by Veronica Goodchild, PhD

Golden double bee pendant from Malia, Crete, Heraklion Archaeological Museum

From earliest times bees have been approached with reverence and awe, and used for religious and magical purposes. Bees are the great pollinators. Honey was the earliest sweetener and a fermented drink could be made from it – mead. Honey, like water, was seen as a “giver of life” and necessary to existence. “Honey hunting or gathering” can be seen in rock paintings in Spain and south-west France going back 15,000 years or more. Bees were mysterious and associated with birth, death, and reincarnation in folktales and myths from many different cultures around the world. They are associated with the Great Mother Goddess and with bull worship which was also dedicated to the Great Mother. The ritual of “Telling the bees” stories of their owner’s family has been a long held custom which suggests bees were approached as having supernatural powers and early on were associated with oracular and other ritual traditions.

To download and read the full paper, please click HERE.

Mary of Magdala: A Gnostic Fable, Introduction, August 2009

By Veronica Goodchild, PhD

In July 2008, at the IAJS/IAAP Conference in Zurich, several colleagues and I had the distinct pleasure of participating in a reading of Armando Nascimento Rosa’s play, Mary of Magdala: A Gnostic Fable (English translation by Alex Ladd). As I had long been interested in the Gnostic, apocryphal, and legendary traditions surrounding the figure of Mary Magdalene, not least of which was her connection to the Grail myth—and at different times had made pilgrimages to her various sacred sites in France, and even once had a dream about a visit to the beautiful cathedral at Vézelay (south-east of Paris) dedicated to her—it was an additional honor for me to read her part in Rosa’s play.

There were other connections with Mary Magdalene. As a child, one of the most moving stories in the New Testament for me was the one where, in St. John’s Gospel, she is weeping outside the empty tomb, conversing with the angels about her sorrow, and turns to see Jesus but does not recognize him as he is in a subtle body form, and the text says that she supposes that he is the gardener. Jesus enquires about her weeping, and it is the sound of his voice calling her name that identifies him to her. Without having the words for the experience then, it was the feeling of a deep pathos and of a love bond between Jesus and MM that had had a stirring impact on me. Then, much later, I had a dream that created one of those major turning points in life. In the dream, I was discovering a hidden text beneath the text of St. John’s Gospel. This dream led me to pursue doctoral studies and I now believe that the ‘hidden text’ was this story of the centrality of Mary Magdalene not only in Jesus’ life and her position as “the apostle to the apostles,” but also her significance as an initiate in the high feminine mysteries, and her devotion to the visionary imagination, what theologian Jean Yves Leloup describes as the task of the 21st century.

There can be no doubt that the figure of Mary Magdalene as well as the renowned Black Madonnas in the West and the Taras of Buddhism in the East point to an archetypal presence constellated in our time. This presence involves not only images of heretofore neglected aspects of the archetype of the feminine, but also deep emotional feelings and numinous spiritual aspirations related profoundly to our sense of vocation—why are we here? what is being called forth from each one of us?—and our longing for a renewed and integrated sacred sexuality. We are at a point of course correction on our planet. In addition to economic collapse and environmental degradation—signs of the failing nature of a patriarchal myth too long ruptured from the ancient springs of the soul—there are emergent signatures of renewal attempting to be born amongst us. These signatures, once made conscious through reflection, aim for union: soul and spirit with body, the often divergent streams of science and spirituality into a more complete whole, the inclusion of intuition and imagination as equally important ways of knowing as our rational and intellectual modes of apprehending ourselves and the world, and the desire for a truly authentic way of being that honors our own way and the deep creative spirit that lives in each one of us. Mary Magdalene in bringing shadow and spirit, soul and body together provides a symbol of these unions.

If you wish to read the rest of the paper, CLICK HERE to download the pdf.

Walking the Songlines of the Soul: A Pilgrimage Walk, Le Puy-en-Velay to St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, on the Camino Path of Stars, An Inner Journey in the Outer World

Veronica Goodchild, PhD
June 2016

(Copyright – All rights reserved)

How does pilgrimage help the Earth? …

a pilgrim’s relationship with the Earth, with the landscape, can be a love relationship. Just like us, the Earth longs for such love and calls us to love her. The Earth in her love for us helps us towards illumination, and we can help her towards hers. That is the hidden purpose of pilgrimage – the so-called redemption of mankind and Nature, the raising of all to light, wherein Light is the manifestation of Love.

Peter Dawkins, Elder and co-Founder, Gatekeeper Trust, UK

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown,
for going out, I found, was really going in.

John Muir, Naturalist, Conservationist, and Founder, Sierra Club, USA

When we touch the Earth mindfully every step will bring peace and joy to the world.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Touching the Earth

On the return trip home, gazing through 240,000 miles of space toward the stars and the planet from which I had come, I suddenly experienced the universe as intelligent, loving, harmonious.
My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity.
We went to the Moon as technicians; we returned as humanitarians.

Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 Astronaut and IONS founder.

Part 1: Le-Puy-en-Velay to Conques

Chapter One: Our Environmental Crisis and the Call to Pilgrimage

Dear Reader, Walking the Songlines of the Soul, is a companion to my previous book, Songlines of the Soul: Pathways to a New Vision for a New Century. In that Songlines, I wrote about the breakthrough of the imaginal world – or Other world as I sometimes call it – into this world in experiences of synchronicity, UFO phenomena, Crop Circles, Near-Death experiences, and the Mystical Cities of the Soul. The focus of these direct encounters of a subtle world in this world happens with the opening of the heart, rather than the interpretations of the mind. Despairing about the prospect of yet another war (this time in Syria) and lamenting the continued disregard of environmental concerns in the collective, not to mention a feeling of overwhelm and helplessness about these large issues, I felt I had to undertake something on a smaller and more human scale, something that I could actually do. So living at the foot of Mt. Ste. Victoire near Aix-en-Provence during the summer of 2013, and hiking almost every day on this sacred mountain, I made plans to walk part of the El Camino de Santiago, not in Spain, but in France, called there Le Chemin de Saint Jacques: I would start from Le-Puy-en-Velay in the Haute Loire to Conques, a mediaeval village in the Auvergne, a journey of some 230 kilometers (or approximately 140 miles). In the autumn of 2015, I walked the second part of the Le Puy route (as it’s called), from Conques to St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, some 550 kilometers (or 330 miles).

This book is a story of how, in unexpected and unanticipated ways, imaginal experiences with the spirit and spirits of nature during my walks helped to transform my grief into what I can only describe as a deepening of love both for our Earth, and from the planet toward me. These chance encounters that opened me in subtle ways to other dimensions then led me to the next phase of my life, as if a resonant field of songlines or dreaming-tracks was orchestrating the invisible threads of fate. The encounters also reminded me of the first time I had had an experience of the ‘light of nature’ which was also a felt expression or manifestation of love. I was somewhere between the ages of four and six, and it took place in our vicarage garden in Sussex in my native England one summer evening.

To read the complete chapter, please CLICK HERE to download the pdf.

Crossing the Horizon: A Journey of Archetypal Significance (2014)
Music: Chris Lastovicka
Libretto: E. M. Lauricella

Veronica Goodchild, PhD
May 18, 2014

Crossing the Horizon is an opera that tells the story of one type of alien encounter: repeated abduction by the spindly and dark-eyed Grays. The encounter experience is told from three perspectives that are interwoven in the telling: the actual memories of the event spoken by Clio; current reflections of ego consciousness, Zoë; and Ursula who offers a broader visionary and ‘objective’ understanding.
The extraordinary and beautifully crafted music created primarily by voice, piano, and strings, is so eerie, haunting, insistent, hypnotic, and sad that, as listeners, in the end we feel almost as psychically penetrated and violated by the visitors as the woman whose story as a child is portrayed here. The music is also heart-breakingly beautiful at times and reveals an empathic attunement to the possibilities, through enduring grief, anger, and suffering, of a renewal of our earthly life.

The abduction experience itself is mostly horrifying as the technologically advanced but emotionally dead aliens impose their mind and space altering abilities to completely freeze, control, paralyse, and invade the child against her will. The Grays crowd and track the child with no moral sensibility, interest, care or love, but simply to perform their illicit experimentation to steal human material for their alien-human hybrid-breeding program. Though the child tries to escape, she is powerless to act, even being forced to become one with them. She develops psychic abilities herself, but this is not experienced as a gift; rather it intensifies her suffering as she can now sense and anticipate when she will be taken again.
The story culminates with the young girl being handed her hybrid child. What is moving here is that, though the hybrid child is sickly, distorted, cold, and hairless, the young girl, though initially repulsed, reaches out to touch it, out of human empathy and compassion. Then the hybrid child is taken back by the alien Grays.

In this feeling response by the young girl to the hybrid child in spite of the terrors of abduction, we begin to experience a kind of redemption, and the archetypal dimension of this story referenced in the subtitle, begins to unfold. The story takes place in three scenes: Sunset, Night, and Dawn. This archetypal patterning of decline (of the light) and inevitable despair, followed by the dark night of the soul and deep suffering, and then the gradual dawning possibility of rebirth and renewal, is an ancient pattern in human consciousness and cultural history. We ourselves are living in the midst of an alchemical initiation of profound and global proportions as old structures die all around us, as the Earth herself groans in peril, and yet as signs of new life and possibility blossom in the midst of necessary and tumultuous course correction on our planet. Clio, who ‘holds the memory’ of the abduction event, is also the Greek Muse of history; and Zoë who offers current reflections, is a Greek
word that refers to life, but life as eternal and infinite (distinguishable from the Greek bios which refers to individual and finite life only). Moreover, the Ur (in Ursula) points to an original or earliest something, civilization for example. The names signal the broader historical and archetypal themes to be gleaned from this one individual tale. These personae, therefore, invite a wider reading of the story.

Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung wrote of the UFO and ET phenomena as pointing to a metamorphosis of archetypal themes currently underway in the collective unconscious as we move from the age of Pisces (duality and reason) to the New Age of Aquarius (the discovery of the ‘divine guest’ in our souls and our reunion with nature and the cosmos). Though elements of the Trickster archetype are apparent with all the shadow and strangeness of altered realities in abduction stories, nevertheless, a transformation potential is currently activated. Jung even felt that as human beings we are too cosmically isolated, and that, living on the brink of endless wars and unimaginable destruction, we could learn from ET civilizations that have found ways to navigate beyond their destructive phases.

We need to remind ourselves that the abduction story told in this opera is one kind among many others not so traumatic; indeed, some encounter stories border on mystical revelation and have been compared with kundalini openings. Harvard psychiatrist, John Mack, interviewed ‘experiencers’ extensively, and documented many of these encounters, some with ET groups who wish to help us acknowledge the path of destruction we are on and to reclaim our love for the Earth, for the beauty and majesty of nature, and to reconnect with our wise and spiritually advanced galactic neighbors. The Star Nation peoples, as indigenous cultures call those off-Earth civilizations who they claim as their ancestors, know that what we do here influences consciousness and has effects elsewhere in the galaxies, and they wish to hold us accountable. Sirian, Pleiadian, Arcturian, and Orion groups, for example, have been both experienced and reported as being active in human history since time immemorial, and can be contacted in non-ordinary states of consciousness to the present day.

Moreover, UK researcher of lost ancient mysteries and subtle earth energies, John Michell, observes that many people who have had UFO or ET experiences often come to love the earth more after their research and encounters and develop an interest in ley lines and geomancy, as if the ‘signs in the heavens’ related to the transitioning of the ages (Jung) lead us back down to the sacred history of our earth, The rediscovery of sacred geometry, and the ‘songlines’ or ‘dragon paths’ that link sacred sites together across the planet are becoming activated again today. Walking along the old ‘serpent energy lines’ that make up the ancient pilgrimage routes has become an international hobby these days. Crop circle mysteries, too, with their beauty and complex geometry, enliven our wonder at the Earth as a sentient being with a relationship to the stars above.

And this brings us back to Crossing the Horizon. In spite of, perhaps even because of, the disturbances of alien abduction, the protagonist reclaims the wonders of being human and living on planet Earth, and renews her relationship with wild nature, warm sunshine, green grass, freedom to choose, breath, understanding, delight, the rawness of Life itself in all its vicissitudes. She allows her suffering to break herself open to the reality that Life here is also a vision of deep complexity, of sorrow and pain, of joy and love, yet it is our reality, one that can open us to the deep mysteries. She crosses back over the horizon onto the ground of earthly, human experience, transformed by the dangers and opportunities of her crisis, of her encounter with that which is totally Other – “we are not the same,” the Grays say.

Furthermore, in the terrors of abduction we are, perhaps, seeing the face of our own shadow, our own technological hubris, imperviousness to grief and loss, and increasing lack of emotional rapport with each other as well as our erotic bonds to the earth. With our alien interface, we are being given the opportunity to see what we ourselves might become, perhaps are already frighteningly close to. The inhuman Grays, it seems, have returned to steal back their ‘humanity.’ Let us not lose ours. As Jung says, the path of individuation or self-knowledge always begins with the difficult acknowledgment and embrace of the shadow, the parts of ourselves we would rather suppress and deny. And so the young girl extends her hand to the hardly breathing hybrid; a moment of deep pathos. The archetypal significance of those suffering crossing the horizon into the liminal space of our own possibility is the shaman’s journey to another world that can offer us all a chance to bring back the treasure, to reflect and to change our own story, right now.

Chris Lastovicka who composed the music, and E. M. Lauricella who wrote the libretto, have achieved an extraordinary accomplishment in this haunting, evocative, and deeply moving opera. Courageously, they lead us on a journey of redemption, of death and renewal, from the dire implications of what it means to stray from our human path, and to a vision of what it means to finally come home.

Veronica Goodchild, PhD, is Core Faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, teaching courses in Jungian and Imaginal Psychology, in the Clinical, Depth, and Somatics Programs. She is an elected Affiliate Member of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts. Veronica has written two books: Eros and Chaos: The Sacred Mysteries and Dark Shadows of Love (2001, 2008), and Songlines of the Soul: Pathways to a New Vision for a New Century (2012). Veronica has had a long interest in UFO/ET, Crop Circle, NDE, and other anomalous phenomena. An exploration of their meaning at this particular time in our history and the implications for the emergence of a new worldview based on the union of spirit and matter, form the basis of this most recent book. She collaborated on these interests with Harvard’s Dr. John Mack for several years before his untimely death.