by Iona Miller,

babycosmicFrom a barren list of names we learn who were the fathers or mothers, or more distant progenitors, of the select few, who are able to trace what is called their descent from antiquity.” (Smollett, Tobias (1798).)

“Hypothesis: in a sharp crisis, that bears in some way on species survival,
an individual may spontaneously merge with his ancestors AND descendants
and become, for a time, a single amplified entity.” —
Ken Thomas

“Go to bed. Think of your problem. See what you dream.
Perhaps the Great Man, the 2,000,000-year-old man, will speak…

If you are not interested in your own fate, the unconscious is.
There is a mountain of symbolism. …
The Great Man is something that reacts.

Analysis is a long discussion with the Great Man—
an unintelligent attempt to understand him.
It, the Great Man, can at one stroke put an entirely different face
on the thing — or anything can happen.
In that way you learn about the peculiar intelligence of the background;
you learn the nature of the Great Man.
You learn about yourself against the Great Man—against his postulates.
This is the way through things, things that look desperate and unanswerable.

The unconscious gives you that peculiar twist that makes the way possible.
The way is ineffable.
One needs faith, courage, and no end of honesty and patience.
You have added things you didn’t dream of—
a new aspect of yourself and of the world.
If you are dishonest, you are nothing for your unconscious.
This you cannot regulate, or it would be misused.

It is not a conviction, not an assumption.
It is a Presence. It is a fact. It is there. …

You have got to accept what the unconscious produces,
and you have to understand its language.
It is Nature, and it has to be translated into human forms.

(Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, Pages 359-364)

Depth Perception
A genealogy is a record of the descent of a person or group from an ancestor. Death fascinates us, and probably always has. The oldest extant epic, Gilgamesh, directly addresses the question of why death exists.

In our family tree our ‘depth perception’ refers to how many generations are known to us, and how keenly we perceive the essence of each of their lives (face recognition) in our family history.

Living in touch with what our ancestors symbolize in the emotional language of the unconscious roots us in a far greater whole. Our hunger is for connection, not more food, money, or status. When we know our ancestors we live in unbroken continuity with the past. This is grounding down to the molecular level.

Ideally, depth connections throughout deep time might help us to  overcome stumbling blocks, move through loss, find deeper meaning and interpersonal connection, and function at our optimal potential. We break through ancient walls, listening to the archaic hum of the ancestors, what their souls are saying,  that reminds us of the collective buzzing of bees.

Joseph Cambray, Provost of Pacifica, said, “So much of human suffering is very intimately tied up with non-conscious levels that it’s hard to imagine we could ameliorate symptoms without a depth perspective.”

Jung’s “Great Man” can also appear as the Great woman — Anima Mundi, the ancient worldview. It is the hermaphroditic fusion of all our ancestry into an omnipotent archetypal figure of soul and spirit.

Throughout much of human history, ancestors were revered and frequently visited in caves and barrows. People sat in these natural resonant echo chambers, chanting and drumming hypnotically and opening their altered psyches to the possibility of communication with the Beyond – voices of eternity.

People died so young, this youthful population needed shamanic guidance, needed primal wisdom. We are learning to understand that our immature culture can benefit by rooting ourselves in deep time and the wisdom of eternity. We still dream at night of connecting somehow with our departed loved ones. We are unconsciously entangled with our ancestral soul, but psychically dissociated.

Chopping Wood & Carrying  Cosmic Water
Water is the great symbol of the primordial unconscious. And we are its water-bearers. We carry the ancestral psyche much like the bloodline. The dragon or serpent is another symbol of the universal unconscious, the psychic field, and renewal. It impregnates itself by biting its own tail. The depths conceive.

A feminine symbol, water also signifies emotions or psychic energy, fertility, growth, creative potential, new life, or healing. An integrative approach includes memory reconsolidation to maintain, strengthen, modify and stabilize memories of the unconscious and long-term memory. Our ancestors remain amnesiac agents as long as we are unconscious of them as a kinship system.

Psychologically, water means spirit that has become unconscious. The way of the soul leads to the water, to the dark mirror, the world of invisible perception, that reposes at its bottom. This water is no figure of speech, but a living symbol of the dark psyche. We descend into our depths, into that well of souls and perhaps return with a bit of its healing bounty.

The Tree, watered by the unconscious roots, is the great symbol of humanity. In the tree metaphor,
these root systems that lie far beneath the surface of the Earth, which are just as extensive as the trunks and branches we have growing in plain view. We don’t just look at the tree superficially, but examine its entire structure — perhaps, a metaphorical “chopping wood” — including belief systems and subconscious patterns of thinking formed from birth.

We all “carry water” for the divine in our manifest embodiment — not only in the fluids of our bodies, but the fluidity of the psyche and our epigenetic memories. But how many of us incorporate the numinous realms of the psyche—meaning the unconscious, spiritual beliefs, dream life, the imagination, our connection to mystery, myth, archetype and the natural world?

How do we function in society, what bonds us to one another, what causes our psychoses and neuroses, and what helps us to individuate and become the people we were meant to be? The Depth Approach includes Dual Process Theory and The Frame Problem, and some consequences for our research.

Dual Process Theory recognizes that the human mind has two disparate modes of thinking – Subconscious Intuitive Understanding on one hand and Conscious Logical Reasoning on the other. The depth perspective “frame” in this case is provided by genealogy.

We bring our own sense of aesthetics to ancestral relationships, knowing that each of our living cells carries the experience of billions of years of experimentation by its ancestors. Bioevolutionary aesthetics include the cognitive spectrum of sensation, perception, conceptualization, and thought as well as the basic emotions, pain, and sexuality.

About 1/3 – 1/2 of each of the psychological types seem to enjoy genealogy. The ‘analysts’ (Intuitive and Thinking) enjoy a rigorous, fact-based treasure hunt through their ancestry. The visionary ‘diplomats’ (intuitive and feeling) are curious, imaginative, on the lookout for secrets, hidden meanings and new possibilities.

Conservative ‘sentinels’ (observant and judging) like to preserve order and security, are often focus on the bonds of family and the importance of history. Goal-oriented ‘explorers’ (observing and prospecting) tend to stick to the facts and have practical applications in the future – the past and the present are prologue.

Genealogical Heritage
An ancestor or forebear is a parent or (recursively) the parent of an ancestor (i.e., a grandparent, great-grandparent, great-great-grandparent, and so forth). Ancestor is “any person from whom one is descended. In law the person from whom an estate has been inherited.”

Direct-line research refers to genealogy research focused on one’s direct-line ancestors. We follow both surnames at each generation (i.e. paternal and maternal lines), back as far as records allow. Family history, rather than just genealogy, includes extended families (biological marital, sociological) that often interact significantly with our own lines.

When our genealogy expresses more than one line of descent from a given ancestor, then it exhibits segmentation or branching. This is a “segmented genealogy.” A segmented genealogy starts with a single parent and shows the relationship of children to each other. This kind of genealogy will have both a horizontal and vertical element to it.

If we go back 300 years, we have roughly 3,000 ancestors. Going back a thousand years results theoretically in billions of ancestors, more people than ever lived on the face of the earth! In reality, the same ancestors will show up in multiple places in your family tree as you have multiple lines of descent from many of these people.

“Linear genealogy” expresses only one line of descent, linking the genealogy to an older ancestor or group. Both segmented and linear genealogies exhibit depth (number of generations) and a sort of “cartography” of the unconscious. That map may lead us toward our greatest possible treasure–our inner gold — the knowledge in our bones.

Maybe we also find a bit of fool’s gold along the way. Family stories provide wonderful insights into the lives of our ancestors. However, not all family stories are true. Many such stories are fictional. Yet, even the stories that are either entirely or part fiction may contain clues to facts. Good genealogical practice requires that we admit the fiction to mine for its nuggets of truth.

In the domestic sphere, linear genealogy relates individuals to other individuals and kinship groups. They also function in the political and legal sphere to legitimate rulers, express progress, and support claims to recognition, status or power.

Some lines pass through or end (or begin) in legends or mythic figures. Already in the fifth century, the Macedonian kings claimed descent from Perdiccas, who descended from Temenos, a king of Argos; and he was great-grandchild of Hyllus, the son of Heracles.

Woden is consistently placed at nine removes from the founder of a dynasty. But is that the god, or Odin the man? In the 13th century, the Icelandic historian Snorri Sturluson wrote that Odin came to worshiped as a god, but he was originally a famous warrior who led his people out of Troy and into Scandinavia. Or was he?

In the 13th century, the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus wrote that Odin was a sorcerer from Byzantium. The other gods there stripped Odin of his rank and power, then banished him. He fooled the people of Scandinavia into worshiping him as a god. The old kings of Wessex and Mercia claimed him as ancestor.

Paul Henri Mallet (1730-1807) might have been the first to formulate explicitly the idea that the historical Odin was a man named Sigge Fridulfsson. He says, “His true name was Sigge, son of Fridulph; but he assumed that of Odin, who was the Supreme God among the Scythians.” Mallet’s version claims, Sigge (also known as Odin) was an ally of Mithradates, a Persian king defeated by the Romans. (Mallet, Northern Antiquities, 1770, 1809).

On the other hand, as many as 3 million men worldwide may be descendants of the Irish warlord, Niall of the Nine Hostages, who was who was the Irish “High King” at Tara, the ancient center of Ireland from A.D. 379 to A.D. 405. A 2003 study found that 8 percent of all Mongolian males are the descendants of Genghis Khan, sharing his Y chromosome. The Khan family may have as many as 16 million descendants in Asia today.

Even metaphorically,
the most prestigious of all possible ancestry is descent from divinity itself.
  Descent from antiquity (DFA) is the project of establishing a well-researched, generation-by-generation descent of living persons from people living in antiquity. It is an ultimate challenge in genealogy. No prospective DFA is accepted at this time.

Irish legends and subsequently Scottish lines, claim royal descent from Milesius, King of Spain, husband of Scota, Princess of Egypt. The Welsh also have legends, which claim descent from Noah, while Charlemagne, the father of all European nobility, claims descent from Adam.
Sometimes totems represent descent from Dragons, Lions, Eagles, or Serpents.

Hellenistic dynasties, such as the Ptolemies, claimed descent from gods and legendary heroes. In the Middle Ages, major royal dynasties of Europe sponsored compilations claiming their descent from Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, in particular the rulers of Troy. As propaganda, these claims glorified a royal patron by trumpeting the antiquity and nobility of his ancestry.

These descent lines included both mythical figures and outright fiction, much of which is still widely perpetuated today. The odds of royal ancestry are overwhelming. Virtually all people with European ancestry are descended from the usual royal suspects of 1000+ years ago.

Seeing ourselves in our archetypal nature helps us recognize our timeless parts and own our gifts. Having a mythic sensibility about ourselves offers a clue to how we might be unconsciously acting out archetypal patterns.

Apparently conflicting genealogies with different functions (and often without kinship terms) emerge from the religious or cultic sphere. That is, genealogies become fluid in accuracy according to their function. No generalizations are possible for a historiographic value of such genealogies with fragmentations and gaps.

For example, Sumerian and Akkadian elements were fused into Hellenistic and  biblical narrative with questionable linkages, significant differences, and background stories. Of the nine descendants of Adam, only Enoch is described with particulars from traditions now lost to us (Genesis Apocryphon) though we know they are related to Mesopotamian “fish-shaped sages” and kings lists.

The exact form of such ancient determinative lines in royal or religious genealogies is not known, but historically conflated, confabulated, and altered by compilers at various times for various reasons. Jung suggested we “think diligently” about the images the ancients have left us, as they also intimate what is to come.

Depth is the most important feature of linear genealogy. That depth expresses the memories of the people who preserve it in practice, relating us to deep time, distance, and transcendence.

But, true nobility springs from the soul and spirit, rather than any genetic tr


~ by ionamiller on March 22, 2016.

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