#685 Chuck’s Place: Boroughs & Bridges to the Truth

America eagerly awaits its new Idol: Will it be Crystal; will it be Lee? The Tea Partyers eagerly await the opportunity to “throw the bums out” in the midterm elections. We breathe easier because the solid Admiral of the Coast Guard is overseeing BP. Natural gas companies are seizing the moment; offering the “safe” alternative to oil. After all, they blast 7,000 feet beneath the earth’s surface; how could that possibly effect the drinking water, or the cows pasturing on the farms above? Meanwhile, somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico, one mile (5280 feet) beneath the earth, the oil continues to flow, unabated. Fortunately, we are “right on schedule” for a final capping off of the pipe, some time in August. There is evidence now that the oil has caught the current and is showing up on the coast of Florida, the same current that flows up the eastern seaboard. Naturally, specimens are being “properly analyzed” to verify their point of origin. Thank God for science!

From a different perspective, I view this broadening, enveloping nigredo, as black gold, perhaps the real next American Idol; the one we will learn to appreciate the most. The tragedy to the seas, to the habitats of many, including our own, is now threatened at an unstoppable pace. Nature itself has taken over now, demanding that we embrace the truth. It is downright heartbreaking to see the amount of destruction to innocent sea life. The entire food chain will be poisoned as a result of this catastrophe and the impact will be felt by all living things. It is evident that the human race, left to its own devices, refuses to face the truth of its destructive behavior to the planet. I call the nigredo “black gold” because it represents, through the magnitude of its destruction, our path to redemption. It is not just a “good” thing that we check our greed, become humble, and assume responsibility for maintaining balance in this world; it is the only means of survival. It is not about convincing anyone or overpowering resistance. Nature has lost her patience; if we don’t capitulate, we perish.

The water, from which we are all born, which sustains all life, will now poison life, until we face the error of our ways and change our gluttonous attitudes toward the planet. But do not despair! Change is on the horizon. No longer must we sit idly by in powerlessness as the forces of greed dominate the show. Nature is on board now, in a big way. Stay aligned with the truth, your inner truth, and join your intent with this evolutionary process, facing and embracing all our planetary truths, which are, from an energetic perspective, “right on schedule.”

Keeping with the themes of water and nature, I turn now more personal, to dreams from my life around the Isle of Manhattan.

In countless dreams, I am lost in the Bronx searching for the bridge to Manhattan. Eventually, I find the bridge. However, it is generally at various stages of disrepair, or under construction, or being dangerously flooded with enormous waves crashing over it as it sways in the wind. Sometimes, I am lost in Brooklyn, unsure of the direction to Manhattan or which subway to take. Occasionally, the current is calm and I can swim across the river.

My psyche, the self, the spinner of dreams, has chosen New York City, with all of its boroughs and bridges, to show me both the fragmentation within my psyche, the location of untapped resources or possibilities, and the status of my ability to both tap into and integrate them.

Psychic fragmentation is often caused by traumatic experiences where parts of the self are cut off from the mainstream conscious self and forced to exist in unknown isolated islands, like, let’s say, Staten Island. Who even knows anything about Staten Island, or conceives of it as being part of New York City? So forgotten are they, complain Staten Islanders, that they have even considered secession from the union of New York City.

Psychic fragmentation can also be the result of socialization, where unacceptable parts of the self are repressed, never allowed access to conscious life; in the place Jung called the shadow. Perhaps these parts are stored in another borough of New York City, such as in Brooklyn or the Bronx.

Finally, there are parts of the self that have simply yet to emerge, yet to be activated, yet to be discovered in life. These resources may also be stored in the outlying boroughs, perhaps in Queens, a royal borough.

The process of individuation is the challenge to gain access to, to claim and integrate, all the boroughs of the self into a conscious unified whole. Integration requires a network of connections that allow easy access to all the boroughs, hence the significance of the condition of the bridges in my dreams. Psychotherapy is the process of building solid bridges to all parts of the self.

The seers of don Juan’s line introduced the process of recapitulation, of reliving one’s life, in order to reclaim all vital energy lost to prior experiences, or that which is lodged in the outlying boroughs. Furthermore, they introduced learning to shift the assemblage point, what they call our major point of awareness, to different positions within our energetic selves to access the fuller possibilities of our innate potential. Their techniques to create this shift are:

1. recapitulation, where we volitionally shift the assemblage point to a different place of awareness, that of forgotten or repressed aspects of life experiences;

2. dreaming, where the assemblage point loosens as the conscious ego relaxes its hold on our point of awareness;

3. stalking, where we shift the assemblage point through volitionally interrupting our habitual patterns by acting-as-if, or by practicing not-doings; and

4. intent, where we access the power of intent to shift our point of awareness simply through intending it.

Both psychotherapy and the practices of the seers offer tools to individuate and actualize the full potential of the self. But remember, union requires open bridges to all boroughs, access to all parts of the self. It requires truthfulness and clarity, without deception or hidden agendas; no cover-ups or idolizations, no capping off of any parts of the self that are spewing black gold until you get the message and take appropriate action. In order to stand in the fullness of self, we must allow nature itself to take over, inner and outer, integrating it with what we already know about the self. The natural flow of events and consequences in our lives, even the nigredo, are integral to this evolutionary process.

If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.

Until we meet again,

2 thoughts on “#685 Chuck’s Place: Boroughs & Bridges to the Truth”

  1. Thank you, Chuck for this piece on building bridges. The line containing “psychotherapy is the process of building solid bridges to all parts of the self” reminded me of a poem I wrote when I was building and strengthening my inner connections a dozen years ago. I am again in a place of bridge fortification and construction and your writing inspired me to pull it out and re-read it. With your permission I would like to post it. It is from a collection of poems I call “Songs of the Eighth Body” .


    pilings for the bridges
    are being driven into
    the ground of her being
    this eighth body feels
    the pain of the driving

    deep beneath the isolating waters
    the footings to support the connections
    between the islands of her selves
    are sinking into raw nerve
    moans emerge from the throat
    that can cry out in ecstasy…
    these sounds are dark and rich
    echoing in the unlit chambers
    under the water
    under the ground
    with only owl and bat
    to hear their stark beauty

    high pitched keening
    low-throated sobs
    tell of lifetimes of longing
    of loss and despair

    this body is transforming
    coming finally to wholeness….
    through dis-membering
    and re-membering
    the pain is the same.

    come back, come back
    come back to your Self
    build bridges and cross them
    in sacred procession
    bearing gifts of acceptance
    and balm for the shame

    the ecstasy is here
    all that you need is within

    by Karen Holtslag

  2. Dear Karen,

    Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal poem, quite representative of and recognizable to those doing the deep work of recapitulation, leading to wholeness and transformation.
    Your poem ends with Jeanne’s ever repeated guidance, “all that you need is within.”



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