(Essay) Through a Darkened Door—Light, Part 2 by Mary Ann Ghaffurian PhD

Between the beginning-story and now, at different times, a great numinous proximity welled. It was then that I knew I was onto one or other of the great vital puzzle pieces that could help put all the ghosts to rest. It was all the more shocking to realise because it took almost mental, spiritual and soul cataclysm to bring it on — so successfully had the pathways been deliberately effaced or rubbed out.  Dr MAG

When the seeker of truth or pilgrim sets out on a journey, he or she is on an open-ended path of self-discovery.  There is a degree of submission to the path, and alertness to new intimations of “the whole”. Echoing the Tao: “She is modest, like one who is a guest, She is yielding, like ice that is going to melt, She is simple, like wood that is unplaned,” [i] yet, equally: “Chaos must be faced.”[ii]

Early on I began to use maps for human consciousness interpretation, and as a way to press forward.[iii] Maps are image, direction and “whole picture” suggestions, depicting the imaginative struggle of individual or culture to pin to the known what is actually unknown, or the so-far indecipherable, as well as that which has been partially discovered. All knowledge proceeds this way, via maps, regardless of whether information is computational, intellectual, scientific, anecdotal or visceral. Maps, no matter how sketchy, unfilled-in or inaccurate, are created in people’s heads as they proceed through life. It is also true of the great discoveries of human inner life. We map our experiences as we make sense of how to go forward in a world where there is a growing sense of incomprehension and dismay as to what has been received knowledge — that things are not what they seem, and therefore the maps might be wrong, including our internal ones.

If we view an imaginative map of the entire knowledge-world, the dominant received information of the education system has a North-Atlantic, US-European slant, even if that information and “knowledge” is received via many media: books, TV, films, magazines, other people and the internet.

The “Inanna Moment”

This is possibly an “Inanna-moment” for many, where one has to be confident Ereshkigal is not waiting at the end of the journey to leave one naked and cold on a meat-hook to dry out deep in the earth. One has to be poised, to stand at the door to the unknown, and knock. A moment of trust. When soul and psyche begin to wrest free, they leave much behind in the process, clearing body and soul of the hampering past, burning dross on pyres, unwinding metaphorical shrouds, emptying mildewy capes: at the same time learning new ways of the ancient, forever new, assisting us in our reconnection to Origin.

Were she already among the immortals – were she already there at the goal to which this difficult path seems to be taking her – with what amazement she would look back over all this coming and going, all the indecision and wild zig-zagging of her tracks. With what a mixture of encouragement and blame, pity and joy…[iv]

A “Mago Moment”… 

Feminism is now an established scholarly tradition, so as we step into the deeper as well as broader context of “women’s knowing”, we are drawn also into unlayering the past or what has been forgotten, in order to gain the bigger picture. Will what we call “Feminism” go through another round of transformation (as it could if it is in the unwinding, energetic phase, and not fixed), to become, what? Whatever that is, the direction has to give ultimate dignity to the woman, to the feminine, to the initiation of women, to sexual innateness, to mothering and motherhood, to birthing, and to the phases of women’s bodies, hearts, souls, minds and psyches, as women go through rebirthing via education, knowledge, initiation, awakening and regeneration.

The Mago Circle opened as a new door for Western women and for Korean and south-east Asian traditional culture, ancient and modern, to be brought together. In the Mago Circle space, a heart-felt, explorative environment has become manifest in Social Media, where women (and men) can allow themselves to “come forth”, out of the closet of deeply held fear, apprehensions, even closely guarded secrets about their inner journey, to embrace spiritual certitude, as they embrace the renewal of the sacred Goddess and Mother connection, her forms, powers and entrustments from traditions both inside and outside traditional Western systemic, patrilineal lines, and from the sacred traditions of the East.

So, it is exciting to have another door opening on to formerly darkened areas of knowledge and know-how, with opportunities to expand mental and mythical reach, and to deepen perception of the inner as well as the outer world geographical map.

 “Mago” Tradition

Magoism is a new word to the modern Western vocabulary, yet it has its linguistic roots in many parts of the globe and in an ancient knowledge and know-how almost lost. Dr Helen Hwang determinedly and methodically is excavating the little-understood historical Mother-Goddess knowledge of Korea, and its traditions, the Mago, and Magoism, and in doing so is unlocking another previously invisible door, and replacing another ripped-off corner of the global map of significant, almost-lost tradition and forgotten knowledge. This is a most welcomed prospect. The newness of this discovery for those who learn of it fills them with excitement because every step to remember the ancient ways, particularly the lost Goddess ways, and those ways that hint of Source, are crucial to humanity remembering itself.

Moderns have become accustomed to modes of mind that strip the soul and psyche of finer attunement to earth, sea, stars and each other. This renders most adrift on a sea of seeming limitless freedoms, to be picked up by any technological hook that would substitute for inner knowing. The map becomes the new computer wiring, insurance policy or bank regulation to follow. But once we scrape from our psyches the encrustation of mind most moderns have settled with (which calcifies the innate senses and finer antennae of knowing, emboldening technologically driven modes of mind and being to take their place), then we are on our way to a vivifying recollection.

Here is an earlier presentation of the “mago” root word in “imago” or image. Not coincidentally, perhaps, it is connected to maps.

Mappae Mundi and the Imago Mundi

Treatises called imago mundi accompanied “world maps” or mappae mundi in the medieval to Renaissance era. Imago mundi were world maps carefully filled in with images that conveyed a medieval world “view” with accompanying mental and imaginative landscapes, full of the terrors and threats, fantasies, mythologies, animals and monsters, along with the wonderment and hesitancy of the unknown.

When Columbus set sail in 1492, he set store by his mappae mundi with illustrated imago mundi (images of the world) furnishing “pictures in mind”, in his head. When off the north-east coast of Cuba in November, penning a journal entry, he had beheld islands “without number… places at the end of the East… spread out in every direction”.

Paolo Toscanelli, a Florentine physician, had earlier urged King Alfonso V of Spain in 1474 that there was a Western route to the “Indies”.  But the Indies back then was not what we know it by today, i.e. the Caribbean. In Columbus’ time, the Indies was thought of as the East.

A route Eastward was proposed by Westward means, as seen in The Beatus Map of St. Sever, a 13th century mappa mundi with imago elements. (See picture above.) [1] It was plausible to envisage the earth’s surface as folding around the globe of the world and leaving but a small belt of ocean to be crossed  “from so-called west to so-called east”, via the Straits of Gibraltar, for example. In this way, the merchant explorers could imaginatively and religiously set out.
Real discoveries touched the mappae mundi very little… the further back the boundaries of geographical knowledge are driven, the more zealous are makers of such maps to preserve the sense of the marvellous… its faithfulness to its biblical roots, and to its mission to inspire hope and fill with wonder in the cause of Christianity.

Columbus set great store by The Beatus Map in his imaginative vision of the east.[v]

The preinscribed minds of explorers, like Columbus and Magellan, furnished fantasised imagery of the inhabitants of the East. This helped them to anticipate the unknown, and to subdue, overcome and vanquish opposition, with the goal to bring back glory, souls for God and gold for the monarchy (and of course some for self).

Portolan chart, of Marco Polo’s era. Naked men leap overboard to seize precious gems, gold, booty.

From portolan charts of the 13-14th century (detail above) to the etched Magellan of 1519 (below), Europeans gradually armed and prepared for any eastern monstrosity or contingency. Maps evolved along with ideas of the world image (imago mundi). Conquest had been on the mind of many for centuries.

Magellan, the Explorer, dividers in hand, readies to divide the world, surrounded by a mythological world of fantasies and marvels. 16th century etch.

So we have just found a medieval Western context where the word root “MAGO” appears in a mapping context, as an imaginative map of the mind, an excitation of the envisioning process of the world as an ideological canvas of mind projection, in a biblically-narrating mentality or, in my terminology, the Western mind-space. We can learn quite a lot from medieval imago mundi.

Take the term “IMAGO” back further and the Latin-to-Italianate MAGO moves from a visual context of seeing or viewing the world as image/imago, to a sage, wisdom context in the Zoroastrian Persian MAGUSH, from which the Ancient Greek MAGOS, Latin MAGUS (singular) and MAGI (plural), and MAGE are derived.

From this terminology, moving to a Western dominant vernacular, we encounter MAGISTRATE, MAGISTER, MAGISTERIAL, as well as MAGNIFY. In a patrician-guided world, the emphasis settles on robes of glory, what is seen as magisterial: authority, dominion, power by show, as well as the visual context of excitation of the eye by the MAGNIFICENCE in a context of pomp and the ordering of the gaze of the onlooker.

Yet there are other contexts that come from the East, from Persia, China, Asia-Pacific, to Korea. The non-patriarchist contexts are now ready to be brought forward out of their secondary or previously occluded meaning and value, along with their ancient feminine attributes, as queen, goddess and priestess. This evocation of memory potentially expands the further back we are driven.

From West to East, More Pilgrims and Explorers…

Not only in Columbus’ day moving West to discover East, carrying imago, but moderns setting off yet again in the endless phylogenetic quest for certainty amid the shards of knowledge and splinters of truth to find something solid. Seeking for certainty amid chaos, the MAGO pilgrimage is now being formed for pilgrim women who do not carry swords, wear a morion readied for combat, or have an eye to steal women, men, children, spice or gold; nor do they carry gin and bibles.[vi] They do not bring plague. This is an immense statement of intent — women stepping up out of their patriarchal roots in a more integral mode, to find something more, something other, something inner, beyond the “burning of bras” era of feminism or corporate equality, to a more mature moment.

The need today is to bring knowledge East and West into touch with each other in a new way, vibrationally, in the minds, hearts and souls of those ready to listen, learn and to make a leap. This movement has been resisted for millennia in the past, perhaps more or less unconsciously, but since the Church—Masons—Illuminati gathered sensed power, then swaggered into dominance, the merging has become a completely conscious repulse. While those women who join the repulse to make it in a man’s world, subsumed under the terms it dictates and rising as its new actors, have no place in the world where women simply own their own power.

To secure the knowledge that would bridge the divide between East and West, North and South, between masculine and feminine, and the splintered psyche in a completely organic and innate unfoldment towards Origin, such a move would render the “power brokers” (inordinately moneyed “elite”), without a constituency to play off, and internally/innately broke. Their powers hinge on the segregation and compartmentalisation of wholes into smaller and smaller units and parts that have lost touch with any grand plan, map or larger picture, except the corporate one the mapmakers of that world wish to advance. They also leach the good faith of those who still have the belief that the occluding, effacing methodology (or perhaps more accurately, the “feel-good” marketing machines) may lead to some good in the end. They won’t.

The only answer is to put the map of the world back together with a new wisdom, born of having been taken apart in the existential apparatus of historically losing the way to ourselves, and becoming fragmented in the process. Perhaps now is the day to restore our own “god-heads”, the Suns of the original innocence, of when the world was still new, and what was above connected to what was below effortlessly, without rancour or covetousness.  And knowledge was born direct.

End of Part 2 of “Through a Darkened Door — Light”. (Read Part I Here.)

©Mary Ann Ghaffurian PhD. All Rights Reserved

[i] Tao Te Ching XV

[ii] Colin Wilson, The Outsider, Victor Gollancz Ltd, London, 1956.

[iii] “Psalter Map”, mid-thirteenth century Ms., London, B.L.Add.28681, f.9.  British Library.

[iv] A little bit of licence taken here to substitute “he” for “she” and  “him” for “her”. Herman Hesse, The Steppenwolf  (tr. Basil Creighton), Secker, 1929, p.94.

[v] The Beatus Map of St. Sever. Reproduced from K. Miller, Mappae Mundi. Die altesten Weltkarten. See the Syndics of CambridgeUniversity Library.

[vi] Spanish Conquistador 15th century morion, or hard hat. The metal hat that brought the “hard heads” that visited death, disease and unpitied grief on the inhabitants of the Americas, in the context of shipping off all their melted-down gold.

(Part I and II copy-edited by Rosemary Mattingley.)

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