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Archetypes and the Fully Functioning Person

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Now, the human psyche gradually emerges in the course of development in the mother's womb. No doubt the human psyche is fully formed by the time when the fetus reaches the moment of viability -- the time when the fetus is able to survive on its own outside the mother's womb. When the fetus is able to survive independently of the mother's womb, I would operationally define this as the moment of ensoulment with the distinctively human soul. Prior to the moment of ensoulment, the fetus is an infra-human life-form.

No doubt the human psyche contains memories formed in the mother's womb prior to the moment of viability. In other words, when the fetus is an infra-human life-form in the mother's womb, the infra-human fetus absorbs sensory impressions from being in the mother's womb. The bodily and sensory impressions that the fetus in the mother's womb absorbs live on in the human psyche. They are part of the feminine spirit in the human psyche. Now, are you catching on to why ancient people referred to mysteries? To spell out the obvious, most people do not have conscious memories of their experiences in their mother's wombs.

Now, we can use imagery to characterize the fetus' experience in the mother's womb. Surprise, surprise, we can use the imagery of heaven to characterize the fetus' experience in the mother's womb -- and heaven is where the mythic Christ is supposed to have been in the period between the ascension and the Second Coming of Christ.

Now, serious depression can be likened to Jonah's experience of being swallowed by the whale and being in the belly of the whale. But this imagery is, shall we say, pregnant with meaning. In this imagery, Jonah undergoes an experience that can be likened to the experience of the fetus in the mother's womb.

For the sake of discussion, let's agree that the experience of returning to the mother's womb in serious depression is deep stuff. Few people would ever wish to replicate Jonah's experience just to see what it would be like. Nevertheless, a lot of people experience serious depression. Figuratively speaking, they experience being in the belly of the whale, as Jonah did.

For people who have experienced serious depression, Dr. Harding's book Woman's Mysteries should help them understand the feminine spirit in their psyches involved in their experience of depression.

I suspect that no one can emerge as a fully functioning person in the second half of life without undergoing an experience of serious depression. Remember that I interpret the wounded Fisher King as being depressed.

Now, what is known today as complicated grief involves serious depression. But there may be one or two aspects of complicated grief that are not also present in serious depression. As a result, we could image the relationship between complicated grief and serious depression as two concentric circles with the slightly larger circle representing complicated grief and the slightly smaller circle representing serious depression.

Next, I want to turn to following statement that Dr. von Franz quotes Dr. Jung as writing somewhere, but she does not provide a footnote citation for where he has written the statement:

"'The sea in which the unconscious fish are swimming [i.e. the sea of the collective unconscious] is now past, now the water [previously in the sea of the collective unconscious] is in the jug of Aquarius, that is, in the vessel of [ego-]consciousness. We [we in Western culture or who?] are cut off from instinct, from the unconscious. Therefore we have to nourish instinct, or otherwise we shall dry up. That is why Aquarius is giving the fish water to drink'" (quoted on page 284).

I'm not so sure that we in Western culture are cut off from the unconscious. No doubt the experience of serious depression involves the unconscious -- and the feminine spirit in the human psyche. How in the world could we be cut off from the unconscious? Dr. Jung's hyperbolic statement shows his catastrophizing bent of mind.

But Dr. Jung's observation here about Aquarius giving the fish water makes Aquarius sound like the wounded Fisher King after he has presumably experienced the archetypal healing of his archetypal wounding. Therefore we can use Aquarius as a symbol representing the healed Fisher King.

In the fictions of the Roman Catholic Church, the pope has for centuries been imagined to be the successor of the apostle Peter. In the Christ myth, Christ is portrayed as appointing Peter to be the fisher of men and women -- in effect, the Fisher King. But Pope Francis today represents the wounded Fisher King. Pope Francis does not represent the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

In 1969, the 5th Dimension had a hit song about the alleged dawning of the Age of Aquarius. If we understand Aquarius to represent symbolically the healed Fisher King, then we in Western culture should all look forward to the continuing dawning of the Age of Aquarius in Western culture.

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