Friday, August 30, 2013

The Devil's Throne...Trapped Emotion!

The Devil's Throne, an actual place in New Mexico dramatized on the front cover of The Unholy, reminds me that some places are simply haunted! There's an eeriness to them. Old Gothic writers stated that violent emotions can be trapped in floorboards or walls of homes or contaminate land. As a matter of soul, I have to agree that violent emotions seep into people, things, and places, leaving a residue of eeriness and haunting.

The human psyche, the soul, picks up on such matters as an antennae attracts and conducts electrical waves.  In The Unholy, Claire finds her way to a haunted place in the desert. She, as a sensitive female healer, feels an eeriness, violent emotion trapped about the area. I remember when my wife and I were looking for land to build our home. One plot looked good, but that night I had a nightmare that it was a black sink hole. There was bad trapped within its confines. We purchased another plot and built our home in large part because of a dream of it being imbued with luminosity...goodness in and through the property. Others built on the first property, one thing after another going wrong, tragic misfortunes. Our land has been good, a setting for hearth and home.

Badness trapped, goodness moving in and through land and places--both are real.  The Devil's Throne in the story of the Unholy,  locates evil in time and place. Awareness of what is not good super charges human sensitivities. Places, houses, land effect us. When we're in a bad place in life becoming aware of it is key. Awareness can move us on. "Awareness sets the stage for transformation," taught an old professor. Stories and symbols generate life altering sensitivities, potentially untrapping, exorcising devilishly destructive memories, relationships, emotions, psychic gunk that's been plugging up the transformational works.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

La Loba...Shape-Shifting Divine Feminine!

La Loba, the instinctual, wild feminine energy within, shape shifts into necessary forms inner and outer. Intense changes propel us to let go of the old and jettison into mysterious realms of energy and transformation. In The Unholy, Claire Sanchez, a young curandera, faces life threatening attacks from darkness. The dark side of the archetype, of any powerful spiritual force, in this case religion, can overwhelm the life giving aspects of both the self and the ego, leaving us in spiritual crisis and day-to-day torment. La Loba, wild yet purposeful impulses beating their way to consciousness, can offer potential for both consciousness and change. Shifts in energy states and moods may well signal the call of La Loba!

Sitting in the airport, en route from one end of the country to the other with less sleep than is desirable within a 48 hour period, I felt a strange impulse. I tried to shake it off as nervous energy resulting from lack of sleep. However, the mood shift didn't leave. It mounted to a fierce desire to leave behind something that I'd been needlessly clinging to. That night in dream I found myself clinging to the side of a cliff, with all my might holding on so I wouldn't drop. My fingers trembled as the edge slipped away, sandstone crumbling. I caught sight of what lay below and couldn't see a thing. It was so dark that all I knew was a depthless abyss below and myself plummeting if I lost my grip. I lost the grip, fell back, the sense of dropping through space and time unimaginably frightening. As is many times the case in dreams, or in this case a nightmare, I woke up before hitting bottom.

La Loba stirred within me at the airport, the nightmare confirming the descent into the wild needing to take place so that I could be expedited into an unfathomably mysterious, frightening, yet transformative realm. It was a wild feeling that stirred within me. La Loba howls and, as with Claire in The Unholy, we become hesitant, fearful, hold back from letting go, facing what must be faced, and having a chance to move on. It's definitely life transforming if we let it be; on the other hand, when you consider it, it's totally no fun at all to stay stuck on the side of a cliff, gripping for dear life and not wanting to let go, drop down, move on.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Religious Abuse, Brain, and Soul!

A neuroscientist and I got caught in a conversation while in a NY elevator. He talked about his work with the brain and wanted to know what I did in treating survivors of religious abuse. We got into the story of The Unholy and how religious trauma affects not only the brain but the deepest recesses of soul. It didn't strike him as odd that I'd emphasize this; but, it did hit him hard, though, that he'd never considered soul as integral to trauma and its impact.

Well, thus goes it in the world of everyday, mainstream, mental health care. It still has a ways to go in terms of understanding that we are not only physical beings, but soulful beings whose most intimate aspect is that of psyche, soul. Psyche reels and is loaded with torment when traumatized by religious guilt, fear, and deceit. A young man once shared a dream with me in which God appeared to him in the form of a luminous woman who instructed him to enter into a hallowed place within the center of the earth and there escape the terror of living in a religiously rigid and angry family that incessantly berated him for not being "worthy in the eyes of god." He stated that he learned to go within himself, to "the place that for me was the center of the earth, the center of my being."  He fled within himself, to deep recesses of soul, to protect himself from the religious trauma of being raised by parents set on the dark side of religion. 

A childhood diagnosis of attention deficit disorder led to a regimen of medication. He described it as "settling my brain but my soul was still quivering, shaking inside me." The brain can be dealt with, treated when injured by trauma; the soul requires patient tending and healing that requires what he felt was "a good long time." In his adult years he entered depth therapy and furthered his understanding and experience of psyche, soul. He discovered that the ground of his being indeed lay within, in psyche. The woman who had come to him in the dream during his adolescence returned many more times to confirm her watchfulness over his life. He came to terms with the reality that for the rest of his life he would be in the process of healing from the damaging effects of having been immersed in the dark side of religion during his childhood. Fortunately, the psychological injury was not as bad as it could have been due to the dream he had had as a teenager. He responded quickly to it, went within himself and there found safety.

The dark side of religion disrupts brain chemistry and physiology and traumatizes the soul; but, auspiciously, the psyche comes during dire times, and she guides us to turn within and discover hallowed realms of soul, the center of our being so as to begin the process of healing from injuries sustained by the lash of the dark side of religion.