3.2 LUST/LOVE/ECSTASY

Two women perform pivotal roles in the Apocalypse. The first of these women appears "clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars."29

The other woman is portrayed as a "mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth."30

In the metaphysic of ecstasy both of these women symbolize the creative activity of consciousness. The first woman symblizes that activity in general and the second one as specifically enacted in human life. The first woman represents the as yet unformed, and thus underlying matrix, or primary principle and origin (arche) of human evolution. The second woman represents the condition of ego conscious awareness in which humanity now finds itself in this present moment of its evolution.

Both of these aspects of conscious creative activity are depicted as threefold. The first as the sun, moon and twelve stars. The second as Babylon, Sodom and Egypt.31

Their threefold depiction typifies the creative energy of consciousness as manifested in the individual human being. According to the metaphysic of ecstasy, this trio of individualized creative energies consists of five faculties of subjective knowing, that are symbolized by the sun, seven abilities of objective experiencing, that are symbolized by the moon, and the sum of these twelve differentiated energies combined and under conscious control. This last is symbolized by the crown of twelve stars (the five plus the seven forming a crown).

Babylon, Sodom and Egypt is another cipher. It refers to the triadic nature of the genitalia of both male and female. The uterus/vagina and ovaries. The prostate/penis and testicles. In the Upanishads, this threefold creative force, which is there termed the kundalini shakti, resides in the genitals. Specifically the forces of pingala and ida repose respectively in the left and right ovaries or testicles. The third force, sushumna, reposes in the uterus/vagina of the female and the prostate/penis of the male.

This third location is referred to in the Upanishads as the muladhara chakra, the "root." It is defined commonly in Sanskrit literature simply as "near the base of the spine." But this wording is euphemistic and even possibly meant to mislead. For tantra identifies the "muladhara chakra" quite clearly as the root of the penis and the vagina.32

Technically, the real base of the spine is the coccyx which functions as a pump to lift this creative energy up the spinal column to the brain. There the energy nourishes the intellect and intuition.33 In the Gospel allegory, the ascent of this triple current of energy from the genitals to the brain becomes the story of the crucifixion of Jesus.

The heavy cross that Jesus carries symbolizes the potent energy of the genitals, whose physical array in both genders roughly approximates the shape of a cross. The journey of Jesus up the hill to Golgotha thus symbolizes the passage of this sexual energy up the spine to the crossing point in the brain, the pineal gland. Here Jesus, the apocalyptic code word for intuition (noesis), is impaled on the cross of vitalizing energies. And thus is human intuition awakened into conscious activity.

Hence, in the doctrines of the metaphysic of ecstasy, both the human genitalia and their associated sexual forces represent the physical aspects of the pristine creative energy of consciousness. They are considered as directly analogous to the psychic faculties and abilities of the mind. They are equated in a holistic scheme that includes both the material body and the immaterial mind.

In the Apocalypse, as interpreted by James Pryse, Babylon and the evil harlot are made to represent the physical body and sexuality. They are both condemned for supposedly diverting creative energy from its intended path from the genitals up the spinal column to the brain. Physical activity, and sexual activity particularly, are viewed as dissipating energy in the "lower" levels of consciousness rather than using that energy to ascend to "higher" levels.

The condemnation is understandable only in the context of a limited male sexual experience. This limited and limiting experience sees ejaculation as the emission of an irreplaceable vital essence. It sees sexual desire as the dissipation of a limited store of creative energy.

This distorted metaphysical view portrays the individual man as living isolated from the universal source of creative energy. He must husband his limited allotment of creative force and vital essence carefully. To allow it to dissipate through the wiles of women rather than using it to fuel his personal emancipation, condemns him to yet another incarnation.

In this metaphysical view man can only reconnect himself to the source of creative energy by turning away from living in the physical world. He must instead devote all of his energy to entering and remaining in what amounts to a state of mental narcissism.

He must devote himself exclusively to a state of quasi existence that is centered within his own mind. Thus arises all the emphasis on celibacy and introverted yogic techniques for sublimating sexual energy. This sublimation of sexual energy is called conquering the chakras. Pryse lays great emphasis on this conquering of the chakras, as does Indian yoga. According to the doctrine of the metaphysic of ecstasy this view is a perverted understanding. In actual fact, the creative energy available to the individual is limitless. And any separation from it is illusory.

The great tragedy of human life, in the context of the metaphysic of ecstasy, is not that it is lived both physically and imperfectly, but that so much of human life is experienced ignorantly and immaturely. Ignorance and the immature attitudes it elicits are the real and only culprits of all human suffering and discontent.

In the metaphysic of ecstasy, the infinite and eternal creativity of consciousness, the matrix, permeates the entire universe. The energy of the matrix flows freely through each individual human being if allowed to do so.

Creative energy may be blocked in an individual by rigid attitudes and narrow minded thinking. These are the direct and primary products of human ignorance and immaturity.

When love and sex are inhibited by ignorant and moralistic attitudes or smothered by religious pietism, true personal growth comes to a dead stop. Personal, psychological disaster is virtually guaranteed.

Sexual desire and its consummation constitute the tangible manifestation of the underlying fact of universal creative activity. That is simply that consciousness takes form in the matrix of thought.

The male/female dance of desire expresses the dynamic polarity that is established between consciousness in activity, its kinetic energy and the myriad forms it produces. This is the creative and ecstatic play and interplay of consciousness becoming aware of itself and loving itself. To obstruct or to restrict this creative flow of consciousness is the worst of all ignorance.

The Apocalypse, in the form that we now have it and as it has been so faithfully interpreted by James Pryse, does condemn human sexuality per se, and unequivocably. But what is intended by the metaphysic of ecstasy is rather the condemnation of unconscious sexuality.

The writer or writers of the Apocalypse very subtly skewed this very important doctrine, but were not quite able to corrupt it completely. It still shows through.

Nor are the physical body and its psychic capabilities to be condemned. Rather the unconscious identification with them that characterizes the true ignorance of the ego conscious state must be overcome.

It is only the ignorance of its pervasive presence and the unconscious resistance to that presence, which block the free and life enriching flow of creative energy through the individual. This human ignorance and unconscious resistance are called in the Apocalypse the bottomless pit.

From the obscuring smoke of ignorance and unconsciousness, the individual must free him or herself. This is accomplished by objectifying the inherent psychological powers of the human psyche.

In this process of psychological objectification the individual ceases to identify his or her consciousness with these psychological powers of the psyche. Instead she or he begins to realize that they are the tools and vehicles of conscious expression. Objectifying them immediately renders them conscious and thereby shatters their unconscious dominion over the individual. Awareness and knowledge bring power.

That bright and beautiful "star which fell from heaven to earth and to which was given the key to the bottomless pit"34 is the enlightening faculty of discrimination. By its proper action the unconscious is rendered conscious. The power of the unconscious is subdued.

The keeper of the key is named Phosphoros, which means the "bearer of light," or its Latin equivalent Lucifer. This is an apt description of the power that illuminates the contents of the unconscious, and initiates psychic integration.

The key to the bottomless pit of the unconscious is also the key to the kingdom. By objectifying that which is unconscious, the individual is freed from his or her ignorant identification with the psyche and its various psychological powers. The self realization that occurs as a direct result of this objectification constitutes the "kingdom of heaven."

Thus, heaven is not some intangible place of reward to which the Christian virtuous are granted access after death. It is a state of conscious awareness in the here and now of life.

In the Gospel story the "keys" are given to Peter.35 This fact should suffice to identify him and the other apostles as personifications of the various faculties and abilities of the psyche. Recall that there are 12 of these faculties and abilities altogether.

In the mutilated Gospel allegory Judas corresponds to Lucifer and it is he to whom the key should be given and not Peter. In the simple literal interpretation of orthodoxy, however, the role of Judas/Lucifer is totally misconstrued.

In fact, the characters of Judas and Lucifer personify very subtle and exalted human faculties. Judas is the personification of inspiration. And Lucifer is the personification of the most crucial power of the psychic function of thinking: discrimination.

Peter personifies the power of the faculty of discursive reason. This, no matter how keen it may be, can neither unlock the bottomless pit of the unconscious nor the kingdom of self realization on its own.36 But the orthodox required an apostolic founder for their church and decided upon Peter. They did not understand the symbols of either Peter or the key, much less Judas. Peter was an appropriate choice to demonstrate their ignorance.

The irony of orthodox Christianity is not that it is illogical, given its basic premises. It is logical to the extreme. The irony is rather that it lacks the simple discrimination to see that its underlying literal and historical premises are totally absurd.

As the apocalyptic bottomless pit symbolizes unconscious material in general, the prostitute symbolizes unconscious sex. This principle we may here term eros. This, as the ancient Greek philosophers defined it, is simply the indiscriminate attraction of male and female, the mutual incitement of the phallus and the womb.

No selectivity or degree of personal expression is involved in eros precisely because the sexual energies are unconscious. Eros in this sense means lust - the unconscious urge to copulate simply to gratify mutually aroused sexual appetites.

Because in the condition of eros sex itself is unconscious, the outlet for sex becomes objectified in its place. Thus, in the sexual activity that characterizes eros each partner becomes for the other one merely an object of selfish gratification. The colourful symbol of the prostitute is a stunningly apt description.

The sexual act itself, however, is not at fault. It is neither flawed nor debased. It is both ennobling and enlightening. In fact, in the metaphysic of ecstasy, sexual intercourse is the first and the last and the only sacrament. Rather it is the simply unconscious, and thus ignorant, enactment of sexual intimacy that lies at fault in producing a selfish and limited experience.

During the process of maturing, the initially indiscriminate, and hence unconscious, attraction of eros yields ultimately to the desire to seek satisfaction in a particular individual. Just anyone of the opposite sex who happens to come along will no longer suffice.

At this point in the process of maturing, we look finally at a person of the opposite sex and (incredibly!) we see now the individual, not just his or her sexual organs. We see in this person specific traits and qualities that we can either like and want to experience or dislike and want to avoid. This person becomes real, not just another prop on the stage of our life.

This momentous awakening marks the start of a wonderful process! This process is the beginning of the personalization of sex. The culmination of this vivid process we may here term amor. This is love for that specific individual person, the beloved, whom we recognize as someone precious and valuable, and without whom our life would be diminished.

Amor is selective because it seeks to satisfy not itself but rather that other who is its beloved. The radiant joy and pleasure of amor are in the joy and pleasure of that other and not merely in the satisfaction of its own desires.

For the desire of amor is primarily the pleasuring of that other who is its beloved. Its goal is not simply to gratify its aroused sexual urges, nor to reproduce offspring. Its goal is rather to join with the beloved for the sheer joy of joining with the beloved!37

In the sexual intercourse of amor each partner becomes for the other the receptor of affection, joy and bliss. Unlike eros, there is no sense of urgency to achieve climax. The journey towards sexual climax becomes just as pleasurable as the arrival at its conclusion. In fact, as amor increases within the individual, the journey of sexual intimacy becomes ever more important and the arrival of climax less so.

For amor to increase eros must in turn decrease. Thus a dynamic and evolving tension becomes established between them. It is in the midst of this lust/love tension that humanity in the ego conscious condition finds itself at present.

In the Apocalypse, at its deepest level of understanding, the conqueror (nikon) symbolizes love (amor). That which love conquers, and in conquering thereby transforms, is lust (eros).

In the rich symbolism of the four mythical horses of the Apocalypse, the conqueror rides upon the white horse in its final conquest. This horse, I shall explain later, typifies sex and the physical body. Thus love (amor) and sex are intimately connected in the personal transformation that is described in the deepest level of meaning of the Apocalypse.

For the metaphysic of ecstasy LOVE AND SEX become the path to a supreme identity, whose realization comes about in no other way! Man and woman loving each other in a state of self realization of the fullness of their own consciousness is this identity.

This being so, it is little wonder then that the intermediate and esoteric level of the Apocalypse sought to subvert the doctrine of the metaphysic of ecstasy. The sexist metaphysic of masculine self conquest, promulgated by that esoteric school, was totally contradictory to the metaphysic of ecstasy. For the role of love here implies that personal development can have an ultimate meaning and utility only in the context of the male/female love relationship. All else, and every other personal relationship, becomes preparation for this final and self transforming experience.

Sex, prostituted by eros and then ultimately redeemed by amor, becomes finally the living manifestation of an all encompassing third level of love. In the New Testament, this third level of love is termed agape.

Agape, altruistic love, became for the orthodox the appropriate term to describe the sexless love that was their ideal. The social and communal love of agape they asserted to be the ultimate goal of human life.

I suspect, however, that agape is a substitute word for ekstasis. So, too, the pious "love feast" became the sanitized Christian version of the Dionysian orgy, which was its most likely forebear and model. Ekstasis means "standing beside or outside of oneself." This is an apt description of the ecstasy of eternal consciousness recognizing and loving itself as two individual human beings in time and space.

In the metaphysic of ecstasy, the conquest of love over lust symbolizes the complete objectification of the unconscious contents of the human psyche. Finally, it symbolizes the ultimate objectification the psyche itself.

This process of objectification is described in the Apocalypse in terms of the chakras. It is with the many differentiated energies of the seven main chakras that the individual has become unconsciously identified. Thus, the seven meditations of the Apocalypse serve the dual purpose of description and of reminding consciousness of its true identity.

In the ultimate objectification of the psyche, the individual human being realizes the fullness of consciousness. This fullness is the state of ecstasy. This fullness is self realization. This ultimate state of consciousness is the true meaning of the symbol of the kingdom.

In eros it is the physical body that primarily participates in sexual activity. Because of this fact the activity is perceived as almost entirely external.

At this level of consciousness and this degree of self realization the individual projects the elements of experience onto an imaginary screen of external events. This imaginary screen is composed of the five senses and the nervous system.

Lust represents sexual activity in its most limited manifestation. This is not to say that lust is depraved or degraded. Simply limited. Love has much greater potential.

In amor the entire psyche partakes of sexual intimacy. Because of this fact the experience is partially external and partially internal.

The proportions of the internal and the external experience vary with the relative input of eros and amor. The more lust dominates the activity the more merely physical and hence only sensory the experience remains. The more love dominates the more the feeling and intuitive facets of the psyche enter into the experience.

By objectifying various aspects of his or her experience the individual ceases to project them onto the external screen, but experiences them internally. The physical sensations do not disappear, but they are complemented. They are perfected by the very intensity of the internal experience.

The physical experience of sexual intimacy has certain physiological limitations. The details of these limitations need not detain us here. It is sufficient to note simply that they render it impossible for eros to be maintained for any length of time. Although this is a primary fact of sexual experience for the male, it is also true for the female.

The nature of eros, as an obvious consequence, is therefore brevity. Eros arouses quickly, reaches a peak and satisfies quickly. After this is required a period of recovery before the cycle can be repeated.

Eros is intimately linked to the physiology of the body. Since this is so, age and general health have a significant influence on the period of recovery.

Amor transcends all the physical limitations of eros. The nature of love is to be sustained. It is not physically depleting like lust, but invigorating instead. The bliss and pleasure of amor are not the torpid euphoria of eros. They are rather an expansion, an exaltation and a mental alertness. In the experience of the power of love all sensations become more vivid and intense. Awareness becomes more acute. Mental alertness becomes intensified.

The peak experience of eros is physical orgasm. This is the violent explosion of energy intensified to an unstable degree and released outwards suddenly and uncontrollably. By its very nature such an experience is limited in duration. The drive to repeat it is correspondingly strong.

The real satisfaction of physical orgasm is so fleeting that we seek it again and again. It is rather like a sip of water to one dying of thirst. It is as though we can never get enough of it.

The peak experience of amor, on the other hand, is like an implosion of energy. It is as if the physical orgasm of the genitals bursts inwards rather than outwards. Sexual energy becomes intensified rather than depleted, since the energy is not directed away from the individual.

In the peak experience of amor the feeling and intuitive aspects of the psyche are flooded with revitalizing force. Lovers become united in a way that surpasses the merely physical yet also includes it. The satisfaction and pleasure of love endure and increase. Finally the experience continues unceasingly.

The transformation of lust into love expands human awareness. This expansion involves the chakras since they represent the various states of consciousness whose fullness forms the rainbow of what being human is and is about.

In the level of consciousness that describes lust, awareness centers in the root and genital chakras. In the level of consciousness characterising love, awareness expands to include first the solar plexus chakra, then the heart and throat chakras, and lastly the chakras of the head.

By objectifying the many energies of the chakras you bring them into conscious experience. Their activity becomes your personal awareness. In this manner the experience of sex and love becomes internalized, since all of the chakras above the solar plexus are predominantly internal in their type and range of activities.

Eros and amor can also be likened in a generalized way to the male and female experiences of sex. Eros characterizes the male sexual experience and amor the female experience. The drive for primarily sensual and outwardly directed satisfaction in the male (eros) becomes transformed in the bliss of psychic union in the female (amor). Consequently, female sexuality in so far as it expresses love rather than lust becomes transforming. In so far as the male allows himself to be transmuted by his partner's love, he experiences the internalizing of his own sexuality.

Thus, woman becomes man's channel to love. In so far as she maintains amor against the regressive pull of eros, she allows herself to channel the experience of love to her willing partner.

At this elementary level of sexual interchange the female partner plays the paramount role. Her ability or her inability, her willingness or her unwillingness to maintain love (amor) determines the course not only of her own but also that of her partner's transformation from lust (eros) into love.

If this seems unfair or to place an undue burden of responsibility on the female, in reality it does not. In the initial level of sex, in the metaphysic of ecstasy, the female, as the embodiment of amor, is viewed as the superior partner in the love/sex relationship.

The female bears the burden of male eros as easily as the entire ocean bears the weight of a row boat. For the capacity of love to absorb and thence transmute lust is limitless.

Correspondingly, the capacity of the female partner to absorb the male far exceeds his capacity to overwhelm her. This, of course, assumes that both partners are open and willing to enter the door of possibility that opens up to them.

Only male ineptness and fear, and the female's willingness to comply with that fear, renders the experience of sexual love other than transforming to both.38 In the initial level of relationship the man does not possess the ability to grow on his own. He needs a woman. But he does have the power to torpedo the experience by succumbing to his fears or choosing to remain inept. It takes two to grow together, male and female.

In part, the male ego resents the need for a woman. This resentment is partly cultural and partly biological (I suspect), and the cornerstone of the patriarchal metaphysic.

Also, the male ego fears being overwhelmed and possibly devoured by the apparently insatiable sexual appetite of the female. He fears turning her into someone whom he can never fully satisfy. This particular fear has led to the sexual repression of women by men worldwide.

Male fears in this matter are often reinforced by sobering experience, even among men who wish not to repress their women. With time, with reassurances, and with growing trust in him, she finally lets herself go. She then becomes an awesome sexual experience, the intensity of which is indescribable. Every woman, by the way, has this potential.

Meanwhile, her partner slams headfirst into that impenetrable physical barrier that allows her to climax repeatedly or continuously while he can only lie there praying to hold out long enough to see her through to the finish! Usually he can not, unless he has become a humble and adept student of lovemaking and has had the benefit of patient lovers. If his sexual training did not extend beyond the locker room he hasn't got a chance.

He lies exhausted and spent, thinking that he has satisfied her, while she demands more! Can she never get enough, he wonders? He wants nothing but to roll over and fall asleep while she insists upon even more intimacy! In many instances he does not even want to touch her any more, let alone continue being intimate. And then she gets angry with him because she is frustrated at his apparent unwillingness. For she finds it difficult to believe that physiologically he is so different from her that it is virtually impossible for him to continue.

A man also fears losing control of himself. And for most men, control is a big issue, especially given the context of the patriarchal metaphysic. During sexual arousal, a man can sense a great power stirring within himself. Just what it may be, he knows not, so he holds onto his sense of controlling ever more strongly.

But only by overcoming his fears of his female partner and of himself can the male get out of the bind he finds himself in. Only by allowing himself to be transformed, can the man become the lovemaking equal of the woman.

"Take my yoke [yoga] upon you and learn of me, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoga is easy and my burden light."39 Only in surrendering himself and allowing himself to be transformed by the power of love, does the man enable himself and his partner to graduate to the next level of relationship.

At this second level of relating, love/sex is expressed in the psychic union of two equal partners. Each of them then shares in the discovery and the excitement of bringing into their conscious awareness the energies that are contained within both.

In other words, each partner now becomes the cooperating instrument of psychological objectification for both. A true sharing of lives and love in unimagined intimacy begins. Only at this point in a relationship does the interaction of the partners become metaphysically significant.

Through the union of two equal and sharing partners in love, the psyche is objectified. Identification with the psyche is transcended. This is a shared experience, each partner growing in and with the other. It is also virtually a never ending process, since we can never really know one another totally.

Of course, eros and amor coexist within each of us whether we are male or female. They are the feminine and masculine aspects of our personalities. And the resolution of eros and amor within the individual's personality constitutes the objectification of the psyche.

This personal resolution of male and female has been often misconstrued by various metaphysical systems to be the ultimate realization. But it is not so. The objectification of the psyche opens the door to the supreme identity, but it is not that identity.

Ecstasy, the ultimate realization of the polarity we experience in our shared human sexuality, is the real supreme identity. According to the metaphysic of ecstasy, sexuality is not an accidental quality of physical life, but an essential reflection of the polarity of all of existence.

As I mentioned above, agape, the charity or brotherly love of the orthodox, and the altruistic love of the philosophers, almost certainly substitutes for the word ekstasis. As Joseph Campbell points out, agape, as a form of love and eros share the nature of being indiscriminate. Both are essentially selfless and impersonal.

"The lights go out, so to say, and whatever is at hand, one loves, either in the angelic way of charity or in the orgiastic, demonic way of a Dionysian orgy; but in either case, religiously: in renunciation of ego, ego judgment, and ego choice."40

Ecstasy, in contrast, is a very personal matter. It is literally a "jumping out of one's ordinary and habitual state." And exactly that happens! As I shall explain later, this jumping out of one's habitual state is precisely what love demands of us. And without it there can be no real love.

Substituting the word agape for ekstasis instantly corrupts the meaning of the metaphysic of ecstasy. It covertly substitutes eros for the ultimate expression of love. Instead of recognizing indiscriminate lust as the form of sexuality that must be transmuted, it simply transposes and renames it!

The patriarchal dualism divides the experience of love in two. The inferior mode is earthly and carnal. The superior mode is "spiritual" and ethereal. This division is a misrepresentation of the eros/amor tension expressed by the metaphysic of ecstasy.

Into the first mode, patriarchy dumps everything to do with women and sex, sensuality and birth. The second remains strictly intellectual and culminates in Plato's entheos, that is, mystical contemplation of the divine. This totally misconstrues the transformation of unconscious to conscious loving.

Ecstasy is the realization of self in the individual. It is the full realization of the infinite and the eternal within the finite and the temporal. It has nothing to do with intellect versus senses or love being "uplifted" from the material to the spriritual realm.

As I shall clarify in due course, when I speak of self I refer to much more than ego self consciousness. It is necessary to state the distinction here, since in the west we have a rather naive conception of the self.

To put it simply we could say that self consciousness is who exists, and the unconscious and the ego conscious states the path to that realization. Likewise, we could say that ecstasy is what exists, and eros and amor are the path to its realization. In actual fact, self consciousness and ecstasy are identical. Who and what exists are one and the same. That is, Consciousness coming to the awareness of itself.

In objectifying his or her psyche, the individual fully internalizes the experience of sex. Self realization elicits the experience of everything as being within self. Nothing is external.

The sexual act of ecstasy becomes the individual act of love and joy that consciously creates the totality of existence. Ecstasy constitutes the third level of sexual experience.

In the state of ecstasy the self experiences the individual and the personal while remaining unidentified with the psyche and its various powers. Self expresses human sexuality in its fullness within each individual human being.

Each individual who realizes self identity realizes simultaneously the fullness of consciousness within all other human beings as well. She or he recognises that all human beings are one, and the one is all. This becomes the conscious experience of life. I am not talking about a philosophical or intellectual recognition here. I am talking about what the individual person actually experiences as his or her personal reality.

I hope this has made it clear that ecstasy is not a peak experience in the normal sense that we understand the word. Ecstasy is the realization of what is: the underlying structure of reality.

Ecstasy is not the abandonment of physical and psychic sexuality but their ultimate perfecting. All of creation, all of reality, is vividly experienced here and now. And it is experienced within the individual as his or her own conscioiusness. In this sense ecstasy is the eternal peak experience. Words could hardly portray the immensity of this state of awareness.

In the Apocalypse, ecstasy appears as the "Holy City, new Jerusalem," which Pryse so conclusively deciphers as the solar body. The intermediate and esoteric level of the Apocalypse, however, does not talk about love in this connection. Rather it talks about a "deathless and ethereal form, a self luminous immortal body" that replaces the perishable physical body and psyche.

Ecstasy is indeed an immortal and luminous vehicle of expression. But to imagine that it represents some sort of specific body, even of some rarefied nature, is callow. Such an idea reduces ecstasy to the level of a glorified physical body.

Ecstasy is the realization of the infinite and the eternal within the finite and the temporal. It is the awakening of the individual human personality to the realization of its own integrity and identity as self and love.

The symbol "solar body" typifies transcendence. Transcendence means a fuller and more complete realization of human nature. This is very subtle. What is transcended is the limited point of view, not the physical and temporal world of experience.

The particular and personal point of view of ego consciousness is a limited and limiting point of view. That is what is transcended. Transcendence of the particular and personal, however, does not obliterate the particular and the personal. Self, no longer identified by its individuality with a particular human physical body, does not then quit the physical body. No longer identified with a particular and personal point of view, in other words with a specific human psyche, self does not abandon the personal point of view.

Self transcends the limitations imposed upon its awareness by the particular and the specific. But it remains both particular and specific.

Self, no longer identified with the sex of a particular body, or in other words eros, and a particular personal point of view, or in other words amor, does not obliterate sex in the particular and the personal. Just the opposite.

Self realizes in its fullness that its very nature, which is ecstasy, expresses itself in the sexuality of the particular and the personal. It realizes that the polarity of sex is the dynamic mode of its creativity.

The sex of ecstasy is the profound joy of self discovering self. In eros the individual unconsciously fused with sex, or literally became sex. In amor the individual objectified sex into self and another, thus forming a relationship. In ecstasy, self, as individual, realizes that it alone is the lover, the beloved and the act of love that unites them in ecstatic embrace.

With the transcendence of lust by love, lust is elevated to a greater perspective. The physical arousal and attraction of male and female becomes the personal love of the lover for the beloved. Likewise in the transcendence that is expressed by ecstasy, physical and psychic sexuality are elevated to a still greater perspective!

And if you think that all of this is just some idealistic rambling, think again. Occasionally we all experience a wonderful but strange occurrence. We meet the eyes of perhaps a perfect stranger, perhaps across a room or across the street. Suddenly there flashes between us a recognition, a knowing that transcends the ordinary state of knowledge and recognition. Both personalities are left aghast and speechless. For in that instant flash they are both seen as the mere gossamer cloaks they really are or not seen at all. For self has seen self.

Similarly, in amor it sometimes happens that ecstasy flashes between lovers. If it happens during sexual intimacy, it may seem as though both individuals have dissolved into one body and one psyche. The dissolution is into a state of hyper awareness wherein each partner experiences the other as him or herself. Or both may feel their own as well as the other's sexual experience within themselves.

Outside the sexual act ecstasy may sometimes pop suddenly into one's awareness. It may seem as though the lover is within the beloved and feels and experiences just what the beloved feels and experiences at that very moment.

Many experiences that are called psychic are really momentary flashes of ecstasy. Self realizes self in another. Such occurrences are not always pleasant, however, especially when they involve very sensitive and often disturbed individuals who would rather not share another's feelings and traumas.

Many of these events are triggered by very strong emotions, such as anger, grief or terror. To be suddenly and unwillingly subjected to another's traumatic experience can be extremely unsettling for anyone. For emotionally sensitive individuals such an occurrence can be devastating and most such individuals end up attempting to desensitize themselves to preserve their sanity.

These experiences, and others like them, underscore the ever present and intimate reality of self realization. Self and ecstasy are in us and around us. How we remain ignorant is a mystery!

Furthermore, such experiences as these also confirm the identity of self and ecstasy. For even though we can say that self is who and ecstasy what exists, they are really one and the same. Self and ecstasy are each equally who and what exists. In the ultimate sense there is really no distinction between them.

The matrix represents the latent energy of thought from whose virginal or unformed womb arise all forms. It is also the source of the realization of self/ecstasy.

Since the realization of self and ecstasy results from the integration, or complete objectification, of the psyche, its advent is portrayed in the Apocalypse vividly as a nativity of great travail. As anyone who has shared deep intimacy with a beloved well knows, love is simple. But it is not necessarily easy!

Furthermore, the familiar and the comfortable ignorance of unconscious identification with the psyche and its powers continually rears its head to destroy or impede the process of integration.

Thus, at its inception, ignorance, symbolized by the red dragon of the Apocalypse, makes an attempt to consume the first weak and subtle stirring of personal self realization.41 The ignorance that is personified by the dragon represents nothing but the desire for continued ego consciousness, those many comfortable memories and associations that give to the personality a sense of secure continuity through the constant flux of events.

At this point in its personal evolution it is inconceivable to the individual that only by abandoning identification with the psyche can the psyche be saved. We are so totally identified with the psyche that we think, feel and experience our psyche as ourselves.

Likewise, only by abandoning eros can eros thereby be transformed into amor. The reason for this is simple.

In our identification with the psyche, we seek that which serves to protect and to sustain the psyche and our identification with it. We seek good for ourselves, which we see as the psyche. We avoid as best we can all that threatens the psyche and our identification with it.

Eros is an immediate good of the ego conscious state. This state of consciousness serves to preserve our sense of identity with the psyche. Amor, totally devoid of eros, is without ego.

When love possesses the heart it will do anything for the sake of the beloved. Love devotes itself to its beloved. Love does not aid or abet the ego conscious state, but rather transcends it.

Need we wonder at the very graphic image of the ravening prostitute? It is unconscious identification with the psyche that so totally imprisons the individual. The individual is trapped by himself in the limitations of the ego conscious state of awareness, the psyche and eros. Our own ignorance is our personal jailor. Unconscious identification is our prison. And that is one of the reasons it is so difficult to free ourselves.

That unconscious identification is none other than "the great whore that sitteth upon the many waters [meaning the psyche], with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk by the wine of her fornication."42

The kings of the earth, which here refer to sensation generally and the physical body specifically, symbolize the specialized activities of the psychic faculties. Their fornication is the misdirection of their energies towards sustaining the ignorance of ego consciousness.

The inhabitants of the earth are the specialized activities of the psychic abilities, whose drunkenness serves to reinforce this ignorance. The faculties and abilities are both mentioned since all their actions are always intimately connected. Nothing operates entirely on its own.

In the broad sense, the faculties and abilities manifesting in all the aspects of psychic activity partake of the intoxication here described. Hence, the prostitute is described as the "great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth."

The great city is the "old city," meaning simply identification with the psyche, symbolizing the state of ignorance. Thus, the prostitute who has intoxicated the earth personifies the ignorance of ego consciousness in general and lust specifically.

The prostitute is depicted sitting upon a scarlet beast which is nothing other than the red dragon. This beast personifies desire. Note carefully that the red dragon does not symbolize the physical body and physical sex specifically, nor materiality in general. The mistaken interpretation of Pryse and the esoteric level of understanding would have us believe that it does so.

The terms earth and kings, etc. are the appropriate and real symbols for sensation, the physical body and its various energies. The red dragon here symbolizes an attitude.

Moreover, just as the old city becomes the new and holy [meaning whole] city, so too the prostitute herself becomes transformed. Lust becomes love. The prostitute becomes the bride of the lamb.

In objectifying the psyche that which was unconscious is transmuted into a far greater context. It is not destroyed. Lust is not destroyed by love. Ego is not destroyed by self realization.

Only in the intermediate/esoteric and superficial understandings of the Apocalypse is anything destroyed. The false prophet, the red dragon and the beast which represent the explicit domains of psychic functioning go to their destruction at the hands of the conqueror. The destruction, however, is entirely metaphorical. This is misunderstood at the intermediate and superficial levels of understanding.

In the metaphysic of ecstasy they are transformed, not destroyed. They are all vital psychic functions. The human mind could not work without them.

Identified with its psyche, the incarnating self is limited to the manifestation possible within the confines of a specific incarnating individual and a particular personal point of view. No longer ignorantly identified, self becomes liberated from the constraints imposed upon its individuality by the ignorance of its own true nature. The individuality remains, however. Self inhabits and utilizes the specific but is not restricted by it any more.

Freedom from the prison of self identification with the psyche does not mean the destruction of the ego, sexuality and the psyche. These all remain as the legitimate expression of self consciousness in the finite and the temporal state.

With self realization the human being does not depart the physical earth and body to be carried away in spirit to some exotic and ethereal paradise. This notion is pure and absolute nonsense and is the product of childishness. Heaven by any name, even solar body, remains simply a psychological projection.

The orthodox conception of heaven and hell is merely a reflection of the childish need to reward good behaviour and punish bad. It was invented by the churchmen to control their flocks. The real heaven and hell are within our own minds. We use them to reward and punish ourselves constantly, and for the most part unconsciously, using the criteria supplied by the churchmen and society at large.

Misconstruing psychic liberation to mean the extrication of self from finite existence is just a slightly more sophisticated notion of heaven. It, too, serves only to subvert the great, beautiful and eternal truth of consciousness/life.

Self realization is here and now, not somewhere or sometime else. The great doctrine of the metaphysic of ecstasy teaches that self realization vivifies finite, temporal existence and physical life. There is nothing else to be and nowhere and no time else to be it.

Self realization is not something separate and apart from the world of human experience. It is not something to be attained by physio-psychic or meditative gymnastics. It is to be realized in love here and now.

Wake up! "The kingdom of God is within you"43 is the truth that will set you free.

The unconscious becomes conscious. The prostitute of ignorance becomes the bride of wisdom. Love conquers all. The nature of reality is ecstasy!

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