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Reply To: The Power of the Personal,” with Mythologist Dennis Slattery, Ph.D.”


Hello Dr. Slattery and James,

I apologize for taking your time on the same thread again, but thought I’d add another line or two on the topic of shame/crucifixion.

Revisiting your previous answer, where you said, “What your shaming/crucifixion makes me remember is C.G. Jung’s observation that no process of individuation can begin without an initial crucifixion. That condition can arrive in the form of an illness, a loss, a breakup of an intimate relationship and of course so many more.

You wrote that the ” individuation process is complex”. How complex is also impossible to determine until one is in the middle of  very rough and choppy seas.  Those seeking resurrection need only heed Odysseus. Like him one must remain tied to the mast of the ship, struggling to resist the Sirens’ song, ears plugged with beeswax.

You wrote, “Your equating it with a crucifixion is not off the mark, for becoming conscious of shame’s presence can lead to action, often in the form of a change in attitude towards oneself and others…” This resonates with me and  I am reminded of one of Joe’s quotes:

“If you want the whole thing, the gods will give it to you. But you must be ready for it.”
— Joseph Campbell

And if by “the whole thing”, Joe’s reference is to “resurrection”, then the one seeking it should be prepared for shame/crucifixion. Andre Gide said it well, “You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

I want to link this to our current affairs:  A tragic and macabre part of Canada’s hidden history made headlines during the first week in June after ground-penetrating radar located the remains of 215 First Nations children in a mass unmarked grave on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School (KIRS). The discovery of Indigenous children found in KIRS shook Canada to its core. Calls for a public apology from the federal government, compensation, release of records, and the same from the Catholic Church came pouring in.  But the leaders of many tribes in British Columbia, in my view,  are ready for their resurrection.  Why one might ask?

Reason:  they are not seeking compensation, they are not seeking back door legal settlements. They want to tell their story, they want to be ‘heard’. As simple as that.  Take for example, Eddy Charlie of of another Residential School, who says that the pain has stayed with him throughout his life. He turned to alcohol as a way of coping, which led to anger and damaged relationships —

“Stop asking how you can help — and listen, says B.C. residential school survivor. Eddy Charlie, a survivor of the Kuper Island Residential School, doesn’t want people to ask how they can help. Instead, he would like them to just listen to the stories of survivors like himself.”

Charlie said survivors often carry so much shame and anger that it makes it impossible to talk about their experiences. And if they do talk about it,  they’re worried how others will react.

It’s when they seek neither compensation, nor awards and memorials but just want to be ‘heard’, with ears plugged with bees wax,  that’s when they are ready. As Joe said,  “If you want the whole thing, the gods will give it to you. But you must be ready for it.”

“Yet, soul often awakens in the darkest hours as something deeper and wiser stirs within us. “