Forgive a sidetrack Kristina and Stephen…
Speaking of the Grail Castle, I just saw yet another “modern adaptation,” of the legend through the BBC fantasy youth series “Merlin.” (Now on Netflix) It was an interesting twist. There were 3 characters on the journey instead of one. They represented Strength, (Gawain), Courage (Arthur) and Magic (Merlin.) (Episode “eye of the Phoenix) The one thing, which reminded of Campbell was when the bridge keeper said the equivalent of “the rules are different and not everything is as it seems.”
The only difference was that the idea of the journey having to be done alone is presented as “an old locked-in tradition.” ie “it’s always been done this way.” Except this time, Three are needed for this quest, which ends up being Merlin’s not Arthur’s.
The trident sought by Arthur has no significance something else does So the trident was the “appearance of honor” (Arthur completes that.) But Merlin’s gift from Fisher King a vial of water from Avalon was the real depth…
Okay to bring that back around maybe…hehheh…maybe it’s like looking for the depths of soul below the surface of all parties and interactions.
Maybe we all long for that…especially with each other?
I love what you said Stephen:
“Your essay offers practical guidance on how “to keep working to get there,” including honest self-observation and leading with the heart, which allows us to step beyond the shallows and engage with ourselves and others at a soul level, and leave the party behind.”
That feels like the heart of Kristina’s essay.
That’s the challenge isn’t it? To leave the party behind (“the shallows”) and “engage with others at soul level?”
I think that’s why some people enjoy “one on one” interaction (maybe with different people.”) There’s a little less static and noise and a chance (hopefully) to communicate on a deeper level with each other.
Though I must say, when there is good music at a gathering, sometimes I dance. And that makes me feel that glimmers of soul are sometimes just waiting to be noticed. Music can have a profound beautiful effect on groups of people. Strangers and people of different backgrounds can all know and share the words to the same song. Or dance to it together.
I can certainly understand how Campbell might have felt about the social rituals: the mores and gestures…
That brings another thought to mind about navigating in a world, which dotes and indulges in “instant” and sometimes demands it.
disclaimer: instant can be a lifesaver too. I understand that.
But instant also equals etiquette today. Or seems that way to me.
I wonder if sometimes that could lead to mistaking the surface for the soul? Nothing wrong with etiquette but what happens when the mannerisms are taken to be the soul? The appearance rather than the heart or river beneath?
Yes it’s true, there can be annoying grandstanders in the world.
But it amazes me how sometimes conversations between people can become all about the surface: watching to see how long each person is talking, counting how many times each person interrupts, waiting to judge, or react, giving lectures on the mores of group conversation (which now I’ll think of as ritualized conversation) all the musts and must nots…it could be exhausting, especially for those who already come with kindness in heart soon to be replaced by “what will they think of me?”
I have this strange feeling, that a connection to that deeper soul (or river beneath) would kind of take care of all of this…and bring to awareness a shared soul connection (that which we seek within ourselves and with others)
Maybe it’s not the collective party…
But the collective soul…or universal Soul…and it only takes awareness. A perfect visual metaphor of group soul is watching the dancers of Alvin Ailey. Wow. It pours into the audience right off the stage.
It is interesting how Joseph Campbell speaks of the loss of the Grail castle related to the “world demanding things of a person.” Makes sense. It’s a challenge to metaphorically walk in more than one world.
Though maybe the party unintentionally gave the wrong directions or advice about how to get to the castle or attain/maintain entrance?
Because the social more was about not asking questions (as a matter of etiquette and honor.)
But as some philosophers both East and West have said…sometimes one’s “cup” needs to be emptied (poured out)
For new awareness to come…
The problem is when you have an empty “cup” at a party (or in life) someone may always be refilling it, but there is no guarantee that substance will be wisdom or awareness.
Discernment is needed (a lovely non-reactive awareness.)
And yes, I can understand about drama frustration and other emotions inside and out pulling one off course or Down into the mud at times. I can relate even when the beauty of the other still waits around me. It’s easy to become stuck on those swirling muddy, eddies.
We are human, it’s understandable.
Maybe I’ll just imagine a hymn to the river or dance when the music calls.
I really love it, when I see people of all ages and backgrounds “come together,” spontaneously out of their own souls without any need for think tanks or blueprints.
It’s truly beautiful!
And I could imagine that Possible. Somedays it feels far out and far off.
Maybe I’m just a dreamer.
But who knows? We have all seen glimmers of it in our own life experiences. Or so I like to imagine.
Thanks for the essay Kristina. 🙂