Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"The Union of Irreconcilables"

Recently, I got hexagram 38 ("Estrangement") when asking about what the heck is going on with me and G. It was the same old story, but what I ended up getting was a puzzle to say the least: the image of fire over a lake, each one pulling in opposite directions. I had no idea how it applied to my situation: Did it mean us? Or was it something I was supposed to do?

As usual I did the best I could with understanding the meaning and then went on with my life... and as usual, when I don't really understand something, something else comes up and sheds light on the issue.

Boxing the sheep

To begin with, I want to go back to von Franz and her exploration of the puer/puella; specifically, with their difficulty in standing tension. The following refers to Antoine de Saint Exupéry's The Little Prince - the scene von Franz is referring to is the one where Saint Exupéry first meets the little prince and tries to draw a sheep at the prince's request. Three different drawings are rejected for one reason or the other, and finally Saint Exupéry just draws a box and tells him the sheep is in the box.
Placing the sheep in the box is not a gesture of escape; rather, it springs from what one might call a certain vital strength in order to be able to stand a conflict. Saint Exupéry wants to get back to work on his engine. Instead of letting him quickly draw a sheep, the star prince bothers him, saying this drawing is not right, not this, nor this, so that Saint Exupéry is torn between the engine and the child, whose importance he completely realizes, and who, in a typically childlike way, bothers him. He feels sure that even if he draws another sheep it won't be right, or there will be a lot of questions, and in reality there is the urgent situation of getting his engine in order. If you take that symbolically, it means a conflict between the demands of the outer and the inner life, which establishes a tremendous tension. How can you comply with the demands of outer reality, which reason tells you is right, and those of the inner life at the same time? The difficulty is that the demands of the inner life need time. You cannot do active imagination for five minutes and then go off and do other things! If, for instance, one is in analysis, dreams have to be written down. This may mean two hours' work to just write them down, which is only the beginning, for one has not yet done any work. One should also meditate on them. It is a full-time job, but very often there are also the urgent necessities of outer life. This is one of the worst and most difficult tensions to stand - to be capable as far as possible of giving each claim what it needs.
(von Franz, Marie-Louise, Puer Aeternus, pages 45-46)

This is yet another feature of the puer/puella, but I didn't make the connection between the reading and this section until I read the following from Jung. Here too was a description of the difficulty in standing the tension between the worlds of the conscious and the unconscious, the demands of our inner and outer lives. Jung goes into more detail about what the conflict between the two consists of, not just the time demands but the radically different worldviews of the two worlds; the rational, ordered world of the conscious and the irrational world of the unconscious. The situation comes up specifically during the circumambulatio, the psychological circling around a central area of focus:
[I]f the life-mass is to be transformed a circumambulatio is necessary, i.e., exclusive concentration on the centre, the place of creative change. During this process one is "bitten" by animals; in other words, we have to expose ourselves to the animal impulses of the unconscious without identifying with them and without "running away"; for flight from the unconscious would defeat the purpose of the whole proceeding. We must hold our ground, which means here that the process initiated by the dreamer's self-observation must be experienced in all its ramifications and then articulated with consciousness to the best of his understanding. This often entails an almost unbearable tension because of the utter incommensurability between conscious life and the unconscious process, which can be experienced only in the innermost soul and cannot touch the visible surface of life at any point. The principle of conscious life is: "Nihil est in intellectu, quod non prius fuerit in sensu." ("Nothing is in the understanding that was not earlier in the senses.") But the principle of the unconscious is the autonomy of the psyche itself, reflecting in the play of its images not in the world but itself, even though it utilizes the illustrative possibilities offered by the sensible world in order to make its images clear. The sensory datum, however, is not the causa efficiens of this; rather, it is autonomously selected and exploited by the psyche, with the result that the rationality of the cosmos is constantly being violated in the most distressing manner. But the sensible world has an equally devastating effect on the deeper psychic processes when it breaks into them as a causa efficiens. If reason is not to be outraged on the one hand and the creative play of images not violently suppresed on the other, a circumspect and farsighted synthetic procedure is required in order to accomplish the paradoxical union of irreconcilables. Hence the alchemical parallels in our dreams.
(Jung, C.G., Dreams, pages 219-222)

The moral dimensions of staying

Standing the tension has elements of both in-born strength or weakness, as well as the moral choice we all have to make. In the section below, von Franz emphasizes the "nature" side of the "nature vs. nurture" equation, while Jung, on the other hand, points to the importance of making a choice and actively coming to terms with the challenge. In fact, it is on becoming aware of one's personal responsibility that it becomes a moral choice.
The weak personality - and I don't mean "weak" as a moral criticism - would imply not being born physically strong. The weak personality reacts with a short-cut response, making a definite decision to do the one and put the other aside. Here, there is an incapacity for standing the tension beyond a certain point. A weak personality has an impatient reaction, whereas a strong personality can continue in the tension for longer. In this case, one sees that Saint Exupéry, after the third attempt to draw the sheep, gives up and makes a short-cut solution in order to get back to his engine. This is an indication of a weakness that shows in certain other features; for instance, the star prince's planet is very tiny, he himself is very delicate, or, to take the first dream, the hero does not come out of the devouring snake; i.e., the mother. Also, if you look at photographs of Saint Exupéry, you will see that he has a very strange "split" face: the lower part of it is like that of a boy of seven, the expression of the mouth is completely immature; it is a naive, little child's mouth, and there is a thin little chin, whereas the upper part of the face gives the impression of a very intelligent and mature man. Something is weak and just like a child; therefore, there are certain tensions which he cannot stand.
(von Franz, Marie-Louise, Puer Aeternus, pages 45-46)
The focusing of attention on the centre demanded in this dream and the warning about "running away" have clear parallels in the opus alchymicum: the need to concentrate on the work and to meditate upon it is stressed again and again. The tendency to run away, however, is attributed not to the operator but to the transforming substance... It did not occur to these philosophers that they were chasing a projection, and that the more they attributed to the substance the further away they were getting from the psychological source of their expectations. From the difference between the material in this dream and its medieval predecessors we can measure the psychological advance: the running away is now clearly apparent as a charcteristic of the dreamer, i.e., it is no longer projected into an unknown substance. Running away thus becomes a moral question [emphasis mine].
(Jung, C.G., Dreams, pages 219-222)

The question here is: Do we really believe we are given exactly what we need? Inherent "weakness" itself is part of our challenge. In those further from the unconscious - i.e., those who are more comfortable in the outer world than the inner - the challenge is to find the strength to withstand the terrifying incursions of the unconscious into one's safe, rational life. On the other hand for the puer or the puella, who lives close to the unconscious, the challenge is to work, to stick it out in in the deadly boring, everyday dreary reality which is so unbearably painful. But the conflict is ultimately the same; the clash between the outer and inner worlds, the conscious and the unconscious.

The two are shadow sides of each other. The extrovert or sensation type is focused on this world. They are willing to work hard to achieve perfection; and yet, because of their pathological aversion to doing anything which is less than perfect, they often find themselves impotent and incapable of achieving anything at all. Anything they do would be imperfect so they do nothing at all. This is G's problem. The introvert or the intuitive, on the other hand, because they can't stand the tension of staying with a thing until it's done well will eventually throw something haphazard together but this is usually after an extended period of doing a whole lot of nothing. So in the end both fail to overcome the tension.

Both G and I have to stand this tension. Also, as a puella, I have to stand the specific tension of staying with unpleasant work. It can be argued that, whether we are aware of the choice or not, we have a moral obligation to make the choice - that the refusal to see the choice is itself a choice. And that, regardless of our personal strength or weakness, in every situation we are confronted with, the choice is always present.

Fire over the lake

"The 'union of irreconcilables:' marriage of water and fire. The two figures each have four hands to symbolize their many different capabilities."

This was the image that Jung chose to illustrate the section I quoted; and it was this picture that got my attention. As soon as I saw it I knew it exactly described hexagram 38. This is what happens when we can stand the tension of opposition. It's after reading all of Jung and von Franz's exploration of what it means to withstand the tension, what it is, what it's for, how to do it, and the necessity to do so that the I-ching reading's mysterious pronouncements begin to make sense:
Hardly have conscious and unconscious touched when they fly asunder on account of their mutual antagonism. Hence, right at the beginning of the dream, the snakes that are making off in opposite directions have to be removed; i.e., the conflict between conscious and unconscious is at once resolutely stopped and the conscious mind is forced to stand the tension by means of the circumambulatio. The magic circle thus traced will also prevent the unconscious from breaking out again, for such an eruption would be equivalent to psychosis. "Nonnuli perierunt in opere nostro": "Not a few have perished in our work," we can say with the author of the Rosarium. The dream shows that the difficult operation of thinking in pradoxes - a feat possible only by the superior intellect - has succeeded. The snakes no longer run away but settle themselves in the four corners, and in the process of transformation or integration sets to work. The "transfiguration" and illumination, the conscious recognition of the centre, has been attained, or at least anticipated, in the dream. This potential achievement - if it can be maintained, i.e., if the conscious mind does not lose touch with the centre again - means a renewal of personality.
(Jung, C.G., Dreams, pages 219-222)

Fire above, lake below.
Amid fellowship, the superior person retains their individuality.

Fire moves upward, water seeps down: When they are quiescent, their movements can unite; when they are in motion, they draw farther and farther apart. But since this movement is a natural one, it comes itself to a turning point when it has reached an extreme.

Usually opposition is an obstruction, but it can also be a polarity: Heaven and earth, spirit and nature, man and woman. When reconciled these bring about the creation of new life. Heaven and earth are opposites, but their action is concerted. Man and woman are opposites, but they strive for union. All beings stand in opposition to one another: what they do takes on order thereby. Great indeed is the effect of the time of opposition.

Opposition is the natural prerequisite of union. As a result of opposition, a need to bridge arises. In the same way, it is the differences between things that enables us to differentiate them clearly, and therefore classify them. This is the effect of opposition, a phase that must be transcended.

Regardless of co-mingling, they will always preserve their individuality. Fire and the lake tend to combat each other, creating opposition, while their attributes lead to it's being overcome. The joyousness of the lake is fellowship, and the clarity of fire is clearly recognizable individuality. The reason the two tend to opposition is that the eldest, whose authority would maintain order, is absent.
(Hexagram 38: Estrangement)

Circling and stillness are the same thing, and they both are what Jung and von Franz mean when they talk about standing the tension. The focus must be keps on the center, where the change is taking place. "We must hold our ground, which means here that the process initiated by the dreamer's self-observation must be experienced in all its ramifications and then articulated with consciousness to the best of his understanding."

"Co-mingling" is the tension of bringing the inner and outer worlds together. Even when they are together they will always be different; it is their difference that creates the tension. However, they carry within them the very attributes needed to transcending the tension: the joy and fellowship of the heart, along with the clarity and ability to discriminate differences of the mind. The reason heart and mind, body and soul, have problems is because Spirit is missing.

Right now, I feel like Hexagram 38 is mostly about me, but some of it is about me and G: G is the outer world. I'm the inner. His movement to me is characterized by coming close then backing off; this is the referred movement of opposites to one another (and followed by repulsion, with attraction once again.) The thing is, G isn't standing the tension. He just let's himself by controlled by his fear and desire. The question is: Am I? Am I doing the same? Or am I doing the difficult work that needs to be done... not moving and standing the opposite pulls?

Is this why I got this when I asked about me and G? Because it's what we need to do in regards to each other; and that shows what we are (or aren't) doing? Do I need to be doing this? I feel like I've moved on from this relationship... Maybe it's because, despite having "stood the tension" and stayed with all the painful feelings, he's still failing to do the same. But, even if it's time for me to move on, this question will still be a part of my challenge. I don't think any of us ever grow past it. Also, it talks about opposition bringing about the need to bridge the differences, to transcend the diferences; this is necessary to bring about the creation of new life. So maybe it is about is... God, I still do not know! I feel like the more I understand about this the more I don't understand it!

I'm having a hard time finishing this post. Everything except for the conclusion came so easily, and this last part is like pulling teeth, so I just banged it out, trying to get out all the thoughts that have been circling in my head. The conclusions are many, but one that stands out is that I'm to stay in the tension. Whether that means in this relationship or simply in life I don't know. What I do know is that this isn't finished yet. I'm sure there will be more to come on this topic in the future!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Too little earth

The trouble is not that the elephants are too big, but that the earth is not strong enough to carry them. The elephants are okay, but there is not enough space for them.

(von Franz, Marie-Louise, Puer Aeternus, pages 50-52.)

Another thing came up as I was reading Puer Aeternus was the need for psychological "earth" or the substance and strength to do the difficult work of psychology.
Some people have a lot [of earth] but are not in touch with it, while others have no earth, or not enough, even if they are in touch with it - which would mean that there is not enough vitality. It is naturally an irrational concept, an intuitive concept. You could call earth psychological substance. You see that again and again. One of the great problems in psychotherapy is: how much substance does that person have? How much can he or she carry?...

While the person with too little earth may be able to assimilate everything psychologically, he will have great difficulty realizing things in reality. Such people take everything in analysis with honesty and strength, but when you press them to do something about it in their outer reality, a terrific panic comes up. At the moment when the inner realization has to be put into life, strength collapses, and you are confronted with a trembling child, who exclaims, "Oh, no! That I cannot do!" This is an exaggerated illustration of the introvert's attitude in which there is great strength in accepting the inner turths but very little when it comes to real life. Then the trembling child appears.
The reason it stood out was because of a recent I-ching hexagram I threw which spoke of the earth, hexagram 7, "The Army". This is just a very preliminary musing but I wonder if the two have something to do with each other...
Water under earth; the ground water stored up in the earth. In the same way military strength is stored up in the mass of the people - invisible in times of peace but always ready for use as a source of power - water is stored in the earth.

The army needs perseverance And a strong man. Good fortune without blame.

An army is a mass that needs organization in order to become a fighting force. Without strict discipline nothing can be accomplished, but this discipline must not be achieved by force. It requires a strong man who captures the hearts of the people and awakens their enthusiasm. In order that he may develop his abilities he needs the complete confidence of his ruler, who must entrust him with full responsibility as long as the war lasts. But war is always a dangerous thing and brings with it destruction and devastation. Therefore it should not be resorted to rashly but, like a poisonous drug, should be used as a last recourse.

In the middle of the earth is water: the image of The Army. The superior person increases her masses by generosity toward the people.

Ground water is invisibly present within the earth; in the same way the military power of a people is invisibly present in the masses. When danger threatens, every peasant becomes a soldier; when the war ends, they goes back to their plow. She who is generous toward the people wins their love, and a people living under a mild rule becomes strong and powerful. Only a people economically strong can be important in military power. Such power must therefore be cultivated by improving the economic condition of the people and by humane government. Only when there is this invisible bond between government and people, so that the people are sheltered by their government as ground water is sheltered by the earth, is it possible to wage a victorious war.
A few thoughts - I think that, although this topic isn't as strong in it's impact as the other recent work, it's still important, particularly in that it supports that work:

First off, here in "The Army" the earth is what contains and shelters power - the more earth you have, the more power you can hold. If you only have a tiny little asteroid, it is impossible to contain a lot of power, or groundwater.

The hexagram also speaks of how one makes use of power - through discipline tempered with generosity and the bonds of trust and love. But both discipline and generosity take strength, so here again, those with a small amount of earth have difficulty. But we must do our best.

One part of this section that I didn't include spoke about how many people are mixed types - some parts of them are strong, vibrant and full of power, and others are weak, and must be nurtured slowly and patiently. The trick is to figure out what kind of person you are and, if you have weak spots, be careful of them and patiently nurture them until they are strengthened. Even if you have a weak spot, or are overall a weak person, there is always something you can do - push on through where you're strong, and gently nurture where you're not.

Race and ethnicity in dreams

A lot of my dreams have included people of different ethnic groups and I've puzzled over what these mean. Asia, particularly Japan, frequently shows up, both as people and as objects, and I'm starting to think that, being an American of Japanese ancestry, it means the unconscious realm; the mysterious, foreign land but also something vaguely familiar. It's as if it's calling me home, back to that far-away land. It's of the "foreign" spirit realm but it's also my true home. This would be different, of course, for people who have no relationship to Japan; probably for them, it's just a foreign country as India or China are for me. In my own dreams, India is more foreign as in pure foreign; exotic, and with no feeling of "home." China, which has also occasionally shown up in my dreams, is halfway in between India and Japan; foreign but with a tinge of the familiar.

The other group that shows up a lot in my dream, almost as much as Japan, is black people (they seem to be African American black people, not black African people) and I've often puzzled over what they mean in my unconscious. Being progressive, black people carry the following conscious meanings for me: maybe rough around the edges but honest; real; although often pushed down, never give up. But our unconscious ideas about things often differ from our conscious. Last night, as I was re-listening to Marie-Louise von Franz's The Way of the Dream, this caught my attention:
It was a hot summer's day, and I was walking with a gorgeous black woman through rolling green country along the side of a jungle. We'd known each other for a long time, and I called her my goddess. It was my pet name for her.

Suddenly she stopped and said, "I have a problem." I didn't understand what she meant, but instead of telling me with words she pulled down the strap of her dress and bared her shoulder. Her black skin on the top of her shoulder was peeling where it had been exposed to the sun, and under the top skin, underneath the black, her skin was golden-white. She looked at me and said, "If I keep seeing you, it's going to happen all over my body. I've got to talk to my mother and get some advice from her about what to do..."

In the alchemical tradition, the transformation of the Shulamite, or the Queen of Sheba plays a tremendous role. One of the recurring fantasies of the alchemists was that the matter which they wanted to transform into gold was initially black. They compared it to a black woman who then takes off her skin or black garment and is transformed into pure gold. Notice that in this dream the woman's skin is golden white under the black.

The black garment represents a typical feature of the undeveloped inner anima figure. Just as we shall see that the animus in women is sometimes destructive and negative, the black anima is relatively negative in a man. The black anima indicates that his whole capacity to love is mostly autoerotic. When a man has not developed his anima, his feminine side, he is generally very narcissistic. That's what a woman painfully feels when a man is meowing under her window like a tomcat. He really loves his own fantasy. He loves his own being in love, but that's a long way from learning to love her and not merely enjoying his own being in love. And often in literature, a young man, when he first discovers the experience of love, is completely autoerotic. It is a fantasy out of which, through a painful development, he has to learn to love the woman, not as the object of his romantic fantasies, but as a human partner.

Just as in a man his anima is originally narcissistic and autoerotic, in women our feelings of "love" are also initially narcissistic and ultimately autoerotic: the partner is basically just a living, breathing blow up doll, a convenient hook for our projection. An example is when women "fall in love" with a famous figure, as many girls and women have done with the characters in Twilight. While projection can be a useful way seducing one into the hard work of building an actual relationship with the actual person it is by it's nature itself only a relationship with yourself: you project a part of yourself onto the recipient and then proceed to fall in love with that part of yourself. And just like men, we also project our bright shadow and/or our animus and/or our Self onto our "beloved" instead of having a human relationship with the human right in front of us.

All the same, I do feel as if some amount of projection is a necessary part of falling in love. I'm not sure but it seems to be the reason why we fall in love with some people but not others. Some questions to think about are how thick and obscuring the projection is, and whether or not there's a significant part of the beloved that matches our projection or if it's just pure fantasy, but in any case, the ultimate goal is to relate to the human being underneath all the projections.

There are also some further questions: occasionally, while interpreting fairy tales or dreams, von Franz talks about the animus of the anima, or vice versa; i.e. the evil troll who has bewitched the princess into murdering all of her husbands. Who is this animus? Or, in the case of women's psychology, who is this primitive anima of a woman's animus? Is it even the anima of the animus? If it is, is it actually an aspect of the Self? I've had some indications that suggest that that's exactly who this figure is; the black women appearing in my dream, and at the same time I dream of a mutilated female figure who must be confronted and saved. The readings referring to the coming of a Queen when I ask about love and romance. It's as if through our travails with love, we heal the anima behind our animus, which is really the part of the Goddess who needs healing and wholeness. Once She is made whole we ourselves become whole. It also suggests that the way to heal the part of our Self that is mutilated is by working through love issues, and also that it's only when we heal this wound that we can truly love another person; it's only when the Goddess is whole that her servant, the animus, becomes healthy and strong.

There's still more to explore in this subject, but this is a good start.

Water under the tree

Synchronicities happening all over the place!! And amazing meditations, on the train to work of all times (I guess that's one good thing about my bike being out of commission for so long...)

With this thing with G and everything, feelings keep welling up; feelings of sadness and loss, longing. So I've been turning all of my feelings into seeds and planting them. Since yesterday, whenever any feeling for G or related to my longing for love comes up, I mentally take my hands and bring them together around the the part of my body the energy is gathering (sometimes it's in my belly or my sex, sometimes in my heart or my head). Like a potter bringing a ball of clay together, or a figure skater drawing her arms in to bring the energy in towards the center, I would bring all the energy together and concentrate it into one, charged, spinning ball. This would transform into a seed or a pearl or something. Then I'd dig a hole in the ground until I saw the groundwater and place the seed in the hole and cover it up. I've been doing this since last night.

This morning on the train I figured out that I was planting trees, and the trees were in a large circle, a henge. In the center was my sacred place. At one point I closed my eyes and walked over goddess knows what (at one point it was broken glass) but, as in my dream, I trusted Her and the glass was also changed into the forest floor.

The amazing thing that happened was with the music. At first, I was listening to This Mortal Coil's album It'll End in Tears when "Song to the Siren" came on; this is the song that I've been obsessively listening to lately, because of my longing for love (and for my animus) and I knew I had to take all of those feelings and plant them, too. I also felt that it was time to move to another album so I put on Florence + the Machine's Lungs. And what was the first song to come on? "Blinding," the song that I was obsessing over when I was longing for G, and when all those feelings came up I took them, too, but this time it was a huge hurricane and I was in the center of it. I pulled everything into the center of my heart, and my heart became a giant pearl. Then, the next song was "Hurricane Drunk"!!! Which made me laugh out loud, and as it played I cut open my heart, walked to the center of the henge with my open would leaking blood onto the ground, then buried the still blood covered pearl at the center. In the center instead of just ground water was a spring - the spring which will come out of the roots of the tree, which will be watered by the spring and nourshed by the blood from my heart. And I realized what my sacrifice was, and my offering, and felt even more that I would sacrifice anything - my relationship with G, or any chance of a relationship I had, my job, my home, my life, anything - to find my Center, my Self. The feeling is still small but it's growing in me.

The final song that came on after that, just as I was walking towards the handless Monster Tentacle Mother (who now has hands!) was "You've Got the Love," and I felt Her love for me and had to laugh out loud again.
Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air
I know I can count on you
Sometimes I feel like saying "Lord I just don't care"
But you've got the love I need To see me through

Sometimes it seems that the going is just too rough
And things go wrong no matter what I do
Now and then it seems that life is just too much
But you've got the love I need to see me through

When food is gone you are my daily need
When friends are gone I know my savior's love is real
You know it's real

Time after time I think "Oh Lord what's the use?"
Time after time I think it's just no good
Sooner or later in life, the things you love you lose
But you've got the love I need to see me through

Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air
I know I can count on you
Sometimes I feel like saying "Lord I just don't care"
But you've got the love I need to see me through
Where once before I did "magic" in a wrong way today I feel like my visualization was healing and right. I wasn't running away from something - I was running to something.

And it's starting to become clear what my I-ching reading had to do with my need for love: The love and longing I feel? The longing for someone to love me and be there for me? What I'm really longing for is God/dess. She's the one who will be there for me, wipe the tear from my eye, support and nourish me. What I've been looking for for so long in love relationship with men is because my mother complex is so empty and messed up; just like I look for Her in the sweetness of food, I've been looking for Her in the sweetness of love. And now, She really is approaching Her temple, the secret henge of trees in the wood, with it's tree nourshed by my own blood and the Water of Life springing up from it's roots.

Edit: The devouring mother

Re-reading my post about Twilight made me think of something I heard while re-listening to Marie-Louise von Franz's The Way of the Dream:
The unconscious itself can devour the human being. That is why the dream has not been attended to. We are now discovering that the dream world is the most beneficent thing on earth, and that attending to one's dreams is the healthiest thing one can do. But the dream world can also devour a person by way of daydreaming, spinning neurotic fantasies, or chasing unrealistic ideas...

The dream world is beneficent and healing only if we have a dialogue with it but at the same time remain in actual life. We must not forget living. The duties of real living must not be neglected. As soon as one begins to ignore outer life - one's own body, eating, doing one's ordinary job - then the dream world becomes dangerous. We call that dangerous aspect of the dream world the devouring unconscious, or the devouring mother. It can suck us away from reality and spin us into a neurotic or even psychotic unreality. The dream world is only positive if it is in a living, balanced dialogue with a lived, actually lived, life.
I've been doing a lot of work with the animus, especially as I relate to it as a Persephone and an introverted intuitive type. What this all boils down to is that I constantly have to combat a tendency to get lost in the Otherworld. I spent most of my life mainly in a relationship with the unearthly Iseult (or, in my case, The Vampire Lover); I poured all of my love and all of my passion into the dream world. And, even though I managed to meet the basic necessities of life, and to even have some friendships, most of my libido went to this Otherworld.

It's good to have a relationship with the unearthly Iseult, but when that relationship interferes with one's relationships on earth, and one's duties to our lived lives, that relationship becomes pathological. In just the same way that cutting ourselves off from the Otherworld is death, so is cutting ourselves off from this world. We need both. Puers and puellas have the one problem, other types have the other. Both are bad. Just as we need two legs to walk, we need to live and thrive in both worlds, in both sides of our human beings.

... Something else occurred to me: what if the monster tentacle mother is the "devouring mother" von Franz refers to above? She has no hands so she can't act, no feet so she can't move. I never lived with my mother - I felt abandoned. There's always been a huge emptiness inside me that I never even knew about, but that would come out in my desperate search for someone I could depend on and my desperate desire to eat. This mother in me had been mutilated, turned into a monster. She could only touch others with the monstrous part of her.

This is what it means to have a "negative mother complex" - the mother is mutilated, turned into something monstrous, which can't touch or act or connect with others, can't speak or see or take in nourishment. It can only devour, and it destroys where it seeks connection and nourishment. With an inner Mother like this, is it surprising that her son, the animus, is so dangerous? He's only trying to get for the mother what she needs. This is why the two are so closely connected: romantic love and the inner mother. We somehow instinctively know the two are connected. To heal them is a task fraught with danger! But is there anything more worth the risk?

New blog!

In case you haven't noticed, QotN has been really, really (really!) quiet. This is because I've been doing some other stuff, like go...