TOXICITIES OF BALANCE
In London -between 1790 and 1793- William Blake and his wife produced one strange book, a publication vastly ahead of it’s time; it was a mix of poetry and illustrations titled “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”. This truly sensible symbol of iconoclasm was written to challenge -without the slightest hesitation- the traditional theological moral structures depicted by Emanuel Swedenborg 30 years before, in his book called “Heaven and Hell”.
In Blake’s version, much like Dante and Milton did years before, he visits the lands of Hell and proceeds to deconstruct the traditional polarity between the good and the evil, the very same logos that had reigned over the Western world for centuries. Blake dared to replace it instead with an organic discourse of cosmic unity.
For an artist of his magnitude, in many circles deemed as the greatest British artist of all times, the fact that he proposed an authoritarian concept of heaven should not come to us as any sort of surprise. After all, great revolutionaries or iconoclasts cannot tolerate the mechanics of a doctrine.
What was indeed remarkable is Blake’s definition of Hell. In his book Hell was not an absolute repository of Evilness but instead, a dynamic and quite seductive place of unrestricted energy, a necessary one powering the “energetic creators”… a newer and fresher take on “Devils”.
Almost 150 years later in Vienna, C.G. Jung, the famed Austrian psychologist is defining the tenets of one of his central Archetypes. This Archetype represents “the unconscious aspect of a personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself”. In other words, an Archetype to represent the negation of the self, what you and I might understand as the feared dark side. Jung calls it the “Id” or “The Shadow”.
For Jung the less the Shadow is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the darker and denser this Shadow is, underlining its integral role in the process of individuation.
For both Jung and Blake, this constant descent into our own darkness to ignite the renewal of our persona, our Light, was a paradoxical necessity.
Much as Light and Shadow hypnotically intertwine, The Equinox Totem celebrates this magical law of opposites; on their collision, on the so called Balance.
If this Light Totem is meant to ask you anything,
it’s whether you should or should not
employ balance in your process of individuation.
Ancient cultures interpret and celebrate the day of the Equinox as a Symbol of Balance between light and shadow, as the equilibrium between good and evil. We give this symbol an immense, incalculable number of attributes.
Aren’t we not living today under the despotic rule of Balance? The assumption that balance itself is good by default plagues everything we imagine and act upon today.
Work & Life balance. Dietary balance. Check book balance. In all evidence and regardless of the action; today we must gravitate towards balance.
However, when something or someone that truly matters appears in our lives; we respond by foregoing balance. Either with the largest smile or with unforgettable sorrow. Balance is then, at the moments where we live the most, the very last thing in our mind. The extent of what humans have done in the name of life, love and honour cannot be categorized otherwise.
Our noble quest for balance, naturally fed by our need to find identity and purpose has become in itself a paradox; one coercing us back into the fields of distance and anonymity.
Aren’t we not hiding today in plain sight amidst seas of information and hyper-connectivity? As we multiply irony and sarcasm, our voices fade. We disappear. If it’s always a matter of choice… would you question Balance today?
The Equinox series intent is to remind us on a regular basis that greatness resides in change and risk. Tumultuous, constant, raw and unplanned humanity. Far beyond the freshly cut gardens of the Kingdom of Balance.
“Illusions of balance
Contours of truth
light is the precipice
and darkness the gravity
pulling us through”.