Mandorla Consciousness: Part II


MandorlaV[1]While empowering our masculine sides was a necessary phase of our psycho-spiritual development, our ego’s repression of our feminine sides has brought about the dangerous imbalances we see in today’s world. But to put all the blame on males and masculine values, or the patriarchies, Gods and religions they created, is just more projecting! The truth is that most of us are still divided and incomplete. The Great Mystery of Life some call God didn’t want to punish Adam and Eve and the people of Babel any more than it wants to punish us. It wants us to grow into our fullness, but our divided egos are resisting it with all their strength.

There is a time for everything. The dualism that gave rise to our evolving ego and developing Christ potential has become our worst enemy: the anti- Christ. And as long as we repress unwanted parts of ourselves and project them onto others—whether these be our compulsive instincts, dangerous emotions, or frightening aspects of our masculine and feminine sides—we will struggle through the darkness of confusion and the world will be a dangerous place.

Fortunately, our inborn urge to transcend our limitations is still at work. For the first time in human history, the relatively new science of psychology is revealing the unconscious forces within us that led us to this precipice, and this understanding is expanding our ego’s awareness. We are seeing that the cherished God-image of a Father/God/ King who is an objective reality beyond ourselves and prefers our tribe to any other is a product of dualistic thinking which has created religious bigotry, divisiveness, narrow-mindedness, repression, persecution, fanaticism, and terrorism.

The extreme polarization that permeates society today is intolerable to many of us. But what can you and I possibly do if the world’s greatest thinkers, philosophers, political leaders and spirit persons have failed to create healing change? Does it make sense to redouble our commitment to the very thought- patterns and ideologies that brought us to this point, or are we ready for radical change? And if we are, what might healthy change look like?

A lifetime of searching has led me to a path that works for me. There’s nothing new about it. Every mystic and authentic spirit person from every religion has always known about it because it’s always existed in us. This is a way of intentional and persistent self-examination in service to consciously connecting all pairs of opposites. I call it the path of Mandorla Consciousness. Imagine two circles that move toward each other until they overlap. The almond-shaped symbol created by their merging is a mandorla. Christianity has long considered this a holy place of transformation and transcendence because Christianity is founded on compassion, and compassion requires integration with otherness.

Our potential for Mandorla Consciousness is the same potential humanity once associated with Sophia’s holistic wisdom. But before we can return to this holy space and know it for what it truly is, we need to undergo the initiatory ordeal of suffering into consciousness. We need to see our resistance to the pain of growing. We need to understand that our ancestors justified their fear of change by imagining a God who didn’t want them to change either. We need to admit to our own fears, and experience the sacred healing power of love that sleeps at our core and is unveiled when we open ourselves to otherness.

Our hope for personal and world peace lies in self-discovery. This work begins as we acknowledge our individual and cultural shadows, and it comes to fruition when we invite our disowned masculine and feminine sides into our awareness. By facing our own capacity for evil as well as good, we will acquire humility and compassion for others. By accepting our soul’s potential for wholeness we will free ourselves from the chains of inferiority and self- hate. And by honoring the nobility and worth of our inner Mother/Queen and inviting her to enjoy equal partnership with our Father/King, we will embrace otherness and return to our true home: a conscious, evolving partnership with the Sacred Mystery of life.

Note:  This post and the previous one were originally published by the Center for Action and Contemplation under the title, The Mandorla Consciousness. Radical Grace, Summer 2012, vol. 25, no 3, p. 18.

Image Credit:  Mandorla, by Cicero Greathouse

Jean’s newest book, Healing the Sacred Divide, can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Ebook versions of The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are also at Amazon as well as KoboBarnes And Noble, and Smashwords.

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0 Responses

  1. Thank you Jeanie (genie) …it really is up to each and every one of us, in our own way to confront our shadows and dig deep, do the work. We can better understand the forces at work in the outer world e.g. our partnerships, parental upbringing, relationships, the politics of the world, and significantly, what tweaks our own complexes.
    Interestingly to me, Babylon has come up THREE times this past week, since your last post. The last was this past Sunday when I attended a lecture on ancient symbols … the word was broken down: Ba Byl On …; but now I can’t find my notebook. ‘On’ I think referred to God. Also, the speaker mentioned Isaiah 45:7 in which God says He is both Good and Evil – to me this was a reminder that I contain all – and that I need to confront my own darkness in which the treasure can hopefully be found and divest myself of my conditioning and allow for the sacred Sophia to emerge.

    1. Thanks, Susan. I love the synchronicity of “Babylon” coming up several times for you this week. I’ve never seen the word broken down but would love to know its ancient meaning. I’ll check it out.
      I’m not surprised, however, to hear that even in Isaiah’s time Spirit people associated God with both Good and Evil. We know from experience that the Self (our God-image) contains both poles, like every archetype. And throughout history we’ve seen many examples of the “supernatural” forces we sense in ourselves being projected onto our deities and enacted in terrorist acts, cult killings (Jim Jones, etc.), witch burnings, pogroms, religious inquisitions, and genocides perpetrated in the name of God. Yes, somehow, so many people still fail to grasp the fact that they, too, contain both. It’s always the other guy who’s bad; never us!

  2. Thank you for this helpful post. Your words never fail to move me in some way. I was particularly drawn to your statement: “We need to understand that our ancestors justified their fear of change by imagining a God who didn’t want them to change either.” I have been writing about that concept this past week, inspired by my reading of “Jesus Wars” by Philip Jenkins and Elaine Pagels’ “The Origin of Satan” (and, having read her book on the Gnostic Gospels, I came across a book that sounds intriguing called “Jung and the Lost Gospels”).

    1. Hi, Darla. I appreciate knowing what it was about this post that moved you. It gives me ideas for future posts. In fact, I think you just gave me one for my next post! We’ll see if it pans out…
      I love Pagels’ books, and think I’ve pretty much read them all. I also came across Jung and the Lost Gospels early in my Jungian studies. I bought it, read it, and remember being intrigued by it, though I couldn’t tell you now which parts of it were most helpful to me without going back and rereading the underlined sections. Sometimes when I do that I’m amazed to see where the seeds of some of my ideas came from and how they’ve blossomed into the way I think and live now.
      Blessings on your writing. May it touch and move those who read it in meaningful ways…. For those who might be interested, here’s the link to your blog:

  3. Thank you again, Jeanie. I’m taken with your comment that compassion requires integration with otherness. What a wonderful and simple way to state this essential truth. Protestant teachings in my childhood Presbyterian church were clear about the need to love the other and take care of the disadvantaged and suffering. Since then, this fundamental issue has often been pushed aside by less forgiving teachings. I’m grateful for the Dalai Lama who continues to make it clear that compassion is the essential issue. “Kindness is my religion.”

    1. And thank you, Elaine. The only way I’ve learned compassion is to see my shadow mirrored in the responses of people I care for to the things I do and say. Had I lived my adult life as a hermit without close relationships, I could probably have sailed through life thinking that because I believed in the importance of compassion, and because I tried very hard to be a nice person, I truly was. It has been a rude awakening to discover that compassion is not about what you want to be or believe you are, but how you actually feel. About feeling patient and kindly toward someone whose actions are causing you frustration and stress. About feeling forgiving and understanding toward someone who’s hurt you, and not just saying or acting like everything’s fine when it really isn’t. Kindness…feeling it, living it in every moment…truly is the essential issue. Thanks so much for your valuable contribution to this subject.

  4. I’ve often wondered if Source meets us where we are, then uses that place as a sacred starting point to invite us in and continue the conversation. Your explanation of the mandorla ~as being the place where two circles meet, overlap and find common ground, along with the image this conjures~ has helped to clarify something else associated with this move toward greater consciousness . . . which is its paradoxical separating effect.
    It’s as if as our compassion grows and become more inclusive, it simultaneously isolates and separates us from members of our former tribe (or the collective) who, no longer sensing our allegiance to a more limiting and previously shared worldview and perspective, pull away from us or feel threatened.
    It’s probably why Jesus told those who would follow him to take up their crosses, tending as we do to crucify, silence or banish the peaceful prophets, mystics and truth-tellers who walk among us.
    Even if the widening is relatively small, the shift is still felt. As our awareness changes, so do we. The places, things, words and illusions that once captured our attention begin to lose their hold on us and no longer ring true. We attract and are drawn to a different way of seeing, speaking and knowing. We lose our place in the world, eventually stop clinging to the edge of the boat ~ which, in a visual sense, resembles the outside edge of the mandorla, reminding us there is no outside.
    Thanks again for another helpful post, Jeanie ~ one of many I’ve discovered here.

    1. I’m glad you found this helpful, LB. Yes, it’s true that as we move away from conforming and into our true selves, we realize we’re truly alone in that inner mandela space where creative change occurs. Individuation is by nature a solitary journey, although there are outer guides as well as inner ones who can help us.
      As an introvert and dream worker, I’ve found that by giving the inner characters of my dreams names and characteristics—for example my Critical Bully can show up in various guises and settings but always has the same qualities and my dream ego experiences the same effects—I don’t really feel alone. Especially when it comes to the very positive and affirming characters who show up from time to time with their particular distinguishing characteristics.
      For example, I have a female that shows up every now and then. She’s small, always has blond hair, and almost always wears blue. She rarely talks or communicates directly with me. She’s just there with me, usually in difficult situations, and her presence is always comforting. I’ve come to realize she’s always with me and I trust her, so again, I don’t really feel alone when I step out of my comfort zone in my dreaming and waking life. I’m still not totally certain what to name her, but I see her as a sort of anima/soul guide.
      Obviously, this is a most different way of seeing, speaking and knowing that few understand. That used to bother me a lot, but after years of dreamwork it doesn’t any more.
      Best, Jeanie

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