Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

Dream Symbol: The King January 22, 2011

Did you ever dream about a king or other powerful leader and wonder why? Throughout history kings and queens in the outer world have represented the mysterious force that creates and sustains life. This force has two basic drives: self-preservation (masculine) and species preservation (feminine).

The drive for self-preservation compels us to promote our individuality, protect our physical lives, and guarantee the prosperity of the “tribe” on which we depend for survival.  The King archetype is a symbol of this drive. In terms of our inner growth, Jung saw the King as a symbol of individuation, or becoming differentiated from our social groups.  Together, the King and Queen represent the masculine and feminine authorities of the psyche.

We enhance our chances for survival when everyone agrees to certain guidelines and standards that encourage orderly, responsible behavior. To that end we look to leaders with strong King archetypes to devise, enact, and enforce rules. Healthy King energy uses clear and logical  thinking to create fair and just rules in systems of hierarchical authority. Unhealthy King energy is either too obsessive or passive to truly care about others and therefore wreaks havoc in families, schools, businesses, churches, and nations.

Examples of men upon whom we project the King archetype include leaders at the top of social hierarchies such as fathers, school principals, CEO’s, generals, presidents, ministers, priests, and popes; historical kings such as Caesar, Louis XIV, and Henry VIII; mythical god-images associated with kingly authority like Zeus, Thor, Hades, and King Neptune; and kings in stories and legends like King Midas, King Arthur, The Fisher King, The Lion King and his negative counterpart Scar.

Women with well-developed King energy include Maat, Egypt’s goddess of justice, truth, and law; Themis, the Greek goddess of equity, law, and peace; the Cherokee’s Grandmother Spider; Japan’s Sun Goddess Amaterasu; and human women like Cleopatra, Catherine de’ Medici, Catherine the Great, Mary Queen of Scots, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, Janet Reno, Hillary Clinton, Judge Judy, and decisive, authoritarian, rule-oriented mothers.

Dream themes associated with our King address rules, crimes, morality, authority, order, leadership, and individuation. Two King dreams are especially auspicious.  An old King dying to make way for a new one says we’ve outgrown our childish dependence on outer authorities and are assuming our personal authority.  A wedding between a King and Queen suggests the conscious integration of our inner opposites.

Dream symbols that refer to our King include all the examples above plus other powerful authorities like dictators, governors, prison guards, police men and women, judges, lions (the king of beasts) and stallions. We learn more about the strength and health of our King energy by noticing the way these dream figures treat us and others, and by how our dream ego feels and behaves when we are in their presence or in positions of leadership ourselves.

In waking life, the problems we experience as leaders and the way we feel about and respond to those with authority over us can be traced directly to the maturity of our personal King and Queen. It is important to integrate both forms of energy into our awareness so we can choose the best possible leaders,and so we ourselves can live, speak and lead with wisdom and benevolence.

Has a King ever showed up in your dreams?  I’d love to hear about it.

 

Healing Arizona: Sophia’s Communication Style January 11, 2011

As I write this the shooting spree in Arizona which resulted in the deaths of six people, including a federal judge, and the wounding of several others — among them congressional Representative Gabrielle Giffords who apparently was the primary target — is very much on my mind. Practically everyone is wondering whether America’s recent vitriolic political environment might have contributed to this tragedy.

In an October post titled, “No More Toxic Air Waves, Please,” I worried about what effect the hate-filled, divisive political rhetoric would have on the youngest and most vulnerable among us. Early reports say the suspect is a mentally unstable young man with a known grudge against the government. Perhaps he would have done something like this regardless of the political climate. But factors like the deliberate ‘targeting’ of political ‘enemies’on Sarah Palin’s website, (Rep. Giffords was among those pictured in the crosshairs), and the media’s recent movement from informing to inciting have to be considered as potential influences.

One psychological explanation for this situation has to do with the differences between left-brained and right-brained communication styles. If you’ve been following this blog you know the left-hemisphere of the brain specializes in logos — logical, objective, focused reasoning — which is associated with the masculine principle. The right hemisphere prefers mythos, i.e. analogical thinking, subjective feeling, and diffuse awareness, and is associated with the feminine principle. I’m not talking about gender. This is about the masculine and feminine in all of us.

Diffuse awareness has four primary components: listening (as opposed to influencing), appreciating (as opposed to criticizing or judging), empathizing (as opposed to unfeeling analyzing and reasoning), and questioning (as opposed to blind acceptance and/or authoritarian telling). All four qualities enhance communication, contribute to wisdom and help unveil the sacred. All are associated with the feminine.

Diffuse listening occurs when we open ourselves to otherness by relaxing our needs to be heard, admired, one-up and right. Receptivity to whatever comes our way leads us straight through appearances and preconceived notions into the heart and soul of matters. Appreciating respects differences, sees similarities, and enjoys meaningful connections. Empathy, the ability to see through another’s eyes and unite with him or her in a communion of shared understanding and caring, is born when we shift our focus from differentiating ourselves to establishing intimacy. Finally, questioning is an open, thoughtful approach to otherness — other ideas and opinions, other belief systems, and other ways of perceiving — that is not defensive, rebellious, or confrontational, but truly interested in understanding, learning and growing.

The shocking violence in Arizona has multiple causes, but I have absolutely no doubt that our cultural obsession with left-brained values is one of the most influential. Fortunately, humanity is riding a mounting tidal wave that is heading for a new level of consciousness which balances and integrates opposites. Sophia of the wise and understanding heart is entering our awareness in a very big way, and adopting her modes of thinking and communicating cannot help but bring healing changes. I can’t wait to witness their unfolding in the new decade.

 

Healing Wounded Masculine and Feminine Energy: Part I September 21, 2010

In response to my post, “Breaking Through to the One Thing,” Annette asked how to heal the masculine energy in women and feminine energy in men. This is a great question and a very welcome one. I’ve been wanting to deal with the “How-To’s” for a while now. So in this and the next post I’ll be presenting my “prescription” for healing and empowering the soul.

The short answer is inner work. Don’t let the word “work” put you off. Healing the psyche is not mindless hard labor that saps your energy for a meager payoff, but a work of love that gets progressively easier and more rewarding. Why? Because it fills us with well-being to transcend our ignorance and grow in consciousness. This is our job, the hero’s journey, our magnum opus.

The process is essentially the same for both genders and applies to all aspects of the psyche. This is because every psyche is fueled by two streams of energy.  We think of one as masculine and the other as feminine. Every psychological quality, action, or way of perceiving of which we are capable belongs to one or the other of these categories. (Remember, this is not about gender stereotypes, roles, or sexuality, but psycho-spiritual functioning.) When both streams are allowed to flow freely and spontaneously, unimpeded by mental or physical blockages, our bodies and minds function at optimum levels.

The long answer is that there are four steps to inner work. While I could write a book about each step, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to read it here. So I’ll keep it short and simple.

Step #1: Set Your Intention. Healing begins when you make a conscious choice to take your inner discomfort seriously and take action to overcome your resistance, laziness, apathy, and inertia. The greatest obstacle is fear. Most of us are very intimidated by the idea of discovering something disagreeable about ourselves and it takes an unusually strong and healthy ego to delve deeply into the unconscious. But if you remember that giving in to your fear will only perpetuate your suffering and keep you from bringing out your best, you can acquire the courage and self-discipline to stand up, step out, and show up with a warrior’s “Just do it” determination.

But what action will you be taking? What will you be showing up for? Essentially the same things you would do to heal a physical dis-ease: Take your medicine, exercise, and diet.

Step #2. Take Your Medicine. The medicine that heals souls is self-knowledge. To acquire it you need to seek help and do your homework. People who have been on the path for many years know what you’re going through. They can help you pinpoint problems and suggest treatments. Don’t overlook this step. Surrender is part of the solution. If studying with a mentor, enrolling in classes, attending workshops, or getting counseling is out of the question because of time or money restraints, then find a study partner or start a study group and read. Read. Read!

My favorite early author/mentors were Jungians Robert A. Johnson (Inner Work, He, She, and We),   John Sanford (The Invisible Partners and The Kingdom Within), and Marion Woodman (The Ravaged Bridegroom, The Pregnant Virgin, Addiction to Perfection). I highly recommend these brilliant writers whose healing wisdom comes from years of personal experience. Their works contain extraordinary gems of wisdom and I encourage anyone who’s interested to check them out. Meanwhile, stay tuned for steps #3 and #4.

Healing the Sacred Divide can be found here at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.

 

 
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