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Fifty Shades of Grey Tag

In Your Dreams

Tyra Nur AthirahIn the psycho-energetic model of the universe, our thoughts create our own reality. Yet still, many of us live between two mind-sets.

One, our “ego-self” asks, “if our thoughts create our own reality then why do we not heal ourselves in a millisecond? Why do we experience a crisis of meaning in our lives and wonder whose life is this anyway? And if we can summons our soul mate by Cosmic Order what happens when our ‘dream lover’ turns into a real person? Did Cinders really live happily ever after with her Prince Charming?”

The other mind-set, our Wise Man or Woman within leaps joyously into the magical realm of the non-ordinary world with infinite possibilities. We co-create miracles.

The Law of Attraction claims that “like attracts like”. So what you focus on – “positive” or “negative” will bring you “positive” or “negative” results. Denounced as pseudoscience by many, the concept that we, as mere mortals, create our own reality has taken root and flourished since it was first planted in the early 1900s. A plethora of books followed the movie The Secret (2006) and the book (2007) with its numerous add-ons: Money and the Law of Attraction: Learning to Attract Health, Wealth & Happiness.  A recent offering from Pam Grout on the same theme is E-Squared (a Fifty Shades of Grey for spiritual dudes, i.e. holy without the fuck.)  Its popular appeal has hoisted sales and it is billed as a number one New York Times best seller.  Ms Grout echoes the current create your own reality belief: “What shows up in our lives is a direct reflection of our inner thoughts and emotions”, she writes. The hairy underbelly of this, of course, can be taken too literally: “if you end up paralysed in a motor accident, find you have TB or cancer in that dark shadow in your lung, you created this reality.”  And for some, this assumption may unleash the Hound of the Baskervilles baying guilt, fear and judgement.

girl in bowlE-Squared also fits the current model of things that can be measured, proven by “experiment” in linear time. So like the new app on our Smartphone that measures and quantifies our sexual performance (number of thrusts per minute, noise level, etc.) we measure and record Miracles.  A masculine model of a perfect world. According to Ms Grout, you can demand an unquestionable sign that a field of energy exists. You can also impose a deadline for your demand. And within just 48 hours you will receive a gorgeous handmade leather purse, a free ski trip to Lake Tahoe, or meet your dream lover. “According to physicists there’s a zero point field… where every possibility exists. For example, there’s the possibility you could be a ballerina, another that you could be a U.S. senator. Still another possibility is being a bag lady in Haight-Ashbury,” writes Ms Grout in her street-talk’n breezy style. And yet …what are the chances that the child of a heroin addict mother living in the slums of Detroit will be a U.S senator? Or a midget can be a top basketball player?  Can you be a ballerina if you have cerebral palsy?

Are we naïve or arrogant? Perhaps blissfully oblivious to the deep unconscious currents that will inevitably wash to shore those disowned parts of ourselves? Yet there are many who believe that if we can will it into being, visualise it, wave our magic wands, our prince will fall on his knees and ask us to marry him, our teenager will stop taking drugs. Perhaps our neighbour’s son won’t come home from school to find his father hanging from the rafter.

Many people on this earth still feel as powerless as our ancestors once did when they faced natural disasters, illness, or invasion. The “you can create your own reality” mind-set certainly has empowered, granted hope, released magical energy that has been suppressed by centuries of patriarchal (Saturnian) religious and state decree.

Perhaps the Miracle is within the so often harsh “reality” – it is up to us individually to sort the gold from the dross. Are we ready to move from the Magician Archetype into the Archetype of the Alchemist?  And if we are Alchemists in the laboratory of our own lives, are we aware that all transformation demands a dying and a death? That alchemy is a painstakingly slow and putrid process.

imagesQ7LH2PFKCollectively, we are going through seismic change reminiscent of the 1930s and 1960s and this may manifest in events that shatter the foundations of our personal lives. We will witness world events that crack and break open hoary old structures, new technology that transports us into the twilight realm of sci fi.

We cannot construct a new model of thought without homage to the old. The ancients believed that only the gods could Create. That it was Fate that toppled empires. Tossed small ships upon jagged rocks. Snapped off the promise of a life, without any mercy. If you believe that with self-reflection and intention, we can all at some level, edit or remake the movies that play across the screens of our minds; that we can temper the flame of our desire; receive new experiences without anxious expectation or urgent grasping, then perhaps we can coax a change in our perception of the experience of chronic ill health, loneliness, death, betrayal and loss.

For eons, spiritual traditions have taught that it is acceptance, surrender to All That Is that brings us the peace and happiness that is truly powerful. For eons, shamans and mystics have crossed over the threshold into non-ordinary states of being. They have walked in miracle and wonder. Poets, musicians and artists still visit that holy place of mystery. So do little children. Our world would be drab and prosaic place without magic and miracles and hope…imagesWP1XGI16

So, to engage with this new paradigm consciously is to question ourselves honesty. Do we really believe that we create our own reality? Do we believe in Miracles?  Do we embrace the non-ordinary realm with a child-like innocence, a wide eyed expectation of a Miracle? Perhaps we must work consciously with both the Magician Archetype and the Alchemist to co-create a reality that embraces the bitter sweetness of this life. For me it is not either/or – but both the dream and the co-creation of a reality that brings peace and wonder and joy-filled acceptance of those things we cannot change. I do believe in Miracles.  How about you?

330px-John_Singer_Sargent_-_Carnation,_Lily,_Lily,_Rose_-_Google_Art_ProjectFrom the album In Your Dreams Stevie Nicks

Images by  John Singer Sargent and  Tyra Nur Athirah



Back to Black

Fifty Shades of Grey… “Oh my! … Holy Cow! … Holy Fuck! Oh, crap…”

I am quarter-way through the book and  I can’t suck it up any more. Perhaps my psyche is not desensitised to what is euphemistically dubbed “mummy porn”. The banal clichés, the one-dimensional cardboard cut-out characters, the deeply disturbing objectification of the human body.

My impression after a very brief foray into the murky darkness was that this could be a clunky attempt at a Revenge Tragedy so popular in Elizabethan and Jacobean eras where the absolute corruption of power had gruesome and inhumane consequences. This could be a loss of innocence and a tale of redemption of two very wounded, self-absorbed characters, set against the steel and concrete urban landscape. I will never know.

What intrigues me is how this chunkily-written, best-selling trilogy taps into something that reverberates in the dark undertow of the collective consciousness. The puer fantasy so powerful in the West – especially the American psyche is certainly spelt out loud and crassly clear: youth worship, instant gratification, materialism, the stock-in-trade Mills and Boon template – Alpha Male meets virgin who succumbs to his brutish charm. What troubled me was this portrayal of a shadowy world where power is concretised into sordid fetish and where the stench of pain lingers like stale cigarette smoke.


The Vampire has come back to inhabit the new collective zeitgeist. The Vampire Archetype is certainly embodied in the lifeless personae of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey as they enact the ritualistic  dance – bondage, discipline, dominance, submission. Power – and the misuse of power. This age old motif was evident in the Harry Potter books, where the powerless became powerful, and where magic was used for good – and for ill. Victim turned Persecutor.

When our power is usurped or corrupted, we may stray into the mire where Victim and Persecutor enact their macabre dance of madness. The frequency of childhood abuse in psychopaths would suggest that the “sins of the fathers” are indeed visited upon future generations. Early humiliation and victimisation is often re-enacted. Not everybody who is subjected to corporal punishment, or abused cruelly as a child has psychopathic tendencies, though many of us carry these feelings inside us. When we feel powerless we must create the illusion of power in the most ruthless way. A psychologist friend of mine told me that she has an increase of young female clients who have read the book and now wish to experience bondage, submission – and emotional disconnection.

Satan appears in ever changing forms. There will always be willing souls who wander into the darkness, to dwell there, lifeless wraiths. Those who mistake pain for love, who give up their will or attempt to usurp the will of someone else, passively make a “pact with the devil”.   Apparently, Fifty Shades of Grey deals with great wealth, synonymous with power, as the dark side of human sexuality, the dark of the soul: the templum of the astrological 8th house. As above so below. The perfect design of the cosmos echoes these archetypal themes as Pluto (god of the Underworld) and Uranus (primordial sky god) to reveal what lies hidden beneath the lean veneer of equality and respect between men and women.

Like Mr Grey and Miss Steele, the outer planets are not concerned with morality. Uranus devoured his children and Pluto was a rapist. These two planets were in conjunction in the sixties, seeding the sexual revolution, the civil rights movement in America, apartheid in South Africa, appalling atrocities in Vietnam, and stormy weather in Kennedy’s Camelot. Now something darker has emerged out of the clash of these two Titans as they face off in a tense square –  exact again next month. It is evident in the sombre clouds of discontent that gather on the economic and political horizon. It is evident in the pathological motif of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Our vapid heroine, Anastasia Steele is reading Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, first published in 1891.

“Did you say the stars were worlds, Tess?”
“All like ours?”
“I don’t know, but I think so. They sometimes seem to be like the apples on our stubbard-tree. Most of them splendid and sound – a few blighted.”
“Which do we live on – a splendid one or a blighted one?”
“A blighted one,”
says Tess.

Times were different then for men and for women. And yet, what has really changed in a world where we still hunger for power? Where we cling-wrap our frozen hearts? I wonder if the painful irony of the tragically short life of Tess and the dark theme of Victim, sacrifice and patriarchal power will ever occur to the vacuous Anastasia Steele.

Teilhard de Chardin said: “someday, after mastering the winds, tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of sexual love. Then, for the second time in history, we shall have discovered fire!”   When we naively make a pact with darkness, sign away our souls in the blood of our own arrogance, our addiction to the tyranny of superficial thrills, we will never know the exquisite heat of fire. Our soulful lives will inevitably be dappled with shadows – those parts of our psyches that we ignore or repress. And yet if we wish to live authentic lives we will have to give up our pretence of ignorance. We must be discerning about who – and what we allow into our world. We will have to pause to consider how our diet of thoughts, words and images may desensitise, dehumanise, rob us of our own fire. Instant gratification of an anonymous fuck leaves us starving for intimacy and lasting love. How our quest for power, the wicked games we play with one another, catapults us over the precipice of integrity, where we lie, redundant, in a wasteland of isolation.

Have we wandered so far into the Twilight Zone that we have forgotten the voices of those that stood in the sunlight with flowers in their hair? Has the hope, the idealism, the vision of a better world faded to Shades of Grey? Last word must go to Tess in her innocent naiveté: “A strong woman who recklessly throws away her strength, she is worse than a weak woman who has never had any strength to throw away.”

Amy Winehouse sings Back to Black