Hibernation and Incarnation

Gestation of the New Beginnings

An individual response to the Global Crisis

ISSN 1939-3407

April 27, 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.

No man can change himself into anything from sheer reason: he can only change into what he potentially is. When such a change becomes necessary, the previous mode of adaptation, already in a state of decay, is unconsciously compensated by this archetype of another mode. If the conscious mind now succeeds in interpreting the constellated archetype in a meaningful and appropriate manner, then a viable transformation can take place. (Jung, 1956, p. 235)

This bear has just come out of hibernation. After a long winter’s nap, it has shifted from sleeping to finding food. One of its favorite flowers, the dandelion, is quite large and plentiful. It followed its instincts to shift from a winter bear to a springtime bear. I do not know how it happens. It might be externally nudged by temperature or air scent or internally awakened by hunger. It has followed the natural way of the spring archetype; the season of beginning to be active and grow again.

The pandemic gave us a forced winter hibernation. We have essentially been inside except for essentials. The difference between us and the bear is that the bear got to sleep. We have been very awake and wondering how to get through this “season” of stay at home.

Our challenge currently is to know when it is safe to go back out into the world. How do we follow the rules rather than our spring instincts? We need to be conscious of what guidelines to listen to and/or follow. Some say too much activity will lead to more illness and death. Others warn of the depth of financial issues if we do not have people go back to work. Now is the time to monitor our adaptative mode and how we will know when change becomes necessary.

While we are coping with the necessary hibernation; safe at home, we are now coming closer to the possibility of the end of hibernation with precautions. A pertinent question at this point for each one of us is what would our incarnation beyond the hibernation look like? What is our image of the archetype of Spring? What have we learned from this hibernation to make the incarnation more relevant to our life’s deeper goals and emerging narrative? How do we want this spring to be different from previous springs? What has this crisis taught each one of us about ourselves, others, the world and the future? How are we going to factor in these insights into our New Beginnings? If we learn new insights about ourselves and our world, then this hibernation would be pregnant with meaning and purpose? If we just get back to business as usual, then this would be wasted crisis – a miscarriage of the potential for a New Birth of our personality.

Some Points to Ponder:

  1. How do you transition from one mode of adaptation to another?
  2. Where is the greatest locus of influence, internal or external?
  3. What signals you to change?
  4. How do you know what your potential is?
  5. How do you engage your potential? How do you resist it?
  6. What is your image of the changes you would like to make in your life following the insights you have gained during the pandemic?

Photo taken in British Colombia, Canada

Jung, C. G. (1956). Symbols of transformation; an analysis of the prelude to a case of schizophrenia. New York: Pantheon Books.

© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH.D.