Climes At the Edge of Beyond

When this door opens, what words suffice?  

Only an acceptance that none will serve allows the rhythm of the waves to break through my initial arrest, a dissociative regress…from splendor?  

I’ve driven hard some ten hours to gain this glimpse of the unbounded churning clime before the loss of day light.

Tracking the Self such a peculiar game once we reckon the labyrinthine structures within and without.  No matter the foothold consciousness claims, the mighty surround belongs to this ever present one whose pleasure is found in making the finest sands.  

Set and Posture

Offering for soulful travel

Preparations for a journey…

Placed on a campfire, the pictured artemisia lets loose a fragrant silvery smoke. The refreshing odor serves nicely as an incense offering for the soulful travel I am seeking. Preparation for travel is more than packing one’s gear, or at least it can be more.  What does it look like if we spend as much time packing for our psyche as we do trying to ensure our creature comforts?

As I prepare myself to step off, I’m gathering the gains and losses of the last year.  It’s a review process that I’ve come to rely on more regularly given the vast amounts of information our modern lives challenge us to hold.  Typically for this process I review my journals, paying close attention to the dream series that has unfolded since the last review.  I also pay close attention to lost leads, interests which surfaced over the preceding months but which, for what ever reason, did not get developed or dropped away from consciousness.  While this is not a complete life review, doing this creates a reprioritization signaling that the multiple concerns surrounding daily life will be placed to the side, allowing a redirection of sorts to emerge. This process leads to a frame for what is to follow that I like to call the set. Rooted in intentionality, the set develops a context from which a picture of your goal for the journey.

Embodiment is an essential attribute of our entire earthly existence, but these days we tend to specialize in disembodiment.  Posture is both literally how we hold our bodies during any action.  Posture also relates to attitude, which can be thought of as how we hold our mind in relation to whatever has our attention.  If one of the goals is to engage the imaginal realm, then the question follows, what postures suit this activity?  Consider this: heading toward the motor vehicle department, our minds and bodies brace for the anticipated irritations.  Heading toward the imaginal, distinct postures related to wonder, humility and and awe begin to dominate and support our hopes for soulful travel.  As Robert Johnson reminds us:

“The unconscious is a marvelous universe of unseen energies, forces, forms of intelligence – even distinct personalities – that live within us. It is a much larger realm than most of us realize, one that has a complete life of its own running parallel to the ordinary life we live day to day. The unconscious is the secret source of much of our thought, feeling and behavior. It influences us in ways that are all the more powerful because unexpected.” Robert Johnson, Inner Work, pg. 3

As we so beautifully note in the poems of Rumi, one essential posture is to be welcoming, that unknown/unseen guests may be received.

Two “lost leads” from my journals earlier in the year that seem particularly important as I prepare for the soulful travel this week and will serve for the focus of my next post: Timing and Temperature.  

Stepping Out, Stepping Through

travel to the imaginal

Travel as a portal to the imaginal…

Stepping out of our familiar surroundings is one way awakening a heightened awareness, and travel provides a tremendous opportunity to engage not only the beauty of the sought out destination, but aspects of soul that respond to the archetypal aspects of engaging “otherness.” Heading to the rocky coast of Maine my thoughts turn not so much toward sightseeing as to keeping an eye out for a portal into the imaginal, and the invitation to unexpected encounters with psyche.

This will be a return trip to the Blackwoods Campground of Acadia National Park where I had the privilege of spending a similar week three years ago. (Some links to posts from that trip.)  Along with a significant writing project, I intend to focus my attention at the meeting place of wave and rock, and remain open to the unexpected encounters that arise on every authentic soul trip. To set intention and open the imaginal field, I begin with these poignant words from Charles Olson (The Maximus Poems, 240) :

Okeanos rages, tears rocks back in his path.

Encircling Okeanos tears upon the earth to get love loose.

The Far End of the Valley


In a Jungian process we watch over the continual emergence of dream imagery, a soul practice which takes a considerable amount of dedication and effort.  While each dream is explored in the psychoanalytic session to gain some understanding of its relevance to the dreamer’s life, often it is only years later that a full recognition of what the dream was pointing toward comes into complete view.

An example of this surprised me this morning after making the fire and raking out the sand circle.   A little over three years ago I had a dream where I asked another if he knew the man at the South end of the valley who was said to maintain the Neanderthal cooking traditions.  When I do not get a response I said I will be visiting him later.  I recall exploring the dream in session, and finding a desire to gain greater simplicity into my life at the time, but it was this morning, now that the efforts to construct and build a practice of maintaining a fire each day, that I find I have incorporated the lived experience that the dream was indicating.

Jung pointed out a similar rootedness when discussing the time he spent at his Bollingen retreat: “I pump the water from the well.  I chop the wood and cook the food.  These simple acts make man simple; and how difficult it is to be simple!”

And how prophetic these words from Memories, Dreams and Reflections stand out, some 50 years before the release of our precious smart phones:

“…New methods or gadgets, are of course impressive at first, but in the long run they are dubious and in any case dearly paid for.  They by no means increase the contentment or happiness of people on the whole.  Mostly they are deceptive sweetenings of existence, like speedier communications which unpleasantly accelerate the tempo of life and leave us with less time than ever before.”

Is Love the Goal?

Earlier this note by the Franciscan Richard Rohr floated through my media stream:

It immediately called forth a question from me, is it really? Many want to claim that a non-duality position is possible, and it does seem that all mystical literature points to it, but does that state result in an all encompassing love as opposed to hate, or perhaps something that transcends both love and hate?

Following through with the Rohr meditation, I was pleased to see him mention, and found more alignment for myself, with his idea of  “calling forth of Christ consciousness in us.”

In Jung’s alchemical rendering of the third coniunctio, we learn of the adepts becoming one with the world, a state subtlety attributed to Jung by von Franz:

“In his later years Jung often did not let people talk to him about their problems, but by letting flow what came to his mind he frequently unintentionally told people exactly what they needed. Before one is integrated and individuated one’s complexes tend to come through.  But if one has really worked to solve one’s own problems and the complexes are integrated, then one can connect with the collective unconscious and it’s wisdom can flow through one.”  (von Franz, M.L. 1997. Alchemical Active Imagination. Boston: Shambala. Pg. 149.)  ,

This vision is not new, even if we have yet to collectively catch up with it.  My favorite rendering of it in verse is found in this beautiful passage from the Book of Wisdom:

“A new attuning of the elements occurred,

as on a harp the notes may change their rhythm,

though all the while preserving the same tone;

and this is just what happened:

land animals became aquatic,

swimming ones took to the land, ‘

fire reinforced its strength in water,

and water forgot the power of extinguishing it;

flames, on the other hand, did not char the flesh

of delicate animals that ventured into them;

nor did they melt the heavenly food

resembling ice and as easily melted.”

(Wisdom 19: 18-21)

From my vantage point, this development in us is the goal.