Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

Viewing Your Life through Mythic Eyes September 16, 2014

Celebrating my 10th birthday in my childhood home

Celebrating my 10th birthday in my childhood home

A few weeks ago my brother Jim and sister-in-law Mary came over for dinner.  Jim brought me copies of some old photographs he’d found stashed away in a closet. Among them were two taken in the dining room of our childhood home.  As I was preparing to publish last week’s post, The Interior Designer Within, which was about a recent dream, I realized the old photos might make good illustrations so I added them. In the week since then I’ve been flooded with many meaningful connections between the pictures and the dream. In this and the next post I’d like to share them with you.

The spate of insights was triggered by a comment Steven made. In the dream I’m sitting at a white table in the new dining room of my remodeled childhood home.  Steven wrote, “I’ve only scanned the article and will return but have to say that photograph with the double-candle gateway is simply beautiful. I like the second one also, very much, but the first one is not only rich and warm but also loaded with symbolism. A child looking into the future…it could be a European film.”

I reviewed the pictures to check out the symbols and what I saw was mind-boggling.

We’re celebrating my tenth birthday. A round birthday cake sits in the center of the table. In Jungian psychology centrality and circles are primary symbols of the Self, the archetype of wholeness and our religious function. So Steven’s association of the double-candle gateway on either side of it struck a very deep chord, indeed. The Self has been the ultimate object of my search since way before I had any idea of what I yearned for:  Enlightenment!

Moreover, this child looking into the future is leaning toward her father on the opposite side of the table. Daddy was my hero, and he died only 20 months after this picture was taken. So it’s no surprise that a major impetus for my psycho-spiritual journey has been a powerful desire to connect not only with a masculine God who would never die, but also with my inner opposite, my masculine Animus for whom Daddy is most certainly a symbol.

birthday2I’d already noticed the round picture above the center of the buffet and the circular glass bowl (alchemical vessel) beneath it, but now I saw another circular object (Self) on the left (unconscious) side of the buffet. Positioned precisely between the flames of the two candles (conscious and unconscious?), a cup and saucer (chalice and paten) were on display.

In the same photo I saw my shadow on the wall. Then I saw it again in the second photo, this time just over my left (unconscious) shoulder.  (I’m pretty sure all that darkness isn’t just my hair.) If you’ve followed my blog for a while you know that befriending my Shadow has been another major impetus for my explorations into the unconscious.

Now here’s where it gets mind-blowing. In the first photo I suddenly noticed the book under the round object on the left side of the buffet.   Since I’ve written four books, it’s especially meaningful to see a book in the only two pictures I have of the dining room in my childhood home.  But then I saw that in the second picture my right hand is resting on what looks like another book!  On the table! What was so wild was that in my recent dream, the white dining room table was where I did my writing!

Then the full force of these coincidences hit me.  When my grandparents came for Sunday dinner or special occasions we always read a chapter from the Bible before we ate. On this occasion my father’s deeply religious mother was there. She had traveled from Michigan to help take care of Daddy after his second heart attack.  Since his birthday was only 13 days before mine, she had made the cake and arranged this celebration for both of us. The fact that the Bible was beside me meant that I had been invited to read. Whenever this happened I invariably chose the 23rd or 91st Psalm. Here are the verses I loved best:

Psalm 23; Verse 4: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;  for thou art with me…” Verse 5: “Thou preparest a table before me…my cup runneth over.”  Death. Shadow. Table. Cup. They’re all foreshadowed in the photographs!

Psalm 91; Verse 1:  “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”  There it is again:  Shadow.

Two photographs taken sixty years ago.  An unremarkable dream from two weeks ago. Two incidents that occurred almost a lifetime apart. Yet, when I put them together into one blog post, an alchemical reaction transformed them into a powerful testament to the interconnectivity of life.  The Mystery is everywhere, within and around us. And we can see it when we view our life through mythic eyes. Can you see it?

Ebook versions of The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.  Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.

 

29 Responses to “Viewing Your Life through Mythic Eyes”

  1. Trish Harris Says:

    Such marvelous connections! Life is immeasurably enriched when we are open and receptive to the “serendipity” of alchemy. Love it!

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  2. At first glance, it’s amazing that a photograph and a dream separated by sixty years could yield so much treasure. But, if you consider that so much occurs [synchronicity/Jung] in some “place” where time and space are irrelevant concepts, it makes “sense”.
    http://maryemartintrilogies.com

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  3. Skip Conover Says:

    Very interesting post! I’m still chewing on it, because it is hugely related to a synchronicity I’m dealing with this morning between a now 10-year-old television series Debbi and I are watching straight through on Netflix, The 4400 (all about symbolism & individuation & mythology & religion & psychology &&&), and Jung’s Psychology and Alchemy, in which he emphasizes ubiquity of occurrences like this. I’m getting ready for my 50th high school reunion, and a classmate sent through an editorial from the school paper I wrote 50 years ago, which sounds exactly like me today. It took me a long time to recognize what I should have known all along … (but life intervened, and I got distracted!).

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    • jeanraffa Says:

      Thanks, Skip. I’ll have more to say about this in my next post. Thanks also for the mention of The 4400. I’ve never heard of it and will have to check it out! Your high school editorial sounds fascinating! Don’t you love how a 50 year old artifact like that can tell you so much about yourself?

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  4. Skip Conover Says:

    I had never heard of it either, until about 2 weeks ago, but apparently it was quite the phenomenon in its day, with over 1.5 million regular viewers. It has a pilot and 44 episodes, so watching the series through is not a minor undertaking, but Debbi and I are glad we can watch it straight through, without waiting for new seasons–it had 4 seasons. I had thought about writing a review on the entire series, but many of the episodes require a Jungian review in their own right. In some sense it is a shame that there is so much Jungian knowledge in Hollywood (which they use to the hilt in their productions), but they don’t really demystify what they are doing, so that more people can enjoy the significance of the archetypal nuances in their productions.

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    • jeanraffa Says:

      I will definitely check it out. I agree that it would be truly wonderful if “Hollywood” could find a way to demystify the Jungian aspects of their productions. But I guess that’s really the job of the critics. Now if we can just get them to learn more about Jungian psychology….

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  5. Darla Says:

    This is wonderful! I love how you point out all the symbolism, so that we readers can join you on your journey. This participation in seeing through the lens of your life enhances my own, as well as helping me to appreciate that we are all on a remarkable journey filled with signs and symbols to puzzle together … thank you!

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    • jeanraffa Says:

      “I love how you point out all the symbolism, so that we readers can join you on your journey.” Thank you, Darla. That was my intention. You’re confirming my belief that telling personal stories can be especially helpful to others. I sometimes worry that posts like this are a turnoff for people who think I’m being too self-absorbed. But isn’t being self-absorbed the point of the psycho-spiritual journey? How else can we discover self-knowledge and move into our destinies if not by taking our lives seriously enough to transcend our ego’s limited awareness and recognize life for the miracle it is? I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have met so many people like you who understand and respect this. 🙂

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  6. jcowles2001 Says:

    Do I ever see it! Fabulous post…J

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    • jeanraffa Says:

      Thank you, Jenna! I know you see it, and that’s why I love you so!!! You always remind me I’m not alone.

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      • jcowles2001 Says:

        And why I love you! Even in ‘en-light-ened’ Berkeley, thoughts about such things are not always welcomed or understood. We’re getting there. But when I think about how long ago Jung first wrote about synchronicity, alchemy, the mythic journey, I see that the wheels of the apparatus that shifts psychosocial paradigms turn ever so slowly, my friend. :))

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      • jeanraffa Says:

        Indeed they do, not only in the outer world but also the inner! :-))

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  7. Catherine Says:

    I am deeply, deeply grateful for your sharing the stories, the connections and so importantly the symbols and their possible deeper meanings. Your teaching ability is a treasure for those of us who follow your thoughts. 🙂

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    • jeanraffa Says:

      Thank you for your generous words, Catherine. I am so grateful for you and others like you, and this extraordinary venue with its ability to connect with people all over the world. I feel like the luckiest person ever to be known and loved by such an extraordinary circle of like-minded, affirming friends!You are appreciated more than you’ll ever know. I wish I could meet you all in person, but it’s enough just to hear from you from time to time.

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  8. That is interesting, just yesterday I had a bizarre interior design dream,

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  9. I’ve had so many instances of synchronicity in my life that I have explored the phenomenon in a trilogy of novels–The Trilogy of Remembrance, in which the protagonist, Alexander Wainwright, Britain’s finest landscape painter has many such experiences. http://maryemartintrilogies.com

    I truly believe that one must be “open” to the reality of these forces in everyday life [not just as happenstance] in order to gain from them. I would really like to know if anyone has been able to work with these forces to enrich life and have them work in a positive fashion.

    I read a considerable amount in very “lay” physics and have often thought that these synchronistic forces relate to the quantum world of which we know so little. I understand that Jung and Wolfgang Pauli had a number of conversations on this topic but I have not seen any write up of them. If anyone has, I’d be very happy to hear.

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    • jeanraffa Says:

      Hi, Mary. I love it that so many people are aware of synchronicity and are beginning to recognise it as a natural phenomenon. I, too, think it has something to do with what we’re calling the quantum level of existence. Thanks for sharing your site. I look forward to checking it out!

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      • Certainly more and more people are thinking about and perhaps experiencing synchronicity. I certainly hope so, but often feel that I still have to be careful with whom I discuss it. A lot of people seem to think it’s pretty weird to think that way. But eventually, ideas do catch on. My question is about interpretation of the events which tends to be tricky. Is the event a green or red light?

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      • jeanraffa Says:

        I know. Although I write about it here, I don’t talk about it with most people, although I will point out synchronicities to them from time to time if I think it might be meaningful to them. As to your question, synchronicities are signs that you’re on the right path:you’re listening, paying attention, reflecting on the connections between your inner and outer life. I interpret them as affirmations and encouragement to keep paying attention. The answers to my questions will come in time; for now, just take it step by step.

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  10. AriaPhoenix Says:

    This gave me chills! Absolutely amazing.

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    • jeanraffa Says:

      Thank you for this sincere praise. I recently learned a new term for the frisson of chills we experience when a secret is turning in us: “The shiver of truth.” Blessings, Jeanie

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