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    Thread: Carl Gustav Jung - Videos, Books, Ruminations

    1. #151
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      Holy Crap!!! I had a Gnostic Revelation!!

      Let me set this up. I was browsing some more books about Jung and Gnosticism, when I ran across another one by Stephan Hoeller called Jung and the Lost Gospels: Insights into the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library. It's more of a general primer on Gnosticism with some mention of Jung, whereas the book I posted last night has a much more specific focus on Jung and what Gnosticism meant to him. Apparently this is considered one of the best books on Gnosticism. So I was reading a bit inside and suddenly ran across something that started a cascade of thoughts and memories. I'm not sure if I can really get this across clearly, but I'll try.

      What sparked this off was a passage in the book where it said that the Gnostic idea of the Pleroma is the same as what's known in the Kabbala as Ein Sof - the Limitless or the Infinite or the Unfathomable. It's essentially God in his totality - what is known in the Bible as The Word or the Logos. It is everything that exists - all matter and all energy, as well as all possibilities that matter and energy can become. It's God before he takes any kind of recognizable form - as the totality of the Universe and everything else that might exist. Sort of the same idea expressed as The Big Bang, but it's intelligent - endowed with thought - whereas the Big Bang being a scientific theory is Rational Materialist and Reductivist - seen as blind inert matter and energy only.

      On reading this, my mind suddenly raced back to an event from many years ago. It was one of my few experiences with LSD - and in fact the only time it had an effect on me. The other times I took too little and it had sat too long and probably lost its potency, and nothing happened. Or I got ripped off. Maybe some blank blotter - who knows? Anyway, the one time when it did take effect I was sitting in a friend's car and started to experience racing thoughts. It felt amazing - like my mind was rapidly expanding and I started to also feel physically incredible. I had a sort of literary or linguistic epiphany - a revelation through words. When I tried to describe it later the only idea that fit was it was a conversation with God, though all the thoughts were coming from inside me - being spoken through me. It wasn't really a dialogue, but it seemed the ideas were issuing from something inside me that I couldn't normally access.

      It went something like this.

      I became fascinated with a pine tree and started making statements about it in my head. As my mind started racing faster and faster my thoughts grew more profound and cosmic in scope, but I was still pondering the nature of the tree. And the nature of language too, at the same time. The tree was the object, and the revelation was really more about language itself, and how it shapes thought or something like that. Maybe how it reveals the nature of reality, if we're capable of seeing deep enough, which we normally aren't. I went through this progression - first I was excitedly noticing things like "When we say "the tree is green" it's really an imperfect attempt to just say "the tree IS" - but as imperfect humans we limit our understanding and focus only on one aspect of it - the greenness." My thoughts kept upgrading and expanding from there until I realized that using a tree - or any object - as a focal point was just an example, a single thing that represents Everything, or the All (I thought of it as Everything at the time). Incidentally, this is another example of "from the One come Many" (or All!). And my final revelation before my friend came out of his Grandma's house with the money we had earned by mowing her lawn that afternoon was this -

      "Every sentence we say is an imperfect attempt at the Ultimate Sentence which is this -

      EVERYTHING IS".

      This has remained the most profound moment of my life ever since, and many times I've pondered it and worked deeper into it. Tried to unravel its secrets. And now I feel like I have a flash of insight into it. I now believe this experience was an encounter with the Self - with the God Image inside - the Unconscious. It had given me a vision - a revelation in linguistic terms about the Pleroma - the Ein Sof, the Infinite - and about the normally limited/limiting nature of our feeble conscious minds. I suppose this was one of those experiences of the Sublime; of Oceanic Thoughts.



      So.

      I have personally had an experience similar to Jung's odyssey that resulted in the writing of the Red Book, though obviously not on the same scale and only lasting a few minutes. I think for him it had to be massive and difficult, because he was being given a huge revelation - a whole succession of them, transforming him into a modern prophet of sorts - a Gnostic seer. In my case it was a much smaller (but still incredibly profound) revelation. I'm not slated to change the world at a time of great turmoil (On the verge of WWI) like Jung was, or to bring a newborn psychology into the world. Well, that's sort of a relief! So when he indicates that it can take many years and you must go through hell seemingly endlessly and face demons of all descriptions - that's probably only for the high level dudes like him. The rest of us can experience it much more easily and faster - at least in certain circumstances. I have heard that LSD can have that kind of (revelatory) effect on a person if and only if they're philosophically or spiritually oriented to begin with - but if you approach it as a recreational drug then all you'll get from it is some trippy visuals and thoughts or something. Not sure if that's true - just relating it. I've sort of wanted to try more acid since then but haven't done it. I'm just glad I had a good trip and don't want to tempt fate. At least I have this one experience to dwell on and contemplate for the rest of my life. And now I'm very glad that reading about Gnosticism has allowed me to put it into perspective and understand it a lot better.

      Oh - I'm not sure I explained this part - the reason I connected this experience as the Self is because of the idea of Completeness - Totality. That's always what the Self represents - the fullness of what you can be. All your parts united in wholeness. The One from the Many.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 01-04-2018 at 07:10 PM.
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    2. #152
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      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters View Post
      I think our disagreement last night was mostly a semantic one - I was quibbling about the difference between the process and the resulting feelings or state, and you never really addressed that issue. I'm trying to just let that go now and understand your actual point instead. It's weird though once an issue like that comes up how hard it can be to let it go if the other person just fails to understand or at least acknowledge your point.
      lol, this is interesting to me because, firstly, I had just taken your latter point (about happy feeling not being the end point of individuation) as just direct, and to the point. I was fine with it, I was very aware that I was rambling, due to having a bit of time to try and understand things, so a 'to the point' response was understood, not everyone had the time just because I did.

      The bit about failing to understand or acknowledge, my apologies, to be honest I had no idea that I hadn't acknowledged. I had understood but because of my continued questioning about it I probably made it look like I didn't understand....

      But what's interesting about this is that I'm always telling my mother that she doesn't acknowledge people or let them know she's understood and it's terribly frustrating....so I'm wondering if I was doing similar without realising it consciously.

      And here again, I haven't acknowledged the main point of your post yet......but it was helpful, I did understand it, that any progress in terms of individuation, frees up energy...

      I'm also very obsessive about things, I hate patterns that I can't solve, it might be a bit 'autistic,' at the moment I can't 'solve' something in my head.....but I'll keep thinking it through until I'm clearer rather than over post.
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    3. #153
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      Finally Skip is back to reading from Aion! All the stuff from the Red Book and the new Red Book For Our Time were preparatory for chapter 5 of Aion. And here it is:



      However the really good stuff is this next video - Edinger's commentary of the material from Aion Chapter 5 part 1:



      All this talk about the Christ-Image as a symbol of Totality - Completeness, Fullness. "I am the vine and you are the leaves" - that one in particular is a reference to "From the One come the Many". Talk about Synchronicity!! Right after I posted about my Gnostic revelation and all of these subjects, and we've been discussing them over the last page or 2..
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 01-04-2018 at 07:04 PM.
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    4. #154
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      Quote Originally Posted by Rosanna View Post
      But what's interesting about this is that I'm always telling my mother that she doesn't acknowledge people or let them know she's understood and it's terribly frustrating....so I'm wondering if I was doing similar without realising it consciously.
      Well,it's said that we tend to become our parents, and in particular those things we disliked the most about them.

      Quote Originally Posted by Rosanna View Post
      And here again, I haven't acknowledged the main point of your post yet......but it was helpful, I did understand it, that any progress in terms of individuation, frees up energy...
      Oh I'm over it now - plus what you already said at the beginning of that post was enough of an acknowledgement. Interestingly, when I got over it was when I wrote up that big long post with all the smilies in it, where I went into so much detail about our conversation/disagreement. I think that was me integrating the projection - becoming consciously aware of it and dissolving it so the energy became available for positive use rather than fueling resentment or anger. Yes - it does seem to work. By the time I was done posting that there were no more hard feelings and I felt good again. It's cool to be able to witness these things in action and verify that they work.

      EDIT I just noticed, you were talking about something different this time - my bad. But I like what I wrote and so I'm keeping it there.

      ... And thank you for acknowledging.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 01-04-2018 at 07:26 PM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters View Post
      Let me set this up. I was browsing some more books about Jung and Gnosticism, when I ran across another one by Stephan Hoeller called Jung and the Lost Gospels: Insights into the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library. It's more of a general primer on Gnosticism with some mention of Jung, whereas the book I posted last night has a much more specific focus on Jung and what Gnosticism meant to him. Apparently this is considered one of the best books on Gnosticism. So I was reading a bit inside and suddenly ran across something that started a cascade of thoughts and memories. I'm not sure if I can really get this across clearly, but I'll try.

      What sparked this off was a passage in the book where it said that the Gnostic idea of the Pleroma is the same as what's known in the Kabbala as Ein Sof - the Limitless or the Infinite or the Unfathomable. It's essentially God in his totality - what is known in the Bible as The Word or the Logos. It is everything that exists - all matter and all energy, as well as all possibilities that matter and energy can become. It's God before he takes any kind of recognizable form - as the totality of the Universe and everything else that might exist. Sort of the same idea expressed as The Big Bang, but it's intelligent - endowed with thought - whereas the Big Bang being a scientific theory is Rational Materialist and Reductivist - seen as blind inert matter and energy only.

      On reading this, my mind suddenly raced back to an event from many years ago. It was one of my few experiences with LSD - and in fact the only time it had an effect on me. The other times I took too little and it had sat too long and probably lost its potency, and nothing happened. Or I got ripped off. Maybe some blank blotter - who knows? Anyway, the one time when it did take effect I was sitting in a friend's car and started to experience racing thoughts. It felt amazing - like my mind was rapidly expanding and I started to also feel physically incredible. I had a sort of literary or linguistic epiphany - a revelation through words. When I tried to describe it later the only idea that fit was it was a conversation with God, though all the thoughts were coming from inside me - being spoken through me. It wasn't really a dialogue, but it seemed the ideas were issuing from something inside me that I couldn't normally access.

      It went something like this.

      I became fascinated with a pine tree and started making statements about it in my head. As my mind started racing faster and faster my thoughts grew more profound and cosmic in scope, but I was still pondering the nature of the tree. And the nature of language too, at the same time. The tree was the object, and the revelation was really more about language itself, and how it shapes thought or something like that. Maybe how it reveals the nature of reality, if we're capable of seeing deep enough, which we normally aren't. I went through this progression - first I was excitedly noticing things like "When we say "the tree is green" it's really an imperfect attempt to just say "the tree IS" - but as imperfect humans we limit our understanding and focus only on one aspect of it - the greenness." My thoughts kept upgrading and expanding from there until I realized that using a tree - or any object - as a focal point was just an example, a single thing that represents Everything, or the All (I thought of it as Everything at the time). Incidentally, this is another example of "from the One come Many" (or All!). And my final revelation before my friend came out of his Grandma's house with the money we had earned by mowing her lawn that afternoon was this -

      "Every sentence we say is an imperfect attempt at the Ultimate Sentence which is this -

      EVERYTHING IS".

      This has remained the most profound moment of my life ever since, and many times I've pondered it and worked deeper into it. Tried to unravel its secrets. And now I feel like I have a flash of insight into it. I now believe this experience was an encounter with the Self - with the God Image inside - the Unconscious. It had given me a vision - a revelation in linguistic terms about the Pleroma - the Ein Sof, the Infinite - and about the normally limited/limiting nature of our feeble conscious minds. I suppose this was one of those experiences of the Sublime; of Oceanic Thoughts.



      So.

      I have personally had an experience similar to Jung's odyssey that resulted in the writing of the Red Book, though obviously not on the same scale and only lasting a few minutes. I think for him it had to be massive and difficult, because he was being given a huge revelation - a whole succession of them, transforming him into a modern prophet of sorts - a Gnostic seer. In my case it was a much smaller (but still incredibly profound) revelation. I'm not slated to change the world at a time of great turmoil (On the verge of WWI) like Jung was, or to bring a newborn psychology into the world. Well, that's sort of a relief! So when he indicates that it can take many years and you must go through hell seemingly endlessly and face demons of all descriptions - that's probably only for the high level dudes like him. The rest of us can experience it much more easily and faster - at least in certain circumstances. I have heard that LSD can have that kind of (revelatory) effect on a person if and only if they're philosophically or spiritually oriented to begin with - but if you approach it as a recreational drug then all you'll get from it is some trippy visuals and thoughts or something. Not sure if that's true - just relating it. I've sort of wanted to try more acid since then but haven't done it. I'm just glad I had a good trip and don't want to tempt fate. At least I have this one experience to dwell on and contemplate for the rest of my life. And now I'm very glad that reading about Gnosticism has allowed me to put it into perspective and understand it a lot better.

      Oh - I'm not sure I explained this part - the reason I connected this experience as the Self is because of the idea of Completeness - Totality. That's always what the Self represents - the fullness of what you can be. All your parts united in wholeness. The One from the Many.
      I love everything about this, thanks for sharing it. And now, maybe I'm going to be a bit frustrating in my question again.....but in my mind (and happy for you to correct me) an encounter with the self is an end point of individuation, isn't it? Now I know that individuation takes a lifetime, or a really long time, and I know I don't know enough about it all, but in simple terms there are the three stages, and the last stage is encountering the self?

      I read somewhere that people can go through numerous alchemical processes, so is it possible that the same is true of individuation? That it can happen without being total and complete for the whole individual, but on a smaller scale, some aspect of them has turned to gold (for want of a better description) or glimpsed the gold?
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    6. #156
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      Funny - I was going to make a post explaining this - or at least what I think it means. I think you can have sudden spontaneous encounters with any Archetype at times - it doesn't always need to be a part of the Individuation process. To return to my former analogy, you can accomplish something and get a burst of endorphins and sense of accomplishment, without being enrolled in a college course or going for a degree. But of course, you can also get those things while in a course, and then they're cumulative toward a much bigger goal as well.

      And I do believe that sometimes just feeling really good is enough to cause the oceanic feelings or a flow state. I don't think it's always necessarily anything psychological. It can feel just as profound, but come without any advancement or insight.

      Also, let me try to explain a little better how I think it works (keep in mind I'm just a struggling student in all this).

      When I say you can spontaneously encounter the Archetypes, I mean something like this. It happens when you're unbalanced and need to be corrected in some way. As Jung has said, a dream is a correction of a wrong conscious attitude. It seems the unconscious knows things the conscious doesn't in it's finiteness. The unconscious seems to have an unlimited perspective on everything about us - the God's eye view if you will. It sees our paltry and insignificant little Ego struggling along, using the pathetic means of limited conscious thinking to try to live life, and it can see what we're doing wrong. So it tries to tell us. But of course being the unconscious, it speaks in riddles - in symbols actually - the linguistic and logical apparatus does not exist in the part of the brain housing the unconscious (which I believe is primarily the right hemisphere - the imagistic intuitive part as opposed the the logical linguistic left). So it gives us dreams, visions, fantasies, or weird sudden intuitions. This is how it operates.

      So let's say you're going along through your life struggling through some difficulty - I don't know, some issue that you have a wrong-headed attitude about. Maybe you've been projecting some embarrassing part of yourself onto a friend or something, and you're not seeing it. The unconscious will give you a series of dreams or visions or whatever trying to make you understand what you're doing wrong, but we usually don't consciously understand or often even remember our dreams. And most people ignore intuitions and visions as just daydreams or something. But I think sometimes the message gets through whether we're aware consciously of it or not - sometimes the mind can sort of subliminally understand a dream message or a vision, even f you don't fully realize what it means, and that would be when you have the sudden flash of understanding, or when you realize you've been projecting (probably not in those terms, you might think "You know, I've been kind of a jerk to her lately, haven't I? She isn't really as bad as I've been thinking - maybe it was more my fault - I did get pretty pissed off and haven't been treating her right since then...".

      So see, this isn't full Individuation, it's just integrating some aspect of your projected shadow and freeing up the bound up energy in it for a positive use rather than the negative use the Shadow uses it for.

      There are different variations on it as well - sometimes you might study Jungian stuff and learn to see when you're projecting, or when you're in the grip of some complex or neurosis or something, and consciously integrate it that way - the psychological way. Through informed self-analysis. Its a good idea to learn this stuff about the Archetypes, because then when you do encounter your Shadow or Animus or whatever, you'll understand (hopefully) what it is and what it means, then you're prepared and have an idea what you need to do. Primitive people used to get together and discuss their dreams and visions and they had traditions and medicine men or shamans who had an understanding about the Psyche (they didn't call it that of course, or understand that it's inside of us). But in our rational materialist age we've discarded all that - arrogantly and stupidly I think, as well as religion, which served the same kind of purpose, and haven't replaced it with anything - except psychoanalysis, and that isn't provided for everybody unless they can afford it. Or learn it for themselves. This is why in the modern age we're such a neurotic and dysfunctional society, filled with people at different levels of crazy.

      Or sometimes if it's really bad and maybe the Self has been trying to get through for some time but you're not listening, I think it can just take over control and force you to have a revelation even if you're in deep denial. So when that happens it probably seems like you didn't have to do anything or even recognize a message in a dream or some synchronicity. It feels more like just a complete sudden act of God or Nature. A flash of lightning from nowhere. Probably after you've been feeling bad for a long time and not making any progress or even getting worse.

      I also think sometimes we can just experience nice feelings and it isn't necessarily because of an encounter with an Archetype or anything of the sort - just maybe you're really feeling good physically and maybe the weather just turned really nice and maybe something really good happens to you, and you feel like you're experiencing full bliss for a while.

      These are my theories anyway, as of now. I hope they're somewhat close to the reality.

      "I read somewhere that people can go through numerous alchemical processes, so is it possible that the same is true of individuation? That it can happen without being total and complete for the whole individual, but on a smaller scale, some aspect of them has turned to gold (for want of a better description) or glimpsed the gold?"
      Oh absolutely! In fact, you can incorporate parts of an archetype - for instance parts of the Shadow. It's like you take little bites - it's way too rich for a single meal! You sort of whittle it down, and each time you take another bite, you get the burst of inspiration and euphoria - I think. Possibly that doesn't happen every time. But this is why they say it can take months or years to reach individuation.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 01-04-2018 at 11:15 PM.
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      thanks for those replies Darkmatters....

      I will respond to them later today, I'm just about to leave for work, but wanted to add this before I forget. I was reading again about how the 'shadow' might show up in every day life and the people talking about it, seem to be talking about fear of dropping the Persona (at times at least). They talk about inner demons attacking them, like nazi demons, perfectionist demons, telling them they're not good enough, etc. And I can see these would make a good 'wicked witch' type shadow, but really, in my opinion, those fears are just about dropping the persona and the consequences of that, aren't they? It's just that there are inner entities that serve this fear.....so are they the shadow figures?

      I'm having a hard time understanding what would be some of the most basic, everyday shadow figures people might come up against, not the real dark stuff that might be more individual / unique to specific people, but some that we are likely to meet....if that makes sense.

      I know in one of the videos here the lady mentions greed as a shadow, but again, to me, if you drill down from greed, it's about trying to maintain a persona, so that one is safe in the world. So is the shadow when this fear 'splits off' from the personality, is no longer a fear as such, but has become more of an entity in it's own right, driving the individual.

      I think what I'm trying to say is what distinguishes the shadow from the fears we have when we move away from our Persona.
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      Maybe the shadow is when that fear has become so corrupt that you are no longer conscious of the root of it, you're not being vain to try and be accepted, you're being vain because you love yourself over and above everyone else, you are not being 'greedy' because you once had everything took from you, you are being greedy because you love money, food or whatever it is, over life itself and over others, you are not encouraging yourself to do your best to help yourself grow, you are whipping yourself to shreds because you are a stupid little so and so who will never amount to anything.....

      So what I'm wondering is each time, the latter example is the shadow figure, whereas earlier in life it might have started out as an understandable fear, not extreme and still integrated with the main personality....?

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      What the Shadow really is and how it is created

      I see what you're getting at, and you're approaching it exactly the right way - go to the origin. Try to understand how the shadow and the persona are created in the first place. It also helps when you understand the relationship between them, because they're intimately related.

      The shadow isn't only things you're afraid of, but also that you're embarrassed or ashamed of. Actually that's still a little too vague. It consists of those things that you don't want to admit are parts of you. So you split them off and pretend like they're not there - using mechanisms like denial, repression, and projection. Well projection is always associated with the shadow I think - in fact I would say anything that you project onto other people is a part of your shadow.

      It helps to think of it like this - a shadow only exists because light is being cast, right? And some of it is being blocked by something. A cast shadow. Cast is another word for projected. The light is conscious awareness - it's sort of like a sun that warms and enlightens whatever it touches. But there are parts of the psyche that we are afraid or ashamed to cast full conscious light (awareness) onto, and those things we push around behind us so we don't have to see them and nobody else can see them either. If you're standing outside on a nice sunny day, you have a shadow right? So let's just say, for illustration purposes, that you're standing there and the elements of your psyche are objects sitting on the ground around you. No wait - not the elements of your psyche, we have to break it down farther to make this more clear. Let's say what's sitting around you are photographs of important events in your life - memories of events that shaped who you are.

      In fact I think I can explain this better if I switch analogies. Rather than standing in a sunny field, you're sitting at a table looking through a pile of pictures of your childhood. There are other people in the room (there are other people in your life) who might walk up at any point and be able to see what you're looking at. So as you pull out each picture from the box, you either lay it right down where everybody can see it or sometimes, with certain pictures, you turn it face down or you stash it under the place mat or something because you don't want people to see that and understand that it's a part of you.

      In fact, my mom used to talk about sweeping certain things under the rug. I remember conversations with her where she talked about this, and I used to picture her actually sweeping parts of her life under the rug, and I almost laughed because there was a lot she had to put under there, and I pictured people walking into her house and there's a huge cartoonish lump under the rug. They could all see it, but they kind of understood what it was, because of the way she acted - the way she'd freak out if anybody walked near it or looked at it, so they didn't do those things, in order to keep her relaxed and cool. This demonstrates the fact that often other people can see our own shadow better than we can - that's largely because they aren't trying to repress it but we are. Also because we have 'tells' - we start getting nervous or antsy when parts of the shadow become visible and people start talking about it.

      So yes, it starts early in life when we decide there are certain things about us that we don't want people to see, and we hide them.

      We form the shadow little by little, by deciding what we display proudly about ourselves and what we hide. Anything you hide becomes another part of your shadow. It keeps growing. And keep in mind, when we talk about the shadow as a personified figure, that's only a convenient way to describe it, and because parts of it are represented that way in dreams. A shadow figure is not really the shadow, just a representation of it. The shadow is an area in your psyche where you repress and hide things, and it is represented in dreams sometimes as a frightening or disturbing figure. This is because the way the unconscious and the conscious minds communicate is through stories - dreams are one of the ways they do it. And the stories use symbolism because the conscious mind operates differently than the unconscious - it's logical and linguistic whereas the unconscious is imaginative and intuitive. The root word of imagination is image, and that's what it means - the imagination consists of various kinds of images. This doesn't mean just still pictures - in psychological terms an image means a range of things - I think of it as something like an animated GIF with sound that also can include ideas, memories, and feelings. But just a brief little snippet usually - not like a whole movie but like a scene.

      It's important to understand the difference between a dream and a movie. Dreams are the products of the unconscious, so they tell us how it functions, how it communicates with the conscious mind. A movie consists of only moving visuals and sound, but a dream also includes information - ideas, memories (real or false), and feelings. So it's in something like Sensorama . Oh, in fact, that made me realize - dreams also include all of the senses - smell, touch and taste as well as the big 2. So the pictures you were looking at in one of the earlier analogies - think of them as each including a little bit of movement and all the other elements I just listed.

      In fact it goes farther than that. One of Freud's more brilliant discoveries was the association chain - the way one memory will immediately pull out a cascade of others that are closely related to it, usually through emotional content. If you remember (or dream about) some incident in your childhood that caused you embarrassment, it might also carry with it the memories of several other similar incidents that hold the same kind of embarrassment but that happened at different ages. It tends to work sort of like this - something has just happened in your life that triggered a cascade of associations. Maybe somebody called you a slut, and it reminds you immediately of several other events, all leading back to the original one, when let's say you heard your dad call your mom a slut loudly and angrily as he was accusing her of cheating on him when you were just 4. Maybe this event terrified and traumatized you. Partly because you didn't really understand it, but you knew it was something terrible, and it seemed like your family was destroyed by it. So maybe now the word is all tied up in anxious knots with terror, desperation, shame, and other emotions that you can't even name. You just remember so much anger and resentment between your parents, and so much crying and screaming, and you thought the family was over and done now and you didn't know what was going to happen to you, and it was all because of that one word. Or it seemed like it to you anyway. Maybe the family survived it, but that word and all the associations with it got pushed down into your shadow area - you never want to think about them again, and if they come up your reaction is instant and spasmodic - completely irrational and uncontrollable. You just get pissed off and hurt and want to cry uncontrollably, and maybe you don't even remember the original incident anymore - probably you've repressed that memory because it was too painful, and now you can't even really think clearly about it anymore because you get all irrational and emotional when you try.

      So now anything that reminds you of that incident - a certain angry hurtful tone of voice like your dad used toward your mom in that argument, or the shocked tearful tone of your mom in response, or any of a range of hurtful words he used like slut, whore, bitch, etc - especially if they're uttered in that angry resentful hurtful tone, just automatically bring up rage and fear in you.

      Ok, back to the present. Let's say you have a dream one night with Jack Nicholson and he looks very angry and evil, and as you see him you just hear the word SLUT in the dream soundtrack. You wake from this dream terrified and upset, and for some reason you're thinking about a certain toy you had in childhood. If you analyze the dream, you might remember that the toy was in your hand when this argument took place, and it's a link between something that happened yesterday and the argument. Then you realize that yesterday a friend laughingly called you a slut - not seriously at all, and you didn't get mad or anything, but maybe subliminally the association was called up in your mind. And maybe you realize that in some way your dad looked a little bit like Jack Nicholson and during the big fight maybe he reminded you of Nicholson in The Shining, where he was horrible to his wife and child, so he made a good choice for this particular shadow figure.

      There's no such thing as your shadow figure - the shadow really is a place where you push down your repressed memories, and it's also an archetype. Archetypes are generators of symbolic figures that can be used in our minds stories (like dreams or thoughts), and those figures are custom tailored to a situation. Whatever the figure needs to represent specifically in a given situation (a given dream) that is what is chosen. In different dreams, when it represents a different association chain of memories and emotions, a different shadow figure will be chosen. The shadow figures themselves are only temporary representations.

      Lol - I might have overdone it. And I'm not sure if you understand the mechanics of how dreams work. But it's important to have a basic understanding of these association chains. Something happens today that triggers a cascade of associations reaching all the way back to some original traumatic incident that caused you to repress some terrible event into your shadow, because you want to forget it and don't want to ever think about it again. Well, now that it's repressed it has a lot of power, and that power works against you. You don't even understand anymore why anything that reminds you of it makes you so upset (you don't know it reminds you of anything - it's repressed).

      However, if you can work your way through the association chain and remember the original incident, then you're bringing the light of conscious awareness into the darkness and you undo the repression - you bring the content up into awareness and it loses that dark primitive power to inspire nothing but terror and shame and guilt. Now rather than an irrational reaction you can unravel the knots and untangle the memories and get your inner machinery working right again. This is analogous to lifting the hood on your car (it's dark under there) and fixing whatever is causing that terrible noise and making the car drive funny. You have to go in and do the work, fix whatever is wrong, even though you're afraid to go in there, and then the energy, rather than making the car wobble, will be helping it to drive properly now.

      Man, these explanations are getting longer and longer! And I haven't even said everything yet - this was just setting it up! I'm going to break here and start another post - this one is long enough already - back in a flash!
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 01-05-2018 at 04:29 PM.
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      The Persona and how it relates to the Shadow

      Ok, so that covers how the shadow is built up over a lifetime. It consists of a lot of these little moving images - snapshots of your worst memories with movement, emotion, senses, etc all intact, and they work like little dream images.

      Now let's think about the persona.

      Persona is the Greek word for mask, and in fact originally it meant the clay masks that performers would wear on stage. And that's exactly what a persona is - a mask you wear to cover your real face. In fact, that's exactly how I think of the persona - whereas the rest of these archetypes are deep inside the psyche, the persona is on the surface - in front of your face in fact. You wear it between your real self and the world, and the main reason is to hide your shadow. It's a compensatory device in a way. You're afraid if people see your real reactions to everything that little bits and pieces of your shadow might come through without your realizing it. So you put on different masks for different situations You have one you wear when you're hanging out with mom and dad and the family for Christmas or other family gatherings, and a totally different one you wear with your friends.

      I don't know if you're old school enough to know the Beatles, but there's a great line from the song Eleanor Rigby that puts it into perspective: "Eleanor Rigby - puts on a face that she keeps in a jar by the door. Who is it for? All the lonely people."And this is what we do - we put on different faces for different occasions. Without them we'd feel too exposed and vulnerable.

      Different situations will call up different aspects of your Shadow. When you're with your family for instance, you might not want them to see you cussing or talking about drinking or sex, but with your friends that stuff isn't a problem. So you wear a different mask with each. Of course this isn't deep Shadow stuff, but I think of it as being shadow related, because it's about how you want people to see you and what you want to hide from them.

      Well that wasn't very much! Lol, I was afraid it would take as long as writing about theShadow, but of course once you understand the shadow and how it is our vulnerbility and shame and fear, the persona is pretty easy to explain.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 01-05-2018 at 04:32 PM.
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      Thanks Darkmatters, I'm beginning to get a much clearer understanding of the process now... I will comment properly later today. At the moment I've got stacks of mundane paperwork to get through, lol.

      A thought has occurred to me that may or may not be related to all this, so just throwing it in (and not expecting a response immediately or at all if it's not relevant. Also if I've asked this before I'm sorry, I think I may have asked on a different forum).....do you know anything about the Trickster archetype, Darkmatters, or anyone else, Snoop, etc? I've read that Mercurius may also be a Trickster...and that Trickster isn't necessarily bad....etc.

      Anyway, that's all a bit random. Back to my boring stuff now and will respond properly later. :-)

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      The Jester as Trickster archetype (aka Shadow)

      I don't know about the Trickster as a psychological archetype, but I do know it from a mythological or fairy-tale context. And of course that's basically the same thing.

      One of the most well-known forms of the trickster is the king's jester. A king's court was a treacherous place, aristocrats back-stabbing and badmouthing each other, all vying for position and trying to curry Royal favor. They were absolutely merciless toward each other, using every manner of political intrigue and underhanded wheeling-dealing and forming temporary alliances to take down more powerful rivals. It was a lot like a reality show.

      Well, nobody dared do anything like that to the king himself, or the queen or any of the highest royal entourage. They were treated with extreme deference and exaggerated respect. In fact the King was surrounded by bowing and scraping sycophants. So a king's lot was sad - nobody would tell him the truth if they thought it might hurt his feelings. Sort of like being a full-grown spoiled baby. And that's no kind of life! People in that situation get to feeling empty and like life is meaningless - everybody lies to placate him and he can't get any meaningful conversation, which requires a level of mutual honesty.

      Enter the jester.

      He alone can ridicule the King and the rest of the court. Someone with keen insight into human nature who was also funny. Today we have comedians like that who couch deep philosophical wisdom in jokes and sarcasm. Also writers, filmmakers etc.

      So the trickster is those flashes of sudden cutting wit that reveal a sore spot, or comments that seem hurtful at first but turn out to contain much needed truth that you were not open to. After an initial spasm of anger or resentment, you will often recognize the wisdom and then hopefully accept it. Those who refuse to accept it have become too self-centered, too deep in denial - tyrants and despots. Every king needs his jester, and should listen to him, especially when the jokes cut deep. The jester keeps you humble when you've grown too high and mighty.

      And this is really what the Shadow is - it presents those things you don't want to accept but need to in order to heal and get closer to Wholeness. But it doesn't usually try to be funny about it. However if you develop a philosophical attitude toward the products of the unconscious (dreams, fantasies, synchronicities, flashes of inspiration etc) you can learn to take an ironic pleasure in even its most seemingly hurtful messages - because in the end they are all meant to help. The medicine doesn't taste good, but it's what you most need.

      Hold on - I just had a thought. Maybe the Trickster is one type of figure sent by the Shadow - perhaps there are different kinds. That would make sense. Sometimes they're frightening or somber, and sometimes they do seem sort of sprightly and funny. And those are the more likable Shadow emissaries.

      I learned most of this from reading about the Fool card in a Paul Foster Case book called Tarot - a Key to the Wisdom of the Ages. Oh, and also another great book by Jason Lotterhand called The Spoken Cabala, which was based on the writings of Case and meant as an adjunct to it. Tarot cards represent Archetypes.

      EDIT - actually I don't think I learned this from either of those books - I'm not sure exactly where anymore. But those are amazing books so I'll leave them there.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 01-06-2018 at 07:51 PM.
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      That's really interesting. I don't remember why, but somewhere I think I picked up that Mercury, or Hermes is a trickster, that's got me all confused today. I think I must have autistic features, because it's bugging me that I can't remember where I read it, or where I put all my notes on it and that I can't resolve the issue immediately, right now, lol.

      Something tells me the Trickster, like the Jester that you mentioned, shapes you all the way through the alchemical process (I say alchemical because I got it from reading about that, rather than individuation, or Jung, but it brought me here), from beginning to end, and in that way is similar or IS mercury / hermes.....or is it that I want it to be because that would simplify things...
      (have sent you a pm, Darkmatters)
      Last edited by Rosanna; 01-06-2018 at 09:59 PM.

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      Yes, remember - Mercurius stands at the beginning and end of the Individuation process - first he presents as the Shadow (beginning of the process), and then splits into the Twins - the syzygy of Anima/Animus to complete it. That really is the whole process, except that then the Self takes over. I know little about that, but I believe there are encounters with Self figures, or sometimes people dream of Mandalas, which are symbols of the Self.

      There are many names and guises for all of these figures, because Religious, Mythical, and Fairy Tale characters are all essentially symbols of Archetypes. This was Jung's big discovery (one of them). So after he had already come up with his own names for the various parts of the Psyche (Shadow, Anima/Animus, Self etc), he then went through and found which characters represent which archetypes. They present a little differently in each myth or religion or fairy tale, because they are all different renditions of them. So the terms Hermes, Mercury, Mercurius, Trickster, and probably many more, all represent the archetype that Jung had named the Shadow. Though apparently in Alchemy they sort of combined the shadow and the anima/animus into Mercury/Mercurius. There are doubtless many examples of similar mergings and splittings throughout.

      You know how religions have gradually absorbed older religions throughout history? This means that various pagan gods merged into the Christian religion, and sometimes it wasn't a perfect fit. Sometimes things had to be somewhat finagled - certain gods had to be combined or split apart or somewhat modified to fit the existing Christian system. But there were many Christlike Gods for instance - the Dying and Resurrecting Gods, many of whom were also half-human sons of the All Father. Such as Dionysus. Hercules and Thor were both half-human demigods and sons of the all-father in their respective religions, though I don't think they were known for dying and resurrecting. Originally it's believed the gods of death and resurrection represented the procession of seasons - winter standing for death and then spring for resurrection. The world of vegetation would die, and the earth grow cold like a corpse beneath a shroud of ice and snow, the trees turn into skeletons stark against a grey sky. But then it would thaw and everything that had died would grow back magically!

      Also the successive setting and rising of the sun - each day they could witness it's birth from the earth - it's womb and its tomb, because after arcing overhead it would then descend back into the underworld and plunge the earth into darkness and terror haunted by nocturnal predators.

      These would have been miraculous events in primitive times when people had no understanding about how the natural world functioned, and when darkness fell they probably feared it would never lift. But it always did, just as winter always gave way to spring eventually. So the stories sprang up to reassure people - the older ones had experienced the miraculous resurrections of both day and spring again and again, and though they didn't know why it always happened, it always did, and so they needed to reassure the younger or more frightened ones, as well as codify the fact as a memorable story for the entire tribe.

      These stories then were carried on through word of mouth for endless centuries and became myths and religions. But they refer to not only outer events (the rising of the sun and thawing of the earth) but also to inner experiences. Each time people fell into unconsciousness (sleep) they always woke. And when they descended into depression or terror it always abated - usually anyway. These events that happen inside as well as out ("as above so below") are rife for mythologizing. Plus of course there's the big one - actual death itself. This of course frightened people, and though they never saw anybody recover from it, the tales of resurrection that could be observed in seasonal procession and night/morning procession, as well as the recovery from depression/sleep etc, tended to reassure them that somehow death itself is not final either.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 01-06-2018 at 10:37 PM.
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      I just read this bit, so quoting Jung (and taken from Matthew Mather, The Alchemical Mercurius): "Jung attempts to ‘pin the concept down’ by means of a six-point summary:

      1 Mercurius consists of all conceivable opposites. He is thus quite obviously a duality, but is named a unity in spite of the fact that his innumerable inner contradictions can dramatically fly apart into an equal number of disparate and apparently independent figures.

      2 He is both material and spiritual.

      3 He is the process by which the lower and material is transformed into the higher and spiritual, and vice versa.

      4 He is the devil, a redeeming psychopomp, an evasive trickster and God’s reflection in physical nature.

      5 He is also the reflection of a mystical experience of the artifex that coincides with the opus alchymicum.

      6 As such, he represents on the one hand the self and on the other the individuation process and, because of the limitless number of his names, also the collective unconscious. (Jung 1943/ 1948: 237)

      Take note of number 4, and 6 particularly....

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      Wow, ok, so if he's ALL the opposites, that means he's really the entire unconscious, or possibly the totality of the psyche, which would mean the unconscious and the Ego as well (which is part of the concious mind). The Self as well as Shadow and Anima/Animus, and apparently the Ego and Persona as well. Or it might just mean the full entirety of the mind - conscious and unconscious both - I'm pretty hazy on exactly which parts of the mind constitute the Psyche. Though I know parts of the unconscious are not cognitive - they aren't for thought processing, but just to regulate automatic functions like heartbeat and breathing etc, and I don't think those are considered part of the psyche.

      So let's see - both the Collective and Personal parts of both Conscious and Unconscious. Damn... Yeah - he's the Whole Enchilada.

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      Ok, well you've helped me to see that Trickster is something that will have come up in myth and fairy tale and have different meanings each time.....different characters, etc, I read a few in my notes, Bugs Bunny could be one, lol. But this also says Mercurius is a trickster....so in that sense I've answered my question, with your help.....trickster is all the way through the process and can be many different characters (although in stories, etc, tends to be one main character playing the role), hope I'm making sense....lol
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      Actually I sat and laughed for ages about the Whole Enchilada thing....and then never acknowledged on here, lol. See? genetic, I got it from my mother, people won't know if I've paid attention!
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      Lol I had Mexican on my mind - I made a run for the border immediately after that and now I'm sitting here chomping on tacos...

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      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters View Post
      Lol I had Mexican on my mind - I made a run for the border immediately after that and now I'm sitting here chomping on tacos...

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      Time for a few quick book reports.

      I've been reading through my 2 books that cover Jungian psychology in broad overview - which are Jung's Map of the Soul by Murray Stein and Edinger's Ego and Archetype. They both seem to be excellent books (I'm about halfway through Stein's and not nearly as far into Edinger's yet), but with very different focuses (foci?).

      Jung's Map of the Soul very clearly and intelligently breaks down the major Archetypes and how we encounter them and how they help us to reach Individuation. It's the process I've been discussing a lot on this thread. Ego and Archetype on the other hand seems to cover just about everything else related to Jungian psychology. Edinger does not have chapters devoted to any of the major Archetypes, nor does it seem like he explains them, at least I haven't run into it yet.

      From what I've seen so far I would say that, like the Conscious and Unconscious, these books are complimentary and compensatory. Stein gives a clear and very understandable explanation of the the process, whereas Edinger covers what I would call some of the more esoteric aspects of the psychology. Both are excellent and together they seem to give a pretty complete idea of Jung's theories - but I would definitely start with Stein's Jung's Map of the Soul and then add Edinger's Ego and Archetype.

      If you only get one, make it Jung's Map of the Soul.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 01-07-2018 at 01:52 PM.

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      The latest book I'm obsessing over on Amazon is Archetype of the Absolute: The Unity of Opposites in Mysticism, Philosophy, and Psychology by Sanford Drob.

      Drob is a philosopher as well as a psychologist and extremely well read in both. He has specialized in Jewish studies - in particular concerning Jewish mysticism such as the Kabbala and the Torah, but also delved deeply into Gnosticism (all because of his focus on Jungian studies). Also a good background in general philosophy and psychology. All of which makes him the perfect person to write this book. Obviously it deals with the unification of the opposites, which is Individuation. The idea is that in the unconscious there are no opposites - it's a unified field of perfection and completion, known alternately as Nirvana, Heaven, Bliss, Perfection, The Limitless, The All, the Pleroma, Ain Sof, the Logos, the Word, God, and countless other names. But when we developed the Neocortex and its resident Conscious Mind, we created a different type of thinking - in series rather than in parallel. One computation at a time, which allows deeper pondering on individual issues, but also makes us unable to see everything in its totality all at once. This allows for problem solving of a new type, and sets up a dialogue between the inner/upper/spiritual (Unconscious, Self, God) and the outer/lower/material (Conscious, Ego). But the problem is that by becoming consciously aware, we have sundered everything into pairs of opposites. There are the obvious ones such as hot and cold, light and dark, up and down, good and bad, but also the more philosophically interesting ones such as the One and the Many, Above and Below, Inside and Outside (of the mind or the soul), the Sacred and the Profane.

      Well this book is an extended meditation through various lenses of philosophy, cognitive science, psychology, and many other disciplines, into the opposites - what they are, how they came to be, and how they can be reconciled. There are good and bad ways to approach it. For instance, one bad way is a certain type of simplified feel-good New Age mysticism, which simply says Be Positive, and Everything is Perfect. But this ignores (represses) the opposite of positivity. When you ignore something it goes into the unconscious and grows until it begins to destroy you, unless you deal with it. It's also wrong to dwell only on the Negative - this results in Nihilism and depression and can lead to mass shootings or suicide. Obviously not a great path.

      But Drob discusses approaches that reconcile and unite the opposites in ways that don't ignore the importance of either. There are ways of thinking that create an Either/Or scenario, which worsens the problem of opposites, and most people automatically fall into this type of thinking - you know, if this is true, then its opposite must be false. This is a rather simplistic way of thinking, and in many cases is simply not true. It's also wrong to fall into an addiction to irony and sarcasm or cynicism and skepticism for its own sake, though each of these if used in the right way is an important tool. Drob demonstrates different kinds of thinking, such as Both/And (as opposed to Either/Or). I think it was Neils Bohr who said that at the simple end of physics if something is true then its opposite is false by definition, but that as you delve deeper in, to the level where things begin to become profound and numinous, then that rule becomes useless and often a truth's opposite is also true in a profound way. Paradoxes are the essence of mysticism and of life itself - what destroys life's profundity is simplistic black and white thinking such as rational materialism and reductivism of the sort practiced ad nauseum in the 19th century.

      Just reading through the table of contents is amazing to me. Unlike most books it isn't merely a simple list of chapter titles - it gives a detailed breakdown of what each chapter covers. I couldn't resist - it's winging its way to me even now.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 01-07-2018 at 03:22 PM.

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      Perfect timing - just after all that about the opposites, Aion delves into the fact that Satan is really God's/Jesus' shadow, and that Hell is just the natural and inevitable opposite of Heaven. When you create an extreme, it automatically calls up its opposite. This is known as an Enantiodromea, a term Jung used a lot - anything taken to excess calls up its opposite. Also a little discussion of Above and Below.


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      Archetypes part 1:

      Ok, I've discussed what the Shadow and the Persona are in some depth, I think it's time to pull back a bit and take a look at Archetypes in general. After that I’ll tackle the Collective Unconscious - but to understand it you need a grounding in Archetypes first.

      I have an analogy (imagine that! ). Basically an archetype is an Automatic Jukebox Projector. This is my own conception - I haven't seen it used anywhere but I think it's pretty apt, at least as far as my understanding goes. So, what the heck is an Automatic Jukebox Projector?

      Think of a movie projector sitting on top of something like a jukebox. What does a jukebox do? It contains many records, and it can select the right one and play it automatically. Plus they just look cool, especially the classic Wurlitzer type. So, in effect a jukebox contains, selects, and plays. But ours is a weird kind of jukebox. It doesn't play music - it plays little movie clips, each with thoughts, memories, feelings, and a full range of sensory information included. Since it plays movie clips, it needs a projector on top. It could have something like a TV screen, but it's important that it be a projector, because projection is an important part of what Archetypes do. So we can add that to what it does. Actually, let's just combine/replace Play with Project. Simpler and more to the point.

      An Archetype Contains, Selects and Projects.

      But these jukeboxes don't take coins. You don't get to choose what they play - they choose for you - or maybe they respond to input from elsewhere in the unconscious. This analogy doesn't cover that part of the process - it's just about the Archetypes.

      What exactly do they contain? Well your memories, but each Archetype collects certain ones. Let me break that down a little better - it’s not just memories - it’s memories that have strong emotional content attached. In other words the memories that were formative in creating who you are - if you experienced something that terrified you or that you were really ashamed of or embarrassed about for instance, those will go into a particular Archetype that's set up for those kind of memories. Jung named it the Shadow. There’s another one that contains your memories specific to how you relate to a romantic or sexual partner. This one he named the Anima or Animus, depending on whether you’re a male or female. And then there’s the Big One - the Whole Enchilada. The Self. Also known as the Imago Dei or the God Image. This is the Archetype of Wholeness, and it can help put you back together if you become scattered or fragmented I suppose. If something is too out of balance. Because balance is always the aim of these Archetypes, and of the psyche as a whole, which is made entirely of Archetypes if I understand correctly. I’ll try to explain that as well as I’m able very soon - and in particular give a description/explanation of the Collective Unconscious. But first it’s important to understand how Archetypes work and what they do.

      There are more than just these few archetypes - these are just the big ones. Some of the minor ones (well relatively minor anyway) include the Mother and Father Archetype, the Wise Old Man, the Warrior, the Magician, the Beautiful Young Woman, the Wise Old Woman, etc. Think about the kind of characters that tend to turn up in fairy tales, myths and religious stories, and also in dreams. Because that’s exactly what all these things are - they’re projections of the Archetypes. They’re essentially characters that can be used to tell meaningful stories. Because story is the basic way our mind works - logic etc is an add-on that didn’t come along until we developed a full human level conscious mind.

      Ok, with all that explained, what exactly do Archetypes do and how do they do it? Well, when you’re out of balance and you need a little help getting back, they kick into gear. What they do depends on the situation. It begins with some problem you’re experiencing.

      Breaking here because this would be ridiculously long otherwise. Continued...
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 01-08-2018 at 06:40 PM.

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