Through a Jungian Lens

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Sharing the Journey – Mysterium Coniunctionis

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New snow and already melting in sunshine

I just had to take this photo as it has been two years since I last was able to enjoy an new snowfall. The scene was what counted and held meaning for me – the snow that fell during the morning was melting in the late afternoon sunshine which was adding a layer of golden light. The photo wasn’t taken for the blog, but rather just because it seemed like a good idea to take the photo.

But after laying in bed, unable to sleep any more despite the early hour, my head filled with the images, the events of the day and the quickly approaching psychoanalytic adventure in Calgary; this image emerged as symbolic of that need to hold the tension a little longer. The adventure begins in a week and it is important to be present in each of the spaces and places that I find myself until then. The snow fall was a gentle reminder that it is still winter. The sunshine was a promise that soon spring will come and life will become re-animated.

Of course I knew this and wondered more about why I needed to be told this through the image and the experience of taking that image. Why?

Well, I guess it has to do with the fact that though this journey of individuation is a singular journey that travels a hidden path in a trackless universe within me; I really am not making the journey alone.

Sharing the journey

Stopping for a pause at my son’s home for a few days, I found family being intimately present, fully aware of who I am and what is happening to me. The care and concern and gentleness overwhelms me and serves to inspire me at the same time. Yes, I am embarking on a path that in many ways appears to be an act of self focus (not the same as selfishness); but the truth is that the journey of individuation is all about becoming whole so that one can be in relationship to others in a better way, a way that adds to their life rather than stealing energy out of their life.  This is the gift my son, his wife, little Grayson and my nephew are giving me during my stay in the Toronto area.

But that isn’t the whole story of why. The why centers around this woman beside her grandson. This is the second time I have entered into this wild ride in an attempt to battle the demons and darkness of an inner world. Both times have resulted in her putting career aside as she chose me over her own passions and dreams. Leaving China and our lecture positions at the university has brought that part of life to a close, perhaps too early for her as she loved what she was doing and her students adored her (with good reason). All along the way she is facing losses, repeatedly having to go through grieving for what she leaves behind. And I wonder why?

Like me, she has to hold the tension, waiting and hoping that this time the process will do what it needs to do in order to allow her to have her life back. And it is there that I finally understand something important. Her life, similar to my life, is one that is only whole in relationship. The loss of relationship would be the greatest loss. Embracing relationship as whole individuals, even as broken individuals is what animate both of us. She is my anima, externalized, and I am her animus. Though the inner world finds me often engaged in epic battles that make a world war pale, the knowledge that my soul is safe, and with that soul, my life; I dare to strip myself bare to face the demons, gods and goddesses, and the complexes that seek to draw me deeper into the darkness so that they can find a way to escape their inner prison and bring their darkness to the outer world.

Two becoming one; two becoming whole – a holy union. For me, this outward manifestation of the holy union of masculine and feminine in the outer world teaches me, encourages me to continue the inner journey where another holy union will take place, something C.G. Jung called Mysterium Coniunctionis.

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