I had almost forgotten about this Ash Fork series. It explored the idea of creating rituals to avoid the violence of unconscious patterned behavior, as well as to create a desired outcome. I became interested in the creation of ritual as a way of communicating with the psyche's pattern reading capacity when in workshops with an African shaman who also had PhD's from Brandeis and the Sorbonne, Malidoma Patrice Some.

I was accepted to study in depth with Some as part of an African village, but at the time was doing an analysis with Dr. Joseph Henderson. My unconscious was adamant that my direction was not toward this shamanic path, but rather toward continuing the western path toward individuation. I had several detailed, and humorous, dreams on the subject.

In one of them there were several Airstream motor homes in garages, while the group was boarding a school bus. I won't go into great detail, but the gist of the dream was that I was the only one in the group who was not staying with the group. Everyone else was on the bus and I was looking at one of these Airstreams, which had Montana plates, and which had an advertisement on it for some kind of dairy product. This indicated that there was an aspect of the maternal in the western American masculine which was different from a tribal structure, where the masculine is strictly separated off by ritual. There was a creative incorporation in the western American symbol. As I was trying to get to the school bus, where everyone was irritated that I was lagging behind, I came up behind an American car from mid twentieth century with huge tail fins and Montana plates. Probably a Crysler. An old cowboy was crossing my path. He was bow legged and ancient, with a stetson and Levis and boots.

It was Joseph. He was already in his early 90s when I was in analysis with him, and he had a habit of appearing in my dreams in humorous disguise. By the way, in this dream Malidoma (and his wife) were dressed up like Indian gurus.

Another dream featured just Malidoma's wife, who was teaching a class, sitting at the desk in front, like in high school. She was instructing the class in singing, and was irritated that I wasn't able to carry a tune. I was playing a game of sorts with her which irritated her further. I was speaking to her and moving to another location so that she was always looking at where the sound came from, but could not see me, as I was moving too quickly.

I interpreted this as my being abstract and she, rather literal, in our thinking. Again, it was showing me that I was not going to fit into this situation, and should stay with Joseph, and a western process. It was nothing to do with the potential value of what they were offerring. I learned a great deal from their seminars. It was rather that the two processes would not mix, and mine was already well underway.

In this Ash Fork series I was exploring the idea of ritual as a tool by which patterns can be acted out consciously, without the destructiveness of the same pattern acted out unconsciously. It is the difference between celebrating Easter and doing human sacrifice. I edited the original for length and flow to use it this context. The psyche reads patterns, and does not care if they are "real" or "staged" so long as they are acted out sincerely and with attention to significant detail.

Posted: Wed - July 15, 2009 at 02:30 PM