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Reply To: Heroic Fear, Foolishness, and Creative Ecstasy”, with Leigh Melander, Ph.D.”


    Sunbug, your two responses were magnificent, and the way you express them puts the reader right there with you. Thank you so much for your kind and generous efforts in including me in some of your thoughts and I was deeply moved by your personal struggle to give wings to your muse “and” the connection to (your story).

    “Story” for me is huge because it links personal myth to inner narrative and its’ connection to “The Call” of the human heart and the demands of the Adventure each must take to answer it. In reference to your kind question the answer is “Yes”; I’m definitely making headway with the inner Minotaur/Dragon/Monster/ sometimes “wounded child” who resides deep in the Labyrinth cave that’s asking to be heard. And your kind sharing of your adventure is an important reminder we all have private inner dreams that yearn and long to be fulfilled if we are to be whole and fulfill who we were meant to be. So rich in detail your story was and also a reminder of the courage in the face of others which must be found to bring it to fruition.

    The Labyrinth is an ancient motif that has several forms in different cultures usually as a maze sometimes depicting the connection between the underworld and the light world, but the mythic figure of the Minotaur is Greek as we know, that often finds it’s expression in the Shadow of human response, both collective and personal. When Picasso painted Guernica as a symbol of the horrific Nazi bombing of innocent of people in that small Spanish Basque town by Franco, (which now by the way has a tapestry of it hanging on the wall of the United Nations), it was to express the outrage of what we now call “genocide”, and the Minotaur is one of central figures depicting man’s brutal nature, but there were also other depictions that Picasso created of the Minotaur and Joseph talks about this with a few short descriptions that can be found; (if you haven’t seen them already); in his wonderful book: “The Ecstasy of Being”, on pages 82, 83, & 86 complete with pictures of two of them.

    Modern versions could be seen as an expression of this aspect of human nature every time you see a “bully”; like the recent incident at the Academy Awards called: “The Slap”; but more importantly in the unspeakable nightmare now playing out in Ukraine. Anger, rage, shame, are just a few of its’ forms that take shape in the acts of violence or toxic behavior that aims to wound or to destroy found in human nature throughout human history and it is archetypal both in symbol and in expression and it must be controlled as Jung feared when he said: “the world hangs by a thread”. (A note to Putin and others like him for they are many and take many forms in everyday life.)

    It’s not always about fear but can be about anxiety and complexes, your inner anxieties, your guilt, your desire to do things you normally would not do or say but feel “compelled” to do so. Emotions, feelings, dreams, symbols, and yes, creative expression are roads of revelation to what they mean in Jungian parlance. This is “Dionysus” in a manner of speaking, and yes creativity lives here also. “The Devil made me do that, I don’t know what came over me.” That’s a complex in full expression because as the saying goes: “complexes have us” just as much as they live in us as archetypal expressions of content in the unconscious. And they are both “collective as well as personal” as you suggested and can take many forms and you are not going to get rid of some of them so you must learn to either “negotiate” with them or listen to them, but our individuation path or process asks that: “you get to know them”, as Joseph suggests when he says when confronting your shadow: “yes, it is I”.

    So, for me after 45 years of a wonderful musical creative life and that process of achievement to live that life has now changed into a process of meaning and of dealing with all that emotional baggage that’s been buried deep in the cave over the years that needs to be confronted and listened to and crucified by and wept with and healed by. Because a Minotaur can come roaring into my light world depriving me of some of my best years, and I don’t want to miss that transformation instead of listening to that sad mournful echo of: “if only” instead of: “I lived”.

    (Leigh, I know will have some wonderful things to offer and I am excited to hear everything she has to say. But before I wind up thank you again for sharing such wonderfully insightful responses. The muses must be smiling.)