With a loud piercing cry, the bare chested Native American warrior hurled his tomahawk at John Weir Perry with full force. John told me that at the last second in the dream, he caught it between both his palms just before it was buried in his heart. “Yes!” cried Jung- “See, your inner wild man is demanding your attention!” That was the memorable response to the 22 year old Perry, who had just bravely and fatefully brought his dramatic dream to “the dream master” that morning, after the first night he had slept under the same roof with Jung..
It was 1936 and Jung was staying at Perry’s house while on a trip to America for an honor given him at Harvard. Perry had picked him up at the train station and was amazed that the reserved, Germanic style scholar/physician he had expected to meet was instead a loud, boisterous and earthy, very physically powerful man.
In this vein, the evening before John’s dream, Jung animatedly had talked non-stop about his archetypal theories of dreams and the collective unconscious and of mysterious and exotic mythic themes over dinner at the genteel home of John’s patrician father, the presiding Anglican Bishop of the U.S.. While recently touring Europe, Bishop Perry had visited Jung in Zurich for guidance about his dreamer son John!
John told me that of course, Jung’s presence that night in 1936 sparked John’s psyche to have the first of countless dreams that wouldn’t have happened without their fateful encounter. That encounter transformed Perry’s life and set his vocation that resulted in him becoming the only Jungian who has carried Jung’s work on madness forward. Jung wrote the forward to Perry’s 1953 classic- “The Self In Psychotic Process.” Perry’s last book- “Trials Of the Visionary Mind,’ was published in 1998, the year of his death.
This blog is a resumption of several posts here on my personal narrative that began with one called “Initiatory Madness.” My un-medicated, untreated period of madness 45 years ago was valued and understood in large part by me fortuitously finding and then devouring much of Jung’s collected works, soon after I had become less mad. But I had never felt safe talking with another person about my madness for a dozen years until I met Perry in 1981 and he became my analyst for 4 years. I faithfully carried my dreams on 3 by 5 cards every week across the bay bridge to meet with him in San Francisco. He only charged me $35 an hour.
I met him while I was working on the I-Ward medication free madness sanctuary. When my analysis ended, we became friends and I did my doctoral research on John’s Diabasis House medication free madness sanctuary. Please click here for the full follow-up study that is available in PDF. “Alternative Treatment of Psychosis: A Qualitative Study Of Jungian Medication Free Treatment At Diabasis.”
John was on my dissertation committee and also was a clinical supervisor in my clinical training program at the California Institute of Integral Studies..
Not being shy, I also asked John to be my mentor, hoping it would be something like what John had told me Jung had done for him in their many hours alone in free wheeling discussions. Jung had recommended that happen on a regular basis in the years while John was in his training in Zurich after WW2. Jung also urged John to be in analysis with with Jung’s closest confidant,Toni Wolff and also at the same time see a male analyst named C.A. Meier. It was a dual analysis that was unprecedented.
So, for many years up to his death in 1998 I made frequent visits to John’s home for dinner and we discussed all manner of things, including how to get a Diabasis or I-Ward medication free madness sanctuary opened in the S.F. bay area again.
One evening something happened there that is the main impetus of me writing this blog on Jung, Dionysus and Diabasis. What follows may seem strange or esoteric for some readers of this Mad In America site, but please allow that the history of psychiatry and psychology and madness especially, stretches back into the most distant past when mythic energies and chthonic deities were felt presences in the lives of our ancestors.
In my personal life informed by my season of madness and by my active pursuit of them, they still are.
So here is the next unusual chapter in a circuitous story of my inner and outer seeking as a Neo-Jungian therapist who has specialized in serving those in madness for the past 35 years.
After Jung’s dramatic initiatory period of madness triggered by his break with Freud, his Dionysian sexual boundary violations of a psychotic patient that is very clearly portrayed in the film- “A Dangerous Method,” and his deep necessity to seek his own inner vocation, Jung came to insist that his Jungian analysts in training like John Perry become doctors first- become men of science so they would garner the respectability of the social setting of his time.
Direct encounters with chthonic archetypes and deities via hypnosis, sacred shamanic trance, evocative ritual or mind-expanding drugs never were part of the advertised Jungian or Neo-Jungian process of inner exploration and healing. Analysts were actually expelled from the Los Angeles Jung Institute for experimenting with psychedelics according to John Perry.
The leading Neo-Jungian, James Hillman danced up close to the heretical edge, especially with his focus on Dionysus–but backed away. Because for Hillman the gods always remain ‘as if’–they may be active in us metaphorically and psychologically as archetypes he basically says, but you will never read about Hillman doing or recommending ritual trance or any other evocative ritual to explicitly call the gods forth in the timeless tradition of our polytheistic ancestors.
Not even in his book- ‘The Myth Of Analysis’- which has a painting of Dionysus on the cover does Hillman cross the Jungian party line.
My intention in pursuing the heretical, deity evoking daily rituals I started doing 25 years ago and also via a transpersonal dream process that used trance as incubation for a lucid dream process that was guided by a medial and muse-like, dream evoking hypnotist- was to not only cross, but erase the Jungian prohibition on practicing cultic ritual. I wanted to encounter autonomous deities as is our birthright and is still a common practice in some parts of the world and that I had felt the presence of in my madness.
The world that had opened out before me during my madness was uncannily described by Walter Otto in- “Dionysus Myth And Cult,” that I read almost 30 years ago and has been like my sacred text ever since. In it, Otto states that-
“Dionysus is the god who is mad. The visage of every true god is the visage of a world. There can be a god who is mad only if there is a mad world which reveals itself through him. We know him as the wild spirit of antithesis and paradox, of immediate presence and complete remoteness, of bliss and horror, of infinite vitality and the cruelest destruction. The primal mystery is itself mad- death lives cheek by jowl with life. The elemental depths gape open and out of them a monstrous creature raises it’s head before which all the limits that the normal day have set must disappear. There man stands on the threshold of madness- in fact, he is already part of it even if his wildness which wishes to pass on into destructiveness still remains mercifully hidden. But the God himself is not merely touched and seized by the ghostly spirit of the abyss. He, himself is the monstrous creature which lives in the depths. From it’s mask it looks out at man and sends him reeling with the ambiguity of nearness and remoteness, of life and death in one. It’s divine intelligence holds the contradictions together. For it is the spirit of excitation and wildness, and everything alive, which seethes and glows, resolves the schism between itself and it’s opposite and has already absorbed this spirit in it’s desire. Thus all earthly powers are united in the god: the the generating, nourishing, intoxicating rapture; the life giving inexhaustibly; and the tearing pain, the deathly pallor, the speechless night of having been. He is the mad ecstasy which hovers over every conception and birth and whose wildness is always ready to move on to destruction and death.”
I felt the presence of this reality when I was mad and do this second as I am typing.
Otto also lists the ancient epithets of Dionysus who was also called by his initiates to be incarnate in the form of a leopard, bull, or snake. He is called –
“The nurturer, the delight of mortals. the loosener, the god of many joys, the liberator, the deliverer and healer, the bestower of riches, the redeemer, the benefactor.”
But- “No single Greek god even approaches Dionysus in the horror of his epithets. He is called the render of men, the eater of raw flesh..we hear not only of human sacrifice in his cult but also the ghastly ritual where a man is torn to pieces..as a best of prey who eats flesh raw..the man eating sphinx reminds us vividly of Dionysus, etc..”
It was one evening when at John’s house for dinner that I shared something so disquieting that it made his jaw drop. As a serious writer and historian of ancient myth and culture, Perry acknowledged that he and all the Jungians he had ever known(including Jung) had unconsciously taken part in a huge cover-up which I had just exposed.
For several years preceding that evening I had been doing magical rituals to call forth Dionysus. I had read a great deal on the cultic history and rites of Dionysus and had introduced that material into the trance sessions I described above, which as usual only intensified my dreams in that inner realm. Perry had done a remarkable presentation at U.C. Berkeley on Dionysus with Joseph Campbell and Mickey Hart of The Grateful Dead. Perry was an expert on Dionysus.
Most amazingly though is that Perry had recommended Otto’s book on Dionysus to me! He had read every word I just quoted above from that book about Dionysus being the maneater.
Around this time I remember too that a good friend who had trained at the Jung Institute in Zurich and was very involved at the San Francisco Institute invited me to an afternoon get together with her at the home of one of the prominent, senior analysts for a group discussion about Dionysus. I responded ruefully–“Discuss him eh, how do you think they’d like it I wanted to instead do a ritual on the spot with them to call him forth into our midst?” She, knowing me well said–“Okay, so you obviously aren’t coming with me–because you know your bull in the china shop nature can’t stand our timid, in your mind attempts to have a civilized discussion about your beloved Dionysus!”
It was well documented that in addition to Dionysus being identified by his appellation ‘the liberator’–and as the well known animal embodiments of bull, snake and leopard, Dionysus was frequently referred to by the ancient historians in their descriptions of his early rites throughout Asia Minor and the Mediterranean as–‘The Maneater.’ Human sacrifice and ritual cannibalism were practiced in his rites. His leopard epiphany spoke to his bloodthirsty nature as one aspect of his complex being which is also portrayed in his initiatory rites in the form of a large free standing phallos.
Hillman’s writings as well as almost every Jungian writing on Jung refers to Jung’s seminal first numinous childhood dream that informed Jung’s pioneering work and life. In his autobiography–‘Memories, Dreams and Reflections’ published after his death, Jung reveals the central importance of his early first dream and admits his life long pre-occupation with it.
In the childhood dream Jung, alone at night descends stone steps and enters an underground throne room in an open grassy field through a shimmering heavy curtain of green and gold. At the end of the darkened room he sees an awesome, unknown form on a throne, illumined by a light from within. In terror and awe he realizes the shape is a huge upright living, fleshy phallos with the opening on top like an eye. Suddenly his mother is there at Jung’s side and cries out to the boy in contempt and dire warning–‘Yes,– just look at him, the maneater!’ Jung woke up terrified.
Jung, who was extremely well versed in the history of antiquity never acknowledged that the phallic, man eater deity of his seminal dream was obviously a vision of Dionysus.
Throughout his life, Jung took pains to describe the tragic fate of Nietzsche as a cautionary tale of a modern worshiper of Dionysus driven mad by excess, whose brilliant philosophy of unbridled amoral Dionysian wildness and liberation was seized upon and perverted by the Nazi’s.
Jung often said in criticism that Psychiatry had turned the gods into diseases. I always uncomfortably felt that for some reason Jung and his followers had in turn reduced the gods into psychological complexes, into archetypes.
Then one day I suddenly realized that my long held frustration with the Jungian ‘as if’ approach to the gods that de-valued and reduced them in this way was brought about because Jung must have deeply feared going the way of Nietzsche. I saw that Jung had defensively put up a wall of impenetrable obfuscation and denial about his life-informing seminal first dream about the obvious phallic incarnation of Dionysus, the maneater. I also realized that because of Jung’s own almost demi-god stature among his followers, none of them, including John Perry had ever dared to let that obvious connection into their consciousness either.
We must remember that Jung’s dream wasn’t known to his followers until the early 1960’s. It was a secret not revealed until the release of his posthumous autobiography. By then the huge edifice of his decades long monumental work and legacy around the world must have served to create incredible cognitive dissonance for his followers when they first read of the maneater dream.
They were faced with three alternatives. If they allowed the realization that Jung had incredibly repressed the maneater, phallic Dionysus truth of the dream, they would be faced with the awful knowledge that their revered leader had massive feet of clay–that he who was the unrivaled seer in plumbing the depths of the unconscious for meaning had been unable to see that the ‘big dream’ that set him on his genius path was beyond his understanding.
Or, perhaps even less acceptable to Jung’s followers when confronted with the obvious Dionysus epiphany was to believe that the mature Jung knew full well that the phallic maneater of his dream was Dionysus, but chose, out of fear of ending up scorned like Nietzsche, to dishonestly hide that truth from the world.
It seems obvious that when faced with the choice of allowing a realization that Jung either was singularly psychologically blind to the identity of his own benefactor Dionysus, or a realization that Jung deceptively hid the identity of the phallic maneater Dionysus– that Jung’s followers were in so much cognitive dissonance, were in such a bind that they unconsciously chose the third alternative. They went into a collective trance. Like the throng in the Emperor’s New Clothes fairy tale, they couldn’t see the reality before their very eyes.
Orwell famously affirmed this psychological axiom –‘To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.’
That’s why Perry’s patrician jaw dropped and I saw him for the first time at a loss for words when I spoke my Jungian blasphemy about the big secret hidden in plain sight. When the defense of denial collapses on a secret that big it is a dramatic thing to witness. Perry became almost giddy–he kept repeating–“Of course Michael, yes, you are right, you are right–I never saw it, none of us did–oh, you must publish this, must publish this!” And so I am right now.
I can hear the obvious question being raised now- “But so what if Jung and his followers didn’t connect the dots between his first big dream and Dionysus–what difference does it make?”
After his break with Freud, Jung describes a long period of psychological disturbance and visionary experience that became the raw material for all of his later work. At the height of this period He experienced a room full of disembodied spirits of the dead descend on him crying out- “We have been to Jerusalem where we found not what we sought!”
Although Jung’s contribution to human knowledge is immeasurable, it can also be said that those who went to Zurich actually or symbolically ‘found not’ what they sought because Jung so disguised his Dionysian soul in Christian clothing. Especially Jung’s loyal ‘maenads’–the women followers who served and adored Jung received a half measure of what they were so clearly drawn to–Jung’s irrepressible Dionysian energy and spirit. Perry told me that such a strong and earthy, uncanny and psychic Dionysian dimension was present in every personal encounter he had or witnessed others have with Jung. Jung was either an unconfessed or unconscious portal for the channeling of the presence of Dionysus.
Jungian writer Lopez-Pedraza, who also sadly missed identifying the maneater, Dionysus connection in Jung’s seminal dream in his- “Dionysus in Exile- The Repression Of The Body And Emotion”- asserts the importance of Dionysus to psychology as the singular deity who both brings and heals madness. A psychology of Dionysus should be at the center of our clinical practice he says. Sadly and ironically too, the title of Lopez-Pedraza’s book reflects the actual state of affairs in the Jungian community.
Dionysus is still largely in exile. To embrace Dionysus fully is to embrace the dark, cthonic, forever uncivilized mammalian energies of savagery, death and destruction that live alongside love and innocence at the heart of every process of transformation and renewal- via madness or otherwise. The poles of savagery and innocence can be reconciled while not banishing or losing either end of the emotional and transpersonal power spectrum that animates them. If we shun our inner beast we project it onto others in a shadowy dance of seeking inner purity instead of wholeness. We create other people as our enemies by demomizing them as being capable of immoral acts that we tell ourselves we could never commit.
In our culture the most despised and shunned emotions are the dark and savage ones. I have found that they are the most common energies that can not be experienced and expressed for some people without them going into a metaphorical process of madness. I can’t imagine someone needing to become mad who has already really become adept at handling their subjective experiences of rage, lust, fear and grief- that is, being able to feel them, name them, own them without shame guilt or fear- and then be able to express them clearly- not act them out.
Psychiatry mainly serves to subdue those powerful Dionysian emotions as King Pentheus did in Euripides’ – “The Bacchae,” when he announced to Dionysus that he was going- “To lock you in an iron cage.” Dionysus always lives outside the walls of the city state. He calls his followers outside to be free again of the constraints of that civilized social structure. It went very badly for the King when Dionysus hypnotized him and led him outside the city gates.
I imagine Jung’s stunning revelation in his autobiography of his own “confrontation with the unconscious,” which was in fact an initiatory madness, visionary ordeal also contributed a huge impediment to his followers being able to consciously connect Jung with the god of madness, Dionysus. Even with the recent revealing of Jungs’s “Red Book” chronicle of his ordeal, many Jungians insist he wasn’t mad!
Jung’s violation of his mad patient also is a huge factor in his shunning Dionysus because Jung almost lost everything over it. He should have lost his license to practice medicine. I believe after that sexual abuse of his mad patient, Jung greatly feared for the rest of his life being possessed by the same autonomous wild force that he believed destroyed Nietzsche, that could cause him to break with all normative behavior because he had been out of control.
Jung ended up being a world historical revolutionary though, a true mana figure because he pointed to and re-opened the doors to the depths of the collective unconscious and all the mythic powers waiting there, not just limiting possible exploration to Freud’s Oedipus myth.
Those ancient doors had been increasingly sealed shut by patriarchal thinkers who relegated the timeless polytheistic deities to mere fleeting shadows starting thousands of years ago. Through the efforts of men like Plato and culminating with the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic followers of a perceived universal monotheistic deity–countless deities of old were banished, and in their place was devised a single, invisible, imageless, ‘idol’-free omnipresent deity whose inherant role was to judge, shame and punish anyone who dared not conform to the new monotheistic myth form.
Jung often said he believed he would have been burned at the stake for his heresy against monotheistic Christianity if he had lived in the middle ages.
No wonder that when Nietzche loudly proclaimed the invisible monotheistic god dead and resurrected the pagan Dionysus to replace him, that it became such an un-paralleled seismic event in Europe. In that cultural context Jung’s great gift is that he did legitimize a spiritual, psychological return to the polytheistic inner universe of the collective unconscious even though he clearly didn’t and couldn’t go as far as Nietzche and honor the god Dionysus who came to Jung in his haunting subterranean childhood dream of the maneater.
So, I have always loved this quote from Jung at his best–‘These inner motives spring from a deep source that is not made by consciousness and is not under it’s control. In the mythology of earlier times these forces were called mana, or spirits, demons, or gods. They are as active now as they ever were.–The one thing we refuse to admit is that we are dependent on ‘powers’ that are beyond our control.’
But as Jung was always quick to point out- just because a culture has damned up the river of a certain deity, even made the dry river bed a paved freeway, the underground aquafer of numinous power is always still present, just waiting to beak through into our midst again. All it takes is a human voice to call it forth.
One night in a dream, no doubt stimulated by one of my muse’s catalyzing trances, I heard her voice tell me–“Pre-Dionysus, Dionysus, Post–Dionysus.” I took that to mean the ‘pre’ phase was the wildest pre-agricultural, pre-city state phase of Dionysus. The ‘Dionysus’ phase was when he was given that name during his always disruptive appearance from outside the societal walls of the Greeks intruding into their midst as the God ‘who comes’- who appears from atop the still wild mountains or from beneath the sea suddenly to overturn the social order of the city state.
The post-Dionysus phase I took to mean now, our present cusp of history, our own post-modern phase when Dionysus, in up-dated form along with an emerging new Goddess become manifest around and in us to usher in the next culture/zeitgeist transforming myth form.
In 1997 after one of the trances I had this hypnogogic, lucid semi-dream like vision unfold that night while alone. Obviously I was attempting to integrate the powerful polarities that were stirring in my psyche that had been constellated in my madness so many years before when I lived in the mad world of Dionysus that Otto describes.
“I shot the cougar on the open ice with the scoped rifle and drug it up a wooded gully quickly and fed on it there or a week.–Eating the hot raw pungent liver–but first it’s red, shining heart. And from time to time as I raised my head from that dark steaming feast my eyes I know were languid and burning at once. When I finally rose standing and looked around a click or crack sounded in my head like ice shattering across the frozen lake. And my body convulsed as if a riveted iron suit had exploded off me and halls and corridors in my brain long walled off cracked open and exposed new rivers of life crashing freely at last.
And later that winter I caught up with a man who had raided my camp and tent. He turned fearlessly as I approached until our eyes met. Then he ran but I fell on him at first with my big knife but soon only held to his throat at first with my hands and then my jaws sought surer and surer purchase on his windpipe.
I drug him up a secluded wooden gully and fed on him there for days–and heard for the first time minute sounds around me and slipped in my dreams at night past the farms and cities and roads to a riverside shining. I stand in the river and a big eagle is on shore. It wades out and I let it hold me under like a baptism. When I surface it’s on shore and amazingly picks up a lingam shaped stone with it’s talons and tosses it to be caught in my right hand.
When I awake sometimes I try and think of the River’s name wondering if I’ve heard it somewhere in my dreams. When I try and remember the river’s name I always remember instead a part of the dream I can only remember when I try and remember the name. Suddenly I see myself in the dream on shore leaning over the reflective water and see my arms and chest at first and then just a cougar’s head. In the dream it feels so good to be both, I had become so tired, it was such a burden to always remember my name.”
Shortly after recording the above–this came to me the same night.
“A Young Maiden Walking.”
Back in the mountains
because it seems
I’ve tasted the flesh forbidden
I strangely bask and walk at times
with the gentle step and eyes
of the maiden released
by the deed she would most fear-
no one had told her or me
how my love would require
or back through time
to open the greenhouse door
for her to emerge now
this new spring and feel
her smile reach this sky
at the river of warm, innocent sunshine-
It flows from a safety provided
from an ever present power
the maneater’s eyes.
“Behind every image is an emotion, behind every emotion is an archetype, behind every archetype is a deity.” A ritual incantation that came to me in a solitary trance about 20 years ago.
Jungian’s are meticulous, as was Jung –and take pride in being able to identify which archetype or ‘as if’ deity is stirring in someone’s psyche or symbolic social situation or work of art because it’s incredibly valuable to name and understand which autonomous powers we mortals are always fatefully being possessed by.
After the war, Jung finally proclaimed in a missive entitled- “After the Catastrophe”- that it was in fact Wotan, not Dionysus that the Germans were being held sway by as they proclaimed their Nazi led superior race of ‘blond beasts’ to the world. Jung said he realized that the Germanic tribes had never really assimilated the Christian religion–that Hitler called forth a flood of ancient racial power that had always been waiting to re-fill the seemingly forgotten and dry river bed that was the domain of Odin/Wotan–the wild Berserker God of Viking antiquity.
But in reading many accounts of his patients clearly Dionysian dreams, Jung unfortunately always stops short of naming the deity manifesting himself in his patients psyche.
Because of Jung’s own aversion to his first seminal dream of the phallic maneater Dionysus and the feared disaster of sinking into the morass of madness and disrepute of Nietzche- plus the catastrophic effect of Nietzche’s writings on Dionysus being appropriated by the Nazis, we have been denied a clearer light shining on the deity Dionysus who expects our attention and could be an ally in understanding and healing madness.
While writing all this I remembered years ago hearing the Wagnerian opera Tannhauser. Nietzche was a one-time fervent disciple of Wagner. Tannhuser is about the hero who sojourns in Venusberg with the Golden Goddess Aphrodite before returning to the damnation of his countrymen for his unpardonable transgression. Venusberg is the realm of taboo beauty. The barren wasteland of Tannhauser’s sterile Protestant culture mirrors the atmosphere of Yeat’s ‘Second Coming’–and the ‘Wasteland’ in Elliot’s prophetic poem about our own post-modern world as we wait for the new myth form to renew it. In the opera, Aphrodite has been banished by the priests of the austere father, senex sky God to be forever hidden away from mortals in the depths of the earth.
She was un-reachable except to reckless seekers like Tannhauser who at the end of the morality tale finally repents of his sin against the Patriarchy–his sin of dwelling for a time in the realm of Aphrodite’s pagan beauty.
As a one-time official aspirant to the Christian priesthood on my way to Seminary, I was a follower of Jesus when I started exploring the archetypal inner feminine and Goddess.
In a dream about 25 years ago, there was a great throng of people gathered outside in a meadow in a scene out of the New Testament. I was standing a short distance away from the edge of the people. Suddenly, a rapturous cry went up from one person that was at once caught up by all in a huge chorus of exaltation–
“He is coming! He is coming! He is coming!”- they all joyfully cried- because we all suddenly sensed a huge presence of palpable spiritual energy coming from just over the hills bordering the meadow.
It was Jesus who was coming. Not for the first time–but finally coming again. The feeling I experienced was unspeakably awesome–it was unimaginable– numinous– because it was as if I was to really encounter a living deity! It makes me emotional and tremble even now as I write this.
As the people shouted more loudly of his coming, I remained strangely separate from them, feeling the same ecstatic emotion, but not crying out myself. Suddenly, the hills from which he would soon appear and arise up over–themselves began to rise up –grow into two large mounds the shape of two enormous upright curving breasts.
And then suddenly between them appeared the upright wooden cross of Christ. But something was wrong. It was withered and dessicated–shrunken, like it had been parched under the withering sun of a desert wasteland.
Then to our gathered shock and surprise on each hillside stood in profile a priestess with coal black hair cut straight across her brow in the custom of the Egyptians. Each priestess held aloft a large, shining golden ankh, the symbol of life. The iconic image was radiantly full of indelible beauty.
Then, as if enacting the unknowable third act of this unbelievable ritual drama, as if out of a cloud above his cross were stretched the gnarled and weathered hands of Jesus. In a voice of admonishion, grief and complete authority he demanded of us all gathered at his epiphany– “WHY—HAVE YOU MADE THIS ENGLISH CROSS SO USELESS?”
Then his powerful carpenter’s hands took the uprooted cross and broke and tore the dry and lifeless wood to pieces and crumbled it to dust.
I awoke so breathless and beside myself I feared for my mind–what was to become of me. I gradually calmed down and was filled with such a powerful sense of wonder and excitement that for some reason I remembered reading there was a Zendo in Berkeley that met for meditation at 6am. I dressed in a state of agitation and wonder at what I had just experienced. I had never had a dream that powerful. It felt like a visitation. I drove to Berkeley and went for the first time to this Zen group. The leader could sense I was in a very unusual state. I didn’t speak to anyone. When the meditation was over I silently left and drove home to get ready for work that day as a hospital therapist working with mad people without using any medication–a vocation I followed for 30 years in the footsteps of my mentor John Perry and my great loving friend Jesus who rescued me in my madness as a young man and his blood brother Dionysus. Pairing them I know is not acceptable to most people.
So, let me end my story unrepentant but paradoxically still very loved by Jesus with the dedication to “The White Goddess” by Robert Graves which has long been a touchstone of blessing for my own Dionysian transgressions and sojourns to the shores of Beauty, Love and Wild Freedom.
All saints revile her, and all sober men
Ruled by the God Apollo’s golden mean–
In scorn of which I sailed to find her
In distant regions likeliest to hold her
Whom I desired above all things to know,
Sister of the mirage and echo.
It was a virtue not to stay,
To go my headstrong and heroic way
Seeking her out at the volcano’s head,
Among pack ice, or where the track had faded
Beyond the cavern of the seven sleepers:
Whose broad high brow was white as any leper’s
Whose eyes were blue, with rowan-berry lips,
With hair curled honey-colored to white hips.
Green sap of Spring in the young wood a-stir
Will celebrate the Mountain Mother,
And every song-bird shout awhile for her:
But I am gifted, even in November
Rawest of seasons, with so huge a sense
Of her nakedly worn magnificence
I forget cruelty and past betrayal,
Careless of where the next bright bolt may fall.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.
Thank you for bringing in the Jungian perspective. There are so many ways for us to try to understand ourselves. His new “Red Book” is a classic from the psychological and artistic perspective, in my opinion.
Thank you for your comment Steve. Yes, Jung’s huge “Redbook” which is a powerful record of emotion fueled images and the written outpouring from the depths of his soul while in his initiatory madness is really something to behold. There are several video clips showing it on Youtube.
When I was early in training in an analytic based program I studied dream analysis. I had Jungia dreams when we studied Jung, Freudian dreams with Freud and Viet Nam PTSD dreams when we studied those. I’m too suggestable. Thanks for the Jungian view. It is good seasoning to the mix.
Thanks Alice, maybe you’ll have another Jungian dream now.(-:
I’m glad you are part of the mix here. The soul of psychiatry needs the tending you are risking to be part of.
Maybe it is your, “Suggestability,” is a large part of your ability to help people in emotional distress?
There are two ways to help the mad:
one is to just be nice and reliable and kind (it was the opposite which drove most of us mad, so maybe the opposite that can so often cure?)
The other is to enter into the world of the mad, to understand us, and then to help us find our way out into a kinder understanding of ourselves and the world.
To to that you have to be able to enter into other peoples experiences. So maybe having all those dreams after going to those classes is some kind of proof that you may have this quality in abundance when you choose to draw on it?
Could the best way out of a “psychosis” be THROUGH the psychosis?
And hasn’t even the “sanest” among us (whatever that is) had (what seemed at the time) a frightening, intense, or bizarre dream?
Could it be that some people have these dreams with their eyes wide-open, so they can heal, at a deep and profound level?
If so, why the “us” versus “them” when it comes to healing? Why the diagnosis, drugs, and marginalization of some of our brothers and sisters who have been given the gift of having some depth?
Madness is a the natural process of transformation you describe Duane if it is allowed to have a life of it’s own, and is received in a safe and loving way.
It was for me Duane- and the many people I served-
It seems to me that the best thing to do with a gift is accept it for what it is – a gift… and then to put it to use.
It seems to me that you’ve done both.
Thank you for all you’re doing to help others.
Thank you again Duane for your understanding and encouragement.
my eyes are wide and my heart is beating fast. that is a brave, mad, powerful piece of writing, my friend.
Hearing that from you Sascha my friend, I feel at peace that baring my soul was the right thing to do. Your brave writing of your own soul’s wildness on your blog and on the Icarus site has emboldened me.
Just read your amazing and thoroughly REAL essay Michael:)) I do hope that people give themselves time to read and re-read this authentic account of the journey within, and think about the courage it takes to articulate it.
Your critique of Jung seems a very timely one too, as we grapple with the cognitive dissonance of our age, particularly within psychiatry and all forms of analysis.
Your dream about Jesus resonates deeply within me and seems to speak directly to a universal yearning for the dawning of a new age. Not in the melodramatic second coming of one immortal man, but in the species awareness of a truly cosmic yearning deep within us all. A growing awareness of “I am.”
Not in REM state, but the waking state of psychosis, have I experienced these primal forces so many times, and felt the crossing of that threshold in 1969, as we began to leave the primal shadow behind.
Your insightful articulation of Dionysian lore and its potent effects on world history, resonate with psychosis stimulated images from the abyss, the sun, the moon, the blue diamond Goddess and our immersion within a Cosmic matrix?
In those depths of existential reality to which psychosis allows an approach, just as dreams allow while asleep, a meant to be sense of nature has haunted my life. A sense of meant to be as emergent consequences, in our long journey to the realization of heaven.
At a time when a new understanding of what it really means to be human, is so obviously and urgently required, is the current epidemic of mental illness, an emergent consequence of a universal destiny for a sentient species?
“WHY—HAVE YOU MADE THIS ENGLISH CROSS SO USELESS?” so lost in the dissonance of words and the disavowal of natures reality? Will the most powerful nation in human history find the courage to face the final battle between good and evil?
Will she find the intestinal fortitude to face the nature of those demons within, and that self-deceiving cul-de-sac in the to quickly obvious assumptions of our intellect?
Why did it take you so long to write the essay Michael? Were you waiting on an unconscious, meant to be process?
Thank God there are authentic voices in the wilderness, like yours.
I am grateful for your voice David like from a comrade and kindred soul. Everything you write moves me to my core. I hope people click on your name for your amazing storehouse of writings. Yes we both have tasted and are haunted by the wine of madness that can only be handled if it is embraced and surrenedered to. In our bodies and guts and emotions.
The Jesus dream English cross does mean that to me as you say- words, the english language as my native tongue brings too many dry dessiscated, lifeless and arid words devoid of emotion and love and passion and the touch of Aphrodite and the earth that Dionysus holds onto as his throne. The stairway down that Jung took as a dreaming boy into the earth chamber.
I must have been waiting like that David as you say to finish this long time letter or testimony- until some unknown time arrived for me to share it. Reading your and Sascha’s response above tells me it was good to risk it now.
Michael, thank you so much for this powerful and beautiful piece of writing. I’m still digesting it (and will be for a while, no doubt), but it has unleashed a flood of images and remembering for me…
Thank you for your comment Darby. I’m glad this writing spoke to you in an evocative way.
I respect your remarkable and fearless advocacy work very much.
Thanks for sharing your spiritual path. I do believe like you there is a important place for religion and art in helping people regulate their emotions in whatever way they choose (as long as they don’t act destructively on those). It seems not uncommon nowadays for mainstream mental health care to use spirituality and art in the process of healing somebody who is asking for help with mental suffering (I wish it would be more generalized). But would you say that the Freudian or Jungian or Diabasis approaches were working well for most people in need, or only for a subset? Would you say they were not evaluated scientifically (for instance because of funding), or would you say those approaches could not be part of the scientific realm?
Thank you for your comment Stanley and your important questions.
The outcome results for all the early madness mental health system diversion sanctuaries that held to a heart centered approach to being with people in their first or sometimes second madness experiences. are about a 75% full recovery rate. That is, people didn’t go on to earn a schizophrenia label that takes 6 months, and at up to 3 year follow up had that kind of lower 75% re-hospitalization rate compred to people who got medicated.
The current Open Dialogue program in Finland, the Agnews Project, the sanctuary I worked at, I-Ward and Diabasis and Soteria all would have about the same success helping people through their process without meds. Soteria had a solid resesrech component. In my 2 blogs here- “Remembering a Medication Free Madness Sanctuary” and “Responding to Madness With Loving Receptivity: a Practical Guide.” I give allot of information about these programs and the question about what kind of research if any should be used to measure outcomes. I also share about how to help people who have been in the system possibly for many years and on meds, using the same heart centered, Jungian appproach.
I want to echo something Michael says here. I have often spent time with people in extreme mental distress over the last few years, or I have spent time with people with serious diagnosis such as so called Schizophrenia. I have always found that being open to the person, showing concern and compassion and trying to find ways to help the person face their problems (without being too pushy – most people want to recover, so just understanding is often enough, but sometimes a little judicious but careful push can help) is the most helpful thing I or anyone else can provide.
I had one friend who after seven years of being in the system, going from crisis to crisis, got the compassionate understanding he needed over a period of time and is now well on the way to recovery. All I did was what counsellors of any discipline will do, although I also read around the type of distress he had (extreme dissociation, hearing voices and raging outbursts) and then hung in there in situations that most counsellors would not feel they could deal with. His levels of fear and confusion were much bigger than most counsellors are told they should offer to help, which is a pity.
I was doing this two or three times a week for between 2 and 16 hours a week for abut 9 months. After that it was one to two hours a week for about a year and at much less intensity. All this is much less intense than what Michael did in the sanctuary he worked in, although at times the intensity of the feelings in both myself and my friend were probably as intense.
Once you realise that what people in extreme distress need is the same as any counsellor (or good friend) can offer but at an intensity that the level of distress deserves then your personal experience tells you that most of bio-psychiatry is junk science and nonsense.
Maybe I exaggerate, but not too much I hope.
Just for people’s information, I am not a counsellor, though I have some basic training, I do a little mental health work, but it is for a couple of hours every few months and usually involves consultancy and community development (I use drama and conversation to help service users reflect on what they want from services and consider how they might get it). Most of the time I am a vagabond gardener and sometimes eco-activist.
It is not training and professionalism that helps people in distress. It is human kindness and understanding. Training and professionalism can sometimes help develop these qualities, and sometimes not. I believe that Soteria, I-ward and Open Dialogue are ways to systematise these basic human qualities so that health services can make them into something reproducible and which they can fund and employ people in.
Thanks John, Diabasis had almost non-professional staff that were chosen for their ability to be with people in madness like you were with your friend in need.
Oh Michael, what a beautiful, heart-rending article! And I mean your personal journey here… Thank you for sharing!
But there is an easier path than through madness (though coming to Dionysos has always been easier for women than men); through ancient sacred music and dance, the mystery of the Wine, poetry and art(when He comes to you!)- but most of all, surrendering to the Ecstasy lived by the maenad through love; for Him who comes again in triumph…(No, the rites were not about violence,- that, I think, came from our inability to harness and integrate the energy liberated there,- some, like thin or faulty wires conducting lightning!)
And this woman-born ‘man-eater'(there is a much deeper meaning to this symbol than cannibalism! Did the first Christians eat babies??) gave Himself as the ultimate Feast and sacrifice to His followers; torn, resurrected and ascended to Heaven… a brother of Jesus indeed!
There are many of us… finally coming out of our caves, removing our Masks, as we herald and greet the return of this beautiful, real, non-dualistic God… because we are finally ready to become Hu-man! EVOE! EVOE! EVOE!
Thank you Zsuzanna for your wonderful telling of the broader mysteries surrounding Dionysus and our paths to find liberation that surely do not require madness or for us to act out our most dangerous emotions self destructively or violently.
This androgynous, beautiful son of a mortal mother as you say who is also represented as a bull, leopard and snake, holds male and female within as well as the polar opposites of leopard savagery and helpless childhood innocence. The innocence of his orphaned boyhood nursed by women is also honored in his rites,
“The Bacchae” by Euripides shows the call to us all to be able to wildly dance and be free sexually and to feel the earthy spiritual ecstasy that flows from such deities as Aphrodite, Kali, Dionysus and Shiva. That is the emotional and sexual freedom and ecstasy that is so threatening to the established patriarchal order that is so often represented in our lifetime by the reductionist worldview of psychiatry that pathologizes experience outside it’s narrow boundaries.
That is also why a knowledge of Dionysus and other autonomus forces that can move in the psyche is so important if we want to better help people wrestle with the intrinsic level of unknown mysteries in their madness and emotional suffering that psychiatry is not aware exists- because that level really does exist.
Dionysus is also known as representing Zoe- the life force itself as Otto describes. Life, death and rebirth are natural mysteries that we can appreciate and embrace without fear if we allow our own initiations into the depths where all polarities are transmuted and erased.
As you know Zsuzanna. Dionysus chose a human woman as his mate- Ariadne of the mythic labyrinth, who became a deity herslf through union with him. That story of the Goddess infusing every woman as your birthright is one that you and you sister Maenads are boldly writing. Thank you again!
After reading your blog Michael, I remember why Prospero’s Caliban, in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, is one of my favourite characters of all time. How marvelous to read the words of a dreamer such as yourself.
Thank you Diana- I’m not familiar with that character but will certainly read the Tempest now!
I just found this wonderful verse in The Tempest Diana. Thank you very much!
The un-civilized Caliban speaking-
“Be not afeard; the Isle is full of noises
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not,
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears: and sometimes voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upoun me, that when i waked
I cried to dream again..
So glad you found it – the only passage from Shakespeare I’ve managed to memorize.
I can see why Diana! It is so wonderful.
Your aricle certainly makes me think and remember what led me to my breakdown fifty years ago and how I healed myself without any professional help. Although at the time I thought I was going through hell, looking back, it made me and helped me to understand the world and to feel part of it.
Thank you Arta. Our breakdowns became breakthroughs.
Thank you Michael for writing from your Heart and Soul. You have made a very meaningful statement that offered much insight into what is important.
Thank you dear friend David. You served at both the Soteria and I-Ward madness sanctuaries and continue your healing work today. Bless you!
I second the opinion of David Bates, who has written that you are “the most authentic and experienced voice on madness today.” This incredible essay proves that there is no exaggeration in his statement.
When I read your previous blog, “Responding to Madness with Loving Receptivity,”
I realized it was the first time I had ever read an actual definition of madness that could serve as an alternative to the bio-psychiatry/NAMI definition. I thought: this is an amazing leader–one who can perceive a truly core issue and respond to it fearlessly.
Now I keep thinking of all the shame carried around by people who have been–or are now–psychotic. All the horrible, devaluing, even dehumanizing judgments about their experiences. And then I imagine one of them reading your essay and thinking, “Wow! I am actually valuable! My experience is helping to change the Collective Unconscious and enabling a new and loving form of the Divine to emerge!
And I think of how much of that shame and judgment you had to suffer your way through in order to get to where you are. Never mind what it takes to expose yourself to the world for the benefit of suffering beings. This is leadership of the highest form.
Thank you Dear Lisa, fearless comrade in this human rights struggle for decades. You have always clearly seen how limited and often dehumnaizing the medical model vision of human emotional suffering and madness can be.
But more, you have held without fail to the vision of a heart centered, loving response to suffering based on your deep compassion.
You have been my strongest supporter through thick and thin- through so many years of my wandering in the wilderness and being a heretic therapist in the belly of the beast of an often heartless and brutalizing public mental health system.
Bless you forever, Michael
I will have to reread your article several times before I get it on an intellectual level However I took a lot in in a free floating manner Jungs description of his first dream in Memories etc made a powerful impression on my psyche as has your writing..How does Appolo play out in this drama with Dionysis..?The last couple of days I have been awakened from my nap by VISITORS
From where in my psyche?A couple of yrs ago when in the hospital with brain surgery where I felt less threatened than I probably should have been as It was followed by dangerous brain infection complication I began to receive visitations of the spirit forms,I thought of my nurses ?
As a child I had hypnogogic dreams .Should I continue to invite these VISITORS ? If so how Meditation Entreaties ? Thanks for your insights Hector
Thank you for your wonderful comment Hector. Nietzche drew the contrasts between Dionysous and Appolo in his amazing essay- “The Birth of Tragedy.” It seems the poles of the rational vs the irrational are constellated between these Gods?
Your visitors! I hope they always bring you blessings and healing. Like you, since I was a boy, I have been somehow exposed to alternate realities in dreams and visitations.
I believe it is our human birthright. I know that your pioneering work at the Esalen Institute served to help many people find openings to rich landscapes of experience that our restrictive culture doesn’t even know exists in large part. Best wishes Hector
Michael, I cannot think of a more loving way to hold the madness of another than to willingly embrace that same potential, realized or not, within oneself.
When one can look and accept every aspect of the human condition without judgement and recognize these conditions as universal, one becomes pretty fearless and compassionate, as eloquently demonstrated in your essays on madness.
Thank you for guiding so many through hell and back. Your courage and the courage of those you have served are inspiring and humbling…
Thank you dear friend Jen, I’m very grateful to serve in the cause we are dedicated to with you, comrade!
Thank you for writing and sharing this most amazing experience filled with pathos and insight. I heard your interview on Madness Radio and then wanted to check out your blogs [and others] on the MIA website. Dionysian themes show up in the mythology of my horoscope [if you find any relevence in astrology], and I certainly can see various ways they have played out in my life. One aspect that had me so excited in reading your offering is that I’ve been working on a play for the past two years [nearly completed] that explores the world of psychosis, but from a perspective of ‘dionysian initiation’ as well as what is referred to as ‘spiritual emergence’, without limiting the aspect that would include childhood trauma. I will obviously read this article over several times. But in the meantime it served as a ‘sign post’ that my perspective on the subject was not just whistling in the wind. There were so many aspects in your blog that were insightful and thought provoking, your insights about Jung being most powerful. Incidentally I’m reading now [as part of the many books I’ve been exploring over the past year] two books by John Weir Perry. I remember how affected I was in reading Jung’s DM&R several years ago and specifically remember that dream. How affirming to receive the relevent dionysis connection. I also thought your comments pertaining to Christ very provocative. I have personally contemplated the mystery of connection between the two, it was as if they were indeed brothers and different sides of the same coin. Thank you for sharing this very personal aspect of yourself. You’re definitely someone I’d love to have a more detailed conversation with re: the play. Let me know if that’s possible.
I look forward to reading your other blogs.
Michael Edan aka starbody
Thank you for writing starbody. I just now saw your note. Please feel free to contact me at michaelcornwall.com
Your play sounds very valuable and exciting.
Best wishes, Michael
Michael, such an extraordinary post and such extraordinary experiences.
Last night I was reading Nietzche’s The Birth of Tragedy, and highlighted the following:
“And the tremendous phenomenon of the Dionysian—and, born from it, tragedy—what might they signify?—And again: that of which tragedy died, the Socratism of morality, the dialectics, frugality, and cheerfulness of the theoretical man—how now? might not this very Socratism be a sign of decline, of weariness, of infection, of the anarchical dissolution of the instincts?”
Thank you for the larger context and witnessing the rippling across time.
Thank you for the great quote from The Birth Of Tragedy- and for reading this essay Laura!
Nietzche’s hymn to Dionysus and the loosening, liberating power of the instinctual and irrational always has a tonic effect when I read it.
A couple of days ago I was feeling the need to read The Birth of Tragedy again!
In The Bacchae, Euripides has King Pentheus threatening to lock the wild and barrier breaking Dionysus in an iron cage. That impulse to stifle freedom, has always seemed the ground plan of psychiatry to me- to imprison and control our rampant emotional expressions via incarceration and med induced subjugation,
I hope everyone checks out your wonderful website- Laurakkerr.com for your great blog and original writings!
Best wishes, Michael
Thank you for sharing this juicy bit of gossip about my beloved D.
I give you one of my personal favorite observations in return. Nietzche missed the boat on setting Dionysus and Apollo as polar opposites when the position opposed to Dionysus so clearly belongs to Athena.
Dionysus born of Zeus’s thigh Athena being born of the head.
Dionysus as the feminine male and Athena as the masculine female.
Athena is civilized, self controlled, fierce and brilliant but always always submissive to the big daddy god Zeus and not much else.
Dionysus is… well you know how he is… and submissive only to that which is gentle while dominating the hell out of anything hard or immovable (Pentheus knows).
Professional psychology has always been very strict about maintaining Athena standards. Unfortunately I don’t think psychology will ever manage any sway over Dionysus while insisting on being ruled over by Athena. It’s the biggest reason I gave up pursuit of a professional degree in psychology. I prefer to learn how to do healing that works rather than healing that is approved by the APA. Can’t say how delighted I am to learn that at least one of you is listening to the call of the tabor and pipes though.
Of course this is my outsiders perspective, while I’ve spent a good deal of time studying “legitimate” psychology, my own healing process was undertaken far away from a professional office setting, in the woods with Dionysus himself as therapist.
Anyway… I could right an essay in reply myself… D. has a way of getting me worked up like that, but I’ll attempt to maintain a touch of Athenian restraint 😉
Mad Love From The Maenads,
About 1980, I had an OBE. I will not give great detail because I want to speak about this article, but it included me seeing my sleeping body and on either side was a male and female. later in the experience I met close family members, but one went for me VERY VERY swiftly, and starting sucking my penis. I freaked out and began hitting ‘her’ on the back and screaming. When I thought I was going mad, ‘she’ and another ‘family friend’ who was sat impassively on a couch stood up, took of the human masks and underneath looked like Satyrs
I don’t think at that time I knew about Dionysos, but I was later to find his entourage included Satyrs!
Being gay, I became very attracted to this mythical god, and when I read J. M. Allegro’s The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, it was revealed that his mythical character was pointing to actual consciousness-changing psychedelic mushrooms—Looseners.
Prior to 1980, I was no stranger to psychedelics. In fact I first was turned onto LSD when only 15, and 1980, only in 1979 had I discovered about magic mushrooms, so there we are. LIFE is mythical!
I have never bought the tale that ancient Dionysian rituals involved eating raw flesh, and cannibalism, and mad women tearing about the country side attacking men and pulling them to bits. It is a literalism of myth. Even if it DID happen with some, then they missed the point! Real myth is not like that. When I take psychedelics now i KNOW what all the Dionysian metaphors mean–Loosener, god of Nature, of Theatre/Drama/Masks. It is the ecstasy you feel. THAT is ‘Dionysos’. THAT is being possessed by the ‘god of nature’, known anciently as ‘enthousiasmos’. It is superfluous to experience such ecstasy and feel the need to stuff your face with raw mean, or eat men–unless sexually (I am all for that lol). The Ecstasy IS IT. The rest is metaphor that has either been taken literally –like the Jesus myth–and/or it is negative propaganda against the originary Dionysian Mysteries by those who wanted to warn people off from Orgia. The pattern is of course the same in modern times with those absurd films like ‘Reefer Madness’ and showing people going ‘crazy’ after talking LSD.
If you were eating other people you are doing it wrong. The set and setting is wrong. Psychedelic insight would show you it is wrong and absurd. The essence of psychedelic experience is empathy. That includes empathy for one’s own nature and its sensuality
It was very typical that Jungians and even post-Jungians would not want to go near psychedelic experience. Of course not, because it is the REAL. it is not books, and ‘gods’, but actual direct experience. And this is BIG competition for those cults which seek to create dogma and literalization. Dionysos ‘eats’ that pretense 🙂
I do however great respect John Weir Perry, and Diabasis. I have and have read his great book Trials of the Visionary Mind. The only problem is that because it is still so cutting edge, there is noone I can think to discuss his views about the mythical content of the visions he recorded which seem cognate with patriarchal his story. Implying that it is patriarchal civilization and its toxic myths which cause dis-ease…
How can you experience ecstasy when you are dead drunk? This is the dual nature of wine. It’s also the key to happiness–and ecstasy–when you learn to differentiate between the two. It still implies moderation, in accord with say, the Holy Eucharist, where you only receive a sampling or taste of God’s blood. It was never intended for folks to overindulge, and runoff into a drunken brawl or, wild orgy. This couldn’t be further removed from Dionysus, who had much loftier and nobler ideas, towards both the wine and women. Even Walter Otto says this is so.
Yeah sure, there’s this demonic lustful evil being that resides in all of us but, we don’t blame Dionysus for simply exposing it to us. Where he says, ‘Hey, this is the part of your nature you need to overcome, before you can receive God’s blessings and, immortality.’ For which he’s also associated with the ‘soul’s transcendence.’ So no, you can’t expect to go to heaven until you dispense with this lustful evil side to yourself.
But it is not really about wine. It is about a more powerful substance than wine, it is about psychedelics. Whether they mixed it with wine, and so it was a far stronger ‘wine’ than wine we know of (researchers like Michael Hoffman believe this to be the case). ALL alcohol is not the same as psychedelics, because it is a depressant.
What you say next is more what happened to the original Dionysian mysteries with the Orphic reform–EXACTLY lol. ‘Do NOT over indulge, and have wild orgies’ And as researcher Susan Harrison claimed they ended up diluting the sacrament and eventually phasing it out altogether. AND most important to understand these ‘reformers’. set and setting was drastically different from the original Dionysian mythology and cosmogony. For the former they saw nature and the physical body to be traps of the Dionysian divine spark or spirit, and had the saying ‘soma sema’ meaning ‘the body a tomb. In other words their perspective was world denying and paranoid, and a wanting to escape to an idealistic spiritual home above. Whereas the latter did no come to the sacred experience with that mental set. being connected with the Goddess mythos, nature was not divided from cosmos as was/is sacred, and that would include the more orgiastic nature one may express when inspired with psychedelic and other consciousness-changing substances.
For you even to state there is a ‘lustful being which resides within all of us’ is to reveal the influence of that ancient dualistic mindset which others what it considers is not an aspect of their own being. A being which is not an enduring substance, but more a plurality, a diversity which is utterly connected with others and the natural environment. However when you begin thinking of ideas of ‘spirits’ falling into fallen matter, and being trapped is when you create ‘monsters’ you other, and feel possessed by, and through various means want to defend yourself against, and ‘help’ others to do the same. You dualistically divide reality into conflicting opposites, eg ‘pure’ versus ‘impure’:
“Where he says, ‘Hey, this is the part of your nature you need to overcome, before you can receive God’s blessings and, immortality.’”
Yes, you create a ‘PROBLEM’—your nature is trapped, fallen, and death is bad.
I have the ‘SOLUTION’! I will help you become pure and then you will gain spiritual immortality. This is a typical formula used by this mindset from corporate advertizing to tyrannical regimes, false flags, etc. Hold up a promise of a static patriarchal concept of ‘immortality’ and this secures you willing naive victims who, through fear, cling to your authoritarian power in hope…
We either have a spirit that ultimately transcends matter/nature or we don’t. I’m saying that we do. In fact I know it to be true. How so? Due to a whole myriad mystical experiences and synchronistic accounts.
Also, the satyrs were indeed a part of the Dionysian entourage, however, for all intents and purposes they were completely ignored by Dionysus and the maenads. Why? Because the love of Dionysus and the women–or, that of the Divine Bridegroom and, much like Jesus–was that of a higher and nobler type. In fact this is what Otto says. While this is the very thing which draws forth the satyrs, whose naked lust–as a means of highlighting it–stands in direct contrast to what Dionysus and the women represent. At the same time it shouldn’t be frowned upon, for it’s something we all need to come to terms with.
You don’t believe the soul passes on after death? In fact I’ve written a book about it:
That’s the main webpage. While you can download a free ePUB copy here if you like, although I do ask for a donation:
I also agree that The Church or, formalized religion, with its inherent hypocrisy, has given the idea of the Resurrection and, life thereafter a bad name. People can’t believe such things when they look at those who claim to have control over them. What a farce! Whereby they use religion as a tool as a means to control the masses. And, so long as it’s effective on that account, why probe any deeper? And so it becomes a means by which to enslave everyone, to the ‘natural’ order of things if you will, where the spirit becomes trapped in the flesh, and no one is set free. It doesn’t belie the fact that the phenomenon actually exists, however.
P.S. I didn’t reply specifically to your post above mine, only to the idea of the ‘unrestrained’ Dionysus in general, which I believe to be a perversion of what was originally intended.
Oh, I practice a meditative/active imagination technique, where I am basically ‘connected’ most of the time. So, I have no need to take drugs. Of course I’ve also been diagnosed as bipolar so, whatever.
‘And so it becomes a means by which to enslave everyone, to the ‘natural’ order of things if you will, where the spirit becomes trapped in the flesh, and no one is set free. It doesn’t belie the fact that the phenomenon actually exists, however.’
The Orphic-Gnostic belief was of spirit descending and becoming trapped in ‘matter’ /nature. But if I understand you, you mean that the toxic dualistic mythmakers are actually creating this IF you understand ‘spirit’ to not be a dualistic concept and part OF ‘matter’ and/or nature. So for example you could say that the spirit of a wild horse is broken when the cowboy ‘breaks’ it. Same is so with us. As children we are full of play, life, inquisitiveness, joy, and then we are all herded into the enforced ‘education’ system and for many of us this kills our spirit—our essential being. the prevailing mechaanistic myth is that we are electro-chemical robots living in a dead environment. That is the EPITOME of ‘trapping the spirit in matter/breaking the spirit!
1. The author writes: “We must remember that Jung’s dream wasn’t known to his followers until the early 1960’s. It was a secret not revealed until the release of his posthumous autobiography.”
A. Dr. Jung’s dream discussed his dream with others prior to the 1960’s. One instance of this may be found in Dr. Jung’s discussions with E.A. Bennet.
“He associated his mother’s words in the dream of the cave – ‘That is the maneater’ – with the priest, and it was absolutely terrifying. Then, much later, in the dream in Basel he saw that he must accept the strange idea of God treating the Church with disrespect. ~E.A. Bennet, Conversations with Jung 1946-1961, Page 378.
B. Dr. Jung never wrote an “Autobiography” which he made quite clear in a number of his letters:
I want to thank you for your efforts on behalf of my so-called “Autobiography” and to reaffirm that I do not regard this book as my undertaking but expressly as a book which Frau A. Jaffe has written. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 550.
The book [Memories Dreams and Reflections] should appear under her [Jaffe’s] name and not under mine, since it does not represent an autobiography that I myself have composed. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 550.