Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Joseph Campbell, 3

If you look behind the pyramid, you see a desert. If you look before it, you see plants growing. The desert, the tumult in Europe, wars and wars and wars – we have pulled ourselves out of it and created a state in the name of reason, not in the name of power, and out of that will come the flowerings of the new life. That’s the sense of that part of the pyramid.

Now look at the right side of the dollar bill. Here’s the eagle, the bird of Zeus. The eagle is the downcoming of the god into the field of time. The bird is the incarnation principle of the deity. This is the bald eagle, the American eagle. This is the American counterpart of the eagle of the highest god, Zeus.

He comes down, descending into the world of the pairs of opposites, the field of action. One mode of action is war and the other is peace. So in one of his feet the eagle holds thirteen arrows – that’s the principle of war. In the other he holds a laurel leaf with thirteen leaves, the principle of peaceful conversation. That’s the way the idealists who founded our country would wish us to looking – diplomatic relationships and so forth. But thank God he’s got the arrows in the other foot, in case this doesn’t work.

Now, what does the eagle represent? What is in the radiant sign above his head – thirteen stars arranged in the form of a Star of David. There are nine feathers in the eagle’s tail, the number of the descent of the divine power into the world. When the Angelus rings, it rings nine times.

The Star of David is also known as Solomon’s Seal because he used it to seal monsters and giants and things into jars, the way genies were sealed into jars in the Arabian Nights. Each of the triangles in the star is a Pythagorean tetrakys; a triangle composed of ten points, one in the middle and four to each side, adding up to nine, the primary symbol of Pythagorean philosophy, susceptible of a number of interrelated mythological, cosmological, psychological, and sociological interpretations, one of which is the dot at the apex represents the creative center out of which the universe and all things have come.

The initial sound, the big bang, or the Word as a Christian might say, the pouring of the transcendent energy into and expanding through the field of time, breaking into pairs of opposites as soon as it enters, the one becoming two. With two, there are just three ways they can relate to one another: one is dominant, the other is dominant, the two are in balanced accord. Lao-tzu says out of the Tao, the transcendent comes one, out of one comes two, out of two three, and from the three all things in the four corners of space derive.

The arrangement of the triangles in the Great Seal suggest that from above or below, or from any point of the compass, the creative word might be heard, which is the great thesis of democracy. Democracy assumes that anybody from any quarter can speak, and speak truth, because their mind is not cut off from the truth. All they have to do is clear out their passions and then speak.

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