In the image above, we see the Divine Child in the form of Ganesha. The Sanskrit word Ganesha is from gana meaning “multitude” and isha meaning lord “lord” . Ganesha is half elephant and half human. In the image, Ganesha sits on his mother’s lap. She is Parvati the goddess of love, strength, and spiritual power. Ganesha’s father is Shiva, the great destroyer of ignorance and the image of the supreme Self. The Divine Child Ganesha is born of a divine polarity: the cosmic father and mother as the two poles of the comic Self.
What cannot be worked through at the conscious level is often worked through at the unconscious level, in dreams and fantasy. cf. Carl Jung (CW 5, para 4-45). When encountering that which we cannot dream, we confront the limits of sense.
Film and art may present an unconscious attempts to work through collective transformation at the limits of reason and sense. In zombie movies and the growing zombie apocalypse movement, we may be seeing an attempt to dream ‘apocalyptic’ change.
I have heard many people complain about the division between spirit and matter. Often they blame Descartes. For example in Marigold’s book titled A Guiding Hand, she says:
“If we hadn’t given so much credit to… Descartes division between spirit and matter, we would have saved ourselves a lot of time and a lot of pains.” (p. 181)
Marigold’s view represents a way of thinking that is quite common: turning a creative tension into a problem, as if it were invented by Descartes.
The opposition between spirit and matter is quite a bit older than Descartes. One might call it an archetypal dialectic. Spirit and matter represent basic categories of thought. These categories help us to conceptualize the world around us.
One of the ways in which humans conceptualize the world is through opposition. Oppositions are often represented as binary pairs, such as spirit and matter. These binary pairs provide reference points, one idea is known in relations to the other. Oppositions drive us to resolve tensions through acts of creative synthesis.
Jakob Böhme (1575 – 1624) was a German mystic. He wrote several mystical treatises which influenced G.W.F. Hegel, Carl Jung, and other German thinkers. Carl Jung speaks of Böhme’s work. He says:
“A historical example of the [division into light and dark] is Jakob Böhme’s mandala, in his treatise XL Questions concerning the Soule… It is an image of God and is designated as such.” (CW 91, para. 717)
Christ is an image of the Self. When images of the Self take on anthropomorphic form, we often find androgynous characteristics.
The androgyny appears from time to time throughout history, taking various forms. Images show up in art, myths, alchemy, as well as in our dreams and imagination, as an archetypal symbol of integration of opposites. Continue reading “Christ’s Androgyny: image of the Self”