by Sue Mosher

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Engaged Humanities with Emphasis in Depth Psychology

Pacifica Graduate Institute April 4, 2009


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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The journey toward a more authentic and vital life is never one that is made alone. I have been more fortunate than most, however, to travel in an extraordinary company of fellow seekers, all of us held in the supportive—and occasionally combustive—container that is Pacifica Graduate Institute. I am deeply indebted to the cohort that greeted me when I arrived in February 2007 and the cohort for whom I had the privilege of providing such a welcome in August 2008, a group that brought new energy to our band that had been traveling together for 18 months. But herein I principally want to lift up the names of those who have been my closest soul mates through the entire process—Andrew Camargo, Vanessa Coriat, Keith Morrison, Pia Ossorio, Lana Williams, and especially my “portfolio buddy,” Heidi Volf, with whom I’ve laughed and whined unreservedly. I love you all and look forward to many years of friendship. Each of our Pacifica professors has enriched and challenged my study and development, but I am especially grateful to Joan Abraham, Jim Kline, Ana Mozol, and Judie Piner for drawing out my best and deepest work and challenging me to open doors that had been locked. So many others at Pacifica contributed to the unique learning environment that we enjoyed on campus, especially those who managed and cared for the grounds and buildings and prepared and served the delicious meals. We also could not have done our work without Terry Utter and her maintenance of the online environment. To research librarian Mark Kelly: I take back what I said about wanting to be you when I grow up. You are a unique and amazing resource and just plain fun to be around; there’s

iv no way I could ever duplicate what you do. To Dr. Cindy Carter, who was acting chair of the Humanities program during most of my program: Thank you so much for calming my panic that first day and being a gentle and firm presence thereafter. I must also thank my spiritual community, Universalist National Memorial Church in Washington, DC, and its pastor, Rev. Lillie Mae Henley, for their willingness to participate in some of my class projects, for access to the pulpit, and for their ongoing encouragement. To my daughter, Annie: It has been a pleasure to swap papers with you as we each move toward our academic goals. To my husband, Robert: I deeply cherish the conversations we’ve had around my studies. Even when there was not much I could say, because I was exploring another place alone, I always felt the comfort of your embrace. Thank you also, for your comments and proofreader’s marks on my papers. It’s wonderful to have another editor in the house. Finally, I am most grateful to the Beloved who lies beyond us, moves among us, and dwells within us. Thank you, thank you for your presence, for the light toward which I turn, and for all that great company, whether sentient or not, seen or not, breathing or not, who feel the change.


DEDICATION This portfolio is dedicated to my grandmother, Alice Blanche Estes Billingsley, who late in life became a writer and a spiritual guide, and to Polly Agee, activist and fundraiser, whose coaching helped awaken the destiny that drew me to Pacifica.

TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION ...............................................................................................................1 SECTION 1: PERSONAL DISCOVERY ...........................................................................6 ARTIFACT 1: AN APOCALYPTIC EXPERIENCE OF THE SELF ....................7 ARTIFACT 2: INGESTING THE MOON............................................................16 SECTION 2: ARCHETYPAL AWARENESS ..................................................................23 ARTIFACT 3: STRANGE NIGHT AT ROXY’S CAFÉ .....................................24 ARTIFACT 4: GILGAMESH AND THE LANDSCAPE ....................................30 ARTIFACT 5: ASKLEPION AND TEMENOS ...................................................34 ARTIFACT 6: A DEATH MARRIAGE RITUAL ...............................................39 ARTIFACT 7: LITTLE MARLENE REDEEMED ..............................................51 SECTION 3: PUBLIC WITNESS .....................................................................................62 ARTIFACT 8: A LETTER TO THE EDITOR .....................................................63 ARTIFACT 9: A SERMON ON RITUAL ............................................................66 ARTIFACT 10: PLACE KEEPERS WORKBOOK .............................................77 ARTIFACT 11: A LITANY OF INJUSTICE .......................................................92 ARTIFACT 12: TRACING THE TRUTH ............................................................98


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Figure 1. Mandala........................................................................................................6 Source: Author Figure 2. Photograph of sunset on August 16, 2007 .................................................10 Source: Author Figure 3. Photograph of my clay double ...................................................................12 Source: Author Figure 4. Pastel drawing ............................................................................................13 Source: Author Figure 5. Mandala......................................................................................................23 Source: Author Figure 6. “Brown Eye Blue” .....................................................................................27 Photograph by BritneyBush. Source: 116516677/. Figure 7. Mandala......................................................................................................62 Source: Author

INTRODUCTION I pledge allegiance to the soil of Turtle Island, and to the beings who thereon dwell one ecosystem in diversity under the sun With joyful interpenetration for all. Snyder, 1983, pp. 113–114 Spiritual activist is not a job title found in the newspaper classified ads or on the employment Web site. To become a spiritual activist requires a process of self-discovery and self-definition. The aspirant must identify what spiritual activism means within the context of one’s own life. This portfolio of two years of work completed during my studies in the M.A. in Engaged Humanities program at Pacifica Graduate Institute demonstrates what I have learned about myself and our world, what specific issues call to me, and what skills I have acquired to engage others on those issues in support of hope and healing. Two concepts are central to the vision of my own spiritual activism—a sense of place and the permeability of myth and metaphor. Many of the artifacts in this portfolio touch on the relationship of people to the landscape or to the other spaces they inhabit. I believe that our connection to place is critical to any effort to move toward an active understanding of how individuals and the environment, local and global, are linked. The places we long for—and those that repel us—often are metaphors for what is meaningful to us and thus may offer a starting point for dialogue among people who might otherwise doubt that they have anything in

2 common. For example, Antjie Krog’s (1998) account of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa is steeped in affection for the South African landscape; perhaps the realization of their mutual love of that place was one of the factors that drove the pro-apartheid government to reach out to the opposition. My approach to place extends beyond the countryside to consider home spaces, work spaces, and the other settings for our lives. I agree with James Hillman (1989) that the wilderness should not be the only location where we can access soulful places. To try to increase awareness of the variety of local places that speak to the spirit, I recently began organizing visits to labyrinths, memorials, and other sites in the Washington, DC, area.1 A densely populated city can support places of refuge and renewal with designs that ―remembers nature’s contours, skin, and volumes‖ (Hillman, p. 103) in miniature, even in fabricated spaces that contain no living elements. The other core notion informing my work at Pacifica is the permeability of myth, story, and metaphor. Richard Tarnas (2007) has noted that one of the gifts of postmodernism is a radical pluralism in which many individuals find themselves synthesizing multiple mythologies. This is a tense state, to be sure, but also a potentially permeable one, for the absorption of multiple narratives allows a mythic metaphor that resides in me to enter into a dialogue with the same metaphor in another. Thus, myth is particularly well suited to help us ―bring into a single (if not necessarily harmonious)


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3 conversation the genuinely different approaches that several cultures have made to similar (if not the same) human problems‖ (Doniger, 1998, p. 71). The key to that level of engagement is interpenetration of myth by myth, story by story, metaphor by metaphor: not assimilation or even integration, but what James Fowler (1986) has called ―ironic imagination—a capacity to see and be in one’s or one’s group’s most powerful meanings, while simultaneously recognizing that they are relative, partial and inevitably distorting apprehensions of transcendent reality‖ (p. 347). This, to me, speaks to the core permeability of story and myth: being able to listen to someone else’s cultural stories without judging them by the standards of my own mythology. Like Gandhi (1958), ―I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible‖ (p. 142). Rather than build a wall to protect my mythic metaphors from contamination by others’ viewpoints, I want to see what windows the other person has used to let in new light and what different color or texture of mortar has been used to fill in the gaps between their myths and their actual experiences. Underpinned by these currents of permeability and place, my transformation from careers in journalism and desktop software into a spiritual activist unfolds in the three sections of this portfolio: personal discovery, archetypal awareness, and public witness. First, as Henri Nouwen (1975) maintained, ―No real dialogue is possible between somebody and a nobody‖ (p. 66), and so it has been essential to explore my inner world through self-reflection, dream work, and other techniques. The first two artifacts describe specific encounters with archetypal forces that are representative of the awakening to self that I have experienced during my studies at Pacifica.

4 Second, by studying myths, images, the landscape, and the psychological insights that weave them together, I have sought an archetypal awareness that combines what Michael Meade has described as a ―mythic sense . . . the antidote to literalism‖ (as cited in Hansen, 2005, p. 20) with a ―narrative intelligence‖ (Atlee, 2003, ¶5) that recognizes the power of story to inform and influence. The second section of the portfolio contains a broad range of artifacts—fiction, ritual, and analysis of myth through depth psychological principles—that explore some of the archetypes that emerge in myths as gods, heroes, helpers, and foes. To uncover the essence of their stories, I visit them in places as diverse as a coffee shop, the Waters of Death crossed by Gilgamesh, the ancient Greek asklepia, and a fairy tale cottage. These artifacts represent the path that I have taken to a psychological understanding of myth and an archetypal understanding of psychology that can underpin my desire to be an agent for change. Finally, the irresistible urge to apply this self-knowledge and mythic perspective has led to the examples of public witness that form the concluding section of my portfolio. I have attempted to engage specific issues—green space preservation, the effectiveness of ritual, the reality of privilege, and the need for reconciliation—in ways that move beyond the classroom. These artifacts reflect many possible approaches: a letter to the editor, a sermon, personal confession, one-on-one dialogue, and a how-to workbook. Experimenting with these different means of expression has helped me find my own place to stand on these issues. Although I do not yet have a clear sense of where or how I will be called upon to apply what I have learned, I can speak confidently with my own voice when I encounter situations where I can no longer be silent.

5 References Atlee, T. (2003). The power of story—the story paradigm. Retrieved December 1, 2008, from Doniger, W. (1998). The implied spider: Politics and theology in myth. New York: Columbia University Press. Fowler, J. (1996). Stages of faith. In J. W. Conn (Ed.), Women’s spirituality resources for Christian development (2nd. ed., pp. 342–348). (New York: Paulist Press). Gandhi, M. & Kripalani, K. (Ed.) (1958). All men are brothers: Autobiographical reflections. New York: Continuum. Hansen, M. T. (2005). Teachers of myth: Interviews on educational and psychological uses of myth with adolescents. New Orleans, LA: Spring Journal Books. Hillman, J. (1989). A blue fire (T. Moore, Ed.). New York: Harper & Row. Krog, A. (1998). Country of my skull: Guilt, sorrow, and the limits of forgiveness in the new South Africa. New York: Times Books. Nouwen, H. J. M. (1975). Reaching out: The three movements of the spiritual life. New York: Doubleday. Snyder, G. (1983). Axe handles. San Francisco: North Point Press. Tarnas, R. (2007, August 16). Unpublished lecture given at Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpenteria, CA.


Figure 1: Mandala. Source: Author.

ARTIFACT 1: AN APOCALYPTIC EXPERIENCE OF THE SELF ................................7 ARTIFACT 2: INGESTING THE MOON........................................................................16

ARTIFACT 1: AN APOCALYPTIC EXPERIENCE OF THE SELF Prior to attending Pacifica, I enjoyed two successful careers—working first in broadcast journalism and technology, then in desktop software support and development. Both dealt mainly with facts and order. However, after more than 12 years as a selfemployed consultant, I was increasingly losing interest in the subject matter of a computer guru and becoming fascinated with questions about how people learn and what is worth learning or rediscovering. These deeper issues of meaning, beauty, and imagination required a broader approach and eventually led me to Pacifica. What I did not anticipate, though, was the degree to which this new way I had chosen would plunge me into realms where the logic of my prior work life would hold little sway. I wrote this artifact as an assignment for the Jung‘s Depth Psychology course in which we were to reflect on an experience of the Self—the archetype of wholeness that directs and organizes psychic life, gives rise to the conscious ego, and connects the individual personality with the objective psyche or collective unconscious. The paper describes a disturbing incident that fully awakened me to what Edward F. Edinger (1972) has called ―the symbolic life‖ (p. 117). After this experience, I had no choice but to take seriously my own encounters with archetypal forces and accounts of others‘ similar adventures, regardless of how far they might deviate from the rationality of my former careers.

8 Two aspects of this incident stand out in retrospect: the compulsion toward physical expression and the oracular question that I received: ―If we give up the idea of eternal life, do we get back the world?‖ One of the paradoxes of the symbolic life is that it is only by giving the imaginal some concrete form that one can interact deeply with it. The objective psyche cannot enter into consciousness without creating a relationship with the mundane world. Yet a symbol by definition is only a pointer to the deeper implications that it indicates. The impulse to sculpt, draw, write poetry, or invent ritual in response to a numinous experience is not an attempt to capture the literal meaning of the event. Rather, it may be an effort toward illumination on a more visceral level. Carl Jung (1916/1960), writing about dreams, explained, ―Often it is necessary to clarify a vague content by giving it a visible form. . . . Often the hands know how to solve a riddle with which the intellect has wrestled in vain‖ (p. 86). Furthermore, Professor Jim Kline said in response to my essay (personal communication, June 2008) that artistic efforts such as mine can release the internal energies that the Self generates in numinous experiences. Regarding the content of the question, by ―the idea of eternal life,‖ I understood not just the Christian idea of heaven, but also the puerile urge for immortality—so reminiscent of Gilgamesh, whose epic we had studied in the Mythic Dimensions in Personal Transformation class—which shows itself in our secular culture in such expressions as ―it‘s all about me‖ or ―you Americans want to live forever.‖ To give up that attitude would make it possible to ―get back the world‖ or, in other words, to regain a holistic relationship both with the environment and with the diverse individual and cultural viewpoints that comprise our world.

9 I also felt that the question posed a challenge to the religious lens I had brought to Pacifica. For nearly 20 years, I have participated deeply in the life of a liberal Christian community whose core idea is apokatastasis or universal salvation. To give up the idea of eternal life could mean to relinquish the particular interpretation of apokatastasis that holds that all people eventually will be united with God after death. In essence, the Self had poked at and exposed a vulnerable spot—my inclination to measure whatever I learned at Pacifica against the yardsticks held by my faith community. Yet, as Edinger (1992) wrote, ―Only by awareness and acceptance of our weakness do we become conscious of something beyond the ego that supports us‖ (p. 126). This question pushed me to confront my own religious attitudes and trust that beyond the conventional idea of eternal life lies a more comprehensive wholeness that encompasses not just some future heaven, but the world we live in today, even as it shudders with ominous colors, strange beauty, and brutal tragedy. I find myself returning to this question often and have discover others asking it as well. Parker Palmer (2004), for example, wondered whether the nonstop noise that our culture worships might be ―a secular sign of ‗eternal life‘‖ (p. 160) and urged more frequent contact with the silence that connects us with the mystery of where we come from and where we are going. During the Models of National Transformation course, in which we studied the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, I reframed the question within the context of restorative justice: If we let go of our privilege, do we gain true fullness of life? I keep asking that revised question as I move toward a more active engagement with the communications, environmental, and social justice issues that challenge us today.

10 An Apocalyptic Experience of the Self There is only one thing that seems to work; and that is to turn directly toward the approaching darkness without prejudice and totally naively, and to try to find out what its secret aim is and what it wants from you. von Franz, 1964, p. 170 In the early evening of Thursday, August 16, 2007, the sun descended toward the Pacific Ocean in an apocalyptic orange haze. The Vaca fire on the other side of the hills south of Santa Barbara had filled the air with ash, and a brown cloud hung heavily over the area, leaving only a narrow band of bright sky above the horizon, glowing a sickly yellow (Figure 2). On the Pacifica Graduate Institute campus, Richard Tarnas, author of The Passion of the Western Mind (1993) and Cosmos and Psyche (2006), began his guest lecture on the rite of passage that may be in store for the modern psyche. This unpublished lecture followed the general outline of Tarnas‘ article ―Is the Modern Psyche

Figure 2: Sunset on August 16, 2007, as seen from the Pacifica Graduate Institute campus in Carpenteria, CA. Source: Author.

11 Undergoing a Rite of Passage?‖ (2001) and addressed some of the themes we had covered in our Mythic Dimensions in Personal Transformation class. I listened attentively as Tarnas described the process by which differentiation of the ego from the archaic participation mystique had given humankind autonomy, but at a great price: the shrinking of the anima mundi or world-soul into the unconscious and thus the emptying of meaning from the world. Tarnas shifted to a description of the polarity of sun and moon and the modern mind‘s one-sided identification with the sun, shining its scientific light. As he evoked the idea of the solar principle being willing to go down into the night sky heroically for the good of the whole, I began to shake. The smell of the brush fire became for me the smell of the death of civilization. A cryptic question popped into my head, not directly related to Tarnas‘ words: ―If we give up the idea of eternal life, do we get back the world?‖ As I trembled, Tarnas concluded his lecture with a discussion of the lack of contemporary, group-facilitated initiation experiences and the possibility that humankind is in a race between initiation of the species as a whole and global catastrophe. When the question-and-answer period was over and the lecture concluded, I could barely stand, but I knew that I needed to breathe the night air. Once outside, I had to lean against a post to steady myself. I was terrified and on the verge of tears. A classmate noticed my distress and asked if I was OK. I told him about the shaking and the unexpected question, and he acknowledged that he, too, had been strongly affected and felt that Tarnas had spoken prophetically. Later, this classmate would describe my state after the lecture as being ―full of numen‖ (personal communication, November 14, 2007).

12 The next day, as the Mythic Dimensions class continued, Professor Maren Hansen gave us an hour to work with clay. The assignment was to create a double who could provide balance and bring peace. Without any image in mind, I let my fingers squeeze the clay until a small figure started to emerge (Figure 3). She was seated in a meditative posture, ready to receive, but not centered. Her face turned to the left, as if she had made a clear choice as to where to direct her attention. This exercise brought some clarity to what I had experienced the night before. I understood that the day would be coming—and soon—when my task would be to pick a place to stand and a direction toward which to turn my face.

Figure 3: My clay double. Source: Author. I was still very agitated. Since the clay work had been calming, I decided to try other creative expression and picked up pastels and some paper. For the next four days, I drew compulsively during almost every class break (Figure 4). This, too, helped ease the tension. I began to relax and to be able to talk to people again. It was during this period

13 that I first encountered in a dream the inner guide whom I call Grandmother ColorHealer.

Figure 4: Pastel drawing made during class breaks during the August 2007 residential session at Pacifica. Source: Author. The impulse to put color on paper persisted after our summer residential ended and eventually blossomed in November into a week‘s worth of daily mandalas. Later that month, I had the opportunity to speak with Tarnas about my experience and to share my cryptic question, not in expectation of an answer, but as a gift offered to further his work. He commented that the emergence of a sensitivity to colors is often a sign that the process of individuation is strongly under way. My conversation with Tarnas was friendly, but not numinous. That did not surprise me. I had come to realize by then that his lecture was either the catalyst for my August experience (perhaps in conjunction with the eerie atmosphere created by the falling ash and strange light) or a synchronistic event, but it was not the direct cause.

14 When this incident occurred, I was just beginning to understand the concept of the Self and had no notion at all of an experience of the Self. However, now it is quite clear to me that this is what occurred. I was attuned to something so essential that night that it has the potential to define my action for years to come—maybe even for the rest of my life. Yet when I look back at my notes, I see no world-changing words at the moment when I started to feel shaken. It was as if there was some content between the words that my conscious mind could not write down, but that my unconscious immediately understood. As troubling as this experience was, I have cherished it and reflected on it often, knowing instinctively as Marie-Louise von Franz (1964) described in the quotation at the beginning of this paper, that the time has come to face the approaching darkness and fathom its purpose.

15 References Edinger, E. F. (1972). Ego and archetype: Individuation and the religious function of the psyche. New York: Penguin Books. Franz, M.-L. von (1964). The process of individuation. In C. G. Jung & M.-L. von Franz (Eds.), Man and his symbols. New York: Dell. Jung, C. G. (1960). The transcendent function. In R. F. C. Hull (Trans.), The collected works of C. G. Jung (Vol. 8, pp. 67–91). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1916) Palmer, P. J. (2004). A hidden wholeness: The journey toward an undivided life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Tarnas, R. (1993). The passion of the Western mind: Understanding the ideas that have shaped our world view. New York: Ballantine Books. Tarnas, R. (2001). Is the modern psyche undergoing a rite of passage? Retrieved June 20, 2008, from Tarnas, R. (2006). Cosmos and psyche: Intimations of a new world view. New York: Viking.

ARTIFACT 2: INGESTING THE MOON Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye that is always saying, with that sweet moon language, what every other eye in this world is dying to hear? Hafiz, 2002, p. 75 This artifact that follows is a reflection on how the moon deity mirrors the unconscious. Written for the Jung’s Depth Psychology course, it follows closely on the heels of a dream in which I was offered many different types of moon-related food, such as round cakes, but ignored them all. Jim Kline, the class instructor, observed that my dream-self obsessively clung to ―brain food‖ in the form of books, papers, and a peanut butter sandwich (which happens to be my usual lunch when I am writing), while rejecting the more mysterious ―moon food‖ (personal communication, July 19, 2008). Yet the dream also contained numinous elements. A teacher handed me a small cake for another student. After I found the student and gave her the cake, the night sky erupted with light: I look up at the sky and see one shooting star, then another and another. I grab the other student and make her sit with me to watch. The sky explodes with so many shooting stars that they form great white vortexes. Some of the star paths have little white vector arrows on the ends. (Author’s dream, July 4, 2008)

17 The star show stimulated my exploration of the moon’s divine mystery in this paper, for both the moon and the stars offered examples of humanity’s engagement with the original store of symbolic images—nature itself. Landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy (2004) has noted that no matter how distant the sky might seem, it can be drawn closer through the use of a reflecting pool. This liquid quality is present in my paper in both its images and the process of writing. At first, I struggled to get a handle on the assignment, to find a way to hold onto the moon deities. But, just as in my dream, I could not swallow the moon. What finally overcame my procrastination was to moisten the moon’s light by bringing it down to my own internal reflecting pool. In doing so, I learned the utility of sometimes approaching an archetype image obliquely, rather than directly, so as to avoid choking on its lessons. As a result, I feel better equipped to consume a more balanced diet of archetypal wisdom and rational knowledge.

18 Ingesting the Moon As we began our study of moon symbolism, moon deities, and moon rituals, the moon demanded my attention but remained elusive as I sought its meaning. On the day of the new moon, July 3, 2008, I visited an exhibit on Bhutan that mentioned the festival use of moon cakes. That evening, I emerged from my yoga class with an intense craving for a large, dark chocolate cookie. In the early morning hours, I dreamed that I was carrying a flat cake like the classic Southern ―moon pie‖ as well as some other round food object, perhaps a quesadilla, as it was a light color. But I wanted to eat a peanut butter sandwich instead! Why did I hunger for the chocolate cookie—an apt symbol for the new moon—in waking life, but reject the moon-related foods in my dream? Even though I found fascinating the ways in which humankind has revered the moon and incorporated its essential theme of life, death, and renewal into many deities, I resisted writing this reflection and did other assignments until I ran out of excuses for not finishing this one. Was I avoiding what the moon had to say? Or is the moon simply less relevant to me than it would have been to the ancients? The moon is hardly less impressive today than it was in ages past. Even in urban areas, where the stars are hard to see against a sky that is more gray than black, the moon still holds sway. People often marvel at the size of a harvest moon and enjoy the brightness of a summer or winter moon. Looking for a clue to my resistance, I considered how I do not perceive the moon as most people do. With my right eye, it appears as a crisp white disk, its shadowy features clearly visible. My left eye sees something completely different. Last year, a few weeks after an apocalyptic experience of the Self (Artifact 1 in this portfolio), I found

19 that the fuzziness in my left eye was not due to a glasses prescription that needed to be updated. Instead, I learned that I had a cataract, and I gradually became aware that it gave me not the usual double vision common to cataracts, but triple vision. Thus, with my left eye, even with glasses, I always see three moons, and if I look with both eyes, the triple aspect blends with the single disk. Someone from an ancient tradition might say that the triple goddess, Hecate-the-Three-Headed, had revealed herself to me. Usually she manifests through the tri-fold sequence of the waxing moon, the full moon, and the moon that wanes and then goes dark (Harding, 1971). To see the goddess in her triple form at all times, not just over the course of a month, could be a sign of her enduring power to draw together the world of aspiration above, the earthly material realm, and the underworld of fecundity and soul. Could that be what I was resisting—not so much the presence of the moon deity, but the existence of such disparate regions within my own personality? M. Esther Harding (1971) wrote, ―Unconscious factors of the psyche are first sensed, not in concepts, but are perceived in the outer world, projected into inanimate nature‖ (p. 19). I found myself wishing that I had a pool in my backyard in which to view the reflected moon, to bring it closer for extended gazing. The moon has a liquid aspect that we can carry into daylight as the semi-precious gem known as moonstone, in which light seems to swim in translucence. A few weeks ago, I felt compelled to draw a mandala (Figure 1) that shows a breast or udder in the sky dripping into an alchemical vessel from which reach up hands, as if in worship. The unconscious thirsts for ―the moistening power of the goddess‖ (p. 110), bringing rain or dew and thus fertility and creativity.

20 If I sat by the pool through the weeks and watched the moon wane then wax again, the water would contain no less of the moon during its dark phases. Whether full or dark or crescent, it would always be there, a constant presence, but not a static one. Speeded up, a film of the phases of the moon would show that cycle pulsing with light and active energy. How hard it is to capture the liquid moonlight itself! If you dip your hand into the moon’s reflection in a pool, it ripples away into slippery fragments. In such activation, Joseph Campbell (2003) found an image of eternal, ongoing creation: What we see are lights coming and going, coming and going—the ripples on the pond. Those lights are ourselves, and we think of ourselves as this light to be preserved: here I am; oh dear, now I’m gone. The Eastern texts tell us, rather, ―Don’t identify yourself with that little shimmering light. Identify yourself with that source of light that is reflected in this shimmer with which you have identified yourself.‖ (p. 53) This part of the moon’s divine mystery ties it to the unconscious: Its emanations cannot be pinned down and grasped firmly. Humankind has found many ways to relate to the moon as a celestial power—through a stone, a tree, the cow, and other animals; or as the man in the moon who becomes a dying and resurrecting god, with a special rapport with women; or ultimately, as a great Mother who marries the moon and gives birth to the moon, embodying in herself the full cycle of birth, generation, and death. These figures overlap and interweave until it is hard to imagine any end to the ways in which we relate to the moon deities. In that intertwining, too, lies a connection with the unconscious, which is also infinite in the variety of interconnections among the archetypes that embody its energies.

21 No wonder I found the moon so hard to swallow. We can ingest it only if we are patiently receptive and wait for its still drops of reflective dew to form, distilled from the hidden inner sources.

22 References Campbell, J. (2003). Myths of light: Eastern metaphors of the eternal. Novato, CA: New World Library. Hafiz, S. M. (2002). With that moon language. In D. Ladinsky, Love poems from God (p. 75). New York: Penguin Compass. Harding, M. E. (1971). Woman’s mysteries: Ancient and modern. Boston: Shambhala. Messervy, J. M. (2004). The meaning of the garden in human life [Electronic version]. Acta Horticulturae, 642, 79–99.


Figure 5: Mandala. Source: Author.

ARTIFACT 3: STRANGE NIGHT AT ROXY’S CAFÉ .................................................24 ARTIFACT 4: GILGAMESH AND THE LANDSCAPE ................................................30 ARTIFACT 5: ASKLEPION AND TEMENOS ...............................................................34 ARTIFACT 6: A DEATH MARRIAGE RITUAL ...........................................................39 ARTIFACT 7: LITTLE MARLENE REDEEMED ..........................................................51

ARTIFACT 3: STRANGE NIGHT AT ROXY’S CAFÉ I wrote this fictionalized account of an actual online chat session as one of the blog posts required in the Personal Interactions with Technology course during my first quarter at Pacifica. Although I have been a writer and editor since I published a neighborhood newspaper at about age 10, most of that work has consisted of news and technical writing. Blogging was something completely different, and it loosened my writing muscles considerably. The course instructor, Roxana Khan—the Roxy of the artifact’s title—required us to post at least five entries to our blogs during the quarter. Knowing that only my instructor, classmates, and trusted family and friends were likely to read these posts, I felt free to experiment with this new medium. For this artifact, I took a real-life event, in which three of us students failed in our attempts to get into the same chat room simultaneously, and imagined it as a mythological story involving gods and hidden forces, concluding with the type of moral lesson that I thought an actual myth might convey. The divine characters in the story corresponded to the gods we were researching as another requirement of the same course. I was quite fascinated, for example, with the polymorphous nature of my research subject, Horus, and so I gave him a quick costume change. I was delighted to find out later that art had even imitated life in an unexpected way: While waiting to get into the chat room, the classmate researching Thor had drawn and written on the ―wall‖ of the course software’s shared drawing feature, in effect reproducing the Viking graffiti that I had seen years earlier inside the Stone Age tomb of Maes Howe in the Orkney Islands of

25 Scotland (Towrie, n.d.). I came away with a sense of how some myths may have grown from actual experiences, just as my story had its roots in a real chat session. This artifact also reflects my introduction to several important tools besides blogging. I became aware of the vast image resources available on Web sites like Flickr2 and learned about Creative Commons licensing, an alternative to conventional copyright protection for ―any . . . creator who would like to share their work while still retaining some rights‖ (Licensing and Marking Your Content, n.d., p. 1). Most meaningful, though, was the opportunity to explore the more creative side of my writing. As I began the transition from the world of technology to the realms of mythology and psychology, this artifact exposed a latent playfulness that has led me into new inner explorations and, on the practical side, helped me become a more effective communicator.


The Flickr image-sharing Web site is located at

26 Strange Night at Roxy’s Café Horus, Coyote, and Thor went to their favorite café one evening this week. Prometheus had planned to join them, but he went to bed early; it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep when your liver is healing from being torn by an eagle all day long. They were hoping to get a mega dose of magnificent mocha from Roxy, the star barista, but the café atmosphere was rather odd. It’s not that big a café, just a couple of rooms, and hardly busy at 10 at night, but Coyote was told he couldn’t get in because he was already in. The same thing happened to Thor: He couldn’t enter the café because he was already inside. How very odd! To be in, but not in. And too bad, because they’d both dressed up for the occasion. Coyote was in a fine black suit, and Thor sported a new helmet and armor obtained at the Nebula. Horus was able to enter the café, but when he didn’t see either of the other two there, he went off to the bathroom to change into a different aspect; drinking coffee gets messy when you have a beak for a mouth. He chose his Harpokrates (Horus-the-child) look, an athletic youth with a fashionably long side lock and a touch of eyeliner to suggest the udjat eye (Figure 6). ―Blue is a nice change from my usual black eyeliner,‖ thought Horus. Horus ordered a cup of mocha java from Roxy and then noticed the sign over the espresso machine: ―Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have no fresh coffee. All the coffee is made from old beans, batch number 7. We had to destroy our most recent coffee shipments because they produced a hallucinatory brew that makes you feel like you’re in, but not in.‖


Figure 6: Brown Eye Blue, self-portrait photograph by BrittneyBush.3 Bewildered, the three friends exchanged text messages and confirmed that they were all indeed at the right café. (Fortunately, this didn’t happen the night of the Blackberry blackout.) Horus found a private room that had a back door and opened it to let Thor in. Thor found another room and let Coyote in, but there was no way all three could be in the same room. I asked Horus later why the three of them, with all their divine powers, couldn’t have just opened a door between the private rooms. He said that even gods have limits, that they still have to play by the rules of the universe. The main difference between humans and gods, he explained, is that humans see only part of the rules, while gods know them all. What keeps the gods so aware of these universal truths is the way humans

Note: Figure 6 photo is from and is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic license.

28 keep retelling creation stories, constantly adapting them to fit new surroundings and new cultures. As Marie-Louise von Franz (1998) wrote, ―The unconscious re-tells part of the creation myth to restore conscious life and the conscious awareness of reality again‖ (p. 252). We humans are not aware of what we are doing when we keep the gods alive in this way.

29 References Franz, M.-L. von (1998). The creation myth. In C. G. Jung & R. A. Segal (Ed.), Jung on mythology (pp. 240–255). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Licensing and marking your content with Creative Commons. (n.d.) Retrieved December 10, 2008, from Towrie, S. (n.d.). Maeshowe’s runes—Viking graffiti. Retrieved November 19, 2008, from

ARTIFACT 4: GILGAMESH AND THE LANDSCAPE The fundamental language of depth . . . is space. Depth presents itself foremost as psychic structures in spatial metaphors. Hillman, 1979, p. 188 Book XI of the epic of Gilgamesh (Mitchell, 2004) ends without providing a satisfactory answer to the question of whether Gilgamesh returned home from his adventures a changed man. Was he still an arrogant king despoiling nature, oppressing his subjects, and offending the gods? Or did he learn to rule wisely? What convinced me that he indeed was transformed were the details in a small section of Book X, only 19 lines, that describe his journey to visit Utnapishtim, survivor of the great flood and holder of the secret of eternal life. In the artifact that follows, I analyzed this passage with an eye toward how Gilgamesh’s relationship to the landscape changes during the voyage, reflecting a new attitude toward other people, the environment, and the gods. This study was revelatory for me on two levels: I experienced rich insights from exploring images down to their finest details—a technique that applies not just to myths, but also to understanding dreams and art. In addition, I saw specifically how the spatial details of a story—its location and the relationship of the characters to their environment—can hold key elements that may not be expressed directly in the text. Having written this analysis at the end of my second semester at Pacifica, I felt that I had acquired skills that would be exceedingly useful both to my personal work with dreams and active imagination and to my continuing study of myth and archetype.

31 Poles and Sea: The Water Journey of Gilgamesh In Book X of the Gilgamesh epic, the king needs help from Urshanabi, a boatman, to reach the distant shore where dwells Utnapishtim, who holds the secret of eternal life. They make a journey in three parts—using flowing water, human effort, and wind—a passage whose details signal the beginning of Gilgamesh’s transformation from an arrogant king to a more self-aware human being. Stephen Mitchell’s (2004) text says that they sail for the first part of the journey, but this is inconsistent with the final segment, in which Gilgamesh holds Urshanabi’s robe as a sail, thus indicating that the boat originally has no sailing mast. It is more plausible that the first phase takes place along moving water that requires no means of propulsion. Water is ―the most important agent in fecundity‖ (Niederland, 1956, ¶ 4) and flowing water in particular, ―a healing and purifying agent‖ (Niederland, Mythology, History, and Geography section, ¶ 3). Given that they travel in three days a distance normally crossed in six weeks, their course could be along a river in flood. Descending a mighty river’s flow, Gilgamesh can rest briefly and gather strength from the unconscious for the second, more arduous part of the journey, across the stagnant Waters of Death, reminiscent of the ―slimy sea‖ of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s ―Rime of the Ancient Mariner‖ (1927, p. 452). Although Gilgamesh destroyed the Stone Men, who normally would propel the boat, Urshanabi offers an alternative plan before they set out: Gilgamesh must cut enough poles from a pine forest to be able to push the boat through the deadly sea into more hospitable waters. The last time Gilgamesh felled trees was in the Cedar Forest, an adventure that came to a bitter end with the eventual death of his friend, Enkidu, but in this instance, Gilgamesh uses the products of nature

32 conscientiously, for a specific purpose, rather than abusing it. Thus equipped, Gilgamesh pushes one pole after the other through the toxic water. Finally, still short of their goal, Gilgamesh takes on the form of a tree trunk himself, planted in the boat as a mast, Urshanabi’s robe gathering the wind to propel them. Gilgamesh has no civilized garments of his own, having replaced them with animal skins as he wandered in grief and despair after his friend’s death, leaving reason behind. Thus, he must borrow a robe, accepting the help of a fellow being and humbly clothing himself once again with humanity, to reach his goal. Furthermore, the other shore cannot be gained by Gilgamesh’s own effort; he must allow the wind to glide the boat to its landing. In the Sumerian pantheon, the wind god is Enlil (Marcus & Pettinato, 2005), the same god who decreed that Enkidu must die. Standing in the boat, Gilgamesh offers himself to the wind, to Enlil, as a conquered state might offer trees as tribute. Trees were prized in Mesopotamia as spoils of war (Roberts, 2006), as evidenced in Gilgamesh’s greedy hewing of the Cedar Forest after his victory over Humbaba. By submitting to the will of the gods, while he also accepts a loan from his fellow traveler, Gilgamesh acts not as an inflated ego, but with connection to other people and dependence on the invisible world of the unconscious. These initial steps toward transformation prepare him to meet Utnapishtim without the need to do battle. Instead, Gilgamesh arrives ready to listen to his ancient ancestor reveal the secrets of the gods.

33 References Coleridge, S. T. (1927). The rime of the ancient mariner. In W. A. Briggs (Ed.), Great poems of the English language. New York: Tudor. Hillman, J. (1979). The dream and the underworld. New York: HarperPerennial. Marcus, D., & Pettinato, G. (2005). Enlil. In L. Jones (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Religion, Vol. 4. (2nd ed., pp. 2799–2801). Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA. Retrieved July 30, 2007, from the Gale Virtual Reference Library. Mitchell, S. (2004). Gilgamesh: A new English version. New York: Free Press. Niederland, W. G. (1956). River symbolism: Part 1, Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25, 469– 504. Retrieved July 30, 2007, from PEP Archive database. Roberts, J. (2006, July). ―Centering the world‖: Trees as tribute in the ancient Near East. Transoxiana: Journal Libre de Estudios Orientales, 11. Retrieved July 30, 2007, from

ARTIFACT 5: ASKLEPION AND TEMENOS Exploration of sacred spaces is one of my great pleasures. After spending some quiet moments in a seminary chapel with my pastor, I confided that I rarely get the same quality of centeredness in a space that has not been dedicated to spiritual purposes. She responded wisely that any other type of place must rededicated every time one enters, whether consciously or unconsciously (L. M. Henley, personal communication, July 12, 2008). Therefore, it makes sense to perform such a consecration intentionally any time one wishes to create or enter sacred space. Many of our courses have covered this topic, which I will touch on further in the sermon that comprises Artifact 9 in this portfolio. The current artifact explored the enduring, healing nature of sacred space by associating the modern analyst‘s consulting room with the incubation rituals held in ancient Greek temples. Even though I am not training to be a therapist or analyst, an understanding of the temenos concept and the importance of physical setting is critical to my own personal spiritual practices. Knowing how to create the proper environment for dialogue is also an important skill for a spiritual activist. Furthermore, I was struck with Henry Abramovitch‘s (1997; 2002) experience of disruptions in the link between place and person and the implications for creating a temenos where either the healer or the location might be shifted or even absent. Having experienced a safe container in the online classroom environment that Pacifica uses, I can offer my own observation that a temenos may exist even in cyberspace, beyond any physical place or personal presence.

35 Asklepion and Temenos Sigmund Freud is credited with the development of a treatment method for psychological disorders in which the patient regularly visits a specific room to lie on a couch and speak on any subject to an analyst who is ―seeing but unseen‖ (Ellenberger, 1970, p. 522). The notion of healing through a solitary sojourn in a sacred space is nothing new: Greek and Egyptian temples hosted supplicants who entered sleep hoping to receive a curing dream (Hamilton, 1906). Even though the modern patient shares the room with the analyst and any couch is used for talking, not dreaming, these disparate therapeutic practices—ancient and modern—have much in common. The temple and the analyst‘s office exemplify what Carl Jung (1952/1974) called a temenos, which he defined as ―a taboo area where [the dreamer] will be able to meet the unconscious‖ (p. 128). A well documented use of such an enclosure occurred in Greece, where at Epidauros stood the chief temple to Asklepios, son of Apollo, along with a separate building, the abaton, where supplicants slept in hopes of a cure (Trzaskoma, Smith, & Brunet, 2004). Tablets in the temple provided details of cases in which people dreamed that the god gave them instructions or healed them directly. More than 300 other Greek cities had their own Asklepeia (Devereux, Krippner, Tartz, & Fish, 2006) to support this ritual, known as incubation. The therapeutic practice of sleep in a sacred precinct continued well past the classical era. According to Mary Hamilton (1906), the Asklepeia were among the last bastions of paganism in a Christianizing Europe, and many churches adopted incubational healing practices in the names of various saints, including Cosmas and

36 Damian, Therapon, Thekla, and the archangel Michael. Visitors to the healing spring of Madron Well in Cornwall slept in the adjacent chapel until about the 17th century (Devereux et al., 2006). Alexander Carmichael (1994), in his collection of 19th century Scottish folk wisdom and practices, documented a cure for madness that involved spending a night in a church. At the beginning of the 20th century, Hamilton recounted incubation rites that were occurring regularly as part of saints‘ day festivals and also occasionally as individual initiatives. Incubational dreams play an important role in contemporary pilgrimages to Mount Meron in Israel, where pilgrims believe the spirit of Rabbi Shimeon Bar Yochai may visit them as they sleep in his tomb (Abramovitch, 1997). Similar pilgrimages take place among Muslims in Morocco (Musk, 1988). Freud‘s development of the psychoanalytic technique transferred the abaton to the analyst‘s office. While the patients did not actually dream on the couch, they did share their dreams with the analyst, who sat out of sight, almost as a godlike unseen presence. Jung developed the concept of the therapeutic space as temenos more explicitly, understanding it both as a physical space and as a psychological container for the analysis, bounded by the ―protective steadiness of the therapist‖ (Siegelman, 1990, p. 177). Protection is the key concept. The temenos protects the analysand from unwanted outside influences and also prevents potentially dangerous psychic content from escaping into the everyday world. This safe container encourages attention to the utterances of the unconscious, just as the abaton brought forth healing dreams. As one Pacifica professor responded to a paper in which I disclosed some disturbing recollections, when the analytic container is perceived as strong and safe enough, shadow energies can emerge from their hiding places (A. Mozol, personal communication, August 14, 2008).

37 Yet Jung‘s concept of the temenos differs substantially from the isolation of the Asklepion or the Freudian analyst‘s consulting room, because the Jungian therapist is fully visible, engaged, and as likely to be changed as the patient (Siegelman, 1990). The container allows the presences of the therapist and client to transform through their expansion and interaction, as in a sealed alchemical vessel. Henry Abramovitch (1997) has explained that in Jungian practice, the temenos is formed from the union of the physical space and therapist as ―the healing archetype is projected onto both the person of the healer and the place in which he or she works, simultaneously‖ (p. 576). The association of healing with the place can be quite strong, persisting even without the presence of the therapist. In one case, he allowed an elderly analysand, who recently had lost her last living relative, to come to his office while he was away for a sabbatical (Abramovitch, 2002). Having agreed to water his plants, she could feel securely held in that familiar place even in her therapist‘s absence. The Oxford English Dictionary has defined the term incubation not just as hatching eggs or sleeping in ancient temples, but also as ―the ‗brooding‘ or ‗moving‘ of the Divine Spirit over the face of the chaos at the Creation‖ (Incubation, 1989, ¶ 2) as recorded in the book of Genesis. Whether in a Neolithic cave, a Greek temple, a chapel at a holy well, or an analyst‘s office, a sacred space guarded from external hazards can create an atmosphere where the spirit can not only move but expand, be heard, and interact with healing presence.

38 References Abramovitch, H. (1997). Temenos lost: Reflections on moving. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 42(4), 569–584. Retrieved October 11, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database. Abramovitch, H. (2002). Temenos regained: Reflections on the absence of the analyst. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 47(4), 583–598. Retrieved October 11, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database. Carmichael, A. (1994). Carmina Gadelica. Edinburgh, U.K.: Floris Books. Devereux, P., Krippner, S., Tartz, R., & Fish, A. (2006). Comparing home dream reports with reports from English and Welsh ―sacred sites.‖ ReVision, 28(4), 36–45. Retrieved October 11, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database. Ellenberger, H. F. (1970). The discovery of the unconscious: The history and evolution of dynamic psychiatry. New York: Basic Books. Hamilton, M. (1906). Incubation: Or, the cure of disease in pagan temples and Christian churches [Digitized version]. St. Andrew‘s, U.K.: W.C. Henderson. Retrieved October 11, 2008, from Incubation. (1989). Oxford English dictionary (2nd ed.) [Electronic version]. Retrieved October 11, 2008, from Jung, C. G. (1974). Individual dream symbolism in relation to alchemy. In R. F. C. Hull (Trans.), Dreams, (pp. 113–297). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1952) Musk, B. (1988). Dreams and the ordinary Muslim. Missiology, 16(2), 163–172. Retrieved October 11, 2008, from ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials database. Siegelman, E. Y. (1990). Metaphors of the therapeutic encounter. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 35(2), 175–191. Retrieved October 11, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database. Trzaskoma, S. M., Smith, R. S., & Brunet, S. (Eds. & Trans.). (2004). Anthology of classical myth: Primary sources in translation. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett.

ARTIFACT 6: A DEATH MARRIAGE RITUAL This artifact, the second of two pieces of creative writing in my portfolio, was conceived for an assignment in the Mythodrama course to re-imagine a scene or theme from the Eros and Psyche myth. I chose to explore the death marriage, the sacrifice of a woman by uniting her to a god, because this ritual was one that I had found profoundly alien and foreboding ever since I encountered it many years ago, when I first read C. S. Lewis’ retelling of the myth, Till We Have Faces (1956). Considering Wendy Doniger’s (1998) notion of the utility of both telescopes and microscopes for the study of myth, I decided that my discomfort demanded an approach on the cellular rather than the comparative level, and so I decided to develop a death marriage ritual and then enter into it imaginally. I gave the ritual an air of authenticity and yet originality by drawing on both classical and later sources, in the spirit of contemporary playwright Mary Zimmerman, whose Metamorphoses (2002) and Argonautica (2008) have moved me greatly. Shortly before this assignment was due, I visited Istanbul, where I spent some time examining sarcophagi and grave steles. The images and translated inscriptions from those objects helped draw my imagination toward death and the opening of a way into the underworld. As for the setting, I had become intrigued with the concept of the island as a metaphor for the individuation process after reading Julie Moir Messervy’s (1995) description of an island’s archetypal quality as a place of ―awayness‖ where one can ―feel oneself as the center of a circle, surrounded by a horizon line that seems endless‖ (p. 35).

40 The idea of recording and listening to the ritual to enhance my vision of the initiate’s journey actually came rather late in the writing process but, in the end, was what made it a personally meaningful assignment. I was able to enter into the ritual and be carried away by the sights, sounds, and even the mud between the initiate’s toes. That sensation of standing in water, between the old personality and the new, led me to consider that the concept of mythic permeability discussed in the introduction to this portfolio might be likened to river banks that guide the waters and are themselves changed, but only gradually, by the flow. Where the river curves—sets off in a new direction—one bank is enriched by the silt and the debris that deposits itself on the shore, while the other erodes. But, except in flood times, those changes to the banks are imperceptible to the casual observer. This image captured for me the difference between identity and empathy: It suggests that allowing someone else’s engagement with the archetypal to flow through me can enrich my understanding, even if it falls short of triggering my own personal transformation. I do not need to identify with the other’s experience to grasp its power and meaning. As an aspiring spiritual activist who seeks to cultivate empathy, I am very encouraged by this exercise in working with disturbing archetypal content in such a way that I can come away with at least some small sense of what the participants might have felt.

41 The Death Marriage: A Ritual In the spirit of theatre as redeeming ceremony, I imagined an initiation ritual to induct candidates into a group of adult women who celebrate the feminine mysteries as followers of Psyche. The ritual would consist of the three phases laid out by Victor Turner (1987), following Van Gennep—―separation, margin (or limen), and aggregation‖ (p. 5). The first phase would deliver the candidate into a marriage of death, separating her from the community by betrothing her to an unseen god. The concluding rite would be, by contrast, a celebration of the return of the successful initiate and the recounting of her ordeal. These opening and concluding ceremonies would comprise the standardized portions of the ritual that all initiates would undergo. The middle portion, however, would be customized for each initiate with a series of challenges that would utilize the four elements and engage C. G. Jung’s four psychological functions (Whitmont, 1991) in ways appropriate to the individual. (In an earlier paper for the Psychology of Compassion & Tolerance course, I had explored the role of Psyche’s four tasks in strengthening the four psychological functions and preparing her for the final undertaking—her decision to open the beauty box, which restores her relationship with Eros as one of deep connection, not projection.) The idea of the death marriage felt very alien and discomforting to me—a sure sign that within lay a mystery worth approaching. Therefore, I decided to concentrate in this paper exclusively on that aspect of the ritual. Although the death marriage stands opposed to modern sensibilities in its demand that a woman let go and surrender to her instincts, M. Esther Harding (1971) explained how such submission can lead to transformation:

42 Through the acceptance of the power of instinct within her, while at the same time renouncing all claim to possessiveness in regard to it, a woman gains a new relationship to herself. The power of instinct within her is recognized as belonging not to herself but to the nonhuman realm, to the goddess, whom she must serve, for whom her body must be a worthy vessel. Through such an attitude she is transformed. The conventional control of her egoistic desirousness is no longer needed because it has been in actual fact transformed. (p. 151) My ritual for the marriage of death consists of some preparatory instructions, praise for the bride, praise for the god, invocations of Aphrodite and death, the betrothal of the candidate to the god, and her departure in a boat for an island where she is to carry out the tasks of the middle phase of the initiation ritual. My inspirations include the accounts of Psyche’s marriage from Apuleius, as included in the study by Erich Neumann (1956) and in Till We Have Faces (1956) by C. S. Lewis. For the shore setting and the description of death, I am indebted to the extraordinary play Metamorphoses (Zimmerman, 2002), particularly its retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice using Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem ―Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes.‖ Locating the ritual at a lake or river instead of the mountaintop used by Apuleius and Lewis allows a practical solution to the need for the bride to be carried away by an outside force. Harding (1971) provided a detailed amplification of the crescent moon as the boat of the moon goddess, a vessel by which one might forge a new relationship to instinct by accepting it ―as a manifestation of the creative life force‖ (p. 124). I envision the boat as pointed at both ends, forming a vulva shape. The watery scene also suggests that the god might be a sea monster, whose description I have drawn from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, as interpreted by June K. Singer (1970). Blake’s affinity for polarities and his notion that ―except as man experiences God in his own life, God is incomprehensible to him‖ (p. 163) echo the events that befall Psyche, for until she comes to know her own divine Self within, she cannot reestablish a lasting relationship with Eros.

43 The Ritual of the Death Marriage The bride of the god shall be accorded no less honor than the bride of a man; indeed, even more honor shall she have in ornaments and attendants, so that the god might know immediately the high esteem and love in which she is held. Her dress shall be the white of innocence and of the shroud. The attendants, who need not be initiates, shall be chosen by the bride and shall wear red. All shall cover their hair. The bride’s veil shall be such that it can be drawn across her face for the approach to the god. The celebrant shall be chosen by lot from the initiated members of the community. A second lot shall be cast to choose the warden for the ceremony, who shall be responsible for making all things ready and for directing the musicians and helpers. The wedding shall take place beside a lake or river containing an island not far from the shore. A small boat, tapering to a point at both bow and stern, shall be provided for the crossing to the island. The warden shall arrange for rigging ropes and pulleys to guide the boat to the island and back. The ceremony shall take place two weeks after the bride’s most recent moon time and begin shortly before dusk so that it may conclude after the sun has set.

44 All shall escort the bride from the place of preparation to the lake shore with torches, flutes, drums, horns, rattles, and castanets.3 Virgins shall bear hyacinths,4 and others carry red roses, with thorns. No one shall enter the place of ceremony except with bare feet, for the ritual takes place upon sacred ground. In the text of the ceremony that follows, directions to participants are enclosed in brackets. Celebrant: We are gathered together to join this beautiful and worthy woman with the god. Let us sing her praises. All: O powerful god, behold here your bride— Excellent, wise, and reknowned.5 Her great goodness shall never age. No one spins or weaves wool as fine as she, Yet her hands remain as soft as a lamb’s curls. All children adore her. Her good sense shows in her raiment


Torches and flutes are mentioned in Neumann (1956), the other four instruments

in Lewis (1956).

To symbolize a virgin’s loss of innocence, the Greek poet Sappho contrasted ―a

hyacinth crushed in the mountains / by shepherds; lying trampled on the earth / yet blooming purple‖ (Barnstone, 1988, p. 77) with the sweet redness of an unpicked apple.

Fifth century B.C.E. grave markers for Athenian women depict such virtues as

these and sometimes show grieving parents (Burton, 2003).

45 And her jewels, selected for their beauty, not their cost. As her mother leads the mourners, Let us temper our grief with the bride’s joy— She prepares to merge with the divine. Celebrant: From the depths you call to her, God of dark currents. Accept a gift of wine poured upon your waters As we sing your praises. [Celebrant pours a libation of red wine into the lake.] All: From the cataract of blood mixed with flame,6 Lift your fiery crest above the waves. Show your eyes that glow with crimson fire. Reveal your brow like a ridge of golden rocks, Tiger-striped with green and purple, Red gills flaring amid the scales. Prepare your mouth for your lover’s kiss, Your slashed tongue ready for her throat. Roil the tempest of your passion.

Coil your body thrice to embrace her.


This description is quoted from the text of William Blake, ―The Marriage of

Heaven and Hell,‖ Plate 18, as cited in Singer (1970, p. 143) and from Plate 20.

46 Fiercely call her name in your own speech. Helper: Celebrant: [Blows a conch shell or horn three times] Woman, in the name of Aphrodite the beautiful, Who rouses sweet desire among the immortals7 And subdues the tribes of deathly men And birds that sport in the air And all beasts and even the clans that the earth nurtures And all in the sea, Your fate is to dedicate your loveliness to the god So that the fair Aphrodite may have no rival upon earth, Nor even in heaven. We name you virgin, untouchable, 8 Closed like a young flower at nightfall. As a fruit suffused with its own mystery and sweetness, You will be filled with death beyond all fulfillment. Deep within, you will find yourself heavy with child. Speak now the words of betrothal.


Aphrodite’s praise is quoted from a Homeric hymn (Trzaskoma, Smith, &

Brunet, 2004, p. 202).

This description is quoted from Rainer Marie Rilke, ―Orpheus. Eurydice.

Hermes.‖ as cited in Zimmerman (2002, p. 46).

47 Bride: I hasten to behold the noble husband who awaits me, The one born to destroy all the world,9 The most dreadful, the most beautiful, The only dread and beauty there is.10 I vow my body as the Great Offering11 In tribute to the goddess whose very name is beauty. Cry not for me. In this marriage, I become at last worthy of divine honor. Celebrant: Let all bless your marriage by casting flowers upon your path. [Each participant walks between the bride and the boat and drops a flower on the pathway. Family and close friends may have a final word with the bride.] Only those with divine sanction may approach the god. Be thankful, therefore, that the goddess lends you her crescent boat that you may enter the waters of death and not be engulfed by them.12 Step into its embrace, and let it take you to your eternal husband.


Quoted from Neumann (1956, p. 8). In Lewis (1956, p. 307), Oural uses these words to describe the coming of the


god after she is reunited with her sister Psyche.

Lewis (1956, p. 48) uses this term to describe the sacrifice of Psyche to the

goddess Ungit.

As described in Harding (1971).

48 [The bride pulls her veil over her face, boldly walks the flowerstrewn path to the boat, and sits down in it. Although the thorns from the roses are likely to prick her feet, she should not display any painful reaction.] Celebrant: Bride: Celebrant: Farewell forever, fairest maid. Farewell forever. Hail to Aphrodite and to Eros. Hail to the unseen god who awaits you with splendor. All: [As drums beat time, helpers pull the rope to guide the boat to the island, where the next phase of the initiation ritual takes place.] The Ritual Imagined After writing the ritual, I recorded it and listened to it several times with eyes closed to try to enter the scene in my imagination. What follows is a description of the images and impressions that this experience aroused in me. Few of us in our lifetime enjoy the kind of adulation that the bride heard about herself. With a surprisingly strong boost from the praise she had absorbed, the bride’s voice joined others in naming the terrible attributes of the god. At the mention of her virginity being renewed, yet death waiting to fill her belly with child, the bride’s loins felt strong spasms presaging new birth to come. I saw the mother of the initiate draw the veil over her daughter’s face. As the bride entered the boat, she looked straight ahead at the dark island, but as she passed the halfway point in her journey, she looked back at the shore. A line of torches was ascending from the sand to the cliff above, a single light remaining at the water’s edge to aid the helpers steadily drawing her toward her destiny.

49 The drums faded in the distance. Small waves tinkled against the boat’s sides. Arriving at the island, she stepped out, the cool water offering a surprising welcome. Soft mud squished between her toes as she walked, trembling, the few paces between the boat and the cave-like gap in the foliage leading to her wedding bed.

50 References Barnstone, W. (Trans.). (1988). Sappho and the Greek lyric poets. New York: Schocken Books. Burton, D. (2003). Public memorials, private virtues: Women on classical Athenian grave monuments. Mortality, 8(1), 20–35. Retrieved August 10, 2008, from Humanities International Complete database. Doniger, W. (1998). The implied spider: Politics and theology in myth. New York: Columbia University Press. Harding, M. E. (1971). Woman’s mysteries: Ancient and modern. Boston: Shambhala. Lewis, C. S. (1956). Till we have faces: A myth retold. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace. Messervy, J. M. (1995). The inward garden: Creating a place of beauty and meaning. Boston: Little, Brown. Neumann, E. (1956). Amor and Psyche: The psychic development of the feminine. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Singer, J. K. (1970). The unholy bible: A psychological interpretation of William Blake. New York: Harper & Row. Trzaskoma, S. M., Smith, R. S., & Brunet, S. (Eds. & Trans.). (2004). Anthology of classical myth: Primary sources in translation. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett. Turner, V. (1987). Betwixt and between: The liminal period in rites of passage. In L.C. Mahdi, S. Foster, & M. Little (Eds.), Betwixt and between: Patterns of masculine and feminine initiation (pp. 3–18). La Salle, IL: Open Court. Whitmont, E.C. (1991). The symbolic quest: Basic concepts of analytical psychology (Rev. ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Zimmerman, M. (2002). Metamorphoses: A play. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. Zimmerman, M. (Writer/Director). (2008, March 1). Argonautica [DVD]. Washington, DC: Washington Area Performing Arts Video Archive.

ARTIFACT 7: LITTLE MARLENE REDEEMED A spiritual activist needs to be able to bridge the concrete and immaterial realms, in order to temper the one-sidedness that Carl Jung (1916/1960) recognized as a necessary consequence of the attention that civilized life requires one to direct toward everyday matters. Keeping one foot in each world also honors the contributions that both can make to reconciling seemingly intractable differences. This artifact, which was written for the Archetypal Imagination: The Works of Joseph Campbell course, explores the interaction between the material and the spiritual using Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm‘s tale of ―The Juniper Tree‖ (Grimm & Grimm, 1857/1999). A secondary goal was to experiment with a structure different from the customary academic work. The paper contains a brief prose poem (―For, if a bird can carry a twig. . . .‖) and begins with a personal recollection, not as an end in itself but as a tool for opening the heart to reflection. A few weeks earlier, I had attended a writing symposium at Pacifica that included a workshop with Dennis Slattery on ―Memory, Metaphor and the Poiesis of Personal Myth.‖ Through various exercises, he helped us experience how the process of recollection and writing allows an individual to make contact with personal myth. Time and time again, producing a paper or engaging in a class discussion has brought forth memories that had been long buried, through either avoidance or neglect, and reconnected them with my emerging disposition as a spiritual activist, in tune with the archetypal forces that influence us all.

52 Cultivating this degree of recollection and reconnection is not unlike the soul retrieval process conducted by the contemporary shamans studied by anthropologist Galina Lindquist (2004). According to Lindquist, after the shaman‘s journey to retrieve a part of the patient‘s soul, the patient must approach the memories stirred up by the shaman‘s journey and ask the soul part why it left and what can be done to ensure its permanent reintegration. Personal memoir offers a similar opportunity to dialogue with the past and recover one‘s own myth. Forgiveness also plays a role in this process, according to Lindquist, retuning the emotions to lay the groundwork for reconciliation: ―The self is ‗for-given‘ (given back to itself, for itself)‖ and ―brought from the austerity of then to the generosity of now‖ (Lindquist, 2004, p. 170). Experiencing such healing on a personal level through shamanic soul retrieval or personal memoir offers hope that it can also be accomplished on a larger scale in the context of contemporary society. What I myself recovered in the course of writing the original paper and this reflection is that literalism itself is an archetypal force, often acting under the guise of materialism, and that it has played a large, sometimes even devouring role in my own life. For example, I recalled a time in my 20s when I accepted a toxic living situation, one that eventually led to my being beaten by my boyfriend, partially for the sake of having a little more spending money. Furthermore, the juxtaposition of the dead, spiritual mother and the consuming, materialistic stepmother in ―The Juniper Tree‖ embodied my own ambivalence about and alienation from the archetype of the Mother, perhaps precisely because that archetype has both light and dark aspects that I find difficult to hold simultaneously. I can see in this story, however, the path that may lead to reconciliation. Again, there is a connection with

53 the concept of soul retrieval, in this case, through what Marion Woodman (1982) has described as the psyche‘s sighting of itself in matter: ―What happens is in some sense a reciprocity in which conscious and unconscious, mind and matter, join to produce a third. That third is the meeting of body and spirit bringing with it an act of joyous recognition‖ (p. 57). Paradoxically, acknowledgement of my own grasping for the material has taken place at the same time that I have been allowing the body to reconnect with the unconscious through the flow and balance of yoga, the quiet of meditation, and the active attention of walks in the woods. Giving the soul a chance to escape its material shell and return to it with gifts of joyous recognition, I hope for such a happy reunion of the constituents of my psyche as takes place in ―The Juniper Tree‖ when the family is reconstituted through the flight of a bird.

54 Little Marlene Redeemed: Finding Grace in the Concrete To surrender our frail egos to the collective worship of concretized matter is to succumb to the opacity of evil, impervious to the grace of Light. Woodman, 1987, p. 221 Perhaps it was because I was barely 12 years old that my eighth grade algebra teacher‘s request, ―Sue, toss me an eraser,‖ resounded with the specificity of a stage direction. I sat next to the blackboard and obeyed immediately, picking up the eraser and gently throwing it to him, watching as it traced a little dusty chalk trail in the air. Being a football coach, he had no difficulty catching it, but he and the rest of the class showed by the astonished looks on their faces that I had broken a taboo: I had thrown an object at a teacher. That was the memorable day when I became acutely aware of the difference between literal and metaphorical speech. Notice the other distinction in this incident, between the literal and the concrete. My teacher‘s request for an eraser involved a concrete object, but he did not want me literally to toss it to him. The literal and the concrete are not so tightly coupled as our senses might have us believe. Sacred stories need concrete images to make their meaning come to life. As William Blake wrote in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, ―Eternity is in love with the productions of time‖ (as cited in Singer, 1970, p. 80). However, those images appear in a context removed from clinical, that is, literal, observation. If the detail is too sharp, the transformations central to the story will seem forced and jarring. If there are not enough realistic elements, the story may be dismissed as mere fantasy. To evoke the mysterium tremendum, the transcendent dimension of mortal human existence, the tale must lie somewhere in the middle.

55 Campbell (1990) understood the crucial role of concrete objects in a story. Drawing on Kantian logic, he explained the parallels between the observed effects of a concrete object or action and the known effects of the ultimately unknowable, these correspondences providing the truths found in myth. ―It is only by analogy,‖ Campbell wrote, ―that we speak of Love or Reason, Unity, or even Being, as of God‖ (p. 71). Dennis Slattery (2005) used the work of Carl Jung to reach the same conclusion and proclaimed ―that to know mythically is to know by means of analogy‖ (¶ 42). The concrete images of analogy give us access to the archetypes, those ―eternal symbols that live in all the mythologies of the world‖ (Campbell, 2004, p. 18), those energy structures of the psyche that are often recognized most readily in imaginal experiences. Such analogies can lose their relevance—and thus their connection to archetypal patterns—when the concrete images that form part of the equation are undermined by the impulse to apply new knowledge and experience to those images in a literal fashion. Campbell (1990) gave the example of the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Without a system of earth-centered cosmological spheres through which Mary‘s body can ascend, the analogy collapses into absurdity if we contemplate at what fraction of the speed of light she might be moving or what star she may be passing at any particular moment. What is required, Campbell suggested, is the transference of the idea of ascension from the literal to a different plane, to that inhabited by one variety of modern-day shaman, those scientists who fearlessly probe the boundaries of space and time: We must allow our own spirits to become, like theirs, wild ganders, and fly in timeless, spaceless flight—like the body of the Virgin Mary—not into any fixed heaven beyond the firmament (for there is no heaven out there), but to that seat of experience, simultaneously without and within, where Prometheus and Zeus, I

56 and the Father, the meaninglessness of the sense of existence and the meaninglessness of the meanings of the world, are one. (p. 192) Campbell was not advocating an ascetic departure from the concrete world. Instead, he posited that there is a realm, one of awe and wonder, where souls can fly, some in dreams, some in shamanic trance, to heights of understanding beyond duality. Where is it found? Campbell said that it lies in the individuality that has occupied a different place in each phase of the evolving organization of human culture. According to Campbell, individuality strengthened archaic hunter-gatherer bands, but was a potential source of disruption for hieratic city-state societies in which each person functioned in a strictly defined sphere within an orderly whole. Today, as structured, insular hierarchies give way to awareness of the interdependence of humankind, such individuality—and the imagination it fosters—is once again the source of our future human potential. ―The Juniper Tree‖ Against this background, what are we to make of the Brothers Grimm (1857/1999) fairy tale ―The Juniper Tree,‖ in which a little girl literally knocks her stepbrother‘s head off and ascension plays a transformative role? Here is a case where, as Slattery (2005) wrote, ―a ferocious rush to literalism tends to fill the vacuum in the soul‖ (¶ 8) after imagination fails. This literalism becomes a calcifying force that threatens the development of the individual. The stepmother feels nothing but irritation at her stepson‘s behavior, always getting in the way; she cannot visualize an intact family of four. All she can see is the tangible prospect of getting the family fortune for her daughter. Obsessed with greed, the stepmother decapitates her stepson under the pretext of getting him an apple and then reconnects his head and neck with a kerchief. She tells her daughter to slap the boy when

57 he refuses to give her an apple. Little Marlene obeys and is horrified when his head flies off. The mother boils up the boy for dinner, using the girl‘s tears as seasoning. The father enjoys the stew, but is sad that the boy has gone to visit relatives without saying goodbye; he believes the stepmother‘s explanation of his absence. Meanwhile, Little Marlene, still weeping, carries the boy‘s bones outside in a silk cloth and lays them under the juniper tree where his mother is buried. From sudden mist and flame, a beautiful bird appears. As it flies away, Little Marlene feels lighthearted again. When the bird returns, it carries a gold chain, a pair of red shoes, and a millstone, all obtained from villagers in exchange for its song. The stepmother, still bound tightly by her literalism, is the only one who hears in the bird‘s song the explicit details of her murderous deed, and she trembles. The father and Little Marlene are drawn outdoors by the sweet song, hearing only the melody not the lyrics, and they receive gifts of the chain and shoes. When the stepmother goes out, the bird drops the millstone on her. Out of the resulting smoke and flames steps the little boy, whole again. Hand-in-hand, he, Little Marlene, and their father re-enter the house and sit down to eat. Redemption from Literalism This strange story recounts the dismembering and reconstitution not just of a boy but of an entire family, to rid it of destructive literalism by reintroducing it to the world of wonder and devotion. Marie-Louise von Franz (1980) warned against too strict a psychological interpretation of fairy tales, because such stories contain a concentration of archetypal material, rather than individual material that would lend itself to psychological analysis. However, consider how the family unit seeks a wholeness analogous to the Self

58 and how Little Marlene‘s grief—and the fact that of all the characters in the story, only she is named—exposes her character as more human than archetypal. The marvelous bird leads Little Marlene away from the peril described by Edward F. Edinger (1972) as materialism: ―The danger is to seek one‘s ultimate security in physical well-being or literal, rigid ‗truth‘ rather than from a living contact with the psychic center of being‖ (p. 149). James Hillman (1979) cited this same materialism as one of the chief obstacles to using the images of dream, myth, and fantasy to deepen our understanding of the soul, calling it a ―great mother‖ who ―is that modality of consciousness which connects all psychic events to material ones, placing the images of the soul in the service of physical tangibilities‖ (p. 69). Marian Woodman (1987) named this force as the ―devouring mother‖ whose ―dark side is embodied in a materialism so pervasive that matter itself, in all its infinite variety, is the divinity we serve‖ (p. 203). Little Marlene‘s mother wholly embodies this materialistic maternal archetype. Her awkwardness in the presence of her stepson develops into an obsession with getting the family fortune for her daughter and finally into such hatred for the boy that the Grimms (1857/1999) describe it as a devilish possession. Even though there is no external authority in this story—no church, no hieratic state such as Campbell described—the stepmother has internalized authority as an extreme tendency toward literalism. She is totally in thrall to Hillman‘s physical tangibilities. She interprets all her stepson‘s actions as literal threats to the material well-being of herself and her daughter, ignoring and negating any other meaning they might have, because she no longer recognizes individuals as anything other than means to her materialistic ends.

59 Little Marlene is in danger of following in her mother‘s footsteps. Already, she too easily obeys the suggestion to slap her stepbrother. What redeems Little Marlene from this materialistic literalism is contact with the miraculous bird and the concrete objects that it uses to complete its mission. Like the white stones that Hansel drops to guide himself and Gretel back home from the forest, the objects carried by the bird lead Little Marlene beyond the literal—and the limits it places on the possible—into a moment of pure being. For, if a bird can carry a twig to build a nest, why not a gold chain? And, if a bird can carry a gold chain, why not a pair of shoes? If a bird can carry a pair of shoes, why not a millstone? And if a bird can carry a millstone, then why can‘t a decapitated boy live again? Bam! In the moment when the millstone crashes into the stepmother and the boy reappears, Little Marlene experiences what Campbell (1990) called ―a sense of existence: a moment of unevaluated, unimpeded, lyric life—antecedent to both thought and feeling‖ (p. 186). The millstone‘s weight cracks open her ordinary reality to expose fully the transcendent experience that was prefigured by the first appearance of the beautiful bird, an event that temporarily lifted Little Marlene‘s thoughts out of their grief and symbolized the need for her own spirit to take wing. The fallen stone not only shatters the bones of the materialistic stepmother, but it also stirs up the dust from the grave of the boy‘s devoted birth mother. The particles of the two mothers mingle in the light of the flames until the fire and the bird both disappear, leaving only the resurrected boy, gazing at his astonished father and stepsister.

60 When the boy takes them by the hand, the family unit is whole again, but on a new plane, having absorbed the transmuted essence of the two mothers. The transformation of the fractured family of four into an intact unit of three is symbolic of the new psychological state in which Little Marlene finds herself, fully differentiated from her mother and thus taking her first steps on the journey toward individuation. She has learned what can happen when the bonds of literalism are loosened so that the transcendent can break into the secular sphere. She also has seen how a concrete object can be the instrument that gives wing to the miraculous, for it was her best silk kerchief that veiled the boy‘s bones as they transformed into those of a bird and set her redemption in motion. Without her tender act, the story would have ended with the boy‘s death. As von Franz (1980) has explained, lifting a fairy-tale curse requires a change in perspective, from a prejudiced or narrow stance to a broader view, facilitated by affection: ―A change in the conscious attitude has always to be worked out first by a human effort and with human devotion‖ (p. 63). Because Little Marlene cherished her brother‘s bones as more than mere objects, they—and she—became transparent to the grace of Light.

61 References Campbell, J. (1990). Flight of the wild gander. New York: HarperPerennial. Campbell, J. (2004). Pathways to bliss. Novato, CA: New World Library. Edinger, E. F. (1972). Ego and archetype: Individuation and the religious function of the psyche. New York: Penguin Books. Franz, M.-L. von (1980). The psychological meaning of redemption motifs in fairy tales. Toronto, Canada: Inner City Books. Grimm, J., & Grimm, W. (1999). The juniper tree. In M. Tatar (Ed. & Trans.), The classic fairy tales, pp. 190–197. New York: W. W. Norton. (Original work published 1857) Hillman, J. (1979). The dream and the underworld. New York: HarperPerennial. Jung, C. G. (1960). The transcendent function. In R. F. C. Hull (Trans.), The collected works of C. G. Jung (Vol. 8, pp. 67–91). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1916) Lindquist, G. (2004, Summer). Bringing the soul back to the self: Soul retrieval in neoshamanism. Social Analysis, 48(2), 157–173. Retrieved January 1, 2009, from Academic Search Premier database. Singer, J. K. (1970). The unholy bible: A psychological interpretation of William Blake. New York: Harper & Row. Slattery, D. (2005, August). Parallel poetics and the energy of metaphor. Mythic Passages. Retrieved January 1, 2009, from newsletter_aug05_slattery.html Woodman, M. (1982). Addiction to perfection: The still unravished bride. Toronto, Canada: Inner City Books. Woodman, M. (1987). From concrete to consciousness: The emergence of the feminine. In L. C. Mahdi, S. Foster, & M. Little (Eds.), Betwixt and between: Patterns of masculine and feminine initiation (pp. 201–222). La Salle, IL: Open Court.


Figure 7: Mandala. Source: Author.

ARTIFACT 8: A LETTER TO THE EDITOR .................................................................63 ARTIFACT 9: A SERMON ON RITUAL ........................................................................66 ARTIFACT 10: PLACE KEEPERS WORKBOOK .........................................................77 ARTIFACT 11: A LITANY OF INJUSTICE ...................................................................92 ARTIFACT 12: TRACING THE TRUTH ........................................................................98

ARTIFACT 8: A LETTER TO THE EDITOR This artifact is a statement of witness delivered in the form of a letter to the editor, which is included here in its entirety, just as it was published in The Washington Post (Mosher, 2008). What inspired me to write was an emotionally charged symbol and my perception that the way it was being used could potentially distort the issue of “the illusion of endless abundance” (DeBord, 2008, ¶ 12) and whether it required large cars as its symbolic expression. I tried to respond with a non-confrontational approach— acknowledging the reality of the values being spotlighted while offering an alternative interpretation. My letter suggested that an existing symbol (the Hummer) be set aside in favor of new symbols (fuel-efficient cars) that better represent changing attitudes toward energy and the environment. The adoption of a new shared symbol—whether it be an image, a song, a slogan, or some other representation—can be an important indicator that a period of conflict is moving toward some resolution. It can also contribute to that resolution by helping those in opposition focus on their shared values and aspirations. I have learned to be more sensitive to the symbolism surrounding an issue and to allow potent symbols to stimulate my own recognition of injustice. When I am so moved, the work done in Leadership Skills for Social Justice and other courses has given me confidence that I can speak and write effectively in public forums such as the editorial pages.

64 A Renewable Pride In his July 12 op-ed, “Hummer, How We Need Thee,” Matthew DeBord (2008) wrote, “For American life to work, the illusion of endless abundance must be maintained” (¶ 12). He mistook a symbol of American optimism (the Hummer) for that positive outlook itself. This country’s optimistic spirit is rooted in a different kind of abundance—not a false one of unlimited resources but the reality of boundless inventiveness, curiosity, and drive. As the American dream evolves away from the failed premise of unlimited growth toward a scenario that takes its cue from nature’s process of constant renewal, there is no reason that General Motors and other manufacturers cannot still produce vehicles “crammed with emotional content” (DeBord, 2008, ¶ 13)—engineering new vehicles that are not only fuel-efficient but that also rely more on renewable and recyclable materials, creating a good ride for American pride.

65 References DeBord, M. (2008, July 12). Hummer, how we need thee. The Washington Post, p. A13. Mosher, S. (2008, July 19). A renewable pride [Letter to the editor]. The Washington Post, p. A14.

ARTIFACT 9: A SERMON ON RITUAL This artifact was a pure gift from the unconscious, received and relayed with great joy. As a lay deacon and liturgist in my spiritual community, a liberal Christian church in Washington, DC, I have had the opportunity to lead worship and also to preach occasionally on such subjects as hospitality, symbols, and the inner refuge. As I completed my final project for the Ritual, Initiation, and Ceremony course—a house farewell ritual for my parents—I volunteered to share from the pulpit some of what I had learned in that class about ritual. The timing for the subject was opportune, for the congregation had just completed the difficult process of revising the ―Declaration of Faith‖ recited during the Sunday worship service, an effort that I had shepherded for nearly two years. As I conferred with the other people involved in planning the service during which I would preach, I asked for their help in making it a more physical experience. Ritual involves mind, body, and voice, I told them, but our worship usually was big on mind, mid-range on voice, and skimpy on bodily involvement. Two weeks before the sermon date, I awoke after no more than an hour or two of sleep with a complete vision of the entire sermon and its acorn-exchange ritual. Page after page of text and ritual directions effortlessly streamed into my notebook. Later, I only needed to enrich certain points with examples and quotations. Rarely had I felt so fully a vessel for something beyond my conscious mind. The sermon, included here in the exact form in which it was delivered to the congregation, was well received, and I cherish its presentation as a threshold moment in

67 my development as a spiritual activist. Not only was I bearing witness to what I had been studying at Pacifica, but I was transmuting those teachings into practical wisdom that could perhaps plant seeds of greater awareness in others’ daily lives. Adding to the initiatory feel of the event was the presence in the pews of a Pacifica classmate, a peer going through the same process that I was, and an elder, Polly Agee, who had helped put me on the road to Pacifica. I had consulted Polly as a life coach, and she had written one of my admission recommendations. Little did I know that day would be our last meeting, for Polly would suddenly pass away a few months later at age 61, leaving behind the gratitude of a generation of fundraisers for advocacy organizations and political campaigns who had learned their trade from her in the 1970s and 1980s. Even though I was a product of her retirement career as a life coach, her death brought home the fact that I was taking my place in an unbroken line of activists who had been influenced by Polly’s discipline, enthusiasm, generosity, and authenticity. She believed strongly in personal destiny and taught me to seek beyond the why of my existence in order to discover a cause about which I could be passionate and a calling that would draw out my best skills to serve that cause. Even though I am still waiting for that cause and calling to become apparent, I am confident that when I am ready, I will know—just as surely as I knew what to say and do for my sermon on ritual. As Robert A. Johnson (1991) wrote, ―Paradox is brought to its next stage of development by a highly conscious waiting. The ego can do no more; it must wait for that which is greater than itself‖ (p. 93). Such waiting is less difficult when one has felt at least once the outpouring of the unconscious.

68 Ritual 101: Dry Bones Our role in ritual is to be human. We take the initiative to spark a process, knowing that its success is not in our hands but in the hands of the kind of forces we invoke into our lives. So the force field we create within a ritual is something coming from the spirit, not something coming from us. We are only instruments in this kind of interaction between dimensions, between realms. Somé, 1993, p.32 Of all the objects that function as symbols in our lives, none may be more potent than the home. When you take a bottle of wine or a bunch of flowers to a house-warming or a dinner party, you may be responding to an ancient urge to make an offering to the household gods or to pour a libation to the spirits that hallow a space. Thus, when my parents announced that they were moving in January to a senior community, leaving behind the house of my childhood, I wondered if we could honor their transition with a ceremony that would help the whole family celebrate what their house has meant to all of us, make sure that nothing important was left behind, and release the house to be a home for its next owner. But more than a ceremony, I wanted a ritual that could expose—as playwright Patricia Montley (2005) suggests—the ―truth that transcends logic and surpasses reason‖ (p. xiii). And so we gathered after our Christmas dinner, three generations, to sing, to share stories, and to harvest for my parents all those memories and feelings that the movers could not pack into boxes. Seeing how much that meant to my parents, to my brother, and even to our college-age daughters inspired me to speak to you today about ritual and what it can mean to us, as individuals and as churchgoers. Ritual is a word we tend to tiptoe around. When I mentioned my interest in ritual to some friends in the computer business, their response was to ask whether that meant wearing weird clothes or skulking around in the woods. Even in church circles, we cloak ritual in a technical term, liturgy, as if it needs to be shielded from its ancient roots, for

69 ritual is perhaps as old as the idea of humans gathering around a fire, shoulder-toshoulder against the cold, sharing stories. To my mind, ritual is a word ripe for reclaiming, for rescuing from its descent into phrases like empty ritual and ritual killing, and this pre-Easter season is a perfect time to do so. In the early church, the weeks of Lent comprised a period of training, testing, and edification for candidates hoping to undergo initiation into the Christian mysteries by being baptized during the Easter vigil. Our Lenten observances here at Universalist National Memorial Church are bracketed by our two most complex worship rituals of the year—those for Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday. Malidoma Somé (1993), the African shaman we heard from in our second reading, suspected that ―in the absence of ritual, the soul runs out of its real nourishment‖ (p. 97). ―A person’s life is ritualized,‖ he said, ―who accepts that the fact that everything that he or she does is the work of the hands of the Divine‖ (p. 98). Ritual can start enhancing our lives when we simply acknowledge that we can’t do it all ourselves. That can include the moment when you notice that spring is starting to push green shoots skyward and you whisper a word of thanks under your breath. One of the key functions that ritual can fulfill is to reconnect us with nature, so that we remember, to paraphrase Orthodox theologian Philip Sherrard (2003), that nature is a divine creation, every part of it sacred, and as full of hidden wisdom as we ourselves are. I had thought about exploring with you some of the technical information I’ve learned in my study of ritual—the functions it serves, its usual structure—but I was blessed with a vision of a better way to share my understanding—by doing a ritual together. I’d like to ask Lisa and Paul to take the baskets that are on the altar and pass

70 them among you. The baskets contain acorns. Please take one and hold onto it. Feel free to pass if you don’t want to participate. Once everyone has an acorn, I’ll tell you what to do next. [Wait for acorns to be distributed] Now, find a neighbor there in the pews, and exchange acorns with that other person. Stand up if you need to reach closer. And it’s OK to trade with more than one person. When you’re done, sit down again. [Wait for acorns to be exchanged] So, how did that feel? Do you feel a little silly sitting there with an acorn in your hand, not knowing what it’s all about? That’s OK. I wanted you to feel a certain gap between the performance of the ritual and your understanding of it. We’ll connect the two in a few minutes, but now you have a concrete illustration of some of the factors that hold us back from enriching our lives with the power that ritual has to heal, to celebrate, and to foster a sense of belonging. I find that there are four impediments: We are sometimes confused about the differences between habit, ceremony, and ritual. We don’t always understand the intent of a ritual. We find it hard to make sacred space. When it comes right down to it, we may be anxious that a ritual might actually work. To help you distinguish among habit, ceremony, and ritual, think about walking through a room in your house. When you walk through that room and hardly notice the furniture or decorations, that’s habit. If you walk through the room and pause to take in

71 its furnishings and maybe even straighten a picture, that’s ceremony. But if, as you appreciate the furnishings, you also are mindful of the meanings behind the knickknacks—what they represent about yourself and your family—that’s where ritual begins, in that invocation of a different level of awareness, one that looks beyond the concrete and the everyday. The second obstacle to incorporating ritual into our lives is uncertainty about its intent. In traditional societies, like the African village where Malidoma Somé grew up, everyone knows the purpose behind each ritual. That’s not the case in modern societies, though, and so it is up to whoever conducts the ritual to make the intention clear. This applies even if only one person is involved—you—and you are creating a ritual for yourself. Somé (1993) explained that ritual can serve three basic functions: It can provide healing or bring balance, it can be the vehicle for celebration, and it can prevent something undesirable from happening or rehearse something good that we want to take place. You can turn your morning cup of coffee or tea into an effective personal ritual, for example, if you drink it with intention—mindful of what you need to accomplish that day and with an invocation asking for whatever assistance you might seek from your coworkers, your family, or from God. The invocation is a critical part of any ritual, even if it is just a brief unspoken thought, for it engages the unseen for the benefit of the visible and opens you up to the transformation that is the real inner work of ritual. Let’s do a little check-in: How’s that acorn doing? Still holding onto it? Now for the third obstacle to effective ritual—finding sacred space can be tough these days. The late Gerald May (1999), who taught at the Shalem Institute in Maryland, wrote that our tendency to ―always be filling up our spaces‖ is ―an addiction of the first

72 order‖ (p. 44), but that unpleasant words like emptiness, yearning, and incompleteness ―hold a hope for incomprehensible beauty‖ (p. 48). As lovely as this sanctuary is, it is nothing compared to the sacred space in your heart, if you only make room. A little silence and wonder can go a long way. Scoop up some water from a city fountain or a woodland spring, and just marvel at it for a moment. Your heart can remember how to make sacred space. Of course, a physical space is helpful, too, and that’s why we are so fortunate to gather in this beautiful building. We enter it with an expectation of inner change and might even reinforce that intention by lighting a candle at the side chapel altar. When the service is over, we carry that change out with us, reconnecting with the ordinary world in hope of transforming it, too. That’s the core of ritual. To touch that essence in daily practice, many find it helpful to set aside sacred space in their homes or on their office desks with a few objects that provide a reminder to pause for mindfulness, for intention, for a moment of transformation. Christina Baldwin (1998), who has taught thousands the ritual of gathering in circle for council and mutual support, described a human resources manager who put a candle on her desk and lit it every time someone came by for an important conversation. After a while, she found that her office visitors would take the initiative and light the candle themselves to signal that they wanted her full attention. The last obstacle to embracing ritual is that we tend to ignore the possibility that it might actually be effective! Better we should heed Annie Dillard’s (1982) warning, when she wrote: Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? . . . It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take

73 offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return. (pp. 52–53) But this is why we need ritual, because it provides a safe container for what might otherwise be unbearable, where one can say or think what might otherwise be unspeakable. What ritual asks of us in return is that we act as if we believe the ritual will work. This is what creates the force field that Malidoma Somé described in our reading, a field coming from the Spirit, but held by human longing. Acting as if we believe in the effectiveness of the ritual forges a partnership with the powers we invoke, recognizing that we cannot bring about transformation by ourselves. Jesus can be our guide here, as in so many areas, for he taught about ritual not by preaching a sermon on the subject, but by demonstrating this as if principle, which we have come to call faith. When Jesus put clay on the eyes of a blind man and had him wash in the pool of Siloam (John 9:1–7), that man acted as if he thought the ritual would be effective, and he was healed. The intentions that we bring to ritual, no matter how well meant, are like only so many dry bones (Ezekiel 37:4) until the Spirit breathes life into them through our faith. So, let’s get back to that acorn. What role does it play in our little ritual experiment? What as if can it capture for us? Let’s for a moment consider that this acorn is your soul, your destiny, the seed-core that can grow into whatever you are meant to be. Psychologist James Hillman (1996) used the term acorn theory for his idea that each person is seeded at birth with a calling that not only determines, but also guides that individual’s destiny, just as an acorn contains in it everything needed to produce an oak tree. Hold your acorn gently, lovingly in your palm, and breathe on it three times. Breathe into it your hopes. Breathe into it your dreams. Breathe into it the gifts that you want to share with the world.

74 Now, think on the golden rule that Jesus taught, ―Love your neighbor as yourself‖ (Matthew 22:39), and understand the intent of this ritual. Our souls depend on the love not just of those we know best, including those nearest us in the pews, but also on the care of others whose influence on our lives may seem tenuous at best. So, again find a neighbor to exchange your acorn with, casting that acorn into the care of another, even into the hands of a stranger. You might want to ask in your own words for your neighbor to care for your acorn. [Wait for exchanges to finish] Now, understanding the meaning behind this second part of our ritual experiment, consider how that feels compared with the exchange we did earlier. By acting as if these acorns hold our seed-souls, we are now joined together in mutual caring. You may even be thinking about what you want to do to honor the trust symbolized by receiving the acorn; you could place it on a home altar, plant it in the woods, or keep it warm in your pocket. Our minister emeritus, Bill Fox (1997), once preached a sermon on the Declaration of Faith in which he declared that ―what we say here . . . is . . . a believable ambiguity that holds us together in a mystery‖ (p. 13). I believe that not just what we say here, but also what we do here—the worship ritual we share within these walls— embodies that same believable, mysterious ambiguity. Behold the mystery we celebrate, in a nutshell as it were: We are all called as children of God; thus, each reflects God in some way. Who is to say whether a nod from someone you hardly know might be the divine gesture that sets your life’s journey on its proper course? For the person whose acorn you’re now holding, this visit to church today may have been made in sorrow, in

75 fatigue, or in anxiety, seeking comforting words. Or it may have provided the only touch of a human hand that person will feel this week. Even without an acorn to carry the meaning for us, the ritual that is worship binds this community together in the assurance that all are cared for and all can be transformed through the invisible forces that we welcome in ritual to do their holy work.

76 References Baldwin, C. (1998). Calling the circle: The first and future culture. New York: Bantam Books. Dillard, A. (1982). Teaching a stone to talk: Expeditions and encounters. New York: HarperPerennial. Fox, W. L. (1997). What we say here. Washington, DC: Universalist National Memorial Church. Hillman, J. (1996). The soul’s code: In search of character and calling. New York: Warner Books. Johnson, Robert A. (1991). Owning your own shadow: Understanding the dark side of the psyche. New York: HarperSanFrancisco. May, G. (1999). Entering the emptiness. In M. Schut (Ed.), Simpler living, compassionate life: A Christian perspective (pp. 41–51). Denver, CO: Living the Good News. Montley, P. (2005). In nature’s honor: Myths and rituals celebrating the Earth. Boston: Skinner House Books. Sherrard, P. (2003). The desanctification of nature. In B. McDonald (Ed.), Seeing God everywhere: Essays on nature and the sacred (pp. 109–130). Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom. Somé, M. P. (1993). Ritual: Power, healing, and community. New York: Penguin Compass.

ARTIFACT 10: PLACE KEEPERS WORKBOOK Each culture brings very different ways of imagining their relationship to nature, and reconciliation between cultures also involves, in fact forces, a profound re-imagining, a reconciliation with nature. In nearly every case of reconciliation that I’ve come across, questions of the ―land,‖ of place, are inextricably part of it. Bishop, 2006, p. 46 As a teenager in Atlanta in the 1960s, my first encounter with spiritual activism was related to the nascent environmental movement, not the civil rights and anti-war movements that were generating bigger headlines. My mother, herself a lifelong conservationist, introduced me to several Quakers who were committed to cleaning up the air and water. Under their influence and hers, I participated in the first Earth Day in 1970 and established a lasting sensitivity to environmental issues. In this artifact, I reconnected with those interests to produce a citizen workbook with three primary goals: to increase awareness of green space and its uses, benefits, and costs; to increase understanding of the green space decision-making process that takes place at the community level; and to promote a sense of appreciation for green space and community ownership of green space issues. My hope is that civic and environmental groups and parks departments can use this workbook to teach citizens how to ―read‖ the green space around them and get involved in green space issues. As landscape architect Elizabeth K. Meyer (2008) wrote in her manifesto on the importance of aesthetics to environmental sustainability, Through the experience of different types of beauty we come to notice, to care, and to deliberate about our place in the world. . . . These

78 participatory experiences not only break down the barriers between subject and object; they change us, and, at times, have the capacity to challenge us, to prod us to act. (p. 120) Noticing green space is a necessary first step toward taking action to preserve it. A secondary objective for this project was to go beyond the written word as a medium and introduce a stronger visual element into my work. I often have viewed myself as ―graphically impaired‖ and almost always have contracted out any design work required for my professional projects. A few years ago, I completed a certificate program in woody landscape plants at George Washington University but chose not to continue on to the landscape design program, because I felt that I lacked the necessary visualization and illustration skills. However, I have traveled widely with my camera and, as early as the Portfolio I class during the second quarter at Pacifica, began seeing my own photographs as potential illustrations of the ideas that I was so accustomed to expressing only with words. The overall tone of the artifact takes its cue from the first word in the name of the course for which it was produced, Education for Ecological Stewardship. I wanted to generate a workbook that would be instructive and stimulate the reader to actively participate in creating or maintaining local green spaces. One fundamental assumption was that, if people could learn to appreciate the particular details of at least one space that already exists in their community—to understand why it feeds the soul—they would want to preserve it and would be inspired to help develop other such places. I also agree with Gary Paul Nabhan and Stephen Trimble (1994), Julie Moir Meservy (1995), and Mitchell Thomashow (1995) that childhood memories of place remain active in the psyche and color an individual’s relationship to the environment. Richard Louv (2007), instigator of the No Child Left Inside movement, has written:

79 We do know that when people talk about the disconnect between children and nature—if they are old enough to remember a time when outdoor play was the norm—they almost always tell stories about their own childhoods: this tree house or fort, that special woods or ditch or creek or meadow. They recall those ―places of initiation,‖ in the words of naturalist Bob Pyle, where they may have first sensed with awe and wonder the largeness of the world seen and unseen. When people share these stories, their cultural, political, and religious walls come tumbling down. (¶ 8) Helping people become articulate in the personal language of place could, therefore, contribute to reconciliation efforts in many other arenas, as Peter Bishop (2006) observed in the quotation that began this reflection. The challenge was to use just a few pages to cover the practical aspects of recognizing public green space, while at the same time raising awareness of issues of inclusion, sustainability, and aesthetics, which I feel are crucial to a holistic approach to green space. I read dozens of articles, books, and Web sites and even considered at one point that an annotated bibliography might be a more feasible project design. Persistence paid off, however, and I consider the workbook to be one of the most satisfying projects that I have ever completed, both for its content and in its visual appeal. Its personal impact has reached well beyond the course assignment. I have initiated conversations with organizations and practitioners who hold similar values. I also plan to make the workbook available online for free, unrestricted use at, a new domain that I have acquired and may develop as a Web platform to support my continuing efforts to help people cultivate their ecological identity, to use Mitchell Thomashow’s (1995) term—awareness of their place in the interdependent web that links all life with the natural world.


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Note: Quotation from McGinnis, 2001, ¶ 8. Except as noted, all images are by author.


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Note: Quotation from Harper, 1995, p. 184.



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Note: Quotation from Louv, 2007, ¶ 34.


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Note: Quotation from Nabhan, 1994, p. 3.


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Note: Quotation from Beatley and Manning, 1994, p. 174.


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Note: Quotation from Messervy, 2007.


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Note: Quotation from Daniels and Lapping, 2005, pp. 325–326.


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Note: Quotation from Durning, 1995, pp. 74–75.

91 References Beatley, T., & Manning, K. (1997). The ecology of place: Planning for environment, economy, and community. Washington, DC: Island Press. Bishop, P. (2006, Fall). Reconciliation & regeneration: Building bridges for wounded cultures & wounded earth. Spring, 76, pp. 41–57. Daniels, T., & Lapping, M. (2005, February). Land preservation: An essential ingredient in smart growth [Electronic version]. Journal of Planning Literature, 19(3), 316– 329. Retrieved December 8, 2008, from Durning, A. T. (1995). Are we happy yet? In T. Roszak, M. E. Gomes, & A. D. Kanner (Eds.), Ecopsychology: Restoring the earth, healing the mind, pp. 68–76. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. Harper, S. (1995). The way of wilderness. In T. Roszak, M. E. Gomes, & A. D. Kanner (Eds.), Ecopsychology: Restoring the earth, healing the mind, pp. 183–200. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. Louv, R. (2007, March/April). Leave no child inside [Electronic version]. Orion. Retrieved December 7, 2008, from articles/article/240 McGinnis, K. (2001, Summer). Great commons of the world [Electronic version]. YES! Retrieved December 7, 2008, from article.asp?ID=436 Messervy, J. M. (1995). The inward garden: Creating a place of beauty and meaning. Boston: Little, Brown. Messervy, J. M. (2007, September 27). Unpublished lecture given at Carnegie Institute, Washington, DC. Meyer, E. K. (2008, October). Sustaining beauty: The performance of appearance. Landscape Architecture, 98, 92–131. Nabhan, G. P. (1994). A child’s sense of wildness. In G. P. Nabban & Stephen Trimble, The geography of childhood: Why children need wild places, pp. 1–14. Boston: Beacon Press. Nabhan, G. P., & Trimble, S. (1994). The geography of childhood: Why children need wild places. Boston: Beacon Press. Thomashow, Mitchell. (1995). Ecological identity: Becoming a reflective environmentalist. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

ARTIFACT 10: A LITANY OF INJUSTICE In this world created by the Self we meet all those many to whom we belong, whose hearts we touch; here ―there is no distance, but immediate presence.‖ von Franz, 1978/1995, p. 177 When I entered Pacifica, my political consciousness could be characterized as ―aware but uninvolved‖ (Andreatta, 2006, p. 212). I believed that individuals could affect society, but I had insufficient confidence in my own opinions to put myself on the line to take action. Also, I had spent 15 years working for a news organization where active political involvement was forbidden, because it would have raised questions of conflict of interest. As a result, any activist energy that I had when I was younger was largely suppressed for a long time. The Leadership Skills for Social Justice course helped rekindle that spark of involvement by focusing more on privilege than blame and redress and by providing more nuanced, less loaded language for talking about oppression. In particular, Iris Marion Young’s article, ―Five Faces of Oppression‖ (2000) broke down an overwhelming concept into five interrelated conditions: exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence. In December 2007, as I listened to Christmas music in the background, I recalled the prayer that asks for forgiveness for ―what I have done and what I have failed to do‖ (Bunson, 2001, p. 313) and was inspired to write the artifact that follows, a litany of sins of commission and omission and of injustices received. I grasped that I had been involved in—and in some cases, continued

93 to sustain—every one of the five aspects of oppression. My consideration of injustice shifted from seeking cause and solution to a subtler, yet deeper and more humble recognition of my own participation and privilege, making it possible to listen with greater appreciation for others’ yearning for justice and wholeness. I have shared this litany with others (see Artifact 12 in this portfolio) and watched it draw their attention to the unavoidable, daily injustices that we each perpetuate. In the future, I would like to develop a workshop that challenges participants to develop their own litanies of injustice as a tool for closing the distance that divides them from those who suffer from oppression.

94 A Litany of Injustice I offer this litany of sins of commission and omission and of injustices received. When I wear clothes made by or eat food grown by people I do not know, I participate in exploitation, for I benefit from their labor with no knowledge of their working conditions or pay. When I have moved because of my husband’s job, I have experienced exploitation, for I have given up my work to allow him to pursue his career. When I left a job, it was partly because of powerlessness, because I was stuck in a position whose responsibilities I could escape only by quitting. I also experienced exploitation, for I felt that more child care was needed at home and I was the one who should provide it. When I pass someone in the street whose color or clothes are different from mine and I do not acknowledge them with a glance or a ―Hello,‖ I participate in marginalization, for I pretend they do not exist. When I spend money other than for necessities, I participate in exploitation as my ease and comfort come at the cost of someone else’s work and the money I spend is not distributed in the cause of justice. When I neglect to stay in contact with elderly friends, I participate in marginalization, increasing their sense of isolation. When I have been at the office or at church and have done work myself instead of sharing it, I have participated in powerlessness in not allowing others to develop their own capacities.

95 When I criticize a hymn as not appropriate to our church culture, I participate in cultural imperialism, because I do not allow other voices, different from mine, to share their faith experience. When I was hit in the face by an alcoholic boyfriend and did not seek shelter, I participated in violence, both as a victim and as a silent witness. When I listen without objection to hateful speech directed at a group, I participate in violence, for I allow seeds of angry prejudice and hatred to take root. When I have watched an elderly, African woman walk past my house daily and have not stepped out to greet her, I have participated in marginalization by allowing her presence in my neighborhood to go unhonored. When I do not remember the names of my senior citizen neighbors, I participate in marginalization, because they barely exist for me. When I grow short-tempered with a clerk in a store or a telephone caller whose words I do not understand because English is not their first language, I participate in powerlessness due to the lack of respect I show and in violence because my anger may fuel another customer’s hatred. When I stay home rather than rally for a living wage, affordable housing, or other efforts at redistribution in the cause of justice, I participate in exploitation in that I benefit from the work of those who do not receive just compensation and in marginalization because I perpetuate their dependence. When I tell a story from another country or group without asking permission or studying its meaning in context, I participate in cultural imperialism, seeing their story only through the lens of my own preferences and prejudices.

96 When I withhold my attention, my money, and my time from the political process, I perpetuate all forms of oppression by not supporting those who are engaged in the struggle for justice. May God’s light and peace inspire me to greater awareness and generosity in the service of those whom I should rightly thank for the privileges I enjoy.

97 References Andreatta, B. (2006). Navigating the research university: A guide for first-year students. Boston: Thomson Wadsworth. Bunson, M. (2001). The Catholic almanac’s guide to the church. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor. Franz, M.-L. von (1995). Projection and recollection in Jungian psychology: Reflections of the soul (W. H. Kennedy, Trans.). Peru, IL: Open Court. (Original work published 1978) Young, I. M. (2000). Five faces of oppression. In M. Adams, W. J. Blumenfeld, R. Casteñada, H. W. Hackman, M. L. Peters, & X. Zúñiga (Eds.), Readings for diversity and social justice (pp. 35–49). New York: Routledge.

ARTIFACT 12: TRACING THE TRUTH The project assignment for the Models of National Transformation course paralyzed me at first. I had to conduct a truth and reconciliation process in my own community, drawing on the principles embodied in South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The class readings stirred up a long list of situations where I have been a bystander or where I felt guilty or unreconciled with an oppressed group. But who was I to think that I could inject myself into any of those very serious situations? I could not jump into some conflict as the reconciler riding to the rescue. Fortunately, that was not what the assignment called for. As Professor Maren Hansen explained in a conference call (personal communication, September 25, 2008), we were being guided as much toward awareness as toward action: We were to notice the alienation in our own lives, see how our own fears contribute to alienation, and use personal relationships as a means to try to bridge that alienation, applying principles gained from our study of the Truth Commission. I kept coming back to two issues that made me particularly uneasy. One was that I had never been able to bring myself to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, despite having lived in the Washington, DC, area since the museum opened in 1993. The other was a film I had watched on television a few months earlier—Traces of the Trade (2008), a documentary about members of a major slave-trading family in Rhode Island facing the facts of their family’s involvement. I was not aware of any slaveowning or -trading ancestors in my own family tree when I wrote this paper (although I

99 did learn of some later from a cousin who expressed interest in my study of reconciliation). My great-grandfather, a farmer from Alabama, fought on the side of the South in the Civil War. Certainly, as members of a number of privileged groups, both I and my ancestors have benefitted from slave labor. Because my husband is a Civil War reenactor (wearing Union blue, not Confederate gray), America’s history of slavery comes up in our conversations frequently. Also, his regiment is part of the Irish Brigade and recalls a time when the Irish were not yet considered ―white.‖ Of the two issues that activated the strongest emotional response, the slavery topic hit closer to home. Asking an African-American friend to watch the film with me carried some risks. As Professor Britt Andreatta had pointed out during our Leadership Skills for Social Justice class, individual members of an oppressed group may be ―annoyed that they have to spend one more minute educating a member of the dominant group‖ (personal communication, December 16, 2008). I was much relieved when my friend graciously accepted the invitation. The artifact itself describes in detail how we enjoyed an evening of deep conversation in which we could step outside our respective stereotypes and from which I learned much that can be carried forward into future work toward justice. It turned out that this project was only the beginning of my involvement with reconciliation principles. Since writing this paper, I have responded to a call to participate in a newly formed Community of Reconciliation, an ―ecumenical network of individuals seeking radical balance in life and a deepening commitment to reconciliation in the world‖ (Community of Reconciliation, 2008). I felt a special connection with this group, because it had been blessed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the chair of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission during his 2007 U.S. visit. At an introductory

100 meeting for the Community, I met a woman of Ghanaian heritage who had studied with Tutu. We agreed that this group may be what we have both been preparing ourselves for—an intentional community where the 1500-year-old European wisdom from the Benedictine tradition, with its idea of a life that incorporates radical balance, can come together with the centuries-old ubuntu wisdom of Africa and give birth to a new way of healing. Finally, just a few weeks before completing this portfolio, I was privileged to work as a volunteer for the inauguration of President Barack Obama, greeting visitors who arrived at Union Station and guiding them toward the inaugural events. I had not expected to see apartheid end in South Africa in my lifetime, and neither had I given much hope to the possibility of Americans’ electing a president with a dark skin and mixed racial heritage. Yet there I stood for five hours, offering hospitality in the Benedictine tradition, watching citizens and immigrants, people of all skin colors and vastly diverse backgrounds, pour into the nation’s capital wearing broad grins that affirmed a new potential for reconciliation in our country.

101 Tracing the Truth: An Application of the Principles of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission Two races must be able to cry together for true redemption to take place, for true peace to take place. Dain Perry in Browne, 2008 We are human because we belong. Tutu, 1999, p. 196 The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission supported that country’s peaceful transition from government-sanctioned apartheid to a new constitution and free elections by applying principles that can also bolster reconciliation efforts on a more personal scale. To explore the value of those principles, I engaged an African-American friend in a conversation about slavery and its lasting effects on race relations in America. The Truth Commission principles that contributed most to deepening our encounter were the creation of a symbolic safe space for honest dialogue, recognition of the need for compromise and realistic expectations, the practice of active listening, and the sense of community known to Africans as ubuntu. The South African Model The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa that operated from 1995 until 1998 (with the Amnesty Committee continuing its work until 2001) was an integral part of the settlement that ended apartheid. The 1993 Interim Constitution forged by the government and its former adversaries made a commitment to truth-seeking, reparations, and amnesty to bring about ―reconciliation between the people of South Africa and the reconstruction of society‖ (Constitution, 1994, National Unity and Reconciliation section, ¶ 1). South Africa needed not only to reform its institutions so

102 that citizens of all races could participate equally and fairly, but it also had to reestablish moral order after decades in which extreme cruelty had been an accepted methodology for the government security apparatus, the resistance, and white militant groups committed to maintaining apartheid. A crucial element of this process was to emphasize the African principle of ubuntu as an inclusive community characterized by harmony, generosity, and compassion. A community that exemplifies ubuntu rejoices when any of its members achieves success, but it also suffers when any of its members suffer, because in the words of Desmond Tutu (1999), ―My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours‖ (p. 31). The Truth Commission, which was established by the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act (1995), comprised three committees to examine human rights violations, to consider amnesty applications, and to make recommendations on reparations. It began its work in late 1995 under the leadership of Tutu, who was the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town. In his book on the work of the Truth Commission, Tutu (1999) acknowledged that many compromises were involved ―to balance the requirements of justice, accountability, stability, peace, and reconciliation‖ (p. 23). For example, the commission’s mandate covered only the period from the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 until Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as president in 1994 (Tutu, p. 104). Furthermore, amnesty was available only for acts with political intent (excluding non-political murders and other crimes) and required a full disclosure of the circumstances. The most heinous acts were ineligible, under a principle of proportionality that weighed the means against the objective. Of more than 7,000 applications related to

103 14,000 incidents, only about 16 percent received actual grants of amnesty (Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, 2003). The core of the Truth Commission’s work was to allow those who had been marginalized to give voice to the unspeakable. The symbolic nuances of the hearings helped capture the country’s attention and direct it toward healing. For example, choosing a city hall as a venue for testimony sent a message that government buildings no longer belonged just to whites (Krog, 1998). Candles, prayers, and songs lent an air of solemnity, reflecting the influence of Tutu and the three other religious leaders on the commission. At the human rights hearings, victims sat on the same level as the commissioners, spoke in their own languages, and were not subjected to crossexamination (Krog, 1998; Tutu, 1999). Through extensive media coverage, including radio broadcasts to reach those who were illiterate and did not have access to television, many South Africans could witness the work of the human rights and amnesty committees. Although only about 10 percent of the more than 20,000 victim statements resulted in public testimony (Tutu, 1999), those selected to tell their stories gave ample evidence of the dehumanization of the apartheid era, which affected all South Africans. Martha Minow (1998) has described how the Truth Commission linked the discovery of the facts about the past with the possibility of restorative justice: On behalf of bystanders and perpetrators, as well as victims, it seeks to reestablish a baseline of right and wrong, to humanize the perpetrators and to obtain and disclose previously hidden information about what happened, who gave orders, where missing persons ended up. (p. 78) On the issue of uncovering previously hidden details, the Truth Commission was a success. The amnesty hearings traded the possibility of immunity from prosecution for

104 accounts of specific incidents, which gave many families their first understanding of how their loved ones had died and where their remains were located. Furthermore, although the amnesty process mandated neither contrition nor forgiveness, Tutu (1999) observed that most amnesty applicants expressed remorse; he cited several cases where a victim’s family and a perpetrator were reconciled in the hearing room itself. Evidence of a new ―baseline of right and wrong‖ (Minow, 1998, p. 78) is harder to come by, because economic and political inequalities remain. The Truth Commission process envisioned reparations both as a key symbol of restored equity and as a tangible acknowledgment of the injustices of the past. However, reparations can never adequately compensate years of inhumane treatment and thus run the risk that ―as statements of actual value, they trivialize the harms‖ (Minow, 1998, p. 93). Devaluation or ambiguity about the significance of past injustice may hinder the development of a new moral model. While the government gave emergency grants to meet some victims’ immediate needs, the reparations committee was so frustrated over the lack of information on the outcome of its assistance recommendations—as late as 2003—that it called the situation an ―appalling failure to meet the basic urgent needs of victims‖ and ―a complete breakdown in the agreement‖ (Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 2003, p. 173) between the government and the committee. More than 16,000 victims and family members eventually received one-time reparation payments of about $3,800 apiece (Leithead, 2003; Sebelebele, 2004), but poverty, lack of education, and high unemployment have continued to afflict those who suffered the most under apartheid. Human Rights Watch stated in 2008 that violent crime also has remained a major

105 problem. The level of violence has been brutal, as people ―one-up each other with tales of scalding and shooting and slicing and garroting‖ (Bearak, 2008, ¶ 9). What cannot be measured—because there is no available gauge—is whether their humanity was restored to victims, perpetrators, and bystanders. Tutu (1999) concluded that the Truth Commission process revealed that apartheid ―had far more victims than anyone had ever thought possible‖ (p. 196)—essentially every individual in South Africa. Could any reconciliation process reach so many people? David W. Augsburger (1992) has defined reconciliation as ―a joint process of releasing the past with its pain, restructuring the present with new reciprocal respect and acceptance, and reopening the future to new risks and spontaneity‖ (p. 282). Perhaps what the commission accomplished is best described as expiation. Modern jurisprudence treats expiation as the necessary penalty paid for or amends made in response to an offense. The Truth Commission, though, reached back to a more ancient meaning of expiate, defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as ―to cleanse, purify (a person, a city) from guilt or pollution by religious ceremonies‖ (Expiate, 1989, ¶ 2). Such purification can be the first step toward reconciliation—releasing the past, to follow Augsburger’s classification—for it allows both victims and perpetrators to be renewed in their humanity. From there, reciprocal acceptance and respect can open the door to a mutually beneficial future of shared responsibility. Tracing the Truth The year 2008 marked the centennial of the abolition of the slave trade in the United States, but little was said or done about that milestone, especially when compared with the attention that the corresponding anniversary received in the United Kingdom.

106 The House of Representatives did vote for a formal apology to African Americans (House Resolution 194, 2008), but perhaps a more far-reaching event was the broadcast premiere of Traces of the Trade (2008), a documentary about a Rhode Island family’s coming to terms with their ancestors’ involvement in the slave trade. This program, along with work done in the Pacifica course Leadership Skills for Social Justice, has helped open the door for me to talk about my own white privilege and to realize that this frankness is only the first step in a long journey of community-building. I asked Naomi, an African-American friend, to watch this film with me and explained that it was part of a project for a class on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. (To protect her privacy, I have used a pseudonym for my friend’s name.) She asked how watching the film together might constitute a step toward reconciliation. I responded that reconciliation begins with moving out of one’s comfort zone into a space from which one can see things from a different point of view. As noted above, the process that led to the formation of the Truth Commission involved a great deal of compromise, trading the ideal for the possible. I did not harbor any illusion that Naomi and I would be able to solve our country’s racial problems, but I did hope that we could at least discover where the middle ground might lie. Augsburger (1992) has offered such exploration as an alternative to argument, especially in the beginning stages of a conflict-resolution process, to allow participants room to open up to each other’s views and experiences. Following the example of the Truth Commission, I tried to bring solemnity and symbolism to this event and create a welcoming, safe atmosphere for honest sharing. I decorated with rosemary, an herb of remembrance, and prepared a home-cooked dinner,

107 which we ate by candlelight. After Naomi settled into the best spot on the sofa, I recited a litany that I had written for my social justice class (Artifact 11 in this portfolio) in which I acknowledged my own shortcomings on such issues as exploitation, powerlessness, violence, marginalization, and cultural imperialism. The litany ended with a brief prayer, ―May God’s light and peace inspire us to greater awareness and generosity in the service of those whom we should rightly thank for the privileges we enjoy.‖ Reading the litany helped establish that I was approaching this event not from a position of moral superiority, but from a place of humble inquiry. Naomi volunteered that it reminded her how often she ignores narrow-mindedness even in her own family and does not call people on it. We then watched the film and talked further after its conclusion. In that conversation, I tried to emulate another Truth Commission principle, that of active listening, so that what had been previously unspoken between us could find a willing ear. Jean Stairs (2000) has called listening ―the most intimate of acts‖ (p. 18): Sharing experiences can deepen a sense of trust and remind us that we share many similarities as human beings. Listening for the soul is grounded in the deep awareness that each of us is a human being who needs other human beings in order to realize our fullest potential to live in the image of God. (p. 19) In listening to Naomi, I tried to follow one of the key techniques that Allan G. Johnson (2006) has recommended for those who strive for social justice—to ―make her experience and not mine the point of the conversation‖ (p. 142). This type of listening is the natural corollary of the most important Truth Commission principle involved in my event—ubuntu or the understanding that, despite our differences, we live in a single community into which many cultural textures are woven and where we should, therefore, cultivate inclusivity, generosity, compassion, and acceptance. This is a challenge we face together, for Naomi and I are members of the

108 same spiritual community in Washington, DC. Paradoxically, although the values of ubuntu are wholly congruent with the stated values of our congregation, the church has only a minimal presence in the community on social justice issues. Conclusions Although Naomi and I did not solve any of the world’s problems—and it became clear that we differ in our optimism as to whether some problems can be solved at all— this event provided a good model for deepening my engagement in areas where I sense the need for reconciliation. I brought no action agenda to the event and simply invited one-to-one conversation without any intention more specific than exploring whatever was suggested by the film. If we had been a group instead of a dyad, the event would have had a completely different dynamic. The film reinforced that learning as well, as Naomi reflected on how different an experience it would have been if the white filmmaker had gone to Ghana on her own, rather than taking along nine relatives, which inevitably turned into a tourist gaggle. Another major piece of learning that I took away from this event was a greater awareness of the asymmetrical nature of any reconciliation effort, in this case, specifically that of black–white cultural engagement. There are few situations in which I might be compelled to engage with black culture. But for an African-American, engagement with white culture is an almost daily necessity. Naomi described how exhausting it was to attend a white-majority school, not just because of the long bus ride, but because of the overt racism she had to endure each day. She said that when her father retired, one of the first things he noticed was how relaxing it was to go days without seeing any white people. She herself finds that she needs a respite from white culture on a

109 regular basis. I found that I could relate to this by remembering how, while I was living in Moscow, every expatriate I knew took a break from Russia every so often. Even so, I had to recognize that my ability to escape Russia was itself a reflection of my privilege. This asymmetrical experience relates directly to what Johnson (2006) has described as the primary barrier to social change: ―that dominant groups . . . don’t see the trouble as their trouble, which means they don’t feel obliged to do something about it‖ (p. 127). In the film, the DeWolf family members invited consulting producer Juanita Brown, who is African-American, into their conversation about how to react to what they had seen in Ghana and Cuba. She responded: Given all that’s happened, am I not angry? Of course I’m angry at white people. I think that white people have been cowards and have chosen to give up their integrity and their humanity for so long. . . . If you grew up where I grew up, you’d be pissed off. Anybody who’s alive or who’s paying attention should be pissed off, and the fact that white people are not pissed off means that they are not paying attention. (Browne, 2008) Even when whites do make an effort to focus on race, asymmetry of experience may form a barrier to each group’s understanding of the other’s response. For example, I felt empathy for the DeWolfs’ shock at discovering the extent to which the slave trade had built the family’s reputation and wealth. Naomi, on the other hand, said that she didn’t understand the tears they shed—tears that I viewed as clear evidence of their shame and grief. Any attempt at reconciliation should anticipate and acknowledge the inequalities of experience, power, privilege, and perception always exist between dominant and nondominant groups. In some cases, it may be possible to try to level the playing field as the Truth Commission did by extending the same attentiveness to all. For example, a Xhosa intellectual, identified as Professor Kondlo, described how the commission created a supportive environment where women could move from their traditional role as bearers

110 of culture into the position of history-makers by telling their stories. The hearing rooms were ―safe for a political activist, safe for a woman and wife, official in its acknowledgement of her story as the truth and official in giving her the space to become a historian, a custodian of history despite her gender‖ (Kondlo, as cited in Krog, 1998, p. 55). Another unexpected insight came when Naomi expressed her bafflement at some aspects of African-American history, such as why so many slaves ran away to the North, rather than going West, or why there was never a slave revolt on the scale of Haiti’s. We agreed that there are many things about our respective cultures that we either do not know or do not comprehend. That deflates the whole concept of any one person being able to act as a representative for the entire culture, as Naomi had found herself put on the spot to do when she was the only black child in the classroom or one of the few American-Americans at a conference. The open-ended nature of my event highlighted a potential weakness of this oneto-one approach: It did not result in a clear action plan for addressing the issues we discussed. Naomi and I did agree, though, that we would both like to spend more such evenings together, and I could see doing it with other friends as well. The shared honesty felt cleansing. I sensed that we had achieved, at least in part, Augsburger’s (1992) reconciliation goals of releasing some of the pain of the past, generating mutual respect for our present situations, and opening ourselves to taking risks together in the future. Going forward, I am more confident about approaching issues where I feel alienated or sense the need for reconciliation, because I have learned from the South African experience that ―no problem anywhere can ever again be considered to be

111 intractable‖ (Tutu, 1999, p. 282). Not only can we call upon hope to buoy our efforts, but we can also rely on the principles embodied in the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Whether in casual conversation or in a scheduled event, we can delineate a symbolic safe space where truth can be spoken and heard, and we can practice active listening. We can anticipate the need for compromise. Finally, we can activate ubuntu in our lives by recognizing that we participate in both the suffering and the celebration of each person with whom we share this interconnected world.

112 References Amnesty International & Human Rights Watch. (2003, February). Truth and justice: Unfinished business in South Africa. Retrieved October 24, 2008, from Augsburger, D. W. (1992). Conflict mediation across cultures: Pathways and patterns. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press. Bearak, B. (2008, October 5). Post-apartheid South Africa enters anxious era. Retrieved October 25, 2008, from 06safrica.html Browne, K. (Producer/Writer/Director). (2008). Traces of the trade: A story from the deep North [DVD]. (Available from NeoFlix, 2385 Buena Vista Street, Irwindale, CA 91010) Community of reconciliation. (2008). Retrieved January 5, 2009, from Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. (1994). Retrieved October 24, 2008, from Expiate. (1989). Oxford English dictionary (2nd ed.) [Electronic version]. Retrieved October 11, 2008, from House resolution 194. (2008, July 29). Retrieved October 24, 2008, from Human Rights Watch. (2008, April 7). Universal periodic review of South Africa. Retrieved October 24, 2008, from global18513.htm Johnson, A. G. (2006). Privilege, power, and difference (2nd. ed.). New York: McGrawHill. Krog, A. (1998). Country of my skull: Guilt, sorrow, and the limits of forgiveness in the new South Africa. New York: Times Books. Leithead, A. (2003, April 15). Payout for apartheid victims. Retrieved October 24, 2008, from Minow, M. (1998). Between vengeance and forgiveness: Facing history after genocide and mass violence. Boston: Beacon Press. Promotion of national unity and reconciliation act. (1995, July 26). Retrieved October 24, 2008, from

113 Sebelebele, M. (2004, December 23). Govt calls on TRC victims to claim outstanding reparations. Retrieved October 24, 2008, from 04/04110213151003 Stairs, J. (2000). Listening for the soul: Pastoral care and spiritual direction. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. (2003, March 21). Report of the Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee: Chapter 2: Administrative report. Retrieved October 24, 2008, from 2_8.pdf Tutu, D. M. (1999). No future without forgiveness. New York: Image.

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