Welcome to Chuck’s Place, where Chuck Ketchel expresses his thoughts, insights, and experiences! Many of the shamanic and psychological terms used in Chuck’s essays are defined in Tools & Definitions on our Psychotherapy website.
Recently, in my quest to ascertain the overriding archetype of now, the I Ching presented me with Hexagram #36: Darkening of the Light. This hexagram is built, at its base, with the trigram of fire encapsulated by the trigram of the mountain, hence, the hexagram depicts fire within the mountain, light surrounded on all sides by darkness.
The interplay of these trigrams reflects this time of year, as we approach summer’s end. The zenith of the sun’s power on one day, June 21st, has long since past, as, slowly but surely, darkness encroaches upon the duration of light in each day. Internally, our creative energies stir, seeking release and life before they must retreat deep into the psyche, like all seeds requiring long germination, until they are born anew in the spring. We approach the time of universal SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, the time of natural depression, as potential life sinks into the earth where it must await the proper time for its return.
What is critical in the time of darkening of the light is an attitude of acquiescence to the inevitable. The I Ching teaches that the Prince of Darkness ascends to absolute power in this time. The only recourse for the Prince of Light is to retreat deep within the self, hiding its light, attracting no unnecessary attention, remaining inwardly protective of the truth. This inward resolve requires intense perseverance as outer conditions turn unfavorable to its expression. This is not a time to take on battles with evil directly.
When we look at the energetic dynamics currently erupting on our national stage we see the synchronistic reverberation of darkening of the light. President Obama has advanced the cause of health care reform in America, a necessity so obvious and right that I waste no time here in its defense. We see daily the archetypal armies of the Prince of Darkness seizing any opportunity to consume all the light of goodness and rightness of Obama’s intent. In this context, the Prince of Darkness employs the cloak of greed, enlisting corporate sponsors, Republican extremists, and the Christian Right to advance his cause: total consumption of the light.
These attacks are not rational arguments being advanced to challenge the President. They are irrational frenzied energies that have slumbered in the collective unconscious, awaiting their opportunity to slip into life. They found their opening with the health care debate. They come armed with hate, rage, and, sometimes, guns to the battleground of town hall meetings, with the goal of annihilation. They bring symbols of National Socialism: swastikas, and Hitler’s mustache imposed upon Obama’s image, as well as an onslaught of inciting propaganda. What we see before us is a people possessed by archetypal energies that seek to exterminate: wipe out the good and the light.
We live in times of deep depression and deflation of our national pride as we face the ruins created by the former administration and the truths revealed by the present administration. In some ways, our American depression can be compared to Germany following World War I, the very conditions that gave rise to the archetypal evil perpetrated by Hitler as he sought to inflate the value of the German “volk”, rather than face the true reality of Germany’s inferior position. In fact, a nation in ruins needs to slowly and soberly find its appropriate place in the world. The Prince of Darkness is seeking a similar opening in the American psyche, denying the reality of our truths, seeking instead to maintain the notion of “America über alles.”
The cadres of the Prince of Darkness project evil and darkness upon Obama, a man of color. In fact, Obama reigns as the Prince of Light, maintaining the candle of truth amidst the prevailing darkness. Unfortunately, America’s tolerance for the sober truth is undercut by its characteristic childish desire for instant relief. This is where the Prince of Darkness preys upon the collective American psyche and weakens its needed perseverance and tolerance for the slow wheel of necessary change.
Through Obama’s brilliant management of the crisis in the auto industry we now have GM introducing the Chevy Volt on the near horizon. A volt is an energetic measurement. The introduction of the Volt is the beginning of a long awaited energetic shift. The electric car, which has been suppressed for decades to ensure our dependence on the oil industry, is finally being born. Obama has cleared the way for this emergence through demanding change. All car companies will follow suit. In a few years, even the Prius may be viewed as a gas guzzler. Despite Obama’s obvious progress, the Prince of Darkness continues to prey upon our demanding American baby that deserves it all, now!
The I Ching counsels the absolute necessity to go inward and hold firmly to one’s truth in the time of darkening of the light. This is the same advice the shamans give when confronting one’s petty tyrant. The shamans appreciate the time of darkness as the time to remold oneself by disengaging from the grip of the baby, with its self importance, soberly observing the real facts at hand, taking right action. In practical terms this means not engaging the irrational insanity of the energy being unleashed at town hall meetings. Such restraint is difficult because of the assault to reason these protesters bring. It’s not personal and to engage this irrationality directly would result in being consumed by it, either through annihilation or by becoming possessed by the same rageful energy in an attempt to combat it. This restraint requires not attaching to victimhood. The trick is to hold onto the truth, advance it when possible, and not get caught in the web of anger, battling the Prince of Darkness on his terms, which are irrational, incitant fury and rage. Ultimately, the challenge is to hold onto one’s light, with tenacity and the clear knowledge that the time of darkening of light will pass, and that the conditions for the Prince of Light to emerge victoriously will return.
Now is not the time to exhaust oneself in a battle with the archetypal energies of the Prince of Darkness. In fact, the I Ching points out that evil can only be sustained through feeding upon the light. If the light retreats, the evil energy loses its sustenance.
The shamans counsel that the flyer entities, or the Prince of Darkness, constantly feast upon our energy by engaging us in all sorts of emotional entanglements, which all boil down to affronts to our self-importance. We can use these entities to help us lose our self-importance by retreating from the trap of feeling offended: victimhood. In this way, we maintain our true light, protecting it from unnecessary traps, as we patiently and perseveringly await the time of darkening of the light to pass, as we reemerge, at the right time, our light guiding the way to new life.
As usual, should anyone wish to write, I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Until we meet again,