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Dreams have always been one of the prevailing enigmas of humanity. As early as 5,000 B.C., Mesopotamians made a habit of recording their dreams on clay tablets, and every culture in the world has their own interpretation of the realm that lies between wakefulness and sleep... (Click title for full article)
Many years ago in a section entitled “Altruism and Ecstasy” in The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By, Carol Pearson was already seeding the underworld of mythic consciousness with the figure named in her new study, Persephone.
She wrote in her earlier volume, which has undergone numerous printings, that “The Greek Eleusinian mysteries explained the origin of the seasons through the myth of Demeter, the grain goddess, and her daughter, Persephone” (Pearson, 1998, p. 125). She goes on to relate the consequences of Persephone’s abduction by Hades and her mother’s grief, which led to a barren earth and a famished population.
Zeus finally had to intervene to return Persephone to the upper world, but with the proviso, since she had eaten one pomegranate seed in the land of her abductor, that she would spend part of each year in Hades’ precinct... (Click title for more)
Toni Wolff, Carl Jung’s colleague, wrote about the need to add the fourfold structure of the feminine psyche to Jung’s theories of introversion/extraversion and the four functions. A woman’s psyche, as we all know, is different from a man’s, even when it is shaped by patriarchial tools like competition and ambition. Women, when free, are shaped to constantly reach deeper, for soulful love and wholeness, because soul is where we give birth to Spirit.
"A woman…is by nature conditioned by the soul and she is more consistent in that her spirit and her sexuality are coloured by the psyche. Thus her consciousness is more comprehensive but less defined. . ." (Click title for more)
The myth of Persephone is one of the oldest of all Greek myths. Her story is a personification of some of the most universal concepts about life and death. In her youth, Persephone represents the powerful bond between a mother and a daughter and the often difficult transition from maidenhood to marriage. As the Goddess of Springtime and Rebirth, she is eternally connected to the cycles of the earth, which lies barren in her absence and bloom again each spring with her return. And her initiatory experience in the realm of the dead is such a powerful experience that it changes her life forever. It is after this transformation that we remember her most for her role as the Greek Goddess of the Underworld.
Image credit: Soni Alcorn-Hender, http://bohemianweasel.com/2013/12/10/of-persephone-and-pomegranates/mythology-persephone-2013/
Mythology is the most archaic and profound record we have of mankind's essential spirit and nature. As far back as we are able to trace the origins of our species, we find myth and myth-making as the fundamental language through which man relates to life's mystery and fashions meaning from his experiences. The world of myth has its own laws and its own reality. Instead of concepts and facts that make logical sense, we find patterns of irrational imagery whose meaning must be discerned or experienced by the participant-observer. Discovering these patterns of meaning is what Jung meant by the symbolic approach to religion, myth, and dream.
Oil has also raised a modernized mythology of the subterranean smoking and flaming to the planet surface. Our current state of global crisis looks to a mythological eye like the Underworld is eradicating the upperworld.
Most people with a basic psychological education know about what Freud named the "repetition compulsion": the human tendency to repeat old patterns even when they disrupt and sadden rather than satisfy.
Anyone capable of some degree of self-reflection quickly discovers similarities between friends, bosses, relationship partners with whom we repeat typical situations over and over until we realize what we need from these recurrences. Jung referred to the largely unconscious woundings that drive the compulsion to repeat as "complexes."
What goes unnoticed, especially in cultures frozen in an adolescent belief in the delusion of a wholly self-made life free of limitations, is that similar patterns of recurrence play out collectively, in the world at large. At that level the vehicle is not the personal complex, it’s a collective structure: myth, the cultural repository... (Click title for full article)
Symbolism of Tree of Life across different cultures, discovering a magical key to how life manifests itself, a complex formula of existence, the flow of creation from Divine to Earth and back to Divine.
The Mayan believed heaven to be a wonderful, magical place on Earth hidden by a mystical mountain. They called this place Tamoanchan. Heaven, Earth, and Underworld (Xibalba) were connected by the ‘world tree’. The world tree grew at the locus of creation, all things flowing out from that spot into four directions. These were: East associated with red, Northrepresented by white, West that is black and South that is yellow. The Mayan tree of life is a cross with its centre... (Click title for more)
A simplified life in nature exemplifies the ideal environment for inner growth; this fact has been alluded to in mystical literature, which expressed the need for humbleness, quietude and the beautiful surrounding of the country. You won’t find sacred literature extolling the need for 25,000 square foot castles, or the newest electronic gadget for that matter. The point was made there is a higher purpose to life, other than materialistic or narcissistic acquisitions, this involves serious inner work on our own ignorance. The advice to “Know Thyself” was the quintessence of Greek philosophy, also applies here.
Admired by some as strong and loyal, vilified by others as vicious killers, and cherished by many as sweet family members, pit bull type dogs inhabit extreme and contradicting places in the American imagination. For decades public debate has raged over the nature of pit bulls and their rightful place in communities (“pit bull” is not the name of a specific breed but rather refers to few breeds and mixes, notably the American Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier).
Since pit bulls began to be imagined as inherently dangerous in the 1980s they have been the subjects of wave after wave of negative media representation. Municipalities across the country implemented breed-based regulations and bans, resulting in countless dogs being surrendered to shelters or seized and euthanized. In recent years rescue and advocacy efforts emerged in response, with a shift toward positive representation and public education to debunk myths and...
The biblical story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis Chapters 2-3) is foundational to our Western culture and has influenced the upbringing and psychology of all of us, whether we realize it or not. Mythologists as well as many biblical scholars recognize the story as being in the genre of myth, which makes it appropriate to analyze it from the perspective of depth psychology, among other approaches.
Indeed, as Joseph Campbell concluded, “This story yields its meaning only to a psychological interpretation” (2001, p. 50). Further, Carl Jung (CW 9.2, para. 230) had already written that “cosmogonic myths are, at bottom, symbols for the coming of consciousness.” But the literature about the Eden story taking such a psychological approach is scant, largely due to traditional and problematic gaps and tensions between academic disciplines....
THE ancient myths are not dead; they live on in the stories people tell about their own lives.
While the old gods do not show up by name, they are there in spirit, in the struggles and triumphs that people depict as the key episodes in their lives.
New work by psychological researchers shows that in telling their life stories, people invent a personal myth, a tale that, like the myths of old, explains the meaning and goals of their lives. In doing so, they match - quite unwittingly - the characters and themes that are found in the old myths.
For example, one research subject, Tom H., depicted his life story as a saga in which he was a warrior like the Greek god Ares. Tom found himself in constant battle -with other children, relatives and people in authority. The main struggle of his life... (Click title to keep reading)
(Image by Nathaniel Bearson.)
Nothing could be more mistaken than to assume that a myth is something ‘thought up.’ It comes into existence of its own accord, as can be observed in all authentic products of fantasy, and particularly in dreams. It is the hybris of consciousness to pretend that everything derives from its primacy, despite the fact that consciousness itself demonstrably comes from an older unconscious psyche.” *
When Jung observes that “image is psyche,” (CW 13, §75), or James Hillman writes in this context that “According to Jung, the sine qua non of any consciousness whatsoever is the ‘psychic image,’” (Anima: An Anatomy 95), both men are not just saying that “image is everything” but also that “everything is image.” At any moment we are surrounded by language, images, and motifs created by the unconscious fantasy or myth-making mind (a.k.a. the “psyche” or soul) in its need to understand, make order out of, and create meaning for everyday existence... (Click title for more)
Neumann’s interpretation of the Eros [sic] and Psyche myth is influenced by his view of the development of human consciousness which he describes in his major work, The Origins and History of Consciousness. There he traces the stages of human consciousness beginning with the self-contained uroboros (the symbol of the primal dragon that bites its own tail), where there is not yet individual consciousness differentiated from the environment or from the original unconscious matrix.
Neumann sees the uroboric state expressed in creation myths, especially the myth of the Great Mother. Aphrodite (Venus) is one of the primary mythical figures representing the Great Mother and she is also at the starting point of the “Eros and Psyche” tale. Neumann sees Aphrodite as a symbol of the seductive inertia of nature and the collective unconscious. She is the original, conservative, maternal source of life and her beauty serves the purpose of ... (Click title for full article)
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None of the countless issues we face on this planet today can be resolved by our current way of thinking and being, based on our established, mainly masculine, value systems. So far as our current state of consciousness is concerned, there can be no paradigm shift without honouring and implementing the feminine principle equally on all levels of society.
This gradual implementation of a patriarchal, masculine (value) system, which is too complex in its many strands to describe in one article, has brought us much by way of material, scientific and cultural riches, but has now reached a point where the destructive outweighs the benefits, where it cannot serve us any longer. Basic attributes of the feminine principle, the life-giving, life-sustaining, the nurturing, the emotional, the intuitive, the inclusive and connective... (Click title for full article)
Some say that when the fairy folk ruled Ireland, they had a well beneath the sea where the nine hazel trees of wisdom grew. At the given hour these nine trees would blossom and fruit and drop their nuts onto the surface of the water, where five salmon waited to eat them. The nuts contained all wisdom, poetic inspiration, and the gift of second sight. Whoever caught one of these salmon and ate the first three bites of its flesh would acquire this wisdom and become a great poet.
Photo credit: featured at https://keltickaity.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/animals-in-celtic-designs/
According to the Midrash*, Lilith, first wife of Adam, was born from the same mud and clay at the same time as Adam in the Garden of Eden and thus they were equal. Lilith refused to be submissive to Adam. The ensuing argument in which Adam, and God, refused to see Lilith’s side of the story caused her banishment by God for her blasphemous rage to the depths of the Red Sea to be never seen or heard of again.
But she does re-appear, from her exile, in the guise of the serpent who offered Eve the apple. Lilith, as serpent, was instrumental in Adam and Eve’s exile. In contemporary psychological terms, this banishment is referred to as the ‘Rise’ of man, and not the ‘Fall’ as it was seen as necessary, Fate, for them to move from unconsciousness and to strive for consciousness.
This meant leaving Paradise and its unity, into a world of duality, where pain and pleasure, light and dark, life and death, temporal and eternal, into a world of opposites with which to contend, and to experience... (Click title for more)
Via Skip_Conover, Eva Rider
The Green Man is an archetypal expression calling attention to our relationship to the natural habitat of the woods as a necessary source of life and creativity.
The Green Man has made appearances in stories around the globe through both pagan and Abrahamic religious imagination, leaving behind a trail of art and symbolism in Europe and the Near-East.
I first heard (and have even written) about him a few months ago through Tom Cheetham’s book, GREEN MAN, EARTH ANGEL, The Prophetic Tradition and the Battle for the Soul of the World, in which Tom writes about Khidr, the Verdant One, how... (Click title for full article)
I found this great quote from Tom Cheetham (in his works on Henry Corbin). I think only true Hillmaniacs can understand it, especially when we are trying to reconcile the drive toward integrative wholeness while recognizing the necessity of falling apart:
"To compare Hillman and Jung in any detail is far beyond the scope of these remarks...Hillman is "a Jungian" by any standard, but rather a wayward one. Any simple contrast will be inadequate and perhaps misleading; but if Jung is the Wise Old man, Hillman is the Trickster, or pretends to be. Years ago when I was immersed in reading them both rather obsessively in the midst of the beginnings of my own psychic crisis, the difference was quite a practical one about which I thought very little. If I were feeling threatened by fragmentation, I would read Jung. If I were in terror of being bound and stifled, I would read Hillman. I still think that says a lot about their differences."... (Click title for more)
In Monday night’s dream I’m driving a lawn mower and am surprised to see that I’m pulling three portable potties behind me, tiered one above the other, which appear to have been the unlucky recipients of some explosive diarrhea. The image suggests I am trying to get rid of, but still unconsciously lugging around, some powerful and “disgusting” inner contents.
Last night’s dream features some dangerous intruders who invade my house and run upstairs Fred goes to turn on the alarm to alert the police so I relax. But after time passes and the police have not arrived, I see shadows descending the staircase and run for my life.
Unwanted diarrhea. Dangerous intruders. Both dreams remind me of some powerful emotions I experienced after last weekend’s house party at the cabin. We had invited four couples to join us. Since it was Valentine’s Day weekend we decided to be romantic and silly. We made valentines out of red construction paper and lace and ... (Click title for the full essay)
The myth of Psyche (the word psyche means “soul” in Greek), Cupid, her invisible lover (Eros in Greek), and Cupid’s mother, the goddess of beauty and love, Venus (Aphrodite in Greek), illustrates how deeply Beauty, Soul, and Love are interrelated.
This relationship can show up in a modern context of the spa experience. The many spa treatments readily available might be presumed to be merely pampering and possibly even decadent. However, if approached in the right frame of mind, they have the potential to touch us deeply and nurture the soul.
The story of “The Invisible Lover” is a chapter from the greater work of The Metamorphoses (also known as... (Click title for more)...
Contemporary American stereotypes, resulting from fixed and rigid typologies, reveal cultural beliefs and psychological truth. Evolving out of a faulty understanding of hunting and farming mythologies, and patriarchal and feminist assertions, one such stereotype is the belief that by nature men, and not women, are hunters.
By extension, the binary fantasy that men are aggressive and women are nurturers is a testimonial to the lost archetype of woman as hunter within our everyday life. Denial of feminine aggression has rendered Artemis, a feminine archetype of the Hunt, to an unconscious and split-off position—she has been stripped of her arrows. Drawing upon my own life and with a specific focus on women’s experience, this article examines both the psychological consequences of the lost archetype and the transformation offered by a present day practice that facilitates a conscious re-integration of aggressive instincts.
Photo credit: Copyright http://www.123rf.com/profile_malchev
The possibility exists that animals may have their own myths. Evolutionary biology tells us that non-human and human animals are biologically related, including similarities in brain function. Both see images. Depth psychology is rich in discussion of how we create myth from images. This opens the possibility that animals can also do so.
Many questions arise. Are images all that are needed to “know” myth? If the archetypal images we see are related to instincts, would such images really be a uniquely human phenomenon? If other animals do have these archetypal, instinctual images within them, are they enough to lead to myths? The question of whether non-human animals are aware and conscious would be an a priori condition to believe this to be possible. Or, do we need speech for myth?
A myth may only be a myth if it is told, somehow shared with others. We do know other animals communicate, both with each other and with us to the degree that we are receptive, but are they capable of sharing myths? (Click title for more....)
The world as we know it is awash with profound problems and puzzling changes and beset with seemingly endless conflicts.
To be alive at this time means to be exposed to the raw forces of nature as well as the rough edges of culture. Increasingly, it does seem that everything might come to a screaming end, that it could happen at any moment, and that it might happen from a mistake of culture or from a catastrophe of nature.
When the balance of the world slips towards chaos, nightmares of apocalypse can rise to the surface and affect even the most rational of people. Periods of great uncertainty and radical change can stir our deepest forebodings and awaken the darkest corners of our souls, where fears of catastrophe and apocalyptic endings reside and have always resided. For fears of the end have been with us from the very beginning.
Tales of apocalyptic endings can be found in most...(Click title for more)
If you were to enter a church, mosque, or synagogue determined to plunder it before burning it down, you would probably end up in custody. Do the same to Earth, temple and home to us all, and you might be eligible for a government subsidy. Isn't that strange?
When psychologists talk about splitting, they refer to the habit of keeping sectors of life that belong together divided into different compartments. The unhealed child abuse survivor grows up to forget that the parent who beat them savagely was the parent they now idealize as an exemplar of loving discipline. The producer of violent films forbids his children to watch them. The speed dater with a track record of ending up with exploitative men convinces herself, again, that this man is the one she's been waiting for. The troll who attends church on Sunday spends the rest of the week vilifying people online.
Splitting, an emotional defense of early childhood, has become a character disorder of American society. News networks whose politician guests pushed the disastrous war in Iraq but never landed in prison...(Click title for more)