From The Shadow Side to the Syzygy

by | Dec 14, 2020 | Articles | 0 comments

Anima rising,

Queen of queens

Wash my guilt of Eden

Wash and balance me

– Joni Mitchell, Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow

 

I’ve always enjoyed learning new words—or, as is more likely at my age, relearning words I’ve forgotten—so I was pleased to put syzygy in the headline of today’s post.

It’s been a while since I read Jung, but it turns out that the syzygy is a combination of the anima, or feminine image in the male psyche, and animus, or male image in the female psyche. As I found on verywellmind.com, “The combined anima and animus is known as the syzygy or the divine couple. The syzygy represents completion, unification, and wholeness.” 

Why am I thinking about Jung today, of all people? Well, I wanted to write about the shadow side, one of Jung’s four archetypes (the other two are the persona and the self), and that led me down a bit of a rabbit hole, reading about anima and animus.

 

Where We’ve Been 

I don’t know that I’ve actually committed this to print so baldly, but I feel like we’ve been living in the shadow side here on planet earth for quite some time.

As a guy who was born not even a year from President Kennedy’s very public assassination, I’m not sure I’ve lived during anything but the shadow side.

I well remember back in the late eighties, late at night, listening to New Age gurus, and wannabe gurus, talking about how we were going to be entering an age of Aquarius or whatever, where we would all be living in peace, love, harmony, and lots of free drugs.

Okay, I’m being a little sarcastic, but in all seriousness, it does feel like things have gotten increasingly darker—not only because of this awful pandemic but also because of the fomenting of violence, the naked, unabashed racism, the scorched-earth approach of seeing all opponents as “enemies.” There’s been a sense for some time now that things are lurching toward chaos on a global scale.

 

Where We’re Going?

All that’s to say, I’ve been deeply pessimistic about human beings and our future prospects for years. (“Weren’t we all supposed to be flying around with jet packs now like George Jetson? We can’t even fix the roads!”) But I guess hope really does spring eternal, because I’ve been allowing myself a bit of hope as we move into 2021. 

I’ve got this image in my mind now of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and I feel something about it. In its way, it’s almost primal. Maybe it combines that anima/animus for me on some subconscious level—a guy who’s known real suffering, and therefore has real empathy, at least moderately in touch with his so-called “feminine” side, and a tough former prosecutor, at least somewhat connected to the traditionally “masculine” role of law enforcement. 

The combined anima and animus is known as the syzygy or the divine couple. The syzygy represents completion, unification, and wholeness.” Caucasian and mixed-racial, male and female. A glass ceiling historically shattered for the first time. The promise of a greener future. Might we move toward something better for the 2020s? Certainly, we have been living in the shadow side for far too long.

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