I’m excited to launch my new podcast, “Tales from the Jazz Side”. It’s my homage to that which frightens the crap out of us. I love reading scary novels, looking at scary movies and TV shows. Not limited to only books, movies and TV, I’m also not adverse to being frightened by photographs, paintings, plays, even music.
You could say that I am attracted to fear. What is it about fear? Why do we love to be scared? For me, it’s not just the hockey masked, crazed slasher running after me or the phallic shaped alien ready to burst forth from my chest. It is the dark secrets hidden inside my mind, that unnameable discomfort that arises when I attempt to expose the shadowy parts of my human psyche – my emotional vulnerabilities to the light of reason. Psychological horror is what beckons me.
My “Plutonic” fascination with the fathomless waters that I find myself unconsciously swimming in day to day, has fueled my never ending journey to cut through the bullshit and uncover the truth that hides itself from my consciousness. Playing jazz is like that for me. I must fore-go all that I’m familiar with and jump into the abyss that can only lead me to the raw naked truth that awaits me at the end of the fall. No plush soft cushions, only metal and glass broken along the ground to break my fall. I hit the bottom, hard, but wait, I rise unhurt, unscathed and I marvel at the miracle, I’ve survived ! oh the rush……
In Jungian psychology it is referred to as the “shadow”.
“Beneath the social mask we wear every day, we have a hidden shadow side: an impulsive, wounded, sad, or isolated part that we generally try to ignore. The Shadow can be a source of emotional richness and vitality, and acknowledging it can be a pathway to healing and an authentic life. We meet our dark side, accept it for what it is, and we learn to use its powerful energies in productive ways. The Shadow knows why good people sometimes do “bad” things. Romancing the Shadow and learning to read the messages it encodes in daily life can deepen your consciousness, imagination, and soul.”
Carl Jung (1958)
from “Romancing the Shadow,” by Connie Zwieg, PhD., and Steve Wolf, PhD.
In astrology, dealing with the ‘dark or shadow side’ was associated with the planet Pluto. Pluto rules the eight house in astrology. Those of you who have planets in the eight house may find these words reassuring.
Steven Forrest writes “to say that you are “comfortable” with life’s terrifying side would be silly; who could be? But you are more at ease with it than most of us. You were born with a rare emotional fortitude, an ability to sit with strong emotion in yourself or others, and override the common tendency to deny the dark.
With your eighth house Pluto, you have always possessed a highly developed nose for the darker, more psychological undercurrents in any situation. since those undercurrents are often denied, you tended to focus on them all the more intently. This enchantment with the ragged edges of human emotion and the night side of human experience is both your great strength and your distorting wound.
The human unconscious is capable of holding difficult material outside of conscious awareness until such time as the psyche is sufficiently mature for that material to be integrated”.
The Book of Pluto, Turning Darkness to Wisdom with Astrology, by Steven Forrest
So what does this have to do with my podcast? Probably nothing. Never-the-less, we all have stories about things that frighten us. This podcast isn’t exclusively about what frightens us, it is also about how we handle that fear. The true beauty in being terrified and scared is the will and determination to act in spite of it. How do we do that? From my perspective, arm yourself with a sense of humor. Humor puts our fears into perspective. Laughter banishes anxiety, and can help us confront and replace fear. Laughter is a testament to courage, or at least a manifestation of the wish for it, and courage is stronger than fear. We need a strong and healthy dose of focused humor in our lives every day.
So what better way to mix up this love of horror, my romance with fear and my undying loyalty to being a jazz musician, than to sit with friends, talk and laugh about what scares us.
It’s all done in the spirit of fun.
My desire for all who listens to these conversations, is to feel like we are kindred spirits in this world and beyond. Whatever you decide to do in life, honor your life and those of others and, go for it! Have fun!