Monthly Archives: February 2009
Another image taken while in the Anthropology and History Museum in Mérida while I was there for the Carnaval. And like the image of yesterday, this artifact was found in one of the Mayan ruins in the Yucatan. At the centre of belief is IX’CHEL, the goddess of both life and death.
The feminine is cyclical in nature like the moon and the courses within a woman of the preparation for new life by discarding old possibilities. The feminine is cloaked in unconsciousness, in darkness and in mysteriousness. The feminine nurtures the earth and gives birth over and over again. Out of the dark and damp womb, humanity is born into a world of light. And, that same humanity is born to die, to be consumed by the very earth that gave it life.
The photo here was taken in Mérida, the capital city of the Yucatan, at the Anthropology and History Museum on the Paseo Montejo. It is a Mayan figure similar to one I photographed at Uxmal which was still on the wall of a Mayan building.
Obviously, the figure is male. Strangely, the bodies both at Uxmal and here are both headless. Both have bound hands as though the male is prisoner. Both have genitals exposed.
Realizing that these figures are found in a religious context, it follows that they are more symbolic than historical. So what can these figures be telling us? Perhaps, that as humans, human males, the ruling forces are sexual, not spiritual. Men are trapped in their bodies which demand so much. The power of instinctual drives dominate when one is not aware, not far along on the journey of individuation.
Today, it is still hard in our modern world. How does one balance the polarity of masculine and feminine which are resident in each of us? Regardless of our intellectual states, our bodies betray us, demand of us. And as a counter, the soul, the opposite, demands as well it share of presence. So begins the work of midlife, the marriage of both aspects within the psyche.
Just one small comment about the photo, it was edited using Adobe Photoshop Elements. The photo was created first with no idea on how it would be used or even if it would be used. Then, in my second attempt at a post for the Rubedo phase, I came to realise that a photo of a bird, or a scene, or an artifact could not evoke what I wanted for this post. The original photo taken during a moment of doubt and internal conflict was the closest I could come. It was only after risking the choice of the photo that I then tweaked onto the idea of “reddening” the photo, that I saw that it belonged. Will the photo offend? Likely. There is a chance that I will lose a number of readers here. However, that risk must be taken. It isn’t about appeasing the collective, it is about honouring the self in the hope that in being transparent, more is gained than lost.
So we must press onward to the final stage, the rubedo, which has often been called the ‘Marriage of Luna and Sol’, the fusion of the human and divine, the union of the personality (Luna) with the essential Self (Sol). Now the retort can be opened to reveal the philosopher’s stone, the pure gold of Wisdom, the diamond body, the Gnostic Anthropos, the Heavenly Man, Salvator, filius macrocosmi; by whatever name it has been called, there now stands forth the divine original man, long buried and forgotten in the very centre of our being.[Jung, CW 12, p. 256)
Hidden in these words is the key, “the fusion of the human and divine.” How do I understand this? Well, in honesty I have two different understandings. One suggests that the spirit and soul become one, where spirit is consciousness and soul is unconsciousness giving one a state of wholeness – holiness. Here are a few more words, this time from Daryl Sharp:
Next, the rubedo involves dealing with the opposites – differentiating good from bad, want from need, personal values from those dictated by the collective. Constellated opposites activate in turn the archetype of crucifixion, which is ubiquitous in the Western unconscious, whether we adhere to Christian beliefs or not. In short, we are torn between this and that, in conflict wit ourselves. (Sharp, Jung Uncorked: Book Two, 2008, pp 50-51)
Wow! To me this reads like a trial by fire in which the heat gets turned up forcing one to fully strip away all dross and allow the self to emerge purged of fear and doubt. What remains isn’t necessarily a pretty sight in the eyes of others, of the collective. But, it is honest. It is only this way that one can rise from our own ashes, integrated, whole . . . holy.
Ouroboros – the lizard that feeds on itself, the tail devourer. I know, this lizard (iguana) is not exactly feeding upon itself. Yet, it seeing it, and taking its photo, I sensed something that was waiting, waiting to be seen and then said. One begins to trust to such instincts. I took several photos of this iguana. The others were much clearer, sharper in focus as far as the iguana itself was concerned. But, they didn’t have the sense of ‘dejà vu’ or ‘ah-ha’ that I wait for. In the past seven months I have taken four thousand photos. Needless to say, only some of them find their way here. And not all of these are powerful. Some are just photos.
So why this one? And why, is it in black and white instead of in colour? I wanted black and white as they speak more about polarity, about opposites, about light and shadow. The iguana, the lizard, is almost all white. This suggests a sense of the masculine to me. Yet, there are slight bands of black which speak of origins, of ‘otherness’. The head of the lizard is overwhelmingly suggestive of a penis, confirming the masculine aspect.
And, the lizard is in search, in search of the female. Before taking its photo, the pouch under his neck was engorged. He made quite a few bobbing of his head movements before noticing my presence. It’s the story of all life, the search for a mate, for survival of the species. Humans are no different.
The penis is drawn to a vagina, a dark and damp and warm retreat. And that vagina, a vagina, is the source of its origin. So, the penis is drawn back to its source, a circular journey. And it feeds that vagina. And then, for a moment there is a death, a lack of awareness of ‘self’. And in that instant, the head is feeding on the tail – the vagina as the head, and the penis as the tail.