A world out of balance

 

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The archetypal union of the masculine and feminine aspects of all humans.

In earlier blogs I have discussed the role of the archetypical symbols inherent in dreams. Carl Jung believed that an inherent dichotomy or dualist quality exists with human beings, if not all reality and that to lean too much one way or the other, that is to allow one aspect to dominate its opposite aspect, will create a destructive imbalance.

In short, Jung believed that what was needed in the world was balance between these dualist opposites. Because the world is dualistic, meaning for every A there’s a B, Masculine/feminine, up/down, conscious/unconscious, spirit/body, soul/ego, light/dark, or intuition/knowledge, or liberal/conservative. Existence of one suggests the existence of its opposite i.e. they generate each other and cannot exist alone.

One of Jung’s favorite oppositions was the masculine/feminine (most likely one of yours as well). He used two mythical figures to describe these traits, Eros for the feminine and Logos for the masculine. Eros represents the intuitive, feeling (including mood), relationship, caring and playfulness. Logos represents logic, progress, reason, knowledge, and order. The world has for sometime been overwhelmed by a masculine dominated ego that has looked upon the emotional feminine as representing chaos and therefore the need for controlling it.

However, within each man is a feminine aspect that allows him to express the characteristics of caring, inclusiveness, thoughtfulness, emotional attachment and intuition. The more “masculine” (controlled by his masculine traits) a man becomes, and the more he represses his Eros qualities, the more likely that he will become unbalanced and fall prey to a lack of objectivity, literally losing touch with the “reality” he holds so dear. Hurt easily turns to anger and resentment because he can no longer see the reality. Contentment and security weakens and the overly masculine male begins to control his external world in ever increasingly violent ways. He is also cut off from meaning and is then forced to look for it in very bizarre ways e.g. through over-control, domination, drinking, lying, drugs, fighting, hyper-sexuality, and/or indulging in risky behaviors.

Women who are cut off from their masculinity frequently connect with men who show enough masculinity to compensate for their loss and will put up with a lot of abuse so as to not lose this compensating link with what they lack. This lack also may reinforce a woman’s greater attachment to family and home and suppress the urge to go outside the home to get her needs met, thus imprisoning her.

On the collective (national, worldwide) level*, this imbalance seems to create an environment where men are dominant and women submissive. But both are unsatisfied in the arrangement. When unsatisfied (unbalanced), the male usually ups the masculine gradient for he knows little else and because, for him, the inner world either doesn’t exist, or is to be feared, so he tries to master his lack of satisfaction by controlling the outer world, through force and manipulation. The female does the same often through passive force and manipulation.

So we’re all running around in a world searching for satisfaction, i.e. happiness, in all the wrong places and desperately trying to gain it through manipulation of the world around us. This is what happens when you leave everything up to the ego by detaching yourself from the spirit/soul. This is what happens when you cut yourself off from your opposite aspects. This is what happens when you treat half of yourself unequally.

 

You can’t find happiness through domination and control, or their

         opposites: avoid-domination and avoid-control!

 

Happiness has the greatest success of being found through a personality that has discovered its opposite and has learned to integrate it into a whole and then project this wholeness into its relationships with others.

My book The Archipelago of Dreams: The Island of the Dream Healer is a story about the imbalance in mankind and how one man finds an entry into the mysterious world of the Dream. Forced to let go of his Being he enters the Otherworld of the Spirit where at the potential cost of his life he will be challenged to right the imbalance and set a new course for mankind.

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*I’ve also explored this social imbalance in a May 2017 blog entry Causes-of-world-unrest-thinking-that-only-your-point-of-view-is-the-right-one

The Spirit: The hub of the Four Elements wheel

 

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Deep within all of us is a universal thought-form that influences virtually everything we do, believe or think we know. This form, feeling, or image is expressed in a myriad of ways at our most unconscious level. These universal forms are called “archetypes” and reside in an ethereal realm called the Collective Unconscious. They are most often accessed through our dreams or other trance states such as meditation. But the images are expressed in more than just our dreams, we can see them in our myths, our fairy tales, and fictional stories and they shape the relationships that matter in our lives.

From this universal center of the human psyche comes an image of the Spirit, it is the opposite of matter and may visit the dreamer as a wise old man or woman who can guide us through the spiritual world and /or through problem issues in the waking world. Collectively these are known as Spirit Guides. In the world of the Shaman these may come as a “Spirit Spouse” who assists in the shamanic work through dreams, ritual, and/or trance.

The ancient Egyptian Magus Hermes Trismegistus believed all beings possess the potential to access the infinite wisdom of the Spirit that the individual has the ability to know the whole by becoming like the whole. One does this by aligning themselves with the divine source of their being.

The Spirit can come to us in the form of a loved one who has died, a ghost or with the impression of the infinite that is called a “numinous” feeling, with the sense of something divine, something entirely different from all that we experience in our usual waking life.

At its very root the Spirit is our connection with nature, what Carl Jung the Swiss Psychiatrist and dream analyst called, “The nourishing soil of the soul”. I believe that our dissociation with nature has left us disconnected from our experience of Spirit i.e. of the divine. Nature is part of the soul of our existence and to pollute it and destroy it to make way for more hamburgers (destruction of the rain forests so as to grow more beef), oil drilling platforms and pipelines, cars, parking lots and shopping malls is to destroy or sicken part of our own soul.

As Jung once said, “Nature is not matter only, she is also Spirit”. I think that when we make our wallets more important, when we make our material objects more important, when we make ourselves more important we rob the Earth of its Spirit and from ourselves as well.

Spirit images in our dreams also remind us of death, endings, transformation, and letting go, what needs to happen in order to grow beyond our own self-imposed limits and what is absolutely necessary to evolve sustainably.

The Spirit or soul of the Earth and of humankind is the hub of the wheel of the Four Elements that I’ve been writing about this month. It is the center from which all else radiates.

 

“And there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheeled universe,

And any man or woman shall stand cool and supercilious before a million universes”

Walt Whitman, leaves of grass

 

To me this suggests that there’s no object so insignificant that it can’t have the whole universe revolving around it. It is our very divinity that we are giving up when we focus exclusively on the material to the detriment of Spirit.

 

“Air moves us, fire transforms us, water shapes us, earth heals us
. And the balance of the wheel goes round and round
. And the balance of the wheel goes round.”

–

By Cathleen Sheil, Moonsea and Prune of Reclaiming

 

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The Archetypal Dream Visitor

 

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Adoration of the Sheperds by Gerard van Honthorst

 

At this time of year most* Christians celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, the light of the world, the inner counselor.

Children show up a lot in our dreams and most reflect our own ambitions, or feelings of dependence and/or vulnerability.

But some children take on the aura of the Holy Child or the Christ that often symbolizes spiritual truth or transition– self-fulfillment through love. To have a visit from this child may suggest an important transition regarding some aspect of your being or your life.

As the Christ Child he represents a new beginning so in this way almost any child or baby in a dream can represent new beginnings–something new developing, or a fresh start or the need for one.

The child within is often the cosmic mystery that we all are. He is also anything that is having a powerful influence on the dreamer. Including the need for togetherness, forgiveness, peace, generosity and celebration.

When the Christ child shows up as the trickster in a dream he’s there to shake up your understanding of the world– this will no doubt create some havoc– go with it and see where he takes you.

The Christ Child can also represent the Hero archetype. To dream that you or that someone else is a hero might signify your inner strengths and weaknesses. The dream may refer to your abilities, determination and confidence that you have the power to face the secrets of your unconscious mind and confront life’s challenges.

 

Merry Christmas to all!

 

 

“Rejoice and be merry,
set sorrow aside,
Christ Jesus our Savior,
was born at this tide:

In Bethlehem City,
in Jury it was,
For Joseph and Mary
together did pass:

And therefore be merry,
set sorrow aside,
Christ Jesus our Savior,
was born at this Tide.”

–First verse of In Bethlehem City (1661)

 

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*

  • Eastern Orthodox Christians (Russian) celebrate on Jan 7
  • The Coptic Church in Egypt follows the old calendar and celebrates Jesus’ birth on January 6
  • There is no evidence of when he was born but Christians took on the celebration of the sun in winter from earlier so-called Pagan religions.

 

 

 

 

 

12 dreams of Christmas

 

Yesterday I posted a little information about the top ten symbols of Christmas. But do Christmas symbols have different meanings in the dream world?

FullSizeRender-2.jpgSanta Claus

To see Santa Claus in your dream might suggest that you need to be more giving, forgiving, and/or accepting. You may need to acknowledge, or attend to some aspect of yourself. Are you reflecting on the good and bad things that you have done?

To dream that you or someone is dressed as Santa Claus may suggest that you need to treat others as you would like to be treated.

A picture with Santa Claus might symbolize your personal memories of the holidays.

The Santa Claus image might also be archetypal as a Great Father image, the Wise Old Man, or represent the Great Wizard. He might be bringing more than toys, but deep wisdom–listen well. He can also be a surrogate for the Christ image, or for God.

Christmas

To dream of Christmas may suggest family togetherness, reunion, or celebration. It can also represent new beginnings and fresh starts. It can also symbolize stress or a loss of innocence. Consider also your own associations.

Christmas Card

To see or send a Christmas Card in your dream might indicate that you are reaching out to someone and reconnecting with some old times, or ideas. It is also symbolic of forgiveness. Do you need to swallow your pride and let go of the past?

Christmas Tree

To see a Christmas Tree in your dream may symbolize family celebrations, relationships, and gatherings. Are you experiencing some anxieties and stress in your domestic life? This tree may also signify a passage of time, self-development, or spirituality. Consider also the feelings you experience during Christmas to assist you in deciphering this symbol.

Christ

To see Christ in your dream represents perfection of the self and spiritual truth. You may need to work on self-fulfillment through love. As an archetypal image the Christ is a powerful spiritual symbol affecting and influencing you. He represents the very best of your self. Of course this symbol may have many personal associations for you, depending on your beliefs.

Ornament

To see or hang an ornament in your dream may refer to the things in your life that you do to make yourself feel good, look good, or that add color to your life. It is also symbolic of a spiritual gift.

Light

Light in your dream may represent, clarity, guidance, understanding, and/or insight. Light may be being shed on a once cloudy, or foggy, situation or problem. Have you found the truth/answer to a situation, or problem? Also consider the color of the light for additional meaning.

If the light is bright, then it might indicate that you need to move toward a higher level of awareness. Bright light dreams have been reported for those who are near death.

A soft or shadowy light in your dreams might suggest feelings or thoughts coming from the more primal aspects, or less developed parts, of your subconscious.

If you cannot turn the light on might indicate a lack of insight and perspective on a situation, or that something is frustrating your ability to discover an answer.

Present, or Gift

To see a present in a dream may be a pun on being “present” and here. Perhaps you need to live for the moment and not dwell in the past?

If you are giving a gift it may signify your generosity.. If you are showering someone with gifts, you might be overly pushy with your advice, or perhaps you are trying too hard to be accepted?  f you are buying or giving someone expensive gifts, then it may symbolize the sacrifices you are making for someone.

If you receive a gift it may indicate that you are being rewarded and recognized for your generosity and giving nature. If you receive an inappropriate gift, then it might suggest that you are the subject of unwelcome attention from someone. If you give an inappropriate gift, then it might suggest that your true nature will eventually be exposed. The gift itself will provide you more information.

To open a gift and find something disgusting inside might symbolize a disappointment or an unexpected failure.

Gift Wrap

Gift-wrap in your dream may suggest that there is something you are trying to cover up or hide. Maybe you’re trying to present something unpleasant in a more cheerful way?Consider what you are wrapping for more meaning.

Candle

A burning candle may signify good luck or hope is coming your way. Maybe you are experiencing spiritual enlightenment? Candles are also symbolic of intellect, awareness, or the search for truth.

An unlit candle might symbolize feelings of rejection, or disappointments, or that you are not utilizing your potential. If you try to light the candle and it won’t light, then it may represent grief, or denial about something, or as with being unable to turn on a light bulb, it may mean that you are feeling powerless.

To see a candle blow out in your dream indicates that you are giving up, or letting go of, an aspect of yourself, or something that used to be important to you. To watch the candle burn down to nothing may represent your fears of aging and dying, or alternatively, a fear of sexual impotence. Two see a candle with a burning wick at both ends may suggest that you are trying to take on too much.

Red colored candles can sometimes symbolize some intimate or romantic relationship, though they can also represent danger and anger. Black candles can represent the death, or end to something while white can represent purity and new beginnings.

Candy

To see or eat candy may symbolize the joys and the special treats in life. It can also represent indulgence, sensuality and/or forbidden pleasure. Are you devoting too much time to unimportant issues? A candy cane for some people can represent the Shepard’s crook and thus have something to say about humility or spiritual surprise.

Poinsettia

May represent the blood of Christ, or the Christ himself. As with all flowers it can also be a symbol of the giving of love.

 

 

Soul Healing

 

 

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Tarot card, The Sun– The archetype of the Child, Rider-Waite, P.Smith 1909

 

We get so involved in survival we often leave our soul behind and the everyday battering we are subjected to can bury it ever deeper into a protective layer so that we lose sight of who we once were. Soul recovery and healing is probably the single most important task you’ll ever undertake in this life because without a healthy soul that difference that you’re so desperate to make and experience cannot actualize.

There are many soul healers in the world, but there’s a soul healing technique I learned from a book written by Robert Moss* that brought me back to an earlier dream I had titled “The Blue Fresco”.

In that dream a woman floating above the ground invited me to leave the world I was in and to travel down a path that lead into the distant hills (was I going forward or backward in time?). Angels climbed up and down a staircase to and from the sky while children ran up a grassy hill. This dream has afforded many interesting looks into my inner world. I offer it here in hopes that you will be able to use it for your self.

Moss suggested that I enter a meditation where I re-envision the dream, giving it life once again and entering it with the intention of getting answered two important questions: “What do you want when you reenter the dream?” To which I answered, “What’s down the road?” The second question was, “What do I want to find there?”

What I wanted to find was the “powerful child”, the once competent and confident child, and its whole and undamaged soul. As suggested I also put on a shaman’s drum CD and focusing on my breath I counted four breaths in, hold, and four out and doing this until my body rested and my mind began to quiet.

Re-envisioning the dream I began to talk to the woman in blue, who clearly was my mother. She invited me to walk with her down the path and into the hills where I once again saw the story of my life, and all those events where I had felt loss and defeat. “You chose your meanings long before you ever experienced them and thus limited your self, Robert.” She said. She then encouraged me to shift their meaning so as to see another side of their reality.

As I did this, each event began to transform into something new, betrayal turned to love, abandonment either disappeared altogether, or became the prequel to an embrace. I began to see that every interpretation could have yet another hiding behind it and even though I once had chosen one meaning, I could as easily choose another.

This would become easier, I thought, if I were to shift the context of my life from “me” centered to “us” centered–from I to thou.

Further back into the hills I found a young boy sitting with a drum quietly tapping out his rhythm.

As I approached, this toe-headed boy turned toward me and smiled then rose from the grass and crawled into the lap of a large mama bear and nuzzled his head under her chin. Wrapped in her embrace, warm, and secure he was loved. He was in the power of the mama, the power of the bear. Everything began to fog and I found myself in the embrace of the bear. I had become the boy.

Soon I found myself running beside Onoma the she wolf, with my breath frosting like steam as we panted through the snow-covered forest. Suddenly I was lifted and rose above the trees as the she wolf looked up grinning at me. I twirled and spun with my arms outstretched like a da Vinci Vitruvius and flew higher while racing headlong through a tunnel of lightly falling snow then reached for a star that was quietly waiting at the tunnels end. With outstretched arm I grasped for it and pulled it in to me, this light, with its warmth, and its power held close and finally mine.

The drum, its rhythm, my rhythm, my song, my dance, the beat of my soul, pounded out every step to show me the way–the way back home. My soul was in the trees, the bear, the mother, the wolf, and the light that was mine to claim once again.

Once again on the ground I looked down and to my right and there was the boy looking up at me with a worried look on his clear, bright face.

“Where’ve you been?” He said as he took my hand and we strolled across the mudflats of his world. “I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too”, I said.

“You’re always welcome you know.” He said encouragingly.

“I know. Can I come any time?”

“Yeah! Any time.”

***

Many of you who have been reading my Blog or website will recognize the meditation as a form of Active Imagining, or Dream Tending. I offer it here as another means for lucidly reentering a dream for the purpose of not only understanding the message of a dream, but to also heal the soul and re-enliven the child who has never left any of us–to see the world through the visions of childhood.

“The appearance of things change according to the emotions, and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.”

–Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese Poet

For this article I have used the image of the Tarot card of the Sun** for it is representative of the unification of opposites through the Mother and the Father where the conscious and unconscious unite to form a self-conscious being, that is a being fully aware of itself i.e. the Child.

Psychologically, in this meditation the man also unites with the boy and together they become more than their sum. It is this unity that helps to heal the soul and recapture its power.

Actually all the major and minor arcana of the Tarot can represent the unification of opposites, thus bringing forth psychological wholeness.

Animals whether they show up in dreams or in meditation make statements about our own vitality. Often they are messengers from the deepest part of ourselves. The Greeks, according to Robert Moss, considered the sender of dreams the “Mother of Animals”. The condition of these animals often reflects your condition in your waking life.

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* Moss, Robert, Dreaming the Soul Back Home, Ch 5 “The Royal Road to Soul Recovery”, Pg. 99
** I use the Tarot to illustrate psychological principles not as a means for divination, though I do believe that they can be used as images for the process of Active Imagining.

 

Fighting Dragons

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Sorry I’ve been off my feed lately, but you see I’ve been fighting dragons for the last few days. Dragons, that’s what I call the depression that sometimes charges from its cave and overwhelms me. He takes on a number of forms, right now he looks like the giant “I’m no good” dragon where everything is better than, smarter than, more creative than.

I’ll be walking the paths of the kingdom feeling pretty good about myself when suddenly I feel his blast of hot breath reducing my fragile armor to ashes. I stand there naked and vulnerable suffering blow after blow of his acid tongue, his maniacal laughter seeming to come from all around me as though the very universe is laughing at my insignificance.

Nothing I do is of any consequence– I pull out my “I am bigger than this” sword and it melts to the beasts fire. I wrap myself in “I am worthy’s” but these are easily stripped from my body and again I am naked before him.

I get so wrapped up in fighting this demon creature of the psychic world that I quite lose myself, and forget the wisdom of the inner wizard. Somewhere in the acrid clouds of smoke and burning ego a little voice struggles to be heard. “Create!” says he and the tears begin to flow, washing away the helplessness and fear. And I begin once again the acts of creation. There is where wholeness lay, there the spirit plays and the soul expresses itself freely.

When I am in the act of creating, the dragon vanishes and it matters not what smallish images of self have been conjured for the real self is engaged in the expansive act of creation– the soul freely expresses during the alchemical process of creating and the universe expands to infinity– no room is left for the little knight and his demons.

So what the hell am I talking about? When I have nothing else to do my mind will conjure up all kinds of stuff to grab my attention and that’s when I start feeling depressed and begin to beat myself up. My ego-self can swing radically between noble grandeur and street urchin, from self-love to self-loathing.

Continue reading Fighting Dragons

Practical Magic

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Frequently in my writings I refer to “magic” but why do I use the word “magic“? Well, mostly my use of the word is to capture people’s attention but I also use it as a means for exploring a place that is found in all of us that is connected to the source of our being and the incredibly fantastic and magical things that can happen when we make that connection.

There is so much more to magic than meets the eye. For the past two weeks I have been writing about what I call “practical Magic”– the magic of the everyday. I’ve even shared a story regarding the psychological underpinnings of the process of developing greater wholeness of the human psyche. Following the studies of C.G. Jung regarding the psychoanalytic implications of Alchemy I’ve jumped into a deeper realm of my own psyche.

In studying the concepts of Practical Magic I’ve run across a number of occult references, all interesting from a psychological projective standpoint, but relatively unhelpful when it comes to the art and practice of transformation.

While digging into these various disciplines, however, I have found a philosophy that makes a great deal of sense and seems, at least to me, to have useful value for the practice of Practical Magic.

I thought that I would share a summary of a portion of what I’ve discovered. In presenting it I have scoured all references to the ancient Asian linguistic traditions that are attached to the philosophy. I’ve done this because it’s made it easier for me to understand and follow through my own linguistic and cultural traditions. I am aware that the cultural tradition of the Asian world is significantly different than that of my own– the western European– and because of that many of the concepts don’t translate well but what I present here is a rather simplified understanding of the foundational concepts of what I’m calling “Transcendent Magic” (not my own word for it has oft been used before and not to be confused with the occult Transcendental Magic) where one allows for the transcendent spirit of the divine to make itself known. 

Continue reading Practical Magic

A doorway into the universal soul

I had a dream recently where I seemed to be everywhere at once. The dream was very disconcerting I’d no sooner noticed where I was than I’d be somewhere else, then nowhere and yet everywhere.

This reminded me of the quantum physics concept of “nonlocality”. In the dream it was only when I noticed myself as being somewhere that the location would change. In the theory of nonlocality everything is potential and it’s only when we make an observation that the field of everywhere and everywhen collapses into a single place. It’s as though reality is what we make of it. It’s only when our ego-selves intervene that everything solidifies into a something.

Some self-awareness gurus like Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, and James Redfield suggest that at a fundamental level reality is a non defined soup or eternal soul that exists at the level of potential and only taking form through the personal soul, the soul of all our experiences. As Chopra once said “the soul is the observer in the midst of the observation.” Essentially there is an object that is observed, then there’s the process of observing that happens in the brain, and lastly there’s an observer. The brain is interpreting what is seen based on prior information, observations, relationships, and biases. This is all happening while the “observer” is observing.

In dreams this nonlocal essence is often imaged as an ocean or great sea while the waves represent the local or personal point-of-view. Carl Jung, the early to mid-century Swiss Psychiatrist thought of this vast sea as the unconscious mind where the universal archetypes of the psyche reside– that there is a shared information that crosses all cultures and across all time. Everyone and everything is part of a nonlocal intelligence i.e. an unbounded potential from which we can draw if we learn how. Dreams are but the waves of this vast ocean and present us with information that the conscious mind normally has no access to. They are an access-point or doorway into the universal soul.

The Archetype expressing itself

Ith copy 35.jpegt’s funny what my dreams conjure and carry into the waking world.
Since a young age I ‘ve thought that this world was a little like a state run asylum. As I grew older this thought remained but had evolved so that I now think of it as an asylum for disturbed souls. But what if as my dream of last night suggested it is where the damaged souls of the anima universum or cosmic soul go to heal?
In the arcana of the soul there are layers of reality the first layer of which is called “ego” the name for the “I” e.g. that identifies as you, me, us.
Collectively we are the “nos” or the “we”,  then comes “anima” the “soul” or the animating force of our existence. Collectively these souls make up the soul of the world that which has been labeled the “anima mundi”.
Greater still is the collection of souls or the “host” if you will, of the “anima universum” or the cosmic soul i.e. the creator.
A number of years ago I wrote a story titled TheArchipelago of dreams: The Island of the Dream Healer (2010). As usual what I do with the development of a story is to let it evolve from whatever kernel of an idea that strikes me and trust that the story will come out as a projection from my as yet unconscious self seeking to be expressed.
In the story there is an island located somewhere between the conscious world and our dreams where the souls of humankind go to be healed after the hosting body has died
I thought at the time that this would be a good medium for expressing the nascent rumbling in my own soul eager to have its say.
As I write its sequel the rumbling has started again and has suggested that the “Island” of the original story is actually Earth itself and that it is here that the damaged souls come to be healed. If so, this would explain why it all looks so crazy. Our souls may be here because they have become dysfunctional and disconnected from the whole and it is here through unfettered self-expression that they learn to reconnect. I wonder if it is here that the healing regimen outlined in The Archipelago of Dreams is what is necessary for the soul to return to the whole?
This begs the question of whether some damaged souls might have to go through multiple lives in order to be healed and reconnected. What happens if some souls remain disconnected forever is that the “eternal hell” of Dante? Does Donald Trump continue his mindless and self-serving ranting across a multiverse of lives for all eternity?

Perhaps our lives here are but a dream imagined into existence through the outward expression of the so-called big bang turning the One into a diaspora of souls all seeking to reunite.