Friday, 27 November 2015

The silver coins of Taras: part eight

(post-production processing: JH)
Come hither, leaving the island of Pelops,
strong sons of Zeus and Leda;
appear with kindly heart,
Kastor and Polydeukes,

who go on swift horses
over the broad earth and all the sea,
and easily rescue men
from chilling death,

leaping on the peaks of their well-benched ships,
brilliant from afar as you run up the fore-stays,
bringing light to the black ship
in the night of trouble.

Alkaios of Mytilene, Fragment 34 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric I) early 6th century BC.

This episode contains just a few of the many references to the Dioscuri by Jung. These span eastern and western mythologies and religions. The source of all of these is the unconscious, but as impressions are received by the conscious, through dreams, altered psychological states and so forth, they can adopt cultural trappings. Our age, on the Mythos/Logos, scale is further to its Logos end than it has ever been in the history of humanity. Religion has lost much of its highly important metaphorical content and has become materialized. With that comes the insanity of religious wars (Joseph Campbell said "People are killing each other over their choices of metaphors.), and culture has been kidnapped by nationalism.

Rather than dwelling on such insanity, I want to focus more on the mortal and immortal as expressed in the core mythology of the Dioscuri.
"The year 531 is characterized astronomically by a conjunction of [Jupiter] and [Saturn] in Gemini. This sign stands for a pair of brothers, and they too have a somewhat antithetical nature. The Greeks interpreted them as the Dioscuri (‘boys of Zeus’), the sons of Leda who were begotten by the swan and hatched out of an egg. Pollux was immortal, but Castor shared the human lot. Another interpretation takes them as representing Apollo and Heracles or Apollo and Dionysus. Both interpretations suggest a certain polarity. Astronomically, at any rate, the air sign Gemini stands in a quartile and therefore unfavourable aspect to the conjunction that took place in the year 7 B.C. The inner polarity of may perhaps shed light on the prophecy about the war of the tanninim, which Rashi interprets as fishes. From the dating of Christ’s birth it would appear, as said, that the sun was in Gemini. The motif of the brothers is found very early in connection with Christ, for instance among the Jewish Christians and Ebionites."
Jung, C. G., Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 9 (Part 2): Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self (p. 81). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.
"Vollers compares Khidr and Elias on the one hand with Gilgamesh and his primitive brother Eabani or Enkidu, and on the other hand with the Dioscuri, one of whom was mortal and the other immortal. This relation applies equally to Jesus and John the Baptist, and Jesus and Peter. The last-named parallel can be explained only by comparison with the Mithraic mysteries, whose esoteric content is revealed to us in part by the surviving monuments."
Jung, C. G.,  Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 5: Symbols of Transformation: 005 (Kindle Locations 3985-3989). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.
"Another attempt at a solution seems to be the Dioscuri motif: two brothers who resemble one another, one mortal, the other immortal. This motif is found in Indian mythology as the two Asvins, though here they are not differentiated. It appears very clearly in Shvetashvatara Upanishad (4, 6) as the companion birds who “clasp the selfsame tree,” i.e., as the personal and suprapersonal atman. In the Mithraic cult, Mithras is the father, Sol the son, and yet both are one as δ μέγας θεòς Ἣλιος Μίθρας: “the great god Helios Mithras.” (Cf. Dieterich, p. 68.) That is to say, man does not change at death into his immortal part, but is mortal and immortal even in life, being both ego and self."
Jung, C. G., Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 5: Symbols of Transformation: 005 (Kindle Locations 18508-18513). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.
The Jungian mythologist Cark Kerényi, as the introduction to Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life presents an essay: Finite and Infinite Life in the Greek Language in which he discusses two Greek words for life: bios (βίος) and zoë (ζωή). The first is the individual life from conception to death, the second is life as its non-material substance. We might call it the life-force, but that modernism would be inaccurate as it exists apart from the material and thus cannot be expressed as energy. It does not, however, belong only to the mystical but should be a part of quantum physics. Wolfgang Pauli said that the Einsteinian "observer" should really be studied and defined as it is integral to physics, but it still remains at the periphery of quantum physics although it has certainly been brought closer with dual-aspect monism as explained by its most recent proponent, Harald Atmanspacher, and you can read this PDF of his Dual-Aspect Monism à la Pauli and Jung.

Mythological conflations can often be cultural "constellations" of archetypal imagery and on the coins of Taras, the imagery not just of the Dioscuri, but of Taras, himself and even his dolphin  are brought into this same theme of the mortal and immortal as you can see in this excerpt from Murray Stein, Jungian Psychoanalysis: Working in the Spirit of C.G. Jung

Have a transformative weekend, and I will be back with more coins of Taras on Monday.

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