Through a Jungian Lens

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Images and the Ineffable

with 4 comments

Water in winter

This is one of the small creeks which feed into the larger Fish Creek in Calgary. It really isn’t the season for thawing, but the effects of global warming has meant a lot of days of higher than normal temperatures.  I don’t want this post to be a rant about humans misusing and abusing the planet as this is not something new in human history. Rather, I want simply to use this image to talk about a thawing out in my own psyche, an event for which this image serves as a serendipitous metaphor.

By now, most of my readers here realise that I am engaged in exploring my own myth, creating my own myth and that I am using photographic images in the process.

“As may be clear by now, myth represents the crystallization of basic experiences of life construed through various forms of imagery. Such imagery lies beyond intellectual comprehension yet is experienced meaningfully. Mythic images help us to approach the mysteries. Myth draws us near the profound depths of love and  hate, life and death – precincts of the gods, the mysteries, where categories of thought falter and slip into dumb-found silence. Myth is a way of talking about the ineffable.” (Hollis, Tracking the Gods, p. 23)

“Talking about the ineffable,” talking about the energies, the impulses to spiritualism and meaningful existence for which words fall short. A simple word such as love shows us the impossibility to capture exactly what love really is. Humans have tried to capture that meaning in dance, sexual activity, poetry, novels, philosophical examination and even in scientific studies. We know that love exists and often find ourselves embraced in the energies that we call love. Yet for all of this knowing, we can’t prove the existence of love or adequately describe love. So we invent stories, myths that point towards that mystery, try to present an explanation for ourselves.

I create my myth as a way of trying to explain to myself who I am, what I am and why I am. I remain a mystery to my “self” at least to my conscious self. I am so much more than my biology, my factual history that is remembered and forgotten. I create my myth as an attempt to understand those with whom I engage in relationship whether that relationship is that of husband, father, grandfather, teacher, therapist, analysand, friend, acquaintance or any other role in which I have participated through the years. And in reaching for my myth I find myself using images as hints, as pointers to what I want to say but can’t say because of the poverty of words in trying to explain the mystery of my self.


4 Responses

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  1. I’ve really appreciated your generosity of image and word, lately, which seems to flow similarly to this creek. Here, your use of “thawing out” psyche evokes so much on a personal level. Invites my curiosity about both my own source/s of the water and to where it will travel eventually. I have yet to meet with the source, so onward, inward. Thanks, again.


    February 28, 2012 at 2:33 am

    • My hope is that the posts do flow as though coming from one stream, one creek, so that my story – my myth – can be told so that I can hear it and learn from it. Thank you, Leo, for your words and appreciation.


      February 28, 2012 at 7:24 pm

  2. Dear Robert,
    for me it seems there is nothing more to do or say – so little there seems between myself and the mirrored surface of the infinite sea, which reflects only the endless images of life; beyond which waits the last and only gift.
    I watch your journey and I look back across the tumbled wastes of my own and wonder – why was there no water when I was parched, except that I dug the skin from my hands to find it; why was there no rest, except that I stole it at the cost of any care others might have had for me? The questions are rhetorical – the answer is in the question itself.
    ‘Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
    I am He Whom thou seekest!
    Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.’


    February 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    • Robert, I am blessed to have you bring your voice here. It has been too long. So much is riding on the outcomes of this latest attempt at finding balance. When I tried this the first time in 1998, you were there as my friend and protector. On that journey, we became inseparable though life has thrown obstacles to try and break the link that binds us.

      You are always on my mind as I hope that your home and your Jan are enough to hold you safe and well. I hope that you will come here often and challenge. Thank you for these words from the Hound of Heaven (In your life you drove love away from yourself because you drove Me away.) And for this, I am eternally sorry and trust in unconditional love. And now, I am search of the Divine and know that the Divine is to be found in my “self” and in “other” and especially in the relationships between self and other.


      February 28, 2012 at 7:22 pm

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