Truchas and the Thinning of the Veil

 Truchas and the Thinning of the Veil

Colleague and friend Naomi Lowinsky and I have traveled to the thin, rarified air of Truchas, New Mexico, to do the work of co-editing a collection of essays. The papers come from colleagues from around the world and will be published in March 2012 by Fisher King Press: Marked by Fire: Personal Stories of the Jungian Way. This week is Samhain (Halloween), and the Day of the Dead, that time of the year when the other side is especially accessible, a time of descent, and a very appropriate time to do this work that includes reading personal accounts of people’s spiritual journeys.
New Mexico has always been a place of pilgrimage for me, a place you know the spirit world has the upper hand. My own spiritual path made a huge turn here twenty years ago when my mentor, Jungian analyst Don Sandner, brought a group of us candidates-in-training-to-be-analysts on a ten day trip to the Santa Fe area. By day we traveled to archeological sites, meditated in ancient kivas, and attended pueblo dances. By night we listened to Don talk about his work with Navaho medicine man Natani Tso and then we drummed. It was ten days in heaven.

Don has been on the other side for fourteen years now. Each morning as Naomi and I sit in our window perch overlooking the Truchas Peak range, we light a candle and open our hearts to the work of the day. Each morning we feel Don smiling on our work with these stories of people’s direct experience of the unconscious and how important these experiences have been in their individuation processes.

Walking on the High Road to Taos
Yesterday I was taking my morning walk along the Taos High Road thinking of Don and his work with us, remembering those ten days when time stopped. I remembered the sweet smell of pinon pine smoke one afternoon in the Taos Pueblo, the day-long drumming and dancing at the Santa Domingo Corn Dance, and leisurely time spent with Don as he taught us with all the generosity of a true spiritual teacher. I wanted to write something about Don for this blog, but honestly, what I really wanted was to feel him. I was thinking about all this when…

Suddenly I heard a powerful, percussive whosh! whosh! whosh! overhead. I looked up expecting to see a raven or a vulture but saw nothing. I spun around, full of expectation of seeing something large, but again, nothing. The hair on my arms rose: what was that? Almost as quickly I noticed my rational mind searching for an explanation: maybe it was actually some construction work on the hill beyond. Maybe it was… and then I stopped myself. I remembered Marie-Louise Von Franz’s assertion that when unusual or synchronistic experiences occur, it is important to suspend disbelief and enter into an energetic dialogue with the “visitor.” The minute rationality enters, the aperture between the worlds closes.

The gift of that visitation was remembering the importance of openness to meaningful coincidence, and the reminder to not throw it away by sinking back into a one-sided, rational approach to reality. I received the blessing of the presence of Spirit in that encounter, and in my mind’s eye, I can see Don smiling.