Trickster Archetype: An Exploration in Writing the Tale

Today’s Guest Blog: ‘Trickster Archetype’  is written by Christian Gerike M.A,  teaching assistant in the Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California, Psychology Department, for the Introduction to Psychology and Myth, Dream, and Symbol courses. Christian has also two other guest blogs  for Mindfunda: How to Remember your Dreams, and Sleeping well, Remembering Dreams.

You can read more about the Trickster on Mindfunda in Trickster Gods: Tricky ways to discover the Self,  and Trickster Tactics: from Archetype to Evolution 

Trickster Archetype

The whimsical and diabolical Trickster is a character found in folk tales and myths around the world.

The Trickster, generally recognized as one of the oldest expressions of mankind, originated in and is the chief mythological character of the paleolithic world.

trickster archetype
Paleolitic Paintings in Lascaux

 

Found among the simplest to the most complex of indigenous groups, this is a figure and a theme with “. . . a special and permanent appeal and an unusual attraction for mankind from the very beginnings of civilization” (Radin, 1956, p. xxiii).

The Trickster is a strange combination of benevolence, harmless mischief, and destructive malice.

trickster as archetype
Trickster by Bill Lewis

Erdoes and Ortiz, in their 1998 book American Indian Trickster Tales, describe the Trickster as:

“. . . always hungry for another meal swiped from someone else’s kitchen, always ready to lure someone else’s wife to bed, always trying to get something for nothing, shifting shapes (and even sex), getting caught in the act, ever scheming, never remorseful” (p. xiii).

In West Africa we find the Spider, the Tortoise in Nigeria, the Hare among the Bantu people, in Hawaii is the Trickster/Culture Hero Maui, in ancient Greece is androgynous Hermes/Mercury, in Scandinavia shape-shifter Loki lies and steals from the other gods, in Europe is Reynard the Fox, on the Andaman Islands is the Kingfisher, in Turkey it is Nasr-eddin, the hodja (clown-priest).

 

trickster archetype
Picture: Josh Felice

 

In traditional and modern Native American cultures, there is Raven in the Pacific Northwest, androgynous and shape-shifting Coyote in California, the Great Hare among northern and eastern woodland tribes, and in the southwest the Hopi have Keshari, the Clown. In looking at Native American traditions we see Coyote the Trickster par excellence.

Trickster Archetype Defined

Trickster is proud to be described as destructive, immature, devious, quick-witted, sly, deceiving, lying, thieving, villainous, cowardly, mischievous, shrewd, cunning, wise, self-centered, ingenious, ambiguous, bi-sexual, fool, lecher, and a cheat.

trickster archetype
An icon of chaos theory – the Lorenz attractor.
By User:Wikimol, User:Dschwen – Own work based on images

 

“Clever and foolish at the same time, smart-asses who outsmart themselves” (Erdoes & Ortiz, 1998, p xiv).  It is this aspect of the Trickster that has made him such an entertaining character around the world. In manifesting these characteristics, the Trickster represents the chaos principal, the principle of disorder.

Trickster Archetype: Dark vs Light

Jung (1956/1969) sees the dark side of the Trickster as being “. . . a collective shadow figure, a summation of all the inferior traits of characters in individuals . . . subhuman and superhuman, a bestial and divine being, whose chief and most alarming characteristic is his unconscious.”  A ‘cosmic’ being of divine-animal nature, superior to man because of his superhuman qualities; inferior to him because of his reason and unconsciousness (pp. 270, 263, 264).

There is another side to the Trickster.  As the giver of all great boons—the fire-bringer, teacher of mankind—it is common for the Trickster to be a creator figure who created the earth and brings culture and civilization to humans.

In his role of bringing inventions, agriculture, tools, and fire the Trickster is a cultural hero.  For example, the Japanese storm god Susanoo provided humankind with such necessities of life as daylight, fire, and water.

Among the Classical Greeks, Prometheus as creator brought into being all of the world’s animals;

trickster archetype
Prometheus Carrying Fire, 1637
Jan Cossiers

 

he brought fire, numbers, writing, farming, medicine, divination, metallurgy, and served as protector of humans.

Ikotomi the Spider, the Trickster of the Lakota and Dakota Sioux tribes, created time and space, invented language, gave the animals their names, and, as a prophet, foretold the coming of the white man.

archetypical trickster
Artist Gertrude Spaller’s rendition of Iktomi in the story Iktomi and the Ducks.

 

We should keep in mind that since these contributions were bestowed upon humanity by Trickster, that there might be a Shadow side to these advances in civilization.

Trickster Archetype: Time

The Trickster is alive and well in mythic time – an era when the world and its inhabitants were very different from they are now, a time when there were animals that walked and talked as human beings do; and Trickster lurks about in historical time, when the earth is no different than today, though there may still be mythical lands where mythical beings interact with humans.

 

trickster archetype
Time machine concept by oreocactus
©2014-2017 oreocactus

 

Even in modern times the Trickster abounds, as wide ranging as Charlie Chaplin, Wile E. Coyote, Richard Nixon, and the 3 Stooges.

Trickster Archetype: Gender

The trickster is usually male.  Lewis Hyde, in his 1998 book, Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art, explains that

  • Tricksters may belong to patriarchal mythologies, ones in which the prime actors, even oppositional actors, are male.

    trickster archetype
    Cartoon: Azilliondollarcomicsdotcom
  • There may be a problem with the standard itself; female tricksters may simply have been ignored.

    trickster archetype
    Morgan le Fay, female Trickster?
    Art by Sandys, Frederick
  • Perhaps the trickster stories articulate some distinction between men and women and even in a matriarchal setting this figure would be male. (p. 336)

 

Trickster Archetype: Native North America

Trickster, in its earliest form among North American Indians, is at one and the same time creator and destroyer, giver and negator, he who dupes others and who is always duped himself.

He behaves as he does from impulses over which he has no control, possessing no values, moral or social, he is at the mercy of his passions and appetites. The others in Trickster stories possess similar traits: the animals, the various supernatural beings and monsters, and man.

Paul Radin, in The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology, tells us that

The overwhelming majority of all so-called trickster myths in North America give an account of the creation of the earth, or at least transforming of the world, and have a hero who is always wandering, who is always hungry, who is not guided by normal conceptions of good or evil, who is either playing tricks on people or having them played on him and who is highly sexed.

Almost everywhere he has some divine traits.  These vary from tribe to tribe. In some instances he is regarded as an actual deity, in others as intimately connected with deities, in still others he is at best a generalized animal or human being subject to death. (1956, p. 155)

Trickster Archetype: Coyote

While appearing both in human and animal forms in Native North America, Trickster is generally an animal with human characteristics, such as the hare, raven, spider.

It is Coyote, however, who is the classic Trickster in the Native American myths of North America, if not worldwide.  Barry Lopez (1977, p. xv), informs us that

No other personality is as old, as well known, or as widely distributed among the tribes as Coyote. He was the figure of paleolithic legend among primitive peoples the world over, and though he survives today in Eurasian and African folktales, it is among native Americans, perhaps, that his character achieves its fullest dimension.

Kimberly A. Christen (1998), in Clowns & Tricksters: An Encyclopedia of Tradition and Cultures, describes Coyote as being most recognizable by his flaws: selfish, disrespectful, glutton, at worst a murder and thief.

trickster archetype
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“The coyote shares with other tricksters a total disregard for cultural mores and laws. In order to teach young people the proper way to act, stories about the coyote often focus on greed and wrongheadedness” (p. 33).  We can see Coyote at his finest among the Lakota:

“The Lakota coyote Mica has an unending sexual appetite, he steals, and he is greedy and generally disrespectful. Mica disregards all social mores by being selfish and rude. Mica takes advantage of his friends’ wives, he steals food from his neighbors, and he lies to get whatever he wants, never working at all. Mica outwits other people using lies, tricks, and any other means possible. He challenges people, animals, and other powerful beings to contests he is sure to win; if necessary he cheats to make sure he will be victorious. (Christen, 1998, pp. 32-33)

Trickster Archetype: Its Function 

The animal aspect of the Trickster indicates a close identification with nature. Howard Norman describes the Trickster’s role in explicating the relationship of humans and the natural world:

“These tales enlighten an audience about the sacredness of life. In the naturalness of their form, they turn away from forced conclusions, they animate and enact, they shape and reshape the world” (as quoted by Erdoes & Ortiz, 1998, p. xix).

Barry Lopez (1977, pp. xvi-xvii), in Giving Birth to Thunder, Sleeping with his Daughter: Coyote Builds North America, presents several of the Trickster’s social and psychological roles.

Lopez states that while “Coyote stories were told all over north America . . . with much laughter and guffawing and with exclamations of surprise and awe . . . the storytelling was never simply just a way to pass time.” Coyote stories

  • Detailed tribal origins;
  • emphasized a world view thought to be a correct one;
  • dramatized the value of proper behavior;
  • participating in the stories by listening to them renewed one’s sense of tribal identity;
  • the stories were a reminder of the right way to do things—so often, of course, not Coyote’s way;
  • telling Coyote stories relieved social tensions. Listeners could release anxieties through laughter, vicariously enjoying Coyote’s proscribed and irreverent behavior; and
  • Coyote’s antics thus compare with the deliberately profane behavior of Indian clowns in certain religious ceremonies. In a healthy social order, the irreverence of both clown and Coyote only serve, by contrast, to reinforce the existent moral structure.

trickster archetype

With the Trickster we experience paradoxes, if not outright contradictions, of being human.  “Coyote, part human and part animal, taking whichever shape he pleases, combines in his nature the sacredness and sinfulness, grand gestures and pettiness, strength and weakness, joy and misery, heroism and cowardice that together form the human character” (Erdoes & Ortiz, 1998, p. xiv).

trickster archetype

It is in the Trickster these combinations of qualities are recognized as being in the world, and from the Trickster we learn existential lessons as to the consequences of letting our darker side rule our lives.

Through the Trickster we can see that “Individuals have the power to recognize their shadows and in doing so, choose the better part” (Lundquist, 1991, p. 29).

Conclusion

Jung (1956/1969) sees the Trickster as “. . . simply the reflection of an earlier, rudimentary stage of consciousness . . .” (p. 261).

The Trickster symbol, however is not static and changes through time, with Coyote now right alongside Charlie Chaplin.

trickster archetype
Charlie Chaplin

The Trickster lets us know that there is no clear differentiation of the divine and the ordinary; that, in fact, the divine can have less than stellar qualities.

Paul Radin (1956) concludes that the Trickster

. . . became and remained everything to every man—god, animal, human being, hero, buffoon, he who was before good and evil, denier, affirmer, destroyer and creator. If we laugh at him, he grins at us. What happens to him happens to us. (p. 169)

The Trickster carries an enormous number of opposites and many of the adventures could be seen as arising from the tension that is found between these opposites.

Trickster dwells in the realm of the Shadow, but perhaps that is for our salvation. C.G. Jung (1956/1969), at the end of his essay On the Psychology of the Trickster-figure, states:

“As in its collective mythological form, so also the individual shadow contains within it the seed of an enantiodromia, of a conversion into its opposite” (p. 272).  Let the Trickster inhabit the darker side of life, while we use that force, through his stories, to bring us to the good side of life. Let us have balance by leaving evil in the realm of the gods and keeping good in the realm of humanity.

 

Bibliography

Bastian, D.E. & Mitchell, J.K. (2004), Handbook of Native American mythology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Bierhorst, J, (1985). The mythology of North America. New York, NY: William Morrow.

Bright, W. (1993). A Coyote reader. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Campbell, J. (1969). The masks of god: Primitive mythology. New York, NY: Penguin Compass.

Christen, K. A. (1998). Clowns & tricksters: An encyclopedia of tradition and culture. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Erdoes, R. & Ortiz, A. (Eds.).  (1998). American Indian trickster tales. New York, NY: Viking.

Hyde, L. (1998). Trickster makes this world: Mischief, myth and art. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Jung, C. G. (1969). On the psychology of the trickster figure. In Read, H., Fordham, M., Adler, G., & McGuire, W. (Eds.) (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.), The collected works of C. G. Jung: Vol. 9, part 1. The archetype and the collective unconscious (2nd ed., pp. 255-272). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1956)

Kirk, G.S. (1970). Myth: Its meaning & functions in ancient & other cultures. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Laffert, J.V. (Ed.) (2008). Essential visual history of world mythology. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society.

Leeming, D.A. (1990). The world of mythology: An anthology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Lopez, B. (1977). Giving birth to Thunder, sleeping with his daughter: Coyote builds America. New York, NY: Avon Books.

Lundquist, S. E. (1991). The Trickster: A transformation archetype. Distinguished Dissertations Series 11. San Francisco, CA: Mellen Research University Press.

Radin, P. (1956). The Trickster: A study in American Indian mythology.  New York, NY: Schocken Books.

Shipley, W. (Ed., Trans). (1991). The Maidu Indian myths and stories of Hanc’ibyjim. Berkeley, CA: Heyday Books.

Vizenor, G. (1993). Trickster discourse: Comic and tragic themes in native American literature. In Lindquist, M.A. & Zanger, M. (Eds.), Buried roots and indestructible seeds: The survival of American Indian life in story, history, and spirit (pp. 67-83).  Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press.

Spiritual Soul Searching: Mindfunda Course

“A dream is a small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens up to that primeval cosmic night that was the soul, long before there was the conscious ego.”

~ Carl Gustav Jung

Do you ever have that feeling that there is more? That there has got to be more? A feeling that you really do not belong in this time and place? It could be that you are yearning for your soul…

Spiritual Soul Searching

We have a brain that is wired for spirituality. No matter how rational the world has become, this spiritual longing is in our nature. And it is so much better to live a life that honours your nature than it is to live a life fighting it. But that is what most people do. If you want to change that, Mindfunda’s Spiritual Soul Searching is the course for you.

spiritual

In four weeks, Susanne van Doorn, MSc, and Christian Gerike, M.A., will guide you in an exploration of  different aspects of your spirituality. We will not only read about spirituality, we will also do exercises and incubations so you are able to experience it. We will incubate dreams, answer questions, and draw conclusions.

After the four weeks, you are asked to draw your spirituality, based on the experiences you had during this course. We will talk about the drawings at the end of the course.  If you would like personal guidance, there is a plan that provides this on a weekly basis. It is always very insightful to talk about your dreams with an expert that provides an objective vision.

Spiritual program

The course consists of 4 weekly lessons. Each week you will get:

1) one lesson about your innate spirituality;

2) one lesson about connecting with your shadow;

3) one lesson about archetypes;

4) dream examples to guide you in re-interpreting your dream journal;

5) questions to explore your own inner wealth; and

6) a dream incubation to use the rest of that week, or any time you would like to re-discover this aspect;

7) a concluding lesson about your personal mandala; a treasure for the rest of your life.

When the course is finished you will have created a roadmap for your Spiritual Self. A valuable asset to contain inner balance. A way to seek fulfilment within. It will keep you focussed. It will keep you balanced.

spiritual

 

Spirital Soul searching experiences

Christian  and I presented a similar well-received  program at the 2016 International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) Conference in the Netherlands. In four mornings we have explored the topics in this course. It was so inspiring that psychoanalyst and author (The GapLouis Hagood, one of our participants wrote a presentation about it, that got featured on the psiberconfernce of the IASD. *) This  annual online conference  focuses on the “psi” in dreaming. Psi dreams are dreams in which ordinary boundaries of space and time get transcended.

Here is an excerpt;

“I prepared to incubate a Shadow dream before going to bed. I hold an incubation object in my left hand while sleeping to focus my intent, and decided to use the Native American dream catcher that I wear as a pin on the lapel of my jacket. Before closing my eyes I asked the dream-incubation question three times, “What is my Shadow?”

In the dream I got in response I am standing on a country road, feeling pleased with myself, when a “less than” man approaches me holding a pitch fork or trident. He pins me to the ground with his tool/weapon as I call for help from the passersby, who ignore me. I wake myself in distress, and wonder why I couldn’t deal with him in any other way. I am a psychoanalyst, analyzed three times over thirty years, a lucid dreamer for ten years, and have dealt with Shadow figures throughout, yet couldn’t negotiate with this figure. Jung introduced the objective psyche, as opposed to the subjective, which contains autonomous figures, and mine was definitely autonomous!”

– Louis Hagood*

Spiritual Soul searching

We have a special premium feature for this course. You get 4 one-hour consultations; each week one full hour about what you have experienced and concluded. In this way, you are able to magnify your own inner force and get unbiased advice from a skilled coach and dream worker. Click below to find out more!

Need more information first? Go to the Course Page, or Contact us by mail:

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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.


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Comments or suggestions? Share your thoughts:

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* Read the full presentation of Louis Hagood here: "Abbey Incubation".

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

Sleeping Well, Remembering Dreams

christianderikejpgToday’s Guest Blog: Sleeping Well, 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 I of a two Part series about Sleeping and Dreaming; you can read Part II: Remembering Dreams here.

Continue reading Sleeping Well, Remembering Dreams

Translating Myth: Re-wording the unseen knowledge

Translating Myth
Edited by Ben Pestell, Pietra Palazzolo and Leon Burnett.
Legenda 2016, hardcover $120.00 kindle $37.22 ISBN978-1-910887-04-2 (hbk) 978-1-315-54320-8 (ebk)
Reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn, edited by Christian Gerike.

Translating Myth is a book that attempts to scientifically define myth. Or at least, come to describe 5 aspects of it: how to translate it, how to create it, how to establish it in a a new country, how to sing its poetry and how myth is related to politics. The book clearly establishes that myth can not be measured nor captured, but it is only possible to study the ways in which one can enter the realms that display myth to an individual.

Continue reading Translating Myth: Re-wording the unseen knowledge

Reading the Red Book, part 2 : Psychic Powers and dreams

Every body knows the vision Jung had about Europe covered in blood right before World War One started. Dreams seem to be connected with psychic powers.

This is Mindfunda's presentation for the Dream Weekend organized by the Dutch society for dreamers: Vereninging voor de Studie van Dromen (VSD) . Unfortunately influenza payed me an uninvited visit. I was not able to attend the weekend. Aad van Ouwerkerk, author and dream worker read my presentation to the visitors. I thank him for doing that.

This is a series of blogs about my proces of dreaming my way through the Red Book. I have divided it into five steps:
Carl Jung
Psychic Power and dreams
Animus/anima dreams
God
the Self.
Psychic Powers and total darkness

We all have been there: in total darkness. Lost and alone, looking for a new way of life. A new way of being. In those moments of darkness it seems like our psychic powers lighten up out path.

Carl Jung began writing the Red Book on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Mindfunda looks at his search for the supreme meaning in five (easy) steps. Because this will be a long post I have divided it into five parts. By clicking on each part it will guide you to the step I am talking about.

 

psychic powers
Red Book – Readers Edition (sponsored link to support this blog)

This blog will talk about the second step of my proces of reading the Red Book: psychic powers and dreams.

Psychic Powers and Receiving THE Red book

In Jung’s eyes it was a relieve when world war one broke out. A confirmation that he was not schizophrenic, like he feared when the visions kept enduring.
Almost all of us have experienced dreams and visions where we knew about something that was going to happen. The National Dream Centre did research in 2014 called Project August. A random group of people were incubating dreams about big headlines for the month of August. The results (see link) were amazing. Out of the 119 headlines dreamed up by the group 100 actually got published…

When I ordered the Red Book, it had to be mailed to me from America. Usually they put it on the slow boat to China. there was no way of telling when I was going to receive it. But the night before I received the Red book I had the following dream:

I am in a department store. A voice over says: “It is now closing time would you all please leave?”. I see the elevator at the end of the hallway and I start running. I manage to jump into the elevator. In it is a man with glasses on:

psychic powers

He reached across me and pushed the button to get the elevator down.
It was time for me to reach down to my soul…

Psychic Powers and Our Dream Group

The Red that Jung saw in his vision came back in our dream group. Maria Cernuto shared this dream:

A man died. His blood is being used to paint. There was something significant about his blood – like whomever he was in life was important. The idea is that the blood is his life force, and from his death, the act of painting is creating new life. I think I am the one painting / creating. I am standing before, and looking at, a large blank canvas.

The red in this dream has a magical quality, filled with psychic powers. One of the core concepts explored in the Red Book is the uniting of opposites. In this dream a picture is painted on white canvas. The Red blood, the life power is the material to perform the art of living. You can use this life force to create any kind of imagery you want. Just put your heart and soul in it…

Christian Gerike alerted our group that many people had shared red in their dreams. He shares one of his own:

I am with some people, there is a “cubby-hole” in the wall, and past some kind of blankets covering it, I can see a person sitting in it, head to my right, body is partially scrunched up, perhaps propped up, and the person is reading  . . . the person looks toward us and he has very long bright reddish hair, he shakes his head and the hair falls out of the cubbyhole . . ”

Just crawl through that little cubbyhole of your personal defending wall. We all have built one because live can be cruel. The hair, as a symbol of force (remember the tale of Samson?) sticks through it…

Christian was also struck by the Red Book and Jung’s dreams/visions with blood in them. Not only his precognitive dream of Europe covered in blood. But also such entries in the Red Book as the bloody head of a man (p. 147, reader’s edition); and a red stream of blood, thick red blood springs up (p. 148, reader’s edition). Also, In the deepest of the stream shines a red sun(p. 148, reader’s edition).  Red people, Red Book, blood, red sun. It reminded Christian and the rest of the group about rubedo in alchemy.

Psychic Powers and The Mirror of Truth

The Red of the Red Book is also mentioned in a book called Speculum Veritatis, attributed to Eugenius Philalethes, representing The Perfect Red King. The mirror of truth and the Red King both appeared in dreams of our group. Maria shared this dream:
“There is a mirror you put on the wall. When you look into the mirror it brought you into a higher consciousness or greater reality… brought you to a higher level.  Recall gazing into the mirror, my reflection receding into darkness, and then feeling like I was transported into another dimension.”

Again in this dream there is a need to be aware of the darkness before you can be transported to another dimension. The shadow that played a big part in Jung his theory is a reality in our dreams.

Jenna shared her dream “Loyalty to the King”:

 “I am in a coach pulled by a horse galloping fast down a dark road. I have an old wound beneath my heart on my left side. I feel the pain of it, but it is almost healed. In the dream I hear the words that it was a “conspirator’s blow” given me by an enemy of the King. I am fiercely loyal to the King and would never betray him (I feel this intensely in the dream), so I am traveling fast, lest the conspirator catch me again. I must get to the King quickly and warn him of this old enemy. I am feeling much love for the King as I go to meet him.”

Here again, the dream makes us aware that taking the “dark road” is essential for saving the King. There is also a reference to the story of Parzival and King Arthur.

Jung’s felt that the Arthur story was THE myth of the Western World. An old wound by the heart on the left side can only be caused by love. And only be healed by the person caused the wound. Like the oracle told to Telephus wounded by Achilles. It is all about love. The wound by the heart on the left side, the feminine side of feeling, mothering, seduction, enchantment. But also the side of wrath and revenge, sorcery and delusion as Joseph Campbell explains in his “The masks of God”.

psychic powers
Red King

“This simple symbol of a fire triangle with three radiating arrows below represents the “Perfect Red King,” the Sulfur of the Philosophers. In alchemy, sulphur represents Sol, the fiery male element (the counterpart of Luna, mercury, the female element) of the Celestial marriage (conjunctio). Chemically, the red sulfur was a mixture of mercury (spirit) and sulfur (soul), the marriage of which also represented the spiritual goal of alchemical work. This emblem appears in the Constantine, the movie adaptation of the Hellblazer Comic Book series, as a tattoo worn as a protective device by the title character, used to summon the angel Gabriel”. (Quote from symbol dictionary.net). Linda Mastrangelo shared her dream about a marriage between spirit and soul:

I am in this otherworldly community- of very sweet loving and compassionate people. I have fallen in love with a young man and the unfolding of this love is witnessed by the community in the dream. At first there is shyness and vulnerability. A hesitancy-is this Love true? I can feel this fear coming from him and I’m also paying attention to my own feelings. There is a dizzying attraction here that only comes with new love-we are hugging and kissing -the energy is transferred to both if us and our community. There is a tender moment where I am truly clear about my feelings as we hold each other under the stars.

I whisper to him “I love you” and tell him I want yo be with him and live here in the community. I mean it. And there is a moment of relief from him — a big smile and hug. It is true. Our love is real. This love is important and tied to the community. The Union will benefit the community and the community will benefit the Union.

It is a sacred marriage.

It was a Big Dream with the feelings still resonating hours after waking.I can’t help but feel connections to Anima/Animus and to Soul. Also the importance of clarity, Truth of feeling and intention.

> Read on in part 3, about: Animus/anima dreams

 

< Jumped in from elsewhere? Start at part 1 

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Anima, soul, supreme meaning: Reading Carl Jung’s Red Book in 5 (easy) steps

 

This is Mindfunda's presentation for the Dream Weekend organized by the Dutch society for dreamers: Vereninging voor de Studie van Dromen (VSD) . Unfortunately influenza payed me an uninvited visit. I was not able to attend the weekend. Aad van Ouwerkerk, author and dream worker read my presentation to the visitors. I thank him for doing that.

We all have been there: in total darkness. Lost and alone, looking for a new way of life. A new way of being. Carl Jung began writing the Red Book on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Mindfunda looks at his search for the supreme meaning in five (easy) steps. Because this will be a long post I have divided it into five seperate chapters. By clicking on each part it will guide you to the step I am talking about.

This is a series of blogs about my proces of dreaming my way through the Red Book. I have divided it into five steps:

  1. Carl Jung
  2. Psychic Powers and dreams
  3. Animus/anima dreams
  4. God
  5. the Self.

This blog will talk about the first step: Carl Gustav Jung and what led up to writing the Red Book.

The anima will be everywhere. The anima is the soul. Carl Jung his first concept of the soul was the female principle. The soul he thought he had lost when he gave so much (maybe too much) of himself to science.

anima

 

The first time ever I saw the Red Book at the Jungian institute, I wanted it. I did not actually crave to read it, I just wanted to have it. to open it up from time to time, read, try to read the caligraphy written in German, enjoy the art.

Take a look for yourself if you haven’t had the chance yet (sponsored link to Amazon.com):

Red Book - Carl Jung - Readers Edition (sponsored link to support this blog)
Red Book – Readers Edition (sponsored link to support this blog)

But at a given moment I mailed to some good friends of mine. People who are experienced dreamers. I invited them to read the Red Book with me and to incubate dreams and discuss them:

Jodine Grundy,
 Licensed Professional Counselor and former president of the International Association of Dreams.
Tim Schaming in training by Robert Moss who will make him realize that he already is a dream teacher.
Maria Cernutoproducer / researcher / writer/ makeup artist (and an extra ordinary gifted dreamer, who contributes to the site Dreams Cloud.
Linda Mastrangelo, Dream Worker, Researcher, Writer, Artist, and teacher .
Christian Gerike, Graduate student at Sonoma State University, Psychology Department, graduating on animals and dreaming.
Jenna Farr Ludwigdreamer, blogger on synchronicity and author.

This blog will talk about five (easy) steps:

  1. Carl Jung
  2. Telepathy and dreams
  3. Animus/anima dreams
  4. God
  5. the Self

But the anima will be everywhere. The anima is the soul. Carl Jung his first concept of the soul was the female principle. The soul he thought he had lost when he gave so much (maybe too much) of himself to science.

Carl Gustav Jung and the soul

Carl Jung (1875 -1961) was a psychiatrist living in Switzerland, married to one of the richest ladies of the country: Emma Rauschenbach. He was a charismatic man who was well liked by the ladies. One of those ladies, Tony Wolff, inspired the process described in the Red Book. She was Jung’s anima in the flesh.
The Red Book describes the process of Jung in search of his soul. His first concept of the anima was the soul. Later on he fine-tuned this process, making the anima part of the man’s psyche.

In 1913 Jung had a vision that lasted for about an hour. He saw blood. Red blood covering Europe. In his own words:

I saw a monstrous flood covering all the northern and low-lying lands between the North Sea and the Alps When it came up to Switzerland I saw that the mountains grew higher to protect the country. I realized that a frightful catastrophe was in progress. i saw the mighty yellow waves, the floating rubble of civilization, and the drowned bodies of uncounted thousands, Then the whole sea turned to blood. This vision lasted about one hour. I was perplexed and nauseated and ashamed of my weakness…

Two weeks past by then the visions recurred more vividly then before, and the blood was more emphasized. An inner voice spoke: “Look at it well, it is wholly real and it will be so, You can not doubt it”

Jung decided to stay with, and accept these visions. They later became part of a method called Active imagination. Stepping back into a dream or a vision and reliving the dream. Asking questions. Feeling feelings.
Many of us know about this part of the Red Book. Many of us see Jung as the shaman of the West because of this vision. Like a shaman he foresaw the horror facing many people. What do you think? Was it telepathy?

> Read on in part 2, about: Telepathy and dreams

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Evan Thompson: Waking, Dreaming, Being

Susanne van Doorn from Mindfunda interviewed philosopher Evan Thompson about his book ‘Waking, Dreaming, Being’. Evan Thompson builds a bridge between Western science: neurology and the oldest map of consciousness, Upanishad.

A big thanks to Christian Gerike for alerting me to this book, and to Christoph Grassmann, for sharing his presentation about the self in dreaming with me so I could prepare questions for this interview.

Evan Thompson talks to Mindfunda about:

  • How his father William Irwin Thompson founder of Lindisfarne Association, as well as his wife, neurologist Rebecca Todd, influenced the ideas he proposes in this book.
  • The waking state as a stream of consciousness with gaps in-between.
  • The dreaming state and especially lucid dreaming is a special kind of awareness.
  • Dreaming as more than random neurological chatter of the brain.
  • A state of pure awareness.
  • And finally Evan Thompson tells us why he picked up the pen to write Waking, Dreaming, Being.

I got aware of ‘Dreaming, Waking, Being’ because of a quote colleague Christian Gerike put on Facebook. It was this quote:

The first quarter is the waking state. Here consciousness turns outward and experiences the physical body as the self. Waking consciousness takes enjoyment in the ‘gross’ objects of sense perception, yet no object holds its interest for long, because attention, motivated by desire, constantly flits from one thing to another. Consciousness in the waking state is restless, dissatisfied, and constantly on the move.

~ Evan Thompson. ‘Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and consciousness in neuroscience, meditation, and philosophy.’ 2015, p. 9. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Evan Thompson
Waking, Dreaming, Being
Evan Thompson

Needless to say I was fascinated. I got myself a copy of the book and enjoyed the book very much. Being diabetic, and having experienced a coma when I was a young child I always have had a fascination about consciousness. What had happened to “me” in that coma? I was not there but I still had flashes of memory.
I considered the voice in my head as my I, my concept of self. That little voice that whispers to me when my blood sugar is low: “Susanne you are not seeing well, it is time to measure your blood sugar level”.

Reading ‘Waking, Sleeping, Being’ and talking to Evan Thompson gave me a new framework for my concept of self. Evan suggests that there are four states of awareness: the waking state, the dreaming state, dreamless sleep and a state of pure awareness.

Waking State

William James was one of the first psychologists and he coined the term “stream of consciousness”. The latest neurological research indicates that this stream is not continuous. it is filled with gaps. Evan talks about what could happen during such a gap and why understanding this is an important step towards understanding consciousness.

The waking state is a creator of the concept of self. Phenomenologists call them the “self-as-object”: a third person perspective, and the “self-as-subject”: me being aware of myself.  This I and Me perspective carry over to dreaming.

Dreaming state

Christoph Grassmann wrote a very interesting presentation about this for one of the psiberconferences organized by the IASD. Christoph was so kind to give me his presentation to prepare for this interview and that is why I asked Evan Thompson the question how his own sense of self had evolved during the process of writing the book. Evan told me that he had become more experienced in lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming had made him able to change his perspective on his sense of self because he was able to change processes and experiment in lucid dreams. In fact, a lucid dream inspired him to dive into the poems of the Upanishad and compare them with the latest scientific research about consciousness. He had that dream in Dharmsala, where he was invited to speak for a Mind and Life Institute conference with the Dalai Lama and Western neuroscientists on how experience can change the brain.

“I’ve always wanted, since I was a kid, to catch the exact moment when sleep arrives and notice when I begin to dream. With the rising and falling of my breath, colored shapes start to float on the inside of my eyelids. They hover just beyond my gaze, turning into cows and shacks and mules, like the ones I saw this morning on the bus ride up the mountain. As I watch these images, trying not to tamper with them so they don’t fall apart, I find myself thinking of how Jean Paul Sartre explains pre sleep in his book The Imaginary, which we read in my philosophy class a week before I left for India. When we are conscious of drifting of to sleep, Sartre says, we delay the process and create a peculiar state of consciousness, and from them we fashion images -but these shift with each eye movement and refuse to settle into dreams.
The next thing I know, I’m flying over a large, tree-filled valley. I must be dreaming, I tell myself. From the memory of trying to watch myself fall asleep –  still fresh in the dream- and the lack of memory for what came after, I realize I must have lost awareness during my drowsy reverie and reawakened in the dream. I’m having a lucid dream -the kind of dream where you know that you are dreaming. Indian and Tibetan traditions say that meditating in the lucid dream state can make it easier to see the consciousness beneath waking and dreaming, so I try to sit cross-legged and meditate. But my intention to sit this way won’t translate into action and I wind up kneeling instead. Then I lose the intention entirely and I am flying again, still aware that I am dreaming…”

Evan Thompson – ‘Waking Dreaming Being’  p 108

DReaming as more than neurological chatter

After all his research Evan Thompson is convinced that dreaming is more than random neurological firing from the brain. ‘Waking, Dreaming, Being’ gives us a framework to sharpen our mind. The framework that is handed to you as reader provokes your mind to think and rethink about your concept of self, your dreaming self and your memories. Any book that can do that is worth reading.
The science combined with the magic we all crave, magic that seems to be lost in our rational worlds is just what the doctor ordered.

 

watch the interview with Evan Thompson
Watch the interview with Evan Thompson (YouTube – 30min)

Watch the interview (30 min)

Do you like this post? Feel free to share!

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! Evan Thompson about his book Waking Sleeping Being.

Soon I will be interviewing Kate Adams and Bart Koet about their book Dreams and Spirituality.

GRAB YOURSELF A FREE E-BOOK AND LEARN ALL ABOUT MUTUAL DREAMING USING THIS LINK
Join me on Facebook
Twitter @susannevandoorn