Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling born 27 January 1775 – 20 August 1854: German philosopher whose Naturphilosophie was dismissed by the scientific community who viewed his work as too metaphysical with a tendency to analogize lacking empirical orientation.
“There is no greatness without a continual solicitation to madness which, while it must be overcome, must never be completely lacking. One might profit by classifying men in this respect. The one kind are those in whom there is no madness at all … and are so-called men of intellect whose works, and deeds are nothing but cold works and deeds of the intellect…. But where there is no madness, there is, to be sure, also no real, active, living intellect. For wherein is intellect to prove itself but in the conquest, mastery, and ordering of madness?”
This criticism of his work and his quote seem relevant today given our tendency toward empirical science, which in Schelling’s view is not a “living intellect”. There are those who operate in the world of “cold work”, or in other words soulless work; there are those who live in fear and resentment of that apparent authority but have not yet solicited their own (divine) madness. There are those who have embraced it too much and have dissociated from the world in some way preferring instead to live in the labyrinths of their psyche; and there are those who rise to the challenge of mastery by “ordering the madness” that they encounter. This is the grail path; it’s different for everyone. The trick seems to be in finding containers, structures, and discipline for the overwhelming and vast planes of the inner world and finding a way to ground it in the material world. To quote Schelling again,
“To achieve great things, we must be self-confined…mastery is revealed in limitation.”
It takes a certain kind of single focus to achieve this; the journey toward it is chaotic and many have been blasted along the way. Carl Jung, the giant of analytical and transpersonal psychology made the descent in 1913- 1916, he was supported by his wife Emma Jung who was one of the richest women in Europe at the time, and Toni Wolff, his mistress who lived with the Jung as a second wife and was an important collaborator on Jung’s work- herself a gifted analyst. Jung was also at the top of his game, much respected and honoured within the patriarchal structures of the time. None of this is to discredit Jung, I am a great lover of his work; my point is to highlight the need for structure in our meetings with the unconscious.
Spiritual questing and opening to the archetypal forces, particularly in the new age when there is so much pop spirituality, access to psychedelics, and dare I say bypassing, runs the risk of dissociation and fragmentation. If our psyche has already been opened through something like trauma experienced as a child, the road to integration can be even more challenging and without a strong core we are susceptible to outside influences, open to suggestion, and vulnerable to manipulation.
It’s a rabbit hole as they say, and yet… the urge to break free form an overly rational, cold, and soulless existence burns bright inviting us to individuate, to realise and express the unique essence that we are.
Astrologically if we are very Uranian or Neptunian in our makeup, more effort is needed to ground down in the world of matter- working with Saturn can help.