Through a Jungian Lens

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Character Within the Lines

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At first glance, there isn’t much remarkable about this photo.  Even after a lot of time spent studying it, nothing says “keep me.”  I took the photo in WuZhen while my trigger finger was working overtime without my doing much “thinking” about what images were being captured.  I often do this just to see what caught my subconscious attention.  In spite of the image being basically unremarkable, I am happy with what I found in it.

The image does capture a worn, almost threadbare aspect, probably an authentic image for representing Ancient China.  It is also a good image to represent life in the middle half.  As usual, in making a statement such as this, I am probably referring more to myself than other people.  I am comfortable with growing older, with my hair graying and with my body being more typical of an elder than as a fit and trim mature male.  I am ragged on the edges, especially now that I am regrowing a small beard similar to when I was working as a school administrator and therapist – the professorial look as my children used to comment.  Like the inscribed lines on the wood, the lines on my visage also have a story to tell, a story of places, people, relationships, events, dreams and disappointments.  But more importantly, the lines hint at a mystery yet to be discovered.

As I look at this image, I imagine myself walking down some dusty road in the company of a perhaps three others; with one of them being a woman, one being a warrior-protector and one being a challenging and often obnoxious pain in the ass.  As night approaches we are drawn to an ancient pub where we will share a meal and some drink to wash away the day’s dust from our throats.  Before night deepens and we head to sleeping pallets, an evening of argument and entertainment awaits as my little band of travellers interacts with those we have met in this tavern.  With any luck, the pain in the ass won’t have us end up in an argument with the locals or even worse before I retire to a well-earned retreat to my bed chamber with the woman who shares my life journey.

All of these actors, my fellow travellers are part of the cast of characters that abide within my psyche, personal faces of ancient archetypes, my shadow, my anima, my warrior.

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Written by Robert G. Longpré

March 30, 2011 at 5:07 pm

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