In The Godfather, Michael Corleone, in his protected Sicilian retreat, is struck by a powerful, almost dangerous desire for the peasant woman Apollonia—what the Sicilians call “being hit by the thunderbolt.”
The thunderbolt originates in the realm of the immortals at the hand of Zeus, head of the Olympian gods. Being struck by the thunderbolt then is a divine interaction of great energetic and emotional significance. The encounter might result in rapture, transformation, conflagration, or death.
The “key,” as Ben Franklin is said to have demonstrated, is whether this powerful electrical charge can be safely harnessed and conducted to empower the boldest of human enterprises or, in its raw form, strike and destroy with uncontrolled power.
Today, we conceive of the Greek pantheon of gods as archetypes residing deep within the human psyche. The divine is part of us. We are human/divine beings who experience our divinity in thunderbolt surges of energetic encounters such as in experiences of falling in love, awe, rapture, passionate sexuality, compassion, interconnectedness, power, violence, hatred, creativity, ecstasy, rage, and grace.
As humans we long for these energetic experiences of wholeness, fulfillment, and transcendence. These experiences are both our birthright and deepest challenge to realize in this life. We must find our way to the energy of our divine nature and safely funnel it into our lives to attain these energetic possibilities.
The real challenge is to successfully channel these divine surges of thunderbolt energy into our humanness in a way that funds our human fulfillment and, as well, opens access to our energy bodies that live beyond our human form in infinity.
As a young child, my first encounter with divine energy was terrifying, as the experience of myself as pure energy nearly fried the circuit to my humanness. That’s why we develop egos and rationality—to insulate ourselves from the full impact of our energetic selves.
Major ruptures to our ego’s construction of reality can force us into experiences of our true energetic nature. Frequently, in trauma, people leave their human form and discover themselves as energy beings outside of their bodies. These are often terrifying encounters that lead to a lifelong challenge to reconcile energetic self with human form.
All encounters with thunderbolts generate anxiety, fear, trepidation, excitement, and anticipation. Some are quite unexpected, others quite planned for. Falling in love can be longed for, but not made to happen. Addictions, on the other hand, are experiences chosen because they open the channel to thunderbolt energy. Under the influence of the drug, the wine, the food, the purchase, the job, the obsessive activity, etc., the human form is flooded with and enjoys union with surges of divine energy.
Unfortunately, in addiction, access to the divine energy is limited to the substance or behavior and is not available independent of it. Furthermore, one cannot fully be in control of what kind of divine energy might show up. Perhaps a vengeful god resulting in a crime of passion or perhaps an omnipotent god that pushes to acts beyond the limits of the human form, resulting in accidental death or even suicide, comes calling.
Divine energy may be exciting but its power must be respected. To allow it to take full possession of us results in the manic side of bipolar disorder. You can be guaranteed that the fallback into humanness once the divine vacates will be a deep fall into the pit of depression.
On the other hand, to live a life sealed off from the tremendum of divine energy will lead ultimately to agoraphobia—the need to wall the self in from all high energy triggers projected everywhere in everyday life. We need divine energy to fulfill our lives. We must reckon with it in one form or another.
Recapitulation is a practice that clears and fortifies the channels to divine energy. In recapitulation, we relive the high energy onslaught of disintegrating experiences in our lives over and over until we can fully stare them down, be present, and handle them in full truth. We dismantle every disintegrating component of the experience until it no longer has any energetic impact. In the process we reclaim and reconfigure our energy that had previously been dispersed in the encounter into a channel for our energetic being. We develop the ability to access, funnel, and enjoy our divine energy in human form, as well as our energetic selves, at will.
Although Michael Corleone was able to unite and possess Apollonia after being struck by the thunderbolt, their union was short-lived as she was killed in an explosion that was intended to kill him. His real challenge, though he failed miserably, was to find his way to love in a real human relationship, with Kay, upon return to America. A successful human relationship forms the channel to divine love in contrast to the thunderbolt, which overtakes the human and quickly burns out.
The challenge is the same with integrating all divine thunderbolts into our human lives. We must open and fortify the channels to handle the energy of the divine to avoid being overtaken or fried by its power. Recapitulation is a valuable tool to channel and merge with the thunderbolt.
Out and about in today’s thunderstorm,