Fire imagery and the archetype of being present

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Fire imagery and the archetype of being present

A presentation by Craig Delaney

Thursday, July 5, 2012 7.30pm - 9.30pm
Venue: The Quaker House, 10 Hampson St, Kelvin Grove
Admission: Members & Concession: $10 • Non-members: $15

Some say the world will end in fire; others that the world is continually born out of fire, burns, and is consumed by it. Jesus says that those who come near him come near the fire. We burn with desire and explode in conflagrations of rage. Jung dreamed of carrying the single candle flame of consciousness amidst the greater darkness. The heads of shamans are alight, as are those of Iranian mystics, the so-called ‘Men of Light’. Prophecies are flames upon the tongue; tongues of flame upon the head. Fire appears throughout the world in dreams and visions.

It is a wondrous and unsettling fact that the experience of fire, both physical and imaginal, predates the emergence of Homo sapiens. Fire has universally been the setting and the focus for many of the fundamental developments in the history of the psyche and of culture. Fire has been central to many ‘happenings’. We will be exploring the imagery of fire in the dreams of individuals, and in myth and cult everywhere. Prometheus and the theft of fire; Hestia/Vesta and the mystery of the hearth; the Burning Bush and Shiva, a Flame dancing in the midst of flames; the ignis noster of the alchemists and its precursors in kiln and forge; the mastery of shamans and the self-mastery of the adepts. Indeed, the Divine itself is Fire. Freud and Jung were playing with fire in their separate concepts of the libido. At the Ecole Jacques Le Coq they teach you how to burn in mask – the ecstasy of performance. Theatre, which, yea, must include ‘the Great Globe itself’, is ‘immediate’ in Peter Brook’s sense. Fire imagery reveals the underlying archetypal theme of Being and Becoming as it happens in human time and space. From the Big Bang to traditions surrounding the camp fire and the hearth, hospitality and enmity grounded in the sacred pattern of the fire place, we find the selfsame patterns of ‘happening’. ‘Being present’ is the sine qua non of human happening – burning in the here and now. Being present is arguably the point of it all – at least, for us humans. Friend of humanity, destroyer too, great tester of our mettles, fire is one of the experiences and symbols at the core of being human.

Craig Delaney is a Jungian psychotherapist and current President of the C G Jung Society of SA. He has presented talks and workshops in various settings in various parts of Australia. He considers himself alight with the theme of this talk – which means he loves it.