Through a Jungian Lens

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The Emergence of the Self in Consciousness – The Birth of a New Myth

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This is Arenal Volcano as I saw it before darkness hid it completely the first night in La Fortuna.  As I hiked up the slopes in hopes of gaining a vantage point so that I could see lava from this live volcano in the darkness, it was raining.  The trail became a slippery morass in spots reminding me of swamplands.  I climbed higher and higher thankful for the darkness which hid the sharp drop offs from my vision.  In the daylight, I likely would have frozen in spots because of my fear of heights.  Finally, the guide called a halt and we sat and waited in darkness for some sign of life from the hidden mountain.  Listening in the silence, the voice of the mountain came across clear.  After about an hour of waiting, a flash of red was seen in the darkness, a numinous hint of light in the darkness as though catching for a moment someone’s eye in passing.  For a few brief moments, less than thirty seconds, a few red-hot boulders bounced down the side of the volcano.  I saw them making the journey a success. It felt as though I was creating my own myth, my own personal link to a larger truth.

“The discovering of one’s personal revelation enables the individual to distinguish one’s personal myth and so oneself from the myths into which one is inevitably born. These are the layers of collective mythology such as ethnicity, religion, nationality, social status, etc., which can serve, in varying degrees, as impediments or resources in the emergence of the self. But it is only the emergence of the self in the consciousness of the individual that frees the individual to relate one’s inherited mythologies to one’s own deepest personal truth. As this truth emerges into consciousness the individual is progressively released from a compulsive and unconscious adhesion to received mythologies toward a more discerning response to them out of the power of the inimitable and sustaining truth of the personal self.” (Dourley, “Jung and the Recall of the Gods”, Journal of Jungian Theory and Practice, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2006, p. 44)

The journey back down through the darkness didn’t carry the same sense of danger for me.  That said, I knew that the danger was still there as it wouldn’t require more than a stumble for me to disappear off the trail into depths that were the home of night creatures that could harm me as much as the fall.  There are quite a few deadly poisonous snakes hidden in the darkness of the rain forest here in Costa Rica.  I would stop on the path well ahead of others and listen again to the voice of the volcano from time to time.  I don’t know quite how to describe the sense of rightness, the sense of wholeness.

And later that night, when in my bed in a small hostel in La Fortuna, I dreamt.  I met the devil and he met me.  It was as though we had come to a point of balance between us.  I was wary of the devil and he kept his eyes alert as he focused on my as well.  I knew that though he had vast powers, we had arrived at a point where I no longer had need to fear him.  Respect his power, yes – fear his power, no.  Upon awakening in the morning, I knew that I had emerged into a different world.  For me this emergence into a new state was as though I had travelled through a portal allowing me to know the presence of that transpersonal essence that is at the core.


8 Responses

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  1. WOW!
    Just that. WOW!


    March 16, 2010 at 10:20 am

  2. An amazing adventure, Robert. I was watching the Joseph Campbell biography, Joseph Campbell: The Hero’s Journey and he talked about finding your own personal myth. I think that I’m still far away from even understanding what that means, but I’m certainly glad to hear that you may have found yours. Happy travels. 🙂


    March 16, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    • I don’t want to give the false impression that I have “found” it. What I have done is find the direction and the threads of this new myth. To “find” it will be the work that occupies the rest of my life. The Myth unfolds through living and creating it each day.

      Robert G. Longpré

      March 17, 2010 at 6:32 am

  3. Its been some time since I last tuned in to this site. Lost the bookmark when I switched to the new lap top. Amazing enough I found it bookmarked on my blackberry killing time in Toronto YYZ. An amazing read! I’m going to have to go back and read a number of your past entries to get caught up!


    March 17, 2010 at 5:47 am

    • Good thing you had it bookmarked on the Blackberry. I was wondering why the silence. I’m looking forward to hearing more . . . next week after your vacation when you have bored moments at work. I’ll see you in less than three weeks.

      Robert G. Longpré

      March 17, 2010 at 6:34 am

  4. I too, have a fear of hieghts, so related well to your story and was immediately reminded of two other pieces of writing:

    “Deep calls unto deep…” Psalm 42:7

    and a far more contemporary version of the same by Natalie Goldberg “Wild Mind”, who tells those who wish to become good writers that they must first dig a very deep pit, climb down into it, and then call all the wild creatures down there with them.

    Although I read both of these more than thirty years ago, they obviously stay steadfast in my awareness. Thank you for helping me to recall the bits and pieces of my own journey.



    March 20, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    • This was one of my hopes for this blog site, to allow others to here echoes and see reflections of their own journey.

      Robert G. Longpré

      March 21, 2010 at 6:59 am

  5. Well, it is certainly true in my case. Each of the essays I have read here, has brought to mind reflective imagery in memories and echoes of words and past conversations. To borrow your statement, it has refreshingly dared me to continue being. I can only hope that you don’t get tired of my signature popping up here, lol. It has been a while since I have intersected with a like mind. Thank you, again.



    March 21, 2010 at 3:36 pm

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