DIY Magic : Active Imagination

Active Imagination

Towards a Jungian model of the paranormal, part 2

Many poets and all mystics and occult writers, in all ages and countries, have declared that behind the visible are chains and chains of conscious beings who are not of heaven but are of earth, who have no inherent form, but change according to their whim, or the mind that sees them.

– W.B. Yeats

The examples of UFO’s, ghosts, and whatnot that have been seen by the officials and authority figures is much too large to list here in this essay. In fact, cops and air force pilots seem to be UFO’s’ favorite targets! Jimmy Carter, the freaking president, saw a UFO. So what! It just illustrates that neither Authority nor a massive number of witnesses are not enough to convince the world at large.

Likewise, it does not matter how many people see the UFO or the blood-weeping Mary, or the Missing Link. It doesn’t matter if it is hundreds of folks day after day, or even thousands. It will be swallowed by time. (Perhaps this is simply because these experiences are always ephemeral – mysticism and the supernatural cannot readily be harnessed by capitalism to turn a profit; therefore it is unimportant to the point that it does not exist.) For example: In 1917 thousands of people witnessed UFO activity; at one point 70,000 people gathered to wait and watch at one location in Portugal after three children reported the Virgin Mary appearing there. The huge crowd, and indeed everyone within a 30 mile radius, reported seeing a swirling UFO appear.  As one eyewitness described :

“It was seen by seventy thousand persons, among whom were pious individuals and atheists, clergymen and reporters from a socialist newspaper. As promised, it happened on October 13 at noon. Among the crowd was Professor Almeida Garrett, of Coimbra University, a scientist, who described the phenomena in the following terms: ‘It was raining hard, and the rain trickled down everyone’s clothes. Suddenly, the sun shone through the dense cloud which covered it: everybody looked in its direction. It looked like a disc, of a very definite contour. It was not dazzling. I don’t think that it could be compared to a dull silver disk, as someone said later in Fatima. No. It rather possessed a clear, changing brightness, which one could compare to a pearl. It looked like a polished wheel. This is not poetry. My eyes have seen it. This clear-shaped disk suddenly began turning. It rotated with increasing speed. Suddenly, the crowd began crying with anguish. The sun, revolving all the time, began falling toward the earth, reddish and bloody, threatening to crush everyone underneath.”

The website where I found the above description argues that this purportedly religious experience was, in fact, definitely a UFO. It goes on to argue that another similar case where children saw angels: “he appeared to be about nine years old, was dressed in a long, seamless blue robe, had a small face with black eyes, and fine hands and short fingernails,” was obviously not an angel but an alien.

How beside the point!

They are on the right path in realizing that the alien and the angel are perhaps the same thing, but to think that it must be only one or the other is as blind and foolish as the men in our earlier parable of the elephant.
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DIY Magic: towards a Jungian model of the Supernatural, part one

Towards a Jungian Model of the Supernatural, part one

Let’s talk about paranormal activity. I want to take a look at some well documented phenomena, ranging from UFOs and Bigfoot to Ghosts and fairy tales; the idea here is to look for commonalities. We are going to take a very brief survey of the history of the paranormal this month, and pay attention to the common threads. From this I hope to weave a tapestry using Jungian psychology as a working model from which to consider the occult. My idea is that within the proper framework, many of these seemingly different kinds of phenomena are actually different facets or paradigms of the same thing.

There is an old fable that goes something like this: three blind men encounter something in the jungle, and they are trying to figure out what it is. The first man goes up to it and feels its legs, which are huge, and he says, “Well, what we have here are a couple of really big trees.” The second blind dude feels the tail of the large creature and proclaims, “You’re crazy, what we have here is a simple paint brush.” The third blind man reaches out and, touching the nose of the creature, declares, “Both of you must be loco! Even a blind man could tell you this is a boa constrictor.”

I would like to suggest that part of why the accounts of the paranormal appear so mysterious (and as we shall see baffling to the point of appearing silly) is because when considered just on their own, for example a specific account of Bigfoot or a UFO encounter, often smacks of  strange, whimsical, and ridiculous details. Consider cow mutilation for example – the idea that sentient beings capable of traversing Space-Time have nothing better to do then anally mutilate cattle! Likewise a person who tries to build a theory that accounts for the literal occurrence of every known paranormal activity soon is tied up in the most absurd, illogical and paranoid pretzels. That leaves a middle path that few have trod. It is only by stepping back and looking at the big  picture, and allowing our minds to play with the inherent contradictions, that the true picture begins to emerge.

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