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  Introduction

Introduction

 

If we take a look at human longings in the mirror of the record industry, then there is no question that love and partnership are considered to be the most desirable possessions of our age.  If we believe its lyrics, then this goal must actually be quite easy to achieve.  The intensity with which this form of love, which bears all the signs of a mother-child relationship ("I can't live without you," "you and only you alone," etc.), is sung about and conjured up has clear traits of a mass hypnosis.  In accordance with this concept, most individuals - in our Western culture - seem to (at least secretly) hope that some day the right person will appear and everything will finally be fine; whatever they imagine this to be.

 

If we compare this wishful thinking with the reality of the situation, then we should be amazed at so much optimism.  Perhaps this is a result of the gentle but suggestive steady stream of background music provided by the media since many people only consider the phase of falling in love to be an expression of true love; on the other hand, the disappointment that the natural fading of this feeling of infatuation brings with it is constantly seen as proof that a person has made a mistake and that the partner wasn't the right one after all.  And so we always hope the next time will be better.

 

But if we look around us with our eyes open, we find that relationships without intense crises tend to be the exception on the one hand and that lively and intact relationships in particular must frequently first go through deep crises before they become truly mature.  There appears to somehow be more to this area of life than the Dream Woman and Prince Charming finding each other and enjoying carefree bliss in an eternal embrace from that moment on.  It even appears that friction in a relationship is necessary so that each person brings out the best in himself or herself.

 

If we consider striving for wholeness to be our task in life, then we can also perceive that especially the conflict with the opposite sex is an essential catalyst for important developmental steps on this path.  As we will see, this is not a matter of just developing the conscious personality but also the wholeness of our initially unconscious, inner opposite sexuality, which C. G. Jung named anima and animus.  As long as we experience things harmoniously, we will not become particularly conscious of our own nature.  Only when we are involved in conflict do we wake up.  As long as Adam and Eve knew nothing about the tree of knowledge, they lived in paradisiac harmony. Only when they were forbidden to eat its fruit did conflict arise, which we know had the further consequence of knowledge.

 

The state before we attain knowledge is often paradisiac, and nothing within us urges us on to more knowledge during such phases.  Only when there is trouble in paradise, when things are suddenly not as wonderful as they were, do we ask ourselves what has gone wrong.  Perception always results from conflict that tears us out of the slumber of paradisiac simplicity.  This is why the original knowledge, the awakening of humanity to consciousness, is often connected with guilt, sin, and original sin - because someone must bear the blame that this lovely time of naive innocence is over.  This is why Adam very bluntly put the blame on God: it wasn't me but the woman you gave me!  Eve was a bit less impudent and just passed her blame on to the snake, which in turn couldn't shift it on to anyone else and since that time writhes as the epitome of evil slyness.  In the same manner, many psychotherapies today are parent-blaming sessions in which the patients pin the reason for all their disappointments and problems on their parents instead of comprehending that the natural price for maturity, perception, and becoming an adult inevitably includes being disappointed in our childlike and naive expectations of happiness.  If we consider falling in love as the paradisiac time in our adult life, then it's no wonder that we indignantly give God and the world the blame when we notice that the person we are involved with is no longer our Prince Charming or our Dream Woman but increasingly turns out to be deceptive packaging.

 

But shouldn't this make us wonder since we constantly hear about the transfiguration caused by the symbiotic state of infatuation from all the hit parades, and the media scrambles to report about fairy-tale weddings; yet, the divorce rate climbs to new record highs from year to year, our relationships become increasingly noncommittal and short-lived, and all that's left of the original partner in life is often just a companion for one phase?

 

The 20th century will probably go down in the annals of history as the period when values declined.  Whatever can't be expressed in terms of cash value is considered worthless today.  Now that even time has turned into money in the meanwhile, it's naturally not surprising that people no longer have time for leisure, contemplation, and other worthless customs.  The Western world set out during antiquity to glorify the mind, and placed increasingly less value on everything physical and material during the course of the last 2,000 years - ultimately condemning it in the truest sense; however, in the meantime, the massively repressed antithesis has apparently caught up with this tendency and is now virtually smothering us with the materialism that had been so despised.  Yet, the consequence of this is that human beings have lost the meaning that can't be squeezed out of money, even with the best of will.  But since every human being is driven by a deep need for the fulfillment of meaning in life, and the answers given by religions are increasingly less convincing, many people today look for meaning in areas that are actually overtaxed by this demand.  The areas of work, love, and a sensuality reduced to the three letters of "sex" are the preferred sources from which people hope for fulfillment and meaning in life.  It's obvious that each of these segments is hopelessly overtaxed because meaning can only be experienced holistically.  However, the disappointments that we face time and again are accordingly great when a new task or a new love loses its initial power of fascination.  Since this had completely fulfilled us at one time, we sadly discover that the unanswered questions related to meaning knock at our door in an increasingly urgent way.

 

Even if love and partnership alone cannot convey to us the meaning of life, there are some important and extremely meaningful experiences to be had in this area.  But these are certainly not to be found in the soppy, sweet platitudes that are sung thousandfold; instead, they reveal themselves only to those individuals who are willing to go deeper and experience transformation.  "The meeting of two personalities," according to C. G. Jung, "is like the mixture of two different chemical bodies: if there is any combination at all, then both of these are transformed."  The transformation of a person through a relationship is one of the essential meanings of a relationship.  How and why this occurs will be illustrated by this book.

 

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