Verses 13–14: “The Lord your God you shall fear; him you shall serve, and by his name alone you shall swear. Do not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who are all around you.”
Sacred scriptures instruct us in the principles and laws at work in our body-minds and in the outer world. The esoteric tradition teaches, “As above, so below; as within, so without.” The patterns of regulation that affect and create our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are the same as those that govern the movement of the earth. For example, the law of gravity is a physical manifestation of the law of love/ardor. Love/ardor is a force that moves us towards someone or something with great zeal or passion. When we love, it is like a gravitational pull that brings things closer together. Gravity is love in the physical world.
This scripture teaches that we are to follow and give allegiance only to “The Lord your God.” In the historical context of the story, the Israelites were being reminded of the necessity to stay loyal to and serve only Yahweh. Yahweh was/is One, the Divine that holds all and has the power to unite all. From the symbolic perspective of Jungian psychology, “the Lord your God” is the “Self.”
The Self is the totality and organizing principle of the psyche (soul). Jung defined the Self as “a part of God that God put in us so that we will know there is a God.” When we realize that our ego, and “little s” self, is but a fragment of the totality we are, we rightfully fear the forces that show up as moods, affects, judgments, attitudes, etc. We can meet these forces with the instinctive fear response of fight or flight, which usually shows up in judgmental, damming attitudes and numbing, self-destructive behaviors. Or we can meet these forces with a healthy fear of respect and awe, which shows up in the desire to understand our self, to learn about our self, and to make choices according to the truth of our soul.
The path of individuation (also known as salvation or enlightenment) means the ego/self follows the guidance and direction of the Self/God Within. Learning to distinguish the voice of the Self from “the gods of the peoples who are all around us” is a part of the process. There are always people, institutions, media, etc. that tell us what to value, how to believe/think, what to feel, and how to live. These “gods” can crowd out and cover up the perceptions, desires, and knowing that begin in our heart (and show up in our gut). By paying attention to how our psychic energy is moving in these ways, we can begin to know the voice of the Self/God Within.
Take a few moments to follow your breath into your body/mind. Notice the feelings, emotions, thoughts, images, desires that are present. Breathe deeper into your belly and invite the feelings and images that originate from the Self/God Within to show themselves to you. Set sacred intention to follow the energy and guidance of God Within.