The Golden Ass
The Golden Ass presents presents
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Cupid and Psyche
The Last Book
Neoplatonic perspective
Cybele v. Isis
Life of Lucius Apuleius
Interpreting the dream
emphasizing rhythm
Isis on Youtube
State vs. Soul
Summer of Love
Where to find love
Home is where one starts from
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Isis Rising
Bastet the Cat goddess > cateyes
Myth & Magic
Goddess -DVD
The Golden Ass


Isis the last and future Great Mother Goddess

"I come Lucius, moved by your entreaties:
I, mother of the universe, mistress of all the elements, first born of the ages, highest of the gods, queen of the shades, first of those who dwell in heaven, representing in one shape all the gods and goddesses.
My will controls the shining heights of heaven, the health-giving sea-winds, and the mournful silence of hell; the entire world worships my single godhead in a thousand shapes, with diverse rites, and under many different names.
The Phrygians, first-born of mankind, call me the Pessinuntian Mother of the gods; the native Athenians the Cecropian Minerva; the island -dwelling Cypriots Paphian Venus; the archer Cretans Dictynnan Diana; the triple-tongued Sicilians Stygian Proserpine; the ancient Eleusinians Actaean Ceres; some call me Juno, some Bellona, others Hecate, others
 2k7Queen_Marina.jpgRhamnusia; but both races of Ethiopians, those on whom the rising and those on whom the setting sun shines, and the Egyptians who excel in ancient learning, honour me with worship which is truly mina and call me by my true name: Queen Isis.
I am here in pity for your misfortunes, I am here with favour and goodwill. Cease now your weeping, put an end to your lamentation, banish your grief: now by my Providence the day of your release is dawning.
Attend therefore with your whole mind the orders I give you."


adventures of one Lucius, who experiments in magic and is accidentally turned into an ass. In this guise he hears and sees many unusual things, until escaping from his predicament in a rather unexpected way. .
Apuleius Lucius Apuleius Platonicus (c. AD 123/125-c. AD 180),  is remembered most for his bawdy picaresque Latin novel the Metamorphoses, otherwise known as The Golden Ass or, in Latin, the Aureus Asinus (where the Latin word aureus - golden - connoted an element of blessed luckiness.  This is the same colonia where Saint Augustine later received part of his early education, and, though located well away from the Romanized coast, is today the site of some pristine Roman ruins.

Apuleius was an initiate in several cults or mysteries, including the Dionysian mysteries.[1] He was a priest of Aesculapius[2] and, according to Augustine,[3] sacerdos provinciae Africae (i.e. priest of the province of Carthage).


Plutarch was claimed as a relative on his mother's side by Apuleius although some speculate it may have been a way to show his admiration. Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalists were greatly influenced by the Moralia so much that Emerson called the Lives "a bible for heroes" in his glowing introduction to the Moralia
a precursor to the literary genre of the episodic picaresque novel, in which Quevedo, Rabelais, Boccaccio, Cervantes, Voltaire, Defoe and many others have followed
Within this frame story are found multiple digressions, the longest among them being the well-known tale of Cupid and Psyche
Apuleius' Apology of 158/9 AD
In 1517, Niccolò Machiavelli wrote his own version of the story, as a terza rima poem.

In the 20th century, T. E. Lawrence carried a small copy of the "Golden Ass" in his saddlebags all through the Arab Revolt. It was Lawrence who first introduced the book to his friend Robert Graves, who later translated the work.

In April 1999 the Canadian Opera Company produced an operatic version of the "Golden Ass", the libretto for which was written by celebrated Canadian author Robertson Davies.

Marie-Louise von Franz
As Eros’ physical attributes in later Greek myth develop, little agreement is found on his parentage. Some say he is born to Uranus, the starry heavens, and Gaea, mother earth. He is also portrayed as the son of Artemis, the moon goddess, and Hermes, the trickster. He claims Iris, guardian of the rainbow and Zephyrs, god of the north wind, as parents. In Phoenician Mythology of the first millennium BC, he is the son of Chronas and Ashtart.
The White Goddess

essay upon the nature of poetic myth-making by author and poet Robert Graves. First published in 1948. Graves argues that "true" or "pure" poetry is inextricably linked with the ancient cult-ritual of his proposed White Goddess and of her son. no historical evidence that the "White Goddess" as he describes her ever figured in any actual belief system. However given that the worship of the Goddess, as defined by Graves, took place in pre-literate and pre-historical times the lack of such evidence is not in itself evidence of lack. Graves concluded, in the second and expanded edition, that the monotheistic god of Judaism and its successors were the cause of the White Goddess's downfall, and thus the source of much of the modern world's woe.

John_Keats [31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821] Keats believed that great people (especially poets) have the ability to accept that not everything can be resolved. Keats was a Romantic and believed that the truths found in the imagination access holy authority. Such authority cannot otherwise be understood
Link List
golden-ass Link List & much more
The Golden Ass @ free on-line, in 11 chapters -Adlington's translation, 1566

Works by Apuleius at Project Gutenberg

Psyche & Cupid
ranslated by William Adlington 1566 @ ancienthistory.
 PSYCHE (1956) @ scils.
Apology as Prosecution: The Trial of Apuleius
Lucius Apuleius @ 1911
net/isis/Isis-2D.html  Screeshot of the Old Temple of Isis from the original (CMU) Pompeii project.
The Temple of Isis     Nicole Jackson, Veronical Polo, Jeffrey Jacobson

A reconstruction of the Temple of Isis in the Roman city of Pompeii as may have appeared in 79ad. Originally built in 1995 by Nicole Jackson and many others, it has recently been translated into a more
efficient VRML model, by Veronica Polo. Isis was actually part of a larger effort, the Virtual Pompeii Project at the Studio for Creative Inquiry (SFCI).

Psyche's Links
Esoteric Subjects on the Web
15000+ Links
Fundamentals of Symbolism by
Hamilton Reed Armstrong
Cults and Cosmic Consciousness:
Religious Vision in the American 1960s by Camille Paglia
 translated by Edward John Kenney - 1998
translated by Jack Lindsay  -1962
"Apuleius, the celebrated author is undoubtedly the greatest of the ancient Latin Platonists. He is not to be classed among the chief of the disciples of Plato, yet he will always maintain a very distinguished rank among those who have delivered to us the more accessible parts of that philosophy with consummate eloquence. The most important parts of the Metamorphosis, I feel, are the fable of Cupid and Psyche, and the eleventh book, in which Apuleius gives an account of his being initiated in the mysteries of Isis and Osiris. I call these the most important parts, because in the former, it appears to me, the very ancient dogma of the pre-existence of the human soul, its lapse from the intelligible world to the earth, and its return from thence to its pristine state of felicity, are most accurately and beautifully adumbrated."
Thomas Taylor

Cybele and Attis

Cybele vs Isis
Also born in North Africa is the influential Christian writer St Augustine,, who wrote about Lucias Apuleius as well a great rival of both the Catholic church and Isis,  the Mother of the Gods the Mager Mater who was adopted officially by the Romans, Cybele:

“When I was a young man I used to go to … spectacles put on in honour of gods and goddesses – in honour of the Heavenly Virgin, and of Berecynthia [a title of Cybele], mother of all. On the yearly festival of Berecynthia's washing, actors sang, in front of her litter … they performed [rites] in the presence of the Mother of the Gods before an immense audience of spectators of both sexes … And the name of the ceremony is ‘the fercula’, which might suggest the giving of a dinner-party.”
(The City of God, 11, 4)

The Roman annual New Year concluded with the Hilaria Carnival Parade on the Sunday following the Spring Equinox, just like Easter. It honored Cybele

State vs. Soul

Isis & Cybele cults pursuit of salvation of the individual Soul Undermines the State

Greek and Roman society was based on the concept of the subordination of individual to the state and  perpetuation of the society. If one shrank from supreme sacrifice then it never occurred to anyone that they acted other than for base reasons.

Oriental religion taught the reverse of this doctrine. It inculcated the communion of the "Soul" with God and its eternal salvation as the only objects of existence, and in comparison with the prosperity and even the existence of the state was insignificant. Inevitably belief system draws the individual away from public service and to greater focus on their own personal salvation through initiation into an enlightened group bound by some special secret, often involving the promise of an afterlife, a recompense for present miseries in the next world. This appealed greatly to the powerless classes such as women and dispossessed such as slaves.

The misapplication of the mystery doctrines in the oriental religions is said to have created serious consequences for the ordering of society. The ties of the family were weakened and political body of the state made less relevant. The goddess cults of Isis and Cybele had deities with prominent sex lives which can be as revolting to some as it is compelling to others. 

This was the fear of the Roman Senators who in 181 BC had previously sought to ban Bacchus as a mystery cult controlled by priests outside the ruling class. The real fear of a society o relapsing into its individual elements and thereby into barbarism. Roman civilization is only possible through the active cooperation of the individual and the subordination of the interests of the individual to that of the common good

The story of sex becoming divorced from cosmology and becomes permissively recreational, resulting in a backlash from the real and perceived fear of  a corrosive effect on society at large is also a lesson to be learned from the 1960's and the era of flower power and hippies before this generation passes from its chance to further affect history as the dawn of a new age.




Book II The Golden Ass:
Following a memorable Carnaval like romp through the temptations of the flesh, the author makes a heartfelt cry to unite behind the love of a compassionate goddess whose name is not important

The famous novel the Golden Ass was written in Latin in the second century AD by Lucius Apuleius. It tells the story of the journey of the hero Lucius through Thessaly, the land of witchcraft. His curiosity leads to his accidental transformation into an ass, and he finds himself trapped in a world of ever increasing moral depravity.  

the Golden Ass
is the only surviving novel in Latin

The bawdy and hilarious work,  among the most influential of all literary works,  finishes with a strong entreaty to embrace the worship of Isis as the path for salvation for your soul.

It is a tale of the transformation and initiation of a young man into ass providing a well-lit stage for the drama of the struggle of the individual to understand the choices faced as they try to make intelligible the crazy world that turns out to be not so different from our own. Using many older stories, Apuleius  created a completely new book with a inner message for the soul. This masterpiece of Latin literature can also argue of being the world's first novel, it is the only work of fiction in Latin to have survived in its entirety.

Lucius Apuleius was one of the main representatives of North African Platonism during the second century (AD). He wrote works ranging from philosophy and medicine to poetry and rhetoric.

The Life of Lucius Apuleius
DownloadLuisius claimed to be related on his mother's side to the Greek philosopher/historian Plutarch and despite it not being his first language was a master of Latin prose capable of play with the rhythm and rhyme of the language which continues to inspire new translations of his most influential tale.

 Platonic philosopher and rhetorician, was born at Madaura in Numidia about A.D. 125. As the son of one of the principal officials, he received an excellent education, first at Carthage and subsequently at Athens. After leaving Athens he undertook a long course of travel, especially in the East, principally with the view of obtaining initiation into religious mysteries. Having practised for some time as an advocate at Rome, he returned to Africa.

On a journey to Alexandria he fell sick at Oea (Tripoli), where he made the acquaintance of a rich widow, Aemilia Pudentilla, whom he subsequently married. The members of her family disapproved of the marriage, and indicted Apuleius on a charge of having gained her affections by magical arts. He easily established his innocence, and his spirited, highly entertaining, but inordinately long defence (Apologia or De Magia) before the proconsul Claudius Maximus is our principal authority for his biography.

From allusions in his subsequent writings, and the mention of him by St Augustine, we gather that the remainder of his prosperous life was devoted to literature and philosophy. At Carthage he was elected provincial priest of the imperial cult, in which capacity he occupied a prominent position in the provincial council, had the duty of collecting and managing the funds for the temples of the cult, and the superintendence of the games in the amphitheatre. He lectured on philosophy and rhetoric, like the Greek sophists, apparently with success, since statues were erected in his honour at Carthage and elsewhere. The year of his death is not known.

Cupid and Psyche

a story about a the development of mature consciousness

Cupid and Psyche: An Adaptation from The Golden Ass of Apuleius Apuleius might have created this myth of Metamorphoses for it was first found in his book. Since then it has often been the subject of artists, poets and others as it takes on the soul complexities of sex and spirituality.

The account of Cupid and Psyche is presented in The Golden Ass as an "old wive's tale" told by an old woman to comfort a young woman who has been abducted by a band of robbers and is being held for ransom.

A certain king and queen had three daughters. The goddess Venus, jealous and envious of the beauty of a youngest daughter a woman named Psyche, and asked her son, Cupid, to use his golden arrows to cause Psyche to fall in love with the most vile creature on earth. Cupid agreed but then fell in love with Psyche on his own.
Psyche, a late addition to Olympian divinities, was a beautiful young girl whose name in Greek means "Soul."

When all continued to admire and praise Psyche's beauty but none desired her as a wife, Psyche's parents consulted an oracle, which told them to leave Psyche on the nearest mountain, for her beauty was so great that she was meant for a god. So it was done. But then Zephyrus, the west wind, carried Psyche away to a fair valley and a magnificent palace where she was attended by invisible servants until night fell and in the darkness of night the promised bridegroom arrived and the marriage was consummated. Cupid visited her every night to sleep with her, but demanded that she never light any lamps, since he did not want her to know who he was.

Cupid even allowed Zephyrus to take Psyche back to her sisters and bring all three down to the palace during the day, but warning that Psyche should not listen to any argument that she should not try to discover his true form. The two jealous sisters told Psyche, then pregnant with Cupid's child, that rumor was that she had married a great and terrible serpent who would devour her and her unborn child when her time came for it to be fed. They urged Psyche to conceal a knife and oil lamp in the bedchamber, to wait till her husband was asleep, and then to light the lamp and slay him at once if it was as they said. Psyche sadly followed their advice. In the light of the lamp Psyche recognized the fair form on the bed as the god Cupid himself, and cursing her folly, attempted to kill herself with the knife she had intended to use on him. However, she dropped the knife, and
her spirits were raised as she gazed on the beautiful young god. She curiously examined his golden arrows, and accidentally pricked herself with them, and was consumed with desire for her husband. She began to kiss him, but as she did, a drop of oil fell from Psyche's lamp and onto Cupid's chest and he awoke. He flew away, but she caught his ankle and was carried with him until her muscles gave out, and she fell to the ground, sick at heart.

The god Pan, who was nearby, advised Psyche to seek to regain Cupid's love through service.

Psyche then found herself in the city where one of her jealous, elder sisters lived. She told her what had happened, then tricked her sister into believing that Cupid had chosen her as a wife instead. She later met the other sister and deceived her likewise. Each returned to the top of the peak and jumped down eagerly, but Zephyrus did not bear them and they fell to their deaths at the base of the mountain.

When Venus (Aphrodite) learned of her beauty, she was unnerved by the competition and instructed her son Cupid (Amor) to make Psyche fall in love with an ugly monster.

Psyche searched far and wide for her lover, finally stumbling into a temple to Ceres where all was in slovenly disarray. As Psyche was sorting and clearing, Ceres appeared, but refused any help but advice, saying Psyche must call directly on Venus, the jealous shrew that caused all the problems in the first place. Psyche next called on Juno in her temple, but Juno, superior as always, said the same. So Psyche found a temple to Venus and entered it. Venus ordered Psyche to separate all the grains in a large basket of mixed kinds before nightfall. An ant took pity on Psyche and with its ant companions separated the grains for her.

Venus was outraged at her success and told her to go to a field where golden sheep grazed and get some golden wool. A river-god told Psyche that the sheep were vicious and strong and would kill her, but if she waited until noontime, the sheep would go to the shade on the other side of the field and sleep; she could pick the wool that stuck to the branches and bark of the trees. Venus next asked for water from the Styx and Cocytus flowing from a cleft that was impossible for a mortal to attain and was also guarded by great serpents. This time an eagle performed the task for Psyche. Venus, outraged at Psyche's survival, claimed that the stress of caring for her son, made depressed and ill as a result of Psyche's unfaithfulness, had caused her to lose some of her beauty. Psyche was to go to the Underworld and ask Persephone, the queen of the Underworld, for a bit of her beauty in a box that Venus gave to Psyche. Psyche decided that the quickest way to the Underworld would be to throw herself off some high place and die and so she climbed to the top of a tower. But the tower itself spoke to her and told her the route through Tanaerum that would allow her to enter the Underworld alive and return again, as well as telling her how to get by Cerberus by throwing him a sop and Charon by paying him an obol, how to avoid other dangers on the way there and back, andPsyche_Opens_Box.jpg most importantly to eat of no food whatsoever; for otherwise she would dwell forever in the Underworld. Psyche followed the orders explicitly and ate nothing while beneath the earth.

However when Psyche had got out of the Underworld, she decided to open the box and take a little bit of the beauty for herself. Inside, she could see no beauty; instead an infernal sleep arose from the box and overcame her. Cupid, who had forgiven Psyche, flew to her, wiped the sleep from her face, put it back in the box, and sent her back on her way. Then Cupid flew to Mount Olympus and begged 
"Mercury Offering the Cup of Immortality to Psyche" Giclee Print

Mercury Offering the Cup of Immortality to Psyche

Jove to aid them. Jove called a full and formal council of the gods, and declared it was his will that Cupid might marry Psyche. Jove then had Psyche fetched to Mount Olympus, and Mercury gave her a drink made from Ambrosia, granting her immortality. Although some say their daughter was namedDownload Bliss, and some say she was named Delight (in Roman mythology she was named Volupta, which can mean either), the meaning of the name was intended to be joyful.
Begrudgingly, Venus, and Psyche forgave each other.
Cupidinis et nascitur illis maturo partu filia, quam Voluptatem nominamus.

Interpreting the dream for the
collective conscious
The term "psyche" now more commonly refers to the mind in its subconscious aspect rather than to the soul. In psychology, some experts regard her story as indicative of female psychic development, whereas others interpret Psyche as representing the anima  a female image of the male soul. The ambiguity is one of the powerful elements that make the story resonate with many artists and seekers through the ages.

"Now begins the age
human love"

Download"Psyche’s act ends the mythical age in the archetypal world, the age in which the relation between the sexes depended only on the superior power of the gods, who held  men at their mercy. Now begins the age of human love, in which the human psyche consciously takes the fateful decision on itself. And this brings us to the background of our myth, namely the conflict between Psyche, the "new Aphrodite" and Aphrodite as the Great Mother".

(Amor and Psyche: The Psychic Development of the Feminine. by ERICH NEUMANN New York: 1956: p. 146)

Cupid could not reveal his divine nature, so he visited Psyche in darkness. She shines a light into the mystery of love too impulsively, only to watch it vanish. This is an attempt to expand her consciousness before she is ready for it.

Psyche’s repeated decisions to kill herself in order to end her despair at the prospect of completing her seemingly impossible tasks symbolically express the depression which frequently accompanies psychological development.

The integration of sexuality with the highest aspirations of consciousness. Nothing less than a spiritual rebirth is required to bring together these seemingly opposite aspects of the human being. Psyche’s journey to the underworld dramatically portrays the powerful experience of rebirth which precedes and helps to bring about this hard-won integration


Bettelheim interprets the tale as a symbolic portrait of the fullest possible human development:
  The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales

 "Not physical man, but spiritual man must be reborn to become ready for the marriage of sexuality with wisdom . . . wedding of the two aspects of man requires a rebirth" (  p. 293 )

 The labors of Psyche educate and enlighten bringing eventual liberation into her divine aspect. The allegory fuses the ancient rebirth initiation rites of the mystery cults  and Platonic idealism. The story assures the young that their fear of sex as something beastly is not unique to them and that sexual anxiety, which is often implanted by others, frequently turns out to be unfounded

Golden Ass of Apuleius:

The Liberation of the Feminine in Man

Marie-Louise von Franz

Golden Ass of Apuleius: The Liberation of the Feminine in Man (C. G. Jung Foundation Books)"Today there is much discussion of the liberation of women," writes Marie-Louise von Franz, "but it is sometimes overlooked that this can only succeed if there is a change in men as well.

Speaking to us in the dream language of the soul using archetypal symbol and story

"why should one not treat the stories here as if they were dreams within the story?... Apuleius gives form to a deep process of evolution of historical dimension: the coming back of the feminine principle into the patriarchal Western world. This slow comeback of the feminine principle intermittently surfaced in the Middle Ages, but it is only today that it seems to have broken through into the collective consciousness."




" The Golden Ass is the modern description of the development of a man's anima or feminine unconscious personality. Today there is much discussion of the liberation of women, but it is sometimes overlooked that this can only succeed if there is a change in men as well. Just as women have to overcome the patriarchal tyrant in their own souls, men have to liberate and differentiate their inner femininity. Only then will a better relationship of the sexes be possible."
It is this timely theme that Dr. von Franz explores in her psychological study of a classic work of the second century, The Golden Ass by Apuleius of Madaura.

Marie-Louise von Franz, Ph.D. (1915-1998), worked closely with Jung from 1934 until his death in 1961.

An expert on fairy tales and considered the brilliant queen of
Jungian psychology for much of her prolific career. Within the Jungian community she is best known for her studies of the psychological significance of fairytales and of alchemy. She translated many books from Latin for her mentor, C.J. Jung. However her deepest and most difficult work is concerned with the archetypal aspects of the natural numbers and how they create synchronicity.

JUST IN TIME?: The reemergence of the female principle after 4000 years of repression

"Happily, we now have a full translation of the text, the work of Mr. Robert Graves, who, under the spell of his Triple Goddess, has lately been retranslating the classics. One of his first tributes to her was a fine rendering of The Golden Ass: then Lucan's Pharsalia; then the Greek Myths, a collation aimed at rearranging the hierarchy of Olympus to afford his Goddess (the female principle) a central position at the expense of the male. (Beware Apollo's wrath, Graves: the 'godling' is more than front man for the 'Ninefold Muse-Goddess.')
Gore Vidal

The Golden Ass (Penguin Classics)Robert Graves concluded, in his most important book, The White Goddess, that the monotheistic god of Judaism and its successors were the cause of the White Goddess's downfall, and thus the source of much of the modern world's woe.

An iconoclastic and controversial warrior of  the zeitgeist, Graves concluded that the Mother-Goddess had been ousted by thirteenth-century B.C. invaders of what is now Greece. These invaders installed in her place the Olympian gods. The legacy of this momentous shift in spiritual power is Western civilization as we know it, with its (in Graves’s view) undue emphasis on rationality and order, and distrust of magic and myths—indeed, all forms of “poetic unreason.”

(1895 –  1985) Robert_Graves

The White Goddess book with its subtitle "
A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myths" and contention that the most important manifestation of the goddess to understand is that of the Triple Goddess was the first widely read book on the prehistory of the goddess. First published in 1948, soon after the atomic age arrived, it preceded  the great outpouring of 20th century goddess literature now with us.

Newest translation emphasizing word rhythm:
The Golden Ass: Or, a Book of ChangesJoel Relihan uses alliteration and assonance, rhythm and rhyme, the occasional archaism, the rare neologism, and devices of punctuation and typography, to create a sparkling, luxurious, and readable translation that reproduces something of the linguistic and comic effects of the original Latin.

Published September 2007

Jesus enters Jerusalem ColourTo walk on palms was the sign of triumph, as in Apuleius' description of Isis: "On her divine feet were slippers of palm leaves, the emblem of victory." Lucius Apuleius, The Golden Ass, 170

According to the gospel story, at the height of his popularity Jesus rides into Jerusalem while crowds sing his praises and lay branches in his path.’2’ Traditionally the crowd is said to have waved palm leaves. The palm was symbolic in the Mysteries.’ Plato writes of “the palm of wisdom of Dionysus.”’ The great festival of the Mystery godman Attis began with the “Entry of the Reed-Bearers,” which was followed by the “Entry of the Tree,” an evergreen pine upon which was tied an effigy of the godman.”” One modern scholar remarks:

"It is impossible to ignore the associations with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem surrounded by palm-bearers, and his bearing of the cross or tree which became his chief symbol."

The gospels relate that Jesus goes out of his way to make sure he is mounted on a donkey. In vase representations, Dionysus is also often pictured astride a donkey, which carries him to meet his passion.’ The playwright Aristophanes writes of “the ass who carried the Mysteries.”’ the crowd of pilgrims at Athens walked the Sacred Way to Eleusis to celebrate the Mysteries, a donkey carried a basket containing the sacred paraphernalia, which would be used to create the idol of Dionysus, while the crowds shouted the praises of Dionysus and waved bundles of branches.’ In this way, like Jesus entering Jerusalem, Dionysus rode in triumph to his death.

The mythical motif of “riding on a donkey” is often taken as a sign of humility. It also has a more mystical meaning, however. To the ancients the donkey typified lust, cruelty, and wickedness. ft symbolically represented the lower “animal” self, which must be overcome and subdued by an initiate of the Mysteries. Lucius Apuleius wrote a story called The Golden Ass, which was an allegorical tale of initiation. In it Lucius is transformed into a donkey through his own foolisbness and endures many adventures, which represent stages of initiation. At his final initiation he is transformed back into a human being. This story is symbolic of the initiate being overcome by his lower nature and then, through initiation into the Mysteries, rediscovering his true identity.

The Egyptian goddess Isis tells Lucius that the donkey is the most hateful to her of all beasts.””~ This is because it is sacred to the god Set, who in Egyptian mythology is the murderer of Osiris.’’ Plutarch recorded an Egyptian festival in which donkeys were triumphantly pushed over cliffs in vengeance for Osiris’ murder. Set is symbolic of the initiate’s lower self, which slays the spiritual Higher Self (Osiris) and must be metaphorically put to death for the spiritual Self to be reborn.

The donkey was also a common symbol of the lower “animal” nature in the Greek Mysteries of Dionysus. A vase painting represents a ridiculous donkey with an erect phallus dancing among the disciples of Dionysus.’ A design on a wine pitcher shows donkeys having sex.‘ In another design a pilgrim is shown stopping to pull the tail of a donkey.’”

A favorite representation of afterlife sufferings in the Underworld was the figure of a man condemned to forever plait a rope that his donkey continually eats away, symbolic of the lower self constantly trying to eat away the spiritual achievements of the Higher Self. The figure of the godman riding in triumph on a donkey symbolized that he was master of his lower "animal" nature [source ]

Roots to the Summer of Love

Emerson, Thoreau & Whitman: the first to combine the sacred of the East & West

"But the 1960s spiritual awakening, as a program of rebellious liberalization, more resembled Transcendentalism (1835-60),

Camille Paglia addresses the need for a new cannon for higher education

which was influenced by British Romanticism and German idealism. Its leading figure, Ralph Waldo Emerson, had been a Unitarian  minister (descended from a line of clerics) but resigned his post because he could not accept the doctrine of transubstantiation in the Eucharist. More generally, Emerson was repelled by the passionlessness and rote formulas of genteel churchgoing. ... Emerson transferred his family's religious vocation to the Romantic cult of nature, a pagan pantheism. His holistic vision of nature, like that of his friend Henry David Thoreau, prefigures 1960s ecology: indeed, Thoreau's Walden (1854), a journal of his experiment in monastic living in the woods near Boston, became a canonical text for the sixties counterculture.

The most intriguing of the parallels between New England Transcendentalism and 1960s thought is Emerson's interest in Asian literature-mainly Hindu sacred texts (the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads) and Confucius' maxims. India's religious literature had been unknown to the West until the first European translation of the Bhagavad Gita appeared in 1785, when Sanskrit studies had just begun.

The titles Emerson gave to his poems "Brahma" and "Maya" were inexplicable to most readers at the time. (Brahma is the Hindu creator god; Maya is the veil of illusion.) "Brahma," first published in 1857, was the butt of so many satirical lampoons that Emerson's publisher begged him, to no avail, to drop it from the 1876 edition of his selected poems. In his seminal essays (1836-41), Emerson refers to God as the "Over-Soul," a translation of the Sanskrit word, atman, meaning "supreme and universal soul." Emerson's "Over-Soul" would be reinterpreted by Friedrich Nietzsche as the Übermensch, which translators often misleadingly render in English as "Superman."

"At this time of foreboding about the future of Western culture, it is crucial to identify and preserve our finest artifacts. Canons are always in flux, but canon formation is a critic's obligation...It is critical that we reinforce the spiritual values of Western art, however we define them. In the Greco-Roman line, beauty and aesthetic pleasure are spiritual too.
Joni Mitchell's Woodstock is organized in nesting triads: its 9 stanzas fall into 3 parts, each climaxing in a 1-stanza refrain.

I came upon a child of god
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, where are you going
And this he told me
I'm going on down to Yasgurs farm
I'm going to join in a rock n roll band
I'm going to camp out on the land
I'm going to try an get my soul free
We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe its the time of man
I don't know who l am
But you know life is for learning
We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation
We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devils bargain
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

"The entire power of Woodstock is that what is imagined in it was not achieved. Woodstock the festival has become a haunting memory. Mitchell's final notes hand, quaver, and fade. Cold reality trumps over art's beautiful dreams."

The Last Book

Lucius calls for divine aid, and is answered by the goddess Isis

In the last book, the style abruptly changes. Driven to desperation, Lucius calls for divine aid, and is answered by the goddess Isis. Eager to be initiated into the mystery cult of Isis, abstains from forbidden foods, bathes and purifies himself. Then the secrets of the cult's books are explained to him and further secrets revealed, before going through the process of initiation which involves a trial by the elements in a journey to the underworld. Lucius is then initiated asked to seek initiation into the cult of Osiris in Rome, and eventually initiated into the pastophoroi, a group of priests that serves Isis and Osiris.

The humorous prose of the earlier books is exchanged for an equally powerful, sometimes quasi-poetic, style that draws upon Lucius' religious experiences.
Mythic stories make up a kind of collective dream that we all have together. If we want to understand our dreams, in many respects, we can look at these stories and study them.
---Jonathan Young @

"The keys of hell and the guarantee of salvation were in the hands of the goddess, and the initiation ceremony itself a kind of voluntary death and salvation through divine grace."
The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Roman lamp, circa 100-300CE,
seemingly showing a scene from the Golden Ass or Λουκιος η Ονος.
owned/sold by Phoenicia Holyland Antiques

Egyptian Truth:
The celestial powers known by thought alone, are called the gods, and they preside over the world

Which is it!

The Metamorphoses
The Golden Ass
The latter name, The Metamorphoses, is found in the extant manuscripts, but Augustine, who studied some two centuries later at Madauros (as well as at Carthage), says that Apuleius called his work Asinus aureus or The Golden Ass
Neoplatonic perspective
These ideas can be understood from a Neoplatonic perspective which distinguished normal sexual pleasure (associated with Venus) from passionate love (associated with Eros), which is considered a kind of divine madness or ecstasy; the latter is literally enthusiasm, which comes from entheos, "possessed," that is, having a god (theos) inside.

The Nous, the Intellectual/ Spiritual Principle, emanates from the One, but is directed back toward it, in an eternal cyclic living flow, by love (eros) of the Good (which is the One). In Neoplatonic philosophy the Nous (Mind) is seen as feminine and is identified with Wisdom (Sophia),  In Christian Neoplatonism Nous is often identified with the Holy Spirit (traditionally feminine) or with the Virgin Mary (in which case the One is identified with the Trinity).
The Neoplatonic tradition as developed and systemized by Plotinus, Porphyry, and Proclus was a form of transcendentalism in direct opposition to the gathering Christian hegemony. Neoplatonic allegory develops the spiritual gloss in epic poetry while working to preserve the cultural authority of the epic as a literary adjunct to moral philosophy and theology. The Neoplatonic reading preserves the faith in the power of the symbols or archetypes by keeping their real mystic meanings a secret except for the interpretive communities trained to expect the metaphysical allegorical meanings.

Key to the doctrine of Neo-Platonism, was Plotinus' idea that the universe was not created ex nihilo as the Church insisted, but that both the cosmos and man were emanations, or "overflowings" of the Divine substance. Analogically, Man, the "Microcosm" has a "lower soul" anima secunda connected to the material world and a "higher soul" intellectus or mens that is connected to and even participates in the Divine Mind, intellectus divinus.

For many of the Neoplatonists, the very vision of God was the contemplation of divine beauty in a state of erotic trance. This mystical vision was complete when, although still in this life, one received the Kabbalistic "mors oscli" or "kiss of death" from the Venus Celeste source of all beauty and wisdom.

The Neo-Platonic, Hermetic definition. "God is an infinite circle whose center is everywhere, whose circumference is nowhere."
which is symbolically represented by the circular mandala with a bindu point at the center. The other view as stated here from Vatican I, is that,
 "God is other than the world in being and essence, and above all else, that could possibly be considered to be, ineffably superior." This is central to the three great monotheistic belief systems of the last 4000 years or Jews, Moslems and Christians.   Proponents of Monotheism, have tempered the concept of divine immanence by positing the parallel doctrine of divine Transcendence such that God is considered omnipresent and active in human affairs as creator, sustainer, judge, and redeemer, but is also considered elevated above and distinguished from the universe.


Magic played an important role in Egyptian religion, often providing a way to avoid or control misfortune. Magical spells might include versions of myths. All gods had secret, divine names that carried magical powers. One spell told the story of how Isis discovered the secret name of Ra, which she then used to increase her own magical skills. Many spells were used to treat the bites of snakes and scorpions, generally regarded as symbols of the forces of chaos. The god Thoth, a patron of wisdom, was closely connected with magic.

Gnosis, or knowledge, as understood in Gnostic religious systems, thus does not refer to rational understanding of natural or supernatural reality, but involves an awareness through illumination, intuition, initiation or induced trance that the human spirit is consubstantial with the divine ground of being.

by John Keats

O Goddess! hear these tuneless numbers, wrung
By sweet enforcement and remembrance dear,
And pardon that thy secrets should be sung
Even into thine own soft-conched ear:
Surely I dreamt to-day, or did I see
The winged Psyche with awaken'd eyes?
I wander'd in a forest thoughtlessly,
And, on the sudden, fainting with surprise,
Saw two fair creatures, couched side by side
In deepest grass, beneath the whisp'ring roof
Of leaves and trembled blossoms, where there ran
A brooklet, scarce espied:

'Mid hush'd, cool-rooted flowers, fragrant-eyed,
Blue, silver-white, and budded Tyrian,
They lay calm-breathing on the bedded grass;
Their arms embraced, and their pinions too;
Their lips touch'd not, but had not bade adieu,
As if disjoined by soft-handed slumber,
And ready still past kisses to outnumber
At tender eye-dawn of aurorean love:
The winged boy I knew;
But who wast thou, O happy, happy dove?
His Psyche true!

O latest born and loveliest vision far
Of all Olympus' faded hierarchy!
Fairer than Phoebe's sapphire-region'd star,
Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky;
Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none,
Nor altar heap'd with flowers;
Nor virgin-choir to make delicious moan
Upon the midnight hours;
No voice, no lute, no pipe, no incense sweet
From chain-swung censer teeming;
No shrine, no grove, no oracle, no heat
Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming.

O brightest! though too late for antique vows,
Too, too late for the fond believing lyre,
When holy were the haunted forest boughs,
Holy the air, the water, and the fire;
Yet even in these days so far retir'd
From happy pieties, thy lucent fans,
Fluttering among the faint Olympians,
I see, and sing, by my own eyes inspir'd.
So let me be thy choir, and make a moan
Upon the midnight hours;
Thy voice, thy lute, thy pipe, thy incense sweet
From swinged censer teeming;
Thy shrine, thy grove, thy oracle, thy heat
Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming.

Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane
In some untrodden region of my mind,
Where branched thoughts, new grown with pleasant pain,
Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind:
Far, far around shall those dark-cluster'd trees
Fledge the wild-ridged mountains steep by steep;
And there by zephyrs, streams, and birds, and bees,
The moss-lain Dryads shall be lull'd to sleep;
And in the midst of this wide quietness
A rosy sanctuary will I dress
With the wreath'd trellis of a working brain,
With buds, and bells, and stars without a name,
With all the gardener Fancy e'er could feign,
Who breeding flowers, will never breed the same:
And there shall be for thee all soft delight
That shadowy thought can win,
A bright torch, and a casement ope at night,
To let the warm Love in!
Keats [above] alludes to Psyche being the last deity admitted to Olympus by virtue of her first appearing early in the 2nd century AD


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Isis & Egypt on Youtube

Home is where one starts from

"This is one way of saying that love is not only the end, but the beginning of all. What we find, when we find our heart (and remember, gratefulness is the key), is God's own life within us.

"Faith, Hope and Love are ways in which we explore the life of the Triune God. We come to understand that Belonging is a name of the Triune God. It is gratis __pure grace, pure gift. We need only enter into this fullness through gratefulness. The Triune God is the Giver, Gift and Thanksgiving. This movement from the Father through the Son in the Spirit back to its source is what St. Gregory of Nyssa called  "the Round Dance of the Blessed Trinity." This is how God prays: by dancing. It is one great celebration of belonging by giving and thanksgiving. We can begin to join that dance in our heart right now through gratefulness.

 Br. David Steindl-Rast, photo by Jim Nichols

Discover the dancing Jesus within
the power of Gratefulness

with Brother David Steindl-Rast