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Archetypes of Western culture

Themes 2


The following question was asked: "If Green Men and Wise Women are Divine in the Depth of their Being, why is it that they don't permanently radiate it? How can Green Men who often don't look that inviting be Divine?"* Answer: they embody the whole life. In contrast to the patriarchal, absolute deities those who are portrayed only as idealized forms - Buddha, Jesus, Mary - Green Men and Wise Women represent life as it is. And this life is constantly moving from lower to higher levels and vice versa. That is from the the ego to Enlightenment and back. It is like a flower that opens herself in the morning, while closing in the evening. Or: in the Center there is Infinite Absolute Peace, while at the surface there are always trials and tribulations. Be honest. Even if you once had a spiritual experience of unity, the effects are not permanent. Oh, yes, something of the Infinite is always in the background, but in the fore - like said before - "normal" life goes on. Perfection is only within, the outside will never be that way (completely). Hence, our ongoing task on the spiritual path is integration of the mundane into the spiritual, of the ego into the New Self. The Green Man embraces both dimensions simultaneously - there is suffering, anger, fear, love, beauty, joy and.....deep down Perfection.....and is therefore much more realistic e.g. honest in comparison to our former ideals. Green Men and Wise Women live life as it is ... consciously, fully and with passion

* One should also not forget, that the Church purposely portrayed many Green Men in a ugly etc way, as warning...


The Grail myth is second to none, no any spiritual e.g. religious system in the world can match her....

The Grail myth as it originated in the Middle Ages, is the way of the Green Man and the Wise Woman. In it Parsifal     ("going through the valley") stands central. Prior to that time the Green Man was "only" a vegetation God who "automatically" followed the Law of "Death and Rebirth" more or less "unconsciously". With Parsifal "the Holy Grail" became a spiritual/psychological Path, a Path serving individual and supra-individual Wholeness. The characteristics are as follows. Raised by a single mother (think of today's single parents ....), i.e. born as a member of the old Mother Tradition. His mother shielded him off out of fear that he would like to become a knight, say, is seduced by the ego and patriarchy. That's exactly what happened. He enters the first phase of his life, marked by self-centeredness, success and failure. His mother had told him to respect women or listen to his anima - intuition, feelings and gentleness - to which he succeeded only with difficulty. Despite that it is always the women who advise and guide him. The Wise Women hereby assert their own role in myth, namely, through their direct contact with the Eternal Feminine foreseeing and influencing the events......

Exhausted due to the ongoing fighting, he gets the advice to visit his mother, which means that his ego is abated, and he wonders "whether this was all in life." He returns to his birthplace (he turns within ....), but learns that she is dead. What means, that he cannot return to his previous dependencies. Instead, he is led into a castle, where should "be the Grail." The Grail is the symbol of the Cosmic Mother*. So, instead of his biological mother the Primordial Mother is offered to him, the Real Source of all life. He is received very kindly by Amfortas, the king who is mortally wounded, but cannot die. Because of that the country has turned into a wasteland, and all hope for a savior who can restore the health of the earth. Dinner is celebrated. In the hall seven maidens (i.e. Wise Women!) bear the Holy Grail* on a beautiful green! satine cloth and show it to the Parsifal. He enjoys it greatly, "lets it all hasppen", while not caring about the meaning i.e. the importance of the whole scene. The explanation: Parsifal was bestowed Enlightenment and at that Moment the ego is gone, so you indeed cannot reflect. But after that Moment, the ego comes back. In order to become fruitful, the mind has to also understand what happened there, because Enlightenment is more than a personal pleasure. If you do not understand that Being includes a commitment to the Whole, then the Divine Gift was all for nothing....

* Viewed as a "Cauldron of Abundance", sometimes as a "Stone"..... The latter is a Black Meteorite, also a symbol of the Cosmic Mother (Cybele )....

This ignorance is going to cost him dearly. For the next morning all the radiance is gone. He has simply proved to be unworthy. He was therefore faced with the total absence of the Ultimate. The latter had withdrawn from him, or rather, the Cosmic Mother now showed Her destructive side (to destroy his overabundance of ego ......). He was totally thrown back "on himself". Which heralded a new period of alienation: "The Dark Night of the Soul". Why it is so cruel is, because now, one knows about the Origin, the Ultimate Fulfillment, but isn't able to regain it. Because of this Parsifal experienced many years of complete deprivation, nothing was important to him, anymore. Without support from "above" one is again exposed to the ego, but this time without any ambition, goal or fulfillment. Life has become totally meaningless. Still at the end of this period, the ugly Cundrie who embodies the negative side of the Great Mother, abused him, because even after such a tough learning he still hasn't dropped his ego i.e. vanity. And indeed, if one doesn't accept one's suffering fully - excellent tool in overcoming the ego's self-centeredness - the ego is turning into an adversary. The danger is a constant battle against negativity, which you never get rid of ..... After this last test Parsifal repents and enters again the Grail Castle.

Again, the virgins (Goddesses, Wise Women, who, because they are women, are initiates to this secret)* show him the Grail. This time he did not make the mistake and asks for the meaning of it all i.e. the cause of the king's illness. At that moment, all stood up and cheered. Parsifal had passed the test and everything has suddenly changed. The old king is reconciled to his death, the country is once again green and lush, the people glow with happiness. It is this final scene, which corresponds with the whole Tradition of "Dying and Resurrecting Gods." Therefore, the Parsifal myth is the medieval continuation of the same. Amfortas symbolizes the old, clinging to his ego, hence doesn't really live, but also cannot die. Parsifal is a young God - the Green Man - who is replacing the old. To accomplish this, he had to know only about his role, his function in the context of the Whole. If we don't, then any Enlightenment is a waste. For the ultimate goal is to be fruitful for the good of all and everything**..... And what is extremely important: not by himself, but on behalf of, or subservience to the Ultimate that has given him his position, namely, the Grail, the All-Embracing Primordial Mother, Emptiness beyond Emptiness, the Cauldron of Abundance ....

* This only applies if they have "enough femininity". Many modern women are as identified with their ego and masculinity as men. It is related to the realization of their "animus", a positive development, indeed. However, if they become obsessed by it, they become blind supporters of the patriarchal system (career, money, power). These women should rather follow Parsifal ....

** The Grail myth as a practical application is available: See LINK: "The Universal Way." See also: LINK: The Grail Gallery

In Dutch language there is a very beautiful word: "Vol-Ledigheid. It means fullness and emptiness as two aspects of the selfsame life. Great (spiritual) Experience confirms it. The ego uniting with the Eternal (Fullness), is the same as disappearing into Emptiness. Rarely one can find that the Eternal is destroyed by Absolute Nothingness, though. In both cases, normal life is blessed with a plethora of insights, love, joy, creativity and strength. The Void as a precondition for rebirth..... This is not in contrast to what was said above. Both are true! Not surprising then, that humankind has always searched for this "Cauldron of Abundance". In the East, Enlightenment, in the West .... the Grail. Now I'm on my tour - in addition to the fact that I have been bestowed a Gralsvision in 1974 (LINK: Vision of the Grail) - meeting to my surprise many Grail symbols. Quite visible in and on churches. The Grail had therefore never totally disappeared from the consciousness. One has only to see her! She symbolizes the endless life-giving Womb of the Cosmos. And where the Mother is, the Green Man and the Wise Women are not far away. They are your guardians and custodians. Especially in the Renaissance - which weakened the rule of the Church a little - many carved vases with flowers and fruits were made. Good examples: LINK: Alcobaça, Leon, and many, many other places. The Grail is thus a sign of hope. May the (spiritual) abundance return in our life!


The Green Man and the Wise Woman were tolerated i.e. even encouraged by the Church for two reasons. Both were symbols of pre-Christian "Pagan" times. Displaying them had the purpose of showing the people that these are outdated, weak, insignificant and damned! images. Therefore there are many sculptures in which ugly-looking Green Men literally trampled by Christian "saints". LINK: Oppenheim, Chartres, Pérignac. One can also see people who identified themselves with nature (the old belief!) being devoured by monsters. All meant as a warning. It is a fact that until the late Middle Ages the Church still needed considerable effort to exterminate the "old faith". Although it was risky to show the latter's symbols openly, the Church thought she had no choice. In addition to Green Men women were often portrayed as the cause of the problem. Link: Konstanz, Ansbach. Logically, the Green Men were not "amused". At the same time, the sculptors used to the situation to emphasize the positive side. They were on the side of the people (and the secular authorities). Both had largely retain their connection to the old faith. They managed - sometimes openly, sometimes hidden, depending on the local situation - to create the various types of Green Men and Wise Women. Often the suffering i.e. the oppression of the old Gods/Goddesses was emphasized. Therefore, often two Green Men typologies can be seen: the ugly, just as the Church saw him and the suffering, just as the people saw him. A very special variant is the one with Green Men acting as repressed contents of the subconscious. Link: Salamanca, Claustro de Dueñas

How different it looks in Batalha, Portugal. In gratitude for a victory there, the cathedral was built by the secular ruler Joao l. Without interference from the Church. A unique situation that can be directly related to the phenomenology of the Green Men. Certainly, also influenced by his wife, Philippa of Lancester,) English (and later by the Templars), the Green Men of Batalha, without exception - and there are hundreds here - are looking relaxed, confident, balanced, happy and content. Unbelievable, especially to those who are only familiar with North-European masks. This is not everything. Inside the cathedral one third of all the masks are women's faces! Batalha is therefore the absolute highlight of the Green Man or the Wise Woman quest. It is a sign of hope, a certainty that if the conditions are favorable - and we ourselves must create them nowadays - the Immanent Divine will manifest itself again in history. LINK: Batalha. Due to its uniqueness, we have named Batalha, Tomar (headquarters of the Knights Templar) and Alcobaça (of the enlightened Cistercian monastery), the "golden triangle". Within a few square kilometers, is there so much to experience that we want to present i.e. promote the region as a new place of pilgrimage LINK: Tomar, Alcobaça

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Last revising: 02/25/10