A Jungian psychologist’s take on Eros and Valentine’s Day
BY PAUL KAIHLA — This is the one day of the year in our secular society where a celibate Catholic gets top-billing, marquee treatment. There were probably three saints called Valentine, one of whom history says is entombed in Rome’s catacombs.
But the origin of Valentine’s Day is in a medieval social custom, so it’s not like a long, lost high-holy-day has been hijacked by capitalist consumerism.
The custom marks the first day of spring mating season, so let’s hand over the mike to psychologist James Hollis for his take on how we modern humans channel that energy — eros, in Greek mythology:
Eros is dynamic and shape-shifting . . . always going somewhere, seeking to connect, to fill in, to transcend. Just as nature, we are told, abhors a vacuum, so our psyche is terrified by emptiness. Seeking to fill that emptiness, we all too often fill it with ourselves. Wheresoever space opens, into that hole flies projection . . . Eros substitutes as it seeks the Cosmic Other in the frail vessel of the Beloved.
Illustration, “tu lip,” courtesy of Angela Brown