Create Your GRAIL Collage

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images are from pixabay.com

What is your Sacred Calling, your Holy GRAIL for this life? Create a collage representing your Life Dream as an Elixir such as the Grail at the center of a mandala sort of composition.  Represent on your pictorial collage as well: How you will achieve your Grail, and what will result from your reaching this level of personal fulfillment.

You can simply find images online (I recommend pixabay.com for free, common domain images, or clip art), or paste in your own photos or scanned magazine clippings to represent your ideas. Here is my Grail Collage from this week, below.

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I welcome YOUR pictures or story!

To Nourish Your Dreams, Change It UP!

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One fun way to let your Nourisher archetype Ally express itself is to Change It Up! That means, practice doing things outside from your normal routine.  Julia Cameron called this taking an “artist’s date” in her seminal book, THE ARTIST’S WAY.  She recommends we do this at least once a week in order to break through writers block or any other form of artistic or emotional blockage.

So take a different way home from work, and look around at the change of scenery. Maybe stop off at a park and take a walk. Be spontaneous! Go to a $1.00 film in the middle of your day; popcorn may be called for! Or go to a museum or that arboretum you have always meant to visit. How about the zoo; when is the last time you went? For me, that would have to include a carousel ride!

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Changing It Up is an easy, fun way to NOURISH your Self, and you can use this “time out” to lightly focus on your Life Dream.  Freeing up space in your life that jogs you free from daily or weekly routines allows you ro “prospect” your future alternatives.

So go ahead: write a poem, color in a Mandala or in a Mehndi or Labyrinth art book. You can paste a wall with your creative output! Or go on a photographic spree, capturing sunsets or sunrises on those extra evening or crisp, early morning outings.

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And always, keep open to bringing change IN to your life. Open your Heart to receive the blessings of Life! You are so deserving!!!

I had a Better Ending/ Change It Up Moment myself, today. I drove to Denver and met with a financial consultant from my retirement fund organization. I told her about my Life Dream that involves retirement in 3 years. After signing a few forms, I moved all retirement funds into secure accounts, removing the risk of losing retirement income or having to postpone retirement due to any possible financial collapse or downturn. So, voila! In one “time out” moment apart from my normal routine, I have secured a modest but reasonable retirement income–for life!–so long as I stay true to the parameters of what we discussed today.

Thank you, Nourisher!!! Thank you, Soul and Spirit and my Inner Guidance…All of you are NOURISHERS too!

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Have you had a Nourisher “time out” or a ‘Better Endings’ Moment? I would love to hear your stories and for you to share them here!

Re-Member Your Golden Child

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I initially misread my own weekly topics agenda for this past month. The Golden Child archetype is associated with Leo, yes, but really this Leonine Ally is more associated in the Avalon Archetype Institute framework which I am utilizing here with August rather than July. The NOURISHER (or, Nurturer as I prefer) archetype is more directly connected with July Cancerian energy. (Being a late June Cancerian myself, I can verify this!) Still, it has worked rather well to pair the Golden Child Ally with our monthly postulate of Life is a Bowl of Cherries! So, I guess there was a method in the madness of Synchronicity!

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Before leaving this ‘conjunction’ of Golden Child archetype with the Bowl of Cherries postulate, I want to encourage you as you proceed forth from here to “re-member” your inner Golden Child as an Archetype Ally persona.  Re-membering (I got this from a spiritual passage long ago from ECK Master Paul Twitchell) means to put back together again or to reassemble elements of the Self into a new, holistic, synergistic Whole.

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GOLDEN CHILD is a strong, vital, generally outgoing and, at its best, a charismatic persona as a member of your archetypal ensemble. All of the members of your inner Council or Assembly or Cast of archetype character allies remain in the background of your conscious awareness once you have integrated them through identification and active dialogue. They remain available to be enlisted and may choose on their own as well to ‘step up’ in any given situation.  Dorothy, when leaving OZ to return to Kansas (or to ‘Conscious’, as  Jean Houston has aptly noted in her book THE WIZARD OF US) knew that her archetypal Allies of Tin Man, Scarecrow and (no longer a cowardly) Lion would remain available as mature  energies within her own Self long after her dream adventures in the Land of OZ. So too, you have accessible within you all twelve of the universal Archetype persona figures that comprise the architecture of human role-based consciousness which this year’s monthly blog themes are presenting.

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After identifying and exploring any archetypal facet of your Self, it is helpful to “ground” your connection and awareness of this internalized figure with a Symbol: an active TOTEM that will remind you of your treasured Ally. Carl Jung used the artistic vehicle of a Mandala to center and totemically ground his own archetypally integrated parts of Self. After engaging in “active imagination” episodes with his unconscious archetypal persona enrergies to the degree of achieving an integral awareness of their purpose and role in his life, Jung would paint (see his original RED BOOK/ Liber Novus) a mandala picture symbolically representing the archetypal awareness or persona in the Center, with meaningful images and/ or words surrounding the central figure to depict qualities, lessons or insights he connected perceptually with this persona aspect.

I invite you to compose a Mandala picture that represents your own GOLDEN CHILD part of Self along with qualities s/he brings forth within your integrated Self.

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An easy method for composing a mantra—unless you prefer to exercise your artistic talent ‘by hand’ with any artistic medium you choose, which I encourage!—is to select online graphic images such as clip-art icons and simply cut and paste them into a basic circle shape.  Let the central image represent yourself as the Golden Child persona, and place other images artistically around this central image to represent qualities you associate with this Ally in your life.

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 Place your mandala somewhere where you will remember its significance of representing your own Golden Child qualities. This archetype is one that sometimes is hidden or subdued in a culture that values humility over self-assertion. Yet it is a vital energy which in a balanced form empowers us to pursue and to claim our talents in service to life.

Forging an Archetype Ally

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As one of twelve primordial archetype character modes, the Teacher is associated with the element of Earth, with a Dissolving energy mode, and with Sagittarius (hence, December).  A Teacher perspective usually involves practicalities or facts rooted in solid foundations, revealing in that sense an earthy nature.   Teacher also brings a dissolving or resolving energy, allowing questions to be answered and transitions forged. And Teacher may cut to the heart of a matter with constructive critique like the Sagittarian archer.

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Regarding our archetypal aspects of Self as potential Allies, Teacher is a very positive ally to cultivate in its Strength mode.  If in Shadow, Teacher can be overly didactic or attached to a rigid point of view. But in its positive nature, Teacher can be a transformative Ally, showing the way to new vistas or a more flexible, new way of being.

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In order to harness the positive strengths of your inner Teacher potentials, it is necessary first to get to know yourself in this dimension.  In my personal development book and Handbook, LIFE PATHS, I will be presenting a complete Archetype Dialogue process to facilitate your “alliance building” in this respect. For now, I invite you to start an “active imagination” form of conversation with your Teacher energy.

I invite you to simply seat yourself in a comfortable armchair or lie prone on a couch or bed. You might chant a favorite mantra or a prayer, or breathe deeply several times and release your breath to relax into a mindful or aware state. Focus inwardly on that spot between your eyebrows, gently expecting to encounter a part of your Self that has a Teacher aspect to him or her. Imagine this inner Teacher energy; it could be someone who has been a teacher for you or a fictional character or your inner Teacher may take her or his own unique personal form.  Allow yourself to spend some time with this inner character. Allow your experience to unfold in its own way. Meanwhile you can have a conversation with your Teacher figure. Ask whom s/he is and what s/he would like for you to know about him or her. Continue the encounter as long as it naturally unfolds.

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When you return from your active imagination session with your Teacher part of Self, you may either continue the dialogue before opening your eyes, then record in your journal all that you remember; or, you might open your eyes after your main interaction and then start journaling an immediate dialogue in your journal.

When Jung returned from an active imagination experience–as described in his THE RED BOOK–,he would first journal about what he had experienced, then he would often draw a painting  or create a mandala to represent the lesson he had learned.

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 What does your Teacher archetype look like? Does s/he have a name? Now that you have shared an encounter with him or her, do you feel a little differently for having included your inner Teacher energy more consciously within your Awareness?

Inwardly you can invite this figure to remain part of your consciousness from now on! You can offer to be more attentive and caring about his/her interests and concerns. You can work together to help achieve your common goals.

I welcome your insights and stories!

Spelunking Your Cave

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IMAGINE there is a vital, vast, accessible CAVE deep within your own unconscious layers of Self. Today I invite you to visit this cavernous realm of your Psyche and to explore its dynamic potentials.

This Cave is available whenever you feel a need or desire for Descent; it is a place you can retreat to for shelter against the storms and shoals of life. It is where you in your Descender mode may have a hidden place of repose.  It reminds me of the secret forts and special treehouses I built with my siblings and closest friends as a child. Was there a place like this you and your friends used to go to (or, still do) for a special getaway?

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A Visualization Technique: Spelunking Your Cave

I invite you to engage in an Active Imagination form of Inner Adventure.  Close your eyes and simply envision visiting a Cave–or a hidden fort or other secret place–deep within your own realms of Imagination. Find this secret space, and Explore! Please bring a flashlight or torch or some other source of illumination, and you can build a cozy fire within your cave.

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Explore this space fully. Is anything written on the walls?  Would you like to write something? There is charcoal available. Are there artifacts left there from your own earlier or others’ use of this space? What artifacts are these? What is their meaning to you now?

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If your Descender part-of-Self lives in this space or comes here sometimes, meet with him or her; you can engage in conversation and interact. Allow him or her to show you around, or listen as s/he tells you a story.

After you have discovered much of meaning to you in your Cave or place of repose, you can return to your normal awareness and make a record of what you have experienced and learned.  You might wish to journal or to write a letter to yourself about your Cave Adventure. You may create an art piece or a poem or a mandala representing something significant about this Inner journey. You may wish to talk about it with a loved one.

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You are welcome to share your insights or a story about your experience here!

Jung’s RED BOOK: Using Mandalas to Ground Your Awareness

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Today I want to discuss Jung’s RED BOOK (or, Liber Novus; 2009) as an example of how to use Totemic Representation to ground and illuminate your personal growth and development.

For a series of evenings starting from November 23 – December 25, 1913, just before the outbreak of WWI,then continuing for 16 years off and on after that, Carl G. Jung, founder of Depth, or Analytical, Psychology and the primary pioneer in the field of archetypal research, undertook an adventurous odyssey; he dived into the netherworlds of his own unconscious depths, and he returned to integrate his dreamlike encounters with the denizens of his unconscious domains within his conscious awareness. Using a form of contemplative practice that he termed “active imagination,” Jung sank willingly into a dreamlike awareness in order to encounter aspects and personae of his own Psyche that he would refer to as Archetypes.

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 To Jung, Archetypes exist in a “collective unconscious” dimension; that is, similar archetypal images or forms are found all over the world and often appear in myths and dreams in similar ways and with similar meanings, although the individual appearance of an archetype might have very individual, personal form and specific cultural relevance. Jung identified several collective archetypes in his active imagination scenarios: an Anima (feminine aspect of a man’s Psyche), Shadow forms, and a Mage sort of figure represented in Jung’s experiences as a philosophical guide or guru figure, Philemon. He also experienced many fairly idiosynchratic figures related to his personal relationships and to his academic, religious, and literary background studies.

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Some of Jung’s archetypal encounters lasted for several nights at a time, weaving a meaningful story.  Every night after his active imagination session, Jung recorded what he had experienced—including dialogue that had occurred with his archetypal figures—in a special journal he called his Red Book. He would sometimes paint some of the content of his experience in the Red Book, too. Every time a storyline had revealed its full significance to Jung, when he came out of his reveries that night he painted a special artistic image to represent his understanding of that archetypal encounter in the form of a circular Mandala (see link).

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A Mandala is a universal sort of artistic image, created in a Circular form within what might be a 4-corner outer frame and with a center image around which the rest of the picture aligns. Tibetan monks and Navajo Indian healers alike use Mandalas in healing and centering rituals. Mandalas represent Balance and the organized coherence and integration of what might otherwise be considered disjoint or even chaotic elements or forces. To Jung, his Red Book mandalas represented the “integration” of archetypal energies within his own Psyche or Soul as he came into greater understanding of their presence and significance.  This process of integrating archetypal energy forms is crucial within Jung’s broader psychological theory of Individuation which he developed more completely after completing his Red Book ‘Descent’ and reemergence.

Jung’s Red Book mandalas—which I can link to only indirectly here so as not to infringe on copyrights—are an excellent form of totemic representation. They served to literally ILLUMINATE the shadowy unconscious forms that might appear in Carl Jung’s dreams and reveries. The process of arranging these archetypal images in Mandala forms revealed the deeper significance of these forms to Jung; it represented the integrationof their MEANINGS within Jung’s holistic understanding of his own Psyche or Self.

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I certainly recommend reading Jung’s Red Book (there is a new Readers’ Edition available that makes this precious gem more accessible and affordable). Even more,I encourage you to engage in an ‘active imagination’ exploration of your own archetypal depths. In Life Paths–also in the next year of this blog that will begin in a couple of weeks from now— I’ll be offering an Archetype Dialogue process to help you discover aspects of your own unconscious archetypal influences that can be thought of as your own ensemble cast of archetypal Ally characters.

For now, though, I invite you to create a MANDALA to represent your LIFE DREAM. Place an image that represents your GOAL ACHIEVED (how you will feel or what your life will be like when you have fully integrated your Life Dream into your daily reality) in the center of a blank page. Around this Life Dream image, place other images or words and phrases to represent significant aspects of this Dream or representing the steps you can take to manifest your Life Dream.  You can refer to last week’s “Yellow Brick Road” and “Your Next Step” blog posts to find or develop material to use in filling out your totemic Life Dream Mandala image.

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I welcome your Mandala image or comments!