NOTES FROM THE PORTLAND UNDERWORLD
The city I live in, Portland, Oregon, has been making headline news all over the world quite often these days. We are currently experiencing a natural disaster the likes of which I imagine could only happen in a dystopian, Philip K. Dickian Sci-Fi novel. Wildfires have ignited all over the west coast of the United States and are now on the outskirts of Portland. Living in the middle of a major American city, I never expected to even have to seriously consider - what would I take with me if I received the news that I had to immediately evacuate?
The air is so filled with smoke from the fires that it is dangerous to go outside; I recoil the first instant I open the door. For the moment the outside world has become uninhabitable. For the last few days Portland had the worst air quality of any city on planet earth. At least during the coronavirus lock-down we could take refuge by going for a walk outside and breathing the fresh air; now even that’s been taken away. It is like the apocalypse is at my front door. Even locking the doors and windows doesn’t keep the smoke out; the smoke seeps through the cracks, finding its way into my house. I have no doubt that the smoke from the fires, considered toxic, has seeped into my body, into my lungs, into my cells. The dangerous poison isn’t just “in the air,” it IS the air itself, it’s in the breath of life itself. There doesn’t seem anywhere to escape its effects. When I ask myself what the deeper meaning of this is, I feel that I can no longer hide from facing something deep within myself. 
This feels like a slowly unfolding natural disaster that is nonlocal – it is everywhere, simply in different forms depending upon where you are. It seemed like just the other day we were dealing with numerous hurricanes. More and more we hear about how this is climate change—whether we deny it or not—coming to a theater near you! 
Add to this that every night for over three months there have been protests and/or riots in Portland. It’s as if Portland is a looking glass that is revealing that the social fabric of our society—and our ability to have a civil discourse—is unraveling. It’s easy to forget that on top of this we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. And that the economy is melting down and unemployment and homelessness is going through the roof. And the threat of nuclear war is increasing – the doomsday clock has never been as close to midnight. Not to mention that fascism is spreading its roots all over the world. And don’t even get me going about the upcoming American presidential election. It feels like we are going through a shamanic death/rebirth experience, and are currently in the middle of our descent into the dark underworld of the unconscious. 
We tend to think of the times before the pandemic as if they were “normal” – and yet, let us not forget, the “good old days” were as over-the-top crazy as humanity still is. Our species is suffering from—and acting out all over the world—a collective psychosis of Titanic proportions. We don’t even recognize this, as our insanity has become normalized, but think that the problem—and the solution—is outside of ourselves, which is not only an expression of our madness, but endlessly feeds it.  
I remember before the pandemic emerged in our world, I was thinking of writing an article about the Biblical locust plague that was happening in East Africa (which has now been spreading to other countries), as this seemed so symbolic of the mythic times in which we are living. It feels like we are living in the prophesied end times. To say that what is happening in our world feels apocalyptic is not hyperbole, but accurate – this is exactly the inner meaning of the word “apocalypse:” the unveiling and revelation of what has been hidden. Whereas in religious language the apocalypse has to do with the Incarnation of God and the coming of a savior figure such as the Messiah, psychologically speaking, “the apocalypse” means the momentous, world-shattering event of the coming of “the Self” (our wholeness) into conscious realization.
Humanity is dreaming about—literally thirsting for—a savior. The figure of the savior emerges and is born in times of lawlessness and iniquity. Like a compensation in a dream, the archetype of the savior typically becomes activated—practically summoned—in an extremely disorienting and troubled epoch such as ours. To quote the doctor of the soul C. G. Jung, "But, in the end, the hero, the leader, the savior, is one who discovers a new way to greater certainty. Everything could be left undisturbed did not the new way demand to be discovered, and did it not visit humanity with all the plagues of Egypt until it finally is discovered. The undiscovered vein within us is a living part of the psyche." The savior, the one who “discovers a new way,” is always the figure who makes the impossible possible. 
Seen through the eyes of “symbolic awareness” (which is to see this life as if it’s a dream and interpreting it as such so as to extract a deeper sense of meaning from our experience), we are dreaming up multiple modern day “plagues of Egypt” to help us wake up to something unconscious within us. It’s interesting that Jung chose to use the image of a “vein,” for veins bring the essence of life—blood—symbolically considered the seat of the soul, throughout the living body. 
To amplify this image symbolically, there is a heretofore unknown life-enhancing vein within the human psyche in and through which the savior is to be found. The ultimate savior is never to be found outside, its true abode is within ourselves. Mythologically, the savior typically arises out of the most insignificant, unexpected and unlikely thing imaginable. No one knows where, when and in what form the savior will appear. Maybe it, too, can seep through the cracks in our minds that are produced as a result of these apocalyptic times we are living through. We should be mindful, on the alert, keeping our eyes—and minds—open.
A pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence, Paul Levy is a wounded healer in private practice, assisting others who are also awakening to the dreamlike nature of reality. He is the founder of the Awakening in the Dream Community in Portland, Oregon. Paul is the author of The Quantum Revelation: A Radical Synthesis of Science and Spirituality (SelectBooks, May, 2018), Awakened by Darkness: When Evil Becomes Your FatherDispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil and The Madnethss of George W. Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis. An artist, he is deeply steeped in the work of C. G. Jung, and has been a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner for over thirty years.

Please visit Paul's website www.awakeninthedream.com. You can contact Paul at paul@awakeninthedream.com; he looks forward to your reflections. © Copyright 2020.