May 30 2012

Grad School (part 8)

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Tonight in class, we talked about Australian Aborigine Dreamtime, other similar belief systems, and we started talking about Hinduism.

Did you know that there are currently 330 million gods in the Hindu pantheon? And no, I’m not getting them all tattooed on me. One Ganesha is enough, and besides, all other gods are supposed to be merely aspects of him, so there.

My professor told us about the 5 weeks she spent in India one time, and how it was a rather life-changing experience for her. She’d gotten ill while there, and spent 3 days in a fevered delirium in a darkened hotel room sorting out her mind and her consciousness. She’s also been in a convent for 6 years, travelled most of the world, studied under Ralph Metzner (who’d done work with Tim Leary back in the day), has relatives who practice Santeria, and has also lived with a few obscure Ecuadoran tribes for a while.

She’s like the crazy aunt I wish I had, instead of the aunt I had who was crazy in all the wrong ways.

I suspect, given the chance, I could talk to her for a week solid. At least. I’m going to have to find out what other classes she teaches, and take some more. I have her for two, this quarter.

I’m especially intrigued by her idea of archetypes as manifestations of other more “meta” concepts and energies. She only touched on it briefly, but I want to talk with her some more about it.

Which brings us to tonight’s manifestation of “The Wacky Girl”. Yes, The Wacky Girl is in my class. She reminds me a little of the girl who was on The Real World Seattle, who went nuts, and ended up getting slapped. But it might just be the hair. In any event, TWG was talking about how she’d “experienced the archetype of Mary” (as in the virgin), and was curious to know how this archetype was similar to another archetype found in a different belief system (which is where the whole “meta” thing surfaced). Not necessarily a wacky thing, and potentially a valid question. The wackiness ensued on our way out of class when she started telling me for no reason that “Lucifer” was one of her favourite archetypes, and she’s “experienced” him many times, and how he’s God’s favourite angel because he tests us, etc. etc. etc. and she’s REALLY INTO LUCIFER.

That’s nice, dear.

(not to make light of anyone having a speech impediment, but she has a bit of a lisp, and the word “Luthifer!” was conjuring up weird images of Protestantism having gone seriously awry)

Another amusing bit from class was when my professor mentioned that in most western religions, when someone is “sick of it all”, they usually go into the desert to sort things out in their head. In the east, the preferred locale is apparently the forest. Buddha went to the forest. The authors of the Upanishads went into the forest. One goes into the forest to meditate on the big questions:

WHO AM I?

and

WHAT IS REAL?

She’s issued us a challenge. If we were to go into the forest, what questions would we ponder? Unfortunately, my answers aren’t that original, as I kind of view my education to be a metaphorical forest, pondering those two exact questions.

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