Through a Jungian Lens

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Something Primal, Wild and Free

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Cedar Waxwings in my apple tree

This is a Cedar Waxwing, one of a small flock of about a dozen birds who flew in to visit my apple tree this morning while I was enjoying a cup of coffee on the back deck. I waited for the birds to settle in before reaching for my camera and getting a good number of shots hoping that at least one would turn out for use in today’s post.

I have watched these birds in various seasons and have always been well entertained in the process, especially when they eat over ripe mountain ash berries and become very obviously drunk and then behave like a group of college students at a frat house bash. As I watched these birds over the years, I noticed that the males and females looked the same, unlike most other species in which the male sports a colorful plumage. I went searching for some symbolic information with regards to the Waxwing and found this:

Waxwings are beautiful birds of mystery — masked bandits raiding fruit from forests and orchards or snatching unsuspecting insects — with unpredictable patterns of movement and migration and fascinating rituals of social interaction, gluttonous “drunken” revelry and tender, gentle food sharing. They are also creatures that need to be wild and free.”

I thought about these words and realised that the words fit my experiences with these birds. But I keep coming back to the idea of shared male and female roles, appearance and behaviours. I began to wonder if perhaps they aren’t telling me something about society as a whole, perhaps a society in which gender is irrelevant in the way one lives, loves, works and plays. Perhaps there would be a lot more play and less war, conflict, competition – just a wild abandon celebrating the fact that one is alive.

Of course, the birds are just birds. But, in my mind and in the mind of others from centuries and millenia passed, birds take on a symbolic quality that speaks to something deep within us humans, something primal, wild and free.

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