Archive for the ‘SoFoBoMo’ tag
I took this photo yesterday evening about 9:30 pm. Sunset comes late in the day here on the summer prairies. Most of the sky was dark grey because of overcast skies that had brought rain on and off during the day since mid-afternoon. I was fortunate to see this small break in the clouds and to have the scene appear between the power lines and telephone wires that cross the lower sky from my back deck. Most of the time, these rare breaks were hidden behind trees or else sliced in half by the wires. I waited for the right moment a few other times only to have the opening of light basically disappear by the time it found this small opening between wires and trees. And when it did come after my waiting patiently, a bird decided to sit on a bare branch thus adding to the moment.
Images are powerful things. I have just finished my SoFoBoMo project and have put the completed project on Issuu. You can view the completed project by clicking on this link, or by clicking on the image of the book found on the right. I will be revisiting this project later with the intent of turning into a larger work, a book, in the future. I am still finding images that would “fit” into the “Sol” and “Luna” theme that the project focused upon, such as this photograph. This morning I took another moon photo (to be presented here on another occasion) of the moon waning. When I think of all the moon photos and sun photos taken over the years, I find that the passion, the pull to these numinous objects, has increased. There is little doubt that there is something of note for my “self” to be uncovered by paying attention to these images and how they find them expressed in my photos.
In this photo, I see myself as the little bird in the centre. Why? Well in the grand scheme of things, my level of consciousness is quite limited. There are many contents n the personal unconscious to be uncovered which would still leave a large portion of the personal unconscious left in the dark. Of course when one’s psyche is also part of the collective unconscious, the size of the conscious ego shrinks even more. That said, size doesn’t matter. It is about being present and being authentically individual, about being true to one’s self.
Just a quick aside as I begin today’s post: With now 540 posts, 25,000 visits have been recorded here since the first post twenty months ago. What do these numbers mean? Well, not much of anything actually. They are simply numbers.
Today is Canada Day. Rather than post a scene with the red and white Canadian flag, I have used red to add to the image here. This is, after all, a Canadian Goat.
Sometimes I just want to have fun with a photo. Today’s photo is the result of just such a playfulness. I took this goat’s photo in mid-June while I was in British Columbia. I found this goat high in the hills not too far from Kamloops. The little woman was basically in charge of a ranch of large work horses and a handful of donkeys. Yes, this goat is a female goat.
I have to admit that when I took the photo I didn’t know that the goat was a female. I assumed it was a male. When she looked at me, I fell into the childhood beliefs. In a
way, I sensed I was looking at the devil as I stared into her eyes. It is easy to guess that I had grown up with a typical Christian background in a culture that had for movie classics The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby. All good Catholics knew that Satan had the horns of a ram.
Of course, that was long ago.
Yet still, the image is powerful – masculine, primal, sensual. Here is a masculine image that is the reverse of the ascetic image of the sun. This is the Horned God.
“The Horned God is is the lord of life, death and the underworld. And is the Sun to the Goddess’ Moon. He alternates with the Goddess in ruling over the fertility cycle of birth, death and rebirth. He is born at the winter solstice, unites with the Goddess in marriage at Bealtaine, and dies at the summer solstice to bring fertility to the land as the Sacred King.” (http://www.paganspath.com/magik/hornedgod.htm)
It was while I was taking photos of the sun and moon for the SoFoBoMo project that I found this photo opportunity. Of course, finding this reference to both sun and moon is a happy coincidence. And thanks to this particular goat, I learned that the wild man is also a wild woman.
At the eastern edge of Chase, British Columbia, the Catholic Church stands at the entrance, at the base of Jade Mountain. It is an interesting looking church, as churches go. I took the requisite number of photos as any good tourist would take. I didn’t really plan on using any of them for this blog site while taking the photos, that is until I entered the church.
There at the back of the church, behind the alter, stood a stained glass window. What set this window apart from others I have seen, was the placement of the cross. The four panes of the stained glass window framed the four quadrants. The top two panes contained crosses with a star cross in the centre of each pane. The bottom panes again held crosses with a chalice and at the centre.
All four panes formed a quaternity on their own. At the centre of each pane, a circle creates a mandala where “four” is again held. I am reminded of the expression “as above, so below,” an ancient expression associated with alchemy. The circle in the top panes evoke a sky-like, an airy feel that is suggestive of heaven in which the cross serves as a marker of directions as well as the aspects which are contained such as “in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost” . . . and the Mother. The golden rays of “Sol” are found in the four corners while the pure white light of the moon is found radiating from the centre of the circle.
The circles in the bottom pane are priceless. At the centre, red. Red or rubedo, the union of opposites purified, the Holy Marriage, the Alchymical Marriage of soul and spirit. The top half of the circle is golden in four pieces; the bottom half again has four pieces, this time blue “water.” At the centre another four pieces – two above the red centre and two below. Above, the moon receiving the sun, allowing the sun to enter and be held. Below another two pieces descending into the waters of the unconscious. And in the whole, balance.
The whole left me breathless. Even now as I write this I am still breathless.
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.
It took some time, but finally I got a photo of the moon. As you can see, it was a clear evening. I considered the break in the weather allowing me to finally photograph the moon as “Luna’s” Father’s Day gift to me. Who knows, I might just get enough photos for my SoFoBoMo project before the middle of July. The moon is growing and will soon become a full moon. I had hoped to get an earlier photo of the first crescent of the new moon, but this photo will work to introduce the idea of Luna as the feminine, unconscious half of the psyche.
“. . . it is the moon, the mother of all things, the vessel, it consists of opposites, has a thousand names, is an old woman and a whore . . . it is wisdom and teaches wisdom, it contains the elixir of life . . .” (Jung, CW Volume 14, par 15)
The moon has caught human attention from the beginning of consciousness. We worshiped the sun as a god and we worshiped the moon as a goddess. Under the light of the sun we build our communities, and under the light of the moon, we build our families. ”Sol” gives light in the daytime, an intense light that often becomes harsh. ”Luna” gives light at night, a gentle light that caresses and invites intimacy. The image that Jung gives us of the moon as containing “the elixir of life” is a powerful image, one that resonates for a man.
The search for the fountain of youth, the elixir that would ward off death has occupied much of our history. While older men went on searches to various parts of the world, young men went in search of this elixir in women. It was within the embrace of the feminine that a man felt “fully alive” and complete. Under the softening light of the moon, a woman glows invitingly promising a paradise that can never be seen in the harsher light of the sun. Drawn like a moth to a flame, man enters and fills the vessel only to be drained as he dies. His only hope is to once again come to fullness and be called to do his part in the creation of life.
There is something so primal in the moon softly glowing in the surrounding darkness. There is something so powerful in the moon that even has the oceans of our world moving in an attempt to reach her.
I enjoy watching the sunlight dance on top of water as if it is caressing a beautiful woman that constantly changes while giving the appearance of staying the same. The light of the sun fights its way through the branches of trees that border this particular small river. It is a wild scene, raw with its untamed nature.
“When we abandon ourselves to the power of Eros, all previous points of reference are impaired or swept away. Love makes lone wolves of us because we are less in tune with others and less able to communicate our experience. The only possible language is that of art or poetry. Its mysterious alchemical powers enable us to express what would otherwise remain forever hidden.” (Aldo Carotenuto, Eros and Pathos: Shades of Love and Suffering, p. 17)
I know I have often remarked here, that water represents the unconscious and that light represents consciousness. Consciousness cannot exist without unconsciousness as though the unconscious gives birth to consciousness which in fact it does. In search of consciousness, we look outside of ourselves for answers. And, in order to oblige us, the unconscious that is buried within is projected onto others, onto the world as a whole. What our unconscious projects, we see and recognise as a significant “other.” We fall in love with the person holding the projection, a person who in turn is often ripe because of their own psyche which acts as a hook for our projections. And so begins a wild ride fueled by Eros.