Active Imagination, Anne Baring, archetypes, Bonnie Bright, Depth Insights, Divine Mother, Dreams, Goddess, Journaling, Jungian, King Arthur myth, Mists of Avalon, Robert Bosnak, Shamanism, Soul Loss, Totems
Yesterday, I listened to an interview with Jungian scholar and author Robert Bosnak conducted by host Bonnie Bright for “Depth Insights.” Robert, who is now promoting his new book “Red Sulpher: The Greatest Mystery in Alchemy” (link to interview at the end of this post), said something that struck me as an entirely new twist on a dilemma I’ve been contemplating for quite some time: how to re-infuse our hearts and minds with a sense of the world as alive and spirit-filled in our scientific age without devaluing either perspective. Bonnie suggested that we’re currently experiencing a sense of ‘soul loss.” Robert disagreed and put it this way:
Soul fell in love with another image…Soul was in love with the sense that the world was alive and animated and then Soul fell in love with Reason. Reason began to excite Soul, and so it was a movement within soul itself. Soul moved from her love for magic to her love for reason. This was not a loss of soul; it was a change of soul.
Thinking about Robert’s words, it dawned on me that this ‘change of soul’’ is also the theme in The Mists of Avalon, the bestseller by author Marion Zimmer Bradley that I’m currently reading. In Ms Zimmer’s take on the Arthurian myth she explores the paradigm shift from the matriarchal goddess religion upheld and taught by the priestess women of Avalon, and espoused by the common folk in the novel, to the increasingly patriarchal God the Father religious stance of King Arthur and his court.
We can never go back to believing wholly in magic, but neither can we live in a world devoid of spirit. The Solar (logic, linear, goal-oriented) and the Lunar (Intuition, holistic, soulful) perspectives are both needed for full and balanced functioning of consciousness. These thoughts were salient in my mind today as I perused my journal for meaningful coincidences and/or dreams to include in the book I’m writing, Synchronicity Journaling: Working with Meaningful Coincidences, Dreams, and Visions.
A journal entry describing a dream of mine and an Active Imagination session based on another dream fragment, both shared in dream group, quickly caught my attention I titled the dream “The Imagined Danger from the Woods Turns Out to Be a Visit from Friends.” In it ~
I’m in a cabin in the woods. A man and unidentified woman are there with me as well as a baby (I think, mine). I have a bear friend in the dream. We dance together. He is tall and brown like a grizzly, not like the black variety in my last bear dream. I have no fear because I know that Bear will not harm me, and tell the man so. The man is going to watch my baby while I go to work. As I am putting on shoes, I grumble, “I’ll be glad when I don’t have to do this boring work anymore.” Before I leave, I have to look for underwear for myself and change the baby. As I’m changing her, I notice some writing on her diaper and am glad I am the one to change her and read this (although, I’ve forgotten what it says upon waking). I say something about the baby’s ‘rosy cheeks,’ meaning her bottom, and the man asks me what that means. We are from different cultures but we both speak English, so I am surprised that he doesn’t know that simple bodily expression (it’s like we speak two completely different languages). All of a sudden, the scenario turns sinister. There is ‘someone’ from the Wood, coming our way. The woman starts turning out lights, but I want them on so I can see what is approaching. Before all the lights go out, I see a Lioness perched on a shelf over the doorway, as if guarding a portal to another dimension. She is growling at Bear in warning to not cross the boundary of the doorway! I’m wondering if Bear can handle Lion but am standing in another room to keep my distance. Now, the house is dark and I am looking for the switch to turn on a light. There are dogs barking outside, guard dogs. So the ‘danger’ is coming nearer. But who comes through the door – Lion and Bear have disappeared – is a dreamworker friend that I know, and a woman dressed as if she is from Switzerland (The outfit reminds of the Older Ladies are Divine video on Youtube). They are my friends and there is no reason to be afraid of their presence in my house. (EOD)
Thoughts about the dream: A woman is with an animal part of self, represented by Bear. The Bear is sensually playful and seems to be some aspect of the Wild Self that the woman is ‘dancing’ with. The baby is dependent upon the Feminine but needs Masculine tending as well. The woman is tired of the type of work she has been doing (boring and mundane) and needs to get her feet ready for action (put on her shoes), find her under-wear (not visible, deeper meaning) and get the baby (creative project) ready for the masculine (manifestation). There is some special writing on the baby that the Feminine (muse) needs to be part of. A Lion appears on a shelf over the door, or portal opening to another dimension, and tussles (setting boundaries) with Bear. The woman keeps her distance and lets these two archetypal energies work it out. Lion has many associations in my mind with both feminine and masculine deities and royalty, power, and rules and regulations. In my dreams, Bear has been a connection to my Wild nature, my ‘maverick’ ways, my soul song, sacred thirst, and Eros. The scene has an element of danger, something in the ‘Wood’ that is threatening, and the dogs bark at the entry of a new thing introduced into the dream (portal of initiation). The Dream Ego is not afraid to see what approaches. Fortunately, the ‘new thing,’ turns out to be inviting and promising and not something to fear. A shamanic dreamworker (deep dreaming) and Swiss woman (associate of Jung) have arrived because they saw something I’d written in an advertisement (an intention to be part of an enlivened, spirit-filled world).
After I shared the dream in with our group, R described a fragment of a dream in which four Kings—statues forty feet high—in square formation, rise out of the water. We decided to reenter R’s dream imagery by the process of Active Imagination (AI)—a Jungian concept whereby a person is trained to bring up and listen to the voice(s) of imagery going on just below conscious awareness within thoughts, dreams, visions, and waking experience—to see what showed up:
My AI reentry into the imagery of the ‘Four Kings’:
There is group of people representing all nations in the world forming a circle over the waters where forty-foot statues of four kings are arising. As they break the surface of the water, I see a goddess figure rise up in the middle of the king’s square formation. This scene fades and I go into a light trance where another scene unfolds. I completely give up control and observe. I understand that each of the kings, instead of representing a country, represent one of the four qualities of the Divine Feminine as spoken about by Anne Baring in the Synchronicity Symposium presentation she gave this morning (via the Internet). There is a marriage between each King and the Queen that governs one of the four domains of the Feminine: Soul, Matter, Body, and Nature. This marriage between the four kings and their queens will support the wholeness of life on Earth. Patriarchy with its male-dominated religions and cultural paradigms, which have essentially banished the Feminine Body, Nature, Soul, and Matter and parts of Mind (imagination, intuition, creativity) to the Hinterlands of the unconscious, will have no say in the New Earth brought forth by their union. The circle of people above the Kings represent the U.N., a real Uniting of Nations that is nothing like the political organization that carries that title today. Superimposed on the scene—in Alchemical relief—is the blue green Earth as seen from outer space, our brilliant Sun to its Left and the iridescent Moon to its right. (End of AI)
Because we are in dire need of the Divine Masculine in relationship with the Divine Feminine, this imagery gives me much hope for the future. If each of the domains of the Lunar Feminine were to be supported and honored by the Solar Masculine, this would be a new planet, one on which we could truly live and thrive. I imagine the beneficial vibrations of such a planet, emanating out into the Cosmos and beyond. I imagine each being and thing as revered and loved for the essence it brings to the whole. In this exploration, I see a reunification of Spirit and Matter that is wholly different from our current analytical conceptualization of the world and its events from a mostly abstract point of view that has served to distance us from the genuine Heart and pulse of Life.
Just now, I attempted to access the presentation that Anne Baring gave at the Synchronicity and Matter symposium and shared for free online, but I was unable to locate it. This led me to look for it on her webpage where I came upon, by chance, these lines in Baring’s essay “Awakening to the Feminine.”
“…It may be that the new epoch we are entering will see the birth of a very different image of God or Spirit, a new understanding of the instinctive intelligence within the processes and patterns of nature, and how the unseen or inner dimension of reality influences and interacts with this material dimension. This new understanding may help us to recover an authentic spirituality, which takes us beyond religious and secular beliefs into a new sense of relationship with a sacred earth and an ensouled cosmos. From my work on The Myth of the Goddess and its last chapter called “the Sacred Marriage” I know that this emerging phase in the story of our species could herald an evolutionary advance as spirit and nature are reunited and humanity enters into a conscious relationship and partnership with life, seeking to serve it with insight, compassion and wisdom…”
May it be so…
Interview with Robert Bosnak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xykivt8d8-0&feature=youtu.be&list=UUwsCBr5L_ScQ8GxKN6aefgQ