It can sometimes be difficult to love what needs to be loved unless we also kill what needs to be killed. Instead of letting the shadow power of the ‘killer’ run riot in culture in an unconscious way use it to cut through to the connection field at the core of being, and what is really important. The power of the ‘killer’ can destroy ideas, concepts and ways of being that don’t serve life, it can help us to minimize the harm we are doing to the ecosystem, it can guide us to offer back something to life for the destruction that we may have caused, it can help us make friends with enemies, it can give a home for our conscious embodied aggression, it can get us in touch with the grief and love at the core of our being and with the connection field of life.
There are some horned trickster beings who embody unlimited wildness. Whenever they step into a mode of being or have a thought they are already moving into the opposite point of view or the opposite way of being. When everyone is bogged down in serious matters, they leap into the king or the queen’s court turning cartwheels. Whenever everyone is frivolous, they remind you of the medicine power of the opposite of whatever you are embodying at that moment. For them every rule must by necessity be broken, by not through any effort or force, just through the being of the trickster, he or she interrupts every pattern, confounds the superego, laughs at every standard, breaks out of every box.
Listen deeply to your body, to your gut feeling, to the feeling in your solar plexus and to your intuition, and on that basis make clear strong definitive decisions. But don’t stop listening at this point, continue listening unwaveringly, cultivate open responsive spontaneous effortless body awareness. Be prepared to drop all your plans and make radical outrageous changes of direction if necessary. One of the things that the world needs most at the moment, is leaders who are able to listen deeply and to drop their plans and make radical changes of direction
Some people says it is best to be ‘positive’ all the time and others tend to be ‘negative.’ Have you ever felt divided within yourself or felt a divide in your community between wanting to leap up in carnivalesque joyful happiness and celebration and wanting to hold some of your own, your friend’s or the world’s grief? Do you feel caught between, on one hand, singing out in praise for life, and on the other, supporting people in their pain and troubles and listening to the agony and travail of the earth?
In many traditions of philosophy, contemplation and mysticism there is a tradition of ‘negativity.’ And this means something quite different to the popular culture rendition of the world where it has come to signify something like: ‘wallowing in misery’ or ‘having negative thoughts.’ Negativity in this larger sense can involve not knowing, going into the unknown and ‘negative capability’ as the poet Keats calls it: ‘being capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.’ It can involve going deeply into grief and processing the ‘shadow’; that which we have most strongly suppressed and pushed aside in our collective and personal consciousness
Sometimes we encounter the ‘positivity police’ whose job it seems is to suppress grief and suppress the troubles and problems in life. Generally I feel that this superego police force that pushes down troubles and problems is even more insidious than the problems themselves. When we push our troubles down we lose access to the great gifts our problems bring. In fact, within our problems and troubles themselves, when we process them, go more deeply into them and bring tenderness and consciousness to them, there may lie solutions and vast medicine powers which we need for our individuation and for the restoration of the earth
Positive psychology and expressing gratitude can sometimes help with depression, anxiety and other difficult states of mind but also some people may need to go deeper and find the fierce inner activist that resists a state of depression. And still others may need to find the medicine power behind the turning inward or downwards of the senses that some experience in depression or behind the somatic experience of the habitual fear response that occurs in anxiety.
Should we really suppress our grief and anger at the destruction of human and non-human life that is currently happening as a result of our disconnected socio-economic system? Its understandable why we suppress this pain, but ignoring it may be unwise, as this very pain and agony may be our direct experience of the feedback mechanism of the earth’s sentient intelligence trying to redirect us towards life. It may be how we feel the crying of the earth in our own bodies. If we ignore our agony at the pain of the world, we may soon find our life support systems crumbling around us.
If we are able to fully feel, hold and process the earth’s agony as it courses, gasps and tremors through our body, new neurons may grow through our mind and body and we will no longer need to be an isolated branch, we may find ourselves reconnecting with the very trunk of all life.
Within our very anger, there may lie the power, ferocity and energy we need to stand up and create a new and better system. Within our very conflict, if we are able to learn to stand up strongly for ourselves whilst listening to another’s values and grief, there may be the key to creating deeper community. Within our very grief may lie our compassion for life and our unstoppable love for the world. Within our very despair there maybe the delicate seeds of a new vision and a more beautiful world.
And yet when we have located and processed our difficult body symptoms and found the medicine power behind them, when we have experienced some of the loving human community that comes about through listening to each other’s values and grief even in the midst of painful conflict, and when we have felt the fullness of our grief, there may be a time then for joy and rapture too. In some ways these two, grief and rapture, are inseparable; they are two chambers of the same beating heart.
Can we find even in our carnivalesque Dionysian celebration of midsummer the time to create a council of all beings and hear the grief and wisdom of the non-human world? Can we find time to process the shadow and the shared unconscious in our sacred and ecstatic relationships? Can we create modes of celebration and of expressing joy that also involve composting difficult emotions and body symptoms? As well as celebrating the rapture can we also bring awareness to power imbalances and social tensions in our communities?
When we are able to go more deeply into and bring consciousness and awareness to our most suppressed body symptoms, social power dynamics and to the myth beings that inhabit our dreams, our bodies and our communities and when we are able to feel and hold our difficult emotions supported by trusted community then there may also arise joy too. When we learn to compost all that is difficult or painful in us and in others there may arise ‘positivity’ and rapture too.
Then there may be the time for sourcing our power in our joy as well as sourcing it in transforming our pain. There may be a time for jumping up like Pan and celebrating, becoming the ever-renewing fountain of beingness which constantly dies and is reborn, the power which accepts both birth and death, the enormous riotous and loving uprising joy of life in the midsummer.
Then there may be the time for flying like an eagle and seeing with great vision and for encompassing, transforming and embodying all of the strange ferocious, aggressive forces of our psyche as if we are riding a dragon into some new world. Then there may be time for dancing like a nectarian playful hummingbird, joyous but unafraid of fear and the dark. Then we can celebrate as we support and hold each other. Then we can both dance and we can weep. Then we can both dance and we can weep. Then we can weep as we sing out in rapture and in praise.
Terrorists are often motivated by feelings of unfelt or suppressed grief, shame, hopelessness, despair or rage. They have no forum in which they can speak or be heard, they have no voice and they have no mouth. It is like they are trying to scream without a mouth, without a voice and the only expression for their feelings that they can give is in the form of futile and bitter acts of violence. They are the symptom of the famine of human community and the lack of forums for processing of sociopolitical tensions, the ghosts of history, power imbalances, trauma and rage that exists in our culture.
If we want less terrorism one thing that would help would be to create a culture in which people of different religions and secular people can come together in facilitated open forums and town meetings and share their anger, their aggression, their rage, their grief, their frustration, to speak about their humiliation, abuse, despair, hopelessness and oppression and to be met and heard in these things. Most people agree that violence and killing is unethical in most cases, but what is the root cause of violence? In a sense terrorism arises as a response to a lack of human community; right now in our culture we are experiencing a kind of famine of human community.
We need to help the terrorist articulate their rage as a demand for justice and respect, rather than self destructive brutality and violence. What is at the root or at the bottom of a raging person’s aggression? Usually it is a demand for justice or respect of some kind. Mainstream people just want to be safe and this is an understandable need. We may need to help the mainstream and conservative people to understand that the safety they crave will be found when they learn to to listen the voices of ‘out of order’ and angry, aggressive or grief-filled people. We need forums in which both oppressor and oppressed can communicated with each other and listen to each other’s grief. We need to create council in which the ghosts of painful history, the ghosts of imperialism, grief and the voices of the unquiet dead can be held, heard and listened too
Violence occurs to wake us up, to force us to acknowledge that we are complicit in each other’s painful history, to force us to realize that we have a common grief and agony created by the nightmare of history and by our lack of conscious world community. Human community is not a utopian dream, it is something which is already alive within the deepest hearts of men and women.
We don’t reach it by chasing after some impossible ideal, but rather, after we have exhausted all other possibilities, we reach human community when we are compelled by grief, despair or love to reach the deepest core of our being. The seemingly senseless violence that emerges in our culture is at the deepest level a substitute for dialogue, for intimacy, for two groups of people being able to communicate and express their feelings, their pain, rage and grief, to each other.
Why does choosing destruction in some way seem to be more popular at present than creation? Why is ‘evil’ in some way more attractive and able to outcompete ‘good’? In order to really create a more beautiful world we may need the vital powers and energies that at present are locked up or hidden in the world of destruction and greed. These may be at root essential and vital sources of lifeforce, which we have hidden or repressed. Although they may currently manifest themselves in harmful forms, in forms in which they are ‘acted out’ in an unconscious way, behind them may lie essential benevolent life energies and powers.
In a sense, as Nietzsche suggested, we need to go ‘beyond good and evil’ This is not a case of finding a ‘balance’ between good and evil, which is a terrible idea, but rather of unlocking, being present with, processing and carefully integrating the innate animal energies and repressed instincts chthonic forces which lie behind destructive behaviour. These forces are often essentially benevolent or helpful, they only manifest in a harmful way because they have been unrecognized or have been pushed down or repressed.
It is not a case of colluding with the force of destruction; we can still stand up to and resist their unconscious manifestations. There is a time to stand up against destructive behaviour, to say ‘No’ to it, to resist it, to stand up for justice, to create boundaries and even to fight back. But there also may be a time to process the fears and essential fierce energies that lie behind destructive tendencies and to hold and integrate them more fully into the individual and collective psyche, thus cutting off the potential for causing real harm and malevolence at the root.
When we learn to tap into the unconscious aggressive and destructive forces in the psyche in a healthy way, we may even sow the seeds for the eventual future total liberation of the human imagination, the creation of a new world and the benevolent fusion of the dreamworld and reality
There is hidden gold within all the powers we have pushed aside and labelled as dark, taboo, ugly, aggressive; within the very sensory embodied experience there may be treasure. When we bring carefully process, integrate and bring consciousness and tenderness to the body sensations, inner images and myths, body movements, belief patterns synchronicities and relationship patterns that accompany the feeling we have pushed aside, they may begin to alchemically transform and reveal some kind of medicine power.
So many people in the leftist world or in the ‘spiritual’ world secretly desire to pursue power or influence, have aggressive or furious feelings but push these desires down considering them to be wrong or unethical. They are content to walk round being humble with a peaceful smile whilst animalistic energies lurk within that have not been met or fully honoured. People in the mainstream ‘respectable’ world may have wild bestial energies within them that they are ashamed of and which need to be fully seen with consciousness and tenderness and processed.
The problem is that once they have been pushed down these desires then tend to emerge in unconscious and hurtful ways as abuses of power and secret tyrannies. It can be helpful to actually get in touch with these powers, emotions and energies, to consciously ‘enjoy’ them, and process and transform them in a healthy way, in some kind of alchemical therapeutic held vessel, supported by trusted people.
We may also need to process our most hidden and shadow like feelings and urges together in community, bring forward and bring consciousness to all the power imbalances, hidden resentments, secret tyrannies, grief, anger, sorrow, ghosts and spirits of history that are present. We may need to bring consciousness to past oppression, repression and hurt and allow the feelings associated with these things to be seen in a safe way. The integration of the parts of ourselves and of our communities which are most unknown, the most repressed, can bring a river of life energy to a community and to the whole culture.
Why is war, for example, so attractive to many people? War fulfils many of inner mythical and instinctive urgings, the urge to be a warrior, the urge to be aggressive, to find discipline, to find deep companionship and finally even to touch death and grief. When young men are born into a disconnected culture without initiation rituals; a world starved of mythos and meaning and starved of companionship and adventure, to attempt to find meaning in war looks like an attractive choice to some
If we want less war in the world we need to we need to make everyday life as mythical and as awe-inspiring as war is. We need to teach people to go out into the wild and discover their true soul calling, to learn the value of risking death in the pursuit of some greater calling in service to our community and to learn how to fiercely confront, listen to, empathise with and communicate with people we hate or disagree with.
Instead of sacrificing people’s lives to the Gods of war some of us may need to sacrifice our survival based self and to find ways to stand up against, resist, communication with, shapeshift into and listen to the grief and rage of those who existentially threaten us. We need to ‘go to peace’ with the same ferocity, intensity and aggression as in the past men have gone to war
And what about the secret shadow form of war, terrorism? Terrorists are often motivated by feelings of hatred, rage against imperialism. They have no forum in which they can speak or be heard, they have no voice and they have no mouth. It is like they are trying to scream without a mouth, without a voice and the only expression for their feelings that they can give is in the form of futile and bitter acts of violence. They are the symptom of the famine of human community and the lack of forums for processing of sociopolitical tensions, power imbalances, trauma and rage that exists in the modern world.
If we want less terrorism in the world one thing that would help would be to create a culture in which people of different religions and secular people can come together in open forums and town meetings and share their anger, their aggression, their rage, their grief, their frustration, to speak about their humiliation, abuse, despair, hopelessness and oppression and to be met and heard in these things.
We need to help the terrorist articulate their rage as a demand for justice and respect, rather than self destructive brutality and violence. We may need to help the mainstream to listen the voices of out of order and crazy angry people. We need forums in which both oppressor and oppressed can communicated with each other and listen to each other’s grief. We need to create council in which the ghosts of history, rage, madness, imperialism, and grief and the voices of the unquiet dead can be heard and listened too.
Why is making as much money as possible in the business world, whilst supporting political and economic policies which repress the poor, destroy nature and shrink the commons so popular? Why is hoarding wealth so popular, but sharing it with others, investing it in the restoration of community and nature and returning it to the commons less so? The world of the rich business person can sometimes be deeply disconnecting from people in the land and on the street and from the earth. But also it fulfils many hidden cravings many people have to be powerful, to be determined and focused and to display swagger and shamelessly display power.
If we want to create a different world we need to make a world in which the sharing of wealth and abundance, the creation of community and the recreation of the commons and nature is as exciting as the hoarding of wealth. We may need to encourage people to become stewards of wealth and not hoarders of it. We may need to create a world where people are so overwhelming attracted and aroused into ecstasy by the idea of the creation of regenerative earth based communities, sustainable technologies, holocratic and mutualistic businesses, and a more beautiful world that they come to it crawling across the floor in ecstasy and offer their wealth and their service to rebuild the commons as one might offer themselves to a tantric God or Goddess. We may need to enflame in people an immense sensual lust for a more abundant, sustainable and socially just world.
We may need to embody a world of beauty, where grief, the grotesque and the troubling are also safely held and honoured, and we need to embody such a world with enormous ferocity, tenacity and passion. We may need to re-create abundant traditions of wild story, song, dance, music, deep ceremony and re-introduce vast and immense mythos, elaborate sensual clothing and rituals back into everyday life. We may need to embody a world in which life becomes a mystery theatre in which we can metamorphosis into or communicate with fierce animals or birds together and in which we can gather together in council and bring forward all the ghosts and tensions in our communities to be seen, listened too and processed.
We may need to tell stories that have such mythic numinous power they will recreate reality itself. We may need to embody a world in which everyone is filled with such cultural, ceremonial and mythological richness that it is as if they are a walking abundant universe in themselves. A world in which we touch into the medicine powers behind hatred, apathy, numbness and addiction and alchemically transform them into love, cunning, grief, ferocity, playfulness, wonder and magic.
We may need to create a world in which technology, indigenous wisdom and mythos become one and human beings learn to re-dream the world alongside the spirits of nature in sweet sacred magic. We may need to embody a world in which business, art and community become one. We may need to create a world on which we learn to stand up fiercely in solidarity against the people we hate and despise but also in which some of us learn to listen to the people we hate them with such grief, aggression, compassion and love that we can feel their feelings in our own bodies and we become momentarily one organism.
We may need to embody a world in which children are free of oppression and can play in the magic. A world in which people are not just born human but become human through many deep ceremonial initiations through their life. We may need to learn to ride the dragons that dream, history and time and the world into existence instead of letting them destroy us. We may need to embody a world in which the Gods of destruction and conflict that manifest as the chaos that we see everywhere in the world today are seen as exhilarating ecstatic powers that we can respectfully tap into to help us find power and build stronger loving community
I had a dream about a bee priestess, a human queen bee or nectarian emissary. The nectarian being’s role was to be the ‘human voice’ or embodiment and emissary for bees in the world in some way. Amongst other things she said: “To call a particular bee, listen to it deeply, listen for a yes and for a connection. Then if its yes is present, become it, look through its eyes, feel and smell through its antennae, feel its sense feelings, its hearing, taste, seeing, feeling and other senses, be and feel it from inside. Its not so much that you are becoming a bee as you are learning what is irresistibly attractive and delightful to the bee and becoming something that is irresistibly desirable to it”
In a relationship, rather than always focusing on oneness, it seems important to remember to see the other person as ‘other’ than you. Perhaps seemingly paradoxically, the more you can see them as ‘other’, them more connected you can be. In a sense the relationship essence, the wholeness that is the emergent result of the two beings coming together is fed by each being recognizing, respecting and listening to the other being’s uniqueness, particularity and difference from themselves.