Robert Clarke on the spiritual significance of Christmas


My old friend Robert Clarke, author of five books investigating modern culture in light of Jung’s discoveries, wrote this letter to his local newspaper and sent me a copy. I came across it just now, and i want to share it. Robert was a lovely man, who died that same year.

Absence of carol singers is evidence of spiritual malaise
Tuesday, January 06, 2009, 09:20
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NO carol singers came to my door before or at Christmas, though children wearing monster masks knocked all night at Halloween. Last year, I had two sets of children come at Christmas, first a group of young boys then a group of girls who were a little older. All both groups could sing was We Wish You A Merry Christmas, and when I asked them to sing a carol they replied they didn’t know any.
I could only shake my head in sadness; this was yet another sign of the soul-sickness of our modern so-called culture. Children singing carols at Christmas go together like milk and honey – we certainly loved singing them at school back in the 1940s and ’50s. Watch a street scene at Christmas in any old movie and you will see a group of children carrying a lantern singing carols from door to door.
The absence of religion in many schools today fits in with the prejudice felt against religion generally, which means children do their learning in the street about drugs, drink and sexual perversions their grandparents never dreamt existed.
Yet as the great Swiss psychologist Carl Jung discovered, the human psyche does not consist merely of ego-consciousness. The psyche is actually attached to what the East calls the Self, the Atman, what certain early Christians called the Logos, borrowing the term from the Greek Mysteries. This is the higher immortal to which we are all attached, which disperses itself into mankind and perhaps all of nature, and which ultimately is part of God. An example of the Logos is Christ, with the man Jesus representing the human side. Logos means Word, and Christ is the Word in the Gospel of John.
Jung said myths and religious teachings are not fiction, but rather express archetypal processes of the spirit coming through the collective unconscious to mankind, which is why the symbolism in the world’s myths is often very similar. For example, the Star of Bethlehem appears with Christ, but a star appearing in the heavens heralding the birth of a saviour is actually known worldwide. Horus in ancient Egypt has his star, as does the Chinese Kwan Shai Yin, while at the birth of the Persian Zarathustra a magical star shines over the village for three days and nights. In Polynesia, the god Vatea has his special star, and the Wichita Indians of North America tell of a star that falls to earth to become a human saviour. As I say, the symbolism is known worldwide, connected with the descent of the Self as saviour through the collective unconscious into the soul of a human individual – thus the divine birth.

There are many such comparative symbols to be found in mythology and religion because experience of the birth of the Self is a universal phenomenon.
Jung tells us that, because the birth of the divine child expresses a definite sacred occurrence, albeit through the unconscious, when consciousness accepts it as an outer event in a religion it still works, because consciousness is coming into harmony with the workings of the unconscious/spirit. When it is entirely rejected, however, then consciousness is going the opposite way to the unconscious/spirit, and this, Jung stresses, means psychic/spiritual dissociation, which in the end causes neurosis.
The Christian version of the birth of the divine child is a particularly beautiful one, and children singing carols to express this means they are in harmony with the sacred workings through the unconscious.
This is not merely the best way to bring up children but really the only true way to bring harmony to the psyches of adults. Christianity is not just a matter of a faith and a creed, it is a healing system, because it heals the split in our psyches. This applies to all genuine religions.
It seems, however, that modern educators see fit to deny children the benefit of religion, and more specifically of Christmas carols, so that not only does neurosis then become a powerful danger to the growing child, but also all the things of chaos rush in to fill the gap in the psyche.
To quote Jung: “Does (man) know that he is on the point of losing the life-preserving myth of the Inner Man that Christianity has treasured up for him? Does he realise what lies in store should this catastrophe ever befall him? Is he even capable of realising that this would in fact be a catastrophe?”

Hogwarts? For real?

The current issue of Fate magazine has an article by my friend Michael Langevin, titled, “Is There a Real World Hogwarts?” As you may imagine, it’s about the magical possibilities of a certain institute in central Virginia. I must admit, I read only one Harry Potter book, and didn’t like it, so the comparison has no charm for me, but it’s nice to see The Monroe Institute get some favorable ink. I don’t know the demographics about Fate readers, but i would think that at least some of them ought to be interested.

For nearly two dozen years, TMI has been a major factor in my life, and it, and the community I tapped into there, have done more to make me whatever it is that i am than anything else i can name.

If you don’t know about the place, take a look at their website. Poke around, see if intuition prods you in that direction. You never know.

Light from within

I have come across a most remarkable book, And There Was Light: Autobiography of Jacques Lusseyran, Blind Hero of the French Resistance (originally published 1963), that I highly recommend. One of the heroes of the French Resistance in World War II was a teenager who had been blind from age seven yet who discovered within himself that blindness is not necessarily what it is thought to be. His story — particularly the story of his months as prisoner of the Germans and his survival (by the skin of his teeth) remind me in some ways of George Ritchie’s story of the Polish prisoner the liberating Americans called Wild Bill Cody, as told in My Life After Dying.

A couple of germane quotations (for this book is not really about the war or the camps so much as about the human spirit as a reality). First this:

And there were the poets, those unbelievable people so different from other men, who told anyone who would listen that a wish is more important than a fortune, and that a dream can weigh more than iron or steel. What nerve they had, these poets, but how right they were! Everything, they said, comes from inside us, passes through things outside and then goes back in. And that to them is the meaning of life, feeling, understanding, love.  (p. 71)

And this:

And now, in conclusion, why has this Frenchman from France written his book in the United States to present it to his American friends today? Because today he is America’s guest. Loving the country and wanting to show his gratitude, he could find no better way of expressing it than in these two truths, intimately known to him and reaching beyond all boundaries.

The first of these is that joy does not come from outside, for whatever happens to us it is within. The second truth is that light does not come to us from without. Light is in us, even if we have no eyes. (p. 311- 312)


Independence for Carol

For all my friends who joined with those of the greater Monroe Institute community in sending prayers, healing energy and loving support to TMI Executive Director Carol de la Herran:

TMI announced today that Carol made her transition to the other side at noon today.

As I said when I first asked people to assist as best they could, “healing” doesn’t always mean “return to the physical life”; sometimes it means, moving on to the next phase of existence. This is a lesson all healers have to learn, whether their medium is conventional medicine, energy work, prayer, or some combination of the three.

It is no exaggeration to say that Carol burned out doing her best to save TMI from financial and other disaster, and did not burn out until she had accomplished that task. Her very last week before she was taken to the hospital saw her doing a trade show in Washington, D.C, then immediately driving with a friend to a conference in Detroit, Michigan, and then returning to TMI thinking that she would take a week-long course, which in the event proved to be impossible. She was in harness to the last moment.

When I think of Carol, I associate her not only with TMI, but with my first experiences of her, both of which involved healing and energy work.

In 1998, she was one of the teachers of a Reiki I course I attended. Her attunement, as it is called, moved me deeply. It felt like what I had expected the Sacraments to feel like, when I was a boy. Indeed, I sometimes said it was my first experience of a Sacrament.

Then a few years later, Carol and I were among a dozen or so participants at our mutual friend Nancy Dorman’s. For many years, Nancy held what she called an “energy exchange” once a month, and people paired up to do whatever healing modality they preferred. I well remember lying on my back on the massage table with my eyes closed, and feeling, without any uncertainty, Carol’s hands a foot and a half above my body, balancing chakras. (I opened an eye to be sure her hands were where I was feeling them, and they were.) Never experienced that before or after.

Neither experience should be surprising, in light of the fact that she ran a Reiki Center in Spain for decades, among all her other activities.

And now, on this , Independence Day, she has freed herself from the limitations of life on earth, and moves on to other things. Join me in raising a virtual glass and wishing her bon voyage.


TMI’s statement:

Dear TMI Family,

It is with deep sadness that we are writing to let you know – Carol de la Herran made her final transition today at noon Eastern Standard Time. Her loving family was with her when she passed.

Carol’s unconditional commitment to, and love of, The Monroe Institute was expressed daily through her actions as leader, administrator, colleague, educator, trainer, innovator, and family member. She will be dearly missed by her TMI family.


Plans for a memorial are in process. As details become available we will share them with you.
Meanwhile, please know that your well wishes, prayers, and positive energy make a difference. Thank you for supporting Carol and TMI through this time.

With love and gratitude,

The Monroe Institute


Yeats, Working Magic

 I find it a great pity that so much experimentation and discovery by men and women who become famous in other fields is disregarded and ignored as though by a conspiracy to silence testimony of the existence and interaction of the non-physical world. You see it in people’s non-quotation of Lindbergh’s out-of-body experiences over the north Atlantic in 1927 (though he himself described it fully in The Spirit of St. Louis) and, especially, in people writing of W.B. Yeats as if he were a poet and nationalist who had only an incidental and fanciful relationship to the other side.

Continue reading Yeats, Working Magic

Jung’s wisdom in his old age

From an interview with the English journalistFrederickSands in 1955.

“At my country retreat I do as I please. I write, I paint — but I spend most of the time just drifting along with my thoughts.

“It seems to me we have reached the limit of our revolution — the point from which we can advance no further. Man started from an unconscious state and has ever striven for greater consciousness. The development of consciousness is the burden, the suffering, and the blessing of mankind. Each new discovery leads to greater consciousness, and the path along which we are going is merely an extension of it. This inevitably calls for greater responsibility and enforces a great change in ourselves. We must draw conclusions from what we know and discover, and not take everything for granted.

Continue reading Jung’s wisdom in his old age

Global Perspective interview

Did an interesting interview Friday night with Ken Jackson, host of  Global Perspective, a blogtalk show on Freedomizer Radio.

Freedomizer Radio appears to specialize in pursuing conspiracy theories, which is not exactly at the center of what I spend my time talking about. And yet, perhaps it wasn’t such a misfit, either. People who are unwilling to consider conspiracy theories are often unwilling to consider that things may be different than they appear on the surface. And if that isn’t true in psychic exploration, I don’t know what is. We talked a good deal about the process of communicating with the other side. Ken Jackson asked interesting questions, and we had a good time. Find the interview here: My segment begins 7:35 into the link, and ends about half an hour before the end.