Facing The Dragon – Confronting Personal and Spiritual Grandiosity”, published by Chiron Publications was published in 2003. Dr. Moore was interviewed for the New Warrior Journal (a publication of the ManKind Project).
Moore began his career as a Freudian analyst. He is both lyrical and scientific in his approach to discovering the meaning of archetypal energies
“A lot of people are fascinated with archetypal patterns, and speak of archetypes … but as you get deeply into Jung’s tradition or Edward Edinger, author of Ego & Archetype: Individuation and the Religious Function of the Psyche [published by Random House] or my Neo-Jungian tradition, you get into the sense of the incredible majesty and the enormity it affords us. The image of archetypes is the only way you can understand why human beings are having such a terrible time staying sane and are acting out personally, socially, and globally.”
Archetypal energy is “not simply a theoretical pattern,” he added, “it’s an energy force.”
Moore said the enormous size of the archetypal dragon is often underestimated.
“We have to get a sense of how huge this spiritual energy, or God energy, is,” he stated. “It’s a very big being.”
The scholar said people tend to keep these “transpersonal energies” in shadow.
Shadow is “anything that the ego is not aware of … any important psychological pattern, or energy, or tendency that the ego consciousness has not matured in its capacity to discern and deal with.”
“Some think of shadow as negative energy,” he explained. “There is a great deal of heroic energy and mature royal energy in there, including mature warrior, lover and magician energy. Shadow contains a lot of gold.”
The “gold” stays in the shadow if it is not accessed and stewarded in a mature way, he added.
“The dragon is not the shadow,” Moore instructed. “It lives in the shadow when we, without knowing it, force it into the shadows. Any time a person wakes up in the morning and feels alone, they are forcing this incredible majestic being into the shadows; one is never without the close proximity of this ‘other’ – this great other with a capital O – it’s always awake, always aware of us even if we aren’t aware of it. If we force it into shadow, as Jung and Edinger point out, it begins to be adversarial toward our ego consciousness. A lot of the negative thoughts and feelings we have, I believe, are coming from the archetype itself, or the dragon, which has been disrespected.”
Moore said he has tried to carry the awareness of the dragon “forward into a more delineated place.”
The dragon energy, or archetypal gold, comes into any given personality through the four different mythic portals of King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover – usually in an imbalanced way, he noted.
“The first task is to ask yourself where am I experiencing dragon energy,” he said, “or if I am experiencing dragon energy, and if not, why not? Who am I displacing it with? Who am I idealizing it with? This is a defense mechanism.”
The author said a “defense mechanism” means the ego is displacing this archetypal primal energy and projecting it onto someone else to avoid facing it directly. The image of the dragon is a universal symbol throughout history, he said. Recently the New York Times Science Section summarized a study that placed dragons as the pre-eminent symbol in the world. This fact is proof of Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious, Moore noted.
“It is the human species intuiting grandiose energies within,” he said. “They are huge and they can be dangerous … and yet they can be wonderful sources of creativity and prosperity.”
“Creativity is fueled by this dragon energy,” he explained. “Your ego, your ‘I’, doesn’t have any energy of its own. The energy comes from transpersonal sources.”
It’s important for all of us to stay in touch with dragon energy, he noted.
“I’m trying to lift up the task of every one of us human beings,” he said, “to image the optimal connection with the dragon. I say optimal – not perfect.”
Jung’s vision was that a human being – who is inexorably connected to this enormous thing – must find a way to access the creative energy of the dragon without getting too close to it.
“Personal fulfillment depends on maintaining a connection in such a way that one becomes as complete and full as possible without becoming psychotic,” Moore declared. “That is an artistic challenge – the challenge of creating a human sculpture. It is an ongoing and artistic task right at the heart of who we are.”
Moore said he was indebted to Robert Bly and other poets for their contributions to the dialogue, adding that “the deepest roots of poetry are shamanic.” Any poet with depth is open to the world of positive and negative spirits, he added. “It is very dangerous to be a poet or on a spiritual path. When you get into an attempt to optimize your potentials in a really full way, you’re exposing yourself to these great dragon energies.”
The writer cautioned artists to be conscious of the “ethical side,” because the energies are “so seductive.”
“You’ve got to make sure you have the right intentionality, or as the Buddhists say ‘the right mind,’” he noted. “Artists have to have an ethical commitment to a morally mature stewardship. If you do not, the great thing will swallow you. Too often artists think they are ‘It.’”
Moore said he admired the spiritual maturity of Rumi, who is representative of a certain level of spiritual development. “A person like Rumi gets so far into being a realized human being that the boundaries between human and divine are diminished. He begins to glisten and shine with an uncanny radiance.”
Mature poets have a “deep fierceness and rightness” with the dragon, he continued.
The innate tension, or conflict, in the creative process is the key to unveiling the energy of the dragon.
“The task is not and never was about eliminating the tension,” Moore revealed. “The task is creating an inner mature human being like the Holy Grail, the chalice of the Roman Catholic Church. Think about that as an inner tension field that is created by the person who is developing within themselves spiritually and psychologically. It’s kind of a container, an inner temple, that develops. Outer temples are only symbolic.”
Moore said an artist “balanced within the elements” can enhance the tension and allow more dragon energy to be received, channeled into acts of creativity, leadership, compassion, and spirituality.
In Moore’s book, “The Archetype of Initiation: Sacred Space, Ritual Process, and Personal Transformation”, published by Xlibris Corporation, he addresses the importance of spiritual rituals in developmental growth.
“There’s a rule, either you do spiritual practices, or the unconscious will force you to act them out in pseudo-ritual ways,” the author stated. “I really believe that a lot of the addictions and compulsive behaviors are unconscious rituals.”
“What we’ve got to understand is … human beings are made up as a multi-dimensional unit,” he said. “Everything is organized as complex-systems. We are incredibly sophisticated natural systems. All of the functioning we do from neuro-biological, bio-chemical, bio-psychological, psycho-social, and even our spiritual experiences have a bodily incarnation – it’s all incarnate here embodied in these physical vessels.”
The goal, as Moore sees it, is to work toward an “optimum organization of the complex systems that comprise our human existential existence.”
“If you understand that we are comprised of interlocking systems, than any disorder of any system within us, including personal family relations, will prevent us from going to the ‘Great Other,’ or to God, or the Buddha Nature. Wherever there’s no process of creative organization going on, for whatever reason including inherited physical flaws, it makes the fine tuning more difficult.”
Moore encourages people in the creative process to have an integrated partnership with science, psychology and spirituality. Human beings need to utilize as many resources as possible in their developmental growth.
According to Moore, the book “The Developing Mind: Toward a Neurobiology of Interpersonal Experience”, by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and published by Guilford Press in New York, is a “tour de force” in demonstrating how all kinds of resources have to be brought to bear on the optimum development of the brain’s function.
Moore said he believes that “human beings who commit themselves to achieving an optimal vision of themselves can move toward the goal of personal growth … no matter how traumatized they were as a youth, or how comprised by physical defects.”
Too many people sell themselves short “and don’t let themselves envision what they are capable of achieving,” he added.
It seems like it’s either too little or too much of the dragon.
One of the best remedies for too much spiritual grandiosity is for people to have meaningful relationships with each other, Moore said.
“Organizations such as MKP, and other forward looking communities representing various spiritual tribes, have a contribution to make,” he said. “We can help each other as people of good will and like values.”