Dreams & Discussions: June 1998
Here are two reasons that Jung was so interested in the Gnostic Scriptures:
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Here is another, dealing with archetypes:
When you see your image, you are glad
How much will you then endure ?
It takes two to Tango ~Shadowcatcher
Hello fellow Jung Circle members
I so enjoy reading the material you all so generously share, This is the first time I felt a need to come out of the woodwork and jump into the "throwing another log into the fire", so to speak. Thanks to all of you. This understanding of Salome, a figure who was blind because she could not see the meaning of things¹ seems to me to be limited in interpretation. Could it be that she was blind, because her way of being was to "feel" her way? Just musing aloud here.
From Mike Dickman:
Of course we all have bias. As to my 'gnosis', possibly the less said the better. However, as to saying what the minor cards are for, I think I stated fairly categorically that their purpose was explication of the 'principles' expounded in the Major Arcana. And it might also be interesting to see them in the other role: as the - as you point out, 'ever shifting' - structure around which the Major Arcana spiral or circle.
I am familar with the Kabbalistic Teaching, which centres in "The Tree of Life" with its Ten Sephiroth, and their 22 connecting Paths corresponding to the 22 letters of Hebrew Alphebet, reflected by the 22 Keys of the Major Arcana. I am aware that the minor cards reflect psychological conditions, but when you try to pin them down, they move (as they should); they are not Principles.
In the Golden Dawn based Tarots, which is to say the greater part of the modern Tarots ranging from Crowley's to Edgar Cayce's with virtually everything Aquarian and 'New Age' (rhymes with 'sewage') between, the most rigorous view is that the four suits of minor cards represent the Etz Chaiim or Tree of Life throughout the four worlds/elements/directions in space etc., as well as - running from Ace to 10 - the lightning flash of wisdom and sword turning every which-a-way, placed at the gateway of the Garden of Eden. That is to say, they both explicate and form the basis/structure/framework of the movement of the Major Arcana.
...you have not mentioned the " Keys to the Kingdom " which are the 22 letters of the Hebrew Alephebet, as reflected in the 22 Keys of the Major Arcana; each letter has a Root-word meaning and an assigned Number, from 1 to 400 from Aleph to Tav; these Numbers are not the numbers of the cards, numbers lead to letters and their root-word meanings.
The Major Arcana represent the path of the wisdom of serpents and gentleness of doves, the gentle smelling out of the truth of the details of such structure, which is - after all - only yet another more-or-less accurate cosmology - an order imposed on the infinite possibility of becoming that is actual nature of being.
The so-called court cards represent the movement - the process - of coming into being between the world of, if you like, 'principle' and 'detail'. That is, if you accept the Qabalistic paradigm of the Tarot.
The purpose of the Tarot is to make you think, to make you see relationships where you might not have noticed them before. It is a teaching tool to help you learn, not a showing off tool to show how clever you already are. After all, with just the slightest edge of humility, this universe of ours no matter what its size is only infinite. With our seven degrees of light and three and a half octaves of sound that can't even see infra-red or register the full heights and depths of whale song, to claim to understand more than nothing is surely utter folly?
"The Devil is in the details"
Perhaps. But a greater devil lurks perhaps in thinking one understands the principles - And a greater one again in imagining that the one could exist without the other? Just a suggestion. I notice, personally, that most coins have two faces and that the greater part of all concepts are relative to their 'opposites', or is it 'complements'?
Just a thought. I certainly don't know.
From Alice Howell:
what a fascinating discourse! unfortunately, am unable to comment in full as rt hand still not functioning. one correction: aquarius the waterbearer is an AIR sign - [its] waters are the waters of life - invisible energy. [its] glyph represents prana, chi, electricity and vibrational waves: two serpents. higher consciousness.
age of common man - opp. leo, sign of monarchy. task: finding the true ruler of psych\e within and thus honouring its presence in everyone. trap: too idealistic, transpersonal. solution: love thy neighbour as thy SELF - DIVINE GUEST - not as thy ego. mother teresa - i believe in person to person and that god is in everyone. it's the person to person that comes hard!
love n gratitude to maureen for providing this fireside!
alice o howell, great-grandmother
Last weekend I was completely bowled over by a viral throat infection. Shamanic remedy? Very Scorpio-ish: a) turn bodily fever temperature [103F] through trance journeying into purging catharsis (scorpions are the only animals who can do this - when sick, they sunbake and raise their temperature to kill the invading beasties); b) huge amounts of raw garlic - chopped and swallowed like tablets (garlic devas strengthen the aura and broaden its diameter); c) direct excess throat chakra energy away to other chakras; this is largely done through drumming certain rhythms and frequencies that reinforce other-than-blue energies. Interestingly, I had a warning dream here. The day before I got sick, I dreamed that a Trojan Horse virus had invaded my computer. It was horrid - in the dream I watched helplessly as the screen content disintegrated. Then came a clear message in the dream: this is not a lethal virus; the computer simply needs complete rest and an overhaul. The next day I got the virus. The warning was partly that I was expending too much energy in communication/verbal mode (throat chakra) and that I needed a rest. After heeding the advice, suspending all activity and going 'back to the blanket' (in NA fashion) for a few days, I feel renewed.
I was also interested in Roselma's following comment:
It is just that this understanding of Salome, a figure who was blind because she could not see the meaning of things seems to me to be limited in interpretation. Could it be that she was blind because her way of being was to "feel" her way? Just musing aloud here.
To add to this (which I resonate with), Salome reminds me of the Titan Goddess Mnemosyne/Moneta (Memory) as she is depicted in Keats' Hyperion poems. JK 'en-visions' her as blind to external reality, her eyes beaming with a 'mild moon' light. In this sense, she is an exalted Sophia figure as mediatrix to the collective unconscious and as a complement to the solar Apollo; so perhaps Jung's Salome and Philemon are in a similar symbiotic relationship; she as introverted, lunar consciousness, he as the solar Logos who articulates her inward vision as 'meaning'. (Significantly, too, some shamans are blind - and let's not forget Milton!) Here's an extract (from my PhD thesis) discussing Moneta's role in this sense:
At this point the archetypes of the Self and the anima merge as Keats experiences through the mediation of the maternal feminine the fall of the Titans as a memory within the collective unconscious. Through spherical adjectives in the reference to 'my globed brain' and Moneta's 'sphered words' (1.245, 249), Keats metaphorically fuses Self and anima and obliquely alludes to the holistic mode of knowledge and existence that is earlier imaged as the eternal dome of collective wisdom.
Keats' instinctive alchemy surfaces in his connection between the brain and the sphere. The brain was of special interest to the alchemists, who regarded it as the realm of the divine aspect of the Self, indeed as synonymous with the Self through the shared symbolism of the sphere. As the locus of understanding, the enclosing skull as the corpus rotundum represents the alchemical vessel of transformation - the 'round vessel' in which unity is generated (MC 434-35, 513-14). The alchemical correlation of the brain with the Moon and with baptism as a rite of transformation accords with its connection with the lunar alchemical mother, Moneta (MC 140, 436). Like the Moon, the rotundum is round and is prefigured by the feminine unconscious - the realm from which wholeness symbolically emerges. Moneta's eyes, which beam 'like the mild moon' thus symbolise the inner enlightenment of the unconscious which mediates wholeness in that her spherical wisdom, as the lunar complement of the Sun of Apollo, corresponds to the totality of the Self and to the union of the Self with the world (MC 356). Her eyes are therefore turned inward and seem blind to 'all external things', while her 'hollow brain' or 'skull' as the alchemical womb of evolutionary change enspheres 'high tragedy' as the internalisation of the Titans' fall (1.267-68, 276-79). In Hyperion an alchemical connotation is similarly implicit in the ascription of the liquid metaphor 'Pour' to the introjection of epic passion during Apollo's deification through the filling of the 'wide hollows' of his brain (3.113-18).
The experiential identity of Keats and Moneta is visually affirmed through the unveiling of her face, a gesture which signifies that her collectively unconscious wisdom has been rendered conscious. Keats describes her face as 'wan, yet
Not pin'd by human sorrows, but bright blanch'd
By an immortal sickness which kills not;
It works a constant change, which happy death
Can put no end to; deathwards progressing
To no death was that visage; it had pass'd
The lily and the snow. . . .
(Good one, JK - another Scorpio Sun!)
From Jim Woodgate:
My niece Amy Hinman is severely endangered by anorexia nervosa. She is 16 years old. She lives with my only sibling, my sister Lisa, in the town where I grew up, about 150 miles (241 km.) from me. Last Saturday they had two police cars at their house, and they had to break down the door of the bathroom to reach Amy. To say the least, she was initially an involuntary admission into a special in-patient program for anorexics. I feel rather powerless to help her, but last night I wrote her a letter. I wanted to share the letter with you.
Sorry to hear that the room-mate you liked is being discharged. It's kind of a bite when that happens. I understand that Alexander Sackeyfio, MD, is a really good guy to have. It's good that you have him. Just leave the world as you know it behind, and get the most out of the program there as you can. Learn everything you can about anorexia. Everything.
What really pissed me off about the in-patient treatment and what I went through with the alcohol, is that once I was in the in-patient program they taught us a whole lot of stuff. Why did I have to almost kill myself with alcohol in order to learn it? Why don't they teach this stuff in schools? Would it piss off the dysfunctional parents out there? Would it piss off the dysfunctional teachers, school boards, etc? It's a good question. I found out that they knew me. Even though they didn't know ME yet, they could describe me to a "T". It was spooky. That's when I discovered that there was something going on that no one had ever taught me about, and I wanted to know what it was all about. The problem is to get at the source of all this stuff you've got to get 'out of your head.' Stop dodging your emotions by being intellectual about it. Intellectualism is often a defense mechanism. You've got to go inwards into Inner Space. You have to seek out those dark places where you are afraid to go. That is where the secret waits for you. Feel the fear and do it anyway. For what you fear as much as death within you is actually, when it comes, your own rebirth. It's what Joseph Campbell describes as the "Hero's Journey." This is a golden opportunity for you. Take it. Find out who you really are.
You will be surprised.
Do not underestimate Anorexia Nervosa. It is lethal, and nothing to fool with. Your ordeal on Saturday June 6th 1998 could be considered a ritualistic rite of passage. Such rites are often terrifying and painful. You are going where few people get to go. As a shamanistic psychotherapist in South Australia once told me via e-mail, "the farther you fall, they higher you can eventually soar." This is your rite of passage. The 'dark night of the soul' as one author put it. Do not despair. Many people have trodden this path before you. Some have failed, but many have won. You are worth it. You. Amy. You are worth it. Don't do this for your mom, or your dad, or anybody else, do this for YOU. You've been playing a role handed to you by a dysfunctional family; you were the "perfect one." You did not choose the role. It was given to you. Your mother and I were also given roles, as were our parents when they were children. It kind of reminds me of a fractal ditty I once heard:
Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite'em, And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum, And the Great Fleas themselves in turn, have greater fleas to go on, And these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on.
Some people go through their whole lives 'asleep' as it were, and never find out who they really are. But others manage to 'wake up.' I can't tell you any more than that. I am giving you a hint. Trust me, Amy. You are more than you realize. With great pain comes great power. If it ignites, use it wisely. You have been chosen.
Let's hope that just as Amy's death-wish is (perhaps?) a reaction to the perfection that was projected on her by her family, so another enantiodromia will revert to life. (AN is so often a desperate plea by its victim to have control over her/his life). And as Hillman notes, suicide happens when we feel completely alone, that is, no longer feel part of the world soul that permeates and binds us all in suffering and love. You are wise and sensitive in your counsel; Amy is free to choose a kinder mistress for her own soul; perhaps even more to realize that without her unique gift, the soul of the entire world dies a little with her. May she. too, be stricken by what you so sensibly describe as (death as) a rite of passage, "By an immortal sickness which kills not;
It works a constant change, which happy death Can put no end to; deathwards progressing To no death . . ."
M "the Dark"
To Maureen; oh my dear, how you do manage to cut to the atoms of meaning with your words!! On 6/8 you wrote: and oh what a diference there is between Hell endured by the ego and Hell - which I now experience - as an invitation to visit and explore from the Self. Is there more you can say? Or perhaps you did with you account of the TV dramatization of Hades chasing a child about to die and <Hence the Hades/chthonic realm is one of the treasures to be retrieved for the good of all? But if you can, I could use more words about this.
Around my birthday on April I had this dream - (could it be of the same ilk?) In the dream my husband and I are crossing the Canadian border (we are close here in northern Vermont). We become aware that we must leave our car and walk across through some kind of working tool factory. We walk on through and must duck under huge machinery, grease and oil-covered wire and metal.
But the workers are good-natured and guide us through. Then we are facing a large room which must be crossed - the room is empty except for a massive, round, dark piece of machinery which is about to be activated. We are told to wait. I observe a worker covering his ears with his hands and I know an explosion is about to occur. I retreat behind a solid wall for protection from the noise without thinking much about an explosion. Other people do the same. Then someone shouts loudly, 'Move away!' The machine will hurl dangerous objects during the activation/explosion and we must duck. Then it is over and I am alone with strangers, forced to make my way through the crowd struggling with my walking disability. I am assertive about this.
A couple of days later there was another dream: I am watching my 8 year old grand-daughter, Terra, swimming under water in a muddy river. She is very good at this and doesn't surface very often. Then I see a large black snake swimming near her. Frightened for her safety, I try to call her out of the water but she questions me and keeps swimming on. I am trying to tell her that it is very dangerous to swim with snakes when I see several more dark snakes slither down the river bank to join her. Terra just laughs and swims on.
Glad to hear that you are feeling better now. It seems that whenever I contract bronchitis, it coincides with a despressive spell. It was fascinating to read your self-analysis and natural cures to come to terms with your ailment. These are new to me and it was interesting to learn new ways of "curing what ails us." The idea of raw garlic is not appealing though, I must admit. The most exotic medication I have tried lately for depression is the now well-known natural cure: St John's Wort. It does seem to have some calming and other beneficial effects. I have taken daily dosages below the recommended for a while with positive results.
I have given some thought to your recent reply about dealing with the Dionysian, Maureen. I couldn't help noticing the coincidence of our visit about this subject and your Trojan horse dream. I truly regret any spillover the musing over my own psychic demons may have created for you. It seems that your journey into Hades did evoke some interesting observations from others around the fire too.
Teresa had an interesting response. I especially appreciated her sharing her dream about her granddaughter swimming in the muddy waters, pursued by snakes. Perhaps you would comment on that imagery. I am a father of three, ever conscious of the murky, snake-filled waters in which my kids swim. Like Teresa, I noticed the distinction you made between the Hades endured by the ego as compared to that of the invitation to explore the self. Tell me, does one tend to be influenced or "haunted" by one or a few archetypes more than others? Do they change over time in a predictable way? Is it possible that one prevalent archetypal constellation is so strong that others are usually left submerged in the unconscious? Does bringing to consciousness the more dominant archetypal figures tend to "free up" our selves to explore other long-submerged influences? You also mentioned the figure of Persephone "dragging you into Hades." How were you able to identify specifically with that Goddess? How can each of us locate and identify more certainly those forces which may be affecting us at a given time.
I also want to thank Jim Woodgate for sharing his wonderful letter to Amy. I especially liked the way you turned her bad experience into a great opportunity. If we could all be so fortunate to have an uncle like you, the world would be such a hopeful, exciting place. "The farther you fall, the higher you can eventually soar." What an inspiring message! To be able to look forward to life's inevitable adversities with such openess and adventure is truly liberating, even for those of us who are pleasantly between crises. I have a niece with cystic fibrosis, whose next step is a total lung transplant. At age 13, she faces psychic demons daily which I can only imagine in my worst nightmares. While it is true that each of us has his own mountain to climb in life, observing those who are able to do it with both hands (lungs) tied behind their backs is truly inspiring. Thanks Jim for demonstrating how to be a sensitive, caring uncle, and sharing your hope with Amy!
From Mike Dickman:
My very dear Shadowcatcher
You can, of course, if you like, read what I'm saying as information, and - indeed, as you say - learning and knowing are two very different things. You can not, just as you say, KNOW anything from anyone else's words, but a pretty fair way to learn is to listen to what others do have to say, reflect on it, and then - if it's of any value - integrate it into your way of being, thereby giving rise not only to real experience but to even to veritable and down-to-earth and touchstone dependable realisation. "Knowledge," says 16th c. Tibetan master 'Jigme Lingpa, "is like a patch on a robe, and comes off when you most need it; experience fades away like the morning mist; actual realisation - like water pouring into water, light mingling with light, the space inside and outside the pot of opinions merging as the pot itself is pulverised - is all that is real: the only thing that matters." (Excuse the translation)
Love to you.
From Kaye Estell:
I read your comments about the "multiple soul." I believe the confusion surrounds semantics and our attempt to image the unknown. For me, confusion can surface when one intermixes discussion about the ego and its personalities with facet of the "soul." I agree that the the ego has many personalities and facets, but for me, the soul is pure, whole, total, complete. The ego, for me, spews its cloud of illusions and distortions making our vision of the soul difficult if not sometimes seemingly impossible. In fact, the ego does such a great job of distorting, that we tend to believe that the distortions are "truth" and "reality." Now, if the soul is pure, whole, total, and complete, does that mean or imply it has facets? Perhaps, but in its purity, the facets do not have to segment to communicate. The "whole" communicates, in my opinion, rather than facets. It's the ego that has the "need" to segment and compartmentalize.
Anyway, these are my thoughts.
I guess I was alluding here to Hell as a state of consciousness vs Hell as a place (recalling that to extreme i/is, the collective unconscious has a matter of fact, treadable solidity about it). The first Hell, in my experience, occurs when the ego is crucified between seemingly irreconcilable opposites and must stay there until the transcendent function comes to its rescue with a Third option. Hence Jung talks of the relative abolition of the ego; when one's consciousness is centred in the ego, one identifies with the conflict and this is torment. But when the Self displaces the ego as conscious centre, one is no longer identical with the conflict but is more detached and impartial - just as happy to be in Heaven or Hell (as imaginal/archetypal landscapes). Hell, or Underworld (my preferred term) is, again in my experience, a place full of energy, fire, soul, creative and destructive activity, and secret work, hence your dream does indeed have an Underworldly ring to it - lotsa dark machinery, workers and potential destruction! But note the positive potential - your workers are soul-guides (as are many Underworld figures). Your challenge here may be to harness this potentially destructive energy creatively (isn't this what owning the shadow is about?) Indeed, I have found that the key to being at home in Hell is in having owned my demons (which is also the key to authority in shamanic work). I consequently have a lot of helpful pals Below . . . And perhaps your black snake dream has a connection here. You saw the snake in the dream as (only) dark, dangerous and destructive:
A couple of days later there was another dream: I am watching my 8 year old granddaughter, Terra, swimming under water in a muddy river. She is very good at this and doesn't surface very often. Then I see a large black snake swimming near her. Frightened for her safety, I try to call her out of the water but she questions me and keeps swimming on. I am trying to tell her that it is very dangerous to swim with snakes when I see several more dark snakes slither down the river bank to join her. Terra just laughs and swims on.
Don't forget that the snake is ambivalent; as the symbol par excellence of the Wounded Healer, s/he is primal wisdom and transformation energy incarnate, and is potentially harmful (mostly to those who fear her) and helpful (to those who befriend her). Terra (what a great chthonic name!) seems to compensate your negative response with a fearless one. Try befriending Snake energy; take it from me, Snake is a wondrous ally (my shamanic name 'Nathair' means 'the Serpent' in Gaelic). If you read my mythic tale on Jung Circle, "The Quest of the Crystal Hand", it involves a young girl's journey through the elements. Snake leads her to the entrance to the darkness of Underworld, where the Oracle of Dark proclaims:
I am the Hand of Dark, in me
Is mystery and certainty
The Gift of life-in-death to thee
The One who captures and sets free
The Comforter of Dreamers
My shape doth change in form and hue
From seeing I deliver you
And set you back to childlike wonder
Trust me; I shall lead you Under
Only thereby shall you rise
And set your face to windblown skies
Behold again the fields of light
But first the lonely road of Night . . .
Deborah's description of Moneta, "the veiled shadow figure who guards the ancient flame. See? She's pulling aside her veil - but you see only those eyes" jerked me back to a powerful dream I had over a year ago.
In this dream, I was in the company of a close male friend (but I don't know who he was). He was introducing me to a seated woman who I took to be his wife. As I looked at her, I was struck with her serenity and her beauty, although I could only see half of her face at this time. She was looking down and much of her face was covered by a veil. As a came closer to her, she looked at me and the veil fell back slightly to reveal the shadowed side of her face. When the light caught it, this "shadowed side" appeared to be a festering, green goo so frightening to view that I was startled awake. I have not been able to put that hideous half of her face out of my mind since then. I can't remember encountering a similar figure before or after that dream.
At the time of this dream I was encountering some other archetypal figures, particularly that of the Dionysian Wotan, via active imagination. Could this figure have been Moneta or some similar goddess figure?
It seems that in addition to the Tao I must also add Keats to my reading list!
From Covert Harris:
As [Maureen] replied to Teresa:
The first Hell, in my experience, occurs when the ego is crucified between seemingly irreconcilable opposites and must stay there until the transcendent function comes to its rescue with a Third option. Hence Jung talks of the relative abolition of the ego; when one's consciousness is centred in the ego, one identifies with the conflict and this is torment. But when the Self displaces the ego as conscious centre, one is no longer identical with the conflict but is more detached and impartial - just as happy to be in Heaven or Hell (as imaginal/archetypallandscapes).
Jung's models work so well for me (as do your elegant interpretations, original thoughts, references, and elaborations) that I percieve that my resultant lack of conflict provides no impetus to go to the next level of psychic development. This does not bother me at all, however, because I have not been able to feel conflict since I seem to have gotten full appreciation of the transcendent function. My ego can of course recognize the stagnation intellectually, but my intuition tells me that I have reached the end game (but, an arrogant statement like this can bring one back to earth, "quite a dry Bob") It's been about 30 years). I cannot conceive of anything working better. I don't want to meditate, sit on a mountain, or anything, I just want a never-frozen swordfish cooked outside with a lot of good Pinot Noir and Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto #4 in the background while my favourite huge tree out back shimmers in the early evening wind (preferences change from week to week).
Tell me, does one tend to be influenced or "haunted" by one or a few archetypes more than others? Do they change over time in a predictable way? Is it possible that one prevalent archetypal constellation is so strong that others are usually left submerged in the unconscious? By bringing to consciousness the more dominant archetypal figures, does this tend to "free up" our selves to explore other long-submerged influences?
Alice Howell may have words of wisdom to contribute here, but isn't this precisely what the natal horoscope is all about - the activation at birth of certain mythic themes which are 'fated' to dominate the individual's life? I've certainly verified this myself, and in private therapy work. Many folk regularly dream of their astrologically dominant myth, e.g. a Piscean sun & moon guy I saw in private therapy, who dreamed that he was giving birth to himself through a wound in his thigh, and that Zeus was hovering in the background. As I had just found out, the myth of Dionysus 'Twice Born' dominates Piscean folk, and Zeus gives birth to him the second time round through a wound in his thigh. I therefore knew - before I verified through asking - that the guy was Piscean. Most of his other dreams involved him being surrounded by friendly yet wildish women (Maenads), and all of them were in the bargain trying to escape from threatening patriarchal figures. In my own life and dreams, two myths have dominated: Psyche and Eros (which is linked to no particular zodiacal archetype), and the Scorpio myth of Medusa, who is betrayed, banished to the Underworld, then is later transformed - through learned detachment - into the winged horse Pegasus (whom I worshipped as a child).
I'd be interested to hear from other folk about which myths have recurred in their lives.
You also mentioned the figure of Persephone "dragging you into Hades." How were you able to identify specifically with that Goddess? How can each of us locate and identify more certainly those forces which may be affecting us at a given time.
The identity is imaginal and emotional; I get dragged down - into depression, death (as the releasing of all desires, plans and certainties, and a sense of loss of soul and energy) - and as a prelude to a creative upsurge (which I sense is about to happen). In accord with the Demeter/Persephone cycle, this tends to happen more in winter (which it is here in Oz) than at other times of the year. I also have a Hades-like shamanic guide, Morddain, a formidable and taciturn being who silently shows me about in the Underworld. Hence as to your last question: we must each find our own path here, but for me, relating closely to these forces as autonomous, incarnate beings - on their own home turf - is the only Tao I know. As Hillman discusses so eloquently, the gods also speak to us through our wounds and illnesses (e.g. bronchitis, which I recently had, relates as does pneumonia, to the 'pneuma' of spirit, hence to the wounding of 'in-spiration'. The Tao is therefore 'like a bellows', as (ideally) are the lungs and their rhythmic yin/yang motion. Thus if breathing becomes 'laboured', the weightless Tao of inspiration, which (through expiration) fans the flames of creativity, has become weighed down, or overburdened by other concerns.
From Alice Howell:
dear covert - your wonderful words on the sculptures reached through the deep fog of physical n emotional frustration i've been dealing with.
maureen answered the question about archetypes very well - they are personifications of processes both in the outer and inner worlds, which to the ego are opposites, but to our div. guest, the self, are one in the unus mundus.
Maureen, it's high summer here. Once again your words move me to tears. I do so wish I could write/speak with eloquence. (Mercury was retrograde when I was born!) But I want to say that I know this death you speak of.
You also asked about recurring myths: Persephone has always been with me - even when I was a little girl I remembered this by heart, "My dear, my dear, is it so dreadful to be here?" Sometimes I am Demeter, walking the barren land raging, bargaining, and trying to call her forth with my own raw power.
I feel as if I know Morddain, too. I sat and closed my eyes to see if he would show. I think I could glimpse him. I certainly could feel him, knew him. My dreams would suggest that my animus is a priest - sometimes presiding in the Underworld. Yes, you are right - as an i/n this is definitely "treadable ground" for me. (Extraverted sensation comes hard!)
I'm grateful to Covert for his rich musing. I do believe that I am a derelict bottle rack. Honest! How else to type an aging woman, Demeter-like but a born Persephone, struggling with multiple sclerosis? "This bottle rack, torn from its utilitarian context and washed up on the beach, has been invested with the lonely dignity of the derelict. Good for nothing, there to be used, ready for anything, it is alive. It lives on the fringe of the existence of its own disturbing, absurd life." And I say a total YES to all this. It is enough, a fine privilege to be a bottle rack!
Dwelling close to the ground peacefully, quietly, Teresa (Taurus grandmother and bottle-rack)
A bit o' sea synchronicity here perhaps? Your likening of yourself to a beached bottle rack struck me as an overtly sexual image - but one that raises the feminine receptivity of yin to new heights, or rather depths, to wit of the ocean. It sounds as though your ability to conceive, gestate and birth has, in Will the Shake's words, 'suffered a sea-change into something rich and strange'(?) ["Those are pearls that were [her] eyes . . .'] The sea, that surging alchemical vessel of death and rebirth, creation and destruction is surely (along with you and Alice Howell) the maternal grandmother par excellence. And what are the begetting bottles you hold - ones containing messages (the Logos to your Eros), or Dionysian wine (the orgiastic/ecstatic face of Eros?) Ah me, I wax lyrical (yet again). You wrote:
"This bottle rack, torn from its utilitarian context and washed up on the beach, has been invested with the lonely dignity of the derelict. Good for nothing, there to be used, ready for anything, it is alive. It lives on the fringe of the existence of its own disturbing, absurd life." And I say a total "YES" to all this. It IS enough, a fine privilege to be a bottle rack!
Dunno about your retrograde Mercury, Teresa, but the above IS articulate and poetically Tao-ish. Bottle racks over bottlenecks (as the soul's endured pressure preceding its release) any day. Oh yes, sea synchronicity: I'm at a tranquil beach-side retreat, kite-flying, hibernating, and regenerating after illness.
From Deborah :
I want to send a prayer for strength and love for Alice Howell, Iona Dove. She is strongly in my mind as I ponder the connections of the Virgin, the Sophia, and the Holy Spirit. In The Dove in the Stone, she remarks that the coming age may be understood as an age of the the Holy Spirit; Holy Ghost; the Paraclete. The Dove. Many names for the same psychical truth. And everything tells me she is right. Alice is part of the old Philosopher's Chain - a link of pure gold, inordinate, and a direct connection with the Old Fool and that circle of amazing souls who continue to teach us to find the sacred in the commonplace.
Anyway, just a spontaneous prayer for strength and for love. I hope you will join with a prayer, silent or right here in the temenos.
I am new to this list. I am a physician (MD) long interested in Jung. Anyways I would like to present a short dream which to me is significant and if you have time I would be interested in your feelings. In the dream I am a beautiful man, an Adonis type, but I received a wound in the left groin. Shortly after I was transformed into a woman whose beauty was once again almost godlike. I have some thoughts on my own but would welcome any you might have.
Others on the list may have insights to add here, and your own thoughts will be the most useful of all, but your wounded groin in the dream reminds me of the Fisher King in the Grail legends, who was also wounded in this place. (Interestingly, he appears as the Wounded King, who is the Wounded Healer - cf. your title - in the Arthurian Tarot). I think Jo Campbell discusses in his Power of Myth that the wound symbolizes the Fisher King being cut off (through the transposition of the Grail myth into its all-male Christian form?) from Nature, i.e. the Waste Land of the Grail myth. Perhaps your dream reminds you - and all of us - that we need to reconnect to Nature, hence to the feminine. This is surely the essence of what Jung means by the New Age as being of the Holy Spirit, and what dear Alice Howell teaches us about so well with her love and understanding of Sophia wisdom. And gods know - I'm sure you'd agree? - that mainstream medicine.psychiatry is sorely in need of this kind of rebirth! Isn't Adonis a kind of innocent Percevale figure?
Marine & Sub-Marine Blessings
From Covert Harris:
A bit o' sea synchronicity here perhaps? Your likening of yourself to a beached bottle rack struck me as an overtly sexual image - but one that raises the feminine receptivity of yin to new heights, or rather depths, to wit of the ocean.
I was skeptical, Maureen, about how overtly sexual the bottle rack symbol is, as I (male) related to it very much also, and it made me feel very much alive also, and made me feel okay in not being more. But then along came Al who shared his dream of transforming into a woman, and Maureen's reference to Joe Campbell , and an old image emerged. I'm not going to look for it, so this reference might not be exact - but (never stopped me before) - from "Power of Myth," I also remember a vignette where a court fool was asked by the King (with the Queen present) who enjoyed lovemaking more, a man or a woman, because the Queen had asked the question of the King. The fool replied without hesitation that a woman enjoyed it more by a factor of ten to one. The Queen went ballistic and demanded the fool's head, whereupon the King, who had always valued the fool's counsel, blinded him instead.
As the fool staggered about the forest, using his staff for his lost eyes, he inadvertently poked a snake on the path, causing yet another bout of vengeance, whereupon the snake turned the fool into a woman. S/he continued on many more years in the same fog poking here and there until she finally poked another snake who, in anger again, transformed the fool back into a man. I often brag about my wife, who uniquely appears to understand the deepest human truths without the aid of symbols (and anyone who thinks and knows her at the same time says this in one way or another). I remember when I read her the fablette, she said it gave her goose bumps. That's when I recognized that it must be one hell of a message!
I am now going to print out the whale story, which I haven't read yet, but look forward to reading. I am finally finished with a time-consuming project.
The tale you mention sounds uncannily like that of the blind prophet Tiresias, who likewise transforms from a man to a woman (via a snake intermediary), then back again. I've always personally related to the latter as a shamanic parable, hence the psychic androgyny of shamans, who often have an extraordinarily close bond to an inner spouse. Not to mention Jung's own dreams of becoming a woman.
Maureen (hopping mad alchemical uniped)
From Alice Howell:
Dear Dr AL
thanks all for good thoughts - i am so perplexed by these challenges - rt hand swollen n foot likewise n buzzing up n down every time i move paresthesia n i have so many thoughts to set down!
i did have 1 mysterious dream that had me in tears:
two large celtic harps, grey wood like driftwood, on beach, standing upright. they were empty! no strings, but next to them was a humped, very old chest and a white bird standing on top of it, looking this way n that.
i cannot mention this dream without enormous affect - eyes brimming as i write.
i once wrote a poem, at 19, called The Song of Silence.....well, the answer is prob. in the chest, but it's difficult to open one-handed!
well, as the bishop of woolwich remarked: "In we are and on we must!'
love n gratitude to all
Greetings to the Circle,
Well, you've done it now. It was suggested to me to post this, and I balked. But with Al's Fisher King dream, I must. A week or so ago, my dream:
I was with this kindly man who looked like Christ, and he was explaining to me - as we looked over the wounded Jesus on the cross who watched us as we spoke - that he had many more wounds on him than Mary (in the next room) did, and that that "justifies his greater significance". He was beautiful, by the way. Very muscular. And I told him he should really have a huge erection, like all the old Greek statues, and they both agreed. I thought it was more Numinous. We mulled this one (on Deep Fems) - and with Maureen. I reconstruct my thoughts:
I KNOW the erection wish came from an A & E broadcast about a month ago. They were looking at art in Pompeii, ancient Rome and Greece. As Jung pointed out about India, there were erections everywhere: Lingam. The children bumped their heads on them going in the door! There they were, larger than all of life, on all the Gods. Huge erections. Impressive and awesome.
It took me back to when I was 19 and on an outing to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. I was with a small group of women, both old and young, and we'd walked around to an open field and saw a herd of cows. They were corralled in a small space, and three bulls had been set them. The bulls were just going madly from she to she, their long penises like majestic swords - just relentless energy. Mounting, mounting. The power! The impulse to life in flesh, act. All of us just stood agape. It was like watching Zeus. It was cruel. And it was perfection.
So, let alone the coniunctionus - the erection is simply essential in Godhead. Essential in Nature. Where is it in suburban Christianity? In the Church? It seems the Virgin as Paraclete is somehow appropriately in the wings - on the border of consciousness because she is the interface between eternity and the field of time & space. I accept that expression of wisdom. But where is the sacred marriage? Where?
So the dream? My best guess for now: here is Mr Church Christ conferring with me. He is making peace with me because I am making peace with him. It is the kindly Christ of Childhood and I am trying to love him when I have so very much repulsion in me at the sacredlessness of the Institutional Church. The dream is my addressing all this, and having me and the Christ meet each other half-way.
Jill Peterson had sent in an interesting poem that made me clarify a point in the dream - the Resurrected Christ. I'm pretty sure I didn't regard the speaking Christ as that. The resurrected Christ to me is - me. And you. It is an expression of the light within US. Because that is all Christianity is: a metaphor for the union of God and (hu)man, the integration of conscious spirit in matter. This is my body. This is my blood. I become as you, and you as me, as in the Thomas Gospels. This is communion with Eternity.
Chris Ford made some comments getting beyond the surface to the deeper Christ. The dark and light of him. And yes - Lucifer was the Light Bringer, and in the old Saracen myth of the Fall, was sent to hell because he loved God too much to bend his knee to man - as God instructed. His hell was being denied the sight of God, and forever hearing the command to depart. And isn't that religion without the mystery of god in it? My beef is with the Church: what has been mislaid and thrown away. The Virgin in the other room. It was like a hospital. Dr Christ and I were colleagues accessing the crucified Christ as he watched us and worried about his bill. The wounds! Yes, his are greater than Mary Virgin's! WHERE IS THE MISSING PIECE OF GOD? I was asking. It was Dionysus on the table - and I want him whole.
There was more - it was pointed out to me (a wonderful story) that Thomas Moore (as in Care of The Soul) has said something very like my missing part sermon above! And as I turned on the tube at 3am that night to see if another tornado was blowing up, there was an ad for Tom Moore - a show about 'finding the sacred in the commonplace'. Now, many of us know that phrase as the subtitle of Alice Howell's book. Turns out, she knows Tom Moore. He used to teach classes in her house. Even gave her the Sophia award last year. I feel pulled into something that wants attention - and that I'm not alone in this one. Alice is one - the last? - of the old Guard, and isn't this their message?
From Andrew P Walker:
First of all, Thank you, Maureen, for your Whale song! I guess I would characterize its effect on me as "immersive". The affective aspect of the experience dominated my attention. I'm tempted to use it as a meditative focus for "tuning in" on Thurs and Fri Night Shamanic Sessions.
Thanks all for good thoughts - i am so perplexed by these challenges - rt hand swollen n foot likewise n buzzing up n down every time i move -paresthesia n i have so many thoughts to set down!
On reading this, I began to wonder about how these challenges might be a prod for you to explore previously under-utilized modes of communication. And I have to confess, I really don't know concretely what those modes might be. But then I read your dream:
two large celtic harps, grey wood like driftwood, on beach, standing upright. they were empty! no strings, but next to them was a humped, very old chest and a white bird standing on top of it, looking this way n that.
i cannot mention this dream without enormous affect - eyes brimming as i
. . . and was struck by the reverberant suggestiveness of the imagery. I imagined that the harp strings were not absent, but not visible: made out of a mysterious substance. And the mystery in the subtance is in the chest. You already have a notion of what's in the chest, so the fact that the chast (is that a prize frung?) is difficult to open one handed (using conventional means leaves you at a disadvantage) limits you only insofar as you focus on your hands as a means of power or facility.
I would have timidly kept all of this to myself if it had not been for the poetic excerpt quoted later:
"You think that treasures should be buried? That is the opinion of avaricious men. For what is the use of hidden music? Mysteries are always mysteries, so long as they are not conveyed to profane ears." [Celio Calcagnini]
With this, I resonated strongly, especially imagining that there is a relation between the imagery of hands and what we do with them and the actions and "opinion of avaricious men".
So where to go with all this? The chest on the sand suggests unburied treasure. The stringless harps suggest hidden music. Does the inability to open the chest onehanded suggest being barred from attempting to fathom the mysterious content using the conventional ideas and "opinion of avaricious men", but being invited to explore mysterious substance by means of a hitherto undervalued orientation?
To Deborah :
I'm very intrigued by your dreaming consultation with Dr Christ and want to give it much thought before responding further. The issues you raised regarding Christ's generativity brough to mind an Old Testament passage that has tickled my imagination over the years: Isaiah 53:10-12. In "suburban Christianity we are often hearing the first 9 verses of that chapter, especially around Christmas and Easter in the context of Handel's Messiah: "All we, like sheep have gone astray..." But verses 10-12 are rarely quoted and I think it's because conventional seminary theology has not easily explained them since they speak to issues of gernerativity, a topic only appropriate for discussion among mature audiences.
Pursuing further my earlier comments addressed to Alice Howell's dream, the "treasure" chest also suggests prized possessions, stored away and eventually neglected and forgotten. This seems congruous with my suggestion that new horizons and modes of communication (not to ignore relational effectuality), can be discovered through recollecting a previously discarded perspective. That, along with the poetic excerpt and my frung: chest/chaste, suggest the involvement of a tension between chastity and the "opinion of avaricious men".
From Krishnan S. Anand:
to Deborah [and others]
He was beautiful, by the way. Very muscular. And - truth - I told him he should really have a huge erection, like all the old Greek statues, and they both agreed. I thought it was more Numinous.
Of course he should. And he does. Look behind the fig leaf. Christ smiles, because your imagination is the limitation. (I hesitate to blaspheme further in a group. Think of Shiva . . . oninhibited naturalness.) Also recall Adam with the phallic tree, a common figure of alchemy.
Some of you may be aware that the classical Shiva Lingam in temples is in fact an androgynous image. The Lingam is depicted as piercing the yoni and standing erect. Look closely and you will see that the base is a yoni. Another interesting esoteric fact is that the Lingam pierces the yoni from the Inside Out; i.e., where the details are graphic, the external male and female genitalia are depicted. Thus, both are parts of an unseen single source "below": the union of opposites par excellence; the dialectic ("intercourse") of the two-that-are-one.
The bull Nandi, representing the unalloyed sexual instinct is Shiva's mount, representing Shiva's yogic mastery over his sexuality. Where most mortal men fizzle out soon enough (there being perhaps only one known notable exception), Shiva has complete self-mastery. The heat of this continuous intercourse would be too much for the world to bear. Hence Nandi the bull (when Shiva is in coitus with Parvati/Devi his spouse, which is whenever Shiva is not bull-riding for exercise or deep in meditation) constantly blows out air through his nostrils on the copulating pair to "cool down" the Lingam/Yoni. You will see Nandi's statue strategically placed opposite the Lingam in the Sanctum Sanctorum of temples, to facilitate this; also, often, a pot hung high over the Lingam in temples, dripping cooling water on the Lingam through a minute hole. Also check out an un-bowdlerized version of the creation of Shiva's son Kartikeya/Skanda/Muruga (too long to tell) - the heat of Shiva's seed, which is not different from the heat of meditation/tapas. The supreme Yogi is also (not coincidentally) the supreme sexual stud.
Right there in the union of Shiva and Devi: the two-that-are-one. Also Shiva's "ardha-nareeshwara" form: his/her left side as female, and right side as male. Also check out the bawdy, un-bowdlerized version of the tale of how Shiva's Lingam came to be worshipped - to stir the erotic imagination a bit.
I had another dream about a wound many months ago which I called "The dead wound". There was a hole in my body so large that I could put my hand inside. The wall of the wound was hardened, sclerotic, and it felt like wood or stone.
Now in medicine, disgusting as it is, when one sees a wound with fever, pus, exudate, that means that a healing process is going on. A dry, lifeless hole however indicates irretrievable tissue destruction. Regeneration is no longer possible. The absence of fever or pus does not necessarily mean that things have resolved. The wound may be festering. As I put my hand inside (as I think Christ did) I remembered the saying, "Abandon all hope ye who enter here." I suppose this emptiness, this primordial hole can also be seen as a prelude to a next stage. Giving up, acceptance, loss of hope, forgetting the struggle, can open one up to new possibilities as well. When fixation ends, energy can be used which was hitherto unavailable.
Anyway, this was another of my wound dreams which I wanted to share.
Just wanted to thank Anand for illuminating us so well on the link between the androgynous Shiva and sex. I recall Robert Johnson speaking here some years ago (at the Jung Society) on the same. He'd lived for much of his life in India and so as a Westerner was able to pick up a lot about the difference between the Indian and Western attitude to sex, which is of course a cultural shadow issue. As Johnson pointed out, India has a different shadow - he suggested it was in the neglected area of Christian love for one's individual neighbour (as was compensated for by Mother Teresa's work). Since sex is not trapped in the shadow in India, their God-images are rampant with it, cf. the sexless Western Christ, disembodied 'Father', Holy Spirit and 'Virgin' Mary. In Western consciousness, in other words, spirituality and sexuality are severed from one another because sexuality is very much part of the Western shadow. Of course Jung's childhood dream of the giant underground phallus (as God, the Underworld Devourer) sitting on the golden throne and looking up was a neat compensation for Jung's father's repressed, or one-sidedly 'spiritual'/all male Protestantism. The Western equivalent of Shiva is of course the equally androgynous/ambivalent Dionysus, whose sensual ecstasy, intoxication and Maenadic wildness is similarly a route to spiritual transcendence. It's therefore no surprise that the Western Devil (as the shadow) is distinctly Dionysian, Pan-like and sexual. And since the Dionysian is strongly linked to the feminine, the exclusion of one from the God-image goes hand-in-hand with the exclusion of the other. The Western challenge is therefore the reintegration of both into collective consciousness, hence into the new God-image (this is where James Hillman is brilliant). When sexuality and spirituality are joined in consciousness (and this is in part what raising the Kundalini serpent is about), sexual union becomes a means to transcendence. As Anand put it so well: "The supreme Yogi is also (not coincidentally) the supreme sexual stud." Amen to this! This is one of the (many) themes of the vast mythology I have been working on for years. In it, two main characters, through a tireless rhythm of sexual union, are able to enter and travel the archetypal landscapes of "the Dreaming." (O wot fun).
From Covert Harris:
I need to make a quick mid-week modification to my comments to Teresa and Alice after their reply to my bottle rack quote. The important point of your replies was that you got the message and felt more alive as a result. Anyway, I will look forward to developing the concept with Teresa, Alice, and anybody else who is interested, because I consider the message that the little bottle rack statement conveys is the single most important concept of my life so far.
In a nutshell, I think the concept embodies the ability to perceive opposites simultaneously. When you can actually do it, I think all meaning, other than the meaning of being with opposing thoughts simultaneously, disappears. I further think pain depends on meaning for its existence. And I think that aliveness exists where meaning and pain do not, and to perceive them all at once does not hurt. If the ability to do this is an archetype, then the bottle rack statement, in my opinion, symbolizes that archetype as well as any symbol. The old 70s New Age guru Werner Erhardt also nailed it, in my opinion, with his mantra, "the point is there is no point." When I suddenly got this symbol, it was the last time I felt psychic pain, which probably makes me some kind on New Age nut (in a nutshell). I have all the compassion in the world, and empathy, but absolutely no pain; and before I got the big one, I was almost suicidal on a daily basis, I was in so much pain. Once you get it, you can have screwed your life up for 70 years, and it doesn't matter a bit, because you are alive today, like the damned bottle rack.
[Individual posts are automatically copyright 1998]
Maureen B. Roberts
updated 27 aug 98 Deborah