Agni: archetypal image of the creative force

Agni and his consort, circa 1800
Agni and his consort, circa 1800. US public domain via wikimedia
It is said that Agni is the first-born; that Agni is the God of fire. Agni is an image of the creative force.

In the above image we see the Hindu deity Agni and his consort Svaha.  Agni appears in his dual nature, with two heads he faces both God and man.

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Sacred Waters: the mother goddess and the waters of life

Kalighat paintings from 19th century Calcutta. US public Domain via wikimedia.
Ganga 19th century Calcutta. US public Domain via wikimedia.

Water is sacred in many traditions of the world. In India, the river Ganges is sacred; bathing in the river is said to lead to moksha (enlightenment). In the Bhagavata Purana, there is a story of the creation of the Ganges. It is said that Vishnu (in the form of Vâmana) wanted to measure the universe, step by step. As he took his second step, “the nail of the big toe of His left foot pierced the upper covering of the universe.”  With this piercing, water “from the outside entered the hole” and flowed in the form of a great river. This sacred water is said to vanquish “the sins of all the world getting in touch with it.” (Canto 5, Chapter 17)

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Water as ‘spirit that has become unconscious’

(Water) Dragon, Katsushika Hokusai, 17th Century, Japanese, US Public Domain vua Wiki.
(Water) Dragon, Katsushika Hokusai, 17th Century, Japanese, US Public Domain vua Wiki.

Carl Jung tells us that “water is the commonest symbol for the unconscious” CW 9i, para 40).

“The lake in the valley is the unconscious, which lies, as it were, underneath consciousness, so that it is often referred to as the ‘subconscious,’ usually with the pejorative connotation of an inferior consciousness. Water is the ‘valley spirit,’ the water dragon of Tao, whose nature resembles water- a yang in the yin, therefore, water means spirit that has become unconscious.” (Carl Jung, )

Reference:

  1. The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.9 Part 1)

An attribute of the deity is fire

Moses and the Burning Bush, with Moses Removing His Shoes. c. 1465-70 US public domain via wikimedia
Moses and the Burning Bush, with Moses Removing His Shoes. c. 1465-70 US public domain via wikimedia

In the image above, we see Moses and the burning bush. God appears to Moses as fire. A story from Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us (1897) describes the scene:

Moses has grown up to be a man. Now he is a shepherd, and takes care of sheep. He has taken his sheep up on a mountain to eat the grass there. He sees a fire burning in a bush. He comes toward it to look at it. He hears a voice speaking to him. It is God’s voice speaking out of the fire to Moses. And Moses hides his face, for he is afraid to look upon God.”

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