Tom Thumb: personification of the creative force

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Front cover of Tom Thumb, Cock Robin Series, McLoughlin Bro. New York, 1888. US public domain via wikimedia
According to Carl Jung, Tom Thumb is a personification of the creative force. Jung says:

“We know that Tom Thumbs, dactyls, and Cabiri… are personifications of creative forces… Thus the creative dwarfs toil away in secret; the phallus also working in darkness, begets a living being” (CW5, para. 180)

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Madhu and Kaitabha: mankind possessed by shadows

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Vishnu Vanquishing the Demons Madhu and Kaitabha, Folio from a Devimahatmya (Glory of the Goddess), India, Madhya Pradesh, Chatarpur, circa 1775 Opaque watercolor and gold on paper. LA county Museum. US Public Domain via Wikimedia

In the in the image above, we see a watercolor paining of Purusha (as Vishnu) Vanquishing the Demons Madhu and Kaitabha.

This is based on an ancient story from the Bhagavata Purana. In the story, the demons Madhu and Kaitabha steal the Vedas and hide them in the nether regions. The Vedas are said to be the eyes of Brahma, without them he is blind. So, Brahma appeals to the supreme Lord (as Purusha) who resides in Yogic meditation. Purusha awakens from his meditation and becomes Hayagriva, the horse headed God. He battles the demons, kills them, and restores the Vedas to Brahma.

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Inanna: journey to the underworld

Inanna on the Ishtar Vase wearing the horned tiara, surrounded by birds, fish, a bull and a tortoise, circa 1999 and circa 1599 BC, US public domain via wikimedia.
Inanna on the Ishtar Vase wearing the horned tiara, surrounded by birds, fish, a bull and a tortoise, circa 1999 and circa 1599 BC, US public domain via wikimedia.

Inanna is the ancient Sumerian goddess of love, procreation, fertility. She is called ‘Queen of Heaven.’

A poem called The Descent of Inanna (c. 1900-1600 BCE) tells a story of Inanna’s descent into the underworld to see her sister Ereshkigal. Inanna is the Queen of Heaven and Ereshkigal is the Queen of the Underworld. From a symbolic perspective, the two sisters represent the dual aspect of the goddess. The two forms of the goddess in turn represent the primordial polarity of being that must be integrated in order to realize the totality and wholeness of the Self.

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We Divide the Cosmos to Reflect Our Own Inner Polarity

Samudramanthana, the Churning of the Ocean. 19th Century, India. at the British Museum of Art. US Public Domain via Wikimedia
Samudra manthana, the Churning of the Ocean. 19th Century, India. at the British Museum of Art. US Public Domain via Wikimedia

The image above is a watercolor of Samudra manthana, the Churning of the Ocean. The British Museum provides a description of the image:

“This event took place during the second incarnation of Visnu as Kurma, the tortoise. The painting shows Visnu seated on the top of Mount Mandara, here represented as a pole. He holds a discus, sword, conch and lotus in his four hands and has a golden nimbus around his head. Around the pole is wrapped the snake Vasuki. On one side the snake is pulled by the gods and on the other it is pulled by the Danava’s. On the shore of the ocean are the objects which have emerged during the churning, which include Laksmi, Varuni, the conch, the elephant mount of Brahma, Airavata, Surabhi the wish fulfilling cow and the vessel holding amrita which bestows immortality on the drinker. A crescent moon is shown in the top left corner of the painting. The painting is surrounded by a black border.”[1]

From an archetypal perspective, Vishnu is an image of the Self.  The central pole may be seen as the axis mundi. The axis mundi is the world pole which offers a connection between the three worlds or three states of consciousness. The snake is wrapped around the pole, an image of the instincts– both lower and higher. The gods and demons churn the great sea of milk by pulling on either ends of the snake. This image may be seen as representing the synthesis of Self, and thus of psychic wholeness and Oneness.

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Semele: earth goddess

 

Gustave Moreau, Jupiter and Semele, c.1894-1895, Musée Gustave Moreau, US Public Domain
Gustave Moreau, Jupiter and Semele, c.1894-1895, Musée Gustave Moreau, US Public Domain

Carl Jung Speaks of Semele as earth-goddess:

“The richly varied allegories of the Mother of God have nevertheless retained some connection with her pagan prefigurations in Isis and Semele. Not only are Isis and the Horus-child iconological exemplars, but the ascension of Semele, the originally mortal mother of Dionysus. likewise anticipates the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Further, this son of Semele is a dying and resurgent god and the youngest of the Olympians. Semele herself seems to have been an earth-goddess, just as “Mary (mother of Jesus)” the Virgin Mary is the earth from which Christ was born.” (Carl Jung, CW 9i, para. 195)

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