June 26, 2020
The tree appears frequently in the medieval chemical tests and in general represents the growth of the arcane substance and its transformation into the philosophical gold (or whatever the name of the goal may be). (Jung, 1967, p. 274)
When I see buds on a tree, I still have a childlike response, “How did you figure out when to show up?” (I do understand from the botanist point of view, there is a lot of plant physiology that makes it happen.) The leaf buds show up very dark, deep purple. As they grow, the shape is “pinched” in the middle, as though it is two leaves in one, then turn green. Next, the miracles of the tree trunks, branches, leaves, buds, and blossoms (and bees) are all cooperate to have the tree bear fruit. Once again, in my imagination, I wonder if the fruit appreciates the combined effort of its existence as the “gold” of the tree. It is the harvest.
In this time of the pandemic numbers climbing and the social justice movement, something will blossom and bear fruit. It will take time, effort, and societal chemistry to ensure a bountiful harvest. There is no guarantee what the outcome will be, especially since there are so many ingredients needed to bring about change. We also have working definitions of health, our constitution, moral and ethical guidelines to assist the process. We have a responsibility as citizens of this country to better/transform ourselves and nation. We will need to make harvest choices of what is the best outcome for all.
The night before I was planning to compose this Blog, I had the following dream. I offer it to my readers as a gift, so that it becomes your dreams, since I consider it as a Shamanic Big dream, meant not only for me but for our Collective.
I am with my wife Usha. We are to set out on journey to meet our children. It is a moonlight snowy night. Each one of us have access to only one mode of transportation; a single seater ground hugging snowmobile, shaped like a basket. I leave first and my wife is to follow. I set out in the cold, moonlit, snowy night.
One hour of so in the journey, I am out of fuel. I start walking on foot, since I am on a desolate country road with no traffic. I realize that I have left my cell phone somewhere. I am not sure that my wife will follow the same route. Then I see a big tree by the roadside and I take shelter under it.
I invite our readers to amplify this dream in their own context and their own fantasy as a personal prescription from their Unconscious to respond to the multiple collective crisis. I just offer some reflections on the Tree Symbolism to assist them.
The analytical amplification of the TREE as the redeemer and refuge in my dream may be of some help to our readers as they engage this dream as their dream.
In East and West alike, the tree symbolizes a living process as well as a process of enlightenment, which though it may be grasped by the intellect, should not be confused with it.
(Jung, 1968), para 413
In the current multidimensional crisis: Pandemic, Protests, Political Divisiveness, Environmental catastrophes, Racism, dark side of Globalization, Nationalism, Authoritarian regimes, Terrorism among others, we are at the cusp of ENLIGHTENMENT. The dream had a dark ambience. It is always darkest before DAWN, i.e., before the New Beginnings. Dawn is also the English translation of my wife’s name in its Sanskrit origins: Usha
As the seat of transformation and renewal, the tree has a feminine and maternal significance. (Jung, 1968), para 418
This implies that our rescue and transformation from these apocalyptic events call for a feminine and maternal values rather than Masculine and a Paternalistic framework. We need to return to the realm of the MOTHERS in this time of crisis’. Here is Jung reflecting on Goethe’s Faust and prescription to return to the realm of the Mother’s for renewal.
Wisdom dwells in the depths, the wisdom of the mother;
being one with her means being granted a vision of deeper
things, of the primordial images and primitive forces which
underlie all life and are its nourishing, sustaining, creative
matrix.(Jung, 1956), para 640
Another dimension of the tree symbolism is that embodies suffering, sadness and sacrifice. It is sort of our CROSS TO BEAR.
In this context of thought, suffering and sadness play so great a role, it is not surprising that the tree was brought into connection with the cross of Christ. This analogy was supported by the old legend that the wood of the cross come from the tree of paradise.(Jung, 1968), para 446.
Some Points to Ponder:
What are you transforming from ordinary to extraordinary in your life?
How often do you harvest the fruits of your labor?
What are your conscious and unconscious guides?
How do you know when to change?
How do you protect your new growth from destructive elements?
Can you relate to feeling alone and lost in these present crisis’?
Do you feel unable to communicate with others and your loved ones about what you think and feel about these issues?
Do you feel some urgency to reach, protect and prepare your children and grandchildren through the mine field of the present world situation?
Do you feel that this is a time of sadness, suffering for you?
What Sacrifices do you feel called to make?
Do you feel the presence of the TREE OF LIFE in midst of this dark night of our Soul?
Photo taken in Los Angeles, California.
Jung, C. G. (1956). Symbols of transformation: an analysis of the prelude to a case of schizophrenia, Volume 5 (2 — ed. Vol. 5). Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press.
Jung, C. G. (1967). Alchemical studies. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Jung, C. G. (1968). Alchemical studies, Volume 13 (Vol. 20). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
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 WEEK 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.
© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH. D