Janus in Zürich:

Dr. Steve Buser and I have been treated to an extraordinary five days in Zürich, Switzerland. The collage above was created from two photos captured while on a long bicycle ride around parts of Lake Zürich.  It is a piece of public sculpture we could easily have missed. I felt a sort of undulation through as the statue and I encountered each other that is difficult to describe. In this scene of participation mystique other characters began to appear. Recall that Jung explains this idea of participation mystique as follows:

Participation mystique “denotes a peculiar kind of psychological connection with objects, and consists in the fact that the subject cannot clearly distinguish himself from the object but is bound to it by a direct relationship which amounts to partial identity.” (Jung 1921: para 781).

Janus, the Roman god representing beginnings, transitions, passageways, and endings was awakened by this sculpture.  Such two-faced images call forth the complementarity revealed throughout nature.  Whether we consider the night and the day, the unconscious and the unconscious, the feminine and masculine, we encounter repeated reminders that life frequently arrives as a pair of apparent opposites.  Quite often when it seems otherwise, when one polarity has overtaken the other, we ill eventually be required to acknowledge the hidden other.  Such requirements may be seen in the interior landscape in such phenomena as the inferior function that Jung, von Franz and others describe.  In the outer life, the symbol of the yin-yang reminds us that at any moment whatever has overtaken its opposite may reverse since within each extreme manifestation exists the seed of its opposite. Transformation is the theme of Chiron Publications’s most recent release Paths to Transformation by Zürich trained analyst Kate Burns. Our encounter with the public statue quietly tucked away between Seestrasse and the shoreline of Lake Zürich also called forth Michaelangelo’s unfinished sculpture.  As if the stone awaited the arrival of a human being guided by Techne, the goddess ruling over such artisans skills.  In those encounters between a stone, perhaps the very embodiment of lifelessness, through the skillful hands of the sculptor, emerges something that seems very alive.  The figure depicted in public statue struck me as ambivalent, unsure whether to fully emerge into the solar consciousness or perhaps better to retreat into the lunar realms.  It was indeed lucky that the encounter with this statue occurred in the afternoon when the sun was beginning its descent into the western sky so that the front of the statue was brightly illuminated whereas the back of the statue was in the shadows.   I wish to issue an invitation that may be better characterized as a challenge.  We are living in times of great crisis as we witness the heating of the planet from the exaggerated, almost urgent use of fossil fuels.  One of the most fundamental resources we share, water, is being despoiled, harnessed for hydroelectric power, and simply squandered.  One of the tragic consequences of these crises is the biodiversity of our planet is rapidly declining such that a gestalt favoring monoculture over biodiversity asserts itself in our individual and collective psyches.  For instance, our expectations have shaped to desire a uniform appearing tomato at our grocer’s shelves.  But do we pause to consider that the desire for a uniform appearing tomato is a manufactured expectation whose downstream effect is profoundly unstable.   Any gardner knows that a tomato plant produces different sizes and shapes of tomato. Of course, a tomato’s genome can be manipulated to improve its yield of uniformly shaped tomatoes.  But we may ask ourselves what has actually been improved and at what cost?  As a variety of tomato that yields uniform appearing fruit succeeds in the market (note the intentional double entendre), we are apt to find more growers shifting to this variety.  This shift will happen at the expense of a varied, diverse cultivation of tomatoes that produce different sizes, shapes and colors.  One might imagine an individual act of rebellion playing out in day-to-day decisions when we arrive at the grocer’s stand.  Imagine thoughtfully and mindfully choosing the irregular, misshapen fruit.  I have often wondered why the god Hephaestus, creator of so many beautiful things must himself be deformed or misshapen.  For me it serves as a reminder that perhaps choosing the ugly tomato or the oddly shaped zucchini is a first step in participating in the creation of something quite beautiful, a biodiverse ecosystem.   The Challenge  Consider any of the big themes or cries of our time like energy, water resources, the loss of biodiversity.  Listen and seek out the deep symbols that lie beneath the surface.  Beware of seizing hold of the first symbol you identify since it may be a deeper symbol awaits the persistent inquirer.  Two valuable resources that can serve as references are Jungian Symbolic Psychology (Byington), Chiron Dictionary of Greek and Roman Mythology,  and The Herder Dictionary of Symbols. Once you find the symbol(s) see how you might communicate that deep symbol to others.  Finally suppose you succeed in communicating something about the symbol you have excavated.   The challenge becomes how to let this work inform your day-to-day decisions.  Here I mean to encourage choosing the ugly tomato, the walk to the store that leaves the automobile behind, the decision to reclaim rainwater, reduce waste, reuse materials, and the countless other small decisions we make every day.  When our psychological work is then made flesh and dwells among us through the small and large choices we make concerning how we live not only may we find ourselves in a drama of participation mystique with the objects of our world, but we will have brought the fire of inspiration imparted to us by the gods into the manifest world.  Like the statue that Steve and I encountered that seemed to maintain an encampment in the hidden unconscious realm simultaneously with the evident, conscious realm, when we accept the challenge we may find it difficult to distinguish inner and outer, manifest and latent, implicate and explicate order.   ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I wish to acknowledge that the source of most of the ideas contained in this blog is Frau Brigitte Egger, who has done very original work in psychecology.  Notice the ordering of the root words psyche and ecology.  Brigitte confirmed for me that this is an intentional ordering of the words that connotes that it is first the work of inner transformation that equips us to go into the world as agents of change.  I urge anyone interested in these subjects to visit her website at www.psychecology.ch .  Frau Egger has agreed to present a webinar for the Asheville Jung Center on Water in early 2015.

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Mother Father

Mother-Daughter Relationships: Thoughts for Mother’s Day

Mother Father“The mother – daughter relationship is one of the most vital of all human relationships, resolving itself into the relationship each woman has not only to her mother, but also to her own feminine psyche. The mother, or the mother image, is at least a determining factor, if not the determining factor, in a woman’s relationship to herself as a woman – and particularly to her instinctive side. This inner attitude is reflected me a relationship both to her mother and in turn to her daughter. But most important is the inner relationship – the relationship between the mother and daughter within her.”

(Excerpted from “The Mother-Daughter Relationship” by Mary Briner. Mother Father, Chiron Publications, 1990.)

The Asheville Jung Center is offering a free chapter from the book Mother Father (Chiron Publications, 1990) as a belated Mother’s Day gift.  This extraordinary collection of essays edited by Henry A. Wilmer (Understandable Jung, Practical Jung) boasts contributors that include Robert Bly, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Mary Catherine Bateson, Jerome Kagan, Murray Stein (The Principle of Individuation, Minding the Self, Jung’s Treatment of Christianity).

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Mother Father (CONTENTS)

Preface Henry A. Wilmer, III
Acknowledgment and Introduction Harry A. Wilmer, III


Father and Son Robert Bly
On Being Born, On Caring, and on Dying Elizabeth Kübler-Ross
My Mother and My Father Mary Catherine Bateson
Powerful Women: Mother, Great Grandmother Betty Sue Flowers
The Power and Limitations of Parents Jerome Kagan


The Eternal Woman: The Worship of Mary in Art Elizabeth Silverthorne
Mother and Daughter Relationships Mary Briner
The Myth of the Hero John Silber
Jung: Father and Son – One View Murray Stein
Jung: Father and Son – Another View Harry A. Wilmer, III


With Mother’s Day just passing over the weekend, consider this an invitation to explore some of the facets of the mother-daughter relationship.

Mary Briner proposes that the mother-daughter relationship determines a woman’s relationship to herself and three factors are involved.  There is a feminine structure with which a woman is born.  Secondly, there is a cultural and historical pattern into which every woman is born.  Finally, the mother-daughter relationship, “colors, or even distorts,…” the first two factors.  Briner goes on to explain:

“We have no goddesses who reveal themselves to us and differentiate women’s nature.  So each one of us, has to experiment, seeking our own path.” (p. 110)

Briner explores the challenge facing every woman whereby she must avoid becoming imprisoned by men’s anima projections.  Marie-Louise von Franz provided brilliant insights into this perilous realm in The Feminine in Fairy Tales where she writes “… the anima of the man will have many characteristics of his mother.”  She goes on to explain, “…women are influenced by the man’s anima projections.”

This past weekend Mother’s Day was celebrated in North America.  This day can serve to remind us of the many dimensions of  meaning of the word mother.    An etymologic search of the Latin root, mater, reminds us of the variegated and textured meanings of mother.  Deriving from mater are words like mother and motherland (source), matrix (womb), matriculate (register), matter, matrimony and matron. 


For women, contemplation of mother echoes between two domains.  Every woman has a mother who gave her life; a woman’s mother dwells in one domain.  A woman’s daughter dwells in the other domain.  Whether or not a woman ever gives birth to a daughter, a daughter relationship can develop.  Childless women and the women with sons can develop daughter relationships with other women. For some women the absence of an actual daughter or daughter surrogate can fashion a daughter image.

Many years ago a patient I was treating embarked on a series of dialogues with a figure that first appeared in a dream.  The figure sometimes appeared as an elfin creature that was fully woman but dwarfed in her appearance.  Her drawing rendered the figure as a sort of alchemical homunculus.  Over time, the figure underwent a metamorphosis.  In the course of her therapy, the figure, who remained nameless, went on to resemble a fecund and slightly pregnant appearing woman, a provisional Demeter-like figure and finally a figure she eventually named Pythia, after the Delphic priestess.   This interior feminine figure’s ontogeny paralleled my patient’s efforts in therapy to first resolve her highly conflicted relationship with her mother and subsequently her  increasingly challenging relationship to her teenage daughter.

The nature of a woman’s relationship with her mother may shape the relationship a woman will have with her instincts, her own interior feminine and her relationship with her daughters.  Mother’s Day is set aside for the purpose of honoring mothers.  Like many exoteric rituals, Mother’s Day belies much deeper, esoteric mysteries.

The Asheville Jung Center offers a chapter from Mother Father in hopes of arousing interest in further explorations for Mother’s Day.  Please encourage others to enroll for a copy of this chapter.

If there is enough of a response, the Asheville Jung Center will arrange to release a chapter related to fathers before Father’s Day.

Len Cruz

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Collective Values In the Cadillac-Ford Ad War

Len Cruz

  Recent advertisements by Cadillac and Ford caught my attention partly because when advertisers begin waging ad wars like these, there are reasons to conclude that tow distinct polarities have coalesced in our collective unconscious.[i]  Apple exploiting dystopian view alluding to Orwell’s work reminded me of the iconic 1984 advertisement.  The collective roots of that phenomenally successful commercial suggest that there has been a coalescence of collective worldview.  The iconic Apple advertisement only aired twice involved the tension between conformity and Apple’s effort to save humanity from such a droll, lifeless existence that would enslave us to Microsoft, IBM and the PC the evidence suggests that there’s been a collective coalescence.[ii]   The tension highlighted in the Cadillac and Ford advertisements points to a newly appearing enantiodromia  in our collective experience of why we work.  What has coalesced in these vignettes are two very different collections of values that are in tension.  Here are a few examples of things that may contribute to the formation of such a dichotomy.
  • Conflicting reports about the catastrophic effect of global warming and reports that global warming is a myth.
  • Environmentalist groups sounding the alarm about Colony Collapse Disorder[iii] and while others seek to debunk such claims as junk science.[iv]
  • Environmental despair[v] [vi] is a real phenomenon.
  • In a chapter titled “Extreme Economics “ in Rebecca D. Costa’s The Watchmen’s Rattle: A Radical New Theory of Collapse[vii]  some of the underpinnings of the vignette portrayed by the actor in the Cadillac commercial are examined.
  • Both advertisements use drastically different approaches to highlight differences.  Below are a few examples that jumped out at me.
    • Cadillac
      • Acoustic guitar plays in the background.
      • Lighting and opening scene is colorful and bright.
      • Protagonist is a white, confident, almost Aryan appearing male.
      • Actor is dismissive about countries that place value on leisure.
      • Listen to the overt claims of American Exceptionalism.
      • The Moral: you work hard, create your own luck, believe anything is possible (anything refers to what the individual can achieve for himself).
      • The commercial ends with the actor wearing a very crisp grey suit getting into a grey electric Cadillac, the symbol of this worldview.  Does the grey suggest we should be comfortable with the grey scale blurring of issues wherein the Art of Selfishness can be mitigated by an electric luxury vehicle?
  • Ford
    • Music has a slightly mechanical, industrial sound.
    • Opening scene is brown, black and white. (Stark.)
    • The protagonist is a tall, African-American, upbeat woman with a big afro that evoked some mixture of Angela Davis and Erykah Badu.
    • Real Activist[viii] points toward countries who stroll to their maket to buy locally grown food.
    • Listen to the openness to learning from other countries who value sustainable practices; there is a distinct absence of American Exceptionalism.
    • The Motto: work hard, anything is possible, you try to make the world a better place, you try!
    • The commercial ends with a white vehicle with the protagonist now dressed more colorfully but not in a way that distinguishes her from the masses.  Does the choice of a white vehicle seek to make the issue that clean and simple?
  Charles Caleb Colton wrote, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”  Ford flattered the creators of the Cadillac commercial by copying it so carefully.  But before we are ensnared by the cleverness and the appeal of Ford’s message we should consider that both advertisements exploit a coalescing set of values that have been newly minted in our collective unconscious.   BEWARE if you watch both advertisements and find yourself aligning more with the Cadillac or the Ford advertisement.  From a Jungian perspective, the it is useful to remember what is meant by enantiodromia.  

Enantiodromia: the tendency of one pole of an experience to change into its opposite (term coined by Greek philosopher Heraclitus). See compensation. For Jung, all life and energy are a play of opposites. To avoid falling into enantiodromia one must value both opposites (see transcendent function).[ix]

Keep in mind that both advertisements share the same objective, to entice the viewer to buy their vehicle.  Both advertisements are tapping a collective realm, a Weltanschuuang where the implications may be almost beyond our capacity to fathom.  The advertisements succeed because they capture some essential features of a coalescing enatiodromia.  The Cadillac commercial epitomizes the values that have been glorified lately by politicians and pundits claiming to be believers in Ayn Rand’s philosophy.  In contrast, the Ford commercial epitomizes a perspective implied in popular books like 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth.[x]   Here are two questions I want to pose to readers in hopes of fostering discussion.
    1. Are there actually two coalescing Weltanschuuang revealed in these two commercials?
    2. If there is an enantiodromia being exploited in these advertisements, how might the transcendent function guide us in cultivating a conjunction oppositorum. 
  If you’ve read this blog then at the very least, watch the two advertisements. Visit http://www.businessinsider.sg/ford-destroys-cadillacs-rich-guy-ad-2014-3/#.UzV4_K69LCS

[i] Taube, Aaron. “Advertising.” Business Insider. N.p., 29 Mar. 2014. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <http://www.businessinsider.sg/ford-destroys-cadillacs-rich-guy-ad-2014-3/#.UzgUthYTHzL>.
[ii] “1984 (advertisement).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Mar. 2014. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_%28advertisement%29>.
[iii] “Vanishing Bees.” Colony Collapse Disorder. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <http://www.nrdc.org/wildlife/animals/bees.asp>.
[iv] “Colony Collapse Disorder: Cause – All Natural!” JunkSciencecom. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <http://junkscience.com/2012/01/10/colony-collapse-disorder-cause-all-natural/>.
[v] Worthy, Kenneth. “The Green Mind.” Despair, Courage, & Hope in an Age of Environmental Turmoil. N.p., 9 Nov. 2013. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-green-mind/201311/despair-courage-hope-in-age-environmental-turmoil>.
[vi] Roszak, Theodore, Mary E. Gomes, Allen D. Kanner, Lester R. Brown, and James Hillman. “Working Through Environmental Despair.” Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1995. 240-62. Print.
[vii] Costa, Rebecca D., and Edward O. Wilson. The Watchman’s Rattle: A Radical New Theory of Collapse. New York, NY: Vanguard, 2010. 137-68. Print.
[viii] Pasho Murray is the founder of Detroit Dirt that seeks to convert waste into compost that is sold to people building urban gardens.  See http://craftedincarhartt.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/detroit-dirt/
[ix] Chalquist, Craig, “A Glossary of Jungian Terms”. Web 3.30.2104 <”http://www.terrapsych.com/jungdefs.html>.
[x] John, Javna, Javna Sophie, and Javna Jesse. 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth. Berkeley, CA: Earthworks, 1989. Print.

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bud_harris 2

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 www.budharris.com.

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Confessions of a Reluctant Jungian

Further Reflections on “Rilke: Poetry and Alchemy

Len Cruz

If I Ain’t Jungian

(Adapted by Len Cruz with permission from If I Ain’t African by Glenis Redmond.  Her poem is printed below.)

If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell my soul

to stop sounding an ancient meditation bell.

If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell that woman in me

to stop whispering incantations in my ear.

If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell my eyes

to stop looking into the deep

from whence I emerged

Someone speak to my ordered way

of life and tell it to

quit welcoming disruptions.

If I ain’t Jungian

How come I know the way home

to Ithaca’s unreachable shores?

Feel it in my loins.

If I ain’t Jungian

how come my spirit

calls from deep unto deep.

How come every time I find myself breaking apart

I free fall into the next moment.

I I ain’t Jungian

how come I know things I’m not supposed to know

about ancient cultures and the stories

rooted in my deepest parts.

If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell the gods

to stop calling on me,

Apollo, Belenos, Ra,

Selene, Yemaya, Máni!

Tell me why I get dizzy

every time I

see the sun and moon together in the sky.

If I ain’t Jungian

how come I detect spiritus mundi 

everywhere I go:

Hear it in my heartbeat

hear it high

hear it low.

If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell my soul

to suspend its ceaseless arising.

Someone tell their gods

to call another name.

Someone take this bell

out of my depths.

Someone give my intuition

a flatter world to apprehend.

If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell my hands

to speak to my arms

to speak to my shoulders

to press a message on my Orphean breast

to compose a song of life

to gently hum that melody in my ear.

If I ain’t Jungian

If I ain’t Jungian

If I ain’t Jungian


Tell my eyes

‘cause if I ain’t Jungian

I ain’t waking, and,

God knows,

I ain’t AWAKE.

  On November 9, 2013 the Asheville Jung Center broadcast a conference, Rilke: Poetry and Alchemy presented by Dr. Daniel Polikoff. Polikoff is the author of In the Image of Orpheus: RILKE A Soul History Chiron 2011).  It seemed fitting to start this blog with a poem.  The next live Asheville Jung Center webinar Introduction to Alchemy is scheduled for November 23, 2013 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM.
Nearly thirty years ago, toward the end of my residency, I devoted myself to the task of reading through almost all of the Collected Works of C. G. Jung. Perhaps this reflected a bit of reaction against the strictly Freudian atmosphere that pervaded my residency program, but I believe it has even more to do with my 27 year-old Self recognizing something in Jung whereby deep called unto deep. Decades passed before Dr. Steve Buser and I found ourselves devoting considerable time and energy  to the creation of the Asheville Jung Center. I attended our conferences, I wrote the occasional blog hoping to generate discussion and subtly noticed myself becoming more transparent with my affection for Analytical Psychology. However, I continued to feel considerable ambivalence until I attended the IAAP Congress 2014 in Copenhagen for Chiron Publication’s launch of Hauntings: Dispelling the Ghosts Who Haunt Our Lives by James Hollis. At the IAAP Congress I felt like I had come home to a place where I had alighted in my youth. Perhaps I was too unseasoned and unprepared for my first visit to the shores of that continent called the Self. For years I have sought to avoid over-identifying with any school of psychology or approach to therapy, including Analytical Psychology.  Copenhagen kindled a new phase in that elusive return to my own Ithaca. My daily practice as a psychiatrist involves a great deal of psychotherapy with individuals and couples, but it also involves prescribing medications for symptom relief (even suppression).  I am endlessly searching for the right balance between sensitive listening to symptoms for their deeper meaning and efforts to bring relief as quickly as possible. That tension seldom resolves and I suspect the ambivalence pours out in the poem If I Ain’t Jungian. I hope the poem also speaks to those Jungian-oriented clinicians who practice modern psychiatry or those who work in settings where the tension between listening and extinguishing symptoms is commonplace. But even those who do not live with such ambivalence and tension may find something in the lines of If I Ain’t Jungian.  For many people, their first encounter with Jung’s work hits them like something new but also profoundly familiar. Because we carry within us a collective history whose archetypal patterns can be detected in myth, story, historical sweeps and religious themes across many cultures and many epochs we can locate ourselves in a vast drama. The call to find our own way in the world, guided by large motifs is always burnished by our personal unconscious.  This is one of the many reasons that the Self is like a compass for our journey. There was a time that Pythia’s consultation interpreted through the Delphic Oracles tilted mostly in the direction of listening rather than extinguishing symptom. Currently, there seems to be a much greater emphasis on controlling symptoms and rigorously monitoring the quality of those efforts.   I suspect the same was true in Jung’s time. Then as now, the deepest ways of understanding psychotherapy still required that a balance be struck between listening for latent meaning in a symptom and the sometimes urgent appearing summons to provide relief to the sufferer. The world makes its demands on a clinician while the soul also makes its demands.  During these uncertain times in American healthcare there is a great deal of chatter about improving quality, delivering efficiency, and extending care.  But there is conspicuously little attention given to the larger project of extracting meaning from our circumstances.  There is is a dearth of conversation about how collective unconscious elements exert substantial influence over unfolding events in the world.  But I see reasons to remain hopeful.  In the modest sized community in Western North Carolina where I practice I saw that there is a workshop titled Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness organized by Professor Laura Hope-Gill of Lenoir Rhyne University. In the intervening years since residency the mantle of the Jungian world shifted.  In 1985 there were just two categories in the Jungian world, analysts and all others interested in Jung.  I do not recall there being places like Pacifica Graduate Institute, Saybrook University, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and many others programs (here is a list) when I left residency.  Back then it was audacious to append Jungian to one’s bio unless you were analytically trained.  That unspoken tradition seems to have gone by the wayside.  I still remain convinced that there is no substitute for analytic training.  However, through the Asheville Jung Center and Chiron Publications I find myself in an unexpected position to expand the base of individuals becoming familiar with the important things Jung and his successors have discovered and continue to discover. The publication of the The Red Book may eventually be seen as a watershed moment for the Jungian tradition.  In a few short years it has captured the attention of countless people who might never have been drawn to C. G. Jung and analytical Psychology.  The Red Book’s evocative images have generated enormous interest were featured at this year’s Venice Biennale Art Festival.   In the midst of such enormous change since the early days of my residency training I become aware that there is no room left in my life  for the reluctant Jungianin my life. So If I Ain’t Jungian, what am I. Len Cruz, MD More about Glenis Redmond
If I Aint Jungian is adapted from a poem If I Ain’t African by, Glennis Redmond, a passionate African-American poet, educator, and counselor with an interest in Jung. She has won numerous awards including The Carrie McCray Literary Award in Poetry, a study fellowship from Vermont Writing Center, study scholarships to the Atlantic Center for the Arts and a week of study with Natalie Goldberg. Glenis is the 1997 and the 1998 Southeast Regional Individual Poetry Slam Champion. She placed in the Top 10 in 1996 and 1997 for the National Individual Slam Championship.  See many of her books at  http://tiny.cc/5f6n6w 
If I Ain’t African
by Glenis Redmond If I ain’t African someone tell my heart to stop beating like a djembe drum.   If I ain’t African someone tell my hair to stop curling up like the continent it is from.   If I ain’t African someone tell my lips to stop singing a Yoruban song. Someone speak to my hips, tell them their sway is all wrong.   If I ain’t African how come I know the way home along the Ivory Coast? Feel it in my breast of bones.   If I ain’t African how come my feet do this African dance? How come every time I’m in New Orleans or Charleston I fall into a trance?   If I ain’t African how come I know things I’m not supposed to know about the middle passage-slavery feel it deep down in my soul?   If I ain’t African someone tell their gods to stop calling on me, Obatala, Ellegba, Elleggua, Oshun, Ogun!   Tell me why I faint every time there is a full moon.   If I ain’t African how come I hear Africa Africa Africa everywhere I go? Hear it in my heartbeat hear it high hear it low.   If I ain’t African someone tell my soul to lose it’s violet flame. Someone tell their gods to call another name. Someone take this drumbeat out of my heart.   Someone give my tongue a new mouth to part.   If I ain’t African someone tell my feet to speak to my knees to send word to my hips to press a message on to my breast to sing a song to my lips to whisper in my ear,   If I ain’t African If I ain’t African If I ain’t African   PLEASE   tell my eyes ‘cause if I ain’t African, I ain’t livin’, and God knows, I ain’t   ALIVE!  

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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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Of Broken Vessels, Art, and Repair

Of Broken Vessels, Art, and Repair

Len Cruz, MD, ME

“The more I am spent, ill, a broken pitcher, by so much more am I an artist.”      – Vincent van Gogh

On Saturday July 27, 2013 from 12:00-2:00 PM the Asheville Jung Center will be presenting a conference titled, Art and Psyche: A  Jungian Exploration  with Murray Stein, Linda Carter, and Lucienne Marguerat.  The conference originates from Zürich, New England, and Asheville.   Registration is still open. One subject that will be explored is the art of Adolf Wölfli

In preparation for Saturday’s conference I read two books on art, and one coffee table book compiled from artwork done by persons suffering mental illness.   They are briefly reviewed below.

Creative Transformation: The Healing Power of the Arts by Penny Lewis is an exceptional book.  Published by Chiron Publications, it is not strictly Jungian.  Ms. Lewis is a dance and drama therapist with Jungian training from the C G Jung Institute of New York.  Written in the 1993, its material remains timeless. Reading Creative Transformation: The Healing Power of the Arts is like taking a short course in psychoanalytic theory, Analytical Psychology, and Gestalt and the application of these ideas with patients.  Ms. Lewis maintains that “the dance between conscious and unconscious is choreographed in the transitional space of the imaginal realm.” She relies heavily on Mahler, Winnicott, by personal field between patients and therapist.”

Section 2 of the book looks at the use of the arts from a perspective of developmental psychology. She leans heavily upon Margaret Mahler, D. W. Winnicott, James Masterson, and Nathan Salant-Schwartz. The rich use of black and white plates combined with a very expansive index, make this book an invaluable resource.

With patients who suffered trauma in early childhood, at a time that was preverbal or prior to the appearance of well-developed abstract thinking, the use of arts media can be a powerful tool for the healer.  Creative Transformation: The Healing Power of the Arts is not a How To book, though the author provides ample illustrations of how she uses art in therapy. It is a clinical treatise, from someone well-versed in several psychotherapy approaches, in which the writer just happens to use the expressive arts media in addition to words.

The Creative Soul : Art and the Quest for Wholeness by Lawrence Staples , published by Fisher King Press, is a tightly composed, personal reflection by a seasoned sage and Zürich trained Jungian analyst.  It is precise, yet comprehensive in its treatment of the creative process.  According to Staples, “Psychic tension is at its highest just at the moment preceding creation, just as we experience at the moment of orgasm.” (P.25)  The receptivity to the feminine is vitally important to the creative experience.  Through extremely concise clinical vignettes, poems, short stories, and other examples of artistic creations, Staples explores an impressive expanse of the territory of the creative process.  I have only one critique of this book; it was not long enough.  About one third of the way through the book, Staples introduces a case of a man named Bert, whose story weaves through the remaining pages in an effective, cohesive way.  In just over two pages titled Creativity As An Inner Parent, Staples uses Bert to explain how a good parent can be fashioned through creative expression for individuals whose actual parenting was deficient.  In a section titled Therapy As Art, Staples acknowledges that “Therapists often envy the creative gifts of the people with whom they work.”  He goes on to point out that the work of therapy is itself a creative expression; it is art.

Sunshine From Darkness: The Other Side of Outsider Art by Nancy Glidden Smith is simply put a coffee table book.  However, the artists featured in this beautiful volume all suffer mental illness.  The introduction to the book is written by Kay Redfield Jamison, Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins.  Her pioneering research along, with her testimonial about her own struggles with mental illness, have brought attention to the issue of stigmatization of the mentally ill.  She opens the book with the van Gough  helpful in reducing stigmas.  The featured artists are all Americans.  It appears the book is currently out of print but copies are available on Amazon.

by Len Cruz, MD, ME

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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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Lifting the Veil: A Book Review


Paperback: 160 pages

Publisher: Fisher King Press; First edition (June 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1926715756

Purchase Lifting the Veil

    Lifting the Veil is an ambitious effort to describe “how cultural wounds and archetypal defenses of the group spirit, be they Middle East or of the Western powers, add to the spirit of the age in which we live”[1]. Jane Kamerling and Fred Gustafson explore the veil that has served as a powerful symbolic attractor throughout Islamic history.  The veil and headscarf (hijab) is a symbol for the tensions between the Middle East and the West, for a symbol for movements advancing the rights of women, and symbol that relates to the urgent need to recover lost parts of the feminine principle.  In the course of their thoughtful examination, many veils are lifted, and the idea of cultural complexes is extended from an individual psychology to the culture at large. This domain of the cultural complex has remained veiled, according to Dr. Thomas Singer who writes the introduction, since C. G. Jung met with such disastrous results in his explorations of the outer, collective roots of the rise Nazism.


The historical and cultural significance of the veil is carefully presented in Lifting the Veil.  When the authors eventually reach out to Sheherazade, a hero figure who uses storytelling to heal and recover the repressed feminine, a solid foundation has already been laid for the claim:

“… Allah has raised up your daughter [Shahrazad] to be the salvation of my people”.[2]


Many Westerners are caught in a struggle, unable to move beyond a collective ignorance about Islam.  They are ensnared by certain cultural complexes that are mistaken for representatives of all of Islam. Sadly, there are many Muslims who adhere to a form of Islam (submission) and jihad (struggle) that focuses almost exclusively on outer mastery, the rejection of any vestiges of colonialism, and retribution for offenses committed by the West.  Kamerling and Gustafson offer evidence that the abdication of the interior dimension of submission and struggle goes hand-in-hand with repression of the feminine.  Lifting the Veil argues that the tension and conflict between Middle East and West also derives from repression of the feminine principle.


Most Christian Americans would not want others to think that Westboro Baptist Church[3] speaks for all Christians.  The West then also needs to understand that Islam is not a monolithic religion represented by the ultra-conservative Wahhabism that the Saudi royal family disseminated across the Muslim world, in part to appease clerics.


“The veil powerfully holds the polarity of attitudes and beliefs and invites the projections of the psychological complexes in both Western and Islamic societies.   These negative shadow projections fuel external and internal conflict between and within each culture, the veil is not just a female garment to hide, protect, or humble Muslim women, but the curtain behind which resides the feminine principle, repressed East and West.”[4]


When Jungian theory is applied to whole cultures, as if a culture is a person, concepts such as ego, persona, shadow, anima/animus, repressed feminine, and complexes take on new meanings.


Jung warned of the dangers inherent in extremism where the complementarity of opposites becomes lost such that the unconscious must then offer some compensation.[5]  Lifting the Veil devotes thirty-two of its one hundred sixty pages to Sheherazade.  Sheherazade is introduced as both an adept, manipulative temptress and a storyteller whose tales are placed like stones on a golden path of awakening and integration.  It is the feminine principle that carries the functions of relationship, it is the feminine principle that gathers and cherishes the stories of life, and it is the feminine principle reanimates stories and thereby elevates stories so that they become templates by which we can guide our lives.


According to Fatima Mernissi in her 1987 book, Beyond the Veil, Arab-Muslim nationalists in the post-colonial periods like Qasim Amin “…considered the liberation of women as a condition sine qua non for the liberation of Arab-Muslim society from the humiliating hegemony of the West.”[6]   This modern day feminist observed that women can stir fitna (chaos stirred by sexual disorder) and this accounts for some of the demonizing of women’s sexuality.  While earlier Islamic voices like Imam Ghazali (1050-1111) “… recommends foreplay, primarily in the interest of the woman, as a duty of the believer”, women are still seen as a “dangerous distraction”.[7] Mernissi notes that “While Muslim exploitation of the female [feminine principle] is cloaked under veils and hidden behind walls, Western exploitation has had the bad taste of being bare and over-exposed.”  She goes on to assert, “The entire Muslim social structure can be seen as an attack on, and a defenses against, the disruptive power of female sexuality.”[8]  In Lifting the Veil, Kamerling and Gustafson, like Mernissi, recognize that throwing off the veil for some women is an act of self-determination but it is also an act of self-determination for some women when they don the veil.   


Transcending and integrating the tensions between anima and animus is akin to what certain Sufi masters encourage.  Hear the words of The Shaykh of Shaykhs Abu Maydam al-Maydam al-Maheibi Shu’ayb,

“Gatheredness (jam’) is what makes your separation drop and annihilates your indication. Arrival (wusul) is the absorption of your attributes and the disappearance of your qualities.”

“The one who still has a residue of his nafs (the small self) remaining for him, has not reached pure freedom.”[9]


Lifting the Veil can be read as a succinct scholarly synopsis of the history of Islam.  It can also be read as a treatise on the repressed feminine.  However, it should also be read as a re-visioning of Sheherazade, a prototypical figure in the feminine psychology Islam.  The stories she told “were not neat”.[10]  Kamerling and Gustafson maintain that “Locking away or placing a veil over life not only leads to an extreme fundamentalistic and myopic ay of living, it proves to be psychologically and spiritually disastrous. …  A person [or culture] trapped in this dilemma becomes unbearable to self and others.”[11]


The head-scarf is likely to remain a touchstone that will frame the tension between secularism and Islam.  Re-introducing Sheherazade and portraying her as the feminine principle that can “think as well as remember stories that unite all people”[12] presents the reader with a challenge.  It is the task of each one of us to recover the stories of the past and live those stories “in service to life”.  At one point the authors quote from the Koran Sura XIII line 11

Verily never

Will God change the condition

Of a people until they

Change it themselves.


    There is a rich, deep, coextensive history and tradition between the People of the Book and Muslims.  They share a common, almighty God. Jews, Christians, and Muslims are each a called people.  A recent book by Peter Todd, Individuation of God, states “It is in this sense [garnering power and controlling energy resources] that religious fundamentalism can be seen as a collective manifestation of the collective Jungian shadow archetype.[13]


Permit yourself to imagine what might emerge if each of these called people were to take on something from one another’s religious practices or traditions.  Suppose that Jews were to devote themselves to the idea of building the Kingdom of God here and now and that across the world they engaged in regular, ritualized prayer five times per day.  And also suppose Christians recovered some elements of the Arianism discarded at the Council of Nicea and gave more public emphasis to the traditional monotheistic view of God and less on God’s Trinitarian nature.  Also imagine Christians began to pray five times each day.  And finally, imagine Muslims being very mindful of their is common heritage and common prophets with Jews and Christians without surrendering a foundational belief, Muhammad-ur-Rasul-Allah (Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger).  And of course they too would pray five times per day.  Now consider if two thirds of the world’s population lifted the veil of separateness and difference and sought common ground and engaged in prayer five times each day.  Into such an imaginary world, introduce storytellers.  Lots and lots of storytellers, sharing tales that heal, that serve as templates for how to live and how to wake up.


Lifting the Veil is a critically important book that speaks to our times.  It continues the recent interest in cultural complexes that offers hope for the human race.  Jane Kamerling and Fred Guststason are to be commended for taking on such a charged topic respectfully and with the depth that seasoned Jungian Analysts can bring to such a project.  All of us can hope that when enough veils are lifted and projections recovered perhaps we can dwell in the love of which Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī writes:


ملت عشق از همه دین‌ها جداست — عاشقان را ملت و مذهب خداست

The nation of Love has a different religion of all religions — For lovers, God alone is their religion.

Len Cruz


NOTE:  The Asheville Jung Center will host a live conference on May 31, 2013 at 8:00 PM titled Lifting the Veil: Recovering the Feminine  that will also be available for later viewing by streaming video.  To register go to http://ashevillejungcenter.org/webinars/w11/


[1] Kamerling, J and Gustafson, D. Lifting the Veil, Carmel, CA, Fisher King Press, 2012, Page 127.

[2] Lane, EW and Poole ES.  the Thousand and One Nights: Commonly Called, in England, The Arabian Nights’ Etertainments, Chatto and Windus, 1839.  Available from http://www.books.goolge.com as a free book.

[4] Kamerling, J and Gustafson, D. Lifting the Veil, Carmel, CA, Fisher King Press, 2012, Page 3.

[5] Jung, C G. Psychological Types. CW 6, Princeton, NJ: Bollingen Series, Princeton University Press, 1971, Page 709.

[6] Mernissi, F. Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in Modern Muslim Society. Indianapolis, IN, Indiana University Press, 1987, Page 13.

[7] ibid. Page 40.

[8] ibid. Page 45.

[9] Self-Knowledge. Norwich England, Diwan Press,1978 page 16.

[10] Kamerling, J and Gustafson, D. Lifting the Veil, Carmel, CA, Fisher King Press, 2012, Page 105.

[11] ibid

[12] Kamerling, J and Gustafson, D. Lifting the Veil, Carmel, CA, Fisher King Press, 2012, Page 170.

[13] Todd, P.  Individuation of God. Willimette, IL, Chiron Publications, 2012,Page 21 . 

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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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