Imaginal Menagerie

A series of perspectives, images, reflections and ideas from the Great Vessel website about the inner images that divination opens and the ritual education into the great myth-world of Change.

Education and the Symbolic Life

Our educational and religious institutions offer no real symbols to hold our lives together. How can we find something that might truly educate us?  Jung said that Change (Yijing) is “our mirror”, where we see what we are and what we’re not. The Greeks called this psychogogia, a leading-out or education of the soul through a hidden language and the symbols it offers. The symbols of Change reflect archetypal rites of passage that embody the “wisdom of the East.” They are Gates or Symbols that connect us to the imaginal world and the Dream animals that inhabit it. They point at a change of heart that can occur if we accept and entertain them, where our real education starts.

Oh Rose, thou art sick: The Furies and the Water Spirit Disease

Change sets the stage for a divination on the roots of the fury and the sickness that possess our world today by offering two symbols: a portrait of the Rulers of This World, the “worst” who are, in the words of Yeats’ poem, “full of a passionate intensity” and an image of the great Gate and narrow bone ring through which all must pass who come into this world. With these images, we enter what Jung called the Untrodden Path, a journey to the Mothers that calls up the deepest shadows of our culture to create a place in our heart-mind where the ancestral wounds can be healed.

The Divine Between: The Divinatory Circle as Alchemical and Ritual Space

According to the Alchemists, the divine can be redeemed from the prisons of the literal in the transformational field between two people. When it is empowered as ritual space a kind of love and compassion arises that establishes the community of all things. This model offers a description of the inter-space between diviner, inquirer and the Change in the practice of deep divination, a model of using the Change as a Dao or Way, a long-term spiritual process.

Ancestors and the Personal Altar

We in the modern west have a great difficulty with Ancestors. We over-personalize them or ignore them. The traditional “worship” of Ancestors simply means giving the Dead the recognition they need to exercise their power. The creation of an Ancestor is an extremely important part of the ritual world of Change. It is a heng ritual, giving the spirits an enduring place in human life. Ancestors do not simply exist. They must be created and empowered, honored with attention and devotion.  This can only occur in ritual space, where the new Ancestor spirit animates an icon placed upon our personal Altar.

The 12 Hour Animals

The 12 Branch Animals are associated with the 12 double hours of the Chinese clock. Seeing your day as a succession of animal powers gives you an interesting perspective on your experience that lets you harmonize your activities with the quality of the time.

Tales of the Tiger: Opening the Sacred Sickness Pathways

In the world of Change, the Tiger is considered the lord or King of the Animal Powers and Body Energies who devours corrupted yin-fixations or Mind demons to open and secure Ritual Space. The article looks at his Name and associations in the Universal Compass, his essence energy, his associations with the Engines of Change and the Magic Square of the Thresholds, the Pairs that manifest his actions and his appearances in the Human World.

Introduction to Shuogua: The Way of the Eight Spirit Helpers

Shuogua is a classic commentary that explains (shuo) the function and fields of association of the Bagua or Eight Spirit Helpers that drive and open the hexagrams of Change. This introduction explores the Myths of Origin and Sequences of the Eight Diagrams and the ways to translate these texts. It includes a new translation of Part I, “Sages made Change in ancient times.”