Carl Jung, one of the most eminent psychologists produces by the West, thought he was falling into schizophrenia in his early thirties.
He had just published Symbols of Transformation, which was a book that ended his friendship with Sigmund Freud (Jung publicly criticized Freud’s theory of libido and the father of psychoanalysis excommunicated his ‘crowned prince’).
This ‘breakup,’ coupled with the first rumblings of the Great War, are hypothesized as to why Jung began to hear voices and witness hallucinations (some lasting up to 30 minutes), during this 4 year period of his life.
He tried to maintain his daily life with his work and family, continuing to see patients for hours a day, but each night he’d go into his study and do something almost none of us would do.
Instead of finding ways to reduce the intensity of the voices and visions, like seeking some pharmaceutical intervention, he sought to amplify them. He began to paint his visions, and transcribe the conversations he had with the voices.
He diligently did this for years and eventually the voices and visions left him. In their wake, was what is now known as ‘The Red Book.’ Jung wrote in his will that this book was not to be published until 50 years after his death.
This ‘creative illness’ Jung went through was his encounter with his Daemon, and it is from this encounter that Jung worked out most of his ideas that he is famous for today, like: The Shadow, The Anima/Animus, The Self, Synchronicity, and The Individuation Process.
This is what can happen when we answer the call to adventure a meeting with our Daemon invites us to.
Buckminster Fuller is one of the greatest inventors in American history. Throughout the course of his life, Fuller would hold 28 patents, author 28 books, and receive 47 honorary degrees.
But in his mid thirties, he tried to kill himself.
Before he went on to change the world, he had put most of his money into starting a business with his father-in-law, and the company had failed. He had lost most of his money and felt like he failed his family.
So he drove to the shore of Lake Michigan, committed to drowning himself.
As he walked to the edge, ready to jump in, he felt what seemed like a voice seize him. It said;
"You do not have the right to eliminate yourself. You do not belong to you. You belong to the Universe."
Fuller writes that this moment fundamentally changed the way he saw and lived his life.
It is not the content of the Daemon experience, but the experience itself that transforms people.
I’m going to ask you to write your own version of your first encounter with your Daemon, and to help you think of your experience, I am going to share my first Daemon story.
When I was 19, I did something stupid to impress a girl.
I drove from my small college campus to The University of Texas’s to eat edibles with her and her friend.
We committed the classic edible mistake; because we didn’t feel the effects of the first one, we ate a second one — then felt the effects of both of them.
As the mistake set in, she clammed up like an oyster and hid under a blanket, completely retreating from the world.
After sitting there for an hour without her communicating, I figured it was time to go.
I went to take her friend home who had supplied the weed for the edibles, and as I got in the car, I slowly felt my anxiety begin to rise. It was dark, this was my first time driving in a city, and I was incredibly high.
As I made my way through the roads of Austin, we turned onto a street where I could see there were a few cop cars in the intersection, and all the traffic was funneled into the far right line.
Sitting in my car as I creeped towards the police’s lights, my fear got the best of me and I sporadically whipped my car to do a U-turn. As I began making the turn, a car smashed into the left front end of my car.
My left shoulder dislocated.
I was in shock.
I was tremendously high, my friend was high, we both had weed and pipes in our backpacks. The cops were coming. I was fucked.
Then I realized there was a woman banging on my window. She was enraged. She was screaming “You hit my baby! You hit my baby!
She had the rage of a wounded mother, and it was at that moment that my brain knew, as an absolute fact…I had killed a child.
Words cannot convey the depth of emptiness, the terror, and the utter despair I felt in that moment.
As I sat in my car in the middle of the street, staring at my steering wheel; with a friend on my right side urging me to run, and a furious mother on my left charging me with murder, I had the only true moment of my life where I wanted to kill myself.
I truly believe that if I had had a gun with me, I very well may have ended my life in that moment.
But as I witnessed my future life flash before my eyes, and saw it disintegrated before my impending prison sentence, I felt a voice.
"Take responsibility, one moment at a time."
The voice felt like a God. It felt like an inner guide. I didn’t know it, but it was my Daemon.
I didn’t run.
I slowly pulled my car over to the shoulder of the road. I got out and faced the mother.
The first thing I learned was that her child was fine. She looked to be 4 or 5, she was in the backseat, and she wasn’t even crying.
Okay — huge existential weight lifted off my shoulders, but I would still need to contend with the police.
As they arrived, I was polite, and did my best not to show that I was shaking on the inside, and was so high my eyes looked like they had withstood a sandstorm.
The mother’s anger saved me. While the cops tried to talk to me, she screamed threats. This caused the police to focus on keeping her tamed and kept them from considering I was high or to search my car.
They got their statements, and even called me a tow-truck. I don’t remember how it happened, but somehow the tow truck offered to drop me off at a friends house, and didn’t charge me for the tow.
I was reborn that day. I truly, in my soul, thought my life was over. I was willing to kill myself, and from that point forward, I had a new sense of gratitude and spirituality. There was something inside me I wanted to get to know better.
All of my work, on some level, has been an attempt to connect to this inner guide, and to help others do the same.
Not one of us are alone.
For the workshop, I had people partner back with the person they eye-gazed with, and they shared their story with each other.
I'd invite you to find a friend you trust, share this course with them, and exchange Daemon stories.
Once everyone had time to share their story, I invited them back to the group circle and we began with part two.
TL;DR: You have had your 'Call To Adventure' moment (you wouldn't have bought this course if you hadn't), so write it.