Reply To: UFO: A Living Myth of Transformation,” with mythologist Norland Têllez”
“One day, almost 40 years ago, while driving back from work, I spotted a circular light up in the sky. It was dark, and not much traffic on the highway either. The circular light followed my car, even after the the exit from the highway, and down a few country roads, and right down into my driveway. It became larger, larger than any light I had ever ever seen, a light from nowhere, that is, not plugged into a transmission line, a light pole, an electric outlet, none, just hanging onto the driveway. Not knowing a thing about it, was quite scary, and I openly pleaded with the light to go away, which it did!!”
Thank you Shaahayda, and also Sunbug for bringing our attention back to your remarkable experience, quoted above. I am not sure what any of us would have done if we were followed—not to say targeted—so particularly by a circular light capable of shifting sizes. I am sure your neighbor was not prepared to corroborate any such encounter as it defies our “normal” understanding of everyday reality. Nothing prevents us from granting the status of “paranormal experience” to such close encounters of the unidentified kind. If you’re neighbor would have been a standard psychiatrist he would have instantly thought: “paranoic-schizophrenic delusion.” But that is again the positivistic approach which thinks it “knows” the psychic being. If we stick with the phenomenological approach, on the other hand, we stick with the vanishing image as it pulls us into the depths of being.
As Sunbug remarked, your description of the phenomenon as a radiating light and not a spherical solid does suggest the translucent quality of a numinous experience, an encounter with a subtle body inhabiting that in-between space. As Sunbug wrote so beautifully and Robert Juliano elaborated so thoughtfully in his contribution with the concept of the mundus imaginalis, it is in this liminal space where the mythic imagination comes most alive.
I am very pleased that we have all arrived at the perspective of the in-between, as Robert Juliano wrote:
“Instead of seeing the UFO phenomenon via the dichotomy of real or not real, we can, instead, see it as a manifestation of this in-between realm.”
And of course, this liminality of the numinous encounter is an archetypal quality of mythic beings as such. This is what I opened with in my Mythblast, the noumenous liminality which Sunbug also developed:
“And this open approach does not judge those who have experienced these happenings, or seeings, nor does it discount these experiences, because it is looking at experience and definition in a more mythic manner. / Speaking of this phenomenology, it occurs that the beings of Every “Dream Time,” from Down Under to the British Isles were always “Beings of In-between.” […] The appearance and disappearance of the UFOs does indeed resemble the rise of a “sun,” and descent or setting with these phenomena. The lights for certain! (Which from Shaahayda’s story feels like less of a “ship aspect,” and more of a phenomenal aspect. / But even with the more solid viewings / They come in various shapes…and shapes are very interconnected with myths and the psyche but I’m talking to the head choirs on this!”
So I welcome Robert Juliano to the choir! What wonderful voices have come to join and grace us with their insights! I am deeply grateful to you all, not only for allowing me the pleasure any writer feels at being “understood” by his audience but also at the way you have all helped me expand my own understanding of this topic! My sincere thanks to all!
I do find intriguing Robert’s reminder of the alchemical framework of interpretation with the good work of Veronica Goodchild. She developed this approach with her husband Robert Romanyshyn as what they called an “alchemical hermeneutics.” I still have a small unpublished monograph which was disseminated at Pacifica Graduate Institute in the first decade of the 2000s entiled: Doing Research with Soul in Mind: The Alchemical Hermeneutic Method.
And indeed, the ability to hover in this in-between psyche and matter takes place within the psyche itself as the total space of the symbolic order of the collective mind. This in-between space is where the play of imagination enters in, shaping and creating an individual order of creation. Let us recall Corbin’s own words from his famous essay on the Mundus Imaginalis where he uses the notion of “images in suspense” recalling in our context the hovering UFOs:
“Technically, again, our thinkers designate it as the world of “Images in suspense” (mothol mo’allaqa). Sohravardī and his school mean by this a mode of being proper to the realities of that intermediate world, which we designate as Imaginalia. The precise nature of this ontological status results from vision any spiritual experiences, on which Sohravardi asks that we rely fully, exactly as we rely in astronomy on the observations of Hipparchus or Ptolemy. It should be acknowledged that forms and shapes in the mundus imaginalis do not subsist in the same manner as empirical realities in the physical world; otherwise anyone could perceive them. It should also be noted that the) cannot subsist in the pure intelligible world, since they have extension and dimension, an “immaterial” materiality, certainly, in relation to that of the sensory world, but, in fact, their own “corporeality” and spatiality (one might think here of the expression used by Henry More, a Cambridge Platonist, spissitudo spiritualis, an expression that has its exact equivalent in the work of Sadra Shirazi, a Persian Platonist). For the same reason, that they could have only our thought as a substratum would be excluded, as it would, at the same time, that they might be unreal, nothing; otherwise, we could not discern them, classify them into hierarchies, or make judgments about them. The existence of this intermediate world, mundus imaginalis, thus appears metaphysically necessary; the cognitive function of the Imagination is ordered to it; it is a world whose ontological level is above the world of the senses and below the pure intelligible world; it is more immaterial than the former and less immaterial than the latter.”