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Releasing the Dreamings,” with mythologist Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.”

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  • #74761

    Lovely and poignant Joanna.

    Sometimes I wonder if awareness, that child of sudden dawning might hold some possibility? Both individual and collective/universal?

    Awareness: That which comes through insight as much as “reasoning out the wherefores?” Or at least a balance between the two?

    It seems to be on the flip coin of the trickster (last month’s theme,) that some myths point to a different kind of spontaneity, even compassionate spontaneity, which can sometimes lead to inner knowing or even a type of healing or resolution larger than oneself alone?

    I think Campbell is right on about the drudgery of the world or being caught up in the daily grind just to survive.   It makes it hard to seek the truth and beauty, unless they catch you by surprise like a piercing ray of a sunset flashing against a glass sky scraper turning it to molten gold or the echo of a hawk’s cry against the mountains.
    Maybe that does not work for everyone, but perhaps something else might. I don’t know.

    My thought is that myth is perceived both as something within and without the system. And we are told myths are born out of human systems.

    Yet, near the end of the essay Joanna,  you mention myths connection to human subconscious or the collected subconscious (or consciousness?) A very familiar theme for those acquainted with Campbell, Jung or other fields of myth/psychology.

    I understand that particular myths can “grow” out of societies through time or systems. But it seems like the primary system of the myth seems to be within the subconscious or consciousness and some of that is still not fully understood.
    And with myths occasional ability to dance between human systems and outside of those systems; it’s almost easy to imagine these stories as something that flow through these systems but are not always dependent on them. Not to say we don’t need the systems, but for me occasionally it feels like the myths do not require the systems for their existence. It sounds strange and maybe I’m off the mark, but if the myths are tied into the collective dream or universal dreams of humanity (minus maybe particular instructional myths or landscape myths still beautiful like the aboriginal song lines)…

    then the systems that birth myths are not just social orders. But maybe they are the subconscious (or universal/collected subconscious, that exists even prior to social orders in which the myths can be adapted to fit.

    In David Abram’s “Spell of the Sensuous,” and in Joe Campbell’s reference to the times early people would address both animals and features of the natural landscapes around them as Thou…there is a raw direct experience. And experience is a word Campbell seemed to love. Meaning through experience first.
    Now, with all the battering of the tides of the world, we are so overloaded for many; it may feel impossible to reach that. So that is a challenge.

    Because I know what works for me might not work for another. My only thought on this is if a natural awareness could perform the archetype of a pebble in water? Maybe there is too much stress and angst for this. How long can any one or many wait? Difficult question.
    Yet,  awareness in the stories can come when least expected and not always in the way one expects. And there are those rare moments in life of dawning awareness. But maybe they are too rare to dwell upon.
    I could be hopeful but would that make me foolish? Not aware of the real world? Dreaming impossible eucatastrophes? After so much pain?
    Maybe I’m not fully appreciating myths connection to societal systems, yet I’m also reminded of the Wasteland of the Grail King…in one translation where Campbell says the rules are not the same in the wasteland and there are no guides…well apparently none except for spontaneous compassion.
    This is what gives me the imagining of the myths and stories being like an old River that flows through many societal comings and going’s even perhaps prior to those societal orders…because there is the deeper River maybe even through our subconscious or our collected subconscious…or perhaps something transcendent of that impossible to describe if limited by the various dragons of thou shalt and cannot be.

    in the month of the trickster we fear chaos and dangerous floods…death and doom…

    But the River has also been a symbol of Life.
    The question then is knowing when to dam and when to let the River flow?

    Even a more metaphorical River.
    What if even simple awareness of the River is like a reconnection to life giving waters in a time of drought? Or perhaps even a drought which has dammed up limited time for appreciating  “truth and beauty” and experience? What if the awareness of the river even can help with the stagnation of course…or being trapped in a current.

     

    Maybe the pain reflects our “thirst” both real and perhaps spiritual?

    My sense is that a centering in Awareness would allow for a potential change in energy both individually and collectively where discernment is more present…than blind judgement…and an Awareness, which is not only aware of more than itself but is not so deeply and understandably rooted in painful or fearful emotions or frustrated ones that it can no longer feel the Life Giving Waters of the River.

    Because if the Centered awareness is not there, then my guess is that it’s pain, (real pain) which takes center stage and that makes communication very difficult. Because it is the Pain being addressed and the Pain addressing you back not simply the person in pain or frustration …and it’s not going to be a normal conversation.
    Or  fear. There is a difference between facing, embracing  or acknowledging fear and thinking with fear…because   fear can paralyze…and can turn to anger…which may harm both an individual and others around them.

    And that’s why I choose kindness…

    But maybe I’m off on a current. How can I possibly know a strangers life story and experiences?  I cannot… except to know their story might be completely different from mine. And to respect that or be aware of that the best I can.

    Because I don’t know…I am still working things like this out for myself (laugh) and can often wind in circling muddy eddies…but maybe one day? Who knows?
    I send my best to all who are struggling and working through these challenging times. Take care.

     

     

     

    #74760

    Western culture has had decades of fatness and suddenly we are at the edge of the abyss of lean.

    That would make any conscious spirit disoriented.  While we reconstruct our aim toward a “Thou”

    world of spirit and gratefulness, we should expect to have a weird time grounding.  Beautiful sentiments,

    you have a way of going inward that is lovely.

    #74759
    jamesn.
    Participant

      Doro and Sunbug, I think you have both illustrated a very insightful point concerning how the individuation process unfolds concerning Jung’s idea of “repression and the shadow complex”; especially in terms of “integration of the shadow”. Two quotes caught my eye that seem to refer to this process.

      Doro said: “That means working hard to disconnect from defense mechanisms, vanity, recognition and all the other unrealistic predatory illusions that detach us from the fantastic planetary showtime we so quickly reject.”

      And Sunbug said:
      “Maybe the pain reflects our “thirst” both real and perhaps spiritual?
      My sense is that a centering in Awareness would allow for a potential change in energy both individually and collectively where discernment is more present…than blind judgement…and an Awareness, which is not only aware of more than itself but is not so deeply and understandably rooted in painful or fearful emotions or frustrated ones that it can no longer feel the Life Giving Waters of the River.

      Because if the Centered awareness is not there, then my guess is that it’s pain, (real pain) which takes center stage and that makes communication very difficult. Because it is the Pain being addressed and the Pain addressing you back not simply the person in pain or frustration …and it’s not going to be a normal conversation.
      Or fear. There is a difference between facing, embracing or acknowledging fear and thinking with fear…because   fear can paralyze…and can turn to anger…which may harm both an individual and others around them.

      And that’s why I choose kindness…”

      _________________________

      I think Joanna can probably do a much better job at this than I can, but here is what struck me concerning how our attitudes can change by changing our perception; (which is what Jung and Campbell try to illuminate, at least as I see it). The libido, or psychic energy, gets stuck by a blockage of some sort for any number of reasons; and as both Joseph and Jung try to explain we need a symbol or experience of some sort to open it up; something that gives us a way to relate or marry both sides so that this flow can resume. Jung calls this symbol making process the: “Axum of Maria”; which has to do the (transcendent function) which makes a third thing, or bridge if you will, that unites or creates a new way of seeing or interpreting this tension what is pulling you apart. “One becomes two, which creates 3, which makes a fourth”.

      Sounds strange I know, but Joseph describes this a little bit differently by saying when you are stuck or held between two opposing forces you must find the “middle” way. One example he uses in one of his lectures is you want to find some sort of symbolic realization that will help you to transform the way you look at your situation, whether through your art or some kind of activity that helps you symbolically address what is going on inside you and resolve it. (The link above I provided may help to describe this process a little better than I’m doing at the moment), but another example would be Jung’s: “Red Book”; which he used to write down his dreams and draw pictures. There are numerous stories about Jung and how he used this process to build his house at Bollingen in Zurich; but the point is to help you connect with your inner world in a way to open up and release what is blocking you.

      Pattrick Slattery uses a question in his approach to personal writing where he asks himself in this clip: “What am I about?”  Joseph asks us: “What did you like to do as a child?” and describes the (act of play) as how to think about this process. But find something you love that will help you access it. One quote Joseph used in one of his lectures is: “Take the guy you want to murder and beat him at golf”; but the point is to help access and integrate your “Shadow”; which is going to come up and pay you a visit whether you know it or not. Shadow content is usually related to “a complex”; and as the saying goes: “complexes have us”; not the other way around. They come up out of nowhere and blindside us because they have been repressed. Joseph describes the way these things in the psyche are constellated and talks about how the shadow works. This is what we have to know and learn to recognize as described in this part of his lecture: “Psyche and Symbol”.

      So, to repeat myself, as I mentioned I’m sure Joanna can do a much better job of explaining all of this than my humble attempt which is pretty ragged and full of holes no doubt; but that’s my understanding that was triggered by the excellent earlier text I extracted from Doro and Sunbug. So, I’m hoping she has more to add about this.

      ____________________________________________________________________________

      (A quick word of clarity concerning art therapy and “symbolic realization”. Yes, the clip was about the “sacred space” which is usually referred to as Temenos that exists between client and therapist; but in this case we are “also” talking about the individual and their expression of their art (with or without a therapist as well.)

       

      #74758

      @sunbug thank you for sharing these reflections! I especially appreciate your river metaphor. The image / soul of rivers can represent so many of the issues you are exploring here, and potentially guide you ever further along the journey.

      #74757

      @jamesn. you put it all beautifully. Thank you so much for sharing the video clips. I am a big believer in the power of creative work to help us express our prima materia, to use the alchemical term, rather than acting it out. That’s a wonderful avenue to the gold of insight in the dream that Campbell relayed in the video clip.

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