#744 Navigating a Breakthrough

Written by Jan Ketchel and including a channeled message from Jeanne Ketchel.

In recent conversations with Jeanne we have discussed learning to navigate through life using simple mantras of intent and opening up to innocence within. Personally, I have always found the process of allowing my innocence to guide me and speak to me as very liberating. It has afforded me the opportunity to learn how to bypass a lot of old ideas about myself, releasing myself from their captivity and in so doing learn how to channel. It has further allowed me the opportunity to embrace a different journey from the one I had so determinedly set out for myself when I was younger.

Most of my life—before the last decade—was spent in running away from things that although disturbing and often frightening to face were really attempting to liberate me from their energy and a programmed way of thinking and perceiving. If we turn and face that which we think is out to get us, pursuing us in order to make our lives miserable, we might discover that it is not actually some foreign energy or alien entity chasing us, but a part of ourselves that is just trying to overtake us in order to help us truly know ourselves more fully.

In doing a recapitulation, by turning and facing the past, however horrible and disturbing, we offer ourselves the opportunity to quite abruptly and cleanly switch gears. We offer ourselves access to a new path and new energy but, most importantly, our truths.

I know that all the talk that Chuck and I do about taking a recapitulation journey, and the opportunities it offers may seem quite impossible or even pretty far-fetched, but the fact is that it is one of life’s greatest and most liberating challenges. It is not an easy task to either begin or to stop it once it has begun, for the unfolding, once engaged, takes on a life of its own and it will not cease until it has carried us through our darkness. Oh, we can try to slow it down. We can try to run from it as we have in the past, step out of its path, hide from it, but once we have allowed ourselves to step into the energy of the recapitulation process our awareness, now finally awakened, will not ever fully go back to sleep.

Having the knowing-self finally present in our lives, the one who speaks so bravely and truthfully to us, is what I could not reject once I stopped running and hiding. Even attempts to refuse its missives could not be thwarted for long. And you know what? I didn’t really want to stop the process that I saw so clearly unfolding before me. I was just afraid of all the changes that I knew I had to go through, all the experiences I knew I needed to have.

Probably the most frightening part of the recapitulation process was learning to totally let go of everything I had been taught, as I challenged everything and began to open to learning new ways of seeing and perceiving everything. But the funny thing was that encountering those new ways was like reuniting with well-known friends, friends who had always been present in my life, just waiting for me to find them. Those new ways had been pursuing me, running alongside those horrors that I had been keeping just one step ahead of for so long.

The other day, I said to Chuck, I wonder where I would be now if I had not met you. I could not visualize a life at all. In fact, there was no other life. Once I made the decision to recapitulate there was only one path that opened up for me. From then on, I did not have so many decisions to make because there was only one path in front of me. The only decision I had to make was to just keep going, one step at a time. Suddenly, there were no longer any more forks in the road—the road just stretched out endlessly in front of me. I am still on that same road. It is still endless. And I am still faced with the same challenge: to keep going, to keep opening to the unfolding of the journey ahead.

In running, I had attempted to outpace not only my bitter truths, but also my true self. Fortunately, I paid attention to the signs, the synchronicities, and the desperate calls of that true heart-centered self. I still pay attention. I’m doing that right now, as I allow myself to sit down and have conversations with someone who no longer exists in human form. And then I dare to take it one step further and write about these conversations each week in this blog. Sometimes I surprise myself, but when Jeanne asked me to be a partner in this adventure, I—that true self—could not refuse the call, for it had been ringing through me my entire life, reverberating, louder and louder, until I finally decided that nothing else mattered.

When I finally decided to stop running, catch my breath, and sit down, I was given the biggest challenge and gift of my life, as I watched the movie of my past play out within me and the movie of my future too. Now I guess I will ask Jeanne to follow up on that part of the process of navigating through life, of taking that big first step of choosing to stop and listen. There will be no change in life if choices are not made—I think we all know that by now. It doesn’t matter how many times we are shown that everything is possible and that everything is meaningful, and it doesn’t really matter how many times our innocence calls; if we choose not to face what they are trying to tell us, we won’t get anywhere.

So Jeanne, I ask you to talk today about this process of choosing to stop the world long enough to see a new path, long enough to see that something incredible awaits us in the future. How do we bear the tension of accepting that we may not be on the right path, even though we have it so well planned and thought out? How do we acquiesce to the true path, even though we can’t quite see it?

My Dearest Readers: What Jan is talking about is indeed paying attention to the call of the holy spirit within. Each one of you has this spirit who abides in you, with you, protecting, guiding, and lighting your way. It is not an outer, separate being, but the true self who holds your entire scope of lives in its memory bank, the past and the future. This holy spirit is your whole self, wholly contained within, wholly affordable and accessible, waiting just beyond ego, beyond the door of that world, beyond thoughts that keep you so concerned about doing life as you have been taught. It is ready to teach you how to do life differently, and this is what Jan speaks of today.

She is right that choices must be made. Nothing will happen in life, no progress will be made if you do not choose to embrace life. If you never leave your house, your fears will surround you evermore heavily, pressing down upon you, calling you to face them. If you choose to hunker down and ignore them you can be assured that they will come knocking ever-louder, for they see that you are at innocent’s door. In your state of fear you are actually preparing yourself for the grand breakthrough that will release you to the guidance within.

Your breakthrough to accessing your fears must be accompanied by your sober, knowing self. Your mature adult self, who has been your running companion, must now turn into your strength in a new form. The power of your adult self must become your new mother and father, and when I say “new” I mean your true mother and father guiding you properly, from your pool of innocence and knowing, rather than from your previous experiences of who a mother and father are.

In choosing to take a recapitulation journey, with your spirit and your mature self, which will indeed lead you to encounter so much more than just your past, you will begin to understand that a journey is a solitary one, based on the energy that you were imbued with a long time ago.

So what, Jeanne, is the next step to getting to this place of listening to the holy spirit and new parents within?

Find your breaking point. Find your point of no return. Find yourself fully aware that there is no turning back. Find yourself absolutely done with life as you know it, fed up, exhausted by it, tired of it, bored, depleted, un-nurtured, unfed by it. Look at where you are in your life and, using your holy spirit and your mother and father within, ask yourself if you are ready to change.

Your fears will fly up in your face, so be ready for this. Keep listening to the truth within, and step slightly off your old well-worn path and do something different for the self alone. Even a tiny moment of change may be all you need to begin the shift of a lifetime.

Jeanne, you are reminding me that one of the simplest things I began to do for myself when I was at my breaking point, when I knew I was about to break my world apart, was that I began to take a bath every evening after dinner was over and the kids were doing homework. I established with everyone in the family that I was not to be disturbed for the half hour or so that I was soaking in the tub. I had never taken baths and I had never refused my kids access to me, so it took a while before everyone got used to the new routine, before the kids stopped coming to the door to ask me things and before I could say, “Not now, when I’m done,” and before I could actually accept that I liked and needed those few minutes of down time. I began to change some of the dynamics that I had long perpetuated within the family structure simply by removing myself from them, but by doing it in a way that was personally nurturing for a change. I asked my old scolding parents within to go away too while I soaked in the tub and asked a gentler pair to enter and that was the beginning of change in my life. The act of lying in water too allowed me to learn how to soften both inside and outside.

Perhaps, fellow journeyers, there is something in your life that will afford you the opportunity to break through? Perhaps you already know what it is, but you just have to choose to flow with it.

Jeanne, do you have anything else to say in closing today?

Only this: Do not dismiss the innocent self, the holy spirit, the wholly necessary and evolving self who speaks of what you need but cannot fulfill it without your participation. Choosing to do something even slightly different in your life invites other aspects of self to participate more fully and that is the catalyst, the shift, to breaking through the walls that keep you encased in your fears.

As you face your fears you will also be facing your treasures within. Invite some new people into your homes today, into your inner sanctum of self. See what they suggest you do for the self in order to get beyond where you are now. Even if you have done a lot of work on the self, there is still always more to do. You are never done with life.

Experiences await! Open the next door and see where it leads. A solitary journey, you will see, is full of good traveling companions; you just have to let them come along for the ride!

Thank you, Jeanne!

Please feel free to post comments or respond to this message in the post/read comments section below. And thank you for passing the messages on!

Most fondly and humbly offered.

Chuck’s Place: Beyond Belief

“Do you believe in God?” asks John Freeman of Carl Jung in a 1959 BBC interview.

“Now?” asks Jung. “Difficult to answer… I know… I don’t need to believe… I know.”

“What is the practical importance of the out-of-body experience?” asks an Italian interviewer of William Buhlman, prominent out-of-body explorer, researcher, and author, in April 2008.

“The most important thing about an out-of-body experience is the ability to obtain answers… the ability to go beyond beliefs… the out-of-body experience gives people the opportunity to verify their own immortality,” replies William Buhlman.

The out-of-body experience (OBE) is the experience of consciousness separate and apart from the physical body. This experience is most frequently first encountered in a dream state when awareness is suddenly awoken by a sensation of intense vibration that leads to the separation of consciousness from the physical body. Frequently, people report floating up from or rolling out of their physical bodies, which remain asleep and frozen, in a state of paralysis. This emergence from the body is experienced as still being contained in the body, however its movements are dictated by thought versus physical action. The shamans call this the energy body and others call it the astral or ethereal body.

This awakening to one’s energy body is experienced spontaneously by most people at some point in their dreaming life. Don Juan suggested that the experience of the self as energy, the dormant energy body, is a potential available to all, simply waiting to be called into action.

The initial reaction to an OBE can range from terror to exhilaration. My own reaction to my youthful OBE was very similar to Robert Monroe’s, a pioneer in OBE exploration in America. I feared death, as did he, and I feared a brain tumor, as did he. Like Monroe, I was cleared of tumors after neurological brain scans, and also discovered that I wasn’t going to die, however, in the absence of more knowledge I remained terrified. In contrast, as Monroe states, in a 1992 interview at his institute in Virginia, he had the benefit of a discussion with a psychologist friend who informed him that his experience would be quite normal in India. He suggested that Monroe move to India and study under a guru in an ashram for ten to twenty years to hone his skills in OBE. Though Monroe was not prepared to leave his wife, child and business for a decade or two, he obtained the knowledge that his experience was not abnormal and began his own Western exploration of OBE.

In fact, the knowledge and experience of life beyond the body is highly refined in Eastern systems of yoga and Buddhism, as well as in shamanic cultures both East and West. This has been Carlos Castaneda’s greatest contribution to our time: awakening all of us to the equal opportunity to find our energy bodies and answer for ourselves questions of immortality and life beyond the body.

There are many roads to awakening the energy body and beginning a personal exploration of infinity: trauma, sleep deprivation, drug use, yoga, meditation, holotropic breathing, Tensegrity, hypnosis, channeling, prayer, fasting, creative dreaming, near death experience—in fact, the list may be endless.

In my experience, intent is all you really need. Intend to find your energy body. Intend often; it will happen. What stands in the way for most people is the rational mind. “I don’t believe in an energy body,” the mind will say. My response, “Good! Beliefs are useless.”

Be a scientist, find out through your own personal experiment. Suspend judgment, like any true scientist. Set up your experiment. Intend your energy body, gently, persistently, every day, for weeks. Then, see what happens!

See what questions you might begin to answer through your own personal experiences and knowing.

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

Until we meet again,

NOTE: All cited interviews are available on YouTube. Click on the links: Carl Jung, William Buhlman, Robert Monroe. You can also read about Chuck’s experience in The Book of Us, p. 5 or in this Chuck’s Place Blog.

A Day in a Life: A Blip in the Universe

In the middle of the night I woke up and my thoughts went to what I would write about today in this blog. I fell back to sleep and dreamt that I was writing fluidly and flowingly. The words “write like a shaman” were spoken in a voiceover throughout the dream. When I woke up I remembered the dream but could not remember any specifics nor come up with a theme for today’s blog. Usually, I just sit at my computer and the words flow, but today that was just not happening, unlike my dream.

Then something unusual happened. I’d been sitting here for about an hour struggling with several ideas and had just gotten something down that made some sense when a blip in the universe caused my screen to go blank and, not having saved my draft, I lost everything I had written. Now, as I sit here even more frustrated and quite deflated, that dream comes back to me and I wonder again what it was that I had written in the night that flowed so easily and what I am supposed to learn from the two worlds I am encountering, the dream world and this present reality.

I’ve been feeling scattered lately, not quite my grounded self, the outer world taking my attention. Even as I sit here now and write I keep glancing outside. We are expecting yet another snowstorm in the Northeast and to tell you the truth I’m getting pretty tired of it. Yes, the ice-coated trees do glitter fantastically in the sunlight, but I’m getting tired of shoveling and I’m really looking forward to spring.

On Monday, in the channeled message, Jeanne mentioned that we must not take things too personally and yet that we must reflect on what we are personally being shown as we navigate through our lives. Today, I personally feel that I have been humbled before the power of the universe and nature. It can so easily take over, taking away what I had struggled so hard to write, letting me know that I’m just not that important. The pending snow doesn’t care that I’m tired of shoveling or that I’m cold. That’s just the way it is.

The seers of ancient Mexico would totally agree with the universe and nature. We are nothing and yet we are here, part of the universe, part of nature, as Jeanne also mentioned in her message. So, today I acquiesce to nature. I turn this blog over to the blip in the universe and sign off to ponder just what it is that I am being shown.

May the rest of the day unfold differently now, as I give a nod to the energy that pushes us to change—or not—it doesn’t really matter, because I have already acquiesced. What comes will come and I accept it!

If you wish, feel free to share or comment in the Post Comment section below.

Sending you all love and good wishes,

#743 Navigating a Path of Heart

Written by Jan Ketchel and including a channeled message from Jeanne Ketchel.

Last week, in my conversation with Jeanne she established the importance of setting intent using two significant mantras: Everything is possible and Everything is meaningful. If we go the next step in learning to navigate life with those two ideas firmly embedded in our subconscious, simply through the practice of repeatedly saying them for five minutes each day, we open ourselves to experiencing reality differently.

For instance, if we look at everything that happens to us, comes to us, greets us, meets us and confronts us as personally significant we begin to understand what those two mantras can do for us in helping us expand our awareness. For that is the purpose of life, I believe, to expand our awareness beyond the issues of self, of poor me, of blame, and self-defeat, and to instead open to the universe, knowing that it provides everything we need.

I ask Jeanne: What would you offer as the next step in expanding our awareness, as we begin to more thoroughly practice the intent of navigating through life by becoming open, by setting our intent to more fully open to guidance from the universe?

Jeanne responds: The next step in opening to the guidance of the universe is emptying the self of all ego-related wants, desires, ideas and importances, and becoming a truly pure being. I do not mean pure in the sense of making the self over by force of any kind, but pure in the sense of emptiness, of being open without thoughts of personal gain, personal implications of any sort, but instead resorting to pure innocence of spirit, that which one is born with. This innocence involves no motives, no desires, no attention, no ego self, but is pure energy of curiosity, of love, of openness to truth of self and of the world, as it comes to greet you each day.

This pureness of heart, this innocence I speak of, does not find what it needs in that world, for there is nothing that it needs there. All it needs is permission to live. And this permission may only be granted by each individual.

As you begin to intend change in your life, you will find that you will be confronted with many feelings. You will question whether or not you are doing it right, or if you are indeed worthy of allowing the self to change. These questions, and many others that arise, must be viewed as attached to that world where your self-importance has had to play a part of utmost importance in your life. You have had to spend your life building up and supporting your ego, for that is the system you live under.

But, if you are reading my messages, and the messages of other guides, then I guarantee that you are no longer interested in upholding that system. After a while, such a system drains all of your energy, depletes your storehouse, and leaves you wondering what you have been doing your whole life. Who have you been living and working for, and for what reason? Is it simply because you have followed the ideas of the system? Is there another path?

Yes, I trust that you, if you are reading my words, do know in your heart that another personal path exists. It does not exist as a well-laid out system with rules and diagrams, for it is not that kind of path. It is a path that is, as of yet, not revealed. The spirit of it may have been revealed to you a long time ago, but you will not learn about it again until you tread upon it, taking one step at a time along its unknown route, following the synchronicities inherent in life, in nature, and in each one of you, as you open to a new way of living.

Learning to navigate along a path of heart requires that you be open. And that is what I suggest you study next. Find out what it means to personally open yourself to your innocence, to allowing your true spirit self to become your eyes, your ears, your voice, your intuition, your heart.

The first thing to remember is that, at all times, you must study and know who the old self is. Only in knowing how the old ego-based self works will you not be fooled or caught as you attempt this most significant change. The old self is full of habits, thoughts, ideas, judgments. The old self is fully ready to dismiss your innocent thoughts and ideas. The old self is not very open to navigating life in a new way. It is ready, at all times, to fall back into the comforts of the system it has grown up in.

So your first challenge will be to learn how it operates, studying how it reacts to life or does not, what it chooses to believe about the self, and what it most often desires. This old self is your most helpful companion as you seek your new innocent self. Use this habitual self to look elsewhere, to steadily tell it: “No, not that way. Let’s look for a new way.”

Look at the possibility that even the tiniest and most insignificant sign you receive may be the catalyst to change. What does that birdcall mean, the one you hear most noticeably today? What does the nagging noise mean, or the message from your boss, or the anger that arises when you feel rejected or ignored?

What else can you do or feel or take note of in your life? What other sign is available to point out or introduce a new way of thinking, feeling, perceiving, or navigating life?

When I say that life, that the universe, that nature itself offers you everything you need to change and grow, I put each one of you in the same categories. You are life. You are nature. You are the universe. Everything you need is inside you.

Set your intent to change. Be open to the possibilities that come to you. Know fully that everything is meaningful by studying your self and your experiences. Then take it another step and use what you now know to live your life according to a new plan of unfolding life. Allow your innocence to wake up with you each morning eager to explore the world, looking for the resonance of heart in all you do. That is how you will begin to more fully live with universal intent.

It is up to each one of you to do for the self what no one else can do for you. Seek guidance by all means. Seek help of those who have done the work and continue to face challenges, knowing full well that the best teachers will always set you to task, asking you to have the experiences that only you can have, that only you can enact, that only you can embrace.

You are the universe. Yes, that is true, but that will mean nothing and get you nowhere if you do not go and find out what that means. You are nothing until you do, though you hold always the possibility of that universe inside you. It is only in having personal experiences of the self as truly open, daring, and honest that you will discover what it means to have access to all things within.

The true path is to go within, to navigate the self, to become innocently empty once again so that you may truly be open, using the outer world as guide to finding the path of heart.

Learn what it means to navigate life and evolve, one step at a time. It’s hard work, but it is truly worth the effort!

Thank you, Jeanne!

Please feel free to post comments or respond to this message in the post/read comments section below. And thank you for passing the messages on!

Most fondly and humbly offered.

Chuck’s Place: Black Swan—A Tragic Coming of Age

Please note: If you have not seen the movie Black Swan yet, you may not want to read this blog until after you’ve seen the movie.

A ballerina, the epitome of elegant, feminine beauty and form is swallowed up by a lethal schizophrenic process. This is the story of Black Swan.

I draw from Black Swan the archetypal underpinnings of coming of age: nature’s call to greater individuation; separation from mother; encounter with the shadow; and, in this case, a maladaptive initiation into full adulthood.

No one can successfully traverse the gateway to adulthood without a deep encounter with his or her passionate nature. With adolescence comes the rumblings and fires of our awakening sensual, passionate, and sexual natures. These are the impulses that will draw us beyond home and family into new life, new roles, and a deeper connection to our passionate selves.

Families that may have securely housed our innocence and forged our ego discipline and control can no longer provide a home for our evolving passionate natures. We must loosen the nursery tie to our families and allow ourselves to become full passionate, sexual beings, an essential part of our adult selves.

This road to passionate self is fraught with danger. Our childhood goals, or those of our parents for us, may rest upon the repression and sublimation of nature’s fires, energy channeled to forge a successful education and career. In the case of Black Swan, the goal of premier ballerina was presided over by a mother whose single focus was her daughter’s success. We must acknowledge the pressure on our fledgling ballerina of her suffocating mother parasitically stealing her daughter’s life to vicariously realize her own frozen, frustrated dreams of stardom.

All this being true, the deeper challenge is the daughter’s ambivalence about letting go of the safety of the nursery and opening to the thunderous pulsations of her own nature that will forever separate her from the security of mother’s womb. To go deeper into life she will need to cut this infantile protective cord that, at this stage of life, can only serve to entomb her in lifeless security.

We all struggle with a tie to this enticing but devouring security, symbolized by the protective mother in this film. She is the mother that welcomes our regressive turning away from the deepening challenge of life, as we fall into stages of victimhood, entitlement and depression. She soothes and numbs for the price of our spirit. We must rally the hero within ourselves to be delivered from such a regressive vortex, to take on the adventure and responsibility of discovering and integrating our whole selves.

The mother I speak of is an internal image within us all. She is the mother we constellate when fearfully confronted by life, be it in the world or within the hidden recesses of our body and soul. If our ego balks at taking on the challenge before us we activate this apparent nurturing great mother to self soothe and protect us from our fears. However, if we cling to regression, this supportive mother becomes the devouring mother who fully takes us back into the womb of depression. In fact, she becomes the death instinct itself—nature reabsorbing life energy for its own purposes, a mother consuming her child’s life. Our ontogenic imperative insists we choose life and be willing to fight for it, refusing the comfort of the regressive call. All responsibility rests with the ego. The devouring mother is not the ultimate antagonist. She is the consequence of the ego’s refusal of the call into deeper life.

Our ballerina does begin to fend off her symbiotic mother, however, largely through the onset of a schizophrenic process. Her ego cannot directly loosen its attachment to mother, however, her shadow—that is, the repressed part of herself that houses her rejected feelings, needs, and impulses—begins to assert itself by taking over her personality with aggressive acts of resistance and defiance. Her ego and shadow remain diametrically opposed, unintegrated, contributing to her fragmented, hallucinatory process.

The artistic director serves as the protagonist to allow the ballerina direct access to her sexual nature, essential to fully embodying the dance of the black swan. This challenge is deepened by the real life addition to the ballet company of a woman who is the perfect mirror of her latent, repressed, sensual self: her shadow. What ensues is a relationship part delusional and part real as our ballerina struggles to alternately merge with and fend off her shadow. Merger is expressed graphically by her hunger to sexually unite with her shadow.

Jung was clear that our shadow is always presented or symbolized by a person of our own sex, as our shadow contains qualities of self that are fully realizable in our conscious personality. In this case, the female shadow symbolizes our ballerina’s full feminine self, including her sexual and sensual self. Sexual union with her shadow is the most appropriate symbol and experience of this deeper self-connection. To merge sexually with a man without being able to unite with her sexual self will not resolve true ownership and connection to her sexual nature. An unintegrated sexual shadow is a major struggle in the sexual lives of many adults.

The psychic divide between ego and shadow broadens and is maintained by a series of psychological defenses. Our ballerina’s major defense to maintain her child ego stronghold is that of perfection. She works ruthlessly to perfect her technique. After four years in the ballet company she is the most perfect ballerina. However, her perfection cannot incorporate the spontaneous, passionate impulse of her deep nature and she falls short of the fluidity needed to dance the black swan. She fortifies her perfection with anorexia and purging as she desperately controls and holds on to her child’s body.

Even more gruesomely disturbing is her defense of body mutilation, whether it be scratching her back until it bleeds, peeling skin from her fingers until they bleed, or ultimately stabbing herself with glass. These various forms of self-mutilation serve several defensive functions. On a very primitive level, blood letting provides a release of the supposed illness in the body. In the case of our ballerina, the shadow impulse is projected upon the blood, which is released through tearing the skin.

Furthermore, the ritual act of scratching or peeling skin, leading ultimately to skin penetration and bleeding, serves as a displacement of a sexual impulse into a more acceptable form to the child ego.

The painful experience of bodily mutilation serves another defense called identification with the aggressor. Here, through bodily mutilation, she is able to both punish herself for her sexual impulses and feel the strength and power of living out the role of the repressive punitive parent.

Finally, I propose an archetypal basis for bodily mutilation present in all initiation rites of “primitive” societies. Initiation rites serve the societal and deep psychological function of ushering the initiate from childhood into adulthood. Wounding has always assumed a central role in initiation rites and shamanic journeys. The wound loosens the ego’s grip upon the familiar and the initiate is opened to a greater reality, presenting new possibilities to be incorporated into the existing sense of self. These ancient rites and journeys are also dangerous times, as initiates are subjected to energetic intensities that could easily result in “loss of soul” (schizophrenia in modern terms), or death. Hence, the caution of having elders other than the parents of the initiate overseeing and guiding is instrumental to this transformative ritual.

Our modern rational world has, unfortunately, lost its connection to these rituals, but the impulse to be initiated emerges spontaneously and misguidedly, in many cases of self-mutilation or fashionable body piercings. Through the loss of guided ritual, the modern world has required the developing ego of every individual to assume responsibility for accomplishing self-initiation. This deeper journey of initiation may be delayed, becoming instead a lifelong struggle to individuate. In fact, we may have a society of largely uninitiated adults. The far greater challenge of our time may be for the would-be initiate to defensively hold together the highly pressurized opposing energies within psyche and soma to allow for a lengthy individuation process, resulting finally in full adult initiation.

As our ballerina inches closer to opening night, her efforts to make contact with and unite with her shadow self become increasingly more dangerous and delusional. Even the moviegoer has trouble discerning which scenes are real and which are pure hallucination. Here lies, perhaps, the greatest failed defense: a full-blown schizophrenic process. I call it a failed defense because it serves to keep all the sub-personalities separate, at the cost of a central organizing factor: the ego.

The transition from late adolescence to early adulthood is one of the most vulnerable times in the life cycle for the onset of schizophrenia. The demands of adult roles, as well as the encounter with the shadow self, can shatter the personality into fragmented pieces like an earthquake creating new fault lines in the earth.

Only a conscious personality, able to loosen its hold on the child ego state, can allow nature to bring forth the deeper sensual self and make the transition into mature adulthood without serious damage. No wonder the initiation rites of yesteryear were so prominent in all societies.

In the case of our ballerina, though she completes the dance of both sides of the swan, white and black, they remain separate, unintegrated entities within herself and though the movie ends somewhat speculatively, to me, she went to her death having lived more fully in a fragmented way, but certainly not as a whole, integrated being.

Nature insists we move along the life cycle. This first major bridge, from child to adult, in coming of age, needs to be appreciated at a much deeper level in our modern world.

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

Until we meet again,