The Rainmaker, by Carl Jung

The following entry may contain triggering material.

I’ve only recently encountered this story that Jung and Jungian protégés made a cornerstone of the philosophy. As I’ve read, no lecture, no compilation of info even, should ever go without this story if it would be Jungian (or, Jungian active imagination, the sources being most insistent on it.)

It also relies on culture clash. While I was celebrating not being fictionkin of an unspecified stereotype of an indigenous American character written by a Scotsman, (inhale) but more likely lived the archetype of this tractably Inuit mythic figure as interpreted by a Latina woman—the telling of Clarissa Pinkola-Estés’ “Skeleton Woman” hadn’t much to ground it (in anywhere but Estés’ voice), and for that, I don’t find an uprooting (insofar as it’s up to me to find or not find.) The shared understanding of culture becomes appropriative with the willfully ignorant misunderstanding/misrepresentation of specific names and symbols in demographic power imbalance. I suspect that every human being has a skeleton, and most have figured out that there’s good eatin’ on a fish.

This, in contrast…

There was a great drought where the missionary Richard Wilhelm lived in China. There had not been a drop of rain and the situation became catastrophic. The Catholics made processions, the Protestants made prayers, and the Chinese burned joss sticks and shot off guns to frighten away the demons of the drought, but with no result.

Finally the Chinese said: We will fetch the rain maker. And from another province, a dried up old man appeared. The only thing he asked for was a quiet little house somewhere, and there he locked himself in for three days.

On the fourth day, clouds gathered and there was a great snowstorm at the time of the year when no snow was expected, an unusual amount, and the town was so full of rumors about the wonderful rain maker that Wilhelm went to ask the man how he did it.

In true European fashion [Wilhelm] said: “They call you the rain maker, will you tell me how you made the snow?”

And the little Chinaman said: “I did not make the snow, I am not responsible.”

“But what have you done these three days?”

“Oh, I can explain that. I come from another country where things are in order. Here they are out of order, they are not as they should be by the ordnance of heaven. Therefore the whole country is not in Tao, and I am also not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered country. So I had to wait three days until I was back in Tao, and then naturally the rain came.”

I think it’s a good idea often enacted in bad ways. I grew up having an awful lot of awful events handwaved away as part of some Grand Cosmic Plan that would ultimately show to be Benevolent. It begged a redefinition of benevolence, and in retrospect the result would be the obedience and passivity of whoever was subject to that suggestion. Those who’d held to that because New Thought style philosophy worked so well for them, I couldn’t help but notice often came from wealthy and well-connected families—the results attributed more easily to spirituality than privilege—and at least one I’d met I would describe as very politely transphobic and affably homophobic. Gender binary cis-heteronomativity was a very obviously integral part of the Correct And Proper Order Of The Universe, to them.

So, I find what I call Sidereal workings (in Maven’s Way) almost incompatible with this, Haven’s Way approach in which there’s nothing to work. Coincidental ego-level external benefits come from inner work alone—literally alone, self-locked in a room for three days at least. Obviously I’m not There (Yet), so I’m awfully cynical. Even when I disagree, though, I can’t help incorporating some part of it theoretically. Frances Hodgson Burnett described a similar metaphysical system in A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, which I’d taken interest in examining before. I can’t claim to reject New Thought completely, especially when the gist of it comes at me from so many different sources. At least I can complain whenever it comes up. I’m sick of striving to serenity in what silence and solitude I can manage. That’s only been a trap.

A Trick of the Light

The following entry may contain triggering material.

Last week, I was walking to work when it occurred to me how much warmer the weather was than when I usually walk to work. Like, the start of sweltering, which ought to be a season; maybe the other could be chilling. The personifications of time, that I consciously decided ought to be a thing about two years ago…for the most part have gone nowhere fast. I thought they’d be everywhere once I started being open to noticing them.

Captain Marigold does seem to come clearer around this time. I’d come to association the bright, hot, dry days with her. She’d crossed over sometime during the -ber months of 2014, though—I’d thought her up originally as a fanfiction character, like if Captain Hook had to contend with some cross between Pirate Queen Granuaile and Pirate Queen Alfhild. More pirates ought to be women. I was so smug that I knew the difference between mythopoeia and theophany, and then Marigold punched through my precious worldview. Since last year’s Sweltering season, she’s been overseeing the projectile part of my etheric weapons training.

At knifepoint.

And part of that was conjuring up images of corporeal offline people I hate enough to never, ever, ever want to see again, not even in imagination. Going full-on no-contact and avoidance had been infinitely valuable to recovering from them, even if I could never personally get a hang of repression. And Marigold wanted to bring them up.

“But it’s not going to do anything,” I’d reasoned to Marigold, and pointed across the grassy field. “These aren’t their real souls. Look, they lurch around like undead. It’s just images of them that I thought up because you’d asked me to.”

And the thing about spiritwork as an imaginary interface is, I guess it’s if I’ve had too much of some kind of Vitamin B, what’s imagined is vivid enough to have the same texture as the spirit world. Most people who’ve attempted blank mind meditations might have noticed an internal chatter that originates internally but isn’t within their control; and the same goes for some unforced daydreams, so the appearance of autonomy could very well be just that, appearance.

Anything I thought I was doing before on this plane that made for wishcraft could be headspace stuff,” I realized. “A while back, I’d read of one witch that cast curses, but also added that conjuring up a duplicate of someone you hate so as to have at them was safe and a valid form of inner work to get over it…what if it’s always the latter?” I might be mildly embarrassed if that were the case, having kept a wishcraft blog for three years or so, but I’d really rather know.

Marigold didn’t sigh or smile. She only said, “Are you going to overthink it, as you always do, or are you going to start shooting?” She wasn’t being Socratically ironic in that question, she was being rhetorical.

AT KNIFEPOINT.

Actually, that’s a gladius.

Pirates. The last time I’d tried to bring up a serious topic to have a real conversation about metaphysics with Foxglove, he’d rolled his eyes and jumped right overboard. But I later described these training sessions to him as ‘a very lenient level of personal hell’ and I think he knows better than I do what Captain Marigold is like. I catch a glimpse of them both in the same space sometimes, and get the sense that they’ve been affable nemises since before I was born.

*

Since then, I’d been re-reading Joan Chodorow’s compilation of Jung On Active Imagination more slowly and carefully. Dangers to engaging in Active Imagination without the guidance of an analyst included getting caught in a sterile circle of one’s own complexes, or aesthetic phantasmagoria by which nothing of value is gained.

The forefather of modern psychology brought in a great deal of baggage. The way I’d heard it told, Sigmund Freud’s first protege was Alfred Adler, who I’d heard and read next to nothing about despite Adler possibly having stumbled upon a bridge between some of the more prominent ideologies in contemporary Western thought: kyriarchy and individualism. Freud had a very specific and rigid idea about sexual repression being the source of so many mental disorders. When Adler, who was supposed to be Freud’s younger duplicate (according to Freud), went up to Freud all like, “Hey, Papa Sig…I married this nice Russian anti-capitalist feminist lady and she has a lot of good ideas about societal conditioning that I want to adopt into the psychoanalytical framework we’re making, you know, broadening the scope outside of sexual repression could be insightfu—” But Freud’s eyes began to glow and wreathes of flames erupted from between his teeth as he shouted, “ADLER YOU ARE DEAD TO ME.” And Adler beat a hasty retreat. But because I’d read so little of Adler, I can’t speak to how traumatizing that might have been.

After Carl Jung proposed religious systems of symbolism as a possible alternative, Papa Sig’s eyes again glowed and he breathed fire between, “JUNG YOU ARE DEAD TO ME” and Jung fell into a bleak depression after the breakup. The experiments with self-treatment, that Jung began during that time, grew to define his career.

I found myself amused reading of one daydream of Jung’s in which he found himself on a battlefield, with Sigmund Freud riding a chariot down a mountain towards them. A comrade-in-arms of Jung in this fantasy, described as a “brown-skinned savage”, hurled a weapon at their enemy, it met its mark and imaginary Sigmund Freud fell imaginarily dead.

Another version of their falling-out that I’d read of involved Freud psychoanalyzing Jung and coming to the conclusion that Jung was conspiring against Freud, and Freud believed that action must be taken in accordance with that—even though, especially as, that impulse Freud “found” in Jung must have been entirely subconscious. I imagine Jung trying to convince himself that Freud’s entire framework was not, and had never been, real or right at all in any measure—a way to protect and purify oneself against emotional abuse, and recover oneself. Freud got everyone pegged wrong, some forefather of psychology that is—how preposterous that Freud would find any fibre of disloyalty in someone who admired him as much as Jung—

And yet, there Jung stood in the daydream of a battlefield, and there imaginary Sigmund Freud lay imaginarily dead as though Jung’s subconscious were trying to tell him something. The way Jung interpreted it was this: though this imaginary corpse borrowed Freud’s face, the archetype was that of the patriarchal warrior, and while having a mentor figure had helped Jung to mature, it was time for that notion to “die” and for Jung to finally grow up into his own prestige. (Especially as the same archetype allegedly remained very much alive in pre-Second-World-War collective psyches…and created Nazis. I’d read it as fitting, then, that the personage to deal the killing blow in Jung’s mindscape was dark and “savage” although I haven’t read more on Jung’s analysis and relationship to this comrade-in-arms yet.) I read it as the chariot-riding archetype was too pure to be human (so no human can become an archetype unless they are repressing a lot), and too different from Jung by nature even then for Jung to ever have a hope of growing up into the doppelganger of Freud that Freud seemed to have expected of his proteges. (Hi, Adler.)

*

Archery lessons were a massive bore, to go through and to write about. Still, eventually, gradually, I started to feel better. Marigold and the sessions became gradually less vivid. I still don’t have a bow of my own. The imaginary inanimate object remains very opinionated as it explodes randomly into arrows (randomly, except when I’ve borrowed Marigold’s bow.) Lately, Marigold’s been back around, but hasn’t bossed me around to do much. Will follow where this leads; not to be an ingrate, but Marigold never struck me as the type to show up or do anything just because (though I’d never personally had to pay any tithes yet, nor have I borne witness to any of her plans coming to fruition. Maybe it’s too big or on a need-to-know basis.)

Refresher in Craven’s Way

The following entry may contain triggering material.

I began calling this node of poesy “Craven’s Way” because I believed Jungian psychology to be purely psychology, with any paranormal associations a misunderstanding of the collective unconscious. As I read more, though, it turns out that Jung—or at least one of Jung’s apprentices, Barbara Hannah—believed a number of common psychic visions to have, in hindsight, been prophetic of World War I. Hannah had a peculiarly casual attitude to time travel, even, sort of brushing it off as boring and so let’s get back to how much this case patient hated her dad…but Barbara, you traveled through physical time and back. No, let’s not move on to this patient’s personal feelings!

I’d gladly continue differentiating Craven’s and Shades, as I had a simple concept of Shadow Work that I’d rather continue to keep simple (and call Craven’s Way) for the practice of it: the more we experience and parse, the more we miss out on and reject, and that can sometimes generate tension that people suffer from (personally or interpersonally) so Craven’s Way is tuning that dissonance to be more harmonious or even utilizing the dissonance in casting. The metaphysical stuff of it is necessarily phobogenic: when I’m not even a little bit afraid, I’m not doing the Work even if I think I am.

So, while it originates internally and emotionally, 1. it’s witchcraft rather than mysticism, another distinction that Barbara Hannah makes in Encounters with the Soul, the witch being a part of the collective consciousness that demands the whole be subservient to this one part whereas the mystic surrenders the whole self to harmony with the whole collective—and I want to work on not being complacent in the face of the unconscionable, so I don’t appreciate the value judgment Hannah and Jung seem to cast on mystics who fit that description, like, the mystics are in the right for having transcended wrong and right; 2. I’d like to keep Craven’s Way practice-orientated, whereas Shadow Work has extensive theory behind it.

And the complexity of that underlying theory I consider still worth examining, just as I still have mystic leanings and hiccups.

Excerpt from “Creating the False Self” by Harville Hendrix:

A child’s reaction to society goes through a number of predictable stages. Typically, the first response is to hide forbidden behaviors from the parents. The child thinks angry thoughts but doesn’t speak them out loud. He explores his body in the privacy of his room. He teases his younger sibling when his parents are away.

Eventually the child comes to the conclusion that some thoughts and feelings are so unacceptable that they should be eliminated, so he constructs an imaginary parent in his head to police his thoughts and activities, a part of the mind that [Freudian] psychologists call the “superego”.

Now, whenever the child has a forbidden thought or indulges in an unacceptable behavior, he experiences a self-administered jolt of anxiety. This is so unpleasant that the child [represses] some of those forbidden parts of himself. The ultimate price of his obedience is a loss of wholeness.

(…) the child creates a “false self,” a character structure that serves a double purpose: it camouflages those parts of his being that he has repressed and protects him from further injury (…) At some point in a child’s life, however, this ingenious form of self-protection becomes the cause of further wounding as the child is criticized for having these [neurotic] traits.

His attackers don’t see the wound he is trying to protect, and they don’t appreciate the clever nature of his defense: all they see is the neurotic side of his personality. He is deemed less than whole.

Now the child is caught in a bind. He needs to hold on to his adaptive character traits, but he doesn’t want to be rejected. What can he do? The solution is to deny or attack his critics (…) These negative traits become what is referred to as the “disowned self,” those parts of the false self that are too painful to acknowledge.

We have now succeeded in fracturing your original wholeness, the loving and unified nature that you were born with, into three separate entities:

1. Your “lost self,” those parts of your being that you had to repress because of the demands of society.

2. Your “false self,” the façade that you erected in order to fill the void created by this repression and by a lack of adequate nurturing.

3. Your “disowned self,” the negative parts of your false self that met with disapproval and were therefore denied.

The only part of this complex collage that you were routinely aware of was the parts of your original being that were still intact[,] and certain aspects of your false self. Together these elements formed your “personality,” the way you would describe yourself to others.

It amuses me how Hendrix puts it, “succeeded in fracturing your original wholeness” like despair or numbness is an accomplishment.

As unwieldy to incorporate as this is, it rings true to me. Back when I could far-fetch, those vivid out-of-body experiences began to take on one dreamlike quality in that once I was out, the plans and priorities I’d held to so rigidly in the interest of being scientific about this phenomenon…would go out the window. The way I behaved in that—whatever that was—was lustful and mischievous. My then-mentor in psychism, my sibling, and corporeal Cecil back then agreed that was so “so unlike you!” that this otherworldly self had to have been made up of all of my most rejected repressions.

I was glad, then, that that self-of-mine-sorta was whoring herself out and wreaking havoc far, far, far away from the “real” or default world.

In a completely mundane way, we integrated. It was a magnificent disaster. I’m not proud of all of it, there’s a great deal of that integration that still leaves me conflicted…but I can’t say “it was my faery fetch did it” or “made me do it” or “not me” just because it’s not who I strive to be/become; by the nature of this fetch, it was all me. And fortunately, this explosive reintegration, if it could indeed have been disastrous on a notably supernatural level as well, remained merely mundane in its expression—and not even criminal, though that doesn’t mean much.