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.

Charted Territory

I found this chart of the Rungus spirit world from a paper entitled Conservation as an unintended outcome of cultural practices, by Ashley Massey, Shonil Bhagwat, and Paul Porodong.

At the time I found this particular chart, it felt very rigid. My experiences didn’t match up with the shape of it, so I couldn’t make a similar Poesy Spirit World chart. Now I think that might have been because I had filters on those experiences that I kept switching out: anthropological theories about animism and anthropomorphism on a spectrum of personification, psychological interpretations for something that must be interfacing with my psyche (as each experience left less corporeal evidence than a corporeal experience), and a sort of instinctive mental dissection because if something beyond me wasn’t happening in corporeal spacetime with energy-matter then how does it imitate or deviate from that? And if I intuited associations with these almost-sensory experiences, then why would one confer the other?

As much as I tried to notice what was happening before taking a stand for What’s What in the worlds, all those interpretations would feed back on the experience. To make a chart of flowing movements, media, agents, contexts or planes where those applied…that might lock me onto one filter of something happening, that was organic, that invited multiple approaches.

I didn’t like the idea or the feeling of being mode-locked, but eclecticism makes a mess. I was comfortable with that mess, maybe even as comfortable as I long ago would have been with a chart like that (because it’s visual! Spatial! Labeled! So much sense and accessibility! Awesome!)

I’m still comfortable with the eclectic mess, but I’m beginning to see the appeal of charting something like that again. It doesn’t lock the approach any more than writing out an experience does, or making drawings of guisers. Those are not the experience, yet they refer to or serve as signifiers of the experience. But for some reason, I had considered the writing and drawing as matters of utility and creative expression, whereas something like a chart had come to represent pretensions to authority: it announces that I Know What’s What and this is It.

Really, a chart can just be another way of writing and drawing. I’d managed to forget that writing can be put forward as What’s What, but I never hesitated to write as long as I kept to descriptions rather than explanations, and descriptions of the abstract turn into explanations anyway. There’s always going to be the glue of sense-making, the connections that make the whole thing more than its separate parts.

And there’s always going to be categorization. Recently, I read about something called ethnoscience, which recognizes that people make categorizations that are useful to themselves, and that categorization has value. Ethnozoology (for one example) isn’t taxonomy, but rather than be disregarded as not up to taxonomical standards, the ethnozoological categories remain worth noting for their cultural value. Categories of “large game, small game, livestock, vermin, pets, human-eating predators,” can be considered ethnozoological, and prove more useful in some contexts than “kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species, sub-species” of the taxonomical categories. This doesn’t even mean that one or the other approach must be eliminated (or even diminished) in a culture, just that it’s important to keep clear that pets aren’t an order under the class livestock, that a pet in one culture can be a pest in another, and that most taxonomists can’t be bothered with sub-species (breeds, races) unless they’re really desperate to name something after themselves.

*

I keep going back to the categories that I use most often: corporeal, otherreal, surreal, sidereal. These are shortcuts for a quality of experience that I have, so I hesitate to say that they are literal otherworlds. I don’t even use “sidereal” that much because I don’t feel a strong conviction or justification for the definition of it, or maybe that lack of conviction-justification means that I use the word less.

This chart (from Marcel Danesi’s A Basic Course in Anthropological Linguistics) might be closer to the messy eclecticism and comparative categorization that I’m comfortable with:

When I look at a rainbow in the sky, I usually only see three colors. It stands to reason that where those colors blend would generate at least two more colors in a rainbow (four more, counting the outside edges of a rainbow band, which shouldn’t count), but if I hadn’t been told what to look for, my natural categorization instincts would take that there were three colors.

I’m taught to name seven colors in a rainbow, but also to have suspicions about “indigo”. Isaac Newton named seven colors because seven was a sacred number in whatever mystical tradition it was he followed. Indigo was shoehorned in. Most people who aren’t colorblind don’t bother to make the distinction between indigo and violet as routinely as the other colors (red distinct from orange, orange from yellow, yellow from green, green from blue…)

I should say, most English-speaking visual people who aren’t colorblind, because the following chart makes a case for language shaping perception. Aqua in the Shona language is a color all its own, rather than a shade of blue or green actually blue or green would be a shade of aqua.

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On Fate

This prompt, Deity and the Divine, was taken from The Pagan Experience blog project. As the website notes:

Not everyone has a particular Deity that they work with. But, everyone has an archetypal form or energy that flows through their chosen path. This may be the spirit of Hope or Compassion; the energy derived from the Full Moon, a beautiful sunset or sitting at the ocean’s edge.

That rather expands the definition of “divine”, then, which is great but left me wondering where do I begin?

In an essay entitled “Here, There, and Anywhere” about the development of religions as (respectively) domestic, state, and through people unaffiliated with location, Jonathan Z. Smith also made the distinction between faiths of sanctification (where the divine was in and of the world) and salvation (where the divine provided a model to which to shape, or way by which to escape, the un-divine world.)

While I do seek the world that I know for avenues to or aspects of the divine, I still describe my numinous experiences as removed from this world, “numinous” as in within some scope of divinely-approved space—the word “numinous” originating from “(for a deity) to nod in approval”. So, I still have this idea that there’s a permeating element of that which is not divine.

So, I’ll just hop on over to the notion of Fate, which I define as the first sort of layer that existence interfaces with experience (my personal experience). Whether the world is innately chaotic or innately ordered, Fate is what I name the sense that I’ve made of it.

Fate can then demonstrate the issue with sanctification, when the conjunction of the notions results in the following: Everything already is the way that it should be.

Not necessarily. If one is Fated to suffer, then one is (in a way) Fated to fight ifwhen the fight is the natural reaction to the suffering. If the notions available to the subject lack anything that would awaken something as volatile as the instinct to fight against suffering, then that is Fate in action as well but not as personally and personificationally as we might take these mechanics.

That’s why I introduced the notion of layers. To me, Fate doesn’t reside on a layer that considers the should. It’s merely the most immediate sense that experience makes of existence: recognition of an event and attribution of values that would allow for that recognition, but not the value itself and certainly not sophisticated ones yet such as “beneficial event” or “inconvenient event” or even “disastrous event”.

That said, even the property of immediacy can change. If personal safety were a matter of urgent and important concern, then whether an event were beneficial or disastrous wouldn’t be sophisticated but instinctive and would likely model the rest of my philosophy around it. But here’s where I am right now, and the model of reality that I’m working with.

Fate is the plot of a multi-faceted story without exposition, rising action, climax or denouement. It’s plotless, without a plan or concern for my personal success or ruin, but it’s still possible to “lose the plot” if nothing makes any sense anymore to the point where even I wouldn’t make sense even to myself.

That’s one definition, and the first definition. That said, I can’t help using the word also for divine interference, which can get confusing especially as I haven’t yet figured out why the divine would interfere (not merely interface) with a sanctified world that is wholly and inherently divine; and even a world that wasn’t would (I can’t help but think) have its own non-divine mechanics for the divine to contend with. The layers must touchback to each other, or else they would be simultaneously and multi-dimensionally active.

The Glamour just might bridge the between, being the connections that make the whole of anything greater than the sum of its parts.

Even the way I explain it all is just a metaphor for how I think, or at least how I think about it in a way that could be expressed. The thing itself doesn’t come in layers or summable parts or a defined whole, but those are distinctions that I make just to attempt to refer to the mysterious thing.

The Three Gates

 

The main reason I think up of why I’m a Faelatrist (of a sort) is that fairy tales provide the best language by which I can express my numinous experiences. At least, the fairy tales I’ve read.

Despite being the best symbolic-spiritual “language” though, I’ve still had to wrangle with the language as in…the words.

And I still have trouble anchoring some prominent concepts in available symbolic metaphors: metals, music, monarchy, and many other objects or practices that actually don’t begin with the letter M.

This one is the latest.

~

I cannot explain the architecture of the gates yet, because even just calling them gates makes an image out of them that they are not. It’s a shift into a new state of mind, and it opens up to a different space. There is no movement, and there is no space.

The first is Craven’s Gate, which is ironically named because it takes a lot of courage to approach it. It also takes honesty to enter, and love to survive a questant’s stay there. Within the gate is, mostly, suffering: the truths that hurt, but are no less true; the debts unpaid, the pains unhealed. The gate alone sets these notions apart, but there is never room to contain them, and yet it is never empty. You can keep this gate shut, if you must, and many do; but it is an injury to conscience and it will make itself manifest.

The second is Maven’s Gate, by which willpower aligns with effective action and is therefore aptly named. I’ve only just been edging into this, myself. Perhaps this gate represents the notion that we must own our biases, as nobody is an objective observer, and is a call to (borrowing from Joseph Campbell) follow our bliss. This is not only what we are, but what we make.

The third is Haven’s Gate, which is only theoretical to me. It opens upon the alignment of the other two gates, the inner world, the shared world, and the world beyond that. It is everything that exists and is “meant to” be, although I wonder if it’s exactly the same as Craven’s Gate reframed by the consideration that there is no inner world except that which we grant because it’s a natural concept to form in the mind, immutable, but still only a concept. Whether it’s the unknown and unknowable chaos of the inner or outer world, Haven’s is the gate of Fate, or it would be.

~

At first, I thought that Craven’s Gate had to be the first stop. Without confronting the contents of that, any approach to Maven’s Gate would be shallow delusion, self-defeating, repressive and oppressive. It might even be that Maven’s Gate is the philosophical enemy to Craven’s Gate because it’s for the sake of approaching Maven’s Gate that anything craven (that would make a craven out of us, anything unwanted but real and right in its place in our lives) is shed.

But the courage and compassion required to approach Craven’s Gate is a manufactured truth, not one discovered. Of the three gates, Maven’s is most purposeful a boundary-setter, and boundaries are healthy. But perhaps what grants people everything needed to approach Craven’s gate is Haven’s doing, as the provider of every notion and thing that is.

Or perhaps I’m wrong because I make of all this up.