The Sun is Chief in Heaven;
By fortune are the seasons ordered.
A discussion concerning the "inner child" often brings up the criticism of Narcissism. Narcissism is a term that has often been used as a criticism of artists particularly during this century. Artists are said to have left their audiences behind while they indulge in art and behaviors that can only have meaning for themselves. Their art is their mirror for their own souls which can be recognized only by the artists themselves. However, I believe, and have found from experience, that if others would participate in their own explorations of self, they would certainly see something of themselves in the artist's "narcissistic" mirror. For example: at the present time there seems to be a trend in our culture for individuals to search for knowledge about themselves beyond what can be experienced within "normal" consciousness. Psychotherapy has been promoting this kind of narcissism since Freud "invented" psychoanalytics.1 Can any art be as engaging as our own dreams and fantasies? I would like to redefine the word "narcissism" in a more positive way.
Narcissus was a beauty who could not find absolute Beauty until he saw his own image in the reflection of a pool.2 I believe that we are all like Narcissus in that our vision of beauty in others can only be reflections of the beauty we have in ourselves. My art comes from diving through my reflection, to become immersed in myself and find what is beyond appearances. My actions then become all that I have to communicate my experiences of "being on the other side" while I am there. Others may enter their own underworlds3 with me by participating in the same process that I demonstrate at the same time that I am demonstrating it. Some may participate simply by watching the process and using their imaginations. Others may participate more actively by performing a process similar to mine. Everything in the physical environment, including the actions of others, become parts of the very subjective perceptions of each individual participant. All becomes part of the beauty of each and every individual.
It will be helpful to look into the writings of three prominent thinkers and innovators of psychoanalytics (Freud, Jung, and Hillman) to better support my ideas about performance art as it relates to our inner worlds and the "unconscious." Most artists usually have only their art to represent their subjective ideas while hoping others may find what is "universal" on their own. Art is often wordless, and if not wordless, it is poetic, packed with so many levels of meaning that it is often difficult for others to find the meanings important to the artist's intentions. Psychologists, on the other hand, dedicate themselves to expressing ideas about subjective experience in ways that can be understood literally/scientifically. The soul itself has become an object for scientific study and experimentation. Psychology's objective scientific approach gives it much of the kind of credibility that Physical Science enjoys in our materialistic culture. And, as I said earlier, Western materialism is rapidly becoming the way of the world as other countries become more acculturated. Yet, I see more and more people in post-industrial cultures turning towards a less materialistic narcissism through neo-paganism, performance art, ritual art, earthworks, as well as psychoanalytics. Those wishing to go into art criticism are often required to study Freud and Jung in order to better describe some very subjective meaning in art more "objectively".4 This seems a little paradoxical.
Plato saw artists as skilled laborers whose work could imitate "natural" physical objects which are already once removed from the true reality of idea forms. However, Poets speak the words of the gods without necessarily knowing their meaning. According to Plato, only the philosopher can interpret poetry correctly.5 I have noticed the later attitude being applied, in academia, to all artists. Artists seem to be tolerated in academia as "idiot savants." Artists often depend on art critics to attach a literal meaning to their work that can make it more acceptable to more people, especially those who are most attracted to scientific interpretations. So, the conflict is not only between the written word versus other non-verbal media. It seems more to be between the literal versus the metaphorical.6 In this work, I will try to describe my subjective experiences as literally as possible if I can also convey the understanding that the description cannot cover all the levels of meaning in the artwork. I admit to being an idiot savant who does not know all of the meaning of his own work, but I think that I am the best qualified to attempt a literal description of it.
I have recently read (or reread) works by Freud, Jung, and Hillman in order to try to utilize the language they developed to describe my own performance work. I also want to undergo my own self-analysis. I hope that this process helps me understand more about myself and my work, as well as to become more articulate about my work. I have had the intuitive feeling that my work is related to dream in that, to put it simply, the experience is very dream-like. I think that a thorough study of dreams and dream analysis may give one conscious insights into the creative process in general.
Sigmund Freud was said by his friend Fleiss to have discovered Psychoanalytics. He had been a neuroscientist at the beginning of his career but found that the neurological approach was a "dead end" for finding the causes of mental illness.7 He got significant results with his neurotic patients through his "talk therapy." He had his patients lie down on a couch and talk about the first things that came to their minds, the "free-associating" from one idea to the next. Sometimes Freud would massage his patients' temples while they talked. Freud used this free associative method to help the patients express thoughts that might have been repressed in normal conversation and are not even present in their conscious minds but are contained in the unconscious. Freud believed that the unconscious part of the mind contains memories reaching back to earliest childhood. All the traumas, frustrations, and desires of childhood still have their influence on adult life through the unconscious. These feelings need to be recognized and expressed consciously so that they no longer dominate the behavior of the adult unconsciously.8
Dreams are expressions of the unconscious ideas processed by the conscious part of the mind. However, unlike conscious waking thought, the conscious mind is more passive thus allowing the unconscious ideas more freedom of expression. Dreams are always the fulfillment in the imagination of the wishes of the unconscious. Often the unconscious' wishes are horrifying or disgusting to the conscious. The image is then either altered by the conscious mind, which acts like a censor, or it becomes a nightmare (or anxiety dream) in which the conscious mind is subjected to the raw desire of the unconscious. An unconscious wish is often dredged up from early childhood or from the "baser" part of our natures. One of the most fundamental and dominant desires we have is sexual and most of our repressed, and therefore unconscious, lusts conflict with our conscious mind's sense of propriety and is censored in the dream. These desires then find expression in images that symbolize the sexual desires. We can find many of these symbols in art and religion.9
I will attempt to interpret one of my own dreams in the manner in which Freud might have. I chose this dream rather indiscriminately because Freud considered all dreams as meaningful. I am doing this as an exercise in order to better understand Freud:
We were remodeling a club. Ric helped make a lot of design decisions though some of the ideas weren't really very practical. A man helped with the carpentry work who looked like Sam. Everyone loved this man. He was as popular as Bubber from the movie, Hero. When I was going to the bathroom, Sam offered me some cocaine and showed me that he had quite a lot of it. I then read his mind and got flashes of him being a serial killer. The remodeling of the club became the building of a set for a play in which Sam had the leading role. He started looking much more like Bubber. I was the director and was something like James Cagney in 42nd Street, although I couldn't ever see my face. I was very depressed about our popular serial killer and tried to design the play so that it would reveal something about the true character of Bubber. I can remember a film noir image of the side of my body slumping in a chair in silhouette holding a glass of brandy that was almost tipping over from my being so drunk. I ordered long relentless rehearsals up to the time of the performance. No one dared complain. The play was a war story with Bubber as the hero. I've got the tune, "42nd Street", in my head.
This interpretation will be somewhat abbreviated for such a long dream. Nancy and I had watched Hero recently and it was an obvious influence on the dream. However, Freud says that the initial stimulus for a dream must come from the previous day.10 The day before the dream, Nancy and I had been doing some imago11 work exploring our childhood. Bubber was very dark and good-looking in the way that I saw my brother when we were younger. This dream could be about my being jealous of my brother because he always seemed to get a lot of attention from my mother when I was a child. I think that my friend, Ric, came into the dream simply because I long to see him. I wanted, also, to see myself as a successful and efficient Boss (like James Cagney in 42nd Street) and be an authority over my brother who is 11 years older than I am. I obviously consciously wouldn't want my brother to be a serial killer so my conscious mind distorted the dream and made the serial killer a character from a movie. Sam's body and face might have been used at first because he's kind of scary looking and has recently gotten into trouble for beating his wife. Later, Sam's face wouldn't work for the play. Good looks had to account for some of the "hero's" popularity. The war context for the play may have woven my own ill feelings about war heroes being honored for killing into my feelings about my brother being drafted. My interpretation suggests that the dream reveals a kind of infantile pettiness that I wouldn't allow myself in my conscious waking life. It reveals my repressed jealousy of my brother. Of course, I love my brother and admire him very much, but I cannot deny that I could have at some time (and now unconsciously) felt some jealousy for him, especially in relation to my mother's affections. It also makes sense that an awareness of this inner conflict could help me start to resolve it consciously so that I may not be controlled by it unconsciously and get angry at my brother or my parents for no apparent reason.
It is safe to say that this could be a Freudian interpretation because Freud would have had me interpret the dream by free associating like I did in writing just now. Only the dreamer has access to the memories that contribute to the dream. The psychoanalyst's role is to help the dreamer through resistances that might hinder an accurate interpretation of the dream. Freud's writings caused me to look into my own memories in order to interpret my dream.12
Dreams are the attempts of the unconscious to resolve tensions, thus letting us relax and sleep. Mostly those attempts are in the form of acting on the desires that could not be expressed during the conscious waking time. The more confused and distorted are our dreams, the more they may be masked through an internalized cultural repression. Freud seems to be suggesting that the client should be made to see the worst about her/himself in order to be free from the dark side's unconscious control.13 Richard Schechner writes that performances are like dreams, enactments of desires in an appropriate situation. Rather than acting on a socially inappropriate desire, the desire becomes a fantasy which then becomes a performance in an appropriate setting.14
At first, it seems that it would be difficult to use Freud's style of interpretation when analyzing improvisations in the studio for the following reasons: The improvisations are performed during waking consciousness and are, therefore, subject to more conscious censorship. Also, our senses perceive ourselves as we appear physically and, thus, our imaginations cannot create as freely as they do in dreams. However, improvisation better approximates the dream process by refining the process of improvisation itself. The performers can move into a kind of trance which suspends the judgment part of the personality for a while and forces the ego to play the role of audience while other parts of the personality are performing. This process requires a great deal of intimacy and trust among the performers. It is difficult to be free of the inhibitions of self-consciousness when we are concerned about the judgments of others. In this way improvisation may approximate the dream state in the way that free association does. The creative process seems to work better when the conscious mind watches, listens, and learns.
Freud got very excited by this passage Otto Rank wrote to him:
It would seem too unfortunate and detrimental to the creative process for the intellect to examine the ideas that press in upon it too closely while they are still as it were at the gateway. Considered in itself, an idea may seem hazardous and uncompromising but perhaps another idea that comes after it will lend it importance; in combination with others that may seem equally inept, it may prove to be a useful component. Thus the intellect is unable to judge unless it retains the idea long enough to consider it in combination with the these others. In a creative mind, it seems to me, the intellect has withdrawn its guard at the gates; survey and examine them. -- You critics, or whatever you may call yourselves, are ashamed or afraid of the passing moments of madness which occur in all creative minds, and whose greater or lesser duration distinguishes the thinking artist from the dreamer.15
We artists are quite mad/creative. Yet we have become adept at our madness/creativity. Our first actions are completely senseless and absurd until later events show that what came before were the seeds of a very complex and organic structure. This seems to be even more obviously true in music improvisation. When the members of our music improvisation ensemble would listen to the tapes of our improvisations, we could, for the first time after performing, perceive structures that seemed to reflect the musical forms that we learned from playing other pieces throughout our lives. Improvising as a group means that ideas become shared and therefore archetypal.16 It seems to me that structures agreed on before-hand must have had their births in the structures that form naturally through the interaction of ideas. However, the feed-back must also go both ways. Freud has stated that a dream's main purpose is to keep the dreamer asleep. He believes that it does this by fulfilling the wishes of the unconscious and thereby relieving the tensions caused by the conscious repression of those desires.17 It also seems to me, after documenting many of my own dreams, that dreams only have to be engaging in order to keep me asleep. They will either reflect the ideas that I am interested in at the time, or dredge up old ideas which, I must admit, never lose their interest for me. (When I was reading Freud, I had many dreams which seemed typically "Freudian.") And, the ideas which engage the performer's concentration during an improvisation also seem to engage the attention of the passive audience.
Freud only focuses on those old infantile and/or biologically motivated ideas. These ideas certainly must have a great deal of influence on human behavior as they do on most animals. Behaviorists believe that all human behavior come from the basic instincts of feeding, fighting, fleeing, and mating.18 The ideas which concern Freud do inevitably force their influences on improvisation work, particularly when the performers already have an intimate relationship. However, other ideas may come into play, especially if our desires are satisfied before we begin our work. Therefore, I would agree with Jung who claimed that Freud's interpretation of behavior as well as dreams is too limited although it is very consistent.
Freud believed that all dreams are significant. The less remembered or less significant the dream may seem, the more repressed the material that initiated the dream must be. All dreams use only the material from the life experiences of the dreamer. Jung, however, believed that some dreams are much more significant than others. These significant dreams may be important, not only to the dreamer, but for all human beings. And, these dreams express ideas that seem to be beyond the experience of the dreamer. They tie into what Jung called the "collective unconscious." Ideas from the collective unconscious are the materials by which myths are made and believed in. The idea that the myths come from the collective unconscious would imply the reasons for the similarities of myths in different cultures. The characters of these myths are called "archetypes."19
I will give an example of one of my dreams that seems significant to me in an "Jungian" sense:
I was teaching a class to four people: three Iranians (one slim man, one slim woman, and a husky woman) and one husky quiet American man. They were given one half of a football stadium and told to create their utopias. The other half was for spectators (myself). All of the bleachers on the class' half were halved again and then divided again almost into quarters so that each student would have his/her own space. Please refer to the following diagram:
When the class discussed their plans as a group, the men decided that they wanted offices while the women wanted to be sex goddesses in pleasure gardens located in front of each office. Each woman would control her respective male partner by regulating sex. The quiet husky American man built himself a large and well-organized office with many shelves and compartments. He was not interested in having sex with his female partner, the husky woman, and forced her into the role of secretary, cook, maid, etc. The beautiful woman danced in her garden on a pedestal gracefully, but with lightening speed. Long brightly colored streamers attached to her nipples made patterns like those in a laser-light show. The woman was so sexually enticing to the Iranian man that he neglected building his office and his space became a tiny junky bedroom.
This dream can be easily interpreted on many levels. Although Freud also would have a lot to work with here, for the moment, I wish to work on this dream from a more Jungian perspective. Jung does not concern himself so much with the day-world causes for the dream. His interpretations move less systematically than Freud's and seem to focus more directly on the most important archetypal information contained in the dream. Many dreams that he sighted dealt with ideas concerning religious beliefs.20
Each character in my dream seemed to have a a lot of significance for me in that they each represented qualities that I experience in different situations. They have needs which reflect my needs in the proportions described in the dream. I had this dream soon after my divorce and used it to rearrange my day-world house which is also divided into four rooms:
My studio includes everywhere I perform, so it is really much larger than any other space in the house.
I had been reading many works on Shamanism when I had this dream. I can see each character representing a "spirit ally" for me who helps me in various situations. An ally is a helping spirit (usually in animal form) that aides a shaman in her/his work during trance.21 I interpreted each character as an ally and gave each animal correspondents:
The Mockingbird was a big influence on me during my early childhood. I learned his song when I was only three years old and I have always admired the territorial behavior of the male singer. I got a dog, Happy, when I was about five years old. I was baptized as a Christian when I was six and I think that the concept of Christ as my guide became merged with my feelings for my dog who would lead me through the woods behind my house. The Dog is my kind and generous companion who is nurturing and forms the basis of my morals and ethics. When I was eighteen, I helped found the new music improvisation ensemble, BL Lacerta (lacerta is Latin for lizard), and I first experienced sex and drugs. The Lizard is my Muse who is closely connected with nature, chaos, spontaneous creation, and change/Death. The Lizard is a chameleon who is a master of change. About five years later, I became attracted to Krishna as the ideal image for God. He is capable of having many different forms, the most influential for me being a boy dancing and playing the flute, which is a way that I see myself in the day-world. I also enjoy his other form as Nrshimhadeva, the Man-Lion who killed demons with savage ferocity. I have had dreams of Krishna flirting with me as a boy and appearing to vanquish demons. My attraction for Krishna may be particularly narcissistic. The distinctions between the allies are not as clear as these categories may imply. The qualities of one ally may blend into another. I have written a novella, The Quiet People, in which the four allies act as the main characters. They each have their own very active imaginal worlds. Within those imaginal worlds are certain aspects of the other allies interacting on different levels of consciousness. The story's characters sometimes conflict when they try to interact with each other. In the same way, these parts of my personality often conflict with each other.
The process I have been using was what Jung would call "individuation." Individuation is a life-long process which seems to me an internalized version of the quest for the Holy Grail. One may use dreams to explore the mythic world of the unconscious in order to find one's own myth and/or destiny. In order to follow one's own mythic destiny, one should establish who one's gods are. My learning process must have something that satisfies each of my gods. Jung implies that the gods should be excellent guides because, as archetypes, they have access to knowledge from all time.22
When I use the pronoun "I," I usually mean the ideas, thoughts, and motivations typing these words along with all the memories that I have been able to retain since my birth and the personality that has been shaped by them along with many other causes. That "I," being formed by the experiences of this body, is only as old as the body and would probably be described by Yogis as the lowest self. However, I have had experiences from dreams, meditation, playing music, sex. etc. that reveal a part of myself which seems older than this body. I have even named him the "Birdman." I call him "Birdman" because the name itself summons the idea of the shaman who unifies all other worlds through his personality. This "Birdman" seems primarily non-verbal yet also seems very expressive through other media such as pure sound and movement. Since he seldom speaks, it is difficult for me to intellectualize about him. This part of me that writes seems to get farther away from him by the very act of trying to describe him. I have thought of him as the Purusa, or the personality of the manifested or conditioned Brahman that one may see before attaining unity with the Supreme Unmanifested Brahman.23 Jung seems biased towards a similar spiritual/psychological hierarchy as that of many of the great world religions including Hinduism. The Birdman is the teacher in the dream. There are four established belief systems that are involved in the development of the four allies. They are Shamanism, Christianity, Post-Modern Art, and Hinduism. I include art as one of my belief systems because it seems to be the only viable "religion" for the Post-Modern era. Each tradition gives each ally power and richness through the interaction of images associated with many ideas. The structure of this cosmology is probably more Shamanistic than Hindu or Christian. Like the American Indians, I have assimilated other religions into my own cosmology,24 rather than tasting one and moving on to another like so many in the New Age movement do today. Jung would attribute my need for the parts of other religions I have assimilated to my being raised in a protestant family. Jung believed Protestantism to be incomplete as far as the total psychology of a person was concerned, whereas, for Jung, Catholicism is a much larger psychological system which addresses more psychic needs.25
Before I move on to Hillman, I should speculate on a Freudian interpretation of this dream. I was teaching at the University of Texas at Dallas when I had this dream and many of my students were Iranian. This fact probably mixed with the other fact that I was the youngest by seven years in a family of five. The Mockingbird would be my father, the Dog my sister (who was and is very domestic), the Muse my mother, and Krishna is my brother. Of course these personalities do have a profound influence on me. By admitting that the Muse is my mother there follows the implication that she is the greatest influence on who I would be attracted to as a lover. Jung would call my Muse the anima, or my soul in its feminine form.26 My attraction for my lover and dance partner, Nancy Coscione, is probably very influenced by this psychic image. My work with her in the studio has often been the acting out of my fantasies with my anima. It is the ever-changing Birdman who dances with her.
During my performances, the Birdman seems to be able to express himself directly. It is during those times that I see myself mostly as the Birdman. My own transformation seems even to affect all the perceivable world in which I am performing. The other participants, including the audience, have affirmed that this transformation seemed to occur for them also. Often audience members have seen themselves as much the cause of this other-worldly situation as I, the performer. I believe this could be the case because, from my perspective, the Birdman seems to be everywhere at once and could even be the Brahman which is within and contains everything. The performance has been created by all of us as one consciousness (Jung's collective unconscious?). My body just does its part in response to the others. This works something like a Ouija board. No one person seems to be moving it.
James Hillman, who was once the Director of the Jungian Institute in Zurich, gives the archetypes more autonomy. For Hillman, my allies should not be seen as merely parts of my personality but as autonomous entities with the full powers of gods. If I were to say that each of the people in my dream are aspects of myself, I would be merely strengthening the ego while weakening the allies as powerful gods. Hillman moves so clearly away from Freud in that dreams have become no longer significant in relation to the day-world but have enormous significance for the mythical or imaginal aspect of our lives. In this respect, dream interpretation is no longer a therapeutic attempt to cure symptoms in day-world behavior. Again, that gives much too much importance to the ego which, for me, is the "I" I was speaking of earlier. For Hillman, dreams are to be used for "soul-making". If the soul is to exist with any power at all, one's ego must become something like a custodian for the gods.27
It is not necessary for this process of soul-making to feel good which is most often the goal of therapy. Even a psychotic episode may be a necessary part of the soul-making process. Freud's therapy only allowed the patient to indulge in one fantasy - - the child fantasy. What is most important for Hillman is that the many gods be acknowledged and given due respect. Hillman gives equal validity to all fantasies.28 However, if Freud can be described as being obsessed with the child fantasy, Hillman's own obsession would be the Death fantasy.
Like Jung, Hillman believes that our myth and folklore give us the best insight into the dreamworld. For Hillman, the image of Hades of Greek mythology gives the perfect means to understand dreams. Sleep is a "Little Death" in which we experience the "other side".29 Freud's later writings have suggested that sexual desire could actually be the desire to return to the womb, or to be once again inanimate (dead).30 A very strong ego enters the Underworld like Hercules fighting the whole way. Hillman favors a more Hermetic sort of ego that adapts to each situation as it comes. Hermes is the god of beggars and thieves but he is also the messenger of the gods.31
Hillman primarily uses classical Greek mythology for his interpretations, which could imply that these myths could be useful in interpreting improvisational performance. So many of our rehearsals could have been about the myth of Psyche and Eros32 as one performer is seeking connections with another; or Narcissus looking into his own reflection when the performers reflect each other through their interactions. Hillman brings psychology back full-circle to metaphor. Although his book, Revisioning Psychology, mostly uses the literal language of science, Hillman passionately urges us to see and describe our souls through metaphor.
For Hillman, the process of mythologizing is a very natural activity of humans, although it is greatly repressed in our culture which has been dominated by monotheistic protestantism and scientific materialism. He suggests that we all have countless gods and goddesses influencing our lives. What Freud and Jung called complexes, Hillman calls gods. Hillman would also include ancestors in his list of gods.33 Therefore, I also would have more gods than the five that I mentioned. Here are some other "gods" that probably have an influence on me: Brother Euphonius, a 13th century monk who would be something like the Friar in Romeo and Juliet; King Arthur; Joseph of Arimathea; Galahad; May Price, my grandmother; Lon Price, my grandfather; other birds; Shiva; Venus; Quetzalcoatl; a very austere woman yogi with atrophied legs; Egyptian Pharaoh, Har; Faust; Doctor Who; Mozart; etc. I cannot list all of the characters in literature or historical persons who have captured my attention even to the extent that my ego identifies with them. There are certainly many more whom I would not identify with but could still influence me, like one of Hillman's gods or Jung's Shadow such as: Hitler; Jesse Helms; etc. Dead people are maybe more appropriate candidates for gods. They can become like pure symbols or metaphors for many different ideas. Obviously it is inappropriate to make the living into gods because they themselves each have their own set of gods influencing them. However, dreams do this and once a figure is imaginal, it is no longer living or dead, because it is in the imagination as a metaphor. Hillman says that, since most of us do not have such a healthy polytheistic perspective, we tend to project our gods on the living.34 Therefore, I must apologized for making Jesse Helms a god but he has become such a symbol of narrow-mindedness and oppression for me.
I also mentioned earlier that I had projected my Muse onto my lover. I have learned from experience that this is probably an appropriate and necessary part of being in love. I have had relationships in which this projection did not occur which were comfortable but passionless. This sort of projecting will occur, but hopefully, if one knows one's gods, one will see his/her lover and/or family from many more perspectives than the one presented by one projection.
In improvisation, the projections of the gods (or the creation of metaphors) occur in various ways. Each performer may be possessed by one spirit throughout a performance or a stream of many within a moment. The audience will undoubtedly see a very different set of projections which come from their own gods. Often, as I have described above, one spirit will seem to possess everyone at once. All of these experiences can be a valuable means for what Jung calls individuation leading to self-realization35 and what Hillman calls soul-making. With Freud's help, we face the problem of cultural repression which, according to Hillman, puts too much emphasis on the ego.36 Certainly, the ego monitors the world through the senses, but our thoughts and actions are influenced by much more. Improvising is a spontaneous way to enter the "world of the shades" enacting our own Death fantasies through a narcissistic reflection.
The Tibetan Bardo Thodal is a detailed map of a souls transmigration from life to death and back. Jung uses this book to help explain some of Freud's theories concerning the sexual interpretations of the unconscious, but then leads to his own archetypal interpretations of dream world by working backwards through the book. He starts with the trauma of birth and then works his way through the various bardos which represent each deeper and deeper level within the unconscious.37 Jung (in contrast to Hillman) embraces Eastern concepts as more descriptive of the unconscious world. He dedicated much of his life to revealing the unconscious mind to the conscious mind which can be symbolized by "East meets West." I feel that Eastern concepts form a part of my own culture. All myths seem to belong to all of us, especially those concerning death. We all die. Almost all initiations deal with birth, life, death, and rebirth. A clown/scholar, Ron Jenkins, described comedians' role as mockers of death; coming to terms with it through a joke. Death, trance, dreams, folklore, and the arts are some of our many windows by which we see into the other side. Perhaps death is the only door by which we actually pass through.
I will end this part of this discussion by adding Jung's disclaimer to using psychoanalytics to interpret art:
Our interest is insidiously deflected from the work of art and gets lost in the labyrinth of psychic determinants, the poet becomes a clinical case and, very likely, yet another addition to the curiosa of psychopathia sexualis. But this means that the psychoanalysis has turned aside from its proper objective and strayed into a provence that is as broad as mankind, that is not in the least specific of the artist and has less relevance to his art. This kind of analysis brings the work of art into the sphere of general human psychology, where many other things beside art have their origin. To explain art in these terms is just as great a platitude as the statement that 'every artist is a narcissist'. Every man who pursues his own goal is a 'narcissist' -- though one wonders how permissible it is to give such wide currency to a term specifically coined for the pathology of neurosis. The statement therefore amounts to nothing; it merely elicits the faint surprise of a bon mot. Since this kind of analysis is in no way concerned with the work of art itself, but strives like a mole to bury itself in the dirt as speedily as possible, it always ends up in the common earth that unites all mankind. Hence its explanations have the same tedious monotony as the recitals which one daily hears in the consulting room.38
I see that what has been merely metaphor may become another reality. Art is a demonstration of the artist's role in other worlds of other realities. As the gods become real, they also become free from reductionist descriptions.
2 Freud, Sigmund. Introduction to Psychoanalytics; n.d.; rpt.1989.
3 Ovid. Metamorphosis; n.d.; rpt. 1955; Penguin Classics.
4 Hillman, James. Dream and the Underworld; Harper; 1979.
5 New York University Bulletin; Tisch School of the Arts; 1990-92.
6 Plato. Republic; n.d.; rpt. 1968; Oxford.
7 Hillman, James. Revisioning Psychology; Harper; 1992.
8 The Freud/Jung Letters; edited by William McGuire; HUP; 1988.
9 Freud, Sigmund. Introduction to Psychoanalytics; n.d.; rpt. 1989.
10 Freud, Sigmund. Interpretation of Dreams; n.d.; rpt. 1965; Avon.
12 Hendrix, Harville. Getting the Love You Want; Harper & Row; 1988.
13 Freud, Sigmund. Interpretation of Dreams; n.d.; rpt. 1965; Avon.
15 Schechner, Richard. Essays on Performance Theory; Routledge NY; 1988.
16 The Freud/Jung Letters; edited by William McGuire; HUP; 1988.
17 Jung, C.G. Basic Writings of C.G. Jung; Random; 1959.
18 Freud, Sigmund. Introduction to Psychoanalytics ; n.d.; rpt. 1989.
19 Waley, Donald; Psychology.
20 Jung, C.G. Basic Writings of C.G. Jung; Random; 1959.
22 Eliade, Mircea. Shamanism; Archaic Techniques in Ecstasy; n.d.; rpt. 1989; Viking Penguin.
23 Jung, C.G. The Basic Writings of C.G. Jung; Random; 1959.
24 Eight Upanisads; translated by Swami Gambhirananda; n.d.; rpt. 1989.
25 Brown, Joseph E. Spiritual Legacy of the American Indian; Pendle Hill; 1964.
26 Jung, C.G. Basic Writings of C.G. Jung; Random; 1959.
28 Hillman, James. Revisioning Psychology; Harper; 1992.
30 Hillman, James. Dream and the Underworld; Harper; 1979.
31 Freud, Sigmund. Beyond the Pleasure Principle; 1924; rpt. 1990; Norton.
32 Hillman, James. Dream and the Underworld; Harper; 1979.
33 Hillman, James. Amor and Psyche; Princeton University Press; 1973.
34 Hillman, James. Revisioning Psychology; Harper; 1992.
36 Jung, C.G. Basic Writings of C.G. Jung; Random; 1959.
37 Hillman, James. Revisioning Psychology; Harper; 1992.
38 The Tibetan Book of the Dead; Oxford University Press; 1957.
39 Jung, C.G. The Portable Jung; edited by Joseph Campbell; Viking Penguin; 1976.