The Sea is Within Us

I woke up this morning clinging to a fragment of a dream where I was sitting quietly listening to a lesson being given by someone I could not see, but who was saying, “The sea is within…within every human being.” I knew this to mean the Sea of Unconsciousness—the vast, uncharted water churning below the surface of normal consciousness filled with hidden feelings, thoughts, and ideas—things that have been buried or have never risen to the light of consciousness. To most normal men and women who go about their daily lives following expected norms and traditions, if such hidden content suddenly became conscious, it would seem strange, even alien. But, there is so much that lies hidden underneath the thin surface of reality that “normal” human consciousness uses to navigate life. Humanity after all has only been on Earth for but a brief moment of time when compared to Earth’s geologic history or to the cosmological origins of the universe. Compared to these measures, humans are but blips in time. But still, even in this blip of time, humans have come to dominate pretty much all life on our planet, even while grasping only a fragment of the whole of consciousness existing within each of us and all around us—like water.

Recently, it has felt to me as if I am a survivor of some great disaster on this sea, and I am surviving only by clinging to a little bit of wreckage scattered on the surface of this endless Sea of Unconsciousness.

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Shipwreck survivor on the Sea of Unconsciousness — Original Artwork by Bébé

This feeling is due to circumstances beyond my control and is probably the reason for the dream, which I interpret as an ongoing effort to understand and make sense of these extreme circumstances. Something else that resonated recently in my sense-making mission is the Coen Brothers’ movie A Serious Man (2009). Yes, I know I’m late in getting around to watching this movie, but sometimes I think we see things when we are supposed to see them and when we need them. And, so I needed it now, and I really related to poor Larry Gopnick who is the main character and a person who has been living by all the rules and beliefs he was taught to follow until he encounters a string of strange reversals and even spooky circumstances that flip his reality upside down. What befalls Larry is so disconcerting and destabilizing it threatens to undo everything he has ever worked to achieve. In addition, he is poorly equipped to deal with or understand his circumstances. So, he seeks help from the Rabbis at his synagog, but each encounter leaves him more bewildered and baffled than before.

For a good read and analysis on this movie, go to: This Ruthless World; specifically, to the March 23, 2012 post: What Does this Movie Mean? “A Serious Man” (2009). However, I would like to highlight several spectacular observations this blogger makes about this movie. Number one, she says the movie is a commentary on the idea that we are taught to just accept things as they are in life and sail through it without looking for answers; however, this same attitude is what costs Larry his marriage, his family, and his home. She further points out that the viewer might first assume the moral of the story is: “If you don’t tend to that garden, someone else will;” however, the moral really goes much deeper, sinking down into the idea that “the ‘wisdom’ of unthinking, indifferent existence is absolutely wrong and spiritually destructive.” And, this is so important!

Carl Jung believes this is important too, which is probably why I am obsessed with his writings since previously I posted about the Archetype of Meaning and the Archetype of Life. However, Jung says much more about both archetypes, especially in relation to sense-making and meaning, including the following:

“It always seems to us as if meaning—compared with life—were the younger event, because we assume, with some justification, that we assign it of ourselves, and because we believe, equally rightly no doubt, that the great world can get along without being interpreted.

But how do we assign meaning?

From what source, in the last analysis, do we derive meaning?

This is a fantastic question that is worthy of every human being’s time and attention; however, it can be difficult work, especially when one is forced to do it due to circumstances that decimate one’s prior beliefs and systems of thinking—like Larry. I use the word decimate deliberately for when we are growing up, we are taught certain beliefs and ways of thinking in accordance with our culture and society (or tribe). These things are supposed to help us make sense of the world and give us a vehicle by which to navigate life’s ups and downs. However, systems of thinking and beliefs are much more like diverse and different wild animals that have been tamed by culture and society to help people survive living together over time. Thus, if one’s conscious landscape is decimated due to a great calamity that kills off a large number of the wild animals (i.e., systems of thinking and beliefs), then it becomes necessary to regenerate the land (i.e., conscious ground), and then to find and tame new ways of thinking and beliefs in order to go forward again. Loneliness ensues, especially for a person who has been thrust unexpectedly into this process, because family, friends, and larger community who have not been crushed by the same circumstances often remain quite happy to go on living in the same systems of thinking and beliefs that defined one’s previously shared reality.

Jung answers his own question of where meaning is derived, and thus how it is gained, in the following way:

“The forms we use for assigning meaning are historical categories that reach back into the mists of time—a fact we do not take sufficiently into account. Interpretations make use of certain linguistic matrices that are themselves derived from primordial images.”

Lets stop for one second to consider the word primordial. Jung uses this word a lot as he advances his theories of consciousness and the unconsciousness. However, I suspect it may create some confusion, so here’s a basic definition of primordial:

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Chaos was, according to Greek mythology, the origin of everything, and the first thing that ever existed. It was the primordial void, the source out of which everything was created, including the universe and the gods. The first primordial deities that emerged out of Chaos were Gaea (earth), Tartarus (underworld) and Eros (love), while later Erebus (darkness) and Nyx (night) also popped out. According to Hesiod, Chaos was also a place, much like Tartarus and the Heavens. — Image & Text from Pinterest saved by Karen Nash that comes from: https://www.greekmythology.com/Other_Gods/Chaos/chaos.html
  • Existing at or from the beginning of time; primeval — “the primordial oceans”
  • (especially of a state or quality) basic and fundamental — “the primordial needs of the masses”
  • Biological: (of a cell, part, or tissue) in the earliest stage of development.are

To Jung, primordial means all of these things in relation to the origins of consciousness. He believes consciousness existed at the beginning of time and that it is a basic and fundamental state that all living beings are immersed. He also believes there are developmental stages of consciousness that can be traced back through time much like a human embryo transitions through key evolutionary stages before becoming a fetus that will become a human being. Thus, primordial images are structures in consciousness stretching back to the beginning of time. They form the blocking blocks of thoughts and our psychic nature. Thus, primordial images are crucial in helping a person make sense of their world and to find meaning and purpose, especially after a great calamity shatters one’s previous beliefs and ways of thinking.

Now, back to Jung who continues saying:

“Interpretations make use of certain linguistic matrices that are themselves derived from primordial images. From whatever side we approach this question, everywhere we find ourselves confronted with the history of language, with images and motifs that lead straight back to the primitive wonder-world.

Take, for instance, the word “idea.” It goes back to the concept of Plato, and the eternal ideas are primordial images [and thus] stored up (in a supracelestial place) as eternal, transcendent forms [Note: this sounds very much like where the ideas for gods and goddess emerged from the Sea of Unconsciousness]. The eye of the seer perceives them as “imagines et lares,” or as images in dreams and revelatory visions [like my dream].

Or let us take the concept of energy, which is an interpretation of physical events. In earlier times it was the secret fire of the alchemists, or phlogiston, or the heat-force inherent in matter, like the “primal warmth” of the Stoics [i.e., a member of the ancient philosophical school of Stoicism and a person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining], or the Heraclitean (ever-living fire), which borders on the primitive notion of an all-pervading vital force, a power of growth and magic healing that is generally called mana.”

I think it is important to take another moment to consider just who the heck Heraclitus was; so, from Wikipedia:

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Heraclitus by Johannes Moreelse. The image depicts him as “the weeping philosopher” wringing his hands over the world — Wikipedia

Heraclitus of Ephesus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, and a native of the city of Ephesus,[2] then part of the Persian Empire. He was of distinguished parentage. Little is known about his early life and education, but he regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom. From the lonely life he led, and still more from the apparently riddled[3] and allegedly paradoxical[4] nature of his philosophy and his stress upon the heedless unconsciousness of humankind,[5] he was called “The Obscure” and the “Weeping Philosopher”.

Heraclitus was famous for his insistence on ever-present change as being the fundamental essence of the universe, as stated in the famous saying, “No man ever steps in the same river twice”[6] (see panta rhei below). This is commonly considered to be one of the first digressions into the philosophical concept of becoming, and has been contrasted with Parmenides statement that “what-is is” as one of the first digressions into the philosophical concept of being. As such, Parmenides and Heraclitus are commonly considered to be two of the founders of ontology. Scholars have generally believed that either Parmenides was responding to Heraclitus, or Heraclitus to Parmenides, though opinion on who was responding to whom changed over the course of the 20th century.[7] Heraclitus’ position was complemented by his stark commitment to a unity of opposites in the world, stating that “the path up and down are one and the same“. Through these doctrines Heraclitus characterized all existing entities by pairs of contrary properties, whereby no entity may ever occupy a single state at a single time. This, along with his cryptic utterance that “all entities come to be in accordance with this Logos” (literally, “word”, “reason”, or “account”) has been the subject of numerous interpretations.

I like this guy! Now, back to Jung again:

“I will not go on needlessly giving examples. It is sufficient to  know that there is not a single important idea of view that does not possess historical antecedents. Ultimately, they are all founded on primordial archetypal forms whose concreteness dates from a time when consciousness did not think, but only perceived. “Thoughts” were objects of inner perception, not thought at all, but sensed as external phenomena—seen or heard, so to speak. Thought was essentially revelation, not invented but forced upon us or bringing conviction through its immediacy and actuality. Thinking of this kind precede the primitive ego-consciousness, and the latter is more its object than its subject. But we ourselves have not yet climbed the last peak of consciousness, so we also have a pre-existent thinking, of which we are not aware so long as we are supported by traditional symbols—or, to put it in the language of dreams, so long as the father or the king is not dead.”

I want to draw your attention to Jung’s idea that primitive humans experienced thought very differently than modern humans experience it. He says thought for primitive humans came as visions, disembodied voices, dreams, and probably even disembodied ghosts and phantoms—stuff from our own consciousness, but humans had not yet developed the powers to perceive and grasp that these things were coming from within. This must have been a time in human development when the world was spectacularly magical as well as unimaginably terrifying for demons are just as likely to pop out from the unconscious as well as fairies or benevolent helpers. No wonder our ancestors developed elaborate myths, rituals, and traditions designed to tame such occurrences and give them cohesion, structure, and function so they could understand and maybe control them, and perhaps, most importantly, so certain psychic states do not inadvertently tear to shreds the fragile shared reality that was being created by early human tribes—and thus the vital role of medicine man, medicine woman, shaman emerged—people who could travel into these obscure and shady realms of consciousness and return with wisdom.

Art by Bébé

Jung goes on to give a lively account of how unconscious thought can pave the way for conscious solutions by recounting a dream a young theological student had and his analysis of the dream (pages 33 to 37). I will not go into this dream, only noting it involves the dreamer, a handsome old man dressed entirely in black known who is known as the black magician, a magician dressed entirely in white (you guessed it… the white magician), and an extraordinary event that occurs in a country ruled by an old king who is near his death. In Jung’s analysis, it is important to know the two magicians are two aspects of the Wise Old Man who is the superior master and teacher that is known as the Archetype of the Spirit symbolizing the pre-existent meaning hidden in the chaos of life. He tells us that theologian’s dream reveals the old men are trying to show the dreamer how good and evil function together, and presumably to help answer an unresolved moral conflict within the Christian psyche (p.36). Jung writes:

“Modern man, in experiencing this archetype, comes to know that the most ancient form of thinking is an autonomous activity whose object he is. Hermes Trismegistus or the Thoth of Hermetic literature, Orpheus, the Poimandres (shepherd of men) and his near relation the Poison of Hermes, are formulations of the sam experience. (p.37)”  (Note: Hermes Trismegistus was credited with tens of thousands of highly esteemed writings, which were reputed to be of immense antiquity. Plato‘s Timaeus and Critias state that in the temple of Neith at Sais there were secret halls containing historical records which had been kept for 9,000 years. — Wikipedia)

If the name ‘Lucifer’ were not prejudicial, it would be a very suitable one for this archetype. But, I have been content to call it the Archetype of the Wise Old Man or Meaning. Like all archetypes it has a positive and a negative aspect, though I don’t want to enter into this here. The reader will find a detailed exposition of the two-facedness of the wise old man in The Phenomenology of the Spirit in Fairytales.

The three archetypes so far discussed—the shadow, the anima, and the wise old man—are of a kind that can be directly experienced in personified form [that is we very easily project them onto other human beings or animals or things in nature]. In the foregoing I tried to indicate the general psychological conditions in which such an experience arises. But what I conveyed were only abstract generalizations. One could, or rather should, really give a description of the process the archetypes appear as active personalities in dreams and fantasies. But the process itself involved another class of archetypes that one could call the Archetypes of Transformation.”

Just like the post from This Ruthless World, Jung is advising us to pay attention to the stuff in the shadow and to sink into the place where wisdom whispers for to not do so is at one’s own conscious-spiritual peril. Thus, I think I’ve come full circle from where I started with my dream that said “the sea is within”—the sea I am floating on now as I try to find new conscious structures that might instill new meaning and purpose to what was shattered. But, will it be enough to survive what’s coming next? Just like poor Larry Gopnick in A Serious Man, which begins with him teaching his physics students about Schrodinger’s cat; it ends with this same puzzle—does Larry and his son live or die after the tornado? We don’t know, and we won’t know until we look inside the box. Or perhaps more appropriately, until the box is rebuilt through the process of sense-making and meaning so the journey can continue—thus the process is ever unfolding, so probably it is never done, which is another theme in the movie: bad things happen…that is life!

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From The Coen Brothers, Storytelling, and Fate
A poem by Ethan Coen reveals a key clue to the brothers’ story sensibilities. The tornado at the end of A Serious Man.
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The Archetype of Meaning

Another sleepless night drives me back to Jung’s The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Not remembering I read the shadow and anima the night before, I read them again until I got to this passage, and then I woke right up:

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Job by Léon Bonnat (1880)

“Life is crazy and meaningful at once. And when we do not laugh over the one aspect and speculate about the other, life is exceedingly drab, and everything is reduce to the littlest scale. There is then little sense and little nonsense either. When you come to think about it, nothing has any meaning, for when there was nobody to think, there was nobody to interpret what happened. Interpretations are only for those who don’t understand; it is only the things we don’t understand that have any meaning. Man woke up in a world he did not understand, and that is why he tries to interpret it.”

Having recently been cast back into the Sea of Chaos due to difficult and tragic events, making sense of the senseless is about the only thing left to do since I’ve become unmoored from what I previously thought brought meaning, purpose, and security to my life. And, so this passage really resonates. Jung goes on to say:

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Carl Jung’s Animus & Anima

“Thus the anima and life itself are meaningless in so far as they offer no interpretation. Yet they have a nature that can be interpreted, for in all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order, in all caprice and fixed law, for everything that works is grounded on its opposite. It takes man’s discriminating understanding, which breaks everything down, into antinomian judgements, to recognize this.

(Note: Jung classifies the anima as the feminine part of a man’s personality; it is the part of the psyche that is directed inward and is in touch with the subconscious; it is also an archetype, as described more below)

Then, on the radio, there was a program remembering survivors of the Holocaust and one of the speakers said (I cannot remember exactly what she said, but I remember it like this):

“In reading the dairies of teenagers living through the Holocaust, but also dairies of teenagers trying to survive the siege of Sarajevo, Syria, and other tragic times, there is an underlying effort to understand what is happening to them and this is something that collapses space and time. And, it is something that is common to all people whether their beliefs sit on the left or on the right. We all seek to make sense and make meaning of the world and our lives and to have a sense that our lives matter and we will be remembered when we die.”

Jung says archetypes exist independent of human lives, and we are immersed in them like fish swimming through water. When one touches us, it can have a numinous effect with strange and unexplainable things occurring. For ancient humans, ritual and rites were thought to help direct and control these strange numinous forces that seemed to have such profound effects on men and women. Jung explained man’s search for meaning (ancient and modern) in the following way:

“We are caught and entangled in aimless experience, and the judging intellect with its categories proves itself powerless. Human interpretation fails, for a turbulent life-situation has arisen that refuses to fit any of the traditional meanings assigned to it. It is a moment of collapse. We sink into a final depth—Apuleius calls it ‘a kind of voluntary death.’ It is a surrender of our own powers, not artificially willed but forced upon us by nature; not a voluntary submission and humiliation decked in moral garb but an utter and unmistakable defeat crowned with the panic fear of demoralization. Only when all props and crutches are broken, and no cover from the rear offer even the slightest hope of security, does it become possible for us to experience an archetype that up till then had lain hidden behind the meaningful nonsense played out by the anima. This is the archetype of meaning, just as the anima is the archetype of life itself.

So, falling into a black hole like the Dodo does in The Divine Dodo story is perhaps a universal human experience that may actually be a forerunner for something new that is emerging within the self after an encounter with the Archetype of Meaning. Encounters with this archetype do not leave a person unchanged for each individual touched by this archetype is driven to consolidate what is truly important and has meaning in their life, and then to gather all the divergent elements of consciousness in themself and give them structure and form—meaning. However, getting to this point can be a difficult, terrifying, and even dangerous journey—at least for the psyche of the person who embarks ill prepared or lacks adequate guidance and support.

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The Divine Dodo & the Bottom of the Soul — Original Art Work by Bébé

Jung recounts a dream of a theologian about such a descent saying that the descent into the depths always seems to precede the ascent. Recounting the theologian’s dream, Jung writes:

“…he saw a mountain a kind of Castle of the Grail. He went along a road that seemed to lead straight to the foot of the mountain and up it. But as he drew nearer he discovered to his great disappointment that a chasm separated him from the mountain, a deep, darksome gorge with underworldly water rushing along the bottom. A steep path led downwards and toilsomely climbed up again on the other side. But the prospect looked uninviting, and the dreamer awoke.”

As more conscious ground is gained and consolidated through the process of sense-making, both individually and collectively, the need to create meaning in the world does not lessen, but rather increases and becomes even more important. Jung further writes:

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German and British troops celebrating Christmas together 100 years ago *** Mansell—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

“Whether primitive or not, mankind always stands on the brink of actions it performs itself but does not control. The whole world wants peace and the whole world prepares for war, to take but one example. Mankind is powerless against mankind, and the gods, as ever, show it the ways of fate. (…) In the realm of consciousness we are our own masters; we seem to be the factors themselves. But if we step through the door of the shadow we discover with terror that we are the objects of unseen factors. To know this is decidedly unpleasant, for nothing is more disillusioning than the discovery of our own inadequacy.” (p.23)

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It is also the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht that sent Europe and the world into one of its darkest moments — Image from Yad Vashem — The World Holocaust Remembrance Center: “It came from within.”

Coming face to face with one’s inadequacy is a humbling experience because it means coming face to face with one’s own short comings—short comings that are often are attributed to others. This is how the split begins…inside oneself…it begins with the parts we don’t accept in ourselves and project onto “others” like the mad liberal mob or invading horde of migrants, and there are plenty of projections to go around on which ever side of the divide one ends up. But, recognizing this inner divide is a crucial process of growth that Jung called the Individuation Process.

In online article written by Scott Jeffrey A Closer Look at Carl Jung’s Individuation Process: A Map for Psychic Wholeness, he provides an excellent summary of the Individuation Process, which includes the following elements:

The purpose of this individuation process is to increase the individual’s consciousness.

With greater consciousness, individuals can heal the splits in their mind between what’s conscious and unconscious, bringing them to wholeness in their psyche.

In the first half of life, we make our way through the world, doing our best to develop healthy egos.

The first portion of life is mainly external as we seek to meet our basic needs.

From Jung’s outlook, the second part of life can represent a turning inward toward a deeper part of ourselves.

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Ancient Priestess with Antler Headdress — Art Work by Bébé

Later in the day, I encountered a young buck standing nervously under a brilliant yellow-orange tree. He had a huge rack of antlers on his head and looked so out of place standing on a narrow band of green. In front of him stood me and a major interstate highway—certainly not a good way to go. On each side of him and behind him were houses, yards, cars, and roads. His eyes darted nervously, searching for a way to go, but there was no clear path to safety. So, he lifted his head high and smelled the air; his huge brown nose moving rapidly as if he could smell in the air which way was safe to go.  I immediately felt a deep connection with him…this beautiful animal who was so out of place in this strange, urban world. I felt that I was just as out of place and trapped as he in systems that do not honor my innate nature and dignity, but rather create cubbyholes and prescribed rules that must be conformed to or else.

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Ancient Rite with Priestess — Art Work by Bébé

So what is a person to do when they realize they’ve broken out of the socially accepted systems that no longer provide meaning, purpose, or security—like the beautiful deer in the middle of the city? No wonder our ancestors put on antlers like this young buck—perhaps like antenna to help them tap into ancient knowledge that could help them navigate the turbulent waters during a close encounter with the Archetype of Meaning — an encounter that is destine to change those who meet it forever, and an encounter that is needed now more than ever before.

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Ancient Rune Reader — Art Work by Bébé

 

 

 

The Collective Unconscious & The Oversoul

In simply trying to understand what is happening to me now… I keep going back to Jung, specially to his book Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious, but also his book Dreams. Yesterday, a very old Facebook post popped into my notifications. It went back to early May before all the trauma occurred, and I had been more optimistic that all things eventually work themselves out to the best possible end result…now I am not so sure this is true at all.

In responding hopefully to this old thread, I said: “…I ran across this note I made some time back: ‘As we bump into each other, we effect and precipitate change in each other’s psychic fields of energy (or this could also be interpreted as consciousness).’ And, even though change in the masses may ultimately need to start as a change in each individual, by being together and communicating with each other, we are transforming ourselves and this can transform the collective…so, nothing is black and white…and what we are doing here and elsewhere is essential to bring about sustainable change in ourselves and others!”

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Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious & Oversoul — Original artwork by Bébé

What has transpired since I posted this comment is vivid proof that this sort of bumping into each other can indeed precipitate change, but the changes do not always end up being the type that elevates self and others. Such precipitation can also devastate and demonize self and other, casting the person so far into the bowels of the dreaded black pit (i.e., the unconscious)—the place where all that is unacceptable to modern, civilized man is cast—that those who have been banished there may never return… at least not whole.

Unable to sleep through most nights now, I have taken to rereading from the beginning Jung’s The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. I supposed this will be my third time reading it, and still I find I did not see or understand so many things from the first or second time I read it, and I forget so much! Thus, this is simply a note on what seemed particularly important to me…more so now than ever before. I supposed this has to do with the time that has passed since I last read this passage (my previous notes go back to the 90s), the trauma since endured, and the overwhelming sense of hopelessness that now prevails in my soul. Jung is talking about the collective unconsciousness (of course); something Ralph Waldo Emersonalso spoke and wrote about but calling it the Oversoul. In the overview, Jung sets up the framework for what will come in the rest of the book. The part that jumped out to me last night begins on page 21 where he writes:

“The necessary and needful reaction from the collective unconscious expresses itself in archetypally formed ideas. The meeting with oneself is, at first, the meeting with one’s shadow. The shadow is a tight passage, a narrow door, whose painful constriction no one is spared who goes down to the deep well. But one must learn to know oneself in order to know who one is. For what comes after the door is, surprisingly enough, a boundless expanse full of unprecedented uncertainty, with apparently no inside and no outside, no above and no below, no here and no there, no mine and no thine, no good and no bad. It is the world of water, where all life floats in suspension; where the realm of the sympathetic system, the soul of everything living, begins; where I am indivisibly this and that; where I experience the other in myself and the other-than-myself experiences me.

No, the collective unconscious is anything but an incapsulated personal system; it is sheer objectivity, as wide as the world and open to all the world. There I am the object of every subject, in complete reversal of my ordinary consciousness, where I am always the subject that has an object. There I am utterly one with the world, so much a part of it that I forget all too easily who I really am. ‘Lost in oneself’ is a good way of describing this state. But this self is the world, if only a consciousness could see it. That is why we must know who we are.

The unconscious no sooner touches us than we are it–we become unconscious of ourselves. That is the age-old danger, instinctively known and feared by primitive man, who himself stands so very close to this pleroma. His consciousness is still uncertain, wobbling on its feet. It is still childish, having just emerged from the primal waters. A wave of the unconscious may easily roll over it, and then he forgets who he was and does thing that are strange to him. Hence primitives are afraid of uncontrolled emotions, because consciousness breaks down under them and gives way to possession. All man’s strivings have therefore been directed towards the consolidation of consciousness. This was the purpose of rite and dogma; they were dams and walls to keep back the dangers of the unconscious, the ‘perils of the soul.’ Primitive rites consist accordingly in the exorcizing of spirits, the lifting of spells, the averting of the evil omen, propitiation, purification, and the production by sympathetic magic of helpful occurrences.

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Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious & Oversoul — Original artwork by Bébé

It is these barriers, erected in primitive times, that later became the foundations of the Church. It is also these barriers that collapse the symbols become weak with age. Then the waters rise and boneless catastrophes break over mankind. The religious leader of the Taos pueblo, known as the Loco Tenente Gobrnador, once said to me: “The Americans should stop meddling with our religion, for when it dies and we can no longer help the sun our Father to cross the sky, the Americans and the whole world will learn something in ten years’ time, for then the sun won’t rise anymore.” In other words, night will fall, the light of consciousness is extinguished, and the dark sea of the unconscious breaks in.”

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Jung says more, but I will stop paraphrasing at this point for this is where my journey seems to be ending too with the unconscious sea breaking in.  In my story about The Divine Dodo, I attempt to capture through this simple, childish tale, the dangers of this journey that I am attempting.  I have begun to realize (thanks to the random post that came back out of nowhere and another sleepless night) that this little bird, the Dodo, believes himself capable of maintaining his individual consciousness inside the depths of the darkest parts of the unconscious—quite impertinent for a little bird, and perhaps that’s is why he went extinctic in our modern real world. The last post of the Dodo’s journey seems to capture what Jung describes (perhaps this was in my subconscious when I wrote it, but I certainly did not consciously remember it when I wrote the last part of the journey of the Dodo): “For what comes after the door is, surprisingly enough, a boundless expanse full of unprecedented uncertainty, with apparently no inside and no outside, no above and no below, no here and no there, no mine and no thine, no good and no bad.”

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The Dodo entering through the door of the soul leading to the deep well (left) & The Dodo lost in the boundless expanse (above) — Original artwork by Bébé

The Dodo has gone through the door into the unconscious realm where everything is immensely queer and alien to him. He has no idea what is up or down or even right in front of him. In the last post, he survives three trials when in the end he encounters primitives, thanks to DJ, who begin to conduct an ancient rite. This is where I leave the reader suspended on the Dodo’s fate, which I guess is my own. I’m not sure what will happen to him… I thought the story was going one way, but now I find myself utterly suspended and lost even more than when I started the adventures of the Dodo. Also, today is election day in the U.S., which could possibly be a referendum on the past two years where it seems indeed that the walls holding back the waters of the unconsciousness have eroded and burst, washing over the entire country and leaving it in an extreme state of distress. Perhaps the cry to build a wall is not so much a cry to build a real physical wall on the real physical border, but an inner wall inside of us again. One that can hold back and channel the inner demons churning in the dark water of the unconsciousness—waters that exists in every man, woman, and child; waters that are fully capable of taking possession of a human being and making them capable of doing anything.

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The Perils of the Soul — Original artwork by Bébé

This is something we have forgotten as modern human beings, but not the ancients or those still connected to this forgotten, but very real part of every human being. Now it seems we draw ever closer to the time the religious leader of the Taos pueblo (Loco Tenente Gobrnador) warned Jung almost 100 years ago: “The Americans should stop meddling with our religion, for when it dies and we can no longer help the sun our Father to cross the sky, the Americans and the whole world will learn something in ten years’ time, for then the sun won’t rise anymore.” And, if this does come to past, can we survive? Is anyone even listening…and does it matter?

In my humble opinion, Loco Tenente Gobrnador is talking about consciousness—the inner light inside every human being created by the fusion of psyche and spirit that generates a soul. When this inner sun sets, as is normal for everything experiences cycles of death and renewal, but when it sets but does not rise again because we have forgotten how to see it, then I wager it will take far less than 10 years time for humanity to become hopelessly lost in the dark depths of the soul. As a species on this planet, we have been mostly blessed so far, but there have been times of great brutality in our collective history at the hands of man—perhaps these were times when waves of unconscious swept human beings off the conscious ground they had gain. Now, it seems we stand collectively at a time when such a wave feels imminent again, but one that is much bigger and more volatile than ever before. A wave that could put out this inner sun so that it never rises again. Now is a time to honor the wisdom keepers who still know how to see this inner sun and guide us to higher, safer ground, so that we may to continue to grow as conscious sentient beings.

One final thought on Jung and the collective unconscious is something I did not even know about him and his theory until this moment. This is from Wikipedia:

In later years Jung revised and broadened the concept of archetypes even further, conceiving of them as psycho-physical patterns existing in the universe, given specific expression by human consciousness and culture. Jung proposed that the archetype had a dual nature: it exists both in the psyche and in the world at large. He called this non-psychic aspect of the archetype the “psychoid” archetype.

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The electromagnetic spectrum & Freud’s diagram — All credit to Wikipedia

Jung drew an analogy between the psyche and light on the electromagnetic spectrum. The center of the visible light spectrum (i.e., yellow) corresponds to consciousness, which grades into unconsciousnessness at the red and blue ends. Red corresponds to basic unconscious urges, and the invisible infra-red end of the spectrum corresponds to the influence of biological instinct, which merges with its chemical and physical conditions. The blue end of the spectrum represents spiritual ideas; and the archetypes, exerting their influence from beyond the visible, correspond to the invisible realm of ultra-violet.[8] Jung suggested that not only do the archetypal structures govern the behavior of all living organisms, but that they were contiguous with structures controlling the behavior of inorganic matter as well.

 

The Divine Dodo — Hanga Dýra Mingja

Three Trials

Buffeted by unseen forces, Dodo tries desperately to fly away from the center of the vortex, but it’s useless. His wings are too small, and he is too weak. Aggravating the whole situtation are huge vacuousness ordnances exploding all around him. Dodo feels as if they are pushing him towards the center of the vortex, which is definitely not where he wants to go. Adding to his terror now that he knows he is not going to be pulled into a million pieces is: How is he going to navigate this vortex? He wishes he could hear DJ’s guiding voice, but he is gone; so too are the watery voices from his Forsaken Playlist… evaporated into nothing leaving Dodo without sound or images to navigate by.

Just then, a huge red blob explodes inches in front of him, making him veer violently to the right. Dodo employs as much wing strength as he can, which isn’t much but enough to avoid the blob and obliteration. Dodo’s heart races, and so do his thoughts, which go something like this:

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Dodo and exploding red blob in vortex — Original art created by Bébé

“How can I… a sorry misshaped bird with useless wings… navigate this stormy vortex…”

A strange thought interrupts his victim thinking that simply states: “I’ve been here before… I don’t need to go here again.” So, with a slight turn of his wings, he banks to the left. As he does, the negative voice in his head fades, going something like this:

“I might as well die… nobody know…”

Just like that, the victim voice is gone!

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Dodo and orange fog in vortex — Original art created by Bébé

This must be progress,” Dodo thinks joyfully! However, now he’s heading back into the thick orange fog left behind by the red blob’s explosion. He can’t see anything for the fog is getting thicker, making it hard for Dodo to breath. Soon, Dodo is completely disorientated with no idea which way is right or left—even up or down. He wishes for a sound or speck of light to guide him.

Heck,” he thinks, I would love to slam into something hard just so I could follow it to someplace solid.”

His thoughts are abruptly brought to a standstill by a booming voice echoing from the vacuousness fog that says:

We do not approve of your mission Dodo. It has no meaning to the system. Rejoin the system or be terminated.”

Dodo is shocked by the power of the voice and how it seems to be a strange amalgamation of many voices of different ages, genders, races, and dialects blended into one singular thunderous sound. So many questions tumble through his mind such as…

Is this the voice of God?

Where is it coming from?  

Who else is out here in the void with me?

Why can’t I see them?

How do I rejoin the system?

Equally puzzling to Dodo is why the voice sounds so cruel. Obviously, it has no idea what he’s just been through for if it had, it surely would offer kindness and compassion, not threaten his life!

Stammering Dodo asks meekly, Who are you?

We are reality Dodo! You must face reality! Your mission is dirt… it has no bearing on reality. We are everything. We have always been and always will be all of reality. You can only submit to us…bird…submit and obey!”

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Dodo and reality barbs in vortex — Original art created by Bébé

Dodo doesn’t even have a second to respond to the demand because coming at him sounding like 1,000 screeching cats are reality barbs. These are weapons meant to injury, maim, or kill the beings they are flung at. Usually, they are invisible, but Dodo sees them coming because of the thick orange fog.

Ducking, he barely misses being hit by the first barb, which whizzes over his head ruffling his feathers. All he can do is tuck his tiny wings tight against his body and let himself drop. He plummets further and faster than he ever thought possible. As he falls, he considers: Just how big is this vortex? Does it not have a beginning, middle, and end as all things in reality must have or does it go on forever? Perhaps this place is not real…

The further Dodo falls, the darker it becomes and the colder Dodo grows. Soon, he can no longer feel his wings or feet; he doesn’t even feel like he’s falling anymore. After a long time, he realizes he is moving… just so slowly and in such large circles it doesn’t seem like he’s moving. Finally, far in the distance, he sees a purple-blue glow and knows this must be what he’s moving towards… or rather being pulled towards like waste flushed down a toilet.

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Dodo falling deep inside vortex — Original art created by Bébé

He tries to fly, but there is nothing for his wings to push against because there is no air… there is only silence… until there is not! What he hears is a sound so strange, so alien he wonders if it is real. The sound is a low trembling vibration that starts high and descends into a deep, guttural groan, which repeats over and over so it is one continuous tone. In his bones, he knows it is the endless cry of an uncountable number of sentient beings about to be erased from the White Board of consciousness, but why? He remembers the sad stories DJ told him of sentients who had become victims of unspeakable and treacherous fates through the forsaken songs, but this cry is even more awful than those sad stories and songs—something much more dreadful is going on. Dodo flaps his wings and struggles, but it is useless!

“Anyhow, what’s the point?” Dodo thinks, “I’ve been flung here into this place of nothingness…perhaps it is a holding tank before oblivion where my existence has no meaning. Could this really be where all sentient beings end up?”

Deeply troubled, a new understanding begins to well up inside of him… he senses that not all sentient beings end up here at all, and an image jumps into his mind of hunters aiming their guns at a small pack of elephants. They shoot, making one of the young elephants run away from her mother. But, she doesn’t get far before she falls hard on one knee. The hunters show no mercy and shoot at her until she is dead. Dodo knows these men are hunting for pleasure. They will not eat her meat—oh, they may take a tusk or tooth as a keepsake of their bravery and prowess as hunters. But they do not recognize her pain and suffering, nor will they ever honor her sacrifice in protecting her mother and baby sister by drawing their fire.

Dodo feels a deep despair at the futility of life, and it’s not just his own life. He senses how all sentient beings are slowly crawling out of the Sea of Unconsciousness but they have been pitted against despicable forces…evil spirits…fragments that have broken off from the divine and now torment and interfere with the progress of sentient beings. These sinister elements have slipped into creation through the backdoor, as it were, bringing with them disease, accidents, and death. 

A kaleidoscope of horrifying images flash through Dodo’s mind—children dying in their mothers’ arms succumbing to starvation and preventable diseases wrought by rich men who are bombing everything around them, making all the food disappear. Dodo knows these men have been devoured by their unconsciousness, making them capable of the most despicable acts… acts that shattered, scattered, and maligned lifeIt is the same unconsciousness at work in people who hear the cries of these children…the cries of all suffering beings, but do nothing to help. By taking no action in the face of evil, life is further denigrated and derailed, and the hope it may someday achieve something delicate and exquisite…something ethereal and divine…becomes more lost and less likely.

Dodo knows he is caught in a death spiral created by these powerful heinous forces and their earthly vassals—the unconscious ones who have descended into this fiendish realm in spirit before their earthly death. First, victims of the powerful weapon the evil ones forged long ago—the Blade of Unconsciousness—now they are minions wearing many masks in life—deception, denial, apathy, fear-mongering. No matter their disguise, the results are the same: Chaos that assaults and rocks the cradle of life—a matrix created of peace, balance, and harmony meant to help sentient beings make the difficult journey to consciousness. And, this vortex is a concentration of all this evil spreading through the world like hungry worms.

As the purple-blue light looms larger, Dodo sees there is something moving inside of it. His skin begins to crawl, and then every fiber in his body screams: “Fly Dodo, Fly!” 

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Dodo and the thing in vortex — Original art created by Bébé

But he can’t fly!  He can only swirl along with all the other beautiful sentient beings trapped in this vortex of evil. And now far more terrifying to Dodo is the knowledge that consciousness does not end at the moment of death because it is energy, and energy is never destroyed. He realizes the consciousness of the beings swirling with him have been hunted… much like the hunters who shot the elephant. These evil spirits haunt and stalk living beings at the time of their death when they may be afflicted by terror or cling to their earthly body, causing them to become even more disorientated. Caught in tremendous turbulence and shrouded by fear and confusion as they shift between energy states, the sentients become easy targets for the evil hunters who lure them to places like this with promises of deliverance or a brand-new life. The endless sound permeating this place is their final plea for salvation, a cry for mercy, but there is none, and so it simply becomes a lullaby of obliteration.

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Dodo and DJ (Yeah!) — Original art created by Bébé

Now all Dodo can do is swirl with these dying golden remnants of consciousness. Resigned to his fate, he swirls faster and faster towards the thing at the center. As he does, the last strands of hope slip from his hold. But, just as the final thread is falling from his grasp, DJ reappears! Dodo’s heart leaps for joy, but also seizes up with fear for DJ is too close to the beast, and he knows even an apparition can be pulled into this monstrous force… and if DJ goes, there’s no salvation for him because DJ is his only hope!

Dodo holds his breath waiting for DJ to make a move… and move he does!

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DJ creates music waves — Original art created by Bébé

DJ begins to dance, and as he dances, magnificent colors radiate from him making sounds like nothing Dodo has ever heard! It is an ancient chant sung by 100 men who understand how dangerous the world has become since evil entered it. They know how evil manifests through wild beasts and unpredictable natural events. They also know the most dangerous form it takes and that is inside other human beings…for these are people who have become bent by the gravity of unconsciousness. This is how the blade works, it bends a human back to the unconsciousness from where they emerged, causing them to abandon their ascent to consciousness. And, if this human lacks resilience…like the water that sprung from Dodo through his tears and then spread through him holding him together as he began to break apart…then these humans snap, becoming severed from their soul. Such a human is capable of killing men, women, and children simply for power, control, a queer idea, or entertainment. It is a sickness that runs deep through the marrow of life. And the diabolical consequences of these human beings have been recounted again and again by story tellers such as Shakespeare in King Richard III—a most despicable tale about a man plagued by his own physical deformity who then becomes devoured by a more decrepit spiritual deformity that leads him to destroy and kill almost every kin and friend he has, except his mother. She alone seems to survive his cruelty and curses him during their final encounter just before he rides to his doom. But, even death does not scrub this plague from the living left behind for it is an affliction of the soul—thus, it is eternal and will always be reborn.

The men DJ calls forth know how this story goes. They know where and how the evil flows. They know it exists in all beings, thus they repeat their chant—Hammer Hippyer—to gather their collective wisdom and strength needed to vanquish it!

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Mesmerized Dodo — Original art created by Bébé

Their voices are raw, but they are beautiful, unified, and hypnotic. The drummers beats begin to weave a web across the void using the rainbow light. Drum beats mix with human voices, and Dodo begins to think they sound like birds and bugs and frogs. Soon Dodo is completely mesmerized and feels transported to a warm, green, wonderful place where he is safe.

Abruptly, the men change the chant and the drum beats grow harder and sound more menacing as the men begin to chant: hanga dýra mingja. As they chant this new refrain, they also groan and cry out in sounds of agony or shouts of anger. The mood goes from croaking crickets and frogs to fighting wolves and raging beasts, which frightens Dodo.

Dodo wishes he understood the words they are chanting for if he understood, he might not be afraid. As if DJ hears his wish, the words are translated directly into Dodo’s head. The men are chanting: hang the animals.

Dodo’s heart almost stops as he imagines himself nailed to the net of light being woven by the drummers and chanters for he’s an animal, is he not!

Terrible thoughts consume him:

Are they going to hang me to this net?

Has DJ forsaken me?

What terrible trick is this?  

Dodo is convinced DJ is nothing but a terrible trickster. How could he be anything but a cheat, fraud, and villain in this realm of evil and obliteration. It is all simply a game to DJ, a cruel form of entertainment for the beast as it eats…like a pinch of salt adding flavor to the feast. 

DJ is not his savior! DJ is a demon! DJ is the executioner his doom!

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The Hung Dodo — Original art created by Bébé

Special Thanks to Music Artists and Translator

Artist: Heilung

Song: Hamrer Hippyer

Translator: Birmm (made on Fri, 16/02/2018)

Postscript: 

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Figure 28 in C.G. Jung’s book Dreams — page 151, drawn in the 12th Century by Herrad of Landsberg

Since publishing this episode of the Divine Dodo’s journey, I came upon this image two days later in C.G. Jung’s book Dreams. [i.e., page 151, Figure 28. Capture of the Leviathan with the sevenfold tackle of the line of David with the crucifix as bait—Herrad of Landsberg’s Hortus deliciarum (12th Century)].  The parallels to Dodo’s journey are interesting for the images I have been creating for The Divine Dodo story occur spontaneously (often as a quick vision or flash of imagination) and the story is rising in a similar manner. This part of the journey was written and drawn before I came upon this image. Jung is using it to interpret a dream of a patient he was working with at the time. Part of Jung’s life work is the idea that we all rest upon a great sea of the collective unconscious that is contained in each human being and within this sea are eternal archetypes. Just as the physical body has a heart, lungs, spleen… our minds have psychic organs (e.g., the king, the queen, the trickster), and these are the archetypes; they have formed the bedrock of myths and legends for millennia. The stories of gods and goddesses and their dramas have informed and defined human civilizations, but recently many humans have lost this vision or ability to see into the unconscious. Archetypes are infinitely diverse. No one civilization or culture or time has any more claim to them than any other. It is simply part of what it means to be human—a multidimensional being that is equipped with body, mind, and spirit. However, some civilizations, cultures, and times have understood this better than others and have learned to navigate this realm that exists in everyone better. Coming back to this picture and the Dodo’s journey, it is significant because of how this part of the Dodo’s tale ends… perhaps Dodo is about to encounter the Leviathan! This was certainly not in the realm of my awareness when I wrote or drew it. And, seven is a significant number to Dodo in upcoming parts of his tale. I shared this in humble humility as an observer of my own life and nothing more. It seemed important to share a little bit of how this story is being written and drawn and created, and then the small synchronistic discoveries I have made in conjunction with this fictional journey, especially how they may relate to myth and the collective unconscious.

 

The Divine Dodo — Vortex

Dodos Forsaken Maelstrom

  — The Poor Stupid Dodo

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The Dodo did not intend to slip into the swirling vortex created by DJ’s sad songs.  But, that’s what happened.  Through some strange fusion of DJ’s painful fluid musical stories of being forsaken combined with the hot, angry winds—a terrible maelstrom grew, and rather rapidly sucked Dodo tumultuously towards its dark center!  Where it will go… the Dodo does not particularly care to find out!  It’s all a dirty trick.  As far as the Dodo is concerned, one moment he believed himself to be saved relaxing to DJ’s music; the next, he’s being sucked into the center of a powerful vortexIMG_0068. He flaps his wings madly, but they are just too weak to resist the intense gravity of his situation.

No doubt about it, he’s going down, and it’s too late to escape!

As the Dodo falls pell mell into the center of the swirling whirlpool, tremendous forces push and pull himfrom every direction.

Already weakened from the hot, angry winds that blew relentlessly on him where he was left alone to die… forsaken just as DJ told him… Dodo feels himself cracking and breaking into smaller and smaller pieces.  IMG_0069

Dodo knows he’s in a terrible predicament with only one outcome… his complete and utter destruction.  But, why has this happened?  Who has allowed this to be so for someone has surely forsaken him? He knows without a doubt DJ is right, and he knows that another sentient being is responsible for this because all people who have been forsaken have been forsaken by someone who has power over them.  This is what makes the forsaken state so tragic—the betrayal, the abandonment, and endless wandering at the hands of another who has power to end another one’s suffering, but then does nothing to help end their suffering.  So, who has condemned him…  this poor, simple Dodo?

He doesn’t have long to figure it out because his dry and brittle body cracks more and begins to pull apart.  Just then, a fierce and terrible voice, sounding both male and female, fills the vacuous void saying:

“Die you miserable bird! You scratch about like a chicken who’s forgotten how to fly. It’s your fault you’re in this mess! You and only you made all the choices that put you in this fine mess that you’re in! Your a victim of your own victim thinking! You’re a mess! Your life is meaningless! Your existence is pointless! Why do you persist? Fall into the void Dodo and be glad that your pathetic life is going to be removed from the library and recycled! You belong in the waste bin of the universe… oh, wait you already there! Ha, ha, ha…”

The dry, cackling laughs booms in his ears—shaking his entire body and hastening the appearance of more cracks all over his pointless and pathetic body.  The terrible laugh begins to fade like cackling crows, and as it does, it pulls the pieces of his body into the silence with it. IMG_0069Fear and anguish grip him for the terrible voice has confirmed his worst fear: He is nothing… he is useless… his life is meaningless… and he deserves to die!  Now, he just wants everything to be over… and for it all to be over fast!  He squeezes his eyes shut as he feels more of his body breaking into pieces and heading to its inevitable end.  But, instead a strange, lonely sound emerges from the void.  Just one voice at first, but then others rise and swirl around him in the nothingness, before disappearing again back into the silence.  But, they come back like a frighten kitten seeking shelter.  In the cacophony he hears the sounds of women wailing… and dogs howling.  He hears a little girl singing just before she is murdered.  He hears a solider cry out in anguish and despair just before he pulls the trigger taking his own life after coming home to find his sweetheart took another lover while he fought in a war and watched his brothers die. He hears the lost and lonely footsteps of a boy, now a man, wandering endlessly through his life with out the nurturing guiding rudder of a mother’s love—a motherless child. He hears the cries of a young slave woman being sold at auction; her nine month child is to be purchased at the buyer’s option… a child bride… an entire village of people being sold into slavery to the Romans… the cries of pain and suffering from millions and millions of other sentient beings all told through the stories DJ plays for him on his Forsaken Playlist.

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Back to Light

Drummers beat the rhythms.  They are ancient rhythms that were well known by our ancestors, but have been forgotten now. The drummers have seen these stories of forsakeness many, many times… in many places.  But, all they can do is beat out the rhythm until the very end of a sentient’s life. Sometimes the beat is a good, and the story ends well—the people are saved; other times it’s a terrible beat, and the story ends badly—the people are forsaken.  All living beings follow a timeline that has a beginning, middle, and an end… for all sentient beings are stories unfolding through time in space.  The drummers know this and that is why they keep the beat.  And, they know only some stories are truly golden with beautiful, happy endings… others are terrible stories full of sorrow with awful endings. Most are in-between these eternal pillars for all stories exist in the crack between happy and tragic, good and bad, hero and villain, birth and death… for these are the eternal truths, and there are a million, zillion ways to tell the stories that emerge between them.

Dodo’s heart is heavy with this knowledge.  But, he realizes he’s not alone in his fear, abandonment, and pain.  There are many, many others who are caught in the same story of suffering—just like he is.  Instead of destroying him, this knowledgeimg_0070.jpg opens his heart wider, unleashing more tears, which had been blown dry by the hot, angry winds of fate.  The tears flow into the swirling vortex, flowing between his fractured pieces.  This gives him a fluid nature and ability to bend… just enough to survive the journey down!

He realizes all stories are endless; they just seem to end, or at least the Dodo hopes this might be so!

Nevertheless… down he goes!

 

 

 

The Divine Dodo — Forsaken

As the Dodo stares into the hot angry wind, he hears a far off voice fragmented and broken tumbling towards him and then away from him.  But, how could this be?  He is utterly alone in this barren, foreign land IMG_0066where he is destine to die and leave no trace.  Another blue tear wells hugely in his eye, perching on the rim as the first tear tumbles to the parched white sand below where it will disappear without a trace, just like he will soon be blown to pieces by the wind and disappear.

The Dodo listens intently, hoping to hear the far off broken voice again, but there is nothing, only the howling, hot, angry wind. So, the Dodo concludes it’s just the wind playing tricks on him, taunting him with the hope there might be another soul to tell his desperate tale.

  The tears fall steady now…  IMG_0066                                                    one…                                                                                                 after the other…                                                                        after the other

 

Then he hears it is again—faint but there and very urgent. He can’t understand what it’s saying, but the voice sounds familiar and yet utterly alien.  The Dodo looks to his right, to his left, and behind him.  There is no one, there is nothing… just as before.

He is alone.

But a moment later, he hears it again.  Clear as a bell, and it says:

“You are forsaken Dodo. Do you know what forsaken means? I am DJthe Last DJ of Earth… listen dear Dodo… listen to my songs… your very soul depends on it… Earth’s soul depends on it… listen my dear bird… listen with your heart open and eyes closed…”

The Dodo squints his eyes until they are thin slits.  He trains them in the direction of the voice.  There emerging between hot, angry puffs of wind, he sees him… a little man… probably the smallest man he’s ever seen — more of an apparition than a living being.  The DodoIMG_0064 can see straight through him like a rippling reflection dancing on calm waters—only there is no water here.

The wind blows hotter and angrier, flaring in ominous colors of orange, purple, black, and grey.  It singes the Dodo’s feathers, dries his eyes of all his tears, and leaves his mouth parched, making him feel like he will crumble and become one with the boring white sand all around him.  Meanwhile, the little man seems unfazed by the angry wind.  In fact, he seems quite happy as he dances to some unheard music.

Where did this strange little man come from?  Is he an illusion the Dodo created just like he must have created the burning wind?  Then, an even stranger thought occurs to him… if he is forsaken, as the little man suggests… who has forsaken him?  Even more troubling: Why would another sentient being (for it could only be another sentient being who could do such a thing) torture him in such a cruel and heartless way?  He has never harmed a living soul any where or at any time… this he is certain.  So, why has he been dealt such a cruel turn of fate by being put into this forsaken state?

The Dodo shakes his head trying to dispel these crazy thoughts… but they continue to haunt and torment him.  He watches the little man dancing and wishes he could hear the same music he hears.  And then, just like that, he hears it too… the music the little man hears, and he hears something else too… the little man, DJ, is conveying telepathically, deeper meanings within each story being sung… extracting the wisdom gained by the pain of every song in DJ’s playlist, making sure Dodo understands it all… for Dodo is going to need it for what he has to do next.

IMG_0065But Dodo doesn’t know he has anything else to do.  He is just relieved not to be alone and facing his imminent demise.  He quickly relaxes into the music, slipping into a vast and endless dream.  As he does, one of his oversized feet begins to tap in time with the divine music telling him the stories—terrible stories—but the stories are bending him and turning him just enough to alter the powerful trajectory of the current course of his crushing reality that was leading him straight into oblivion.

 

 

The Divine Dodo — Despair

Determined flying is his only possible way out of his ordeal, the Dodo begins to flap IMG_0059his wings putting as much energy as he can into them–focusing on the very tips so he might grab some air that will lift him above the ground. He begins to vibrate from head to toe from his effort, but he does not lift off.  His feet are too big… his body is too long and disproportioned for his tiny wings to carry him off the ground. He cannot fly even though he has the vestiges of flight–his wings. Somewhere in his distant past, his ancestors flew!  But, when did they give it up?  And, why would they give up such a fantastic ability to be forever melded to the ground and bounded by the limitations of ground and gravity?

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He flaps his wings harder, making his whole body vibrate violently. But, its useless, his wings can no longer carry him… he cannot fly.  He is glued to the ground, and this has sealed his fate, which is to die in despair, alone and lost.  A huge blue tear wells up inside his eye. Then, it spills over the edge of his eye and falls down his soft white feathers, which he doesn’t know are rare for his species… but in fact, they make him mythical!  The tear cascades towards the dry, parched ground where he stands in this place devoid of anything nurturing or encouraging that might sustain his poor, lost, dejected soul. Echoing in his head are defeated thoughts:

You are doomed.

Your fate is sealed. 

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They turn into a wind that blows strongly in his face.  They are hot.  They are angry.  And, they whisper on and on, endlessly chiding him:

“You are defeated. We have defeated you.”

“Go ahead and die already… you are a piece of scumdie in your pitiful pool of despair.”

“Hurry up why don’t you and die... you’re not worth the ground you stand upon.”

Did he create these winds?  He ponders this thought lightly, but he knows soon these winds will blow away every particle making up his body, erasing him forevermore from this strange place where he has landed. He feels them digging deeper into the very fabricate of his being… seeking his very core… pulling at the structure of his bones to make him unbalance and unstable.  He soon will be no more. And, he knows if anyone ever ends up in this strange place again, there will be no trace of him left.  He will be gone forever.  His existence will not matter for he will leave no trace, there will be nothing of him from this space or time.

The winds blow hotter, burning away and evaporating his very desire to change his fate–and that is to matter.

 

 

 

 

Final Farewell to My Beloved Father

IMG_0019I began my series “Girl With Dragon” in the beginning of July 2018. Little did I know then how the images and funny little story that welled out of me during those hot, muggy nights foresaw a great calamity that was to befall me and my family. On July 25, 2018, my beloved father suffered a heart attack. It took first responders 15 to 20 minutes of CPR to get a shockable pulse. They finally got one and transported him to their local hospital where he was stabilized. Then, he was flown by helicopter to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  When mom called me the next day, dad had been placed into an induced coma and body temperature lowered to preserve as much brain function as possible. The situation was dire, so I told the small Lutheran non-profit where I had been working for just over 1 year and where I had raised more than $500,000 (including submission of two huge government proposals in June) that I needed to leave immediately to be with my father. Since this was a Lutheran organization and my father had recently been honored for 55 years of service as a Lutheran minister, this seemed to be a no brainer I would be able to go to be with my father for however long it was necessary; however, the CEO of this small non-profit fired me for being at my father’s bedside for the 10 days before he succumbed to the fatal heart attack he suffered on July 25, 2018.

It is for these reasons I am breaking up The Divine Dodo series to pay homage to my beloved father IMG_0049who died on August 4, 2018. I will return to the Divine Dodo after this post–which is a continuation of the Girl With Dragon series. I have come to understand in the past 2 month that these two series foresaw the circumstances and events that transpired since I sketched out the entire two series before my father’s heart attack. In addition, they hint at a way forward. The Divine Dodo will be followed by a new series to be co-authored and created with my collaborator and friend Donna Alena that we are calling the New Ancients.

Following is the Final Farewell I gave for my beloved father at his funeral, which was held on September 15, 2018. In my eulogy, I shared several of his superpowers and how they helped me figure out how to escape the jaws of the dragon (fate), and I believe these same superpowers may help others escape their fate, which may be defined in the case of this series the unconscious choices that lead us into the jaws of the dragon (circumstances).

Monrad Mandsager

BornApril 16, 1935; Died: August 4, 2018; Age: 83

My father… Monrad Mandsager…  He is why you are here today… Monty!  And, do you know what he would have said?

Humble

He would have said, “Goodness sakes… you’ve come all this way… for me! You shouldn’t have… thank you… thank you so much… thank you for coming!”

Showing Up & Paying Attention = Love

His whole life dad never felt worthy. In his mind, he was a poor, simple farm boy fromscan.jpeg
Iowa who could never quite do all the things exactly the way his dad wanted them done, and he grew up without his mother’s kind and loving warmth and support. These early beginnings always left him questioning his worth. But my dad would always show up and give any task (big or small) his best! For him, what was most important was making time, paying attention, and creating a space to understand the needs of others because dad knew this is one of the greatest gifts we can give each other… for it is the most basic way we show our love to each other. Dad’s capacity to create and hold a sacred space for others was one of his superpowers! He would listen with empathy, kindness, and unwavering attention to someone’s life story, latest frustration, or good news. And, he would remember what you told him and ask you about it the next time he saw you.

Superpowers of Attention + Listening + Understanding

Dad’s ability to pay attention and listen combined with his humbleness allowed him to be there for people at their greatest time of need. I remember one tragedy where dad demonstrated his tremendous capacity to empathize and be there for a grieving family after their 16-year-old son was killed in a hunting accident. I don’t remember all the details, but I remember my parents explaining to me how this family had lost several children before this tragedy and this was their last son. I remember going with mom and dad many times to visit the family after dad broke the terrible news to them. I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of helplessness and sadness. But, I also remember knowing being there with my parents was important. I was no older than first grade, but I remember this experience vividly, and I’ll come back to this later for as I was reading through dad’s writings to figure out what I would say today, I found his reflections on this same tragedy for it had profoundly impacted him too. Grief it turns out is not bounded to one day or one week or one year… it is a deeply personal journey and dad understood this. He understood a time of grief is not a time to give people “pat answers” about why death or a tragedy occurred… neither is it a time to tell the person how and
Scan 12 copywhen to recover from it. He knew he didn’t know, but what he did know was he needed to be there for however long it took and at whatever capacity the family or individual needed, even if it meant just sitting in silence with them.
I’m going to share with you several of dad’s amazing traits (I call them his superpowers), and now that he’s gone, I realize they were precious gifts given freely and in love to me and I suspect he gave them to many of you!

Wander

One of his wonderful superpowers was his adventuresome, wandering spirit. Little more than 6 weeks after being ordained at Luther Seminary and marrying mom, they took off to Brazil where dad was to serve as a missionary in Sao Paulo and the surrounding area. Mom and dad had to learn Portuguese and spent almost a year studying and learning it before dad began his mission work. He was one of the first missionaries to give all of his sermons in Portuguese, and of course, this is where I and my brother Craig were born. We learned Portuguese too and spoke it to everyone outside of our immediate family. I am told when we returned to the states, and I met my grandparents for the first time, I sat on their knees chattering happily away in Portuguese as they smiled and enjoyed meeting their granddaughter and grandson for the first time. I was pretty young in Brazil, but I have snap shot memories of life with my parents such as galloping on my father’s shoulders through the jungle with monkeys shrieking at us from high in the trees (that was magnificent)! Watching a steel drum band at a gathering and marveling at the beautiful music coming from the steel cans the musicians had turned into their drums dad had explained all this to me for he loved the steel drums! I also remember traveling with dad in our jeep over muddy, rutted, red roads and being surrounded by hundreds of sheep on their way home, leaving dad and I to revel in the wonder of the moment.

From Brazil, we flew back to the Midwest, this is where my brother Phillip was born. Image (24)From there, dad helped his brother-in-law Bob start a new church in Southern CA – so, we moved to Sunnymead where my brother Peter was born – and, then our family was complete! I won’t go into all the places we moved or family vacations we took, but dad loved to travel, and he wanted us to experience and see the vast, beautiful, wondrous places of this land, and we saw many thanks to him!

The Dreamer & Learner

My father was also a dreamer and lifelong learner! He loved geology, astronomy, anthropology, paleontology, and even astrophysics; he transferred his love of learning to me and my brothers! Dad would tell you that his love of learning and interests in science was sometimes disturbing to his faith, and he often navigated between the waters of faith and doubt. But, this made dad stronger, not weaker for he was able to transform his doubt into a deeper, vaster faith in God.

In his own words, he says, “Since I am often between faith and doubt, my stockpile of “pat answers” has diminished considerable. Life is discovery, growth, affirmation of faith in God in the midst of doubt. Life is affirmation of the creation of oneself, of others, of the goodness and love of God. Christ is our best light of this, pointing us to a loving Father God through the goodness and light His life has given for us in loving service through suffering even onto death.”

And, so here again you glimpse dad’s superpowers of kindness, compassion, and deep empathy for people and all living beings, and this guided him through his journey between the waters of faith and doubt; and it greatly informed his ministry for he saw himself as a humble servant who would stop to help anyone in need—and this is a gift he gave freely and frequently!

Transformation of Faith

As I was reading dad’s writings, I found one piece he titled an Account of My Life to Age 43 where he describes honestly and elegantly his life journey, especially about the transformation of his faith. Here he accounts the same story I remembered about the 16-year-old boy. (I’ve changed the names for it seems even after all these years, the family is entitled to their privacy) Dad writes: “…the summer of ’72, we moved to Redway to serve Grace Lutheran Church. At that time, the KindFamily was a family of four: Joe, the father, a Roman Catholic and lumberjack; Corothy, the mother, a member of Grace; David (16) had been confirmed that Spring; and Lucy (13). Previous to our acquaintance, they had been a family of 7—two boys had been born with progressive muscular dystrophy and died in their young teens and a baby girl died of lung cancer at age 3. … About two months after our arrival Corothy talked about going to stay with her husband for a week in the woods – something she had never done before. She was apprehensive about leaving the kids. They ended up taking Lucy, while David was to stay with the next-door neighbors who were trusted friends. They left Sunday. Late Tuesday afternoon, council member, Karl came running up our steps, out of breath, a strained expression on this face. “Pastor, Pastor, something awful has happened, they found David dead beside his motorcycle and rifle along a trail. He’s been shot! This is awful. I can’t believe it… David’sthe only boy they had left! They were so proud of him. He was such a good kid. What are we going to do?”  Dad writes he was equally shocked as he attempted to reassure Karl that with God’s help they’d find a way to help the Kinds. Karl asked if dad would be there when the family arrived home to tell them what happened. Dad said yes, and he’d like Karl to be there too since he was a supporting friend of the family.” This event solidified for dad at a moment of great tragedy and grief, it is not a time to theologize or to tell a person not to protest to God as they grapple with the question why… why… why…  Dad describes how he simply sat in the ditch with the father as he wept, and when he asked questions dad answered them simply with the information he knew. Then, they wept together, talked a little more, and wept again. Dad was there for days and weeks later walking with the family one small step at a time. He came to understand, as he tried to answer the agonizing question why, that we live in a world where accidents and disease happen, death is a mystery, and we don’t know all the answers. He came to believe it is not God who appoints the hour and manner of death, but more evil and death have come into our world through the backdoor (as it were). However, God is on the side of goodness and life; nevertheless, since evil, accidents, disease, and death have come among us, God Himself in Jesus, went through suffering, sorrow, and death… because he loves us and wants to show us he understands, cares, and shares our burdens and carries them with us during our greatest times of grief, pain, sorrow, and need. And, so the gift of faith was given to me—a gift dad demonstrated vividly throughout his life!

The Gift of Courage

The last gift I’ll mention today is courage. It was a heart attack that took him down the evening of July 25, and it was the heroic efforts of first responders and hospital staff in Albert Lea and the Mayo Clinic that brought him back along with our good neighbors who brought Mom to both hospitals that night to be with Dad. One nurse who had also been an EMT told me about 4% of patients flown in after such an event survive, so dad was a miracle—even if it was just one week. Each day on the ICU was a battle, but dad made amazing progress regaining consciousness and recognition surpassing the tempered hopes that the excellent doctors and nurses held for him and worked tirelessly to achieve. The best the team could work out is dad probably went without oxygen to his brain for 15 to 20 minutes—most agree after 9; severe brain damage can begin. Despite tremendous gains coming back consciously, his body continued to reel from catastrophic system failures. The doctors figured out one problem was a blockage in an artery in the heart, which they fixed this with a stint, but the other required a pace maker. This was a challenge because dad had several broken ribs since CPR is really only effective when ribs are broken. But, pneumonia set in creating a vicious cycle of needing to cough, which caused pain that sent him into cycles of delirium. It was a delicate balance the medical team at St. Mary’s walked, moment by moment to figure out what dad needed.

Two days before his death—I call it his Lazarus day. I arrived in the morning. He was sitting upright in bed with wonderful color to his face and a sparkle in his eyes. He was holding a pen, paper, and bible and exclaimed happily as I walked in: “Debbie!” I returned: “Dad!” I sat down beside him and asked him what he was doing. He told me he had a lot of thank yous to write but was having a hard time getting started.

The day before had been pretty rough for he had worked his feed tube out 3 times, earning him the title of the Hundi of Feeding Tubes. He still did not have it reinserted, and so his nurse fed him pudding with his pills crushed in it. It was slow, and dad was having a hard time swallowing. But, this day, everyone was so hopeful he could recover at least to this point; however, to do so, he would need the feed tube reinserted. This sent him into a delirium he would not come out of, and this is where the courage comes in… I had to have the courage to see the totality of his reality – I needed to reconcile the hope of his recovery with the despair of cascading system failures in his body. After 36 hours of continuous delirium, I made the tough decision to move him to comfort care, allowing the nurses and doctors to give him stronger medications to keep him comfortable and out of pain. The Mayo team was magnificent in providing me and our family with all the options ranging from further invasive interventions to comfort care, and it was his night nurse, Luis, who said something about being able to give dad stronger medicines that night, which finally made me understand the reality of dad’s situation. We had never made it out of the Sea of Delirium, and dad was suffering and needed me to make a courageous choice. So, I did.

When I returned the next morning, he was sleeping—the delirium was over. His day nurse told me he had cleaned him, and they were making him comfortable. He looked at peace. I could hear the gurgle of the pneumonia in his lungs, but he was not struggling for air. I sat down next to him and began to read part of the book I have written for I had promised to send him the manuscript but had not yet sent it. The Chaplin came in after a couple of hours. I told him all about dad and the past week. He recited the 23rdPsalm, and then he said a prayer incorporating everything I had told him. I resumed reading. His nurse came back to turn him. I continued reading holding his hand, comforted by his warmth. Less than 45 minutes later, his breathing suddenly changed. I looked at his monitor and saw his heart rate dropping just as it had been doing over the past week (this is why he needed a pace maker). I felt panic and pleaded with dad to wait for mom to arrive (for I felt she was 15 minutes away). Dad breathed, and his heart rate went up, but for less than a minute; then it plunged again. I wanted to run and get the nurse to give him a drug to increase his heart rate, but I didn’t… I knew he was going and I needed to let him go… this took tremendous courage… how could I let my father go? I couldn’t, so I threw myself on him, hugged him and cried. His nurse came in and put his arm around my shoulders as I held onto dad, and his doctor came in and held my hand. After a while, I looked up and asked, “Is he gone?” His doctor simply and compassionately confirmed dad had gone. My brothers and mom arrived 10 minutes later. His nurse and doctor stayed with us for a long time. I did not feel for one minute they had anything more important to do than to be a witness to dad’s passing and our grief—a tremendous gift.

The Gift of Love

So, thank you all for being here to remember dad and to celebrate his life and the many gifts he gave to so many of us.

I know dad never felt he deserved this sort of attention, but dad, if you are listening, you deserve it, every last bit of it for your gifts have healed so many people in our broken world, which desperately needs the compassion you shared and your capacity to listen and be with others during their greatest hour of need and to do so in kindness and with empathy, all of which came so natural to you.

We love you dad!

The Divine Dodo

The Dodo Wants to Fly

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Dazed and confused, the Dodo looks around seeking someone, anyone, to ask just one of a million questions swirling around inside his head:

How did I get here?

Where is here?

Who else is here?

What now?

But, as far as he can see in front of him, there is no one. The land is flat and bare… seemingly devoid of life. He looks to his right but sees the same flat white ground and blue-black sky lacking any sort of light or stars to break its dullness. There is only the rainbow sun in front of him, which is very high in the sky, and he would need to fly to reach it. But, going there is impossible for it is clear from his oversized feet and body, which are matched to wings too small and weak to lift him from the ground, he will not fly anytime soon. So, he looks to the left and sees the same nothing. And, he looks behind him, but there is nothing as far as he can see… not even a bump on the horizon where he might walk to on his oversized feet… only an endless expanse of bare, white ground and black sky illuminated solely by the rainbow sun.

Lost in time and space, the Dodo feels as if his world has been flipped upside-down. Nothing makes sense or has meaning, including his own existence.img_00491-e1539178658695.jpg

A tremendous loneliness seizes him… like an unquenchable thirst threatening to shatter him unless he finds someone to talk to. He longs to hear just one voice… someone with whom he can share his story about his strange journey and current predicament.  Perhaps this other being could help him understand what has happened to him and what to do next. But there is no one… there is nothing… there are no points of reference, except the spectacular rainbow sun.

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The Dodo stares at the distant rainbow sun intently, studying it as if it has some clue to his distress. He is certain something is moving inside of it! Then, he knows what he must do. He must get there! It is his only hope…it is the only possible way to gain meaning to his existence and perhaps find a little comfort.

 

Except for one small detail, the Dodo cannot fly.

 

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The Dodo considers this problem for a long time. “Why,” he ponders, “Has he been put in this strange place all alone and given such tiny, little wings that will not carry his oversized body to the only possible place where he might find another being who might be able to help him change his circumstance and alter his fate.”

 

No answers come for there is nothing surrounding him and there is no one to help him gain insights. There is only silence. So, the Dodo decides that there is only one thing left to do. He must learn how to fly! It is a dream he has little chance of achieving given his weak floppy wings and oversized feet and body. He can feel the winds of fate blowing strongly in his face–winds of failure, winds of defeat. But, instead of letting these winds utterly destroy him, he uses them as resistance to push back against and help him fly for flying is the only possible way to quench his extreme thirst of loneliness and lostness afflicting him in this peculiar place devoid of friend or foe.

The poet Hilaire Belloc included the following poem about the dodo in his Bad Child’s Book of Beasts from 1896:

The Dodo used to walk around,
And take the sun and air.
The sun yet warms his native ground –
The Dodo is not there!

The voice which used to squawk and squeak
Is now for ever dumb –
Yet may you see his bones and beak
All in the Mu-se-um.

— From Wikipedia on the Dodo, the free encyclopedia

 

 

 

 

Mini Story with Illustration (Part 20): Girl with Dragon

Assimilation  the Divine Dodo Bird

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And so in the form of a flightless Dodo bird, the conflicting opposites in the situation that the girl found herself in with her dragon were united, and she was also made whole with her children that had sprung out from her creative psychic potential.

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And, there they dwelled assimilating into the structure of the Dodo bird and the new universe where they had landed, which was strange and vast, yet also lonely and devoid of other life.

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As the assimilation grew stronger, the brilliant swirling galaxies began to disappear in the sky above them.

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Until they and the archetypal forms living inside the Dodo were but dim images of what they had once been before (the time that was now in the past) for now they were in a new present with a new mission.