Recently I began to read child of the jungle — the true story of a girl caught between two worlds. My good friend, I will call him M., who lives in Germany knew I was going through a difficult time after the sudden death of my father. He said the book reminded him of me because he knew my father had been a missionary in the jungles of Brazil, which is where I was born and lived for my first three years. As I began to sink into this story, I definitely see resemblances between my early life and her life as this girl who gets caught between two worlds—though there are stark differences. For one, her father moved his family to a very remote place in West Papua, Indonesia on the island of New Guinea to live among the Fayu tribe who until then were an undiscovered people that were unknown to Westerners. Her account of her father’s first encounter with this isolated tribe and how he came to know he was being called to be with them is an incredible story that I will not recount here. Needless to say, her experiences were much more dramatic than my own, but I recognize the girl caught between worlds, and my friend was right to send me this book.
The part I wish to recount is The First War (Chapter 10, page 65). The Fayu were known to be fierce and warring people consisting of four distinct tribes within the whole of the Fayu people. From time to time, they would fight among themselves as well as band together to keep out others from their territory. It was due to one of the Fayu leaders who was tired of war and sought peace for his people that this remarkable family came to live among the Fayu who are a people most remarkable in their own way for many reasons. On this day, the girl, Sabine, was sitting around a fire with her brother and their childhood Fayu friends eating kwa (breadfruit) when the Fayu men of their village grabbed their bows and arrows and assembled at the beach as canoes landed and unknown warriors stepped out. Sabine said, “No one smiled and none of the customary courtesies were displayed.” Her father went out to greet the newcomers and tried to engage them in conversation with the bit of Fayu he had learned. For hours they talked. Then, the voices grew louder. Sabine recounts “the Fayu were standing and sitting in two groups — the men of our village on one side, the strangers on the other.” Another hour passed, and she recounts the hostility grew and the gravity of the situation thicken as the warriors gripped their bows. Her mother called her and her brother inside. Her father soon followed as the loud talk became aggressive shouting. Her father barred the door. Sabine and her brother watched from the window where now the men were all standing facing each other and screaming. She says, “Suddenly the atmosphere changed again. I felt something I had never felt before. I can best describe it as a dark, heavy and threatening. The sun was still shining brightly, but somehow it seemed darkness had descended.“
This is important. What she witnessed as a girl and so beautifully captures in her story is an incredible power we all hold as human beings. The challenge has always been how to channel and control these tremendous flows of energy when they break over our collective edges of consciousness and social norms long ago established to create peace and sustainability. This is not the same energy of the sun that powers the Earth — though the sun has long stood as a symbol of it through the ages. Rather, it is an energy that powers the human spirit, and we are the channel makers — it is up to us to recognize this energy and direct it as we choose. Her father was trying to help the Fayu warriors direct this rising tide of energy in a less violent way, but the energy was greater than him in that moment. What the warriors did next is utterly fascinating. Sabine describes it this way: “Individual men began stomping their feet. They moved in circular motions and began repeating a single word, ooh-wa, ooh-wa, ooh-wa. This was the war cry. Soon all had joined in the chanting. They faced each other, stomping the ground, arrows notched in their bows. Then they started to run in what seemed to be a pre-determined choreography. First, the two groups would run away from each other until they were about fifty yards apart. Then, they ran at each other, stopping when only a few yards separated them. More stomping would ensure, and the the war dance would be repeated.” This went on for hours! Can you imagine this? The warriors have talked for hours, then shouted for hours more, and now they dance, for hours. Even in this extreme and dangerous state, they are channeling this powerful energy — an energy left unchecked could destroy every man, woman, and child in the village. Sabine recounts how the warriors entered a trance state: their eyes glazed over and movements became stiff and robotic [they have descended into an unconscious state]. She says their voices changed as well with some becoming very deep while others grew shrill, and this continued for hours more. She remembers getting bored and going to read a book when she heard a scream of pain that pierced the chanting… then another and another… the war had begun. Time sped up. She and her brothers were kept away from the windows, and fortunately no stray arrows pierced their hut.
This recounting is amazing and incredibly important to understand for this type of energy does not occur only among primitive tribes in far off places who are considered to be uncivilized. Indeed, I would say they are highly civilized for they have learned how to collectively channel this dangerous energy — this war dance they did evolved over centuries. When the other warriors finally left, no man was left dead. Many had arrow injuries that if left untended could kill them from infection; however, the women and children and village were not destroyed despite the terrible darkness Sabine recounts feeling descended upon them all — like a destructive storm.
We have forgotten this in the West. We have forgotten we can be overcome by terrible forces rising from deep within ourselves. Our ancestors knew this and developed rituals and spiritual practices to help them navigate these forces. Of course there were still wars, and humans have done terrible things to other humans since the beginning of being human. But as human beings, we have obtained the gift of consciousness, which provides us with a powerful tool to navigate these inner storms that can rapidly overflow the collective channels we have constructed in out social systems and erupt in catastrophic and terrible ways. Consciousness gives us an offramp from destructive inner storm that rise from time to time, if we choose to use it. And, these warriors did to the best of their abilities use their consciousness to mitigate a terrible calamity that was brewing.
Mr. Rogers understood this too. Yes, I said Mr. Rogers who gave us decades of gentle and dignified children’s programming. I watched him as a child. And, I loved him until one day I had absorbed too much from my surroundings that told me Mr. Rogers was a show for babies, and he was a simple man, and I should not watch him anymore. This was a sad day, but I sneaked watching him from time to time until my life flowed in different directions.
If you watch the Mr. Rogers documentary you will see in the very beginning he plays a piano while he talks to the camera. He was a magnificent piano player and understood how difficult it was to master this instrument. While he plays, he says growing up is like playing a complex and beautiful song. Some modulations are easy to master and a child needs very little help doing so — others are very difficult and a child does better when he or she has someone who can help them until they master it. How right he was, and this idea formed a foundational piece to the television programming he was going to go on to create — the one I watched as a child!
If you have not seen Fred Rogers testimony to Congress in 1969 when PBS’s budget was on the chopping block with Senator Pastore leading the hearing, then you should watch it. By the time Fred Rogers turn came to testify, Senator Pastore had just told everyone how bored he was from all the written testimonies being read. He was not in favor of funding PBS, and it looked like the tide was going to run the other way for the newly established PBS with funding about to be revoked. This is why Fred starts out the way he does telling Senator Pastore he trusts he will read his 10 minute testimony later, but now he just wants to talk about it. Fred didn’t know what he was going to say in that moment, he had to turn on a dime, but if you watch this, I think you will get goosebumps just like Senator Pastore says he was gets as Fred talks.
At the end, he asks Senator Pastore if he can tell him some of the words to a song he sings in his program about the good feeling of control. He tells the Senator that children need to know it is there. The Senator says yes. Mr. Rogers begins: “What do you do with the mad that you feel.” He stops to tell the Senator the first line came straight from a child for he works with children with puppets and storytelling. Then, he continues, and the part I find most miraculous is this part:
It’s great to be able to stop When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong, And be able to do something else instead And think this song:
I can stop when I want to Can stop when I wish I can stop, stop, stop any time. And what a good feeling to feel like this And know that the feeling is really mine. Know that there’s something deep inside That helps us become what we can.
He is teaching children how to channel their mad. How to stop and consider their choices. How to know they are in control and how to get in touch with another type of feeling also rising from deep inside that helps us become what we can. Every single human being on the planet has access to this place that is deep inside us and helps us become what we can. Our ancestors and the people we continue to call primitive understand this. Mr. Rogers got labeled a simple man who was not to be taken seriously by adults because he understood this. He understood depths of the human psyche few modern human beings ever come to understand today. This is partly due to the lopsided nature Western culture has adopted (see Is Collective Transformation Possible for more on this idea). Increasingly, the Western way teaches us to discount our inner realities and to pay attention solely to outer adornments that are attained by making money, leaving our inner worlds to run amok from neglect and ignorance (like unschooled, unloved children). There are spiritual practices, religions, and many pockets embedded within Western culture still paying attention to the importance of our inner worlds, but even Mr. Rogers felt the tide turning the other way towards the end of his life. After 9/11, he was asked to make a series of short messages to convey hope and understanding in the wake of this great tragedy — an event that shook people to their core, including Mr. Rogers. He was reluctant to make these promos for he said he felt he could not say much of anything that would make a difference. I suspect he felt something profound had shifted in our collective human consciousness, and despite all the good work he had done for decades, he could not stop it, and it was getting heavier and darker. But, he made them despite his feelings of inadequacy, and we are so lucky he did for we lost Fred Rogers two years later. In this clip below he says: “Look for the helpers…. there are always helpers rushing in to help in the wake of any tragedy.”
And, this takes us back to what Sabine witnessed as a child in the far off jungles of New Guinea living among the Fayu people. What she felt and how she described it as a tangible force that descended among them all with such destructive potential is something we need to understand Now. It is the same force Mr. Rogers was teaching children how to channel and control through his song. It is the same force running amok today, but on a much, much grander scale for we have become so interconnected and interdependent. Men like Sabine’s father, the leader of the Fayu tribe, Mr. Rogers, and my father are the consciousness warriors of our time. They understood what can happen when these forces do run amok. As consciousness warriors, they learned how not to use bows and arrows, but to use their consciousness and the deep spaces inside themselves where empathy, compassion, caring, and love rise eternally. By Western standards, these are weak and mostly useless emotional tools that prove inadequate to survive in the fiercely competitive economic environments we have created. The key words here is we have created, and we can create them differently by imbuing greater understanding of our fullest human capacities that are grounded in human dignity, equality, and love.
I won’t say any more about all this. I am hopelessly inadequate for the task with far fewer accomplishments than so many other great thinkers and doers who have come before me. But, if any of this has moved you as the reader, may I suggest you read the book by Sabine Kuegler: child of the jungle, watch the Mr. Rogers documentary, and read some of Carl Jung’s writings about the collective unconsciousness. Take what serves you modulated within your own vast knowing accumulated through your own experiences and spiritual, religious, and cultural practices. All I know is we need the Consciousness Warriors to rise Now… both men and women… for the war is within… the forces are as old as time… and our greatest tool is our inner light of consciousness and learning how to use it wisely just as Mr. Rogers taught us in this song What do you do with the mad that you feel?
What do you do with the mad that you feel When you feel so mad you could bite? When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong… And nothing you do seems very right?
What do you do? Do you punch a bag? Do you pound some clay or some dough? Do you round up friends for a game of tag? Or see how fast you go?
It’s great to be able to stop When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong, And be able to do something else instead And think this song:
I can stop when I want to Can stop when I wish I can stop, stop, stop any time. And what a good feeling to feel like this And know that the feeling is really mine. Know that there’s something deep inside That helps us become what we can. For a girl can be someday a lady And a boy can be someday a man.
This post is a reposting from my new blog space, so if you are following Sapience207, please consider following me on this new site called Sapience: New Ancients Rising. This is where I will publish most of my new posts first. Your time and attention is the most precious resource on this planet, and I am deeply grateful for your attention to this post. Some of the post on this site include:
As Dodo falls back towards the beast, he hears birds chirping, water running, and wind blowing through trees—such sweet, nourishing sounds that remind him of Earth—his lost paradise, which makes Dodo sad for he remains stuck in the endless vacuous void—Hell! The bounce DJ and the drummers gave him was not strong enough to help him escape the gravity of the beast. And so, the only thing he can do is spiral down again towards the beast comforted only by his sadness.
Just then, a singular sound pierces the void, rising from the deep—perhaps the beast. It is an ancient, primeval sound, clearly musical in design and meant for song. “Maybe,” Dodo thinks reveling in the rich resonance spiraling up, reverberating, and rippling through the void, “This is a sound meant to banish evil spirits for clearly it is powerful enough to escape the gravity of the beast!”
However, this revelation does little good for Dodo falls ever faster. Yet, at the same time, he sees something emerging from the beast or from underneath it, rising towards him and passing right through the rainbow net as if it were not there. Dodo squints to see it more clearly, and finally sees it is a shell… a beloved conch shell from Earth rising towards him! It is an ancient creature that evolved on Earth and survived countless millennia longer than his own fated species despite being plucked from great depths and eaten by man for centuries. Perhaps recognizing its deep magic, man turned its emptied shell into a trumpet that was blown by heroes, priests, and warriors to proclaim triumph or to instill terror. Ancient Indian Mahābhārata warriors blew conches to announce the beginning of battle during the epic Kurukṣetra War. Conches also proclaimed the dharma far and wide (a belief about the nature of reality as taught by the Buddha), and conches were used to call Tibetan monks and devotees to prayer. Its deep guttural primeval sound is only possible if the blower brings air up from his bowels and blows as hard as he can as if fetching what is inside and blowing it out, and then taking what is outside and bringing it in—a torus to be sure!
Then, a terrifying thought crashes into Dodo’s brain: “This was the last sound a victim of human sacrifice heard before a priest or executioner delivered the death blow!”
Dodo’s heart races, and his thoughts are a jumble as he wonders if the beast is toying with him like a cat plays with a mouse before the kill. He feels a great weight pressing on him—maybe the reverberating sound.
He fixes his eyes on the glistening smooth curving part of the concha shell—the part where the pink and purple disappear into the dark interior and moans: “If only I could disappear into that dark space like the snail.”
Believing it only to be an empty shell, Dodo is shocked to see something emerging from the dark slit. At first, he thinks it’s the escargot living inside, but it is so much more! It is a woman with golden, brown, black, and red hair so long it flows like water. She stands upon another shell and is surrounded by celestial beings who are beholding and clothing her as she stands naked in her magnificent glory covered only by her long hair and a concha shell she holds before her.
Dodo wonders if he has died and gone to heaven, reveling in the faint pink light gathering about her feet and blue about her head. The paleness of the light grows stronger with the blue becoming bluer and pink becoming pinker until a magnificent taijitu forms about the goddess and her entourage. Shortly after this, the concha softens and morphs turning from something hard into something soft… perhaps the mollusk, but no… it’s not that at all… it is a fetus rapidly transforming through developmental stages until becoming a beautiful human baby suspended in the woman’s womb.
Together mother, child, and their heavenly attendants shine in a deepening brilliance that almost blinds Dodo. But he can’t tear his eyes away from them for two strands of light are leaving the taijitu—one pink, one blue. They spiral towards him like umbilical cords. Upon reaching him, they connect to his ears allowing him to hear the music that has continued as heralded by the conch. DJ and the drummers are down there somewhere still working for him, eclipsed by the moon of the rising Venus and child. Now, Dodo can just barely make out the edges of the resilience net they made to bounce him, but it is still there shimmering in dynamic colors like the rippling edges of a rainbow sun.
A voice shatters Dodo’s reverie. It is gruff and male and yells: “Harigasti Teiwa!”
Dodo understands this to mean: “Come, guest Tyr!” And, he knows Tyr to be the God of Honor and Law and of War—patron of the Althing—who is the deity of heroic glory from ancient Norse myths.
The drummers bang a steady beat as men yell in indistinguishable shouts, groans, even growls. Then, they begin to repeat in a snarl: “Tawol Athodu Ek Erilaz Owlthuthewaz Niwaremariz Saawilagar Hateka Harja …,” which means: For this invocation I, the Rune Master, servant of Odin, call upon the one of the Sun to aid our army…
A woman screams. She is a priestess. It is a primal scream accompanied by wind, which is followed by men bawling as if in pitched and dreadful battle, but far away. All the while, the drums beat on, punctuated by closer groans and guttural growls of other men.
Then, like ice melting, the chant shifts in tone and timbre, releasing its stored energy, allowing it to flow into a new refrain… a bigger stream that goes:
Fehu Uruz Thurisaz Ansuz Raidho Kenaz
Gebo Wunjo Hagal Naudhiz Isa Jera
Eihwaz Perthro Algiz Sowelu Tiwaz Berkano
Ehwaz Mannaz Laguz Ingwaz Dagaz Othala
This group includes women who elevate the sound terrain creating a much more complex tone and harmony through the co-mingled voices of men and women. Together, they repeat this random cluster of words, but differently each time like a cascading waterfall of tempo, tone, and timbre balanced by the drummers. They sing it low, then high, alternating like waves on a sea. Several times the Rune Master laughs… all while the drummers beat a steady, mesmerizing beat.
Thanks again to DJ, Dodo understands the words to mean:
They are almost meaningless—these words—but it is how they are sung that creates the magic as if pulling these things from the invisible and making them visible through a rolling landscape of voice and sound. In that moment, Dodo understands they are not random words at all but describe the things creating a shared reality. Things made stronger over time through struggle—hail, need, ice, thorn—eased by blessings—wealth, gift, luck, aurochs, harvest, elk, horse, tree, water, Birch tree—made real every day through embodiment as a man (or woman) who is capable of experience and evolving something new—travel, joy, fertility, home—as guided by the divine—torch, sun, divine breath, creator.
Dodo understands these are the things encountered by beings of light powered by spirit journeying through time as measured daily through complex, rich experiences that are meant to behold and to evolve love. Simply by being a man (or a woman) the invisible is made visible—thereby allowing the sublime to slip through into the world in forms of knowledge, understanding, even wisdom. Most ethereal of all, Dodo knows man is a myth maker, a builder of a new world still being born. As a magi, he adds new ingredients to the swirling cauldron of time through the stories and symbols created on his journey. And, this is incredible for these fragile things—story and symbols—are capable of capturing a little bit of the superabundant energy springing forth eternally from the one being who birthed everything, and from whom all beings and things are descended. And, it is these fragile things that are building… no birthing… a new world.
“Oh this,” Dodo thinks, “Must be why we exists… to enrich, exalt, and transcend the darkness from where we were born in order to elevate it back to the divine. Why else are alive?”
But the divine can be divinely evil as well as good, and over time, something terrible was born into the world when one man (or one woman) figured out to how change their luck by diverting the blessings of others onto themselves. It was so easy, this deceit, and soon more men (and more women) began diverting the blessings meant to be distributed among all living beings, not diverted to a few, and then gorging on them. These men (and women) grew intoxicated in their indulgence where they wallowed in the light of their personal glory, never considering how they disrupted or displaced the natural flow of blessings meant for all living beings… most tragically, they forgot they are beings of light here to help birth a new reality. And, this is how the corruption slipped into the world. A most dangerous thing to be sure for man had begun to transcend when the corruption entered, and so his descent sent him crashing through all safety rails meant to protect life, plunging him down to the lowest levels of embodied being where depravity and perversion rule.
“Is this where I am going?” Dodo wonders in horror. “Down into this hole the corruption carved out, creating an endless void inside the sacred belly of the divine one who birthed and loved us all and from where nothing can return to the light?”
The Rune Master screams twice: Wuotani Ruoperath, which Dodo knows to mean Prepare for Battle! Which makes him wonder where the warriors are for everything below remains blocked by Venus and her child.
This is followed by the most beautiful female voice Dodo has ever heard—the priestess. She doesn’t say anything, but simply uses her voice as a force to transmit emotion, feeling, and unformed thought that take the listener through ancient spirals simply by singing Ha Hu Hi He Ho He Hi Ha Hu. She flies high, then dives low, with the drummers following her, lifting her even higher.
Suddenly her voice plunges to dark chthonic depths ruled by underworld witches, night demons, and numinous sirens, Melusinas, lamias, and succubus who infatuate young men and then suck the life out of them. At one point, she laughs like Lilith—Adam’s first wife. Then effortlessly, she swoops back up to the glorious heights of virgin, mother, and healer. She owns this space, this time, soaring like an ancient angel. She is the wings of the drummers and warriors—able to elevate their collective consciousness, so they might escape their fate.
Something draws Dodo’s attention back to the child who has begun to glow. To his amazement, glowing golden-white tendrils emerge from the baby, reaching out in every direction and passing through the womb. When they reach the edges of the pink and blue taijitu, he hears the heartbeat of the child and knows this is the spirit child of the universe; the essence of all life and all embodied possibility. This child is the alpha—the beginning, all things dark, all things feminine—and the omega—the end, the light, all things male… as protected by the holy mother and her divine entourage.
Then, a terrible thing happens—dark, pink cracks split the blue and are quickly followed by angry blue cracks shattering the pink, which Dodo notices is no longer pink. Soon the entire sphere is streaked with hot, angry pink and blue steaks that obscure mother and child. But that’s not all—a horrible black, prickly vine entombs them all.
He knows it will crush and obliterate everything good inside. But just before all is lost, dull blobs of blue, grey, purple, tan, and opaque white appear all over the sphere. Someone or something is repairing it, blotting out the angry pink-blue cracks, but also obscuring the fragile features of the beloved ones inside. Dark lines follow along the blobs reinforcing these repairs, but further obscuring the blessed beings inside. What is left is a less colorful, translucent shell… like a stained-glass window that lets in some of the divine light, but not enough to see or remember what is really on the other side… what is really at stake.
Exhausted, the Rune Master exhales: “Gleiaugiz Eiurzi… Au Is Urki… Uiniz Ik.”
With those words, the sphere shatters. The ancient glass just too fragile, too old, too weak to hold the divinity inside any longer. Dodo watches in horror as the fragments fall back towards the beast. There is no sound. There is only silence in the nothingness of the void.
Thank you to Gilya Toueg Zelinger for helping me see deeper by posting the video below about the Concha in a group we both belong. This made me consider the mysteries of the Concha and to go further than I thought was possible. Had you not posted this video, and I not seen it, Venus and child would not have been born, and the story of the Dodo would not have taken this turn.
‘Viva La Vulva’ directed by Kim Gehrig for Libresse is her — Somesuch
And, deep gratitude to Heilung who is breathing life back into these ancient chants, re-inspiring modern humans to explore the depths and meaning these songs and chants surely embodied for our European ancestors.
Almost 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 thewise old manwho is “the superior master and teacher,” and also known as theArchetype of the Spirit symbolizing the pre-existent meaning hidden in the chaos of life. (p. 33-34)
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.
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.
A brief digression on who Apuleius was (from Wikipedia): He was a writer, public speaker, and Platonist philosopher. He traveled to Italy, Asia Minor, andEgypt, 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 deitiesand 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 problemswith 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 notthink, 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 phenomena—seen 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)
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 ()]. To fully appreciate the rise of Western Civilization, it is important to consider what is meant by Western thinking and culture.
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.
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, the hospital system, scientific economics,natural law (which would later influence the creation of international law) and numerous other innovations across all intellectual fields. Christianity played a role in ending practices common among pagan societies, such as human sacrifice, slavery, infanticide and polygamy.
(…) 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. 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.
(…) 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.
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.
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.
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. (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
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.
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 predictthat our psychological development was tending towards a revival of the medieval persecutions of the Jews, that Europe
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).
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.
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 Glorianawhere 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.
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 Europe, Winston 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 Venucia: Joy 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.
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.
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.
Lynn Ilon: Capturing local community value using global networks –– Students in the poorest parts of the world get world-class education for free, communities are engaged in active knowledge building and learning and both the global world and local communities benefit from the knowledge produced. This new balance will be made possible by a combination of internet technology, human networking, community involvement in learning, and an understanding that the knowledge of the poor is the knowledge that creates sustainability and stability for us all.
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.
Saving Our Planet: This is a site providing information, training, and videos about climate change, inspiring us to all work together & The Climate Cinema: This site sources describing both the urgency of the situation and the solutions to climate change.
CCC19: is a global conference April 20-26 2019 that is a collaborative and participatory investigation into how we can steward a sustainable future on what has already become a radically changed planet Earth.
NGO Major Group: This group is tasked with facilitating participation and enhancing engagement of non-governmental organizations in the processes directly and indirectly related to the High Level Political Forum
Global Ecovillage Network: This network envisions a world of empowered citizens and communities, designing and implementing their own pathways to a sustainable future, and building bridges of hope and international solidarity.
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, Alexander Laszlo & Kurt Barnes: 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 Millenium — describes 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.
Jan Persson: 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!: About: The 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.
Dmitry Sokolov: LikedInMind: Believes thatKnowledge 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.
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
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.