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

Studies Index...

The thin line between egocentricity and channeling or mediumship...

7-8-9-10 December 2012

1   Ego development through self-concept formulations and role identifications may be undertaken in parallel with the performance of egoic receptive communicative functions associated with channel- or mediumship. I think one may act as a channel or medium with or without egoic awareness and conscious intent, and that action may nonetheless serve a beneficial transpersonal purpose.

But it also strikes me that negative manifestations of behavior are more likely in that latter case, and that such experience does not itself facilitate intrapsychic communication and harmonization — indeed, is often symptomatic of the opposite, namely lack of communication among disparate principals, leading to a state of disharmony projected outward — though both are important tasks in ego development and function. Here I am reminded of the "healthy ego" described by Jungian Analyst Jean Shinoda Bolen(1985).

We are walking a fine line with respect to ego in this sense.

Where one leans to the left in the presence of unresolved narcissistic deficit, the objective may become compensatory — action may shift to self-aggrandizement and hegemonic interpersonal initiatives.

On the other hand, with a shift to the right, one may sacrifice the pragmatic for the imaginarium fantastic, seeking escape from the constant work of identity, the frustration and isolation, problems of object constancy and trust, arbitrary authority, etc.

In the center, the point of balance would involve an ego of sufficient stability and confidence to chop wood and carry water, to operate as an individual in a unified multiplicity, yet without need for affirmation at the expense of integrity or egality with respect to self and other. In most cases, this would involve an identification with, for instance, an imago or transcendent archetype such as "Self" in the Jungian sense, a numinous epiphany, the hierophantic experience of divinity.

Intending to write about this fine line in a poem, I awoke with these words on my mind:

making more of what is there
and less of what is not
he draws new circles in the air
reclaiming what is lost.

Ends and bridges were missing, but efforts to flesh out the poem proved problematic:

divine and cast new circles
play roles internally defined
make more of what is there
and less of what is not
in trials and comparisons fraught
with castles in the air, fears
and nameless anxiety, despair
of tragic loss and human cost
in the time of balsamic moon
in the midst of confusion and
uncertainty, explore unicity.

Came to mind not long thereafter these familiar words of Laozi*:

Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub;
It is the center that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore profit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.

2   That seemed to end the controversy for me — at least to the degree that I could let the matter go and focus on making supper. Later, well fed, retired early to bed, I awoke from the following dream:

In the southeast quadrant of the dreamscape, on the cold sunny day of a highschool track meet (track-and-field competition), a male and female competitor and I prepare ourselves at the cement steps leading up to the west face of a small wood-framed house owned by a woman who observes us on the landing. The male is an adult professional, wearing several layers of blue protective clothing which he loosens but does not remove as he divests himself of his expensive boots. I closely observe his feet, recognizing those of a competitive man with whom I no longer have contact.  The female and I have removed our footwear already, and our dark knee-high boots stand on the landing, against the white siding of the house. Though our boots are not as expensive as the male's, I am concerned they might be stolen, so ask the woman if we might place them inside. She agrees. I bring the boots inside, find the interior somewhat familiar but have no real affinity with any of the furnishings, then rush to the bathroom to void before the race. That task complete, I run due west from the house and am quickly restrained by a young man, age 15-16 perhaps, shorter than I, friendly and excited, who appears to know me, who grabs my left arm above the elbow and tries to pull me, in a friendly way, to the southwest, where I have the impression of older individuals — seen as tall, genderless, light-gray-blue-white beings without clearly discernible features, engaged in no apparently organized activity — but I quickly pull away, fearing that the race in which I am to run will start before I get there. But where is the race taking place?  All I see before me to the north, in the northwest quadrant, are young children and pre-teens, running in groups around two different tracks. I'm looking for the adolescent race, it seems, and realize it must be to the east, in the northeast quadrant. I envision the competitors, their camaraderie as a group. but cannot see them in the dreamscape. I have the distinct impression that it's too late.  Initially, I feel disappointed. But I also find a race with these teenagers an odd pursuit. I am much older than they, and of different inclinations.

3   Preliminary Assessment

Note the loci and cast of five (5) characters:

  • Small wood-framed (element: WOOD) house (self-sense; stands alone, no other house in the vicinity: loner) is located in the southeast quadrant (social expression). First half of dream takes place in the south hemisphere (social, objective, collective); middle segment at center, with the young man pointing toward the southwest quadrant (social identity); and last half in the north hemisphere (personal and subjective), with the children and pre-teens in the northwest quadrant (personal expression) and the envisaged teens in the northeast quadrant (personal identity).
  • Male (animus), female (anima) and I (androgyne);
    Woman who owns the house
          (Self representation; daimon;
          mother imago, e.g., Isis, Hathor);
    Young man, age 15-16 ().

Both the male and female are competitors — he, obviously more "invested" than she, and she, more experienced and confident than I. Though aware of these differences, I am not intimidated; the male (animus) and female (anima) are intimately familiar to me (androgyne) [: together, we comprise an egoic triad] — both are silent in this instance. Concern for the safety of our footwear (egoic support) goes to investment in self-concept. Seeking permission to store the boots inside goes to daimonic tolerance/acceptance of self-identification (affirming self-concept in self-sense): the woman who owns the house may be a Self representation, but is essentially a detached observer, a maternal presentment (Moon in Taurus, Hathor, Isis — we are working something out, reconstructing past events, and being allowed to do so without interference). Voiding prior to the race suggests concern for optimal performance, rather than competition fears associated with urethral phase development (but my use of the term "voiding" suggests negation of some sort, perhaps social involvement or commitment, which depends on internal harmony). Running outside to join the race, I am restrained by a young man age 15-16, who seems to know me, who would pull me left (sinistrad: think this through) to the southwest (social identity), but I am determined to go north instead — to the personal and subjective.

But in the north (personal and subjective), in the northwest quadrant (personal expression), I find only children: my race is not there. The root of the identity problem we explore does not occur in childhood — I am seeking a different group, a different time frame: adolescence. The adolescent race must be to the east (self focus), in the northeast quadrant (personal identity). I envision the teens but do not actually see or find them, and I quickly realize that it's too late ... I cannot participate. As attractive as the idea of "belonging" may be, it is obvious that I do not belong, am not a participant in an external group.  This does not seem my decision, so much as a matter of fact. It seems that the race was not as important as the framing of identity in the context of a social group, to resolve isolation, to connect, to meet and track (track meet).

4   Deeper Analysis

At this point in the dream assessment, remembering Laozi's Ch. 11, it seems useful to identify what was not there, to explore a path of action present in the dream but not pursued. Here we return to the young man, age 15-16, who wanted me to go southwest (social identity). Blinkered by the need to find my race, I pulled away from him despite his excitement and friendly encouragement to head southwest. But what I saw in that direction did not seem meaningful to me. I thought my own (egoic) focus, the race and finding place was more important. But the young man likely represents the essence of an hierophantic experience at that age, 15-16 years, and its profound impact on my life [Ming Gua = 5 = 2 = EARTH (SW) = southwest quadrant]. He is excited, eager to show me what he has found, but I pull away. Okay, let's stipulate that this was an egoic fixation on my part, pursuit of an idée fixe  which exposes a narcissistic need and social impulsion, perhaps related to genital stage development, a desire for participation and acceptance in an adolescent social context. Not estimated in the dream but clearly known to me and relevant with respect to this idée fixe  is the recurrence of memories dealing with social failures and calumny, presenting in melancholic waves of tsunamic quality, often culminating in suicide ideation which seems to act as a purge, the catharsis clearing away constraining or problematic self-concept constructions and enabling new growth. That pattern led to the hierophantic experience mentioned above, and to the recognition of belonging, of love and understanding in transcendent terms, not dependent on social connectedness and interaction.

But what "world", what sort of experience are we looking at in the southwest?  The dream does not reveal the connection, the "social identity", the role. We see that the young man is representative of psychospiritual shift, and that the beings active in the southwest are spirit-like, not a social organization or culture per se. Each seems to be pursuing a specific way or path, yet all are similar in a sense. To be sure, this was inferred rather quickly in the dream, and I may be elaborating here, extrapolating a posteriori. Still, the context doesn't equate with what I apprehended in the northwest and northeast. The southwest implies something quite different. An other-worldly experience. Descriptors such as empathy, mediumship or "channeling" (i.e., receiving, speaking for or as) all seem to apply, but the personal element that underlies everything involves recurrent introjection (in Sándor Ferenczi's sense of the term: see M. Torok, 1968: 112), egoic death and rebirth, psychospiritual reorientation.

Final Contributions to the Problems and Methods of Psycho-Analysis
Sándor Ferenczi. Karnac Books. (1955; December 1994: 316ff.)

The theme is consonant with that of the Eighth House in astrology. Jupiter/Anubis tenant the Eighth, ruled by
Uranus (Aquarius cusp), and Uranus is found in the Twelfth House (Cancer), as is the Part of Fortune.

Let's examine the astrological significators in greater depth.
What do we find in the southwest quadrant, or in all of the quadrants for that matter?

In the chart at left, note the preponderance of planets in the left (self) hemisphere. Note that the major stellium is located in Taurus (southeast), and is square Pluto in Leo (northeast). Pluto is trine Vesta/Venus and their complement in Aries, however, possibly indicating social expression in some type of art but more importantly, because Vesta/Venus is the focus at the base of the kite formation (Neptune R, Pluto, Chiron R, Vesta/Venus), signifies an emphasis on harmonization in the "hearth". In the Koch system and quadrature, these factors involve the First and Tenth Houses (personality and career), which seems to go to an analytic psychological orientation, mediated by "psychic" sensitivity, self-refinement and healing of psychic wounds. A "career" is not precisely indicated, so much as a "calling" or vocation, a set of activities which may or may not result in social recognition but which certainly constitute a social expression and contribution. Quadrants at play: southeast, northeast, and northwest.

The southwest quadrant

The southwest quadrant (social identity) consists of the Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Houses. Here we find Persephone (VII), Jupiter/Anubis (VIII), and Diana (IX).

  • Jupiter/Anubis tenant the Eighth House (Aquarius/Pisces), ruled by Uranus in the Twelfth (Cancer): Jupiter/Anubis trine Uranus.
  • Jupiter is dignified in Pisces, and is part of a kite formation with
    Uranus (Cancer) and Pallas Athena (Scorpio, base), Varuna/Psyche (Taurus, apex) [sextile Jupiter]. WATER and EARTH.
  • Jupiter is biquintile and Anubis is trine Isis; Anubis is quintile Mercury R. Isis is trine Caput, sextile Cauda.
  • Jupiter opposes Saturn in Third House Virgo, the northeast;
    Saturn trines the stellium and is Quintile Uranus, which is trine Jupiter.
  • Uranus is parallel Pluto.
  • Neptune R is apex of a kite formation with
    Vesta/Venus/Caput/MC (base), Pluto and Chiron R.
  • Persephone trines Neptune R, which is biquintile Moon and Mercury R.
  • Persephone is apex of a kite formation with
    Pluto (base), Ceres/Chiron R, Vesta/Venus/Apollo; Persephone is also square Pallas Athena and Moon.

Selected articles of interest with regard to the Eighth House: