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This article was presented by Ray Harris as the opening keynote address to the recent Society for Research in Adult Development (SRAD) conference held in New York in June 2002. The theme for the conference was terrorism.

The Blood Brotherhoods

A developmental look at terrorism
from the perspective of mythos

Ray Harris


The ancient Greeks understood there were two ways of thinking, logos and mythos. Western society has developed a bias toward logic, toward objective truth. Yet the reality is that mythos is a powerful force that acts to shape even so-called logic. It is well understood that no scientist is truly objective, that even they are captured by the narratives and meta-narratives of their milieu.

If these facts were fully considered then it would be accepted that any human phenomenon must be understood from both perspectives, yet, all too often, these two perspectives are in a state of conflict. And many a psychologist has found him or herself caught between the two.

This was precisely the situation Carl Jung found himself in. His work delved deeply into mythos yet he found himself having to constantly defer to the 'scientific' prejudice of his peers. Throughout his writings he constantly seems to pull back from a controversial conclusion in deference to scientific orthodoxy. Of this problem Jung says:

"I fancied I was working along the best scientific lines, establishing facts, observing, classifying, describing causal and functional relations, only to discover in the end that I had involved myself in a net of reflections which extend far beyond natural science and ramify into the fields of philosophy, theology, comparative religion and the humane sciences in general. This transgression, as inevitable as it was suspect, has caused me no little worry." [1]

This paper is unapologetically written from the perspective of mythos and it owes a particular debt to the work of Carl Jung. This does not mean that it deprecates logos. Far from it. It argues that human behaviour is best understood from both perspectives and that if anything, the argument of mythos has too often been a subdued voice.

Here I might make a note about Henry Corbin's term 'Imaginal'.[2] This is his translation of the Sufi term ta'wil. This is the process whereby numinous symbols are interpreted and resolved as part of the process of spiritual unfoldment. It closely resembles Jung's individuation process. It involves a careful process of personal hermeneutics. It involves understanding universal and personal symbols in an active way. And just as we may separate cognitive development and moral development, we can also, following Wilber[3], designate the Imaginal as a separate line/stream of development.



Jung was never very clear on some aspects of his theory. This has lead to divergent interpretations of his work. One such view is that Jung's model was non-linear and did not include developmental stages. Yet he relied heavily on the symbolism of both alchemy and Gnosticism, both of which contain explicit developmental stages. Scattered throughout his work are references to stages of development. On one page he will say:

"The symbols act as transformers, their function being to convert libido from a "lower" form to a "higher" form."[4]

On another:

"Psychic processes therefore behave like a scale along which consciousness "slides". At one moment it finds itself in the vicinity of instinct, and fall under its influence; at another, it slides along to the other end where spirit predominates and even assimilates the instinctual processes most opposed to it."[5]

The entire text of Symbols of Transformation arguably explores stages of transformation. Yet, in apparent contradiction to this idea of development Jung preferred to focus on the conjunction of opposites and circular images, the most famous being the mandala. The Jungian therapist Jeffrey Raff has this to say:

"There is no linear way of explaining the union of opposites; their union transcends reason. One image for this union is the mandala and its central point around which everything else is organized."[6]

However, later in his book Jung and the Alchemical Imagination, Raff goes on to describe in detail a linear developmental sequence symbolized in the Book of Lambspring by the alchemist Gerald Dorn. This describes a process of linear development over three successive conjunctions, with each conjunction being a precondition of the next.

So, is Jung's process of individuation linear or not? In actuality it is seemingly both, one of those pesky paradoxes. Raff says:

"We might think of the union of the opposites proceeding in this manner as sequential; first one part of the personality expresses itself, then another. Another experience of this union is not sequential".[7]

The solution to this paradox can be understood by referring to the work of Ken Wilber. Wilber has been accused of being too rigidly linear with critics objecting that the individual does not uniformly progress through Wilber's stages. Wilber answers his critics thus:

"'Linear' is often used in a very derogatory fashion, which is contrasted with the nice holistic alternative, which is somehow supposed to be 'not linear'. But most organic and holistic systems actually unfold in irreversible stages of increasing inclusiveness and envelopment…

"There is nothing linear about the self-sense, however. In fact, the self can roam all over the spectrum of consciousness….It can jump ahead, regress, spiral, go sideways, or otherwise dialectically spin on its heels."[8]

Jung and many of his followers simply failed to make such a simple observation. The process of individuation is the process of the self-sense, the 'conscious' mind, becoming aware of the psyche's 'unconscious' contents. As such it can appear to follow either a linear or a non-linear path. None of this contradicts the possibility of there being a linear, developmental 'deep' structure to the unconscious.



Temenos is the name I have given to a developmental meta-narrative I developed in the mid-eighties. It proposes that the full spectrum of development has been intuited by every culture and that the 'narratives' of that culture reveal valuable insights into the developmental process. Its methodology is the comparative sorting of narratives, whilst clearly understanding that such narratives are themselves the result of developmental stages. It is important to understand that such narratives are often of a composite nature, that is, they include aspects that may, to use Wilber's spectrum delineations, be magic, mythic, rational and subtle/causal – or any combination thereof. A 'myth' may contain aspects that are typically magical but that nonetheless can be understood to contain a perfectly rational understanding of a deeper truth. Many myths are in fact teaching stories that are not intended to be taken literally. Furthermore, many narratives can be interpreted on many levels. Here it is extremely helpful to distinguish between the subject of the narrative and the translation of the subject into a developmental mode. A teaching story may use the structure of a myth and speak in a 'mythic' voice, but the subject may be about, for example, a causal level 'lesson'. A very good example is the Mahabharata. On the one hand it is a grand mythic tale about ancient India (Bharata). But within Indian philosophy it is understood to be a significant lesson in the understanding of the concept of dharma.

The Temenos system expands Jung's concept of the structure of the psyche as revealed in the various symbols of the archetype of the Self. There are multiple symbols of this archetype. One of the most fascinating and enduring is the symbol of Cosmic Order. Every society that reaches the early State stage[10] formalizes a cosmological system that contains a meta-narrative that attempts to explain human society. The Asian sphere has been influenced by the circumpolar cosmology of the Chinese empires, a system where the divine court of the Jade Emperor is duplicated in detail by the mundane court of the earthly emperor. The Meso-American sphere had its own unique cosmology. India and the West have been heavily influenced by Sumerian cosmology. Each of these cosmologies can be understood as a projection of the archetype of the Self onto the tabula rasa of the night sky. And whilst there are aspects that are culturally unique in each system a comparative analysis shows a great many common themes. These themes are often repeated in the many narratives of any given culture, from the major mythic cycles to minor fairytales and children's stories, from the grand religious themes to the enduring fictional romances, tragedies and comedies.

The most elaborate of the cosmological narratives is the Sumerian ecliptic system that forms the basis of both Hindu jyotish and Middle-Eastern and Western astrology. Temenos finds that this symbol is a significant intuition of the developmental process. Jung stated that the quaternity was a symbol of the Self. In Aion, Jung argued that the number twelve was an extension of the quaternal structure of the unconscious.[11] Temenos argues (for reasons far to detailed to go into in this paper) that the number twelve is perhaps the prime numerical symbol for the Self. Temenos therefore delineates a twelve-fold structure for the archetype of the Self. The symbol of the number twelve is frequently repeated in the narratives of many cultures, (even in the Chinese and Meso-American spheres, whose cosmologies are not based on the Sumerian duodecimal system), thus recapitulating the original symbol.

One of the major gaps in Jung's work was his failure to make a definitive list of the archetypes, or to place them in a developmental sequence. This has led to a number of confusions. Wilber has correctly pointed out that Jung's concept of the archetype suffers from the Pre/Trans fallacy. I deal with this particular point in a paper called Revisioning Individuation[12]. However, there are other confusions. How many archetypes are there? For example, Jung speaks of the Anima archetype, then separately delineates the Mother and Kore archetypes whilst suggesting that they are forms of the Anima. So, are they archetypes in their own right, or sub-archetypes?

Are Senex, Puer Aeterna, the Hero and the Great Father archetypes in their own right, or sub-archetypes of Animus? Is the Trickster an archetype in its own right or an aspect of the Shadow? In Symbols of Transformation Jung uses the Miller fantasies as the basis to discuss a process of transformation through various archetypal symbols. This suggests a pattern of unfolding, a pattern of development, one that typically involves working with several archetypes after the fashion of a heroic journey.

Temenos argues that the Jungian archetypes can be placed in a developmental sequence and suggests how that might be done.


Temenos is based on a sequence of twelve archetypes that interact in multiple harmonic patterns. This harmonic structure is typical of symbols of the Self (which can be read as a simple linear development, or as a interactive mandala, or, at a higher level, as a multi-dimensional holograph). The most important of the harmonic patterns is the pairing of the archetypes into six dyads. Each of the dyads represents a creative tension, the resolution of which allows the transformation to the next dyad in a developmental sequence. This tension helps explain Jung's concern with the symbol of the opposition.

It is important to note that each of the dyads has a set of core needs. These must be 'secured' for development to take place. These follow Maslow's hierarchy of needs reasonably closely, with the exception of the higher stages. For example, the major project of the first dyad is to secure food and shelter. People who struggle daily to meet these basic needs will hardly be concerned with other matters.

The dyads are as follows:


The primal tension is between order and chaos, birth and death. The defining characteristic of life is pattern recognition, finding order. Early forms distinguish between light and dark, hot and cold and so on. Sensing pattern allows life to exist. However chaos is always there to bring novelty and change. A meteor strikes, a volcano erupts and the pattern is broken, yet, in time order is restored. The libido (eros) is the impulse toward life. Its natural flow is toward higher order through transformation. Its opposite is the force of death and destruction – regression.

The symbols for this dyad are many and involve images of birth, life, sex, abundance and order, and images of death, chaos, destruction, evil, decay and waste. Here I want to make special note of Grof's Basic Perinatal Matrices and the dual images of birth and death that arise in the birthing struggle.[13]

The classic mythic them is that of paradise and the fall. Other symbols are: first chakra, Taurus/Scorpio, the Tree of Life, the Serpent, Kundalini and the Bull.

In individual development: sensorimotor.

In societal development: survival bands, Archaic and Archaic-Magic.

The core needs of the first dyad are the basics, food and shelter.

Jungian archetype; none specified. Aspects of the Mother.

Wilber: Fulcrum 0 – 2 [14]


Life devises a strategy to transcend the life/death struggle. This is the creation of self-sustained structure that provides both nurturing safety and protective safety and purposive order and structure. This is family, tribe and group. Usually it is the female who provides nurture and the male who provides discipline, however, these functions can be assumed by groups themselves or other individuals. They are principles.

The individual ego in relation to these two principles takes the position of the child who both struggles against parental discipline but is wholly dependent on it. It is the realm of emotion and of the distortion of libido through the Oedipus and Electra complexes.

The symbols of this stage are often to do with the Great Mother and Great Father and the multiple variations thereof. Second chakra, Cancer/Capricorn, the Cave, the Mountain, the Moon, the Ram.

In individual development: Preoperational (mother), Concrete Operational (father).

In societal development: Tribal groups to Big Man Collectivities to Archaic State. Magic to Mythic.

The core needs of the second dyad are the emotional needs of belonging, identity and security.

Jungian archetype: Mother, Father, Puer Aeterna, aspects of Kore, aspects of the Child.

Wilber: Fulcrum 3 – 4


The tension of dyad two creates the need to separate from the constrictions of the symbolic parents. This is the creation of a strong and independent self-sense that seeks relationship with other individuals. The main force is toward 'self' expression and freedom in free association with like-minded individuals. Combined self-expression then leads to the formation of high culture and of civilization.

The symbols of this stage centre around the Hero/Heroine and of the feminine as the inspiration for civilization: Athena Polias, the Muses, Justice holding her scales, the Statue of Liberty. Third chakra, Aries/Libra, The Sun, the Knight and the Maiden/Bride.

In individual development: Formal Operational to Post Formal.

In societal development: Advanced State, democracy. Rational to Integral.

The core needs of the third dyad are a sense of individual purpose and creativity, and finding one's place in a community of equals.

Jungian archetype: the Hero, aspects of Kore, aspects of the Conjunction.

Wilber: Fulcrum 5

Note: This is the level most of society is still experiencing. The later dyads refer to the transpersonal and transsocietal levels.


When the individual has 'mastered' the arts of civilization they reach a period of fulfillment. At this point there is an inner tension that calls for a 'deeper' exploration. On the one hand there is satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment, on the other is a gnawing feeling of something greater.

The symbols of this stage are of Rex/Regina – the righteous or dharmic monarch and of the 'seeker', or of the 'caller', the voice that urges the Hero to a higher challenge. Fourth chakra, Leo/Aquarius, the Heart, the Lion, the apprentice, and marriage. Here special mention must be made of the classic righteous monarchs: King Arthur and the Round Table, the mythic Richard the Lion-Heart, King David, Prince Arjuna and Emperor Ashoka.

In individual development: Piagetian terms no longer suffice so in Wilberian terms, late Vision-Logic to Psychic.

In social development: here we need to refer to the symbol of Utopia, a social system in perfect balance. There are many utopias and the study of them reveals interesting information about this stage. Jung recognized that the idea of a divine city (Jerusalem) or a perfect state was itself a symbol of the Self (particularly as a projection of Cosmic Order).

The core needs of this dyad are compassion, selflessness, intuitive understanding and free information flow.

Jungian archetype: aspects of the Conjunction.

Wilber: Fulcrum 6 - 7


The tension between the comfort of success in the material world and the intuition that there is much more must be resolved by the shift to the dyad of active searching. Here the primary lesson is of discrimination and wisdom. The Fool represents the confusing stage in which the neophyte's projections and preconceptions are tested and literally 'played' with. The Fool has a tendency to fall back on to comfortable and manageable paradigms. However, a deeper impulse to genuine gnosis tests the neophyte over and over again until true insight and wisdom is gained.

The symbols of this stage deal with wizards, shamans, tests, challenges, mazes, illusion and clarity, wisdom and conquest of the demons/chimera of the subtle world. Fifth chakra, Gemini/Sagittarius. A special note to Mickey Mouse in the Sorcerer's Apprentice.

In individual development: subtle to causal.

The core needs are discrimination and wise council.

Jungian archetype: the Trickster, Senex.

Wilber: Fulcrum 8


This stage has best been explained in the Shaivite philosophies as the union of Shiva/Shakti. The Sage surrenders to the final great anima image of the Cosmic Mother and is absorbed into nondual realisation. The tension at this level is all about final surrender.

The western symbol at this stage is that of the Virgin and of the son conceived by the Virgin (a common theme not exclusive to the Christian story). Christos represents the impulse toward creation, of immanence. Other symbols, the Veil, the sixth and seventh charka, Virgo/Pisces.

In individual development: causal to nondual.

The core needs are reflection and ultimate service.

Jungian archetype: aspects of Kore, aspects of the Child, aspects of the Self.

Wilber: Fulcrum 9


A few paragraphs ago I mentioned that the archetype of cosmic order typically contains harmonic patterns. Another pattern I need to draw your attention to is the division of the twelve into four groups of three.[15]

The first is called the matriarchal matrix and consists of the archetypal themes of birth, death and the mother.

The second is called the patriarchal matrix and consists of the archetypal themes of father, the individual and civilisation.

The third and fourth matrices are transpersonal and do not concern us in this paper.

Many writers have commented on the historical shift from matriarchal systems to patriarchal systems. During the time of the Jewish Patriarchs all references the traditional consort of Yahweh, Asherah were removed from the Old Testament and her image was removed from every temple. In some cultures there was a dramatic split, as in the fiercely patriarchal Abrahamic religions, in other cultures the goddesses remained but were made secondary to male gods. It seems that only in India did the vestiges of the earlier matriarchal cults remain in some Tantric systems.[16]

In both the matriarchal matrix and the patriarchal matrix we see the development of a dual aspect to both the mother and father symbol. We can call these dual aspects the Great Mother/Terrible Mother and the Great Father/Terrible Father.

These dual aspects are frequent themes in all religions. We see the Great Mother in the Virgin Mary and in the many forms of the goddess. We see her Terrible aspect in the blood-drenched form of the Hindu goddess Kali. The Terrible aspect is usually associated with ritual sacrifice linked to fertility rites. This makes perfect sense, as the very act of birth is associated with blood, as is the act of hunting and preparing the kill. Often the worship of the Great Mother, in both her aspects, involved sexual ritual as well. The early goddess cults were associated with sacred prostitution, but even the act of sacrifice sometimes involved sex. Joseph Campbell tells of the fairly common act of sacrificing young couples in the act of copulating.[17] The purpose of the sacrifice is to continue the cycle of life for life.

There is however, a dramatic change with the appearance of the Great Father. The act of sacrifice shifts from being a part of the sacred round of birth, life and death to being a way to realise a higher, abstract order. The Great Father is associated with grand visions, whether they are political ideologies, claims to ethnic superiority or religiously inspired attempts to build the divine order on earth. A great many of the world's wars have been in the name of a greater cause, a vast murderous rampage of ethnic, religious and political conquest tied into the assertion of the core need of identity. In every one of these cases the Great Father sacrifices his children, particularly his sons, in the name of the cause. There is a dramatic painting by the Spanish artist Francisco de Goya that shows Saturn[18] eating his children. This is the manifestation of the Terrible Father, the father who destroys his own children, just as the Abrahamic god promises to destroy the whole world if his children are not obedient to his higher order.

A significant part of the patriarchal matrix is the appearance of the Son, or of the Hero, who represents the individual ego. Jesus is the good son who models obedience and offers a way for his followers to avoid the promised apocalypse. But just as there is the good son there is also the evil son. King Arthur was eventually killed by his own son, Mordred. There is a family tragedy at play here. It contains the awful reality of patricide, fratricide and incest. This drama is played out everyday as sons and daughters attempt to create a separate identity and escape the psychological games of the family. Some never make it and remain locked in a psychological inner family. This is an important point because it happens to cultures as well.

The symbol par excellence of the final escape from the family is marriage. It is the union of male and female which allows a new round of birth to occur. In patriarchal societies the daughter is given away by the father into the care of the husband. The marriage ceremony is a rite of passage into full adult responsibility (and marks the symbolic taming, the civilising, of the wild youth). It recapitulates the ancient union of the god and goddess (hence the use of the veil) and it is a theme I will return to at the end of this paper.

The above themes develop the archetypes of the father, the individual and civilisation, the patriarchal matrix. Joseph Campbell explores these themes in his famous book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The psychologist C.G. Jung also elaborates on this theme.[19] There are many aspects of this grand narrative, sometimes the Hero is escaping the clutches of the Terrible Mother, at other times he is escaping the injustice of the Terrible Father. The Hero then undergoes a tremendous journey and through a series of challenges returns to the world with a greater understanding. The whole heroic cycle is a metaphor for the successful transformation of the psyche and it shows us what must be done in order to achieve the final goal.

Unfortunately the whole idea of comedy and more importantly, tragedy, is that the Hero can also sometimes fail. These tales of error are important because they warn us that things can indeed go wrong, that if the archetypal pattern is not followed then there can be fatal consequences.



In the aftermath of September the 11th it was reported that members of the al Qaeda network had met with members of the Russian mafia in an attempt to obtain the makings of a nuclear bomb. As it turns out al Qaeda had been tricked and the barrels of nuclear material were in fact fake. But why would a puritanical religious group consort with gangsters who trade in prostitution? Surely their moral beliefs would prohibit them from contact with pimps?

There is a nasty underworld trade in drugs, illegal arms and mercenaries. Despite making a pretense to clean up the lucrative heroin poppy fields of Afghanistan the Taliban and al Qaeda actually used drug money to fund their activities. In Colombia it is cocaine that funds both the criminal cartels and the guerilla movement. Sometimes the links between the cartels, guerilla movements and the army are extremely confused. The CIA has long been suspected of using drug money to fund a 'black' budget used in counter-insurgency, a secret cabal within a secret organisation. Meanwhile, three IRA members are captured in Colombia and Libya has been linked with providing arms to several terrorist groups, some seemingly unconnected to the immediate strategic interests of that country.

But what is the cause of these brotherhoods? Why are groups of men connected in networks of violent political, religious, ethnic and criminal brotherhoods, networks that transcend the original cause to integrate into a worldwide underground of death merchants; death through drugs, arms and terrorism?

I do not want to understate the original conditions that give rise to such religious, political, ethnic or criminal terrorism. In many cases such terrorism has a first cause in genuine cases of political, social or economic oppression. This oppression may be at the hands of a state, a rival ethnic group, or as a result of economic inequity.

But there is much more at work here. There is a deeper cause, and uncovering that deeper cause is the subject of this section.

We have only briefly explored the developmental scheme of Temenos. It is a vast subject with a massive amount of supporting literature and the length of this paper simply does not permit me to explore the subject further.

Our task now is to apply this model to the problem of the brotherhoods.

Essentially the brotherhoods are caught in the early stages of the patriarchal matrix. Each member is in effect, a son attempting to appease the Great Father. Unfortunately the brotherhoods largely play out the tragic aspect of the story, they actually never leave the Great Father's home and in the ensuing frustration the guiding hand of the Great Father turns to the wrathful hand of the Terrible Father. The path ahead should see them rebel against the Terrible Father, find their own destiny and return to take their place in civilised society. Instead they end up as sacrificial victims to the Father's cause. Mark Juergensmeyer says of the funerals of Hamas suicide bombers.

"These events were not really funerals, a fact symbolized by the drinking of sweetened rather than bitter coffee, the distribution of sweets, and the singing of wedding songs. A cross between marriage and a religious festival, these affairs were a modern example of an ancient religious ritual: the sanctification of the martyrs."[20]

Juergensmeyer goes on to describe the age and social standing of the members of the brotherhood.

"The very youthfulness of most members of the movements makes them socially marginal. A tabulation of the ages of Sikh extremists killed by police indicated that most of them were in their early twenties…Hamas has consisted largely of 'urban males in their teens'. In most societies, young people between the ages of sixteen and twenty-two are in a liminal state between life stages. They are no longer children in their parent's families and they have not yet created families of their own. Their marginality is especially acute in traditional societies built around family units, in which one does not find the highly developed youth cultures of modern urban and industrialized societies. These activist youths are family members without a family, for whom religious movements provide a home and extended kinship."

In this last statement Juergensmeyer is recapitulating the theme of the tragic journey of the Hero. Unable to find meaning as an individual these vulnerable youths turn to the many ideologies of the Terrible Father. And when we look at the structure of the brotherhoods we do indeed find the archetype of the Terrible Father. He takes many forms. He can be a god, he can be a mythologised historical figure such as Jesus or Mohammed, or he can be an ethnic, religious, political (we see this shift in communism as the shift from Marx as the Great Father to Stalin as the Terrible Father – a pattern repeated in other political organisations as well) or criminal leader. In every case the psychology of the brotherhoods removes them further and further from the original cause and they descend into the archetypal tragedy of patricide, fratricide and incest - the playing out of the Second Dyad familial tensions between symbolic parents and siblings.

To protect himself from challenge from younger males the dominant male must deal fiercely with any dissension. Jerrold Post says this of terrorist groups:

"The wise leader, sensing the building tension, will plan an action so that the group's members can reaffirm their identity and discharge their aggressive energy. Better to have the group attack the outside enemy, no matter how high the risk, than turn on itself – and him".[21]

As the decline continues the group starts to turn on its own members and demand even greater obedience. Michael Wieviorka has argued that extreme violence is a sign of the collapse of the original cause. He argues that "the organized practice of indiscriminate and irredeemable violence" is a "substitute for a movement that has become either imaginary or has fallen out of sync with the hopes pinned on it".[22] As the group descends further it begins to turn inwards. In normal development the individual turns to the archetype of the bride, to the idea of civilisation.[23] In the brotherhoods this is turned inwards to a powerful ritual of male bonding. Juergensmeyer quotes the revealing words of the Sikh martyrs, Sukha and Jinda.

"Sukha and Jinda were said to have stated in their final address that they imagined the hangman's rope 'as the embrace of a lover', and they 'longed for death as for the marital bed'. Their own 'dripping blood' would be the 'outcome of this union' and they hoped it would 'fertilize the fields of Khalistan'.[24]

This last quote provides an interesting reference to the purpose of sacrifice in the matriarchal matrix. However, this should not surprise us if we remember that religions often contain remnants of earlier developmental stages. We need only remember that the Sikh cause also conforms to the psychological process of the brotherhoods.

I would also like to remind the reader of the earlier quote regarding the singing of wedding songs at martyr's funerals. What this points to is the simple appropriation and inversion of the final developmental phase of the patriarchal matrix, civilis as symbolised by the wedding of the male and female principles.

What of women? How do they fare in the world of the brotherhoods? Unfortunately not well at all. As the brotherhoods turn in on themselves they turn against women. The women of the brotherhoods do not become equal members; they become servants. In extreme cases they are reduced to being breeders of even more sacrificial sons. Amongst societies caught in currents of Islamic extremism it is a high honour for a woman to give birth to a martyr. The tragedy however, does not end there. The brotherhoods further dehumanise women and their greatest crime in that of rape. As the cults of the Terrible Father descend into darkness the good sons become archetypal bad sons. When they encounter the women of their enemy (this is particularly vicious in ethnic conflict) they resort to rape, and rape of a particular kind. In the worst cases daughters are raped in front of their parents and mothers are raped in front of their children. Of all the images of the war in Afghanistan the one that I recall vividly is the blank sadness and terror of three girls of the Hazar ethnic minority. The largely Pashtun Taliban had raided their village. They told how their mother had been killed in front of them, what they would not say is that each of them had been raped. The youngest was six. This is simply psychological incest, a deep attack against the structure of the family and the symbolic destruction of the feminine, as sister, daughter and mother. At a deeper level it is a blunt attack against the archetype of Anima, particularly as Civilis, the Bride. It is the same inverted pattern, from the pack rapes of 'gangsta' culture to the belief that martyrs will be rewarded with a heavenly harem of compliant sex slaves.


Every culture and society has a story it tells itself. A comparative examination shows a common thread that recapitulates individual psychology. The structure of the dyads outlined above is universal. Every culture has stories and myths that point to the full potential of all the dyads. Unfortunately at various points in time, at various critical transformative points, a culture or society will deny itself this potential. Just as individuals get stuck at developmental levels and retreat into repetitive cycles and complexes, so to do societies and cultures.

To live a fulfilled life one must be able to negotiate one's own path through the developmental stages. The same applies to societies and cultures. This is not the imposition of a certain set of cultural norms onto other cultures. Each culture has its own stories, its own myths that map out the universal path. There are profound similarities in the myths of quite diverse cultures. As Jung has pointed out, the archetypes can be found in every cultural variation. The archetype of the Self for example, can be found in the mythologised figures of Jesus in the West, of the Buddha in the East and of Quetzalcoatl in the Americas; the feminine archetype of compassion as Mary in the West, Kuan Yin in China and White Buffalo Woman for Native Americans.

When the full potential of all the archetypal dyads can be accessed and realised the culture can be said to be in an open state. It is equally possible however, for cultures to close down and fail to provide a way for individuals to progress through the developmental stages. History has often been the struggle of open systems against closed systems. It is as if there is an evolutionary impulse toward open development.

But what causes open systems to turn inwards and close down? The answer is not actually all that difficult. As I mentioned above, each dyad has a set of core needs it must meet. When the core needs are stabilised then both the individual and the society naturally evolve to the next stage. The first core need is food and shelter. An individual who does not know where his or her next meal is coming from is hardly concerned with other things. And it is only when a society has developed a resource surplus that it develops from the foraging band level to the next level.[25]

The next core need is that of belonging, identity and security. The individual finds that in his or her family. Societies provide this by creating tribal and ethnic identity; meaning is found in complex narratives of relationship.

When one is confident and secure in knowing where and to whom one belongs then the next need arises. That need is to develop a separate and individual identity and to establish that identity in a group of equals.

If any of these core needs are denied in any way then the individual or society reverts to the psychology of the related level. The brotherhoods usually arise in societies that have been denied a sense of identity and belonging. Can it be as simple as that? There is no doubt that a crisis of identity can have many causes. Some may be caused by the actions of others; some may be caused by natural disaster. But if you look at people in areas of natural disaster where the core need of shelter and food are being denied you do not find the brotherhoods. If you look however, at the conflicts in which the brotherhoods arise you find an attack on the identity and security of a people. The creation of Israel displaced many Palestinians and threatened their identity. Similarly the Palestinian call for the abolition of the State of Israel is a profound threat to Jewish identity. Basque separatism arose out of the fear that the economic advance of the Spanish and French would swamp Basque culture. In Fiji there have been several coups caused by the perception that Fijian identity and power was being lost to the Indian immigrants. Criminal gangs arise in the slums and ghettos of the disadvantaged who struggle to gain an identity in the larger society, whether it is South Central Los Angeles or Southern Italy and Sicily. Juergensmeyer quotes the political head of Hamas, Dr Abdul Aziz Rantisi as saying that the very nature of Islam was about the "defence of dignity, land and honour".[26] These are issues of identity, not of fundamental physical survival. In fact many writers have commented that the rise of fundamentalist Islam is due to a crisis of identity and that America is considered the enemy because it has attained what Islam has not, thus humiliating Islamic pride.

Regrettably the rise of influence and power of one ethnic, religious or political entity usually results in the often careless and sometimes deliberate oppression and humiliation of other groups. The fratricidal war in Rwanda arose out of the humiliation and subjugation of one tribal group by another. During Jesus' time the brotherhoods were known as zealots and the reaction of the Jews to humiliation by the Romans gave rise to the extreme Essene sect whose apocalyptic vision so greatly influenced Christianity – and which led to the mass suicide of Masada. Examples abound across all cultures and all periods of history.

What then of the humiliation of the thousands of unemployed youth in the Middle East?


The full and open expression of the patriarchal matrix ends with symbolic marriage of the masculine and the feminine. Jung called this the conjunction of the opposites.[27] I say symbolic because it is not really about the actual marriage of man and woman. In fact the ceremony of marriage is a symbolic acting out of the greater mystery of harmonising the inner male and female principles. Each individual and each society must allow this narrative to reach its final and full conclusion.

I mentioned that the most common images of the civilis stage are feminine. It is a woman, Marianne, who leads the masses over the barricades towards freedom and who is the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty (which significantly overlooks the ruins of the World Trade Centre). The statues of Justice that adorn many a court entrance, the goddess Athena Polias who gave name to the city-state that first developed democracy. It is simply no accident that the so-called arts of civilisation are symbolically associated with the feminine. In India it is the goddess Saraswati who developed language and who guides education and the arts. Even amongst certain Islamic sects it is Fatima who is the true founder of the sacred line of Imams.

Wherever the feminine is denied we find a closed system, a system still struggling to secure the core need of identity and security. And if this core need continues to be denied the system regresses into the psychology of the Terrible Father.

The history of Islam provides a prime example. In the first phase of Islam the new faith had to struggle to maintain its identity in the face of challenge from pagan tribes. Mohammed's message was at first denied and he had to flee to Medina. In the face of a war of survival he developed a belief system that encodes many of the values of the brotherhood and it was during this time that he developed the idea of jihad and the rewards of martyrdom. In the second phase a triumphant Islam expanded and secured its core need of identity (unfortunately, as always, at the expense of others). At this time Islam was able to absorb other influences and the feminine arose in the Sufi tradition, particularly as Sofia, the Greek feminine principle of wisdom. During this period Islam was the pre-eminent culture. Moorish Spain was a thriving and tolerant society that gave birth to the Sufi mystic Ibn 'Arabi and the Jewish mystic Moses de Cordovera. In fact it is worth noting that Ibn 'Arabi had been the student of two female Sufi's or shaikha, Yasmin of Marchena and Fatima of Cordova.[28] In the third phase of Islam a resurgent Europe saw the gradual decline of the Islamic empire. In reaction the puritanical Wahhabi sect gained support in Arabia. As Islam further declined and its values were challenged by modernism, it further retreated into the psychology of the Terrible Father. The Taliban and al Qaeda are the inevitable and predictable consequence of developmental regression.

And rather than embrace the feminine they shun it.

What all this teaches us is that each individual and each society must be allowed to openly secure its core needs. It demands a new political wisdom, a wisdom that understands the importance of the free and open development of all individuals and cultures. It demands that careful attention be paid to the archetypal story of humanity.

The signs are always there, they just need to be heeded.

© Ray Harris, May, 2002

[email protected]


1 Jung, C G, On the Nature of the Psyche. CW Vol 8, Para 42. Bollingen, Princeton University Press

2 Corbin, H Alone with the Alone: The Creative Imagination of Ibn 'Arabi Bollingen, Princeton University Press

3 Wilber, K, Integral Psychology. CW Vol 4. Shambhala.

4 Jung, C G, Symbols of Transformation, CW Vol 5, Para 344. Bollingen, Princeton University Press

5 Jung, C G, Vol 8 op cit Para 408.

6 Raff, J Jung and the Alchemical Imagination, Pg 13, Nicholas Hays

7 Ibid, pg 15

8 Wilber, K The Eye of Spirit, Pg 146 Shambhala

9 Joseph Campbell has explored this theme in detail. See The Mythic Image Bollingen, Princeton University Press

10 See Johnson & Earle, The Evolution of Human Societies, Stanford University Press

11 Jung, C G, Aion. CW Vol 9, Para 351. Bollingen, Princeton University Press

12 Available at

13 Grof, S, Beyond the Brain. State University of New York.

14 The inclusion of Wilber's Spectrum delineations will provide a way to link Temenos with other developmental schemata. See his appendix in Integral Psychology.

15 In fact Temenos contains several interesting harmonic patterns, each with distinct meaning. There is the standard division of 12 by the factors, 2, 3, 4 and 6. Each of the levels appears as Sub-levels that explain process. There is also a mirror harmonic which reveals a symbolic connection between Dyads 1-6, 2-5 and 3-4. There is also the disharmonic of 5 and 7, with 5 symbolic of descent and 7 of ascent. But these are all subjects for a larger work.

16 Through the worship of shakti in the form of Kali/Durga

17 Campbell, Joseph, The Masks of God, Vol I. Penguin.

18 What is interesting is that the Hebrew for Saturn is sabbatai, from which is derived the word Sabbath, traditionally held on Saturday – Saturn's day.

19 Jung, CG, Symbols of Transformation, CW Vol5, Bollingen, Princeton University Press.

20 Juergensmeyer, Mark, Terror in the Mind of God, University of California Press.

21 Quoted from The Terrorism Reader, Editor, David Whittaker. Routledge

22 Wieviorka, Michel, The Making of Terrorism, University of Chicago Press.

23 This occurs in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships

24 Juergensmeyer, op cit.

25 Johnson and Earle, op cit.

26 Juergensmeyer, op cit.

27 Jung, CG, Mysterium Coniunctionis, CW Vol 14, Bollingen, Princeton University Press.

28 Corbin, Henry, Alone with the Alone, Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn 'Arabi, Bollingen, Princeton University Press.

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