Chapter 14
Dark Night of the Soul : Wilderness

The Battle of Glass Tears

"Wine to intensify love; fire to consume. We bring these, not
like images from a dream reality, but as an actual night to
live through until dawn."

- Rumi

- chapter index -
pg. 1 - Wilderness | pg. 2 - Prince Rupert Awakes | pg. 3 - The Sufis
pg. 4 - And there a Swan is Born | pg. 5 - Reels of Dream Unrolled | pg. 6 - The Peacock's Tale
pg. 7 - The Tibetan Book of the Dead | pg. 8 - Dawn Song | pg. 9 - Night Enfolds Her Cloak of Holes
pg. 10 - The Battle of Glass Tears | pg. 11 - Prince Rupert's Lament

- page index -
Apocalypse | Mongols | The Tower

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"It is your turn now,
you waited, you were patient.
The time has come,
for us to polish you.
We will transform your inner pearl
into a house of fire.
You're a gold mine.
Did you know that,
hidden in the dirt of the earth?
It is your turn now,
to be placed in fire.
Let us cremate your impurities."

- Rumi

"You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame;
how could you become new if you haven't first become ashes?"

- Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

"But who may abide the day of His coming, And who shall stand when He appeareth?
For He is like a Refiner's Fire."

- Malachi 3.2

"The fire of Kundalini is said to be able to automatically annihilate mental and bodily impurities, as for instance, earthly desires, old "garbage" from this, and previous lives. The personal Ego must be annihilated."

- Kundalini Problems

"Stake a Lizard by the throat."

"...chakra 5 at the throat = inward directed violence to shatter ego- attachments"

- Anima East and West

The Divine Darkness

"The darkness of God assumes a variety of appearances. To the mystic the darkness is a measure of the strength of God's light, uncreated and eternal, on the human soul. In much the same way as the direct impress of the sun on the naked eye would blind its sight by burning the retina, so the impingent rays of God's presence consume the secret place of the soul: a darkness heralds the divine splendour, the dazzling darkness of the mystic, which illuminates in its obscurity more than does the highest intellectual enlightenment. It is well said that no one can see God and remain alive. ...In the awesome account of Krishna's self-revelation to Arjuna in the eleventh chapter of the Bhagavadgita, the mighty warrior shrinks in terror at what he has been permitted to see. It is indeed a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God, especially if one has already apostasized from the divine allegiance (Hebrews 10:31), for the Lord is a devouring fire..."

- The Dark Face of Reality by Dr. Martin Israel

"And now I heard his voice, rising, swelling, thundering through the flaring light, and as I fell, the radiance increasing, increasing, poured over me in waves of flame. Then I sank into the depths, and I heard the King in Yellow whispering to my soul: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!"

- In the Court of the Dragon by Robert W. Chambers

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"I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, "Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great. Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army."

- Revelation 19:17-18, 19

"When the beard has for the third time reached the last corner of the table, the end of the world begins, a bloody battle is fought on the Walserfeld, Antichrist appears, the angel-trumpets peal, and the Last of Days has dawned. The Walserfeld has a withered tree, which has been cut down three times, but its root has always sprouted and grown into a perfect tree again. When next it begins to leaf, the terrible fight is near, and will open when the tree bears fruit. Then shall Frederick hang his shield on the tree, all men shall flock to it, and make such a slaughter that the blood will run into the warriors' shoes, and the wicked men be slain by the righteous."

- Grimm's Teutonic Mythology at The Midhnott Sol Regintroth
(Vol. 3 Ch. 32)

"Why is it that in practically all the ancient literatures spiritual teaching was given in the vernacular of the battlefield? The Bhagavad-Gita, for instance, tells of the conflict between the opposing armies of the Kurus and the Pandavas. In the Germanic and Scandinavian mythologies there is the constant battling between the gods and the heroes; so also in the Greek, Egyptian, Persian, and Babylonian mythologies -- all are alike in this respect."

- The Primeval Wisdom-Teaching

"Men generally find it very difficult to deprive themselves of graven images, of special incarnations of the divine… and the functional equivalent of graven images in modern secular faiths are very special events (the Revolution, past or to come, natural selection, national liberation, or whatever) inside the world."

- Ernest Gellner

"The word Apocalypse is interesting. Its vulgar meaning is misconstrued from the final book of the Bible, Revelations, which Saint John the Divine wrote after obtaining in a vision on the Grecian isle of Patmos. The Saint describes an end of time, a resurrection of the souls of the dead, a divine last judgement, followed by a grand entry of the souls of the blessed into Paradise. Need we say more? R.D. Laing points out that if you scrutinise the text, you will not find a single indication that he was talking about an external phenomenon! The word itself, is Greek, simply means "revelation," or more precisely, the uncovering of something that was hidden."

- Inner Apocalypse

"This mention of Moses has become a shackle on men's minds -- they think these stories happened long ago... Moses and Pharoah are in your own existence -- you must seek these two adversaries in yourself."

- The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi, p. 274

-Inner War

"The greatest war is the war against our selves."

- Mohammed

"Now the dark night deepens. As our outer and inner worlds
dissolve, we lose our sense of reference. There arises a
great sense of unease and fear, leading students into a
realm of fear and terror. "Where is there any security?"
"Wherever I look, things are dissolving." In these stages we
can experience this dissolution and dying within our own
body. We may look down and see pieces of our body
seeming to melt away and decay, as if we were a corpse. We
can see ourselves dying, or having died, in a thousand ways,
through illness, battles, and misfortune. At this point other
powerful visions can arise, visions of the death of others,
visions of wars, dying armies, funeral pyres, or charnel

- The Dark Night

"Many of the alchemical texts relate "tales of horror" (dismemberment,
being mashed into oblivion) which relate the death of the ego. This is a
necessary step to allowing the divine (the gold) to enter into the "space"
which was formerly occupied by the renegade ego."

- Alchemy Forum

"In Oriental art there may be no more evocative
portrayal of what Rudolf Otto calls the mysterium
tremendum than the wrathful deities of Tibetan
Tantric Buddhism. Fearful in form, wreathed in
flames. adorned with garlands of human heads, and
brandishing dagger and skull-cup, their painted
images conjure the feelings of dread and fascination
which Otto describes in The Idea of the Holy. In
this seminal work, he sets out to describe the
central element of religious experience such that
there is "no religion in which it does not live as
the real innermost core, and without it no religion
would be worthy of the name."

- Approaching the Numinous: Rudolf Otto and Tibetan tantra

"One must not fear the Wrathful Deities, but must realize the gifts they have to offer and realize that they come from you. They are part of your consciousness. When one embraces the Wrathful Deities one becomes enlightened.

Do not flee these deities they are coming from your own mind."

- The Tibetan Book of the Dead and Karma

"Because these hallucinations are products of the mind,
the Buddhist deities described in the book will not
apply to everyone. A Christian will have visions that
reflect his own beliefs, and so will a Moslem. For example
it would be reasonable to assume a Christian would see
visions of Jesus during the time of the peaceful deities,
and of Satan during the wrathful deities stage."

- The Chonyid Bardo

And it would be reasonable to assume that Rumi or Frederick II would see visions of Mongol warriors.

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As previously discussed in chapter five, The Battle of Glass Tears is depicted on the album cover as a clash between Teutonic Knights and Mongol warriors. Historically, these two factions met only once, at the Battle of Liegnitz, during the reign of Frederick II.

"What the Russians then called their Mongol conquers
was the "Tartars"--invaders come
from Tartarus, the deepest part of
Hell. However, this was a deliberate
modification of the Persian word
tātār, which just meant a kind of Turk,
though the Mongols, of course, were
not Turks. But then, as the Mongols
appeared out of nowhere from the
Steppe, arriving from origins far
beyond the knowledge of Russians or
Persians, no one really knew who they
were or where they were from. To
Europeans, they seemed like the
Scourge of God."

- The Mongol Khans

"I am the Flail of God. If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you!"

- Temujin, Chinggis, Jenghiz The Conqueror of Asia and Eastern Europe

"If we are to understand the poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi, we should know that..."The Song of the Reed" was written by a man who, in a single event lost his whole family, all his neighbors, the surrounding community and the nation in which he had trusted for protection. As we have seen, from Balkh Jalal al-Din Rumi fled before the Mongols to the Iranian heartland and ended up in Konya, in modern Turkey, where he composed the Mathnawi. It begins with "The Song of the Reed." "God giveth and God taketh away" was the order of the day; the Mongols could not but be regarded as the scourge of Allah descending upon rebellious communities. "Of Him we are and to Him we return" was the only phrase that could soothe the pain of separation from loved ones."

- Iran and Islam to AD 1400

Remarkably, Rumi, Gini Barris (who designed the cover of Lizard ) and Frederick II all portray the Mongols as representatives from the underworld, the scourge of God.

"When the first rumors of the Mongol invasion of Russia and
Hungary reached Europe early in the thirteenth century, Frederick
II of Germany wrote letters to his brother monarchs describing the
imminent peril to the West:

'Bursting forth from the abodes of Tartarus, the Horde is
even now battering like a sudden tempest at Germany,
the 'door of Christendom'.

(aka: Rupert's "rain tree shaded lawn")

- Ominous New Directions

"Everything is number " said Pythagoras. The numerical mystic takes this maxim very literally. The Universe and all its aspects are governed by the number and the idiosyncrasies of the number. Three are the trinity, and six the perfect number. In 1240, the triumphal year of the reign of Frederick II of Sicily, western Europe was itself crossed through with rumors of the approach of a great king from the distant East, master of an immense territory, that inexorably began a slow cadence towards the West. The Islamic kingdoms were falling one after the other under their sword. Some Christians interpreted this as an omen of the coming of the legendary one, Prester John, who would unite in Jerusalem the kings of the West and would seal the destiny of the Islamic religion. The Jews of Europe, for their own reasons, maintained that this Eastern monarch was the Messiah King, the son of David, and proposed that Europe receive him with joy and celebration. Other Christians, although conforming to the messianic interpretation, maintained that this messķah was their own King Frederick II, stupor ET dominis mundi, wonder and master of the world, one of the most remarkable intellects to have ever occupied a throne.

What was the foundation of this belief in the coming of messiah? Simply, that year 1240 of the Christian calendar corresponded with year 5000 of the Hebrew calendar, and that, according to certain theories, the Messiah would have to appear at the beginning of the sixth millenium. There is a piece of number mysticism here that is incredible for the modern mind. The Eastern king was neither Prester John nor the Messiah, but Batu Khan, grandson of Gengis Khan and founder of the Golden Horde, that broke through to blood and fire until Liegnitz, in Silesia."

- Numerical Mysticism

Buddha, like Christ in the wilderness, faced his trials. While under the bodhi tree, he encountered the terrifying visions found at this stage of the spiritual journey.

"As he persisted in his deepest meditation, Mara, the personification of severe impediments
on the narrow pathway to truth, sought to distract him with his vast hordes of demonic
tempters, ranging from hideous emblems of terror and torment to ethereal purveyors of
ecstasy and enchanting reminiscence. Buddha calmly confronted and renounced all alike,
calling upon bhumi, the earth, as his sole witness. According to the Padhana Sutta, Buddha
once depicted Mara's array of distractions thus:

Lust is your first army, and dislike for the higher life the second; the third is hunger and
thirst, and the fourth craving; the fifth army consists of torpor and sloth, and the sixth is
fear; the seventh is doubt, the eighth hypocrisy and obduracy; the ninth includes gain,
praise, honour and glory; and the tenth is looking down on others whilst exalting self.
Such are your armies, Mara, and none who are weak can resist them. Yet only by
conquering them is bliss attained."

- Buddha and the Path to Enlightenment

Instructions for the Wrathful Visions

"You are now entering Second Bardo nightmares.
Recognize them.
They are your own thought-forms made visible and audible.
They are products of your own mind with its back to the wall.
They indicate that you are close to liberation.
Do not fear them.
No harm can come to you from these hallucinations.
They are your own thoughts in frightening aspect.
They are old friends.
Welcome them. Merge with them. Join them.
Lose yourself in them.
They are yours.
Whatever you see, no matter how strange and terrifying,
Remember above all that it comes from within you.
Hold onto that knowledge.
As soon as you recognize that, you will obtain liberation.
If you do not recognize them,
Torture and punishment will ensue.
But these too are but the radiances of your own intellect.
They are immaterial.
Voidness cannot injure voidness.
None of the peaceful or wrathful visions,
Blood-drinking demons, machines, monsters, or devils,
Exist in reality
Only within your skull.

(They are glass tears.)

This will dissipate your fear. Remember it well."

- The Psychedelic Experience

"The Herukas (wrathful visions)
described as "blood-drinking," angry or "terrifying" deities - are merely
the dynamic aspect of enlightenment, the process of becoming a Buddha, of
attaining illumination, as symbolized by the Buddha's struggle with the
Hosts of Mara.... The ecstatic figures, heroic and terrifying, express the
act of breaking through towards the unthinkable, the intellectually
"Unattainable." They represent the leap over the chasm, which yawns between
an intellectual surface consciousness and the intuitive supra-personal
depth-consciousness." (Govinda, op. cit., pp. 198, 202.)]

- The Psychedelic Experience

The "leap over the chasm"...

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Vividly depicted on the album cover, we see both the "peaceful" and "wrathful" visions of the Chonyid Bardo.
In Gini Barris' illustration the "peaceful visions" are portrayed in the pastoral scenes on the right side of the "K". In the "wrathful visions" on the left side of the illustration, lightning strikes a mountain and figures are seen falling into the abyss. This brings to mind the Tower tarot card on which lightning strikes a tower and two figures plummet to earth.

Rider Waite Tower card
"The tower is the World Axis, the center of being, and the divine illumination has struck at its core, demolishing it, but igniting in its depths the spark of new life. The falling figures, representing head and heart (reason and emotion), were imprisoned in the tower's dogma and defenses. Though now released, before they can be reborn they must "come back to the earth" of the body and must be submerged in the Abyssal waters of the unconscious, which have been quickened by the lightning."

On the album cover the falling figures represent aspects of the ego which are being destroyed. Let's not forget that, to the detriment of Intuition, "ego is the perceptual organ". It is entirely beholdant to the function of Sensation. Ego is Hell and Sensation is the fallen angel, Lucifer.

"...the trump's oldest titles call attention to the destruction (by fire or thunderbolt) of the "Devil's House," which is a significant clue to the trump's meaning."

Moakley (95-6, 98-9) interprets the XV.Tower as Hellmouth into which XIV.Devil is carrying Judas (XII.Hanged Traitor). Hellmouth, often shaped like a giant dragon's mouth, was a typical fixture of medieval stage sets. It was sometimes shown with winged demons flying around it, which she thinks may be the origin of the falling figures of modern tarot decks. The celestial power is drawn down from the heavens,through the seven levels, which symbolize the chakras, represented by the seven colors of the rainbow (Judith 324-7).
The lightning bolt strikes deep into the base of the Tower, igniting Muladhara-Chakra, the Root Chakra at the base of the spine (sushumna, represented by the Tower), where Kundalini the Python sleeps.

Deep in the sacred mountain the Celestial Bolt unites with the Abyssal Waters to create the Para-Bindu (Supreme Bindu), which is the hermaphroditic union of two seeds, Shiva and Shakti, and 'the chief root of liberation' (Sat-Cakra-Nirupana, v. 42; Avalon 41-2, 430; Butterworth, Tree 126-7).

"The lightning bolt is a Gestalt shift, the collapse of false or outworn values, the shattering of old forms and ideas, and the disintegration of old systems. It comes as a stroke of illumination, a gnosis granted by the gods, which reveals in a flash the weaknesses of the old structure. (Case 169; Nichols 290, 293; Pollack I.109; SBG 67; Sharman-Burke 105)"

- The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus

Dark Night of the Soul : Wilderness ~ Night Enfolds Her Cloak of Holes

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Dark Night of the Soul : Wilderness ~ Prince Rupert's Lament

Sign the Dreambook Dreambook Read the Dreambook

Chapter One The Metaphysical Record In The Court Of the Crimson King In The Wake Of Poseidon Lizard The King In Yellow The Sun King Eight
The Lake Which Mirrors the Sky In the Beginning Was the Word In the Beginning was the Word...side two Eros and Strife Dark Night of the Soul...Cirkus Dark Night of the Soul...Wilderness Big Top Islands
Islands Two Footnotes in the Sand Still Still 2
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