Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

Joy Harjo: Crazy Brave October 22, 2019

“The story matrix is all energy & music. There is a luminosity that connects all of us – everything. Even the worst of us are luminous beings. We are all stories. No such thing as time. We are each other’s stories.” ~Joy Harjo

“Harjo is a magician and a master of the English language.” ~Jonah Raskin, San Francisco Chronicle 

If you’ve been following Matrignosis you know that at the age of ten I had a Big dream about the Lone Ranger, Tonto, and Silver. Years later when I discovered Jungian psychology, I began to understand Tonto’s role in that dream. Now I believe he symbolized my inner shaman, my  instinctual native intelligence that eventually led me to my passions for writing and dreamwork.

Had I not taken that dream and the intense feelings it aroused in me seriously; had I not respected my inner realities and conducted years of inner work to understand them; had I not eventually overcome my fear of putting myself out there in my writing, I would never have tapped into my creative potential, never made the contribution that only I could make.

Every psyche contains a deep well of native intelligence and creative power. We all contain an archetypal guide — Carl Jung called it the Hierophant — who can lead us there. Hierophant is a Greek word for a wise person who brings people into the presence of wholeness and holiness by interpreting universal principles and sacred mysteries. In your psyche your Hierophant equates to a form of metacognition that taps into the specialties of both hemispheres of your brain — logos and mythos — and weaves them together into a bigger, more complete perspective on life than either side alone can imagine.

To awaken your Hierophant and the destiny to which it can lead you, you have to overcome all manner of enemies and obstacles. Some — like fear, lethargy, self-criticism, self-doubt, ignorance, and pride lie within you. Others — poverty, racism, family dysfunction, social pressure to conform, lack of education, and abuse — are forced on you from without. The way to find the whole and holy place within you that is guarded by your dragons is to acquire the courage to face them all full on. You have to be brave. Crazy Brave.

Joy Harjo is a Crazy Brave Hierophant. On June 19, 2019, this internationally known award-winning poet, storyteller, activist, saxophone player, performer, author, and playwright was appointed the 23rd United States Poet Laureate. She is the first Native American to hold this position. Born into the Mvskoke/Creek Nation in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the final destination of the Trail of Tears, she has captured America’s imagination and respect by following her inner shaman past her personal dragons to her creative well.

Listen with your heart to these words from her inaugural reading as U.S. Poet Laureate:

“…when you go into the place of poetry, as a writer or a reader of poetry, you go into that place beyond time, you go into that place beyond words…and you find things there, you find yourself, you can find ancestors, you find out that those stones out there can speak, and the trees have their own language. Now the scientists are coming out with all kinds of books about this, but this is part of our old knowledge.”

Shaman knowledge. Hierophant knowledge.

Harjo’s genius lies in her ability to weave both sides of her whole and holy Self — her soul’s twins — into one creative tapestry that contains the world without and the world within, past and present, soul and spirit, logos and mythos, literal fact and gut instinct, masculine and feminine, bright side and dark shadow.

As the Judges Citation of the 2019 Jackson Prize from the Poetry Society of America declares,

“Harjo’s work speaks not only to the world we live in, but to the unseen world that moves through us, the thread that has connected us all from the start…. Harjo’s poems embody a rich physicality and movement; they begin in the ear and the eye, they go on to live and hum inside the body…. Throughout her luminous and substantial body of work, there is a sense of timelessness, of ongoingness, of history repeating; these are poems that hold us up to the truth and insist we pay attention.”

This crazy brave woman’s ability to hold both worlds together and manifest them in her work has resulted in nine books of poetry, a memoir, five CD’s of music and poetry, a one-woman show, and several plays and children’s books. You can read about her many honors and awards at the links below.

I met Joy Harjo last Thursday night when she and two other artists — multidisciplinary artist, Sook Jin Jo, and composer/performer/producer, Larry Mitchell (who also plays guitar with Joy’s band) — were introduced to local members of the Atlantic Center for the Arts, where they are currently master artists in residency.

My first experience of my Hierophant appeared in the dream of a ten year-old girl who idolized a Hollywood characterization of a fictional Native American tracker named Tonto. But now that I’ve experienced Joy Harjo’s mystical, hauntingly courageous style, in my imaginarium I see her and Tonto, two bold and proud warriors — Mvskoke/Creek and Mohawk — standing together. My personal image of my soul’s twins feels complete.

Enjoy this blessing that opens her book, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings. I dedicate it to the memory of Cicero Greathouse, my dear crazy brave artist friend who will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.

Bless the poets, the workers for justice,

the dancers of ceremony, the singers of heartache

the visionaries, all makers and carriers of fresh

meaning — We will all make it through,

despite politics and wars, despite failures

and misunderstandings. There is only love.

 

Joy Harjo’s website

Joy Harjo named first Native American poet laureate

Joy Harjo Becomes The 1st Native American U.S. Poet Laureate

Joy Harjo Becomes First Native American Writer to Be Named U.S. Poet Laureate 

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Her new book, The Soul’s Twins, will be launched next year.

 

A Message From the Lone Ranger October 19, 2010

In the dream I am walking between railroad tracks that curve into a distant horizon. I see only earth, sky, this hard metal road with rock-covered banks that fall away on either side into dark woods below.

I know this place. I walked these tracks with Daddy when I was five and we lived in Tallahassee. Daddy wanted me to feel the magical allure of trains, but also to know their danger. There were hobos in tent camps in the woods and I should stay away from them. I should stay away from the tracks too. Little girls could get crushed by the metal monsters that rode them.

Are there hobos in the woods now? Will a train come soon? Why am I here? Where am I going? Where’s Daddy? I don’t know. I only know I am alone and must keep walking.

From behind me a voice calls, “Jean!” I turn, and there is Tonto.

“Come,” he beckons. “Lone Ranger wants you.” I am thrilled. The Lone Ranger is my hero and he wants to see me! I push away a niggling shadow of apprehension and follow Tonto. The Lone Ranger stands in a clearing. Behind him his magnificent white horse, Silver, munches grass contentedly. Beyond them, the dark woods. I feel wonder, excitement, curiosity. Beneath these, that tiny knot of anxiety.

“Stand there.” The masked man points to a spot on the ground in front of the steep embankment. I obey and wait for the words that will reveal his regard for me, tell me why I’m here, confirm my mission.

The Lone Ranger pulls his gun out if its holster, aims at me, pulls the trigger, shoots. I feel the kick in my mid-section, clutch my body at the point of impact, wait for the blood and pain. Is this it? Will I die now?

I wake up screaming, “Nooooo!” between great heaving sobs, outraged by this inconceivable betrayal from a man I have admired second to no one but Daddy. Mama rushes up the stairs into my bedroom and holds me in her arms.

“Shhh, you’re okay. You’re okay. It was only a dream.”

Only a dream. That’s when I tell myself, stunned with incomprehension but fierce in my determination, “This is important. I am ten years old and I will never forget this dream!”

If you have read my book, The Bridge to Wholeness: A Feminine Alternative to the Hero Myth, you already know this story. In the book after that, Dream Theatres of the Soul: Empowering the Feminine Through Jungian Dreamwork, I mentioned the Lone Ranger once again. Then, thinking I was done with him, I set him aside to address headier matters. I’ve been writing for years, hoping to round out these two books with a third that would complete them, but nothing quite gelled. Now I understand I still had unfinished business with the Lone Ranger, Tonto, and Silver.

The Lone Ranger gave me my mission: You want to know why you are here and where you are going?  I will tell you. These tracks represent your spiritual journey. I have given you an experience that will shape it. Never forget the pain of being betrayed by the god of your childhood: a lone, remote, and mysterious masked man who doesn’t value your significance and holds the power of life and death over you. Remember this dream and become conscious of its fullest meaning. This is your life’s work. He was right.

You can find my newest book,  Healing the Sacred Divide, at this Amazon link and at Larson Publications, Inc.

 

 
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