Through a Jungian Lens

See new site URL –

In the Swamplands in Search of Soul

with 2 comments

As I was walking down the street as evening was deepening into night, I came across a pair of toads, Cane Toads that were in the ditch.  I managed to get a few photographs using flash with this photo being the one that I chose for this post.  For me toads and frogs evoke images of swamplands, bogs, sloughs and standing pools of water in ditches.

Frogs also have made an appearance in my life based on my ethnic heritage.  I am a French-Canadian and often was called a “frog” by the anglophones.  Being called a frog is about being marginalised, about being devalued.  I taught my children how to take their power back when being called frog.  They learned to respond with croaking sounds and claiming that their favourite colour was green.

Little did I know that this denizen of swamplands would be more of who I really was than that of being French-Canadian.  I learned that I was able, like the frog, to move between the dry land of consciousness and the swamplands of the unconsciousness when I began the search for meaning, in search for survival.  When I read James Hollis’ book, Swamplands of the Soul:  New Life in Dismal Places, I began to appreciate just what was happening to my self.  It seemed that the world suddenly became awash in all kinds of books about soul. This is what Jung had to say about what was happening to me:

Among all my patients in the second half of life – that is to say, over thirty-five – there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life.  It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost what the living religions of every age have given to their followers, and none of them has been really healed who did not regain his religious outlook. (Jung, CW 11, par 509; cited in Sharp, Jung Uncorked:  Book Two, 2008, p. 35)

This is where the search for self transforms into a search for soul.  There is a need to find meaning, a need to plumb the depths of the unknown in search of something that is greater than what has been the sum total of life as experienced.  All the stuff, the relationships, the activities lose their power to sustain and in doing so, they become a poor substitute for life, for explaining life and giving it meaning.  There is a desperate need to come to grips with the shadows within, shadows that clamour and shriek in hopes of being recognized as part of self.

And once the journey into the swamplands has validated the existence of something more than the ego, something more than our ego’s agitations in the world, the self begins to burn brighter.  Self-discovery has led to a discovery of something greater than self.  And it is this which feeds the conscious spirit for it has discovered its mate in the depths of the swampland, the soul.


2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I have been searching for meaning for what seems a lifetime, however, I am beginning to think that the “meaning” I have been searching for was in my mind some static/fixed object or some specific thing or path I had to follow. Judging by my recent journal entries I have begun questioning this and this is maybe why this post makes me feel a little less lost.
    Thank you Robert..


    February 10, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    • Dear J., I am glad that this post has given you something of value. The truth is, I am finding that it is through comments such as yours that I find purpose in publishing these posts here. I could have just as easily written all of this in a journal which would then collect dust, the journal of someone that the world doesn’t even know showed up for life. So for you comments, thank you.

      Robert G. Longpré

      February 10, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: