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Friday, March 26, 2010

Archetypal Processes VIII: Saturn – CREDO CIV

Saturn’s concretization of the archetypal process is that of contraction and acts as a balance to Jupiter’s expansion. In the body, Saturn rules the skeleton and the skin, the former giving structure, the latter limits. For millennia, it was itself the limit to the solar system until the discovery of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto opened up the higher levels of the original group starting at the end of the eighteenth century.

If Jupiter is always shouting ‘yes!’ Saturn is warning ‘no’. His icon is the old man with the long white beard. The beard is repeated in every frozen waterfall or icicle. And, indeed, Saturn rules Capricorn, the tenth sign of the zodiac. So if a human life is symbolically associated with Aries, the first sign, it takes nine months to become manifest or incarnated. This explains the pagan festivals at the winter solstice (Dec. 21) and why the church fathers chose that period for the Incarnation of the baby Jesus at Christmas. Today we seem oblivious to how much astronomy, the basis of astrology, determines our daily life. If you think the gods are just history, just see how they live on in the days of our week! Hidden in all this is the rule of the octave, which, like the musical scale, renews another level of the cycle. I take up the symbolic import of each of the first nine numbers in my book The Web in the Sea.

In the popular image of Saturn’s grim reputation – death, cold, miser, pessimistic curmudgeon who suffers poverty, sickness, denial, etc. – we tend to ignore the gold hidden in the lead. Every snowflake is a miracle of beauty, and Scrooge is redeemed by love in the end! Saturn’s Greek name is Kronos, which is the root of chronological time. Old Father Time, the Grim Reaper, etc. But its place of exaltation is Libra, ruled by Venus. Aha! Think of how many stories are based on the softening of a crusty old geezer by a little boy or girl: Silas Marner, for one, Little Lord Fauntleroy, King Lear, A Christmas Carol. The secret of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is based on the alchemical challenge of changing lead to gold, or in psychological parlance turning challenging experience to a lesson learned the hard way. This, to me, explains the extraordinary humorous expression of Jung’s that when the devil takes off his mask, Christ is revealed behind it! And Goethe in his Faust has Mephistopheles, the devil, bemoaning the fact that every time he tries to do something bad, good seems to come out of it in the end! The hint is that the best way to learn something is “the hard way”! Ain’t that the truth!

The secret of the Solar Gold is Love! The old Piscean way of teaching children through guilt and sin and punishment, is being displaced mercifully by telling a child that he is naughty is simply to say “That’s a NO!” and the withdrawal of permission as “That’s not going to happen!” Parents take note of this and spare your kids a few complexes! Practice ad rem rather than ad hominem.

The process has been conflated in the names of Satan and Saturn, but satan is Hebrew and he was an archangel who fell from heaven because of his pride. The name means “adversary.” Saturn comes from Latin serere, meaning “sowing seed.” In addition, the familiar caricature of the devil as a creature with horns and a tail has its origin in the nature god Pan! Early Christianity thus dissuaded the pagans from worshipping nature, stressing this world was a sorry place. Even today the liturgy speaks of “renouncing the world and the devil.” The Catholic priest Matthew Fox was excommunicated for writing a book called Original Blessing: A Primer of Creation Spirituality. He then became an Episcopal priest and is renowned for teaching the sanctity of nature! There is also a lovely chapter on Pan in The Wind in the Willows, the children’s classic by Kenneth Grahame.

The Greek word pan means “all,” as in Pan-American or panic.

Psychologically, Saturn’s process is exemplified by gravity, a serious approach to life, and a lack of humor. The late great Jungian analyst Edward F. Edinger had Saturn conjunct his Ascendant, so his persona was indeed grave when one first met him, and he was a fountain of structured wisdom in his books. In the early ’70’s, his book Ego and Archetype came out and had such a powerful impact on me that I began to have dreams about him. I began to write to him. One of the funny dreams was that we were talking on the phone, but my phone was half a coconut and he said he was talking on the other half. To my surprise, my telephone rang and it was he, and he said, “Mrs. Howell, I think we must take the coconuts seriously. It is time we met.” We did, and I actually made him laugh, and the direction of my life was set for good. The coconut is hard, dark, and hairy on the outside but filled with white, nourishing sweetness on the inside! Saturn’s process in a dream! So, as you read this, take a moment to look back on your own life and see if good did not eventually result from what might have seemed calamitous at the time.

Jung, himself a Leo, had Saturn rising in Aquarius, giving his 23 volumes on psychology an enormous historic scope. Now, his The Red Book reveals the personal struggle and the vast artistic range and discipline that he had. The editor, Sonu Shamdasani, is a Capricorn(!) and his incredible scholarship, revealed in his copious footnotes, is staggering. He is a dear friend, and I was deeply touched when a reader informed me that one of those footnotes includes a reference to one of my books. It means so much to know that I am an atom in that masterpiece!

The psychological truth is that alchemy, concerned with the transformation of lead (Saturn) into gold (Sun), tells us that Love is imprisoned in experience, and that as we express love toward others and nature, the inner transformation takes place in us. Dame Kinde is the Old English for Mother Earth. To be kind is natur-al. His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, “My only religion is kindness.” When one meets him, as we did in Dharamsala, in India, he radiates the spiritual warmth of kindness.

The archetypal process, above all, deals with incarnation, the manifestation of the material world, which actually is illusionary and in constant atomic flux. Nevertheless, without time/space the ego would not have anything visible and tangible to work with. When Mars is exalted in Capricorn, the archetype is homo faber, man the maker, as in the gods Vulcan or Loki. If you think of the patron saints of this and that, you can see how the gods have become Christian! You cannot kill an archetype!

Now that I am ooooold, I am more and more aware of Saturn’s final touch approaching, I will not die; I will celebrate my Aberduffy Day, the gift of that dream I had and wrote about in my CREDO IX.


Saturn: The Wise GuySaturn: The Wise Guy

   “Beware, beware, beware!”
drones Saturn, but he means it.
   He's wearing his black and grey pinstriped overalls
today and his beard is yellowing.
   “Beware of righteousness!
Have you ever been deceived by an empty milk carton
that looked virgin, proud and full?
or broken into an empty egg — that old child's trick?
   Let me tell you something
the minute you think you have the last
brick, stitch, or word, I see a light on the computer over there.
   Then I know it's time overripe for the Undoing.
I may move slowly, dearie, but I never missed
         an Undoing yet.”
It's sort of my specialty, don't you know!
      He chuckles
tries to light a pipe but the match burns to its end
         as he talks.

   “Beware of judging !
There is a fence of rulers around my place
      each one labeled with a name.
I saw yours the other day. Yup, it's getting longer
   that's good. What's it for?
To measure you with your own measure
         at the end.
Oh, judging is the hardest thing to avoid!
      People do it all the time. I know.
That's why I don't touch it. Never. Never.
   I let folks do it for themselves.
      The judge is there all right
but the worst of it is he will be wearing
         your face!
   That's a terrible shock for most folk.
It gets 'em every time. Mebbe that's why it's called
   The Last Judgment.
      Nobody, I reckon, wants to try that twice!

   “Beware of forcing!
That always makes for a mess. You get mad
   stamp on a plank and it hits you.
      You steal and find yourself robbed of sleep.
You lie and end up trusting nobody. It don't pay.
   It's not just a matter of this Save-your-soul bit.
It's just playing it smart both ways. The way I see it
      virtue is enlightened self-interest.

“I'm thinking of putting up two big signs somewhere:
I could sign it Karma to show we're up to date
   around here.
      But folks won't go for this. No money in it.
All this buy now, pay later —
They could call it Stupidity-of-the-Day
   have a Stupidity-of-the-Month-Club
      With a Free Sin for a Bonus.
Now that might sell real good. "Save up for that nice trip
   to where it's WARM!" Get it?
      He rubbed his hands over that one.
Nah, that's too new-fangled.
   Here we have crime make its own punishment.

   “Switch that light on, will you. See each
      shadow fits the substance. Neat.
   Oh, it's all in the good books, all right.
We play fair around here. But nowadays folks think
   it's junk mail or advertising, I hear.
I'm not much of a reader myself.
   My specialty is the hard way, don't you know.

   “Beware, beware, beware!
drones Saturn, his rheumy eyes looking at me.
      he holds out his arms not unkindly.
   Come here, little girl, let me look at you.
You haven't understood one word, have you!
      Don't matter, you'll go your own way of course.
Only don't come running to me, hear?
   I'll only tell you I told you so”


Monday, March 22, 2010

Archetypal Processes VII: Jupiter – CREDO CIII

When you expand think of contraction, and your work will have fullness of form. When you contract think of expansion, and your work will have the beauty of effortless ease.
                   – Advice from a Chinese artist

The next two archetypal processes are those of the next two planets, Jupiter and Saturn, whose glyphs are reversals of each other: Jupiter has the cross with the crescent above the left cross arm; Saturn has the cross with the crescent below the right arm, indicating that the two balance one another.

Jupiter, the Roman god, is the same as Zeus, the Greek one. You find this archetypal process embodied also in the Laughing Buddha and in our own Santa Claus!

When I was fifteen and at an American boarding school for a change, I fell and damaged my kneecap and was unable to participate in sports. So for fun, I decided to make a family tree of the Greek deities. I soon discovered, because of the huge number of Zeus’s progeny, that I had to resort to a huge piece of wrapping paper! His sons and daughters were so many and fathered by him in such varying disguises, that I soon learned his gift for expansion and basic benevolence and generosity were almost limitless! So enthusiasm (the word comes from en theos, filled with the god), wealth, and jollity all are part of that process. Shakespeare makes him Falstaff. The only possible negative is excess; we become gluttons, and physical obesity or psychological greed can be the outcome. I, myself, have Jupiter conjunct Mercury, which translates into too many papers! Now that I have been unable to use my right hand for thirteen years, my karma has caught up with me. My desk is a constant shamble. I put two sheets down and find twenty next morning. With help, I am clearing out nine overflowing files and odd bits and pieces in every corner. Plus that, kind people send me copies of their manuscripts, etc., etc. I confess I am too interested in too many directions.

I haven’t even mentioned the library or the records and tapes! Some of the latter my beloved husband collected.

Psychologically, speaking esoterically, it seems that this archetypal process blesses us with what we have acquired previously in the way of expertise, whether it be intuition or a gift in art, sport, counseling or cooking, parenting, or eating and drinking. The lesson is that this expansion desperately needs Saturn’s limits to control it.

Jupiter is the largest planet, and this may symbolize the tremendous jovial goodwill and enthusiasm of the process. Jove, by the way, is another name for Jupiter.
Aha! must also be countered by uh–oh, because the negative of Jupiter, as I have pointed out, involves excess! The myth of King Midas is a teaching story. His greed resulted in everything he touched turning to gold, including his food! He fortunately learned his lesson and was released by the god Dionysus and told to bathe in a certain river.

The current poster boy for this has surely been Madoff who found a criminal path to the “Midas touch”! But there are other wealthy celebrities: an actor who collects so many cars he has a special warehouse to store them in. There is a difference between an art collector who shares the beauty he has and a collector like Scrooge McDuck! It is the difference between greed and appreciation.

Death, Saturn’s realm, separates all of us from all things material, so in the end we can only keep the intangibles; thus the process of Jupiter rules philosophy, religion, education, philanthropy, and also athletics! These are all gifts that keep on giving on one level or another. I think of Andrew Carnegie and the author of an autobiography titled Tell them it was wonderful! Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with its chorus of Joy, joy, daughter off Elysium . . . is the hymn of this beneficent archetypal process!

My first husband was Saturnian, and my beloved Polar Bear, Walter, was positive Jupiter personified, which all who knew him, including my grown children, would affirm. He was big, strong, hearty, kind, generous, and supportive. I remember him binding a bending plant in the garden carefully to a stick. His pleasure was in spreading a big smorgasbord for us all to eat. This was symbolic. He had had a difficult life, yet always met every challenge with faith and courage and kindness.

The archetypal process embodied in Jupiter is that of fundamental optimism, that ultimately a yes! has to sound before a no ! can deny it. This represents the force for good that prevails down through the centuries, that faith, hope, and love will keep us going no matter what, and that Saturn is there to keep exuberance in check with prudence, sobriety, and wisdom.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Archetypal Processes VI: Mars – CREDO CII

Always remembering that the gods are the concretization of invisible archetypal verbs, Mars embodies action. The interesting and possible hint to a holographic solar system is that the planet Mars exists, and not only that, reveals – as do all the other planets – how any individual is likely to act! Not only is “As above, so below,” but I would add, “As within, so without!” All of this happens synchronistically, mind you, not through fateful causality. It is just a plain fact that where, say, Mars (or any other planet) is, one can tell how the individual is likely to express the process psychologically. In most cases this is unconscious, but the choice is given us to become more conscious. Jung knew this, and, despite the ridicule that still exists among most scientists (though not all!), where Mars is placed by sign, aspect, and house in a person’s chart, clues are evident to the way a person is likely to act.

The reason for the skepticism goes back to the “Age of Reason” when science lost its sense of the sacred and the sacred lost its proof! Theoretical physics is now moving to heal the split. David Bohm, whom I met, Fritjof Capra, Stan Grof, whom I co-taught with, and the scientist and mystic Gerald L. Schroeder, author of The Hidden Face of God, come to mind. There are many others. So, please try always to keep an open mind and a good crap detector! They balance each other.

Mars, in the body rules the muscles, the penis, and the nose; the throat is ruled by Venus, as ruler of Taurus ( throat) and Libra, while Mars rules Aries (head) and Scorpio, the lovely land of Genitalia. When a boy matures, his voice changes; when a man is hanged, he has an erection. When a woman has a high piping voice, she may be out of touch with her lower two chakras, the sexual area, so rightly important to Freud. (Swami Rama of the Himalayan Institute pointed out that Adler was the psychologist of the third chakra, Manipura, the center of the power principle, and Jung of the fourth or heart chakra, the first above the abdominal cavity, and, I suspect, on up].

The process of Mars is positive, yang, as opposed to that of Venus, which is receptive and yin. The glyphs of each are reversals of each other. Yes, it takes two to tango. Thus as the psychological inner feminine or anima is to a man, the internalized masculine of a woman is Mars expressed in her animus. If you have heard of a woman with a “negative animus” or an “animus ridden” woman, this is what Jung meant. I confess that with my Mars in my Twelfth House, I suffered the former, as I found out in analysis. I just wouldn’t fight, except for principles since it is placed in Aquarius. Physically, I am basically a coward. As a handicapped woman of 87, I suppose, I now have an excuse.

Mr. Milquetoast, of cartoon fame, and Dickens’s Uriah Heep are male examples of a weak Mars, but all the splendid heroes, every one, mythic, human, or imagined, is Mars personified, and all the heroic women, likewise have a positive animus to thank. From Britannia to Brunhilde, to the martyred saints and wartime journalists of the present, all express Martian characteristics as well as the soldier, the Crusader, the athlete, the knight, and also the passionate lover.

If you think about it, the penis and the revolver have the same shape and function!
One shoots life and the other shoots death. So the glyph of Mars can be seen as a shield and a spear or a penis. I love to point out that Mars in Libra, ruled by Venus, produces the Sword Dance of the Scots, or the elegance of fencing. I knew a man who had Mars in Libra who engraved wedding invitations (Libra) on copper (Venus) with a metal burin point (Mars)! The archetypal god Vulcan personifies Mars in Capricorn, homo faber, man the maker.

The negative is also paramount – the Villain! The negative archetype of Mars as ruler of Aries would be the tyrant, bully, reckless adventurer, etc. As ruler of Scorpio, the sadist, the murderer, the spy, the traitor .Remember please, this is not a description of any individual but of the archetype!

The importance of action as a process collectively cannot be overstated. Without it, nothing would ever get done. Just yesterday, a man friend told me that at a workshop he learned that men always ask what the other guy does. Men act. This results in all competitions from wars to sports to initiating progress throughout the world. As Heraclitus observed, War is the great accelerator. It certainly rules testosterone!

The chart of the USA has Mars in Gemini, which rules children, and we are a Cancer nation, ruled by the Moon or Mom, so there is a preponderance of puers, the psychological equivalent of men who are eternal boys. They are still under the spell of Mom. My friend Robert Bly, with whom I taught decades ago in his summer seminars, addressed the many puers who attended them with humor, telling them they were still flower children who wanted to be carpenters and play the guitar! He then wrote a guidebook for them called Iron John. It became a best seller. Philip Wylie wrote a book on Momism, pointing out the power wielded by mothers in our country, their icon being apple pie.

I cannot resist repeating the true story of buying a box of cereal that contained a decal of a Mars-red “Million Dollar Man” knocking falling boulders off his shoulder, and when I bought another box, the decal was of a blonde woman in electric blue jumping over a wire fence. On the back of each was printed DO NOT APPLY WHERE MOM WOULD NOT APPROVE! Now, cereal is named for the archetypal Mother Goddess Ceres. The box is an enclosure (Moon), as is the womb or a house. The chart of the USA has Mars in Gemini (see above) and our Moon is in Aquarius, but the country is ruled by Cancer (July 4, 1776), so the Sun is in the sign ruled by the Moon. I photocopied them and sent the originals to the Jungian analyst Dr. Edinger. You can see what fun it is to think symbolically. I am 87 and almost housebound at this point, but I am never ever bored!


Archetypal Processes V: Venus – CREDO CI

If Mercury’s process is communication, that of Venus is relating. As a planet, it is the second one between us and the Sun, and her partner Mars is the first one to orbit it after our Earth.

As a goddess, which concretizes the process, Venus rules Love but also War! This demonstrates the two extremes of relationship. When I would teach a group about this process, I would have a woman and a man stand in the middle of our group and act out the many ways they could relate: shaking hands, dancing, scolding, turning their backs to each other, hugging, kissing, slapping, punching, etc. It was always a fun class, believe me, but it proved the point.

The Sun and Moon form the highest pair, but Venus and Mars are the mortal heroine and hero. Their relationship is the next level of opposites, the level of eros rather than agape, so sexual expression is included and necessary for human reproduction!

The positive archetypal process is that of beauty and so Venus is associated with all the arts, and where there is beauty there is also harmony; and where there is harmony in relationships, there is justice, so Venus also rules Law. The sculptural icon of the blindfolded woman holding the scales is Venus in her role of balance. So in astrology, she rules the sign of Libra, the Scales, and the opposite sign to Aries, whose ruler is Mars. In society, therefore diplomacy and legal affairs are expressions of seeking a just balance in social relationships.

Children, as such, are ruled by Mercury until puberty separates them, and emotions take on a new dimension.

In Jungian psychology, Venus is expressed as a man’s inner feminine – his anima – and Mars in a woman is her internalized masculine animus. We can recognize this in Lucy in the “Peanuts” cartoons! You may have observed at a party where sufficient alcohol is consumed, some men become very sentimental and women quite intellectually strident. Some of you may be familiar with Jung’s close friend Toni Wolff’s brilliant short work The Archetypal Structure of the Feminine. I will give a very brief summary of the work in her terms and then a more graphic interpretation. She proposes a quaternity thus:



[seductress]        [priestess]

*Note that the two on the left need a man to define them; those on the right do not!
You can also break these down into the following, including my version of the negatives

   Moon       Moon + animus
  -Witch      - Ballbuster


Venus: Geisha Girl   Venus: Virgin, Nun, Inspiratrice,
               Wise Old Woman
  - bitch        - Sorceress

* I have written at far greater length about these archetypes in my book Jungian Symbolism In Astrology. The interesting thing is that men project their anima onto one or the other but most often get split, as did Jung himself, between the two on the left. He has the wife for permanent family security and helps himself to the hetaira on the side. The news is chock full of this predicament at the moment. In Europe this is more accepted as normal, but in the USA women have a great deal of anguish, thinking themselves a failure and projecting envy on whichever they are not! One has to pity the hetaira as she ages!

It is also quite interesting to note the collective impact. My generation was supposed to be content with the Wife/Mother role but we went to workshops and moved over to the independence of the Amazon. Then came the angry young women in the ’80s who started out as Amazons and filled my office later as their childbearing years were closing in.

Some of the most amusing words Jung ever wrote concern the quaternity of many marriages: the relationship of husband and wife and their contra-sexual anima and animus!

The Jungian analyst Jane Wheelwright wrote a wonderful work on the choices of elderly women, For Women Growing Older – the Animus. Either they introvert their animus and become family matriarchs or extravert their animus and serve the collective, which I suppose is what I am trying to do!