Self is a Circle of Friends
Unlearning the archetypes is prerequisite to uniting with Self - which is prerequisite to manifesting Everlasting Life bodily.
Ironically, archetypes are not learned. They are inborn tendencies to experience the world in a certain way. Many socio-cultural types, for example, the head-banger, are really expressions of an archetype. In this case, the head-banger is an expression of the angry man, which is rooted in an archetype I call the “existential Satanist,” or ES.
An ES bears others’ shadows, but instead of practicing Buddhist detachment and releasing them, the ES uses them as fuel for power. But they are not pure power. Instead, they are animated with the force of imbalance – imbalance that may be social, chemical, psychic, et al.
ES is often brazen; most so with actual practicing Satanists. It is also for Goth teens, who can exhibit an unmistakably satanic bent. Finding themselves teetering between the adult world and the eternity of childhood, Goths become fixated on the raw sensuality and passion absent from their environment. Since the sensuality and passion they crave is shadowed by society and family inertia, it readily becomes associated with darkness.
ES need not be seen as “bad” or “evil.” It is merely a means of compensating for imbalance created by repression. Comedy, especially that which relies on shock, is a tool of ES. Culture-bound, Christian religious groups never fail to stoke the fire of ES, ironically unaware of their own diabolic nature.
Archetypes obscure the Self, which is also an archetype, but one that can neutralize all the rest. It does through individuation and at death.
The Self is the same for all living people. It is comprised of the mind, the body, the heart, wisdom, the masculine and the feminine. The Wizard of Oz is an eloquent expression of this template. The Scarecrow is the mind, the Cowardly Lion the body, and the Tin Man the heart. Since Dorothy lacks wisdom, she relies on intuition through Toto. Dorothy, of course, is the feminine, and the Wizard is the masculine. Through the modern myth of Oz, Self is glimpsed as if in a dream. The purpose of this century’s story is to completely manifest Self in waking-life; to unite Oz and Kansas.
To do this - to fully actualize the Self - the other archetypes must be unlearned. An intensive unlearning of the archetypes is dramatized in the below dream, which I had in 1998. The relation of aliens (God/the Self) to archetypes informs the drama of the dream:
The archetypes are in charge of guarding a circular door day and night. The door leads to another door behind which the aliens live. A guy's job is to guard the circular door while he sleeps all night, but in his sleep, or in a state between sleep and waking, he opens it. Opening it is a very complex procedure of turning and undoing parts of the outer door, removing it, and then doing the same with the inner door. There are lots of circles and crosses on each door.
The inner-door is ajar only for a moment, but this is just enough. It gives yellow light from the dimension behind the door just enough space and time to be admitted into the world. The dimension behind the door is a realm made entirely of the yellow light. The light has a greenish hue, reminding me of the green-gold Jung mentions in his alchemy studies.
The alien comes into the world through the yellow-green light. There's something terrifying about the admittance of the alien, a sense that it could annihilate everything in an instant if it chose. In a cloud of yellow-green light the alien travels around the area around the door where the archetypes live, and which they care for. To speak to people the alien becomes God, personifying itself as a friendly looking cartoon man, which is not frightening at all. Its countenance is so crudely imitative that it has a kind of falseness to it, which is a reflection of our need to contain and oversimplify it.
Much of the dream is self-interpreting. Its circular doors symbolize the Self. Self is shown as a final barrier between the world and God. Sleep neutralizes the archetypes, which allows access to Self, which in turn gives God access to the world.
The night I had the dream, I had been on a spiritual quest for six weeks. In waking-life as in the dream, God was opening through me, into the world. I did not intend this. I was following the guidance of my dreams. God did the rest. I was like a hand puppet and God the hand. God began pulling out of me once I reached the pinnacle of the quest, ten weeks into it. Since then I have learned that the practical way to neutralize the archetypes - thereby gaining access to the Self - is via self-knowledge.
I had a dream where the phrase INDIVIDUATION IS KNOWLEDGE was etched into the wall of a church. Here, individuation’s inclusion of all knowledge implies that everything one knows is oneself.
Self-knowledge, in contrast to knowledge, is not edified by what one knows so much as what one knows of what one is not. When one knows what one is not, what one is may come clear, leading to self-knowledge. Complete self-knowledge is Self. Self is not an endpoint for individuation, but rather its center.
I dreamed “Self is simple. I is complex.” Indeed, as mentioned above, Self is the same for everyone. It is a template formed by the mind, body, heart, wisdom, masculine and feminine.
I dreamed “Self is a circle of friends.” In the dream each member of the circle of friends - the mind, the body, the heart, wisdom, the masculine and the feminine - possesses a seamless symbiosis with the whole. From one life to the next, the development of this self-symbiosis, though fluctuating, is perpetual and evolutionary. It is an evolution constituted by accumulated experience.
It is usual to pass life not as a circle of friends, but as a jumble of discordant complexes with some weighted by ignorance, and others lightened by wisdom. A lot of the time, the personality-jumble maintains enough continuity to enable a person to function under a perceived sense of unity. The perceived sense of unity is denoted by the name the person goes by, for example “Bill” or “Jennifer,” or what have you.
In 2000 I lost my name, which had been “George.” I reached this point through two years of solitary self-observation and attendance to dreams. In seclusion, I unlearned the archetypes which puppeteered my identity, which led to psychosis. One day, three months into the psychosis, in the words of my memoirs: My ego was fighting the pull, trying to stay in the present. I felt as if I was disappearing and reappearing from one moment to the next. Identity became so muted that I couldn’t recall my name. This didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. It was all spirit. I don’t know how long I was in that state.
As I bobbed up toward consciousness from oblivion, I became a group of selves (i.e., a circle of friends/the Self). We instinctively dialogued to put me back together. After two weeks of dialoguing we were stable enough to design a page in our journal that introduced us. The heading of the page read, “POST-APOCALYPTIC RECONSTRUCTION.” Under that we wrote these self-introductions:
The Mind: I was tired and hoped that Wisdom would cleanse me so that I could merge with it and disappear. I hated thinking.
Wisdom: I am a flower with five petals: observation, thought, reason, logic, knowledge.
The Heart: Too much importance was given to me to compensate for how neglected I felt. I confuse myself with the Mind or vice versa, i.e., the Mind and I sometimes say we don’t know how we feel.
The Body: I am innately humble. I was the last part of the group to have a voice. I found my voice during group therapy, with the Therapist [a temporary self in my circle of friends]. Suddenly, I went, “WHOO!” This made me happy.
The Therapist: All the parts of this self would run to me for safety. This gave me a role I came to feel very attached to.
This child endured primal terrors that were beyond my ability to manage. My response to this was extreme moral indignation. I think of myself as beyond danger, but I am not.
The Sesame Street Buddha: When I am not in harmony with myself I am a ten-year-old Brother and Sister with emotional problems and Mind/Body disconnection. When Brother and Sister are in union, I am wild; a joyous rampager, an uncontrollable force. I am water oblivious to the dam. I am whole and intact.
Within me, male and female are in perfect balance, but I am a girl. There is nothing boyish about me, except that I am more physically powerful and coordinated than any boy or man.
The Scientist: I was often overlooked in the process of unifying these parts, but I was the one who was unifying them.
I am a scientist of the soul; a real psychologist. I was my greatest asset; the observing ego. My knowledge of perspective, context, meaning and relation allowed the process of my self-reconstruction. I am knowledge personified; the beauty of intelligence.
Amy from-three-years-in-the-future: I can speak through this body at will if it lets me, and I just want to say that this has been the most horrific experience anyone could ever possibly imagine. I am really sorry it had to be me to go through it, but the thing is, it had to happen because we had to find out what we are, and now we do, Please don’t think I am any different from you. LET’S GO.
Amy from-three-years-in-the-future was a failsafe self. Her existence proved to the Scientist/ego that it would survive the ongoing deconstruction/reconstruction. Amy from-three-years-in-the-future faded away in a few weeks after she had served the purpose of grounding me in existence, of helping me cope with the psychotic process.
Although I don’t refer to myself as “We” anymore (I did for a year and half), I am still this group, this circle of friends. We continue evolving and live as though we will indefinitely, without the interruption of death. Sometimes our attitudes and behaviors are still colored by archetypes, roles and ignorance, but we know this is natural to the individuating process we participate in and dance with.
Part Two of “Self Is a Circle of Friends” exemplifies my experience with psychodrama during the psychotic process. During the first months of psychodrama the circle of friends discussed in Part One (Mind, Body, Heart, Wisdom, Brother, Sister, et al) were still latent. Instead, the process centered on Little Rose Mary and Georgie, my female and male child-selves, who are the foci of Part Two.
(At the time, my adult female self was called “Rose Mary Pillowwater” - a name that had come from a dream ten years before, foreshadowing the dissolution of my male identity. My present name, “Amy George,” was not conceived till after consciously living my first year as “Rose Mary.”)
Sometimes I dialogued with Georgie and Little Rose Mary through my hands. Georgie was my left-hand and Little Rose Mary the right. (I am left-handed.) One day the fingers of Georgie-left-hand walked up the wall again and again and again. I couldn’t figure out why. Georgie was sad and frustrated that I didn’t understand. Finally, after turning the walking-up-the-wall gesture over and over, looking at it metaphorically, I realized Georgie was telling me that being inside, in my room, was driving him up the wall.
“Yes!” he gestured and his fingers walked to my Hungary guide, which was full of places we might go. He wanted to go away badly. I had been cooped up in that room for a long time, leaving it only to run or go the shop. Georgie needed to get out into the world. I would have gone immediately if some editing work hadn’t been hanging over my head. Georgie continued walking up the wall. Being stuck in the room had become an ongoing undercurrent of frustration and sadness.
Then Little Rose Mary right-hand shyly, apprehensively fingered steps up the wall. It was the first time Little Rose Mary had ever expressed a desire to do anything. It was painfully sweet.
“Oh, Baby, Honey,” I said to her, “I didn’t know.”
I relaxed my chest and she spoke through me in a girl’s voice: “I want to go.”
I could feel Georgie looking at her, seeing his companion, knowing her intimately. I didn’t know Little Rose Mary at all. I asked her, “What are you like? What do you like to do?”
She paused for a long time trying to find the words for an answer. Finally she said, “I don’t know.”
She was quiet and watchful.
I began to feel her inside my head and neck. If I relaxed as I went down the street, I could let her see out and look around. My head would float easily left and right, Little Rose Mary peering out through me, seeing the world, not stopping to analyze or understand, just looking.
At the time, I was living in Budapest, Hungary. One morning, I went to the airport and got on a plane to New York City to become a dancer. I was writing in a journal mid-flight over the Atlantic. I put down my pencil and looked out the window. Little Rose Mary woke up inside of me. Looking through my eyes out the window, she cowered and peeped, “Yikes! What’s that?”
“You don’t know?”
“No,” she said matter-of-factly. She was a very matter-of-fact girl.
“We’re in an airplane, Honey.”
“Do you know what an airplane is?”
“It’s safe. Don’t worry. You can look. Remember: the bad things: they’re not real. Just look.”
Little Rose Mary had gone into deep-sleep when Georgie changed to “George” at six years old, when he was first trying to be male by degrading the feminine, as boys did it those days. At six, George thought girls were disgusting and the idea of being one was humiliating. Little Rose Mary’s metaphorical experience of George’s so-called masculinization was of being gang-raped, and covered in mud and bugs. Afterward, every time she tried to look at the world, the images wouldn’t stay still, so she stopped seeing and went inside herself to dwell in non-existence. After that, every time she had peaked at the world it had frightened her back into her dark, safe place. Finally, at age 32, George had made it safe for her to come out.
After some encouragement, Little Rose Mary looked out the cabin window and said, “Ooooooh, oooooh, it’s so beautiful.”
George let her look for a long time. It wasn’t anything fantastic - just blue atmosphere and a flat white sheet of cloud below. Eventually he said, “Let’s look later. This is boring.”
“In a few minutes it could be a lot more interesting.”
“What do you mean, George?”
“Uh, do you know where we are?”
“We are flying high above the world really really fast.”
“Where are we going?”
In his journal, George drew the world with oceans and land. “This is the world. We started in this green place and now we are in the air over the blue place and we are going to the green on the other side of the blue. The green is where people can walk, but the blue is water. Honey, most of the world is water.”
“Really? That’s so neat.”
“Yeah. So you see how the world is round,” George said pointing to the world with his pencil.
George traced the perimeter of the world and said, “Round.”
“Round,” she repeated.
“Rose Mary, look out the window and see where the blue and white meet. Can you see how there it’s round a little bit, a teeny-tiny bit?”
“Well, it is, just a little. So, how can I explain this? Honey, the world is so big you can’t even imagine how big it is. That little round thing I drew is so big that here we are up in the air, above the clouds, and you still can’t see the world is round. Honey, the world is so big.”
George was crying a little.
“That is the white,” George said, pointing out the window, “Clouds are made of water. Water becomes really light and goes way up to the sky and makes the clouds. When the clouds become dark they turn into water and the water falls down to the land and we call that ‘rain.’”
“Wow,” she said, “Rain.”
“The rain makes everything wet. Remember when we were walking the other day and saw all those houses.”
“People live in those houses.”
“I know,” she said and went “pf” as if George was acting like she didn’t know anything at all.
“Sorry, I don’t what you know.”
“Just tell me.”
“Okay. Do you know how many people live down there under the clouds on the land?”
Little Rose Mary was silent with wonder. She and George were quiet for a minute.
He suddenly had a sexual feeling for her and a vision of her rape and of the bugs. He felt weird and guilty. “George, come on,” she said, “I know you’re good.”
George let it go. Little Rose Mary looked back outside. She could because George let her. George let her see out through him by letting his eye sockets go slack. His eyes would roll around a little as Little Rose Mary took control of them. But when George concentrated on something, like making the drawing of the world, Little Rose Mary was temporarily shut out.
The clouds had shifted some, but were still boring to George. Little Rose Mary thought the scene was more beautiful. “Rose Mary, this is nothing,” he said, “The clouds turn different colors when the sun rises and sets.”
George supposed she had known “house” because she had lived in one. She was a very internal girl. She knew nothing about the world.
“Okay, so, uh, this,” George said covering their eyes, “is dark. And this,” he said uncovering them, “is light.”
“I think I understand,” Little Rose Mary said.
George started drawing another diagram for explaining the sun to Little Rose Mary. A stewardess came by offering hot towels. Accepting one, George said thank you in Hungarian. “George, what did you just say?” Little Rose Mary asked, perplexed and a little suspicious.
“Nevermind. I’ll tell you later.”
George washed his face and put the towel down. After he returned to drawing, another stewardess picked the towel up and George thanked her, too, again in Hungarian. “George, what did you tell that woman?”
“Do you know about languages?”
“Yeah,” Little Rose Mary said.
“How people speak different languages?”
“I know a language called ‘Hungarian.’”
“Where did you learn it?”
“Well, we lived in a country called ‘Hungary’ for seven years and that’s where.”
“Hm,” Little Rose Mary said thoughtfully. She had lots of questions. George didn’t really want to start talking about Hungary. He asked, “Did you ever go to school?”
“I think so,” Little Rose Mary said, “a long time ago.”
“Did you learn how to write?”
“Yeah, people communicate with each other by using a special language that goes on paper. Wait a second,” George said, and wrote, “I am teaching Rose Mary.” George let her see the letters and pointed to each as he sounded it out. Then he sounded out her name a few times as he traced underneath it with the pencil.
“Wow,” she said, a little mystified.
George got back to the sun and explained how it gives light to the world and that’s why we can see anything. George wanted to show Little Rose Mary all the beautiful things she had never seen. Each new thing made her gaze with wonder.
George was thinking of how Little Rose Mary’s hand had climbed up the wall that day like Georgie’s had all the time, but she went about it so slowly and shyly - and sadly. High above the ocean, George said, “I love you, Rose Mary.”
George wanted to show her night for the sake of teaching her about the colored clouds at sunrise and sunset, but first he wanted to teach her about the moon because he didn’t want her to be afraid for a moment that her darkness would return to the world.
Teaching the moon was hard. George tried to do it by showing rotations and orbits, which required teaching “ball.” He looked all around for an object shaped like a ball and there weren’t any. George had to draw one, making a ball by shading properly. He made a couple that had no three dimensional feeling at all.
George realized that he would have to teach Rose Mary about everything in the universe and that he would do it by drawing. It would be a book called “Teaching Rose Mary,” and it would be about everything in the world. George was telling Little Rose Mary all this as it came to him. George said, “And the best part will be the insects. You’ll learn to draw the most beautiful bugs because you were so frightened of them.”
“Yeah,” she said. She understood why George would think this way. The principle of exploring my deepest fears to find my deepest beauty was ingrained into me through and through.
George kept trying to draw the ball, but he couldn’t.
A meal came. George let Little Rose Mary examine all the food before he ate it, holding it up close to his face so she could study the form. Little Rose Mary gradually began to notice that George was putting the food somewhere into a place below their eyes. “George,” she demanded, “what did you just do?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, this is a sandwich.”
“Sandwich,” she repeated.
“Remember what it looks like.”
George chomped off a sandwich corner and quickly put the sandwich back in front of Little Rose Mary’s eyes. “Do you see how it changed?” George asked.
“Do you see how it’s different?”
George tore off another corner of the sandwich with his hand and let Little Rose Mary see him put it back in place and take it away a few times. George explained he was “changing the sandwich,” which meant that he was “making it different.”
“Uh-huh,” Little Rose Mary said, “changing.”
“Honey, this sandwich and all the food is going into my body through my mouth. This stuff keeps me alive. See look.” George opened his shirt and looked down at his stomach.”
“Oh, my gosh,” Little Rose Mary said and wanted to get back to eating. She was beginning to remember the mouth and George let her chew and taste. She would squinch up her eyes and chew really fast with her mouth pulled close around the food and then swish it all around.
They took a bite of a second, littler sandwich. Little Rose Mary didn’t like it and stopped chewing. She wanted to stop tasting it, but didn’t know how. George let it fall out onto to the tray and she examined the mauled piece of sandwich, but wasn’t able to sense how it had been the thing she had been chewing on.
They went on to the coffee, which Little Rose Mary didn’t like either. George told her it was bad coffee, and that they would have incredible coffee when they got home. George explained that bad coffee was always served on airplanes. “That’s weird. Why?” asked Little Rose Mary.
“It’s kind of hard to explain.”
George saw his reflection in the coffee when he lifted it for a sip. He let Little Rose Mary see it, but it wouldn’t hold still between the bumpiness of the plane ride and how relaxed he needed to be for her to see. George wanted Little Rose Mary to see him, but it wasn’t possible. Instead, he let her watch cream pour into the coffee. She loved that and watched it swirling. Even with cream she still thought the coffee was bad.
The dessert was a piece of chocolate. George explained the concept of dessert and let Little Rose Mary see the chocolate. It was sealed in a little clear plastic bag. It looked strange to her. The name of the Hungarian airline “Malév” was stamped on it. Little Rose Mary couldn’t read so the word didn’t mean anything to her, but in “mal” George saw the Latin prefix for “bad,” while “év” meant “year” in Hungarian. “Yeah, it’s been a bad year,” George told himself privately.
The chocolate overwhelmed Little Rose Mary’s tastebuds. “Mmm, mmm, mmm,” she kept going. She felt it course down into her stomach. She looked down again and felt deeper and located the penis. She looked up with her eyes wide, chocolate still in her mouth. She stopped chewing. “Yeah, you’re a boy,” George said.
“Whoa,” she said.
George felt embarrassed. “George,” she said, “Go ahead and touch it.”
He tentatively brought his hand between his legs. It seemed like to him like he was going to touch a little girl’s genitals and this frightened him. “Come on, George,” Little Rose Mary said.
George relaxed his hand and Little Rose Mary acted through it and shook George’s thing saying, “Penis, penis, penis.” Then she quickly spread through his whole body and was the adult Rose Mary.
Years later, Little Rose Mary still reemerges from time to time, but after our transatlantic flight she never needed to be shown anything more.
As my dream of “Rose Mary Pillowwater” came ten years before the dissolution of my male identity, perhaps the phrase “Changing the Sandwich,” conceived in 2000, awaited emergence through Reality Sandwich.
Changing-the-sandwich, to me, means changing reality at an individual level through mindful observation. When one is in a mindful, observing state, reality tears off a corner of the reality-sandwich and lets the beholder see it before putting it back in place. In observing change one is observing death.
Death will not stop till it has been duly observed, and then it will never return. The broken-off corner of the sandwich will return like the nipple to the infant’s mouth, and reality will be whole as it was in the beginning – but it will be different because it will be understood, at long, long last.
Image credit: "The Circle of Love" used under Creative Commons license.Tweet