Through a Jungian Lens

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Assimilating Aspects of Anima – Death and Rebirth

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This morning was different from most mornings here in Costa Rica.  For one thing, I slept in until 6:00 AM.  Ie got a solid eight hours of sleep and had no intention of going out for a morning run along the beach.  Yesterday, I was too tired and had planned on a day off for today.  As a result, I was sitting on the small patio having my morning coffee when this fellow and two mates came to sit for a brief moment on the wires just a short distance away.  I only got to take this one photo before they were gone.  Somehow, I think it might be a Red-Throated Ant Tanager.  If I am wrong, I hope someone can help me out in identifying him.

I find this little bird of special interest, specifically because of his colour.  The orange-red chest makes me think of heat and change – alchemy.  Alchemy makes me think of how things transform through assimilation.  Alchemy speaks of death and rebirth, thoughts of the Phoenix rising out of its own ashes come to mind.

I want to return to my work in progress, getting to know anima and in the process, becoming more animated.

The assimilation of a particular anima-image results in its death, so to speak.  That is to say, as one personification to another.  anima development in a man is thus a continuous process of death and rebirth.  An overview of this process is very important in surviving the transition stage between one anima-image and the next.  Just as no real woman relishes being discarded for another, so no anima figure willingly takes second place to her upstart rival.  In this regard, as in so much else involved in a person’s psychological development, the good is the enemy of the better.  To have contact with your inner woman at all is a blessing; to be tied to one that holds you back can be fatal. (Sharp, Jung Uncorked:  Book Two, 2008, p. 15)

I don’t know how this really all makes sense, but the words jumped out at me when I read them.  In a way they give me permission to change, to not get stuck in some place in time where I became a better person, but not yet the best person I could be.  As I change, I sense that things are shifting beyond my field of vision, deep within and in the world without.

Remembering that the face and voice of anima that aren’t made conscious are often projected onto an “other,” becoming aware of these previously hidden faces of anima and assimilation of this into the psyche results in a withdrawal of those projections.  There is no doubt in my mind that in withdrawing projections, one stands in a different relationship with the other, one that may or may not be viewed positively.  The self changes, consciously.  The other readjusts position in relation to this re-animated self; and in the process enters uncertain terrain, especially as the terrain begins to show signs of constant shifting.  The thoughts that one knows the other is thrown into doubt, a doubt that forces one to begin considering self.  And the relationship changes from two enmeshed into a pairing of separate selves.

All of this, perhaps, is nothing more than words.  However for me, there is a symbolism that is being affirmed by the images that appear before me, images such as this bird.  In the time spent here, I have been sunbathing and losing tan lines, becoming fully cooked with the heat piercing deep – purposefully mixing the alchemical pieces to purposefully spur on the transformations as though there was no time to waste.  And like this bird, I have turned a deep brown and red colour on the outside, a changed outer shell that proclaims that the faces and masks of the past are now gone.  What is next?  Where next?  Well, the work is unfinished so I will not worry overmuch about these questions.  Rather, I will live the processes.


2 Responses

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  1. Great bird shots, can’t help with the identity.


    February 3, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    • Thanks, Don. I have managed to get quite a few different shots in this first month in Costa Rica, actually a few hundred would be more accurate.

      Robert G. Longpré

      February 3, 2010 at 4:23 pm

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