Mephistopheles, Child of Christian Civilization
Part III: Symbols of Transformation
By George S. Svokos
Copyright August 2015
The Self or Anthropos quaternio symbolically represents what we cannot, in fact, see. Carl Jung’s Aion, Volume 9 of his Collected Works brilliantly describes the Self and shadow archetypes as quaternios. Archetypes only become visible through their symbols, not themselves as such. Anthropos is a reflection of the “higher Adam” (Self, or the center of the unconscious) and occupies the upper apex of the diamond shaped quaternio which is joined at its base by a mirror image of itself. Thus, the diamond appears to be two pyramids attached at their bases with an apex point and a basal point. The basal apex symbolizes “lower Adam,” or the ego. The four vectors leading to the corners symbolize positive and negative axis of male and female energy beings. The Anthropos quaternio in its complete form consists of four (the symbol of wholeness or completion) pyramidal quaternios with Anthropos at the top and the non-organic elements on the lowest. The shadow quaternio lies second below Anthropos while the two lower quaternios will not be treated in any detail here. The entire Anthropos quaternio has an open quaternio superstructure holding it together. For the purposes of this article, only the top two of the four quaternios will be discussed to illustrate the position of the Unholy Hierophant’s location on this lattice-work of vectors and points. With this crystalline structure in mind, we can also locate the positive and negative masculine and feminine elements that accompany the negative high cleric.
As an example, we can “place” the cleric (as Locutus) in the position of the vertex diagonally opposed from Shinzon just above the apex to the bottom. The vectors intersecting at the other vertices will hold Shinzon’s Viceroy and the Borg queen. This is a profoundly negatively charged complex because all four symbols are opposing the positive poles. The reader can imagine then that a person with such a complex would be domineering, patronising, angry, sanctimonious, prone to outbursts, and given to unpleasant behaviors. A Holy quaternio would have significantly less negative energy because of the “good” beings at the vertices, however, all negative energy cannot be disposed of as the goal of this inner work is to balance or reconcile the opposites. In this way Mary Magdalene helps by adding the positive feminine element to this version of the shadow quaternio. The Nag Hammadi Library’s Gospel of Mary aids our understanding here in Chapter 4 Verse 23: “for the nature of matter (the quaternio) is resolved into the roots of its own nature (the archetypes and the collective unconscious) alone.” Then, the Saviour is mentioned for having loved Mary the most of the apostles, thus strengthening her positive energetic contribution.
In an interesting “converging line of evidence,” we have anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss producing his own quaternio that he calls “the totemic operator” and is again based on multiple quaternios and a lattice-form plexus within his singular book The Savage Mind that constructs a self-identity from totems rather than archetypes. The totems and archetypes are both, however, grounded in the expression of symbols. Clive Barker completes the trilogy with his “Leviathan Configuration” in the film Hellraiser II, a quaternio which returns to its position of completion or perfection and closes the gates of hell. This “trilogy” is what science considers a pattern, rather than the twin, which could be a coincidence, or a unitary phenomenon which may simply be an accidental occurrence.
The second example mentioned here is of a more positive shadow quaternio with a much reduced affect/fear load right from the start. Placing Nosferatu/Mr. Barlow in a negative vertex across from Mina Harker also introduces the feminine into the equation while providing a positive charge. The other two vertices comprising Jonathan Harker and Professor Van Helsing cast more positive energy out of the shadow quaternio and actively oppose the “dark” forces of the evil clerics. However, the negative power of the complex can still be great if the basal apex (serpent or reptile) is constellated. The shadow will always hold negative energy, the key is to balance them out and integrate what the seeker can into consciousness. This is clearly an on-going project.
The problematic aspects of the shadow are where the hue of the Unholy Hierophant becomes the dark green or black reptilian lying at the basal apex (a “lower” or more primitive life form) of the shadow quaternio; as the reptile beast (Father Saurotherium) or king reptile (Father Reptiliax) is unleashed with a massive fear loading at the dream ego. This can only be the amygdala flooding the dreaming brain with neurotransmitters. Sinister crypt churches, cells of various sorts, hell feelings, and lizard-like noises accompany a sentient and evil red fog with an awareness of the creature’s imminent attack to bite or “consume” the already anxiety-riddled ego: “Dis” as ego cannibal. Jung borrowed Pierre Janet’s term “abaissement du niveau mental” to describe this weakening, indeed complete “consumption” of the ego due to unconscious drainage of its energy by the “Great Mother” or collective unconscious. This is presciently and brilliantly depicted in hieroglyphs by the ancient Egyptian goddess Ammut waiting to snap up the “soul” (ego) of the afflicted person like a dog waiting for a treat. Heaven really should help the individual whose birth mother is an actual Ammut.
The misery of the sufferer probably should not be underestimated when the “Terrible Mother’s” agent is invested with the power of the collective unconscious: the redoubtable “Pinhead” cleric lurking at the gates of hell in his reptile-skinned cassock: “through me the road to the city of desolation…lay down all hope, you that go in by me.” Dante is only one of many sufferers who will “abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Sentient, evil, and “other” in the shadow quaternio, “Pinhead’s infernal petitions are quite specific: “your suffering will be legendary, even in hell!” “No tears please, for it is a waste of good suffering,” and “I will tear your soul apart!” As stated in Moby Dick by the vexed Captain Ahab: is the White Whale principal (an evil sentience of his own) or is he agent (God’s tool?) It is no wonder then that dream sequences will have a saurotherium (sentient, malevolent, other, “cannibal-eater” of the young traumatized ego, dis-integrator, splitter of the mother-infant bond and nascent ego-Self axis, the crocodilian reptile-beast,) threatening a little boy’s dream ego by stating “come here so that I may kill you,” and the little boy refuses in a fearful and unsure act of self-preservation, prompting the saurotherium to a further blast of negative affect: “then I will crush you.” “Pinhead,” the tyrannical cenobite of the Great Mother, states the matter simply and with terror: “just come here and die child while you still have the option of doing it quickly.” Father Reptiliax/Mother Ereshkigal can also come in the form of a petrifying triad recently named by palaeontologists after a track bed in Canada, revealing “a terror of tyrannosaurs:” familial pack hunters; the mother leading a sub-adult and a juvenile (the tyrant lizard king is perhaps, more appropriately “Tyrannosaurus Regina,” the tyrant lizard queen) as these also attempt to “consume” the ego.
This may be one of the most fearsome appearances of the agent of the negative Terrible Mother archetype and may even be the rare appearance of the Great Mother as principal (the Dark Side of the Self.) If this is true, then the fear-loading fueled by the archetype must be colossal: the empirical evidence of a massive neurotransmitter release from the amygdala may be the proof here of a devastating episode of dissociation in the psyche; the vivisected ouroboros momentarily shattering at the seams blasted apart with thunder and lightning (the reverse of ego-Self individuation.) These inner experiences would certainly be remembered by the sufferer and even become part of their iconography much like the Sumerian Goddess of the Underworld Ereshkigal and the “Devourer of Souls” goddess Ammut did for the Egyptians and their religious texts. It would seem then, that the ancient Sumerian and Egyptian religions still had elements or at least vestiges of these encounters with the unconscious; the “living” aspect of spirituality rather than the dead of the later reified organized faith/belief systems.
A more recent interpretation by Donald Kalsched in his excellent new book Trauma and the Soul provides another window into this hell crypt or monastery: “within the Jungian tradition many practitioners have also encountered “Dis” (see also John Flaxman) and found a place for him within their theoretical orientation. Jung himself would probably have seen Dis (the “Dark Lord” versus opposite twin “Lucifer” the light-bearer) as personifying that disintegrative effect of what he called the autonomous fragmentary systems that appear from the collective layer of the unconscious, possessing the ego in mental disturbances: they are fragmentary psychic systems that either appear spontaneously in ecstatic states and evoke powerful impressions and effects, or else, in mental disturbances, become fixed in the form of delusions and hallucinations and consequently destroy the unity of the personality. In Jung’s later authorship, he explored the figure of Dis (“disassociation”) as the Dark Side of the Self. Thus, the suffering child’s fragmented psyche, in its immature undifferentiated ouroboric state, may split or dissociate under the pressure of the “male” Dis or the “female” Ereshkigal’s violent attacks by their respective archetypal symbol-creatures, the sentient, tyrannical, and malevolent ego-cannibal reptile beast. The sufferer’s incessant punishment is to wander the chambers of the hell crypt, with no direction or hope of escape, and try to avoid Dis’ or Ereshkigal’s ego-cannibal reptile attacks. Such are psyche’s “autonomous fragmentary systems” (a Riccian-style memory palace) that appear from the collective layer (ethogram or genetic memory) of the unconscious possessing the ego in mental disturbances from fragmentary psychic systems.”
The symbol of “Dis,” The Dark Lord, has been well documented, but what of his “light-bearing” brother “Lucifer?” In his role of “the Morning Star” he has the ability, with due diligence, to be “redeemed” by re-establishing the ego-Self axis (very rare, but possible) and leading a few other “saved” Luciferians out of psyche’s autonomous fragmentary system (Ricci’s perverted memory palace) back to through the Ogdoad (eight heavens) to join his other brother Hesperus (“the Evening Star”) in the Empyrean as “Paradise is Regained.”
Where is this analysis taking us then? An ancient Polynesian proverb states that “a child behaves like those who reared him” (the sins of the parents.) How do we know who knows how to produce children that are consistently well adjusted and confident?
Jared Diamond’s brilliant books Guns, Germs, and Steel, and The World Until Yesterday provide outstanding entrees into the subject. Using his field experience and not ad hominem absurdities, he records for us the lifeways of a small band aboriginal society in their natural environment in New Guinea. His findings include that the so-called wild children are more intelligent than westernized children and much better adjusted with no need of complicated psychological analyses of their psyches and symbols. In contrast, “domesticated” or “civilized” children show decreases in cranial capacity, actually a phenomenon that began with the Neolithic Age some 10,000 years ago probably as a response to the decrease in protein intake and increase in grains and other protein-poor edible products. Farming increased the amount of non-animal food in the diet and a much decreased need for hunting since the megafaunal extinctions occurred at about the same time as the beginning of the Neolithic transition to food production from food collection. Therefore, two of the prime reasons for brain expansion (overall use and intelligence?) hunting and protein consumption, the key reasons that paleoanthropologists give for brain expansion, disappeared after nearly two million consecutive years. Now, most children belong to the “tame” or “civilized” or “domesticated” mega collectives of human society (remember Jung’s statements about large collectives mentioned earlier.) Moreover, studies done on domesticated pigs (the medical profession notes diagnostic similarities in bodily function of humans and pigs) indicate smaller sizes relative to their respective wild cousins, including cranial capacity (same is true of dogs relative to wolves) and the retro-molar gap in the mandible. This has become such a problem for modern humans that many people have their “wisdom teeth” removed. Dentists like to say it is because there “isn’t enough room” in the jaw and the third molars become “impacted.”
Small band societies seem to have few of civilization’s diseases as biologist Desmond Morris has explained in his superb book The Human Zoo (the best definition for the concept of “civilization.”) Unfortunately, while the human zoo is alive, well, and expanding, small band societies are an endangered species; but they are who everyone is under the skin. To let small band societies go extinct would be our last chance to remind us where we came from, where we should be going, and how we should be going about doing it. This is true particularly in Africa, Greenland, Northern Scandinavia, South America, Southeast Asia, Siberia, Alaska, and Australia who have vulnerable indigenous populations.
The future is not the traumatized western child, but the well-adjusted small band society child as Jared Diamond (and many distinguished anthropologists have noted in the literature: see E. Evans-Pritchard, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Marshall Sahlins, Irven DeVore, Richard Lee, Piers Vitebsky, Colin Turnbull, etc.) The west should be looking to indigenous populations for societal answers just as western medicine is looking for its cures in the rainforests. Thus, the western child, deprived of its connection to the environment and natural surroundings has its development “interrupted” as Donald Kalsched has described in his books The Inner World of Trauma and Trauma and the Soul. These “interruptions” are disruptions of the mother-infant bond/ego-Self axis and the trauma that is their sequelae produce what ethopsychiatrist John Bowlby calls “attachment, separation, and loss” and ultimately leads to the demonic anger of Asmodeus. Does any of this ring a bell? The bell that is faintly chiming now is coming from the crypt hell church/monastery (collective unconscious) where the appalling cenobitic archpriest “Pinhead” is arising from his cell to join with his three shadow quaternio companions. When he states that it is “time to play,” he is referring to the suffering psyche which he intends to violently “tear apart” as the terrible agent of the Great Mother or dark side of the Self destroying and devouring her children. (A “bad external father” can become a disassociating inner object as he plays the role of sinister archpriest and considers his innocent little boy “a loser” and acts accordingly.) Call her the Hindu “Kali,” the Egyptian “Ammut,” the Sumerian “Ereshkigal,” or just “mom,” and the result is the same: the child’s fragmented disassociating psyche will eventually grow up to reside in most of the adult population of the human zoo; which it will then duly transfer one day to the full-time residence of zoo cells labelled the Federal Penitentiary or Psychiatric Asylum.
As Kalsched states in his Trauma and the Soul, “such a shattering dissociation of the childhood psyche would be an unimaginable catastrophe,” irrespective if the birth mother was the sole source of kakia or if the birth father contributed his own kakia to the child’s developing inner world. It is worth remembering here that the child’s brain is not a static entity but a developing organism in its own right. Shatter the childhood psyche and the resulting “traumatic dissociation in the child leaves an inner world of objects” like the hell priest garbed in his reptilian leather skin cassock and “places” like the hell church itself. Is this the model modern children should be following, or should they be following Jared Diamond, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, John Bowlby, and anthropologist Robin Fox’s tribal (small band) “default system of human nature, and hence of human society:” a society that has spent millions of years evolving in its environment of evolutionary adaptation?
A “twin-tracked” way forward into the distant future can be planned for with currently existing regulations regulations, with the preservation of existing small band hunter-gatherer societies, and the creation of tethered mini-domesticated societies. Action can be taken immediately to set these plans in motion for the foraging societies. This is probably critical because they are the most vulnerable in the modern agro-industrial world. The second track may take some time to work out the details, but following anthropologist Robin Fox’s (and other like-minded individuals) “thought experiments” could result in small scale social tinkering which would keep these new mini-societies connected to each other and to the foragers without encroaching on each other. They would be networked, however, to be within reach of each other to assist in times of environmental distress. A successful model can perhaps be deduced from ice-age Gravettian culture.
Next: Part IV
Civilization in Transition