The Creative Way

The creative space, the space between heaven and earth visited by shaman and artist alike since the dawn of the human race, has always been a sacred space, a sanctuary, and the cradle of all creativity.  No serious artwork can be produced without engagement with the sacred side of being, or without a personal struggle with one’s own demons. Some measure of integrity towards one’s own depths are demanded, for any honest creative endeavor is born, manifests, through the pain and suffering of the soul, however simple or unperfect the expression may be, is alive and commands our respect.

To create is to give shape to unconscious contents, to bring into being that which is hidden. An unfolding process, it may provide one with a perspective on aspects of the manifesting unfolding lifeforce. Like a tree it grows from below, from the unconscious towards consciousness. Deeper psychic processes often appear in creative inner work and may be witnessed, made conscious. The archetype, the ‘god,’ wants to enter our real lived lives and to exist in time and space.    

Through this living creative process, the reality of the deeper life may be consciously experienced and conversed with. The experience of ‘something’ communicating with one is a profound testimony to the reality of psychic life. A form of active imagination, this approach allows one to contain overwhelming unconscious content consciously in a moment of crisis.  

One’s own unique symbol vocabulary, originating from ‘the stories of our lives,’ may be allowed to unfold. Images arising from these foundational archetypal patterns have the ability to contain one profoundly, making senseless suffering meaningful, endurable.

From Rilke: 
“I live my life in growing orbits 
which move out over the things of the world. 
Perhaps I can never achieve the last, 
but that will be my attempt. 
I am circling around God, around the ancient tower, 
and I have been circling for a thousand years, 
and I still don’t know if I am a falcon, or a storm, or a great song.” (1)

Reference:

1. M. Beazly in Reflections on Madison County, Ex Press Bridges Publishing Inc, GB, 1994, quoting from Selected poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, edited and translated by Robert Bly.

A Meaningful Worldview

A worldview that originates from our archetypal roots is meaningful, containing. Jung often encouraged his patients to give thought to developing a worldview and many eventually returned to childhood faith. However, the modern individual may no longer feel so contained by the religious systems of earlier times.

The religious attitude, a basic psychic attitude, may instinctively manifest as traditional religious practice, an ‘-ism’ of some kind, a living conscious relationship to the divine within, the Self, or a mixture of it all. Making sense of human suffering, and mortality, is a basic containing religious function. Religion, as a mythological pattern with an archetypal foundation, centering around and contained by the Self, grows from the instinctual depths of the unconscious. In the relationship between ego and the Self, the Other is experienced as numinous, sacred, godlike, and this mystery has been projected outside and worshipped since time immemorial.

Death followed by rebirth is one of the oldest mythological patterns, dating back thousands of years; in the moon mysteries, “the moon, after the full, wanders across the heavens in search of its vanishing light until the darkness seizes it completely, and it is gone,” to reappear again after three days, reborn (1). In ancient Egyptian mythology the scarab beetle was a symbol of rebirth carrying great weight.

In the final months of his life Jung described the beneficial effects of a meaningful mythological worldview:

“The need for mythic statements is satisfied when we frame a view of the world which adequately explains the meaning of human existence in the cosmos, a view which springs from our psychic wholeness, from the co-operation between conscious and unconscious. Meaninglessness inhibits fullness of life and is therefore equivalent to illness. Meaning makes a great many things endurable – perhaps everything.” (2)

He ends by saying about meaning and meaninglessness that both are true, but if meaninglessness outweighs meaning, the meaningfulness of life will vanish, and with it hope and faith in Life, for “Life is – or has – meaning and meaninglessness.” In the words of Lao-tzu: “All are clear, I alone am clouded.” (3)

References:

  1. Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, 1991. The Myth Of The Goddess, Evolution Of An Image, Penguin Group, GB, p. 385
  2. CG Jung, 1961. Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Random House Inc, New York, p. 340
  3. Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 358, 359