“Solar” vs “Lunar” in Gender Dynamics, Integrity and Individuation
Recently read Beebe’s Integrity in Depth (Texas A & M University Press, 1992) (Yes, he had a print book out, from 21 years ago, but it’s not about the thing most of us are interested in getting in a book from him, his full archetype model; though he does mention the archetypes and functions a couple times).
It’s a lot of deep Jungian concepts, and he mentions stuff like Tao. Being hard to begin digesting that stuff, I carried it around for four years, not feeling like sitting and reading it on the computer, and it was too big for the smartphone. But now, that I got my first tablet (Galaxy 7.7) in Jan. for my birthday (after walking cross town from being in the audience of The Chew; what a great day that was), I finally got around to reading it.
I thought it was interesting as it mentioned the virginity mythos in relation to “integrity”, and another concept I noticed was “sola” and “luna“, meaning of course, “sun” and “moon”, and which had often been linked to masculinity and femininity (like the image of the Woman in Revelation 12, standing on the moon, and clothed with the sun, the sun is supposed to be Christ, and the moon, something feminine such as “the bride” as it “reflects” the sun’s glory).
Perhaps there is something one-sided about Jung’s masculinity. We can see a limitation of Jung’s own integration in his late formulation of sol and luna as the masculine and feminine principles. To draw upon a recent formulation by Howard Teich, Jung’s masculinity, both in his theory and in his personality, seems too one-sidedly solar. Teich has proposed that we should see solar and lunar, lights that have conditioned our view of gender, not as metaphors for the genders, but as perspectives in both masculinity and femininity. Rather than conflating masculine with solar, he has adduced clinical evidence to suggest that a whole masculinity will consist of both solar and lunar parts. By solar he means active and aggressive and by lunar, receptive and responsive. These parts appear alongside each other in many traditions as male twins. Teich feels that there is also a twinship for women involving solar and lunar femininity. In her poem “Integrity,” Adrienne Rich calls this pair “anger and tenderness, my selves.”
He then goes into how this was influenced by Jung’s childhood experience with some man trying to seduce him, which led to a phallic dream.
Everyone feels a rigidity in Jung’s understanding of gender opposites. A reason Teich offers is that the masculine and feminine principles are not given their chance to develop polarities within themselves before they are asked to meet each other.
I think we would do well by integrity to take up Teich’s suggestion; solar and lunar opposites exist within each gender and naturally hold each other’s excesses in check, in the healthy regulation of the gender opposites. We might begin to move past homosexual panic in the way we relate to ourselves, recognizing lunar masculinity and solar femininity not as effeminacy or mannishness, but as complements to the solar masculinity and lunar femininity that Western patriarchy has emphasized.
Instead of training men to grow past their lunar masculinity and women to suppress their solar femininity in deference to men, we might help men balance solar and lunar masculinity, and women lunar and solar femininity, in the conscious leading of their lives.
These considerations should make us look more carefully at Jung’s conception of the union of male and female opposites as wholeness.
n44 from p96 quote (below); p151
Solar conscience “extracts laws and norms” from the archetype dominant in the conscious attitude of the individual and in the collective consciousness of the society at large, speaking generally “for custom, cultural habits, social laws and expectations and for a group ethic. . . . It has a particular gift for elevating such norms into ideals of a highly abstract nature, ideals such as truthfulness, justice, purity” (Murray Stein, “A Polarity in Conscience: Solar and Lunar Aspects,” Diploma thesis, C. G. Jung Institut-Zurich, 1973, pp. 22-24). Lunar conscience, by contrast “turns away from cultural and social dominants in the human environment as the source of the value-contents of conscience, to nature and instinct as their source, away from the steady certainties of right and wrong as laid down by the dominant archetype and codified in bodies of law, to the fluctuations of doubt in reflection and some odd paradoxes in certain ethical compulsions; away from a kind of conscience that would force the ego into the narrow trail of moral perfection, to a sort of conscience that insists on wholeness and completeness; away from a love of law, to a law of love” (Stein, p. 54).
it appears that in our culture the anxieties attendant upon uniting male opposites are greater than those associated with the uniting of female opposites. We have assumed too long that this is a homosexual anxiety, greater in men than in women. It is really a moral anxiety, reflecting a failure on the part of solar masculinity to accept a brake on itself, and a failure on the part of lunar masculinity to honor its fear of solar masculinity by any other means than projection of that fear onto women.
Men should take up this problem, not as so many think now, by activating the unclaimed portion of their solar potential that may still lie underground, but by allowing their very fear of that part of themselves to be their sign that another aspect of their maleness is in danger of violation. They should not rush Jung’s goal of uniting genders within. The anima will wait for them to complete this preliminary work of meeting their phallic power with appropriate vulnerability. The anima, and also women. As Jane Austen’s work signals, women have long been ready to unite the opposites within their gender. It is time for men to prepare to meet them with a similar integrity.
So all of this helps put a name on something that’s always been hard to describe, and also explain stuff I’ve been going through.
Since the anima is shaped by a man’s mother, since my mother is ISTJ, then that became the model of womanhood. She and others I know seem very lunar on the surface (caretaking, etc), yet have these strong solar elements that come out, such as a spunk that seems sexy, and a drive toward efficiency. They can become very cold, and this will be confusing to someone who falls for their lunar aspects.
My wife and I could never fully understand or explain the admitted appeal of a stronger, less “safe” woman (such as a “street girl”) to me and many other men. (The whole “men want the bitch” thing, yet I always knew I was too sensitive for them). But it’s connected with what Jungian author Robert Johnson calls “the unlived life“, and is made worse by entering midlife, and moving away from the “safety” of the lunar “mother” aspects of the anima; so the more “dangerous” solar aspects become more of a curiosity.
(I believe it also involves another of Beebe’s complexes, the “Opposing Personality”, which sort of mirrors the anima as the other contrasexual complex of the eight that associate with our Jungian typological functions).
Typologically, it so far seems connected with E/I and T/F. I and F will be more lunar (receptive), and E and T will be more solar (aggressive). J/P might be more P=lunar (receptive); J=solar (aggressive), but I see where it could also be P= pragmatic (solar), J=cooperative (lunar). Not sure if there is a definite complete type correlation like this. Will have to think of everyone whose type I know.
I imagine an ExTJ female might be most likely to seem completely solar. Think of Suze Orman, and now this explains to me why she could never carry the “virginal integrity” archetype I thought someone like her could qualify for, from being a “gold-star lesbian”, meaning never been with a man. She’s just too “rough”, “cold” and “aggressive”. It goes well with the whole “unconquered” sense that’s apart of the projections, but for me, there must be some evident lunar characteristics present, to carry this. (To have someone “carry” something, in Jungian terms, is basically about projection; especially the anima).
There is a whole “ironic” appeal of both “technical virginity” (in the hetero world) as well as “gold-star lesbianism”, which leads to much debate in online culture. The latter is a simple but unfortunate “ranking” term that makes non goldstars feel like they are being regarded as “less” than those who always knew their preference and avoided men. (There’s even a higher rank, “platinum star”, which have never dated or even kissed a boy, and lower ranks, “silver” and other metals, which slept with one or more men before giving them up for good. And on the flipside, the two higher stars are often told by some non-goldstars they can’t really know their true preference if they haven’t “tried both”).
And then the “star” status (as well as virginity) are connected by them to a “misogynistic heteronormative culture” that places an unfair and outmoded standard of “purity” on women, and at the same time, denies what sex is for non-straight people.
(Though as I’ll show next, it can be seen in a more positive way. Like men will often tell lesbians that their problem is that they just need a good enough man —often expressed in terms of a vulgar term for a body part. But such women are totally independent from men sexually, and this is what such men are reacting that way, against, in jealousy).
In any case, people seem evenly divided on the issue of who can be granted a “v-card”. It is a state hated by some (in a culture where something’s wrong with you if you’re not sexually active, and people will do anything to gain experience), but nevertheless still treasured by others. Orman once described her orientation status in terms of being a “55 year old virgin” (though she’s active with a female partner), and you have Christians making “purity pledges” while engaging in a bunch of other acts. This has even come to be named after a church: “saddlebacking” (A handy one word term, but one that’s very unfortunate, as I’m sure Warren does not/would not condone this practice. However, who can really control what all the youth in the church are doing?)
Meanwhile, a new term that eliminates the stigma and ambiguity of the old “virginity” term for first time sexual experience (of any sort, involving another person) has been devised, which is “sexual debut“.
This article: http://www.rise-of-womanhood.org/feminine-archetypes.html points out
The virgin feminine archetype…has no bearing on the sexual status or sexual behavior and sometimes is not even a celibate. These are women who choose to be unmarried or stay unmarried because of certain circumstances, but are independent, strong willed, and bold. Their sexuality is wholly in their hands. In a predominantly patriarchal setup, women who lived and reflected the Maiden or Virgin feminine archetype were often condemned and socially boycotted. In this day and age, if a woman chooses to follow her own heart and desires and those desires do not include marriage, motherhood, and other concerns traditionally deemed to be feminine, but chooses instead to live her life on her own terms, perhaps pursing her passions and career interests, it would be safe to say she is modeling the Maiden/Virgin archetype in her life.
Another site says “The truth that is hidden in this archetype is about power and control“. Their sexuality was worn “proudly and without shame. It was not given away or bartered or owned by their partners, it was wholly and solely within their dominion.”
So the same for women who have “held out” from coital “conquest” by men altogether, whether due to sexual preference or [for the time being] “waiting for the right one”.
All of this connects to what Beebe points out on p. 53, that “libido is free to flow, yet stays contained“. He discusses the Roman myth of Tuccia the Vestal Virgin, who proved her questioned virginity with a sieve that was able to contain water; “defying all the laws of nature”. (The water was believed to represent “libido”, and a container representing the continence or virtue of a woman, suffering no puncture or crack).
This really explains everything. By not being with or going all the way with a man, they have in fact “contained” something, even though they are clearly and fully sexual; with some amount of libido being free to flow.
(Though a closer analogy for them might be the opposite; of a pot that allows water to flow through its solid sides. That’s something unbroken that allows flow. The water looks like it’s not free, yet is, and the container doesn’t contain, yet is “unbroken”. This idea of “containment” depends on whether you’re focusing on [the physical “integrity” of] the container or [the practical freedom of] what is contained.
The sieve that contains water might correspond more to the married woman as well as the rape victim and the so-called “born again virgin”, who’ve been “punctured”, but the first two never lost virtue to begin with, and the other now seeks to live as though whole and thus regain virtue).
“Libido” is basically “life-giving energy“. It is usually associated with sex drive, but that is really just one part of it. (Its opposite is “mortido”, which is a “death instinct”. It also parallels the eastern concept of “Tao” [“nature”], while “integrity” is represented by another concept, called “te” [“moral intelligence”]).
Things that are new become tarnished with normal usage, which accompanies the flow of what we call “life” (even for inanimate objects). For them not to become tarnished or worn would run counter to nature.
Yet that is an ideal state, representing “Eden“. Something that can be lost in a split moment’s rash decision, and then is gone forever; totally unrecoverable. This is what, subconsciously, may make it an obsession or “fetish” (even if physically it doesn’t have much practical meaning as is the case here).
All of this is emblazoned on our “collective unconscious“, which are archetypal images shared by all of us. (When archetypes become personalized, they are “complexes”, which we project onto others).
So on p.76; he says that men are often “projecting their own need for anima integrity onto them as a wholesale demand for literal virginity and chastity; women were forced into embodying wholeness and continuity in their concrete physical lives, living out the anima ideal in ways that were stultifying for their individuation”. (And hence, this is precisely what those who scoff at the concepts of virginity and “gold-star” lesbianism are getting at!)
p51-52 adds “a symbol of ideal integrity”; “… an impossible image. It becomes a cruel double bind when it is imposed on women as a standard they should somehow embody in their sexual lives”.
p. 43 [Integrity’s] projection onto women as inhumanly high standards of virginity and chastity may be a telling sign of its lack of differentiation in the psychology of men of the [Middle Ages and Renaissance] times.”
This is what has led to this archetypal debate today; especially as some women learned how to play upon it, by holding back on one act of sex, (again, the thing that originally defined sexual “intercourse”; the “becoming one flesh” with a man), while yet enjoying others; allowing some amount of libido to flow (i.e. being sexual, enjoying it, and allowing someone else to enjoy their body in ways). And it excites men, who fantasize of being the one to conquer the woman who held back the innermost treasure from every other man, yet still manage to be “experienced” enough to give him a good time. (It’s usually a choice of one or the other). It would really show that he, as I discussed in an earlier article, “had what it takes as a man”.
This “paradox” (or in Jungian lingo; [apparent] “coniunctio” or union of opposites) is what makes it so spicy to many, and at the same time, so irritating and hypocritical (and likely envy-provoking, as you can tell from the tone of many naysayers) to others.
On the other hand, it’s also true, from a moral/emotional/spiritual perspective, that it is still becoming “one SOUL” or spirit, since those other acts being done are still intimate, involving “private parts” not shared with just anyone. (So all those young Christians doing it are still engaging in a form of “cheating”, and thus still breaking any “pledges” they may sign, since this is judged spiritually, and not just according to “the flesh”). So it still compromises a moral “integrity” even while it may retain a physical one; and in speaking of “integrity”, the non-physical (including “moral”) is what’s really being aimed at.
The “anima integrity” part of it I’m now identifying with, and trying to resolve, in the midst of “midlife crisis” that had been building up, through my frustrations with certain aspects of life, and particularly resentment for not having had a better teenage-hood, with dating (“knowing” the “other side” more) and other such carefree “fun”. (In utter frustration, I became a conservative Christian at 20, which greatly restricted what I could do with the opposite sex, and even who I could pursue, since we were not supposed to date unbelievers).
So last year I began reading people like Johnson and others, and trying to find out how to stop projecting “gold” onto womanhood. (“Gold” is what Johnson calls the good stuff we see in others, but not in ourselves). They’re really not supposed to carry it; not even the one you’re married to, ultimately. It will create expectations they cannot live up to, and thus disillusionments.
(So we end up both “shadow-boxing” with the negative things, and “shadow-dancing” with our “gold”, in others).
Having an anima; (and an “extraverted Feeling” anima at that!) that’s taken a terrible beating over the years; anima integrity seemed to be imaginally embodied in a “strong” and “untouched” woman; covering both solar and lunar aspects.
It stems from a desire for life (i.e. libido) to flow as normal, but still have better outcomes. Where Christians often tell you to wait for some other kind of world after this one, where everything will be made right, but then on the other hand, where everything will be different (like no sex, for one!); for some reason, there’s something about that which seems to leave one dry. And what it likely is, is that we do not associate “libido” with this otherworldly existence, even though we’re promised that is the “true” life.
Still, it is unknown to us, so it’s very hard for that to fill that space in our psyches. (So this “fallen” world of “survival of the fittest” is basically nature without integrity, and in traditional religion, this seems to be compensated by some future world that is all integrity without nature. ⦅And the traditional view of “Hell” is just its shadow, where nature is eternally split off and punished for its lack of integrity⦆. This ends up just as fractured ⦅split from primal wholeness⦆ as this current world, and why so few want to give this one up for that one, as religion urges).
So I identify with what these quotes about Jung:
The wholeness Jung sought initially through the mother archetype, and later through the anima, denies the split within his own masculine nature, a split that I think he was finally too proud to recognize. Today we are able to see the effects of this split as a partial failure of integrity, obvious in his personal and political dealings with other men as well as in what he asked women to carry for him. As Teich implies, Jung’s failure to see the danger of not resolving first the opposites within the gender to which one belongs compromises his claim to understanding the integrity of personality as the coniunctio of developed gender principles. The moral consequences of any dissociation of either lunar or solar elements of personality are serious, for as Murray Stein was able to point out nearly twenty years ago, there is “a polarity in conscience” between “solar and lunar aspects.”44
As Stein demonstrated, patriarchal Western civilization is used to imagining these two styles of conscience sitting down together as father and mother debating how to discipline the children, and Jung’s idea of the coniunctio has made this parental colloquy into a conversation which we should all strive to achieve within. But if we are to realize an ideal of integrity that is appropriate to a post-patriarchal age, the masculine and feminine principles must each be allowed to become less monolithic by developing the dialogue of solar and lunar conscience within each principle. The gender principles need to find the opposites within themselves before they turn to meet each other.
It is just this sense of internal twinship, of a comfortable tension between a solar masculinity that is aggressive and a lunar masculinity that is receptive, that I miss in Jung. Indeed, as Teich has pointed out, Jung seems to project his lunar masculinity onto women, seeing them as natural receivers or containers. Teich’s formulation validates and helps me to understand a sense I have had that Jung had difficulty sustaining receptivity to the ideas of other men; he could not relinquish control enough to be more than illuminated by another man’s solar energy.
(Paralleling this, a person I was discussing Jung with pointed out that a woman’s animus should be connected with “eros“, like a man’s anima, instead of “logos“. Again, Jung was projecting patriarchical assumptions onto women, but this basically followed society of the time anyway.
Though Beebe points out “By eros Jung means neither sex nor relatedness in any casual sense, but rather the need to cultivate caring for the wholeness of others as well as of oneself.” (p.81) Jung was actually applying new names to virtues another writer called “care” (“the feminine principle of moral understanding”) and “justice” (implied by “the capacity to differentiate and discriminate” and “by which such discriminations can be made”), respectively.
Also, Johnson, Unlived Life, p. 199 mentions how a Greek myth says humans originally had four arms and four legs, carrying both male and female aspects, and were split, and the two parts have been trying to get back together ever since).
I’ve always felt that my solar masculinity never had the chance to fully develop. Not because of any homosexual molestation, but more indirectly, through life circumstances, especially with a condition such as AS, with all the problems it causes with people. Yet since life seemed, by the process of elimination, to be forcing me into a lunar (i.e. receptive) role, which I saw as “weak” and “feminine”, I’ve resisted that as well. (So what does that leave me with? Just trying to gain some sense of solar power in the way most possible; from behind a computer screen, like in arguing Christian doctrine and politics online for years; but it just leads to burnout).
So I need to find my own “gold” to own, but I just don’t know quite how to do it at this point. My wife suggests my writing (like this), but it seems to have only limited interest (as it’s long and over a lot of people’s heads, right?)
Anyhow, I thought the concept was very interesting, and explains more about the male/female dynamic, provides a much needed answer to a seemingly silly debate, and offers a direction in growth.
Ultimately, Beebe points out that (p71, 75) “For us, integrity is part of the genuine interest in others that [Jane] Austen called ‘amiability‘ and of the continuity of identity in caring that she called ‘constancy‘…which is for her (according to Maclntyre) ‘a virtue the possession of which is a prerequisite for the possession of other virtues.” (p80, this becomes feminine because it reflects basic trust of the mother archetype).
An example of both virtues is in Austen’s final book Persuasions, where the heroine Anne Elliot breaks off an engagement because of the expectations of the family (amiability), yet holds on to her love for him (constancy), and is thus able to marry him later, when circumstances have changed. These connect to eros and logos or care and justice. Because of this “ability to sense and lovingly contain the feelings of the members of her kinship group while continuing to honor her own emotional position; she is a model for a self-fulfillment which is ecologically sound.”