The Yes of All Being Seen Through Richard Whelan's The Sun the Moon and the Stars: Art, Literature, Science & Mythology
Originally privately published 4 December 2014
Since time for humans began one of the deepest needs that has remained the same is the need for the sun to come out again. At night things are unpredictable, at play, are being formed and restored, are changed, but the sun in complete assured eloquence comes boldly up from the horizon and brings all-encompassing light, power, strength and justice. To night belongs the healing and transformations, the longings of the soul, but the day delivers the sword and the promise. Rules are broken at night, unknown paths are taken; in the day the invincible spirit of being alive claims victory. When the sun fails to deliver, a darkness looms as if clouded or eclipsed by something other than what is right and just. Other days are borne as a sometimes burden or a temporary suspension, like rain and winter. Whether spoken or not, a feeling penetrates the whole being. To feel the sun seep into one's being is to feel alive, warm and whole, completely and utterly blessed. The winter solstice, celebrated now as Christmas also celebrates the new life of longer days. It is no wonder then that humans have given innumerable expressions to this returning, to this unconquerable sun that permeates being. That it plays out in our lives gives us a direct commonality with the cycles of the systems surrounding us. We are alike; we are one with it. We cannot do without it.
When power, strength and beauty are eclipsed, the feelings are the same. We depend on justice for wholeness, for the feeling that things are righted and that life holds value. Without it life is a tragedy. This need for the sun is a real one. It is a powerful expression of the realness of life, of the human spirit and, ideally, the understanding is mirrored in human actions. The works of art that give voice to this all-encompassing light and strength have been some of the most powerful and influential works of art that have acted prominently within cultures for millennia. In his book The Sun the Moon and the Stars, Richard Whelan collected great and ground-breaking works across cultures that speak to the power and influence of these systems in our lives. That he chose art, literature, science and mythology as the collective delivery method to display the human expression about these forces allows us also to not only see how we are directly affected by the cosmos but also by the formal creations of those seeking to express the impact of the extraordinary whole. Both nature and art have something more in common: both have a distance from humans that reservedly offer an infinite pleasure of discovery and in turn creativity with the same qualities that show there is a universe at work outside the view of the human will.
The Sower, Vincent Van Gogh, 1888, Kröller-Müller Museum
The great works of art of course come from a sensitivity and hard-won awareness that causes one to become acutely aware of the passing and fragility of life. The immediate human response is to grip harder. Dominance is immediately outwardly lauded and rewarded, and victory, as the sun, must stay forever burning. It is reminiscent of a totalitarian state where what is to be known is dictated. In this shape of things, there is no place for human emotions. What is known is already known: it is handed out as unsurpassable Truth. But we have lived through the bloody battles of despots, Hitlers who believed their own wills should prevail; survived the Inquisition, the Reformation, slavery, the Holocaust, the bleakness of Modernity, the taking down of structures in post-modernism. Oppression from others' egos and their subsequent belief systems is a freedom already won by lives that cannot be erased.
Awareness comes from knowing the long, dark night. It comes from the cold and lonely winter. It comes from holding a body that was once someone who belonged to you. It comes slowly and from a struggle to be able to see beyond the bounds of the skin and the sky where there is a tiny almost imperceptible ray of light that will mean total dissolution of what is dear; a small opening to a devastating battle to a different kind of understanding outside not only the always pervasive oppression of human egos, but also within the self that screams it cannot take the pain. Slowly, a different kind of breathing is detected. Breath becomes the only asset until something else can be seen. What is important comes very slowly breaking through at the cost of what is known and loved. Coming to know comes from being crushed in the heart, disappointed beyond all measure, the loss of what is good and holds the most value taken away over and over until one can't possibly take anymore, and then more is lost. It comes from the feeling that the sun has been blotted out.
Recognition is what makes its way finally into great works of art. It is first completely and irreversibly to know the deepest, most profound sense of loss as W. H. Auden writes:
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
Great works of art take down walls not for one human, but for all humans into a real commonality not of ego-maintenance, but of the abiding truths of existence that remove ego and finally, through hard process show the completeness of the universe. Propaganda puts up walls. It puts ego in place and dares anyone to look past it. It seeks to control what people say, do and think. The challenge of the master artist to "break windows through the walls of the culture to eternity" is also the doorway out of Plato's cave: the shadows are not what we are meant to know and we are not chained to watch them. The master artist, in whatever format or venue, breaks the light through, shows the light outside the cave; one doesn't see the shadow but the light. In a discussion of Thomas Mann's Dr. Faustus Joseph Campbell shows Mann to be describing the neurotic:
. . . the professional artist as morally suspect, even socially dangerous, con [person], who from a deliberately chosen position of spiritual alienation, yet offers the ambiguous, self-serving products of his [or her] art, in expectation not only of support and renumeration, but also of social approval and even adoration as a genius (Inner Reaches 113).
He continues with Freud showing the artist constrained within those self-built walls of self-pride where the artist wants to trap everyone in and imagines herself to be more important than even other lives and eternity:
Constrained by abnormally strong impulses, [s]he desires honor, power, wealth, fame, and the love of [men]; but [s]he lacks the means to attain these satisfactions, and so, like any other unsatisfied person, turns away from reality and transfers all of [her] interest, together with [her] libido, to the wishful fantasies of [her] imagination, through which [she] may actually be carried to neurosis . . . (113).
The difference is the intent with which the work is created. An incredible part of the universe, dreaming and deep consciousness is necessary and alive. Where ego dominates, however, there is restriction of consciousness. It is being trapped in the darkness of the cave. The harm is when this is accepted as "art" within a culture. It is a shadow dancing on the blank wall. It makes effort to maintain the void. The audience thinking it is locked in the cave with her, life becomes nothing more than her ego; other humans are erased. It takes away the freedom of a culture. It takes away growth and transformation. It stops the natural way of cycles of being.
The great artists transport one into the experience and convey the depth of realization, bring it back and deliver it; the experience and recognition can be experienced again, recognized again on one's own, and secure in their being and in their work, the true artist has no desire to control or dictate what becomes of it after delivery. The work takes one through the night. It may also deliver the experience of the sun, as the works in Whelan's book do. The far-reaching recognition finally to be known is to be able to set the art down and be; be in the realization that what is experienced is also what is at play in the eternal, without exception, in a grand, whole design. Art provides the opportunity for recognition, the participation, but most of all the intense pleasure and the freedom of coming to know. If the art is over-shadowed, locked within controls or ego-maintenance, gets set aside in museums, cathedrals or is quieted, the realm of the imagination that mirrors the boundless wonders of being alive is paused. A vastly important part of life is blocked out. Art is participation in life. There is a waiting with something not quite right. There is a struggle, a fight for it to come to life.
When something is not right, ego has to be sacrificed, transformation has to occur. It is a requirement for illumination. A brightly-burning sun has to give way to the darker time. Going back to the "cradle of civilization" in his history of the art and mythology of the sun Whelan describes the sacrifice of the Persian god Mithra, the god of the Sun, justice and war. It begins with loss. Whelan writes,
Persian myth told of Mithra's reluctant sacrifice of a white bull that then metamorphosed into the Moon, while Mithra's cloak became the vault of the heavens, the bull's tail became the first grains of wheat, and the drops of his blood were transformed into grapes.
This is a god of war not battling, but giving of himself. And of this recognition passing into Roman understanding:
Roman legionaries invading Persia adopted the versatile god of the Sun and of war, whom they called Mithras, as their own and worshipped him as the Unconquerable Sun. In Mithraic sanctuaries Roman soldiers stood under grates so that the blood from the cut throats of sacrificed bulls could drip upon them and give them invincible strength (6).
They participated in the understanding of the strength of the sun and of what it means to experience loss, undergo sacrifice, and learn how to live. The loss itself is what gives life from this "all-illuminating, all-beholding light." The sun was not only strength, but showed how to know and experience strength. It is an understanding of the sacrifice of night. The loss and the sacrifice are a part of the soldiers and they understand it.
On untold numbers of Roman plaques depicting Mithras sacrificially cutting a bull's throat the face of the Sun and Moon are represented in the sky. This iconography of sacrifice was carried over directly into depictions of Christ's crucifixion. Until the early sixteenth century a Sun face was often shown above the right shoulder of the crucified Christ, and a Moon face above his left.
Profound literal images of the brightest, strongest light and of the reflection of light in the changing night hang in the sky. To someone who is not aware of how the symbolism was transportive, or when the symbolism no longer speaks to a culture, the Sun and the Moon lose their power and connection to the whole. It is the human that is now in an empty space. How is one to recover from the dark night in an empty void? Or find the strength to try for light again? The universe goes quiet. The wonder goes missed with no recognition. This is more than just a missing of the experience available. It is also an alienation of what could be mirrored in the human in those effects of recognition. Religion attempted for centuries to provide that recognition but in most cases became walls, the doctrine, and the experience lost—because they do not see it themselves. It is reliant on someone else's life and on that institution. The natural change that has to occur through internal recognition cannot truly take place through a concept. The doctrine, too close for recognition, is handed out. The construct has to come apart before the illumination can be seen.
What is more than it being a requirement and demand, even a severe threat both immediately and in an afterlife, although it is based on sacrifice, on a letting go, Christianity in an effort to dominate attempted to usurp nature (and humanity) itself: to create a void where there was not one. It is the sun refusing to allow the moon. It is China refusing to allow peaceful Tibet. It holds life itself at bay. By blocking out the apparent rightness of nature, it closes down the walls to participation in eternity and puts it only in the field of time and society. It limits the experience in this reality to waiting. It stops the experience of being alive. It stops the universe from playing its grander role already at play in the here and now; it blocks out the possibilities of what is. Though immense and wondrous, the whole is silenced. It cannot be realized as playing its part. And being nature also, neither can the human. The message is: It is not You; it is someone else. It is not here, it is somewhere else. What you are is wrong. A major requirement of recognition is freedom. This provides the distance needed to be able to see, to step out from underneath authority and judgement and be.
Arguably the most influential story represented in art is that of Jesus and waiting for the "son" to come again. It is a portrayal of complete loss and sacrifice that demonstrates profound love. Instead of pointing to our own nature, however, the story is made to be about a savior that is not us. We are to understand the love but not fully understand what it means to lose all we thought we knew. It became an institution where knowledge is told within boundaries instead of as the experience of life, how to know the nature of being, how to know how to express love out of enduring complete loss. That our nature is not realized in this is one reason the religious art has failed to speak within a culture on its own or with discipline and doctrine. The person on the cross is demonstrated as the only One, excluding all others. The art is not a reflection of what it means to be alive, what it feels like to give everything for life although illumination requires total loss of everything, including constructs and beliefs. Even what it means to love is not fully realized (although one cannot even know what this means at the time). What the image could say is silenced. When it is realized it is a devastating realization in many ways, but all has to be opened for it to be able to speak.
In his parables Jesus purposefully puts in place a necessity for contemplation of what he is saying; he makes it a coming into recognition, of who can come to know what he talks about and demonstrates why there is a distance for recognition—a requirement for illumination. It is not handed out as a given because it cannot be. One is completely blocked out until one gets it because it is something that has to happen in the mind. One has to lay down everything first. Author Frank Kermode describes it as riddles. Riddles put in a required distance because one has to stop and think. While others rush to interpretation according to their own mindset and what they have been taught, the "stop" is missed. It is a pause to set down everything, including wants, desires and ego. He quotes Mark 4:11-12 in the Revised Standard Version: "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables: so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven" (qtd in Scholes 208). It is not a permanent barrier. It is a message that one will have to transform one's mind to be able to see it. While most interpretations are about "sin" and what is "wrong," when one reconsiders the barrier to be ego and begins the hard process to set all of those attachments down, the riddle starts making sense. The judgement of "sin" is an arbitrary one, one in direct opposition to the wonder of being alive. Ego, however, does single out and individuate and block out and cause one to not see all of the natural wonder already in place. One will have to sacrifice what he or she knows. The sun does not immediately come out in full-illumination. On the other hand, it is right in front of one to see but harder to perceive. Still there is always the burning desire for the sun to come out. There is always a need for illumination. Part of the wonder of it also is that there is intense pleasure in coming to know, light pervading one's being in many ways.
For many, the intermediary is a work of art. It cannot be told. One may "see but not perceive;" and likewise looking at the sun. For most, looking at Raphael's "Crucifixion," there would be no stopping to wonder at why there is the Sun and Moon, except as objects of creation or messages of light and dark, "the light of the world," but excluding the sun itself by the new statement. The connection of day giving way to night and night transforming into day is filtered and told. The goal being illumination, if it were understood, the sense of illumination already available and beckoning would cause one to drop to his or her knees, not in obeisance, but in recognition of the mirror hanging in the sky, the revelation of the transcendent Self.
It is nothing less than the realization that the son is here. This has not been realized in culture, however; it lacks a means of recognition. The Sun has gone away.
After sacrifice of all, after all loss, the mind can begin to perceive death as a part of life, incorporated into the here and now, not somewhere else or some other time. In searching for what can be "had" or even "given" one misses the point, "sees but doesn't perceive." What we hold closest is what we know and believe and think. Always loss, always the coming night, and from this, illumination. Day must give way to night for recognition. Night is crushed to complete darkness and born again to day. Holding on to possessions, power, control, dogmas, or identity, for example, one will suffer loss after loss with no understanding, no participation, a void of experience although the opposite seems true. Illumination is the only having. It is recognizing the brilliant display of life and wonder at work and shockingly visible and experienceable. In e. e. cummings words: "(now the ears of my ears awake and/ now the eyes of my eyes are opened)."
Total sacrifice is giving up the day, giving up the sun. It is giving up knowledge, ego, belief, what one thinks is love, all the "shoulds" and "musts" and stepping outside one's whole belief system and structures and all that tries to dominate—even thoughts. It means going to total night. Illumination is the beginning of a different kind of having—a completely different way of being--and it requires letting everything else in the human ego that wants or thinks or "holds on to" to fall away. In this, a second parable becomes more clear: "For to [she] who has will more be given; and from [she] who has not, even what [s]he has will be taken away." Beginning to perceive, one will understand more and more. To not see is to lose.
As humans, we want more than the Sun in the sky. With a stronger inner desire to live, we ignore it and go after what we want. We want to prevail and be the ones that "know" and have tangibly. There is light and it burns in the sky and it burns into our beings. We want it to be real within humanity, the burning desires to come to fruition. We want this miracle of life to feel as such instead of constant walls and trials. As if it is backwards, this coming to life comes from knowing the night and knowing darkness—all the way. It comes from sacrificing the light, the thing that keeps us alive, even in our minds. In transformation there are things that occur that are not predictable. What is gained is not yet known. In the Western tradition the prevalent impression is that there has been two thousand years of darkness. In the transformation of that culture during that time the human spirit has indeed grown away from domination of all kinds. For the first time in the history of Western civilization there is a distance and a freedom from religion, the judgements of morality and the seemingly-insurmountable divisions between sexes and races. Distance from domination and having freedom are requirements for being able to perceive. Only then can the wonders of being alive begin to speak.
Masterful creations have been the way to express the wonder inherent in being. That it shows the light coming through culture's walls is one thing, but it comes fully to life when its harmony to nature is fully perceived. Nature comes to life in wildly unexpected ways. First in literal ways, the elevation of mountains elevates the soul; trees reaching towards the sky uplift, and being the world round and rooted into the ground, they give out their presences and gifts. The waves come rolling in. What is more, however, is the wonder at play. The waves roll into human endeavor. Those on mountaintops are given insight that "to be" feels different than "musts" and "shoulds." The human spirit recognizes this state as its own. The mind may fight against it with its rules and regulations and judgements. One will even find oneself confronted with the perfect wonder at precisely the right moments. Looking from a distance, nothing is out of place. Contemplated, there is perfect order. Lessons to be learned are present and often excruciatingly hard, causing transformation; the immense, unimaginable gifts, too. Outside of the human will that tries to control, things make sense and laugh at the silly human will. Loss brings insight. The Moon acts upon the tides within us causing change which is the nature of existence. We naturally create and then nurture life, knowing its fragility, that changes. While the Christian symbolism does bring the symbols into humanity with a desperate longing, it has also made a concerted effort to freeze the possible revelation instead as a concrete concept of the human will—always holding on to the day. Allowing and the night brings its own wonders of transformation. As in the night when the loss of light causes the creation of melatonin which brings on sleep, in that sleep we are opened to a world beyond human reason. It shuts down the layer of the mind that thinks it is in control and the images of the universe are at play. It enables us to see that actual play in the waking hours. And even in that shows a natural phenomenon and order. In perceiving, what comes breaking through is a rhythmic dance in perfect step, waiting to be released. "The nature rules live in the heart. The society rules and gods are always 'out there.' But the source of the lyric is in here, in the heart," wrote Joseph Campbell (The Mythic Dimension 184). This is where ourselves and nature is to be awakened.
Masterpieces of art and literature and the phenomenon of scientific findings and photographs work on the mind, pushing past the non-recognition in daily life, ironically speaking to something more important and real that is reflected back into daily life as the miraculous; we hold on to daily life as if it is more real. In the moments of exception, we step away from the expression to find the wonder for real, back and forth. The masterpiece speaks, we identify with it, not in doctrine or attachment, but as one spirit to another and then step away and leave it. It is a light breaking through. Incredibly we find it playing out.
Fighting past all restraints, Western civilization has given us the utmost expression of the longings of the human spirit and also the most influential experience of loss; its minds and wars have brought about the cusp of globalization. "Rapid Westernization" has been considered a problem in other cultures fearing the loss of their own values, identities, even languages. In many ways it is a culture that has little soul. The West has the tendency to break down boundaries. In this, females and other races and ethnicities have found that, after much torture and bloodshed, their own values and identities are now open. The loss is known. Because the loss is known, insight is gained, a new openness: there is more wonder to discover.
In 1970 Joseph Campbell wrote an essay entitled "The Confrontation of East and West in Religion" in which he noted that Western youth could be suspected of "a kind of failure of heart, a loss of nerve" (84) after the crush and disillusionment of the 1960s, which has through transformation changed in 2014 when artists sense a new freedom out of what felt like continual disillusionment, nothingness. Instead of war, there is a new opening. In a world that could be all about commerce and that has shown very little heart the world over, with the changes in the outlooks for females and for all races, there is an opening for a true transformation through hard recognition. As in all transformations, the possibilities are opened and in a change of this magnitude, it indeed could be a different kind of planet. Not only could the expression be different, but a natural universe can be seen at play in this, opening unpredictably more. Looking now not only to the possibilities of the feminine, but also to nature, art, mythology, literature, the dream world, and inherent wonders of the universe, an expression of this into life will bring a new explosion of creativity and expression and offer the availability of the opening of consciousness. It is opening the door of Plato's cave for everyone. It could mean the arrival of life in all senses. It certainly means life at play.
In between the Eastern and Western worlds there is a cultural watershed as well as the physical divide of mountain ranges and oceans.¹ It is a divide of extremes. One side is about what the human spirit wants and its expression; the other, about the complete and perfect order in nature and its subsequent reflection into social organization. The coming together of the reaches of the freedom of the human spirit with a profound understanding of perfection in nature could mean an opening in global culture that shifts humanity into a new time. Mythological archetypes that have been around since Before the Common Era suggest that there is something wonderful to be understood. In the literal way, this is true due to the fact that myths even from ancient times tell us where we are. In another way, masterful creations are already going forward in change in the works of women, Blacks, Latina, Asian, Iranian expressions to name a few. In yet another, wonders are at work causing it to play out into real life.
Campbell wrote about how the mythology speaks into the story of humanity:
They are the world's dreams. They are archetypal dreams and deal with great human problems. I know when I come to one of these thresholds now. The myth tells me about it, how to respond to certain crises of disappointment or delight or failure or success. The myths tell me where I am (The Power of Myth 15).
One major requirement is the West stepping away from ego and in that hard process finding that there is something vastly larger at work out of the control of human will and allow for each individual the story of humanity to be as organic as it has ever been but with the release of dominating controls, such as stifling the story in Christianity and other institutions, let it breathe and be alive: Let it naturally be and thus continue. Allow life to surprise us. Allow all the stories to be true and alive. Art takes the step ahead, and therefore it is dependent on artists to kill off the neurosis bound in ego and let the marvel to be at play. The human will is shockingly infinitesimal in comparison to what is at work.
The loss of ego is the beginning of what the West needs from the East in its expression:
[The Human] in the world of action loses [her] centering in the principle of eternity if [she] is anxious for the outcome of her deeds, but resting them and their fruits on the knees of the Living God [she] is released by them, as by a sacrifice, from the bondages of the sea of death. 'Do without attachment the work you have to do . . .
Powerful in this insight, calm and free in action, elated that through [her] hand should flow the grace of Virococha, the hero is the conscious vehicle of the terrible, wonderful Law . . . [whatever her work may be] (Hero With a Thousand Faces 239).
In the East,
. . . in the whole great Orient of India, Tibet, China, Korea and Japan the living entity is understood to be an immaterial transmigrant that puts on bodies and puts them off. You are not your body. You are not your ego. You are to think of these as delusory. And this fundamental distinction between the Oriental and our usual European concepts of the individual touches in its implications every aspect of social and moral as well as psychological, cosmological, and metaphysical thought (Myths to Live By 70).
In America, with our senses of freedom, while the slate is wide open, we can also come to see the naturally phenomenal at work. It takes a combination of what is not exactly recognized yet in Western's civilization's mythology and a recognition of one of the oldest civilizations on the planet: that of Japan. In turn, for them it would take a recognition of what indeed has become real. The leader of the way is art itself which is informed by the "other," by nature, by mythology and of the ability and magic, supernaturally and all other ways, of bringing life to dreams.
One of the most beautiful stories in human history comes from Japan's Shinto religion whose "lack of ideology and theology" Campbell often described as simply as a wonderful, masterful dance and remarkably as also having the only remaining female supreme being in a major religion, Amaterasu-omikami, the Sun Goddess, who came into existence in the "critical first period of the world" (Hero with a Thousand Faces 210) but hid herself away. Wildly, this is a story of the sun coming back again and from the cave. The transformation is true-to-form to total transformation: She arrives and brings warmth and life and outshines everything. Her extreme beauty is first and foremost necessary; it is the foundation of life itself. Her epiphanies, too, are far-reaching even into the Western world. Before her self-imposed exile Amaterasu had never known her own unfathomable, penetrating beauty. It is after a horrible fight with her brother that she puts herself away, thereby blocking the sun away from all the world. What brings her back is her curiosity when she hears the laughter and merriment surrounding the singing and dancing of Uzume who is determined to bring back the sun. What happens next is also transformative: the gods have hung an eight foot mirror on the World Axis tree, also covered with mirrors and the thunderbolt, that indicator of the sword. Coming out, Amaterasu believing the Goddess she saw in the mirror is someone else, she emerged in amazement at the astounding, awe-inspiring beauty. She did not know how overwhelmingly, thrillingly beautiful she is. In her emergence is epiphany: in the mirror she sees the deity in herself and the powerful, heart-riviting exquisiteness of her being. And in the completion of the sacrifice and because of her reluctance to emerge, behind her the gods place a shimenawa to never allow her to leave fully again. Forever more she lights the world from within herself.
Campbell wrote of Amaterasu's going away that " . . . the permanent disappearance of the sun would have meant as much as the end of the universe—the end, before it had even properly begun." It would be a foregoing of life as it is. In Amaterasu's epiphany, which is past illumination, she looks at the mirror "more and more astonished, gradually came forth from the door and gazed upon it." This is not ego looking at itself. This is illumination seeing what it is made of. According to Campbell, her "rescue is from without" because she did not find a world she wanted to be in, and therefore the supernatural, the gods, draw her out. The rejoicing in what is, in the display of beauty by Uzume and the delight of the other gods brings her to look out and see. And while she may now "retreat, for a time, every night—as does life itself, in refreshing sleep" because of the shimenawa she is held to being in the world. They have her and they know the immensity of what they have.
Of the difference of this kind of coming forth Campbell wrote, "In her adventures may be sensed a different world-feeling from that of the now better-known mythologies of the solar god: a certain tenderness toward the lovely gift of light, a gentle gratitude for things made visible—such as must once have distinguished the religious mood of many peoples" (Hero 213). The recognition for our time is that without human will, without predicting or devising, this myth, its manifestation, its playing out in our own time is present for a culture that needs to look beyond its ego. It is a hard change to fully realize we are completed by what we thought of as dream, impossible, negligible or as "them."
Amaterasu can accept coming back into the world, even in the face of the hard recognition of being in the world because she knows the miracle of her own astounding, radiant beauty. Being crushed by her brother only keeps the beauty locked away. As in Plato's cave, illumination does not stay put away in any sense—it comes out and Is in the world as it is. She had previously known her necessity. This coming forth is more. There is something to show for her pain: the play of life beckons her. Any "this isn't good enough" is nothing to her because she is the incredible beauty of what Is. She is both a supernatural and an expression of that into life as it is in the here and now.
In Japan's perfection of nature, where nature and the feminine are not corrupted and all of life is a vision and dream, in its depths of its insights, mythology and ancient history this culture offers an eloquent embodiment of illumination brought to life and this honoring of life penetrates even into a cup of tea. In 1961 Campbell wrote of the East and West:
It is not easy for Westerners to realize that the ideas recently developed in the West of the individual, [her] selfhood, [her] rights, and [her] freedom, have no meaning whatsoever in the Orient. They had no meaning for primitive [humans]. They would have meant nothing to the peoples of the early Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Chinese, or Indian civilizations. They are, in fact, repugnant to the ideals, the aims and order of life, of most of the peoples of this earth. And yet—and here is my second point—they are the truly great 'new thing' that we do indeed represent to the world and that constitutes our Occidental revelation of a properly human spiritual idea, true to the highest potential of our species" (Myths 61).
Fifty years later, having lived this to the fullest, still something has been inwardly missing. The Western world has had a dream. It knows the loneliness inside the human-made heights of the individual self; the reaches of the human concept of freedom which is limited compared to what can be illuminated. Further around is to bring it light and life. This dream world recognized as a true expression not only necessary to life but an entrance, beyond pain, into the celebration of it as it is and as a opening, ironically, to what is unseen and real will complete the whole. "They" become us. They become central, taking down our own fears, expectations and boundaries. The natural grand scheme of the dance of the universe begins to emerge, becoming visible, always having been present and loving. In the utmost freedom of illumination and in the opportunity to live a miraculous occurrence more recognition occurs. It is the beginning of seeing. When it becomes real and also its epiphanies realized past ego for the larger world, the implications will pivot the axis. Life will be allowed to come to life. Where life is silenced or dominated, it will be masterfully not only honored, but in the Western way, celebrated to the fullest in expression of exquisite, alive creativity. The depth of the carnivalesque and of creativity will be reanimated and will mean not only finding the way in the darkness, but bringing life to light. It will reanimate human endeavor. It will make all the difference between countries. Coming from these depths into a culture that must now be informed by the soul, the age of the restrictions of consciousness and domination and thus darkness can be over and a new time rejoicingly embraced. The sense of play will animate what was perceived as only the norm. Wonder will delight and engage. It will be realized that there is nothing more to ask for and the gratitude will overwhelm. The sacrifice is known. We have lived it daily. Here comes the sun.