Archive for the ‘lizard’ tag
I really don’t know what type of reptile this is though it is some kind of lizard. I found him while near the end of a morning walk, not too far from the outskirts of the town. He is actually quite small and I was very surprised that I even saw him. But, when carrying a camera, sometimes the slightest movement is all that it takes. I caught him inflating his throat pouch and that was all that I needed to alert me to his presence. I did manage to get closer without scaring him in order to get this photo.
I know that he was waiting for something; what, I don’t have a clue. Well, likely he was waiting for contact with more of his kind. Perhaps the inflating of his throat pouch was about trying to attract a mate. Regardless, he was waiting, just like I am waiting.
I don’t know what I really am waiting for while spending this time in Costa Rica, I just know that this is a prelude to something else. So, while I wait, I take the time to turn a dark shade of brown thanks to the sun; I take the time to read and think and write here; I take the time to work on relationship with self and other. I know that this isn’t the main scene of the play that is my life, but a pause for something more.
“The rapid and worldwide growth of a psychological interest over the last two decades shows unmistakably that modern man is turning his attention from outward material things to his own inner processes. Expressionism in art prophetically anticipated this subjective development, for all art intuitively apprehends coming changes in the collective unconsciousness.“ (Jung, The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man, Modern Man in Search of Soul, 1933)
Turning inward. For most people I know this is something to be avoided at all costs. It is with the help of television, DVD collections of past TV series and movies and all sorts of other toys and technology that one can keep oneself busy enough to avoid that confrontation with self and its innate desire to turn inward with questions. Sometimes I wonder if it is even possible for many of them to turn inward, to wrestle with questions about self, others and society that aren’t questions that are fully outward focused. Perhaps even all the right conditions would only be met by a roadblock that tells them, “entry not allowed.” Perhaps it is more about some people having a defect in terms of the collective that opens up the psyche so that one pokes about within those dark, dank spaces and stirs up all sorts of shit which only serves to make the self dissatisfied with self and other and society. But, regardless of any of this, the pull is real and so like a few others who have this obsession with the psyche, I must trust to my intuitive instincts and so journey on through the confusion.
“The psychological interest of the present time is an indication that modern man expects something from the psyche which the outer world has not given him; doubtless something which our religion ought to contain, but no longer does contain, at least for modern man. For him the various forms of religion no longer appear to come from within, from the psyche; they feel more like items from the inventory of the outside world. No spirit not of this world vouchsafes him inner revelation, instead he tries on a variety of religions and beliefs as if they were Sunday attire, only to lay them aside again like worn-out clothes.” (Jung, The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man, Modern Man in Search of Soul, 1933)
I must admit that reading this made me chuckle. I was quite young yet when I found myself checking out other churches. I tried on Greek Orthodox, Born-Again-Christians, an assorted variety of Protestant churches and studied up on the Hebrew and Muslim faiths. I thought that if I tried hard enough I would find my “place” in the real world. But, nothing seemed to fill the empty hole. So I turned to music and hoped that it would make the difference. I tried painting with acrylics and tried drawing with charcoal in hopes that I would find the centre found by the artists I found in the National Art Gallery.
It was all for nought. Nothing I found in the outer world could ease my longing, me sense of emptiness. It was as if I had a closet full of clothing but found nothing I could wear and so had to present myself to the world naked and vulnerable.
Only unconscious and wholly uncritical people can imagine it possible to abide in a permanent state of moral goodness. But because most people are devoid of self-criticism, permanent self-deceptions is the rule. (Jung, CW 10, par 843; cited in Sharp, Jung Uncorked: Book Two, p. 27
Today’s photo is one of the species of lizards that I have photographed so far in Costa Rica. This one reminds me of a miniature dragon with a hint of dinosaur ancestors. One almost gets the feeling of a life form that has no sense of having a conscience. In a way, it provides a glimpse of what it might be like to have Borderline Personality Disorder, a state where there is no sense of right or wrong, just doing what one wants/needs to do with no thought of others, no sense of compassion or responsibility. Yes, cold-blooded like this reptile. For those who might be interested, this is a Common Basilisk. Another name for this lizard is the Jesus Christ Lizard because of its ability to run across the surface of water. This is a rather common lizard in Playa Jacó.
I have to admit that I do hear a voice in my head that lets me know its opinion, especially if it is opposite to what my ego is thinking/planning/doing. My conscience is often a pain in the ass making me feel guilty even though I haven’t done anything wrong. Talk about doing things wrong, where is my conscience then? It would be better if my conscience was actually looking out for me and thus save me being embarrassed or providing me with a heads up so that I wouldn’t get into trouble with others and with community. It has taken some time, but I finally get it that my conscience isn’t a voice from outside like some good Christian angel who works hard at trying to lead me to a life that would finally lead me to heaven.
What I needed to learn that conscience in Jungian terms is a personal psychic function base on ethics or “ethos.” Conscience isn’t about what society, what community has to say about morality. Springing from within, conscience is in the service of self. The voice of conscience lets us know “this way do not go.” To go against this inner voice is to lose more than could ever be gained, lose in a personal sense. So what if in following one’s conscience, one’s inner truth, one’s inner voice, one loses a job, a mate, a friend, or even life? Is the price of keeping all and perhaps becoming richer than needed, more powerful than others, is the price of one’s soul recompense enough? I found it interesting that one hears the same message in the bible, a quotation of the words of Jesus (King James Bible, Mark 8-36, 37)
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Perhaps, listening to the inner voice, choosing to act, be, do according to that voice in spite of the pressures of the world around us is akin to the lizard above where we walk on water, walk on the foundation of the inner truths which are linked to a larger universal truth, something outside the control and definition of human.
Ouroboros – the lizard that feeds on itself, the tail devourer. I know, this lizard (iguana) is not exactly feeding upon itself. Yet, it seeing it, and taking its photo, I sensed something that was waiting, waiting to be seen and then said. One begins to trust to such instincts. I took several photos of this iguana. The others were much clearer, sharper in focus as far as the iguana itself was concerned. But, they didn’t have the sense of ‘dejà vu’ or ‘ah-ha’ that I wait for. In the past seven months I have taken four thousand photos. Needless to say, only some of them find their way here. And not all of these are powerful. Some are just photos.
So why this one? And why, is it in black and white instead of in colour? I wanted black and white as they speak more about polarity, about opposites, about light and shadow. The iguana, the lizard, is almost all white. This suggests a sense of the masculine to me. Yet, there are slight bands of black which speak of origins, of ‘otherness’. The head of the lizard is overwhelmingly suggestive of a penis, confirming the masculine aspect.
And, the lizard is in search, in search of the female. Before taking its photo, the pouch under his neck was engorged. He made quite a few bobbing of his head movements before noticing my presence. It’s the story of all life, the search for a mate, for survival of the species. Humans are no different.
The penis is drawn to a vagina, a dark and damp and warm retreat. And that vagina, a vagina, is the source of its origin. So, the penis is drawn back to its source, a circular journey. And it feeds that vagina. And then, for a moment there is a death, a lack of awareness of ‘self’. And in that instant, the head is feeding on the tail – the vagina as the head, and the penis as the tail.