Book update: as I mentioned in my last post, I’m in the process of writing my next book The Age of the Orphan: An Archetypal Analysis of Modern Western Civilisation. My dream of knocking it into shape in two weeks did turn out to be rather optimistic. I think it’s going to be more like two months until the book is ready.
For this week’s post, though, I want to touch on a current issue that fits into the Orphan archetypal analysis.
We are now in the post-corona world according to the people who get to decide such things. But it should be pretty clear to everybody that the underlying archetypal machinations that brought us corona have not stopped. One such issue that has stepped in to fill the void is the trans “debate”. It’s a sign of how fast things are moving that the trans issue was barely even on the radar at the time that I wrote The Devouring Mother just two years ago. From memory, I didn’t even mention it in the book.
From a political point of view, the transgender issue is structurally identical to corona. It is being pushed from the top-down via government agencies, government funding of private agencies, NGOs, globalist institutions and the MSM. Through a combination of shaming, character assassination and censorship, there is the attempt to create the appearance of consensus where those who disagree must be “extremists”. In this respect, it is identical to corona, vaccines, climate change, renewables, the Voice (here in Australia), eating bugs or any of the other wonderful ideas cooked up by our “elites”.
I should point out that I’m not denying that some individuals have difficulties with gender and sexual identity. In fact, one of my best friends from high school now identifies as a woman and has had surgery to mark the change. But that happened well before the trans issue became an apparently urgent matter of public discourse.
Clearly some people have issues with gender and sexuality. Equally clearly, some people catch colds and flus and some of those (mostly the elderly) will die as a result. We can accept these facts while still admitting that the way in which corona and transgenderism have become socio-psychological lightning rods is deeply weird. It was possible to construct a seemingly logical argument to account for corona but even the most hardened “conspiracy theorist” is struggling for a logical account of the transgender debate. Nevertheless, the issue makes perfect sense within the Devouring Mother archetype.
When my friend underwent surgery to mark his change of gender, he was a fully-grown adult in his 20s. As an adult, he was free to make his own decision and his parents would not have been involved at all (most likely they would tried to talk him out of it). It’s worth noting that the related issue of eunuchs throughout history almost always involved consenting adults. In many cases, men would even self-castrate in order to qualify for jobs in the royal court because the lucrative benefits involved in such a position were only available if you were a eunuch. It’s a testimony to how much humans desire power that people have taken a knife to their own genitalia to achieve that outcome.
What we are seeing now with the transgender issue is a focus on pre-pubescent children whose parents are actively involved in the matter (we are also seeing the State take on the role as quasi-parent to override the wishes of the real parents where necessary, but this also fits within the Devouring Mother archetype with State as “parent”).
Forcing gender roles onto pre-pubescent children is, by definition, unnecessary since puberty is the time when we all must deal with the complex issues around gender and sexuality not as an abstract ideological argument but as a lived experience. The biological transformation of puberty forces these matters on us whether we like it or not. And therein lies one of the key points that is behind the trans issue. Puberty is fate. Death is fate. Just like we freaked out about death during corona we are now freaking out about puberty. In both cases, it’s the denial of biological fate.
Here is a diagram I used in my Age of the Orphan series to elucidate how the Orphan archetype fits into the human lifecycle:
The Orphan archetype sits between the Innocent and the Adult. As the name suggests, the Innocent represents the time we associate with childhood in all its innocence. The Orphan represents the time of puberty and the transition to adulthood. In traditional societies, the onset of puberty was the trigger for the social transition into adulthood via ceremonies and initiation. For example, the Native American vision quest and the Australian aboriginal walkabout happened around the onset of puberty.
In modern western society, we have decoupled adulthood from puberty to a large extent. We have no formal initiation ceremonies or markers. Little is required to be done to earn the status of adulthood. Rather, it is attained by default through proxy markers such as the voting age, the drinking age, the driving age and the age of consent. Thus, we have gradually erased the Orphan transition into adulthood. We have removed any exoteric rituals and left each individual to go it alone. We tell ourselves that this is “freedom” but it’s a bit like the freedom to drive a car without having learned to do so first. To change metaphors, we throw you in the deep end and let you sink or swim.
What happens in practice is that most people will look for something to keep them “afloat”. They become dependent and this is where the Devouring Mother comes in. Becoming dependent on the Devouring Mother prevents the Orphan from completing the transition into adulthood. Note that dependence is the natural state of the Innocent. Childhood is the age where we all really are dependent on our parents and there is nothing problematic in that dependence.
Thus, another way to frame the Devouring Mother dynamic is that the mother wishes to keep the child in perpetual Innocence by preventing the Orphan transformation. She can then claim that she needs to “protect” the child since that is the natural relationship between the parent and the Innocent. Thus, the language used around the transgender issue is identical to corona. It’s all about keeping people “safe”.
With corona and the transgender issue, these archetypal dynamics are now manifesting in the physical world. What were mandatory vaccines except “mummy” (the Nanny State) getting us to “take our medicine” like good little boys and girl. Similarly, we now see surgical and pharmaceutical intervention of pre-pubescent children with the goal of “delaying” puberty. In reality, it is the denial of puberty and is therefore about keeping the children in a biological state of “innocence”.
We can represent this by reference to another concept from my Age of the Orphan series which was levels of being:
|Level of Being||Orphan Transformation to Adulthood|
|Social||Work, marriage, citizenship, church|
In most societies, the biological transformation of puberty is accompanied by the social transformations of work, marriage, citizenship and church (or whatever cultural specific exoteric institutions map to these). The combination of the biological and social change results in a psychological process called Individuation and, at the highest level, the formation of the Jungian Self. Both of these latter transformations can form a life’s work but it is at puberty where they are begun in earnest.
What we have seen over the last centuries in the West is the progressive removal of the Orphan transition to adulthood at the “higher” levels. In the post war years, the breakdown moved into the Social dimension. Thus, we saw a massive increase in divorce rates, falls in church attendance, an increasingly fake democracy and the rise of bullshit jobs.
Both corona and the transgender issue represent the ultimate manifestation of that process as it now arrives in the Physical plane with surgical and medical interventions that prevent the biological transformation into adulthood.
Of course, this is not the way our ideology represents these matters. Our ideology says that this is “freedom”. Everybody shall have the freedom to choose a gender, a job, a life partner, a religious denomination and even which country to live in. This “freedom” is central to the post war ideology of the West. In archetypal terms, however, this is a false freedom.
The Orphan’s challenge as so beautifully portrayed in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov is to face the ultimate lack of freedom which is death. To face death and come out the other side with your childlike sense of wonder, optimism and faith intact is what Dostoevsky considered the highest task in life. But one must face death. That is the Orphan’s challenge. To revert to the Innocent without going through the initiation of the Orphan is the denial of that challenge and a false pathway.
We can represent this using the Jungian concept of the Shadow as follows with the shadow forms at the bottom of the table:-
|Level of Being||Orphan Transformation to Adulthood|
|Psychological||Individuation (the Self)|
|Social||Work, marriage, citizenship, church|
|Physical||Denial of puberty|
|Social||Breakdown of marriage, church, state, bullshit jobs|
|Psychological||Denial of Self|
This fits with Jung’s idea that the task of the modern world was to incorporate Satan. For him, what is happening right now is the integration of the Shadow at the societal level.
It also represents the end of the Antichrist phase of history. Both Dostoevsky and Nietzsche analysed the historical figure of Christ as the Innocent. Whether that’s historically true or not, there can be no doubt that the modern West was founded on such a concept as we see in the ubiquitous Virgin and Christ Child paintings.
If the Virgin and Christ Child was the founding archetype of the Faustian, we have now arrived at its inversion: Devouring Mother and Child in Shadow form.
22 thoughts on “The Shadow of Innocence”
It feels to me like their is purposeful confusion in all this. They/them pronouns create all sorts miscommunications because the words still refer to a group of people. Changing your name, is often part of picking a new gender, and referencing the person’s old name or gender is considered offensive, so its often very hard for me to figure who exactly we are talking about. Then there are the boutique genders and sexual orientations that have to be explained (more often found on the internet than in real-life) Add to that the linguistic churn whereby progressive phrasing of last year becomes this year’s “problematic” language. Do you see an archetypal connection to all the confusion?
Alex – that’s always the question, isn’t it – are “they” doing it on purpose?
In one sense, it’s classic divide and conquer tactics and, as you say, this is an extreme form of divide and conquer where they are literally destroying the meaning of language thereby preventing communication.
Archetypally, it’s gaslighting and therefore a prime Devouring Mother tactic.
I don’t see these explanations as mutually exclusive. We all manifest archetypes, it’s more a question of whether we do it consciously. I suspect most politicians are not consciously aware of it. They just find something that works and go with it.
Yeah, I also thought 2 weeks was crazy. But I keep saying the same things about my own illustrations. Each time the muse takes me out in the back alley to teach me a lesson I never learn… we’re not these machines!
Sex or lack of is in here. I’m surprised at how asexual they are, or there’s lurching into something creepy for credibility or vanity. But I keep noticing that many of the people doing this here somewhere also claim to be asexual. I think asexual is one of the letters now, too.
No one mentions this but the west is twisted to terrified of sex or its True power. Even my beloved fellow Ecosophians claim up whenever El Papa (John Michael Greer) even slightly mentions sex.
Hardly anyone in the west is comfortable in their own body so even awhile ago James and I figured it was self hate and “life will be perfect when….”
And all the butches who first started cutting off their tetas and taking testosterone, they were proud stone butches. Meaning it was a point of faux masculine pride to never surrender to pleasure or their woman’s power. So they paired up with the most self absorbed pillow queens.
Feminism here became cheap caricature of …well, men …we used to joke that you could throw a shoe at a man’s crotch and he’d come. The cold withholding orgasm or even pleasure is a woman’s game!
So it was twisted from jump.
I went back to men because they were fresh exciting vulnerable funny brand NEW after all that twisted crazy truly female “logic.”
(I’m saying the fear no TERROR of sex and thus growing the hell up, fits with what you’re saying. The absence and the fear of pubic hair… and aging in general…fits. and it was always here in our fear of getting old in the west when you think about old ladies trying to compete with young women. So bizarre….)
Erika – the only reason I thought two weeks was cos I believed I had most of it already written. Turns out most of it needs to be re-written 😉
Sex fits into the category of things that cannot be known but only experienced. You can read every book in the world about how to go on your first date, have your first kiss, have sex for the first time. None of it will make any difference in the heat of the moment. And yet that’s exactly what they’re trying to teach pre-pubscent kids now. Somebody is writing these books and somebody in public libraries is buying them. Somebody’s making $$$$$.
There’s an inherent danger in sex. Danger of making mistakes. Danger of looking stupid. Danger of hurting somebody. Danger of being hurt. That’s why we need to shut it down. Safety for all!
Interesting…. because they ARE killing sex. It’s not even in the air here anymore. It’s bizarre….
And take all the time this subject needs. It’ll be worth it.
Erika – If you wanted to kill sex, I couldn’t think of a better way to do it than unlimited free porn. Actually, no, physically removing genitalia is the best way to do it 🤯
i laughed at unlimited free porn and removing tetas and genitalia…. yeah, that AND having your teacher pass butt plugs around.
i said to James that all of my so-called worst fantasies are now timid fluffy and CUTE compared to THE REAL WORLD and my own sex drive is cowering in the corner half-dead. i’m not being dirty for dirt’s sake: the erotic is tied to my creativity and when it’s cowering in terror i’m trying to hot wire or re-route things.
what is sexy now to me is direct eye contact laughter directness free time and an open mind.
Erika – hah. Where does the princess meet her prince? By “accident” down by the river while they’re both in the middle of doing something else. How did Romeo meet Juliet? Their eyes met across a crowded room. Ironically, all of this sex stuff has nothing to do with real sex. In the most important ways, it’s the opposite of real sex.
It seems to me our approach to sex is as neurotic as that of the Victorians. Started off on the same axis just in a different direction with the sexual revolution then ended up turning into it’s opposite.
This is actually a central part of McGilchrist’s work. Not so much sex, but things becoming it’s opposites.
Enantiodromia much anybody?
In the case of sex, this seems to me simply a symptom of the biophobia of the faustian mind. We simply cannot accept the fact that we are part of the animal kingdom and to hide that fact from ourselves we have to tie ourselves into all sorts of unhealthy knots.
“…Ironically, all of this sex stuff has nothing to do with real sex. In the most important ways, it’s the opposite of real sex.”
yes… yes… oh i KNOW because i’m expert in the art of Dry Love Affairs (they blow minds precisely because of no sex or not just “what about a kiss boy? you don’t just dive for the clitoris” to mangle ’em because females in our DNA don’t won’t quote monty python correctly or else we’ve gotta turn our vaginas in. there are some Truths you’ll never know.
this you know but i’ll remind (man i could write back and forth forEVER but you’ve gotta FINISH don’t let me distract you i’ll give you the alpha missionary positioned LAST WORD after this but:
FANTASIES AREN’T “SEX” OR ROMANCE BUT THE OPPOSITE.
fantasies are my bestial horse or dog fantasies from unfinished flirtations they’re wrong they’re EW YOU’RE KIDDING ME i wanna hurl.
i can get off on porn where a young woman goes mad on camera because she’s been coerced to service a building full of aging men in some far away country and she went insane on camera and it was so WRONG… i had myself for YEARS over that.
the filmmaker was the devil himself but it was beautiful.
well, that got me off for years but not now… it’s SWEET in a way because she treated the old men like sexual beings for the first time in… EVER? they were poor things were dirty… she gave them a goddess… treated them like MEN… i cried and had myself again and again and again.
well NOW that’s not creepy sweet, it’s just ….
NORMAN ROCKWELL NEXT TO NOWTIMES.
so i’m lost.
i admit i was crooked. i want you to explain this. you’ve explained other insanities so well.. please take a crack at this so i’ll know how to play it (i’m lost. i need a new DARK… no… NOT DARK ENOUGH!).
and then i’ll be quiet. i don’t get this.
i’m politically and erotically confused and homeless. i don’t know my position as outsider or something. it’s a balance thing.
out of balance.
what’re you? dear abbey?
Roland – good point. It’s ironic, isn’t it, given that Darwin and Wallace both demonstrated our connection with nature during the Victorian era. But I guess theory is one thing and beliefs are another. I’ve often thought that the general culture still hasn’t come to grips with either Darwinism or Quantum Mechanics both of which would require a massive paradigm shift. Of course, the 19th century was also when we moved everybody into the cities and away from that dirty nature.
Erika – no stampeding towards the clitoris. One of the many lessons men have to learn :D.
I’m not sure I can explain that one but for some reason it does remind me of Robert Graves’s White Goddess. Ever read his book “Mammon and the Black Goddess”? The essay “Real Women” is worth a look – https://archive.org/details/mammonblackgodde00grav/mode/2up
but it is we women who’re stampeding for the clitoris even as we don’t understand it / now it is MEN who’re the romantics, but James reminds me that you all always WERE the romantics; we women just …TOOK IT. received.
i keep going back to how we don’t tip unless it makes us look good. men tip anyhow… it’s the daddy thing.
i lied and came back here because i want to help color in the complexities of us women as other women don’t tend to write about sex anymore like i do. Germaine Greer is fighting the definition of woman from exile, Susie Bright went straight like i did (men vastly more interesting in the end), and Kathy Acker is long dead.
someone quoted someone recently in my readings online, they said America’s job was to integrate the Devil. i think.
and that’s when i realized that’s my corner.
anyhow, ROLAND, you are correct: the west is just as puritanical in their anything goes approach to sex and that confuses me. i corner sex because that’s where the absolute TRUTH is. and we can try and solve or figure this out, but until we dare to look at the secrets of our sexual romantic and private encounters, we’re hydroplaning.
but even the puritanical approach to debauchery is hella confusing to me! all this is.
while i wasn’t looking, a whole other layer of thick concrete complexity was installed over the past anxieties so all this hatcheting of genitals is a depth of self hate that even i cannot contemplate.
i mentioned the creepy… it wasn’t a gang bang. i mention it to be “first” in going here as no one else will.
but no, Simon Sheridan, i’m not making fun of MEN going for the clitoris without a kiss because now it’s WOMEN. men in the dry love affairs LOOOOOVE holding hands, kisses on cheeks, being SWEET. being told NO and having me mean it but being sweet kind and knowing MY boundaries.
and i thought i was the slutty one simply because i was always so NICE to boys and men.
i write this at this time and lie and return because you’re re-writing and i want to inspire you to wade or splash around in the funk of all this because you’re so goooood at calling this. maybe it will net nothing, but…?
so as the female who’ll admit feminist got it all wrong about coming a long way baby, i want to …
well, i think we have to face the ugly of sex and will we? i have to. as a visual artist i struggle how. the writer in me just leaks it.
i got a porn addiction for a time from a producer i fell in love with and i cracked from the game i was supposed to play but i fell in love. how … silly and cute for a screen writer!
but i played tomboy and was a part of their porn tree and being in men’s heads like that… i SURRENDERED and i got it. it was okay. i didn’t fear him or you all… i became more in awe because you actually … revere us.
feminism was supposed to give us our power some sort of “equal” footing but we never knew who we were as women in the FIRST PLACE. (see Roland above)
so i’ve spent my life being my art, trying to be some kind of daughter of feminism but i was exiled because i came out too DARK… not only skin wise but … see my reaction to creepy porn above.
but being on the bottom of female polite society’s hierarchy, i saw the beautiful transcendent and SEXY in the feral moments of unplanned pain fear and intimacy. there is intimacy in being on the bottom and seeing what makes someone lose it on you. there is even POWER in that.
it’s my job to call this out so it doesn’t all get easily classed as good or evil.
in the evil there is holiness. that’s what i saw in much of the online porn i was into. as a female who’s been in situations scary, there were “tells” that regular porn patrons wouldn’t see. so a video of an obviously divorced dad inviting a young blond shy hooker into his old kid’s room made me CRY it was all so sad and for WHAT?…
he’s putting his reading glasses on to fix the camcorder settings and there she is sitting like a little angel in a negligee (that’s how old he was to request a columbo-era 70s negligee!), and he’s wasting his time on a CAMCORDER for “later” and not in awe of this young gorgeous GIRL before him still so innocent in her head.
that’s what i saw. i didn’t see men as pigs on this porn tree. i saw sweethearts. they somehow wanted me to understand…
and i DO. i did.
what’s this for YOU? nothing. i lied and returned.
but at the very least: NO, it is not men now diving for the clitoris. they/you all are BEGGING for some hand holding, an opportunity to sweetly buy us even a water when we’re hot and sweaty.
for us women the withholding of pleasure sex our vaginas our affection and love is some sort of power. and until we learn that surrendering to our men is STRONG, we’re toast. because surrender isn’t going limp, it’s … AWE.
and men have surrendered to us and look what we’ve done… we’re cutting off your dicks and our own tits.
your work on devouring mother has opened my own understanding of my “feministy” childhood in the coven (no lie!), and is now where i’m taking my art: monster women.
i was the monster girl before but now after 11, 12 years of a living suicide, i see THEY are the monster girls cum monster WOMEN. and they are for real… not cute like i thought i was.
so what is up is down and as the feral one, i can still see holiness in horror.
i am confused about the erotic aspects but maybe not really. i like roller coasters and adrenaline rushes that make me high. the highest ones regard people and being open in person.
this online writing thing? easy and pie with my name age rank weight and such. but to see someone’s EYES?
yes. sex is dead. the young JOKE about their inability to maintain eye contact here and how it makes them nervous.
but i don’t even get how we got here so FAST.
i’m lost. completely lost. because it’s no FUN. but people are too afraid to even step out and would rather DIE. (see past few years and even NOW)
this is …an inhuman unnatural amount of TIME in which this has all seemed to happen. but maybe not.
over the past 15 years i’d hear or read about former sex workers quitting the regular gig to actually HEAL young men (that was in Japan where the former courtesan befriended young men because they were socially isolated and retarded), and a friend became a sex surrogate and tried to pitch me the job and i said i do my work in daylight out in the real. she got it.
it’s not SEX people “need” anymore. some get it.
Erika – let’s assume the Virgin Mary is the foundational archetype of our culture. Graves identifies two other archetypes. First is the White Goddess. She is the virago, the woman who finds herself in a stifling and boring society expected to play the role of Virgin and who rebels against that. As part of that rebellion, she learns to use men and have a little fun. The gold digger, porn actress, stripper would all be White Goddesses. The Virgin Mary is the Madonna. The White Goddess is the Whore.
Then you’ve got the Black Goddess who is Sophia: wisdom. According to Graves, our culture has ignored the Black Goddess. We’ve worshipped the Virgin Mary while burning the White Goddess at the stake. I’d say now we’ve gone fully the other way and the White Goddess is in the ascendant with an extra large helping of Devouring Mother (inversion of Virgin Mary) thrown in. That’s also what Roland was talking about: the switch from Virgin Mary to White Goddess.
I think Jung would say you have to manifest both the Virgin Mary and the White Goddess to get to the Black Goddess.
I’m loving this comment thread because it is in itself somewhat representative of both the masculine and feminine parts of human existence contrasting and complimenting each other.
On one hand Simon is giving crisp, punctuation perfect paragraphs detailing the archetypes and abstract basis of the conversation, whereas Erika is a fountain of words with little regard for the rules or structure of English language discourse, diving from personal anecdotes to Joycian poetic creativity and stream of consciousness.
Something I will say about it is that none of this seems to apply much in the rural areas where I live. Most everyone still lives in the same sexual social structure as has been in place for most of Australia’s history. Anyone who is different usually moves to the city so it self selects, and those who stay are accepted as an eccentric difference as long as they don’t force it in peoples faces. Kids are being conceived at a booming rate.
Skip – hah! Yes, Erika is playing bebop and I’m playing four-on-the-floor rock.
The irony that city-folk never grasp is that there is far more “diversity and inclusion” outside the cities where people have a live-and-let-live attitude rather than playing silly little egotistical power games.
I love it here.
Skip, if I edit as I write, I lie.
You wrote: “Then you’ve got the Black Goddess who is Sophia: wisdom. According to Graves, our culture has ignored the Black Goddess. We’ve worshipped the Virgin Mary while burning the White Goddess at the stake. I’d say now we’ve gone fully the other way and the White Goddess is in the ascendant with an extra large helping of Devouring Mother (inversion of Virgin Mary) thrown in. That’s also what Roland was talking about: the switch from Virgin Mary to White Goddess”
Thank you for showing me myself more, as a woman. I read your answers half a dozen times to catch everything and take it in. Also read the Grace link and put a hold on the book at the library to read the rest.
Wow and thank you again for all this. Fascinating.
(Meant Graves’ link. Spell check strikes again)
Erika – 🤘🤘