Through a Jungian Lens

The quest for self-evident truths

Category: Carl G. Jung

Coniunctio – The Union of Opposites -or- The Problem of Relationship – Part One

One of the books on my shelf which I find the most compelling is C.G. Jung’s book, Mysterium Coniunctionis, the 14th book in the Collected Works series. When I first came across the book, I thought of the real-life union of a man and a woman, in holy matrimony. Mystery and magic – that is how I understood how my own marriage came about. I mean, how improbable is it for a man from east to meet a woman from the centre while in the west. Three hours after meeting, I proposed and she accepted. That was almost forty-eight years ago. We are still together though neither of us are the same people we were back then. I’ve changed and she’s changed. We are about as “opposite” as one could find. Somehow instead of having the marriage implode or explode, we still are together under the spell of whatever it was that brought us together. I only mention this as an intro to the words of Jung with which he opens his book:

“The factors which come together in coniunctio are conceived as opposites, either confronting one another in enmity or attracting one another in love. To begin with they form a dualism … moist/dry … heaven/earth … fire/water … masculine/feminine … sol/luna …” p. 3

Now, reality is beyond complicated enough with us accepting everything as either one or the other, a dualistic view of the world: god and devil, good and evil, black and white. It is tempting to fall into this dualistic worldview where everything becomes crystal clear. I mean if it isn’t “a” then it is definitely “b.” This is the premise that all religions seem to embrace. This is what draws people into holding onto fundamentalist views. And that, in today’s world is where we find ourselves rushing toward self-extinction. It just seems too easy for me to accept this as the whole picture.

I am a photographer and am amazed at what my camera captures, even when apparently set on black and white mode. The range of colour, the shades of lightness and darkness [shades of grey] teach me that there is more, so much more needed to truly understand the world. As I read on in the opening paragraphs, I realised that Jung wasn’t stuck in the ruts of dualistic thinking. He spoke of how polarities gathered together in clusters with the predominant cluster becoming a quaternity rather than dualsim: north/south – east/west; moist/dry – cold/warm; summer/winter – spring/fall. When it becomes about polarities and about the tension between polarities the possibilities dispel any thought of one right, fundamentalist position.

As I read on, I began to get lost in all of the references which stretched me passed all the boundaries of what I could comprehend. It wasn’t until Jung somehow encircled the arms of quaternity when it began to register. I am familiar with the medicine wheel of First Nations peoples, and with the wheel of Buddhism and Hinduism, a double quaternity where all the parts become one.

Grabbing onto this and holding on, I set aside the book once again. I will need some time to let this settle in before returning to this book.

After the Sunset Another Sunrise and Another New Beginning

“Resurrection. … change, transmutation, or transformation of one’s being. The change may be either essential, in the sense that the resurrected being is a different one; or nonessential, in the sense that only the general conditions of existence have changed, as when one finds oneself in a different place or in a body which is differently constituted.” C.G. Jung, Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, CW 9i p. 114

I lost the original Through a Jungian Lens blog site a few months ago. It has taken me some time to process the loss and to decide whether or not I would go through the work of reinventing the blog site. I had thought that perhaps ten years of blogging would have been enough and that I could leave knowing I had done enough. So, for four months, I stayed silent. After all, what could I ever say that hadn’t already been said by others who could say it better. And, I didn’t have a clue where I could even begin. I didn’t want to repeat myself over and over again, telling the same things to the same people as though I was a hamster caught on a wheel going round and round, going nowhere.

But, in spite of my intention to leave well enough alone, there is another part of me that pushes me, never bothering to put anything in words or in clear images. What is it pushing me, calling me to do? It won’t say. It just shoves and perhaps assumes that I will finally get the unspoken message that it is time to really invest in this blog site, to risk being foolish in front of the world.

So, I resurrected the domain name and then added this blog site so that the old site would appear as if rising out of a coma, out of winter hibernation in time for a Canadian prairie spring that is slow to show its face. It’s going to take some time for me to get my bearings and to see where the compass now points. One thing has stood out from the mess within my head, the idea of the Magical Other. That took me to take James Hollis’ book, The Eden Project off my shelf. Structure and focus. Mother and Father archetypes, the unconscious pull to return to the Garden of Eden which somehow gets mixed up in romantic love and relationship.

Why? Why this? I don’t know but it is enough to listen to that Call and risk the way going forward. Will anyone be listening? I guess as long as I listen to what emerges, and I don’t what emerges from others, it will be enough. I’ll leave the rest to the ripple effect where any disturbance I make in the universe will make a difference.

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