Tag Archives: shadow work

Chuck’s Place: Perfection Is Wholeness

Find wholeness in all things…
-Illustration © 2022 Jan Ketchel

Perfection is wholeness. Wholeness is the four-sided mandala: 4 directions, 4 seasons, 4 stages of life, etc. Winter is pregnancy. Spring is birth. Summer is fulfillment. Fall is death.

The decay of Fall provides the seeds and nourishment for new life, as the life cycle completes itself and begins anew. Nature teaches, in this most basic way, that life feeds upon life. The shamans of ancient Mexico called our world a predatory universe, not as a judgment but as nature’s destructive truth.

Evil is branded the demon, and it may present as such, but it is a necessary part of the life cycle, a fundamental part of our wholeness. Archetypes are the primal patterns that generate the life cycle. Archetypes populate the deepest level of the human unconscious, what Jung called the collective unconscious.

Joseph Campbell realized that in world mythology, which personifies the  organizing influence of the archetypes upon human behavior, the hero archetype has a thousand faces. Local cultures thus dress the core archetypes in local clothing and masks, but beneath the surface all the different variations can be reduced to the same universal archetypes.

Despite the culture or religion, the hero is always sacrificed, changes form, and is born again into new life. Once again, nature’s fallen resurrects in the new life of Spring.

Archetypes insist on being propitiated. We must appease their energetic imperatives or suffer the agonizing consequences of their wrath.  For example, depression is often the withdrawal of life energy by a neglected archetype. If we refuse a rite of Spring, like Daphne our life might harden into a frozen tree.

Modern humanity has forgotten its natural roots. The animal has been confined to the darkness of the basement, in the area of the psyche Jung called the shadow. While humanity luxuriates in its advanced technology, the animal in the shadow plans its escape into life. Here’s how Jung described the ravaged animal’s escape in Nazi Germany:

“Like the rest of the world, [the Germans] did not understand wherein Hitler‘s significance lay, that he symbolized something in every individual. He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody‘s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.” *

Projection of one’s disowned self onto a political leader renders one the sacrificial victim of a wrathful archetype. Victimhood is experienced as both the ecstasy of the entranced and the rage and hate of the rationally disenchanted. In both cases one is drawn into emotional bondage by the archetype.

In either case, the truly disenfranchised is both the personal and collective shadow, the neglected animal and the natural world, the Earth. This is a universal collective problem for humankind, not simply an issue of polarization.

The archetype of the shadow is just that, that which lives in the darkness.  This is both the truth of our disowned lives, as well as the archetype of our unlived wholeness. To propitiate the shadow, we must bring the light of our consciousness into the darkness and discover the fullness of who we are.

In waking life, our journeys into darkness require us to own and release the intensity of our emotions in a safe place. Beyond release is the full knowing and acceptance of all we have done, light and dark. Finally, the darkness will reveal the changes we must make to align ourselves with our wholeness.

If we can suffer the Fall, reveling in its final colorful act, and have the patience of a pregnant Winter, new life will surely arrive, to be nourished in the Spring and brought to fulfillment in Summer, as the life cycle perfects its wholeness.

Seeking perfection,

*Jung, C. G. (1946). Fight with the Shadow. In The Collected Works of C.G. Jung (Vol. 10). Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Chuck’s Place: Close Your Eyes To Projection

Discovering royalty within…
– Illustration © 2022 Jan Ketchel

Our attention and emotional excitement are drawn outwardly to events that show us our very personal drama within. Our inner director is so stupendous, we hardly realize that our outer fascination is directed from  the depths of our own psyche, as it seeks to captivate the attention of our consciousness.

So held in the grip are we by certain events upon the world stage that it seems impossible to believe that they are actually reflecting something quite personal within our own selves. The movie we are drawn to see might be our own personal shadow play, or it may reflect the seismic stirrings at the deeper, unconscious level of our collective Soul life.

To discover the source, close your eyes and ask your Soul to reveal the source of your attraction, fascination, repulsion, and passion for the story it has directed you to. Allow your spontaneous thoughts and images to interact with your reflective consciousness. Prepare to take deeper ownership for the fuller picture of the many selves of your self. 

The Queen’s funeral might find one unexpectedly overcome by a depth of emotion completely enigmatic to one’s conscious attitude toward the monarch and sense of self. Closing one’s eyes to the world, an image of personal mother may appear. A series of vignettes might ensue, expressing her life of self-sacrifice and service, as she provided  nurturance and security to all. A wave of old grief might invite one to emotional release.

Perhaps one might be drawn instead to images of mother repressing emotion in all, stressing rules and limitations in her reign over one’s childhood. Perhaps one is then drawn into the emotion of guilt that one actually felt joy at liberation upon her passing.

At another level, one might encounter the numinous energy of royalty, the Great Mother Queen, whose coffin concealing her lifeless body draws thousands to wait countless hours to walk by and to personally commune with her Goddess energy. Welcome to the the domain of the archetypes.

Archetypes are nature’s images that direct human behavior from behind the mind’s eye. In archetypal reality, royalty is the Queen Bee, whom the drones of humanity are organized to serve. Queen and King are the ultimate mother and father in all benevolent or cruel authority figures that we encounter throughout life. We react to their projection with anxiety, awe, fear, and anger.

Inwardly, these archetypes are the ego’s parents, to which it owes its life. When ego inflates, it identifies with their power. When it deflates, it abandons all its power, as it returns to the womb in total surrender.

In Queen Elizabeth, ego highlighted the value of service—service to the established rules. Queen Elizabeth represented ego sacrifice to a higher value. Human predilection must conform to royal expectation, without exception.

Inwardly, human guilt and longing may be the consequence of our relationship to these powerful archetypes. Has my life gone wrong because I refused to sacrifice to service, that is, to what was expected of me? Is my fulfillment denied because my needs have offended the royals within? Is it time to break free of royal bondage? Am I prepared to go it alone, to honor my right to choose? And if I do, am I prepared to bear the wrath of the royal parents?

At the deepest collective level the boots of the activated Gods are making the Earth shudder. The Queen is dead, long live the King. Inwardly, this transition of power marks the emergence of a new rule, perhaps dictated by transition to a new stage of the life cycle. Clearly, the world is floundering as it seeks a new value to live by.

The Queen’s adherence to ancient precedent cannot lead us to salvation. What is needed is not adherence and sacrifice to tradition but service and acquiescence to what is truly needed for the Earth, and all her inhabitants. Can ego serve such a King?

These are the many worlds within that play for attention in our changing world without. Though we might laugh at the silliness of monarchy, perhaps if we close our eyes and discover the powers that be within, we’ll understand the reason for a tear as we listen to the bagpipes sending this Queen on her definitive journey.

With closed eyes opened,

Soulbyte for Monday September 19, 2022

                                                       -Illustration © 2022 Jan Ketchel

Stay grounded by refusing the call to go outside the self in too many ways. There is much outside of you that draws engagement, that wants your energy. Far better to limit outside interference so you can focus on what is going on inside and causing issues within. Inner work is as important as outer work. How you attend to yourself is as important as how you attend to others. What’s really going on with you? Only you know for sure.

Sending you love,
The Soul Sisters, Jan & Jeanne

Soulbyte for Wednesday February 9, 2022

Lessons come in so many forms. Pay attention to how they come to body, mind, and spirit, each in their own unique way. Pay attention to what they mean and what they indicate you should do and what you should not do. Listen to affirmations from body, mind, and spirit when you understand the lessons and how they persist when you don’t. Sometimes lessons are subtle and sometimes strong, but every day they show up, asking you to change. Begin to change by first paying attention to what’s happening within the self.

Sending you love,
The Soul Sisters, Jan & Jeanne

Chuck’s Place: I See Myself in All Others

Love the whole…
Artwork © 2022 by Jan Ketchel

I am deeply optimistic about our world’s survival. The challenges we face represent a grand adventure in the evolution of consciousness and the refinement of love.

Currently we are in the grip of a global mental virus that has undermined the cohesion of our consensus reality, evident in the extremely polarized interpretations of reality competing throughout the world. Conflicting views on the treatment of the physical virus, Covid-19, clearly illustrate this point.

The mental virus that is afflicting us has even fatally wounded many intimate family relationships, the bedrock of civilization. Most disturbing has been the failure of communication even between friends and family to bridge this deep divide.

As a therapist, I have experienced this failure of reconciliation with even the most caring of relationships. At this stage, calm, rational communication is trumped by this mental virus. Individuals are so sure of their interpretations of reality that communication is limited to argumentation and the intent to convince.

The time for successful communication to promote communion of polarized opposites has not arrived. Indeed, communication, however well intentioned, is simply not effective at this time. Other processes are currently in motion that must be completed before the ingredients for effective communication can be joined.

Earth itself is engaged in a major transformational process. Transformation requires first a course of breakdown of what is before a reformation of those materials can be accomplished. In alchemy, two major operations that accomplish breakdown are calcinatio and solutio.

Calcinatio is the destructive force of fire. Currently we have a winter fire burning in Big Sur. Last week we had the volcanic explosion that devastated the island of Tonga and was felt around the world.

Solutio is the dissolving power of water as it floods the Earth. Currently, Iran and Zambia are dealing with severe flooding. January 2022 has already seen flooding in South Africa, Madagascar, Uruguay, Peru, Brazil and France. Will Russia dissolve the autonomous country of Ukraine, with its military might swelling at its border, portending the flood of invasion?

The operations of calcinatio and solutio, in human terms, are the expression of passionate emotions that seek to break down the status quo through heated verbiage and flooding of emotions. Humans, physically constructed of the materials of Earth, are behaviorally reflecting her transformational process, currently in the destructive phase.

Separatio is an alchemical operation that separates the broken down materials into their component parts. This is a process of differentiation that values the purity of unique ingredients. On the human front, these are the separatist, or xenophobic, movements that seek to cleanse their enclosed borders of those who seem different from themselves.

In human relations, all three of these operations are concurrently active. These forces of breakdown and separation are all precursors to coniunctio, the alchemical stage of union, where all previously broken down and separated elements are rejoined in a new chemical bonding.

The forces currently active in nature, and human nature, will eventually reach this stage of union. However, that stage has far from arrived as we are still in the midst of breakdown and differentiation. How does one then hold together, with self and other, in such a time of disintegration and separation?

Do not try to force union. Reason cannot contain the forces of destruction and differentiation. Nonetheless, love—the ultimate glue that holds together the oneness of everyone, and everything, at the subtlest energetic level of being—is ever-present, regardless of the alchemical processes currently dominating the world stage.

Rather than bad rap, laugh at, marginalize, or hate those who passionately oppose me, can I see myself in all others? Every attitude, emotion, thought, and belief that I see expressed by another, that I personally differentiate myself from, is actually in me too, somewhere, however dormant. Can I find it, examine it, value it, and include it in my own wholeness? This, I can certainly accomplish within myself.

Though we may not be at the place of union without, can I hold onto the most subtle truth of our oneness within? In wholeness, all belong, none can be eliminated. This ultimate truth is expressed clearly in the revelations of transpersonal psychology and subatomic physics.

Thus, those who heap aspersions upon me are as much a part of me as those I asperse against. Though we might at present be quite separated and unable to communicate, I can still feel love and compassion for all in our interconnected oneness.

Union, like separation will have its day. In the meantime, hold onto love, especially for those you must now oppose.

Love always,