1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

Every man carries within him the eternal image of woman March 26, 2009

This is a re-post of one friend’s writing about the meaning of woman in his life. This small essay is not only incredibly profound and sincere, but also breathtakingly beautiful. Apparently many men will appreciate that revelation.

(image by swaps)

Seeking Aphrodite

“Every man carries within him the eternal image of woman … This image is fundamentally unconscious, an hereditary factor of primordial origin …an imprint or ‘archetype’ of all the ancestral experiences of the female, a deposit, as it were, of all the impressions ever made by woman” . Carl Jung, Collected Works 17:338

All my life I have been haunted, and sometimes pursued by an angel archetype. I have wondered where this comes from? Encounters with this archetype have been the cause of experiences filled with otherworldly elation, wonder and beauty as well as incredible disaster, suffering and grief.

I have met this archetype in many forms throughout my life: it gave birth to me, I married it; I have loved it, lost and regained it several times over: it goes, but I know inside me it is never gone for long. It is too interested in me and I am too interested in it. So yes, it keeps returning in a slightly different shape, with minutely altered characteristics, but otherwise substantially the same. I see the cycles, I know the dramas, I have read the script, memorized the lines, and know the ending.

But my vision of it refuses to pass. This archetype resonates deeply inside me and all the efforts of wisdom, emotional pragmatism, and philosophic analysis have failed to eradicate this figure I seem to know so well, this tantalizing angel, this mischievous, eternally present Aphrodite, this vanishing and returning, fascinating and perplexing, milk skinned goddess figure who never allows me to fully forget her. Indeed, there are some deep patternings inside ourselves that elude rational analysis: “the heart has reasons of which reason itself is unaware”.

Every time I have gained and lost my archetype, I have also stepped across a threshold into a state of temporary tragedy. The tragic in life, as opposed to novel, film or play, however is never a state of absolute finality. The tragic moment in life is actually one of enormous redemptive power and potential. In tragedy we give birth to ourselves. And life demands from us the honesty to do this.

Our true self is always more complex, mysterious, elusive and resistant to analysis than the bright, extroverted persona we project at the world, and sometimes it takes tragedy to expose it, to bring it to light, because our true self contains our shadow too: the dark space within us that is filled with all that we hide and deny, all we yearn after and desire.

My archetype still glimmers at me from deep inside my shadow. We have pursued and fled from each other, magnetized and repelled, clung onto each other and let go of each other many times. And I am glad I have had those experiences. They have allowed me to struggle to give birth to who I am, to authentically produce myself as a human being. As I have got older I have discovered life never gives you exactly what you want, but it does present opportunities for confrontation and illumination with the truth of who you are.

And what could be more generous?

by Caleb Williams


24 Responses to “Every man carries within him the eternal image of woman”

  1. volodimir108 Says:

    Yes, it’s true! However there is a chance to meet this archetype and not to loose it anymore.

  2. I tend to agree. Contrary to what the “holy books” have to say, woman was not “created” from man by an imaginary entity because the man felt lonely.

    From the point of view of Mother Nature, men are merely incomplete women. Even the term “man” is just an incomplete form of the term “woman”. By definition, a biological organism is a living being that responds to stimuli, regulates its internal environment, is capable of growth and development and reproduction. A woman is capable of all of the above. Man is capable of everything except the last one.

    On his own, a man (or any male organism, for that matter) is an evolutionary dead end, of very little use to the order of Nature. From Mother Nature’s point of view, the sole purpose of men (and all males) is just to help women (and all females) complete their function as living organisms.

    The existence of man as a woefully incomplete organism is only for the purpose of helping a woman achieve her completeness 😐

    • axinia Says:

      Raj, you tend to agree?!? incredible!…:)
      I love that : “From the point of view of Mother Nature, men are merely incomplete women. Even the term “man” is just an incomplete form of the term “woman”. – just as simple as that.

      You know the saying: “When a woman gains male gualities, she becomes a devil, when a man gains female qualities he becomes a saint” …. how true!

  3. swaps Says:

    “true self is always more complex, mysterious, elusive and resistant to analysis..”
    So true. I think the ‘opposite’ was created to define this elusive self…so men and women define each other, more than they can define themselves.

    Didn’t someone say…“Single and separate they are not the complete human Being;they are like the odd Halves of Scissors;they cannot answer the end of their Formation”

  4. draupadi16 Says:

    Very interesting story, Axinia! Once Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi declared:” Woman are like Mother Earth and Man are like Flowers. Nobody can smell her fragrance without man!”

  5. The tragic moment in life is actually one of enormous redemptive power and potential. In tragedy we give birth to ourselves. And life demands from us the honesty to do this.

    Excellent analysis and How true! Thanks Axinia, for bringing this to us.

  6. Sahaja Says:

    thats very nice article axinia….infact, I tend to believe in Mother Nature as u might have noticed by now…..as the final power….
    Like I said, Prakruti in sanskrit is Nature…is referred to be Parvati in Hindu Mythology……She is the gist of existance!

    And Lord Shiva – also called as LAYA KARA which means, Harmony Bringer…..

    Its said, Nature by itself, might get ferocious and be in extremes and Laya here comes into play……to make the existance sustainable!!
    But the strange part here is that Shiva is actually a part of Parvati! So, Man is a part Woman to make Life sustainable…

    To me, man and woman are counter parts….They are equally valuable to each other! and equally required [though different modes] for each other’s harmonious existance! Just like we cant clap with one hand, may be?

  7. Dev Says:

    You rwriteup has really brought out the true essence of being a woman, beautifully.

  8. […] This post is derived from a fellow blogger Axinia’s post on her blog – https://1000petals.wordpress.com/2009/03/26/every-man-carries-within-him-the-eternal-image-of-woman/ […]

  9. Dear Axinia,

    This post was personally useful to me.

    I have written one post on my blog; it is derived from what I read here (and combines it with my own, previously thought, carelessly littered, ideas about the same subject)

    Here – http://vaibhavtiwari.wordpress.com/2009/03/30/मेरे-मन-के-अंदर-एक-विरह्नि/

    Many thanks to you and to that friend of yours.

    Bangalore, India.

  10. swaps Says:

    “Sometimes we struggle through a tasteless coffee till the last sip, only to find sugar lying at the bottom. That’s life, enough sweetened, but needs someone to stir it.”

    (But coffee is always tasteless, tasteless, tasteless… 🙂

  11. Caleb Williams Says:

    With Axinia’s blessing (and certain amount of gentle prompting 😉 ) I’d like to thank all of you who commented so thoughtfully on my post …. Swaps …vaibhavtiwari …Destination infinity … An alien Earthling … thank you to you all and to everyone else for such wonderful & provocative thoughts. It is a pleasure to see that something I wrote in an attempt to understand myself was related to by others and produced such a rich, insightful, open-hearted and enjoyable “dialogue”. No matter how individual our different life stories it seems that certain universal themes underly all human experience: the search for “love”, and the need to understand its mystery, fullness, and sometimes too, its transience and passing, is one such theme. I believe this is what makes us fully human. It say’s much about our bravery and our hope as individuals and a species… and even the wisest ‘realist’ among us (or most disappointed cynic) … knows these feelings, too: the rapture in finding, the tragedy in losing, and with this, a need to understand more deeply why these experiences happened to us, what they meant and how we can use them to deepen our awareness, to gain something …. In my case, I decided what I could gain, and in fact had gained, was a more authentic knowing of my own character, my shadow and light. And with that a huge decrease in fear, and much greater compassion for both myself and others. Once gain, great comments … As for my archetype she haunts me still … but as Jung said “the greatest and most important problems of life are all fundamentally insoluble. They can never be solved but only outgrown.” I doubt I will outgrow her, she’s too important, but as time goes by, we will perhaps come to understand each other more deeply, outgrowing our hide-and-seek game with each other, our perpetual cycle of attachment and flight! Any way here’s hoping! Caleb

    • swaps Says:

      Once again you treated us to great insight when you said “And with that a huge decrease in fear…”. Which is so true. Thanks for sharing your valuable thoughts.

      • Caleb Williams Says:

        May I also say swaps that your image at the top of this post is amazing. A very powerful and poetic photo. … so many things that make life great and yet which also deepen our respect for its mystery are on display here … nature, light, shadow, and the tantalizing presence the ‘eternal feminine’ … a great ‘capture’: so filled with serenity, poise and peace …

        • swaps Says:

          Thanks Caleb. That photo was almost an accident, I had taken it before I knew what I was doing…it just happened. It is my favorite.

  12. axinia Says:

    I find it so great that you leave a comment under YOUR post!

    I wonder if you are sure that this archetype can never be found? I mean are you sure it works same for every man?
    Because my husband left a comment here (volodimir108) saying soemthing different 🙂

    • Caleb Williams Says:

      Thanks Axinia!

      Volodimir is right! I am completely of his school of thought (I loved his comment). I joked to a friend of mine recently when I was asked to define my character ‘simply’ and said: “I am a fatalistic optimist”.

      I am an optimist at heart. It is my nature. But I am a fatalist too because I have encountered some awful things in the world. Death of loved ones, dissolution of marriage, divorce, loss of kids, etc etc. Life is wonderful, but I have a great respect for the arbitrary and paradoxical quality of the universe too.

      I am always hopeful because I would rather ”love life”, than “live fear” … but I accept all that life contains, too: not always getting exactly what I want included. Great light, deep shadow. But like us all I hope for the happy ending!


  13. axinia Says:

    On the other hand, Caleb – I wonder if you are sure that the archetype you are seeking is really the right one for you?? I mean I have seen it many a times that we tend to see “our” people in whose who are not really meant for us. Even my husband says he used to like the opposite ot me type of women 🙂 And now he realised that it is only me who can complement him ideally. 🙂

  14. […] This post is derived from a fellow blogger Axinia’s post on her blog – https://1000petals.wordpress.com/2009/03/26/every-man-carries-within-him-the-eternal-image-of-woman/ […]

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