A Soulful Look at Myth & Fairytale

A castle sits embedded in a snowy mountainside

“Magical consciousness has to accommodate shadows or it has immediately made its potency finite. Some vital energy is drained from us when we disconnect from moon-like rhythms of visibility. Certain thoughts are out like boomerangs and are not to accomplish themselves in speech—rather to hurtle back into the nourishing dark of our own quiet. We get damaged by too much daylight”

– Martin Shaw

A Soulful Look at Myth & Fairytale

Our quote above comes from a favorite author of mine: Martin Shaw. His work exemplifies deep attendance to myth and fairytale from a place of soul. Through his deep reading and contemplation, Shaw manages to bring moisture to psychology

Quoted here, in Snowy Tower, Shaw reflects on the significance of the inner connection with ideas and imagination. He suggests that we cannot simply reduce our thoughts, patterns, behaviors, and struggles to definition and solution. Rather, until we hold the inner process meditatively with a religious attitude of loving parenthood, our life is without substance. To put it another way, magical privacy is a quiet soil we need to grow seeds in.


The Heart of Our Disorders

This beckons us to consider the importance of wonder, silence, and the unfolding of things on the psyche’s terms and not our own. Is it the psyche that lives in me? Or is it me that lives in the psyche? 

While treatment plans and coping strategies serve to resolve, much of the inner transformation comes from the deep intimacy with the unfolding. From this perspective, we may say that intimacy is always at the heart of our disorders. One cannot simply apply their way to meaning and soul. Rather, one must learn to attend often to the dark fairytales and mysteries of the inner world. Through sensation, imagination, and a healthy, balanced archetypal fathering and mothering, we may live into our answers.

A Contemplative and Curious Position

Our crisis is one of intimacy, one of creation, one of transition. Having abandoned, due to survival and prescription, the necessity of the cosmic bath – the psychization of instinct and sensation of stirring potential – we more often than not fail to initiate into an inner center of gravity. 

Instead one repeats the cycle of confrontation and repression. My encouragement is that we take a contemplative and curious position alongside our own clients recognizing the unfolding fairy tales and mysteries as a greatly unconscious and meaningful work. Should we trust that the psyche wants to heal, we may provide the sacred and open space for initiations into self-resilience, imagination, and reconciliation.

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