- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Golden Sufi Centre (29 Nov. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1890350508
- ISBN-13: 978-1890350505
- Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.2 x 18.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 459,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Darkening Of The Light: Witnessing the End of an Era Paperback – 29 Nov 2013
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"I bow to the courage in this book... Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee has heard the cry of the Earth and been brave to face and feel the immensity of the loss. He has dared to hope we can wake up to save what's left of our world and our souls." --Joanna Macy, Deep ecologist and co-author of "Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy"
About the Author
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee was born in London in 1953. He has lectured extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Europe on Sufism, mysticism, Jungian psychology and dreamwork.
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When I read this chapter in The Darkening of the Light, I felt the truth of it. An instant recognition settled upon me, for Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee is describing here what I have also seen and experienced. He speaks of being ill and going into the world of light for some time. I was five years old when I experienced this world of endless white light. I was gravely ill with measles. Delirious on the physical level, I entered into the dimension that is endless white light, nothing but white light. Being there in this light restored something to my soul, which had become shadowed by the dysfunctional family situation and the tissues of lies woven around me. I think likely my soul would have decided to just leave this incarnation were it not for receiving a timeout in the dimension of white light.
We need that light so desperately to nourish the soul, even as we need food and clean water to nourish our bodies. We can't remain in that world of white light too long, as Llewellyn says, but it can be transmitted through the veils between the dimensions in sufficient quantity to keep our soul growing and evolving.
This is how it always was, that the Glory of God was transmitted to human beings, though perhaps through many veils. We read in Genesis how Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool of the evening. We hear how beings of light were received by Abraham and Isaac, by Mary and the shepherds. Paul was blinded by it on the road to Emmaus. The veils were there, but the separation from God was never extreme.
Then something changed. As Llewellyn says, having seen it in visions, mankind began to make a wall, of something like bricks we mortared together, to separate ourselves from God. Veils may filter, but a wall obstructs. And a wall is no natural structure. Bricks have to be made one by one. They don't grow in field and forest! So this wall was constructed. It was built. It was fashioned deliberately, using the precious gift of free will we have been given by God. This is how it was used: to separate us from God. Now we live in the shadow of this wall, and it has denied us our God-given heritage of light. Is it any wonder that we wander about chaotically grasping at any straw of comfort, filled with anxiety and rage?
What do these bricks consist of ? Our power trips, our beliefs, our ideologies, our greeds, our inertia built higher and higher in every generation for hundreds, even thousands of years.
We need to have, individually and collectively, what Socrates called an anagnorisis, a moment of true recognition, in which we see ourselves and our situation as we really are and it really is, not as all the sowers of lies and fantasies have painted it for us on the bricks of obstruction.
He's hitting on many historical points from a spiritual persective, and impeccably! Just a few:
- We are cut off from the source of existence. There is a source and we can connect it. But we have forgotten that is exists
- We have stuctured our lives, our whole civilization, on a misconception. (And are sleepwalking through it, though it's failure is in our face.)
- These are unexamined first principles. And we are no longer able to examine them
- a Golden Age when man knew the nature of a thing just by looking at it. Knew it's divine name.
- Deviating from God's way and being cast out was a conscious choice. We chose it deliberately
- similarly, this wall between ourselves and the Divine light has been built deliberately, consciously, by the Children of the Enlightenment
- value right living, meditation as a way to the light, danger of spiritual bypassing
- Gnostic mystics persecuted by early Christians
- symbolic consciousness. value of church symbols in gothic cathedrals, elsewhere
- the ancient shamans & priestesses knew that the forms we see in this world have their roots in an unseen dimension where primal energies lie
- When we recognize the meeting of the worlds within us, we regain access to this realm and the powers that work there
- We ourselves then become the realm where the worlds meet, where the primal powers of life, the hidden archetypes, emerge into form
- We are not here to control life, but to witness and reveree the Divine as it manifests in a new way through the natural force of life
- Can then experience the fact that life itself is fully alive
- Alchemical Tradition worked with the symbolic world
- from the physical world, through the archetypal world of symbols, to the pure consciousness of the Self, and beyond to the planes of non-being
- We always seem to overlook the simple wonder of being human, which means to be divine. The meeting place of the two worlds.
- the simplicity of our human values: love, joy, hope, community. When not scattered in the 'ten thousand things,' humans are very powerful
- our power is taken from us by complexity and technology
- As above, so below. Growth of plants, cycles of our bodies, tides of the seas, reflected in the movement of the stars and galaxies.
- Dark forces are also ancient and powerful. They know cunning and deceit. Offer us the image of progress even as they deny the sacred light
- On this plane of existence, there has to remain the duality of light and dark, and human beings will be tested as they have always been tested
- Relearning the ancient art of witnessing, just as our ancestors watched the stars and the storms, their dreams, and the patterns in nature
- Symbolic consciousness was central to human consciousness for thousands of years. We lived in both the inner & outer worlds without contradiction
- learning to live with the Divine, not as some trancendant being but as a real presence and energy that is central to our existence
- humanity has a unique quality of consciousness—mythologically imaged as fire stolen from the Gods, that has evolved through history
I had pieced a lot of this together myself, laboriously. So good to find it all in one, wise little volume.
In this set of essays, Llewellyn paints a changing picture of mostly missed opportunity that are leading to a decaying picture of the world with little hope for a course correction for human societies. While the data would generally support his conclusions, there are wider ranging psychological and spiritual cycles at work that have not completely been accommodated into his synthesis.
Llewellyn goes through a personal-historical progression of the emergence of archetypes and, from 2000, the emergence of a very wonderful new archetype that manifested associated with the number 8 and possibilities of another type of world. Mind you that this is all based on one persons internal experience and interpretations. Then later, when, by the authors interpretation, we don't make the kind of shift that we could have, and the archetypes have receded back into the unconscious, then we are led to the title of the book, the darkening of the light. Whoa, heavy trip if we missed it, this great world change that was in our grips, and the powers of the archtypes are saying bye-bye.
The first consideration is that a past sense of false-hope has been created just based on the numbers in our calendar. Few people we very concerned about 1984 even though George Orwell and David Bowie painted a bleak picture. Many more people were storing up food for Y2K and this great change in computer systems from moving to 2 digit years to 4 digit years. Yet few things, if any, happened on January 1 2000. From the spiritual angle leading up to a possible millenial 2nd coming, many spiritual groups and movements gained large followings. Modalities like Reiki and yoga burst out into the culture through books and with many new students. Having moved into the early 2000's many people breathed a sigh of relief. Though some folks out there may still have some cans of food stock piled to their chagrin of being caught up in a self projected/magnified crisis. Moving forward to 2012 with the entire Mayan calendar thing and dire, or magnificent projections, we found ourselves in 2013 wondering why nothing important really happened. So we have passed in the last 20-30 years through a great many psychological hurdles and still we are here. And it would be natural when letting go of false grand/dire fantasies and illusions of great expectations to feel some let down. But the let down is no more substantial and real than the original fantasies. Both are really fantasies. We can either assume the world is crazily out of control or that some higher dimensional natural process is going on. It's a choice of perspective. And this book is tending to deliver only one perspective.
The Internet itself is a great outward sign of an inward set of connections growing under the corporate-consumerist canopy like symbolic mycelium running through the forest floor of societies. Though many manifestations of the Internet are trivial, the Internet is a extrusion of a coming together that is being projected into three dimensional space. To see that there is a race and a contest between environmental woes and the raising and interconnected-ness of consciousness is a more balanced view then focusing only on part of the dynamics at work here.
Of course the ecological degradation continues. But there have been great changes in terms of an increase of recycling, a great political grass roots awakening in Europe that is not reported in the US. Governments are being taken back by the citizens who are now involved in changing the course of nations. Occupy Wall Street and the 99% is just a small example of internal change. From organic food and alternative therapies, the spreading legalization of marijuana, the re-emergence of the feminine, there are great changes going on that are not as easily measured as the charts and graphs that outline species destruction or ecological loss.
I'm suggesting that the hallmarks of current Western Civilization are extrusions of an ego detached from nature. The collapse of the twin towers is a sign that this false extrusion and construction of the ego, as in consumerist society, is coming to a tranformative end. So rather than interpreting an ebbing of society as something sad and as a missed opportunity, it is actually a great opportunity. We are beginning to see the re-emergence of an archaic value system. From people learning survival skills, to paleo-diets, to dreadlocks, drumming, yoga, and people seeing through the illusions of 'higher' education, there is a new value set being established. There are still flowers, there is still Spring.
The author would sell you the idea that the workers of the unconscious, the shamans, are gone and we are left without the physicians of the unconscious who could help heal us. But if Llewellyn would take even the Sufi-inspired example of Muhammad, as the 'seal' of the prophets, he would be given another view. The time of solitary messengers has given way to group action and embodiment. The message of the divine now works through groups. And this seeming declension from the open mouth of someone on a hill, preaching, has indeed slipped into the seeming background, working more subtly but on a wider scope. It's like a flashlight that has been turned from thin spotlight to wide beam. Seemingly more diffuse, less strong, but really impacting more people. From the drumming circles, tribal dances, meditation groups, dozens of yoga studios in even small cities, and droves of spiritual tourists going to the Amazon to take ayahausca, with real shamans, to reawaken to the sacred in nature, there is indeed something magical happening. Just because it's not happening the way we (he) thought it would happen, does not mean it's not happening at all.
In closing, I am compelled to balance and filter the message of Llewellyn. This is the transmission of someone who may be speaking according to what attracts his interests, or concerns. And whenever a message emphasizes one side of an issue, and chooses a conclusion that all is lost, or at least a great opportunity is lost, must be considered as the accepted truth of one person, but not as accepted truth for all.
Generally the material here is interesting and does emphasize a serious attitude to global life, and presents practices that can be helpful. But to accept on face value the authors conclusions is to buy into a downer story. If we learned something by buying into fantastic stories in the past, the lesson would hopefully to not buy into anyone elses stories at all. But for you to write our own. Yes, do what we can to serve and help each other and the planet. But don't put your own conclusions, hopes, and desires aside just because someone else has a different story. Gratitude from our side, and grace from the side of the higher forces, can work miracles. No outward power can subsist or continue in the face of the heart of love.
P.S. There is an elephant in the room, besides the ego, that nearly no one wants to talk about. It is the leading cause of the global woes and is the REAL inconvenient truth out there. And that is human overpopulation. Any religious tenant that restricts any form of birth control (I'm avoiding the question of abortion) is on very shaky ground. No amount of recycling or alternative therapies or meditation is going to help if we keep piling on mouths to feed. Uncontrolled human population will produce a dystopia. We need to both get a handle on our egos, awaken our hearts, AND do some serious re-education about the direct effects our reproduction is having on the planet. Nearly no one in governments, during elections, or even spiritual speakers are willing to directly tackle this issue. But even this crisis of behavior does not mean our fate is sealed. No one knows what tomorrow brings. But the sun will rise and flowers will bloom. Regardless of the fate of humans on this planet.