According to Jungian ideology we are all a psychological synergy of many archetypes–warrior, puritan, magician, king or queen, noble, sorcerer or sorceress, hero or heroine–yearning for conscious expression. Phenomenologically this makes sense from the perspective that one part of us wants to fight for the rights of the disenfranchised in society; one part wants to lead the mundane yet affluent life of a corporate businessman or businesswoman; another wants to share in a conventional Western lifestyle with a spouse and children; and another still wants to go on exotic adventures and treasure hunts in remote tropical islands and coral lagoons. The most obvious problem involved with voluntary capitulation to such psychic impulses is that there’s simply not enough time to live out the ambitions, dreams, and potentialities intrinsic to the unique cluster of co-existing archetypes within each one of ourselves. This is perhaps the principle reason why choice is imperative to human existence and sanity. As has been empirically verified by a number of humanistic psychologists in the last century, the most lamentable consequence of not choosing is to be overrun by a fragmented horde of subentities developed a conscious standpoint dissimilar and often antagonistic to the one adopted by the principle personality.
At any rate the spatiotemporal limitations which hamper earthbound embodiment means that we can only ever live out and sustain one functional role, usually one connected with the natural inner predisposition most compatible with the limited spectrum of acceptable societal norms. Whatever we choose to do and wherever we choose to go, we are ethically and sometimes lawfully bound to an implicit set of relationships, commitments, and responsibilities that simply cannot be abandoned. Those that choose to do so inevitably lose credibility as just, honorable, and industrious citizens of the shared establishment we have all unconsciously agreed to participate in called society. The only way we can explore and live out some of these other potentialities lying dormant within ourselves without harming, hampering, destabilizing, or compromising the roles we have elected to embody on the earthbound plane is to entertain and cultivate them in the imaginal world through active imagination.
One of the most powerful psychological archetypes that keeps cropping up in world myths and legends; in the masterfully crafted fiction and non-fiction of our times; and in our everyday lives for that matter is the heroic journey. We see it plastered all over the internet, in our newspapers, and on major cable news channels like MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News from day to day without pausing to consider the underlying archetype at work, the common denominator which unifies and infuses them with meaning. The heroic journey is expressed by confronting and overcoming hardships that seem insurmountable to us mere mortals: we see it in the middle-aged man who risks his own life to save children trapped beneath an overturned vehicle; the celebrity or Hollywood superstar that visits terminally or chronically ill patients at a public hospital to grant them a heartfelt wish; the dauntless miner who emerges from the subterranean virtually unscathed after the mine he was working in abruptly collapsed; the good samaritan who offers to donate one of her healthy and functional kidneys to a child suffering from end-stage renal disease; the nimble woman who saves a drowning infant from the claws of death at the last minute; and the astronaut who miraculously survives a major extraterrestrial explosion with minor injuries and lives to tell the tale.
The above mentioned are all modern-day expressions of a heroic mythical journey that is deemed to repeat over and over until all things end. What's more is that in overcoming conflict we shift from one level of psychospiritual development to the next; we give up a narrower and less comprehensive myth for a much more holistic and magnanimous one. In other words, we continue blossoming into the multicolored and many textured flowers that our seedy prototypes decreed should transpire long before our conception and birth.
The four correlated excerpts which follow transcribe one of my own heroic journeys on the imaginal plane. Looking back on the successive sessions of active imagination that spawned the fantasy content, I have come to believe that they fulfilled an unconscious desire for solving riddles and other intellectual enigmas deemed insignificant and trivial by my conscious personality at the time of their writing. Unrelated to the underlying reason is the excitement and entertainment that comes from visualizations of this type; lying on a comfortable space on the carpet next to the heater, I remember flitting back and forth between the shared space of earthbound life and the personal realm of fantasy, actively participating in a parallel universe of my own creation whereby events of the ancestral past were eternally unfolding beside our own. Fantasy-play can be so stimulating and rewarding when it is done with purpose! My imperative mission in that world (the Minoan city of Cnossos) was to help a benevolent prophet and his followers decipher a conundrum that would instill him with the magical powers needed to overthrow the wicked queen. You could probably call this imaginary Cnossos my Narnia, the one place where I could escape to from time to time and be something other than what has and is becoming of me in this life. Enjoy!
Prophet: Where were you? I’ve been waiting here for ages.
I: I came as quickly as I could. Remember, I’m from another world and have many responsibilities there. I can’t just drop everything and run.
Prophet: I guess you have a point.
I: Never mind.
Prophet: Let’s get started. I have much to show you.
(For a while we walk through a complicated labyrinth of passageways and turn into an enormous room.)
Prophet: For centuries upon centuries the secrets of Abaton have remained hidden from our people. But now the time in drawing near when all will be revealed. Your arrival is the sign that we’ve been waiting for. The riddle will finally be solved!
I: I’ll do my best.
Prophet: Have you noticed that the room has an uneven floor? It’s on a tilt.
I: Yes, very surprising. It must have been intentional. Where are the hieroglyphs you told me about?’
Prophet: Over here. You have to get very close to the ground to see them.
(I walk to the centre of the room and peer down at the lunar iris engraved within the Flower of Life design. I can see that it phosphoresces with a scarlet red hue. I drop to my knees and study the bulbous shape.)
Prophet: They’re etched around the pupil. You can see them when you put your face against the ground.
I: I see hieroglyphs.
Prophet: Can you read them?
I: They’re a very archaic form of Memphite hieroglyphs.
Prophet: Can you read them Paul?
I: I think so. Some of these symbols are slightly different to their modern equivalents but I can still understand them.
I: This is what is written:
I AM THE RED FLAME OF THE SAHARA EXTIRPATING ALL HOPE AND LIFE YET I AM ALSO THE BLACK-SEEDED SILT OF A PREGNANT NILE.
I AM THE MOUNTAIN OF LIGHT FROM WHICH VIRGIN SOULS SAIL FROM YET I AM ALSO THE CHASM IN WHICH THE IMPURE HAVE BECOME ENTRAPPED.
Prophet: Keep going Paul; it must say something about the golden labrys.
I: There’s nothing more.
Prophet: Are you sure there aren’t other symbols there that might have suffered discoloration with time?
I: No, they’re all in raised relief. They would have been visible even if they’d faded out.
Prophet: It follows the same format as the first part of the initiatory manuscripts. The law of contradiction.
I: They were made at about the same time, right?
I: What does the law of contradiction say?
Prophet: That something can arise form nothing and that everything is nothing.
I: Is that some kind of reference to the conjunction of opposites?
I: This is exactly what these glyphs are referring to here. But there has to be more to it, right?’
Prophet: It is a verbal inference to the Flower of Life.
I; Hmm… The first part has Egyptian connotations and the second part appears to be an indigenous reference.
Prophet: Are you suggesting that our first settlers were Egyptian?
I; I am actually certain they were. Back at the cliffs this morning Talos said that the first Minoans knew sacred geometry. He called them The Followers.
Prophet; That’s what they were known as yes.
I: Think about it. Egyptian hieroglyphs that reference the Egyptian landscape; the Flower of Life; sacred geometry; festivals and rituals that are identical to the Egyptian ones. The connection can’t be more obvious.
Prophet: You are right.
I: (I point upwards.) Look the symbol is also carved into the ceiling.
Prophet: I know.
I: The Flower of Life originated at Abydos. Look I wear one around my…
No! The ring was gone. Where is it?
Prophet: What’s wrong?
I: I’ve lost my ring.
Prophet: What ring?
I: The one I came through the portal with. I’m sure I had it on when I walked through...
Prophet: Don’t look so worried. I’m sure you’ll find it. Is it of sentimental value?
I: My father gave it to me. It’s the only thing of his I have left.
Prophet: Was it an imprint of the Flower of Life?
I: It was the Seed of Life; a simpler version of the Flower.
Prophet: Otherwise the same?
I: It was blue-green in color. Not red.
Prophet: We’ll find it.
I: (I stand up and begin pacing up and down.) How do you suppose they raised the reliefs so high? It looks as if they’re growing out of the wall.
I: What are you thinking?
Prophet: Forgive me I was thinking about the written message. If the tomb is where the foundation stone of the first palace was thrown, then might Abaton be the place where the first palace was completed?
I: But why would they finish with a room which pointed in the cardinal direction of east? East has always signified birth.
Prophet: Hmm… you’re right about that. How come I didn’t think of that? Not a mention of the golden labrys either.
I: There weren’t any references to the golden labrys, no. (I study giant reliefs of serpents along the walls.) Who knows? Some things are lost in time and cannot be salvaged.
Prophet: But you deciphered the hieroglyphs. Nobody could until now. It’s a start.
I: A very slow start.
Prophet: That doesn’t matter Paul. Progress is progress! Those who make progress should never be discouraged.
(Talos looks around. The shaft is like a trunk that branches into a multitude of veined galleries, wide and tall enough for a cart to be wheeled through. Everything seems to have been deserted in a state of disarray. In one room, a heap of crucibles, metal-blowing windpipes, stone hammers and iron chisels lay half-buried in coagulated mud.)
I: It looks like a tempest has been through here.
Talos: Yes, it seems as though the miners just dumped everything and left.
(We keep walking, passing under a sandstone arch, There are carved reliefs on the concave walls that attract my attention.)
Talos: What is it?
I: Look at these drawings. They show how the first Minoans washed, melted and weighed gold.
Talos: How can you be sure its gold?
(I point to a sign which shows a portable furnace with emanating rays and three circles.)
Talos; What’s that?
I: That’s the hieroglyph for gold.
Talos: So it is a gold mine. Britomartis’s legend fits in well with this.
I: Yes. (Looking at the other reliefs) It was a metaphor for the mine just like the solar hieroglyphs on the shrine directly above us are a pun for gold.
Talos: What else does it say? Anything about the labrys?
I: I don’t think they would have referenced it on any reliefs. (Studying the images) They crushed the gold-containing quartz before melting pieces of it in crucibles. (I point to another depiction.) Look at this one here.
Talos: They’re using pipes to fan the flames?
I: Yes. I presume that is how they nursed the fire to its fiercest heat for the gold to melt.
Talos: This is how they made the labrys!
Talos: How would they get the cast?
I: I’m not sure. They might have used a type of mould. Even in my own world, the practice of metallurgy has always been very secretive. We laypeople don’t know all that much about it.
Talos: Do you think that is the way the gods mould human souls?
I: (Laughing) It’s possible though their mines might be arranged in a slightly more orderly fashion.
Talos: The gods and goddesses are metallurgists. They make hearts of gold with their windpipes, airing the flames to give us the breath of life.
I: I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that were the case.
Talos: (Pointing at another relief) What does that one there show?
I: The fusion of gold. Speaking of fiery furnaces, that reminds me of something.
I: It looks like the hieroglyph for dawn. Exactly the same actually! The mountain of light which ascends from the horizon. On the shrine the connection was worded. Here it is pictured.
Talos: (Laughing) Egyptian magic. Play on words followed by play on pictograms.
I: Don’t laugh. These connections are sacred.
Talos: Let’s look at the remaining sections of the mine.
(We walk through a tunnel bathed in natural sunlight through shafts on the cliff face. These appear to have been sole creations of wind and water. I wonder if their natural appearance is intentional; perhaps the people who built this place decided against anything artificial as to avoid attracting unwanted attention.)
Talos: What do you suppose the connection between the gold of the mountains and the horizon is?
(I stop dead in my tracks as we enter a gallery full of quartz ores. There’s something glittering on the ground. I bed over and scooped it up.)
Talos: What is it?
I; See for yourself. (I offer it to him.)
Talos: Oh! How beautiful.
I: See. It’s very impressive, isn’t it? Look at the amount of work that’s gone into it.
(Talos looks at the exquisite piece of gold work; two bees suckled from the same drop of honey, harmoniously joined at the head and tail.
I: It’s a pendent.
I: Where do you suppose the miners obtained their water and food supplies from?
Talos: You’re very inquisitive, aren’t you?
I: Well if you don’t ask questions you’ll never find out.
Talos: How could they possibly bring all that up here?’
I: There must be another way up; they can’t have possibly carried everything on foot through these cliffs. To think so would be ludicrous.
Talos: If their settlement was indeed Cnossos.
Talos: What are you thinking about?
I: There might be an underground tunnel leading to the shore. It would explain how they might have traveled up and down the mine unseen.
Talos: Let’s look for it then.
I: We haven’t been through here.
(Talos follows me through another passageway. This one seems to pass through the heart of the cliff. It is cooler and darker than the others).
I: Look at the mess in here.
(Discarded wheel barrows, eating utensils, portable lavatories, tables, urns and jars, some of them beautifully decorated with natural wonders, lay forgotten against a corner of the room. They seem to be waiting there in silence, hoping that their owners will one day return to reanimate them by calling out their name.)
I: (Pointing to the back of the room) Look a large tunnel.
Talos: It seems to go on forever.
I: I know.
Talos: Can you see anything in the tunnel? Any light?
I: No, can you?
Talos: The only thing I can see is that it’s endless. This might be how they miners came up.
I: Where do you think it leads?
Talos: (Sticking his hand up) I can feel a draft. There must be an opening on the other side.
I: I’m not certain that we should go that way. Perhaps we should go back the way we came.
Talos: That’s impossible. The bridge snapped when I was coming over it.’
Talos: Even if we could cross that ravine it would be nightfall before we made it back to the horses.
I: It definitely took us longer to get here than we’d anticipated,
Talos: (Pacing) I don’t see that we have a choice. It’s this or we’ll have to wait here till sunrise.
I: I’m not sitting here all night. I can’t. I have to get back to my world.
Talos: Well we’ll just have to go down that dark tunnel then, won’t we?
I: Have you forgotten about Britomartis? She’s still up on the cliff top.
Talos: She’d think we’ve fallen into an abyss. Let’s go.
(Something on the wall attracts my attention.)
Talos: What’s wrong?
I: There’s writing on this wall.
Talos: What does it say?
I: It says: “I waited for hours but you did not keep your promise. You never came.”
Talos: This might have been the meeting place for two lovers.
I: I wonder if they ever saw one another again.
Talos: They might have. But even if they were fated to never meet again in that life, they might mingle again in some other.
(A life-size statue of the goddess stands before us. She holds a finger to her mouth in a gesture of silence.)
I: These structures must be as old as the small temple up on the cliff.
Britomartis: This place is frightening me. It just doesn’t feel right.
I: (Imitating the statue) Don’t be scared. We must be in a rebirth tunnel.’
Britomartis: What is that?
I: It basically describes the nocturnal path of regeneration for the soul of the deceased.
Britomartis: I see.
I: They used to equate each passing hour of the night with a part of the female body; that of the great mother goddess.
I: Because the great mother is the only one through which rebirth can be realized. The tunnel is divided into the twelve hours of night. (I grab a stone and throw it at the gypsum wall. Part of the relief breaks off and falls away.)
Britomartis: Heat exposure?
I: Just like the temple though this one is underground and the other isn’t. Interesting.
Britomartis: Do you remember what Talos said? The old legend he told us back at the sea caves.
I: About the old settlement you mean?
Britomartis: He said that it was ravaged by heat.
I: (I grind the palm of my hand against the relief and watch as the color rubs off.) That wasn’t exactly what he said. He mentioned that there was some sort of disarray in the order of the heavens. That could have resulted in any number of things.
I: Floods, famine, fires, and even Atlantic shifts,
Britomartis: What’s an Atlantic shift?
I: The movement of whole land masses.
Britomartis: You’re joking.
I: Not at all.
(A faint crackle of thunder comes from outside.)
Britomartis: Have you noticed that noise is amplified a great deal over here?
I: It could be because we are far underground.
(We walk further inward. Britomartis is drawn to one of the reliefs.)
Britomartis: Look over here Paul. This looks very mysterious.
I: What is it?
Britomartis: Is this describing the transmigration of souls?
I: One part of transmigration.
(The unusual relief shows a river passing between fertile plains that pulse with life and mountainous terrain; the trees, crops, and irrigation canals on one side are juxtaposed with theriomorphic creatures scuttling around on the other side with knives in both hands. People are cowered over on the riverbank, pulling their disheveled hair and cupping their faces with their hands in mourning.)
Britomartis: This is somewhat unsettling. Why are they all weeping?
I: (I step back and try to interpret the scene in light of the accompanying depictions.) They’re struggling with Sethian creatures. There is much disorder within their own minds.
Britomartis: Psychomachy? Madness?
I: You’re right. To reach the promised lands, one must fight each and every Seth.
Britomartis: But they’re in the Elysian Fields aren’t they?
I: They’re trying to reach the Elysian paradise. They’re not there yet.
Britomartis: To which hour would this correspond?
I: We must be in the fourth hour now. The throat of the goddess.
Britomartis: How can you know this?
I: It must be. By tradition the fourth hour is always the fight against the enemies. Those who fall prey to the dark side have their heads decapitated by the great mother. They die a second death.
Britomartis: The goddess Hathor?
Britomartis: (Wraps both her hands around her neck, as if protecting herself from an invisible knife.) How do you know where one hour begins and the other ends?
I: There are no visible markers. You need to interpret the scenes. I can understand some of them.
Britomartis: Some of these images mean different things in today’s age. Very different.
I: Look here is the winged griffin! (I point to another relief).
I: Look at this couple in this one. They are being led into the divine presence of the winged griffin. (I trace my hand along the giant trunk which separates the two sides of the image.) On the other side is everything earthly; the profane.
Britomartis: It looks as though they’re being initiated.
I: Yes, into the mysteries of death. On the side of the griffin are the unseen forces and on the side of the couple are the known forces of the universe.
Britomartis: Who are these bird-headed women? The followers?’
I: Most probably prophets of the griffin; they understand its ways which is why they are portrayed with bird heads.
Britomartis: So what’s it saying? That the couple is worthy?’
I: You can say that. Yes.
Britomartis: The way it’s seated reminds me of the Egyptian judge of the dead.’
I: Who, Osiris?
I: I hadn’t thought of that.
Britomartis: The wise prophet told us that back in our mythical era the griffin showed people were treasure was buried. Somewhere deep in the subterranean lays the last resting place of the griffin.
I: In time this was forgotten. (My face sparks to life with a revelation.) And this youth over here is being ushered away because he is deemed to be unworthy.
Britomartis: So might we assume that the whole drawing implies that the answer to the secret location of the golden labrys is inscribed in these very walls?’
I: It is probable.
Britomartis: (Embraces and kisses me lightly on the lips.) We’re very near. The secret within our grasp now.
Talos: Why do you call it a rebirth tunnel?
I: Because it describes the passage of the night travelers from death until the time of their rebirth.
Talos: What purpose do you think this place served for the old settlers? It looks so mysterious.
I: It didn’t serve any literal purpose, at least not from what I know. The rebirth tunnel employs cryptic pictures and writing to show how creation occurs in the depths of the night.’
Talos: That would explain its permanent shielding from sunlight, right?
Talos: The creation of what though? A human child?
I: That’s part of it, although I think in older times people liked to experience states of consciousness where they became one with every other piece of created matter. (I point to various depictions.) Whether it be child, soul, or even a metal the processes are identical.
Talos: The Flower of Life! All is one.
I: Exactly! In my world, those who have been to the brink and back are supposed to know the mystery of coming creation.
Talos: So coming to life would be seen as a return from the dead, right?
I: Transmigration; the endless cycle.
Talos: It reminds me of the stork migration to Africa in winter and their return here to Crete in summer. Do you know that the evil queen has reliefs of that in her sanctuary?
I: I’ve seen them; a very clever metaphor I might add.
Talos: This place is somewhat eerie. Where do you think we are now?’
I: The throat. The fourth hour.
Talos: Have you noticed that you can almost see the shape of the goddess’s body? It’s as if we’re wanderers traveling through it.
I: We are wonderers quite literally now. All this time I’ve been thinking about where the golden labrys might be hidden and I still can’t grasp even a hair on the lion’s tail.
Talos: You said that the depiction with the griffin confirms that it must be around here somewhere. But where?
Talos: You know that our city was founded by the griffin, don’t you? The wise prophet mentioned it many times. The griffin showed people where treasure was buried.
I: Did the wise prophet ever tell you in what hour of the day Cnossos was founded?
Talos: Yes, he mentioned it.
I: What hour did he say?
Talos: The sixth,
I: (I ponder the connection between time and body part.). The answer must be in the lungs of the goddess. (I penetrate deeper into the darkness with Talos following close behind me and stop in the position where the sixth hour of passage might be.)
Talos: This is impossible. There are even more reliefs here. It looks very complicated.
I: Not really. You just have to train yourself to think with the analogous mind, just like they did. Just think of your double axe. On one side you have what you think you’re cutting into, and on the other what you are actually cutting into.
Talos: There metaphors of yours are confusing me.
I: I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what the form of the labrys actually symbolizes. (I look about and something on the centre of the wall gets my attention.) Look at this.
Talos: What is it?
(I trace my hand along the bulbous shape of a dark man enclosed in a furnace. He is bending over backward, showing off extreme elasticity. His tousled hair streams down towards the ground; his phallus points proudly towards the ceiling. By his facial contortions, I can see that he has entirely surrendered to the power of his own orgasm.
I: That’s interesting symbolism there.
Talos: I’ll say.
I: There’s a hidden meaning there. What do you think?
Talos: I don’t know. Why are you asking me anyway? You’re the cryptologist here!
I: (I read the hieroglyphs above the ithyphallic figure.)
Talos: What does it say?
I: It says that these men are the Wandering Ones. To me, the fact that they are orgasming is an obvious giveaway.’
Talos: Of what? Emotion? Desire?
Talos: There’s a tremendous amount of emotion involved in creation you know.
I; Stop being flippant and look over here. (I point to jet of ejaculation.) Emotion always creates something, in this case a child. But for any creation there must be heat present. (I point to a solar orb rolling across the man’s chest.) ‘To warm and invigorate the seed coming from the heart.
Talos: Moisture and fire together. They’re exact opposites.
I; Seed and flame united in creation or contradiction. Here is your proof. (I circle a set of hieroglyphs on the wall.)
Talos: What do those mean?
I: Their names are mentioned.
I; Well they’re feminine.
I: Exactly. Creation must occur in the sixth hour of the night which I would guess they equated with time zero.
Talos: That reminds me of something. (Pointing to the heated crucible which holds a dark man) Back at the mine you said that the furnace in which they melted gold was also the hieroglyph for dawn.
I: Yes the dawn of creation. I must have missed that.
Talos: You also said back at that old mine that there was a divine connection between pictograms and words. People in your world still like to use them today, don’t they?
I: That’s right. There was a worded riddle connecting gold and dawn on the cliff shrine and a pictogram depicting it on a bas relief inside the mine itself.
Talos: They must have replicated the exact same connection between pictures and words in here. If that hieroglyph for dawn is a secret marker for the labrys and the dark man creation, where did they bury it?
I: (Heart racing) I think I know where it is.
Talos: Where? Where is it?
I: The gold labrys has been placed in the eye of creation. (I step back and study the whole image). That’s what these pictograms of gold and fiery creation are telling us.
Talos: Beneath the eye of creation. That’s very odd. I still don’t understand it. Creation isn’t a place in space and time.
I: The connection was a worded pun on the false sarcophagus above the mine. If the unification of the two is pictured here…’
Talos: Then the labrys is buried under the worded equivalent of this pictogram. Which should be directly above us, right?’
Talos: What’s directly above us?
I: The place where seed and flame unite.
Talos: We’ve found it!
(We both peer up. The imprint of the Flower of Life is etched directly above us.)
I: It’s in the eye of creation. Literally in the eye.