Ritual As Shadow: Magic, Ritual, and Superstition Occur with the Beginnings of Ego and the Agrarian Desire to Control Nature — the Matriarchal Consciousness
In seeking to … control our lives, we introduce a deathlike pall into normal human experience. Rather than being ever-unfolding renewable Divine laboratories of conscious experience embodying multiple and perpetual lines of inquiry into the nature of That Which Is, we “evolve” to becoming isolated experiments of discrete variables which are planned, initiated, carried out, and extinguished.
Hunter-gatherer consciousness — termed paleolithic consciousness by one researcher — and especially the even earlier forager consciousness was characterized by just such a, relatively, non-dualistic acceptance of That Which Is … for the most part. Its way of life, corresponding, has been called the “original affluent society,” in that it is estimated that only four hours a day were needed for attending to survival concerns.
But a mistrust set in. Fearfulness and intractability in the face of change followed; and hence there arose the desire to attempt to control Nature, rather than to follow Her and conform to Her rhythms.
The Beginnings of Ego
Whereas, somewhere along the line, people began to become attached to particular surroundings and to a particular pattern of daily activity. Yet there is only one reason why people would want to have things be the same — either to have their physical surroundings be the same or to have their experience follow certain familiar (one might say “ritualized”) patterns . . . and that is fear. So fear leads to attempts to control both one’s external and one’s internal environment. This is the beginnings of ego.
The Natural Self
I say that there is only one reason that one would seek to control things because the natural self enjoys change and relishes the novel. The natural self glories in a life that is an ever-unfolding adventure into the Divine. Such an attitude is the same as a childlike openness to experience and is probably why, in its rejuvenating aspects, there is the myth of such pre-archaic people living such long lives.
At any rate, in seeking to shut down and control our lives, we introduce a deathlike pall into normal human experience. Rather than being ever-unfolding renewable Divine laboratories of conscious experience embodying multiple and perpetual lines of inquiry into the nature of That Which Is, we “evolve” to becoming isolated experiments of discrete variables which are planned, initiated, carried out, and extinguished.
Matriarchy Is Actually a Split from Nature
An important point is that the agricultural lifestyle, which characterized these initial matriarchal beginnings of the fear-and-controlling cycle, was both a splitting off from Nature and then a subsequent act-out of that which was lost. This supposed “matriarchy” was actually a splitting off from the Mother, was a mistrust of Nature and hence a setting up of oneself over against Nature in an attempt to control Her.
It follows that these agrarian cultures would tend to evolve religions which would then seek to appease this aspect of oneself from which one has split. It is only with this change that we have the elaborations of ritual and the beginnings of actual magic, for these are attempts to control Nature — a Nature which is seen as set against oneself, a Nature of which one is no longer a part.
Contrast this attempt to influence Nature from without with the state of the hunter-gatherer, in whom the movements of Nature are felt on the inside and conformed to within. Contrast this matriarchal mistrust with the detached and accepting attitude of such a primal person, for whom Christ’s lesson of the “lilies of the field” would be unnecessary.
Furthermore, in agrarian societies, since there is a split from Nature in an attempt to control her, the individual no longer feels, as the early forager did, those body energies that we call core feelings. So, being cut off from both the body and from the Nature of which one is a part, the neolithic … that is, agrarian … and post-neolithic individual must “act out” those core body feelings.
For the rule we have discovered is that individuals “act out” in the external world — in ways of which they are not conscious — those inner feelings/realities/experiences which they are cut off from … hence they deny and are numb to — unaware of. The finding is also that the manner of the “act out” is symbolic of the (truly) motivating feeling/reality/experience.
Matriarchy—The First Split from the Natural Self
Thus, what I am saying is that one seemingly splits off from a reality, one ends up repressing something, but that does not make it go away completely. One reduces one’s consciousness of one’s identity with a particular reality, but one does not stop being united with that reality. So that reality makes itself known, but not consciously . . . rather, indirectly, symbolically.
Hence, when Nature is presented to the person, it is not directly encountered in the body as direct experience and core body feelings, but rather as symbolic images. These symbolic images, being experienced as separate from oneself, one must therefore enter into a relationship with.
And since these symbolic images are separate from oneself, one finds very often that they are moving and influencing oneself in patterns that are different than one’s consciously chosen ones. The conscious mind finds itself at odds with these symbols (congruent with the fact that the conscious mind has made itself opposed to one’s bodily core rhythms and experiences).
The Beginnings of Magic, Ritual, and Superstition
Therefore, the conscious mind seeks to come to an arrangement with these symbol patterns while still maintaining its stance of separation and control. It is in this final move that we have the beginnings of appeasement and ritual, and hence of magic and “superstition.”
Ritual and matriarchal religion are thus the “act-outs” of our repressed identification with Nature and not a reattunement with Nature as the Goddess-religion advocates would have it. From this perspective, then, ritual is not a way of tapping into a deeper relationship with feeling and Nature, it is an avoidance of real feeling, a running away from Nature, from one’s natural self, from the real, the authentic, the genuine self, from genuine action, from spontaneous and ever-creative being-in-the-world.
Continue with The Second Retreat from the Natural Self — Patriarchal Culture: One Gains the World in Exact Proportion to Which a Man Has Relinquished his Soul
Return to The First Retreat from the Natural Self Was Matriarchal Consciousness; It Should Hardly Be Our Goal: You Cannot “Balance” a Duality … You Can Only Transcend One.
Invite you to join me on Twitter:
friend me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sillymickel