Owen Barfield and Final Participation

Participation was a technical term for the Schoolmen of the Middle Ages. The latter, in turn, inherited it along with the rich philosophical lineage that flowed like a river of wisdom through Plato, Aristotle, and the New Testament and Neo-Platonist writers like Paul, Proclus, Boethius, and Dionysius the Areopagite. These philosophers wrote in Greek so…

Exhortations on Myth, Meaning, & Nature, and Some Objections

Ritual is myth transposed into the key of temporality. Or, ordinary activity transposed into the key of eternity, which is the realm of myth. The desire of mimesis (libido imitatio) is the longing to participate the deeds and sufferings of gods, as a child wishes to emulate his mother and father. That inspires the transposition….

Owen Barfield and the Evolution of Consciousness

The inestimable Owen Barfield differentiates three epochs in the evolution of consciousness. The first he refers to as “original participation.” The anthropologist Lucien Lévy-Bruhl meant to indicate a similar condition under the rubric “participation mystique.” Other thinkers refer to the same as “tribal” or “primal” consciousness. Original participation denotes a condition of consciousness in which…

Editorial: On Christianity

I cannot think of a more integral religion than Christianity and I think that it is a deficiency in my notions of value if I am unable to recognise the treasury of wisdom that Christianity contains. It represents the ultimate hieros gamos of Heaven and Earth, the inner and the outer, spirit and matter, God…