Inspirational Quote

It’s best to have failure happen early in life. It wakes up the Phoenix bird in you so you rise from the ashes.

Anne Baxter

A Depth Psychology Perspective

Synchronicity is a psychological perspective on two independent events functioning as a whole to elicit the movement of one towards its natural aim. It was a cornerstone of Jung’s theory on psychodynamics that promotes the psyche’s ascent towards its realized state. I was taken aback by a synchronistic event that occurred when my son asked me about the rise of the Phoenix bird.

My son’s question brought me back to the myth of Daedalus, whose ascent to the heavens mirrors that of the Phoenix Bird. However, little did I know the true power of the collective that would unfold from a seven-year-old boy’s psyche.

In one of his flights of fancy, I spoke of grounding his Pheonix. He told me he saw this in his Marvel Game and how he believed this bird must be like a winged angel. He spoke of how this firebird must be like a soul’s willingness to rise to heaven from the depths of its earthly existence. He told me how he once heard that a star falls with each death mourned by the earth and likened it to a deal struck between God and the Earth. Wow, what lessons exist in this myth? While I am not all too familiar with it, I told him we would explore this together. Food for study in my next series of analyses, but for now, let’s look at the dynamics of growth possible related to our story of Daedalus.

Daedalus becomes entrapped by his own devices. In essence, he moves towards the shadow material needed to ascend. While he undergoes the journey himself, his son has yet to experience this required pivotal step to ascend with the weight necessary to assure its grounded nature. This is the realm of wisdom versus a flight of fancy, a perspective we all must adopt when faced with life or death situations. While youth has its place and is needed to undertake the rigors of education required to complete complex tasks, it is in the hands of the earlier generation to foster those skills needed for the youth to develop a foundation of courage necessary to take that step into often unknown and fear-laden territories. This is the realm of ash-work or the psyche’s garden from which the Phoenix can arise.

The phoenix is a psychopomp, that arises from the ashes of the past. It is transcendent moving towards its destiny in the air with utmost precision. It is fire, burning passion to realize its aim.

Take the profession of medicine. Do you want an inexperienced doctor operating on your heart? Of course not. You want someone who is grounded enough in the patience necessary to complete their task in a precise and systematic way. Maybe a little OCD. But at a minimum, someone who has proven to themselves and the colleagues of their profession that they can open up a chest cavity, perform the procedure necessary, put it back together, and not forget the scalpel in the body. The last thing you ever want to hear a doctor say is, Oops, at the surgery table.

While this may be an extreme example, far too often, we trust our very wellbeing in the hands of the uninitiated, who have yet to do the ash-work necessary in life, let alone their profession. Stepping down into the ashes is an essential step, one that we as adults are responsible for leading our youth into as initiators of humanity’s next generation.

A society is only as strong as its weakest link. If the individual is soft and has no grounding, the family they create will have no grounding and subsequently be inadequate. Ultimately the broken Self is the cause of the fractured family unit, the single-parent household, absent fathers, and even absent mothers who chose selfish aims over the wellbeing of the family unit. If a family unit is weak, a community has no basis; the family unit is the bearer of all social values. If a local community has no basis, so too does the social fabric of higher forms of social order deteriorate. Social chaos takes root in the very ashpit personal chaos arises. Which begs the question, what area is it least difficult to treat?

To fly high towards the sun with no direction creates the effects of numbness so familiar to a life without purpose. No wonder we have such a prevalence of drug use in this country, with generations wandering the skies searching for that special someone they know exists yet have never taken the time to cultivate. Our personal ascent without grounding is how the social order constructed plummets to the ash-pit to meat its end.

Where is the destination? Not even a bird can fly indefinitely without the innate knowledge necessary to know that it has grounding underneath its wings to land and a clear direction to fly. My seven-year-old unconsciously knew this, for he is creating the symbols of a myth that will become the psychological armor he dawns to navigate his adult life. Yet this form of thinking somehow escapes the feeble adult mind, which has lost its essence. While tragic in scope, it does not have to be the final chapter.

Let us focus our energies on giving our children a social and cultural myth by which to live. Let’s direct their attention towards the beauty of nature afforded us in our childhood. With many blessings, my friends, Namaste. May peace find you as you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams.

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