Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The return of the queen

I am an atheist.

A hard core atheist.

An unapologetic, no holds barred, proclaim it from the rooftops atheist. There is no wishing or washing going on here. I believe that everything that exists comes from the physical world and can be explained. Maybe we don't know what the explanation for some things is (in fact, there are many things we don't know yet) but that doesn't mean that there is no explanation.

At the same time, I believe in the power of the subconscious. The part of our brain that we can't access consciously is bigger and, in some ways, more powerful than the part we're aware of. And it does believe in gods, demons, magic and mystery. And if we want to access it, we have to use the tools of magic and mystery - dreams, tarot, omens and signs. And the sacred. To hear it, and to speak to it - to influence it, and to understand it's influence - we must speak the language it understands, and carry out its rites.

For the last ten years intense political work lead me away from the inner world and out to the sunlit realms of action and the intellect. I've seen myself as a person who no longer self indulgently gazed at my navel all day long but was finally working toward true self actualization... moving beyond the self to join with others. However, it seems that my navel gazing is not yet done. Recently, a good friend introduced me to Jungian archetypes and I was curious. As I read about what looked like my own archetypes, realizations about many of the problems I've been having, both in my entire life and the past ten years, have been bubbling to the surface as I came to understand my archetypes.

The last few days of thinking about my archetypes and how they need to grow made me realize that I still have some journeying to do. The last ten years have been focused on outer work. This was a good thing - I now have the confidence to believe I can be effective in the world, and my experience in doing has given substance to any inner work I may do. A scientist understands that you must continually go out to the world and test your theories before going back to your study to craft them. For a traveler of inner worlds, to stay only in those worlds is to be ungrounded and fundamentally useless, not only to others but even to yourself, one of the paradoxes of life. But there's some neglected inner work that needs to get done, not only for my own sake but in order for the outer work to be as effective as it needs to be. I've been held back because of inner weaknesses.

My two main archetypes are Persephone and Artemis - Pesephone the wounded girl of the deeps and Artemis, defender of the weak and dependent on no one. My whole life I've been very Persephone - exploring psychology and wiccanism, constantly seeking the thing that makes me whole. Since 9/11, however, I've been very politically active. I've been forced to overcome my fears and sharpen my mind and my Artemis has been strengthened... to the point where I didn't even recognize that Persephone was even part of me, let alone my main archetype. I didn't even want to look at her. It wasn't until a quiz forced me to confront that I'm more Persephone than Artemis did I finally start accepting her back. And that was when the realizations started occuring, one after another: why I had problems with political discussions, why I had problems with certain people. Why I can have no holds barred political discussions online but I panic and start hyperventilating in person. I came to the realization that I've been completely neglecting Persephone, this poor, abandoned child.

I also came to the realization that there's more work to be done. And not just Persephone. Artemis is also unbalanced, and my male archetypes are almost nonexistant. But I know what to do - a lifetime of study of the subconscious has given me the tools to work with the goddesses (and gods) in me. Dreams, tarot, rituals; these are the things that I'm going to bring back into my life. But in a balanced way. Never again am I going to be completely absorbed in me, me, me and my pain and my suffering. But being concerned for others and working for them does not have to mean I have no concern or care for myself.

So the queen of the night has returned to my life. Let's see what gifts she brings us.

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