It is the horizon, the axis of the first and seventh principles, where the story of the evolution of human consciousness begins. The horizon is the ground of our experience, our natural, socio-historical and personal origins, and also the ground of our moment-to-moment experience as we interface with the natural and immediate-social worlds. Affirming the foundational nature of this dialectical polarity, Ernest Becker speaks of "a paradox that seems to go right to the heart of organismic life and that is especially sharpened in man. The paradox takes the form of two motives or urges that seem to be part of creature consciousness and that point in opposite directions. On the one hand the creature is impelled by a powerful desire to merge himself with the rest of nature. On the other hand he wants to be unique, to stand out as something different and apart." (p151-152). In the words of the existentialist, John Macquarrie: "No polarity of human existence is more deeply pervasive of our being than the polarity between the privacy and community of existence...both this being (the self) and the others find themselves in a whole wherein they are already related." (p76-77) And from Carol Gilligan (1982): “we know ourselves as separate only insofar as we live in connection with others, and…we experience relationship only insofar as we differentiate other from self.“ (.63). Thematically resonant is this thought from the existential theologian Paul Tillich: "Ontological principles have a polar character according to the basic polar structure of being, that of self and world. The first polar elements are individualization and participation." (p86) And illustrative of the organism/environment relation—the biological level of the horizon—are these words of Erich Jantsch: "every system is linked with its environment by circular processes which establish a feedback link between the evolution of both sides....the entire complex system plus environment evolves as a whole." (p85)
As consciousness emerges out of 'predifferentiated unconsciousness' it does so by gradually constellating around two poles, differentiating into 'inner' and 'outer,' subject and object, self and other, individual and collective. The initial historical stage of the development of consciousness and the formation of the primal structures is symbolized by a complex interaction of the first and third quadrants. If we were to interpret the first quadrant alone as informing the primal structures—broadly speaking, the body-ego—it would be difficult to explain the obvious foundational duality of the mental-egoic level which follows; namely, the duality of self and world, self and other. To try to map the primal level structures without reference to this foundational polarity is obviously an inadequate way of picturing the development and structure of consciousness.
The pre-differentiated psyche—the original fusion of psyche/nature—contains enfolded within it the latent capacity and need for both first principle individual assertion and distinction and seventh principle social participation and connection. It is through an increasing dialectical tension both within and between the first and third quadrants that consciousness will develop—that is, the individualized consciousness of the Outward arc prior to the transpersonal consciousness of the Return arc. Thus, the evolutionary development of consciousness is a product of the dialectic rather than a product of higher level egoic-individual assertions acting in tension with a lower level sleeping and unconscious 'collective'.
A person is not a distinct 'first quadrant self' looking out at a world and other people as object and other. As it gradually awakens, from the beginning, consciousness embraces both first and third quadrant dimensions. The 'heroic' project (Neumann, Becker) of the assertive first quadrant self is grounded and rooted in the field of third quadrant experience even as the self struggles against it, against the pull and compulsion of natural and collective engulfment—a necessary struggle in order to develop and differentiate its own psychological structures. So in tension with the first principle urge to be a distinct and separate individual through an assertive application of an independent will (involving but not reducible to the biological instinctual aggression of Freud), stands the seventh principle's need for unity and participation. The principle of development through the third quadrant is one of interchange and participation (yet as we shall see, this process becomes increasingly impersonal, inclusive and abstract by the 3/9 phase). At the primal phases of stage-level I, the third quadrant is a condition of unconscious psychological interconnection, a herd-mind reacting and experiencing as one largely undifferentiated unit exerting a pressure upon any individual who would act counter to the group's interest. Rather than relationship as we know it, the primal third quadrant manifests as an undifferentiated group mind prior to the emergence of the volitional individual.
As history unfolds, the individualizing process occurs for more and more members of the group. At the same time, the 'collective consciousness' of the group complexifies and develops beyond the primary organic uroboric and magical level. Society and culture develop as individuality develops, to be mapped in parallel as we move upward along the evolutionary vertical axis. Consciousness increases precisely as the distinction between individual and collective increases. It is the polar interplay or dialectic between first quadrant individual assertions and third quadrant cooperative interactions that leads to further development in both quadrants, the one challenging the other and affecting transformations in the other. It is the first quadrant 'particularizing' force that impels a person to act from basic drives and motives that are not always in the group's best interest. Consequently, a developmental tension occurs between the group pressure to serve its interests and the drive of the individual to pursue his or her own ends. In another sense, the individual may come to distinguish him or herself in a heroic way, in a way that especially helps the group and meets with special approval and status. As described by Rudhyar (1979), the original development of the individual arises from the
...expectable reactions of a tribesman to some kind of personal achievement — discovery, invention, or inner revelation — which singled him out and brought him to a position of prestige. This in turn led him to the realization (at first temporary, then increasingly accentuated) of being in an uncommon way, different from other tribesmen...On the other hand, if a tribesman...could not live up to the expectations of his peers...he might also come to regard himself, in a negative sense, separate and different from the tribal group...A sense of detachment, isolation, and in some circumstances, the refusal to submit to common standards...act as individualizing factors. (p31)
Both the conflict and the heroism creates an increasing sense of selfhood where individuals "aspire to become, and strive to operate as independent persons—self reliant and self motivated..." (Rudhyar 1979, p14). On the path of the Outward arc, it is the outstanding or special individual who leads the process, who acts as the catalyst for general development. "If things are ever to move upward, some one must be ready to take the first step" says William James, identifying saints and utopian idealists as those who, "in spite of their impracticability and non-adaptation to present environmental conditions" [i.e. the conventional status quo] "help to break the edge of the general reign of hardness" and function as the "slow leavens of a better order." (pp.284,283).
Through the gradually increasing distinction of self and other, individual and group, there is an increasing investment of consciousness as 'inner,' while 'outside' and 'other' are projected onto the group. From the point of view of consciousness strongly identified with the first quadrant, the third quadrant eventually begins to go 'unconscious.' But as the third quadrant sphere goes increasingly unconscious, the power of the group (of the 'other') rather than being vanquished, comes to operate more forcefully from the unconscious depths. Consequently, at the mental-ego level, we experience the numinous attractions and repulsions, the compelling emotional entanglements and power struggles that constitute the field of seventh principle relational interchange.
At the primal and concrete level, the first principle signifies the fundamental drives—a particular body-organism charged with bio-energy and propelled by an instinctual assertive survival drive. The seventh signifies the real and concrete matrix in which this body has its existence; namely, the group and the inter-organismic ecosystem, the immediate living natural environment. On the level of individual psychology, the first principle is the original id,1 the intrapsychic source of primal and physiological drives or libido that encounters the world. Although astrological consensus does not identify it as such, the seventh principle is the primal relation to mother and nature (which does not contradict the 4/10 parent axis which refers to the conceptual level). The seventh includes the social domain that has been given equivalent if not greater significance by the socially orented ego psychologists (Horney, Sullivan, Fromm), and later given significance as the primal mother by those of the object relations school within the psychoanalytic movement.
From the systems perspective, at the strictly biological level, the first/seventh polarity symbolizes the particular organism (1st) as a self organizing (autopoietic) and open system in relation to the natural environment which includes other organisms of the same species as well as animals, plants and geographic features through their complex interchanges (7th)—the organism and environment being "bound together in reciprocal specification and selection" (Merleau-Ponty, quoted in Varela et al. p.174). Echoing Gregory Bateson, Alan Watts affirms such an interconnection: "where the organism is intelligent the environment also must be intelligent" (p.138). In advancing their more nuanced theory of evolutionary development, the theorists and critics of cognitive science, Varela, Thompson and Rosch, assert that, "the very notion of what an environment is cannot be separated from what organisms are and what they do....living beings and their environments stand in relation to each other through mutual specification and codetermination....Environmental regularities are the result of a conjoint history, a congruence that unfolds from a long history of codetermination." It is not adequate "to retain the organism and environment as separate poles and then attempt to determine the 'proportion' that is played by each." (pp 198,199)
At the cultural level, both the particular human being and the social group undergo differentiations and complexifications through a dialectic that moves from undifferentiated fusion to a highly differentiated and increasingly complex nature-transcending social and psychological structure. From an original fusion of individual and group, inner and outer, consciousness and unconsciousness, a gradual and inevitable process of increasing distinction occurs through complex psychological and historical dynamic factors which must be understood within the larger context of an overarching evolutionary model.
Individual Developmental Stage/Structures and the First/Third Quadrant Dialectic
The original absence of self consciousness, the absence of a distinction between self and group and of any overt contradiction between the aims of particular persons and the survival needs of the group, characterize a condition of simple animal-like consciousness which since the writings of Jung and Neuman has been called pleromatic, a condition from which gradually arises a primitive sense of selfhood, a state called uroboric, the serpent chasing its own tail. As Wilber has synthesized various accounts in his earlier works: In individual developmental terms the pleromatic self has been taken as referring to the state of the fetus or newborn which is said to exist in an oceanic, timeless and cognitively formless condition both pre-temporal and pre-spatial—an adualism without boundaries, without distinction between self and environment. Beyond this, the uroboric self gradually begins to construct some sort of objective world and simultaneously a rudimentary self-sense. This uroboric self marks the beginning of a process of division into a primitive sense of 'self' and 'other' through a dawning perception of something other than the self, the still rather diffuse and undifferentiated 'uroboric other.' The archaic uroborus—pre-temporal, pre-spatial, and pre-personal—forms a self contained pre-differentiated mass dominated by visceral psychology and a primordial fear (of being swallowed). The uroborus operates cognitively in a prototaxic mode—Sullivan's momentary states, which are undefined and unlimited 'cosmic' experiences. As Neumann (1973) describes, "Just as the infantile ego, living this phase over again, feebly developed, easily tired, emerges like an island out of the ocean of the unconscious for occasional moments only, and then sinks back again, so early man experiences the world." (p15)
As Wilber (1981) tells the story, the early hominids lived in pleromatic and uroboric subconscious fusion, a participation mystique with nature. The infant today recapitulates this first and historically lowest level stage in the first year or so of life. The archaic-uroboric period occurred perhaps from as early as 3 to 6 million to about 200,000 years ago. Wilber is at pains to emphasize that although this was the first stage of human emergence, it does not constitute the defining essence of mankind. Astrologically, the first/seventh axis at its earliest stages aptly expresses the primal physical and physiological level of the 'archaic-uroboric' period: a fusion with the Libran not-self of an Arian emergent self living in instinctual and dynamic momentary present time without sense of past and future. (Remember that at the beginning of the Aries/Libra (1/7) stage the Day and Night Forces, individual and collective, are in balance).
The developing self gradually comes to distinguish the body from the not-body marking the movement from the uroboric self to the body-ego, a gradual differentiation of the substantial and body-based Taurean second principle. The body-ego (Wilber's typhonic self—half human, half serpent) emerges as the developing self comes to identify with the body as distinguished from the environment or the 'not-body' (As Wilber puts it, "it hurts when the infant bites his hand but not his toy"). The body-ego stage marks the beginning of object permanence, the infant's ability to construct an extended world of objects and an expanded mode of time—clearly a movement from Aries to Taurus. Wilber:
The body-ego transcends the material environment, and thus can perform physical operations upon that environment. Towards the end of the sensorimotor period (around age 2), the child has differentiated the self and the not-self to such a degree that he has a fairly stable image of 'object constancy' [sic] and so he can muscularly coordinate physical operations on those objects. He can coordinate a physical movement of various objects in the environment, something he could not easily do as long as he could not differentiate himself from those objects." (Wilber, 1980, p.21)
Astrologically, this development clearly points to the emergent foundational capacity of the second principle; an intentional self in actional relation to a world of distinct objects.
As Wilber points out, across the spectrum of psychological schools, here is Piaget's sensorimotor realm, the Jungian 'realm of maternal symbolism', the Freudian pre-oedipal mother and the magical 'primary process.' It is also Sullivan's 'parataxic' mode of cognition—the ability to recognize parts of the previously undifferentiated whole but without logical connections, e.g. objects are seen as identical if they share noticeable predicates. Objects not at hand can now be imagined, though there is still confusion between inner and outer, psyche and material environment. Motivationally it is the pleasure principle which rules over the bodily realm. More prolonged emotions—fear, greed, rage, pleasure—are now possible due to the ability to carry the image. All this clearly relates to the early proto-emotional first principle and second principle and to the more sustained sensory and pleasure/pain dimensions possible at a later phase of the second principle.
Wilber identifies three major cognitive sub-stages of the typhon; the axial-body, the pranic-body, and the image-body. The first stage clearly comes under the first principle; the second stage marks a transition to the second principle, while the third stage is firmly grounded in the second principle. The axial body is the physical body felt as distinct from the physical environment. Axial images recognize present objects as different from oneself but cognition remains restricted to the presence of the object by means of a cognitive structure capable of sustaining only the most primitive of emotions; fear, rage, appetite, satisfaction and simple pleasure—clearly Arian in flavour and entirely appropriate to the archetypal nature of the first principle at its most primitive level. Wilber writes:
Since...the characteristic time component of the axial level is nothing but the immediate present, it is not surprising that Arieti also calls these emotions 'quick' or 'short-circuited.' That is, short-circuited emotions are the only emotions that can be floated or carried by the axial image in the quick and immediate present; no other emotions can be sustained in this simple temporal mode, and thus no others are elicited...the emotions characteristic of this early stage are very quick, short-circuited, and thus they tend towards immediate and undiluted discharge, there being nothing in time to prevent them...The axial-image and the quickness of the temporal mode of this level are also intimately related to the two broad motivational aspects of this level; the pleasure-unpleasure principle and the drive for immediate survival. (1980, 13)
Thus, the self is moved to secure itself against more keenly perceived threats. The principle of 'oceanic blissfulness' that ruled over the pleromatic/uroboric state is then replaced by the pleasure principle that rules over the bodily; this is the 'pranic body' which marks the movement into the second principle. Beyond this stage, the image body stage denotes the advent of 'object permanence', the capacity to hold in the mind and imagine the object that is not present along with an increased ability to sustain emotions—a process of cognitive expansion in time, referred to by Freud's primary process and Sullivan's parataxic mode of perception. This is indeed pure second (Taurean) principle.
As humanity 'awakened' beyond its uroboric fusion with nature, people began to awaken to their vulnerability, finiteness and incompleteness. "The self was now separate from the natural world, but seemed central to it—and there was its new cosmocentric vision: to be the focal point of the natural world, and to defend this focal self against all odds." (Wilber, 1983, 40) But the boundary between self and world remained fluid. "Although the individual was no longer fused to the naturic world, he was nevertheless magically interconnected with it." (1983, 41) In this magical-typhonic (body-ego) structure, mind awoke to the image, yet between the object and the symbol there "existed a magical rapport". (1983, 49) It is this magical world which still exists for us moderns in the dreaming state.
In his earlier work where he emphasises the overarching Neoplatonic metaphor, Wilber identifies the telos of all development to be that of the unconscious striving to re-attain the state of ultimate Unity which had become lost at the moment of the involution of Brahma into matter—the Big Bang. The Atman project or Atman telos is his explanation of evolution as the unconscious pull toward the prior but lost Unity where each stage offers substitute unities which, being ultimately 'false' unities, eventually outlive their efficacy and are replaced by higher level substitutes and so on stage by stage until full cosmic unity is eventually achieved in the transpersonal. Wilber describes the early historical stages, the beginning of culture consisting essentially of magical ritual for promoting the good life (the eros of our second principle) and for avoiding evil (the numinosity of our eighth principle).:
Individuals gathered together in increasingly larger groups to share these expanding 'Atman projects' and extend consciousness through inter-subjective cultural activities....Magical rites and ritual, magical death denials and time preservation, cultural possessions and charms and paraphenalia: these new substitute objects, like the substitute subject they supported, were both compensations for Atman-lack and a faltering drive toward that Atman. (1983, 67)
As the trajectory through the third quadrant clearly describes the process of social complexification, we can here map the development from the small groups of the seventh to the larger tribal groups of the eighth principle. Based on kinship ties, there was not yet war, private property, rank and social inequality. Wilber distinguishes the average mode magical level from the transpersonal 'nature-psychic' level embodied in the shaman (who accessed the first of the transcendent levels), modes of development which have allegedly been confused by those who would exhalt these Edenic times as superior to ours. He captures the contrasting difference between the primitive average and the precociously advanced levels: "The shaman sacrifices his self in transcendence, not his fingers in substitute." (1983, 76)2 His characterizations of this period certainly constitute a detailed and insightful explication of the primal dimensions of the Scorpionic eighth principle.
The Related Astrological Picture
The Taurean second principle (fixed sign) marks the channeling of the pure vitality and dynamic thrust of the Arian first principle eros into the complex organic structures of the pleasure/pain principle, in relation to the physical environment mediated (in Freudian terms) by the reality principle. The Taurean second is indeed a combination of the sensory pleasure principle and the practical and productive 'reality principle'. Biologically, an organism's survival and growth depends on both first principle 'aggression'—more precisely, fight and flight—and second principle physical security, impulse control and need satisfaction. According to the developmental psychologist Robert Kegan (1982), moving from the 'impulsive stage' (our Arian first principle) toward a new 'balance', the 'Imperial stage', "the child is gradually moving from being subject to its reflexes, movements and sensations, to having reflexes, movements, and sensations."(p30). Notice the italicised ‘having’, for having or possessing marks the essential archetypal meaning of the second house. Although the organism's ingestion of substance is the basic physical meaning of the second, in terms of consciousness, 'substance' comes to refer not only to food, air and water, but to any form perceived by the senses and given meaning and value.
As Norman O. Brown (1966) states, "The distinction between self and not-self is made by the childish decision to claim all that the ego likes as 'mine' and to repudiate all that the ego dislikes as 'not-mine.' He goes on to quote Freud, "The objects presenting themselves, in so far as they are sources of pleasure, are absorbed by the ego into itself, 'introjected'; while, on the other hand, the ego thrusts forth upon the external world whatever within itself gives rise to pain (the mechanism of projection)." (p.142) What it thrusts forth is clearly represented by the eighth principle (Scorpio) and this includes the repressed fear of death (occurring more and more with the differentiation of the 3rd/9th axis) which is lived and acted out through the ceremonial and magical life of the tribal collective.
The world of the eighth principle—beyond the ecosystemic immediacy of the tribe's natural environment signified by the seventh principle—is the large, total and all inclusive yet mysterious and sacred world in which humanity finds itself, the world beyond human physical and voluntary control, where life is "felt as an unbroken continuous whole which does not admit of any clean-cut and trenchant distinctions....If there is any characteristic and outstanding feature of the mythical world, any law by which it is governed—it is the law of metamorphosis" writes Ernst Cassirer, capturing an important quality of the Scorpionic eighth principle. (p.81) While the world of the eighth principle may be called the mythical 'outer' world beyond voluntary control, it does not follow that the world of the opposite and voluntary second principle is what we normally think of as the 'inner world' of the psyche. The truly 'inner world' of the individual psyche has not yet differentiated; such a development of interiority awaits the fourth Cancerian principle. Both interiority and exteriority, psyche and nature are spread relatively undifferentiatedly across the first and third quadrants. But it is through the Stage I dialectic that one's own body and personal psyche increasingly differentiate from other body/psyches to be fully consolidated as a thoroughly dualistic 'inner/outer' by the N/M axis (meridian).
So the second principle is the immediate world which is brought under the control of the individual's awakening will (volition) and physical capacity. It is here where the immediate and objectified world is created, a body-centered world circumscribed by the radius of individual capacity and power, a 'Ptolemaic' world with this body (that is, my body) at the centre and all objects, including other bodies, revolving around it. Beyond the typhon (1st:2nd), the self develops by claiming a local part of the world—the body and its immediate, chosen extensions—as 'mine' and then as 'me.' The socially-shared natural environment of the group signified by the seventh principle constitutes the original environs. It is through the further development of the first principle self that the original shared environment further differentiates as a second principle objectified world of immediate and effective interactivity, a range of particulars responsive to individual intention. Such a growth in second principle awareness co-creates (or discovers) the eighth principle world as something larger and more mysterious, beyond individual physical control, amenable only to mythic and shamanic modes of interactivity.
Through astrological Stage I, we are moving from a non-dual (i.e. pre-dual) toward a dual stage—the Q1/Q3 dialectic. Rather than being bridged, duality is actually in the process of formation. More precisely, the inherent archetypal poles implicit at the unconscious beginning are being 'drawn out' as an increasing duality. The self will not surrender to the 'other'; rather, the 'other' is commanded to surrender to the all-important self. It is by the second principle phase that the increasingly conscious self pole is feeding itself, increasing the strength of its being by 'eating' and 'digesting' the world. In the words of Ken Wilber:
Eros— the desire to more life, the desire to have everything, to be cosmocentric—is driven by the correct intuition that in reality one is the All. But, when applied to the separate self, the intuition that one is the All is perverted into the desire to possess the All. In place of being everything, one merely desires to have everything. That is the basis of all substitute gratifications, and that is the insatiable thirst lying in the soul of all separate selves. (1980, 106,107)
Presupposing at least an elemental development of the phase-three time sense (the 3rd/9th axis), the second principle, with the arising of the sense of the body-self, marks the dawning realization of death and the beginning of the project of death-denial and the striving for immortality. As the existentialists have pointed out, such an ontological angst lies deeper than purely psychological and learned anxiety. Here is the necessary establishment of Laing's 'primary ontological security' involving a secure seating of the third principle emergent mental-self in the body, the failure of which can produce later schizoid dissociations. In such a pathological case, the second/eighth dynamic shows up as "the polarity...between complete isolation or complete merging of identity [the 2nd and 8th split] rather than between separateness [autonomy] and relatedness. The individual oscillates perpetually between the two extremes, each equally unfeasible." (Laing, p53).
As the dialectic between the first and third quadrants unfolds, consciousness is gained under the second principle through an increasing 'repression' into unconsciousness of the anxiety generated by the division of self and other, subject and matrix. Thrust into the eighth principle domain, primal anxiety is aptly symbolized by the separation of the second and eighth principles. Original 'collective fusion' (predifferentiation) transmutes more and more into an intentional gathering together of people within the matrix of culture and its seventh and eighth principle rituals, motivated by an increasing sense of separation, a sense that presupposes and constitutes the seed form of the later self-conscious alienation of the mental-ego. Historically, death was projected upon the 'other' (the eighth principle) as threat, as substitute sacrifice, and later—the dawn of the mental-ego and the city state—as the enemy to be exterminated in war.
The stolid Taurean second principle is created as 'safe,' as lasting; the fundamental security structure of still primitive conscious selfhood. First principle hunting and gathering, as a way of surviving day by day, cannot guarantee survival. Hence, from an instrumentalist perspective, agriculture was developed as an insurance scheme for the future. To farm is to tame nature, to make it do what we want it to do, not simply to survive but to declare our own power and value which symbolizes our lastingness. Consciousness unfolds from a state of first principle immediacy, from an 'in-the-moment' 'instant gratification' mode, to the second principle capacity for self control and delay. The raw thrust and dynamic power of 'Arian will' is stabilized and grounded under the earthy Taurean second principle. We must be careful not to exaggerate the pure practical functionality as the genesis and significance of this agricultural step, for as Eliade (1959) says, "agricultural work is a ritual revealed by the gods or culture heroes. This is why it constitutes an act which is real and significant." In fact as stage I advances and individuality becomes amplified, we see a movement in tension with the sacred toward the profane. "What men do on their own initiative, what they do without a mythical model, belongs to the sphere of the profane; hence it is a vain and illusory activity, and, in the last analysis, unreal....Emptied of religious symbolism, agricultural work becomes at once opaque and exhausting; it reveals no meaning, it makes possible no opening to the universal, toward the world of spirit." (p96).
Ironically, as humans gained the capacity for an extended and more guaranteed survival through a greater power over nature and themselves, the psychological pain of existence began to increase. The threat of non-being—an expression of the gradual widening distinction of the second principle (being) and eighth principle (nonbeing)— became the 'worm at the core' operating within the repressed subconscious and threatening to undermine all of humanity's most 'noble' projects. As Ernest Becker maintained from his decidedly non-animistic perspective, culture was developed as the denial of, or at least an antidote for, the pain of this awareness of death and mortality. In Becker's existential and non-transpersonal view, culture is then a tragic craving by a human being who is but a mortal creature to be an immortal spirit.
But at this stage, the heroic project is still unformed. The transcendent and future oriented hopes, the ‘prophetic future’ (Cassirer) announced by the religious prophets to come is not yet: the 'religious' consciousness (beyond the magical and purely mythic) will emerge as the third/ninth and the fourth/tenth stage-structures unfold. Death and non-being are to be thwarted in the immediate concrete and physical realm. Not only is this accomplished by storing up grain for future survival and physical need satisfaction (and later, by storing up money to buy grain), but by projecting the 'spirit' or psyche 'onto' and 'into' objects that are relatively permanent (the 2nd /8th level is at first the magical/mythic level). These objects become symbols of immortality. What takes place here is not solely physical farming for immediate and future survival, but a psychological farming of nature that reconstructs the world in the image of humanity, a world made safe for the dawning 'cosmocentric ego'. But with the emerging sense of time and the consequent concern with the future, Ernst Cassirer explains that "the future is not only an image, it becomes an ideal." There is not only "the ability to foresee future events and to prepare for future needs...it is more than mere expectation; it becomes an imperative of human life...it reaches beyond the limits of his empirical life. This is man's symbolic future." (1962, 54-55).
The eighth principle is an unknowable, sometimes beneficent sometimes terrifying world, the all-containing world of vast nature beyond the immediate familiar natural environment; but not the material objective nature that we moderns experience through our rational egoic consciousness. The eighth is the mythic world of the Great Mother, a numinous world charged with mana (Jung, Neumann), an enchanted and animated world, a world engaged through rituals of death and rebirth, through initiatory rites. The modern depth psychologists would say it is a world upon which the collective psyche of human beings was 'projected'. According to the archetypal psychologist and neoJungian James Hillman, mythical consciousness, rather than being a personification of mere objects, a projection upon the impersonal forces of nature, is "a mode of being in the world that brings with it imaginal persons. They are given with the imagination and are its data. Where imagination reigns, personification happens...Just as we do not create our dreams, but they happen to us, so we do not invent the persons of myth and religion; they, too, happen to us. The persons present themselves as existing prior to any effort of ours to personify. To mythic consciousness, the persons of the imagination are real." (p17). In fact, "A world view that perceives a dead world or declares the Gods to be symbolic projections derives from a perceiving subject who no longer experiences in a personified way, who has lost his immagine del cuor." (p16). The eighth principle dimension is no more a projection than is our so-called 'real objective' world in which we experience ourselves—the world of the patriarchal tenth principle which is actually constructed partly through a denial and repression of the eighth, a repression of the Great Mother, the female, and the 'irrational' depths of the psyche. A participatory consciousness, a group psyche, evolved in magical and mythical relation to the natural world constituting the proto-religious ground for later ninth principle developments.
Mircea Eliade draws a fundamental distinction between the 'primitive' mind and the 'modern' mind (the latter stretching back to the Hebrews, Greeks and Romans) in that the 'primitive' mind lives in sacred time—the cyclic time of nature where biocosmic rhythms define the beginnings and endings of any temporal period—while the modern mind lives in profane time—the linear and historical time of individuals. "The former feels himself indissolubly connected with the Cosmos and the cosmic rhythms, whereas the latter insists that he is connected only with history." (pxiii) This distinction broadly refers to our distinction between Structure I and Structure II with stage 3/9 constituting the transition from cyclic to historical time. According to Eliade, the emerging fear of death was actually a resistance to, or a 'revolt' against, 'falling into' historical time, so that the rituals serve to hold the profane and the historical (and consequently the individual and the individuals' personal memories) at bay. Illustrating the quality of the 1/7 and 2/8 phase of human development, we understand that for the primitive "objects or acts acquire a value, and in so doing become real, because they participate...in a reality that transcends them....Their meaning, their value, are not connected with the crude physical datum but with their property of reproducing a primordial act, of repeating a mythical example." (p.4). In accordance with the traditional meaning of the Eighth house, these mythic rites are essentially regenerative acts, regenerating the primordial, sacred and archetypal world and cyclic time itself —a "periodic regeneration of time" presupposing "a new Creation...a repetition of the cosmogonic act." (p.52). "Any repetition of an archetypal gesture, suspends duration, abolishes profane time, and participates in mythical time". (p36).
It is through the individual's awakening subjective consciousness of his or her own body and its distinctions, that the full power of the Great Mother (eighth principle) begins to be contained within the forming egoic structure whereby 'parts' of nature (second principle) begin to be broken off—a process refered to by Neumann as the 'fragmentation of the archetypes'.3 As Becker says of the human being, "...he must repress the primary awesomeness of the external world." (p.52). This control manifests on the collective level as ceremonies and sacrifices, as magical and shamanistic rites. Society was organized around the myth of the Great Mother and the blood sacrifice offered to the Great Mother to bring forth life. As Wilber puts it, the sacrificial ritual was a combination of both wings of the Atman project: "a way to magically buy off death and a way to make the practitioner of ritual appear 'in charge of' the elements of nature, in charge of rain, of fertility, of life itself—in charge of the Great Mother, of Mother Nature—omnipotent, cosmocentric, deified." (p.128) But the Great Mother "demanded the dissolution, the sacrifice, of the separate self," (p.129) preventing the emergence of the self out of the uroborus and typhon. It is in this way, as we move into the 2/8 phase, that the third quadrant still exerts a developmental countering force over the formation of the distinct first quadrant self. But this countering force will be overcome by the first quadrant self as development unfolds through the 2/8 and into the 3/9 phase.
The Astrological 3/9 Phase and Wilber's Mythic-Membership Stage
In Wilber‘s historical account, beyond the typhonic and body-ego level lies the 'mythic membership level.' This level corresponds to a more advanced mode of our second principle made possible through the beginning awakening of the Geminian third principle—the differentiation of the 3/9 axis. At this stage the self is beginning to identify itself with the mind as it differentiates from the body or body-ego. But the mental-egoic deep structure has not yet formed, and despite a verbal and narrative culture, will not really begin to form until the second to first millennium B.C. Approaching the tenth millennium B.C., as humankind discovered farming, there emerged a world of extended time, a planning for the future made possible by the emergence of language, "a consciousness that transcended the simple present and therefore could farm the world of the future." (1983, 91) Verbal and cultural reproduction, the production of a surplus, the eventual development of concrete operational thought (i.e. thought acting on objects), the invention of money, the development of a proto-super ego; all unfolded during this mythic-membership period. All this is appropriately symbolized as the gradual transition from stage 2/8 to 3/9.
Wilber's mythic-membership self marks the emergence of language, an intermediate zone between parataxic magical thinking and the 'secondary process' of verbal, linear, syntaxical thinking. Such paleological thinking is still magical and mythic, still prone to whole-part equivalency and predicate identity, but is more distinctly verbal, operating with proto-concepts and verbal abstractions. The child learns to construct his world through the socially and linguistically acquired description, to experience a series or sequence of events in time. The linguistic competences and emerging new self sense of the third principle are taking place in relation to the higher mental-cultural forms of the ninth principle. From an awareness of past and future there is recognition of separation, isolation and mortality, but at the same time an ability to control and channel urges and delay satisfactions. Wilber:
Choices are also presented to the child's awareness, for in a tensed world things no longer 'just happen' (as in the typhonic realms) but display multiple possibilities which can be selectively engaged [indeed the 3rd principle!].....So we can find here the roots of proto-volition and will-power, transformations of the more diffuse and global wishing of the previous level....The fleeting images of the 'good-me' and 'bad-me' of the previous stage are organized into a rudimentary linguistic self-sense, a name-and-word self." (1980, 27,28)
As new desires manifest through the new realization of time, Eros is "retroflected, or turned back onto the self system. And just as Eros can be turned in, Thanatos can be turned out." (1983, 153) What began as sacrifice eventually translated into murder, a projection of thanatos, of death fear, upon the other, a substitute sacrifice—certainly the domain of the eighth principle. As a cognitive and conceptual elaboration, this violent hatred goes beyond biological aggression. Conditioned by the Atman's call to sacrifice the self, but interpreted on one's present limited level: "if the individual won't submit to the true sacrifice of his separate self, he will always be open to morbidly substituting somebody else's instead." (1983, p.155) Hence, it was at the height of the membership stage that war as we know it was invented—"a mass potlatch of death-dealing for immortality." Also during this period we see the rise of tyrannous kingship, the consolidation of the surplus in the hands of a small elite, a replacement of the sharing of earlier societies and consequent oppression and subservience. "In seeking to be subjects, men and women unwittingly sought subjection.'' (1983, 173) Such Kings, "divine heroes," became the visible god figures to which people could present their offerings, psychologically speaking, from a need for parental love and authority. As Wilber puts it, "men and women need Atman figures because they have forgotten that they themselves are Atman." (1983, 175) Thus,
the great noetic network of social praxis (enlightened and moral social activity — Aristotle) was, almost from the start, infected in strategic places by diabolical power...power that could distort and oppress...the material, sexual and communicative exchanges in its compound individuals...This diabolical activity saw the focus of effective social praxis switch from the mutualities of the clan, the group, the community, the polis, to the king, the hero, the head of state, the state itself." (1983, 176).
Of course, these developments points to the next stage beyond 3/9, signified by the N/M (4/10) stage—specifically, the consolidation of centralist power at M.
I believe that our bi-polar archetypal dialectical model which sees development propelled by a dynamic interplay of agentic and connective forces does not need to evoke Wilber's Atman telos idea as a primary explanation for such developments. Nevertheless, the way he expresses the process which unfolded gives us an enriched view of certain developments at the second/eighth phase and the transition to third/ninth phase. His points actually bring us to some of the mechanisms underlying the advent of patriarchy and the formation of the mental-ego. But before we look at the mental-ego, let us take a look at Michael Washburn's account of the primal levels.
Individual Development, Object Relations, and the Model of Michael Washburn
Of the various accounts of early development, it is the post-Freudian psychoanalytic school of object-relations that most directly accords with and decisively confirms the foundational bi-polar topography of our mandala. As Glenn Perry points out, unlike other attempted integrations of astrology with various psychological schools, "Object Relations Theory...may be a model which can be systematically integrated with astrology because astrology is already implicitly an object relations theory...a seamless weaving of the two models that actually creates something new..." (1997, 115) The central insight of object relations theory is that the self or ego (actually, a complex of subselves) is not born but is made through a process of internalization of the primary interactions of child and mother (i.e. the primary caregiver). Psychologist and transpersonalist Jack Engler draws a parallel between Buddhism and object relations theory in terms of their concept of self: "In both psychologies...the sense of 'I'...is conceived as something which is not innate in personality, not inherent in our psychological makeup, but is evolving developmentally out of our experience of objects and the kinds of interactions we have with them (his italics). In other words, the 'self' is literally constructed out of our experience with the object world....In fact, the self is viewed in both psychologies as a representation which is actually being constructed anew from moment to moment." (Wilber, Engler, Brown, 21, 22).
The very process of the formation of a distinct self is simultaneously an internalized structured relationship of the self to the other, the self to the world, expressed through various modes of affect. In its emphasis on the relational basis of psychic structure, we see in object relations at first glance, a Libran (7th) perspective which ideally completes and complements rather than rejects, the earlier Freudian emphasis on the purely Arian and 'idish' impulsive drive for satisfaction in exploitative relation to the other as a distinct object. But more adequately, through an emphasis on the environment, the primacy of connection over gratification, and the structuring of the psyche through the internalizations of self and object representations (selfobjects), the developmental accounts of object relations (e.g. Fairbairn, Winnicott, Kernberg) and self psychology (Kohut) mesh with and elaborate the complex dialectic of our first and third quadrants grounded in the relation of the first and seventh principles.
But object relations theory lacks a transpersonal dimension and it is in the work of A.H. Almaas and Michael Washburn that we see a sensitive incorporation of the developmental object relations account into a transpersonal view which relates the constructed complex self/object, or self/world, to the larger ontological nature of things. Washburn's account of development from the preoedipal through the oedipal period draws chiefly on the developmental account of Margaret Mahler, combining the object relations account with the larger transpersonal Jungian perspective while giving attention to the issue of gender differences that affect early development and the character of the oedipal situation (we shall be looking at the gender issue in chapters 11 and 12).
Washburn describes three main stages in the unfolding of the object concept and the development of images: (1) The presymbolic stage—birth to four or five months (2) The referential protosymbolic stage—to approx. 18 months (3) The symbolic-protoconceptual stage—to four years.
The presymbolic stage preceeds the development of object permanence. Any images, insofar as they exist, do not refer to objects. Experience is immediate and there is no differentiation between the infant's experience and the world. It is clearly the 1st/7th stage being referred to here.
In the referential-protosymbolic phase, object permanence is first achieved allowing mental images to begin to serve as representations of objects. But as the infant begins to understand that objects exist even when not present, the fear of object loss is applied also to the primary caregiver and the need arises to represent the primary caregiver when absent. "Differentiation from the caregiver and awareness of the caregiver's independence thus usher in both a fear of object loss and a feeling of loving object attachment." (p.85) This stage corresponds to Mahler's practicing subphase following original symbiosis; a phase where the child fearlessly explores the world, experiencing positive feelings of discovery and skill mastery assuming, even when the caregiver is out of sight, that she is close by. Here we see the ground of the innately satisfied confidence and adequacy of Taurus. (2nd principle).
The beginning of the symbolic-protoconceptual stage marks the full development of the object concept (full understanding of the completely independent existence of objects) which elevates fear of object loss to abandonment anxiety as well as marking the development of images as symbols with general meaning causing "the child's world to become radically unstable, subject to wild condensations and displacements." (p.86) In the explorative practicing phase the child had assumed the presence of the caregiver even when out of sight, but in the symbolic protoconceptual stage the child realizes that the caregiver when out of sight, could be anywhere. Consequently, there arises a more serious form of object loss, abondonment anxiety causing a loss of confidence and a clinging to the caregiver while trying to be the centre of attention. This stage corresponds to Mahler's rapprochement subphase of the separation-individuation process. Here we see the increasing awareness of the distinction between the second and eighth principles.
In the first year, a polymorphously sensual body-ego experiences the Great Mother in a positive light as a sustaining, nurturing, enchanting, and loving source, but during the second year an ambivalence arises toward the Great Mother (8th principle). The change in relation to the caregiver is not simply a function of the child's experience but also of the caregiver's both loving and punishing behaviour. While sustaining the body ego in blissful absorption on the one hand, the Great Mother also sometimes frustrates the body ego's needs and desires and reduces the body ego to original embedment against its will. (Here we see the magnetic power of Q3 exerted upon Q1). The Great Mother becomes a double duality; the Good Mother and the Terrible Mother; the inner (Ground) and the outer (caregiver).
The conflict between the infant's need for intimacy with the caregiver and its own drive toward independence leads to the splitting of the Great Mother which becomes acute during Mahler's 'rapprochement subphase'. In seeking closeness (7:8) the child does not want to relinquish its independence (1:2), and from an acute ambivalence, it splits its world into the Good Mother and child, and the Terrible Mother and child; hence, into feelings of love and hate directed at self and object. But not only is there a splitting of the Great Mother into her Good and Terrible roles, there is a corresponding splitting of the child's self representation into the good and bad child, where the child experiences its worthiness or unworthiness in response to the Great Mother's treatment of it while struggling against the bad child. Here is the basis of second principle judgement and evaluation; attraction and repulsion, good and bad. The mounting ambivalence is expressed by the relationship of Q1 and Q3, (as the second and eighth principles), but the splitting of the good and bad child on the one hand, and the good and bad mother on the other, occurs along the second/eighth axis. This splitting along the axis precedes the differentiation of the quadrant spheres, yet leads to it. We see here the beginnings of a transition from stage 2/8 to stage 3/9 and the dawning consciousness of the foundational Q1/Q3 duality as both Day and Night forces are, despite their ontological interdependence, rising and standing over against each other.
In the interests of development, it is the intimacy with the Great Mother (and nonegoic life) that must be forfeited in that the body-ego is confronted with the choice of either regression or repression (the Day force in Q1 represses the connective Night force in Q1 and the social 'communal' Day force in Q3). In our terms, the child chooses the distinct first quadrant self. Once this is decisive, the splitting along the axis is dealt with by splitting Q1 and Q3. In object relations terms, the child caught in the 'rapprochement crisis' of split objects now can achieve an integrated and realistic self/object or 'object-constancy" (not to be confused with the purely cognitive term, 'object permanence').
According to Washburn, experiencing at once an interpersonal and an intrapersonal conflict, the child withdraws from symbiotic intimacy with the caregiver burying its needs for openly flowing and intermingling love, while sealing the Ground and repressing the body and physicodynamic life. "The young ego must eventually find relief from the emotional upheavals to which it is subject if it is to gain any semblance of self-possession and self-control." Washburn concludes, "Primal repression provides such relief," (p.94) that is, it overcomes the splitting. The interpersonal separation Washburn calls primal alienation—this is clearly the astrological first/third quadrant dynamic. The intrapersonal, after Freud, he calls primal repression—this is signified by the action of the Q1 Day force over the Q1 Night force. Such primal repression deadens the body and marks the point at which polymorphous sensuality, the free circulation of energy through the body, ends and genitally based latency begins. "The body ceases being the locus of selfhood and is reduced to a mere object, an instrument for egoic purposes. The ego, no longer a body ego, now takes up residence in the psychic space associated with the head. It becomes a mental ego." (1995, 66) As the ground of self identity moves from the second to the third principle, the first and third quadrants become increasingly distinct with the dimensions of the seventh and eighth principles sinking into unconsciousness. What Washburn is calling the primal repression of the power of the Ground, we are picturing as the Q1/Q3 division and separation, along with the repression of the Q1 Night force by the Q1 Day force. This includes the interpersonal 'cutting off' of the outer mother, and the intra-psychic repression of the third quadrant domain of the psyche—remember 'psyche' was originally spread across both the first and third quadrants.
Through primal repression, explains Washburn, the child comes to experience "liberation from overwhelming conflicts and inner storms", the ego making "progress toward libidinal object constancy" in which "its primary object ceases being split into radically fluctuating all-good and all-bad part objects and is gradually mended into a single object that, although imperfect, is stable, reliable, and fundamentally good." (1995, 67) Along with object constancy comes self constancy, a ceasing to split into good and bad part selves. The child strives to become good by adopting parental expectations in the form of the superego which begins to take form in the preoedipal period but becomes consolidated only at the end of the oedipal period. The ego, being unaware of the injury it has inflicted on itself "experiences independence rather than loss of intimacy and self control rather than loss of spontaneity." (1995, 68)
Not only the dynamic and affective nonegoic potentials are quieted by primal repression, but also the autosymbolic process, the cognitive structure of the body-ego—but both are necessary for further development. Not only the control of affective upheavals is necessary but "it may be necessary to wean the ego from the autosymbolic process" because the "autosymbolic process performs work for the ego that the ego must eventually do for itself....if primal repression did not deprive the ego of autogenerated images, it is questionable whether an explicit set of verbally definable abstract concepts would ever come into existence. The repressive disconnection of the creative imagination may therefore play a positive developmental role. In weaning the ego from autosymbolic images, this disconnection may be the impetus that forces the ego to think for itself, to distinguish concept from concrete exemplar, and thereby to surmount the limitations inherent to symbolic-protoconceptual thought." (p.95)
Hence, the transition from the body-ego to the mental-ego (clearly symbolized by the transition of 2/8 to 3/9) involves both a loss of psychic resources and a gain in selfhood and stability in interpersonal relations, a process driven by the dialectical polarities of the first and third quadrants. Here, clearly, is the establishment of the third principle concept replacing the second principle image. The 3/9 structure differentiates out by acting against the 2/8 structure—historically the beginning of the birth of the patriarchy (though Washburn is not making any point about history). But as Washburn points out (translated into our terms) consciousness chooses its first quadrant path of differentiation or individuation over the path of third quadrant connection, which to the first quadrant self is the same as fusion with the Great Mother. The self chooses independence as the solution to rapprochement splitting, the push/pull of individuation and connection. That is, the child chooses to split the first and third quadrants in choosing further independence and self development. So in our map, the repression involves a primal alienation from the other as Mother and a repression or a damning up of the dynamic symbolic (autosymbolic) process of the eighth principle (i.e. the 8:7 compound).
In the body ego's desire to become 'an independent intimate of the Great Mother', it is around age three that the child realizes that the father enjoys just this sort of relationship to the mother so that there is now a desire to replace the father in his independent yet intimate relationship to the mother. Here, the oedipal situation is interpreted by Washburn, not in the same sexual manner of Freud, but as applying equally, at this level, to boys and girls. Rather than castration fear, there is a more general fear, in this position of rivalry, of provoking the wrath of the father. But since the child cannot win in this competition with the father, the child is forced to concede half its fundamental project; "it must forfeit intimacy and pursue independence as its exclusive goal." (p.71) Relinquishing any further symbiotic intimacy with the mother and committing decisively to independence through identification with the father (point M), primal repression become a permanent psychic structure. Following primal repression and during the latency period a mental-ego of sorts emerges, though self identity is still located 'in' the body.
The object relations account in terms of its stages of differentiating selfhood does not contradict Wilber's account of the primal stages; it fleshes out the account in terms of the child/mother relationship (1/7 and 2/8). But where Wilber and Washburn's accounts strongly and most significantly disagree is around the issue of the necessity, or archetypal inevitability, of primal repression and division as the ground of the mental-ego. For Wilber, such a repression may occur, but it does not inevitably occur; it is rather, a failure of an optimal movement from differentiation to an integration of body and mind. For Washburn, primal repression is inevitable. Similarly, in our model, it is certainly inevitable as arising out of the either/or dynamic of the Outward arc. But the astrological picture looks significantly different from Washburn's conception since the primal split and repression is between the two poles of developing consciousness—individual and collective, the first and third quadrants. It is not between developing consciousness (as ego) and the Ground (with its autosymbolic potentials). Washburn speaks of both an interpersonal and an intrapsychic alienation, both of which are pictured here by the division of the first and third quadrants. The repressive ground of the Stage II mental-ego is symbolized by the meridian (N/M) which sits over and bridges the Q1/Q3 division (experienced both interpersonally and intrapsychically). It is not until the transpersonal Stage III that the primal split of the first and third quadrants will be 'put back together' or integrated at a higher level, where there is a direct realization of the ontological polarity given that consciousness and unconsciousness are then no longer divided.
1. The id has an individual character, even though grounded in the universal unlike Jung's clearly universal unconscious.
2. On higher levels, according to the Atman project idea, we are called to give up or 'sacrifice' the egoic will as exemplified by the shaman. Rather than characterizing the primal group as a whole, this evolutionary imperative is 'translated down' to the level of concrete thinking and enacted as bodily mutilation by the average person of the tribe.
3. Egoic consciousness (the hero) achieves its power through the process of differentiating, and thus dispersing, the power of the original predifferentiated Great Mother archetype. For example, "it is no longer the Great Mother who is the killer, but a hostile animal, for instance, a boar or bear, with the lamenting figure of the good mother ranged alongside." (Neumann 1954, 94)