INTO THE GOBI: AN ACCIDENTAL PILGRIMAGE
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Type of Work167 pages
ProgramMFA in Creative Nonfiction
RightsThis work is restricted for 10 years from the date listed above. No access will be permitted until the embargo has expired. Once the embargo expires the work is available only on Goucher College's campus.
White Old Man
C. G. Jung
Creative nonfiction -- Theses.
In Mongolia I unexpectedly recognized a familiar face from my childhood. The White Old Man, an ancient cultural figure beloved by the Mongolians, strongly resembled the white bearded sage I met under a tree when I was eight. He was my secret, there for me when I needed him. Here, in a country until recently closed to foreigners, people loved and prayed to a figure I thought I had made up. Not only was there a sense of connection and recognition but intriguing mystery. The Mongolians’ White Old Man was consorting with the gods of the Underworld as their gatekeeper. He was a shaman seemingly compelling me to find out who he was. I made several trips to see what the Mongolians could tell me about him. In doing so I learned about the Mongolians, their rich and complex culture, and the effect that communism had on the nation. The story unravelled the intertwined religions of shamanism and Buddhism before me on the vast steppe.The Wise Old Man was a universal form that the Swiss psychiatrist, CG Jung believed came to him as an imaginal vision. The figure from Jung’s unconscious came with wisdom to help him understand the workings of the psyche. The familiar and the strange all dance in an ancient ritual called the Tsam, where I encountered the Mongolian figure who led me to see the connections between my inner world and the beliefs of the descendants of Chingis Khan.