Why “Symbolic Themes”?
A friend of mine once asked me “Why Symbolic Themes?”
I told him that it’s how my mind works. I see thematic patterns in the symbols around me, and I use it to guide me through life. But I’ve just found further justification for my choice of blog names in a book called “Man and His Symbols” edited by eminent psychologist, Carl Jung.
It’s a book that explains Jung’s philosophy in laypeople’s terms so that non-academics can play along at home. Basically, Jung believed that our subconscious communicates with us in the language of symbols and archetypes that have appealed to people throughout history. He also believed that by paying attention to our dreams, and our responses to the symbols we encounter around us, we can interpret the intuitive guidance we have within us.
Here’s the quote that made me think I was on the right track with the name for this blog that I had already chosen, years ago:
“…the great writers are able to transcend the differences of time and place and express themes that are universal. We respond because these themes are fundamentally symbolic.”
I love to talk about those universal similarities that transcend time and place! (And I aspire to be a great writer someday too). All great artists transcend time and place when their work touches something in their audience that resonates within them.
What led me to read "Man and His Symbols" was a quest to find where my work and chosen area of study fits in the world. I found some Masters Degree courses in Transpersonal Psychology, and though I can't take them the way I want to right now, I found that Jung is at the bottom of it all. So I decided to educate myself. Many of his ideas are already so familiar to me, but I learned them from people who built upon his work, like Joseph Campbell and Carolyn Myss.
Here’s the description from the back of MY book, Echoes Across Time:
“Mara is a woman on a mission… to follow the unraveling trail of meaning behind her symbolic dreams while trying to save her best friend from self-destruction.
Part spiritual adventure, part feminist fairy tale, this modern-day myth takes you through a mystical series of events from America to India, and on to Sri Lanka spanning four generations.
Along the way it offers metaphorical explanations for simple mysteries of our lives that make up our identities. From seemingly inexplicable friendships to exotic mixed ancestry, Mara finds the purpose behind it all. Ultimately the tale offers insight into how each of our souls has at least one connection that echoes across time.”
So though I chose the name Symbolic Themes for my work years ago, and wrote a book based on the things that fascinate me, I’m feeling pretty good about myself because without really knowing it, I have fallen very nicely within the framework of Jungian thinking! I may even be channeling Carl Gustav Jung himself!