Finding Your Polar Bearings in Swampland
To back up for a moment, the spiritual life always consists, in some form or fashion, of purification (or purgation), illumination, and union. None of these can actually be radically separated from the others, and the process is always ongoing.
One of the purposes of marriage is to purge oneself of mind parasites (think of them as "impurities") that drag one down and impede growth. Marriage provides an opportunity to work through and eventually transcend these patterns. In the colorful phrase of Raccoon emeritus Dilys, marriage helps us "drain the swamp" -- which is equally true of any sacrament.
A sacrament may be thought of as a kind of disinfecting light that is noxious to the anaerobic beings of interior swampland. This is probably where the legends of photophobic vampires come from. Lies can only flourish in the dark, and in a very real sense, are the Dark.
"The deepest reason why lying to oneself is forbidden," writes Mouravieff, is that "he who lies to himself will also lie to his alter ego."
And "that will be the end of the miracle. The wonderful side of the meeting will disappear behind a curtain of trivial lies, which will rapidly take the aspect of an impassible wall." (Sounds like he knew my parents.)
Once the Wall is in place, "relations with the polar being will no longer be distinguished from those that a man can have with other women: wives, mistresses and adventures. Once more, the experience will be spoiled."
I often wonder what saved me from ruin -- from diving into the swamp and staying there. I won't pretend to know, but I think part of it may have had to do with a kind of intense romantic longing for my "polar being." From the age of nine or so, I can remember each school year, having an intense "spiritual crush" on a different girl.
But even after I entered my teens, these crushes were not sexual per se. Rather, they consisted of a painfully intense longing for an idealized image of femininity -- almost like an angelic being. This image is completely un-cynical, un-ironic, and un-jaded. It is innocent, chaste, virginal, and radiant with a kind of pure light.
For example, I can still remember thinking about one particular girl in the fifth grade. We're sitting on a picnic blanket or something in a wooded area, and I'm looking at her, and her blonde hair is literally aglow with a numinous energy -- I mean, like a Disney movie, when the prince gazes into the princess's eyes and falls in love.
I have a suspicion that more men are like this than we may realize. Or at least used to be. I can't speak for today's youth culture, which certainly appears bereft of such higher sentiments.
The only theorist I know of who has spoken directly to this developmental reality is Joseph Chilton Pearce, in his Evolution's End. There he writes that "at the age of eleven, an idealistic image of life grows in intensity throughout the middle teens." Then, "somewhere around age fourteen or fifteen a great expectation arises that 'something tremendous is supposed to happen.'"
Just what this tremendous IT is supposed to be is something of a mystery. He references the writer George Leonard, "who spoke of an anguished longing so acute he knew it could never be assuaged." That's what I'm talkin' about!
Pearce goes on to say that "it may be difficult to accept that adolescents are idealistic: often they seem crass and cynical, following the obvious anti-heroes." If you knew me at the time, this is probably how I would have appeared, but it was just a facade to protect the vulnerability underneath.
This pure energy probably also gets deflected into politics, hence the naive and romantic liberalism of the young and stupid, or Obama's base. (One more reason why his cynical and deeply unfunny new ad that conflates sex and voting is so misguided.)
When an archetype is awakened within us, we first look for a model in the external world. In this case, it is the anima, or female archetype, that is awakened. I know the archetype is real, because I can remember dreams in which she appeared, and again, the longing for her was painful beyond words.
An archetype is supposed to function as a psychic attractor that guides development. If there is no external model to "meet with" and correspond to the archetype, it can whither on the vine. It becomes "just a fantasy," instead of an important clue to the innate directionality of life, of spiritual maturation.
Back to Mouravieff for a moment, before I run out of time. He agrees that "the highest expression of divine Beauty on Earth is the human body, especially that of woman, for nothing can equal the harmony of perfect feminine forms."
And "The divine purity of masculine and feminine forms really depicts adamic humanity before the Fall. It presents us with the original types and subtypes of sinless men and women, without vices and without karmic burden."
That sounds vaguely familiar. I do remember something about a garden...