Of Dogs, Gambling, Aikido, and Energy Healing


Cesar copyBecause my wife and I are training a two-year old Ausiedoodle and are preparing to do so with a puppy Lhasa Apso, we have been watching many videos by Cesar Millan, the “Dog Whisperer.” Most of what he has to say and demonstrate is weirdly familiar to me from my years in Aikido, the paradoxical pacifist martial art, which relies on an energy called ki rather than on muscle. I say “weirdly familiar” because, except for the words “energy” and “leading” Milan has a different vocabulary from the martial art. The difference is enough so that I would be surprised if he were an Aikidoist. And yet…

Take for instance posture. He insists on pet owners adopting a relaxed, centered, balanced posture (whether walking or sitting) that is taught by Ki-Aikido, where the basic principles are relax completely, concentrate on the body’s center of gravity, imagine the body’s energy flowing out infinitely, and let the weight of the body settle naturally downward. Of these principles, Millan only mentions relaxation and he leaves out the “completely” but his posture in leading dogs is identical to what Aikidoists use in leading attackers . Consequently, when  owners bend, strain, or reach in ways that weaken that posture, Millan corrects them as an Aikido teacher does with similar mistakes .

Much else is familiar. His gentle ways of deflecting and distracting the dogs are extremely similar to tricks I learned in Aikido for leading attackers. Furthermore, one of Millan’s basic principles is for owners to “claim their space” by directing their energy to such claiming. When in the 1970s I began Aikido, one of the first things my instructor told me was to own my space, i.e., not pull one’s energy in but let it expand infinitely, which also is natural to relaxation. (Nervous people pull their energy in.) An aid to energy flow is massage, which we learned in Ki-Aikido and Millan teaches to relax the dogs and instill positive reinforcement.

I could note other similarities between the two, but my point is that all disciplines for drawing on the power of the Unconscious have much in common. They begin with focus on relaxation to override the Conscious mind’s tendency to strain and/or make the body rigid in a struggle for control. In contrast, the Unconscious leads by joining confidently and calmly with what is to be led whether it is an animal (as in pet training) or a part of your own body (as in bio-feedback) or a part of someone else’s body (as in energy healing) or an attacking human (as in Aikido).

At the Driftwood Library that has sales every Monday, I ran across a psychology professor’s book about his taking his grad students to Las Vegas to experiment with any effect one’s state of mind might have on gambling (Joe Gallenberger’s Inner Vegas). He alleges that the optimum state for that is the same relaxed, confident one he employs for energy healing and bending spoons. Admittedly, the Conscious mind is likely to be offended or amused by the suggestion that spoon bending, energy healing, luck at gambling, etc. might not be a fraud or delusion. If everything is integrally connected so that one’s mind can have effect beyond one’s body, then the boundaries that Consciousness tries to maintain are not very firm.


“Resistance is Futile.”

Leda copy

"Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?"

That is the end of William Yeats' poem "Lyda and 
the Swan." The poem explores the Greek myth that 
Zeus, king of the gods, took the form of a giant
swan in order to seduce or rape the beautiful 
princess Lyda. That myth is but one of the many
old stories about supernatural beings mating with
mortals, stories to which I alluded in my 
previous post. They are, among other things,
stories about feeling raped by life. 
The occultist, Yeats, however, sees
the myth as not only about Reality penetrating 
one but about that penetration as a source of 
omnipotence and omniscience. 

That is not a usual reaction. As I explained in 
my previous post, the prevalent response to 
connecting to what is not like us is to resist
that joining, sometimes violently. Unwillingness
to connect amicably leads ironically to a kind of 
connection after all: penetration by sword or
bullet substituting for penetrations of an x-
rated sort. 

One may lead to the other. Consider, Genghis
Khan's conquests. Allegedly, he planned to kill
non-Mongols and turn their cities to prairies 
where his horses could graze. He would thus
resist invasion of Mongolia by Chinese culture 
by destroying that culture. His conquests, 
however, brought such increased contact between 
Mongol and Chinese that the Mongols could not 
maintain their separation, except by staying 
drunk most of the time. Even then it was on 
Chinese wine with Chinese women in bed next to 
the Mongol warriors. 

In my previous post, I asked for feedback from 
readers and the first came from my wife, who
suggested that I write about war with the above
title: "Resistance is Futile." So I thought about
Yeats' poem, about the Trojan War that came as a
many-year-long, disastrous attempt to restore
the order that Leda's mating had shaken: the
bad marriage of Leda's immortal daughter Helen to
a possessive king, whom she was brave enough to 
leave because, unlike any other Greek woman of 
her time, she was immortal and recognized her own

Protecting such status quos as that bad marriage, 
Greek mythology preaches the need to keep the gods
at a safe
distance. Greek civilization--a step forward in
advancing human reason--required a distancing
from tribal superstitions. The Greek ego was
pushing itself up from a less conscious state. 
The Homeric poet--whoever he or she may have 
been--thus blames the war on the gods, thereby
warning us to stay clear of close contact with 
the divine.

There is a grain of truth in that warning
since the unconscious personified
as devil, fairy, god, or alien is
shaped by interconnection with much more of the
universe than the conscious--a much more that
thereby effects us. Consequently, the conscious 
mind fights to push the rest out for fear
of losing control. 

So we make up stories to reassure us that 
resistance is not futile. The federation will 
win out against the Borg. But what in our world 
is the Borg threat--
the threat of becoming intermingled with the not 

It is the paraplegic able to walk with mechanical
legs or the deaf hearing with cochlear implants: 
healings, becoming whole, a more integrated 
participant in the environment.

When my wife and I were on vacation a few years
ago, we saw an otherwise traditional, 
Pennsylvania Dutch man with a hearing aide. 
Why not? We do not necessarily lose the past 
by embracing what comes.

Like Yeats himself, though, his poem is 
ambivalent. To Leda, Zeus' love, he is 
"indifferent," a word that raises the possibility
he acts selfishly and carelessly. 

On the one hand, Yeats is saying: Life is painful;
How can God (i.e., Zeus) be kind? However, 
"indifferent" also means not different--so Leda,
the poem's representative human, and God may have 
become one through more than their physical union. 
Thus Yeats asks if Leda has shared His 
omnipotence and omniscience. 

There is risk in any joining but also 
promise and in the long run--the run of centuries--
--resistance probably is not only futile, but 

Even in the short run we can hurt ourselves
by trying to keep the "good old days." And those
probably never were as good as our idealized 
memories make them sound--though Yeats himself 
always remained caught between a paralyzing 
nostalgia (including his predilection for Greek 
myth)and the courage to welcome a dangerous

troy copy

Updating Clare Graves, C. G. Jung, Cave Paintings, Shamanism, Saints, Fairies, Kundalini, and Alien Abductions


I have decided to add a tentative conclusion to this blog’s central post: its explanation of Graves’ and Jung’s system. Back before I retired from university, my students often asked questions that amounted to the query: if this is true, what is the big picture it offers. Here is an attempt at that:


Tentative Conclusions

If I understand correctly from anecdotes about Graves I have heard, his assumption was that the driving force behind people’s moving to higher levels of complexity was just the failure of the lower ones. When a problem was insoluble at one’s present level, one either went to simpler levels (usually at least as useless against it) or one changed to a higher level, which offered more resources for a solution.


In contrast, Jung saw the process as more mysterious and explicable (if at all) only in the language of myth and metaphor. In his spirit, I am about to launch into a myth or metaphor–or should I call it a meta-myth or meta-metaphor, because it seems to lie behind many actual myths or metaphors.


Once upon a time–back in what the original Australians  called the Dream Time–the universe came into existence, moving into perhaps infinite diversity, but still held together by forces of interconnection. Science gives such terms as gravity to the interconnection, but in the language of myth and metaphor, all is presumed to be sentient and so the interconnection receives such titles as Love, God, Truth, etc.

Here’s where the drama arises. Diversity and interconnection conflict. In order to foster the former, one tries to ignore or resist  the interconnection which is constantly remaking one to fit the whole. In other words, it can be accepted as love making but is more likely to be resisted as rape.

For most people this conflict remains largely unconscious, but some sensitive souls–we are talking myth so I can use the word “souls”–feel it in varying degrees and more some days than others. Presume that, like most energies, both the interconnection and the resistance come in waves. And the tension thereby produced has a major effect on people’s bodies as well (or worse) an affect on their emotions. In this myth, it is the cause of all disease, war, terrorism, etc. In particular, conservatives are terrified, horrified, disgusted by the threat of being connected to despised others and consequently fight to prevent this.

As we have been seeing from the various stages or levels of complexity, everything is perceived differently at one level than another. So also with this conflict.

Level 1: Being pre-linguistic, this level cannot articulate its internal conflict, but nonetheless probably feels it. We may thus wonder to what extent a dry, well-fed, otherwise physically sound baby’s crying reflects its emotional or even psychic attunement to its environment, certainly to quarrels in the family. But what beyond that in the wider world or universe?

Level 2: Here we find the planet-wide patterns of shamanism. The most common is that the internal call to be a shaman is at first resisted, leading to an almost fatal illness. Recovery requires accepting the interconnection and using it for clairvoyance and healings.

Level 3: Here the fledgling ego particularly resents interconnection, seeing it as possession or abduction. The spirits drive one mad. Zeus takes little Ganymede away to molest him. Comparably, the fairies abduct mortals, often for comparable purposes in the adult versions of the stories.

Level 4: Since Level 4 tends to codify what it inherits from lower levels, it perpetuates fears of demonic possession and turns to exorcisms based on holy texts. But since, like Level 2, Level 4 is an even and thus social Level, some mystics undergo the pains of self-transformation comparable to shamans and become “saints.”

Level 5: As Graham Hancock argues in his book Supernatural, an estimated 2% of the population believe they have had experiences of being abducted and subjected to change, often taking a sexual form, even to the production of hybrid offspring. Hancock points out similarities between reports of these beliefs and those of rustics about being abducted, painfully changed, and used for reproduction by fairies. He finds comparable stories in tribal societies, particularly in connection to shamanic initiation and he interprets cave paintings as records of such shamanic initiations. Alien abduction thus stands as the Level 5 metaphor–its way of ascribing the transforming process of interconnection to extraterrestrials–the primary metaphor of science fiction: L5s mythology.

L6: Here people begin to be more conscious and accepting of interconnection. If they talk of aliens, these are of the E.T. sort. People form support groups and share their metaphors, drawing also on the myths and metaphors of other cultures. They now can ask, is my Kundalini arising? Is that Divine Serpent creeping up my spine, linking me to Universal Creativity, Intelligence and Love? Are my pains at this just my resistance to a process that may not be all bad?

L7 and Beyond: That is what I have been trying to trace in the above–the very large picture, just large enough to exceed easy articulation and always needing more data. If you have contributions to figuring this out, please send them to jswhitlark@gmail.com.








Dowsing for Publication



Back in 2001 when I was in the United Kingdom taking a course to be an NLP Trainer, I was writing the novel Dowsing for Intelligence. a comic story about psychology and terrorism. Unfortunately, very soon after we returned from England, the 911 attack rendered terrorism very far from humorous, so I shelved the book. Now that I am retired, I’ve updated it. Both because of changes in technology and politics, we are hardly the same people we were 14 years ago. I am offering it on Amazon Kindle, perhaps the easiest way to publish. I describe it there in the following manner:


This comic fantasy is about the bits of the nineteenth century that are still with us, a kind of reverse steampunk. One of the chief characters is a gypsy dachshund, named Django, who trots the globe with an unemployed scholar of Victoriana. Traveling through Roma mentalism to New Age and beyond, they seek a dowsing weaver/healer and flee fashion terrorists. Humming in the background is a mass-murder mystery running from Jack the Ripper through the holocaust toward the apocalyptic terror that might come. Imagine The Da Vinci Code’s Robert Langdon using The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to track down “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

“The Luminous Fish Effect”



A 2007 episode of The Big Bang Theory ends with Sheldon demonstrating his eccentric brilliance by developing a glowing goldfish. In addition to the improbability for a physicist who doesn’t even know how to wash out a beaker properly to have the expertise and equipment for genetic manipulation, there is a further problem with this breakthrough. Beginning in 2004 throughout the U.S. (with the exception of California), luminous fish went on sale by the company FishGlo. Sheldon was at least 3 years late.

I found the information about FishGlo in the book Frankenstein’s Cat, which I was perusing because of a live production of the musical Young Frankenstein my wife and I saw this Sunday. Consequently, I recalled how the original Frankenstein was inspired by a demonstration of Galvinism that Mary Shelley saw in London: when electrified, a severed frog’s leg kicked. Mary guessed that meant science would eventually bring dead matter to life. Two hundred years later, we still seem almost–but not quite able to create life, e.g., the recreation of a worm’s brain in a body made of legos.  In other words, Mary was significantly ahead of her time, not 3 years behind it.

Indeed, she anticipated much of the Graves/Jung theory that I showcase on this site. The monster recalls his pre-linguistic (Surviver/Personifier) existence, when he began to learn how to imitate sounds from birds he was personifying. He gains some of the skills of L2 (Truster/Trickster) by observing cottagers he longs to have as his family but cannot: “What chiefly struck me was the gentle manners of these people; and I longed to join them, but dared not” (186). Consequently, he secretly plays well-meaning tricks on them that at first frighten them. When he reveals himself and they reject him, he enters L3 (Competitor/Hero), fighting with the cottagers but heroically trying to save the life of a girl at the risk of his own. Shot for his attempts at heroics, he settles into L3 competition with his maker Victor Frankenstein. Finding this unsatisfying, he uses the model of God’s covenants with humanity from Paradise Lost as an L4 (Orderer/Shadow) paradigm for his making an agreement with Victor: the monster will leave if he is given a mate. When Victor reneges, the monster becomes the Shadow, revenging himself on Victor, but remarking that he was in the grips of an unconscious malevolence about which he felt guilty (the Shadow being guilt). Kept from higher education, the monster needs the medical student Victor to act for the monster in L5 (Scientific Materialist/Re-Appreciator of Life). After periods of engrossing research, Victor does manage to appreciate life again, bemoaning his having let his work get in the way of this.

As for L6 (Empathizer with the Abject/Wise Person), some of the characters, particularly Walton, show signs of this Level, but the novel’s movement toward tragedy requires that no one attain timely wisdom. That L6 position is thus left to the readers, who are learning to empathize with an extreme example of what in Mary’s time appeared abject, a penniless, kinless, hideous construct. In her version, he is though extraordinarily articulate and brilliant, which popular renditions of him did not manage again until Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, when the monster acquires an IQ of 196.

When Mary could see so far ahead, why are other writers so slow? Perhaps the inhibiting factor is writing for audiences who want to feel superior to characters and thus this inspires a restraining conservatism in depiction, while Mary was so young and so accustomed to geniuses that she did not realize she should dumb her work down as far as professional writing usually is.

Gwangju and the Hunger Games



A few years ago, I listened to an academic lecture about regional prejudice in South Korea, particularly in connection to the 1980 protests in the city of Gwangju, which were subdued violently, further aggravating those prejudices. The entire Gwangju region underwent years of retribution, starved as well as denied jobs and education. That situation reminded me of the Hunger Games; during the mass advertisement of its next film version, I have been expecting to hear if Gwangju was its inspiration. The closest I see on the internet is talk of how close the Hunger Games books and films are not to South but totalitarian North Korea.

According to The Iron Flute, back in the Middle Ages, Korea commissioned a giant statue of Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion from China. When the statue reached the dock, no one could budge it into the ship. So it remained in China. This story has become a Zen Koan, ending with the question: Why when Avalokitesvara is everywhere should he refuse going to Korea?

Is compassion really everywhere? In Toulouse, France, a day ago where police killed the eco-activist? Or two days ago amidst the riots in Mexico City and Mombasa? And what about Ferguson? Perhaps Avalokitesvara saw no point in traveling because compassion is needed everywhere.




While rewatching the first Xmen movie this morning, I was reading Dániel Darvay’s 2014 Philobiblon article: “Chiastic Modernism: Rational Uncanniness and Uncanny Reason.” What attracted me to it was that I am teaching a course on the Bible, a book largely structured in terms of a rhetorical device called “chiasmus,” named after the Greek word for X. In its simplest form, this is abba, e.g. the phrasing of Darvay’s subtitle: “Rational Unncanniness and Uncanny Reason.” Remember in the movie Mystery Men, the character Sphynx whose sentences all had this form, such as “When you care what is outside, what is inside cares for you“. This is A (you) B (care) C (outside), C’ (inside) B (cares) A (you)–with C and C’ being exact opposites, which therefore pair with one another.

As to the bIble, take for instance the section of Genesis from 2:4 to the end of chapter 3. It begins: “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.” Here we have abccba: “heavens…earth…created…made…earth…heavens.” Then, according to the Harper-Collins Study Bible, we get:

A “These are the generations…” 2.4
B No agriculture: “…no one to till the ground” 2.5-6
C Human’s given life and enter garden 2.7-17
D Man chooses human over animals 2.18-22
E Man names mate “woman” (isha—feminine of his designation: ish (man)) 2.23
F Etiology : “Therefore a man leaves…” 2.24
G Adam and Eve “naked and … not ashamed” 2.25
H Serpent promises “eyes will be opene
d” 3.1-5
I Transgression 3.6
H’ The couple’s “eyes are opened” 3.7a
G’ Shame at being named experienced
F’ Etiology: “For … you are dust …” 3.19b
E’ Mate named “Eve’ 3.20
D’ Adam and Eve clothed
C’ Adam and Eve exiled from garden
B’ Agriculture instituted
A’ Generation completed through birth of a child 4.1


Chiasmus is a structure of real and/or apparent reversal. When things become their opposite, the change appears definite. While trying to effect psychological improvement in his patients, the pioneer of modern hypnotherapy, Milton Erickson, would often tell a series of stories he would interrupt and then continue in a giant chiasmus, with the first story completed last, the second finished second to last, etc. The strain the complexity of this put on patients’ conscious attention forced them to dip into their own unconscious for aid, as he could only create such complexity by self-hypnotizing as he was hypnotizing his patients. But chiasmus was not just a way of altering consciousness; its very structure implied what he wished to suggest to them: that radical change was possible. And mathematics has chosen X as symbol of that unknown yielded by change while pop culture makes it into a shorthand for the extreme–the farthest limits.

Why then has the chiasmus/x become a joke in Mystery Men or in the pervasive quip today that X is being slopped into the title of movies to boost ratings? Darvay’s article is about the pivotal point in this change in change: the early twentieth century. Long before that in ancient times, opposites were expected to stay apart, e.g., heaven and earth. God says:”The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” Man is banished lest he become immortal. Similarly, God stops mortals from climbing to heaven via the Tower of Babel, and when the Sons of God beget children of human women, God blots out this mingling of heaven and earth with the flood.

Darvay, however, finds in early-twentieth-century literature a time when all such binaries as heaven and earth were breaking down, because faith in a God who divides them was floundering in an ever-changing science replacing scriptural certainties. To the horror of conservatives since then, reversal seems less and less apt an image in that everything appears to be already and simultaneously its opposite.