A Journal of Inner Work and Therapeutic Arts
Immanence and Identity in Plural Personality

Last Updated: 9 December 2016

Shenjiva is an online journal of inner work and therapeutic arts, of creative strategies and healing practices engaged in an effort to apprehend, analyze and work through psychoemotional and existential issues.

The arts most often include astrology and other schemata used in cognitive mapping, character, dynamics, pattern and path analyses, writing and poïetic verse, painting, meditations, mantras, movements and motifs.

All ideas, analyses, conclusions drawn and decisions framed, paintings exhibited, verses published, all things made in this journal are of the process and apply specifically in the period of creation; they may not be consistent or even compare with work recorded elsewhen or where. They are part of the evolution, the continuous work toward enlightenment.

While Shenjiva is self-referential in nature and scope, the work draws freely upon material from many philosophies, schools and systems, authors and artists, historical and contemporary, all fully cited.


Richard Dagan
The Transformation
the transformation

Dharma proceeds from immanent presence, as an evolving egoic function in relation with intrapsychically perceived, continuously changing principals both personal and transpersonal in nature, of me and beyond, familiar yet numinous agencies with whom I communicate, by feeling and image but chiefly by word, as 'voices' internally heard.

Matters of identity are central, bringing together the many as one, inclusiveness, egality, developmental theme and expression as unity, a gestalt, resolving anxiety, dissonance and impeded qi, transforming in context of these to achieve harmony, enlightenment.

The project might be summarized as psychophilosophical expansion through continuous buildup and breakdown of identity constructs cathected in experience of multiplicity, with transformation of the egoic rede in meeting the developmental need of the group.

site name

Shenjiva conjoins the concepts of SHEN and JIVA in description of immanence experienced by an evolving egoic function in relation with an ordinating deity (God, Self) and multiple principals in a developmental gestalt.


In Ancient Egypt the shen ring symbolized infinity, eternity, and protection. The image is found as a hieroglyph, on stelae, in tombs, and as an amulet. It is represented as a circle of rope with ends hidden from view in a tangential fold below, suggesting unending continuity. When the shen ring encircled the sun, it symbolized the eternity of the universe.1

The apotropaic significance of the shen ring and the extended version called the cartouche, which contained the royal name for example, evolved from the notion of protection by encirclement.

The shen, , from the Egyptian word for encircle, go around, referring to the course of the sun around the world, was a symbol in the form a ring, , dating to the Old Kingdom at least and stood for protection by encirclement.

The shen is closely associated with the falcon god Horus, with the tutelary vulture goddess Nekhbet and with Isis, all three deities were closely involved with the special protection the kingship received from the gods. Since the Old Kingdom the pharaoh's name was surrounded by a cartouche, which was an elongated shen-symbol. Apart from enjoying the protection the shen afforded them, the kings, by writing their names on the symbol's inside, which stood for the universe, laid claim to the rule over the whole creation. Another vulture goddess, Mut, is also shown holding a shen-ring in her talons at times.

Horus, (Louvre Museum), 'Shen rings' in his grasp.

Horus. 'Shen rings' in his grasp. Louvre Museum.
Amulet representing a ram-headed falcon. Ancient Egypt, 1254 BC (26th year of the reign of Rameses II), found in the tomb of an Apis bull in the Serapaeum of Memphis at Saqqara. Gold, lapis, turquoise and cornelian. Guillaume Blanchard, July 2004, Fujifilm S6900. Wikipedia.

Shenjiva. Modified Shen Ring. Logo.

Shen RingLeft to right:

  • Credit: Global Egyptian Museum. Click image to visit site.
  • Credit: Arkysite: Archaeology & symbolism in the ancient world.
    David Ian Lightbody. Click image to visit site.
  • The logo developed for this site is shown at right. In consonance with the ancient Egyptian connotations, the circle represents Earth encirled by Sun, wholeness, and deity. Dots at the base of the circle replace the stylized knot and indicate infinity, as well as experience of 'self' in context of multiple inner voices, and thus, ego-Self relation and plurality in personality. Personal, collective, and transpersonal. Rather than apotropaic, a warding off of evil, the theme goes to developmental integrity, boundary and transcendence. Meanings here are multiplex.

Inlaid Diadem with Vulture and Cobra.

Inlaid Diadem with Vulture and Cobra. Gold, glass, obsidian, carnelian, malachite, chalcedony, lapis lazuli. Dynasty 18, reign of Tutankhamun (1332-1323 B.C.). Thebes, Valley of the Kings, tomb of Tutankhamun.
Image Credit: (June 2009)

Related to shen and the protection conferred by Horus2 and Nekhbet3,4 the vulture goddess who also carried the shen ring, we note that the latter was always seen with Wadjet5,6,7,8 the cobra goddess on the pharaoh's double crown after the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. Both Nekhbet and Wadjet are associated with the Eye of Ra, as are Hathor and Mut, Sekhmet and Bastet — powerful protective and violent shaktis of Ra. Their unification here implies focus on wholeness, personal, collective, and trans...

In Chinese shén is a polyseme, a word with many different but related senses of meaning, 11 of which are distinguished in the Hanyu Da Zidian, a reference work on Chinese characters. These different meanings are thought to be diachronic, to have evolved over the course of three millennia.

In philosophic and religious contexts, shén refers to spirit, god, awareness, consciousness. Semantic variations include god or supernatural being, the law of nature, spirit, state of mind, magic and the super-
natural, genius, governance, respect, circumspection, exhibition, dignity, ecstasy, and more.

The term may also refer to human life activities in a broad sense, and to one's thinking and awareness activities in a narrow sense.9


JIVA (Sanskrit: जीव, jīva, jiwa, jeev) generally refers to the immortal essence, the individual soul of a living being, relative to ATMAN, the Self, the Universal Soul. We apply the term in a similar but somewhat different sense, in a synthesis of the following constructs:10

The word 'jīva' is derived from the root 'jīv', which means 'to continue breathing'. Other names for it include "bhoktā" [experient] and "kartā" [agent]. (#15)

According to Viśiṣṭādvaita, individual souls are real, eternal, unborn, spiritual, have knowledge and are of the nature of knowledge. [...] an inseparable part of God and are dependent thereupon [...] souls are both agent and enjoyer. They are a part or mode of God. Their relation is one of inseparability, with the individual soul related to and dependent upon God. (#6)

According to Jainism, the individual soul is characterized by consciousness, life, immateriality, and extension in space. Consciousness is its characteristic mark and consists in knowldge, insight, bliss, and power. [...] there is a plurality of individuals. (#1)

According to the Yoga school, the individual soul is a changeless, eternal, omnipresent, conscious entity. [...] Liberation comes when the individual soul roots out ignorance and stills the modifications of the mind. (#14)

According to Buddhism, there is no individual (soul) apart from a cluster of factors. The individual is a mere name for a complex of changing constituents. (#2) [Aggregates, skandhas; Anatman, anatta, no-self; the Self is no-self]¤

And these:11

In the Bhagavad Gita, the jiva is described as immutable, eternal, numberless and indestructible.12,13,14,15 It is said not to be a product of the material world (Prakṛti), but of a higher 'spiritual' nature.16 At the point of physical death the jiva takes a new physical body depending on the karma and the individual desires and necessities of the particular jiva in question.

Aniruddha defines the Jiva, the empirical self, as the self determined by the body, the external sense-organs, mind, intellect, and egoism; the self which is devoid empirical cognition, merit, demerit, and other mental modes is the transcendental Ātman.17 When the Jiva breaks the shackles of Prakṛti it becomes the transcendental self.18

Īśvara and the jivas are both empirical realities, the former is the ruler and the impeller, and the latter are the ruled the ones who are impelled.19

  • The Sāṃkhya System. Radhakrishnan B. Indian Philosophy. Centenary Edition. Vol.2. 1989:323.

    Puruṣa is the perfect spirit, not to be confused with the particular human spirit. The puruṣa is certainly in me, this individual me, as my very core and substance; and the jiva, or the individual, with all his irrational caprices and selfish aims, is but a distortion of puruṣa. To say that every jiva is striving to realise its puruṣa means that every jiva is potentially puruṣa, every man is potentially divine.

    The conception of jiva develops in Sāṃkhya because puruṣa and prakṛti cannot be attributed the qualities of cogniser and enjoyer, agent and experient. If we consider jiva as egoic function, in this sense, we can appreciate its importance as an instrument of development, such that our objective is not the elimination of ego, but enlightenment, appreciation of its origin and activity. Consider Vajrayogini in this context, as imago.

    Vajrayogini Thangka 
in the Newari Style, aquired from a European collection and probably commissioned around 20 years ago. The thangka displays the Dakini known as Vajrayogini and above her head is the Buddha Vajrasattva. Credit: Garuda 
Trading, Cornwall, UK.

    Dakini Vajrayogini, Thangka, Newari Style. Nepal. Probably commissioned around 20 years ago. Credit: Garuda Trading, Cornwall, UK.

Īśvara and shen bear some degree of equivalence for me with respect to experience of immanent deity, not in terms of a creator-god but an ultimate reality. My use of the term jiva is along the lines described by Aniruddha, and informed by Buddhist thought, Pratītyasamutpāda ('dependent origination', 'dependent arising') and anatta ('no self', soulessness), by which 'I' am a cluster or continuity bound together by kammic force, character-
ized by recurrent uppada, arising or genesis, thiti, static or development, and bhanga, cessation or dissolution.

I am not an 'immortal soul' or 'immortal essence' but rather, an evolving egoic function invested with agency in a gestalt of transpersonal principals, a complex of changing constituents, in the ordinating immanent divinity, the Self (atman, Īśvara, shen).

'I' am only sensible in context of this gestalt, in, on, and of this plane of immanence.

Solar System C3 Map

Solar System C3 Map. Monk TS, Holladay J, et al. GLEX-2012.05.1.1x12345 - Space launch system mission flexibility assessment. Credit: NASA. Public Domain.

Gestalt principals may present as elements in a given schema, as, e.g, ennea-types in the Enneagram, or planets in the solar system → Sun as deity (Īśvara, Shen, Self), or Moon, Mercury, etc. Think of Atmakaraka.