Through a Jungian Lens

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Sol as Ego and Self

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I am often amazed at how ordinary things have an extraordinary aspect.  Yesterday morning while out chasing photos of a setting full moon, the sun was also moving with sunrise.  As this image shows, the sun was captured in a reflection on the kitchen window of a neighbour’s home which stood at the edge of the prairie.  And in the instant that I took the photo, what emerged was a transformation of the ordinary house into a numinous place, a holy place.

I guess one could say that I was lucky to get this photo as well as the one used in the last post, within moments of each other.  However, I don’t take it as luck.  I decided to get up earlier than usual to chase photos of Luna in light conditions that would allow a better photograph using my limited camera.  I knew that Sol was also going to be present as Luna was setting.  All that was left to me was to allow the edges of vision to see what I would otherwise miss.  I trusted to the inner “self” to note these things while my “ego” was busy with the hunt for photos for the SoFoBoMo project.  – – – It works, so I (ego) go along for the ride.

“So the sun as the symbol of consciousness represents both the ego and the Self.  The reason for that double representation is that the Self cannot come into conscious, effective existence except through the agency of the ego.  Needless to say it can come into plenty of effective existence without an ego but it can’t come into consciously effective existence without the agency of an ego.  That’s why it is unavoidable that the symbolism of Sol, as the principle of consciousness, represents both the ego and the Self.” (Edinger, The Mysterium Lectures, p. 94)

I have to admit that it is very tempting to accept Edward Edinger’s restatement of CG Jung’s words.  Images such as this do point to the idea of Sol/Sun as God, something so numinous that it can only be seen indirectly.  And, that idea of Sol as God the Father is seated within the self, within me.  However, I know that all that would result is a swelling of my head and the loss of my own identity.  So, how do I deal with the conflicting ideas ?

On one level, the sun as archetype of the ego makes sense.  In my opinion, this is a concept that can be embraced by modern men and women as it doesn’t discriminate between the genders.  However, the idea of sun as Father God is one that makes me feel uncomfortable.  Why have human gender be ranked in hierarchy?  Why have the masculine as superior?  I know that our relatively recent history as humans has embraced patriarchy as a way of being within the collective.  But, human history has also had us embrace matriarchy.  Is one “archy” better than the other?  Somehow, I don’t think so.  Power is still power and both systems focus on “power” over “others.”  Neither matriarchy or patriarchy offer the individual a sense of wholeness.

Jungian psychology, as lived by Jung, is about individuation, a growth of consciousness that is not limited to men.  Individuation demands the integration of opposites “within” the psyche.  And so this is what I turn to as a final resort in trying to resolve the apparent contradictory words.  Obviously, one needs to look beyond the words used to find what can’t be understood directly.  It’s a challenge that is mostly overlooked as one gets caught in the objectivity of the words and the images.

So, I muddle along hoping that I don’t miss something that is in plain sight.


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