"In Wonders We Sail, Questing for the Answers in Veil"

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Male And Female

Images of man and woman are of deep symbolic significance in their own right. In Jungian psychology they are thought to be conscious expressions of the animus and anima archetypes, and in many cultures they appear together as symbols of fertility and the endless renewal of life. At a more esoteric level, the theme of masculinity and femininity can take on different connotations. Taken separately, man and woman symbolize incompleteness: each is barren and unfruitful, one half of a preexisting whole. It is as if the first, universal human being had been cleaved in two at some point in the unknowable past, and was doomed to go through history suffering the anguish of separation, constantly longing to be reunited with the lost half of the self.

This theme reveals itself in numerous myths and legends, from Isis and Osiris to Orpheus and Eurydice, in which man and woman struggle against overwhelming odds to be united. In the legend of Tristram and Isolde, the lovers achieve true oneness only after their deaths, when two trees grow from their graves, and their branches intertwine so that they can never be parted. In the cosmologies of the ancients, heaven and earth (which were believed to have once been united) were often depicted as man and woman: in ancient Egypt, heaven was personified as the goddess Nut and earth as the god Geb. 

Even when man and woman come together in the act of love, their union remains ultimately incomplete.Limited by the constraints of the human body, it stops short of a full merging of the lovers. Thus, many of the major spiritual and occult traditions have taught that completion can be achieved only internally, in the union of the male and female principles that we each carry within us - the opposing creative forces of active and passive. In the East, this idea of inner union finds expression in the Tai Chi symbol,and in Hindu and Buddhist Tantra, where the male and female deities are shown entwined in an embrace so intricate that the two appear to inhabit a single body. Western occult and alchemical traditions embodied the attainment of inner reconciliation (and therefore of true wisdom) as the hermaphrodite (or androgyne), who is at once male and female. In Jewish legend, Adam himself was hermaphroditic until Eve was separated from him, and in some Greek accounts Zeus was simultaneously male and female. In shamanic religions, the male priest often dresses as a woman to recreate symbolically the state of primordial perfection that existed before the sexes were separated.

The Chemical Wedding

Alchemists thought of themselves as artists/scientists, whose strictly controlled chemical operations could bring nature to perfection (A process symbolized by the transformation of base metal into gold). The alchemist's vessel was a microcosm - universe in miniature - in which this transformation took place. Alchemical operations were Ascribed in vividly symbolic terms, partly to ensure that their secrets did not fall into the wrong hands. A crucial stage in the process was the uniting of the male and borne principles of matter, which was sometimes symbolized as a hermaphrodite (above) or the wedding between a king and queen.

Krishna And Radha

Krishna, the eighth avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu, is one of the most popular of all Hindu deities. Numerous myths tell of his pranks and amorous exploits. It is said that as a young man, Krishna enchanted the gopis (milkmaids) in the region of Brindaban by playing the flute on Autumn evenings, and lured the young women away from their sleeping husbands to dance ecstatically with him in the forest. Although each gopi thought Krishna to be her exclusive partner, he developed a deep love for Radha (above), whose golden beauty complemented Krishna's dark form (his name means dark" or "dark as a cloud").

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