Thursday, August 25, 2011


I was in a crowded bus, on the back row, with people I did not know. It was so crowded that at times I was nearly claustrophobic fearing I would even panic. But for most of the ride I was more comfortable and very attentive and amazed. Someone said the drive was 35 miles long. We were under the ground of the city of Nashville. It was cave and mine like and dark where we were. But there were lights all along in the distance where some kind of industrial activities were going on. It was amazing for me to see how large the underground network was for the city and how much activity there was going on out of view from above.

Nashville At Night

REFLECTION; I've sat on this a couple of days not feeling there was anything I could say about it. The first obligation I have to a dream is to accept it seriously and let myself truly experience the feelings it generates. This was a complex mixture of feelings but somehow over all quite positive. I was fascinated to see a part of the life of the city that I was nearly totally unaware of when I was there at times during the first forty years of my life. This underground no doubt is an image of the unconscious life that is present 'beneath' the surface and consciousness of all human life, individual and collective. This is the world of the 'collective unconscious'.

There is a very personal element to it being Nashville, TN. I've always said and felt that Nashville is where the roots of my family of origin are. Both parents came from this area and both of them considered Nashville as the center of where they grew up, met and fell in love. I'm very nostalgic about Nashville and always have been. I only went there occasionally as a child to visit my one living grandparent, my Dad's mother, and some cousins and uncles and aunts. I'm sure my being drawn to making closer contact with these roots is why I asked Beverly to move there in 1974. I taught school at a prestigious boys school and preached for a country Church of Christ  for two years. We built a country home. I taught right near down town in an area called West End. It was near Vanderbilt where my brother had gone to Medical School and put a very large feather in our family cap. I was very impressed.

Nashville has also always represented the center of my personal religious heritage. It is likely the strongest center of the beginnings of the non-instrumental COC denomination. One of its main colleges, David Lipscomb University is there. One of my brothers attended there along with Pat Boone who I idolized as a teen. It gave me great confidence and awe that someone like him was a part of my very close community religious fellowship. Another brother bought his very first record and played it for me- 'Two Hearts, two kisses, make one love' was the innocent erotic title. I wept , even as a kid, when he fell out of favor with the power base of the University and of mainline Churches of Christ. He had 'fallen from grace' in their eyes by participating in the 'world' far too much and for taking an interest the charismatic movement. My best part never condemned him and looked down on those who had judged him harshly. Also here was a main publishing company, The Gospel Advocate whose weekly articles informed the 'faithful' of my church where they should stand on 'the issues' of the day. These 'issues' were ones that caused one division after another in these churches. My dad gave me a full set of the Gospel Advocate for 20 years back when I began preaching. For a number of years they were a rich resource in my sermon preparation, a resource that kept me on the very 'straight and narrow' moral and doctrinal path of the church of my origin. In 1985, after my 'vision' experiences, I gave the whole set away, knowing that there was very little in them what would help me answer the questions now before me, to help me interpret the meaning of my experiences or to help me find my way through the maze that was now my life. I had to find new and what had before been considered 'strange resources' to me.
To this day I remain nostalgic about the city and its country side nearly as much, but with different feeling tones, as with my hometown in AL some 120 miles South of there. The Nashville feelings are about my deeper roots, roots that I did not directly experience myself. So the dream source uses Nashville to remind me of the reality of the 'living collective unconscious' that is the underpinning of the consciousness of humanity. It is where all the images and ideas and motivations have come from that have played out the history of the human race. This is true I understand for my personal formation as it is every other human and also for each community and nation and humanity as whole. It has to remain dark for it will always remain mostly unknown. But it is feverishly working producing possible plans and goals and psychic energy that makes human physical/psychological/spiritual life with its faith, hope and love possible.
Derinkuyu Underground City In Turkey

The fact that I do not travel alone implies that I am not alone in being now in more solid touch and trust in the 'collective unconscious'. There are many other humans, mostly unknown to me, who are also riding this bus and learning and experiencing directly the contents of the unconscious. This connection with the unconscious has at times seemingly nearly overwhelmed my ordinary life; to the point that I still nearly panic at times. I ask, 'what if I have wasted the most productive years of my life' and have thus actually missed the highest meaning of my life? Nothing frightens me more than that.... that I have missed the opportunity life has afforded to experience personally, to the extent possible for me-faith, hope and love, with the most horrible loss being that of love. The dream is sent to assure me and to calm my doubts and say that just the opposite is true. By embracing the 'unconscious life' I have drunk as deeply as it's  possible for me  to drink so far of...'faith, hope and love.'

I'm on the very back seat of the bus with two other people I do not know well. I think I am at the back, not because I was the last one getting on but because I had been one of the first and moved back as others boarded. I think I consciously got on the bus about the time I turned forty. That was probably the very soonest that I could have started this journey intentionally into deep reaches of the 'collective unconscious'. Again that encourages me to trust that I have made the most of the opportunities given me for spiritual /psychological development. That is the most I can hope for or expect from myself. That is what would make the words ' well done good and faithful servant' meaningful to me. It is very hard at times for me to trust this, for I have absolutely no direct human encouragement or outer evidence of it. The dream source acknowledges what a lonely road I walk and comes to comfort me just as Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would do. I will accept , as much as I am capable, that comfort.

Another strong step toward the unconscious aspects of my own life and my spiritual  development happened in Nashville in the summer of 1983.   I heard only days ahead that the American Association Of Pastoral Counselors took place in Nashville. On the  spontaneous encouragement of my Clinical Pastoral Education director In Springfield, IL  I decided to attend it some eight hours away. I quickly made arrangements to stay with friends there. I was extremely interested by this point of strengthening my skills and hopefully credentials for professional  Pastoral Counseling. This whole area of emphasis was nearly unheard of in my Church of Christ denomination. As I sat alone between sessions a bearded stranger made my acquaintance. I opened up to him  my frustrations of needing more training and education but I also  had strong commitments to provide for my young family. To my surprise the following week I received application materials to Chicago Theological Seminary, a United Church of Christ institution I was not acquainted with. I was asked in the applications to write out the kind of theological education I felt I needed. Some six  months later I received  a full presidential scholarship for a four year education leading to a Doctor Of Ministry degree in Pastoral Counseling.  This was my dream education. The stranger I had talked to was Robert Moore the head of the Pastoral Counseling program at the Seminary. I only got to attend the Seminary for six weeks the next fall but this was a profound motivation to take this part of life and longing  more seriously and influenced  eventually  my strong  acquaintance with some of the personal  dynamics of the Collective Unconscious.

 Note: I nearly omitted a very strong reason that the dream source would choose Nashville as a place to give me an image of the 'collective unconscious.' Nashville's most central art piece is a replica of the Greek Parthenon. This was the center of Greek religious mythology, the home of the gods. Here is a description of the Nashville Parthenon: The Parthenon stands proudly as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, Nashville's premier urban park. The re-creation of the 42-foot statue Athena is the focus of the Parthenon just as it was in ancient Greece. The building and the Athena statue are both full-scale replicas of the Athenian originals. Originally built for Tennessee's 1897 Centennial Exposition, this replica of the original Parthenon in Athens serves as a monument to what is considered the pinnacle of classical architecture. The plaster replicas of the Parthenon Marbles found in the Naos are direct casts of the original sculptures which adorned the pediments of the Athenian Parthenon, dating back to 438 B.C. The originals of these powerful fragments are housed in the British Museum in London.
The Parthenon also serves as the city of Nashville's art museum. The focus of the Parthenon's permanent collection is a group of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists donated by James M. Cowan. Additional gallery spaces provide a venue for a variety of temporary shows and exhibits.
The Parthenon In Nashville

I sat spell bound when I returned to the Parthenon in 1990 and let myself really 'see with my heart' the goddess Athena for the first time. I have to wonder what would be the chances of any city, much less one in the Bible Belt, in our day having public support and approval for such a public display of what our culture, religious and even academic, have reduced to 'just mythology.' It is strongly sychronistic that here, in such contrast to American cultural/religious values, it exists. The edifice and its contents are a monument to what the 'collective unconscious' brought forth for that ancient highly developed human civilization. We are sadly mistaken if we do not believe that the same archetypes that produced this complicated psychic/religious phenomenon are not seeking to still live in us in new and redemptive ways. This dream is picturing where the outer realities of this ancient religious system came from as well as our own present and future ones. The gods come and go but no god ever dies. If they did so would we and all our faiths, hopes and loves.

Note 2: I moved to Nashville in the fall of '74.' I think it is reasonable to assume that date as the real beginning of the strong movement of the 'collective unconscious' within me, first pushing me out of my comfort zone  and taking me to the  'city of Athena the goddess.'(Athens of the South)  I did not become moved directly by her energy during that two  year stay. I saw her and no doubt was affected unconsciously. It was about 1990 that I really appreciated her on a visit to my daughter's home in Nashville. I paid extra to go in and see the goddess. and was mesmerized. I have no direct sense of worshiping Athena but take her as a  presentation of the feminine principle, so missing for so long  in Western culture,  which I have come to see as so essentially a part of God and humanity.

Anyway if that is when I 'got on the bus'  35 years(miles in the dream) of the ride would have been the fall of 2009.  This means the basic contents absorbed  from the 35 year ride are over for me. That is why these dreams are nothing new but  seem like a review of what I have already received. I have only received a tiny portion, true for us all, of the 'collective unconscious' but at some point the process has to come to an end of  the strongest dynamic changes and allow one to live with what s/he has learned. I think it  is reasonable for me to assume that is where I am.(Though continuously less intense, learning from the Collective Unconscious continues via nightly and day dreams, all forms of human creativity, intuition, worship and ongoing synchronistic events of human life. 7/30/13)

Goddess Athena In Nashville
Athena Parthenos was the title given to this image of Athena in the Parthenon in Athens about 400 BCE.  Parthenos is Greek for' virgin.'  The mythology included that she was born of Zeus without a mother. What might help womens development today is to take the word virgin to mean what it often meant in ancient times and  for goddess Athena : a woman who was 'fully her own self' and not simply an attachment or property of a man, a real and complete woman.  A 'maiden' was a female who had not yet found the  strength of her 'virgin self.'  The word  'virgin' in that ancient context had nothing to do with not having any sexual experience, in fact full familiarity  with her sexuality would be expected of a such a  'virgin'.  How different the past 2000 years may have been if women had been given such a meaning to the  'virgin Mary'. This, I think, is  a truer picture of  Jesus'  courageous young  mother and one that real women could  aspire to, for the benefit of all.  The time was not ripe in then forming Western Civilization for women to be guided by such an image. But perhaps the spirit(its archetype) of Athena is strongly at work now in the psyche of women  and men around the world.

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