This is an excerpt from Robert Clarke’s book The Royal Line of Christ the Logos, forthcoming from Hologram Books.
Many years ago I had fallen into a very deep and prolonged state of depression. I had lost all belief in religion, in there being any deeper spiritual meaning to reality, and what loomed threateningly large to me was nature with its savagery and largely unconscious cruelty, the devouring of life by other life etc. Nature, I knew, has its beautiful and delightful side, but the stark brutality and immense suffering that forms so large a part of it had become devastating to me. (As Jung says, dig up a square foot of earth and it will contain thousands of minute creatures devouring one another.)
What also affected me was the fact that nothing is permanent; the people we love and have loved, the things we love and have loved, all eventually die or fade away, including, of course, we ourselves. The Earth we walk upon, and even the Sun that gives light and warmth to the Earth, will in time no longer exist. Given enough time, the very universe itself will no longer be, or will be entirely different. All of this affected me so deeply that getting up in the morning became a problem, basically because who wants to be part of such an ultimately meaningless and often ugly reality? Understandably, I eventually suffered a nervous breakdown because life cannot continue in so negative a vein; something has to give
In time, doctors patched me up to a degree, though I was never what you would call well, and indeed, was far from it. However, things were about to change completely and dramatically, though I had no inkling whatsoever of this. Then one Sunday evening quite by chance I saw a television documentary about Jung, of whom I knew almost nothing at the time. But it was as though I had been struck by lightning as Jung spoke of spirit and soul as existing realities, ones that could be experienced through inner processes, and actually accessed in dreams. God himself is eternally real, Jung declared, and may be experienced. Jung’s face seemed to have a magical glow, and I felt my heart quickening within as I watched because I had the profoundest intuition I had come across something of immense importance.
Not long afterwards I had a dream where Jung’s ghostly head appeared to me outside a workshop, telling me to follow. I was then inside the workshop where everything was made of stone, even the workbenches, walls, ceiling etc., only it was all pink because everything was alive – alive, that is, with spirit. Then a voice from above said everything that exists is alive, even empty space, and that there is no such thing as death, only change. Then Jung as a full figure was there, chiselling away at a piece of the living stone, and I begged him to teach me how to carve in the stone myself.
This was the beginning of my recovery, but also of my long inner journey through the collective unconscious in dreams. It all became a strange, almost unbelievable inner quest lasting many years, resembling, I was to learn, the journey through the Underworld in ancient Egypt to the Golden Horus on the Mount of Glory, Jason’s journey to find the Golden Fleece, the Grail Knight’s to reach the Holy Grail, the philosophical alchemist’s to reach the Philosopher’s Stone, even at highest level Gautama’s to reach Buddhahood, or Jesus the initiate’s to attain the Christ. All of these represent inner quests to reach the immortal Self, which has different levels, but which may ultimately even be divine Son of God. I never quite got over my amazement that I too was on a similar quest, to at least some level of the phenomenon.
What had been making me ill for so long was being trapped in matter, seeing no other form of or side to reality, and therefore no hope of deeper, ultimately spiritual meaning, which is the only true remedy to the sickness of sinking ever deeper into the quagmire of mere physical existence. I soon had another dream where I was carrying a side of beef on my shoulder. This was white and so heavy that my legs had started to buckle under me with the weight. But then my sister took me to a bucket of blood that somehow came to infuse the white beef, so that it became reddened. It was now much lighter and quite easy to carry, and I walked on down the road smiling happily with my load.
White in dreams often refers to matter, or more specifically, to the soul that infuses it, so the white side of beef I was carrying represented material life that had become too heavy a burden for me. Life, which was only material, was weighing me down. Blood and the colour red, however, have always symbolised spirit, and so the blood infusing the beef – the red infusing the white – meant a transfusion of spirit for me, so that life was no longer so heavy a burden to carry. (As we saw above, my sister in dreams usually represents my feminine anima, which is able to guide consciousness to the treasures of spirit/soul reality through the unconscious.)
This is the sickness of our modern world; we are drowning in all the forms of materialism. We have lost the value of the spirit and of holiness, which are the counterweight to gross matter and its negative affects. Spirit pulls us up out of the quagmire, and the marvellous thing is, it can be directly accessed and experienced through the unconscious in dreams, though it is also true to say that it may access us when it decides to, when it is deemed necessary. Religions, myths, legends, sacred Mysteries, all originate in processes of spirit/soul that may come through to us in dreams, or in deep meditation, or which may occasionally break through the veil as outer visions.