By Mary Montgomery
Part 1 of this discussion appeared in my online August Cyberweave column. I focused on answers to this question: Why are we so relieved when tragic things can be tied to a physical abnormality and not just a mental one? This relief is exactly what many of us felt as we grappled with the murder/suicide of Jungian Therapist, Theologian, and Author Dr. Robert Moore, and his wife, Jungian Psychoanalyst Margaret Shanahan.
Somehow, it helped to know that this man who had helped so many with their mental health was driven to murder/suicide by the physical abnormality called Vascular Dementia.
That left the core question: What is a Spirit to do when the human is broken?
There is no easy answer. I found a clue, however, in the work of Dr. Moore, himself. Soon after his book Facing the Dragon: Confronting Personal and Spiritual Grandiosity came out in 2003, Moore gave a lecture at The Mankind Project Summer Gathering (mankindproject.org). Dragon symbolism is present in cultures throughout the world and throughout history. In the west, the dragon is lurking and dangerous, and must be killed in order to protect your community. In the east, the dragon is also a huge powerful force, yet you respect it, and bring this powerful force into a partnership, which allows you to have creativity as a human being.
For Moore, dragon images call to mind the primal “other” that is within each of us. It is a transpersonal thing. The danger lies in not being aware of it, not respecting it. That’s when our ego unconsciously begins to identify with this primal “other” within, or begins to project it onto other human beings.
There is so much more in this lecture than space allows. A major point, however, is to use processes in our lives that not only allow us to be conscious and respectful of primal forces, but to use this primal (God, Higher Power, Buddha, Great Spirit) “juice” in creative, rather than destructive ways.
Moore states that one of the processes can be gleaned from C.G. Jung’s Alchemical Studies. In alchemy there is an understanding that you need to discern what the elements are, and then balance them in our personalities. By balancing them, we create a vessel, an inner chalice, an inner temple. This vessel helps us hold more of that primal “juice” that helps fuel the work that we have to do in our lives.
This can make us wonderfully integrated. Yet, according to Moore, the danger is that this vessel fills up very fast. When that cup runs over, watch out! That excess energy runs down into our personality, into our family, or into our community or world. The archetypal energies flood and cause chaos, not only to us, but also to those around us.
A second process, according to Moore, is found in religious traditions, which emphasize the radical importance of sacrificial attitude and rituals. “They intuited,” said Moore, “that you have to be willing not to take the credit for how wonderful you are.” When our cup begins to run over with golden energies from the chalice of our soul, we’ve got to consciously offer it back to the primal power.
A process that Moore used was to speak to the dragon each morning upon awaking, making it clear that he was not it. “I am working very hard,” he stated, “to continue trying to see and to recognize these dragon energies in my own life.”
Dr. Moore urged his fellow therapists to give their patients effective processes to help them become more awake and aware, and conscious of these primal dragon energies. In the end, however, Dr. Moore, himself, became unconscious, and allowed these dragons to snuff out his wife’s life, and his own in an act of chaos.
So…I’m still left with that unanswered question: What is a Spirit to do when the human is broken—broken in such a way that the brain or body is damaged, and blocking access to consciousness? I’m out of space, so there will have to be a Part 3. Stay tuned.
My Advice: Robert Moore’s work is deep and meaningful. Check it out on Amazon.com, or his website, robertmoore-phd.com.
Mary Montgomery’s company, Montgomery Media Enterprises, specializes in public relations, writing projects, and social media development, especially in the non-profit sector. Ms. Montgomery has a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies from Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS). She has completed the coursework in doctoral studies with a focus on Altruism and Unconditional Love. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use Cyberweave in the subject line.