By Tim Mather
Word Count: 1168
Summary: A study of evil in literature and life
My views on good and evil have been formulated by my Catholic upbringing, my research and participation in the Celtic bardic tradition, the work of Edgar Cayce, and from the fantasy literary genre including books like the Lord of the Rings and the Earthsea Trilogy.
My Catholic upbringing taught me about good and evil and how we interact and treat other people. Good can be summed up in Jesus’s words of love and his directive to treat others as you would treat yourself. Evil consists of those acts that separate us from God and fellowship with our brothers and sisters. We have free will, and when we choose wrongful actions, we commit sin. The devil tempts us and seeks to lead us astray. Hell is not necessarily the fire and brimstone suffering of the Bible, but rather a complete isolation from and lack of relationship with the Divine. We create our own hell on earth by actions and behaviors that separate us from God.
According to Celtic spirituality, and specifically the bardic level of OBOD (Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids), evil is apathy, a lack of caring for the planet and its inhabitants—angels, ancestors, people, animals, and plants. The inner child or being is the Mabon. The Mabon wants us to live in a state of wonder, awe, and joy. By remembering to see the world through eyes that reflect these qualities, one can stay renewed in Spirit and see the good in the world. When one forgets to see the amazing things and simple joys that abound each and every day, we lock the Mabon or inner child deep within ourselves, and we die a little bit. By releasing the Mabon, we cause our souls to dance and be ever alive. When we don’t, we are led into isolation and we are more likely to turn towards evil. When isolated, we are uncaring or remain unaware of how our actions affect other beings.
Along with my bardic research, I have worked as a hypnotherapist with many clients who were experiencing anxiety, depression, or who needed help to regain their spiritual selves. I have observed that spiritual evolution is an ongoing process and everyone is at a different level of development. It is important for people to recognize where they are in their development, for if they are not aware, they will continue to repeat the same negative behaviors that lead to isolation. One needs to recognize recurrent patterns of faulty behavior that do not suit or work for the individual. By recognizing that we have a Soul or a Higher Self, this Higher Self can be the ultimate tool of forgiveness—forgiveness of self, others, institutions, and situations. It is the same tool that Jesus employed when he said, “If one were to ask for your shirt, gladly give it to them, along with your cloak and shoes as well. If one were to strike the right cheek, turn and offer the left one also.”
This is the key; this is what we are talking about when we say to give control of your Higher Self over to the Divine mind. The Divine mind of Buddha, the Christ, the Goddess, or whatever you consider to be holy, because as one surrenders to ultimate healing in that Higher Self, one breaks the cycle of negativity and the constant repetition of negative behaviors, relationships, and patterns that lead to evil. Think of your modern day counseling where people live in “victimhood”, where they go and hash over their problems for days, weeks, years, lifetimes, and still the same pattern exists. Whereas if one were to choose to work with the Higher Self, the Soul, they could discover a new way of thinking, feeling, and being, thus eliminating the repetitive cycle.
Imagine discovering a new way of dealing with old negative situations and thus creating a miracle in your life. People who work with Gestalt therapy use the technique of the miracle question. Simply asking the client, “If you were to go to sleep tonight and you woke up tomorrow and a miracle occurred, how would your life be different? What did you do? How did you get there?” If we were to use this technique on the material level, it is a very powerful tool for creating new images for the subconscious mind and thus new realities. But what happens when we take such a tool and apply it not just to the subconscious mind, but to the super-conscious mind of the Higher Self? If we give over to this Higher Mind of the Divine and ask the Higher Mind of the Divine for openness to guidance, openness to wisdom, to let go of hate, anger, jealousy, resentment, to let go of illness, to let go of whatever holds us back spiritually? Then how much greater will that wisdom be? There is an old saying that says that the road is shorter when two travel together. How much shorter will our spiritual path be if it is traveled with the Higher self and the Divine? Will change not be exponentially greater than if I just try to use my Id, ego, or super ego? If I give over to the Divine mind of God/Goddess, if I give over to what Jung called the collective unconsciousness, I have now increased my possibilities for solutions and answers. Evil occurs when we remain in ignorance and isolation.
Edgar Cayce said, “All the beauty, all the love is of the Father. All the selfishness, all the hate, all the spite are of those things that make us aware of our facing the shadows rather than the light. Evil only creates fear and hate and sorrow and the lack of tolerance, the lack of faith and the lack of patience, the lack of hope, the lack of love and longsuffering and brotherly kindness. These only have their shadows in the activity of individuals toward their fellow man. Divinity blossoms as in the morning sun of light and hope of immortality, bringing to the mind of man that hope springing anew from the experiences of old.” Again, as we have seen, evil occurs when we isolate ourselves and do things out of selfishness.
My understanding of evil from the fantasy genre is again that when we understand ourselves and integrate the pieces of ourselves we become whole. In the case of the LOTR when Boromir tries to take the ring from Frodo, he falls into evil by trying to satisfy his individual needs. He redeems himself by sacrificing his life in order to save the hobbits. In the Earthsea trilogy, young Ged unleashes evil by his selfish use of magic before he was trained. Ged only finds peace from his shadow self through reintegration of his fractured should. You even see this in Harry Potter, who is able to meet with the Soulside of himself and defeat evil by the destruction of the Horcruxes.