Knowing Your Ghosts: Robert Graves and the Dark Side of the Moon

The poet, playwright and combat veteran of The Great War who was left for dead, Robert Graves, is known for a great body of work.  My favourite, though, is a book called The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth.

In it, he posits that there are two kinds of knowing:  solar (think of Apollo as the sun god of myth) which is material, scientific, mathematics, “practical,” grounded, the out in the open  – and associated with patriarchal religion.   The other knowledge system is what he calls lunar (think Isis, the Moon Goddess): the numinous, the imagination, the indefinite, the feminine, the hidden, the secret, the Muse, inspiration, spiritual, intuition, and matriarchal religion).  In the beginning of the book, he shares some incidents of synchronicity he experienced and which influenced him to write the book.

While physics, astronomy, psychology would be classified as solar knowledge, astrology, tarot, the enneagram, and psychic intuition-related things are lunar, or as Graves would say, under the aegis of the White Moon Goddess, or feminine principle.  And this is in no way to imply a sense of either feminism or of  wimpishness:  Graves would argue that whilst history was won by patriarchal, solar (Apollonian) knowledge and beliefs –  lunar knowledge, while diminished and decried by its opposite,  exists, and needs to be drawn on for greater understanding, inspiration, and for living one’s life  in a healthier, integrated way.

This is certainly true as we search for meaning in our experiences of ghosts.  You’ve heard the expression “Listen to your gut!”  – an  imperative when it comes to the paranormal, both in the perception of phenomena, and more importantly, in the interpretation of it so that it has meaning for you.

Don’t let some general book about ghosts tell you what happened to you.  Sit with your experience of the ghost.  Analyze it. What happened? What kind of ghost was it?  What was going on with it? What was going on with you at the time?  Where did it happen?  How did you feel at the time? How do you feel now, looking back?  Did you learn anything?  Did it change your world view?  What is YOUR sense of its meaning in the personal context of your own life – which you know better than anyone.

Solar knowledge would tell us “there is no such thing as a ghost.”  That’s fine: except that ghosts have been seen and reported throughout history – and not in lunatic asylums, but seen, heard and sensed by sound, normal, competent witnesses.  Solar knowledge may help us measure the phenomena:  you’ve seen ghost hunters with all kinds of equipment.

But it will be the feeling, the sensitivity, the intuition, the awareness of the individual and his willingness to examine his ghostly experience that will be the most revealing and provide the greatest understanding and growth – not recorders and instruments.


6 thoughts on “Knowing Your Ghosts: Robert Graves and the Dark Side of the Moon

  1. I read Graves in school! Great writer. I generally think that what you learn from writers, you learn through their writing, not necessarily what they write about their writing, and frankly, not through their metaphysics (Yeats visited Madame Blavatsky!)

    Liked by 1 person

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