Archive for the ‘phallus’ tag
I went to a football game yesterday evening with my son in downtown Toronto. The game was an excuse for the two of us to be together for more father and son bonding. The game itself was uneventful until the last twelve minutes of play when the team we were cheering for began to wake up from a disinterested lethargy. While the game was going through the first thirty-eight minutes of poor play on the part of both teams, I managed to take quite a few photos of people and things that caught my eye including the CN tower that was looming above and behind my right shoulder.
In a way, it was fitting – two guys watching a sporting event that was being played by guys and a phallic symbol standing tall in the background. As most of my readers know, I write about Jungian themes from the perspective of the masculine. To write any other way would be writing from more of a “head” space of logos; and that, would mean that I would be writing with less of my self being included in the process.
Many if not most people think men are all about logos, about being in our heads, and that women are all about eros, about being in their bodies and heart. However, in the way I am coming to understand my self and the notion of being a man, I am a curious blend of both logos and eros. I can’t deny the aspect of being in my body, about being a sexual being that experiences the world and myself outside of my head. Most men externalize their sexuality rather than admit that their sexuality is something vibrant within their being.
As a father and as a grandfather I have seen the initial fascination by my son and grandsons as they discovered their penis. I don’t know if there is ever a loss if wonder in a healthy male, healthy both physiologically and psychologically. The penis is that one part of self that forces the mind to make way for that part of self that is body. Man is a combination of masculine and feminine that needs to be brought into balance, something C.G. Jung brings to our awareness in his book, Mysterium Coniunctionis. With balance, man is better able to relate to the outer world and others without needing to dominate or to hide. In balance, man doesn’t need to use his penis as a weapon or to retreat into a denial of its existence.
This is a Ukrainian Catholic church found in the rural area of Toronto, not too far from Brampton, Ontario. The drive though the countryside was in search of a farmer’s fruit market (which was found) that had a gift of this temple. While at the site, I also got a few photos of a memorial prayer service in the adjacent graveyard. The design of this temple is rooted in tradition however the temple itself is only fifteen years old. In spite of its modern construction, the temple evokes a sense of the spiritual that is as old as humankind.
Spirit evokes the masculine. The temple evokes the masculine in a number of ways, the projected tower, the relationship to the phallus as well as the human head the seat of the ego. That masculine though found anew in each modern man, is founded upon the primal roots of consciousness, an original consciousness that began with the body and body awareness. Man is stirred by his phallus and his mind. One seeks to penetrate the unknown and unknowable feminine and the other seeks to understand, to contain all that can be known. Spirit is about both penetrating the mysteries and containing them.
There is so much more to be said, but the words will have to wait until my own head is somewhat clearer. For now, it is enough to let the words sit and work in silence.
One of the places visited while in Hanoi was the Hanoi Museum of Ethnology. It wasn’t originally on the program but it turned out to be quite interesting. The museum does a good job of highlighting each of the fifty-four ethnic groups in Vietnam. Many of these ethnic groups are very tiny and on the verge of disappearing as the modern world breaks down the barriers of geography and communication. The youth move from their hillside villages to the cities as they become educated. Life in the city has many attractions, the chief attraction being an opportunity to leave the poverty of their remote and isolated villages.
In one ethnic group, the funerary chamber is a straw and wood hut surrounded by carved wooden figures that are explicitly sexual in nature as seen in this photo. The concern with the decreasing tribal numbers lead to the practice of encouraging procreative acts in those who survive so that the tribe can survive.
At a basic human level, a primal level, sexuality is synonymous with procreation, the survival of the tribe. At a psychological level, it is about finding a way to join both spirit and soul, light and darkness. Rather than think about denying or downplaying the instinctual and biological gender, one needs to uncover the contrasexual self so that the self approaches a psychic balance, a wholeness. Not only is the marriage of the male and female necessary for the survival of the collective, the marriage of the masculine and the feminine is a vital task on the journey of individuation, a soulful journey towards union, or should I say communion.
As I took this photo, I didn’t know what the impulse was, I just knew that I took it for presentation here. So dutifully, I prepared the photo by cropping it and centering the wildflower. And then, I have let the photo sit on my “desktop” ever since quietly in the background while using the other photos you have been seeing here. After a dream during the night which had nothing to do with the photo (or so I thought), when I sat down to keyboard and began to check my e-mail and do a bit of browsing such as a weather forecast check, I felt another headache fill my head. Refusing to reach for a pill, I opened up the blog site and clicked on “new post” and then selected this photo without any inner debate. Today, it chose to presented. Some things are too mysterious for me to wrap my head around and try to figure out. I just accept the mystery and go on from there.
The same thing happened in terms of what text, if any, would I use with this wildflower on a prairie river bank. For some reason, I bypassed most of my usual books of interest and picked up a book I had barely started reading many months ago, a book by Eugene Monick called Potency: Masculine Aggresion as a Path to the Soul.
Potency, that makes sense. The flower is definitely a potent source of new life. And its shape,? As a representation of phallus, it does suggest a heightened potency. At the beginning of chapter one, Monick has a series of quotes which I want to present here before going much further. The actual source (book. page) of each of these quotes is not known, nor do I have the “head” today to go in search of them.
“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mystical. It is the power of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.” - Albert Einstein
And the second quote:
“I think we can say that in and of itself an act of knowledge could never give access to the truth unless it was prepared, accompanied, doubled and completed by a certain transformation of the subject; not of the individual, but of the subject himself in his being as subject.” - Michel Foucault
Now, allowing for the mystical, allowing for the energy and mystery that showed up in my dream, I sense the mystery of the masculine potential, and curiously the feminine energy which pulls the masculine. It is all about “potency.” One talks of a man as being potent in more than in a sexual manner. A man is potent in being able to make things happen, as a man charges first to a finish line, as a man stands tall as hero against all manner of bad guys and monsters. And it is this potency that needs to be drawn upon by a man as he dares to approach the feminine. This potency does not require violence on the feminine, rather, it requires due respect and awe of the “other” which is forever cloaked in mystery as the source and womb of life.
I am reminded of how in how the awe of coniunctio I am both filled and emptied – a paradox and a mystery – and how I feel I have connected with my soul.
This is a Bull Snake that I found wandering through a campground following my final experiences as an educational administrator. This isn’t a poisonous snake, but is dangerous to Rattle Snakes who are also found in the region. The public camping on one side of the lake is Rattle Snake free. The active presence of th Bull Snake keeps it that way. However, on the southern side of the lake, Rattle Snakes are found with some effort. My grandchildren get excited when they get to see one of these snakes relatively up close and personal. And, of course, I get to take photos of the snake and them.
Responses to the presence of a snake is mixed, but in the Christian world, it is decidedly more negative than positive. The association of the snake in the Garden of Eden and the loss of Paradise, is tied with the presence of evil, with another face of Satan. In that garden, the snake points the way to consciousness, to knowledge. Coming from the underworld, the world of the unconscious, the snake dares us to break the prohibitions that would keep us unconscious. I think of how this is somewhat akin to the shadow sneaking out of hiding and daring us to break some of the barriers we have built around ourselves so well that we have begun to suffocate. We get so caught up in living the myths we create for ourselves in the outer world of appearances, that we abandon the soul and the depths of who we are.
The snake is old and primitive and instinctual. Yet for all of this, it is also a symbol of transformative power. The snake sheds its skin and re-emerges fuller, longer, thicker ready to penetrate the earth, to plumb the depths of the underworld and again return to the outer world to again go through the work of growth and change. This is what happens to each of us as we attempt to deal with the personal shadow and gain more consciousness as we search for meaning, as we try to answer the burning question, “Who am I?”
For me, as a man, it is interesting that defining “self” seems to be often caught up in relationships, especially the relationship to the feminine. The pull to going within the feminine until the sense of self seems to fully disappear into a state of unconscious bliss, only to re-emerge into the light of consciousness feeling just a bit more complete. Self is not isolated and alone, it is connected through threads and threads of relationship in the outer world, as well as threads of relationship to the under world.
“It is not easy for modern man to grasp the significance of the symbols that come down to us from the past or that appear in our dreams. Nor is it easy to see how the ancient conflict between symbols of containment and liberation relates to our own predicament.” (Jung, Man and His Symbols, p. 156)
The serpent is a masculine symbol, the object which unites both logos and eros, that allows the masculine to become one with the feminine thus allowing the holy marriage between consciousness and the unconscious
“Hermes is Trickster in a different role as a messenger, a god of the crossroads, and finally the leader of souls to and from the underworld. His phallus therefore penetrtes from the known into the unknown world, seeking a spiritual message of deliverance and healing.” (Jung, Man and His Symbols, p. 155)