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A solitary cardinal alighted on the plank fence in my back yard, then zoomed down upon the winter-ravaged grass; its redness quickened my heart, plunged me into stillness. I continued watching. Like a wise professor attired in scarlet robes, it discerned the next step and took it boldly. Then it was gone. I had been visited and I knew it. Rather than resume my work in the kitchen, I savored this intrusion.

The cardinal’s fiery presence recalled images of Christ Pantocrator (the Lawgiver), rendered in mosaics or frescoes, which still adorn domes and apses of medieval Eastern Orthodox churches. The dark outlines of Christ’s iconic eyes, his red tunic, his left hand holding the jeweled book of the New Testament, his right hand raised in blessing—Such was the demonstrable power that had inflamed the imaginations of worshipers, huddled below in the nave, whispering their prayers. Such moments sustained their lives of hardship until the next Mass.

Such still has the holding power to thwart evil, with its allure of dark power. Willingness to follow its sway freshens us with loving care and protection.

 

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Seems to me that our hearts were fashioned to sing.

Consider the harmonics of the spheres throughout the universe. Consider the strains of a spirited melody, whether in a concert hall or a sports venue that catches our breath. Consider, also, how a ditty will seize our imagination and seed our energy with fresh purpose.

My sister Martha put me up with one that still works: “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Zip-A-Dee-A” – Such are the opening lyrics in this 1947 Academy Award for the Best Original Song from Song of the South. Uncle Remus, the film’s storyteller/handyman employed on a plantation in Reconstructionist Georgia, sings this ditty while interacting with animated creatures during a summer walk. Such gyrations start the feet a-tapping—and much more.

“Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Zip-A-Dee-A” trips off the tongue and opens the psyche to the realm of play. Here, nothing is taken seriously because of unflagging trust in God, source for the “… wonderful day!” and “…the warming sunshine…heading my way!” Even Mister Bluebird on his shoulder concurs: “It’s the truth. It’s actual. Everything is satisfactual!”

And such it is, no matter what happens. It’s all about trust in God’s protection and care, disguised, this time, as a bluebird.

The challenge is to find our own bluebird and listen to its song.

 

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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