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Reply To: The Metamorphic Journey,” with Craig Deininger, Ph.D.”


Thanks for sharing this! I think you point out some great things here. First, I too would give extra emphasis to Raven as trickster-figure in your encounter. And in great part due to the region and the culture of that region—“when in Rome…” as the saying goes, or rather, “when in Arizona…” And even when we’re within a culture and region, there are subcultures and sub-regions. Like in Ancient Egypt where in different parts of the nation, different gods rule or are worshipped—for example, in Heliopolis Atum-Re is the chief deity, or Sais it is Neith/Isis or in Hermopolis, Thoth, etc. and that when one is in a particular region, that god or goddess’s energy and influence is fused into the region—or so I like to imagine it. So yes, trickster of the Zuni.

So in your encounter, we get the playing, to the point of clowing-around, with the pebble. And trickster here showing so clearly “Hey, don’t take yourself so seriously—here’s how!” And all the valuable things that come with deepening into less self-importance. A freedom of sorts. Like Hillman says somewhere, “Let’s relieve ourselves of the burden of self-importance.” What a welcome visitor.

I really appreciate your not focusing on “the archetypes associated with the raven but on the Raven itself.” –getting caught up in what things represent is just a lateral hand-off for the conceptual intellect, and not the heart of the experience. However, and as you point out also, this knowledge of archetypal reference has its part in it. To this point, I like to think of what Marie-Louise von Franz and Jung say about this, which is basically—“yes, learn the associations. But then forget them.” (Rather a trickster-ish thing to say, too). I suppose the purpose of the saying is that we aren’t railroaded into an intellectual certainty as opposed to staying with the richness of the experience: Raven. And what raven is up to. In short, I feel also, that by learning the archetypal associations and then forgetting them has another value in that even though we’ve supposedly “forgotten” them, that knowledge, or the residue of that knowledge is still there, functioning as an invisible, general structure gently guide as opposed to dictate.

Like I say to my students: “Kung fu—practice the forms and techniques, then drop them if you want to win the match.” But now they know that whenever I say “kung fu,” it means we’re probably going to be getting into some routine-ish, practical, less-exciting content. Not the experience. Alas.

But all this to come back to what you share on the mystery. The preferred direction (my bias acknowledged). You do mention that mysteries are to be experienced, but they are also meant to be solved. And I agree. It’s important to not get one-sided on approach. But I’ll remain a little one-sided and add that my favorite part of solving a mystery is that a new mystery presents itself that otherwise would not have, had I not solved the former. And maybe these deeper levels of mystery are what establish the path for our imagination’s journey. I just now realize that I failed to stay with Raven in all this. I hope we can get back to that as well in our thread.