Saturday, February 16, 2008

Personal Mythology Expressed in Dream

Callie said...
One of the things I like most about Remember Me is the dream diary. Does this have anything to do with shadow?

This is a great question, Callie. In Remember Me, Mary Margaret takes the wonderful first step necessary in understanding her dreams at a very early age. She begins a dream journal at the suggestion of her mother, who does not want to have to hear about them anymore. This is significant to the character because while it gives Mary Margaret a place to record and examine her dreams, she is also given the message that they are not worth attention. So, throughout her life, she records her dreams, but does little interpretation or integration of the dreaming process.

I see our sleep time as a time for our body-soul-spirit to relate in ways unfettered by conscious constructs. Vivid dreaming, creative dreaming, and dream analysis are all wonderful processes wherein our soul speaks to our mind and spirit in ways that allow our conscious, continual becoming. The spoken language here is symbols, devices by which ideas often too complex or highly charged to articulate in ordinary language are transmitted. Developing a personal mythology of dream symbols involves using a body of personal myths to form a system for organizing one's conception of reality and guiding day-to-day behavior. Mary Margaret’s soul was instructing her to examine shadow through her dreams, she did not understand because she never learns the language.

Writing the dream journal in Remember Me was like writing a novel within a novel. I began by establishing symbols that were related to Mary Margaret’s current age and daily events, but also her collective unconscious. I then developed the symbols in her dreams to speak to her of life unfolding – trying always to guide her into becoming through soul. It was one of my favorite parts of writing the book and you may see this device used again sometime in the future! Dreaming, and all it can offer us, is a true joy for me! Thanks for asking.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Heroes, Villains and Rudolph Steiner

Linda said...
Can you tell me about "the Opposing Spiritual Powers," and how they are like anti-heros?

Thanks for the question, Linda. I should preface the answer by saying that I have read the Rudolph Steiner teachings for several years now and find them to be mythical and complicated. I feel that whatever organization there is to life is much, much simpler, but I do admire some of his concepts. One of my favorite is his idea that humanity has a soul that influences and evolves along with our individual souls, much like CG Jung’s collective unconsciousness. Another is that our awareness unfolds, and humanity evolves due largely to the interplay of opposing forces (the tree of knowledge or good and evil.) The Steiner teachings tell us that in the course of human history, three specific opposing forces have provided our common soul and individual souls with opposition to our perfect nature (the Christ impulse) or the God within us. The dynamic of these forces are such that either we transcend the opposition and realize freedom by reconciling the forces (transcending duality) or we continue to battle.

Lucifer was the first, providing our natural, darker side. He is closely linked to nature and the mechanics of human nature so that the opposition he presents are storms or plagues or the fall of an civilization or the domination of our ego nature. His gift to humanity was free will, obtained in the choice to realize the Christ impulse and to transcend.

Ahriman was the second. His influence was first felt about 4M years ago and is still present today. He is associated with technology and materialism and prevents us from not seeing through the material to the spirit. He is also closely linked to the laws of karma, and keeps us from understanding the process of our freedom from karmic debt. But once the Ahrimanic forces have been reconciled, and we are free from karmic debt, we enter the age of Azuras. The Steiner teachings tell us that humanity is just beginning to enter this age but is still primarily ruled by Ahriman.

Not much is written on the Azuras and to research, I joined the Steiner library in New York, and read several of his books and lectures that hadn’t been taken out of the library in decades. I also joined Steiner discussion groups all over the world, talking to folks who had their own ideas about where Steiner was going with this. The forces of Azuras distract us into looking away from spirituality and convince us that our material experience is reality, not a reflection of our conscious awareness. It tricks us out of taking our objective into the subjective and becoming the creator with it, and believing the reverse is true. The Azuras has both the natural quality of Lucifer and the Ahrimanic qualities of technology and materialism. There is a bit written and much discussed about Steiner’s notion that once we give any part of ourselves to the Azuras, it can never be recovered. My (controversial) belief was that Steiner understood that once we transcend duality, mind and soul (karma), our lives and the formation of our experience is more immediately effected by universal laws. Once we consciously understand how to reconcile the opposition and realize our connection with all of life, we are distracted less easily even though the distractions become more dramatic. Ken Wilber would say it hurts more but we suffer less after the One Taste.

It’s easy to see how these opposing forces can be used as the hero/anti hero of a novel. I develop the characters of the three anti heros in my trilogy to reflect the nature of Steiner’s opposing forces. This allows me to develop the character of the heroine along a natural line of spiritual development, learning to release her karmic debt and move into a more harmonious storyline. And who doesn’t love a happy ending?