A Contemplation of Individuation and Destiny
“….every carrier of life is charged with an individual destiny and destination and the realization of these alone makes sense of life.” Mysterium #390, C.G Jung
Psych & Alchemy #212, 262
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Diseases of the soul are more dangerous and more numerous than those of the body.” Cicero
The process of individuation is a summons, an appeal from the depths of the
Self to discover what is in the unconscious, to open and relate to the whole of what has been given in this lifetime to be developed and nurtured. It is an invitation to consciously participate in the unfolding of one’s Personal evolution and its place within Collective evolution. It is the demand to come to Wholeness, to become who one really is, and to voluntarily enter the necessary incubation into the unfolding to one’s highest potential, to individual freedom. True freedom is the living of one’s personal energetic signature. Only there is one truly free.
The individuation process requires deep respect and compassion for the inevitable polarities, contradictions, tensions and paradoxes that will come forward in the chrysalis of understanding that can be woven.
The demands and complexity of childhood experienced through parents, school and society, along with the identifications and defense mechanisms developed to cope with those challenges, must be sorted out and differentiated with a discipline and dignity that honors and bears up the soul in the spiritual adult.
The early demands and expectations of the first half of life created a way in this world that supported the emerging, necessary roles in our life. This early time of Persona development created the face that we show the world. It is based mostly on what other people think and feel and who we think we have to be to function in the world. Our participation in the creation of that story continues to be nourished from the outside. Identification with this mask will cut us off from the real essence of who we authentically are. This outward Persona path may or may not have been meaningful to us. Much may have been tolerated with subsequent compromise, resulting in hidden or overt reactivity, loss of energy and meaning.
By the second half of life, however, the Soul will insist upon being included, insist on being heard and having its Greater Intelligence included in our life. Soul is the vehicle of meaning to which we ultimately answer. It inquires whether we have been responsible to our own Life.
Individuation solicits us to consciously awaken beyond adaptation and collective demand into honoring the unfinished business of Soul, both individual and collective. We are called to understand our place in the kaleidoscope of the evolving human condition. The symbolic language of color in Aura-Soma offers the capability of viewing all polarities of understanding. Within Aura-Soma an individual can safely enter the stage of the personal and collective drama of seeking truth for oneself. Soul wounds become the open door through which new levels of consciousness and daring exploration of self-expression find space to be seen and to heal.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.”
In the re-arrangement of one’s life towards a living connection to the Mystery, relationship to the Impersonal, i.e. to what may have been taboo, will arise to be dealt with. It is here that one comes upon the“ ‘terrible truth’ of individuation” (David Oswald—S.F. Institute Journal, p. 10). New levels of disquiet and discord offer insight. How to feed the soul, how to survive in this maturity, how to bear what we do not yet know, how to endure the unendurable, how to make room for the amazing requires a new dignity of wholeness———–
Aggression/assertiveness in the form of stubbornness, trust and perseverance will be required to “stay the course” towards authenticity. An “alert receptivity” (Ibid, p. 11) to both the Personal and Collective Unconscious realities is required. Relatedness, forgiveness and compassion with oneself must infuse the unwinding from early insults and wounds and limitations that burdened the path of the soul.
Gear shifts from survive to thrive will require unstoppable boldness, forgiveness, humility, compassion and trust that a supportive psyche really does pulse deeply within us, underneath our habitual, established, socialized layers. A Norwegian artist/friend likened this breakthrough as the moment of hearing “the music from underneath.” Kane puts it this way, “in the beginning was, not the word, but the music. By music I mean a non-verbal discourse that protects its integrity from human possession and control” (p. 118). This is the green shoot growing through concrete, a pushing through the early required tolerance, a birthing beyond the field of old structures into the freedom of one’s natural being and natural spirituality, into one’s unique signature.
A bold mythopoetic understanding of the words,” suffer, stubbornness and fierceness’ will open us into new dimensions. The change of one word or attitude in our life opens new vistas as the unconscious brings inspiration, flowing into new expression. I suggest an extended understanding of “suffer, stubbornness and fierceness,” as in “single-minded, tenacious, persistent, unyielding, loyal, unwavering, earnest, fervent” energies that productively hold the space (necessary )for the witness self to stand, that hold space for generative bearing within the Now to be able to see “what is the case.” The development of such root strengths will support the ability to tolerate eventual letting go of the fear of radical change which can be greater than the fear of death.
John Keats described the suffering of this fierce bearing of tension as Negative Capability. In a letter to his brothers, George and Thomas, he wrote “I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainty, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason-“ (December 1817 p.41 Dreamway). This comprehension becomes possible once the ego has undergone reflection on and confrontation with the Shadow energy from both the Personal and Impersonal factors in the unconscious. As Shadow is allowed to become a worthy opponent, it also becomes a consistent, trustworthy ally to soul’s process. Together Ego and Shadow, pilot and co-pilot, become able to ruthlessly navigate the waters of both the Personal and Collective Unconscious, offering the sustenance of sureness, agility, vibrancy, elegance, focus, reliability, and alignment with Intuition within chaos, uncertainty, conflict and doubt. A place is opened for the Chasque (the ancient unstoppable messenger) energy channel to become free to serve.
Both Personal and Transpersonal factors are operative in the development from an unconscious to a conscious state. This Personal and Collective awareness is reflected in Aura-Soma in the top and bottom layer of each bottle, the top representing the Conscious or Personal aspects and the bottom half representing the Unconscious or Transpersonal imprints.
The intensity pulsing in the momentum of the individuation process will burst open one door after another within the psyche. This evolution is reflected in the individual Aura-Soma bottle process. Such Life thresholds require an attitude of earnest critique and an open-mindedness towards a new comprehension that can relate to change, pain, illness, the unexpected, fate, synchronicity, and both personal and archetypal dreams. A wider view of life, a new vision is disclosed. Synchronicity brings meaningful coincidences between inner and outer images or events. For example, a dream image may show up unexpectedly in outer reality. This experience came to me in the following poem.
How can I embrace
The unfolding of myself to Myself?
How do I remember and honor the Mystery that I am?
A fearless, creative power explodes in me—
Dreams! Shapes! Colors! Sounds!
Demanding—trust of the holy Self
Echoes of terror and hopelessness rush in—
Tell me! Tell me!
Where am I trustworthy? Where am I honest?
Where am I beautiful? Where am I powerful?
Where am I whole?
Shape changer! Sing!
Hum into the new life!
Shape changer! Listen!
Heat the Spirits in the winds of change
Shape changer! Weep!
Moisten the fountains of ancient memory!
Shape changer! Dance!
Move to the rhythms of your Mythic Soul!
Best Poem of the 90’s, p.139
In my practice, people come with a “problem” or a “feeling of being stuck.” Life force may be immobilized, or may have fallen into destructive or addictive behavior, bringing the symptoms of anxiety, depression or panic. An inability to find peace or joy or meaning in their life is often expressed.
These feelings mirror the rhythm and demands of individuation that are pushing towards consciousness, pulsing from deep within, urging an honest exchange with the personality that favors wholeness, urging a re-organization towards the self-organizing, guiding intelligence in the unconscious, which Jung called the Self. The live coals of the personal destiny are burning within the very challenges of our fateful circumstances.
“That which we do not bring to consciousness appears in our lives as fate.”
An unfolding of the soul is crying out and has actually begun to call consciousness into relationship to a greater destiny beyond what has ever been known or imagined. The Aura-Soma Color system reveals and supports this process of unfolding into relationship with Reality and the Paradoxes within the Mystery of Life.
A look into the Indo-European root of both fate and destiny offers a clue to subtle differences in understanding. The Indo-European root of fate is “bha2,” meaning “to speak.” It is a message given, as in a prayer or a significant communication. It is spoken, expressed, disclosed or pronounced in some way. .”(dictionary)
The Royal Blue in Aura-Soma reflects a kindred understanding of this meaning of fate. The information of our Royal Blueprint, given to us at birth, is demonstrated with the selection of Royal Blue within a four-bottle choice. The Royal Blue in Aura-Soma is only offered in the top of the bottle, i.e. the consciousness position. It is a call to the remembrance of the Royal Blueprint at birth.
We are each uniquely and individually shaped from our genetic DNA/RNA and cultural heritage. This blueprint of our wholeness, our strengths, weaknesses, predispositions and potential can be viewed through Astrology, the Numerology of name and date of birth, the color and numerology of the bottles, and Tarot, Runic and I Ching information. All of this ancient knowledge is reflected in a bottle selection.
Seer’s utterances at birth, Palmistry, Phrenology, hand and facial analysis, early childhood dreams also offer important, relevant information about our individual fate.
The Indo-European root of destiny is “sta,” meaning “to stand,” a place or thing that is standing.” This cognition points us in the direction of an individual being able “to make firm or establish a standpoint.” It is the capacity to create a self-sustaining future.
Through the individuation process in Aura-Soma, destiny, therefore, unfolds as a personal relationship to one’s evolving, maturing consciousness in relation to fate.
“Psychoneurosis must be understood…as the suffering of a soul which has not discovered its meaning. But all creativeness in the realm of the spirit as well as every psychic advance of man arises from the suffering of the soul and the cause of the suffering is spiritual stagnation or spiritual sterility.” C.G. Jung, Vol 11, paragraph 497 This is a responsible, alert, individual standpoint that holds and values Life within ambiguity, paradox, bearing the ability to not-know. One is called to hold the tension of the opposites within a broad band of awareness that includes consideration of any and all possibilities. This stretches further into the ability to consider probable effects, i.e. both immediate and long-range consequences. This was named tolerance of ambiguity by Dr. Ralph Ojemann, a pioneer in Preventative Psychiatry for children, teachers and parents.
In 1982, I deeply felt the unexpected hand of fate with a diagnosis of Infiltrating Ductile Breast Cancer. I was frozen in shock for I knew that Life would be forever changed.
The first hand of fate as illness, however, had actually come eighteen years prior, with the diagnosis of M.S. My nursing experience recalled images of real incapacity. In light of this diagnosis, we moved to the warmer climate of San Diego and I moved forward with what I could discover as my best, correct action at the time. I made major shifts in diet and lifestyle and began horseback riding for leg strength, which also brought the joy of more time with my two girls, then in junior high school.
In 1971,Verda Heisler and John Sanford offered a seminar on Dreams. I felt deeply called to attend. I wanted to know what the unconscious might have to say about this jolting turning point in my fate. Shortly thereafter I chose to begin Jungian analysis with John Sanford to see whether this situation was being addressed by the unconscious.
To my amazement in my confrontation with the unconscious, I was returned to the “Other,” the awe and mystery from my childhood world. I discovered that this early “Other” had become completely lost in projection onto all the outer Others in my life. The solitary childhood that had provided “double vision”was to be in retrieval through vibrant, numinous inner work Here I was to meet the full panorama of evolution within mankind and myself by way of Shadow, Anima, and Animus. I also was to be opened to the necessity of differentiation between the Personal and the Collective Unconscious. Meaning and relevance were to address the suffering.
Dreams showed me back in college. I had no such real-life plans, but did eventually find myself at the University, checking out a course in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling. The reality of the possible loss of the ability to remain in nursing, shifted to the vision that this work would actually be possible from a wheelchair. Verda Heisler was in a wheelchair from early polio and I saw then that she had clearly opened this doorway. I actually was not aware that the degree was an M.S. degree in Counseling (I thought it was to be an M.A.)–the M.S. fate had been re-located into new work and a completely new destiny. A major transformation really had occurred! I felt the sacrifice of my nursing career, but my health and strength continued to improve, life was meaningful and I opened my private practice in Psychotherapy in 1974.
Those early years of analysis brought powerful, archetypal images that ushered in further Jungian work with James and Hilde Kirsch, who had personal analysis with Jung. During that time I entered the Analyst Training Program at the C.G. Jung Institute and gave lectures and seminars in San Diego with the Friends of Jung. Following formal completion of my inner work at that time, I traveled to Norway and Scotland in search of my Northern archetypal heritage, studied and practiced many forms of Shamanism, and traveled to sacred sites in France, Spain and Portugal with continuing focus on my Norwegian/Sami, Scot and Icelandic roots.
How then, in 1982, was it possible that I could be diagnosed with Breast Cancer? Had I not honored everything I knew to do thus far, and with happy results? Frankly it was just incomprehensible. In my humble opinion, I “had done all the right things! It seemed like a really bad dream (forgetting, of course, that every dream is about “waking up.”) Surely, some Trickster, some joker had entered the field. I perceived the diagnosis as punitive, and as a death sentence. There was much I didn’t grasp at the time, i.e. that it was, indeed, a death sentence, but of a Collective self. That took a long time to process.
Yet, because of the transformative M.S.experience, underneath the shock and grief pulsed some deep, uncommon, instinctive trust. Was there yet some other destiny? I could not imagine at that moment. I could only walk with the question and the tension.
The Zeitgeist, or the spirit of the times in which we live, is a fate determinate in its own way, and will effect the options available to us. The medical option at the time was a Radical Mastectomy, which I understood to be necessary.
I wondered where I could take charge. As I reviewed and participated in other alternative healing options that became available at the time, I contemplated Casteneda’s understanding that death was an ally for him. I had no earthly idea of how this diagnosis could possibly serve as a personal ally to me, let alone death, but it felt like important information!
The question arose, could I possibly come to some individual standpoint within the collective reality of cancer and death and what could it possibly give me? At that time, cancer was a likely, certain, early death, (five of my friends had died of breast cancer). My nursing experience recalled mainly death experiences from cancer. Could I sacrifice these memories, could I allow them to die—could I be openly receptive, could I stretch into a greater capacity to embrace what my particular individual path might be. The word, Sacrifice, hit me hard—Frankly, as I thought about it, it seemed like I was the sacrifice. Staying in the tension of that information as truth, ( as I now understood the sacrifice I experienced in childhood), considering how that could possibly be related to my future now as a spiritual adult, could I reframe this understanding into an unimagined new possibility? Sacrifice comes from the Latin “sacer” and means “to make sacred.” Preventive Psychiatry training had taught me tolerance of ambiguity and paradox and the gift of willing receptivity to information from All Possibility.
As I was able to bear and hold this wider view and live within this truth of the paradox of life and death together in one space, Imagination began to speak. Imagination painted a surprising and very different picture of my fate. It said that the cancer was actually a facet of the Archetype of Growth and that I needed to understand and trust and view in a whole new way. It was obvious to me that Growth had, indeed, occurred, loudly and clearly, but autonomously and negatively and that I wasn’t holding the reins.
Jung describes cancer as a “proliferation.” Psychic growth was proliferating in my unconscious, much of which had not yet been able to become conscious. It is in this condition that we escape our inner voice and our real vocation.
“Behind the neurotic perversion is concealed his vocation, his destiny: the growth of the personality, the full realization of the life-will that is born with the individual. It is the man without “amor fati “ who is the neurotic; he, truly, has missed his vocation, and never will he be able to say with Cromwell, ‘None climbeth so high as he who knoweth not whither his destiny leadeth him.” (p. 183 Vol 17, C.W.)
Imagination then spoke of the Archetype of Death, explaining that something would die, or needed to die, but not necessarily me—I was told that would be a mis-understanding. Could I stay in the tension of that question and consider Death as a Metaphor of some part of me needing to die? The Archetype of Nature brings images of growth and death and on-going life together, the bulb’s dark, hidden home in the cold of winter, breaking through the earth’s crust in spring with fresh, elegant life and unsurpassed beauty.
Imagination kept on, announcing that the Growth had manifested specifically in the breast. She asked me to look at where and how nourishment was cut off early on and to consider that this lack was still occurring unconsciously.
In that metaphor, I saw the growth of rampant, negative energy and resulting imbalance in nourishment. What was I not nourishing that needed nourishment? What negativity was getting nourished? Where might I not be nourishing some part of myself I didn’t know about that may feel exploited, cheated, or left out?
All levels of nourishment must become a conscious consideration within the Archetype of Growth. Living meditative space became a new ally. That sustenance, that silence continued to bring some heretofore unknown assurance, wonder and reliance in the process of change.
The rock formation where the Exernsteine Runes are carved offers this understanding of silence. It functions as a sound chamber; these runes are at the head of the formation, the main body has chambers that amplify the sound of one’s voice, and a place to lie down has been carved into the rock at the foot. Here is a translation by Sara Annon. (Photo by Annette Frederking)
First vertical row Second row Third row
Go silently Of the melody Out of infinite possibilities
Into the deep waters Of the rhythm Your inmost needs
To find the spark Of your prayers Manifest into form
Fourth row Fifth row Sixth row
Release the birth takes root on earth
your breath of your prayers where your needs
like thunder in the heavens and desires are fulfilled
In that silent space, I asked Imagination if some metaphor or new understanding of lost, hidden, undeveloped spiritual, mental or emotional growth might be given.
The memory of Jung’s discussion of the two kinds of guilt in his Zarathustra seminar came to mind. Essentially, it was the understanding that re-connection to nourishment of new possibilities would bring up the guilt of abandoning old patterns, and perhaps people, that have served many roles for us in the past. However, there was another guilt, which he called “precious guilt,” i.e. the guilt of moving on to serve some new individual destiny. This would be a separation from the collective way of being. This deep understanding was foundational for me, providing the stretch into a turnabout birthing from within.
The process demanded persevering flexibility, and staying power from the heart through many clouds and storms, while avoiding identification with the passing phenomenon, that needed to be seen. My focus was to feel, listen to and meet the needs of my evolving self as they could be recognized.
The contradiction of fear and trust had to live side by side now. Holding that tension, maintaining balance there became a new choice. Accepting that I knew nothing, trusting in the paradox of the Mystery of Life and Death together, had to be sustained.
There was a “haunting “ feeling in the process that I sought to understand. The root of the word, “haunt” is “tkei.” It refers to “ settle, be home, becoming!” Was my “coming home” to be death or could it be some new, unknown life seeking a home in me? I walked with the pressure of this question, listening for any and all clues. As I held the consideration of some new destiny, another doorway of understanding opened. I recognized the Archetype of the Orphan, the lost or abandoned one, some part of myself, malnourished at all levels, without a home. Had my early orphan experience positioned me in some odd way through the breast cancer now towards some new way of understanding or being?
Jung remarked (in the Zarathustra seminars) that we are each an experiment. I found that strengthening. Years later, while using Aura-Soma, I came to understand that perhaps the Soul is orphaned in all of us and that Aura-Soma gently eased the possibility of its safe journey home.
However, challenging clues were coming to mind and occurring! I could find no identification with the fates of my 5 women friends who had died. Freedom and Life pulsed so deeply in the Mystery of it all.
I began to live the questions, “Is this nourishing, is this life-affirming, is this generative, is this authentically beautiful, meaningful, or happy for me?” My religious upbringing no longer contained me. I opened to honoring any hint of what a personal path of spiritual growth might be. Archetypal dreams and meaningful synchronicities soon emerged.
One day at a garage sale, I came upon a beautiful old book called, So Here Then Are Dreams by Olive Schreiner. The chapter title jumped out at me—The Lost Joy, The Hunter, The Gardens of Pleasure, and Life’s Gifts.
I marveled at the page that I opened to: It read, “I saw a woman sleeping. In her sleep she dreamt Life stood before her, and held in each hand a gift—in one Love, in the other freedom. And she said to the woman, “Choose!” and the woman waited long: and she said, ’freedom!’ And Life said; ‘Thou hast well chosen. If thou hadst said, ‘Love,’ I would have given thee that thou didst ask for: and I would have gone from thee, and returned to thee no more. Now, the day will come when I shall return. In that day I shall bear both gifts in one hand.’ I heard the woman laugh in her sleep.”p.35. Life spoke directly to my soul in that moment.
“A man is ill, but the illness is nature’s attempt to heal him. From the illness itself we can learn so much for our recovery, and what the neurotic flings away as absolutely worthless contains the true gold we should never have found elsewhere”——here, to be found, is one’s soul, one’s hope, boldest flight and finest adventure.” (C.GJung, Vol 10, CW. Para 361)
Within the mystery of any progression or assimilation towards a unified self, two levels of evolution occur. The archetypes themselves seek to evolve via images, shapes, color and symbols in order to be expressed in the world, and the mature ego must evolve to be able to integrate and navigate the transformational process flowing from the unconscious, stimulating new levels of consciousness.
Jung described individuation as a task placed upon us by nature. Such demands from the unconscious must not be underestimated.
“In the last analysis every life is the realization of a whole, that is, of a self, for which reason this realization can also be called ‘individuation.’ All life is bound to individual carriers who realize it, and it is simply inconceivable without them. But every carrier is charged with an individual destiny and destination, and the realization of these alone makes sense of life.” (Jung-Vol 12, CW P. 222)
“Individuation, becoming a self, is not only a spiritual problem, it is the problem of all life.”(Ibid, p 124)
Voluntary, personal commitment to honoring and relating to one’s invisible depths opens the gateway to an alignment with our highest potential and to a re-distribution of energy. It will result in an increasing trust of intuition, bringing a new level of trustworthiness, reliability and compassion for self and others, based on Eros, the principle of relationship to all life.
Such wholeness is the product of a process initiated by the unconscious, most likely through a particular fate. When a commitment to learning from the unconscious is honored, respected and attended to with patient willingness by the individual, one’s authentic destiny begins to stir. Meaningful co-incidence or synchronicity begins, bringing a sense of awe and the memory of wonder. New choices become possible in one’s life.
“When one does the next and most necessary thing without fuss and with conviction, one is always doing something meaningful and intended by fate” C.G. Jung
As consciousness evolves within the dark and light spaces of one’s existence, the individual is consistently invited to stand upright through many changes into a new tolerance of ambiguity and paradox and into a bearing that is actually recognized as generative within the oftentimes unbearable.
Individuation and relationship to one’s personal destiny …..“is an arduous path that characteristically involves suffering, sacrifice, clarification, and inner purification.”
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Loci S. Yonder