One of the most crucial things we can do to further and deepen consciousness is to experience the world from different points on the circle of life. The whirling vortex of the maelstrom of soul requires that, if we are interested in inner development, we be willing to be spun in every direction until we reach the bottom. That is where transformation lies. Poe believed the bottom of his maelstrom was death.
I began to reflect how magnificent a thing it was to die in such a manner, and how foolish it was in me to think of so paltry a consideration as my own individual life, in view of so wonderful a manifestation of God’s power (A Descent Into the Maelstrom, by Edgar Allan Poe).
Death is the classic, archetypal symbol of transformation. We must be willing to die to our egos, to take on different viewpoints, according to the requirements of life. Remember, we are not simply ego personalities. There are many persons living within us. If we are willing to leap into the vortex of life, to spin faster and faster as we descend, we will draw closer to those inner selves. In them, we will find our true selves.
For me, this election year has been a harrowing ride in the maelstrom of soul. I began the year as a Bernie Sanders supporter. I have always been quite progressive. I liked his ideas. They concerned issues I had thought about for years. As the Spring wore on toward Summer, I began to realize that Sanders was just being used as a pawn in Clinton’s diabolical political strategy, just a candidate to play counterpoint to her, as she connived and lied her way to the Democratic nomination. From the Wikileaks, it was very evident how crooked the whole campaign had been. Sanders apparently made a deal with the Democrats to campaign against Hillary, drawing a contrast between a progressive agenda, and a more right-to-moderate strategy. She thought this would win her the presidency. Sanders apparently promised not to comment on her scandals, such as the email controversy, and the Clinton Foundation mess. He didn’t even complain when she stole the California primary from him. He was playing his part. And, of course, he wholeheartedly endorsed her after that.
Enter Donald Trump. Of course, Trump had been winning all over the country before I really took notice. After Bernie’s endorsement fiasco, I began listening to what Trump had to say, and I found that I liked it – a lot! All I had heard up to that point was what the mainstream media had to say about him. That was mostly lies. But as I listened to speech after speech, I found that he was concerned for working class people, of which I am rooted in. My father was a GM union man. Our city became just another casualty of Neoliberalism and joined the Rust Belt in the 1980’s. I liked what Trump had to say about destroying the Neoliberal agenda, TPP, and renegotiating NAFTA. Granted, there are issues I still disagree with, but, for the most part, I believe Donald Trump will put us back on the right track.
I allowed myself to begin thinking like a conservative, something I had despised for decades. I leaped into the maelstrom, took the contrasting view, and lived with it all these months. It has changed me. I still see the need for some progressive values, but I am also now adapted to the conservative point of view. I feel that I am more balanced now, more deepened. I can see needs where I once saw opposition and anger. I believe I have grown as a human being because of this election cycle. I have contacted persons within me I had no prior knowledge of. This is a very good thing for the psyche.
I highly recommend looking at issues from both sides of the fence. It is medicine for the soul, in my opinion. I believe my teachers, Jung and Hillman would wholeheartedly agree.
I have also been thinking about this experience from a collective point of view. I have written much about the World Soul. What is her place in this tumultuous year? She is maturing too. The level of corruption we’ve seen from the current political establishment in Washington may be unprecedented in our history. Or it may be that we have just now discovered how deep it all goes. Nevertheless, the collective Soul uses all experiences, both good and evil, to continue moving toward individuation. Now, this will never translate to Utopia, however hard we try to force it. It will, however, mean freedom and liberty for future humans (at least I pray it does). Our age is just another chapter in the long story of the Anima Mundi’s apotheosis.