new lands, new ideas, new experiences—the time to learn about the world. It is a time for travel, for study, for experimentation.

The wandering urge hits as powerfully in mid-life as it does in the transition into adulthood. As young adults, we search for our true vocational call, for true love, for a place we might like enough to settle down in, and for a philosophy of life to sustain us. In mid-life, all these questions surface again (as they may have many times in between).

We reassess our accomplishments in the light of the aspirations of our youth. Whether or not our earlier ambitions have been realized, it is essential to redefine our ambitions in the context of our mortality. Spirituality becomes more important, and our philosophical assumptions need reevaluating once mortality is recognized as not just a philosophical but a personal matter.

The call takes different forms for different people. Always the call is to function at a higher or deeper level, to find a way to live that has more significance and depth, to find out who you are beyond the social persona that you and your environment have jointly created.

Often we begin knowing what we do not want rather than what we do. In fact, we sometimes enter a period in which we make a radical commitment to our own souls. At this point, leaving may be the major theme of our lives. We encounter every situation looking to see if this is the experience, the person, the work that will satisfy. Each one that fails to satisfy is left, and we are (psychologically at least) on the road again.

— Carol S. Pearson, Awakening The Heroes Within