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The Inner Reaches of Outer Space is Within Reach,” with Dennis Slattery, Ph.D”

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    You are welcome! And thank you Mr. Slattery for taking the time to send me such a gracious, affirming and informative text!

    When I did have my experience I appreciate more how the ancient Greeks and Romans might have, in a similar manner,  experienced their gods and goddesses.  From a Carl Jung perspective would you say there was any archetypal connection in my experience?

    After reading your reply l thought I would like to send you my essay(an approximately 1,200 word) on my experience I had many years ago with a homeless person in San Francisco that propelled me into a metaphysical realization which was everybody on this planet belongs to just one big family: The Human Race.

    Best, Lee

    Dennis Slattery

      Hi Lee:  I think one quality connected with having a direct experience of the numinous is attitude. If your attitude is one of openness, of seeing and experiencing something or someone not from a fixed point of view but one of openness and curiosity, then you allow the phenomena of the world to speak on their own terms and to imaginally incite/insight analogies in you that may lead you further on your own path.

      The key word in your last missive was “appreciate.” The other words are “in a similar manner.” These two groups of words reveal how, like the Blessed Virgin reading when she is visited by the angel Gabriel, is a readiness to give one’s self over to the mystery of being, in whatever form it takes and wherever it leads you in acts of reflection.

      Send your article when time permits and much appreciate your responses above.





      I think of these three words when I recall some of the Old Testament stories when a common person encounters an angel and they are in awe.  I f the encounter is full of awe and is too much then its an awful experience but if it just has some awe and its not too much then the experience is awesome….


      l got a message from some one asking for permission to access my essay. My mistake if one needs permission from me to open up the link to my Homeless Man essay . l thought a link was better than me coping and pasting the 1200 word story here. But needing permission seem like an obstacle that l did not foresee bc of my limited knowledge on how Google Docs works. Not sure how to proceed and l apologise for the mess l made here.


      Hello Lee,

      Actually, the place to post your own writing is in the “Share Your Work” corner, which is a sub-forum within the “Conversation with a Thousand Faces” forum at the bottom of COHO’s main page. Here is a link to that section. If you can’t unlock the Google Doc, you might try copying-and-pasting it (follow the link, scroll to the bottom of the page, type “The Homeless Man” into the topic area, and paste your essay into the field provided).

      Might need some formatting, but you can always work on that after it’s up.

      Dennis Slattery

        Thanks Steve. I was denied access. To be candid, I would rather read and respond to responses to my essay rather than throw the net out to other essays. I hope you understand, Lee. Just a matter of time management.


        Thank you for your understanding, Dennis. Ideally, the point of these MythBlast discussions is exactly that – focusing on thoughts, observations, and questions arising from your essay. We wouldn’t be able to attract many authors and “mythological luminaries” like yourself to this table if they had to worry about being assigned homework, so to speak.

        But apart from that, the forum guidelines (currently posted at the top of every forum), prohibit individuals from posting their own work here, with one significant exception:

        8. Refrain from Self-Promotion Announcements linking to your new blog post, book, workshop, video clip, etc., will be deleted, unless they are demonstrably part of the greater conversation. The only exception is the Share-Your-Work Corner, a subforum within The Conversation with a Thousand Faces. If you have art, poetry, writing, or links to music and other work you would like to share, do so here.

        We consciously created the Share-Your-Work Corner as an exception to the rule, allowing people to share original work without disrupting the flow of existing conversations. Here one can find anything from poetry to published papers, as well as links to blogs and books and such.

        Thanks again for your understanding.


        Hello all and thank you Dennis for your wonderful essay.

        I have been following this conversation for some days now trying to find the right questions. I guess what really resonated with me was this powerful statement.

        Interpretation is a fundamental act in learning. As he creates a unique form of such meaning-making, Campbell uncovers “an implicit connotation through all its metaphorical imagery of a sense of identity of some kind, transcendent of appearances, which unites behind the scenes the opposed actors on the world stage” (81). Life itself is dramatic, but to miss the experience because of an obsession with meaning is to miss the action that is before us and within us.

        Art in all of its guises becomes the delivery system by which myth, history and aesthetics congeal on the same stage. But as is his habitus of finding correlations between worlds, he suggests that “the mystic and the way of the proper artist are related” (111). I do not think it is too much to proclaim that all art is metaphorical to a large degree; Campbell’s own language is that the figural realities on the stage of artistic creation can succeed in opening us to “ a transformation of perspective”

        I spend a lifetime beating my head against the wall with meaning… I would try to find solutions to questions like if there is some objective meaning and even if there is what is the meaning of it all since we all gonna stop to exist at some point. At a certain point I think my mind couldn’t take it anymore and then a series of events happened that made me change and a new reality was born in me, one that meaning was irrelevant and just being able to experience the wonder of life was enough, needless to say this propelled me into action of following my bliss more and listening to myself with more clarity.

        I was wondering if you can expand a bit about the transition from meaning to experience and what does art and myth say about such transitions or experiences?

        Also is it too much to say that all life is metaphorical? What are the implications of such a statement.

        You know I don’t wanna go from one extreme to the other which seems to me is what doing right now. 😀



        Hi Drewie,

        Your story pulls at my heartstrings–finding meaning to things including the big question of as to life itself seems so often to perplex so many of us humans (!) and after all this time in all these centuries it might seem as if we would have found out by now. To me, my “objective” of finding meaning is often replaced with the idea of Jung’s synchronicity theory; when things happen that tempt me to desire to decipher them for meaning I instead recall Jung’s notion of synchronicity–it helps me feel more “relaxed or calm” about my desire to know. Probably, most people reading this have heard of synchronicity, but I did look online really quickly for a decent definition and found a write up on the original Jungian publication and then the definition below:

        Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, by C.G. Jung, is a book published by Princeton University Press in 1960. It was extracted from Structure & Dynamics of the Psyche, which is volume 8 in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung. The book was also published in 1985 by Routledge. (It was originally published in 1952.)

        And here is a link to an article on a website–I like how it begins:

        Carl Jung on Synchronicity

        And then again, one of my favorite quotes of Campbell’s is,

        “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”

        ― Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

        But still, I would love to know the meaning of the big questions and meaning of life! But I like what you say  about” just being able to experience the wonder of life.

        Thank you for expressing your experiences with these questions and with the wonder of life and the wondering!

        ~ Marianne


        Hi Dennis,

        You are welcome, and thank you too~

        I like very much that you wrote, “I don’t judge what I create, I just do it in joy to the best of my talents, which are modest, but that is no matter.” I feel the same way about my own drawing or painting that I like to do when words fail me. However, I did not paint for years (but did do drawing with colored pencils); then when my granddaughter entered the world I did begin again to paint here and there with her. I want to stress here how liberating it is to hear someone else say and to think about this again myself at this time that he does not judge his paintings/drawings, how wondrous it is to have something in one’s life that feels that free! Thank you for writing about your experience with that feeling. I also so much enjoy that you brought up Hillman’s “poetic basis of mind” notion. It seems in the sense that both Campbell and Jung have spoken and written about how the dream world and the mythic world share the same language, that is, of a rather poetic language; so we can see what Hillman means then that poetic ideas, images and such are not limited to poetry per say but to all the arts, which each and all can be poetic–which to me is a beautiful thing to think about. To me it is the poetry of life that makes life numinous. Even the simplest of moments that are poetic are in that way so seemingly numinous much of the time. Thank you again.

        ~ Marianne


        Hey Marianne,

        Thank you for your reply. Jung was one of the few thinkers of his time that even though he was a respected psychiatrist or analyst and had a good reputation in the scientific circle and wasn’t afraid to always point the limitations of rationality and the conscious mind. The problem with meaning like we talked in another conversation with Stephen is that you can answer the question on personal level what is the meaning of my life but on the objective level it gets messy. Like asking what is the purpose of my life or life in general. Difficult questions and like Dennis said can often hinder your experience of life. At the end I had to accept the limitation of my mind’s ability to understand such questions rationally and like Merlin from good old romantic myths of King Arthur would say “Do nothing, rest in the arms of the dragon.. sleep…” For me that was the transition, I went from looking at life as a problem to be solved to experiencing it as a dream. And now some people might think that this is a lazy way to think of life but in my case like I said it propelled into more actions and getting more involved and absorbing as much life experiences as I can. Not to mention I am not risking to go crazy by taking upon myself tasks that were never meant to be solved, heh.

        I am afraid I haven’t read much about synchronicity, I am aware of the concept but I am yet to look at it in depth. I will read the link you gave, thanks! Great Campbell quote too, indeed.



        Hey There, Marianne,

        Figured I would provide a link to the discussion on meaning (and other tricky concepts) in the Conversation with a Thousand Faces forum. It’s called Understanding Campbell .

        Dennis Slattery

          Hi Drewie: I love your wrestling with such passion over the constellation of meaning/experience. By putting the slash in I don’t mean to suggest that they are antagonists of one another. If I might share my view: I do not think there is objective meaning but rather imaginal meaning. What something ultimately means may shift and squirt like Proteus when folks try to capture him, as Menelaos and his men do in Book IV of The Odyssey. But tenacity does pay off and they wring from him the data they need to get home to Sparta.

          I think that meaning cooks slowly like a good Irish stew; we speak of stewing over something and the metaphor is apt. I am with you, however in learning to enjoy in the present moment what wants to present itself on its terms, not mine. Then I am able to slip the reins of ego and move into that meditative space, even a reverie, over what is before me.

          I believe offers us experiences by analogy, obliquely, by indirection; it seems that psyche loves the circuitous and the elliptical rather than the frontal assault. Once I begin to hunt down meaning, I, not the experience, is cooked, actually over-cooked. I am continuing to learn to relax into what is in front of me after a lifetime of living in the past or anticipating the future. I hope this helps and thank you for your insightful posting.

          Dennis Slattery

            Thanks, Marianne for a very cogent response to Drewie’s musings. Synchronistically, I am rereading Jung’s fine essay in Vol. 8 on synchronicity this morning.

            I always defer to journal writing. In the morning, I write in my journal. My coffee is still hot and the candle in my study is glowing contentedly about 4 feet from where I am sitting with my journal–I always write cursively early in the morning. I pose the same question: what from yesterday wishes to be remembered? Then I sit–for about 4 seconds–that is how long it takes for those moments of yesterday to line up and be counted, recollected. From these events, my writing turns some of them into rich experiences of gratitude. If I sense what this or that one means, I jot it down, knowing that such meaning may morph overnight in a dream of feel very different tomorrow. Over years of doing this I have accumulated close to 10,000 pages in 56 journals. In those pages is my evolving personal myth. Give it a try if the idea appeals to you. Thank you for your posting.

            Dennis Slattery

              Hi Drewie: Just a short coda to your response to Marianne:


              Jung’s pages on S. are very revealing for pointing out how the WAY we think about something is, for me, also mythic. Styles of consciousness are mythic; how I process experiences that may evoke meaning, is also a mythic act. So is reading classics of world literature both mythic and involves what Jung called active imagination, where one allows the characters in the story to speak directly to you and you back at them. Moving out of a causal way of processing the world into one of a-causality changes the playing field dramatically and deliciously. For Jung, the medieval imagination was able to hold both causality and acausality with little problem; with the rise of the scientific attitude in the 17th. century the West began to lose faith in the valu of its own experiences. What a loss; thank the Gods and Goddesses for people like Campbell, Jung, Woodman, von Franz and a host of others–James Hillman I add here–to retrieve the soulful substance of myth.

              Mythic consciousness is not causal but metaphoric, symbolic and storied. In the myth there is always meaning and that is part of the hero’s adventure to discover it. It takes a lifetime but I would not have it any other way. Gratitude to you all for your insights.

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