the (28)

Halloween, Masks and Your Shadow: What’s Jung Got To Do With It?
 by Effie Heotis, M.S.

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious".

Like a haunted house in a good horror movie, shadow work can be scary. However, it holds a key which can unlock our unconscious minds, allowing us to become more at peace with ourselves and with others in the process. The shadow, if not called on, is that scary thing that...

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The Dream: The Vision of the Night

front book cover image of The Dream by Max Zeller

The Dream: The Vision of the Night

by Max Zeller

A classic in the field of dream analysis, The Dream: The Vision of the Night is a collection of essays, lectures, and vignettes by Max Zeller whose career included a law degree, a brief imprisonment in a Nazi Concentration Camp, study at the Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland, and thirty years of in-depth work as a Jungian analyst.

In the eighteen pieces of this collection, Zeller intersperses theoretical writings, compassionate and incisive case studies, and powerful, almost haiku-like reminiscences of certain incidences in his life, from his meetings with C.G. Jung to his impressions of life in pre-war Nazi Germany.

The Dream: The Vision of the Night is the best example of amplification of Jungian principles that can be found. Neither pure research nor pure memoir, the collection is an affective combination of both, and as such best portrays the spirit of its author: always restless and searching, always compassionate and open-minded, and above all, always fascinated by the mystery and power of our dreams.

About the Author
A long-time pillar of the Jungian community in California, Max Zeller received his legal doctorate in Berlin. After completing his Jungian training in 1938, he and his family were soon forced to flee Nazi Germany. Zeller eventually settled in Los Angeles, where he was co-founder of the C.G. Jung Institute. A warm, witty, and insightful analyst, he continued learning, teaching, and practicing until his death in 1978.

The Dream: The Vision of the Night
Author: Max Zeller
Paperback: 202 pages
Publisher: Fisher King Press (June 1, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1771690283
ISBN-13: 978-1771690287

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Greetings -

Thanks for the invite to join, Bonnie! I am currently working on a vision tentatively called: 

Integrating the New Mythology: A Poet-Crash Vision for the Planet 

As a primer, please enjoy my interview with Bonnie

And these current pieces from Magazine & openmythsource:

Mythologists, Mystics & Magicians in Transition: 18 Interviews from the Magazine Reservoir 2010 – 2011. Source Directory #3

sound symbols, archetypes & the power of myth: an alchemic journey with Nature begins


Please suggest a group? Looking forward...

Willi Paul: Publisher, Business Developer, Magazine
415-407-4688 |
@planetshifter @openmythsource 
@permasacred @PermacultureXch

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            Since the patriarchy is giving way to a new sense of equality and partnership between men and women, I don’t want to give you the impression that The Hunger Games is only about the new feminine Hera.  It is also about the new masculine Hero.  Uranus in Aries is waking us all up to a new sense of identity, a new sense that we are all the heroes and heras of our own destiny.  And that destiny involves being there for each other, with respect and ingenuity.

            I was going to use the books and movies of The Lord of the Rings to talk about the image of the new masculine hero.  Tolkien presents us with so many characters to choose from.  There is Strider/Aragon, the hidden king who is protector and warrior, lover and king.  There is Gandalf, the wizard who puts forth all his power to protect and defend his companions and Middle Earth.  There is Gimli and Legolas, the dwarf and elf who become boon companions through their defense of the realm in its fight against the dark lord, Sauron.  And of course, there’s Frodo and Sam, Merry and Pippin, small heroes who accomplish what the mighty ones cannot do.  Tolkien’s characters exemplify all that is good and true in human beings when we are faced with ultimate evil. 


            Peeta, the hero in The Hunger Games, does not have the magical powers of Gandalf nor the endurance of the hobbits.  What he does have is the determination to help and protect Katniss with his life until his death.  Peeta is an example of who a new masculine hero might be and what a new masculine hero might do.  And yet, this hero isn’t so new at all.  Ancient warriors have fought to the death to protect those they love.  Even a God was willing to give up his life so that we all could have eternal life.  So in a way, Peeta represents a renewal of the archetype of the masculine hero.  Like the dummling youngest son in fairy tales, he forges ahead into his adventure leading with his heart.  That’s what helps him to win the day.  He’s the hero with heart!

            Peeta is a kind and caring young man, despite the harshness of his own life.  He has compassion for Katniss when she’s hungry, even when he doesn’t have the courage to hand her the loaf of bread his mother would rather feed to the pigs.  He takes delight in his work, decorating cakes, and uses his artistry to help him survive during the Games by blending into the background.  He made his arm look like a tree trunk!  How clever is that?

Continue at:

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‘The Last Wave’: The Archetypal Tidal Wave

Cathy Pagano


 "There are times when people need stories more than they need nourishment, because the stories feed something deeper than the needs of the body." 

                                                        Charles DeLint, The Onion Girl



       The World is full of magic and mystery, if we will only believe. Life is arrayed in beauty and possibilities, if we will only see.  Our imagination interprets the world for us.  It's how we communicate with Nature and how we sense each other.  We are here to experience in full what human life has to offer: lessons of wonder and creativity, pain and suffering, love and companionship, trials and rewards, responsibilities and pleasures.  And though each of us is a unique individual, we all go through the same trials and joys of life here on Earth. That's why we need stories to help us understand our shared experiences.  Stories are born so we don't have to constantly re-invent the wheel. 

        Human Beings have always made sense of our shared experiences through this amazing form of Wisdom called Story.  Stories pass down tribal wisdom.  Stories help us compare notes with girlfriends. Stories shape the way we see and experience the world. Stories tell us how to meet the darkness. If a story is good and true, it will wake up your imagination and teach you something new about life.

        But of course, it depends on if the story speaks to that something deeper that is looking for nourishment.  Unfortunately, many of our modern movies and books don't speak to our hearts nor awaken our imaginations.  Instead they seem to put us to sleep.

        This happens when a people's stories no longer help them meet life. 

        The truth is that many of our old collective stories are worn out; losing their vitality they become stereotypes (despite the obsessive insistence of the truth of those stories by some people).  Archetypes, although eternal, need symbolic renewing from age to age.  When the old form of the story has lost its enchantment for us, it no longer serves its true function of helping us cope with life.  Our modern world is too different and so much more complex than our ancestors' worlds. The times are changing.  We need new stories!

            Especially in times of unrest and instability, we need stories to help us make sense of our lives. We are living in those times when ‘people need stories more than they need nourishment. . .’   Unfortunately, even though stories are available to us 24/7 – now available on your phone! - most of our communal stories don’t satisfy us on a deep level. We are stuffed with stories, but are we inspired by them?  Do we find the deep wisdom in them that can change our lives? And when we do find a story that inspires us, do we treat it as a pleasant fantasy or do we allow it to grow into something unique and splendidly different in our lives?  Do we make it our own?

We can also come to know ourselves through our dream stories.  We all are fascinated by our dreams.  I can vouch for that – when people hear I’m a dreamworker, they are eager to share their dreams.  But since we’ve been taught by our culture that dreams have no real meaning, most of those people don’t respect the story messages that their dreams bring them every night. We no longer remember the symbolic language of dreams and metaphors, humanity’s original language that we seem to have lost building the Tower of Babel.  When we lose our child-like ability to imagine and fully inhabit a symbolic understanding of life, we lose our capacity to digest our stories so that they ‘feed something deeper than the needs of the body’.    

We’ve also lost our separate cultural stories along the way, those ‘folk stories’ and folk wisdom that get passed down through families and cultures.  Too often, our modern ‘myths’ can’t help us create and deal with real change in our lives and our world like the old stories did for past generations.   Our educational system, as well as our modern media, so often sever this connection to our cultural stories and to the mythic imagination, leaving us in danger of losing our ancient wisdom traditions as well as our own ability to create new stories and discover new wisdom. 

But a strong connection to the Creative Imagination within us can change that.  This is our untapped gift, another lens on our world that can help us navigate the changes coming our way.  We still have our dreams, if we are willing to respect their messages.  We still have great storytellers, who study the ancient stories and birth the new ones.  The great cosmic laws of life are still at play in the world and within us, even when we don’t recognize them.

          While we all have the potential to engage this Creative Imagination, not all of us can do it in equal measure.  It is the true storytellers who have the gift to tap into these cosmic laws on an imaginal level and who pass it on to us through songs and stories that open us to cosmic truth on a heart level.  

           Peter Weir is one of those great storytellers.  He’s brought us Picnic at Hanging Rock, Gallipoli, Year of Living Dangerously, Witness, and Dead Poets Society to name just a few of his marvelous movies.

The Last Wave: An Archetypal Movie about a Change in Consciousness

         Peter Weir’s 1977 movie The Last Wave is a moody, mysterious story about personal and cultural change.  Two men from different worlds are confronted by a mystery;  they both respond to it with honesty and integrity.  This mystery seemingly centers around a mysterious death involving Australian Aborigines.  But the real mystery forces one of these men to confront a rejected part of his inner psyche, an aspect of human life which western man has worked hard to make irrelevant.  

          It is the mystery of the psychic dimensions of life, our sixth sense that opens us to unseen realities, which are considered ‘primitive’ by rational standards.  Our left-brained culture often chooses to ignore and vilify the reality of this right-brain imagination.  This story points out the fact that without both views of life, we die.

Continue at: Star of the Bards: The Last Wave

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Marion Woodman: Dancing in the Flames

The evolution of Jungian psychology owes a great deal to the work of Marion Woodman, a renowned analyst and author who is a pioneer in the understanding of the role of feminine principles in the healing of the human psyche. Her life and work are chronicled in Adam Greydon Reid's striking documentary Marion Woodman: Dancing in the Flames (Capri Films, 2010), which I highly recommend to anyone with an interest in depth psychology and to Woodman fans especially.

Through dynamic conversations with mystic and political activist Andrew Harvey, Woodman shares the personal and professional experiences that fuel her belief in the importance of cultivating a sacred connection to the feminine—meaning to body and to earth—in order to facilitate personal, cultural, and environmental transformation. She teaches that opening to change requires a willingness to surrender to the archetypal processes of death and rebirth, and asserts that even our very Earth is going through such a process now; it's up to us whether or not the Earth is reborn.

With sparkling eyes and her trademark passion and grace, Marion details how she became intimately acquainted with psychic death through her struggles with anorexia and uterine cancer, both of which she overcame by working with her dreams, particularly by learning to integrate the emotional energy of her images into her body. The story of her recovery from cancer is an exceptionally moving testament to the miraculous healing power of making the unconscious conscious.

Probably one of the most poignant and inspiring aspects of the documentary is its exploration of Marion's 50-plus–year partnership to her husband, Ross. Reflecting on the many shifts that have been a part of their journey to mature intimacy, the Woodmans joke that they have had four marriages. Each stage of the relationship has involved the shedding of increasingly deeper levels of projections—a process their marriage is still undergoing, Marion reveals.

As Marion speaks, her words are at times illustrated by the evocative animation of Academy-Award–winning artist Faith Hubley. Hubley's whimsical, at times surreal, images do a wonderful job of bridging the gap between intuitive and intellectual understanding of Woodman's philosophies, and also reflect the dreamscape from which many of Woodman's ideas originated.

All the elements of the film—dialogue, animation, and music—seamlessly work together to capture the fiery spirit of a woman whose desire to become conscious—to dance in the alchemical flames of her soul—saved her very life. Longtime fans of Woodman may find, as I did, such an intimate portrait simply sublime.


Find more of my writing on  —Melissa Chianta

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The Shape of Water: The Shape of Change?

     9142464666?profile=originalFilmgoers may have laughingly dismissed Godzilla, the Teenage Werewolf, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon in the 1950’s, but nobody laughs at the real-life monsters we see on television every day in the form of terrorists, genocidal dictators, and political leaders who incite divisiveness and spout nuclear threats. We get it. Dystopia is us. Our problems are caused by humanity’s psychological and spiritual ignorance, and they will not be resolved until enough individuals acquire more mature and humane ways of thinking and behaving. What used to be the role of deities and religious authorities has now become everyone’s job.

            Fortunately, there are prophets among us to show us the way. They are the courageous and gifted artists who create books and films depicting ordinary people who evolve into heroic individuals. The Star Wars series, Avatar, Arrival, and The Shape of Water are examples. Their mythic themes and archetypal characters limn the shape of our own souls. Everyone enjoys a good story. But do we realize these stories are about us? Do we understand their metaphors and decipher their symbols? Do we apply their lessons to our own lives?

            Each of us contains a possible hero like Luke Skywalker, an indomitable Amazon heroine like Princess Leia, a Wise Man like Yoda, a menacing Warrior like Darth Vader. You may relate to Avatar’s Jake Sully, a vulnerable wounded Warrior with the potential to be healed by love, but his counterpart—the dark side’s ruthless, power-hungry Colonel Miles Quaritch—also lives in you. Regardless of your gender you can activate the healing of an Earth Mother like the Na’vi’s Mo’at, a beautiful Beloved like princess Neytiri, or a benevolent Wise Woman like Dr. Grace Augustine. Archetypes are latent patterns of energy in everyone’s soul. They teach and empower us when we listen.

            Consider Arrival’s gentle Louse Banks, a linguist who’s tormented by intuitions and visions which fill her with confusion and dread. She’s the image of a person in whom the Mediatrix archetype is activated. When the U.S. Army recruits her to communicate with alien life forms hovering over the earth, she breaks the rules to gain their trust. In a blog post titled “Arrival:  How the Feminine Saves the World,” depth psychology expert Carol S. Pearson notes this “reveals how traditional elements of the Lover archetype are morphing to meet new challenges.” The world leaders see the aliens as dangerous threats and are preparing to make war on them. But because Louise is motivated by love, not fear, she sees them as wondrous life forms to communicate with and befriend. This prompts us to ask ourselves:  Do I respect people and species different from me? Do I listen to the subtle messages of my body? Do I befriend my thoughts and emotions or try to ignore them?  

            In The Shape of Water, an even more vulnerable heroine saves the life of an amphibious monster. The year is 1962. Elisa is a mute, mousy janitor on the night shift of a top-secret government research lab desperate to get one-up on the Russians. One night a promising “asset” arrives in a portable tank in the form of a scaly green creature-from-the-Black-Lagoon lookalike from a Brazilian rainforest where he was worshiped as a god. Deeply drawn to this equally voiceless and powerless creature, Elisa initiates a fairy-tale romance with him by playing Benny Goodman on her portable record player, placing hard-boiled eggs on the lip of the tank in which he’s confined, and teaching him sign language when he emerges from the water to eat them.

            As it turns out, the real monster in this story is Richard Strickland, a sadistic, square-jawed military officer who tortures the green man, sexually harasses Elisa, and makes racist comments to Zelda, her co-worker. Overhearing the scientists’ plans to kill and dissect her beloved in the name of science, a frantic and determined Elisa enlists the help of Zelda and her gay neighbor, Giles, to rescue him. The remainder of the film builds the tension amid a dreamy, watery green ambiance before reconciling it in a surprise ending that leaves us wondering: What just happened? Is he what he seems? Do I have it in me to do what she did? Does love really have a god-like power? How strong is my Lover archetype? Do I truly know how to love?

            The characters in these films play out their roles against a backdrop of mythic themes:

  • the destructiveness of our shadow Warriors
  • the crises and suffering necessary for the making of a hero/ine
  • the need to respect, communicate with, and accept help from other people and species
  • love’s victory over ignorance and hatred

            But here’s a not-so subtle difference. It used to be that only men got to be heroes, but we’re seeing more heroines now. Although the first Star Wars film to appear centers primarily on Luke Skywalker, it is his heroic sister, Princess Leia, who turns him into a hero. The same is true of Avatar’s Jake Sully whose heroism is inspired by the equally heroic Princess Neytiri.

            The most recent of these—Arrival, The Shape of Water, and The Last Jedi—convey a theme new to our time which resonates with many souls today: the feminine as savior. Louise, Elisa, and Rey are not fantasy superheroines like Wonder Woman and Aquagirl. And they’re not sidekicks who help the main character accomplish his goals. They are ordinary women who initiate change and accomplish it with the respect and cooperation of healthy, caring men. Louise’s heroism is aided by Ian, a scientist. Giles helps Elisa save the green man. And in the newest Star Wars episode, Rey becomes the last Jedi with the help of Luke Skywalker. The main protagonists are females.

            This shift in the spirit of our times is reflected in recent statistics. The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film reports that of the top 100 films in 2014, only 12% featured female protagonists. But then something happened. In 2015 the figure was 22% and in 2016 it jumped to 29%.

            Although the data are not in for 2017, we appear to be seeing the beginning of a trend. Water, like earth, has always been considered a feminine element, and in dreams, water and earth symbolize the unconscious self. Societies have unconscious selves too. Like the ocean, our collective unconscious contains monsters, but it also holds overlooked hidden treasures. Is the feminine as savior of the world the shape of change? Are you and I the shape of change?

Note:  For more posts like this, please check out Jean Raffa's blog, Matrignosis, and the blog of author Carol S. Pearson, where this post first appeared.

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.


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Giger’s Harvest Tradition @ Root River

New Myth #79 by Mythologist Willi Paul

"It’s time-off for Giger, 3 miles downstream at the old Stormgate summer McMansion, a food forest and berry batch is weighted with apples, peaches and blackberries. His rituals dance in a submerged dock; the fire pit and the river’s shoreline. All give face to the Harvest Tradition."


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“Taking the Food Forest to City Hall” - International Permaculture Awareness Week. New Myth #78. Vision by Willi Paul, Media


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“Sound Archetypes and the Four Seasons”

Children’s Video and Documentation 

by Willi Paul, Media (+PDF)

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On June 14, 2015 on CBC Radio, the host stated: “The devil is in the details” and this phrase got my attention, so I listened on.  The content was not about the politics of earth religions – getting rid of the Old Testament, raising up Marcion’s views or finding fault with the RC Pope; the topic presented was entitled: “IN the PRESENCE of a SPOON.”

This is the gist of a true story, the pure angst and medical moral dilemma of Margaret Bentley.  Margaret is an 83 year old, retired nurse who is unresponsive, ‘locked in’ her diseased Alzheimer mind. The plight for her daughter, Katherine Hammond is full of excruciating trials and tribulations, while endeavoring to honor and see through, her mother’s 1991, advanced personal directive, living will and right for self-determination, in particularly her end-of-life, palliative or appropriate and compassionate care she expressed when competent and first diagnosed with “Dementia” that included a directive for physician assisted euthanasia.

This case is currently in the BC Courts and deemed “precedent setting.”  Mercy cries out once again as citizens around the globe fight for the rights inherent in self-determination and end-of-life care. The need for physician’s orders that matches the expressed wishes covering the scope, all the details surrounding delivery and assistance with the acceptable level of care revolving around “activities of daily living [ADL],” worked out prior to admission into care, diagnosed with end stage disease and deemed incompetent.

“Quality of life” is an ideal strived for to the end-of-life care, final breath - death” that is currently NOT a universally accepted right, privilege or freedom.  Anticipating and providing one’s wishes in form to be viewed as “acceptable” care directives that satisfy all the players involved in end-of-life care legalities and technicalities of conflicting Acts, ethics, morals and codes of human being and professional conduct including power-of-attorneys and guardianship rules of any compromised human being deemed incompetent within their operational system, community and culture.

There are defined levels of care in most care facilities to cope and deal with the host of significant end-of-life care issues inherent in life/death trajectories.  The sheer number of seniors within the “Baby-Boomer” generation is changing the landscape, perceptions and the governance of care of the aging.  Front-line health care issues manifest throughout an individual’s lifespan that accelerates with the passage of time and typically becomes a hot, debated subject matter topic for seniors – our elders. 

Acute, long-term and auxiliary care facilities are inundated and plagued with an array of conflicting moral codes and acts that overwhelm staff who work in care facilities – the daily moral and ethical dilemmas in the health care and “dying machine” businesses around the globe.

There are the business policies and procedures inherent in the ethics, law, guardians, health and professional care/Acts and reforms needed. Moral codes of behavior conduct and matter of conscience within systems that deliver and provide care to the elderly and terminally ill [“the dying businesses”] of care facilities around the world is “Big” business now far removed from intimate family care and life. 

This is the gist of a true story, the pure angst and medical moral dilemma of Margaret Bentley.  Margaret is an 83 year old, retired nurse who is unresponsive, ‘locked in’ her diseased Alzheimer mind. The plight for her daughter, Katherine Hammond is full of excruciating trials and tribulations, to honor and see through, her mother’s 1991, advanced personal directive, living will and right for self-determination, particularly specified end-of-life, palliative or appropriate and compassionate care including euthanasia.

Mercy cries out once again as the need for physician assisted, quality end-of-life to death care for the mentally + physically terminal cases continue to be brought to light.  Force-feeding adults with swallow + gag reflexes alongside high risk for “choking” incidents is painful to observe and an uncomfortable “duty” performed on so many elderly citizens in care facilities around the globe who do “open their mouth in the presence of a spoon.”  Inevitably many die from aspiration pneumonia and septicemia.

“In the presence of a spoon” is at question in the courts for does “an open mouth” imply consent to be fed or is it simply an unconscious reflex?  Who makes this determination?

The devil is in the details and Margaret’s due care and attention concerning her last will and testament regarding future care once deemed unresponsive and incompetent secondary to end-stage Dementia is at the bottom of the matter for the argument posited at the last court hearing inferred:

The staff at the Maple House in Abbotsford are to feed her and placed a “police order” in place with the care facility to ensure as a default position to ensure “food + water” are given to her for the main witness stated he was “not sure what they [people with end-stage dementia] want regarding eating in her own demented world.”

A guest speaker, representative for “The Canadian Centre for Elder Law” stated on that the upholding of a person’s last, living’ will details can be disavowed as evidenced in the cases of Margaret Bentley.  She states the current status of legal law of wills in our Canadian courts; the honoring of legal “living” wills is a myth!  That despite astute will and estate planning, Margaret [and her assigned agent] are impotent, her expressed wishes are disregarded of, both are impotent because of “the systems” with no legal rights for self-determination regarding end-of-life care once deemed incompetent and unresponsive, except for the opening of her mouth in the presence of a spoon.

The professional moral dilemma/ethics remain: to follow her wishes could result in professional charges of neglect [Guardian legislature] and the opposing argument is “spoon feeding is not a health care act but a matter of personal care.”  Medical decisions verses personal directives unresolved conflict that leaves this woman in a “degrading – a horrible place’ as stated by her daughter/advocate.  The final comment to this news release was “in the dying business, we have no control.”

Food for thought for the DPA Community [no spoon feeding]: What kind of shape are you in and how safe do you feel in regards to the status of your Living and Last Will + Testaments?                                                                                Peace + Love Linda

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"The message is unmistakable our own healing proceeds from that overlap of what we call good and evil, light and dark. It is not that  the light element alone does the healing, the place where  light and dark begin to touch is where miracles arise. This middle place is the mandorla" Robert A. Johnson

I had the pleasure of interviewing author Jean Benedict Raffa about her book “Healing the sacred Divide”. You can watch it on the Mindfunda YouTube-channel. Jean is a keynote speaker at the annual conference of the International Association of Dreams (IASD). Healing the sacred divide got the Wilbur Award,  recognizing excellence in the communication of religious issues.

Jean and I talked about how in this day and age we seem to be addicted to war. Inner disagreements and outer arguments where we seek and emphasize the differences between ourselves and “the other”.

In a previous interview I had with Ralph Metzner, I discussed how Europe was taken over by warrior tribes and how this inheritance changed mythology. Jean Raffa describes how our religion is based on those old warrior mythologies. Masculine, with a God image outside of us. Her book Healing the sacred divide is divided in two parts, just like a mandorla.

Mandorla consciousness #1

The first part tells about the eight mistakes in our current concept of God. This part analysis how culture has emphasized one part of the continuum: creating a masculine God, that is outside of us and that really lacks a female touch. With female I mean the qualities our culture has marked feminine like empathy, intuition, acting based on an inner knowing instead of facts. Qualities that both male and female posses and express. It is a clear statement how we need both sides: we need to combine facts with intuitive insights.

Mandorla consciousness #2

The second part tells about the nine wisdom gifts of integrating the divided God image. She builds up the second mandala of consciousness fout of nine stones of wisdom. A nine folded lapis lazuli. Holistic consciousness, transforming light, acceptance of the shadow, emotional integrity, partnership, balance, sovereignty, meaning and the mandorla consciousness.

Mandorla consciousness #3

In the interview Jean Raffa shares a dream about her shadow that she has never shared before. It is a clear example of how valuable working with dreams can be. To out value on your dream images is a sure step towards more inner peace and acceptance. Like Robert Waggoner explained to us in his interview with me about Lucid dreaming plain and simple: dreams can provide key insights towards integrating your own shadow. those parts of yourself you are used to project on somebody else.

Mandorla consciousness #4

In the interview Jean Raffa told me that the key to a happy live is the ability to unite opposites. Her book holds valuable keys to make that work much easier. I wish I read this book years earlier. It would have saved me a lot of pain and mistakes. But then again, I might have missed out on a lot of wisdom…

Other Books from Jean Benedict Raffa:

Dream Theaters of the soul (clck the image for the kindle version)
What are your dreams telling you? Dr. Raffa believes that “dreams show us who we are and what we can become.” In this fascinating book of how to analyze dreams, explore the feminine aspects, and use dreams to grow emotionally and spiritually, Raffa combines the metaphor of a theatre with the practicality of a handbook to provide a practical guide to understanding your dreams.

mandorlaDream theaters of the soul kindle version


mandorlaBridge to wholeness

Bridge to Wholeness, ” describes an inner feminine way where one makes peace with dragons instead of fighting them. This moving account of a mythic journey from humility to strength, through darkness to light, carries a powerful message of unity and balance for seekers everywhere.”


If you purchase the book using this link, you will support the good work of Mindfunda

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Watch the complete interview here. Please sign up for my YouTube channel to enjoy all the beautiful Mindfunda interviews with inspiring people. People like Jean Benedict Raffa, Anne Baring, Connie Kaplan, Ralph Metzner. I got an interview with Stanley Krippner coming up soon!




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Joanna Macy and 'Sustaining the Gaze'

9142449293?profile=originalOne of the many phrases that will stay with me from this week at Women's Future First 2014 Congress is that of Joanna Macy: sustaining the gaze. Even though what we see in the world is frightening and enraging, it is so important we witness (not deny) what mankind has perpetrated upon our planet and to feel, to let ourselves have open hearts to Earth and her many inhabitants.

This conference is focusing on drafting of a Bill of Rights for Water. Joanna addressed three practices that have consequences for water with results that last forever: nuclear power and its radiation contamination; genetically modified organisms, which cannot be undone once in use ; and fracking, which forever contaminates ground water with chemicals that cannot be extracted.

She "met" with us by Skype from her East Bay home and spoke with wit about these matters so important to our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, our seven generations. Historically it is women who are the stewards of water, she reminded us. As we 450 women of all ages and great diversity, from all over the country, listened to this lively elder who has done so much to move people from despair and inaction to  protectors and guardians of future generations, we were summoned. Women everywhere, and Men too, the time is here! The time for waking and action is now.

"It is a great privilege to be alive when the future ones want so much," she said. She spoke of being willing-- even glad!-- to be living in a time with so much uncertainty.

And then Skype suddenly clicked off, and her image flashed away, as technology will do. There was no goodbye, only the lingering feeling in the room: here is an elder who sustained her gaze. She showed us it can be done, that, in fact, grief opens hearts, softens us, opens us to gratitude for the abundance of Earth and for each other. That what we do needs to be done out of love of the Earth, of each other, of our ancestral lineage, and of future generations.

You too can join this movement. My friend and colleague Leah Shelleda is attending the conference with me. Next weekend, November 15,  Leah, Naomi Lowinsky, and I will be offering a writing seminar Wounded Earth, Wounded Psyche through the C. G. Jung Institute in San Francisco. Please join us. We have each other, most important in facing a crisis of this size, and writing helps heal and move us to action. We hope to see you there!


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In the predawn I am sitting in the cushioned wicker chair next to the window in the dining room, my new spot to watch the light rise in the sky. I look over at the doorway that opens to the front hall with the wall sconce by the stairs, at the patterns of pearly light and steely shadows against the white stucco walls, and I am captivated by the space. The wide angles of the doorframe open to the dark living room, a slice of stairway ascending to the right. I draw it, photograph it and describe it in my journal.

9142448855?profile=originalI move into it. Not physically. But the way one moves into a timeless moment that is numinous. And those moments, I believe, surround us.

I am reading Donald Kalsched’s book Trauma and the Soul; A psycho-spiritual approach to human development and its interpretation. Kalsched, a Jungian analyst, describes an “intermediate space between the worlds in which we are all most alive.” The “worlds” that he writes of are the worlds of consciousness and the unconscious. He refers to them in many contexts—as the inner world of imagination and the outer material world of facts, as the sacred and the profane. Kalsched acknowledges that there are many doorways that can lead us into mysterious interior spiritual realms and posits that we can evolve into both worlds, concluding “If we are going to ‘individuate’ in the true meaning Jung gave to that term, then we must let ourselves grow from these two roots.” 

In many respects this book offers a theoretical amplification of my memoir. It mirrors my final dream of a mother/child, Demeter/Persephone dream figure who “embodies the mysteries of abundance and poverty, of attachment and separation, of the reds, and the blues,” and who “carries my soul.”

Kalsched’s focus is on trauma, and on dissociation as a soul-saving defense which keeps “an innocent core of the self out of further suffering in reality by keeping it safe in another world.” In my first chapter I write about an experience that I remembered from the age of four.

 “My guess is, it was soon after we moved into the house when I began to disappear in the windowless hall between my bedroom, my parents’ bedroom, the bathroom, and the entrance into our living room; since I still needed to stand on my stool to see into the medicine cabinet mirror.

…All I can say is, in that hallway I left my body.

 …What I am trying to describe is what I believe to be my earliest reportable experiences of dissociation, a splitting off of consciousness. A vacant self.”

I go on to describe other altered states that I experienced as a child, transcendent states as well as the dark terrors of the night.

The tracks of the unseen (In the Tracks of the Unseen) are the tracks of my soul. My memoirs are stories of trauma and the healing that comes from holding the tension of the opposites, part human, part divine, in a third space, a liminal space from where looking into the front hall with the wall sconce by the stairs in the predawn can be transcendent.
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Play and the Mystery of the Present

Play is the highest form of research.– Albert Einstein

If it is important even for our survival on the planet to relearn re-entering the Mystery of the Present, what serves this end?

This question is one I contemplate this season as the dark comes before 5 in the evening and stays well past 7 in the morning. Mystery crackles in the fire I build in the wood stove, glows in the candlelight on the altar, sparkles in the Christmas tree bulbs we put on the little blue spruce we brought in for its second year. If only I notice!

Do introverts have it little easier in these tasks? I am not sure. We so love the quiet, the time alone with a fire or a candle. Apprehending beauty always brings mystery for me, something it is so easy to not see when I am busy rushing around.

But there is also the Mystery of the Other, Mystery that comes when I don't know and am open to listening. It is a discipline I exercise regularly in my analytic practice when I sit with someone whose pain is an enigma to us both and yet a guide into new territory. But at home it is so easy to assume I  know my husband, my children and grandchildren, my friends, or, for that matter, the graceful old Valley Oaks in the meadow, or a dear goat. It is so easy to forget the Mystery of the Other in efficient, busy states of mind!

One of my favorite Mysteries

I have been wondering, do laughter and fun promote the apprehension of Mystery in the Other?  I love lingering meals with friends and family, long walks with friends or goats, the meanderings of uncharted days with loved ones, experiences which render me open.

I read where it is important to do nothing some part of every day.  Is doing nothing play?

Does play serve opening into mystery?

Mysterious questions!  Ones of the season? What opens the door of Mystery for you?

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The Incest Taboo - in therapy and in life

9142447461?profile=originalIn my story of how after nine months of some pretty intense psychotherapy my patient and I decided to end our therapeutic relationship for a more emotionally and spiritually honest coupling that leveled the playing field, even in its telling, I break a taboo. The publication of my account of what it has been like for my husband and me to live with this history for twenty-four years has elicited the predicted ire and scorn from parts of the psychological community.

The evolution of a therapy relationship into an intimate relationship is a highly charged topic. It unearths an archetype, threatening the cornerstone of psychotherapy from back in the day of Freud and Jung. The incest taboo. This taboo lies at the core of the transference phenomena, where the conscious and unconscious of both therapist and patient meet and mix in ways not dissimilar to the ways we all relate to one another, but with the exception that in therapy it is the therapist’s responsibility to do whatever she can do to bring consciousness into the resulting stew of projection and projective identification better known as human relationship. Which is a very long-winded way of saying the buck stops at the therapist’s door. And it is, I believe, every therapists' conscious desire to do no harm.

The bottom-line here points to what in psychotherapy is imaged as the inner or interior child of the patient. It is the patient’s child-self that must be protected at all cost. The two-year rule found in many psychological ethics codes, which mandates a two-year waiting period between the termination of therapy and the beginning of a sexually intimate relationship, is primarily designed to keep the former patient’s child-self safe from any sexual exploitation. An inarguable intention.

Let me be perfectly clear. I am not, nor have I ever been, an advocate of converting therapy relationships into sexual relationships. Though I have dared to reveal intimate details of my history in an effort to show how the broken pieces of my psyche fit into the puzzle of my husband’s psyche in a way that brought us together, there is nothing cavalier in that telling.

I say in my memoir,

"To my mind the move from analysis to a romantic partnership was necessarily daunting and those who made it blithely were fools, or worse. But to declare that a union forged along the seam of transference was sure to fail would be a poor prognosis for most relationships—so much of attraction being borne of projection.

I do agree there must be rules to protect the vulnerable. But there will be exceptions to any rule. And those stories have a right to be heard."

And the forbidden, I believe, must be continually revisioned and renamed. What exactly are we talking about? What anathema? What map locates love, need, desire, and abuse? And where are the wise counselors able to fine tune the mapmaking?

There needs to be clarity in language, certainly in psychology. Is there really no difference between incest committed between adults and children in families and the incestuous pulls in therapy and in life?

From the start, my husband maintained that I reminded him of his mother. Only in the best sense, he would say. His mother, who had her demons, was one of the most generous, funny, salt of the earth, intelligent women I’d ever met. In fact, I experienced her in many ways as the mother I’d never had, and my mother-in-law and I became close friends. Sweet, some might say.

Others could argue my vulnerable husband was seduced by his therapist mother, and make a case against our relationship, a relationship in which we have been mostly happy together for twenty-four years, calling it pathological, exploitive, inappropriate, and some do.

My memoirs are my reflections on the mysteries of my life. My story is my personal truth. I have not offered it as a collective model.

Deeper conversations about psychological ethics and codes of conduct, about the transferences and countertransferences in therapy, about morality, and the regulation of love and the regulation of sex, and the rational and irrational forces that affect individuation, and about whether those countless couples who live in hiding because their love for each other began in a therapy relationship should be judged as criminal or immoral or insane, these conversations, it seems to me, are waiting to be had.

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Honoring the Ancestors: Part One

Honoring the Thinning Veil, Glastonbury, 2010

Each year the San Francisco Jung Institute celebrates Ancestors’ Day around the time of the Day of the Dead. Analysts, candidates, and interns gather and remember those in our Institute community who have passed the threshold into the Beyond.

This last Sunday we especially honored Donald Sandner, an analyst who passed suddenly on Easter Sunday 1997. In part two, to be posted later this week, I will talk more about Don.

We began the day by watching a video of Don, Joe Henderson, one of the founders of our Institute who lived to be 104, and Mary Jo Spencer, still with us at close to 100 years old. In this yet to be released film produced by Steven H. Wong, these three analysts discussed the ancestors and death.

To watch this film brought back a wash of memory for many of us. I had seen an early version of the film in 1999, but this time I was alert to how all three talked with certainty about the presence of the dead. Joe Henderson said that grief and sadness bring us close to the dead, although he added that he did not so much miss those he loved who had passed as he felt them in the present. Mary Jo talked about her ancestors visiting her in her living room, something I have heard her say more than once, and Don talked about the draw into death when loved ones die and about the recent loss of two very close friends and the impact of their deaths on him. He died within six months of the filming of this segment.

Although my own experience is that when I am aware of missing someone who has passed over, they are most near, I also realize that we westerners have few differentiated ways of acknowledging their presence besides grief. However, Rudolf Steiner stated that it is not grief but gratitude that opens us to communication with the dead. Gratitude for our relationship with them humbles us, allowing a waking dream state that accesses the whole. Then we can learn the telepathic language of Spirit, one which communicates not only with the dead, but with the not-human world as well.

What is your own experience in knowing your ancestors? Do you have an active relationship with them? Steiner felt this relationship to be an important one in our evolution, something I will explore in the coming weeks.

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Review: Platko's In the Tracks of the Unseen

Some topics are so controversial we cannot discuss them. Jane Davenport Platko’s In the Tracks of the Unseen: Memoirs of a Jungian Analyst brings one of those topics into full view: when the doctor and patient fall in love.

While we psychoanalysts and psychotherapists have thorough discussions as to why these kinds of relationships are problematic, we seldom have open discussions about what happens when they seem to work. Those who have entered such relationships rightfully fear judgement.

I will be honest. I have a bias. Having barely survived the 1970’s in psychology after early experiences with therapists and teachers who did not know the power of the tool of the transference, I developed a healthy respect of the need for “boundaries,” as we put it in the talk of our trade. As a result, I often have had a hair trigger reaction when these boundaries are transgressed. For the most part, I think my stance has merit.

But Platko’s story demonstrates it is not so simple. What happens when the analytic vessel cannot contain the feeling within a transference format, when the Self has something different in mind? Are there times the therapeutic meeting is a springboard into the soul connection of friendship or romantic love and this is not exploitive of the patient?

With great integrity, honesty, and courage, Platko lays out her vulnerabilities and history, antecedents to both a friendship with her first analyst and then marriage to a man who had been her patient. Her decisions are not impulsive. In fact, she deeply and openly suffers them with her then current analyst and with her then husband.

In the preface she quotes Jung, “My story is my truth.” This story is Platko’s truth, and one can only feel compassion, awe and concern for a woman reveals herself so openly in order for us to understand the decisions she has made. There will be judgement!

When I began reading In the Tracks of the Unseen, I did not want to put it down. Platko is a good storyteller, and I have not read a book like it. It is well written, albeit disturbing, submerging the reader in the rawness of human attachment and the lonely quest of a woman who followed her heart. This is an important book in that it questions some suppositions of the last decades, taking the structure of love in analytical relationships down to the studs. There are no answers here, only a kind of solutio. Perhaps it is only now that we can follow “the tracks of the unseen,” to a larger playing field that may redefine ethics and the challenges of the human connection in the vessel of analytic work.

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Barbara Holifield

On February 22, 2014, the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco will offer the first of a series of eco-psychology seminars and workshops on the environment crisis. These workshops will be from differing perspectives but of one piece: the necessary crisis of consciousness in earth changes and what we can/must do. In this first workshop, Indwelling: Our Human Participation in the Dream of the Earth, analysts Barbara Holifield and Carol McRae will lead participants into active imagination states through drumming and authentic movement. Following is an interview with one of the seminar leaders, analyst Barbara Holifield. 

Barbara, could you explain what authentic movement is? How did you get in to it? Does it serve your own connection with the earth and if so, in what ways?

I began working with Authentic Movement, also known as Moving in Depth, in the mid 70’s. I was a member of a learning community at Prescott College in which we were exploring ways of bringing conscious awareness to the body, and to the psychological dimensions of body-based experience. During that time emersion in wilderness was the ground of much of our exploration.

Moving in Depth is a profoundly simple process in which one, in the presence of a witness, closes one’s eyes, and turning his or her attention inward, listens for felt sensation, emotion and the stirrings of imagination, allowing one’s self to move and be moved. One may move into deep stillness, very subtle or active movements of the experienced body. This approach, rooted in Jungian active imagination, is like a meditation based in the feminine principle: self-guided and aligned with one’s own inner knowing.

Whether one is moving or witnessing, a foundational aspect of the practice is a rigorous tracking of inner experience such that one becomes aware of the process of projection and re-integration of projection. This work, so integral to Jung’s Individuation process is also essential in clarifying the intersubjective field whether between persons or between persons and the natural world.

For me it is a practice in which I access the depth of my innermost, direct experience of s/Self and self in relation to other, including the more-than-human others of the earth community.

Could you talk about the split between humans and the earth and how indigenous peoples connected through stories and land?

There are many perspectives one could take to understand our culture’s disconnection with the earth: philosophical attitudes embedded in monotheistic religions, the way we have adopted our approach to science, the industrial revolution. However, as a Jungian analyst, I want to try and understand this dilemma from a psychological perspective.

When things go well enough developmentally, with the aid of a resonant caretaker/ mother we learn to lean into our joys, struggles and pains of living, we learn to embody life. In this there is an inner quickening as psyche indwells the soma, a process the poet John Keats’s described as soul making. From a developmental perspective we know this starts as life begins and goes on throughout the life cycle. The infant needs a resonant, compassionate witness to facilitate, what later becomes internalized and practiced, in the person, less a disconnect between body and psyche occurs when a person is faced with overwhelming affect.

It seems that people also need that resonant other, which is exemplified by the culture of Native Americans, to mediate the insistent power of the natural world, that union of what is beautiful and what is terrifying. It seems we need this to live in congruence with the reality of the land as it is given, less we disconnect or split from the earth when faced with the overwhelming forces of the land by withdrawing or alternately exerting our will to change it into something else. It is a developmental task. Native American and other indigenous cultures, through their stories, myths, rituals and ceremonies mediate between the person and our bigger body, the earth, connecting and reconnecting the person, their peoples, to the land. Our culture promotes an attitude of “getting away” or “rising above” or “defending against” or “winning the battle” with the natural forces in both our inner and outer worlds.

When recognized the land in turns reciprocates offering unimpeachable wisdom on living a life of dignity. And something is quickened between the person and the land in this kind of meeting…our stories en-soul the land. A bond is formed and there is an ongoing exchange of recognition and reciprocity between us and the land, and the land and us.

Can you say what you mean with the phrase: human participation in the dream of the earth?

Thomas Berry, a theologian dedicated to earth-human relations, poses that our hope for the future lies in our human participation with the dream of the earth. In this he points to an urgent need for revelatory experience that is accessed through our senses when we open to the sacred grandeur of Earth processes. He lets us know that this is ancient, rooted in shamanic times. This is the kind of space that opens when one is quiet, attuned to the breathing earth and earth community, listening, dancing, drumming. It is the mytho-poetic realm that is within us and between us and the natural world, quickened by dropping down into a realm of relating that is not solely rational.

Do you have a story of your own about how you have connected/reconnected with nature and land through story and myth? 

Recently, when I allow myself to be seen by a certain tree that lives on the ridge near me, I experience my humanness in a very distinct way. I become acutely aware of co-inhabiting this earth with many other species. I feel aware of the particular gifts and responsibilities of being a human other. I feel seen as having an intrinsic dignity and desire to be aware and responsive to co-inhabiting this earth with so many living others.

The stories told by the voices of contemporary Native American women poets carry me through the journey. For example this poem by the Chickasaw poet, Linda Hogan:

Skin Dreaming

Skin is the closest thing to god,
touching oil, clay, intimate with the foreign land of air
and other bodies,
places not in light,
lonely for its own image. 

It is awash in its own light.
It wants to swim and surface
from the red curve of the sea,
open all its eyes. 

Skin is the oldest thing.
It remembers when it was the cold
builder of fire,
when darkness was the circle around it,
when there were eyes shining in the night,
a breaking twig, and it rises
in fear, a primitive lord on new bones. 

I tell you it is old,
it heals and is sometimes merciful.
It is water.
It has fallen through ancestral hands.
It is the bearer of vanished forest
fallen through teeth and jaws of earth
where we were once other
visions and creations.

From the Book of Medicines, Coffee House Press, Minneapolis1993.
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