So I’ve always known that the friend that gave me “Care of the Soul” is one smart cookie. However, I’m now starting to think she’s out of my league. I’m about halfway through, and in addition to feeling a little bit stupid, I have to confess that I’m just not vibing with all the Greek mythology/archetype stuff. I keep getting hung up on “Why were we all (Americans, anyway) taught GREEK mythology and not Celtic mythology or Polynesian mythology or Norse mythology or one of many Native American mythologies?” It seems a little one-sided that we get this singular education. I couldn’t tell you a Celtic myth if you put a gun to my head, yet surely they dreamt up some good stuff, what with Stonehenge and all…
Okay, so anyway, one of my undergraduate degrees is in psychology, and I have a profound respect for Carl Jung. However, in practice, I’m more of a Max Wertheimer/Gestalt girl myself. Nonetheless, with what I know of Carl Jung and the copious references to him, I sense “Care of the Soul” is not the kind of book you simply read. nod that you’ve “got it”, and move on. Rather, I suspect there are some gold nuggets in Moore’s pages awaiting me, but I’ll need to synthesize and sleep on and even dream about it all a little before I can come up with some useful interpretations. Plus, I’ve never been one to perform under pressure, I’m afraid.
I will say this, I used to be an extremely enthusiastic student of shamanism. I just think there’s something to a spirituality that seems to span time and place. The fact that remote cultures in Russia, Africa, and South America can arrive at similar base belief systems gives it some immediate credentials in my book. Meanwhile, the hardest part for me to ever process was the underworld, the world of the archetypes and ancestors. Maybe because one time – during the height of my dabbling – I went to this shamanic journey thing in Portland. They came around and beat this extremely loud drum within two inches of your head. I probably have permanent ear drum damage. Anyway, we were instructed to envision a tree and then find its roots and then travel those roots down deep into the earth all the way to the underworld (not hell, just a different space than some other worlds in shamanic spirituality). I guess you could say it was like guided imagery, accompanied by really loud drumming that created this intense sense of anticipation and anxiety (at least in me).
Anywho, once we got there we were to take a look around, and then park ourselves somewhere that felt right and wait. Soon something would emerge and we were to retrieve that archetype, as it was sent for a partner assigned arbitrarily to us earlier in the afternoon. I can remember a growing sense of panic and a palpable “ego” or conscious mind feeling VERY skeptical and quite convinced this was all a bunch of hooey. I can’t remember what I “retrieved” for her. Probably something I thought she might like, like a wolf or a bear or maybe an eagle. Thus, you can imagine my disappointment when she told me my archetype was…a beaver. This, my friends, was a LONG time ago – like maybe even ten years ago – but I can still remember this lady working her hands like little claws and feigning an overbite as she explained my “power animal” and his manifestation. Anyway, I would like to propose that this little anecdote is at the root of my issues with archetypes…but I’m willing to suspend disbelief and see what comes up for me over the next few days as I muse on this and let my subconscious mind do a little churning.
Meanwhile, I will also mention – with a growing sense of trepidation – that I will be telling my boss about my 13-week backpacking trip next week. It’s one month’s notice – I think sometimes giving a person, especially a fairly by the book and emotionally conservative person, too much time to think about change is not a good thing – and deliberating and delaying in letting him in on this has both made me feel like a duplicitous jerk and given me some time to work through my strategy. I’ve now decided that I’m in no way, shape, or form going to mention the word “resign.” In fact, they”ll have to drag me out of the place (except that I work from home and across the country from the office, so I mean that more in the spirit of the expression.) Rather, I’m going to go in with a proposal that I keep doing what I’m doing – which is by and large write white appears and summarize other people’s work into delightful little write-ups for customers – just with a change of venue. That, and I’m possibly willing to count my remaining vacation time for the year (3 weeks and 2 days) as spent. I’m trying to adopt a “do it first and apologize later” mantra. I’m like George Costanza – going against my instincts.
Lastly, with respect to my barely skimmed European tale, July 1 also marks the one month countdown to my encore trip. Thus, I think I’m ready to start recounting the seven months I spent in Europe from August 1992 through March 1993, in part because much of it will set the stage for the significance of repeating it. It’s also a story that part of me needs to tell. So without much further ado, I’ll start to weave in those recollections, such as details of my tragically poor packing process (I brought nothing but tie dye skirts and my only upper layer besides t-shirts was a yellow velvet tuxedo jacket), the bravado (or cheapness?) of buying a one-way ticket to London, and how I stayed up until 2 a.m. the night before I left, watching Rick Steve’s ‘Europe Through the Back Door’ videos and attempting to cram.