Through a Jungian Lens

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Underground Streams, Sinkholes and Psyche

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Emerging from the depths

This is a spring that emerges from underground on my eldest daughter’s land in Alberta. Sometimes it is hard to understand that what appears on the surface is but a fraction of the full reality of one’s life and the life of our planet. Flowing beneath the surface of the land are streams and rivers as well as lakes. Sometimes the water finds its way to the surface as in this photo, to then carve its way through the external world. Also found on the land are sinkholes which appear as normal bits of ground, an illusion as to inadvertently step on one of these spots is to risk disappearing very rapidly into a vicious soup of mud, being swallowed into the belly of the earth with no chance of escape.

Underground water is of course symbolic for me, symbolizing the unconscious making its entrance into my life. Most times I am not aware of the outbreak of unconscious as I unconsciously project this outbreak onto others. I get angry with government and organisations, or I get frustrated with a person with whom there was no previous frustration even though that person hasn’t changed behaviours or attitudes. Sometimes I become aware because I am learning to look at how I am in relation to the world. When I sense (after the fact) that I have been caught in some field of energy that brought out frustration, anger or fantasy, I begin to dig deeper and try to own the feelings as being more about my own stuff.

Dreams are another way that the unconscious bubbles to the surface of my awareness. And as in working at taking back projections, the work of digging through the dreams becomes important to the process of becoming more conscious. Like everyone else, I only become more conscious when I turn the light onto what was hidden beneath the surface in darkness. And like other people, I want to ignore the existence of that darkness, the shadow side of who I am. As I wrote these words, a song came to my mind – “Mama Told Me Not To Come,” by Three Dog Night, especially these words: Don’t turn on the lights, ’cause I don’t want to see.

I found that the title of the song “fit” as the Great Mother is about earth, water and the depths. The Mother doesn’t demand anything from us in terms of becoming conscious, she demands only that we return to her womb. It is the Father, who calls us to the light of the sun, to consciousness. The ideal is to marry the two rather than to be swallowed in the unconscious or to be burnt like some Icarus flying too close to the sun, a holy marriage.  Of course, that means I have a lot of work to do in turning on the lights as I find the various light switches hidden in the darkness of the inner, unconscious world.



3 Responses

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  1. Do we ever end? How deep do we go? How far do we reach. Every time a light comes on in some part of me, I turn and see the shadow that the new knowing has cast on some other part of me. Because we are each connected to the vastness, it moves through us and beyond what we could ever fathom in the confines of this time and space. If there is no end to “me” can I at least be more conscious of being in the vastness? I am like one dot in a pointillist’s painting — I am positioned just so in relation to all the other dots in a vision whose beautiful composition I cannot see because I am limited by where I have been placed. All I can do is trust in the artist’s vision – that I have been placed perfectly in order to assist in completing the work.

    Sarah Densmore

    May 20, 2012 at 10:02 am

    • “Do we ever end?” In my opinion, no. We are there in the whole, or should I say that the whole is within us as though we are separate leaves on one massive tree, yggdrasil, the tree of life – separate leaves but connected to every other leaf where each is nourished and somehow at the same time nourishing. I like the pointillist metaphor. Thanks, Sarah, for your words, questions and wonderings.


      May 21, 2012 at 3:20 pm

  2. Robert and Sarah, I love the images you’ve both created about the place of an individual in the vast field of knowing and unknowing. Mine is that I’m an atom on the knee of a giant, cosmic giraffe! Remembering that makes me smile and softens the hard edges of my ego, at least temporarily!

    I agree that we never end. In my unconscious, perfectionist mode, this brings frustration and impatience, but the more lights I switch on, the more it brings comfort. Despite the ego-humbling nature of this work, I dearly love it and its inherent rewards, and I am grateful that my soul will never be without a purpose!

    Jean Raffa

    May 23, 2012 at 9:55 am

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