The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil

Author:  Al Ridenour
Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: Feral House (October 4, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627310347
ISBN-13: 978-1627310345
Price $16.50
Reviewer:  Catherine Poloynis

 

 

krampus
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Continue reading The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil

How to Remember your Dreams

christianderikejpgToday’s Guest Blog: Remembering Dreams  is written by Christian Gerike M.A, who teaches The Psychology of Dreams  at Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California.
It is Part II of a two Part series about Sleeping and Dreaming. By clicking the link you can read Part I: Sleep Well, Remembering Dream.

Continue reading How to Remember your Dreams

The Redeeming Dark

In the month of December Mindfunda will publish a series of blogs about the descent. Today’s Guest blog, written by Elaine Mansfield, is about The Redeeming Dark.

  1. The first one was about depression as descent.
  2. In the second Guest blog, Jean Raffa explored Inanna’s descent as a personal myth.
  3. The third blog will focused on the common themes found the Descent Myth of Inanna and Sleeping Beauty.
  4. This last Guest blog, written by Elaine Mansfield, will talk about Redeeming the dark.
dark
Elaine Mansfield

Elaine Mansfield’s memoir Leaning into Love: A Spiritual Journey through Grief (2014) won the 2015 Gold Medal IPPY Award (Independent Publisher’s Book Awards) in the category Aging, Death, and Dying. Elaine has been a student of Carl Jung since 1970 and has studied mythology for thirty years. She writes for hospice, facilitates bereavement support groups, and gives workshops and presentations. She gave a TEDx talk called “Good Grief! What I Learned from Loss.” She also writes a weekly blog about the adventures and lessons of life and loss. To learn more about Elaine’s work, please visit her website. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Listening in the dark

“From the Great Above she opened her ear to the Great Below.” 1

The descent of the Goddess begins with listening. Inanna, the Listener, is the Great Goddess of Heaven and Earth (~3500 – 2500 BC, Sumeria/Mesopotamia). Her story is the oldest written goddess myth, and what a goddess she is: Erotic, wise, powerful, conniving, loving, fierce, courageous, and ruthless.

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Inanna, Burney Relief (Flicker—creative commons photo) 1800 BC, British Museum

In the Sumerian language, the word for ear also means wisdom. Inanna is called to listen to the Great Below because, despite her many powers, she lacks something. Without knowledge of mortality and unconscious realms, she is not whole. Without some relationship with inner depths and darkness, we are helpless when faced with forces beyond our ego’s control.

When my husband Vic was diagnosed with incurable cancer in 2006, I knew I had to listen. I bought a new notebook and recorded our experiences from medical to psychological, from hope to anguish, from spiritual peaks to deep despair. As Vic neared the threshold, I wrote and reflected at his bedside. I wanted to remember. I wanted meaning. It was my job to remain in the Day World or the Great Above. Vic needed me to be conscious and competent, just as Inanna needed her trusted female advisor Ninshubur to witness her descent and call for help.

After Vic’s death, exhausted and filled with disbelief, I faced a new descent. Grief, Death’s companion, became my new teacher.

In the descent myth, Inanna tells the gatekeeper to the Great Below or Underworld that she wishes to attend the funeral of the Great Bull of Heaven, Ereshkigal’s husband. Ereshkigal is the Underworld Death Goddess and Inanna’s Dark Sister. Inanna intends to witness a death, not face her own. That was my plan, too…

Inanna arrives in full queenly regalia at the gates of the Great Below. I had arrived in the oncologist’s office with my notebook, my numbered list of questions, my suggestions, and my fierce resolve. My mission to save my husband succeeded—until it failed. When Death won, my personal descent began.

As Inanna passes through each of the seven gates on her way to the Great Below, she is stripped of a garment symbolic of her power. For example:

When she (Inanna) entered the first gate,

From her head, … the crown of the steppe, was removed.

Inanna asked: “What is this?”

She was told: “Be quiet, Inanna, the ways of the underworld are perfect. They may not be questioned.” 2

Hadn’t I given up enough? I thought when the stripping began. Apparently not. As long as my husband lived, I retained position in the world and community. I had a job to do.

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Inanna worship/ Bringing Gifts to Inanna, c. 3100-2899 B.C., Hirmer Verlag, Munich (Wolkstein/Kramer, p. 105)

With his death, I lost my role as wife and partner in a deeply satisfying relationship. I was demoted to widow, a social label for the scorned and abandoned feminine. I had been a women’s health counselor, but lost my own motivation. My erotic life disappeared—not only sexual, but daily intimacy with someone I loved. I lost my sense of proportion and could no longer measure where I was in life. My notebook felt useless. My ego and persona crumbled. I was stuck in grief. Like Inanna, I was “naked and laid low.”

When Inanna reaches the Great Belowshe steps toward her sister’s throne. For this last remnant of pride, she is condemned by the Eye of Death and Eye of Wrath. She is pronounced guilty for refusing to honor a power greater than her own. Then, Inanna is hung on a hook. Dead. In this startling image, day world abilities are useless in the face of the Destructive Dark.

So there they are, stuck in the Great Below. Ereshkigal cries out in rage and pain. Inanna hangs on her hook. All is dark depression and stasis. Nothing moves. There is no hope.

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Door to the Underworld, 1600 BC, Louvre (Wolkstein/Kramer, p. 55)

Is there a divine force that can save Inanna and us? Ninshubur, Inanna’s trusted and grieving advisor, sends for help. Enki, the God of Wisdom creates two small mourners from the dirt under his fingernails. These seemingly insignificant mourners have one skill: empathy. They see the suffering of Ereshkigal and mirror her cries.

“Oh! Oh! My inside!” 

“Oh! Oh! Your inside!” 

“Oh! Oh! My outside!” 

“Oh! Oh! Your outside!….” 3

The mourners provide compassionate witnessing in a long call and response. As it does in therapy or close friendship, empathy creates a miracle of transformation. Ask the Dalai Lama what power is equal to Wisdom. He’ll say Compassion.

Ereshkigal, the neglected, unloved, and shunned, grieves for her husband, but we now learn that she is also crying out from the pain of giving birth. Within the deep darkness, something new is being born. Perhaps Inanna. Perhaps you and me.

Ereshkigal asked (the mourners):

Who are you,

Moaning—groaning—sighing with me?

If you are gods, I will bless you.

If you are mortals, I will give you a gift. 4

They don’t want all the riches and resources of the world. They want the corpse which they sprinkle with the water and food of life.

A sliver of light has penetrated the Dark and released new energy. Birth will follow darkness. Seeds quicken after Winter Solstice. Light returns. The Goddess of Heaven and Earth rises and the cycle continues.

As Inanna ascends, there are complications. Aren’t there always? Demons cling to her and demand more sacrifice to appease the judges of the Great Below. We learn that another cyclic round is always waiting in Feminine Realms. There is no end to death and trauma, but there is also no end to compassion and rebirth.

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Inanna with date palm, c. 2400 B.C. Staatliche Museum, Berlin (Wolkstein/Kramer, p. ii)

 

I returned to life, wild and humbled, displaced and dismantled. I wept uncontrollably about my fate, even though I knew loss was everyone’s destiny. My forest, the kind mirroring of those who witnessed me, and a search for meaning were my water and food of life. I bowed to Inanna’s wisdom and Ereshkigal’s necessity knowing that death and destruction fuel a new cycle of life.

We descend, not because we want to, but because we must. Descent is an integral part of the Great Feminine Round of Life and Death. We are mortal. We are vulnerable. We live in a world of catastrophe and chaos, personal loss and social threat. We are thrown down. We are helped up. Miraculously, we find our way to life again.

NOTES

1. Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer, Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth, Harper and Row, 1983, p. 52.

2. Ibid, p. 57.

3. Ibid, p. 65.

4. Ibid, p. 66.


THIS CONTENT IS a Guest blog Created For SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Mythofunda:
“Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths” Joseph Campbell used to say. This part of Mindfunda shows you how your personal mythology can create peace in your life.

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


(Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘#MYTHOLOGY‘?

The Body of Poetry: Sculpting Curves into Words

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Start of Spring: An Invitation to Dream an Ode to Freya

Let's celebrate the start of spring together! I want to invite you to join me on Mindfunda for a spring dream time celebration. This celebration is a part of my ...
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Joseph Campbell: 5 Secrets to Yield Your own Yoda

This is a Mindfunda book review about "The Mythic Dimension", a compilation of essays written by Joseph Campbell, dusted off and reprinted in a paperback. It will help you unleash ...
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Healing and Breakthroughs with Archetypes, Art, & Poetry

Several years ago I had a chance to get a tarot reading from Sherry Puricelli. It gave the dream that I discussed with her so much more meaning. It was a dream that bothered me a bit because in my dream I could not get forward. And after Sherry had guided me by asking questions and consulting the tarot I really felt that the message of the dream was something that I needed to hear at that time in my life. Besides being a very good dream coach Sherry also writes moving poems. I am so glad she decided to bring all the goodness she has to offer in this guest blog for Mindfunda.
healing
Sherry Puricelli
Sherry Puricelli, MHA, M.Div. is a Dream Coach and owner of AwakeNDream, LLC. in Madison, Connecticut. She specializes in empowering individuals to recognize and activate archetypal themes to aid in personal healing and breakthroughs. She facilitates specialized retreats, workshops, group and individual sessions. Sherry is the IASD Regional Representative for Connecticut.

 

 

Healing: recognizing archetypes

I’ve heard it said that life can break us or we can break through. Well, I’ve found a tool that helps me break through. Being a dreamer, noticing archetypal themes has always come naturally to me. Over time, I began to perceive repetition and overlap between my dreams, my waking life, and my meditations  / contemplations. I observed that archetypal themes seem to weave in and out of my life or I weave in and out of the archetypal themes or perhaps it’s both. At any rate, I can’t imagine my life without the enrichment, healing, and breakthroughs I’ve experienced by recognizing and living deeply profound themes.

Archetypal themes have even more power when I express them artistically. The creative process forces me to slow down so I don’t just skim the surface. Instead, I plunge right in, living and breathing the archetypes. I’ve noticed that each archetypal theme has an inherent challenge, so I attempt to stay with it until I’ve gotten through that challenge, all the way through it, so I can reflect and absorb the insights and lessons learned. I appreciate that each archetypal theme has gifts, lessons, and new awareness.

Healing and poems

As I participate in the creative process, I’m taken to a whole new level. The theme becomes multi-sensory, visceral, and I feel it in my bones. When I create the digital art, I attempt to include at least one photo of an image present when I was experiencing the archetypal theme. I imagine that the energy is real, it’s tangible, living and breathing. If this hypothesis is true, the digital image carries that actual energy, so the person seeing it has the opportunity to experience the energy of the breakthrough and to hold that breakthrough energy in his/her hands.

And what if there’s more? I love poetry. I write poetry for each of the archetypal themes as I’m experiencing it. The magic of poetry is that it helps me deeply feel the emotional content of the archetypal theme. When I write the poetry I attempt to embody each of the predominant emotions I felt as I was experiencing the archetypal theme in my dreams and waking life synchronicities. I ascertain that poetry carries the energy blueprint of the emotional breakthrough.

Used together, with art and poetry, imagine the possibilities. If we’re in need of healing, we hold healing energy in our hands, we work with it, we sleep with it, we dream with it, and we meditate with it as needed until our energy has shifted.

In the meantime, our senses are heightened, we experience life more fully, and we see the many connections and patterns in our lives. This mindset opens us up to choice. We are not victims of circumstance when we recognize and utilize our choices. We’re empowered to boldly engage in the life we make for ourselves. We hold the power to heal. We hold the power to break through.

Enjoy the Healing power of “Mother

healing
copyright Sherry Puricelli

Mother of cycles, 
you are eternal Home to me; 
sisters, aunts, mothers, grandmothers,
you’re there for me, always – no matter how far away I fly;
Mother Mary, Mother Earth, Mother of Galaxies, 
Mother in my dreams,
you continually cycle back to me…
bringing me home, dancing me home, singing me home, 
with empathy, painted – with colorful drops of Mother.

When I can’t keep up,
or cannot make the climb, you are the charger of my soul;
when I fall,
you bleed, and reveal your scar so I can learn self-healing;
when I lay broken,
you show me flowers that broke open too,
erupting into gardens of inner beauty;
whenever I call,
Mother in my dreams,
you continually cycle back to me…
bringing me home, dancing me home, singing me home,
with empathy, painted – with colorful drops of Gaia.

When my heart is heavy,
you carry my sorrows and you become my rock;
when I’m missing you,
I hear your lullaby in the mourning doves’ cry;
when I am lost,
your evening star twinkles my inspiration trail;
when I lack faith,
you are my monument, my altar, my prayer,
so I can rediscover my inner temple.
Mother in my dreams,
you continually cycle back to me..
bringing me home, dancing me home, singing me home,
with empathy, painted – with colorful drops of Mary.

Mother of cycles,
you are eternal Home to me;
in the theatre of our mutual dream,
I have buried your key;
we’re dancing rainbows
in timeless time,
spaceless space,
and deathless death;
you’ve been with me always,
since before my first lullaby,
and after my last step.

I am Mother in my dreams,
continually cycling back …
bringing me home, dancing me home, singing me home,
with empathy, painted – with colorful drops of Me.

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Please sign up for my YouTube channel to enjoy all the beautiful Mindfunda interviews with inspiring people. People like Jean Benedict Raffa, Anne Baring, Connie Kaplan, Ralph Metzner, Stanley Krippner and P.M.H. Atwater, Catherine Wikholm about her book the Buddha Pill and Justina Lasley about her book Wake Up to Your Dreams: Transform Your Relationships, Career, and Health While You Sleep! Soon I will be interviewing Evan Thompson about his book Waking Sleeping Being

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Must an Artist Struggle?

Today's Mindfunda is written by Brenda Ferrimani. Brenda began her artistic work in the 1980’s. She was President of the Berthoud Arts and Humanities Alliance, an organization dedicated to promote local artists and to provide art in public places. In 2000 she was invited to be the attending artist to the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. In 2007 her painting “Fall Into Fear” was awarded a Nancy Richter Briezki Dream Art Award, at the IASD’s conference at Sonoma University, CA. As a successful artist who tapped deep into the creative sources of creation Brenda asks us all today: "Is struggle a good thing?"

Today’s Blogger on Midfunda is succesful artist Brenda Ferrimani.

artist
Brenda Ferrimani

She has an intruiging question to ask: Is struggle a good thing? All of us strive to happiness. We teach ourselves to cope with the difficulties of life by acceptence, compromise and coping. But what if you dive into your sruggles and let them lead you to creativity? Brenda explaines:

“Artists struggle for integrity”, “Artists struggle for success”, “Artists struggle to be original”, “Artist struggle to transcend pain” – All quotes I found when I googled “Artists struggle.” – Yes! ARTISTS DO STRUGGLE! My life and work as a Dream Artist is a testament to this painful but glorious truth. Sometimes when people ask me how my life is I often remark, “It’s the Agony and the Ecstasy!” (You may remember the famous movie staring Charleton Heston, as Michelangelo, with the same title.) As your guest blogger, I would like to initiate a discussion around the question, “Is struggle a good thing?”

I believe inner demons, and outer antagonists are sometimes just what we need to overcome complacency, and to transcend self imposed limits toward new heights and new realities.
The subject has been in front of my mind recently, inspired by watching the independent film “Whiplash,” at the behest of my musician son, which opened an intense discussion at my house. This film is about a young musician who encounters brutal opposition from one of his admired professors in music school. The film was hard to watch, at times, because I resonated so much with the pain of the young artist, so eager to please his abusive mentor, and and so wanting to be perfect (click here to see the film).

artist
Whiplash

The movie is very dream like, especially the surprise ending, where the young hero finds himself in a nightmare, on stage in front of hundreds of critics, and his music sheets can not be found. The band had been cued up to play music he was not prepared to play. Just when he’s about to give up in total humiliation, he seems to become lucid. He reverses the dreaded outcome by turning and facing his abuser. He has a breakthrough on stage, a triumphant moment of courage and innovation, giving a brilliant performance (click here to see the film) at last!

While the movie made me abhor ego filled, demon driven people of authority, who always think they are being tough on you to help you succeed, it also made me reflect on my own past with a new feeling of gratefulness. Perhaps my strict, and often cruel father, the religious cult I was part of, the endless conditioning to suppress my creativity, all ignited in me a life-changing, life-affirming push toward self expression! Naturally my dream life has reflected my struggles and the artwork I have created thus far, seems to chronicle this.

My first dream painting, “Expansion” (painted in 1997- my first dream painting), marks a period in my life where I felt a great “inner struggle” to be free to express my visions. It is a composite of many nightmares about flying and being pulled down.

artist
Expansion
Brenda Ferrimani
Followed by the painting “Beauty’s Challenge” (2001). At this time my psyche was giving me a “kick in the pants” to stop living inside myself, being too safe and comfortable. I had a series of dreams about women inside beautiful houses who were being forced out. 
artist
Beauty’s Challenge Brenda Ferrimani
“Soul Tree” expresses a soul contract for growth, with all the pushing that requires, and life lessons leading to the fullest expression of what was contained in the seed at birth:
artist
Soul Tree
Brenda Ferrimani
In my self portrait, “Dark Night” the struggle of the artist is visible. You can see how the outer antagonists of my life have become inner voices to torment me:
artist
Dark Night
Brenda Ferrimani
“I am Salmon” retells a dream where in Spirit renames me and says to me directly, “You are Salmon because you try so hard and through your struggles new creation is born”.
This new name connects me to all other struggling artists who have to fight their way upstream to give birth to their creations:
artist
I Am Salmon
Brenda Ferrimani
And here is “Whale Speaks” where the huge explorer of the depths delivers a speech on camera, for Earth’s inhabitants, and says he’s “been pushing against Christianity” in order to bring his message. The painting reflects a painful journey, a struggle to understand and share something relevant to being human on one planet, that could heal the destruction caused by religious supremacy, and conflict:
artist
Whale Speaks
Brenda Ferrimani
As an artist I have been aided by purely instinctual forces inside me, that are keen on survival. I know deeply the struggle that birthing anything authentic, soulful, and revolutionary brings. But that’s the beauty of it!  I leave you with these lyrics, I love from, “Lovers in a Dangerous Time”… “But nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight — Got to kick at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight.” (Bruce Cockburn)”

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Mindfunda will be giving a presentation on dreams and art at Cultura in the Netherlands. You can read more about it here.

Also download yourself our free e-book about mutual dreaming: and find out everything you always wanted to know about dreaming with another.

 


THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Spirifunda:
psychology for everyday with a spiritual layer of meaning, searching for the soul. Our brains are wired for believe in magic. In a world filled with rationality, you sometimes need a little magic, a little “I wonder why”. Synchronicity, the insights of Carl Jung, the mythology used by Freud, the archetypical layers in the Tarot, the wisdom of the I Tjing, Shamanism, the oldest religion of humanity, all that information gets published in the Spirifunda section of Mindfunda.

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘SPIRITUALITY‘?

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