Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Solstice

On December 21, 2010 at 6:38 pm EST, the sun reaches its southern most point on its annual journey, and stands still before turning north again. It is the longest night of the year, and in the previous 3 months, the Northern Hemisphere has experienced an abandonment of the sun as the presence of night and darkness increases. In the increasing darkness,  we naturally reflect on the year just past - challenges, defeats, leanings, insights, and the possibility of new beginnings.  The lack of sunlight has a tangible effect on our bodies. Many people report increasing tiredness, fatigue, and need for sleep. We have an increased need for vitamin D and we might become depressed.

The Winter Solstice represents the first day of Capricorn.  It is the turning point of the annual cycle of the Sun and a time of celebration that the Christian myth calls Christmas.  Solstice means a sun standing still, hovering, pausing,  resting before it begins its northward journey again. At some level, we are extremely aware that life consists of ebbs and flows.  New beginnings move towards fullness and culmination followed by the movement back to nothingness and new beginnings.

The sky very much mirrors our own lives.  We can symbolically look at the solstice as it turns and makes the transition from one state of being to another. The theme of the annual solar journey is very much felt at this time of year as the Sun is in exile in the southern hemisphere but begins its return journey.  It is the return of the light symbolically represented by the birth of the divine child on Christmas Day followed by the beginning a new year.  It is an archetypal theme that is found in every spiritual tradition.

Chapter 24 of the I Ching captures this theme very well.  The title of the hexagram is the Return or Turning Point. Return leads to self knowledge. The light that has been in exile returned and there is movement again.  It is a moment of grace. The Richard Wilhelm translation reads "The idea of the turning point arises from the fact that after the dark lines have pushed all the light lines upward and out of the hexagram. another light line enters the hexagram from below. The time of darkness has past. The winter solstice brings the victory of light".

Out of the darkness,  new life is born. The symbolic mean of "Christmas" is a spiritual rebirth manifesting in the birth of the divine child after a period of darkness.  The Christian church didn't institute the celebration of nativity until 352 AD and there is some suggestion that it was timed to coincide with Winter Solstice. According to Raymond Kilduff in his paper "The Christian Tradition: The Birthday of the Sun" The birthday of the Son of God came to be celebrated on the Birthday of the Sun.  The etymology of word deity derives from "dei" which means gleam, shine.   Jung saw the birth of Christ symbolically as an image rebirth and transformation of new consciousness arising out of the darkness of the unconscious.  The potential for a new inner wholeness that can be understood as a more comprehensive experience or understanding of ourselves.

Edward Edinger in his book Ego and Archetype examines the Christian myth in light of the process of individuation. He writes "Jesus is both God and man.  As Jesus, his is a double being living in particular, limited, historical existence, in space and time. As Christ, he is the anointed one . . . . Psychologically, this means that Christ is simultaneously a symbol for both the Self and the ideal ego.  To live Christ consciousness also means that we have to be committed to our own journey's and to deeper calling that is within all of us to fulfil living our own unique life pattern and destiny.

This year the winter solstice is also accompanied by a lunar eclipse.  Around 1:30 am EST early Tuesday morning, the Moon will begin to be shadowed by the Earth. At the most exact, the Moon will turn red when the earth, the sun and the moon are all in alignment.  The whole eclipse process will be around 72 minutes. As for the best time to witness the cosmic event, NASA suggests being outside at 3:17a.m., "when the moon will be in deepest shadow, displaying the most fantastic shades of coppery red."

Lunar Eclipses are super full Moons. During an eclipse, it is as if the whole 29 days cycle is captured in a much shorter period of time. It probably explains why we experience these periods like "worm holes", life becomes accelerated. The theme of full moons are culminations, they are times when we see what we have created.  This particular lunar eclipse is in the signs of Gemini and Sagittarius.  The themes of Gemini and Sagittarius are about beliefs, wisdom, and knowledge.  What are our belief systems and how do we communicate them to the world? Do we act our beliefs unconsciously?  Jung said that "what we don't make conscious comes to the form of fate"  and I have been reading a number of things related to the new biology.  There is increasing evidence to say that our beliefs and thoughts create our world.  We create what we belief and what we create.  How are thoughts are so powerful in creating our worlds? 

I believe that this is a good time to examine how our beliefs shape our world and determine how we interpret life's events.  As the sun rises and consciousness increases, it might be helpful to reflect on whether our beliefs and communicates enhance or diminish our lives.   


Christina Becker is a Jungian Analyst, Alchemical Astrologer and Consultant with a private practice in Toronto, Ontario Canada. She is graduate of the C.G. Institute Zurich. Her practice purpose is to empower individuals, couples, teams and organizations on their path of transformation. Her website is www.cjbecker.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Soul and Death

There is nothing so powerful as the death of someone close to us. Death seems to open up a sacred place where we ponder questions of meaning, and the mystery and the worth of life. Jung says “ The goal of the second half of life is death. "When death confronts us, life always seems like a downward flow or like a clock that has been wound up and whose eventual "Running down" is taken for granted. We are never more convinced of this "running down" then when a human life comes to its end before our eyes, and the question of the meaning and the worth of life never becomes more urgent or more agonizing" (Vol 8 para 796)

He reminds us that life is an energy process that is irreversible. It is a law of nature that irrefutable. There is no going back. There is only a journey towards an inevitable end, a goal. That is goal is an ending. He wrote that the natural flow of life is the nourishing soil of the soul.

The failure to acknowledge this inevitability can turn into a fear of life - neurotic resistances, depressions and other psychological distresses as if some aspect of our lives remains caught in the past and refuse to acknowledge the present and the acceptance of what is. Fear becomes our way of being. Our ego will assert its perceived dominance by trying to make life forward movement stand still. We hold on to what was and to the past and refuse to live in the present.

The celebration of a life well lived becomes the mirror of our own regrets and a confrontation with our fear of death reveals the truth about our own fear of life. We can be painfully reminded of those moments when we have shrunk from taking a risk or to participate fully in life.

At the level of the Soul, - the place of the eternal – there is no limitation of time and existence. Even while our body – the vessel which carries our life energy – breaks with the pain of disease. According to the Cheyenne medicine men, “spirit comes to earth to learn the things of the heart through touching"

It doesn’t seem the Soul is concerned with the death of the body instead dreams at an impeding death reveal images of transformation, rebirth, and journeys. For some spiritual tradition, the goal is home, a return to the after life. Jung observed that psyche is much more concerned with how we die and whether we approach the end with attitude of acceptance or resistance.

Stephen Jenkins, The Griefwalker writes that "grief is the sign of life stirring towards itself" It is an awakening of the soul wanting to have a full experience of life in death Grief calls us into a deeper experience of life

In Memoriam to John Adams Becker - 1932 - 2010 

Christina Becker is a Jungian Analyst, Alchemical Astrologer and Consultant with a private practice in Toronto, Ontario Canada. She is graduate of the C.G. Institute Zurich. Her practice purpose is to empower individuals, couples, teams and organizations on their path of transformation. Her website is www.cjbecker.com

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pluto Station Direct - Return from the Underworld 2010

The planet Pluto changes direction today and begins to move forward again after seemingly moving backwards since April 6, 2010.  There were a couple of significant events in my world that week that reminded me how fragile life is and that we must face death as part of our celebration of life. There were two murders in my quiet Polish neighbourhood and for several days, the street was scattered with police cars. On the world stage, President Lech Kaczynski and many of the Poland ruling elite were killed in a plane crash on their way to Russia to mark the 70th anniversary of the massacre of Polish officers by Soviet forces. A country and a people went into another collective mourning with the loss of its leadership. 

Planets when they are retrograde don't actually physically stop and start moving backwards. It is our perspective from the Earth viewing planets as they move around the Sun.  We just think that planets move backwards and from our vantage point they do.

Human beings need to make sense of our world.  Jung wrote that we have a "spiritual instinct" - a hardwired inclination to create meaning, and places ourselves within the cosmos.  Astrology and the planets provide a fertile ground to project ourselves and then to come to know ourselves again from a different perspective. An astrological reading can help to make sense of where we are on our individuation journey.  

The key in understanding retrograde planets is "re".  It comes originally from medival latin and means again and anew. It is a time to re-flect. 

Pluto is the planet of transformation and its retrograde periods can be particularly intense and troublesome. Pluto's return from the underworld brings with it hidden aspects of our personality and our garbage. Our lesson is to learn to let go of aspects of our lives that no longer serve our individuation project.  If we resist this process, then the lesson will be that much harder to integrate. 

With any retrograde planet especially an outer planet, there are key dates on the journey. These dates provide benchmarks or markers along the path for checking in with life and see what is happening around a particular situation.

Check in with your life around these dates and journal what was going on for you at that time. 
  • December 17, 2009 - the Journey began with Pluto arriving at the same place where it is today.
  • April 6 2010 - Pluto turns retrograde and the process of reflection begins
  • June 25 2010 - the turning point of the journey 
  • September 14, 2010 - Pluto turns direct and whatever has been hidden emerges to be integrated into our lives 
  • September 24, 2010 -Manifestation of whatever the cycle has been about.
 
Christina Becker is a Jungian Analyst, Alchemical Astrologer and Consultant with a private practice in Toronto, Ontario Canada. She is graduate of the C.G. Institute Zurich. Her practice purpose is to empower individuals, couples, teams and organizations on their path of transformation. Her website is www.cjbecker.com

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Wallet

Last week, I was in Montreal for the tri-annual congress of Jungian Analysts. 700 of the world's analysts converged in Canada for the first time in IAAP history.   On the first full day, I lost my wallet or it was stolen - I am not sure.  The wallet had vanished - completely disappeared.  It was all rather discombobulating. Mercury, the trickster god who also rules commerce, and communication, was retrograde i.e. going backwards. The Retrograde Station was the previous Friday.   However, the essentials were replaced within a couple of days and so there wasn't a great deal of inconvenience while I was in Montreal.

The location of the loss and the circumstances of my life at the moment suggested to me that this loss should be taken a bit more symbolically.  The whole experience had a dream like quality and if the experience was a dream how would I interpret it.  The unconscious seems to have been speaking to me in a quite dramatic way. The wallet that had gone missing was purchased in Florida in December 2008 when I was there with an ex-partner. It was the last reminder of a painful relationship. It was heavy and full of receipts that needed to be organized, filed or thrown out.  Over the last weeks, I have been determined to get my life and environment more organized. When my life becomes too busy, it is one of the first things that goes. And yet the disorganization and the outer chaos actually contributes to being ill at ease rather than providing a remedy for the busyness.

Symbolically, the wallet reflects how we look after our resources. I saw that the way I took care of my wallet was a mirror to the way I took care of my inner resources. The wallet is a container of our identity and our relationship to the resources in our life.

I could have looked at this as a great tragedy. However, I  recognized that the loss was also an huge opportunity. The trickster/thief forced my hand to look at how I handle my internal and outer resources.  The decision facing the "recreation" of my wallet will all its identity papers, drivers licences, health card,and credit cards is how do I do it.  Do I revert to my old way of being of being disorganized or do I recreate it with intention and consciousness that is in alignment with how I want to take care of myself. This process is ongoing.

"What's in your wallet?"

Addendum
September 13, 2010  - This has turned out to be a Mercury story.  Mercury went direct on September 12 at 7:08 pm. My wallet lost in Montreal on Monday, August 23 - 2 days after Mercury went retrograde - was mailed by Canada Post on September 3, 2010 - the date of Mercury's conjunction with the Sun - and landed in my mailbox today September 13, 2010.  The universe moves in mysterious ways and fortunately, we sometimes are graced with a glimpse this through astrology. I will sort through the things that I need to keep and throw the wallet out.

Christina Becker is a Jungian Analyst, Alchemical Astrologer and Consultant with a private practice in Toronto, Ontario Canada. She is graduate of the C.G. Institute Zurich. Her practice purpose is to empower individuals, couples, teams and organizations on their path of transformation. Her website is www.cjbecker.com

Monday, June 28, 2010

Nightmares - How can we transform our night terrors?

We all have nightmares - those frightening dreams that we wake from in a cold sweat. The mere act of "waking up" is probably the very thing that is needed.  Nightmares call us into becoming conscious of our fears.

What are nightmares? 


If we consider that dreams are messages from the soul to our conscious mind, then nightmares could be viewed as urgent messages, that is, messages previously sent in a gentler form but went unheard or denied. These messages could point to problems in attitude towards some aspect of our lives, they could expose an outmode way of being that limits our growth or they highlight the death of current perspective or attitude.  In all cases, we are confronted in some way. But it is the comfortable and the status quo of our ego that is in some way no longer serving our deeper journey.  

The longer we ignore these messages from the soul then the more vehement the messages become.   

The way that we look at various aspects of ourselves often determine the form that they appear. For example, a menacing destructive figure comes after you and you run from it. The question is what are you running from in your life.  In many cases, apparently dangerous dream figures can lose their destructive energy simply by taking a receptive attitude to our inner world.

How can we transform our nightmares? 

Turn around and face whatever it is that you have been avoiding or denying. The menace that you have been running from for what seems like forever will like take on a different shape.  I love the phrase that I heard Wayne Dyer  "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change"  Try changing your perspective.    



I talk a bit more about this in an article in The Toronto Star entitled  "Work-related dreams often represent unfinished business" 

Christina Becker is a Jungian Analyst, Professional Astrologer and Consultant with a private practice in Toronto, Ontario Canada. She is graduate of the C.G. Institute Zurich. Her practice purpose is to empower individuals, couples, teams and organizations on their path of transformation. Her website is www.cjbecker.com

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pluto Station Retrograde and the Night Sea Journey

Pluto, the planet of death, rebirth and transformation, turns retrograde at 10:34 pm Eastern Daylight Time on April 6, 2010.  It has been direct, i.e. moving forward since September 11, 2009.  Since then, we have been integrating into our psyches what Pluto raised from the depths during its last retrograde from April 4 to September 11th.

In the Greek myth, Hades, Zeus's oldest brother, is the god of the underworld, the land of the dead.  It is place described in various texts as a gloomy chasm where no mortal may enter and the gods avoid. In a later manifestation, Hades also became the lord of the treasures. His imagery associated with the helmet of invisibility and also the cornucopia of plenty.  In fairy tales and other mythology, the treasure hard to attain is symbolic of the consciousness and transformation that results from descending into the recesses of our own unconscious.

Pluto is the planet furthest away from the earth and the one that has the most profound effect on our lives.  Its station often brings crisis. Situations suddenly erupt like volcanoes forcing us to deal with them. And thus the station signals the turning inward to address underlying unconscious dynamics that fuelled the outer situation. Yet at this time, we are only vaguely aware that something is out of sync in our lives.

During the retrograde, Pluto digs up all that is false in our life - adaptations we construct to be in the world and developed to fit in, to be successful, to be liked, or to look good in the eyes of friends and colleagues. We begin to find that things in our lives that use to worked don't. It can often be an intensely emotional time. The feelings and emotions long since buried flow to the surface like lava. The transformation is inevitable and directed by a energy much larger than our ego notions of our life. The ultimate purpose of the transit is to reveal the healing truth of the soul and to systematically stripe all that is doesn't serve the deeper aspects of our personality, our authenticity and individuation. 

Key dates to reflect on as we embark on the process letting go.
  • December 24, 2009 - the journey began with the conjunction with the Sun initiating all that the cycle is about ;
  • June 25, 2010 - the journey hits a turning point or culmination of a process that started in December and the underlying issue being addressed psychologically begins to emerge with greater clarity. 
  • September 14, 2010 - Pluto turns direct and whatever has been hidden emerges to be integrated into our lives


Christina Becker is a Jungian Analyst, Professional Astrologer and Consultant with a private practice in Toronto, Ontario Canada. She is graduate of the C.G. Institute Z├╝rich. Her practice purpose is to empower individuals, couples, teams and organizations on their path of transformation. Her website is www.cjbecker.com

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Psychological Relevance of Good Friday

Carl Gustav Jung, the founder of analytical psychology was one of the first psychologists to explore the Christian myth as psychological experience. The themes around Good Friday and the cruxification are particularly relevant to the individuation process, that is, the life long journey towards psychological wholeness and to live the Self's experiement in life.

In the Christian Myth, Good Friday marks Jesus's cruxification and the beginning of the three days of waiting for the ressurection on Easter Sunday. The symbols of the cross and the waiting 3 days are found in many other myths and fairy tales. The central theme of which reflect the psychological experience of the death of something in order that something else can rise.  Three days is symbolic of the night sea journey with its themes of descent and return. In these journeys, a part of the ego's energy retreats from daily life for inner exploration to find the truth of the soul. 

For Carl Jung and Jungian Analyst, Edward Edinger, the cruxificiation and the cross are the psychological experience of that moment when the divine and the ego are locked in a tension of the opposites. Both are on the cross. Both must sacrifice something for transformation to occur.  The Self / the Divine must come down from heaven and become conscious in the individual as life energy.  The ego must sacrifice the inflated notion that it is the master of its own house and serve the larger call of individuation.  The drama of the cruxification is symbolically a fundemental experience of the individuation process.

This process is described by Edward Edinger in Ego and Archetype  " This state is a transition period. It is the limbo of despair following the death of an old life orientation and preceding the birth of a new one. Jesus' ressurection symbolizes the birth of a more comprehensive personality which can result from the conscious acceptance of the cruxification ordeal" p 150.


Christina Becker is a Jungian Analyst, Professional Astrologer and Consultant with a private practice in Toronto, Ontario Canada. She is graduate of the C.G. Institute Zurich. Her practice purpose is to empower individuals, couples, teams and organizations on their path of transformation. Her website is www.cjbecker.com

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring and The Archetypal Mystery of Sacrifice, Death and Rebirth

I have been mindful for a number of weeks now that it has been a long time since I have written in these pages.  While various ideas and topics have floated in my thoughts in recent days, nothing captured my  attention sufficiently to set words to paper.

This morning was different.

Today is the first day of spring and I welcome it in Antigonish, Nova Scotia where I have a small monthly practice of spiritual direction and Jungian Analysis.  The weather is beautiful – blue sky and a warm breeze. The unforgettable smell of new growth is in the air. 

I started my morning reflections with the sense of relief after the long winter and the anticipation of new life. My thoughts turned to Persephone in the Homeric Myth to Demeter and the beginning of Spring heralding her return to the upper world from the underworld. In the myth, Demeter agrees with the Gods, in exchange for the return of her daughter, Persephone must return to the underworld to be with her husband Pluto for 3 months of the year.  During those 3 months, the land lies fallow. Nothing grows. All of the activity lies in the unconscious - below the level of consciousness.   Much like my blog entries, my thoughts and reflections have been fallow.

The theme of this myth is very present in the modern day Easter ritual and Lent, and speaks to the archetypal journey of sacrifice, death and rebirth. It is a theme that is still psychologically relevant. At this time of year,  we are called to sacrifice something – an old attitude, outmoded belief, a way of seeing ourselves in the world – in order for something else to be present or to emerge from the empty space.

The archetypal significance of sacrifice to the Gods or to something larger than oneself is found in many spiritual traditions. The word comes from Middle English and means to make sacred.  Martha Blake in her paper “The Psychology of Sacrifice” proposes that the essence of sacrifice comes from the innate human need to purify and to give new life, and which takes the form of a conscious action. We need to actively let go of something of  value in service of something larger. In the days leading up to Easter, the 40 days of Lent marks the time of letting go, and giving up something in preparation for the death and resurrection inherently symbolized in the Easter Weekend.

The ancient journey of the divine feminine is also present at this time for it is the lunar cycle that defines the timing of the Easter Ritual. The name Easter is derived from the goddess of fertility and birth — Eostre.  Eostre was worshipped by early Anglo-Saxons in what is now Central Europe and Britain during the vernal equinox. The Vernal Equinox is the beginning of the astrological new year and the first day of Aries. The Aries Point is regarded as a highly significant point in astrology.   The sign of Aries speaks of action, initiation, and pioneering.  The shifting date of Easter is tied to this point and is calculated for the first Sunday following the Paschall Full Moon.  The Paschell Moon is calculated from the 14th day of the lunar cycle following the Vernal Equinox.

As we approach Easter Weekend in approximately 14 days,  we are in a liminal sacred time.  Treat this time with reverence and mystery and reflect on what are you prepared to let go or to give up in order for something new to come into your life?


Christina Becker is a Jungian Analyst, Professional Astrologer and Consultant with a private practice in Toronto, Ontario Canada. She is graduate of the C.G. Institute Zurich. Her practice purpose is to empower individuals, couples, teams and organizations on their path of transformation. Her website is www.cjbecker.com