Tag Archives: Jung

Maleficinet, Jung, and Shadows

Maleficent01

Here be spoilers, so if you can’t bear to see a movie knowing what’s going to happen, please go away and laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears (pace, Gibran).

I saw Maleficient last night and I plan to have much more to say about it in the coming days. (Shorter Hecate: It was wonderful. Go see it if you can.)

But I was struck by, inter alia, the Jungian underpinning of the movie. Here’s a small example:

Aurora: “I know who you are. You’ve been watching me my whole life. I know you’re there. Your shadow has been following me ever since I was small. Don’t be afraid.”

Maleficent: “I am not afraid.”

Aurora: “Then come out.”

Maleficent: “Then you’ll be afraid.”

And then the thorny walls go up.

And that’s it, isn’t it? That’s how our relationship with our shadows works. Jungian shadows want, at once and the same time, to be revealed and to continue to work in the darkness, hidden.

Sometimes, when we gather our courage, we cast a magical triangle around ourselves, invoke our demons, and say, with all the alchemical bravery that we can muster, “Then come out. I’ve known about you all along. Don’t be afraid.”

And then our shadows say, “If I come out, you’ll be afraid.”

And that’s where the rubber, so to speak, meets the road. We either make an excuse and slink off (“Those were probably sour grapes, anyhow.”) or we, as brave as the rather insipid Aurora in the movie, say, “True. I may be. But please come out, anyway. I want to know you, at least as much as I can. Please don’t throw up thorny walls. Please come dance with me, instead.”

What happens then, in the movie, isn’t a lie, but it’s only half the story. In the movie, once Aurora invokes her shadow, she’s exposed to a world alive with magic, relationship, delight. And that is what happens. With the shadow out in the light, we can see how how wonderful life can be. And, yet . . . .

Eventually the movie shows the other side of what it means to invoke our shadow: we find out that what we’d considered our “fairy godmother,” out greatest gift and strength, has a dark side — has, in fact, cursed us from a time before we understood what was happening. Our shadow can make us bleed against our will, can put us to sleep, can make us oblivious to the battle that rages all around us. And it isn’t until we receive “true love’s kiss” from our shadow, promising to protect us always but really hoping for our conscious awakening, that we can be truly awake.

What’s hiding in your shadow? Who stole its wings? How were you complicit? How often do you invite it to “Come out, don’t be afraid”?????

Picture found here.

Thin Veil Pot-Pourri


*Is it breezy in here, or is it just me? My, the veils seem to be thinning at an amazing rate this near-to-Samhein season. And the energy from the Occupy movement seems to be calling to a number of interesting Ancestors. In my personal practice, the thinning veils call for careful attention to grounding. With my Sun in permeable Pisces, it would be too, too easy (and too, too tempting) to let myself drift too far through those open veils, too far down that misty road, too deep into that fairy hall in the hill. And, so, I get enough sleep. I try to eat right. I get on the treadmill. I balance time alone with time out in the world. I dig in the dirt and leave myself little reminders — an acorn on my desk at work, a flower in a vase by my bed, a tiny polished stone in my purse — to remind me to do what Ram Dass said: Be Here Now.

*”Our labors are witnesses for the living mystery.” Carl Jung, quoted in Ego and Archetype by Edward F. Edinger. Had a great conversation recently w/ a dear friend about how we can’t live our lives entirely focused on our inner processes, nor can we live our lives entirely directed towards the outer world. And, at some point, the feedback loop of doing both inner and outer work is far more effective than either process in isolation. It’s outer work — running for office, and deciding what compromises are worth making (some are, although I know it’s fashionable these days to decry all of them) and which aren’t, or working with the incredibly slow and sometimes frustrating process of consensus decision-making in the Occupy Movement, or rocking cranky babies — that gives us a chance to practice the inner work we’ve been doing of breathing, centering, learning to apply our True Will. And it’s inner work — setting aside time for a daily practice, doing shadow work, stopping throughout the day to reconnect to our Higher Selves — that allows us to be more effective when we confront Fox News, stop logging of old growth forests, let a homeless person know that they’re valued. Before enlightenment: chop wood & carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood & carry water. Where do you find the balance? Are you at a phase when it’s time to shift your emphasis from one mode to the other?

*Had lunch several days ago with the brilliant and deep Judith Laura. I’m reading her new book, Goddess Matters: the Mystical, Practical, & Controversial, about which a formal review in a few days. She takes on the lie that Goddess religions, because they do not have a set of rules, such as the Judeo-Christian Ten Commandments, lack ethics. Judith provides a list of her own Goddess guidelines:

Seek knowledge.
Revere wisdom.
Be joyful.
Know pleasure.
Love one another.
Protect life.
And live in peace.

+

Sounds about right to me. I’m also down with:

Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.

Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

And you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.

Charge of the Goddess.

Some ethical practices are better conveyed through poetry. In Evidence, Mary Oliver writes:

Mysteries, Yes
Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the mouths of lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever in allegiance with gravity while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the scars of damage, to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say “Look!” and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads.

*Literata has been doing some amazing blogging on the whole New Apostolic Reformation (NAR/DC40) attack on Pagans. If you aren’t reading her regularly, you should be. Here’s an example:

In [Dominionist] worldview, democracy is sort of a surface phenomenon. It can be used as a kludge when not everyone accepts their god-given place in the power dynamics (especially unbelievers). It can be used as a compromise, or a temporary expedient. But it’s not a long-lasting solution. It’s not a fundamental idea, it’s not something to work for, and ultimately, it’s un-biblical.

With that in mind, read what Wagner has to say about the roles of self-proclaimed apostles and prophets in the NAR:

WAGNER: “The Bible teaches that apostles – related to prophets and also teachers – should form the basis of the government of the church. Now, up till now, recently, most churches in America functioned on a democratic system, so that the authority in the churches and the authority in the denominations resided in groups of people.

And, of course, that’s what we’re used to politically in America, so that fits in very well with our culture. But in terms of the role of the apostle, one of the biggest changes from traditional churches to the New Apostolic Reformation is the amount of spiritual authority delegated by the Holy Spirit to individuals. And the two key words are authority and individuals, and individuals as contrasted to groups. So now, apostles have been raised up by God who have a tremendous authority in the churches of the New Apostolic Reformation. And I think this is the most radical difference between the old and the new.”

When he says, “that’s what we’re used to politically in America,” I hear the unspoken statement, “but that’s not the way it’s supposed to be.” When he talks about how the NAR’s authority structure is a “radical difference,” I connect that to the kind of “transformation” that he wants to see in American culture and American politics.

Wagner also made a point of saying that the NAR is “working with whatever political system there is” in each country it’s engaging. But he strictly disavows any mention that they want a “theocracy,” which he specifically links to states like Iran or like Constantine’s Rome. He is telling the truth there, but it’s a specific kind of truth based on his ideas about authority.

I believe him that he doesn’t want a “theocracy” where there’s an institutionalized church that runs the institutionalized state. He wants to meld the two, indistinguishably, because his religious ideas about authority and power are so all-encompassing that they would make a separate institutionalized government redundant.

She’s spot on, is a student of history, and always does her homework.

Anne Johnson has been interviewing a different “Bored God” every day, with a focus on the state under attack that day by NAR. If you haven’t yet read her interview with the Spirit of Ayahuasca, used by, primarily, Native Americans in their religious ceremonies, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Anne: Welcome, Ayahuasca! I’d offer you a cup of tea … but that’s what you are.

Ayahuasca: I’m not your cup of tea, though. You haven’t been initiated into the Mysteries.

Anne: So true. About the most adventurous I get is a vodka gimlet. But this isn’t about my religious experiences, it’s about America’s religious experiences. And You, o Sacred Ayahuasca, have been foully and cruelly treated! Everyone has heard the tale of the DEA agents bursting in on a ceremony of the Unaio do Vegetal praise and worship team in New Mexico. The agents pulled You right out of the priest’s kitchen and carted You off to the slammer. (Or in this case, the refrigerator.)

Ayahuasca: We took them to court. To the Supreme Court. And we won.

Anne: Damn right, you won! It’s called the First Amendment, and there’s a long and well-documented use of Ayahuasca tea in numerous religious paths originating in the Western Hemisphere. I was rooting for Unaio do Vegetal every step of the way.

Ayahuasca: Thank you. Here is how I look at it. You never see DEA agents bursting into a First Communion, confiscating the wine, and arresting the priests for serving alcoholic beverages to minors.

*The Occupy Movement has been training lots of people in the use of consensus decision making. That’s difficult work, both to teach and to learn. In honor of all of those teachers, learners, and users, I offer the following picture by Robert Bissell, entitled, The Decision:


(found here.)

*I had a delightful houseful (I have a tiny cottage, so it doesn’t take too many to make a houseful) of people over for brunch yesterday. Some were long-time friends, in town for OccupyDC, some were family, some were Witches and their spouses, some ( 😉 ) were Landscape Guy. Gemini Rising, there’s not much that I enjoy more than bringing interesting people together, feeding them, and listening to them talk. Consequently, I’d saved a long list of chores to be done today, but, in the end, I slept late, spent extra time on the treadmill, and drove up to Benkhe’s nursery, which I really did not need to do. But, as I said a few months ago: OPG. I bought some begonias for inside the kitchen windowsill, a tiny pot of succulents to keep on my desk all Winter when the sunlight comes as strong as can be through my Northern window, and a big blue pot for my office jade tree, which has needed repotting for some time.

*If I am related (by blood or experience) to you and you are beyond the Veils, this is a gentle reminder that you do NOT have a standing invitation to visit me every night in my dreams. Some of you, I didn’t even really like very much while you were alive, and I’m certain that I never wanted to sleep (in the prosaic (or other) sense) with all ya’ll. It’s going to be a long month. Go bother someone else. And, if you do show up, please remember to tell me where the money is buried, how much you really did love me even though you couldn’t say it, and to give me the recipes for stuffing and sweet pickles. The “you were not a very nice little girl” stuff you can save for L.L. She may care. And she really wasn’t.

+First published in Judith’s book: She Lives! The Return of Our Great Mother.

Picture found here.