A Dangerous Method

A  Dangerous Method, a film by David Cronenberg based on the script by Christopher Hampton is exciting from its very first scene in which Keira Knightley portrays the disturbed young Sabina Spielrein.  Then over time as her healing begins and the secrets of her sexual perversions are brought to the light of consciousness, she begins to heal and turns her attention to her savior who she falls in love with, Carl Jung played by Michael Fassbinder.  Jung treats her as a colleague and this too gives Spielrein hope and guidance as she begins a career in medicine and psychiatry.  In the middle of this love affair Jung and Freud, played by Viggo Mortensen, do battle over the direction of the neophyte psychoanalytic movement and Spielrein gets in the middle. This  new film by Cronenberg, after his recent successful films “A History of Violence” and “Eastern Promises”, explores the relationships between four people, five if you include Jung’s wife Emma who struggles with her husband’s sexual relationship with Sabina Spielrein. There is an oppressiveness felt in this film, in its female characters and their orbit around their men, of a patriarchy whose women are its victims and Spielrein the dramatic response to that oppression.  After Jung sees success with his new methods with Spielrein he begins a relationship with Freud first by letter and eventually meeting him a year later in Vienna where the famous 13 hour conversation takes place.  This successful case is brought to Freud’s attention by Jung early on in their writings though Freud is not told the identity of the patient. It was as if Spielrein is Jung’s trophy which he brings to lay at Freud’s feet.  So begins this relationship trinity with roles from which each will eventually struggle to disengage but will take the form of a serious and irreparable betrayal.  Otto Gross (played by Vincent Cassel), a patient of Jung, plays the role of Mephistopheles in the story by telling Jung he should, “…repress nothing” and Jung believes him.  Freud plays a bit of a role in this Faustian shadow by virtue of referring Gross to Jung.   Spielrein then completes the drama as Gretchen, the spoiled virgin whose life is destroyed by Jung/Faust.  But Spielrein does manage to break free and goes on to become a successful psychiatrist and analyst in her own right and eventually moves back to Russia to raise her family and focus her practice on the psychoanalytic treatment of children, a field she began.  In fact, she was the analyst to Jean Piaget, the great child psychologist of the 20th century. Cronenberg intended to shock us in this film perhaps because the beginnings of what was to become called psychoanalysis provides such fertile ground for the shocking and irreverent in contrast with the image of an analyst sitting quietly with a patient, just talking. There is much mystery to the lay person of what goes on behind those closed doors.  Perhaps the mystery will draw people to the theater but what they are likely to find is a well researched depiction of a story not well known of a few people who were instrumental in getting psychoanalysis off the ground and perhaps nearly crashing it to the ground as well.  Jung tries out this new form of treatment on his young female patient. He has been reading about psychoanalysis  from Freud’s works.  This story, at its very origins, is wrought with a political landscape made up of ambitious men and women and sex scandals, even with some S & M thrown in.  In fact, with the upcoming elections it seems the perfect time for psychoanalysis to pull out its own dirty laundry.  But is that not where we begin, in the dirt, to find the gold as the alchemists taught us.  The S & M by the way is a bit of poetic license for which there is no evidence in any of the documents that have survived that era.  The sexual component of the relationship between Jung and Spierein was never explicitly mentioned in the Spielrein letters though one can deduce as much. The film is also about ideas, new ways of thinking about human behavior and the structure of the psyche.  There is an excitement around the possibilities of this new thinking, this new approach to understanding man.   Kerr’s premise, as depicted in the film, was that the ideas that would evolve in Jung’s work originated in his relationship with Spielrein and the dialogue bears this out. Spielrein suggests that in each of us exists both man and woman. Jung contemplates this and is intrigued by the idea.  Later she discusses the archetypal (she does not use the word) opposing nature of life-giving and life-taking forces working at the same time inherent in the act of sex.  In one theory she combines mysticism and biology and claims they are connected.  Freud dismisses the biology and the mysticism with a narrow prescriptive approach to the unconscious.  Jung embraces the mystical in what he perceives as an ever expanding universe of what would later be called the collective unconscious.  In a sense Spielrein tried to hold both trains of thought together even as she tried to hold together the men from which they originated, to no avail. In a letter to the great Geneva psychologist Theodor Flournoy , William James wrote of Freud, “…he made on me personally the impression of a man obsessed with fixed ideas.  I can make nothing in my own case with his dream theories, and obviously “symbolism” is a most dangerous method.”  This statement takes on a layered meaning in the context of the film, “A Dangerous Method”.  The dangers are inherent in this new method of therapy which more commonly came to be known, “the talking cure.”  Christopher Hampton took some poetic license in the original play which he called The Talking Cure which was based on the book by John Kerr called The Most Dangerous Method.  David Cronenberg, dives right into the shocking images of Sabina Spielrein, played brilliantly by Keira Knightly, in which she succumbs to uncontrollable tics and seizures in a display that is difficult to watch.  These horrific movements are perfect physical manifestation of the psychological torment this 19 year old girl from Russia was experiencing when she first meets Carl Jung at the Burghölzli clinic in Zurich, Switzerland. There is a scene in the play that I was looking for in the film that did not come.  It was at the end when Spielrein, now married and pregnant, visits Jung at his home on Lake Zurich.  Spielrein seems strong and determined, her career ahead of her and the promise of a new life.  Jung is depressed and haunted by dreams of the destruction and bloodshed of all of Europe. Their roles have been reversed from those that began their relationship.  The serene landscape is disquieted by a darkening of the sky and ominous clouds rolling in towards the couple and the play ends.  The advancing storm of course could be interpreted as the advancing war or the nervous breakdown that lay ahead for Jung.  Perhaps there was simply enough drama and it was not needed.  In the film, Jung’s famous last words to Freud (actually written words in real life) were “…and the rest is silence”.  But before the silence the tremendous influence each of these people had on each other would be analyzed thoroughly.  John Kerr’s book is a thorough analysis of these influences and that of Spielrein whose ideas did not receive the recognition they deserved by the men who seemed to gain the most from them. February will begin our 2 part series of amplifications of the film “A Dangerous Method”.  By way of introduction the seminar on February 8th will provide an overview of the film’s historical context and begin discussions of some of the intriguing ideas that emerged and would later be developed by Freud , Jung and Spielrein.  Then on March 8  Murray Stein will bring his knowledge and experience to a discussion of the film, its historical significance and its possible influence on the Jungian community. Please join us in an examination of “The Dangerous Method”.   Further Reading / viewing: Film My Name was Sabina Spielrein , (2002) Tango Film. Books Christopher Hampton, The Talking Cure Thomas B. Kirsch, The Jungians John Kerr, A Most Dangerous Method John Launer, Sex Versus Survival: The Story of Sabina Spielrein Coline Covington and Barbera Wharton, Sabina Spielrein: Forgotten Pioneer of Psychoanalysis Aldo Carotenuto, A Secret Symmetry

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    David Thompson

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    Daniel,

    “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” A line of dialogue from John Ford’s elegiac, mournful film ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ (1962). A western, the genre Ford had elevated from B movie to A movie with ‘Stagecoach’ (1939), and the genre in which he made one of the greatest American films of all time, ‘The Searchers’ (1956). With ‘A Dangerous Method’ (heretofore, ADM), Christopher Hampton and David Cronenberg have not only “printed” the legend, they’ve also created it.

    ADM opens with a black carriage, pulled by two black horses, speeding down a Zürich road, evoking the chariot of Hades, carrying the abducted Kore down into the Underworld. Very appropriate, as one of the primary myths at work in the life of Sabina Spielrein is the myth of Hades/Kore-Persephone. At work from when she was a very young child and she and her uncle would play a game in which he “… would playfully terrorize her by pretending to be God and pretending to to take her away with him.” (John Kerr, ‘A Most Dangerous Method’, (heretofore, AMDM); to her death in 1942 at the hands of an SS Death Squad.

    There are two men in the carriage with her, one could very well be her father, except that he did not bring Sabina to the Burghölzli, her mother did. Sabina’s relationship to her mother (as well as her mother’s relationship with Jung) is as important to understanding Sabina’s neurosis and complexes as is her relationship to her father. But her mother has been left out of the story. Sort of like leaving out Demeter…

    Sabina’s symptoms of hysteria included, an inability to look anyone in the face; keeping her head lowered; uncontrollable bouts of laughing, weeping and screaming; violent outbursts and sticking her tongue in derision, especially if anybody touched her. Not exactly the symptoms portrayed by Keira Knightley in the opening scene, with Michael Fassbender as Jung, in ADM.

    So we quickly arrive at one of the major weaknesses of the film: Keira Knightley’s performance as Sabina Spielrein. It’s not that good a performance. Keira Knightley is just not a good enough actress to successfully portray as complex and “deep” person as Sabina Spielrein. Especially in those scenes of her analysis by Jung. She’s obviously an actress playing a part. Acting. She never really gets inside her character, but remains outside, all exaggerated technique. Michael Fassbender seems rather clueless as Jung, but Jung was kindof clueless at this time in his professional life; he wasn’t yet JUNG! And Knightley’s awful Russian ‘accent’! Whose idea was that? Her’s? Cronenberg’s? Fassbender and Sarah Gadon, as Emma Jung (badly miscast) wisely do not attempt a Swiss-German accent, nor does Viggo Mortensen attempt an Austrian accent as Freud, (and is very good as a sardonic, dogmatic and ‘patriarchal’ Freud, who smokes a lot of cigars. Cuban’s I’d guess. As an occasional cigar smoker myself, I say…lucky man Freud, until all those years of cigar smoking resulted in the cancer of the jaw that killed him).

    In the second analysis scene between Carl and Sabina, the film, for me, begins to go off the tracks. There is no historical evidence that…Sabina’s father made her strip naked before he spanked her on her “nates”, or took her into a little room to do so. Her father and mother had an arranged, loveless marriage, with its share of anger and resentment, and Herr Spielrein vented his anger and dissatisfaction with his wife on his daughter. And he most likely experienced some sexual arousal from spanking Sabina, as she did from receiving the spanking. In the scene in question, Sabina tells Jung that the first time she was spanked by her father, she wet herself. This would seem to mean she involuntarily urinated. Then she tells Jung that she would, when about to be spanked by her father, “get wet”, which sounds less like urination and more like the release of vaginal lubricating fluid, because of sexual arousal. Then there’s kissing her father’s hand, afterwards. Once again, there is no historical evidence (that I could find) that this ever happened. All of this seems like an attempt by Hampton/Cronenberg to “sex-up” the scene, by adding overt sadism, submissiveness and domination to her father’s sexuality and Sabina’s masochism.

    Emma gives birth to their second daughter on 12/26/1904. She apologizes to Carl for not giving him the son she wanted. He suggests the name ‘Agathe’ for the baby. All well and good, except that Agathe was their first daughter! Born on that date. Their second daughter was Anna, nicknamed Gret. Born 02/08/1906. Why the switch of Agathe for Anna? Doesn’t make sense.

    I suspect that in that scene where the Burghölzli nurse finds Sabina playing with her food, she was originally playing with her feces, with which she was obsessed. but the film makers decided that activity might make Sabina seem too ‘perverse’, too ‘kinky’, and lose the audience’s sympathy for the character, so changes were made during the editing of the film. The nurse’s line, “You’ve been playing with your food” plays on a reaction shot of Sabina, and could have been dubbed in post production, as well as adding that close up of the plate of food as the nurse sets it down. A plate of food that does not look like the plate Sabina was ‘playing’ with when the nurse walked in.

    Sabina Spielrein was educated at the Gymnasium in Rostov, Russia (19th century European version of secondary school), where her mother used her influence and money to arrange for Sabina to have NO sexual education whatsoever! No anatomy of the sex organs, no biology of procreation, no “birds and the bees”. Her mother’s logic “…was that the child should exist outside of the contaminated world of of an unhappy marriage bed.” (AMDM). Maybe so, but perhaps the sexual relationship between Sabina and her father, and his wish–conscious or unconscious–, “…to break into the all-too-pure magic circle of mother and daughter (AMDM)–Demeter, Kore and the invader Hades!–may have had something to do with Frau Spielrein’s decision about her daughter’s education. As well as her awareness of Sabina’s ill-concealed masturbation. However, none of this is included in the film, just a vague mention by Sabina to Jung that she knows nothing about her own sexuality. Which is actually not quite true, at least in the film.

    So Sabina arrived at the Burghölzli, dressed like a child, in Russian peasant dresses. Not in the costume-designed dress(es) she wears in the movie (designed by Denise Cronenberg, the director’s wife).

    Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung:

    We see Carl and Emma Jung arriving at 19 Berggasse, Freud’s flat in Vienna. A supered title in the lower right-hand corner of the frame tells us the date is March 3, 1906. Not to get too Freudian, but the film makers really “pulled a boner” here. The date was March 3…1907!!! Sloppy, ignorant research! Shame on the film makers!

    Unfortunately, the “bookcase detonation” scene doesn’t work very well. In ‘Memories, Dreams, Reflections (heretofore, MDR), Jung describes the bookcase noise as”…such a loud report in the bookcase, which stood right next to us, that we both started up in alarm, fearing the thing was going to topple on us”. “[S]uch a loud report…” is NOT what we get in the movie. what we get is a wimpy little ‘crack’. Now, Jung’s memory (in MDR) of the loudness of the sound could certainly have become confused, writing about it as an old man, approximately 50 years after the event. It’s even possible that Jung “exaggerated” or “dramatized” the event for effect. Well, even if Jung didn’t, that’s what the film makers should have done. The bookcase detonation should have been LOUD! Loud enough to frighten Jung and Freud, loud enough for powerful dramatic effect. And the film makers ignore one of Master Hitchcock’s cardinal rules of film making: Do not tell with words when you can show! Instead of seeing Jung’s physical and emotional reaction to the sensation that his “…diaphragm were made of iron and were becoming red hot–a glowing vault.” (MDR), Jung tells us about his sensation. Theater…not film. A dramatic mistake the film repeatedly makes.

    Concerning actor to actor chemistry, and character to character chemistry: There’s seems to be very little authentic human chemistry between Sabina/Knightley and Carl/Fassbender. Or between Carl/Fassbender and Emma/Sarah Gadon. Miscasting and limited acting talent seem to be the culprits. So, the chemistry between Jung/Fassbender and Freud/Motensen is the real human chemistry in the film. There was obviously a strong homo-erotic aspect to the Freud/Jung relationship, at least in the beginning. As one critic observed, the real romance in the film is between Freud and Jung. What Hollywood likes to call a “bromance”. Even Freud was aware that there was “an unruly homosexual element” at play in their relationship.

    Later on in the film, Freud and Jung are walking in Vienna, a tracking shot of the two of them talking. As the camera stops, Freud tells Jung that walking at this location has “…inspired some of my best ideas.” Which he says to Jung just as they stop next to a statue of a…sphinx recumbent (as does the crane shot of Freud walking in the same location near the end of the film). The Oedipus complex makes its appearance! Nice scene, nice touch at the end of the scene.

    Carl Jung and Otto Gross:

    Vincent Cassel is a very fine actor, but he’s waaay too old to play Otto Gross. Just look at the age in his face, the bags under his eyes, the gray in his beard. Otto Gross was just around 30 when he became Jung’s patient. Vincent Cassel is definitely on the far side of 30! And Otto Gross was much more mentally ill than he is portrayed to be in the film. In fact, in the film, Otto Gross doesn’t seem to have to have a whole lot of psychological problems at all! But he was addicted to opium, morphine and cocaine (essentially introduced into 19th century European medicine as a wonder drug by…Sigmund Freud). And both Jung and Freud were aware of Gross’ addiction when entered the Burghölzli.

    I agree with you, Daniel, Otto Gross plays Mephistopheles to Jung’s Faust. Jung was obsessed with the story of Faust. He believed–or wanted to believe–the Jung family legend that his paternal grandfather was an illegitimate son of Goethe. And Jung also believed that Faust was THE myth for modern Europe.

    Cronenberg establishes the movie relationship between Jung and Gross (including a great line from Gross; “Freud’s obsession with sex is due to the fact he never gets any.” Freud had not had sex with his wife Martha since the birth of their sixth, last–and unwanted by her–child, in 1895. Then Cronenberg cuts to a scene of Jung playing a recording of Wagner’s Die Walkurie for an audience, while Sabina furiously takes notes. The camera starts to dolly in on a young woman in the front row, as if something is about to happen. And then…he cuts back to Jung and Gross! What was that scene all about? Was there linked preceding and succeeding scenes? A complete sequence dropped in the editing. As the scene exists in the film, it doesn’t make any sense other than as a meaningless cut-in to break up the Jung/Gross sequence.

    Carl and Sabina:

    Sabina suggests to Carl that perhaps there’s a man inside each woman and a woman inside each man. Anima and animus! Sabina Spielrein would seem to be developing Jungian psychology before Jung! At least in the movies…

    Then…she asks Jung to punish her. To be…ferocious. And we get the first of two truly objectionable scenes in the film. “Poetic license” DOES NOT excuse the beating scenes. They are arbitrary, gratuitous and historically a lie. There is no historical evidence that Carl Jung ever catered to Sabina Spielrein’s sexual machoism by beating her. This, I believe, is David Cronenberg upping the violence and ‘kink’ factor.

    In “The Significance of the Father in the Destiny of the Individual” (1909, in “Freud and Psychoanalysis” CW-4, his paper about his analysis of Otto Gross, Jung writes:

    “A man disillusioned in love falls back, as a substitute, upon…masturbation, or false religiosity; if he is a neurotic he regresses still further back to the childhood relationships…the relationship to father and mother.”

    Having helped Sabina heal herself of her hysteric and neurotic problems arising out of her father-related, childhood, violence-tinged sexual trauma, and helping her to begin a path to her adult sexuality (before the affair began), it doesn’t make any medical–or relationship–sense for Jung to agree to engage in sexual activity with Sabina of a violent, masochistic nature, with the very real danger of causing her to regress back into her childhood sexual trauma.

    And the second beating scene is even more egregious and objectionable, as Jung is now using a leather strap and Sabina’s wrists are tied to the bed rail. Adding bondage & domination to sadomasochism. Both of these scenes are “stand alone” scenes, arbitrarily inserted into the film, and the film would be improved if they were removed.

    However, as Sabina looks and sounds like she’s having an orgasm with each blow, I guess one could write a Neo-Freudian paper with a title like…well…’Multi-Orgasmic Anal Eroticism’

    The scene where Sabina cuts Carl with a knife is historically accurate…as far as it goes. But the ‘real life’ event was actually more dramatic! In January, 1909, after staying away from Jung for 3 weeks, Sabina arrived in his consulting room with a knife in her hand! He grabbed at it, she fought back, and she cut him on the left side of his forehead, not the right cheek as in the film. Jung went very pale, put his hand to his left temple and cried, “You struck me!” Dazed and confused (years before Led Zeppelin), Sabina ran away, and found herself on a trolley, with the other passengers asking her if she was hurt, as she had blood on her hand and on the sleeve of her coat. Jung’s blood. As they struggled over the knife, Sabina slapped Carl, getting his blood on her.

    Much has been speculated about the “dream analysis” incident between Freud and Jung, which most likely occurred at the Hotel Manhattan in NYC, during their trip to America in 1909. Jung describes the incident in MDR:

    “Freud had a dream–I would not think it right to air the problem it involved. I interpreted it as best I could, but added that great deal more could be said about it if he would supply me with some additional details from his private life. Freud’s response to these words was a curious look–a look of the utmost suspicion.”

    Continuing from ‘Jung: A Biography’, by Deirdre Bair:

    “…Freud sat silently for a very long time and then said, almost in a whisper, ‘My dear boy, I cannot risk my authority.”

    Back to MDR:

    “That sentence burned itself into my memory; and in it the end of our relationship was already foreshadowed, Freud was placing personal authority above truth.” As well as insulting Jung, with “my dear boy…”.

    The dream, the personal material, concerned the affair that Freud had with Minna Bernays, his sister-in-law. An “open secret” rumor in Freud’s Vienna circle, which no one spoke of. Sort of the 1000 lb. gorilla sitting in the Freudian living room, you might say.

    I digress into this story to make the point that it could have been dramatically presented in a much better fashion in ADM, then it is. But that’s my critique of so much of the material in the movie.

    The supered title says, ‘September 25, 1910′. Before the front door of Jung’s house in Küsnacht, on Lake Zürich, at 1003 Seestrasse (the number wasn’t changed to 228 until 1915), stands Sabina Spielrein. Above the front door she reads the inscription, “Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit”. Called or not called, God will be present. Jung had read that first when he was 19, in the 16th century ‘Desiderius Erasmus’. However, the quote is a paraphrasing of a 431 BC historical pronouncement by the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi.

    She’s there to work with Jung on her doctoral dissertation for her MD degree form the Univ. of Zürich Medical School. He is her dissertation advisor. They discuss her disseratation and her theory of the opposing sex instinct and death instinct.

    Except that…Sabina Spielrin’s very important ground breaking paper, “On Destruction as a Cause of Coming into Being” was NOT her doctoral dissertation, which actually was, “On the Psychological Content of a Case of Schizophrenia (Dementia Praecox)”. She did not begin writing “On Destruction…” until she had graduated, left Zürich and settled in Munich. She finished that paper after she moved to Vienna to join Freud’s Vienna School. Where she presented her paper at the Wednesday night meeting of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, on November, 15, 1911.

    And, unlike what she says in the film, Sabina Spielrien never coined or used the term, ‘death instinct’. Her term was ‘destruction instinct’. Death instinct was Freud’s term, which he wrote about in ‘Beyond the Pleasure Principle’ (1920). Considering how strong the Hades/Kore-Persephone myth was in Sabina’s psyche, it’s rather synchronistically interesting to note that, while the etymology is unclear, the name Persephone most likely means…’bringer of destruction’.

    April (or does the supered title say July?) 16, 1913. Sabina Spielrein visits Emma and Carl Jung. Almost total fiction!!! Let’s break down this scene. Sabina is pregnant with her first daughter, Renate (‘reborn’). That much is true, she gave birth in either August or September, 1913. Emma tells Sabina that Carl is “bogged down” in the writing of his book. Presumably this is a reference to ‘Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido’ (‘Transformations and Symbols of the Libido’, first translated into English by Dr. Beatrice Hinkle, and published in 1916 with the title ‘Psychology of the Unconscious’, then eventually retitled ‘Symbols of Transformation’, CW 5).

    The only problem is…that the book was first published in…1912!

    Sabina says she and her husband are going to move back to Russia. Which they did…in 1923! NOT 1913! She asks Jung if he has a new mistress and he tells her about Toni (Wolff). In 1913, Toni Wolff, who had been analyzed by Jung, was his research assistant. They did not become sexually involved until a vacation together to Ravenna, Italy, at the beginning of April, 1914. Two weeks (!!!) after Emma had given birth to their 4th daughter and last child, Helene…

    Jung describes Emma as “the foundation of the house”, and Toni “is the perfume in the air”. Sounds like a good description of a man’s experience of the archetypes of the Mother and the Anima.

    Carl tells Sabina about his apocalyptic dream. From MDR:

    “I saw a monstrous flood covering all the northern and low-lying lands between the North Sea and the Alps. When it came up to Switzerland I saw that the mountains grew higher and higher to protect our country. I realized that a frightful catastrophe was in progress. I saw the mighty yellow waves, the floating rubble of civilization, and the drowned bodies of uncounted thousands. Then the whole sea turned to blood.”

    Except it wasn’t a dream. It was a conscious vision that Jung experienced on a train from Munich to Schaffhausen, in…October 1913! Some months after the date of Sabina’s supposed (and fictional) visit to the Jung’s in Küsnacht.

    And so we come to the end of the movie, and the coda or epilogue. Which informs us that Otto Gross starved to death in 1920. He did die in 1920, February 13, to be exact…of pneumonia and withdrawal from drugs. But I guess you could say his soul ‘starved’ to death.

    Then we are informed that Sabina Spielrein died in Rostov, Soviet Union, in 1941. Killed by the Nazis, inside a synagogue. The film makers most likely got this information from AMDM, except that John Kerr got it wrong…again.

    More sloppy research…

    The German Army Group South captured Rostov on November 21, 1941, and held the city for one week. The German lines overextended, the Red Army counterattacked and the German Army retreated to approximately 40 miles west, where they established their front line during the winter of 1942. Sabina Spielrein had numerous opportunities to leave Rostov during the first half of 1942. She was even offered counterfeit travel documents for herself and/or her daughters, that would identify them as Armenians. She refused to leave…

    The newly formed German Group Army A launched an offensive toward Rostov on July 9, 1942, and captured the city on July 23. On August 11 or 12, the Jews of Rostov were rounded up and marched, not to a synagogue, but to a local natural site know as ‘Zmiyevskaya Balka’. There they were shot, along with hundreds of captured Russian soldiers, by ‘Einsatzgruppe D’, a unit of the SS ‘Totenkoft’, the “Death’s Head” Squad set up to travel with the Wehrmacht and eliminate all those peoples the Nazis considered racially inferior.

    ‘Zmiyevskaya Balka’ translates as ‘Snake Gully’…how symbolically and horribly meaningful for the Underworld myths that Sabina Spielrein carried within her. Snake Gully, where Sabina Spielrien, and her two daughters lay buried, in that mass grave.

    The overall tone of “A Dangerous Method” seems to be more sympathetic to Freud to Jung. Which David Cronenberg would confirm in movie-related interviews. Such as in this interview, published in the Washington Post, on 12/12/11:

    Cronenberg: “…Freud was grounded in the body, and Jung was fleeing the body. that’s the way I look at it, in a nutshell. And therefore Jung became a religious leader, as far as I’m concerned, and Freud remained as much of a scientist and physician as you can when you’re dealing with human psyches, which means you can’t really apply scientific method because it’s not repeatable from one person to another. But still, I feel that Freud was more grounded in human reality, whereas Jung went into outer [outer??? More like inner] space with the collective unconscious and archetypes. It was disconnected from human reality, as far as I’m concerned.”

    As someone who’s been deeply involved in personal research, study, and experience in the psychology of C.G. Jung for almost 40 years…I would beg to differ…

    Sincerely,

    David Thompson

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      William John Meegan

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      Perhaps society, as a whole, is not prepared to view post Jungian thought as vividly and realistic as the Psychoanalyst documents his or her cases.

      David Thompson seems to be suggesting without even inferring it that society needs the unvarnish truth: blunt forced trauma. Nothing like smacking the public upside the head with a two-by-four to get their attention. Then the one-two punch followed by the haymaker.

      A film producer and director would have to take the general public’s morals and sensibilities into account: thus dumbing the film down to its lowest common denominator: the mind of a sixth grader: the average intellect of those reading the daily newspaper. We are not that far away (50-years)when it was an offense to mention the word SEX in conversation with another. The public has come a long way in witnessing the deterioration of the family nexus, morals and ethics; however, there are still psychic threadhods one should fear to cross.

      You do realize that the film wasn’t produced for Post Jungians or to have them dissect it ad nausea like a Monday Morning Quarterbacker. It was produced for the general publich: put your EGO back where it belong.

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    David Thompson

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    PS: Still More Further Reading and Viewing

    In addition to the books and DVD Daniel Ross lists above, I would recommend the following:

    Jung’s paper, “The Freudian Theory of Hysteria” (1908), which he originally presented at the First International Neurology Conference, in Amsterdam in 1907. This paper is a case study of his analysis of Sabina Spielrein. The paper has subsequently been published in “Freud and Psychoanalysis”, Collected Works, Volume 4.

    Also in that same volume is, “The Significance of the Father in the Destiny of the Individual” (1909/1949). This is Jung’s paper describing his analysis of Otto Gross.

    The 2002 docudrama, “My Name is Sabina Spielrein”, directed by Elisabeth Marton, and released in the USA in 2005, is available from Amazon, or from third parties through Amazon. As are all the books listed above, some–new and used–at very high prices, including Christopher Hampton’s play, “The Talking Cure”, published only in England, where many of its third party sellers are located.

    Also…the DVD of “The Secret Lovers” another cinematic telling of the story of Carl Jung and Sabina Spielrein. I have not yet seen this film, but the DVD is in the mail, so to speak. The film may be an Italian/English co-production and, as the aspect ratio of the film is 1.33 to 1 (aka “Academy Aperture”), I suspect it was originally made for television. The DVD is available from Amazon, but is currently out of stock and on back order.

    Sabina Spielrein was also the subject of two additional stage plays. “Sabina”, by Willie Holtzman, which was staged off-Broadway in 1996. Deirdre Bair, in “Jung: A Biography” describes “Sabina” as “…a romanticized account of her relationship with Freud and Jung in which she is portrayed as a heroine…”. And “Sabina”, a 1998 British play written by Snoo Wilson. (I am not making that first name up).

    Sabina Spielrein’s ground breaking paper, “On Destruction as a Cause of Coming Into Being” was published in English translation in the “Journal of Analytical Psychology”, Volume 39 (1994), Issue 2 (April 1994). And one of the issues of Volume 46 (2001) has a number of articles on Sabina Spielrein, some of which have been published in “Sabina Spielrein: Forgotten Pioneer of Psychoanalysis” (2003), editors C. Covington and B. Wharton. Which Daniel Ross has listed above.

    If hard copies of those back issues cannot be located, they are available from an online library, although you may have to join the library and/or belong to a professional organization in order to access the complete issues. If you’re so motivated, try:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1465-5922.1994.00155.x/abstract

    PPS: I erred in my above commentary with my use of the word “heretofore”. I should have used “subsequently”. Mea culpa…

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    Daniel Ross

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    Thanks David for your comments and your amazing research with which I am always impressed. Your impression that Cronenberg was more sympathetic to Freud than Jung makes sense from the interview quote but my impressions from the film differ. I thought Freud did not come across as charasmatic as the literature suggests he was in real life despite a performance by Viggo Mortensen that I was impressed with. I thought that Jung came across as much too clinical all the time and we see no hint of his explosive anger or sudden bursts of laughter suggested by accounts of his contemporaries. In another interview Cronenberg said that he almost took out the S & M scenes because Kiera K. was uncomfortable with them but when he explained that they would be portrayed “clinically” and not seductively she agreed. I guess, David, the history, as you pointed out, is largely inaccurate and I guess I could forgive that if the film didn,t feel overly “clinical”. It seemed to lack passion and if there is anything that I imagined when I imagine that short 9 year span of history and those particular individuals in it, I would have expected oodles of passion.

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    Cliff Bostock

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    I very much enjoyed both Daniel Ross’ and David Thompson’s commentary on “A Dangerous Method.” I especially appreciate the correction of the film’s factual errors and citation of fictionalizing.

    I do find myself a little disturbed by the reviewers’ treatment of the filmmaker’s representation of Sabina Spielrein’s masochism and Jung’s eventual assumption of the sadistic role.

    Ross refers to Spielrein’s “perversions” and Thompson seems to go out of his way to describe the character of the couple’s depicted sexual interactions as especially heinous.

    I’m curious. If you are going to grant the filmmaker license to represent a sexual interaction between the two, why is its representation as BDSM so troubling?

    The film is certainly about power relations among all of the major characters, which is of course the underlying dynamic of BDSM. The fear that a ritualized BDSM scene will “re-traumatize” the passive partner (or the active one, for that matter) is an overstated assertion.

    Although it may be arguable that Cronenberg simply wants to create audience shock and awe, BDSM is not an inappropriate representation if there was a sexual interaction between the two. Generally, the ritual itself is play with the border between pain and pleasure. It is an experience of jouissance for many participants.

    The source of the discovery of the pleasure/pain link doesn’t matter so much. And the fact that it may initially be associated with an incest taboo for one partner doesn’t mean the other, having been exposed to the possibility of jouissance, is either sinking into “perversion” or restimulating trauma.

    I might add that such scenes, because they are ritualized, are described in a general way as “therapeutic” by many people. Peripherally, I might mention too that these scenes don’t usually involve penetration and, since the genitals become secondary, so does gender for many people.

    A more pathologizing explantion of Jung’s behavior is his own warning about “the return of the repressed.” I agree that Cronenberg favors Freud, so that Jung’s rejection of Freud’s preponderant sexual theories, might explain his turn to sadism. Dubious.

    Now, I am especially glad that Mr. Thompson mentioned the gay thing. There is indeed a quality of “bromance” in Cronenberg’s representation of Freud and Jung. Nonetheless, I was mildly annoyed that their homosexual feelings, explicitly addressed in letters in real life, weren’t articulated.

    But it does make you think, doesn’t it? In those early days, Freud tended to pathologize homosexuality. That changed, as has our culture for the most part. And yet here is the ongoing pathologizing of consensual sex with BDSM characteristics.

    I’ve said enough. Thanks again for the commentary.

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    David Thompson

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    Daniel,

    My comments were edited and revised from a series of e-mails about “A Dangerous Method” that I exchanged with an old friend from the LA Jungian community, now a Jungian Analyst, who lives and practices in the San Francisco Bay Area. In one of my original e-mails to her I wrote,

    “What I mean by a lack of chemistry [Jung/Fassbender with Sabina/Knightley and also with Emma/Gadon] is a lack of passion. Sabina and Carl were caught up in a relationship with archetypal roots, albeit roots unconscious to them. But what was lacking in the film, for me, is the powerful emotional affect of being in the possession of an archetype, or archetypes. The danger in making a film about intellectual ideas is that the film can be too…well…intellectual…But I will give Keira Knightley credit for trying.”

    And I can’t escape the feeling that the film is, in some ways, a dishonest film. Having seen “The Talking Cure” in LA some years ago, and liking the play, despite its obvious structural problems (some of which carry over into the film), I was hoping for something special, that would introduce, to some degree, Jung’s psychology to a general audience, as well as the story of Sabina Spielrein, the woman who could rightfully be called “the mother of depth psychology”. Why? Because of the powerful and life-changing effect that depth psychology (especially Jungian psychology) has had on my life. But I am deeply disappointed by the resulting film. A lesson learned. Like the Stones’ sing, my attitude should’ve been, ” I’ve got no expectations…”.

    And thank you so very much for your words of appreciation for my comments. That matters to me…

    Sincerely,

    David

    PS: Keira Knightley should have stuck to her guns concerning her feelings, her instincts, her intuition about the two S&M/B&D scenes.

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    Nina Patterson

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    Thanks to both Ross and Thompson for their commentaries on “A Dangerous Method” (I have learned a lot.) Both these reviewers, in their critiques of “A Dangerous Method” discuss the fact that Sabina, while in throes of a negative parental complex, was the first patient to be treated by Jung with Freud’s new method, the “talking cure”. Through her successful treatment by Jung, the first connection between Freud and Jung began, that led to their initial 13 hour conversation. “It is as if Sabina was Jung’s trophy, which he brings to lay at Jung’s feet”, (Ross, referring to the film). Sabina remained a catalyst between Jung and Freud, and it is said that the transference between them and their affair lead to Freud’s belief that psychoanalysts should be psychoanalyzed. The Speilrein/Jung involvement continued until the eventual break between the two men. This is a fascinating and complicated story that attracted the filmmaker of “A Dangerous Method “,Cronenberg.

    Both Thompson and Ross point out how Gross’s Mephistophelean role is emphasized in the film and its relationship to Jung’s fascination with Goethe. Thompson says that Gross was only 30 years old at the time with a serious negative father complex while the actor who played Gross was a very much older looking man. One could argue that the ravages of Gross’s addictions, (not explained well in the movie), could have made him look older than his years, but probably not that old! In his deep addictions Gross was certainly completely devoured by the archetypal powers manifested by the myth of Dionysius. Thompson’s quote by Jung (Collected Work 4, “Freud and Psychoanalysis”) about Gross seems very apt here, ” a man disillusioned in love, falls back, as a substitute upon…masturbation, or false religiosity; if he is a neurotic he regresses still further, back to the childhood relationship to father and mother”. But these psychological insights penned by Jung are only a cognitive description of Gross who as a severely damaged patient of his must have been quite a tragedy to experience in the flesh, even though cocaine was considered a possible medicine by Freud at the time. In the film the character of Gross and the exchange between Gross and Jung seems way too simplified and normalized, not even clinical, making Jung seem to be a weak recipient of Gross’s advice. Such a strong influence of Gross, Jung’s disturbed patient, on Jung is quite unbelievable to me, but I could be wrong. If anyone has any facts around this subject I would like to know more. It is hard for me to believe that Jung, however naive at the age of 29, would be so swayed by a person in his state?. It also diminishes the powers of Speilrien herself: educated intelligent, foreign, exotic and seductive. She was a relatively free young spirit in the bourgeoise circles of the Jung’s in Zurich and unlike Emma not bogged down with babies. It was the deep transference between Speilrein and Jung that basically led to her healing and also their later affair.

    Ross suggests that the depiction of psychoanalysis in “A Dangerous Method” was shocking and irreverent and Thompson points out that there is not enough truth in the depiction of Sabina’s symptoms when she arrives at the Bergholzli. He says that most of her symptoms were entirely different. He gives, for example, the confusion of food with feces in the scene with the nurse which would seem to be taking great liberties with her case history. Would Freud or Jung have misrepresented, oral, anal or sexual pathologies? And so it seems that “legend” is being made, even about Speilrein’s symptoms, in ways suitable to the filmmaker, and perhaps to our time? It would be nice to see more accuracy and even delicacy in the treatment of an actual, historical case even in a film.

    The Bergholzli was a mental hospital that treated extreme pathologies of the time, that were probably shocking, especially in those days before modern medications. The treatment of neurosis outside the hospitals in analyst’s offices is not usually so shocking and perhaps the public opinion of psychoanalysis is based more on that.

    Speilrein also had a younger sister, her only sister, who died early of typhoid. There was no suggestion of the effects of such a trauma upon her in the film. I do not even know if it was even considered in her original treatment? Certain images of destruction and death might have haunted her imagination as a young child also laying the groundwork for her preoccupation with the destructive power in sexuality ? The closeness between creative and destructive instincts can be amplified in the myths of agricultural cultures that have animal, and humanized gods and goddesses that are on the one hand excessively devouring and destructive and on the other extremely fertile. (e.g. Joseph Campbell on the myths of the plant cultures)

    Thankfully, both Ross and Thompson point out that there is no evidence for “A Dangerous Method’s” episodes of S & M or kinky sex between Speilrein and Jung during their affair. In the film, also there was no convincing acting of or rationale for those gratuitous scenes and they do not do justice to either Jung or Speilrein as historical personages. I agree that it must have been hard for Kiera Knightly to play those scenes convincingly and if she had to play them how would she also be able to also enact rapport and chemistry and love between herself and the character of Jung- quite a stretch. Both Ross and Thompson agree that Cronenberg sexed up these scenes. “Poetic license does not excuse the beating scenes”, . They are “arbitrary, gratuitous and a lie”…. “for Jung to agree to engage with Sabina in sexual activity of a violent, masochistic nature with the very real danger of causing her to regress back to her childhood sexual trauma” (Thompson) seems unlikely,not at all reflective of the powerful attraction between them.

    And thanks to Thompson for informing us that the knife incident in general was accurate except for the details. While I watched the movie I found that to be convincing. I guess I identified with how Sabina might feel at the time Jung was ending their relationship, especially if he, as reported, is said to have told her that he was a philistine and needed the bourgeois Swiss life, (my paraphrase and perhaps out of context?), as a reason for curtailing their affair? Nor were the scenes between Emma and Jung or Speilrein and Emma believable to me at all. A tough job for all the actors involved.

    Both Thompson and Ross note Speilrien’s contribution to the Jungian theory of “animus” and “anima”, the life taking and life giving archetypal forces in sex, the interface of biology and mysticism, that was dismissed by Freud in the film but later addressed by Jung in his work, when he described the polarities of instinct as being both biological and psychic, the latter manifested in archetypal myths and symbols. Speilrein, as Ross points out, also was apparently trying to hold and grasp this polarity that Jung articulated in his subsequent work.

    And thank you Thompson, for pointing out the maternal dimensions of Speilrein’s complexes and their connection to the myth of Demeter/Kore and Hades. That was completely left out in “A Dangerous Method”. I was most interested to learn that Sabina’s mother took her to the Bergholzli, dressed in a childish Russian peasant dress, and that her mother barred Sabina from normal sex education in her school! I know that the Demeter/Kore Hades myth is more naturally interesting to woman than men but the male awareness of its power is helpful and the lack of it not helpful! (And how about the fact that Sabina’s uncle pretended to be God while playing with her!!)

    Thompson’s critique of the bookcase detonation in “A Dangerous Method” resonates with me too. In the scene Jung is made to look like a naive, superstitious person rather than a man experiencing a deep physical and emotional reaction in his relationship with Freud.
    I wonder if Freud, who was very immersed in myth and the depths of the psyche himself, would have really been so dismissive???

    “The real romance in the film is between Freud and Jung, a “bromance”, with a homoerotic element,(Thompson).
    Also a lot more could be said about the arresting image of the sphinx in the scenes with Freud and Jung in Vienna, and its relationship to the Oedipus complex, (Thompson). What was the film maker’s understanding of that image? It was very dramatic causing me to be drawn away from the actors.

    (And I am sorry, (cigar loving gents), but the constant depiction of Freud mouthing a cigar made him almost become a caricature to me in the film.)

    Many thanks to Thompson for the following factual clarifications:
    Speilrein’s visit to Emma and Carl
    The timing of Jung’s affair with Toni Wolff
    The dates Speilrein moved to Russia
    The setting and date of Jung’s vision of the monstrous flood of blood over Europe
    The circumstances of Otto Gross’s death
    The accurate details of Speilrien’s death
    And the many other clarifying facts that were mentioned
    And for all the references that can be pursued at the end.

    I also disagree wholeheartedly with Cronenberg’s statements about Jung, cited by Thompson. Jung did not go into outer reality/space, getting out of touch with reality and his body, but rather into a deep inner space, getting lost for a time but gradually grounding himself in the deepest of psychic instincts, a journey that allowed him to experience and subsequently describe the collective unconscious and archetypes. I doubt that a man ungrounded in his body could manage that. And during his journey inward he also carried on a practice, family life and military service.

    It seems also that there is more to be delved into and learned about the Freud /Jung relationship than has been depicted in “A Dangerous Method” and much has been written about it for anyone who is interested. It does not seem to farfetched to me to say that the makers of “A Dangerous Method” were not interested in the character, or clinical case of Sabina Speilrein except as a foil for an interpretation of the Freud/ Jung relationship.

    Besides extra reading I found the films “My Name is Sabina Speilrein”, a documentary, and “Soul Keeper”: a drama, helpful in understanding more about the story of Sabina Speilrein.

    (PS I have only seen”A Dangerous Method” once so I may have missed or misinterpreted some elements of the film)

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    Daniel Ross

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    I always appreciate the expansion of thought from the commenters on this blog, David,Cliff and Nina. I appreciated the scope of discussion around Black Swan as we prepared for the webinar on ths subject. Equally so here with such a knowledgable group. I believe I am guilty of pathologizing the sexual rituals depicted in the film and perhaps they were made “clinical” in presentation to stress the nature of the relationship between Jung and Spielrein as much professional as well as personal. In fact the two seemed oblivious to the distinction until Spierein’s mother intervened and pleaded with Jung to avoid “ruining” her daughter. He then wrote SS a letter trying to backstep into his professional role by demanding payment for his service heretofore waived.

    I agree that the relationship between Jung and Freud avoided the homoerotic element. I recall reading Jung’s comments after the first meeting with Freud and how impressed he was with Freud’s handsomeness particularly “around the ears”.

    Bruno Bettelheim wrote the forward for Carotenuto’s work “A Secret Symmetry” in which he points out something very interesting. Spierein’s name was German, not Russian, and it means “play”-spiel and “clean”-rein. Bettelheim suggests play clean as an admonition to a child also symbilizes the oppressive influence of the times and in particular her mother, as elaborated by Nina in her post. Circling back to the sexual rituals it seems a perfect balance to such a restrictive and telling surname. It seems interesting that Jung, whose word association techniques were famous, would have been lost to this etymological finding. And if it did occur to him he did not seem to write about it. Such is the nature of a complex. It seems they were both oppressed by the same disembodying upbringing and perhaps the sex required some spicing up.

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    David Thompson

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    My comments on the two S&M/B&D scenes in “A Dangerous Method” were not intended as a moral judgement and criticism of sadomasochism, bondage & discipline/domination or those that practice S&M/B&D. They were a dramatic and aesthetic criticism of the film. The scenes are dishonest, and do a disservice to Jung, Spielrein and their relationship and love affair. Why? Because, once again, there is no historical evidence whatsoever, that indicates that Speilrein and Jung engaged in such ritual sexual activity. And that includes the accounts of their relationship found in the personal diaries Sabina Spielrein left behind in Geneva, when she moved back to Russia in 1923.

    Cliff Bostock wrote, “I especially appreciate the correction of the film’s factual errors and citation of fictionalizing.” As are the S&M/B&D scenes. And yet, a paragraph later, he writes, “…Thompson seems to go out of his his way to describe the character of the couple’s depicted sexual interactions as especially heinous.”

    I did? Heinous? Exactly where in my commentary? I did refer to the second S&M scene as “egregious and objectionable”, within the context of the film, because the scene is a fiction. Does “sexual interactions” and “heinous” also include the missionary position sexual intercourse between Carl & Sabina in the film? Once again, I was writing about the inclusion of the S&M/B&D scenes in the film, not S&M/B&D between consenting adults, per se.

    Daniel Ross used the words “sexual perversions” in reference to Sabina Spielrein. Cliff Bostock wrote that he was “disturbed” by this characterization of Spielrein’s and Jung’s fictional sexual activity. He concludes his comments (on Daniel Ross’ and my comments) by writing that, “[a]nd yet here is the ongoing pathologizing of consensual sex with BDSM characteristics.” And Daniel Ross, in his follow-up comments wrote, “I believe I am guilty of pathologizing the sexual rituals depicted in the film…”. Well, I’ve reread Daniel Ross’ review and my comments–more than once–and, quite frankly, I’m having some difficulty discovering exactly where either of us actually “pathologize” the consensual sex in “A Dangerous Method”.

    Pathologize, meaning “disease”, as a verb.

    And remember, the film takes place in the the first decade of the 20th century. Not today, a more sexually enlightened (at least for some) time, when we have a more conscious understanding of the sexual/emotional/psychological aspects of ritual sexual activity between consenting adults. The film is set in the time of the early development of the disciplines (no pun intended) of psychiatry and psychology, at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, when western Europe was still, for the most part, in the so-called Victorian Era. Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vienna, published “Psychopathia Sexualis”, his pioneering work on sexuality (including sexual perversions), in the late 19th century, with an eleventh edition published in 1901, a year before his death. This was the standard textbook on sexuality and sexual perversions, in western European medical circles, at the beginning of the 20th century. Both Freud and Jung had read the book (Freud had four copies of the various editions of the book in his personal library).

    I guess what I’m trying to say, is that the attitudes toward ritual sexual acts such as S&M and B&D were very different at the beginning of the 20th century, than…say…those found on Folsom and Harrison Streets, South of Market, San Francisco…today. So when using terms such as “sexual perversions” and “pathologizing”, in a critical fashion, we need to keep in mind the context of the historical time period, even if the depicted sexual acts are fictional. Rather than only judging by contemporary standards…and personal bias.

    Cliff Bostock also wrote, “…Jung’s rejection of Freud’s preponderant sexual theories, might explain his turn to sadism…”. And Daniel Ross wrote, “It seems they [Spielrein and Jung] were both oppressed by the same disembodying upbringing and perhaps the sex required some spicing up.” Guys…reality check! The S&M/B&D scenes are fictional!

    Jung certainly behaved badly in his relationship with Sabina Spielrein. He was dishonest and hypocritical with her, with Freud and with himself. But, and I’m beginning to feel like a broken record, there is no historical evidence that Carl Jung and Sabina Spielrein ever engaged in any S&M/B&D sexual activity during their love affair, in which he played the role of sadist to Sabina’s masochist. Whatever else he did in his relationship with Sabina, he doesn’t deserve–real or fictional–the attribution of sadism.

    I was initially reluctant to reply to the above quoted opinions, as we seem to be getting away from a discussing of the film and into a discussion of S&M/B&D, and the attitudes toward those ritual sexual activities. But with Mars conjunct Mercury in my natal chart, this fool has a tendency to rush in…

    And for those of you who might be into astrological symbolism, Sabina Spielrein was born on November, 7, 1885. A double Scorpio, with Sun and Moon in that sign. And the issues associated with Scorpio in traditional astrology–sex, death, power, control, the underworld…and transformation, as well as the myth of Hades/Persephone–were fatefully present and found expression in her life.

    And, finally (applause, applause), let me say that if I inadvertently offended anyone’s sexual preferences…I apologize.

    David

    PS: A Correction:

    I wrote, in my first posting, “…Sabina Spielrein never coined or used the term, ‘death instinct’. Her term was ‘destruction instinct’. I was wrong. As John Kerr writes in “A Most Dangerous Method”:

    [Quoting from Sabina Spielrein’s dairy] “We discussed so many interesting issues [during the last ten days of September 1910]…he found the linkage ‘sexual instinct-death instinct’ well worth working out.” [Kerr:] With regard to the “death instinct”––her phrase––Spielrein had in mind the theory of Élie Metchnikoff, an expatriate Russian who had risen to the head of the prestigious Pasteur Institute in Paris and in 1907 had won the Nobel Prize. In several works, beginning with the popular 1903 treatise “The Nature of Man”, Metchnikoff had speculated that there might be a natural wish to die that would become evident at the end of a long life. In effect, Spielrein was supposing that this putative ‘death instinct’ was in reality an expression of a sexual wish for dissolution.”

    When she actually wrote her paper, “On Destruction as a Cause of Coming into Being”, she replaced ‘death instinct’ with ‘destruction (or destructive) instinct’. Freud, in “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” (1920) developed the death instinct, which he called Thanatos, after the personification of death in Greek mythology, along the lines of Metchnikoff, as a wish to die.

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    Cliff Bostock

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    David: I also feel like I’m about to be a broken record. My question was why is the representation of BDSM so objectionable in the context of this film? The film guesses at other romantic interactions between Jung and Spielrein. Why the fuss about this particular interaction?

    I’m not buying the argument that use of the word “perversion” is appropriate because of the attitude toward such behavior 100 years ago. If that were the case, then you could call the representation of homoerotic feelings between Freud and Jung a perversion.

    The film is interpretive. It’s not a biopic per se. It’s a fictional account. Cronenberg has made that clear. And, as I said, the BDSM makes perfect sense in the context of the film’s narrative.

    I might add, too, that violence soaks the entire film — from the treatment of patients in the hospital to Spielrein’s slashing Jung’s face. Cronenberg’s earlier films also examine violence, of course.

    I really find the BDSM appropriate to the story Cronenberg is telling. Whether it in particular happened in real life seems irrelevant in the fictional account of a tale full of ethical transgressions.

    If you are going to insist that Cronenberg should not have fictionalized his story, then, of course, the BDSM scene is a boo-boo. I do, as I said, appreciate your pointing out the deviations from “history,” but I don’t see at all that the spanking scene is inappropriate in this interpretive work.

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    Tommy Donovan

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    For Jungians, interested in images and symbols, the overall tone of defensiveness based on factualities is a bit jarring. Lots of protest; very little amplification.

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    David Thompson

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    Pathologize, as a verb, can also mean “to disease” as a verb, or “diseased”, as a verb. As in, “In those early days, Freud tended to [disease] homosexuality.”

    Pathologizing, as a verb, can also mean “dieseasing”, as a verb. As in,
    “I believe I am guilty of [diseasing] the sexual rituals depicted in the film…”.

    Within the context of the time period, S&M/B&D were seen as pathologies/diseases/ perversions. That is how the medical community perceived those sexual activities, at that time. That was the belief, at that time. However wrong some of his conclusions turned out to be, Krafft-Ebing’s “Psychopathia Sexualis’ was the standard textbook on sexual perversions, at that time.

    Therefore, after helping Sabina Spielrein, through analysis, to, at least partially, heal her psychic wounds, some of which were masochistic in nature, it seems, at least to me, that a medical doctor, a psychiatrist/psychologist/psychoanalyst, in this case, Carl Jung, WOULD NOT engage in activities with his patient–Sabina Spielrein– that are symptomatic of the psychic wounds he helped her to heal from. No, I think not.

    I’m talking about in the film, in the context of the time, in the context of the prevalent beliefs about S&M/B&D, at the time. And the dishonesty of showing Carl Jung and Sabina Spielrein engaging in sexual activity, for which there is no historical evidence whatsoever–at least that I’ve been able to discover, and I’ve done A LOT of research on Spielrein/Jung/Freud–does a disservice to their relationship and love affair, as well as to Jung as a doctor and a healer. To say nothing of misleading the film’s audiences (who may not be that knowledgeable about the story of Carl Jung and Sabina Spielrein) with false information. THAT’S what I’m sayin’. I AM NOT making a moral judgement about the contemporary practice of S&M/B&D. And I don’t think it’s constructive to project today’s opinions about ritual sexual activities between consenting adults back onto a much earlier time, when the opinions about those activities were very different. For me, with the context of the film, that’s contributing to the already considerable historical dishonesty of said film.

    And that’s my last word on this subject, Cliff…and an argument that I suspect is not winnable for either of us. That is, neither of us are going to convince the other of our argument. So, to quote the Prince of Denmark (talk about the Oedipus complex!), as Jung did at the end of his last personal letter to Freud…”The rest is silence”.

    Now I’m going to hang up the riding crop and handcuffs, step out of the walk-in torture table, and go have a drink.

    In pathology and in bondage,

    David Thompson

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    Daniel Ross

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    Whoa the heat. There is more passion in this blog than in the film. I think we could safely say these historic characters have played an amazing role in the origins of psychoanalysis. How they are portrayed in a film means something to each of us perhaps drawing our own unconscious material onto the flypaper. I find myself struggling with this film as a work of art. The historical inaccuracies aside, is this a good film?2

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    Cliff Bostock

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    That’s a good point, Daniel. I am gay and my doctoral dissertation was an attempted rapprochement between queer theory and post-Jungian psychology. Part of that involved an analysis of the Freud-Jung bromance.

    I’ve also helped quite a few clients move their BDSM fantasies into actual practice. So, no doubt, my experience animates my impressions of the film.

    Doing a little more reading, I found that Spielrein’s most influential paper was entitled ““Destruction as the Cause of Coming into Being.” It apparently had a huge impact on Freud’s thinking about the death drive — and sadomasochism.

    David: You are right. Nothing is to be gained by further discussion of the BDSM issue, since we’re looking at the film from entirely different perspectives. I do appreciate the conversation, though.

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    Eric

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    To All:

    I have two complaints about this film, neither relate to the s&m scenes as I quite liked watching Keira get spanked. She’s hot.

    One, the film was stylized as British, which irritated me greatly. THESE ARE GERMANS, and the characters should have at least portrayed German attitudes, postures and speech patterns. The British are much too dainty, intellectually stylized and prissy as the characters exuded in the film. The Germans are hard, guttural and dark. For example, and the most basic, Jung in real life was a giant Aryan figure, and his Semitic counterpart Freud was not. In the film they were both the same height.

    Two, Keira Knightly over-acted as she tends to do, which further expresses the over-compensation of intellectual British culture in emotional attitudes.

    This film bored me.

    Eric

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    Nina Patterson

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    Too bad there is not more female participation in this discussion? I feel a little lost and it is feeling like dangerous territory to me. I think this may be more of a film for guys??? But, alas, there is a “chick” in it.

    Each of us cannot help responding to a film according to our own perceptions, interests, complexes and personalities, and so be it!!!.

    What follows, briefly, is only my conscious perspective and feelings about the movie, that probably are limited by my own limitations. I am reminded here of Jung’s image of the conscious ego as a little tiny center floating like a small vessel, on the vast ocean of the unconscious and so, I am sure, that I speak only from this tiny perspective.

    To be honest, I dreaded going to the movie because I did not expect much. I put off seeing it for a long time. These giant figures from the past, Freud and Jung, receive giant projections from all sides- to this day and forward- and, in my opinion, also in this film, though to a lesser extent than the projections upon the Spielrein character. They inevitably do become legends, but if you really know something about them it hurts to see the legend becoming inaccurate and limited.

    And to be honest, Kiera Knightly, who I respect as an actress, did not fit my image of, and my knowledge of, Sabina Spielrein’s herself, or her story. However, I think Knightly did a pretty good job, within the parameters of the film, where she was challenged to play convincingly, a tormented young female: tormented by virtue of being a mistreated female child, tormented by her own “hysteria” and a psychotic break, by falling in love with a more powerful person who, genuinely, for a short time, did listen to her deeply and helped her professionally, but then, after falling into a difficult affair with that person who had been her lifeline, then was, from her perspective, cast off in by him in a very cowardly, brutal way . Yet, as a young woman greatly circumscribed by the patriarchy, she did quite well .

    Knightly did a pretty good job as Spielrein in the early scenes at the Bergholzli though her symptoms were often wrong. She had to play a person who had to swallow and was distorted by a lot of self directed anger, fear of annihilation and desperation. When the affair began with Jung Knightly was also quite convincing, as she was also in the knife incident, (which actually happened), which allowed her rage to erupt. Though they did briefly show her rage in the knife incident there was not much about her wandering soul or desperation and how she subsequently “sublimated” her power and feelings by hard and successful work. She had quite a heroic side.

    Interestingly, to my knowledge, the drama between Freud and Jung was mostly based on actual accounts, perhaps because the director was more interested in getting that part right,so perhaps that is why that part of the story holds together better for me. So why not stick more to the actual accounts in the Speilrein part of the story as well? Not so interested in that I guess.

    In her real life Spielrein had strengths and made contributions that were belatedly appreciated and she went on to live a relatively normal life as a Russian Jew during the two devastating and life changing World Wars of the early 20th century .

    There was not enough scope in the film to deal with Speilrein’s strengths or to see her more wholly, because the movie was mainly about the implicit, simmering drama between Jung and Freud.

    As a woman, I think my main disappointment was that the drama between the male characters was more accurate and predominated while Spielrein’s story was inaccurate, perhaps misinterpreted and adumbrated, so it did not ring as true to me. I care about that, so I am not going to apologize for caring about the inaccuracies.

    I will leave the discussion of what in the film worked “as a film” for others.

    I am now signing off for good but thanks for the controversy.

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    Lance Owens

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    I wish to compliment David Thompson for his excellent review of the Jung-Spielrein history. It is refreshing to finally find someone commenting on the film who actually has knowledge of the available historical documents. One can talk about the movie ad nauseum, but that discussion devolves to an analysis of the writers’ and director’s dramatic decisions – and that really has very little to with the life and clinical history of C. G. Jung. It can only be hoped that the movie will motivate a few more people to do what David had clearly done over the years: read the primary documents. Enjoy (or not) the film. Fidget over the spanking, if you will, and let your own titillations be open to analysis accordingly. But do not use this as a foundation to a discussion of Jung and his life during these years – it is all dramatic sand, sifted by the hands of talented artists who simply do not grasp the hard facts of a human life at the threshold of a great transformation. It is a stimulus to an important discussion – it is not the history that needs comprehension. There is a real history, there are documents.

    John Kerr’s book, “A Most Dangerous Method,” is a good place to start. I think it is an excellent read, but it was published in 1993, and written over the preceding years. Kerr shows balanced restraint in his statements about things unspoken in the documentary history – which, of course, the film does not. This book started as a Kerr’s NYU doctoral dissertation, and is accordingly very carefully researched. Interestingly, a fellow graduate student (who had not yet published much) by the name of Sonu Shamdasani helped Kerr with some of the Jung history. But Kerr’s account has errors, and interpretive missteps.

    More of Spielrein’s history came to light after publication of Kerr’s book, and further investigations were perhaps stimulated by it. In 2001 the Journal of Analytical Psychology (v.46, January 2001 and available online in most research libraries) published a collection of the primary material, including the English translation of Jung’s extant letters to Spielrein. Most of this, with a few additions and subtractions, is available in the 2003 book, “Sabina Spielrein: Forgotten Pioneer of Psychoanalysis. ” Add to these two volumes the primary documents first published by Aldo Carotenuto in “A Secret Symmetry” (Italian ed. 1980, English ed. 1982). Read the documents Carotenuto provides, the diaries and letters of Spielrein, but just skim over Carotenuto’s interpretations; they are very early attempts at understanding, and flawed. (If you can, read Kerr with the second two volumes of primary material at hand; you will see where Kerr’s quotations occasionally fail at catching the facts of the moment.)

    Spend a few evenings with those three books, and you will have a handle on the history. Then start considering what this history means. (And after reading the documents, the silly questions about the film will sublimate. You will note, it was Jung who got spanked. And it hurt like hell.) The really history – the pieces of the puzzle fate preserved for us – are far more engaging than the film.

    These years of Jung’s conflicted relationship with Sabina – from around 1908 to 1910 – are a critical period in the life of Jung. They are a threshold to the transformative experience that produced Liber Novus. As Jung said, speaking of Liber Novus: “Everything else is to be derived from this.” Jung’s later life work is all a reflection of Liber Novus.

    Who was the man who on 12 November 1913 opened a journal he had not touched in 11 years, and wrote: “Meine Seele, meine Seele, wo bist du?” How did he come to that moment, what were the personal issues at the threshold of this intense visionary journey into the mythopoetic imagination? Jung had met desire (die Lust) with and in Sabina: his ideals and ethics were in conflict. As he said to her in his critically important 4 December 1908 letter: “now I am ill….” Sabina and the mythic context of her/their love (Siegfried, the Aryan-Semitic savior) left Jung quaking. It led him into deeper questioning of Freud’s sexual theory, and deeper consideration of the inner mythic matrix of psychic facts. The tremors of this experience were fracturing the ground under young Dr. Jung’s feet. Something from the Depths was emerging.

    I will try to add a little more on that tomorrow, if time allows. (I have been giving a long Seminar to a group of therapists here in Salt Lake City on the Red Book, and the audio recordings of the sessions dealing with some of this are free online, if anyone is interest, at http://www.gnosis.org/redbook/index.html#Fall2011)

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    Daniel Ross

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    Nina, I agree there needs to be a bit of feminine balance in this discussion and I appreciate your participation and comments. I am reading Sabina Spielrein’s original documents in Carotenuto’s work The Secret Symmetry, her journals and letters from the time when the affair began and I agree with Lance Owens, Carotenuto’s comments should be kept in context of the early interpretations of these documents. But I find her struggle with breaking free and (through) her dependence on Jung particularly moving as he seemed to move on in his work. As Owens reminds us that that work for Jung was a matter for his soul, and what transpired during that time both in his freeing himself from the relationship with Spielrein and his old outlived approach to the world brought him to his knees. I agree with Nina Patterson however that the film was more about the men than the women.

    “The Destruction as Cause for Coming into Being” was written by Spielrein, as David said, for Freud’s Wednesday night meeting with the psychoanalytic society and eventually for publication in the Jarbuch, of which Jung was the editor. It certainly seems that the idea that for new life to form, the old must die away and the two occur, psychologically speaking concurrently, is seemingly a basis for Freud’s “Death Instinct” but more intersting for me it is a foreshadowing of the alchemical associations Jung would eventually make regarding the nature of the psyche in all its paradoxical and numinous facets. Thank you all for your insight into both the film and the history which so clearly overshadows it.

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    Cliff Bostock

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    Lance: Thanks so much for your commentary and this in particular:

    “Fidget over the spanking, if you will, and let your own titillations be open to analysis accordingly. But do not use this as a foundation to a discussion of Jung and his life during these years – it is all dramatic sand, sifted by the hands of talented artists who simply do not grasp the hard facts of a human life at the threshold of a great transformation. It is a stimulus to an important discussion – it is not the history that needs comprehension. There is a real history, there are documents.”

    I hope nobody thinks that because I question objections to the the S&M scenes, I felt the film was “good.” In fact, I’ve argued just the opposite with friends here, for various reasons.

    But I think I’m finally “getting” the point — that the particular way in which Cronenberg fictionalizes in this case also sensationalizes and, in effect, discourages appreciation of Jung’s real contributions. My own reaction to the S&M scenes, given my belief BDSM may be a sexual orientation unto itself, is unusual.

    The friends I mention above are Freud-worshippers from Emory and Cronenberg’s obvious preference for Freud — he’s said so in interviews — pleases them. Cronenberg said in one interview I read that he prefers Freud for his “science,” a contention that Freud himself famously questioned in his 1934 interview with Papini. (Hillman makes much of this.)

    So, I feel that I owe David something of an apology. I do think that the behavior fits the fictional story Cronenberg is telling. But I see that, as such, its intention and effect may have zilch to do with my experience of it.

    I really appreciate the incredible depth of knowledge shared here. I’m sending the link to my Freudian friends.

    One of the aspects of the film that did trouble me was the strong suggestion that classism was important in Jung’s work. Is the scene where Jung departs for a first class cabin while Freud, looking shocked, goes below also guesswork? The same thing arises when Freud asks Jung how he intends to support himself. Is there evidence of such powerful resentment of Jung’s wealth? Its intention seemed to be to suggest Jung lived in a fairy book world, while Dr. Cocaine represented something gutsier.

    I also wondered if the treatment of Spielrein wasn’t somewhat sexist. Jung and Freud become her daddies and her contributions, although arguably outside the film’s story, are understated, as several have said here.

    I wonder this in part — and I know this is outside the topic here — because of my own experience. In my observation of Jungian societies, seminars (including online ones) and my time at Pacifica, I’ve found that the vast majority of participants are women, but that the people in charge are usually men. I could give lots of other examples, including the story of Hillman’s expulsion from the Zurich institute. (And much of my dissertation commentary is about Jungians and gay people.)

    Is this something unique to my experience, something embedded in the history? (Yes, I know most of Freud’s patients were women.) Can anyone direct me to literature that takes up the subject in terms of contemporary dynamics or self-examination of the subject by Jungian groups? (I’ve read Richard Noll’s blather and the usual feminist analysis of the anima.)

    Again, I really thank everyone for what I’m learning here. I looked for a place on the blog to post the latter question but didn’t find one.

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    Daniel Ross

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    Cliff, great questions. I will address the latter first and welcome others as well. I think the issue class was more an issue of antisemitism between Jung and Freud. There has been a great deal written on the subject of Jung’s antisemtism and it remains controversial. I was at the IAAP conference in Montreal last year and there was a speaker addressing or defending Jung’s positive work in this area during World War II, trying to keep the Jewish analysts licensed and able to work throughout Europe during a time in which that was threatenned. There is also evidence that suggests he was an opportunist during that time to step into Freud’s role at the helm of the psychoanalytic movement at a time when that role was taken away from him. So I am wondering if the class difference was really a race issue. The issue of race comes up in Kerr’s book as weel and is discussed in the context of Jung’s relationship with Spierein and her Jewish ethnicity. On the issue of sexism I mentioned in my first post that Spielrein became a “trophy” that Jung could use to impress Freud. That began the relationship between Jung and Freud in the first letter Jung wrote mentioning this new case. But it must be kept in mind the times in which these people lived was still very oppressive for woman and it is believed that this accounted for many of the cases of hysteria found in women, (Kerr). I think Jung became particularly aware of this and many women saw him for analysis but in Jung’s case many of his close collaborators were women whereas with Freud, Spielrein I believe was the first women to enter his circle (may be worng about that). Your last comment Cliff “.. and most of the people in charge are men” may be right on though my experience has been a very mixed gender both in members and leadership.

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    Daniel Ross

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    I appreciate Eric’s comments. The characters were more British than German. Knightley overacted (I think Cronenberg had something to do about that) and the film was boring. I am wondering if anyone really liked the film and would be willing to tell us what they liked, if he or she feel’s safe to…

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    Daniel Ross

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    One clarification. David referenced another DVD. I believe it is called The Soul Keeper and is currently on back order with Amazon. David let me know if I am incorrect about that title. There is one review of the DVD that is very favorable of both Jung and Spielrein in contrast to Dangerous Method.

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    Linda R. Andrews

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    I want to do my small part to bring some “feminine balance” to the discussion.
    I will admit to having been deeply disturbed by the violent, sado-masochistic relationship that the film portrays as having taken place between Spielrein and Jung. As David Thompson writes in his initial comment, it makes no medical (or relationship) sense; coming out of the theater, what left me so profoundly troubled was my feeling that it presented a serious medical risk. I suspect that it is not psychoanalysis itself that many viewers will understand as the “dangerous method,” cf. William James, but rather the “method” of a therapist who chooses to engage in the very type of sexual activity that could cause her to “regress back into her childhood sexual trauma”.
    Would that Cronenberg had heeded Knightley’s reservations about those scenes. The actress’s instincts appear to have been accurate.
    I am intrigued with David Thompson’s comments about Spielrein’s relationship with her mother and with Nina Patterson’s observation that she also had a younger sister, who died of typhoid. Which of the sources cited would provide a fuller discussion of these particular aspects of Spielrein’s history?

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    David Thompson

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    Breaking My Silence…

    Cliff, thank you for your kind words. No apology is really needed. I understand now that you were using the S&M/B&D scenes in “A Dangerous Method” to advocate for your own healing work in this field. Which I get the feeling could be like a true vocation for you, that to which you feel called.

    I’ve got a very good intuitive function and I had a hunch you went to Pacifica. I started attending workshops, lectures, conferences at Pacifica in 1984, when it was the Human Relations Institute, and the theme at those events was the interface between Greek mythology and depth psychology, my particular passion. The faculty back then included…Steven Aizenstat, Maren Hansen, Stan Passy, Kate Passy and Jonathan Young, and a few others. An old Santa Monica friend of mine, Willow Young, is on the faculty now, I believe.

    My favorite public programs were those that included James Hillman, who, after Jung, is my most important depth psychology teacher, in my almost 40-year involvement with this stuff.

    Pacifica has certainly come a looong way from the HRI days and their HQ way out on Hollister Ave., on the way to Goleta. Living on the east coast now, I miss the soul-nourishing experience of Pacifica. And the body-nourishing experience of La Supa-Rica, on Milpas Street…

    But I’m planning to enroll in their MA/PhD Program in Mythological Studies…just as soon as I get that winning lottery ticket…

    On another note…

    Daniel, you are correct. The title of that other film about the relationship between Sabina Spielrein and Carl Jung is titled “The Soul Keeper”. Available from Amazon for about $15.00. But the last I checked it was still out of stock. However, I am being sent the DVD, and after I watch it, I’ll post a review and analysis (if anyone’s interested), as best this “Lay Jungian” can do, (that means I’m not an analyst, but I could play one on TV).

    PS: One more mention of the film and the S&M/B&D scenes. If anyone’s interested, I suggest they check out:

    http://www.starpulse.com/news/index.php/2011/09/14/keira_knightely_drank_vodka_shots_befo#.TxcOvZ9unhY.email

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    David Thompson

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    Cliff, you wondered about that scene where, after boarding the ship for America, Jung goes to a first class stateroom, while Freud and Sandor Ferenczi do not. You seem to be asking, did that really happen or is it fiction. Well…it seems to be fiction. I’ll let Deirdre Bair, from her monumental book, “Jung: A Biography” tell the story…

    “[Freud]…invited Ferenczi to accompany him [to America] (at his own expense) and to make and pay for in advance all the travel arrangements (both his own and Freud’s). Freud would reimburse him only after the money came from Clark [University]. Correspondence between the two men became full of details pertaining to when they should travel, from which ports (Mediterranean or northern Europe) and on which ships.

    [Jung]…too, had been invited…[and]…[w]hile Freud and Ferenczi continued their dithering over everything from their wardrobes to the prices of separate cabins on various other ships, Jung immediately booked passage on the ‘George Washington’ in ‘a very expensive cabin’. After all their indecisive nattering, they, too, booked passage on the ship.”

    Then Bair has a footnote to the above passage:

    “First-class passage was all that was left. Eventually, according to [Saul] Rosenzweig, ‘Freud, Jung and Hall {the King-Maker: The Historic Expedition to America, 1909′], Freud and Ferenczi also booked first-class cabins.”

    I’m guessing that the film makers fictionalized this event in order, as you suspect, to introduce classism (and money, one of classism’s partners in social discrimination), into the story, to further, I would guess, the bias against Jung.

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    stevebuser

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    Wow. Lot’s of powerful comments. The movie still hasn’t opened in Asheville yet. (should be next Friday). I received this email from Marsha Hammond. I thought I would add it to the mix….
    -Steve.

    thanks for the post. I saw the movie in Atlanta. Its very good and it also very clearly outlines how Jung advantaged himself vis a vis his mistresses. By ‘advantaged’ I mean that he satisfied that itch that males often have. Maybe that’s what they needed to sell it to Hollywood but I found it amusing that the woman who became the analyst, who was killed, along w/ her children, by the Nazis in 1941, wanted to be spanked—-a lot—-and I have to wonder if her concerns were that she was assisting Jung to violate his relationship w/ his wife. yeah, yeah, he gave it up…over and over…w/ different women. …as Emma sat home w/ the kids.

    I have read Tony Rice’s unauthorized biography of Jung but I’d be hardpressed to pull that forward right now. It is interesting that she and Emma died the same year, 1955.

    We would all like to have mistresses. Did Emma Jung have a ‘mistress’? I suspect not. What did she do w/ all her feelings of jealousy and rage? Did women have a different mind set then? I can’t believe that we are emotionally that different now. We now, however, live in a post feminist time and besides the fact that it would ethically forbidden behavior, it would be unacceptable for most women. the polyamory world has a term, One Penis Position OPP, which, essentially is the maintenance that if one is polyamorous there should only be one penis around. They’re not speaking for or against that matter; they have simply outlined what some of the issues are.

    So, if I come, I will be launching a great many concerns about this matter of polyamory which advantaged the male and disadvantaged the female. Feel free to pass this on to anyone you like. I greatly have enjoyed reading Jung but the movie will drag forward a lot of what I am talking about above and you can’t get away from that. Yes, it was provocative to see Jung and Freud sparring but there’s nothing new there that has not been well explicated. However, there’s a good reason why Jung’s family did not authorize Tony’s biography on Jung.

    thanks for your post. Marsha Hammond, phd, licensed psychologist, NC

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    Lance Owens

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    Did Jung and Sabina have a sexual relationship, engage in sexual intercourse?

    What, you say? Isn’t that a question already answered?

    No. It is not a question answered. It is an assumption here made without solid evidence.

    Most of this discussion seems to be taking for granted that there was a sexually consummated relationship between Jung and Sabina. This assumed physical intercourse, and even the forms of sexual gratification engaged by Jung and Sabina, are at center stage of the discussion– as they are in the film.

    BUT the documentary record – which is extensive in breadth, and includes Sabina’s journal, her letters to her mother, her letters to Jung and Freud, and several of Jung’s letters to Sabina – leaves this entirely unclear. It is a big IF. The only thing clear is that the had an intense love relationship, with moments of intimacy such as kissing fingers and lips, embracing, gazing into each other’s eyes, and Jung holding her hand to his heart with tears running down his face.

    Anyone interested in these real humans (and not the play-acting) must read Chapter 10, “Unpublished Letters”, and the discussion there by Zvi Lothane in “Sabina Spielrein: Forgotten Pioneer of Psychoanalysis.” Lothane is a respected psychoanalytic scholar, and most certainly not a “Jungian.” He is a Freudian scholar trying to engage rational consideration in a community traditionally hostile to Jung. From an informed historical, documentary, and psychoanalytic perspective he argues the relationship between Jung and Spielrein was one of transference, countertransference and the deepest mystery of love – but that it was probably not consummated with sexual intercourse.

    Lothane writes:

    “Our judgment should really be guided by what the protagonists never tired of asserting themselves: that there was no sex. In the final analysis the question is whether we believe their testimony or not. I choose to believe them, and not out of prudery, but because in those days people saw premarital sexual relations … differently than we do today; moreover, because unconsummated sexual desire was even more poignant and more romantic than consummated sex.”

    Reread those words: “…unconsummated sexual desire was even more poignant and more romantic than consummated sex.”

    We come to this discussion with a film in mind, and perhaps with our own unmet relationship to deeper facts of our soulful sexuality – the thing inside so much bigger than “our thingy” and its fleeting polyamorous desire for temporal satiation.

    This man and this woman – Carl and Sabina – were probing the depths of the psyche, and trying to understand. They were intellectual and soulful equals – as Jung clearly declared. They were not just poking at each other physically. They were encountering a mythic power behind their personal sexuality, a psychic substrata underlying physical genital urges. What was sexuality, this daimon, that had swept over their healing/wounding relationship? That was the question on center stage of history in 1910, for both of these young analysts. When they parted, Jung was only 35 and Sabina 25 – remember this.

    Sabina’s love was centered in a mythic motif, a yearning deep within her own psyche: She and Jung were to have a child. The child would be named Siegfried; he would be an Aryan-Semitic savior. It was crazy, yes: she knew that. She new it was crazy. He knew it was crazy. That is the point. But it was the thing rising from her depths. It was a psychic fixation that they both tried to analyze and understand – and bring to some conscious level of meaning.

    Jung responded to this mythic expression of a psychic fact. He saw it was real, in her. He respected its reality. Look at what happened to Jung a few years later, in Liber Novus. How can one avoid seeing the deeper issues within Jung, fighting for consciousness during this relationship.

    They were both physicians of the soul, trying to understand. And they did not understand. They were in torment. There was no satiation to this torment. For both of them, this pain was more than a spanking. It was a desire unsatiated.

    Love and sexuality: Isn’t that the subject of a discussion we all need? Have we lost all knowing experience that the two intertwine, and do not always find their ends or their means in simple (or highly complex) copulation?

    When I first delved this material 17 years ago, I judged there was probably never a consummation of the relationship. Last summer and fall, and after reread all the material – in light of Liber Novus and a deepened understanding of Jung – I was left more ambivalent.

    If Jung and Spielrein did consummate their relationship with sexual intercourse, it was probably not until October of 1910, just few months before they parted ways.

    Their relationship was by then a mature psychological relationship – they had long enough considered, analyzed, pondered, refused, and sublimated this desire. Only they know what happened. But by Sabina’s ecstatic journal account in October of 1910, it seems there was a powerfully experienced event – if it happen. If.

    But at this point, in October of 1910, they both knew it would not be an enduring affair; Sabina was just a few months away from medical school graduation and her departure from Zurich. So they parted, in 1911, with many things unresolved. Questions lingered for them both. Now they were both physicians of the soul, who both knew about the wound of sexuality and Love.

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    Sophia Koltavary

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    Lance, your comments are critical for understanding Jung and his relationship to his soul. The tender friendhsip between Jung and Sabina opened the doors to the deep mystery of the inner life. As the greater life of the Spirit became more omnipresent in Jung, the various concerns of offending polite society receded.

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    Richard Zucker

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    Last week I saw A Dangerous Method with a friend, and we have been engaged in a stimulating dialog about it ever since. The scholarly comments that have been posted here have been like another voice in our ongoing discussion. I am sincerely grateful to all of you for the depth and clarity of your remarks and for the time it must have taken to write them.

    Being an amateur in the field of Jungian psychology means that I get to ask the “dumb questions” that those less naïve than I might avoid. So here goes, with a little background first.

    In Memories, Dreams, Reflections Jung recounts a dream he had on December 18, 1913:

    “I was with an unknown, brown-skinned man, a savage, in a lonely, rocky mountain landscape. It was before dawn; the eastern sky was already bright, and the stars fading. Then I heard Siegfried’s horn sounding over the mountains and I knew that we had to kill him. We were armed with rifles and lay in wait for him on a narrow path over the rocks.

    “Then Siegfried appeared high up on the crest of the mountain, in the first ray of the rising sun. On a chariot made of the bones of the dead he drove at furious speed down the precipitous slope. When he turned a corner, we shot at him, and he plunged down, struck dead.

    “Filled with disgust and remorse for having destroyed something so great and beautiful, I turned to flee, impelled by the fear that the murder might be discovered. But a tremendous downfall of rain began, and I knew that it would wipe out all traces of the dead. I had escaped the danger of discovery; life could go on, but an unbearable feeling of guilt remained.”

    Jung’s interpretation of his dream leaves me unconvinced. “Siegfried,” he writes, “represents what the Germans want to achieve, heroically to impose their will, have their own way.” He concludes, “The dream showed that the attitude embodied by Siegfried, the hero, no longer suited me. Therefore it had to be killed.”

    Really? I think a more likely interpretation is that Jung was coming to terms with his relationship with Sabina Spielrein. As Lance points out above, “Sabina’s love was centered in a mythic motif, a yearning deep within her own psyche: She and Jung were to have a child. The child would be named Siegfried; he would be an Aryan-Semitic savior.” And in 1911 Spielrein wrote to Jung in the letter accompanying her PhD thesis, “Dear One, Receive now the product of our love, the project which is your little son Siegfried.” (I assume this is true; after all, I found it on the Internet here.)

    Aniela Jaffé writes in her Introduction to MDR: “Jung’s distaste for exposing his personal life to the public eye was well known.” And nowhere in MDR is any mention of Sabina Spielrein. So, my question is this: Do any Jung scholars believe that Jung’s interpretation of his dream is a misdirection (possibly intentional) that points away from a far more likely meaning? I am very interested in your thoughts.

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    David Thompson

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    Concerning Lance Owens’ theory that Carl Jung and Sabina Spielrein never engaged in sexual intercourse…I can hear Jung foreshadowing* Bill Clinton by almost 90 years…

    “I never had sex with that woman!”

    *notice how I worked in a Jungian term…

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    Daniel Ross

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    Lance and Marsha bring up excellent points. To address Lance’s first, there is no definitive proof that J and S ever consumated their relationship as Sabina refers to their moments together as “poetry” and the assumption has been that means sex. Perhaps what Lance suggests is correct. In Sabina’s diary of September, 1910. Jung had presented her with his as yet unpublished paper on “Transformations and Symbols”, a letter he had written to Freud and Freud’s letter in response. This was a crucial moment for Jung as his ideas depart from Freud’s and was about to be published and Jung knew this would precipitate the end of his relationship with Freud. Many of the ideas in T & S originated in his relationship with Sabina. She writes of his presenting her his paper, “He showed it to me because he was deeply stirred by the parallels in our thinking and feeling. He told me seeing this worries him, because that his how I make him fall in love with me. I saw almost too well what I mean to him. It gave me the greatest satifaction…. Yes, as I said one can easily suppress one’s erotic feelings in return for this beautiful noble friendship… Tomorrow I shall see him again and we have resolved to keep to the task at hand. For now my only wish is that we may remain ‘friends’tomorrow.” That friendship would not be sustained. You can draw your own conclusions but Lance is correct, consummation of their relationship was never revealed. The letter quoted from Sabina was from the time period (1909-1910) Zvi Lothane refers to as the erotic -sensual relationship period. This is from the chapter 10 of the work edited by Coline Covington and Barabara Wharton called “Sabina Spielrein: The Forgotten Pioneer of Psychoanalysis” published by Brunner-Routledge 2003 and referenced by Lance Owens. It is a convincing argument. Is it possible that two people who were so deeply in love did not consummate that love, a love which required suppression of eroticism, a love from which so much creative energy exploded for both? Sabina wrote eloquently and knowledgeably aboout the paradox of creative and destructive components of the sexual act in her paper “Destruction as the Cause for Coming into Being” and the dissolution of the ego in the midst of sexual intercourse. How and from whence did she acquire this experience?

    Marsha’s comment about polyamory is important. How did all these women in Jung’s life bouy him up during his crisis and after? And what of these women who struggled for their own place and recognition. Kerr makes his point all too well. Spielrein’s work was sacrificed by the two men who she respected the most Freud and Jung and each was blinded by their own conflicted relationship to see her and credit her work. Jung acknowledged to her that “Destruction as a Cause…” mirrored the movement in his own work “Transformations and Symbols” and he repeatedly acknowledged she thought of the importance of the role of destruction in the process of transformation long before he did. In fact he waited to finish his own work before he reviewed her paper for publication and admitted to her he originally misread the word “destruction” in her title, as “distraction” which infuriated her. Perhaps this misreading was a bit of a Freudian slip. Let’s explore these two ideas (Lance and Marsha’s) a bit more…

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    Daniel Ross

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    Richard, you bring up an excellent idea that really does stem from the time period we are discussing and with the now available Red Book the significance of the Siegfried dream can be revisited. I think the dream has many meanings at once including that which you allude to which marks the end of his relationship with Sabina. This shift however from the heroic stance was crucial for Jung and for his subsequent work. The killing of Siegfried was a killing of that heroic stance that marks our first half of life and helps create the psychic structure of our conscious ego. Jung came to the awareness that what was emerging from within was not going to be accessed by this stance, this way of seeing the world and he needed to destroy so to take on a new stance, one that allowed for the emgergence of the self throughout connection with and exploration of the unconscious. I will let other address this huge subjest but I am reminded that destruction of Siegried as the “old” was required for the ermergence of the “new” which I argued was in Spielrein’s paper, as I previously addressed.

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    David Thompson

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    Concerning Richard Zucker’s comments, he wrote:

    “And nowhere in MDR is any mention of Sabina Spielrein.”

    Not directly, but there is this…

    While I was writing down these [Philemon] fantasies, I once asked myself, “What am I really doing? Certainly this has nothing to do with science. But then what is it? Whereupon a voice within me said, “It is art.” I was astonished. It had never entered my head that I was writing had any connection with art. Then I thought, “Perhaps my unconscious is forming a personality that is not me, but which is insisting on coming through to expression.”

    And then we come to the big reveal…

    I knew for a certainty that the voice had come from a woman. I recognized it as the voice of a patient, a talented psychopath who had a strong transference to me. She had become a living figure in my mind.

    …I was greatly intrigued by the fact that a woman should interfere with me from within. My conclusion was that she must be the “soul”…[and]…[l]ater I came to see that this inner feminine figure plays a typical, or archetypal role in the unconscious of a man, and I called her the “anima”.

    from, MDR. Paperback edition. Pages 185-86. Jung’s inner experience of the anima taking place, I believe, in late 1913–early 1914, while Jung and Spielrein (then living in Vienna) were still corresponding.

    John Kerr, in “A Most Dangerous Method”, discusses this encounter of Jung’s with the anima in…THE ANIMA, pages 502-507, and draws the parallels to Jung’s relationship with Sabina Spielrein. Where he notes that…

    “Psychopath” here is the old term for someone with hereditary taint, i.e., someone prone to nervous disorders.

    So perhaps we could say, that, in relation to Jung’s inner life, Carl and Sabina never really “broke up”…

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    Daniel Ross

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    I’m glad you went there David. I will take it one step further because this has been distilling somewhere in my psyche. If Spielrein constellated Jung’s connection to and ideas about the anima when we get to the Red Book and of course the reveries, visions, active imaginations etc from 1912-1913 and on the image of Salome as also the image of the anima early on in the Red Book. I am strcuk, as was Jung, that this woman was responsible for the beheading of John the Baptiste and the paradox that this woman was somehow connected to Jung’s soul reminded me of the violent interaction between Jung and Spielrein in which she had a knife and cut him, in the film on his cheek, in real life in his head or forehead as David corrected and Jung’s need, as he came to understand it, to severe his thinking function so his feeling function can rise to the surface in the form of this woman (in many guises), his anima, his soul.

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    David Thompson

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    One further note, Daniel, on the relationship between Sabina Spielrein and Jung’s experience of the anima. With Hermes, god of thieves as my guide, I’ll once again “thieve” from John Kerr…

    “…left behind in the Bollingen retreat is a symbolic record, executed in stone, of some of Jung’s preoccupations during his old age. Among these there is a stone triptych on the subject of the ‘anima’. The initial panel shows a bear bending down, it’s nose nudging a ball in front of it. The inscription reads, ‘Russia gets the ball rolling.’

    Just a few comments…the fact that Jung depicts the Russian Bear, a mythic/archetypal symbol of the Great Mother, may indicate that Jung was, in retrospect, aware that at the time of his involvement with Sabina Spielrein, he had not yet achieved what Erich Neumann has described as, “…the crystallization of the anima from the mother archetype.” (from, “The Origins and History of Consciousness”).

    Second, when I first read this passage and Jung’s use of the word “ball”, the first thought that came into my mind was of Ariadne’s ball of thread. The–lunar symbolism–unwinding and rewinding ball of thread that guided Theseus into and out of the Labyrinth, and his confrontation with the Minotaur, its inhabitant. Psychologically, you could say, the journey into the unconscious and the encounter with its contents.

    But, as Kerr points out, in this testament in stone, Sabina Spielrein remains…she who must not be named.

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    Nina Patterson

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    PS
    Many thanks to Linda and Sophia for their contributions!!!!!!!.
    I feel better now, for they say what I have felt about the deep love relationship between Jung and Sabina that was shockingly interpreted in the film.. And thanks to Lance for raising the question of whether there was a sexual relationship between Sabina and Carl even though they were so deeply connected for a time. Apparently there is no clear evidence really.

    I do know anything more about Sabina’s younger sister who died but I did wonder if there was anything about it in the Bergholzli case notes?

    I really liked Aldo Carotenuto’s “A Secret Symmetry” that one person referred to as an “outdated” interpretation. Why outdated? It contains parts of Sabina’s diary’s, some letters from Sabina to Jung and Freud, and letters from Freud to Sabina and, at the end, the story of Jung and Sabina is interpreted very sensitively by Carotenuto, from the perspective of love, and love within analysis.

    Sabina refers to their love as “poetry” I saw no “poetry” in the film.

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    Sophia Koltavary

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    Very important comment Nina, there was no poetry in the film, despite Sabina’s words.

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    Brian Skea

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    Dear Daniel, I just signed up for your webseminar on “A Dangerous Method” on Feb 8. I enjoyed reading your blog and the many replies you have received. I have unfortunately not yet seen this latest movie, but intend to before Feb 8. I am a Jungian analyst, a member of the New England Society of Jungian Analysts, and have long been interested in the early days of the Jung-Freud relationship, and more recently in Sabina Spielrein’s role in their relationship and their work. I have two publications which could be helpful to add to your reading list for participants. They are:
    “Jung, Spielrein and Nash: Three Beautiful minds confronting the Impulse to Love or to Destroy in the Creative process” in “Terror, Violence and the Impulse to Destroy” (2003)Ed by John Beebe, Daimon
    and
    “Sabina Spielrein: out from the shadow of Jung and Freud” in Journal of Analytical Psychology Vol 51, no 4 (2006) p527-552.
    Best wishes,
    Brian Skea

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    Daniel Ross

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    Nina, yes it is in the notes in Covington and Wharton’s Sabina Spierein: There is a note made in the Burgholzli record for Spielrein in which it is documented the following: “Siblings: 3 Brothers, 1 sister (deceased). Does not have an intimate relationship with her brothers. (Pat. is the eldest.) The sister was 6 years old when she died. She loved her sister ‘more than anything in the world. Pat. was almost 16 when her sister died (of typhoid). Her death left a terrible mark on her. From age of 7 or 8 pat. started to talk with a spirit.”

    I think this entry, as brief as it is, speaks to the devastating impact it had on Sabina psychologically considering she did not connect with or feel validated by anyone else in her family. She was not “seen” by her family and perhaps the first person to accomplish that to any meanignful degree was Dr. Jung. Thanks Nina for your question and remarks.

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    Daniel Ross

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    Thank you Brian for your recommendations on references. I will try to read those before the seminar and look forward to your participation on the seminar. I am happy you are joining.

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    Lance Owens

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    Which regard to the Richard Zucker’s comment and David Thompson’s reply about Spielrein appearing in MDR: Kerr was almost certainly wrong in his supposition that the “you are an artist” comment was coming from an interior “living figure” representing Spielrein. Shamdasani argues convincingly and with good primary documentation that this figure was Maria Moltzer, and not Sabina. (Ref. on request)

    Consider: Sabina was never telling Jung he was an artist. Think about it. What was the issue? Her myth was that in the destruction and transformation of love, a new thing would be born: Siegfried was the child awaiting birth in death and transformation. This Siegfried issue is important, as Daniel Ross very insightfully suggests – more on that below.

    Here I must further comment that MDR is not properly Jung’s “autobiography.” His discussions with Aniela Jaffe in 1957 (stenographically recorded by Jaffe) were extremely candid and wide-ranging. However, they were heavily edited into MDR. The typescript of these original conversations (known among scholars as the “Memories Protocols” or MP) are archived in their entirety in the Library of Congress and in the Jung Archives in Zurich. In MP Jung did not talk directly about Spielrein (and Jaffe did not know to ask), but he did talk about Toni Wolff. All of this, and much more, was cut by many editorial hands from MDR. Shamdasani has written extensively about this (to start, see Shamdasani, “Jung Stripped Bare by His Biographers, Even”, 2005).

    There is, however, one place in MDR where Jung did occultly talk about Spielrein. I will not quote here – you will find it on page 309ff of Kerr’s book, in the section titled “Mythological Ideas”. It is Spielrein’s dream, and it is very powerful. Read page 309-313 again; Kerr is very insightful in his reflections. And this dream is a touchstone to an important section of MDR.

    We must ask ourselves: “Is this just “sexual libido” at play, or is this relationship touching a deeper level of libido – a deeper instinct, a fact passing to more objective, or mythological, or spiritual levels?” And remember, it was Jung’s evolving understanding of psychic “libido” that conceptually fractured the relationship between Jung and Freud in 1912. Libido for Jung was – in his conceptions forming in 1910 and 1911, and influenced by relationship with Spielrein – not just physical instinctual sexual energy. This reflects in the title of Jung’s book published at the threshold of his transformative encounter with the Soul and the Depths, “Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido.”

    With regard to David Thompson’s comment on my “best friends” Bill Clinton and Carl Jung: this is a revealing point. As a physician taking a clinical record, or as an historian sifting the story of a life, one senses a trajectory: themes are heard that seem leitmotifs to the tale. Viewing the course of a life, and working from those facts that are revealed, one sometimes gains supposed insight into veiled events – one sees the probability or improbability of other unknown things. From his college days onward, Bill had certain tendencies. Ditto Dr. Jung. They were quite different, in my opinion.

    Jung’s relationship with Sabina was integrally related to the life facts and the trajectory of issues that drew him into the depths in December of 1913 – just three years after parting from Sabina. Look at the trajectory of this life, look were Jung is going in 1913, and the issues he meets in the initial visions, experienced between 12 December 1913 and 5 January 1914, as recorded in the Black Books 2 and 3, and thence in Liber Novus, through the early parts of Liber Secundus. In that light, the relationship with Sabina glows with significance. But of course, Toni Wolff is now at Jung’s side, and she too is a potent fact.

    Jung says on 14 November 1913, as he is first petitioning his Soul, seeking to find communication with this interior fact of the Soul: “Who are you, child? My dreams have represented you as a child and as a maiden. And I found you again only through the soul of the woman.” (LN233 and n49)

    Read that again and again: “I found you again only through the soul of the woman.” I suspect Sabina Spielrein and Toni Wolff both were companions who helped open him to the mystery of the “soul of the woman”. He had to meet Her: before this fact he knew “unbearable longing.”

    The stone carved on the outside wall of the Bollingen Tower by Jung in the 1950’s does not say ‘Russia gets the ball rolling,’ as David Thompson quotes it above. It says, “Ursa movet molem” – “the bear moves the stone”. Perhaps “bear” symbolically implies Russia, perhaps Russia is a reference to Sabina…

    But one way or another, David is seeing something here: Sabina did get the stone rolling. The Stone. For Jung in the 1950’s, the “Stone” had deeper meanings, far exceeding all purely materialistic (or amusingly puerile sexual) connotations – it was the product of a coniunctio, a mysterium coniunctionis, a hierosgamos. This was not a concept, a theorem. It was Carl Gustav Jung’s lived experience. Sabina and Toni had guided him on the path to that understanding.

    Siegfried: I thank Daniel Ross for his very insightful comments. This is really a key issue at the beginning of Jung’s descent into the depths, in December 1913, and Daniel is really on target here. Again, understand this is not “conceptual”. Jung lived this dream of Siegfried – as he had lived the myth of Siegfried. Sabina had fixated on love, death, transformation, and the birth of Siegfried from her love union with Jung.

    Salome dances for the head of the John the Baptist. John is the one who declares the coming of the Christ. He who sees the way to come must die so the greater fact can emerge, can come. Jung later speaks of individuation as a painful sacrifice of the ego. And Jung’s ego function in these years from 1905-1910 was Germanic and Heroic – in Freud’s Vienna circle (which was generally resentful of Freud’s attachment to Jung), he was derisively call “Siegfried”.

    In the opening sections of Liber Novus, Jung experiences the sacrifice of this ego in search of a greater fact. Salome wants his head. (Yeah, his HEAD. “Think” about it.) And Salome loves him, she loves the prophet…. At the end of the Mysterium, at the conclusion of Liber Primus of Liber Novus (this vision happened on the night of 25 December 1913) Jung is on the cross, suffering. Only through this sacrifice does Salome regain her sight – awaken to light.

    It is impossible to understand this transformative sacrifice, and the image of Siegfried whom Jung must slay, without thinking about the six-year struggle Jung had with Sabina, and her myth of their Siegfried – born in love, death, and transformation.

    Look at the trajectory of this life, the trajectory leading to Liber Novus, and all of Jung’s later life work. Sabina is present, on the path. She did not give him “concepts” or “theories”. She helped him find his soul. And from that voyage into the depths, he emerged with a treasure of understanding. That is Liber Novus.

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    David Thompson

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    Lance, First of all, I wasn’t quoting from Kerr (AMDM) in my first posting of 01/19/12, I was quoting Jung, from MDR. I only referenced Kerr to define Jung’s use of “psychopath”. And I never wrote that Carl Jung and Bill Clinton were “best friends”. My posting was an attempt at tongue-in-cheek-humor. You know, funny. I was trying to inject some humor into these blogosphere, so-serious commentaries that, at times, seem to threaten, in my opinion, to fall into Saturnian leadeness. So I just was trying to get out of the lead and get the alchemical ball rolling, so to speak.

    True, Sabina Spielrein was never telling Jung that he was an artist. But Jung’s interior dialogue was not with Sabina Spielrein. It was with the anima, who took the form and voice of Sabina Spielrein. A big difference.

    As to your statement that MDR “…is not properly Jung’s ‘autobiography’, that issue is very throughly covered and discussed in Dreidre Bair’s monumental work, “Jung: A Biography”, one of those Jung biographies that you deem “not adequate” on your web site.

    As to Sonu Shamdasani, I heard the (self-appointed?) “number one Jung historian” speak in NYC, at the occasion of the publication of the Red Book and the Red Book exhibit at the Rubin Museum of Asian Art. Personally, I thought he was a bit full of himself. and, as for the Red Book, some of Jung’s drawings/paintings have a very powerful, emotional and meaningful effect on me, every time I look at them. But, quite honestly, I find the text in-penetrable. Does that mean I’ve failed in my almost 40-year Jungian journey of individuation, toward wholeness. I’m almost 70 years old! Am I still “not adequate” to understand Jung because I can’t “get into” the text of the Red Book? Please…give me a break!

    And Shamdasani’s critical study of the various biographies of Jung, that you recommend on your web site and in your posting, “Jung Stripped Bare by His Biographers, Even”. Do you think that his use of the word “Bare” is a cheap shot at Dreidre “Bair”? What do you think?

    I can feel the Anger of Achilles rising in me, and Athena is pulling on my hair, urging me to cool it. So, like Cuchulainn, I need to go sit in that metaphorical tub of cold water in order to chill. Pass the rubber ducky…

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    Lance Owens

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    David, I am sorry to raise ire, and Great Athena…

    I was also trying to be humorous when I said “MY best friends, Bill and Carl…” It is a private jest, but Bill and I shared the same history professor at Georgetown, and being yet another of “Bill’s Best Friends” was a family joke. I was free-associating on your comments – and I apologize, it was an obscure remark. But the tag line: I really do think of Jung as a dear friend of my soul. That is something many of us share.

    I can make no comment on Shamdasani’s personality, it does not matter much to me. But after having read pretty much everything he has published, I can comment on his scholarship: it is insightful, extraordinarily well researched, factually detailed, and amazingly extensive. He has brought primary source material that was previously unknown to bear upon the history and understanding of C. G. Jung.

    The very issue you raise about the “voice” in MDR is an excellent example of that scholarship.

    In MDR on page 185 Jung tells about writing his fantasies. A female voice tells him, “it is art.” He says of the voice: “I recognized it as the voice of a patient, a talented psychopath who had a strong transference to me. She had become a living figure within my mind.” Over the last fifty years, many people (apparently including you and me) have wondered who that woman was. Was it Toni, was it Sabina? Who?

    Shamdasani helps identify her as Maria Molzter – and not Sabina. He offers the details in his essay, “Memories, dreams, omissions” published in the “Jung In Contexts: A Reader” (ed. by Paul Bishop, Routledge, 1999). I will not quote the paragraphs – it is a peripheral issue – but you will find them on page 25, along with several detailed footnotes. Here is a question I asked myself for twenty years, answered in great detail, with remarkable scholarly care, by a fine historian doing research in primary source materials. Ad hominem comments cannot obscure that sort of historical work.

    In this discussion we really are confronting the intersection of a story and a history. There are documents, there are primary records. We can free-associate on this tale, and project our own issues into the issue of Sabina and Carl. But how close can we get to the facts?

    On the bizarre title of his book, “Jung Stripped Bare by His Biographers, Even”, I think you need to laugh a little. Perhaps he just has a weird sense of humor (like others I know). But I was told it is a reference to a (semi-famous) work of art in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Marcel Duchamp’s “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even.” If you read the history of this glass panel piece, you may get his hidden point. Or, perhaps the guy listens to too much jazz.

    With regard to Liber Novus: I know what a difficult task it is reading this book, or better, reading and understanding it. I have heard “Jungian analysts” with decades of experience confess how confusing they find it.

    But you see, we have known Jung as “the old man”. We have been reading his thirty-year long exegesis on Liber Novus, devoid of understand the event behind the latter works. Once Jung was young Jung. In 1913 something happened that transformed him. Late in life, in 1957, he said: “Everything later was merely the outer classification, the scientific elaboration, and the integration into life. But the numinous beginning, which contained everything, was then.”

    And this is why the story of Sabina Spielrein is so very important. To understand Liber Novus, one must meet Jung, the young Jung. Who was this fellow? What had just happened to him, what was about to happen to him? What happened in Liber Novus, what were these visions? And why is this strange book the bedrock of his lifework – at least in his own stated opinion?

    This is really history, a clinical history of an extraordinary patient. This is a primary record of the history of a very important figure in twentieth (and perhaps twenty-first) century culture. I am not a mystic, I am an old doctor, a very practical doctor. I have been listening to humans tell their histories for over thirty years, and I have a good ear for facts, details, and bull-turds. There have been a good number of the latter littering Jung’s history. Now it is time to examine the primary record. Liber Novus is part of it. Sabina’s story is part of it. Kerr did a great job, to start. We are still ciphering the story, in this discussion. Maybe we can begin to get to the heart of this history, through discussions like this.

    I apologize if I offend. But I care about Dr. Jung and his story, and his history. I think it is important. After 25 years of considering these matters, I wanted to share some of what I have come to know about the man, to the degree it helps others answer their own questions.

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    Daniel Ross

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    Lance,

    Thank you for adding such a a scholarly perspective to this blog. I deeply appreciate it. The film, if nothing else, has brought out a rich group of Jungian admirers who all share a similar longing to understand this story. Perhaps the film could never contain that much idealization and disappointment so was doomed from inception. Perhaps it tells us that the story that we care so much about not be trampled on, distorted, trivialized and our pursuit for its truth be allowed to continue because somehow Jung’s journey of the soul is also our own.

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    Mala Setty

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    Perhaps what we need is a master timeline of major events in the history of psychotherapy. How about a wiki that can be maintained collectively by the Community? The timeline can be added/updated as we get new information. We can create links where we see connections. This will give us a common historical map to reference.

    The publication of Jung’s Red Book has changed and will continue to change what we know of the psyche, its symbols, its movements and its ability to guide and to heal. It has given new meaning and revealed new connections to what we already knew about him.

    A Dangerous Method is of less import, but offers many useful (some questionable) data points and connections to our “timeline”.

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    David Thompson

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    When I write, I try to write from a place of soul. So I try not to write from too onesidedly up in my head. Too “Apollonian”. So, sometimes powerful emotions come up, and express themselves in my writing. Would that constitute a diagnosis of hysteria? Which reminds me…the word hysteria comes from the Greek “hystera”, meaning womb. Hystera was also the name of a female demon in Greek myth and/or folklore. A demon (that is, a diminished goddess) that brings danger to a woman’s womb. And has connections back to the Babylonian/Jewish goddess, Lilith.

    But I digress into my passion for Greek Mythology…

    So if I have offended you, Lance, with my emotion of anger, I apologize. And Daniel, if I have detracted from your scholarly aspirations for this blog, I apologize to you as well.

    Lance, you have me at a disadvantage when it comes to the writings of Sonu Shamdasani. I have not read his books. I’ve seen them for sale on Amazon and I could order them, but seeing how this senior citizen just dropped almost 30 bucks on Amazon for a new paperback edition of “Alchemical Studies” (CW 13)…well…

    I do know that Maria Moltzer was Dutch, and heiress to the Bols liquor fortune (Bols Gin. Sold for $4.29 a fifth…in the USA in 1961!), who worked at the Burghölzli as a nurse, with Jung. And there is speculation that she had an affair with Jung, around the same time as his alleged affair with Sabina Spielrein. Moltzer subsequently became an analyst and developed her own psychological theories, which sometimes clashed with Jung’s, who she would frequently challenge when he was giving a lecture. Jung is alleged to have treated her badly, and she resigned from the Psychological Club and finally left Zürich and returned to Holland, as she felt like an outsider who was never accepted by the Swiss-German’s in Jung’s circle. Hope I got that right.

    Given Shamdasani’s theory about Jung’s anima voice, was Maria Moltzer diagnosed by Jung as “…a talented psychopath who had a strong transference to me.”? I believe Jung treated Toni Wolff for depression, after the death of her father, so I’m guessing she’s not the “talented psychopath”. Was the voice Sabina? Was the voice Maria Moltzer? Toni Wolff? This argument could evolve into one of those how-many-angels-could-fit-on-the-head-of-a-pin debates, in the Church of Jung.

    But Lance, in your reply you did not address my primary objection: your statement on the gnosis.org web site that “[t]he problem is that there are really no adequate biographies of C.G. Jung – none of the published biographies…”. When I read that statement I was shocked! My first thought was, what an absolutist statement! And which seemed to me somewhat hubristic. I mean…

    C.G. Jung: His Myth in Our Time/Marie-Louise von Franz

    Jung and the Story of Our Time/Laurens van der Post

    Jung/Vincent Brome

    A Life of Jung/Ronald Hayman

    Jung/Anthony Stevens

    And…among others, but definitely not least, Deirdre Bair’s awesome work of research and writing,’ Jung; A Biography’. I personally think her book is a very important resource in understanding the life of Carl Jung. But what I can’t understand is why you, in your references to Sonu Shamdasani writings, seem to want to, from my perspective, pretend that Deirdre Bair and her book don’t seem to exist.

    All of the above, “…no adequate biographies”? Because the authors did not have access to the Red Book? (I believe van der Post had a look at the Red Book when he was making his film documentary on Jung, ‘The Story of C.G. Jung’). And by extension of the logic of your belief…does that mean that all the Jungian Analysts who went through analyst training programs, their professional and public presentations, their writings, their books, are all “…no[t] adequate”, because all that happened in their lives before the Red Book was published? Lance, do you see where your point of view could lead?

    And concerning MDR…you write that “…MDR is not properly Jung’s “autobiography”…”, and then go on to note the censorship of the manuscript, by Aniela Jaffé; Marianne and Walter Niehuse-Jung, his daughter and son in law; and, to a lesser degree, Milton Waldman. All very well documented in Deirdre Bair’s, “Jung: A Biography’. But on the gnosis.org web site, concerning MDR, you write, “[w]hile critics once questioned its accuracy, during the last several years many primary documents have become available that support its general veracity.” I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m feeling like I’m getting mixed messages from you, Lance, concerning MDR.

    Considering that my posting last night might be categorized as a personal expression of “destruction as a cause of coming into being”, I’d like conclude on a more constructive note.

    Lance, you list, on the gnosis.org web site, under ‘Other Optional Resources’, “Face to Face”, the interview Jung gave to John Freeman of the BBC in 1959. It is in this interview that Jung makes one of his most well known, and controversial, statements:

    John Freeman: And did you believe in God?

    Jung: Oh, yes.

    Freeman: Do you now believe in God?

    Jung: Now? [Pause.] Difficult to answer. I know. I don’t need to believe. I know.

    Well…the BBC received more letters about Jung’s answer than anything else ever said by a guest on ‘Face to Face’. Some of those letters were published in the “The Listener”, the BBC’s in-house publication for subscribers. Some were forwarded to, or originally sent to Jung. So Jung wrote a letter in reply, which was published in the January 1960 issue of “The Listener”. As far as I know this letter is relatively obscure Jungiana, but maybe I’m wrong about that. Anyway, here’s Jung’s letter:

    Sir: So many letters I have received have emphasized my statement about “knowing” (of God) in ‘Face to Face’, “The Listener’, of October 29, 1959.

    My opinion about “knowledge of God” is an unconventional way of thinking, and I quite understand if it should be suggested that I am no Christian. Yet I think of myself as a Christian since I am entirely based upon Christian concepts. I only try to escape their internal contradictions by introducing a more modest attitude, which takes into consideration the immense darkness of the human mind. The Christian idea proves its vitality by a continuous evolution, just like Buddhism. Our time certainly demands some new thought in this respect, as we cannot continue to think in an antique or medieval way, when we enter the sphere of religious experience.

    I did not say on the broadcast, “There is a God”. I said: “I do not need to believe in God; I know”. Which does not mean: I do know a certain god (Zeus, Yahweh, Allah, the Trinitarian God, etc.) but rather: I do know that I am obviously confronted with a factor unknown in itself, which I call “God” in consensu omnium (“quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus creditur”).* I remember Him, I evoke Him, whenever I use His name overcome by anger or by fear, whenever I involuntarily say: “Oh God”.

    That happens when I meet somebody or something stronger than myself. It is an apt name given to all overpowering emotions in my psychical system subduing my conscious will and usurping control over myself. This is the name by which I designate all things which cross my willful path violently and recklessly, all things which upset my life for better or worse. In accordance with tradition I call the power of fate in this positive as well as negative aspect, and inasmuch as its origin is beyond my control, “god”, a “personal god” since my fate means very much myself, particularly when it approaches me in the form of conscience as a vox Dei, with which I can even converse and argue. (We do and, at the same time, we know that we do. One is subject as well as object).

    Yet I should consider it an intellectual immorality to indulge in the belief that my view of a god is in the universal, metaphysical Being of the confessions or “philosophies”. I do neither commit the impertinence of a hypostasis, nor of an arrogant qualification such as: “God can only be good”. Only my experience can be good or evil, but I know that the superior will is based upon a foundation which transcends human imagination. Since I know of my collision with a superior will in my own psychical system, I know of God, and if I should venture the illegitimate hypostasis of my image, I would say, of a God beyond good and evil, just as much dwelling in myself as everywhere else: Dues est circulus cuius centrum est ubique, cuius circumferentia vero nusquam.**

    Yours, etc……Carl Gustav Jung

    Doing my best to remember my high school Latin…

    * in all consensus (“which [is] always, which [is] everywhere, which [is] all belief”).

    ** God is a circle whose center is everywhere, [and] whose circumference is nowhere.

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    Lance Owens

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    David, I am not offended. I just wish not to offend; I am sometimes over-exuberant, and I say too much when engaged with this material, about which I deeply care. Here I will not.

    Jung said clearly that the events which produced Liber Novus were very important to him. These years from 1913 to 1920 were transformative for Jung. Until 2009 this period of his life was the “blank on the map” in every biography, and every biography suffered in that fact. The records were sequestered, biographers did not have access to essential documents. Now the primary records, the Red Book and parts of the Black Books, are available. More will come.

    In this record, you will find the root of Jung’s declaration “I know”. It is difficult material. Jung understood the problem a future reader would face, he knew it was difficult material — he had lived it, and it was not an easy passage. He struggled a lifetime to make it understandable. It is my judgement that all his subsequent work is an hermeneutic and an exegesis on Liber Novus, and the events of these years — it is his attempt to help others finally understand this prima materia. So start again, at this beginning. That is the task we now face. It is where future generations will start their study, and center their biographical understandings.

    Sabina and her relationship to Jung is actually a good place to start the journey into this material…

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    Mala Setty

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    A timeline wiki that marks major events in the history of psychotherapy would help a lot. With links.

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    David Thompson

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    Lance,

    “…I am sometimes over-exuberant, and I say too much when engaged with this material, about which I deeply care.”

    I can relate to that!

    Peace out, bro…

    David

    PS: Just watched “The Soul Keeper”, the other dramatic film about the story of Sabina Spielrein and Carl Jung. Blows “A Dangerous Method” out of the water, in my opinion. Thoughts, feelings and a review–of sorts-to follow.

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    Daniel Ross

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    David,
    No need to apologize as your scholarship and years of pursuit of this story has enriched this blog immensely. When we move to the chaos (prima materia) from which all of this is derived it brings up strong emotions and the risk of offending but all here have righted themselves and remain engaged. I do again point out the passion here may be compensatory for the lack thereof in the film. I am looking forward to your review of The Soul Keeper as that may add greatly to the discussion of both the Jung -Spielrein story and its adaptability to film. I think we have allready thrown out the bathwater of the other film while resuscitating the baby.

    Mala, your suggestion is a wonderful one and I am wondering if there exists a time line we can use in the mean and perhaps Lance or David or others can help us with that. I am afraid creating links and such would be a larger project that perhaps Steve and his colleagues would be interested in pursuing. For me, school is bogging (I almost wrote blogging) me down.

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    David Thompson

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    Thank you once again Daniel, for your supportive and “nourishing” comments. As I believe I may have already written in a previous posting…the traveler doesn’t choose the journey, the journey chooses the traveler. Perhaps I’ve got a “Sabina” anima. Perhaps its just soul speaking (psyche-logos), without the need to apply any Jungian jargon, but I truly feel like this journey has chosen me, and my conscious ego is just along for the ride…so to speak.

    So with Hermes, god of travelers, as–hopefully–my guide, I’ll travel on…

    As Jung wrote, I believe, in “Mysterium Coniunctionis”:

    “The self, in its efforts at self-realization, reaches out beyond the ego-personality on all sides: because of its all-encompassing nature it is brighter and darker than the ego, and accordingly confronts it with problems which [the ego] would like to avoid. Either one’s moral courage fails, or one’s insight, or both, until in the end fate decides…you have become the victim of a decision made over your head or in defiance of the heart. From this we can see the numinous power of the self, which can hardly be experienced in any other way. For this reason the experience of the self is always a defeat for the ego.”

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    Brian Skea

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    Daniel, I look forward to hearing your response to my publications on Sabina Spielrein. I continue to follow the blogs with interest. The discussion has moved somewhat from the excesses and inaccuracies of the movie to the various source literature. This perhaps makes it easier for me to comment, having not yet seen the movie.
    There does not appear to be clear evidence that Jung and Spielrein had a consummated sexual relationship, though clearly it was an intimate ‘affair’. The word “poetry” that Sabina uses in her journals comes from her patient in her thesis, Frau M, who used it ambigously to describe sexual, spiritual and artistic longing, derived from reading Forel’s “The Sexual Question” (see Kerr 1993). Elizabeth Marton’s film “My Name was (not is) Sabina Spielrein” handled this topic sensitively.
    Regarding who was Jung’s model for the anima, again a lack of certainty. My own preference is Sabina, though I know Sonu Shamdasani prefers Maria Moltzer.
    The main point of my second article was that both Jung and Freud were inconsistent in giving due credit to Sabina’s intellectual contributions. While Jung did acknowledge her thesis on Frau M in Symbols of Transformation, he did not mention her “Destruction” paper until years later in a brief footnote. While Freud accepted her into his Vienna group where she presented a section of “Destruction” he did not list her as one of his group in his “History of the Psychoanalytic Movement” (1914) and only mentioned her contribution to the death instinct theory in 1920 in “Beyond the Pleasure Principle”. While a patriachal and sexist bias was common to men such as Jung and Freud in those times, I have suggested that personal narcissism on both their parts played a role in both their mutual attraction to and later disillusion in each other, in addition to their reluctance to give credit to Spielrein.

    Brian Skea

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    Sophia Koltavary

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    Thank you to all who wrote, the discussions are quite helpful in understanding that “blank period” of Jung’s life as Lance mentioned.
    Does anyone know if Jung used the words “talentd psychopath” with both Sabina and Maria Moltzer?

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    Lance Owens

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    With regard to Maria Moltzer:

    David gave a some of her history. She was quite close to Jung between 1910 and 1912, and he may have had an affair with her (here again the documentary history leaves hints and not clear answers). She may have analyzed Jung in this period (per Freud’s 23 Dec 1912 letter to Ferenczi, and cited by Shamdasani).

    In the “Memories Protocols”, when Jung relates to Aniela Jaffe this story of the “imaginal figure” who was suggesting to him he was an artist, he adds an important and telling detail—that the woman in question was Dutch. (MP p171, LN p199) The one Dutch woman in Jung’s circle at this time was Maria Moltzer.

    There are two things in this of interest. First, the temptation to consider his “visions” as art. What does that mean? Did he consider them “art”? He struggled with this. Second, it seems the figure in his imagination, who spoke with the voice of a real person he knew, “a talented psychopath,” was pushing him in a direction he ultimately rejected. So, was that Toni, or Emma, or Sabina? Are any of these important women the tempting “psychopath” voice? I suppose we might make inferences about his relationship with Sabina or Toni, based on these “imaginal words” IF either of them were “the voice”. These are the vague hints we sometimes explore in seeking to understand a history, a human life.

    Shamdasani adds this commentary in the introduction to “The Red Book: Liber Novus”:

    “In retrospect, he recalled that this was the voice of a Dutch patient whom he knew from 1912 to 1918, who had persuaded a psychiatrist colleague that he was a misunderstood artist. The woman had thought that the unconscious was art, but Jung had maintained that it was nature. I have previously argued that the woman in question—the only Dutch woman in Jung’s circle at this time—was Maria Moltzer, and that the psychiatrist in question was Jung’s friend and colleague Franz Riklin, who increasingly forsook analysis for painting. In 1913, he became a student of
    Augusto Giacometti’s, the uncle of Alberto Giacometti, and an important early abstract painter in his own right.” (LN p 199)

    Sabina was not telling him he was an artist, nor had she previously. She was apparently was suggesting to him (in real life talks) that a death and transformation awaited. A savior child would be born from their relationship — that was the myth behind the love. I suppose Jung met something like a death and transformation in 1913-14, and something was born from it — though it was not Siegfried.

    One last comment. Jung DID mention Spielrein by name in the Memories Protocols. I suggested earlier that he had not mentioned her in MP, but he did – he notes in his conversations with Jaffe that he lost all contact with her when she returned to Russia around 1923.

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    Lance Owens

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    I just downloaded and read Brian Skea’s article in JAP v51:4, as Brian suggested above. This is a fine piece of research and commentary. If any of you have access to a university library, it is available online in the journal databases.

    Brian, since many people do not have access to this resource, would you give a synopsis? Or maybe post the abstract so others can see where you were going with this investigation?

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    Charlene Pyskoty

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    I haven’t seen the movie (I don’t believe it’s been here in Albuquerque yet) so I can’t comment on it. My question (as a Jungian therapist, not as a woman!) is, what is the impression the general public will get of Jungian therapy? From what I’ve read here, I wonder if the film, perhaps slanted toward sensationalism, may do damage to the reputation of Jungian therapy.

    And will clients now be expecting spankings?

    (BTW, Hi Dan! And Steve!)

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    Sophia Koltavary

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    Lance, thank you for the clarification regarding Maria Moltzer. To return to your comment about vision and art for a brief moment, it appears that Jung had a clear understanding of the difference between vision and art, as seen by his quote:
    “To paint what we see before us is a different art from what we see within us.” (reference here)

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    David Thompson

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    Good post on Maria Moltzer, Lance. I would only add that if anyone wants a visual fix on Maria Moltzer, they should check out the famous photo of the Weimar Third Psychoanalytic Congress, held on September 21-22, 1911. This photo has been reproduced in many publications, including “Jung: A Biography, by Deirdre Bair, and the hardback edition of “Man and His Symbols”. All the heavy hitters of the early psychoanalytic movement are in this photo, including Jung, Freud, Otto Rank, A.A. Brill, Sandor Ferenczi, Eugen Bleuler, that back-stabbing weasel, Ernest Jones, Wilheim Stekel, etc., etc. And the women of the Zürich School, who accompanied Jung to the Congress (except for Sabina Spielrein, who injured her ankle and could not attend. A “psychosomatic” injury?). Interestingly, the key to the photo in “Man and…” identifies Emma Jung, in the front row, but does not identify Toni Wolff (looking very sullen, sorta like a fashion model today), or Maria Moltzer (looking a tad severe, rather like a stereotypical schoolmarm), both also in the first row. Maria Moltzer is the 3rd from the left, seated in the front row. Toni Wolff is 3rd from the left, seated from the front row. Jung is reputed to have had a powerful physical attraction to Maria Moltzer, and whether or not she was the source of the inner feminine voice he heard, she played a formative role in his early understanding of the anima.

    Concerning the Protocols, which evolved into “Memories, Dreams, Reflections”. Supposedly Jung wrote a chapter on Toni Wolff, which–supposedly–has been suppressed by the Jung Family, for around 50 years. But the existence of the Toni Wolff chapter may be legendary…”apocryphal”, so to speak. More of the Protocols material was published in the German edition of MDR, so what we need is a new translation of the German edition, and what we really need is for all the original protocols, in all their various archives, to be published as an unexpurgated edition of MDR. But seeing how legal control of the Protocols rests with the Jung family–as far as publishing rights go–don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

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    David Thompson

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    Mea Culpa! Mea Culpa! Toni Wolff is 3rd from the right!

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    Lance Owens

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    Toni Wolff in MP: The protocols are in the LOC and open to access. They are in German. I am told the references to Wolff are scattered throughout. They do not form a single chapter. The Protocols are stenographic transcriptions of conversations between Jung and Jaffe, day by day, and the conversation jumps around among subjects – they are not formally edited into chapters or subjects.

    MP is the most important unpublished work for a general interest in Jung. I suspect if published, it will sell as well as MDR has over the last fifty years — millions of copies.

    The problem is not that the Jung family holds copyright and refuses publication. Presently, those former family issues seem generally resolved, as witnessed by publication of LN. The problem is that the literary estate of Jaffe also has reasonable claim to copyright, based on a handwritten note Jung gave to Jaffe. Apparently there is a two-decade long legal argument about who really has sole legal rights, and the involved parties have not been able to settle or join hands. Many bystanders probably think it is time to move on, but…. Someday. Someday, and hopeful not too too far away.

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    David Thompson

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    Heirs vs Jaffé:

    Jung’s handwritten letter to Aniela Jaffé, of October 21, 1957 was accepted by the publishers-to-be of MDR as a binding letter of contract between Jung and Jaffé. A contract which gave her “all rights” and 50% of the royalties, with the other 50% to be paid to him or his heirs. But Jung’s children resented that Jaffé would be getting 50% of the royalties (as well as having “all rights”) from their father’s “autobiography”, so, after Jung’s death, they filed a civil suit against Jaffé to claim all of the royalties for themselves. I believe that civil suit was initially brought in the 1960’s, when Aniela Jaffé was still alive. And it would appear, based on what Lance wrote above, that the “Erbengemeinschaft CGJ”–the committee of the heirs–is still pursuing that lawsuit against the estate of Aniela Jaffé ( I think the committee of the heirs may have changed their official name around the time of the publication of the Red Book).

    Toni’s Chapter (mostly thieved from the footnotes of “Jung: A Biography”, by Deirdre Bair):

    Aniela Jaffé, in a letter to Gerald Gross (who replaced Kurt Wolff as in-house publisher of MDR at Pantheon), dated October 8, 1961, mentions “…the famous Toni Wolff chapter, which I left out, or which was left out.” Bair then has the following quote, based on another letter written by Jaffé:

    Jaffé “…gleefully announced that there was a whole chapter about Toni, which she was planning to publish over the Jung family’s strenuous objections.”

    from, “Uncovered Lives: The Uneasy Alliance of Biography and Psychology”, by Alan C. Elms and Sonu Shamdasani. (Oxford University Press. Oxford and New York, 1994)

    Unfortunately, Aniela Jaffé died before that project was realized…

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    Daniel Ross

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    Brian,

    Thank you for your well researched article called Sabina Spielrein: out from the shadow of Jung and Freud. It addresses an aspect of our discussion regarding these historical figures pertaining to whether the role that Spielrein played in Jung’s development, and her role in the fractured relationship between Jung and Freud overshadowed her role as a psychoanalyst and her contributions to the body of work from that time period. Brian’s paper “…attempted to bring Sabina Spielrein’s work, notably her previously unpublished dissertation on Frau M., out of the shadow created by the brilliance of two great psychoanalytic pioneers, Jung and Freud. She worked with and was inflkuenced by both of them, and in fact her work shows a blend of their seminal ideas. Yet she was caught in the crossfire that emerged between them and their followers.” I think that some participants on this blog have addressed the “silencing” of Spielrein, the lack of adequate acknowledgement for her contributions until later even after her death. The general attitude here on this site that the film was more about the realtionship between Freud and Jung and perhaps that was Cronenberg’s interest from the beginning.

    In particuler, Nina Patterson says, “As a woman, I think my main disappointment was that the drama between the male characters was more accurate and predominated while Spielrein’s story was inaccurate, perhaps misinterpreted and adumbrated, so it did not ring as true to me. I care about that, so I am not going to apologize for caring about the inaccuracies.”

    I am going to circle back to the film briefly to explore why this film was made. As with any film there has to be enough of an interest by people in the industry to make it happen so what story did they want to tell for the genral public. William John Meegan reminds us, “A film producer and director would have to take the general public’s morals and sensibilities into account: thus dumbing the film down to its lowest common denominator: the mind of a sixth grader: the average intellect of those reading the daily newspaper.” So we can assume this film was not for the “post-Jungians” and as it was for the genral public is there an archetypal core here with which the public may be drawn to.

    I will isolate for a moment the Spielrein aspect of this story and draw in several other films with what I think is a similar theme. We have now had several, some commercially successful and others critically so, films these past couple of years that depict the coming of age/psychological journeys of young women. I am thinking of True Grit, Winter’s Bone, Black Swan, and this past year Sleeping Beauty, Martha Marcy May Marlene and now A Dangerous Method. I suspect there are many more with similar theme yet divergent backgrounds. I suspect there is something in this exploration of the young feminine on a collective level. This is a film of Spielrein coming of age, a psychological and spiritual journey of someone who was near psychotic when entering the Burgholzli and through her relationship with Jung, her unusual intelligence and a desire to be recognized for her work, we see a woman who perhaps needed to grow up in and then leave the rather patriarchal and hierarchical psychoanalytic society and start afresh in her motherland. leaving her journals and letters behind in Geneva which suggests she needed to make a break from this past to move on. I think Brian Skea’s paper on this subject, mentioned previously, perhaps pulls Spielrein out from the shadows of these two giants but also represents something more collectively we are trying to get at as we explore this story in many different forms in many different films.

    Charlene, I am glad you joined the discussion. I would like the feminine perspective on this as well.

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    Daniel Ross

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    My mea culpa is in order. Thanks Brian for the correction. The name of the film I referenced in my original post is called “My name was Sabina Spielrein” (not is). I made the change. The name comes from last will and testament written sometime in her 10 month stay in the Burgholzli and was included as an addendum in Spierein’s medical record (Covington and Wharton). In it Spielrein describes what she wants done to her body which includes allowing only her head being dissected (for the sake of science), her body cremated and the ashes partly spread over the biggest field and an oak tree planted upon which was to be written “I too was a human being. My name was Sabina Spielrein”. What was this 19 year old girl experiencing that would compel her to draft her will at such a young age?”. It is unlikely her wishes were eventually carried out considering the nature and manner of her death at the hands of the Nazis.

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    David Thompson

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    “It was very cathartic for me, and really a lot of fun. I felt I was connecting with something very primordial in my life, but also in the development of the intellectual life of the 20th century…”

    David Cronenberg, in an interview he gave to Ann Hornaday, senior film critic of the Washington Post, at the Toronto International Film Festival, in September, 2011. And published in the Style section of the Post on 12/12/2011.

    Daniel, considering your interest as to why “A Dangerous Method” was made, does that statement provide a clue to you? And to paraphrase something you wrote above:

    “…there is an archetypal core to which [David Cronenberg] may be drawn to.”

    Because David Cronenberg is Canadian, at least some of the film’s financing came from Canadian film subsidies. I believe there was additional European-based financing.

    The journey to “A Dangerous Method” started out in the early 90’s, when Christopher Hampton first told the story in a screenplay he wrote for 20th Century Fox, with Julia Roberts “attached” to play Sabina Spielrein (!!!). That project obviously never got “green lighted”, and the script went into “turnaround”, which meant the Hampton was free to shop the script around, as long as Fox got reimbursed if the script was sold again.

    Hampton subsequently approached Fox about turning the script into a stageplay. As Fox could see no real profits coming from a stageplay, they gave Hampton legal permission to do the adaptation, as Fox still owned the rights to the original script.

    “The Talking Cure” was first staged at the National Theatre, London, in 2003. With Ralph Fiennes has Jung. And subsequently was staged in NYC and LA, where I saw it, with Sam Robards as Jung, and Harris Yulin as Freud. I thought I still had the playbill so I could tell you who played Sabina Sielrein, but it seems to be buried somewhere in my stacks of Jungiana, and I cannot find it right now.

    And then the story was adapted into a screenplay…again, by Christopher Hampton (with Fox having to be paid off to regain the film rights to the project). With input by David Cronenberg, including perhaps the idea for the S&M/B&D scenes…and this:

    In Hampton’s first draft, Sabina asks Carl if he likes Wagner. He replies, “the music, yes.” Cronenberg wanted a change, he wanted Jung to say…”the man and his music, yes.” Hampton did not. They had more arguments over this script change than any other part of the script. David Cronenberg won the argument. Director’s almost always do. But why did he want Jung to say that? One could speculate that Cronenberg wanted to make an indirect reference to the charges of anti-Semitism that have plagued Jung since the 1930’s. And of course the Toni Wolff/Linda Fierz-David/Carl Meier executive committee-engineered secret covenant of December 1944, that limited Jewish membership in the Psychological Club of Zürich to no more than 10%…doesn’t help to ameliorate the charges of anti-Semitism leveled at Jung and the Jungians.

    Daniel, concerning your mention of the “industry”…as someone who worked as a professional film editor in the LA film industry for many years, and still has many friends (some going back to UCLA Film School in the 1960’s) who still work in the “film biz”, I can tell you that “art” and “business” are inseparable in Hollywood. And if a film does not do “business’ (i.e., make money), that film’s makers may have a very hard time trying to make “art” again.

    Daniel, I hope these comments bring some further understanding to the business of film making vis a vis “A Dangerous Method”.

    And don’t forget THE “archetypal” American film about a young woman’s journey, one of the most famous and most popular American films of all time…”The Wizard of Oz.”

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    David Thompson

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    Thoughts and feelings after watching “The Soul Keeper”, and a review…of sorts…but with no “spoilers”.

    “The Soul Keeper” (subsequently TSK), the other dramatic film about the relationship between Sabina Spielrein and Carl Jung, may be just as historically inaccurate in some aspects of the story and the characterizations as “A Dangerous Method” (subsequently ADM), but it WORKS in ways that ADM does not.

    Why? Because TSK approaches the story emotionally, rather than intellectually, and TSK is very much Sabina’s story. She’s the main character, the hero of the story, not something of a “plot device” in the story of the men, Freud and Jung. In fact, though mentioned frequently, Sigmund Freud is not portrayed in the movie.

    TSK is an Italian/French/English co-production, shot in Europe and in Russia. Written & directed by Roberto Faenza. The production company’s name is…Medusa Films!!!! The film is in English, with the British actors Emilia Fox as Sabina Spielrein, Lian Glen as Carl Jung and Caroline Ducey as Emma Jung.

    Emilia Fox is radiant as Sabina. An excellent performance, to say the least! Much better than Keira Knightley in ADM. To Fox’s advantage, she has less of a “movie star persona” than Knightley, and uses her acting skills to get inside her character and play Sabina Spielrein from within to without, while Keira Knightley almost never seems to get inside Sabina, but seems to remain outside the character, obviously just…acting. I thought the scenes of Sabina’s hysteria were less “movie star prettified” (whatever that means) than in ADM. And I thought the first encounter between Spielrein and Jung was much better directed, and more visual and intriguing than in ADM. Throughout the first half of the film, Emilia Fox creates an indelible portrait of a young woman dancing on the edge of madness, and her delusions…and sometimes fallen off that edge.

    Lian Glen’s performance as Carl Jung edges out, in my opinion, Michael Fassbender’s performance in ADM. Why? Because there seems to be more realistic human emotion incorporated into Glen’s performance, especially for a heretofore emotionally buttoned-down Swiss like Jung. Just as Jung’s fear of his emotions, his feelings for Sabina are reflected in his letters to her, so those fears are expressed in Glen’s performance. No more so than in a scene where Carl and Sabina are at the opera, watching the finale of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde”. As Isolde sings her “Liebstod” aria over Tristan’s body, Jung has an emotional epiphany that brings him to tears, causing him to flee the theatre. Most likely fiction, but dramatically powerful and a glimpse into Jung’s soul.

    Speaking of Jung’s soul…the title, “The Soul Keeper” derives from a small, flat, half moon-shaped stone that he gives to Sabina, telling her that primitive man believed that stones had souls, and that this stone symbolizes his soul and she’s the keeper of his soul. This is one of numerous foreshadowings of Jung’s soul work in stone, much later in his life, at Bollingen.

    The first half of the film is set in Switzerland and is the story of Sabina and Carl. but the second half of the film is Sabina’s story AFTER she returned to Russia…and truly remarkable! She joined the psychoanalytic community in Moscow, during the days of liberation following the Bolshevik Revolution and Lenin’s rule. She opened the White Nursery, a children’s school she ran on her theories of childhood development, teaching the children personal and creative freedom. There is a scene between sabina and a little boy in an autisim-like state which has more authentic emotional power and truth than any or all scenes in ADM. Worth the price of admission alone, as the expression goes. This scene will bring tears of joy to your eyes. It did to mine.

    The White Nursery was shut down by the NKVD (the forerunner of the KGB), by Stalin’s orders, at the same time he outlawed pyschoanalysis.

    There is a modern day framing device in the film. A young, French, Jewish woman journeys to Moscow in search of Sabina’s life and story. She steals Sabina’s diary from a Moscow archive (a fictional conceit), and as a result she “meets cute” (screenwriting terminology) a young Scottish University professor also doing research in Moscow, on the Soviet Union. Played by that late night post-Letterman television personality…Craig Ferguson. He becomes her helper and partner in her search for Sabina. This allows her to tell him parts of Sabina’s story, sometimes as voice over, providing chunks of exposition without slowing down the film.

    Interestingly, the film I think TSK owes an debt of “cinematic tone” to, is David Lean’s film version of Boris Pasternak’s “Doctor Zhivago”, and perhaps the inclusion of a book of Pasternak’s poetry as a plot device involving the two modern-day characters, is a reference, a “homage”, to the cinematic influence of Lean’s film, with its script adaptation by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson, score by Maurice Jarre, and incredible photography by the great English cinematographer, Freddie Young.

    But I digress…

    One more acting note…Caroline Ducey as Emma Jung. Her interpretation may be just as historically inaccurate as Sarah Gadon’s miscast interpretation in ADM. But Ducey’s performance works! On its own terms! Ducey gives Emma Jung a real sense of female power and authority…a much better and more dramatically successful and satisfying screen character.

    So…at the risk of being sued by Roger Ebert, I give “The Soul Keeper”…two enthusiastic thumbs up!!

    So where do you get “The Soul Keeper”? Amazon offers the DVD for sale, but the film’s page has said “Temporarily Out of Stock” for quite a while. Of course, there are many, many other online sites that sell DVD’s, so TSK might be available from one of them. And the film may be available from Netflix, either by hard copy DVD in the mail, or through streaming video to your computer or to your HD-TV, via a hook-up between your computer and your TV. I don’t subscribe to Netflix (I don’t even have a TV signal hook-up any more), so you’ll have to check Netflix out.

    Whatever you do, if you are drawn to the story of Sabina Spielrein and Carl Jung (and if you’re posting on this site, you most likely are), you owe it to your-self to see this movie.

    I know I’m going to watch “The Soul Keeper” again…very soon.

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    David Thompson

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    Another senior moment…

    The sole screenwriting credit on “Doctor Zhivago” went to Robert Bolt. Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson wrote the screenplay for “Lawrence of Arabia”. I got my David Lean movies confused.

    What was I just writing about?

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    Daniel Ross

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    Thank you David about you thoughts around why and how the film got made. It will be interesting to see if it catches on. Interestingly, I saw one of the trailers for the first time on one of the major networks during the NFL playoffs last night. Maybe its release will widen. I appreciate your review of “The Soul Keeper”. I did manage to snag a copy and it is in the mail.

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    David Thompson

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    Daniel,

    “A Dangerous Method” trailer during the NFL division championships!!!! Were there hot Zürich babes and Siggy and Carl having a Bud Light, in the trailer?

    On another note…

    Glad to hear you found a copy of “The Soul Keeper”. I hope others can as well. I look forward to your thoughts, feelings and review…

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    Brian Skea

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    Dear Lance and fellow bloggers. Here is the abstract to my JAP paper.
    Brian Skea

    Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2006, 51, 527–552
    Sabina Spielrein: out from the shadow of
    Jung and Freud
    Brian R. Skea, Cape Cod, MA, USA
    Abstract: Since the 1982 publication of Aldo Carotenuto’s book, A Secret Symmetry:
    Sabina Spielrein Between Jung and Freud, there has been renewed interest in the life
    and work of Sabina Spielrein. She was Jung’s first psychoanalytic case at the Burgh ¨ olzli
    Hospital in 1904, and was referred to several times in The Freud/Jung Letters. Spielrein
    recovered, enrolled in medical school, and went on to become a Freudian analyst. Her
    most famous paper, published in 1912, ‘Destruction as a cause of coming into being’,
    was referred to by Freud in 1920 in relation to his Death Instinct theory. In the few
    Freudian publications on this controversial theory since 1920, Spielrein’s contribution is
    consistently omitted. Jung also neglected to refer to her ‘Destruction’ paper in his early
    1912 version of ‘Symbols of transformation’, even though he had edited her paper and
    had promised to acknowledge her contribution. He did refer extensively to Spielrein’s
    first paper, her medical thesis, ‘On the psychological content of a case of schizophrenia’,
    published in 1911, as yet unpublished in English. In her paper Spielrein sought to
    understand the psychotic delusions of Frau M, a patient at the Burgh ¨ olzli, much in
    the style of Jung’s ‘Psychology of dementia praecox’ (1907). The purpose of this paper
    is to explore to what extent Spielrein’s Frau M paper, and its companion ‘Destruction’
    paper, make an original contribution to both Jung and Freud’s emerging theories on
    the possible creative versus destructive outcomes of neurotic or psychotic introversion,
    culminating in Jung’s concept of the ‘collective unconscious’ (1916) and Freud’s concept
    of a ‘Death instinct’ (1920).

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    Lance Owens

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    Brian Skea’s paper presents an excellent introductory overview of Spielrein’s biography and an in-depth evaluation of her major conceptual work and published writings during this period. A reading of his paper reveals the breadth and intensity of Dr. Spielrein’s psychological viewpoint. Everyone interested in Sabina should take a look. And she was not yet 30 years old when she wrote these papers. Amazing.

    Brian, you have commented on the intellectual influence of Sabina, and her published psychoanalytic work. But apart from what was published, there was obviously a personal equation — conversations, emotional interactions, mutual analytic insights — exchanged between Jung and Spielrein. Outside of the demands of an academic and documented history, do you have personal insights or intuitions about their personal interactions that you would share? Doe the film hit any of this? And how do you see this film influencing the future of our quest to understand this period in Jung’s life? Do you sense that the influence of Spielrein on Jung might have been more direct and personal, and less mediated by her publications? Or is it the other way around?

    Thanks for any comments. You have obviously given this history lots of thought.

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    Daniel Ross

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    I agree Lance and would appreciate Brian’s further discussion on the points you mentioned. Others have raised the question what, if any, influence this film will have on the perception of the public’s view of analytical work. Will it interfer with client’s interest in pursuing a depth psychological approach to treatment or any form of psychotherapy for that matter? Your thoughts?

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    Sophia Koltavary

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    I would like to chime in to Daniel’s thoughts about the public perception of Jungian therapy. I have several friends, not in the psychological field, who are quite taken a back with Jung’s “transgressions.” One friend, a medical doctor, wrote to me and said “you see I always told you Jung was devious..”

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    Daniel Ross

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    Brian,
    I have also gotten the book, Terror, Violence and the Impulse to Destroy and your chapter entitled Jung, Spielrein and Nash: Three Beautiful Minds. I will summarize if you like because I feel it is important to include in the discussion. Thank you.

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    Brian Skea

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    Dear Daniel and Lance, As you know I have not yet seen the movie (I hope to this weekend). I’m glad you found my other article in “Terror, Violence…” helpful. I do not have a digital copy, but here is the introduction which I delivered at the National Conference in 2002.

    I will try to speak of the interpersonal dynamics between Jung and Spielrein after I see the movie.

    Brian Skea

    The North American Conference of Jungian Analysts and Candidates
    September 19-22, 2002

    2002 Conference Theme – “Terror, Violence, and the Impulse to Destroy:
    Perspectives from Analytical Psychology”

    Jung, Spielrein and Nash: Three Beautiful Minds:
    The Impulse to Love or to Destroy and the Creative Process

    by Brian Skea, Pittsburgh, Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts

    Introduction

    Most of Jung’s writings represent the creative outcome of his grappling with the dynamics involved in reconciling the opposites within the psyche. In his later years, Jung focussed on the separation and synthesis of psychic opposites as revealed in alchemical symbolism. He began his last major work, Mysterium Coniunctionis, as follows:

    “The factors which come together in the coniunctio are conceived as opposites, either confronting one another in emnity or attracting one another in love.”

    Jung, following the alchemists, is here personifying chemical reaction, and by analogy, tension between intrapsychic opposites, as erotic attraction between lovers, or ‘aretic’ combat between warriors, or lovers quarreling. Jung was well aware of the possible destructive outcome of the clash of opposites within an individual, for example, when the numinous energies of the Self overwhelm the ego, as in the case of Nietzsche (Jung, 1989a). He also experienced destructive outcomes interpersonally, whether with his father, intimate relationships, as in the case of Sabina Spielrein, which will be explored here, or with colleagues who became rivals, such as Sigmund Freud. However, Jung (and hence, many Jungians) tended to paint an overly optimistic picture of the consequences of either intrapsychic or interpersonal coniunctio, that is, some creative transformative outcome. Recent psychohistorical research (for example, Kerr, 1993, Maidenbaum, 2002, or Shamdasani, 1990) reveals a destructive shadow side to Jung’s endeavours, which he tended to minimise. Psychosis or suicide is a possible outcome of an inner coniunctio gone wrong; betrayal, manipulation or abandonment represent an outer interpersonal coniunctio gone wrong; war, whether conventional or terroristic, is a potential inter-national coniunctio gone wrong. By “gone wrong” I mean that the destructive energies of the Self may outweigh the creative, ending in chaos, death or dismemberment, literally or psychologically.

    Though Jung conceded in Memories, Dreams, Reflections (MDR) that the breakdown of his relationship with Freud plunged him into near psychotic depths, he believed the process of self exploration that led to his recovery, outlined in the soon-to-be published Red Book, laid the foundations of his future creative work. Jung’s other significant relationships, especially with women, tended to be idealised by him, with his maximising the creative outcome for himself, but minimising the destructive outcome for the women involved. I am thinking here of his cousin, Helene Preiswerk, the subject of his medical dissertation, On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena, (Goodheart, 1984; Kerr, 1993; Skea, 1995), Christianna Morgan, the subject of his Visions seminars, (Douglas, 1993) and Sabina Spielrein (Carotenuto, 1982; various authors, JAP, 46, 2001). Spielrein’s ideas on mythological aspects of psychotic regression closely paralleled Jung’s thinking, which he published in 1912 as Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido. At this time we await a biography of Toni Wolff to disclose the full impact of her relationship with Jung, especially regarding his mid-life breakdown. All can be considered as outer women in Jung’s life who contributed to his theory of the Anima.

    Sabina Spielrein was a creative and imaginative Jewish Russian woman who suffered an almost psychotic breakdown as a teenager, following the death of her younger sister. After several unsuccessful treatments she finally came to the Burgholzli Hospital in Zurich where she became Jung’s first analytic patient. The creative outcome of Jung and Spielrein’s intense relationship, revealed in letters and journals analysed by Carotenuto (1982) was her recovery and going on to train to become one of the first female psychoanalysts. Her longest published paper, ‘Destruction as a Cause of Coming into Being’ (1912) creatively addressed the dark side of the erotic coniunctio from a psychoanalytic perspective, the risk of ego disintegration inherent in passionate encounter between lovers. She then illustrated her thesis from a Jungian perspective with clinical examples from her medical dissertation, ‘On the Psychological Content of a Case of Schizophrenia’ (1911), followed by parallels from mythology and literature, notably the work and life of Nietzsche. Though her paper was well received by Freud and his circle, except perhaps the ‘Jungian’ mythological section, her concept of a death or destruction instinct was not referred to by Freud until 1920, when he conceived his Death Instinct in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, and even then he misrepresented her thesis. Jung did refer to her medical dissertation frequently in Wandlungen, the major work which led to his break with Freud, but strangely did not refer to her ‘Destruction’ paper, which he had helped edit, and which was published in the Jahrbuch next to his Part II of Wandlungen.

    Though Spielrein continued to work as a Freudian psychoanalyst in Zurich, Berlin and Geneva, mainly with children, and published small papers, her contributions have only recently been recognised (Carotenuto, 1982; van Waring, 1992; Wharton et al., 2001). However, death and destruction continued to haunt her. She returned to Russia at the end of the Civil War in 1923 just as Stalin rose to power. She helped develop the State Psychoanalytical Institute in Moscow, where she worked as an analyst, teacher and researcher, especially in the area of child analysis. After Stalin abolished, first the Moscow Institute (1925), and then the Russian Psychoanalytical Society (1930), Spielrein defiantly continued her analytical work in Rostov, where she had returned to live with her husband and two daughters. All three of her talented younger brothers were killed in the Stalinist purges in the mid 30’s, her husband died suddenly in 1937, and she and her two daughters were killed by the Nazis in 1942 (Ovcharenko, 1999).

    John Nash is a Nobel Laureate mathematical genius, who is the recent subject of the movie A Beautiful Mind (2001), based on the 1999 biography by Sylvia Nasar. He also appears to have been schizophrenic, dating back to his graduate school days at Princeton, where he wrote the paper which was later to be seen as important in the field of economics, leading to a Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994. It appears that he, like Jung, was an introvert with a rich inner life, peopled by sub-personalities, but that he, unlike Jung, projected these outwards in the form of hallucinations, and to whom he conversed and reacted to within an elaborate delusional system.

    This was just after WWII, at the start of the Cold War, when many of these Princeton students were destined to work for the government on classified material, including averting possible nuclear attack or breaking Russian communication codes. Nash’s delusional system now led him towards more and more bizarre behaviour. Eventually, starting at the age of 30, he suffered a series of psychotic episodes, involving hospitalisation, psychotherapy, medication and even insulin shock therapy (similar in effect to ECT). Over the next 30 years, only his relationship with his wife, the community support of colleagues at Princeton, and the intermittent capacity to do meaningful mathematical work, helped permit some degree of sanity. The book and movie describe his long and painful partial recovery, culminating in his being awarded the Nobel Prize.

    These three figures, Jung, Spielrein and Nash all demonstrate the well known relationship between creative genius and madness. Their creative products represent on the one hand, the positive offspring of the dynamic coniunctios within their psyches. On the other hand, however, wild erotic and aggressive fantasy, and mood swings between omnipotent heights and impotent depths, were sometimes acted out in outer intimate relationships. This acting out caused lasting wounds and scars throughout their lives, and in those around them, whom they influenced by both inspiring and wounding. Only recently have analytical psychologists begun to question Jung’s tendency of idealising and mythologising the creative aspects of the coniunctio, while minimising or denying the destructive aspects. I offer this paper in a similar questioning spirit.

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    David Thompson

    |

    More on Maria Moltzer:

    Sophia Koltavary, on 01/21/12, asked the question, “Does anyone know if Jung used the words “talented psychopath” with both Sabina and Maria Moltzer?

    To recap: When Jung first encountered the inner voice of the anima, he wrote, in MDR, “I recognized it as the voice of a patient, a talented psychopath who had a strong transference to me.”

    John Kerr in AMDM, writes about Jung’s experiencethat…”Psychopath” here is the old term for someone with hereditary taint, i.e., someone prone to nervous disorders.

    While this definition fits his diagnosis of Sabina Spielrein, nowhere in my research did I find such a description of Maria Moltzer. Kerr continues…

    “Jung left very few clues as to who the ‘anima’ might be. He states that he finally broke with the woman during the years 1918-1919 and that this helped him emerge out of ‘darkness’. He also implies that he was in correspondence with the woman [Jung’s last extant letters to Sabina Spielrein are dated 09/01/1919 and 10/07/1919. Jung’s letters to Spielrein were published in the German edition of “A Secret Symmetry”, but not in the English edition. Although I believe the Jung family eventually okayed the English translation of the letters and their release.]

    Kerr continues to analyze this issue on pages 502-07. And he concludes that “…these clues…point to Spielrein.”

    Of course, others differ, most notably Sonu Shamdasani, in his book “Cult Fictions” (and /or in “Jung In Context: A Reader”), in which he presents evidence that Jung’s inner voice was that of Maria Moltzer. Ronald Hayman, in “A Life of Jung” (1999) extensively quotes Shamdasani, who may be the other Jung expert (who Hayman promised not to name), besides Anthony Storr, to whom Hayman owes his “two biggest debts” for the two who read “…a complete draft of this book and made invaluable comments.” (in ‘Acknowledgements’).

    Hayman writes, “It has sometimes been assumed that the voice was Sabina’s, but there are strong indications in the material he dictated for “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” and in the published book that Shamdasani is right to contend that it belonged to Maria.”

    Lance Owens, on 01/21/12, writes:

    “In the ‘Memories Protocols’ [aka just ‘Protocols’], when Jung relates to Aniela Jaffé this story of the ‘imaginal figure’ who was suggesting to him he was an artist, he adds an important and telling detail–that the woman in question was Dutch (MP p171, LN p199) The one Dutch woman in Jung’s circle at this time was Maria Moltzer.”

    Hayman quotes Jung, on Maria Moltzer:

    “In reality the patient whose voice spoke in me exerted a disastrous influence on men. [???!!!] She had succeeded in persuading a colleague of mine he was a misunderstood artist, He believed it and went to pieces. What destroyed him? His life was guided not by his own judgment but that of others.”

    From the German edition of MDR, passage is omitted in the English edition.

    Hayman continues, “The reference is to [Franz] Riklin, who had talent as a painter, and in the words of Heinrich Steiger a member of his group, ‘Because he didn’t seriously work a a medical doctor and more in painting etc., so he lost the big office.’ ”

    from, interview with Heinrich Steiger, archived in the Francis A. Countway Library, Harvard University.

    “[Maria Moltzer]…was expressing not only her own ideas but also, without specific attribution, some of Riklin’s, whose ally she had become. Moltzer now worked as an independent analyst, seeing Jung’s patients only during his annual military obligation or some other extended absence, and then only if her schedule permitted. Her office was near Riklin’s and as they both experienced feelings of marginalization and exclusion, they gravitated into a professional kinship. Now Riklin took over the role that Jung had previously played for Moltzer, as teacher, leader and sometimes devil’s advocate. Together they compared patient histories, evolving techniques, and emerging theories. Both claimed they had never been able to do this on an equal footing with Jung, who always imposed his views without listening to what either had to say. Together their remarks were meant…to stake out their own particular turf…”. [Moltzer had]…”her genuine theoretical differences with Jung.”

    ” Since the [Psychological] club was founded in 1916 [with Rockefeller money, contributed by Edith Rockefeller McCormick, daughter of John D. Sr. , patient of Jung’s and, subsequently, a lay analyst practicing in Zürich], its membership had been fragmented for a variety of reasons. First and foremost were the various splits due to ideological differences, best exemplified by the opposition of Riklin and Moltzer to Jung, even though both had resigned from the club…These were two of the most prominent resignations, and over the years, various reasons have been offered for each. The most frequently cited is the sheer force of Jung’s overwhelming presence and personality, which supposedly became too much for Riklin. Depending on who evaluates Riklin’s reason for leaving, he either grew tired of the infighting and the constant jockeying for position; he was despondent over his inability to attract a following for his version of psychology; or, quite simply, he wanted to concentrate on a career as an artist.”

    All of the above from, “Jung: A Biography”, by Deirdre Bair.

    So what are we to make of this? Jung, in MDR, refers to the female inner voice as being that of “…a patient, a talented psychopath who had a strong transference to me.” That statement would certainly seem to indicate that the inner voice was Sabina Spielrein’s. But…in the Protocols, the “first draft” or “rough draft”, so to speak, of MDR, Jung tells Aniela Jaffé that “… the woman in question was Dutch…”. Which would certainly seem to indicate that the inner voice was Maria Moltzer’s.

    Take your pick…

    What I find rather shocking is Jung’s comment, seemingly about Maria Moltzer in the German edition of MDR: “In reality the patient whose voice spoke in me exerted a disastrous influence on men.”

    A harsh statement, to say the least!!! As if Maria Moltzer were some kind of siren, Circe-like sorceress, succubus…Lilith.

    And as for Jung’s (and Heinrich Steiger’s) remarks about the “went to pieces” and “destroyed” Franz Riklin (“destroyed” by leaving psychiatry to focus on his painting, perhaps a decision made with the influence of Maria Moltzer…and perhaps not) …it was Jung who also wrote:

    “The fact that many a man who goes his own way ends in ruin means nothing…He must obey his own law, as if it were a daemon whispering to him of new and wonderful paths…There are not a few who are called awake by the summons of the voice, whereupon they are at once set apart from the others, feeling themselves confronted with a problem about which the others know nothing. In most cases it is impossible to explain to the others what has happened, for any understanding is walled off by impenetrable prejudices…He is at once set apart and isolated, as he has resolved to obey the law that commands him from within. ‘His OWN law!’ everybody will cry. But he knows better: it is THE law…The only meaningful life is a life that strives for individual realization–absolute and unconditional–of its own particular law. To the extent that a man is untrue to the law of his being…he has failed to realize his life’s meaning.”

    From, “The Development of Personality” (1954). By C.G. Jung. CW 17. Specifically, chapter 7, “The Development of Personality”.

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    Brian Skea

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    David, A good summary of what is known about Maria Moltzer being the model for Jung’s anima. When I wrote my “Terror, violence” article I had not yet read Shamdasani’s “Cult Fictions”. I still feel that the “talented psychopath” refers to Sabina. Actually his original model might be the young nurse that cared for him when his mother was in hospital (MDR).
    That Anielle Jaffe offered Moltzer rather than Spielrein might speak to a bias against a Russian Jewess (see the anti-semitic bias in the Club during these years). If I remember correctly Jung spoke to Freud in the Letters about his attraction to Jewish women. If I remember correctly his childhood nurse was Italian. When Jung travelled to the US with Freud and delivered his papers, he chose to read a child analysis case done by Moltzer rather than similar work done by Spielrein (though hers was based on her own childhood). He had clearly moved on from Spielrein, who was now married and in the Freudian camp.
    Brian

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    David Thompson

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    Brian,

    I don’t think that Aniela Jaffé, in her transcribing of the interviews with Jung known as the Protocols, or the Memory Protocols, favored Maria Moltzer over Sabina Spielrein as the source of the voice of Jung’s anima, because of anti-Semitism on her part. Jaffé was a German Jewish WW II refugee, and experienced that Christian-European culturally institutionalized anti-Semitism herself (in addition to her experiences of anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany), and was an outsider in the Zürich Jungian community.

    I mentioned the anti-Semitic bias of the Psychological Club of Zürich in my post of 01/22/12. Here it is again, with greater detail:

    Perhaps due to some members wanting to institute club programs to find ways for Swiss Germans to establish closer ties with their compatriots in Germany, and/or because of Swiss hostility towards the many WW II Jewish refugees in Switzerland, the executive committee held a closed session secret meeting in December 1944. The executive committee included Toni Wolff, club president, Linda Fierz-David, and C. A. Meier.

    The purpose of this meeting was to enact a secret quota on the number of Jews who could become members of the Psychological Club. The secret quota was proposed by Toni Wolff, herself half-Jewish. Her motion decreed a Jewish membership of no more than 10 %. Originally, the motion stated that “under no circumstances” would that quota be exceeded. That phrase was changed to “if possible”. The motion was seconded by Linda Fierz-David and unanimously approved by the executive committee. Then a second vote was taken to make the motion an appendix to the club’s bylaws, a motion that would remain secret from the general membership.

    And so it was, until it was secretly removed from the bylaws in 1950. And this anti-Semitic action by the Psychological Club’s executive committee did not become public knowledge until the end of the 1980’s.

    This account is adapted from, “Jung: A Biography”, by Dierdre Bair. pages 469-70, and footnotes on page 803.

    Was Jung aware of the quota? The circumstantial evidence indicates that he was. As was Emma Jung. But there seems to be no “smoking gun”, so to speak, either way.

    From, once again, Deirdre Bair, on page 470, and footnotes on page 803.

    For further discussion of this issue, Bair recommends:

    “The Jungians: A Comparative and Historical Perspective” (2000), by Thomas B. Kirsch. (personal aside: one of my fondest memories of my long time involvement with The C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles was hearing James and Hilde Kirsch speak about their friendship with Carl Jung).

    “Lingering Shadows: Jungians, Freudians and Anti-Semitism” (1991), Ariah Maidenbaum and Stephen A. Martin, editors.

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    David Thompson

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    Listening to Neil Young and drinking wine…thinking about Fathers and Sons…and thinking about Jung’s experience of his clergyman father who no longer believed and lost his faith…I thought of this poem…

    Sometimes a man stands up during supper
    and walks outdoors, and keeps on walking,
    because of a church that stands somewhere in the East.

    And his children say blessings on him as if he were dead.

    And another man, who remains inside his own house,
    dies there, inside the dishes and the glasses,
    so that his children have to go far out into the world
    toward that same church, which he forgot.

    Rainer Maria Rilke

    translated by Robert Bly.

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    Lance Owens

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    Brian,

    In your short summary article, there is a paragraph that is very to the point in my own considerations:

    “Jung’s other significant relationships, especially with women, tended to be idealised by him, with his maximising the creative outcome for himself, but minimising the destructive outcome for the women involved. I am thinking here of his cousin, Helene Preiswerk, the subject of his medical dissertation, On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena, (Goodheart, 1984; Kerr, 1993; Skea, 1995), Christianna Morgan, the subject of his Visions seminars, (Douglas, 1993) and Sabina Spielrein (Carotenuto, 1982; various authors, JAP, 46, 2001). Spielrein’s ideas on mythological aspects of psychotic regression closely paralleled Jung’s thinking, which he published in 1912 as Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido. At this time we await a biography of Toni Wolff to disclose the full impact of her relationship with Jung, especially regarding his mid-life breakdown. All can be considered as outer women in Jung’s life who contributed to his theory of the Anima.”

    One might say: relationship to women was necessary for Jung and his developing personal myth. Jung was not necessarily good for these women….

    Sabina, Toni, Christiana all had very difficult lives after Jung. It is something I have thought about for years. There is a shadow in it.

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    Sophia Koltavary

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    David, many thanks for adding greater clarity to the discussion about Sabina and Maria Moltzer.
    Brian, your paper was very helpful in understanding in greater depth the various and sometimes dangerous permutations of the conjunctio.
    I just finished watching Soul Keeper, I agree with David, Soul Keeper is a far superior film to Dangerous Method. Soul Keeper was cinematic poetry.

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    LenCruz

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    And a Woman Shall Lead Them

    The Feminine in A Dangerous Method

    By Len Cruz, MD (Posted as a Separate Blog 1/28/2012)

    A Dangerous Method is one of the best psychological film portrayals of the feminine I have seen in a very long time. Knowing many of the historical elements that director David Cronenberg smoothly wove together in a 95 minute film helped me look past the two Titans of 20th century psychology and delight in the figure who was for me the main character, Sabina Spielrein.

    I am looking forward to the conference (webinar) led by Dan Ross that is scheduled for February 8th. For registration information visit http://ashevillejungcenter.org/webinars/february-discovering-psychotherapy-dangerous-method/register/

    The arc that transports Sabina Spielrein from wounded virgin delivered forcibly to the Burghölzli by uniformed Russian guards to the pregnant Hectate (in all her chthonic, celestial, and maritime glory) sitting on a bench by the fragile Jung, fresh from his break with Freud, depicts so many facets of the feminine that a list may do them justice.

    Ravaged Virgin

    When Sabina arrives at the Burghölzli we discover that the harsh, brutal corporal punishment her father administered had awakened something. The early studies on hysteria posited that sexual abuse and unacknowledged sexual desire was akin to Lethe, the subterranean river that flowed around the cave of Hypnos from which all who drank experienced complete forgetfulness. Sabina’s character is extraordinary in her capacity to first remember, the first achievement of the talking cure and then press on to a healthy integration of the sexual pleasure she first experienced at her father’s hand. Sabina starts out as a ravaged virgin and this image is re-presented in the scene of Jung’s first sexual intercourse with her. But even as she lifts the bloodied sheet and the camera draws back we do not observe a young woman ravaged by her father figure. Instead we are witness to a woman who has taken another step in claiming her full, individuated capacities. It evoked a sense of baptism and Jung the man was an instrument of this baptism into womanhood.

    Waif

    Sabina is also portrayed as a vulnerable waif who cautiously places her trust in Jung. Jung is looking for someone on whom to try his hand at this new talking cure. Rather quickly, Sabina displays her perspicacity in a scene in which Jung is conducting his word association experiment with a pregnant woman whose ambivalence is evident. When she asks if the woman was Jung’s wife (she is), we observe the native gifts and talents that will mature into an analyst whose influence has never been properly acclaimed.

    Divine Daughter/Vestal Virgin

    Spielrein matures fairly quickly during the film. She is well into her medical career and displaying uncanny abilities in the infant field of psychiatry. Like the Vestal Virgins of Rome, she has respected a chastity that has allowed her to learn the rituals of the psychoanalytic state. And like the Vestal Virgins, she keeps the sacred fires of eros burning in Jung.

    There is scene in which Sabina initiates a kiss. Sabina and Jung are discussing her ideas concerning creative destruction and the inherent clash of opposites from which arises something new and creative. Jung admonishes her for being the aggressor.

    Jung “It’s generally thought to be the man who should take the initiative.”

    Sabina “Don’t you think there is something male in every woman and something female in every man, or should be?.”

    What is so striking in this scene is the intimation of many foundational ideas of analytical psychology: transcendent function, conjuctio mysterium, anima, and animus. The scene also suggest the possibility that one woman, shuttered away and later shot by the Nazis, might have been a fount for Jung and later Freud whose concepts of Thanatos may owe a tremendous debt to Sabina according to Cronenberg’s portrayal.

    A Completing Woman

    Sabina reaches the completion of her training, she presents a paper titled “Destruction as the Cause of Coming Into Being.” Astoundingly original ideas were contained in this article made me wonder if another unnamed giant from Vienna may have been inspired by Sabina. Joseph Schumpeter, the famous mathematical economist credited with popularizing the idea of creative destruction introduced ideas that sound like spin-offs of Spielrein’s ideas. This concept of creative destruction still enjoys considerable cache as evidenced in its frequent appearance in the Republican Presidential Debates in America concerning Mitt Romney’s time at the venture capital firm, Bain Capital. When others have accused him of shuttering American companies in which Bain Capital invested, he defends himself with Schumpeter’s (or should I now say Spielrein’s) ideas of creative destruction. that has recently found its way into the United States’s political discourse concerning Mitt Romney’s venture capital dealings that shuttered certain companies.

    Wrathful Feminine (The Furies, Hera, Athena, Kali)

    There is a tense period in the film when it appears that Spielrein intends to cause Jung’s destruction. It turns out that Jung has unleashed more than one fury when he discovers that the anonymous letters Freud received about his indiscretions with Spielrein were not authored by his mistress but by his wife Emma who apparently write to Spielrein’s mother and perhaps others in Vienna. Spielrein does strike out and cut Jung’s face, but her temperance dignifies her even more and begins to establish the strength of this character in the film. I cite the Erinyes (Furies), because Spielrein appears to threaten to unleash a severe vengence upon Jung and the whole psychoanalytic movement. Recall that the infernal goddesses were chthonic deities whose vengence was unleashed upon those who swear a false oath. How fitting that this figure of the feminine should menace the great pioneers of depth psychology. I call upon Hera for the wrath she displayed whenever she discovers Zeus’ infidelities. How like Hera Spielrein desires to be and Emma appears to be. I invoke the image of Athena because of her fiery warrior eruption from the head of Zeus. Spielrein, like Athena, comes to life within the container of Jung’s intellectual interests but must emerge fully formed by breaking out that same container. Is there a woman who strives in the patriarchal realms who cannot identify with the goddess of just warfare? Athena had no consorts and is also called Athena Parthenos. Towards the end of the film, when pregnant Spielrein reappears with barely the mention of a husband, Athena Parthenos, somehow comes through as having had no consort. This woman’s fertility has transcended the need for the man’s sperm.

    Madonna

    There is gentleness in Spielrein’s attentions to Jung. At the various stages depicted in her own evolution, she demands almost nothing, apart from a similar degree of care and regard. She tells Jung when he insists they end their sexual relationship because she asked too much, “I never asked for more…” The movie’s portrayal of Spielrein’s demand that Jung disclose the truth to Freud so that she may undergo analysis with him, is at once forgiving, firm, and self-assured. For a brief instant, Freud is depicted as redeeming Jung’s mistakes until he reminds Spielrein that they are both Jews and will always be Jews. Spielrein understands the powerful and nuanced destructive forces being acted out between Jung and Freud better than either of them do. Yet she seems capable of holding them both with the gentle forgiving qualities that the feminine sometimes exudes that can heal the deepest wounds in a man’s soul. It is in these scenes that Spielrein’s dignity and force of character was most apparent to me.

    The Miller’s Daughter (The Rumpelstilskin Story)

    Something about the development of Spielrein’s character left a deep impression of what the individuated woman is like. A Dangerous Method’s portrayal of is a woman who has secured, through hard fought struggle, a formula for making inner gold from the base metals of her life experience. This film’s Sabina Spielrein is a stark contrast to the miller’s daughter from the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale. That miller’s daughter had to reply on the impish Rumpelstiltskin to spin gold for her. Rumpelstilskin we recall deliver’s the miller’s daughter from her plight on condition that he can take possession of the girl’s first born child. In the final scenes of the movie, Jung shares a great deal in common with Rumpelstiltskin. He is seen sitting on a bench, overtaken by deep melancholy when he declares that Spierlein’s baby should have been his; she agrees. Like Rumpelstiltskin, Jung comes across as an incomplete, broken, maybe deformed man who covets the fecundity he sees before him. But Speirlein, unlike the miller’s daughter, has a connection to her animus. She has learned to spin gold without relying on a covetous or undeveloped man. (See Robert Johnson’s Inner Gold for a concise rendering of alchemical gold). When she confirms that Jung has moved on to another mistress, Toni Wolff, the viewer is left with the impression that Jung has progressed very little yet. He has hardly remembered, he has repeated, and he has yet to work through his struggle with monogamy and sexual license.

    Sophia

    There is one more facet of the feminine that comes to full fruition in the final scenes at Lake Zürich. Emma and Sabina seem to understand one another now and they both have a wisdom about Jung. It seems that in the course of a man’s development, in those early years when he severs the connection to his interior feminine, he also loses the connection he might have had to Sophia. If such a man is fortunate to encounter a woman possessed of sufficient Sophia and she elects to share herself with him, the ability to rekindle the relationship with his anima is likely to quickened. Jung may have had the blessing of at least three women who imparted to him Sophia. In the case of Emma, she also gave him his beloved home at 228 Seestrasse in Künsnacht. Perhaps, Spielrein, in addition to Sophia, gave Jung a container in which he burst onto the scene of psychoanalysis and also delivered him beyond it to the place he was destined to go. And Toni Wolff, apart from Sophia, may have furnished a vessel for his completion.

    A Woman Shall Lead Them; The rest is silence.

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    David Thompson

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    Wow! Len, I’m flabbergasted! Sabina Spielrein as vessel for so many aspects of the archetypal feminine! All in one movie!

    Sabina Spielrein…all things feminine to/for Carl Jung…

    It sounds like you saw a different movie than I did.

    Have you seen “The Soul Keeper”? I’d be interested in reading your thoughts, feelings and analysis of that film…

    David

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    David Thompson

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    Len,

    The title of your posting, “A Woman Shall Lead Them” reminds me of the last lines of “Faust, Part Two:

    “Eternal Feminine
    Leads us above.”

    But I’m not sure what you intend with your use of the Prince of Denmark’s dying words? Perhaps you could explain?

    Also…you write, “…pregnant Hecate (in all her chthonic, celestial and maritime glory)…”.

    Hecate is most certainly a chthonic, Underworld goddess. A goddess of fertility. She plays a major role in the myth of Hades/Demeter/Kore-Persephone, and the Eleusinian Mysteries. She’s a torchbearer, a “Lucifer”. Hecate was associated with Persephone and Artemis.

    A goddess of the night, sometimes encountered at the crossroads, where she appears with her hounds. In late antiquity, she was seen from a more negative perspective, the terrible goddess of sorcery, and witches. Hesiod, in his “Theogony”, credits “…her with power in heaven, earth and sea, bringing wealth and victory to her worshipers, whether they were farmers, soldiers, fisherman, or athletes.”* But the heaven and sea aspects of Hecate, do not seem to be emphasized in her mythology and worship, after Hesiod. Rather, those celestial and maritime aspects were more associated with “foam born” Aphrodite. Celestial, with the epithet, Aphrodite Urania–Heavenly Aphrodite. And with her maritime attributes, she was known as Aphrodite Euploia–Aphrodite of Good Sailing. Aphrodite Galenaia–Aphrodite of the Calm. Aphrodite Pelegaia–Aphrodite of the Ocean. She was the goddess sailors and seafarers sacrificed to, for a safe voyage. in this aspect she became associated with the Mysteries of the Great Gods, as practiced on the island of Samothrace.

    Then there’s “…Aphrodite Praxis–Aphrodite of Success, of the good result, the happy issue, of the ultimate moment of love, the orgasm…”.** But that’s another goddess story…

    *from, The Meridian Handbook of Classical Mythology (1974). Written by Edward Tripp.

    **from, The Goddess of Love: The Birth, Triumph, Death and Return of Aphrodite (1976).
    Written by Geoffrey Grigson

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      LenCruz

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      David
      I was not aware of the resonance with Faust. Thank you. As for “pregnant Hectate” I can only reply that I was moved in the immediate aftermath of the movie to see a figure reminiscent of Hectate in her liminal qualities. Hectate has evoked for me a sense of the guardian of the interstitia, the crossroads, and the boundaries. In the final scenes where she sits with Jung, I sensed her simultaneous awareness of Jung’s frailty/her own strength, her impending departure/her interrupted bond with Jung, her fecund state/her unfulfilled desire for Jung, etc. It was really in this sense of Hectate as the goddess ruling over the entrances or passages that I was invoking her. I was not specifically reflecting on her central role in the Persephone myth but you surely provided me something further to contemplate.

      I did see a different movie perhaps. I give credit to having listened to the Audiobook by the same title written by John Kerr and then having read the comments to blog by Dan Ross before seeing the movie. Perhaps as a consequence of all that, I was predisposed to see the many faces of the feminine and the centrality of Sabina Spielrein’s character to the development in the movie.

      As for the line “The rest is silence” I was moved by how eloquent and timeless those words are. They fit the occasion for the last written exchange between Freud and Jung and it seemed fitting to juxtapose the idea that this woman was a leading influence over two great thinkers of the 20th century but upon her return to Russia, what follows to a great extent was silence about her central role. That perception reflects how naive I had been about Spielrein’s role in certain central tenets of Classical Psychoanalytic thought and Analytical Psychology. Thank you for your further remarks and comments.
      Len

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    Francis K Krikorian

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    Being familiar with the letters and writings of both Jung and Freud I was pleasantly surprised by the movie. I didn’t expect it but it did seem to be sympathetic to Jung.

    The movie ending is relevant to the unconscious of our time: Jung sitting quietly, wrestling with the rivers of blood about to be unleashed in WW1. In our time there are some wrestling with similar visions and fears pushed into consciousness by the emerging Archetype of the Apocalypse as described by Edinger. The Feminine in the West is angry, animating negatively in self loathing and self destructive tendencies. The self is unleashing another retrograde ideology of negative submission to the self that the West can only escape if it faces the objective reality of the unconscious psyche. This is the challenge of our time that none of us can escape.

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    Gail Gray

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    For those who would like to watch “The Soul Keeper” in English without waiting for the DVD from Amazon, it’s available on You Tube in 6 parts of about 14 minutes each. I’ve only watched the first portion but after reading John Kerr’s book, so far I already like “The Soul Keeper” better than “A Dangerous Method.”
    Here’s the link to the first section. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHwgPS2QHkw

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      Francis K Krikorian

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      “The Soul Keeper” shows as available from Netflix.

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    David Thompson

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    Thanks for “The Soul Keeper” YouTube heads up, Gail. If you read my review somewhere above in this very long scroll you know how I feel about the movie. Speaking of which, Daniel, did you watch “The Soul Keeper”. I believe you posted that you had obtained a DVD of the movie. So…thoughts, feelings, your review…and how do you think TSK compares to ADM? This inquiring mind would like to know.

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    Daniel Ross

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    Francis,
    Tell us more… Does the film foreshadow in some way our own descent into the depths as Jung’s dreams did for him.

    David,

    I love that Rilke poem and it is so appropriate for Jung who needed to travel to the east to complete a journey his father could not. We do inherit our father’s (and mother’s) unlived life and it can become a great burden. I havent gotten the film yet. Still in the mail. I will keep you posted. Thanks Gail for the link.

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    Gail Gray

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    Thanks to the discussion here on “A Dangerous Method” I was led to read John Kerr’s book and watch the movie The Soul Keeper, mentioned by David Thompson (thank you!) along wit “Stone”.
    As a layperson who found the Asheville Jung Center’s website by accident when trying to find out more about the Red Book, having seen George Frein’s lecture on it in Greenville, SC, I was quite thrilled to see such a lively and passionate discussion on A Dangerous Method, which has also been incredibly informative, sending me scurrying to research all sorts of things, order books from the library, etc.
    I watched both Jung/Spielrein movies as a fan of Jung and his work. I’ve read maybe 50% of his work, not all of it, and few biographies except Memories Dreams and Reflections. I’ve read nearly nothing on Freud or Spielrein, except Kerr’s book after reading the comments on this board.
    I found the Soul Keeper in English on You Tube, as I mentioned earlier. It depicts Sabrina Spielrein and Jung’s relationship without Freud, and I think better represents their relationship than does A Dangerous Method.

    I regret neither movie is historically accurate and wonder why each movie would change some of the scenes which were dramatic in the histories. I felt neither film addressed Sabina’s strength as a psychotherapist following her graduation and her work with the Analytical Society. Not once did they show her presenting her insightful and revolutionary work in a meeting. So now these films represent her almost as badly as the analysts of the day did. The Soul Keeper did have a scene where she breaks into a meeting where Jung is speaking, but it shows her as the betrayed lover not as a fellow analyst, researcher and analytical writer.

    Although, in other ways, I found this movie to be much more to my liking and mostly what I had hoped to see in a treatment of Jung. It is not so flat or clinical, but is richer in atmosphere, emotions and the acting of Ian Glen as Jung and Emilia Fox as Sabina are far better than that of Keira Knightly and Michael Fassbender. Both of the latter seemed flat and lifeless, and didn’t represent two emotional people in the midst of a pivotal and ultimately traumatic relationship.

    In Soul Keeper, there were a number of little touches that I recognized coming from other books on Jung, such as the oblong dark stone, which Jung called his soul, which he gave to Sabina, telling her it was his soul. I don’t know if this is historically accurate, but it was a nice touch, obviously by someone more versed in Jung’s biography. In Jung’s mind the stone was his soul. He’d kept the stone in his pocket when he was young and then later kept it in a little box with the a small figure of a man he carved in black coat and hat, who he called Philemon and who he later considered his #2 personality. His “self” as opposed to his ego, the Siegfried of his his heroic ego journey as opposed to the self he came into later in life.

    At least The Soul Keeper tried to document Sabina’s symptoms when she entered Burghölzli, better and even though they shied away from her playing with her feces, they did show her sitting on her heel, although the regular movie goer won’t get what she’s actually doing and they at least implied she played with her feces with the small little sculptured animals, which may have been dirt or feces. But they shied away from the reality on that too.

    I also like the part where Jung was drawing, then carving a head on a stone and then later smashing it up. I wonder if it meant to represent the Siegfried, the ego, he needed to smash up to make way to unleash his true self. I took it that way and wonder if anyone knows if this is historically accurate? I thought his stone carving came later when he worked out at Bollingen, can anyone tell me the timeline on this? (and I’m so grateful to all of you who have offered timelines here)!

    While The Soul Keeper, showed Sabina in her work with children once she had returned to her native Russia, they once again neglected an opportunity to show her greater influence on the field of psychology. They didn’t show her offering analysis or training other therapists when she was the first person to introduce in person the joint works of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy of Freud and Jung to Russia and train new analysts.
    And while I think The Soul Keeper showed more of her strengths and more of the “poetry” between she and Jung, it didn’t show why or how “the poetry” occurred, such as how they thought alike, prodded each other to explore other avenues of their field and came to the same conclusions.

    However, A Dangerous Method did attempt this, although too briefly and too subtly I think, for anyone who had not read John Kerr’s book or the letters of Jung and Spielrein. I wanted to applaud at the scene on the bench outside her apartment when Sabina (in her true Athena style, as Len Cruz so beautifully put) spoke of her ideas on the death/destructive aspect in the sex act, as well as laying groundwork for Jung to consider, resulting in some of his most fruitful concepts.

    I do think, however, that both films did psychotherapy an injustice in the way they depicted the sexual scenes. Even though I expected that aspect to be overblown because it must appeal to the general public, wasn’t it enough to show them having a private affair, especially since we don’t know for sure if it was ever physically consummated? Since I’m a enthralled with many of Jung’s alchemical correspondences with the process of individuation – the stages of solutio, sublimation, calcinatio, etc.. And how when viewed through the alchemical lens, the libido, when unable to be enacted in the physical world, becomes more powerful in the inner world leading to the same “destruction/death” aspect Sabina offered, leading to a rebirth in some form of creative initiatives, with both of them going through the alchemical stages to deliver (as Sabina wrote) “their son” in the form of papers and books they wrote as they they tried to deal with the consequences of losing each other. I regret it was only presented as as a common affair and not the very complicated connection it was.
    A Dangerous Method totally blew my believability in the film, with it’s emphasis on the spanking. And the scene in The Soul Keeper after the Wagner concert in the lobby of the Opera House is unbelievable. No way would the affair have been kept secret in Zurich until the discovery of Sabina’s journals if they’d had sex in the lobby of a Zurich opera house. And there was plenty of drama in their real life missteps and experiences, to have to use these shallow methods to make a point.

    I guess I shouldn’t expect such historical accuracy in a movie, but the letters, journals and biographies to me seem such a goldmine of material. Why bother making anything up? I know they had to cram a lot into less than two hours, but still, I’m waiting for the ultimate movie to reveal the truth of the birth of psychotherapy.

    And I have to wonder, which audience were either director appealing to? They way they both dropped only subtle hints that those who read up on Jung, Freud or Spielrein would get, why gussy it up? And if the wanted to please an audience made up of the general public, why offer the subtle hints?

    I’m so sorry this is so long, but you have all offered so much ground for thought, research and discovery that I couldn’t resist stepping into the fast running waters, even though I fear I may have lost my footing here and there a long the way. But I hope this will offer a layman’s perspective on the treatment attempted (botched?) in both films.

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    David Thompson

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    Gail,

    Synchronistically, I just finished watching the DVD of “The Soul Keeper” again, before I read your post. You’re right, both films are historically inaccurate. Both films are, in many ways, works of fiction, based in part on the known historical material and writings. Of the three films concerning the relationship between Sabina Spielrein and Carl Jung, the docudrama “My Name Was Sabina Spielrein” is the most historically accurate. I think that a historically accurate dramatic film would require an HBO-style limited series, based on “A Secret Symmetry”, with the addition of Jung’s letter’s to Sabina.

    All that said, I believe, as you seem to, that “The Soul Keeper” is the far superior dramatic film dealing with the story of Carl Jung and Sabina Spielrein . As you note, the performances of Emilia Fox and Iain Glen, respectively, as Sabina Spielrein and Carl Jung are so much better than Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender’s performances in the same roles. But I think the main reason why TSK works so much better than ADM is that the former approached the material from an emotional perspective, rather than the Apollonian intellectualism of ADM. David Cronenberg was the wrong director for the project, while the script and direction of Roberto Faenza has an emotional and psychological complexity that serves the material in a way that leads to a much more satisfying dramatic and cinematic experience. I’m especially thinking of the “rightness” of his “mise en scéne” in the first encounter between Sabina and Carl, at the Burghölzli, or the scene in the Zürich tea room, where he gets her to eat in public. And especially that emotionally powerful and joyful scene in The White Nursery, where Sabina (with the assistance of a piano-playing monkey) brings that little boy out of his autistic-like state. And Faenza’s intercutting of that scene with that boy as an old man, telling his story, just adds to the emotional power of the scene.

    Also interesting that you brought up Jung and alchemy. Aldo Carotenuto, in “A Secret Symmetry”, speculates on the influence Jung’s relationship with Sabina Spielrein may have had on him when he wrote “The Psychology of the Transference”, in 1946. His “…account of the Transference Phenomena Based on the Illustrations to the [16th century alchemical text] ‘Rosarium Philosophorum’.” Also, there are some relevant, I believe, illustrations from the 17th century-published English alchemical text, the ‘Ripley Scrowle’, and a 16th century alchemical text, now seen as a variant of the Ripley Scrowle. These illustrations are found, respectively, in “Psychology and Alchemy”, CW 12, Illustration 257, and “Alchemical Studies”, CW 13, Illustration B5. Considering Sabina’s deep, powerful, and I would even say archetypal experience of love, both historically (from her diary entries) and dramatically in “The Soul Keeper”, I find these two alchemical illustrations worthy of “reflection”, to use some Jungian jargon.

    Freud famously said, “Our cure is effected through love” (I’m probably paraphrasing somewhat), so putting psychoanalysis, the psychology of the unconscious…and love together, brings to mind, for me, a stanza from a poem by the late May Sarton:

    We must go down into the darkness of the heart,
    to the dark places where modern mind imprisons
    all that is not defined and thought apart.
    We must let out the terrible creative visions.
    Return to the most human, nothing less
    will teach the angry spirit, the bewildered heart,
    the torn mind, to accept the whole of its duress,
    and pierced with anguish, at last act for love.

    The posting was written after watching “The Soul Keeper”; drinking a couple of vodkas; reading Gail Gray’s posting; and while listening to the music score from “Ulysses’ Gaze”, the 1995 film by the great Greek film maker, Theo Angelopoulos, who died tragically last week in Piraeus, in a highway accident. “Ulysses’ Gaze” opens with a quote from Plato:

    And thus the soul too, if it wishes to know itself, will have to look into the soul.

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    Gail Gray

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    David:
    Yes, I agree that Cronenberg took an intellectual approach (Freudian), and Faenza a much more emotional approach (Jungian?)(although the scene of them lying in the sailboat floating on the water was pretty – and speaking of it, I’ve always considered water to represent emotion and it would have been interesting if either director had done a scene with them both in the water, as Cronenberg’s scene floating over the water, just wishing if they were going to fictionalize it anyway.
    And while I was being critical, I did forget to mention how much the scene of Sabina with the boy and the monkey touched me. I cried a bit, as I did when Jung got so worked up in the opera listening to the music which was such a bond between he and Sabina. And I did get lost in Soul Keeper, even as my editor brain was making commentary, yet I never forgot I was watching a movie on any level with A Dangerous Method.
    Now that you mention the alchemical metaphors are addressed in The Secret Symmetry, I am even more inpatient to read it. I put in a request at our local library to see if they can get it. Unfortunately they don’t have it in any of our branches at the moment. They don’t have the Red Book either, although a friend of mine in the Bronx was actually able to check it out of her library! She expected it would only be on the reference shelf but she was able to take it home!
    I also enjoyed the serious play between Jung and Sabina where they are doing the association approach spontaneously out of the therapeutic setting. That scene did show where she and Jung were connected and were they could teach each other. It was quite telling.
    The May Sarton poem is beautiful and profound and speaking of poetry, I found the lyrics of the Russian Jewish folk song, Tumbalalaika, sung by Faye Nepon at the end of The Soul Keeper, just as telling. Whoever posted the movie on You Tube also added both lyrics in both Yiddish and English.

    Shteyt a bocher, shteyt un tracht,
    tracht un tracht a gantze nacht.
    Vemen tsu nemen un nit far shemen,
    vemen tsu nemen un nit far shemen.

    Refrain:
    Tumbala, tumbala, tumbalalaika,
    Tumbala, tumbala, tumbalalaika
    tumbalalaika, shpiel balalaika
    tumbalalaika – freylach zol zayn.

    Meydl, meydl, ch’vel bay dir fregen,
    Vos kan vaksn, vaksn on regn?
    Vos kon brenen un nit oyfhern?
    Vos kon benken, veynen on treren?

    Narisher bocher, vos darfstu fregn?
    A shteyn ken vaksn, vaksn on regn.
    Libeh ken brenen un nit oyfhern.
    A harts kon benkn, veynen on treren.

    English translation:

    A young lad is thinking, thinking all night
    Would it be wrong, he asks, or maybe right,
    Should he declare his love, dare he choose,
    And would she accept, or will she refuse?

    Chorus:
    Tumbala, tumbala, tumbalalaika,
    Tumbala, tumbala, tumbalalaika
    tumbalalaika, play Balalaika,
    tumbalalaika – let us be merry.

    Maiden, maiden tell me again
    What can grow, grow without rain,
    What can burn for many years,
    What can long and cry without tears?

    Silly young lad, why ask again?
    It’s a stone that can grow, grow without rain,
    It’s love that can burn for many long years,
    A heart that can yearn and cry without tears.

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    David Thompson

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    Gail,

    Finding a copy of “A Secret Symmetry” can be difficult. At a reasonable price, that is. Amazon has listed a number of used hardbacks and paperbacks for sale by third parties. The prices have definitely gone up since the movie opened! A friend of mine bought a used hardback for $25.00, shortly after the film opened…which I’m currently reading. Current prices included a used paperback copy for…$7,973.94!!! And a new paperback copy for…$10,287.23!!!!!

    I am not making those prices up…

    My advice would be to check out book stores for used and rare books. You might luck out and find a paperback copy for a reasonable price. And if it’s the edition with the forward by Bruno Bettelheim…so much the better. And if you’re in the NYC area (you mentioned the Bronx), you might try the bookstore at The C.G. Jung Center, 28 East 39th Street, NY, NY 10016. 212-697-6430.

    I was also moved by the scene where Carl and Sabina are watching the finale of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde”, with Jung being moved to tears by his emotions of happiness. Followed by the scene in the opera house lobby, where Sabina takes her passion and love “to the next level”, as the expression goes. And Jung is frightened by that passion and love…

    The “destruction” of Eros versus the self-survival instinct of the ego…

    Thank you Gail, for posting the lyrics to “Tumbalalaika”. Whether this was Sabina Spielrein’s favorite Russian Jewish folk song may be a fictional conceit of the film, as are many of the “plot points” in “The Soul Keeper”. Still, the song is beautiful, both in Yiddish and English, and the story in the lyrics is certainly relevant to the story in the film.

    I know what you mean by “…your editor brain was making commentary…” as you were watching the movie. I was a film editor in Los Angeles for many years, and I watch films with a film editor’s eye. And my eye was deeply impressed and moved by Roberto Faenza’s direction and the directorial choices he made. to say nothing of his fine screenplay.

    I believe it was in one of Joseph Campbell’s books that I read the expression…”the eyes are the window to the soul”…

    David

    PS: Amazon is back in stock on the English language Region 1 DVD of “The Soul Keeper”. $15.49. They also offer “Predimi l’anaima”, the Italian language version, on a Region 2 import DVD (actually two versions). As well as a region 2 import DVD with dialogue in both Italian and Hungarian.

    Both the Italian and the Italian/Hungarian DVD’s have the same shot form the film on their DVD box covers. Carl and Sabina’s naked bodies intertwined on the rug during their love making sequence. The American release DVD has the same image…BUT…a page from Sabina’s diary has been imposed over their naked bodies, thereby showing only their legs and heads & shoulders…

    Ah, American puritanism…

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    Daniel Ross

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    David and Gail,

    What a wonderful dance of dialogue between you both. I love it. I also just the film (Predimi l’anaima version) and agree it is superior to ADM largely because, as David said, it was an artist’s view of the story filled with the passion we know these two individuals shared. Thank you David for steering us. So many things to comment on. Yes, the stone was a nice touch and resonates with us Jungians because of the its symbol as the philosopher’s stone, the lapis as well as a symbol his Jung’s soul which we suspect Sabina carried with her the rest of her life. The sond at the end, Gail, is wonderful and appropriate and no matter the historical innacuracies, because the story is beautifully rendered and history is always worth sacrificing for a good story and besides whose to say where the truth lies. To address the trickster sculture, I do think that was done while in Bollingen and Jung had a special shack for his stonework there but no matter, the trickster was playing actively in Jung’s life at that time so no wonder he lost it.

    Gail, The last line from the song

    “Silly young lad, why ask again?
    It’s a stone that can grow, grow without rain,
    It’s love that can burn for many long years,
    A heart that can yearn and cry without tears.”

    The stone again referring to the soul and the fact that in the song it is the feminine that answers these soulful questions for the young lad and it was Jung’s falling in love with Sabina and movement to connect with his own anima that saved his life. Thank you and keep the ideas coming. By the way, both portrayals by Emilia Fox and Iain Glen of Sabina and Jung respectively were superior to the other film because we could not help but fall in love with each of them and that is where ADM fell short.

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    David Thompson

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    Daniel,

    Kind words, from the generosity of your soul…once again.

    Thank you.

    “…history is always worth sacrificing for a good story…”.

    As one who has always been drawn to creative expression of a dramatic story-telling nature,…I say Amen to that!

    David

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    Brian Skea

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    Thank you for correcting my comment regarding anti-semitism in relation to Anielle Jaffe’s reference to the Dutch woman (Maria Moltzer) rather than Sabina, as model for Jung’s ‘anima.’ A more likely prejudice might have been that Sabina was Russian. There are several negative comments about Russians by both Jung and Freud in the F-J Letters. Deirdre Bair mentions childhood images of the anima for Jung, his nurse (as I mentioned last post) and surprisingly his mother in law to be, Bertha Schenk (p21).

    I also wrongly assigned Maria Moltzer’s child case as presented in the US when Jung and Freud attended Clark University. Jung actually presented his own family case “Psychic Conflicts in a Child”. It was only when he returned to the US to present the Fordham Lectures (1912) when he presented Moltzer’s case ( rather than Spielrein’s “Contributions to the Knowledge of the Child’s Psyche”.

    I have since seen the movie (ADM) and enjoyed it. Yes there were several inaccuracies as previous blogs have pointed out, but it was a good attempt to condense a lot of material into two hours. I look forward to the webseminar.

    Brian Skea

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    Lance Owens

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    On the issue of Toni Wolff being “half-Jewish”:

    This has been mentioned here, and is stated in the film. It is simply not true. But it is a very good example of how a dramatic, artistic work can confound history, and our understanding of a story.

    Dr. Thomas Kirsch summarized this source of this myth in another web discussion, available at:

    http://www.psychiatrytalk.com/2012/01/q-a-with-dr-thomas-kirsch-about-a-dangerous-method/

    Here is Dr. Kirsch’s summary statement, which I think is correct in its details:

    “Unfortunately, there is a glaring error at the end of the movie. When Sabina asks if Jung is involved with another patient, Jung says yes, and furthermore tells her that Toni Wolff is half-Jewish. That is a complete fabrication! Toni Wolff comes from one of the oldest Christian families in Switzerland. Her family tree can be traced back to the beginnings of the Swiss Confederation in the twelfth and thirteenth century. Christopher Hampton was told of his error before his play The Talking Cure opened in London, but he chose to leave Toni Wolff as half Jewish, and to perpetuate the error in his film version. Furthermore, many prominent psychoanalytic historians have taken Hampton’s drama as a statement of fact! Diedre Bair has documented Toni Wolff’s genealogy on page 713, note 27, in her biographical work, Jung.”

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    David Thompson

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    Lance,

    Thank you for the clarification on Toni Wolff’s ethic/religious heritage. When I posted on 01/28/12, on anti-Semitism in the Psychological Club of Zürich, I tried to find confirmation of ADM’s assertion that Toni Wolff was half Jewish. I couldn’t find any, and I erred in accepting the statement in the film as fact, and including it in my posting. My bad…another mea culpa from me.

    However, while the historical facts may diminish the complexity of, they do not diminish the reality of, Toni Wolff’s anti-Semitism. In the history of Jung and the first generation Zürich Jungians, anti-Semitism would seem to be the most evil of his and their personal and collective Shadow aspects.

    Jungians, for many years, have been defending Jung against charges of anti-Semitism, as well as trying to explain his actions viv a vis the analytical psychology movement Nazi Germany in the 1930’s. Andrew Samuels, in his ADM-related Guardian article, urges Jungians to acknowledge and deal with this issue directly. Aniela Jaffé, in the collection of her writings, “From the Life and Work of C.G. Jung”, and specifically in the chapter, “C.G. Jung and National Socialism” presents her defense of Jung against the charges of anti-Semitism (a more objective account can be found in Chapter 29–’Falling Afoul of History’–in “Jung: A Biography”/Deirdre Bair).

    Jaffé publishes a letter written to her in May, 1963 by Gershom Scholem, in which he recounts a post-WW II meeting in Zürich, between Jung and Rabbi Leo Baeck:

    [Rabbi Baeck] had been put off by Jung’s reputation resulting from those well known articles in the years 1933-34, precisely because he knew Jung very well from the Darmstadt meetings of the School of Wisdom and would never had credited him with any Nazi and anti-Semitic sentiments. When, after his release from Theresienstadt, he returned to Switzerland for the first time (I think it was 1946), he therefore did not call on Jung in Zürich. But it came to Jung’s ears that he was in the city and Jung sent a message begging him to visit him, which he, Baeck declined because of those happenings. Whereupon Jung came to his hotel and they had an extremely lively talk lasting two hours, during which Baeck reproached him with all the things he had heard. Jung defended himself by an appeal to the special conditions in Germany but at the same time confessed to him: “Well I slipped up”––probably referring to the Nazis and his expectation that something great might after all emerge [ in his essay, ‘The State of Psychotherapy Today (1934), in, ‘Civilization in Transition’. CW 10]. This remark, “I slipped up,” which Baeck repeated to me several times, remains vividly in my memory. Baeck said that in this talk they cleared up everything that had come between them and that they parted from one another reconciled again

    On the Kirsch family:

    As best I can recall, James and Hilde Kirsch once said that their son Thomas left Los Angeles and the LA Jungian community, and moved up to the San Francisco Bay Area and that Jungian community , to pursue his Jungian professional career, “on his own”, so to speak, away from his parents and the status and influence they held at the LA Jung Institute and in the LA Jungian community.

    When, in the early 1930’s, James and Hilde Kirsch told Jung they were leaving Germany, he urged them to stay, to help keep the analytical psychology movement alive in Germany. But, as best I can recall, James Kirsch said he had had a dream, strongly suggesting that he leave Germany. So he followed his dream, and the Kirsch’s first went to London, then Palestine, and from there to Los Angeles, where they co-founded the C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles with Max and Lore Zeller, who had also fled Germany after a “mixup” in Gestapo paperwork enabled Lore Zeller to free Max Zeller from Gestapo custody. I had the great pleasure to know the Zeller’s during my years of involvement with the LA Jung Institute, and I counted Lore, who ran the LA Jung Institute bookstore (for which a friend and I did the carpentry and remodeling work), as a friend. I miss seeing her sitting a her bookstore desk, when I go to the bookstore on my visits back to LA, where I always seem to put a serious $$$ dent in my plastic…

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    Daniel Ross

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    Brian and Lance,
    Thank you so much for those clarifications. I do think it is important we sort out the fact from the fiction but I am currious from a point of view of understanding the collective unconscious which always seems to creep into films, from where is this need derived to see Toni Wolff as Jewish? I think you are correct Lance, there are many Jungians who believed that as well. I am looking forward to the seminar and particularly pointing out some of the historical inaccuracies but I think more importantly why does such fiction seem to take hold around the mythology of Jung. I know Lance you have a the Red Book seminars to complete and will not be able to join us on Wednesday but I appreciate Brian being able to join us for the discussion portion. The discussion will help to explore how such fiction catches hold and what it might say about our collective unconscious. In the Red Book (p.246), Jung makes it clear to us after his first encounter with Elijah and Salome when he writes , “This play that I witnessed is my play, not yours. It is my secret, not yours….You have your own.”

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    David Thompson

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    Postscript:

    For anyone interested in further reading on the subject of Jung and anti-Semitism, I would recommend that you go to:

    http://www.history.ac.uk/resources/e-seminars/samuels-paper

    and read Andrew Samuels article, “Jung And Antisemitism”, originally published in 1994, and subsequently posted on this web site of the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.

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    Daniel Ross

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    David,
    Thank you for this Samuels paper. It sheds light on the subject of Jung’s anti-semitism as has been discussed in our blog and certainly was brought out in the film (ADM). I am hoping you can join our seminar as you would add greatly to our discussion regarding Jung and your expertise in the film industry.

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    David Thompson

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    Daniel,

    Thank for the invitation to join your Webinar on Wednesday night. I’ll do my best to keep up. What I mean is…my aging iMac has developed some “eccentric” behaviors. I’ve developed some tricks to get around, work around some of them (such as a “Safe Boot” Restart), but sometimes I can’t do anything about the iMac’s slowness or getting the dreaded “spinning beachball of death”. But I’ll give it my best shot for your Webinar. But right now, I have a more urgent problem. As I gave up Comcast cable a few years ago, I need to find a radio station whose signal I can receive, out here in NW Virginia, so I can at least listen to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to watch Madonna at halftime, but I suspect her performance will eventually wind up on Youtube…

    David

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    David Thompson

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    Nice try, New England Pats…but considering this blog and Wednesday’s Webinar is about a movie, I thought this quote would be in order…

    “Cinema is nothing if not the unconscious speaking to the unconscious.”

    C.G. Jung

    Or, at the American director Sam Fuller said about movies, appearing in Jean Luc Godard’s film “Pierrot Le Fou (1965), “…movies…in a word…emotion.”

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    David Thompson

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    Wounding The Wounded Healer

    “…the mythological truth [is] that the wounded wounder is the agent of healing…”.

    from, “Four Archetypes”, Bollingen Series/Princeton paperback. 1970.

    We know from her letter to Freud, dated June 12, 1909, that Sabina Spielrein, sometime in February or March, 1909, attacked Carl Jung with a knife. Sabina wrote to Freud:

    “I stood there with a knife in my left hand and I do not know what I intended to do with it; he grabbed my hand, I resisted; I have no idea what happened then. Suddenly he went very pale and clapped his hand to his left temple: ‘You struck me!’ I had no notion of what I had done, found myself sitting in the trolley with my hands over my face and weeping in torrents. I did wonder why people asked me if I were injured, etc. I rushed over to a cluster of my women colleagues, and the first thing I heard was, ‘Look you’re bleeding!’ And sure enough…my left hand and forearm were covered with blood. ‘That’s not my blood, that’s his: I murdered him!’ ”

    All three of the films about the relationship between Sabina Spielrein and Carl Jung dramatize this event. As is the rest of the film, the docudrama, “My Name Was Sabina Spielrein” has the most historically accurate dramatization. Sabina and Carl are arguing, she picks up the knife, they struggle and stagger out of frame. Carl steps back into frame with his hand on his left temple.

    In “A Dangerous Method”, Sabina picks up the knife and swiftly cuts Carl on the right cheek, I believe, and runs out. Cut to medium close-up of Carl with a cut on his cheek.

    In “The Soul Keeper”, Sabina picks up the knife and attacks Carl. They fall to the floor and struggle. Carl gets up, and steps out of frame. Sabina stays on the floor. Then Carl’s hand comes back into frame, palm up, and he is cut across the palm.

    On a level of her personal psychology, her history of childhood trauma, and the transferences between Sabina and Carl one could speculate that Sabina cutting Carl’s hand symbolizes…her wounding the wounding hand of her father. But on the archetypal level, Jung’s hand wound leads us into myth…

    Specifically, the Greek myth of Chiron (or Cheiron). Chiron means…hand.

    Chiron was the famous centaur who dwelt on the east slope of Mount Pelion, in the region of Thessaly, specifically Magnesia. Much more intelligent and wise, much more “human” than most of the other barbaric centaurs on Mount Pelion, Chiron ran a boarding school, in his cave, the “Chironion”, for young princes and heroes-to-be. Including Jason, Achilles, Actaeon, possibly Heracles, and Asklepios. Chiron taught martial arts, especially archery; hunting skills; music; and the healing arts, particularly herbalism. Obviously, Achilles did well at the martial arts, while Asklepios, son of Apollo, excelled at the healing arts.

    Chiron has come to be a Greek mythological symbol for the “Wounded Healer”. And while there are a couple of myths in which he does actual healing, he is, more accurately, a teacher of healing. To fully understand the complexities of the Myth of Chiron, one needs to also study the myths of Heracles; especially his second labour, slaying the Hydra of Lerna, into whose bile/blood/gall Heracles dipped his arrows, so that anyone hit by one of Heracles’ arrows would suffer an incurable wound; the myth of the Hydra of Lerna; archery and the bow & arrow…and their sacred relationship to Apollo; the bite of poisonous snakes in Greek myth; the myth of Philoctetes, the Achaean warrior, inheritor of the bow & arrows of Heracles, bitten by a snake on the way to Troy, and subsequently suffering from an incurable wound; and the myths of the centaurs, in general (a good place to start on that subject is…”Centaurs & Amazons” [1982]. Written by Page du Bois).

    “At present I am looking into astrology, which seems indispensable for a proper study of mythology…”.

    in a letter from Jung to Freud, 05/08/1911.

    On November 1, 1977, the astronomer Charles Kowal, of the Hale Observatories in Pasadena, California, discovered a heretofore unknown celestial body orbiting between Saturn and Uranus, which Kowal named Chiron. Astronomers classified Chiron as a “planetoid”, but subsequential astronomical observation has led to a reclassification of Chiron as a kind of comet.

    An Ephemeris for Chiron was published in 1978, and psychologically-oriented astrologers began adding Chiron to natal (birth) charts. Astrology books on the astrological meaning and effect of Chiron began to appear…from early works such as “Chiron: The New Planet in Your Horoscope, The Key to Your Quest (1983), by Richard Nolle (no, not that one!), and “The Continuing Discovery of Chiron” (1983), by Erminie Lantero…to the New Age ‘woo-woo’ of “Chiron: Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner and Outer Planets” (1987), by Barbara Hand Clow and “Chiron and the Healing Journey: An Astrological and Psychological Perspective” (1989), by Melanie Reinhart, certainly the best book written so far on the astrological Chiron.

    However, the comments I find to be most personally meaningful and insightful about the astrological and psychological meaning of Chiron are made by England-based Jungian analyst and psychological astrologer, Liz Greene:

    “…I have found that [Chiron] reflects an area [depending on it’s location in the natal chart] where one feels deeply wounded in some way, irrevocably damaged by factors over which one has no control…Chiron seems to reflect a more general source of hurt, usually a collective problem, which makes it impossible to ‘blame’ anybody in particular…this impersonal quality…turns us philosophical, for only a broader vision of life can help us cope with the wound…this issue of the accidental wound…reflects a basic unfairness in life which I feel we have a very hard time accommodating. Those of us involved in astrology (and psychology, for that matter) are particularly inclined to find ‘answers’ for human suffering…[and]…in order to cope with the feelings of woundedness, we tend to seek intellectual or spiritual understanding, because the idea of a disordered or chaotic universe, where unpleasant things happen accidentally or undeservedly, is a deep offense to out Judeo-Christian ethos…[which]…we keep trying to justify by philosophical concepts such as karma, or psychological concepts such as family complexes…So Chiron requires us to accommodate a wound which will not heal, regardless of how much psychotherapy, meditation, homeopathy, acupuncture, macrobiotic dieting or astrologising we do. Learning to accommodate this wound usually involves great effort at understanding why, as far as understanding can go…The fruit of this is not only a deeper and broader grasp of the issue surrounding [Chiron]…it is also a more tolerant and compassionate attitude toward people and life in general. Chiron forces us to grow up…”.

    from, “The Inner Planets: Building Blocks of Personal Reality”. Seminars in Psychological Astrology, Volume 4 (1913). By Liz Greene and Howard Sasportas.

    Concerning Jung and his experience of the anima, Deirdre Bair writes, in “Jung: A Biography”, Chapter 17:

    Jung described his adulterous behavior during this period at varying times throughout his life in a variety of ways. Referring to his theory that an element of the feminine exists in every man (just as an animus is found within every woman), Jung was dismissive about taking responsibility for his actions; “Back then I was in the midst of the anima problem.” At other times he was sheepish and apologetic, making comments such as, “What could you expect from me/–––the Anima bit me on the forehead and would not let go.”*

    *Page 730, Footnote 36: This idiom does not translate well from German into English, but it occurs in several instances in the “Protocols”. In a private archive, Barbara Hannah remembers it as a kind of showing off and cites examples of how CGJ used it to excuse his preening during several public lectures. It also occurs in some of the HCL interviews and individual films of “Matters of the Heart” (Los Angeles: CGJ Institute, 1990).

    “…the Anima bit me on the forehead and would not let go.” Just as Sabina Spielrein “bit” him on the temple with a knife. Sabina Spielrein, certainly Jung’s most powerful and influential experience of the anima, via projection, before Toni Wolff (Jung to Spielrein, letter of 06/20/1908: “…you have vigorously taken my unconscious into your hands…”).

    In his natal chart, Jung has Chiron at 26 degrees 21 seconds of Aries, in a wide square to his natal Venus at 17:33 Cancer. Liz Greene on Venus-Chiron contacts in the natal chart:

    “If we put together Chiron and Venus, then there is likely to be a wound to our sense of self-worth, our belief that we are beautiful and lovable…The person may make great efforts to learn as much as possible about human relationships…emotional and intellectual as well as sexual.

    “When love for a woman awakens within me, the first thing I feel is regret, pity for the poor woman who dreams of eternal faithfulness and other impossibilities and is due for a rude awakening…Give me back in the moment of my need some of th love and guilt and altruism I was able to give you when you were ill. Now I’m the one who is ill.”

    In a letter from Jung to Sabina Spielrein, 12/04/1908.

    The motivation to transform a wound into art is very powerful with Venus-Chiron (“…a voice [of the anima] within me said, ‘It is art’…then…’That is art.’ MDR)…Venus-Chiron…may repeatedly choose partners who are themselves wounded…” (Sabina Spielrein…Toni Wolff)

    …Chiron is readily projected…especially when it is square or opposition Venus…When the wound is projected, it is the partner who has the ‘incurable’ problem (“I recognized [the voice] as the voice of a patient, a talented psychopath…”, MDR…[and]…”a woman patient…has violated my confidence and my friendship in the most mortifying way imaginable. She has kicked up a vile scandal…” (Jung, in letter to Freud, 03/07/1909)…[as well as]…”Since I knew from experience that she would immediately relapse if I withdrew my support, I prolonged the relationship over the years…[until]…I finally broke with her. She was, of course, systematically planning my seduction…[and…now she is seeking revenge.” (Jung on Spielrein, in a letter to Freud, 06/04/1909).

    I have also frequently seen Venus-Chiron try to compensate by ‘transcending’ the wound…an attempt to spiritualize sexuality in order to avoid the woundedness of the body.”

    “The love of S. for J. made the latter aware of something he had previously only vaguely suspected, that is of a power in the unconscious that shapes one’s destiny…The relationship had to be ‘sublimated’ because otherwise it would have led him to delusion and madness (the concretization of the unconscious). Occasionally one must be unworthy, simply to be able to continue living.”

    In Jung’s next-to-last-letter to Sabina Spielrein, 09/01/1919.

    All of the above Venus-Chiron passages are also from “The Inner Planets…”.

    Collectively, Jung took up the problem of the repressed and wounded feminine, in Judeo-Christian western culture. Especially in his work at “re-visioning” Christianity, via his research and writings about religion and alchemy.

    And about that subject, much has been written…

    “Eternal Feminine
    Leading us upward.”

    Faust, Part 2.

    Into consciousness…

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    David Thompson

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    I almost forgot…How Chiron got his incurable wound:

    The centaurs were driven from Mount Pelion and Thessaly during the “Centauromachy”, the Centaur War, between the centaurs and the Lapiths, a tribe of Thessaly. The centaurs were invited to the wedding of Peirithoüs, the Lapith king. The centaurs drank wine, which they were not accustomed to. They couldn’t handle the wine and got very drunk…and started to abduct and rape the Lapith women at the wedding. A war ensued, and the Lapiths, led by Peirithoüs, drove the centaurs from Mount Pelion. Including Chiron, who was not a participant in the violence of the other centaurs.

    Some time later, Heracles was visiting the centaur Pholos, in his cave on Mount Pholoë, in western Peloponnese, where he had settled after being driven from Mount Pelion. Pholos, like Chiron, was a more civilized centaur, and to entertain Heracles, he opened a jar of wine (which had been left in the cave by Dionysos, many years earlier). Some less civilized centaurs, who had also settled on Mount Pholoë, went mad when they smelled the wine, and attacked Pholos’ cave with up-rooted trees, rocks and firebrands. Heracles defended himself and his host with his bow & poisonous arrows, killing many centaurs.

    Chiron was also living in the cave with Pholos, or at least he was visiting. One of Heracles’ arrows passed through the arm of the centaur Elatus, and struck Chiron in the knee. An accident, but nonetheless Chiron suffered terrible pain from this incurable wound. Heracles applied the healing herbs and ointments provided by Chiron, but to no avail. Chiron wanted to die, but being a son of Cronus, the Titan father of most of the Olympians, he was immortal. So he retreated SE across the Peloponnese to his cave on Cape Malea, a place long associated with wounding and healing, and the place from whence came the mysterious Maleatas, who was the first deity worshiped at Epidaurus. Maleatas was overthrown by Apollo, who then took the epithet Maleatas. And Apollo was subsequently replaced by his son Asklepios, when Apollo came to be primarily associated with Delphi.

    Chiron suffered in his cave, from his incurable wound, until a healing arrangement was worked out with Prometheus, after Heracles freed Prometheus from a cliff on Mount Caucasus, where Zeus had him chained for stealing fire from heaven and giving it to mankind. And Chiron was at long last healed, and placed in the heavens as the constellation Centaurus.

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    Lance Owens

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    Thanks for that very interesting post on Chiron.

    A few months ago, I introduced a series of lectures on the Red Book with just that myth of Chiron and Asklepios – it is a powerful archetype in Jung’s life, and echoes his deep relationship to the archetype of the Physician. Telesphoros, who appears as one of the Cabiri in Liber Novus, and who is central on Aion lapis at Bollingen, was the Kabir who iconographically accompanied Asklepios.

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    Daniel Ross

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    I like the movement to the archetypal theme on healing and the mythology of Chiron and Aescpelios. I had included this in my seminar so it is timely that and synchronistic that that stone bbe turned. In circling back to previous posts around the heroid stance and the Siegfried myth in Jung’s and Spielrein’s life, I was struck by the different paths taken by Herakles and Chiron. Herakles, a parallel to Siegfried, always on the heroic pathway, defeating the gods and anybody else who got in his way until he had defeated death (Thanatos) and god of old age (Geras). It so refelctive of our culture that death and old age are avoided at all costs. Jung confronts death in his active imagination exercises reflected in the Red Book and comes to believe it is necessary in his journey along with killing the heroic stance. Chiron represents a different pathway in response to a wounding, one that is introspective and one that allows him access to the healing powers lies lie within, which he then uses in the service of the sick. It seems to me Freud maintained the heroic pathway and Jung abandoned it to follow that of Chiron. I enjoy the direction of the comments. Thank you.

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    David Thompson

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    Ahhh, the Cabiri, aka Kabiri; Cabeiri; Kabiroi; Kabeiroi. When I experienced the Red Book exhibit at the Rubin Museum of Art, in NYC, in October, 2009, there was a small drawing by Jung, mounted in a corner of the exhibit space. He had given it to Aniela Jaffé, and the caption said that the drawing was in the exhibit by permission of Robert Hinshaw, publisher at Swiss-based Diamon Verlag, and executor of of Aniela Jaffé’s estate. The subject of this drawing is the Cabiri (the spelling Jung uses in the Liber Secundus). That drawing had a very powerful effect on me, perhaps because I had been studying the Myths and Mysteries of the Kabeiroi for some years. I wish there had been a catalog of the exhibit, so I would have a copy of that drawing.

    The Mysteries of the Kabeiroi were the second most important mystery cult in Ancient Greece, after the Eleusinian Mysteries. But less is known about these mysteries then is known about the Mysteries at Eleusis. But if the Eleusinian Mysteries are the mysteries of the mother & daughter, then the Mysteries of the Kabeiroi were the mysteries of the father & son. The mysteries, that is, as practiced at the Kabeirion Sanctuary, just west of Thebes. Some explanation…

    The Mysteries of the Kabeiroi most likely originated in Phrygia, the west-central region of Asia Minor, now Turkey. They were originally one of those groups of dwarf-like servants of the Great Mother Goddess: Kabeiroi, Daktyloi, Telchines, Kouretes, Korybantes (See “Hephaistos: A Pattern of Introversion”, by Murray Stein. Originally published in SPRING 1973, republished in “Facing The Gods”, Spring Publications. 1980). This goddess was most likely the Phrygian mother goddess, Cybele.

    As the cult of the Kabeiroi journeyed from east to west, as did many of the Olympian gods, they became associated with the Mysteries of the Great Gods, practiced on the NE Aegean island of Samothrace. But, as McGill University professor Albert Schachter points out, in “Evolutions of a Mystery Cult: The Theban Kabiroi”, in “Greek Mysteries: The Archaeology and Ritual of Ancient Greek Secret Cults” (2003). Edited by Michael B. Cosmopoulos: “…from the earliest times [the Kabeiroi] were confused with the Great Gods of Samothrace (there is no evidence…for Kabeiroi at Samothrace…)”.

    Kabeirion sanctuaries can be found in many of the archeological sites of ancient cities along the Aegean cost of Turkey. I was especially affected by the Kabeirion site at Troy. South of Troy, on the coastal road E87, is the site of Pergamon, and its Asklepieion, the most important healing center in Asia Minor, and which eventually surpassed Epidaurus in importance. Telephoros, “the dwarf-like nocturnal figure, a [god] in a hooded cloak who often appears as a companion of Asklepios and who, on the strength of an oracle, was worshipped in the Asklepieion of Pergamon. Here the little god bore the ambiguous name ‘The Finisher,’ [or, ‘Accomplisher’]…but elsewhere he was known as Akesis [at Epidaurus], ‘healing’ [or ‘cure’]. (from, “Asklepios:Archetypal Image of the Physician’s Existence, 1959. By Carl Kerényi).

    Concering “Finisher”, or “Accomplisher”: “And wholeness is virtually substance, but perfection, in addition, provides the aim and the virtue of substance. hence, though inferior to Asclepius, Telephorus, because he supplies the missing element which is not previously present in the Paeonian wholeness of Asclepius, is invoked in addition to Asclepius, and Telephorus perfects the health of one who admits him properly.” (from, “Dubitationes et Solutiones”, by Damascius, as translated and quoted in, “Asclepius: Collection and Interpretations of the Testimonies, 1998. By, Emma J. Edelstein and Ludwig Edelstein).

    Telephoros was also referred to as “theoi soteres”–savior god, as well as “zoophoros and pyrphoros”: life-bringing and fire-bearing. (from, “Healing Dream and Ritual: Ancient Incubation and Modern Psychotherapy”, 1989. By, C.A. Meier).

    For more on Telephoros, I would recommend “Veiled Kabir: C.G. Jung’s Phallic Self-Image”, by Daniel C. Noel. In, SPRING 1974.

    Back to the Mysteries of the Kabeiroi:

    Prior to the establishment of the mystery cult outside of Thebes, a Kabeirion was established on the NE coast of the island of Lemnos, on the eastern cape at the entrance to Tigani Bay. Interestingly, just below the site of the Kabeirion is a cave known as “Spiliá toú Filoktíki”, the Cave of Philoctetes. This is where Philoctetes lived (in mythological time & space) for ten years, after the Troy-bound Achaeans left him there because of his incurable snake bite wound. When finally brought to Troy, Machaon (the first surgeon) and Podaleirius (the first to treat diseases of the mind), the warrior-physician sons of Asklepios, were at last able to heal Philoctetes’ wound, using the healing herbs that their father had taught them about (and which he had learned from Chiron), and…the laying on of the serpentine stone, which implies, symbolically, “ho trosas iasetai”: he who wounds also heals.

    Just across the mouth of Tigani Bay is the site of the Hephaestion, the Sanctuary of Hephaistos, with whom the Kabeiroi have been associated. Speaking of healing, Lemnos was the source of “Lemnia Gi”, the soil of Lemnos, a medicine used in antiquity as an antidote in cases of poisoning (such as snake bites), as well as for other maladies.

    But on to Thebes…

    “we do not know who it was who introduced the Kabiroi to Thebes…”, (from, Schachter, “Evolutions of a Mystery Cult”), but we do have an origin myth:

    “Three miles or so from [Thebes] is a grove of Kabeirian Demeter and the Maiden; only the initiated can enter it. The SANCTUARY OF THE KABEIROI is nearly a mile from this grove. As for who they are, and what mystery is celebrated…the curious will have to forgive me if I keep silent. But nothing prevents me telling the whole world how the Thebans believe that the mysteries began. They say there was once a city on this spot and a people called the Kabeiroi, and Demeter got to know one of them, who was called Prometheus, and his son Aitnaios. She entrusted them with a certain thing, though it seems impious to reveal what it was or what happened to it, but anyway the mystery is Demeter’s gift to the Kabeiroi.”

    from, Pausinias: Guide To Greece. Volume 1: Central Greece. Book IX, Boiotia, 25: 5-6. Translation by Peter Levi, 1971.

    For those interested in further reading on the Mysteries of the Kabeiroi, I would recommend, “The Mysteries of the Kabeiroi”, by Carl Kerényi, in, “The Mysteries: Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks”, 1955. Edited by Joseph Campbell. And…”Hermes: Guide of Souls”, Spring 1976. Also by Carl Kerényi.

    Referencing these two source books I’m going to attempt some “amplification” of the Myth and Mysteries of the Theban Kabeiroi. Fools rush in…

    What was the “certain thing” that Demeter entrusted to the father and son? My guess would be the sacred phallus, kept in the “cista mystica”, the closed basket that held the sacred objects used in the Eleusinian Mysteries.

    “I have fasted, drunk the “kykeon” [Barley milk. Possibly made from barley infected with the ergot fungus, which contain a naturally occurring form of LSD], taken things out of the big basket [cista mystica] and, after performing a rite, put them in the little basket [kalathos], whence I put them back in the big basket.” (quoted in “Eleusis: Archetypal Image of the Mother and Daughter”, 1967. By-who else-Carl Kerényi).

    The sacred phallus was, mythologically, the phallus of Dionysos. Which relates to the myth of his dismemberment by the Titans (and may be an indication of the possible Egyptian origins of the Eleusinian Mysteries, in the myth of Isis and Osiris). Here the sacred phallus plays a role in the mystery of the Mother and Daughter, a matriarchal mystery. But in the Theban Mysteries of the Kabeiroi, the implication seems to be that the sacred phallus plays a role in the mystery of the Father and Son, a patriarchal mystery.

    The primary theme running throughout Greek Mythology is…the conflict between, the transition from and to, an older matriarchal-based religion and social system, to a newer patriarchal-based religion and social system. From Great Mother to Great Father. This transition is usually achieved in Greek mythology through the hero’s fight with the mother dragon. In this fight, the hero not only frees the beloved (psychologically, the anima) from the dragon but also frees up the masculine, transforming that energy, that principle, from matriarchal masculinity–the son lover of the Great Mother–to patriarchal masculinity, the son of the Great Father (see, “The Origins and History of Consciousness”, by Erich Neumann). But this is not the scenario in the Theban Mysteries of the Kabeiroi. Here, Demeter, the Great Mother, willing entrusts the sacred phallus to the Father and Son, to be used in their masculine mystery rites and initiation.

    “…for those initiated in [the Theban Mysteries of the Kabeiroi], the secret cult was the creation of primeval woman [possibly Demeter as well] in the stork goddess [Pelarge, who plays an important symbolic role in the Mysteries], whose maternal care was devoted to budding life, to the scion, the sun rising in the human body. Masculinity, particularly in its uncouth, youthful stage, reveals a surface of destructive aggression [Kabeirian vase paintings of Kabirian pygmies killing storks]: it is only beneath the surface that man is also fruitful…The phallic dwarfs, or pygmies, and the nobel, powerful birds of heaven…indicate the contrast between the initiating female and the male requiring initiation––a contrast which seems characteristic of these mysteries. [The male needing initiation] resists; but when he surrenders, his defeat is only apparent, for a resurrection follows. This seems to have been the situation of those who were to be initiated in the Kabirian mysteries. We see something of the essential quality of the [uninitiated] Kabeiroi, they represented the antithesis to the paternal dignity of the source of life…”. To open a path to those depths, to the source of life, to the almost metaphysical roots of our being…to the function, the dignity, the consciousness of the source of life…”, would seem to be the goal of initiation into the Mysteries of the Kabeiroi.

    The above was cobbled together from Kerényi’s “The Mysteries of the Kabeiroi”. Translation by Ralph Manheim.

    Kerényi sees the Mysteries of the Kabeiroi as an initiation into, and an awareness of…the masculine source of life (as he sees the Eleusinian Mysteries as the feminine source of life). He describes the painting on a vase shard, found at the archeological site of the Theban Kabeirion: “The giant figure of the god (assimilated to the archaic Dionysos type), which in this painting bears the name “Kabiros,” shows that the male principle in the function of divine father––for this is the god Kabiros with his son Pais––was elevated to the highest conceivable rank in this secret cult founded by a goddess. True, the life emanating from him, the source, passes through the Pais into a grotesque being, the Kabirian primeval man, a spirit still in process of birth: “Pratolaos.” But the bride of the likewise grotesque, unkempt primeval bridegroom “Mitos” (“the seed”), the woman who will bear life drawn from the mixing bowl of her father Kabiros, is distinguished by beauty and the characteristic name “Krateia” (“the strong one”)”.

    from, “The Mysteries of the Kabeiroi”.

    And…

    “On an eloquent vase-painting from the Kabeiroi shrine at Thebes, the masculine line of the life source descends from Father Kabeiros, continues through his son Pais, then runs on to Protolaos, the first human [man], and reaches finally the masculine side of the first pair of lovers–Mitos, the man named “germseed,” who signifies unending continuation. The means of mediation between Gods and men, between the original source of souls and the animated creature is here Dionysian: it passes through the wine goblet before which Pais stands and to which Pratoloas turns his back [to face Mitos and Krateia]. Here the Dionysian mode rules, and the father himself, in all his mightiness, is Dionysos.”

    from, “Hermes: Guide of Souls”. Translation by Murray Stein.

    In “Hermes: Guide of Souls”, Kerényi describes another image: “As a source of life, the phallic is related to soul…for the Greeks already in archaic times. In other words, seed is also soul. This view appears on a black-figured Attic vase. There we find a black-bearded man who is blowing on a double flute; he is ithyphallic. Four drops of semen are falling towards a large fluttering butterfly, which itself seems to be the first of the spilled drops.”

    The seed transformed into the butterfly. The seed transformed into psyche. Not only the masculine source of life, but also the masculine source of soul. The “generative” man: Biologically generative; Creatively and artistically generative; And also, as C.A. Meier writes, “…the act of healing resulted in “generation…”.

    Which brings us back to Telephoros. Meier quotes a description of a small statuette of this small god, found in the Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen: “Walking Telephorus with arms wrapped in a short coat that covers the back of his head and rises to a [peaked] point; around [his] loins [he] wears a cloth and also has shoes on. At the same time the upper part of the body is represented in the form of a phallus…in that the top of the figure is hollow and can be lifted off to reveal [as in an initiation] an ithyphallus that is a continuation of the lower part.”

    from, “Healing Dream and Ritual”, with photos of this statuette of Telephoros.

    So, little Telephoros is revealed to be the sacred phallus. The source of the seed. The generative source of healing. The masculine source of life…and soul.

    Postscript: More astrological comment on Jung and Chiron…

    In addition to Chiron square Venus, Jung also has Chiron, at 26:21 Aries, opposite Jupiter, at 23:48 Libra. Melanie Reinhart, in “Chiron and the Healing Journey”, has this to say about Chiron/Jupiter aspects:

    “…when Chiron is in aspect to Jupiter, it usually indicates that the religious influences within the person’s early life are not mere background music, but may embody strong conflicts and issues which clamour for resolution, and are often suffused with psychological ingredients belonging to the wounded parent-child relationship.”

    Sounds like Jung, and his boyhood experience of his clergyman father, who had lost his faith…a wounding experience for the boy Jung.

    Reinhart continues…

    “People with Chiron/Jupiter contacts often have messianic tendencies, the nature of their message being indicated by the signs and houses involved [Chiron in Jung’s third house, associated with, in traditional astrology, the ‘lower mind’. And in Aries, the sign of the martially-tinged pioneer for new experiences, opposite Jupiter in his ninth house, the house of religion and the ‘higher mind’]: they are great seekers after an ever-elusive enlightenment, panacea, or ultimate truth…Some are destined to enact or fulfill their self-appointed mission; others may be called upon to sacrifice it for the sake of their own wholeness…”. [Jung’s ‘Kill Siegfried’ dream]

    “…with Jupiter in aspect to Chiron, we could experience quests, journeys, and pilgrimages that are immensely productive of healing and inner growth [Jung’s travels]…Chiron/Jupiter aspects often signify a capacity to teach and inspire others, and to assist them in the process of finding meaning in their own lives [Jung’s whole adult life…and beyond]…with Chiron/Jupiter we could be obsessed with finding ‘higher meaning’…Our intuition is strong, and we may have intimations of the future…”. [Jung’s vision of WW I]

    Speaking directly about Jung’s natal chart and life, Reinhart writes:

    “Jung has Chiron in Aries, opposite Jupiter in Libra. His insights and approach to depth psychology came largely through his own experience (Chiron in Aries), were formulated through his intuition (Chiron/Jupiter), and led to conflict with his mentor Freud (Chiron/Jupiter in Libra). He wrote a great deal about the alchemical basis of the transference relationship (Jupiter in Libra) and its transformational possibilities. He articulated a ‘religion’ of individual inner meaning (Chiron/Jupiter) – a process of internalizing religious symbols once contained within external religious forms.”

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    Lance Owens

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    With regard to Chiron and Asclepios, I offer a short meditation. Chiron was not the first physician. He was the teacher, the master, and the patient of the first physician – the first “knower of nature.” For the empirical physician, the patient is the teacher – a lesson that endures across the ages in the healing arts. Sometimes we meet that patient in ourselves.

    Jung’s deepest personal and mythic relationship is to Asclepios. He was Dr. Carl Gustav Jung for sixty years. In 1914 as recorded in Liber Novus, Jung’s soul grants him the gift of magic, the serpent staff of Asclepios (you will find this section in Liber Secundus).

    With regard to the Cabiri, David left out one further interesting point from their mythological heritage, and I think it should be considered carefully: Their relationship to the cult of the Dioscuri – the twin Kabir; Castor and Pollux, one immortal, one mortally wounded, each trading places daily between mortality and immortality…. It is a reflection of a fact the physician meets in humanking.

    That picture David mentions is quite extraordinary. Telesphoros, master Kabir, is not “just” or primarily a phallic demon for Jung (to simplify a complex exegesis) – no more than Libido in Jung’s view is a purely sexual energy. He might be seen as the instinctual energy in human nature that has woven our brain and mind from the dust of cosmos, and built the tower from which we stand and see afar, even see across the aeons. That is what the Cabiri say to Jung in Liber Novus.

    Telesphoros holds this role in Jung’s personal mythology, which derives not from old myths, but instead is a primary experience of denizens of his deep psyche. (Telesphoros might be translated from Greek root words in another way, as the “one who brings from afar.) And on the Aion lapis at the Tower, he bares a light, he bears a lantern. He stands at the doorway of the pupil of an eye. He leads the way to interior realms, he stands at the gate. On his vestment, the symbol of Hermes (messenger and intermediary of the Gods) appears. Jung carved these words around him (in my translation):

    Aion is a child playing—Wagering on draughts—Kingship of a Child

    Telesphoros traverses the dark regions of this Cosmos

    A flashing Star from the Depths

    Guiding way to the Gates of the Sun and to the Land of Dreams

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    Lance Owens

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    And a bit more of a meditation on Asklepios and Chiron:

    These old myths all begin in a dark land within men, and they tell something about the topology of that inner land. Chiron is a being caught and rent in every dimension. He is fathered by a Titan but his mother was a nymph of the tissue of dark and watery earth. He was paradoxically both mortal and immortal; and though half cast in a divine man-like image, ever was he parted against himself, and half a lusty beast tied to the ground of creation by four great hooves.

    He was both a teacher of the art of healing, and the patient, wounded by an arrow and the poison of the Hydra, suffering, incurable, and seeking his own physician.

    As Carl Kerenyi, the great Hungarian mythologist and classical philologist (and dear friend of C. G. Jung) notes in his brilliant monograph on Asklepios,

    “All in all Chiron (…) seems to be the most contradictory figure in all Greek mythology.”

    Psychologically speaking, it should interest us that such a contradictory figure would be the mythic first teacher of the craft of healing, a craft dedicated to healing the wounds of life. Chiron was a divine-man, a thing in the image of man but more than man, fused to a beast. Can we find anything of our own experience of life in this strange image? Is there anything here that touches upon us?

    Chiron’s grants us a perspective upon the first experience the healing arts of our culture had of its patient: Man. Every physician who has since accepted the staff of Asklepios, the enigmatic staff wrapped with a serpent, has (metaphorically) confronted Chiron’s wound. The physician’s response to the wound is symbolically embedded in the image of that first physician, and his first patient: a patient who was teacher; a patient who was a union of divine and beastly natures and wounded with a wound that wound not heal.

    With every act of compassion, with every balm of healing, with ever reconciliation of the warring elements within man, the physician is drawn again to a memory of Chiron and the lesson of a wound he seems unable to close. Whatever his many successes might be, he looks and sees it festering: there is Chiron, there is a divine-beast, and there is the first teacher. And he hangs there, suffering and divided. Asklepios and Chiron dance about each other, join and part. And at the dances end, we may find we too are each and neither: we are the wounded and the wound. We are the healer. But how will we be healed?

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    David Thompson

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    Lance,

    You’re right, Chiron was not the first physician, but neither was Asklepios. The first physician, the first god of healing was Paeëon (Paean), who appears in “The Illiad”, and heals Ares after he’s wounded by the Achaean warrior, Diomedes, at Athena’s urging. The warrior goddess sticking it to the warrior god…

    Athena levered Sthenelus out the back,of the chariot.
    A twist of her wrist and the man hit the ground,
    springing aside as the goddess climbed aboard,
    blazing to fight beside the shining Diomedes.
    The big oaken axle groaned beneath the weight,
    bearing a great man and a terrifying goddess–
    and Pallas Athena seized the reins and the whip,
    lashing the racing horses straight at Ares.
    The god was just stripping giant Periphas bare,
    the Aetolians’ best fighter, Ochesius’ nobel son–
    the blood-smeared Ares was tearing off his gear
    but Athena donned the dark helmet of Death
    so not even stark Ares could see her now.
    But the butcher did see Tydeus’ rugged son
    and he dropped gigantic Periphas on the spot
    where he’d just killed him, ripped his life away
    and Ares whirled at the stallion-breaking Diomedes–
    the two of them closing fast, charging face-to-face
    and the god thrust first, over Tydides’ yoke and reins,
    with bronze spear burning to take the fighter’s life.
    But Athena, her eyes afire, grabbed at the flying shaft,
    flicked it over the chariot and off it flew for nothing–
    and after him Diomedes yelled his war cry, lunging out
    with his own bronze spear and Pallas rammed it home,
    deep in Ares’ bowels where the belt cinched him tight.
    There Diomedes aimed and stabbed, he gouged him down
    his glistening flesh and wrenched the spear back out
    and the brazen god of war let loose a shriek…

    Soaring up with the clouds to the broad sweeping sky
    he quickly gained the gods’ stronghold, steep Olympus,
    and settling down by the side of Cronus’ great son Zeus,
    his spirit racked with pain, Ares displayed the blood,
    the fresh immortal blood that gushed from his wound,
    and burst out in a flight of self-pity: “Father Zeus,
    aren’t you incensed to see such violent work?
    We everlasting gods…Ah what chilling blows
    we suffer–thanks to our own conflicting wills–
    whenever we show these mortal men some kindness.”

    …but Zeus who marshals storm clouds lowered a dark glance
    and let loose at Ares: “No more, you lying, two faced…
    no more sidling up to me, whining here before me.
    You–I hate you most of all the Olympian gods…
    But I cannot bear to see you agonize so long.
    You are my child…”

    So great Zeus declared
    and ordered the healing god to treat the god of war.
    And covering over his wound with pain-killing drugs
    the Healer cured him: the god was never born to die.

    from, “The Illiad, Book 5. Translation by Robert Fagles.

    Paean also healed Hades, when he was shot by Heracles, and was struck by one of his Hydra-poisoned arrows.

    Even tremendous Hades
    had to endue that flying shaft like all the rest,
    when the same man, the son of thunder-shielded Zeus,
    shot him in Pylos––there with the troops of battle dead––
    and surrendered Death to pain. But Hades made his way
    to craggy Olympus, climbed to the house of Zeus,
    stabbed with agony, grief-struck to the heart,
    the shaft driven into his massive shoulder
    grinding down his spirit…
    But the Healer applied his pain-killing drugs
    and sealed Hades’ wound––he was not born to die.

    also from. “The Illiad’, Book 5.

    A word on the bow and arrow…

    The bow and arrow were sacred to Apollo, and he was known as “Apollo Toxophoros”: ‘bow-bearing’. And…”Apollo Apotoxeuon”: ‘arrow-shooting’.

    from, “Healing Dream and Ritual” C.A. Meier.

    “Tóxon” is Greek for ‘bow’, or, ‘from the bow’. And it is from this Greek word that we get our English word, “toxic”. (from, “The Healing Hand: Man and Wound in the Ancient World”. 1975. Guido Manjo).

    “Only on the basis of the proposed equation may the association between arrow and serpent, the association between poisonous serpent and poisoned arrow, be made even more clear than it already seems in the ancient commentators. It was an absolutely real association in that the poisoning of the arrow functioned originally as a substitute for and a virtual imitation of the poisonous snake. The arrow was then a winged serpent, particularly in that it was shot from the bow of a God who was himself related to serpents.”

    From, “Apollonian Epiphanies”, in “Apollo: The Wind, the Spirit, and the God”. Four Studies. By Carl Kerényi. Spring Publications, 1983. Translation by Jon Solomon.

    Paean became an epithet for both Apollo, God of Medicine, and his son, Asklepios, the Divine Physician. And also became the hymn sung in the god’s honor…as when the Corycian nymphs sang “Hie Paean”, as he fought the dragon Delphyne, just outside the entrance to the Corycian Cave, on the slopes of Mount Parnassos, above Delphi. The Corycian nymphs…the first cheerleaders…

    from, “Python: A Study of Delphic Myth and its Origins” 1959. By Joseph Fontenrose.

    Lance, I deliberately omitted mention of the Dioscuri, because their association is with the Mystery Cult of the Great Gods, on Samothrace, not with the Theban Mysteries of the Kabeiroi. For information on the relationship of the Dioscuri to the Samothrace mysteries, I would recommend:

    SAMOTHRACE: Excavations Conducted by the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Volume 1; The Ancient Literary Sources. 1959. Karl Lehmann, Editor.

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    David Thompson

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    Lance,

    Chiron is “…tied to the ground of creation by four great hooves”…from the Cassical Period onwards. Prior to then, he was depicted in vase paintings as having the complete body of a man, with the hind quarters of horse attached. As on the reproduction of the image from an Attic amphora, circe 520 BC, on page 95 of Kerényi’s “Asklepios”. As well as the image from a black-figured oinochoë in the British Museum, reproduced in “Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion. 1962. By Jane Harrison. Page 383.

    “In representations in art as [Paul} Baur has shown in his important work, “Centaurs in Ancient Art (1912)…Cheiron…was shown as having a normal human body, draped like a Greek’s, with the addition of a horse’s back, hind legs, and tail.”

    from, “Centaurs & Amazons. 1982. By Page duBois.

    Perhaps, as Greek civilization and art progressed from the Dark Ages/Geometric Period to the Archaic period to the Classical Period to the Hellenistic period, Greeks grew more alienated from the image of Chiron as a whole man with a horse’s hind quarters, and thus his image evolved into the one most familiar: A man from the waist up, the rest, horse. In the depictions of Chiron with human forelegs, he has human genitals, in the later depictions, horse genitals. Which opens up another area for speculation and reflection…

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    Lance Owens

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    Sometimes myth is poetry. Sometimes love is poetry. Sometimes the history we know is the story in us.

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    David Thompson

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    As I reread all these postings (easier to do for me by printing them out. But, oh, look at the falling ink level of that overpriced black-ink cartridge in my Epson printer!), they seem to me to describe journeys: Personal journeys, and collective journeys…including the journey of the ongoing discussion of “A Dangerous Method”. So I’d thought I’d post what I feel is one of the great poems about…well… journeys…

    When you set out for Ithaka
    ask that your voyage be long,
    full of adventure, full of discovery.
    The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
    angry Poseidon–-do not fear them:
    such as these you will never find
    as long as your thought is only lofty, as long as only a rare
    emotion touch your spirit and your body.
    The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
    angry Poseidon–you will not meet them
    unless you carry them in your soul,
    unless your soul raise them up before you.

    Ask that your voyage be long.
    At many a summer dawn to enter
    –with what gratitude, what joy–
    ports seen for the first time;
    to stop at Phoenician trading centers
    and to buy good merchandise,
    mother of pearl, and coral, amber and ebony,
    and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
    to visit many Egyptian cities,
    to gather stores of knowledge from their learned.

    Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
    Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
    But do not hurry the journey at all.
    Better it last for years,
    so that when you reach the island you are old,
    rich with all you have gained on the way,
    not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.

    Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
    Without her you would not have set out.
    She hasn’t anything else to give you.

    And if you find her poor, Ithaka has not deceived you.
    So wise have you become, of such experience,
    You’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

    “Ithaka”
    Constantine Cavafy. 1911.

    Translation by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard.

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    Sophia Koltavary

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    ….and sometimes it is Chiron, who nudges our souls while the stars glow brightly…

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    David Thompson

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    Either I’m riding a centaur (Equis? War Horse?), or a centaur is riding me, but I feel compelled to write one more posting on the centaurs and Chiron…

    There are images of centaurs on Greek vase-paintings from the Archaic Period that depict them as shaggy men, without the hind quarters of a horse. And sometimes they were depicted as satyrs, with a horse’s tail, or with the legs and hoofs of a goat, and an erect phallus.

    Homer, in “The Illiad” calls the centaurs:

    “Shaggy…wild brutes of the mountains”

    “the beast men living within the mountains…”

    ” a savage, mountain-dwelling tribe…”

    “…wild things from the mountains…”

    “…the wild, cave-dwelling mountaineers…”

    From various translations.

    The centaurs were Greek mythological Wild Men, a predecessor to the Wild Man of medieval European folklore. Shaggy beast-like, man-creatures who lived in the mountains of central Europe.

    “…we find that to the Greeks and Romans these native [wild men] were…the centaurs, satyrs, and Pan, the fauns and sylvans [Silvanus] and Silenus. That these are akin to the medieval wild men, having perhaps a very ancient prehistory in common as well as later historical connections…”.

    “Like the medieval wild man the centaurs wield huge clubs and tree trunks as weapons…Even the physical appearance of these woodland demons may come near to that of the wild man, since the part-animal aspect
    under which several of them are known is not always retained.”

    “…Bartholomaeus Angelicus in his “De proprieatibus rerum”, an encyclopedic work written about 1230-1250, in the heyday of medieval scholarship…in the chapter “de ficario”…[writes]…that the [fatui] ‘ficarii’ are the same as wild men…and that they are in practice identical even with centaurs (‘onocntauri’)…”.

    The above excerpts from, “Wild Men in the Middle Ages”. 1952. By Richard Bernheimer.

    Some may be thinking of Robert Bly’s work with the Grimm fairy tale, “Iron Hands”, which Bly refers to as “Iron John”, in his book of the same name. Iron Hans/John is an atypical expression of the wild man, akin to Chiron in that he is teacher, mentor, and even surrogate-father to the young son of the King in the story. Which points us in the direction of that most important wild man figures of Celtic myth and Arthurian Romance…Merlin.

    Merlin…wizard, teacher, mentor, surrogate father to Arthur Pendragon. Merlin…who lives in the forest, an outcast, feeding on roots and herbs…as told in the “Vita Merlini”, by Geoffrey of Monmouth. The other story of Merlin’s life, contrasting with the Arthurian story, told in Geoffrey’s “History of the Kings of Britain”.

    Merlin Caledonicus/Silvester, the wild man, and Merlin Ambrosius, of the Arthurian legends.

    And the centaurs are still with us today, in the history of the 19th century American cowboy, and perhaps much more importantly, in the myths of the American cowboy created by that 20th century art form…the motion picture.

    The “Winning” of the Old West, for civilization, progress, manifest destiny, and darker, “shadow” reasons, was, and in some ways still is, one of the most important of America’s self-created myths. Certainly, the Native Americans, in both history and movies, were seen and depicted as wild men, “red centaurs”, if you will. With the now well documented tragic, even evil results.

    But it in the theme of the lawman confronting the wild centaur cowboys and outlaws that the western genre excelled at myth making. Consider, as just one example, John Ford’s great western, “My Darling Clementine” (1946), where the Apollonian hero, Wyatt Earp (an excellent performance by Henry Fonda), rides into Tombstone, Arizona Territory, and vanquishes the wild centaurs of The Clanton Gang…in the most famous gunfight in the history of the American West…the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Ford’s film is almost totally fiction, but Ford believed in “Print The Legend”, and in the process. created a great mythic American film.

    Twenty three years later, in 1969, the centaurs became the heroes (or, perhaps, the anti-heroes) in Sam Peckinpah’s great western, “The Wild Bunch”.

    The centaur exists in not just in the movies, but in our contemporary culture as well. Consider the outlaw bikers, such as the Hell’s Angels, riding their “chrome horses” (B. Dylan). Think of the title and opening lyrics of Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild”, so well used on the soundtrack of that story of two bikers, “Easy Rider”:

    “Get your motor running…Get out on that highway…looking for adventure…born to be wi-i-i-ild!!!”

    Centaurs…untamed, savage, violent. I experienced the centaur-like behavior of the Hell’s Angels “up close and personal”, in December, 1969, when I was on the film crew filming the Rolling Stones’ free concert at Altamont, California. Where my life was threatened by a Hell’s Angel, loaded on some combination of LSD/PCP/downers/Meth/and alcohol. But I was lucky, I was just threatened. Meredith Hunter was stabbed and stomped to death by the Hell’s Angles, right in front of the stage, as the Stones’ performed “Under My Thumb”…

    The centaurs used tree branches and uprooted saplings as weapons. The Hell’s Angels at Altamont used weighted pool cues…

    We also find the centaurs (or should we say, the centaur archetype?) in rock ‘n’ roll, especially in certain genres: hard rock; punk; metal, for example. We not only find the wild centaur, but also Chiron. As in the story of my old UCLA Film School classmate, Jim Morrison, lead singer of the Doors.

    Jim became infamous for his wild, abandoned, intoxicated centaur behavior, both on stage and off. Behavior that got him arrested, fined and/or tried more than once. And when he had long hair and a bushy beard, he had that shaggy centaur appearance. But Chiron was also in Jim’s psyche, and Jim/Chiron expressed himself through writing and recording poetry. Chiron seemed to have won out for Jim’s soul when he quit the Doors in early 1971, and moved to Paris to concentrate on writing poetry. But his wild centaur life of drugs and alcohol intoxication went with him, and contributed to his death in July, 1971.

    Jim was born on December 8, 1943. Sagittarius. The constellation and sign of… the archer-centaur. Jim lived out both aspects. His “arrows” hitting the mark through his song lyrics and his poetry, and his wild centaur drug and alcohol-fueled lifestyle.

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    Lance Owens

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    Chiron and Centaurs:

    But here is the paradox of Chiron – he appeared to be a Centaur, he had the form of a Centaur, and yet he WAS NOT a kin of the lusty, chaotic race of Centaurs. He stood apart in lineage. He was born of the intercourse of the Titan Kronos and an Oceanid.

    This most contradictory, paradoxical mix of forms was not what it appeared to be outwardly. And Chiron was the teacher of heroic arts. This paradox was the teacher and the patient of the first archetypal physician.

    Good luck with the webcast! Heaven knows how you will distill the breadth of these many thoughts into 90 minutes….

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    David Thompson

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    Good point, Lance, about Chiron’s parentage. Chiron was the half-brother, through his father Cronus, of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hera and Demeter. Chiron, who may or may not have ben abandoned by his mother Philya, was educated by Apollo and Artemis, his nephew and niece. The other centaurs were the children of either Centaurus, a son of Apollo and Stilbe, who was a daughter of the river god Peneius, and his half-sister Creusa. Stilbe was a sister of Daphne, she of the laurel tree, and another object of Apollo’s desire. Before Daphne however, Apollo used to hang out in the Peneius River valley, where he was smitten with Stilbe. She bore him three sons, among them Centaurus, father of the centaurs, and Lapithes, the ancestor of the Lapiths, who fought the Centauromachy against the centaurs, driving them–and Chiron–from Mount Pelion and Magnesia. Centaurus is said to have mounted Magnesian mares and they gave birth to the centaurs.

    Alternative parentage story of the centaurs:

    Ixion, a Lapith king in Thessaly, was invited to Olympus by Zeus, who purified him after he killed his father-in-law, Eioneus, who had taken Ixion’s mares as payment, when Ixion did not pay the bride-price for his daughter, Dia.

    While on Olympus, Ixion fell in lust, if not exactly love, with Hera, and tried to seduce her. Zeus fashioned a cloud in Hera’s likeness and put the cloud in Ixion’s bed. Ixion lay with what he thought was Hera, and the cloud gave birth to the first of the centaurs. Or, in yet another version of the centaur’s lineage, gave birth to Centaurus, who then went after those Magnesian mares…

    Dia, Ixion’s wife, gave birth to Peirithoüs (with Ixion or Zeus), who was king of the Lapiths when the Centauromachy began.

    I get the feeling that this story, like so many of the Greek myths, is all about family…

    Consider…Elatos. Ischys, son of Elatos, became the husband of Coronis, when she was pregnant with Apollo’s son, Asklepios. But Elatos was originally a centaur, who, in a variant of this myth became “humanized” (and was sometimes identified as another Lapith chieftain!). Elatos was driven from Mount Pelion during the Centauromachy, taking refuge with Pholos on Mount Pholoë. When the fight over wine broke out between Heracles and the uncivilized centaurs on the mountain, an arrow he aimed at Elatos passes through the centaur’s arm and strikes Chiron in the knee, inflicting on him his Hydra-poison incurable wound.

    I sometimes feel the need for Ariadne’s lunar thread, to find my way through this labyrinth of interconnecting myths…

    Postscript: I think my favorite mythological comments on Chiron are Kerényi’s, in his book, “Asklepios: Archetypal Image of the Physician’s Existence”:

    [The “kinship” between Chiron and Apollo]…calls our attention once more to that dark, yet not unspiritual sphere whence, according to Greek mythology, the art of healing arose.

    Zeus Akraikos, the Zeus of mountain peaks and the sky, was worshipped on the summit of Pelion, but not he alone. The sanctuary whose foundations have been discovered there was divided in two parts. In the southern part stood the temple of Zeus, facing the sun and looking as it were toward the diurnal [daytime] side of the world. In the northern half lies a cave that can only be the Chironion, the cave of Chiron. This division bears witness not only to the nocturnal character of Chiron but also to his high rank in the Thessalian hierarchy of the gods.

    In Chiron’s half of the world lay…beneath his cave, the valley of Pelethronion, famed for its profusion of medicinal herbs. In this valley Asklepios, under Chiron’s tutelage, familiarized himself with the plants and their secret powers–and with the snake. Here too grew the plant named “kentaurion” [centaury, or one of the seventy species of centaurea*] or “chironion” [most likely elecampane, which grows in the wooded valleys of Thessaly, and was also known as ‘panakes to Cheironeion’, ‘all-heal of Chiron’*], alleged to cure all snake bites [another of Chiron’s medicinal herbs, the St. John’s Wort from Olympus, was also an antidote for snake bites*] and even the poison arrow wound from which Chiron himself suffered. The tragic view, however, was that Chiron’s wound was incurable. Thus Chiron’s world, with its inexhaustible possibilities of cure, remained a world of eternal sickness…The half-human, half-theriomorphic god suffers eternally from his wound: he carries it with him to the underworld as though the primordial science that this mythological physician, precursor of the luminous divine physician, embodied for the men of later times were nothing other than the knowledge of a wound in which the healer forever partakes.

    Great stuff from Kerényi!!!

    Medicinal herbs information from, “The Greek Plant World in Myth, Art and Literature. 1993.
    By Hellmut Baumann.

    A wonderful and enlightening book!!!

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    Sophia Koltavary

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    Wonderful and instructive comments about Chiron. Chiron is mentioned by Dante in the Divine Comey the Inferno canto XII. Chiron guards the seventh circle of hell. Goethe also mentions Chiron in Part II of Faust. Faust rides on Chiron’s back while he teaches Faust about ancient Greece.

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    David Thompson

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    Thanks for the reminder of Faust/Chiron, Sophia. I took my paperback copy of Philip Wayne’s translation of Part Two off the shelf and there they are. Faust meets Chiron in the Act Two scene, “On the Lower Peneus”…

    FAUST: The doctor who in herbals bears the palm,
    Who knows the secret of the rarest root,
    Who heals the sick, and soothes the wound with balm,
    In power of mind and body I salute.

    CHIRON: Well, if a wounded hero lacked a friend,
    I’d words and means to help him to recover;
    But all my art and counsel in the end
    To priests and brewing beldams I made over.

    [Chiron seems to be saying that his natural, earth & herbal-based medicine and healing, was co-opted by Christianity, and healing became overly spiritualized. And those that actually still practiced his art were perceived by church and society as “brewing beldams”… old women, crones, witches…]

    Chiron tells Faust about the Argonauts, but when Faust asks about Heracles, Chiron demurs…

    FAUST: Will you not speak of Hercules?

    CHIRON: Stir not, alas, sad memories…

    Faust asks Chiron…Now of the loveliest woman tell!

    Chiron tells Faust about his encounter with Helen of Sparta…later of Troy, riding on his back.

    FAUST: I lose myself in dream so fair.
    She is my star and my desire.
    Her, whence and whiter did you bear?

    CHIRON: Simple the answer you require:
    The Dioscuri in that distant hour
    Had freed their sister from the captors’ power;

    [Helen had been abducted by Theseus, king of Athens, when she was twelve years old! She was rescued by her brothers, Castor and Pollux, the Dioscuri]

    But those refused defeat, and resolute
    Came storming on in ruthless hot pursuit,
    And then the brothers found their headlong way
    Was barred by swamps that round Eleusis lay.
    They waded through: I [s]plashing swam to bear her;
    She sprang to shore, with thanks, ah, never fairer!
    And stroked the dripping mane, so sweet, so sage,
    Young, conscious of her charm, the joy of age!

    Goethe has “revisioned” the myths of Chiron and Helen somewhat, but Chiron carrying Helen across the Eleusinian swamps echoes the myth of Heracles, his bride Deïaneira, and Nessus the centaur. Nessus was one of the centaurs Heracles drove from Arcadia during the fight on Mount Pholos. Nessus became a ferryman on the Evenus River. When Heracles and Deïaneira came to the river, Nessus was hired to carry Deïaneira across the river while Heracles waded across. But Nessus ran off and began to rape Deïaneira. Heracles shot him with one of his Hydra-poisoned arrows. Before Heracles reached them, the dying Nessus convinced Deïaneira to make a love potion from his blood and semen, and anoint Heracles’ tunic, and he would be forever faithful to her, fidelity not being one of Heracles’ best traits. Of course Nessus’ blood contained the Hydra poison, and when Deïaneira finally used the love potion (Heracles had been unfaithful to her), Heracles was inflicted with overwhelming, burning pain, that led him to his funeral pyre on the summit of Mount Oeta.

    So Heracles was led to death by the same incurable Hydra poison-generated wound that he had inflicted on the centaurs, including, accidentally, on Chiron.

    Chiron takes Faust to a meeting with Manto, the prophetess who served Apollo at Thebes and/or Delphi and/or the city of Colophon in Mysia, in Asia Minor. Her father was Teiresias, the blind seer of Thebes (and who has a mythological association with Chiron), but Goethe makes her the daughter of Aescupalius (the Roman name for Asklepios).

    CHIRON: …Her hold I dearest of the Sibyls’ guild,
    No gnashing fury,but a soul sweet willed;

    [ Perhaps a critical reference to the trance-like states of the Pythia, the oracle at Delphi]

    Stay but awhile, you’ll find her powers are sure,
    With simples she will bring you perfect cure.

    FAUST: I ask no cure: grant that to baser kind.
    A mighty purpose fires my heart and mind.

    CHIRON: Spurn not the healing from this noble fount.

    But Faust doesn’t want healing. He doesn’t even think he’s sick or wounded in any way.
    He wants HELEN!!!

    CHIRON (to MANTO): Deep peace you dwell in, self-contained,
    While mine the joy to wander wide.

    MANTO: Time circles round me. I abide.
    And he?

    CHIRON: In vortex sinister, this night
    Has brought him hither to your sight.
    Helen, his mind at fevered height,
    Helen this man is set on winning,
    And yet is lost for a beginning.
    Worthy your healing he may prove.

    Chiron gallops away…

    MANTO: Who longs for the impossible, I love
    Enter with hope and joy, most daring mortal!
    Behold Persephone’s deep-shadowed portal.
    Where caverns at Olympus’ foot now hide her,
    She hearkens for the loving world denied her.
    Here, by my craft, was Orpheus once conveyed:
    Go in, to better purpose, unafraid.

    And they enter the cave of Persephone and Faust continues his journey to Helen…

    Further thoughts on Chiron, Zeus Akraikos, and his sanctuary on the summit of Pliasidi Peak, of the Pelion massif:

    Zeus Akraikos, or Acraeus, or Actaeus…in addition to meaning Zeus of the mountain peak; Zeus of the summit and Zeus of the sky…also means Zeus the Cloud Gatherer, to whom prayers and sacrifices were offered on mountain summits throughout Greece so that Zeus would bring the healing rain and wind, to end drought and blow away plagues. so here on the Pliasidi summit of Mount Pelion, was the sanctuary of Zeus Akraikos, who brought the healing wind and rain from the sky, from the heavens, one might say. From the place of spirit. And nearby was the Cave of Chiron, the Chironion, the sanctuary of Chiron, who brought healing from the earth, from nature…

    And, based on the Greek mythological “family trees” I outlined in my previous post, one of origin myths of the centaurs makes Apollo–the father of Centaurus, the father of the centaurs–the centaurs’ grandfather!!!

    I hope to put up a posting soon on the family of Chiron. His wife, Chariclo, his son (or sons), his daughter and his grandchildren…

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    Sophia Koltavary

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    David, thank you for your detailed account of Faust with Chiron. Reviewing Canto XII of the Inferno, Chiron and Virgil appear together, the two great teachers of the ancient world, with their respective students Achilles (line 71) and Dante. It is interesting to see how Goethe, years later, incorporated Chiron to instruct Faust. I look forward to reading your post about Chiron’s family.

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    David Thompson

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    Would that Chiron, the son of Philyra –
    If so be that my lips the prayer must utter
    That lives in every heart –
    Would that he might regain the life he left long since,
    That man of widespread power, the son of
    Cronos Ouranidas [Son of Heaven],

    And that wild creature of the woods,
    That lover of mankind,
    Were lord of Pelion’s valleys still…

    Pindar, Pythian Ode III

    So Chiron was the son of Cronos and Philyra. Cronos (Time) was a Titan, the son of Uranus (Sky or Heaven), and Gaia (or Gaea or Ge: Earth). Philyra was an Oceanid, the daughter of the Titan, Oceannus and his sister Titan, Thethys.

    Cronos was searching for his infant son Zeus (whom his sister-wife Rhea had hidden in the Idaean Cave, on Crete), so he could devour him, like he did his other five children. Lest they grow up and overthrow him. He chanced upon Philyra, on her eponymous island, Philyra.

    He changed himself into a stallion to deceive Rhea, as he lay with Philyra. The sex was consensual.

    Or…Philyra, in order to avoid being raped by Cronos, turned herself into a mare and tried to flee. But Cronos turned himself into a stallion and raped her.

    Or…Cronos and Philyra were having sex, either consensually or forcibly, in anthropomorphic form, and Rhea caught them in the act. So, just after the moment of his climax, Cronos turned himself into a horse and disappeared.

    Philyra gave birth to Chiron on her island…or in the mountains of Pelasgia, a name for pre-Mycenaean Greece. Or in Thrace…or Thessaly, location of Mount Pelion.

    The usual story is that Philyra, after seeing that her son was part man and part horse, rejected Chiron as her child and, in her shame and disgust, asked Zeus to turn her into a linden tree, on her eponymous island. Which was located in the SE corner of the Black Sea (the “Euxine Sea”, for the ancient Greeks), just off the NE coast of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). The Argonauts sailed past the Isle of Philyra just before sighting the Caucasus Mountains, and sailing into the estuary of the Phasis River, the gateway to Colchis and the Golden Fleece. Although other sources place the island off the coast of Thrace,

    However…even though this version of the myth has gained popularity with mythologists and depth psychologists, this version was not accepted by most classical writers on mythology.

    And, in order to understand this issue, we need to comment on…Robert Graves.

    Robert Graves’ “The Greek Myths” has become a standard, if not the standard, secondary source for Greek mythology. And many subsequent, dictionaries, handbooks, encyclopedias, anthologies; and much Greek myth-specific writings have used “The Greek Myths” as a source or reference, perpetuating many of Graves’ interpretations of Greek mythological names.

    But…the story goes…that Graves came up against the deadline his original publisher, Penguin Books, had set for him to turn in the manuscript for publication. So, the story goes, in order to finish his manuscript by the publisher’s deadline, Graves…invented. Invented at least some of his historical/anthropological interpretations of the myths, and…invented at least some of the English meanings of the Greek mythological names, making many of his interpretations of names, as well as his historical/anthropological interpretations of the myths highly suspect.

    For instance, Graves defines Cronos as meaning…”crow”!!! But “crow” is “Corvus”, and “Coronis”, the mother of Asklepios.

    For instance…Philyra. Graves wrote that the name ‘Philyra” means ‘linden, or lime tree’ (but not the citrus lime. Citrus trees were not introduced into Greece until historical times, after they were first encountered by Alexander and his army, in Asia). And other books on Greek myth have perpetuated this fallacy. First of all, the Greek name for the linden is “flamoúri”, and the Greek name for tree is “dhéndhro”. So the complete name for the linden tree would be “flamoúri dhéndhro”, or “dhéndhro flamoúri”. No “Philyra” in sight.

    So what is the Greek meaning and the English translation of “Philyra”? Let’s break the name down into its components…”Phil” and “yra”. Phil comes from ‘philo’, which comes from ‘philos’, which means…”loving”. Or, “fond of”, or “favorably disposed toward”. And “yra” is a suffix found on the names of females in Greek myth. Such as…Cleisithyra, Corcyra, Cercyra, Phillyra, Phanosyra, Ephyra, and Argyra. So, “Phil (or philo)-yra” means…”loving female”.

    Doesn’t sound like the name of a mother who would reject her child. And…digging a bit deeper into Greek myth, we discover that she didn’t. Philyra traveled to Thessaly, with Chiron, her son, and raised him, presumably in the Chironion Cave, with Apollo and Artemis as his teachers. And she continued to live with her son and his wife, Chariclo, and their children, as well as Chiron’s young pupils, in the Chironion Cave, just below Pliasidi Peak, of the Mount Pelion range.

    However, when Chiron is driven from Mount Pelion by the Lapiths, during the Centauromachy–The Centaur War–Philyra and Chariclo disappear from the myth.

    Some mythologically/psychologically-oriented astrologers (including Melanie Reinhart, author of “Chiron and the Healing Journey: An Astrological and Psychological Perspective), and depth psychologists (Michael Kearney, author of “Mortally Wounded: Stories of Soul Pain, Death and Healing”), comment that Chiron’s first “wound” was rejection by his mother (of him and her/his instinctual sides), who preferred to be a tree, rather than mother to her son. In lieu of the reevaluation of the meaning of the name Philyra, some revision of those thoughts and conclusions may be in order.

    Chiron also had a brother. Cronos also fathered Dolops with Philyra. Dolops presumably had all human form. There are no myths about Dolops, but Dolopia, the region of the Dolopians, was west of Thessaly and Mount Pelion. Perhaps Dolops was the mythological founder of this kingdom and its people, and his myth has been lost.

    Chiron is a transitional, a liminal mythic figure. A “bridge”, if you will, between the much older Palaeolithic and Neolithic cultures and religions of Greece and, in particular, of Thessaly. As well as the matriarchal goddess-worshiping religions of the Neolithic peoples of pre-Mycenaean Greece. Chiron as a bridge back to Paeleolithic shamans and Paeleolithic shamanistic religions and cultures, would need a study unto itself.

    Up next: Chiron, his wife and his son(s) and daughters…his family.

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    Darlene Viggiano

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    This movie was highly disturbing to me for several reasons. I wish I could put them in order of priority, but they compete with each other. It bothers me tremendously that according to the movie Spielrein was murdered by the Nazis, and who knows what they did to her daughters, and no reviewers seem to mention this though it was made clear in the movie.
       It haunts me that the nature of the supposed affair was apparently deemed sado-masochistic, and no reviewers seem to focus on this either, though as explained on this site there was scant evidence for such a conclusion. It saddens me that the alleged second affair reportedly came on the heels of the first, and furthermore that reviewers apparently also do not deal with this issue. The big focus seems to be on morality, of course, but there is no real accounting of the psycho-spiritual issues that seem abundantly relevant to me here.
       How could it be that Jung may not have recognized that since the sx of the trauma was the pairing of punishment and pleasure, doing the same would only strengthen that traumatic bonding, and that the healing had to come through the uncoupling of the two (and not physically by him!)?
       Did the “affair” eventually teach him this, because as a dyed-in-the-wool Jungian I am exquisitely aware of it. Did it take the second “affair” to learn this?
       The whole point of being a Jungian, to me, is that we know and can help the patient experience a psycho-spiritual healing precisely by not acting out the impulses, but by fully acknowledging, feeling, and talking about them anyway–most specifically symbolically rather than concretely. It is sacred, soul work to me, and I can’t help but hate this portrayal of the sordid side of the story without coming through to the other end with what was learned, which is to me such a precious treasure.
       I am also saddened for the memory of his wife, as well as for his children and grandchildren having to witness this public display of whatever drama went on back then.
       I am similarly disturbed by the issue of Otto Gross having abused so many patients and having such a huge and apparently negative influence on Jung, who knew the influence was supposed to go the other way. I think Jung recognized perhaps later in his career that the doctor can sometimes “catch the contagion,” so to speak, of the patient. Some lessons are learned in horrible ways; thus the understanding of the method as Dangerous.
       While the dangers of life itself can not be avoided, I pray for safe passage in all future analyses.
    Darlene Viggiano, Ph.D. (MFT)

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    Colleen Kelly

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    I just watched the movie, and appreciated the information and opinions in the comments shared here. Clearly, all of the mythological references are valid. If the man was sitting here, himself he would be having a grand time.

    Spielrein was a marvelous woman in her own right, who deeply impacted Jung’s psyche. To Jung, she represented his own split with in himself, as did most women he met and perhaps Freud as well.

    The “bear” is more than Spielrein. The bear( “who moves the stone”) is mother and Mother, for whom he re-visited again for himself in Spielrein with a force, and all those previous and subsequent female relationships there-after. The bear as a symbol for Jung must be within himself, or just himself transformed, realizing it- that he looked for her so long.

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    Janna Hilbrink

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    It’s almost inevitable, with his surname so like another famous person’s, but it is Michael Fassbender, not Fassbinder.

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    david Cartwright

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    As a new student to Jung and am I am a qualified Counseller and Psychotherapist. Having spent 10 years of my life as a theatre Stagemanager and a huge watcher of fims for most of my 63 years I have surprized by, as far as I can see the lack of any comment at all about the very clear character assasination the director has commited against Jung.It is very clear to me that Cronenburg does not like Jung.The only reason why he admits the kinky sex is fiction is because he dosnt want to get sued by Jungs estate.But we all know the power of the image is much stronger the word.Shame on you Mr Cronenburg, the most aweful, cheap propognda.We all know why,is everyone too frightend to say?

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    Launa Nashlund-Jones

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    Thank you Daniel Ross for this illuminating critique of A Dangerious Method. I received my masters degree from Lone Mountain College in San Francisco, Ca. in 1978, and San Francisco state BA in 1976, was licensed and practiced for over twenty-five years, and while heard of the Freud/Jung letters, never had the opportunity to delve into them despite a course at SF State in Jungian therapy, and a couple of psychoanalytic classes. When I recently viewed the film, I was not aware of Jung’s sexual affair with Sabrina. The S&M scenes greatly upset me given my training and etchics in the field. Thinking that Jung engaged Sabrina in her deepest vulnerability and illness by participating in S&M practices went against my deepest respect for the client/therapist relationship. I could hardly believe a man of Jung’s intelligence and caring would engage in countertransference in this manner. Knowing that producing films gives the director/producer litterary license to do what they desire, I rather doubted those scenes. Going on the web and finding your article was a spectacular find. Thank you for saying there is no historical proof that Jung did in fact behave in the manner in which he was projected by the film. Although I am to assume that their was indeed a sexual relationship between Jung and Sabrina, that, today would not be seen to be in the best interest of the client; for the therapist as well. I loved your critique; saved me a ton of research, and I can sleep better tonight having read it. Oh the benefits of the web….would have to have a doctoral class on Jung to gleen all the facts and such that you so astutely provided in this article. Many Thanks!

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