Category Archives: Intensified Consciousness

Frye on Bardo

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Cross-posted in the Robert D. Denham Library

In Mahayana Buddhism, bardo, a concept that dates back to the second century, is the in-between state, the period that connects the death of individuals with their following rebirth.  The word literally means “between” (bar) “two” (do).  The Bardo Thödol, or “Liberation through Hearing in the In-Between State,” distinguishes six bardos, the first three having to do with the suspended states of birth, dream, and meditation and the last three with the forty-nine-day process of death and rebirth.  In The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which is the principal source for Frye’s speculations on bardo, a priest reads the book into the ear of the dead person. The focus is on the second three in-between states or periods: the bardo of the moment of death, when a dazzling white light manifests itself; the bardo of supreme reality, in which five colorful lights appear in the form of mandalas; and the bardo of becoming, characterized by less-brilliant light. The first of these, Chikhai bardo, is the period of ego loss; the second, Chonyid bardo, is the period of hallucinations; and the third, Sidpa bardo, is the period of reentry.

In Frye’s Bible lectures he mentions the bardo in connection with the issue of whether one can be released from various projections and repressions and so escape from the wheel of reincarnation, or at least have the possibility of escaping next time around if one will only be attentive.   There, he said,

The word “apocalypse,” the name of the last book of the Bible, is the Greek word for revelation.  That is why the book is called Revelation in English translation, and what John at Patmos sees in the book is a panorama of certain things in human experience taking on different forms.  There is an analogy which seems to be a fairly useful one in the Oriental scripture known as The Tibetan Book of the Dead. When a man is dying, a priest comes to his house, and when the man dies, the priest starts reading the Book of the Dead into his ear, because the corpse is assumed to be able to hear the reading and to be guided by what is said.  The priest explains to the corpse that he is going to have a progression of visions, first of peaceful deities and then of wrathful deities, and that he is to realize that these are simply his own repressed thoughts and images coming to the surface because they have been released by death; and that if he could only understand that they are coming out of his mind, he could be delivered from their power, because it is really his own power.  lt is also assumed that practically every corpse to whom this book is read will be too stupid to understand what’s going on, and will go on from one blunder to another until finally he wakes up in the world again: because the assumption behind it is one of reincarnation.  [CW 13, 587–88]

Otherwise, in his published writing Frye refers to bardo infrequently––once in The Great Code, once in A Study of English Romanticism, once in “The Journey as Metaphor,” and twice in “Yeats and the Language of Symbolism.”  In his notebooks and diaries, however, the word “bardo” appears more than one hundred times, and Frye’s own copy of The Tibetan Book of the Dead contains some 240 annotations.  In Northrop Frye: Religious Visionary and Architect of the Spiritual World I point out that Frye almost always uses “bardo” in a telic sense: it represents a stage toward the end of the quest, and it is related to such ideas as epiphany, resurrection, recognition, and apocalypse––ideas that are omnipresent in Frye’s writings.  But his understanding of bardo warrants further study.

The following entries represent, I think, all of the places in Frye’s “unpublished” writing (now a part of the Collected Works), where the word “bardo” appears.  The “published” references are at the end.  The annotations have been omitted.  All material within square brackets is an editorial addition.

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More Frye and the Bible

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Blake’s Plato

Reponding to Nicholas Graham’s post

I certainly agree that Frye’s reading of the Bible is guided by typology and that there is a certain prophetic power in his biblical criticism. I was by no means trying to give a full account of Frye’s reading of the Bible. My remarks were in the context of the earlier posts about the meaning of the phrase “literary criticism of the Bible.” All I was trying to suggest was that Frye’s approach relies on two fundamental literary principles, myth and metaphor or narrative and image––the mythos and dianoia that Frye devoted so much space to in Anatomy of Criticism. Typology and prophecy, as I understand those terms, are terms from biblical, rather than literary, criticism. I agree also that “vision” is also absolutely central to Frye’s enterprise, and I wrote a fairly long chapter in my book on Frye and religion (89–125) trying to make a case for its centrality and relating it to terms such as “insight,” “enlightenment,” “epiphany,” “recognition” and (the central visionary faculty) “the imagination.” But again “vision” is a term that does not spring from the vocabulary of literary criticism, though it is perhaps obliquely connected to Aristotle’s opsis. No one would want to reduce Frye’s reading of the Bible to myth and metaphor. But they are literary principles, and so no one would want to ignore them either. As I understand Frye, “vision” and “prophecy” belong to what I called the Bible’s centrifugal, kerygmatic thrust.

Michael Dolzani: Frye and Spiritual Otherness

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We are delighted to post this response by Michael Dolzani on the question of Frye’s anti-supernaturalism. Michael, editor of several of the Collected Works, will be joining us as a byline correspondent.

I think I understand why Clayton Chrusch refers to Frye’s “anti-supernaturalism,” and his entry puts its finger on one of those issues in Frye studies whose intractability proves how truly central they are.  As Bob Denham says, Frye seemed open to belief in all sorts of paranormal phenomena, both the spontaneous ones that occur in séances and the significant coincidences that Jung explained by “synchronicity” and also the deliberately evoked and controlled phenomena of magic and occultism.  However, Bob notes that Frye did not think of such phenomena as supernatural.  A Renaissance magician like Prospero—or, in real life, Marsilio Ficino—believed that he was drawing upon the hidden powers of nature.  Such “natural magic” could be white or black, good or evil, depending upon the will that summons and controls it.  Witches may claim to serve the devil, but the devil’s attributes—the cloven hooves, horns, tail—clearly indicate that this kind of devil is merely a nature spirit.  The hidden powers of nature can sometimes be imagined as a whole hidden realm, an Otherworld like the Celtic Faerie, and perhaps the Tibetan Bardo.  But this realm is not supernatural; in the early 1947 essay “Yeats and the Language of Symbolism,” as well as in the early notebooks it is closely related to, Frye calls it “hyperphysical,” meaning that it is not super-natural, above nature, but an extension of nature.  To mistake it as supernatural is an example of what the early notebooks repeatedly call “the deification of the void.”

But if the deification of the void is false supernaturalism, it is certainly a valid question whether Frye believed in a real supernaturalism.  I am not surprised that this controversy has erupted in relation to Fearful Symmetry, where Frye is closest to Blake.  Blake tended to equate “nature” with “fallen world” in a way that sometimes—misleadingly, I think—suggests that he is the kind of Gnostic who rejected the physical world altogether.  That cannot really be true:  a bird cannot be a world of delight closed to our senses five if it is merely fallen or illusory.  But Blake is pushed in that direction by his repudiation of “natural religion,” all the more so because most of the conventional Christianity of his time and ours is really natural religion in disguise.  Natural religion is what happens when the “natural man” [1 Corinthians 2:14], Paul’s term for the fallen aspect of ourselves, tries to imagine the supernatural.  The result, as Browning showed, is Caliban upon Setebos, the reason being that the natural man cannot think or imagine beyond the natural.  What is the natural?  In this context, it is the cloven fiction, the split between the subject and a world of objects alienated from the subject.  If the natural man is the subject, God must be the ultimately objectified Object, either projected into the heavens as an inscrutable sky-god (Urizen, Nobodaddy, Shelley’s Prometheus) or into the depths as the Immanent Will of Hardy and his chief influence, Schopenhauer.  This is really another kind of deification of the void.  Such a God is a Holy Terror, tormenting his followers as he tormented Job, afflicting them outwardly with boils and tragedy, inwardly with the theological nightmares of predestination, the terrors of eternal hellfire, and the intractable guilt of people like Luther.

I find that intelligent Christians of good will are puzzled and put off by the anger of people like Blake and Frye.  Such Christians are thinking in terms of a God who is, as Clayton Chrusch says,  the beautiful hope of those who are suffering.  But Frye grew up in the realm of Protestant fundamentalism, and I grew up within pre-Vatican II Catholicism, with the same rebellious result.  Frye, especially the younger Frye, refuses to suppress all the troubling questions; like Job, he stands up and cries out for answers.  And unlike Job, but like Blake, he refuses to be shouted down because God has a bigger loudspeaker.

So the natural man cannot be truly spiritual; he can only be superstitious, worshipping and trying to placate a spook conjured by his own anxieties.  But Paul’s “spiritual man” is identified by Blake with the imagination.  The imagination does not “believe in” God:  belief is concerned with the evidence for or against objects, and God is not an object.  God is not a “fact,” at least not in this sense.  The natural man thinks that, if God is not a fact, he must be a mere fiction or illusion, but it is one of the primary missions of Words with Power to get beyond that impasse.

That is why I think Sara Toth’s essay “Recovery of the Spiritual Other” (in Northrop Frye:  New Directions from Old)  is an important contribution to Frye studies.  Sara observes that, beginning as early as the 1970s, Frye increasingly speaks of a “spiritual otherness.”  To the imagination or spiritual man (or woman), God is “other” and yet not objective.  In the Preface to Spiritus Mundi, Frye writes, “For Blake and Yeats, on the other hand, there is nothing creative except what the human imagination produces.  Stevens polarizes the imagination against a ‘reality’ which is otherness, what the imagination is not and has to struggle with.  Such reality cannot ultimately be the reality of physical nature or of constituted human society, which produce only the ‘realism’ that for Stevens is something quite different.  It is rather a spiritual reality, an otherness of a creative power not ourselves; and sooner or later all theories of creative imagination have to take account of it.”  Autobiographical aside:  my first contact with Frye was in 1976.  At the age of twenty-five, I wrote him a fan letter thanking him graciously acceding to my visiting father-in-law’s request to autograph a copy of Spiritus Mundi for me.  In my letter, I specifically mentioned the “spiritual otherness” passage as seeming like a fascinating new direction for him.  He wrote back saying that he was working on a book on the Bible, and that this was one of the issues it was important to get right.

Frye is distancing himself in that Preface from Blake’s identification of the human imagination as God.  Although Blake is right in a sense, there is different aspect of God which remains other.  What is an otherness that is not objective?  It is a “spiritual” otherness.  And what does that mean?  Well, I wish I knew.  I edited Words with Power, including the chapter “Spirit and Symbol” that is Frye’s deepest exploration of this, and still feel I do not entirely understand it—though I feel that it does mean something, and though I have been trying to grasp it since I was twenty-five.  I think Frye himself was looking for clues in other writers:  Sara notes his interest in Buber’s I-Thou relationship.  I myself have been struck by how, of the two great Protestant theologians of his time, Frye seems more fascinated by the neo-orthodox Barth than the liberal Tillich.  What I think he found in Barth was the vision of a spiritual otherness smashing through the limitations of human desires, human understanding, human words:  a transcendence whose revelation or kerygma shatters the mind-forg’d manacles of the fallen world.  When David Cayley asks Frye, “Why do you take it as given that God is transcendent?” Frye responds, “I don’t know what else is transcendent.  Otherwise, you’re left with human nature and physical nature….Human nature is corrupt at the source, because it has grown out of physical nature.  It has various ideals and hopes and wishes and concerns, but its attempts to realize these things are often abominable, cruel, and psychotic.  I feel there must be something that transcends all this, or else.”  When Cayley asks, “Or else what?” Frye responds, “Or else despair.”

The Chorus of Bethlehem Angels

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Correggio's Nativity

Frye writes:

If I had been out on the hills of Bethlehem on the night of the birth of Christ, with the angels singing to the shepherds, I think that I should not have heard any angels singing.  The reason why I think so is that I do not hear them now, and there is no reason to suppose that they have stopped.  (The Critical Path, 114)

History tells the reader what he would have seen if he’d been present, say, at the assassination of Caesar.  But what the Gospels tell us is rather something like this: if you had been present on the hills of Bethlehem in the year nothing, you might not have heard a chorus of angels.  But what you would have seen and heard would have missed the whole point of what was actually going on.  Thus, the antitypes of history and of prophecy as we have them in the gospel and the apocalypse give you not what you would have seen and heard, or what I would have seen and heard, but what was actually going on which we don’t have the spiritual vision to reach to.  (“Kerygma,” in Northrop Frye’s Notebooks and Lectures on the Bible and Other Religious Texts, CW 13, 588)

Katabasis and Popular Culture

The movie that haunted Frye as a child: Lon Chaney in The Phantom of the Opera, 1925.

I am reading Bob Denham’s wonderful book, Northrop Frye: Religious Visionary and Architect of the Spiritual World.  It is divided into two main parts, “Exoterica” and “Esoterica”, the first of which I am making my leisurely way through. I have always called myself an exoteric Frye scholar, which means that I try to approach him as a general reader would through the published work and with the assured assumption that it possesses total coherence.  This approach has never failed me.  But what Bob manages to demonstrate is how the esoteric element of Frye’s critical vision illuminates the exoteric: and, appropriately enough, illuminates it from within.  I’m not even bothering to annotate or highlight the book — that can come with subsequent readings.  This first time round I simply enjoy being startled by the clarity of Bob’s insights while tucking away little bits of miscellaneous information here and there, like a chipmunk filling its cheeks.

Here are a couple of observations that stand out for me at this point, and I hope are at least tangentially related to the posts that have been going up the last few days.

The first has to do with Frye’s notebooks, which Bob characterizes as the “imaginative free play” where Frye’s mind displays its tendency to dianoia or the gestalt perception of pattern rather than the narrative continuity of mythos.  Here Frye is associative, oracular, synchronicitous.  Bob mines a number of excellent quotes from the notebooks to illustrate the tendency, but this one stands out:

[I]n beginning to plan a major work like the third book, don’t eliminate anything. Never assume that some area of your speculation can’t be included & has to be left over for another book. Things may get eliminated in the very last stage . . . but never, never exclude anything when thinking about the book. It was strenuous having to cut down FS [Fearful Symmetry] from an encyclopedia, but . . . major works are encyclopedic & anatomic: everything I know must go into them — eye of bat & tongue of dog. (25)

The second observation relates to the emphasis on katabasis or descent in Frye’s later work, which Bob astutely notes “appears to be even more important” than the theme of ascent.  Once again, he comes up with a superb quote from one of Frye’s 1960s notebooks to make the point:

Everybody has a fixation.  Mine has to do with meander-and-descent patterns. For years in my childhood I wanted to dig a cave & be the head of a society in it — this was before I read Tom Sawyer. All the things in literature that haunt me most have to do with katabasis. The movie that hit me hardest as a child was the Lon Chaney Phantom of the Opera. My main points of reference in literature are such things as The Tempest, P.R. [Paradise Regained], [Blake’s Milton], the Ancient Mariner, Alice in Wonderland, the Waste Land– every damn one a meander-&-katabasis work. (29)

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Typology, Kerygma, and Literature

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Blake's Elohim Creating Adam

Russell’s latest post on Alter and Frye has got me thinking about my longstanding assumptions about Frye, particularly with regard to the Bible and literature.  The Bible and literature occupy the centre of Frye’s critical universe, and understanding what he says about both is to appreciate the full potential of his critical vision.

The Judeo-Christian Bible as the supreme artifact of Christian culture down to about the 18th century is of course easy enough to assume.  As Frye points out, the Bible is a primary source of imagery and stories well into the 20th century — and, in these apparently apocalyptically-minded times, into the 21st century as well.

But the Bible is not just a source of mythos and dianoia, to use the Aristotelian terms Frye adapts in Anatomy.  It is the source also of a “unique” arrangement of myth and metaphor represented by typology, the progressive succession of type-antitype-type (e.g. Creation-Incarnation-Revelation).  Although Frye rather conspicuously only says it once, he nevertheless observes on page 80 of The Great Code:

The typological organization of the Bible does present the difficulty, to a secular literary critic, of being unique: no other book in the world, to my knowledge, has a structure even remotely like that of the Christian Bible.

That structure is the “double mirror” of the Old Testament and the New Testament — the latter concealed in the former and the former revealed by the latter — which provides the Christian Bible’s kerygmatic vision of the human condition that Blake characterizes as the revelation of  the “human form divine.”  The typological structure of the Christian Bible that furnishes its distinctive double mirror character, however, does not originate with Christianity: the Hebrew Bible is the source of these typological principles, and the first “Christians” were themselves Jews who compiled what would become their “new” testament using the same typological structure of their traditional holy scriptures.  As Frye observes:

Typology in the Bible is by no means confined to the Christian version of the Bible: from the point of view of Judaism at least, the Old Testament is much more genuinely typological without the New Testament than with it. There are, in the first place, events in the Old Testament that are types of later events recorded also within the Old Testament.  (GC, 83)

When Frye suggests, therefore, as he does in The Great Code (and there alone, it might be pointed out) that the culturally ascendant phases of language we have observed so far — the hieroglyphic, the hieratic, and the demotic — may be, for the first time in human history, about to be succeeded by a kerygmatic phase, he is making about as revolutionary a statement as he ever made.  I’m not sure it is possible to approach his work as a whole without thinking about its implications.

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Love

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A footnote to Clayton Chrusch’s “The Hermeneutics of Charity,” drawn from some paragraphs on love I wrote about elsewhere.

The genuine Christianity that has survived its appalling historical record was founded on charity, and charity is invariably linked to an imaginative conception of language, whether consciously or unconsciously. Paul makes it clear that the language of charity is spiritual language, and that spiritual language is metaphorical, founded on the metaphorical paradox that we live in Christ and that Christ lives in us (The Double Vision, 17).

The various principles that are the foundation of Frye’s concept of identity (metaphor, kerygma, possession, the fourth awareness, higher consciousness) should lead us, he says, to “myths to live by.”  But what are these existential myths that come from “the other side” of the imaginative?  What are the “coherent lifestyles” that Frye’s hopes “will emerge from the infinite possibilities of myth”? (Words with Power, 143). Although he often appears hesitant to give a direct answer to these questions, preferring to assume the role of Moses on Mount Pisgah, the answer does surface in the conclusions of his last three books where the gospel of love becomes the focus of his discussion.

Frye’s speculations on love begin early.  In Notebook 3 (1946–48) he probes the meaning of love in different contexts: his own erotic and fantasy life, his attitude toward the Church, his reflections on yoga and on time.  Here are two representative reflections:

Joachim of Floris has a hint of an order of things in which the monastery takes over the church & the world.  That is the expanded secular monastery I want: I want the grace of Castiglione as well as the grace of Luther, a graceful as well as a gracious God, and I want all men & women to enter the Abbey of Theleme where instead of poverty, chastity and obedience they will find richness, love and fay ce que vouldras; for what the Bodhisattva wills to do is good. (Northrop Frye’s Notebooks and Lectures on the Bible and Other Religious Texts, 17)

Each dimension of time breeds fear: the past, despair & hopelessness & the sense of an irrevocable too late: the present, panic & sense of a clock steadily ticking; the future, an unknown mystery gradually assuming the lineaments of the consequences of our own acts.  Hope is the virtue of the past, the eternal sense that maybe next time we’ll do better.  The projection of this into the future is faith, the substance of things hoped for.  Love belongs to the present, & is the only force able to cast out fear.  If a thing loves it is infinite, Blake said, & the act of love is itself a vision of a timeless world. (ibid., 59)

Frye’s speculations on love reappear some thirty-five years later in the conclusion of The Great Code, where he probes the meaning of the Word of God in the context of Biblical language.  This language, Frye says, is enduring, inclusive, welcoming, and beyond argument, and it can move us toward freedom and beyond the anxiety structures created by the human and divine antithesis (231–2).  The Great Code, however, provides little concrete guidance about the function of love in the myths we are to live by, though the notebooks for The Great Code contain numerous entries on “the rule of charity.”   But during the eight years following The Great Code Frye devoted a good deal of energy to working out the implication of the language of love.  In Notebook 46 (mid- to late 1980s) he writes, “Love is the only virtue there is, but like everything else connected with creativity and imagination, there is something decentralized about it.  We love those closest to us, Jesus’ ‘neighbors,’ people we’re specifically connected with in charity.  For those at a distance we feel rather tolerance or good will, the feeling announced at the Incarnation” (Late Notebooks, 2:696).  This “only virtue” idea gets developed in Words with Power where love, Paul’s agape or caritas is said to be “the only genuine form of human society, the spiritual kingdom of Jesus” (89).

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Expanded Consciousness

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This engaging discussion has led Joe––in his third answer to what for Frye is the function of literature in society––to what I see as the punch line in Frye, the notion of expanded consciousness that comes from vision.  Frye has a compelling account of this and other matters in his essay, “Literary and Linguistic Scholarship in a Postliterate World,” where he says, after giving his familiar example of metaphorical identification in the Palaeolithic cave drawings, “Later we find the metaphorical imagination expanding into the worlds of dream, belief, vision, fantasy, ideas, as well as human society and nature, and annexing them all to the enlarging consciousness” (“The Secular Scripture” and Other Writings on Critical Theory, CW 18, 294).  [This comes from the volume Joe and Jean Wilson edited, which is, I think, the richest collection of Frye’s essays on critical theory.]

In the 1970s Frye often wrote about what he called the four levels of awareness, but “awareness” as a category tends to disappear from the writings in the last decade of his life, having been replaced by “consciousness.”   This word is often modified by “enlarged,” “expanded,” and “intensified.”  The cave drawings at Lascaux, Altamira, and elsewhere are an example of what Lévy-Bruhl called participation mystique, the imaginative identification with things, including other people, outside the self, or an absorption of one’s consciousness with the natural world into an undifferentiated state of archaic identity.   In such a process of metaphorical identification the subject and object merge into one, but the sense of identity is existential rather than verbal (See Words with Power, 250, and Northrop Frye’s Late Notebooks, 2:503).

But what does the “intensity or expansion of consciousness” entail for Frye?  This is a somewhat slippery phrase to get hold of because Frye reflects on the implications of the phrase only obliquely.  But several years ago I nevertheless tried to set down some of the chief features of “expanded consciousness.”  It came out like this:

1.  It is a function of kerygma.  Ordinary rhetoric “seldom comes near the primary concern of ‘How do I live a more abundant life?’  This latter on the other hand is the central theme of all genuine kerygmatic, whether we find it in the Sermon on the Mount, the Deer Park Sermon of Buddha, the Koran, or in a secular book that revolutionizes our consciousness.  In poetry anything can be juxtaposed, or implicitly identified with, anything else.  Kerygma takes this a step further and says: ‘you are what you identify with.’  We are close to the kerygmatic whenever we meet the statement, as we do surprisingly often in contemporary writing, that it seems to be language that uses man rather than man that uses language” (Words with Power, 116).

2.  It does not necessarily signify religion or a religious experience, but it can be “the precondition for any ecumenical or everlasting-gospel religion” (Late Notebooks, 1:17).

3.  Whatever the techniques used to expand consciousness (for example, yoga, Zen, psychosynthesis, meditation, drugs), or whatever forms it takes (for example, dreams, fantasies, the “peak experiences” described by Maslow, ecstatic music), the language of such consciousness always turns out to be metaphorical.  Thus literature is the guide to higher consciousness, just as Virgil was Dante’s guide to the expanded vision represented by Beatrice (Late Notebooks, 2:717; Words with Power, 28–9).  Still, Frye believes that language is the primary means of “intensifying consciousness, lifting us into a new dimension of being altogether” (LN, 2:717).

4. “Vision” is the word that best fits the heightened awareness that comes with the imagination’s opening of the doors of perception.  What the subject sees may be “only an elusive and vanishing glimpse.  Glimpse of what?  To try to answer this question is to remove it to a different category of experience.  If we knew what it was, it would be an object perceived in time and space.  And it is not an object, but something uniting the objective with ourselves” (Words with Power, 83).

5.  The principle behind the epiphanic experience that permits things to be seen with a special luminousness is that “things are not fully seen until they become hallucinatory.  Not actual hallucinations, because those would merely substitute subjective for objective visions, but objective things transfigured by identification with the perceiver.  An object impregnated, so to speak, by a perceiver is transformed into a presence” (Words with Power, 88).

6.  Intense consciousness does not sever one from the body or the physical roots of experience.  “The word spiritual in English may have a rather hollow and booming sound to some: it is often detached from the spiritual body and made to mean an empty shadow of the material, as with churches who offer us spiritual food that we cannot eat and spiritual riches that we cannot spend.  Here spirit is being confused with soul, which traditionally fights with and contradicts the body, instead of extending bodily experience into another dimension.  The Song of Songs . . . is a spiritual song of love: it expresses erotic feeling on all levels of consciousness, but does not run away from its physical basis or cut off its physical roots.  We have to think of such phrases as ‘a spirited performance’ to realize that spirit can refer to ordinary consciousness at its most intense: the gaya scienza, or mental life as play. . . . Similar overtones are in the words esprit and Geist” (Words with Power, 128).  Or again, St. John of the Cross makes “a modulation from existential sex metaphor (M2) to existential expanding of consciousness metaphor (M1)” (Late Notebooks, 120).  As in Aufhebung, things lifted to another level do not cancel their connection to the previous level: “M2” is still present at the higher level.  Chapter 6 (“The Garden”) of Words with Power “is concerned partly, if not mainly, with getting over the either-or antithesis between the spiritual and the physical, Agape love and Eros love” (Late Notebooks, 2:451).  Again, “spiritual love expands from the erotic and does not run away from it” (Words with Power, 224).

7.  Intensified consciousness is represented by images of both ascent and descent: “images of ascent are connected with the intensifying of consciousness, and images of descent with the reinforcing of it by other forms of awareness, such as fantasy or dream.  The most common images of ascent are ladders, mountains, towers, and trees; of descent, caves or dives into water” (Words with Power, 151).  These images, which arrange themselves along the axis mundi, are revealed with exceptional insight in some of Frye’s most powerfully perceptive writing, the last four chapters of Words with Power.  In these concentrated chapters Frye illustrates how four central archetypes connect the ordinary world to the world of higher consciousness: the mountain and the cave emphasizing wisdom and the word, and the garden and the furnace emphasizing love and the spirit.

8.  Expanded consciousness is both individual and social.

9.  The raising of consciousness is revelation (Late Notebooks, 1:61).