Through a Jungian Lens

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Father Sun, Mother Earth, Human Child

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This morning photo taken at Sask Landing Provincial Park presents a view I see most days when I stand on the tee box of hole number two at my club golf course.  The hills edging the lake make for great hikes with the opportunity to view wildlife and hardy flowers and an array of birds.  The hills are one of the best places that I know in which I can find a sense of peace and quiet.  Wandering along slopes that border a creek I get to enjoy long moments of meditative silence.  Nature is healing.  In a way, it is as though returning to nature is also a return to home.

It isn’t accidental that one understands and knows that nature is embodied in Gaia, mother nature, earth mother.  Walking or sitting quietly, one feels the connection with Gaia up close and personal.  One feels enfolded within the embrace of the mother as though she is protecting her child.  The sunshine warms both mother and child.  Yet, that sun, symbol of father and masculine,  is distant in comparison to the earth, symbol of mother and feminine.  This creates a family portrait:  father sun, mother earth and human man child.

Just as human life emerged from the primordial seas, so we emerged from umbilical waters.  How we are related t those origins and how we are to comprehend ourselves and our place in the cosmos are initially construed through the mother-child encounter.  Not only do we share most of our early, formative days and years with her – the more so if fathers are distant or not there at all – but her role is replicate by teachers and other caretakers who in our culture are still primarily female.  Hence the major influx of information men receive about themselves, and what life is about, comes from woman.”  (Hollis, Under Saturn’s Shadow, 1994, p. 30)

This isn’t the least bit surprising or something to see as a problem.  It is simply a part of being human, being tied to the earth.  But in admitting that, there is something that emerges that does need to be addressed, the longing of a male child for the father which calls for individuation, the pull to independence.  This creates a dilemma for the male child.

As one’s personal mother is the bearer of the archetype of life, so we experience both a collective and a uniquely personal message.  the The mother complex, that is, the affectively charged idea of mother, is in us all.  It is experienced as the longing for warmth, connection and nurturance.  When one’s initial experience of life met these needs, or largely so, one feels that one belongs in life, that here is a place where one will be nurtured and protected.  Where the primal experience of the feminine was conditional or painful, one feels deracinated, disconnected.  Such and ontological wound is felt in the body, burdens the soul and is frequently projected onto the world at large.”  (Hollis, Under Saturn’s Shadow, 1994, pp 30-31)

The months spent in Costa Rica was filled with meeting so many men who were longing connection and nurturance.   Over and over again I heard various men tell me that all they really want from life is someone to love, a woman to share the remainder of their lives.  For them, the separation from the feminine, living alone, was empty.  And in an attempt to fill this void, they sought out the feminine in bars.  An hour, more or less, at least provided a moment of hope that this woman might be the one to fill that void, to heal that wound.


2 Responses

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  1. I wonder if gay men have it easier to be in touch with the Divine Feminine viz. they are not so wary or their feminine side. I don’t know of any good papers on the topic.


    May 15, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    • That is a good question to ask. Unfortunately, I haven’t any idea at all, but this is worth the study for some. I do think that a few Jungian analysts have published at Inner City Books on the topic of homosexuality. Perhaps that would be a good place to begin the search?

      Robert G. Longpré

      May 15, 2010 at 5:07 pm

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