Blue Bird

Artwork and haiku by Anne Lyon

My last post encouraged you to contemplate about what is your own ‘secret of true freedom.’  I was overjoyed to hear from one reader, my dear cousin Anne, who is an amazing artist. The picture and quote above is from Anne—her response to the post from her artwork.

It is ironic—or divine inspiration—as I shared with Anne, that her image is that of a bluebird, because unbeknownst to her, a Bluebird has long been, for me, a special sign: a harbinger of everything being okay; herald of being watched over and loved.

Many years ago I had a vision upon waking: I looked up and saw this six-foot tall Blue Bird—with a blue macaw body and a farseeing, knowing look—standing at a skylight window over my bed, though I did not physically have a skylight window. The Blue Bird was protecting me like a Guardian Spirit, an image of my inner spiritual Guide.  Ever since, I take special notice and feel deeply grateful whenever a Bluebird appears in my life; whether it be a bird in nature or appearing as a special ‘waking dream’ sign such as my cousin Anne’s beautiful artwork.

So I want to acknowledge not just the Blue Bird totem but also Anne’s wise haiku, the secret of true freedom she shares with us:

“Freedom Lies in Me
To Choose Again and Again
Landing on My Feet.”
– Anne Lyon

Create a Totem of Your Goal Achieved


An elixir is a potion or aid you receive from achieving some degree of fulfillment along the path to attain your highest goal.  The elixir is like an alchemical agent in that it raises your energy levels, your awareness, to a higher plane that you have attained with your accomplishment. So you come away from the ordeal you have successfully met with a greater power of insight or a force of greater love that you can carry forward with you on the next leg of your Journey.

A Totem is an image or object you can literally plant in your ‘growing space’ or carry with you as a reminder of the qualities you have gained and of your higher Goal.  It could be something as simple as a talisman, like a necklace amulet, pin, or charm bracelet representing the qualities or goal you wish to focus upon.  It could also be a collage of images you compose and place in a highly visible personal space to serve as a Vision board. (I do these often and pin them on my office bulletin board).


Totems are anchors that “ground” your vision and amplify your intentions like a magnifying glass that concentrates the rays of the Sun.

To create a personal Totem of your goal or aspiration, whether that be a concrete objective or a value you wish to strengthen day to day, find or create an object, or create a collage of images that will remind you to center your attention on your ideal.


With online imagery such as at or with clipart, it is easy to find images to represent your goal or the values you aim to strengthen.  I recommend placing an image or photograph of the goal or value itself, or of yourself having achieved this goal, in the center of the page to form a mandala composition.  You can surround that central image with additional images that represent how you are to attain this level of fulfillment and what will be the outcomes when you do!


Place your collage or object somewhere that you will see it often. It could be at your office or in your bedroom or kitchen, somewhere you spend a lot of time thinking about your goal and actively pursuing that.  Or you could wear your totem talisman close to your heart or on your person. It could be private, like a special stone that you carry in your pocket, or even a personal mantra or prayer or poem that you repeat inwardly as you move through the day or before sleeping at night.


Your totem can be any means of focusing your intentions deeply. This plants your intention in the loam of your everyday life, infusing your activities with a greater sense of mission, of value and purpose, and of unconditional love.  For no one but you can fulfill your deepest Soul objectives, which enhance not only your own capacity to live but your determination to serve Life Itself.


images are from

I value your Comments and stories!

Jung’s RED BOOK: Using Mandalas to Ground Your Awareness


Today I want to discuss Jung’s RED BOOK (or, Liber Novus; 2009) as an example of how to use Totemic Representation to ground and illuminate your personal growth and development.

For a series of evenings starting from November 23 – December 25, 1913, just before the outbreak of WWI,then continuing for 16 years off and on after that, Carl G. Jung, founder of Depth, or Analytical, Psychology and the primary pioneer in the field of archetypal research, undertook an adventurous odyssey; he dived into the netherworlds of his own unconscious depths, and he returned to integrate his dreamlike encounters with the denizens of his unconscious domains within his conscious awareness. Using a form of contemplative practice that he termed “active imagination,” Jung sank willingly into a dreamlike awareness in order to encounter aspects and personae of his own Psyche that he would refer to as Archetypes.


 To Jung, Archetypes exist in a “collective unconscious” dimension; that is, similar archetypal images or forms are found all over the world and often appear in myths and dreams in similar ways and with similar meanings, although the individual appearance of an archetype might have very individual, personal form and specific cultural relevance. Jung identified several collective archetypes in his active imagination scenarios: an Anima (feminine aspect of a man’s Psyche), Shadow forms, and a Mage sort of figure represented in Jung’s experiences as a philosophical guide or guru figure, Philemon. He also experienced many fairly idiosynchratic figures related to his personal relationships and to his academic, religious, and literary background studies.

Religious stained glass windows

Some of Jung’s archetypal encounters lasted for several nights at a time, weaving a meaningful story.  Every night after his active imagination session, Jung recorded what he had experienced—including dialogue that had occurred with his archetypal figures—in a special journal he called his Red Book. He would sometimes paint some of the content of his experience in the Red Book, too. Every time a storyline had revealed its full significance to Jung, when he came out of his reveries that night he painted a special artistic image to represent his understanding of that archetypal encounter in the form of a circular Mandala (see link).


A Mandala is a universal sort of artistic image, created in a Circular form within what might be a 4-corner outer frame and with a center image around which the rest of the picture aligns. Tibetan monks and Navajo Indian healers alike use Mandalas in healing and centering rituals. Mandalas represent Balance and the organized coherence and integration of what might otherwise be considered disjoint or even chaotic elements or forces. To Jung, his Red Book mandalas represented the “integration” of archetypal energies within his own Psyche or Soul as he came into greater understanding of their presence and significance.  This process of integrating archetypal energy forms is crucial within Jung’s broader psychological theory of Individuation which he developed more completely after completing his Red Book ‘Descent’ and reemergence.

Jung’s Red Book mandalas—which I can link to only indirectly here so as not to infringe on copyrights—are an excellent form of totemic representation. They served to literally ILLUMINATE the shadowy unconscious forms that might appear in Carl Jung’s dreams and reveries. The process of arranging these archetypal images in Mandala forms revealed the deeper significance of these forms to Jung; it represented the integrationof their MEANINGS within Jung’s holistic understanding of his own Psyche or Self.

Gate to Heaven Fantasy Background

I certainly recommend reading Jung’s Red Book (there is a new Readers’ Edition available that makes this precious gem more accessible and affordable). Even more,I encourage you to engage in an ‘active imagination’ exploration of your own archetypal depths. In Life Paths–also in the next year of this blog that will begin in a couple of weeks from now— I’ll be offering an Archetype Dialogue process to help you discover aspects of your own unconscious archetypal influences that can be thought of as your own ensemble cast of archetypal Ally characters.

For now, though, I invite you to create a MANDALA to represent your LIFE DREAM. Place an image that represents your GOAL ACHIEVED (how you will feel or what your life will be like when you have fully integrated your Life Dream into your daily reality) in the center of a blank page. Around this Life Dream image, place other images or words and phrases to represent significant aspects of this Dream or representing the steps you can take to manifest your Life Dream.  You can refer to last week’s “Yellow Brick Road” and “Your Next Step” blog posts to find or develop material to use in filling out your totemic Life Dream Mandala image.


I welcome your Mandala image or comments!

Anchor Your Dream to a Totem


Goals may come and goals may go, but a worthy Life Dream deserves persistence, patience and flexibility. Because it may take quite some time to manifest your Life Dream fully, as you gradually live into this Dream it is important for you to “anchor” or ground your Dream in mindful consciousness. That means you will want to keep your Life Dream in view, always, no matter where you are at in the process of manifesting this reality.


Anthropologists have long observed that humans around the world and from the very earliest times have learned to ground their goals as well as their primary group values by using TOTEMS. A totem is what Emile Durkheim called a “symbolic representation.” It is a symbolic object or artistic expression that reminds someone of the idea or goal in a meaningful way, thus reinforcing the significance of that being represented.  Religious symbols, such as sculpted icons of religious figures like saints or gods, remind believers of the values associated with that figure and might also be a central symbol around which a congregation will socially bond. Or a rabbit’s foot may symbolize the sort of “luck” a baseball player might wish to have by keeping this talisman in his or her pocket while playing ball.


I believe once you have established a meaningful Life Dream—one that accords with your highest sense of Purpose or Mission in your life—, this can become a focal point for much that is Sacred in your own Life Story.  To center your dedication and focus around manifesting this Life Dream, I encourage you to create a TOTEM (or a set of totems) that represent key attributes of your Dream in symbolic form.


Your Life Dream Totem can take whatever form feels appropriate to you and that form might depend on what features or aspects of your Dream you are wishing to anchor.  For example, if you relate a particular Archetypal aspect of your Self with your Life Dream, you might represent your Dream totemically by creating or obtaining something symbolic of that Archetype. If an archetype you associate with your life mission, for instance, is a Warrior, maybe you could use a Lion, or a sword, to represent that. If it is a Lover archetype you are identifying with, maybe a Heart image of some sort will work; or if it is a Communicator or a Teacher archetype, you can find or create symbolic totems to remind you of these personal attributes important to you for manifesting your Dream.

 easter island

So what Life Dream do you aim to manifest in your life? What is one (or more than one) key value or major ideal that you associate with your goal? You may create or find some object that represents this value clearly to keep as a Totem.

Does your Life Dream relate to strengthening or expressing one or more archetypal aspects of your Psyche? (The twelve universal archetype forms I have identified through this blog site—based on the archetypal psychology of Dr. Charles Bebeau and his consociates—include: Elder Leader, Lover, Warrior, Nurturer, Artist, Idealist, Golden Child, Descender, Teacher, Communicator, Healer, Mystic.) If so, you can represent your archetypal Allies totemically, too. For instance, you could create a pendant or a charm bracelet with charms that represent your archetypal character strengths, and wear this necklace or bracelet to remind you always of these important internal aspects of your identity that you aim to deepen and strengthen as you realize your golden ambitions.


Have fun with this. Imagine and create or obtain the “perfect” Totem for your Life Dream. This can help to anchor your attention so that you always remember what you are aiming to realize in or about your life, from day to day!  Next week–the final week of this Life Mapping series before a new annual round is to begin at Better Endings–is about how to Live Your Dream, Now! So this week I am inviting you to find that perfect Totem you can carry forward with you in manifesting your Life Dream both in consciousness and in the reality of your active life, to express your high values and your meaningful purpose. You can root yourself in your Totem to help to nurture and focus on the beauty and integrity of your unique and fulfilling Life Dream.

Blue Nature Plants Abstract Background

I invite YOUR Comments and your Stories!