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This morning’s nun dream gave me considerable pause:

 It is evening, spring. Hundreds of nuns have gathered at a large convent for a supper meeting with their new Provincial. Conversations buzz, last minute preparations fall into place, some finger rosary beads. For days, I have been responsible for ordering and overseeing the preparation of the steamed vegetables for the meal. I was still uneasy, fearful of asking for help. The Superior and her entourage greet everyone as they stream into the refectory and take their places. To my dismay, I notice a serpentine mushy-like, pale green thing inching along the hardwood floor, its head moving with each twist of its body. “Is that asparagus?” I ask.

 The dream story mirrors another shameful experience in 1966 when I was a recently professed nun, overwhelmed by joint pain, loneliness, and desperately seeking attention. Then, arrangements of tiger lilies for the refectory tables, cut that morning by the creek bed, had died.

So what does this dream signify in my present circumstances? It must have something to do with that serpentine mushy-like, pale green thing: Shocking in its repulsiveness. I liken it to asparagus, its gyrating phallic form like something you might encounter in Kafkaesque imagination.

That I’m so unnerved by this glob of glistening tissue suggests its emergence from my unconscious shadow: The scum of unacceptable character defects that still dominate my choices and thoughts and keep me in bondage. Thus my CPA 12 Step work continues, one day at a time …

 

 

Fixated upon the pause mode, I squirm like a hapless insect caught within a spider’s web. Time gorges my days, swallowed whole: such teeter upon psychic indigestion, mess with routines of self-care, and plunge me into tomorrows when I’m not ready to go there. My controller still wants to call the shots, despite my practice of Step II, like spidery webs torn asunder by wintry winds.

Yet, like the insect, I remain dazed, powerless to change my present circumstance: I do have ILD with rheumatoid arthritis, a terminal disease that is shortening my life. But how? When? The dailyness of my symptoms renders me half-sick: weak, short of breath, and exhausted. Other annoyances, as well, irk me: Expelling infected mucus from my lungs eats into my afternoons; occasional brain fog scrambles for the next right word, both when speaking and blogging. Even my Dreamer seems to have dumped me.

Then, I remind myself that it’s not as if I’m preparing for an ice cream social.

I still benefit from the gift of time: Its windows correct bouts of impatience, with their disruptive playing cards, and enhance spiritual growth. That, alone, remains important. A second study of The Grace in Dying – How We Transform Spiritually as We Die awaits me; its dense material necessitates a calm mind and an open heart, deeper this time around.

Yet, I have come a long way since last November’s signing on for hospice’s palliative care. This is working out—my heartfelt thanks for coming along.

 

A new day

 

 

 

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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