Archive for the ‘imago Dei’ tag
In searching through my recent archives for a photo to fit today’s post, I was torn between phallic symbols and photos of various men I have met along the way here in Changzhou, China. Then, I spotted this photo which I took while at the YanCheng Safari Park.
This photo reeks of male power. And, that is what I want in order to portray the archetypal energies of the father image. As I look at the photo a host of other images flash through my mind. I think of the vestments of authority of church leaders, I think of the accoutrements of authority that magnates of industry and business surround their presence so that all know that they are the “top dog” or the “biggest fish” in their pond. The sense of power that says, “Yes, I can protect you – but, I can also destroy you if you piss me off!”
The power is real. Yes, protection is possible, even probable for those that acquiesce, those that accept the “ordained by God” authority. Yes, one’s destruction is also possible. Such power is strongest when the holder is only conscious enough to wield the power, but not conscious enough to contain the power. The boundaries between the archetypal energies and the personal energies are very thin. Being able to draw on the archetypal energies allows the power to radiate and draw so many into the brilliant light of that energy, like a candle flame that attracts moths.
There is a problem with so much archetypal energy being drawn upon, the host is consumed as are all those who get pulled into the orbit around that flame. History has too many examples of this “archetype in action.”
“. . . the father imago is, as all archetypal energies, double edged. It empowers and/or castrates; it authorizes and/or tyrannizes; it protects and/or crushes. Whenever we are dealing with issues of personal authority, whenever we are serving the imago Dei or questioning its relevance to our actual life, we are dealing with the father archetype in all its many forms. Whenever we seek the protection or destruction of another; whenever we impose our authority on another; when we pass on a message of empowerment or disempowerment, we are fathering, regardless of our gender or conscious intention.” (Hollis, Mythologems, p. 48)
One thing I want to note here, the father imago is only one half of the full face of God. The second half is the mother imago. Think of the symbol yin-yang which is a completeness in which masculine and feminine are forever joined, circling each other in full balance. This is the fullness of what can only be called God or the ONE, the whole or holiness. All that is (consciousness) and all that isn’t (unconscious) as far as a human can understand and know.
The Temple of the Seven Dolls, a different Mayan structure from all others found in Mexico built in the 7th century, sits at the centre of the Dzibilchaltun Mayan ruins. It is a square building with four sets of stairs and entrances that correspond to the four cardinal directions – north, east, south and west. On each wall there are two sets of windows, one on each side of an entrance. During the spring and fall equinoxes, the sun’s rays flow directly through the east and west entrances to flow down the sacbe (white road) to a smaller square structure, a sundial, which also has four sets of steps. At the summer solstice, the sun’s rays enter the north-east window of the north wall and exit at the north-west window of the west wall. During the winter solstice, the sun’s light enters through the south-east window of the south wall to exit through the south-west window of the west wall. In this photo, I am looking out at the sundial and the sacbe that goes on through the Mayan grounds.
Again, I wondered at what is drawing me out here to speak. The sun, a quaternity – a mandala on a grand scale.
AS ITS fourfold structure indicates the mandala is a symbol of totality, forming, like the Platonic world-soul, a rounded whole “sufficient to itself,”1 a complete being “organised in accordance with its own internal laws”. 2 For Jung the mandala is a symbol of the Self, that psychic totality which is indescribable except in antinomies and indistinguishable from the imago Dei. Its essential nature is unavoidably irrational and irrepresentable, for the union of opposites is a paradox beyond our comprehension. But the age-old mandala is not a rational product of discriminating consciousness; like all true symbols it stems from unconscious sources of creativity, which transcend or predate the world-creating division of opposites. (The Meaning of the Mandala, Philip Williams, June 2000)
The “Self”, the unconscious well-springs of the “self”, the source of the unifying principal within each of us. It’s amazing how so many ideas of C.G. Jung’s are finding an outward expression in this ancient land of the Mayans.
On a walk during a recent stay in Mérida we passed one of many old churches. Above the front entrance to this church was a stained glass window proclaiming Jesus. The city is filled with churches from simple “Christian” churches to a number built in the 16th and 17th centuries by the Spaniards. Though I am not particularly religious in a church sense, there is quite a pull to some of the images and the space and architecture of these old churches. That said, it is in the detail that I find resonances.
Jesus, in a Jungian sense is an archetype that points to the “Self” within the “self”. Okay, maybe that doesn’t make sense to most people, but I hope that I can explain it enough so that you can understand how it resonates within me. In a number of locations in the bible one comes across the words with proclaim about finding “Christ” within. Christ represents the godhead, the Imago Dei, that lies within each person. Sometimes religion ascribes the soul as that aspect though in Jungian terms, that would be somewhat inaccurate. I say somewhat as all aspects, all archetypes all become just aspects of the whole, the holy, that oneness of conscious and unconscious both personal and collective.
Jesus is a representation of the collective unconscious that points to the potential for all to achieve a state of being the best one can be. As one travels a journey of individuation, one becomes more and more conscious, more aware of the nature of self in relation to other and in relation the collective and in relation to what I can only say is the sum of all that is and all that isn’t, that which religions call god.