Is Collective Transformation Possible?

IMG_0064Almost a year ago, I drew this picture and felt then that it was more than a drawing—it was a map. But, I had little understanding what kind of map it might be or how to read such a map. In the year since, I’ve begun to understand parts of its meaning. Beginning with the figure running on top of the sphere at the edge of the crack opening between the yin and yang signs. Here the yin side is more porous than typically depicted, while the yang side looks completely shattered. The figure herself seems to need to keep running just to maintain her balance or fall off the sphere rotating underneath. Meanwhile, a disembodied force, depicted as a fist, slams into water creating a wave that turns into fire. Emerging from the crack between the yin and yang are butterflies that flutter around the sphere.

So what kind of map could this possibly be? One source of insight comes from Carl Jung in his introduction to his book Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious. I mentioned previously a dream Jung describes that a young clergy student had that involved a magician dressed entirely in black and a magician dressed entirely in white. They take the dreamer on a mysterious journey that involves a king of a great land who is near death, and thus seeks a magnificent burial place. His men search high and low until they find the perfect place in an ancient cave where the bones of a virgin are buried. However, the king’s men upon entering the cave cause the girl to come back to life. She turns into a black horse, which runs away into a vast desert where she is lost—for she is a sacred and rare jewel. This is where the magician’s help comes into play. Jung explains the two magicians are different aspects of the wise old man who is “the superior master and teacher,” and also known as the Archetype of the Spirit symbolizing the pre-existent meaning hidden in the chaos of life. (p. 33-34)

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Chaos of the Psyche — Art by Bébé

Jung explains the magicians represent the dual nature of the wise old man. This is the purpose of the dream; it is attempting to show the young man about to enter the clergy how good and evil function together in the world—Jung says, “presumably as an answer to the still unresolved mortal conflict in the Christian psyche.” (p.36) He goes on to further say when modern man experiences this archetype (also known as the Archetype of Meaning), he comes to know the most ancient form of thinking that is as an autonomous activity whose object he is. (p.37) In other words, Jung is saying thoughts were once perceived to come from outside of the individual though they were intimately about the individual. Experiencing the Archetype of Meaning or either of the other two Archetypes of Transformation (i.e., shadow and anima) is a precious gift though it can also be a harrowing experience. The gifts these archetypes bear are rare and elusive (like the virgin who springs to life in the cave, then turns into a horse and runs off). They often also emerge out of difficult and painful life events that can break us wide open (like the butterflies emerging from the cracked and cracking yin-yang sphere). Their insights may provide critical knowledge needed to navigate the troubles and keep moving forward so that the soul can continue to grow and thrive. Indeed, such life experiences and the journeys they inspire are some of the most important psychological and spiritual undertakings a person can ever embark upon in life; some people never do get around to it because it is hard and at times very painful. Jung calls this movement within the soul the Individuation Process, which is really about journeying back to who we really are and always have been. This might seem to be a paradox, but when we are born, so much of ourself is cloaked and hidden in the darkness of our unconsciousness (i.e., it simply has not yet risen into the light of our conscious understanding, thus we cannot see or recognize that it exists in us at all). And, so finding what lies hidden in the darkness of our unconsciousness is a journey that must be reveal over time as we are guided to certain places inside ourselves (often due to life events, sudden reversals, and struggles). If we are open to the journey and discovery, then we are led to these places inside of us where we might discover what lays hidden and bring it into the light of our growing consciousness. At the same time, as children, we learn that parts of ourselves are unacceptable (often in painful ways). We are told this by our families, peers, and culture, and so we learn how to hide these parts of ourselves by submerging them until we almost forget they belong to us or even worst, by splitting them from our psychic wholeness, thus creating an inner wound that never heals. This process of forgetting who we are diminishes us in so many ways, and if we cannot find ways to return to these discarded and submerged parts of ourselves back to ourselves, we are prevented from achieving our wholeness because each part of ourself is needed to balance every other part (and there are positive and negative parts, just like the Black Magician and the White Magician). Thus, this is what Jung means when he says, “Man’s natural conscious state is one mostly hidden and/or divided through the act of disassociation, especially modern man.” Therefore, to reclaim our wholeness, we must learn how to sink deeply back into our divine wholeness, which is painful at times and more than a little bit frightening at other times, especially if one is left to navigate this journey without friends, love, or guidance.

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Consciousness Warrior — — Art by Bébé

When a person is brought face-to-face with the Archetype of Meaning (i.e., wise old man) or has a transformational encounter with the Archetype of Life (i.e., anima)[encountering the shadow is a whole other thing altogether], one’s world is often turned completely upside down—sometimes in good ways, sometimes in terrible ways. Of such encounters, Jung says, “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 a fixed law, for everything that works is grounded on its opposite.” (p.32) This is very important to remember when one encounters the anima or the wise old man or both at once. He further clarifies this by saying, “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.” (p. 32) Again, this is very important to remember, especially when we find ourselves sinking into the waters of our unconsciousness and into this deep and final depth or voluntary death.Screen Shot 2018-11-29 at 10.23.12 AM

A brief digression on who Apuleius was (from Wikipedia): He was a writer, public speaker, and Platonist philosopher. He traveled to Italy, Asia Minor, and Egypt, and was an initiate in several cults or mysteries. His claim to fame is when “he was accused of using magic to gain the attentions (and fortune) of a wealthy widow,” which is known as the Apologia. He also wrote the The Golden Ass, which is the only Latin novel surviving in its entirety from this time that relates the ludicrous adventures of Lucius…”who experiments with magic and is accidentally turned into a donkey.” So, he was a comedian and great thinker… I like him!

Apuleius is a wonderful segue into Plato whose thoughts and writings are considered foundational to Western ideas and civilization, which are the ideas often credited for lifting man out of his state of the primitive wonder-world informed by primordial images and thinking. Jung says the very word idea is traceable to Plato’s concept of eternal ideas, which are primordial images stored up in supra celestial place that is eternal and transcendent. The eye of the seer perceives them as ‘imagines et lares,’ (Lares are guardian deities and thought to be the origin of myth) or sees them as images in dreams and revelatory visions. (p. 33)

The Seer — Art by Bébé

In ancient times, seers had important and valued places in society, and they were often considered essential for a group’s very survival. Through their ability to see or receive revelations (imagines et lares), they could impart specific information or knowledge needed for the good of the people—be it a clan, tribe, or kingdom. Individuals with the gift of sight could help others in the group navigate difficult times. Say, for example, the king of a land needs to help his people through a terrible drought causing his people to starve. Through the help of a seer, the king might receive insights or revelations needed to help dispel the growing fear and rage building up among his people due to the prolong and difficult circumstances the people are enduring, obviously resulting in death for some of the people of the clan, tribe, or kingdom. A skilled seer could perceive and encapsulate the collective traumatic being experienced and through ritual and sacred ceremonies induce a collective transformational experience that could help the group survive the trauma, and in fact, transcend it by evolving consciously together. Without this collective transformation, the life of the king may well be the price the people would demand for his failure to protect them from the wrath of the gods. After all, this is why he was exalted and enthroned by the people to intercede with the gods on the people’s behalf. Seers, shamans, and medicine men/women are gifted and trained to actualize into a shared and collective reality a transcendental and more favorable potential out of otherwise potentially dangerous or even deadly flows of psychic energy triggered by circumstances. They help the people harness and channel these powerful bursts and flows of collective psychic energy by turning them into group insight rather than letting them become unhinged and unleashed to actualized their most deadly and destructive potential. Seers also help individuals in the group find their fullest potentials that often lay latent inside them (unconscious) and help them understand how their gifts are relevant to the group. By doing this, they help the group achieve potentials that might otherwise remain elusive or unavailable. By helping the group actualize better potentials in these ways, the group’s fitness, health, and survival is maintained and sustained.

In modern times, logic, reason, and a supreme focus on the transactional value of human experience has replaced the seer, shaman, or medicine man/woman. What it means to be human and alive today is often measured in terms of economic value—a value that is mainly determined by the industries providing for our creature comforts. These are also the industries that provide the people with the jobs that give them the economic purchasing power needed to buy these creature comforts as well as to meet basic needs for food, shelter, and security. However, these industries must maintain steady profit margins to survive in fiercely competitive markets, thus they often look for cost savings measures (e.g., automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence), which frequently end up taking away jobs, and this causes fear akin to what the ancient kings might have dealt with during times of drought or famine. In addition, advanced technologies may enhance human capabilities in unintended ways such as brilliantly depicted in the series Black Mirror where emerging technology is paired with humans who have not advanced as quickly in the realms of emotion, social structures, and consciousness.

Fictional depictions such as these are helpful in realizing that simply applying more technology, more rational thought, more categories, and more logic might not be enough to solve the problems we are finding ourselves in today. Slowly, people are beginning to understand that the current structures and systems we depend on to survive don’t acknowledge or allow them to access innate inner awarenesses, perceptions, knowledge, and wisdom that make their life meaningful much less allow them to access the creativity needed to solve modern problems. Indeed, the solutions to many of our modern problems mostly likely lie outside of the Western toolbox, which tends to view the world as a giant machine that can be tinkered with, improved, and fixed by applying the proper rational thought and logic to problem solve the things going wrong. Seldom does modern man stop to consider that we are trying to solve wicked problems with toothpicks (i.e., a wicked problem is a problem difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize; the term “wicked” denotes resistance to resolution, rather than evil).

Western measures of success and wellbeing (typically defined as status, power, and accumulation of material things) has so greatly devalued more ancient ways of perception, insight, and being (rooted in earth and natural rhythms) they have been submerged and become lost to the majority of people alive today. The rise of Western Civilization may be looked at in some distant future as the great shrinking of our collective intelligence and bandwidths of consciousness—a narrowing that has become too narcissistic to solve the ever growing, complex, interconnected challenges facing us today. This of course is contingent on if there is an intelligence in the future able to look back and tell such a tale.

In our Western experience, the value of dreams and revelatory visions are essentially reduced to how they can be monetized (e.g., found a new industry, movement, or next big block buster entertainment franchise). Seldom are dreams or visions valued for how they might transform a person or the people into more conscious human beings who are capable of foregoing short-term gains in order to solve long-term, wicked problems. The West’s extreme focus on the monetary value of imagination, visions, and dreams leaves people swimming in shallower and shallower depths of consciousness. The dangers of this are all to clear as political systems veer too far to the right, then to the left, and then back to the right like a car careening out of control. It is also  plain to see how Western economic systems have created huge gaps between the rich and the poor—gaps that tear at the social fabric of countries around the world. In short, we face existential crises we have not seen on this scale in 100 years. They are things that must absolutely be paid attention to now for to ignore them comes at a great price.

One may ask at this point why are the Archetypes of Transformation important to any of this? They are important because they are a source of power and animation in the world at work inside each and every human being. Jung compares these specific archetypes to energy. The alchemists called them the secret fire or the ‘primal warmth‘ of the Stotics; similar to the primitive idea of an “all-pervading vital force, a power of growth and magic healing that is generally called mana.” Jung further states: “It is sufficient to know there is not a single important idea or view that does not possess historical antecedents. Ultimately, they are all founded on primordial archetypal forms whose concreteness date from a time when consciousness did not think, but only perceived.”

This idea is extremely important. I mentioned it in previous blogs about archetypes, but it is worth repeating because it is epoch-making. Jung explains further saying: “Thoughts were objects of inner perception, not thought at all, but sensed as external phenomenaseen or heard, so to speak. Thought was essentially revelation, not invented but forced upon us… bringing conviction through its immediacy and actuality. Thinking of this kind precedes 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.” (p. 33)

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The Split — — Art by Bébé

To climb the last peak of consciousness requires personal transformation, which is a difficult journey because it involves inner work that can be painful (i.e., gazing across the inner divide and recognizing that the face on the other side is one’s self… not the evil other). This is a divide that exists in all of us for to become conscious means splitting oneself from our original unconscious wholeness. Thus, to encounter our inner wholeness with our fragile light of consciousness is an awesome journey that requires ascending and descending many peaks and valleys, not to mention climbing the mighty last peak of consciousness. It is a personal journey that must happen one person at a time. It begins by bumping into, discovering, and gathering all the hidden, lost, and discarded parts of ourselves, and then integrating them into the part of ourself that has made it into the light of consciousness. Bit by bit, this is how we reclaim our wholeness within the realm of consciousness. This takes time, and as mentioned, this is what Jung means by the Individuation Process. Essentially it is a journey that brings us back to who we always were before the splitting and fracturing began—a split that was necessary to emerge into consciousness, but one often greatly influenced and shaped by the culture and family one is born into and lives. Thus, our outer circumstances can leave us blinded to our inner wholeness for our entire lives. This is most often due to fear of being forced to leave the groups and social networks upon which our safety, security, and very lives depend. The journey requires tremendous endurance because each of us will encounter parts of ourselves that are terrifying as well as glorious. We will also encounter parts of ourselves we have pushed back down into the darkness because they were deemed unacceptable by those around us. Depending on the energy it took to push these unacceptable parts back into the darkness of our unconsciousness or to keep content from ever rising can trigger very strong emotions when we see these qualities in others—anger, even hatred.

Thus, to embark on the journey of reclaiming our inner wholeness within the light of consciousness is to do something that is touched by the divine. It is a supremely individual process that means stepping outside of the boundaries that have potentially defined us our entire lives (e.g., family beliefs, cultural beliefs, and economic beliefs). Individual transformation is the first essential step needed for collective human transformation to be possible. Not even our greatest religions have been able to precipitate collective transformation on the scale now required to prevent global disasters. The only force so far that has galvanized collective human action at this level have been the two great world wars.

Perhaps the king today is modern Western thinking. Perhaps it is this mind set that has become too shallow over the centuries, and now has shattered the yang portion of the ancient taijitu [i.e., in modern Chinese, it is commonly used to mean the “divided circle” form (Taijitu - Small (CW).svg)]. To fully appreciate the rise of Western Civilization, it is important to consider what is meant by Western thinking and culture.

According to Wikipedia: “Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization, Occidental culture, the Western world, Western society, and European civilization, is a term used broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems and specific artifacts and technologies that have some origin or association with Europe.”

The modern home of Western culture is thought of as Europe; however, its bedrock came from ancient Greece—a geographic area situated at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa; a perfect place to capture and synthesize diverse thought, culture, and knowledge, and this was transported and imposed into the heart of Europe by the early Roman Empire.

From Wikipedia: Ancient Greece is considered the birthplace of many elements of Western culture, with the world’s first democratic system of government and major advances in philosophy, science, and mathematics. Greece was followed by Rome, which made key contributions in law, government, engineering, and political organization.[22]

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Socrates (469– 399 BCE)

In addition, Western civilization developed intimately with Christianity and Judaism.

Again from Wikipedia: Western culture continued to develop with the Christianisation of Europe during the Middle Ages and the reform and modernization triggered by the Renaissance. The Church preserved the intellectual developments of classical antiquity and is the reason many of them are still known today. Medieval Christianity created the modern university,[23][24] the hospital system,[25] scientific economics,[26][21] natural law (which would later influence the creation of international law)[27] and numerous other innovations across all intellectual fields. Christianity played a role in ending practices common among pagan societies, such as human sacrifice, slavery,[28] infanticide and polygamy.[29]

(…) From the time of Alexander the Great (the Hellenistic period) Greek civilization came in contact with Jewish civilization. Christianity would eventually emerge from the syncretism of Hellenic culture, Roman culture, and Second Temple Judaism, gradually spreading across the Roman Empire and eclipsing its antecedents and influences.[38] The rise of Christianity reshaped much of the Graeco-Roman tradition and culture; the Christianised culture would be the basis for the development of Western civilization after the fall of Rome (which resulted from increasing pressure from barbarians outside Roman culture). Roman culture also mixed with Celtic, Germanic and Slavic cultures, which slowly became integrated into Western culture: starting mainly with their acceptance of Christianity.

Going even further back, Western civilization is traced to Mesopotamia.

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The Burney Relief, First Babylonian Dynasty, around 1800 BC — Wikipedia

Wikipedia: The earliest civilizations which influenced the development of western culture were those of Mesopotamia; the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran: the cradle of civilization.[36][37]

(…) For about five hundred years, the Roman Empire maintained the Greek East and consolidated a Latin West, but an East-West division remained, reflected in many cultural norms of the two areas, including language. Although Rome, like Greece, was no longer democratic, the idea of democracy remained a part of the education of citizens.[citation needed]

Eventually, the empire became increasingly split into a Western and Eastern part, reviving old ideas of a contrast between an advanced East, and a rugged West. In the Roman world one could speak of three main directions: North (Celtic tribal states and Parthians), the East (lux ex oriente), and finally South, which implied danger, historically via the Punic Wars (Quid novi ex Africa?).

With the emergence of the Industrial Revolution in Europe, the seat of economic power was sealed in our modern era in British and European ways of doing business (Western) have been widely adopted worldwide. However, ancient divisions continue to lie at the crux of many global political and economic issues, as do the wounds from centuries of colonization that continue to reverberate loudly in our time. Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 1.35.23 PM

Why is Westernization of the World a problem now? Possibly because we have eliminated or devalued so many other ways of thinking and being in the world that we have lost the very capacity needed to see and understand the drivers of pressing global issues today, not to mention we have lost the thinking and knowledge needed to solve them. Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 1.35.34 PM

As one small example of what I mean by this, I attended a panel discussion entitled U.S. Trade Strategy: Bold Brilliance or Tactical Chaos. It was hosted and moderated by Robert Rogowsky, Program Co-chair of the Middlebury Institute’s MA in International Trade and Economic Diplomacy program. To my amazement, the panel of experts made convincing arguments that the U.S. stance on trade could indeed be a brilliant move by the Trump Administration. However, this was tempered by how complex the world is and that making ill-informed or insular decisions can have unintended consequences, which can rapidly spiral out of control and end in chaos.

The most fascinating part of the panel discussion to me was on negotiation—an indisputably important part of trade whether it be it local or global. I was particularly interested by Dr. Peter Chen’s presentation. He is from China, and he drew the audience’s attention to the origins of the word negotiation, which come from the Latin words neg: meaning no, and otsia: meaning leisure. Back in the day, this word was used to describe businessmen who, unlike aristocrats or noblemen, had no leisure time because they were industrious. Some might recall the Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abby when she asked: “What is a weekend?” This meaning of negotiate persisted until the 17th century when it began to take on the diplomatic connotation we think of today—that is “a dialogue between two or more people or parties intended to reach a beneficial outcome over one or more issues where a conflict exists with respect to at least one of these issues.[1][2] (Wikipedia)” Thus, negotiation is a process of combining divergent positions into a joint agreement under a decision of unanimity. However, Dr. Chen pointed out Western ideas of negotiation are quite different from Eastern ideas. He said in Chinese, the most similar word they have to negotiation is tánpàn, which means talking and judging. For the Chinese, it is considered the dark side of economics with the East preferring to focus on conversation when working out deals. However, there are huge differences in how conversation is conducted by a Western diplomat versus an Eastern diplomat. By Eastern standards, Westerners are considered

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Notebook drawing Yin-Yang by Bébé

low-context communicators (i.e., direct and forceful, which can be considered very rude by Eastern standards). Eastern culture dictates a much more high-context style of communication, which is reserved, relies more on body language, and is based on relationships. Dr. Chen emphasized the Yin-Yang aspect of the negotiation process. He describes it as a process that requires one to be aware of all the other dimensions involved in the negotiation process and to have the capacity to focus on the oneness of the process at every stage of it. He showed a yin-yang chart and explained a highly trained Chinese negotiator would always keep these dimensions in mind during a negotiation, even when dealing with a low-context Western negotiator. I attempted to draw the chart he shared, though admittedly, it’s not very good. At the same time, I was doodling an image of the Black Magician and White Magician, which I realized in that moment was basically the yin-yang symbol in another form.

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Notebook drawing Black Magician and White Magician by Bébé

Thus, getting back to the idea if collective transformation is possible on a scale necessary to solve the complex, wicked global issues we are facing today when something as simple as trade negotiations presents so many complexities. How then do we tackle issues such as a human population where we have become a species that has long ago overshot its biological niche and now rely on technology to sustain our population. Take for instance, Fritz Haber who in 1918 invented the Haber–Bosch process—a method that synthesizes ammonia from nitrogen gas and hydrogen gas, which allows human to produce much more food than they could normally grown on the land without adding more nitrogen into the soil (a lot more nitrogen). Today, modern agriculture adds so much nitrogen to farm land that it frequently runoffs from heavy rains into rivers, lakes, and oceans causing toxic algae blooms that kill human, animal, and plant life. Or, how do we solve issues surrounding deforestation where forested lands around the world, especially the rainforest, are pawns in a battle between the needs of the forest and the needs of mass agriculture that requires more and more land to farm or graze cattle to satisfy the modern Western palate for meat and dairy products—a taste catered to the rich at the expense of the lungs of our planet and the sacrifice of the rich biodiversity sustained by these forests. Or what do we do about the technologies we have invented to win wars through mass destruction of human beings? It is interesting to note the man who gave humanity the gift of the Haber–Bosch process is also considered the “father of chemical warfare” for his pioneering work to weaponize chlorine and other poisonous gases during World War I (see Wikipedia on Haber).

And then the mother of the wicked problems of our modern era, climate change, how do we grapple with the immense complexities associated with this problem? It is a problem of such complexity that is quickly fractures humans into those who believe the science and those who don’t believe humans play any role in it—or more truthfully, it boils down to those who can make a million now with the current economic and political systems in place, which tends to be the people who are running global industries or have close ties to these industries. The super rich play by very different rules than the rest of us. Why would they care about irreparable damage to the Earth when they can make a million today. It makes perfect sense to choose not to believe the science but rather barricade themselves in golden castles built by the bricks of Western thinking.

And, it is far easier to kick the can of wicked climate disasters into a distant future, but thing is that it is not so distant any more. Climate disasters are racing ever faster into the lives of regular men, women, and children worldwide with devastating consequences—mega droughts, mega fires, and mega hurricanes—and the list keeps growing. Failure to pay attention or to act wisely comes at a great price. Most tragically, this cost will be paid by our children and grand children and their children…it is a price that places them in great peril…perhaps even extinction.

Jung wrote his book Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious after the two great world wars. He saw first hand the depths of depravity, suffering, and destruction man’s inner demons are capable of inflicting upon the world if unleashed like a great inner dam breaking and flooding the world with terrible things. Indeed, just before the outbreak of World War I, Jung dreamt of his homeland flooded by an immense tidal wave of blood. Jung lived in Switzerland, which was neutral in both wars, but surrounded by them and no European country escaped the devastation left in the wake of war. Beginning on page 47, he writes:

“The man of the past is alive in us today to a degree undreamt of before the war, and in the last analysis what is the fate of great nations but a summation of the psychic changes in individuals?

So far as a neurosis is really only a private affair, having its roots exclusively in personal causes, archetypes play no role at all. But, if it is a question of a general incompatibility or an otherwise injurious condition productive of neuroses in relatively large numbers of individuals, then we must assume the presence of constellated archetypes. Since neuroses are in most cases not just private concerns, but social phenomena, we must assume that archetypes are constellated in these cases too. The archetype corresponding to the situation is activated, and as a result those explosive and dangerous forces hidden in the archetype come into action, frequently with unpredictable consequences. There is no lunacy people under the domination of an archetype will not fall prey to.”

He continues saying:

“If thirty years ago anyone had dared to predict that our psychological development was tending towards a revival of the medieval persecutions of the Jews, that Europe

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The Rune Reader — Art by Bébé

would again tremble before the Roman fasces and the tramp of legions, that people would once more give the Roman salute, as [they did] two thousand years ago, and that instead of the Christian Cross an archaic swastika would lure onward millions of warriors ready for death—why, that man would have been hooted as a mystical fool. And today? Surprising as it may seem, all this absurdity is a horrible reality. Private life, private etiologies, and private neuroses have become almost a fiction in the world of today. The man of the past who lived in a world of archaic ‘representations collective‘ has risen again into very visible and painfully real life, and this not only in a few unbalanced individuals but in many millions of people.”

These passages are chilling for it seems like our collective psychological development strays once again in this direction, just as it did 100 years ago. A keen observer of the human psyche, Jung saw what was building up in the collective unconsciousness as an existential crisis. He focuses our attention to the critical importance of the inner workings of the human psyche and soul. And, his body of work, specifically on the collective unconsciousness, is a warning and a guide for how humanity might continue to evolve consciously, possibly even guiding us up the last steep mountain of consciousness, and by so doing, averting a calamity so terrible…life on Earth could be the cost.

Up until now, it has only been tribes, kingdoms, and civilizations that have risen and fallen with their demise only impacting the men, women, and children whose lives were intrinsically woven into the fabric and fate of these civilization and empires. Perhaps the rise and fall of civilizations is inevitable and beyond our control; determined by much larger cycles such as the sun cycle as shown in the diagram below created by Martin Armstrong (i.e., Armstrong Economics).

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All Credit to Martin Armstrong — The Rise & Fall of Empires, Nations, & City States

I do not doubt human beings need the sun to maintain good mental health and to sustain a healthy society through robust agriculture needed to grow enough food to keep a population fit and productive. The evidence presented in this graph is compelling for it is taken from ice core samples and compared to historical events and sun cycles. However, I cannot help but consider the sun has long been the symbol of the inner light of consciousness that imparts insight and wisdom to human beings who are willing and able to tune in and hear it. Wisdom also sustains the fitness of a tribe or group of people. Perhaps the sun cycle merely mirrors human consciousness cycles. Thus, the words Jung writes resonate vibrantly forwards and backwards in time: The fate of great nations is but a summation of the psychic changes achieved by the individuals existing within it.

Least I make it sound like the only way to move forward as a global people is to throw out all Western thinking, culture, and accomplishments, I most definitely do not mean this! Western Civilization has achieved tremendous scientific, medical, and technological advancements, it has founded political and economic systems of magnificent proportions, it has conceived of majestic dramas such as Shakespeare’s plays that dazzle audiences with piercing insights into human nature and the soul to this day, and it has momentous historical moments throughout its evolution that continue to ring and shape our lives today.

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The Young Victoria, 2009

For instances, the young Queen Victoria was stifled by ritual and protocol and almost lost the throne, but hung on with wit and fortitude, and then reigned as queen years before she was ready, ruling with compassion and intuition beyond her years. Something similar would happen again with the young Queen Elizabeth II though her circumstances involved both personal and collective trauma and lost that she would have to find a way to navigate and heal, which she does brilliantly (The Crown dramatizes her story vividly and poignantly—episode 10, season 1 beautifully portrays her transformation in Gloriana where she is exalted by the people to be both goddess and human for them, transcending the mundane to help them sail the difficult times, a tremendous weight few humans bare with equanimity). Western Civilization draws from many great moments like these as well as from diverse and ancient cultures as those already mentioned (Mesopotamia, Greek, and Roman) as well as Balto-Slavic, Romance, Germanic, Indo-Aryan, Iranic, and Celtic. Each group provides extraordinary cultural perceptions, beliefs, and traditions that have been interwoven over centuries to create what we know today as Western culture. However, as Western Civilization crystalized, grew stronger, and expanded, a dark side emerged as well. Perhaps an archetype was activated—one prone to arrogance and unrelenting domination of its own beliefs and values over others, and one willing to conduct great atrocities, even genocide, to ensure its supremacy and domination over other cultures and civilizations.

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A 16th-century illustration by Flemish Protestant Theodor de Bry for Las Casas’s Brevisima relación de la destrucción de las Indias, depicting Spanish atrocities during the conquest of Cuba — From Wikipedia Genocide of indigenous peoples

Indeed, World War II may well have been a clash between Western Civilization’s darkest psychological potentials pitted against its most shining and elegant potentials—personified by Hitler and Churchill. Surely, Europe’s and Western Civilization’s darkest hour yet was shortly after Winston Churchill was promoted to Prime Minister and had to decided if Britain should surrender to Hitler’s army, which was rolling across Europe crushing country after country. Winston was not well liked by his peers having been the chief architect of one of the worst military debacles in World War I—Gallipoli. King George VI reluctantly accepted him as Prime Minister and a fraction in his own party devised his undoing if Winston refused to negotiate a surrender with Hitler as the Wehrmacht invaded France, trapping the entire British army at Dunkirk (300,000+ men) and Calais (4,000 men). Winston made the call to have his men at Calais attack the Wehrmacht knowing there would be no way to save them. He tried to get Franklin D. Roosevelt to help by sending ships to pick up the stranded British army at Dunkirk, but the U.S. was still stinging from the fallout after World War I, and Roosevelt’s hands were tied. Winston was completely on his own with insufficient air power to prevent his own naval ships from being destroyed by the Luftwaffe. And, so he and his Admiralty called upon all British citizens in possession of any seaworthy vessel to lend their boats in a daring rescue that was code named: Operation Dynamo. Winston knew he was risking not only the lives of his military men stranded in France, but the lives of every British man, woman, and child. He knew if he did not capitulate to Hitler, the Germany war machine would be unleashed upon them. Despite all the odds against him and the island nation he lead, Winston refused to surrender and successfully implemented Operation Dynamo using nothing more than fishing boats, pleasure yachts, lifeboats, ferries, and any sea faring ship that could make the crossing. This singular moment may have well defined the fate of the world, allowing the forces for good to battle the forces of evil for six long and bloody years. The 2017 movie The Darkest Hour is a riveting account of Winston’s decision to never surrender to a brutal dictator who was invoking savage ancient demons. (I supplemented my knowledge for this paragraph from The Man Who Saved EuropeWinston Churchill’s World War Disaster, Operation Dynamo at Dunkirk ends.)

Jung warns about the dangers of activating an archetype that spreads throughout a group saying: “There are as many archetypes as there are typical situations in life. Endless repetition has engraved these experiences into our psychic constitution, not in the forms of images filled with content, but at first only as forms without content, representing merely the possibility of a certain type of perception and action. When a situation occurs which corresponds to a given archetype, that archetype becomes activated and a compulsiveness appears, which, like an instinctual drive, gains its way against all reason and will, or else produces a conflict of pathological dimensions, that is to say, a neurosis.” (Archetypes of the Collective Unconsciousness; p.48)

The world survived this fateful time booked marked by the two great world wars, but these great wars did not heal the divisions from where the demons emerged, coming from ancient depths that reside within the human psyche. We have not vanquished them. They are still here among us, in us, and some are re-emerging collectively, and this is very dangerous. Emergence is stuff we humans don’t understand very well, but Jung saw how parts of an emerging system get triggered by unconscious operating systems existing in every human being. He understood the more content a person remains unconscious of inside themselves the more they are susceptible to the collective activation of an archetype. When this happens tremendous amounts of energy are released into the collective. If the archetype emerges whole, then, there might be checks and balances (unless it is an archetype of destrcution). When archetypes only partly emerge leaving one side hidden in the unconsciousness, then its equal and balancing power remains unavailable to the group (like Hitler’s Third Reich). It is only by each member in an emerging system being able to maintain their inner light of consciousness as strong and as whole as possible that the individual and the group can resist super events like this period in human history. Archetypes are universal pre-existing psychological states of being from which all humans have emerged. They come from a time before consciousness thought like we know it thinks today. In the hands of a tyrant, this primitive psychological state can be directed to do savage acts. For another perspective on the power of collective activation of forces transcending the individual but impacting the individual, see Margaret Wheatley’s interview (she starts about 6 minutes in) about emergence. She does not use Jung’s language of archetypes, but she says that once something has emerged it cannot be undone. Thus, it is very important to be conscious when bringing something into being—perhaps this might be called collective emergence. To do this well, people need to hold onto their personal consciousness, as much of it as possible, to create islands of sanity, as she calls them. There are people all over the world working to understand this and do emergence better so that more sustainable systems can come into existence at local and global levels. At the end, I list just some of the amazing people and movements around the world working to do this.

Returning briefly back to my drawing and the talk I attended on the U.S.’s current stance on global trade, it is not hard to imagine soybean farmers who are unable to sell their soybean crops or beer/cheese makers who can no longer afford the ingredients or equipment needed to make their product at prices their customers are willing to pay beginning to suffer. These individuals can sustain these hardships for a while, but over time, it becomes harder and harder. When they fail, it impacts others, and little by little, the carefully crafted economic and political canals designed to carry the flow of millions of transactions each day, each hour, each minute begin to crumble. Given enough pressure, even our super modern economic and political channels may give way, as they started to do in 2009, and as they did give way in 1929 causing the Great Depression that woke a sleeping demon that emerged most viciously during WWII. When such great disturbances occur, the psychic and psychological energies of millions of people can rapidly spin out of control melting the iceberg containing collective psychic potentials, some terrible, that merely lie frozen in time until a hot flash of collective human psychological emotion creates a mighty disturbance that unleashes the sleeping giant within.

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Melting Glacier from The Divine Dodo: “Ice Melts…Thoughts of the Gods” — Art by Bébé

Our modern economic and political systems was mostly built by Western thoughts, values, and culture, and it has become extremely homogenized and hallow. Deeper ways of being in the world have been dangerously eliminated or minimized, and this has dried up the many different channels of knowing and trampled into the dust the many pathways to wisdom. Modern men and women are left to swim in conscious waters that are dangerously shallow—too shallow in fact to hold itself together—thus the slightest perturbation such as a trade crisis could trigger a global catastrophe. Jung might say the Western way of being in the world has taken the Wise Old Man, split him in half, and thrown one half away. What is left is hopelessly lopsided and lacks the very wisdom and knowledge needed to solve the problems it has created. Being too blind to see the value in the half it split from itself and threw away, it does not realize it has thrown away the keys to the kingdom, the secret to the riddle, the balance to the whole.

How do we recover from this blind, lopsided, imbalanced way of being in the world?

Together… only together can the world find a way forward. Our modern era is so interconnected and complicated now that we need each other in ways we have never needed each other before. Just some of the questions we might begin to consider are:

  • How are nations going to pay for clean up and repair of bigger and more frequent environmental disasters?
  • Might our current Westernized systems of thinking with its singular focus on reason, rationality, and the transactional value of thoughts, ideas, and inventions be placing humanity in peril?
  • When every human interaction becomes valuable only for its economic benefit, what have we done to the intrinsic value of being human or even being alive?
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Transformation — Art by Bébé

I believe collective transformation is possible, but it involves opening up to other ways of knowing and being in the world. It does not mean throwing away the knowledge and achievements of Western Civilization, but rather sinking deeper into its rich and diverse origins. It means remembering the ancient knowledge that led to its emergence. Western thinking also needs to make a place at the global table for all the other ways of thinking and being in the world—Eastern and Indigenous knowledge, wisdom, and rituals for starters. Ultimately, we need to recognize and honor all ways to wisdom and knowledge so humanity can grapple with the issues and challenges before us. This is essential to stop our collective reality from shrinking still further and becoming any shallower. Modern conscious men and women everywhere need to gather in ways they have not before and create new systems where all voices can be heard, received, and understood. This means deep listening, not only broadcasting one’s own views and perspectives. As we learn how to listen to each other’s stories and ways of being in the world, we might begin to gather the wisdom and knowledge needed to make the hard choices required to sustain life on our planet—to solve the existential problem we have created. The consequences of failing to cooperate, collaborate, and respect other ways to knowledge and wisdom to save our planet is quite frankly human extinction.

So now, here we stand at the edge of a global precipice the likes of which humanity has never stood so near before. If we go over, we may never return. Homo sapiens is a single species that evolved on Earth, emerging out of billions and billions of other life, and now it alone holds the keys to the entire kingdom of life on Earth. Supposedly, we are the wise ones, but have we lost the very wisdom our species was named for and now need so desperately to save ourselves and life on our planet? The answers is yes for each of us has the capacity to transform. We may have caused this disease, but we are also the medicine of Now. We need to apply our time and attention to heal ourselves, and this will help to heal Earth. Each of us is a story unfolding through time, and as our personal stories become stronger, richer, more diverse, and more vibrant, so will our collective story about Earth, and this will transform the individual and the whole. Each and every person on planet Earth is a force for positive change and transformation. Earth needs each and every one of us now more than ever before to become the best possible versions of ourselves that we can be. We must do so in order to hand Earth to our children and grand children and their children and seven generations into the future so our home (our Mother) can continue to sustain life. For you see, life is immensely precious and rare in the universe. It’s lost is incalculable for it is a lost that leaves a void in the void of endless space from which we somehow miraculously emerged and found ourselves to exist.

Postscript: Importance of Stories

We need new and better stories about ourselves and each other because ultimately that is what we are—stories unfolding through space and time. By listening to each other’s stories (i.e., each other’s lives) and through genuine human interactions grounded in love, compassion, and empathy—we can begin to heal and grow. We can become better persons individually, and then, we can contribute stronger threads to the collective story that is unfolding about our families, friends, communities, cities, countries, and world. Every thought we choose to act upon brings that idea into reality, so moment by moment we choose the quality of thread we contribute to our collective story—this is reality—what we see today is what we have woven so far in space and time. Three stories I am weaving include:

  • Girl With Dragon — this is a mini series based on visions I had that I created a simple story around anticipating a terrible event that then occurred in my life (in reality)  just as I got to the end of this story.
  • The Divine Dodo — continues the story of the girl and the dragon, but it is its own new story. At its heart, it is a story about conscious transformation and some of the difficulties that can be encountered along the way. This is not a story one will understand using the rational mind and thinking. Its meaning requires a much more ancient and deeper type of thinking that is really only available through myth and metaphor… even then, it will probably seem incomplete and fragmented because we have lost so much of the capacity in our modern time to communicate with each other this way. It is becoming an ancient and forgotten language, but one we desperately need to revive and relearn for we need to understand each other and our shared reality on these deeper levels. It is more essential now than any other moment in time!
  • Sapience — is the Big Story I have been writing since 2012. It began when one of the story rocks I had been kicking around back then opened up, and I fell inside. I ended up inside a vast and deep cave. Ever since this moment, I have come to understand it is my job to tell what I see here as best as I can see and write it through this story. It is a near future fiction about what might happen if we don’t make the hard choices needed right now to at least mitigate climate change from becoming even more destructive and devastating than it already is proving itself capable of being. We have a very tiny window of time remaining to mitigate climate disasters, and it is closing rapidly. I am self-publishing this story, which will be a series. My brother is designing the site using a self-evolving algorithm he created (Wild Web Widget), and this is where I will announce when the first book can be purchased. Until then, Donna Alena and I will begin a new blog series titled New Ancients based on mythical stories arising from Alena’s vision inspired art. In addition, we will collaborate with other artists (potentially musicians and actors and game designers) to bring to life excerpts from the Sapience series… but this is much farther down the line.

Much more important than my simple chicken scratchings is the work of other brilliant thinkers, creators, collaborators, writers, artists, web designers, and many others from around the world. This is an imperfect list, but it is a start in highlighting the many different ways of making this journey to wholeness together—both as individuals and collectively. As we begin to see and understand more about ourselves and others, we will also tell better stories about ourselves and others… and little by little, we will exert change on the dominate Western narrative most of us have gotten stuck swimming inside, but a narrative too shallow to sustain us for much longer. Stories of every kind deepen our understanding of the world around us and inside of us. They can open portals to new perceptions, insights, and knowledge that lead to transformative discoveries. If you have suggestions to add to this imperfect list, please leave a comment and I’ll add it.

I start each category with a song or two that captures some of the deeper meanings underlying each category listed below. Music is one of our most ancient tools for accessing deeper layers of mind. Indeed, music probably helped primitive man survive more robustly and to consolidate his ability to think in the modern way we think that thinking is done. Music, song, and poetry are powerful tools that have been greatly diminished in our current systems and ways of thinking. If you begin by listening to the song before looking at (and judging) the content of each list, it may help you access deeper levels of thinking, sense making, and meaning—opening doorways to archetypal knowledge through rhythm, trope, metaphor, myth, and primordial images for this is knowledge that exist in us all, we’ve just forgotten how to get there.

— Humbly dedicated in loving memory to my father who passed five months and 14 days ago

Resource for Collective Transformation:

Equality for All Peoples Begins by Bringing Everyone to the World Table:

While one human being any where in the world remains oppressed, so do we all.

  • Mashrou’ Leila: Roman
  • Fairuz: A Best Song
  • Jared Ball: Zionism and Black Radical Internationalism — he discusses psychic warfare through colonialism that absolutely needs to be dealt with in order for collective transformation to occur… all brothers and sisters of Earth must be at the table no matter the color of their skin or the colonialism that has kept them suppressed.
  • Marc Lamont Hill: UN Speech That Got Him Fired for speaking up for freedom and justice on both sides of a division that goes back centuries. He speaks about the need for solidarity between all oppressed people around the world from apartheid in Africa to the movement of Gandhi in India.
  • Dareen Tatour: A resident of the Galilee village of Reineh near Nazareth, she was arrested in October 2015 after publishing, among others, a poem titled “Resist, my people, resist them.”

  • Mahmoud Darwish: Poetry Foundation Profile: Palestinian Mahmoud Darwish was born in al-Birwa in Galilee, a village that was occupied and later razed by the Israeli army. In the 1960s Darwish was imprisoned for reciting poetry and traveling between villages without a permit. Considered a “resistance poet,” he was placed under house arrest when his poem “Identity Card” was turned into a protest song.
  • A Bird is not a Stone: This is a unique cultural exchange, giving both English and Arabic readers a unique insight into the political, social and emotional landscape of today’s Palestine.
  • Paola & Karla: At the Wall, U.S./Mexico Border, Texas, 2020: beautiful spoken word poetry.
  • Elizabeth S. Manley: The Paradox of Paternalism: Women and the Politics of Authoritarianism in the Dominican Republic : a powerful new book.
  • Julia Alvarez: In The Time of the Butterflies: She write in the foreword: “a few months after my family fled the dictatorship of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, the three Mirabal sisters were brutally murdered. Founders of the underground, las Mariposas (the Butterflies, their code name) had inspired resistance cells throughout the country.”
  • Independent: EU condemns rescue boats picking up drowning refugees in Mediterranean as leaders side with populists: As of December 13, 2018, the Artemis has been forced to cease operations and there are no recuse boats helping refugees who may be drowning
  • We Are All Connected: Doaa and the Baby: This is a short piece inspired by Melissa Fleming’s TedTalk about an overloaded ship carrying more than 500 refugees, and a young woman who becomes an unlikely hero.

Creative Story Telling Leads to New Ways to Knowledge & Wisdom:

More than any other time in human history, we need new stories, new narratives that unite us as one human tribe to thrive.

  • Seal: Crazy — Music and music videos are powerful short story telling devices that can convey tons of information in short intervals of time since song and visual arts use metaphor and myth to convey meaning.
  • Asura: Altered State
  • Ra: Transcendent
  • Donna Alena Hrabcakova: RECENT PAINTINGS: NEW ANCIENTS : Visual artists are powerful story tellers who can convey ancient knowledge and wisdom through their work. Alena’s paintings are mythic and visionary. She sees beyond the veil of the current narrative trapping so many of us in shallow conscious waters. She has much more beautiful work to come in 2019!

  • Hannelie Sensemaker WorldPainter VenuciaJoy Generation World Storytellers and visionaries are essential, and through Hannelie’s work, the Joy Generation is transforming the world through JOY! The Global JOY Rendezvous brings people, places, paths, passion, purpose, potential and possibilities together. Much more coming in 2019!

  • Margaret Wheatley: She has been a consciousness and systems change worker for decades as well as a spirit warrior! In her latest book, she writes about Islands of Sanity in: Who Do We Choose to Be. I love the quote she leads with in this book: The Warriors arise when the people need protection. And, indeed the world (we), need protection right now like no other time before.
  • Pema Chodron: No Time to Lose — in her book, she gently guides the reader through an ancient text on the way of the Bohisattva, which is a path and way to inner wholeness, peace, and no suffering for self and all living beings.
  • Omileye Achikeobi-Lewis: Beautiful Waters — is a reflection of the water mothers, their forms, symbols, and messages; Omileye has many other books and she works with seers, shamans, medicine men and women around the world.
  • John G. Neihardt: Black Elk Speaks — is a book about the life story of a holy man of the Oglala Sioux nation whose wisdom is deep and timeless.
  • Thrive Story: This is about a big new story we create together about our connection to each other and to nature. It’s shared and created in small parts. Each story shifting our attention to the things that really matter.
  • Freakonomics: How to Be Happy (Ep. 345) — this is a podcast and radio show that presents interesting bits of information wrapped around the orbit of economics and how this shapes our lives.
  • The Hidden Brain: Too Little, Too Much — is a podcast and radio show that presents aspects of how our brains work and how this can influence our perceptions about reality. This episode is about how the super rich operate by different rules than the common man or woman.
  • Robert ReichThe Truth About Trump’s Economy — his podcast and short videos tell perceptive and funny stories that reveal layers of reality that might have been missed if one was not paying attention.
  • Mieke van der Bijl: Why being smart is not enough — the social skills and structures of tackling complexity
  • D. Mann: Voices of Change & Citizens Documentaries — this is a collection of citizen documentaries following the tumultuous election of Donald Trump as President.
  • Unveiled Canal Mural Champions Women — this is a local New Haven painter unveiled a mural depicting 17 actual and imaginary New Haven women, all standing proud and strong and committed to a more equitable future.

Systems Change Alerts & Changers:

Will we be undone by our clever minds? 

Climate Change Alerters & Changers:

All of Earth’s beautiful creatures hold their breath waiting to see if we (the humans) notice the choice that we have to make…the one that will determine the fate and destiny all of life on this small blue planet in the endless void of space.

Climate Change Innovators:

Be the creators of change so we might all ascend the final mountain of consciousness and find the wisdom and compassion to care for Earth…our home, our origins, our very soul.

Emerging Groups & Hubs Around Climate Change, Consciousness, Collaboration, and Collective Transformation:

Only together can we generate the gravity needed to resist destruction.

  • Lamb: Wise Enough (Official Music Video)
  • Lyla June: Time Traveler
  • Time of the Sixth Sun: From the video: “Time of the Sixth Sun is an inspirational and uplifting documentary film about the shift in global consciousness and the emerging movement to find a new way to walk more lightly on this Earth. Our ancestors understood our symbiotic relationship to nature and the elements, and foresaw the collapse of an unsustainable world.
  • Anneloes Smitsman: Love Letters from Mother Earth & the EARTHwise Center: Love Letters is a book that guides its readers into the heart of our humanity to discover the essence of who we are from a planetary perspective & EARTHwise seeks to share our Custodianship Wisdom and Lead from Love for our Collective Thrivability & Flourishing. To bring into being the new systems, born from wholeness, that celebrate our Unity in Diversity. To revitalize the Heart of our Humanity. To guide people Home.
  • Anneloes Smitsman, & Attracting Our Future into Being–the Syntony Quest: This is an article that explores a new perception of causality and time. It is proposed that our present is not the result of our past; instead it emerges from our futures. The intention to bring into being a world and future where all of us can thrive has been shared by numerous people.
  • Michael Aschenbach: Vision 3000: The Transformation of Humanity in the New Milleniumdescribes the stages of our future transformation as they affect six social functions: Human Science, Spiritual Culture, Technology, Media, Economics, and Governance. We are shown how emerging evolutions of human consciousness bring in new worldviews that completely transform each of these dimensions. This vision lays out a blueprint for individuals, organizations, and our whole planetary society to awaken and set us free.
  • Andrew MacDonald: Practicing Presence PLUS: Presence is a word for the It’s a connection so it’s easier to notice it when connected with others. Andrew teaches and guides individuals in this important practice essential for groups to tune into and see the wholeness and best potentials they want to bring into the world.
  • Human Voices: Is a place for gathering and sharing visions. Vision statement: All people are involved in creating the visions for our World. Visions to build a stable and functioning world. Visions that can steer the world in the direction we choose.
  • Zhiwa Woodbury: EcoPsychology NOW!: AboutThe Climate Crisis is a crisis of spirit first and foremost, and to resolve it (or survive it) will require a collective change of hearts and minds – one human being at a time at first, and then all at once. Ecopsychology is a Spiritual Psychology in the Service of Life. It may well represent the last, best chance for humanity to emerge spiritually from this spiritual emergency.
  • Stéphane Leblanc: International Center for Conscious Leadership: Mission: We are catalysts for the transformation of leaders and organizations and the elevation of consciousness in business around the world.
  • Dmitry Sokolov: LikedInMind: Believes that Knowledge resides in the people in the networks & We Connect People by Connecting Their Knowledge Global Sustainability Action Plan: This is a beginning of a global plan to save our planet, it states: Global Sustainability is understood here from the systems ecology point of view. All factors defining existence of our Civilisation must be addressed here.
  • Academy for Systems Change: This is a nonprofit organization focused on advancing the field of awareness-based systemic change in order to accelerate ecological, social, and economic well-being.
  • World Summit: This is gathering change makers from all over the globe in order to unite people, both virtually and physically, to bypass individual agendas as well as the current social, political, and economic systems that divide us. We do this in the acknowledgement that we do not need permission to unify ourselves and discover our oneness as a great global tribe.
  • Human Library: This is a Worldwide Movement for Social Change.
  • Collaboration Incubator: This is a participatory format, where you can learn about social technologies – mainly group facilitation processes – which integrate activism and intuition.
  • Global Challenges Foundation: Its objective is to contribute to minimising, preferably eliminating, the major global threats to humanity.
  • Global Summit of Conscious Leadership: This is a new leadership paradigm that balances the common good with individual self-interests.
  • Global Challenges Collaboration: This is a Facebook public group working to find new ways to tackle and solve the complex global problems of today through innovative use of technology and group interactions bring people from all over the world together
  • The Ecology of Systems Thinking: This is a Facebook public group that is a discussion forum for systems thinking and ecology.
  • Virtual Augmented intelligence Server Cloud, Organic Platform Evolving (Vaiscope): Building online collaboration micro hubs around the world and creating synergy through P2P networks.
  • REconomy practitioners: This is a virtual community of practice (CoP) of and for regenerative entrepreneurs. We do our work locally and we co-create and self-organise as REconomy practitioners to benefit from peer-to-peer support, social learning and coordinated action at translocal, transnational and global scale.
  • Ecological Consciousness: This is a Facebook page about ecology and consciousness: “When we speak of Nature it is wrong to forget that we are ourselves a part of Nature.” ~Henri Matisse
  • The Wisdom Factory: This is aFacebook page that wants to connect and collaborate with all of us who wish to express our passions both for ourselves and for our world.
  • The Gentle Revolution: For a world we love to dance in — inspiring messages and ideas to save our world and each other.

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.

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.” — C.G. Jung

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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 when the old symbols become too weak with age. When this happens, the waters of the collective unconsciousness begin to rise and boundless catastrophes begin to break out rushing over all 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 his thinking at this point for this is where my own journey seems to be ending up at the unconscious sea that is 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.