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.

Dreaming with Polar Bears by Dawn Brunke
Veronica Goodchild, PhD
May 21, 2014

This book is the remarkable story of one woman’s journey over many years to a deep connection with the Polar Bears of the Arctic North. Dawn Brunke, already experienced in human-animal communication, becomes a “bear person” who shares the dreaming of polar bears by entering their awareness – often lucidly – in dream, vision, and waking reality, to learn directly from them the wisdom teachings they hold for humanity at this critical time of planetary evolution. Weaving the mythology and history of polar bears with direct encounters with them in the dreamtime, the author takes us on a remarkable journey of transformation. We learn

  • about our common awareness with all living beings from stones to stars, seals to polar bears, and in this shared awareness we can engage the universal language of Life;
  • how animals are preparing themselves for earth changes, to consciously awaken, and to assist humans in awakening to all levels of awareness so that we can become a United Planet of Beings;
  • about the Polar Bear Council, a group of spirit bears who invite human people to engage deeper and more authentic relationships with the earth and with all creatures. Found in giant snow caves yet miraculously sourced in cosmic space, the Polar Bear Council helps sustain the energy grid of the planet and are gatekeepers of the magnetic poles. The Council members are mediators and bridge builders between worlds, connecting off-world energies with energies of beings deep in the earth, lifting their consciousness heavenward to be in communion with the Star People;
  • about Dawn’s connection with spirit bear, Bering Strait, a special guide whose specific task is the co-evolution of the planet through shared dream space and teachings given to the author;
  • about the Polar Bear People who dance in the sky sometimes glimpsed as the Northern Lights, and who live on another planet in the region of Polaris, the North or Pole star (which apparently is shining much brighter in recent years!);
  • how to walk with our whole being in the ways Polar Bears walk in order to “align your body with the meridians of the earth, your thoughts with the patterns of the stars,” to be in touch with the Deep Self, and to enjoy the necessary solitude that fosters a deep connection to the Spirit of the Earth;
  • that human beings are the endangered species, and that rather than fearing global warming we need to learn once again how to love and honor our home planet and to co-operate with its many creatures in different dimensions;
  • how to awaken our senses to embrace the messages of smell, sound, and vibration to enter into a reciprocal rapport with the messages from the Earth.

When I first read Dawn’s words: “I met the Polar Bear Council, a group of spirit bears who served as guides, facilitating shared dreaming as part of planetary evolution. They spoke of special teachings that polar bears hold for the earth, what Native peoples call Polar Bear Medicine: the ability to consciously dream…,” I got shivers up and down my spine as I knew this to be true, like a resonant ‘calling card’ or message deep in the tissues of my soul, awakening me to the mystical realities of the sacred and hidden history of our Earth. We need these special teachings and ancient truths again today. In Dreaming with Polar Bears, Dawn has taken time to listen and to listen deeply to what has called her. She helps us to awaken, to open our being, to recover the sacred covenant of our vocation as custodians of planet Earth, and as co-creators and co-dreamers with the many beings on, below, and above our Earth, of a new dream sourced from the heart.

I cannot think of a more important message for our time.

Veronica Goodchild, PhD, is Core Faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute where she teaches Jungian and Imaginal Psychology. She is the author of Eros and Chaos: The Sacred Mystery and Dark Shadows of Love (2001, 2008), and most recently, Songlines of the Soul: Pathways to a New Vision for a New Century (2012). In the fall of 2013, Veronica felt the Earth calling and undertook a pilgrimage walk along a small part of the Camino de Santiago de Compostella, in France called Le Chemin, a journey that changed her life.

Review by Veronica Goodchild, August 2008 for Spring Journal

Monika Wikman, Pregnant Darkness: Alchemy and the Rebirth of Consciousness.

41ZWXWG54SLA rare sensibility inhabits the pages of Jungian Analyst Monica Wikman’s alchemical book, which makes it compelling for both seasoned clinician and interested layperson alike. Wikman explores the psychological/somatic processes of death and rebirth based on Jung’s alchemical model of the psyche and breathes new life into this model with contemporary clinical examples and some deeply moving dreams illustrating her themes throughout the text.

I was immediately struck by the title of this book. Both the ‘Pregnant’ and the ‘Darkness” suggested an emphasis not only on the processes of transformation rather than some end result, but also the importance of descent and the dark night of the soul as indispensable for the renewal of life energy and creativity, and for which Jung’s psychology provides such a unique context.

Wikman’s book begins with her own brief account of her spontaneous and immediate healing of an aggressive stage IV ovarian cancer that she had suffered with for over four years and that had almost killed her. At the moment when the illness was finally declared terminal, she let go and surrendered to death, but not before raging at the universe for her profound disappointment and despair. This painful lament or heart felt confession opened up a series of visions that Wikman refers to as taking place in the psychoid realm, an intensely felt psycho-physical level of consciousness beyond the collective unconscious. Jung began to name and explore this psychoid realm when he was forced to revise his notion of the archetype with experiences of synchronicity and other paranormal phenomena, but this late work of Jung’s has not been moved forward significantly by many Jungian scholars or analysts. Wikman bravely pursues and explores the intense landscapes of this psychoid realm that she knows first hand from her experience of them. Apart from Jung’s own visionary and imaginal experiences recorded mainly in Memories, Dreams, Reflections, the theologian and philosopher Henri Corbin perhaps comes closest to these domains when he describes the real (not fictive or imaginative) landscapes of the soul as psycho-cosmic imaginal geographies. In my view, Jungian psychology has neglected the reality of the imaginal domains in favor of an emphasis on symbolic interpretations, so it is refreshing to read Wikman’s own and her patients’ accounts of such subtle body experiences and their central place in the processes of initiation and transformation.

Wikman’s contribution to our understanding of alchemy, therefore, is firmly grounded in the psyche-matter mysteries that so preoccupied the alchemists and for which the traditions of alchemy and the alchemical processes of transformation and transmutation provide a symbolic and experiential system. The recognition of the divine inhabiting the soul in the human physical body is at the center of this mystery and its exploration at the heart of its teachings. Pregnant Darkness is divided into two parts tracing the initiate’s journey into this profound mystery. Part One, “The Nigredo and the Rising of Lunar Consciousness,” is a journey to the source of living waters. Through acknowledging and opening to our wounds we experience a shamanic death—the alchemical nigredo—and open to the heavens and hells of deep subjectivity and archetypal reality; not, as Wikman writes, a journey for the faint-hearted. Here, Wikman, following Jung, stresses the importance of the human relationship between analyst and analysand over theoretical constructs as the necessary container for psychological dismemberment and the terrors of insanity that often accompany these darknesses and conflicts. A favorite clinical example in this part of the book is of a woman whose over-identification with independence and achievement led her away from her own feminine nature and instincts. Eventually a dream vision of an illuminated fairy queen arising out of the earth with other fairies all sitting on dew drops on blades of grass which become crowns, leads to an experience of the healing light to be found within nature herself. The woman “felt the experience of the divine incarnating into matter” (pp. 55-62). Wikman masterfully amplifies the details of the dream vision noting especially the four main problems that Marie-Louise von Franz suggests alchemy addresses to help us all deal with the limitations of our Christian mythic inheritance: the value of the feminine erotic mystery; the elevation of the individual in relation to the uniformity of the mass; the problem of evil; and the reconciliation of opposites. An essential focus in Part One of the book is how the nigredo leads to the development of a religious attitude that comes with exposure to the dark subtle depths of the soul.

Part Two, “The Albedo & Rubedo: Rebirth of Consciousness, Shining Renewed,” focuses on how the development of a religious attitude needs to be sustained by daily practice and dialogue with the unknown mysteries of the psyche as they appear in dream, vision, encounter, and relationship—relationship with others as well as in our experiences of nature. Wikman addresses both resistances to this process and the dangers of approaching transpersonal forces with the ego inflation that can result. She also witnesses the healing restoration and renewal of freedom and life that our odysseys can awaken for us. One of the things I found to be most valuable in this part of the book is the author’s focus on how the religious attitude finds its true home in the awakening of the heart and the development of our capacity to love. Insight and conscious realization are steps along the way but not the telos of the alchemical opus. Rather, individuation is a process of moving from understanding with the mind to embodying the felt instincts of the heart and this is one way in which the divine seeks to manifest in the human soul. Wikman writes: “The mental work and understanding feeds another mystery, the mystery of the heart, where the being of light resides” (p. 161). Alchemical work changes us and these changes must inform the way we live with ourselves, with others, with the divine and the world around us. In other words, the processes of transformation bring up the ethical consideration of how to live from the perspective of the wisdom revealed from the deep psyche.

Another important contribution in Part Two is how we discover what Wikman, following Jeff Raff, calls the Ally or Guide from the psychoid dimension of the psyche. Through the example of a patient who had had abdominal surgery early in life that led to her inability to bear children, and her powerful dream and active imagination, Wikman shows “the immediate experience of the divine in relationship with the generative psychic-emotional-physical wound, and in relationship with the path of individuation” (p. 186). We read how in the dream the patient’s body becomes the landscape of earth, and how her belly becomes a lotus with water in the middle that draws the divine figure from the sky world through love and mutuality. Dreaming the dream forward in active imagination, the patient experiences a beneficent snake-like dragon lover that descends from the cosmos beyond our known galaxy and opens her belly revealing it to be like the mythic crack in the earth between the worlds in Celtic mythology. Her “being open to cracking open” also cracks open the sky allowing this guide to descend to earth. The ally reveals himself to be a fierce protector of all that she loves and of her particular path in life. She feels an ecstatic exchange of breath with this companion-lover, a breath that melts away all cares and falsities bringing a “profound communion between cosmic being and human being” that awakens her soul and simple humanity. Furthermore, Wikman’s example also demonstrates how our connection through our own woundings with the divine, personified as protector and companion, not only helps transform us but also helps transform the divine as well, in this case revealing how the god-image is changing in the patient’s life. This deep connection to the guide gives us the confidence to sacrifice outworn modes of being and to become more real and to foster our lives as “carriers of living water” so central to alchemy. Furthermore, this spiritual contact gives rise to a deep erotic instinctual part of the psyche that with awareness can regulate both rapport and distance in our relationships and, as an inner helper, fuels our capacity for spontaneity, vitality and creativity (pp. 185-188).

We live at the end of an age and see death and destruction all around us. However, at the same time, we also live at a time when profound unitive levels of experience are arising in the human soul as well as in nature. For example, on the collective level, I have long been intrigued with how these psychoid levels of the world soul seem to be manifesting as ‘new creations’ in the universal form of UFOs (from above) and Crop Circles (from below) initiating dramatic changes in consciousness for those who take such events seriously. These manifestations are not only symbolic of the emerging unity of psyche and matter (which they are) but they are also real expressions of the psychoid archetype. It appears as if what the alchemists called the unus mundus or one world is constellating today in an attempt to reconcile opposites and to seek balance away from divisive and devastating conflicts toward healing, wholeness, and Eros consciousness. Wikman’s book assists us in recognizing and contributing toward this healing and wholeness in the individual human soul. Following the ancient alchemical mysteries, she shows us how the imaginatio vera—the true, spiritual or visionary imagination—is the organ of knowledge located in the heart, that assists in co-creating a new level of consciousness beyond opposites through direct experiences of the psychoid world. Such subtle experiences from beyond the archetypal domains give us glimpses into an interconnected and multidimensional universe fashioned by the deep mysteries of love.

Veronica Goodchild, PhD, is a professor of Jungian and Imaginal Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She has been a Jungian psychotherapist for over twenty-five years. She is the author of Eros and Chaos: The Sacred Mysteries and Dark Shadows of Love (Nicolas-Hays, 2001), and The Songlines of the Soul: A New Vision for a New Century, that explores the implications of Jung’s psychoid archetype from synchronicity to UFOs and Crop Circles, and further to the mystical cities of the soul.

Review by Veronica Goodchild, February 6, 2013

Sandra Dennis, Embrace of the Daimon: Healing Through the Subtle Energy Body in Jungian Psychology .

5165KZ2JSBLWe speak more urgently today of a mind-body connection as psyche truly seeks to incarnate in and through us beyond anything we might say or interpret about her. In this unique, engaging work, Sandra Dennis goes beyond the split that continues to underlie the phrase ‘mind-body’. Building on the alchemical notion that she calls the unio corporealis (‘union with the body’), first identified by Jung, she takes us on a journey to the profound levels of subtle body reality in that landscape of the psychoid that Corbin calls the imaginal world.

Pressing up from a realm that is neither spirit nor matter, yet paradoxically psychophysical in nature, the daimons and guides from this realm are seeking connection and transformation with our co-participation, in order to enable both consciousness and matter to evolve to a higher level. Increasingly we hear about what I call signatures of this new emerging subtle realm coming back into prominence in our time – from synchronicities, kundalini openings, shamanic and near-death experiences, to UFO encounters and the mysteries of crop circle manifestations – as spirit and matter reach toward each other for a new Sacred Marriage in the realm of psyche.

This book helps us learn to recognize and navigate this subtle, imaginal realm and its denizens, and to heal through its often taboo energies, associated with the presence of feminine wisdom as Sophia, and engages us at the leading radical edge of Jungian psychology today.

Veronica Goodchild, PhD, Core Faculty, Jungian and Imaginal Psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute, author of 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).