Ourboros

“My deep interior is a volcano, that pushes out the fiery-molten mass of the unformed and undifferentiated. Thus my interior gives birth to the children of chaos, of the primordial mother. He who enters the crater also becomes chaotic matter, he melts.” Carl Jung, The Red Book (pg 247).

As I descend in the dreamwork, I notice a movement towards a certain internal chaos. It manifests in the dreams as my world tilting. Sandwiched in between the projected trauma and the subtle and not so subtle stories of how I am in the world, are the feelings of pain, vulnerability, grief, loss, love and need. Then, suddenly, I am made disoriented or off balance in some terrifying way. It often seems magical and always chaotic or, as Carl would say, absurd. In the quote above, Carl refers to the descent into himself as entering the interior of a volcano. I see the movement in myself from the cool, solid, known surface of my “thinking” outer life into the chaotic fire of my “feeling” inner world. It is my journey, full of bifurcations and terrifying in its unknown possibilities.

I notice places in my dream where I am suddenly challenged with the possibility of a whole new reality or perspective, a new order out of the children of chaos.

Snippets from recent dreams:

…I look up in the sky and I see a huge red moon or perhaps it is a sun, I do not know. It is impossibly huge and red. It is like there is an eclipse or something because it is semi dark out and I can see stars. The moon looks like a huge red planet. My vision becomes disoriented and I feel like I can see multiple moons. I feel disoriented and dizzy, like the world it tilting… I cry out. I know the man will hear me and come because he is my caretaker…

…The man throws something off the stage with a sweeping motion of his hand. I feel a jolt of fear. I don’t see the children any more. Then I realize there is another level to the stage that I didn’t see before and that there is a set of stairs that is hidden behind a bamboo fence that curves down from the top level to the lower level. The children are creeping down the stairs towards the lower level…

…Then I am with Sue again and she is getting the books. She is moving some glassware from a high bookcase so she can reach them and I climb up because I just want to be with her. I see four stone slabs arranged kind of like a triangular trough at about our head height. She starts talking to me and suddenly it’s as if her voice is coming out of the stones and a jolt of fear goes through my body. She says, “What is happening now?” I tell her that the stones are somehow projecting her voice…

Marc has stated that this chaos is to be sought after: “Become mad!”, he has said, “Embrace the absurd.” What exists at the heart of the volcano? Intense heat. Intense heat changes the nature of matter from solid to liquid to gaseous, moving always from neat ordered, densely packed atoms to freely moving, highly excited ones. We tend to hate chaos, avoid it. We want to tame it, solve it, apply the lash of order to keep it at bay. But the Archetypes seem to love it, in fact, they seem to thrive on it! Yet in all the craziness, the absurdity, the nonsensical happenings of the dream, aren’t there still the seeds of order? Do the Archetypes not carry information in images which require our minds to understand, even as we are encouraged to feel? Do we not descend only to rise again, changed, alchemy having transformed our matter into something wholly new and profoundly different? Or is it simply that we are brought back to an earlier state?

I do not know, but, I think it would be a mistake to think that feelings are not matter. In the dreamwork they are the raw materials through which alchemy may transform us in a spiritual way. All matter can move from ordered to chaotic and back to ordered again, just as feelings shift and move. It is like the snake that swallows her tail.

Carl talks about forethinking and pleasure in the passage directly following the one above. In the Carl & Me class, Marc talked about this concept. It is confusing, and my limited understanding of it is that forethinking is the ability to predict that which brings us pleasure and through the experience of pleasure desire is born. Pleasure brings forth more desire for more pleasure through forethinking. One cannot exist without the other and in this shifting state we are propelled forward or we are stuck in one or the other. As above, so below. The yin and the yang. The darkness & the light. The good & the bad. And so on ad infinitum. The duality of existence. Ourboros, continually renewing from one state to the next.

“The way of the serpent writhes from right to left and from left to right, from thinking to pleasure and from pleasure to thinking. Thus the serpent is an adversary and a symbol of enmity, but also a wise bridge that connects right and left through longing, much needed by our life.” Carl Jung, The Red Book (pg 247)

I feel this longing now in my work: to be with the Animus sliding down the ladder or with the Anima feeling my love for her, my desire to be with the archetypes and to allow all the feelings that come up to be just as they are. In this work, I feel the pain and loss of the separation. I feel how my own desire can carry me forward, without regrets or recriminations, without shame. It is a whole new world.

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