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 Temenos (concise)

Part 3

The Temenos Model
(extended version)
 [by Ray Harris]

Part 1 and 2



In order for you to understand my comments I need to introduce you to my version of the ‘Spectrum of Consciousness’. I developed this model independently in the mid-eighties and it was whilst researching corroborative material that I encountered Ken’s work. It was of course, invaluable.

I suspended the development of this model (I had started compiling the material into a book tentatively entitled ‘Upon the Wings of Gabriel : Toward a Spiritual Psychology’) for two reasons. Firstly, I was increasingly drawn toward a concentrated period of spiritual practice, which culminated in my living in an ashram for five years. Secondly, I felt my work was, in a sense, redundant in the light of Ken’s prodigious output.

However, I have since left the ashram and have been reintroduced to Ken’s work (and more recently Spiral Dynamics). In that light I have reassessed my own work. I now regard that my model, whilst it is in substantial agreement with Ken’s, approaches the ‘Spectrum’ from a different angle and as such has the insights of a different perspective.

But I am not one to promote a model just for the sake of adding my own voice. Ultimately my work must be judged by its usefulness. And a fundamental question must be asked; does it aid clarity? In this post-modern world we have a literal ‘babble’ of perspectives clamoring for attention and I believe it would be irresponsible of me to promote my work unless I was confident that it did indeed aid clarity, that it did indeed have some usefulness.

In order to be as brief as possible this paper is really a series of informal notes. It is intended as a ‘first’ look, it does not claim to be a final draft. Each section could easily be expanded into much longer and more carefully expressed essays. Perhaps there are really two books here. ‘Upon the Wings’ would explain the hermeneutics. The other would explore the implications. So forgive me if my brevity begs explanation. It may raise more questions than answers ? which is really my intention.



The inspiration for this model arose out of an idle pondering about a problem within the esoteric fields of astrology and alchemy, particularly in Hindu Tantrism. What is the relationship between astrological symbology and the chakra system? In western alchemy this becomes a problem of astrological symbolism and the alchemical stages of transformation ? which immediately links us into the work of Jung. Now I say idle pondering because I really didn’t expect to uncover anything of moment. I was simply pursuing a line of inquiry for entertainment. But as I played with different models (including the traditional jyotish model) I conceived a different way to align the signs of the zodiac with the chakras and as I played with this model I began to see a whole range of patterns and hermeneutical connections that had implications well beyond my initial ‘toying’ around.

Now, at this stage I must assure those of you dubious of the claims of astrology as a predictive art that I am categorically not talking about predictive astrology. (It is also important to add that the astrological references could easily be dropped without detracting a great deal ? although a Jungian understanding of the signs as archetypes will flesh out some important characteristics. To understand this Jungian aspect we have to ask why it is these particular archetypes that we ‘project’ onto the tabula rasa of the night sky ? given that similar archetypes are projected in entirely different cosmological systems, for instance, the Chinese circumpolar system). 

I am talking about a set of symbols that have played an important part in the human psyche, particularly in the West and in India, for well over three thousand years. And as such they are symbols that point toward a deep structure of consciousness. In other words they are indicators of archetypes.  Naturally these archetypes are revealed in non-astrological symbology and a good portion of my work involves cross-referencing a solid body of mythological and esoteric/exoteric religious symbolism - across many cultures.

Needless to say the work of Campbell and Jung were invaluable companions. Here I will say that this model is a symbol of the Self and expands Jung’s structure of the Self from a quaternity to a duodecanary. 

So, what does this symbolism have to say?


As it is based, in part, on astrological symbols, my model consists of twelve levels. What is unique about my system is that the twelve zodiacal archetypes are paired into their classical opposites, thus making a system of six dyads. It is the use of these dyads that create the psychology of the levels. I think this is fairly self-evident once you understand and begin to work with the symbology.

And before I begin I wish to point out that each of these levels has sub-levels as well, but I will explain this in more detail later.


First Chakra. Taurus/Scorpio. Fulcrum 0 - 2

Here the dyad expresses the struggle between the abundance of life and its companion decay. Eros/Thanatos. Taurus is the most material of the signs and generally speaks of the abundance and enjoyment of materiality. Scorpio rules death, sex and the occult. The glyph of Scorpio is based on the open tail of the serpent and whilst its common animal symbolism is the scorpion its less known animals are the serpent and the eagle. Hence Kundalini, the Serpent Power.

In the individual ? Sensorimotor (Archaic and Archaic Magic). Here I want to make a particular note about Stan Grof’s ‘Basic Perinatal Matrices’.

In society ? Uroboros/Typhon. Early hunter/gatherer bands.

Guiding myth ? The serpent in the garden/tree of life.

Cultural artefacts ? Images of the bull and of the serpent.


Second chakra. Cancer/Capricorn. Fulcrum 3 - 4

Here the dyad becomes the struggle between the mother and the father. The mother represents comfort and security. The father represents discipline and order.

In the individual ? Preoperational (mother), Concrete Operational (father). The family dynamic. Early sexual identity. Oedipus/Electra.

In society ? Early agricultural societies, early patriarchal city-states. Magic/Mythic.

Guiding myth - The Great Mother. The Terrible Father. Here I want to make a note that the ruling planet of Capricorn is Saturn (Saturnus/Chronus) who ate his children. In Hebrew Saturn is sabbatai and Yahweh’s day, the Sabbath, is held on Saturn’s day.

Cultural artefacts ? Early Goddess imagery. The shift from the bull to the ‘Mountain’ Goat/Sheep/Ram. Abraham sacrifices the Ram instead of his son on a mountain. Moses goes to Mt Sinai.


The third chakra. Aries/Libra. Fulcrum 5

Here the dyad becomes the struggle between the individual and the arts of civilisation ? Praxis/Polis. The Hero has separated from the Mother and the tyranny of the Father and undertakes a journey. But such adventurism must be curtailed by the civilised arts - culture.

In the individual - The ego. Formal operational. But here I want to distinguish between an early form of formop which is egocentric and manipulative and a later form which is relational and philosophic/rational but which is not yet true vision-logic. Adolescence and early adulthood.

And here I want to make an important point. In my opinion this is still the level at which most of society still operates. The majority of adults are still wrestling with individualism and citizenship, with egocentric desires and a more co-operative view.

In society: warring states, the shift from monarchies to democracies. And recently the shift from individual states to world governance. The rule of Law - diplomacy and treaties. Governance through institution as opposed to absolute rule.

Guiding myth: the Hero (Ares and Artemis) and the Goddess as Athena, especially Athena Polias.

Cultural artefacts: Martial imagery (Mars rules Aries). The statue of Athena in the Parthenon. The statue of Justice carrying the scales (The scales are a symbol of Libra). The picture of Marianne breaking through the barricades. The Statue of Liberty.


The fourth chakra. Leo/Aquarius. Fulcrum 6 - 7

The Heart. This is a pivotal level. It is the transition to the transpersonal levels. Leo is the King of the Jungle and this symbology has been imposed onto the concept of the Righteous/Dharmic King (which we will return to). Richard the Lionheart. King David - the Lion of Judea. King Arthur. Emperor Ashoka. This implies mastery, the Hero has become the Statesman, has become truly civilised, s/he has mastered the lower domains.

The choice is now to either rest as King of the World or to turn to the Mystery and become a humble apprentice. Aquarius holds a jar containing the waters of life that pour eternally inviting the neophyte to drink.

Failure to reach for the transpersonal creates either a wasteland or a tragic fall. Failure to acknowledge the divine leads to the shadow side of Leo, arrogance, indulgence and vanity. Leo must rule selflessly and for all.

In the individual: Vision/logic. The Centaur. Opening to the psychic and early subtle.

In society: well folks, we ain’t there yet. This is the transition to Second Tier structures. Perhaps the best attempt historically was Emperor Ashoka’s reign. This stage can only be consolidated when the battle between individualism and society is largely over. It can only happen under true World Governance (as opposed to super-power dominance).

Guiding myth: King Arthur and the Round Table. The Grail Quest.

Cultural artefacts: the heraldic Lion and Unicorn. The Star of David. The symbol of 12 as balance and harmony. The symbol of the Heart in general. The symbol of the Heart chakra, the six-pointed star in the twelve petalled lotus. The Divine Marriage: Mysterium Coniunctionis. Rex/Regina, The Green Lion disgorges the Sun.


The fifth chakra. Gemini/Sagittarius. Fulcrum 8

This dyad reveals a lesson about discrimination. This is the Subtle level. The ruling planet of Gemini is Mercurius (Hermes), the messenger of the Gods. But Mercurius can also be the Trickster. Campbell associates this level with myths of otherworld journeys and of tests of spirit.  This is the level of the shamanic journey. The danger here is of delusion and illusion. Failure to discriminate leads to false understanding and here we can mention the plethora of New Age channeling of this or that weird deity or phantasm.

The ruling planet of Sagittarius is Jupiter. In Hindu astrology Jupiter (shani) is often called Guru. Here is a Sage who has successfully negotiated the trials of the trickster, who has obtained discrimination and wisdom. But they can still undergo tests. The tale of Merlin (and the fall of many eastern teachers) suggests that even the Sage will be tested.

You will note that I have not included individual or societal delineations. This is because we are now in the transpersonal and transsocietal levels. 

Guiding myth: The Trickster. Merlin . The many stories of Gurus, guiding deities and otherworld journeys.

Cultural artefacts: The magician, the caduceus, the wand, the wise fool. Divinely inspired visions of the subtle realm. 


The sixth (and seventh) chakra. Virgo/Pisces. Fulcrum 9 

The glyph for Virgo contains the closed tail of the serpent. At the sixth chakra the disciple awaits the ‘command’ of Shakti (Shekina, Sophia) before final realisation can occur. This is the Causal level. It is the Grail and it is the Virgin.

The Virgin also represents the spirit as flesh. Nondual understanding cannot occur until the Sage accepts ‘all’ of manifestation as spirit. The Sage must fully embrace the body of Shakti. The Ascenders stop at 5B because they cannot embrace the blood and shit, the Kali aspect of Shakti.

The symbol of Christ is the fish, that which swims the endless ocean of the Nondual.

Christ (along with other divine figures) is born of the Virgin.


It is very important to make this final note - which returns us to the Heart. Many traditions carry the image of a God-born returning to teach ordinary mortals. The image of Christ’s radiant Heart. The belief that the lowest chakra of the Boddhisattva is the Heart chakra. And here we unlock the symbolism of the Heart chakra itself.

The six-pointed star contains two interlocking triangles, one pointing upwards, one pointing downwards. Here the lower levels are in harmony and balance with the upper (transpersonal) levels. The Master of the World has become the Master of Heaven.

The Aquarian part of the dyad expresses ‘The Return’ as a new philosophy or paradigm. Plato is a fair example and one must remember his Republic was to consist of 12 states.

The truly Integral approach must balance all 12 petals of the Heart, all 12 seats of the Round Table, all 12 levels. This is leadership with compassion and humility, leadership for all levels.

The Ascender bias is one that keeps the individual at Christos and so failing to engage the world.


One of the patterns I noticed can be called the ‘harmonics’ of the model. A division of the 12 levels by the factors, 2, 3, 4 and 6. Each ‘harmonic’ has its own characteristic.

Now perhaps some of you are saying, ‘hang on here, this is getting a bit mathematical’. I am not arguing here that numbers of themselves have meaning. They merely help indicate a pattern, an order. This order can, I believe, be fully justified.

The First Harmonic

A division by two creates two groups of six. This can be represented by a downward pointing triangle and an upward pointing triangle representing the world of matter ? Levels 1,2 and 3 ? and the world of Spirit ? Levels 4, 5 and 6. Unless there is a conscious attempt to integrate the two domains through an authentic transformative practice they will remain separate. This suggests that without an authentic path the highest level of development will stop at Civilis. Any further development involves the authentic integration of the Spiritual. With the proper integration the true nature of the Heart is realised ? the two triangles intersect and are held in balance.

The Second Harmonic

A division by three of course creates three groups of four. Levels 1 and 2 - 3 and 4 - 5 and 6. The meaning of this harmonic can best be described by using the sanscrit terms, tamasic, rajasic and sattvic. Those of you familiar with these terms will immediately know what I am saying. Another way to describe this is to say that Levels 1 and 2 are passive - power is seen to exist outside the individual. Levels 3 and 4 are active - power is seen to come from the individual. Levels 5 and 6 are detached - power is seen to be of the nature of Emptiness. There is something also to be said here about trinities in general, as one example; the threefold goddess - the Hag, the Lover(Maiden) and the Virgin.

The Third Harmonic

Four groups of three. The first group ? Eros, Thanatos and the Mater. The second group ? Pater, Individuus (Hero, the son) and Civilis. The third group ? Mastery, The Neophyte and The Fool. The fourth group ? The Sage, The Virgin and Christos. These form a particularly interesting set of matrices. The first group contains the themes of birth/death and the Great Mother and is Matriarchal ? representing matrifocal and matrilineal societies as well as the myth of an ancient matriarchy.  The second group ? the Terrible Father, the Hero and civilis is Patriarchal. Each of these four groups can be seen in mythology and in reality. They are meta-themes. For example; a son leaves the tyranny of the father, undertakes a heroic journey and finds true love/true purpose.

The Fourth Harmonic

These are the dyads outlined above. This harmonic speaks of an essential dynamic. Each of the 12 levels is activated by the tension of its partner. We are not talking about polarity but about a tension that must be resolved before progress can be made. For instance, level 3 is often expressed as the tension between individualism and relationship. Without relationship individualism becomes pure narcissism, without individualism relationship returns to level 2 ? often as a playing out of mother/father role rigidity. Which is actually where we find most people ? still trying to find the correct balance between individualism and relationship. Level 5 is the tension between faith and discrimination. On the one hand we must have the trust and naivety of ‘The Fool’ and the wisdom of ‘The Sage’. Without discrimination ‘The Fool’ gets lost. Without innocence ‘The Sage’ becomes a rigid ‘legalist’.


After a while of working with this symbolism I began to understand that each level contained sub-levels that replicated the model in general. 

Of course, following Ken, each level intuits and translates the overall model into its own mode, even if this is a partial translation. We cannot expect an archaic structure to fully explicate the model, but it may intuit the next two levels. In ‘Up From Eden’ Ken talks about the progress of the average member and the progress of the most advanced…

But in understanding that context the sub-levels are a slightly different matter. This can best be explained by simply describing the sub-levels.

I should also explain that the sub-levels are different to Ken’s fulcrum subphases, identification, differentiation and integration. They are however related, as I will explain at the end of the description.


Any new realisation involves a birth/death struggle. The old must give way to the new. This is not easy and can be a period of anxiety and confusion. The new level is not yet comfortable; we are crawling ? not running. We are very vulnerable.


After a period the new becomes familiar and comfortable. Thus enters a period of consolidation and conservatism, which broadly replicates the values of the mother and father. This is a passive stage of conformism. The maternal aspect is about nurturing; the paternal is about obedience to the structure/rules.


This is an active phase. Here the subject begins to actively pursue their place in the dominant level. They will become active participants and aspire to some form of central role or leadership. It is denoted by ambition and an active involvement in the aims and politics (internal and external) of the group.


The active phase leads to an increase in skill and mastery. Here the subject gains the fruits of mastery. They become a respected elder/leader. And this may very well be the sub-level at which they stay until voluntary retirement or challenge and defeat. This sub-level brings with it the question ‘is this all there is?’


Here the subject begins to intuit a new ‘whole’. They begin to see that there is in fact ‘more’. This is a restless period of inquiry which may be precipitated by insights and/or the appearance of a mentor. Failure to find the ‘right’ answer may lead to the creation of a false one leading to either rejection or to a digressive path. A charismatic person may easily lead others astray.


This can be an exhilarating period in which the next level finally breaks through.

And so we return to the birth/death sub-level of the next level.


Each sub-level is a version of the main dyads. So in a sense there are potentially 12 sub-levels within each unit of a dyad, making a potential 144 level system. It is conceivable to talk about a person going through the ‘mother’ sub-level of the civilis component of level 3. In which case we could say that this person is a somewhat passive member of a political organisation. Or we could talk about a boy undergoing a paternal sub-level initiation in a matrifocal level 2 tribal society.

In any case handling a 144 sub-level system is awkward and so for sanity’s sake I want to simplify it thus: Let’s use the 6 dyads and the 6 sub-levels. Let’s use a numeral to refer to the appropriate level. Where it is necessary to delineate a unit within the dyad let’s use A or B - ie 2A, 2B. Where it is necessary to talk about a sub-level let’s use a Roman numeral. So, if we are talking about the consolidation phase of level three we use the shorthand 3-ii. If we are talking about the birth/death phase of level four we use 4-i. 2A-v is therefore the ‘questioning’ sub-level of the matriarchal component of level 2. Where we need to delineate the specific unit within a sub-level dyad we let’s use a lower case letter ‘a’ or ‘b’. For example a teenage fascination with death can be read as a 3A-ib problem, in other words, the teen is experiencing the development of independent ego but is expressing it specifically through the death aspect of the birth/death sub-stage. Although it might seem awkward now I believe you will catch on when I start applying it in the analysis of individual or social behaviour


Ken’s 1-2-3 structure.

Integration begins at sub-level i and is completed at sub-level ii. Identification begins at sub-level iii and is completed at sub-level iv. Differentiation begins at sub-level iv through to vi. However I should make this observation; differentiation and integration occur relatively simultaneously. As one begins to experience the possibilities of a higher level this causes both a differentiation from the current level and the process of integrating the new. The birth/death sub-level is where this is most acute. One has finally differentiated but is still going through the awkward stage of trying out the ‘new’ self ? integrating the new consciousness.


Here I want to raise an important point. Each sub-level resonates with the psychic energy of its parent level. An example of this would be the fascination with death that many teens experience. The teenage years can be marked by a savage struggle with suicide and depression. This can be seen as a 3B-i issue. But it can also look a lot like regression to 1B. Heavy Metal music is full of death images and some teens revert to a primal rage. (Hopefully by now, some of you will be beginning to race ahead with other implications ? some of which we will explore).


As I pointed out above each level intuits the overall model and translates it to its own level. For example, Mastery is leadership. At level 1 it translates as a tribal leader. At 2A it translates as a Sacrificial King, at 2B it becomes the Murdering King . A slight shift at 3A and he becomes the Hero/Sun King. At 3B the Civilised King, and so on.

But here I must say that we can’t be too strict about our delineations. A society or person may be shifting between levels. A society may create a 3B Leader who is unfortunately defeated by a 2B Leader, thus returning the society to a previous level. Such reversals are common. It is also common that a society or individual mixes the symbology of different levels, thus human sacrifice can be seen as level 1 death angst in a level 2 agricultural matriarchy.

The Pre/Trans Fallacy

I found Ken’s concept of the pre/trans fallacy to be very useful. In my system we need to be aware of ‘resonance’. A pre/trans fallacy can occur when we suggest that certain behaviour is regression to a previous level when it is in fact an expression of a sub-level. Or, we assume there has been a progression to a higher level when it is simply a shift within a level to a higher sub-level.


Each of my levels represents a kind of gestalt. I fully accept Ken’s description of different streams of development. I acknowledge that a person’s cognitive development can be at level 4 whilst their affective/moral level is at 3 and their sexual identity is still struggling with level 2 issues.

However, at some point, there will be enough change in enough levels for there to be a gestalt shift. But I suggest that such a gestalt will need to include as a bare minimum a cognitive, affective and moral shift.

It also occurs to me that we may be talking about an altogether different stream. A kind of psycho-social or hermeneutic stream. Such a stream has the effect of orienting other streams. For instance we can have examples of a relatively high cognitive ability in a level 1 Tribal group. However, the psycho-social level of the group inhibits or modifies the cognitive ability of the individual such that s/he is only able to express level 1 values.


This occurs when a stream learns the language (or mode) of a higher level and mimics the higher level, without making the actual shift. It is entirely possible for someone, for example, with a high cognitive level to mimic the language of say, level 4, whilst still having their core values at level 3. A prime example of this might be a politician who understands the concepts of the Integral approach but who nonetheless ‘appropriates’ those values to his personal ambitions (level 3A). Another example, a level 2B leader who can mimic talk about liberty and democratic values (just as long as it is his group that has the final power) ? something seen in ‘Militia’ groups.


This section is based on Ken Wilber's ‘A Theory of Everything - An Integral Vision’.


It would seem that my levels are in fact a kind of meme.

However I’ve got a bit of a problem with the system of coloured memes as outlined by Ken in ‘A Theory of Everything’. I accept that using colour can be an easy way of referring to the levels, calling them (in my model) 3B-iii is a tad awkward. However, I find the delineation of these memes to be insufficient. This is because I see most of the memes to be reflecting sub-levels and not the primary levels. So let me draw a comparison and explain it as I go.

Beige - Level 1. No real argument here. Except to say that we can further explicate this meme by understanding the level 1 dyadic dynamic and by understanding the sub-levels.

Purple - Level 2. Again no real argument except that I wouldn’t include athletic teams and corporate ‘tribes’. These latter two examples can work at 3A-ii and 3B-ii. Sub-level ii resonating with the ‘membership’ rituals of level 2 proper.

Red - Level 2B and Level 3A. Here Red confuses the mythos of the ‘Terrible Father’ with the adventurism of ‘The Hero’. The Hero is the son who escapes the tyranny of the father, however that is represented, but certainly Red is the actual battle, so in a sense it is the dynamic between 2B-iiia, in fact Red can be the rebellion of sub-level iiia in general and can also be expressed at 2A-iiia, 3A-iiia, 3B-iiia, etc.

Blue - 2-ii, 3-ii. You can have paternalistic rigidity in all levels, including level 4, 5 and 6. In Ken’s examples I would define the Puritans as a 3-ii reverting to a 2-ii group, remembering that historically they were a highly independent Protestant group which itself broke away from the 2-ii tyranny of the Papacy. Confucian China I regard as a 2-iii, iv society. Confucianism, despite its flaws, was an attempt to set up rule by Divine Law and to create harmony. Singapore I regard as a 3B-iib society. It is an outwardly a civil society that was ruled by a paternalistic leader. Australia’s current Prime Minister represents the blue meme as a 3B-iib personality.

Orange - 3A-iii. This level seems fairly consistent with individualism per se. Except that I wouldn’t include the Enlightenment or Science. These are a manifestation of 3B-iii. The Enlightenment was an outpouring culture and debates about society. Science itself is a general level 3 project, including both individualistic and civilising energies.

Green - 3B-iii, iv. But I want to talk about this meme at greater length, so until then.

Yellow - 4A-iii. Here the meme expresses the need for integration but with a distinct sense of egoic agency.

Turquoise - 4B. Here the meme expresses the beginning of psychic and subtle awareness.


I said earlier that I regard the World and Industrialised Societies in particular to be still caught up in the battle between individualism and citizenship (3A and 3B). Business is still largely run by people at the egoic level pushing their interests above those of others. The rule is competition and market dominance. (The recent Microsoft legal proceedings are a clear example of civilis combating individualism - and there has been a general complaint that Silicon Valley has not yet learnt 3B philanthropy). National governments still pursue their individual agendas over the interests of other governments. All of this is a classic level 3 dynamic.

However, after WWII, the Boomer generation was born into a period of abundance and security. They became strongly idealistic seeking to extend 3B values. But they also experienced the gamut of sub-levels iii, iv, v and vi. Some made it into the life/death struggle of 4-i. Fewer still broke through into 4-ii, stabilised and actively entered Second Tier (4A-iii). Fewer still reached full World Mastery (4A-iv) and beyond.

The arrival of Gen-X  I’m afraid to say, seems to mark a regression to 3A-iii egotistic self-absorption, more so than the Boomers (remember the young guns of the ‘80’s). Gen-Y (or Gen .Com) seems to have regained a sense of 3B. 


The image that I have of Narcissus comes from a Neo-classical painting that shows a beautiful youth leaning over a pool lost in his own reflection, with his spurned lover Echo, standing to the side. As such this is a classic representation of 3A-iiia. Total self-absorption. The essential point here is that Narcissus chose self-love over love for Echo who represents 3B, the Maid. In my opinion true narcissism indicates a ‘choice’, whether it be between 3A-3B or any sub-level iiia-iiib.

So here I wish to add this observation. According to the rule of ‘resonance’ self-absorption will appear as a condition of sub-level iii in every level. So we can have a level 1A-iii narcissism, a level 1B-iii narcissism and so on. Each level, as Ken correctly points out in TOE, involves a general decrease in narcissism and an increase in sociocentric-worldcentric awareness. I would however add another observation. The narcissism of Levels 1 and 2 is relatively involuntary. A 5 year-old child (2A-iii?) has no other understanding. A 25 year-old Gen X-er spending their cyber cash on self-indulgence (3A-iii) does.

There is however, another form of self-absorption that can be confused with level 3 narcissism. This is level 4 arrogance. Level 4 and its resonate sub-levels is the level of mastery. The failure to turn one’s attention to selfless service at this level can lead to a ‘King of the hill’ mentality. This is very evident at 3A-iva. Here it is not just a question of pure self-absorption but a positive showing off. Here one feels as if they are indeed ‘Masters of the Universe’ and if personal wealth allows it, it becomes a gratuitous display ? designer clothes, sports cars, and so on. Hollywood thrives on it.

4A-iiia can be hard to distinguish from 3A-iva. At the latter level there is an outward display of worldcentric concern that nevertheless gets turned to selfish ends. This can be seen in the philanthropist who makes sure he or she gets noticed giving, who makes sure they are photographed in the designer suit giving the largest sum at the charity dinner. The former is the ‘master’ or leader who does act with genuine vision/logic but who nonetheless manages to ‘grandstand’, albeit subtly. The lesson here is true humility.

Needless to say that 4A ‘arrogance’ is as pernicious as 3A narcissism. 


I argue that the Green meme is a manifestation of 3B-iii, iv, etc. - with some genuine breakthroughs into postconventional 4A. But why, as Ken correctly points out, does outward postconventional breakthrough mask preconventional behaviour? I would suggest two broad reasons.

1. Some people genuinely break through to 4A-i. And here we need to remember that the sub-level i is the birth/death struggle. This can be a period of profound confusion. If there is not an ‘authentic’ path out of this sub-level then people will turn any which way they can. They will especially want to return to the relative euphoria of the ‘transpersonal’ sub-levels of the previous Level (v and vi). But, and it is big but. They will instinctively turn away from fully regressing to the immediate previous level (once you enter another level it exerts a magnetic pull ? besides, you’ve just been there and you know it all to well ? in part the push-pull of agency and communion). To avoid this they turn to whatever appears to be ‘legitimate’ level 5 and 6 models, which in the absence of an authentic path will be appropriated from 1-v, vi and 2-v, vi. The tribalism of the Hippie movement is inevitably surrounded by a romanticised version of tribal religion. Just ask any genuine Native American what they think of this trend. In Australia this phenomenon has gone one step further. We now have ‘Ferals’ who have regressed even further and attempt to transcend by recapturing a 1A-vi return to a Garden of Eden. The antidote to this madness, and it is a point worth returning to, is that it is the common knowledge existence of an authentic path that will give purpose and direction.

2. Appropriation. As Ken points out there were people who genuinely broke through. But there were also a lot of hangers-on. These were people who feigned the talk of the times but who were still firmly fixed in Level 3 issues. When it was no longer cool and fun to hang out with the hippies and radicals they very quickly changed their clothes. How many weekend hippies are now solid middle-class 3A and 3B citizens?

The New Age

The New Age seems to me to be a twisted expression of the meta-theme of the third harmonic. It seems caught up in the matrix of ‘mastery, apprenticeship and the fool’, but as a sub-level. In so many ways the New Age is still a Level 3 phenomenon. Somehow everything gets turned to egoic satisfaction.

The images here are of Mercurius and the Trickster. At this level the subtle level appears as a labyrinth of realms and deities. The way through this level is through discrimination. Lack of discrimination leads to illusory and false paths. The meta-theme is the story of the shaman. The shaman is an image of one who has mastered the material world and who then chooses to journey into the Spirit world. However, the Spirit world of the shaman is a world of traps, phantasms and shamanic battles.

Is it any wonder then that shamanism has been revived by many in the New Age? But here we must note that this is also a result of regression to level 1 and level 2 expressions of this particular meta-theme.

There is also a level 3 expression. This is found in the multitude of pseudo-magical practices that are designed to realise egoic wants. It is the use of Feng Shui to create wealth and good relationships. It is the use of affirmations to get a new car or a new lover. It is the ‘new’ spiritual path that promises abundance, youthfulness and the perfect partner. It is ‘new’ spiritual path based on UFO’s, weird channelled deities, various ascended masters and other phantasms. It is a hopeless mish-mash of quickie weekend workshop realisation and ego gratification.

And what is lacking is discrimination. What is lacking is an authentic transformative practice. But, true to the narcissism of Level 3 is the need for instantaneous gratification. Unfortunately an authentic path requires patience and persistence. Why spend 12 years in the Himalayas when you can do a weekend workshop in Sedona on Ascension?

Of course I have been somewhat harsh. There are some genuine insights coming out of the mish-mash. In all of this people do make genuine progress. And hopefully the creation of an ITP will help engender discrimination. 

The Integral Culture

Flatland Holism is a 3B-iv, v phenomenon. Here the individual has a very solid understanding of the civil arts and starts to intuit a sense of the whole. It is the ‘cultural creatives’ hard at work. Because they are still at Level 3 this is still an egoic exercise. ‘We’ will save the world. All ‘Individuals’ are equal. And you can bet there are more than a few 3B-iii ‘narcissistic’ individuals appropriating a sub-level iv, v ‘concern’. Are these the people dressed in black, sipping Chardonnay whilst talking earnestly about deconstructionist this and that?

And what is the antidote? What moves these groups into the next level? Here I agree completely with Ken, an authentic integral transformative practice.


Clearly successful transformation is assisted by having an accurate map, both of where you are and where you are going. The more accurate the map the better.

Here I want to make a blatant plug for the model presented above. I happen to think it is a fairly accurate map. We have already seen how it can add more detail to an analysis of the ‘meme’ system. I think the system of ‘sub-levels’ is particularly helpful is sorting out just where people are coming from. This then helps us work out what the next step is.

For example, a 3B-iib individual will have a high sense of citizenship but express it in a patriarchal and authoritarian manner. They may, according to the law of resonance, be attracted to a fundamentalist Church group expressing core 2B values. This person will however be experiencing some conflict between 3B and 2B values. On the one hand they will be drawn to the security of the 2B structure but find they are somehow at odds with the exclusionist rhetoric. Clearly it is not appropriate to introduce them to a Level 5 system. Their next step is a move from iib to iiia. And here we are just as likely to find that this person has unresolved father issues. If these issues are resolved then the likelihood is that because this individual is already at 3B they will probably skip iiia and move to iiib rather rapidly.

Another example. A 3A-iiia individual. Well, any person at sub-level iiia is going to be a hard nut to crack. These people are the ones who are always right and are going to do just as they please. Often the best thing is a relationship with a 3B, or involvement in a 3B project. There is often little point in talking to them about level 4 altruism.

The core needs

However, transformation from one level to the next, or from one sub-level to the next cannot occur until the core needs of that level are met. These are fairly obvious but are worth mentioning.

Level 1: Food, shelter, and protection from disease and death.
Level 2: Emotional support (maternal) and structure/predictability (paternal).
Level 3: Self-confidence and participatory belonging.
Level 4: Selflessness and intuitive understanding.
Level 5: Discrimination and wise council.
Level 6: Solitude and ultimate service.

As Ken pointed out, the most pressing need is to provide Level 1 core needs to those millions still struggling with level 1 needs. But this can only truly succeed by a general shift to Second Tier awareness. Level 2 is too emotionally insecure to care, level 3 is too selfish. But in order for them to move on to level 4 their needs must also be met. A ‘working poor’ family faces daily insecurity which then causes domestic instability. This produces people searching to have level 2 core needs met, and so it goes…

The sub-levels also replicate the core needs but they are modified somewhat.

Sub-level i : Material security and protection from loss.
Sub-level ii : Emotional security through nurture and structure.
Sub-level iii : Confidence and meaningful participation.
Sub-level iv : Mastery, selfless goals and inner direction.
Sub-level v : Discrimination and wise council.
Sub-level vi : Time out and insight.

For example, at level 3 we would expect that the society and the individual have achieved some level of material and emotional security. At level 3-i this will be translated to a fear of loss of those things in leaving the security of level 2. At level 3-ii it becomes the need to feel secure within the norms of that level.

To put this in a specific context - within a Level 2B religious group, say a fundamentalist Church we will find individuals at all sub-levels. The majority are likely to be found at 2B-ii and 2B-iii. The former will be the passive member of the community; the latter will be the active members. The pastor is likely to express level 2B-iv. There will also some individuals, perhaps newly converted, who are at 2B-i. They will be anxious about what will happen to their lives by being involved. There will also be others questioning the Church and developing a higher understanding (2B-v and vi).

Now, before the entire congregation can make the shift to a higher level each of the needs of the sub-groups will have to be addressed, otherwise they will resist the change.
The core means of exploitation

Unfortunately each level has a tendency to exploit the previous level with perhaps the sole exclusion of Level 6. Yes, this means that a pathological Level 5 can exploit level 4 and below. (We find this in an aberrant guru/disciple relationships). Each exploitation involves the active (whether conscious or sub-conscious) withholding of the core needs. Thus level 2 societies created slavery by withholding food and shelter. Level 3 bullies attack the emotional security of their victims. Level 4 Leaders (in their sub-phase manifestations) with hold individual freedoms. Level 5 false-gurus with hold self-mastery.

And just as each level can exploit the previous level, so too can a sub-level exploit another sub-level. Power in a group is maintained by this mechanism. A manipulative leader will exploit the sub-groups. A false guru will never allow true transformation, they will only ever hold out the promise of transformation ? whilst ensuring most of the followers are kept at sub-level ii dependency. And it is typical of such organisations that the mechanism of oppression be the creation of a small elite kept at sub-level iii - their function being to police level ii. 

(Needless to say that the above issue of exploitation involves the use of power by each level, which has political ramifications ? which I will touch on later).

An ITP will need to have a full appreciation of the dynamics of the levels. The needs of a 2B-v type are different to those of a ‘spiritual emergency’ at 3B-vi.

To Part 3 (Applications of the Model)

© Ray Harris, June, 2000

Created 28/9/02