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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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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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.
[3] See Wikipedia entry from 5/26/2013 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westboro_Baptist_Church
[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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Psyche and Society: The Work of the Unconscious

12th Annual Conference of Research in Jung and Analytical Psychology Jungian Society for Scholarly Studies Wednesday, July 24-Saturday, July 27, 2013 Chicago, IL Deadline for Proposals: November 30, 2012 The title of this conference, Psyche and Society: the work of the unconscious grows out of the themes and concerns of the 11th annual conference of JSSS (Affect and Action). During the conference the diverse nature of Jungian scholarship was explored and celebrated. One of the challenges which emerged was how the scholarly and felt concerns which emerged when considering social issues from a psychological perspective could be both contained and utilized. What is our psychological and intellectual responsibility here? Indeed is it sensible to separate these two aspects of our lives? One of the distinctive qualities of analytical psychology is the way in which it holds together the individual and the collective, the personal response and the social responsibility.

We have to realize, quite dispassionately, that whatever we fight about in the outside world is also a battle in our inner selves. In the end we have to admit that mankind is not just an accumulation of individuals utterly different from one another, but possesses such a high degree of psychological collectivity that in comparison the individual appears merely as a slight variant. How shall we judge this matter fairly if we cannot admit that it is also our own problem? Anyone who can admit this will first seek the solution in himself.  This, in fact, is the way all the great solutions begin. (CW18: 927 Marginal Notes on Wittels: “Die Sexualle Not,” 1910)

As we seek solutions in a spirit of enquiry and curiosity and as we find ourselves reflected in our world, JSSS invites proposals for presentation, performance, and conversation at this conference. We invite responses that explore the individual and collective aspects of psyche and society and their various relationships: personally, in families, as communities, in relation to culture, to nature and the arts, politics and science. This conference offers an opportunity for interdisciplinary reflection, investigation and rumination as together we seek to clarify and understand the current state of our world and its affective influence upon us. Research that addresses the following questions will be particularly welcome:
  • What do psyche and society say to us regarding: nature, eco-systems, climate, space, animals and human bodies?
  • How might our reflections on psyche and society shed new light on: politics, cultural change, economics, education, international relations, conflict and war?
  • How does psyche and society influence our response and understanding of: race, gender, identity, nation, history and spirituality?
  • How does an awareness of the interaction between psyche and society help to understand cultural media? And other forms of cultural expression?
  • What responses are open and sustainable to individuals and communities in the face of such concerns?
The Program Committee welcomes submissions for research papers (single, joint or multi-authored), round tables (works in progress), panels, workshops, poster sessions and artistic presentations which explore the conference theme. You are invited to submit a 500-word (max) proposal. This should include an abstract of 50 words that can be published in the conference program. Please note, that the academic organizing committee may exercise its prerogative to reallocate presentation formats other than those originally applied for. On a separate cover page, include the following information with your proposal:
  • Full name (including title if applicable)
  • Full mailing address and email address
  • Contact telephone numbers with international dialing code
  • Institution (professional body or university) including position or membership
  • If a candidate or trainee in a clinical training program, indicate which training body
Indicate your preferred presentation from the list below:
  • Paper (20 minute presentation; discussion time will be built in to schedule)
  • Creative Practice (film, dance, visual arts, music, performance, etc.)
  • Poster (a short presentation of 5-10 minutes given in front of a visual display of your research)
  • Panel (general theme/issue with 3+ presenters)
  • Round-table (15 minute presentation with 15 minutes discussion in small groups)
  • Workshop (interactive to be led by you for 30 minutes or more)
  • Other (Please specify)
Please indicate any technical needs such as PowerPoint, DVD, CD player, flipchart, overhead projector, etc. Please email your proposal to the following email address: psycheandsociety@gmail.com by midnight on November 30, 2012 Pacific Standard Time.

Submissions will be acknowledged and a reply will be sent to you by February 01, 2013. Further details of the conference including a booking brochure will be posted on the website as soon as possible: http://www.thejungiansociety.org.

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Depth Psychology Alliance Interview with Barry Spector

Bonnie Bright and the Depth Psychology Alliance have blessed us again.  Bonnie’s interview with Barry Spector is extraordinary, timely,  and should not be missed.  It can be downloaded or listened to at this LINK. Spector’s mythopoetic  voice and message was a sort of chimera blending a trumpet rallying me to battle and a didgeridoo calling me to a deeper, interior exploration. Visit his blog at http://madnessatthegates.posterous.com/  for more. Citing an Inca greeting Inlakesh (uncertain of the spelling) “You are the other me” the listener is invited to imagine culture in which this greeting would have been exchanged.  In such a culture the other is not perceived as a threat but as someone who could bring something to our lives. Spector quotes the Nigerian poet, Ben Okri, “To be born in this world, in this modern world, is to be entering the world with an inextinguishable sense of exile.” It reminded me of another Okri quote, “Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.” The interview was also a wonderful segue to remind readers of the upcoming Webinar originating from The C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco on Saturday, October 27, 2012 titled “The Citizen’s Dilemma in Divisive Times: Four Voices” Barry and Maya Spector have arranged for the 15th annual Day of the Dead Ritual on November 3, 2012 in El Cerrito, CA. During the interview, Bonnie and Barry explore the means by which we can bring the notion of mythological thinking into the world?  Spector observes that our modern leaders have been unable to give us a perspective with which to examine the madness of our times.  He speaks of the importance of recovering  the ability to think in mythological terms, in terms of metaphor and nuance.  Their conversation reminds us of the pervasive experience of alienation in modern times. Spector cites Joseph Campbell who defined four essential functions of the myth: 1st are Cosmic functions that connects everyone to the cosmic mysteries 2nd are those that connects from the mystic to to the cosmological, it connects everyone to the great cycles, the initiation mysteries 3rd are the functions at the pedagogical level myths teach everyone to live a moral life within the definitions of a culture 4th for us moderns, we have a sociological function that helps align us with power functions of the state. According to Spector, Campbell pointed out that in modern life we don’t have myths that connect us to those cosmological levels.  Maybe especially America, the function of myth that we observe is the sociological function that connects us to the intentions of the state.  That means “nationalism” in Spector’s view.   The sociological functions of myth tend to keep us from connecting to our history and our own emotional lives that are just below the surface.   Spector also points to what he describes as the Myth of American Innocence, a 400 year series of narrative that he suggests “ justify American capitalism, racism, imperialism”  “by blaming its victims”.  In the course of this, it removes “… all guilt and responsibility from its perpetrators and beneficiaries” and thereby “manufactures consent”.  This myth proposes that “the individual is a blank slate who is free to become anything he or she wants to be”.  He explains how this contributes how this notion undergirds the collective sense that “America has a divine purpose to bring freedom to the rest of the world”.   We are indebted to Bonnie Bright for offering this interview and to Barry Spector for sharing his expertise and unique perspective.  Before we tune in to watch the last Presidential Debate tomorrow night and certainly as the remaining days leading up to November 6th unfold, I hope readers will consider listening to this interview. ANNOUNCEMENT: Enrollment is open for the Webinar from The C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco Saturday, October 27, 2012 from 1:00-7:00 PM EST. “The Citizen’s Dilemma in Divisive Times: Four Voices” brings together four voices as the explore the undercurrents shaping this historical moment.  Continuing Education Credit (up to 5 hours) is available and the Asheville Jung Center is pleased to host this conference sponsored by innerQuest Psychiatry & Counseling.   Leonard Cruz, MD

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Neuroscience, Complexity, Chaos, Fractal Geometry, Self-Organization, Emergence, and Jung are explored in the Asheville Jung Center conference “Jung and Neuroscience”. Seven years ago, I enrolled in a college math class at UNC Asheville. I had been unable to crack the code and learn Fractal Geometry on my own (click on this link for a fascinating page on Fractals).  Twice each week for an entire semester I scheduled myself out of my office and trekked to the campus of my in order to immerse myself in the study of this quirky field of mathematics.   A short list of some of the topics the course covered (and some images that illustrate the topic) provide a good segue to at least one of the presenters for the Asheville Jung Center’s conference “Jung and Neuroscience”.   Attractor (a set towards which a variable evolves in a dynamical system)   Fractal Dimension (a measure of detail in a pattern [strictly speaking, a fractal pattern] that changes with the scale at which it is measured Self-similar sets (sets that look the same up close and from far away) Stable Attractors (points of equilibrium into which systems settle until disrupted) Strange Attractors (points in a system where the graphic display of equations bifurcate)   Chaotic Attractors (in chaos theory an attractor that displays marked sensitivity to initial conditions)   Julia Sets  (consists of values such that an arbitrarily small perturbation can cause drastic changes in the sequence of iterated function values and thereby the graph) Self Organizing System (denotes a system of synergistically cooperative elements whose patterns of global behavior are distributed (i.e., no single element coordinates the activity) and self-limiting in nature) DNA self replicates and self assembles (electron microscope on the right)   Birds Flocking   Social self orgainizing in international drug routes     Consider several broad phenomena we all engage in our work as therapists.
  • There are motifs that seem to recur in some people’s lives whose particular manifestations evolve depending in the phase of the person’s life.
  • Consciousness arises as a complex, emergent phenomenon out of the prima materia of an organ weighing about 3 lbs, the physical body that sustains it, and the soical/interpersonal milieu in which these dynamical systems are nurtured.
  • When we sleep, self-organizing phenomenon emerge using the stuff of our daily lives.  The intricacy of such phenomena seem to demonstrate exquisite sensitivity to the set of initial conditions (think about Chaos Theory).
  • Therapy and analysis involves two complex systems interacting.  The language of transference and countertransference could be overlaid upon certain ideas related to dynamical systems.
  • The nodes of electronic communication that permit a conference like “Jung and Neuroscience” to weave together a half dozen presenters and hundreds of attendees from dozens of countries.
  One of today’s presenters, Dr. David Kahn who is speaking at the International Association for the Study of Dreams in Sonoma, CA, holds a PhD from Yale and has looked at self-organizing systems.   There is an eerie beauty to the images and ideas mentioned above.  I find myself contemplating the ageless ideas proposed by Hermes Trismegistus, ideas like “As above, so below”.  That is for me the linguistic representation of self similarity.  What does it mean to propose that God made man in His own image?  What do we find so intriguing in movies like “Sliding Doors” or “Crash” in which we recognize the power of certain initial conditions.   “Jung and Neuroscience” is an exploration of the interface between the burgeoning field of neuroscience and the field of Jungian psychology.  It is too easy to approach these as though they are divergent paths but we are likely to be better served to make our approach like the particle physicists have done when contending with light’s dual, complementary nature as both a wave and a particle.   The mathematics that undergirds the fields of dynamical systems, fractal geometry, and chaotic theory emerged from the work of Henri Poincaré, a  late 19th century mathematician.  With the advent of modern computing capacity that permitted “iterative” functions to be calculated ( and plotted) after hundreds or thousands of cycles.  (an iterative function takes the output or solutions of a system of equations and uses them as the inputs for the next cycle of computation.)   The beauty and elegance of the images appearing above can be produced because of the insights Poincaré introduced and the ability to use today’s computational capacity to graphically display the results of thousands of iterative calculations.   Poincaré’s Recurrence Theorem is one of the many intriguing things he posited.  He stated that certain systems (nonlinear dynamical systems) will, after a sufficiently long time, return to a state very close to its initial conditions.  The notion that a system of equations can “forget” for very long times yet somehow return to its initial conditions, is a profoundly attractive idea.  This evokes reminiscences of a sphinx like journey of exodus and return.   Dr. Murray Stein quoted from CW 10 para 318 in his effort to characterize the lunar mind “It is not our ego-consciousness reflecting on itself, rather it turns its attention to the objective actuality of the dream as a communication or message from the unconscious, unitary soul of humanity.  It reflects not on the ego but on the self, it recollects that that self, alien to the ego which was ours from the beginning, the trunk from which the go grew.”  The lunar mind knows things that the solar mind does not know or does not yet know, or that have not been taken into consideration.  Our solar mind can be fast but in its speed it may miss certain vital dimensions.  The solar mind and the lunar mind conceived as strange attractors of the dynamical system that comprises our psyche.  Consider the idea of personal and collective unconscious as strange attractors of the dynamical system we know as unus mundus.     Dr. Margaret Wilkinson explores the rich metaphoric realm of the dream.  Dream analysis is a co-constructive process.  As implicit speaks to implicit in the analysis, dreams are a shared, emergent process.  Emergent phenomenon, the appearance of patterns that arise from relatively simple interactions, cannot be predicted from the simple rules of interactions.  Just as analysis, a process that at some level involves simple rules (appointments, rituals like engaging dreams, active imagination, etc) produces unpredictable results.   In part, the dream may function in part to assemble dissociated self states that are disconnected.  The voice of these self states can be discerned in the dream and its images.  Through metaphor, unconscious states of the mind are exposed to conscious.  Dr. Wilkinson’s comments about the dream images being organized around affective patterns, these patterns that are born of our personal experience provide the elements from which we assemble and organize our selves.   There is  no destination to these musings.  Instead, I hope this blog serves as an invitation to the reader to further exploration.  I intentionally posted this blog during the Asheville Jung Center’s conference “Jung and Neuroscience”.  There was an aspect of this post that was experimental, testing if my hypothesis about how the small amount of information I have about Dr. Kahn might have presaged some of his contributions.  If these ideas do not emerge during the conference, so be it.   There is something about posting these reflections and the possibility that they might resonate with or evoke in another some useful effect that redeems anew the countless hours I offered to the project of learning fractal geometry.  The cycles of life, the iterations involved in remembering my fractal geometry class, the sharing of these thoughts as a blog resemble an iterative function.  First I enrolled and completed a class in fractal geometry as a way of answering a deep call within.  Anticipating the “Jung and Neuroscience” conference, I take the results of that class from seven years ago and plug it back in like entering results of an iterative equation back into the original equation again and again.  The posting of this blog like the plotting of solutions to an iterative function, is a display of the working and reworking of psychic material.  My sense about such processes and the emergent results is that given enough time, the process of my psychic unfolding might eventually prove consistent with Poincaré’s Recurrence Theorem so that I may find myself returning to something very close to my original state.   By Len Cruz, MD   “The psychic is a phenomenal world which can be reduced neither to the brain or metaphysics.”      Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis, CW 14, par. 667

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Layers of Relationship: The Jung-Kirsch Letters

There are many reasons to read The Jung-Kirsch Letters : The Correspondence of C.G. Jung and James Kirsch edited by Dr. Ann Lammers and to attend the conference from the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco on April 28 2012.  The book is a trove of historical documents that evoke a sense of how Dr. Carl Jung founder of an entirely new approach to psychology and psychotherapy, fulfilled his role.  The body of letters spans more than thirty-two years and ranges from banal to  psychologically penetrating and dissect certain aspects of James Kirsch’s psyche as cleanly as if Jung were wielding a scalpel.  The Jung-Kirsch Letters documents some of the history of Analytical Psychology on the West Coast. Above all, they testify to a close relationship between the two men.   The book chronicles James Kirsch’s journey from pre-war Germany to Tel Aviv to London and finally to Los Angeles where he and Hilde Kirsch arrived with their young son, Thomas, to blaze a trail for Analytical Psychology in America.  The Kirsch family would leave an indelible stamp upon Jungian psychology.   There are certain intimate details revealed in the letters that evoke a sense of voyeurism.   The fact that Dr. Thomas Kirsch was so instrumental in the publication of these letters assuages any discomfort.  Dr. Thomas Kirsch will present a conference through the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco on Saturday, April 28, 2012 (the Asheville Jung Center has the privilege of broadcasting this seminar and registration is still open).   These letters deal with a vast array of topics.  There are exchanges between Jung and Kirsch that demonstrate Jung’s genuine interest Judiasm and Kirsch’s unique appreciation for a “Jewish consciousnessIn the midst of Nazi Germany’s rise, Kirsch must have been one of countless Jewish pioneers who had a relationship with Jung, and his first letter from Los Angeles dated 19 November 1940 resonates with the portents of the many Jews who would not survive the Holocaust.   In a 1945 exchange of letters that began with Kirsch on 25 November 1944 and is followed eight months later 3 August 1945 with Jung’s reply, we can appreciate how tenuous mail delivery must have been during the last months of WW II (Victory in Europe Day was 8 May 1945).  Kirsch mentions a woman who reports she underwent a Freudian psychoanalysis with Jung in 1916 and Jung confirms that she must have been correct.  It indicates that in 1916 Jung was still practicing Freudian psychoanalysis though he had penned the famous closing lines from Hamlet in a letter to Freud, “The rest is silence” in 1913.  Though the war impeded the spread of Jung’s ideas, those two letters serve as a reminder that following Jung’s break with Freud the movement that coalesced as Analytical Psychology evolved slowly at first.   A letter dated 18 November 1945 roundly disputes the allegations being made about Jung that he was a Nazi.  Kirsch and others defended Jung from these charges that even appeared in the  The American Journal of Psychiatry, the official organ of the American Psychiatric Association.  Toward the end of the 1940s Kirsch was calling upon Jung to assist him in addressing an issue involving someone who was touting himself as a Jungian analyst (and a training analyst) who did not appear to merit the distinction. This exchange coincides with the formation of the C. G. Jung-Institut Zürich in 1949.   The book is organized thematically with each theme also being demarcated by a range of years. The appendix adds several letters between Hilde Kirsch and Jung along with selected writings of James Kirsch and a brief history of the AAGP/IAAGP.   I have failed to mention one of the richest parts of this book, the footnotes.  If the letters provide a sort of melodic structure to the book, the footnotes are like ornamentations the intricate trills and slides one might hear in a beautiful Baroque piece of music.  In the footnotes are details and amplifications that anchor the letters as something more than a personal exchange between two men.  The footnotes are an apéritif and a cordial.  On Saturday, April 28, 2012 Dr. Thomas Kirsch will present a conference through the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco titled “Layers of Relationship: the C.G.Jung/James Kirsch Correspondence“.   Here is the unedited text from the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco‘s website describing the conference.   In this workshop, Dr. Thomas Kirsch will discuss the nature and course of his fathers correspondence with C.G. Jung. The Jung-Kirsch Letters: The Correspondence of C.G. Jung and James Kirsch, edited by Ann Conrad Lammers was published in 2011. James Kirsch was one of the first generation analysts who had his primary analysis with Jung. As a young man in his 20s he began a psychoanalysis which did not satisfy him and so he entered a Jungian analysis in Berlin. In 1928 he wrote to Jung asking if he could begin analysis, and in 1929 James Kirsch spent two months in Zürich in analysis with both Jung and Toni Wolff. This began a multilevel relationship which spanned four decades and great distances. The contents of the letters cover important subjects such as the relationship between Jews and Christians, Nazi-ism, anti-Semitism, clinical issues in psychotherapy, synchronicity, organizational issues in building up Jungian organizations, difficult personalities, and the nature of clinical work. This workshop will address the clinical, cultural so societal themes throughout the Jung/Kirsch correspondenceboth in Jungs time and in ours.   The Asheville Jung Center is honored to serve as the Internet host for this conference and to be able to preserve this vital link in the history that extends through an analytical and biological generations.  If you are near the San Francisco area, you will want to attend in person (  https://jungkirsch.eventbrite.com/?nomo=1 ), and if distance precludes your attending in person, you can still participate over the Internet.  Register online (for those outside the San Francisco area)  at     http://ashevillejungcenter.org/webinars/layers-of-relationship/layers-of-relationship-registration/ .   Len Cruz, MD

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