The ally is not always peaceful and oriented in clarity, but at times wrathful and fierce. Throughout history, we find images of both forms of psychic guidance, the latter evidenced by India’s Kali and Tibet’s Palden Lhamo. These ones are considered protectors of the dharma, guardians of wisdom, compassion, and truth.
Despite their disturbing forms, they are helpers nonetheless, whether we view them as parts of ourselves, aspects of the archetypal unconscious, or as autonomous beings with their own subjectivity. Despite appearances, they come not to harm, but to reveal.
At times, they take confusing and aggressive forms, which we see in certain depictions of Christ on the cross, in dismemberment rituals of the shamans, and the putrefactio and mortificatio operations of the alchemists. These images can be disrupting as they provoke confrontation and contradiction, questioning our deepest beliefs about healing and transformation.
We must decide for ourselves how we will tend to these images as they come in dreams, literature, myth, fantasy, and symbol, but one possibility is as a doorway to integration of the darkness within – to touch and metabolize our own unmet rage, unacknowledged narcissism, repressed grief, and dissociated joy – providing a home for this material in a world that does not ordinarily provide a holding environment for it.
To discover the wisdom within the core of these thoughts, emotions, and sensations, entering into partnership with them that we might transmute this energy as way to help ourselves and others. To include the fierce, wrathful side of the psyche so that we are not forced to locate it outside ourselves in a way that will generate additional suffering.
In this embrace, we reimagine the way we have come to see ourselves and others and care for life in new ways. It seems this world needs the wild, relentless, creative energies of compassion, clear-seeing, and skillful activity now more than ever. It is up to each of us to prepare these bodies, psyches, and hearts as vessels where love can erupt and come alive here.
Photo by MabelAmber
My most recent book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is now available
The next book, The Unfolding Heart, will be published by Sounds True in early 2020, details to come
The next event is The Healing Shame Retreat: Spiritual Awakening and Transforming the Core Wound of Unworthiness, April 24-29, 2019 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, with co-facilitator Jeff Foster