Archive for the ‘Christian’ tag
Yes, it’s the first weekend of December and our apartment is looking a lot like Christmas even though we are in China for Christmas. We have been decorating for the season in some fashion or other for as long as I can remember as a family. Lights, a tree, and an assortment of other decorations including garland, stars and coloured balls take their place in various places in our main room. As I am writing this, Christmas music is playing and the lights are dancing.
I have to confess that this Christmas season has nothing to do with a religion for me. The lights, the colours, the music, the greenery and the good cheer that animate our home at this time of year are connected with something more primal within. If anything, this joyful celebration is a deliberate act to help the spirit navigate the darkest time of year, taking the spirit back into the light of a new year.
Winter’s solstice has been celebrated almost from the beginning of awareness within humans. The celebrations were invocations to the gods to bring back the light of the sun that seemed to disappear more and more each day. Fear of increased darkness and cold, fear of the loss of light encouraged humanity to cajole the gods, to invite the return of the sun and warmth.
I don’t find any relation between this season and the religion of Christianity. For some reason, the Christian face of the season became corrupted with commercialism. I dislike the practice of gift-giving and shopping for these gifts. I want to give the gift or relationship and the sharing of time, food and good drink – the celebration of being alive and together. I guess this makes me a pagan. Somehow, I think that this also makes me a truly spiritual person, living with my heart and soul rather than out of a creed of rules that separates the saved from the damned.
In the background you can see the full extent of the prairie village in which I live when “home” in Canada. In the foreground, the solitary figure and shadow of Michael, my brother-in-law, is seen heading back to this little village. The scene looks east into the morning sun which accounts for the darker aspects. Something to think about here. I am seeing shadows while looking towards the sun, sun shadows.
Opposites – Michael has me thinking about opposites, and in particular, consciousness and the unconscious. Michael has his moments when he is lucid to a certain degree. For the most part, he appears to be relatively conscious. It is only when one tries to engage him in conversation or activity when one discovers that consciousness is fading. Seeing his struggles, I get a better appreciation of my own relative “wholeness.”
“Without the experience of the opposites there is no experience of wholeness . . .” (Jung, CW 12, par 24)
Of course, I must admit that “I” experience the opposites as well. For the most part, my experience of the unconscious is through dreams. At other times, I bump into the unconscious through play and active imagination. And of course, I become aware of the presence of the unconscious “after the fact” when there is fallout from my speech and/or my actions while “under the influence” of the unconscious via archetypal presence.
When considering the opposites of darkness and light, I am immediately inclined to see darkness as “evil” and light as “good.” I fear the unknown, especially that unknown which foments conflict within me and conflict between myself and others. Since the unknown is hidden in darkness, I project that darkness outside of myself rather than admit that it simply more of my “self” which has yet to be made aware to my “ego” self. So where does this “belief” of darkness and light representing good and evil come from for me? Jung has an answer that seems to make sense,
“Christianity has made the antinomy of good and evil into a world problem . . .” (Jung, CW 12, par 25)
The threats of hell, of punishments – these were gifts given to me while being trained as a Catholic youth in catechism classes, ideas validated by parents and grandparents and teachers in the Catholic schools I attended. The light is good, and the light is God and Jesus. The dark is bad, and the dark is Satan. A was taught to beware of Satan who would do anything, to sin, in order to turn me into a bad person. And, if I did sin it was enough to “repent” during confession and God would take me back and give me another chance to earn a place in eternal light, in heaven.
Now? Well, I have come to see that the bad and dark stuff that I fear in the outer world is also within me. I have also realised that the good and the light stuff is also within me. And in realising this, I have come to some balance, a place of less fear of the darkness, and of less fear of the light.
The PDF is uploaded to the SoFoBoMo site. I finished! That said, the version that I have been posting excerpts from here continues to grow. I have decided that it will be finished without being “rushed” so that I can ensure that I get harmony between text and photos, a difficult task when limited to only prairie scenes found in such a short period of time. Now, for today’s entry from the ongoing work …
Are You my Father?
Who inspires fear and wonder
Will you destroy me?
“Wait ‘till your father gets home,” is a threat that has been heard by most children, a threat that has been repeated in Christian churches century after century, and in all mythologies. Fear of the father, fear of God. God and Father – to separate the two as a child is not even thinkable. And within the inner spaces of “self,” they become one.
The father represents the world of moral commandments and prohibitions … The father is representative of the spirit whose function it is to oppose pure instinctuality. (Jung, CW vol. 5, “Symbols of Mother and Rebirth,” paragraph 396, 1956.)
The need for rules is an act of consciousness. It is through rules that consciousness separates itself from the unconscious. Another name for this idea is “logos.”
There is no consciousness without discrimination of opposites. This is the paternal principle, the Logos, which eternally struggles to extricate itself from the primal warmth and primal darkness of the maternal womb; I a word, from unconsciousness. (Jung, CW vol. 9i,” Psychological Aspects of the Mother Archetype,” paragraph 178, 19 59.)
And as one attempts to escape being swallowed by the unconscious, one senses the war that exists between the forces of darkness and light, between good and evil. Religions of the world all point to this eternal struggle. And at the head of each theology, sits the father, an image that is regarded as the light that shines into the darkness.
As one moves towards the light, one becomes more aware of the darkness and how that darkness clings. Holding to the tension of becoming more saint than sinner, one can’t but help thoughts of self-denigration, that one is unworthy and that one is destined to be cast into eternal darkness by the eternal judge, the Father.