The Magical Other

I didn’t realise that what I felt was not about these girls, these young women. Rather, this tumbling head over heels was more about my search for a magical other.

The Magical Other

I am bringing another photo of roses here as I want to look at eros, love and relationship with the feminine as a continuation of the thread I have begun earlier.   Humans are drawn to beauty and I am no exception. Wandering in a large garden area filled with roses I am pulled to capture as much of the beauty I see with my camera.  There is a rush of feeling, of energy that courses through my veins and all is good.  I remember being captivated in a similar manner when I was young, when I came into the presence of that which I perceived as beautiful.  At different times as a youth, the pull was intense though rarely did I give in to the pull as I was filled with as much self-doubt as I was by desire and what I felt to be pure love for an other.

Each time I was certain that this was it.  The girl who sat several rows away in my classroom was the perfect woman for me even though we never talked.  I was too shy, too aware that I was poor and didn’t fit into her social world.  The girl who responded to my request for a dance once high school was over and I had begun working; a girl who was so damaged by her childhood that our brief moments of being in love, a pure unconsummated love that ended as I left her to the care of psychiatrists in a hospital, cured me of a belief in pure love, leaving me jaded and empty.

I didn’t realise that what I felt was not about these girls, these young women.  Rather, this tumbling head over heels was more about my search for a magical other.  James Hollis describes this search, this feeling:

“The other great false idea that drives mankind is the fantasy of the Magical Other, the notion that there is one person out there who is right for us, will make our lives work, a soul-mate who will repair the ravages of our personal history; one who will be there for us, who will read our minds, know what we want and meet those deepest needs; a good parent who will protect us from suffering and, if we are lucky, spare us the perilous journey of individuation.” (Hollis, The Eden Project, p. 37)

I am no different, I believed in this Magical Other, and to tell the truth, that belief is still lurking in the background because of my good fortune to have stayed with the woman with whom I fell in love with when I was twenty-one, forty years ago – two strangers from different backgrounds, different cultures, different everything.  Is there a truth to the Magical Otherness that captured my attention?  I am not sure.  I do know that time taught me that the stranger with whom I fell in love is a good person, a caring person, someone I continue to want filling my life.  But in meeting the real person that was hidden by layer upon layer of projections, I discovered holes in my own psyche, my own sense of emptiness and darkness that no person could ever hope to fill or hear.  My Magical Other could not protect me from suffering, could not read my mind or know my deepest needs, needs that are real but not definable even by myself.  All that I wanted from a Magical Other, from my soul-mate, from the love of my life could only be given to me by myself.

Today we both still cling to each other as anchors in life in spite of our differences.  A different love has emerged and it is no less problematic.  Yet, it is gentler and kinder and more tolerant of differences


Robert G. Longpré is well known among people interested in Jungian Psychology because of his excellent site, Through a Jungian Lens, parts of which are reproduced here by permission.  He says the following about himself:

"I am wearing a backpack in the photo because that is often how anyone would see me at this point in my life.  I am on a journey of soul, a journey in search of meaning and in search of self.  I am a retired school teacher and school administrator having taught in various schools in Saskatchewan, Canada.  I was a principal for a number of years as well.  Intermingled with my career in education was a second career as a psychotherapist.  Needing to take care of students with issues and later, teachers with issues, I took a number of university and certificate courses to allow me to work more effectively and safely with those whose care I was entrusted.  My counselling focus eventually shifted to include others and to include some “depth” work.  The depth work had a foundation in Jungian psychology.

"Now that I am retired, I am currently in Calgary, Canada working on my writing, my journey through a personal “Dark Night of the Soul” with my wife of forty-one years sharing most of my days and dreams.  Our children and grandchildren have their own homes in both Canada and the U.S.A.  For those interested in these things, I have three children and six grandchildren.

"Since retirement, we have travelled to a number of countries with some becoming places of part-time residence over the past five years. We lived in Changzhou, China for the better parts of four years.  Three months in Costa Rica during one winter, and three months in the Yucatan, Mexico during another winter were other longer stays during this time.  Added to this was a month in Rajasthan, India, a month in Thailand, and a month in IndoChina with most of that time spent in Vietnam.  This past winter break, I spent a a break of ten days in the Philippines.  Of course, if you are a reader here, you are already aware of these things as the selection of photos talk about my response to being in all of these places.  In travelling with a camera, I discover myself through images of both the known and the unknown."

May 19th, 2011 at 7:10 pm
Posted in James Hollis,Jungian Psychology
Tagged with complex, consciousness, eros, individuation, James Hollis, Jungian Psychology, love at first sight, Magical Other, other, projection, self, Sony A550 DSLR, soul-mate, soulmate, unconscious

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