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It is cold—very cold—and it is still winter.

Somehow that matters little in my warm study when enveloped within Winter Dreams, the subtitle of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 in G minor (1866) played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Yuri Temirkanov. The first movement, fragile and effervescent, evokes inchoate scenes. Like hesitant sparrows, words surface—putting something out there that wasn’t there before:

Moonlit snow-scapes—wind-startled frozen lakes—flocked mountain pines—brush-filled meadows—gust-sculpted cathedrals—critter-tracks meandering over hills—color-splashes angling down slopes and crisscrossing paths.

Beneath this frozen world, deep smiles thaw my imagination; trickles of water create wiggle-room for my breathing. Like the first morning of creation, Beauty still evokes such things through Tchaikovsky’s Winter Dreams.

Joy surfaces, again and again. We’ve only to receive it.

 

 

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Goats from Bob’s Mobile Petting Zoo munch the begonias along the front walk of the brownstone. On the front stoop, kids bottle-feed spring lambs and pet others. Nearby, a saddled pony tosses her blonde mane and waits with her handler for the next rider. Ducks squawk as a neighbor, broom in hand, shoos them from her roses. Rock music and squeals of laughter pour through opened windows, their lace curtains frisked by winds within the froth of play.

It’s Chris’s surprise party for his twelfth birthday.

Inside, multi-colored streamers festoon the walls and fixtures, helium balloons smooch the ceilings, paper plates drip with remains of pizza and ice cream. Upon the dining room table dances the father who organized this after-school party; Chris and his buddies gyrate in tandem with him. In all the rooms more kids wearing party hats jump on sofa cushions and dance.

A sense of concerted play makes complete sense of this apparent mayhem until abruptly ended by the return of the irate mother, an interior design executive. “The party’s over,” says the father, and their shared camaraderie fizzles.

So the 1994 movie, Mrs. Doubtfire, begins.

Had not the mother axed this party, it would have continued into the evening; its momentum, open-ended and spiced with joy, fired imaginations of the participants and blessed them.

Imagine if Mrs. Doubtfire (the father’s later disguise) would throw a similar party on Capitol Hill—It would have to be a surprise.

 

Across time and space, the fertile ground of the unconscious has attracted visionaries and depth psychologists: the former from the vantage of religion and the latter from psychology. Both access the Numinous. Both compel obedience. Both demand publication for the benefit of like-minded seekers. Both effect substantial change in the community that, on its own, is incapable of producing.

Fortunately for us, there is a seminal study, Experiencing Hildegard – Jungian Perspectives (2012) written by theologian Avis Clendenen that leads the student into such complexities of the unconscious explored by these seekers: evil, the dark side of God, the Divine Feminine, anima and animus, and synchronicity and viriditas (greening).

No matter that eight centuries separate their arduous work, achieved through suffering: pressura (migraines) in the Benedictine Abbess and psychic disorientation in Carl Jung. Hildegard’s subsequent Illuminations and Jung’s Red Book evidence the profundity of these revelations that still draw others toward this paradoxical diminishment and enrichment—within which lie the freshest life springs, within which lies conversion of life.

And fortunately for us, Avis Clendenen will frame her rich insights within multi-media presentations at the meeting of the C. G. Jung Society of St. Louis, next Friday and Saturday, October 14 and 15, 2016, at the First Congregational Church in Clayton, Missouri.

We are in good hands.

 

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