Dreams, Visions & Reflections: January 1998

Here you will find some original personal and ‘Big’ dream material recounted and reflected on from a variety of angles


Angry Horse God

There are two sides to everything. Those who doubt that the psyche has a sense of humour, read on!

The other day, as I was musing over my current fascination with the integration of the shadow and the Madwoman archetype (see Linda Leonard’s excellent book, Meeting the Madwoman), I recalled Blake’s Proverb of Hell: "The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction." (This is of course a parable of his Marriage of Heaven and Hell, through which reason and energy, or ego and shadow are - from the standpoint of traditional morality - at loggerheads, but need to be embraced in creative tension). The wrathful aspect of God (vs compassionate Christ) also comes out in the OT, as Jung discusses in Answer to Job.

Anyway, the same night I had a dream in which I was traversing a dark valley, when lo, a rain of fiery arrows started to descend at me fom the mountain top. They were dangerous, but not so much aggressive as trying to get my attention and rebuke me. As one arrow thudded to the ground, its sparks flew toward me and singed me on the left (sinister) side of the face. I felt as though I had been wounded and anointed at the same time. The arrows kept flying and raining, so I decided to climb up the hill and investigate their origin. As I reached about half way, I encountered the culprit - and old centaur/Wise Old Man/god - Chiron with his Sagittarian bow and fiery arrows - who had clambered down from the mountain top and now bent down to meet me face to face. He was pretty stern, but not unkindly, and I asked his forgiveness then asked him to teach me. We became friends and I was free to pass through the valley. I was quite amused by this; the horse archetype was reminding me of its wrathful face! I now feel I have some insight into Blake’s puzzling painting of the tiger that accompanies his famous "Tyger, Tyger" poem - all about the fearful, fiery aspect of the tiger. The painting, in contrast, depicts a rather harmless, vacant-looking pussycat of a tiger, who looks like s/he’d turn tail at an approaching ball of wool. Was Blake in his profound wisdom intuitively balancing his depiction of the tiger’s ferocity with this tame image? My guess is that he was. A new Proverb of Hell:

"The horses of wrath are wiser than the tigers of instruction"?

  • Safe journeys


    From Teresa [Virgin Mary Dream]:

  • In this dream I am praying in the right side of an old church before an altar which held a old wooden statue of the Virgin Mary. The statue is worn smooth but is colorless and pale. I look at it and think I could use my artist paints to restore its color, but I decide to go home and consult my husband Joe about which colors, because he has such a keen color sense. When I return to the church the next day I find the altar area completely renovated: two smaller altars have been installed side-by-side and all the artifacts have been replaced with white, gleaming porceline, very fresh and new. The old carpet has been removed and the old wooden floors have been restored. I am moved to enter the sanctuary and begin to paint a mandala-like portrait of the Virgin using impasto painting techinique on the floor - painting on my hands and knees again. The colors are partially laid in when two old peasant-type women enter carrying shopping bags and begin to riffle through a rack of used clothing hanging on a newly present rack. I don’t seem to mind their presence and keep painting away, but I caution them to be careful not to step in the paint and track it across the new floor. When they have left and I get up on my feet again I can see that they have tracked the floor badly. They are wearing identical heavy-soled shoes which have star imprints and there are start prints everywhere. I am fearful that the people who own the church will be upset.

    In the dream I felt some association to the Buddhist teaching of impermanence and the way my floor painting was dispersed into new patterns on the bare wooden floor of the Church. When I was a devout Catholic I never managed to "get it " about Mary. She always seemed to be such a wimp!

  • From Jack:

  • Regarding Teresa’s dream, it seems that the vision of the Great Mother, Mary, is moving toward the center of her religious import, the mandala being the symbol of wholeness Teresa needs to continue to have a sustaining faith, particularly in view of her uncertainty and illness which the dream may compensate. I would view the the old women creating stars as attendants in the goddess projection, reflecting the spirituality that is feminine centered and of cosmic import, emphasizing the spiritual rather than the material feminine principle.

  • From Maureen:

  • Firstly, I’m honoured that you have entrusted us with so beautiful a dream - how richly inventive is the unconscious. I have to confess that I was moved to tears when I read it - it somehow felt right (for the ‘kairos’ of our time) and by the same token reflected the starry depths of your own psyche. Thank you for sharing it - I am reluctant to violate its perfection (= wholeness, or completion), since through analysis we must break down a dream into components and yet your dream feels saturated with a vision of wholeness (as ‘holi-ness’), and drenched with limitless depths of religious significance. (‘Religare’ means on one level the linking back to one’s original ground of being, the Self).

    Firstly, because your dream has a definite ‘Big’ feel to it, I can comment only on the collective elements. I am struck by almost every aspect of the dream - the evocation of Nature in the wood that forms the old Goddess statue. Here Mary is more like a Gaea, or Demeter - an Earth Mother - than a sanitized, pale, one-sidedly pure Virgin. (She’s been a ‘wimp’ precisely because she’s been severed from her passionately chthonic shadow). Jung writes about the Virgin as Virgo, the fruitful Nature goddess, compensating the one-sidedly spiritual Christ, who is the antithesis, Pisces. Hence the significance of the wood of the Cross, a link to Nature, but a dead tree in the crucifixion, hence dead or dormant throughout the Piscean era. As we move into a new collective dominant, the tree as Mother Nature, the rejected other half of God, comes to life again! No longer are the wooden floors covered by carpet, but instead brought to the light again and re-polished. (Of course all this tramping about by decorum-despising feminine figures annoys the church ‘owners’ - the stiffly senex-dominated patriarchs).

    Secondly, I’m moved by the fact that you consulted your husband about the statue’s renovation, since here the coniunctio - personal and (no doubt) archetypal comes into play. Only when male and female co-operate is the rainbow spectrum complete - alchemy as the peacock’s unfolded tail. As animus, he is also your creative mediator to the wholeness of the unconscious. Following this communion with him, twin altars appear. Who has mysteriously installed them while you have been elsewhere? The tricksterish androgyne and God-figure Mercurius? These new altars - perhaps one each for you and your husband, and for the male and female aspects of the new God-image? - have a very human feel to them. They’re smaller, more within reach of us. Again, Jung’s prophecy that the next phase of the Incarnation is the "Dii estis" - ‘Ye are gods."

    I like the two old peasant women - what a fine Trinity you make (with your husband, perhaps as the 4th of the ‘3+1+ feminine quaternity?) They remind me of ‘bag women’, one form of the Madwoman archetype, so wonderfully discussed in Linda Leonard’s recent book. As Hillman discusses so well, she is a key ingredient in the restoration of Dionysian creative madness to the collective consciousness. I’m happy to see these two play so vital a role in the complex balancing and juggling act of your dream!

    Again, you are a key force in the dream - you are painting the mandala of wholeness, earthing it by incarnating it on the floor. No longer is the God-image purely ‘spiritual’ or light - illumined (solely) high above by stained glass; s/he has been earthed through the reclaiming of the denied feminine principle. God is once again the union of Above and Below, spirit and ‘mater’. But it couldn’t happen without your - and your husband’s - co-operation. (The old clothes suggest persona factors, but also the ancient, or discarded facet of the Goddess as well?) But by the stars, what a hidden treasure these two old women reveal - underfoot they secretly tread across the stellar realm of Uranus - they unite heaven and earth by earthing the heavenly - and it is their mad and mischievous spoiling of order that imprints the Cosmos - as the chaotic yet ordered Shivaic Dance - across the new mandalic wholeness. These two remind me of the sweeping hand that destroys the Tibetan mandalas, reminding us of the impermanence of all. But I’m getting carried away imaginatively by your dream - perhaps that’s part of its intent - to fire anew our sense of the imaginal as a vital player in the birth of a new consciousness?

    Teresa: Yesterday a young friend of mine stopped by to tell me of a strange dream she, too, had on Christmas night. It was very brief, she said, but a loud and clear voice spoke to her, "You must pray to the Mother of God, Sophia and to the goddess Lilith". Oh my!

    Maureen: Hillman has a superb section in his Myth of Analysis: "On Psychological Femininity", in which he discusses hysteria and the Dionysian as essentially positive aspects of feminine consciousness (hence masculine unconsciousness). It’s kinda sad that it took a bloke to spell out what has been ignored for yonks, but better a bloke than not at all. I jumped for joy when he described Erich Neumann’s ‘absurdities’ - his equating of consciousness per se with the masculine (hence he sees that even women’s consciousness is masculine!) I’ve always argued that this was a ludicrous generalization that runs contrary to Jung’s view, but JH was the first bod I came across who spelt out the same annoyance with Neumann’s patriarchal nonsense. An excellent book on the Madwoman archetype is Linda Schierse Leonard’s Meeting the Madwoman (1996).

    Real Life Adventures, part 7777: Cosmic Techno-Mandalas Dream

    By far the most life-shattering and daze-inducing dream of the past few years has been a precognitive one which symbolically mapped out exactly how the next two years of my life would unfold on the outer plane (gads, that’s a tale and a half in itself). The dream contained many scenes, all self-contained chapters in a long story of an unfolding relationship between myself and Oz sf author Damien Broderick. At the time I had the dream, I’d just given a paper (in which DB’s work was discussed), then met and chatted for 10 minutes with him at an international sf conference held in Melbourne (1994). I’d had no idea that he was going to be present there, yet alone in the front row when I gave the paper! All I sensed while talking to him was a) my poor old brain pushed to its limit (we were discussing quantum physics) and b) a kind of thrill at the fact that I was chatting to one of my favourite authors.

    The next day (after the dream) I almost missed the plane home, since I was so dazed that I left the plane ticket in my College room. . . In the dream, DB and I were sitting facing one another at a kind of picnic table together outside. It was night time and I vaguely made out a couple of other folk - sort of like shadows or mirror reflections of us - sitting at a table across the field from us. As I was talking with DB, I looked up at the sky and saw two bright lights, like stars, orbiting about a common centre with an extremely rapid and intricate dancing motion. They looked like a sped-up binary star formation. As I was watching them, I suddenly lost my outer vision and sense of time, which was replaced by an inner seeing of a rapid series of differing mandalas that I sensed were being flashed into my mind by the two orbiting objects. Each mandala image lasted for about half a second and was extremely beautiful, iridescent, colourful and intricate in detail. The structure of the mandalas appeared to be ‘solid light’ - their lineaments seemed to be made of extremely thin, glowing wire, as if they were an advanced form of neon lighting. I lost count of these mandalas; they were so fleeting and numerous, but I eventually came back to awareness of the outer world, and of DB still sitting opposite me. The binary orbiting lights were gone, and I asked DB how much time had elapsed, since I supposed that he had been bombarded with the time loss and images, too. He looked at his watch and said, ‘Ten minutes’ (same time I talked with him at the conference).

    The dream then shifted to the next of many scenes; the next involved me standing outdoors next to DB as he was writing. Someone approached us from across a field and handed me a bunch of flowers across the fence. My task was to count the stalks (parallels with consulting the I Ching), since the number had to do with what DB was writing. Throughout the dream, which had an overpowering feeling tone, DB and I were extremely close, as if we were soul mates, yet there was a a great deal of increasing difficulty to go through as well.

    The outer PS was just as intriguing. I didn’t tell DB about the dream, but after I’d returned to Adelaide from the conference, we began writing to ane another and 3 months later he ended up on my doorstep with a bottle of champagne in tow. Thus began my tempestuous and life-changing relationship with this extraordinary and deeply wounded man (who was astrologically my exact opposite). Needless to say, it was kinda eerie for me to watch - in retrospect - the dream playing out exactly as foretold, and to this day I am puzzled as to how we can have conscious choice, yet still seem to be caught in an unavoidable destiny, or Tao that must be played out. Reflecting many months later on this dream, what strikes me is again the mirror relationship between the UFO phenomena - the orbiting binary formation and imprinted techno-mandalas - and our shared lives. The twin stellar objects dancing about a common centre were perhaps us, the mandalas a compensation of the volcanically creative and disruptive energy released through this relationship. The mandalas were also very Aquarian in nature - matter and technology illuminated and mythologized - the Self revealed in the psyche of matter.

    (No wonder I can say with Jung that although my life has been comparatively uneventful on the outer plane, it’s been awesomely rich and detailed on the inner . . .)

    Blessings (& cherries) from my branch of the Cosmic Tree


  • From Teresa [Diana & Dream]:

  • Maureen, last night under a brilliant full moon I read your paper "The Diana Myth" - or should I say I drank it in, spellbound. When Diana’s death occurred I had great difficult reconciling what I saw as her narcissism with the astounding reaction to her death I felt in the collective. (Must admit, too, to resenting her so-easily-come-by youth, wealth and beauty, none of which I possess. Envy!! . . negative mother at work.) The reaction of the collective gave me great pause and I decided to just wait and see. The paper blew things wide open for me.

    I also had a dream last night: I was in one of the more rural, deprived areas of Vermont where I found a girl doll. She had a beautiful face and hair (her body was an old fashioned soft-body) and she came alive, making eye-contact with me and warpping her arms around my so that I felt deep love. I made a deep commitment to this doll-being and took her home with me, although she made carrying my luggage very difficult. Now, I am awake and think she may have been Diana.

  • From Darlene [Shiva Dream]:

  • Maureen, I especially liked what you said about honoring the wound. I once read a great book on suicidality that talked of the need for the suicidal person to sort of kill off the pretentiousness of the ego and surrender to the fact that the Self must also have some say. The book said that when suicidal people achieve this their suicidality lifts of its own accord. I agree.

    Jung pretty much said the wound leads us to the desired cure, that in the depression (etc.) are the seeds of the new life to come. I have experienced this. Last night I dreamt of Shiva - the Hindu god of destruction for the purpose of new creation - the lord of letting illusion fall away. I dreamt the dance - my own dance - in which we are joined as if hands are in prayer with each other interactively and we dance a snake-like dance. I wish I could show you.

    Maureen [Mercurius Dream]:

    Yes, as Hillman stresses, if we honour the wound, we honour the god that’s behind it, and Thanatos is one of them, n’est ce pas? The psyche must move with the sickness, with and through the depression into life, since the sickness is a vital quality of soul’s need to pathologise (hence the necessity of the nigredo, or leadenness in alchemy. I dreamed of the latter a few nights ago: a Trickster/Mercurius figure gave me a pair of boots to put on. I didn’t know what they would do, since the Trickster is morally ambivalent, but I accepted the offer and put on the boots. I couldn’t move - they were as heavy as lead and I was stuck. Instead of getting frustrated at this, I was amused and simply waited, looking about meditatively on the road I was standing on at the surrounding trees. The boots began to grow lighter and in time in the dream sprouted wings at their heels. I took off, and clicked my heels together as I danced through the air, watched by the amused Trickster. After I’d landed, the Trickster figure then danced with me - at my invitation - twice around a laboratory. Mercurius duplex and the endless alchemical cycles of soul!

    As you would know from your dream of Shiva (Darlene), the creating gods are also the destroying gods, hence Jung’s comment that "Creation is as much destruction as construction." As Hillman notes, the opus is always in danger of destruction and suicide is one of its forms. When there is the loss of the ‘significant other’, or the counterbalancing opposite that anchors soul as its touchstone, as its human context, suicide increases in possibility as the soul is cut free - through its creative instinct to destroy. But your own destructive creativity leads to more life through death; you have embraced the necessary ambivalence of the Wounded Healer archetype, best symbolized as the twin Serpent caduceus. I’d love to join in with you in your snake-dance - 2 snakes dance better than 1!

  • Blessingssssssssssssssss

    Maureen (Rainbow Serpent Dreaming)

    From Teresa [Death & Mary Dreams]:

  • Maureen asked for any death experiences over the past weekend. I had my first after death dream! I am quite dead in this dream, standing invisibly behind a chair in which my adult daughter sits leafing through some old notebooks which were mine. The notebooks are full of words and well as very lovely, glowing sketches of precious stones, strawberries, and flowers. I am amazed to see how lovely they appear to be since I had no idea during my lifetime. This was as pleasant as you might imagine. I didn’t seem to mind that I was no longer "alive". I am a true wannabe artist. I love to mess around in artist paints but for the most part my work remains pretty crude. (That’s not negative inflation, either. I just have to struggle with sensate stuff.)

    If you all will bear with me, I share another dream from the same dark moon weekend: I am attending a Catholic mass when I observe the priest dropping a consecrated communion wafer. I tell him I will pick it up for him and move to do so. (Yes, I am a recovering Catholic, now a cast-out since my dear husband is an ex-priest.) Back to the dream. When I attempt to lift the host from the floor I discover it is stuck to a screen-like surface which covers the entire floor. I try unsuccessfully to lift it with my fingernail, then I simply eat it directly from the screen.

    Strange, but somehow a reverent dream experience.

  • From Maureen:

  • Thanks for sharing your death dreams, Teresa - lovely stuff. Interestingly, the New Moon was in Capricorn, which would have prodded us into earthing or grounding new ideas. Do you intuit any connection between the host (= round God symbol) being stuck to the floor, i.e. the grounding of God as matter? Just a whimsical thought of mine - I’m not one for pouncing on dreams and analysing them to death, but I’m getting a lot of dreams myself - and from others - about the earthing/feminising/be-shadowiing of the God-image, which, as Jung noted, would be a key challenge throughout the next stage of the incarnation of God in the Aquarian age.

  • From Darlene:

  • I also had a reaction to the dream of eating a consecrated wafer off the floor:

    you have to kiss the ground to feed the soul. I’m curious about the dreamer’s associations to the "screen." I am also set off and running by the thought of marrying a priest. The impossible love becomes possible.

    [Maths Dream]:

    Speaking of maths, I recently dreamed about trigonometry - about which I know nothing. The trigonometry book I was buying in the dream cost $90, just like the degree of the angle on which trigonometry is based is 90. My therapist asked me what a 90 degree angle is. Since I usually have trouble seeing the forest for the trees, I went on about how it’s shaped like an L, etc. So he had to ask, "What do we call a 90 degree angle?" Then I answered, "a right angle," and I knew that the dream was about seeing things from the right angle, which in the case of my personal dilemma means seeing them from the archetypal angle. (I usually see things too concretely.) How synchronistic that we should be talking today of archetypal maths!

  • From Maureen [Mary Dream]:

  • In response to Darlene’s recent post about the ‘right angle’:

    To illustrate a) how for each psychic truth, its opposite is equally valid, and b) the need to personally contextualize the dream - no matter how archetypal it may be - through association and amplification - a dream (which I have permission to share) of a woman I saw last year in therapy:

    "In the dream situation I was required to participate in a ritual inside a church. There were no pews in the church. People had formed a circle. They were sitting in a meditation position on the floor. I joined them. Each in turn was required to stand up, complete a sort of fancy foot-work, and then run around the circle to where there was a gap. I was about to begin the ritual, when a voice said, "You can’t start there! The whole circle must move away from that corner because the Prime Minister’s ashes are there!" The circle moved away as one organism. I then stood up, did the fancy footwork and ran around the cicle until I came to the gap. There was a tiny white statue of the Virgin Mary in the gap and I knew I must clasp hands in prayer attitude and pray in praise of the Virgin Mary."

    In this dream, as we discovered, the right angle of the corner is the ‘wrong angle’, a one-sided focus on one corner, or psychic function, which in this case is a dead attitude, symbolized by the Prime Minister, who, as the dreamer intuited, personifies on one level the authoritarian, patriarchal God-image. In the dream he is transformed, or alchemized through death by fire and in so being has birthed an enantiodromia, or reversal of attitude, symbolized by the human circle, the organic and Eros-weaving dance (as opposed to the rational Logos of the preached Word), and the Virgin Mary, who as the emergent Goddess is still small but nonetheless coming to the fore of the collective psyche as the ‘feminine principle’. Everyone has a part to play; the circle is not complete until we each perform our own steps in the dance and find our unique place of relatedness in the circular whole.

    A schizophrenic’s recent hallucination relates to the above: she is Princess Diana’s first daughter, the result of a brief but passionate liaison with John Major, unkindly interrupted by his mother, Margaret Thatcher. Here the hierosgamos, or inner marriage of opposites has been disrupted by a negative, or animus-dominated mother figure. On the personal plane, my guess, in light of the circumstances in which this took place, is that the latter is in some respects the psychiatrist with whom this person consulted. The latter, a reductionist mainstreamer, instead of trying to help the patient work through and with the material, had patronizingly dismissed the schizophrenic’s reality as (mere) ‘bizarre beliefs’ and ‘delusions’. On an archetypal level, the visions evoke the mythic dimension of Diana and suggest the need for a coniunctio of positive feminine (Diana) and masculine (again personified as the Prime Minister). The union is, I suggest, being threatened by a perverse form of the coniunctionis, personified by Thatcher as a hybridization of cold, unfeeling, senex-dominated mother (the opposite of Diana), and negative masculine aggression.

    Wonders abound. Mystery (& sanity clauses) remain.

  • From Jack:

  • The dream of the church, the right angle, often right symbolizes male side, left symbolizes female, side. Moving from the corner because the prime minister’s ashes are there would indicate a dead patriarchal aspect, probably within the dreamer subjectively. The Virgin Mary statue also does not just refer to the goddess issues collectively, but refers to the dreamer’s subjective development, as does the circular eros. I suspect that the objective, subjective, individual and collective aspects all should be part of this interpretation, thus confirming the concept of opposite psychological truths concurring.

    [Maureen]: Thanks for your input. As you rightly note, all dreams, including ‘Big" ones, contain personal elements, hence I noted that ‘on one level’ the dream was collective. I deliberately kept the personal factors out of the picture, since they were not relevant to the issue I was discussing. The dream’s meaning was explored by both the dreamer (whom I’ve known as a fellow Jungian closely for 14 years) and myself in mutual dialogue. As someone who has done an immense amount of inner work, the dreamer is in no danger of having a patriarchal attitude, nor of privileging one-sidedness over holism. In a less individuated person, your comments would most certainly be valid, but not in this case (sometimes the exception proves the rule, n’est ce pas?) A dream is only compensatory if one’s conscious attitude is defectively one-sided; if the dreamer is fair and ‘squarely’ centred in the Self, compensation will not be as necessary.

    On the subject of the Madwoman I have a few comments to offer. When I first came across Toni Wolff’s work on the feminine personality in Irene Claremont de Castillejo’s book Knowing Woman I was very excited. I have since done a lot of work with her basic ideas and have also come up with a version for the masculine personality. Others too, I know, have done work in this area.

    Of the four feminine personality types which Wolff outlines, one is the ‘Mediumistic’ type. Her most famous expression in Western history is probably Joan of Arc. For me she is the archetypal dimension of the feminine as channel for and portal to the unconscious, and to the realm of the psyche in its broadest sense. De Castillejo comments that ‘she is immensely valuable in giving shape to what is still invisible’.

    In our culture she has been the witch and the psychic, the wise woman and the priestess and, as someone rightly suggested, the bag lady is highly likely to be a medium type who, in an extroverted sensate culture which values the maternal and amazonian in women, is likely to be ‘mad and dispossessed’. Thus for me the ‘madwoman archetype’ is really one aspect or manifestation of the medium, or wisewoman archetype.

    She is not only likely to be the mediator of Dionysian ecstasy and chaos, but of the invisible reality of the psyche in all its forms, as nature and nature spirits, the realm of faerie (in whatever form you perceive it). And she is set against the amazonian aspect of feminine personality for which she is the shadow. For me these two, the Amazon and the Medium form an axis or polarity in which a woman has either an amazon or medium preference; that is, a preference for external and physical life and world (Amazon) or for internal and psychic life and worl (Medium/Wisewoman).

    There are very few culturally validated places for the Medium and even fewer good role models. She has long been feared and denied in the West, and elsewhere too. She is Hecate, Queen of the Underworld, Ereshkigal, ‘She Who Hears No Prayers’, Lilith and Kali in her dark forms, re-entry into the underworld of the psyche which the ego, unprepared and cut off from, fears as death, or a least as descent into madness from which it may never return. It is really the road to rebirth and psychic transformation for the ego prepared and able to submit willingly to the necessary process. Were the witches who were burnt or the fear driven burners mad?

    Only in the recent past (maybe thirty years or so) as an indirect result of feminism, which has really asserted the place of the Amazon more than the medium, has she once again come to the fore. The growth of psychotherapy and alternative healing have begun to offer her a face in the world where she is no longer seen as mad, at least not by those of us who value these ‘esoteric’ approaches to life. Here she finds expression as the healer and bringer of wisdom, the mediatrix, the channeller, and the psychic in all her forms. She is, however, not primarily the physical but the psychic or psychological healer. She may use the physical format of various healing disciplines but if she is a Medium it is her insight, intuition and inner guidance, her psychic abilities, for which these act as a focus.

    Of course to much of society these things are still marginal and their practitioners suspect but we live in a time in which reduces all psychic phenomena to by products of the physical so what can we expect? No wonder she is often ‘mad’, she is dispossessed and her reality is denied its very existence. Jung saw the psyche as the pivot of the world, as he said:

    "The psyche is the world’s pivot: not only is it the one great condition for the existence of a world at all, it is also an intervention in the existing natural order, and no one can say with certainty where this intervention will finally end." [CW 8, para. 423]

    In therapy, not surprisingly to me, I have seen many mens’ dreams of the ‘madwoman’; she is a common anima. For men who deny their own masculine medium aspect in a rationalist world in which they must be ‘in and of’ the world in that oh so sensate and heroic way, she is a powerful figure who would provide them with the perfect compensatory perspective from which to find their lost sanity and stop denying who they are. Of course, many such men find suitably ‘mad’ women to be partners and whom they can feel they protect from the world. They really need to admit their own need of protection from the world, their own unworldliness and to see the sanity of their mad beloved as an antidote to the insanity of their own precarious lives based on denial. Of course they need to join her in a mutually creative engagement with the reality of the inner psychic life rather than adopt the role of her protective shield against the madness of the outer life of a world bereft of its inner foundations.

    The only real way to deal with the madness of a world which denies the psyche is to live from the psyche no matter how mad it seems. It is, as those who know the Dionysis myths know, the denial of Dionysis that leads to chaotic destruction rather than ecstasy; he is a god of women and the feminine and chaos is not, as chaos theory reveals, without its order and form giving aspect, it is just not the order and form of masculine control driven by fear and seeking denial.

    In passionate outpouring

    Rod Ravenswood

    On Tao, Apollo & Dionysus:

    Since Apollo is both god and symbol (partly of ‘unity’), he belongs fairly and squarely in the ‘holistic-symbolic’ camp, n’est ce pas? My understanding and experience of the Apollonian-Dionysian spectrum is that, as the Greeks appreciated, together they form a holistic continuum, not a separate dualism. Holistically, we find Apollonian unity and the detached vertical distance of ‘spirit’ at one end of the spectrum, and the earthed incarnation of Dionysian soul and ‘Soul-making’ at the other. If we totally lose ourselves in Dionysian ecstasy and fragmentation, we abandon ourselves to the multiplicity, pathology and polytheism of ‘soul’ as it is dispersed, through the explosion of the isolated ego, throughout world and Nature. If, on the other hand, we seek to escape into Apollonian tranquillity and its Nietzschean ‘dream world of eternal ideas’ - and hence avoid the soul’s convolutions and immersions in life’s agonies and ecstasies - we fall into the trap of choosing (what Hillman calls) ‘spiritual discipline’ over the necessary mire, suffering and humanity of Dionysian soul. All archetypes have positive and negative faces - and for each psychic truth, its opposite is equally valid.

    Since the (positive) Dionysian has - largely through patriarchal hubris (e.g. the Noll camp) - been shunned and feared by the (negative) Apollonian of exclusively cool detachment and reason, the former is causing havoc and erupting - in psychiatric circles, for example - with ever-increasing urgency and potential danger, hence my suggestion that Noll himself could be heading for a similar enantiodromia - perhaps into sickness. Personally, I have no preference for either god, since they both play a vital roll in my own therapeutic, imaginative and shamanic work. (As Jung says, "The ego has to acknowledge many gods before it attains the centre where no god helps it any longer against any other god.") Through Apollo, the animus as Logos and bridge to the collective unconscious, teaches me the ‘love of truth’ and independent thinking, but he does not reign supreme over Eros as the ‘truth of love’ and presiding deity of my feminine conscious Self, nor over Dionysus as my shamanic madness and ‘ek-stasis’.

    If Tao is all-pervasive, then its universal principles are immanent throughout psyche and Cosmos. Analogy is (in my books and usage) based on this underlying intuition and instinct for a web-like laterality of thought and imagination. And science has always evoked metaphor (as a mode of analogy through identity) in its construction of models of reality (as we perceive it), e.g. Bohm’s metaphor of the flowing stream as an analogue of the ubiquitous ‘holomovement’.

    Science per se involves not only objective analysis but also the subjective, the symbolic and the synthetic. A great deal of innovative scientific thought begins in dreams, hunches, intuitions, physical sensations, symbolic connections (e.g. the dreamed Uroboros as the benzene ring, Pauli’s dreams of symbolically solved equations, fractal mathematicians’ dreams of program structures), while the analytical per se is just as much a subjective as an objective affair. As you suggest, the key is to juggle and combine the two. Jung does not, in my understanding, connect introversion per se with the symbolic and synthetic, nor extraversion with analysis. An extraverted intuitive, for instance, would tend to think synthetically, an introverted thinker analytically.

    In summary, I am not averse to calling on the god/goddess reason and hence refuse to relinquish them (as legitimate and helpful deities) to the Noll camp (who, out of fear of their opposite, have tried to one-sidedly hog their favours). But reason unwatered by imagination (including analogy) and unfired by Dionysian passion is a poor figure of a god; in the overall holism of psyche and Cosmos, Apollo needs his opposite, Dionysus needs his/hers, just as the stony old senex needs the puer child of imagination and new births; without both poles revelling in their binary-star dance of creative tension, we end up with stagnancy, rigidity, dogma, cold logic and idealistic escapism at one (Apollonian/senex) end, or pathological insanity, lack of detachment and discernment, and potential destruction (at the opposite Dionysian pole). I, for one, shall continue to lay my flowers at both altars.

    [Maureen/"The Dark" Nathair]

  • From Tom Haskins:

  • What Noll is doing may seem like a "news story" right now, but it is archetypal too. "Here we go again". It reminds me of the conflict between early Gnostic sects and the Church that Elaine Pagels conveyed in The Gnostic Gospels. It re-enacts the exclusion of the Thomas Gospel from the official Bible. It embodies the perennial contrast of "The Shaman and the Priest" that Joseph Campbell explores in his The Flight of the Wild Gander. It reminds me of the troubles the Troubadors got into which Morris Berman put into a larger context in his The Re-enchanment of the World.

    Marie Louise von Franz wrote "a reply to Noll" years ago:

    "If Jung had founded a sect of Jungians, then one might say that the king was sacrificed in a second conjunctio. That event would build up a new community and would revitalize an organization as secret mystical clubs did. This possibility raises a very urgent problem. People say, "What you are doing is wonderful, but what does it do for Europe? How does it help in our situation and our time? Here and there a lonely individual is helped, but that should be altered and the masses enriched. People say that we should make a collective recipe, easily understood, and feed it to the masses to save Christian civilization. But the second marriage would kill the original symbol, for then the esoteric symbol marries the community. That was the Christian idea: Christ married the Church and will do so till the end of days - ultimately, then, the process of individuation is sacrified to establish a new community. The counter idea - that the found symbol is again hidden and does not marry this world and the community, but remains the secret of the lonely person, the alchemist-hermit - cryptically imaged in the Mundaka Upanishad:

    ‘Two birds, insperable friends cling to the same tree. One of them eats the sweet fruit, the other looks on without eating (without entering reality).’" [M-L von Franz: pp.108-109 Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales]

    Von Franz argues that the Christian "second marriage" kills individuation (the first marriage of conscious and unconscious) and the only way to revive the process is to fail at serving the collectivity directly. In my experience, the truth of the "Jungian cosmology" is rediscovered by each seeker who is "swallowed by his/her unconscious". It is not empirical, scientific, consensually validated. It is idiosyncratic, Self-realized, shamanic, alchemistic, mystical, gnostic. Until one is personally inundated by dreams, synchronicities and nuministic encounters, the Jungian litany falls on deaf ears.

  • From Maureen [on the Madwoman]:

  • You mention, Ron, that you aren’t familiar with Hillman here. He builds on this view by stressing that the Dionysian, which you correlate with the feminine mediatrix, now needs to be reintegrated into collective consciousness; in other words, the feminine and Dionysian must no longer be viewed as correponding with, or mediating ‘unconsciousness’ per se, a view which results from the privileging of Apollonian/patriarchal consciousness, which in turn separates off the feminine (and matter) by analysing and objectifying them in a patronizing manner, based on the assumption that Apollonian is normal and that Dionysian is deviant, unconscious, or inferior. The ‘solutio’, Hillman suggests, is the return of all of us (and psychotherapy itself) to a reinstatement of the androgynous consciousness of Dionysus who, like the shaman, is consciously man and woman in one person, and who, again like the shaman, empathises (rather than distances) Nature and Underworldly soul, and expresses both in its ebb and flow.

    I’m reminded here of the sad tale of T. S. Eliot (a rational Anglican banker) and his ‘Madwoman’ wife, Viv, whom Eliot betrayed and had committed. Viv was a brilliant, creative woman, who not only (quite sensibly) rebelled against the stifling patriarchal conventions of her time, but was also an invaluable support and inspiration to Eliot in his creative work. The psychiatrists patronizingly diagnosed her as suffering from ‘moral insanity’, an ‘illness’ which struck many brilliant women at the time. Mythically speaking, she was a Dionysian maenad. Another example was Virginia Woolf, who stressed the artist’s need of psychic androgyny, and who was similarly driven ‘insane’ by the patriarchal restrictions of her day. (Interesting that she and Toni Wolff have the same wild animal in common in their name! They even look quite similar - large, staring eyes and androgynous faces).

    In Dionysian mode, it is the force of life that, like the child, needs nursing. Dionysian initiation transforms women (and shamans) not into raving hysterics and rebels, but into nurses of the soul. They become nurse of the natural, giving suck to all life, keeping alive the animal and the child within all. They heal not through fixing up, or making whole, or analysing, but by nourishing soul amidst its need for the mythic pathology and wanderings through the vales and labyrinths of ‘Soul-making’.

  • From Deborah:

  • Archetype is a tangible (as mercury) reality and I believe with all my heart in the purpose of Art as a great compensatory force in the collective. Art is a portal between the dark and light; the conscious and unconscious.

    The Nollians are disturbing and I appreciate your taking them on. It seems to me that when Jung said he was glad he wasn’t a ‘Jungian’ he was saying he didn’t like seeing anyone fixated in dogma - even if it was (drawn from) his. He also said that the people who continued his work would be those willing to endure pain, so these attacks and misunderstandings are always going to be around, coming from those who want to impose dogma, be that science or someone in a fundamentalist collar. Dark compensates light. The Masons (who I’ve been very interested in: the roots, the lore) don’t usually respond to attacks from the uninitiated - which is a good policy most of the time, I suppose. As for Jung and science - as William James said: science, like life, feeds on its own decay. It’s a model that is ever changing and realigning. Jung wouldn’t argue with that. He started out by applying the ‘laws’ of biological systems to the psyche - which was perfectly logical. But he was like a knight who knew that we create our own path, always in the place where it is darkest and of our own choosing.

    That act is what we are, I think: the stories and dreams of a cosmos. Jung speaks of the experience of existence, which is something well beyond empiricism and model. Thanks for what you share here.

  • From Maureen:

  • Personally, I’ve found that I’ve done a lot of one-to-one analysis through e-mail exchanges, plus I’ve found that I’ve learned more through creative conflict than I have through simply agreeing (or totally disagreeing) with another. My own approach to dialogue is to try to view it as an alchemical process in which Mercurius (hopefully!) reigns supreme as the Unseen Third party. This way, a surprising and unplannable synthesis of both perspectives is free to emerge, which is a much more adventurous and rewarding approach than a (mere) battle of wills or egos, as I’m sure we all agree. When Mercurius reigns, the people involved are themselves transformed - we become the prima materia and the opus! On the other hand, when egos battle it out (e.g. Noll’s game), fear, hatred of ‘God’, and defensiveness (against Mercurius-as-God) ensure that no-one is changed - the result is what I’ve termed ‘cerebral ping-pong’. Growth can only occur through the balance and synthesis of opposites.

    The Apollonian-Dionysian tension is also central to all art, and I do more creative and imaginative writing than I do apologetics. In the Noll case, I was using reason to dethrone reason, but overall I’m just as happy to use madness to usurp reason, or madness to undermine madness, or reason to condone reason, or madness to endorse madness. As long as neither god is given the upper hand, I’m content.

    Am I correct (in my understanding of your feedback, Michelle) that you are presenting the following as an example of ‘reason by analogy’?:

    "I nearly vomited when I read Jung’s description of the child who was kept in a cage for nine months in a running stream to stand-in-for a rebirthing and purification of the chief of the tribe."

    I would instead describe this as an instance of the privileging of mythic ritual over personal welfare. Jo Campbell cites various examples here, e.g. the New Guinea ritual of collapsing a house on a lovemaking couple, then roasting and eating them. In such cultures, the coherence of the tribe and the ritual (as enacted myth) takes precedence over individual life. ‘Reason by analogy’, on the other hand, is - in my usage - simply reasoning based on the mirror relationship between psyche and Nature that underlies Tao, hence all Taoist thought reasons through analogy, e.g. ‘the root, without pause or haste, works its way past all obstacles’. Here the root is an analogue of the psyche’s ability to work its way through all obstacles - IF it resides in the patience and perseverance of Tao! Hence Jung’s comment - again using natural analogy:

    "The undiscovered vein within us is a living part of the psyche; classical Chinese philosophy names this interior way ‘Tao’, and likens it to the flow of water that moves irresistibly towards its goal."

    (May I also gently suggest that in some instances, what to us is ‘atrocity’, may well be seen in another light by a culture which has a different value system? This issue often comes up in Star Trek, for instance, when the Earthlings encounter some ‘barbaric’ practice on another world and are faced with an ethical crisis - to intervene, or to respect the other culture’s values, regardless of how abhorrent they may seem.)

    A relevant example here would be the way we treat schizophrenics - we incarcerate, stigmatize, patronize, or drug them. In a shamanic culture (as Campbell and Grof discuss), such folk would be respected and nurtured as potential shamans, so they would no doubt view our treatment of such folk as a barbaric ‘atrocity’. Here Hillman is ahead of Jung in that he discusses madness in the more positive context of the repressed Dionysian (see Ron’s recent post on the Madwoman). Madness is only an ‘aberration’ when, through circular reasoning, we assume (our culturally biased notions of) sanity to be the norm. As Hillman reminds us, not all that is mad is insane. (Shamanic work involves treading a tightrope between psychosis and creative madness).

    As Jung got older, he cared less about being accepted as ‘scientifically’ respectable and instead came to value the ancient wisdom traditions above all else.

    All posts to Jung Circle are individually & automatically copyright [1998]

    Return to JUNG CIRCLE





    updated 18 july 98 Deborah