The Receptive: A Radio Play
(a monologue in the person of the elderly C.G. Jung)
Rick London


I am a fool
The soul has a shadow
The shadow drained the meaning from words
I was left with a few words, nonsense
I had simple things, a chair, a spoon, a smooth gray rock
I began to understand
Science is small, even frightened
Beneath it all, in our homelessness, there is nothing we possess
Now I will draw a picture
I said I am a fool
I draw what I see when I draw
The world is inarticulate
Once, I listened to a stone wall the way you would listen to a river
I began to speak its absent language
Stripped of everything but beginnings, I stayed on the cusp
The language of the passing world is make do
I began to speak this absent language
I didn’t know right from wrong
I didn’t know right from left
Words like these are not part of the absent language
But I said I would draw a picture
I draw an orange head, I draw his blue eyes and large formal ears,
her necklace of red teeth, the path water finds
through the heart
White here is a shadow
A soft blue transmits the light
I was left with a few words, fragile as the bones of a small bird
Around this time I was avoiding my human neighbors -
especially the women, with their unbridled occult perception
and intimate whispers
Yes, what they say about me is true, I do live through the close company
of my women companions and at no time have I avoided it, not altogether,
I was speaking only of my unelected neighbors, especially the women,
and although I was then detached from the common social fabric,
my most intimate companions continued to lead me to the doorstep
of the world within
During this time I stood before this door day and night
Sleeping waking dreaming day and night
And then the door stood open
I became my own subject, vast and mute
I felt I was mapping an ocean
I was appalled by its absent language but I vowed to honor
this abysmal tongue, this vast realm of power within
I lost my cherished sense of responsibility and this buoyed me
I quickly found that this buoyed me
I said I am a fool
I stood before this door and felt a trembling
Felt myself trembling
I’ve disciplined myself against such excitement
Yes, rejection and faith are endlessly allied in the rigor
of the spiritual quest, illuminating one another,
perfectly balanced, they redeem one another
from the consolations of the wandering mind
Now I draw a hand
The hand is a tree
The hieroglyph has memories like any living being
The transparent beetle reflects the world
I draw a turquoise mosaic of the circular road home
The direction of the journey is within the journey
I stood before the door, trembling



Coincidence, I’m not speaking of a divinely orchestrated
Cartesian coincidence, this is just the kind of artificial philosophy
I’ve meant to avoid
What I mean here by coincidence roots in the fact
that things have an affinity for one another, in the secret
life of the world beings entice one another into light and shadow
in the transmission of innumerable meanings
Every being undergoes this unyielding play
of light and shadow
subject to fate and chance
I don’t mean some consciousness guides things
The inter-guiding of affinities is itself the primary principle
Affinities in the ruins
Of course, causation brings us all to ruin
One thing coming upon another
One thing acting upon another
Yes, I believe there is love in the ruins
I believe ruin and salvation arise together
I said I am a fool
I said, beneath it all, in our homelessness,
there is nothing we possess
Ruin and salvation both speak this absent language
Healing occurs in this absent time
We are shortsighted regarding cures
Our problem is cruel: in our inability to distinguish our real
from our imagined interests we’re susceptible to ongoing
manipulation and self-manipulation
We stand before a fickle mirror of allies and enemies
From this contradiction arise the soul shadows I often speak of
Yes, we may be a ruined species
Somehow we must come upon something simple,
something unmade, to restore us to our being
To restore us to innate use
Often our thoughts are useless stragglers coming in from the cold
But now I’m suggesting there is some barren terrain
of the mind, hardscrabble, where cold winds blow
Yes, I am a psychoanalyst, but that’s really
just a sort of specialty, when it comes down to it
I don’t know the mind at all –
what is the mind, does anyone really know?
Who knows its absent language?
I fear strange forces
See strange figures
The universe is not nostalgic
The universe does not value us
No wonder we turn away from ourselves
Ruin and salvation
Fate and chance
Separation is a desert where even the object world misbehaves
One day I found myself wandering
Although I wasn’t far from my cottage when I began to regain
my bearings, a finger of electricity
passed through my soul
It can be useful to localize awareness
I find it useful to localize awareness
as an antidote to drift
Sometimes I will expand and contract the abdomen
or clench and then stretch out my fingers
Yes, there are places in the body
to put the mind
as an antidote to drift
Places in the body that remember stillness
There are places in the world to put the mind
that dreams of stillness
Healing occurs in their absent time
Now I will draw a picture
Just a fading line on a leaf of this notebook
I fear our time is running out



Some everyday thing comes my way, agreeable
or not
It matters while it matters
It doesn’t matter that, in memory, it will matter less,
till one day it won’t matter at all
This is how life is
I am this hatred and love
This is how I gird myself within for survival
I said I am fool
and in this way I’ve lost the single thread of the absent language
I’m polemical and indulge my grievances
I go where they lead me
For example, I’ve come to detest the body politic,
all this arguing and deceit to gain some advantage
Whereas the Tao reveres the Nirmanakaya:
the cosmic body, the earth body, the conjugal body, the breath body
are nothing but a moment of transformation
Whereas the Tao pities both the endlessly permeable heavenly beings
and the preoccupied, dull-minded hell-dwellers
of the many bestial realms,
for neither perceives the fertile opposition
of the actual and the possible
that is the ground of care
Certainly I believe there’s some pure element
though I would add my usual amendment of shadow
I believe this is the ground of the spiritual, the ritual dance
of light and shadow
We can’t resolve this polyphony
unless we’d stomach a neutered oneness
Unless we’d throw life away
Now I will draw a picture
The wing of a bat darkens the celestial sky
I draw Persephone on her way to Hell
She bristles over the peaceable hill
releasing the serpent body
I rub earth colors into the blue of the sky
to calm the bright heart’s vengeful shadow
Now I’ll put away my inks and paints for the night
and walk under the stars
There is a song in their frightful immensity
We should abide this absent song
and heed its occult warning
For the hour is late and the way we live
is insane



As I said, I stood before the door trembling
And I said I am a fool
Did I mention also that I’m a coward?
At least I was provisionally
I’m speaking here of dark days
The irrational shadows all our days
This is vital
The irrational, as the fractured form of the hankering mind, tells on us all
The irrational in art reminds us how much of our everyday world
is just make-believe
I don’t mind the irrational if it’s well behaved
But that’s so often not the case
Perhaps you’ve noticed how the irrational may try to appear presentable
Look around
Subject the human personality to a little wealth and power and it turns to shadow
How much of life can a person let go of?
The vast world is not irrational but likely deadly
Refracted through an individual soul, the latent harmony of the vast world
may fracture
I’ve had my world my heart my mind shatter into a million crystals
I had forgotten the idiom of the absent language
I had entered the vast world unready
I stood before the door encumbered by hope and pronouncements
Now I ready myself with these paints and inks
Now I will draw a picture
The red seeds arc on the horizon
Orpheus has turned their temptation to song
To a book of song carefully inscribed
And to the absent song:
The dead came back from Jerusalem
I begin with nothingness
I said I am a fool
The discipline of rejection grew weak in me
I endured dream blasts of ritual tumult
I had no choice but to see this through
I told no one of my visions
But I’d been fortified by the rigors of various spiritual practices,
if often with nothing to guide me
but an orphaned text from a bygone tradition
Some have asked how, under this circumstance, I know
if my spiritual practice is correct
I tell them: to the degree I don’t care who I am
my practice has been correct
I admit as a person I’m a mess
But by now I’m content to undergo my unruly nature
as an ongoing rite of initiation
After all, inquiry is not a manicure
How much of oneself can a person let go of?
What I have or don’t have now
won’t make me any more or less dead when I die
I’ve encountered this admonishment across diverse teachings
I’ve even seen temples festooned with skulls to remind us of this truth
Ashes to ashes indeed
Dust to dust, etc
Preceded by ailments and decay
As I said, I am a coward
Now I ready myself for the vast world with these paints and inks
I draw a black worm and a withered black tree against a sinister red sky
I draw a red and black snake arcing out of a black egg
filled with light
In a dream, the disquieted Red King comes to me for counsel and I turn him away
Why should I subject myself to his hostility?
I’m a doctor, yes, but I’m not responsible for delivering him
from himself
I draw a jeweled fountain but the fountain is not me
For now, I have my own fish to fry



Sun & moon
Flesh bone & spirit
Blood rite and birthright
Air & breath & water
Vision quest and ritual habit
Time and mythic time
The stellar gods have arranged these interim baubles
for their own amusement,
captivated by the way we’re captivated by ourselves,
each of us in a unique realm of representation
of the archetypal grit
Now I will draw a picture
A horned man stands before the baptismal fire
I pity him as I see him as I draw him
He does not choose his condition
Like any bird or insect or flower we are born into a pattern
When we concede this we can simply be at home
with our own minds
The pagan Philemon goes about his chthonic chores
embedded in his days like a worm in the soil,
the mythic life has been won and discarded,
now he just goes about his chthonic chores
It is necessary to disavow power
or imagination is circumscribed by power
These days our arbiters of power are primarily obsessed with their own stories,
I mean by the need to tell them beyond the routine truth
of the interests they serve,
so our arbiters are naturally dissociated and their stories
wither and deform in their enactment,
to everyone’s disadvantage
For so much of our time here, the conscious mind makes its way
along this lonely path of gain or advantage
while the unconscious, like the body that is its membrane, mourns the quarantine
of the vast world of collective imagination
It would be better for us to follow the death-haunted teaching
and leave off our intrigue to be at home
with our mortal minds
After all, the world is not going to go away nor change to ease
our worry,
better to heed the death-haunted teaching
After all, the world is our inheritance
Our reciprocal braille
Our fingers move mostly over fragments
I hold to this
As I said, I am a fool
As I said, we must find something simple
to take back our lives from alien drift,
to retrieve something equally remembered and forgotten
Now I will draw a picture
Today I draw the simple things I initially spoke of:
a chair, a spoon, a table,
I draw my outstretched hand,
I draw the grain in the wood under my hand,
I draw a leaf, a feather, a shadow
I’ve been feeling more ignorant by the day of the millennial pattern
What figure would suffice now in my picture?
A pendulum, or a downward spiral?
I imagine time and mythic time
But mystery is the binding thread of the archetypal fabric
Has anyone improved yet on Augustine’s confession:
What then is time?
If no one asks me, I know:
if I wish to explain it to one who asks, I know not
 In any case, I fear our time, however we conceive it,
is running out



As I said, we must find something simple
As I said, I listened to a wall the way you would listen
to a river
If I understand it correctly, the death-haunted teaching
prescribes intervals of a kind of soft-focus body contact with the world
and this has become one of my own homespun apothegms:
maintain body contact — poised in the moment and cushioned by the breath
But contact with what?
The world is evanescent
Our modern physics tells us as much
Fundamentally, there’s nothing here
 How much of life can a person let go of?
This is an intermediary question
According to the death-haunted teaching nothing sticks
and the ethical life is said to reflect
this universal ease,
undivided into here and there
Now I will draw a picture
Care is the color of the mild sky
I pull my brush lightly over this paper
I admit these days the science I seek has little use for weights or measures
And even our most ideal thoughts, as balanced as clouds, reveal nothing
of salvation
Even our most ideal emotions, as balanced as clouds, reveal nothing
of salvation
I admit these days I have little use for the language of comparison,
the secular argot
I pull my brush lightly over this paper
Today I draw the mild sky free of figuration
Leaf after leaf washed over with my celestial blue
Ironically, through my antisocial descent I’d begun to recover
some of my fellow-feeling
I held to this descent
This persistence wore away a few of my harsher edges
I felt the quiet courtship of being that occurs
across diverse shamanic cultures
Aletheia is this realm of courtship, I now believe,
the archetypal material is alive in the world breath,
no seat of the self or soul awaits scrutiny
like some drawing board model
That assumption is just more of the artificial philosophy
endemic to my profession
I’ve come to prefer the shamanic journey and the company
of those who value revealed truth over the measured formulas
of our modern sciences
Empathy or entropy is the archetypal choice I see now
Perhaps you’ve heard, my colleagues have begun to call me a witch doctor
I am immune to their disparagement
As I said, science is small, even frightened
My adversaries sit at their imperious table in a supper club in Vienna
after a day spent in conference at a nearby hall
rehashing their punctilious theory of excrement
Witch doctor indeed
But I don’t mind their disparagement
As long as I don’t depend on the world for gnostic sustenance the world
can be as it is
No, my former colleagues are no longer my preferred company
I’ve cast my fate to the affinities
Certainly there must be multitudes who see these things I see,
seduced by the transmission of innumerable meanings
I call love in the ruins
and simply at ease with the absent language
of the acute death-haunted teaching



Today as I was walking through the woods
I came across the bones of a small animal
arrayed like the sticks of the I Ching
on the path before me
I really couldn’t say if I found them or they found me
Things in motion
Things at rest
These are the two poles of a line of flux
whose field is the realm of courtship
Attraction-Repulsion within the magic circle
During the dark days and nights I’ve been speaking of
I felt I’d become simply a kind of pass through
Rerum novarum cupidus
although hope was no longer the spur to keep on
I’d compiled a vast resource of symbols and signs
yet had only the feeling there’s really not much to go on
But, as I said, I had no choice but to see this through
I felt conscribed to the shamanic journey,
now free of my cherished sense of responsibility
As I said, this buoyed me
As Socrates had been told by his daemon I was now told my mine:
You ought to make more music
Yes, this buoyed me
I felt myself at an extreme of receptivity
 Really, none of my stratagems had worked, I’d simply reached a point
where I had worn out my lumbering desire
Like Job, only in the dust do we find freedom
from the sentimentality of our suffering
I shudder at the absurdity of my spitefulness and negativity,
often beguiled by some wisp of a polemic,
if I were more evolved I would have honored the imago of a larger quest,
like The Warrior, say, who must reconcile the mammal and celestial realms
But, after all, how much could I hope to evince,
sitting in my garden, pipe in hand, in my predictable linen suit
Even my exotic excursions abroad had come to nothing more
than a look over my stone wall
I was worn out, simply that,
and so I became my own subject, vast and mute, as I said
I was at the crossroads of salvation and lunacy
Yes, as Socrates had been told by his daemon I was now told my mine:
You ought to make more music
And yes, this buoyed me
I said I am a fool
But fool or not, I began to understand
more about trust
Not like my patients with their inevitable moment
of entering the fold of the transferential bond
Rather, little by little, despite myself, I began to rely
on mere bits of peripheral information
Perhaps it was a little like learning a new kind of reliance
while slowly going blind, I don’t know
If a bird called out a warning, I would take heed
as if called to urgent awareness in my own life,
like in a strange dream where you find yourself strangely obedient
I became guileless
The Receptive had drawn the middle line of the Creative
I dreamt often then of a sea crossing
Yes, less often these days, but, after all, my crossing will be
natural fact soon enough
But last night my dreams were streaming again
I dreamt of bright eagles and flying serpents in the sky above a ship
whose sails were inscribed with an ancient alphabet
A man stood on deck looking up from a book of prophesy
and an ancient dragon curled in the hold
around the bones of a small animal
that I would come upon this morning while walking
and there they were, inevitable, arrayed on the path before me
like the sticks of the I Ching
speaking the Abysmal



The rotation of Trinity around the crystal axis
of the lapis,
the wonder-working stone,
is the symmetry of self revolving into wholeness --
as intuition, the irrational dimension, is born
A tetrahedron receives the archetypal force of the circle
to stabilize the chaotic unity
I proclaimed just that to my colleagues in Vienna
and became, of course, immediately marginal among them
Fair enough, even welcome
I had lost my way
and there was nothing in their protocol to help me find it
So I went to my abode in the woods
I was looking for a more solitary admonition
As I said, I believe rejection and faith are endlessly allied in the spiritual quest
and I distilled this discipline from the discouragement
of my own company
Though, as I said, as a person I’m a mess,
I again put my shoulder to the wheel
Structure and function
Rota and
Individuation occurs in this realm of courtship that restores us
to the intimate affection that surrounds all birth
In the sympathy of deep silence I sought to square the circle once again
I became, as I said, a kind of pass-through, my paints and inks
seemed to choose me as much as I chose them
Now I will draw a picture
The centipede is the mind dreaming its way back to the earth
I draw its arcing jade body, its bright red tongue and mineral eye
I draw fold within fold of the crystal lotus
I draw startled death in a forgotten room within a room
I draw the languid dream within a dream of a dragon
Somehow, no matter how exotic my delirium of these days became,
I trusted that the antediluvian force
of the voices and imagery it presented
would resolve simply into another way I had
to know the world
and that, soon enough, I would step back into the familiar circle
of an everyday life
In fact, in due course, I found myself again
exchanging greetings with my neighbors,
aware of our kindred occult sensation
Yes, even the intimate whispers among the local women
became gnostic sustenance
After all, we’re all greening on the same branch
I draw the branch with its remnant of fire
Stars shine in the ink black night
and the fishes phosphoresce in the cobalt sea
Bearded Philemon leans into a wind
I recall a figure I drew once - with arms crook’t,
head slightly tilted,
eyes looking to her side
She was Butoh, a revelation of Self within the obscurity of matter
In her dance she moved ponderously, revealing the body
hidden within our usual conventions of motion and rest
I looked out from the eyes of this dark dance
in anguish then release from within the discipline
of its confinement
As the dancer slowly curled herself downward
I saw implicitly that only through the subtle body
could one know time, mythic or otherwise
Empathy or entropy, as I said, is the choice I see now
Each of these archetypes is its own time
The ample time of empathy is inexhaustible
But I fear our entropic time is, as I said, running out



After all, there’s something more to life than a good life

Opus alchymicum:

earth       air       fire       water

Boreas       Eurus       Notus       Zephyrus

mineral       vegetable       magical       angelical

gold       silver       bronze       iron

After all, these are mere lines of flux, like our thoughts about anything
Finally, the heart is the fulcrum
No, there’s not much to go on
The circle won’t be squared
But I’ve always enjoyed a good shell game
and have come to esteem this evocation
I said I am a fool