The Secret Ingredient
For Better or for Worse
In the Eye of the Storm
An individual response to the Global Crisis
May 8, 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.
The dream, we would say, originates in an unknown past of the psyche and prepares the dreamer for the events of the following day.(Jung, 1956, p. 7)
The vendor adds an ingredient to her fruit to make it tastier. Visually it is attractive and then her action invites curiosity. What is she adding? What does it do? How much does she add? The fruit is plain just like the bowl on the left, but she enhances the fruit in front of her. She finger-sprinkles it like magic fairy dust to change it. The bowl of fruit will not go back to its original flavor. It has absorbed her additional ingredients. The present bowl of fruit is what her buyers will know.
I see a dream as a parallel act. During the night, our dreams give us ingredients to carry with us into the next day. It We cannot go back and undo it any more than we can stop aging. We have today’s body with the total of all our experiences prior. What is done, is done. What we can change is its influence, not undo the fact of it happening.
The pandemic has added an ingredient to everyday living-an unseen force that will challenge our current state of health if we encounter it. It also changes with way we live in this moment with masks, social distancing, etc.
This process of adding an ingredient changes the both the substances. The fruit and the spice are both changed. Every spice becomes of different flavor and impact on different fruits and foods. They create a unique combination. A third entity emerges different than the original two. This is an Alchemic process in life and relationships. It is for better and for worse – usually both. A new synthesis or balance manifests. What the new balance will look, feel or taste like is contingent on the two substances but who is the mixer; the Alchemist, the proportion of each ingredient, the time of the process, the timing of the process, the alignment of the planets and many other mysterious variables beyond our conscious comprehension.
For instance, one Joker in this deck of cards of Corona Virus may be the alignment of planets for those who understand this science. My favorite astrologer Susan Miller has an excellent analysis of the astrological dimension of the pandemic. Here is a part of her analysis –
First, this crisis is brought to you by Pluto, a powerful planet that deals with huge financial matters, masses of people—and viruses. This year, Pluto in Capricorn will be traveling in conjunction with Jupiter in Capricorn within six degrees in a rare, once in 13-year meeting in the same signs. Jupiter is usually a jovial, generous planet, but in this case, Jupiter is compounding the problem. Jupiter is known to expand everything it touches, whether that brings more good fortune or more not-so-good-fortune depends on the conditions. In other words, Jupiter amplifies what Pluto reveals and wants to multiply, and few planets can multiply anything it touches faster than Jupiter.
Pluto and Jupiter, both slow-moving planets, are traveling within close, significant degrees to each other all year. Jupiter is spreading the virus that Pluto has uncovered, and both planets are spreading the virus exponentially. As said, Pluto and Jupiter are in Capricorn, and Capricorn rules, among other things, older people. Scientists say that older people, appear to be more susceptible to this virus than others.
Our Alchemic dance with the COVAD-19 pandemic will create a new synthesis of what we become as individuals and a society; for better and worse. At worse, we may become a split, divided, cynical, depleted, burnt out society deepening our political and ideological divides. For better, we may step up to became a sleeker, smarter, well prepared society: technologically, medically, politically and spiritually. We may foster new Medical Care infrastructures, better preparedness and prevention, respect for environment, honor the interior life and global cooperation on issues that unite us for survival and mutuality.
Similarly, each one of us will be transformed individually for better and worse. We may become disenchanted, fearful, suspicious, ill or die. Those of us who survive may be more trusting, altruistic, heroic and spiritually engaged. We may new technologies and skills. We may learn to be innovative and say yes to the Life-Giving spirit. We may learn to look after ourselves, our families and our neighbors.
Each individual and society must make a choice: to say Yes to the Life-Giving Spirit or Yes to the Narcissistic, self-centered Life-Depleting Spirit. This will chart the course of our civilization as to how we Alchemically emerge from this crisis.
Some Points to Ponder:
What changes have the pandemic made in your life?
How do you see yourself moving forward?
How do you choose which news ingredients to pay attention to?
How has the pandemic influenced your relationships to family, friends, work, etc.?
Do you feel that in response to the pandemic you have chosen to ally with the Life-Giving Spirit? How does this manifest in your actions?
Or do you feel that in response to the pandemic, you have yielded to the Life-Depleting Spirit? How does this manifest in your choices?
Do you feel our society has chosen to ally with the Life-Giving or Life-Depleting Spirit? How does that manifest in your assessment?
Journal: What kind of Society are we emerging as, in response to COVAD-19 pandemic?
Photo taken in Tamil Nadu, India.
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.