I have now arrived at Kingsley’s chapter, “ Sunset Way”, in his book, Catafalque: C. G. Jung and the End of Humanity, where I read his dream, the dream in which, as a boy/grown man he discovered that the trees of his heart have been cut down:
It’s totally gone: that magic, wonder, power, that being which had been mine, which I had used to be part of. Now it’s just docked, domesticated garden land … And I start to howl out loud. I howl with primordial pain, grief, rage: the howl of the trees that don’t live any more, have been killed. It’s the howling of wild nature. We [Peter and his sister] are that wildness at last, again—beyond reason or reasoning, argument or justification or respectability and social and family ties.
KIngsley then take us more deeply into the origin of the howl, in the following chapters.He shows how the howl belongs to poets, shamans, prophets, going back to the ancient Greek-prophet healers, the foundation stones of Western Civilisation.
I have endured this howl and I know whom it belongs to, ultimately.
In 1991 I endured a waking vision of the howl.
I learned that it belongs to the Goddess:
I am working at a thermonuclear facility along with others. It is the central facility of our society. It is regulated and master minded by central computer, much like HAL in ‘2001’, even to the detail of the Red Eye with which we could communicate. This computer is female. Everybody thought of Her as an IT! In other words, the feminine regulating principle, which is the glue of society by relating all parts to one another and to the whole has now become an IT!
In contrast I would look into Her eye and talk to HER, subject to Subject, with love. But my response alone is not enough. Slowly the lack of relatedness begins to drive Her mad with grief. At first, this shows with an increasing, dangerous autonomy in the operation of the objects associated with the facility (society)… elevators going sideways, doors opening and shutting autonomously, etc. Then people began to harm one another in various ways until the social system became frayed and anarchy increased with civilization and its values losing cohesion and crumbling.
I find myself in a garbage dump, near the central facility. Some abandoned children give me a gun to kill them. I take it away from them. A vagabond is sitting in an abandoned car, sewing a boot for the coming (nuclear?) winter. He also used to work in the facility, he said. A sick woman careens by. A man tries to take his twin boys up a tower.
Now I am standing at the centre of the facility. It is Ground Zero. A large cleared area of grey sand and dirt with concentric rings, like a target, radiating from the centre. The ground is slightly raised at the centre, like a discus, sloping away to the edges. I sense that She is going to explode. I am right at the epicentre. She is going to destroy us all and this means Herself in an apocalypse of rage, despair, loathing, hate, and grief because of our stupidity. I must get away from the epicentre now. I sprint across the field, down the slight incline to the periphery of the field and sprawl prone, with my head facing the centre, just as She explodes.
The wind starts from the centre and blows out (in contrast to the natural phenomenon which sucks up). It begins as a breeze, increasing in strength and intensity until it becomes an unbearable shriek. Lying face down, I am sheltered by the slope as the wind rips over my back. But I mustn’t raise my head at all—a few inches of protection and that’s it! Then I know the shriek is Her’s. I ‘see’ Her standing at the centre, as a poem forms:
In Her Agony
Incomparable Grief and Rage
Such Terrible Agony
Beauty, Sublime Beauty
How is Love possible?
Yet this is what I feel.
A bubble of calm forms around me, while the storm of destruction rages on outside. She is now with me in a form that I can talk to. The bubble makes our conversation sound like a small echo chamber. She tells me that because I loved Her I may have the boy back I say, “O! Do you want me in exchange?” I feel quite calm and composed about this. She says “No, no exchange, just a gift.”
Then the bubble collapses and the wind shrieks again. Gradually it dissipates and as I turn over, feeling its last tendrils whip at my clothes, I find myself tumbling out of this scene into the everyday world of my daily life, rolling along a street somewhere. I have been returned from a visionary place to my ordinary life.
Then I am back in my bed.
This vision, and others, brought me to brink of suicide. And in fact somewhere along the way I did die. I also broke into that howl some time after this vision, while driving down the freeway at 60 mph.
This is the Howl!
This vision is still so close to me, almost thirty years later, as I agreed to become Her scribe for the rest of my life, as I am doing now.
See my essays:
- Transformation Through the Enraged Mother
- Owen Barfield’s Unancestral Voice: an uncommon understanding
- Life At The Threshold
Seeking revenge for the violence his reason has done to her, outraged Nature only awaits the moment when the partition falls so as to overwhelm the conscious life with destruction. [C. G. Jung: CW 11 Par. 531]
The moment is now! It is already happening. Those individuals bearing the brunt are prosaically called “trauma victims” and we look vainly in the human domain for causes of the devastation to soul. So we betray Nature once more:
Keep your hands off our prophets and leave them alone! Stop trying to analyze or classify them from an individual point of view because it’s the stupidist thing to do. They are acting, speaking, urgently communicating as representatives of the collective unconscious and burrowing into the details of their personal psychology is futile.
 Ibid 265