Archive for the ‘Mérida’ tag
Walking down a dirt trail heading out from the south-western edge of the small village about three kilometres from my villa, I went in search of birds. The trail is rough and follows along the shore of the estuary or laguna. This day I decided to go further west past the narrow highway that leads to Mérida, down the dirt road that used to be the route to Sisal further west down the Yucatan coast. I knew that I was going to come across the bridge that was damaged during one of the last hurricanes in this area and I assumed that it would prevent me from linking to the west shore. Well, as you can see in this photo, vehicles could never make it across. This was the best part of the remains. In two different spots I was reduced to using broken pieces of the bridge as stepping stones in order to make it across. And, I did make it across the river that joins the sea with the estuary that covers most of the coastal area of the Yucatan.
Crossing a river. In Jungian psychology, crossing the river is symbolic of transformation.
By crossing the river the hero achieves the critical degree of consciousness necessary to confront and assimilate the power of the unconscious … Jung also recognized a danger in not “fording the stream of unconsciousness … (Women and Sacrifice, William Beers)
Now, this explains the need to take this photo and to bring it here. The alchemical work that is in progress while I am in Mexico is being flooded with so many images that it makes sense to me that it is all about change. I don’t know if that is good or bad in terms of where I have been and where I am going. Looking at this image I get a feeling that the transformation is not necessarily going to be gentle. The journey looks to be rough and solitary. But then again, the journey of individuation is precisely that, rough and solitary. It can’t be any other way. So I wait and wonder what when will the hurricane strike opening up a singular route for me to follow.
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.
The photo here was taken in Mérida, the capital city of the Yucatan, at the Anthropology and History Museum on the Paseo Montejo. It is a Mayan figure similar to one I photographed at Uxmal which was still on the wall of a Mayan building.
Obviously, the figure is male. Strangely, the bodies both at Uxmal and here are both headless. Both have bound hands as though the male is prisoner. Both have genitals exposed.
Realizing that these figures are found in a religious context, it follows that they are more symbolic than historical. So what can these figures be telling us? Perhaps, that as humans, human males, the ruling forces are sexual, not spiritual. Men are trapped in their bodies which demand so much. The power of instinctual drives dominate when one is not aware, not far along on the journey of individuation.
Today, it is still hard in our modern world. How does one balance the polarity of masculine and feminine which are resident in each of us? Regardless of our intellectual states, our bodies betray us, demand of us. And as a counter, the soul, the opposite, demands as well it share of presence. So begins the work of midlife, the marriage of both aspects within the psyche.
The human soul is a complicated thing. In all conceptions of soul, we have the idea of something separate yet integrally a part of the whole. We recognize that the separateness of soul means that one can lose soul, that soul can effectively die within one’s self. Yet, as we navigate through life knowing that there is a personal soul, we generally have no clue about the nature of the soul, where it is located or where it goes when there is loss of soul.
Religion tries to answer of these concerns and questions about soul, but can only do so with words that defy human logic, words that have a magical quality, words that confuse even more, the muddy waters when one looks even deeper or when one experiences a crisis of soul without any succour from the container of religious belief.
In Jungian psychology, the soul is referred to as anima for men and animus for women. Since I am a man, my soul is the other half of my self, the feminine aspect. If I ignore my soul then like this old woman camped outside of a church in Mérida, the soul becomes impoversed.