Mask, Personality, Synchronicity, Work

This is a little bit of a sorting post. First up, I’ve updated the “About”; it’s now the “What’s Going On Here” button at the top of the page.

Next, let me see if I can summarize some of the trajectories that I have been taking around the Yeatsian and Jungian material. I know, I’m doing that a lot lately; I’m winnowing and that isn’t glorious work, but it seems necessary.

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[NB] Dream (A)

I’ve been thinking a bit about the four dreams I mentioned in the last post on synchronicity and I want to take a little time with each of them on their own terms. I want to go at this old school, taking this from the “if this were my dream” approach. There is a value in the dreaming, even when it derives from a nameless source because there is no absolutely firm line between one person’s dreaming and another person’s; they aren’t the same thing for different people, but they join us. Friction oracles, again.

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Jung’s Machine Elves and Yeatsian Synchronicity

These days it is hard to get very far in many discussions of magic and spirit work without hearing the term ‘synchronicity’ bandied about. While that term has some roots outside of Jung’s work, pretty much all of the occult applications go through Jung-town. I was flipping around the excerpt from essay found in Psyche and Symbol this afternoon and a few things stood out. This is in progress, pardon the dust.

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Jungian Type as a Sign of the Soul

Before I get started with this, I want to underline one of my motivations for banging on about Jung as a complement to Yeats. It isn’t just that they are talking about the same things, but that they are talking about two aspects of the same thing. In specific, Jung’s work provides grist for getting the practical dimensions of the Yeatsian spiritual work off the ground.

It does that by providing us with the tools to prepare for the Yeatsian crises, to make the most of the chain of initiatory moments that lead toward it. If we keep The Red Book in mind, it also provides lineaments for interacting with the spiritual beings that undergird this process.

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Yeatsian Faculties contra Jungian Typology, Preliminary Considerations

Sexiest title in the world, right? Thankfully, it’s not my scintillating wit that drives this blog. It is exactly what it says on the can, though, so that’s something.

The big distinction between the Jungian and Yeatsian material around the faculties relates to the levels at which they are pitched. The Yeatsian material is talking about souls in their extended sense, as they exceed the constraints defined by our material bodies. The Jungian typology is the inverse of that, the soul understanding itself from within the experience of the body; the Jungian typologies describe the soul in a more contracted state.

Nonetheless, the contracted soul refracts the expanded soul and in it we can divine some appreciation for the expanded soul. When we look at our psychological type, how do its various components relate to spiritual faculties?

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Friction Oracles, or Tugging on the Elephant

There is a family of oracles in Africa known as ‘friction oracles.’ The most common of these require that the client and diviner hold a sacred object between them and wait for subtle movements between them to indicate spiritual responses. (Yes, the Ouija Board is sort of a distant relative, though I hesitate to say that lest I see even more ads for that F***in’ movie).

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Yeatsian Practice

When I first started to dig into the Vision materials, I remember looking around the occult scene a bit to see if I could find if anything had done much with them and was a little surprised to see that they hadn’t. Most of what I saw was of the “well, W. B. never really finished the work, and it is simply too incomplete to put into practice.” Which is…well, wrong, but wrong in the useful or, as Dudley Hersbach would say, interesting fashion.

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Yeatsian Arconology

So, it’s been a little but since I talked about the Yeatses’ spiritualist material. A large part of that has to do with how clearly it fits into the hungry ghost model. There isn’t a single trait of the hungry ghost experience that you can’t find in the Vision materials: hypnotism, talkative spirits, pseudo-historical identities, warnings about rival spirits looking to interfere with them, cosmological speculation, striking physical manifestations, draining the medium. That’s a lot of red flags.

There are some redeeming qualities, though. The spirits seem less interested in the cosmological speculation than William. While they deign to talk about such things, they often seem to do so with a certain sense of resignation (“oh for the love of…William wants to hear about the afterlife again”). While they do engage in some striking physical manifestations, they are less concerned with dramatic proofs of there power (like healing).

They show concern for their medium’s fatigue and advise the Yeatses to take it easy on channeling. Finally, they show a great deal of interest in family and children, stating one of their key works to be be securing the birth of the children and their well-being in life, and they do seem to manage that quite tidily. If the volume of material is any indication, their direct interaction with the Yeatses declines sharply after the family is established.

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[NB] Jungian psychology and alchemical transhumanism?

James Hillman is one of those authors I go to like a tonic. The way in which he conceptualizes the mythological and its relationship to the psychical opens up my thinking. His archetypal psychology is a definite improvement on Jung’s work, especially when he speaks to the diversity of mythic styles and the importance of that diversity for illuminating and guiding our spiritual work.

Like Jung, though, he always leave me a little dissatisfied; the atmosphere seems too rarefied. He liberates the dream from too-tight interpretation, but he hasn’t yet returned it to life. Much of that has to do with his eagerness to defend the dream, the psyche, from the ego-driven concerns that would demand it have clear purpose.

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Garden of Forking Paths

Phil Hine’s latest enfolding post comes at an opportune time for me, meeting my thinking around the insights structuralism has into myth. Specifically, this:

In India, there are dozens of different chakra schemas, which for me, indicates that they are (to an extent) metaphoric arrangements for structuring and directing bodily experience – sensations and feelings. As these schemas have been transferred to the west however, due to a variety of historical processes, they have become reified – so that one particular schema – the seven-chakra schema – has become dominant, and is widely thought to have (and thereby experienced as having) a seperate ontological status and to operate in a quasi-medical fashion.

The reificiation of myth follows the same pattern as the reification of ritual praxis described here. This process of selecting a model and giving it ontological status seems to be more acute in the last century of Western occult thinking, but it seems to have some old roots.

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