At Carnegie Hall, on a Tuesday night, a full day of work awaits, starting early the next morning. I make the sacrifice, my stepson is singing in Eric Whitacre’s Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings. Paradise Lost is the story of a lost generation of angel children left behind by their dying parents, walled off, without their wings, in a deeply protective structure. Logos is the leader of the now grown up lost children. The Gospel according to John begins: In the beginning was logos (the word), and the word was with God. Logos is the word, the law, the blueprint, the archetype of God, the ultimate father. In Eric Whitacre’s story, Logos frequently imbibes “amber,” some kind of hallucinogen that opens, for him, the channel to his deceased father, who communicates the message that he must protect all the children, at all costs. The decree of the father is to protect, maintain the status quo, keep things unchanging within the highly guarded and protected walled-in structure.
The love of Logos’ life is Exstasis. Exstasis is the Greek root for ecstasy, which literally translates to going outside of the stationary or static walls. Their names, Logos and Exstasis, foreshadow the ultimate conflict between conservative protection and freedom. Exstasis, in her own amber journeys, discovers from her own ethereal mother that her wings are hidden and retrievable, but she must take up the journey and go beyond the walls to visit the Oracle in the sacred temple. The Oracle insists that she face the truth, only the truth, to be guided to her wings. She passes this test and ultimately discovers her wings. However, in her final confrontation with Logos in which he burns her wings, she is killed, as the secure and protective father principle cannot tolerate her flight beyond the known, into potential danger.
A DREAM: The Great Train Robbery
I am at a train station on Long Island, right next to the ocean. In the first half of the dream, dimly recalled, I am part of a well-planned and executed plot to rob a train/railroad station. I recall a knapsack full of bundles of money. The robbery is successful, and involves the use of packs of dynamite, placed in several places around the station, set off just at the moment of getaway.
The consequence of this robbery is the end of this railroad station being included along this train line. A nostalgia sets in, particularly from my father. I join him in a campaign to restore the destroyed station. My father becomes involved in the beautification effort, the landscaping. I, in turn, distinctly recall where the planks and stones from the explosion had landed, which I easily begin to retrieve and restore. The dream ends as a smart detective, who has been tracking my activity, confronts me on the boardwalk about the crime.
I immediately awakened from this dream charged with the energy to record it, as well as contemplate it, with my consciousness still between worlds. I suspended my ego’s judgment about being a criminal and instead asked myself: what was the true nature or meaning of the crime? Not all crimes are criminal. When Prometheus stole fire from the Gods, mankind gained in consciousness. When Adam, at Eve’s urging, bit from the apple of the tree of knowledge, the world advanced in consciousness. In both cases, God’s, the father’s, rules were broken and there were punishments, paradise lost.
To go out alone, without the protection and security of father’s walls is both a reward and a punishment. In my dream, the destruction of the train station was a boon for me, a backpack full of money, a tremendous pick-up of energy. The seers on ancient Mexico devised the practice of recapitulation as a means of freeing oneself of static behaviors, returning that energy to the self for new possibilities. The train line, with its familiar stops and fixed rails, which cannot be deviated from, is the security of known habits and routines in life, the protective walls of the father. After I had committed the crime of breaking the routine, freeing myself from a familiar, well-trodden stop (the train station), I was drawn back to the old familiar place, by father, in the form of nostalgia for the old, known, unchanging stasis; the old way.
Regardless of our formative experiences with our actual fathers, real or imagined, present or absent, supportive or threatening, we are all our own fathers now! Formative experiences with our actual fathers are merely awakenings to this father within, the true father, who will guide and protect us through life. The father within us guards and protects the status quo of our lives: our habits, whether good or bad; our rules for ourselves, however limited or open they may be. The guiding principle of the father is the protection of the family. Inwardly we execute this father function by upholding the familiar safe-place train stops of our daily lives. Familiarity breeds safety and security, a bulwark against the changing sands of time. Zeus’s father, Kronos, Father Time, consumed all his children at birth to ensure the longevity, the unchangingness of his rule, that is, until his clever wife wittingly exchanged a stone for baby Zeus, which ushered in a new era.
Sometimes, of course, the conservativism of the father within us is wise to clip our wings. Daedalus, father of Icarus, constructed for his son wings to fly, made of feathers and wax. He tried desperately to warn his son not to fly too close to the sun. Icarus, so enthralled with his freedom, refused his father’s warning and suffered the inevitable consequence of his inflation, a perilous fall. Obviously there is a need for this protective father function, at times, but more often than not the supportive protective arms of our inner father attitude is just as likely to keep us entombed, limited within the safe walls of our familiar selves, however dysfunctional that might be.
Father is the guardian of the familiar: our inner family of known habits, behaviors and attitudes. The true challenge of my dream was to let go of a tried and true habit, to eliminate it from the repertoire of the self, to take back the energy spent on it and take up my wings, untethered to the tracks leading to an old station in life. But alas, I succumbed to the reconstruction of the walls of Logos, the protective rule of the father, enticed by the safety of the old familiar way, resulting in paradise lost. Thank God I woke up!
P.S.: As I conceived of this blog today, moving through the experiences of this past week, it never dawned on me that tomorrow is Father’s Day. There was no conscious intent to write on this topic, to highlight Father’s Day. I take that to mean that I was moved in this direction by the collective energy that marks the celebration of that day. In keeping with the intent of what I wrote, I wish you all a Happy Father’s Day! Whether we are male or female, our true father is the powerful father within us all, who exerts a tremendous influence upon the blueprint of our lives. To become fully conscious of the operation of this father principle within us is a worthy exercise for Father’s Day.
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Until we meet again,