Through a Jungian Lens

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All Hallow’s Eve

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A cross in Estaing, France – 2012

The Way of the Cross – Via Dolorosa. I have a different way of understanding this Catholic idea. For me it begins with one being condemned to life rather than death as is depicted in the first of the stations. And, it ends in death and reintegration with whatever one wants to call the One from which all arises, wanders and returns. I see it as a circle. This image of a cross which stands in front of the cathedral in Estaing, France, fits with my understanding how all is contained within. all is part of a whole.

The work of the second half of life is a work of uncovering and honouring the whole self. This is a work of making the unconscious, conscious – well as much as possible for there is always some things about one’s psyche that will remain a mystery, partly because the boundaries between the personal unconscious and he collective unconscious are porous. What do I mean by this? Well, to begin with, we are all connected in spite of our feelings and beliefs that tell us we are isolated from each other. Nature is a good teacher if one would listen. Our environment teaches us that all parts are interconnected; and when one part is suffering, all the parts suffer. We also see this in our families; when one member of the family suffers, all members resonate and feel that suffering and in the process, share that suffering.

The symbol for Earth

The rise of eco-psychology is tied into this. We are all contained within the circle, all at home on this spherical planet. When we suffer, the planet suffers; when the planet suffers, we suffer. The latest severe storm to hit the north-eastern U.S.A. and eastern Canada is a good example of the earth hurting and humans then hurting in response. I have to add that when our environment suffers, we humans also suffer – polluted air, water and soil in turn pollute our bodies and depress our psyche.

The symbol for the Earth is also found in our spirituality – the circle and the cross as found above in the photo from Estaing. This same circle and cross is found in Celtic symbolism. All contained in one – the four seasons of the earth, the four seasons of humankind; the four directions, the four noble truths, the four virtues.

The green man – Samhain.

Halloween, All Hallow’s eve, Samhain – a deliberate remembrance of the cycle of birth and death of nature and of whatever it is that is our human spirit. I have different responses to this ancient remembrance. In its current form as Halloween, I am ambivalent. I detest the idea of it being trivialized through the media to the point where it loses meaning.

Yet, in spite of what it appears is happening, there is something else going on beneath the surface, something not so trivial. Life requires balance. What is lost in one place is found in another place. Birth leads to death and death feeds new life. The gods and goddesses seem to have disappeared only to change shapes and re-emerge in other forms. In spite of the commercialization, children sense the magic that is truly present, see what we can no longer see. And for a time, the dead gods and goddesses are reborn and live.

Happy Halloween!


4 Responses

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  1. what a splendid essay – I thought it one or your best.


    October 31, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    • Michael, these are powerful words for which I am most thankful.


      November 5, 2012 at 12:14 pm

  2. Powerful post. And excellent, well chosen pictures.


    November 5, 2012 at 10:45 am

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