Daimon Publishers

Pilgrimage to the Rebirth
Erlo Van Waveren



This book is written out of the pain of the inner man. I belong to those who have been forced to travel a road of self-awareness and, in doing so, I have had to become better acquainted with the Self, that composite nucleus which holds my very essence. Not everybody has to make the journey I have logged here. I offer this tale to those whose need for inner contact has made itself known.

This inner journey is an ancient road. Thousands upon thousands have had to face the realities of the spirit knowingly, but millions upon millions have trod the same road without realizing where they were going or what was happening to them.

The language of this road is always symbolic: the directions are seldom received in direct communication.

My travels through the ages past, my contacts with my inner signposts, my angels, my Christ, the symbols of Aquarius and of the Piscean Age, the divine language of the deep layers of the unconscious, all have come to me through words I often could not comprehend until I became aware that ancestral psychic components were compelling me to write a song - a song of divine and human beings, a song of agony and delight, a song of opposites in which one would balance the other.

My outer life seldom reflected these so-called poetic times. What storms were raging in my inner being! How I had to bend and buckle under those immense unconscious forces! They were unconscious at first; but slowly, as they jousted with my ego, I came to understand their purpose and to realize that this was a symbolic quest.

They told me a story of change, a story of the endless changes of life, a story of death and rebirth. I became aware of the cosmic paths of our sun through the Houses of the Zodiac, and how, with that cosmic rotation, our Sun-God has to go through his evolution in order to experience through man the changes inherent in his own Being.

In this endless round of change, on the wheel of life, I found myself bound - bound tightly to the cosmic changes and the consequent personal changes in my own poor, limited mind.

I suffered, I groaned, but relentlessly the great Song of my Soul kept pounding its rhythms in the almost incomprehensible language of the symbol.

So here I give you the Song of my Soul. I hope it will not be too painful. Perhaps you are my companion on this road; perhaps the story of this symbolic journey through my inner being is just what you need. Then you are not so alone and, for a moment, we will sing a duet, you, my reader, and I, and then silently, we will go each our own way. But you will know that somewhere there is a kindred soul who could, like a scribe, write down God's language, Soul language. And then you may understand what this song of mine is about, in spite of the many mysteries that will remain hidden from both of us.

Be willing to read the well nigh incomprehensible pilgrimage of a wayfarer in the land of his ancestors. I pray that it may bring us into a companionship - even though we may not know each other.

As this book goes out to unknown hands, I reveal my innermost agonies and delights. Guard these precious jewels well and share their worth with those you love, as deep within my heart, I love you. I give you this secret, which I have kept hidden even from myself - until today.

A Necessary Introduction

"The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the psyche, opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long before there was an ego consciousness and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego consciousness may extend."

C. G. Jung [[C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Vintage Books, New York, 1965, p. 382. ]]

In 1955, I dreamed that the Buddha appeared through a round hole - the Breathing Hole of Eternity -, stepped on the foot of my bed and then onto the floor, where he seated himself in the Lotus position. He communicated the thought that I was to seat myself in his lap and spray my semen in the form of a peacock's tail on his chest.

This dream is the unexpected demand which my wife refers to in her introduction. To me, the Buddha is a world spirit of enfolding and divine consciousness, capable of human existence. The request of that great power has been the driving force behind this revelation of my innermost being. The peacock's tail is found on many ancient tombs as a sign of rebirth.

But it all started in 1945. My wife and I were spending the weekend on the beautiful estate of Meudon on the north shore of Long Island. As I look back, it seems a long, long time ago. The estate is now Lattingtown Village. Some of our friends and acquaintances presently live facing the greenhouse gardens, another lives in the groom's house, and our oldest friend resides with her family in the butler's cottage by the small pond still there. We have all grown considerably older - and I hope wiser - since then.

I will never forget that weekend. We were staying with our friends in the groom's house, which was charmingly and simply rebuilt. The warm hospitality of our hostess, the long walks on the beach and in the woods thrust us deep in ourselves. On Monday morning, we would go back to the big city. It was in the night from Sunday to Monday that I had the Great Dream which started a new chapter in my life, bringing with it a life full of loneliness and secrecy.

I awoke that Monday morning between three and four with a terrifying shock. I had dreamed that I was on my way to primary school in my home town of Haarlem, in Holland. I was not a young schoolboy in my dream, but my own age, in the early forties. The streets were all exactly the way they still are in that old city. At the crossroads, just before the block on which my school was located, there appeared out of the sky a great fatherly figure, his head faintly outlining the sturdy contours of my father's skull. I did not see any particular features. However, I knew right away that this was a manifestation of the Godhead, - still, I called him Father Time. His legs never showed - only his immense torso and face. He stretched out his arm, right or left, I don't remember exactly - more likely the left arm - and blessed me, making the sign of the Cross. Automatically, I raised my right arm and blessed him, and while making the sign of the Cross to Him, I noticed that I had in my hand a dishmop, the kind I still use in the kitchen to wash dishes. The next moment, I was transported to the other side of life, and for an infinitesimal time, I was in the world of the dead. I felt no pain, but just the same I wept and shrieked out in agony. Again, a sudden shift in my dream brought me back to the street, and, there at the crossroads, invisible hands put me in a blue serge suit, which was rather tight on me and chafed slightly under my arms. I protested to the Heavenly Father that He changed my clothing without asking me if I wanted it changed or if I liked it. There was no answer from Him. Then He blocked the way to my school and pointed towards my right, where the old narrow streets lead to the middle of the town, the marketplace.

I woke up in sheer terror. The power of this visionary dream shook me to the bottom of my soul. I knew that I would die. I had seen the face of God. I had been in His shattering presence. It was of no help to me that the night before I had dreamt of the same street, crowded with people, carrying candles in their hands. They were celebrating a service which, for a short moment, had transported me to the land of the dead.

I got out of bed; though I am in the habit of recording my dreams, it didn't even occur to me to write this one down. Instead, I started to write my last will in the back of my dream book. In large letters, I wrote so it could not be overlooked, ever. My life would finish, if not that day then soon after. The shock was such that I didn't even tell the dream to my wife or speak of my apprehension. As Jungian analysts, my wife and I always tell each other our dreams, and our notebooks are, to this day, next to our beds.

On the way to New York City, I expected a crash. I didn't stop praying during the entire trip of one hour and a half. But nothing happened on that beautiful spring morning. We both saw our clients in the afternoon, and by dinnertime, I had enough courage, still being alive, to tell my wife that I needed to speak to.her about a startling dream of the early morning.

So after dinner, we sat in our little green room, named after the dark green walls the former owner had ingeniously decorated. I started to speak slowly and hesitantly, for the moment I put my attention to the content of my dream, I was aware again of an awe in me towards that Heavenly Figure - St. Augustine's experience led him to write about "a spiritual force which the mind was unable to grasp."

All my life I had been forced by circumstances not to follow the academic path. Finances were never the trouble, but emotionally, I was unsuited and too heavily burdened by my complexes to pursue an academic career. Also, my powerful father always wished me to become a merchant and not a doctor like his brother, although that would have been my mother's choice. So when Father Time blocked my way to school, I readily recognized that as a pattern of my life. Professor Jung, who advised several of my confrères to become doctors, never suggested that road to me. Neither did he ever ask about my studies, which were mostly done in my later teens with private tutors. In my early twenties, I traveled to several countries where there were branches of the family business; hence my stay in America.

But why, now, this dream? Why call God the Father, Father Time? For that question stuck very much in my memory. Why that sedate blue suit, which was binding under my arms? Why those blessings? All these questions were not answered until much later. That night, in the little green room, deeply under the influence of the confrontation, I started to philosophize about my life - the different road I had traveled from that of my mercantile brothers, and the great decision, after my father's death, to leave the family business and to start out for myself. That was a totally fresh and new idea to me, so different from the semi-feudal background in which I had been forced to follow the family tradition.

After a while, I stretched out on the sofa and, traveling further into myself, I began to understand more about my future life. My breathing became deeper and deeper and directed my thought world. I became aware of having a task in life, a destiny all my own, dictated by something within me - the soul, or perhaps the Self, to use a Jungian term for our totality. I found myself telling Ann the purpose of both my present and former life as naturally as if I had been gossiping over a cup of tea. I remember one sentence clearly when, with real humor, my inner voice first bemusedly told my wife, "Well, we could have found perhaps a better one" - and then, addressing itself to me, said, "but you will do."

Because of this voice which spoke from rock bottom, I was firmly convinced that in my former life I had been a teacher of life's values and had returned to continue in that work. I had not solved the message of the dream, but I knew that a greater force in me was now directing my personal life, and that my own ego and personality would have to learn a few things to adjust. I realized that I was on a new, rather constricted, road which at the same time was the continuation of an old one. Then I sat up, punch drunk and still deep within myself.

With the catalytic curiosity of a true wife, Ann asked me naturally and oh, so calmly, "But have you any idea who you were?" And just as calmly "it" spoke right through me and I said "Fénelon." I was stunned, and could have been knocked over with a feather. Ann, not quite remembering his name, asked, "Who is he?" So I looked in the encyclopedia to refresh my memory. While she went to the kitchen to make me a hot drink, I started to read about this French archbishop, a rather controversial figure at the court of Louis XIV. Towards the end of the essay, I became emotionally so upset that I slammed the book shut. Direct memory and a highly charged state of consciousness took over, and I experienced the deep emotions which Fénelon had not been able to assimilate at the beginning of the eighteenth century. I paced the room and, stopping in front of the bookcase, I pointed towards the line of encyclopedias and said: "Before Fénelon, I was Lord Gray, with an a or an e, and he is hidden in those books, too."

After calming down with my warm drink and recovering my everyday senses, I said to my wife: "Well, what this all means, I don't know. I will have to look at my dreams to explain this, and to find out whether it is all an emotional projection and a psychological truth or an actual fact." For eleven years I had been analyzed and was analyzing myself. Our yearly trips to Zürich before World War II to work with Professor Jung and listen to his private seminars as well as his university lectures, had played an immense role in our lives, and we are still deeply dependent on our dreams to show us the real state of affairs.

So that night, I went to bed feeling rather skeptical about my eternal world, reincarnation, and being in the grip of ancient memories. Nevertheless I was undeniably impressed by the power and emotional content of an inner experience so foreign to me. My dreams would have to tell me how to accept this baffling revelation - and they did.

The next morning, on awakening, I had the confirmation. That night I had dreamt that I was being led first into an oriental chamber. A leather ball was placed on the floor right at the entrance. I gave it a firm kick, very reminiscent of my boyhood soccer days, and the ball hit smack in the middle of a gong, a bull's-eye shot. I can still remember the vibrating sound, sonorous, full and round, as if the entire world should hear it. Then I was brought to the Hall of Justice, situated at right angles to the Oriental section. I entered into an atmosphere of profound truth and integrity, where no law of nature could be trespassed. Several people sat on benches and were listening as my most rational, mercantile, worldly brother tried to sunder his relationship with his newly acquired fiancée.

The judge was seated on a raised paneled platform, listening to my brother, who was trying to get back the diamond he had given his future wife. The judge refused the request. The marriage had to take place. Thus my most rational side had to accept the new link with the unconscious; an alliance had to be made, and the stunning revelations of the night before accepted. Then the judge raised his right arm and pointed at nine more diamonds suspended in mid air, representing, with their different sizes and intensities of brilliance, nine former lives with which my most worldly side, as well as my spiritual side, had to get acquainted. With another flash, there appeared the diamond representing my present life. At that I awoke in turmoil.

What a rebellion there was in my twentieth-century, civilized, sophisticated being. In fact, such was my resistance that when, a few weeks later, a dream started to refer to another life of mine, I swung my arms wildly in my sleep and broke through the dream world into my daily consciousness. My only memory was that it was another bishop whose name started with a "W." Several weeks after that, I dreamed of a fern with five stalks, representing five bishop's crosiers. They were growing right at the corner of our house in the country. So I was in for it; serious and troublesome times lay ahead of me.

At that time, Cary Baynes, the translator of the English edition of the I Ching and her sister, Mrs. Henri Zinno, were the only friends in whom my wife and I dared to confide. We were in deep isolation, even from our own psychological world.

Five years later, in 1950, I spoke with Professor Jung about these surprising developments. In our conversation, he was as open, frank and revelatory as he would ever be with me. Our discussion then was at such an intimate level that the next day he requested Mrs. Jung to speak to me at the Jung Institute and tell me not to talk to anyone about our conversation. In our Western world, Eastern concepts are often sooner accepted when presented in a more or less scientific light. Professor Jung was a past master at that. Whenever he spoke to me about an incarnation, it was referred to as an ancestor; "ancestral components," "psychic ancestors," "ancestral souls" are all expressions which Professor Jung used to express the idea of metamorphosis with which I am dealing in this book.

Through my dreams, I became aware of the ancestral heritage of my present day life. I visited many of the places connected with my psychic components, which was most interesting, but trying at times. Curiously enough, those visits integrated my "characters" very much into the Now of my present-day, twentieth-century self.

In Memories, Dreams, Reflections Professor Jung writes:

"It had been asked by, as it were, my spiritual forefathers in the hope and expectation that they would learn what they had not been able to find out during their time on earth, since the answers first had to be created in the centuries that followed.... If question and answer had already been in existence in eternity, had always been there, no effort on my part would have been necessary and it could all have been discovered in any other century. There does seem to be unlimited knowledge present in nature, it is true, but it can be comprehended by consciousness only when the time is ripe for it." [[C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 307. ]]

For me, that time is now. To paraphrase Paul, who lived nearly 2000 years ago: "The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised, incorruptible; we shall not die."

It has taken twenty centuries, but now it can be written with conviction that the dead can return incorruptible to the state of consciousness they had in past centuries and continue their psychic awareness now and in future ages. Indeed, time is not.

The manifestation of God as Father Time in the dream is for me a sign that my unconscious wants me to be aware of the changing times in the Godhead. The Piscean Age of Christian endeavor is drawing to its close and is making way for the Age of Aquarius.


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