DEVELOPMENT OF THE PSYCHEDELIC INDIVIDUAL
This article was originally written for the journal Psychedelic Monographs and Essays.
Edited by Tom Lyttle, this journal also featured my article, "Tantric Lunar Resonance Meditation," (1985), artwork (1990, 1991), and "Chaos as the Universal Solvent," Vol. 7 (1994).
This article is not about drug-induced psychedelia, but about the psychedelic state of consciousness and its access through the process of self-actualization. Gowan himself decried the use of drugs, and likewise considered magic and the occult as developmental forcing and considered both highly dangerous pursuits. Because of this attitude, he told us he was unfamiliar with Qabala, yet his descriptions of certain stages of development fit the key elements and essence of the Spheres on the Path of Return, as we shall show.
In an era when all we therapists were hearing mostly about dysfunctionality, (as the public discovered the recovery movement), it was refreshing to hark back to the idealistic notion of optimising growth potential. When it was all about the Inner Child, some of us were saying "Yes, but what about the Adult?"
THE PSYCHEDELIC INDIVIDUAL:
A 20 Year Retrospective and Commentary
on the Work of John Curtis Gowan
by Iona Miller, ©1994
ABSTRACT: As we approach the Millennium, we can hark back for more than nostaligia to the classic chronicles of the psychedelic revolution. Twenty years ago, in 1974, creativity expert John Curtis Gowan, (Professor Emeritus, California State University, Northridge, California) published, DEVELOPMENT OF THE PSYCHEDELIC INDIVIDUAL: A Psychological Analysis of the Psychedelic State and Its attendant Psychic Powers. While Gowan "may have some pretensions to being creative, he has none at all to being psychedelic." His work suffers only from this objectivity. This article reviews Gowan's orientation, his concepts of escalation and developmental dysplasia, and the creation of the Northridge Developmental Scale, a test for self-actualization. The commentary includes: 1). current observations on the psychedelic stage in experiential therapy, ("drug-free shamanism") for a 90's approach to Gowan's work, and 2). the qabalistic Tree of Life as an ancient map of consciousness and model of developmental escalation, interpreted in Gowan's terms for historical perspective.
A Prospective Retrospective
Developmental Stage Theory
The Psychedelic Stage in Experiential Therapy
The Tree of Life: An Ancient Model of Escalation
"This book is for the Twenty-First Century. It will speak across time to those who come after, as Thoreau's Walden speaks across the Nineteenth Century to us. Happy is he who understands it now for he can set his house in order to welcome the Zeitgeist of that day and era."
"Psychedelic experiences are characterized by a sudden, spasmodic, transitory nature, and off-again on-again typ of episode which leaves the individual enthralled, but somewhat let down when it is over. Illumination, however, is a steady state where the art of controlling the experience has been mastered. But like the display of adventitious psychic powers, "natural" psychedelia is not valuable unless followed up by action and development; its represents potentiality, not accomplishment."
--John Curtis Gowan, 1974
A PROSPECTIVE RETROSPECTIVE
This classic work in interdisciplinary consciousness studies was printed for the Creative Education Foundation for the 20th Annual Creative Problem-Solving Institute, Buffalo, N.Y., June, 1974. It traces in developmental stage form the growth of the relationship between the individual ego and the collective preconscious which underlies creativity and psychedelic or mind-expansion functions. The work is based in thee idea that the preconscius is involved in a developmental process which starts with anxiety and ranges to creativity through well known stations on the continuum of mental health.
Gowan expanded the continuum of the developmental process outlined by humanistic psychologists (Erikson, Maslow, Rogers, Piaget). He included mystical/transpersonal states of consciousness and their attendant phenomena, including those occuring naturally, through meditation, and as the result of drug ingestion. Gowan's use of "psychedelic" is not synonymous with "drug related." His overview includes the work of Kubie, Sullivan, Tart, Masters and Houston, De Ropp, and Krippner, among others.
Before "self esteem" became a buzz-word for the 90s, he defined a developmental continuum with equally vital dimensions of cognition and affect, rational and emotional development. Perhaps even more importantly, he surveys the positive and negative effects of natural escalation compared with developmental forcing on subsequent emergence of creativity and personality change.
Further he constructed a psychological test measuring the process/goal of self-actualization. In 1972, the Northridge Developmental Scale was bootstrapped from the Personal Orientation Inventory (Shostrum, 1966) and other measures of self-concept, emotional morale and psychological well-being.
Gowan proposed three modes of cognition: prototaxic, parataxic, and syntaxic, which he amplified as trance, art, and creativity. They indicate the styles and degree of immersion or cooperation betwen the ego and the preconscious. They range from dissociation, to propitiation, to conscious contact with the irrational and numinous element--from unconscious insstinctual response, to (usually symbolic) self-conscious ego processes, tto inner, paranormal "uncanny" aspects.
Gowan's major works, including THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CREATIVE INDIVIDUAL (1972), DEVELOPMENT OF THE PSYCHEDELIC INDIVIDUAL (1974), TRANCE, ART, AND CREATIVITY (1975), and OPERATIONS OF INCREASING ORDER (1980) express his continued interest in the spectrum of human consciousness potential and the defining of a relative taxonomy of such states. Though excellent, these works were not widely circulated and are somewhat difficult to find, particularly outside of academic circles.
J.C. Gowan's lifework led him to the notion of a developmental order within states of consciousness. This order (see Chart 1) includes three cycles (latency, identity, creativity) revolving around issues of trust, autonomy, initiative, industry, identity, intimacy, and generativity. Breeches of this order lead to a relative displacement of emotional and mental well-being which can inhibit or prevent integration.
Gowan used the work of Piaget to define the rational development of the mind, and that of Erikson to chart emotional development. Usually the cognitive level lags a stage or two behind the emotional; but opthers are emotionally stunted or frozen in their development. Our modern society has come to known this condition as dysfunctionality, inability to consistently function in an age-appropriate manner. It is a dissonance between rational and emotional dynamics resulting in self-defeating or self-destructive tendencies. Gowan called it dysplasia, developmental arrest which holds back self-actualizing potential.
Escalation implies raising the level of action by discrete jumps--quantum leaps in consciousness. Accessing latent energy resources escalates development from one level to the next. Discontinuity is a requisite for change. Gowan defined developmental forcing as trying to escalate from a given stage to more than one stage higher through mechanical or artificial means.
He likened this forcing to developmental abuse: trying to use characteristic powers or fruits of a given stage for display purposes when the individual is actually engaged in tasks of an earlier stage. Relative dysplasia results from not keeping up with developmental tasks--failure to escalate. But in developmental forcing an individual is exposed to experiences or tasks for which they are developmentally unprepared, and forced to attempt or react to them.
Conversely, those who are well-adapted for their age can become stuck at any level of particular success. He notes that most mature adults become emotionally arrested at the level of vocational fulfillment, financial success, and happy marriage. Another stall may occur as the psychedelic nature-mystic experience where nature is enjoyed for its own sake. Success at any stage of development may promote the desire to continue at play rather than integrating the lessons learned into the task of the next stage. Further development is an evolutionary task/opportunity.
This notion fit well in the psychological context of its time--the human potential movement with its accent on growth and linear movement toward perfection or some other process of ever-elusive "salvation." It is consistent with classical Jungian psychology and humanistic psychology, and the general scientific paradigm of its time.
Current notions in new generation Jungian thought, process work, and even process theology, are less focused on the developmental perspective of the coping heroic ego--becoming--and more focused on the ground state of Being--the dynamic Void or naked reality. The older view seems to underemphasize the initiatory capacity of these breakthrough experiences, expressed in our cultural history by 50,000 years of shamanic art and accident.
A course-correction here in conceptualization could include what we have subsequently learned in 20 years of the study of complexity and chaos theory. The difference is one of ego control compared with "letting go" and trusting the natural process: ego strength or flow/fluidity. The new paradigm--which embraces chaos--is expressed in science and psychology in such notions as complex non-linear dynamics, punctuated equilibrium, emergent creativity, and self-organization.
Operations of increasing order automatically lead to entropy, which facilitates the breakdown of old forms including outworn personality traits and states of consciousness. Experiences of the complex interplay of chaos and order are the instrument of all development as well as that of the "psychedelic individual."
Self-initiation through the inner guide (happenstance or intent) often leads, in a person with latent shamanic tendencies, to self-induced "shock-treatment," the results of which the person is subsequently forced to confront in daily life. Two commonly employed mechanical means are drug use and marathon meditation, either of which can force escalation beyond normal social developmental stages.
Even in those with a poor social foundation, this "forcing" may crystallize a spiritual or inner-directed behavior which conditions or balances the individual in the short- or long-run. Thus, a dynamic if chaotic "path" or direction of development is chosen. The more definitive the commitment, the clearer the emergent non-linear path and creativity.
Gowan did allude perhaps to a dynamic interplay within the transformative process. Within each transition, he identifies certain components of change: succession, discontinuity (discontinuous equilibration), emergence or budding, differentiation or metamorphosis, and integration or creative repatterning. Together they define phases of developmental escalation, or shifting to a higher gear for more efficient use of available energy. The objective of escalation is creativity.
Integration in the developmental process includes five aspects: (1) confrontation of differences, (2) integration, (3) a yielding up or giving up of the old for a new reorganization, (4) a process of differentiation and (5) a positive directionality.
In summary, Gowan piggybacks on the notions of Erikson and Piaget to create a developmental stage theory, which asserts four ideas:
Gradually, the traumatic impact of the encounter between conscious and unconscious diminishes as the individual develops. The person learns how to handle issues of identity, love or intimacy, and finally death. Encounters with the "not-me" symbolize and express death of the ego, and prepare one for physical death by de-emphasizing sensory input. Rather than becoming traumatically overwhelmed, the personal identity expands to experience full emotional and cognitive acceptance of both freedom and responsibility.
[insert charts: Developmental Stage Theory and Components of Escalation]
Pushing on our boundaries, we run the risk of rupturing our sense of identity. This is why the concept of a free creativity is always associated with the genuine danger of a "treasure hard to attain." Peak experiences of creative possibility can lead to self-fulfillment or self-destruction.
Mystic atonement crowns the quest after lower developmental needs have been satisfied. Gowan, seemingly a humanist, asserts that the proper use of the awesome power of the psychedelic stage is "to protect and preserve those objects of individual man's self-concept starting with the health and welfare of his body image, and then extending outward to his invironmental self and its possessions, his loved ones, his associations and interests, his concerns and finally his total environment and his creations, thus embracing all of his natural world."
The small ego diffuses through cosmic expansion of the hierarchy of needs toward an enlarged sense of Self. According to Gowan, "man's highest purpose is not to experience the world of the senses as a reactive being but to design it...to become part of the noumenon of the universe ... co-creator...co-designer."
He quotes Troward from 1909 as to how this can be done:
This creative visualization cycle has practically become one of the foundation principles of New Age thought. Essentially, this same process is echoed in the transformational realities of experiential psychotherapy.
THE PSYCHEDELIC STAGE IN EXPERIENTIAL THERAPY
Though it is arguable that there is no classical shamanism without mind-altering plants, therapy provides a perhaps more accessible form of "drug-free shmanism" as a socially-sanctioned alternative. This sanction and external guidance do little to muffle the profound effect on participants in experiential journeys into the depths and heights of their souls. The dangers are still real, for our fears and taboos are rooted in our personal belief systems, within our deep existential core. The navigational help of an experienced guide mitigates the fears and defenses which prevent us from plunging into these depths on our own.
A primary value of consciousness journeys is the recapitulation and symbolic reiteration in an almost fractal-like manner of our entire evolutionary and developmental history. Thus any journey can incorporate and modify imagery from all the developmental stages, depending on a wide variety of states of dientification and dissociation. Through this means interior processes are deepened, and psychedelic consciousness naturally emerges.
It is often felt during the resolution or healing phase of the session as profound serenity and a sense of enlargement and communion. As healing continues (the physical form of creativity), the emergent psychedelia of the sessions becomes more generalized throughout daily life. Each developmental advance involves the increased cognitive confluence with an understanding of this deepening interior process.
By closing the gap between unconscious emotions and "acting out" with rational understanding of the roots of attitudinal and behavioral patterns, therapy facilitates healing of dysplasia and existential of mental and emotional faculties. Cognitive dissonance is healed when our self-concept stands up to consensus reality checks and our thinking and feeling are in harmony; our existential reality matches our perception. Head and heart cooperate, rather than tearing us in two. As most therapists will testify, we usually know what is "right" to do, but we tend to do what we feel like doing, even when it is self-defeating.
When we consciously will our attention inward in a safe, therapeutic setting, experiences emerge through process work which are virtually identical to natural psychedelic experiences. Their common elements can be summarized in seven points, as defined by Gowan:
|1) The attention of the subject is gripped, and his perception narrowed or focused on a single event or sensation; 2) which appears to be an experience of surpassing beauty or worth; 3) in which values or relationships never before realized are instantaneously or very suddenly emphasized; 4) resulting in the sudden emergence of great joy and an orgiastic experience of ecstasy; 5) in which indiviudal barriers separating the self from others or nature are broken down; 6) resulting in a release of love, confidence, or power; and 7) some kind of change in the subsequent personality, behavior or artistic product after the rapture is over.|
There are phenomena common the psychedelic experience, mystical states, and process work.They are typically the same, because the process/goal is the same no matter what means we use to facilitate expansion of consciousness. As the ego goes through its symbolic death throes images of dismemberment and dissolution prevail.
The corresponding physical unstressing manifests as completely involuntary, unintended, spontaneous muscular-skeletal movementss and proprioceptive sensations: momentary or repeated twitches, spasms, tingling, tics, jerking, swaying, pains, shaking, aches, internal pressures, headaches, weeping, laughter, etc. Visceral experiences range from extreme pleasure to acute distress. They may include bristling of the hair, perspiration, and burning sensations.
Developmental forcing is felt as a shick, psychic jolt, or jerk. On the other hand, mystic ecstasy brings feelings of serene delight, sensations of the remoteness of physical surroundings, and transpersonal ecstatic exaltation beyond words. Cosmic expansion brings psychic phenomena in its wake. Yogis caution that these siddhis are epiphenomena--powers which are actually obstacles to further enlightenment. Beneficial contact comes through interpenetration of the preconscius and conscious mind.
Mead (1993) reports that meditation has a definite down side for some individuals. Rather than promoting relaxation, it leads to stress, anxiety, depression, and even panic attack. "Relaxation induced panic" manifests as muscular tension, racing heart, head pain, and perspiration. Schizophrenic breakdown has been triggered by meditation, as well as psychogenic illness, and suicidal tendencies.
Typical side effects include sore throats, muscular cramps, tingling or stinging sensations (localized or general), feelings of heaviness or weightlessness, floating sensations, outbursts of laughter or crying, mood swings, involuntary sighing, sweating, trembling, and shivering.
All of these manifestations appear in experiential journeys. When the sensations are validated and deepened they transform, and the journeyer is transformed with them. Experiential therapy, like meditation is not a form of relaxation, but actually an activity of attention and concentration, which raises our innate level of spiritual energy (chi, kundalini, Shekinah, "the Force," etc.) with a body/mind altering effect. Once this force is aroused, it is unpredictable just how it will effect the mental, physical, and emotional states. This is the hero's journey into consciousness transformation, the age-old quest.
THE TREE OF LIFE: AN ANCIENT MODEL OF ESCALATION
We have examined some conceptual advances which emerged after Gowan's publication. However, even though he didn't explore this particular mystical path or Way, much of his creative thought in developmental stage theory is echoed in or corresponds with the ancient glyph of transformation of consciusness: the Tree of Life, as it appears in ancient Qabala and modern metaphysics.
Jewish mystics employ this glyph from the Sephir Yetzirah, or The Book of Formation, for meditation. These kabbalistic practices have generalized into the Western mystery tradition ass the practice of magic. The Tree of Life is a consciousness map and fountain-head of most occult arts. Theurgic magic, which aspires toward greater and greater union with Self and Divinity, is a system of exaltive meditation and creative visualization which employs ritual to alter states of consciusness at will in harmony with the cycles of Nature.
In private correspondence with this author in 1982, Gowan made it known that he considered the practice of magic a form of developmental forcing, and therefore dangerous, so he excluded it from his anecdotal reports of expanded states of consciousness.
The Tree of Life depicts the interactive elements of the psyche as well as the archetypal forces of the universe. The 10 Spheres or vortices of this circuit represent the dynamic, interactive balance of archetypal energetic forces within the universe and each psyche, and their corresponding qualities.
The 22 paths of "concealed glory" on the Tree reveal the holistic feedback patterns, the means of transition and interaction between them--transitional states of consciousness. Gowan's styles of cognition--prototaxic, parataxic, syntaxic, and unitive states--correspond with planes of consciusness: physical, astral, causal, and unitive.
This Tree is a "ladder of consciousness" which each aspirant may climb toward higher mystic states. The physical biochemical basis of experience is symbolized by the bottom two vortices, which (ala Gowan) we shall call Succession and Emergence. There is a vertical symbolic journey from the ordinary sensory consciousness of physical life (succession) toward the emergent psychic capacities encountered in the trance state (emergence). Traditionally, the bottom sphere represents the Elements of Earth, while the trance state is linked through symbolism with the Moon, psychism, and surrealistic "astral" perception which is often bizarre or uncanny.
"Trance" is achieved in therapy and ritual by interrupting ordinary awareness--by creating a discontinuity, disruption, temporary chaos. At this prototaxic level, the ego is overwhelmed, and transformations manifest as sensations at the psychophysical and psychosexual level. Self-image, perceptions, and sense of time may be temporarily lost or distorted. The ego dissolves in unconscious communion with the primal preconscious.
Further development leads not only to a change in planes, but a change in the style of cognition to "Art," the parataxic mode, as expressed through gesture, body language, art, myth, ritual, dream, and archetypes. In this plane, the accent is on affect (emotional response). On the glyph of the Tree of Life, the polarities are depicted as horizontally balanced centers of force, yoked opposites of Cognition and Affect (Hod/Netzach). With greater experience an understanding of the inner world, a relationship develops which allows the ego to glimpse and participate with transpersonal forces.
In the traditional correspondences Cognition is linked with Mercury (Differentiation) and balanced by Affect which is associated with Venus (Metamorphosis). They are akin to Will and Imagination, or perhaps the Jungian functions of Thinking and Feeling. One gains not only theoretical knowledge of Self, but also experiential awareness of the imaginal realms--a "virtual reality"--perceived through the vision of the soul. The dissonance of dysplasia is replaced by a resonating congruence or confluence of both developmental forces. This creates a positive directionality or momentum, an impetus, a facilitation of exstatic higher states in their emergent or bud form.
We can summarize the correspondences of Gowan's components of escalation with the Spheres of the lower portion of the Tree of Life as follows:
SUCCESSION = MALKUTH, Sphere 10. Implies the perception of the aspirant that there is a fixed hierarchical order among the developmental processes. There is a continual rise in awareness at each level, and the order of succession is invariant. At this level of awareness (Malkuth), it seems as if the track of development is fixed although there is flexibility in rate and extent of progress. The main degree of freedom lies in the speed at which one chooses to escalate along the "path" of development.
DISCONTINUITY = YESOD, Sphere 9. Postulates a series of discrete changes in levels of consciousness, much like the locks of a canal. Movement is from pre-rational to rational to trans-rational. Developmental escalation comes from strategically balancing or equilibrating the forces at each discrete jump, much as a clutch does when we shift gears. Additional energy is freed up for the aspirant through increased efficiency.
EMERGENCE = HOD, Sphere 8. Shows the debut of new powers characteristic of access to the Astral Plane. They are the prototype of latter abilities which can be relied upon to function at will. First powers appear in tenuous form, and later they are permanent. Pathworking becomes more defined. One no longer follows a dim trail, but a clearly marked Way. Each stage is revealing the characteristics of the next phase in bud-form.
DIFFERENTIATION = NETZACH, Sphere 7. Refers to the enhanced focusing and clarifying of concept formation accessable at the Hod-Netzach level of experience; emotional intelligence. Lest we become fixated in habits which prevent further development, a metamorphosis occurs in which there is a sudden switch in emphasis from one stage to another. It is much like an adolescent longing for childhood irresponsibility which transforms into facing the future with a mature, methodical preparation. When we have been successful in one phase of life, the temptation is that we will desire to remain on that level. In other words, we get stuck, and need to transform our hang ups to flow with the grain of natural processes.
INTEGRATION = TIPHARETH, Sphere 6. We can finally put it all together in an integrated whole. This transrational synthesis creates new degrees of insight, freedom, and creativity. All previous sstages are united in a holistic viewpoint, greater than the sum of its parts. According to Gowan, the road to high well-being and creativity has five milestones: "1). confrontation of differences, 2). integration, 3). a yielding up or giving up of the old for a new reorganization, 4). a process of differentiation and 5). a positive directionality."
PSYCHEDELIA = DAATH, The Invisible Sphere. Direct experiential contact with the numinous or divine element, multi-sensory "visionary" state, perceptual synesthesia; complementary images of fullness and void; temporary but profound communion with Nature, God, and Mankind; oceanic and peak experiences.
ILLUMINATION = KETHER, Sphere 1. The Unitive state of consciousness.
Rising through the planes on the Tree of Life, "climbing" the tree, is a meditational exercise in consciusness-raising. Emergence is an operative principle throughout the vertical "climb" up the Tree of Life. Emergent abilities are first glimpsed, and later stabilized. This aspiration is an instinctual urge to experience higher statess of consciousness, and the magical analog of natural escalation and development forcing. We should note that aspirants to this path were always cautioned to have their earthly lives in order before attempting to scale the heights.
Just as Jung recommended the path of individuation only for those approaching midlife, masters of the Qabala preferred well-grounded mature students, rarely accepting those under age 30 for advanced training. Further, Rabbi Kaplan (1990) notes, "a person would not attempt to climb a dangerous mountain without the proper training and equipment. Any novice who would attempt a climb without an experienced guide would be courting disaster. Climbing spiritual heights can be equally dangerous. One needs the proper training and mental equipment, as well as an experienced spiritual guide."
When climbing the "mystic mountain," balancing the Cognitive and Affective energy centers opens a Middle Way, a transitional mode of consciousness referred to as Art or Temperance. This path leads directly to the central sphere of "Creativity," which radiates integration and magnetically draws us toward individualized consciusness, self-actualization or fulfillment of our unique potential.
The emergence of this state as a creative impulse is glimpsed in the parataxic mode, but its fruition comes through the stabilzation of syntaxic awareness--the qabalistic form of Self-realization, which brings a new sense of equilibrium and transmuttation. According to Fortune (1935/1984), "consciousness ceases to work in symbolic subconscious representations but apprehends by means of emotional reactions." Mysticism itself is one of the greatest arts, melding aspiration and artistic expression.
This well-spring of creativity is the source of Intuition which balances instinct and proprioceptive Sensation. In THE TREE OF LIFE, Regardie (1969) states in no uncertain tterms that "Genius in itself is caused by or proceeds concommitantly with a spiritual experience of the highest intuitional order." He considered self-discovery and spiritual attainment an evolutionary mandate.
Aspiration leads up the Middle Way into the state of Psychedelia or mystic rapture, which includes the possibility of mystic rupture of the protective covering of the ego if forced too far, too soon (Daath, the psychedelic sphere of Knowledge). Again, Rabbi Kaplan notes that, "The further one climbs, however, the more rarefied the atmosphere, and the greater the spiritual danger. By a simple permutation, the word Kether (Crown) becomes Karet, the Hebrew word for excision, where a person is completely cut off spiritually." The dangers alluded to include mental, emotional, moral, and spiritual chaos.
In Jewish or occult meditation, when a qabalist enters the mysteries, he or she must parallel the sequence of creation. We first enter the Universe of Chaos with its confusion of transient images; even the Spheres are perceived as disconnected images. But by meditating on and experiencing the traditional paths, relationships become apparent and a sense of integration develops as we realize we are that gestalt of the Tree of Life. This "creation pattern" echoes what we find in experiential therapy sessions where notions of the old self break down in chaos prior to connection with holistic repatterning that heals and reveals an expanded sense of self.
The stabilization of the Creative stage ("Beauty," Sphere 6) leads to the ascension of transpersonal values in personality and behavior. So-called normal consciousness can proceed no further, and ego (through this insight) diffuses into an expanded sense of superconsiciousness. Though Gowan is vague on this point, the Qabala hints that access to higher mystical states involves the balancing of the qualities of Judgement or Severity (strength, fear, discrimination) with those of Mercy, Love, or Compassion, corresponding respectively with Mars and Jupiter.
On a higher octave, it involves the downflowing of grace, a marriage of Understanding (Saturn) and Wisdom (Uranus). This psychedelic state, Daath, is a contact with the macrocosm, the numinous element which resultts from the twin blessings of Wisdom and Understanding wherein the psychophysical self is "contained", yet expanded and diffused in pure consciousness containing no sensory imagery. It holds the secret of generation and regeneration and the manifestation of all things from No Thing. In Qabala, the developmental process culminates in complete absorption in the Unitive state of Kether, the uppermost vortex--Illumination.