Black Knight, White Knight
Beyond the pairs of opposites:
Exploring the Great Unknown
The symbols dance kaleidoscopically. A gossamer veil seems to flutter before us, barely intimating the Presence beyond of Something or Someone Unknown. This somehow underlies and sustains all that we “know.”
luminous, spacey, and diaphanous; vivid, intense, and potent…
Once a dream was dreamed. It was luminous, spacey, and diaphanous; it was
vivid, intense, and potent. It briefly blazed and scintillated in the night, pulsing its
light down through the years. Even when thrust out of mind, it returns ever again
in different contexts of meaning, insisting on making its way unto the day.
A Contest of Wills
the contest of wills and prowess ebbed and flowed…
Thus was the dream dreamt: The dreamer knew himself to be the white sage,
wizard to the king. With his white robes, hat, beard and staff, he would sally forth
from his futuristically sophisticated apartments, fly about through the airs,
carrying out the behests of the sovereign in the spiral-turreted skies of the bright
color-pinnated city. Carrying out his priority mission, as well, to be sure: to do
battle with the realm’s deadliest enemy. A formidable foe, this one! –a black
magician, a master robed in black, with black hair and beard, with even a black
umbrella. The contest of wills and prowess ebbed and flowed one way and the
other, with many skirmishes and encounters, partial victories and partial defeats.
But there came a day when the white wizard vanquished the black sorcerer,
with the lightness of peace and clarity…
And it was at that precise triumphant moment that he saw, as never before had
he seen, what ineluctably he must thence needs do, the nature of the
renunciation that must be his. For him, to realize such a call was to act, and so
he acted; not in the troubled heaviness of sorrow and regret, but with the
lightness of peace and clarity. He hung up his white robes, lay down his white
staff, locked up his technologically perfected, magical rooms, outfitted with such
subtly-wrought householder gadgetry. And he took up the black umbrella, put on
the black vestures, and flew off to fulfill with verve his new office. In the nature of
things, in very truth and honor, he was now become the new archenemy, the new
shadow, the new black magus.
Another soul dreamt another dream…
Another soul dreamt another dream. He saw two knights rushing upon each
other in single combat. A black knight on a black charger, accoutered wholly in
black, galloped lance raised and shield firmed at his adversary. A white knight,
not a whit less warlike in intent, nor any the less gleaming in his burnished white
armor, spurred his racing white courser straight at his advancing opponent, spear
uplifted and deadly. Hard did they speed and their clash was mighty. Each
pierced the other and blended and tumbled and spun, the two an exploding star-
burst of living lights, the two a whirling wheeling of black and white, white and
black. Knights. Knights and days and nights. Eons. Neutrons; muons. Nations
and races. Galaxies. Throbbing, pulsing. The Way, the swirling ebb-and-flow
black-in-white white-in-black Tao, the Path of life and death, death and life.
Creation. Destruction. Regeneration.
(To Señor Eduardo, ten years after his passing away.)
The Unknown. Is not our relationship with It the special theme of several strands of a second, transpersonal? A motif group intertwined in our dream tapestry? Is it something we can explore in meditation? Perhaps it’s a series of overlapping rippling expansions similar to those themes we’ve seen in Part I of this article. Each one weaves a wavelet reaching out farther, reaching in deeper. We encounter the black sage-white sage spiral, the dialectic of this positive-negative, negative-positive process on many levels. Let’s examine now the extent of its implications for our relationships with romantic love, with our ideals, with the divine.
We glimpse Love…and are enchanted.
When we fall in love with someone, beyond the biological and physical components, what happens? We look into a pair of eyes and gosh –wow! Through them we see this immense vital realm of beauty and wonder and possibilities. We marvel, we cherish, we thrill. We glimpse Love, a spark of the flame of being, and are enchanted. Through the crystal of a soul is reflected the radiance of what is for us the image of the divine. Yet the moments pass, that window on the universe fogs over, and our soul’s eyesight gets fuzzy. We get confused and finally disenchanted. It really seems unknown.
“I adore you”…
“I adore you” was the way our pledge went, wasn’t it? We adore, we worship, the soul instead of the divine. Then instead of the soul, we adore and worship the person. Finally, we have the fully materialized image of another ordinary “someone” . This “someone” with whom we must live and relate and muddle through the best we can. Sleeping Beauty went back to sleep. Handsome Prince Charming stands awkward in his no-longer-quite-so-shiny tarnished armor, looking a bit flabby, vulgar and befuddled. At this juncture, we can relate maturely and integrally. Or we can slip into unadorned lust, boredom, idealization, jealousy, contempt, hate.
when it was all so clear, simple and so on, and we knew!
In our everyday life, how many eyes around us are eyes of discovery?. How many are eyes of magic fire, god and goddess eyes? Have our standard bearers, our white seer champions, all turned coat already. Have they all shrouded themselves in blackest night shadow? We feel the insidious change deep within our bone marrow, don’t we? Can we possibly reawaken the spellbound Princess in the situations and the souls we face? Can we reburnish the armor of our yokel-witted Knight, rekindle the blaze in his eyes? How we long to gaze with rapture and awe on the near wonderfulness of it all. When it was all so clear, simple and so one, and we knew!
A love affair with an ideal…
A love affair with an ideal develops in similar fashion. There are so many, many kinds of ideals. So many lives have been lived around them, so many wars fought for them. At a certain peak moment, it is as if the skies open up. We see through the heavens, look down upon the valleys and plains, look down upon the mountains. We have the questions and the answers in our hand and have the Plan.
White Dames and Knights Errant go forth
And we gleaming White Dames and Knights Errant going forth in our righteousness to persuade and reform and redeem. Little by little, the vision becomes less invigorating, and our sight gets dimmer. The overwhelmingly obvious breathtaking connectedness of all evaporates when in contact with realities that somehow seem “other”.
The Black Magician returns
The black “wizardish” enemies who in all onerous, no-holds-barred truth seem to be really enemies. Wishing us no well and much harm, these foe are no longer “us” in the One. They are but “Others,” “Them.” They have doctrines that seem to be –that are! — undeniably pernicious. We do not and cannot understand impartially. We’re quite unable to simply love and be grateful to from afar for the sake of the spiritually stimulating “challenge.”
“once upon a time”…
We were “once upon a time” converted and we still try to convert. But we really don’t have it so all together any more, and wonder if we’ll ever see it again. See it like we did, like we’d give anything to see and feel and thrill and believe once again, forever. What hurts us is that that “forever” doesn’t seem to happen, not in that way. What particularly hurts is that seemingly the best of us and our ideals metamorphose willy-nilly and unstoppably into their opposite. They become the darkly mirrored image of what we so dedicatedly fought against.
we exist in that “beyond us”…
Arriving at this stage of our meditative inquiry, we have come so far and seen many disparate yet interlaced themes. The unknown looms large. May we at long last, as promised, tentatively approach the dream’s relation with the divine? We are caught in a bind. What we “know” is so very, very small compared to what we don’t know. Communicating about what we “know” is difficult and trouble-strewn; communicating about what we don’t know is well-nigh beyond us. Yet we exist in that “beyond us.” We do sometimes glimpse or experience a tiny bit of it. Though our words, our understanding are inadequate, we need to share with each other those perceptions. We so facilely bandy about words of the divine The divine is the unknown. To speak of it reveals our ignorance. Yet the “intelligent” sharing of ignorance can be a significant step toward mutual wisdom.
Our gods become our idols…
Our gods become our idols. We worship them, we breathe life into them, giving them our lives. These ex-divinities live on our energy, get fat on us, suck us dry. The White always becomes the Black. With time, new deity figures appear and the old ones become our devils; we fear them, fight them, love-hate them. But they were our gods, the divine was there–and moved on. In that subtle, elusive divine way that escapes us, we were given the slip. We stayed; the live living loving flame was gone.
The Black Magician Shadow arises
The Black Magician Shadow somehow always re-arises after his fall. Like the shadow image of Carl Jung: the menace must be met, with all the concomitant “blood, sweat and tears,” anguish and exultation. After the travail of a new cycle, we, the divine and the human, eventually cast down the idols and devils. And we win through to a new human vision of the divine. We reach, because everything truly is unknown. A pause ensues, blessedly welcome, and Spring bursts forth; Summer smiles. And then…the White has yet once again to be transfigured into the Black.
A dynamic develops…
How terribly much this labor of birth costs, though! Is it us only? Our selfish snarky orneriness? Could a technique of renunciation truly get to the grist of it? At the moment of being submerged in tedium and despair, we renounce and live it simply. Something unsuspectedly new is often achieved. Likewise, at the moment of rapture we let go of our triumph, we may find ourselves soaring higher still. A dynamic develops –almost as soon as the White goes Black, the new White appears.
Are we of those who “perhaps” have “seen,” or of those who “see?”…
Tied by our slaked thirst and satiated hunger to our ecstasy, do we keep seeking hoping that it repeats itself? Is what follows just a tired process of embitterment and disillusion? Is it the hangings-on of a jaded and decrepit, reactionary “White” in faded grey-yellow streaked costume? We yearn, we so yearn to see God. Do we ever see again after catching this glimpse? Or are we forevermore blinded? Are we of those who “perhaps” have “seen,” or of those who “see?”
We catch our breath, senses suspended…
Or is it mayhap that the Divine Figure shows Herself to us alternately as light and shadow? White Goddess-Black Goddess, Black Lady-White? The White Seer and the Black Seer once more, on another level, perchance even a cosmic level? The Divine leaves behind a materialized “dead” idol form;. Yet at any moment, that empty form our caustically eyes dismiss and despise can well be reinhabited by the Divinity. And yet someone –we ourselves, could it be?–may awaken awe-struck to see live Truth where before was seen only falsehood. We catch our breath, senses suspended. A timeless moment of discovery, of clear light clear feeling. And then…and then –it quietly vanishes, just fading away again into nothingness.
The eyes of the White gaze deep into the eyes of the Black…
Is our vision, then, doomed? Will everything remain unknown? Is it to be thus always of oscillating polar opposites, of cyclic hypnotic duality, good-bad, pretty-ugly, alive-dead? Or may we attain to some perception of unity as well? Are we only to see the black and white pieces moving about the board, check and counter-check, win and lose? Or are we also to see the unity of the game play itself?
How does Divinity perceive Herself, in and through us, and beyond? Is there a place where duality and unity merge and separate and re-merge? Black Wizard and White; Sleeping Beauty and the Prince. The eyes of the White gaze deep into the eyes of the Black. Each mirror each other becoming again and again. I? You? Which is which? When? Movements emerging from one another as in a kaleidoscope. Blacks and whites pattern the wholeness of a unique simplicity. There is one singleness of an Only Eye, there by and of Itself.
About the Author(s)
Who am I? Perhaps a seeker? maybe a finder? How avoid an RIP gravestone-blurb sum-up? Challenging…Years back, crossing a remote jungle frontier, the border police, not knowing what other pigeon-hole to use, put it as “adventurer” – just an overly romantic fragment of the story, inaccurate, but hey, a good enough fit for the moment! Maybe still is? With deep roots in Cafh, on that supreme never-ending adventure... Guess I could live with that moniker on the stone.