Through a Jungian Lens

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The Power Of An Image

with 11 comments

Eagles somehow catch my attention whether I am out for a walk on the Canadian prairies, or in the northern wilds, or along the Pacific seashore.  I often see them at times when I sense a higher level of internal struggle.  I have a collection of “eagles” that I have been gifted, items such as clocks, sculptures, and carvings.  When on a walk through of a local embroidery craft gallery and workshop, I saw this piece and automatically took some time to get this photo ostensibly for the purposes of showing family and friends back home in Canada the quality of the work done in China.

I could look upon this “attraction/attention” to the eagle as some sort of mystical communion, as an expression of some ethereal “otherness” that is understood by my inner self, an understanding that I am not yet ready to know consciously.  Or, I can simply accept that the eagles that I see and their representations in various media are “images” that have a numinous quality for me because of an early association with the image.  I am aware that things, in themselves, are simply that, things.  When these things take on a “charged” value, then I know that it is not the thing itself, but something within me that is being projected that needs attention.  And usually this attention can’t be given directly, but must be approached through associations as though I am trying to solve a complicated and convoluted problem.

It becomes a problem of language.  How does one translate the language of image and inner world into an outer world consciousness that is missing so many words and expressions.  I experience this issue of language in the outer world when trying to communicate with others who do not have a good grasp of English (or French) and where I don’t have much of a grasp on Mandarin.  We both know that we are faced with barriers to communication with each other yet we dance curiously around the ideas we want to communicate hoping that somehow, the body and mind will pick up that which words miss.   This is the same issue, an issue of communication between inner and outer.

And this issue is best addressed through images which serve as bridges whether it be bridges that connect self with other in an outer world, or consciousness with the unconscious in the inner world.


Written by Robert G. Longpré

October 21, 2010 at 9:31 am

11 Responses

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  1. Images are the ultimate ‘one picture is worth a thousand words’
    and better yet, put into thought what words can not do. When I see a mandala I know what it is/means. but don’t ask me to write it out !


    October 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    • And this is why I turn to images and photos in order to discover more of my “self.”

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm

  2. Thank you Robert for this picture and Post.
    Yes, I recognize your experience with the Numinous in your example of seeing a Eagle when sensing a higher level of internal struggle.
    This experience is only to experience in and by ourselves and also makes us aware of how little we know about the working / laws of the Numinous (and everything else).
    And yes, as you wrote – In words, it is hard to share these experiences with others – it takes one to know one ( it is also a metaphor !).
    Another thing what in my eyes makes Jung unique is the fact that he showed that the only way to get access to the question who we are – is trough ourselves.
    We are our own microscope so to say and what we see through this microscope is the (personal) discovering of ourselves and everything else – ( like the experiences of Quantum Physics).
    As Jung was aware of the collectiveness in everything, I think this also triggered Jung to try to unravel the (what we call) “superstition” in his research (by others his studies in Alchemy and Mythology etc).
    In my experiences of my struggle, I am very often caught with the fact that I am much to focused on myself and NOT in combination with the Numinous.
    We are all part of the soup so to say – and working on ourselves has to be done in combination with (of what we know or feel) the Numinous.
    Don’t get me wrong, of course I am not able to have the slightest understanding of the Numinous – but with my experiences I tried to combine, and have to admit (so far and only for myself) – that everything what is happening, ALLREADY has happened in the world of the Numinous of which Akasha is a part.
    And yes, of what Urspo just wrote about the Mandala – it is also said that “God Geometrizes” – thank you Urspo !.

    Opa Bear

    October 21, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    • My hope is that in putting words here along with the images, what others will see is that I am navigating my own regions of being and not trying to give answers for questions that I don’t even know are being asked. The images are all numinous when I take them, they all say more than their contents and they likely say different stories to each person that views them. Thanks, Opa.

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm

  3. the other day i watched a video clip of Slavoj Zizek – do you know of him? he made a similar point about images.
    i will use this synchronisity as a pointer and see what i can sift out. thanks.


    October 21, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    • 🙂 Exactly, follow the energy and see where it leads. Thanks. No, I have not heard of Slavoj Zizek. But now, I will follow up on the name and see where it leads me. 🙂

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 22, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    • There, I have just done some reading on Slavoj Zizek and found that he is someone that I would love to meet and have a long conversation about images and the collective consciousness and the collective unconscious condition of the modern world and modern man. Thanks again for the link to Slavoj Zizek, I think I will search out a few of his books for my own reading pleasure. 🙂

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm

      • i have just encountered him myself. and thought similar things (however i fear that my little spaghetti, pretzel noodle of a brain might not be equal to the task) – but we shall try and see…
        if nothing else his name is lovely to say outloud.


        October 22, 2010 at 7:33 pm

      • 🙂

        Robert G. Longpré

        October 23, 2010 at 9:37 pm

  4. Addition:
    Thank you Robert in allowing me to understand you more.

    Opa Bear

    October 22, 2010 at 5:19 pm

  5. An amazing book, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, explains how visual images activate the right brain and the written word the left side, except for metaphor, which engages both sides. Perhaps this accounts for some of the value and mystery of a visual image, to help us connect with things beyond words. In the Western alphabet, written words are based on arbitrary symbols, which only point at the deeper reality behind the words.

    Adele Tyler

    October 23, 2010 at 10:06 pm

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