Ode for R. Scott Haasarud (1940-2016)
Scott Haasarud was a healer of the soul. He healed with golden love from the giant cauldron of his heart. I have been a recipient of the healing from Scott’s philosopher’s stone. Wednesday, April 13, 2016, he finally gave away the last red fragment.
I met Scott Haasarud on December 1, 1995. Scott was the energy behind bringing his friend Marcus Borg to Phoenix for a two-day presentation at Central Methodist Church. I had read and re-read Borg’s Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. Borg’s wisdom and his gentle willingness to answer the many emailed questions of a stranger, kept me within the Christian world. When I saw the flyer I knew I had to meet Marcus Borg. But, little did I know I would meet the man who would later help me keep life together.
From that first handshake with Scott I felt there was something unique about him. At the time I couldn’t wrap my arms it, but from that point on, everything Scott invited me to, I went. We had this long, on going, never-ending, life-giving conversation. Scott invited me to attend an Enneagram seminar. I went. Scott invited me to a dream seminar. I went. Scott invited me to apply to the Kino Institute spiritual direction school, where he taught. I applied. Scott invited my son Neil and me to a father/son retreat at Spirit in the Desert. From that retreat Scott would have a major influence on Neil deciding to become a psychologist. Scott taught. I soaked it all in.
Then twelve years ago, my world was turned upside down. For months, I could barely leave my house, and never alone. One morning, before my wife left for work, she gave me a task. Make an appointment to see Scott. That was April of 2004. Ever since, I have met with Scott once a month. Wednesday, April the 13th there was a regularly scheduled appointment with Scott that would not happen. I met with Scott Haasarud for 144 sessions—12 x 12—(3x4) x (3x4)—pure and messy alchemy done on my soul.
A friend, who also saw Scott regularly, said that he filled a void in her life that was larger than Scott himself. He was a big man in every way. Wise and gentle. Subtle at times, yet straight-forward when needed. Scott was a complex man, paradoxical, yet not. At times, I was confident he was channeling the larger force of Carl Jung. Some people call themselves Jungian. But Scott breathed Carl Jung in and out, like tobacco from an ancient pipe. He had placed the tea bag of his life into Jung’s alchemical brew and then he ladled it out to rest of us, one sip at time. Scott sat in the midst of his endless library. He listened no matter how long I talked. Then he would tell a story. Sometimes he would quote Jung at just the right moment, reach for the appropriate book and hand it to me. He never gave instructions, only offerings. I could wisely take it, or foolishly leave it.
You could call Scott a Christian, though you’d have to clearly define what you meant by the idea of being a Christian. Scott understood Jesus through Jungian eyes. Such a notion is complexity exemplified. But if you thought of Jesus in other terms, Scott would suggest you might miss the message. To be a healer in the pathway of Jesus is to accept the cost. To live is to die. To die is to live. Jung said in The Red Book that, “Whoever possesses wisdom in not greedy for power. Only the man who has power declines to use it.” Scott Haasarud had, still has, power from the other world, but never wielded it. You just had to be in his presence to feel it, still feel it.
Jung told of a vision in The Red Book. He was hanging from the Tree of Life. He asked his anima, his soul, to cut him down. But she said she couldn’t reach that high. So the anima, became the serpent and crawled into the tree. Jung wrestled with the rational and irrational, his thinking and his feeling. The serpent, in an attempt to find a solution, became a white bird and flew high into heaven. She brought back a golden crown for Jung. The inscription on the crown read, “Love never ends.” Jung asked the bird, “What does the riddle of the golden crown mean?” “It means,” said the bird. “That the crown and the serpent are opposites, yet one. Did you not see the serpent that crowned the head of the crucified?”
Christ the Crucified was the serpent lifted high on the Tree like the serpent on Moses staff. The serpent was both poison and salvation. Jung understood the Christ Crucified as both serpent and healer to be the exemplar of each individual living in union with the Divine One, YHVH. We need not be like Jesus. Indeed not. Instead, we must do the unthinkable. We must become Jesus for the sake others. Scott Haasarud became Jesus, healing others. Scott did his own soul work. He modeled for us, with us, in us, around us, the way to become who we are all called to be: our own self, the Christ within us all, within every human being, within every creature, every stone of creation. We discover who we are when we can answer the question, “Who am I,” with the words, “I am.” We can boldly make this statement because truly Love Never Ends.
Scott Haasarud has left the world of the seen to reside in the realm of the unseen. He has been grafted into the Tree of Life. He has become the white bird. No longer encumbered by earthly limitations. He is now free to meet us in the collective unconscious. Scott’s life and work lives, infused into the essence of our mind, body, soul, and spirit. While we may not see Scott every day, or once a month, we will now encounter him in a better realm, in our dreams, in our creative imagination, and at the Eucharistic Table with all the communion of saints.