#344 – Archetypal Phenomena Surrounding Death with Monika Wikman, PhD
A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.shrinkrapradio.com
March 28, 2013http://the-formula.org/jungian-analyst-monica-wikman-on-archetypal-phenomena-surrounding-death/
Dr. Dave: What’s the relationship between dreams and NDEs — Near Death Experiences?
Monika Wikman: Well, if you work with your dreams it can really help you to be open and more conscious to be able to track when you’re having near-death experiences, so that is like literally exercising a muscle. It’s a part of us that can learn to be aware and hold consciousness around this field — this phenomenological field of where symbols and images come from. So, I think for people who have near death experiences… many people have them but they don’t remember them and how sad that is. So, they come back, they don’t remember what happened but if you can remember it — come back — then you have a solid sense of presence and even a teaching that came to you, through you, about while you’re still in your incarnation. So dreams are a way to learn how to tend that border between worlds and also have an easier time when it comes to either literally dying or getting into near death experiences. That was certainly true for me and it’s certainly been true for people I’ve worked with.
Dr. Dave: Yeah, I want to go back to that magical period that you mentioned where you had been given a two week death sentence and then somehow you went into complete remission. Was there any internal or archetypal experience around that to announce it, herald it, guide you through it — what happened?
Monika Wikman: Yeah, gosh, well I have recent experiences too of having been sick recently, like in the past three years and I seem to end up working on this borderland, so I’m thinking of those as well. When this happened back in the eighties I had had many dreams of course throughout the process that really were guiding me and I stayed on a really good diet, which most people do these days, just trying to bring consciousness up and since life’s about awakening I was busy, I knew that this was a crisis of awakening, no matter what, live or die. It was about working to save, quote, ‘my life’ whether I died or didn’t die, I needed to really wake up and so I was busy doing that in every medium I could think of — in yoga and diet and changing my life in radical ways, changing relationship patterns. I moved to Colorado to live in Crested Butte, in the middle of nowhere ‘cause I knew that was going to be part of the monk life that would help me heal. I got a horse. So I was doing all this at the same time as I had stage four ovarian cancer and I had a process of dreams telling me also kind of step by step to get out of the treatment. The treatment was not helping me, the medical results were very clear, that chemotherapy was not helping me and it was horrific at that time. For stage four ovarian cancer it was cytoxins, platinum and adriamycin and all just killer chemicals so you don’t want to take that if it’s not working.
Dr. Dave: Definitely.
Monika Wikman: So anyway, it was dreams that actually were speaking to me with a really deep inner authority that got me out of doing this and the reason I go to this when you ask me about what happened in the very end, is that it was a constant building of an inner authority presence that was bigger than my ego and bigger than self doubt and bigger than orientation of positive psychology, or trying to conjure confidence or courage — beyond any of that.
This inner authority of the Self was growing behind things and it helped me. Literally I was riding the elevator to go to the hospital to take the sixth treatment of chemotherapy and as I was riding the elevator I heard this voice say ‘you’re not doing this, you’re done.’ And it was so strong, so strong and centered a voice, that its authority I really could not debate. I stepped off the elevator and went ‘oh, my God, I’m not doing this!’
So I went to tell the doctors ‘I’m not doing this’ and they had said ‘well, listen you might be having a breakdown’ and I said ‘well, that’s fine but I’m still not doing this.’
And I still wanted the medical tests because I still want to keep track as by biofeedback to know how the cancer is doing and I’d like to use other mediums and see what might happen. So that’s what I did, I ended up still using the medical tests so when I was living in Colorado and I’d gotten extremely sick I’d gotten to where I knew that it had gotten much worse — it was very clear and I decided to go back and get some tests in San Diego, so I went back to San Diego and I could hardly stay awake, I had headaches, I couldn’t eat, it was very clear I was fading and I was 28 at the time and it was the fourth year into this process and I remember going to the doctor’s office — Dr. White in San Diego was the second opinion person telling me the same thing for the second time that day, that you have about two weeks to live. This is where the CA 125 markers are and this is it.
So my partner at the time, Ray Hillis, drove me into the desert — I had said ‘let’s just drive all night into New Mexico, let’s just get out under the stars, let’s just get on the open road while we get some room to breathe.’
And we didn’t own a place in New Mexico at the time, we ended up buying a place later in New Mexico, which is where I still live. We drove all night, we ended up, without knowing it, on the edge of the Hopi and Navajo nation. We parked under the stars in the back of a pick up truck, poor Ray was very tired, I suddenly woke up and when I woke up, I realized that ‘oh, my God I wasn’t going to be awake much longer,’ that I was so exhausted by the whole process of this and I was just digesting the news I’d gotten in San Diego, so what I did is, of course, what people have done throughout time and it’s highly recommendable — just cry out.
Talk about humble ground — in my mind’s eye, I think about an image from ancient Egypt that shows the supplicant whose in the process of dying and she’s beautifully down on her knees with her nose at the river of life and on the other side is the God, Sobek who’s going to help her in the passage and this is an archetypal reality for all of us. As soon as this boundary between life and death appears, we ought to be finding that religious attitude that Jung so deeply speaks about and get to the water of life. Get down on our hands and knees and ask for help and there I was crying inside my heart and soul in the back of the truck as Ray was sleeping and I had my dog at my feet, Kiever, (sp?) a little red husky wolf pup at my feet and as I cried out I was just saying ‘I can’t do this alone’ and I suddenly feel very alone. The whole four years I felt these presences that were there to help me and in this moment I didn’t know where that presence had gone and I just was crying out for help.
And in my mind’s eye too I was thrashing, I was saying ‘oh, I could get back to the cabin and I can do more of the diet and yoga’ and all the rationalizing that goes on for all of us at this border of… you know, ‘I could still apply more energy’ and of course there was no more energy to apply. The ego was completely defeated, there was nothing left I could do and so then I started calling out to the goddess in every name I could think of and as I did that, this presence… I felt a presence with me and then a whole of field of the subtle body — a visionary field inside the subtle body state, appeared in front of me and gave me a series of visions and a series of messages and experiences, one by one, by one, by one and I thought as they were unfolding…
Now I’d never done any hallucinogens but I had done all this dream work so I was prepared to be present to this. I’d done active imagination, I’d been working with the subtle body in active imagination and dreams, so when these visions came I knew to take a deep breath, stay present for them, that it was really something very important not to be anxious of and so as it unfolded, the message was to surrender. At one point I saw this giant scarab beetle sitting in front of me, floating in front of me and the message was to make peace with the spirit of this creature and down into the earth it went and it called me also to go with it to go down into the earth and once I was down in under the earth, it was this energy field that was breaking apart everything. It’s like what death was — it breaks apart everything and became one with everything and suddenly everything I was getting ecstatically released and it was tremendous freedom, tremendous light, a feeling of peace. Sound and vibration came out of this and this whole field of sound and vibration started just emanating and grew and a series of other visions then came in.
Now I thought, with my rational mind that was looking in on this, the observer was saying ‘well, you’re dying and this is the death process and just go through all of this if you can and if you can, come out of it at the end and wake Ray up and tell him what happened so everybody you love knows that death is not to be feared and that they know that your death wasn’t to be feared and in fact was beautiful, that much about (?) even the passage. So that was my heart’s intent as this was unfolding and at one point, a certain creature came with a light force field and lit up my subtle body and all the chakras and my body was lit up and I could see it lit up in my then partner Ray and I could see it in my dog Kiever and I looked out under the night sky and I could see liquid silver drops, the divine feminine raining out of the sky and dropping into all of matter and all of matter was black and dead but once the drops of silver dropped into it all, it all took on an ecstatic hum and music and a subtle body state and it all went into an ecstatic reverie and it took on the sound tone of Om and just echoing, resounding and of course this was all so big, the perception so beyond the time-space world, so beyond my little mortal ego who’s getting news and wondering if she’s going to live. It was such a field of energy, so healing and so big.
I really thought I was dying so when I came out of this, I of course woke Ray up and told him every piece of what had happened so that he could commit it to memory because I found it to be so beautiful and he did and of course I went to sleep and then the next day I actually woke up, I felt a little better, I actually felt like eating something for the first time and slowly but surely I got myself back to my cabin in Colorado and then step by step came to take medical tests in Gunnerson (?) and one by one, found out that in fact I no longer had ovarian cancer…