Are we the playthings of a God, or Gods, predestined to make choices that have been scripted by our ‘creator’? Is our destiny written in our stars? Or can we write our own story, choosing what events, characters and dialogues we want to include?
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Are you a puppet on a string?
Mystical wisdom tells us we get real control over our script when we become more conscious of our own creative capacity. We can allow ourselves to be a marionette, controlled by the invisible content of our unconscious drives, or we can take charge of our life. We can become a God, creating and living a story of our own choosing.
We can use the image of a puppet, perhaps like the famous Pinocchio, to represent someone who is unaware – or only semi-conscious – of the creative role they play in the events that unfold in their personal life. We know from mystical literature that people can expect the option to ‘wake up’ and realise that divinity is within them, that they are part of a vast energy field in which many potential options are on offer.
Pinocchio is made of wood. He is a marionette, not a glove puppet. He has strings that can be pulled by his master and creator, Geppetto, the craftsman who wants a son. Pinocchio longs to be a proper boy and his dramatic adventures describe the necessary challenges he faces, in order to become ‘real’.
The puppet’s name is intriguing… pino is Italian for pine, and occhio means eye. Our third eye is associated with the pineal gland, the name of which derived from the fact that it looks like a pine cone. In ancient Assyrian carvings, Guardian Angels use pine cones to sprinkle lustral water on the king, as well as on the sacred tree. Opening the third eye allows us to see reality in all its glory. Perhaps the author of this favourite children’s story, Carlo Collodi (1826–1890) had picked up some esoteric ideas while working for a manuscript specialist in Florence. After all, Pinocchio’s journey takes him from a robotic or mechanical life to a fully-fledged one in which he knows how to be truly himself.
Entering the whale
Basically a good lad who wants to please, even while full of mischief, Pinocchio often gets tempted by bad companions – like the Fox and the Cat – and is prone to lying. His nose becomes longer and longer whenever he starts fibbing. Early in the tale, Pinocchio is visited by a fairy, and he promises to become a real boy. He gets trapped in the Land of Toys, where he is transformed into a donkey. He joins a circus and eventually becomes a puppet again. But when he returns back to the workshop, Geppetto has gone. Pinnocchio has to track him down and rescue the old man from a sea monster. The fairy visits Pinocchio again and reassures him he has won the freedom to be a real boy.
In this magical tale, we see all the ingredients for a hero’s journey. The fairy is a guiding spirit, like a guardian Angel or daimon. The encounter with the sea monster represents the descent into the unconscious, the dangerous journey every hero needs to undertake in order to face their own fears. Anyone who takes the time to read the remarkable inner journeys made by Carl Jung, described in The Red Book will understand that transforming oneself from a marionette to a fully self-realised, fully integrated human is a monumental task. But Jung’s journey, like that of Pinocchio, reassures us that benevolent forces are at our side, especially at moments when the darkness threatens to overwhelm us. Mystical reports throughout the ages confirm how we must be willing to enter the darkness, to surrender to the vast ‘whale’, as in the biblical story of Jonah. The whale is the ocean of the unconscious. George Fox (1624–1691) who was the founder of the Quakers (Religious Society of Friends) said, I passed through the ocean of darkness into the ocean of light.
Are invisible strings controlling us?
Another favourite story that investigates the issue of free will and destiny is by the science fiction author, Philip K. Dick. I’m fond of quoting this as a brilliant allegory about people determined to choose their own life plan, so you may have come across me sharing it in previous blogs or newsletters. His short story, Adjustment Team has, like The Adventures of Pinocchio, been made into a film, The Adjustment Bureau, with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt in the lead roles.
The so-called ‘bureau’ is headed up by an invisible ‘chairman’. He employs secret agents and they are determined to make both the lead characters follow predetermined plots. They use a special map book, which shows how human destinies are ‘meant’ to turn out, and our two leading characters are not – according to the books – supposed to be engaged in a romantic liaison (which of course they are). According to the book, they should go their separate ways and not enter into the long-term relationship they both desire. However, one maverick agent provides sufficient information for the innocents to understand what is going on behind the scenes and eventually they choose – at some risk to their lives – to override the ‘fate’ set out in the map book. At the close of the movie we have an acknowledgment that humans can choose to carve their own story, although it takes immense grit, constant determination and the willingness not to conform. This is reminiscent of the scene in Lawrence of Arabia, in which Lawrence says ‘Nothing is written’ – except what is in his own head (see Mystical Wisdom 12).
You can choose whether to take the risky choice to carve your own story. You can decide to chip away at what seems like a solid piece of stone – or wood – to discover what potential is hidden within you.
Your guardian angel
A blue fairy is a gentle, sweet companion for the puppet boy. She can watch over him as he grows. We can imagine a Guardian Angel accompanying us from childhood, protecting us from harm. But, as we grow and the search for self-realisation becomes more urgent, more intense, we will need to call on a higher order of celestial supporters.
The kingdom of heaven is available in our own deep unconscious. Mystical literature tells us that the entrance to every portal into the kingdom is watched over by a guardian. This ‘porter’ or ‘watcher’ is one of the archetypal powers who play essential roles in the invisible structure of consciousness. These are the ‘Gods’ or the ‘Archangels’. They hold the keys to each stage of the journey as we ascend or descend. They are not necessarily sweet or kind. Rather, they will challenge us and ask us to prove our mettle.
Conversations with the gods
Once we realise that the Gods who play with us only have the power to run the show because we haven’t demanded and taken hold of that power for ourselves, then we are truly on the path. It is right and proper that we should tremble or be evasive. We may even resort to telling lies like Pinocchio, because the true potential of our creative energy is immense. This is a BIG challenge. But we can approach heaven’s gateways like a Shakespearean hero: Once more unto the breach, dear friends! We are entitled to converse with these archetypal powers. Let’s not call them ‘Gods’. Let’s call them Archangels, because they are great messengers. Their task us is not to keep us out of the kingdom, but to ensure we are worthy to enter. That’s why we are tested in the fire, like steel in a furnace, tempered to create a mystical blade of truth. The Archangels are definitely not like the Gods – they are our allies. They won’t play with our destinies if we consult with them. Their shining citadel is ours by inheritance. It’s time to storm the invisible entrances within our own psyche and reach the secret castle of our Soul. Each one of us who takes on this journey and returns with a report of joyful success will light a beacon for others. Today is the day to hold a torch up and encourage others to steal the fire from those mean old Gods!
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