In lecture 2 he opines on symbolic and psychological aspects of the 3rd chakra – Manipura – shown here with a yellow center and red triangle that symbolize fire. Interestingly, the location of this chakra overlaps with what we, today, call the “solar” plexus – not because of its symbolic connections to the fiery sun – but rather, simply because the neural projections from this plexus, located between the stomach and the spine, radiate outwardly in a sun-like fashion.
Jung notes that fire symbolism often follows water symbolism – just as occurs in the chakra hierarchy where the previous chakra is symbolized by water. This ancient pattern of symbolism is common across many religious traditions.
“One sees all that very beautifully in the Catholic rite of baptism when the godfather holds the child and the priest approaches with the burning candle and says: Dono tibi lucem eternam (I give thee the eternal light) – which means, I give you relatedness to the sun, to the God.”
So, I guess, after a person emerges from the murky depths of water, the next stage of their spiritual journey or subconscious “awakening” is a time in their lives when they grow to feel connected to something greater than themselves, to something eternal, beyond the everyday world, perhaps cosmic or goldly, etc. Jung suggests that this initial connection to “god” has long been symbolized by the sun and by fire.
“This is a worldwide and ancient symbolism, not only in the Christian baptism and the initiation in the Isis mysteries. For instance, in the religious symbolism of ancient Egypt, the dead Pharoh goes to the underworld and embarks in the ship of the sun. You see, to approach divinity means the escape from the futility of the personal existence, and the achieving of the eternal existence, the escape to a nontemporal form of existence. The Pharoh climbs into the sun bark and travels through the night and conquers the serpent, and then rises again with the god, and is riding over the heavens for all eternity.”
Furthermore, Jung suggests, there is a shared, underlying psychological reason why so many ancient cultures used the common symbols of fire for this phase of their development. It would seem that for many, that once they let go of the closely-held, relatively petty details of their day-to-day life and acknowledge a connection between themselves and the wider universe and things divine – that, upon letting go – their own fires of passion and emotion become alight.
So it is just that – you get into the world of fire, where things become red-hot. After baptism, you get right into hell – that is the enantiodromia. And now comes the paradox of the east: it is also the fullness of jewels. But what is passion, what are emotions? There is the source of fire, there is the fullness of energy. A man who is not on fire is nothing: he is ridiculous, he is two-dimensional. … So when people become acquainted with the unconscious they often get into an extraordinary state – they flare up, they explode, old buried emotions come up, they begin to weep about things which happened forty years ago.
I think I can relate to this notion. Perhaps when you accept that you’re just a part of a larger plan, or just a single link in a long continuum, you stop worrying about the petty stuff which then allows your own deeper passions and emotions to flow more freely. Both the good emotions related to creativity and love as well as feelings of sadness and loss that come along with recognizing your fate and limitations – all begin to emerge. These feelings make a person feel more “alive” than they would just playing it safe, workin’ 9-to-5 payin’ the bills etc., etc. and never allowing themselves to embark on their spiritual journey.
So it seems, as suggested by Jung, that we begin our spiritual awakening as humans have for thousands of years, by “taking the plunge” and choosing – not the “safe career” path – but a path in life that “means something” to us. From the dark, uncertain waters, we emerge – and then the inner fires begin to burn, to inflame our passions and give us energy, to live and to create.
… can’t wait to see what’s in store next!