Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Get Listed with hedgewitch: Mind and Symbol

The Sun fighting the Moon: "The "conjunction of opposites", or meeting of opposites represents the conjunction of the conscious and the unconscious (alchemical engraving from Aurora consurgens Treaty, 1500)." Public domain via

"Our soul, as our body, is composed of all elements that have existed in the lineage of our ancestors. The "new" in the individual soul is a recombination, infinitely varied, of extremely old components "
- C. G. Jung

Greetings, Toads, Toadettes and Garden aficionados, hedgewitch here. Those who've paid attention to my various ramblings over the years know I've had a certain resistance to working from word lists, so it may seem odd to see me in charge today of our Get Listed challenge. Gradually, however, the creative persistence of our various Garden dwellers and followers has drawn me into an exercise I've come to find very productive and rewarding. I hope you will find it the same. 

Note: I do tend to go on and on, people, so if you'd like to skip all the verbiage and cut to the chase, feel free to scroll down at any time to the bold text below titled The Challenge, where all the nuts and bolts are located.

So today it's my turn to present a list, and my source material is the world of dreams and symbols, the unconscious mind, and its role in our creative process and indeed our lives, as explored in the works of analytical psychologist and spiritual explorer, Carl Gustav Jung.

C.G. Jung, frontispiece, 1964 edition, Man and His Symbols

From wikipedia link above:

"Carl Gustav Jung (/26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961), often referred to as C. G. Jung, was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology... the central concept of ...[which] individuation—the psychological process of integrating opposites, including the conscious with the unconscious, while still maintaining their relative autonomy.... Jung proposed and developed [among others,] the concepts of extraversion and introversion; archetypes, and the collective unconscious...

His work has been influential in psychiatry and in the study of religion, philosophy, archeology, anthropology, literature, and related fields. He was a prolific writer, many of whose works were not published until after his death." ~wikipedia

 “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
― C.G. Jung

Cover of 1964 edition  The mandala is a frequently used spiritual symbol in many cultures.

“One book opens another.”
― C.G. Jung

I've always been fond of picture books, books that tell their narrative with illustrations as much as words, especially those that deal with myth, magic and history, so it's no surprise that one of my favorites is Jung's enormous word-and-picture book Man and His Symbols. Our word list today is drawn from the first chapter of this literary project Jung worked on shortly before his death in 1961: a presentation of his theories of psychological analysis, dreams, and components of the unconscious mind using extensive imagery. It was intended for a general audience rather than the psychoanalytic specialist, and  I recommend it to all who'd like to take a visual and verbal trip down below our mental floorboards, where so much of the material for our poetry and for art is found.

Below you will find some pictures and concepts drawn from the book to get us going:

This painting by Paul Gauguin (Two Tahitian Women, 1899) is used in Man and his Symbols to illustrate one stage of the anima, or female inside the male: the primal woman. Public domain via
Saint Michael fighting the dragon, Hours of Etienne Chevalier, illuminated by Jean Fouquet. Innumerable symbols here: "The scene is inspired by chapter 12 of the Apocalypse which describes the combat of St. Michael against the dragon, symbol of the forces of Evil. Assisted by the angels, one of whom holds his helmet and lance, Michael raises his  sword against a monster of seven heads in front of a mountainous and fantastic landscape. Below, the caves of  hell open where Satan oversees the torture of hearts. On the right, one sees in the flames the dragon  defeated  by the archangel." Public domain via

Rock Garden After Rain, by ECP on Flick'r,Creative Commons
"Stones are frequent images of the Self (because they are complete--ie; 'unchanging'--and lasting)" ~quoted from Man & His Symbols, p. 207

Another illustration used in Man and His Symbols, George De La Tour's Repenting Magdalene, 1630, contains many universal symbols, including the skull, the candle flame, the book, the mirror and Mary Magdealene herself. Public Domain via

The Challenge: 

“Words are animals, alive with a will of their own”
―C.G. Jung
Now, without any further incursions into the world of psychoanalysis and its complexities and jargon on my part, I'd like us to attempt to dig into the world of mind and symbol, and write about something that comes from 'under the hood' of our conscious thought process. The piece should deal with the world of dreams, the mind,  symbols or the unconscious. It may retell an archetypal myth. It may be about a specific dream. It may be about sanity or madness, or it may explore and focus on any one or more of the symbols shown in these pictures or on a personally meaningful one. 

I have included thirty-two words (below) so that our poems may take different directions. There is no maximum number limit, but also no requirement to use them all, either. 

However you must use at least five of the words from this list drawn from Chapter One of Man & His Symbols, in your choice of either a poem utilizing a form, in a prose-poem,  or in free verse.  
So without further ado, here is the word list.  
Have at it, pond dwellers, and show us what is hidden beneath those mental floorboards


As always new work is preferred, but if by utilizing a significant number of words (10 or more) from the list above, an older work can be given a new voice that fits in with the theme, that is also welcome. If you choose to revamp an older work, feel free to include both versions. 

If using any of the images I've included, please include attribution, as always.

C.G. Jung quotes via Goodreads


Anonymous said...

Thanks Hedge! In the way of underwordly synchonicities, a dream from two nights ago anticipated this challenge upside-downwise. Which is, I suppose, the way of the Otherworld Jung had spelunked down into for so long ...

Scarlet said...

A short one from me - thanks for the wonderful read & challenge HW ~

Happy Wednesday ~

Outlawyer said...

Such a cool prompt. great pics. I see yours is up and started to read-- then got to spoke a wheel which was such a great phrase I realize d I had to stop reading till I finished mine, now there is a phrase I would like to have written. Sorry for no caps on mobile device. K.

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is an amazing prompt, Hedge, and such a list to work from! I'm just back from work and must go out again for a parent-teacher conference, but I shall certainly allow my subconscious some time to mull over the challenge.

Maude Lynn said...

Definitely an amazing prompt! I adore Jung, and

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

is on my list of favorite quotes.

hedgewitch said...

Thanks, everyone. I hope the words prompt something for you. I've been very impressed with what's emerged from the unconscious here so far.

Mark Kerstetter said...

I've never read Jung, but am always intrigued by statements attributed to him and have no doubt absorbed some Jungian ideas. My poem does not profess to say anything about Jung, but is me riffing on this great word list.

Ella said...

Clever Hedge! I received the Spider today in my Medicine I must go tangle myself with my thoughts. I do think it represents the Wheel of Fortune. I am having lots of ups and downs-in regards to my moods and the internet.

Marian said...


Susie Clevenger said...

Fantastic prompt..So looking forward to reading everyone's work!!

hedgewitch said...

Thanks to everyone who's participated. I will be checking back in periodically for the next few days, so feel free to keep linking through the rest of the week if something bubbles up.

Margaret said...

Had a busy day today, but hope to be able to find time tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

I do not know whether I'll be able to type mine up tonight as still at work. Will see. But will get it up in next few days for sure. K.

Anonymous said...

ps - says she, complaining bitterly--it's 8:05! k.

Anonymous said...

ps - says she, complaining bitterly--it's 8:05! k.

Fireblossom said...

Would I let you down, Hedge? Would I? No wayyyyyyyyyyyyy. :-)

hedgewitch said...

That was amazing, Shay! I think I may need therapy now, though.

@karin--that's awfully late to be working! I hope you get overtime. ;_)

Again, no rush, people. This is about writing a piece you're happy with, not about meeting a deadline. I'll be checking back.

avalon said...

Shouldn't have attempted this, but I did find it too intriguing. Difficult without sufficient insight to translate it into a personal experience, imagined or real.But being out of our depth at times is not a bad thing. Thank you for stretching my mind.

Ella said...

Thank you Hedge! I loved yours-I am struggling. I have been writing essays and now finding poetry a trance dance-

Outlawyer said...

Ha. Up. Now I can feel free to read others. K. (Manicddaily)

Margaret said...

…mine broke the rules a bit. But I do need a bit of comfort therapy after this post. Does that count?

Hannah said...

That was fun!! Thank you, Hedge!

Anonymous said...

ah, a list... Sorry, Hedge, for not playing... moving, packing, etc., and just not feeling it much these last few weeks. Haven't been visiting either, except for Galen's last hurrahs. ~

Margaret said...

I will be around tomorrow and Saturday to visit and comment. I was busy saying goodbye and commenting on Galen's Friday Flash 55's tonight.

Lolamouse said...

Better late than never, right? Sorry for the delay-huge grant due in a few days at work and I'm spent!

hedgewitch said...

Thanks to everyone who participated--some amazing poetry from you all.

@DE your link is faulty De.I added a corrected one to your poem.Hope that was okay.

Jim said...

Thank you for allowing me to show my ignorance. You have a nice, interesting post and I like the pictures you used. I sneaked onto my blog your St. Michael and explanation.

Perhaps next time my effort will produce something better, more appropriate for Toad quality. But here is my "Unfinished Nonsense" for what it is not.

Joe Todd said...

Interesting post. Thanks