Jung, wrote, “Where love reigns, there is no will to power, and where the will to power is paramount, love is lacking. The one is but the shadow of the other.” (Collected Works, vol. 7, par 8)
I invite you to sit with this for a moment. Can you think of a time when you were motivated by the will to power? Even a very subtle behavior. I know I can, certainly going back to adolescence, and even last week. I stormed out of the Starbucks, practically mowing down a person who was trying to sweep up, because I was hungry and I was late. Take a moment to remember…What feelings emerge?. … Now, its opposite, the desire for love—and here we could ask, “What is love?’ How related to the desire for approval or to fill in the cracks of self-doubt. Think of an example in your own life. I know I have floodgates on this one…
Introspection is essential as we struggle to position ourselves in the daily chaos of our time. In a recent interview on line at chironpublications.com, Jungian analyst Murray Stein quoted the words of Winston Churchill from World War II: “Keep Calm and Carry On” Dr. Stein went on to say, “The psychological reality is that racism, to pick just one of the negative items embodied by Trump will never be effectively dealt with unless we all recognize its existence in ourselves individually and collectively. That’s our ‘Inner Trump’.”
Of course, the young man I mowed down in the Starbucks was African-American. I didn’t even realize it until I was in the car and on the road. I felt awful.
I agree with Dr. Stein that we must look inward. Notice and own when we exercise the will to power, or inappropriately act to gain love, or approval, to compensate for an inadequate connection to ourselves.
At the end of his interview Dr. Stein reflects on the difference, the split in substance and perception, between Barack Obama and Donald Trump. With what I imagine was a catch in his voice, Dr. Stein said, “Personally, I feel that America does not deserve a president as balanced, brilliant, and perspicacious (showing mental discernment, clear sighted – I looked it up) as Obama. He is a Nobel Prize winner for a reason. If there were an anti-Nobel Prize, Trump would be the top candidate for it. What comes after this? Will it be a swing to the opposite of Trump, which would perpetuate the split in the collective, or will it be a “third” , as Jung writes about the resolution of opposites? I’m afraid that the nation’s fate hangs on this question. Without a uniting Third, the split will deepen and could destroy us as a nation.”
With the tragedy in Las Vegas, this theme has been echoed in the media. In his column reprinted from the New York Times in the October 9th edition of the Seattle Times, David Brooks writes, “Guns are a proxy for larger issues. The real reason the gun rights side is winning is postindustrialization. It is an issue of values and identity. Today, people in agricultural and industrial America feel that their way of life is being threatened by postindustrial society. Owning a gun has become an identity marker for freedom, self-reliance and the ability to control your own destiny. Today we need a grand synthesis that can move us beyond the current divide.”
Unity of Opposites. The “Third”. The Grand Synthesis. The Reign of the Madness of Trumpism has certainly pulled the duct tape off our eyes, ignited our anger, and unleashed our grief. But out of this, I’m asking if we can we use this heightened state of being to shepherd the Will to Power—in ourselves and those around us— through an alchemical tunnel to become the Power of Insight, Action, and Unity, with Love as its guiding principle?
A tall order? I agree. But essential, at this crossroads in the development of the human psyche on our fragile, beautiful earth.
To help us hold these concepts I turn to Andrew Harvey, author and spiritual “investigator”, his essay on the Black Madonna. He first encountered Her in Ann Baring’s book, The Myth of the Goddess. Some time later, Dr. Harvey did a pilgrimage to Chartres cathedral. He writes, “I worshiped for the first time with the fullness of my being the Black Madonna in the ‘Virgin of the Pillar’. I came to understand very deep things about Her….Her agony, power, and extreme vibrant, violent purity of compassion could be revealed to me.”
I am struck by his choice of words, “Vibrant, violent purity of compassion.”
I recently saw a photograph that I believe captures this vibrant, violent purity in a modern day Black Madonna. Taken in the Congo by Seattle Jungian analyst Eberhard Riedal, it is titled simply “Remembering”. Her gentle features and composure belie her brutal history of rape by warring tribal soldiers, at 13 and throughout her adolescence.
The Black Madonna is our blessed Goddess of Paradox. Like Kali, the ancient Hindu goddess, some of you have seen pictures or statues of her – 4 arms in constant motion. She holds the tension of opposites of Creation and Destruction, In The Dark Goddess and the Transformation of Consciousness, Marion Woodman and Elinor Dickson write, “At first Kali comes across as the devouring mother – swords and a human head in her hand – a closer look, however, reveals a great halo around her head, attesting to her need to be understood not only as a devourer, but also as a transformer.”
I have colleagues who refer to our modern era, with the destruction of climate, the deconstruction of so much in our lives, as the Kali Yurga – a cycle of destructiveness, out of which a new creative energy will emerge. Woodman and Dickson write that Kali is very threatening to the patriarchy, because she holds the unity of creation/ destruction as one reality. Patriarchs are deeply invested in a black and white view of the world. They must be Right—everyone else Wrong. Kali and the Black Madonna hold this “Third” reality, that black and white are One.
Andrew Harvey believes that this cycle of destruction will lead us to awaking to a time of divine power. This is the “wisdom of the dark night” known well to great mystics like of Rumi and Teresa of Avila. Out of this destruction will come a new consciousness of our divine nature through the birth canal of apocalyptic energy.
Harvey writes, “We have a natural need to recognize The Mournful Face of God”—Eberhard’s Madonna of the Congo – It is only when the Dark Feminine is not recognized that She is tormented, though us. When denied, She disappears from our conscious life only to become an unconscious, unquenchable, and destructive drive to disavow all suffering , at all costs…”
Let this sink in… When we deny the Dark Feminine, push her aside in our own denial and need for distraction, She becomes a destructive drive, within us, and in the world, the anima mundi. Seen from this perspective, we have an influence on the Kali Yurga. I think this is good news. A part of our identity, our self- determination. I invite you to take a moment. If you choose close your eyes. Breathe. Place an image in your mind of a conflict in your life, a tension of opposites begging to be unified; the Grand Synthesis or the Third. What are some feelings, some hopes, some fears, that accompany this image. I will imagine my Libertarian brother.
With my brother, I realize how I often used my will to power to convince him he is Wrong/ I am Right. What folly. As Tali Sharot notes in her book, The Influential Mind when you present people with evidence that goes against their deeply held beliefs, the evidence doesn’t sway them. If anything they become more adamant about their position. So, with my brother, without denying the differences, I transform my Will to Power, into the power of a loving choice: in political discussion I listen and don’t lecture, respecting his values, and we always have our mutual love of art, theater, and beauty, and there we find our Third.
Andrew Harvey offers another powerful essay, Mystical Activism. I have distilled the major points:
First, How We Got Here. What Harvey calls The Seven Heads of the Beast of Total Destruction :
- Population explosion
- Environmental degradation
- Growth of fundamentalism (We often think of this as occurring in the Middle East, but, for example, the Evangelical Christian brother of my brother-in-law is on a rampage in protest of their gay marriage. He has ordered everyone in the family to shun his brother and mine, declaring, “I will be unfaithful to God if I ever talk to my brother again.”
- Selling of weapons of mass destruction
- Alienation from Nature
- Media – especially reality tv, fake news, not telling the truth of all of the above
- Hectic, busy life of anxiety, no calm to perceive divine reality.
Next Harvey postulates The Seven Stages of the Birth of Humanity – down the birth canal past all of the devastation above.
- Awareness of the 7 aspects of destruction
- Technology to transform the world
- Media, internet grassroots
- Great mystical texts of the world’s great religions—meditation, seeking our own inner transformation
- Return of the divine feminine, the “bride of God” being brought back in all of her joy and splendor and fury and majestic tenderness
- God’s love working through the activists motivated by love: Gandhi, MLK, Nelson Mandela, Malala, etc.
- God as Mother, protecting us.
Harvey believes it is not sufficient to have just mystical awareness OR activism, but to be effective in the world today, we must combine the two in MYSTICAL ACTIVISIM. For this, he offers the following powerful guidelines:
- Commit to a spiritual practice that “irrigates you with holy intensity. By marrying sacred practices of peace and passion, (love and power) the masculine and feminine androgyny is born.”
- Keep steady awareness of our divine and deathless identity. We must all go on a profound journey, not just to read about divine identity, but to steadily be in touch with the indestructible soul that is our immortal reality.
- Know that evil is real.
- Allow yourself to feel anger and outrage and not hold yourself down from the power of anger.
- “Right Action” (a Buddhist term) You must learn to give up the fruits of your action to the divine. No private agenda, or pouting if you don’t get your way. (put your Ego aside). You are like a feather floating on the breath of God, a pen held in the hand of God, Gandhi said, “If you are standing in the Self, nothing can defeat you, not even endless defeat”.
- Ferocity –( the true power of the Self, motivated by great love of life, humanity, eternity) Satyagraha, the soul force.
- None of us can do it alone.
Recently a wise woman told me, “Self care is the most radical form of Social Activism”. So true. We must all hold this in our minds and hearts. And as we care for ourselves, how do we “reach across the aisle , to our neighbors and families, transforming our Will to Power into the Power of Compassionate Choice, uniting Power and Love into a vibrant Whole?
- Marion Woodman/ Elinor Dickson, DANCING IN THE FLAMES: THE DARK GODDESS AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF CONSCIOUSNESS
- ON THE BLACK MADONNA, Interview with Andrew Harvey, THE MOONLIT PATH: REFLECTIONS ON THE DARK FEMININE, Fred Gustavson (ed) (Berwich ME: Nicholas Hays ) 2005
- MYSTICAL ACTIVISM, by Andrew Harvey, HEALING THE HEART OF THE WORLD, Dawson Church (ed)( Santa Rosa: Elite books) 2005
- TWO ESSAYS ON ANALYTICAL PSYCHOLOGY, C.G Jung, clinical example of when the shadow of Power and Love at work in the psyche.
- THE MYTH OF THE GODDESS, by Ann Baring. Andrew Harvey’s introduction to the Black Madonna was through this book.
- DREAM OF THE COSMOS by Ann Baring. Her breathtaking view of our multi-dimensional existence.
- THE DANGEROUS CASE OF DONALD TRUMP, ed. Bandy Lee, essays by 27 psychiatrist and therapists on the duty to warn re: diagnosing Donald Trump, whose mental illness poses a danger to America and the world. Also, a You Tube interview with Dr. Lee on MSNBC with Lawrence O’Donnel.
- Naomi Klein’s NO IS NOT ENOUGH: RESISTING TRUMP’S SHOCK POLITICS AND WINNING THE WORLD WE NEED
- 9. Arlie Russel Hochschild’s STRANGERS IN THEIR OWN LAND: ANGER AND MOURNING ON THE AMERICAN RIGHT. (A progressive Berkley journalist and author who goes into the heart of Trump country trying to understand and empathize with his supporters)
- Ta-Nehisi Coates’s WE WERE EIGHT YEARS IN POWER: AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY.
- Tali Sharot’s THE INFLUENTIAL MIND
- Muhammad Yunus’s A WORLD OF 3 ZEROES: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, Zero Carbon Emissions (a book by a visionary leader in Bangladesh who has pioneered a method of poor people creating their own businesses. 97 % of them are women. Dr. Yunus sees this as a model for a world in which Capitalism has run its course.)