Through a Jungian Lens

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Numinous – Aspect of the Divine

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I have to admit that I had a lot of fun editing this photograph.  Unexpectedly, I managed to produce a full-body halo for this image of my wife, my anima personified.  Of course, I was preparing another image of the archetypal feminine aspect, that of the Great Mother Goddess, Gaia.  In the process, this happy accident arrived.  What emerges is a sense of the numinous, which Daryl Sharp explains is a quality of “persons, things or situations having a deep emotional resonance.” (Sharp, C.G. Jung Lexicon, p.92)  Just as an added bit of information, Sharp’s “Primer of Terms and Concepts” is also available for free on-line here.

Anima in terms of the larger feminine archetype is on my mind a lot lately.  The sad state of the planet, the fecund face of Gaia, leaves me feeling almost powerless in response.  I do what I can to lessen the drain on her as I cut back on the use of resources as much as possible.  One of my long-time friends in the Jungian field is Gwynne Mayer, has been writing quite a bit on the topic of “Gaia Gone Mad” (you can read some of Gwynne’s writings here) and hysteria.  Her response to what is happening to the world points to another face of the Great Mother Archetype, the dark mother.

The Mother Archetype has many faces: nurturing, compassionate, sacrificing, protecting, defending, providing, generous, persistent, abandoning, devouring, grieving, destructive, indifferent, smothering and abusive. Those who manifest an  empowered Mother archetype enrich the lives of those they touch, imparting life.  For those who maim, ignore, or abuse their children–real or symbolic–destruction and chaos results.” (Boyer, The Mother Archetype)

This dark face is what we experience when Gaia erupts in her fullness of chaotic energy.  Floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, altered weather patterns that result in hardships for humans and animals alike are manifestations of the collective unconscious energy of this dark face of the Mother.  Unfortunately, even our western religions actively promote this dark side of the feminine citing “Eve” and how women “tempt” men into sin, tempt them with their sex.  Yet, all this darkness doesn’t belong to the feminine.  God the Father, also has a dark side – Satan.

Good and evil in the masculine in balance, good and evil in the feminine in balance.  This is the goal of individuation, a holy marriage of the two within.  This marriage of masculine and feminine in which the dark faces as well as the light faces of both are in harmony is the closest one can come to arriving at a definition of heaven.

The “self” knows this though the ego is at odds with this.  The ego demands proofs that are quantifiable, provable.  The ego needs the divine to be transcendent, and so refuses to look within.  What isn’t found within will be found without, and that leads to projections.  And so our mates are left to hold too much of our projected divine resulting in disappointment and confusion when we discover them to be as human and as fallible as we are.

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