I’m at the Iris now, opening it, and looking out into darkness. Why am I here? That’s a good question.
I’ve just turned out the screen light on my laptop. I’ve opened the Iris, and I have this big squre patch of light left over from my laptop screen. I’m purposely going into this Active Imagination session with a blank mind. I do enjoy seeing if something will come to me. I have had it happen before. Typing seems to keep it at bay though.
Now everything is black. Someday this is going to work because I’m going to get so used to typing during these sessions and so good at contacating my Collective Unconscious that things are really going to jump out at me, probably scare me to death. I have had terrible panic attacks before, many years ago, and they always come with a loss of internal confidence, or perhaps I should say a loss of confidence in the working of my own mind, that was so profound that it put into question my own sanity and being, of what it means to be human. So I may be adventurous, but I’m not without reservations concerning what could go wrong.
When I went to Greece alone seventeen years ago, I quit drinking coffee thirty days before I left to minimize the chances that I’d have a panic attack. I had a couple of close calls, but managed to make it through in one piece.
Now to concentrate on the darkness and look for images. I’m trying to shut off the internal dialogue, which might be a mistake, but that seems to be coming from a portion of mind that I’m not interested in right now. This seems to be my ego trying to comfort itself. Even though the Shadow is a part of the ego, the rejected ego, I really want something from the Collective Unconscious. Not sure I have a choice, but we’ll see. Someday it will happen again. I’d like to have someone enter from the darkness as did that Hermes-like character who burst through the darkness like a quick blast of wind. Just as I was typing that last sentence, I was looking for a word to describe the wind, held that question in my mind for a second and the word “blast” just popped into my consciousness from out of no where. This is the Unconscious at work. So why can’t I get an image to come to me just as easily? Yet, I see nothing.
I try to relax my mind, similar to relaxing a muscle. Quit thinking. Provide a clean, dark surface for an image. I see shifting light paterns. Why do I have to imagine, actively imagine an image? Why can’t the image come to me, burst upon me? Like it did before. Perhaps if I’d shut up.
Years ago when I was in the Alps hiking Hutte to Hutte, I had the opposite problem. It was so dark at night that it scared me, terrified me. I was terrified of what would come out of the darkness. Why can’t I retrieve some of that skill now? I was forty-five then and going through MidLife. I had just started therapy.
I start to see something, I get a partial image, so I focus on it, and it disappears. It seems that when I focus my attention on it, my consciousness, it disappears because that’s what consciousness does. It eradicates the Unconscious.
The Iris was extremely active for a while, the light came back, etc., but then when I started seeing shapes and forms, I focused on them, and they went away. Consciousness destroys the unconscious. And why wouldn’t it? That’s what it does all the time. So how do I end this stalemate. Actually, it isn’t a stalemate. Consciousness wins hands down. Typing stops the process. Solving this problem is where the real value in this process lies. What I’ve been doing is valuable and real, but something else lies beyond all this child’s play that I’ve been experiencing so far. The real meat of the process is behind a barrier that I’m ill-equipped to reach at will. I do believe I did come close to opening up the darkness, see though it and into the world beyond. I do have the impression that I’m being protected from it though. Beyond the darkness lies madness, insanity. This, we know for sure. But I’m not looking to be overwhelmed by anything. I don’t want to jump into the cauldron. I want to ease my way in. Perhaps it’ll take years, but I’m willing to take my time going forward. What I’ve been doing is of great value. It just isn’t where the real value of this process lies. I firmly believe that. Instead of viewing it as a world of madness, insnity, perhaps I should view it as the world of dreams. I believe that’s the way Jung viewed it. A world exposed by dreaming while awake.
Still, nothing happening, so reluctantly, I close the Iris.
04:34 am. Not long ago I wrote a chapater in the third volume of The Mysteries, the first chapter as I now envision it. At the end of the second volume my main character died, and this first chapter is about her entering or perhaps even re-intering the divne world. I use Lethe, the lake from which some souls drink and thus forget what has happened to them in the life just ended, and I also use the description of the entrances to hell and heaven, and of King Minos and his brother Rhadamanthus, who judge the souls and diect them either downward or upward. Some souls linger there in this “in between” space in an area of perpetual festival, visiting souls who are between worlds, sort of an airport lobby, but out in the open, where passengers congregate on their way to various worlds. I used a scene from Plato’s Republic, the legend of Er that comes just before the end of the dialogue.
[For a quick peek of this chapter, click here. I’ll leave it up for just a few days.]
Tonight I got started thinking of ancient Greece, and that all its population shared this same dream of the spiritual world, the gods and goddesses, and the lives these divine beings lived, and who they were, guiding the destiny of mankind. This is what creates civilizations. The ancient Greek world of the fifth century BC was a Zeus world, a Zeus civilization. It’s what defined them as a people. It is this Collective Unconsciousness that bound them into a civilization. And when we look at the modern world of today, we see this mixture of dreams of the divine world, how rich and varied our concepts of it are, and we see and hear of the clashes of our interpretations of the divine. They say that magic, religion, and science are all really the same thing, that they all serve the same domain and explain the same phenomena. We are becoming one world. I guess that the determining factor in whether this world will survive, or at least if humaniaty will survive depends on whether we can assiminulate a dream, a divine dream, of one divine world that can define us all. Arnold Toynby once wrote a book titled Civilization on Trial in the West. It seems that that trial is coming to a head. And it all depends on our relationship with the Collective unconscious. This Jung knew because he foresaw WW I. Seeing the future is no boon, as Teiresias, the seer of ancient Greece, said, or at least as Sophocles and Euripides had him say. For it does not enable you to change the future.
Now I close the lid on my notebook, put it away, and it’s back to sleep for me.