Monday, June 8, 2009

The Myth of Er...

I came upon Carolyn Myss' website, Sacred Contracts last summer.  It is a very interesting site...very detailed explanation of the concept that we choose our lot in life while in the spiritual realm...and in keeping with the reincarnation theme of late, there is the possibility of choosing that lot and that life again and again and again.  So it was brought back to current status from the archives stored in my head by all this talk of reincarnation and also because Dena happened upon the site the other day and posted about it on one of the lists that we cohabit.

Interesting concept about different archetypes, with a detailed description of 70 of them, including attention grabbing names like

Avenger (Avenging Angel, Savior, Messiah)

Healer (Wounded Healer, Intuitive Healer, Caregiver, Nurse, Therapist, Analyst, Counselor)


Rebel (Anarchist, Revolutionary, Political Protester, Nonconformist, Pirate)

Trickster (Puck, Provocateur)


Seeker (Wanderer, Vagabond, Nomad)

According to Myss, we all share four basic archetypes:

Child, Victim, Prostitute, and Saboteur

And then, if I am not mistaken, we each get 8 more...of our choosing.  We pick these along with our lot in life as part of a "sacred contract."  We are living out our very own sacred contract right now...perhaps for the umpteenth time in an endless stream of life spans.  But I am digressing. 

Is that an archetype, I wonder?  The Digressor?  The Divagator? The Meanderer?  Seems like it should be :) 

But back on topic, here is a snippet of what Carolyn Myss has to say about Sacred Contracts...and The Myth of Er.....

 I believe that we each agree to the terms of our Contract before entering the physical realm of this world. This applies whether you accept the concept of reincarnation, or believe in a single lifetime followed by heaven or hell -- or neither. I go into the background for my beliefs in much greater detail in "Sacred Contracts", but one fascinating parallel occurs in the writings of Plato. In the tenth and final book of his great work The Republic, Plato relates the Myth of Er.

In brief, the story concerns a Greek soldier named Er who is left for dead on the battlefield. Twelve days later he awakens on his own funeral pyre, and later tells a remarkable tale of what he observed while he was suspended between life and death. Er found himself in a kind of way station between heaven and earth where souls were passing from one plane to the other. Dead souls were waiting to be judged and assigned to their reward or punishment, while other souls prepared for their journey to earth. Some were old souls returning for another go-round; others were freshly minted and awaiting their first life on Earth.

At one point the waiting souls are presented with many possible life scenarios, and are advised to choose from these "samples of lives." Plato informs us that "there were many more lives than the souls present, and they were of all sorts. There were lives of every animal and of man in every condition," including tyrants.

Before entering life on the Earth plane, however, the souls were led to the plain of Forgetfulness, a barren waste with no vegetation, where they were required to drink from the river of Unmindfulness. They then promptly forgot everything that had just happened to them. The reason should be obvious: if you know in advance exactly what's going to happen in your life, you would have great difficulty making decisions or taking actions that are intended to teach you something, often through painful experiences. You might naturally be reluctant to begin a relationship with someone who you knew would hurt you, even though you needed to learn a valuable lesson from that person.

Whether we take this myth literally or simply as a teaching device of Plato's, we can use it to gain a higher perspective on our life. If you think of your life's direction as something to which you have agreed, then what formerly seemed like arbitrary or even absurd conditions can be seen in another light. They are part of the roadmap that you've agreed to follow. Each event, each person of any significance whom you encounter, has an agreed-on role in your learning experience. Sometimes the learning is difficult because you don't always surrender to the situation. It may take time for you to see the reasons for it. But the sooner you do, the less painful it becomes. In time, you can learn to accept each event as it happens without struggling against it and prolonging your psychic -- and physical -- suffering.

Intriguing, no?  The Plain of Forgetfulness. The River of Unmindfulness?  Have we roamed that plain in the spiritual realm?  Did we drink from that river before we were born in this life? 

More to come....

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