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Post 2 in a series related to Edwin Steinbrecher’s book “The Inner Guide Meditation.”

ES began this road in 1969. He was using ‘Active Imagination’ with a Jungian psychologist and then on his own. The psych “…emphasized the dangers of the AI process…” to him. (No expectations there! Although in fairness, some of this is powerful and the result can be ass-kicking at times.) ES was an astrologer so he was working with astrology and tarot archetypes on his own. He writes:

I had also at the time just finished reading Wilhem’s translation of {Jung’s} … The Secret of the Golden Flower, in which the secret seemed to be to “circulate the light backwards”, or, as I interpreted it, to force the mental energy back along the same channels or nerve pathways that the projection energy flowed out on.

I attempted to do this in my imagination by inventing a staircase that would take me within to those archetypal images I was seeking. And it worked! I reached a room at the bottom of my stairway, thought of the High Priestess, and she was there, a living presence in that inner world, different from the picture on the tarot card, but without a doubt the High Priestess as a reality within me. And the experience seemed to be happening there, in some other dimension or reality, totally unconnected with the here of the normally experienced outer world.

I was delighted with my new toy. It had a reality and freshness I hadn’t experienced since childhood, and there was no doubt about the experiential “realness” of it. I was with the Sun, and my body became warm and relaxed. The Magician taught me things I had never heard in my outer reality. The presence of the Fool would cause a ‘pins and needles’ sensation in my limbs.

But then I had an experience that acutely demonstrated the analyst’s warnings about the dangers of active imagination as it is practiced in analytical psychology. I was inside the room where I came into contact with the archetypal forms when an image of Old Pan or Devil appeared, unsummoned and unwanted. It was a classic Christian devil with an emanation of “evil” as real as the beneficence I had felt when interacting with the archetype of the Sun.

He goes on to describe an experience so overwhelmed with fear that he was literally paralyzed and it took quite awhile and a feat of Will to break out of. He decided he would never again do such a process without an analyst with him. He continues:

A few months passed. Fear weakened with this passage of time, and curiosity increased. There had to be some safe way to go back “down there” without having to be dependent on an analyst’s presence. It was so like a foreign country whose laws and customs I did not know. This analogy triggered the thought that perhaps “guides” existed there as they do in other foreign countries, their roles being created in response to traveler’s needs. Throughout the myths, poetry, fairy tales and spiritual literature of the world, guides in some form have been spoken of or referred to […] Perhaps if I attempted the descent once more…

He looked for and found a ‘guide’ who seemed loving and wise. He asked the guide if he’d help:

He stated simply that he had always tried to guide and protect me and always would if I requested and allowed him to do so. And so began the inner adventure and the beginnings of true choice and freedom in my life.

This coming up with the idea of a guide was really quite brilliant. Although in my view, it was one probability; it didn’t have to arrive that way, of course. I think someone else might have come up with that idea as a logical follow-on to the inner work.

What I mean is, ES was thinking of the archetypal “realm” as so literal, in terms of, “existing archetypes like tarot or astrology were there.” As if they’d been living there, and he’d stumbled on their housing tract. He wasn’t (or doesn’t say he was) looking at it with the much larger mental-model of this being an area where he could “create” ANY thoughtform “as an archetype” and work with it. If he had been, he might have thought of “creating a guide” in the same way you can create anything else.

That is apparently not how it happened, but I think this demonstrates a little bit of the difference in mental model to start with; he perceived his “guide” as being “there” as pre-existing-ly as the other “official archetypes” of tarot and astrology were. Not like he had the ability to ‘allow into focus’ any energies he wanted there; more like it was a secret inner garden where those just happened to be lurking. And what do you know, a guide was lurking there too.

He was a creative guy, that Edwin, “management at heart” as I put it:

Perhaps one could resolve the energy conflicts described in the horoscope by arbitrating the “quarrels” (astrological ‘hard angles’ and polarization) between the archetypal energies in the inner world, by allowing antagonistic energy systems to begin touching each other and restructuring their relationships and energy flows.

This is when he stumbled more powerfully into what I call the semi-autonomous and seemingly fully autonomous nature of the archetypes in deep-state. I might add that this is greatly, and I mean hugely, affected by the state of mind in which you do these meditations. If you get yourself in a solid Focus 12 as TMI would call it, or even deeper into more theta, especially if you can consciously hold a lot of Delta, archetype work is both easier and far more powerful.

I think the reason is because the ‘dreaming’ part of your mind is much freer, making the experience much more independent, and your conscious resistance much less developed. So sometimes the intensity of experience is less about the archetype than about the state of mind, in my opinion. Even high alpha state (very alert, just closed eyes) work that you don’t “feel” much with can be surprisingly effective–I don’t worry much about this–but the deeper your brainwave state, the more powerful it feels and often the more radical the reality-change in terms of degree, scope, and speed.

When I was learning to do archetype meditations, my teacher was a woman who ran small classes in her living room on a variety of things. Hands-on energy work and archetype meditation were the primary focii. She had this ability to project a brainwave state, or energy, like nobody else I have ever to this day met. When I first started working with her, despite years of intense self-hypnosis and very-deep-trance work, she knocked me unconscious every time. The other few (long-term) students would step over my snoring body as they left. I learned to adapt, and as my chakras and my own meditation and energy work developed (radically), I began to be a lot more ‘aware’ of what she was doing energetically.

It was her ability to do a great job of putting locals in a state of mind for doing this, that made a great deal of my early experiences possible. I was very skeptical, very left-brained (so to speak), very judgemental, and this stuff was very difficult for me to allow, let alone to validate. But in addition to “state of mind” having a huge effect, awareness of energy does too, so the constant chakra and energy-work that I was doing outside of these, also contributed.

The thing I consider the BEST experience in archetype work is “surprise”. The more surprising, and the more extensive the experience of surprise, the better a meditation I consider it, and the more seriously I take it. I guess I validate it more because it is obvious to me that at least consciously I am definitely not just inventing it all. I have no proof of this but I suspect that the more surprise involved, the more powerful the result, at least sometimes. Surprise seems to be more common in altered-state work.

It makes you realize, the hard way sometimes, that you are not nearly as in control of it all as initially suspected. To me this part was where it really started frying my brain — forcing serious revision of my mental models about myself and reality. ES wrote:

My imagination took on a life of its own. Conflicting archetypal forms would not be pushed into agreement or easy reconciliations. Where I had supposed, “I’m making most of this up,” I soon found experiences full of surprises. It became dramatically clear to me that these were living entities I was dealing with [. . .] they seemed to be separate, sometimes alien, entities totally unlike any familiar aspect of myself. They had their own likes and dislikes, interests and aversions, moods and temperaments. Their behaviors, as I observed and interacted with them, were often completely unpredictable. Occasionally they were hostile to me. Sometimes they totally ignored my presence, and only with the greatest effort could I attract their attention and get them to communicate with me.

I had forgotten this part until now! :

To get behavior change or cooperation from them, Iusually had to agree to make changes in my outer world, modify my behavior or agree on new actions.

Bargaining with the archetypes. “What do you want from me?” Not just in ‘energy trade’ but in actions.

Nowadays I feel differently about this. I still consider it valid, but I consider it just an option; I wouldn’t pull it out but for drastic need. To me, now, it reminds me of when I was a kid, praying to God to save me from some impending doom in my tiny little life, promising him that I swear I will not say ‘shit’ or ‘damn’ ever again if only he’d keep me from getting caught for something.

I don’t think this kind of negotiation is necessary. I think energetic relationships can be dealt with via energetic means, without me having to promise certain behavior which I’m usually unlikely to follow through on anyway since if I wanted to behave that way I already would be.

Also, I recall when doing this that my expectations seemed to affect the answers I got, e.g. they all seemed to request some ‘healthier or more-spiritual’ behavior that I expected something ‘spiritual’ to want from me. This made my left-brain doubt this part of the process. If they were to volunteer it when I was in a deep rapport, if it was surprising, I would take it seriously. Otherwise I started to consider it a sort of religious ‘modeling’ I was imposing on the process.

To me, regularly creating some new behavior I am supposed to follow, only creates yet-more guilt about how imperfect I am in my daily life. I have enough of that crappy guilt about the food I eat, the exercise I don’t do, the cleaning and home/land improvement I don’t do enough of already, without adding a dozen requirements imposed on me from internal identities.

I’m willing to take seriously requests The Four and The Consortium might have, but not every archetype. And the 4 and C had better just ask, as I’m unlikely to be volunteering.

And so ES began to realize the “reality-changing power” that this work has, as everyone who does it seriously for awhile does:

I began to notice a new phenomena occuring in my outer world. Those people in my life whom my ego regarded as negative or destructive began to change for the better or go out of my life. It seemed that everyone around me was suddenly beginning to “get it together” as I continued to do the inner work. Problems that had been with me since childhood began to drop away. There was usually no high drama in this; I would just notice one day that a life-long problem had not occurred for a long time, and as more time passed, there was no more recurrence of it. It had quietly disappeared.

As one of the most powerful, long-term relationship examples in my own life: My father, who had been a good deal of jerk to me (when not just abandoning me to the psychotic women he married) from my age 10 (when I had a significant internal energy change) until age 26 (when I began doing this work), was a topic I chose to work on. I worked literally day and night on meditations concerning him for weeks.

The result was so drastic, on both him and his wife no less, that friends of theirs spontaneously commented to me on their changes, and I am not kidding when I say that the next half dozen times I met with either or both of them, I literally thought “they were putting me on” — that they were pretending or being sarcastic in some kind of fake niceness, and I watched them warily, as if they were kidding, and any minute their REAL intent would become clear.

They weren’t kidding. But their behavior was so radically different, so positive, so proactively kind — when it had been so hostile and reluctantly, resentfully evasive before, that I had an honestly difficult time wrapping my brain around it. That is a very key role and a very long time of someone’s consistent behavior, to have change THAT much, THAT fast.

As one of the ‘combined life-dramas’ for example, at this time I was in a period where I had no vehicle, only a part-time job, and no place to live. I was living with my teacher and doing this work in a really major way. It was my spiritual equivalent of the Beatles in Germany hahaha. Before long I had a luxury car (‘company car’), a good job (best pay ever and great position), and the nicest, large apartment I’d ever had.

I got so used to the shocking way things would manifest in my life that I made a list on my wall of the things that I wanted, that I EXPECTED that reality would “give” me if I merely had a positive intent, expectation, and relaxed, let it go and ‘allowed’ it. Now I should mention that a bit before this I’d had a kundalini experience, blown my crown chakra apparently, and so a lot of this manifestation was likely related to that (it’s one of the predictable side-effects of that). But a lot was due to the archetype work also, and maybe those two were not unrelated.

Here’s another much more detailed example, the kind of thing that is “real world daily life” of a specific problem person and situation. I had this coworker, an attorney and the company VP, who was such a coworker-from-hell that it’s the kind of thing black comedy would be written about. He was seemingly the staunch cornerstone of the company, aside from the CEO who was the salesman, chairman and inventor of the (specialized) technology.

I worked for the CEO, but he wanted to believe I worked for him. I managed all the small company that wasn’t engineering or legal, but to him as a woman I was a secretary to the bone, and his no less. He’d been diapered all the way through law school by family money alone, and it showed. He was incapable of keeping track of the majority of his job, this had gone on for years and snowballed into the present, and my role as hired was greatly as CEO’s troubleshooter for everything that wasn’t engineering–the CEO had begun to realize a lot of stuff was really a mess–so my projects were constantly putting me in the VP’s realm. Like anybody of this type, he was paranoid and self-protective, and evasive, rather than helpful.

At one point, I pointed that out that he had no filing system for finding anything, and he plead his misery of not having a secretary (as apparently being organized requires a woman) (the men I work with today would dump this guy out a window into the garden as compost! it’s shocking how much MEN have changed–improved–in the business world, as a result of the improvement in women’s role in that world, I have noticed. Ability to type, file, and function with computers is a huge part of that I think).

I spent several days taking off my normal work just to make him an extensive filing system and get the past filed into it, in a tall lateral cabinet right behind his desk, so as I showed him, he could literally swivel his chair and roll two feet and find or return anything. This was not because it was my job (at all). It was because he was a moron and it was complicating MY life frankly, so it was worth my time to help him.

I come back to his office a couple days later and stare in disbelief. There’s like 150 file folders, contents everywhere, all over the floor. It looked like a three year old had been there. He’s rolling over them in his chair, which is a given because the filing cabinet is so CLOSE to his chair that there isn’t room for those all over the floor. As I stared at it in soundless astonishment, he says with a dismissive shrug, “Oh, file those.”

As if I existed but for no reason but to sweep up behind his sloppy incompetence. As if all my efforts were merely the setup for servitude, and worse, in something that wasn’t just unnecessary but actually unprofessionally abusive. He looked at me again, apparently taking in that my look of disbelief had turned to profound insult, and he says (I am not making this up. He thought he was being nice! He had some religious beliefs related to this): “Really, you should not see this work as any kind of insult. As a woman, it should be an honor to serve.”

This is one of the few times I’ve been rendered utterly speechless in my life. I considered beating him up on the spot–oh, the temptation! he was a wimp and I knew I could do it–then turned on my heel and left and refused to go anywhere near his office again the rest of the day.

I talked with my teacher about it that night. I was shaking with repressed rage. I could not envision any possible way this could improve. The man was the VP and attorney. The corp didn’t have a lot of money, not enough to outsource the latter job. He had been there eight years. Worse, he had spent much of that undermining the CEO’s credibility with the investors while selling them on how it was ok because “he” was the “rational” one. He would never leave. Never.

He had made such a disaster of both finance and stock and bonds that not only were we in trouble in two countries and three states with several kinds of authorities including tax, but we were missing half the records needed, and I’d just discovered that for ‘financial statements’ he had–seriously now–just totally made up the numbers he wanted to be there. They had no relationship to reality at all. I had not yet presented any of this to the CEO but I knew that even if I did, (a) he could not act against the guy without killing his company as the investors kept it alive, and (b) his primary response to me would be, “Fix it for me!”

But the VP had wrangled all this around, in his self-protective guile, in a way that would send my CEO to white collar prison if it all came out–not him. The CEO was a self-made man, a brilliant inventor and a master salesman, but not a businessman; he hired other people to handle that because he had serious ADD and just couldn’t function well in that realm. At this point the VP was indirectly using a lot of the problems he himself created and maintained as leverage against the CEO, both for personal resentments and to keep himself employed in a way that gave him title and money but required no actual effort (well it did, but he didn’t make any). He knew he was incompetent and passive-aggressive of course, so for years he’d been deviously self-protective as well.

My teacher felt that the archmeds would help in some way, at least a little. She talked me into taking it seriously and focusing totally on various aspects of this problem. We worked on meditations related to this that night, and Saturday, and Sunday.

Monday morning when I went into the office, my boss (the CEO) had gotten there early. He’d brought in some guy from a temp agency to help him physically. They had already moved the VP’s office completely out and filled it with engineering equipment. I mean his DESK was gone, his computer — there was no place for him to even sit. Apparently over the weekend the CEO, talking with the lead investor, about something unrelated, had some kind of epiphany, had some kind of last-straw experience, and damn the consequences, he up and fired the guy! Holy shit!

As an example of personality, the man actually showed up anyway, ignoring that he had been fired (!) in his arrogant nonchalance that he had control and the CEO “wouldn’t dare.” There was no place for him to sit. Sorry, your computer is gone and the desk is underneath a machine in the warehouse. He was livid and he stomped off in a tirade of huffy threats.

And that was that. I mean literally. It was a seemingly impossible situation but 2.5 days of about a dozen deeply altered-state archetype meditations and he was just GONE from my life entirely.

That is how much of archetype results work, when you are addressing specific things: either a situation or person would improve greatly in their relationship to me, or they would “fall out” of my life with a shocking speed.

(I should be doing them much more ‘in combination’ like I did then, and much more altered state, if I really want to fix some life issues. I’ve been thinking about that lately.)

Of course I spent the next two years, crying with my head in my hands in worry and despair, working till 2am, working weekends, paying a nearby CPA cash and lunches for “talk advice”, trying to keep my boss out of prison for crap that I knew he didn’t even know about at the time and couldn’t solve himself. He had so much stress just trying to keep us alive in an investor-dependent company already. (He’d had this R&D tech corp that a huge NZ financier bought. Then Black Tuesday hit and they dumped it, resulting in NO tech ready for anything, and 10 million (!!) in debt. That he kept it alive at all is a miracle.)

I spent much of that time negotiating with the IRS, with all kinds of official entities, trying to recreate history, fix problems, bring stock and bonds for hundreds of entities into some semblance of reality and organization — I knew nothing of finance, or stock, or bonds, or several kinds of business taxes, but I learned fast the hard way — and then getting to the point where we could do an official audit prior to acquiring an engineering manufacturer and rolling into a clean shell for an IPO. Which was partly also a result of developing a relationship with the investors who finally felt, despite my lack of being an attorney (I was a corporate officer at that point but so what), that someone was finally ‘taking care of things’ in a way they felt good about.

So I’ve wondered if maybe as part of this meditation, it wasn’t merely about me and that guy, but on some level, perhaps my energy was working out a future, and a promise, with the CEO that he could depend on me to ‘fix it’ for him, that he could lean on me and letting go of the VP would be ok and not a disaster for him or his company.

Maybe there were “commitments” on my part that I didn’t even know about, is what I’m saying. And those ‘trades’ might have been the energy that made significant change with my boss and the investors, that could not have happened without that.

So what I’m also saying is that while we are “dealing with” problem-energy-X, we may also be making substantial changes in our future on other levels, with other people, in other areas, that we are not aware of at that time. I say that I am not promising an archetype that I will say, drink more water; but maybe on some unconscious level I am promising an archetype that I will make the decision to do a certain thing. And in my conscious life I may think that decision is free conscious will… but maybe it’s really not.