I had a dream whereby I poked, woke, and got chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. It chased me to the edge of a “fathomless dark void” that looked very much like a cavernous concrete parking lot. It could not see in the dark, turned away, and gave up on trying to eat me.
I read a book called The Christian Archetype: A Jungian Commentary on the Life of Christ by Edward Edinger. It is an incredible read. The author writes, “There are certain points in history when the collective God-image undergoes death and rebirth. Such is now the case....‘We are living in what the Greeks called the Kairos - the right moment - for a “metamorphosis of the gods,” of the fundamental principles and symbols. This peculiarity of our time...is the expression of the unconscious man within us who is changing’” (p119).
I read an essay on Progressing Spirit by Toni Reynolds on her disappointment with Christianity. Disappointment is an understatement, actually. She is angry with it. Reynolds writes, “There is something happening in the shadow that demands our attention; in the shadow of our families, our nation, our spiritual tradition, and us...I am slowly coming into awareness about the particular ways that Christianity has confused me about the truth of who I am. About how it has been used to swindle my ancestors out of practices, land, drums, and prayers that would have been truly liberating–if they hadn’t been whipped and beaten out of their brown bodies. I am angry about the history of Christianity and its legacy, in this hemisphere and for the last 500 years, as well as earlier and in the eastern hemisphere. The evidence of this legacy continues to result in present day acts of racism and bigotry that damage minds and spirits. It is not enough to say that “those people” who did and do “those” things of the past are not like us, here, even as we cultivate spaces like Progressing Spirit. We are always in contention with the brutal legacy of this country and of the groups to which we belong.”
All of these things are related.
I think the dinosaur represents “extinct” ideas or mindsets that no longer serve. Some of these might be about self doubt, but I also think the dinosaur calls into question traditional religious ideas about God, Prayer, Worship, and Belief as well as outworn practices of racism, homophobia, sexism and the like. I’m in the dark cave wrestling with all of these and how they fit together. I’m even grieving letting go of old ideas about God that no longer serve this new paradigm. We are being called to change, to integrate the tension of opposites and undergo a birth-death-rebirth cycle so that, as Jung says, we might happen to ourselves. What dominant Christianity in America became is not what I imagine Jesus envisioned. In this environment, I don’t think I can call myself a Christian in good conscience. A Jesus follower? Yes. But Christianity has upheld and enabled so much harm. I find myself in the liminal space, birthing a kind of spiritual individuation.
In a sense this is the wisdom of nature, of the Black Hole named Pōwehi. Nature, the cosmos, mirrors to us exactly what is going on within. After all, we too are part of this grand unfolding. Each winter and spring mirrors the death and rebirth process. Out of bleak blackness comes verdant green. Right now in the intensity of all the green, many of us in Houston have monarchs floating in our gardens. The caterpillar is wrapped in a gold threaded cocoon and emerges a whole new creature. This is what awaits us, certainly. I don’t want to usher that forward too quickly, though; to bypass the darkness and often pain that accompanies transformation. In the mean time, having escaped the dinosaur, I sit with the shadows. I am inviting them in as teachers, even friends.