“The ego has the capacity of seeing itself, at least in some measure, in relation to the rest of the world, a power that the autos does not have. It also becomes aware that others likewise possess ego consciousness and the power of criticism. Thus it is aware of what others think and say, and aware also of what it for its own part thinks and speaks. It can say, “I am the one, I am the thinker, the doer.
“But beyond this it does not go. For instance, a man in this stage of self-consciousness does not realize as a rule that ideas occur to him without his willing them, that actions are performed through him—that he is being used by thoughts and impulses arising from something other than his I.” E. Harding, Psychic Energy, p. 204.
We live in an era dominated by Epoch II masculine-oriented ego consciousness. Realizing we are separate from Mother and nature has led us away from our previous immersion in natural law and toward the human law which is subject to dualistic thinking.
Epoch II egos see everything in terms of opposites: self/other, familiar/unfamiliar, good/evil, right/wrong, male/female, human/nonhuman, strong/weak, soft/hard, worthy/unworthy, entitled/unentitled. Our choices for one side and against the other are motivated by self-interest.
This psychological reality is at the root of our world-wide epidemic of hatred, fear, violence, crime, war, terrorism, genocide, animal extinction, and destruction of nature. No government or religion can stop the madness until we acknowledge our inner divides and take steps to heal them.
Our species has evolved naturally into Epoch II, but thankfully we know it’s not our final destination. History provides examples from every era of individuals who acquired what has been called a higher, enlightened, or unitive consciousness. Developing this holistic way of seeing ourselves and others is a slow and gradual process that varies among individuals and never ends.
For example, Carl Jung reported that he was eleven when one day on his walk to school he stopped with the sudden revelation: I am! I am what I am!” He realized that until then he had been living in a mist. This new level of awareness is common to adolescence; however, as Jung soon learned, we can expect many more awakenings during Epoch II before we acquire an integrated consciousness that transcends the ego’s self-centeredness.
I experienced a rush of self-awareness at eleven too. I could say, “I am the thinker, the doer.” But this knowing only marked a huge onslaught of painful self-consciousness which undermined my confidence, and I remained minimally self-aware for many years.
It wasn’t until I was 37 and had been nudged forward by several more revelations that I awoke from the fog that had obscured a devastating truth. I was the pawn of powerful unknown inner forces which were compelling me to consider some frightening possibilities.
Did I dare abandon strategies that had kept me safe so far? Was it conceivable that I might actually break sacrosanct rules and pursue fascinating new ways of thinking and living?” At that time it didn’t occur to me to ask, “Could this temptation possibly be a blessing and a beginning and not an ending and a curse?”
Eve must have asked herself similar questions as she stood on the threshold of Epoch II ego consciousness. Some of us are asking them today as we approach Epoch III integrated consciousness.
“Whereas Epoch I is about Mother and Epoch II about Father, Epoch III belongs to the Self, or Divine Couple. Their relationship develops within us as we consciously integrate opposites that were formerly separated.” J. Raffa, Healing the Sacred Divide, p. 73.
Why isn’t humanity there yet? What’s holding us back? Simple. The Epoch II masculine-oriented ego.
Imagine a baby chick morphing out of egg white and yolk into a fuzzy form strong enough to peck out of a shell that has become painfully restrictive. In the same way, our species evolved for thousands of years before it broke out of the Epoch I maternal matrix in which instinct provided our only agency. In succeeding, we obtained the self-awareness and personal power that characterizes Epoch II.
Fueled by their fear of the Great Mother with whom they associated their previous unconsciousness, our patriarchal forebears systematically persecuted and repressed her. They would rather die than lose the ground they’d worked so hard to gain. This resistance is still deeply ingrained in the most primitive pockets of every psyche, and every ego instinctively fears losing its power if the feminine regains hers.
Nobody thinks this consciously. The Epoch II ego is far too self-absorbed to notice or admit its deepest fears and it will do anything to escape them. Hence, the obsessions, addictions, and abuse of women that are the hallmark of our time. Nonetheless, it is true. Our one-sided ignorance of our unconscious self, which we associate with the feminine principle, stands between us and psychological wholeness, spiritual enlightenment, and world peace.
If you get nothing else from my books or blog, remember this:
“…integrating the… [feminine principle] into our personalities, world-views, and God-images is not a foolish idea promoted by a bunch of angry libbers longing for a sentimental regression to a Golden Age of matriarchal power and psychological innocence! It is the next and necessary step toward increased consciousness in which our egos become less self-centered and more God-centered, and the solution to individual and global strife.” J. Raffa, HSD, p. 75.
Reblogged this on lampmagician.
Thank you for sharing this.
The image of the iceberg brought a bit of a jolt!. Friday night I had a dream and from what I remember there were no people in it, which is really unusual for me. There was an iceberg in the sea, bits of it were breaking off underneath and floating up and melting on the sea, but as this went on the sea seemed to be either receding or the visible part of the iceberg was becoming more exposed.
This post seems almost directly relevant.
Very cool. (Pun intended.) Seriously.
I’ve always been drawn to the idea of how the bulk of the iceberg is under the ocean where we can’t see it, just like the unconscious parts of the psyche. And the ocean is used so often as a metaphor for the unconscious that it must be an archetypal image. So I was thrilled when I found this picture yesterday. It does show that new levels of the iceberg are being revealed as the water recedes. As such it’s an ideal image for what I’ve written about.
Your dream certainly seems to be speaking to this exact point, which is very interesting. And very synchronistic. The coincidence of your seeing this same image in a dream four days before I used it here, and the fact that you’ve been reading my posts for years, is very unusual and very unlikely. If this happened to me I would see it as a a meaningful and extremely affirming message specifically meant for me. Moreover it is a brilliant commentary on the unitive consciousness that “lies beneath” our ordinary dualistic awareness, and how we are all connected to each other at this deeper level of reality, just as the internet connects us all to each other in the outer world.
I love it that logically and literally, this image and the image from your dream, make no sense. If pieces of the iceberg are breaking off underneath and melting, logic would dictate that the sea level would be rising, not lowering, wouldn’t it? Moreover, if the iceberg is melting, it’s getting smaller, so you’d see less of it above the water, not more, right?
But viewed through the lens of the visual language of dreams, which are commentaries on the personal, inner life of the psyche, this image makes perfect sense. I’d say the idea of one becoming increasingly aware of one’s unconscious contents is obviously the exact idea the artist, and your dream, and the forces that gave you this image four days ago, intended to convey.
I know you already know this, Brian, but I wanted to elaborate on it a bit here so that others might see the power, impact, and importance of the images the unconscious sends us in dreams.
Come to think of it, perhaps the dream image I awoke with this morning speaks to what I just wrote. Here are the exact words from my dream journal: “Sowing seeds all over; locating them on maps of plots of ground — possibly population maps—areas of concentration where people are.”
Perhaps with this post and our comments we’re sowing seeds all over today. Thank you for writing, my friend.
the wordlessness of the dream, as I say, was highly unusual for me. Not even a commentary. On looking at it later, it felt right, for much of the reasons you say. But I must admit, awareness of synchronicity aside, the sight of your iceberg image was still a zinger!
As for your dream, well you certainly seem to be a fruitful gardener.
Yes, I can see how wordlessness in a dream would be highly unusual for a poet! The fact that this image was such a zinger for you seems to suggest an underlying intent to get your attention in an unusually powerful way, doesn’t it? I wonder why that might be….
As to my gardening bearing fruit, I hope I do better at it with my blogging than with physical gardening. Our garden here in the mountains is actually quite beautiful this year, but I can take very little credit for it. Mother Nature, and her very talented and dedicated helper, deserve most of it while I merely make a few observations and suggestions.
Hi Jeanie, and thank you. You’ve taken so clearly into account the gradualness of the Epochs of it all and the necessity or inevitability of them. And now we are here at this moment in time, a precarious one where the world feels unstable and full of uncertainty. Yet, there is promise – by consciously embracing the feminine principles so that they can work in harmony towards the greater good, we would be making and taking a healthy political stand. We cannot claim ignorance or deny our responsibility. Each drop of the ocean makes the ocean, we are the drops, necessary and part of the whole. Every conscious act is like a light unto the darkness …
Good morning, Susan. It’s still morning here. 🙂
What a beautiful and richly meaningful comment. Your observation of how “by consciously embracing the feminine principles so that they can work in harmony towards the greater good, we would be making and taking a healthy political stand,” was very much on my mind as I wrote this. I have such a powerful need to convey this message at this point in time, yet don’t want to risk offending people (and thereby closing their minds) who are of a different political persuasion and haven’t made this connection yet.
So, as you see if you read the account of this morning’s dream that I shared with Brian in my comment above, you and I are also very much connected in the field of unitive consciousness that lies beneath dualistic awareness. With this blog post and series I’m trying to sow seeds that will grow into new ways of thinking, (and perhaps even voting), and not bluntly force my thinking on others with in-your-face arguments. That would be a masculine, Epoch II way way of communicating.
Yes, we are the drops, individual components of the force; not the force itself… We are of the ocean, our Mother, not separate from her as our limited perception would have us think.
I’m just back from an afternoon walk and on re-reading Brian’s dream I now make the connection between the iceberg in the ocean and my comment on being drops in the ocean .. but also, while walking, I was reminded of the synchronicity of coming across Jung’s quote from CW 11 below and my seeing it only moments after posting my first comment and copying and pasting …
And the connections keep broadening and deepening, sowing seeds, growing consciousness, sharing meaning, spreading hope, signifying unimaginable acceptance. We are known and loved….
JUST found this now so copied and pasted …
Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day.
~Jung “Psychology and Religion” (1938). In CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.140
YES. I sincerely hope we are doing something real for the world.
Jeanie: This is really an excellent and very important contribution! Keep them coming! As Dr. Jung himself said in the Introduction to Dr. Harding’s book, which you quoted, it is for the third generation (us?) to digest his work down sufficiently so that the average person can understand what he was talking about. He noted both there and in the Introduction to Erich Neumann’s book, _The Origins and History of Consciousness_, that this second generation, Dr. Harding & Dr. Neumann among many others, had the luxury of looking back over his entire oeuvre, and they were therefore able to pull the many threads together into a logical whole. I like both of those books for this reason. BUT, they are still quite tightly packed, and it is certainly necessary for you to lead the rest of us called to the work into unpacking the ideas a bit more (third generation), so that we can use them more effectively in our own lives and the lives of nations.
The events since Gulf War I have caused the United States to start mirroring Sparta, which was known for its masculine warrior culture. But in the fullness of time, we know that Sparta no longer exists, but Athens, which was ruled by the Goddess of Wisdom, still does. Obviously, the nomination of a woman for President is a step toward coming back from the brink of extinction, which is where we will go if we don’t learn the lesson of so many failed empires before. Ultimately we all live on the same “pale blue dot” in the vastness of God’s universe, and we must find a symbol that encompasses that reality. Perhaps it is the photo of the “pale blue dot” from the other side of Saturn, showing both planets, with an arrow and caption that says, “You are here.” This is obviously not a new idea, but I thought I’d bring it into the conversation.
Also, I might suggest for all of your readers that we have a responsibility to carry away these lessons, and share them with others. While I have been doing that with a website for several years, my new call has been to offer local seminars for laymen, explicitly NOT about psychotherapy, where local people can have a weekly conversation about applications of Dr. Jung’s work in everyday life. I have not actually begun to do this, as I am waiting for a local venue to become available, but I decided to just try to do informal lectures on YouTube and Facebook as a start. I am still struggling to get the technology right, as those that know of this will understand, but the intent is to give an informal and extemporaneous discussion about what these things mean to me. At the minimum, they will be a semi-permanent record of what I am thinking, which I can leave for my grandchildren, who are just emerging from Epoch I. I wish I had such inputs from my grandparents. So far, three lectures have been done, with varying degrees of technical success, since I’m doing it as a one man band without professional technical help, but you can find them on the Facebook page I started called “Jung for Layman”. I urge others to copy this idea and do it better. Every little bit helps! Lectures 1 & 2 are online, and are based on my rudimentary understanding of Individuation (1) and Personality Types (2). I welcome ALL comments on this effort, either pro or con, and certainly there may be some Jungians, who can correct some of my notions. I did Lecture (3) about How to Start with Jungian study yesterday, but my computer ate the middle section of it, so after I finish this comment I’ll be rooting around trying to find that, so that I can edit and post that video. There seem to be no shortage of possible topics!
Thank you for the affirmation and encouragement Skip. Yes, we are the third generation, and some of us are most definitely feeling compelled to step up to the task of making Dr. Jung’s brilliant discoveries more accessible. It’s not easy, but it’s what you and I are apparently called to do.
Thanks also for your reminder of the lessons of Sparta and Athens! It couldn’t be more appropriate or helpful to this discussion.
I’m thrilled to hear about your online seminars and will certainly visit them later on today. Thus far I’ve spent the morning reading e-mail and writing comments here while ignoring Izzy’s (my granddog, a golden retriever who lives with me in the mountains during the summer) mournful looks and pleas to go out for our daily long hike through the woods. I think it’s time to give in!
Thank you for your ongoing support, my friend. It means so much and helps keep me going in this endeavor….
Wonderful! I want to reblog this one!
Thank you, Fran. Have at it!
Reblogged this on Fran Kramer and commented:
Again Jean Raffa presents her great insights on emerging Consciousness: Please read, this article does much to explain what many of us are feeling.
Thank you very much, Fran. I’m thrilled to know this speaks so strongly to you. I hope your followers find it meaningful too.
A couple of weeks ago I accidentally posted some notes I was making for this and a future post. Before i realized what I had done, I received a comment from Jo-Anne. Since she was referencing something I included in this post, I saved it and am posting it here. I hope she sees it.
May 29, 2016
Very interesting blog Jean, thank you. I too had a rush of awareness in my twenties however I didn’t have the inner strength to sustain that level of awareness. For the next 15 years I walked around in a fog of others beliefs until I had a major health break down. It wasn’t until my early 40’s (20 years ago) that I began to awaken. Your quote by Harding so perfectly describes my recent realization – that ideas occur to us without us willing them, that actions are performed through us — and that we are being used by thoughts and impulses arising from something other than “I”. Its a revelation!
I think our experience, and that of Jung’s, is far more common to young people than we realize. I don’t know about you, but when it happened to me it had a very powerful impact, so much so that it felt sacred, or spiritual in some way. As if I’d been touched by God. When I had a similar experience again at 17, this feeling was much stronger, because then I had actually prayed for help with a problem, and it felt like the newer, stronger awareness that came the next day was an answer to my prayer. By the way, if you’re interested, I describe this and other such experiences more fully in my book, Healing the Sacred Divide.
Anyway, I wasn’t strong enough to sustain that level of awareness either, although I did acquire a very “religious” outlook. And so I put all my hope for continued growth in organized religion. Ultimately, that ended up disappointing me too. But that’s another story (also in my book.)
This morning I was reading the daily meditation I receive from Richard Rohr and synchronistically he addressed one unhealthy effect this kind of early awakening experience has on some people later in life. Perhaps some of my readers will find it helpful, so I’ll post it here. In writing about the 12-step program used by Alcoholics Anonymous and created by its founder, Bill Wilson, who consulted Carl Jung for help, Rohr says:
“[Psychiatrist Gerald ] May was convinced, and I am too after my years as jail chaplain, that many addicts in their younger years were people with spiritual insight and desire. In spiritual direction, addicts will often admit to early youthful moments of “unitive consciousness.” These were moments when it all made sense and we knew we were good, God was good, it was all good. We were in touch with our true source of power, our spiritual desire, the indwelling Holy Spirit.
“When this incipient spiritual yearning was frustrated; when communion, connection, and compassion didn’t happen; when we were instead met with religions’ legalism, exclusivity, and ritualism–there was a great disappointment. Some then try to maintain an experience of communion through substance abuse or a process addiction (for example, shopping or gambling). We attach to substances and processes the way we first wanted to attach to God. We want to attach to something that will never let us down, something all-powerful, all-nurturing, truly liberating.
“Whatever your attachment might be, it gives you the feeling that this will always be here to control your moods. Maybe it’s a superficial meaning, but somehow buying a new thing takes away the emptiness for about ten minutes. Of course, like any addiction, you need more and more of it because each time you experience the emptiness afterward. It’s never enough to fill the God-sized hole inside of you.
“Prayer and meditation allow you to reconnect with your true source of power. Bill Wilson recalled that the new experience of spiritual vitality he felt in his recovery was exactly what he felt years earlier after visiting Winchester Cathedral in England as a young soldier. He writes, “The real significance of my experience in the Cathedral burst upon me. For a brief moment, I had needed and wanted God. There had been a humble willingness to have God with me–and God came. But soon the sense of divine presence had been blotted out by worldly clamors, mostly those within myself. And so it had been ever since. How blind I had been.”
Jeanie again: From a psychological perspective, we can say that the awakenings experienced by the Epoch II ego are signs of the ego’s spiritual yearning that gradually finds expression as we connect with what Jung called the Self, what spirit people call ‘the kingdom within,’ what alchemists called ‘the pearl of great price,’ what Esther Harding called the inner ‘something other than I’ and so on. But young people aren’t taught to look within; they don’t know their dreams contain meaningful information about their unconscious selves so they look for help outside theirselves.
Most of all, they don’t know, because Western culture doesn’t know, that the human experience is both a psychological and spiritual journey to self-discovery and self-fulfillment. When we look within we don’t just find ourself, we find our Self, Jung’s name for the archetype of wholeness, our god-image, the aspect of the Sacred that indwells us and connects us with All that Is in unified consciousness.
Well, I had no idea my response to your comment would result in a lengthy epistle, but so it has, so I’ll stop now.
Thank you for writing, Jo-Anne. And blessings to you.
Wow! I’m going to start collecting Raffa quotes, with a view to publishing a book of collected wisdom one day. I particularly liked the 3rd to last paragraph, which I repeat here for emphasis: ***“Most of all, they don’t know, because Western culture doesn’t know, that the human experience is both a psychological and spiritual journey to self-discovery and self-fulfillment. When we look within we don’t just find ourself, we find our Self, Jung’s name for the archetype of wholeness, our god-image, the aspect of the Sacred that indwells us and connects us with All that Is in unified consciousness.” ***
Bless your heart! (A southern saying I learned upon moving from Michigan to Florida! While it sometimes connoted a secret sense of superiority, I’ve always used it with utmost sincerity!)
Seriously, the heart and intentions you put into your work on the internet are so utterly authentic and pure, and I so respect and honor that. And, to use another trite saying, you always “put your money where your mouth is!” I don’t know anyone else who works as hard as you do to spread the healing messages of Jungian psychology and I’m so grateful our paths have crossed, and that you respect my work as much as I respect yours.
This illuminates and clarifies what often feels like a confusing muddle, Jeanie. Thank you. I love the quote Skip mentioned. Even more, I love the quote you said you want your readers to take home. I’m taking it home.
I woke up this morning to the horrifying news from Orlando. Once again, violence comes with breakfast. Our world seems so utterly broken, so unfixable, so dominated by aggression, greed, and rage. And, yet, I know change happens. Sometimes at a snail’s pace and sometimes in a flash. I hope people will look in the mirror and see Donald Trump’s face (and values) reflected there. Then they will say No to what they see, what they’ve unconsciously accepted for so long.
And I must watch for this same energy in me. Indignity and outrage are ego highs for everyone, including me. Your piece makes it so clear why we can’t afford the luxury of unconscious shadow reactions.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Elaine. I love your observation about the danger of our shadow reactions to what we see “out there” : “And I must watch for this same energy in me. Indignity and outrage are ego highs for everyone, including me.” Me too.
As I write this I’m watching the horrifying news that 50 people were killed in a nightclub here in Orlando last night by another young, angry male, and I’ve just learned that the estimate of how many people he killed has moved from 20 to 50!! Synchronistically, my next post, which I wrote this past week, addresses the issue. And here this tragedy has just happened again in my own home town.
This is a another wake-up call to our country and the world, and its message is: Yes, we in the U.S. have a problem with guns. But this is just a symptom of our real, core problem. Putting all our focus on gun control is a convenient way of deflecting our attention from our national shadow. And we do have one, as does every individual, group, and nation. We Americans, who have seen ourselves as moral leaders in the pursuit of freedom and justice for all are Dr. Jekylls who cannot see our evil Mr. Hydes.
Yes, this political race is providing us and the world with a mirror that reflects our shadow’s aggression, greed, and rage. If we will focus on that problem, we can start to make some changes in our social institutions, and we should begin with education. We must find ways to channel the aggression and rage that erupts in so many boys during puberty and adolescence. Hints about how to do that can be found in ancient tribal rituals that brought healing meaning to the pain and suffering of adolescent males. Surely we can come up with intentional, appropriate strategies aimed at bringing out and empowering the best aspects of masculinity in America’s young men instead of ignoring their alienation and suffering. And these ways must incorporate feminine values like relationship, inclusiveness, respect for individual differences, and ego surrender to a higher cause.