Tag Archives: dissociation

Chuck’s Place: Harmony

Let’s get those chakras in alignment…
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

Harmony is created when the primal energies of heaven and earth move into union with each other. Heaven, whose natural movement is upward, places itself beneath the earth, whose natural movement is downward, creating a true meeting of their respective influences.

Heaven corresponds to the mental/spiritual plane in a human being, the upper chakras starting at the heart center. Earth corresponds to the physical plane, including the instincts, emotions, and inherent archetypes of the collective unconscious that dominate human behavior. These are the core lower chakras in the human body starting at the solar plexus downward.

When the mental plane respectfully places itself beneath the physical it attends to the sensations and emotions of the body as important messengers of necessary actions. Thus the mind attends to a body discomfort vs. cutting it off and acting on its own agenda.

Cutting off the body through imposition of the will is a form of dissociation. In this case heaven/mind is above, lifting into space far removed from the body/earth, which sinks in the opposite direction, their influences completely disconnected from each other.

Harmony requires connection and balanced integration of opposite tendencies. The I Ching reveals to me that this is the necessary action of now, for the time we live in. Further, it emphasizes that body/emotion defer to mind/reason at present . As well, it asks of mind/reason to defer to the more inclusive mind/Self. Consciousness in alignment with truth is called upon to further the individuation of the whole human being.

Understand that all human beings, regardless of gender, are a mixture of Yin and Yang, body and spirit. In effect the I Ching asks Yin/earth to receive the initiative of Yang/heaven. Truth received with affection is harmony. The operative word here is truth: that which emanates from the heart center of the body, home of the spirit Self. Initiative that emanates from the ego/mind lacks the rootedness and comprehensive truth of the Self.

We are faced now with a world of breakthrough conditions whether it be the hot lava in Hawaii or the protests in Gaza. In the midst of the chaos we are guided to seek peace and harmony through tuning into the guidance of the truth of the heart.

Truthful guidance is always accessible if we still ourselves, breathe into our heart center, and intend genuine harmony. Regardless of outer conditions we can always find peace and harmony within and act upon what is truthfully necessary to do and not do now. Thus, may we all be restored to harmony in the eye of our present storms.

Finding harmony,


Chuck’s Place: Lucifer

The Moon and Venus...in alignment Early morning 11/09/15 - Photo by Jan Ketchel
The Moon and Venus…in alignment
Early morning 11/09/15
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

As the story goes, Lucifer was God’s brightest star—literally, the morning star, Venus. As the brightest light, Lucifer could see into God’s plan: to incarnate in human form. Lucifer could not bear the painful vision of pure spirit incarnating in animal body, saddled with the suffering of life and death, a virtual crucifixion of the spirit.

With this piercing light of awareness, Lucifer refused God’s plan, bypassing the wounding of his innocence via incarnation in the flesh. Lucifer broke away from God and, along with other “fallen angels,” sought refuge in his own hell. Thus this brightest of stars is actually the patron saint of protecting innocence from the trauma of incarnate life, that is, life in the body.

In psychological terms, protection from life in this world is called dissociation. In dissociation, wounded innocence is swept away from life, deeply shielded from consciousness, relationship, or experiences in this world that could further injure and soil the purity of its innocent soul.

How can we argue the absolute necessity for such a splitting, fragmenting defense? Without it, the innocent soul would indeed be completely destroyed in its repeated encounters with trauma. However, what is the fate of the soul that is kept from its intended incarnation in this world?

Innocence is protected in dissociation, but ultimately innocence kept from life is innocence kept in bondage, in its own private hell.  What makes it suffer is the frustration of its longing for life in the body, genuine connection in the world, its rightful journey.

What once served as an angel of protection soon becomes the devil border guard that dissuades any trespass into dangerous life, that is, any attempts at bringing innocence back into the physical world.

The border guard is negative, critical, and nihilistic. Its intent, at heart, is pure protection, but its refusal to allow entry into life extends beyond its protective reach to become the critic that freezes all sparks of potential life.

Ultimately, that which once was a lifesaver becomes the prison guard that must be defeated to allow innocence its rightful journey in this world. The truth is, however, as Lucifer rightly saw, to incarnate in this world is to indeed suffer a crucifixion. The ego must be willing to suffer the wounding of innocence, stay present to the traumatic experiences that once caused fragmentation, healing the split, and help innocence to live in a world where it will suffer both the joys and pains of incarnate life.

Only when the ego, or adult self, is ready to take the full journey to recover its lost innocence—as well as stay present with it, as together innocence and ego navigate a dangerous world—is it time to take on these deeply protectionist defenses. If the ego is not ready for that level of responsibility, it is perhaps more appropriate to leave its vulnerable self in the protective hands of its Luciferian defenses, as it survives in its more manageable hell of a defense.

On the world stage, America finds itself struggling with this dilemma as it struggles to protect itself yet continue to live and be part of the world community in the wake of growing terrorist threat.

America is, historically, notoriously protectionist in its isolationism, hence Luciferian defense, in the presence of world threat. The current drive to seal up the borders and keep the dangerous world at bay sweeps the nation. Yes, we must protect our vulnerable innocence and yet, as John McCain states: “all children are God’s children.”

McCain, as one who has suffered incarceration in war, knows that protectionism that cuts us off from deep love and compassion is a hell we don’t want to live in. And yes, to fully enter life, to incarnate, we will suffer.

To allow refugees into our homeland is offering life to all of God’s children. But it requires a maturity that America is now challenged to rise to. This is the maturity Stephen LaBerge speaks to when he states, ” I don’t need to see your reality papers before I act with love.”

Of course, we must be sensible and cautious as to whom we let in, but we must also be willing to suffer potential danger to allow life to live, and that includes ourselves. If we arbitrarily seal the borders we sentence ourselves to hell and world condemnation, as we shirk our responsibility of leadership in a world on the brink of madness.

We must arrive at responsible compassion that allows us to navigate the perils of current danger. This is the collective maturity mirrored in the individual ego’s journey to rescue and bring into life its own lost soul. If we live without our soul, as individuals or as a nation, we merely exist to smolder in our own private hells.

While fully appreciating Lucifer’s insight, and at times necessary intervention, we must turn our gaze from this bright morning star to that of the full sun, which enlightens us to the fuller picture and nurtures all of life regardless of race, religion, or gender—all of God’s children.


I wish to thank Donald Kalsched whose work has stirred my imagination.

Chuck’s Place: The Nature Of Defense

Nature's defenses in control, oppressing life... - From the Thoth Tarot deck
Nature’s defenses in control, oppressing life…
– From the Thoth Tarot deck

The core intent of defense is to protect. Defenses are the actions of the survival instinct; they are nature at work. Both Freud and Jung agreed that psychological defenses originated beneath consciousness, a product of the instinctual or archetypal psyche.

We do not choose our defenses; they are the automatic compulsive actions the deep psyche employs to protect the self against real or imagined threats. Two of the most powerful and deeply-rooted-in-nature defenses are projection and dissociation.

If we feel uncomfortable within ourselves about something we’ve said, done, thought, or felt, our protective psyche might assess this as a threat to our self-esteem or ego integrity. Its response might be to employ the defense of projection whereby it literally projects blame outside of the self, rearranging our conscious perception of reality to keep the culprit at a safe distance, securely planted in someone else. On a grand scale this is how America keeps itself safe from facing its own deviousness: the bad guy is always the devil somewhere else, who we have to eliminate, thus our moral superiority is preserved.

Dissociation is perhaps nature’s most powerful defense. When we are confronted with a danger inwardly or outwardly—that our unconscious deems potentially lethal—dissociation will save us by splitting us into pieces, preserving our most precious and vital self by submerging it deeply within the safekeeping womb of the unconscious. Outwardly, parts of our ego self remain at the surface as an adaptive or survival self, functionally charged with navigating life disconnected from its wholeness. The English psychoanalyst Winnicott called this self the false self because it always senses that it is just functioning or pretending to be engaged in life, secretly knowing that its most vital parts no longer participate in outer life.

Projection and dissociation are archetypal defenses of the instinctive psyche. These are the default settings of our self-preservation. Unfortunately, when life is governed by these defenses it may be safe but totally unsatisfying, as life’s deepest needs go unmet. If the adult self attempts to raise its vulnerable parts and bring them into life, the instinctive psyche frequently opposes this action and sabotages the effort using negative thoughts, guilt, or shame. The instinctive psyche is invested in survival; wholeness threatens survival, as we are challenged to own fully our projected and dissociated parts, which may be laden with traumatic experience that could threaten ego integrity.

The solution to this dilemma lies in recapitulation. In recapitulation the adult self takes 100% responsibility for healing, releasing the instinctive psyche of its automatic protection. As the adult ego bears the full tension of encountering and integrating its parts, the instinctive psyche simultaneously tests the adult self, confronting it with all that has been projected and dissociated from and all of its accompanying terrors of disintegration. This testing process of the adult ego’s ability to manage the fullness of the self is a necessary interaction between archetypal defense and conscious ego. This may result in a one-step forward two-steps back kind of process for a while, but ultimately, once the instinctive psyche sees the ego’s ability to manage its own healing, the higher self is freed to support the ego in the recapitulation process through increasing synchronicities, dreams, and visions that lead to retrieval of its lost wholeness.

The ego unfettered and assuming full responsibility, in alignment with the grail, the true self... - from the Thoth Tarot deck
The ego unfettered and assuming full responsibility, in alignment with the grail, the true self…
– from the Thoth Tarot deck

Evolution is really about assuming full conscious responsibility for our lives so that we may be available for all else that is. If we allow our unconscious nature to merely keep us safe, it will, but only through its compulsive defenses and at the expense of our wholeness, our fulfillment, and our evolutionary potential. Is that really satisfying? Or are we ready to do the work to free ourselves from the divisiveness of our instinctual defenses and claim our true wholeness?

Recapitulation is work that is evolutionary for the individual—know thy self—and the world-at-large too. In moving beyond our personal projections and dissociations we open ourselves to more fully experiencing and participating in life in ways that we are unavailable for while under the control of nature’s defenses.

There exists another aspect to nature as well, the interconnected oneness of everything, and that’s really the nature our evolutionary self is striving to discover and cultivate. In fact, the collective charge of our time seems to be pushing us all to go beyond the self. That is really our greatest evolutionary endeavor.

Going beyond, with love and gratitude,

Note: We pulled these two cards this morning, certainly in alignment with the publishing of this blog and our pursuit of truth and spirit.