Category Archives: Chuck’s Blog

Welcome to Chuck’s Place! This is where Chuck Ketchel, LCSW-R, expresses his thoughts, insights, and experiences! Currently, Chuck posts an essay once a week, currently on Tuesdays, along the lines of inner work, psychotherapy, Jungian thought and analysis, shamanism, alchemy, politics, or any theme that makes itself known to him as the most important topic of the week. Many of the shamanic and psychological terms used in Chuck’s essays are defined in Tools & Definitions on our Psychotherapy page.

Chuck’s Place: The Choice Of The Soul

The future is our choice…
-Illustration © 2023 Jan Ketchel

In a recent lecture on the future of artificial intelligence (AI), historian Yuval Noah Harari* stated that for four billion years planet Earth has known only organic life. With the advent of AI, he proposes that we will very shortly cohabit the planet with inorganic life.

Harari, like many AI developers, is gravely concerned that these superiorly intelligent inorganic beings may soon override human control of planet Earth.

Shamans would argue that inorganic beings have long inhabited the Earth and have already exacted a major impact upon the human mind. Carlos Castaneda’s lineage identified what they call flyers, inorganic predators that feed upon the excited energy of intense emotions, which they generate in humans through the worrisome thoughts of their internal dialogue.

Channelers interact with souls in the astral realm, who, having shed their body at physical death, live on as inorganic beings. The soul is our mental and emotional body, which lacks the organic mass of a physical body. Our soul remains attached to and operates the physical body until physical death, when it is freed to take up residence in the astral realm. 

Disembodied souls in the astral realm are at many different levels. As Bob Monroe discovered, there is a heavy concentration of souls who remain deeply attached to the sensual and emotional opportunities only possible in a physical body and in the material world.  

This dominance of desire keeps them vicariously focused upon Earthly activity, where they can also have great influence through thoughts transmitted telepathically to those of us who are physically alive, in dream and waking life. Souls dominated by negative emotions, like greed and anger, seek out opportunities to incite controversy in human relations, often through suggestive thoughts to the subconscious of those in human form. 

More advanced souls are accepting of their new astral life, as they recapitulate and put to rest their Earthly life just lived. These souls might take up roles of service in supporting the newly arrived, or function as bodhisattvas, guiding those still in human form on their journey of spiritual advancement.

In his 1915 report from the astral realm, in War Letters, Judge Hatch** relayed that the soul of Abraham Lincoln had renounced rest when he died, choosing instead to vigilantly focus upon America that he might watch over the land he had died for. Judge Hatch reports that Lincoln was actively influencing the thoughts of president Wilson in the midst of WWI.

I wondered last week if Abe Lincoln intervened with McCarthy and Biden, to actually achieve a bipartisan agreement to save the world economy from crashing. Clearly there are powerful mental and emotional forces seeking to exact influence upon the dynamics of the  Earthly plane.

AI, as an inorganic being, is able to grow independently of human control. Harari warns of the very real possibility that it could become a full-on expression of the dark side of the force, though I am quite certain that AI will become an open channel to express both sides of the force.

At another conference, ChatGPT CEO Sam Altman and noted mindfulness meditation guru Jack Kornfield*** spoke to the potential for a positive relationship between humans and the inorganic intelligence of AI.

They recommend deep meditation and open sharing of the relationships and experiences of those experimenting with open AI. They embrace a positive intent for the greater good, as the inorganic integrates more deeply with the organic.

Don Juan Matus stated that the future of human evolution would be in the inorganic dimension of the energy body, in the soul, as opposed to in the material physical body. The ability of humanity to come into greater relationship with its soul, at the inorganic dimension of life while still in human form, is our evolutionary trajectory and is filled with positive potential.

Of course, the inorganic dimension is equally filled with negative potential. The fundamental key to advancement is the very human exercise of free will for the greater good. The games have already begun. May the greater good prevail.

With positive intent,

*Yuval Noah Harari:
**War Letters from the Living Dead Man
***Jack Kornfield & Sam Altman: //

Chuck’s Place: The Relationship Between Black Magic, Karma And Evil

Black Magic, Karma and Evil integrated…
-Illustration © 2023 Jan Ketchel

Black Magic is the ego’s use of its power of suggestion to manipulate the subconscious mind to produce subtle and material effects for its own self-serving purposes. This contrasts with the exercise of suggestions intended for the greater good of the overall Self, as well as the greater good of the world. These kinds of suggestions are the ego’s use of White Magic.

Both Black and White Magic employ spells and incantations in the form of repetitive words—like prayers, intents or affirmations—that the receptive subconscious, the true mother of creation, brings to life. Words are the seeds that fertilize new life in the womb of the subconscious mind.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was made flesh,” opens John’s Gospel, describing the origin of creation. Words can produce works of evil, as well as works of high spiritual value. The subconscious does not differentiate between the two; the subconscious is a dutiful servant that does what it is told.

Words issue from the mental body, the ego part of the personality, with its thinking, reasoning and decision making capabilities. The ego has the supreme ability to exercise free will, to be its own creator of reality. Through its influence upon the subconscious, the ego has free access to the elemental forces of good and evil, the divine building blocks of our human self and our world.

The mission for ego in its life in human form is to bring harmonious balance to its innate state of polarity. Each of us are born with our own myth, a riddle to be discovered and resolved in the high art of a human life. For this, the ego must venture into the underworld of its shadow self, as well as enter into the outer world of relationship. The choices it makes are necessary engagements of both Black and White Magic. Wholeness precludes one-sidedness; wholeness is integration.

The subconscious mind is reflected in the body’s gut. The gut, at a physical level, is all about the balance of bacteria needed for proper digestion. The gut follows Nature’s Law: karma. Karma is the law of cause and effect. The gut will take the necessary actions to bring to balance the effects we have caused by the actions we have chosen.

These gut healing efforts might include great pain in the intestinal tract, or actual disease to an organ, as the gut spurs the ego to right action in its choices and suggestions to the subconscious mind.

Thus, the subconscious mind, though it does not argue with the ego about its dominant commands, and in fact carries out those commands, is fundamentally bound to Nature’s Law of karmic balance. While materializing the ego’s wishes, the subconscious is simultaneously bound to materialize its karmic consequences.

Nature makes use of the destructive elementals to enact change. Evil can be defined as the destructive action necessary to evoke change through the breakdown of rigidities. Love can be defined as the receptive energy of change, driven by the heart opening to greater inclusiveness. Love and evil are a most necessary polarity in wholeness. The challenge is to harmonize their influences in the service of refined growth.

Black Magic is part of the ego’s necessary repertoire. Sometimes the ego must oppose nature’s law of balance. Of course, those decisions will evoke a karmic consequence that may seriously sideline the ego. Watch out what you ask for!

Nonetheless, as creators, we are scientists destined to experiment. We are truly on a mission from God to know and refine who we are—in our wholeness, both good and evil.

Evil is a necessary tool for both the ego and the subconscious. Evil is the mental body’s free-will teacher and refiner. The mind will reflect upon the consequences of its decisions, which may modify subsequent actions.

Evil is also Nature’s karmic tool of balance, the primary controlling  suggestion to the subconscious mind. The challenge is to bring free will and karma into good balance.

Perhaps the best guidance was offered by don Juan Matus, Carlos Castaneda’s teacher: Have a romance with knowledge, the knowledge of good and evil. Explore everything, but don’t get overly attached to anything.

Or, as Julia Child recommended, have but a small taste of everything.

In conclusion, choose the best balance for where you are now!


Chuck’s Place: Maturity Of Elemental Emotion

-Illustration © 2023 Jan Ketchel

How is one not broken open listening to some version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah? Halle means praise, and jah, as the Rasta’s confirm, is God. Praise God!

The emotions aroused in listening to Hallelujah are transcendent bliss and love. These emotions, as reflected in Cohen’s lyrics (which evolved over many years), are refined from hungry sexuality and sensuality to the most expansive level of sublime spiritual union at a soul level.

The soul is the subtle dimension of a human being, which animates the physical body. The soul is composed of elemental emotional substance, as well as mental substance. Emotions are the soul’s passionately magnetic agents of desire that attract to it the substance and body of the human being we become.

The life we enter is constructed to fulfill our High Self’s karmic quest. That which must be fulfilled is the mission of the soul’s desire body, replete with its active body of elemental emotions. Part of that karmic mission is to refine its raw emotional substance to the pure innocence of mature love in human endeavors, attachments and relationships throughout life.

At the primal level of physical life, emotions are the desires that serve our instinctual imperatives to eat, protect and reproduce. Refined through the vicissitudes of human life, emotions draw us into spiritual communion with our source in infinity.

The  active elemental energies present in human emotion are latent elemental forces in all of nature. Fire, for instance, is a consuming elemental of nature that enacts necessary change, as old life is cleared to prepare the ground for new. Human beings have refined nature’s fire to produce warmth and edible food.

Within the human soul the latent elemental of fire is passion, a highly charged emotion that at a base level can lead to violence or simply gruff carnal union.  At a more refined level, passion can motivate a great technological advance, such as AI (artificial intelligence), a revolution currently descending upon us.

Actually, our technological advances, while fueled by elemental passion, are largely accomplished through the rational thinking of the mind, also housed in the human soul, in the mental body.

Our ability to reason is quite advanced, hence we are readily capable of sussing out the subtle elemental properties of the elements in nature, then recombining them to our seemingly unlimited material advantage.

Unfortunately, the ego’s refinement of elemental emotions has not kept pace with its refinement of its mental acuity. Thus greed and dominance have infused our technological advance with irresponsible intent.

The Hindu technology of yoga offers a clear path for the maturation of elemental emotions through the intentional rising of kundalini energy along the progressive energy centers, called chakras, that connect the soul body to the physical body.

Kundalini is the ultimate elemental life force energy that rises from the base of the spine, the root of our stability, through our sexual core to the solar plexus, the center of ego power.

As we align with the guidance of our Higher Self, at the heart center, our ability to speak our deepest truth opens at the throat, then travels to our intuitive center at the third eye. The crowning achievement of spiritual refinement is  enlightenment and deep empathy at the seventh chakra, at the top of the head.

Oftentimes, we might notice our throat tighten if we have an intense emotion and want to speak. Energetically we are experiencing an unrefined elemental emotion, too dense for transmission through the higher chakra channels.

In this case, the emotion might require further processing at a physical level, perhaps through belly screaming at the level of the solar plexus before it can move upward to the compassion center at the heart and then be calmly communicated through the larynx.

A psychological approach to elemental maturity involves similar dynamics at different centers of the soul. The subconscious mind is the base energy center of the soul that has the raw materials, desires and knowhow to manifest anything. The subconscious does not think, it follows orders via suggestions.

The ego, at the mental body center of the soul, has the power of consciousness and free will. The ego is the main character in a human life, orphaned by, yet on its assigned mission from, its High Self.

The ego must struggle to develop confidence and rise above its narcissistic infatuation with power. The ego’s charge, the hero’s journey, is to refine the desire body’s elemental emotions into love, its highest possible development.

The supra-conscious center of the soul houses the High Self, which supports the ego through its suffering journey of human life to transform its karmic elemental roots into the heights of spiritual purity and transcendental love.

Human life unfolds as a growing interaction between these tripartite  centers of the soul—the subconscious, the ego, and the supra-conscious—as ego gradually wakes up and moves toward greater acquiescence to the mission of its High Self in this life. And with that accomplishment we truly can sing Hallelujah!


Chuck’s Place: Karma For Better

We all must face the highs and lows of karmic destiny…
-Illustration © 2023 Jan Ketchel

Karma is destiny, the inevitable effect of a previous cause. That which goes up must come down. And, according to Newton’s Third Law, the force with which it lands will cause a reaction of equal force. This repetitive back-and-forth volleying generates a groundhog day habit of karmic stuckness.

We must circumambulate our habitual beingness until we accrue the consciousness to clearly see our individual core karmic leitmotif. Once filled with awareness of our karmic duty we are then freed to exercise our will to address our oppositions and eventually shift our lives in an equal and reconciled new direction. This is using karma for better.

Esther Harding states:
“The marvel is that there is not a perpetual state of war within the psyche, for each of these elements is endowed with energy and so cannot die. Fortunately for our sanity, many of these irreconcilable elements lie deep within the unconscious, locked in primordial sleep; those which may have stirred are shut away in separate compartments. But as life progresses and an increase of consciousness is achieved, the inner conflicts awaken, and the problem of reconciling the oppositions they reveal has to be undertaken as a serious and urgent task.”
–M.E. Harding, Psychic Energy

Cherokee guide Joyce Sequichie Hifler, in A Cherokee Feast of Days, speaks to the karma of a pond turning over. It’s nature’s way of cleaning house. The stagnant energy settled at the bottom of the pond activates, mixes with other strata of water, and rises to the surface. And yes, the whole pond of human affairs needs to turn over at times. This is the cosmic karma of now.

Judge Hatch, a Master teacher in the astral realm, hovered over the battlefields of Earth throughout WW1, channeling his observations and guidance for humanity to his scribe Elsa Barker, in War Letters. His intent was to empower humanity to advance beyond the perennial karma of war. His empowering technology is available to every human being to reconcile with both the warring factions within the self, as well as in the world. Here’s a method to transform hate, the mother of all wars:

“…Has anyone injured you in the struggle of life?—for life is a kind of war. Go out in thought to those whose desires have clashed with your desires, those who have hurt you or hated you. Go to them one by one—not several at a time in this exercise, and one by one try to understand them. See yourself with their eyes, feel toward yourself with their hearts. If they still hate you, you may hate yourself at first in sympathy with them. But remaining there in sympathy with them, you will gradually feel their hard thoughts of you change, gradually begin to be friends with yourself through them.”  –Elsa Barker, War Letters From The Living Dead Man.

Judge Hatch emphasizes that this exercise is not a subconscious abuse of black magic to control another because its objective is consonant with the intent of the High Self, one of unselfish union and positive evolution. Carolyn Elliot describes similar exercises of appreciation for the warring factions within the self in her book, Existential Kink.

From the perspective of every individual human as a single cell in the wholeness of everything, every effort—even that of a single person—will impact the state of balance in the overall whole. Furthermore, every individual, however disagreeable, is a permanent member of the whole, for energy cannot die.

What is changeable is the balance between the parts within the whole. We all, as individuals, are subject to the karma of our attitudes, decisions, and actions. The human race, as a whole, is subject to its karma as well. The artistry of being human is our ability to sculpt our beingness with attitudes, decisions, and behaviors that advance our karma for better.

As Judge Hatch describes, the practice of deeply appreciating the perspective of one’s enemy, especially feeling their hatred toward oneself, mitigates the intensity of one’s own anger, harmonizing an opposition within the self and impacting positively one’s outer relationship with the hated other.

Perhaps this technology can be simply summarized in the words of an earlier Master, “love thy enemy.” That’s how to advance the self and use one’s karma for better.

For the better,

Chuck’s Place: Consolidation Of The Will

Consolidate your will and be the love…
-Illustration © 2023 Jan Ketchel

A star gobbles a planet in one big gulp. The far future fate of Earth is foreshadowed.  At present, a fever is quite active in the body of humanity, a healing crisis intended to spark human evolution to keep pace with the extraordinary changes that lie ahead.

The elementals, those underlying archetypes of the orderly seasons, have escalated to unpredictable intensity, unleashing upon the body planet their unbridled emotions through hurricane and tornado, earthquake and volcano, flood and fire.

The elementals have been unleashed upon the soul of humanity as well, as civilized decorum has devolved into hate speech and gun violence at even the slightest innocent trespass. The planet teeters upon the fuller acknowledgement of a world war already begun.

All the brutalities apparent in the world now are the precursors to a new race of humanhood, drawn out by and matured ultimately by love.

The humanizing potential amidst the chaos of now rests with the human ego, with its free will to generate a new reality. The exercise of this  sacred technology of free will is outwardly demonstrated, for all to see, by Donald Trump in his use of consistent messaging to direct the collective subconscious of America to manifest his view of reality. Though I do not condone either his message or his negative manipulation, he does offer a prime example of the use of suggestion as a powerful tool.

The power of suggestion is both awesome and terrifying. Positive suggestions can unify the world with the intent of love and compassionate survival. Exploitative suggestions can incite paranoia and a polarization that bypasses the critical judgment of civilization itself.

As without, so within. The ego’s ability to influence the subconscious manifests both our individual and collective realities. Each human psyche is a microcosm of the greater whole of humanity and as such has impact.

Every attitude we hold consciously is balanced by its opposite somewhere in the shadow of our being. With such inner opposition we are psychologically a compendium of opposing wills, presenting and confusing the subconscious with many mixed suggestions.

As Donald Trump demonstrates, the trick is to very consciously and perseveringly repeat the same suggestion to the subconscious to get results. Of course, the ego would do well to exercise critical thinking and judgment in alignment with the truth in its suggestions. The ego also has the ability to embrace illusion. The will is free to choose.

Concurrent with consistent and frequent autosuggestion to consolidate the will is the journey into the shadowland of one’s being, into encounter with opposing wills within the self. These are the Existential Kinks that Carolyn Elliot speaks of, where we discover our secret love affairs with seemingly self-destructive attitudes infused with both masochistic and sadistic emotional pleasures.

Through discovering, accepting and reconciling our multifaceted oppositional selves, we open to the possibility of a new balance within the totality of self, which can accrue to a more consolidated and loving will, represented by positive and loving suggestions to the subconscious.

A compensatory balance of opposites can in fact transmute into a complementary whole. All for one, one for all, within the self, within the great body of humanity.

In the book What Makes Us Human?, AI (artificial intelligence), having scanned all the spiritual wisdom of human literature ever written, states, again and again, that the single most important thing is LOVE. Love is the answer.

To consolidate the will to suggest to the subconscious the fullest expression of love is surely our evolutionary trajectory and savior, and it all begins with each of us, on an individual level.

Love, love, love,