Tag Archives: Comparative Mythology

Artemis

Artemis, also known as Diana, is a Greek Goddess of the Moon whose roots extend back to Her time as a many-breasted mother goddess. We know her better as the maiden Huntress who lives in the forest with her band of young girls (the Arktoi) and her totem animals of Deer and Dog. As a virgin goddess, she is whole unto herself and teaches us to live our wild, instinctive nature, and at the same time, honor our sisterhood.

The Authentic Offering

Communion with the Great Primal Other is made possible through an authentic sacrifice or offering. It is not necessary that the offering be perfect, but it is essential that the offering is authentic.

The authentic offering makes it possible to move from literal space to ritual space. It is in ritual space that the Great Primal Other can provide the energy that powers the spiritual transformation.

The Four Natural Enemies of Knowledge

A man of knowledge is one who has followed truthfully the hardships of learning, a man who has, without rushing or without faltering, gone as far as he can in unraveling the secrets of power and knowledge. To become a man of knowledge one must challenge and defeat his four natural enemies.

When a man starts to learn, he is never clear about his objectives. His purpose is faulty; his intent is vague. He hopes for rewards that will never materialize for he knows nothing of the hardships of learning.

He slowly begins to learn–bit by bit at first, then in big chunks. And his thoughts soon clash. What he learns is never what he pictured, or imagined, and so he begins to be afraid. Learning is never what one expects. Every step of learning is a new task, and the fear the man is experiencing begins to mount mercilessly, unyieldingly. His purpose becomes a battlefield.

And thus he has stumbled upon the first of his natural enemies: fear! A terrible enemy–treacherous, and difficult to overcome. It remains concealed at every turn of the way, prowling, waiting. And if the man, terrified in its presence, runs away, his enemy will have put an end to his quest and he will never learn. He will never become a man of knowledge. He will perhaps be a bully, or a harmless, scared man; at any rate, he will be a defeated man. His first enemy will have put an end to his cravings.

It is not possible for a man to abandon himself to fear for years, then finally conquer it. If he gives in to fear he will never conquer it, because he will shy away from learning and never try again. But if he tries to learn for years in the midst of his fear, he will eventually conquer it because he will never have really abandoned himself to it.

Therefore he must not run away. He must defy his fear, and in spite of it he must take the next step in learning, and the next, and the next. He must be fully afraid, and yet he must not stop. That is the rule! And a moment will come when his first enemy retreats. The man begins to feel sure of himself. His intent becomes stronger. Learning is no longer a terrifying task.

When this joyful moment comes, the man can say without hesitation that he has defeated his first natural enemy. It happens little by little, and yet the fear is vanquished suddenly and fast. Once a man has vanquished fear, he is free from it for the rest of his life because, instead of fear, he has acquired clarity–a clarity of mind which erases fear. By then a man knows his desires; he knows how to satisfy those desires. He can anticipate the new steps of learning and a sharp clarity surrounds everything. The man feels that nothing is concealed.

And thus he has encountered his second enemy: Clarity! That clarity of mind, which is so hard to obtain, dispels fear, but also blinds. It forces the man never to doubt himself. It gives him the assurance he can do anything he pleases, for he sees clearly into everything. And he is courageous because he is clear, and he stops at nothing because he is clear. But all that is a mistake; it is like something incomplete. If the man yields to this make-believe power, he has succumbed to his second enemy and will be patient when he should rush. And he will fumble with learning until he winds up incapable of learning anything more. His second enemy has just stopped him cold from trying to become a man of knowledge. Instead, the man may turn into a buoyant warrior, or a clown. Yet the clarity for which he has paid so dearly will never change to darkness and fear again. He will be clear as long as he lives, but he will no longer learn, or yearn for, anything.

He must do what he did with fear: he must defy his clarity and use it only to see, and wait patiently and measure carefully before taking new steps; he must think, above all, that his clarity is almost a mistake. And a moment will come when he will understand that his clarity was only a point before his eyes. And thus he will have overcome his second enemy, and will arrive at a position where nothing can harm him anymore. This will not be a mistake. It will not be only a point before his eyes. It will be true power.

He will know at this point that the power he has been pursuing for so long is finally his. He can do with it whatever he pleases. His ally is at his command. His wish is the rule. He sees all that is around him. But he has also come across his third enemy: Power!

Power is the strongest of all enemies. And naturally the easiest thing to do is to give in; after all, the man is truly invincible. He commands; he begins by taking calculated risks, and ends in making rules, because he is a master.

A man at this stage hardly notices his third enemy closing in on him. And suddenly, without knowing, he will certainly have lost the battle. His enemy will have turned him into a cruel, capricious man, but he will never lose his clarity or his power.

A man who is defeated by power dies without really knowing how to handle it. Power is only a burden upon his fate. Such a man has no command over himself, and cannot tell when or how to use his power.

Once one of these enemies overpowers a man there is nothing he can do. It is not possible, for instance, that a man who is defeated by power may see his error and mend his ways. Once a man gives in he is through. If, however, he is temporarily blinded by power, and then refuses it, his battle is still on. That means he is still trying to become a man of knowledge. A man is defeated only when he no longer tries, and abandons himself.

He has to come to realize that the power he has seemingly conquered is in reality never his. He must keep himself in line at all times, handling carefully and faithfully all that he has learned. If he can see that clarity and power, without his control over himself, are worse than mistakes, he will reach a point where everything is held in check. He will know then when and how to use his power. And thus he will have defeated his third enemy.

The man will be, by then, at the end of his journey of learning, and almost without warning he will come upon the last of his enemies: Old age! This enemy is the cruelest of all, the one he won’t be able to defeat completely, but only fight away.

This is the time when a man has no more fears, no more impatient clarity of mind–a time when all his power is in check, but also the time when he has an unyielding desire to rest. If he gives in totally to his desire to lie down and forget, if he soothes himself in tiredness, he will have lost his last round, and his enemy will cut him down into a feeble old creature. His desire to retreat will overrule all his clarity, his power, and his knowledge.

But if the man sloughs off his tiredness, and lives his fate through, he can then be called a man of knowledge, if only for the brief moment when he succeeds in fighting off his last, invincible enemy. That moment of clarity, power, and knowledge is enough.

==Carlos Castaneda, “The Teachings of Don Juan”

Clap hands

Clap hands
Take a stance
As does a bird
Darting earthward from on high
Spiraling
Until it is once again lost
In the obscurity of the ordinary

Candles blaze white
In the darkness of the solstice
At a celebration of warmth
In the silence of the darkest night

Lucent flame
In a cave of total darkness
Exposes emergent spirits hiding
Just past the periphery
Of the ball of light
And the sea of Dark

Introspection cocoons me
In the cave of rebirth
Autonomy in this womb
My palace
Informs my definitions
Comforts my frightened child

This is my life
This is my season
This is my light
This is my dark

© 2014 Martin H. Wilde

Myrddin Wyllt

Myrddin Wyllt (Welsh: [ˈmərðɪn ˈwɨɬt]), Myrddin Emrys, Merlinus Caledonensis, or Merlin Sylvestris[1] (a legendary figure associated in some sources with events in the sixth century), is a figure in medieval Welsh legend, known as a prophet and a madman. He is the most important prototype for the modern composite image of Merlin, the wizard from Arthurian legend.

Texts about Myrddin Wyllt have similarities to an account of a north-British figure called Lailoken. He was probably born sometime around or in AD 540, and is said to have had a twin sister called Gwendydd or Gwenddydd or Languoreth. Myrddin Wyllt is said to have gone mad after the Battle of Arfderydd at Arthuret, which was waged between the victor Rhydderch Hael or Riderch I of Alt Clut and Gwenddoleu in AD 573.[1] He fled into the forest and lived with the animals. There he is said to have found his gift of prophecy.[citation needed]

Myrddin reportedly prophesied his own death, which would happen by falling, stabbing, and drowning. This was fulfilled when a gang of jeering shepherds drove him off a cliff, where he was impaled on a stake left by fishermen, and died with his head below water. His grave is reputed to lie near the River Tweed in the village of Drumelzier near Peebles, although nothing remains above ground level at the site.[1] This strange threefold death is a theme common to many Indo-European mythologies, and according to Georges Dumezil suggests a strong threefold division in Proto-Indo-European religion.

In Welsh literature

The ‘altarstone’ in Stobo Kirk on which Merlin was converted to Christianity.[1]

The earliest (pre-12th century) Welsh poems that concern the Myrddin legend present him as a madman living an existence in the Caledonian Forest but said to be born in Carmarthen South Wales. Carmarthen in the Welsh language is Caerfyrddin; caer translates into English as “fort”. When Britannia was a Roman province, Carmarthen was the civitas capital of the Demetae tribe, known as Moridunum (from Brittonic *mori-dunon meaning “sea fort”). Legend has it that second part of the towns name fyrddin was representative as Myrddin and of his place of birth, Caer-fyrddin (Fort-Merlin). There he ruminates on his former existence and the disaster that brought him low: the death of his lord Gwenddoleu, whom he served as bard. The allusions in these poems serve to sketch out the events of the Battle of Arfderydd, where Riderch Hael, King of Alt Clut (Strathclyde) slaughtered the forces of Gwenddoleu, and Myrddin went mad watching this defeat. The Annales Cambriae date this battle to AD 573,[2] and name Gwenddoleu’s adversaries as the sons of Eliffer, presumably Gwrgi and Peredur.[3]

A version of this legend is preserved in a late fifteenth-century manuscript in a story called Lailoken and Kentigern, which probably happened in August 584, after Myrddin, also known as Lailoken, had finished writing his prophecies in July of that year. In this narrative, St. Kentigern meets in a deserted place with a naked, hairy madman who is called Lailoken, although said by some to be called Merlynum or Merlin, who declares that he has been condemned for his sins to wander in the company of beasts. He adds that he had been the cause for the deaths of all of the persons killed in the battle fought on the plain between Liddel and Carwannok. Having told his story, the madman leaps up and flees from the presence of the saint back into the wilderness. He appears several times more in the narrative until at last asking St. Kentigern for the Sacrament, prophesying that he was about to die a triple death. After some hesitation, the saint grants the madman’s wish, and later that day the shepherds of King Meldred capture him, beat him with clubs, then cast him into the river Tweed where his body is pierced by a stake, thus fulfilling his prophecy.

Welsh literature has examples of a prophetic literature, predicting the military victory of all of the Celtic peoples of Great Britain who will join together and drive the English – and later the Normans – back into the sea. Some of these works were presented as prophecies of Myrddin; while others such as the Armes Prydein were not.

Clas Myrddin, or Merlin’s Enclosure, is an early name for Great Britain stated in the Third Series of Welsh Triads.[4]

Geoffrey of Monmouth

The modern depiction of Merlin began with Geoffrey of Monmouth. His book Prophetiae Merlini was intended to be a collection of the prophecies of the Welsh figure of Myrddin, whom he called Merlin. He included the Prophetiae in his more famous second work, the Historia Regum Britanniae. In this work, however, he constructed an account of Merlin’s life that placed him in the time of Aurelius Ambrosius and King Arthur, decades before the lifetime of Myrddin Wyllt. He also attached to him an episode originally ascribed to Ambrosius, and others that appear to be of his own invention. Geoffrey later wrote the Vita Merlini, an account based more closely on the earlier Welsh stories about Myrddin and his experiences at Arfderyd, and explained that the action was taking place long after Merlin’s involvement with Arthur. However, the Vita Merlini did not prove popular enough to counter the version of Merlin in the Historia, which went on to influence most later accounts of the character. One exception to this is the work of Count Nikolai Tolstoy titled The Coming of the King.

References

Notes

  1. Seymour, Page 9
  2. Arthurian Period Sources, Page 45
  3. Phillimore, Page 175
  4. Rhys: Hibbert Lectures, p. 168.

Sources

  • Seymour, Camilla & Randall, John (2007) Stobo Kirk: a guide to the building and its history. Peebles: John Randall
  • Tolstoy, Nikolai (1985) The Quest for Merlin. ISBN 0-241-11356-3
  • Morris, John (gen. ed.) (1980) Arthurian Period Sources volume 8, Phillimore & Co, Chichester (includes full text of The Annales Cambriae & Nennius)
  • Phillimore, Egerton (1888), “The Annales Cambriae and Old Welsh Genealogies, from Harleian MS. 3859”, in Phillimore, Egerton, Y Cymmrodor, IX, Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, pp. 141 – 183.

External links

Alone with my soul

I drove five-hundred miles
In timeless mountains

Running
From hurt that haunts me
Chasing
What has not yet come

I did not escape the hurt
And found more of what I am not

I remain alone
Next to a vacated silhouette
In the shadow void
Suspended in nothing
By nothing

Although my child cries
I do not sell my soul

Five-hundred miles
To make it home
To the darkness
Where I sleep

Alone with my soul

© 2014 Martin H. Wilde

Minnesota Men’s Conference Robert Moore Lecture | The Shadow Brother Inside

Psychoanalyst Robert L. Moore explores the splitting of the self into the Chosen One and the Neglected One through the history of mythology—from the Cain and Abel to Luke and Leia—including abandonment, capitalism, the blessing of elders, and the pursuit of our stolen birthright. Recorded at the 1993 Minnesota Men’s Conference. http://www.minnesotamensconference.com

Art from the Duality Series by Tom French.

via Minnesota Men’s Conference Robert Moore Lecture | The Shadow Brother Inside.