Is Nothing Sacred Any More? Where is Your Temple?

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Painting by surrealist Remedios Varo, Rheumatic Pain

“We are still looking back to the pentecostal events in a dazed way instead of looking forward to the goal the Spirit is leading us to. Therefore mankind is wholly unprepared for the things to come. Man is compelled by divine forces to go forward to increasing consciousness and cognition, developing further and further away from his religious background because he does not understand it any more. His religious teachers and leaders are still hypnotized by the beginnings of a then new aeon of consciousness instead of understanding them and their implications. What one once called the “Holy Ghost” is an impelling force, creating wider consciousness and responsibility and thus enriched cognition. The real history of the world seems to be the progressive incarnation of the deity.” ~ Gerhard Adler, C.G. Jung Letters, Vol.2, 1951-1961, 436.

This afternoon I responded to a comment a reader made about my last blog post. We were wondering why Amazon posts reviews for The Soul’s Twins that were written by some people and not others. I replied with a possible explanation that a friend in the book publishing business shared, “I think they’re wary because of a spate of “fake” reviews in the past.” I ended with, “Is nothing sacred any more?”

Fake news. Time to say ‘goodbye’ to the Fourth Estate.  Most of us once trusted the press and news media’s ability to frame political issues fairly and honestly. Not any more.

Fake votes. For as long as I can remember, everyone’s right to vote in a Democracy was sacrosanct, and the trustworthiness of the volunteers and supervisors who tallied and reported votes was taken for granted. No longer.

Fake conspiracy theories. People have always made up stories that incite others to persecute and threaten innocent victims. One only has to see what happened to millions of innocent people in World War II to know the truth of this. Yet it continues.

Everything and nothing has changed. Today even democracy’s most powerful and respected authorities cite facts they cannot prove to support theories which spread so rapidly that an alarming number of people grow frightened enough to act on. When our highest courts of law refuse to support these unsubstantiated theories, they too are viewed with suspicion.

Why is this happening? What are we to do when we can no longer believe our authorities? When our most trusted sources of information are distorted on an international web of information whose trustworthiness has been compromised by dangerously invasive foreign powers? How can anyone tell the difference between the innocent and the guilty, falsity and truth?

I’m not pointing fingers. I’m not blaming one political faction over another or advocating blind trust in the sanctity of democracy as it now exists. Because democracy has problems too. Blind trust and beliefs in outer authorities and institutions only perpetuate the problems we all struggle with, and we’re naive to think otherwise. The problem does not originate out there in imperfect individuals or societal institutions like government and religion. It starts in here.

What then, is sacred?

“The future indwelling of the Holy Ghost in man amounts to a continuing incarnation of God. lt is the task of the Paraclete, the ‘spirit of truth,’ to dwell and work in individual human beings, so as to remind them of Christ’s teachings and lead them into the light.” ~C.G. Jung, Answer to Job, pars. 692-696

Jung wrote these words about organized religion and the God-image of Christianity in the middle of the last century. They’re true of every religion and every individual. We all tend to look backward and outward to locate the sacred. The only place we’re still too afraid to look is within.

Fakers and avengers, conspirators and fools live in every soul. The shadows of our unconscious archetypes — including the most omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient one of all, our God-image the Self — demand scapegoats to punish and blame for our personal flaws and frustrated desires for love, power, and acclaim. Until we own this reality in ourselves, nothing on earth will be sacred.

The only answer to our lost sense of the sacred and lack of belief and trust will be built on the temple of ourselves, the spirit of truth within us.  As Thomas Arzt writes in “The Way of What Is to Come,” the first essay in Jung’s Red Book for Our Time, Vol. 1, (co-authored by Murray Stein), the only “remedy for postmodern turbulences…will be gnosis that represents the bridge toward what is to come.” Gnosis is the inner knowing of each individual, an invisible church that we all can continue to build.

How can we each build a new church and society?

Think psychologically and live spiritually.

Where is your temple?

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.com. Her new book, The Soul’s Twins, is available at Schiffer, Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit and wherever books are sold. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.jeanbenedictraffa.com.

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7 Responses

  1. It seems to me that it is very easy to compare the difficulties of today, “fake news” and “Post Truth”, with an idealised vision of the past. Here in England there are so many mythologies about our glorious past and national heroes, which ignore the fact of an oppressive elite , exploitation of the population for the benefit of the few powerful groups and individuals, plundering of the wealth of other countries, genocide, etc. These fact have all been wipe out of the national consciousness. They are the Shadows of our collective national psyche . Surely we have always been bombarded with untruths, partial truths, motivated misrepresentations of events and facts. It does seem that the disregard for reality and the distortion of facts is now much more blatant and less subtle than it has been in the past but there is a risk in drawing a conclusion that we were not being deceived in the more subtle past. In the end I think that a questioning attitude and a willingness to question everything is the only way forward for us as individuals. Questioning not motivated by the need to find substantial truths but as a way of acknowledging the flux of our lives and the world around us. One starting point seems to be to question the National Myths , and Myths of our National past, as these are a foundation on which the future is built.. Much of the way we view the world is based on ideological foundations which need to be questioned, such as the consumerist ethos and the supremacy of the Capitalist system the myths of Democracy. These ideologies are destroying our planet. The Temple of ourselves has walls that are forever changing, shadows and light which hide and illuminate, gardens which bear fruit and flowers, and which are choked with weeds and waterlogged. The Temples of ourselves are built using using stones borrowed from other temples or the ruins of past selves . Our gardens are planted with the flowers and weeds of other people in our lives and from our past and from our unknown Selves. Where indeed do we go from here ?

    1. Hi Gary,

      Yes, well put. I especially like your four last almost poetic lines.

      The U.S. is woefully ignorant of its collective shadow as well, which contains all the examples you’ve included, not to mention sexism and racism. As I say, Democracy certainly has its flaws. It’s the brazen disregard for and dismissal of truth that’s in our news and faces us every day that is beginning to be seen as normal and setting a new standard for future politicians that I’m referring to here. Yet, I know things need to come to this before we’ll see our shadows clearly enough and suffer enough over them until we’re forced to take action. Change doesn’t occur without suffering.

      I agree that questioning everything, especially our own shadows, myths, and ideologies, of which you give excellent examples, is the way forward. I believe it must begin with us, with scrupulous, ongoing investigation, with building up, tearing down, and rebuilding the Temple of Ourselves as often as it takes to expand our awareness, gnosis, and hearts. Governments, systems, institutions will always rise and fall, meanwhile, each of us can continue to feed the fire of the spirit of truth in us. Where do we go from here? I say it’s time we go within.

      Thank you for writing,

      Jeanie

  2. Beautifully written, Jean. I recently bought an original 1980’s Walt Disney photo of Pinocchio – that shows the puppet locked in a cage, his long nose growing out between the bars, and Jiminy Cricket (his conscience) perched on its tip. I bought it to remind me of how easy it is to tell lies – about ourselves, others, how and why things happen.Truth is particularly fleeting right now. Thank you for reminding us.

    1. Thank you, Diane. What a great reminder you’ve found to keep the spirit of truth alive within yourself. This the kind of holy work we can do in the Temple of Ourselves that will make a difference. Find our own images, see our own shadows, create our own meaning. Then we’re better equipped to recognize and stand firm against untruth.

  3. Thanks Jeanie for articulating this so clearly, Gary too in his response. We love to think and feel we are a civilised people/nation – look at how far we’ve come after all! How fake this is … we do not look back to expose the untruths and merely go on perpetuating them. I do not know what to say really, except that now it is even more imperative (for me) to hold on to my centre as best I can, drawing as best I can from my own dreams and images, seeing where I falter in this thing called ‘Life’, while feeling the onslaught of all that is fake and untrustworthy.

    1. Thanks, Susan.

      Gary’s metaphor of building our temples from stones borrowed from other temples and my metaphor of feeding the fire of the spirit of truth, combined with your comment about holding on to your own center as best you can just swept me back to an old memory.

      We bought our first house in 1969 and moved in after the construction was finished. This was early January 1970, 51 years ago from today. I was pregnant with our first child. After living there for two months, one day I felt a sudden urge to clean the chunks of grout that workmen had left on the brick (stone) facing of the fireplace. That afternoon I sat on the hearth for three hours, driven by a primal instinct to scrub the bricks with soap and a stiff brush to clean the center of my home to prepare the way for new life. My precious daughter Julie was born at 6AM the next morning.

      We all contain an inner knowing, gnosis of the spirit of truth at our center. And we can help prepare the way for hopeful new life to enter the world by listening to and tending to it in the temple of ourselves.

  4. Good question! I’ve never figured out Amazon rules, but one reason I bought your book from them is it made it more likely to post a review.

    About the sacred, I think of the 60s and 70s and how hard it was to accept the horrors of the Vietnam War–and that so many supported it. There’s a whole list from what we did to the Indigenous people, slavery, and children in cages. I don’t think we’ve ever honored the sacred other than our own narrow personal view of it–my church, my doctrine, my rules. I pray we can do better. My personal sacred place is in my forest, bought in 1972 with decaying buildings for a pittance. The big oaks, maples, hickories, and pines weren’t valued then, but they’re holy presences and because we didn’t cut them for lumber, I have one of the most mature forests in my county with stone cairns and ancient trees. It’s sacred!

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