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Jack London’s Mystical Side

Jack LondonJack London is considered one of the great writers and storytellers of the 20th Century. Who hasn’t heard of The Call Of The Wild, or White Fang, or The Sea Wolf? Did you know, however, that he wrote an amazing book on reincarnation? Did you know that his father was an astrologer, and his mother a spiritualist? Did you know that Jack London had a mystical side?

I had been reading some of his books earlier this year and got confirmation to write this article after a synchronistic occurrence. I was walking down Brannan Street, on my way to 3rd, in the more nitty-gritty, raw side of San Francisco, when I did a double take. There in a tiny side street that dead-ended off of Brannan was the sign, Jack London Alley. The plaque citing his birthplace is right there. At that moment I knew I had to share what I’ve learned.

Here’s a quote from one of the last books he wrote before his untimely death in 1916. On the final page of The Star Rover he writes:

“There is no death. Life is spirit, and spirit cannot die…Spirit alone endures and continues to build upon itself through successive and endless incarnations as it works upward toward the light. What shall I be when I live again? I wonder, I wonder…”

Some critics pooh-poohed the book. One reviewer felt that the book’s plot was a gimmick to string stories together. Isn’t it interesting to note that critics often brush away as nonsense what they do not understand themselves? The Star Rover addresses the great themes of life, death, and the possibility of spirit existing separate from the physical body. Jack London is posing philosophical questions through his protagonist, Darrell Standing, a man condemned to death, and often tortured in a straight jacket while in solitary confinement. The various ‘tales’ are his experiences out-of-the-body with previous incarnations and time travels.

Another book that reveals Mr. London’s more mystical side is The Mutiny Of The ‘Elsinore’, written in 1914. This book is “…a strange tale of a strange cruise”. The hero, Mr. Pathurst, is the only paying passenger on a coal-laden ship headed from Boston, around the Horn to Seattle. Like all of his adventurous stories, this one could easily be made into a highly dramatic movie with all the archetypal characters inhabiting the vessel from the cool, aloof Captain West to the brutish and wretched crew members. It reads like an allegory of heaven and hell with everything in between. There’s also the wonderful strong spirited lady interest, Margaret, whom Mr. Pathurst falls madly and passionately in love with—-naturally. 🙂

The Mutiny Of The Elsinore was written, also, near the end of London’s life. He expresses his mysticism and philosophical musings through Mr. Pathurst, his protagonist, who is a writer. Here’s a quote:

“…here we are, masters of matter, adventurers in the micro-organic, planet weighers, sun analyzers, star rovers, god dreamers, equipped with the human wisdom of all the ages, and yet, quoting Mr. Pike (the First Mate), to come down to brass tacks we are a lot of primitive beasts, fighting bestially, slaying bestially, pursuing bestially food and water, air for our lungs, a dry space above the deep, and carcasses skin-covered and intact.”

This is a vivid description of heaven and hell. The true occultist grapples with enormous polarities and paradoxes. Read William Blake for example. London, through out his long writing career, stretched himself mightily to encompass the Universal that is the true mystics realm. Even with his first poetic masterpiece, The Call of The Wild, he speaks like a mystic when he says:

“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive…”

There you have it. This article is meant more as a teaser than a treatise. Go to your local library and pick up a Jack London book. Buy a copy from your local bookstore.  Or download the free online versions from this site.  He’s wonderfully mystical. He’s timeless. See for yourself.

Jack London’s birth horoscope

For you astrological buffs, here’s his horoscope: Note that he was born with both Neptune and Pluto in the 12th house. Both planets are necessary for mysticism to be strong in the individual. Neptune is in its own sphere and Pluto is in high profile at the apex of his very strong T-square configuration. (Some might stretch the orbs to allow for a Grand Square here with Jupiter in Scorpio.) Jupiter in the 6th balances the driving intensity of Pluto, coming from the depths of the collective unconscious. Jack London wrote about real people doing real work. This work was often done through pitting themselves against the elements. Survival of the fittest is a major theme in his life and in his writings. Neptune in Taurus square Mercury in the 9th shows the writing style he used to portray great and universal themes through his often raw and compelling stories.

The trine aspect from Jupiter to Mars in Pisces shows the lyrical, poetic, and flowing side of his mysticism. This was truly the path whereby he gained growth as a soul: his voyages by water into the mysterious realms of both heaven and hell. Water, in astrology, is also equated with feelings and the emotional body.

His bright meteoritic life was aborted just as he was hitting his mid-life crisis point. He wanted so much the life of a rancher by then. Heaven on Earth would perhaps have been his reward as a Capricorn Sun sign trine Pluto in Taurus and sextile Jupiter. This was not to be. His Moon conjoining Uranus, opposite Saturn and Venus in Aquarius (Uranus’ sign) carried the coded message that he himself best described through his Credo:

“I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze
than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in
magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.”

March 9, 2008  3 Comments
Categories: Interesting People |


1 Randy Nichols { 03.09.08 at 11:21 pm }

I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

– Randy Nichols.

2 Genevieve { 03.24.08 at 11:51 pm }

Thanks, Randy. Let me know if there’s any topic of further interest to you.

3 Green Eyes { 04.15.08 at 3:11 pm }

Thank you for introducing me to Jack London, I like your site and
I will be back soon.

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