Story (10)


Three of four Americans profess at least one paranormal belief, studies show, including a belief in ghosts, witches, or other magical entities.¹ There is a particular genre of folklore narratives called mythological legends, I recently learned, which are stories relayed as real experiences by real people, and which always involve paranormal elements such as highly unusual animals or ghosts. These specific kinds of folklore narratives are not historical, notes Evija Vestergaard, Ph.D., who researches mythological legends and links them to contemporary culture; rather they are about everyday people and their everyday experiences, which just happen to involve these fantastic creatures or components.

Swiss folklorist Max Luthi speculated on why these two different types of narratives, mythological legends folktales, have co-existed², Evi told me recently in an interview together. While folktales tend to be more heroic, and usually have happy endings, mythological legends tend to be non-heroic. In fact, mythological legends are linked to what is referred to in depth psychology as the “shadow” since they often are about parts of ourselves we wouldn’t want anyone to know about. Either way, there is a “need of the soul” at work in both, which can reveal powerful perspectives on individual shadow, group trauma, and cultural complexes.

dragon.jpg?t=1478911012136&name=dragon.jpg&width=320During our conversation, Evi shared a mythological legend related to her own native country and culture of Latvia, which involved a farmer who drove to the capital because he wanted to buy a dragon. The farmer went into a little shop where dragons were sold, the story goes, and the shopkeeper gave him a package wrapped in paper, and told him there was a dragon inside. The farmer gladly paid and left, but on the way home, he got very curious and decided to open the package so he could see the dragon. Upon doing so, he was surprised and disappointed to discover the package contained horse dung instead. The farmer was so incensed, he threw the bundle into the forest.

Remember, Evi declared upon recounting this tale, this was a true story that actually happened to someone. That is what makes.... (Read the full post here at Pacifica Post)

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I took a trip to Istanbul soon after I finished my coursework for grad school. The first thing on my list of things to do was to visit Hagia Sophia. All I knew about it was that it was that it was a church. I was thrilled that I was going to see a historical building associated with Sophia, who was a main character in my dissertation. I couldn’t wait to get inside the church to see all the symbolism around Her. Much to my surprise when the country was invaded they installed Islamic images, the Christian ones were minimal. Sophia wasn’t there the way I thought she would be.

Last winter we visited the San Antonio missions in Texas. We walked into the church across from the Alamo on the eve of Christmas Eve and the pipe organist was playing a soul-stirring version of Christ is Born that made my hair stand on end. We sat for a while listening to the music and watching the steady stream of people exploring the church with all of its holiday decorations. Eventually we got up to leave and exited through a side door. We walked toward the road that went behind the church and just as we prepared to cross the street I heard a man call from behind us, “Senorita, Senorita! Wait!” I turned around as he steered the woman behind me toward an opening in a high wall behind the church.

Something compelled me to follow them into the garden and without a thought I did. There on the outside of the church, concealed behind high walls, was a towering statue of what the Mexicans call the Virgin of Guadalupe.


I was astonished to see this huge statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe hidden behind the high walls of the garden and tucked away behind the church. Then I had another synchronistic experience with her the very next day.

It was Christmas Eve when we went to the Mission of the Immaculate Conception. The curator and park ranger walked up to us as we sat outside looking at the map to see how far the next mission was. They asked if we needed any help. We chatted amicably for a few moments and then I asked, “Who do you think the woman is on the altar?” It wasn’t the traditional Virgin Mary we see in typical Christian depictions, but the Virgin of Guadalupe image. The Mexican-American ranger responded, the Virgin of Guadalupe is the Virgin Mary.


I explained to them how Sophia was an aspect of my dissertation, but they had not heard of her. I shared how Sophia is Wisdom and that’s who I thought may be portrayed in the Virgin of Guadalupe image. The woman in Revelation is described in the way the Virgin of Guadalupe is shown. They were intrigued by the possibility.

In Revelation 12:2 it says, “And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth. In anguish for the delivery.”

The woman in Revelation was pursued by a red dragon and God prepared a place for her in the wilderness and gave her wings to fly away from the dragon. She is to be nourished in the wilderness for a “time, and times, and half a time.” (Rev. 12:13)

A young girl of about eight walked up to us as I spoke with the curator and park ranger at the Concepcion Mission. She placed her hand on the curator’s back, moved her to the side, and walked right through the center of our group. We were standing outside and there wasn’t anyone else on the grounds except for us, this girl, and her family. As she walked through the center of our small circle, her mother called out to her, “Sophia! What are you doing?” Her mother walked up apologizing, until I explained to her that we had been talking about Sophia at the exact moment her daughter walked up. She was astonished to say the least. We all were.

The latest was the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, which is the Mother church of the archdiocese of Philadelphia. A nun was inspired to have bronze statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe made as a site for prayer. It is located in the front of the church to the left of the altar.

I have typically seen these Virgin of Guadalupe statues in areas saturated with those of Mexican descent. This is the first time I have seen this statue in the northeast, which seems unusual. This is the prayer that is near the statue:

Know for certain that I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God. …Here I will show and offer all my life, my compassion, my help and my protection to the people. I am your merciful Mother, the Mother of all those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping and their sorrows and will remedy and alleviate their suffering, necessities and misfortunes. …Listen and let it penetrate into your heart. …Do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? What else do you need?

You cannot see the word “Mary” in the photo I took because it is where the camera flash reflected. This divine feminine asks in the prayer, “Am I not your fountain of life?” She is the source and all we need.

These types of experiences with Sophia, a divine feminine, have been in dreams and the world. She is and has been opening my awareness to her presence in many ways. I had a dream during the course of my dissertation that revealed a spiritual experience twenty years ago was an encounter with Jesus and her. Through the course of my studies I began to see her on-going re-appearances as an indication of her presence.

I was planning to write a paper in grad school on a common theme in fairy tales which was the sacrifice of the daughter by the father. Before I started writing, I received an intuitive message that it wasn’t a sacrifice by the father, but an initiation by the Mother. I realized in Amor and Psyche that’s exactly what happens. Aphrodite, the goddess of Love, initiates Psyche (Soul) to help her move from being a victim to knowing the divinity in herself. I saw that in subsequent fairy tales, which appeared to be retellings of that myth, that the goddesses had disappeared from the stories.

This is true of the Bible as well. The books not included in the Bible are found in the Nag Hammadi, which has stories of enlightened women, Sophia being one, who are strong and empowered. The women in the Bible are not often powerful in their own right and can be interpreted in a negative light losing the true meaning of their stories.

The manner in which the powerful divine feminine presence is no longer seen in the fairy tales or religion, is also true in my own life. I remember asking years ago where the divine feminine images were? Where the divine female presence was? And I now am left wondering how many times I didn’t see her trying to get my attention because I wasn’t looking, listening, or aware.

After writing my paper, I thought of going back and rewriting my own history to put the goddess back in it. The one who was taken out of the fairy tales, religion, and subsequently my own story. The thing is, once I knew she was taken out of the fairy tales, I could see little signs of her. The helpful animals and the fairy godmothers were a few of the vestiges of her presence. How would rewriting my story change my perception of my life knowing that a divine feminine presence has been with me all along? How would it change your story if you knew she had been there with you all along and you just didn’t see it?

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He was Busy Mouse, Searching Everywhere, Touching his Whiskers to the Grass, and Looking. He was Busy as all Mice are, Busy with Mice things. But Once in a while he would Hear an Odd Sound. He would Lift his Head, Squinting hard to See, his Whiskers Wiggling in the air, and he would Wonder.

So begins the ancient story of Jumping Mouse and the Sacred River, an Amerindian story, published in Seven Arrows (1976) and handed down by Cheyenne Elder Hyemeyohsts Storm to the rites of passage guides at The School of Lost Borders and Animas Valley Institute, to me and now to you. This teaching story is often told to vision quest initiates, those who are “lamenting for a vision” to bring back to their people, on the eve of their descent into the underworld. It is a threshold story that mirrors the Global Dream Initiative: how we got here, why we are here and where we are headed. In this epic tale, Mouse hears the roaring of the sacred River. A loving and crafty guide, Raccoon, comes to him when he can no longer deny the calling:

Little Mouse Walked with Raccoon. His little Heart was Pounding in his Breast. The Raccoon was Taking him upon Strange Paths and little Mouse Smelled the scent of many things that had Gone by this Way. Many times he became so Frightened he almost Turned Back. Finally, they Came to the River! It was Huge and Breathtaking, Deep and Clear in Places, and Murky in Others. Little Mouse was unable to See Across it because it was so Great. It Roared, Sang, Cried, and Thundered on its Course. Little Mouse Saw Great and Little Pieces of the World Carried Along on its Surface. “It is Powerful!” little Mouse said, Fumbling for Words. “It is a Great thing,” answered the Raccoon, “but here, let me Introduce you to a Friend.

Here, Mouse meets Frog, who encourages him to “Jump!” While he is high in the air, he glimpses the Sacred Mountains. He lands in the transformative waters, much to his surprise! Next, he is given a new name, a Medicine Name, which points to his own healing and his unique ability to offer healing to others. His truer name is “Jumping Mouse”.

All of us have Medicine names, that introduce us to our own transformative powers. They come to us in the swirling eddies of dreams and the wilderness of visions. Images are the bridge between these “true names” and the one given to us by our parents: they reflect our greatest gifts and preflect our service to the world. They dwell in the Sacred River which runs through us all. When these delightful waters sweep through our bodies—when we allow our consciousness to descend into their depths—they wash away emotional toxins, thought-pollutions and limiting illusions. We are restored to health. The deeper we dive into the Sacred River, the more meaningful life becomes, and the more access we have to timeless wisdom that can guide the leaders of communities in the healing of the planet, if only they will listen!

All of the problems of the world that the Earth Charter seeks to eradicate: environmental degradation, war, gender oppression, economic disparity, slavery, animal cruelty and terrorism originate from the damming up (the “damning up”) of the glorious tributary which leads us back to “Source”. Those in industrialized nations who remember dreams and have visions of a better life for all intuit there is so much than the monotony of soul-less jobs, shallow relationships, mind-numbing news-entertainment and financial pursuits at the expense of well-being. They long for our returning to that Sacred River. But all too often, when we have dipped our toes into the fresh, rainbow-rippling streams, glimpsed the beauty of our own reflections that echo back to us the beauty of creation we are met with scorn. “The Sacred River and Mountains are not real,” The disparaging voices tell us, blind and deaf to poetry, to us. They would rather eat fast food then sip the Nectar of the Gods, it seems! “Go back to your cubby hole, Mouse!” They chide and warn, fearfully, resentfully. Their world is black and white, cut off from the soul-full waters. This makes us all feel grey as lead. Meanwhile, because the answers to the problems are in the River that they refuse to acknowledge, society grows sicker and and more disillusioned by the day,

Jumping Mouse Returned to the World of the Mice. But he Found Disappointment. No   One would Listen to him. And because he was Wet, and had no Way of explaining it   because there had been no Rain, many of the other Mice were Afraid of him. They believed he had been spat from the Mouth of Another Animal that had Tried to Eat him.

The story of Jumping Mouse hints at the solution to the fear: the way back to the River. This is the “Hero’s journey” (Campbell, 1949/2008). Our foolish mouse becomes a hero by facing his nightmares of the “dots” in the sky, the devouring predators, by following his dreams. On this path, he meets wise helpers and together they find their way back to the River. The return is not always easy. We begin by walking, but we cannot get to the Sacred Mountain by staying on the ground, and growing wings is a tumultuous process, as any fledgling bird will tell you. The longer one has been gone from the depths and the heights, the more trying the journey may be.

He is blind and he can’t see them. The wolf feels tremendous compassion and feeling for Jumping Mouse his brother, and his heart stretches out to him, and the wolf cries. Then he leaves and Jumping Mouse is left alone, blind, nothing but looking within, and   he can feel the spots on his back, just pressing in, hard. And then he hears the rush of wind and wings and then there is a fantastic shock and everything is black.

The first step of facing nightmares of any kind is to call in the beloved companions from the Dream Time (Aizenstat, 2009). The Global Dream Initiative seeks to facilitate the world’s return to these sacred landscapes, to ease the fears, to offer guidance, and to see with expanded vision all the diverse colors of the Psyche more clearly, like Jumping Mouse.

The next thing he knows, he can see colours. He can see! He can see colours. And he’s amazed, astounded, he doesn’t know if he’s dreaming or what is happening. But he’s alive and he can see colours… from the colours comes a voice. “You want a medicine?” And Jumping Mouse says, “Yes, I’d like a medicine.” And the voice says, “Just get down as far as you can and jump up as high as you can jump.” So little mouse gets down as low as he can and jumps up as high as he can jump, and when he does, the wind catches him and swirls him up and up and up in the air. And the voice calls out from below him, “Grab hold of the wind!” So little mouse reaches out and grabs hold of the wind as hard as he can, and the wind takes him higher and higher until everything begins to get clearer and clearer. Crystal clear, and he can see all the great beings of the prairie, the buffalo, the wolf on the mountain, and he looks down into the medicine lake and there are all the lodges of the people reflected, and on the edge of the medicine lake he sees his friend the frog. He calls down to him, “Hello, brother Frog,” and the frog calls back to him, “Hello, brother Eagle.

The Global Dream Initiative is grounded in the Sacred River. It is a “Tree growing roots in the ocean’s depths” as one dreamer recently dreamed. All Mice, Eagles, Raccoon, Buffalo and Wolves are welcome. To return with us to these healing waters, one simply has to share dreams!



The excerpts from the Jumping Mouse story are from: Storm, Hyemeyohsts (1972) “Seven Arrows,”Harper and Row Publishers, NY, NY
Aizenstat, Stephen A (2009) Dream Tending. Spring Journal. New Orleans, LA.
Campbell, Joseph (2004) A Hero Has a Thousand Faces. Princeton University Press. Princeton, N.J.
The Earth Charter:

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I've posted a new article which includes a story exercise on my blog. It may interest you.


Releasing Light in Dark Times through Storytelling

"I saw an angel in the stone and I carved until I set him free."

No one since Michelangelo has more aptly or succinctly told the story of creative process. In one sentence, the sculptor describes its stages: encounter with raw material, receptive attention to the point of love, trusting that inner presence through the not-knowing-for-sure time, illumination, patient and committed toil, and finally manifestation in the concrete world.

So too with life. Whether we are trying to nourish the inherent strengths of a troubled young person, find deeper love in a conflicted relationship, rebuild our life after loss, create common ground between adversaries, or express ourselves in a fresh way, there is no system, structure, or formula more powerful than creative process.

In his book Narrative Medicine: The Use of History and Story in the Healing Process, Dr. Lewis Mehl-Medrona shares a Pasqua Yaqui native American tale from the southwest about an old man who owned light, but kept it hidden in a box within a box deeply buried inside his house. He was afraid that if it was released, he would discover that his daughter, who lived with him, was ugly. Writes Mehl-Madrona, "You've probably seen the same thing I have, where people are so afraid of what could happen that they hide their gifts and capabilities from themselves and each other." (p. 59)

Through a messy series of mishaps instigated by the trickster Raven, the light is eventually freed from the box, only to be dropped by Raven in his escape, shattering into millions of tiny fragments. The pieces of light hit the ground and bounce back into the sky, where they appear as the moon and stars. Raven gathers together the remaining fragments, shapes them into a ball, and carries the throbbing orb high into the sky. It shines every day as the sun, making life possible on earth.

Once the world becomes visible, the old man...Read more

Best wishes,

Juliet Bruce

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“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been”

                                                      Rainer Maria Rilke



2018 will be a year of alchemical transformation. It is an 11 universal year in numerology, master number of new beginnings. It is also the vibration of creation and partnerships. As we move into the Aquarian Age, we enter the mystery as a huge shift begins in the world. Dreams during this period of the year, especially between December 25-January 6th, are particularly powerful and perhaps prescient for the coming year. This is one I am immersed in:


I sit on a black, rocky promontory over the sea watching the great, giant swells of grey green water as they move toward shore. I am learning to read them, feeling my way into the angles of their direction, the height, the textures, the sensed energies as they rise and fall. They almost look like whales, like the backs of whales as they rise just before breaching the surface. The sea is rather calm except for these mighty swells, tides, waves, moving toward land. In the next scene, I sit with others, teaching them how to read the currents as well.


I am hopeful for the rising tide of the returning Feminine energies, the awakening of the dynamic, transformative Feminine archetype. But I am not sure how long it will take for it to reach shore, to take root. There is so urgent a need to restore and regenerate our nation and our living planet. With the power and energies of the Great Mother, Cancer, and the solid structuring of Saturn in Capricorn, perhaps this year we will rebuild after so much destructiveness and demolition. Perhaps a new story will be birthed from the womb of darkness, the heart of mystery.


This super moon in Cancer, the Full Wolf Moon, brings to light just what needs to end, transform or shift in some radical way in the structures, foundations and old stories that keep playing out in our lives. This is true on both personal and collective levels. This Full Wolf Moon throws us into the heart of mystery of our deepest soul purpose with radical shifts. The energies of this Cancer moon and her unconditional love can assist us in stepping past our fears of radical changes. Conjunct to the full moon was Black Moon Lilith, and Eris, two fierce feminine warriors who are fed up with being ignored. So many more women are reclaiming their time, finding their strongest voices, as collectively we are taking responsibility for our feminine power and sovereignty.


Saturn moved into Capricorn at Winter Solstice December 19. At the Galactic Center, the vast black hole in the middle of the Milky Way, we see into holy darkness. The womb of creation. The place where stars are born. And new stories are birthed. What did you seed at Solstice?


The future cannot be controlled but it can be created. It may feel like we are being sucked into a vortex of destructive economic, political and environmental news. But we are birthing a new story. It is important to tell ourselves, repeatedly, that we have the strength to succeed. We are the ancestors of the future.


Saturn is tough but bestows true authority and the power to make change on this planet and in our lives. He means serious business, an initiation into our own authority, responsibility. Like the Hawaiian word for responsibility – kuleana- this is not just about “duty” but the privilege and blessing of being given a sacred task, the blessing of your gifts, your healed wounds, to accomplish it. Now it seems to me Ho’okuleana is even more important: the shared and collective responsibility to heal ourselves and care for our world kin and the planet.


There is great energy to ground our visions, to focus, to build a structure to support us, boundaries to protect us. Saturn is the master of time. We are asked to stay steadfast in serving soul.


Saturn rules time, social structures, communal life, government, financial systems. Via Cathy Pagano [] and Daniel Giamario, some ancient cultures saw Capricorn as a Council of Grandmothers who shared their wisdom for the common good. This is the wisdom of the earth and of the body. The last time Saturn was in Capricorn was 1988-89. What were you doing then? What have you learned?


In a current online course Kaypacha ( “Getting Stronger with Saturn” he describes how Saturn allows us to claim our sovereignty, own our authority, by insisting we honor the boundaries, borders, structures of time and the real limitations of third dimension time and space even while our visions and dreams may stretch out to the fourth and fifth dimensions.

Capricorn and Saturn are excellent at structuring and stabilizing our visions and goals. And regardless of our experiences with our personal mothers, we can find home within our inner Mother to nurture ourselves and our dearest creative babies.


Saturn is also the planet of synthesis, helping us to put it all together in alignment with our soul’s destiny. Helping us to define ourselves. Time is limited. What has been deconstructed over the last few years is ready to be reconstructed, renewed. Saturn asks us to come into correct alignment with our soul’s purpose, to stretch towards the Goddess as she is reaching for us. He is the Magician, the benevolent taskmaster. This could be a very creative time. After the tumultuous and tortuous year of the American Presidency, the many assaults on the living planet, the revelation of the darkest secrets surfaced, I am most ready for a new story. I welcome the fierce energies of Black Moon Lilith, of Eris, of women around the world taking off their masks, howling at the moon and claiming their feminine power.

From beloved teacher Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes on this Full Wolf Moon:


The howl is the call to

choose one goal.

The most life-giving, the most life sparing.

Not one or the other, both. Both.

Like a true wolf would do.


The howl is the call to

Focus. One thing to shelter, build in beauty,

end, begin, one thing at a time.

The howl is the call to

Collect your tendernesses and strengths. Both.

Not one or the other. Both. Like a true wolf.

 [Art: Nicholas Roerich]9142469056?profile=original

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The Way of the Wild Feminine

The map of the psyche and the map of the world are drawn from the same story: The deeply rooted myth of a separate, independent, and autonomous self. The 5,000 year old story we live by is a story of fragmentation, estrangement, alienation from each other, from Nature and from the vast mystery and beauty of our own wild souls. It is a patriarchal story, too narrow, sterile, shallow for any of us to thrive. When we welcome the wild and sacred Feminine archetype into consciousness, and include women's stories, we can live a new story returning us to wholeness, healing, holiness.

The wild and sacred Feminine speaks in the language of new science, sings the songs of indigenous wisdom. Reclaiming her restores us to an ecology of self, where we know ourselves to be holograms of the divine Universe. She reunites the poet and the physicist, the priestess and the physician, the shaman and the scientist, by connecting us once again to all aspects of our being, transforming the very definition of what it means to be human. Perhaps, in living this new story, we also transform God.

Debra bernier newThrough the wild Feminine we transcend the duality of the Masculine Doing, or Feminine Being to embrace the third, completing element of Becoming. This is the way of the Crone. The cornerstone of feminine psychology is not Eros but creativity and transformation. Creatio continua, open and endlessly changing, transforming, on a spiral path of becoming. More a series of processes and patterns than static structures, we exist in states of dynamic equilibrium, growing in richness and complexity. Our inner wild Nature is as vast and mysterious as the galaxies from which we come, the sea tides which move us, the stars of which we are made.

Wild mind is an inclusive, contextual, relational, integrated intelligence which sees the Both/And realm of possibilities in long range vision, seven generations out. Grandmother Mind* (Zulu healer credo Mutwa) has a tolerance for ambiguity, holding multiple truths simultaneously. Intuition, imagination, creativity and play are her gifts and genius. We are living in a singular moment. This moment of chaos and conflict, this time of warfare against women and the environment, is the dying gasp of the old delusional and destructive story. These are the birth pangs, the struggle to be born of the new story, the new order, a pattern which connects.

To midwife this birth, we must address the deep fears of feminine power we all house. Rooted in the myth of the superiority and necessity of a separate self, this fear defends and protects that self even to the death of everything around it for fear of being annihilated. But women know in the depth of their wild souls, the marrow in their bones, that we are all connected, both Self-and-Other, interdependent with all beings. We also know that transformation does not occur in a linear fashion, step-by-step ladder, stage by stage schedule, or one area of life at a time. Lasting change, true transformation, arises out of chaos. Long associated with women, danger, and the Feminine, chaos appears to be random but is at its deepest levels patterned, connected, purposive.

Debra Bernier new 5Women's greatest gifts lie in their visionary power and multidimensional capacity to create. We must remythologize from the inside out. How do we find the images and symbols for the arising wild Feminine story? Dreams are one of the most powerful sources. Appearing as Snake, or Grandmother Spider Woman, or in the voices of Earth herself, or the Goddess. We carry the vision of the emerging possible.

Now, there is a quickening of the depths. The emerging feminine principle is not just the missing element of a symmetry, but the transformative catalyst for the entire notion of what it means to be human. What do we really wish for? What do we value? What do we love? These are the most powerful self-organizing and manifesting powers we have. And we each have these capacities. This is how God comes to know Herself in us.

With our evolutionary wild selves, we bring an integral leadership that reclaims Feminine power and wild wisdom. From the Old French reclamer – we recall someone from an erring state to a proper state. We are being pulled into the future.

by Marilyn Steele, PhD.

Photography and Sculptures by Debra Bernier

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Buddha's birthday


The other day I found these words in my heart, wanting to be written:
Barcelona, May 1, 2014

In a few days it will be Buddha Sok Ga Mo Ni’s birthday. As this joyous occasion is drawing near, this year, Queen Maya keeps coming to mind. 

In my work as a DFA practitioner of Somatic Pattern Recognition and Archetypal Pattern Analysis, I have the chance to observe the patterns that evolve out of the early conditions of my clients’ lives. Since humans are born before gestation is complete, it continues in the womb of the family, as biologist Adolph Portman put it. During the first year of life, primarily the right hemisphere of the brain evolves. It organizes sensory perception and combines huge amounts of bits of sensory information into images that become the material we use to weave our life stories, even before we have words to associate meaning with the experience reflected in those images. During that time the infant’s nervous system continues entangled with that of his or her mother. The child depends on the mother’s ability to manage the flow of her sensations that help her to adequately take care of her son’s or daughter’s needs.

When there is a premature separation from the mother due to sickness, death or any other circumstance, the nervous system protects the infant against the full impact of the trauma to assure his or her survival, isolating the unbearable aspects of the loss of connection and keeping them underneath the threshold of conscious experience. In a manner of speaking, the parts of the organism occupied by these unbearable sensations do not participate in the development of the rest of the organism and, thus, these sensations remain forever underlying the experience and decisions for the rest of the person’s life. Sooner or later, they will surface in one way or another, giving the person a chance to integrate them later in life and recover those parts of the organism from the isolation they had been in. Invariably this is experienced as disruptive and human beings usually try to avoid it.

Supreme Matriarch of the Yun Hwa Denomination of World Social Buddhism, Ji Kwang Dae Poep Sa Nim, once said that Buddha Sok Ga Mo Ni had been quiet, very studious, and somewhat sad as a child. It seems undeniable that Queen Maya’s death shortly after giving birth to Prince Siddharta must have had a bearing on his decision to leave his life as heir to the throne and seek a solution to human suffering.
My father was separated from his mother for the first three years of his life, because she had to be hospitalized due to complications of a difficult birth. My father’s greatest wish had been to study to become a gynecologist or a forestry engineer, because he wanted to help make sure that women would not have to undergo the troubles his own mother had had in giving birth to him and he wanted to take care of nature. But he did not have the strength to resist his father’s command to take over the family business, as Prince Siddharta had had. He did bring up his daughter with the awareness of being one with nature, though. And his wish lives on in her. Not because he actively instilled it in any way; the only thing he ever told me he wanted me to do is to get clear on what I wanted to do in life and then go ahead and find a way to do it. It is a great joy for me that my work as a DFA practitioner of somatic pattern recognition and as an archetypal pattern analyst fulfills my father’s wish, including the one great wish he had not been able to carry out. Especially grateful I am for Sok Ga Mo Ni Buddha's example and teachings as well as my master Ji Kwang Dae Poep Sa Nim's and the great guidance they offer me in my personal and professional life.

We are told that on the morning when Sok Ga Mo Ni Buddha saw the morning star and became enlightened, he withstood the assaults of Mara who tried to distract him from his clear purpose. I am sure that the desire for fusion with the all-embracing feminine, born out of the premature disruption of the natural state of entanglement with the mother during the first year of life, and the terror resulting from this disruption were Mara’s main arms. But the Buddha did not let himself be carried away with desire nor did he recoil from the terror, but he remained quietly seated, watching the parts of his sensory experience that had up to then remained in the darkness of the unconscious unfold, so he could gain an understanding of his own nature and human nature in general. Like this he recovered the access to the experience of being a part of the whole he had lost when his mother died, but with a nervous system that was now developed enough to be able to integrate the parts that had been cut off. And he discovered how to relate to the whole in such a way that, instead of suffering, he would enrich it in every way he could.

That is what my father would have wanted.  In his life, the trauma of premature separation from his mother in 1928-30 in Germany was followed by others resulting from abuse of power, both on a personal and a collective level.

I feel truly fortunate to be able to follow the footsteps of Sok Ga Mon Ni Buddha and on the occasion of his 2558th birthday I would like to express my deepest gratitude for the guidance of Supreme Matriarch Ji Kwang Da Poep Sa Nim on this path. From the bottom of my heart, I would also like to thank Annie B. Duggan and Janie French for developing and teaching me their approach to DFA Somatic Pattern Recognition, and to Michael Conforti for developing and teaching me his approach to Archetypal Pattern Analysis. From all of them I am learning to relate to the whole in such a way that, instead of suffering, I can endeavor to enrich it in any way I can.

Many thanks to all my teachers, those named here and those whose names and faces remain silent in my heart.
Gak Hwa - Brigitte Hansmann

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"The Ostrich & the Flame Thrower: Crisis Storytelling in the Chaos Era", Willi Paul, Principle,

- excerpt -

The big question here is how do non-profits, corporations and other organizations nurture and disseminate their stories in a global climate of chaos? Can Occupy protests, nightly corporate TV news and environmental justice web sites plant “non-GMO seeds” for new stories and new myths?

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Hi, everyone! I'm Sandy Nathan. I led the Book Club back in January with my book Numenon. I was just having fun reading the posts and articles on this site and thought you might enjoy an article I recently posted in my blog for writers, Your Shelf Life. 

Like many in our culture, I am obsessed with winning. I carried my obsession into my life as an author, entering book contests galore, and winning many of them. (I've got 22 national awards at this point.) Terrific, until I lost. That's when I really won by examining my experience.

This link will take you to What You Can Win by Losing It's written for my fellow writers, but every person working on his or her conscious awareness should find it valuable. The blog post contains an amazing, though incredibly embarrassing to me, true horse story about a time I lost big in the horse show arena. It's fun and funny. I found it very valuable. If painful.

All the best,

Sandy Nathan

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Finding the Bones of Your Personal Myth


Hi all,

How wonderful that this community is expanding so rapidly.

I had the good fortune to hear Dr. Daniel Rottman, president of the New York Jung Foundation and a member of the faculty of the Assisi Institute, speak on the archetype of love in December at the Jung Center here. I expect to be posting some new thoughts on my Living Story blog about story and love, based on my experience with the story groups I facilitate, which have been inspired by his talk.

Meanwhile, I've posted a short fairy tale writing exercise that you may find useful on my blog

Warmest wishes,

Juliet Bruce






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