Chuck’s Place: The Sweat Lodge of Self

It’s Tuesday morning as I write this blog. The verse my soul brings me is a line from Leonard Cohen’s march,* “Democracy is coming to the USA.” This is not the seed my ego would choose to plant in this blog, but, as Leonard also once sang, “If it be your will.” And so, I acquiesce.

Looking forward to unification of earth & state…
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

Equally disturbing is the ruthless perseverance of American Express, incessantly invading the landline of our sanctuary on the hill with its myriad of tricksterish schemes to hook our energy. In fact, it led to a small spat between Jan and I at breakfast as to the best strategy to swat down that mosquito pest. I got angry at her ‘foolishness,’ picking up the phone and instantly hanging up. Her energy, as I saw it, hooked by the game, totally overlooking of course how my own heated reactive anger was perhaps doubly hooked!

Of course, it’s not lost on me the synchronicity of the heated energy of Leonard’s USA march and American Express’s steamroller tactics. America is at the center of our heated-up world right now, be it socially, politically, economically, or environmentally. In fact, our entire world is now a hot cauldron, an alchemical sweat lodge portending great transformation.

In a letter dated September 25, 1946, C. G. Jung writes to a colleague in New York: “…One could say that the whole world with its turmoil and misery is in an individuation process. But people don’t know it, that’s the only difference. If they knew it, they would not be at war with each other, because whosoever has the war inside himself has no time and pleasure to fight others. Individuation is by no means a rare thing or a luxury of the few, but those who know that they are in such a process are considered to be lucky. They get something out of it, provided they are conscious enough. Of course it is a question whether you can stand such a procedure. But this is the question with life too…”**

Jung wrote this letter shortly after World War II, clearly with the hope that the world could introvert—contain and seal off its warring elements within the individual—whereby creating the sweat lodge of self to advance corporeal humans to experience and unite within living form their latent spiritual, energetic self.

This is the goal of all life—individuation—to advance into and incorporate its wholeness, most especially to find and reconnect with its energetic self that lives and reigns in the life of the physical body.

Don Juan Matus maintained that the survival of our world dream required humankind to discover and bring its energy body into life. Both Jung and don Juan passed on their individual methods, psychotherapy and shamanism respectively, to avert world destruction, but were each equally guarded in their prognoses.

And so the world heats up once again, on many levels, with the deeper intent of evolutionary advance at its center. The earth has become the sweat lodge of this deeply transformative process. But you know, we are the world.

And so, back to the sweat lodge at our Tuesday morning breakfast table. The warring elements that manifest in the opposites of man and woman, spirit and material, naturally seek to trump each other. In our case, the fiery energies were maturely contained as breakfast was consumed on the Holy Grail plates, the projections burned off within, the projected elements—the wrong/bad other—introverted, sealed off within the sweat lodge of the self.

In the process, as the emotional distortions burned off, energy body self emerged with its 360° perspective. All sides are relevant and acceptable from this all-round perspective, all fit neatly together.

American Express is merely part of the catalyst of now, challenging us to find within us the place of no pity, the place of compassionate detachment and love, and with it the energy body of our potential self.

Don’t leave home without it,


*Quote from Leonard Cohen’s song “Democracy.”

**Quote from C. G. Jung Letters Volume 1: 1906-1950, p. 442

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