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A world in transition

The Gaia Hypothesis is a new way of looking at the whole as the worlds of myth and science move closer together - exactly what both Freud and Jung were attempting to achieve. Lovelock’s work clearly demonstrates a shifting mentality; science is transcending its own limits by straddling myth, the stories that contain the history of soul and create the preconditions of consciousness out of which science arises. In other words, soul and science spring from the same root structure of consciousness. As Thompson puts it,

it is as valid to say that science is a dim intuition of a truth which the mystic experiences, as it is to say that myth is a dim intuition which only a scientist can prove. Myth and science seem to be like continents which are oceans apart, but if one dives into the depths of the sea, one discovers that the oceans cover that which is, in reality, the single crust of the planet.

(1981: 48)

And so, while science studies climate change, psychology, the study of the soul, can look at bringing masculine shame and the loss of omnipotence into consciousness. In this endeavor, an understanding of the potential for transcendence in the reverie and recognition between mother and child, man and woman, Earth and humanity, can be a focus. Religious stories, a repository for the myths of humankind, provide the images. In ancient Egypt during the decline of the matriarchal age and rise of patrilinear succession, the story of Isis and Osiris was the prevailing, transitional myth. Isis is the Mother Goddess who fashions a wooden phallus to replace the castrated one from the dismembered Osiris, the man of the transition from matriarchal village to patriarchal civilization, and who is in the process transformed into the Lord of the Dead. From the union of Isis and Osiris, Horus is born, the son of the lame Father who demotes his mother, Isis - a movement which presages the patriarchal age.

Today, as patriarchy breaks up in the human psyche, it is releasing all the old unconscious programs. As mankind’s shame presses to the surface, we encounter an epiphany of the Great Goddess with her male companion, in one form or another a dying male who becomes a castrated victim. God, Mary and Jesus - father, mother and son - pick up the problems of humanity where Isis, Osiris, and Horus left off. Isis rises in the form of the Virgin Mary who gives birth to the divine child, Jesus Christ, an incarnation of God on the physical plane. Jesus is the living embodiment of the mystery of a conscious death and rising from the dead on the material plane. Through the story of Jesus, which is a story of shame, consciousness descends into matter through the maternal feminine. In transcending shame through victimhood, Jesus is resurrected in the body. The sting of shame is the antidote for the blindness of power and narcissism (shamelessness) which is destroying civilization.

Developmentally and psychologically, the mother is our first object of love and therefore our first object in search for wholeness. Today, it is not the bonding between men that is required to kill which rose to power in 5000 B.C. that is needed: it is the empathic bonding between mothers and sons, between Mother Earth and humankind, between the Virgin Mary and Jesus, that is required if our species is to survive. Most of all, we must recognize that the Great Mother, in her embodiment as Earth, needs our recognition to avoid our own ultimate extinction. As Lovelock says, “we need to love and respect the Earth with the same intensity that we give to our families and our tribe” (Lovelock, 2000). This is a living, organic truth - the rest is culturally constructed.

Lovelock sees humans as part of a community of living things that keep the Earth a comfortable home. We are presently overdeveloping our niche - an expansion that, if continued, will produce catastrophically unthinkable results. Another contribution depth psychology can make towards facilitating a “return of the repressed” is a continued exploration of shame in order for the “release of the true perceptions of empirical reality in place of wishful cultural and private fantasies we put there [manifestations of omnipotence]” (Becker, 1975: 163). Psychology can also facilitate the harmonization of human beings and a changing culture that possesses a deeper recognition of the symbiotic ecology of people with the Earth. What global warming forces us to realize is that each of us is inextricably bound to others in relationship. All human action, even the act of a single individual, is relational and requires the presence of recognition - the opposite and cure for the blindness of projected shame.

We cannot exist without the Great Mother. In the words of Lovelock, “the well being of Gaia must always come before that of ourselves: we cannot exist without Gaia” (1991: 39). Like a flame that requires an atmosphere to burn, we require Gaia. In revenge driven by her search for recognition, the Terrible Mother with the Evil Eyes is on a mission to reveal the truth of things. The image of the succubus holds men’s fears of humiliation and shame, the source of the energy from which she draws her powers of destruction. She will annihilate again and again in order to effect shame’s revelation and restore sight of her beneficence.

Mine has been a small attempt to unsettle the ancient diabolization of Lilith in order to expose masculine shame in light of the modern world. Through this study, I have come to believe that a contribution depth psychology can make to our current human condition is to facilitate recognition of the maternal feminine. Accomplished through a confrontation with masculine shame, her recognition contains the potential to move us out of our current state of destruction, our petrifaction in shame, into whatever form may be our future. The succubus reveals the tragic flaw of civilization in order to create a different way of being at this point in our planetary development, a new mentality in the world that is guided by nature - hence the need for humankind’s recognition of the Earth. The study of the soul can lead the way through ever deeper explorations into the “forest of shame” in order to understand the whole arrangement of psychological meaning in this affect. “Midway along the journey of life” when “I woke to find myself in a dark woods,” I was led to just a glimpse of shame’s deepest mysteries (Dante, Inferno, Canto 1).

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