Today I started delving into "Transformations of the Psyce: The Symbolic Alchemy of the Splendor Solis," by Joseph L. Henderson and Dyane N. Sherwood. I knew Dr. Henderson when he was in his nineties, and I was privileged to be accepted by him into analysis. He normally worked only with somebody who had been through analysis, which I had not. I had an interest in him as a mentor, and when he asked me what I expected to get I said, "I want to strain my thinking through yours and get rid of the dross."

He saw me as a favor to a friend, and agreed only to refer me to someone he felt might be compatible, but I didn't want somebody else. I wanted the wise old man himself. He asked me who I had done my analysis with and I told him Maurice Nicoll. I never met Nicoll, and explained to him that I had studied his books. "Yes, I knew Nicoll," he said. "Let's try a half dozen sessions and see what happens." For four years he helped me understand the meanings of dreams, and we laughed a lot. One thing we didn't talk much about was psychology. We talked about literature a lot. He knew and studied under Thornton Wilder as well as Jung.

What I loved most about Dr. Henderson was that he provided for me what I wanted. I didn't know at the time that I was asking for an alchemical transformative process, but of course that is precisely what I asked for. The act of beginning with the corrupted dark matter and processing it into gold is expressed in other terms as straining one's thinking through a purifying process. He was and is a master, though he has moved on to a purely spiritual plane.

Dr. Henderson gave me information to expand on what I brought up until I finally realized that he did not know and could not know what direction I should take. It was up to the unconscious process, which is the mystery. It is the One which is not time bound, and which has the overarching intention. In that way he took me beyond the teachers who give answers and set themselves up, deliberately or not, as sources of truth.

My mentor for the shadow side was WIlliam Burroughs, who, quoting Hassan i'Sabbah proclaimed that nothing is true, therefore, everything is permitted. It took me a long time to understand that. At first I thought it was an invitation to chaos, and it is for a child, regardless of age. For a master it is necessary. Burroughs enrolled as a medical student in Vienna but didn't become a doctor. He was a Shakespeare scholar at Harvard. I just Googled and came across an article on Scientology by Burroughs. He went through the process of engram removal, but found the organization itself unconscionable.

My own investigation of Scientology was limited to reading the a book for Scientology staff who do the clearing process. I also found some valuable information, but, like Burroughs, was appalled at the idea that people would try to put a fence around it and charge admission. That's just wrong. : ) Give people the information and they can determine the meaning for themselves.

Milton Erickson: "The meaning of any communication is the response it gets. There is no other meaning. The impression that there is other meaning is in your head, and is not part of the communication."

What I specifically found useful was the process of clearing engrams, under the theory that an event, or reactive pattern, in the nervous system can be neutralized only by an exact replica of the pattern. Luckily a pattern tends to replicate itself or it wouldn't be a pattern, would it? If it didn't replicate you couldn't get out of it. So in a sense they are taking the process the unconscious uses anyway, and trying to claim it as their intellectual property. That's a lot like the corporations who go into tribal societies, patent a specialty food and then make them pay for the privilege of eating it. "Here's our patent."

"This was given to us by Mother Earth in antiquity."

"Yea. It was given to us by Father Sky in a recent legal proceeding."

The entire process of self knowledge orbits around pattern, or engram, or imprint, recognition Here is an example from my own life:

When I was a pre-schooler I was fascinated by the fact that the little girl, who lived in the same woods as did I, was different from me. She showed me hers and I showed her mine, and we were having a grand old time as best friends. We met on the path between our houses. But we had no sense of guilt, because it had not been bequeathed to us as yet. It was stored as a pattern in the nervous systems of the people around us, created in the moment when innocence was brought into the larger cultural pattern.

Change takes place in one moment of time, when you do something you would not ordinarily do. What I was ordinarily doing on this change day was pissing in a pot. My friend, who could not do this, was fascinated by my display of male powers. My mother walked in and instead of being likewise impressed with my powers, thought of what she saw as something wrong. She called the girl's mother and we were never allowed to play together again.

That was the beginning of a pattern. It was the moment of emotional shift, detected by both children but not understood, as there was no association for it or understanding of it. The emotion was identical to that experienced by the little girl in my mother at some similar point in her development. Around this shock moment, which is characterized by muscle contraction to inhibit the pleasurable feelings, there is a justification. It is so natural in any organism to move toward pleasure and away from pain that to deliberately choose contraction to shut off pleasure requires a strong justification. The justification consists of that being a reasonable choice in the larger view. It is body experience. In a child there is just a response to the mother or father.

The first part of the pattern comes into view. When the male power appears there are two opposing feminine responses. One is the eros, and the other is the maternal, in their positive polarities personified by Sophia and Mary. In their negative polarities they are personified by the young witch and the old witch. ; ) The maternal defined in opposition to the eros is not peculiar to this event, but is the polarity of the female archetype, according to Neumann's model at least. They are actually the two aspects of the archetype, each with a positive and negative polarity. So the formation of the pattern is underway. The next event is that when this little girl told me she couldn't play with me anymore, I got angry and pushed her down into a ditch, and her older brother in turn pushed me down. This is all at about age five.

My experience is that the places where energy is blocked are always "bookmarked." You know there is something around that particular event that has trapped energy.

So the pattern is that when there is an eros connection with a girl the mother appears in association with a negative emotional response, which results in a desertion. The event is the sudden contraction of muscle involved in exerting control over a natural process, as you might get if somebody opened your bathroom door when you though it was locked. "What are you doing?"

"Get out of here."

So this is patterned into the nervous system. The pattern will work unconsciously and gather around it a great deal of dysfunction unless it can be separated from the tangle of justifications that it gathers. The blocked off energy is called a complex, and constitutes a recognizable personality. This separation can't be done intentionally because there is no consciousness of the pattern itself in a child. There is only a sense of whether or not one is pleasing the parents, which is instinctually recognized as needed for survival. This extends into pleasing authority figures as the child moves into society.

The unconscious in this instance will arrange a relationship with a woman who is in the same pattern, which will begin with her admiration of my maleness and powers and end with dysfunction, blaming, and finally desertion. But its more complex than that. The feminine is split into two personalities, and this will materialize. No matter how much pain the people involved go through working through this pattern, it cannot release unless it is worked all the way through. As Brugh Joy put it, trying to resist a pattern is like a leaf trying to resist the wind. It's too strong.

What puts up so much resistance to its completing is the fear of being bad, or evil. In this way conventional morality often serves to stunt the growth of consciousness. The child wants to be good, and it is the child who is caught in the pattern. Only after the pattern repeats can the energy be released. Because of this, sufficient libido will be used to insure the outcome which releases the energy from the complex.

When I first worked with Brugh Joy and he was talking about patterns, and how we each had to discover our pattern, I could only think of it as something outside myself, as some external force. It took a long time to bring it down to the simplicity of stimulus response. It is hard for us to see ourselves so we put the best face forward and hide the unloved parts away, becoming split into ego and shadow. Wholeness requires understanding that there is no blame involved unless you get sucked into the justifications surrounding the patterns. The pattern itself is not true or false, good or bad, except when that is imposed on it. As a child, you are deemed guilty or innocent from above, first, and then you judge yourself, separating the two aspects into distinct personalities.

Underneath all that the pattern moves along, and the larger Self begins to search for the circumstance it needs to free its energy where it got stuck. When the consciousness comes of the pattern, and how another has served me, and I have served them, there is no blame, and the nature of forgiveness is seen to have no element of superiority or inferiority, only objectivity.

The good news is that when the energy is freed from a pattern -- unless you go back into the same pattern -- it is free to engage another pattern and continue toward freeing energy. As Don Juan taught, the process is a loss of self-importance, and the ultimate goal is freedom. Most of us feel worthy. It is our conceit to not feel worthy. Back in the roots of Alchemy, the gold was known to have an internal and external quality; internally cold and dry, externally hot and moist. This matches Jung's theory of complexes. What is expressed outwardly reveals what is hidden inwardly. To not feel worthy externally reveals an assumption of superiority inwardly.

"Do you love me?"

"I am not worthy."

Which is to say, the process is one of allowing the shadow to play. I remember reading once that a true zen master will be openly greedy or profane, and laugh about it. I was young and I didn't get that. I still thought the perfection of myself was alignment with the cultural consciousness, with what is admired by the society. I didn't see that as just an extension of the energy around conforming to what would make the parents love me. These things take time. Gradually I understood. The greed is there anyway. If it is denied as not part of the One, it is harmful and ugly. But if it is consciously brought out, like a pet monkey, it is transformed into something very different.


Posted: Fri - September 21, 2007 at 02:31 PM