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About the Journeys

Over thirty years ago I led a series of “Archetypal Journeys,” imaginative ventures into the archetypal world. Each series of seven journeys was with a small group of about seven people, and each journey lasted about an hour. The nearest equivalent I have found to these journeys is in the shamanic tradition. Like shamanic journeys these were real ventures into the archetypal world and were never pre-planned. Earlier, during a personal exploration of the archetypal world, I had been taught by the archetypes themselves how to travel in their interior world, and how to use the magic that is accessible there. I then discovered that I could take a group of people on these imaginal journeys, and together we could travel and work in these inner worlds. We saw the damage that our Western world has caused through its rejection and denial of the ancient world of the gods, how not only have we cut our self off from our inner psychic foundations, but the archetypes themselves have become wounded and sorrowful through isolation and neglect.

We found that our coming had been expected, waited for. In their pain and sorrow the archetypes had called us, and each journey was an answer. Working with the power of the imagination and the strength of consciousness, we helped to heal these wounds. We brought the seventh fruit from the tree of life to the sorrowing woman and freed her from her tears. We confronted the shadow of disbelief, the shadow in the inner world created by our belief in rationalism and our rejection of the symbolic. Then magic could return to this realm and we could hear again the laughter of children who live in harmony with the ancient rhythms of life. We reconnected time to eternity, bringing meaning back to a meaningless succession of minutes, hours, and days. We faced the dark power of the feminine and danced with her deepest magic, so that the purpose of life’s illusions could be understood.

Often these journeys involved reconnecting parts of the inner world that have become isolated from each other. We took a purple flower from the primal fire of creation, and placed it on the eyes of a king, who then awoke. We took a necklace of pearls to heal a queen, and the seed of a grape of joy to a garden so that it could blossom into laughter. Sometimes we took understanding, which is the greatest gift. To the wounded woman we brought  the primal picture of light entering the dark waters of the feminine like a sword, and showed her why this light is needed.

In performing this imaginative work we discovered that the archetypes are not healed by some mysterious, symbolic substance, but by ourselves. When we gave the sorrowing woman the seventh fruit of the tree of life, in that moment we realized that we are the fruit. Just as our collective rejection of the archetypal world has created its wounds, so it is our individual relationship to these gods that effects its healing. Through journeying into the inner world, relating to its inhabitants and working with them, we formed within our individual psyches a bridge into the archetypal world.

Alone, in my own individual inner process, I had worked to help form this bridge. Now, as we continued this work in a group, I came to understand its deeper significance, as one archetypal figure explained:

Each time you come from your world to this inner world, and you come with understanding, not greed, then a grain of sand crosses the great divide. However small it may be, that grain of sand has immense meaning, for it comes with love. It forms part of an immense pattern like a mandala, and when this pattern is complete then there will be a healing beyond all healing as the outer returns to the inner and the Self reveals itself. Then a new life will be upon your earth and upon my earth, and there will be a flowering as there has not been for thousands of years.

Through these archetypal journeys I also learned about the changes taking place in the depths, how at this time the archetypes themselves are shifting and evolving. The ancient patterns that underlie our conscious existence were reconstellating, and a new archetype of wholeness was emerging. This inner energy came to me in the form of a child with stars in her eyes, who imaged a future we had long been waiting for. Now thirty years later I began to understand how these archetypal journeys prefigured much of the global changes and shift in consciousness that belong to the awakening of oneness. Real changes first begin deep in the inner worlds, and only now do I realize what it was that we were shown on these journeys. That is why I decided to share these inner imaginal experiences, to include this archetypal dimension of the changes that we need to welcome.

–Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

© 2010 The Golden Sufi Center

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