Many / One

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Compiled by JoAnn Kite

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The Strong Eye of Shamanism, A Journey Into the Caves of Consciousness
Robert E. Ryan, Ph.D.
The 'strong eye' of the title refers to the archetypal symbolism that sits at the foundation of all human life, whether in Paleolithic caves or today's temples. Ryan expands on the work of C. G. Jung, Joseph Campbell and Mircea Eliade to show that the human psyche is fundamentally one and universal, throughout all times and places.

1 "We have seen in far-flung shamanic traditions distant in time and place, whether in initiation rites, dreams, shamanic lore, rock painting, or monumental sculpture, mankind riding on precisely the same symbols to precisely the same truths or, we might say, experiences."

2 "The archetypes represent the uniquely human means whereby instinctual, biological energy is transformed into the meaningful symbolic life of the human psyche." J. J. Clarke

3 "There is only one true mythic poet repeatedly incarnated in human history, writing the one true mythic poem in various exemplars and with different inflections but with the lineaments of a thoroughgoing unity of expression."

4 "These form-giving principles (archetypes) of the mind spell out the features of an inner world with its own significance and reality, a topos of the soul connecting the mind inwardly with its source and allowing it to experience the larger transpersonal world that creates and sustains it."

5 "The human autonomic system, instinct, and the unconscious are invested with the same formative force that animates the natural world. Our intellect did not simply spring into existence like Athena from the head of Zeus. It is the product of a long teleological process of which it is the expression and to which it is still related."

6 "Human consciousness cannot help manifesting itself as a process, as expressing an innate purposiveness, which leads it to experience a greater informing force."

7 "The preconscious mind has its own inner purposiveness that, both spontaneously and necessarily, produces symbols capable of leading back to their source, a source the mind experiences as Divine."

8 "Schelling described mythology as 'poesy en masse', the product of the genius of mankind speaking universally as one voice over the eons."

9 "All is the play of the unitive life force in its various manifestations."

10 "Just as nature, body, and instinct express themselves in universal patterns, so does the human psyche. The archetypes of the preconscious are a priori form-generating propensities in the human mind, causing it to organize experience into certain patterns that may vary without losing their essential configuration and underlying identity."

11 "The 'real' world, shorn of the husk created by a sensibility wedded only to material reality, is everywhere translucent to its origin and source. It is not too much to say that this sacred world basks in the auroral glow of the 'Beginning.' And here we might quote Rilke: '….at a hundred points it is origin still. A playing of pure forces that no one touches who does not kneel and marvel."

12 "Meaning and purposefulness are not the prerogatives of the mind; they operate in the whole of living nature." Carl G. Jung, 'Man and His Symbols'

13 "According to Jung, the mandala is an image of unity and totality existing a priori and in potentia within the human mind. It represents the inner orderedness of the cosmic source, the foundation of beauty and harmony in a sacred cosmos, divinity unfolding in cosmos, nature, and mind."

14 "In the recognition of beauty and mythic form, we awaken deep mental structures that share their formal capacity with the cosmos that produced them."

15 "The unconscious can be reached and expressed only by symbols, and art, myth, dream, and fantasy, with their symbolic propensities, are effective psychopomps, leading the mind to an anamnesis of the origins of psychic life. The result of this anamnesis (an 'unforgetting' or rediscovery) is, on the one hand, an accession to power and vitality resultant from this integration. On the other hand, the mind experiences a perception of something akin to essential form and divinity at the heart of the creation and begins to sense an underlying acausal pattern of continuous creation. The two aspects coalesce in spontaneous images, often taking the form of a mandala and emphasizing a unifying centrality surrounded by a symmetrical quaternary or circular structure suggesting a microcosmic-macrocosmic identity between creature and the cosmic creation."

16 "Mythological expression has its own teleological directedness. It is a 'tool of the gods' which necessarily leads back to its source in the Divine."

17 "Strive to bring back the god in yourselves to the Divine in the universe." Plotinus

18 "The soul, Plato tells us, is a first movement, the immediate expression of self-generating form"

19 "Human creativity in art and myth arises from the unconscious formative force with the same necessity and universality as do the products of nature and in its timelessness and universality of form becomes their correlative."

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite