Through a Jungian Lens

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Image and the Presence of the Divine

with 4 comments

Feeding the body and the soul

This is a photo I took yesterday while wandering through Fish Creek Provincial Park which is located within the city of Calgary. Even though the weather was quite wintry, it was an enjoyable walk with my wife and camera. After two days of analytical sessions, I was ready for a change of mind and scene, so nature was what I needed. I am fortunate that this provincial part is only a short two kilometre walk from the place I am renting.

I use images as my way of honouring the unspoken and unseen aspects of my inner self as well as searching for ways to connect to Gaia, Mother Earth and to other humans at a level of collective depth. This little fellow, a squirrel in the park, knew I was there and was accepting of that up to a certain point. As long as I remained as a nonthreatening presence (as perceived by him), I was able to remain in a presence even if that presence also held a certain level of tension. The image of this squirrel evokes more than the fact of the squirrel; it is a dynamic image, pregnant with a vitality that connects me with a larger reality.

“Images can manifest in words, movement, plastic arts, science, architecture, or any other form of cultural or personal expression. In other words, anything that can carry the imprint of divine energies can be a temporary vessel of the mysteries, or the gods.” (Hollis, Tracking the Gods, p. 12)

“Temporary vessels” – it is vital that I remember this. The image itself isn’t numinous; what is numinous is the temporary presence within my consciousness, even sub-conscious state, of an attitude that is willing to see yet another sign and face of the divine. Once that moment has passed, the image returns to be a photography. It could easily said that for a moment, the Divine manifested in the image as a way of talking with me. Then with that dialogue finished, the Divine leaves the image which then becomes perhaps a piece of art or simply a snapshot. It is the Divine that chooses the time, place, space for dialogue with the soul.

As Hollis tells us, we can sometimes find the presence of the Divine in a song, in dancing, in an act of painting or building. The Divine can become manifest in any thing, any doing, and especially in our moments of openness to the Divine such as when we are asleep through dreams. But one must not expect the presence of the Divine every time we sing, dance, create, make. The Divine is present, but at those moments when we cannot evoke the Divine, it is because we attempt to contain the Divine in all of these things and these acts. The Divine can’t be contained for that reduces the Divine to being a servant of ego.


4 Responses

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  1. The book “Ego and Archetype” is all about this important topic, have you read it?


    February 26, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    • Edward Edinger has written quite a few books and I have to admit that I haven’t read this book of his – it’s sitting on one of my shelves with some of his other books which I have read. Edinger is a classical Jungian, not a post-Jungian writer. Much more to say, but this isn’t the time or the place. Now, I must find time to spend time again with Edinger and this book. Thanks good doctor Urspo.


      February 26, 2012 at 10:04 pm

  2. I think it’s true about trying to evoke the Divine…the more I want to grasp onto an experience as it’s happening, the further it seems to go away from me. I just sort of have to be grateful for, and be WITH it…not attempt to explain or hold onto it. 🙂

    Goddess Aphrodite

    February 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    • Yes, it is about allowing oneself to participate in the experience when it presents itself rather than attempting to control the appearance and timing of the experience. Being in the moment. 🙂


      February 27, 2012 at 8:58 pm

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