~Carl Jung, CW 7, Para 78
For the conscious mind knows nothing beyond the opposites and, as a result,
has no knowledge of the thing that unites them. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 285
Many ancient cultures depict a divine being, a central figure, a forward-facing male or female figure with outstretched hands holding a pair of identical symbols (animals, staffs, etc.). These symbolic objects represent opposing principles, including conscious and unconscious -- the co-existence of contradictory essences in human reality. They can result in a third thing like the offspring of male and female, like the in and out breath creates life.
Opposites have central significance in genealogy. The unity of opposites occurs in the coinciding of opposites at any time and place in history by means of sacred rituals, including genealogy. Our whole genealogy is made of pairs of opposites. We are not always necessarily aware we are performing a ritual or know the thought behind our myth. That is, we are not always aware of the implications of the coincidentia oppositorum in the myth or ritual.
But we can transcend them by learning to hold the tensions between the opposites inherent in the human condition. We experience the same oppositions, but not as
such. The unity of the sacred is experienced instead. The two modes of being exist paradoxically. The wholeness of the sacred is experienced as mutual coexistence in the temporal human condition. An integral part of all reality or sacrality, oppositions and tensions of reality harmonize into a unity or a "mystery of totality."
"We are here face to face with the very old symbolism of the coincidentia oppositorum, universally wide spread, well attested in primitive stages of culture, and which served more or less to define both the fundamental reality (the
Urgrund), and the paradoxical state of the totality, the perfection and consequently the sacredness of God," Mircea Eliade claims.
Jung called this the coincidentia oppositorum, central to the meaning of paradox and the structure of reality. Archetypal opposites include the unconscious dynamics of good and evil, light and dark, male and female, sun and moon, sacred and profane, chthonic (earth underworld) and pneumatic (airy, upper world), pleasure and pain, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
The sacred figure depicts the hero/sage combining two opposing principles to create a spiritual balance -- our divine nature. This principle involves family, the community, the nation, the environment, and god, embracing all aspects of existence, including a moral imperative, the basic equilibrium of the universe and the weighing of the heart in the afterlife.
This balance or centeredness opens new doors of perception. In ancient Egypt this ruling principle was called Ma'at, the concept of truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice. Ma'at regulated the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation.
In the moment of transformation we realize the effulgence of meaning in the plurality of common life. We don't forget ourselves when we partake of cosmic myth or ritual; we find or remember ourselves in larger realities of our own being.
The sacred dimension is realized in opposition to and harmony with ordinary existence. In Tantra, there is a ’’rupture of planes," the unification of the two polar principles (Siva and Sakti). The transcending of all opposites is the union of polarities without and within the body in a coincidence of time and eternity.
We are of the same substance; our paradoxical I/Self awareness is the difference. The symmetrical balance of duality is the icon of centeredness. The mind is a “difference-seeker” -- a pattern recognizer that helps us order and navigate the overwhelming complexity of reality. But this gift also creates blind spots and biases, as we fill in what we don’t know with our limited knowing.
“The universe is a complete unique entity. Everything and everyone is bound together with some invisible strings. Do not break anyone’s heart; do not look down on weaker than you. One’s sorrow at the other side of the world can make the entire world suffer; one’s happiness can make the entire world smile.” ―Shams Tabrizi
Our primitive origins link mythological thinking to our lineage and modern disciplines, connecting us to our inherent cultural roots from which we have been dangerously estranged. In Egypt, the primordial couple was Isis and Osiris. Isis is the ancient Egyptian goddess of magic, fertility and motherhood, and death, healing and rebirth.
One of the oldest gods, Osiris was the God of the Dead and Vegetation. He is also called in various names and spelling such as Usiris, Oser, Usire, Asar, Aser, Ausar, Ausir, Wesir or Ausare and usually referred as god of Afterlife. He rules the underworld, and is god of resurrection to eternal life, protector, and vegetation.
The ankh or the ´nh in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs represent life and signify “the breath of life”, and reproductive organs. It is commonly found in the hands of the funerary deities conferring the gift of afterlife into a mummy of a dead person.
Our breath goes from the outside to the inside, from the inside to the outside of the body. It is a Spirit that connects the life of the universe to the depths of the soul, not separate from the cosmic breath. The breath eternally unites the earth to the sky when we listen to our own calm breath.
The dead are often referred to as the ankhu and the sarcophagus is known as the neb-ankh or “the possessor of life.” Ankh as key of life is often depicted with outstretched hands of the god-self holding two staffs or scepters. It was created by ancient genius to express the past, present and future, in timeless existence.
The scarab is a classical rebirth symbol. According to the description in the ancient Egyptian book Am-Tuat, the dead sun God transforms himself at the tenth station into Khepri, the scarab, and as such mounts the barge at the twelfth station, which raises the rejuvenated sun into the morning sky.
~Carl Jung, CW 8, §843.
We can enrich, amplify and verify our roots and the course of historical development by consciously searching the deepest unconscious layers of psyche. If the unconscious is a magical powerhouse that speaks in archetypes and symbols, our notion of the unconscious is also a symbol of the power of the primordial field.
Our ancestor hunt is an individual search in which we descend to our psychological depths to find common human roots, renew and recreate ourselves, and come back with this secret treasure of inherent meaning, having stirred both our breadth and the unknown depths and a new sense of our Presence in the world and Cosmos.
Through this journey we engender the 'eternal child,' our own rebirth and immortality. As in yoga, we discover spiritual balance by uniting opposites within the mindbody. "Therefore a wise man does not want to be a charioteer, for he knows that will and intention certainly attain goals but disturb the becoming of the future." (Jung to his Ego, Liber Novus, Page 311.)
This unified field of pure consciousness is therefore that one element in Nature on the ground of the infinite variety of creation, continuously emerging, growing, and dissolving. The whole field of temporal change emerges from this field of non-change, from this self-referential, immortal state of consciousness.
Consciousness, ab origine, is intuitive. Primordial Awareness is the groundstate of the human mindbody, seeing through illusion to primal reality and emptiness. Uniting Above and Below, we mirror Transcendent Consciousness. The uninterrupted narrative of self is embodied as short and longterm memory and genetic memory. The Mystery level of consciousness or abyss of consciousness includes prophetic intuition. An abyss of consciousness opens the way for intellectual freedom as liberation from the outer limits and internal biological determinism.
"Nor should we omit to mention one final turn of the screw: like the devil who delights in disguising himself as an angel of light, the inferior function secretly and mischievously influences the superior function most of all, just as the latter represses the former most strongly." ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 431.
The natural cycle of sympathetic and parasympathetic systems mediates cycles of arousal and calm, implicated in hyperarousal and hypoarousal. They are mediated by the neurotransmiters noradrenalin (norepinephrine) and serotonin. Such linked systems exert "rein control."
Interhemispheric balancing mediates the harmonization of the left and right hemispheres of the brainmind -- fight-flight-freeze responses, and pain-pleasure cycles. Chemically related cycles of addiction and inflation, desire, acting out, guilt, remorse, high well-being, self-acceptance, and self-esteem reflect psychological and physiological paradox. Meditative and exalted states are the extremes.
The unconscious is useless without the human mind. It always seeks its collective purposes and never your individual destiny. Your destiny is the result of the collaboration between the conscious and the unconscious. --Jung Letters, vol. 1, p. 283.
Archetypes are images in the soul that represent the course of one's life. --Jung, Conversations with CG Jung, Archetypes, pg 21.
By bearing the opposites, we expose ourselves to life in our humanity, according to Jung. We have to battle through our not-knowing to find our way on the strength of personal experiences and insights.
Symbolized in the alchemical Rebis or the Hermaprodite, the paradox of creative opposites is a coniuntio, or royal wedding as shown in The Rosarium. Healing is a natural by-product of bridging the unconscious depths with the conscious mind, illuminating our roots, instinctive wholeness and primordial mind. Alchemy calls this union the Unus Mundus "one world."
Spirit or energy merges completely with soul or matter. In the mystical union of opposites, spirit is represented by the Bridegroom as discarnate self and soul by the Bride as incarnate self or matter -- giving birth to the divine self or androgyne. It symbolizes wholeness -- the countless novel textures and interdependencies of the different values of consciousness. Meaning terms only have reality only in human consciousness. Human consciousness makes meaning with divine unconsciousness.
Transformational Understanding & Integration
If both “being” and “non-being” are illusory concepts, the truth exists beyond that dual state… beyond the rational. We may mistakenly identify with “present conscious experience.” In this perspective things either are or aren’t. But a non-dualistic state-space of possible experiences is the broader frame of expanded awareness.
The "maternal darkness" compensates "paternal light,"
so light and dark are made one in the transcendent symbol.
“The hermaphrodite means nothing less than a union of the strongest and most striking opposites… The primordial idea has become a symbol of the creative union of opposites, “uniting symbol” in the literal sense.”. . . .“…a symbol of the unity of personality, a symbol of the self, where the war of opposites finds peace. In this way the primordial being becomes the distant goal of man’s self-development.” --Jung, CW 9i, para. 292-4.
On a personal level this means this reuniting of spirit, soul, and body indicates a full knowledge of both the heights and depths of one's character. When the hieros gamos is consummated in our daily lives, it means that we have learned to apply our insights in practice.
The queen symbolizes the body, the king stands for the spirit, while the soul unites the two. So, our psyche is a half bodily and half spiritual substance. When king and queen (animus/anima) are united, they form a magical hermaphroditic being which unites opposite energies in the glorified body.