The Structure of Consciousness, Part One: Archetypes and Circuits

This is the first of a series of posts on how human consciousness is structured. There are dozens of hypotheses from all over the world about how consciousness can be raised, lowered, changed, and so forth. In this series, I’d like to present some of my favorites: mythological archetypes, the Leary eight-circuit model, western astrology, the chakra system, Rudolf Steiner‘s ideas, David Hawkins‘s 12 levels of consciousness, and the Tarot. I’m going to describe them briefly and try to integrate them into a single model. (Then I’m going to try to run a 1.5-minute mile, fly to the moon, and cure cancer. Then I’ll have breakfast.) This is going to be challenging, but fun.

In this first post, I’ll describe Jungian archetypes and the Wilson/Leary eight-circuit model, and show how they may be describing (at least partly) the same thing.

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Lughnasadh 2006

Lughnasadh (pronounced lune-ah-sah) was a summer festival of the ancient Celts, celebrated around August 1. My understanding is that it is known that it was celebrated at either the full moon or the new moon closest to the midpoint between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox. Since the midpoint is on August 6th, that means that this year, Lughnasadh falls on either July 25 (the new moon) or August 9 (the full moon). We celebrated the new moon this year; for the reason why, see the footnote below.

onthanksgivingLegend has it that the god Lugh established the holiday in honor of his mother, Tailtiu. Traditionally, it was celebrated with trade festivals, fairs, and bonfires. In the modern Druid Revival tradition, Lughnasadh is the midpoint between Midsummer and the fall equinox, one of the eight primary holidays of the Sun Path.

For some reason, the company I work for, which builds dictation software, has not yet established Lughnasadh as a company holiday. So we decided to celebrate on Sunday, the 23rd, instead.

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On Losing Keys

This is something a lot of people do. Steve Pavlina has a post devoted to it, with tons of comments; he notes in passing that, at first, he “became skilled at sensing” where they were, presumably using something akin to dowsing, but then he fell back on simply hammering key hooks next to his garage door. has a post devoted to what to do about losing USB sticks. In both cases, the consensus opinion is to find a consistent place to put your things, and always keep them there, so you always know where to look. Rudolf Steiner has by far the best solution, though, which is what I’ll describe below.

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Motivation: from Courage and from Fear

As part of my work in the Moon Path for the AODA, I do regular meditations — daily, if I can manage it. (In principle, it’s easy to get up ten minutes earlier and meditate before the day starts. In practice, this requires a consistent bedtime and sufficient sleep. I haven’t managed that yet…) During my last meditation, I received a powerful message concerning the source of my personal motivation.

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Do Evil Spirits Exist?

Note: this post was written in 2006, and it’s fine as far as it goes. For my more recent thinking on the existence of evil spirits, see Powers of Darkness.

Do Evil Spirits Exist?

A month ago, if you’d asked me this question, I would’ve said “Definitely not.” Two weeks ago, I would’ve answered “Definitely.” Today, I’m pretty sure that both answers are true.

How can that be?

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The Meaning of Hand

First, let me reiterate exactly why it’s probable that the word “hand” used to mean something different.

definingPaganism11. As explained in the previous post, the word for hand in the various languages descended from Proto-Indo-European are a very mixed bag, and do not derive from a single common ancestral word. The word for hand in PIE was probably “men”, but it is “handaz” in Proto-Germanic, “manus” in Latin, “lamh” in Proto-Celtic, and “cheir(o)” in Greek. Among the Slavic languages, they stopped mentioning the hand at all — to this day, most Slavic languages have no specific term for hand; they say “arm” (or “lower arm”) instead.

2. Why wasn’t the PIE word “men” retained in its daughter languages (except Latin)? The hypothesis is that “men” was a taboo word, a word of power, and people avoided it by using euphemisms. (Specifically, it was taboo because of its association with the sun god, who was imagined to have long or heavy hands, like the rays of the sun.)

3. A euphemism is some meaningful word (or phrase) in the language which is brought in to replace a word that cannot be spoken lightly. For example, “pushing up the daisies” is a euphemism for “dead”. The euphemism already has its own meaning, but when used as a euphemism, it takes on the meaning of the taboo word. And, notably, the original meaning of the euphemism is intended to be somehow reminiscent of the taboo word. For example, “pushing up the daisies” indicates being buried underground (and hence dead).

4. Therefore, the words used for hand in the daughter languages — “handaz”, “lamh”, and “cheir(o)” — already existed in PIE and already had their own meanings before being adopted as euphemisms for PIE “men”.

So — what did “hand” (or more accurately, “handaz”) mean before it was adopted as a euphemism?

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