The Hero Cycle as Rites of Passage

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The Return is a significant stage of achievement in a Hero Cycle adventure, marking the hero as ‘bringing home’ the strengths and wisdom s/he has attained through facing life’s arduous challenges and fulfilling their Quest. As the Hero returns, s/he benefits all Life and the family and community s/he serves more selflessly after having individuated as a mature, dynamic Self.

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But there is more to the story. Keep in mind that the Hero Cycle represents the mythic structure of a Rites of Passage ordeal which the individual (or group) undergoes to bring about a transformation of his/her/their Identity or to rebalance a situation tending toward decline. The three phases of a complete Rites of Passage cycle include rites of Separation, Transition, and Reintegration. These three universal phases of Rites of Passage cycles are mirrored in the three primary stages of a Hero Cycle adventure: Departure, Fulfillment, and Return.

The Return phase of a Hero’s Adventure involves a Reintegration back into the web of relations, roles, and aspirations of the hero’s Home Base; yet the hero returns to bring bounty to the Whole from having achieved individuation as a powerful, more loving and self-actualizing Self.

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images are from pixabay.com

Reintegration means rejoining a community you had departed from in order to gain maturity and to refine your talents. You rejoin this community with a higher order of Identity, from which you can better serve the growth potentials of the Whole.

Thus when Dorothy returns to Oz as a Self-integrated, mature Person, somehow we know that Toto is going to be okay. Dorothy brings back with her the integrated strengths of Courage, Heart, and Wisdom that she had lacked, and in this more aware, empowered Self she expresses the ultimate realization:

“There’s No Place Like Home!”

The Sea Turtle: Coming Full Circle

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The other day en route to work I listened to an NPR interview with a Chinese man about his experience as a “Sea Turtle.”  In China this metaphor refers to someone who leaves their country and family to travel overseas and then eventually returns. Compatriots who never left will test the returned ‘sea turtle’ to see how s/he has been changed by their exposure to foreign ways ‘across the waters’.  Will they still be loyal and faithful to their own kith and kin?

I like this metaphor, which can have other layers as well as the Chinese associations. The initial journey of the infant sea turtle is fraught with danger and hazards, as only one percent of a group of up to 600 or so hatchlings will even survive the crossing of the beach to reach the Ocean. When the mother sea turtle does return to build her nest and deposit her eggs, it is after from 20-50 years living alone, depending on the species, before reaching sexual maturity and mating.

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The mother sea turtle’s voyage brings her full circle, back to her exact beach of origin. One internet author remarks that the home beach of the sea turtle is “where the magnetic heart is.” Does she return to where she was a rare survivor in evolutionary hopes that her hatchlings might fare as well as she did?

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The Sea Turtle is a  metaphor that applies to my own coming ordeals and adventure as I am set to retire in seven months and I will be returning ‘Back East’ to the conditions I was born to, after nearly forty years ‘Out West.’  I return to bring back lessons and insights from all that I have learned, and will spawn services connected to my book about Life Path Mapping that comes out in March (Your Life Path, see right panel), and to complete additional books in the Life Paths series.

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Are you a SEA TURTLE?  What do you aim to spawn on your Return from your Oceanic journey of experience and maturation? Where is your home beach where you may build your new nest? How can you best provide for your own hatchlings?

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR comments and stories!

Fruition!

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Ideation–Goal-Setting—Planning—Development/Learning—Trials/Practice—Implementation—Fulfillment–Fruition!  Such is the process of Creative Manifestation, and I must admit, I love it. There is no feeling more satisfying to me (right up there with sharing timespace with my pets and family and friends) than arriving at Fruition for some worthwhile, service-oriented project.

I say service, and that is important to me.  It is not only a PRODUCT that is generated through a manifestation process that lights me up, but to be worthwhile there must also be a SERVICE brought to fruition. The product must serve the whole in a positive, growth-enhancing manner; that lights my fire!

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My father (bless his Soul, I dreamed of him this morning) used to tell me: “If you’re going to be a ditch digger, then be the best darned ditch digger you can be!” Dad worked his way through college at Ohio State University just after serving as a bomber pilot in the Pacific in WWII by digging ditches for a telephone cable service.

I recall myself similarly working for college tuition over two summers as the sole farmhand for a farmer’s peach orchard and grape vineyards in New York state. Coming home at the end of a grueling, hot day in the orchard or dragging the vineyards on a tractor brought the same feeling of Fruition that I later associate with planning and implementing a seminar or public outreach service for my spiritual organization, and seeing my book, Your Life Path –with deep thanks to my agent, editor and publicist team!!–, going to production this week!

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images are gratefully from pixabay.com

I will be graduating (er, retiring) from full-time academic service as a professor this summer after teaching for nearly forty years altogether, and that will of course bring a major project to fruition.  I have accomplished what I set out to do over the past 25 years at my present post in many respects, and I will go forth still teaching but focusing full-time on writing and related services for a wider field of sharing. I intend for my final blog when I leave this post in Academe this June to be titled:

Mischief Managed!

What brings YOU to a feeling of Fruition or of successful Completion? What service project are you working on Now that will light YOU up again for the good of the Whole?

To me, this image of LIGHTING YOUR FIRE through bringing a worthy project to Fruition is apt: for Fruition lets us tap into that Holy Fire which empowers us to light the world through our service.

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

Create a Totem of Your Goal Achieved

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An elixir is a potion or aid you receive from achieving some degree of fulfillment along the path to attain your highest goal.  The elixir is like an alchemical agent in that it raises your energy levels, your awareness, to a higher plane that you have attained with your accomplishment. So you come away from the ordeal you have successfully met with a greater power of insight or a force of greater love that you can carry forward with you on the next leg of your Journey.

A Totem is an image or object you can literally plant in your ‘growing space’ or carry with you as a reminder of the qualities you have gained and of your higher Goal.  It could be something as simple as a talisman, like a necklace amulet, pin, or charm bracelet representing the qualities or goal you wish to focus upon.  It could also be a collage of images you compose and place in a highly visible personal space to serve as a Vision board. (I do these often and pin them on my office bulletin board).

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Totems are anchors that “ground” your vision and amplify your intentions like a magnifying glass that concentrates the rays of the Sun.

To create a personal Totem of your goal or aspiration, whether that be a concrete objective or a value you wish to strengthen day to day, find or create an object, or create a collage of images that will remind you to center your attention on your ideal.

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With online imagery such as at pixabay.com or with clipart, it is easy to find images to represent your goal or the values you aim to strengthen.  I recommend placing an image or photograph of the goal or value itself, or of yourself having achieved this goal, in the center of the page to form a mandala composition.  You can surround that central image with additional images that represent how you are to attain this level of fulfillment and what will be the outcomes when you do!

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Place your collage or object somewhere that you will see it often. It could be at your office or in your bedroom or kitchen, somewhere you spend a lot of time thinking about your goal and actively pursuing that.  Or you could wear your totem talisman close to your heart or on your person. It could be private, like a special stone that you carry in your pocket, or even a personal mantra or prayer or poem that you repeat inwardly as you move through the day or before sleeping at night.

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Your totem can be any means of focusing your intentions deeply. This plants your intention in the loam of your everyday life, infusing your activities with a greater sense of mission, of value and purpose, and of unconditional love.  For no one but you can fulfill your deepest Soul objectives, which enhance not only your own capacity to live but your determination to serve Life Itself.

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images are from pixabay.com

I value your Comments and stories!

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!

APOTHEOSIS / Fulfillment of the Quest

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Fulfillment of one’s quest promotes “apotheosis” in Joseph Campbell’s terms pertaining to the Hero Cycle. That is our topic for September. In The Hero With 1000 Faces, Campbell presents apotheosis as an initiation stage by which duality is dissolved into unity.

The merging of opposites: masculine + feminine, positive + negative, physical + Divine; such fulfillment transcends merely apparent paradoxes.  Neutrality is achieved, being neither for nor against. Equanimity allows us to resolve differences and internal as well as external conflicts. Stasis occurs at the eye of the storm. From here one attains Higher Consciousness.

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Freedom is born; a new, heightened sense of freedom from any attachments. Now one is free to move on to new adventures, no longer trammeled by whatever tension of opposites might have brought him/her to overcome obstacles and navigate stormy seas to arrive here.

In life we are constantly asking ourselves—if we are at all reflexive about our progress, or Being—who am I? And then again, who am I, Now? This ‘I’ that we are asking after, this Higher Self, resides always in the Apotheosis state.

I think of Rumi, who must certainly have many a poem about apotheosis. Here’s a verse:

“Through your love

existence and nonexistence merge.

All opposites unite.

All that is profane

becomes sacred again.”

 – Rumi

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Have you experienced times in your life when cycles have shifted and you have felt a special calm after fulfilling some deep quest? Sometimes when I have worked on a difficult project and have completed that successfully, either alone or with others in service, I know, as Frederico Lorca expressed so poetically:

“Something has come

to an end here,

It has been

accomplished.”

I feel the ending of a cycle as an equinox in my life. It has often seemed to me in such a moment that I could willingly die then, translating my life experience into new forms in another dimension. But then, so far anyways in this life, the next project or adventure appears on the horizon, so I am off again to meet it.

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images are from pixabay.com

The attainment of Fulfillment for any one Quest brings strength and understanding we can apply evermore.

Do you have a story to share?  I invite and welcome your comments and stories.

The Urge to Merge: The Sacred Marriage

Preface:  Today (solar eclipse day, 8/21/17) I want to wish a Very Happy Birthday!!! to hom a:kuwaye (my special Zuni friends, twins) Arlene and Darlene. And thank you for your prayers and sage advice about my concerns in the blog that follows. They have let me know that one of the Rain Priests at Zuni, a relative of theirs, has been praying for Longevity. WE should all be very grateful to Zuni religious leaders who have the whole of humanity in their hearts and prayers!

Oh yes, and also Thank YOU to all Followers linked to this blog. Yesterday we reached the magic number of 5000 Followers, which has been a major goal for me from the beginning!

 

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I am contemplating life and “death” tonight.  The US may be at the verge of a conflict that may easily get out of balance; our human and animal lives are fragile and could be taken quickly.  So our topic this month of the Sacred Marriage is all that more vital to comprehend.  The phrase “the urge to merge” came to me in contemplation.  Soul merges with Spirit.  We are not these bodies but the consciousness of Soul within the Ocean of Love and Mercy we may call Divinity.

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As we realize this, that Soul and Spirit and Divinity are a Unity, a Oneness, then we understand that life can never be either given nor can It be taken away. It just Is, as Isness Itself, and that is a loving condition, the ultimate awareness of IAMTHATIAM, or, Alone with the All One.

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I remember a Star Trek original series episode where a species’ Sun was going nova so they needed to be transported away.  They had evolved to pure energy beings, so Kirk and his officers allowed the passengers to semi-possess their body states in order to be transported.  What I recall is how separated and alone they felt, wearing bodies.

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I don’t usually speak too directly of spirituality in this blog, but the times as well as the topic lead me to do so now.  I will share a vision I experienced a few years ago, as it transcends any specific religious dogma.

A Being visited me in that wonderful interstice zone between sleeping and waking.  I could not assign a gender or a race to this beautiful Being.  S/he was gentle and loving is all I can say, with a delicate beauty beyond any mere bodily state.

“How are things going out there?” The Visitor asked me.

I paused to reflect, then answered:

“Well, there are lots of  people believing in many different religions,” I heard myself respond.  “But most people are still afraid of death.”

The Visitor paused as on a breath and issued softly:

“Next time, we won’t do Religion.”

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images are from pixabay.com

The Urge to Merge with Spirit, with Divine Love that IS who we Are as Soul, is the most natural and graceful inspiration we can allow.  Sweet surrender, trust, and faith can lead us Home, which we have never really left anyway.

I wish peace and love to all.

True Partnership

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The Sacred Marriage is our topic this month. For myself, where I have found this is with my pets and family and with my spiritual Guides, but a stable romantic partnership has eluded me so that I now consider myself ‘post-relational’.  Yet I find a great deal of freedom and personal responsibility in living without a romantic partner, and I am happier this way.

Still, what is true partnership when that is not defined primarily or necessarily in romantic terms?

It is when two Souls team up, with love and trust in each other, to weather storms and support one another’s individual and collective missions. It is a guarantee of unconditional love and a willingness to communicate about whatever arises, knowing the other is open and giving in return.

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My dog Sophie and I are true partners. She has been through hell and back again with me when we endured a scourge of parasite bugs last March.  I don’t know how I could have gotten through that without her, and I am so glad she made it through too.  (Yet  I must also acknowledge a Good Samaritan who helped us both greatly at a B&B;  she took us in and helped nurse us back to health despite the risk to her own business.)  Once when I was finally determined to drive back cross-country to deliver Sophie to safety and then finalize my own cleansing of remaining bug threats, my wounds were searing and I thought they might be infected. (A doctor had me using an ointment that was wrong for these kinds of wounds.) Still over 1800 miles from home, I was at a low. Should I just drive through it, or seek help?  At that moment Sophie started barking emphatically at me and I knew she was telling me to get help.  So, in the midst of a torrential downpour somewhere in Iowa late at night, I found an Urgent Care and got the best treatment I had yet received, enough to let me and Sophie push onward.

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My dear Sophia

But I will be honest with you. I always did hope to establish true partnership with a human, yet that never materialized longterm for this lifetime except in some absolutely deep and wonderful friendships.  As a writer this has worked out fine, as it gives me the solitude and space to immerse myself in creative activity and the freedom to follow my dreams. I am reminded of a poem by W. B. Yeats, on “Words”:

I had this thought a while ago,

My darling cannot understand what I have done,

Or what would do in this blind, bitter land.

And I grew weary of the Sun

Until my thoughts cleared up again,

Remembering that the best that I have done

Was done to make it plain;

That at length I could cry,

At last,

My darling understands it all

Because I have come into my strength

And words obey my call.

That had she done so, who can say

What might have shaken from the sieve?

I might have thrown poor words away,

And been content to live.

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images are from pixabay.com

True partnership is  Soul with Spirit and with Divinity Itself, including Spirit as It expresses through other Souls.  Human companionship may be lasting or ephemeral;      in either case it is a great gift to be treasured for all that can be shared.

I welcome your comments and stories!

Into the Woods—A ‘Better Endings’ Revision

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For those new to this blog, or as a refresher since I haven’t looked at this topic directly for awhile here, I am interested in the principle of BETTER ENDINGS.  In fact I have a book in progress about this principle, as it applies not only to literature or mythic constructions but also, and more importantly, to our own lives.

There’s a concept I have learned from Eckankar about working with dreams. If you are dreaming and you do not like what is happening in your dreamscape,  you can change the dream while you are in it as a lucid dream activity; or, immediately upon waking you can rewind the dream and change its ending in your imagination.  This may help you to release the stress associated with the situation encoded by the dream. (I recommend Harold Klemp’s THE ART OF SPIRITUAL DREAMING for many helpful dreamwork techniques.)

But here’s a plus factor: If you can become skilled at changing your nightly dreams, so too you increase your capacity to make changes in your day-to-day life, effecting BETTER ENDINGS! What IF…you had taken that job, stayed with or left that relationship, gone on that vacation? You can re-vision your past choices and attitudes to bring about better coping skills and to realign your Life Path with your most ardent goals.

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Our topic this month of The Sacred Marriage has lots of fertile grounds for ‘better-endering.’  Let me try my hand at a Better Endings rendering for the Sondheim play “Into the Woods”:

I love the play (and movie) Into the Woods’, but I do not like the bitter ending. Why does the baker’s wife have to fall off a cliff to her doom?  The guilty party in confusing her was the philandering Prince, whose charming charisma and political power allows him to believe he can take advantage of any woman in the realm, even forsaking the beautiful princess Cinderella whom he has gone to such great lengths to woo. No, I do not like this bitter pill of an ending, at all!

In my Better Ending for this fairy tale, the Baker’s wife lives on to raise her new baby with her faithful husband.  Cinderella comes upon her charmer of a husband trying unsuccessfully to woo his rival Prince Valiant’s Rapunzel, and Cinderella lets Prince Valiant know what she has seen. The two Princes have a swordfight.     In a final, mutual flourish stab, they pierce each other at the lip of that fatefull cliff the Baker’s wife had been slated for, and they both go toppling over to their deaths.  Cinderella, now freed from this sordid affair, is Queen! She invites Rapunzel to be a story teller for the realm, and together they effect feminist reforms for their Peoples.

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images are from pixabay.com

So, there you have it, a Better Endings retelling for Into the Woods that aims to address the true meaning of The Sacred Marriage.  We marry our values, our integrity. This serves the Whole.

Is there a story about marriage or partnership—either fictional or in your own life—that you believe could benefit from a Better Ending?  Envision it! Write it down! Make the relevant changes!

I welcome your Comments and Stories.!

Marry Your Future, with a Vision Board!

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Maybe this is a bit of a stretch for our topic this month of The Sacred Marriage, but I find myself sitting at my office desk and looking at my bulletin board that I realize I have turned into a Vision Board.  I have embarked upon my final year of teaching before publishing my book, Your Life Path, and then retiring and relocating to focus full-time on writing and life mapping services.

I pilot every life mapping tool that I will be introducing with this book, and the art of “future casting” is a big part of this approach.  Any form of creative envisioning of what I like to call your future Lifescapes can be helpful to you in manifesting the life conditions you desire to express.

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On my Vision Board bulletin board I have the poem Ithaca by Cavafy (You can click on the Youtube video embedded below, narrated by Sean Connery!):

I also have a collage of images that represent my journey ahead to realize my Life Dream.  It shows my future ambitions and goals:

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To create your own Vision Board, simply imagine!  What CORE VALUES do you intend (not simply wish for or hope to do, but INTEND) to establish in your future Dream Come True?  Even if your most desirable future is the life you are living Now, what core values are you manifesting that you intend to extend and embellish further on the road ahead?

Goal setting is not about–or need not involve, anyway–LINEAR THINKING.  By focussing on VALUES rather than specific, material objectives, you remain open and flexible to however the Universe or Spirit fills your mold.

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You can write your future values or conditions you intend to live into onto a poster board or in Publisher on a blank page on your computer. Then find (or draw or paint in) pictures online or in magazines that represent these values and conditions, and place them on your Vision Board in a manner that feels right to you. You can also cut out or cut and paste words and phrases onto your collage.

I like to create my Future Casting Collages (BTW, do several! The future is not cast in stone!) to represent my pathway from where I am Now to the future Now I aim to create around me.

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images (other than my own) are from pixabay.com

I invite and welcome your Comments and Stories!

I would invite your collages to share, but actually I recommend you hold these close and share them mainly with your loved ones. Your VISION is your own; nurture it well and it will be!

The Sacred Marriage

 

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This month let’s focus on the stage of the Hero’s Cycle known as the Sacred Marriage.    To Joseph Campbell, drawing from Jung, this is that stage by which the masculine and feminine energies of the Hero are merged, allowing the Hero to go forth as a more integrated Whole Self as s/he continues to pursue their Quest.

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To Jung more directly, this is a union of the Animus and Anima and brings about a major transformation of character.  If it represents the actual goal of the individual, it can even be seen as an alchemical achievement of the highest magnitude: Mysterium Conjunctionus!   Masculine + feminine (both energies coexisting within both men and women), or Soul + Spirit, or even Earth + Heaven/ Human + Divine: this is the apex of integrated unity, gold out of lead.

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While the Sacred Marriage is often depicted via an actual Marriage of two characters, ultimately it is an internal achievement, as the individual attains a balance within of their animus and anima traits. Because of this, it can occur within anyone as a solo accomplishment or it could manifest as a relationship union.

Integration or even fusion as the Sacred Marriage represents is a significant spiritual development for it allows the Self to emerge as fully formed, as an expression of Soul.

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images are from pixabay.com

A CONTEMPLATION AND JOURNALING PROMPT:

Can you relate to the topic of the Sacred Marriage?

Do you feel you have achieved this INTERNALLY, whether or not you are partnered with your spouse or a significant other?

If so, what does this open up for you in terms of pursuing your greater goals? If not, how shall you achieve this; again, internally?

I welcome your Comments and Stories!

Call Upon Your Inner Archetype Allies

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Here is a list of The Twelve primordial, universal persona archetype figures, as set forth by Dr. Charles Bebeau of the former Avalon Archetype Institute and as updated in terms of naming by Debra Breazzano, MA/LPC:

ELDER LEADER    ARTIST    TEACHER

LOVER       IDEALIST     COMMUNICATOR

WARRIOR     GOLDEN  CHILD    HEALER

NOURISHER    DESCENDER    MYSTIC

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Which of these 12 potential Archetype Allies, included as archetypical forms in anyone’s  personal unconscious identifications, could be helpful to you right Now? You can call upon one or more than one of these universal archetypes, which each possess tremendous energy for supporting your goals with inner strengths and nudges, to help you to understand what course of action will be most beneficial to you for realizing your most worthy goal.

Call upon the positive Strengths of your Ally. This represents your own inherent talents and reinforces your natural perceptive abilities. Here is a self-discovery Tool you can use:

First, identify a positive Goal.

Second, review the list of The Twelve presented above (you can print out this page), and circle one or more than one that you intuitively sense could help you to achieve your goal.

Third, list the Ally or Allies you have selected, and identify some of your own traits or personal qualities that you would like to strengthen and utilize in the pursuit of your goal.

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As a personal example to illustrate this self-discovery Tool, a current goal of mine is to complete a deep edit of my book manuscript which I hope to deliver in about a week. I call upon my inner Communicator, Idealist, and Artist as general Allies, and I have found myself calling forth other Archetype Allies during the work at hand. Editing a chapter where I am offering a process for Descent and Re-Emergence, for instance (in my upcoming book, Your Life Path), I found my inner Descender offering helpful examples and helping me stay true to the intent and purpose of that chapter.

Your internalized persona archetype Allies are at least in part forged and developed based upon the role identities you have assumed in your life.                 

You have internalized some of the traits and abilities of role models who have influenced your development of these roles, such as Parent, Teacher, Adventurer, etcetera.  You can learn to tap into your usually unconscious repertoire of these internalized archetypal traits and personas; my book will provide Tools to allow you to do this (and I will offer an upcoming webinar series even before the book is published in March 2018 by Flyinghorse Publishers).

You may find yourself growing in strength as you “integrate” your archetypal parts-of-Self within a more ‘individuated’ and internally harmonious Whole.

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome your Comments and Stories!

Checking In With Your-Selves!

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Are you engaged in some process that takes a long time yet brings a personal goal to fruition?  School can be like that, or now for me, writing for mainstream publication. I find this activity proceeds necessarily sometimes in fits and starts. During the fits or slow slog periods of editing yet one more time, I find it helpful to check in with my internal selves: those archetypal persona character modes that each have their own perspectives on our shared as well as their distinctive goals with regard to the project at hand. For it may be one or more of these Archetype Allies that has slowed the progress as a way to call attention to an opportunity for improvement before I can move forward more productively again.

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Mindfulness is a popular term these days for this sort of checking in with your Self–or, more accurately for my purposes, your selves!  I like using an Archetype Dialogue Practice to help integrate conflicting internal viewpoints. I use an active imagination technique, such as Jung recommended, to “sink” into a subconscious level of awareness where I can make contact with my internally diverse viewpoints or parts of Self.

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You can think of these archetypal personas as being associated with the various roles (or, masks) you occupy in life, as all of us develop somewhat distinctive points of view from the perspectives of each of our role types (e.g. Parent, Teacher, Lover, Nourisher, Idealist, etcetera).   You can have a conversation inwardly and/or journal a dialogue while you are imagining connecting with these internal parts of Self.  Just allow the interaction or conversation to proceed naturally. This is actually a level of subconscious interaction we take part in unconsciously much of the time, as we weigh a decision or an action.

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Below is an excerpt from a journaling form of Archetype Dialogue I engaged with just a few days ago about the slow process of editing for publication:

ELDER LEADER     You need to finish the edit and begin taping for the webinar. Time is waning on our sabbatical.

NOURISHER.     Let her be, Marshall. She knows what she needs to be doing.

 LW:  Well I could use all of your input, actually. The editing feels too mechanical now. Taking stuff out is not so much fun as putting ideas into the book. It pains me to have to be removing the lined journaling pages, stripping down to only providing the instructions for library readers to do the techniques externally.

ELDER LEADER.    Yes we understand but that is what you need to do, so library readers will not be tempted to write in the books. That’s the editor’s decision. Why are you balking so much?

ARTIST    I know what you really want to be doing…and it is what I want to help you with… to redesign the Toolkit as a separate aid that readers will be able to download or receive directly as a workbook companion to the book.  The cover art your cousin has provided will fit beautifully with the Toolkit.

LW: Yes but then I also need to get rolling with the webinar production. And a larger than usual docket of classes looms just around the corner in August. Argh!

TEACHER.    One step at a time, dear. That is the best way forward. What is the ONE THING, as you tell people to consider with their own life mapping, that YOU need to be doing, Now?

MYSTIC.   Yes, dear Soul, what is your ONE THING, NOW?

LW:  Well, I want to have a clearer overview of the Whole–of where all this is heading, really. So much work for so many years, and yes we have a publication date, but the whole process feels like it is starting to get away from me, you know? Master, can you help me to re-center, to regain a stronger focus at this interval as I need to deliver these products in full strength and beauty, to best serve the Whole?

MYSTIC    Go within to find your answer, dear. What is your ONE THING, Now?

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As I continued with this internal musing (a fine expression, by the way!), I did arrive at answers. My new process is to produce both the edit my publisher needs and, concurrently, I will generate the Toolkit from the extracted material. So I do not have to lose any of the vitality I want for the book to contain. As well, this contemplation led me to write a full draft script of the opening webinar sessions, so I feel back on track now!

I invite you to develop your own Archetype Dialogue Practice.  I will be sharing a full process for this approach with my upcoming book (March 2018), Your Life Path.

What are some of your own archetypal “parts of Self”? Allow them to present themselves to you. Just offer them a safe, open space for communicating with you. Keep in mind that these are not external “voices” or entities, at all. (If they feel as such ever, then it could be helpful for you to discontinue the exchange! ) These are simply your own INTERNAL points of view that much too often we tend to ignore. So, lend an ear!

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome your comments and stories!

Trials and Your Life Lessons

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Here’s a helpful self discovery tool: Make a timeline of the challenging times of hardship or trials in your life. Map these life events according to your ages when each event has occurred.

First, do you see any pattern in terms of the clustering of these events? Have they corresponded with any other major events such as big moves or regular time cycles?

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Second, make a separate list of these events and the ages they occurred, then journal reflectively about any Life Lesson that you gained from each ordeal.

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Can you see any connections among your Life Lessons? Is there a deeper underlying theme, or a realization you can glean? After you have learned a Lesson, has your life experience changed course in any significant ways?

Sages say we often repeat similar tests or ordeals, revealing deeper and deeper levels of a major Life Lesson. Why, do you believe? What might this prepare us for?

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Sequel stories and some television series serve to dramatize this observation that life lessons can unravel over time, resulting in a gradual transformation of character. The popular Big Bang Theory–one of my favorites–is a good example, where every character undergoes gradual, transformative change based on learning their life lessons from relating with one another in the ensemble cast over time.

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images are from pixabay.com

So now, what is your life about?

I welcome YOUR Comments and story.

When Your Dream Becomes a Nightmare? Adapt!

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June brings our new monthly theme at Better Endings for Your Life Path (see Monthly Topics); the next stage as we proceed forward with the Hero Cycle process is:  TRIALS AND REVELATIONS.

I can certainly relate right now at this juncture in my own life’s journey.  This past month, while blogging here about “Descent into the Belly of the Whale,” I sank into a deep contemplation one day while sitting in the center of an outdoor stone labyrinth. I asked my Inner Guide:

“What is it you/Spirit would ask me to improve upon or change as I proceed forward into the next phase of my journey?”

I received a clear answer:

“Adaptability”

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This answer has lingered in my consciousness.  Adaptability is certainly an important TOOL for me to employ as I approach retirement next summer and the release of my book, Your Life Path, next March.

A few days ago, I had a breakthrough with regard to adaptability. I have been conceiving of one and only one destination for retirement.  Yet when I visited that location through the month of March into April, I encountered a terrifying series of ordeals in the form of an invasion of my very body (and my dog’s and car) by parasitic insects. It took six weeks and a heavy load of new credit debt to clear that scourge, and I find myself left with PTSD around these ‘bug issues’ that I am still working on. When I think of that truly wonderful location, it now brings forth a sense of dread: how could I ever feel entirely safe were I to live there? I know this is not rational yet it is deeply entrenched.

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images are from pixabay.com

So I have been thinking about today’s topic: What Can You Do When Your Dream Becomes a Nightmare?

My answer is clear: ADAPT!

With Life Path Mapping, I always encourage people to remain FLEXIBLE and OPEN TO CHANGE. Future life mapping is not about setting a specific location or job or relationship as a necessary or fixed destination. It is about  projecting your VALUES forward into a future set of conditions that will fulfill your sense of purpose, mission, and life satisfaction.

So I took out a map to see where else could I go to satisfy my interests in a retirement community: closer to family, a vibrant community, a lake.  And I found an amazing location I have known of but had not realized how near it is to where I have wanted to be anyway.  I have a new location focus now.

Adaptation rocks!

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I welcome YOUR Comments and Stories.

 

Re-Emergence: Ascent from the Darkness into Light

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Descent into the Belly of the Whale is followed by a re-emergence, a resurfacing into conscious awareness after having gained perspective on the rest of the journey ahead. I love the notion that a descent is followed by Ascent.  We must sink to the depths, yet we bring up from those depths vital tools and gems of newly gained awareness to carry forward. This is an alchemical process.

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Luke Skywalker’s Jedi light saber is a good example. After Luke’s uncle and aunt are killed by the Empire’s storm troopers, Luke seeks to “learn the ways of the Force,” first from the Jedi Knight Obiwan Kenobi and later from the great Jedi Master Yoda. Luke is given a light saber, a tool by which to concentrate the Force and direct his own positive attention.

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Such devices of Awareness are quite common in mythology, as in life. Theseus is aided by a skein of thread woven by Ariadne, daughter of King Minos. With this thread Theseus is able to ascend or reemerge from the labyrinth after he encounters and kills the half-bull/ half-man Minotaur and delivers his compatriots from being imprisoned there. Theseus thereafter assumes his father’s throne in Athens.

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What about you? What Tool or Lesson have you acquired from a time of arduous descent that has helped you to proceed toward fulfilling your deepest purpose?

A degree, for instance? Or some lesson of patience and perseverance? What then is the Quest that your Tool specifically prepares you to accomplish?

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

 

Liminal Passages (Liminality, Part Two)  

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Victor Turner said of the betwixt-and-between (where one is likely to experience marginalized feelings during this Transition stage of a Rite of Passage) that one is caught up, as it were, within a Liminal Zone—like a limbo or purgatory—which Turner describes as Anti-Structure.  You have left the settled life of being part of the Structure of a society to enter into this no-persons land. You have stripped away or have had stripped away much of your former identity (this point is for my sister to read re. her recent dream of identity loss; Hi, Lee!).  You have obstacles to face in your Descent as you pass through the Forbidden territory of Anti-Structure, before you can (with your successful passage) re-enter Structure but in a new role and status based on the transformation of your consciousness and personhood you will have attained during this important, meaningful Transition. There is usually a role model or Guide to lead you through this stage; s/he has been where you are aiming to go and has achieved the new status/ level of consciousness you seek to attain with your Quest. Your Guide will help you so far as you need, or ask.

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Liminality is such an important stage for anyone (or group) seeking to bring about a positive, transformational adjustment in order to realize a deeply beneficial goal, that I want to share more examples here for you to ponder in their possible relation to your own contemplated, desired changes.

Hiawatha and the League of the Iroquois (A Whole-Society Revitalization)

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Hiawatha has lost his wife and three daughters, who were murdered by a chief of his own village during a blood feud among the Iroquois tribes and other regional tribes.  He wanders in the woods, desolate and alone. Some say he develops cannibalistic (Windigo-like) thoughts which he despises in himself.

Hiawatha, either from a boat looking into the waters or in a cabin looking in a pot of water, sees a figure—a god, as he is called—named Deganawidah, looking back at him. This figure—some say a real man with a speech impediment also in the woods—conveys to Hiawatha a Condolence Ritual to help him and his peoples grieve their losses, and he imparts guidelines for a new political confederacy, an alliance of the member tribes: the League of the Iroquois. Six tribes eventually joined this League, which still has relevance today. They put aside their internal fighting and agreed to select lifelong delegates (sachems), installed by the Clan Mothers, who would adjudicate disputes. Greater peace, and strength, ensued for many generations to follow.

Lost Horizon (A Personal Calling and Realization of True Potential)

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Robert Conway and a small crew of allies (unknowingly hand-picked) are hijacked when a small plane leaving China-controlled Tibet (in the post-WWII era) suspiciously crash lands in the deep snows of the Himalayas.  Porters carrying just the right-sized and number of coats appear and the porters escort Conway’s group through a difficult passage in the Himalayas over several days. Eventually they round a bend and see the spectacular, verdant and temperate valley where the Abbot and staff of the amazing Temple of Shangri-La welcome them.

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Conway comes to understand after meeting with the aged Abbot that he has been called to replace this spiritual giant when he (soon to be) passes. Yet he has to reach a degree of faith in the validity of this calling and of the purpose of Shangri-La itself in both a world-beneficial and personal sense.  He escorts his cynical brother away from the Temple when his brother nearly convinces him Temple staff have been lying, but once his brother dies in an avalanche and the woman who claimed she was not protected from aging at the Valley suddenly ages and dies, Conway develops but one core ambition: to return to Shangri-La even after he returns briefly to the US. Following another arduous adventure and crossing (a Second Threshold), Conway returns to Shangri-La to return to the woman there he had fallen in love with and to assume his unselfish, divinely inspired role.

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Star Wars Episode 5: Return of the Jedi (Spiritual Warrior Training and Transformation of Consciousness)

A name that you all recognize: Yoda.  Luke Skywalker departs (separates) from his compatriot rebels to find this Jedi Master so he can train to become a Jedi Knight, “like his father before him.” Luke’s training has all the character of a Liminal Passage. He feels frustrated and powerless at first, doubting his own abilities and doubting the veracity of Yoda’s capabilities as a Teacher. Yoda shows patience with young Luke and reveals his own strengths only as needed, asking the Acolyte to work at self-mastery instead of relying on his master’s techniques. When Yoda sends Luke into the mysterious, swampy domain where he will meet his own negative side in the form of Darth Vader (his Dark Father nature, after all), Luke disregards Master Yoda’s suggestion that he leave his light saber behind. Luke ends up defeating only himself by allowing his fear and anger to lead him to confront the image of Vader therein, a lesson very important for Luke to learn.

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Luke gains Jedi skills from Yoda, yet he has more to learn in the forge of experience as the saga continues. He returns to the fields of battle to save his friends and to serve the Rebellion as best he is able.

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To conclude this reflection on Liminal Passages, consider their role in your personal Life Story.  The more deeply the Liminal Zone is entered into and absorbed, the greater the transformation of consciousness that may occur and with that, the greater the benefits may radiate out from the Hero(ine) to the Whole and its values they are pledged to defend and uphold. The Hero is a Role Model for those s/he serves and  hence can become a guide or Teacher for other Acolytes.

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images are from pixabay.com

And so the Great Cycle continues, life after life, purpose after purpose.  What is YOUR PURPOSE for being Here? What strengths can you develop to be of greatest value to the Whole?

I welcome YOUR Comments and STORY!

 

Carl G. Jung on Descent and Active Imagination

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One of my favorite books is Carl G. Jung’s posthumously published THE RED BOOK. (BTW for the past few years it has become available in a “Reader’s Edition” (2012) for only around 25.00; a great buy, although the original has his amazing drawings and mandalas and the original German journal entries.)

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 I have used this book as a textbook whenever I teach a university class on life mapping.  Jung’s self-initiated DESCENT in 1913 for 25 nights and then for some twenty years more with less regularity deeply influenced his therapy practice and theory along with his understanding of the collective unconscious, divinity, as well as personal unconscious ‘persona’ archetypes. Rather than blogging in a reflexive way myself then this week, I present for you below some of Jung’s direct insights (and those of the book’s editor, Sonu Shamdasani). I hope that you enjoy them and I invite you as he would to undertake a process of active imagination and journaling to engage in and record your own encounter with your own unconscious, archetypal parts-of-Self!

“The task of individuation lay in establishing a dialogue with the fantasy figures–or contents of the collective consciousness–and integrating them into consciousness, hence recovering the value of the mythopoeic imagination which had been lost to the modern age, and thereby reconciling the spirit of the time with the spirit of the depth.” (Shamdasani; The Red Book (Reader’s Edition, 2012, Introduction: pg. 49)

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“This was my twenty-fifth night in the desert. This is how long it took my soul to awaken from a shadowy being to her own life.” (Jung, The Red Book (Reader’s Edition, 2012: 145)

…I had spoken to my soul during 25 nights in the desert and I had given her all my love and submission. But during the 25 days I gave all my love and submission to things, to men,and to the thoughts of this time. I went into the desert only at night.(Jung, The Red Book (Reader’s Edition, 2012: 151)

“The spirit of the depths opened my eyes and I caught a glimpse of the inner things, the world of my soul, the many-formed and changing.” (Jung, The Red Book (Reader’s Edition, 2012: 147)

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As I do not wish to violate fair use laws and hope I haven’t yet in using these quotes, I will add that at the end of his reflections on his Descent via active imagination, he states that ever since he would invite all of his therapy clients and friends to do likewise: to encounter their own depth personae and to “write it all down” as he did first in his Black Book and then copied with art into The Red Book journal. He painted mandala images when he completed a phase of understanding; you can see these online or in the 2009 original publication of The Red Book.

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR comments and story!

Descent–Into the Belly of the Whale

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For this month of May let’s explore here the stage of the Hero’s Adventure which requires Descent and Re-emergence.  Once an adventurer set upon their glorious Quest crosses the (first) threshold to enter into the domain of their field of action to achieve fulfillment, they are often initially “swallowed up” or they descend into a “forbidden (verboten) zone” of a sort that accords with their needs.  Descent signifies allowing oneself to explore the fertile realms of archetypal unconscious potential. Descent is a necessary process to undertake before you can claim any true progress in attaining your most worthy purpose or goal.

Many an epic narrative illuminates the rich though challenging encounter with ‘denizens of the Deep’, such as is represented by the biblical story of Jonah and the Whale. This is a descent into the “dynamism of the Unconscious” according to archetypal psychologists including Carl Jung, James Hillman and Joseph Campbell.

Your unconscious psychological Innerscapes that you may feel are “below” or ‘beneath’ your surface level of conscious awareness are vital like rich loam, oozing with multiple, too often “buried” perceptions, feelings and insights.

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Halloween, for example, is a time of year set aside to release and engage with such a ‘dark,’ shadowy level of consciousness that may actually represent your own unconscious, ‘inner’ worlds. Who do you like to dress up as on Halloween? What might that say about your own archetypal ‘shadow’ selves?

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This month I invite you to “step down,” to accept and listen more closely to your own subconscious and deeper unconscious–often called “gut”–voices. They are YOU; facets of your own total consciousness that derive in part from the various roles and lived experiences you have accumulated and enacted in your life, including those usually more ‘hidden’ parts of Self that might feel stunted, silenced or in “Shadow”.

Sink Into Deep Waters: A Creative Visualization Activity

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As a self-discovery, active imagination technique that you can use to facilitate the psychologically energizing experience of Descent, I invite you to imagine sinking deeply into a body of water. Remember the scene from The Graduate when Ben Braddock (the title character played by Dustin Hoffman) is overwhelmed by his conflicting feelings and relationships, so he dives into a backyard pool and lets himself sink to the bottom? He stays there as long as he can in this depth domain, performing a sort of soul searching.

Try this in a bathtub.  You can fill your tub with bath bubbles (if you wish), with time apart from family or others, and sink back (not really putting your head under the water for so long!).  Imagine sinking to the bottom of a pool or of a lake or even of an Ocean. You can breathe, though; do make sure you give yourself this ability.

Now explore: what is ‘on your mind’ or heart?  What deep questions or decisions are you contemplating, do you need answers about from your own inner parts of Self or inner guidance?

I just did this exercise myself about an hour ago and loved it. When I asked my Self what I needed to better understand I found it is my fear of being alone in my retirement.  My dog Sophie was at the bathroom door and I knew she and my cats will be with me, but I do have a fear of leaving all my friends and outer spiritual community behind me in Colorado when I move in just over a year across country.

So I stayed in the tub, continuing to imagine being underwater like Ben in The Graduate. (Actually this turns out for me to be a very apt fictional analog, as I conceptualize retirement as a graduation from Academia as a professor.) I found my inner selves piping up about the various aspects of Self I could connect with in seeking new friends at my new location. I can connect with writers, and readers, and retired teachers; with pet lovers, Scrabble or other game players, hikers, neighbors and of course my family will mostly be closer, plus a highschool friend still there. Even further, the thought arose that through today’s social media, I don’t have to wait until I make this Big Move before connecting to seek out some like minded others.  I can find online networks and begin connecting even before I leave. I have a full year left to do so before I leave. This last awareness felt very liberating to me; an idea I had not focussed on very ‘deeply’ before now!

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pictures are from pixabay.com

And so, dear fellows, Go For It! I invite you to try this creative visualization technique, either in the tub or in any environment that allows you to engage in an active contemplation session.

I invite and welcome your comments and story!

DESCENDER Dreams, Part Two: Messages from the Deep

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With the last post, I invited you to recall and reflect upon dreams in which your DESCENDER part of Self (persona archetype) reveals itself to You. Often such figures show up in lower or deep spaces and they can represent feelings that you have “submerged” or aspects of You that simply feel more comfortable in the shadows or quiet recesses of your Self.  When such images show up in memorable dreams, take notice! They may illuminate for you how that “part of You” is feeling with regard to some current situation in your life. They have Deep Messages for You; your DESCENDER can be your Ally in bringing ‘buried’ perspectives and feelings to your attention.

This week, as I have been reflecting on some of my own DESCENDER dreams, one of them—a very dramatic dream experience—makes sense to me now in a different way than I understood before.

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The Dream: “I Can’t Believe My Life Has Been about This!”

(Dreamwork Tips:  Give a title to a significant dream in your dream journal or when telling it to bring forth its Message to you more clearly.  Also, write your dream in first person, present tense so you can be more present in the experience; this can help you better feel its import.)

Background:  I experienced this dream while I was traveling in Ireland.  I traveled there in part because I had had another significant dream a couple years earlier which had felt like a “past life” dream.  In that earlier dream I saw I had endured abuse, but the dream encounter I had while in Ireland, while also appearing to relate to a past life, turned that earlier experience on its head!

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I am in a lower level area of some structure; the flooring either is made of or has alot of dirt on it and there is dark wood all around. I am being shown this place by a familiar, masculine Spiritual Guide who is with me. As we walk through the space it feels very familiar to me. I say to my Dream Guide:

“I know this place; I have been here before.”

My Guide says nothing, waiting for me to remember more.

“People died here,” I say slowly. Then it hits me hard: “I had something to do with that; I was responsible for their deaths!”

My Guide remains silent but I feel his support. I know there is a reason I must be here.

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Then a group of people come down from a stairway into this semi-darkened, lower level place. It is a group of rural Irish peasant folk. “Salt of the Earth,” I think to myself as they come into the area accompanied by a Priest. The Priest sets up a table and puts a candle on it, so I know he will conduct some sort of ritual. (I sense it is to be a cleansing.)  Two of the peasants are a brother and sister; suddenly I know these are people who had lost loved ones because of my action that had resulted in their loved ones’ deaths.

The peasant sister (in her early 30’s or so) and I approach one another intently.

I say to her:

“I am so sorry for your loss.”

She says to me:

“I am so sorry for what you have had to endure because of this.”

Then I wake up, but in the process of awakening I say three times out loud, each time with more force of awareness:

“I can’t believe my life has been about this!”

I called a friend in the U.S. as soon as I was awoke (early AM her time):

“Jan, I’m a murderer! I mean it really, I am a murderer, many times over!”

My friend helped me to realize this had been “a dream.” I knew intuitively though that it was a very real encounter, relating to a deeply buried memory.

Message:  This dream event occurred around five or six years ago, yet I remember it as if it were this morning.  In processing the meaning of the dream, I have felt it had something to do with the experience of personal loss or separation in this life from relationship partners of various sorts: friends, romantic partners, family, and pet companions. My strongest desire in all my relations has been for permanence and “continuity,” yet some of the closest relations I have shared, I have had to let go of for the sake of that Soul moving on in their lives or journey.

But this week, while reflecting on this poignant DESCENDER Dream, I am understanding the message in a more holistic way. My whole life HAS “been about this.” The personal growth book I have written, a manual for life mapping that will be published in a matter of months now after nearly fifteen years of development (Your Life Path), aims to help readers to COMPLETE their Life Path with a conscious focus of intention to fully Realize their Life Dream!  Perhaps after my action in the past life ordeal had prevented some people from fulfilling their  dreams, this time I must give back this opportunity.

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I don’t know exactly what the memory could have been about. Perhaps I was an officer on a ship taking people to emigrate after the potato famine and for some reason I did not allow lower berth peoples to surface for food or shelter (maybe rations were low and some could not survive, so I chose to only let the more privileged passengers have the rations). Or maybe I was an officer who shut off access to an upper level in a castle against servant class folks while we were being attacked. Either way, “I was responsible for their deaths.”

Whatever the “real life” validity, dreams DO matter; they have a substance and vital meaning all their own. Writing your dream recall in a Dream Journal is very helpful. Especially the most significant dreams will then linger with you, revealing several layers of meaning over time.

Have you had a significant DESCENDER Dream? Have you fathomed its message? Feel free to share, here or with a loved one. Honor your DESCENDER by listening, attending, and ACTING on the Message received.

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome  and invite YOUR Comments and Stories!

P.S. to All: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!