Dr. Jeremy Taylor, known by many for his timeless book on dreams, Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill, has written a recent article on the heels of the American election, 2016, and has offered it to the Depth Psychology Alliance community:
Reverend Dr. Jeremy Taylor, D.Min., S.Th.D. (hon.) is co-founder and Past President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD), Founder-Director of the Marin Institute for Projective Dream Work (MIPD), Founding Faculty at the Chaplaincy Institute for Interfaith and Arts Ministries (ChI), Member of the Board of the Unitarian Universalist Society for Community Ministries (UUSCM), and Founding Faculty at the Rowe Certificate Program in Spiritual Guidance (RCPSG)
Here is a piece that I just wrote at the request of Rev. Cat Cox, the new President of the Unitarian Universalist Society for Community Ministries (UUSCM), on whose Board I continue to serve. Although it is addressed particularly to Unitarian Universalist community ministers, the point I am trying to make is much larger…
I hope you find it interesting…
The Shadow in America Right Now...
One of the great gifts Carl Jung has given to us in the 21st-century is his creation of new, "non-denominational" language for talking about our religious perspectives, "our deepest commitment to the truth as we intuit and experience it," These new terms free the conversation about our deepest religious motivations, understandings, and decisions from the previous limitations of exclusively sectarian discourse.
In this new, "archetypal" lexicon, the word-and-concept of the "shadow" is among the most useful and important. Jung himself defined the shadow as, "the thing a person has no wish to be."
That much about the "shadow" is already fairly well-known. What is generally less known and understood is that without a more conscious relationship with, and acceptance of "our shadow" - (both personal and collective) - developing greater psycho-spiritual maturity is, alas, impossible.
Another way of framing this insight is that the particular form and content the shadow manifests in our lives at any given moment always hides from our conscious view – (as a consequence of its totally horrifying, repulsive, and reprehensible appearance) – the very thing that we need to respond more adequately and effectively to our seemingly overwhelming external circumstances, and thus continue to move forward with our lives on the path of what Jung so aptly called "individuation."
To put it yet another way, the unconscious projection of our own unacknowledged and consciously "unknown" shadow(s) outward onto others robs us of a deeper connection with our own deepest being. In that process of unconscious projection we fall victim to a crushing failure of imagination – we simply cannot imagine anything good coming from such a reprehensible and "unacceptable" source.
Particularly within our movement, always with a grudgingly polite tip-of-the-hat to the distinct minority of Unitarian Universalists who actually voted for him, (or for any of the other "spoiler candidates" that siphoned off the vote for Hillary), our personal as well as our collective shadow has been given projected shape in the fascist rantings, repulsive behavior, and ultimate, illegitimate electoral college victory of our new President-elect, Donald J. Trump.
What could possibly be the "secret, hidden, unknown, ultimately important and immensely valuable gift" for us all in the reprehensible and revolting ideas and rhetoric of our President-elect?
The best answer to this very difficult and crucially important question that I have been able to put words around is that Trump is the "Shadow King of Uniquely American Creativity." The way he operates: "making it up as he goes along," with absolutely no regard for history or the experience and opinions of anyone else, flamboyantly giving expression to the ill-considered contents of his own unconscious psyche, (hence his notorious inability to "stay on message"), pouring vast amounts of energy into his "vision," and willing to "change his story" whenever it seems convenient for him to do so – all of these are hallmarks of unfettered creativity... (imagine the work of your favorite author/artist...)
We may not like the direction of Trump's "creative flow," but the symbolic structure of his behavior is the same as the archetypal symbolic structure of all profoundly creative activity...
In this very important sense, "the hidden gift" in the colossal projected shadow of Donald Trump is potentially granting us all "permission" to explore and manifest our own deepest creative energies and responses to the world, without concern for the limitations of conventionality, "group-think," or premature, merely habitual unconscious moral restraint...
Not too surprisingly, when viewed in this light, the excitement and enthusiasm that he invokes and evokes in his followers is also a shadow parody of the liberating joy that always attends successful, transformative creative expression, wherever and whenever it manifests.
I know that within myself, and within everyone who reads these words, there is a similar potential of as-yet-unexpressed creative energy and possibility. Perhaps "the greatest good" that can come from Trump's appalling victory in the electoral college – (this is the 2nd time in recent memory a progressive Democrat who won the overall popular vote has been denied the Presidency by the archaic conventions of the electoral college; it may be time to DO something about that...) – may be conferring "historical permission" on all of us to reach into our own unconscious depths and find the passion and the as-yet-unimagined creative ideas necessary to move us into a future that expresses and gives concrete shape to our deepest beliefs and experiences of the America that was created, (in part as a result of a Masonic conspiracy...), as "a new nation" - the 1st one founded with the avowed purpose of facilitating the evolution of greater conscious self-awareness in the entire human species.
(If you don't believe me, take a look at any of the formal portraits of the founding fathers in their Masonic aprons, or better yet, at the back of any dollar bill. There, emblazoned on the back of the Great Seal of the United States, is the well-known Masonic image of the unfinished pyramid, a formal symbol representing the evolution of greater human self-awareness and psycho-spiritual maturity. The cap-stone of the as-yet-unfinished pyramid is the archetypal "All Seeing Eye," which not only takes in the light from everywhere to form perfectly focused and conscious images in the mind, but has evolved to the point where it also gives off the light of new conscious awareness like a navigational lighthouse beacon.)
The election of Donald Trump is a nightmare parody of the creative energy necessary to transform not only our country, but the world as a whole... (No wonder so many people voted for him in a fog of unconscious projection...) It is now up to us, (hopefully more conscious, responsible, and self-aware folk), to reawaken our own connection to that deep dream of loving, all embracing human possibility within ourselves, and give it concrete shape as we move together further into the 21st century.