Iona Miller Publications

•April 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

links to Iona Miller Publications & Abstracts


Dream Genealogy, Iona Miller

•April 12, 2016 • Leave a Comment


“Acorn“, Io Miller
In James Hillman’s ‘acorn theory’ of soul we already hold
the potential for unique possibilities inside ourselves, much as an acorn holds the pattern for an oak tree. It shows in our calling and life’s work when fully actualized.


Inner Ways of Knowing

All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What right have we then to depreciate imagination? In the ordinary course of things, fantasy does not go astray; it is too deep for that, and too closely bound up with the tap-root of human and animal instinct. . . . The creative activity of the imagination frees man from his bondage to the ‘nothing but’ and liberates him in the spirit of play. As Schiller says, man is completely human only when he is playing.”
–C.G. Jung, CW 16, §98

Psychic and Personal Rootedness
It may seem strange at first to think that collective dreams could have any relevance to ourselves. We have cut ourselves off from the past to such an extent that it is difficult to realize that the experiences of remote people can still have meaning for us. Yet it is so.

Unconsciously we still think like our distant ancestors, and to understand this is to deepen our experience, and open up new possibilities. We remain connected through the language of dreams. It is not a supernatural power of some, but a phenomenon recognized from the dawn of mankind. Turning the inside out, we bring it through the senses.

While some dreams may be compensatory (balancing our conscious viewpoint), ancestral dream content often appears as not substantially different from conscious functioning. There is no need for defense or surrender to the dream material. We might dream of cemeteries, family records, ancestors themselves, or any other variety that informs our genealogical quest.

As Jung suggests, “There is no linear evolution; there is only a circumambulation of the self.” (MDR, Pgs. 196-197)

Even more than blood, we are bonded by respect and joy in each other’s lives as true family. We may wonder about our ancestors who lived closely attuned to the land, and what were their lives like Who were the indigenous Celts and Anglo Saxons, or our other more archaic progenitors?

Although we may never truly know our indigenous ancestors’ ceremonies and rituals, we may be able to remember aspects of them and their world through dreaming. Even dreams about genealogy sometimes lead to real discoveries. Recurring dreams are even more compelling. Significant, impactful or highly-memorable dreams can be bizarre or beautiful. Some dreams have a life-long effect on us.

Integral Dreaming
Dreaming with the ancestors is perhaps more accurate than dreaming about them. ‘Dreaming with’ we may explore the power of dreams to recover deep ancestral, cultural, planetary, and cosmic memory. Hillman argued dreams tell us where are are not what to do. The dream is a descent into the underworld. Dreams saturate our consciousness with the mysterious customs of the dark and impenetrable underworld.

Somewhere within the total personality, there appears to be a continuing integrative force, a homeostasis or self-regulating function. Even when we feel overwhelmed by experience, some part of our mind still seems to observe, evaluate, comment, and even attempt to integrate this otherwise hidden material with the knowledge of conscious life.

This may disappear for brief periods, but most of the time it is clearly at work. No one knows what type of ‘thinking’ this is. It appears different both from ‘reality thinking’ and ‘autistic thinking,’ from the patterns of conscious thought and the imagery of fantasy a kind of bridge between two types of mental process. It can appear symbolically as distinctly ‘Other.’

Jung’s concept of wholeness, linked with the Self. Such compensatory dreams connect with is best seen in the collected dreams by an individual undertaking their own personal journey to self acceptance and integration. Through an overview of dreams gained in this way, the two aspects of compensation become much more clearly drawn.

The dream work, aimed at meeting the neglected or hurt parts of oneself, opens the way to more pronounced compensation — the gaps in our experience. Following our dreams means following our uncertainty. Root metaphor dreams may arise in times of crisis and help us adapt and help one another.

Dreams teach by revelation, but there is no reason to objectify that. There is no work to it, no interpretation, no theorizing. We are each simply unrepeatable and utterly inexhaustible entities, whose mystery cannot be objectified or reduced to any single interpretation.

The process of compensation also links with patterns of love and strength actually lived by others. They are then patterns remaining in the collective experience of humanity that can be accessed. When we touch these powerful racial memories we may clothe them in the image of our cultural hero or savior. The power we find is a release of our own potential emerging from our core self, our own innate potential. This emerges from our unconscious clothed in whatever imagery or ideas we can accept or allow, as do dreams.

Dreams are the underworld. Imagination and the psyche are two key components of the underworld, a dreamland of souls where the human mind retreats and interacts with other psyches present.

In the Hero’s Journey, Campbell notes, “Mythologies are in fact the public dreams that move and shape societies, and conversely one’s own dreams are the little myths of the private gods, antigods, and guardian powers that are moving and shaping oneself: revelations of the actual fears, desires, aims, and values by which one’s life is subliminally ordered.”

The ‘nekyia’ is a night sea journey, a descent into the underworld or into the belly of a sea monster, and a meeting with the dead. It is a myth which occurs in many cultures in different forms and symbolizes the struggle towards spiritual or psychological revelation and transformation.

In a Fortune article, Lawrence Lessing describes recent sleep research: ‘…recent evidence shows that there may well be a second, lower level of dreaming extending down even into deep sleep, consisting largely of abstract thoughts or isolated symbols, much harder to recall than the generally vivid, active imagery of rapid-eye-movement dreaming.’

But why on earth,” you may ask, “should it be necessary for man to achieve, by hook or by crook, a higher level of consciousness? This is truly the crucial question, and I do not find the answer easy. Instead… I can only make a confession of faith: I believe that, after thousands and millions of years, someone had to realize that this wonderful world of mountains and oceans, suns and moons, galaxies and nebulae, plants and animals, exists. From a low hill in the Athi plains of East Africa I once watched the vast herds of wild animals grazing in soundless stillness, as they had done from time immemorial, touched only by the breath of the primeval world. I felt then as if I were the first man, the first creature, to know that all this is. The entire world round me was still in its primeval state; it did not know that it was. And then, in that one moment in which I came to know, the world sprang into being; without that moment it would never have been. All Nature seeks this goal and finds it fulfilled in man, but only in the most highly developed and most fully conscious man.” (CW 9i, §177)

I Walk the Lines

•March 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment


Because You’re Mine,

I “Walk the Lines”


But if you have nothing at all to create, then perhaps you create yourself.
–Carl Jung, CW 11, Page 556, Para 906.

“I feel very strongly that I am under the influence of things or questions which were left incomplete and unanswered by my parents and grandparents and more distant ancestors. It often seems as if there were an impersonal karma within a family which is passed on from parents to children. It has always seemed to me that I had to answer questions which fate had posed to my forefathers, and which had not yet been answered, or as if I had to complete, or perhaps continue, things which previous ages had left unfinished.” — Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

“The whole life of the individual is nothing but the process of giving birth to himself; indeed, we should be fully born when we die.” –Erich Fromm

Because You’re Mine, I Walk the Lineage
Genealogy uses historical, phenomenological, and psychological methods. By “walking the lines” backward in each of the tangled branches of our Family Tree, we can engage layers of multidimensional imagery.

Our family tree emerges from each couple and their own respective networked lines of ancestors and their interpersonal relational interaction. Metaphorically, we walk in their footsteps in a ‘magical’ circumabulation of our ancestral field. The principle involves making a clear and conscious connection with the ancestors and the idea of oneness. ‘Walking the Way’ is a form of deep veneration.

Ensouled Body
Genealogy clears a walkway through the ancestral landscape. It is a comparative phenomenology of the imagination with an openness to Being. This is a hermeneutic phenomenology (description and interpretation of meaning), an empirical, transcendental, or psychological phenomenology of lived experiences and themes. Here, “transcendental” implies everything is perceived freshly, as if for the first time, without assumptions.

We immerse ourselves in the cosmic wisdom of matter, in the immanence of indeterminate, enigmatic, mysterious phenomena and its own language — open, visionary, poetic, aesthetic, erotic, sensuous, spiritual, transformative, vocational. We can’t decide if it’s the right or only path until we travel along it but it informs our genealogical search at every point. One key to achieving that understand is establishing context.

Hermeneutics refers to the liminal nature of Hermes as an interpreter and soul guide (psychopomp) who connects heaven and earth, the realm of the living and the dead. He guides the soul into dreams and the dead to the underworld. The alchemists’ defined the prima materia as the “land of the dead.”

Jung describes Hermes as, “the arch-authority of Greek alchemy. He is “Hermes Trismegistos” (thrice-greatest Hermes), and is identical with the Egyptian Thoth, the god of learning. Hermes was a leader of souls, a god of revelation and understanding, connected with the human mind, and also the source of dreams.
He was actually the god of the unconscious, and the being who determined the human intellect
.” (ETH, Alchemy, Lecture XI 11th July, 1941, 224-231)

Jung said he wasn’t well-versed in philosophy, but “had to make use of philosophical concepts to formulate my findings.” Phenomenology brings to light what would otherwise remain hidden and helps us interpret what it means to exist in the world. Phenomenology becomes hermeneutical when its method is taken to be interpretive, rather than purely descriptive as in transcendental phenomenology.

Hermeneutic phenomenology enables access to subconscious phenomena and provides a means of interpreting our experiences of personal learning journeys. We acknowledge the complexity of a lived experience and subjective validation of it as an integration of our thoughts, feelings, fantasies, and experiences.

Meaning is encoded in cultural symbolism deposited and mediated through myth, religion, art, and language. In a prolonged engagement with a topic, such as genealogy, language itself is an appearance of being — a means of being manifest and ‘seeing’ meaning.

With deep questioning of the phenomena, we become attentive to how things appear and speak for themselves, including the ancestors, connecting with the visceral world of attunement, resonance, and sensation. Sympathetic resonance includes physical, emotional, aesthetic, and intuitive responses, not just the verification of cognition.

The moment of vision embodies authentic temporality, illuminating the full meaning of the present in terms of our fate, our mortal future, with a simultaneous retrieval of our past heritage. Language and storytelling have a narrative function that ultimately return to the question of the meaning of being, the self and self-identity.

“…[T]here is a thinking in primordial images, in symbols which are older than the historical man, which are inborn in him from the earliest times, and, eternally living, outlasting all generations, still make up the groundwork of the human psyche. It is only possible to live the fullest life when we are in harmony with these symbols; wisdom is a return to them.” (Jung, CW 8, Pages 399-403.)

Evocations of remembrance embody the essential nature of the sensuous radiance of absence. The far greater and darker regions of the unknown give way to becoming, transforming emotional experience. The archetype is not “in” a person but “between” them, within the imaginal space that opens, for example, in evocative moments between ourselves and our ancestors with a sense of presence and place.

At all events wisdom cannot be taught by words. It is only possible by personal contact and by immediate experience. (Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 559-560.)

Condensing Meaning
A narrative reports the life of a single individual, while a phenomenology describes the collective meaning of lived experiences, of a concept, or a phenomenon. Life themes are divided into subthemes describing different dimensions of the process of understanding connected by the guiding theme “narrative.”

Our approach is phenomenal or qualitative rather than analytic. When phenomenology informs narrative analysis, the image is allowed to speak through form, stories and intuition. There is no predetermined framework of meaning. The comparative approach usefully challenges taken-for-granted understandings. Rooted in philosophy, it studies conscious awareness of the world as experienced from the subjective or first person point of view.

Emotion As Epiphany
Phenomenology is an experiential approach to subjective experience. “Experience” (being or existence) is a complex concept — an “in-relation-to” phenomenon. We can approach our ancestors with phenomenology, and also reflexively consider what we bring to the process from our own perspective and worldview.

As in the case of dreams we must stick as closely to the image as given as possible. Image is the primary phenomenon of psychic life, mytho-poetic imagination, and the prima materia of the phenomenology of the soul.

The phenomenal field focuses on perceptions, feelings, and “how one feels right now.” The intergenerational field is a phenomenal field. Hillman referred to soul’s  self-expression as, “what we are really, and the reality we live, is our psychic reality, which is nothing but …the poetic imagination going on day and night.” (We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the World Is Getting Worse, p. 62)

He sees death as a permanent resident of the psyche, and Thanatos as a mode of soul-making: “loss of soul, not loss of life, should be [the analyst’s] main dread.” Hillman advocates the development of a conscious philosophy of death. He argues  that death and life are not psychological opposites and that “…any act which holds off death prevents life” (Suicide and the Soul, p. 61).

“We cannot slay death, as we have already taken all life from it. If we still want to overcome death, then we must enliven it. Therefore on your journey be sure to take golden cups full of the sweet drink of life, red wine, and give it to dead matter, so that it can win life back.” (Jung; The Red Book; Liber Primus; Page 244.)

With the phenomenal approach, Mircea Eliade identified “the sacred” as a kind of independent variable—unchanging and timeless even though manifest in completely different times and cultures. “Pure” phenomenology describes the intentional objects of consciousness.

Human experiences are phenomena — what they experienced and how they experienced it, in holistic and embedded or qualitative perspectives. Hermeneutics renders the object accessible to interpretation, opening new possibilities. Naturally, we have to take account of our own bias, conceptions, and assumed truths into the interpretative activity involved.

We must distinguished interpretation from explanation and causes, focusing on a description of reasons. There is no firm boundary between the dimensions of description and interpretation. Deeper understanding demands more complexity-sensitive ways of thinking and a method that allows interpretation, exploration of dynamics and processes, and involvement of the context.

Presence & Absence
We synthesize the lived-experience from comparative transformations. General psychological structure is deduced from the psychological constituents of the experience. Constituents are context dependent and are necessarily part of the whole structure.

The purpose of this procedure is grounded in the phenomenological concept of parts and wholes. The meaning units are transformed using imaginative variation within the phenomenological attitude and psychological perspective to elucidate their essential psychological meanings.

The eidetic nature of the data or mental image, not necessarily derived from an actual external event or memory, is brought forth through the imaginative variation. We can create and explore eidetic images as a way of coming to terms with transgenerational and traumatic life events.

The phenomenological concept of presences and absences is an important one to use with imaginative variation. Explicit data can reveal implicit meanings [subtext] without them being concretely expressed. During the transformations, we can “see” the explicit meanings, and also uncover the implicit meanings.

Imaginative variation gives us a “sense of the whole.” In this way, the descriptive phenomenological approach is more comprehensive than mere empirical approaches in the natural attitude. This is justified through understanding that what is “present” often implies or indicates an “absent” quality.

In the phenomenological approach, each transformation describes what the meaning unit expresses psychologically without any interpretation or assumptions about its “truth.” The phenomenological approach represents different approaches, from focus on rich description to those more informed by interpretation.

We describe how it was experienced and understood from the subject’s point of view without explanation of “why” it was experienced in the way it was. The phenomenological attitude of the researcher in the psychological analysis of the data is what makes the results both phenomenological and psychological.

We can reduce the information to significant statements or quotes and combine the statements into themes. Then we develop a textural description of the experiences of the persons (what participants experienced), a structural description of their experiences (how they experienced it in terms of the conditions, situations, or context), and a combination of the textural and structural descriptions to convey an overall essence of the experience.

We can describe what all participants have in common as they experience a phenomenon (e.g., grief is universally experienced). The basic purpose of phenomenology is to reduce individual experiences with a phenomenon to a description of the universal essence, to “grasp of the very nature of the thing.”

There is only one method: the comparative method.  There are five core approaches to qualitative research: narrative study, a phenomenology, a grounded theory, an ethnography, and a case study. At the fundamental level, the five differ in what they are trying to accomplish with their foci or the primary objectives of the studies.

Exploring a life is different from generating a theory or describing the behavior of a cultural group. Narrative is both a method and phenomenon of study. Individuals are enabled and constrained by social resources, socially situated in interactive performances, and how narrators develop interpretations of the multileveled context of a life. A first-person psychological perspective is sought so that an empathetic position can be adopted.

In genealogy we are gathering data through the collection of their stories (biographical study), reporting individual experiences, and chronologically ordering (or using life course stages) the timeline and meaning of those experiences. Restoring them means re-storying them, reframing them with sensitive descriptions and imaginative variation.

We need to collect extensive information about each ancestor, and to have a clear understanding of the context of the individual’s life. It takes a keen eye to identify in the source material gathered the particular stories that capture the individual’s experiences. Narrative study tells the story of individuals unfolding in a chronology of their experiences, set within their personal, social, and historical context, and includes the important themes in those lived experiences.

Narrative inquiry concerns stories lived and told. A phenomenological perspective of the mind acknowledges consciousness as the most fundamental life-quality that coexists with the body. A person is regarded as an embodied consciousness. People know one another’s consciousness through their physical bodies. This means that we know our own consciousness by reflection but cannot know the consciousness of the other except through the body.

Three-dimensional narrative inquiry space includes the personal and social (the interaction); the past, present, and future (continuity); and the place (situation). This story line may include information about the setting or context of the participants’ experiences. Beyond the chronology, we might detail themes that arise from the story to provide a more detailed discussion of the meaning of the story.

Tracing the Path
‘Walking the lines’ is a ritual situated in the imaginal landscape suggested by our genealogical ascent which leads into our collective ancestral past. Along the path, or circuits of ancestral nodes, the secret meaning of life is discovered. Our ancient path of pilgrimage is rich with meaning and is a powerful tool for seeking soul and spirit in a movement toward transcendence. Perhaps facing our mortality inspires us to live more fully.

The main quest in the oldest myths is for immortality. We search for immortality. We cannot know anything final about that and all the possible means of ‘living’, but many strive for germline immortality, an ersatz-immortality in their offspring. The immortality of the soul is concerned with personal identity, not just in conscious and unconscious states, but in mutable conditions and alternating states of being.

Embodied & Disembodied Soul
In the Phaedo, Plato describes an immortal soul. Thus, while the natural body and the experiential mind are merely phenomenal clothing of the ontological soul, the latter is immortal as a living entity. Aristotle distinguishes between ontological and experiential soul.

As Danish physicist Niels Bohr quipped, “A Great Truth is a Truth the opposite of which is also a Great Truth.” In the paradoxical nature of reality, immortality remains largely a concept and source of ontological argument. For example, Buddhism does not conceive of the soul as ultimately real.

Perhaps the latest version of the soul describes a field ontology and a functional dualism (mind/matter). Our form emerges from a primordial field of consciousness/energy (groundstate)  in which we remain embedded, and to which we return.

Ancestral Field
This zero-point field has many names. That field is the energetic “void”, or “vacuum”, the space of the “ether”, the subtle but ultra-powerful energy potential. The Heart Sutra tells us that, “Form is not other than Void, Void is not other than Form.” This implies that our human form is not other than void, and biophysics shows this to be true. This notion differs from survival of personal identity (self-movement) or soul, but is a conservation of primordial information.

Jung contends the archetype of rebirth and resurrection is a metaphorical experiences of [ego] death as a metaphorical precursor to five forms of rebirth:

1. Metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls.
2. Reincarnation, human personality is regarded as continuous and accessible to memory; re-birth in a human body.

3. Resurrection means a reestablishment of human existence in an incorruptible carnal or subtle body after death.
4. Rebirth within the span of individual life. Renovation, renewal or
total rebirth of the essential nature (transmutation).
5. Indirect rebirth via participation in death-rebirth, the rite of transformation. (Jung, CW 9I, para 200- 205)

Experiential psychology is not pure ontology, and relies mostly on the rebirth experience and the truth and beauty of intuition for transformation. We have to be content with its psychic reality. Natural transformation processes announce themselves mainly in dreams. There is a contrast between phenomenal and noumenal, experiential and eternal, relative and absolute, biological and ontological.

Psychologically, immortality is the attempt to grant distinct ontological status to the symbolic self, to deny the finality of organic death. In other words, it is a denial of death. Soul beliefs, discreetly or indiscreetly, transform the ontology of creativity into an immortality ideology.

James Hillman shifted Jung’s conversation from individuation to “soul-making,” a way of seeing and reflection that makes meaning possible. “By soul I mean, first of all, a perspective rather than a substance, a viewpoint toward things rather than a thing itself.” He describes five things about the nature of soul as the imaginative possibilities of nature: the soul (1) makes all meaning possible, (2) turns events into experiences, (3) involves a deepening of experience, (4) is communicated in love, and (5) has a special relation with death (Hillman, 1977, p. xvi; Hillman, 1976, pp. 44-47).

Hillman’s anima mundi is at home in the ‘real’ world — the imaginal realm where real world spirit regains its zest and vision, addressing our sufferings after transformation. In the everyday, the best of the “unfathomable, multiple, prior, generative highly intentional and necessary” archetypal world of both the “noumenal” and the “phenomenal” manifests itself in the everyday tribal and familial context. Family history is transformed into myth.

Facts & Artifacts
In terms of ontological wholeness, immortality of one’s being expressed in the continuance of one’s proper name or even dynasty falls short of the unconscious belief in life after death. Immortality is an organic philosophical desire for life that should always be lived. It is a religious desire for another life, affirming an act of faith in a transcendent existence, or renewal without end of what is here in this world. This is the difference between cosmic pantheism and theistic (theosophic or transcendental) ontology.

Von Franz notes, “The analysis of older people provides a wealth of dream symbols that psychically prepare the dreams for impending death. It is in fact true, as Jung has emphasized, that the unconscious psyche pays very little attention to the abrupt end of bodily life and behaves as if the psychic life of the individual, that is, the individuation process, will simply continue. …The unconscious “believes” quite obviously in a life after death.” (von Franz (1987), ix.)

Like the shamans of old who ascended and descended the archetypal World Tree, genealogists can “walk the tree” — “The Big Tree” or the “World Family Tree” — from one end to the other, or “up” toward the past and then back “down” to the present on another line. Timelines help us arrange the numerous names and events that take place simultaneously and sequentially.

Some family trees will  look like stumpy, dead sticks with a few twigs, while others will shared vast underground connections and vigorous thick growth, like as a yew tree. Within the Family Tree and World Tree, people are either connected by “bloodlines” or through marriage. Bloodlines can include adoptions and illegitimacy, either acknowledged or unacknowledged. Ancestors are only those from whom you directly descend, though cousin lines may share blood.

Spirit People
Family is the midwife of the soul. Jung reminds us that the source of unifying images which animated our ancestors and linked them to Mystery are generated by the symbol-making function we all possess. The same mysterious dream place gives birth to those mediating images which arise when we encounter the mysterious Other, the animated presence in our lives.

The family is the primordial psychophysical initiatory vessel or vehicle of our destiny — the archetypal family and biological self. Family births us, develops us, procreates us, and buries us. Regardless of the pain and travail it may create for us, family is the grail within which the sacred nectar of our physical and psychic DNA is carried from the lips and organs of one generation to the next.

Long lines, about 13 generations back lead into medieval times. “Walking the path” means you MUST visit every profile in both paths, no shortcuts. We find ourselves walking the lines and paths around and up to legendary figures, and further back, purely mythic characters — liminal entities.

Three modalities — resonance, depth and numinosity — describe the presence of that autonomous Other which we call soul and an experiential psychic connection to the Other, and a sense of self grounded in a transcendent order. Those images are conduits into the natural world, with its specific tribal mythos, and assist in later moving the community members into a world beyond mortality.

Genealogy is a sort of psychic archaeology where we dig up the dead with their own information and ‘advice’ — hidden historical crumbs and clues, synchronicities, and intuitions. Genealogy reveals complex behaviors of distributed systems. Naturally they lead backwards to origins vastly different from the kinds of practices present in different time frames.

Genealogy is an archaeology of the individual and a therapeutic art — optimally coordinated interpersonal synchronicity and optimized subsequent interactions. Similar personality traits align in rapport and return with greater simultaneous coordination. The interaction of pairs displays complementary simultaneous coordination. Coherent emotional charge states converge under effective conditions after an interval of time.

Archaeology of Knowledge
The archaeological level is what made an event or a situation possible. Archaeology and genealogy alternate and support each other. Archaeology is structuralist. It tries to take an objective neutral position and it avoids causal theories of change.
Foucault calls it, “the union of erudite knowledge and local memories which allows us to establish a historical knowledge of struggles and to make use of this knowledge tactically today.” (Genealogy and Social Criticism, p.42)

The genealogical side of analysis tries to grasp the power of constituting a domain of objects. Genealogy uncovers the creation of tangible objects. A society institutes the role of medicine man and gives him special privileges. Then we establish and institutionalize this practice, the psychosocial role of a “medicine man.”

Treading the Path
Walking a path is symbolically a spiritual practice, a pilgrimage, like walking or tracing a labyrinth — a contemplative spiritual exercise of circumnavigating a sacred path. We turn back to our center, to our origin, by a devotional path. A walk through the World Tree or a walk in the labyrinth is a cosmic journey through the heavens.

There is no right or wrong way; we have to enter and follow a path with presence. Our attitudes, focus, experience, consolation, and reflection may shift each time, or as we follow path. Traversing the labyrinth brings us into wholeness with all parts of our being. When we walk the labyrinth it recreates a very ancient expression of thanks and remembrance of the divine in all things. So does the family tree, expressing our completeness outwardly.

Like labyrinth, your genealogy has one way in and one way out — you. Such an initiation, shifting perspectives, awakens the knowledge encoded within. Walking the labyrinth and walking our lines share a spirit. The circuits of the labyrinth pattern and genealogy share the same meaning — a maze of ancestors, and a way to meander through them — spiritual umbilical cords.

We walk a labyrinth by stepping into the entrance and putting one foot in front of the other. After traveling through all the paths and windings, the walker comes into the center – the six – petal rosette – the rose line, a symbol of the Holy Grail. Like walking the labyrinth, genealogy can be an exercise in self-healing. Both are journeys to the center and back out again to the ordinary world.

Seeking the Ancestors
Our genealogy is a sensorium of multisensory informational content. Relationship paths connect you to closest blood relationships via a given ancestor through several families, via either parent, male or female, or combinations thereof. There can be many relationship paths to the same ancestors.

Intergenerational Encounter
Collapsing the space between us, each ancestor, or avatar of our descent, touches us with an imaginal poem that is a product of their embedding in our ancestral history – layer after emerging layer of our augmented reality. They begin to talk to us in many ways:  ambiance, serendipity, synchronicity, personal, contextual, instructively and artistically.

The image of the World Tree invites us to explore the vertical or depth dimension, while Family is the most prominent landmark on the horizontal plane of relational otherness. Family mediates this world and its essential, phenomenal reality and can enhance or dampen, devastatingly, our interaction with this dimension of psyche. The family seeds imagination.

NEXT OF KIN, by Iona Miller

•March 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment



Last Twig On the Branch

The ‘Spirit’ or Ruach of the Tree of Life which corresponds to the Intellect and Yetzirah (the Formative World) also corresponds with the Psyche. The Formative World) also corresponds with the Psyche. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines of ‘Psyche’ as soul, mind, and “The specialized cognitive, conative, and affective aspects of a psychosomatic unity :  mind; specifically :  the totality of the id, ego, and superego including both conscious and unconscious components.”

Death also is in Paradise
Therefore, the Ruach/Breath of life (vital breath) and the Psyche are essentially one and the same. In psychology, the psyche is the totality of the mind (conscious and unconscious) and states stemming from the six types of senses, vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch and mind;
the breath of life; the vital force which animates the body and shows itself in breathing; life, a living being: ψυχή ζῶσα, a living soul, the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions. a moral being designed for everlasting life; an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death.

ψυχή (Psyche) is Psyxḗ (from psyxō, “to breathe, blow” which is the root of the English words “psyche,” “psychology”) – soul (psyche); a person’s distinct identity (unique personhood), i.e. individual personality. And that identity, that psyche comes to us through manifestation of our essence in our family tree.

Genealogy allows us to engrave our lines in history. As we journey up through our lines of descent we are always asking Who, Where, and When — the questions that define the next of kin in our search pattern as we flesh out our family tree as its genealogical midwives.

Who from the family tree am I looking for at the moment? 

  • Where were they when a particular event occurred?
  • When was it that the event likely took place?

That’s the foundation for everything we do in genealogy.

The particular form the genealogical tree takes depends on who is identified as genealogical father and who is identified as genealogical mother to whom.
That identification is the basis upon which a conceptual system expressed in terms of symbols and relationships among symbols. When invaders become ancestors it reconfigures ethnicities, embodying systematic changes.

“The tree has a cosmic significance—it is the worldtree, the world-pillar, the world-axis.

Only think of Yggdrasill, the world-ash of Nordic mythology, a majestic, evergreen tree growing at the center of the world.

The tree, particularly its crown, is the abode of the gods. the world-tree.

But, as the alchemical symbolism clearly shows, it is also a transformation symbol, a symbol of the process of self-realization.

According to certain alchemical sources, the adept climbs the tree—a very ancient shamanistic motif.

The shaman, in an ecstasy, climbs the magical tree in order to reach the upper world where he will find his true self.

By climbing the magical tree, which is at the same time a tree of knowledge, he gains possession of his spiritual personality.

To the eye of the psychologist, the shamanistic and alchemical symbolism is a projected representation of the process of individuation.

(Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, Pages 353-358.)

– Plato ( 428-348 BC) in the Timaeus says: ” Therefore, according to a probable thesis , it must be said that this world was born as a human being really has a soul and intelligence in accordance with the divine will .”

This vision is refined later in the Alexandrian and Neo-Platonic thought and finds wide success in the Hellenized Egyptian thinker , Plotinus of Lycopolis ( 204-270 ) .

– Plotinus in the Enneads (IV , 4, 45 ) writes:

” … It is clear that every being that is in the universe, according to its nature and constitution, contributes to the formation of the universe with his action and his suffering, in the same manner in which each part of the individual animal , in reason of his natural constitution , cooperate with the body as a whole , making the service that competes with its role and its function. Each part also gives and receives from its other , as his receptive nature allows. ”

He also states that the simple is what is the basis of life . This is because the soul of an organism and is worth much more than all the parts put together : every body is a unit , an indivisible whole , something extraordinarily simple at first glance while being composed . This “simple” that is the basis of the compound can not be a material entity , because no matter what material may be designed or divided in half , even only conceptually . The multitude of souls in the world is itself intelligible only on the assumption that they all have a common origin. This unit is what explains the meaning of the Anima Mundi . The One remained transcendent itself and the individual deities were conceived as immanent forces of creation , as we would say today energies , and were , therefore , partakers of the same Spirit of the World that becomes a summation and archetypal energy .

Plotinus says , in fact, that ( Enneads , II, 3:16) : ” … the opposites are reconciled , and without them the universe is not such, and so is the other living beings .”

For Dionysius the Areopagite ( fifth-sixth century ) , the Anima Mundi , just like the One of Plotinus and the Holy Spirit Christian, it is life-giving and ” distributing itself is not divided .” As, indeed , the idea that the Trinity is not affected indeed strengthened in comparison with the previous and the widespread propensity to triad recovered from Pythagoreanism , Neoplatonism and by Proclus.

William of Conches (1080-1145 AC) , one of the greatest exponents of the Platonism of the famous school of Chartres, in his : Glosses on Timaeus of Plato, says, ” The Soul of the World is a natural energy beings for which some have only the ability to move , the other to grow , others to perceive through the senses , others to judge . The question is … what is that energy. But, as it seems to me natural that energy is the Holy Spirit , which is a benign and divine harmony that is that from which all realities have to be, to move, to grow , the feeling, the experience , the judge.

Marsilio Ficino argued , in his Platonic Theology, that the soul ” is the greatest of all miracles of nature. All other things are under God always be a single soul on the other hand is all things together “…” the nature center , the middle term of all things , the chain of the world , the bond and the seam of the universe, the face of everything.”

Always Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499)

– In his Platonic Theology , Book III , Chapter I, states that the Anima Mundi is the mirror of divine realities , the life of those mortals and the nexus of both.

– And in the De vita says: ” The Soul mundi … according to the Platonic oldest , by means of his reasons , he has built in the sky, beyond the stars , the astral figures and parts of figures , such that they themselves become figures, and impressed in all these figures certain properties … And specifically, it has no place in heaven forty-eight figures universal , twelve in the Zodiac , thirty-six out of the Zodiac. »

The scholar, philosopher and priest Marsilio Ficino made his Neoplatonic reading of the Anima Mundi syntonic with the Christian vision. He understood the  sacred junction between the upper and the lower world.  Ficino departed from the field and gradually climbed up the form, then the Soul, and then the Angel of God The Soul stood in the center, and it was the junction point between the physical and the spiritual.

For this Ficino called the Anima mundi et copula and that is the Soul as a node between the physical reality and the intelligible and therefore ” copula ” or union of the world with another dimension.

In its Platonic Theology of immortalitate animarum , Marsilio Ficino defines the soul as ” Centrum naturae, universorum medium mundi series Voltes nodusque et omnium copula mundi.”

Therefore raises the Soul in the middle of nature. He sees it as what mediatra nature and the universe, understood in its plurality of planetary epiphanies, but also as a node of all things, in the sense of what holds together the infinite parts of the world. Defines it as the face of all things and ” copula, ” i.e. union, the world itself with the divine. (La Primavera di Botticelli, cosmic mystery of the Anima Mundi , Vincenzo Guzzo and Gaspare Licandro ).

In the sixteenth century , the notion that the most vital vitalistic Soul of the world emerged especially in Giordano Bruno , who conceived the presence of the divine in nature in a vision closer to pan-enteismo that pantheism to which he was burned alive , and then Tommaso Campanella , according to which all the elements of reality are sentient beings and therefore have a kind of consciousness.

In the following centuries the idea of Anima Mundi was almost forgotten, and  severely hampered by the spread of the mechanistic conceptions. Descartes with the distinction between res cogitans and res extensa deprived the Nature of the Soul and the Soul of its vital relationship with the Whole.

With Goethe’s concept of Anima Mundi Schelling made a mental note and then shooting the Neoplatonic conception that sees the intelligent principle already present in embryonic form in nature or potential . The nature , for Schelling , is a ‘ ” dormant intelligence ,” a “spirit of power” and could not evolve to produce the man if he had not already within themselves the divine spirit . The organizations below are only minor aspects or limitations of the only universal in the human body is fully realized . The soul of the world in fact become fully self-conscious only in man, that is so over the top, the point of transition from nature to God, which is reflected in it . In nature there is therefore purposive intentionality , which is specified in organisms gradually more complex starting from a principle , however, simple and absolutely unified.

Schopenhauer , then , stated that the individual souls of individuals are an expression of the will of a single life , however, operates in an unconscious manner , and only humans can become self-conscious.

The idea of Anima Mundi emerges so cogent in Carl Jung, the concept of the collective unconscious. James Hillman (1926 – 2011) re-evaluates the validity of the idea of Psyche Member of the mind , not as merely rational , but as Anima (original meaning of the word Psyche) and enhances well the ideas and the valuable role of the philosophers of the Renaissance as they represented the Anima Mundi.

We are souls who choose life … who have chosen to exist. And in my opinion, to exist is to choose to love and to be loved in spite of and, above all, open to our relationship with the world … We are in a sense just the relationships we have with the world, because they are made of our own imaginal substance. We share the same Unus Mundus.

Things ‘ transparent ‘
who allow themselves to go through the light of the world acquire a cosmic depth.
The thing that shines the power of the world has become a symbol. So every finite thing can become a symbol, ‘ representative ‘ of the universe, where everything appears and shines in it, as a consequence, the world can not become a symbol just as in things finite meets its own image and reflected in the symbol itself. * So symbol , image, origin , but also ritual, form, light, and what in the language and practice of art means the art. The soul of the world as a mediating force , life-giving and life refers to the life-world of art.”

The soul of the world, life and death.
In the dense network in which everything and everyone we connect (Anima Mundi?), sharing the idea that nothing is created and nothing is destroyed, everything is transformed, and knowing that the immensity of the Mystery embraces everything that we intended to Soul and understand it, we have no reason to feel far away or lost the stars disappeared on our horizon. We ourselves are neither close nor distant than everything disappears but these, like all of our deceased loved ones are to us. Atoms and galaxies are One and the transition from the phenomenon of becoming the idea of being constantly and occurs with simultaneous reciprocity, constancy and love in the heart of the mystery in which everything is where everything becomes. – Vincenzo Guzzo.

We Are Alive; It’s All We Know

Life is a luminous pause between two great mysteries,
which themselves are one. —
C.G. Jung

Over the course of the millennia, all these ancestors in your tree, generation upon generation, have come down to this moment in time–to give birth to you. There has never been, nor will ever be, another like you. You have been given a tremendous responsibility. You carry the hopes and dreams of all those who have gone before. Hopes and dreams for a better world. What will you do with your time on this Earth? How will you contribute to the ongoing story of humankind? History remembers only the celebrated, genealogy remembers them all. —Laurence Overmire

“The neurosis is as a rule a pathological, one-sided development of the personality, the imperceptible beginnings of which can be traced back almost indefinitely into the earliest years of childhood.  Only a very arbitrary judgment can say where the neurosis actually begins.  If we were to relegate the determining cause as far back as the patient’s prenatal life, thus involving the physical and psychic disposition of the parents at the time of conception and pregnancy—a view that seems not at all improbable in certain cases—such an attitude would be more justifiable than the arbitrary selection of a definite point of neurotic origin in the individual life of the patient” (Jung, CW 16, 257-258).

“It isn’t primarily a practice of thinking of one’s last hour, or of death as a physical phenomenon; it is a seeing of every moment of life against the horizon of death, and a challenge to incorporate that awareness of dying into every moment so as to become more fully alive.”
—Brother David Steindl-Rast Parabola, 1977.

Assemblage theory

“Deleuze’s theory (metaphor?) of assemblage as a way of thinking about the social world is an intriguing one. Fundamentally the idea is that there does not exist a fixed and stable ontology for the social world that proceeds from “atoms” to “molecules” to “materials”. Rather, social formations are assemblages of other complex configurations, and they in turn play roles in other, more extended configurations.

What is appealing to me about this way of talking about the social world is that it takes us away from the presuppositions we often bring about the social world as consisting of a range of discrete social objects or things. According to this static way of thinking, the state is a thing composed of other things; likewise Islam is an extended social thing; likewise Chicago; and so on. The assemblage approach suggests a different set of metaphors for the social world: mosaic, patchwork, heterogeneity, fluidity, transitory configuration. And this seems like a more realistic way of characterizing large extended social formation like states or regulatory agencies.
The downside of this way of talking and thinking about the social world is precisely the indefiniteness and indeterminacy it suggests for the composition relation. This poses a very hard problem for explanation. How are we to explain the properties and behavior of the composite entity if there is so much contingency in its parts and the ways in which they interact? The strategy of aggregative explanation seems to be a non-starter, since it is stipulated that composition is not a strongly rule-governed process. But so do the comparative and generalizing strategies. If the composites are indeed sui generis and unique configurations we can’t generalize across instances and can’t usefully compare them.”…/assemblage-theory… 


Legacies of invisible loyalties and obligations from the past that are passed on through generations
, including unconscious limitations. The invisible fibers of loyalty consist of consanguinity, maintenance of biological life and family lineage on the one hand and earned merit among members on the other. (1973, p. 52) Loyalty is a mark of belonging to a group and therefore manifests itself both as a group characteristic and as an individual attitude. Loyalty, as an individual attitude, goes beyond mere identification with the group.

To be a loyal member of the group implies internalizing the spirit of its expectations and complying with its internalized injunctions. Failure to live up to the demands of loyalty leads to feelings of existential guilt which constitute a system of secondary regulative forces which play a part in maintaining the homeostasis of the family system. The development of loyalty is determined by the history of the family group, the type of justice in force within it and its myths. The nature of each of the group members’ obligations depends on his/her emotional disposition and his/ her position in respect of the family ledger , which recapitulates what each member of the family owes.


•March 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment

by Iona Miller, 2016

Alone, Yet Not Alone

Living With the Time You Have Given Me



“The core of the individual is a mystery of life, which dies when it is ‘grasped.’ That is also why symbols want to keep their secrets; they are mysterious not only because we are unable to clearly see what is at their bottom.” (C. G. Jung, Hans Schmid-Guisan, The Question of Psychological Types)

Mental Time Travel
In nature, we look up and see the past, stars and galaxies millions of years old; then we look down and see the past in the earth, in the bones of dinosaurs and the dust of ancestors, and fossils.
Time is the raw material of creation.

Ancient mythology has much to teach us about grief and mortality. The Mesopotamian myth, the Descent of Inanna is the earliest written goddess tale. It  begins with listening:  “From the Great Above she opened her ear to the Great Below.”

In Sumerian, the word for ear also means wisdom. Because she seeks wisdom, Inanna is called to listen to the Great Below, the realm of dream, death, depression, and the unconscious. Without knowledge of loss and mortality, engaged individuation, and compassionate mirroring, she is not whole.

Deep within the  unconscious darkness something new is being born, and Inanna cries out from this pain of giving birth. She returns to life — lost, humbled, and displaced. We descend into the redeeming darkness, making that walk, not because we want to, but because we must.

All descents provide entry into different levels of consciousness and can enhance life creatively.  All of them imply suffering.  All of them can serve as initiations.  Meditation and dreaming and active imaginations are modes of descent.  So too are depressions, anxiety attacks, and experiences with hallucinogenic drugs.” (Perera, 1981)

In many ancient myths, descent is an integral part of the Great Feminine Round of Life and Death. We are mortal and vulnerable. We live in a world of catastrophe and chaos, personal loss and social threat. We are thrown down
by chaotic defensive furies, such as rage and greed. We are helped up by the dynamics of rebirth. Miraculously, we find our way to life again.

Self-Referential Memory
Our ancestors are our past and our transcendental future. Autonoetic consciousness is the human ability to mentally place ourselves in the past, in the future, or in counterfactual situations, and to analyze our own thoughts.

Semiotics & Symptomatics
Our sense of self affects our behavior, in the present, past and future, and our sense of ancestral metamemory, including memory, physiological (unconscious) memories (spinal cord and ganglia) and embedded tissue memories, unconscious  motivation, unconscious conceptualization, and aesthetic unconscious (art, myth, and dream).

Jung said, “The unconscious has no chance of coming into the conscious unless the conscious makes a hole for it to come through.” And that hole or portal is our genealogy — our family tree, a site of potential transformation.

We are each the sentinel who guards and keeps watch on our end of the lines that are anchored by the genealogies of gods and goddesses which have passed into the ‘collective unconscious.’ First and foremost our genealogical quest is informed by multidimensional, autonomous psyche.

Mute Signs & Voiceless Speech
We should be confidantes of our own mysteries and ancestors. We must cross our own Acheron, or river of woe and pain to reach that psychological underworld. We plunge from raw life into the encounter with the powers of darkness. We follow our chthonic serpentine lines back through primal generativity and fertility.

Jung claims, “The serpent shows the way to hidden things and expresses the introverting libido, which leads man to go beyond the point of safety, and beyond the limits of consciousness, as expressed by the deep crater.” (1925 Seminar, Page 102

Our ancestors guide us on our journey, handing us along, one by one to their forebears. We ritualize the science and art of parting. We step into the mythological plot through the world of the afterlife immersed in our hordes of ancestors, without being fictionalized ourselves.

We retrieve the treasure, ‘hard to attain,’ whose presence we suspected in the dark prima materia — self-knowledge. The treasure is variously symbolized in myth and fairy tale as a ring or golden egg, white feather, coat of many colors, fountain of youth, elixir of Life. We gain experiential knowledge of all known realms by
confronting, or identifying with subterrestrial, terrestrial and cosmic energies.

Jung suggested that the assimilation of the objective and subjective collective unconscious is achieved by realizing both the outer and inner meaning: 1. concrete actions and 2. subjective thinking and feeling as purely inner experience, or experience via the subject (inwardly lived).
“Undeveloped, therefore archaic, symbolic, ambiguous, phenomenal, irrational, actus purus naturae, can only imperfectly be formulated and grasped intellectually, projected.”

The symbolic unconscious content is “not exclusively valid either (1) for the outer or (2) for the inner realm, but for both together, that is, for their operating together.” “The core of the individual is a mystery of life, which dies when it is ‘grasped.’ That is also why symbols want to keep their secrets; they are mysterious not only because we are unable to clearly see what is at their bottom.”

Paraphrasing Jung, genealogy helps us “to come to those hidden and unopenable symbols, in which the seed of life lies securely hidden like the tender seed in the hard shell.” (Jung, Han Guisan Schmid, Page 9)

Autonoetic Consciousness
Episodic memory is identified with autonoetic consciousness, which gives rise to remembering in the sense of self-recollection in the mental re-enactment of previous events at which one was present. While Jung’s approach was largely scientific, he also spoke of
“living” knowledge as opposed to “scientific” knowledge.

Autonoetic consciousness is distinguished from noetic consciousness, which gives rise to awareness of the past that is limited to feelings of familiarity or knowing. Noetic consciousness is identified not with episodic but with semantic memory, which involves general knowledge.

We all divide our experience into time categories; the difference is simply how. The transcendental future time perspective affects philosophical problems of personality, the process of self-knowledge, the formation of value orientations and life course of constructing identity.

Inroads in Mental Time;
Feeling & Conscious Awareness of Subjective Time

Mental time travel, or chronesthesia, is the brain’s use of memory to think about the past, present, and future… a form of consciousness that allows individuals to think about the subjective time in which they live and that makes it possible for them to “mentally travel” in such time. But is memory distorted, constructed, or confabulated? How can we know who we are if we don’t know where we’ve been?

Remembering and knowing do not correspond with degrees of confidence in memory. Nor does remembering always control the memory response. The transcendental future is ’subjective time’ that can be called a belief in some future Utopia.

The latest dream of immortality is paradoxically couched under Transhumanism, an overcoming of limited organic nature with technology and designer bodies. The outer universe becomes subjective, from the outer reality the person emerges in what the scientists call reality. The outer universe become the subjective controllable reality.

People often have firm ideas related to a transcendental future but notions of ‘new time after death’ [or its absence] remain controversial, being rooted in faith. It is an aspect of worldview with behavioral imperatives, prohibitions, values, and consequences. The transcendental future encompasses different events that include divine judgment, reunion with loved ones, eternal life, achieving oneness with nature or cosmos.

Transcendence is existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level. It encompasses the time from the imaginal death of the physical body to infinity. It may include goals, such as reunion with deceased loved ones, reincarnation, eternal life, avoidance of damnation, and elimination of poverty, suffering, pain, and shame. It signifies belief in something larger than life, including immanent or transcendent beings beyond the self.

Out of Time
Transcendental future is a time perspective – a personality trait that describes how often a person imagines one’s afterlife with positive or negative attitude, intrusions, retrieval, shuffling, fluency, distinctiveness, and false recognition. Transcendental Future Time is one of the dimensions of subjective time and is related to individual beliefs about the time period after physical death. It partitions the psychological future into pre- and post-death time frames, transcending life and living.

An `extraordinary’ time perspective, one that partitions the future into pre- and post-death time frames. The `transcendental-future’ extends from the point of imagined death of the physical body to infinity, yet may influence present behavior.

Related to numerous psychological variables, the transcendental-future is a component of, but not synonymous with, many religious beliefs. From the perspective of the transcendental-future, behaviors often seen as irrational, such as suicide, extreme heroism, and excessive tithing, are transformed into rational behaviors expected to lead to fulfillment of transcendental-future goals.

People think or imagine themselves in a transcendental future context with positive or negative thoughts. The importance of transcendental future to well-being has yet to be studied, but many issues have already been assessed in clinical hypnotherapy with its timeline excursions, spontaneous and suggested, past and future, and with ancestors.

Making Your Time Matter
At a certain point in anthropological time the human brain had developed to the
level that people became aware of time and of their own existence. Together with the ability to imagine one’s future a new kind of mental stress also appeared – awareness of the inevitability of death. To allay this stressor, our early ancestors came up with a myth – a belief that death must be survivable. Today the bigger part of people’s beliefs has been passed on to them by their ancestors through religion or philosophy

Chronesthesia, or mental time travel, is a mental ability to be aware of one’s past or future. Studies have been conducted to map out areas of the brain that may be responsible for mental time travel, which include the left hippocampus and posterior visuospatial regions which are are involved in past and future event construction, neural differentiation. The right hippocampus, right frontopolar cortex, and the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex are involved in future event construction.

The elaboration phase, unlike the construction phase, has overlap in the cortical areas comprising the autobiographical memory retrieval network. The left hippocampus and the right middle occipital gyrus were significantly activated during past and future event construction, while the right hippocampus was significantly deactivated during past event construction. It was only activated during the creation of future events.

Episodic future thinking involves multiple component processes: retrieval and integration of relevant information from memory, processing of subjective time, and self-referential processing. The ventral medial prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex are the most activated areas when imagining future events that are relevant to one’s personal goals than to unrelated ones. This shows that these brain regions play a role in personal goal processing, which is a critical feature of episodic future thinking.

We can’t technically travel through time (yet), when we think of the past or the future we engage in a sort of mental time travel. This uniquely human ability to psychologically travel through time arguably sets us apart from other species. Researchers have recently looked at how mental time travel is represented in the sensorimotor systems that regulate human movement. It turns out our perceptions of space and time are tightly coupled.

Engaging in mental time travel (a.k.a. chronesthesia) resulted in physical movements corresponding to the metaphorical direction of time. Those who thought of the past swayed backward while those who thought of the future moved forward. Chronesthesia may be grounded in processes that link spatial and temporal metaphors (e.g., future= forward, past= backward) to our systems of perception and action. “The embodiment of time and space yields an overt behavioral marker of an otherwise invisible mental operation,” explains Miles and colleagues.

The ability to remember the past and imagine the future can significantly affect our life decisions and scripts. Scientists refer to the brain’s ability to think about the past, present, and future as “chronesthesia,” or mental time travel…the neural correlates of mental time travel and  metaphorical “travel.”

“Mental time travel consists of two independent sets of processes: (1) those that determine the contents of any act of such ‘travel’: what happens, who are the ‘actors,’ where does the action occur; it is similar to the contents of watching a movie – everything that you see on the screen; and (2) those that determine the subjective moment of time in which the action takes place – past, present, or future,” Tulving told

‘Supernatural’ is a word that conjures spine-tingling feelings of mystical awe, fear, and joy. Does it exist as a concept, or as a phenomenon, however, among all peoples? What does it mean as a cultural construction and as a response to reality? What is its relationship to religion and spirituality, to experiences of ghosts and ideas about gods? What part of the ineffable world that informs cosmologies is captured by the term ‘supernatural’, and what is distorted or left out when we use it? Why is it such a contentious term in anthropology, vigorously condemned by some, championed by others, and blithely used by the rest?

Labyrinthine Legacy

•March 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment




The Last Branch Supports Me
Lost Histories from the Book of Life

Individuation is a natural process. It is what makes a tree turn into a tree; if it is interfered with, then it becomes sick and cannot function as a tree, but left to itself it develops into a tree. That is individuation.
–Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking; Interviews and Encounters, Pages 205-218

Take pains to waken the dead. Dig deep mines and throw in sacrificial gifts, so that they reach the dead. Reflect in good heart upon evil, this is the way to the ascent. But before the ascent, everything is night and Hell. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 244.

“Doctrine of the Genealogical Unity of Mankind”
The family is a symbol, as well as a history, and social category. Primeval kinship and bonding gave birth to human society.

Because of the way genetics and family trees work, every single human alive on the planet today can trace their family lines back to one common ancestor, one who lived from 8,000-2,000 years ago. As observed in a 2004 paper on the Most Recent Common Ancestor:

No matter the languages we speak or the color of our skin, we share ancestors who planted rice on the banks of the Yangtze, who first domesticated horses on the steppes of the Ukraine, who hunted giant sloths in the forests of North and South America, and who labored to build the Great Pyramid 

The House of Life

•March 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment


When Air Becomes Breath

Breathing Life Into Your Ancestors
The ancient Egyptian mystery school, the Per Ankh is the inspiration for a hermeneutic and healing approach to genealogy.
Every hermeneutical perspective constructs and reconstructs more or less coherent and meaningful pictures of the past, based on the particular spiritual needs and expectations of their real or imagined audiences. It is a soulful approach to psyche and our forebears and the mysteries of death, transformation, and spiritual rebirth, honoring soul and body.

The psychophysical approach is rooted in our being, land, water, and air, from our very first to our final breath — the fire of the breath of life. Psyche is that divine spark. Along the way, we are learning to live and learning to die with wisdom and meaning. Wisdom is not as concerned with a particular kind of thought, as a wisdom about thinking, and an analysis of what it means to think, and an inquiry into the nature of the ultimate reference of thought.

Our family tree is rooted in narrative and history which traces back to ancient Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Biblical traditions, and spans continents and conflicts. We study the psychological and metaphysical meanings of the mythologies that anchor our longest lines of lineage. It includes mental activities, spiritual dimensions, methods, attitudes, practices, or even behavioral and ritual patterns that give us image and form.

The Transgenerational Effect
Our psychological approach is Transgenerational Integration.
Trans- is a prefix meaning: across, beyond, through, on the other side of, to go beyond, while state is a ​condition or way of being that ​exists at a ​particular ​time. It functions as a feedback loop acting across multiple generations, including transgenerational conflict.
Transgenerational trauma is transferred from the first generation of trauma survivors to the second and further generations of offspring. Some transgenerational consequences are epigenetic.

The hallmark of the transgenerational models of family therapy is their emphasis on the powerful influences that past generations have on the present. Unresolved conflicts, beliefs, and roles in an individual impact an individual’s relationships and interactions in his/her family of origin. They unconsciously continue to influence our current relationships and level of functioning. Healing across lifetimes is possible without any metaphysical model or belief in past lives or reincarnation, but within the genealogical model of direct descent and multigenerational influence.

So, the trans- state is, among other things, a coincidentia oppositorum. An alchemical wedding defines the fixed place, where boundaries are actively transgressed. In many ways, this very undertaking is where the role of the magician, mystic, artist, and healer collide. Down at the crossroads, where possibilities are collapsed into actualities, by the wondrous act of a conscious decision lies the place of suffering and surrender — of realization and redemption.

We seek, not only ancestors, but signs, symbols, and symbolic meaning — our origin in the foundation of being — with an eye to restoring sacred harmony and transformative connection to Cosmos, an indissoluble unity of potentiality and act, darkness and light. Systems of archetypal symbolism come from the mysteries of death, transformation, and spiritual rebirth, and related cosmogonical theories.

Many of these ideas had their roots in Egyptian philosophy. Philosophy is a rite of rebirth, the very essence of which is participation in divine reality and, therefore, its activities are primarily those of inner vision rather than mere logic.
The Tree of Life is a logically coherent meta-structure of metaphysical knowledge — its own body of wisdom. And it lives within us.

Per Ankh
Ankh is the Egyptian term meaning “life.”The hieroglyph ankh, originally perhaps representing a knot or a bow, is a symbol for divine life, for the “breath of life,” provided by Shu and other gods, and for regenerating the power of water.
Ankh also designates a floral bouquet (offered to the gods) and a mirror, itself an important metaphysical symbol., also seen in the sistrum and later the crux ansata.

Per ankh means the House of Life — a temple scriptorium and advanced school for esoteric training whose priests maintained an oral tradition of initiation and also produced writings in different branches of knowledge. This included theology, mathematics, ritual expertise, hieratic liturgy, hermeneutics, genealogy, astrology, sacred geography, mineralogy, medicine, mythography, architecture, the science of theurgic talismans and image-making.

The staff of every per ankh were lector-priests (heri heb) whose role was associated with sacred books and the heka-power, as well as with preservation of maat, the cosmic order, and maintaining the theurgic tradition of mystical ascent and assimilation to the gods.

Only through esoteric knowledge and initiation into the invisible realm, that is, through symbolic death and rebirth, accomplished in the House of Life, was one able to reveal one sakh-identity and be united with immortal divine principles. In the diagram of the per ankh (Pap. Salt 825) it is depicted as a symbolic mandala with Osiris at the center.

Isis and Nepthys occupy the corners at the side of his feet, Horus and Thoth are at the corners at the side of the head, Geb represents the ground, Nut–the sky. The priests of the House of Life follow “the secret way of Thoth.” One of the chief lector-priests (heri tep) said regarding the formula imbued with the heka-power: “Do not reveal it to the common man–it is a mystery of the House of Life.” (Pap. Leiden344r)

The House of Life was the center of cultural endeavor to preserve and ensure progress of cosmic, political, and social life. A holy place and scriptorium, The House of Life contained secret, magical writings the Egyptians believed had the power to renew and sustain life and further the rebirth of Osiris at his annual festival.

The significance of the House of Life and the rituals performed there was universal. Like the temples it stood for the whole creation, just as the reborn Osiris symbolized eternal life in general. According to tradition, time and again people went to the House of Life to consult ancient writings when they needed answers to problems of their day.

In ancient Egyptian writings and architecture, the House of Life was an institution aligned with kingship, preserving and creating knowledge in written and pictorial form. The overseer of the private rooms of the king, bore the title of ‘overseer of writing in the House of Life, a man to whom all sacred matters are revealed’, and ‘keeper of secrets of the House of Life.’

The ancient Egyptian civilization was strongly connected with nature and the Universe that surrounded them. The school of Abydos House of Life, attracted many healers in the course of time and was an important base of knowledge about healing and medicines. They knew mind and body were strongly connected. Therefore they created various ways to maintain a sound physical body. They analyzed the plants in their neighborhood and built various schools.

The Per Ankh, House of Life, is a solar temple of sacred science (mystery school) and an institution of learning, healing and training. The House of Life, (Per Ankh), is an organization of Egyptian Magicians, founded by the God of Learning, Thoth.

The Per-Ankh  texts were transcribed and kept by scribes, including the “books of the dead”. The House of Life was also a restricted access center of esoteric training where students may have undertaken a course of spiritual development, resulting in initiations into “various degrees of symbolic death and rebirth.”