Through a Jungian Lens

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The Pull to Search, to Write and to Wonder.

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As I walked through the Reserva Santa Elena on the mountain within Monteverde National Park, I found a number of different plants and a few birds.  This fiddlehead was much larger than those I have found in the wilds of Québec, Ontario and Saskatchewan.  In Canada, the fiddleheads were delicate things that promised a good meal if gathered in sufficient quantities, a special delicacy to be enjoyed at rare moments.  This fiddlehead was huge.  At first glance, it appeared to be branches unfolding on a tree.

In search of the symbolism behind the spiral and the fern, I came across this:

‘The spiral can be symbol of creation, however it is also a potent symbol of dissolution into chaos. The spiral spins both ways. Downward spirals represent the forces of entropy that are constantly working to instigate chaotic collapse.

Inevitably, these two spirals—the generative and the destructive—turn out to be one continuous cycle. Fiddlehead ferns dry up, fold in on themselves, and collapse back into the earth.”

Walking through the cloud forest with a light rain falling, it definitely felt like I had found myself in a place of both birth and death.  There was no feeling of meaninglessness.   I was taken in by the pregnant fullness of the place as though I was in a cathedral.

“Jung understood the collective unconscious to be nature itself but a nature in need of its greatest creation, the ego and its consciousness, to function on behalf of humanity. (L I, p. 283; L II p. 540; CW 5, par. 95, p. 62). It is often overlooked that in equating nature with the creative unconscious and understanding consciousness as its needed offspring, Jung is effectively containing within a vastly extended psyche both the totality of what is or can be as well as the human cognitive capacity to experience what is or can be. Needless to say this containment would extend to humanity’s experience of the divine. All of this is made explicit when he writes, “Not only does the psyche exist, it is existence itself.” CW 11, par. 18, p. 12. (Dourley, The Foundational Elements of a Jungian Spirituality, 2006.)

Nature as the creative unconscious as an unconscious source of all that is; this can be understood as a face of what we know as the divine.  And I, and we as humans become the conscious expression of that divine.  It is only through consciousness of its parts that the whole can come to consciousness.   For me, it begins to make sense that the divine also embraces polarities.  All that is light and all that is darkness, the conscious and the unconscious; all that is, was and all that isn’t yet – all are embraced in the divine.  My experience of the divine becomes part of the divine.  Perhaps this lies at the root of my pull to search, to write and to wonder.


3 Responses

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  1. “Perhaps this lies at the root of my pull to search, to write and to wonder.”

    to search is to seek inspiration – to breathe in;
    to write is to express what has been inspired – to exhale;
    to wonder is to go in search again – to breathe in;

    that is life and the spiral.



    April 19, 2010 at 7:15 am

  2. I love the photo. A Fiddlehead? What a name!

    abha iyengar

    April 19, 2010 at 8:00 am

  3. I concur – the Divine loves/lives in paradoxes; I have never seen the Divine enter through the Front door – what seems to have power doesn’t and what seems powerless is.


    April 19, 2010 at 10:37 pm

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