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After a night of uncomfortable dreams of being lost and having no direction I woke to write this. I thought about not publishing it for this was mostly an exercise to settle down the dream work. I decided to post it, as perhaps others might relate.   Spo

I am looking forward to a lavish Halloween dinner (for two) and this Christmas has the pleasure of putting up a tree* with the 13 Yule lads ornaments I received in July as a birthday prize. Apart from these two pleasantries I don’t have anything to look forward to.  This is not good as it translates to stagnation. I have a steady job and weekly mundane tasks to do; there is work to be done. What is lacking are life goals. There is no personal growth happening at the moment.  Not good. 

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live can bear with almost any ‘how’” wrote Mr. Frankl in his memoir “Man’s search for meaning”. He was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp; he write he managed to survive be he felt his life had purpose. 

Mr. Dostoyevsky wrote something similar: “The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive but in finding something to live for”.

Freudian psychology is overall a gloomy pessimistic psychology ; Jungian psychology has the notion of personal growth leading to Meaning and a Life with sense – if you will do it. Jungians are keen on finding purpose to Life. To live without is sad for those who are unconscious but it is downright tragic for those who are conscious. Inner wholeness and peace comes from an understanding of where one is going.  

At the moment many have no vision of where they are going. Between covid19 and politics Life has a lot of uncertainty. Life has always been and will always be uncertain but in a pandemic or looming loss of civility this axiom is more obvious. Covid19 has us with the tedious task of waiting an uncertain length of time. Meanwhile I need to work on finding something to live for.  I have lost purpose and I need to find some.

 

 

*We did no put up a tree in 2019 as we traveled to Michigan for Mother’s last Christmas. 

As a boy I felt isolated about who and what I was. This led to a rich fantasy life in my play and in my reading. I wanted to escape this world that had no one like me. How I longed to go down the rabbit hole or through the wardrobe to somewhere that at allowed me to be who I was.* This is an archetype in which one longs to be claimed by a tribe that recognizes you as their own – and one far better than the lot you were stuck with up until then. ** The Archetype of The Divine Child has its Shadow side of course. One of its elements is the desire to run away and not face facts. There is no Warrior energy in this: one crawls into a hole with their books and tech-toys to become isolated and alone. The Japanese have a word for this sort: The Hikikomori. 

Ever since my youth I continue to struggle not to let escapism dominate my life and actions. It is a constant challenge. Whenever confronted with bad news or a conflict or injustice (especially when it comes to politics or the world) I want to close the doors and shutters and withdraw into the inner-compartment of my mind where no one has ever entered.

One of my favorite poems is “Stolen Child” by William Yeats. The fairy folk try to lure away a child to join them. One gets the impression what they are offering hands-down beats the dreary life the child has:

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

This week synchronicity linked me onto a similar siren song: “Come little children” from the movie “Hocus Pocus”, which is beautifully sung by these two handsomes :The Fox and Hound:

Their rendition captures the weariness of life; leaving would be no loss – although what is being offered doesn’t sound much better:

When I succumb to the siren song of escapism there is little peace in doing so for the other aspects of my Psyche see this as copping-out if not downright cowardice.  Yes, they say, the world sucks and bad things happen but what if Gandhi or Dr. King or Susan B. Anthony took the approach you are choosing?  ‘Turn around!’ they say, ‘Get out and claim your spot (yes you have a right to have one) and do what you can!”

I know my strengths and weaknesses; I know which screws are loose. I was not a brave boy and this (worse luck!) did not improve in time. I don’t so much pray for Strength but draw on the Archetype of King and Warrior and the folks in my life more in touch with these energies than I. They comfort me, they stiffen my spine. There is no Wonderland or Narnia. I am part of the world; I have a right to be here, although this involves battle. These next four years will be the test if I implode or rise to the occasion.

 

 

*Later on in life I heard Dorothy sing “Somewhere over the rainbow”; I thought it was the most spot-on song ever written.

**Harry Potter is an excellent example of this. A unremarkable boy trapped living with an awful family is discovered to be a wizard and an extraordinary one as well.  What child does not long for similar discovery?

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections has mixed feelings about entries with Jungian Psychology. They like the Dungeons & Dragons elements (after all they belong to that lot) but the psychobabble bores the pants off of them. * I’ve been reflecting upon Forgotten Gods ever since Someone and I heard Mr. Gaiman’s “American Gods”. The gimmick of this TGR (thumping good read) is people from all over the world brought their gods to North America and these divine beings are still mucking about often living in shoddy conditions and holding lackluster jobs. What they have in common is they miss being worshipped. Most of them would be happy with merely being remembered.

History is strewn with countless gods and goddesses nearly all of them forgotten. It’s funny to think of gods as capable of dying but they do; equally funny is the notion new ones get born. Indeed in Mr. Gaiman’s book the old gods are at war with the new gods of The Media and The Internet.

Gods carry archetypal energy. They act like stencils. Mother goddess energy stays the same but shows its form in many ways. This concept is nicely reflected in Mr. Campbell’s seminal book titled “The Hero with a thousand faces”.

The gods need us and we need them. Without their numinous libido Life is colorless. We may delight at smashing the idols as pagan and antiquated but then we create new ones –  we can’t help it. As an aside the current crop of deities is a sorry lot full of safe black/white principals and pushed out Shadow parts (on the horror!). They do not suffice. It is no surprise to the Jungians people seem drawn to returning to more ancient forms of gods with their wild and dark sides to fulfill our psyches.

On a less lofty level the concept of Forgotten Gods strikes a universal chord we want to be remembered. Whether god or human we don’t want to disappear. Truth is the vast majority of mankind is forgotten within a few generations only to be remembered (if at all) as abstract names and dates on tombstones and in genealogy records. Many cultures in the east have a Remembrance Day for honoring and remembering the ancestors (our All Souls Days and Memorial Days don’t do much I fear and Day of the Dead is more a party now than a day of recalling the dead). Even the gods can not stop becoming extinct.

While we are alive it is best to be in touch with god/goddess energy and live life to the fullest always going towards apotheosis so when we die and are forgotten we go knowing we have had a marvelous journey while it lasted.

 

 

*That is if they were wearing any pants. They wear what looks like kilts that have seen better days and no I don’t know what they wear underneath them. Last year as a Yule gift I sent them all some Mack Weldons but who knows if these were actually worn or were they exchanged for matching tiki-glasses that decorated Heorot Johnsons soon afterwards.

 

Cryptid (n): an animal (such as Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster) that has been claimed to exist but never proven to exist.

Urs Truly is a big fan of ghoulies and ghosties and things that go bump in the night.  Monsters and mythical beings are aspects of our personal and collective psyches. They carry our fears but they are also jolly good fun.*  Terry Prachett  (no stranger to these sorts) wrote:

“Humans need fantasy to be human, to be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.”

Springheel_Jack

The Cryptid currently bouncing about my psyche is a fellow well over feet named Spring-heeled Jack. His story makes for a TGR (thumping good read). As a cross between Jack the Ripper and a demon. He literally sprang about in England in the early 19th century, frightening the citizens and making a splash into our psyches as another example of the archetype The Boogey Man.  I haven’t thought of him since childhood until last week when I phoned Brother #2 and family. They were watching a TV show about “Moth man” a West Virginia cryptid now being exploited like the aliens at Roswell.  I educated Nephew #2 about Mr. S.H. Jack and now he’s hooked on the tale as was his father and I.

Afterwards I went on line to find a photo of Mr. S.H. Jack to send to the nephew. The saying ‘there is everything on the internet” is true.  I stumbled across The Spring-heeled jack coffee company which looks a splendid place chock-full of coffee beans with demonic names. It is a bit of a disappointment to learn Mr. Jack demonic-like wasn’t from the devil but merely being over-caffeinated.  More important than the coffee is the site sells a Spring-heeled Jack T-shirt. Hot puppies! I plan on getting one and jumping about the place frightening the citizens and making no splash into our psyches but being told to pipe down.

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*La Casa de Spo is full up with these sorts of which I have written many times. They jump about the house and the inner compartments of my pumpkin making Life fun-filled and interesting. Someone the rationalist never experiences these things

There is a fantasy series titled “The incarnations of immortality” written by Piers Anthony. He takes the Jungian concept of archetypes and inverts it. Rather than the common man having archetypes within him Mr. Anthony  (clever man!) has the archetypes of Time, Death, Nature, War, and Fate as jobs filled in by ordinary folk. Fate of course is a three man job – no, make that a three woman job rather. These employees come and go while the role of the office stays. I think of this concept whenever encountering a revolving door of in and out staff members.

The last incarnation of The Medical Assistant (#4) quit suddenly to take an ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ job. This left me in a lurch with no word from The Boss what’s to be done. The Desk Receptionist (another archetypal job)  took over as if nothing had ever happened. Today I came to work to drop off finished forms and pick up new ones to encounter a stranger stating she was just hired as for the next incarnation of The Medical Assistant. I forget what her name was/is. It sounded like Lucretia Borgia which I hope is not prophetic. I hope #5 works out and stays awhile.

Someone got a recommendation of a lawyer we could use to write our wills. This woman would be the second one to the incarnation of The Attorney. The first one was so long ago I cannot remember her name. We favor applicants of the female persuasion; it is good to have a strong Warrior Queen type woman for legal matters.

The fellow filling the present post of The Good Doctor incarnation has done so for over a decade and I am pleased as punch he has managed to stick around. I often hear the laments from my own patients their PCPs change of them frequently sometime yearly when insurances change. People come and go so quickly here in Medicine nowadays. Gone are the good old days when your GP and you grew old together eyeing each other wondering which will expire first.

As for Urs Truly I have been The Shrink since 2005 for which my patients are most grateful*. I am an incarnation of the staunchest type well over four feet. Please don’t feed me buns and things.

 

 

*Well most of them anyway. There’s no pleasing some.

“If you were to have three wishes what would they be?”

Everyone fantasizes about this archetypal question. Every society throughout history has a version of the three wishes tale. Some entity or magical object appears to some unfortunate or smarty pants in need of a lesson and grants them three wishes. Sometimes the three wishes workswell (example: Aladdin) most mostly  they do not (example: the monkey’s paw). Usually there is an element of folly and being careful what you wish for. The wishes usually come in sets of three. Carl Jung thought three was unstable state in need of a fourth to create stability.  The motif of the three wishes illustrate his point:

The first wish is usually done thoughtlessly; its results create regret after its consequences of the wish become apparent.

The second wish tries to fix the first wish often making things worse.

The third wish is done with maturation to return things to order or to create a wiser situation. 

The ‘fourth wish’ is the conscious desire to be content with what actually has. 

The Spo-fan who suggested I write on three wishes isn’t asking for a lecture I surmise; she is curious what three wishes I would want.  

Here they are:

#1 – The ability to transport anywhere in an instant. 

Oh the sights I would see and the time I would save with the ability to pop in and out wherever I wish! I could shop for salmon in Seattle and see all the operas throughout the world. Another perk: I can appear and depart like the characters on “Bewitched” thus achieving my childhood fantasy to be Endora or Aunt Clara or Dr. Bombay or one of that crowd.  

#2 – Cure at a touch.

Imagine being able to alleviate pain or stop a child’s leukemia at a touch. Combining #1 with #2 I would pop in/out of places all over the globe to places with little or no access to health care and eliminate disease. 

#3 – What would be the third wish has varied over time. Once upon a time I thought #3 would be

to always find a five dollar bill in my pocket

but if I were to charge even a nominal fee for #2 I’d ne’er lack for money. 

The ability to find lost objects

has come and gone as well. What seems to return over and over is the wish to

Always know the right thing to say.

an you imagine? This would be better than Obi Wan Kanobi using The Force at getting what I want or getting people to behave. Apart from ‘gain’ there would be the exquisite pleasure of having said just what the moment calls for.  Come to think of it I do what I can to heal others and I have the ability to arrange transportation so this wish seems the most precious.

Let’s click our heels three times (mind the three again!) and say there’s no place like home sans l’esprit d’escalier.

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Note: The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections thought this entry funny as it bears no resemblance to what they do.  So they let it by.

The first sentence of this entry has been rewritten so many times I have lost count. Several topics were all trying to get out at once each shouting over the others that theirs is the proper matter upon which to write. It is a good example of “The board meeting’ metaphor I sometimes use to sum up how the mind works via Jungian psychology for my patients. I decided not to pick from the multitude of cacophonous ideas batting about like bats in my belfry but write about the matter in itself. Serves them right for shouting.

Imagine if you will attending a board meeting in which you are the CEO. Your seat is properly at the end of the table from whence you look to your left and to your right to see a long line of attendants all eager to speak up and all of them believing they could do a better job at running the show than you. You the CEO is the Ego. Your conscious self has to take in their input to determine what to do and how to run the business which is Psyche Inc. meaning you. Let’s look at these attendees. These are the complexes each with its own agenda and make up. None of them are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but a mixture of emotions, memories, and ideas with positive and negative attributes. Here’s an important point: you can not fire them (although at times you wish you could). Your job it to hear all the voices and make a conscious decision while ascertaining none of them get out of hand or worse yet try to push you/Ego out of the executive chair and proclaim THEY are now in charge, the new Ego, the leader of Psyche Inc.*

Let’s use an example. Urs Truly (CEO of Spo Inc.) is sitting with the agenda whether or not to walk Harper. Around the table are the usual always-there members: The Warrior, Mr.Worry nee Anxiety, Mr. Spock (as I call The Thinker), The Clown, and The Martyr. Not always present are a few drop-ins. Today my inner-Auntie Mame showed up as well.**

After hearing the modest proposal to go for a walk Mr. Anxiety immediate jumps up as is his wont in a gummy panic to spew why this is a bad idea, listing the many bad things and worse-case scenarios that could happen. Mr. Spock, quietly waits his turn or talks calmly under the ruckus and weighs the logic of a dog-walk now, later, or not at all. The Clown doesn’t really contribute but makes silly jokes and banter (not helping). The Warrior who sees everything as a battle whether or not there is one starts planning a route stratagem to avoid others least there be a dog fight. Mr. Martyr of course complains why Someone doesn’t do this more often why is always us that has to walk the dog. You can guess what my inner-Auntie-Mame suggests:  it is a marvelous impulsive idea and we should do so at once without another moment thought.

Board members (complexes) are a boisterous bunch sometimes apparent and sometimes so quiet as to be not consciously heard. The latter are actually more dangerous to lead the Ego by the nose or even hoist him out of the CEO chair. In the end Ego has to say “OK guys everyone has spoken I’ve heard your views and I have thought this out. My decision is to go on a walk in twenty minutes after I finish ironing. Don’t question me”. Sometimes the complexes complain or even try to ‘gang up’ on him to change his mind. A healthy Ego responds by affirming their input is valuable (even Mr. Worry’s) but they are not the boss. Ego is.

So goes the mind in all its endeavors. A conscious person has immediate emotional reactions and contradictory thoughts and feelings but he/she will pause and reflect and decide before acting (out). The more aware you are of The Board Members (who and what they are) the better for Psyche Inc.

Go thou and do likewise.  I am off to walk the dog.

mommie-dearest

*By the way this way this is where we get the word ‘shrink’. A psychiatrist’s task (at least the Jungian ones) help the analysand ‘shrink’ bloated complexes to proper manageable sizes so the overwhelmed Ego can get back to running the place.

**Archetypes are universal, but it is up to the individual to give them personal names. The Trickster has as many names throughout human history as there are stars in the sky. My Trickster is presently wearing the name tag “Raven” which fools no one at the board meetings as everyone knows The Trickster despite his many disguises.

odin-and-santa-claus

I’ve gone more pagan this Christmas as demonstrated via my fondness for The Icelandic Yule Lads and their various relatives trapping about on the European continent at this time of the year. The Winter-man Archetype of the old man who provides some goodness at the winter solstice* has either a Shadow side to him or some sort of malevolent side-kick. Usually this pal is in the shape of a monstrous demon; he beats/whips/eats/carries off the kiddies who had been nasty that year. The two make a balanced pair like a staid old couple. North America’s Santa Claus has no ‘Shadow side” but the threat of a lump of coal if you are bad which no ones gets anyway. Carl Jung said when there is no balance Psyche strives to make such. We’ve done a good job filling this sorely needed post in the creation of The Grinch and/or the adaptation of The Krampus. Jung must be laughing in his grave.

One doesn’t have to scratch deep to uncover the archaic and it’s even easier to do at Christmas as so much of the holiday is borrowed from ancient practices and beliefs. My Protestant ancestors smelled a rat about the whole thing and they weren’t wrong. If you take away the pagan parts of the holiday it looks as empty as a grocery shelf in the south the day before a predicted snow storm. They went so far as to ban the whole thing.** Curious!  The modern Puritan takes the opposite approach about banning the holiday as a pagan travesty and thrusts the greeting of ‘Merry Christmas’ at you like a slap across your face.  Back to Herr Jung I suspect this is why Krampus/Grinch are coming back into consciousness.  The birth of The Divine Child is an archetype in itself but it lacks ‘Shadow” – no fun that. We need something to balance the sweet saccharine of the Nativity scene.***

This Christmas I am channeling as much munificent ‘Yule energy’ as possible to provide my parents with what they need this season> this may be much hohohoing but assistance in lifting. Krampus energy will be brought out in case of emergencies especially if my dear siblings and niblings are too in touch with their Spo Energies.  Oh the pain. As stated it doesn’t take much to get quickly in touch with the archaic. I hope the switches are strong enough.

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*It is more appropriate nowadays to call this event “The December solstice” not the “The Winter solstice”. It helps to remind us Northern Hemisphere-centered folks half the word is not experiencing cold and darkness but the opposite.

**It didn’t work. People like to party.

***The Divine Child isn’t lacking a bad guy. Remember King Herod? There is always some evil adult not wanting his/her power usurped.

night-of-the-demon-1957-001-demon-00m-fal-1000x750

Brother #4 texted he recently saw “Curse of the Demon” which he thought was “stupid”. This is a disappointment. I remember when we were lads Brother #2 and I were scared silly by this movie; we locked the bedroom door and set up booby traps lest the demon come in in the night and pass us the runes and eat us. [1] Despite our fears of demons Brothers #1-3 (apparently not #4) were intrigued by such beings. Our Halloween decorations always included devils in their Jungle Red tights and pitchforks. [2]

Hsw6P

untitled Demons have existed throughout time and in every culture because they are archetypes – and Urs Truly loves an archetype. [3] Maleficent supernatural beings vary in their size, shape, intelligence, and motives but they are on the whole a nasty lot. Where they come from and who made them and what is their point isn’t always clear. Like Santa going to all houses on Christmas Eve it’s best not to think about it.  Like many monsters demons have evolved over time into entities that are silly, cute, or sexy. This is a pity for demons were handy creatures to blame for all wrong-doings and fears.  Demons were a kind of solution.

The western civilization psyche takes the approach if you can’t suppress something baptize it into the Christian mythos. Demons in the western world are fallen angels the henchmen of Satan. It is curious to read the history books about folks who were accused of trafficking with demons. A lot of demonic intercourse was literally that: sexual.  Men were seduced in the night by Succubi while the medieval women were ravaged by Incubi.  Demons (the male ones) were often described having  ponderous phalluses and appetites. One gets the impression ‘demon’ was just a euphemism for hot and uninhibited sex.  I am all for hot unbridled sex but I prefer my demons without this sort of morality.  In the lingo of Dungeons and Dragons demons from the East are ‘chaotic evil’  while the ones in the West are ‘lawful evil’. [4]  Despite our collective horror of demonic  influence and possession we like to dress up and parade around as demons both to scare off the ‘real ones’ and to revel in their deviltry.

Jung said we cannot deny nor destroy The Shadow and this includes Demons. . We must be wary and be on guard for them and their shenanigans yet revel in their Shadow energy. They make our psyches whole. Despite their ugliness demons have vivacity and who doesn’t like a good scare?

munich-krampus-run-DSC8802

 

[1] I saw the movie again later on in life and I thought it would be a scarier movie if the director hadn’t fully shown the demon. Sensing ‘there is something there” is always more spooky/scary than an actual monster.

[2] People are nebbish nowadays about devils at Halloween as this feeds the anger of The Fundies who see Halloween as a satanic ritual. Not only they can’t take a joke but they don’t know their history.  Oh the pain.

[3] The Archetypes I work for are being difficult. Some demon possessed them to shampoo the rugs in The Board Room, which hasn’t seen soap since the time of King Cnut. Several carpets just fell apart. I daresay it was the dirt that was holding them together. Now TBDHSR are obliged to go to Crate & Barrel. Oh the horror.

[4] I suspect this reflects my own proclivities about things but I shan’t go there.

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Before the Sunday matinee [1] The Arizona Opera had outside in the lobby a table replete with hats, bonnets, boas, and other wearing apparel to pass the time until curtain call. You donned some gay apparel and got your photo taken. As you can see I chose the crown. Other than Burger King paper-types Urs Truly has never worn a crown he remembers. There was no archbishop to lay it one me; like Napoleon I had to do it myself.  Ensconced on my pate the crown made me feel very virile and noble. I wanted to say to the others in the lobby arise my people and look me in the face but no one paid me any attention but the next one in line waiting her turn to stand in front of the Arizona Opera sign. 

It’s good to be King. 

‘King’ is a very important archetype; it is vital for men to get in touch with it. [2]. I have heaps of Lover and Magician energy but not much King. I’ve struggled all my life claiming my crown as it were. As a boy I didn’t feel worthy of such and many seemed to agree. One of the aspects of King energy is honor: you are seen as a strong leader, particularly by your fellow men.  A gay man has a hard time with this.  Another area where I continually strive for King energy is at work.  Being an employee (not the owner) makes it hard to touch and carry King energy. 

Of course, every archetype has its negative/Shadow energy.  Good King energy is a first among others, who takes council; he is not a dictator nor is he surrounded by yes men. He takes ultimate responsibility; he doesn’t blame others when the kingdom fails.  

Some say King energy is outdated and it should be scrapped:

Number one: this is an embedded archetype in our collective Psyche; it isn’t going away. 
Number two: attempts to replace it is ‘president’ energy or emasculate it  is not going to work either.  People who want  the King beheaded should rightfully balk at Shadow-King energy – but not the King. 

I will probably have to work on King energy all my life, allowing myself to claim it like Arthur pulling the sword out from the stone. I need not be afraid of its power and awesome responsibilities. [3] 

All these thoughts ran though my head after as I wore and then put down the crown.  It was made of some sort of foam rubber – not metal and fine jewels as should a proper crown. True King energy is isn’t bestowed from without but from within.

King 

This noble stone King sits in my office; he reminds me of his presence within me. 

 

[1] “Fidelio” for thems curious which one. 

[2] Spo-fans of the female sort have “Queen” energy – not queen as the spouse of the king but queen as the one in charge. Think Queen Victoria or Catherine the Great. 

[3] An immature or avoidant man doesn’t want King energy but to stay as Prince or Child or something like that. It is not mature male energy. We all know these sorts. These types in charge of a proper King make a poor country. I won’t name names here. 

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