Archive for the ‘moon’ tag
This morning I found myself in a contemplative mood, a good place really, not divorced from the reality of being present in my life. As I am entering these words, I am waiting for the toast to be ready for our breakfast. And yes, I am taking care of them even as I sit here seeing the small toaster oven across the kitchen while writing. With only fort-eight hours left of our stay in Belize, and all tasks taken care of in order to be ready for the shift back to Mexico, my mind is relaxed and there is no sense of being rushed or wondering what I should be doing at the moment, other than making sure the toast doesn’t burn. [time out to eat]
Before I began my morning meditation outside in our garden, I saw the moon in the west which sent me back to get my camera and get a photo for here. After returning the camera into the villa, I took my seat and slipped into my meditation knowing that at some point the sun would rise and anoint my body with its rays. If this sounds like a spiritual ritual, it is because the ritual is about honouring my soul, about connecting with the universe and becoming at one with it. While I meditated, my wife decided to grab the camera to take a photo of the sun rising above the layer of clouds that hugged the eastern horizon. Moon setting and sun rising while I meditated. No wonder I am in a contemplative mood this morning.
Not long after my meditation was left behind, I was sitting having coffee and wondering what I would do with my time. Sitting there, the urge to write here and touch once more on Jungian psychology became strong. But, I didn’t have a clue what I would write about. However, that didn’t seem to bother me at all as I have learned that the words would come. With breakfast done, I turned to Daryl Sharp’s book, Getting To Know You, and opened it at random and found these words which were spoken / written in response to a question about Jungian psychology being soul-making:
“. . . the only way I can understand the progression of my life is in terms of soul. Soul happens when you ponder alone in the still of the night. Soul happens when you grapple with the meaning of your life. Soul is what you are, as opposed to what you seem to be. That’s not theology, it’s experiential reality. [p. 56]
With these words, I think that I have said enough here for now. More will follow in another post on another day.
The moon is beginning to wane to begin its journey into darkness where it will be lost in the earth’s shadow before beginning another cycle of re-appearance. As the moon appears in the sky, whether in daytime hours or at night, both my wife and I are drawn to its appearance. For both of us, for perhaps different reasons, the moon has a numinous quality that says it is more than what meets the eye, more than a spherical hunk of rock in the orbit of the earth.
A descent isn’t always something that needs to be viewed with trepidation. If one is able to watch with a sense of mystery, one begins to understand that there is something to be gained in a descent into the unconscious realms. Wandering in the shadows allows us to find what would otherwise remain hidden treasures.
In a way, meditation is not much different. Each time I sit and enter into a meditative state I enter into a place where my ego is released from control. I enter into a state of unconsciousness, a journey that takes me to spaces of existence that somehow affirm who I am in a larger context, a being beyond the small controlling ego sense of self. As I return to my body self and my ego consciousness kicks back into awareness, I bring back some of what I have experienced, experiences which have slightly changed me.
Like the passing of days, of moon cycles, of seasons and years, I change with acquired experience and hard-won awareness of both myself and the world. I have learned that the darkness is a part of the light; and that the light is a part of the darkness. And so I treasure the magic and mystery of that white orb in the darkened skies for what she teaches me about my soul which is hidden in the darkness of my inner being.
In Jungian psychology, the journey towards wholeness is called individuation. In alchemical terms, this wholeness is represented by the masculine and the feminine symbolism which takes the form of a holy wedding between the king and the queen. Knowing that the images are symbolic is vital for understanding of the psychological process. Within the psyche, the anima, or soul, is the feminine aspect; consciousness is the masculine aspect.
As to be expected, there are other symbols that are used to illustrate the idea of completion, of wholeness. One that finds it way into contemporary society is that of the sun and the moon contained together. As I walk down the street of my tiny town, I can see numerous examples of this image including several that are on my house. In Jungian terms, the sun is symbolic of consciousness, of the masculine principle; the moon is symbolic of the unconscious, or feminine principle. It is vital to differentiate the masculine and the feminine principles from biological males and females.
In social terms, the union of a man and a woman with the resulting creation of a child produces a wholeness that all societies embrace as family. This union of male and female has its roots in instinct, in the will to survive as a species. The union also has the impulse for completeness, for two to become one for a moment, a moment in which allows a transcendence of the painfully prosaic lives we live as individuals, even if we are in relationship with others.
With the act of union completed, it doesn’t take long for each to retreat within themselves and begin a grieving process for the loss of the other, for the loss of a sense of being at one with oneself. One returns to suffering.
“In talking about sex, we are getting into a very big topic. We are getting into the fact that every life situation has meaning behind it, or a process of communication in it. Communication can’y be established unless there are two parties, one of whom is the activator and the other the receiver. On that basis, any communication can be said to be sexual, although I’m not being Freudian here. The passionate quality of sex, doesn’t have to be involved necessarily. In order to communicate anything, however, you do have to have the true element of union. From the tantric point of view, everything is interpreted that way – in terms of union. There is the union of samsara ad nirvana, the union of phenomena and consciousness. We interpret it all in terms of the feminine and masculine principles. Everything is seen that way. (Trungpa, Work, Sex, Money, p. 106)
The union of masculine and feminine, the union of all dualities, polarities – the union of opposites and the achievement of wholeness, of one-ness.
I took this photo just a short while ago while looking out from the back doorway of my son’s home in Toronto area. I was glad to see the skies showing promise of sun rather than the predicted cover of clouds with showers as I have planned on a day of wandering through the city with my camera. Staying at my son’s home for a short visit is my nephew who often reads this blog. He was watching as I took this early morning photo as the smell of freshly brewed coffee had beckoned him to join me in the main room of the house. I asked my nephew to choose from the collection of photos and then to make the choices of lighting (shadows, increased light, decreased contrast) to get the final look. Tracey, this post is for you!
The colours in the sky are real, the oranges and gold tints on the higher clouds promised sunshine for at least some of the day and the thought of some sunshine put a smile on my face. I love the light as it allows me to better see and capture ideas with my camera. But more than that, the light allows me to better find the shadows that lurk otherwise hidden. When the skies are gray and overcast, shadows can’t be found. All is seen as though through a damp and filter making scenes appear almost lifeless, or should I say, listless. Wandering through the grayness in the absence of direct sunlight is more like being in a cocoon, waiting for life to restart. Waiting. Waiting.
With the appearance of a small crack in the blanket of clouds, a few rays of light immediately transform the world from a place of suspended animation to a place of vibrancy, a world of vitality. At last life can begin again, renewed with a new day’s light. This daily renewal of sunrise brings hope and a promise should we dare to do our part in entering into the journey that awaits, the discoveries promised with new light.
Carpe diem! Seize the day!
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 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 chose black and white to go with this image. Because of depth of field being narrow, the moon came out as very faint and fuzzy. I have quite a few much better and clearer images of the moon from yesterday afternoon and evening, but this is the one that makes the cut for this post. Why? Because the moon is “faint” in appearance. This view speaks to me of the “numinous.” One knows the presence is there though that knowledge is fuzzy, an archetypal presence. The moon is associated with the feminine, or the mother.
“I attribute to the personal mother only a limited etiological significance. That is to say, all those influences which the literature describes as being exerted on the children do not come from the mother herself, but rather from the archetype projected upon her, which gives her a mythological background and invests her with authority and numinosity.” (Jung, CW 9i, par. 159)
Somehow I am sure that any biological mother who has engaged in raising a child is well aware of the power she has over her child(ren). Sometimes that power is a burden as she is supposed to know everything, to heal everything, to hold everything for the child(ren). It seems that children tap into bigger picture of mother rather easily, unconsciously. But since it is mostly unconscious, all of the archetypal energy is projected onto the personal mother. Having her child(ren) grow up to be conscious and independent adults is a good thing but also a process that leaves her in a depression (empty-nest syndrome) as there is a loss, not just of the presence of the child, but also a loss of her “power,” her “authority” as the projections of her child are withdrawn leaving her stripped bare, exposing her as a vulnerable, fallible, and weak as any other person.
“Our task is not, therefore, to deny the archetype, but to dissolve the projections, in order to restore their contents to the individual who has involuntarily lost them by projecting them outside himself.” (Jung, CW 9i, par. 160)
It sounds simple, but it isn’t simple at all. Few ever completely withdraw their projections. As an adult, we are left with mother-complexes which are a melange of the archetypal and personal mother. Our journey is to rediscover the mother within regardless of our gender. We need to learn how to answer ourselves, how to heal ourselves, how to nourish ourselves – to mother ourselves in our adulthood.
I took this photo yesterday. It has been a while since I was able to see the moon because of clouds and pollution. In spite of the things that hide, what lies hidden is full, just like this moon doesn’t lose its mass or add to its mass as it moves through its phases. What gets in the way of awareness is simply a lack of consciousness about the darkness, the shadows, the unconscious. It is about projection, about trying to “imagine” what is otherwise unknowable.
For me, it is almost what I can see in terms of the spiritual centre of self, the wellsprings of the religious principle. I know its there and I can only catch a hint of its existence. I know the moon is fully there though I only see a thin sliver of its light. And that sliver is all I need – not just “faith” that there is a moon. For those that are used to me writing so much more in each post, I want to say that this “minimalist” post is intended and not just a result of laziness. Maybe less is more.
I took this photo of the moon two days ago. I had hoped to get another photo yesterday, one of the full moon, the harvest moon; but the weather wasn’t cooperative. I guess the intuitive side of me wanted me to be prepared and so “moved” me to take the photos of the moon a day early. I did take quite a few images using different settings. Just as I was ready to say “enough” this image came into my view. I knew I had to take this one, that this one was the important one.
“Identification with a social role is a frequent source of midlife crisis, because it inhibits our adaptation to a given situation beyond what is collectively prescribed. Who am I without the mask? Is there anybody home? I am a prominent and respected member of the community. Why, then, is my wife more interested in somebody else?
We cannot get rid of ourselves in favor of a collective identity without some consequences: we lose sight of who we are without our protective covering; our reactions are predetermined by collective expectations (we do and think and feel what our persona “should” do, think and feel); those close to us complain of our emotional distance; and worst of all, we cannot imagine life without it.
Many married people have a joint persona as a “happy couple.” Whatever may be happening between them, they greet the world with a united front. They are perfectly matched, the envy of their friends. What is going on behind the curtains is anybody’s guess.” (Sharp, Jungian Psychology Unplugged, p. 43)
So much to think about here. The image seems to reinforce this idea of being trapped in a collective identity leaving me looking for my “centre” which is a hazy light, the image of a soul I know is there but seems so distant, so ephemeral. Unconsciously I reach out to grasp my soul, a soul projected on an other. Does one only recover access to the soul when one withdraws the projection of anima/animus? With the loss of the holder of one’s projections, , there is no guarantee that one will turn within to find the soul. More often than not, one feels the loss of the projected anima/animus and thus seeks to find a different other to hold the projections. For, the community is about relationship with others, not with the self. Relationship after relationship in search of connection to anima/animus only to continually find that the soul remains out of reach.
Withdrawal of projections without rejecting the other who has held the projections opens the doorway to soul recovery, a reunion of self and soul. The door opens, but does one dare to enter that doorway, or does one cling to the old myth though it no longer exists?
Somehow I wonder if there is coherence in these words.
This is a life guard station along the lake shore in the Beaches area of Toronto. The golden colours acted like a magnet as I walked along the shore with camera in hand. Of course I had already taken a few photos of the moon and the moonlight shimmering on the water. This time I saw something more and quickly found a fence post upon which I rested the camera in hopes of getting a decent shot. I am satisfied with the result.
It is easy to see the small structure as a beacon of light in the darkness. Somehow, this struct me as being an image of the masculine trapped in the darkness looking towards the moon, the feminine, trying to find a way to bridge the distance. And in saying that something more emerges and I see the golden structure for what it is, a beacon that gives one hope in the darkness, a beacon not so unlike a church that says one can be saved from the chaos of darkness.
With the photo taken, I rushed off to rejoin the others with whom I had taken the evening walk.