Through a Jungian Lens

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Spirit and Matter – Logos and Eros

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What about community? What about soaring with spirit like an eagle?

Perhaps it would not be too much to say that the most crucial problems of the individual and of society turn upon the way the psyche functi0ns in regard to spirit and matter.” (Jung)

This is how James Hillman begins chapter four in his book, Senex and Puer. One of the things that strike me in this quote is the use of the word “society,” a word that jumps out in context of what is happening in the world today.  The lack of focus on “society” and a single-minded focus on the “individual” is the Achilles heel of Jungian psychology.  Lately I have been reading from a number of different authors in different fields trying to find something that resonates at a deeper level, something that doesn’t get lost in my personal ego. Why is this important to me? I think it has to do with the idea of relationship with other. For me, the key word is relationship.

Psychology asks us to develop a good relationship with the self with the assumption that if we can focus on this dynamic, the rest will take care of itself. Somehow, that only seems to be making the situation of our collective worse, not better as we would have expected. As we go deeper and deeper within our psyche, we seem to get lost in the world of the Great Mother. The hero’s journey has us battle the Great Mother in order to win the reward.  Depth psychology . . .

What is missing, in my opinion is the soaring psychology that embraces logos, the spirit – the world of the Great Father.  I know, this is almost a dirty word in our modern world who somehow sees the Great Father as an evil force that is more about rape and pillage and brutality. Yet, as I think about it, our modern world of science, economics and politics is really an expression of the Great Mother (mater/matter). Our world is all about consumption, about things, not about ideas.  Science has brought us to the idea that there is only the earth, this ecosystem which is spinning in a larger physical cosmos – God is dead and buried and Gaia now rules undisputed.

We honour the Great Mother and we are rewarded as good sons with riches – good sex, material wealth and guilt, the guilt of being too enmeshed with the Great Mother. And we have bought into this way of believing and functioning as a culture. The way to insult a man today is to say his head is in the clouds, that he is an egg-head lost in the world of spirit. Our world celebrates “common sense” and doesn’t trust logos. As a result, we have a world spinning out of balance – a world focused on the individual and not on community.


Written by Robert G. Longpré

April 14, 2012 at 7:55 pm

8 Responses

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  1. True acolytes of Great Mother Energy recognize and appreciate (rather than deny or feel threatened) by Father Energy.
    Underneath the Great Mother, is Pluto, male ruler of the underworld. His marriage to the daughter of the Great Mother is not the ravage/kidnap story most of us know, but a more balanced account of the union of male/female.


    April 15, 2012 at 12:38 am

    • We have a long way to go as a culture to shift from the “battle of the sexes” to the notion of “holy union” between the masculine and feminine. We get trapped in monotheistic thinking, polarized thinking. Thank you, Urspo for these wise comments.


      April 19, 2012 at 8:59 am

  2. Robert,
    It seems to me that a critical point is overlooked from your post. NOT being a member of a given community is to have a relationship with that community. I am not a member of the astrology community, I do not study or otherwise have any interest in astrology, BUT that defines my relationship with that particular community. For me the issue is this: having undertaken to do some the “work(in Jung’s sense)” I have not found a “community” out in society that I want to be a member of. The best I have been able to do is find a small, but secure and safe sense of belonging to my leaderless Men’s group. For me, and I realize the issue may be me, society at large has little to offer. And, again that is a relationship.

    John Ferric

    April 17, 2012 at 8:45 am

    • 🙂 Thank you, John, for adding this important fact. There is always relationship, even in rejecting relationship we find a reframing of relationship.


      April 19, 2012 at 9:00 am

  3. Identification w/the Great mother subsumes, rather than exhalts the sovereign, autonimous individual member of the collective.. Logos, to my understanding, is less instinctual ‘gnosis’ than rational, left brain type mind – though historically the Logos as Word Of God, a creative manifestation of the Ineffable, was a Great Mystery – today the ‘Mind,’ the male principle of divinity is considered more in terms of rational, linear ‘logical reason.’
    The phase of cultural evovlution that is cusping now is the birth of a slightly more mature level of awareness in which a childish narcissism gives way to awareness of, and desire for relationship. Between groups, nations, etc.
    So I would disagree that Gaia rules – for the dominant world view and surely the economic structures still operate from an implicit assumption in the absence of consciousness in/of the Earth, which is what Sheldrake’s ‘Gaia Theory’ sought to demonstrate (and which indigenous peoples have never forgotten.)
    But I agree whole heartedly that an immature obsession w/the self (little ‘s’) must (and is, I’d affirm) giving way to a higher state of awareness in which the One Mind is experienced more consciously… One teacher whose work I think you’d appreciate that speaks at length about the relationship btwn the individual and the collective is Thomas Huebl…Does a lot of beautiful work that’s very ‘Jung compatible.’…

    S.Victoria Emory

    April 18, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    • I am grateful for you added words here, Victoria. I need to revisit my words in hopes of trying to reframe them so as to explain better what I understand. Economics is about “matter” things, property – stuff of the earth. The masculine rape of the earth is also about mother, an incestuous relationship with mother, but still about mother. None of this is about “spirit” or “father.” I hope that you will continue to challenge me here, Victoria. I am daring to attempt learning and hold no certainties as I explore in the shadows. Thank you. 🙂


      April 19, 2012 at 9:05 am

  4. Thanks for your gracious response : )
    Seems to me the rape of the Earth and disregard for anything beyond matter – the assumption that is still dominant within the scientific world (but transforming rapidly) that conscious is somehow a result OF MATTER rather than the other way around is, in spite of the etymology of the words, a ‘logos’ approach, one that does not acknowledge Spirit much at all.. So it is a kind of semantics thing – and perhaps I am misunderstanding the general concept as applied of ‘logos’

    S.Victoria Emory

    April 20, 2012 at 6:36 am

    • I think perhaps it is I who finds myself a bit outside of full thinking making it hard to communicate my ideas well enough. Thank you for your wise words, Victoria. 🙂


      May 3, 2012 at 6:07 pm

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