Last night I had a meaningful dream. I was trying to cheer up three scraggly twenty-year-old women, who seemed depressed about their appearance. As I began trying to cheer them up, they began to take notes. They seemed to take in what I was saying. I found myself using the word incandescence.
In looking it up in the dictionary, I find it comes from Latin candere, to be brilliantly white, luminous. This sparks a number of associations! White contains all colors. Incandescence, scientifically, means glowingly hot. So the word suggests both light and heat coming from within. My next association is with stained glass windows in a church. If one walks by them in daylight, their beauty is invisible, but if lit from within at night they glow with beauty.
I once had a client in California, a man who had Saturn in Leo. Leo is ruled by the sun. He was afraid to let his inner sun shine. When I used the analogy above, he burst out laughing. It seemed he worked for Disney. This was back in the days when they used cellophane. His job was painting the characters on cellophane laid on glass. To see what he was doing, a light shone up from below! A synchronicity!
Another was a client I was seeing in the basement of a Jungian analyst. She was his patient. Timid and shy, but religious. I quoted Jesus’ remark about not hiding a candle under a bushel basket. Looking over my shoulder, she gasped. When I turned to look, there was a stack of bushel baskets!
Currently, in the so-called civilized world, there seems to be an incredible emphasis on physical appearance. On television so many ads are directed to beauty and the denial of aging. Actors and reporters often end up looking like dolls. Models strut and pout, and we learn that many suffer from anorexia. The stress everywhere is on how we appear, how big a house, fine a wardrobe, etc. We are urged to become “whited sepulchers.” No wonder my three dream women were disheartened. They felt they had to be fake to succeed.
So what does it mean to be real? The French have a lovely term for a plain woman who is real. They call her une jolie laide, “a lovely homely woman,” one who glows with inner character. If we stop and think of the public figures or friends or family members we admire or love, is it for the outside or the inside?
When I was fourteen, I faced a crisis. I had to wear glasses! I decided they made me so hideous, I took to hiding behind doors when any boys appeared. After about a month, I had to decide which was more important, to not be seen or to be able to see. Fortunately, I made the right decision. I’m still wearing ’em.
Fifty years later, I had a close friend my age who was a natural hetaira, a Jungian term for a woman that men can hardly resist – a Marilyn Monroe type. She told me that she hated being what she was because men only wanted her for her body and couldn’t see who she was inside. Like Princess Diana, later, who later received a collective projection for the goddess Venus, the hetaira suffers if she does not become incandescent as she ages. My friend sighed and went into the kitchen. As she did so, I noticed her rear view suggested a wasp’s and she couldn’t help undulating unconsciously in a provocative way, apron and all!
Toni Wolff, Jung’s significant other, wrote a perceptive pamphlet, “On the Archetypal Structure of the Feminine.” She suggested that there are four and placed them on a cross: the Wife-Mother, the Hetaira opposing each other on the left, both requiring a man to define them; the Amazon (Annie Oakley) and Medial Woman (Lou Salome) on the right, independent of that need. Like the Four Functions, every woman has all four but tends to identify consciously with one and project unconsciously negatively on the other at some time. And men, of course, project and often split their animas as well!
We all seem to be struggling with what Jung termed persona identification – identifying with the mask we would like others to see us as. It is the story of the fairy tale “The Emperor’s Clothes”! But many of us, like the three women in my dream, suffer from negative inflation, a sense of inferiority and hopelessness.
One of the messages of the Christmas story surely – myth always has a truth for the psyche! – is that a baby is born to an ordinary couple who could not even find room at an inn. The new idea is that that child, as does any child anywhere, holds a Divine Guest in his or her heart! As heretical as this may sound, Christian theology has to give up its fixation that Jesus is the Only Son of God! Christ himself told us, “Ye all are gods!” The crucial message that he brought was that collectively we need to become conscious of our Divine Guest, the center point of our psyche. If the ego was the gift of the Age of Aries, then this is the gift of Pisces to hand on to the now opening Age of Aquarius. Should we learn this in time, religious wars might seem absurd and cease, and we might even save our planet, Mother Earth!
Pray to become incandescent! We will only become truly beautiful when we let our Inner Light glow!