Through a Jungian Lens

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Individuation – A Journey of Crucifixion and Resurrection

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Crucifixion Roman style - Before the concept of modern political correctness.

Crucifixion Roman style – Before the concept of modern political correctness.

I found this image somewhere on the Internet a while ago. Where? I don’t remember. It is taken from some work of art painted when there was no need to conceal the truth for some particular agenda. Maybe I shouldn’t use the word truth as I begin to doubt that there are any truths other that the swirling mass of thought within one’s head, a swirling mass that is rarely based on reality. All is illusion. Yet, if we are to have histories as a people, then we must be able to hold some of that history as being valid. Was there a Jesus Christ? Was he the son of God if he did exist? Personally, I do think that there was a man who was the person we call Jesus Christ. Was he a son of God? I would have to say yes as I truly believe that we are all sons and daughters, all the offspring of the initial creator.

The Risen Christ - Michelangelo

The Risen Christ – Michelangelo

He was a man and he was a godling just like you are a godling. Like you and me, he was born naked out of the womb of a woman. Like you and me, he was a child, saw things children should never see, and suffered for it. Like you and me, he wrestled with his demons and resisted his singular path. For some reason, he was able to hold his singular path, a feat not many are able to accomplish because of fear, because of the cruel weight of community opinion. And like all others who dare to hold to their destiny, he was crucified by his community for daring to go against the collective shadow. The Romans crucified him in fact, but it was his community that forced the hand of the Romans to administer the death penalty for daring to challenge the status quo. The Romans crucified him in the Roman way – hanging him on a cross, naked so as to induce shame.

But for one who dares to follow the individual path that opens into light even as one goes forward seemingly into darkness, there is no shame, just a sadness for others, and a burning question – Why?

I have long struggled with this why and still have yet to find the answer. Perhaps there are no words that can serve as an answer. Perhaps the only answer that can emerge is the experience, step by step, that one passes through along the journey of one, a psychological and physical journey that Jung called individuation.  Perhaps it is a conceit on my part, but as I dare my own journey, sometimes at costs that I am loathe to pay, I find myself learning to forgive myself for my own darkness. And in forgiving myself, one dark shadow at a time, I am finding that the path ahead of me is beginning to be bathed in a faint light.

As I inch my way down this individual path, I wonder if it is all worth it. It seems to be costing too much in terms of relationships with others. I find myself wondering if this is far enough along the path. A voice within tells me, I have gone far enough, further than most others travel as if that pat on the back will be enough. Yet, I am in turmoil wondering if I am a coward. I know that I can’t turn around and run back to the past and the certainties of that past, even if there was suffering and pain in that pain – better the devil one knows – is a folk saying that I am tempted to adopt rather than pay the price that is required to go further along the path, a path that I know ends in my own crucifixion, and a resurrection.


3 Responses

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  1. Dear Robert,

    Thank you for this outstanding Post.
    Jung explained his individual journey in his Liber Novus – as he wrote, it is “my journey”, not your journey or somebody else’s journey.

    Although each person has to travel his/her individual journey – we share a common, and that is as you wrote “he was crucified by his community for daring to go against the collective shadow,…… the death penalty for daring to challenge the status quo”

    In the words of Jung this meant daring to resist The Spirit of Time and listen and follow the path of the Spirit of Depth.

    And then your (unanswered) question of “Why” ?
    I agree with you that no one has the answer, and in my opinion, the closest that we can get to the answer is to become aware of the “urge” to move on our journey of individuation.
    In my view, for me, “retreat” is not an option because that would mean the denial on The Spirit of Depth and the denial of “HE, who died on the tree”.
    Christ IN me !

    Opa Bear

    February 23, 2013 at 5:56 am

    • I am hoping to get a copy of Liber Novus when I get back to Canada. For now, it is about holding a question that perhaps doesn’t have an answer. Perhaps the question simply serves as a holding space until such time as the psyche is ready to move forward on a path the ego has no knowledge of when the question is posed.


      February 24, 2013 at 7:45 am

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