Archive for the ‘coniunctio’ tag
The mystery of coniunctio, of the joining of the two into one, a holy marriage – well, this photo is about joining together as these two dragonflies engage in an act that is shared by most creatures on this planet. I think it necessary to bring Jung’s words here in order to better understand the term “coniunctio.”
“The coniunctio is an a priori image that occupies a prominent place in the history of man’s mental development. If we trace this idea back we find it has two sources in alchemy, one Christian, the other pagan. The Christian source is unmistakably the doctrine of Christ and the Church, sponsus and sponsa, where Christ takes the role of Sol and the Church that of Luna. The pagan source is on the one hand the hieros-gamos, on the other the marital union of the mystic with God.[“The Psychology of the Transference,” (Jung, CW 16, pa. 355.)
Thus we see that coniunctio is not a physical union as many would like to believe as they search for their “soul mate.” Rather, it is mental, an internal state of being, a union of opposites, and in particular, the union of the conscious and unconscious. Regardless, there is something very mysterious in this, something we touch on when we lose ourselves in the embrace of passion with other. Albert Einstein speaks of this sense of mystery:
“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery—even if mixed with fear—that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds – it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual who survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature.” - Albert Einstein, “The World As I See It” (1931)
Like Einstein, I would have to say that I also am a deeply religious man. I sense the presence of deity in the images, in the well-springs of my centre and often in the faces of others as well as nature. Entering into cathedrals I am brought into a state of presence both within and without of deity. I, too, marvel at the world at what each part adds to the whole and the mystery behind, within and surrounding. This is what I try to hint at with my photography.
As I took this photo, I didn’t know what the impulse was, I just knew that I took it for presentation here. So dutifully, I prepared the photo by cropping it and centering the wildflower. And then, I have let the photo sit on my “desktop” ever since quietly in the background while using the other photos you have been seeing here. After a dream during the night which had nothing to do with the photo (or so I thought), when I sat down to keyboard and began to check my e-mail and do a bit of browsing such as a weather forecast check, I felt another headache fill my head. Refusing to reach for a pill, I opened up the blog site and clicked on “new post” and then selected this photo without any inner debate. Today, it chose to presented. Some things are too mysterious for me to wrap my head around and try to figure out. I just accept the mystery and go on from there.
The same thing happened in terms of what text, if any, would I use with this wildflower on a prairie river bank. For some reason, I bypassed most of my usual books of interest and picked up a book I had barely started reading many months ago, a book by Eugene Monick called Potency: Masculine Aggresion as a Path to the Soul.
Potency, that makes sense. The flower is definitely a potent source of new life. And its shape,? As a representation of phallus, it does suggest a heightened potency. At the beginning of chapter one, Monick has a series of quotes which I want to present here before going much further. The actual source (book. page) of each of these quotes is not known, nor do I have the “head” today to go in search of them.
“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mystical. It is the power of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.” - Albert Einstein
And the second quote:
“I think we can say that in and of itself an act of knowledge could never give access to the truth unless it was prepared, accompanied, doubled and completed by a certain transformation of the subject; not of the individual, but of the subject himself in his being as subject.” - Michel Foucault
Now, allowing for the mystical, allowing for the energy and mystery that showed up in my dream, I sense the mystery of the masculine potential, and curiously the feminine energy which pulls the masculine. It is all about “potency.” One talks of a man as being potent in more than in a sexual manner. A man is potent in being able to make things happen, as a man charges first to a finish line, as a man stands tall as hero against all manner of bad guys and monsters. And it is this potency that needs to be drawn upon by a man as he dares to approach the feminine. This potency does not require violence on the feminine, rather, it requires due respect and awe of the “other” which is forever cloaked in mystery as the source and womb of life.
I am reminded of how in how the awe of coniunctio I am both filled and emptied – a paradox and a mystery – and how I feel I have connected with my soul.
A photo taken last night as the sun set in Playa Jacó. I had hoped to catch my wife, the sun, the surf and a few who were in the water surfing. Originally, the photo was destined for our family photo album and not for this blog. But on spending time with the photo, I came to realise that there was something important here to be said. Of course, by that I mean, important for me to say and hear. How important it is for others is not what the blog is about. Again, I want to remind all reading here that this is more about self and self-reflection than it is about trying to teach others.
Often, the images of my wife are actually images of anima. Here anima faces the setting sun, a moment of communion, a moment when both soul and spirit acknowledge each other with honour. The masculine aspect begins to make way for the feminine – both making for the whole. Together, they form the holy couple, a marriage between soul and spirit. So why do I refer to this woman as anima? Well, to be honest, she isn’t my anima. She is a woman that is as human as I am with her own soul and spirit. But that is a different story, one that may or may not ever be told here. These words travel within myself to look at how eros and logos, anima and spirit have come to honour the “otherness” that separates, yet an attitude that joins.
I took this photo in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India in January, 2008. It is a detail from the outer wall of the Jagdesh Temple in the old inner city. Kama is one of the four sacred paths which lead to union with Brahman, the path that leads to Moksha, the escape from the wheel of life and rebirth. Four paths with Kama being the path of materialistic living.
Kama is not the same as the Jungian concept of coniunctio, the holy marriage the union of masculine and feminine, yet the end result is exactly the same. The escape from the wheel of life leads to Brahman, the transcendent reality, the divine ground, the return to wholeness through union with the one.
Sex is sacred and needs to be honoured as such rather than be a commodity bought and sold or bartered. Sex is not a weapon to be used to gain power or advantage or to punish. Sex is about celebrating the journey. Sex is a constant reminder of the need to bring union to opposites.