Castles and Worlds
metaphors of self and
Thanks to Soul Food
Heather Blakey and
her richly complex site Soul Food Cafe, which includes
contributions from many writers and artists, are responsible for
some of the inspiration for this topic of "inner
In an interview
by Chris Dunmire of Creativity Portal, Heather said, “Monastic
buildings are full of fine arts and craft, which reveal the benefits of
developing a rich interior life... I thought of St Theresa's interior
castle, a metaphor that spoke to me for years. Thoughts rock climb up
from the valleys within my brain...”
intro to The
section of Soul Food Cafe says, “By far the largest area of the mind,
the subconscious, is built up with associated sense impressions and
memories dating back to the womb.
"This submerged area
of mentation is the creative part of the mind, a wonderland of mystery.
"According to Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist, it is the area
which contains a summary and reservoir of race, memory and accumulated
skills. It is the submerged part which is the powerhouse from which
radiates the most illuminating inspirations of artistic genius. It is
synonymous with Mnemosyne, goddess of memory and mother of the Muses.”
This larger diagram
of The Alluvial Mine has multiple hidden links - use your cursor.
Interior Castle of St. Teresa
Teresa of Avila (1515-82) envisioned the soul as "a castle made of a
single diamond... in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven
there are many mansions." This idea came to
her in about the year 1579.
friend of hers, Fray Diego de Yepes wrote that God "showed her a most
beautiful crystal globe, made in the shape of a castle, and containing
seven mansions, in the seventh and innermost of which was the King of
Glory... The nearer one got to the centre, the stronger was the light;
the palace limits everything was foul, dark and infested with toads,
vipers and other venomous creatures.”
This image is by
Aliza Dzik from book The
by Teresa of Avila, translation and introduction by Mirabai Starr . The
castle is in the shape of a spiral - significant as an image of
"V for Vendetta" (2005) and “Phantom
of the Opera" (2005) feature
underground, hidden and vast abodes of the protagonists - analogues of
their complex minds and personalities.
labyrinthine Shadow Gallery [left] includes a Wurlitzer jukebox, a copy
of the Koran and numerous books, movies, music and paintings banned by
the government Ministry of Objectionable Material.
What do we hold in our mental vaults - and what do others and
ourselves try to ban?
commented in our interview
quality of personal identity that can make us multifaceted,
"Polyphrenia - the orchestration of our many selves - is our extended
health. We have a vast crew within."
> one of many books: A
Passion for the Possible
~ ~ ~
Krishnamurti in his book Think
on These Things declares, “Only the mind which has no walls, no
foothold, no barrier, no resting place, which is moving completely with
life, timelessly pushing on, exploring, exploding - only such a mind
can be happy, eternally new, because it is creative in itself.”
|Alice In Wonderland
for Alice, the little magic bottle had now had its full effect, and she
grew no larger: still it was very uncomfortable, and, as there seemed
to be no sort of chance of her ever getting out of the room again, no
wonder she felt unhappy.
‘It was much pleasanter at home,' thought poor Alice, `when one wasn't
always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by mice and
rabbits. I almost wish I hadn't gone down that rabbit-hole--and
yet--and yet--it's rather curious, you know, this sort of life!'
from Alice In Wonderland Ch. 4 [online]
text and drawing by Lewis Carroll
Alice takes her journey down the rabbit hole (and through the
looking-glass) she has fallen into the realm of the unconscious, the
As James Hillman writes: “The Underworld is converse to dayworld, and
so its behavior will be obverse, perverse” (The
Dream and the Underworld 39). ///
in the underworld temporarily has her own identity crisis... she wants
to know who she really is. Because she’s
changed size so incredibly,
she wonders: “But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the
world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!” (Oxford
Press Alice 18).
she tries to recite a poem from memory, the words come out
wrong. Clearly, her ego identity is confused at this
point -- undifferentiated, if you will.
She fears the loss of her ego
identity, a genuine fear for a child under such circumstances. In the
Garden of Live Flowers, the Red Queen advises Alice to “remember who
you are!” (ibid. 147). Yet when she reaches the woods with the
Looking-Glass insects, Alice temporarily forgets her own name (ibid.
156), symbolic of who she is.
Zuni myth, she would be described as “uncooked” (see Will Roscoe, The Zuni
Rumi, the Persian mystical poet, uses, in a patriarchal context, the
same trope in one of his mystical poems: “There is a spiritual fire for
the sake of cooking you. . . . If you do not flee from the fire, and
become wholly cooked like well-baked bread, you will be a master and
lord of the table” (Jalal al-Din al-Rumi, Mystical
Poems of Rumi 2 144).
journeys through Wonderland and in the Looking-Glass world are efforts
to become “cooked,” that is to affirm her ego identity, to develop the
functions of consciousness, to become as far as possible an integrated,
above by Sir John Tenniel]
Marilyn Manson and “Alice”
The musician is developing a film called “Phantasmagoria – The Visions
of Lewis Carroll” and he will portray the author of Alice in
In an interview
Manson said, ”I see people being creative and I see that as a positive
thing. ... I just really want people to get lost inside themselves and
not be afraid of doing it. You can compare it to going through the
looking glass: the idea of getting lost inside yourself and not being
afraid if you can’t tell what’s real and not real.
not about taking drugs and having an acid trip. It’s about not being
afraid to cry; not being afraid to die; not being afraid to live also.
To really find out who you are and find out who your real friends are.”
[Marilyn Manson photo
by Ali Mahdavi]
The Secret Garden
In The Secret Garden story by Frances Hodgson Burnett [image from a
1911 publication], a young girl, Mary, is introduced as ”a dour and
unhealthy child” but after she discovers a hidden garden and begins to
tend it, “crocuses and daffodils push up through the warming earth, her
body begins to bloom and her manners to soften. Summer sees the
complete regeneration of both Mary and [the invalid boy] Colin...”
One commentator noted “the overarching symbol of the book is the secret
garden, a lost paradise of love and happiness - a version, perhaps, of
the Garden of Eden, now reclaimed and rejuvenated.”
The book The
for Individuation- A Jungian Appreciation of Themes in the Novel By
Frances Hodgson Burnett, by Margaret Meredith, is described as growing
“out of the author's abiding interest in gardening as a metaphor for
the process of individuation.
"It circumambulates the psychology and
rich symbolism associated with gardens and secrets, with particular
reference to the much-loved novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett."
~ ~ ~
In the wisdom tradition of Sufism, the secret garden is used by various
poets and teachers as a metaphor of spiritual development and
understanding. Above is the cover for the book Come
to the Secret Garden: Sufi Tales of Wisdom, by M. R. Bawa
"Loosely translated to mean 'circle,' a mandala is far more than a
simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for
the organizational structure of life itself - a cosmic diagram that
reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both
beyond and within our bodies and minds.
"Awareness of the mandala may have the potential of changing how we see
ourselves, our planet, and perhaps even our own life purpose."
> from book Mandala:
Journey to the Center, by Bailey Cunningham
This image is from
the cover of The
Identity Code: The 8 Essential Questions for Finding Your Purpose
and Place in the World - by Laurence Ackerman - which, to quote the
is “designed to introduce you to yourself. Not the person you see in
the mirror, physically speaking, or the one people necessarily interact
with everyday, but the person inside.
"The powerful one. The one who
knows more than you realize about your unique capacities and whose
ability to create value in this world – and get rewarded for it in
return – is remarkable.”
> also see articles by author Larry Ackerman:
Personal Freedom and the Meaning of Identity
the Promise of Affirmation