The alchemists did not know, and nobody has found out what was really meant by it, because it is a substance in the unconscious which is needed for the incarnation of the god. The concept and experience of the hermetic vessel develops and emerges out of the unconscious itself as a result of contemplating and thus shedding light on the unconscious.
In a mysterious way, the alchemical vase is identical with its contents. Feminine in nature, the spacious hermetic vessel is a receptive uterus and matrix of spiritual renewal and rebirth. The life-giving alchemical container typically is portrayed as having a purifying fire underneath it, symbolizing the heat of introspective, contemplative awareness, which is needed to create sufficient psychological pressure for transformation.
In alchemy, the fire purifies, while simultaneously melting and synthesizing the opposites into a unity. The alchemists used images of the gentle warmth of a brooding hen incubating her eggs and the baking of bread to symbolize this process. The alchemical vessel is symbolic of the importance of the psychic comprehension of the Self. We, through our consciousness or lack thereof, play the key role in the creation of the mystical vessel, and hence, ourselves.
The multi-dimensional vessel, envisioned as a material substance, symbolizes the realization of divinity reaching down into and transforming matter. Each individual human being is the Holy Grail-like vessel in which God comes to consciousness. We are living, breathing alchemical vessels in flesh and blood, receptacles created and prepared by God for Its transformation and Incarnation.
Instead of passively watching the manifestations of the unconscious, in active imagination we fully engage with and actively participate in a conscious relationship with our unconscious. When an unconscious content is about to become conscious, it first becomes partially conscious, like something that is translucent -- simultaneously visible and invisible.
In active imagination, we enter into a creative dialogue with these unconscious contents, facilitating their passage from an unconscious, potential state to a conscious, actual one.
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Active imagination is the most powerful technique Jung ever encountered for bridging this gap and metabolizing, digesting and assimilating the contents of the unconscious and hence, becoming conscious. When we are unconsciously identified with the contents of our unconscious, we cannot see these contents, as being identical with them, we have not separated ourselves from these contents so as to be able to see them as objects. These unconscious contents are still too much a part of our frame of reference through which we interpret our experience for us to examine them with any objectivity.
Before we can integrate a content of the unconscious, we must distinguish ourselves from it. That is the technique for stripping them of their power. Any constellated, unconscious content which we are not in relationship with possesses us from behind and beneath our conscious awareness. When we are unconscious of something that is activated within us, we are identified with it and are compelled to act it out unconsciously in our life. We can only escape that effect by making it conscious and objectifying it, putting it outside of ourselves, taking it out of the unconscious.
By objectifying these inner figures, we dis-identify from them and give a body and voice to these seemingly autonomous, disembodied and dismembered parts of ourselves who appear to have a mind of their own and simply need translation into the third-dimensional, spatio-temporal medium of matter.
Glossary of Terms
It is not hard to objectify the contents of the unconscious, as being autonomous, they seemingly possess an identity all their own, so they naturally have a tendency to spontaneously personify themselves within our psyche. For I observed clearly that it was he who spoke, not I. Objectifying the contents of the unconscious is to discover and step into the perspective that we are a subject with a viewpoint other than that held by the now objectified contents. Relating to the contents of our unconscious as if they are other than ourselves is at the same time to relate to ourselves as other than these contents.
In objectifying contents of our unconscious, we are simultaneously dis-identifying from them and creating ourselves distinct from and relative to these contents. The throwing of the stick in this example represents when an uncomfortable, afflictive emotion inside of us gets triggered. When we are triggered, it is as if a button inside of us has been pushed which activates an unconscious, compulsive knee-jerk reflex. Having the gaze of the lion, however, if we become triggered by something, we turn our gaze within ourselves and self-reflect, looking at whatever it is within us that has gotten activated.
The lion is not afraid to go right to the source of the trigger, which is never outside, but always within ourselves. Assuming the fearless gaze of the lion, we relate to the situation that has triggered us as a gift, as it has helped us access a part of ourselves that up until now has been unconscious, and hence hidden.
Glossary of Terms — Awaken in the Dream
Symbolically speaking, the prima materia , the very stuff which needs to be transformed in the alchemical opus, corresponds to lead, which relates to Saturn-Chronos, the negative father. The archetypal, negative patriarchy has to do with the suppression of the feminine, of spontaneity, of life itself. The negative father is dissociated from mother nature and the environment, which it objectifies and tries to dominate, instead of being in relationship with.
This figure of the rigid-old-man-negative-father is symbolic of a calcification of consciousness which, out of fear of its own weakness, holds onto and becomes addicted to power and control, dictating to all who fall under its dominion. The dying old man symbolically represents a dominant position in consciousness which has outlived its usefulness, and thus becomes an obstacle to the growth and development of consciousness. This archetypal figure of the negative father is in need of being liquefied and de-solidified, of being given an alchemical bath in the healing waters of the psyche.
Saturn, the corrupted patriarchy, mythologically speaking, is the governor of the prison, the one who binds us and seemingly limits our freedom, while simultaneously being the supreme tester and great purifier.
Encoded in seemingly hidden form within this archetype is our own intrinsic power, as it challenges us to find and speak our true voice, access and step into our place of empowerment and true authority, and in so doing potentially connect with the intrinsic wholeness of the Self. Due to its initiatory aspect, the archetype of the negative father is an unmediated expression of the Self, but in its darker aspect.
The dreaming is the deeper, underlying dynamic which shapes our reactions and configures our relation to each other. I am dreaming you up, but you are dreaming me up to dream you up, ad infinitum and vice versa at the same time. The dreaming is the space between us in which our relationship happens. The dreaming is a whole, self-perfected, and self-contained universe, a living entity, a mutually shared dream that is clothing itself in our form as it reveals itself in ever new guises. Shadow projection, or scapegoating, is when we split off from our own darkness and project it outside of ourselves.
When we project our shadow onto someone else, we believe that the other person is the embodiment of the darkness that ultimately belongs to ourselves.
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By trying to destroy the evil we see in the outer world, however, we become possessed by and incarnate the very evil we are trying to destroy. Shadow projection doesn't happen in a void, however, as the universe simultaneously calls forth the projection. When someone is unconscious of their shadow, they will literally attract others' shadow projections onto themselves, as if they have become, in Jung's words, "psychic flypaper. The recipient's hook perfectly draws out the other's unconscious shadow projection, which had a potentiality for becoming conscious, and hence, used the indirect and circuitous method of projection onto an outer object so as to express itself in some way.
Shadow projection is itself the unmediated expression, revelation and playing out of the shadow. Projecting our own evil outside of ourselves seemingly relieves us of the burden of having to deal with the evil within us. Trying to kill our shadow as it appears in the outer world is itself the embodied reflection of our original inner act of splitting off from, projecting out and trying to destroy the dark part of ourselves, which is the impulse at the very root of shadow projection in the first place. The outer world is the canvas upon which our inner process em-bodies, or incarnates itself.
We are literally acting out on the world stage our very inner process of disassociating from, projecting out, and trying to destroy our own darkness. Once we collectively shadow project, just like in a dream, the seemingly outer universe will reflect back our projected shadow in the form of others who will play out and thereby justify our projection by supplying all the evidence we need to confirm the apparent truth of our shadow projection.
In shadow projecting, we become bewitched by our own reflected and dis-owned shadow, thinking it exists objectively, separate from ourselves. When we are shadow projecting, we are truly mad, as we have fallen into a self-perpetuating feedback loop in which we are trying to destroy our own darkness, a battle that can never be won. It is like trying to extinguish a fire by pouring gasoline on it.
Collective shadow projection is both a symptom of madness, while simultaneously being the very act which generates the madness of which it itself is an expression. The daemonic is a quantum phenomenon, in that it contains both the light and dark aspects of our being encoded within it in a superposed state, which is to say that hidden within the daemonic is the creative seeds of its own transformation.
Both constructive and destructive forces are fully present in the daemonic simultaneously, and either energy can potentially manifest, depending upon how an observing consciousness interacts with it. Being an archetypal energy that can take over and possess a person or a species, the daemonic announces itself by drafting people into its service, enlisting human beings as instruments of its full-bodied revelation of itself.
People so possessed will be compelled to unconsciously act out so as to give shape and living form to this archetypal, daemonic energy in the third dimension. It can cross this threshold and seize hold of the personality. Then it is possession. If the daemonic is not honored and treated religiously i. Developing a healthy and strong ego is crucially important in entering into relationship with and creatively expressing the daemonic energies within us.
One of the most destructive things in the human psyche is unrealized creativity. Being divisive, the diabolic splits us into multiple fragmented and compartmentalized pieces, both within ourselves and in our relationship to others. To the extent we are in touch with the symbolic dimension of our experience, which recognizes the dreamlike aspect of our existence, is the extent to which we are able to transmute and liberate the daemonic into creativity.
One of the main ways that the destructive aspect of he daemonic becomes empowered within us is when we are unconscious of our shadow. It is to our great advantage to expand our psycho-spiritual fluency so as to enable us to navigate the living waters of our inner landscape of the psyche.
This is the power of the Logos, of the Word. When we find the name of a demon, we take away its omnipotence and autonomy, as it can no longer take us over through our unconscious blind spots and compel us to unwittingly act it out. To know the secret name of a person [or a demon] is to have power over him. How do we make a word? We are then able to consciously language and give voice to our experience, which is to step into and access the creative spirit within ourselves.
In learning new, creative ways to express ourselves, we are dis-spelling the curse we were under of not being able to symbolize our experience.
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In learning to consciously spell-cast, the world is no longer written in stone, with us as its passive victims, as we realize and tap into the creative and transformative power of the Word. Bush: A Reflection of our Collective Psychosis , p. Because it is a sickness in the soul of all of humanity, it pervades the field and is in all of us in potential at any moment, which makes it especially hard to diagnose.
In this excerpt, I am sharing how I first encountered a human embodiment and carrier of this illness of the soul in my relationship with my father. Malignant egophrenia can only be understood when we step out of the separate self and see the deeper unified field which connects us and of which we are an expression. My father was playing out in full-bodied form a darker, mythic role that ultimately exists not only inside of my personal psyche, but the collective unconscious as well.
In this excerpt, I am pointing out that, though on the surface, what my father and George Bush acted out seemed completely different and unrelated, there was an underlying pathology incarnating itself through both of them that revealed a deeper, archetypal process at work within all of us. I am calling this illness pervading the field and existing deep within the soul of all of humanity malignant egophrenia. Currently, malignant egophrenia is manifesting as a collective psychosis causing endless destruction on a global scale.
The first step in healing this malevolent pathogen is to see it, objectify it, and name it. This is the power of the Logos, the Word. This work comes out of a deep personal tragedy. Malignant egophrenia, like some sort of deadly, other-worldly virus, incarnated itself through my father and took him over so fully, he never even suspected what was happening.
Very bright, and on the surface apparently very loving, my father, like George Bush, could appear to be a regular, normal guy.
This made the malady he was stricken with difficult to recognize. Just as with George Bush, a non-local field of denial and cover-up that resisted the light of consciousness was conjured up around my father so as to protect him. This is arche typical of how family systems configure themselves around a situation of abuse. As soon as she finished telling me this, Aunt Helen snapped back into her habitual role of telling me that the problem I had with my father was because I was sick, as if it was too much for her to stand in the truth of what she had just shared.
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