Thinking About Fathers in the Middle of the Night

It’s Father’s Day…

A salute?
Perhaps…
No!
Better
A kneel
A curtsy
A lacy veil
For seeing through
To Cynic’s Road
And
That remote
Rigid
Foreign
Desolate
Land of The Fathers
Judith Harte

Here I sit here on Father’s Day reviewing proofs from our recently published book, Images of Soul: Reimagining Astrology. Our book’s central thesis resonates and concurs in part, with those seminal ideas postulated by the late James Hillman, in his magnificent red book, The Soul’s Code.

JamesHillmanReliefSmallIn our little red book, Images of Soul: Reimagining Astrology, co-authored by myself and Marriage, Family Therapist, Evolutionary astrologer, writer, editor and poet, Hadley Fitzgerald, we’ve followed Hillman when he postulates, that each of us is born with a metaphorical acorn that serves as carrier and container of our soul’s codes. To this possibility, Hadley and I have added the notion that also within that container, i.e., horoscope, there is a map and timing mechanism of one’s soul’s code, calling and fate.   The graphic (timing mechanism) on our book’s cover which was discovered online was created by a photographer who photographed an acorn and assembled the tiny timing mechanism, made of antique watch parts, which he then placed within the acorn. The minute Hadley laid eyes on it, she knew the visual image inside that acorn was everything we were in the process of writing about.  Our graphic’s person enclosed the image within a circle and we had the workings of a horoscope!

It is fitting on this Father’s Day, to acknowledge Hillman’s role in our book’s creation and development. After all, his ideas about an acorn-driven theory of fate and soul have not only in-part fertilized and fathered our book’s thesis, but his work has also prompted us to reimagine and amplify our professional lives as astrological psychotherapists in profoundly new and exciting ways.

For the most part, our book finds agreement with Hillman when he postulates, that we each have within us a metaphorical acorn destined to become a particular type of oak tree. As I understand it, this idea functions in tandem metaphorically with the notion that we each have a particular life, or calling designed and meant especially for us.  Hillman notes, that there is a Daimon, or guide in charge of each of each of our destinies. We’ve aligned and analogized our thinking with this notion, added one factor, and offer this as possibility to our readers.  The container and timing mechanism of and for this pattern of destiny is contained within, and symbolized by, one’s birth astrological horoscope, and it’s transits and progressions. This simply means we are enabled then, to study the soul’s movement in and through time.  By studying these astrological indicators of the soul’s movement through time, whether within one astrological counseling session, or the ongoing process of psychotherapy, one may track, conjecture, hypothesize and/or describe the fate and life of one’s soul astropsychologically, in an evolutionary sense, i.e., from lifetime to lifetime, or simply within and during the process of one life at a time.

It is fitting then for me, on this Father’s Day, to again acknowledge Hillman’s role in our book’s development. After all, haven’t his ideas about an acorn-driven theory of fate, in part, fathered our book’s thesis in what for us has been and continues to be, a new and exciting way?

As I write, a feeling of sadness emanates from my heart and feels as if it is about to physically spread over my entire body. I inspect my chest expecting to see a manifestation of some kind of bright, red rash. Despite the increased continued sensation of tingling nothing actual appears on the surface of my skin. My emotional heart tells me that I’ve entered into a state of grief.

“For what or for whom do I grieve,” I ask out loud as if speaking to the air?  The posture of my body crumples. I find and take refuge in the well-cushioned corner of the couch.

I’m flooded with a fusion of grief, loss and gratitude, to and for the world, that has opened inside of and before me.  I am especially aware in this moment of the gratitude I feel for having discovered the exquisitely soulful products of Hillman’s groundbreaking work written and imagined by him during his physical life. And now that he is gone and no longer physically here, I have the good fortune of still being able to partake of the body of work that is now his bequest to us all.

Do I love Jung? Is he eternally brilliant, and amazing? Of course! Seeing through to psyche via Jung’s Collected Works, his Red Book art and text is an experience that I /we may not see the likes of ever again. Sometimes I sit and stare at Jung’s Red Book and could swear I see it moving with a kind of rhythmic pulsation. I can imagine Jung easily. He is the ultimate. I’ve even had imaginal dialogues with him in which he is referred to as psyche’s grandfather!

In contrast, for over twenty-five years I’ve experienced Hillman’s living, physical presence, heard his lectures, read his books over and over from 1979 to the present. I’ve spoken with him, literally and imaginally, even been his dinner partner on one occasion, as a gift given to me by a beloved mutual friend on this friend’s sixtieth birthday! And more recently, as another way of embodying his meaning, I‘ve sculpted Hillman’s face in bas relief, complete with his occasional trade-mark khaki military-style shirt and eye-catching reddish tie, as shown here in this blog. And lastly, sadly, gratefully, I attended the moving memorial so exquisitely orchestrated by his widow Margo Mclean, in Manhattan. Those important, real-life events will remain ever imprinted in my memory.

So why the tears on this Father’s Day weekend? I cannot quite describe what is missing now, other than the obvious, but I’ll take a stab at it. Perhaps it is the alchemy that Hillman’s physical presence on this planet engendered for me that I so miss and that I have transferred onto him as carrier of same. The undercurrent within my psyche of his absence in our world seems to bubble up and overflow every once in a while, until it happens to have landed this year, on what better day, than Father’s Day weekend?

For those conversant with the astrological language: A bit of astrological type and cross match provides reinforcement for my unending loyalty to Hillman’s work:

Astrologically, Hillman’s Chronos/Saturn, i.e., his (astro-mythological father) conjoins my astrological Hermes/ Mercury (teaching/learning – soul guide, communication/Trickster).  Both gods are placed in the in-depth, mysterious, hold on to the bitter end depth psychological sign of Scorpio. This astrological twosome of Chronos/Saturn holding hands tightly with Hermes/Mercury is a configuration that not only deepens any psychological investigation, but in my case, also resides and has its genesis in my own horoscope’s Hades/Pluto’s mysteriously, unrelenting Scorpionic realm. The Hermes person (me) takes direction in terms of her learning, from the Saturn/Chronos astrological father figure, i.e. (Hillman)! One cannot help but ask, what better dynamic then, than to lead, inspire, teach, be shown the ropes and other ways in which to see through to those Hades’ depths out of and from which puer-like images of soul generated by a mythic figure such as (Hermes) emerge? The esteemed author/astrologer/educator Richard Tarnas, might say that I’m in the grip of a major astro/psychological archetypal complex! And… he would be correct!

Yes, this archetypal astrological union of  Father (Saturn) teacher Mercury (Hermes) communicator, & guide of souls, together within the in-depth Scorpionic land of Hades /Pluto satisfies Tarnas’ wonderful definition of the astrological term “archetypal complex” like nobody’s business. And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now, for a bit of plain English translation for those not so astrologically inclined. Hillman’s ideas, words, writing, humor, and originations from the depths, are all metaphorical instruments and manifestations of Hermes. How very lucky am I to be endlessly guided, fathered and taught by these. Hillman was/is my ultimate, Saturnian, senexy, father figure and teacher, with a sprinkling of Puer (eternal youth) thrown in for good seasoning! His Hades-based (Scorpionic), fatherly (Saturnine) ideas/teachings, ignite my own Hermetic, Scorpionic Mercury, allowing for seemingly endless excursions into and out of Hades’/Pluto’s underworld, and Scorpionic realm of soul. For a Scorpio, such as myself, despite or perhaps because, of that exquisite agony, it doesn’t get any better than that!  It is appropriate, then, is it not, to cry occasionally over and during the activation of such psychological depths? Doesn’t it makes sense, that every once in a while, and most especially on Father’s Day, that I, this eternally, psychologically and personally, fatherless daughter currently resisting her way to Cronehood, react to those impulses sent to her from the underworld land of Hades/Pluto?

Astrological images of soul are gifts from the underworld.  They are borne on the wings of dark angels and delivered by the winged god, Hermes/Mercury. They originate from a dream-laden, dark, mysterious, invisible realm and have their origins and being in psychic life. Our engagement with them affords clues to our fate, our calling, our souls. To this time-weary, eccentric, psychotherapist/astrologer, recently referred to in passing by a colleague as “that shrink who sculpts,” these Hillmanian, imaginal gifts by proxy are welcome on Father’s Day or any day.

Judith Harte

Father’s Day – June 21, 2015
— all rights reserved

JameHillmanDisplaySmallSculpture: Bas Relief portrait of James Hillman
Soul to the World – Judith Harte – Artist

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