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Hermes Archetype of the Guide

Going somewhere? The God Hermes was the conductor of souls into the afterlife (or just a very different one from this one). He was also viewed as the protector and patron of roads and travelers, the god of the journey. That doesn't matter whether it is a journey out there or the journey within.

The history of myth is full of gods and goddesses, some benevolent and some quite nasty. They were all archetypes created to concretize and bring to light various aspects of ourselves and the amazing inner resources we all have on the oftentimes difficult inward path.

Hermes was the emissary and messenger of the gods. He was also the god of boundaries and the transgression of boundaries, the patron of herdsmen, thieves, graves, and heralds. He is described as moving freely between the worlds of the mortal and divine, the transcendent and the mundane, the normal and the totally weird.

But Hermes could also show up as the benevolent trickster outwitting other gods for his own pleasure or for the sake of humankind. His main symbol is the Greek kerykeion or Latin caduceus, two snakes wrapped around a winged staff. The snakes have always meant resurrection and transcendence, since they shed their skin like we shed outmoded assumptions as we rise in conscious realization.

The ancient mystery tradition of hermetics draws its inspiration and name from this versatile god. It is one of the oldest remaining systems that base their intellectual and spiritual philosophy on the great mystery of conscious being, oneness of all things and the need to flow with nature rather than bend it to our will.

My blog will concern itself primarily with the understanding of consciousness… the subjective understanding of consciousness. To understand consciousness, which at the root of everything is to understand everything.

But... consciousness cannot be studied the way we normally study things. Which is to say we study them as things. We take something apart, look at its components and attempt to see it objectively.

It should be obvious that, when you are the thing being studied, you cannot be objective. Here is where science, classical analysis and reductionism become totally irrelevant. They are simply the wrong tool for the job. You don’t give a massage with a hammer. You can’t study yourself as if you were something else.

The approach of rationalism to this quandary is, of course, to study the brain. But that is based on a very significant assumption. Namely, that consciousness is a product of the brain. First prove that to me, according to your own strict scientific method, and I will concede. But I maintain (and so far no one has proven me wrong) that that is an assumption and nothing else.

To quote the Dali Lama “The existence of matter is a metaphysical assumption and not a scientific fact.”

Yes, this is quite a turnabout for us all. It is not easy when one of our primary stories gets revealed to be as flimsy and presumptuous as a sighting of Big Foot. But we cannot understand consciousness, that is understand ourselves, without a totally new model. And it is that model that we will be discussing throughout this blog, indeed on this entire site.

I hope you enjoy this intelligent and mature spiritual discourse. I hope it inspires you. More importantly, I hope it liberates you from the assumptions that have brought humanity to the verge of extinction and very possibly taking everything else with it as it goes.

We can do better and we shall.

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