Sansaku: Far From Certain
Coyote was sitting in his spot on the top of the hill. Gretel sat beside him. Down below the noise from a patriotic parade and fireworks, but the paradox of distance was at play. What’s far away looks small, like the dark clouds on the horizon.
The King had come to town and people wanted to see for themselves. Great mirrors surrounded the King and they were painted to reflect what he wanted to see. It depended on what side of the street you stood. They shouted back and forth, fake and real.
“Can you see the Beast?” Coyote asked her. She didn’t know what he meant and Coyote realized she lacked the vision to see. “I’m going to give you one of my eyes,” and the Coyote eye entered her mindsight. Gretel said, “Here, let me give you one of mine.”
Coyote thought twice before accepting the gift. It came with a price.
When Gretel mentioned the smog that enveloped the valley, Coyote said, “Smog, that’s a good name for the Beast.” And now that she looked a little closer, she could see Smog looked like the shadow of some dark being.
Coyote, who was now in her mind, said, “It’s like a spider’s web and everyone’s caught within it.” Gretel thought, “We need to get out of here and head for the hills. We should probably go fetch Hansel.”
“That’s the problem,” said Coyote, “there’s no need to leave or go anywhere. The shadow cloud is everywhere. That’s why I’ve come. It’s all around and circles us.”
He described how the forest was slowly then quickly disappearing. The shadow cloud sickened the trees and killed off some of the oldest and best. It’s like a cancer and can’t stop growing and spreading. Doesn’t it know it’s killing itself.”
Gretel said, “If we can’t run away and hide, where do we go?” She knew almost as soon as she said it where they’d make a stand. “We’re headed toward the center, aren’t we?” Absolutely.
Smog clouded the sky and the mind, deep memory went dark. Coyote thought the great gift, imagination, had been poisoned. “The People no longer believe in the Dragon, the one who lives in dreamtime. She’s the Great Mother creator and the one who sent me here.”
The eye that Gretel gave him understood. Instead of a gingerbread house for the starving, the Beast lured the People with new cars and crap they didn’t need. It promised them their heart’s desire, and soul was the price they paid. Coyote felt great grief.
I haven’t read the book since childhood, but I’ve seen the movie any number of times. After Dorothy kills the two witches in Oz, both by accident, she discovers she has the power and means, “There’s no place like home.” She sees the sacred characters now in the common light. Even the witch is there and she knows what to do.
She says, “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with. And this is my room, and you’re all here, and I’m not going to leave here ever.”
I don’t think so. Once you’ve been to Oz, the old black and white world of television Kansas just won’t do. But she does have it right. She need go no further than her own backyard. She’s never really lost it.
Jung didn’t say it quite like this, but the unconscious needed to be humanized. And it was far from certain whether we would learn to love or not.