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Living the Symbolic Life: The World Needs a New Story

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(Article changed on January 30, 2014 at 15:59)

You see, man is in need of a symbolic life - badly in need. We only live banal, ordinary, rational, or irrational things . . . but we have no symbolic life. Where do we live symbolically? Nowhere except where we participate in the ritual of life. . . We have no symbolic life, and we are all badly in need of the symbolic life. Only the symbolic life can express the need of the soul - the daily need of the soul, mind you! And because people have no such thing, they can never step out of this mill - this awful, banal, grinding life in which they are "nothing but." . . . C.G. Jung, The Symbolic Life

I believe it's time to take the idea of the symbolic life seriously.   That means it's time we see our lives as meaningful.   This is the first of a series of essays that will look at the old archetypal stories and see how they might be renewed within each of us.

It's time to tell a new story about life, love, community, power, responsibility and re-birth.

The Eye of the Unconscious by unknown

Today's New Moon in Aquarius is a new beginning for the collective Mind.   Each year this New Moon gives us an opportunity to transform the collective Mind, but this year something bigger is happening.   This year's Aquarius New Moon is gestating in the womb of a cosmic grand cross; the 5th cosmic challenge between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, invoking the continuing story of the revolution and evolution that started in the 60s.   The challenge becomes an energy generator with the addition of Jupiter in Cancer and Mars in Libra this Spring.    

The Cosmic Story is telling us to work with these energies now, because our challenge is to become conscious forces of evolution.   It's time for us to bring our gifts into collective awareness. We are challenged to change a whole world view that was once necessary and good, but which has become lop-sided and detrimental to the health of the entire bio-field of Earth.   We are facing Death: the death of our environment as we know it, the death of patriarchy, and the death of the belief that we are separate from each other.   If the knowledge of Death doesn't get us out doing something, I don't know what will.   Are we really willing to let ourselves to lead to the slaughterhouses without protest?   Without doing something about it with originality, honor and courage?

Aquarius symbolizes humanity's ability to consciously connect with the archetypal patterns, the cosmic laws of the universe.   These laws are instinctual, built into the fabric of our world and cosmos.   Archetypes are energy fields which structure plants and animals and human beings, rocks and trees, wind and rain, light and dark.   And as far as we know, human beings are the only ones here on Earth who can become conscious of these archetypal patterns.   And as Carl Jung demonstrated, once we become aware of these archetypal instincts, we can change how we relate to them.  

Archetypes can only be known through an image, a symbol which contains many layers of meaning.    As we work with the archetypal symbols of the collective unconscious, we rediscover the original intent of the archetypes.   And when we are aware of the archetype's primal power, we can consciously let it shape us.  

Yes, we have to be balanced to do this--we need a sharp mind that can discern what is delusion (God told me to sacrifice my son, and then try to literally do it) and wisdom (I sense that I need to let my son live his own life now and stop trying to make him into someone I want him to be).   But if we hold true to our values and our truth, the archetypes can gently shape us with a true story.   Right now, we have all been shaped by the patriarchal stereotypes of what life is all about.  

The freed-up archetypes can tell us a new story, which can inspire our imagination and in turn, give us the courage to take action.   For example, the archetype of the leader has become the stereotype of the politician.   When archetypes lose their feeling aspect (when people no longer believe it) they become dry stereotypes.   Once we stop ceding the archetypal power of leadership to this stereotype, the archetypal energy of leadership becomes accessible to us.   I've often talked about how the archetype of the Bard, whose word is law and inspiration, has become the stereotype of the entertainer, who takes our minds off reality.    The good news is that the archetypes of leader and bard are still accessible to us.

So the New Moon in Aquarius is an ideal time to nurture an archetypal seed lying within you.   Where do your talents lie?   How do you use them now?   How would you like to use them?   To change your life, you need to change the story.

The ancient myths show us collective archetypal patterns that shaped cultures and people's perceptions of life.   Which pattern calls to you?   I just wrote a blog after I read an article by Craig Chalquist, Ph.D. "Earthrise: A Mythic Image for Our Times." on the image of Earthrise, that first mystical picture of our Earth floating in the heavens.   This image, while unique to modern times, derives some of its power from the archetype of the Anima Mundi, the World Soul.   You can just see that beautiful soul shining out into space, can't you?  

EarthRise by NASA

Archetypes get renewed in our consciousness when there is a need for new perspectives and new actions and new growth.

With Pluto in Capricorn breaking down belief in our collective social structures--patriarchy, finance, government, religion, capitalism--we have an opportunity to create something different because the archetypal patterns are also being renewed.   Of course, the old ways aren't dying easily, but that's Saturn--archetype of patriarchy--for you!   In Greek mythology, Saturn ate his own children, swallowing them until Rhea, the Earth Mother, gave him a rock to swallow instead of her youngest child, Zeus.   Zeus grew up and went on to lead the revolution against Saturn.  

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Cathy Pagano is the author of a new book, "Wisdom's Daughters: How Women Can Change the World". Cathy trained at the C. G. Jung Institut-Zurich in dream interpretation, then got her M.A. in Counseling Psychology in Feminine Spirituality, and along the way became a certified Life Coach. As an astrologer and storyteller, she weaves the Cosmic Stories written in the stars and from The Bard's Grove, comments on emerging archetypal themes in movies. Cathy works with the tools of the imagination - dreams, alchemy, myths, astrology, symbolic language, storytelling, ritual - to awaken the Soul's wisdom.

I believe that Americans are called to a higher consciousness at this point in our history. We are called on to live up to our ideals and create the country our forefathers imagined. Inner consciousness needs to be acted upon for social justice.

Cathy believes that our writers and artists must take up our responsibility to create art that inspires, teaches and heals our humanity.

Cathy writes about political, psychological/spiritual, and cultural issues.

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Recognizing that we are not an archetype; that we... by Cynthia Piano on Thursday, Jan 30, 2014 at 4:44:39 PM
I would rather say, we are servants of the Creativ... by Cathy Lynn Pagano on Thursday, Jan 30, 2014 at 6:07:08 PM
I'm almost done with this book, click here&nb... by Daniel Geery on Friday, Jan 31, 2014 at 12:34:39 PM
All right, I'll bite; what's an NDE? And while yo... by molly cruz on Friday, Jan 31, 2014 at 3:51:59 PM
Good comment and questions. As for nsbp, it appea... by Daniel Geery on Saturday, Feb 1, 2014 at 2:10:55 PM
As I read yours and Cynthia's words, I heard Rama... by Burl Hall on Saturday, Feb 1, 2014 at 5:41:19 AM
Let's don't be maudlin, flowery and referential to... by molly cruz on Friday, Jan 31, 2014 at 2:54:59 PM
If we get past living in harmony with Earth, I wil... by Daniel Geery on Saturday, Feb 1, 2014 at 2:16:25 PM
The thing is to understand that the disharmony; w... by molly cruz on Saturday, Feb 1, 2014 at 5:55:41 PM
Composing nu stories is only part of our challenge... by Larry Victor on Friday, Jan 31, 2014 at 4:08:24 PM
What are the stories we tell ourselves in this da... by Burl Hall on Saturday, Feb 1, 2014 at 5:56:58 AM
Yes, SHARING our inner secrets with the readers h... by Cynthia Piano on Saturday, Feb 1, 2014 at 8:38:22 AM
Great comments.  The archetypes are energy fi... by Cathy Lynn Pagano on Saturday, Feb 1, 2014 at 12:51:22 PM
Whoops, I almost posted pretty much what I had sai... by Burl Hall on Saturday, Feb 1, 2014 at 3:08:22 PM
In my spiritual experiences these last years, it ... by Cynthia Piano on Saturday, Feb 1, 2014 at 4:10:41 PM