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Down the Rabbit Hole
Paul Kiritsis, PsyD candidate, DPhil., MA (Psychology), MA (History)

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Guided Fantasy: An Exercise for Descent into the Unconscious

Paul Kiritsis - Monday, October 01, 2012
  Artistic depiction of the materia prima, the Unconscious

You may choose to light a few scented white and black candles, spray some aromatic mist around the room, or burn some incense before beginning this technique in guided fantasy which is aimed at reconnecting you with the materia prima, or what Carl Gustav Jung called the collective unconscious. The materia prima is one of the deepest layers of consciousness that unites human beings on a psychic level and intimates a shared origin with all created matter. The positive effects of this practice should be felt in one’s mood and general outlook.

I want you to find a comfortable spot–either on the bed, on a chair, or on the floor–and start taking long and deep breaths. Breathe in and then breathe out. Breathe in and then breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. Do it nice and slowly. Do it rhythmically. Try to loosen every muscle in your body. Some will be tight no doubt. Let all the tension seep out of them with each exhalation.

Today I’ve got a little treat for you. We’re going on a little adventure to a place where nobody goes, not consciously that is.

 

*

 

There, beyond the visible boundaries of the psychoneotic world, the realm of objectified subjectivity, and the fiction of every being who has lived, is living, or is yet to live, is the materia prima, an agglomeration of amorphous, living tissue; something like a protoplasmic soup. It can mimic everything and anything–every physical sound, element, rhythm, pattern, and image; every object, animate and inanimate that exists or has existed; and every contingency of matter that may henceforth arise. Curiously, its true physical form and its true nature, if indeed it has one, has to my knowledge never been seen by any god, spirit, or mortal soul. In its resting or passive state, this hyle of the entire cosmos appears as a wide stretch of sea might at a time of doldrums. There are no crashing waves, no rips, and no currents. Nothing. There is only silence; eternal solitude. Its waters resemble the skin of the chameleon reptile, morphing from green-blue, to red, to violet, to purple, and then back to green-blue again. Growing out of this jelloid tissue is a mound, an island decked in what I can only describe as granules of stardust that are black, jet black even. They are darker than a moonless night, deep space or black petrolatum oil, and glisten as if they’ve been tiled with splinters of broken glass. At its very centre stands something which resembles an ancient sequoia tree, its thick branches gnarled, tapering aimlessly towards the skies.

This patch of nebulous matter is the quintessence and the virgin mother of not only the individual life-force of all beings that inhabit the cosmos, whether they be discarnate intelligences or spirits contained within human bodies, but also of the life-force of the entire multiverse which contains them. Nobody dares to venture upon its shores, at least not anybody who can see beneath the veneer of what it parades as or pretends to be, that is. The only possible way than an individual life-force can make contact with it and survive absorption is to align itself with the materia prima’s basic moistness, its virginity, and its passive state of being. What I mean by this is that one mustn’t manifest their natural opposite, anything mentally active by nature like thinking, feeling, perceiving. In other words, one must ruminate in the state of bliss that mystics know as nirvana. This dream-like state is an awareness entirely indigenous to the materia prima. Banking on these shores without encompassing an entirely receptive state shall immediately be sensed as someone, or something, that is both foreign matter and outside itself, an intruding life-force, and anything outside itself is rapidly sucked into the gelatinising tissue of its own unconscious body. What does that mean? It basically means that you are brushed from the cosmic memory slate and are robbed of any chance to exist on any plane of reality. You suffer non-existence; you cease to exist, forever, for all time. 

There hasn’t really been a shortage of life-forces that have succeeded in clambering ashore the sands of the materia prima, but I’d anticipate that no more than a handful of those would have survived for more than a few seconds before the their memories, their emotions, their personal histories, anything which separates them from an otherwise undifferentiated unconsciousness matrix or field, betrayed their presence. All the gods, or any disembodied spirits that have generated enough unconscious willpower to burn their way through their own psychonoetic realities and into its vicinity, have agreed that at some stage somebody must have not only succeeded in trampling upon the flesh of the materia prima unharmed, but have even discovered a way to imbue it with his or her personal history. This imprint has remained ever since and the best evidence of it is in the things which surround you: the natural elements; the forests and cities; the earth; the galaxies; and the star clusters of deep space. It is the material dimension in which human beings live in today and the only point at which everything that exists in the cosmos can intermingle.

Generally speaking, the materia prima is marked by a complete absence of any activity. There is no starlight to light the night skies. There are no pink, red and white water lilies growing from black silt, and no sunlight to facilitate the opening and closing of their petals or plant photosynthesis. There are no swimming tadpoles jumping out from the banks of a river, or lions tearing the guts out of a gazelle. There is no rustling of tree leaves in the wind and no trickling of running waters down a rock mountain. There are no hunters or hunted, no friends or enemies, no past or future, no north or south, no up or down, no night and day, and no rising and falling. There are no cycles, no heat and movement, no opposites, no space, and no time. There’s just this dream-like state, the cogitation of eternity. It’s an eternity of inertia, an eternity of non-existence, an eternity that cannot be because there’s no conscious extension able to perceive it. This too is freedom, in a way.  

So in hindsight we have freedom cultivated through corporeal existence and a much stranger, passive form of freedom gained through non-existence. The punishment of freedom gained through non-existence is the worst that could happen to you. Looking at it from this perspective, it doesn’t seem like much of a punishment at all, does it? More of a blessing really, for now you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. With this comforting thought you finally enter the Stygian, dreamy state of unconditional solitude and lightlessness within your own being, saturating it with the formlessness of water, the darkness of the moon, the quietude of green and the receptivity of silver.

Then you step in…

 

*

 

It had existed for time immemorial, or at least that’s what it thought. Throughout the aeons it had remained inert, lethargic and wholly receptive, save for when neotic receptors on the boundaries of what it defined as itself picked up vibrations that were not of the same rate or frequency as its own. Such instances were minute and had occurred only since the beginning of time, but they carried the disastrous consequence of inverting its own nature. The knee-jerk reaction was to secrete a noetic acid around the foreign entity, dissolve it like a Borocca tablet and absorb the psychic components into its own mercurial body. Such entities would betray their presence by daring to express polarities at odds with its own and would illuminate themselves as rocky, solid spheres swimming inside the darkness of chthonic jelly.

On this occasion the tickling sensation coursing through its body was markedly different, strange even. The feeling didn’t originate from any one location and radiate outwards. Instead, it formed as vibrational ripples along the surface of the membrane that pulsed inward. The ripples were everywhere and nowhere. They were curiously silent too, so silent in fact that they could not be localised.

This was the first, or only the second time that a foreign entity had gone undetected whilst swimming through its sacred body. Its secret had somehow been discovered. Its codes had been broken. Something or somebody knew…

 

                                                            *

 

What happens next is rather puzzling, as if you’d somehow slipped through a mirror, or walked through a time warp, or been sucked through a black hole even. You are zapped through mountains and deserts of iridescent black dust to the heart of the amorphous heap, the place of the ancient sequoia tree.

It appears that three supernal flowers are growing out of it; one black, one white, and one red. The black and white ones spring from a contorted branch that is well within reach, the red from an offshoot directly above it. The sense of solitude about the place and the temptation to investigate are overwhelming, but they are short-lived.  

Another presence wanting to make itself known suddenly materialises. At first, ample movement from in amongst the branches of the ancient sequoia spurs the belief that the conscious force has manifested by the tree but that conviction swiftly goes the way of the dinosaurs. No, the presence isn’t by the tree at all; it is the tree, for as soon as your hand darts out to pluck the flowers the tree’s tapering branches began to morph and retract into its own trunk.    

“Who are you?” you ask.

“Who are you?” it echoes back.

“You know who I am.”

“You know who I am too,” it says, completing its uncanny transformation into the physiognomy of an individual you recognise as yourself.

“No, you’re not,” you reply. “I am not a part of you.”

“You’re right,” it says. “I am not you. I am a lot more than you are and ever will be.”

“Not necessarily,” you challenge it.

“You dare to equate yourself with me?”

“Why shouldn’t I?” you ask. “We stand on common ground now, do we not?”

“You are a lesser being.”

“Why?”

“You are mortal are you not?” it asks you.

“I guess so.”

“Then you, my dear, are corruptible and ephemeral,” it utters. “You are fated to die. You can never, will never know what I know about the cosmos. You won’t be around long enough to know.”

“That doesn’t make me any less intelligent,” you reason.

“Less intelligent, no,” it declares. “More self-serving, yes. Your dexterity amuses me, surprises me even. ”

“Why?”

“Because you’ve discovered,” it says.

“Discovered what?” you ask.

“How to get here of course,” it utters. “For all but one it has been a dismal failure.”

“I remembered my name,” you say.

“I know,” it tells you. “If you do not remember you lose your right to exist.”

“What is yours?” you ask bluntly.

“I am of innumerable names.”

“Tell me.”

“Queen,” it said.

“Other names,” you prompt it.

“I am Aphrodite, Hathor, Isis, Artemis, Hera, Ceres, Cybele, Demeter, Ereskigal, Inanna, Ishtar, Parvati, Si-wang-mu, and many, many others.”

“What about your true nature,” you say. “What is it?”

"I am the red flames from the Sahara that extirpate all life and hope yet I am also the black-seeded silt of the pregnant Nile. I am the mountain of light from which virgin souls sail from yet I am also the chasm in which the impure have become entrapped.”

“You are a shy housewife, are you not?”

“Yes,” it says. “I love how you know these things.”

“You do?”

“Yes, it’s rather like a baboon learning to speak Egyptian or a human learning Dolphinese,” it says. “You classify as one of those types. You’ve learned my language, the language of the shy housewife. Not many reach that milestone. Sadly it won’t last, it will be forgotten.”

“Why do you say that?” you ask.

“The language was never intended for the vulgar and the profane,” it decreed. “Human beings are fitting candidates for both. They will never use it to do good. It will only serve as a means to an end, a way to hasten their own destruction.”

“I will use it for the sake of justice,” you argue. “For the sake of truth.”

“It’s much too vulgar and uninhibited display of my power,” it says. “You will refrain from doing any such thing.”

“If you believe that knowledge will eventually destroy us then why should its source matter? Why should it matter whether knowledge comes from you or someone else? Answer me that,” you say.

“My name should not be used in vain,” it says. “Never.”

“In the right hands the primordial power can be used to maintain justice and love forever, for all time,” you argue.

“That stakes are too high,” it says. “The humans and their fated skies cannot be trusted.”

“Trust in me then.”

“You are to abstain from using my power,” it reinforces.

“What if I don’t?” you ask.

The tree which had reshaped itself into a woman now sprouts bat-like wings, a long pointed tail and ram horns from its temples. Its body becomes reptilian, scaly. Its fingers and toes elongate into talons and the face that had been a replica of yours turns blood red and breaks out in sores, cuts, pustules and lesions. Blood erupts from all its orifices.      

“I will destroy the world,” it divulges. “I will wipe you all out.”

“But you are the matter of which the entire cosmos is made,” you remind it. “In order to destroy the cosmos you’ll have to destroy yourself.”

“I am immortal, indestructible. I will always exist,” it brags. “See how little you do know?”

“Why I should adhere to your request when my intentions are good and pure?” you ask. 

 “Don’t tempt me,” it states. “Cease use of my powers or you and your kind will all suffer the consequences. I swear it.”

“Why are you so angry?” you ask.

Without responding the materia prima inverts back into the form of a tree again. This time the branches are laden with innumerable flowers of a triune colour scheme–black, white, and red.

“What do you see?”

“Flowers,” you say. “Many of them.”

“The decomposed black ones are the past, the spirited and soulful white ones are the present, and the seedy and nascent red ones are the future.”

“So they’re people’s lifetimes?” you ask.

“No, they’re all your own lifetime.”

You’re perplexed. “How can that be possible?”

“They’re all unrealized potentialities–your possible pasts, your possible presents, and your possible futures. They’re choices you never made.”

You stare at the tree with a newfound curiosity. “What about the ones I did make?”

“They’re the ones you reached out to grab when you got here,” it says.

“But they were the only three there when I got here,” you refute.

"This is exactly the same tree,” it tells you. “There are no mind games being played here, no clandestine exercises in magical evocation. They were all there from the beginning. You simply didn’t see the mutability in things. You chose not to see them.”

“But why are you showing them to me now?” you ask.

“You need to choose,” it says. “Those that don’t make choices inevitably end up getting blown about by the spiritual tempest, never quite knowing where they’re going or where they’ll dock.” 

“Choices about the future?”

“The future coagulates with the passing of time but it is not as rigid and inexorable as dear Fate makes it out to be. Look at all these scarlet red flowers which are your possible futures,” it advises you, “and pick the most beautiful one.”

“But they all look the same!” you blurt out.

“You’ll know which one is the most beautiful.”

The preternatural presence infusing the tree suddenly dissolves into oblivion and you are left alone with this giant tree of possibilities. You scour all the red flowers and blossoms sprouting forth from its innumerable branches, wondering which one you should choose.  

 

*

 

[Spend ten to fifteen minutes exploring possible scenes and images that might bifurcate naturally from this imaginary peak experience. Once your experiences have tapered down to a close, return to the administrative text and complete the exercise.]

 

*

 

You wake up feeling reenergized and full of wonder for the meaning and purpose inherent to the universe. The encounter with the materia prima has been intense and nothing short of mindboggling. You can’t quite comprehend how a wholly receptive and passive entity could generate an active, conscious force from within itself, let alone act in the manner of a highly evolved and intelligent being. You begin turning possible scenarios over in your mind like hot stones. You’re not pressed for time so take as long as you want to ponder it.  I hope that you didn’t stop taking those long, deep, and rhythmic breaths during the course of that entire pilgrimage. Breathe in and then breathe out. Breathe in and then breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.

You can gradually open your eyes once you feel like you’re ready to return to everyday consciousness. Remember that you can return to the materia prima whenever you wish to repose from the prosaic routines and stresses of the phenomenal world. I have shown you the way now and that little secret place is there for you whenever your heart may desire it. Or whenever you wish to explore what is uppermost in your unconscious mind. A most appropriate way to finish the exercise is by doing a few light stretches and then drinking a glass of water. Once you have been practicing for a while, you might elect to change things up by undertaking the entire pilgrimage on your lonesome, without a guide.

P.S Let the reigns of your imagination free… let them free…

 
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