The above image is from the Tomb of Thutmosis III, c. 1450-1500 BCE. It is called ‘The King is fed from the Holy Tree’ (US Public Domain via wikimedia).
In Symbols of Transformation, Carl Jung explores the dynamic relation between the masculine and feminine poles of the psyche. This relation is revealed in images of “sacred cohabitation”. One such image is the Lingam and Yoni. Jung says:
“The motif of continuous cohabitation is expressed in the well-known lingam symbol found everywhere in Indian temples: the base is a female symbol, and within it stands the phallus.”
In the second section of Symbols of Transformation, Carl Jung is taking us into the life of the mystic: a path of soul and of divine heart. Jung speaks of “the teachings of the mystics,” he says:
“when they [the mystics] descend into the depths of their own being they find ‘in their heart’ the image of the sun, they find their own life-force which they call the ‘sun’ for a legitimate and, I would say, a physical reason because our source of energy and life actually is the sun. Our physiological life, regarded as an energy process, is entirely solar” (para. 176).
In Symbols of Transformation, Carl Jung speaks of psychical symbols as “psychological riddles” (para. 83). Jung says that if a “problem [is] not worked out consciously”; then, it “goes on working in the unconscious and throws up symbolical fantasies”(ibid). The psyche brings forth spiritual riddles, appearing in myth, dreams, art and other forms of imagination.
Spiritual riddles point to “natural currents of libido.” Symbols transform, creating currents within psychic life (fn. 18). One such current is formed from the transformation of desire. As desire transforms, so do the symbols that appear in dreams and fantasy. Jung says: “The yearning clothes itself in ecclesiastical garb… where it at last finds its way to freedom.” (ibid)
Here we see a 14th Century painting of the Madonna of the Rose. The rose is often associated with the Mother archetype. Carl Jung points out that the mother archetype “can be attached to … various vessels such as the baptismal font, or to vessel-shaped flowers like the rose.” (9i, para. 157) In the Western tradition we see the rose associated with the Virgin Mary. Cardinal Newman (1801 – 1890) said: