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.

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3 comments on “The Rainmaker, by Carl Jung

  1. owanderer says:

    Hey. Would you be willing to be more specific with your trigger warnings? I like reading your writing but I’m never quite sure if I’ll find your posts triggering. So far, I have not, and… I dunno, it would just be a lot easier to know what I am getting into if you added a trigger or content warning like:
    trigger warning: mentions of abuse
    or
    content warning: discussion of racism
    or whatever.
    Thanks.

    Like

    • Faemon says:

      Thank you for the suggestion. I’d found more specificity difficult because I did (still sometimes do) have a tendency to fixate on mentions that I’m not even certain qualify/connect with what I would be warning for…or if it’s my fixating/constellating. Or if a specific warning I was about to include highlights something as necessarily bad that shouldn’t be (and it’s a trigger to imply so), or if the issue would be more in the subject’s treatment than for the subject being there at all. (I’ve been triggered by cases such as those two from what I’ve read by someone elses, so…when I empathize it’s more confusing, if how bad I feel isn’t as substantive to the convo—after I’d gotten me together—as why and how much I disagree, and then there’s Spoon Theory to consider, how irregular the depths of my own triggers are that I can’t expect someone else to anticipate or accommodate…)

      So, that’s all partly why I settled on the broadest possible warning. (Compared to spoiler warnings, where any mention of fictional media other than the title is broad by nature but structured enough that I can confidently note it when it’s there and leave it when it’s not, and that the risks of the worst results of a missing spoiler warning or one that’s there for something not detailed enough for an individual reader to consider a spoiler…not at all being that damaging either way.)

      If you have specific triggers that you’d prefer to be warned about, please do feel free to send me a message at faemonic(gmail.com) or post a reply here and I’ll do my best to catch and note them for future entries.

      Like

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