Monday, August 27, 2012

Dealing with the Wicked Witch

In my last post I wrote about how I'm going through the issues dealt with in the Hansel and Gretel fairy tail, but I was still unsure about the most important part of the story: how to deal with the wicked witch. What does it mean to trick the witch and push her into the fire that was meant for you?

So, I spent a lot of time pondering that question and I've come to a realization: yes, we do have to burn in the fire. It is about us not avoiding the flames and cooking in them... but we don't get attached to the feelings that are burning us.

By burning in whatever fire is burning us - anger, longing, bitterness, whatever - we let that fire burn out naturally, as Jung wrote. But there has to be a tiny distance, a tiny bit of space between "I" and the feeling. That's what Gretel pushing the witch into the fire is.

Normally, when we get caught up in a passion, we get completely caught up in it - we get so completely caught up in it we're possessed by it, to the point where we ourselves disappear. Part of moving the sense of "I" back from the ego to the Self is that when these overwhelming passions come over us, we can allow ourselves to be burned but not be possessed by them. It's like a trick, like tricking the witch, burning her instead of us.

And I didn't just have an intellectual understanding of this; the realization came while actually pacticing it. I experienced a couple of overwhelming, burning feelings and managed to let them burn without being taken over by them. Sometimes I went so far as to imaging pushing the witch into the oven. I also realized that water doesn't work, neither does earth. Only fire burns and purifies.

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