Discussions & Dreams:
"The unexpected and the incredible belong in this world. Only then is life whole. For me the world has from the beginning been infinite and ungraspable."
Im about to do some reading on sibling rivalry and it strikes me that some of the debates in the Circle lately are similar to such rivalry. "Mom loves my theory best"; "No, mine." The various theories are siblings, they are all children of the one mother- all ways of explaining her to ourselves from various points of view. To kill one is to harm the whole family. They coexist because, like the blind men and the elephant, we all have a grasp of a piece of the whole. None of us is large enough to contain it all. Lets see how they fit together rather than tearing ourselves apart trying to make one victorious in the realm of Truth. They are all part of it. They all have a place, like sisters.
Dear Ken: I would be delighted to form a consensus with you about the validity of personal validity. In doing so, I am not becoming an "empiricist" or embracing "consensus validity" as I have been defining those terms. I support the "rediscovery of truths" implicit in your idea of personal validity. The process of "finding out for ourselves" has the effect of opening us to synchroncities. I believe that relying on someone elses "findings" has the opposite effect- blocking the flux of wondrous events in our lives. I think Jung understood that deeply.
Your distinction between objective and personal empirical methods is a compatible metaphor for the difference Ive been fussing about by opposing empirical validity. Likewise the distinction (from Seymour Epstein) between rational and experiential memories fits the consensus I see between us. That fitting is itself synchronistic in my worldview. Ive gone beyond discrete divinations to seeing all of my inner/outer life as continual divination, reflecting my total mind, answering my ill-formed questions, functioning as a personal waking dream.
My worldview contains aspects of Jung, quantum physics, shamanism, metaphysical wisdom, ecumenical spirituality, holistic healing, cybernetic modeling, business management and competitive strategy. It makes sense to me in this worldview that there is an approach to validity that is not valid. I call it empiricism- you might call it the exclusive use of rational thought processes, or blocking synchronicities.
I perceive events that I experience as "worth noting" (resonant, capturing my imagination, stirring a response out of me) acausally. The flux of my personal circumstances emerges holographically out of vast inter-dependencies within the ground of pure being/unmanifest potential. Nothing happens by chance. Neither does it occur by instrumental action, making it happen, doing things to bring about a change. The universe pushes back if we push it. The circumstances come about by "not-doing" (faith, being open, allowing, expectancy, believing, containing the possibility). Causal explanations freeze this unfolding flux into a stable, predictable, causal model. It looks that way to those who believe that, while fostering the illusion that it is not a function of belief- it really is a causal universe. That dream is experienced as proven facts- not a dream. In my view, causality is a special case of the larger dynamic of belief-dependent emergent realities. Dreams are self organizing, self perpetuating, closed systems. Time, progress, linearity, observer independence all gain validity as they are tested within the paradigm.
Empiricists say a part is only a part - there is no "eternity in a grain of sand". The whole needs to be assembled from the parts, not be inherent in each part to keep the dream of stable causality valid. I had a shamanic vision this week of how answered prayers and synchronicities differ from "ignored pleas to a deaf deity". We block desirable circumstances by the formation of obstacles in our mind. These obstacles include opinions, judgments against the opposite, exclusive rationalizations, dichotomies, linear explanations, forceful intentions. When we remove those obstacles, we experience more discrete synchronicities which leads to non-discrete/continual synchronistic experience, or immersion in the flux of profound meaning, symbolic significance. An obstacle gives rise to turbulent emotions, feelings of doubt and insecurities. An opening gives an experience of serenity, peace, composure. The "unimpeded flow" equates with "pure" heart, faith, conviction, motivations, intentions. The understanding/belief is not moralistic, its inclusive, paradoxical, encompassing, holistic. It allows the flux to get through without interference.
You then show up in my world this morning with your posting defining a way for me to be empirical instead of judging against it (thanks for showing me a way to remove an obstacle). You also ask to discuss the idea of opening up to synchronicities. The fit to whats on my mind this week is staggering from the standpoint of discrete synchronicities - and what I expected immersed in the flux of profound meaning.
Thanks for showing up at this exact time in this perfect way!
Vic Mansfield has extracts from his (generally excellent) book that you mention at his website. Being a Piscean Sun, he tends to be rather dualistic, though, and even perceives in himself the familiar (yet not unavoidable) conflict between the scientist and the mystic. I think he loses the plot when he tries to have his cake and eat it, i.e. when assuming that astrology will only be verified, or taken seriously when we can subject it to some sort of statistical analysis. But again, like the Noll camps unstated assumption, this stance presumes - via implied circular reasoning - that scientific objectivity is somehow more credible, respectable, or real than the transubjectivity of synchronicity (on which Mansfield proposes that astrology is based!) So hes backed himself into a corner.
One cannot prove through objective verification what is not objective, or provable through a causal paradigm in the first place! Trying to analyse synchronistic phenomena - which evoke the unus mundus of archetypal baseline reality - is tantamount to trying to put the laboratory in the test-tube. Nowhere does Mansfield challenge the authority of scientific objectivity; in other words, he unquestioningly assumes that its a privileged mode of knowledge. Jung, of course, never fell for this delusion (which he regarded as a Western bias), since he regarded empirical as simple meaning what it does, founded on experience or observation, not theory, and since Jung regarded the inner world of the psyche as just as real as anything else, he considered his own detached observations of psychic events to be validly empirical. I think von Franz is much closer to the mark than Mansfield when she suggests that science itself is individuating; such that what we mean by the term and process is always changing and is not the fixed bulwark we suppose it to be.
In other words, it may not be until what we mean by science has shifted much more toward the holism of Bohm et al. that we will ever be able to verify - by other-than-objective means - the reality of astrology, because this verification in itself will necessitate the honouring of subjectivity and consciousness - as indispensable to all scientific knowledge. A hint of this comes out in Star Trek, with the Traveller, whose advanced science involves the realization that space, time and thought are interchangeable. (As usual, science fiction, through imagination, paves the way for science to evolve!)
The one that got away...
Some sobering reminders . . . Perhaps with the imminent sinking (shades of the Titanic?) of jung-psyc, we are ironically witnessing yet another instance of archetypal mischief. (Or perhaps ol CG has again dropped the Holy Turd, whilst chuckling over a tankard of ale?) When late last year I decided - after firing some shadow-directing parting shots to the moderators - to jump ship on jung-psyc (having also smelt the proverbial rat on-board), I asked for some sort of confirmation - via the ker-plunk method of divination - which entails opening a Jung book at random and plonking ones finger on a passage (sort of like consulting the I Ching). Believe it or not, I landed on the following, which concerns the small, ignored fish who is the God symbol and psychopomp. I of course chuckled over it considerably. Moral? What we value consciously - hence endow with an artificial worth it doesnt innately possess - and what the unconscious values may be poles apart!:
"the One and All, the Greatest in the guise of the Smallest, God himself in his everlasting fires, may be caught like a fish in the deep sea. Further, that he may be drawn from the deep by a eucharistic act of integration (called teaqualo, God eating, by the Aztecs), and incorporated in the human body. This teaching is the secret and cunning magnet by virtue of which the remora (little in length/mighty in strength) stops the proud frigates of the sea, an adventure which befell the quinquereme of the emperor Caligula in our own day, as Pliny says in this interesting and edifying tale. The little fish, that was only half a foot long, had sucked fast to the rudder on the return journey from Stura to Entium, and had brought the ship to a standstill." (paras. 222-3)
So is this the origin of the Mexican ritual of including a small worm in each bottle of Tequila (cf. "Teaqualo" above)? Fishy food for thought . . . And something to remember when next we toast the Old Fool!
Safe boating & fishing to all!
Having spent the last couple of months listening to the Circle, I am reminded that every time I think I am somewhere, I am really nowhere. Youve all helped me realize the beauty of that.
A few musings from a pedestrian:
I have just finished an interesting (albeit somewhat shallow) essay by a young graduate student named Richard Noll entitled: "The Presence of Spirits in Magic and Madness." In discussing guardian powers and spirit teachers, young Noll evokes the somewhat famous epitaph of a wise old man: "However, in some instances it is they (the aforementioned) who knock first on the doors of imaginal perception. Called or not called , they offer symbolic potential for transformation, whether for oneself, for others, or for desired changes in the physical environment." Young Noll goes on to say: "Jung recognizes the psychotherapeutic implications of contact with the imaginal world - whatever the ultimate reality of its beings . . . And so, Jung and the shamans speak the sameuniversal language."
There is a stunning new study out of the University of Chicago, which examines the interactions of young (3 and 4 year old) deaf children (who have had no exposure to language, either because of deaf parents or abandonment) from Taiwan and the United States. It seems that these transcultural children, when thrown together with a bunch of toys, possess a propensity for the use of universal symbolism and organic language structure. In other words, they interact together by pre-developed universal symbols, which seems to lead immediately to a structured ability to develop a language/symbolic syntax that appears to be universal. Interesting.
This leads me to another musing about science/shamanism/Jung/me (INFP)/ and those with far more expertise. One thing I do not see addressed, which someone like Maureen might wish to divinate on is transliteration: i.e. the impossible task of moving meaning from one medium to another. I am remined of Jungs famous response to the criticism of his statement that as to belief in God, he didnt need to believe, he knew. To the nitwits who criticized him, he had to explain rather remedially, that faith/belief requires that you must make a leap to something you have not experienced. If youve experienced something already (e.g. numinousity) you dont need faith. You already know. The shaman is a transliterator; an impossible task. Someone once observed that language was the perfect medium for hiding our true thoughts.
Of course, though, in shamanism - particularly during initiation - the leap (often into the Abyss) is itself the experience, so perhaps the leap of faith that you describe is a safe alternative; as Jung remarked, religion is a substitute for a religious experience. As to the use and abuse of language, I tend to see it a bit like Jo Campbell saw the masks of God - mistaking the mask for the invisible Face behind it; likewise, if one mistakes the words for the wordless opacity behind them, one falls into the trap of (what Jo calls) dying for metaphors - defending a belief as an absolute instead of recognizing the unavoidable limitation of it. When language is redeemed as art and through imagination and myth, on the other hand, theres no danger of the words becoming an end in themselves; they become transparent to the nameless Opacity behind and beneath them (Shakespeare & Co.) This is why I far prefer imaginative fiction and mythopoeia to the theoretical, or how to type of books.
Shamanism & Jung
The soul retrieval has to do with someones "will"; I cant express it any better. Since Im gifted with Second Sight (for lack of a better term) Ive seen what to retrieve, and more or less where to look for it. But as said, any helpful tips would be greatly appreciated.
Firstly, Alwin (and here Im ranting forth with what comes first to mind, courtesy of my diagnostic guide, the Serpent Nathair), will is the province of solar plexus, hence Sun (as shamanic guide) can be helpful. Work with yellow, e.g. stones such as citrine to help draw the energy back into the body at the solar plexus level (place stones here). Will is also focus, hence the energies lost may be diffused too far abroad. Work here with centring energies, e.g. mandalas, or the weaving of an inspiralling web about the person. Spider web weaving is excellent here. Star from the outer periphery, link web lines from various points around the circumference to the person at the centre, then begin weaving clockwise in an inward spiral (drumming helps here).
Incidentally, getta load of feedback I just got from a pal whose lawn I web-wove under a full moon the other night:
"Youll never guess what I found on the lawn this morning when I went out to also retrieve the morning paper that had accidentally fallen in its [the webs] arms - huge spiralling lengths of what appeared to be cotton or a white, firm, stringy-like substance, wound around the lawn!! Perhaps your shamanic weaving was not only of the metaphysical variety! How strange a night filled with so many spider weavings of so many forms . . ."
Back to your concern: thirdly, will involves shadow energy as strength, purpose and direction. Help reclaim the shadow by calling on Underworld guides (if you dont have any, feel free to evoke my Underworld Dark Lord, Morddain, a formidable character not to be meddled with lightly, but he wont hurt you or anyone - he respects life and shadow energy/will power too much! He has given me permission to offer his help here.) As I say, just some mad ravings courtesy of Nathair . . . Keep us informed of how youre proceeding and progressing!
John: Yep. Got the strong impression that the "thing" Im going to retrieve is the center point; the rest of the retrieving is most likely up to the patient herself. You might be interested to know that I saw a crystal with points growing outwards in all directions. Somehow I got the impression that the each point ties into a line which is tied to all the separate parts which have to be retrieved. The weaving is an interesting way of working. Ill keep it in mind. I saw the crystal which is to be retrieved lying buried somewhere halfway between the underworld realms of the dwarves (Svartalfheim) and the realm of the dead (Hel). Also, the patient has been having contact with the goddess of Hel, Hella, for some time now.
Maureen: Agreed! This retrieval of Centre is in Jungian circles called individuation and needs little or no outside intervention, since it is the natural and spontaneous Tao of Self-realization (hence the circling web symbol - Spider spirals, as does the psyche, from outer rim to Centre). I therefore call individuation Self-retrieval (as opposed to soul retrieval as active shamanic intervention at the opposite end of the spectrum). Another helpful centring therapy is Mandelbrot fractal programs - the ones where you can sit and watch mandalas infinitely expanding or collapsing. Some fractal patterns look like spiders, or animal skins, so can be doubly helpful in shamanic work.
Good web-weaving crystals are rutilated quartzes, which have gold or black lines inside them that can be drawn forth through trance vision. Soul, remember, is one yet many; monotheistic and polytheistic, so allow for some diffusion of energy (= Dionysian factor) to remain - it doesnt all need to be re-centred! Psyche thrives on the creative tension between order and chaos, centre and circumference.
Safe expanding and contracting!
I had my curiosity peaked by the bit about individuation being a natural process needing little aid. I have often wondered why some people seem to be actively involved in their own process and some people seem content to do no special work on themselves. How does the opus contra naturam fit in here?
I guess, as Willy the Shake has it, the Art itself is Nature, and since Nature is yin and yang in pretty well equal measure, what I call active and passive healing are, Id venture to suggest, equally viable options. Again in my experience, were dealing here with a continuum, or spectrum of active-passive, not two opposing modes. In other words, no genuine healing is, at least in my books and practice, contra naturam. Either way, Mercurius holds the reins - and intuition regarding each unique situation is indispensable!
(My paper on "Re-Visioning Soul Retrieval covers this in more detail).
Thoughts (shared with a fellow solitary soul in New Zealand) on the pain and bliss of shamanic aloneness . . .
Its kinda ironic, I feel, that the more deeply we yearn to connect with a kindred soul, the more we flounder with the painful inadequacies of language and with the unavoidable clumsiness and self-closure that our wounds and emotions confine us to. I guess this is all a part of the necessary (Saturnian) limitation that forges soul amidst the harsh vales of life, while spirit soars free, but so often alone, among the stars. I have known aloneness for most of my life. One pays a high price for the rarest gifts, such that the blessing is embraced yet simultaneously wounds as an isolating curse. Hence shamans are an elect because they have dared to pay the price for their authority and gnosis, their ek-stasis that is also an agony. They are the alchemical unipeds and psychic androgynes, the limping Icaruses who can visit the Sun in His searing realm of glory and aloneness, and help heal His pain with the aid of neighbouring friendly Suns; yet their woundedness and com-passion keeps them earthed that they might mediate the glimpse of such vision and reality to a world starved of imaginal soul and poetic power. The vaster ones inner worlds, the more room one has in which to feel alone, yet the more one becomes at Home among endless wonder and boundless, sometimes almost painful beauty and richly sulphurous Underworldly depth.
Everything has its price. Cherish your aloneness as well as lamenting it; the Self is always ambivalent. There are levels of communion with Nature that only the alone can know; they can be poignant with a strange sadness, yet rich with a sense of silent Centre that few are ever attuned to. As Jung said amidst his living in quiet and modest harmony with Nature, how difficult it is to be simple. He, too, paid the price for the painful bliss of his aloneness.
Blessings from the Hopping Mad Uniped
From Maureen: Shamanism & Black Holes . . .
I guess the wormhole is another version of the shamanic Cosmic axis, which passes through the shamanic planes and realms and links them all via ascent and descent. Naked singularities, for instance, can take the form of invisible threads of enormous length - you cant see them until its too late and youve been sucked in. Im also intrigued by the parallel between the psyches structure and the Black Hole - the ego corresponds to the event horizon - the interface between linear space-time and its increasing relativization as one ventures further into the unconscious. At the centre of the Black Hole is the singularity, which correlates with the central Self, the Gnostic Point at which space-time becomes infinite and which is our link with the transcendent. This centre and circumference theme is all-pervasive, inner and outer, on all scales, from the atom through to solar systems, galaxies and the entire Cosmos; to Black Elks vision of the centre being everywhere in the boundless Sacred Circle. A new paradigm of science (a holistic one) will simply confirm what shamans have always known and experienced as reality.
Feedback from Shamanic Healing Site:
"X" wrote: "Thank you again for journeying on my behalf. You are an instrument of healing in my life, and that means a very great deal to me."
Im glad to hear that what youve felt and experienced resonated with my own trance journey - its always good to get positive feedback so that one knows one is on-track with the Tao of the Cosmos! Yes, as you detect, the heart is the core of shamanic work, hence the Borneo shamans, for instance, are ritualistically pierced through the heart to make them compassionate toward the sick. A shaman is effective to the extent that her/his heart has been wounded and healed. My current impression is that you might benefit from feeding your solar plexus centre with solar yellow and warmth. The Sun, whom Ive visited in a healing Dream, would be all too glad to help. Talk to him and befriend him - thank him for giving himself to sustain us and so let your feelings flow outward to Nature. In time, you will be able to share them with people in such a simple and mutually trusting way.
Fear vs Erocentric Tao:
A few rambling meditations on fear and dealing with it (which gods of soul and spirit are at work here? Phobos? Pan? Hades? Dionysus?) Ive been getting a few phone-calls from sufferers of schizophrenia, some of whom wonder about dealing with fear (of accusing voices, dark visions. etc). It would seem that fear and our response to it is a matter of consciousness and attitude rather than simply a product or quality of circumstance, whether inner or outer, or a hybrid of both. Certain UFO abductees, for instance, inevitably feel victimized as a result of their own perceived powerlessness in the face of the intrusive Greys. Fear, it seems, never occurs in isolation. It is usually accompanied by powerlessness, helplessness, or dependency. The fear persists because there is no way to take command, express a concern, take exception, or voice an objection.
As Jung noted, if the opposites arent accepted consciously, they come upon one as fate through circumstance. A lot of the abductee material Ive worked with seems to be related to forcing (by whom or what?) - through a kind of necessary evil - certain weak and powerless individuals to come to terms with their shadow side, hence tap into the heroic strength, cunning and fearlessness of their own demons in order to repulse these pesty Grey critters (who are in fact quite weak and so prey only on fearful and vulnerable victims). As a shaman, one thing I invite such folk to consider is the possibility of befriending and working with an Underworldly power, perhaps through shared active imagination journeying, during which my own Underworld guides act as monitors and discerners of whatever energies may present themselves. There is a fine line, methinks, between nasty or predatory dark powers and helpful shadow allies; the Greys certainly steer clear of the latter, as Ive discovered when repulsing them effortlessly in dreams.
What is feared is from another perspective an opportunity, challenge, creative conflict, or necessary limitation which can catalyse a shift of consciousness to a more detached and centred awareness. I have found that the ego generates fear when its perspective is (as is often the case) one-sided; it sees "no two ways" about anything, only either/or options, one of which is inevitably seen as preferable; hence the other is usually feared. When one is centred in the Tao of Self and heart, however, one prefers neither of any opposite, whether that be poverty or wealth, dark or light, joy or sorrow, conflict or peace; one sees "two ways" about everything and is concerned only with aligning ones life with the Tao of the present, hence half of the hexagrams in the I Ching relate to difficult, dangerous, stagnant, declining or conflict situations. The wise person is the one who is habitually centred between both, as is the calm at the heart of the tornado, the Still Point at the heart of the mandalic sacred circle. This is what Jung means by (the most mature phase of) individuation - realizing oneself as one of an infinite number of centres within the boundless whole of the unus mundus. Here "perfect love" - Eros as the terrible and wonderful union of all opposites - "casts out fear".
Maureen/"The Dark" Nathair
The Implicate Order (cf. the unus mundus) . . . As most of us know, at the subatomic level, particles really dont exist independently. Here David Bohms unweaving the glycerine experiment is notable as an instance of the unfolding of the implicate, or underlying unitary order into explicate reality. Consider 2 concentric glass cylinders, the inner fixed and the outer capable of being slowly rotated. The space between the cylinders is filled with a viscous liquid such as glycerin. When the outer cylinder is turned, fluid close to it is dragged along at the same speed, but fluid close to the stationary inner cylinder is held nearly at reast. Hence fluid in different regions of the space moves at different rates and in this way any small bit of glycerin is drawn out into a long thin thread (which one can colour with ink). Now rotate the outer cylinder in reverse and the element will return to its original form. Next consider a whole series of ink drops enfolded and unfolded in succession such that they appear to be one drop moving through space and time. In reality, the drops (like quantum phenomena) are aspects of the one enfolded and unfolding thread of unitary reality. This also provides a way of understanding discontinuous jumps of electrons (or shamans) from one quantum state to another. O wot fun.
So what is reality? As Bohm says, we can never (scientifically) know reality but are limited to our perceptions, paradigms and models of it; hence the latter are always in a state of flux. And hence science is an explanatory myth.
"When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness."
I have noticed that themes from recent movies seem to have been extracted directly from books related to Jungian subjects. This would not be remarkable if we were merely talking about archetypes; however, the scenes use exact wordings and pictures from the texts. For example, in the second paragraph on page 119 in "Man And His Symbols" the arcane phrase, "men in black" appears. Elsewhere in the book the Jonah in the whale myth is expressed in terms of the pre-Christ hero fighting himself out of a devouring monster and that symbol is expressed in the form of a horned dragon. This corresponds to the cockroach/dragon drama in the hit movie, "Men In Black." Elsewhere in the book, as in the movie, the help of the young-girl anima motif, and the tool-found-in-the-belly symbol, to bust out of a dragon, are discussed; as is the idea of the symbols representing the individuation from mother as anima to woman as anima for a young man - the prime audience of the movie. Even more "coincidental" is the relationship between "Man And His Symbols" and the movie "Dead Man," about the individuation of its character, William Blake, played by Johnny Depp. Pictured on page 79 is a dead man lying in a canoe about to pushed to an out-to-sea burial. The words "dead man" caption the picture. On page 153, you will find the wording, "an ordinary Indian, (named) nobody (as was the supporting character in the movie)." References to William Blake in connection with the movies theme are found on several pages in the book.
I go away with understandings of interconnectedness, which are impossible to explain to "old" friends, who I am in a way losing one by one (and I am probably, consequently, suffering from inflation - as was revealed by a wonderful "round man" dream, where, on stage, dressed in white, looking like Mark Twain, I blew up like a beach ball and was kicked and rolled of stage).
Hope you dont mind, but I had to laugh at this one! I see a strange ambivalence here, though; at least youre holistically round (hence your appreciation of interconnectedness), so dont be too hard on yourself. Its possible to be simultaneously inflated and full of the authentic air of inspiration (which therefore means to breathe in). And remember the Platonic sphere as the original androgyne; they, too, bounce (as is mentioned in my Coleridgean poem "The Rind of the Ancient Deathmelon"):
About and about, the Deathmelons shout
And bounce like Platonic spheres . . .
Speaking of sinister bouncing white thingees, remember that superb 60s TV series "The Prisoner", starring and written by Patrick McGoohan, a show riddled with archetypal themes if ever there was one? Every time the Prisoner tried to escape from the mysterious Island, the huge white balloon came bounding after him along the beach, or across the ocean and forced him into unconsciousness. (Jeez, they dont make shows of that calibre any more . . .)
The Wizard of Oz, who proves to be a time-traveller in my book, is speaking to Bertie, the protagonist, in Book Six: about The Magic Hour-Glass that enables him to time-travel: "The Hour-Glass is many things at once in many dimensions. But to begin, it is two cones placed tip to tip."
Yes indeed, Richards wiz of tale gives new meaning to seeing the Point, and to science as myth and, I might add, as poetry. (Richard also redeems that drear "Days of our Lives" prologue, "Like sands through an hourglass, so are the days of our lives.") Remember Yeats double-cone structure through which history spirals to an Omega Point, then spirals outward again? I like the sound of your tale, Richard. Did you send a copy to Stephen Hawking? Since hes been a guest in the holo-suite on Star Trek TNG, he obviously has a penchant for science mythologized. The joined cones also remind one of certain diagrams of wormholes, which look like 2 joined, mirrored trumpet-halves funnelled outward at either end. My Trickster/Mercurius deity, Terragian, calls these "Mirrorhorns" and hes always sending music through them to parallel universes. Richard says it all: "This infinite expansion/contraction is the universe breathing, alive, imbued with Light/Spirit."
Wonders abound. Mystery remains.
Your approach to "repulsing the pesky Greys" seems quite valid if they are just a psychic phenomenon; however, I have obtained a new book, The Threat by David Jacobs, published by Simon& Schuster, which is most disturbing, and in view of that a most dangerous attitude to take.
Well, along with Jung, I dont regard - or experience - psychic as just; hence Jungs maxim the reality of the psyche. I have no idea whether Greys are tangibly objective, or archetypal, or possible both (neither did Jung). My concern is with the very real trauma that these folk suffer. Whatever the actual nature of the Greys, there is no doubt in my mind that to the abductee folk Ive dealt with, theyre real. Whats the angle taken by Jacobs?
Percevalia (D. Melomorte)
Had to chip in re Covert Harriss discussion of "Men In Black" and things Jungian in Hollywood films. I agree entirely. My friend Ted Tollefson, of Mythos Institute, and I did a couple of classes two years ago on Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation, examining the many archetypal and Jungian patterns in the stories. Ted attributes much of this to the fact that Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Trek, was a Unitarian. I have another theory. I think that the collective unconscious of Hollywood is embodied in all the unsung writers who write the scripts for films and TV, most of whom, I suspect, were English majors in college and grad school. Since Jung has never achieved higher popularity in academia than in English departments, I suspect that there is a much higher than average familiarity with Jung among those writers, who, like the cosmic cockroaches, skitter about in the dark recesses of Hollywood scrounging a living. This may especially be true among those who write science fiction and fantasy.
There is more than a hint of a Freudian joke in Men in Black, too, as the flashing device they use to instantly repress the memories of alien contact and violation is overtly and obviously phallic. Consider also the way the two agents vie for control of the phallus and its use!
I used to know fear, but have not experienced it - except where it has a purpose in getting out of the way of cars and the like - since I did battle with it and won, about 30 years ago. It almost seems trite, and I will tell you. I was very much afraid of God knows what. In dreams there would be a knock at the door, and I would suddenly awake with my heart pounding. During the first ever ingestion of a certain chemical which will go unnamed, before having "fun" with the others, I suddenly recognized it was my mission to sit and wait for the knock at the door, and then I would open it. It came and I opened it and in front of me stood a little red devil with horns even and what looked to be a rubber body. The only thing even remotely scary were his searing eyes staring directly into mine. I said to myself, you little S.O.B., you dont have a prayer of intimidating me, and I glared back at him, at which point he faded away. I know this is boiler plate, and I am usually creative, but this is exactly what happened. After that, in situations where I used to experience fear, I was surprised to find it was completely gone, as in flying. I recognized (or it is at least my current model) that all my fear came from a kind of constipated psyche, where certain belief systems were simply locked while others were being broken into new neural pathways, causing stress. I now work to keep belief systems on the move, so to speak. This, I believe, naturally gravitates me into centre positions, the apparent effective therapeutic against fear, as you point out. It also makes me eccentric (the other side), but Id rather be "crazy" than be afraid.
Extremely well put, Covert. I guess the irony is that we fear divine wholeness and the responsibility (and freedom) this entails, hence Jungs remark that religion is a defence against a religious experience. Embracing Dionysian ambivalence and creative madness is certainly, as you imply, the key; no god is a better dethroner of ego and rational defence. As Hillman so eloquently argues, it is only when this god is given - alongside Apollonian focus and centrality - equal importance in consciousness that we will cease to patronize the hysterics, the schizophrenics, the limping Puer Icaruses, the shamans, the eccentrics, the Maenadic Madwomen, the Holy Fools. Such folk incarnate the necessary pathologies, divine madnesss and irrationalities of polyvalent soul.
Safe Eccentric Orbiting
Maureen, I re-read your first article about Princess Diana and can say enthusiastically that the conclusions youve drawn about the message to each of us about our responsibilities to participate in the incarnation of "Eros consciousness" make a lot of sense. Your statement: "When through the "I-Thou" of Eros consciousness, the heart opens in a paradox of simultaneous strength and vulnerability, weakness takes the form of a mediatorial power of freely offered compassion" resonates significantly with me. For decades I have been puzzling over St Pauls mysterious admonition that I glory in my infirmities because Gods Glory is revealed through my weakness, and I think you have concretized that wonderful, if elusive pronouncement to the extent that I find it a major value statement against which I can begin reordering priorities and reshaping near-term goals.
I rediscovered the following dream account. I think youll recognize that its significant in that Ive made a practice, to the extent possible, of making myself prayerfully attentive to your [Shamanic Healing Site] "wavelength" on Thursday and Friday evenings, between 8:30pm and midnight, which I believe to be, in Boston, the hours equivalent to your stated vigil hours in Adelaide. I had been thinking that I might see some corresponding material in my dreams, but Ive remembered very little dream material. But the following is conspicuously located in Australia and I suspect that it is meaningful.
In a dream, Im visiting my high school German teacher. Her home is much like her farm in New Jersey but its located in Australia. Its morning and Im arising to start my day. My teachers daughter (she was a year ahead of me in High School) comes up the stairs and into my room. Shes dressed in a long skirt and a white puffy sleeved blouse. She looks very properly presentable. She sits on the foot of my bed with her feet on the bed, leaning on the window frame at the foot of the bed and asked if she had come at a bad time for a conversation. I told her that I was just about to take a shower and I was wondering where the shower was. She said I should get the servant, Francois, to show me where in the back yard it was located (notice the significantly German syntax). She went up the hall and banged on the door of Francois bedroom and awoke him. He grumbled something incomprehensible that indicated we should let him alone. I then found my self in the basement (it reminded me somewhat of the cellar in my mothers house, with the clothes lines strung from beams that support the kitchen floor, and somewhat of my maternal grandmothers house, because it had a shower in the cellar) with the daughter and discovered a shower head (its a conical, very narrowly focused shower head; NOT the big round kind thats shaped something like a sunflower) around which some articles of clothing were hung to act as a sort of screen. Besides the daughter there was a middle aged woman in the basement with me. She watched calmly as I took off my clothes to use the shower. I was surprised to notice how calmly she watched and I awoke wondering what it might be like to live in a highly structured society that was not so repressive as the culture Ive grown up in.
Thanks for your useful feedback on the Diana myth, Andrew. The more I ponder it, the more I feel that Eros is at the heart of the Diana tragedy. I wonder if it would be worth further exploring the myth from the angle of the Eros and Psyche tale? Certainly Diana expressed Psyche as soul, rather than Aphrodite as soul-image, the latter, of course, antagonistic in the myth to Psyches union with Eros (the herm-aphrodite taken to a new level of consciousness?) And Does not Aphrodite incarnate the idealized anima that (before Diana) energized those many collective projections onto glamourous anima figures (e.g. Marilyn M?) Now we have a new ideal to aspire to - individuated soul as opposed to glittering illusion. The first can be realized through Eros, the second is an elusive carrot before the Puer-ile donkey.
The Psyche myth seems to push this development further, in that Psyche is the divinity of the human soul and as such must forge her own destiny and retrieve the Underworld treasure herself; theres no sense of a passive, helpless humanity waiting to be molded (like Prometheuss clay humans), or patronizingly given gifts by the gods. The gods help or hinder Psyche, but they no longer control her as superior beings. This is truly an Aquarian myth: the divine human, the uniting of opposites (Above and Below, Logos and Eros), the inner marriage.
Safe Erocentric Journeys!
I recently read Behavioral Genetics by Drs Robert Plomin and Michael Rutter, Inst. of Psychiatry, London. They report on many huge longitudinal, multivariate regression studies with twins, adoptees, etc. that were designed to see which behavioural traits (personality, values, behavioural pathologies, propensity to crime, relationships, attitudes, interests, etc.) are inherited, and what explains the rest. I wont recount the book and instead will grossly simplify, but state the Big Point. One page showed an illustration of a bisected circle: half black and half white. The black was labeled "Genetic", the white was labeled "Non-shared environment." A central finding described throughout much of the book is that "shared family environment," defined as family behavioural resemblance (unique traits characteristic of a particular family, excluding the one randomly selected in advance to study) not explained by genetics, has next to nothing to do with the behaviour of the subject being studied. In other words, compare a particular non-genetic family resemblance to all heads resulting from coin flips. The subject being studied, even though s/he is in that family, has no propensity to be a head any more than a tail. In other words, as the many studies corroborate, parenting does NOT play a critical role in a kids behaviour. Fifty percent of behavioural variation (aspirations, love of books, etc.) is explained by genes, and fifty percent by environmental influences, which are unknown and not definable. (For example, no correlations were found with such shared resemplances as strict discipline, a Christian example, or a loving, flexible Summer Hill-type parenting environment, etc.) Correlations can only be guessed at individually because you cant do much statistics with data points of one.
While this is not at all surprising to me, as I intuited this from the start, and used the rationalization to escape the onerous job of having kids, I suspect this would be hard for many people to accept. (God knows, maybe the work is not good science, and it might not be accurate.) But what does it say for or against Jungian psychology? It looks to me like another justification for the theory that an individual has a set of his/her own individual archetypes, and she/he pretty much pulls out of the air, so to speak, images and stories to express complex and ever-changing archetypal constellations. Analogously, I can play music out of the air (like a nut) just by just concentrating for a few minutes on a song and letting the vibration frequencies that fit the score in to my consciousness, while keeping the other frequencies unexpressed. The air has all frequencies playing all the time, but of course, evolution has allowed us to filter them out. The authors of Behavioral Genetics took the position that they suspected that the environmental influences actually resulted from individual choices, and were not imposed by an external environment (this suggests an explanation for why the unshared environment variables could not be found). These choices, in turn, they suggested, were probably directed by the individuals DNA. Now the illustrated circle would be a mixture of both black and white throughout, which is hard to illustrate without the help of Jungian thought. I think the monad is indeed Gods eternal fulguration, whoever said that.
But Jung says:
. . . life can never be thought of as a function of matter, but only as a process existing in and for itself, to which energy and matter are subordinate. . . We have no justification for understanding the psyche as a brain-process than we have for understanding life in general from a one-sided, arbitrarily materialistic point of view that can never be proved, quite apart from the fact that the very attempt to imagine such a thing is crazy in itself and has always engendered craziness whenever it was taken seriously. We have, on the contrary, to consider the psychic process as psychic and not as an organic cell-process. However indignant people may get about metaphysical phantoms when cell-processes are explained vitalistically, they nevertheless continue to regard the physical hypothesis as scientific, although it is no less fantastic. But it fits with the materialistic prejudice, and therefore every bit of nonsense, provided that it turns psychic into physical, becomes scientifically sacrosanct. Let us hope that the time is not far off when this antiquated relic of ingrained and thoughtless materialism will be eradicated from the minds of our scientists.
- C. G. Jung, The Structure & Dynamics of the Psyche
The term neotype was created by Dr Ariel Baldrich, a Jungian psychologist from Argentina who is the founder of the AION Institute, an association created to teach Jungian psychology. In Argentina all universities are devoted to Freudian, Lacanian or other studies. Jung is not well accepted in those circles. How we can change that according with your experiences? Neotype means an attraction from the future as an opposite of the archetypal roots . It means also fascination. Best regards and happy to be round the fire here in Argentina.
And what does this [half white, half black circle] bring to mind if not the black-white Taoist yin/yang symbol/circle? The difference, of course, is that with Tao, white is implied in black, black in white (or in Heraclituss words:
the seed of each opposite is contained in its opposite); in other words, Nature as life is a lived paradox, and enantiodromia is the eventual name of the game. These bozos, on the other hand, make the usual psuedo-scientific, dualistic, hubristic/egoic assumption that life can be neatly bisected with a straight line into the either/ors of black vs white. How dull and unnatural! Lets hear it for the curved, serpentine line of Tao, the river that flows into all forms, with no preference for either of em. And lets not forget that the psyche is primarily a fact of Nature (hence Tao), not a neatly compartmentalizable (luv that word!) construct of the Apollonian rational ego; hence Jungs comment: "Personality is Tao".
Safe meanderings . . .
[Individual posts are automatically c.1998]
updated 1 oct 98