"This is one of the most widely used symbols. "Night" with its connotations of darkness is used to denote the unconscious, and of course this stage is a period of intense unconscious development, which is experienced in great darkness. The night can also give a time sequence to the transcendent journey through the unconscious. The earlier period of dusk symbolises the start of circular level and differentiation of unconscious structures. The later period of dawn symbolises the ending of this period of differentiation. We are now in this stage approaching the darkest most intensive point (i.e. midnight).
The night can also be a symbol of fear, with all kinds of danger lurking. Likewise, in this stage, without warning one's peace can suddenly be disturbed and turn to a deep sense of unease. This really reflects the tenuous dividing line between nature and spirit which is especially thin during this stage. There is never room for complacency. Exposure to pure spiritual communication is quickly followed by complementary exposure to human imperfection."
- Transforming Voyage
- A Contemporary Account of Mystical Personality Development
chapter 9, Black Hole
by Peter Collins
At the beginning of the album Rupert has a horse to transport him about. Here at the end we have images of "broken ploughs" and "spokeless wheels", both of which are non-functional and useless. The message here seems to be that Rupert cannot turn back. He has no choice but to stand and face the inevitable. The ego has nowhere left to run.
"What is this darkness? What is it called? What is its name?" "It's name means nothing other than an aptitude for sensitivity that is not all lacking in or devoid of being. It is rather a rich sensitivity in which you will be made whole. For this reason, there is positively no turning back."
- Meister Eckhart
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"Hides spokeless wheels in shadow."
The Devil Tarot Card
"The Devil represents the Shadow, and this trump heralds a confrontation with the Shadow.
- The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus
Archetypes and the Individuation Process
"According to Jung, one must get in touch with the Shadow and Anima/Animus before one can truly get in touch with the Self. The order is sequential, and as tempting as it may be to try and skip the Shadow or deal only superficially with it, it is here that we begin.
Jung referred to this initial step as "the First Act of Courage". And the first thing that is necessary in coming to terms with one's own shadow is simply to acknowledge that it exists. It sounds obvious, but there are those for whom the thought of actually having a darker side to their nature is extremely uncomfortable. Yet this is one of the primary reasons for undertaking the 'Shadow work' in the first place, since that which we have yet to disavow in ourselves will be projected outwards."
- Process of Individuation
"Sentries lean on thorn wood spears
Blow on their hands, stare eastwards.
"Thorn wood spears" suggest a crucifixion (crown of thorns, wooden cross, spear in the side). Significantly, the forces of the ego "stare eastwards" towards Intuition, the enemy camp.
"Burnt with dream and taut with fear
Dawn's misty shawl upon them.
Three hills apart great armies stir"
The "three hills apart" are the three psychological functions, Thinking, Feeling and Sensation differentiated from the whole.
"Spit oath and curse as day breaks.
Forming lines of horse and steel
By even yards march forward."
"The tendencies and habits of lifetimes do not easily melt away under
the heat of religious fervour. As the pilgrim-soul approaches the gateway
to the arduous spiritual path, all which must perish in the divine fire
precipitates the conflict between the aspirant's will to merge in the
universal light and all temporal traits."
- The Hero in Man
"In order to attain the spiritual heights, every initiate must go down into the depths and
go through a period known as 'the dark night of the Soul', which may last months and
months. This is a time of anguish, a period of barrenness in which he is torn apart and
feels certain that God has forsaken him, that he is unworthy, that he has made a mistake,
or that he has committed a sin, and God has therefore cast him into outer darkness. The
reason for this desolation is not that God has thrown him off: it is only that a greater,
deeper light is coming, and there must be an emptying-out process before that greater
light can come."
"There wil be an overturning in our consciousness, and it will appear to us as a warfare
between the flesh and the Spirit, a warfare between disease and health, between lack and
abundance, and finally between the two I's: the I that we are as a person and the I that
is God. (...) the warfare goes on until finally that human being is shaken so thoroughly
that he awakens to the fact that of himself he is nothing, but that the I which is God is
- A Parenthesis in Eternity. Living the Mystical Life
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Hides spokeless wheels in shadow."
After passing this "dark night of the soul" to the satisfaction of Mistress Moon, the Queen of the Night, we shall be reborn from the watery womb, and will be given the opportunity to cross this uncanny desert, and if we escape its dangers we will come to the fiery garden of the Sun (see 18.Sun). (Nichols 313-4; O'Neill 389; Sharman-Burke 110) Thus, in the Rosarium (1593) the Sun says: "in my sister the moon the degree of your wisdom increases, and not with another of my servants, even if ye know my secret" (Jung, MC 138).
Immersion in the briny Ocean brings about the alchemical dissolution, the "trial by bitter waters ," and in their murky depths we experience the "dark night of the spirit." There, like every shaman initiate, we suffer complete dismemberment; we are served as a feast for the gods. It is terrifying, but the ultimate adventure. (Crowley 113; Gad 276; O'Neill 389)"
- The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus
the transition from multiplicity to Unity, of that mergence and union of
the soul with the Absolute which is the whole object of the mystical
evolution of man. It is the last painful break with the life of illusion, the
tearing away of the self from that World of Becoming in which all its
natural affections and desires are rooted, to which its intellect and
senses correspond; and the thrusting of it into that World of Being
where at first, weak and blinded, it can but find a wilderness, a "dark."
No transmutation without fire, say the alchemists: No cross, no crown,
says the Christian.
...Here as elsewhere--but nowhere else in so drastic a sense--
the self must "lose to find and die to live."
- Mysticism - The Dark Night of the Soul"
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