Archive for the ‘luna’ tag
I want to begin by bringing a sort of synthesis of the process as spoken by Jung in Mysterium Coniunctionis:
“Grey and black [nigredo] correspond to Saturn and the evil world; they symbolize the beginning in darkness, in the melancholy, fear, wickedness, and wretchedness of ordinary human life. . . . The darkness and blackness can be interpreted psychologically as man’s confusion and lostness . . . The situation is now gradually illuminated as is a dark night by the rising moon. The illumination comes to a certain extent from the unconscious, since it is mainly dreams that put us on the track of enlightenment This dawning light corresponds to the albedo, the moonlight which in the opinion of some alchemists heralds the rising sun. The growing redness (rubedo) which now follows denotes an increase in warmth and light coming from the sun, consciousness.” (Jung, CW vol. 14, para. 306-307)
The alchemical journey is one of moving from the depths of darkness where one is indeed lost, back into the full light of day where we are aware of our own presence in relation to the world which is illuminated by the day. Aware, conscious, alive. There is a vitality that is felt as one is able to breathe freely and deeply and participate in life rather than stand on the sidelines guarding our breath while trying to fade into the shadows so that no one sees us or hears us.
With consciousness, we become aware of our presence in relationships, we become aware of our body and its sensations, we become aware of the dance of contradictions that often find their expression in good versus evil.
This consciousness is not all encompassing, can never be all encompassing. If all the darkness (unconscious) was exposed and brought to consciousness, there would be no awareness. Awareness can only exist in contrast. Day only exists because there is night. Black only exists because there is white.
Now, to finish this first part of exploring the rubedo with a return to Jung’s words:
“This corresponds to the increasing participation of consciousness, which now begins to react emotionally to the contents produced by the unconscious. At first the process of integration is a “fiery” conflict, but gradually it leads over to the “melting” or synthesis of the opposites. The alchemists termed this the rubedo, in which the marriage of the red man and the white woman, Sol and Luna, is consummated. Although the opposites flee from one another they nevertheless strive for balance, since a state of conflict is too inimical to life to be endured indefinitely.” (Jung, CW vol. 14, para. 307)
I took this photo yesterday evening in Jamestown, North Dakota. As I write this post I am again back in Saskatchewan, Canada. I realise that I have more than enough luna photos already posted here and that perhaps for the viewer it might be a bit boring. Regardless, I take these images at a certain moment in time because of a conscious decision which I sense might provide me with yet another excuse to write a few more words here. Here, the moon is becoming fuller with each passing day in terms of what I can see. Having watched this process many times, I now know that there is something there that I don’t see, still hidden in the dark blue is more of the moon.
And this is what I thought would be my reason for the photo, the idea of the hidden existing in spite of not being visible, hidden in shadow. In the exposed part of the moon, I see more shadow regions and think of how there are things that are not so deeply hidden, but hidden none-the-less. All of this makes me think of human consciousness and our journey of self/SELF discovery. Something must exist if it is to be discovered.
As one takes on the challenge of uncovering one’s own mystery, there is a sense that there is something there to uncover. We want to know who we are, what we are and why we are. Just to have these questions lets one know that there are answers. If there were no answers then we would have a sense of acceptance of the fullness of ourselves as we see ourselves, there would be no wondering.
It is this consciousness of the existence of more that has led humans to dig deeper into not only the self but into all things animate and inanimate, search for more and more and more, hoping to arrive at a core. This journey has taken us to the smallest particles of existence we can find, particles so small we can’t really see them, but only know of them because of their patterns of energy and energy displacement.
And so, I continue to look at the moon and wonder, not only about the moon, the universe and God; but also about myself.
It’s summer solstice today and I am writing this at approximately two hours past the peak of the solstice. I found this image as a representative image for the solstice, an image of the masculine. As most who follow symbolism are are aware, the sun is symbolic of the masculine where the moon is symbolic of the feminine. The summer solstice is all about the sun.
Solstice is representative of the midpoint of a man’s life in as much as it represents the midlife of the annual journey of the earth around the sun, the point where man is at his peak, the moment when the sun is in the sky longest in the year. It is the time when a man is the most conscious of the fact of being a man, most feeling the power of being male.
If a man has truly worked at becoming conscious, he comes to a point of crisis as he realises that the life of spirit, of logos doesn’t fill him. All that has been believed, all the effort, the struggle now seems to ring hollow. At this moment, a man “knows” that he has peaked and that it he is now engaged in a journey back to darkness. If he is lucky, he has a guide to help him descend from the peak.
With a focus on what has been attained in the work of being a man, the fact that reaching the pinnacle of his essence as a male has not resulted in a sense of fullness, but of a paradoxical emptiness, a hollowness, a man is graced with the opportunity to move towards balance, the balance of light and dark, the balance between his masculine aspect and his feminine aspect.
And it is this embarking on a new journey that is to be celebrated at the solstice, the end of the honeymoon and the real work to come, the real work which will give life meaning and purpose. Those who resist this journey get lost in addictions which promise meaning: sex, power, money, dominance of others.
It doesn’t make sense to the objective world that it is in a descent into a subjective world that one finds purpose and meaning in the outer world. But who said it has to make sense in a “logos” kind of way? Too much of one thing leads to burn out, to a searing of the soul.
Though it might seem a time for mourning of one’s ego, a time for anger and resistance; midlife is a blessing if one can only dare to continue a journey of individuation, a journey in which one learns to embrace the feminine, the soul.
It was good to be able to take another luna photo as it seemed to be time to do some reflections out of darkness with the vision of light at the centre to which I am heading on my journey. It was especially good to be able to catch the moon in a tunnel formed out of the surrounding banks of clouds. I have to say that I “lucked out” in having this scene present itself to me when my camera was close at hand.
Now that I am back in Canada and at home on the Canadian prairies, my allergies are back in full force. The effect of the allergies is mostly about muffling reality, about finding myself in thick clouds which distort the reality that others experience. The pressure on my head is like a gentle vise encircling my temple. Yet, I refuse to become a victim to the vise and to the allergies that nourish the vise. Rather, it becomes yet another terrain that I must navigate just as Odysseus had to go through so many different experiences, so many different realities in order to arrive home. And this, is very instructive for me. I haven’t yet arrived at a place that I could truly call home. I am still on the journey.
I do have a sense of where I will find that home, someplace that has light at the centre. If I find the darkness, the clouds to be both shadow and forest and a place of dampness, I think of the darker aspects of the feminine, the darker aspects of my soul and my relationship to the feminine. If I find the moon to be the light aspects of the feminine, I am encouraged to believe that my journey will have my relationship to the feminine become one that allows me to transform the conscious self into a more balanced person, balanced between the masculine and the feminine aspects. This balance will then allow me to be with others in a more authentic manner in which I recognize those others not as men or women, but as living souls who are linked intimately with me.
And this, is how I understand my journey through darkness at this time.
I am posting another “Luna” photo because that is what is drawing me, calling to me. I have a strong feeling of the “archetypal” dream continuing to work within me, trying desperately to tell me of her pain, her loss. She is there but few are willing to see her, to listen to her voice echoing in the heartbeat of our world. And with this collective refusal, chaos is again let loose on the the world.
THE SECOND COMING – W.B. Yeats (1919)
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Yeats paints a powerful image in this poem, one that “fits” well with the current state in which we find our world in which consciousness seems to have taken a back seat to an angry Gaia, an angry God the Mother – Luna. Jung also has his own way of expressing this which follows. I don’t want to say much with my own words at this point, but rather let Yeats and Jung sit with you for a while. I am so frigging angry that I need a “time out” in order to gather my “self” together.
“Just as the decay of the conscious dominant is followed by an irruption of chaos in the individual, so also is the case of the masses … and the furious conflict of elements in the individual psyche is reflected in the unleashing of primeval blood-thirstiness and lust for murder on a collective scale. . . . The loss of external images is in truth no light matter for the man of discernment. But since there are infinitely many more men of no discernment, nobody, apparently, notices that the truth expressed by the dogma has vanished in a cloud of fog, and nobody seems to miss anything. The discerning person knows and feels that his psyche is disquieted by the loss of something that was the life-blood of his ancestors. The undiscerning miss nothing, and only discover afterwards in the papers (much too late) the alarming symptoms that have now become “real” in the outside world because they were not perceived before inside, in oneself, just as the presence of the eternal images was not noticed. If they had been, a threnody for the lost god would have arisen . . .. Instead, all well-meaning people assure us that one has only to believe he is still there – which merely adds stupidity to unconsciousness. Once the symptoms are really outside in some form of sociopolitical insanity, it is impossible to convince anybody that the conflict is in the pysche of every individual, since he is now quite sure where his enemy is. The,n the conflict which remains an intrapsychic phenomenon in the mind of the discerning person, takes on the plane of projection in the form of political tension and murderous violence. To produce such consequences the individual must have been thoroughly indoctrinated with the insignificance and worthlessness of his psyche and of psychology in general. One must preach at him from all the pulpits of authority that salvation always comes from outside and that the meaning of his existence lies in the “community.” He can then be led docilely to the place where of his own natural accord he would rather go anyway: to the land of childhood, where one makes claims exclusively on others, and where, if wrong is done, it is always somebody else who has done it. When he no longer knows by what his soul is sustained, the potential of the unconscious is increased and takes the lead. Desirousness overpowers him, and illusory goals set up in the place of the eternal images excite his greed. The beast of prey seizes hold of him and soon makes him forget that he is a human being. His animal affects hamper any reflection that might stand in the way of his infantile wish-fulfilments, filling him instead with a feeling of a new-won right to existence and intoxicating him with the lust for booty and blood.” (Jung, CW 14, par 510)
I am often amazed at how ordinary things have an extraordinary aspect. Yesterday morning while out chasing photos of a setting full moon, the sun was also moving with sunrise. As this image shows, the sun was captured in a reflection on the kitchen window of a neighbour’s home which stood at the edge of the prairie. And in the instant that I took the photo, what emerged was a transformation of the ordinary house into a numinous place, a holy place.
I guess one could say that I was lucky to get this photo as well as the one used in the last post, within moments of each other. However, I don’t take it as luck. I decided to get up earlier than usual to chase photos of Luna in light conditions that would allow a better photograph using my limited camera. I knew that Sol was also going to be present as Luna was setting. All that was left to me was to allow the edges of vision to see what I would otherwise miss. I trusted to the inner “self” to note these things while my “ego” was busy with the hunt for photos for the SoFoBoMo project. - – - It works, so I (ego) go along for the ride.
“So the sun as the symbol of consciousness represents both the ego and the Self. The reason for that double representation is that the Self cannot come into conscious, effective existence except through the agency of the ego. Needless to say it can come into plenty of effective existence without an ego but it can’t come into consciously effective existence without the agency of an ego. That’s why it is unavoidable that the symbolism of Sol, as the principle of consciousness, represents both the ego and the Self.” (Edinger, The Mysterium Lectures, p. 94)
I have to admit that it is very tempting to accept Edward Edinger’s restatement of CG Jung’s words. Images such as this do point to the idea of Sol/Sun as God, something so numinous that it can only be seen indirectly. And, that idea of Sol as God the Father is seated within the self, within me. However, I know that all that would result is a swelling of my head and the loss of my own identity. So, how do I deal with the conflicting ideas ?
On one level, the sun as archetype of the ego makes sense. In my opinion, this is a concept that can be embraced by modern men and women as it doesn’t discriminate between the genders. However, the idea of sun as Father God is one that makes me feel uncomfortable. Why have human gender be ranked in hierarchy? Why have the masculine as superior? I know that our relatively recent history as humans has embraced patriarchy as a way of being within the collective. But, human history has also had us embrace matriarchy. Is one “archy” better than the other? Somehow, I don’t think so. Power is still power and both systems focus on “power” over “others.” Neither matriarchy or patriarchy offer the individual a sense of wholeness.
Jungian psychology, as lived by Jung, is about individuation, a growth of consciousness that is not limited to men. Individuation demands the integration of opposites “within” the psyche. And so this is what I turn to as a final resort in trying to resolve the apparent contradictory words. Obviously, one needs to look beyond the words used to find what can’t be understood directly. It’s a challenge that is mostly overlooked as one gets caught in the objectivity of the words and the images.
So, I muddle along hoping that I don’t miss something that is in plain sight.
I took this photo earlier this morning just before the moon set, and just after sunrise. For a brief while, both were in the sky with the sun in the east and the moon in the west. Already, the moon is losing its clarity which I had witnessed an hour earlier. I was glad that the position of the moon allowed me to get a prairie scene at the same time. Photos of the moon high in the sky, though beautiful, don’t give a sense of place.
I have selected about two-thirds of the photos needed for my SoFoBoMo project and have finally decided on format for their presentation. Rather than longish posts with each photo (in essence, what I do on this blog site), I am selecting quotes for each photo chosen for the project. Of course CG Jung will be front and centre, but I do expect to use other Jungians as well as quoting myself for a few of the photos, quotes taken from this blog site.
In the past few days I have taken quite a few photos of the moon including about seventy-five this morning. As I work on the project, I see larger work hiding in the background, one that seemingly wants to tell a story. I am not sure what the story is at this point, but I do sense that it will be quite different from how I write here. It is almost as if there is a task being presented, one in which I am to speak for myself and not rely on CGJ or any other author. Whatever the task, I don’t imagine it will take away from this blog site which is becoming my “real” voice being sent out into the ether for others.
Well, I’ve finally begun to put the first pages of my SoFoBoMo project into MS Word so that I can save the final project as a PDF. From the looks of it, I have had to reset the start day back a few days, to June 9th which means that I have until July 9th to complete the project. This photo is the one I have decided to be on the cover of the book. I am finally getting excited about the book as well as daunted by it. Have I chosen a theme beyond my capacity to explore well? I guess the answer is that it is about exploring the theme, not about being an authority on the theme. Saying that gives me a sense of relief and so I dare to continue this project into the unknown territory of unconsciousness.
This photo was an attempt to capture the sun through the branches of a tree. And as at other times, the photo had too much sun flare to be useful as it was. So, I cropped it and used editing tools to give the photo a surreal look and in the end, that look came closer to the psychological reality of the sun than anything more realistic in an objective sense.
“. . . the sun is the father-god from whom all living things draw life; he is the fructifier and creator, the source of energy for our world. The discord into which the human soul has fallen can be harmoniously resolved through the sun as natural object, which knows no inner conflict. The sun is not only beneficial, but also destructive . . . ” (Jung, CW Volume 5, par 176)
Again, the polarities are combined into one. This combining into one is what this whole process and project are all about. Good and evil together. God the Father is also the Great Destroyer, or Devil. I can almost hear the protests and the shouts of blasphemy. In order to respond to them, I want you to consider exactly what I mean by “God.”
For me, God is all that is and all that isn’t. This isn’t said to be obtuse, but to simply illustrate that God has no boundaries. Those who believe in God know him or her as all-knowing and omni-present. There is no place where God isn’t; there is nothing that exists other than by his or her will. In a way, the closest I can come to understanding this notion is to accept the fact that even I am part of where God is and what God knows. No, I don’t claim to be God. If one can accept that God is all that is and all that isn’t, that “must” include all that is good and all that is evil. If there is such a place as hell, then God must be there as well as in heaven. It then stands to my way of thinking, that heaven and hell are simply states of being with hell being a state of unconsciousness and heaven be a state of wholeness or holiness.
“So we must press onward to the final stage, the rubedo, which has often been called the ‘Marriage of Luna and Sol’, the fusion of the human and divine, the union of the personality (Luna) with the essential Self (Sol).” (Jung, CW Volume 12, p. 256)
All of these pieces begin to come together in this photo. The golden sun and the white moon are fused together to make a holy marriage. Of course, this can’t be taken literally, but figuratively it works. If one can make conscious and embrace both the masculine and the feminine aspects of self, one becomes whole, or holy.
I took this photo yesterday evening, Midsummer’s Eve. This photo hasn’t been edited other than cropping to fit this blog space. One can almost see this as a celestial bonfire. The sun is almost fully hidden behind the clouds as it approaches the horizon that separates day from night. The sun was setting in the west-north-west quadrant of the sky.
I am adding a second photo which is also unedited other than being cropped for this blog, a photo taken just a few minutes after the photo above.
This scene was found in the east-south-east quadrant of the sky. The moon is almost full. The cloud is burnished by the glow of the setting sun. This moon will reign over the night sky with the setting of the sun. This is as it should be . . .
“Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. (Genesis 1:14)
“And God made two great lights; the greater the light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. (Genesis 1:16)
And so, I have found the photos that will serve to introduce the Sol / Luna theme of my SoFoBoMo project.
While waiting for the full moon to appear, I am taking advantage of any appearance of those moments when the moon is visible. The full moon is due to appear on the 26th of June, another two days. In addition to the full moon, a sighting of a partial lunar eclipse is possible here early in the morning. Of course, all of this is dependent upon the absence of cloud cover. Just another note looking forward in time; there is a full solar eclipse on July 11th. Now, if I can get any and all of these photo possibilities, the SoFoBoMo project will have a good range of subject material. July 13th is the final day of my project.
Today’s photo is “gentle” and “peaceful” for me. Night hasn’t yet arrived and yet the moon is present. I was lucky in that I caught a bird in the photo as well as the branches of a tree. I wanted to have a sense of “earth” as well as the moon. I had hoped to have a sense of being grounded and looking upward as if searching for inspiration. I can’t say that I found any inspiration, but I did relax and stop thinking about the task of taking moon photos for the project. Strange how the project has transformed into a conflict within me, one that doesn’t make the least bit of sense when I think that the project isn’t something that anyone is requiring me to complete, nor is there any reward for its completion. Obviously, for me, the project isn’t at the centre of this conflict; the project is something onto which I have shifted an inner conflict that has arisen out of the “Sol” / “Luna” archetypes. Put simply, in my opinion, the conflict is not consciousness versus unconsciousness, but more of a conflict between my shadow and my soul. Let me explain a bit here.
My shadow, in Jungian terms, is masculine (for a woman, the shadow is feminine); my soul, in Jungian terms, is feminine (for a woman, the soul is masculine). As I write about the sun, “Sol,” as a masculine archetype, I find that somehow my shadow is creeping into the dialogue and claiming power. And the sun is about power, isn’t it? Without the sun there is no life. The same can’t be said for the moon, “Luna.” With the moon being the feminine archetype, an archetype loaded with potentially “negative” aspects in comparison to the sun, the moon is devalued and the feminine with it. And in the process, my soul is devalued. I can’t have it two ways. Or, can I?
How can I move from an either/or situation? Jung does suggest that one can’t resolve the conflict by choosing either of the two polarities. Somehow, I have to find some other option. Jung often offers ideas based on ancient alchemical beliefs and processes. Somehow, alchemically, masculine and feminine must fuse into one. This is a process that can only be done, psychologically, through becoming more conscious of one’s “self.”
The only problem with the work of becoming more conscious of oneself is that one needs the presence of other to mirror the self. I can only see myself more fully in becoming aware of how others see and react to me – both men and women. Men hold the projections of my shadow, women hold the projections of my soul. Both, together help fill in the blank spaces. This is no different than the sun being able to only get a sense of self through reflection. The moon can only get a sense of self because of the light of the sun. Both are separated by time and space, apparently independent. Yet, if either were all alone, there would be no consciousness. Nothing but light or nothing but darkness. This is a conflict that can only be solved in having the two separate states join together into a marriage of sorts. And even then, they remain in conflict – a necessary conflict if one is to ever become more conscious of the light and darkness that lies within each of us.