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Monday, January 12, 2009

The Hierosgamos – CREDO XLI

This heavy Greek word means Sacred Marriage and is the process associated with Jung’s work on the Coincidentia Oppositorum, which is Latin for the “uniting of opposites.” As this is the underlying motif of all earthly manifestation and the brain itself, instrument of ego consciousness, it is worth considering. (This word, incidentally, means “with the stars.”) And the royal pair in our solar system is, of course, the Sun and the Moon. Perhaps you are familiar with the alchemical drawing of the King and Queen with those heavenly orbs beneath their feet and a dove and six-pointed star above their joined hands. It is on p. 157 of my The Web in the Sea.

My purpose in citing all this is to illustrate a psychological truth that popped up spontaneously one day when I was teaching a class on the psychological value of astrology. It generated an insight that not only affected my own so deeply happy marriage to my “Polar Bear,” Walter, but also became something I often quote when counseling couples.

An average good and loving husband declares his love to his wife when newly wed, say in 1985, and proceeds to shelter her and their offspring and brings home the bacon, year after year, and assumes that his wife knows, without question that he loves her. He doesn’t need to articulate it all the time. Like the sun, he just shines steadily light, love, and life.

The wife, however, is ruled by the Moon, which is constantly moving. A conversation may ensue that goes something like this. She asks, “Do you still love me?” which is incomprehensible to her husband, who might have indicated something to that effect only the day before. “But that was yesterday! What about today?” Expressed or not, this is often the basic difference between the masculine and the feminine, spelled out in a humorous way.

The reaction was laughter in the class, but my husband, bless him, took me seriously and from then on hugged me every single day and told me he loved me, and I did likewise. Mind you I was sixty-three by then and he was seventy-four, but the practice only deepened our love for each other. He was the one who believed in me and inspired me to write those eight books, and he was the one who insisted I gather my poems, index them, and put them on the computer. It mattered not that they were written to previous loves of mine – to him they were equally beautiful. So I gave him the print-outs and he put them in a file, and after his death when I came across it, he had pasted three card-sized post-its on the cover with more “I love you’s!” I, in turn, had written the following for him:

When the last question is asked,
the answer will be molten gold.
Love will have minted
more than life could hold.

Thus, it seems to me, that opposites attract or repel, the extremes being love/hate and both imply relationships. Perhaps this explains Aphrodite/Venus being the goddess of both love and war. Her metal, copper, conducts. In the zodiac, Aries, the first sign, is ruled by Mars and the opposite sign is Libra, the Balance, ruled by Venus – the I and the Thou. When I would teach this I would have a man and a woman stand up in front of the class and act out the possible common actions they could think of: shake hands, fists, dance, hug, turn their backs to each other, or fight, etc. In every case, they were relating.
The Chinese symbol of the Tao, the yin and the yang, demonstrates this perfectly. What we may fail to observe is that they are contained in a circle. The Christian cross has the opposites of vertical and horizontal lines. They make four right angles of 90 degrees, which add up to the 360 degrees of an implied unity of the hidden circle. The six-pointed Judaic Star of David has opposite triangles united, which can be circumscribed by a circle. These all hint at the mysterious One of Spirit. A circle itself can never be fully defined. Its area is pi r squared and pi never ever comes out, which is why, no doubt, Jung describes the psyche as a mandala.
As a child, I remember marveling at the circle of light formed by any lamp post at night when it was snowing. The circle was still and the snowflakes fell through it. Years later, I understood the meaning of this, especially as every snowflake is scientifically deemed to be unique.
Here’s another “obvious” observation:

Haiku: Looking at night
A hundred thousand puddles
are reflecting
the same silent white moon.


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