Mountain Dreaming and Music in June! Come!

April 18, 2016

Dear friends,
Come to one of the most beautiful places on Earth (I promise) from June 23-26 for a Mountain Retreat to listen into our dreams and the dream of the Earth together. Not too far from Asheville, on a mountain top overlooking the great Smoky Mountains, on the border between North Carolina and East Tennessee, there is a comfy place for us to gather and listen to the deep self, to one another, to wild nature and to the dreamtime – which are all of the time listening to us.

Here is a link to see where we’ll stay: https://www.vrbo.com/146869
There is room for only 8 participants, so please let me know right away if you would like to come.

Together we will attend to a terrain of the psyche and the world which the Aborigines call the dreamtime. This is part of the reality we inhabit at all times, but our connection to it and awareness of it is often lost or marginalized – to our personal and collective detriment. The non-human world is full of voices and language. Inhabitants of the invisible realm forever affect us and await conscious interaction. The voices of our own deep self, instincts and intuition often tuned out in the cacophony of modernity, offer ancient wisdom. In recent centuries we have stepped away from these simple realities that were common knowledge to humans for aeons before us. Most of us realize this, but have forgotten how to re-engage. We need practice.

We will listen to our own and each others dreaming, and to the dreamtime itself. We will dialogue with each other. We’ll quest for a vision during some quiet, private time in Nature. We’ll eat well, laugh and play too. We’ll break up the routine of ordinary life to let in and remember the extraordinary.

AND, on Saturday evening we will have the great pleasure of hearing from singer, songwriter, published poet, recording artist and playwright RB Morris. He has been an inhabitant of these mountains for decades, and will entertain us with stories, poetry and music in his dynamic and inimitable style. Check him out at http://rbmorris.com

The cost is $375 for 3 nights, Thursday afternoon to Sunday morning, including meals.

Get back to me as soon as you can if you would like me to hold a place for you. A non-refundable $150 deposit will be requested. Travel details will follow after I have heard from you, and food restrictions will be honored to the best of our ability.

Happy spring and many blessings to you,
Tayria

Readings by Phone, too – just so you know!

January 11, 2016

Hello again, dear friends,
Yesterday I sent the following suggestion about considering a New Year’s Tarot reading with me. I have gotten enough responses from folks saying they wished they lived closer so they could receive one that I decided to clarify – I do these by telephone regularly. I should have made that more explicit. For those who want it, I take a picture of the reading and send it so that they can see the images. Otherwise, I can describe the messages and meanings quite well by phone.

Just saying so you know! Call any time if you’d like to look into a question or issue – or for New Year’s, your birthday, or any occasion that might warrant tapping into this kind of perspective.

Again, love and blessings,
Tayria

Here is yesterday’s letter:
Happy New Year dear friends and colleagues,

I hope your year is off to an encouraging start. I do find the turn of year brings a sense of fresh hope, potential and possibility. First day, first month, a new number of the year and I start projecting ahead, making plans and attempt to inject conscious intention into the inevitable changes a year brings.

I would like to offer you an idea as you begin your 2016 endeavors. Most of you are familiar with my deep interest in and study of the Tarot as a tool for self-reflection and revealer of very useful insight. People on every continent and in every culture, from ancient times to the present, have devised ways to bring in practical information from the matrix of life and the helping spirits that sheds light on issues and questions in daily life. The Irish use tea leaves, the Celts use the Runes, the Orient developed the I-Ching, Native Americans cast sticks and stones reading the patterns into which they fall, Africans use cowry shells, and for the Western psyche the Tarot became a prominent method. Such things don’t cover the globe and stick around for thousands of years if they don’t work.

For nearly three decades I have used these symbols personally and have read them for others. I find the information that arrives has been unfailing in offering insight, encouragement and guidance. The information seems to come from the same realm as dreams do. A reading is like looking into a mirror of the soul; it helps you see that which can be very difficult to see without that mirror.

Countless times persons have told me that information they received through a reading I had done for them has been increasingly useful and never forgotten even many years later, a consistent source of wisdom and guidance. For myself, I cannot overstate how healing and sometimes even salvational, especially through very challenging times, the readings have dependably been. Physicist David Bohm remarks that “Insight is an active substance that re-creates the brain.” These insights have shifted perception and thinking in a healing direction continuously. The meanings work with, strengthen and validate your own intuition.

Maybe you would like to have a reading as you launch yourself into the New Year. Whether you have a specific issue to address or just want to say “What might be helpful for me to know now about myself and the coming year?” we can take a look together at what the symbols will offer. If you have never had such an experience and you are open, I might suggest you give it a try. And for more seasoned investigators, I would love to help you.

Call, write or text me to set up an appointment if the idea appeals to you. 828-329-0853. And keep this idea in mind through the year as things arise. If you have a significant or fascinating dream, working the dream along with a reading will amplify insight inevitably.

My fee is $90 an hour. I can slide the scale when that is a need.

I send you love and many blessings for 2016 and beyond,
Sincerely,
Tayria

A Reading for the New Year

January 11, 2016

Dear friends,

I would like to offer you an idea as you begin your 2016 endeavors. Most of you are familiar with my deep interest in and study of the Tarot as a tool for self-reflection and revealer of very useful insight. People on every continent and in every culture, from ancient times to the present, have devised ways to bring in practical information from the matrix of life and the helping spirits that sheds light on issues and questions in daily life. The Irish use tea leaves, the Celts use the Runes, the Orient developed the I-Ching, Native Americans cast sticks and stones reading the patterns into which they fall, Africans use cowry shells, and for the Western psyche the Tarot became a prominent method. Such things don’t cover the globe and stick around for thousands of years if they don’t work.

For nearly three decades I have used these symbols personally and have read them for others. I find the information that arrives has been unfailing in offering insight, encouragement and guidance. The information seems to come from the same realm as dreams do. A reading is like looking into a mirror of the soul; it helps you see that which can be very difficult to see without that mirror.

Countless times persons have told me that information they received through a reading I had done for them has been increasingly useful and never forgotten even many years later, a consistent source of wisdom and guidance. For myself, I cannot overstate how healing and sometimes even salvational, especially through very challenging times, the readings have dependably been. Physicist David Bohm remarks that “Insight is an active substance that re-creates the brain.” These insights have shifted perception and thinking in a healing direction continuously. The meanings work with, strengthen and validate your own intuition.

Maybe you would like to have a reading as you launch yourself into the New Year. Whether you have a specific issue to address or just want to say “What might be helpful for me to know now about myself and the coming year?” we can take a look together at what the symbols will offer. If you have never had such an experience and you are open, I might suggest you give it a try. And for more seasoned investigators, I would love to help you.

Call, write or text me to set up an appointment if the idea appeals to you. 828-329-0853. And keep this idea in mind through the year as things arise. If you have a significant or fascinating dream, working the dream along with a reading will amplify insight inevitably.

My fee is $90 an hour. I can slide the scale when that is a need.

I send you love and many blessings for 2016 and beyond,
Sincerely,
Tayria

Gift Certificates for Dreamwork or a Reading

December 16, 2015

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Holiday Greetings, my friends,
It occurs to me to remind you that should you have loved ones in your life that might enjoy the opportunity to work with an experienced dream analyst, I do offer Gift Certificates. I’ve been working with my own and other’s dreams for 40 years. Also I have used the Tarot for some decades and have discovered this to be a powerful tool for helping us to investigate meanings and messages of the inner world. The information is much like dreaming – always timely, healing, deeply personal. Both dreamwork and oracular work are ancient and always new, sacred and ever practical.

Please let me know if you would like to give an hour session as a holiday gift. My current rate is $90 an hour, but I will give as many certificates as you might like to purchase now for $75 apiece. I work by telephone or in person in my lovely office in downtown Asheville.

I hope this note finds you well and enjoying this season, no matter how you celebrate it. I am enjoying it particularly this year having a three-month old grandson living in Asheville, lighting up my life in a way I never could have imagined. The joy is profoundly deep and sweet. I do wish such joy for you, in whatever form it may come.

I wish you great blessings now, in the New Year, and always.
With love,
Tayria

40-Day Ritual Preparation for Christmas

November 9, 2015

Dear friends,
I recently offered to create a 40-Day Ritual that many of us might do together beginning on November 15 in preparation for the Birth at Christmas. I received an enthusiastic response. There is certainly a field of power and energy built when many people join together in like intention. I will describe here the why and the what of the ritual for any who might be interested so that you can decide if you would like to participate.

It is said that the date for commemorating of birth of Jesus was chosen to be December 25th as this had long been celebrated as a sacred season for calling Light into the Darkness of matter and of unknowing. We might also say that this season is a time for continuing the project of Divine Incarnation – inviting increasing qualities of Soul to descend from the realm of Consciousness into matter, the Earth, our bodies. The story of Jesus sets an example for us. Of his miracles he said, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.” I believe Jesus was referring to our responsibility to continuously develop capability for bringing the energy of Light into matter. Carl Gustav Jung shared this thought in his autobiography: “As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being. ” (MDR p. 326)

With these thoughts in mind, I am going to suggest simple, very doable practices that we might carry out together. I will outline some ideas, and encourage you to make this your own, create what suits your temperament.

Preparing for the 40 Days
Make an altar, a simple place where you can set a candle and any objects from nature or things that carry special significance for you. On this altar place a little jar or lovely container into which you will place prayers you write down all during the 40 days. Any time a prayer for a person or particular intention comes to mind, write it and place it in this receptacle. Often throughout the days I put food offerings on the altar, or the first sips of coffee or wine, sharing these with the spirits who work with our prayers as a thank you and a way to be in relationship. (Clear the food sometime later and put it into the Earth.)

Make an intention for daily practices. Be as specific as possible. Choose a quality in yourself you would like to consciously encourage each day (patience, confidence, or discipline for example) and think of how you plan to do that. Pick a habit you would like to create or shift by simple, reasonable gestures. Sometimes I have fasted from a certain thing for these 40 days, and sometimes have added a simple something I commit to do each day, but nothing so ambitious or bold that I can’t stay with it. Consistency during the 40 days is key. Set yourself up to succeed.

Beginning on November 15th
At some time during each day, light the candle on your altar and sit for as little or as long a time as you feel. Hold space for Light and inspiration to come in, open your heart as a manger in which Love can be born. Be still.

Each night before you go to sleep, sit for just a few moments on the side of your bed, think on your intentions, the prayers on your altar and on all of our altars. Then dedicate your self to work in the dreamtime. Listen to your dreams, (and I always suggest that they be written down in a dream journal). Every morning soon after awakening step outside and call your spirit home from the dreaming world. Feel it returning and entering ever more fully into your body, ground your spirit in your body.

Every gesture, consistently offered, resets your psyche like the slight tilt of a sail toward your destination. This doesn’t have to be hard.

Have simple faith in the efficacy of your practice. Do not doubt or second guess. Just know. Trust yourself, and trust Spirit.

If you have not done so already, please send me a reply if you’d like to join in this ritual. I will make a list. November 15 is a Sunday. Each Sunday during these days I will send out some thoughts and an update. If you want to send me stories, thoughts, struggles, breakthroughs or inspirations from your experience, I can share those with the others if given your permission – either anonymously or with your name, as you wish.

I look forward to hearing from you.
With a heart full of love,
Tayria

All Hallow’s Eve, A Ritual for Honoring Our Beloved Dead

October 30, 2015

Dear friends,
Ancient traditions of various names and cultures record that the three days of October 31, November 1st and 2nd have long been celebrated as a festival for honoring the Dead, especially our relatives and ancestors, but also all who dwell in that world. The veil is felt to be thin between this world and the Otherworld during these days. This allows us to offer and also receive blessings from our beloved ancestors.

In the Celtic tradition, the season is known as Samhain. In many early observances, invoking and honoring the dead began on October 31st with masks and parades. For Christians, these celebrations prepared for November 1st, known as All Saint’s Day and November 2nd, all Soul’s Day. Beliefs and rituals regarding the Season of the Dead have changed over the ages, but a consistent underlying sense that these days are a time for the living to be more actively involved with the departed have persisted. Some folks prepare and leave food for their ancestors, believing that the dead know that these are days they can come home and expect to be fed.

I definitely feel it at this time each year. In the last several years as the time approaches Imake a special altar. Out come photographs of departed loved ones. Articles of remembrance, flowers, various items arrive on the altar through the days. And I leave food from a special meal.

Also at this time, the realm of shadows seems to erupt into consciousness, I notice. Those parts of ourselves and of life often not always so clear to our waking awareness make themselves known. It may create a time for reckoning, or reconciliation.

I decided to share these thoughts hoping they might offer something to you. Maybe they will add to your experience of Halloween and the days ahead. I send love and blessings to you and those you love in all provinces of existence.

Soon I am planning 40 days of ritual preparation for Christmas, a practice I have often observed. A friend suggested that I invite others to join me, so that many of us can build the energy together. 40-day ritual practices have been observed widely in most every religion and culture; there seems to be some power in that number of days for setting an intention and creating a shift. Christmas is a festival of Light, the birth to the Light that casts out darkness, and has been celebrated in many forms long before Christianity. So, what I will be offering is not just a Christian thing, it’s a human thing.

Shortly I will be sending out a more detailed discussion with ideas for how to create your own 40 day ritual as well as for how to do it together. You can look to see if it strikes a chord for you and might help you with some of your innermost hopes, efforts and intentions. I will develop a list of those who want to do this together, and in the meantime would love to hear of any interest or thoughts about this idea. November 15th is 40 days before Christmas, that is the day we will begin.

Seasonal blessings to each of you.
With love,
Tayria

Rethinking our Climate Situation with Bucky Fuller

August 5, 2015

Let’s see, should we continue to destroy the planet so we can keep our jobs, or do we have some re-thinking to do? What good are jobs if we have no food, clean air or water? Really. Really?

Two days ago President Obama made an impassioned plea that we DO SOMETHING toward reversing the situation of climate change. He said, “I don’t want my grandkids not to be able to swim in Hawaii or to climb a mountain and see a glacier because we didn’t do something!” I am about to become a grandmother myself, (color me happy!) and I know the place from which he speaks. The urgency becomes much more desperate and focused when powerful parental instincts to love and protect are ignited. I have been feeling this enormously. What can I do now to assist in this situation for my children, and for their children? It is honest to say that I think about this every day, and with the next generation on its way the instinctual concern becomes even more pressing.

The first target in Obama’s proposal is power plants, which produce more emissions than cars, airplanes and homes combined. If we force them to reduce these emissions on the schedule being outlined, critics who will fight this proposal say, it will cost us jobs and your electric bill will go up. Repeat here my first paragraph. Really? It’s like fighting to keep your bartending job on the Titanic while it is going down.

I think of Einstein’s oft quoted statement that you can’t solve a problem at the same level of thinking that produced the problem in the first place. We have to significantly move to other levels of thinking. Not soon, now.

Many of my readers know that I was raised listening to Buckminster Fuller who was a family friend. Bucky spoke often of his belief that our economics and political system were set up based upon the assumption that planetary resources are limited so therefore we have to fight to get enough for our own. With the advent of new technologies, we now are capable of providing plenty for everyone he states. Our outmoded structures must be dismantled as they are based upon faulty assumptions. We can now focus creativity, time and effort on creating “Livingry” rather than “Weaponry”, Bucky’s words. What if we were to really do so? Can you imagine if the trillions of dollars – and all of that genius, time and energy – that we put into to defense could be directed toward creating an abundant life, opportunity and education for everyone?

One of the points Bucky made well is detailing what it COSTS us to have people working at jobs they don’t want to do just so they can get money, rather than stay home and use their energy and creativity to come up with solutions for what the world really needs. He believed human spontaneity and ingenuity, if given freedom, would be limitless and generous in generating Livingry. I remember in early adolescence hearing him make a statement that I have thought about my entire life: “Rather than spending your life trying to make “cents”, do want makes “sense” instead.” I have put faith in this admonition.

We can think of these times of necessary change as great opportunity to challenge and rethink outmoded systems and logics. Change is scary, certainly, but it can be an enormously creative time if we personally and collectively accept this mission to recreate our future in harmony with Nature on this planet, carefully attending to Her demands, logics and reasoning.

Buckminster Fuller radically rethought our systems of mathematics, which he found to be based upon faulty assumptions, in his book Synergetics. And he radically rethought our systems of living in nearly all of his writing and speaking. Look him up, I pretty much guarantee you’ll be moved and intrigued. Every day of his adult life he asked himself what he could do to benefit the most people, and urged every other human to do the same. Let’s do it.

My greatest desire going forward is to work to create dialogue among humans about how we can think for ourselves, outside of the systems that are telling us what to think, and begin to rethink failing structures for living. We have to think together, not alone. Think with me on this. Let’s share our ideas. Our grandchildren, and all of Earth’s systems, depend on us.

So Close and Yet So Far Away

July 13, 2015

My dream of a few nights ago may be telling the story not only of my life but of our collective life. In it, I have traveled a long distance to the same town where my Beloved resides, but am there to fulfill other obligations. There is only one short window of opportunity in which we might actually get to be together but I am committed during that period, a thing I genuinely must do. I become aware that something has shifted so that the event I am committed to may possibly fall through and I will thus be free! My heart wants this desperately. I believe that all I can do is wait and hope.

After awakening from this dream a flood of realizations and memories occurred, a lifetime of seemingly intractable situations in which the love and connection I hoped for was seemingly so close, yet stayed out of reach. Like it is air in the same room with you, but won’t enter your lungs. Like it is just on the other side of a thin veil but the veil is impassable. The exceedingly possible remains impossible. The words, “so close and yet so far away” were burning painfully in my reflections.

I looked out my window at a tree that I love, and it hit me with a force – Nature is feeling the exact same thing in regard to our relationship with her. The scintillating spirit in the tree, the spirit in the mountain, wind, plant, river, birds – all are alive, intelligent beings communicating with us and loving us, yet for the most part we remain on the other side of an impassable veil unable to apprehend and connect. In the course of modernity humanity has developed an autism, as Thomas Berry puts it, losing our capabilities to interact intelligently with the non-human world. The pain that I began to feel considering that aspect of my dream’s meaning exceeded even that of the personal stories I had been reviewing. I fell into a paralyzing sadness, got up in the wee hours, went to my altar, lit all the candles and sat.

The dream narrative describes how far I had traveled to be in this town where my Beloved was and yet possibly we would not be able to connect. I felt the dream may also suggest the journey of a soul into this Earth. We have traveled so far to be here. As spirits we have arrived into this density of matter for great purpose. Yet possibly we may ultimately fail to meet up with what we most love and what most loves us back.

Scientists explain that humans are now accelerating the Earth’s sixth mass extinction. (See The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, book by The New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert, or article by Sarah Zielinski “Climate Change Will Accelerate Earth’s Sixth Mass Extinction” at Smithsonian.com among other sources) The loss of diversity on the planet as well as the pollution of soil, air and water may mean that humans will be among the extinct species, some scientists acknowledge.

On the positive side, those informed on this issue do believe, and I sincerely sense and believe, that we still have a choice. Certain things have been set into motion that cannot be undone. Species that it took our Earth billions of years to create are now gone, but a radical shift in human behaviors can yet prevent the worst scenarios from happening. It will take as many as possible of us to awaken, shake off the denial, find a voice for the unspoken, to act, care, love, remember, hope, believe.

The suspicious part of my dream, a dear friend (author Dawn Brunke) pointed out to me, is the belief that I have “obligations” that prevent me from deciding to drop the things I think I have to do and simply go be with my Beloved. What are these obligations I think I have that prevent me from doing this? And what are those that prevent us as a species from taking time to wake up to the consequences of our actions so that we will protect what we love? In the media we discuss every other thing in life at exhausting length. Yet the issue of climate change, which exceeds every other concern, is given about a 15 second spot every other month if we’re lucky.

Who is my Beloved that this dream references? Sincerely it feels to me that it is the spirit of Earth Herself, the Mother of us all. Without her, all of the other loves of my life would certainly be impossible. I want to connect to Her in hope that my children and grandchildren might have a healthy and happy home in which to thrive. It’s personal.

Recently, a newly emerging great world leader, Pope Francis, issued an astonishingly brilliant encyclical calling for action regarding climate change. In his opening he says, “Now, faced as we are with global environmental deterioration, I wish to address every person living on this planet.” If you have not read it, I ardently encourage you to do so. At least read the first page and see if you aren’t hooked to finish. This document is carefully researched, thorough, passionate and inspired. Here is a leader who is not in the pockets of billionaires and politicians, free to speak of this issue in its moral, philosophical and spiritual implications.

http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

Frances says that we must draw attention to “the ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems, which require that we look for solutions not only in technology but in a change of humanity; (my italics) otherwise we would be dealing merely with symptoms.”

Carl Jung said similarly: “The world hangs on a thin thread and that is the psyche of man. We are the great danger. Man is the great danger.” We need more psychology, we need to understand ourselves, to make the unconscious inertia conscious so that we can change it. I definitely believe in us, we are a vastly creative and loving species. We can change ourselves, and this.

My daily work is with dreams, my own and those of my clients who I assist on the telephone and in my downtown Asheville office. Dreams are Nature herself speaking directly and personally to us, always offering the “raw, unvarnished truth,” as Jung puts it. Dreamwork is my focus for now, but there is much more and other work to do. It seems important to create Dialogue, among other things.

How to reduce the distance between “so close and yet so far away” and connect with the Beloved? Courage, science, practicality, moral fortitude and magic will be involved. I know it is possible.

Your Twin Self

February 25, 2015

20150225_172638I was taught much by an African teacher who helped me undergo ritual initiation over a lengthy period, a time when I was working hard to reconstruct myself after shattering events in my life. One concept that has been with me strongly is the notion that each of us have a Twin Self. He explained that his people in Nigeria say that our Twin Self is an aspect of us that exists outside of the constraints and limitations that we experience in our incarnated life. He told me, “You should build an altar to your Twin Self.” I have always remembered this teaching but never actually built that altar until today.

The image I have in my head is of something like an umbilical cord – suggesting that my Twin Self is mother to the self I experience from day to day in time on Earth, and energy and consciousness flow to me through that cord to support growth and development during my stay here. The purpose for building an altar to that Self would be to strengthen the connection, open the flow, nourish the “blood” with conscious intention, enhance the capabilities of that Self’s entry into my worldly life by increasing awareness of what it does and can do if I align and cooperate with it.

Two dreams that I have had speak to me of this Twin Self. One took place during the time of my breakdown, and the other occurred just two nights ago. The first dream from the late 90’s I only remember dimly now but will investigate my dream journals from that period soon. In it, many of us were standing on the side of a very deep lake. In the dream I had a twin who had drowned in that lake. Big equipment was being used to excavate her. Finally she was located — and when she was lifted up it felt like an aspect of myself being resurrected. There was work to be done to revive her and repair the connection, but now that we had found her we could begin. At the time I felt the dream to be offering to me a sense of meaning and purpose in the painful difficulties of my life at the time. Shamans might call this a soul retrieval.

In the dream of two nights ago I saw two fields of vivid energy – a variety of golden colors made each of them up. On the left field there was a dense mass of that energy in the center of it, very dense. On the right was a similar constellation of energy, but without the density, made of lightness. They were connected to each other, reflections of each other maybe, and each of them were me. After I awakened thoughts about what my Nigerian teacher told me regarding the Twin Self began burning in my psyche. I sensed the dream was telling me to think more actively on this.

And so I built an altar. I found a picture (which I posted above) taken of me at age 20 in Kyoto, Japan, in front of the great Buddha statue there. It suggests the smaller me and the larger me. I put a little bouquet of recently found feathers, a flower, sacred objects, stones and crystals around it. And now I will pray. I hope to find my voice more solidly, connect with my writing muse, feel a sense of clear direction in my personal and professional life, help people and the planet regarding issues that I feel passionate about and trained in. Like strengthening the signal that brings in more information on our computers or cell phones, I feel guided now to empower the connection with this aspect of my Spirit that sees and knows.

A recent dream experience showed me great energies and powers that we swim in and can utilize as I was “out” of my body, moving around in what might be called the dreamtime. But as I was awakening from the dream I felt myself condensing and condensing into the density of matter in the waking life that we are living in this particular time/space continuum here on Earth. It felt hard to come back, like I might not even make it, and also sad, like so much of who we are is “forgotten” here.

I offer this to you in case it inspires you to reflect and maybe connect more solidly with your own Twin Self. I think this concept is similar to what is spoken of in religions as “soul”, or the Higher Self, or in Jungian psychology as the Self. We know of it. But somehow those terms have seemed a little more vague to me than this idea of the Twin Self that is me and who lives as me in other realms, even as I am finding my way through this realm.

Our human life needs helpful perspective for the dilemmas we find ourselves in – with the complexities of modern life, the largest human population ever to live together on our little Spaceship Earth, issues of global warming – and so much more. Maybe this concept can help enlarge our view.

Shadow Eruption at the Dark Time of Year

December 18, 2014

“There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed: and hid that shall not be known,” Jesus is reported as saying in the Gospel of St. Matthew. This can be a scary reality. We cherish our right to privacy and the ability to wear masks over hidden parts of our personality, over thoughts or feelings not ready to be shown in public.

The news of hackers breaking into Sony’s private e-mails exchanged among employees, revealing things never intended to be public, and the recent exposure of CIA files detailing torture methods used to interrogate prisoners after 9/11 may be reminding us of this potent principle. In private as well as public events I have been observing that what was in the dark seems to be coming to light, for worse and for better. Something is stirring collectively. It is interesting to me that this seems to be peaking now at this darkest time of year, the season when we have long celebrated the birth of Light.

C.G. Jung famously used the term “shadow” for the hidden parts of the self, those we are unaware of and unconsciously work to repress in order to think of ourselves as acceptable to family, culture and community. He developed methods for discovery of these repressed parts as they tend to show up as symptoms and neuroses unless they can be faced and integrated. It is difficult inner work, but healing work that leads to greater personal power, contentment and wholeness.

In the wake of recent events it appears that we are called to find ways to do the work of confronting and integrating shadow parts of our collective identity. We need to do this in order to recover and work together as a global community. Edward Snowden and others have shown us that our idea of privacy is a luxury that we simply don’t have. We are seen, tracked and known whether we like it or not — not just by government but also by a universal mind. I believe we have to get used to it as it is bound to dog us in some form or another.

As with all important work, it begins with individuals mustering courage to do their personal work, one by one. We cannot project the problem outward, thinking we can fix it “out there” before we address it internally, in our own psychic life. Facing parts of ourselves we have tried so hard to keep hidden, feeling the sting of revelations as stuff pops out of our mouth or light comes into shadow, taking responsibility rather than justifying or covering it over, this is the tough assignment of working with shadow.

I was reading last night a story about Vladimir Putin, saying that he may inhibit the economic health of his whole nation by being “utterly unable to admit mistakes.” It looks to me like the former head of the CIA as well as former Vice-President Dick Cheney demonstrate the same affliction as they deny and defend the torture revealed. But what does this mirror to us as individuals? That is the question. What is our own capacity for such admissions? There is the rub. It begins with us.

In my own reflections I begin to understand that the capability for self-honesty begins with the capacity for forgiveness, self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others. If we cannot forgive, we cannot bear the responsibility required for doing the work.

May the coming of Light this year be the birth of new wisdom and strengths, individually and collectively, as we face the challenges presented. Denial extends and compounds our problem. I see my own capacity to patch and deny, and my own unwillingness to forgive, and I see where to dig in and start helping.


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