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Dying into Life

By Bud Harris Ph.D. and Massimilla Harris Ph.D.

“Does our essence live on after death?” was a compelling question asked during the Asheville Jung Center’s webinar on “Re-visioning the Dead, Alive in the Afterlife” with Jungian analysts, Murray Stein and John Hill. “Is there an afterlife?” and “How should we face death?” are questions that touch some of the deepest fears and longings in our heart. At some level we all wonder what is this dream we call life, where is it going and does it matter? Jung thought that facing these questions was key to our quest for wholeness when in Memories, Dreams, Reflections (p. 302) he states, “A man should be able to say he has done his best to form a conception of life after death, or to create some image of it—even if he must confess his failure. Not to have done so is a vital loss. For the question that is posed to him is the age-old heritage of humanity: an archetype, rich in secret life, which seeks to add itself to our own individual life in order to make it whole.” Jung goes on to say: “Reason sets the boundaries far too narrowly for us, and would have us accept only the known – and that too with limitations – and live in a known framework, just as if we were sure how far life actually extends.”

The webinar’s provocative discussion generated a lively discussion between my wife and I as we sat with a glass of wine, later in the evening. We soon found, to our surprise, that talking about death became enlivening, as it led us into a more interesting discussion of life. We would like to share some of these thoughts with you.

We began our conversation by asking ourselves what  questions about death and the afterlife mean to how we are living today. By delving into the meaning behind Jung’s description of  “…an archetype, rich in secret life,” we were prompted to more deeply inquire: how does seeking an understanding of death and the afterlife enrich the individuation process and contribute to making our lives more whole. We also realized this kind of in-depth discussion gives us an opportunity to think about individuation and what our feeling of wholeness is from a slightly different perspective than usual.

When we talk about death seriously the first thing that comes up is our fear of death. Our fear leads to denial and an inability to form a perspective on the afterlife. Fear and denial rigidify the defensive stance of our egos and diminishes or inhibits their ability to face the transformative cycles through which we grow, the life-death-rebirth processes that are a necessary part of our individuation process. When denied and repressed our fear of death lurks in the depths of our psyche like a great white shark and its presence is ultimately reflected in our fear of becoming fully alive. This primitive devouring presence of danger can become reflected in the fears we harbor about our own necessary transformations and a future defined by the Self, rather than our values, goals, desires.

One of the main questions then becomes how does individuation, the dream of a life that fulfills its unique potentials, both help us and require us to forge a perspective on death and the afterlife. Our religious heritages are closely connected to death and they tell us in their own ways that death should inform life and how we live in this life will affect how we live in the afterlife. For these ideas to be reflected throughout history and, in some form, in almost every religion, makes them archetypal. That is why Jung thought it was critical to our wholeness to consider them. Jung knew that our ideas about death and the afterlife can either inform or cripple how we live, can limit us to the bounds of our intellects, or open us to the inspiring and healing powers of our emotions and the expanses of our mythopoetic capacities. We have an inherent longing to come up with our own conclusions about these mysteries. Our same religious history, Jung thought, reflects an additional longing, that is often buried so deep that we may not even be aware of it. This longing is to have our lives connected to something greater than ourselves, something infinite, so we can embody something essential to insure that our life matters.

Let us not forget that in Jungian psychology our inherent needs reflect powerful instinctual energies that call for psychological channels to contain and direct them. Jung likened the flow of instinctual energy to a river and the archetype as the deep channel in which the water of life has flowed for years, creating a riverbed (C.W. 10, para. 395) that directs this energy.

I was dropped into the vastest of these mysteries as a child, when my mother died. Her death left me feeling abandoned in a hostile world and shattered my childhood image of God. Sadly the Protestant church of my childhood had forsaken the religious symbols and rituals that could have carried me along its archetypal riverbeds through those “deep water” emotions of shock, pain, grief, sorrow…and helped me heal, and find life anew.

Throughout history we have had rituals for preparing for death and the afterlife. But, as Massimilla and I often see in our practices, many of us have outgrown our religious containers when they fail to transform along with us and our needs. All too often, they no longer give us the mythic or symbolic riverbeds to carry us through these crucial human experiences. As a result of these failures, we find that Jung is right. We must deal with these needs as part of our efforts to become whole.


Click Here for Information the book The Fire and the Rose: The Wedding of Spirituality and Sexuality by Dr. Harris


Massimilla and I find that our individuation process, the guiding focus of our lives, challenges us to begin facing death in two special ways. The first one is when we fully realize that we grow psychologically and spiritually by the process of transformation – the cycle of life, death, and rebirth – that is facilitated by our emotional healing and growing consciousness. As we are continuing to transform, we are facing another symbolic death, an encounter with the Self, the Transcendent, the Divine within us. This encounter which necessitates a death and a rebirth of our ego also leads us toward thoughts of the Beyond.

Jungian psychology is frequently so challenging to understand that we often have to remind ourselves that individuation is not an intellectual activity. It is based upon our ability to engage in life actively, reflect on our experiences, listen to our unconscious, and develop the emotional capacities that enable us to fully engage in life. The events in the individuation process are there to push us beyond the ways our histories, families and culture have defined us. In this process, we must be willing to face ourselves, confront the complexes in our shadow, transform their archetypal cores and thereby transform our lives. Here, again, is the transformative cycle, the symbolic life – death – rebirth process. As we live this process, we must continually help old parts of us die, and be willing to live in the betwixt and between state of not knowing who we fully are, until the new parts of our personality have emerged. In this way, if we fully pursue individuation, we will consciously and intentionally encounter death as part of an archetypal format of growth that is an integral part of life.

So this journey through self-knowledge initiates the possibility for us to have an encounter with the Self. This second aspect of the individuation process takes us into a more profound experience of transformation and death in life. The Self is the natural source of life energy and vitality within us. It is also the inherent drive within us to live a life with meaning, to seek, accept and realize our unique potentials and our totality…and to be connected to something larger than ourselves. If this creative force within us stays frustrated too long, then its appearance often catches us unaware and is a formidable experience. When this happens, we may find our hopes, dreams, ambitions and the way we want our lives to be – blocked. We may feel like life is drying up or we may be having to contend with a major illness or other predicament that we can see no way out of. Our visions of the future and our hopes may fail us. In a sense, encountering the Self is like dying. Jung articulates it like this: “ The experience of the Self is always like a defeat for the ego.” (C. W. 14, para. 778 ) Clearly, this experience is life-stopping, and well beyond having just “a bad day”. It is when the structures that support who we are – that give value and meaning to our lives and hope for our futures – have disappeared. We may feel like a shipwrecked Odysseus tossed naked, alone and exhausted onto a lonely beach; or a humiliated Inanna stripped of all that was valuable to her and then left hanging deserted and alone in the darkness of the underworld.

It has been very helpful to us to have some idea of the archetypal pattern we are going through when we experience these events. Edward Edinger in Encounter with the Self (p. 9) explains that if we know the archetypal process, if we can accept our defeat and persevere in the work of individuation, then we will meet the Self, “…the ‘Immortal One’ who wounds and heals, who casts down and raises up, who makes small and makes large – in a word, the One who makes us whole.” This experience is, in his words, “ a crucifixion of the ego.”  Our sense of I-dentity dies and is reborn smaller, and paradoxically, stronger. As our awareness of the Self and the part it has played in our lives grows, it becomes very comforting to know that we are no longer alone within ourselves and life. Edinger goes on to say, “The vicissitudes of life take on new and enlarged meaning. Dreams, fantasies, illness, accident and coincidence become messages from the unseen Partner with whom we share our lives.” Edinger, here, assures us that if we persevere through this psychological death, there will be a very interesting afterlife.

Massimilla and I have found that realizing the Self is a powerful experience of “living through death” which significantly changes our attitudes toward life, eternity, and the Beyond. As we have come to know the presence of the Self and learned to relate to it and accept it as the guiding spirit in our lives, this entire process has brought comfort to the way we feel about approaching death. In religious terms, it is like saying: “God Is with us.”

Death, the end of this life, should continually serve as a reminder that we need to face our “deaths” in this present life. Facing them carries us into the archetypal patterns of death, “…rich in secret life” which will open us to the support of our unconscious as we approach the end of our lives. Whenever we have to face a complex or an Encounter with the Self, it is important not to take the easy way out – by simply attempting to rebuild our lives and return to normal – without trying with all of our strength to understand the deep dimensions of what we have encountered or of what has happened to us. Jung refers to this taking the easy way out as “the regressive restoration of the persona”. (C. W. 17, para. 254) We’ve heard countless stories, like the one about the successful man who had a heart attack while on the golf course, and whose life was barely saved because a passer-by had a cell phone. In the hospital, he vowed to change his life. A few weeks later though, he was back at work and back on the golf course, having forgotten his vow.

In other words, we must go forward by “dying into life,” facing the deaths needed in our individuation in order to fulfill and live the broader potentials within us, to open our capacities to love more completely, and to be sure that when death finds us, we are fully alive. Individuation means accepting the reality of our unconscious, sacrificing our ego control of our lives and, with discernment, listening to the superior intelligence of the Self to guide us through life. We wonder, in the long run, how often we are like the man mentioned just now, who was more afraid of facing himself, of questioning his values, ideas and complexes, of “dying into life,” than he was of literally dying. As part of the journey, it is helpful if we can take this line of questioning a step further, and ask ourselves if our fear of dying into life is really our fear of living fully.

While Jung was writing The Red Book, during the darkest and most transformative period of his life, he understood from a dream that he had to “kill” the Parsifal within himself. For us, in psychological language, this means he had to transform the core of the Parsifal complex within himself and redirect its instinctual energy into avenues more in harmony with his Self. Of course this was no small realization. The goals and values of this complex, which we would call his central or dominant complex, had carried him out of childhood and into a very successful adult life. While he realized it had become a prison that he needed to break out of, it also meant sacrificing the drive and ideals of success and the good life that had guided him so far.

Think for a minute about the enormity of this realization. We are called on to sacrifice the psychological structure and the dominant characteristics that may have made us feel safe, successful – that formed our adaptation, defined our personality and is a cornerstone in who we are. This is what “dying into life” really means and it is what becoming fully alive really means. Massimilla and I have also discovered, through our decades of work, that dying into life doesn’t mean that we have to devalue or throw away any of our competencies or things we have accomplished. But they have to come into the service of life in new ways.

As we think about such radical shifts, it is helpful to remember that the basic goal of Jungian analysis is the transformation of the core of complexes. (The Symbolic Quest: Basic Concepts in Analytical Psychology, Edward Whitmont, p. 67) In a personal conversation with us, Marie-Louise von Franz emphasized the importance of transforming our dominant complex. This transformation is the most significant death and rebirth in our lives and opens us to the future inherent in our Self. One might say that this transformation opens us to our true afterlife in this life.

Every complex that develops within us as we grow up carries the wounds and experiences of our childhood, the wounds and the effects of the unlived lives of our parents and ancestors, and the values and expectations of our society. Jung concluded from a dream in which he encountered “distinguished spirits” (Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 307) that as we work through our individuation, we are also carrying the individuation of our ancestors forward. In this way we are connected to the afterlife as we are often facing and addressing unresolved, unhealed and unredeemed issues that may have gone on in our families for generations.

Massimilla and I are very moved by the opportunities we have to transform our psychological legacies into healing and growthful directions. We have also found that just as a real death is harsh, every period of transformation has its grief…and experiencing it is part of being human. As Jungians, we must guard against the temptation to intellectualize life and Jungian psychology. It is too easy to deny our almost day by day experiences of grief and bury them in busyness or sublimate them in searches for momentary pleasures. It is also too easy to step aside and intellectualize death and our need to mourn for our own death. We can say it is just another passage, or as Hermann Hesse said, “To die is to go into the Collective Unconscious, to lose oneself in order to be transformed into form, pure form.” (C.G. Jung and Hermann Hesse, Miguel Serrano, p. 35) To some extent, this is a comforting thought, but no such thought ever came from Jung. He continued to search into life and its mysteries as long as he was alive.

Dying into life though individuation and knowing that the Self is supporting us has lessened our fear of death, perhaps even eliminated it. At the same time, it has greatly lessened our fear of life. Most of us don’t even know we have a fear of life, or how great that fear is, until individuation leads us into the full acceptance of life’s horror and beauty, its wholeness and our wholeness, our true strengths and our real weaknesses, our ability to love, our capacity for rage, our experience of ecstasy and our despair. Dying into life continually increases our ability to stop living in denial, and to see how integral a part of our lives death truly is, and how thoroughly it is woven into the fabric of our existence. Death and the afterlife are still mysteries, but we can be very in touch with them and informed by them.

A life fully lived brings peace, in the face of death. In our professional practices and in our personal lives, Massimilla and I have the security of trusting the archetypal processes we have experienced, to support our lives. In addition, we can see the possibilities of becoming spiritually and psychologically stronger, while we weaken physically. Most of all, we can feel the support of the Self when individuation is our task and, from all we can see, this is the best preparation for the afterlife.

We love the passage in Memories, Dreams, Reflections (p. 306), where Jung says: “But while the man who despairs marches toward nothingness, the one who has placed his faith in the archetype follows the tracks of life and lives right into his death. Both, to be sure, remain in uncertainty, but the one lives against his instincts, the other with them.”

“Revisioning the Dead, Alive in the Afterlife” has reminded us of the importance of these living energies and their presence in our psyches and in our lives, and how important it is to honor them. We are glad to have shared our thoughts with you.

Bud Harris, Ph. D.
Massimilla Harris, Ph. D.
Jungian Analysts

Bud Harris, Ph. D and Massimilla Harris, Ph. D. are practicing Jungian Analysts in Asheville, North Carolina. Both are graduates of the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich. Bud and Massimilla are also authors, lecturers and have many creative pursuits. You may learn more about them at

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Individuation of God

The Entangled State of God and Humanity

Peter B. Todd

(Author: The Individuation of God) 

Click Here to Watch a Video interview with Peter Todd (Click Here for the Full 45 Minute Video) Contributions from archetypal depth psychology, quantum physics and neuroscience elucidate relationships between mind and matter. The published work of C.G. Jung, Wolfgang Pauli, David Bohm and Teilhard de Chardin outline a process whereby matter evolves in increasing complexity from sub-atomic particles to the human brain and the emergence of a reflective consciousness leading to a noosphere evolving towards an Omega point. The noosphere is the envelope of consciousness and meaning superimposed upon the biosphere a concept central to the evolutionary thought of Jesuit palaeontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (The Phenomenon of Man). His central ideas, like those of Jung, provide intimations of a numinous principle implicit in cosmology and the discovery that in and through humanity, evolution becomes not only conscious of itself but also directed and purposive. Consciousness has become the mirror which the universe has evolved to reflect upon itself and in which its very existence is revealed. The implication for process theology is that God and humanity are in an entangled state so that the evolution of God cannot be separated from that of humankind. A process (Incarnational) theology inseminated by the theory of evolution is one in which humankind completes the individuation of God towards the wholeness represented for instance in cosmic mandala symbols (Jung, Collected Works, vol. 11). Jung believes that God needs humankind to become conscious, whole and complete, a thesis explored in my book The individuation of God: Integrating Science and Religion (Wilmette, IL: Chiron Publications 2012). Book Purchase One critical issue explored in my book is the epistemological one which underpins scholarly treatments of extended mind and its relationship with matter in process theology, archetypal psychology and quantum physics as well cultural or psychosocial evolution in the work of Teilhard de Chardin. The prevailing position since the seventeenth century has been that of reductionist materialism so that mental (psychic) qualities were either squeezed out of existence or marginalised as mere epiphenomenal by-products of brain processes. The nature of the mind-matter or consciousness-brain relationship is not always made explicit in published work even in psychoanalytic studies although neither classical physics nor Darwin’s theory of evolution could explain the anomaly of mind or  consciousness so crucial to the process (Incarnational) theology of Teilhard de Chardin as I argue in my paper Teilhard and Other Modern Thinkers on Evolution, Mind and Matter  published in the journal of the American Teilhard Association, Number 66,2013.

The Psychophysical Problem

Physicist Wolfgang Pauli who collaborated with Carl Jung regarded the anomaly of mind and consciousness as troublesome because scientific theories, like mathematics were products of the psyche with a great deal of unconscious preparation.  Pauli noted that repression of the psyche had been one-sided and dangerous creating a materialistic culture in which the influence of religion was continuously diminished and a very strict separation between science and religion was characteristic (Laurikainen, K.V. Beyond the Atom: The Philosophical Thought of Wolfgang Pauli, Springer-Verlag, 1988). Pauli regarded the nature of the mind-brain-consciousness relationship or psychophysical problem as one of the most challenging of our time, given its epistemological significance in both science and religion. Wholeness could only be restored to a science in which the personal equation or consciousness of the observer was to be integrated into the understanding of nature. The term “personal equation” was coined in the collaboration between Jung and Pauli. According to Pauli and as noted by the late high energy physicist Kalervo Laurikainen, “the most important lesson that quantum mechanics has given us is that we must include the observer in our picture of the world. This was the original spirit in the Copenhagen philosophy (in quantum physics) and exactly in this point Pauli represented this philosophy in the most consistent way” (ibid.163). The myth of the detached observer is a relic of classical, Newtonian mechanics prior to the quantum revolution. Paradoxically, no science would exist in the absence of the consciousness of the human observer nor would mathematics which is a psychological process “describing relationships organising matter” as noted by Karl Pribram (Consciousness Reassessed, Mind and Matter, 2, 1 (2004): 14).Pribram, a neuroscientist perhaps best known for his work on the holographic brain, also rejects the notion that consciousness is an epiphenomenal by-product of brain processes remarking that “conscious attention shapes subsequent behaviour”(Ibid.27).

Complementarity Between Mind and Matter

The published thought of both Carl Jung and Teilhard de Chardin converge with respect to the existence of a relationship of complementarity between mind and matter. In Jungian depth psychology, symbols represent unconscious archetypes which are timeless, cosmic ordering and regulating principles. In particular, Jung’s archetype of the Self or Imago Dei (God-image) is distinctly numinous in character and associated with religious or mystical feelings. This archetype can be understood as corresponding to Teilhard’s notion of the God-Omega Point in cosmology and evolution. In Jungian archetypal psychology, the unconscious not only transcends space-time it is also co-extensive with the cosmos itself as was Teilhard’s notions of complexity-consciousness, noosphere and the Omega point as the culmination of hominisation and cultural evolution. Teilhard wrote, “In Omega we have the principle we needed to explain the persistent march of things towards greater consciousness …. By its radial nucleus it finds its shape and its natural consistency in gravitating against the tide of probability towards a divine focus of mind which draws it onward. Thus something in the cosmos escapes from entropy and does so more and more” (The Phenomenon of Man. 271). Pauli, together with Jung wanted spirit (psyche) to be acknowledged as a basic element of the world along with matter so that the universe would be perceived as an organism rather than a clock, a vision of cosmogenesis similar to that of Teilhard’s noogenesis that implies evolving toward a divine focus of mind. Both Pauli and Jung were mystically inclined with a sense of psychic and physical codes implicit in cosmology and evolution. As I point out in my paper published in Teilhard Studies, they had concluded that a relationship of complementarity exists between mind and matter which is analogous to the wave particle duality in quantum physics. This was the epistemological model of a dual-aspect monism having metaphysical implications. One observer described these connotations commenting that “metaphysics taken seriously in the sense of Pauli and Jung refers to a reality more substantial, more material as it were than anything that physics and psychology would characterise as real” (Atmanspacher, Editorial, Mind and Matter,9, 1 (2011):4). This form of extraphysical reality was designated by a mode of cognition expressed through archetypal symbols indicating an objective order in the cosmos of which humans are part but which also transcends humanity (K. von Meyenn, “Dreams and Fantasies of a Quantum Physicist”, Mind and Matter 9, 1 (2011):11).

The U-Field of Wolfgang Pauli

For Pauli, archetypes combine sensory stimuli forming certain outlines and in this way a picture of the world is formed corresponding to the properties of the human psyche. With his concept of the U-field, Pauli regarded the unconscious as the psychological analogy of the physical field except that the U-field was not spatiotemporally bound, an idea consistent with the notion of the unconscious archetypes as timeless, cosmic, ordering and regulating principles. For Pauli this seemed to express a deeper similarity rather than a superficial analogy. The Jungian unconscious refers to “an invisible reality mediating a connection between spatially and temporally distant phenomena” (Ibid. von Meyenn 2011). Thus, Pauli regarded the archetypes as verifiable in the external phenomenal world and in the internal world of the psyche. In a letter to Jung Pauli wrote “like all ideas, the unconscious is simultaneous in man and in nature; the ideas have no location, not even in heaven. Consciousness, on the other hand was supposed to be only a late-born offspring of the unconscious soul.” One archetype that was particularly meaningful to Pauli was the coniunctio oppositorum, the union of opposites or wholeness reflected in non-local effects, interconnectedness and holism associated with both the quantum situation and the unconscious psyche. Pauli’s cosmic ordering and regulating principles were not spatiotemporally bound or confined. They were as universal, timeless or eternal as those which like the archetypes of God and the Self, belonged to Jung’s collective unconscious, particularly when identified with either the external cosmos or the cosmos within. Although a “late born offspring of the unconscious soul”, consciousness is still the mirror in which the very existence of the universe is revealed as are the archetypal symbols of the collective unconscious. Such concepts resonate with Teilhard’s notions of the noosphere and Omega point at which the numinous dimension implicit in his evolutionary process consummates itself. For both Jung and Pauli, psyche and physis, like mind and matter and science and religion exist in a relationship of complementarity rather than being irreconcilable opposite or mutually antagonistic as I have argued in my book The Individuation of God: Integrating Science and Religion.

The Implicate Order of Bohm

In his later published work, physicist David Bohm evolved a concept of Mind which was co-extensive with the universe, one that closely resembled formulations by other physicists, psychologists and such religious thinkers as Teilhard de Chardin. Among Bohm’s contributions to the exploration of reality was an understanding of consciousness as a coherent whole. In his book Wholeness and the Implicate Order (1980), Bohm writes “The vast unconscious background of explicit consciousness and ultimately unknowable depths of inwardness are analogous to the sea of energy which fills the sensible perceived empty space” (P.267). In his final work, The Undivided Universe (2002), Bohm expressed the insight that “active information served as the bridge between the mental and the physical” (P.386). Bohm’s notion of extended mind included the idea of active quantum information devoid of consciousness, thereby avoiding the criticism of panpsychism and the conflation of mind with consciousness. Jung and Pauli likewise avoided the conflation of mind with reflective consciousness in their treatment of the unconscious (U-field). Bohm’s concept of active information as a bridge between mind and matter is remarkably similar to the notion of the unconscious archetypes as cosmic ordering and regulating principles. These insights provide the basis for the epistemological position of a relationship of complementarity between mind and matter. Bohm clearly adopted a dual-aspect monist notion of the mental and the physical being complementary though irreducible to one another. His dual aspect concept of mind represents a rejection of a purely monist materialist explanation of the nature of reality. More controversially perhaps, Bohm like Teilhard proposed human participation in “a greater collective mind in principle capable of going indefinitely beyond even the human species as a whole”. Such collective mind is analogous to Jung’s view of the unconscious psyche and the archetypes. Bohm summarised his position concerning the role of the human observer in this way: “There is no need to regard the observer as basically separate from what he sees nor to reduce him to an epiphenomenon of the objective process. More broadly one could say that through the human being, the universe has created a mirror to observe itself” (Ibid, 389).


Such reflections on mind not only represent a position radically different from metaphysical materialism, they also refute the argument that God is a delusion. In a perspective illuminated by the insights of Pauli, Jung and Bohm, Teilhard predicted that humanity not only participates in a numinous dimension but also in a process of co-creative divinisation by directing the future of the biosphere and the noosphere. Teilhard held that the ultimate nature of evolution is psychic referring to the “primordial psychism of the first cells” (The Phenomenon of Man, 166) and to its completion as “a divine focus of mind” (Ibid. 271). This view was endorsed by the eminent evolutionary biologist Sir Julian Huxley who wrote in his introduction to The Phenomenon of Man, “evolutionary fact and logic demand that minds should have evolved gradually as well as bodies and that accordingly, mind-like properties must be present throughout the universe” (The Phenomenon of Man, 16-17). Huxley commented that “Teilhard wanted to deal with the entire human phenomenon as a transcendence of biological by psychosocial evolution” (Ibid.24)

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Art and Jungian Psychology Poll


Thank you for participating in our poll! Please let us know your thoughts below and for more captivating conversation about the art and Jungian Psychology join us on July 27th for the next installment in our “At Home with Jung: The Zurich Series” titled Art and the Psyche. Lucienne Marguerat plans to explore what visual art does to everyone and why this “moving” experience does not leave people unchanged, why it has in fact the same capacity as music to open everyone’s psychic space to humanity and the universe. As an illustration of this Lucienne will examine a few works by 2 different artists, Adolf Wölfli and Maria Lassnig. Linda Carter plans to show the deep importance of the conjunction of art and psyche in the collective as well as in individuals. These conjunctions create new life within artwork and the powerful dynamics of emergence.

Space for this online event is limited. Please register soon to make sure you able to see the live event. Click Here for more information

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Poll: Archetypal Significance of Diminishing Water Resources


Thank you for participating in our poll! For more captivating conversation about the importance of water join us on April 4th for the next installment in our EcoPsychology series titled Elixir of Life: The Flowing Waters of our Soul and of our Planet. Can the planet sustain the use of water that humans require, or is the burden too great, the demand far too large, the pressure on the earth too extreme? Can individuals even in our hectic times find ways to bathe their souls in the waters of life? These are critical questions that impact every corner of the world today.  Don’t miss this opportunity as Murray Stein and Brigitte Egger give a Jungian view of the importance of water, the key to life on Earth.

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Izdubar Headshot

Jung, Izdubar, and Enantiodromion

By Dr. Curtiss Hoffman A Response to “Liber Secundus: Individuation as Integration”, an excerpt by Dr. Murray Stein from AJC #10: Carl Jung’s Red Book On the topic of Izdubar, back in 1914, when Akkadian (the language of the Gilgamesh Epic) was only beginning to be well known to scholars, and the much older Sumerian language was poorly understood, the three cuneiform signs which make up the name “Gilgamesh” were all misread as “IZ.DU.BAR”.  It was not until R. Campbell Thompson’s authoritative edition of 1922 that the name was recognized as Gilgamesh.  I go into great detail on this subject in the next Asheville Jung Center Webinar on February 28th titled, “Cross-Cultural Symbolism in C.G. Jung’s Red Book: An Anthropological Exploration”. The first sign is not to be pronounced at all; it is what Assyriologists call a “determinative” – a sign which announces that a certain type of noun is to follow.  There are determinatives for gods, for male and female humans, for birds, for fish, for items made of copper, and – in this case – items made of wood.  (Actually, the original form of the sign was an erect phallus!  Compare the Egyptian djed pillar which replaced the phallus of Osiris when he became king of the underworld.)  The second sign is to be pronounced “BILGA” or “GILGA” and has the primary meaning of “grandfather” or “ancestor”. The third sign is a kind of a visual pun.  It is the sign for goat (MASH) but it is understood to be a gloss for the word for hero (MESH).  So what we have in this name is a heroic progenitor or ancestor, who is – somehow – also made of wood.  Then again, given Gilgamesh’s reputation with the young women of Uruk, perhaps the original reading of the determinative is not inappropriate!  Jung was aware of the change of the reading of the name – in his library there is a copy of J.V. Pritchard’s classic Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, which contains a good translation of the entire epic. While we are on the subject of Jung’s library, in addition to the bust of Voltaire in the study he also had a Neanderthal skull (a model, I think) in the library.  So we have a strong contrast between the urbane, witty, erudite Voltaire and the Neanderthal, who likely reflects Jung’s concept of the “million year-old man”. The encounter between Jung and Gilgamesh/Izdubar itself carries a mythological valance.  Readers who are familiar with Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival may well recognize in it the two encounters between East and West in that epic.  In the first, the unprepared Anfortas, riding from the Grail Castle (of which more in my webinar) in the West encounters in battle the unprepared (and unnamed) eastern knight whose goal is the Grail.  Their collision – symbolic of the alchemical massa confusa – results in disaster for both of them:  the eastern knight is killed, and Anfortas is rendered impotent by a spear thrust through his groin, as a result of which his land goes waste.  In the second, the well-prepared Parzival, riding in search of the Grail Castle, but also in search of his lady-love, encounters in battle a man who turns out to be his half-brother from the East, who fights for love and gems.  In this case, neither can prevail in battle, and they declare a truce, during which they discover that they share the same father.  And the Easterner’s complexion – under European misconceptions of heredity of the day – is a mixture of white and black.  The result of their encounter is the healing of the Waste Land.  So Jung encountering Gilgamesh and each warning the other about going too far in the other’s direction – partakes of this alchemical meeting of the pairs of opposites – a theme which was to occupy much of Jung’s later thought.  He called it enantiodromion:  the running together of the opposites. It is true that Jung in his later writings inveighed against the appropriation by Europeans (and I suppose, by extension, Americans also) of the trappings of Eastern religions and argued instead that we should acknowledge and affirm the spiritual poverty of post-Reformation Christianity.  The metaphor he uses is of a beggar stumbling into a ornate Eastern palace and claiming it as his own.   But now, in the 21st Century, at a time when easterners have increasingly appropriated western materialism, perhaps it is no longer so inappropriate for westerners to seek eastern spirituality!  Or, perhaps, if we do explore that ornate palace, we will find that it is not so unfamiliar and exotic as we at first thought.  As Novalis wrote, “Where are we going?  Always home!” Don’t miss this Thursday night Webinar on February 28! Reserve your seat, sign on live (or recorded), and speak directly with the Dr. Hoffman during this 2 hour Webinar.  This is the fourth installment of our Red Book series titled “Cross-Cultural Symbolism in C.G. Jung’s Red Book: An Anthropological Exploration”.

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Liber Secundus: Individuation as Integration

An excerpt by Murray Stein, Ph.D. from AJC10: Carl Jung’s Red Book

[Join us in our 4th Seminar on Carl Jung’s Redbook, Presented this time by Curtis Hoffman]

The first part of Carl Jung’s Red Book was more about separation, in the second part Jung begins integrating several important things.  You could also refer to the section as a holy illness and the constellation or the birth of the wounded healer because Jung has to accept his holy illness, his craziness if you will, his own psychic reality.

On the first day, it says erste tag, this is the 8th of January 1914, chapter eight, Jung is traveling to the east.  He traveled to the north, where he met death.  Now, he is going to the east.  As he goes to the east he comes upon a figure, a mythological figure named Izdubar the mighty.  This is where Jung paints his first big picture in The Red Book, I do not care much for the picture but it is quite an impressive figure.  He is a giant of a figure, Izdubar the mighty, there you see him.  Izdubar comes from the east, he is a figure of the east and Sonu Shamdashani writes something in a footnote about him, that he is related to Gilgamesh and so on.  He is a mythological figure and he is wounded.  He comes from the land of faith and belief and he has been wounded by reports that he has gotten that in the west.

He wants to go to the west, in the west there is a very different attitude towards religion and faith, very skeptical, very scientific, and Jung comes from the west to the east and they confront each other.  Izdubar represents the mythological man, mythological attitude, an early sort of pre-enlightenment, pre-Christian even or eastern religious, people who to this day go to India.  They say it is a very spiritual place, it is so different from the west, from Europe or North America.  Izdubar comes from the east, or rather from the Middle East, comes this way for his meeting with Jung.  Jung wants to go to the east and Izdubar says, “don’t go to the east, it will blind you, the sun is too bright for you there.” So he warns Jung not to go to the east and Jung is sorry for him because he has been wounded by science, he says, “in the west we no longer have faith, we no longer have religion, God is dead.  Nietzsche announced it years ago and what we have now is science and science wounds religion.  If you come to the west, it will destroy you, they will take you apart, they will analyze you to pieces, they will reduce you to rubble.  You can’t go to the west.” And so, they are stuck there and Izdubar is wounded, Jung feels sorry for him but he is too big to pick up.  What is he going to do with him?  How can he heal him?  That becomes the problem and the question.

So Jung comes upon an ingenious idea.  He says, “I am going to treat Izdubar as a fantasy.  I am going to say he is just a fantasy, and then I can take this big figure and I am going to put him in a tiny shell, an eggshell, put him in my pocket and go back home, go back to the west.  And, as long as I have got him in my pocket nobody will see him, they can’t attack him, and I will just carry this mythological attitude home and hold it secretly and that will offer it protection.  And then, while it is there I will try to heal it.”

So he does that, he puts him in an egg, goes home with him, and then when he gets home, having made religion a private affair, hidden it away in his pocket, this is the solution.  This is how you can be religious in the atheistic, scientific, enlightenment west.  You can be secretly, you can be secretly religious.  Keep it in your pocket, do not tell anybody about it.  And so when he gets home with it he realizes it’s still is not healed, it is in the egg and he has to breathe life into it, he has to bring it back to life.  So, there is this section called the incantations which was inserted later where he does these prayers and incantations to bring Izdubar back, to heal him, bring him back to life and here you see Jung as spiritual healer at work, breathing life into this figure Izdubar, and he is successful, he is immensely successful.  He opens the egg in chapter eleven, and Izdubar comes out of the egg, healed and well like a reborn son, and he rises up and he returns to where he came from, to the east where the sun rises.

So he is a healed mythological man but he leaves Jung behind and now there is a separation again.  Jung then realized that he could not go to the east for religion.  He writes about this later, he says, “It is a mistake to try to mimic eastern religions.  We have to stay true to our own history, to our own path, that is not the way for us.”  It certainly was not for him although he learned a lot about eastern religions and he even traveled to India and so on.  Jung was not in favor of leaving your own belief, whatever that is, and in the west it is Christianity, Judaism, whatever your tradition happens to be, but rather to go with it, to try to elaborate or carry it further, but not to leave it behind or go after something else and tried to mimic the people of the east.  So Izdubar returns, retreats, and Jung have realized he cannot regress to being a mythological person, taking on mythological meanings and living in a phony mythology.  It would not work, he was too honest.  He was scientific, he was enlightenment man.  He had a statue of Voltaire in his study, you know, the arch enlightenment figure for another reason, which I will tell you later, so mythological man, heal it and leave it be.

Let us know your thoughts on Liber Secundus by commenting below.  Stay tuned for Dr. Curtiss Hoffman’s blog response to this excerpt by Dr. Murray Stein.

For more insight into Carl Jung’s Red Book you may attend our Webinar on Thursday, February 28th titled, “Cross-Cultural Symbolism in C.G. Jung’s Red Book: An Anthropological Exploration.”  You may also find many other exciting information on our Red Book page.

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Red Book Boat

Poll: Source of Jung’s Red Book

Thank you for participating in our poll! For more captivating conversation about Jung’s Red Book please join us on February 28th for the next installment in our Red Book series titled Cross-Cultural Symbolism in C.G. Jung’s Red Book: An Anthropological Exploration.Dr. Curtiss Hoffman brings his scholarly expertise as an anthropologist to thoroughly examine cross-cultural elements In this incredible text.

Click Here for more information



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Individuation of God

The Individuation of God: Book Review By Leonard Cruz

The Individuation of God: Integrating Science and Religion Peter B Todd

A book review

By Leonard Cruz, M.D. , M.E.

Erit in omnibus in Omnia Deus (God may become all in and through all)

The Phenomenon of Man

Pierre Telihard de Chardin

Click Here for Peter Todd’s interview with Dr. Rachael Kohn

Quantum mechanics, depth psychology, and mysticism are blended in Peter Todd’s scholarship as he searches for a Third-Millennium Theology.  Todd effectively strikes a blow to the The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins’s enormously popular 2006 book by highlighting that the God Dawkins seeks to dismantle, a God infused with classical Newtonian and neo-Darwinian ideas, has already been silenced and annihilated.  Todd correctly points out that Dawkins completely ignores revolutionary ideas emerging from quantum mechanics high priests such as David Bohm (The Undivided Universe), Erwin Schrödinger (What is Life?), and evolutionary biologists like McFadden, Al-Khalilili (A Quantum Mechanical Model of Adaptive Mutation) who propose a quantum mechanical model of evolution.  One consequence of Todd’s frequent reference to Dawkins is that it may unintentionally promote The God Delusion.

During the twentieth century, under the banner of process theology, various explorations of God’s attribute of being mutable were undertaken.  The Individuation of God is at once a psychologically well-informed work and another contribution to process theology.  Readers who are familiar with certain bedrock ideas from quantum mechanics will undoubtedly appreciate Todd’s grasp more than those for whom ideas like quantum entanglement, or emergent phenomenon are entirely new concepts.  It may be helpful to explain some concepts and Wikipedia provides some succinct explanations with suitable references (retrieved 2/3/2013 )

Quantum entanglement is a form of quantum superposition. When a measurement is made and it causes one member of such a pair to take on a definite value (e.g., clockwise spin), the other member of this entangled pair will at any subsequent time[6] be found to have taken the appropriately correlated value (e.g., counterclockwise spin). Thus, there is a correlation between the results of measurements performed on entangled pairs, and this correlation is observed even though the entangled pair may have been separated by arbitrarily large distances.[7]In Quantum entanglement, part of the transfer happens instantaneously. [8]

Emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels and of complex systems.

The negentropy, also negative entropy,[1] of a living system is the entropy that it exports to keep its own entropy low; it lies at the intersection of entropy and life.  (It is a measure of a systems tendency to move toward or sustain complexity and order.)

Todd suggests that God and man are in an entangled state such that both God’s and man’s individuation are inextricably bound and reliant on one another for completion.  This will strike many Christians as antithetical and heretical, but it may provide process theologians a solid scientific basis for their claims.

The book’s first chapter, “The Case against God” summarizes the case Dawkins prosecutes against God in which he contends that belief in a personal god constitutes a delusion.  In “Religious Fundamentalism as a Shadow”, Todd notes that fundamentalism and the literalism it espouses is “One major challenge to the survival of humanity…” . (p 21) The third chapter, “Mind and Directed Evolution” introduces the most revolutionary claims.  Insofar as the quality of mind is revealed even at the quantum level, Todd explains that biosystems may be viewed as quantum computers. As such,  they are capable of evaluating infinite probability states, and through natural selection, efficiently choosing evolutionary changes that are  useful for survival.  If for example, the mutation of the HIV retrovirus involves something other than random events, then humankind’s collective conscious response may be understood as a “metaphorical quantum entanglement between the developed and developing worlds…that transcends the confines of nationalism and economic self-interest…” (p48).

In the chapter titled “Consciousness as an Organizing Principle” the author decries spiritual materialism, secularism, and the religion of the state for their ability to support a “God of insects” (p82), wherein spirit and numinosity is repressed and no individuality exists like with beehives or ant colonies.  This conception of God has menacing effects upon the planet and its resources.  In the totalitarian states especially, “…no individuality exists … the individuation process is repressed so that personal self-identity is subsumed to a mindless devotion to the state …”.  Depth psychology, theology, and the numinous qualities of archetypal symbols illuminate how man’s conception of God can evolve beyond a transitional object.

The last two chapters, “Myth, Symbol, and Transformation” and “A Third-Millennium Theology” challenge conventional understanding of time’s arrow and reintroduce the numinous in an effort to propose a theology for our current millennium.  Todd is not suggesting a third-millennium theology as some completed endpoint.   However, he seems to be mindful of the simultaneous threats of thermonuclear warfare, chemical  & biological weapons, natural resource depletion, and global warming.  These are more dangerous if humanity remains fixed in the mindset of religious fundamentalism, classical Newtonian mechanics, or neo-Darwinian orthodoxy.

            The Individuation of God inquires about time and the illusion of time’s arrow.  Todd invokes Schrödinger’s reference to the “tyranny of Chronos” in considering the indestructibility of the mind.  The Greek New Testament uses two words for time, Chronos (Χρόνος) and Kairos (καιρός).  Kairos is the indeterminate time, often discovered in the liminal realm, when something special happens.  It can be thought of as the emergent moment, the eternal now, or the realm where the illusion of time’s arrow is transcended.

In the end, The Individuation of God  is a valiant and well-informed effort to integrate modern science, psychology, and theology.  The Individuation of God successfully interweaves an expansive list of sources.  In the last chapter His Holiness the Dalai Lama is quoted, “If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change.” (p141).  And from Einstein’s essay, “The World as I See It” he quotes, “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.”  We arrive at some intriguing conclusions that “Without psyche there would be no theory to explain the outlines and patterns discovered by science.” (p150)  In the course of God becoming fully human through the incarnation, arises a corollary and possibility, that humanity is becoming divine.  This is in perfect alliance with Jung’s notion of Christ as a symbol of the coniunctio, for Christ reconciles opposites.

The evolution of God and the evolution of man cannot be separated.  There is a trajectory of humanity’s conception of God that began with a mythopoetic, animistic experience of the divine. This trajectory later traverses the epochs in which omnipotent, often patriarchal Olympian or Old Testament deities reigned with ferocity and aloofness.  And this arrives at a “…three-hundred-year-old schism between science and religion” (p160) that yielded a demythologized, annihilated god.  Peter Todd’s third millennium theology, may provide a path of return to the Garden of Eden.  This third millennium theology is characterized by a deep appreciation for the entangled state of our inner and outer life, of I and Thou, and of the physical and the numinous.  This theology brings man’s evolving notion of God full circle where it is once more infused with myths and symbols.  In this regard, depth psychology and Jung’s seemingly unfathomable explorations continue to enrich us.

At times it may appear at times that Todd too often refers to ideas previously mentioned, but this is necessary since many topics are likely to be unfamiliar.  The frequent invocation of Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion, makes The Individuation of God, appear to be a disputation of Dawkins.  This is a small shortcoming, of this book but The Individuation of God deserves to stand alone with Dawkins relegated to a footnote and bibliographic reference.

– Len Cruz, MD


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Tune In on 12-12-12; Save the World

What if it was up to you to save the planet. John Lennon captured it in his song, IMAGINE. Now a group of like-minded individuals is seeking to gather people across the planet to join in a 30 minute meditation at 9:30 PM EST. The Asheville Jung Center along with innerQuest Psychiatry & Psychotherapy’s recent Webinar “The End of the World” , a huge success, was an initiation into the Mayan Prophecy and also prepares the way for those wishing to attune on 12.12.12 in preparation for 12.21.12.

The Web is overflowing with various initiatory rites and teachings designed to prepare humanity for great changes and transitions. Some sites like Pleiadian Message 2012 – A Wake Up Call For the Family of Light informs us that humanity is an experiment and we have all been prepared to receive the wisdom from extraterrestrial beings.  This Youtube video explains that we will be seeing with the eyes of Horus and we are ushering in a new age. Google images generates a plethora of images intended to unify humanity.

IMAGINE if vast numbers of persons join together on 12.12.12 to share a common intention to bring peace, to share love, to awaken to our higher nature, to transcend differences of belief, culture, and national origin. Be among the millions planning to join forces and tune to a similar frequency on the evening of 12.12.12.

Click Here for the Meditation Video for 12-12-12.

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Comments from “How the End of the World Grips Our Soul” Seminar Participants

We would like to thank all of those who joined our very intriguing seminar on November 29th about the impending end of the world controversy. Nancy Swift Ferlotti, Murray Stein, and Karen Jironet all gave wonderful presentations and insight into the Maya and their culture. We invite all those who attended to leave comments and exchange ideas in our interactive forum below.

Please also leave comments at presenter Karen Jironet’s website at the link below.

Click here for more information on our seminar “How the End of the World Grips Our Soul.”

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