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August 3, 2012

Healing the Sacred Divide


At the top of my 2012 gratitude list is Dr. Jean Raffa’s book “Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World.” I’ve been following and enjoying Jean’s blog “Matrignosis” for the past few years, so when she announced that her latest book had been published and was available, I decided to take a gamble and purchase it. Gamble? Ha! The book is a veritable treasure map, pointing the way to psychological, emotional, relational, and spiritual healing.  Jean shows us where we’ve been, where we are, and where we can be on the Path to Wholeness if we are willing to look within and challenge some of our cherished beliefs that have been blocking humanity’s journey for the past several thousand years. While this inner exploration may feel uncomfortable at times, never fear. Jean is a seasoned guide who uses her own and others experiences of Jungian psychology, mythology, dreams, imagination, and personal revelation as solid markers along the way to lead us to a place where spiritual probing, personal meaning, and relational unity are all healthy signs of consciousness evolution.
I’m also pleased that the book relates to my own pet project: synchronicity journaling. In the Prologue, Jean begins with a nightmare she had about the Lone Ranger when she was 10-years of age (You’ll have to read the book to find out what happened in the dream). The Lone Ranger is a metaphor that Jean returns to throughout the book. It heralded her tendency throughout much of her life to wall off her feelings and ‘go it alone’ emotionally, living out her fantasy of being the perpetual stoic Heroine. This tendency showed up early in her life after experiencing extended absences of her beloved father as well as the childhood wounding caused by her parent’s divorce, followed three months later by her father’s death. According to Jean, the Lone Ranger motif is discussed in all three of her books: The Bridge to Wholeness: A Feminine Alternative to the Hero Myth, Dream Theaters of the Soul: Empowering the Feminine Through Jungian Dream Work, and Healing the Sacred Divide.
The main motif of Healing the Sacred Divide, however, is the meaning of the symbol known as the mandorla. In Jean’s words a mandorla iswhere our power to set ourselves apart yields to a dawning awareness of what we share with ‘other’[… ]a holy place of healing where miracles occur.” The visual of this symbol is the almond shaped place where two circles meet as depicted on the cover of her book.  Jean writes that according to Jungian analyst and author Robert Johnson, “The mandorla binds together that which was torn apart and made un-whole—unholy.”  She adds, “The mandorla is creative synthesis, a symbol of partnership, conflict resolution, healing, and peace-making” and  “a radical middle path to God.”

With these pieces of information about the book - the significance and meanings of the symbols of Lone Ranger and the mandorla - you will soon see how they tie into the synchronicity I am about to relate.

I read all but the very last section of the book a few nights ago, and decided to savor the end for the next morning. That evening I chose, instead, some light entertainment (or so I thought) in the form of Netflix movie. I deliberately picked one that looked rather lighthearted titled Smoke Signals. According to a reviewer, “This was a funny, gentle movie (no cartoon violence or excessive language) that made me think, but not too hard!” Lord knows why I ever trust those reviews; they are almost never on the mark!
In fact, the movie is intense. It is about a couple of Indian kids on a reservation. The one, Thomas, loses his parents when he was an infant - in the very beginning of the film - to a house fire. The other, Victor, lives with a drunken, unavailable father who winds up leaving the family altogether when Victor is 12-years old.  I don’t want to tell too much about it in case you want to watch this fabulous film; suffice it to say that I cried many tears at the end (a bittersweet blend of happiness and sadness). But, here’s the clincher: I found out during the closing credits that the movie was based on a book titled “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven”! There is also a remark by one of the characters in the film about Victor acting out emotionally like the ‘Lone Ranger’ toward the end of the film as well.  I didn’t get the mandorla connection until the very last words were spoken, but when I did, it hit me over the head in some of the parting words, spoken by Thomas, who played the Trickster ‘other’ that helped to heal Victor’s emotional ‘Lone Ranger'

How do we forgive our fathers? Do we forgive our fathers for leaving us too often or forever when we were little? Do we forgive our fathers for marrying or not marrying our mothers? For divorcing or not divorcing our mothers?

Wow! That is what I call a meaningful coincidence! And another synchronicity within a synchronicity: my parents’ divorce and my father leaving our home when I was around 10-years old traumatized me as a kid, too. The combination of the book and film helped to heal part of that wounding.

How does the seemingly magical alchemy of synchronicity work? I don’t know, but I surely do feel blessed and grateful when it happens.

4 comments:

  1. What a beautiful review and a lovely bit of synchronicity to go with it! I have been looking forward to her book also, so I am so delighted to hear how much you enjoyed it. May the healing of your own wounding continue to bring you closer to wholeness.

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  2. Hello! I know you will love reading Healing the Sacred Divide.Thanks for the lovely comment and encouragement. Blessings, Jenna

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  3. Someone posted the ending of Smoke Signals on Facebook for Father's day; that's where I first heard that wonderfully healing poem to the fathers. I was surprised to see it here (another synchronicity?). Your own loss at 10 became your eventual gain in terms of seeking and finding connections that lead to healing. Lovely getting to know you through your writing and insights.

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  4. Hi Carole, The more I understand David Bohm's theory of the "Implicate/Explicate Order" of the universe, it makes perfect sense that synchronicities abound...we are all so interconnected as interwoven energy beings. By the way, sorry for the late response to your comment, I've been out of town for three weeks. And it's been great getting to know you through your writing and insights, too...

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