More Active Imagination with the Explorer

December 13, 2013

The idea of the explorer is developing as a prominent theme in the active imagination that is inspired by my art. On November 26, I recorded a monologue by the explorer who has figured in much of my active imagination. I have since transcribed it and am presenting it below. If you wish to follow all of the active imagination and inner dialogue about the explorer in the order it was created check out my page “Fantasy/Fables/Fiction” where you’ll find links to all the postings on this theme in chronological order.


When I returned to the capital city I immediately went to my old friend Dr. Higgins, who had some expertise in tropical parasites. He confirmed what I had suspected, that the parasites were gone; and then, after testing me, we had a bit of a conversation. He asked me if I had accomplished what I had set out to do in my exploration, and I said, “No, I had met this medicine man but really felt I never could attain his confidence and learn what plants and other medical substances he might be using.”

He replied, “You know, I think there’s no need for you to go into the jungle. Some of the natives have come to the capital city. They have a house on the south side where they are seeing patients, and the reports that come from these patients show that the natives are having quite marvelous success. You could go and make an appointment there.”

I thought about this for a bit. “But I don’t have any particular symptoms I might report to them.”

“Oh, they’ll see you anyway. They see everyone. They always seem to find something that helps people, at least that’s the reports I get,” and he showed me a little clipping from a newspaper, which he copied on a photocopier and gave to me. It said “The Healing Center” with an address and a phone.

I waited a whole week before I called, but I got a pleasant woman on the line who said that if I came for an initial visit the time would take three hours; it would include a spa treatment and a meeting with a healer; and the cost would be $30. This amazed me that it should be so small, but she assured me that that would be the cost for me. I don’t know how she determined that or what was behind such a low cost. I knew they were quite successful. I had asked around and obtained some reports that confirmed what Dr. Higgins had said.

I arrived at the appointed hour, about ten in the morning, expecting to be there until one, and was ushered into what looked like a men’s locker room with small lockers. There I met a man with somewhat dark skin wearing what looked like a loose, old-fashioned bathing suit, the kind that went from the shoulders down to below the hips. He was very cordial. He told me to put my valuables and all the things in my pockets into a small locker which he would lock and give me the key. He advised me then to put my shoes in a separate bag and all my clothes into another bag. He noted that they were all washable, and I confirmed this. He said the clothes would be washed and returned to me at the end of the session. They didn’t want any residue of disease from my clothes to interfere with the healing, so everyone got clean clothes on leaving their sessions.

He told me that after I had taken off all my clothes, I should go into their steam room and stay there ten minutes, and then come out ready for my spa treatment. I did this, all the time wondering what would happen. The steam room was really quite hot but not unbearable, and after ten minutes I heard the sound of a bell. The man came in and ushered me out into an area where there were a number of massage tables. He told me to lie down on one of them, face down. There was a hole in the table for my face, rather than a face cradle. The massage table was covered with cloth except for the place for my face. I felt quite comfortable. He began to soap my body up and using very rough cloth to massage it. The only treatment that I can remember like this was a massage I had experienced one time in New York City by a Korean masseur. He worked all over my back and then I could feel water spraying on me – first warm water and then cold water. Then he told me to turn over. He put a warm towel over my face and worked over my front the same way. His hands never touched my penis, but the cloth that he was using to massage me certainly did, so it was cleaned along with everything else. He removed the towel from my face and massaged it with cloth, avoiding my eyes and really giving my whole face and head a good massage. He rinsed me again with warm water and then with cold water. Then he had me stand up, and he took warm towels and dried me off. All of this left me feeling very good and very energized.

Then he gave me the kind of garment he was wearing. I put it on by stepping into it and bringing the straps up over my shoulders. He gave me a pair of the socks used in hospitals which have tread on the bottom to enable you to walk without sleeping. Then he showed me an assortment of kaftans. They were really very beautiful, but not too overly ornate. He had me select one, and I put it on. He said that now we would go to meet my healer.

She turned out to be a woman also wearing a kaftan similar to mine – but a little bit more ornate, as might befit a woman. She greeted me warmly with a smile and identified herself as Matta. She said that, as this was my first session, I should fill out some papers – the kind you might except to fill out at the first visit to a doctor’s office – a brief medical history along with my name and address and phone. I filled all this out and gave it back to her and she thanked me and looked it over rather slowly. She probably took four or five minutes while I sat in a chair feeling comfortable but also with a little bit of anxiety.

Then suddenly she looked up and said, “Tell me about your seventh grade teacher.” I was flabbergasted. How did she know my seventh grade teacher was the one teacher I felt had disciplined me unfairly. I told the whole story and really felt some anger over this teacher’s unfairness and my own inability to stand up for myself and tell her that she was being unfair. The healer gave me and a gentle, loving smile. At the end she asked, “Are you willing to release the emotional energy that you have from this?” and I said yes. Then she walked around behind me and placed her hands on my shoulders. I felt a very strong healing, like the energy was being released. I felt good about this.

Then she asked some other pointed questions. She asked about my grandmother, and it brought me back to a time when I was much younger and my grandmother lived with us. She was blind and couldn’t care for herself and finally died – both the blindness and her death being associated with a diabetic condition that had induced gangrene in her legs. The healer asked about my feelings about this and I found myself crying, though I had never cried at the time she died – not when my mother told me she had died, not when they called the doctor who came to confirm her death, not when the undertaker came, or even during the funeral; but now I was feeling what a sad life she had lived, I never knew her husband, my paternal grandfather, because he died when my father was very young. I felt all of the sadness of that death and of her living alone raising my father and then when he left to go to the university and into a seminary, keeping a house just for herself until she could no longer do that because of the onset of blindness.

Then my father would bring her to stay with us for a while in a very small apartment and then bring her to stay with her sister and move her back and forth until he was able to buy a large house and she came to live with us and occupied the second largest of the bedrooms. She remained there until she died except for a few stays in the hospital where they felt they could not do anything because amputating the leg would do no good and could be too much of a shock for her. So she was on painkillers until she died. I found myself crying over what a sad life she lived, and again the healer asked if I could release that energy. She placed one hand on my left shoulder, and I felt the energy releasing. This time it was different. I had felt the anger energy go out from my belly. This energy was going out of my heart. I was sitting there with my eyes closed. I opened my eyes just for a second and noticed that the healer was holding one hand in front of my heart.

At the end the healer looked me quite directly in the eye and said, “I think you would benefit from another session,” and I nodded. She took out an appointment book and asked if I could come back in a week. I agreed.

Then she said, “I’m also going to give you some herbal tea that I think could help you. It’s primarily cinnamon and clove, but there are a few very tiny amounts of other herbs in it. They will not harm you. They should not give you diarrhea or any other bad symptoms, though if they do you could call us.” She gave me a box with some powder in it and said to use one teaspoon in a cup of hot water and have no more than three cups a day. “But once a day is enough if that’s what you choose.”

With that I was led back to the entrance of the locker room and I met the man who had done the spa treatment, and he warmly greeted me and said, “I forgot to tell you that my name is Jacques,” He shook my hand and brought me to where my clothes were laid out all quite nicely washed and pressed. My shoes had been shined and everything was right by the locker that had my personal things in it. He said, “I’ll leave you to get dressed and you can come out and see the receptionist just for a moment before you leave.”

I did that, and when I came out to the receptionist said, “Your fee is $30 for today,” so I paid her and she said, “I see you have another appointment in a week,” and she marked that down on a little card. She seemed very professional, and I left feeling very peaceful.

I called up Dr. Higgins and told him all that had happened; and he said, “Yes, this seems to be what everybody feels, and everybody who goes there leaves feeling better.” And indeed the glow lasted a day or two, though after some time I did begin to notice other things bothering me – mostly emotions regarding my lack of success as an explorer – feeling that I wasn’t really finding what I wanted. Even though I’d had some amazing experiences, my exploration hadn’t left me with any sense of deep satisfaction. I looked forward to the session that would come the following week

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