Dispatches from the Underworld

depth psychology Mar 03, 2021

Right now is a time of catastrophic loss. For myself, and I’m sure for many of you as well. Relationships, friendships, communities - nothing seems to escape the grasp of this otherworldly entity that is now sitting at our table, this wild god, pounding his dirt-encrusted fists, demanding offerings of meat and wine.

And if you’re fresh out of either, tears work just as well.

Reality, it seems, is less reliable than we thought. People who I thought would be in my life forever, simply gone. The heart-breaking medicine of this moment seems to all be pointing towards some collective grief which I, for one, was utterly unprepared for. 

The past few months I’ve been quiet. Often when life presents me with something unbearable, the only option, it seems, is to turn my attention, with lowered head, towards the earth and towards myself, and begin to listen. In this place it becomes nearly impossible to keep up with the rapid rate of sharing we now unquestioningly...

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#Thankyouplantmedicine: My Journey of Becoming a Psychedelic Integration Therapist

The title of this article is deceptive. Psychedelics and plant medicine did not only give me a career as a therapist. They gave me an entire life path, and utterly rearranged my worldview in ways that continue to deepen and infuse every aspect of my work and inner life.

Growing up in the affluent hills of Portland, Oregon, drugs were never far away. After embarking on a teenage cannabis odyssey at the age of 15, I quickly graduated to psilocybin mushrooms, which, as most readers will know, grow plentifully in the Pacific Northwest.

Finding them was never the hard part. The hard part, I would learn, was ensuring that the experience was energetically contained, safe, and grounded in some form of ritualistic container - set and setting - fundamental concepts that my adolescent brain regrettably did not yet fully grasp.

I recall one pivotal mushroom journey that I embarked on with a group of friends at the tender age of 16. Having had one or two fantastic experiences previously, I was...

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Why Knowing Your Shadow is the Key to Self Growth

depth psychology Dec 01, 2020

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” -C.G. Jung 

Let’s get this out of the way first: Everyone is struggling with something. Nobody is perfect. And, the brighter the light (the ego,) the darker the shadow.

“Shadow” is a term frequently thrown around without much explanation for what it actually is. Before doing “shadow work,” it is vitally important to know what you’re getting into.

It’s going to be uncomfortable. It’s also going to be worth it. 

So here’s the rub: There is no self work without shadow work. It’s a dark, weird, and scary place, but it is the cave we all must enter to discover the treasure we all so desperately seek. “No pain, no gain” is the mantra here. Did I mention that its worth it?

The Shadow is Not a Thing, But a Place.

“The person we choose to be … automatically creates...

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5 Things You Need to Know About Archetypes

depth psychology Dec 01, 2020

The word “archetype” is hard to define, and therefore very easy to misunderstand. There is no authority over these things, no ownership. Archetypes are one of the few things in this world that are still wild — feral remnants from our ancient past that have molted and shape-shifted their way into our highly domesticated culture.

Beyond deepening your understanding of what archetypes are, I hope you come away with some new perspectives on some very old ideas.

1) Archetypes are Timeless

Once upon a time, our ancestors looked upon the glimmering tapestry of nature and felt that the world was speaking to them.

A hidden pattern amidst stars. The ominous outline of a distant mountain. The snake-like course of a river weaving its way through verdant jungle. The life-giving, yet deadly expanse of the sea. These all became gods and mythological beings full of personality and meaning.

No matter your genetic heritage, this is an anthropological fact.

For animistic cultures...

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What is Initiation?

“There may be no time more suited to the study of rites of passage than the threshold between the end of modernity and the uncertain future of humanity.”

-Michael Meade 

Something is profoundly amiss in the masculine psyche today.

Storyteller Michael Meade, one of the founders of what is now called the “mythopoetic men’s movement,” has worked in the realm of masculinity and depth psychology for over 30 years.

In his book The Water of Life: The Wounding and Healing of Men, Meade writes, “Men are particularly dangerous when they reach maturity without initiatory experiences that crack the ego and open the heart and mind.”

One can easily see this dangerousness playing out in schools, shopping malls, and religious sites around the world. Meade explained, “The lack of meaningful rites of passage leaves many men deeply unsure of who they are in essence and what their inner life might be.” 

Initiation is Ancient

Comparative...

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