Excerpt of Jung, Crop Circles & the Re-Emergence of the Archetypal Feminine
From the Preface & Introduction by Gary S. Bobroff
Sparked by their curiosity, thousands of people have contributed to the study of Crop Circles around the world. Individuals throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, the United States and elsewhere have given their time freely to the documentation of this phenomenon. They have measured, marked, photographed and taken the samples that constitute an abundant archive of data from which we may now seek to draw our own conclusions. As a researcher, I have been delighted to discover the wealth of materials on the physical science and mythological context of the Crop Circle phenomenon that they have collected. This book is consequently built upon the product of their efforts.
Amongst the many who have contributed to the investigation of this phenomenon there are very few who claim to have found the answer to its mystery. I am proud to count myself among them, among those who continue to wonder and ask why. This work is an attempt to sketch a framework for deeper consideration of the question of Crop Circles. If you are looking for an answer or a solution to this phenomenon’s riddle, best look elsewhere. At best, I hope to offer a direction—a route by which to begin tracking something very elusive (yet that seemingly wants us to follow it). For those who have engaged with this phenomenon for some time, it is a source of deepening wonder and it is to that experience that you are invited.
In historical documents dating from 16th century England to 1970’s Saskatchewan, Canada, people have recorded their observations of Crop Circles. Throughout this time, prior to the explosion of this phenomenon in the last twenty-five years, people’s reports have chronicled their efforts to witness what they saw. Those who have encountered the phenomenon and followed their curiosity have chosen to study it, honoring their own inner compulsion they have become engaged with the phenomenon.
A particularly dedicated group of Crop Circle enthusiasts have produced a number of outstanding publications and on-line resources on this subject. Their efforts have made my attempt to come to grips with this phenomenon possible. It should be mentioned that, with only the rarest exceptions, even those who have produced the most brilliant and popular of these works have given more to the study of this subject than they are ever likely to recover financially.[i] Nonetheless, they persist in their efforts of their own free choice. I would like to recommend your use of their media as an additional support for your own investigation of Crop Circles. A selection of recommended choices follows at the end of this chapter.
Keeping in mind the obligation that the study of this phenomenon has to the thousands of people whose spare time has been given to its research, this book has been written to be accessible to the general reader. It is meant to serve as an introduction to both Crop Circles and Jungian psychology, and no familiarity with the concepts or jargon of either subject is assumed. I strongly believe that the significance of this phenomenon is available to all of us, and that engagement with it should not be reserved for experts, academics or only those with the financial resources to travel abroad I believe that it’s meaning, whatever that may be, is as within reach or hard to grasp for the intellectual as it is for the farmer in whose fields these formations arrive. It challenges us all equally and its mystery is open to us all. However, this subject does introduce readers to ideas that may be new to them. It brings up wide categories of thought and poses broad questions—questions that stretch the imagination and our preconceptions. Answering these questions necessitates a labor on the part of the reader, but the argument made here is intended to appeal to common sense.
I believe that this subject asks of its investigators (of which you now are one) a more actively engaged participation—not a simple reading, but a ‘dance for two’. Each of us responds differently to new things and whether we bring to this topic a skeptical brow or a wide-eyed enthusiasm, we do not come to it empty-handed. It is in the nature of how we engage with our own first responses to this phenomenon that the burden of our work in response to it lays. Meeting this task involves a willingness to play with our own responses—to be in process with them, rather than attaching and identifying with our own initial reaction. I have yet to meet two people who feel exactly the same way about Crop Circles. I have also found that, over time, our engagement with the facts and theories that surround them changes and deepens. Given time, this labor yields its own fruit for each of us. Tending to this harvest begins by resisting identification with our first reactions to this material. This task is only possible, if you accompany your reading by observing and according value to your own thoughts in response to it. Write down your own responses as you read this book or look at Crop Circle images. Your first responses are often the most valuable here. Flashes of response, no matter how brief, offer the possibility of glimpsing something within us that is truly fresh and genuinely new. Participation in this engagement hosts what is evoked in us by the phenomenon and thereby brings a mirror to the new possibilities that are inherent within us.
Rather than place value upon what you find written here and look at this interpretation for answers, please place as much or greater, value upon your own curiosity, insight and questions—note your responses, your feelings and your thoughts. Make room for your own disagreement with what is written here. It was engagement with my own dissension that produced some of what I believe are the most valuable arguments presented here. In your own writing, try not to judge the process as it happens; simply record it as it comes. After some time, you may want to write past your initial responses and notice what else comes to mind. After following the open road of your own responses and writing down whatever comes up, watch throughout the rest of the day or night for new thoughts or feelings. Noting these responses encourages an inner dialogue and works a muscle that most of us have forgotten how to exercise.
As the products of a culture that prizes certainty, in the act of inner dialogue, we re-engage that part of ourselves that remembers how to wonder and values sometimes not knowing. Jung felt that following this voice led to the true growth of the personality, and that “the creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the thing it loves.”[ii] In pondering your own reactions as much as you ponder the text itself, you place yourself alongside the many individuals who chose to pursue their curiosity and lent their labor to engagement with this mystery. Treated in this way, the material presented here offers itself as a framework for deepening your participation with the mystery of this phenomenon.
(Etchilhampton, UK July 25th, 2011 formation ~ photos © Andrew Pyrka.)
Our modern awareness offers us the objectivity to participate with a symbol or symptom, without necessarily getting lost in our personal history, our society’s collective experience of it or losing it in other outside factors. Today, we possess the steely separation of awareness necessary to view the symbols of our lives plainly in their own truth. Benefiting both from the scientific method and from modern self-consciousness, today we can participate with the same living unconscious that was revered by our ancestors. Yet, we can do so with less danger of falling victim to it and with a greater possibility of engaging with it constructively. The strength of our modern self-awareness offers us the capability of relating to our unconscious contents objectively. However, such participation requires a voluntary sacrifice of our ego’s certainty and a willingness to proceed into the unknown inside of us–a chosen release of the illusion of that we know what we’ll find there. Through such voluntary ‘not-knowing,’ we make room for something new to pop up out of the fertile bed of the unconscious. Through such participation, today we are able to combine the first strand of human impetus–the drive to know consciously, accurately and objectively—with the second strand of human impetus—the need to participate with the unknown depths in the world and in ourselves, which we find in myth and in the presentations of unconscious.
Because a symbol, active in our psyche, reaches across the barrier from consciousness to unconsciousness; because it exists for us simultaneously cognitively and emotionally, abstractly and concretely; because it dominates our conscious will and intention and affects us in ways often beyond our control; in its process, we witness the living truth that “a symbol holds the tension of a lot of things that would otherwise be opposite.” Its paradoxical nature bridges across the entire plain of our psyche: rooted in the unconscious–in an archetypal base; budding in the “unspeakability” of the symptom and through our attendance to it; blooming forth as a new awareness. Here something almost inexplicable happens. What we once were completely unaware of becomes known to us and lived by us–a truth we once never knew, is suddenly a part of us. Like a quantum jump, when something clicks, awareness leaps across from unconsciousness into consciousness within us, and we are no longer the same.
The possibility of such growth has, for the mystics of many cultures, pointed towards the realization of the transpersonal and unifying ground of the psyche. In modern times, such questions are regarded philosophically and usually reduced to intellectual puzzles about the physical constitution of our world, or the relative merits of our perception of our relationship to it. However, in this witnessing of the stunning capacity of psyche for transformation (not just cumulative growth), we can begin to realize why the inner world has often been regarded as pointing us towards a mystery that exceeds the grasp of the rational strand of consciousness and ultimately directing us towards age-old philosophical, religious and moral questions.
Like a snowflake or a fingerprint, each one being unique, a dream occurs only once. Each night the world gives birth anew through us and our task begins with our attendance to its arrival. Hosting this process requires both our linear, scientific-minded conscious discrimination and also something more difficult for us today. If we are to allow the mythic amplification of a symbol to really impact us, we must allow ourselves to become subject to it. As the poet Rilke wrote, “the continuity becomes everywhere apparent, and where some obscurity remains it is of the sort that demands not clearing up but subjection.”
“None of us asks to be confronted in the night with mysteries, oracles and conundrums, to have something barge into our inner lives that we did not invite. …A dream will help us if we are willing to dwell for a time within its ambiguities without resolving them, to sink into its depths without always knowing when–or where–we shall surface…” (Barasch, Healing Dreams, p. 361)
Now–in this moment–we are presented with something new. Crop Circles are a mystery in our response to which we continue to be able to draw upon the strands of both science and mythology–their form and image seems to point us towards both. As is examined in Chapter One, the scientific study of its qualities enables us to feel grounded in the authenticity of its reality and genuine mystery. Yet, the phenomenon also speaks profoundly to the second strand of our impetus. By their very nature, Crop Circles speak to our imagination’s capacity for deepest wonder; their images and new appearance both delight us and bring us face-to-face with tremendous awe and perhaps even fear (or other challenging psychological states). As a Jungian interpretation, this book examines the symbols associated with Crop Circles both within the universality of their imagery and within the context of those images being set into our modern moment. It is only in this way that we can place their particular symbolic reference into a dynamic, meaningful arrangement. Attendance to this setting enables our placing the world ‘dream’ of Crop Circles in the context of world reality. In looking not only at the phenomenon but at its context too, we expand the framework of our consideration of its mystery to the appropriate scope, for Crop Circles do not arrive at some random time or place but before us now into our present moment. When we engage with the whole of its qualities, we must necessarily place ourselves into context with it and in doing so we begin the process of making its meaning real for us. In this way, in searching for its story, we may discover a story of our own that is not yet told.
Gary S. Bobroff, is featured in the film, Time is Art, and is an author, workshop leader and a Jungian and archetypal coach. He delivers the depth of Jungian approaches in a visual, accessible and engaging form. He is the developer and facilitator of Archetypal Nature and the founder of JungianOnline.com connecting clients with Jungian-oriented therapists worldwide (via phone or Skype). He has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of British Columbia, Canada and Master’s degree in Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Andrew Harvey called his book, Crop Circles, Jung & the Reemergence of the Archetypal Feminine “an original masterpiece.“ – GSBobroff.com