Into the Aethyr #3 – The Art of the Process
A teacher is never a giver of truth. He is a guide, a pointer to the truth that each student must find for himself. A good teacher is merely a catalyst. — Bruce Lee
In his article on active imagination in the current issue of Rending the Veil, Frater Auxilior Arti describes something I found very familiar, so I elected to write a companion piece to his essay describing how I use it in my magical work. In my work with Meridjet (my spirit companion, or SC; see previous columns of Into the Aethyr), I utilize a similar method which I call Processing. In the opening paragraph of his article, Frater A. A. describes, “Jung noticed that he could find revealing and non-self-gratifying imagery just below the surface of the mind, by making a suggestion to himself and then sitting quietly to see what might develop in his thinking. He found that if he did not steer his thoughts in any particular direction, merely sat as a passive viewer of what his mind might show him, many wondrous things would arise, including solutions to troublesome problems, intuitions, insights into his own nature (and that of others) often with a wash of curiosities that would set him to further pondering.”
The Power of Free Association
He later notes, “. . . a group of problem-solvers in a highly productive think tank atmosphere . . . wrote down all ideas that occurred to them, regardless of how silly or inappropriate they might have initially seemed. By this method they were rewarded with a greater number of creative solutions that might have gone unnoticed had they been squelched promptly. It was as if the free-ranging creative process needed impropriety, silliness and whimsy to operate correctly and to arrive by whatever crooked path at useful solutions.” This method of free association is at the heart of Processing in my theurgic work with Meridjet and the other members of our Work (both words are capitalized to differentiate from the mundane sense) circle. It’s been a largely ineffable way of working, up to now, but people have asked about it so many times that I intend to do my best to describe it. I can’t claim that this is a common way to perform theurgic work; however, it works for me and for everyone who Works with us.
The bulk of our partnered Work takes place in text chat via Yahoo! Messenger; however, this is by no means a limitation — it’s simply that most of our friends live in far away places. When we begin with a new partner, we start with common ground. No doubt you’ve had the experience, particularly in magical or spiritual matters, wherein you find many parallels with new-found friends of like mind. Synchronicity can be a powerful validation at such times, and the more parallels there are, the more significant the new association appears to be. It need not stop there; if you can allow yourself free expression, synchronicity knows no bounds.
Meridjet as Director
During the get-to-know-you process, as parallels are discovered, we follow them, gaining mutual understanding and building enthusiasm. Something that Meridjet does with impressive effect is to center upon emotionally-charged events, associations, or triggers and stimulate them to bring issues to the fore. He does this with everyone, and after a certain time of working with him, the common ground we started with and the emotional triggers he uncovers become two sides of a single coin — a coin he flips at seeming random to stimulate Work. There is only one way to get to the true heart of the matter, and that is free association.
One of us will find that s/he is hurting, a mild heartache that still manages somehow to demand our focus and attention. It may come and go while she is busy with other things, but it will return at any moment of stillness, gaining intensity until she simply must Work to Process it. The source of the ache is generally a prior discussion that subtly triggered something deeper, an issue that is just now working its way to the surface as a deeply set splinter would find its way out of your finger. The difference here is that if you are serious about your Work, ignoring this is the wrong thing to do. With an almost sentient patience, the ache will wait until you face it, and like a sharply-stubborn loneliness, it gnaws at you relentlessly.
The first time this happens to a new partner, it is confusing to her. She will, depending on her personality type, either wish to talk about it incessantly or will try to bury it as not worth anyone’s attention. The resolution, however, lies not in indulgence of emotion, and not in repression of emotion, but in detachment of emotion. To suffer over your suffering is to whine without honestly dealing with your problem. To be the martyr and hide your pain (bringing it out on occasion to poke at it sadly, wondering why you feel so alone, and perhaps hinting at it to others) is merely another form of indulgence, but it is one that poisons you, rather than those around you.
Indulge in Detachment
Detachment — To feel your feelings, and to open to them, letting them flow, crying if necessary, but at no point giving in to them and suffering over them, you allow them to percolate through your consciousness and thereby heal, leave, vamoose, and get thee behind me. Anyone familiar with Dante’s Inferno will know that the way out of Hell is through the darkest, scariest reaches of the most inner circle. You don’t learn by avoidance, by escape, or by ingeniously finding ways to bury your psychological shite under layers of Happy-Shiny-People or I-Can-Cope-Alone-Cuz-I’m-The-Meanest-Fucker-In-The-Valley.
It takes practice. Once you’ve admitted your pain, you can move on to the real Work: banishing that issue by owning it. This may sound like stereotypical psychobabble of the ilk that tells you the only way to get over your childhood trauma is to relive it. No, that is not what I am saying.
Expression is the Means, Synchronicity is the Method
As you begin to verbalize (and this is the key) your issue, if you can trust yourself and the Process and let go the reins, expressing your associations as they arise (be they trivial or grave), you will find that your unconscious provides astounding insight and will offer you advice out of your own mouth. It is crucial, as Fr. A. A. stipulated, to express everything without first judging whether it’s worthy of expression. Trust your mind and your own psychological processes to lead you, and you cannot lose.
Synchronicities appear in the most innocent, inane comments. In the course of the interaction between the partner doing the Processing and the partner(s) in the support roles, little comments made off the cuff end up being huge in significance. External confirmation comes from so many directions. Perhaps a television show viewed that morning by your friend is mentioned in reply to a comment you made — because you allowed yourself to just talk — about a movie you saw in 1992, and the television show just happened to contain a scene with a tiger that she mentions precisely at the moment that you consider how you are reminded of the tiger totem you had never previously mentioned. The conversation, then, due to the shock of the validating reference, turns to totems, or tigers, or stripes, or something that leads to still further reflection — reflection that would never have occurred had you not been speaking to that friend at that moment, with both of you freely discussing whatever happened to come up, in the knowledge that this way lies resolution. Never underestimate the power of the Universe to take you precisely where you need to go, if only you don’t fight the current.
Meridjet, when he participates in the Processing chats, will not tell you like it is. He’s not a teacher who spells things out; he is a catalyst. He will talk without appearing to have any single topic or any goal or agenda. But he never does or says anything for the first perceptible reason. He will ask you questions designed to direct your thoughts so that you blurt out the answer to your own dilemma. He will answer questions with responses designed to incite emotion, for the same reason. He’s not an easy teacher, and he’s not going to coddle you — but by god, you will find the answers you need, and you will find that all he had to do was point — the answers were within you all along.
Free association and free expression of all thoughts that flitter by is the most effective way of healing past injuries, gaining understanding of the self, and growing at an astronomical rate that I have ever encountered. Stillness of mind is a wonderful thing. . . but to suppress the Process that holds the deepest, truest answers seems rather self-defeating to me.
Try it, and let me know what happens, will you?
©2007 by Sheta Kaey.
Sheta Kaey is a lifelong occultist and longtime spirit worker, as well as Editor in Chief of Rending the Veil. She counsels others with regard to spirit contact and astral work. She can be reached via her blog.