Foundations > Rainring's Toolkit for Accessing The Unconscious

We asked how we can access an area of ourselves, our unconscious psyche, of which, by definition we have no conscious knowledge. We replied that dreams, synchronous events, certain psychic states accessible to shamans, mystics and so on, some works of art and finally ‘decoders’ were the possible avenues of access. How can decoders portray what does not belong to causality, reason and time by using language, which tends to rely on all three? The Chinese saying that one picture is worth a thousand words is apposite in this regard. Visual imagery is already far more adept at accessing the unconscious than verbal description. If we try to approach the unconscious using words, then they must be allusive – they must hint, intimate, stalk through the shadowy landscape of double meanings, approach at a tangent. It is a little like poetry, where the sense of unplumbed depths comes, if at all, through the silences, the spaces in the mind created between the sounds of the words. This is why many of the mentions used in the Rainring cards are either at the outer edge of consensual English – like Wordsong, Flow-Singer, Swayesse, Raindance, or are ambiguous or vague – like Play, Tides, Conception, Relation.

In Rainring we use shape, colour, word, symbol, pattern (the ‘spreads’) and image to try and create a fine tracery of sense impression through which the unconscious may somehow be glimpsed, like shadowy figures slipping through the forest. The images are, at any moment, likely to prove a thin, unstable crust on the conscious surface of the psyche – liable at any moment to fissure, plunging us into the unconscious depths beneath. What is the lion, who shares the kill with the aboriginal hero, doing in an Australian landscape? As soon as we realise that this image is not simply descriptive of nature, we will find ourselves having to ask to what extent all the elements composing the picture are descriptive or representative, i.e. symbolic. Or again, what is going on with blue tigers, or for that matter turtles?

What, if anything, can we take at face value? The aim of such puzzles is to try and derail reason, the headlight vision of the conscious mind, and to encourage intuition, an approach where we try to feel or sense what each picture has to communicate to us.
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