Daily life is a symphony created by the melody of our conscious living and the harmonies and cacophonies of our unconscious living. Despite our intentions and will power, much of what happens in our lives seeps up from some uncontrollable place, and often yields chaos. While it is natural to choose who we want to be, Carl Jung warns us against completely denying our shadow parts and says that our unconscious seeks to communicate even when we try to ignore them. He advises that we embrace the parts of our psyche that we bury in the shadows, so they do not start pushing their way into our lives uncontrollably. By bringing them out into the light of our conscious acceptance, we honor and balance them.
Our unconscious frequently reaches out through our dreams, but it also reaches out in our waking life. We are living a personal myth, and with a little help, we can read the bleeps and burps of our unconscious to understand its cryptic messages before it must scream out in big ways to get our attention. Have you noticed certain patterns, like repeatedly losing or breaking things, seeing similar shapes, hearing similar sounds? Did some image catch your attention? Those weird repetitions and oddities that draw our intense awareness are Soul Speak: essentially a divine code. When the soul speaks, we must listen. But how?
When you begin to take notice of patterns and attention-catchers, then you can begin to hear what they want to say. For example, for some time I have had dishes break in half. I finally recognized the pattern and began a dialogue and soon recognizing an imbalance in my life with constructiveness. My normal focus is holding things together, building, creating, or healing, with no room allowed for the natural and necessary energy of destruction. I suddenly felt a powerful need to destroy something, grabbed my reading glasses and began a ritual that included tearing the glasses apart. With each snatch, rip, and crack of the lenses I felt a bubble of energy ripple through my body. It was glorious, like popping bubble wrap through my whole being. Later, my husband and I designed a plate-breaking ceremony (breaking was optional) for a family dinner, using our outdoor fireplace. It was surprisingly thrilling, freeing, and reverent.
This healing lesson resonated in my life as my children eventually left home. Breaking helped me honor the role that dying plays in growth and change—helped move the energy within me so that I could release my fear of the dismantling force at play as my family evolved. I did not need to break all of my possessions, my marriage, or my sanity in order to honor the destructive archetype, as that would be letting it become dominant. I do not want it to lead, but I must embrace it as an important part of life. Acknowledging it, allowing it a voice, can be enough. The same kinds of archetypes and symbols that show up in dreams will also show up in life. For many Soul Speak situations, we can use the same kinds of tools as we would for working with myths or dreams, such as symbol dictionaries, meditation, and soulful journaling or art. You might also want to try the technique suggested below, but remember this is a symbolic, energetic, and intuitive process. Seek insight rather than answers. What we must learn is, when the soul speaks, we must listen. And when possible, join it in a mythic dialogue.
Suggested Mythic Dialogue Technique.
- Become aware of repetitive patterns or potent images. When something arouses unusual interest or confusion for you, target that for a dialogue.
- Dialogue with the pattern or image (suggestions): • Journal writing (or meditation): begin a conversation with the pattern or with yourself or your guides by asking simple questions. Write whatever seems to flow, over one or more sittings. • Artistic expression: paint, draw, play music, write a story, or any other form of artistic expression that you love. Set your intention and then enjoy your art.
- Devise a healthy and safe ceremony or act that allows you to interact with your insights. This may be a one-time or periodic ritual, or it may need to be a regular part of your life. • Write or draw something on a piece of paper and burn it in a flame. • Make an outdoor sand painting (mandala), which can be made out of rocks, sticks, or anything you find. Choose a place, open sacred space with prayer, create a circle type boundary for your painting, and then place objects symbolically within the space. Honor the painting for its teachings and blessings, checking on it and rearranging objects as needed until it feels finished. • Make an altar, just a small space on a shelf can work, where you honor the archetype. Use similar techniques as for a sand painting, opening sacred space and checking in periodically.
- Express self-love: Honor yourself in a small but significant gesture, embracing your wholeness. Let yourself receive blessings of beauty and wholeness.
by Gay Wolff ~ Revised version of article previously published in Oracle 20/20