Wednesday, February 29, 2012


1. A continuous repetition of my being in meaningful  conversation with 'The Church Woman' of previous dreams. This was extremely pleasant, enlivening and encouraging to me in every way.

2.First at a community hometown gathering in Florence, AL I met the person who plays Al(likely a  humorous play on AL and Al) Bundy on the  T.V. sitcom  Married With Children.  It turned out that he is, in the dream, a native of nearby Tuscumbia, AL. I was surprised to hear of this and said, "well I've been away from here since 1962." He did not have the negative qualities and poor taste his T.V. character displays. He was very down to earth and hospitable. Then I went to his home which was very lived in and even run down in many ways. He enjoyed his wife and twin boys. We ate tasty food and drank some beer. I've never felt more welcome or entertained. My daughter in law appeared and in a most sincere way questioned to me if 'Al' may have an alcohol problem. I agreed with her that when a person is strongly under the influence they are not fully available emotionally to family and friends. I could not tell if he had a problem/addiction or not. The run down state  of the home might indicate that his drinking was interfering with normal life responsibilities but I certainly could not make such a judgment. He and his wife may have had less materialistic values than many of us about straightness and upkeep of property etc. I knew I had been lifted in spirit by being there for the several hour visit.
Bridge From Florence To Tuscumbia Over Tennessee River

REFELCTION: I have always been more interested in seeing and knowing about celebrities than I  admit. It is hard to not project upon famous people our thoughts and images of the ideal privileged life. To the extent that one would go out of their way at all to just see a celebrity in person is a clue that they are projecting some degree of unconscious  mythological content onto a mortal human. My guess is that most of us do that with  celebrities  we admire from a distance, even more so if we imagine they have personal values that we admire and share. To the extent the projection is about physical appearance and charm even the more we are experiencing the projection of an archetype that makes our actual knowledge of the person close to zero. This may be one of the best ways to see the unconscious projection process going on in the typical Western psyche. The fact that celebrity-ism has built an incredibly strong level of commercial success is evidence of how powerful and real our supposedly  'innocent' projections really are. The character AL Bundy would be considered by nearly everyone as an un-redeeming shadow figure. So the dream is a reminder to me that I, like everyone, carry a shadow aspect. One of the high achievements of spiritual/psychological development is recognizing, facing and eventually accepting  and integrating one's shadow. Only then can the shadow function in its positive role in our life. Similarly any group, family, organization or culture  contains a shadow that functions very negatively and destructively until it is recognized and integrated by some individuals in that demographic. The dream; by attaching a shadow figure, who is imaged as having strong human values, to the  roots of my culture- community, challenges me to  a high appreciation of my origins while not ignoring it's  shadow aspects.
Pump Where Keller Spoke. 'water'

Keller  'Ivy Green' Home Built In 1820
Consciously, I most closely associate Tuscumbia with the birth place of Helen Keller. It may be that the source of the Unconscious  uses this connection to remind me just how 'blind, deaf and dumb' I am spiritually/psychologically  at the purely ego conscious level. That just as Helen Keller is a heroic example of a person   facing and overcoming the childhood physical disabilities of  being unable  to see, hear or talk; so it is with all of us regarding becoming who we are destined to be  by the strength of  our own  sheer will, intelligence and determination. These are all necessary but without the guidance and voice of the Unconscious we can never reach near the goal of fully being  the conscious person of our potential. For it takes both the Unconscious and the Conscious Ego to make a whole human person. No one reaches the goal fully but we can surely be encouraged to know that is our ideal destiny. 
Helen Keller -America's First Lady Of Courage   1880-1968

Tuscumbia is a  Chickasaw word meaning 'cold water' due to it's clear Spring water. Water in all times and places  refers to the  deep boundless source of all that is which we can now rightly call the Collective Unconscious. This can be another way the dream  source is calling my attention to its foundational  importance and how we humans need to drink deeply of its resources. Synchronistically significant also is  the backyard  pump where  child Keller spoke her first word which was 'water.'  'Water' must be the single most common  dream symbol for the 'Collective Unconscious.'  And it is as if this little Alabama town from my roots  shouts from its history, 'Give me water.' The dream also has me 'cross the river' of my youth symbolizing a contained and harmonious  connection to the Collective Unconscious. Is it any surprise the wisdom of the Unconscious leads me there for this lesson? 

Water Falls Of Spring Park Tuscumbia, AL

 And could the Collective Unconscious show any more splendidly its general and determined  intent to bring the 'opposites' together?  It refuses to get rid of any part of reality. Here it casts  Al Bundy along side of Helen Keller, about as opposite as we could at first imagine. But the archetypes behind  both of these contrasting  images and kinds of lives are important and very alive in the human psyche.
Al Bundy Played By Ed O'Neill

The dream goes back to my hometown and thus to my 'core'  origins of personality and psyche. I think it says something earthy and healthy that I am pleased to find this celebrity to be down to earth and having a high value for family, friendship and relaxation with table fellowship. The dream shows my initial projection being lifted and the real person appearing behind it. Now it makes no difference what his work or social  status is for I am experiencing more and more of his core.(This dream has absolutely nothing to do with the real Al Bundy person but is used to plainly describe the psychological projection factor so important and at first unconscious in all human life.) As always, the more clearly we see a human the more certain we will also begin to not only see their virtues but also to experience their 'shadow'. I recall writing in a University paper in 1981 that ,' invariably the more I get to know someone the more certainly I am to have some disappointment in them.' The instructor congratulated me for my honesty. I was aware I was confessing something that was sad to admit. But I think this is an expected human experience in consciousness development. An awareness of the personal shadow always raises a 'question' about the acceptability of a person's private ways or his ethics and morality. The questions here are very common ones in our culture, 'Does s/he have an alcohol or drug problem?' " Is s/he responsible in private family life?' These are actual areas of real weakness and shadow for numerous people. They are also ways that people 'project' parts of their own shadow upon others. And just as celebrities are sometimes projection targets of our high ideals they also receive our negative shadow projections. Any barber, beautician  or local bartender will observe many  examples of this projection process out in the open. And it is obviously quite unconscious. A person leaves pretty much forgetting what they talked about or eagerly listened to for an hour. 

 It was also in Tuscumbia that I had my first childhood experiences with celebrity persons. At the Armory there(or next door Sheffield) as a teen I attended  afternoon concerts including: Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and and country singer Webb Pierce. I missed the afternoon concert of the new young hip-swinging  singer from Tupelo, Mississippi.                      
Image Of A 'Church Woman'

The collective unconscious can unfortunately be a trickster and has led people to very absurd, destructive and obscene actions as they seek to fulfill some image that has welled up in a day or night time dream or 'idea.' That is why I have to question the meaning of the first dream. Why am I receiving this regular encouragement regarding a close relationship with this figure The Church Woman? Am I being teased and played with? Am I being tested to make a fool of myself? Under such an image some men might start going to a different church each Sunday and asking any attractive woman for a date. I must say these images have not led me to take any such action, not even register for For one thing I have to , because of my view of unconscious material, consider that this may always be a representation of my anima, my inner woman and not speaking of a real human woman 'out there' at all. But I also can't deny that there seems to be nothing that would put the 'icing on the cake' of my life experience than for this to be a forecast that such an opportunity is forthcoming in my outer life. I have to as a matter of spiritual discipline hold these two possibilities in tension. Either way my belief is that I am blessed for my inner and/or outer life stand to be enriched either way. It just seems to more likely be pointing to a real woman and I would prefer, from my limited understanding of myself and actual needs, for it to be so.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

GOSPELS AS EYEWITNESS ? February 22, 2012..note to Edward Fudge

Only a scholar well-versed in form criticism can accurately sort out these layers and levels now scattered throughout our canonical Gospels, say the form critics. That also means that only teachers who are trained in the deconstruction and analyses of this guild can really understand what is being said.(From Edward's article below.)

Edward. I do not think that the above is true at all as consequence of  Form Criticism and  other literary type critique, such as the Jesus Seminar, of the nature of the Bible. It simply means that a person should carry in their mind that the specific words of  the gospels are not essentially a dictation of God but are there as a result of all the ways that creative and spirit led people contributed to it, especially in the first several centuries . The gospels are here as they are. They have had the influence with  Western culture that they have had and I believe 'good' is the right word  to give to that influence overall. Much, but not all,  of that influence has been in the minds of people who took them as historic eye witness accounts. This is simply the fact of where we are. 

But now we know more and we know that we will never know exactly which words were first written down and how much of those very first words were of  literal historic events or spiritual interpretation. And today the sincere and honest Bible teacher simply pledges to keep all this in mind so as to not make false claims. To the extent that the images and symbols of the gospels still are able to stir the human spirit to touch heart and soul, then these documents still are a living spiritual influence. (And most anyone who watched the Whitney Houston funeral can testify that these gospels do still have powerful healing and inspiring effects on  our cultural mindset. Many tears and smiles  coming from  a wide range of emotions were experienced from the use of gospel words. And I'm confident that happens in many times and places every day in America. Christians  can take great delight and thankfulness in that reality.)They still have that effect on me and I think many others. I will  gladly and with open mind watch the video.  I'm sure he is a scholar and a gentleman. But to think that more than a century of  sincere of Biblical literary critique of the gospels is going to be swept  away and not have its genuine, deserved  and honest effect on how  the future person will read the Bible is not truthful or respectful of God and man made in God's image. There are those who feel that such a view of the Bible  is forsaking God and leaves one without any spiritual foundation or connection to the Spirit of Christ.  That is only the case if the spiritual longing of  the human is a matter of the head and of outside material content or as I believe is a living part of the inner reality of the  soul that contains the living images of God.  

All the Bibles in the world could be destroyed and the image of  the Christ would still be alive, even if in different detail than we are accustomed to. For the Christ symbol is an eternal part of the Collective Unconscious and the archetypes that reflect its  truths to human consciousness.(I realize this last statement is my use of Jungian concepts to offer a lens to help explain the facts of  the religious nature of Humankind. I do not apologize for that. Such a model can be a great service in helping postmodern humans to get a handle on our new situation, including how to deal with our new knowledge about the Bible and so many other mysteries.) It was never a matter of  concrete history that made Him a living and healing and justice-keeping reality in large parts of the collective human family. To think of the Bible otherwise is to cling to  a  one-sided  pre  post-modern materialistic view of  God, Human and the world.  And that is where much of our religious and secular culture is now.

But we are in a great transition and there is much longing for life with spiritual foundations to be reestablished.  This gives me hope. But our clinging attempt to base our spiritual life on supposedly exact  historical contents of  materially written text precipitates the   NEED that some have for an 'eyewitness account' of what Jesus did and said.  I think that fear is unfounded and if persisted in can become unfaithful to the heart's genuine yearning and call. That is why I may be bored as I watch this video but I will hope for something more. Such wished for efforts to coerce  from uncertain history the  ongoing desire and search for  a deeper  truth is  not consistent with spiritual longing or  with the highest intellectual and spiritual aspirations of the human being. None of this is saying that such desires and claims are insincere  or do not make their own kind of contribution but trying to hold back the overall change in our cultural view of the nature of the gospels  is to attempt to live as if  His Truth Is not Marching On at all.  Cordially, Jim 

You will not likely be bored.

I am constantly aware (and remind my church classes from time to time) that most of the faithful through the ages could not even read and write; that the essence of redemptive faith is a spirit of creaturely dependence; the core of worship is gratitude; and the sum of piety and religion is loving one’s neighbor. That does not mean nothing else is important, but it helps put  things in perspective.


And I appreciate that perspective Edward.   Though I would add that with present knowledge  we are moving into a time where 'the essence of redemptive faith  can be a spirit of Human-Divine interdependence."  With Best Wishes, Jim
On Tue, 21 Feb 2012 23:59:00 -0500 "Edward Fudge" <> writes:

Edward Fudge

For the past century, much of scholarly opinion has held that the Gospels as we have them were not written by the men whose names they bear, or at a time anywhere near the events or sayings that they supposedly report. It is true, according to an analytical method known as “form criticism,” that some of the sayings attributed to Jesus in the Gospels are just as Jesus said them. But, form critics say, other Gospel sayings are included as they were said by the people, largely unknown and much later, who wrote the final Gospels. (Remember the childhood game “Telephone” or “Gossip”?). Still other sayings of Jesus supposedly originated with God--Knows-Who, during a period of God-Knows-How-Long, the time that passed between Jesus and the actual Gospel writers.
Only a scholar well-versed in form criticism can accurately sort out these layers and levels now scattered throughout our canonical Gospels, say the form critics. That also means that only teachers who are trained in the deconstruction and analyses of this guild can really understand what is being said. Since form criticism decreased confidence in the credibility of the Gospels, can we acknowledge that it bore any useful fruit. Yes, I believe we can. It is good to try to understand the time, place and recipients of the Gospels. We are benefitted to learn that the Gospels contain not only sayings of Jesus but sometimes also some later “commentary” on those sayings (John 2:21-22; 12:15-16). And it is edifying to understand that varying circumstances and particular needs of the Gospels’ original recipients might account for some differences in wordings of what appear to be direct quotes from Jesus.
Today, form criticism is becoming passé, and the Gospels are finding a renewed appreciation and trust among more and more sophisticated New Testament scholars. Helping to lead the way to this new respect is one of the world's foremost New Testament scholars. He is Dr. Richard Bauckham, now at Cambridge University, formerly longtime professor of New Testament studies at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and a fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The publication in 2006 of his groundbreaking, 551-page book, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, was met with critical acclaim. Since then, it has fueled the ongoing demise, not only of form criticism itself, but also of the negative presuppositions with which scholars often were presumed to be obligated to approach the text of the Gospels. Professor Martin Hengel, himself a pioneer in the form criticism movement, lauds Professor Bauckham’s “convincing historical method and broad learning” that “help to overcome widespread modern Jesus fantasies.”
I add four notes in closing. First, in my opinion, any serious and experienced reader of English can understand and appreciate this book, some perhaps deciding to skip the technical footnotes. Second, for a sample of spoken discourse from this gentle but brilliant scholar, see this ten-minute video on eyewitnesses and the Gospels. Third, I just received word that Professor Bauckham will be the honored guest speaker at the 64th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society this coming November in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Fourth, I am pleased and grateful to mention that Professor Bauckham contributed a most commendatory foreword to the third edition of The Fire That Consumes.

Monday, February 20, 2012


These were unpleasant dreams. This material is  painful. Dreams do not always pay us a compliment.  That is why I feel compelled to share this rather humiliating one.

1. I was in the high school football tryouts in my hometown. I saw the coaches looking over all the players. I sensed that I would not make the team again and this was my junior year- now or never. I could tell the coaches were excited about their chances for a winning team but also that I had nothing to offer them. It was a sick feeling. I was also carrying resentment about the process and it leaving me out.

2. I was at my family sporting goods store. I was a clerk. All the football boys were there shopping. I knew them and they were friendly  to me but I knew I was an outsider, not being on the team. Some of them were mischievously writing on the store window. I started to intervene in my clerk role and ask them to stop but I decided not too.

3. I was in the high school hallway. C.Y., likely the most outstanding football star, was coming my way. I debated whether to speak or not. I knew he would speak back but also knew I had nothing he was interested in. I spoke but sort of wished I hadn't.

4. I was on the lake on a deck where my boat was safely parked. I had 'the keys' to the boat. I felt my good friend, who made the football team, was interested in football more than in our friendship. To some extent I had the feeling, 'to hell with you.' He did not even want to go for a boat ride. As I went up the hill a lot of kids were gathered there. One who I hardly knew tried to get me to give him the keys to my boat. He said one of my brothers said I would give it to him. I told him that insurance would not cover him and there was too big of a risk of an accident. I was confident he was totally trying to use me.
'You've Gotta Be A Football Hero'

REFLECTION: These were unpleasant dreams. This material is very painful. Dreams do not always pay us a compliment.  That is why I feel compelled to share this rather humiliating one.  I think they are reminding me just how important I had let playing football become and how I idolized those who were seen as the stars. I knew being cut from the team back then hurt but the dreams even make it worse than I let myself know then. I also must have repressed the resentment I had toward the coach and to the ones who made the team. I still wonder, to a slight extent, if there were not some negative politics working against me. My dad was the superintendent and my brothers ran the store where the school purchased all their athletic supplies. Of course, on the contrary, they could have given me an undue advantage for political reasons but were honest enough not to. I don't know the truth. There were far more boys that got cut than there were places on the team. It is unfortunate and not sound education that all who really wanted to play did not get a chance. My best objective evaluation is that I likely had less than average athletic ability but had a strong desire to play. I do not think the coaches missed out on recognizing a champion. It was likely as it should have been.

I think I did experience the archetype of the hero in the sense of wanting to be him. So this disappointment is not anything to be proud of. It is an example of being possessed and driven by a living self promoting archetype. It is likely very good for me that I did not actualize such a longing. It may have led to a rather fizzled out life as it does for many a football shining star.
The Hero Archetypal Myth Lives In Every Age

But if some of the question I still carry about my personal development. and the possibility that I may yet make a substantial contribution to my peers, have some substance; perhaps I am still living out such a desire to be a hero? I have absolutely no evidence that I have not already made the fullest impact I will ever have on the lives of others. If so I need to accept the fact that I am still laboring, to some extent, under the archetypal exaggeration of my own life's importance. In that case I've grown little but have only shifted the venue of such longing from football to some kind of spiritual philosopher caricature. In other words I may still be 'not speaking' to the actual heroes and resenting the system for 'holding me back.'. What makes me think and hope this is not the sad case is that, unlike then, I have been for 25 years far more consciously focused on more fully 'experiencing love' in various dimensions  than on any public achievement or notoriety. If I should more fully experience such  love any public power, wealth or notoriety would be far more an inconvenience than anything needed or striven for. Obviously I still have a desire to score, to win, but the game is a very different one. Only my remaining years can answer this question.

I can say the dreams are at least insisting that I accept the deep unpleasant feelings I had regarding not being recognized as a football player in my high school days. It is likely saying that this dynamic and the archetype that drives it are somehow still alive in me now. I like to think in a much more complimentary and mature way than when I was a youth. I hope that I am not still similarly negatively possessed and driven by it. I hope I, by grace, have become positively connected to the hero myth in such a way as to receive and be a blessing to some others in my mortal life.
'Keys To The Kingdom'
The dreams show me 'having the keys to my boat.' . This reminds me of another archetype, an example of  which appears as  Jesus giving the 'keys to the kingdom' to Peter, words that have given authority to generations of popes. Maybe even as a  struggling teen I felt there was something about  my story  that was 'more important' than making the football team. Perhaps I 'had the keys' to something far more important and meaningful. The boat has been a symbol in my dreams of traveling with some success the higher and lower domains of the 'collective unconscious' and retrieving some of its treasure, not just for myself but maybe for a larger portion of my culture. Water, in my youth, was  a place I was very much at home. After all I am an Aquarius.  It was my 'saving' element as a teen, a relief from the self imposed pressure of excelling in such less reasonable areas like football. It shows me perhaps finding the 'real keys' to my life in areas that are more natural to me. Maybe I was even less conscious of this extraordinarily ambitious archetypal backup plan than I was of the resentment of not completing a far less important temporary goal of football star. If this is true then I still do not escape that there is a self interest continuing to work in me at even a higher level. There is no way these dreams allow me to escape some version of my own shadow being present all along and even now. But I have claimed the belief for many years that a very real acknowledged shadow is a necessary part of the dynamic of life for both human and God. So I am called by the dream to be humble enough to accept the shadow in myself whether only for 'delusions of being a high school football hero' or for something in the future more spiritually significant than that. I have no way of knowing which one is the most true or should be the most embarrassing. Jim H.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

DREAM: TRAIN WOMAN/GODDESS...June 11, 2010, edited Feb 19,2012

I was frantically running beside a moving train. I was trying to board it as it moved along. It was a frightening and daring effort and I was successful. When the train arrived at a train station the emphasis was all on 'the church woman.'  (This is the same feminine figure who frequents my dreams or some more collective variation of her.) She was very down dressed in earth tone slacks, flats and long sleeve sweater. Her hair was dark, straight and shoulder length. She had a very barely breaking pleasant confident smile on her face. She was standing with train tickets in hand. People were gathered around her with great admiration and respect. I stayed as a distant observer. Everyone around her had a deep respect for her as if she had proven herself as very unusual by her past actions and behavior. They looked to her as a heroine of great courage and as mortal with consistent integrity. She inspired confidence in them and also in me. She appeared totally unpretentious in spite of the adoring crowd.
Presentation Of Divine Woman

REFLECTION: I realize this spiritual dream would strike many as too unorthodox to appreciate. I can only respond that I believe the scripture in deep and subtle ways points to the 'feminine' as being as necessary a part of the image of God as the male. A historical fact that should be kept in mind as we think about the 'god image' is that oldest and most long enduring images of God in human cultures were predominately female. All of the 'approved' cultures in the Bible , and our American culture for most of its history, are patriarchal cultures which have been born of a near total masculine image of God. We are well into at an age when the feminine is gradually taking its place of equality beside the male in both the spiritual and secular realms. The Old Testament  Greek Septuagint, the translation all  the New Testament writers used, translates directly  the  feminine nature of God in the O.T.  'wisdom books'  as 'Sophia.' God's Wisdom or Sophia  is fully feminine and clearly represented as an  aspect of God in at least five O.T. books. This dream, and documented dreams across a wide spectrum, is reflecting this great feminine aspect of the Sacred. In the New Testament the Marys around Jesus in both the canonical and other gospels present a somewhat hidden feminine nature of God. The story of the 'Virgin Mary' suggests the feminine can be seen as more than human and thus approaching an aspect of God. Later in church history as unconscious forces helped shape the unfolding dogma of the institutional  church came the teachings of the 'immaculate conception ' of Mary and later the 'Assumption of Mary' into heaven. This is a process in history of the feminine taking its rightful place in the Godhead and the Western image of God. The 'Holy Spirit' as presented in the New Testament can accurately be considered as a feminine aspect of God and called 'She' rather than 'He.'

Sophia, The Greek Goddess Of Wisdom
 In retrospect how could we have ever expected that God can be any less feminine than male? Yet this is the emphasis and consistent implication of orthodox Christianity and of the Western cultures it generated. This dream joins the strong movement of making conscious that Male and Female are equal in every realm just as Paul exclaimed, “In Christ there is no male or female but all are one.”

This dream image seems to be one that brings together the image of the goddess and the mortal woman. She is the mortal ' church woman' of previous dreams but also more than that. She is goddess. She is respected and adored beyond what belongs to mortal woman. The picture to the left might be a modern example of the  archetype of mortal woman  which also hints of her Sacred presence.  Here too she is associated with successful travel in otherwise impossible and dangerous situations. There is something in this dream image of woman that is 'numinous', or beyond ordinary mortal daily living. Her radiant smile is similar to the image of Jesus in the story of the transfiguration. It has a mesmerizing quality to it. She is all the Marys of the N.T. in one image. She is the bringer and creator of new and better things to come. She is at once down to earth in her dress and unpretentious, yet she is heavenly in her radiant yet tempered  smile that promises everything a human can expect as heavenly. I have no way of separating the mortal from the anima/goddess that this dream presents. I am as worshipful and adoring of her as anyone else is. It seems impossible not to be.

 The dream suggests I have managed with much difficulty to catch the last train that is taking me to some nearly final destination. And 'woman' in the most positive ways I have come to image her is somehow the goal and fulfillment of the long journey. She also is a traveler and is headed somewhere with tickets in hand. She is so wholesome, grounded, lovely and wise. I felt that I was coming into her presence now not for just a fading glimpse but to somehow manage to become a co traveler with her. ...that she and I are going the 'same way' at last. This would be , however unorthodox, the image of finding and being in harmony with the 'will of God' for ones life. This dream captures both Conscious and Unconscious, Male and Female, Flesh and Spirit, the Religious and Secular and the Personal and Collective aspects of the reality of my inner world. It is a symbol of unity. It says far more than words can and I sense it means more than I am yet able to comprehend. This is an encouraging dream bringing together so much of what my inner world has been about all of my adult life. My ego is pictured as wholly amazed in the presence of this human/divine figure. I will absorb this as fully as I can and will expect my travels to become even more blessed by the living feminine principle, by 'woman.'

RELATED THOUGHTS:  I've come to believe that  the 'uniting of opposites', including those listed above, is the driving spiritual/psychological goal and process of  all Human/Sacred life. These 'opposites' exist separated  in less than peaceful and productive  ways internally within all people. They also exist in the outer world and are involved, for good and ill, in all the communication/relationship  efforts among us all. The process of  these becoming more united is the goal  and dynamics of the inner  psychological/spiritual process that Jung refers to as Individuation.  I think this process is happening within each of us and in our various cultures and in the whole of  Human/Sacred development.

A difference  in humans is that some adults become more conscious of this  process than others. Being more, but never anywhere close to completely, aware of it should help a person  be more cooperative with it and to better facilitate the process in inner and outer life. I think the story of individual and human  history  implies that the Sacred, God,  is also participating in this process in a similar way. This means that God and Human are far more interconnected than most theologies are prepared to formulate. The Christian concept of  the 'incarnation' of God in the Human should alert us to the idea that God and Human are two aspects of the  same foundation of ultimate reality.  It is not true that the various god-images we humans now carry  have already fully accomplished the 'uniting the of opposites' and thus have already arrived at an unequivocal and perfected moral consciousness. So God does not, is not  fully able in the present situation, to reconcile these opposites within Itself and then offer this completion as a free gift of Salvation to Human kind. Rather God through our very lives is always inviting us to consciously participate in this very necessary goal of  Sacred/Human development which can be described as nothing less than grace and Salvation.

This process can also be described as the ongoing incarnation of God  in every human life. As  humans make progress, which we can find much historical  evidence of happening in various times and ways, this becomes the human gift to God is  an essential  for the Sacred's   need to continue its process of  Conscious Moral development. It may be that just as there can be much that  humanity collectively  'forgets' which  needs to be brought back to ego consciousness, the state of God is also not in touch with what may have in some time or  way been such qualities as omniscience and omnipotence. The reality of the world and its 'splitness'  including   the Good -Evil split is evidence that no Sacred reality is independently  in touch with or is  practicing the qualities of omniscience and omnipotence.

It has been my personal experience for a quarter century that it is the  psychological/spiritual 'feminine principle', to which this dream refers,  that has been the primary avenue offered to me to help in the ongoing and never completed process of individuation, of uniting the opposites. This inner 'feminine principle' which Jung calls the 'anima' serves as a bridge connecting the Collective Unconscious, which for practical matters is the place of origins of what has always been called ' the voice of God', and our human ego consciousness.  I can imagine as this process becomes more conscious among humans  that the goals and striving of humans  will become more in harmony with it. For example adults in  their daily living and in all vocations and professions will agree that assisting younger generations to be more conscious that  the process of 'uniting the opposites' is the single most important common work for each of us.   Jim

Friday, February 10, 2012

SYMBOLS IN THE YARD.... May 18, 2010...Letter to Edward Fudge

Hi Edward. I've had disappointing news today. From a note by a doctor that I saw one time the premium for long term care insurance I've applied for with John Hancock has been doubled and a home service aspect denied. I saw him after my car accident. He sent me to a physical therapist who said I needed no ongoing therapy. I've never had one pain in my neck all my life but they say he said I have Severe Degenerative Cervical Spine. This may price me out of it. And this has been something that I have felt a responsibility to secure at this time in my life. It would make things so much less worrisome for me and my children should I ever need nursing home care. If anyone should not be in denial of that possibility it is me, and I decided along ago I would get such insurance. Now it looks like a fluke is making it not reasonable or affordable for me. It makes me feel irresponsible though objectively I think I've approached it with responsibility and timeliness. I'm quite bothered by this news. I've contacted the Dr and his nurse says he will review and see if there is any misunderstanding. She said he is out of town for a week. I had already begun the application process when the accident happened. Goes to show timing can sometimes seem in ones favor but other times the opposite. Would I even report the accident if I had it to do over?

As the above strikes me as a synchronicity which seems to have worked against my personal plans I will also share two meaningful things have recently cropped up in my physical environment. These strike me as synchronistic events as Jung described them. Several weeks ago Brent began to creatively build a rough concrete and stone patio in our front garden. I'm aware that when he does such things they are without a direct plan thus creative and open to the Unconscious forces. The larger part of it is a circular mandala. The center contains four bright blue squares and at the epicenter is a fossil, likely millions of years old. He's had the fossil in his possession most of his life. You know from me how important mandala formations have been for 25 years. Jung found them to be cross cultural, cross language and cross religious, appearing throughout recorded time. Many Catholic/Protestant churches, Hebrew Synagogues and Muslim Mosques are adorned by them today. Most would of course say they are pretty and simply the kind of thing people put on a church. We do so much that is unconsciously driven. Mandalas appear in nightly dreams across the world. Even the UFO phenomenon is a kind of mandala expression. Jung took them as the most direct physical expression of the goal the 'collective unconscious' moves toward They are symbols of wholeness, completeness and represent the unity of opposites. Brent and I have no ongoing conversation whatsoever about such things. In those early years when I first experienced mandalas coming from me unconsciously he likely heard me speak of them. For many months after August '85 I daily drew at least one rather intricate mandala. I have none of those in my possession. I passed them on to my therapists I think. But they were my primary therapy before I first talked to Drs. D. or B. which was two years after Aug '85. I was my only therapist and this is what I was led to do each day. I now think it was most appropriate and healing. I was teaching school at the time. My mandalas were not circles but polygons. At first they were hexagons and gradually turned into octagons. Notice this is a move from 6 to 8 that I have mentioned before. My street address this whole time is 608. I now think they were primarily the product of the 'collective unconscious.' I was aware I was doing them but it was coming creatively out of me, not rationally. I'm pretty sure if I saw them again they would not look like anything that came from me. I don't think I could do one of the same intensity if I tried now. There was some kind of inner system that I followed each time. I wish I could see them again.

My take on this mandala coming from Brent , that has great meaning to me, may be an indication that my children carry a need that my life's issues be more vindicated. I don't think they have an issue with me on this but I seem to with myself. I suspect it  may in some way rest significantly on their lives. I have written of this concern of mine before and here I see it again. This is an area of responsibility I still feel toward them for reasons that are not rationally explainable. It is not  a matter of unresolved guilt.  Nor do I sense it as an ego demand  I make on life for it to give me or my children more.  I've received way more than enough love and good experiences in life. Just as I felt I was being responsible to them, and promised them so, in my months away from home when they were young and in the initially  alarming changes of belief I made; I feel I may also have a need beyond my rational capacity, to have what they have suffered from me become more significantly  meaningful. Otherwise it seems to me that too large a  part of their experience  from trusting me then is that they suffered along with and loved a  troubled father. That is accomplishment enough to be proud of on their part, and a reason I am so grateful to each of these persons,  but I do not believe it is the fully correct truth of what we all went through. It fails to fill out with meaning the full story.  I realize I am helpless to vindicate the issues  regarding my own life development. And I may in time feel nothing more is needed. My blog I think  is an effort to bring some of the loose ends together.

My life, motivations, actions and changes will either be vindicated by the natural meaning inherent in life(which is called God) or it will not. In the sort of parallel case of the Hebrew and Christian religions, neither was actually vindicated(in their anticipation of God acting in history)but they had inspired minds among them who were able to reinterpret their story in such ways that managed to move them past their original need of Jesus' immediate return(for Christians) and allow them to build on a new foundation. That foundation, after much suffering, was primarily that they became the formal religion of Rome and took on its secular and religious power and authority. The Jews somehow also managed to reinterpret the reason God had not so acted in their behalf (primarily by blaming themselves and forebears for weak faith) after the destruction of Jerusalem. Except for a relatively brief time during Solomon's reign, they really have never enjoyed much greater status in the world than when nomads in the desert. They have never known the kind of 'success' that Christianity found for itself through its very worldly power. But, to their deserved pride, by sheer determination and faith they have kept themselves alive as a people. I say all this to remind myself if I , and especially my children, are in need of a vindication of my life it may appear in a very natural and totally different than expected fashion. Sometimes a person or group simply has to 'grow out' of their religious/spiritual , which is what I am describing about myself, expectation and anticipations.

The other external symbol that has appeared in my environment is something that my back neighbor is building in his yard. It's in full view out my back window. It is likely a large playhouse for his girls? I've amazed as he has continued to build and enlarge it. It is now nearly a perfect cube of two floors. It has a door and four windows in the front giving it a face-like animation. Along with the mandala, the square(even more a cube) is another widely demonstrated symbol of wholeness and completeness produced timelessly by an archetype of the collective unconscious. Also, the circle of the Mandala has long been understood a symbol of 'heaven' and the Square a symbol of the 'earth.' So out my doors these two opposites are depicted as 'coming together' or 'uniting.' Such union of opposites is the goal of human development in Jungian terms and also the kind of inner activity needed today by humans facing the psychological/spiritual needs and conditions of our era.

These two appearing symbols, no doing of mine but with such personal meaning, along with recent dreams, seem to build the case that a time of completion and wholeness is at hand for me( or maybe for the many.) This is a good omen for the potential meaning of my life. Such a conclusion, when I allow myself to take it seriously, reduces the fear and negative emotions that other externals naturally arouse including the extreme polarizations that have reached dangerous levels in the nation's and the world's religious and political systems. If consistent inner and outer manifestations of the 'collective unconscious' are saying that my life is very accurately on course then what is there to fear? Yet I wrestle with being a consistent believer as I think every honest person does. The opposites of 'faith and doubt' are part of the necessary tension from which all life is lived. Without such opposites there would be no life. This is even the very foundation of the Trinity idea. These present symbols(in my front and back yard) activated, I believe, by the collective unconscious and many similar ones in orthodox religious story are speaking of a hope- that these and other opposites be more experienced as an essential unity, not one overpowering or excluding  the other.  Blessings, Jim Hibbett

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I was with a group, some  Church of Christ  friends and some family. I only recognized one person. He seems, in several dreams, to stand for former Church of Christ friends who were offended and concerned by the changes I made regarding religion  and ethics beginning thirty years ago. He and I were good friends at church and colleagues teaching high school in early 70's. I noticed as we visited that he was not giving me eye contact and was reacting to others in the friendly way he used to relate to me. He was ignoring and distancing me. We were discussing a program that he and I had taught at different places. I mentioned the kind of scores some of the students had. He reacted negatively insisting that the scores can't be the way I had stated. He said they have to be that an A is 5. I calmly disagreed saying that the directions said the scoring scale was relative and a choice the teacher was to make. I had chosen an A to be 4. He would not hear of this and insisted to others in the group how wrong I was. The others seem to agree with him. I was very alone with the truth I was attempting to explain. I even went back and read the instruction manual we were both given. He was insisting that something relative was absolute. Thus causing our sense of  estranged friendship.
Grading Papers and Relativism

REFLECTION: This is an unpleasant dream for me. My guess it is facing me with the reality that there are more people who have silently reacted to me like this than I let myself imagine. Early on there were several COC people who came to me to express their disappointment and 'concern' about my changes in belief. Since then I have had respectful communications with with a good number of  these past important friends. I have, if I know my heart, kind feelings toward all my former COC acquaintances and friends. I have made an effort to keep those bridges alive but I think time naturally  cuts us all off from some past friends. And the disappointment that some individuals from this group had toward me for what they heard or knew of my smoking, earthy language, changes in belief about the Bible and some Christian teachings and my divorce have not made it more likely that meaningful friendships have survived. However I have documented numerous very meaningful spontaneous conversations and visits I have had with some of these important people over the years.

I do not think this person would react as in the dream. He was not an arguer. He would likely walk away rather than argue. That may be what he has done regarding our relationship. He has never sought me out and has always known how to contact me. But I have not sought him out either. This may have been the same with or without my changes? But the dream's message is not altered by that.

The dream source offers a simple yet strong example to help explain what is involved when people reach impasses of not being able to stay in friendships where religious changes have been made by another. In one word it is the concept of 'relativism'. This is usually a bad word itself in religiously conservative environments. And it is genuinely frightening to most of us in one way or another. My friend believed, in the dream, that the grade scale could be one and only one way. In fact the grade scale was 'relative'. It was not an absolute.

It has been my experience that most things, especially values and beliefs, that we originally were  instructed as definitely 'right or wrong' , ' black or white' turn out to be 'relative' to a significant degree. Every person, even the most conservative, has experienced this in their lives. Some of what we once felt was definitely 'right or wrong' we can see that in our maturing children's lives are not viewed that way at all. Most of us can give examples of things we once viewed as absolutely wrong and now view as 'relative.' We still have some definite opinions and questions about such matters. We have not just grown lazy and given up the 'fight for right', but have actually 'learned' that these things are not simple rights or wrongs as we once believed. Some such things on my list are 'card playing' 'dancing' 'lying' 'sexual fantasies' , 'earthy language', 'drinking in moderation' , 'the right church' 'instrumental music' 'abortion' , 'sexual orientation', 'necessary divorces'. Many Bible believing people come to see to some degree how 'what the Bible says' is 'relative' due to 'what it first meant', 'customs of the day', 'the patriarchal context of the writings' and 'variants in translations'  etc.  In a COC environment also many of these things have commonly come to be seen as 'relative.'

But areas that life, learning and experience have continued to lead me to face as being relative to some very significant extent include 1. ' the nature of scripture.' It is not directly edited by God, not necessarily more 'inspired' than some other writings, not primarily intended to be anchored as historical fact. 2. That many stories and statements in sacred writings are not accurately taken literally.... such as 'creation story' ,, 'Eden story', 'virgin birth', literal 'atonement for sin by Christ's blood, 'literal bodily resurrection', and a literal 'second coming' to name a few.

To an extent that a person 'needs to have certain ideas be literally true' s/he is not able, is not free, to be rational about other possible meanings and interpretations. I do not know exactly what causes some people to be able to surrender such religious certainties more than others. But to do so leads one to a growing widened view of reality and to possibilities of interpretation he before never thought possible. Unfortunately it also often leads to a breach in practical friendships. This breach is caused by the failure to open up to more of the relativity of one's most needed and cherished beliefs.
Einstein's Theory Of Relativity @ 1920

The word 'relativity' became a scientific concept especially with Einstein's Theory of Relativity that declares that time , space and matter are not the absolutes that the science of Physics and street 'common sense' believed them to be. This shook up the world and basic views of science and has continued to do so. It is still not the common understanding on the street and its implications are not viewed seriously. This 'shake up' is the same in principle as the 'relativism' of religious ideas, beliefs and dogma. Religion is also called on now to 'give up' significant past notions and beliefs when such do not stand the test of closer scrutiny from history, psychology , other sciences, and the language of religion itself, myth. This is what this dream is declaring as a reality to be faced. It is sad when any individual or group makes progress in these areas that part of the fallout is their full or partial rejection by those with whom they once stood in agreement. Generally, the person coming to embrace a greater and more responsible relativism is able to still love and appreciate those with whom they now disagree. The problem is most often the barrier and discomfort that those 'left behind' in their static non-relative belief systems experience . The great and continuous spiritual danger that one accepting a wider relativism faces in this connection is to consider himself somehow superior to those he once agreed with.

The Bible, I think, is replete in its deeper and more profound statements, ones obviously not referring to historical moments, with support for all of the 'relative' truth areas I have come to embrace. Such Biblical statements undermine using the Bible as if it were the final and ultimate source of the truth it engages humans to seek. Such encouragements include to 'walk by faith not by sight' and to 'live by the Spirit not the flesh alone' and descriptions of life and truth being like 'limitless rushing up fountains of living water.' Also the powerful reminder that the greatest of all things are those of the heart...'faith, hope and love....and that the greatest of these three is love.' All of these and countless others point to truth that exists beyond the Bible's own words, truths far 'beyond the sacred page' an old hymn says. I have, in my judgment, never decided to leave the path that the Bible's timeless principles  has pointed for me to follow. Were it not for fears of the unknown and a nearly desperate need to have a 'final complete' written truth people would more naturally see  that much more of our 'truth' as relative. This is in harmony with the ideal of an individual following the 'Christ Spirit within' them. This, to me, is a most obvious calling to discover expanding truths and ways that are different from any that have yet been found and certainly are not discoverable directly in the pages of a sacred text.

Yes, there is danger in taking the spiritual road that is not already defined in the past by some 'eternal' code. But that is the nature of living in the Spirit. It cannot , as I see it, be any other way. It requires the utmost use of all human faculties including fullness of heart, mind and soul. It requires being responsible by accepting and examining the irrational aspects of human experience with the strongest rational and logical components of the human mind.

The human struggle of coming to a genuine attitude of increased relativism is also an accurate way to explain the turmoil and anger present right now in American politics. The ones who can most easily welcome, embrace and feel a great sense of a positive unfolding of history when: a woman is the first speaker of the house, a gay is head of the Financial Committee, a Jew is perhaps the most outspoken proponent of health care in congress, and the President is a black man, are ones who know they have moved to a much more 'relativistic' place than they have experienced in the past.

Even though we are  such a diverse  'melting pot' nation we are seeing increasingly intolerant attitudes which still harbor , often unconsciously, a belief that the nation is in better hands when they are white, straight and male. This is a very serious situation and can be a cause for wide spread emotional imbalance, not only in individuals but large groups. I have to trust that such momentous changes have come at the right time in our nation and not too soon for most people of good will to make the relativistic changes that the times insist on. Religion that is up to its true purpose is the strongest tool to help people make such transitions. Because healthy religion builds bridges not barriers in our appreciation of others. I believe there are some  growing sound and healthy religious attitudes outside and  within organized religious institutions. These may be essential for helping people to keep a spiritual/psychological balance during such times of change.

The dream is primarily reminding me that the nature of human development as spiritual and psychological beings involves moving in the direction of an ever increasing responsible relativism. I do not deny that when and if humans ever know all, that all will be seen as a part of One Single Whole which is what we may mean by the word 'God.' Then in some true sense it can be said , 'There is a final single absolute.' We can now, without harming our own psyche, believe there is such an 'All In All.' But to call anything 'God' or 'total truth' which is less than that is always a form of idolatry. It is born out of a part of us that is not godly or courageous. It is that distorted need we sometimes have to wrap our heads around God so that we can have a certainty about life and reality that, up till now, no human has ever honestly had. It seems we are called as humans to be content to live by faith that rests on the relativity of reality as best we can perceive it. This is to 'live by the Spirit.' Jim Hibbett