IAAP Congress 2007 : Logo

On the Origin of the Logo for the XVIIth Congress of the IAAP in Cape Town in 2007

Cape Town Congress LogoIn the process of designing this logo many different ideas were considered. Most of them feature in traditional tales and they included Table Mountain, the scarab or dung beetle, Mantis, and our local meerkat.  But when the logo-designers' ideas were presented to the committee at our second meeting all of their formulations contained a version of this shaman.

The unusual rock-painting from which this image arises is situated in a corridor formed by a large flake of granite that has separated off from the main mass of a huge boulder in one of the koppies of Spitskoppe in Namibia.  It is called The Golden Snake and consists in a confrontation between a shaman and a horned snake.  The ochre coloured striped snake emerges from a crack in the rock.  Starting as a mere line it swells to its full width as it moves to the left.  The body of the snake traverses the rock, disappearing into another crack and then reappearing from a third.  It ends with its horned head raised.  (Unfortunately the face of the snake has been damaged but its horns are clearly visible.)

Now, facing the snake in its calm majesty is a shaman, our shaman, who dances ever more wildly, headdress swaying and necklace swinging.  His energy is strong but respectful.  There seems to be an acknowledgment on his part of the power of what he is facing and what he is protecting his people from; he is certainly not about to just kill the snake.  Seen in its setting the whole picture has a profound and spiritual potency.

The shaman, as standing between society and the large and potentially dangerous forces of the "other" world, is an apt symbol for our congress. He implies the mediator of the encounter between consciousness and the unconscious in the journey of individuation.  Put another way the shaman stands between "rationality and the fertile chaos" of the unconscious. (Stephen Karcher)  This "fertile chaos" of the unconscious I would call 'the void" and it is frequently depicted as black; sometimes the blackness of emptiness sometimes the blackness of an undifferentiated fullness.

So the black circle in the logo symbolises, through its colour and shape, the very ground of our being, the collective unconscious, the great Mother, the All in potentia.

The whitish disc inside the black circle is complementary to the black. White, or light, frequently connotes consciousness, but here it almost suggests the earth itself, coagulated out of the void perhaps, and some of the vague markings on it could even be Africa where our congress is at last being held.

Oxherding ImageThe eighth of the Zen Ox-herder pictures, The Ox and the Man both gone out of Sight, is simply a black ring with a white centre.  The emptiness suggests a state of union where duality no longer exists.

It is significant that our dancer's hands and feet reach out of the white (extend beyond consciousness) and into but not through the circle of black. He is contained by the whole but not the part.  One could also say that his one foot is disappearing into the darkness while the other arises from the light, or, Jungianly, vice versa.  He is truly a creature of both worlds.

This figure might seem unwelcoming or even threatening. Perhaps we are closer to the shadow in Africa, closer to the dark side and we have a realisation that it requires a certain power, even one tinged with malevolence, to stand against evil.  The trickster is neither sweet nor superficial and neither is the shamanic shape-shifter.

Paul Ashton
SAAJA


 

On the Origin of the Logo for the XVIIth Congress of the IAAP in Cape Town in 2007

Cape Town Congress LogoIn the process of designing this logo many different ideas were considered. Most of them feature in traditional tales and they included Table Mountain, the scarab or dung beetle, Mantis, and our local meerkat.  But when the logo-designers' ideas were presented to the committee at our second meeting all of their formulations contained a version of this shaman.

The unusual rock-painting from which this image arises is situated in a corridor formed by a large flake of granite that has separated off from the main mass of a huge boulder in one of the koppies of Spitskoppe in Namibia.  It is called The Golden Snake and consists in a confrontation between a shaman and a horned snake.  The ochre coloured striped snake emerges from a crack in the rock.  Starting as a mere line it swells to its full width as it moves to the left.  The body of the snake traverses the rock, disappearing into another crack and then reappearing from a third.  It ends with its horned head raised.  (Unfortunately the face of the snake has been damaged but its horns are clearly visible.)

Now, facing the snake in its calm majesty is a shaman, our shaman, who dances ever more wildly, headdress swaying and necklace swinging.  His energy is strong but respectful.  There seems to be an acknowledgment on his part of the power of what he is facing and what he is protecting his people from; he is certainly not about to just kill the snake.  Seen in its setting the whole picture has a profound and spiritual potency.

The shaman, as standing between society and the large and potentially dangerous forces of the "other" world, is an apt symbol for our congress. He implies the mediator of the encounter between consciousness and the unconscious in the journey of individuation.  Put another way the shaman stands between "rationality and the fertile chaos" of the unconscious. (Stephen Karcher)  This "fertile chaos" of the unconscious I would call 'the void" and it is frequently depicted as black; sometimes the blackness of emptiness sometimes the blackness of an undifferentiated fullness.

So the black circle in the logo symbolises, through its colour and shape, the very ground of our being, the collective unconscious, the great Mother, the All in potentia.

The whitish disc inside the black circle is complementary to the black. White, or light, frequently connotes consciousness, but here it almost suggests the earth itself, coagulated out of the void perhaps, and some of the vague markings on it could even be Africa where our congress is at last being held.

Oxherding ImageThe eighth of the Zen Ox-herder pictures, The Ox and the Man both gone out of Sight, is simply a black ring with a white centre.  The emptiness suggests a state of union where duality no longer exists.

It is significant that our dancer's hands and feet reach out of the white (extend beyond consciousness) and into but not through the circle of black. He is contained by the whole but not the part.  One could also say that his one foot is disappearing into the darkness while the other arises from the light, or, Jungianly, vice versa.  He is truly a creature of both worlds.

This figure might seem unwelcoming or even threatening. Perhaps we are closer to the shadow in Africa, closer to the dark side and we have a realisation that it requires a certain power, even one tinged with malevolence, to stand against evil.  The trickster is neither sweet nor superficial and neither is the shamanic shape-shifter.

Paul Ashton
SAAJA

IAAP Executive Committee

Link to the IAAP Officers and Executive Committee