Through a Jungian Lens

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The Quest For a New Myth, A Spiritual Grounding

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This little fellow decided to appear in front of the villa while I was sitting out enjoying the cooler evening air.  He was definitely out of place being at least 150 metres from the seashore.  I wondered at how he would find his way back to the sea when there were dangerous streets to cross with vehicles racing by ready to crush and kill.  I wondered why he left the safer place that was home for him and others like him.  But then again, perhaps he is more like me, uncomfortable with the status quo and needed something more.

I have to be clear about a few things.  I didn’t just rebel or reject the spiritual myth which is at the heart of the western world, especially that of Christianity.  Rather, I questioned and questioned those who were the keepers of the mysteries in an attempt to set my questing mind at ease.  When the right answers which would give me a sense of security and certainty didn’t come, I drifted.  I guess one could say that I lost the anchor that would allow me to stay grounded in the communal myth.

“The turbulence surrounding the birth of a new societal myth is presently vividly evident at the collective level. The educated and spiritually sensitive turn away in great numbers from ecclesial institutions that continue to take their founding poets, the writers of their Holy Scriptures, literally and then rely on legalism and authority to enforce belief in the unbelievable. Theology thus remains where it was in Jung’s day: “It proclaims doctrines which nobody understands, and demands a faith which nobody can manufacture” (Jung, 1948, p. 192).” (Dourley, “Jung and the Recall of the Gods”, Journal of Jungian Theory and Practice, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2006, p. 44)

Yes, I would agree that with the loss of belief and faith, I was definitely adrift.  The waters I entered into as I unconsciously began a search for my own myth was definitely what could be described as turbulent.  I was still a teenager, a time when there is enough turbulence without the loss of spiritual grounding.  Needless to say, this was a time of despair and a heightened sense of loneliness.  I didn’t belong to anything.

I wasn’t alone as I wandered streets when I should have been attending classes in the second half of the 60’s.  Others wandered just as lost.  Somehow many of them banded together as “Flower Children” while I hung back on the sidelines, not willing to give up my quest for meaning, for a spiritual centre.  As I walked the streets one winter day, a stranger stopped me and told me that I must read Thus Spake Zarathustra by Neitzsche.   And so my quest lead me to the philosophers who had previously lost their anchors to the communal myths.

It was Neitzsche, Spinoza, Leibniz, and a host of others who let me know that I wasn’t a freak, that others also had lost their roots as they made journeys which allowed new roots to be planted.  I saw hope flicker and dared to continue being.


5 Responses

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  1. There is a little known painting by Van Gogh of such a crab, with others of his kind, in the National Galler in London. He too was a searcher but who got lost along the way.
    I fled much of the church, and barely hover at the fringes now. I suspect Jesus would himself be appalled at how things turned out.
    The denial of the personal shadow is a big issue; I can’t be doing with the whole fluffy bunny Jesus that gets peddled around. Finding my own very dark side emerging quite strongly now, I am trying to come to terms with it without rejection; would appreciate your thoughts some time.


    March 18, 2010 at 7:54 am

    • I here for you to talk with, but better through e-mail than on the blog site in my opinion.

      Robert G. Longpré

      March 18, 2010 at 9:11 am

  2. The journey you describe sounds very familiar to me as well. When I describe mine it’s in reference to taking my faith on a wild off-road ride to see what it was made of. What was under the hood? Could Jesus hold on? While I have found the beginning of a foundation upon which to stand, I also truly understand that everyone needs to be respected as they make their journey through life. Finding your blog was no accident.

    By the way, that villa makes me wistful ;-)(not so melancholy though…just happy for you and wishing I lived somewhere like that), sitting here in small town America crazy out of place and raising three teens! I think my soul lives most vibrantly at the beach. I guess we are where we are, right?


    March 20, 2010 at 4:53 pm

  3. ” I saw hope flicker and dared to continue being.”

    I love this statement. There was a time, when I saw hope as the flip of a bright red hem, disappearing around the next bend in my path. I would rush to catch up, turn the bend, and find her gone, disappeared. Yet, each time, learned a new level of my own personal mythology.

    Recently, looked up to catch the flip of that now familiar hem, and like you, dared to continue breathing and being. But, am humming and carrying a soft smile as well. Age is an incredible equilizer, isn’t it?



    March 20, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    • Hi Elizabeth. Thank you for your reflection here. I hope that you continue to be a part of this dialogue.

      Robert G. Longpré

      March 21, 2010 at 6:56 am

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