By Paul Levy
In my last two articles The Wounded Healer, Part 1 and Part 2, I point out the importance of consciously stepping into the archetypal figure of the “wounded healer” for the healing of our planetary situation. The wounded healer receives the gifts encoded in their ordeal when they are able to alchemically transform the seemingly obscuring energies of their wound into fuel for their fire of realization. Wounded healers access their gifts when they realize that their wound is itself the source of divine creativity, as well as the portal through which the highest, most individualized form of this creativity can manifest. The archetype of the wounded healer is intimately related to the archetypal figure of the artist, as both are able to creatively express and thereby be in-formed by, while simultaneously transforming, the deeper archetypal energies operating within both their own psyche, as well as the collective unconscious of humanity at large.
In alignment with their mythic identity as would-be hero or heroine, the artist (arche)typically has to wrestle with their inner “demons.” The artist’s inner demons are internalized, personalized reflections of the very same “demons” that are being played out collectively on the world stage. Like all of us, the artist suffers from the spirit of the age. Having permeable boundaries and being by nature highly empathic, sensitive and intuitive, an artist is able to introject into themselves and creatively “out-picture” and express what is happening both within themselves and the world in which they live. The artist’s inner process, like that of all of us, is a manifestation of the field around them, in which they are inseparably contained and of which they are an expression.
The “daemonic” is an archetypal, transpersonal energy, greater than the merely personal, which nonlocally pervades the entire field and can literally take us over, compelling us to unconsciously act it out so as to give shape and form to itself. The daemonic is a reflection of the part of ourselves that is split-off from itself, which is to say separated from our unity with all things. This dissociated part of ourselves develops a seemingly quasi-independent, autonomous life and will of its own, appearing as an alien “other,” not under the control of the ego. In having it out with and coming to terms with the daemonic within themselves, the artist is able to translate these energies into something useful, both for themselves and the world around them. Encoded in the daemonic is everything we need for our self-realization, as if the daemonic is a compensation of the deeper unified and unifying field, offering us exactly what is required for us to wake up.
Anything we are not in conscious relationship with “possesses” us from behind, affecting us beneath our conscious awareness. If we don’t consciously relate with these split-off parts of ourselves, they constellate negatively and become “demonic,” in that they manifest, whether it be inwardly or outwardly, in a destructive manner. If in our avoidance of consciously relating with these energies we allow ourselves to become unconsciously possessed by them, we become their unwitting minion, their agent of incarnation into our three dimensional world, creating destruction in life, whether individually, in our personal lives, or collectively, on the world stage. The artist, on the other hand, by creatively expressing and thereby liberating their experience, is able to extract from the daemonic a blessing which imbues their work with a corresponding numinous power, which in-fluences (and “in-flows” into) others.
The “daemonic,” like any archetypal energy, has both a positive or negative potentiality. Etymologically speaking, the word “daemon” is related to our inner voice and guiding spirit, an “entity” called by various names such as our genius, jinn (or genie), and guardian angel. Speaking of this animated and animating being, Jung said, “This living spirit is eternally renewed and pursues its goal in manifold and inconceivable ways throughout the history of mankind. Measured against it, the names and forms which men have given it mean very little; they are only the changing leaves and blossoms on the stem of the eternal tree.” The daemonic energy that is in-forming events in our world is an archetypal recurrence of an atemporal, eternal pattern which has been irrupting into our world since the beginning of human history.
Jung pointed out that, “the tragedy is that the daemon of the inner voice is at once our greatest danger and an indispensable help. It is tragic, but logical, for it is the nature of things to be so.” Paradoxically, encoded in the daemonic is “our greatest danger” as well as “an indispensable help,” as the daemonic, being a non-dual power, contains both of these opposites inseparably co-joined as one. Alchemists express this same idea: their “God” is Hermes-Mercury, who symbolizes the highest divinity as well as the deepest evil combined in one being. This is expressing the realization that the opposites are ultimately not in opposition to each other, but rather are intimately and inseparably co-related to each other. The opposites always appear together, mutually relativizing and conditioning each other, turning into each other so as to ultimately appear indistinguishable from each other.
Bringing the opposites together is to access and activate symbolic awareness. When we recognize the inseparability and interpenetration of all things, we recognize that our universe is a living oracle, a continually unfolding revelation that, just like a dream, is constantly speaking to us symbolically. Tapping into symbolic awareness, we can’t help but to naturally express our experience symbolically, as we ourselves have become a living, embodied symbol of our realization. Being able to “symbolize” our experience to ourselves and by extension the outside world, we ourselves step into the role of the creative artist.
The inner voice of the daemon is making itself known to us, which is to say that a living, creative spirit, with both destructive and constructive potentiality, is revealing itself to us. This spirit will continue to manifest “demonically” and destructively, however, as long as we lack the courage to engage with it. The inner voice of the daemon can potentially become our ally, however, if we get into conscious relationship with what it triggers in ourselves. If we do not become “touched” by the daemon, to quote Jung, “no regeneration or healing can take place‚Ä¶if by self-assertion the ego can save itself from being completely swallowed, then it can assimilate the voice [of the daemon], and we realize that the evil was, after all, only a semblance of evil, but in reality a bringer of healing and illumination. In fact, the inner voice is a ‘Lucifer’ in the strictest and most unequivocal sense of the word.” Lucifer, the morning star, is the “bringer of the light.” If we have a strongly enough developed sense of self, we are able to objectify and enter into conscious relationship with the daemon, thereby saving ourselves from being swallowed and possessed by it. Paradoxically, relating to our daemon as a separate, autonomous “other” – an actual living being – is the very way we integrate the daemon into ourselves. We are then able to metabolize and assimilate the daemon so as to receive its blessing in support of our spiritual unfoldment. When consciously embraced and related to, instead of manifesting as a destructive demon or devil obscuring our path, our daemon introduces us to our calling and helps us find our true vocation, which is what we are here to do. Thus, hidden in the daemonic is our creative genius. This is why Jung said, “the daemonic is the not yet realized creative.”
The word diabolical, etymologically speaking, means that which separates and divides. The antonym and antidote to the diabolic is the symbolic, which means that which brings together and unites. As the artist wrestles with their “demons,” they are able to “symbolize” their experience in the form of their creative art. Symbols bring together conflicting energies in a way where something new is created. A symbol partakes of both sides of the conflict at the same time that it transcends and reconciles the underlying polarity. Symbols, which are the language of dreams, are a revelation of the deeper unified and unifying field, simultaneously reflecting and effecting an expansion of consciousness. In wrestling with their demons, an artist is like a sorcerer and magician in that they are able to constructively channel, transmute and express these “demons” in a form which takes away their spell-binding power over themselves, while at the same time helps to dis-spell the collective enchantment which pervades the entire field of consciousness.
ARTIST AS ORACLE
Art-making is a process in which the artist is continually articulating, refining, and creating an ever-evolving form of symbolic language. In being a conduit for the formation of a new language, the artist is shedding light on and participating in the creation of language itself. How language gets created invariably leads us right back to the psyche, which is simultaneously the subject and the object of the new language. The psyche is both source and recipient of the creatively emerging new form of language, just like in a dream the psyche might produce a written text for another part of itself to read. In its crafting of a new symbolic language, the psyche is literally building a bridge so as to telepathically communicate with itself. The shaping and re-shaping of ever-new forms of expression is the psyche’s continually evolving way of knowing itself and deepening its – and our – realization.
As the newly created language clothes and animates itself in its novel forms, it is as if the “Word” becomes flesh. Interestingly, we make a word by “spell”-ing it. Discovering novel iterations of language is itself a “spell-casting” activity, in that it serves to dis-spell the veil of illusion which seemingly obstructs us from our own experience. In unveiling novel forms of language, the artist conjures up a more coherent state of consciousness within themselves as a result of their creative act. Because we are all connected, their state of integration instantaneously, in no time whatsoever, gets registered in the collective unconscious of each one of us, where it nonlocally impacts the entire field.
The very act of verbally or nonverbally language-ing our experience, of giving creative shape and form to what is happening both inside and outside of us is itself the process through which we, as artists, deepen our realization of what we are trying to express. The fact that our realization of what we are expressing deepens through the act of creatively expressing it is the litmus test which certifies our act of creation to be worthy of the name “art.” In creating a new form of communication, the work of art is both an expression of a more expanded consciousness, as well as being its initiator, which is to say that the act of artistic creation is simultaneously a means to an end and the end itself, both journey and goal.
To quote Jung, an artist is “a vehicle and moulder of the unconscious psychic life of mankind.” The archetypal figure of the artist is a deeper role that each of us is being asked by the universe to consciously incarnate in our personal lives as a way of being of service to both ourselves and the world around us. When I use the term “artist,” I am not using it in a traditional, limited way of meaning someone who is solely painting, drawing, or using some other particular-ized medium; this is too circumscribed and flat-land of a conception of what an artist is. When I use the term “artist” I am alluding to the fact that we are all creative, multi-dimensional visionary artists (and dreamers) whose canvas is life itself.
As more of us wake up to our true nature as creative beings, we can connect with each other and co-operatively create what I call an “Art-Happening Called Global Awakening“. In this work of collaborative, visionary, living art, we can put our lucid awareness together and “conspire to co-inspire” to wake ourselves up and activate our collective genius so as to dream a more grace-filled universe into materialization. This is nothing less than an exponential quantum leap in human consciousness. We are being invited by the universe to actively participate in our own evolution.
Jung had great insight into the primary role that the human psyche plays in the creative process (or lack thereof) of humankind, both in individuals and collectively as a species. As Jung reminds us, “the human psyche is the womb of all the arts.” He recognized the significance of the creative artist as an archetypal figure existing within the collective unconscious of humanity which literally is the conduit for and revelation of the creative spirit existing within all of us. Being an archetypal figure, the artist is a role that exists outside of time while simultaneously continuing to re-present itself in infinitely creative guises and unique iterations in, through, and over time. Talking about how a new idea, a creative way of looking at the world comes into existence, Jung says “Although they come into being at a definite time, they are and have always been timeless. They arise from that realm of creative psychic life out of which the ephemeral mind of the single human being grows like a plant that blossoms, bears fruit and seed, and then withers and dies.” Human beings are the conduits through which the timeless creative process that underlies and in-forms the human psyche as well as the world at large becomes actualized in linear time. The inner, archetypal figure of the artist facilitates and is the vehicle for the continual unfoldment of our psychological and spiritual self-realization, as in this figure the creative spirit realizes itself through us, while at the same time we reciprocally realize ourselves through it.
Jung said, “The unborn work in the psyche of the artist is a force of nature‚Ä¶We would do well, therefore, to think of the creative process as a living thing implanted in the human psyche.” This “living thing implanted in the human psyche” is a creative and creating spirit, an inspiring wind that blows where it wills. Speaking of this living spirit, Jung commented that, “it freely chooses the men [and women] who proclaim it and in whom it lives.” This is to say that the creative spirit is autonomous and not under the control of our ego. To quote Jung, this spirit is like “a hush that follows the storm, a reconciling light in the darkness of man’s mind, secretly bringing order into the chaos of his soul.” The creative spirit is a holy and whole-making spirit, a living spiritual being that literally animates and potentially, depending upon how we relate to it, either destroys or heals us. Speaking of this same sacred spirit, Christ said in the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
As if a living oracle, the figure of the artist is a mouthpiece for the time in which they live. Like a psychic scribe, they are able to outwardly express and explicate the emerging zeitgeist, the implicate spirit of the age, while simultaneously giving shape to the deeper, archetypal, time-less, and unconscious process which in-forms all ages. For Jung, the artist “‚Ä¶lifts the idea he is seeking to express out of the occasional and the transitory into the realm of the ever-enduring. He transmutes our personal destiny into the destiny of mankind, and evokes in us all those beneficent forces that ever and anon have enabled humanity to find a refuge from every peril and to outlive the longest night.”
The artist allows themselves to get “dreamed up” by the field to become the “medium” through which the spirit of the age moves and inspires them to creatively express itself. Speaking about this process, Jung said, “At such moments we are no longer individuals, but the race; the voice of all mankind resounds in us.” The artist is an open, receptive instrument through which a living creative spirit gives shape to and reveals itself. In this process, the artist becomes an ongoing revelation to themselves, while at the same time their art is a revelation of the creative spirit to the world. Their art is both a manifestation of, as well as a gateway through which we become introduced to the creative spirit which lives within all of us.
A pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence, Paul Levy is a wounded healer in private practice, assisting others who are also awakening to the dreamlike nature of reality. He is the author of Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil (North Atlantic Books, 2013) and The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis. An artist, he is deeply steeped in the work of C. G. Jung, and has been a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner for over thirty years. Please visit Paul’s website www.awakeninthedream.com. You can contact Paul firstname.lastname@example.org; he looks forward to your reflections. Though he reads every email, he regrets that he is not able to personally respond to all of them.