Through a Jungian Lens

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Sun and Psyche – Waking Up

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Sunrise in southern France 2012

Sunrise, the start of a new day. I took this photo following a night spent in Golinhac, France while walking on the GR 65. Most of the days of my walk along the GR 65 began just before sunrise which allowed me to be on the path when (and if) there was a sunrise to be seen and appreciated. These moments were treasured. Like humans from more primitive eras, I rejoice in the re-appearance of the sun. I am a sun worshipper.

In saying I am a sun worshipper, I don’t mean it in the sense of seeing and knowing the sun as a deity, a religion. Rather I would characterise it in alchemical terms, or even more simply, in terms of naturism. The sun gives warmth, heat, and light which feeds the animate world of plants and animals. That same sun works on water and land to force change, constant change through weather patterns. In human society, including the small town in which I live, the sun influences mental wellness.

The sun has been hiding these past few days and it seems as though life has slowed down. People I meet have less energy, are sleepier and a number of them are under the weather, so to speak with flu and/or cold symptoms. I can even sense that the lack of sunlight has lowered people’s spirits. With winter on its relentless journey to claim the northern hemisphere, there is a definite increase in incidents of depression in workplaces, schools, homes and even among the homeless. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a reality that counellors and therapists and medical doctors have to deal with on a regular basis during the darker months.

As soon as the sun breaks through the cloud cover, smiles emerge and there is a sense of the psyche waking up. The sun sets the blood to rising and the spirits lifting. It is as though someone has turned on the heat to thaw what has been put into a deep freeze. I know how my own spirit ebbs and flows with the appearance and disappearance of the sun during daylight hours. Knowing that, I am more conscious of my unconscious responses to daytime shadows and darkness. Rather than get overwhelmed by the lack of light, I counsel myself with the knowledge that the sun will come again, that it is a natural process and that it is okay to slow down and rest.

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