Monday, November 22, 2010

The Numinous World of Myth

Yesterday, it was a beautiful fall day here in Changzhou, China.  Taking advantage of pleasant temperatures and the sunshine, I spent about five hours walking around the zoo in the southern part of the city, in the YanCheng area.  I hope to use more photos from this excursion in the next while.  I am looking forward to a return in order to capture other parts of the YanCheng area, especially the old water city area and the ruins that date Changzhou to more than 2,500 years.

But for this walk, I simply enjoyed nature and the colours of fall.  This grass was especially captivating for me.  I loved seeing the white feathery presence in contrast to the darker shades in the background.  The image gives me a fairy-tale feeling, about a time and place that is just at the edge of my reality.  It is scenes such as this that pull me into a readiness for seeing beyond the limits of my senses.

Today's post, and those that follow for the next while, will draw on thoughts, words and ideas from another James Hollis book called Mythologems: Incarnations of the Invisible World.  As I have pointed out before, Hollis is one Jungian analyst and author that I have come to respect.  That said, I want to turn to a few of his words in the introduction:
". . . myth carries from its origin, shrouded in mystery, and through a glass dimly, the intimation, respect, awe, frustration and longing for something larger, much larger.  That numinosity (from the metaphor, "to nod," as something which bows toward us, acknowledges us, summons us) is our source, our home away from home, and our journey's end. (Hollis, Mythologems, 2004, p. 7)
The numinous - this is what lets me know that I have entered the realm of the almost impossible, the land of myths and legends which are projections of the personal and collective unconscious, where archetypes take on faces and character.  As I come to "nod" in awareness, to resonate with an "ah-ha," I have begun the process of making the unconscious, conscious.  For me, the invisible begins to take shape allowing me to follow the inner stories and discover a fuller sense of who I am.  For it is only here that I will ever be able to answer the ultimate question - Who am I?


  1. Yes - I got re-routed thanks to the Great Chinese Firewall. Here's hoping that I get to stay still for a while. LOL!

  2. I got this comment from Webmaster (a.k.a. - John Ferric) who tried posting this comment. For whatever reason, the comment wouldn't be accepted, so here it is:

    You old, straight-forward, linear thinker you!!! While I admire the directness of the question you pose(Who am I?), I respectfully ask that you reconsider in light of this quote from M.L. von Franz's book "Dreams:"

    ". . .In his [i]Philosophia meditativa[/i] Gerhard Dorn, a follower of Paracelsus, has given a most illuminating description in many respects of this experience of the objective psyche and of the personality transformation resulting from this experience. In his view, the alchemical [i]opus[/i] is based on an act of of self-knowledge. This self-knowledge, however, is not what the ego thinks about itself, but something quite different. Dorn says, 'But no man can truly know himself unless first he see and know by zealous meditation . . .[i]what[/i] rather than [i]who[/i] he is, on whom he depends, and whose he is, and to what end he was made and created, and by whom and through whom.' "

    I am much more interested in you answer to this question, than one to the simple "who am I."

  3. I agree with never being able to fully know oneself "consciously," John. Why did I create myself? What part of my SELF engaged in this act of producing a man that lives in relation to other men at this time and place?

    I don't accept that there is an exterior (out there somewhere) entity that created me. But, something that is both me and something larger than the perceived limits of self? . . . . Yes.