Blog

The posts below were written for @jungsouthernafrica social media. Aspects of symbols and processes are explored. It is meant to stimulate one’s thoughts and should not be seen as a comprehensive exploration of any particular symbol.

Seeking the Other: “It has been [the fate of Eros] to be always needy, nor is he delicate and lovely as most of us believe, but harsh and arid, barefoot and homeless, sleeping on the naked earth, in doorways, on the very streets…”

Passion: Eventually the relationship to the inner other, the stranger, must be restored. Poet Derek Walcott says it so beautifully: “The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror …”

Humanizing the Archetype: The statue became alive, that is, the archetypal pattern of relating became manifest in his real lived life. says that by “pouring loving attention into the psyche, it brings the archetypal soul to life,” it humanizes the archetype.

The Wounded Healer: Jung pointed out “the mythological truth that the wounded wounder is the agent of healing, and the sufferer takes away suffering.”

An Inner Critic: This elusive figure is whispering: “Do not try, you know you can’t, why bother; everything is hopeless.” This is negative self-talk, “constant self-criticism, shaming and guilt. 

The Black Madonna, Forgotten: “I was very moved by the essence of sitting before a feminine dark figure that had such a deep interiority to her that she just pulls you in, into darkness, into silence, and actually into mystery…”

Trickster Creates: “Trickster makes this world,” he creates. Mercurius is a symbol of the Self and of transformation. As Trickster he sits on the border, opens or closes the door. He re-members or dis-members, symbolizes or dissociates us.

Water: Mourning forms an integral aspect of this process of self-acceptance. Grief allows the old life to become compost for the new. Water is the solvent: old structures, depleted of their content, may be dissolved in water. 

Aion: He is Infinite Time and Long Duration, the supreme god of the Mithraic hierarchy, and creates and destroys all things, a sun-god. As the lion-headed god with the snake around his body, he represents the union of opposites.

Fire-bird: The phoenix or fire-bird, is a mythical bird the size of an eagle and graced with certain features of a pheasant. When it sees that its death is drawing near, it builds itself a nest and exposes itself to the rays of the sun until it burns itself to ashes. Another phoenix then arises from the marrow of the bones of the old one.

Bearing: In a fantasy fragment a man sees a grizzly prowling around his city home. The bear can be seen as the spirit of the wild. Because it cares for its young in almost human fashion, the bear was a much loved symbol of the Great Mother.

Stone: Later in life Jung ‘rescued’ a rock which had been rejected by the mason. It was a perfect cube, too large for its purpose, and he let this stone speak for itself.

About the Shadow: The projection-making factor is the animus in woman, the anima in man. To the extent that the shadow is not made conscious, it falls on the animus/a which has a much deeper archetypal foundation.

The Secret of Nigredo: The Shulamite says: “Under my blackness I have hidden the fairest green.” Jung remarked: “The state of imperfect transformation … does not seem to be one of torment only, but of positive hidden happiness.”

Tree: The tree represents the manifestation of the life-force, of our ability to grow into greater maturity; when faced with an impossible life situation, one should not try to force anything, but ‘stay in one place and grow, like a tree.’

Indra’s Net: I have a dream | A song to sing… When we were young, we had dreams, and perhaps unrealistic ideas about how to fulfil our dreams. Whether we have learned to live our dreams…

Moon Mother Mirror: The wounding of the feminine principle over millennia have resulted in wounded mothering in all of us, culminating in this Age of Narcissism with its envy and inner splitting.

Mysteries: Baring and Cashford describe an ancient Lunar Myth of loss, searching and finding… of Inanna’s quest for the lost part of herself: “It follows the course of the moon after the full… “

Serpent: Buffie Johnson says: “The serpent serves as metaphor for the impenetrable manner in which our lives change, twist and renew themselves.” (The Lady of the Beasts, p. 128)