Wednesday, November 21, 2012

3rd Degree Burns: Belly of the Whale

3 Degrees of Fire

3rd Day of 42 Days Out at Sea

           Third degree burns are a severe injury to human flesh.  Jypsy (Friend of mine who is a Marine Engineer) is now suffering the shift immensely. He has been out in the Pacific Ocean for three days.  He had to change the fuel/oil from California regulation fuel to the international standard fuel.  This means he had to work for three days straight probably without a lot of sleep.  They will stop in Dutch Harbor, Alaska and on to Korea or Japan.  

 It might not be like 3rd degree burns, but descending into the Belly of the Whale is a drastic part of the hero's separation stage.  The hero must separate from all that he knows and understands.  He is moving into the world of the unknown.  The hero out at sea must leave behind the luxury of land, and become part of the ship's personality.  He literally is the first in charge of the belly, where all fuel and juices are digested.  He is Jonah swallowed by the whale.  The Jypsy is in a human made whale.  He becomes dirty with the juices of the beast.  He is a knower of the inside of this grand machine.

As a land bound creature, three days is an eternity.  I cannot imagine another 38 days.  It is as if he has died.  I do not have one single kind of indication that he is alive or how he is doing.  Yet it is a death, both for him and I. How many of us understand the metaphorical death of the self.  It is not easy either way.  Real death or death of the ego is severe and no less than a 3rd degree burn.

I don't want to sound excited about death.  Shifting worlds is what I think death is.  So as the hero experiences his journey, he must understand his own nature.  It is not easy to look at yourself, measure and maybe let the ego go or deal with the attachment of the other.   The attachment to land and its glittering qualities is very distracting.  This western culture is a vast and overwhelming overload to the senses.  It pushes us to be false and superficial.  The hero shifting out to another micro world who is cut off from a massive amount of stimulation can feel like  he is dying. Thus the descent of the hero into the Belly of the Beast or the ground of being can be dangerous if he is not understanding the nature of his travels.  How many of us travel to our own metaphorical belly's the dark recesses of our own digested and not-digested issues.  We have the conscious and unconscious self.  Going down deep within our own un-examined places is going into the unconscious. This is the place where all things are held and sometimes let loose into our conscious realm, as neurotic and or compulsive tendencies.  If we don't travel into our own "belly" where our beasts dwell they will have their way with us.  The journey is hard, but it a good death.  When we face our demons and kill them we gain their power, but it will become integrated with our conscious self.  

"The disappearance corresponds to the passing of a worshiper into a temple—where he is to be quickened by the recollection of who and what he is, namely dust and ashes unless immortal. The temple interior, the belly of the whale, and the heavenly land beyond, above, and below the confines of the world, are one and the same. That is why the approaches and entrances to temples are flanked and defended by colossal gargoyles: dragons, lions, devil-slayers with drawn swords, resentful dwarfs, winged bulls. These are the threshold guardians to ward away all incapable of encountering the higher silences within."  (

Jypsy may not be aware of the unconscious journey.   He simply goes to work, yet it requires a lot of serious attention. If this cycle of separation, initiation and return could be included in the modern path, then I think we would be a lot happier.  Since we get bogged down from the everyday-emptiness it becomes hard to fathom that we would be on some kind of epic journey like the heroes of old.  Yet we are essentially psychological-spiritual beings.  If we deny this aspect of our existence and wait for science to explain away the mystery we shall never really understand anything.  The mystery permeates our journey in the form of our own unknown desires and imagination.  The symbols of our faith or culture are suppose to guide us onward and help us identify our deep dark unconscious well of being with our bright conscious expectations and experiences.  If these two parts of each human are not united then they are always at odds.  Some of us are lucky to have a job that mimics the stories and myths of old, thus they have the old symbols to help the hero be balanced.  

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