In my last two articles The Wounded Healer, Part 1 and Part 2, I point out the importance of consciously stepping into the archetypal figure of the “wounded healer” for the healing of our planetary situation. The wounded healer receives the gifts encoded in their ordeal when they are able to alchemically transform the seemingly obscuring energies of their wound into fuel for their fire of realization. Wounded healers access their gifts when they realize that their wound is itself the source of divine creativity, as well as the portal through which the highest, most individualized form of this creativity can manifest. The archetype of the wounded healer is intimately related to the archetypal figure of the artist, as both are able to creatively express and thereby be in-formed by, while simultaneously transforming, the deeper archetypal energies operating within both their own psyche, as well as the collective unconscious of humanity at large.
In alignment with their mythic identity as would-be hero or heroine, the artist (arche)typically has to wrestle with their inner “demons.” The artist’s inner demons are internalized, personalized reflections of the very same “demons” that are being played out collectively on the world stage. Like all of us, the artist suffers from the spirit of the age. Having permeable boundaries and being by nature highly empathic, sensitive and intuitive, an artist is able to introject into themselves and creatively “out-picture” and express what is happening both within themselves and the world in which they live. The artist’s inner process, like that of all of us, is a manifestation of the field around them, in which they are inseparably contained and of which they are an expression.
The “daemonic” is an archetypal, transpersonal energy, greater than the merely personal, which nonlocally pervades the entire field and can literally take us over, compelling us to unconsciously act it out so as to give shape and form to itself. The daemonic is a reflection of the part of ourselves that is split-off from itself, which is to say separated from our unity with all things. This dissociated part of ourselves develops a seemingly quasi-independent, autonomous life and will of its own, appearing as an alien “other,” not under the control of the ego. In having it out with and coming to terms with the daemonic within themselves, the artist is able to translate these energies into something useful, both for themselves and the world around them. Encoded in the daemonic is everything we need for our self-realization, as if the daemonic is a compensation of the deeper unified and unifying field, offering us exactly what is required for us to wake up.
Anything we are not in conscious relationship with “possesses” us from behind, affecting us beneath our conscious awareness. If we don’t consciously relate with these split-off parts of ourselves, they constellate negatively and become “demonic,” in that they manifest, whether it be inwardly or outwardly, in a destructive manner. If in our avoidance of consciously relating with these energies we allow ourselves to become unconsciously possessed by them, we become their unwitting minion, their agent of incarnation into our three dimensional world, creating destruction in life, whether individually, in our personal lives, or collectively, on the world stage. The artist, on the other hand, by creatively expressing and thereby liberating their experience, is able to extract from the daemonic a blessing which imbues their work with a corresponding numinous power, which in-fluences (and “in-flows” into) others.
The “daemonic,” like any archetypal energy, has both a positive or negative potentiality. Etymologically speaking, the word “daemon” is related to our inner voice and guiding spirit, an “entity” called by various names such as our genius, jinn (or genie), and guardian angel. Speaking of this animated and animating being, Jung said, “This living spirit is eternally renewed and pursues its goal in manifold and inconceivable ways throughout the history of mankind. Measured against it, the names and forms which men have given it mean very little; they are only the changing leaves and blossoms on the stem of the eternal tree.” The daemonic energy that is in-forming events in our world is an archetypal recurrence of an atemporal, eternal pattern which has been irrupting into our world since the beginning of human history.
Jung pointed out that, “the tragedy is that the daemon of the inner voice is at once our greatest danger and an indispensable help. It is tragic, but logical, for it is the nature of things to be so.” Paradoxically, encoded in the daemonic is “our greatest danger” as well as “an indispensable help,” as the daemonic, being a non-dual power, contains both of these opposites inseparably co-joined as one. Alchemists express this same idea: their “God” is Hermes-Mercury, who symbolizes the highest divinity as well as the deepest evil combined in one being. This is expressing the realization that the opposites are ultimately not in opposition to each other, but rather are intimately and inseparably co-related to each other. The opposites always appear together, mutually relativizing and conditioning each other, turning into each other so as to ultimately appear indistinguishable from each other.
Bringing the opposites together is to access and activate symbolic awareness. When we recognize the inseparability and interpenetration of all things, we recognize that our universe is a living oracle, a continually unfolding revelation that, just like a dream, is constantly speaking to us symbolically. Tapping into symbolic awareness, we can’t help but to naturally express our experience symbolically, as we ourselves have become a living, embodied symbol of our realization. Being able to “symbolize” our experience to ourselves and by extension the outside world, we ourselves step into the role of the creative artist.
The inner voice of the daemon is making itself known to us, which is to say that a living, creative spirit, with both destructive and constructive potentiality, is revealing itself to us. This spirit will continue to manifest “demonically” and destructively, however, as long as we lack the courage to engage with it. The inner voice of the daemon can potentially become our ally, however, if we get into conscious relationship with what it triggers in ourselves. If we do not become “touched” by the daemon, to quote Jung, “no regeneration or healing can take place‚Ä¶if by self-assertion the ego can save itself from being completely swallowed, then it can assimilate the voice [of the daemon], and we realize that the evil was, after all, only a semblance of evil, but in reality a bringer of healing and illumination. In fact, the inner voice is a ‘Lucifer’ in the strictest and most unequivocal sense of the word.” Lucifer, the morning star, is the “bringer of the light.” If we have a strongly enough developed sense of self, we are able to objectify and enter into conscious relationship with the daemon, thereby saving ourselves from being swallowed and possessed by it. Paradoxically, relating to our daemon as a separate, autonomous “other” – an actual living being – is the very way we integrate the daemon into ourselves. We are then able to metabolize and assimilate the daemon so as to receive its blessing in support of our spiritual unfoldment. When consciously embraced and related to, instead of manifesting as a destructive demon or devil obscuring our path, our daemon introduces us to our calling and helps us find our true vocation, which is what we are here to do. Thus, hidden in the daemonic is our creative genius. This is why Jung said, “the daemonic is the not yet realized creative.”
The word diabolical, etymologically speaking, means that which separates and divides. The antonym and antidote to the diabolic is the symbolic, which means that which brings together and unites. As the artist wrestles with their “demons,” they are able to “symbolize” their experience in the form of their creative art. Symbols bring together conflicting energies in a way where something new is created. A symbol partakes of both sides of the conflict at the same time that it transcends and reconciles the underlying polarity. Symbols, which are the language of dreams, are a revelation of the deeper unified and unifying field, simultaneously reflecting and effecting an expansion of consciousness. In wrestling with their demons, an artist is like a sorcerer and magician in that they are able to constructively channel, transmute and express these “demons” in a form which takes away their spell-binding power over themselves, while at the same time helps to dis-spell the collective enchantment which pervades the entire field of consciousness.
ARTIST AS ORACLE
Art-making is a process in which the artist is continually articulating, refining, and creating an ever-evolving form of symbolic language. In being a conduit for the formation of a new language, the artist is shedding light on and participating in the creation of language itself. How language gets created invariably leads us right back to the psyche, which is simultaneously the subject and the object of the new language. The psyche is both source and recipient of the creatively emerging new form of language, just like in a dream the psyche might produce a written text for another part of itself to read. In its crafting of a new symbolic language, the psyche is literally building a bridge so as to telepathically communicate with itself. The shaping and re-shaping of ever-new forms of expression is the psyche’s continually evolving way of knowing itself and deepening its – and our – realization.
As the newly created language clothes and animates itself in its novel forms, it is as if the “Word” becomes flesh. Interestingly, we make a word by “spell”-ing it. Discovering novel iterations of language is itself a “spell-casting” activity, in that it serves to dis-spell the veil of illusion which seemingly obstructs us from our own experience. In unveiling novel forms of language, the artist conjures up a more coherent state of consciousness within themselves as a result of their creative act. Because we are all connected, their state of integration instantaneously, in no time whatsoever, gets registered in the collective unconscious of each one of us, where it nonlocally impacts the entire field.
The very act of verbally or nonverbally language-ing our experience, of giving creative shape and form to what is happening both inside and outside of us is itself the process through which we, as artists, deepen our realization of what we are trying to express. The fact that our realization of what we are expressing deepens through the act of creatively expressing it is the litmus test which certifies our act of creation to be worthy of the name “art.” In creating a new form of communication, the work of art is both an expression of a more expanded consciousness, as well as being its initiator, which is to say that the act of artistic creation is simultaneously a means to an end and the end itself, both journey and goal.
To quote Jung, an artist is “a vehicle and moulder of the unconscious psychic life of mankind.” The archetypal figure of the artist is a deeper role that each of us is being asked by the universe to consciously incarnate in our personal lives as a way of being of service to both ourselves and the world around us. When I use the term “artist,” I am not using it in a traditional, limited way of meaning someone who is solely painting, drawing, or using some other particular-ized medium; this is too circumscribed and flat-land of a conception of what an artist is. When I use the term “artist” I am alluding to the fact that we are all creative, multi-dimensional visionary artists (and dreamers) whose canvas is life itself.
As more of us wake up to our true nature as creative beings, we can connect with each other and co-operatively create what I call an “Art-Happening Called Global Awakening“. In this work of collaborative, visionary, living art, we can put our lucid awareness together and “conspire to co-inspire” to wake ourselves up and activate our collective genius so as to dream a more grace-filled universe into materialization. This is nothing less than an exponential quantum leap in human consciousness. We are being invited by the universe to actively participate in our own evolution.
Jung had great insight into the primary role that the human psyche plays in the creative process (or lack thereof) of humankind, both in individuals and collectively as a species. As Jung reminds us, “the human psyche is the womb of all the arts.” He recognized the significance of the creative artist as an archetypal figure existing within the collective unconscious of humanity which literally is the conduit for and revelation of the creative spirit existing within all of us. Being an archetypal figure, the artist is a role that exists outside of time while simultaneously continuing to re-present itself in infinitely creative guises and unique iterations in, through, and over time. Talking about how a new idea, a creative way of looking at the world comes into existence, Jung says “Although they come into being at a definite time, they are and have always been timeless. They arise from that realm of creative psychic life out of which the ephemeral mind of the single human being grows like a plant that blossoms, bears fruit and seed, and then withers and dies.” Human beings are the conduits through which the timeless creative process that underlies and in-forms the human psyche as well as the world at large becomes actualized in linear time. The inner, archetypal figure of the artist facilitates and is the vehicle for the continual unfoldment of our psychological and spiritual self-realization, as in this figure the creative spirit realizes itself through us, while at the same time we reciprocally realize ourselves through it.
Jung said, “The unborn work in the psyche of the artist is a force of nature‚Ä¶We would do well, therefore, to think of the creative process as a living thing implanted in the human psyche.” This “living thing implanted in the human psyche” is a creative and creating spirit, an inspiring wind that blows where it wills. Speaking of this living spirit, Jung commented that, “it freely chooses the men [and women] who proclaim it and in whom it lives.” This is to say that the creative spirit is autonomous and not under the control of our ego. To quote Jung, this spirit is like “a hush that follows the storm, a reconciling light in the darkness of man’s mind, secretly bringing order into the chaos of his soul.” The creative spirit is a holy and whole-making spirit, a living spiritual being that literally animates and potentially, depending upon how we relate to it, either destroys or heals us. Speaking of this same sacred spirit, Christ said in the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
As if a living oracle, the figure of the artist is a mouthpiece for the time in which they live. Like a psychic scribe, they are able to outwardly express and explicate the emerging zeitgeist, the implicate spirit of the age, while simultaneously giving shape to the deeper, archetypal, time-less, and unconscious process which in-forms all ages. For Jung, the artist “‚Ä¶lifts the idea he is seeking to express out of the occasional and the transitory into the realm of the ever-enduring. He transmutes our personal destiny into the destiny of mankind, and evokes in us all those beneficent forces that ever and anon have enabled humanity to find a refuge from every peril and to outlive the longest night.”
The artist allows themselves to get “dreamed up” by the field to become the “medium” through which the spirit of the age moves and inspires them to creatively express itself. Speaking about this process, Jung said, “At such moments we are no longer individuals, but the race; the voice of all mankind resounds in us.” The artist is an open, receptive instrument through which a living creative spirit gives shape to and reveals itself. In this process, the artist becomes an ongoing revelation to themselves, while at the same time their art is a revelation of the creative spirit to the world. Their art is both a manifestation of, as well as a gateway through which we become introduced to the creative spirit which lives within all of us.
THE UNIVERSE AS A WHOLE SYSTEM
When our universe is viewed as a whole system composed of multiple dimensions fractally and “holarchically” (i.e., a hierarchy of holons; a “holon” is both a part of a greater whole and a whole system in and of itself) nested within each other, when something is out of balance in the system, whether it be on the level of the individual, family, community, nation or planet, the greater underlying field self-regulates and invariably manifests so as to compensate the one-sidedness in the system. This innate self-balancing mechanism is similar to how dreams are simultaneously an expression of and a compensation for our unconsciousness. When seen as a family system, all the seemingly separate parts and members of the whole, unified and unifying system are recognizable as fundamentally interconnected and holographic reflections of each other.
When there is an unconscious imbalance or disturbance in the field, a co-responding and reflex-ive compensatory process becomes activated in the underlying unifying field, invariably resulting in an archetypal, healing figure incarnating in human form – whether we call this figure artist, shaman, healer, seer, or poet. The intuitive human beings who become channels for this process are tuned into and sensitive to the underlying unified field in a way that helps the field to unify. To quote Jung, “Whenever conscious life becomes one-sided or adopts a false attitude, these images ‘instinctively’ rise to the surface in dreams and in the vision of artists and seers to restore the psychic balance, whether of the individual or of the epoch.”
The inspiration that comes through the artist is like a healing enzyme, a time-release multivitamin, which the underlying unified field organically secretes when needed. Jung continues, “An epoch is like an individual; it has its own limitations of conscious outlook, and therefore requires a compensatory adjustment. This is effected by the collective unconscious when a poet or seer lends expression to the unspoken desire of his times and shows the way, by word or deed, to its fulfillment.”
The figure of the artist plays a crucial role in the psychological health of a people. Jung comments on this key function that the artist plays in the world at large by saying, “By giving it shape, the artist translates it into the language of the present, and so makes it possible for us to find our way back to the deepest springs of life. Therein lies the social significance of art: it is constantly at work educating the spirit of the age, conjuring up the forms in which the age is most lacking. The unsatisfied yearning of the artist reaches back to the primordial image in the unconscious which is best fitted to compensate the inadequacy and one-sidedness of the present.”
Following their inner calling, the creative artist’s unique vision “en-livens” them, which can oftentimes lead to them having trouble fitting into the suffocating, deadening constraints of conventional, mainstream society. To quote Jung, “Here the artist’s relative lack of adaptation turns out to his advantage; it enables him to follow his own yearnings far from the beaten path, and to discover what it is that would meet the unconscious needs of his age. Thus, just as the one-sidedness of the individual’s conscious attitude is corrected by reactions from the unconscious, so art represents a process of self-regulation in the life of nations and epochs.”
The figure of the artist is “not free,” however, in the sense that they are subordinate to and in the service of their impulse to create. A genuine artist has the utmost loyalty and fidelity to their inner voice, which is a real, full-time vocation, as if they are following a higher, religious calling. The artist’s path is truly spiritual, as they have offered their life in service to something beyond and greater than themselves. To quote Jung, “Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes through him.” The artist has an “inner necessity” to create new forms that express what they are experiencing. Interestingly, “inner necessity” is a phrase coined to describe the compelling urgency to create which animated German Expressionism (the artistic movement that arose in Germany during the time of their nation’s collective psychosis during the first part of the last century).
Just like a child in a family is a natural-born shaman and intuitively “picks-up” and unwittingly embodies the unresolved energies in the family system by unconsciously acting them out, we, as “members” of the greater human family, are all potential shamans, healers and artists, as we are conduits for internalizing, metabolizing, and channeling the deeper unconscious shadow that is in the collective family system of our species. Jung points out that the daemon, in the form of our inner voice “makes us conscious of the evil from which the whole community is suffering, whether it be the nation or the whole human race. But it presents this evil in an individual form, so that one might at first suppose it to be only an individual characteristic.” It is very seductive to personalize, and pathologize, our inner experiences, believing they are just our own problems, without realizing that we might be unwittingly being dreamed up by the underlying field to pick-up, like a would-be shaman, the split-off, unconscious energies that are playing out all around us.
As the artist expands their consciousness through the act of artistic creation, they effect a subtle but very real change at the level of the unconscious itself. This effect potentially has far-reaching consequences, extending throughout space as well as in, over and outside of time, as this change in the collective unconscious nonlocally impacts the entire underlying field of non-dual consciousness which pervades everything. Deepening their inner realization through their creative act, the artist is tapping into the source matrix, the zero point energy field, out of which events, both individually in our personal lives, and writ large on the world stage, emerge. In finding new forms of creatively expressing what is moving them, the artist is literally shedding the light of consciousness of the underlying unifying field on itself, thereby “lighting up” their very being and the world around them.
A deep inner necessity inspires the artist to continually find novel ways of creatively expressing their experience. If the artist stopped metabolizing and creatively giving shape and form to what was being touched inside of them, they run the risk of becoming neurotic, and getting stuck in and overwhelmed by the unconsciousness that is playing out all around them. When “called” by the spirit, it is important for the would-be shaman/healer/artist to assent and say “yes” to being called, in which case they are supported by the very powers that sponsored their calling in the first place.
ART-MAKING IS A SACRED ACT
Creatively giving shape and form to the underlying energies which animate our species in a “container” that can hold the experience allows for a shamanic, holy, and whole-making ritual to be made real in time. The act of participating in the creation of art is a magical, ceremonial rite, a sacred liturgy, a higher-dimensional form of communion, a kind of “performance art,” which simultaneously transfigures the unconscious energies in both the artist and the surrounding field. Creatively expressing what is moving us is the very act which liberates us from the compulsion of having to unconsciously re-create these energies (self)-destructively in a way that continually re-traumatizes both ourselves and the world around us. Alchemically transforming these energies, an artist allows them to reveal their holy origin. The act of art-making partakes of the nature of the divine, in that the entire universe, which is itself a living work of continually-unfolding art, becomes infused with endless-inspiration as we consciously realize our relationship with our ever-evolving and never-expiring, creative spirit.
Art-making is a sacred act. Art attains its greatest numinosity and ability to affect others when the creator of the work of art is being transformed in and through the act of creating. One can mimic sacred art for a living, many people get paid for this, but ultimately this is a mere forgery. There is a world of difference between copying, imitating and aping sacred art, and living our own creative experience. When we live creatively guided by our daemon, our life itself becomes a living work of art. Continually participating in our own creative process, our unique articulation of our experience then becomes imbued with a psycho-activating energy, which can nonlocally catalyze a process of transformation throughout the entire universe.
We have but one word, the word “Art” to connote when someone draws a stick figure on a piece of paper as well as when somebody channels a masterpiece which can change the consciousness of our species as well as the course of history. As we shed more light on the artistic, creative process, it becomes important to create a new, richer language so as to differentiate between different levels of artistic accomplishment. For example, it is one thing when a company puts on a play and the actors that perform the various roles play them convincingly but don’t really access in themselves the deeper, living experience of transformation that the characters go through, nor understand the deeper meaning of the drama they are enacting. Their play can still affect the audience if done well but it is a different order of artistic creation, with a much deeper transformative impact on the audience’s spirit and psyche that occurs, when night after night the actors continually deepen their own inner realization of what they are acting out through the ritual en-act-ment of the ceremonial drama they are incarnating.
When the work of art is performed, as in a play or music, something “passes between” the artist and the audience. A true collaboration, the artist and their audience enter into an intimately engaged symbiotic relationship, connecting with each other in such a way that they both become transformed. Feeding off of and into each other in a way that uplifts and inspires everyone, both the artist and the audience couldn’t be creating their experience without the other, as by their mutual co-operation they create something greater than themselves. Their “art-event” deepens the artist’s and their audiences’ realization of how they can engage with each other so as to creatively dream up a trance-forming and transforming experience for everyone involved. The artist and their audience co-operatively create a new universe in the process.
A living work of art is something which transforms and re-invents the artist in and through the very act of creating it. This inner self-realization of the artist is both catalyzed and re-presented by the work they have created. A living receptacle and repository of the artist’s experience of transformation, integration, and transcendence, the artist’s realization is expressed in the work of art so as to reciprocally invest and empower the work of art with the ability to transmit a similar transformation to others. A work of art can potentially have this effect on us, to quote Jung, “when we let a work of art act upon us as it acted upon the artist. To grasp its meaning, we must allow it to shape us as it shaped him.” A truly empowered work of art becomes saturated with a numinous energy, as it is a portal through which we can glimpse and have a living experience of a deeper, more transcendental and unified world, one beyond our personal and limited ego. To quote Jung, “The essence of a work of art” is to be found “in its rising above the personal and speaking from the mind and heart of the artist to the mind and heart of mankind.” The work of art becomes a living testament to, encoded with, and a carrier of this experience of transformation, as if the work of art unlocks the doorway through which this transformation becomes activated in and transferred to others in an act of living transmission. The artist’s creative endeavors are timeless “art-i-facts,” which act like transducers of the semantic, symbolic power encoded in the human psyche.
Art-making is distinct from all other ordinary human-made endeavors in that it is a spiritual act through which we, as artists, tap into our creative nature, alchemically re-create and transform ourselves, and potentially change the world in which we live in the process. Contagious in its effects, art can “virally” spread via the unconscious of our species in a way which liberates and unleashes a latent, creative energy lying dormant in the unconscious of humanity, which has the power to effect real change in the world. An example is the galvanizing influence that music began having in the 1960′s – socially, politically, and on consciousness itself. The music of the 60′s was both an expression of an expanded consciousness, while simultaneously being the vibration which precipitated and catalyzed the very expansion of consciousness of which it was an expression.
Commenting on how art can spread via the unconscious, Jung said, “Social, political, and religious conditions affect the collective unconscious in the sense that all those factors which are suppressed by the prevailing views or attitudes in the life of a society gradually accumulate in the collective unconscious and activate its contents. Certain individuals gifted with particularly strong intuition then become aware of the changes going on in it and translate these changes into communicable ideas. The new ideas spread rapidly because parallel changes have been taking place in the unconscious of other people‚Ä¶If the translation of the unconscious into a communicable language proves successful, it has a redeeming effect. The driving forces locked up in the unconscious are canalized into consciousness and form a new source of power.” In creatively translating what is being touched inside of themselves into a communicable language, the artist taps into forms, vibrations, and realizations that exist in the formless, atemporal realm – a dimension existing “outside of time” – that are waiting to be discovered, formulated, and brought forth at the right moment “in time.” These liberating thought-forms spread rapidly and have such transformative and redeeming power because they exist in latent form in the shared collective unconscious of humanity, waiting to be activated so as to offer their gifts. The liberating vision of the artist attracts us into itself so as to make itself real in time, changing the world in the process.
Demanding more than safely sitting in the audience and passively watching, however, genuine art evokes and demands our active and engaged participation, from the very core of our being. A true work of art invites us into an intimate relationship not only with the work of art, but with ourselves as well. For the purpose of art is not to entertain us, medicate us and make us feel better, but to liberate us and reveal our intrinsic freedom. Art is therefore a unique manifestation of the divine in which we are invited to participate, a life-changing act in which IT manifests through us and we, and our world, become transformed in the process.
A pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence, Paul Levy is a healer in private practice, assisting others who are also awakening to the dreamlike nature of reality. Paul is also a visionary artist and a spiritually-informed political activist. He is the author of The Madness of George Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis,which is available on his website www.awakeninthedream.com. (See the first chapter, The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of our Collective Psychosis). Please feel free to pass this article along to a friend if you feel so inspired. You can contact Paul at email@example.com; he looks forward to your reflections. © Copyright 2010