Archive for the ‘Marie-Louise von Franz’ tag
Well, this is another photo that I took using the timer feature of my camera. At the time, I wasn’t too sure what the purpose was for it. Likely there was some background idea of the Vitruvian Man in my mind. Yet, the photo didn’t work well with that idea so I left it sit unused. Now, with this post, I see that it fits. Here I am focusing away from self and the camera toward something else. It is as if I am saying “this is me, take me as I am.”
“Individuation means being yourself, becoming yourself. Nowadays one always uses the cheap word “self-realization,” but what one really means is ego-realization. Jung means something quite different. He means the realization of one’s own predestined development [essentialism] that does not always suit the ego, but it is what one intrinsically feels could or should be. We are neurotic when we are not what God meant us to be. Basically, that’s what individuation is all about. One lives one’s destiny. Then usually one is more humane, less criminal, less destructive to one’s environment.” (von Franz, Geography of the Soul, 1993, p. 12; cited in Sharp, Jung Uncorked: Book Three, pp 107-108)
Marie-Louise von Franz puts it nicely indeed. This is what I am trying to do, be less destructive, be less criminal, be less harmful to others and to my self. I want to have my life mean something. And no, I don’t mean that I want to become famous. Meaning has nothing to do with public fame. It has to do with settling the inner contents into a state of balance so that even the shadows feel at ease with the outer self, the ego. In a way, it becomes an issue of teamwork that has all of the self become aligned. This work, this inner team work, is individuation.
As created beings, we can only be what is possible for our psyche. We are limited by our complexes, by biology and by our will to be “self.” It is rare for anyone, perhaps even impossible to fully realize what is possible as an individual. When we follow the collective, we move away from what is possible as an individual. Since we are never fully conscious, it takes courage to move past the doubt and trust in the SELF. Following the crowd is easier and in the process, we find safety in numbers – especially safety against the inner aspects of self that we define as demons.
In my mind, we only honour God by accepting and getting to know him through his creation within the “self.”
Another sunset photo taken from the front of my little villa here in Costa Rica. In seeing this scene in light of my reading and recent posts, I think of being in a cauldron and being cooked. My ofttimes weird sense of humour takes a tangent and likens it to being in a cooking pot in the South Pacific, surrounded by hungry headhunters wearing bones in their hair. The humour aside, the skies look like they are on fire, logos is threatened. There is definitely a sense of transformational heat at work.
The transformation of Mercurius, as prima materia, in the heated, sealed vessel is comparable to cooking the basic instinctive drives in their own affect until their essential fantasy content becomes conscious. “Instead of arguing with the drives which carry us away, we prefer to cook them and . ask then what they want. . . . That can be discovered by active imagination, or through experimenting in reality, but always with the introverted attitude of observing objectively what the drive really wants.” (von Franz, Alchemy, p. 129)
Moving from conflict to a place of balance. It isn’t all that much different when dealing with others. When we give others the chance to speak, to be heard, we defuse most of the conflict even if we don’t have both parties agree. Why shouldn’t this work with how we deal with complexes and shadowy figures in our dark inner spaces. Perhaps we would feel less the victim of the unknown if we were to cautiously engage with these complexes and shadowy figures.
As I researched for this post, I found this graphic that I have seen a number of times in different books. I located it again in an Internet search. That said, I can’t give the original source of the image. All that I can say is that it is one of a number of images depicting Mercurius. There is definitely a sense of trickster in him. Here is what Daryl Sharp has to say about this guy:
Mercurius is the fly in the ointment, the invisible little guy who ruins your plans. He is mercurial, after all, unpredictable; there’s no telling when he might pop up in your life to turn it topsy-turvy, from driving you into a lamp-post to having a go at the baby sitter. And you can be conscious of his trickster quality and still be at his mercy. . . .
Of course, like any archetypal entity Mercurius embodies the opposites, and so he as a benign side as well. He gets you out of bed in the morning; he gives you ambition, ideas “out of the blue,” a job to do, someone to love, kids to focus on with awe. (Sharp, Jung Uncorked: Book Two, 2008, p. 57)
There is no doubt that Mercurius acts within us without our ever being aware of him. Yet, once one begins to dare the alchemical task of individuation, we actually get to sense his presence within rather than blame some factor on the outside, blame some other on the outside. More importantly is to recognise that it isn’t all bad. Perhaps being made a fool at times is for the good, a bit of humility so that we don’t get to filled with ourselves.
On the shores of the Tarcoles River, not too distant from where I live here in Costa Rica, I found quite a few Black-Necked Stilts. Interesting to me is the bird’s head which reminds me of the Yin-Yang symbol, a symbol that represents a few polarities; and, that of consciousness and the unconscious, the masculine and the feminine. I am bringing this photo here as it symbolises for me the shift from nigredo to albedo, from the confrontation of the shadow.
The second stage in the alchemical process is called “albedo.” It is important to note that this is a “whitening” process, not necessarily the “white” stage. Thus, the reason for this photo which shows both black and white. I will return back to Marie-Louise von Franz for a good description of this stage in the alchemical process.
In the alchemical work of the nigredo is followed by the albedo. This phase corresponds in the individuation process to the integration of the inner contrasexual components, the anima in the case of a man, the animus with a woman. (von Franz, C.G. Jung: His Myth in Our Time, p. 223; cited in Sharp, Jung Uncorked: Book Two, p 50)
Marie-Louise von Franz here uses this information while talking about the psychoanalytic process and the relationship between the analyst and the analysand. But, if we look at this stage in a bigger picture, we can extend it to be more than the integration of the animus or anima; we can see it to be the integration of complexes in general. Remembering that the nigredo was about confronting the shadow, the albedo becomes dealing with what one learns in that confrontation. Hopefully, we learn enough to accept that we own the shadow thus allowing ourselves to withdraw projections. In doing this, we own our complexes and in turn lessen the power of the unconscious to act for us without our awareness. Of course, we know that we can’t master all of this unconscious contents as enough of it is tied into a larger, collective unconsciousness.
I am beginning to see that alchemy is not so esoteric and has become just a way of understanding what is happening to me as I consciously engage with the uncovering of my shadow side. There is no doubt in my mind that in following this path I will become a healthier person, more whole. It’s not perfect, but it is better than what was.
This is a Crested Caracara also known as the Caracara Eagle, King Buzzard, Mexican Eagle, Audubon’s Caracara, and Mexican Buzzard. I chased this bird up a lot of hills until I was able to get this photo. I have other photos of him but not as good as this one. For me it is interesting how this bird is seen as being a member of the falcon family and yet is referred to as an eagle and a buzzard as well by its own name. Having so many names suggest that he carries a fair number of projections by various groups. Is anyone interested in the true bird or in the collective opinions of the bird?
For me, he is a Crested Caracara, a fellow that is definitely interested in his own privacy and in keeping his distance from others. It is often thought that the buzzard symbolises an angry old man, one who has a short temper; and, there is a sense of darkness, a signal of dark times ahead. However, this doesn’t quite fit with how I understand the psychological presence of this fellow. Yes, there is a pointed awareness of darkness, but this bird is still a bird, a symbol of spirit that soars above and outside of unconsciousness.
So what is this guy pointing to? Well, if I accept that he is pointing to darkness, and I understand that it is only through that darkness that I can find the light, I can accept that this signals an alchemical process. And in alchemy, it is necessary to being with blackening or nigredo.
The nigredo has its parallels . . . in the confrontation with the shadow. Everything which one has criticized, with moreal indignation, in others, is “served up” in dreams as part of one’s own being. envy, jealousy, lies, sexual drives, desire for power, ambition, greed for money, irritability, all kinds of childishness suddenly stare implacably at one, out of one’s dreams. Illusions about oneself and the world fall apart, ideals are revealed as desire for power in disguise, “sacred” convictions as hollow. (von Franz, C.G. Jung: His Myth in Our Time, pp 222-223; cited in Sharp, Jung Uncorked: Book Two, p. 49)
Yes, coming to terms with all that we have ever denied about ourselves, that indeed is a descent into darkness. From the birds point of view, it can only get better as one sees the darkness for what it is. Coming clean, being honest with oneself can only lead us out of our own darkness into the light.
Okay, thanks to my readers and their interest in various post-Jungian authors from whom I have been drawing various quotes, I am taking the time to list some of my sources. As you can tell, the photo is a peek at a two shelves which contain most of my collection of Inner City Books, a series of books written by Jungian analysts that is published in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Daryl Sharp is the editor of the series as well as being one of the major contributing authors. Needless to say, I have most of the books in the series.
Two important books in the series by Daryl are:
- Jung Lexicon, and
- Digesting Jung
Daryl’s other books that I found especially interesting were:
- Personality Types
- Getting To Know You
- The Secret Raven
- Living Jung
- Jungian Psychology Unplugged
- The Survival Papers
- Dear Gladys, and
- Chicken Little
James Hollis is another contributor to the series with:
- Swamplands of the Soul
- The Middle Passage
- Under Saturn’s Shadow
- On This Journey We Call Our Life
- The Eden Project
- Creating a Life
- Tracking the Gods, and
And now, some of the remaining books in the Inner City Books series:
- Archetypes and Strange Attractors by John R. Van Eenwyk
- The Analytic Encounter by Mario Jacoby
- Eros and Pathos by Aldo Carotenuto (and others)
- The Dream Story by Donald Broadribb
- Circle of Care by Warren Steinberg
- The Jungian Experience by James A. Hall
- Jungian Dream Interpretation by James A. Hall
- Phallos by Eugene Monick (he has two other books in the series)
- The Mystery of the Coniunctio by Edward F. Edinger (and others)
- On Divination and Synchronicity by Marie-Louise von Franz (and others)
- Liberating the Heart by Lawrence W. Jaffe (and others)
- The Psyche as Sacrament by John P. Dourley (and others)
I will stop with this listing as otherwise this blog post would become too long for one post.