In Search of the New Compassionate Male

In Search of the New Compassionate Male

EP115: Dennis Patrick Slattery on CG Jung, Mandalas, and the Field

June 29, 2022
Red Book Painting #2.pngDennis Patrick Slattery, Ph.D., is Distinguished Emeritus Professor in Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute. In this episode Dennis and I have a deep and soulful conversation about his study of Carl Jung’s inner work in his creation of mandalas, Dennis’ own artistic study of Jung’s mandalas, and the creation and integration of mandalas in Clay Boykin‘s(my) personal and professional life.




Clay Boykin  00:09

Welcome to In Search of the new compassionate male. My name is Clay Boykin, I support this podcast through my coaching practice. I help people visualize and harmonize find direction and meaning or simply get unstuck. Contact me at Clay for a free consultation. Now here’s the latest episode of In Search of the new compassionate man. A few days ago, I had the opportunity to have a one on one conversation with our dear friend Dennis Slattery. You may recall Dennis is Professor Emeritus at Pacifica Graduate Institute, this podcast. This episode, we talked about mandalas. We talked about Carl Jung, we talked about Carl Jung’s art, the artwork that Dennis is doing, that’s complementary to Carl Jung’s art in his mandalas. And we explored how my model is fit into that picture. So let’s join that conversation in progress. Well, you know, we’ve been talking, you’ve been watching my mindless stuff, and you’ve been painting, what, 910 years?

Dennis Slattery  01:29

Or 11? Now, here’s, yeah, about 11 years.

Clay Boykin  01:33

And there’s some parallels that I wanted to explore.

Dennis Slattery  01:39


Clay Boykin  01:41

you know, reading Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, I’m getting, they’ll talk about, you know, Mondelez, they talk about quaternity. And the use of quaternity. The for you know, whether it’s north south east, west or earth, wind, fire and water, you know, but yeah, that four or quaternity is kind of the basic building block, if you will. And, and yet in a lot of Young’s modulo work, I don’t see quaternity. Express,

Dennis Slattery  02:26

like the one that I painted, that I think you have, it’s not even a circle, it’s like a, it’s like an egg shape. My version on the left and Young’s on the right. And he calls it an envelope. So I think I think there’s some latitude, if it I think the image is after any image of a meadow, capturing some imagination of wholeness in something’s complete. So I don’t I encourage you not to worry about having it. Literally, always in fourths, but I mean, a circle itself late is a mandolin. And you could fill it in and say, Well, this is part of my, my image of my own individuation pilgrimage here. But yeah, and I just was so attracted by this one. You and with my art teachers help, I knew I could do it. I was trying in this period, in which I did. Maybe seven, from the Red Book. And I had already or was in process of offering to read book. gatherings at true churches, New Mexico. I was just absorbed. I mean, the Red Book was like a vortex that pulled me really deeply into it. And I thought I wonder if I can touch even with a feather Young’s creative process by painting what he painted. So that was what was behind it. And you know, everything that I painted of his put me in such a calm, place, feeling centered, even while the challenges of each one would have been insurmountable had I not have this wonderful Linda Calvert Jacobson as my art teacher and every I remember, in one of these, we were working on it. And she just stepped back and said, Do you realize how complex this man’s imagination is? And I said, Well, I know that from his writing, but I’m listening to you closely about his imagery. And she said, these are, these are unbelievably sophisticated works of art. And she has the ability to see the layers. So we were the ones that I really wrestled with, we, you know, you always start in the back, and you start from the top down, and then you layer, you see what is on one layer, and then you layer other other parts of images, and layer it again. And you may have four or more layers. And that’s how it accumulates the texture that it has. And I wasn’t worried about xeroxing yo, in my painting. And in some of them. That complexity was such that I said to them that I’m going to skip the I’m going to skip that. I’m going to fill it in with a solid color. It’s it’s too much Young’s particular devotion to detail in in his paintings, and the Red Book is just phenomenal. The patience. And of course, he took art classes. Some were under the impression that he just kind of put it together. No, he had, I don’t know how many classes he took, but he had guidance. But he also had the images. And he just needed some technical assistance to get them down as he was imagining them. So the Red Book, chains union

Dennis Slattery  07:03

exploration to an uncanny degree, and then about, it’s been a few years now the six Black Books that he wrote in that then he compiled in the Red Book. And I’ve been tempted to buy the six or maybe $120. And I’m thinking, will I really read them? I think I’d rather go back and reread the Red Book, then start on the black book. But people that have read the black book, say they’re they’re phenomenal. It’s like his thinking in a germinal for them that gains the maturity in the Red Book.

Clay Boykin  07:47

Let me ask you a question. In these two inches side by side, what is on the right is from the is the Red Book. Exactly. Yes. And then on the left is your framed. It’s your study of Young’s. Yes. Mondala.

Dennis Slattery  08:11

Okay, yes.

Clay Boykin  08:12

I want to I’m trying to get to a place. What was it that you said that when you were painting it that you had this sense of peace?

Dennis Slattery  08:27

Well, I find that often in my painting, but it was particularly rich with you, because other painters works that I’ve painted. I didn’t know much about them. I wasn’t even sure what, what if anything, they wrote. But I’ve been reading yoga since 1968 1969. And often without comprehension, but I just pushed through. And now and then as the years went on, he got a sense of the patterns of his psyche, how he works, how analogy works. So I’ve never painted any painters work. From who, for whom I’ve read this much that he wrote, and I think that put me in a different constellation clay because I had the literary background. And I was able to think about mandalas as I painted them, and I read the Red Book twice, and then the readers edition once, I think, and of course, the readers edition. Isn’t the size of a Volkswagen, like the Red Book, the full one. But there’s no that’s it. And it’s beautifully done. No images.

Clay Boykin  09:53

Yeah, no color. They’re just a few images in the back and yes, black and white. Yes, that’s right. But no, it doesn’t.

Dennis Slattery  10:05

You have that one that you just looked at, which is his Mandela. That one? I think that was his first. I think you’re right. And I just want to tell you the story about that, because in one of the trips that Pacifica put together, to visit Young’s home, and I remember sitting next to Rick tarnis, we were in separate chairs, and both of us, we’re holding one side of that first medal and the original. And Yun said something like, this is my first attempt at a mandolin. I don’t know what it means.

Clay Boykin  10:52

You know, I just came across something that was speaking about young that he had painted these models as he went through this phase. But it wasn’t until years later, that he came back and put the pieces together of oh, that’s what I was doing back then.

Dennis Slattery  11:14

You know, and that great? Well, and it

Clay Boykin  11:17

stunned me, because you and I’ve talked before, you know, most of my life, I’ve been drawing things, circles and quadrants and even doing it in business. Yes, just the quadrants, you know, an amount can be a circle and a square, just a square, you know, some combination of those. Yes. And I was doing this instinctively for business purposes, to take a whole topic and then break it out, and then put it all into context. Yes. When I first read Joseph Campbell’s talking about a model of being, you know, the ability to put all the scattered aspects of one’s life into context for the universe, yes, order with the universe. In this form. I thought, Oh, my God, all these years, I’ve been drawing mandalas. I didn’t know that’s what it was.

Dennis Slattery  12:13

And there, they were, right out of your unconscious

Clay Boykin  12:17

out of my unconscious instinctively. And you talk about the piece, every time that I would get to this place where all these different pieces fit into context, that last piece would go in there. And this audible, the size, oh, at this moment in time, everything that’s on my mind in the universe is in order.

Dennis Slattery  12:43

For this small, I’m completely with you. And you remind me, and I’m going to send this to you. It’s five pages. It’s Toni Morrison, speaking about her creative process, and it’s entitled memory creation, writing. And the reason I’m going to send it to you, I think you’ll enjoy the whole thing. But what she says about how memory works through bits and pieces. And bits and pieces start to accumulate into parts. And parts start to accumulate into something whole. And she says it, this won’t spoil it, that when she was researching one of her works. She knew she had to stop reading about this historical incident. Because if she didn’t, you’d never be able to write about it. In other words, you can load bits and pieces up to the point and I’ve had dissertation students have this happen to them more than one. They research to the point that they fall into paralysis, intimidation, I’m so loaded with other people’s ideas. I can’t find any of my own anymore. And so I’ve always wanted to write a piece in academia, about the dangers of over researching, which is a kind of overreaching of your topic that winds up creating writer’s block writer’s paralysis, frustration. So there’s a real lesson here about leaving gaps. I will places to breathe

Clay Boykin  14:45

  1. Oh, yeah. I so appreciate what you’re saying. And I have to confess I’m kind of going through a little bit of that paralysis right now. I mean, you know, this past year or so every time I turn around, there’s another books.

Dennis Slattery  15:02

You told those people to stop doing that? Guilty.

Clay Boykin  15:08

Yeah, guilty. I tell you what, every book that you’ve that you’ve given me or pointed me to, then fascinating and good. With time I’ll be able to really sink deeply into, but I wanted to go go to a point that I knew about Carl Jung. I knew everybody would say well Oh, study his mindless and consciously I say, Yeah, I want to do that. But subconsciously or inside me. I said, No, I don’t want to go learn about his stuff. I don’t want to be on his path. I don’t want to go replicating it. I need to go discover this myself. I’ve gotten to this place. I’ve got to go further. Yep. And really understand what it is that I’ve got. Yes. And tell you it was in your book, that quote that I just sent to you. The other day?

Dennis Slattery  16:12

That was obscure order, I think. Yes. Because I went back to it. ftu. Senate.

Clay Boykin  16:20

Yeah, it was in at the very beginning of chapter two. And I’m going to paraphrase,

Dennis Slattery  16:32

Yeah, correct. No. I’m just gonna listen. In essence, what

Clay Boykin  16:37

you were telling me was are saying and there was Carl Jung didn’t write into his work for it to be the stagnant Opus, that was just fixed. He wrote into what he did such that it can be handed off and then further developed. That’s it. That’s right. And so for us to rehash just this what you know, Karlstrom Ian’s work rehash it and not extended. is is uh, it’s falling short of what his desires were. Exactly right. And so what that paragraph did right there for me, Dennis was, it said it was okay for me not to study him until I knew more about myself. And now it’s a path that I can now i Okay, now, I’ve gotten enough. The essence of what I’m doing in the bigger, you know, like Howard Tice said to me, says clay your mandala? What you’re drawing there. You don’t know what you’re doing. Yeah. Well, thanks a lot. No, I would say bravo. What you’re doing is bigger than what you really understand. Yeah. Right. And pieces of it had gotten to a place where Okay, now I can bridge to young insight. Okay, now, what was he doing? And every step along the way so far, this unfolding for him? It’s been, what’s been happening for me is, it’s it’s fascinating. It’s humbling. It’s sobering. Your it was that paragraph in your book? That that really helped me turn the corner on that. That’s great. I’m so happy to hear that. Yeah. And that’s the right approach. Because, you know,

Dennis Slattery  18:40

God bless scholars struggling to get a dissertation done. And, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written in the margins of a student’s work, let’s say, a final paper on Moby Dick. And they’ve gone to Ed injures volume, the American Nicaea and on Moby Dick, and they start quoting, Edgar, and then they quote him again. And I draw a line I say, Stop. I don’t have a clue what you think. So stop folding him. And let me hear from you. And part of it’s part of its intimidation part of it. So I don’t I I don’t have anything to say about this. And a part of it’s a feeling of inadequacy, but I would tell them, Look, you know, you’ve come this far, you’ve earned the authority to say what you believe, and if it’s wrong, let’s not worry about that right now. But they, they want to go to the nest. And I’m trying to kick them out of the nest so they can try to fly a little But on their own, they may, they may crash land, but they’ll get up. Wow. You know, it’s anyhow, I share that with you because I saw that over 3025 years of working with dissertation students.

Clay Boykin  20:16

Well, I get snagged that way. It’s like, Oh, my God, what he said was so perfect. How can I say it better? Yeah. But you took it to another step. It’s not how do you say it better? But what thought does that bring in your mind? That’s it? Where does your mind go? When you read this? Not Have you restate it? No, bingo. Don’t really state but but where does it take you?

Dennis Slattery  20:45

Yeah. Okay. Because then you’re actively engaged in the process. The other way, it’s, it’s data processing. Jung said it now push the data along. So one of the things I’ll say about dissertation students, who also showed her Oh, my gosh, remarkable advances forward, they really came into their own. And for many, I would say, and other colleagues of mine would say, you know, you really have tapped the voice of your own authority. I never heard this in your papers. But over this epic enterprise of the dissertation, you’ve done it. So one of the hang ups, or question areas that was often asked about is, what should I say in the conclusion? Should I summarize what I’ve said in 230 pages? And my response was no, because I’ve already read it. So I don’t want to reread it in microform. I see just answered answer this question. You come to the last chapter. Boom. Next thing is conclusion. Answer this question. So what? So what you’ve written to it and 30 pages? So what why should I care? I love that. Whoa. And I said, and keep your keep your conclusion to five pages? And answer the question, so what? Wow, once it was framed that way, then they say, well, here’s some implications of this theory, or this work, or whatever it was. And I could see this being used in business or I could see this being used in undergraduate classroom, whatever. But they needed to be given permission to say what they’ve been thinking about. And step out of the paralysis of this academic. This academic mindset, that doesn’t allow them sometimes to feel like they can be the human being they are. Well, you know, it’s a trap.

Clay Boykin  23:07

What you’re saying is so empowering. It’s so empowering. You know, two things, one. Take his work or any work in them go to the next place. Where does it take you? Yes. And then after you’ve gone there, so what? Yes. And it’s not so what in a sarcastic fashion at all? No, it’s so well. So what’s next? So what’s next? You know? And then you Yeah, I want to go back. I want to come back to this to your study of, of, of Young’s modulus. What was was the piece that you were feeling? Whereas was it like, Okay, this side represents something in his mandala, and this side represents something? No, I’m seeing that. I’m seeing some beautiful art. And I’m seeing the quaternity the the four, yeah. But I see no definitions of anything or, or symbols that I can relate to.

Dennis Slattery  24:25

Yeah, and in painting him his work. I cried to enter what the Greeks called My nesis. In other words, Carl, you’ve you’ve you’ve crafted this beautiful Mendola that I want to enter into, physically and embodied by painting it or my version of it. And it’s not going to be a Xerox some of them are closer than others. But I want to feel into what you felt, if it’s even possible. This is, but this is my act of imagination, taking the painting. I want to see if I can feel what you felt when you created it. And, you know, did I ever hit the mark? It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter. That was the blueprint. You hit your mark. I hit my mark. Yeah. So Carl, you gave me the map. But I took I went into the territory, that the map, which is your painting laid out, but my experience is not going to be yours. Although I sense if the unconscious is also engaged, which it was in every one of his paintings, which is in everything that I’ve ever written, my unconscious is always there. But I don’t want to draw a line and say, this is conscious, this is unconscious, I just want to have the whole experience. So when I looked at it like that, that I’m creating an imitation as he was, you know, his paintings are imitations of his own personal myth, collective myth, historical myth. And it’s okay, if I tap that in the tiniest way. And I’ll be happy with whatever happens, even if nothing happens, which never occurred? Well, things always happen.

Clay Boykin  26:47

And I would submit that you’re using the word invitation. What comes to mind is if you’re doing a study of his work, you’re doing this study.

Dennis Slattery  27:00

Fair enough.

Clay Boykin  27:01

Not, you’re not there to copy it. No, this isn’t a copy. No, this is a study. It’s what comes in what is translating into you and then flowing out onto that Canvas through the lens that you’re seeing the world? Yes. And so it may execute radically different if you put them side by side as copies. Yes. But no. Yes. Your interpretation. It’s your study. It’s your interpretation of him.

Dennis Slattery  27:35

Exactly. Right. What he was he was giving form to his interior world. I think I was giving something of my form of in the painting, by means of my interior world, mingling with his. Now that was my fantasy. And you know, it’s okay that it’s a fantasy. It has failed. It has value.

Clay Boykin  28:01

Yeah, it. What’s coming up for me is urine motion.

Dennis Slattery  28:09

With motion? Yes.

Clay Boykin  28:10

You’re in motion? Yeah. Emotion motion? Yes. You’re in motion. Rather than being stuck or frozen. This this, he’s helping you propel yourself forward? Yes. If it were any other mandala. Some pick some random person’s beautiful mandala that they’ve drawn. Do you think that you would go to the same place? Not

Dennis Slattery  28:39

interesting question. No, it’s it’s a really good question. I don’t know. But I think there are universal principles that are being expressed aesthetically, emotionally and psychologically, that when you enter them I don’t have to be a Sufi to read Sufi poetry. And I bring that up because I found a hardback volume of Sufi poetry on a shelf this morning, I thought, What did I buy this, I’m going to bring it into my study and read, but I know that I’m going to be able to enter that Sufi imagination being a Western citizen, because the the poetry will tap these universal constructs that you you know, read popularized as the archetypal realm. And this they the archetypes come out of the unconscious. So that’s what we all share. And if I knew I used to read Spanish poetry in Spanish because at one point I hit a pretty good facility with finish. But it’s always interesting to to read poetry or literature in a language other than your own. And I wish I had that facility. Campbell had a gift for as a philologist for learning languages. You know,

Clay Boykin  30:23

it’s interesting point because I think I was in fifth grade. fifth or sixth grade, when I became an altar boy.

Dennis Slattery  30:35

What did you I was too, okay.

Clay Boykin  30:39

And at that time, we were still doing the maths in Latin

Dennis Slattery  30:44

Latin. Yes.

Clay Boykin  30:47

So here I was a fifth or sixth grader. speaking Latin.

Dennis Slattery  30:53

Yes. Yeah.

Clay Boykin  30:57

phonetically. I mean, I didn’t know a word I was saying. Yeah. You know, I could go and read the translation. But as I was reading it, I, you know, I didn’t know any other words. But I remember there being a feeling. Yes, sense of flow and depth, even as a little kid like that. Yes. I have to say spiritual now. But back then it was magic.

Dennis Slattery  31:25

It was magic, ya know, and I experienced that too, as an older boy for four years. And I love the fact that I didn’t know what I was saying. Because it allowed I know, looking back and thinking about, I felt I was able to enter the ritual of the mass by reciting, and then the rhythm and the texture and the sound without knowing the meaning. It just, it just, it elevated something in me, and really elevated the mystery of the mass.

Clay Boykin  32:02

Yes, mystery in the mysticism. Yes. So powerful. And it’s hitting me that some of the mystery, you know, when we translated it into English, just using the, the Latin English and the calf, yes. We translated it into English. I remember. Mother, who? A tie in Cecilia, okay. I remember her saying that. She felt like we’ve lost something when we went to English. And I’m thinking, well, but now we can understand what we’re saying. Yeah. She said, No, but we’ve lost something. She’s right. And we’ve lost we’ve we’ve lost the mystery. By Gothic English, we’ve lost in depth of mystery we may be able to intellectually understand. Yes. But if it doesn’t touch the heart the same way.

Dennis Slattery  33:08

No. And the Latin was, was a global, regardless of what language you spoke, in your, in your history in your culture. It was a shared common experience that the mass was inlet. And I can remember the kickbacks, I can’t remember the year that it went to English for us. But I remember the disappointment in so many people, because something of that long heritage of the church was pitched in favor of popular ism, making it more relevant, which was all nonsense, I believe. And the other thing that I think worked on people negatively, was when the priest turn and began to save the mask from the other side of the altar, looking out at us, rather than how we would look at his back for all those years as he ritualized the mass and the sacramental quality of it. He the priest loss, something of that. I don’t know, shamanic presence or, you know, vested presence. And then what flipped millions out was when they started using guitars at mass, and I know people that said, I’m done. I’m done with the church.

Clay Boykin  34:49

You know, it’s interesting, so fascinating. First year, I never thought about the priest turning and facing and where my mind immediately went was when he was when we were all facing behind him and he was he’s facing the altar. It’s almost like he’s kind of leading us there. Yes, exactly. When he turns to us now he’s preaching at us.

Dennis Slattery  35:15

Yes. And it’s, you know, I know we’d be, we’d be buddies. Yeah. Yeah. It popularized it and bled something sacred out of it. At the same time.

Clay Boykin  35:33

Yeah. And comment about the guitar. I can vividly remember because they invited me to come play guitar.

Dennis Slattery  35:43

Oh, okay.

Clay Boykin  35:47

And so, I remember sitting up there in front, playing an instrumental. And one piece was Simon and Garfunkel and other was rolling stones?

Dennis Slattery  36:04

Oh, wow. Great.

Clay Boykin  36:06

It was a beautiful. Okay. Yeah. But just instrumental, it but I remember sitting there thinking, what am I doing sitting up here playing Rolling Stones? And inside Onkel? Because it sounds pretty. Yeah. In the midst of this mass.

Dennis Slattery  36:27

Yeah. And, you know, the migration from the sacred to the secular happened in those installments. From my perspective, you know, others were happy. Oh, god, get rid of that Latin. I never understood it. I think that was part of the point that you didn’t understand it, which then allowed it to maintain a certain mystery. Yes, about it without alienating us. I mean, I think maybe some took it personally. And said, Well, why can’t we just have it in English? And I think that was answered for them when it went to English. And it was a palpable feeling of something. Now missing.

Clay Boykin  37:14

Yeah. It was we rationalized. Or for rationalizes, right word. We lost something.

Dennis Slattery  37:27

Yeah. In the, in the, in the, in this spirit of modernity is keep it up to date, let the past go all of these psychological principles that we get burned into us. All that was back there. Oh, in the Middle Ages, you know what they thought I mean, so to, to modernize spirituality, in that way. Was to, for me, put the word religion in lowercase r and the uppercase are gone.

Clay Boykin  38:11

You know, that really resonates. And what comes to mind is that it was I think a bit of it was simplification so we can understand. That takes me to something I read this last year sometime. The point was made that simplification is the first step towards ignorance.

Dennis Slattery  38:44

Yeah, that’s good. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. To simplify. We could also use a less kind phrase. Dumb it down. I was gonna say, Yeah, dumb it down. Yeah. So it’s the, you know, the new maths for dummies in the series. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And somehow that’s a virtue. See, that’s the part that I find most astonishing, that this was all in the service. And, you know, I don’t know numbers. But I wonder if a decreasing parish population brought the church to a place where we’ve got to upgrade and upbeat, this whole experience, or there’s going to be nobody coming massed. Now, I don’t know. But I would want to, it would be interesting to explore the population growth or decrease when all of these were executed. Was it Was it through the Second Vatican Council which was 1960 63. With Pope John officiating? Was it that Vatican Council that brought this on? I am asking this question, because I don’t know the history.

Clay Boykin  40:19

But I think we were moving out of Latin. I would have been 65. Probably 65. For

Dennis Slattery  40:35

  1. Okay.

Clay Boykin  40:37

So we’re in the right decade.

Dennis Slattery  40:39

It’s Yes, it’s in. Yeah. I think the church was in an upgrade movement at that council. I may Google that second Vatican council, later today, or probably tomorrow morning. And just to serve, when when did the when did the mass shift to the vernacular of whatever people it was being presented to? Yeah, and see something universal. I’m repeating myself, I know. But something universal dropped out. The sacraments themselves are, of course, universally intact. But something in the in the language of the prayers themselves last that universality.

Clay Boykin  41:38

I want to add on to that. Again, I’m reading so many different things. I don’t remember where this came from. You took a new prorate, remember that this movement, let’s call it simplification or moving just to English, losing the the the mystery and losing the mysticism. Some ways turn the west towards the east. And into the mid to the mystical in the symbolism and everything that we would find in the Eastern traditions. Yes, because we couldn’t understand it like this the symbols or even though the letters. Yes. The different you know. We entered then into this, this this realm of not knowing but feeling it, it took us back into this place. Yes, that that’s part of the popular because for me, personally, I’m seeking I’m seeking I’m seeking. And once I get it figured out, I want to go the next place. I want to stay in this space of not knowing but discovering.

Dennis Slattery  42:54

Yes. Nice. Now, that’s a great way to say it. Yeah. Instead of getting comfortable in these tribal pockets that we’re so locked into today, and we see how divisive and destructive that is turf protecting which which is the perfect breeding ground for ideologies, and then conversation ceases. Right? And then and then it just ferments and becomes more tankless and people become more cantankerous towards one another. It’s really a vicious plotline

Clay Boykin  43:38

in your workshop that we did there in Santa Fe. Yeah. Wonderful, great writing experience writing our own myth, what a great circle of people we had.

Dennis Slattery  43:50

Oh, that was one of a kind. It was one of the kind.

Clay Boykin  43:56

And I remember towards the end, somebody was talking about we are we were talking about polarization. Or the hard left the hard, right. And somebody said, Yeah, but we’re in those positions in what we’re not realizing is that we’re illuminating the other. We’re, it’s almost like I’m shining. We’re shining a light on one another. Yeah. I try to remember the essence of the point that was being made not to go back to my notes.

Dennis Slattery  44:34

Yeah, I mean, okay, I’m gonna I’m gonna get that some more. Yeah, I thought,

Clay Boykin  44:40

here’s something I want to I’m gonna go. I’m gonna go back to your modular painting. Do you find yourself when you begin to paint feeling sleepy Just how do I know this? When I got this book in my hand, just for example, okay. Yeah, I sat with it. And it was almost like putting it in my lap. There was a sigh. Like, okay, I found it. i Okay, I know this is, you know, this isn’t somebody talking about somebody talking about somebody? No, this is the satellites. Yeah, I found the original text, or the original document. Yes. And as soon as I begin to read, it’s like I fall asleep. Oh, okay. And it’s different than falling asleep, because you’re tired of reading? It’s, there’s something maybe there’s a release of us have a level of tension. Right? Not knowing now I know. There’s that Yes. You know, and, and now we want to savor it. You know, and I find myself. Even in your books, I find myself going back and reading a chapter over and over and over again. Because it feels good. There’s something that’s being communicated, in essence, it’s beyond intellectual.

Dennis Slattery  46:25

It’s beyond the intellectual, it’s deeper. It’s deeper. And each time I know this happens to you, it happens to me that, you know, I never got tired of teaching the Odyssey, Moby Dick. And beloved, I did that for 2020 years. And people would say, Well, why don’t you change them up? And I said, No, because they speak so well do each other. I’m not going to mess up this constellation of these psychic and mythic fields. But then I started teaching the Divine Comedy, and devoted the entire course to you know, that epic, but I didn’t want to miss with the way these three epics are always in conversation with each other. And it really shows when I read the final papers, from students in the epic imagination. They’re among some of the best writing I got from students, because they entered as a fourth in that tripartite conversation and there’s your mandolin. Yep. There’s, there’s the four parts. And they knew something was happening in them. Not necessarily through any one of the works, although many would inflict their paper onto one more than the other two, which was perfectly fine, because that one really spoke to them. But I wanted them to write an inter textual final paper. Find some threads that you can at least mention. You don’t have to develop them, but show that you’re thinking in this polyvalent way. Yeah, and then we’re up to the task. I mean, they did really well.

Clay Boykin  48:25

This just blows me away. Because you touched on something that I’ve not realized. So many times, if I’m reading one book, I’m reading Young. I’ve got to be reading it and you’re over here in Slattery. I gotta three books going? Good. That’s great. I have to have three books going because I’m the fourth. You’re the fourth. And that’s it. All eternity. I never ever dawned on me until just this moment.

Dennis Slattery  49:01

And not nor on me. As I was saying, it came into my head. Wait a minute, the student handing the paper in is the fourth. Forming the mendillo from the three. Yo, oh, my here we here. We’ve come back to it. And now both of us have another experiential dimension. To to it. Yeah, there’s,

Clay Boykin  49:33

yeah. It’s a point to savor, isn’t it?

Dennis Slattery  49:39

You know, when I’m rereading parts of Moby Dick to prepare a talk for Dallas at the end of July, and my gosh, Ishmael, is citing history, philosophy. They’ll cite Dante, Conte, you know, his Melville published did when he was 32 Has this massive encyclopedic library library in his head? And he’s always making. He’s always weaving, weaving, weaving, weaving. And it’s magnificent to read, and then see what we’ve, your eye as readers of Moby Dick can add to it. Yeah. And I think that’s the point of the of that epic. Yeah,

Clay Boykin  50:31

yeah. Yeah. Well, it’s been fascinating. I know, you’re, we’re coming up on time. But what you’ve helped me do in this short period is, is begin to take the methodology that instinctively has come up for me, that’s I learned was a mandala is learned about quaternity. And learning about the depths of that in the way that I express it. And then how you’ve experienced it with the young. They’re complementary experiences. They are and in there’s this Yes. spacing between the two that I’m working to bridge over to your experience. Yes, you know, or at a young experience, and what you’re helping me do is, is kind of understand it, because I would other people are drawing these models that are geometric and so forth. And they’re pretty beautiful words. Yeah. Yeah. Are they getting? We’re all getting our own thing from it. But am I even saying ballpark is where they are, in what they’re experiencing by by doing their design versus how my approach is where I’m taking words and symbols and putting them in spatial relationship to one another within the eternity. So the meaning, you know, this symbol next to this symbol has a different meaning in between, then if those symbols were this way, or if they were this way? Yes. And that’s playing with?

Dennis Slattery  52:22


Clay Boykin  52:24

God, please. No, no, you go ahead. Well, what I’m in but what I’m what you’re experiencing and approaching it from a from a fascinating direction that that I want to spend more time considering. Yeah, it’s not this or but it’s, it’s a yes. And, and I think it may help me bring my mom to work on next step.

Dennis Slattery  52:51

Yeah. And, you know, Clay, this conversation has been so wonderful. And the whole time I look at I’m looking at you, and it’s your magnificent Mondello behind. I mean, what a background for this conversation. Oh, my gosh,

Clay Boykin  53:06

I got to share this with you. You know, I draw it. And it changes every time I start a new journal, right? Yes. Well, okay. It was at your it was it was at the workshop in Santa Fe. And I think I shared this with you that I finished this

Dennis Slattery  53:29

one. Yes, I know. Look at that. I can’t believe you finished it. And where are you finished it?

Clay Boykin  53:39

It had some pieces, some spaces. That just wasn’t coming to me. And just being in the session? Yes. Wasn’t anything specific? Oh, this piece was gonna go right here. No, but it was brought back up into me things that belonged here. It allowed me to access that. Yes. And it happened very quickly. Yes. Here’s the rest of the story. Okay, finished. I filled up this book. And now

Dennis Slattery  54:15

oh, I can see it. Yes, I’m wrong. Wow. Well, you you validate or you witness what you just said the power of entering the field. And when I teach and when I do these writing retreats or whatever it is, my attitude contributes to how much people feel. They can enter the field and when they enter it, and they feel the energy of others who are already in the field or in process. I think everybody’s imagination is ramped up. I’d love it when somebody would say that the hotel Santa Fe, oh, I wasn’t going to read. But I think I have to read this. I mean, there’s the field in fighting them, you have a voice to add it to the field, you don’t know who might be affected in in a deep way. And then we’d hear the conversations, and you were part of them. Where people would say, what you read. And you’ve said it to me here a couple of times already, what you wrote or what you’ve said, entered my field. And now there’s a piece that is there. That wasn’t before. I mean, for me, that’s the whole. That’s where all the juice is. Yeah.

Clay Boykin  56:01

There’s a point about Santa Fe, that I’m just now realizing is that we had another common element that was affecting us all in different ways. And that was the altitude. Yes, we are. It’s 72 has been huge. In You and I both felt it. Oh, boy. And when you started our session or workshop, I want to call it a retreat is more retreat

Dennis Slattery  56:39

that really it was it? Yeah, I liked that word better, also.

Clay Boykin  56:44

And when we started, and you commented, you know, say, you know, the altitude is kind of got me here a little bit. I remember mentally leaning in just a little bit more when you said that. And think the nature of the circle that we had assembled that you’d brought together. Everybody leaned down a little bit. And I think it was because there was that element. I know personally, I was like wanting to lift you up, like, you know, you’ve got this. Yeah, I think there was another connection that we made amongst the circle. Read, it wasn’t you standing up? And and you don’t do that anyway. But it’s not an instructor up there. No, we were all on Common Ground. You know, and learning from one another at your guidance,

Dennis Slattery  57:48

you know, and that was I mean, what was the one of the elements that I love about that? Is that I’m learning to? Yeah, because I’m incorporated into what’s going on? Not controlling it.

Clay Boykin  58:03

That’s what’s engaging, because you would express that when you when you’re learning something. It was, it was a shared learning.

Dennis Slattery  58:16


Clay Boykin  58:20

Another level of connection that you achieve and in that retreat,

Dennis Slattery  58:27

well, I’m just thankful that you with a little prodding from your wonderful wife showed up, it was so great to have you as part of it. And I was so happy for you to meet a number of people that have been in my life as students as teacher, Barbara, child, and Tony and no, it was just it was fabulous. You were meant to be there. I hope you feel that. I’m sure you do.

Clay Boykin  58:58

I do. Thank you. Well, I’d like to continue. Well, I’m gonna we can let this kind of soak in and let me savor it a bit, then I’ll be ready for another round. And yeah, like I

Dennis Slattery  59:14

always enjoy it. Time with you because we don’t Xerox one another, but we’re both in the same field. And then we we open that field up I think for one another, which is the one of the great treasures of convert real conversations. Yeah. Yeah. Okay, brother.

Clay  59:34

All right. Take care. Love you clay. We’ll talk soon. Bye bye. Bye. Check out the latest episode of In Search of the new compassionate mail on your favorite podcast Station.