The drowning of Ophelia: its mystical symbolism revealedThe drowning of Ophelia: its mystical symbolism revealed
Macbeth: ‘Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased [of guilt]?’
Doctor: ‘Therein the patient must minister to himself’.
Do you ever feel guilty? Do you still feel guilty about stuff you did yesterday – or even 50 years ago? Ever thought about why? You choose to feel guilty in order to prove to yourself you are a good person. How crazy is that?
You choose to feel guilty because you did something (or didn’t do something) that violates the self-image you have created to compensate for the primal existential fear inside that you are an evil person, a sinner, unworthy even to lick the slime off a slug.
Confused? Yes, it’s very tricky in there. From the minute we are born, often without even intending to, in order to protect us from harm and keep us under control, society programs us into adopting a self-concept that we are essentially ‘bad’.
According to a UCLA study, by the time the average child is 10 years old, they’ve heard the words ‘no or don’t’ over 1.4 million times.
At the same time, our innate defence mechanism attempts to cover over that existential fear with a cunningly-contrived self-image. This is the false ‘mask’ we wear that tries to convince us we are not bad, and tells the world we are nice, good, and deserving of approval.
Thus, If we do something that supports our worst fear (I am evil), we are lured by the ego to feel guilty about it, because in its pathological way, it thinks ‘if I can cancel out the bad by replacing it with something that proves I’m good, then I don’t have to change my behaviour and I don’t have to look inside and challenge the veracity of my self-concept’.
The big problem is the ego compulsively believes you have to feel bad in order to feel good about yourself. Religious belief often says you must feel remorse before God will forgive you!! The even bigger problem is none of this is true!. It is all horseshit. It is not true we are bad – let alone ‘evil’. And the self-image of ‘I am not a bad person, really’ is a meagre shadow of the goodness and perfection of your true self silently observing this charade being played out in your life.
As dramatised by Lady Macbeth, this kind of guilt becomes a disease that will eventually kill you. Nothing serious, of course. But it doesn’t do it quickly. It will drive you into all sorts of addictive, compulsive patterns, and dis-ease, in the futile attempt to numb out the pain and ignore the only remedy there is for guilt – the inner work of self-forgiveness.
Psycho-spiritually, true guilt occurs before we do the action. It’s our inner guidance forewarning us. Obsessive guilt post hoc is an optional, self-inflicted punishment that serves no moral, spiritual nor psychological purpose. Even scripture says we cannot get into heaven if we’re burdened down with guilt. If you read Genesis with your eyes open, you’ll see that it is Guilt that is the ‘original sin’ – not disobedience! Guilt is unnecessary, self-indulgent, self-pitying, life-destroying, reckless, dangerous, immature, self-harming behaviour.
Normal, in other words.
Psycho-spiritually (as opposed to religiously) God (the indwelling soul) does not judge us ever, at all. Judgment and punishment are not attributes of the divine. And, according to the symbolism in Revelation, each and every one of us is already forgiven for everything we’ve ever done or ever will do anyway. A big part of our spiritual purpose then, is to learn self-forgiveness.
I’m constantly working on my deeply encrusted guilts – and my new ones. We’ve all done some dreadful shit in our lives at some time: either by design or by default. How do you stop feeling guilty? How do you forgive yourself? Thereby hangs a tale.
If you’re sincerely asking those questions, you’ve already begun the process. Add some honest self-reflection by way of sensitively-guided-missile-questions, and sincerely declare ‘I forgive myself for judging myself for…’ (e.g. allowing my little foal to get injured, for being too intimidated by someone else’s opinion, and on and on till you hit the deep core of the pain) you’re on your way to a life of emotional freedom – and spiritual liberation too – if this lies in your destiny.
You deserve to free yourself from guilt right now.
‘Nothing is either good or bad. But thinking makes it so.’ – Hamlet
Pointing the self-righteous finger of judgment is the primary symptom of false-self-identification with ego. Judging is a core addiction that causes all the resentment, hatred, and conflict from marital bickering to nuclear war. Judging is an insidious delusion because it distorts all our perceptions. We cannot see ‘what is’, only what is relative to something else and some hard-wired fantasy standard of so-called ‘perfection’. If there is one thing that keeps us prisoners of crippling dissatisfactions – it is judging.
Judging polarises ourselves and others as : good or evil, right or wrong, better or worse. It includes blaming, finding fault, flattering, exaggerating, and all the varieties of this bipolar sado-masochistic game that sucks away the life-blood of humanity. This is why I loathe with burning fury TV shows like ‘The Apprentice’, ‘Strictly’, ‘Bake Off’, ‘Master Chef’ and the endless sickening obsession with competing, winning, and enjoying the spectacle of people being judged as if we were Romans watching Christians devoured by lions. The dubious joys of judging go all the way back to Adam and Eve. Remember that ‘apple’? No, there is NO APPLE mentioned anywhere in Genesis – let alone in the garden of Eden!
What they ate, as it were, was ‘the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’. This is a mystical metaphor for ‘tasting the bitter-sweet venom of the Serpent’. Instantly, mankind became addicted to the compulsive, delusional, pathological drive of judging good and evil / right from wrong. And in so doing, created what Shakespeare calls ‘the monstrous birth’ that lives to this day inside our heads, alongside our true self – the false self, aka the ego.
We are born innocent, naturally knowing, and powerful beyond measure. As the burgeoning mind and emotions develop and we are ‘educated’ by society, the ego is formed. And, just like Adam and Eve, the original soul, is deposed by the mortal coils of the serpentine consciousness, we become hopelessly addicted to the knowledge of ‘good and evil’. And, because energy follows thought, as we judge so does our world become utterly contaminated with the pollution of negative thinking and its utter futility.
See how insidious judging is – I can’t even enjoy a good rant without instantly becoming its victim myself. I am now judging judging! And my spell-checker refuses to let me ignore the repeated word, and I am forced to suffer the indignity of a stupid red line in my pristine text – aaargh! I am suffering the eternal dilemma. I get my ‘fix’ from the glory of self-righteous superiority, but immediately suffer the stress, and strain of dumping a bucket of adrenaline into my blood stream, requiring me to seek another ‘fix’ of righteous indignation before I fall into an exhausted heap.
See? I am now falling down the plughole to hell. How can I stop myself judging so I can be happy?
I can’t. it’s impossible to stop the judging machine. It is the very nature of the mind, the emotions, the ego. What I can do, however, is transcend it. I must step back and observe the process from a higher level of consciousness – even imagining I am above it or out of it begins to dissolve and dissipate the toxic energy field of judging.
This process is variously called by the ancient masters as: ‘acceptance’, ‘compassion’, ‘forgiveness’, ‘neutrality’, ‘detachment’, ‘coming present’, ‘letting go‘, ‘relaxing’, ‘being patient’, etc.’.
These are not the attributes of the ego. They are the attributes of the true self. The true self is right here, right now, freely available – if you’re willing to look, listen, breathe, and wait a wee while.
If you can learn how to tap into your true self, when your ego gets you ensnared in a judging binge, it’s so much easier to get the hell out of it.
You can do this now.
It is indisputable that whoever wrote ‘Shakespeare’ was a genius. It’s also obvious that he (or she, or they) wanted the authorship to remain anonymous – for a very long time. How would a genius maintain his cover for eternity? By doing what, say, Agatha Christie, or Conan Doyle, the genii of whodunnits, would do – muddy the water, fill it with red herrings, send us on a wild goose chase. Mischievous deception on a global level is itself a sign of genius.
What is genius?
From Latin, the genius was the guiding spirit, tutelary deity, or ‘daimon’ of a person.
O dear, not the kind of definition academics and scientists like to grapple with! No neat little box to put a daimon in. But even without understanding the deeper meaning of the all-pervasive mystical symbolism (from Midsummer Night’s Dream to The Tempest, via Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice through to Twelfth Night and Hamlet) it’s obvious that the magical, mystical and mysterious forces of nature and spirit were very close to the heart of the author.
However, in excavating the plethora of dangerously ‘heretical’, biblical and mystical symbols, it becomes pretty obvious the author was a spiritual giant, an enlightened being with a very important message to us souls trapped on earth. Elucidated in my book Shakespeare’s Revelation, he defies the orthodoxy and dogma and offers us the (forbidden) key to the liberation of the soul from the prison of the mind and this world of heartache and the thousand natural shocks.
Why the big mystery and conspiracy?
Apart from the dire consequences of being dubbed a heretic (torture, execution, and destruction of all the works) one of the key attributes of mastership is humility. Like Bassanio, who, to find the image of the divine (Portia) eschews the glamour and falseness of gold and silver to choose simple ‘LEAD’, a true master has no need for praise, or recognition.
To be or not to be – that is the question, n’est-ce pas?
Click this link for a 3-minute revelation.
Contact me, Paul, personally to explore these revelations more deeply.
Why would Shakespeare name his great farce 12th Night – when it seems to have nothing to do with The (Christian doctrine of ) Epiphany? Hidden in symbols, in the poetry, in invisible ink, is a cutting satire of Christian dogma, the dangerously heretical thread linking the sub-text of all 37 plays and clarifying 2,000 years of misinformation. Dare you see it too? Prepare to have many of your beliefs and dis-beliefs confronted.
Here is (another) allegory of how the (true) Epiphany was the restoration of the the ‘music of the soul’ lost to mankind by the betrayal of Adam in the beginning. Viola represents the instrument by which the veil of darkness is lifted, and (the choice of) love, joy and forgiveness given to Olivia as the symbol of all mankind.
The Epiphany (12th Night)
Given the title, let’s assume this is the context for viewing the play. The Gospel says that after the birth of the Christ, the baby prophesied to be ‘king’, was laid in a manger and shown to the shepherds and the Magi: who symbolically represent the full spectrum of humankind from the lowliest to the most exalted. The Magi tricked Herod, the jealous, tyrant king, to prevent him murdering the baby ‘king’. He exacted his revenge through what is known as ‘the slaughter of the innocents’.
Before we trace the hidden story, let’s contemplate the following banquet of additional symbolism:
‘In the beginning was the Word… And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.’ – John 1
The backstory implies the agency of ‘wind and rain’ (Tempest) to birth the twin souls, Viola and Sebastian, into the land of Illyria. Echoing the ‘curse’ of Adam and Eve in Genesis, they become lost to each other, both believing the other is dead. ‘Wind and rain’, celebrated in the finale, is actually ancient biblical symbolism for ‘the Word of God’.
‘If music be the food of love, play on’ – Orsino
So often, the opening line or scene has cryptic allusions to the sub-text. Here is no exception.
Orsino is an anagram of ‘orison’ meaning ‘prayer’. Mankind’s prayer for liberation from suffering?
In the context of the Epiphany, the ‘food of love’ suggests the Eucharist: the bread, the body of Christ, the Word made flesh, ‘eaten’ in remembrance of the Christ action. Now, significantly, the body is revealed for the first time to the world in a manger (French: to eat), a vessel for holding food. A ‘manger’ also symbolises the ‘Holy Grail’, the vessel containing the bread and wine, the body and blood, sound and light, reuniting for the holy communion.
‘I had rather hear you to solicit that [that you love me] than music from the spheres’ – Olivia
The music of the spheres is the music (mystical sounds e.g. as described in The Tempest) said to emanate from the soul and draw us home to the Godhead (See: Lorenzo – Merchant, Ferdinand – Tempest, et al).
Olivia seems to symbolise the archetype of the soul (native hue) of all mankind veiled, (sicklied o’er) and hidden behind the shroud of darkness, death, melancholy and sadness (Hamlet, Antonio). She is immediately drawn to hear the young ‘man’ called Cesario – i.e. Viola disguised as a man. Cesario means King.
‘We will hear this divinity” – Olivia
A Viola could well be the name of one of the ‘thousand twangling instruments’ heard by Caliban in The Tempest. A fitting instrument on which to play the soul’s music. Viola, herself, seems to represent the ‘Christ’ sent to reunite the three aspects of God, the trinity: the love, the sound and the light, having been lost in man since the beginnings of time. The awareness of the sound and light of the soul reawakens the love in the hearts of man as the tyrant ruling our inner world is vanquished.
As soon as Olivia sees and hears the divinity in ‘Cesario’ her lost ability to know love is reawakened.
Malvolio, meaning ill-wisher, or one of mal-intent. As notably as was Falstaff (False Self)Malvolio is lampooned mercilessly. Yet the actual language used indicts him clearly as the Satan.
‘The devil, a puritan that he is…’ – Maria
The names Viola and Olivia are close anagrams of each other and each taken from the same letters of ‘Malvolio’.
Feste, the ‘fool’, appropriately so, means both ‘feast’ and ‘celebrate’.
The hidden story
When Viola, the Christ (soul) is revealed to Olivia (mankind) the shroud of darkness and melancholy is lifted and her heart is reawakened with love.
As Olivia’s love is transforming her, her servant Maria engenders a plan to bring down the devil, Malvolio. She tricks him into bringing his false-self to the fore (obsequious smiling) plays to his ‘greatness’, and fools him into being cross-gartered. Cross-gartered, a double-entendre repeated several times, implies ‘tied to a cross’! Thus Maria and her three stoogies ‘crucify’ Malvolio and consign him to a comic representation of hell, ‘the bottomless pit’, as stated the Revelation.
“I say this house is as dark as ignorance though ignorance were as dark as hell” – Malvolio
“And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit.”- Rev. 20:2-3
The heresy (freedom of choice) Shakespeare teaches us (e.g., Macbeth, Merchant, Hamlet, Henry V, et al) is the irony that when Jesus the man died on the cross it fulfilled the Mosaic law and terminated the rule of Satan. The crucifixion was a futile attempt to kill the Christ, but the resurrection of the soul empowered the consciousness of all mankind – regardless of belief. The fate of Shylock further clarifies this theological gem – showing us how we now have the choice between grace (mercy, and forgiveness) or revenge (the law).
“Alas poor fool, how they have baffled thee!” – Olivia to Malvolio
As the vanquishing of the prince of darkness and mal-intent is complete, Viola and her twin are ‘resurrected’. They are also re-united; symbolising the reuniting of the bread and the wine, the body and the blood, the Sound and the Light with the love. The Trinity (Love, Sound, Light) is again complete. Forgiveness to all is given for the mistakes and confusions made as we stumble in the darkness looking for the light and sound of the soul. Love, joy and happiness abounds.
Malvolio fails to see the humour and vows revenge on all mankind. Finally, a song is sung by Feste celebrating ‘the wind and the rain’, the primal sounds of The Creation, The Tempest, the Word, the music, the wind from heaven, the sounds of the ‘waters’ that created everyone and everything in the beginning (Genesis, John), and reigns once more upon the earth breathing new life and love into the soul of all mankind.
“A great while ago the world began, with hey-ho, the wind and the rain;” – Feste
FOR A MORE THOROUGH DISCUSSION OF THESE THEMES READ SHAKESPEARE’S REVELATION: HIS HIDDEN KEY TO SPIRITUAL FULFILMENT. BY PAUL HUNTING
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