The American Book of the Dead


I have been having a bit of the dark night of the soul. I will tell you the things I have been on my mind:

I have been interacting with a lot of media about the dead. And inside myself I am coming to terms with an unsettledness and an anxiety about my personal history, my ancestry, my cultural heritage… and this anxiety comes from not looking at it. In America there is so much that is dead and it is not at rest. Racial injustice and violence, economic injustice and violence, gender/sexuality injustice and violence… and so forth. This is the dead that has not been honored. How do we honor the dead? Retributive Justice is a way of honoring the dead. That in order to maintain the equilibrium of the cosmos (from greek meaning order), some actions need to be done – i order to honor the dead. The action can be attention, or focus, or it can be punishment. Over the weekend I read Lament of the Dead, a discussion of Jung’s Red Book between James Hillman and Sonu Shamdasani.

Thinking about the penal system in the context of notion of honoring the dead makes us rethink who we should be punishing and what are the historical imbalances that are contributing to the overriding sense of injustice in our society and the industrial-prison complex. Our society is out of balance but the legal system will not fix it. In order to fix it we have to connect with the dead.

What I am thinking about right now:

what is my heart (versus a something that I am inspired by that I deceive myself into thinking it comes from my heart)

the/my ancestors

community (what is it, how it is formed) / education

intention vs expectation

what are my gifts