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Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The Sun and the Moon form a hierosgamos, as Jung would call it, a sacred marriage: the archetypes of the King and the Queen in alchemy and fairy tales. Why, is a lengthy subject! The Sun is a star and the Moon is a satellite of the Earth, reflecting the Sun’s light differently every minute as it rotates the Earth every mo(o)nth. The Sun is static, as it centers the solar system, but the Moon is in constant motion; the number associated with the Sun is 12 but there are 13 lunations in a year. So the Moon kicks the wheel, as it were, and keeps things happening as it reflects the light of Spirit into our every moment. The ancient Sumerians already noticed the relationship of women’s periods every month and so assumed that the Goddess was resting during the dark of the Moon. Cramps? But they also observed the four stations of its light and came up with the idea of weeks of seven days, which we observe to this day.

The Moon’s physical impact upon the Earth is incredible. Not only the impact on the tides, but on liquids everywhere, including our bodies. Studies have been made that a wee tide can be observed in a cup of tea, that the city of Moscow rises and falls an inch or two, that sap in trees rises at its behest, that the green of vegetables responds to a waxing moon and root vegetables to a waning one. Posts are better set on a waning moon, bamboo knots at full moon, and most human contracts signed at the dead of the moon (12 hours before a new moon) come to nothing. All this was considered old wives’ tales, but science and many farmers know the reality. Years ago, Russian soldiers would play a trick on their buddies by leaving their steel (not stainless steel) razors on the windowsill at full moon, dulling them. There are volumes of further examples.

Psychologically and astrologically, the Moon is logically our Ego, acting as the matrix of consciousness. This may be a matter of dispute today, but my diagram (see CREDO XCVII) proves what the Kabbalists and such great astrologers as Dane Rudhyar and others agree upon.

Identification with the Ego is the huge problem of our time. Our inner Sun is the individual wick holding the flame of our Divine Guest, which is the same flame shining through the personal lamps of our psyches, but when we identify with our Ego, we think that’s all we are. After all, the Self lies in the Unconscious. Jung said that the longest journey most of us make is from the consciousness of the head to the heart, where only Love can approach the mystery.

The Moon spends about 2½ days in each sign, and in our charts it progresses every 2½ years and maintains a time relationship with the transiting of Saturn around the zodiac, so life comes in at least three stages if lived to the full. At 87, I am almost there!

Simply summarized, the first 28 yrs seem to be spent picking up the karma or lessons learned or yet to be learned. Our childhood seems to make us choiceless recipients of parents, siblings, neighbors, schools, and environment. However, by age 7, there is a shift in individual consciousness, and there are rituals in various cultures to mark this. In Hinduism, boys are given a red string to wear, signifying a shift from the mother’s influence to that of the father. Roman Catholics offer Confirmation rituals at that age. At 14, or whenever the individual Moon opposes its natal place, a girl is likely to have had her first period and a boy’s voice changes, and both acquire the characteristics of adolescence: pubic hair, breasts in girls, muscular growth in boys. Psychologically, esoteric teaching has it that we acquire another sheath in our aura. The “tomboy” in girls vanishes and they become more emotional and vulnerable, and often frictions occur among them; boys become more rebellious and form teams or gangs, or undergo ceremonies of joining their tribes, as among natives or more formally the celebration of a Bar Mitzvah. The underlying premise is that the adolescent is readying himself to become an independent, responsible adult. Jung adds the important concept that the inner feminine in a boy becomes his anima and the masculine in a girl becomes her animus. These, in turn, get projected out onto the opposite sex with varying amount of intensity and form the stuff of human comedy or tragedy according to which scenario adults knowingly observe. I was a classic tomboy myself who underwent such a transformation, projecting, I seem to remember, a serious passion for an actor in Mutiny on the Bounty in 1936, whose name I think was Franchot Tone! These are broad strokes, but I am also convinced that the genuine suffering some children go through over a broken doll or toy may well be a reliving of a memory of some poignant loss as an adult in a former life! Who knows? As you read this page, you probably think of all the exceptions, and collectively there are indeed so many shifts in history, but the physical realities persist: Women act out their clock far more visibly than men, especially as they age. It is harder for men, yet old men visibly soften and old ladies often grow random whiskers.

Today, we accept the reality of the gay issue, which has always been part of humanity. Think of Sappho of Lesbos, and realize that in ancient Greece gay warriors were welcomed into the military, because of their fierce desire to protect their lover!

The second 28-year cycle comes with Saturn’s first return. It dawns on us that we are mortal! If our karma was metaphorically to eat boiled eggs and we didn’t do that the first round, we now get them scrambled or poached, but it’s still “eggs” on another level! Here we become the true heroes or heroines of our lives, going to work, starting families, dwelling away from our parents, acquiring, above all, new experiences, and usually identifying with our Ego, until at some point we begin to think that life is just “one damn thing after another,” and finally we may experience an emotional crisis that forces us to look inward to seek that center of Self, which, don’t forget, dwells elusively in the Unconscious. If you remember the diagram, the Ego is on the circumference, going around in circles, searching (and both of those words come from the Latin circare, meaning to circle). But we look and hopefully find the radius of “the Only Way” of Hagia Sophia, the feminine gift of Spiritual Wisdom, which is also full of joy. All cultures speak of Wisdom as feminine. There is a whole chapter in The Dove in the Stone devoted to her many other names. Only the Roman Catholic Church translated Sophia into spiritus sanctus, a masculine noun (!) that made all the referring pronouns of the Trinity male. I rest my case. The Greek and Russian Orthodox did not agree! The Dove is the only visible symbol in Catholicism pointing to the feminine, all of which Jung has written about.

The third 28-year cycle is the most important of all! If you think of the first in terms of an apple tree blossoming, the second the long summer of green apples, the third is the ripening of the fruit and the apples falling to the ground – the gift to the future of others. You can understand why Jung felt old age the most important one of all. The idea of people retiring and playing shuffleboard, or being put away in rest homes, etc., seemed to him a tragic waste. Unfortunately, today we have the specter of Alzheimer’s and dementia on an unforeseen scale. I, myself, thanks to a horrifying toxic reaction to doxxycycline last summer was paralyzed briefly, and aged almost 10 years in three months! plus other stressful matters, facial shingles, hip displaced, computer crash among them! Now I have a bad case of forgetting names!! This, combined with lack of use of right hand and ongoing paresthesia for 13 years, makes every day a challenge. But I am blessed with help on many levels and so am able to continue so far with these CREDOS …

Jane Wheelwright, Jungian analyst, wrote a short book on the animus in aging women. She pointed out that when it becomes extraverted it enables the woman to give of herself to others and the collective, but, if not, the woman may become a dominating matriarch or worse, a complainer and a burden to others. I am struck by the number of Jungians alive today, living to the full as they age. In the past three decades, we had the privilege of meeting analysts James Kirsch and Werner Engel in their nineties, Margit van Leight-Frank, Edith Wallace, and the dear man who lived to be 100, James Henderson. The other profession I might mention is that of symphony conductors. It must be the power of music filling them with good vibrations!

Forgive my rambling, but as I am 87 now, I have been blessed by meeting so many wonderful people and going to so many places in the world, I feel such gratitude! My grandma King was born in 1854! and when I was 16, I met Emilie Bardach in Switzerland, who was the last love of Henrik Ibsen! I have also been “one touch away” from so many great souls.

When I lectured to 1200 people at the ITA Conference in Davos, Walter and I sat out later under a pine tree to picnic. Marie-Louise von Franz passed and bowed under the branches and without a word kissed my cheek and walked on!

I truly have been blessed!


1 comment:

deborah said...

wonderful read and think. alice: what a wonderful life!

Comments: For my own Saturn return I had cancer. For a couple years after that -- that is, until now -- I really had one foot in the grave: a fascination with Hades, and a nagging debt still unpaid to Dionysos. As Cicero told us, the gods we worship are the gods we deserve, and yes, the ones we fix on, fear, attach ourselves to, are projections, models of ourselves. We behave accordingly.

"Jungians do it with _______________" is a good bumper sticker. How would you fill in that blank? For me, the word "Consciousness" pops up -- and with Jung, that implies an awareness of the unconscious, a comfortableness with shadow, and a trust that shadow reveals itself in feathery turnings and rustling uneasiness or maybe a slap in the face. Stumble forth! Navigation by negative capability.

Btw, Roman Catholics observe First Communion around seven and Confirmation (wrote Conformation; frung!) at 13-14. I had a wonderful gift for First Communion, besides the white frilly dress and the veil: a 20 inch tall plaster statue of the Virgin done in pinks and turquoise blue, her robe full of stars and her golden sandals standing on the snake. "Venus," she whispered to me. "I have many names." And so she does. Persephone, Night, Madonna of the Pomegranate. Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell sit back in their chairs, smiling.