Destruction, New Creation and Consolidation
The Archetypal Eternal Cycle activated in the pandemic
In the Eye of the Storm
An individual response to the Global Crisis
April 22, 2020
Ashok Bedi, M.D., Jungian Psychoanalyst
Robert BJ Jakala PH.D., Jungian Psychotherapist
In a storm, the safest place is in the eye of the storm. My colleague BJ and I will share our daily reflections on this centering process from an Analytical perspective, sharing from the repertoire of our personal and professional experience. BJ is a psychologist and a photographer and will pick an image of the day that catches him in this collective crisis. I will amplify it from a Jungian Analytical perspective. We hope that this may offer you a baby step on the path to your own unique response to this chaos.
Through the progressive integration of the unconscious we have a reasonable chance to make experiences of an archetypal nature providing us with the feeling of continuity before and after our existence. The better we understand the archetype, the more we participate in its life and the more we realize its eternity or timelessness. (Jung & Kitchin, 1954, p. 695)
The structure of the arbor guides the vines and the tourists. It shelters the walkway from overgrowth and facilitates a flowering archway for the summer. It provides ease of passage from here to there without knowing the destination. I have a sense of security and trust because I know someone else has taken this path before. I know when I get through it, there will be others who will follow. In the moment of taking the photo, I only know where I am standing, and uncertain of what will happen as I go forward. I can rely on the history of its existence to hold me now and lead me (and others) towards the unknown future.
During this time of Covid-19, the structure of how to manage and maneuver our way through is under construction from so many disciplines. Our path is not clearly determined partly because the destination is divided into the health and financial spectrums. There is a lot of debate and negotiation ahead of us. We can see the benefits of making good choices and well as preventing mistakes.
The choices we make to move forward through this pandemic are mediated by the Archetype of Destruction, Creation and Consolidation. This is a repetitive eternal cycle. In Hindu mythology, it is depicted in the Hindu Trinity Shiva – the Destroyer, Brahma – the Creator and Vishnu- the Protector of the new creation. (Bedi, 2007)
Let us now explore how this trinity plays out in the present crisis. God Shiva is the archetype of Destruction of the dysfunctional old order. He is tempered in his destruction by his consort goddess Shakti. She makes sure that like a good surgeon, he is laser focused, destroying only the tumor, not the healthy organs. Our present response to this crisis must surgically limit the impact the virus has on vulnerable population, test the rest and gradually get them to work online and in person. This dance between containment and reinstatement of return to life and work should be an active dance between Shiva and Shakti. Shiva will call for containment, safe harbor at home and aggressive treatment of the sick. Shakti calls for testing and return to work for the rest.
God Brahma is the archetype of new creation, supported by his consort, goddess Saraswati. Saraswati is the patron goddess of academics and research. The archetype of Brahma calls for establishment of new structures for rapid response to the present and future pandemics, a robust national medical infrastructure for all citizens, arrived at by bipartisan consensus, a national insurance infrastructure for all citizens for the present and future catastrophes. Goddess Saraswati archetype calls ongoing research for setting up medical, fiscal and national structures to deal with pandemics, natural disasters, climate change and international protocols to deal with these issues.
The archetype of Vishnu calls for national and global protocol to protect from the perils of globalization and the positive and negative impact it can have. While globalization has many dividends; it also has a dark side. This include air travel, tourism and rapid transmission of communicable diseases and climate impact each nation has on a global level. Such a mammoth task can only be supported by the help of the consort of Vishnu: the goddess Laxmi. She is the patron goddess of peace, prosperity and plenty. This is ushered in by her compassion and craving for simplicity, austerity and spirituality as our guiding principles.
To activate this trinitarian archetypal response is beyond an individual must needs a global initiative in an intricately interconnected world. But the international political leadership will only be kept to task, if each individual citizen makes their voices heard. We may have no other choice but to advocate for these initiatives and changes. Our survival may depend on it. The time to speak up is NOW.
Some Points to Ponder:
- How do you recognize your path?
- What structures to you rely on to journey forward?
- When do you know to trust?
- What guides you during the pandemic?
- Have you crystallized your thoughts on how we as a society must deal with the present pandemic?
- Are your thoughts based on facts, expert guidance or feelings and fear?
- Have you been vocal about your viewpoint and reached out to your elected representatives to hold them to count?
- Are you willing to make the necessary changes in your lifestyle and other sacrifices to support the changes we must make locally and globally to make this a safe place for all?
Photo taken in Dublin, Ireland
Bedi, A. (2007). Awaken the Slumbering Goddess – The Latent Code of the Hindu Goddess Archetypes: BookSurge.
Jung, C. G., & Kitchin, D. (1954). The symbolic life : a seminar talk given on 5th April, 1939. London: Guild of Pastoral Psychology.
© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH.D.