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The Golden Chalice for Knowledge Production

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Paradis, V. J. (2013). Did Joe Lyons Kincheloe Discover the Golden Chalice for Knowledge Production? The Application of Critical Complex Epistemology and the Multidimensional Critical Complex Bricolage. (Doctoral Dissertation)

The Golden Chalice for Knowledge Production

            When I began this paper I was “handed down” the title, Did Joe Lyons Kincheloe Discover the Golden Chalice for Knowledge Production?: Critical Complex Epistemology and the Multidimensional Critical Complex Bricolage, but I was not fully cognizant of what it represented. I considered changing the title since at the time I did not know what the Golden Chalice really was, other than mass media hype to sell books. I was encouraged to keep the title, however, given that it fully expresses the complexity of the topic. I’m glad I did. I had never read popular culture mass media such as “Brownian” novels, but as part of the research I had to find out what they were about. I knew there were many interpretations for the Golden Chalice put out by popular culture, but assumed that most of them led people astray or skirted around anything meaningful. Thus, Did Joe Lyons Kincheloe Discover the Golden Chalice for Knowledge Production? or have I just written another version of a Brownian Novel?

The Golden Chalice: A Crossroads to Divine Love

            Throughout my research, I kept a watchful eye for the meaning of golden chalice. One of the first books I was drawn to, as it was serendipitously mentioned by a friend one day is The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future by Riane Eisler (1987). This book represents an example of bricolage, having synthesized “art, archaeology, religion, social science, history and many other fields of inquiry into new patterns that more accurately fit the best available data,” according to Eisler (p. xv). She tells a different story of our history, one of ancient Crete where women were equal members of society until the “dominators” began to take over the world with their weapons, their swords, thus, the reference to the word “blade” in the title. As she states, “The ancient Greek poet wrote of a ‘golden race’ who tilled the soil in ‘peaceful ease’ before a ‘lesser race’ brought in their god of war” (p. xv). She developed the “Cultural Transformation Theory” consisting of two models of society: the dominator model, which predominates today and the partnership model that existed early in human history (p. xvii). The chalice, according to the author, represents the time when “our cultural evolution was quite literally turned around. At this pivotal branching the cultural evolution of societies that worshiped life-generating and nurturing powers of the universe—in our time still symbolized by the ancient chalice or grail—was interrupted” and replaced with the “power of the blade” (p. xvii). Thus, for Eisler (1987), the chalice represents a null point in history, the point at which there were two paths humanity could take and the wrong path was clearly chosen.

The Mayan calendar describes a dawn of consciousness evolution, with 2012 being a pivotal year, by some interpretations, thus we have again reached that null point in history represented by Eisler’s (1987) chalice metaphor. Of course, popular culture has run away with these ideas and depictions of an Armageddon and the end of the world. Other interpretations associate this turning point as occurring further out, to the year 2060, describing it as moving from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius, thus there is a longer transition period. Kincheloe (2008c) recognizes that we are at a crossroads, stating, “The Western world at this historical point in time is like a man leaning back in his chair as it slips out from under him, Please, give the man another Prozac to help dull that panicky feeling in his guts. The old order is now at the beginning of its end” (p. 21). Change does seem to be on the horizon. It’s difficult to envision how things can continue as they have been, particularly the past 12 years, without the system self-destructing. There is much insight that can be gained by looking into different perspectives about these changes.

The Ojibwe tell us the “burnt path” has been realized and it’s time to choose the “green path.” The Prophecy of the Seven Fires, a prophecy of the Anishinabe as told by Edward Benton-Banai (2010), references what might also be compared to Eisler’s (1987) representation of the chalice as a null point. He expounds, “Many people will be out of balance and the cup of life will become the cup of grief.” According to Benton-Banai, all of the prophecies contained within this Prophecy of the Seven Fires have been fulfilled except for the final, Seventh Fire:

Wisdom will be once again be found in dreams of the night and of the day. The sacred fire will once again be lit. The Light-skinned People will be given a choice between two paths. If they choose the right path the Seventh Fire will light the Eighth Fire and final fire of brotherhood and sisterhood. If they choose the wrong path, remaining on the path of the mind, then the destruction they brought with them will come back to destroy them. The people of the earth will experience much suffering and death. (Benton-Banai, 2010, cited by Heart/White Eagle Soaring, 2012, “The People of the Seventh Fire,” para. 11)


Thus, there are two sacred fires to be lit. Could this represent that we must first light a fire within ourselves and then in union with another as specified in the accounts for Twin Flame reunions or Hieros Gamos? Again, this also represents the Ancient Wisdom Knowledge’s explanation for attaining higher consciousness. When Alan Aslan Heart/White Eagle Soaring’s (2012) speaks of the path of the mind, he is referring to the way Westerners have used knowledge as power with little or no consideration to the moral use that knowledge. This would be represented by FIDROD that Kincheloe (2008c) has defined as an especially destructive form of positivism. Alan Aslan Heart/White Eagle Soaring (2012) has prophesied that he will soon find a new female companion. He refers to this companion as “my spiritual and earthly mate, with whom I would bring the teachings of the Seventh Fire” and that this marks the division of the path (“Fulfilling of the Seventh Fire,” para. 3). Again, this represents a null point, a choice point or “zero point,” similar to the other depictions of the chalice or the quest, only in this case, a spiritual mate shares specifically in the mission of the teachings of the Seventh Fire. The two of them together will have the greater power of this Seventh Fire as they share the mission and teach it to others. This once again depicts the twin flame reunion and their Great mission. Interestingly, Kincheloe’s (2008c) delineation of the elements of bricolage (love?) can be compared metaphorically. Thus, we have: 1) an integrative dimension (the couple come together spiritually); 2) and applicative dimension (they teach together); and 3) a hermeneutic (interpretive) dimension by which knowledge is socially interpreted and constructed. This social construction of knowledge then becomes perpetual through the formation of “critical knowledge networks,” perhaps the equivalent to soul families and soul groups who unite or groups of people who unite in “brotherhood and sisterhood” and like-mindedness.

And what do these teachings and interpretations consist of? Heart/White Eagle Soaring (2012) explains that people “must rediscover their connection to all things—the path of the spirit. . . . sissagwaad, the soft wind of Spirit. Our project is to teach the way to peace, the wisdom and the power of the spiral, the way of the circle, how to walk in balance between the mind and heart, how to find inner strength and serenity, and how to use power and wisdom according to Original instructions. . . . Bit by bit the pieces have come together. I saw that I must teach people how to be guided by spirit and how to receive energy from the universe” (“Fulfilling the Seventh Fire Prophecy,” para. 4-6). The rediscovering of our connections to all things is what we accomplish as “Bit by bit the pieces come together”? Is this not bricolage? Given that people will again “trust their inner voice” and “wisdom will be once again found in dreams of the night and day” according to the Seventh Prophecy, represents the interpretive, hermeneutic elements of fourth dimension bricolage. Further, “The sacred fire will once again be lit. The Light-skinned people will be given a choice between two paths” (“The People of the Seventh Fire Prophecy, para. 11). This represents the zero point, the “chalice” as Eisler (1987) had defined it and the need to “get off our fences.” The prophecy continues, “If they choose the right path the Seventh Fire will light the Eighth Fire and final fire of brotherhood and sisterhood.” Thus, wisdom leads to the lighting of the sacred fire, the Seventh Fire. Choosing sacred love, the “right path” lights the Eighth Fire. And it is this eighth fire that leads to unity, or “brotherhood and sisterhood.”

Now is the time of the Seventh Fire. By the light of the Seventh Fire come the Ogichidaag’, those who would use their power and strength with wisdom and gentleness to bring harmony and balance. They will soar with wabishkie ginu, the White Eagle, bringing the wisdom of the Spirit with the first light of day. They will learn of their power and strength like the gidzhii makwa’ the Great Bear who holds ice and snow in the North so the Earth would not be covered with water. And they will open their mind and heart like makinaak’ the turtle who offered his back upon which to build a new earth” (Benton-Banai, 2010, cited by Heart/White Eagle Flying, 2012, “Fulfilling the Seventh Fire Prophecy,” para. 1).


This corresponds with Kincheloe’s (2008c) admonition of the need to balance knowledge acquisition with affect, intuition, and logic, and his focus on the power of love–the power of bricolage. Eisler’s (1987) Transformation Theory synthesizes chaos theory rendering a predicted bifurcation point in which entire systems change rapidly. Again, a bifurcation point represents, as she presented, the chalice, a decision point. Will the feminine principle return to its once high status as she has described in her work? New Age Spirituality emphasizes the return of the Divine Feminine, but there is a simultaneous return of the Divine Masculine, the male principle which has also been lost and hidden but not forgotten. Eisler (1987, 1995) covers these topics in depth. She explains, “The fusion of these two principles through myths and rituals of the Sacred Marriage was in fact still celebrated in the ancient world well into patriarchal times. For example, in Hittite Anatolia, the great shrine of Yazilkaya was dedicated to this purpose. And even later, in Greece and Rome, the ceremony survived as hieros gamos” (Eisler, 1987, p. 26). More recently, according to Coppens (2012):

In the 20th century, Carl Gustav Jung studied the hieros gamos through the Rosarium Philosophorum, a series of twenty woodcuts, printed in Frankfurt in 1550. The images have a clear sexual and royal nature: a king and queen are depicted with the sun and the moon, sharing a bed, performing sexual acts, as a result of which they become one, and are transformed. And it is with these woodcuts that we come to the core of the hieros gamos: indeed, the primary purpose of the sacred marriage is that two equals, twin souls, a husband and wife, reunite through the hieros gamos. In short: the hieros gamos, or sacred marriage, was not a marriage of just any human beings, but of twin souls. (para. 4)


Because it is “restricted” to twin souls, the hieros gamos might not hold the sexual and ritual appeal that many would like to give it. But it is nevertheless the most important sacrament of all, as it was the completion of the quest of the soul in life: to find his twin soul and reunite, and within this love, continue their life, combined. (para. 19)


In this interpretation, the quest is to return to the other half of our soul or twin soul, individuated yet one. Thus, interpretation of Mary Magdalene as the Holy Grail (Golden Chalice) for Jesus may not be far off the mark, but represents only one such reunion. The way to accomplish this, to achieve this “golden chalice” is to choose the “right” path, perhaps try to live the life Jesus had lived that led him to Mary, or we may possibly suffer midst the rapid collapse of the systems that the many indigenous prophecies predict and is represented by Eisler’s (1987) bifurcation point.

Examining yet another perspective for chalice from the Ancient Wisdom Knowledges, Saraydarian (1993) describes teachings that had originated in Atlantis and that Adepts had taken to India. According to these teachings the chalice “is a mechanism in the higher mental plane which registers all that happens. . . related to Beauty, Goodness, Righteousness, Joy, Freedom, Striving, and Sacrificial Service. In addition, all real wisdom and knowledge are accumulated in the Chalice” (p. 223). This wisdom is used for creative work and discoveries, and it becomes more accessible as one walks a spiritual path, which involves clearing the subconscious mind and doing good works (sacrifice). “All threads which issue from the Chalice lead to action which is linked with the Spatial Fire. . . .When the Chalice is filled with fire, the aura attracts the force of the Magnet. . . .Only when the spirit can build the step of cumulation of that Chalice can he become a co-worker of the Cosmic Magnet” (p. 221). Similar to the Ojibwe prophecy, there is reference to fire, and in this case, the reference is to the three-fold kundalini flame. What does the force of the Magnet attract? What does it mean to become a co-worker of the Cosmic Magnet? In analyzing this perspective, referred to the author as “Ageless Wisdom” (p. 13), again two fires are represented. The first fire occurs at the fifth and sixth planes of awareness (represented as levels 3 and 2, as the planes decrease numerically moving upward). The second fire occurs at the seventh level and the “Spiritual Triad” forms, increasing awareness and intuition. The Spiritual Triad is “the field of awareness of the human soul. This field comes into existence when the magnetic fields of the Mental Permanent Atom, The Buddhic Permanent Atom, and the Atmic Permanent Atom fuse and blend” (p. 406) and this occurs within Nirvanna or the Atmic Plane. Thus, the lower levels of the mental plane form the subconscious (levels 1-3), the conscious (level 4) which houses the “mental unit,” the superconsciousness (levels 5-7), or Antahkarana. As Antahkarana is built higher beyond Nirvana, awareness of the “Monadic” plane and the “Divine Plane” grows. Monadic simply refers to “Self,” thus, in theory this is where one would come to know who they are as an individual (individual archetype, perhaps), which then leads to the Divine Plane, the first level of the Cosmic Etheric Plane. As consciousness evolves, the level of awareness continues to move upward beyond the Cosmic Plane toward the Celestial planes. Once again, the concept of a double trinity appears and the number seven is significant as the plane of the second spiritual fire. Also noteworthy, much like African Spiritual beliefs stress, one must do good works of the gods (or teachers) in order to receive treasures in the chalice that ultimately are used to construct the pathway (the consciousness) to the soul. It is at the higher levels, accordingly, that telepathic and other psychic gifts become active and more connections can be established. Moving up these dimensions results in the return of our memory of self, what our purpose is, and where we are heading spiritually, our spiritual, divine or Great Path. It also leads to consciousness and connection to our Twin Flame and ultimately reconnection to our soul family. This interpretation accurately portrays my personal experiences during this research, but it was late during my research that I came across this information, so it did not affect my experience, but explained it for me. 

Kincheloe’s multidimensional critical complex bricolage enacts this process. Engaging in higher order learning and seeking connections by examining many different perspectives kicks this process into gear, perhaps. Kincheloe’s warning that putting his theory into practice would change who we are may explain these changes I’ve experienced since beginning this research. The process helps us realize the multidimensional beings that we are and we can become even more conscious of the work we do in various dimensions. This may be the reason the Hieros Gamos has also gained the title “The Great Work.” Ultimately, we are here to find our Dharma, our mission, and reunite with our Twin Soul, so the theory goes. It is important to remember that this is only a perspective, and honestly, I am not entirely satisfied with this perspective. There is more; there are more ways of viewing “human being” but nevertheless, it does provide a powerful way of creating change in the world. Some of the accounts about Twin Flames do not perpetuate the notion that we are comprised of souls that have divided, but are two separate souls which is important. Other accounts contend that not everyone has a twin soul and that this relationship is rare. It is all metaphoric and the incompleteness of the theories simply indicates more research is needed. My thoughts are that Kincheloe’s view is we can create this reality of a one true and divine love, a “radical love” for everyone. As he states, “To me, one of the most exciting dimensions of being a critical theorist and engaging in a critical pedagogy entails opening ourselves up to a passionate imagination, where we constantly remake ourselves in light of new insights and understandings” (Kincheloe, 2008c, p. 250). He approves of this message.

Kincheloe’s theory stresses higher order thinking can be applied on multiple levels and is a powerful path for rigorous education and learning. It seems that presenting the reality of how our minds are shaped and how we can take back our power helps clear out the muck of our subconscious minds as it opens up our consciousness. Is it possible that it can light the lower plane fire of passion that connect us to higher consciousness  which can then guide us on a path that returns us back the higher plane fires—back to our soul so that we can complete our soul journey, potentially reuniting us with our Twin Flames and soul families? As Saraydarian (1993) describes, “The Path of the human soul is slowly to dissipate these subconscious elements and to clean out the barns of the subconscious mind. The Path of the human soul is to act, think, feel, and speak in the light of his Chalice. It is only when the subconscious elements are dissipated that a person is deemed free” (p. viii). The Chalice contains our “treasures,” and “all the true knowledge, the real love, the pure sacrifices the person has accumulated through his many lifetimes” as well as “Grace, which floods a person in times of need. It is the contents of the Chalice that add the beauty and depth to our life and offer the most direct link to the inner creative Source and to Higher Worlds” (p. viii). This perspective aligns with the theme carried throughout this dissertation. Kincheloe’s work aids us with attaining the kind of knowledge to clear our subconscious programming and rise in consciousness through rigorous research. As we reach those higher levels, we link directly with creative “Source,” the “Higher Realms,” and to “Radical Love.”

What is the Golden Chalice Kincheloe discovered? If I shake, rattle, and roll all of the perspectives together, it is the point at which we decide to “get off our fences” as his cited Desperado song by the Eagles puts it, and travel the right path in relationship with our God-ordained Divine Twin Flame. Thus, not only did he discover the Golden Chalice for himself and for me, it is now presented it in a way that I hope many more can benefit and discover their own Divine Path and Golden Chalice to experience a Spiritual Reunion with their Divine Love. It is through this powerful love that a new earth can be created and the problems of social justice that critical pedagogues speak of can be corrected once and for all. Thus, my bricolage journey, in spite of covering innumerable topics, always winds right back to the most important of Kincheloe’s messages: the power of love. I am and I will be eternally grateful to Joe, to my cosmic and celestial family, and to God.

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“As a child I wanted so desperately for magic to be real. I would work for hours collecting what I hoped were just the right combination of ingredients to make some type of magic potion that would provide me with special powers….I found such magic in words viewed in a postformal matrix and I observe and practice that magic everyday.” (Kincheloe, 2006, Reading, Writing, Thinking, p. 13)
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