JUNG: C.G.

J: JUNG C.G.
J: JUNG C.G.

light among the shadows

 

             

 JUNG: CARL GUSTAV: 1875-1961

This is a quote by C.G. Jung in CW 9 : AION: 126

“The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves”. (emphases mine)

The above picture to the left of the A-Z badge shows light falling onto the surrounding darkness. It is meant to show metaphorically, that when we look into our own souls and the darkness that resides within, and if we actively acknowledge it, its power is reduced and the light will shine.

The quote speaks to the unknown within us that yearns to be known. That hidden stranger who waits patiently in the wings, who is willing to guide us so they we may be a little more whole, within and without.

For the purpose of today’s A-Z blog challenge, I am using only a very few powerful quotes of Jung’s which are worthy of reflection.

‘Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity’.
darkness‘Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people’.

‘We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses’.

‘Where loves rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other’.

‘We deem those happy who from the experience of life have learned to bear its ills without being overcome by them’.

Carl Gustav Jung was born in Kesswil, Switzerland. He trained as psychiatrist and formed a friendship with Sigmund Freud which after several years (1907-1913) ended. He was the founder of analytical psychology which emphasises the individual coming to know him/herself and in becoming what one truly is.

I : Image & Imagination

 

imagination

 

I: Image & Imagination
I: Image & Imagination

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMAGE & IMAGINATION.

Einstein famously said: ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge’.

He replied when asked by parents who wanted to know how to enhance their children’s intelligence: ‘If you want your children to be more intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales‘.

Why is this do you think?

The short answer is that the child uses its imagination when hearing or reading the story. There is a fascination about dragons that need to be overcome, dungeons to be explored; or the wicked stepmother lurking in the shadows, or the helpful bird that saves the day; and also a fascination of tales that do not have a neat and happy story line. Children may not have the emotional understanding to relate the tale to their own lives, but it resonates in some way as the fairy tale or myth expresses essential truths about the human condition in a metaphoric way.

As adults we also get lost in gripping tales as images come to mind. We may know that we are not literally Parsifal in search of the Holy Grail; yet in some way we sense that we too seek redemption and healing; and it seems that we too have to go metaphorically through TS Eliot’s ‘wasteland’ as life challenges us.

Image and imagination are inextricably linked. Knowledge is fixed (I’m not knocking knowledge); imagination has no boundaries. The image that emerges from eg a dream requires that it NOT be fixed forever but that it is given room to breath and, more especially, that I engage in it, and allow it the attention that it demands of me and let it act as a psychopomp or daimon (guide) as it changes, moves, up or down, is fed by other images, enlarges, darkens, brightens, surprises and leads me ‘towards‘ – whatever that may be.

Does the artist know the outcome of his painting as his paint brush hovers about the canvas? Does the writer know the final outcome of his words? The poet? Of course there may be an idea of where the work is intended to go – the plan – but as the artist knows, the muse or the imagination may take him or her to places where they never imagined, the door will be kept open, imagery will flow and they will feel the richer for it entering into the ground of uncertainty.

The wound of the Fisher King (the Grail Keeper) is healed and transformation happens when Parcifal poses the socially uncomfortable yet conscious question:’Whom does the Grail serve?’ It is a metaphor for the question we could ask of ourselves as we play with the image using our imagination.

H : HAIR

H: HAIR)lady with hair

 

H : HAIR

  On the one hand, I don’t care much about my hair; on the other hand –

Sometimes look in the mirror and think o no! NOW’s the time to have it cut, maybe the roots done, a flash or three here – or, and a big or, to wait awhile, maybe do the roots myself in the bathroom quickly, at much less cost and think about a cut, shape and style another time, when I have time.

Too many times I have done the hair colour myself and it’s been much too dark and perfectly horrible.

Many years ago I would take my sons as schoolchildren to George the Greek barber, until the day I asked him if he would cut my hair. It’s short you see – yes, he said, he would. I am no longer fazed by the peculiar looks of others – mostly much, much older men in the barber shop (or the mothers of boys) when I dash up the road to George for a quick trim. I get very fazed though a day or so later when I actually hate the hair cut he’s given me and then I make an appointment with Derek, at the hair salon. Which is what happened last week. The previous week I’d dashed up to George just for a slight trim thinking the following week or the week after (this week), that I would have my roots done. It looked fine that day after George had cut it; the next day it was horrible and in the ensuing days it looked just terrible. Seriously awful – I was down in the dumps. So I made an appointment at the salon with Derek this past week for a proper shape and to have the roots done.

                 Derek (Vidal Sassoon trained (I know – from one extreme to the other) is used to me coming to him to fix my folly. We had an interesting discussion. He maintains that the obsession with hair is a form of addiction, not unlike alcoholism, drugs, retail therapy or any other form of addiction. Instant gratification is what is required he says. He says that it is extraordinary how women allow their hair to be tortured into shapes that their hair really doesn’t want to go. The amounts of money that women spend on their hair would make me gasp he said. We talked about hair – most people he said don’t have good hair, it’s too thick or too thin, or they suffer hair loss.

Well, I was intrigued, especially given my need for instant gratification when I am not happy with my hair (inter alia). On occasion while travelling to exotic places, I have stopped by the roadside where hair is being cut and had a quick trim. Actually, I have done this several times and if not at the roadside, then in cities other than my own – searched for a salon that can take me NOW. A frisson of excitement –

A tiny bit of google research yields interesting information ..

Hair expresses what we are and wish to be –

Ancient civilisations: our thoughts dwell in the hair – and maybe it’s true –

It is our skin’s expression; it communicates us; it has message and sensuality; it has a biologic function but we ornament it, giving it a social meaning –

Within its chemistry, the hair keeps our mood and the memory of our ailments –

Maybe in a 2000 years, somebody could take a look on our hair (sic) and know something about us –

The above excerpted from: thehistoryofthehairsworld.com

So, for the moment I am happy with my hair re-shaped and roots done, rescued from my folly by Derek. Next week I will have some flashes or highlights or whatever they are called, by Derek at the salon. Or maybe later on this week – I’ll see when I look at my hair tomorrow, or the next day and check out my satisfaction or otherwise.

I wonder what this all means?

G: GENESIS

soulA-Z G for GENESI

 

                                                 

                                                 G:GENESIS

In memory of the Holocaust.

– Genesis: ‘Origins’. The Hebrew word ‘Beresheet’ meaning ‘In the beginning’ –

Have you ever had the desire to read the Bible, from beginning to end? I have, but I haven’t accomplished this. I sometimes read parts of it for research which often becomes sheer pleasure. But I mostly read psychological expositions on it which I find extremely illuminating, by authors whose purpose is to show (inter alia) that while the place and setting, circumstances good or ill have drastically changed, the dynamics of the human condition have changed little. We continue to search for meaning in our lives, for our sense of identity, connection to our neigbour, a connection to our soul -. 

Interestingly, the Bible gives no biography of God – we are introduced to Him by His actions which were all good and creative for example: light is created to balance the darkness (ignorance).

He creates Adam and then Eve as a catalyst for his growth, so they that they can be in relationship and dependent upon each other as equals. Yet God is genderless and so it’s interesting that He creates them in His own image. What does this mean? God is surely infinite; so does this mean that we too have an infinite capacity to grow? To keep on developing our potential and our identity –  and not be defined by anyone else’s? So that we have, or find within us, the ability to journey to find our own soulful centre?

Adam and Eve each denied that they were to blame for eating the apple. But we see in  their expulsion from Paradise that, with this, paradoxically, came the gift of free will, with  accountability and responsibility as its partner. And, we gain a psychological insight into the power of denial. The universal story of growing up and leaving home – leaving established boundaries and voyaging into the unknown is apparent.

Cain and Abel – blessed first borns to Adam and Eve – what can we learn from this tragic fratricide? The Lord says to Cain when He questions Cain’s sadness at Abel’s offerings being preferred: ‘But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door. It desires to have you, but you must master it. And to you shall be its desire, and yet you may rule over it’. God essentially tells Cain that denial will not be accepted and that he has the choice to make the right decision. Cain’s violent impulse was not restrained and he kills his brother. He then challenges God ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ (denying accountability yet again) and is bereft when he is cast out, marked on his forehead, nevertheless with the mercy of God upon him. Thus begins the separation of nations ..

What can we infer from this, today? It’s extremely tricky for me. Was God capricious in favouring Abel’s offering over Cain’s and why allow Cain to live albeit in exile? Why was Abel’s murder not prevented? Is this the first instance of evil winning over good? Does it illustrate the inherent evil in us so graphically enacted? Was this an unjust death? So often this is how it is … God’s favoured ones die unjust and undeserved deaths. 

Was Cain envious of his brother as happens within the family? A child who perceives rightly or wrongly that its parent/s favours his sibling over him/her, feels a rejection in the ground of its being. I can only infer that Cain’s violent anger arose from extreme envy. How can we tame the beast that crouches at our door? Sibling rivalry or rivalry between our colleagues, friends, envy between groups, cultures, countries is ever present, in today’s world.

If the first few chapters are read with a psychological and contemporary eye we can see the potency of these human stories. They do not contain sweet and simple tales with happy endings. Rather, the allegories in just these two stories, highlight the contradictions and extreme difficulties and sufferings we all face in our daily lives. We can temper the sadnesses by generating growth in our lives by seeking deeper and deeper – and remembering our genesis –

And which helps me believe in the unfolding of our souls, throughout our lives.

 

 

F: FREEDOM

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9owl wisdom

 

F: FREEDOM

Janis Joplin: Me & Bobby McGee

 

Chorus: ‘Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose,

Nothing don’t mean nothing if it ain’t free.

And feeling good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues,

You know feeling good was good enough for me

Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee’

(I’ve put a clip at the bottom if you want to listen to it-it is a shortened version; I hope it works).

So, ‘Freedom’

There’s ‘freedom’ from, ‘freedom’ to, freedom of, fear of ‘freedom’ – and many more no doubt.

Freedom sounds so great and it is great – freedom from bondage and slavery for example. Here in South Africa we fought for political freedom and equality of all races to have the freedom to vote, to inter-marry between races inter alia; we have freedom of expression in myriad forms e.g. art, speech, film-making, mostly in Western countries; we have freedom of choice; we have free will; we have the freedom to marry same sex partners; we try to free ourselves from parental conditioning in our striving for maturity and autonomy and so on …

We’ve fought hard for our freedom. In South Africa, our past president Mr.Nelson Mandela broke the yoke of oppression; there’s Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Che Guevara, Golda Meir, Aung San Suu Kyi, Rosa Parks who defended her right not to go to the back of the bus to mention but a few who risked their lives against oppressive injustice and in the name of freedom.

But, how free are we really, we who accept freedom as our right to express ourselves in any which way, free to make choices, free to do as we see fit, hopefully for the benefit of all?

Freedom from the boundaries of Paradise – and free will – was the great gift bestowed on us when Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden; yet paradoxically, freedom has great limitations.

Which is how it should be. Without limits, freedom for the strong means slavery for the poor. Freedom has a partner – responsibility. Which means restraint in our enactment of freedom, to ensure that no-one is harmed intentionally or unintentionally in our utilisation of the gift of free will. And this is where it gets tricky. Many of the decisions that we make are based on motives that are unconscious and not honestly considered, and lead us to making less than ideal choices. 

Erich Fromm posits our ‘fear of freedom’ – when we come to realise that we are each responsible for our own fate, we become afraid ..

How free are we from the forces of the media who say we will feel better if we buy this or that; or this car will win you admirers; or this cream will take years off your face; or this diet will make you lose weight? Too many of us are slaves to the media hype and make decisions based on it. We do NOT make conscious choices. We believe the hype and continue to ‘allow’ the media the freedom to influence our decisions. It makes us dizzy. Are we making the best wide awake choices for our children or are we still sleeping towards enslavement – in the name of freedom.

I like Kierkegaard’s definition of anxiety: ‘the dizziness of freedom’.

E: EXPECTATIONS

        expectations

E: EXPECTATIONS

Sylvia Plath: ‘If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed’:The Bell Jar.

 This may seem a rather negative and pessimistic outlook on life but let’s look at how ‘expectations’ impact on our every day lives.

‘I expected that I would get the promotion at work’.

‘I truly expected that my husband/wife would never have an affair’.

‘I expected that my relationship/partner/spouse would bring me happiness and fill the hole in my heart’.

‘I just assumed that all was ok with Jane/John and expected that s/he understood …’

‘I expected that after all I had done for Jane/John that s/he would have reciprocated when it was my turn …’

So many expectations, so many disappointments when they are not met. Our sports heroes – Oscar Pistorius here in South Africa, Lance Armstrong – we set them up as heroes and are crushed when we feel failed. They have not upheld the ideal of what we expected.

What about the reality of our lives? Do we build a wall around ourselves when we have expectations of how ‘things should be’? Because sadly, along with expectations is this ‘assumption’ of how things should be. What about seeing life for what it is, instead of how we expect it to be? Many times our expectations are false and/or unrealistic and place an uninvited burden on the other.

I am not sure whether this is something we learn as we experience disappointments, or whether it is as plain as day. Surely it is unfair on the other to have expectations of them. Yet, paradoxically, I am at home with my family having expectations of me – that I can be depended upon no matter the situation. My friends can expect loyalty from me and a willing hand to help whenever needed. This is a valid expectation which I am happy enough and prepared to fulfil. This is on my terms or way of being. But, do I expect my friends to be at my beck and call just because they are my friends?

We do have certain expectations I suppose, that e.g. our president and the cabinet, or colleagues, or health care system, or road agency, or spouse, or children or school will meet the mandate given them. I expect that the flight that I have booked will leave on time. I expect that the hairdresser’s scissors will not accidentally slip when my hair is being cut. I expect that I will die; I expect that according to the law of averages, my sons will outlive me. I hope they produce children – that would be a lovely bonus.

I think the only legitimate view on expectations though, is to have high expectations of our own self, and then work hard to make that a reality – and even to exceed our own expectations.

D – DREAMS

 

attention to the dream

D : DREAMS

– An unexamined dream is like an unopened letter –

The Talmud

Ah, that night time activity! That wakes me at 4.43, or at 3.11 a.m. or at some other ungodly hour. I switch on my cell phone for light, pick up my journal and pen so that I can record my dream swiftly – and go back to sleep.

When I look at my dream scratchings when awake, I can make no sense of it at all. How very strange, odd. What on earth has this to do with me I wonder. I can make no connection to it at all. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with my waking life –

I take my dreams seriously because I know that my unconscious is trying to say something to me – for that is from where the dream comes. I am the author of my own dream afterall. No-one else. The dream comes from me alone. Who ARE those unknown people in my dream? Why am I in an unfamiliar place? Just lately, I have been in extremely unusual places in my dream world. Hotel rooms, bed and breakfast places, lecture halls inter alia. I haven’t been anywhere for a while – but ahh – does this have anything to do with our imminent move from our old house to new abode? Transition?

Maybe, maybe not.

If I know anything, it is that is important NOT to come to any immediate conclusion or interpretation of the dream. That would be too easy. I would be selling the dream short if I were to do that.

I know that the dream does not tell me what I already ‘know’. It indicates what I need to know.

And of course it is not easy to decipher. I find I have to adopt the stance of ‘detective’ to see if I can pick up on an obscure clue; or ‘archeologist’ on the scent of something – I have to dig ever deeper and pay attention to my inner world, and bring an attitude of ‘unknowing’ when I consider it.

And to make it even more tricky and difficult, the dream does not speak in the language we are most familiar with – that of logic and reason. O no – it speaks in a foreign language, that of image, symbol, myth, metaphor. Its language is far from linear and is always unpredictable. Learning a new language – that of dreams – is a life long process, and it means going into uncharted waters.

Why do I pay attention to my dreams you may ask?

I perceive alchemy at work in my dreams. I know that my dreams are there to guide me, to explore as yet unknown parts of myself in my soul’s search for wholeness. I value that my dreams come from that deep well of unconsciousness and that I may be retrieving a tiny part of it when I give them the attention that they deserve. I am willing to learn.

Carl Jung: ‘Your vision will become clear only when you look into your own heart.

Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes’.

Change

change

C : CHANGE –

It’s an evocative word – and such a complex concept.

I thought of writing about creativity, complexes, conflict, consciousness, complacency, choice –

But, I find myself writing about change – even if it wasn’t on my ‘list’ of ‘c’s’.

On the personal front, a big change looms. Changing homes – from a large, comfortable (old), double storey home on an acre of ground where we have lived for the last 25 years and has been our home in which our now adult sons, grew up.

It is a lovely old home, the garden is beautiful, the pool wonderful in summer, the old oak tree outside our front door is magnificent and always an object of awe and admiration when people come to visit. My Zen garden underneath its huge branches is pleasing and calming – all green. There are stones, large and small interspersed with the green. A birdbath is under its branches.

Our ‘entertaining area’ is a large covered verandah overlooking the garden, comfortably furnished, lovely in all seasons. We sometimes have people here for brunch, lunch, or a lunchtime braai (barbecue). All enjoy themselves as do the hosts – myself and husband.

If I contemplate the changes, I get a funny feeling in my stomach. I don’t really want to consider the complexity of this – it is too big a change.

Will it all run smoothly, this move from our home to our new home? The new home is not entirely new – my husband’s late father had lived in the townhouse for many, many years and, on his death we rented it out, which is how it has been for these last several years.

About 2 years ago, we bashed the townhouse down and re-created it to our specifications as it was our aim at some stage to sell our home and move into the townhouse – downsize. Live simpler, use less, streamline, less expense.

The physical changes of the townhouse were drastic and lovely and we looked forward to moving into the townhouse as soon as we sold our home.

But, we realised that the chances of selling our home in this economic climate here in South Africa were slim. The property market has been flatter than a pancake in the last several years. Plus, our present house is really old and does not have the requisite 4 bedrooms en suite etc or have marble this and gilt that.  So, we let out our newly furbished beautiful townhouse to a corporate client on contract from the UK to one of our mining houses.

But, early this month we sold our home. And fortuitously, the corporate client leaves at the end of April.

So, the town house will be ours to move into by the end of next month – to move in slowly I hope, over a few months, hoping that the final transfer of our home to the buyers takes quite bit of time.

Much of our furniture to be sold, much else to be donated.  Moving into a smaller home, less responsibility. A new life, but a death in some way as well.

I don’t know what the change will bring – it will be huge I know. Moving out of my comfort zone, adjusting, adapting. Being challenged on every front. A funny feeling in my tummy.

From where I write, in my study, this is my view onto a part of my garden – soon, no longer visible to me.view from my study Oct 2012

B : Blame

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9

B: BLAME

 

We all do it – blaming others or circumstances.

‘I didn’t mean it’.  ‘It’s not my fault’. ‘The devil made me do it’.

It’s an age-old story originating in the Garden of Eden.

We know this story or the myth whether or not we take it literally. Somewhere it’s lodged in our brain.

That one forbidden Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil had been standing in the middle of the Garden tempting Eve for a long, long time. Those apples, bright, shiny, plump, lustrous, tantalizing in the extreme, were there, every moment of every day.

Come a day, or was it the night? –  the serpent offered Eve the apple. Take it, he said, and your eyes will be opened.

We can see Eve prevaricating – I cannot, she said. But, she does accept it, bites and chews and swallows the pips. It tastes good.

In good faith she offers it to Adam who also bites, chews and swallows.

G.d then appeared giving them a little time to hide, covering themselves and cowering in the bushes, for they knew they had done wrong. He addressed Adam for it was to him that the prohibition was initially given. Adam said that Eve was to blame and Eve of course blames the serpent.  We know that they were then banished from the Garden and sadly, woman has been blamed forever after for their fall from grace.

(I will write about the above in a later post to illustrate another way of viewing this with psychological and contemporary eyes – i.e. that it was necessary for Adam and Eve to get out of the Garden and out of unconsciousness, but for the moment I want to look at this issue of blame).

I sense that G.d was not necessarily angry with his children for disobeying His orders. For after all, we all need to break free of adult prescriptions at some stage of our lives in order to live authentically. And the attainment of knowledge and free will is no bad thing.

What was reprehensible to Him was their act of denial and each of them denied responsibility and blamed the other. Their individual acts did not belong to them – it was in ‘the other’.

Denial is the first human instinct. They declare themselves ‘victims’ – not perpetrators.

Is this pattern of blaming the other so deeply ingrained that it seems almost impossible to discard? We start doing it at an early age. Maybe it requires an absence of fear and punishment – and shaming – for a person to openly admit the part they played in their action. We all want to stay in our loved ones ‘good books’.

Adam and Eve denied that they acted freely.

This is the exile from Eden – to learn of the gift of free will, and yet also bear the fear of freedom, with the knowledge that when laws are breached and broken, guilt is your partner.

Blaming serves no one; least of all, one’s self.

A is for Ageing

A – AGEING

ageingA – also for Arlee, who got us going with the A-Z – thank you Arlee!

Somehow ‘ageing’ (British English) is more direct – the word ‘age’ is undeniably there.

 Childhood, young adulthood, childbearing days are well and truly behind me. My adult sons now occupy that life stage I have left behind.

So, what lies ahead?

Am I prepared for this next stage into elder-hood as I feel the sands shifting beneath my feet? Do I need to be aware, or prepared in any way as I consider my position as a woman who is no longer young in a world that celebrates youth, beauty and glamour? Does what ‘the world’ admires mean anything to me? In what way am I subtly influenced by these outside factors?

I see the wrinkles around my eyes, my knees look different, my upper arms are not as firm as they used to be. I disguise my greying roots with hair colour as I know that a darker colour suits my skin tone. These are somewhat superficial concerns yet they are a reminder of time passing and my getting older. These are mostly physical and observable concerns, what I see in the mirror – when I look.

I know that exercise and healthy eating habits are especially important at this particular stage of my life. I know that loss of physical balance is inevitable as one ages and I experience this in my yoga classes. I do not maintain ‘the tree’ on one leg with ease. I admire those who hold these poses and I hope to get there. I am inspired by my mother who was a yoga teacher well into her old age. I am more aware of my breath and the value of breathing correctly. I know that brisk walking is beneficial for bones and balance.

But if I look deeper into the looking glass and try to see beyond the physical, I ask different and more probing questions about this issue of ageing – questions directed to my psyche.

Psyche means soul .. and it is this aspect of me that I wish to continue to explore. Which means for me going down, not up, down into the depths, fishing, seeking for soul, to find that which animates me. To connect to and be conscious of soul which resides in me and yearns for expression. To still be in awe of a sunrise or sunset, the beauty of a flower or stone, the smile of a child, the wisdom of an old person, the gift of friendship. To feel the pull of soul and to nourish it.

Of course, this is not the prerogative of ageing. But for me, as I age, I find that I am more aware of the value of my life and that of others. I am more grateful for all the many blessings that abound in abundance.

I see ageing as an alchemical process of body, mind and soul.

I see this mysterious alchemy as a way of becoming more of who I am. It is an inevitable process and I trust that my attitude towards this is one of humour and curiosity; and an openness that this transition has its own sweet pull and adventure into the unknown. I know that the attitude that I turn to the mirror will be the one reflected back at me.

Rumi: Let yourself be drawn by the stronger pull of that which you truly love.

Pesach and Easter

light in the darkness

Pesach and Easter

I wrote this blog this time last year at Easter and Pesach and I have copied and pasted it as I want to share it again.
It appears here in slightly edited form.

Pesach and Easter – both occur over the weekend of the full moon. At the Council of Nicea in 325 AD it was agreed that both celebrations would be linked to the full moon on or following the vernal equinox (in the northern hemisphere) and the autumnal equinox (in the southern hemisphere) and thus would fall on any Sunday between 22 March and 22 April.

 Chag Sameach to all of you – may it be a blessed time. And the same to all of you for Easter, may it be a blessed time.

Just some thoughts from me about Easter and Pesach.

Someone on the radio last year took exception to people saying ‘Happy Easter’. That person said it was not a happy time because of Christ’s death. There was a brief discussion – this was not the topic of conversation on the radio – but the anchor did say that it was also a time of redemption and renewal. He captured this very well in a few words.

Pesach or the Passover has a different focus to Easter. Pesach is what it says .. a Passover.  Pesach is a time for ‘looking back to the going forward’, whereas Easter is inter alia a remembrance of Christ’s crucifixion and His resurrection. Pesach commemorates the Exodus (Greek : going out; second book of the Bible) of the Israelites from Egypt who up until then had lived as slaves since the time of Joseph. Four hundred years after the end of Genesis, Moses led the children of Israel to the land which God promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Moses and the Israelites had lived as slaves under the rule of Pharaoh and the Pharaoh refused to release them. God sends 10 plagues upon Egypt, the last of which was the slaying of the first born in any home. But, God told Moses, none of the Israelites would be killed – their homes would be passed-over. Pharaoh pleads with Moses to end the plagues and so lets the Israelites free. They flee their homes with unprepared and unleavened bread and also after slaying their lambs. The Pharaoh reneges on the deal and chases after the Israelites but Moses strikes the Red Sea which parts and the Pharaoh and his army are drowned. And as Joseph requested on his death-bed: Moses took the bones of Joseph with him for Joseph had surely sworn to the children of Israel, saying: God will surely remember you, and you shall carry my bones away with you. Exodus 13:19.  This amazing story tells of the birth of Moses and the parting of the Red Sea under Moses, and their arrival at Mt. Sinai where Moses received the Ten Commandments. There is much much more by way of narrative to this story but it is not my aim to re-tell it. On their journey from Egypt to Israel, their hardships are great and many. My aim is rather to focus a bit on what this annual and very religious time means at least in terms of my (probable) limited understanding; and also in a way that has nothing to do with my being Jewish or non-Jewish. I like to think back and wonder what it all means in terms of me, today; and the relevance for all of us today. And indeed, it is curious is it not, that Easter and Pesach overlap … and for me it is, as I write this, a duty almost, to look briefly at the symbolism of these two events.

Christ’s act of His descent into Hell after the crucifixion is the ultimate act of individuation. It is in preparation for His ascension into Heaven. The scriptures tell the story of Jesus and His life and they are beautiful beyond imagining. Every word, every setting, every moment is painfully poignant. They are also very challenging – to take in the words of the scriptures in a meaningful way, is to enter into the story and feel it. From all points of view, from every angle, I can’t help but see that the scriptures are very psychological indeed – they speak straight to the psyche. How can He not be celebrated, not least for sacrificing His own life that our sins be forgiven; but also for His unconditional love, His sympathy and empathy; His poetic justice; His showing us that the spirit alone is of value; His love for the sinner who repented … so for me the time of Easter is a remembrance of Jesus’ life and message.

The Pesach means for me the end of slavery and finally reaching the Promised Land; it is a remembrance of the fulfilment of God’s promise that is joyfully celebrated. In terms of my world today, it is timely to remember freedom from slavery which can take many forms .. being a slave to lust, material wealth, being trapped in so many ways and looking to myself to try to discern where I am a slave or trapped in my complexes. Joy in the possibility of being free from all forms of slavery; pain in Christ’s death – yet also a fulfilment of God’s promise and joy in that too.

The images of Moses and Jesus are alive and well and their message lives on

– synchronicity – 3 – new moon rising – Lilith & Eve –

I wanted to post last night but there was so much else to do after saying farewell to guests who had been with us for several days. All those tasks I’d delayed needed attention after their departure as they did again this morning; I’ve dealt with many of them – at least there is some order amongst the chaos and a new week looms.

New week, new moon – as of last night. Chinese New Year – the year of the water snake. I had an idea it was new moon last evening and I looked out in my garden up to the skies and later on out my bedroom  balcony to see if I could spot it. But no, the clouds were obscuring the sky.

I would have liked to have greeted it.

Lawrence, my next door neighbour, phoned me early this morning to thank me for the flowers I’d delivered to their family a day or so ago for their Chinese New Year. He truly believes that this is the year of meaningful change and it was good to catch his up-beat mood.

Later on this afternoon I was able to get onto my Facebook page and it was good and inspiring to see all the Chinese New Year greetings wishing all prosperity and health; as well as to see the greetings and pictures in Chinese, the script smooth and sensuous, fluid and flowing. It is also the Tibetan New year and for Tibetans, also the year of the water snake. Both ‘philosophies’ or ‘religions’ offer all good things to all people so it was uplifting to read all about this from various people who posted on my FB and to see the snake in pictorial and lovely form.

To my amazement there was mention of Lilith’s rising. The initial one I saw was forwarded to me by my FB friend Porsha. There were very angry comments about Lilith.  Porsha knows that I have written about Lilith; she was showing her support to me in that she mentioned my book in her support for Lilith and in her response to the previous angry  comments –

The other FB mention on Lilith arrived on my page a short while later –

I have taken the liberty of excerpting the FB article below and can only say that Stephanie who posted it will be happy about this. I plan to let her know –

“Goddess of the Day – Eve/Lilith – New Moon in Aquarius – Sunday, February 10, 2013 – The Year of the Snake begins –Happy New Year again and welcome to the Year of the Snake. I can’t help but think this will be a good year for goddess energy to rise in each of us.

Eve is a misunderstood goddess who has her roots back in the ancient goddesses of life-death-rebirth like Ishtar, Inanna, Isis and even Kali. She and Lilith may have been one and the same before the Christian patriarchy got a hold of the story and split the sexual Lilith part from “innocent” Eve, who they said was made from the rib of Adam and after being tempted by the snake caused the fall of man by eating the apple. 

The snake, symbol of the goddess, coiled around the Tree of Life, tempted her all right. Its message was: “Hey, do you want to dither here in the Garden of Eden all of your days or do you want to take a bite out of life and find meaning? I can’t promise you a rose garden, but I can promise it will get a lot more interesting. Like me, you will experience transformation. What do you say, Sister: the same old thing day after day or an interesting life?”

I’m with Eve. I’m going to take a bite every time”.

(Thank you for this post on my FB Stephanie)
Well, I was amazed. This is significant. Which is why I feel compelled to write this blog.
Truly, I am not making a synchronistic connection but maybe it means something – or not – that Pope Benedict XV1 today offered his resignation due to his ‘old age’; he is, after all, 85 years old. He is the first pontiff to resign in 600 years. His statement on his resignation was heartfelt and I admire him for it, spoken with kindness and scrupulous honesty. It is his time to rest – and for a new Pope to be elected.
So, these are interesting times – and I for one wish Pope Benedict XV1 very well in his retirement and for the new Pope (of whom there are several contenders) to oversee or rule the Vatican with kindness and compassion.
May he hear the voice of women; hearken and be heartened – May he facilitate non-threatening creative feminine energy to arise in its inimitable and wondrous way ..
Happy New Moon and Happy New Year to all!
I have this picture hanging in my study … a print that I picked up from the British Museum some years ago. I have just looked at it anew.
Photo: Goddess of the Day - Eve/Lilith - New Moon in Aquarius - Sunday, February 10, 2013 - The Year of the Snake begins</p> <p>Happy New Year again and welcome to the Year of the Snake. I can't help but think this will be a good year for goddess energy to rise in each of us.</p> <p>Eve is a misunderstood goddess who has her roots back in the ancient goddesses of life-death-rebirth like Ishtar, Inanna, Isis and even Kali. She and Lilith may have been one and the same before the Christian patriarchy got a hold of the story and split the sexual Lilith part from "innocent" Eve, who they said was made from the rib of Adam and after being tempted by the snake caused the fall of man by eating the apple. </p> <p>The snake, symbol of the goddess, coiled around the Tree of Life, tempted her all right. Its message was: "Hey, do you want to dither here in the Garden of Eden all of your days or do you want to take a bite out of life and find meaning? I can't promise you a rose garden, but I can promise it will get a lot more interesting. Like me, you will experience transformation. What do you say, Sister: the same old thing day after day or an interesting life?"</p> <p>I'm with Eve. I'm going to take a bite every time.</p> <p>Lilith by John Collier

synchronicity – 2

Funny how synchronistic events seem to follow a ‘feast or famine’ modus operandi or at least that’s my personal experience. When nothing unusual happens, it feels like desert time for me – nothing seems to flow easily; I feel dry, uninspired, uncreative and particularly unproductive. I want something to happen – I want a sign, a symbol, some sort of encouragement to my self that reassures me in some meaningful way. I feel like a wanderer in the desert seeking an oasis from which to drink plentifully, to submerge, to ease my parched throat, body and soul, and I don’t want the oasis to be a mirage. I want that wet, sparkling, clean, refreshing water – and I want it NOW.

But, as I write, and since I use the image of the desert, I realise that its outward appearance – of flatness and sterility – is deceptive.

The desert may conjure up images of long, un-ending, arid wastelands, the horizon illimitable, its way unending. The silence may feel unbearably oppressive. Not another person, animal or plant to be seen. No comforting word or thought, no water. The stars and moon may come out at night and provide a vision of magnificence and beauty, but the vision is not of this world – it is too far away. It is not the here and now.

One feels deserted.

Is there any value in these feelings of desertion? I’d be the first to reach for distraction rather than confronting this feeling of being in a dry, arid desert. I’d be the first to find something else to do, and most likely find something to eat to fill the symbolic emptiness and be hugely dismayed and disgusted with myself afterwards.

But there are times that I sit in the emptiness and go through my own dark night of the soul. I look inward and sit in the stuck-ness. I hate being there. I feel weary and sick of my own self. I am my own worst enemy, restless and inert at the same time, wanting to jump out and be anywhere but where I am, but quite immobilised to even jump. But, the wheel excruciatingly, slowly, turns and I feel that I can breath again.

And what, you may ask, has this to do with synchronicity?

Well, I was on my way back from the shops this morning, feeling dull and unmotivated to do tasks that needed doing in the house; it was also hot. I was uncomfortably aware that I hadn’t posted for a few weeks but I could not even begin to think of what to write on synchronicity.

A song was playing on the car radio – one I recognised from way back when. I was wondering how I would dance to it. It was a bit too slow perhaps to rock ‘n roll to; I imagined that it would be nice to be in someone’s arms to swing around in gay mood. Every breath you make, every breath I take – you belong to me .. I was bitching a bit about ‘you belong to me’ … but the song ended, and the announcer said the song was Police, from their album “Synchronicity”.

That gave me a start … it was a drop of water in my desert.

‘Alone, even doing nothing, you do not waste your time. You do, almost always, in company. No encounter with yourself can be altogether sterile: something necessarily emerges, even if only the hope of someday meeting yourself again’. E.M. Cioran (1911), Rumanian-born French philosopher. ‘Strangled Thoughts’, The New Gods.

The photograph was one I took up in Madikwe Game Reserve a few months ago .. it was very very dry – we were out on an evening drive. The photo doesn’t do justice to the beauty of the night fall … or the dryness of the reserve …

synchronicity

Synchronicity – an acausal connecting principle

A meaningful coincidence?

C.G. Jung observed that in the therapeutic process, it happened sometimes that an outer event co-incided with an inner event, often in periods of crisis and transformation in the patient’s life. Healing was hastened in that a new orientation to the crisis being faced was brought about to the patient’s benefit. The individual has a sense that there was something more beyond mere randomness, that ‘grace’ seemed to operate in a mysterious way.

Jung described a classic example of synchronicity with one of his analysands. She was highly intellectual, well educated, rational in the extreme and inaccessible to matters of the psyche. Her dream the night before was about a gift given to her, an expensive piece of jewelry in the shape of a golden scarab. Jung was listening to her rhetoric, when he heard a sound behind him, tapping on the window pane. He opened the window and a beetle flew into the darkened room, which he caught in its flight. Its colour, a golden green, was very similar to that of the golden scarab. He handed the beetle to his patient saying ‘here is your scarab’.

From this moment, her analysis could continue effectively as she realised immediately the significance of the outer (objective reality) event mirroring  her dream – her inner, subjective reality. Her intellectual armour was pierced. She was able to move from her one-sided and fixed view of life towards a more whole and integrated view. I would also add that the beetle coming in from the outside (light) into the darkened room has meaning in that light was shed on the inner darkness.

There would appear to be no determinable cause for such a happening, hence acausal.

The Egyptian symbolic meaning of the beetle is of rebirth and transformation. .

We have all, at some stage, had experiences of synchronicity operating in our lives. A more mundane experience is that of thinking of someone for no particular reason and the phone rings and it is that very person. Or you suddenly see them somewhere as you are thinking of them. Or the same numbers seem to pop up all the time. Or you have a song in your head and switch on the car radio and that very song is playing. Or a book in the book store falls at your feet – and it is the very book that you ‘needed’ at that moment even if it wasn’t the one you were looking for.

Mundane perhaps, though the sacred often appears in the mundane.

What is going on when such events happen? Are these happenings only the tip of the iceberg and if we paid more attention and were more open to them, would they occur more frequently? Is there some sort of governing principle at play that could awaken us from an egocentric perspective to an awareness of Unus Mundus if we are alert and aware to acausal happenings?

Synchronicity has psychological and philosophical implications and as Marie Louise von Franz, one of Jung’s student and close associates stated towards the end of her life ‘that the work which has now to be done is to work out the concept of synchronicity. I don’t know the people who will continue it. They must exist, but I don’t know who they are’.*

* Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View. Richard Tarnas. Plume. Published by Penguin Group. 2007, pg 59

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