Last summer i began writing a series of articles about magenta inspired by the birth of the magenta pomander and the synchronicities of that time. One important experience was seeing a programme about Nietzsche, the german philosopher, on the very night that i bought and first used my own magenta pomander. Watching the programme i realised that Nietzsche’s passions and philosophy were very resonant with magenta and so i was inspired to write. This is the Part 2.
Inviting the Free Spirit
In the last post we left Nietzsche disappointed in his attempt to see Art as a force to redeem suffering. Yet Nietzsche remained convinced that traditional religion was in permanent decline and that a new set of values by which to live by must be found. Though young he was suffering from ill health and his search for an answer became more intense and more personal. “In my lowest vitality i ceased to be a pessimist. I discovered life anew. I turned my will to health, to life, into a philosophy.” He began to travel a little, write in a new freer style, his next book, published in 3 parts was titled Human All to Human. A Book for Free Spirits. He was exploring, inviting for himself, a liberation into a new way to live. In 1879 he quit his professorship at Basel University and began to criss-cross Europe, writing and seeking as he went. “The key to life is to live dangerously” he wrote. Pursuing health and the the question of “how” to live Nietzsche had become a wanderer.
My ears pricked up. Wanderer. There is an Equilibrium bottle named The Wanderer. B46. Its colours: Green over Magenta, reveal a heart that is stirred by the passions of the soul. Here was a Magenta / Nietzsche connection. Magenta is passion, but a spiritually inspired passion.
Compare B46 with B28 Green / Red and we can say that B28 is like a tree rooted in the earth. A tree has no wish to be elsewhere, it stays where it stands and grows into its space. But Magenta is rooted in the spiritual dimension, the 8th chakra above the head. It’s focus is beyond material concerns. Moved by a spiritual passion which agitates the heart, the Wanderer is driven on to accomplish something meaningful to the soul. It is a perfect description of Nietzsche’s condition. Material security was not Nietzsche’s motivation, he needed answers: a way to health, and in the face of his certainty that Christianity was in terminal decline, a new code by which to live. Rather like another magenta character in Aura-Soma, Florence Nightingale, he was driven by an inner passion to create something beyond the mundane. Where and when would he arrive?
Insight at the Rock
It was to be in June 1881 when he stepped off the train at Sils Maria, a small mountain village in Switzerland that he felt he had arrived. And it was to be here that he was soon to have what he came to describe as the most important idea of his life. Out walking one day by the lake he came to a great triangular rock. A question flashed into his mind: “If a demon were to tell you that you must live your life again, exactly the same in every way to the one you are now living, would you rejoice?”
Nietzsche realised that this question offered the solution to his quest. He was desperately seeking a value by which to live in a world without God.This thought / question provided both a goal and the way to measure it. Have you fully embraced your life, lived it in such a way that you have no regrets, that you would do it all again without hesitation. This is the measure of a life well lived. Nietzsche further realised that to be successful in this challenge, a greater force had to be liberated within us, one which required the overcoming of our own conditioning, habits and preferences. We must overcome ourself!
This way did not require us to suffer as a way of redemption. Nor did it see suffering as something to be avoided as the great Schopenhauer argued. Instead suffering was to be embraced and mastered. To live life most fully one had to risk suffering and overcome it. As Mike Booth would say, “The only right we have is the right not to be negative.” As Nietzsche said “That which does not kill you makes you stronger.”
Nietzsche was soon given the perfect opportunity to put his new found philosophy to the test. In 1882 his proposal of marriage was rejected by the only woman he ever truly desired. Things went from bad to worse as his health deteriorated, his book wasn’t selling and even his mother, poisoned by the words o this sister rejected him. Often suicidal at this time he wrote “In the deepest part of me an immovable black melancholy holds sway. I am exerting every ounce of self mastery. Unless i can find the alchemical trick to turn all this muck into gold I am lost.” And in the depths of this misery Nietzsche found his answer. He threw himself into writing a new book. It would be his way out of the darkness. It was also to be his great success.
Thus Spoke Zarathustra
The book was called Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Nietzsche considered it to be his finest. At the heart of this story is Zarathustra, a man who has freed himself of conditioning. He lives in the clarity and peace of the mountains heights. Yet, overflowing with wisdom, he returns back down the mountain with a message and an invitation to the people below: God is dead. Zarathustra’s question to the people was “What it is to be human and by what code should we live?”
The Ubermensch (Over Man)
Central to the book is the idea of the Overman (Ubermensch). Nietzsche was writing this as Darwin’s ideas were revolutionising the world view. Darwin the father of evolutionary biology had published his great work when Nietzsche was 15 and evolution was a very hot topic in Nietszche’s time. As Nietzsche considered the evolutionary trajectory of the human being however he came up with a radical idea. Man’s future evolution would not be physical, it would be primarily an evolution of our human potential! In particular it would be an evolution of our primary human faculty - our will. The person he took as his example of this future evolution was Goethe. Goethe was a German hero who had achieved great success in several fields. For Nietzsche Goethe represented a man who had realised his genius. His life was a triumph of his potential over any human shortcomings he may have had. This triumph over our lower nature was the destination of human evolution and Nietzsche had a name for this future being: the “ubermensch”. Ubermensch has previously been translated as Superman, but literally “ubermensch” means “overman”.
The ubermensch emerges from the ordinary man. Ordinary man is still close to the animal nature. and, as such ordinary man is subject to outer circumstances, some of which will have become internalised over time as layers of inner conditioning. The process of becoming the ubermensch focuses first on overcoming the resistances, habits and weaknesses of the ordinary self. As this process continues impulses for action arising out of the being’s unique potential begin to arise. The emerging ubermensch starts to live life as as an act of creative will without reference to social expectations. The ubermensch begins to create and live the life he or she wills. The ubermensch lives in total freedom. And all the experiences along the way are met with the same 100% engagement. There is no shirking from life.
This is a key concept for Nietszche. It is fundamental to his philosophy. What i found so exciting though was that the ubermensch is so very magenta. The colour of the new pomander i had just bought and used for myself. Lets see now how the ubermensch may be related to Magenta.
The ubermensch and magenta
This Subtle Anatomy image makes the connection very clear. The Magenta chakra sits above the physical head. Magenta is quite literally the resonance of the Overman!
In Aura-Soma terms we say the 8th chakra is the soul star. Sitting above the crown as it does it is free from external conditions, it carries our spiritual potential the place from which we are inspired. An example of this is provided by Florence Nightingale who incidentally has an Equilibrium bottle containing magenta named after her. This time the magenta is energising the crown, evidenced by the purple within this combination. Florence Nightingale received her vision from above, she too acted as the Overman, she was not defined by the world around her, she brought her vision into the world through an act of will.
Japan and Magenta
A quick aside. This talk of will reminds me of a phrase i often hear when i am in Japan, a country which Aura-Soma associates with magenta. Gamberimas. It roughly translates as “I will do my best.” It expresses the commitment to succeed beyond any challenge that would get in the way of success. It is a perfect invocation of the will. And Japan is a culture in which the expectation on people to rise above challenges is very strong. Zen monks stand under icy waterfalls, Japanese office workers stay long into the night, The Japanese place great value on cultivating this strength of will, no matter how tired the body is, no matter how they feel or think. It is the triumph of spirit over matter, the power of magenta intention leading to action on the red earth. And while it may not be a palatable example the Japanese kamikaze pilots of World War 2 would surely be another example of the will overcoming human resistance.
The Will to Power
Another vital concept in Nietzsche’s philosophy. If it sounds a little scary Nietzsche would say that is because of our emasculated Christian conditioning. Nietzsche saw Christianity as a slave conditioning, values of meekness and suffering were glorified. Nietzsche believed power and success were much more satisfying for the emotions. Why not be as great as you can be?
Ultimately however the Will to Power was not about domination over others, it was about fulfilment of the seed of one’s own potential. His view was that each being carries a possibility for its life. The ubermensch will be engaged with the fulfilment of that possibility. Perhaps we can call this potential destiny. Aura-Soma would call it the blueprint: the potential carried within the soul star which we may realise through our lifetime. Once again Nietzsche is remarkably modern, close to Aura-Soma, New Age and spiritual self-help philosophy!
The potential which Nietzsche was to recognise for his own however was his greatest challenge and it was to be his undoing …
Nietzsche’s life ended in tragedy. He lost his sanity and spent the last 11 years of his life in the care his sister. There is no agreement on what caused Nietzsche’s collapse but here is my thought …
Lets begin with a line from Zarathustra …
“I am a wanderer and a mountain climber,” Zarathustra said to his heart.
What returns, what finally comes home to me is my own self…
I have begun my loneliest walk
Only now are you going your way to greatness … for all things are baptised in a well of eternity and lie beyond good and evil.”
The last phrase “all things are baptised in a well of eternity” makes me think strongly of the 0 - the Source. Nietzsche had liberated himself from the normal human conditioning of right and wrong as prescribed by Christianity. This achievement gave him total freedom, and yet for Nietzsche this freedom brought even greater responsibility. How would he act? His loneliest walk, his path to greatness would be the task he now set himself. He determined to develop a new morality, out of a process of complete revaluation of all traditional values and morality. He saw this task as a service to all humanity, a guide for a new way to live in a world fee from God. Were qualities such as kindness, compassion and pity still so important if there were no God to reward them? What about power? Nietzsche experienced that power made one feel strong. Was it evil to feel powerful? Without a God to follow it was now Nietzsche’s responsibility alone to identify the values that resonated the best with our potential.
It was a stark and terrible place into which he had put himself. In the years that followed he found he could easily attack christianity seeing it as a philosophy of slavery that encouraged people to be weak: blessed are the meek, better to be poor than rich, etc. Yet when it came to proclaiming an alternative positive set of values he found it unbelievably difficult. At one point in his struggle he wrote “If you cannot live above or beyond the law (values). If you find that task too great, you must either construct another law, or descend into madness.” On another occasion close to the end he wrote chillingly..“If you stare long enough into the abyss, it begins to look back into you.” This quote was in fact the seed for this whole series of articles on Nietzsche. To me it evokes a sense of horror which is the true meaning of terrible.
I believe it was this horror, this abyss which was to drive Nietzsche mad. He began to became more detached from this reality, signing his letters “The Crucified One” In January 1889, a wintry morning in Torino Italy his last act as a sane man was to throw his arms around a horse that had fallen on the ice. It is ironic and telling that Nietzsche, the man who had fought against weakness, against compassion, the man who had aspired to act with superhuman strength in the face of life’s suffering, was human in his last act as a sane man. He lived on for a further 11 years but he never returned to this reality.
Nietzsche and the Tree of Life
And now finally, lets bring all these ideas into one picture. It is very exciting and amazing to find that these thoughts on Nietzsche’s life and philosophy are a perfect fit with both magenta and the Tree of Life. It is a journey which will take us the length of the central pillar of the Tree from the earthly to the most spiritual. As i said in Part 1 though Nietzsche declared God to be dead he was an intensely sensitive person.
The best place for us to start however is in Malkuth at the foot of the Tree. It is here that animal life, the animation of the physical is found. We live on the earth and it is here that we have to meet and embrace life. It is also the realm of Darwin’s biology and evolution. Above Malkuth is Yesod, the sphere which is the seat of the lowest vibration of self consciousness. We humans are set apart from the animal world by the scale of our brain power, the richness of our thoughts and emotions. Yet for Nietzsche ordinary man is weak. Surrounded by and subject too the influences of Malkuth, Netsach and Hod, our physical world, feeling and thought. Can we rise above the influence of these three realms and vibrate our true potential? To do so would be to become the ubermensch the overman.
The ubermensch will correspond to the sphere Tiphareth, the home of our higher vibrational self. From the human perspective this is the top of the mountain. In Aura-Soma terms it would be to reach the vibration of the soul star, the magenta 8th chakra above the head, the place where the blueprint of our life’s potential is consciously carried. It was to Tiphareth that Nietzsche with a superhuman effort managed to reach as he freed himself from his human conditioning. But it was to be in Tiphareth that Nietzsche was to meet his great tragedy. When he arrived here, metaphorically at the top of the mountain, he found himself absolutely alone. Above is Daath - the Abyss. There is in fact one further sphere hidden behind. The sphere of Kether. Kether is the home of God, the Source of all.
But tragically Nietzsche had declared “God is dead.” While it was a comment for humanity, it was a personal truth too. Nietzsche, this spiritually sensitive boy who had felt himself lifted by angels when hearing Handel’s Messiah for the first time had never recovered from the terrible death of his pious father. Nietzsche had lost his belief in God.
And so as Nietzsche reached the top of the mountain and Tiphareth, he looked up but perceived only darkness. The Abyss looking back at him. He could not perceive a loving Source, only the “well of eternity that lies beyond good and evil”. I can’t help thinking it was this that drove him to madness.
In Aura-Soma terms the Source is associated with Deep Magenta, the colour of all colours contained. It is the unseen colour, the colour of all light contained, It is the colour of all colours when they are contained - in contrast to white, the colour of all colours expressed. All colours emerge from Deep Magenta, it is the creative potential, the well of eternity, and yet to the casual eye it looks black. It appears as the blackness of the abyss.
Only when the light shines out of Deep Magenta does its rosy rich love light essence reveal itself.
It was this rosy richness which Vicky Wall liked to show students in the early classes. I remember it well, and now that Nietzsche’s tragedy is understood this light filled magenta becomes much more meaningful. It is the essence of existence, the light of love within all creation.
In the final instalment of this series of articles i will write more about my own experiences in the first days of the Magenta pomander. I will talk about Tantra too and the relationship between magenta, deep magenta and pink.