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Mental Projections and the Scarlet Woman

Recently, The Last American Vagabond has explored a variety of esoteric concepts in relationship with modern science that have inevitably led to some abstract—albeit entirely empirical—ideas.

Threads of this analysis have included concepts like sleep paralysis, hypnosis and neurolinguistics programming, triggering altered states of consciousness through ritual and/or symbolism, ritual magick as psychotherapy through symbolism and Jungian “projection,” and the cross-analysis of classical psychological archetypes and their projected personifications in traditional folklore.

The conclusion, as a general consensus, has led more or less to a Fortean investigatory approach towards anything under the umbrella term of “supernatural” or “extra-sensory” activity. This is the supposition that religious and occult phenomena, paranormal, extra-terrestrial, cryptozoological, et cetera, are firstly, an undeniable reoccurring part of the human experience; and secondly, that the very authenticity of these experiences is defined by the blur between reality and dream-state (characterized by the altered state of consciousness) and by this very definition of the experience, this heavy overtone of surrealism in the waking conscious is a necessary requirement for an authentic experience. In short, these things are never black and white, and they are undefinable by nature, which is why there are such a broad range of synonymous but separated threads of interpretation of these phenomena. Everything, simply put, is gauged on the scale of cosmic weirdness, ranging from less weird, to weirder.

This idea of metaphysical-Jungian projection through some sort of bio-electrical reaction to electromagnetic activity in the ambient environment, is basically known as psychosophy. While this article does not endorse all the ideas of Rudolph Steiner, empirical deduction with this phenomena has led to ideas hardly separate from psychosophy—at least, in general principle.

The definition of psychosophy can be described as, “what a person can know of their soul on the basis of direct observation of oneself and others(experienced through the soul’s inner life).” As a refresher, let it be remembered that the “soul”(as illustrated by psychotherapeutic and hypnotic medical work cross-analyzed with esoteric literature and practice) is a bio-electrical feedback communication between what is known as the Microcosm and the Macrocosm of experience. Chaos theory and fractal mathematics explain this informational feedback, and thus the “soul” is an abstract category for the inexplicable area of the human experience in between the neurons and the environment. After all, if there wasn’t anything in between an excited neuron and the environment which excites it, then sciences such as epigenetics, biofeedback therapy, and others would not exist.

Moving forward, now that the mechanics are understood and some general historical context has been given(see prior works for more information), the effects of these abstract principles in our everyday life can be analyzed further. Much like the psychosomatic Jungian projection process of the “shadow people” phenomena during sleep paralysis, the “scarlet woman” esoteric-symbolic archetype can be seen as a likened psychosomatic principle of experience.

For those not versed in Western Esoterica, consider the Enochian archetype, Choronozon. In traditional esoteric thought, Choronzon is considered the ruler of the material realm and a sort of nemesis to the human, and it is often likened to the snake in the garden of Eden. However, as explained here, the tasting of the forbidden fruit is a double-edged sword, and that means that it can still be advantageous without being evil, even if it slices up the user a bit. The story of the Garden of Eden represents firstly, the gaining of knowledge beyond the previously recognized boundaries of consciousness, and secondly represents how easily this knowledge can corrupt and destroy the beholder if they are not prepared to understand, process, or properly use the knowledge(the “one ring to rule them all,” anybody?).

In Western Esoterica, the archetypal notion of the “Holy Guardian Angel” can be likened to the higher state of cognitive awareness described as the Anima and Animus in Jungian psychotherapy, and Choronzon can be likened to the shadow of every person’s own consciousness. The scarlet woman here is the archetypal representation of a person’s initial awareness of their own psychological shadow that constantly plagues them.

To quote Jung on the psychological processes of the shadow,

“We are still certain we know what other people think or what their true character is. We are convinced that certain people have all the bad qualities we do not know in ourselves. If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all his projections, then you get an individual who is conscious of a pretty thick shadow. Such a man has saddled himself with new problems and conflicts. He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now unable to say that they do this or that, they are wrong, and they must be fought against… Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day.”

Taken from,

“Choronzon is the Dweller in the Abyss, that great spiritual wilderness which must be crossed by the adept to attain mastery. Choronzon is there as the final obstruction. If he is met with the proper preparation, then he is there to destroy the ego, which allows the adept to move beyond the Abyss. If unprepared, then the unfortunate traveller will be utterly dispersed into annihilation.”

Psychotherapy, while likely not the end-all-be-all explanation here, is a fundamental codex for understanding just what exactly this means. The “Abyss/great spiritual wilderness” represents the bridge of cognitive dissonance or neuronal-karmic-entanglement that is hindering a healthy communication between a human’s varying levels of consciousness. The abyss is the allegory for the amount of dedication and hard work it takes for a person to overcome their own deep-rooted psychological neurosis or “shadow” or the archetype of “Choronzon;” and the Abyss is what separates a person’s inner hidden shadow from their higher-state of intuitive consciousness, or their “Anima/Animus” or “Holy Guardian Angel.”

Crossing this Abyss, and uniting with own’s own Holy Guardian Angel can be seen as another deeply poetic allegory for what is known as “Initiation” into the “Mysteries.” The term originally stemming from initiates to the ancient Gnostic Mysteries, “initiation” is now the ultimate allegory for a person coming into a fundamentally sound understanding of their context in the Microcosm and Macrocosm—a state that is optimal for both oneself and others around them. Ideas tossed around the independent media, like “waking up,” stem from this same archetypal notion. However, there is hardly any specific criteria for a person “waking up,” and an initiate of the Mysteries (whether self-initiated or through an organization) is a person aware of the metaphysical operations of the Microcosm and Macrocosm of experience, and requires quite a bit more criteria.

In progression, consider another quote from Jung. This one on the psychological processes of projection,

“The ‘advantage’ of projection consists in the fact that one has apparently got rid of the painful conflict once and for all. Somebody else or external circumstances now have the responsibility. In the present case, the reactivated father-imago gives rise to a hymn addressed to the deity in his specifically paternal aspect—hence the emphasis on the Father of all things, Creator, etc. The deity thus takes the place of the human singer; and earthly love is replaced by the heavenly… If this view is correct, then the picture of the father-god is a projection and the procedure responsible for this a self-deceiving maneuver undertaken for the illegitimate purpose of making a real difficulty unreal, that is, of juggling it out of existence.”

This quote, obviously, is not meant to undermine an overall abstract “God” concept, but rather to scrutinize some of the less healthier ideas that some people have of “God.” For the purposes of this analysis, it could not better explain the reoccurring colloquial expression of a man’s muse being his “scarlet woman,”(and vice versa for a woman, but the he/she word-game will be left out here to keep things simple).

To get it out of the way for traditional esotericists, this article concedes that, “It should be noted that this [archetype of the Scarlet Woman] is a lofty hierophantic office, and a conduit to the power of the Aeonic Current in the Khu of a woman — not the mere muse of a man.” However, while this is the case, in order to bring these archetypal concepts of knowledge and consciousness down to a more practical, psychotherapeutic application, any woman has the potential to embody this personification of the scarlet woman through Jungian psychological projection.

It is worth pausing for a moment to consider the philosophical, psychological significance of a man or woman’s muse of life. The Muses traditionally were known as the Greek goddesses of inspiring literature, science, and the arts, and aspects of their archetypes included poetry and music. Today, the colloquial phrase of a man or woman’s “muse,” means that the muse is an individual that has spurned the love of another—and the rejection turns the rejected lover to channel their unrequited love into inspiration towards the arts, or whatever the case may be. On an analytical level, as much as so many people would deny it, this concept of the muse is an inevitable part of living, and a chapter that cannot be skipped in anyone’s own personal “coming-of-age” tale in life.

Every person, unless they are a psychopath or sociopath, has to learn the unbearably humbling lesson of total rejection. This romantic termination of affairs, to put it bluntly, is a man or woman coming face to face with the very embodiment of their own psychological shadow. The lover whom has done the rejecting has truly seen everything that the one rejected has to offer, and it simply did not make the cut. The person rejected basically has to either accept their own shortcomings and begin a journey of self-improvement, ignore the situation and stuff it down into the subconscious, or worst of all, many people let the shadow consume them long after the lover is gone, and the feelings are gone with it. They had met Choronzon for the first time, the embodiment of everything that is improper with their own personal existence, and were not adequately prepared. The Holy Guardian angel slipped through their fingers; the ego engulfed them, and the Scarlet Woman receded behind the curtain of the subconscious, back into the unconscious where she awaits her next opportunity. For many, as simple as the predicament seems, it can begin a spiraling effect downward that lasts the rest of a person’s lifetime unless addressed. And more often than not, the shadow is never addressed to the fullest extent that it could be.

The scarlet woman represents the archetypal principle resting within the higher awareness of every person’s consciousness, waiting to pull a person deeper into the darkness of their ignorance of existence, so that they are consumed by it or learn to illuminate themselves. This article as well asserts that the intrinsic psychosomatic yearning for a partner that each and every individual possesses throughout their life, is in part based on—but not entirely because of—this esoteric principle of being able to initiate oneself into a deeper personal awareness by having a lover that acts as a sort of mirror, in the Jungian projection sense. This notion is something upheld in Kabbalistic metaphysics as well.

Speaking of Kabbalah: it can only be brought up as a minor note to maintain a sense of brevity here, but the second sephiroth on the Tree of Life, known as Binah, is esoterically associated with the scarlet woman. Binah is the sephiroth that represents the “treasury of wisdom, quarry of God’s spirit, hewn out by the spirit of God,” or in a layman sense, it represents the opportunity for initiation into higher awareness.

This notion of the pull towards a higher awareness is but one reason why the scarlet woman is considered the dual archetype of the sacred mother and the sacred whore—in short, because she is the nurturing principles, and turns her back to none who are ready, willing, and able.

If someone is searching for the scarlet woman archetype, all they have to do is begin preparing for her visit. When anyone is ready, she will appear, and not a moment sooner. Unfortunately, being “ready” does not necessarily mean that one is prepared enough to follow her all the way—and as far as the muse of the physical lover is concerned, they are simply a psychological conduit for projection, and not a literal scarlet woman (although not just any person can create this reaction in another person—it takes very specific types of people and relationships). It is often not even a scarlet woman encounter if the romance does not end. Although there are exceptions to every rule, when the psychological shadow is encountered abruptly, it tends to turn out messy. She is also known to visit first in dreams before she is projected into the waking consciousness.

As a final note for anyone looking to further investigate how these principles operate in their own lives, remember this most of all: the scarlet woman, just like the Holy Guardian Angel and Choronzon, are archetypal aspects of our own consciousness that are separated but intertwined with our waking consciousness. This article is not attempting to dismiss the esoteric, metaphysical aspects of these characters, but this would require quite a separate portion of analysis to do justice. Suffice it to say that a person does not need to understanding ritual magick in order to glean positive results from these principles(hence, the comparison to Jungian psychotherapy), and the overall point impressed here is this: whether a person is a magician, a school teacher, or a desk-jockey, everyone can benefit from uniting their varying states of consciousness in a healthy communication so as to attain a real sense of peace through empirical and verifiable methods.

scarlet woman

Any person looking for the most articulate, well-reasoned, empirical, and heart-felt explanation of these principles in man—specifically, the Holy Guardian Angel—start here.


Anthony Tyler
A journalist and author from Anchorage, Alaska, Anthony Tyler aims to twist the knife in both phony new-age ideals and scientific materialism by drawing attention to the rich heritage of esoteric science throughout history. Far from being “satanist,” the esoteric (i.e. occultism or comparative religion) marks the beginning of mathematics, astronomy, psychology, medicine, and even politics. Esoteric science represents a cache of little-known knowledge detailing how to decipher the human's unconscious mind--and the unconscious mind is essentially everything that the human mind is not considering at any given moment.

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