Message To America From a White Horse


lone_ranger_and_tonto_with_silver_1960I’ve always been proud of my country. As a child, I thought the Lone Ranger, Tonto and Silver symbolized everything good about the U.S.A.: respect for human rights, individuality and diversity, strength of character, integrity, commitment to our civic responsibility to protect the weak, the helpless, the innocent and poor. But if there were any vestiges of that naïveté left in me before this presidential race, they’re gone now.

Never have I ever felt so disillusioned about America. Never have I, like award-winning novelist Barbara Kingsolver, taken a political race so personally. The constant reminders of our collective shadow have been monumentally toxic and I’m sick of it. But I didn’t realize how sick until last week’s dream of a white horse.

Dream #4792:  I’m in a house (my psyche) where several people (inner characters) are attending a retreat. Two persistent and annoying women (parts of my shadow) want my attention and feel sorry for themselves when I don’t give it.  An elder white-haired man summons me outdoors where I’m given responsibility for a white horse (powerful unconscious emotions). Its owner (aspect of my animus) is in the house. He has neglected it so badly that it’s ill. The old man leaves the horse with me. Annoyed at the owner’s negligence, worried and sad about the horse’s condition, I caress it lovingly. When I turn my back on it to go and notify the owner, it crumples behind me and lies there, pitiful, sad, and listless.

That morning the sad feelings lingered so I searched Google and found this blog post from 2009.

Jung & Horse

Mark Wallinger's White Horse Sculpture
Mark Wallinger’s White Horse Sculpture

“There has been a massive outpouring of love for Mark Wallinger’s white horse, the 165 foot sculpture which will be placed at the new International Rail Terminal at Ebbsfleet, Kent. This is interesting for many reasons, not least because public art isn’t usually enjoyed by the lay person, ironic and upside down as that may sound. The iconic white horse has captured something in the collective consciousness, something primal and English to its core. Today, I stumbled upon this piece of an essay by equine behaviourist Chris Irwin:

“Clearly, some link between horses and the human psyche was surfacing. I’ve since learned that there is a branch of psychoanalysis, pioneered by Carl Jung, that tries to weave a balance between the outer world of action and events and the inner world of dream, fantasy and symbolism. A distinguishing feature of Jungian analysis is the concept of archetypes, symbols rising from the dark, deep psychic pool of the collective unconscious where humanity’s common experience is stored.

“Archetypes express a complex of images and emotions that surround the defining experiences of human life. Examples include the Hero, the Divine Child, the Great Mother, Transformation, Death and Rebirth. They are the same for us all, no matter who we are or where we come from. It’s as if they are built into the wiring of our brains. And one of the most commonly recurring archetypes is – you guessed it – the Horse.

Some of my horse books.
Some of my horse books.

“The Horse archetype throughout the ages has been closely linked with our instinctive, primal drives. Jung thought the Horse’s appearance could signify instincts out of control. The horse evokes intense feelings and unbridled passion instead of cool, collected thought.

“In many different situations and in many different ways, horses were enabling people to make contact with feelings they’d buried deep inside their shadow. There didn’t seem to be any doubt that equine-assisted therapy worked. The question was, why?

“Horses, by embodying one of the deepest archetypes in our consciousness, most definitely stir us up. All those things that are buried away or girdled safely up start swirling around in our psyches. Horses can be a direct connection into the unconscious. When we look at a horse, and especially when there’s a horse strutting across the pen in front of us, we see the flesh-and-blood incarnation of powerful forces bottled up within us that we wish we had the guts to saddle and ride.

More horse books.
More of my horse books.

“These are the forces that Jung called the shadow self. We know those forces could take us to our dreams and turn us into our best selves. We also know those forces could destroy us. That’s why we bottle them up in the first place. And when feelings are stirred-up and agitated, that’s when we have the chance to work with them and learn to control them. Horses give us this opportunity. They do this to us whether we’re aware of it or not. But what a powerful tool to be able to use consciously!

“Carl Jung also talked a lot about life’s paradox, and how important the embrace of seeming contradictions is as we travel the never-ending journey towards becoming fully human. Horses, which can both free us or hurt us, embody this paradox. How we handle this paradox in the arena becomes a metaphor for how we handle it everywhere. Only in this case, it’s such a potent and direct metaphor, that we can use it to change our reality. Horses force us to face our shadow selves. Once we do that, we discover much greater freedom, exhilaration and inspiration as we go forward in life.” ~Chris Irwin, author of Horses Don’t Lie

14358643_1430859230264226_4748031632577132298_nDream Mother gave me the perfect image to get my attention. My white horse was suffering the consequences of intense bottled up feelings:  grief, empathy, agitation, worry and self-pity, plus concerns about my recent diminishment of life energy, my neglected need for self-love and care, and my country’s neglected need for self-love and care.

As I write this it’s the day before the election. If Hillary is elected, I’ll celebrate. Either way I’ll be facing my shadow as I get on with my life. I hope Uncle Sam will too. I won’t turn my back on either of us.

A final note: I’ve just read an extraordinary article by award-winning author Barbara Kingsolver on why Trump has not been called out for the horror show he’s put our country through.  If you’re still sitting on the fence about this election, I urge you to read it.

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.

Image Credits: The Lone Ranger, Tonto, and Silver; Mark Wallinger White Horse Sculpture, Wikimedia Commons.  Uncle Sam Cartoon, Facebook.

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31 Responses

  1. Thanks Jeanie, I read Barbara Kingsolver’s post. I admire her so much as a person and writer and her ability to tease out the essential.
    I’ve just heard the leader of one of the many opposition parties here in South Africa state that all the whites in our country must be slaughtered. And to grab any land for themselves that belongs to whites – so, it’s a question I suppose of response vs reaction. I won’t react … and my response to this to myself is that this is dangerous talk and has no place anywhere anytime. He’s merely showing himself as he is …
    I know also, that in our August municipal elections the major opposition party (the one I’m aligned to) had been running the municipality of where we have our holiday home, well and smoothly for the last 5 years and had turned around around a huge deficit to profit after it had been in the hands of the ANC. The opposition party (our governing ANC) actually won it, in part because of unrealistic promises made to the voters, but also because 21 people did NOT come out to vote for the reigning party – so by a hair’s breadth we go back to corruption and poor running of that particular municipality –
    Your dream was timely, thank you for sharing it. And may all go well in POTUS. From afar I’m watching the outcome with great interest.

    1. I adore Kingsolver too. Her books are mesmerizing examples of beautiful, deeply nuanced psychological wisdom as well as writing skill.
      I am so sorry to hear about your country’s version of the horror show playing out in the world. Political progress is painfully slow when you’re in the midst of it and so many human lives are wantonly ruined and destroyed.
      Yet when I stand back and take a cosmic view, I see extraordinary progress in the direction of human rights, freedom, and justice for all, with actual caring for our brothers and sisters leading the way in such realms as civil rights, gay rights, women’s rights, etc. All have improved dramatically in the last hundred years. Was there ever a century in the history of humanity like the last or current one in which so much positive change occurred and is occurring on such a massive scale?
      And yet, here we are, stuck in a place and time in which chaos reigns and no end is in sight and ours and our children’s and grandchildren’s happiness and very lives are under constant threat. My wider lens helps me put it in perspective and gives me hope. The momentum is growing, we are evolving. Our evolution toward our fullest potential cannot be stopped. It can’t happen soon enough. Sending prayers for safety for you and yours.

      1. Jeanie, it’s going on 2.00 p.m. here in SA – we heard the news early this a.m. And of course it is ongoing headline news …
        Already from yesterday, before any outcome of anything, I was thinking back on your reply to me about taking the ‘cosmic view’ – and we have come far in many and meaningful ways. So we’re grateful to the last century!
        I was thinking of this whole election thing: is this maybe a collision of opposites in many ways. This is surely a significant moment … in many many ways …. and we can only hope that out of this morass something will flower. Reminds me of the lotus arising from the mud. So for that I am hopeful … and grateful that so many, like you for example, are holding up a candle …

        1. Thank you, Susan. Yes, if ever a psychological mirror was held up to the U.S. of the conflict between our inner opposites, this was it. So many accusations of lying and being “evil” and rigging elections, etc. Seems like we can’t get past, or rise above, our dualistic thinking and blaming our dark sides on others. Yet that’s the only way we’ll ever approach the light and find peace.
          This morning I received a note from a friend who said, “Jean, I think your horse dream was precognitive.” She may be right. In going over my dreams of the last two weeks most of them mentioned darkness or had dark themes—dark rooms, driving too fast down a dark road at night and not being able to see where I was going, being kidnapped and held hostage by some rebellious art students, (art students?), a husband telling his wife to shoot a woman I had taken to see their home and seeing the bullet hole in her left temple, etc.
          But your mention of holding up a candle reminds me that there was mention of light in some of these dreams too. In the dream in which I was told to get a new lens, I felt compelled to put five candles in an antique candelabra and light them in a dark fireplace. In my driving down the dark road dream, my destination was a desert where several people were gathering to have their picture taken at sunrise. I think the recurring mention of dark and light was not only addressing a conflict of opposites going on in me as have struggled to write the last several posts about the election with some balance, but also the psychological conflict going on in our country….. one which I have absorbed and been struggling with for some time. Perhaps the sick white horse was not just an intimation of that, but also of things to come.
          Thank you for the kind thoughts and words.

    2. IT feels like one of those momentous years like 1848 or 1968… Where popular left and right wing movements are on the rise. It’s a time to know who you are or who you’d like to be. A time to spread the word above the shouting. Stay safe.

      1. I agree Brian – the extremes are being expressed. Sometimes it has to go that way for change to happen – even if it is not strictly necessary. But the rises of nationalism is frightening …

      2. Yes, it does. I thought 2016 was going to be a watershed year because of a woman running for, and possibly being elected as, president of the U.S., but perhaps that’s only one aspect of the right/left wing movement history will remember us for. Certainly it has been momentous for me; I do now know for sure who I am and who I’d like to be above the shouting. I’ll do my best to stay safe. 🙂 Thank you.

  2. Please look after yourself Jeanie.
    I hope your dream reminds you to embrace your wild horses.
    Over here in Scotland there is a public work of art in Falkirk called The. kelpies, which is a massive steel structure of two horses heads and necks, beautifully animated which the public have embraced enthusiastically, coming from all Scotland to view. This, in a country which has seen an upsurge in an open accepting nationalism which welcomes migrants refugees etc., markedly different from the feeling south of our border in England.
    Meanwhile, President Trump is a reality. The Don with his acceptance speech making him out to be a rebuilding New Dealer. And worst of all, a Supreme Court which will be right wing/ conservative for the next twenty years or more. Hopefully the Republicans in the Congress and Senate can rein in his worst ideas.
    The saddest thing I lessons learnt by impressionable kids, it’s ok to behave/talk like him and still be President. Sad.
    But, back to you, please look after yourself. You know you are much loved.

    1. Thank you, Brian. I woke up today feeling numb. Is this what despair feels like? I think so. It’s a lot better than the agitation and irritability I was feeling all day yesterday. I just had lunch with a friend and we commiserated with each other over our loss of hope. She had a call this morning from an employee who wasn’t coming to work because she was up all night crying and vomiting. I find shutting down easier than letting it all out like that. But I will take care of myself and it will pass.
      I share your concerns for our country’s future and the impact this president will have on our impressionable children. And I hadn’t even gotten to the Supreme Court thing until I read your comment! I find that very scary.
      Thank you for your sympathy and concern. And for reminding me that I am loved. That feels good. So I guess I’m not totally numb! 🙂

  3. Thank you for your lovely response Jeanie, full of pain and yet – I also thought about the beautiful horse now not well at all, pitiable … these wounds need to be healed and they will be – more now than ever is the time for introspection and retrospection. Why do things always get harder before they get better? Why is it always darkest before dawn?
    Hillary Clinton concession speech was gracious – I imagine her and Obama helping to steer the ship through troubled waters in this transition time ..

    1. I like your image of Hillary and Obama helping to steer the ship (of state) through troubled waters. I, too, imagine them being healing agents for each other and the country. Yes, it’s darkest before dawn. I look forward very much to the dawn….

  4. Oh dear Jeanie. What a big rich dream. It’s all the more poignant knowing the outcome. I agree. Either way, we’d have to face the shadow. My post for this coming week was written right after the election. Please, please take care of yourself.

  5. A few months before the election I had what felt like a series of big dreams. In one of the more memorable ones, I saw an ancient and kindly king and queen, waiting to rule once again. Their names were Elizur and Eliza and they ruled together, out of LOVE and without force, with their lion resting peacefully beside them. As I entered the twilight stage of sleep and was about to awaken, I experienced a very brief but powerful vision of the woman Eliza, now seated on her horse but turned away. I felt a deep sadness and received an accompanying message that it was not yet their (or her) time to rule.
    To be clear, I understood the woman Eliza did not symbolize Hillary Clinton but rather a feminine (soulful) way of connecting to God, creation and one another, which, as a society, we don’t yet fully understand and so are unable to fully embrace. When I googled the names Elizur and Eliza, I found they’re said to derive from the Hebrew word Elisheba/Elisheva, a female character from the Bible whose name is said to mean “oath of my God”, “God is satisfaction” or “God is her oath.”
    On the morning following Trump’s election, I dreamed I was carrying a small white plastic drinking cup filled with a clear liquid containing the pure essence of “red, white and blue” (metaphoric Kool-Aide?) Frustrated, I went from person to person desperately trying to get people (many of them women) to correctly identify the scent, until as some point I looked down and realized the cup was empty, its contents having either evaporated or ‘fallen’. The illusion that once had seemed so real to so many, was gone. All that remained was the empty white cup, absent of both colors, red and blue.
    Though our perspectives may differ in some respects, like many others I was troubled and frightened by what a Trump presidency would likely mean. Where we probably differ is that I viewed (and view) both Trump and Clinton as symptoms of the same soul-sick system of empire, a system which has not only blinded us to ourselves but also to our larger connection to God/Source, creation and one another. In this intricately connected world, many of us remain unaware of our complicity, however unintentional, in the destruction of life and in the continued suffering of millions of invisible others ~ long before this latest election and long before Trump and Clinton ever took the stage.
    I think both dreams were meant to convey, albeit in different ways, how many of us have forgotten who we are and instead only think we’re awake, lulled by the false gods of capitalism and empire into the deep sleep of unconsciousness. Instead of consistently honoring our connections to one another and to the divine and all-loving force from which we all originate, many Americans have chosen to worship these false gods of empire and to identify as either Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, believing the two choices to be (more or less) representative of the opposing forces of good and evil, relative to whichever party (and illusion) we’ve aligned ourselves with.
    Maybe the truth is more complicated and much darker. Maybe our latest president is serving as the dark and unconscious messenger of our collective shadow, acting out in exaggerated form the embodiment of what it is we truly value, reflecting back to us the superficial, uninformed, pleasure and consumer-based aspects of a culture in denial about the countless evils committed by its government, corporations and people, both here and abroad.
    It’s a way of life supported by misguided or uninformed Democrats and Republicans alike, one borne of endless war and maintained on the backs of the poor, exploited, tortured and oppressed in our pursuit of profit and power, capitalism and empire. Whichever candidate had won, Democrat or Republican, Clinton or Trump, either way the endless wars and suffering would and will continue until we finally grow tired and disillusioned and begin to seek out what’s REAL. Over and over again, we’re presented with the same false choice between one of two approved false choices, based on our dualistic and limited way of perceiving a world in which one option over another only *appears* to represent the moral choice.
    Lesser evil is still evil done to lots of someones, somewhere.

  6. Thank you, very much, LB, for sharing your fascinating dreams and your thoughts about them. Thank you also for your observations on our country’s mentality. We needed this president to show us our collective shadow. And I agree that it won’t go away no matter who is president until we as individuals begin to think psychologically and live spiritually.
    I can’t be part of the finger pointing because there’s baseness and falsehood on both sides. The only one to whom I have a right to point my finger is myself. It is my responsibility to consciously reflect on my inner and outer lives and take the third way of making loving choices from moment to moment. I can’t heal the world, but I have the power to heal myself if I’m willing to face my shadow and choose love. This election was a wake–up call for each of us to accept that responsibility. Yes, there is evil everywhere, but there is also love everywhere and we all have the freedom to choose which one we’ll serve.

  7. “Yes, there is evil everywhere, but there is also love everywhere and we all have the freedom to choose which one we’ll serve.”
    I agree wholeheartedly Jeanie, and also believe love is always the better choice, though in order to serve we must first practice discernment, then be willing to see. One of my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes begins with the words, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance . . .”
    Having spent much of my own life in ignorance of so many things (and claiming no moral superiority then or now), a few years ago I began praying that God show me where I was mistaken in my thinking, about myself, other people, my relationships, my country, the world. The shocks came quickly after that, one after another as I began to discover the hidden suffering behind many of the things I’d always taken for granted. Books (literally) fell off shelves; online I’d accidentally click on something that led me somewhere else to something I needed to know; I’d encounter someone with a personal experience to share. My deconditioning is ongoing and has been traumatic at times, but also rewarding. My grief for all those who suffer and sense of complicity has forced me to face aspects of myself and our way of life, to acknowledge and attempt in my own small and imperfect way to let go of that which no longer serves the good.
    Once I realized how politically misinformed (and uninformed) I’d been, I stopped relying on mainstream corporate media sources like CNN, CSNBC and PBS (among others) and began turning to much harsher and darker, but also more informative independent sources like journalists Chris Hedges, Paul Street, and Missy Comley Beattie; economist Richard Wolff; environmental and social justice activist Vandana Shiva; and leftist sites like Counterpunch, Black Agenda Report, Truthdig and Naked Capitalism ~ ironically, many of the same sites accused of advancing Russian propaganda during the election by Democrats. I rarely agree with every point, though sometimes I do. I try to vet everything I read and to think carefully before forming (or sharing) an opinion.
    Respectfully, Barbara Kingsolver’s version of Hillary Clinton is a gross misrepresentation, a fantasy. This is not meant in any way to demonize Barbara Kingsolver, Hillary Clinton or anyone else, since most of us, to some extent, have been conditioned by and struggle against the same principalities and dark worldly powers that would keep us unconscious. What I am suggesting is that to speak of Hillary’s compassion (which no doubt she has) without a fuller mention and understanding of the injustices and suffering caused by many of the policies and actions she’s enthusiastically embraced throughout her career is to do a great injustice to truth and to all those who have suffered.
    Hillary, Obama, Trump, and the presidents before them, primarily serve our violent and exploitative system, one which is now failing ~ as all empires eventually must. As you rightly pointed out we can only change ourselves. If we sincerely wish to understand how we arrived at this terrible place (and to engage in meaningful political discussions and acts of compassion), then it seems important we first make an effort to become more aware and informed. Buddhist teacher and former peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh uses the term “right consumption”, which contributes greatly to the practice of right thinking.
    I appreciate your patience and graciousness in hearing me out. I also understand why some of my perspectives might be provocative. Hopefully you’ll be able to see past all that and take away something positive and healing from our exchange. If you disagree, which you may, I’ll understand and will leave it at that. Whichever way it goes I’ll continue to read, appreciate and learn from many of your insights.

    1. Hi again, LB,
      I agree with most of what you say, and have a question for you. However, I’m thinking this dialogue may not be as interesting to most of my readers as it is to you and me, so I’ll email my question to you and we can proceed from there.

    2. While I didn’t go into specifics in my original comment, this afternoon I ran across an older article from Counterpunch discussing Hillary’s (and the MSM’s) failure during her campaign to acknowledge and critically examine significant aspects of her consistently less-than-compassionate record as Secretary of State:
      “You remember those years, don’t you? The “surge” in Afghanistan; the winding down of the Iraq occupation; the huge increase in drone strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan, killing hundreds of civilians and terrorizing whole regions; the total failure of the Obama administration to end U.S. client state Israel’s illegal settlements on the West Bank and indeed a general deterioration in high-level U.S.-Israeli relations; various U.S. interventions during the “Arab Spring;” the U.S./NATO assault on Libya that destroyed that modern state, etc.? Hillary was a key player in all these events. It’s all in her record, for all to see.”
      As you’ve pointed out in your books and posts Jeanie, there’s another “Third Way” of love and compassion, one not represented by our system of empire and the actions of those who serve it, Hillary, Obama, and Trump included.
      To turn away from unpleasant facts and darker truths is to also, however unintentionally, turn a blind-eye to suffering. We can do better than this. This is not dialogue, this is denial . . . we need our inner dark goddesses and outer dark truth-tellers to wake us up. I know what it feels like to witness and experience violence, to not have a voice, to be made a scapegoat in an environment where people’s actions don’t align with their words and ideals. To remain oblivious and silent about injustice is a kind of spiritual death.

      1. Dear LB,
        You sound like a sincere and dedicated social activist in the outer world. I admire that. The world needs people like you. I see myself as an activist in the inner world of the psyche, soul and spirit. Discovering who I am, seeing my shadow, working on healing my inner divides, forgiving and learning to love myself and others, sharing what I have experienced and know to be true through writing my books and blog: These are the things I feel called to do. It’s how I make a difference. The world needs people like me too.
        I’m telling you this because I sense you’re trying to convince me of something: perhaps to adopt your particular point of view? You don’t need to do that. I don’t see things quite the way you do, especially what you say in your last paragraph above. It honestly feels a bit judgmental to me. I know we need truth-tellers to wake us up, but there are many ways to do that. Because I do not focus on the same wrongs or forms of violence as you, it does not follow that my way is turning a blind-eye to suffering. Because I do not write about all the bad things Hillary and Obama did does not mean I am oblivious and spiritually dead. There are many kinds of suffering, many forms of violence to the soul, spirit and psyche. Ignoring some to deal with the ones you’re given is not spiritual death to me.
        I’m copying part of a very relevant essay by Richard Rohr below because his words explain so much better than mine what I’ve been trying to do in the second half of my life and what my path to social justice consists of. Synchronistically, I’ve been reading his on-line meditations for over three years and this one came just today: Monday, June 12, 2017. The title is: “There Is Nothing to Regret. (God Uses Everything in Our Favor)
        A word of explanation: Neither Rohr nor I see the word “God” in the traditional, orthodox way of Christianity. It’s more like Source, or All That Is Sacred, or Jung’s Self, or One Mind, or The Ground of Our Being” or whatever one wants to call the sacredness which permeates the universe.
        Here are Rohr’s words about Saint Francis and Franciscan Spirituality:
        “All the conflicts and contradictions of life must find a resolution in us before we can resolve anything outside ourselves. Only the forgiven can forgive, only the healed can heal, only those who stand daily in need of mercy can offer mercy to others. At first it sounds simplistic and even individualistic, but it is precisely such transformed people who can finally effect profound and long-lasting social change.
        “It has something to do with what we call quantum theology. [3] The cosmos is mirrored in the microcosm. If we let the mystery happen in one small and true place, it moves from there! It is contagious, it is shareable, it reshapes the world. Thus, both Jesus and Francis had no pragmatic social agenda for reform. They just moved outside the system of illusion, more by ignoring it than fighting it and quite simply doing it better. They knew that “the best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better” (one of the Center for Action and Contemplation’s core principles). [4] Jesus and Francis moved to a much larger place that we call holiness/wholeness in God, and from there they could deal kindly with all smaller and confined places. Nothing threatened them; everything elated them, reflecting their own infinite abundance.
        “Don’t waste any time dividing the world into the good guys and the bad guys. Hold them both together in your own soul—where they are anyway—and you will have held together the whole world. You will have overcome the great divide in one place of spacious compassion. You, little you, will have paid the price of redemption. God takes it from there, replicating the same pattern in another conscious human life.”

        1. “All the conflicts and contradictions of life must find a resolution in us before we can resolve anything outside ourselves. Only the forgiven can forgive, only the healed can heal, only those who stand daily in need of mercy can offer mercy to others. At first it sounds simplistic and even individualistic, but it is precisely such transformed people who can finally effect profound and long-lasting social change.
          “It has something to do with what we call quantum theology. [3] The cosmos is mirrored in the microcosm. If we let the mystery happen in one small and true place, it moves from there! It is contagious, it is shareable, it reshapes the world . . .”
          I agree with all that and more, Jeanie. My point about the danger in denying and projecting evil, and the ideas expressed in the above quote complement one another, are not mutually exclusive. It’s about unconscious forces that gain momentum and power whenever we look away, not about religious or political dogma that seeks to divide the world into two neat groups, us and them.
          I’m only able to recognize and name the disease outside myself because I recognize its existence within me. To deny the existence of something in one candidate, person or system (the undeniable horrors of Clinton’s actions) while pointing it out in another (in this case, your post about the horrors of Trump and all those outside yourself who voted for him in service to the same horror-filled system both candidates serve and which you seem to support) is a form of unconscious projection.
          We can’t heal what we don’t see and won’t acknowledge, let alone show mercy or forgive. Long-time Buddhist and author Paul Levy uses Jungian psychology to explore the nature of the waking dream and collective psychosis. Though all great wisdom traditions speak of this force using different names, Levy says some Native Americans called the formless, shape-shifting archetypal force so many of us seem unconsciously possessed by “wetiko”. He wrote a book about it called, “Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil.”
          There’s been a reason for my persistence. I see myself in you, in your gifts and blind-spots, and know how much you have to offer ~ much more than you’re aware of, I think ~ which is probably also true of myself. Take care, Jeanie. All the best to you on your journey.

  8. I see myself in you too. I recognize your voice. I recognize the ego-investment we both have in this dialogue. It feels like a test. I would say that three of my biggest and most persistent shadows for most of my life have been my ego’s pride in my knowledge, my need to be right, and my fear of conflict. It’s so easy to not hear another’s voice when you’re trying to justify yourself and anxious to alleviate your discomfort. I haven’t quite come to terms with those three guys yet. For me, they are aspects of Wetiko I’m still having difficulty dispelling. I see our conversation as an opportunity, a step in a healing direction.
    Since I wrote this piece and the one about the white horse—i.e. since the election—I’ve been more aware of persistent aspects of my dualistic thinking that were causing conflict in me then. I was unwilling to give up my projections onto either candidate at that point, but now I see aspects of the shadows in both. Nevertheless, having exhausted most of my tolerance for politics, and itching to come back to a place of centeredness and peace, I preferred not to do more research into the issues you are discussing here. You’ve called attention to that blind spot. I hate conflict and confrontation. I confess it and thank you for bringing more of this shadow to my awareness.
    I’ll respond to your email soon. This has been a refreshing interaction. You take care too, and my best to you on your journey.

    1. Thanks, Jeanie. I appreciate your response. Some of my most persistent shadows have been my need to fix and share and have validated my deeper understanding of underlying energies/abuses of power going on beneath the surface ~ all have played out many times throughout my life, in my relationships, work and calling. There’s a line in hexagram 16 of the IChing which cautions against “deluded enthusiasm”, something I’m guilty of whenever I become too attached to outcome (or ego), especially when it involves my inability to alleviate injustice or hidden suffering. And of course, I recognize and admit my own complicity, which is something I struggle with.
      For me, it’s always been about learning to appreciate the delicate balance between effort and grace, without using too much force and without becoming too passive. Sometimes I’m a ram, and sometimes I’m a dove.
      I also want to clarify something, which is that I’m not an activist, though like you I have a deep and abiding respect for peaceful and informed activists and truth-tellers who use their gifts mindfully and in service to us all.

      1. Thank you very much, LB for your response. We’re having a real dialogue now, in the mandela space between us. Previously I felt a bit uncomfortable, like I was being preached to, and I couldn’t figure out why. I don’t feel that way now. I think our mutual honesty and willingness to own our own shadows is what tipped the scales.
        I’m very grateful that my readers have had a chance to read this conversation because it’s a perfect example of the difficulties even the most well-intentioned people can have seeing their shadows when they’re acting up a bit.
        My very best to you, Jeanie

      2. P.S. By the way, I conveniently forgot to mention I have a tendency to do some preaching myself occasionally. In fact, my editor recently detected my preacher voice in the 18 year old manuscript I’m reworking at the moment! Which explains why I noticed it in you. And which goes to prove that the things that bother us about others really are shadow aspects of ourselves! Ouch!

  9. The irony is, it’s taken me a lot of years to develop the courage to speak up and use the ‘preacher’s’ voice I was given, a lifetime to care more about what love really means than what people think of me, whether or not I’ll gain or lose their approval. I’ve admitted in using this voice I sometimes push too hard, even when it’s clear the message isn’t wanted or received ~ which doesn’t mean I believe the message itself is any less valuable.

    1. I’m pretty good at using the preacher’s voice. My problem has been using my own voice. I hate conflict and was always too afraid of people’s criticism. Still working on that but getting much better. Writing the blog has been a huge help. I’m grateful for the information you’ve provided. It’s very valuable, indeed. It’s shown me a bigger political picture than I was aware of and I admire your research.
      What troubled me was the way your attitude and emotional tone made me feel. It felt as if you enjoyed taking me down a peg and proving I was wrong. As if that made you feel better about yourself. I didn’t want to argue or diminish you. I just wanted to find common ground. At least that was my conscious desire. My shadow could have had another agenda! 🙂
      I must say this conversation is making me uncomfortable again. I don’t enjoy telling you these things. I fear I’m hurting you more than necessary. I think this is why I hate conflict so much. It can do so much damage. Could we just agree that we’re both flawed and doing our best to communicate what’s important to us without making each other uncomfortable? You can answer this or not as you wish, but I don’t think I have anything else to say along these lines. It’s been a most enlightening conversation. Blessings to you on your journey. Jeanie

      1. “I’m grateful for the information you’ve provided. It’s very valuable, indeed. It’s shown me a bigger political picture than I was aware of . . .”
        I’m very grateful you see it that way. And don’t worry, I’m not hurt and hope you aren’t either. My original comments were never intended to focus on you or me, they were about enlarging our collective awareness, compassion (and consciousness) to include everyone ~ something you’ve said you appreciate. If our conversations got a little off track, maybe that’s okay too. Take care, Jeanie.

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