Winter Solstice 2020: Rebirth of the Green Man

Winter Solstice 2020: Rebirth of the Green Man

The Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter 2020

Saturn and Jupiter Great Conjunctions occur every 20 years, once in a generation. This year it occurs exactly on the Winter Solstice, 21st December 2020, which gives it an extra boost from the rising energy of the sun. Many solar deities of ancient cultures were said to be ‘born’ on or around the winter solstice. The people of those times had a much more intimate relationship with the animating powers of Nature and other denizens of the higher realms than we do today. They gave them names, characters and stories, some of which survive in mythology, folklore and the phylogenetic memory of the species and we still resonate with these energies when the conditions allow, whether we are consciously aware of them or not.

Jack o’ the Green, Hastings, England,

I’ve been watching Saturn and Jupiter, as they’ve begun moving towards each other over the past few weeks, with the question: what am I looking at here? A few days ago, I got the answer. Saturn and Jupiter are the mirror to the two hemispheres of the brain, with Saturn mirroring and resonating with the linear and grasping left brain and Jupiter the exploratory, meaning oriented right brain. I’ve noticed that the flow of information between the right and left hemispheres of my brain is becoming more fluid, as if a blockage has been removed and my perspective is changing. This article is about how this great conjunction is mirroring changes in the communication flow between the two hemispheres, what that means and what you might expect to see or experience differently in the approach to this winter solstice and beyond.

The current crisis and upheaval is a symptom of this increased flow of energy and a reaction from those who want to stop it, but cannot. That said, the shifts we are going through now are not exactly planned, as there is no plan. If there was a plan there would be no free will, no imagination and no creativity and the world would be very boring; the downside of freedom is error, the misuse of power, cruelty, wanton destruction and evil. All life is affected by the energy fluctuations of the earth and other celestial bodies as they move through great cycles that affect their relationships with each other and create the conditions for our existence.

Humans have long been able to observe these movements and correlate them with psyche and culture but, until fairly recently, the determinant factor has remained elusive. The determinant factor, that which conditions the outcome of life on this planet is, of course, us. We don’t see it that way, it looks as though we don’t have any power at all in the current scenario, because we only see ourselves and reality through the left-brain perspective that is dominant in modern society. Over 50% of the world’s population now live in cities and urban environments, which are the ultimate manifestation and reflection of left-brained thinking that traps inhabitants in the little boxes of their own mental constraints. It is only in Nature that these unnatural constraints begin to fall away and we can see ourselves in the bigger picture, a condition necessary for new ideas and creative solutions to emerge. It might even have been necessary to pass the 50% mark in order to activate dormant genes.

I think that the Great Winter Solstice Conjunction of 2020 is mirroring a rebalancing of the interactivity between the two hemispheres of the brain and that this rebalancing generates the conditions for individual sovereignty on a global scale.

Bi-hemispheric Reality and the Divided Brain

Everyone knows that our brains have two hemispheres and that they have differences, but we can’t agree on what those differences are and what they mean because of the differences!

One of the clearest and most engaging writers on the subject of the differences between the right and left hemispheres and the challenges this asymmetry poses to our reality and society is Dr Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and His Emissary. His research led him to conclude that the right brain is the master and the left the emissary, or administrator. He is a champion of the view that our optimal mode of interaction with external reality is initially right-brained, a curiosity driven, discovery mode (the right brain is also more sensitive to predators, whereas the left looks for prey) and experience is then passed to the left-brain for unpacking and analysis, after which it should be (but mostly isn’t) passed back to the right-brain to create a new variant.

Below is an excerpt from the Introduction, which introduces the issue of bi-hemispheric realities and gives an indication of its significance.

“Things change according to the stance we adopt towards them, the type of attention we pay to them, the disposition we hold in relation to them. This is important because the most fundamental difference between the hemispheres lies in the type of attention they give to the world. But it’s also important because of the widespread assumption in some quarters that there are two alternatives: either things exist ‘out there’ and are unaltered by the machinery we use to dig them up, or to tear them apart (naïve realism, scientific materialism); or they are subjective phenomena which we create out of our own minds, and therefore we are free to treat them in any way we wish, since they are after all, our own creations (naïve idealism, post-modernism). These positions are not by any means as far apart as they look, and a certain lack of respect is evident in both. In fact I believe there is something that exists apart from ourselves, but that we play a vital part in bringing it into being. A central theme of this book is the importance of our disposition towards the world and one another, as being fundamental in grounding what it is that we come to have a relationship with, rather than the other way round. The kind of attention we pay actually alters the world: we are, literally, partners in creation. This means we have a grave responsibility, a word that captures the reciprocal nature of the dialogue we have with whatever it is that exists apart from ourselves. I will look at what philosophy in our time has had to say about these issues. Ultimately I believe that many of the disputes about the nature of the human world can be illuminated by an understanding that there are two fundamentally different ‘versions’ delivered to us by the two hemispheres, both of which can have a ring of authenticity about them, and both of which are hugely valuable; but that they stand in opposition to one another, and need to be kept apart from one another – hence the bihemispheric structure of the brain…….

The particular relevance to us at this point in history is this. Both hemispheres clearly play crucial roles in the experience of each human individual, and I believe both have contributed importantly to our culture. Each needs the other. Nonetheless the relationship between the hemispheres does not appear to be symmetrical, in that the left hemisphere is ultimately dependent on, one might almost say parasitic on, the right, though it seems to have no awareness of this fact. Indeed it is filled with an alarming self-confidence. The ensuing struggle is as uneven as the asymmetrical brain from which it takes its origin. My hope is that awareness of the situation may enable us to change course before it is too late”

Iain McGilchrist, The Master and His Emissary: the Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

Below is a short animation from Dr McGilchrist’s website, summarising his thesis.

From a chaos or complexity perspective, the structural asymmetry of the brain – its form or shape – is the necessary variable that keeps it ticking over into new iterations of itself, and therefor reality.

Gateway to a New Past

The ‘gatekeeper’ between the two hemispheres, is the corpus callosum. This is a thick band of nerves and white matter that manages the segregation of the two hemispheres by inhibiting communication between the hemispheres. All awareness of portals, wormholes and boundaries emerges from this structure – and some of us are getting flooded these days

As above, so below. As within, so without.

What is here is there; what is not here is nowhere.

I am in no doubt that the corpus collusum is allowing more information exchange between the two hemispheres and has been gradually increasing the flow for quite a while. My observations are based on close tracking of my own processes, my intuition and watching what shows up in the world around me. I’m finding a fresh perspective on previous experiences and old stories, which I’m attributing to new channels opening up.

This process of human ‘flowering’ has been ongoing since our beginning and has never stopped, but we have made lots of memory holes for ourselves, so it doesn’t seem that way. The left-brain dominance keeps us viewing our lives through the lens of linear time, which (like memory holes) prevents us from getting overwhelmed, but that is changing too.

Around 8,000 years ago in 6,000BC, the corpus callosum was most likely calibrated differently than today. In his controversial work of 1976, The Origin of Consciousness and the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Prof. Julian Jaynes theorized that the gods lived in the right hemisphere and directed the left via the corpus callosum, which was like a bridge. (The rainbow bridge of Nordic mythology?) Hence the bicameral mind. He concluded that the characters of Ancient Greece and the Old Testament had no sense of subjectivity or ability for introspection and were the puppets of the gods. This began to change around 1600BC, with the Minoan eruption and other natural disasters, when the gods of old began to disappear, which is what he referred to as the breakdown of the bicameral mind.

Dr McGilchrist draws a different conclusion from Jaynes’ work:

“Putting it at its simplest, where Jaynes interprets the voices of the gods as being due to the disconcerting effects of the opening a door between the hemispheres, so that the voices [of the gods] could for the first time be heard, I see them as being due to the closing of the door, so that the voices of the intuition now appear distant ‘other’; familiar but alien, wise but uncanny – in a word, divine.

My thesis is that the separation of the hemispheres brought with it both advantages and disadvantages. It made possible a standing outside of the ‘natural’ frame of reference, the common-sense everyday way in which we see the world. In doing so it enabled us to build on that ‘necessary distance’ from the world and from ourselves, achieved originally by the frontal lobes, and gave us insight into things that otherwise we could not have seen, even making it possible for us to form deeper empathetic connections with one another and with the world at large. The best example of this is the fascinating rise of drama in the Greek world, in which the thoughts and feelings of our selves and of others are apparently objectified, and yet returned to us as our own. A special sort of seeing arises, in which both distance and empathy are crucial.

But the separation also sowed the seeds of left hemisphere isolationism, allowing the left hemisphere to work unchecked, at this stage in cultural history, the two hemispheres were still working largely together, and so the benefits outweighed by a long way the disadvantages, but the disadvantages became more apparent over time.”

Iain McGilchrist, The Master and His Emissary; The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

The third option, treading where respected academics fear to go, is that there was an incursion by an alien parasitic pretender god and the brain moved to defend itself, ourselves and the rest of the cosmos by closing the doors and sealing off parts of the rainbow bridge until such time as the threat could be eliminated. This quarantine is now in its final stages and the gates are re-opening as enough of us are embodied in our sovereignty to begin re-membering new skills and experiences.

The Green Man Who Gives Birth to Himself

The figure behind these winter solstice ‘births’ (and rebirths) is the mysterious figure of the Green Man. His image can be found in many churches and cathedrals of Europe, in the temples of India, as well as in Borneo and Nepal. Perhaps most famously he is known as Dionysus and Osiris and he is also still celebrated in the folk tradition of England as Robin Hood and Jack o’ the Green.

Green Man, Norwich Cathedral
Green Man, Westminster Abbey

In India he is known as Kirtimukha, the Immortal Face of Glory and he is a chaotic force or demon, known as an asura. The asuras are said to be cousins of the gods and made of the same cosmic material, but they are demons of materialism as they identify the Self with the body and are forever hungry. The left-brained demon, no less. The story goes that one such demon decided that he was the strongest being in the universe (Yaldabaoth by another name) and that he therefore deserved the most beautiful woman in existence. So he went to see Lord Shiva and demanded possession of his wife, thee Goddess Parvati. Shiva, as pure consciousness merely reflected the image of his raw, insatiable hunger back at him as an even more terrifying demon, intent on devouring him. Eventually, with nowhere to hide from his hunger the demon returned to Shiva and asked for protection from this new demon. Shiva was merciful and agreed to help, but there was still the problem of the hunger to deal with. So, in the manner of the Trickster he said: why don’t you eat yourself? Obedient to the word of the god, the demon ate himself until only his head remained that Shiva named Kirtimukha, the Immortal Face of Glory.

Kirtimukha, the Immortal Face of Glory

This story illustrates the universal truth that life feeds on life, shown in other traditions as the serpent eating its own tail. This revelation of reality is terrifyingly unacceptable from a left-brained perspective and humbly liberating when you have experienced the hunger and can see with both sides.

In essence, the Green Man is the masculine principle of nature, the invisible axis at the centre of the vortex. For men today, it is the most intimate rite of passage to generate this upstanding and ethical form of order of inspiration within themselves and to express it in their own, unique ways and I think it might even be essential for the times ahead.

David C. Noel says this of him::

“Whether the Green Man, is some sort of Jungian archetype ‘returning’ from a primeval past, a Celtic survival in the psyche, seems not as important to me as the metaphor he constitutes for men, and for the gender-embattled culture, in the present and future.  Whatever the metaphysics of this fascinating figure, it is enough that he is a green ideal and a good idea arriving from wherever to inspire us. We have needed a Father Nature for a long time, and never more urgently than now, when all over the planet, armored men, in or out of uniform, terrorize each other, women and children, and what remains of the wildwood.”

David C, Noel, The Soul of Shamanism: Western Fantasies, Imaginal Realities

He is the King of the Forest and the male counterpart the Great Mother and has appeared in different guises since the beginning. This time around he births himself within spiritually mature men and women who choose to accept him on his own terms.

The Mirror to Your Brain

The effects of the Great Conjunction of the Winter Solstice will be felt by everybody on the planet, but there is a significant distinction between being affected by something and participating. There are, of course, many ways of participating in what is unfolding. One way is to observe Saturn and Jupiter as they move closer to each other, knowing that you are witnessing the reflection of a reunion and rebalancing that is happening in realtime between the two hemispheres of your own brain. Just look and notice how you feel. Don’t wait until the solstice as you won’t be able to see it then.

Artist’s concept of Jupiter and Saturn on December 16, 2020 shortly after sunset

Sovereignty is the natural outcome of this reunion and it is up to you what you do with it!

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