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Journey 3 - The King Is Dead, Long Live the King

"When the king grows old and needs renewing, a kind of planetary bath is instituted - a bath into which all the planets pour their 'influences.'  This expresses the idea that the 'dominant,' grown feeble with age, needs the support and influence of those subsidiary lights to fortify and renew it." C.G. Jung

We start out this final section on the subject of transiting planets with a short passage penned by depth psychologist, Dr. Carl G. Jung, regarding the symbolism of Sol (the Sun) and corresponding image of the King. The particular passage is taken from Jung's book entitled Mysterium Coniuntionis.

The Mysterium, completed in the final years of Jung's life, is considered to be the summa of "Jungian Psychology." It's also (for better or for worse) considered to be the most difficult of his writings to wade though. So hang in there with me...

"The king (Sol) represents ego-consciousness, the subject of all subjects, as an object. His fate in mythology portrays the rising and setting of this most divine of all the phenomena of creation, without which the world would not exist as an object. For everything that is - only is - because it is directly or indirectly known, and moreover this 'known-ness' is sometimes represented in a way which the subject himself does not know, just as if he were being observed from another planet, now with benevolent and now with sardonic gaze.

Pitilessly it is seen from another planet that the king is growing old, even before he sees it himself: ruling ideas, the 'dominants' change - and the change, undetected by consciousness, is mirrored only in dreams.

King Sol, as the archetype of consciousness, voyages through the world of the unconscious, one of its multitudinous figures which may one day be capable of consciousness too. These lesser lights are, on the old view, identical with the planetary correspondences in the psyche which were postulated by astrology...

When the king grows old and needs renewing, a kind of planetary bath is instituted - a bath into which all the planets pour their 'influences.'  This expresses the idea that the 'dominant,' grown feeble with age, needs the support and influence of those subsidiary lights to fortify and renew it."

from the Mysterium Coniuntionis CW 14 written by C.G. Jung (all italics mine)

Got All That?
Got all that? No? Well... no need to feel like the "Lone Stranger"... because on my very, very best day - reading and gaining even a partial grasp of Dr. Carl G. Jung's writings can be more than a wee bit difficult and typically ends up stretching my brain to its very outer limits.

Growing Up Is Hard To Do
According to Jung, one of the things the symbol of the Sun represents (reflects or symbolizes) is ego-consciousness... I exist! I am a separate, unique entity! I am different from everyone else! I create! I grow! I shine!

Our "ego-consciousness" is a growth process. We - generally speaking - spend the first half of our life journey engaged in "mining the gold" of our birth Sun's energies. During this time we begin the very difficult task of separating and distinguishing ourselves from those around us. During the "growing up years" - we begin the task of discovering ourselves to be uniquely different from friends and family.

In this difficult maturation process, we struggle mightily to separate ourselves from the archetypal world of "The Mothers..."

This archetypal struggle is aptly illustrated in the astrological Zodiac by the passage from the maternal sign of Cancer ruled by the Moon and into the heroic sign of Leo ruled by the Sun. Thus, during the first half of our life journey, we engage ourselves in the heroic task of developing our birth Sun Sign energies. We grow up... we learn to stand on our own two feet... we learn how to shine by gaining our own individual "standing" in the world... This is the process of discovering and mining the gold of our birth Sun's energy!

The Second Half of Our Life Journey
However, during the development of our ego-consciousness energies - somewhere along the journey of discovering and defining "who we are" and "what we believe" - we initially, out of necessity, had to leave behind some very crucial elements of "who we are"... and those forgotten, left out elements of "who we are" contain much needed vital energy and life-force... So then one day... we begin to feel all mined out...

The Mid-Life Crisis!
Mid-life is the natural time of life when we may begin to feel drained of vital life energies... and we begin asking ourselves the question: "Is this really all there is?" Many of our old dependable values, attitudes, and beliefs - those that previously "worked" so well for us - have now all seemingly abandoned us.... and more than a few of the values, attitudes, and beliefs that we used to treat with derision suddenly appear to be making much more sense.

According to Jung's Mysterium, if we courageously choose to accept the challenge of the Sun's renewal - then we spend the second half of our life journey reclaiming all of those forgotten, left out vital elements of "who we are" and "what we believe"... We begin the heroic task of "growing down" and the renewal of our wounded King... just like the continuous cycle of the Sun - we begin our own personal process of renewing our birth Sun's energies... Yes, the Sun has set... but the Sun shall rise again!

Those Other Planets?
Throughout our lives, those other planets reflect the bathing (and baptism) of universal energies... and as Jung put it so aptly - sometimes it feels as if these planets gaze at us benevolently and sometimes they gaze sardonically.

Bottom Line
So then... early in life, transiting planets symbolically reflect the emergence, growth, and development of our Sun's energies (ego-consciousness). Later in life, these same transiting planets now act as messengers and helpers that reflect the continuing renewal and rebirth process of our Sun's energies...

In her book Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche Jungian author Marie-Louise von Franz tells us:

"It seems to me to be one of the greatest contributions of Jung and his work that it taught us to keep our door open to the "unknown visitor." He (Jung) also tried to teach us an approach through which we can avoid the wrath of this visitor, which every frivolous, haughty, or greedy host in the folk tales brought down on himself. For it depends only on ourselves whether this coming of the gods becomes a blessed visit or a fell disaster."

The King is dead, long live the King!

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