X. Apocalypticism, Prophecy, Dreaming of the End of the World and the Singularity

My friend, the late Keith Haring, first gained popular attention with a form of guerrilla art he invented in the early Eighties in NYC. To prevent image bleed through, before new ad posters were put up in subways, the old ads would first have black paper pasted over them. These black surfaces became canvasses that Keith would draw on at high speed with white chalk.

“Historically, it is chiefly in times of physical, political, economic and spiritual distress that men’s eyes turn with anxious hope to the future, and when anticipations, utopias and apocalyptic visions multiply.”

— C.G. Jung (MGE 13)

“There is no such thing in nature as an H-Bomb, that is all man’s doing. We are the great danger. The psyche is the great danger.”

— C.G. Jung54

AS I discussed in the introduction, prophecy is the most unreliable of human enterprises. Dieting, falling in love, betting on the stock market or horses, all have far higher success rates than prophecy. Lottery tickets pay off at least as frequently as prophecies do. But of all types of prophecy there is one that from the perspective of linear time has been wrong 100% of the time. It is also the most popular type of prophecy —

54 From Jung on Elementary Psychology (1979)

-apocalypticism. Apocalypticism is a nearly universal, addictive habit of the human psyche.

Narratives about the end of the world have existed since the beginning of recorded history. The tale of Noah and the Flood, the Norse myth of Raganrok . . . the Hindu myths of recurring worldly annihilation and regeneration, and selected Zoroastrian, Babylonian, Sumerian, Buddhist, Islamic, Greek, Roman, African, Mayan, and Native American myths describe the destruction and transformation of the world, the struggle between the powers of good and evil, and the divinely determined destiny of humanity and the cosmos. As historian of religion Mircea Eliade notes, “The myth of the end of the world is of universal occurrence; it is already to be found among primitive peoples still at a paleolithic stage of culture… and it recurs in the great historic civilizations, Babylonian Indian, Mexican and Greco-Roman” (EOW 5).

My friend, Rob Brezsny, in his revitalizing and wildly creative book, Pronoia is the Anecdote to Paranoia: How the Whole Universe is Conspiring to Shower you with Blessings,55 provides a great summary of the millennia-long popularity of apocalypticism:


Many people alive today are convinced that our civilization is in a dark age, cut off from divine favor, and on the verge of collapse. But it’s healthy to note that similar beliefs have been common throughout history.

As far back as 2800 BC, an unknown prophet wrote on an Assyrian clay tablet, “Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end.” In the seventh century BC, many Romans believed Rome would suffer a cataclysm in 634 BC.

Around 300 BC, Hindus were convinced they lived in an “unfortunate time” known as the Kali Yuga — the lowest point in the great cosmic cycle. In 426 AD, the Christian writer Augustine mourned that this evil world was in its last days. According to the Lotharingian panic-mongers who lived more than a 1,000 years ago, human life on earth would end on March 25, 970.

Astrologers in 16th-century London calculated that the city would be destroyed by a great flood on February 1, 1524. American minister William Miller proclaimed the planet’s “purification by fire” would occur in 1844. Anglican minister

55 Rob’s book is available for purchase at Amazon: http://bit.ly/Pronoia or Powells: http://bit.ly/PronoiaPowells.

Michael Baxter assured his followers that the Battle of Armageddon would take place in 1868. The Jehovah’s Witnesses anticipated the End of Days in 1910, then 1914, then 1918, then 1925.

Oddly, no major prophets forecast cataclysm for the years between 1930 and 1945. Is there any time in history that was more deserving of being called the “Apocalypse” than that period? The Great Depression was the most widespread, long-lasting economic disaster ever. During World War II, 50 million civilians and 25 million soldiers were killed.

John Ballou Newbrough (“America’s Greatest Prophet”) wasn’t impressed with the tragedy of that era. After the war, he promised mass annihilation and global anarchy for 1947.

The website “A Brief History of the Apocalypse” at tinyurl.com/yqb83n lists over 200 visions of doom that have spilled from the hysterical imaginations of various prophets in the last two millennia.

Our age may have more of these doomsayers per capita than previous eras, although the proportion of religious extremists among them has declined as more scientists, journalists, and storytellers have taken up the singing of humanity’s predicted swan song.

In her book, For the Time Being, Annie Dillard concludes, “It is a weakening and discoloring idea that rustic people knew God personally once upon a time but that it is too late for us. There never was a more holy age than ours, and never a less. There is no whit less enlightenment under the tree by your street than there was under the Buddha’s Bo tree.”

I invite you to go sit under that tree by your street.

One of the reasons that prophecy has been so unreliable relates to the perpetual confusion in the human psyche between the inner and outer world. The confusion is only to be expected given that there is often a blurred boundary between inner and outer. Inner and outer converge through synchronicity and through many causative mechanisms, such as self-fulfilling prophecies. The most classic confusion of inner and outer is interpersonal projection. We project some disowned part of ourselves onto another or others. For example, a man may project the disowned feminine aspect of his soul onto a beautiful woman he sees walking down the street. He looks at her and feels this sense of eternal recurrence — she was meant for me! I’ve known her from other lifetimes! In a sense, the perception is correct, this aspect of his soul is meant for him, and it has been with him from time immemorial. The incorrect part, and it can be disastrously incorrect, is the confusion of inner and outer, the acting out interpersonally of what is intrapsychic. Most interpersonal violence, as well as genocide and other forms of collective violence, occur in a state of shadow projection, where disowned and dreaded parts of oneself or of the collective are projected onto a despised other or another race, etc.

Anything with a strong emotional charge in the psyche, especially if the charge is uncomfortable, will be projected outside. One of the strongest charges in most psyches is anxiety about death. A classic projection is for a person to feel his own mortal vulnerability, the imminence of his own death that may come at any time, and to attribute that feeling to the world: I can feel it; this is all temporary, this world is going to end; I am living in the end times! Again, the perception is correct except for the confusion of inner and outer. Every mortal is always living in a personal end time, death is always imminent, and even if any of the many possible causes of premature death are avoided, the years left are still only a one or two-digit figure. The uncomfortable feeling of perilous temporal fragility must go somewhere, and an end-of-world prophecy is like a lightning rod for this intensely uncomfortable inner charge.

Like a fractal or a hologram, the life cycle of the individual, to some extent, recapitulates the life cycle of the species. (Yes, I realize that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny hasn’t held up biologically, but I’m speaking more generally.) An individual has a certain limited life span before they cross the event horizon of death, and a species also has a limited life span before it becomes extinct. The average life span of a mammalian species is a million years. Because of the parallelism, it is easy for someone to confuse the imminence of personal death with collective eschaton. This confusion is also well motivated as it seems to displace much of the individual anxiety about death, which is usually faced alone, onto a “we’re all in it together” general event with strong elements of high drama and excitement. Instead of feeling powerless about the inevitability of one’s own death, the prophet feels empowered by his sense that he has been privileged with secret knowledge withheld from the common person. Also, the ego is very concerned about its place in the social hierarchy and is appalled by the idea that it could cease to exist while others continue to live. However, if everyone checks out at once, then death involves no such social humiliation. Even better, if there is some sort of Rapture, where the ego is part of an elect that becomes immortal while others of the sort the ego doesn’t like are annihilated or left behind to deal with the Antichrist and Armageddon, then personal anxiety about death gets channeled into an all-satisfying scenario. As Joseph M. Fesler writes, “Even Saint Thomas Aquinas — perhaps the greatest philosopher of the Middle Ages — suggested that part of the joy of being in Heaven was gazing down into the dark abyss of Hell and enjoying the eternal torment of the damned” (MGE 61).

For these powerful psychological reasons, prophecies of the end of the world usually seem to be conveniently scheduled to occur before the end of the prophet’s expected lifespan, allowing the eschaton to upstage anxiety about personal death.

Many years after I formed this hypothesis, I heard of an episode that gave this theory a little anecdotal support. Elizabeth Steen, a woman some considered clairvoyant, predicted a massive earthquake would happen in the Bay Area on Aug 14, 1969. In copycat fashion, other psychics began to predict a quake on the same day. This was such a high-profile prophecy that there were several NY Times articles about it. Elizabeth was sincere in her prediction, and at great expense, she relocated her family from the Bay Area to Spokane, Washington. On the predicted date, there was no earthquake, but Elizabeth was not there to see the failed prophecy. She died a couple of weeks earlier at the age of 29 or 30 of a usually nonfatal medical condition.

It should not be surprising that personal death and eschaton are conflated, displaced, and otherwise mixed up with each other since both are faces of the Singularity Archetype. Depending on how the conflation works itself out, apocalypticism is one of the most significant ways the Singularity Archetype can pathologize in the individual and collective psyche. But sometimes, even in the darkness of apocalypticism, like the white yang dot in the black yin portion of the familiar yin-yang symbol, transcendent aspects of the Singularity Archetype shine through. This is particularly true when apocalyptic visions occur spontaneously rather than through cultural indoctrination. This light, hidden within visions of apocalypse, seems to be part of the etymology of the word “apocalypse.” Its origin is from Old English which inherited it from Old French, and ecclesiastical Latin which derived it from the Greek apokalupsis, from apokaluptein ‘uncover, reveal,’ from apo- ‘un-’ and kaluptein ‘to cover.’

The Most Successful Prophets

Apocalyptic prophecy has the highest failure rate of what is already the most unreliable of human enterprises. Especially bad at prophecy are those who call themselves prophets and who are associated with fundamentalist religion. New Age prophets, psychics, and seers are just as bad. One group, however, has had some spectacular successes — fiction writers. It is probably no coincidence that science fiction writers have also given us our most penetrating visions of the Singularity Archetype. Fiction writers have enormous advantages over fundamentalists and professional seers. Their art gives them access to the collective unconscious, but they are not obliged to perceive visions through the rigidities of established traditions. Also, since they usually aren’t invested in ego identities like “psychic,” “seer,” and “prophet,” they are less likely to take themselves too seriously and to feel obliged to pump out supposedly visionary products when they are uninspired. The fact that they usually don’t know that they are doing prophecy can make them clearer channels by reducing ego involvement. For all these reasons, science fiction writers are great prophets of the Singularity Archetype.

In his extraordinarily perceptive essay, “An Arrow Through Time,”56 cognitive scientist, philosopher, and journalist Stephan A. Schwartz discusses the reliability of various forms of future-gazing. He singles out fiction writers for achieving the most remarkable success. For example, he points out Edgar Allan Poe’s 1838 novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym [pseud.] of Nantucket. In the novel, Poe “describes the shipwreck of the brig Grampus, including an account of three sailors and a cabin boy lost at sea in a small boat. The desperate sailors kill and eat the cabin boy, whose name is Richard Parker. In 1978 The Times in London ran a contest on coincidence that was judged by Arthur Koestler. The winning entry was a true story of an uncannily similar shipwreck — three sailors and a cabin boy escape in a small boat, and the boy is killed and eaten. The boy’s name: Richard Parker. When the real sailors who had been caught were tried for their crime Poe’s book was discussed at their trial.”

Schwartz also provides an interesting history and summary of a rejected manuscript Jules Verne wrote in 1863, entitled Paris in the Twentieth Century. In correspondence discovered with the manuscript, Verne’s publisher felt it was too unbelievable and would be a commercial disaster. The neglected manuscript became a kind of time capsule sealed in a forgotten safe. According to Schwartz,

“Verne put it in a safe where it remained forgotten for more than a century. It was re-discovered in the 1990s by an heir who found the safe in a barn on a Verne family country estate that had come down to him. When a locksmith opened the safe, the manuscript and the correspondence were found. Paris in the Twentieth Century was finally published in France in 1994.”

The protagonist of the novel is a sixteen-year-old boy who has graduated with a major in literature and the classics but finds that this course of study is useless in the futuristic world of 1960, where only business and technology are valued. Among the more specific predictions, Verne describes a geometric, modern centerpiece built for the Louvre in Paris. In 1989 a modern, geometric, glass-and-steel pyramid structure designed-

56 Available at http://www.stephanaschwartz.com/PDF/ArrowThrougTime.pdf.

-by architect I.M. Pei was unveiled in the courtyard plaza of the Louvre. It is now a Parisian landmark.57

Schwartz summarizes some of the other extraordinarily accurate predictions Verne makes in this novel:

“Verne describes 20th Century Paris as having a skyline dominated by a large metalwork tower. The streets are paved. Technology and business dominate Parisian life, and women are ‘Americanized’ as is the French language, which is filled with adapted American words. The horses that jammed and polluted Parisian streets in 1863, are gone, replaced by vehicles of metal. Average people work for big corporations (uninvented in their modern sense at the time he was writing). They sit in offices and work at computers, and send paperwork to one another by facsimile machines. Yes, he even uses the word.”

The most famous case of literary prediction is Futility, an 1898 novella by Morgan Robertson, published fourteen years before the sinking of the Titanic in April 1912. Futility features an ocean liner named “Titan,” which sinks in the North Atlantic after striking an iceberg. The Titan was the largest craft afloat, seen as the greatest work of men and considered unsinkable. Due to the hubris of its designers, it carries an extremely deficient number of lifeboats resulting in a tragic loss of life when it sinks on an April night.58

Schwartz provides a table listing some of the main similarities between the novel and the actual incident:

Fatal Sailing Date:AprilApril
Length (in Feet):800882
Number of Propellers:33
Top Speed (in knots):2524
Water-tight Bulkheads:1915
Passenger Capacity:3,0003,000
Passengers Aboard:2,0002,200
Number of Lifeboats:2024
Cause of Sinking:Struck IcebergStruck Iceberg
Side of Vessel Breached:StarboardStarboard

57 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_in_the_Twentieth_Century

58 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futility,_or_the_Wreck_of_the_Titan.

The Nineteenth Century’s other most famous science fiction writer, H.G. Wells, had, like his French colleague, Jules Vernes, some amazing predictive successes. As Schwartz notes,

“In his various novels Wells predicted gas warfare and tanks, aerial bombardment and nuclear war, as well as industrial robots. But if you ask scientists what impresses them most about Wells’ predictions they say it is the infrared lasers in War of the Worlds. First published in 1898, the same year as Futility, the story centers on the invasion of earth by aliens and contains this description of the aliens’ principal weapons system: ‘…this intense heat they project in a parallel beam against any object they choose, by means of a polished parabolic mirror of unknown composition, much as the parabolic mirror of a lighthouse projects a beam of light… However it is done, it is certain that a beam of heat is the essence of the matter. Heat, and invisible, instead of visible, light. Whatever is combustible flashes into flame at its touch, lead runs like water, it softens iron, cracks and melts glass, and when it falls upon water, incontinently that explodes into steam.’”

Schwartz continues:

“Writing as Harrison James, Rusk tells the story of the kidnap of a young college student named Patricia, daughter of a wealthy and prominent right wing figure, by an angry black man leading a terrorist gang. So close were the similarities that when Patricia Hearst was kidnapped in 1974, Rusk received a visit from the FBI, and the book – as with Poe’s Pym – came up in the trial. Grove Press later reissued the book with transcriptions of Patricia Hearst’s testimony and explicitly focused on the similarities between what it called ‘Fiction before Fact.’”

Schwartz concludes his essay with an instance of fiction writers and movie directors being employed to predict the future by the U.S. military:

“After 9/11 occurred, Variety reported that US military intelligence experts invited a group of screen writers and directors who specialized in thrillers to, as one source told the magazine, focus ‘on the short-term threats.’ Included in the group were Steven De Souza (Die Hard) and David Engelbach (McGyver), and directors Joseph Zito (Delta Force One, Missing in Action, and, The Abduction) and Spike Jonze. The virtual meeting took place by cyberlink at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, formed in 1999 at the US military’s initiative, to develop virtual training  programs  for  servicemen.  The  group  talked  about “possible terrorist targets in the United States and how best to confront terrorist threats, in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.”

Someone who probably should have been part of the panel, but is not mentioned in Schwartz’s essay, is thriller-writer Catherine Coulter. The CLG Newsletter reports:

“An FBI thriller, The Edge, by Catherine Coulter, was published in 1999. The book is part of Coulter’s ongoing ‘The FBI Thriller Series.’ The Edge reached number six on The New York Times Best-Seller List59 for fiction on the 5th of September 1999.

“Given the contents of the book, one wonders whether or not the FBI deserves credit for collaborating on the plot. A scan of Coulter’s thriller includes the following sentence on page 19: ‘Maybe I had a chance not to be, in the Counter-Terrorism section; particularly after 9/11 when the world had changed.’

“The Edge was copyrighted by Catherine Coulter in 1999. The paperback version was released in 2000.”60

Positive Encounters with the Singularity Archetype

I’ve noticed that positive encounters with the Singularity Archetype tend to occur for people dealing with apocalyptic circumstances in their waking lives. These encounters will often occur during the dreamtime. For example, on August 24th, 1945, three weeks after surviving the bombing of Hiroshima, a Japanese man had the following dream:

“I was in Tokyo after the great earthquake and around me were decomposing bodies heaped in piles, all of whom were looking right at me. I saw an eye sitting in the palm of a girl’s hand. Suddenly it turned and leaped into the sky and then came flying back toward me, so that looking up I could see a great bare eyeball, bigger than life hovering over my head, staring point-blank at me. I was powerless to move. I awakened short of breath and my heart pounding.”61

Jung believed that dreams were mostly compensatory, making up for defects and one-sidedness in the waking attitude and life. After witnessing an actual apocalypse, the feminine appears as a girl holding an eye in the palm of her hand. What is especially fascinating is that it is-

59 http://www.hawes.com/1999/1999-09-05.pdf

60 http://www.legitgov.org/FBI-Thriller-Published-1999-References-911.

61 Hill, Michael Ortiz. Dreaming the End of the World — Apocalypse as a Rite of Passage. 2nd Ed.

Putnam, CT: Spring Publications, INC, 2004. 49.

-the eye, the embodiment of the logos-beheld aspect of the Singularity Archetype, that becomes a spontaneously occurring symbol of the godhead and of collective consciousness.

Michael Ortiz Hill, who recorded the above dream in his book, Dreaming of the End of the World: Apocalypse as a Rite of Passage, pointed out some other dreams and statements that reveal the convergence of apocalypse and singularity as life-affirming metamorphosis.

For example, William Laurence called the rumblings of the Trinity explosion the “first cry of a newborn world” (19).

In his memoirs, Curtis LeMay, who coordinated the World War II air combat over Japan, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, wrote of “the nuclear baby clinging as a fierce child against its mother’s belly”

(19). LeMay was also the strongest advocate for all-out nuclear war with Russia during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Even more extraordinary is the following dream:

“There is a distinct crater left by the Bomb, and it is filled with water. We walk around the crater with a kind of awe — there is an odd sort of beauty attached to it. A mother is baptizing or drowning her baby in the water of the crater. I am aware of the intense radioactivity that must be in the area and can’t resolve whether she is baptizing the infant or killing it. There is a deep sense of mystery to this…

“Then, in the dream, a voice ordered, ‘Make a child.’ I refused and yelled back, ‘I can’t. I’m forty-six; there are no facilities left to test for birth defects; I’ve had cancer; I’ve had two children; the world is destroyed. I cannot, will not make a child!’ The voice remained kind but adamant: ‘New life,’ it demanded; ‘New life!’” (57-58).

White Raven Rising — Dream of Apocalypse and Transcendence

One morning in the summer of 2004, I talked to a small group about their dreams. We were at a wilderness gathering in the Modoc National Forest in Northeastern California. It was a high desert, perhaps nine thousand feet in elevation, and uncommonly beautiful. It was my first morning at this gathering, and I remember the air was scented by high desert plants, especially sage. As the conversation was breaking up, a man in his early forties (we’ll call him Kyle), who had been listening attentively, asked if he could speak to me in private about a dream that would not be appropriate to share with the group. I assumed the dream had some sexual content that Kyle felt embarrassed about sharing with the others. I followed him to a secluded spot where we sat surrounded by sagebrush.

Kyle told me that he had been in a branch of the U.S. armed services and was employed as a mine sweeper in Nicaragua in the 1980s. After coming out of the service, his life was in a terrible state, and he was suicidal. He had experienced some horrible things during his time in Nicaragua and was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. One experience, in particular, haunted both his waking life and his dreams.

A guerrilla group had apparently planted mines in a schoolyard. A couple of small boys had wandered into the yard during the weekend when school was not in session and were killed by a mine. Kyle was called in to deal with the situation. The boys had been dead for two days in the tropics, and the bodies were in about as horrifying a condition as they could be. Kyle removed the mines and felt obliged to rescue the bodies so that the family of the boys could bury them. He vomited several times before he could summon his will to go out there and wrap what was left of the boys in a couple of blankets.

During the depth of his suicidal phase after returning from Nicaragua, Kyle had a series of six nearly identical nightmares. In the nightmares, he would be at the schoolyard, and he would hear one of the boys calling to him for help. In each case, he would get to the boy and find him in a terrible state, a state where no one could possibly be calling for help, and he would hear the death rattle, the characteristic sound of a body’s final exhalation, something he had also witnessed during his time in Nicaragua.

Each time Kyle would awaken from the nightmare in a cold sweat. He felt the nightmares were trying to drive him to suicide. The seventh dream begins exactly like the other six, he gets to the dismembered boy and hears the death rattle, but this time a white raven is spiraling down from the sky. The raven lands on the boy’s head, and the boy, suddenly intact, gets up and begins dancing. The white raven also does a strange dance. Kyle showed me with his arms how the raven held its wings out and danced like a shaman would. After the dance, the white raven looks at Kyle and says, “I think you ought to see this.”

The white raven flies up in a spiraling manner, and as it spirals above him, Kyle feels himself being pulled up as if the spiraling were a tornado. Kyle finds himself elevated above the earth and has an experience of indescribable mystical transcendence. He is no longer bound in time and finds himself experiencing eternity and a direct and ineffable sense of a harmonious meaning and reason for everything. The state he describes seems to be a spontaneous experience of what Hindus and Buddhists call “Samadhi.” The experience leaves him permanently transformed; the suicidal despair is gone, and he is able to set his life on a positive course.

Kyle had one of the most direct encounters possible with the Singularity Archetype. In the depths of the dark night of the soul, he experienced a true apocalypse (an unveiling) at the end of time. The end of time does not have to mean the end of the world, history, or the species. In this case, it means the end of linear time, which on the scale of an individual life could be a transcendent samadhi-type experience, a shattering dark night of the soul, or the event horizon of death. The singularity archetype pulls Kyle into its transcendent spiral at the “end of time,” where linear time gives way to eternity. He emerges on the other side of the event horizon, permanently transformed.

Dreams about apocalypse that contain the transcendent qualities of the Singularity Archetype do not, of course, require apocalyptic waking circumstances. In the introductory chapter, I gave the example of a young man who dreamt of what seemed the end of the world:

The sky is turning very dark. Underground tremors occur and escalate to where the earth seems to be shaking itself to pieces. There is fire and lightning, and it seems to be the end of the world. Then everything calms down. Sunlight breaks through the dark clouds and illuminates a large white eagle, which comes spiraling down from above. In its talons, it holds a golden egg with a glowing aura. Carefully, it deposits this egg in a nest at the top of a great tree.

I met the artist Brenda Ferrimani at a Jeremy Taylor dream seminar in 2007, where we discussed the dream that inspired this extraordinary painting. Here is Brenda’s description of her dream:

Fall into Fear
Original Painting 6′ x 4 acrylic medium Prints available upon request to the artist http://brendaferrimanidreamart.com/ Artwork/FallFear.html

“The painting retells the dream I had the night after 9/11 and is the reason why I have chosen the Trade Towers burning as the backdrop to this work.

“I am in my bed at night. I hear coyotes in the distance. There’s a window at the foot of the bed and a light in the sky, shining in. I sense there’s something out there. I move toward the window, and as I do, I am sucked out the window, and I begin falling into endless darkness! I am falling down, down into the deep darkness. I feel like screaming, but then I remind myself I am dreaming. At this point, I become lucid. I can see and feel everything slows, and I stop falling. I ask, ‘What’s out there for me?’ I demand, ‘Show me! Show Me!’ Then, I begin to move upward. I see the stars as I am traveling up to the heavens. Then huge metal discs with alien writing move up around me. I yell once more, ‘Show Me!’ — I even say this out loud in waking reality, and I wake myself up . . . “

The descent into apocalyptic darkness causes the artist, a seeker of visions, to demand that it be a true apocalypse — an unveiling. Her “Show me!” demand is rewarded with a logos-beheld revelation. The metal discs could have many levels of meaning, but the alien writing suggests that they are linguistic intentions made visible and concrete.

The next section will give a couple of other very interesting examples of this type of dream where dark and light, apocalypse, and evolutionary singularity arrive together in the dreamtime.

Genevieve’s Dreams about the Singularity Archetype

In 2009, an hour or so after I finished an extensive revision of an earlier work on the Singularity Archetype, I received two dreams sent to me via email from a friend, Genevieve, a successful software engineer in her mid-twenties. These dreams seem like an epilogue sent by the collective unconscious, and an update on the Singularity Archetype.

Genevieve has had a long-term interest in the paranormal, exposure to writings about Mayan prophecy, and has also read a number of my writings. From one point of view, she could be viewed as a hopelessly contaminated dreamer of the Singularity Archetype because she has so much waking-life influence from related material. There are a few reasons why I don’t think this disqualifies Genevieve’s dreams. One is that if we disqualify her, then we would also be disqualifying ourselves. Any reader who has read this far has heard about the Singularity Archetype and would similarly have to disqualify any related dreams that they might have. Also, from the contamination point of view, every dreamer is disqualified because everyone has been exposed to and influenced by any number of forms of apocalypticism. The dominant forms of apocalyptic influence include the grim ecological point of view, religious fundamentalism, the dystopian science-fiction view, and New Age prophecy. Unless you’ve grown up off planet, the likelihood is that you have been influenced by all of the above in one way or another.

Another reason for including Genevieve’s dreams is that waking consciousness usually does not control the Dreamtime. Dreams often confound waking consciousness.

Another disclaimer before proceeding. Since this will be an extended case of me interpreting someone else’s dreams, it might be worth stating the obvious. Dream interpretation is highly subjective. One human psyche is interpreting the artifact of another human psyche or of its own psyche, and that’s as subjective as it gets. Subjectivity is the baseline for all dream interpretation. I agree with Jeremy Taylor’s idea of “projective dream work,” which begins with the premise that all dream interpretation is projection. In projective dream work, every interpretation begins with the acknowledgment, “If this were my dream . . . ” The interpreter will often narrate parts of the dream in the first person as a further acknowledgment that what they are interpreting is their own experience of the dream.

Subjective material is too valuable to exclude from consideration. If we acknowledge the subjectivity of our point of view and attempt to discern things as rigorously as we can, we may gain priceless insights by looking into the subjective. Acknowledging the subjective is not the same as being a relativist; it does not mean that every point of view is merely the conditioned product of shifting cultural context. Looking into subjective material means that we could very well be fooled, deceived, and deluded, but it does not exclude the possibility that we may also discern crucial truths. And many of those crucial truths are never going to be accessible to the person who thinks they can exclude subjectivity from their worldview. They will also not be available to the person who is not discerning in their relation to subjective material. If you are credulous, literalist, absolutist, or just plain sloppy in your approach to subjective material, it is very likely to swallow you whole. My assumption is that you, the reader, are skeptical and that you are examining my speculative thoughts, and everyone’s speculative thoughts, from your inner truth sense and discerning point of view.

Dream 1: Ray of Light

Genevieve’s first dream, which she titled “Ray of Light,” occurred on January 5, 2009:

“So first of all, I woke up at 3:23 this morning, no idea what awoke me, but I was having a boring dream about trying to match items from an Avon catalog that I had picked out the night before . . . I could not fall back asleep for some time . . . but finally did, then had this crazy dream:

“I was in my bedroom where I grew up . . . I think in the dream, my boyfriend was with me . . . but I looked out the window, it was nighttime, and I saw all this crazy shit going on in the sky. Looked like a meteor shower — orange lights streaking all over the place . . .I kept watching and then could see what looked like Saturn maybe? All huge . . .

“Then I noticed that there were these Asian-looking people sitting outside my window. They didn’t seem to notice me, but some of the women were naked and had lots of tattoos covering their bodies. They looked tired. We ducked down, not really wanting them to see us.

“I remember walking around the house trying to figure out what time it was, but all the clocks said different things. I think my boyfriend said it was 12 — and I thought he meant 12 noon and that I was late for work. Still it was dark out and I couldn’t figure out what time it really was.

“Then at some point after that, I looked out the window again, and there was this giant ray of light that shone directly on me. It was an immense amount of energy — and when I tried to talk, I couldn’t speak — I just made a sort of gagging sound. All of this dream seemed very real. I just sort of sat there, with my eyes closed, and absorbed the energy from the ray. My whole body felt tingly and energized — it was a really amazing feeling. It was like I knew it was updating my genetics, activating things in me. I just breathed deep and tried to relax — but could not speak.

“After the ray released me, I found myself in a coffee shop with a bunch of people. It still seemed like nighttime. I started talking to the people and they told me about an experience they had just had that was totally like mine! They had also experienced the big ray of light and not being able to speak, etc.”

“Ray of Light,” Interpreted

So first of all, I woke up at 3:23 this morning, no idea what awoke me, but I was having a boring dream about trying to match items from an Avon catalog that I had picked out the night before . . .

In her dream narrative, Genevieve gives us the exact hour and minute that she wakes up. Three o’clock in the morning is traditionally considered the “witching hour.” The number 23 has many mystical associations.62 These mystical associations inspired a major (but awful) Hollywood film, The Number 23, starring Jim Carrey, which was released in 2007. At this mystical time e, Genevieve wakes up from a dream that reflects and amplifies the mundane world where one gets immersed in everything an Avon catalog would represent — materialism, consumerism, the cosmetic approach that emphasizes the persona, and the world of surfaces and appearances. It is as if, through the law of opposites, the mundane is needed to potentiate divine revelation.

I could not fall back asleep for some time… but finally did, then had this crazy dream:

I was in my bedroom where I grew up . . . I think in the dream, my boyfriend was with me . . . but I looked out the window, it was nighttime, and I saw all this crazy shit going on in the sky. Looked like a meteor shower — orange lights streaking all over the place . . . I kept watching and then could see what looked like Saturn maybe? All huge…

Genevieve is in familiar circumstances, but then she sees and experiences some anomalous events:-

62 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/23_Enigma

Then I noticed that there were these Asian looking people sitting outside my window. They didn’t seem to notice me, but some of the women were naked and had lots of tattoos covering their bodies. They looked tired.

I emailed Genevieve a question about this: “The tribal people are naked and tattooed — did they seem tribal or more like tattooed modern persons who were undressed? Did their tiredness seem to be from exertions, as if they were weary from a long hike, or was the tiredness more from temperament like they were sluggish, low-energy people? What’s your sense of the tiredness?”

Genevieve’s response: “They were more like tattooed modern persons who were undressed. Their tiredness seemed more from temperament, like they were low-energy people, but possibly also from a long life of hard work that had worn them out.”

We ducked down, not really wanting them to see us.

Question emailed to Genevieve: “What were you anxious about happening if they saw you? Was it just out of an instinctive urge toward privacy, or did you think they might be dangerous or solicit you as beggars or what?”

Genevieve’s response: “I think it was somewhat out of an instinctive urge toward privacy, but also because I thought they might be dangerous— and being directly outside my bedroom window, looking at us, I was sort of freaked out.”

I remember walking around the house trying to figure out what time it was, but all the clocks said different things . . . I think my boyfriend said it was 12 — and I thought he meant 12 noon and that I was late for work. Still it was dark out and I couldn’t figure out what time it really was.

Linear time has been irrealized, but there is still the pull of the mundane and anxiety about being late for work. Time depends on perspective, and her boyfriend apparently thinks it’s midnight, and Genevieve thinks it’s noon.

Then at some point after that, I looked out the window again, and there was this giant ray of light that shone directly on me. It was an immense amount of energy — and when I tried to talk, I couldn’t speak — I just made a sort of gagging sound. All of this dream seemed very real. I just sort of sat there, with my eyes closed, and absorbed the energy from the ray. My whole body felt tingly and energized — it was a really amazing feeling. It was like I knew it was updating my genetics, activating things in me. I just breathed deep and tried to relax — but could not speak.

The emphasis on not being able to speak is very interesting. We have already discussed nonverbal communication and visual telepathy as key aspects of the Singularity Archetype. Although the new means of communication is not clearly realized here, we do find that the old means of communication is shut down. Genevieve discovers that she is mute while her genetics are being updated by a ray of light. Apparently, the evolutionary upgrade makes speech unnecessary.

After the ray released me, I found myself in a coffee shop with a bunch of people. It still seemed like nighttime. I started talking to the people, and they told me about an experience they had just had that was totally like mine! They had also experienced the big ray of light and not being able to speak, etc.

That the other people had the parallel experience, even if Genevieve wasn’t aware of them while it was happening, suggests a communal telepathy as well as a global evolutionary metamorphosis.

Dream 2: Message from the Stars

Genevieve’s second dream, “Message from the Stars,” came to her on February 18, 2009:

Had another one of these dreams again last night. They are always very vivid, very intense, very colorful.

I was in what was supposedly my house, and several of my friends were there, but in another room. It was nighttime, and dark enough out that I could see the stars well just by looking out my big picture window in the back of the house. I must have been looking at just the right moment, because suddenly, from the middle of the sky, the light started to get brighter, and then like a laser, a beam of light shot out of space and towards my right.

It seemed like it was very close, and that it had hit the ground. The sky was very lit up from this in amazing colors. I ran through the house to the front of the house, yelling to my friends what I had just seen. When I looked outside, it was striking right in front of my house, leaving a huge and deep gash in the front yard.

While the beam was striking right there, in front of my eyes, there were all sorts of visual messages I was receiving.

They depicted what felt like a warning. There were images of a cartoon devilish character, and what felt like destruction, but at the very end an image of a seedling, or of grass regrowing.

I felt like it was telling me that I need to meditate, that my very survival depends on it. I felt as if I didn’t take heed of this warning, I would not survive. I vowed to meditate more.

After the blast had concluded, we were looking at some art pieces that were on my wall. Apparently I had photographed them with a camera phone before the blast, and we could now compare them to what they looked like now. They were both reddish (like natural clay red) and made of something like a clay material. The first one had been a depiction of Jesus, or something like that, not the typical Jesus picture though, but more of a tribal depiction. The clay was now blemished as if from extreme heat, and bubbly on the surface.

There was another clay piece which depicted a Mayan god, and had before been in a somewhat peaceful pose. It was now taking a more active stance. A feather in its hand had transformed into a knife, ready to strike.

The atmosphere felt intense, and as I looked out to the sky again there were brilliant nebula clouds of colors forming, flashing and fading. All sorts of activity and it was brilliant. I noticed in the room where I was, were only some of my younger friends. Throughout the house there were two other rooms with older, and yet older groups of people. I tried to urge the younger of the two groups to come and see what was going on in the sky.

After sometime, maybe it was the next day, because it seemed light outside again, I went out to the front to examine the damage that had occurred to the yard. The yard was right up against a street, and the gash was the entire length of my house. It was only in front of my house — as if the message had been directed solely at me, however it was mostly parallel to the street. There was no grass, it was just like hardened dirt and there were all these mysterious shapes carved out of it. Each of the shapes seemed to be one of the parts of the messages I had felt I received.

“Message from the Stars,” Interpreted

While the beam was striking right there, in front of my eyes, there were all sorts of visual messages I was receiving.

Now it becomes explicit that the beam of light includes visual telepathy. The beam is literally the “logos leheld” and, in particular, the logos beheld as a central aspect of the Singularity Archetype.

They depicted what felt like a warning. There were images of a cartoon devilish character, and what felt like destruction, but at the very end an image of a seedling, or of grass regrowing.

Here we have a very concise description of the Singularity Archetype in a single sentence. We see the wing of Satan again, the devil, but it’s cartoonish. The message seems to be that the singularity may seem sinister, but only from the childish ego-bound perspective. Still, there are warnings of great destruction, but with the strong implication that this is necessary for rebirth.

I felt like it was telling me that I need to meditate, that my very survival depends on it. I felt as if I didn’t take heed of this warning, I would not survive. I vowed to meditate more.

In many apocalyptic visions and projections there are cataclysmic events in which a great many human souls are unsheathed from their bodies. For example, the extra-Biblical evangelical expectation of the Rapture involves an apocalypse where only the Christian elect are relieved of their imperiled mortal bodies and whisked away to heaven in glorified bodies. A technological materialist like Ray Kurzweil may imagine an ecological apocalypse where only those who have been lucky enough to have their consciousness downloaded into a quantum computer survive. Essentially, the archetypal expectation is that only those able to transcend the corporeal body survive, and they do so because they have perfected their spirit body (or their “information body,” if you are a salvation-via-technology singularity theorist). There is a very long tradition in many spiritual disciplines that only those who have learned to transcend their egos, especially through the practice of meditation, are sufficiently prepared to cross the event horizon of personal death, and we’ve already discussed that personal death parallels collective eschaton. Also, meditation is a practice highly related to the logos beheld idea that the evolutionary transformation will involve a sudden transition from verbal communication to visual telepathy because most meditation practice is about quieting the internal chatter, the psyche’s tendency to default into word-based thinking.

After the blast had concluded, we were looking at some art pieces that were on my wall. Apparently I had photographed them with a camera phone before the blast, and we could now compare them to what they looked like now. They were both reddish (like natural clay red) and made of something like a clay material. The first one had been a depiction of Jesus, or something like that, not the typical Jesus picture though, but more of a tribal depiction. The clay was now blemished as if from extreme heat, and bubbly on the surface.

Questions emailed to Genevieve: “Can you say more about the Jesus art piece? Did it look tribal before or only after? What does it mean that he looked tribal? Did he look more Semitic than the conventional Nordic Jesus? How was he dressed, and exactly what did he look like? How did you feel about the changes to the art piece? Did it feel like it was partly ruined or that it had been altered in an interesting way or what?”

Genevieve’s response: “Well, it didn’t really look anything like Jesus at all. I guess I just knew in the dream that that was what it was. It was a Greyish or reddish clay material, all one color, and it was textured. It always looked tribal — both before and after — and by tribal I mean that it looked like an Indian — a guy in a headband with very Mayan-like features. After the comet/star landed, the heat from it made the clay bubble, so the texture was no longer as smooth. I didn’t feel like it was ruined; I was just intrigued at what had happened to it, and the transformation felt somewhat symbolic — because there wasn’t any other heat damage anywhere else in the house that I recall.”

This mutated representation of Jesus is emblematic of the strange intermingling of prophetic traditions happening today. It seems to be a product of multicultural hybridization, and it is messianic, but not necessarily in the way that any one tradition might anticipate. Also, unlike a static tradition, the emblem mutates with the cosmic trigger event. A possible implication is that this is a time where one static mythology no longer serves but where there is a spontaneous eruption of mutating, hybridized mythologies. Genevieve, like so many today, is a cultural and ethnic hybrid, half Jewish/ half Catholic, and with no particular commitment to either of these Abrahamic faiths. Like many open-minded seekers of this era, she seems to be looking for insight from whatever fields — science, spirituality, paranormal studies — and from whatever cultures — Abrahamic, tribal, Mayan — that have relevance in an unprecedented time. These once very disparate elements hybridize, bubbling together in an alchemical cauldron. The signs of heating, especially since they are not observed elsewhere, indicate the imperative need for our prophetic traditions to be reheated and hybridized, to be returned to the kiln of the unconscious and reformed.

There was another clay piece which depicted a Mayan god, and had before been in a somewhat peaceful pose. It was now taking a more active stance. A feather in its hand had transformed into a knife, ready to strike.

Question emailed to Genevieve: “What feeling did you get from the change in the Mayan clay piece? Did it seem threatening and ominous or just different?”

Genevieve’s response: “It didn’t seem threatening, just different, perhaps a bit ominous.”

Mayan prophecy, seems activated and ready to be fulfilled. The sense of Mayan prophecy as about to strike in some aggressive way would seem to be influenced by popular culture rather than anything authentically related to ancient Mayan culture.63

Throughout the house there were two other rooms with older, and yet older groups of people. I tried to urge the younger of the two to come and see what was going on in the sky.

Question emailed to Genevieve: “What was the age range of each group? What did these people seem like? Did the two groups seem different besides their age?”

Genevieve’s response: “The age range of the ‘older’ group was probably mid 40s – 60s and the group of even older people was probably 65-80. They seemed like fairly normal people, although I recall some of them (in the ‘older’ group) seemed a little overweight. The older they were, the slower they seemed to be and to respond. Like I said I was trying to urge the groups to come look at the sky, and the older they were the more reluctant they were to come. Those were the only apparent differences between the groups — that the younger group seemed less ‘stuck’.”

The ages of the two groups may be both metaphorical and have something interesting to say about actual generations. Age may be a somewhat metaphorical representation of “stuckness” and of being hardened into obsolescent patterns of adaptation. Non-metaphorically, it is certainly a general psychological truth that aging typically makes neurotic symptoms more rigid and sharply defined. Though not a hard-and-fast rule, as a general trend, people tend to become more stuck in their ways as they age. But what is also interesting are the specific age ranges given for the two groups. A group that as of 2009, is in their mid-40s to 60s precisely defines the Baby Boomer Generation (usually thought of as those born 1945-1964). As a generation, Boomers were famously open to the cosmic, the unusual, the psychedelic, and the culturally exotic. A huge generation gap existed between the boomers and the two preceding generations. Those who are 65-80 as of 2009 are called the Silent Generation and are thought to be a particularly conservative generation. They were too young to fight in World War Two and mostly too old to participate in the revolutionary events of the Sixties.

63 For my full treatment of Mayan prophecy in popular culture, see “Carnival 2012: A Psychological Study of the 2012 Phenomenon and the 22 Classic Pitfalls and Blindspots of Esoteric Research,” available at ZapOracle.com.

It is interesting that in Genevieve’s dream, they seem the most reluctant to be involved in revolutionary change.64

After sometime, maybe it was the next day, because it seemed light outside again, I went out to the front to examine the damage that had occurred to the yard. The yard was right up against a street, and the gash was the entire length of my house. It was only in front of my house — as if the message had been directed solely at me, however it was mostly parallel to the street. There was no grass, it was just like hardened dirt and there were all these mysterious shapes carved out of it. Each of the shapes seemed to be one of the parts of the messages I had felt I received.

There could be an instructive message here about the nature of archetypal and prophetic visions. It feels like the message is directed solely to her, but it also runs parallel to the street. Running parallel to the street suggests that the message is relevant to the neighbors and, therefore, the collective in general. Archetypal/prophetic visions feel particularly directed toward the individual psyche that experiences them, and yet they also parallel the collective psyche. The implication is that Genevieve’s dreams may contain meanings that parallel the evolutionary predicament of our species.

Apocalypse and Metamorphosis in the Bible

And from then on there will be nothing corruptible.” — Enoch 69:27

Apocalyptic visions in the Bible erupt right out of the collective unconscious. As Norman Cohn points out in Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come: The Ancient Roots of Apocalyptic Faith, “To a much greater extent than the prophets, an apocalyptisist commonly received his revelations in visual form, whether as dreams or as ecstatic visions. […] Often the events that were revealed to him were disguised in symbols and allegories” (164).

Apocalyptic visions, Cohn points out, were typically sourced in more intimate and visual ways, a perceived contact with a radiant angel rather than the invisible voice of God:

“Unlike the prophets the apocalyptists were not spoken to by God but through the intermediary of an angel who may help explain the meaning of the visions and guarantee their truth. Daniel: ‘I found myself on the bank of the great river, that is the Tigris: I looked up and saw a man clothed in linen with a belt of-

64 For more on generational differences, go to http://www.fourthturning.com/.

-gold from Ophir round his waist. His body gleamed like topaz, his face shone like lightning, his eyes flamed like torches, his arms and feet sparkled like a disc of bronze; and when he spoke his voice sounded like the voice of a multitude. I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while those who were near me did not see it… I heard the sound of his words and, when I did so, I fell prone to the ground in a trance.’” (165).

Chapter 12 of the Book of Daniel, which was retroactively post-dated back four centuries to be attributed to the ancient, mythic figure of Daniel, is where we first get a prophecy of a metamorphosis into glorified bodies: “Chapter 12 — the last in the book — closes with a remarkable prophecy: ‘many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth will wake, some to everlasting life and some to the reproach of eternal abhorrence.’ This passage has no parallel in the Hebrew Bible: it marks a decisive break within the traditional Israelite notion of earth.” (165)

“The fate that awaited the ‘wise leaders’ was more wonderful still. It is indicated in chapter 12: ‘The wise leaders shall shine like the bright vault of heaven, and those who have guided the people in the true path shall be like stars for ever and ever.’ Admittedly, some scholars have interpreted these images as mere metaphors, signifying no more than that the glory of these men’s achievements will remain for evermore. Yet there is abundant evidence, from the following three centuries, in Jewish and Christian sources, that exceptionally holy individuals expected, at the End, to receive garments of glory that would make them resplendent and fiery. The apocalyptist is surely foretelling that he and his fellows will exist forever as super human beings, angel-like, star-like” (175).

The Book of Jubilees foresees a day when aging will be transcended:

And the days will begin to grow many and increase amongst the children of men,

Till their days draw nigh to nine thousand years,

And to a greater numbers of years than [before] was the number of days.

And there will be no old man Nor one who is full of days

For all will be as children and youths. (186)

“Sometimes Jesus seems to suggest just that: in the kingdom, he says, men and women will be ‘like angels in heaven,’ and will not marry. Elsewhere he is reported as saying that in the kingdom the righteous will shine like the sun’. Mark 12:25; Matthew 13:43” (186).

New Testament Revelation and the Singularity Archetype

A huge motivating force for apocalyptists65 of the Biblical era and of today is intense desperation about the conditions of their day-to-day lives. The most memorable scene for me in Nikos Kazantzakis’ visionary novel, The Last Temptation of Christ, involves an empathic, adolescent Jesus walking at night in the hills above his sleeping village. From the core of every sleeping psyche, he hears a single, plaintive thought form: How long, Adonai, how long?”

Biblical archaeologists and researchers seem to agree that the author of the Book of Revelation was someone living in a state of acute stress, with the threat of violent death hanging over his head. As sympathetic as I can feel toward a fellow Jewish author, haunted by visions and driven to share them with the world, I also have to admit to a significant, personal bias against Revelation, more than any other book in the Bible. The bias is more about what’s been done with Revelation and its effects rather than the long-dead author. Apologies if my bias offends anyone, but it would be a disservice to the reader not to be upfront about it because an author should disclose any biases he is aware of in himself that relate to what he is writing about. To compensate for my bias, I will discuss in detail the point of view of a fellow Jungian, Edward Edinger, who is much more in sympathy with Revelation than I am ever likely to be.

But before I get to Edinger’s transcendent interpretation of Revelation, I feel a duty to critique it and explain my bias. My unfriendly attitude toward Revelation is shared by a number of early church fathers who campaigned vociferously but, alas, unsuccessfully, to keep Revelation out of the Bible. The view of Revelation as the overwrought, over-the-top product of an imbalanced mind was also shared by Thomas Jefferson, who referred to it as “merely the ravings of a maniac.”

From my point of view, Revelation is like a Led Zeppelin song heard after several strong bong hits — it means whatever you want it to. Who is the Whore of Babylon? Whatever country you don’t like. Who is the Beast? Whatever famous person creeps you out at the moment. The game has continued for 2,000 years even though Biblical scholars will tell you the Whore of Babylon almost certainly meant Rome, and 666 and “the Beast” almost certainly meant Nero. And what about Wars and Rumors of War? I hear contemporary apocalypticists mention that sign of the end times constantly.

Did these people sleep through high school history class? When since a few thousands years before and a couple of millennia after Revelation-

65 An “apocalypticist” is a person obsessed with apocalypse. An “apocalyptist” is a writer of apocalyptic prophecies. Apocalyptists are, therefore, a subset of apocalypticists.

-was written, were there not wars and rumors of wars? Essentially Revelation, with its lurid, over-the-top surreal imagery, is mass psychosis bait. It’s like a Rorschach Inkblot printed on a page of blotter acid. Unbalanced psyches are drawn to it like a magnet. For example, David Koresh, of Branch Davidian/ Waco infamy, wrote in a wedding invitation:

“‘I have seven eyes and seven horns. My name is the Word of God and I ride on a white horse. I am here on earth to give you the seventh angel’s message. I have ascended from the east with the seal of the living God. My name is Cyrus, and I am here to destroy Babylon.’ — Breault and King, Inside the Cult.

“Koresh was engaged in writing a commentary on the ‘Seven Seals’ when ATF agents invaded the compound; and he even agreed to surrender when he finished with that work” (AA 184-5).

Of all the researchers I’ve read who’ve written about the Book of Revelation, I feel most in sympathy with Jonathan Kirsch, author of A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization. Kirsch seems to view Revelation as a kind of over-caffeinated mash-up of prophetic texts from the Hebrew Bible. He refers to Revelation as essentially “a Jewish document with a light Christian touch-up.”

I will go much further than Kirsch and call Revelation a highly addictive hallucinogen that produces a fever-dream state of mind that can cause you to do harm to yourself and others. If it were up to me, Revelation would be sold packaged like cigarettes and emblazoned with a black box warning label:

Instead of images of cancerous lungs, I would emblazon the package with graphic images of Jonestown and Heaven’s Gate.

Revelation pathology is not restricted to disenfranchised crackpots. It reaches into some of the most powerful political centers in the U.S.A. Kirsch points out this tendency:

“By 1984, for example, the Republican party deemed it appropriate to invite televangelist James Robison to give the Invocation at the convention where Reagan was renominated — and Robison deemed it appropriate to deliver a white-hot apocalyptic sermon to the enthusiastic delegates: ‘Any teaching of peace prior to [Christ’s] return is heresy,’ said Robison. ‘It’s against the word of God. It’s Antichrist’” (Kirsch 231).

Kirsh quotes Paul S. Boyer’s When Time Shall Be No More:

“Billy Graham, spiritual advisor to several presidents (as of this writing he has spent quality time with twelve U.S. presidents) wrote in his book, Approaching Hoofbeats — The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The Bible teaches that peoples and nations have brought this pain upon themselves by humanistic religion and man-made war. Almost every headline, almost every television news flash, almost every radio bulletin proclaims one truth: the rider who brings death is on his way and hell is close behind’” (231).

A placard that was hung proudly in the office of former Speaker of the House Tom Delay read: “This could be the day!” (247).

Of course, apocalypticism in high office is not limited to the U.S. and Revelation. Islam also has apocalyptic prophecies. “The Hour is coming,” goes one verse of the Koran, which describes a stalking beast and various “cosmic cataclysms.” “The rolling up of the sun, the darkening of the stars and the movement of the mountains, the splitting of the sky, and the inundation of the seas” — as signs of the day of resurrection when the tombs are overthrown. (Kirsch 250)

In the last few years, there has been much concern about the apocalyptic beliefs of Iranian President Ahmadinejad. In 2006, many, including Princeton Professor Emeritus and Historian of Islam Bernard Lewis, were concerned about ominous statements by Ahmadinejad about his nuclear program in relation to the date August 22nd. This is a date that some Shiites associate with the return of the “Hidden Imam.” The Hidden Imam or al-Mahdi is believed to have been in hiding for the past 1,137 years, miraculously kept alive by Allah in a cave. He is expected to return shortly before the Final Day of Judgment to do battle with the forces of evil.

Apocalypticism has played out frequently with deadly results. But the addition of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction represents an unhappy new variation on the very old brand of apocalypticism. The history of this new variation is still being written.

Besides being highly toxic and addictive, the Book of Revelation is also not very original. If it were a movie, we would say it was too derivative, too retro, too many borrowed elements from much older films in the same genre. As Kirsch puts it,

“Many of the end-of-the-world auguries that appear in the Bible

  • the signs and tribulations of the end, the struggle of God and his Messiah against evil [and] the figure of Satan and his demons
  • can be traced all the way back to the Zoroastrian writings of Persia, the earliest of which may be several hundred years older than any of the Jewish or Christian texts” (23).

Revelation takes many of these appropriated elements and remixes them again.

Jesus, as Kirsch points out, is best understood as a First-Century Jewish apocalyptist. “Truly, I say to you,” says Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, “there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” Also, like Revelation, Jesus gets the timeline wrong — 2,000 years and counting wrong. Both predict the fulfillment of their prophecies for the 1st century AD, not the 21st.

No other document in human history can match Revelation for the number of failed endtime predictions it has inspired. Some of these predictions have had violent, tragic consequences, but others have been hilariously idiotic. For example, a former NASA rocket engineer named Edgar Whisenant wrote a book entitled 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988. (Kirsch 234)

Kirsch points out another case of over-confident Revelations-related marketing:

“One enterprising preacher offered a package tour to Israel that was timed to coincide with the day when faithful Christians would be ‘raptured’ to heaven. The price of the package was$1,850, including ‘return if necessary.’

“‘We stay at the Intercontinental Hotel on the Mount of Olives,’ the brochure announced. ‘And if this is the year of our Lord’s return, as we anticipate, you may even ascend to Glory from within a few feet of His ascension’” (234).

Edward Edinger and the Apocalypse Archetype in Revelations

Edward F. Edinger was widely considered the dean of Jungian analysts in the U.S. Although I never met him, in the few degrees of separation characteristic of the Jungian community, I was separated from him by one degree — he was the analyst of my analyst. Edinger had a very profound understanding of the dynamic nature of archetypes, and his book, Ego and Archetype, is considered a classic. Edinger’s final book was Archetype of the Apocalypse: Divine Vengeance, Terrorism, and the End of the World. Edinger died in July of 1998, shortly after approving the manuscript for publication.

Of course, what Edinger calls the “Archetype of the Apocalypse” I prefer to call the “Singularity Archetype.” I am struck that when Edinger was writing his last book, both the personal and collective sides of the Singularity Archetype were in states of charged imminence. He was both at the edge of his own death and very close to the turn of the millennium when apocalypticism was making one of its periodic resurgences.

Edinger was well aware of the topical nature of the subject. In fact, after the Oklahoma City bombing, he wrote a letter to his city’s newspaper entitled “The Psychology of Terrorism.” Edinger concluded, “Zealots are possessed by transpersonal, archetypal dynamisms deriving from the collective unconscious […] fundamentally a religious phenomenon that derives from the archetypal, collective unconscious” (AA xvii).

Edinger decried the unpsychological perplexity with which people responded to the Oklahoma City disaster. From his perspective, and mine, it was merely one more of history’s endless violent eruptions of archetypal material: “[There is] hardly a line of print or moment of television dedicated to understanding what had happened. The Governor of Oklahoma would say at a memorial service, ‘We can’t understand why it happened’” (xviii).

Turn on the news, and you’ll hear endless discussion of war, violence, political struggles, etc., without a moment’s consideration of the most salient fact about all of these — they are entirely psychological products. Some will say, “Oh no, it is money that is at the root of everything.” But what is money? It is an artifact of the human psyche.66

Edinger’s work on the Archetype of the Apocalypse is entirely compatible with my work on the Singularity Archetype. As Edinger writes, “This archetype of The Apocalypse takes on autonomy and tends to direct whatever is of a psychic nature in its vicinity to line up with its own lines of force. Its contents are somewhat arbitrary since it is in the nature of an archetypal network that it can extend farther and farther — eventually to encompass the whole collective unconscious” (AA 3).

Essentially, we are recognizing the same archetypal core but are drawing somewhat different boundaries around it and approach it in sometimes parallel, sometimes divergent ways. I defined apocalypse as a transcendent evolutionary event, personal and/or collective, seen through the fearful eyes of the ego. Edinger defines apocalypse in parallel terms: “My essential answer is: the ‘Apocalypse’ means the momentous event-

66 For my detailed analysis of money and how it functions, see “Green Energy Vortex” at ZapOracle.com.

-of the coming of the Self into conscious realization. This is what the content of the Apocalypse archetype presents: the shattering of the world as it has been, followed by its reconstitution” (AA 5).

Edinger’s language stays closer to the hierarchy of psychic functions. There must be an ego death for the Self to regain ascendancy in the psyche.

As Edinger puts it:

“Considering an individual’s experience of the archetype, the ‘Apocalypse’ bodes catastrophe only for the stubbornly rationalistic, secular ego that refuses to grant the existence of a greater psychic authority than itself. Since it cannot bend, it has to break. Thus, ‘end-of the-world dreams’ (invasion from outer space, nuclear bombs) do not necessarily presage psychic catastrophe for the dreamer but may, if properly understood, refer to the coming into visibility of manifestations of the Self — the nucleus of the psyche — and present the opportunity for an enlargement of personality” (AA 13).

At certain points, Edinger makes statements that cause me to wish he had been better informed about the findings of near-death experience research. It’s frustrating that a number of the aspects of encountering the Singularity Archetype, which he interprets from a purely psychological point of view, also have empirical correlates that he never considers. For example, he writes, “We today are obliged to withdraw as many projections as possible, including projections onto an ‘afterlife.’ The ‘Apocalypse,’ of course, has also been projected onto historical events, as well as onto a life hereafter” (AA 28).

Near-death experience is not reducible to a projection, but Edinger seems to miss this aspect entirely. A far more famous Jungian who also misses the enormous significance of NDE research is James Hillman. In 1996, when Hillman was in Boulder on a book tour, I asked him why he writes so much about the soul but doesn’t seem to take into account available empirical evidence about the life cycle of the soul from NDE research and other transcendent states. Well known for his haughty arrogance, Hillman responded dismissively: “That’s exactly the sort of question I expected when I came to Boulder.” I wanted to slap him. Even more irritating was that the Boulderites present laughed at his apparent stereotyping of their hometown as though he had said something witty and incisive. I should have pointed out to Hillman that I had been in Boulder for a few months and was actually, like him, a New York Jew, confronting him in New York Jew (not Boulder) style about a huge deficiency in his work. Jung, who had a near-death experience and studied the paranormal from the earliest age, would never have fallen into such parochialism. Perhaps this is what Jung had in mind when he once said, “I’m glad I’m Jung and not a Jungian.”

In another egregious example of this sort of parochialism, Edinger writes, “Practically all the religions of the world have the notion of a Final Judgment — not necessarily coming in some future time, as in the Book of Revelation, but coming just after death” (AA 49).

The “notion” of a Final Judgment is not found solely in religions; it is also a universal element of the NDE — the life review. For a psychoanalyst to write the above statement in 1998, when NDE research was already so widely available and remarked upon, is a serious, even ignorant error of omission.

The following statement is a brilliant insight on Edinger’s part, but it is frustrating that he doesn’t recognize its extreme relevance to the NDE/life review: “The coming of the Self into visibility is accompanied by the ego’s experience of being looked at, being stripped of all disguises and seen for exactly what one is. That is not an easy experience to endure” (AA 48).

Possessed by an Archetype

In the way of a Biblical apologist, Edinger sometimes goes to tortured lengths to adapt all the fevered imagery of the Book of Revelation to fit with his model. I find Edinger to be on much solider ground, however, when he discusses Revelation psychopatholgy as a classic example of what can happen when one is possessed by an archetype. For example, Edinger says the following about those who expect to be raptured:

“Such a state of mind is a dehumanizing inflation that seeks permanent release from egohood and materiality. To embrace such a literal eschatological fantasy means, in effect, that the individual has already been ‘raptured’ (literally ‘seized’). These people, therefore, have abandoned allegiance to the human enterprise and abdicated commitment to the historical process” (AA 39).

In other words, when you become possessed by an archetype, you are seized by the unconscious and no longer have a fully human individual identity.

As Edinger points out,

“I think it is evident to perceptive people that the Apocalypse archetype is now highly activated in the collective psyche and is living itself out in human history. The archetypal dynamic has already started, is already moving among us. And, in that respect, the fundamentalists are right in their preoccupation with this particular imagery: the trouble is they are approaching the phenomenon anachronistically, with a psychology that was operative and appropriate two thousand years ago: with concretistic metaphysical projections” (AA 171).

“We have here an illustration of a typical example of possession by the archetype of the Apocalypse. And if one is possessed by that archetype, it inevitably leads to catastrophe — because ‘catastrophe’ is built into the archetypal pattern. The individual, so possessed, must make it happen in order to fulfill the archetype’s structure” (AA 185).

At one point, Edinger records a hint provided by Jung that, if he had followed up on it, might have brought him to recognize that what he calls the Apocalypse Archetype might best be seen as a subset of the Singularity Archetype which, yes, relates to the ego and the Self, but also relates to an evolutionary event horizon for the species. Edinger discusses some of Jung’s writings about Revelation:

“The Sun-Moon woman gives birth to a child, she is crying aloud with the pangs of childbirth, a huge red dragon with seven heads stops in front of the woman so it can eat the child as soon as it is born. The child is taken straight up to God. […] Jung says, ‘The chid is a uniting symbol. Since it is taken up to heaven. This would seem to indicate that the child-figure will remain latent for an indefinite time and that its activity is reserved for the future’” (AA 101-2).

Jung’s statement suggests that he is right at the edge of recognizing a collective, evolutionary dimension to the symbolism.

This website is the product of tens of thousands of hours of work. Making all this content available free and without ads means this enterprise runs at a lifetime six-figure loss. That hurts my feelings as well as my finances! Please help out!
please donate

Listen to Zap Oracle SteamCast in your favorite apps.

Contact Jonathan

Notice any glitches with the site? Please do us a favor and report these, along with the browser you were using, to our webmaster ([email protected]).
Verified by MonsterInsights