Issue 57 –
Leaving The Nest
by Hal Stone
The period from the mid-sixties to the late sixties was a time of professional and personal expansion. In addition to my Jungian activities, I was beginning to branch out and do teaching in other places. On the personal level I was getting in touch with my emotions, particularly my anger and rage. The nice guy was dying and in his place appeared someone who was very new to me. I was constantly arguing and fighting at professional meetings. The situation got worse and worse because the angrier I got the more quiet everyone around me became. They were in the place I had been and the expression of anger was not considered appropriate.
In fact, what was happening was that I was shifting into another archetype without the awareness that this was happening. From the archetype of the spirit, where I had lived for so many years, I was moving into the archetype of the daemonic. I would come home from meetings and have dreams that my EKG was showing a heart problem. I was literally out of control. Over a period of four years it was as though I had moved from Christ to Satan.
One of the seductive things about rage and anger is that they fill us with a great deal of energy. I was filled during these years with a great deal of energy. The other seduction is the righteousness that one feels when one is angry. It is like a blindness and one keeps pounding one’s opponents, feeling completely justified in what one is doing. People were afraid of me, and for good reason. However, through this whole period, I felt like the man I was becoming. I was no longer waking up and wondering when I was going to feel like a man. The man had arrived.
During this time I had a number of dreams that had to do with the integration of the more primitive and instinctual energies. I want to share these dreams because this is such a critical step in the transformational process.
Dream of Integrating Instinctual Energies
Dream #1: I am lying in my bed looking out at the tree in the garden. There is a cat in the tree and it is about to pounce on a bird to kill it and eat it. I cannot stand the thought of the cat doing this and so in the dream I arrest the process. I stop it from happening. In doing so, I interfere with the natural process of nature. The cat starts to swing around the tree out of control, as though it were the victim of some centrifugal energy. I awaken with the cat swinging around the tree, out of control. This feeling of the cat swinging remains with me the whole day.
Dream #2: A mother cat has given birth to a litter of ten cats. Then I watch the mother cat begin to eat her young. I realize there must be something wrong with the litter and this is why she is doing this. I realize also that I am being forced to watch a natural process of nature, a process that is very difficult for me to accept.
What message was the unconscious trying to bring to me? I needed to become more related to nature, to the natural instinctual laws that govern the animal kingdom. I was having restored to me, much against my will, my natural instinctual heritage. As nasty as I was being in my outer life, at some deeper level a very important transformation was occurring. There then followed the next two dreams.
Dreams of Mongol Warriors
Dream #3: I am in my home when suddenly I become aware that California has been invaded by a horde of Chinese Mongol warriors. They are primitive and bloody and I am separated from my family. I start to run out of the house to find them when I am stopped by a man who is the leader of the invasion. He is a white man, however and he forces me to sit down at a desk. The essential thing is to use the experience well and to write and not to panic. I begin writing.
Once again the unconscious brings to me the power of the instinctual energies. Starting with my father in the Zurich dream, to Krupnick and his men, to the cat energy and now to the Mongol warriors. Invasions such as this break the form of the traditional civilizations. They break the form of the consciousness in which we are living. The form of my life was being destroyed and the people around me were paying the price. There followed one additional dream that I want to share.
Dream #4: I am wrestling with a powerful Chinese Mongol. It is a battle to the death and we both know it. He is very powerful, but I know I am powerful too. The battle rages on and on, neither of us able to gain the advantage over the other. I sustain an injury to my left hip but it does not deter me. We are finally exhausted and we begin to rub oil on each other. We embrace and neither is the victor and both are the victors. I am aware of the injury to my hip.
Both of the Mongol dreams were very powerful experientially and both have stayed with me over these many years. The Mongol is such a perfect personification of primitive earth energies. The Mongols were powerful; they were cruel. They were masters and they were conquerors. In the wrestling dream I finally came face to face with the energy that I had fought so hard to disown for so many years. Through the years, however, I had become stronger. Neither of us could vanquish the other.
The hip injury has other associations. It brought to my mind immediately the image of Jacob wrestling with the angel of God at the ford of Jabbok. Jacob also suffered an injury to his hip in this encounter. Could my Mongol opponent be likened to an angel of God? Would this be blasphemy? It would not be blasphemy if we think of each of our disowned energy patterns as being an aspect of a universal energy that has to be integrated by each of us.
The intelligence of the universe was again acting through my unconscious psyche and giving me a series of dreams to help bring a greater order to my life. This Intelligence is a mathematician. It has a sense of harmony and balance. It sets priorities. It seems to have an end in view for each of us. It wants us to be aware of all the patterns, to honor all the gods and goddesses. The power side was being integrated, for what outer purpose I knew not.
I have described how impossible I had become with associates during this period. I had also met and become friendly with a psychoanalyst, Ernie White. We began meeting regularly on Monday evenings and, in effect, he was psychoanalyzing me and I was doing Jungian analysis with him. This work was extremely important to me for several reasons. Since I had begun my separation process from the Jungian community, I had been feeling more and more isolated professionally. I had become increasingly aware of my lack of friends, of how much I had played the professional seer and wise man. In this relationship we were equals. I began to deal with the phantasy structure that I had never touched in my Jungian work. I went back to the original dream of the mother goddess and started from there to deal with the personal material that I had previously neglected. It was a healing experience.
My naughty boy days ended one morning when I was driving to my office in Westwood. I was making a right turn and an old man was crossing the street, using a cane because of his infirmity. Waiting for him to pass, I started swearing at him to hurry. At that moment I awakened from my archetypal slumber. Living identified with an archetype is like being asleep. I had been asleep at some level. My awareness now witnessed the voice of the daemonic, just as it had witnessed at an earlier time the voice of my Jungian training.
I didn’t understand everything at that moment, but I understood enough to realize I had to leave this scene, to get away and have time to think. I had turned from Jesus Christ into Satan and enough was enough. That morning I booked airplane passage to London and then passage back on the S. S. France to New York. Three weeks later I left for London and the next stage of my journey had begun.
I have always loved the ocean, and a real crossing is an amazing journey for me. I was seated with a lovely group of people and we all became quite friendly over the next few days. On the second or third day out they showed the newly released film version of Romeo and Juliet. For me, it was just what the doctor ordered. About half-way through the film I began to cry and I cried non-stop for about four hours. It seemed as though every bit of hardness had melted from me.
When it was over I felt a clarity I had never known before. I saw where I had been and from where I had come and I felt free. I returned to Los Angeles and it was clear to me that I could no longer remain affiliated with the Jungian community. It was no longer a question of anger, though I was not fully freed of that. It was just not my home any more. At that time I was president of the L.A. Society. I completed my term of office, another two to three months, attended the last business meeting, and my connection was finished.
I have subsequently learned many things. One of the significant lessons is that sustained anger always has something underneath it and behind it. One need only to look. I have never been an easy person with endings. My tendency has been always to chop, and I have not been too graceful. For that I am sorry. On the other hand, these were major shifts in consciousness that were taking place in me and there were not a great many people available for support.
Shortly before my final decision to leave the Jungian Society, I had a dream that I was living in a house of death, and that if I didn’t get out, I would die. The dream made my decision irrevocable. I realized that it was talking about a state of consciousness and, for me, separating from the group was essential for my leaving that condition of consciousness. The hardest, the most difficult aspect of the transformational process, is the working out of relationships as we move through major changes in our lives.
For my Jungian years I am eternally grateful. The richness and the texture that they brought to my life were, and remain, invaluable. It was becoming clear to me that I couldn’t be identified with anything. Being a member of the Jungian community felt like a form that stopped me from going wherever it was I had to go. On a psychological level this was a time of death, a time of endings and new beginnings.