Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Archetypes and screen memories


Chapter in progress: This is an excerpt from a book project with the working title; Owls, Sychronicity and the UFO Abductee. I plan on posting a few samples from time to time. 
—Mike C

Most of the research for this book has been me reaching out to folks with curious stories, and just asking the question, “Do you have any odd owl experiences?” Most of the time the reply would be no. I got a lot of replies that played out as screen memories, the smallest percentage were the extremely unusual experiences that involved, as far as I can tell, real owls. I would ask this of folks through email, phone calls and in face to face meetings. A lot of the time I would ask this question to complete strangers, or to people I barely knew.

Peter was one of the experiencers featured in Dr. John Mack’s 1994 book Abduction, and the events in his life have been extremely intense. I’ve talked on the phone with him only once, and we've shared a few emails over the years. He’s been supportive and insightful in all of my correspondence.

As part of this book project, I sent Peter one of these emails, asking him that same question, had he ever had any odd owl experiences. He replied:
That is what got me in the door, so to say, to begin looking at this in my life. When I lived in Hawaii, there was a big old owl (that’s what I thought at the time) that would come to the sliding glass door off my bedroom at night. Of course under regression when I looked at the owl it was a whole other creature. So yeah, me and owls and ET's have a connection.
This owl fits cleanly into the screen memory category, it seems to play out as deceptive owl imagery projected into Peter’s mind, presumably so he wouldn’t be terrified of seeing a creepy gray alien. How this is done is a mystery, why is another question. One easy way to frame this is that the owl is nothing more that a convenient disguise, it’s a common enough animal, and those big penetrating eyes seem to match the likeness of the iconic alien. This might be exactly the reason for the owl deception, but it just feels too simple.

I suspect that this contact experience has been ongoing throughout the entirety of human history, and the reverence for the owl in folklore and mythology can be traced back to experiences just like what Peter described. The shamans and sages throughout time might have confronted similar owls, staring at them from their own doorways.

 read more below 
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Perhaps the owl is chosen not just for it’s big eyes, but because of it’s archetypal power. It’s there so that the experiencer can drink in the symbolic essence as an essential part of the episode. Is the owl a symbol, something stored in our collective subconscious, that carries with it a buried sense of knowing? The symbolic power of the owl might have been implanted into the human psyche way back at the dawn of our existence.

Archetype is an elusive concept. There are ideas and themes that have resonated within the core of humanity throughout time, and they continually bubble up to the surface.

Plato framed the archetype as a philosophical idea, referring to pure forms which embody the fundamental characteristics of a thing. These pure forms are invisible to the eye, but they exist in the realm of their idealized states. Because our souls have existed eternally, we retain a memory to recognize them. Plato contends that all the feelings that accompany our existence are but recollections of what our souls already know.

Jung saw the archetype as psychological, framing it as a collectively inherited unconscious idea or image. The archetype is universally present in our individual psyches.

The collective unconscious is a unique component to Jung’s ideas about the mind, it serves as a form of psychological inheritance. It contains all of the knowledge and experiences we share as a species. He proposed that archetypes exist within the collective unconscious. According to Jung, archetypes are unlearned, innate, universal and hereditary. These function as a way to organize how we translate into visible reality the world within us.

The owl has been scratched into ancient cave walls and it also sits on the shoulder of young Harry Potter. It is an archetype that we hold within us, and it has the mythic power of the ages.

All across the world's mythic lineage, owls are seen as messengers from another realm, their ability to see into the darkness is a metaphor for their roles as this gatekeeper. They are wise and they are foreboding. Are these elusive aliens using the image of the owl because we can tap into this grand lineage of arcane meaning?

I can’t help but imagine the image of an owl standing before the ancient shaman at the entrance to his cave, just as it stood before Peter’s big sliding glass door. Trying to unravel the source of an archetype is like trying to know the source of a dream, all one can say is that there is a source out there, to say any more would be folly.

If the abduction experience is something that has been with humanity from our inception, could it be that the mythic power of the owl grew out of the screen memories of the ancients? If people have always had this experience, then they’ve been sharing it around the campfire with their fellow villagers across the ages. Looking at it this way, the owl archetype might very well have been created by the aliens.

A question arises, is the image of the owl something the aliens use as a sort of “default” setting for deceiving the abductee? Is there a reason the owl is used sometimes and deer is used at other times? Is there an archetypal reason one image might be chosen over another? Is it the abductee that’s generating the owl as a screen memory, as if their own psyche instantly reacts to the presence of the alien, almost as a defense mechanism. This makes some sense, because their own sanity might be in jeopardy just by looking at an alien in their proximity.

If the abductee creates the costume, is it being plucked from the ether an archetypal “pure form” in the way Plato would describe it? No easy answer to any of these questions, but I suspect it’s a blurring of multiple points.

When an owl spirit stands at the door of the shamans hut, is this shaman about to be abducted and taken aboard a flying craft? And when the abductee sees a giant owl standing outside his window, is he about to be initiated into some deeper form of psychic knowing? Neither question can be answered, but I recognize the overlap of these two myths.
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6 comments:

Red Pill Junkie said...

I'm beginning to suspect, Mike, that the final chapter of your book will involve interviewing an owl, and asking whether it had odd HUMAN
experiences.






No, I'm not that drunk ;)

Drake Bradstone said...

That's a good sample of what will undoubtedly be a very interesting book. I wonder about the actuality of the psyche or unconscious coming up screen images by itself. Would a little kid be able to do that? And how about seeing a pure black owl (that talks)? Here's one of my three owl memories:

When I was about 2 to 2 1/2 years old my parents were on a trip and my grandma took care of my sister and me at her house. One hot summer night while sleeping alone in my father's old bedroom I woke up for some reason and saw a bird perched on the sill of the open window. There was enough light coming in through the windows from the street lamps for me to see that this bird was a few inches more than a foot tall (I'm estimating today) and looked like a black owl. Looking straight at me it talked, saying that it wanted me to come with it. I remember being horribly afraid but couldn't help but be attracted to this dark bird's eyes. I'm quite sure this wasn't a sleep dream but it seems unlikely that an owl would land on the bedroom window sill in a crowded Seattle neighborhood. Would a little kid's psyche come up with such an image on its own? Or was the 'owl' the cause of this appearance? Something else I wonder is if there are any other reports about black owls involved in strange visitation experiences.

Anonymous said...

I went to visit a college friend this week over lunch at his house. He works from home and during the day provides care for his 4 year old daughter, Katie.

I noticed as soon as I entered the house that images of owls were everywhere. A large wicker owl sat on a bench near the plate glass door. Smaller owls of wood and plastic were arranged around the living room posed as if to watch the girl as she played.

Ever tuned into an owl reference I asked my friend. "Oh. Who's into the owls?"
"It's Katie," he said. "She loves owls."

tinyjunco said...

"If the abduction experience is something that has been with humanity from our inception, could it be that the mythic power of the owl grew out of the screen memories of the ancients?"

could be. However, as you know i was very close to a shaman (who's main teachers were from Inuit, Cherokee, and Lakota traditions) in my early thirties, as well as living in a Tibetan Buddhist Meditation center. Tibetan Buddhism is very influenced by the indigenous Bon shamanism of Tibet.

In the shamanic tradition with which i am familiar, the various animal, mineral, meteorological and plant (and etc.) peoples have their own spirituality and spiritual beliefs and practices, just like humans do. This is their medicine. Different non-human peoples have specific areas of speciality which can help people with understanding and healing various parts of life - particular ailments, various concerns such as romance, death, leadership, and so on.

So. Many humans understand one part of shamanism - that shamans cultivate relationships with particular peoples (owl, eagle, hummingbird, etc.) in order to be able to call upon the spiritual wisdom of those people when the shaman needs that help (to heal an illness or broken heart, to shield from evil, etc.).

What is less well known, because it involves giving agency to creatures and objects generally considered to be devoid of consciousness and will, is that these peoples tend to show up - physically - when matters concerning their medicine are afoot. The orcas in Seattle escorting the ancestor's tribal artifacts to their new, respectful home is a classic example.

Owl medicine has to do with, not just 'another realm', but the realm of the dead. The underworld of the three part cosmology of the shaman, the afterlife, the realm of the ancestors. The realm of the suppresed, of things so frightening a person cannot even allow themselves to think of them "...because their own sanity might be in jeopardy....."

so from teh shamanic perspective, if a person is experiencing hellishly terrifying abductions owls popping up would be expected. And, as owl medicine even more has to do with transforming these experiences in order to become an elder, a teacher of and about the community traditions, if a person engages in trying to understand and teach about the truth of these abductions, owl will be all over it in every way.

Personally, i believe that these ideas are much less popular than the ideas of 'the collective unconscious' or 'archetypes' because they take these intellectual, nebulous ideas and make them very concrete. As well as i said before, they give agency and even spiritual authority to mere critters.

But it is so very easy to see if a person has strong animal medicine. My mom is a bear lady - we could not go camping AnyWhere when we were little without bears showing up - lord, it made camping nerve-wracking for me as a little kid! But how lucky i was, as when i got sicksicksick at 15 and doc after doc had no idea what to do, she fought like a bear to get me well (dad hung in there too :).

I can't speak to screen memories, i don't know anything about it. But i hope you find this bit about the shamanic perspective helpful. Happy Day! steph

tinyjunco said...

Reporting an owl synch right after i posted my comment above. Right after i posted the above comment, I decided to purchase some 'pale desert camo twill' from Gorgeous Fabrics, an online fabrics store, as the price had been reduced and i'd been eyeing it the better part of a month now.

I started the 'new account' setup on one computer, got a synch error (spotty wifi connection), tried again at the other computer, got 'an account already exists with that e-mail' error, so called GF up to see if they could straighten things out.

They did, very quickly too. While discussing all this, Ann (the owner, turns out) confirmed my e-mail with me, which involved saying it/spelling it out. My e-mail includes the name of a particular owl, and i said 'That's a real owl, you know.'

Ann replied, 'yes, i do know, i know that owl, i like owls a lot.' Of course, i wrote down her words so i could type them in here.

Owls and synchronicity indeed! happy day, your wordy correspondent, steph

Brizdaz (Darren) said...

Just saw this story today -
"Oklahoma hunter attacked by owl while in tree stand"
His name is Mike too.

http://www.reddirtreport.com/red-dirt-news/oklahoma-hunter-attacked-owl-while-tree-stand