Tag Archives: dark side

Chuck’s Place: The Light Side of the Dark Side

Light emerging from its soulful partner…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

No dispute that the dark side is ascendant now. Bringing light into the darkness is the spark of creation. Darkness and light are the eternal partners of creation and new life.

Genetically I hail mainly from drinking Irish stock. My violent alcoholic father knocked out my mother’s teeth while I shivered in her womb. Darkness.

By the time I was two my mother managed to divorce us from this violence, delivering us to my new Russian Jewish musician father, eighteen years her senior. My Jewish father interrupted my genetic predisposition and unfolding by providing stability, predictability and an example of well-grounded rationality. Light.

I learned to honor Mother, the most venerated in both Russian and Jewish tradition. By age sixteen I had to free myself from the containment of this maternal dominance, the darkness of the womb of the mother complex. Darkness.

In my senior year of high school I began my mentorship with Dr. Efren Ramirez, the Puerto Rican psychiatrist who became my spiritual father. Efren was ultimately to deliver me to Carlos Castaneda, Carl Jung and the I Ching—the fathers who have subsequently guided me through life. Light.

Efren was Puerto Rico’s shining star in the early 1960’s. He had solved the opioid crisis in his native soil through his innovation—Existential Confrontation and the Therapeutic Community. John Lindsay, New York City’s bright light mayor, seduced Efren away from Puerto Rico to tackle heroin addiction in NYC. Light.

Though drawn to the opportunity, Efren was heartbroken to leave his beloved Puerto Rico. His father-in-law had been governor of Puerto Rico and Efren lamented frequently the loss of native culture and autonomy of the island under the shadow of American possession. Efren proposed a “free association” status for Puerto Rico in relation to America, but it never came to pass. In truth, Puerto Rico became a welfare state with a debt to the mainland that it could never repay. Darkness.

Fast forward to today. Devastated by Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico remains still largely flooded and without electricity. President Trump has threatened to abandon the territory’s relief, chiding Puerto Ricans for their debt. Where is the light in this darkness?

Elon Musk proposed that he could power the entire Island with solar  electricity. The current Puerto Rican governor’s response was, “let’s talk.” Perhaps Puerto Rico will be lighted with the true energy of the future. Perhaps Puerto Rico will take Trump up on his offer to be abandoned, galvanizing their own energy and spirit, ultimately leading to the realization of Efren’s dream of independent status. Light.

These are the seeds, long buried in the shadows, that might sprout from the light side of the dark side of Puerto Rico’s current crisis. Like night turned into day,  all creation springs from the light emerging from its soulful partner, the dark.

Light and Dark,


Chuck’s Place: Love it all

Love it all, the dark and the light…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

If we are truly to understand where we are, we must face the fact that the ego, with its capacity for reason, is the reigning god of now. The notion of an all-powerful god behind the scenes may still hold a sentimental attachment, a hope or belief, but reason reigns as that which gives order to life and the world. I pass no judgment nor support for this fact, I simply state the obvious.

The Christian notion of an all-loving god is the precursor to this god of reason. An all-loving god suggested a fair god, a reasonable god, a forgiving god, a god of order. And though this loving god still embraced the irrational—spirit life—it shed its dark side. Older notions of god, such as Yahweh or Allah, depict a far more bipolar god, a god of love but also a god of rage, a god of chaos. This god showed his dark side, torturing Job and drowning all who missed Noah’s boat.

The current god of reason has lost this ancient bipolar quality. I would submit that the current world crisis reflects the return of the disowned dark side of god, which is now in power, leveling the playing field of reason and order. We are currently facing chaos and the exercise of evil in control.

What I suggest here is that life is bipolar. We are both good and evil. Evil is not simply the absence of good, evil is part of the essence of everything. America has always stood for the highest values of goodness and caring, the most reasonable values on earth. But in so being, as we set out to save the world, we disowned our dark side, which has now visited itself upon us, and the rest of the world, in a caricature of abuse of power, an infantile, instinctual ego lacking reason.

Nonetheless, this startling state of affairs is so attractive and refreshing to the suppressed shadow, or inherent dark side of the populace, that it is lavishly having its day with all its drama and danger. This is the law of compensation: if we embrace one pole of our bipolar being too rigidly, the repressed side will eventually return with a vengeance.

This vengeance of the dark side is so intense that it threatens, like Noah’s flood, to wipe out all the goodness of civilization, in fact all of life itself. This instinctually driven, dominating power drive is completely self-serving, incapable of reasonable sacrifice to ensure a future beyond itself.

Yes, we must judge it; we must attempt to forestall its shortsighted, narcissistic stance that invites apocalypse, but we must also address the issue at its core: reconciling our bipolar being. We are all a composition of light and dark, good and evil, male and female. We must know all sides of ourselves; we must live all sides of ourselves. If we cling to a one-sided ideal of reason, we end up overturned by the irrational, chaotic side of our nature.

When I suggest that love is all, I mean that love includes evil, the dark side. Love can love its evil side. When the Dalai Lama states that yes, he could kill to defend his life, this does not make him hate his attacker. To the contrary, love reigns in that moment for he who must be killed. With the decision to kill, the Dalai Lama reconciles his instinctual, killing, “evil” nature with loving acceptance of all that is, even the ruthless, even the psychopathic.

Our evolving god image, that which we model ourselves upon, must return to its bipolar roots. That is where we are being led now. This is not merely an aberration being acted out on the world stage. That perspective is a hold out of the god of reason. No, what is being abundantly lived now is the breadth and potential of the dark side of humanity.

Of course, we hope that reason and the light side will prevail, but this can only happen if we embrace and find a place for the irrational, instinctual dark side of our beings. This is how each individual currently walking upon this earth is challenged and empowered to steer the course of our world.

Face your dark side, learn to love it. To love does not mean to give it free reign but to respect its knowledge and contribution to our wholeness. To acknowledge and accept our own darkness is the love that will ensure our survival and evolution upon this planet.

Do your part, as I do mine.

Love it all,


Chuck’s Place: The Economics of Changing Dreams

We must begin by assuming personal responsibility for the world’s current dream. Last week, I proposed that we are in the Time of the Usher, the dream changer. That lead role mysteriously fell upon Donald Trump.

Our very own Petty Tyrant!
– Art by Jan Ketchel

If we face the deeper truth that our world is spinning out of balance and requires a radical shift to survive, perhaps we can appreciate why we have called upon such a ruthless sorcerer from the dark side to usher in change. This sorcerer fits the bill of what the Shamans of Ancient Mexico call the petty tyrant.

Petty tyrants rank as extreme narcissists and psychopaths who wield the power of life and death over others. For shamans, encounters with petty tyrants are fundamental to their training. Most importantly, since tyrants lack any capacity for empathy for the cruelty they perpetrate upon their victims, shamans are offered a golden opportunity to lose their self-importance when dealing with them. Those indulging in self-pity under the reign of the petty tyrant exhaust their energy quickly and unwisely, as the petty tyrant has absolutely no concern for their needs.

Instead, shamans learn how to hone and revamp their energy, wasting none in seeking sympathy or validation for the hardships and cruelty directed at them by their petty tyrants. This energy saving training has the secondary benefit of preparing them to face future onslaughts from the unknown.

In this time of changing dreams that we are now experiencing, we are all at a distinct advantage, as it is very clear who the petty tyrant is. We can choose to stand up to him, by deciding to have all our energy available to meet the unexpected challenges and shifts that are occurring daily, with a minimum of energy expense.

Shamans ultimately seek the defeat of the petty tyrant but realize that getting caught in the traps of indignance and being offended both exhaust energy and cloud the ability to observe and plan strategically. The bigger the tyrant the greater the challenge to preserve  one’s energy and stay centered on the task. This is the position of the assemblage point that the shamans call the place of no pity. This position requires extreme mindful presence without ego attachment. The only question to ask oneself is, what is the appropriate action now, all personal attachment removed from view.

Since January 21st of this year I have limited myself to one minute per day of taking in the news. I came to this practice after observing the energetic impact that one hour of news was having on my energy as I went through the day.

Donald Trump, our news tyrant, seduces with outrageous antics and threats, which literally suck the energetic life out of a person. The emotional volatility evoked, and the attention given, literally feed the tyrant entity, who clearly has an insatiable hunger for attention.

I observe a tremendous energy savings with my one minute per day limitation. Each morning, I quickly receive the bullet points of necessary information, intentionally avoiding the trappings of emotional reactivity and seduction to track, think about, react to , and talk about the stories that are circulating in the news throughout the day—all energy-zapping practices. As a result I am free to decide if I need to do something or if I can just move on.

I don’t spend my energy on worry, fear, or rage. It simply depletes too much energy. Being offended by Trump is a waste of energy! Refusing to give him the attention he feeds off of, starves him of my energy and I get to keep it for myself. Having detachment from his outrageousness allows me to see clearly and to strategically navigate now.

Thus, I see Trump’s role as the usher, who has disrupted the familiarity and security of our world, as the role of the petty tyrant as well. He offers himself as the one to help us hone our energy and prepare for the real changes that we will invariably face as the world changes dreams again.

It’s a dangerous situation!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Please don’t misconstrue my perspective as a benevolent casting of Donald Trump. He is a tyrant and he is dangerous. Many people will be and have been crushed by his ruthlessness. However, the world must evolve now into a new dream in order to survive, and the silver lining in Trump is that, though he appears the antithesis of survival, he has had the ability to interrupt the status quo of the world. This interruption of energy flow is a move of a sorcerer and it allows us all an opportunity to hone our own energy and prepare for the challenges on the horizon. These challenges may be hastened by Trump, but they hardly originate with him.

The deeper dream we are leaving is the self-centered dream where it’s all about “me” and “us” (U. S.)! Trump’s embodiment of that dream is the catalyst for the new dream, the one centered at the heart level: the real truth, transparency, and all-inclusiveness.

For us to prepare for this new dream, we must learn the economics of saving our energy resources by losing the self-importance of being offended and raising our consciousness to the truth of the heart.

The heart stays in alignment with the soul/energy body—spirit—call it what you will, but it is that divine center within us all that tells us the truth, the real truth, and whose guidance will lead us forward into a truly sustainable dream, the dream we are really preparing for, a heart-centered world dream.

From an energy miser,


Chuck’s Place: Compensation

Compensation is the action of balance. In everyday life, we work—we give of our energy and are compensated with wages. Hence our efforts are compensated or balanced by stored energy—money—that we are then freed to use as we see fit.

We are all guilty; we all compensate... - Art and Photo by Jan Ketchel
We all compensate…
– Art and Photo by Jan Ketchel

Psychologically, compensation operates as the balancing agent of the unconscious to our conscious decisions and actions. If we spend our day studious and bored, our dreams may compensate by taking us on faraway adventures. In this way our conscious life is compensated—balanced—by our unconscious adventures.

The more extreme our conscious attitude, the more extreme our unconscious compensation. If we insist on keeping ourselves in flighty behavior, the unconscious might compensate with a bad mood, a depression, or a physical fall, bringing us back to earth.

This same compensatory mechanism operates on the world stage. When the ruling attitudes become extreme in any direction they are compensated by a counter movement of equal and opposite energy that reacts in its own destructive wake.

If we accept the premise that the world is an interdependent whole, then outbreaks of behavior, such as the recent horrific tragedy in Paris, should be explored as a powerful compensation for an equally imbalanced ruling principle, not necessarily within Paris or France but within the prevailing governing attitudes of our times around the world.

I have often proposed in my writings that ISIS is not simply a coincidental acronym for the Goddess Isis, but in fact has become an agent of the dark side of that Goddess, constellated from the depths of the collective unconscious. This would suggest that the ruling powers of our world have gone so far from valuing the sacred feminine Mother Earth that she is now activated, from her destructive side, to bring down the ruling order.

As we face the reality of the condition of our world, where the earth and the environment—the purview of the Goddess—have been completely denigrated, threatened with extinction, it becomes clear how a wrathful Goddess might invoke such ruthless destructive retaliation upon civilization itself.

Of course, this compensation cannot be allowed. ISIS must be stopped. But how? The outrage evoked by the destruction caused by ISIS sounds an appropriate battle cry. Nations will join forces to defeat this devil. But how? Seal the borders? Too late and, furthermore, ISIS infects many homegrown disenfranchised youths who can find no meaning in the world as we know it, though they do find meaning in bringing it down. What battle plan for this insidious entity?

We must face the individual shadow to destroy the collective shadow... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
We must face the individual shadow to face the collective shadow…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Every individual is a hologram of the entire world. Each and every one of us, in the microcosm of our lives, has a ruling ego attitude that is being compensated by our unconscious forces. Each and every one of us must study our conscious decisions and behaviors. Where are we neglecting the true needs of the Goddess? How are we out of synch with Mother Nature?

Are we so obsessed with the digital world—which is a purely masculine abstraction—that we have lost touch with our physical bodies, our true nutritional and self-care needs?

Have we so abandoned our instinctual selves and instead turned ourselves over to the Goddess Amazon.com?

Have we so abandoned human eros and squeezed it into Match and Tinder?

Do we listen to the wisdom of our birthright—our dreams—or have we completely shifted our connection to wisdom to the great god Google?

Are we so enamored by the glitter of consumerism that we cover over true need with empty objects?

We must study the nature of compensation in our own lives. If we are ridden with anxiety, fear, compulsions, and moods, these are compensating clues as to the problems in our conscious ruling attitudes. If we can humbly see the one-sidedness of our ruling attitude and change it, we will change the wrathful compensation of the dark side of the Goddess within.

If the truth is that there are very painful feelings or inconvenient truths that our ego has been avoiding, resulting in dastardly unconscious compensations, if we then turn around and face the unfaceable—mourn a deeply imprisoned feeling, for instance—then we completely shift the inner balance.

If the ego can align itself with the true needs of the self, the Goddess Isis can usher in a renewal, a new stage of fertile creation and meaningful life.

That’s the compensation we must seek now, the compensation of renewal over destruction. We are all empowered, and charged, to arrive at proper compensation within ourselves. This is how we will change the world for the better.

Some day... a world of light... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Some day… a world of light…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Of course, there will be necessary responses to the intolerable violation of innocence in Paris. But if we are not careful we might find ourselves drawn into a purely scapegoat compensatory reaction that actually plays into and empowers the reach of the collective shadow that now threatens us.

If we collectively face the compensatory relationship within ourselves, we can shift the balance of the forces that threaten us and restore calm to the world. Ultimately, love is the key. Love rejects nothing. Love faces the truth, Love restores proper balance. Love is always the answer.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité,


A Day in a Life: Mother Moon

Spider Woman weaves her veils of gossamer... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Spider Woman weaves her veils of gossamer…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

I don’t often dream of my mother. Last night, however, she appeared prominently. Chuck and I go to her house, a high-ceilinged dream house, the rooms dark, draped in thick white cobwebs. Looking up to the top of the refrigerator in the kitchen I notice a mother cat lying with her babies. Further up I notice more cats giving birth, kittens spilling out of every cupboard. I notice that they are everywhere, covering every available counter space, falling onto the floor. “Wow,” I say. “I didn’t know you had so many cats!” My mother waves her hand at them. “Oh those,” she says flippantly, “they’re nothing.” I look at her in astonishment, wondering how she can ignore what is right in front of her face. It’s then that a large spider, fat and round, about the size of a soccer ball swings over her head, trails of long white webbing blurring her face from view. “What’s that?” I say, again quite disturbed. “Oh that,” she says nonchalantly, “yes, that’s here too. It’s nothing.” I can see that she’s ignoring this massive spider in her midst as much as she’s ignoring the proliferation of kittens. Her house feels heavy and dark, the air stuffy, toxic with the smell of a hundred cats, cobwebs draped like linens over everything.

Upon awakening I am at first disturbed by this dream. The shiver that chilled me as I watched the huge spider leap over my mother’s head reverberates through me as I wonder at her nonchalance, her almost total inattentiveness to what is going on in her world. It blows my mind, until I remember that this is how she has always lived her life, ignoring what is right in front of her. If you have read my books, even the first one, you will know that this is the mother I got, a mother who carefully chose what to attach to and what to turn a blind eye to.

In my dream world cats and kittens have always represented feelings. According to Hopi myth Spider Woman was the weaver of the world, the creator of all things upon earth. In Animal Speak Ted Andrews writes that Grandmother Spider “kept and taught the mysteries of the past and how they were affecting the future.” Reading this I am able to view my dream in a different light.

Chuck wrote in his own blog this week of Mother Unconscious. He writes: “Mother is the most powerful being; she gives life yet in her wrath she might take it as well. Every child instinctively shudders at the dark side of the moon, Mother’s bad moods.” I take up the challenge of addressing that side of Mother Moon, her dark side, her bad side, her hidden side, and what it might mean to us her children.

I believe we all get the mother we need. Just how we figure out what she means to us is our challenge. I wanted a different mother, but here I am in my sixties and I still have the same mother I got. Now she is in her nineties and little has changed with her, but I have changed drastically. For the most part I am no longer her child. I don’t react to her the way I used to react, with fear and even loathing. When in her presence I am, for the most part, the mature compassionate woman that I have grown into, able to give to her in ways that I never thought would be possible. In fact, she sometimes calls me up and in a little girl voice declares: It’s your daughter calling! And then I know that, underneath it all, she really does know who I really am. At other times she calls up grouchy and angry. I never know which mother I will get when I talk to her, the light Mother Moon or the dark Mother Moon. Lately the dark side of Mother Moon has been showing up more frequently, and so I am not surprised by my dream. My unconscious has given me some fodder to mull over and work with.

We all need the time it takes to come into our own maturity... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
We all need the time it takes to come into our own maturity…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

In the context of mother daughter relationships perhaps what my dream world is pointing out will be helpful. I got the mother that was able to nurture her children for only a brief time. Soon I was pushed out into the world, perhaps too soon, but such hindsight is unhelpful, for the truth of my reality was that I had to learn how to be in that world at a very young age. It was not a friendly world but the world of the sexual predator that I walked innocently into, as many young children do. With nothing to go on except my own wits and a spirit that refused to be broken, I survived, just as many others do, the same basic strengths in place.

My mother had far greater knowledge of what was happening to me than she ever let onto. She made decisions to ignore certain things. My dream points this out. She ignores even her own feelings, the proliferation of kittens birthing right and left out of every available cupboard in her kitchen of my dream. She taught me how to keep my emotions and feelings hidden; they had no use in the world I grew up in. In her own way she was a supreme teacher; by her example I learned to be stoic.

It has taken me some maturity and a good deal of recapitulating of my relationship with my mother to realize just who she is and just what she has challenged herself with in her own life. Yes, I had to deal with the dark side of Mother Moon, but she did the same thing to herself and continues to do so to this day. My dream points out her true reality; she still does not allow feelings and emotions into her life. Though her house is flooded with kittens needing attention she is still the withholding mother, even to herself.

I know all this about my mother, but in her company or when she calls me on the phone I try not to forget that she too is human and that once I was like her, ignoring my own feelings, pushing them away as if they were my worst enemies rather than my saving grace. I now see her as humanly fallible and as frightened as anyone, unable to deal with her own deepest core issues. I see the spider leaping over her head, weaving her white webs over my mother’s face as underscoring this truth. My mother will go into the next world, to her death, without resolving them. Her defenses are superior to mine, her dedication to protecting her child self in the way she always has is firmly planted, unshakeable. I know personally the great pain of bearing the tension of such decisions.

I turn to the idea that Ted Andrews poses, that Grandmother Spider is keeping the mysteries of the past. Perhaps the spider in my dream is pointing this out to me and yes, I see this in my mother too, she has been the bearer of the secrets of the past, hers and mine. Perhaps she has been holding mine for me, holding what I could only find out for myself. Perhaps it was not her story to tell, to me or to anyone else; it is only my story to discover and resolve. Perhaps she is a good mother after all.

Maybe the foundations for the next life are being laid right now... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Maybe the foundations for the next life are being laid right now…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

It is not my duty to point out her story to her either. It is my greatest challenge and singular compassionate duty to see her through this life, sometimes as her daughter, sometimes as her mother; whichever suits her is okay with me. I know she holds within her the seeds of her own transformation and that perhaps in her next life she will be able to plant them and let them take her on the transformative journey that will free her feelings and emotions to fuller life. I stand on the threshold with her at the end of her life, deeply amazed.

Fascinated by it all,

Here is Chuck’s blog that I refer to: Mother Unconscious