Posts Tagged ‘Analytical psychology’

Of Broken Vessels, Art, and Repair

Of Broken Vessels, Art, and Repair Len Cruz, MD, ME “The more I am spent, ill, a broken pitcher, by so much more am I an artist.”      – Vincent van Gogh On Saturday July 27, 2013 from 12:00-2:00 PM the Asheville Jung Center will be presenting a conference titled, Art and Psyche: A  Jungian Exploration  with Murray Stein, Linda Carter, and Lucienne Marguerat.  The conference originates from Zürich, New England, and Asheville.   Registration is still open. One subject that will be explored is the art of Adolf Wölfli In preparation for Saturday’s conference I read two books on art, and one coffee table book compiled from artwork done by persons suffering mental illness.   They are briefly reviewed below. Creative Transformation: The Healing Power of the Arts by Penny Lewis is an exceptional book.  Published by Chiron Publications, it is not strictly Jungian.  Ms. Lewis is a dance and drama therapist with Jungian training from the C G Jung Institute of New York.  Written in the 1993, its material remains timeless. Reading Creative Transformation: The Healing Power of the Arts is like taking a short course in psychoanalytic theory, Analytical Psychology, and Gestalt and the application of these ideas with patients.  Ms. Lewis maintains that “the dance between conscious and unconscious is choreographed in the transitional space of the imaginal realm.” She relies heavily on Mahler, Winnicott, by personal field between patients and therapist.” Section 2 of the book looks at the use of the arts from a perspective of developmental psychology. She leans heavily upon Margaret Mahler, D. W. Winnicott, James Masterson, and Nathan Salant-Schwartz. The rich use of black and white plates combined with a very expansive index, make this book an invaluable resource. With patients who suffered trauma in early childhood, at a time that was preverbal or prior to the appearance of well-developed abstract thinking, the use of arts media can be a powerful tool for the healer.  Creative Transformation: The Healing Power of the Arts is not a How To book, though the author provides ample illustrations of how she uses art in therapy. It is a clinical treatise, from someone well-versed in several psychotherapy approaches, in which the writer just happens to use the expressive arts media in addition to words. The Creative Soul : Art and the Quest for Wholeness by Lawrence Staples , published by Fisher King Press, is a tightly composed, personal reflection by a seasoned sage and Zürich trained Jungian analyst.  It is precise, yet comprehensive in its treatment of the creative process.  According to Staples, “Psychic tension is at its highest just at the moment preceding creation, just as we experience at the moment of orgasm.” (P.25)  The receptivity to the feminine is vitally important to the creative experience.  Through extremely concise clinical vignettes, poems, short stories, and other examples of artistic creations, Staples explores an impressive expanse of the territory of the creative process.  I have only one critique of this book; it was not long enough.  About one third of the way through the book, Staples introduces a case of a man named Bert, whose story weaves through the remaining pages in an effective, cohesive way.  In just over two pages titled Creativity As An Inner Parent, Staples uses Bert to explain how a good parent can be fashioned through creative expression for individuals whose actual parenting was deficient.  In a section titled Therapy As Art, Staples acknowledges that “Therapists often envy the creative gifts of the people with whom they work.”  He goes on to point out that the work of therapy is itself a creative expression; it is art. Sunshine From Darkness: The Other Side of Outsider Art by Nancy Glidden Smith is simply put a coffee table book.  However, the artists featured in this beautiful volume all suffer mental illness.  The introduction to the book is written by Kay Redfield Jamison, Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins.  Her pioneering research along, with her testimonial about her own struggles with mental illness, have brought attention to the issue of stigmatization of the mentally ill.  She opens the book with the van Gough  helpful in reducing stigmas.  The featured artists are all Americans.  It appears the book is currently out of print but copies are available on Amazon. by Len Cruz, MD, ME

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Individuation of God

The Individuation of God: Book Review By Leonard Cruz

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

A book review

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

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

The Phenomenon of Man

Pierre Telihard de Chardin

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

Quantum mechanics, depth psychology, and mysticism are blended in Peter Todd’s scholarship as he searches for a Third-Millennium Theology.  Todd effectively strikes a blow to the The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins’s enormously popular 2006 book by highlighting that the God Dawkins seeks to dismantle, a God infused with classical Newtonian and neo-Darwinian ideas, has already been silenced and annihilated.  Todd correctly points out that Dawkins completely ignores revolutionary ideas emerging from quantum mechanics high priests such as David Bohm (The Undivided Universe), Erwin Schrödinger (What is Life?), and evolutionary biologists like McFadden, Al-Khalilili (A Quantum Mechanical Model of Adaptive Mutation) who propose a quantum mechanical model of evolution.  One consequence of Todd’s frequent reference to Dawkins is that it may unintentionally promote The God Delusion. During the twentieth century, under the banner of process theology, various explorations of God’s attribute of being mutable were undertaken.  The Individuation of God is at once a psychologically well-informed work and another contribution to process theology.  Readers who are familiar with certain bedrock ideas from quantum mechanics will undoubtedly appreciate Todd’s grasp more than those for whom ideas like quantum entanglement, or emergent phenomenon are entirely new concepts.  It may be helpful to explain some concepts and Wikipedia provides some succinct explanations with suitable references (retrieved 2/3/2013 ) Quantum entanglement is a form of quantum superposition. When a measurement is made and it causes one member of such a pair to take on a definite value (e.g., clockwise spin), the other member of this entangled pair will at any subsequent time[6] be found to have taken the appropriately correlated value (e.g., counterclockwise spin). Thus, there is a correlation between the results of measurements performed on entangled pairs, and this correlation is observed even though the entangled pair may have been separated by arbitrarily large distances.[7]In Quantum entanglement, part of the transfer happens instantaneously. [8] Emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels and of complex systems. The negentropy, also negative entropy,[1] of a living system is the entropy that it exports to keep its own entropy low; it lies at the intersection of entropy and life.  (It is a measure of a systems tendency to move toward or sustain complexity and order.) Todd suggests that God and man are in an entangled state such that both God’s and man’s individuation are inextricably bound and reliant on one another for completion.  This will strike many Christians as antithetical and heretical, but it may provide process theologians a solid scientific basis for their claims. The book’s first chapter, “The Case against God” summarizes the case Dawkins prosecutes against God in which he contends that belief in a personal god constitutes a delusion.  In “Religious Fundamentalism as a Shadow”, Todd notes that fundamentalism and the literalism it espouses is “One major challenge to the survival of humanity…” . (p 21) The third chapter, “Mind and Directed Evolution” introduces the most revolutionary claims.  Insofar as the quality of mind is revealed even at the quantum level, Todd explains that biosystems may be viewed as quantum computers. As such,  they are capable of evaluating infinite probability states, and through natural selection, efficiently choosing evolutionary changes that are  useful for survival.  If for example, the mutation of the HIV retrovirus involves something other than random events, then humankind’s collective conscious response may be understood as a “metaphorical quantum entanglement between the developed and developing worlds…that transcends the confines of nationalism and economic self-interest…” (p48). In the chapter titled “Consciousness as an Organizing Principle” the author decries spiritual materialism, secularism, and the religion of the state for their ability to support a “God of insects” (p82), wherein spirit and numinosity is repressed and no individuality exists like with beehives or ant colonies.  This conception of God has menacing effects upon the planet and its resources.  In the totalitarian states especially, “…no individuality exists … the individuation process is repressed so that personal self-identity is subsumed to a mindless devotion to the state …”.  Depth psychology, theology, and the numinous qualities of archetypal symbols illuminate how man’s conception of God can evolve beyond a transitional object. The last two chapters, “Myth, Symbol, and Transformation” and “A Third-Millennium Theology” challenge conventional understanding of time’s arrow and reintroduce the numinous in an effort to propose a theology for our current millennium.  Todd is not suggesting a third-millennium theology as some completed endpoint.   However, he seems to be mindful of the simultaneous threats of thermonuclear warfare, chemical  & biological weapons, natural resource depletion, and global warming.  These are more dangerous if humanity remains fixed in the mindset of religious fundamentalism, classical Newtonian mechanics, or neo-Darwinian orthodoxy.             The Individuation of God inquires about time and the illusion of time’s arrow.  Todd invokes Schrödinger’s reference to the “tyranny of Chronos” in considering the indestructibility of the mind.  The Greek New Testament uses two words for time, Chronos (Χρόνος) and Kairos (καιρός).  Kairos is the indeterminate time, often discovered in the liminal realm, when something special happens.  It can be thought of as the emergent moment, the eternal now, or the realm where the illusion of time’s arrow is transcended. In the end, The Individuation of God  is a valiant and well-informed effort to integrate modern science, psychology, and theology.  The Individuation of God successfully interweaves an expansive list of sources.  In the last chapter His Holiness the Dalai Lama is quoted, “If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change.” (p141).  And from Einstein’s essay, “The World as I See It” he quotes, “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.”  We arrive at some intriguing conclusions that “Without psyche there would be no theory to explain the outlines and patterns discovered by science.” (p150)  In the course of God becoming fully human through the incarnation, arises a corollary and possibility, that humanity is becoming divine.  This is in perfect alliance with Jung’s notion of Christ as a symbol of the coniunctio, for Christ reconciles opposites. The evolution of God and the evolution of man cannot be separated.  There is a trajectory of humanity’s conception of God that began with a mythopoetic, animistic experience of the divine. This trajectory later traverses the epochs in which omnipotent, often patriarchal Olympian or Old Testament deities reigned with ferocity and aloofness.  And this arrives at a “…three-hundred-year-old schism between science and religion” (p160) that yielded a demythologized, annihilated god.  Peter Todd’s third millennium theology, may provide a path of return to the Garden of Eden.  This third millennium theology is characterized by a deep appreciation for the entangled state of our inner and outer life, of I and Thou, and of the physical and the numinous.  This theology brings man’s evolving notion of God full circle where it is once more infused with myths and symbols.  In this regard, depth psychology and Jung’s seemingly unfathomable explorations continue to enrich us. At times it may appear at times that Todd too often refers to ideas previously mentioned, but this is necessary since many topics are likely to be unfamiliar.  The frequent invocation of Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion, makes The Individuation of God, appear to be a disputation of Dawkins.  This is a small shortcoming, of this book but The Individuation of God deserves to stand alone with Dawkins relegated to a footnote and bibliographic reference. – Len Cruz, MD  CLICK HERE TO ORDER A COPY OF THIS BOOK

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2012  Maya prophecy

A Look at Eternity through the Maya concept of Time and Reality

Why all the fuss about the end of the world on December 21, 2012? And what do the Maya and Jung have to say about it? 

 By: Nancy Swift Furlotti

 Do we really believe the end of the world is upon us at the end of this year? It is true that our world feels full of chaos, wars, terror attacks, economic collapses, and environmental disasters. But is this really new? If we look back in history we discover that the world has been a dangerous and unpredictable place from the beginning. So, would you really prefer to live in another time with dinosaurs crashing around you, bubonic plague wiping out your community, or the inquisition stripping you of your religious choice and life? I wouldn’t. Each era offers challenges to our human race, and now is no exception. But why do we jump to the conclusion that the end of the world is coming? Perhaps it is our linear thinking that focuses on only one of two possibilities. Many believe the universe began with one Big Bang and will end in a Black Hole. Others are convinced the world began with Genesis and will end with Revelation. There are actually other ways of imagining our existence. The Maya, for example, thought about it extensively and developed a very sophisticated conception and application of time and reality that far exceeded the rest of the world, and perhaps still does. Their surprisingly accurate calculations of dates go back millions of years and forward well into the future. So what about December 21, 2012, the so-called end of the Maya fourth world? What does that mean to them, not just what it means to us? It is their calendar and their date; we can learn something from them if we listen. A Western thinker who wrestled with the concept of time and reality was C. G. Jung, who wrote about cyclical periods of world chaos within the aeons of time.  Interestingly, both the Maya and Jung proposed the idea of circular or non-linear time. Another Western thinker, Mircea Eliade, called it sacred time. Perhaps this is what we are missing in our world today, and is a clue to why we think the world will end. On November 29th we will hold a global seminar from Washington DC and Zurich looking at the question of will the world end on December 21st and what is the meaning behind this.  We will explore the significance of time and reality, the procession of the worlds for the Maya, and how it was a fundamental part of their religion. We will discuss its significance in relation to the most important Maya document to survive the Spanish Conquest, the Popol Vuh. This sacred book of the Quiche Maya, called the Dawn of Life, contains their myth of creation and destruction that lays out the template for how humans participate with the Gods in the ever repeating cycle of life, death, and rebirth. We shall observe how this myth may apply to our world today and what we can learn from it. With all the chaos in our current world, it seems we have a lot to learn! -Nancy Swift Furlotti http://ashevillejungcenter.org/video-seminars/end-of-world/  Mayan Calendar End of the World December 21, 2012?

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Layers of Relationship: The Jung-Kirsch Letters

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

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Placing Psyche: The Future of Psychology

 The White Man’s Burden

Rudyard Kipling

Take up the White Man’s burden–

Send forth the best ye breed–

Go bind your sons to exile

To serve your captives’ need;

To wait in heavy harness,

On fluttered folk and wild–

Your new-caught, sullen peoples,

Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man’s burden–

In patience to abide,

To veil the threat of terror

And check the show of pride;

By open speech and simple,

An hundred times made plain

To seek another’s profit,

And work another’s gain.

Take up the White Man’s burden–

The savage wars of peace–

Fill full the mouth of Famine

And bid the sickness cease;

And when your goal is nearest

The end for others sought,

Watch sloth and heathen Folly

Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man’s burden–

No tawdry rule of kings,

But toil of serf and sweeper–

The tale of common things.

The ports ye shall not enter,

The roads ye shall not tread,

Go mark them with your living,

And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man’s burden–

And reap his old reward:

The blame of those ye better,

The hate of those ye guard–

The cry of hosts ye humour

(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–

“Why brought he us from bondage,

Our loved Egyptian night?”

Take up the White Man’s burden–

Ye dare not stoop to less–

Nor call too loud on Freedom

To cloke your weariness;

By all ye cry or whisper,

By all ye leave or do,

The silent, sullen peoples

Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man’s burden–

Have done with childish days–

The lightly proferred laurel,

The easy, ungrudged praise.

Comes now, to search your manhood

Through all the thankless years

Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,

The judgment of your peers!

Placing Psyche

The Future of Analytical Psychology and the World

 

During the last decade of the twentieth century there arose a chorus praising free trade and almost deifying globalization.  During the first decade of the twentieth first century, while the West waged war on two fronts, a different chorus emerged to praise the democratizing effect the West was having on other nations and cultures.  A recent Wall Street Journal editorial titled “Why the World Needs America” rejects the notion of a “post-American” era. It exposes widely accepted assumptions that sound eerily like Rudyard Kipling’s published in 1899. (see  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203646004577213262856669448.html )  One of these assumptions that is easily overlooked by North Americans is that “America” denotes the region encompassing North America, Central America, and South America (unless you are an English-speaking inhabitant of the “United States of America”).   On Saturday, February 25, from 12:30 to 4:30 PM (EST) we are privileged to host a Webinar titled “The Future of Analytical Psychology and the World” with two extraordinary presenter, Tom Singer, MD and Craig San Roque, Ph.D.  Singer is the editor of a recently released book, “Placing Psyche: Exploring Cultural Complexes in Australia” and San Roque contributes to the Introduction and two chapters.  This is the first in a series of books that Spring Journal, Inc plans to publish as explorations of the notion of cultural complexes.  It manages to strike a balance between the unique and particular aspects of Australia and the universal, archetypal patterns associated with place.  Singer defines a cultural complex as “an autonomous, largely unconscious, emotionally charged aggregate of memories, affects, ideas, and behaviors that tend to cluster around an archetypal core and are shared by individuals in a group.”   The authors focus upon the regions “in-between” where tension emerges. This is one feature of their examination of cultural complexes.  The in-between space can refer to in-between ethnic, racial, religious, gender, and linguistic groups.  Consider the hotly debated issues of immigration across the southern border of the United States of America or immigration and fee passage across borders within the European Union, tow issues that highlight the tension that exists at the in-between spaces of national borders.  Even among groups some might perceive as uniform we observe in-between spaces fraught with tension.  To the Judeo-Christian Western individual, Islam may seem uniform but the space in-between Sunni and Shiite Muslims is overflowing with tension and unconscious cultural complex.   What is so compelling about this exploration of cultural complexes is that a dialogue about such complexes might free us from over-identifying with them or acting them out.  The individual complexes that a person fails to engage tend to usurp power and produce a constant interfering (neurotic) background for the psyche.  Conscious contact with a complex releases us from bondage, a bondage we scarcely recognize exists.  A fish may be unable to consider itself as a fish in water but a human being can endeavor to examine herself in the watery milieu of her cultural complexes.  (Take note if the change of pronoun to the feminine gender had any effect.)   Jung suggests that unconscious complexes produce a sort of automatism whereas when they become conscious “… they can be corrected.” (The Nature of the Psyche) A parallel is easily drawn for the cultural complex.  While it remains unconscious, it is capable of exerting a sort of automatic influence over the individual member of a group.  As it comes into consciousness, it can be corrected.  What we mean by “corrected” in this context is a fertile area of exploration as well.   An individual is less likely to identify with consciously engaged cultural.  Consciously engaged complexes are not as readily acted.   We are capable of being possessed by unconscious complexes and likewise, unconscious cultural complexes are capable of “possessing” large numbers of individual members of a group.  While I do not think a whole group is possessed, when sufficient numbers of individual members become possessed by a cultural complex it appears the group itself is possessed.   During the twentieth century, analytical psychology provided almost inexhaustible tools for the individuation process.  Individuation, that process of psychological integration that flowers in the fullness of an individual personality (psyche), can be extended to include the integration of our individual self with the group, humanity,  and the natural world.  A psyche disconnected from the ecological, interconnected biosphere has further to go.  A psyche that is incapable of enduring the tension of the many in-between spaces it encounters will tend adopt a default position identified with one polarity or another; this is an inherently less integrated state.  “Placing Psyche” and tomorrow’s conference is an invitation to the next stage in the individuation process, one that transcends individual psychology through a new lens of cultural complexes..   Singer and San Roque have chosen a fitting title for their conference, The Future of Analytical Psychology and the World,   It is being presented at the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco.  Anyone fortunate enough to be within commuting distance to the institute may want to consider registering at http://thefutureofanalyticalpsychology.eventbrite.com/  The Asheville Jung Center is honored to be able to participate in this conference as a Webinar and registration for the Webinar is available at http://ashevillejungcenter.org/webinars/sanfransisc/registration/  limited seating is still available for this conference that can be heard over the internet, by telephone, and through subsequent download.  Continuing education credits are also available for this conference.   by Len Cruz, MD

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The Christchurch Earthquakes: A Jungian Analyst’s Devastating Journey

SELF CARE IN THE MIDST OF INNER & OUTER FAULT-LINES Reflections on the impact and significance of the Christchurch earthquakes An address to the Christchurch Branch of the New Zealand Assn of Counsellors by Joy Ryan-Bloore, Jungian Analyst _______________________________________________________________________________   Abstract Since 4 September 2010, we, the people of Christchurch have been subjected to ongoing, extreme trauma. Whether we have been materially affected or not, we are all swimming in the same collective trauma. Each of us has wounds – what I would call ‘inner fault-lines’. Even if we have done a lot of work on ourselves, these can erupt again if put under enough pressure. Part of the experience of outer trauma, such as we have all endured, is having those personal fault-lines exposed. Our dreams will also show the impact of the earthquake on our inner landscape. These reflections are offered to assist you to explore how we can truly care for our selves in the midst of these unprecedented events, by connecting with the deeper Self, enabling us to be much more conscious and alert to the needs of those who seek our assistance.

“In all chaos there is a cosmos,

in all disorder, a secret order.” (1)

Introduction The proposed topic for this evening was “Self-care in the Midst of Inner and Outer Fault-lines”.  I am aware that you have plenty of experience looking after yourselves and your clients and I am also sure you are more than competent to do it, otherwise I doubt you would be working as Counsellors!!  Especially in this climate! I am also aware you have had other people talking to you about how to take care of yourself and your clients when afflicted by trauma.   And you will have received relevant supervision. My focus will be a little different – I will try to explore how we can look after our essential and often wounded ‘self’. In other words how do we continue to walk on the particular path we are meant to be on, in the face of what has happened?  And more importantly, how do we make sure we stay connected to the deeper Self – the Mysterious Other – God – Buddha, Christ, the Sacred Presence or by whatever name we give to that which resides in the depths of our being – and connects us to the Whole. Because if we are in possession of a deeper meaning – a ‘world-view’ – one which connects us to Something, Someone greater than our egos – we will cope much more easily with trauma – especially that caused by the eruption of inner fault-lines. And if we remain connected to this deeper Self we will be more able to care for our selves and those who come to us for assistance. However, if we have nothing greater than the perspective of our egos with which to evaluate our life and events outside of our control; or our world-view is too small – or our image of God is too infantile, the present catastrophe may well overwhelm us – for there is nothing Greater than ourselves to hold us in it. I would like to begin with two quotations from Jung. One written at the beginning of his adult life, the other towards the end. The first is from The Red Book – a massive, illustrated ‘tome’ which has just been published – a highly personal record of his immersion and extraordinary journey into the unconscious; his discovery of the collective unconscious and the archetypal forces inhabiting it. This experience provided him with the raw material for all his subsequent theories: the cornerstone of which was his discovery of the psyche, at the centre of which is a religious function operating in the depths of each person’s interior. He writes in a way strangely reminiscent of the great vision in the Book of Revelation.  (2) “May the frightfulness become so great that it can turn (our) eyes inward, so that (our) will no longer seeks the Self in others but in (ourselves). I saw it. I know that this is the way.  I saw the death of Christ and I saw his lament.  I felt the agony of his dying, of the great dying.  I saw a new God, a child who subdued daimons in his hand …” C G Jung  The Red Book, P.254 The second quotation is from Memories, Dreams, Reflections which he wrote as he approached the end of his life, just before he died.  They are the reflections of an old man reminiscing on the significance of his life and the journey it demanded of him. “The decisive question is: are we related to something infinite or not?  That is the telling question of life.  Only if we know that the infinite is the thing which truly matters, can we avoid fixing our interests upon futilities, and upon all sorts of goals which are not of real importance.  Thus we demand that the world grant us recognition for qualities which we regard as personal possessions: our talent or our beauty. The more we lay stress on false possessions, and the less sensitivity we have for what is essential, the less satisfying is our life.  We feel limited because we have limited aims, and the result is envy and jealousy. If we understand and feel that here in this life we already have a link with the infinite, desires and attitudes change.  In the final analysis we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted.  In our relationships to others too, the crucial question is whether an element of boundlessness is expressed in the relationship. P.356 Likewise for us! The experience of so much death and destruction of archetypal and even apocalyptic proportions to which we have all been exposed, can prematurely precipitate and perhaps accelerate, questions such as the ones with which Jung grappled. The recurring earthquakes may cause us all to stop, take stock of what is important in our life, and perhaps more importantly, compel us to ask the deepest questions of all – why existence?  Why my life? What is it for and what does it mean? My sense of self, what my life was about and my connection to God was severely tested by the events of September 4.  At the risk of inflicting yet another ‘earthquake story’ on you who have listened to hundreds of people’s stories, including your own! I would like to start with a short summary of what happened to me (at the outer level) during 4 September earthquake. I will then spend time reflecting on the inner significance of that event as an example of what can happen to each of us when our inner fault-lines erupt and our world-views are shattered.  I find I can only speak from personal experience! The rest you can find in books! My hope is you might find an ‘echo’ within yourself which will take you more deeply into your own journey. As I am sharing mine, I invite you to consider what particular fault-line, inner wound or ‘Achilles heel’, did you re-visit during the earthquakes? Or re-visited you! And more importantly, what if anything, enabled you to cope with it! And what is happening for you now? At 4.35am on Saturday the 4th September last year I, like every one else in this city, woke in terror. You all know too well what happened – our city was struck by an unprecedented earthquake – magnitude 7.1 on the Richter scale – the beginning of a cataclysmic period of unprecedented destruction few of us ever dreamt we would experience. At that moment, the world as I knew it simply disappeared. There was a terrible roar and our home shuddered and moved to such an extent I thought it was going to break up.  I don’t usually collapse in a crisis – I respond quite well and then collapse afterwards!!  (Part of a life-long defence against my particular fault-line about which I will say more later!!) But in that moment I did collapse. I was stripped of every capacity I previously had and plunged into a place of terror I never knew existed, both inside myself and in the outer world.  It went on for a shattering 46 seconds which is a long, long time.  (I figured it was as long as it takes an extremely competent runner to complete one lap of a 400metre track)!!   Over the next 24 hours alone we were all hit by 431 aftershocks and as I began these reflections on 21 February 2011 the Christchurch Quake Map website showed we had lived through 4,782 aftershocks. The weekend passed in a daze, compounded by the fact that the suburb in which I live had escaped any obvious damage.  It just added to the surreal nature of the experience, knowing that not far from us streets were ripped up, buildings had collapsed, people’s homes were destroyed; power, water and sewerage facilities were out of action. Our TV showed pictures of the devastation, but we had lost the sound.  So we knew there had been a terrible catastrophe but we had escaped for the most part.  I started to feel what I can only call ‘survivor guilt’ – my shock being more about what could have happened to our home – rather than what had happened.  (We didn’t escape the 22 February!) Sleep was impossible and was to remain like that for about two weeks. Allan and I decided to go out into the city on the Sunday – almost like an exercise to test the reality of what had happened – and at another level – to claim back our city and to join in solidarity with the thousands who flocked to the inner city that day doing just that.  People of all ages, from all walks of life. Dazed and sleepless, bewildered and in disbelief.  Children being pushed in prams and held in arms.  People with mobile phones, cameras and videos – all trying to record and come to terms with what had happened.  I found myself looking at buildings which had been part of my life since adolescence, as if seeing them for the first time, sensing a deep grief that many of them would not survive.  It was as if a substantial part of my history and my life had disappeared in front of me and would never be the same again. Later I was to feel an incredible sense of my own fragile mortality and the shortness of life, because the likelihood of being alive when the city was fully restored again seemed remote.  Maurice Carter, a respected elder in the city, since deceased, simply said it would take at least 20 years for Christchurch to really recover because certain areas would have to be completely rebuilt for the 21st century. It felt like the end of an era and a portent for the end of my own life, too. On reflection, I now know that the clinicians would probably diagnose what I experienced as a mild version of PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder! But what I was feeling was not solely about the outer devastation.  It was something deeper and to do with my soul. For the worst part of the September 4 earthquake experience was what I might call ‘loss of soul’ or ‘loss of faith’.  I felt throughout that ordeal and for long months after, that any religious belief, philosophical container, knowledge or experience which would have earlier held me in the face of that sort of outer horror, had completely disappeared.  Not only did the outer ground shift under my feet.  My inner ground shifted and vanished too.  I found myself without any container.  My religious beliefs simply didn’t seem to ‘do it’ anymore. What had happened outside seemed too big to be held by my previous belief structure.  Not even a fairly conscious faith informed by psychological understanding!! The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, which has been part of my life for the last 25 years or so, had been severely damaged and was no longer available as an outer sanctuary in which to take refuge. I was stripped and I was terrified.  I felt like a small particle of sand floating in a vast, impersonal cosmos – my human plight seemingly of no interest to the mighty forces which create, sustain (and disrupt) creation as we know it.  I was deeply afraid.  Six months later I was able to articulate it more accurately: On 9 January 2011 I wrote in my diary: 4pm While resting … I suddenly became aware of my ‘smallness’ in the face of the universe and became very frightened.  It was as if I was simply a speck (which I instinctively know I am) but that knowledge somehow terrified me causing me to profoundly doubt how could I have any purpose and/or meaning and how could there be any Other who was interested in me?  It felt like that everything I had previously thought or believed; all structures which gave my life meaning  … simply disappeared.  All I could do – was simply allow those feelings to be there. I remembered reading something about this by Teilhard de Chardin and later found it. He wrote: “I felt the distress characteristic to a particle adrift in the universe, the distress which makes human wills founder daily under the crushing number of living things and stars. And if something saved me it was hearing the voice of the gospel guaranteed by divine successes, speaking to me from the depth of the night: “ego sum noli timere”- ‘It is I, do not be afraid’.John 6:20 (3) The purpose of sharing this is to show that what happens in the outer world has a corresponding impact on the inner. We are all connected – not only with each other – but we are connected to the very planet on which we depend for our existence – we participate in the same energies and are made out of the same ‘stuff’. And in a mysterious way – due to the stage we are now at in our evolutionary journey towards consciousness, we now know everything in this vast universe, in which we float on planet Earth, is similarly connected.  Consequently, recurring earthquakes of the magnitude to which we have all been exposed, can not only destroy our outer landscape, but can expose each of us to what I would call our inner fault-lines, which shake up the inner ground on which we stand upsetting our ‘normal’ psychic, emotional and spiritual stability.  Like huge gaping cracks in our psychic edifice through which pours the disturbed, uncontained unconscious – inner liquefaction!! Each of you will have your own way to ‘be with’ or interpret the deeper significance of what has happened to you over these last few months. Or you may be struggling to find one. Finding meaning in our lives is essential – a life lived without meaning is one of the deepest causes of emotional and psychological turmoil a human being can experience, as each of you will know.  Jung puts it this way: “For thousands of years the mind of human beings has worried about the sick soul, perhaps even earlier than it did about the sick body.  The propitiation of gods, the perils of the soul and its salvation, these are not yesterday’s problems. Religions are psychotherapeutic systems in the truest sense of the word, and on the grandest scale.  They express the whole range of the psychic problem in mighty images; they are the avowal and recognition of the soul, and at the same time the revelation of the soul’s nature. From this universal foundation no human soul is cut off; only the individual consciousness that has lost its connection with the psychic totality remains caught in the illusion that the soul is a small circumscribed area, a fit subject for ‘scientific’ theorizing.  The loss of this great relationship is the prime evil of neurosis.” (4) I still draw meaning from the symbols and rituals of the religious tradition into which I was born – Roman Catholicism – but in a much broader and deeper way than what I inherited – but at this stage in my life, the nature of that belief is vastly different and has been enriched by encounters with other religious traditions – both within Christianity and outside it. Especially Buddhism. Coupled with this I have some slight ‘smatterings’ of understanding about  the extraordinary insights coming from cosmology, archetypal astrology and quantum physics. However, what gives an even deeper insight into all these ‘smatterings’ of inter-connected disciplines, comes from my growing knowledge and experience of Jung’s discoveries of the depth sciences – especially the collective unconscious and the purposeful nature of dreams, symbols and religious rituals in the human psyche. So my processing of recent events is inevitably interpreted in the light of my own meaning ‘structures’. I say this by way of sharing where I am coming from … not in any way seeking to impose that on you!! But all this seemed to disappear on the morning of 4 September! I struggled to find some foothold.  I remembered I had heard an Australian Priest say: “God reveals himself to us in all the events of our life and the revelation is complete when we reflect on these events in the light of the scriptures.” (Gerald Manley – 1973)  Those words have often returned to me. But what event in scripture could inform the horror the earthquake had unleashed in me?  I knew there was only one possibility.  The silent cry on the Cross – Jesus’ cry to his Father “My God, my God why have you abandoned me”. The gospel writer, Matthew interprets the event this way: “At that, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth quaked the rocks were split …  Meanwhile the centurion, together with the others guarding Jesus, had seen the earthquake and all that was taking place and they were terrified and said, ‘in truth this was a Son of God.” Matthew 27:51,53   Except an earthquake didn’t cause his cry.  In a synchronistic way, his cry, his surrender to death –  this archetypal event at the level of the Spirit – caused an equivalent response at the level of Nature – an  earthquake.  These two poles – the world of the Spirit and the world of Nature – synchronistically (5) connected and impacted on each other. It was like the earth went out in sympathy – it paralleled the shocking nature of what was happening at the level of Spirit.  Nature rebelled at what humankind was doing to its Creator. Christ crucified.  Deicide.  There are only a few references to earthquakes in the Christian Scriptures that I am aware of.  I wondered, as I reflected, were the recent earthquakes connected not to Deicide – the death of the Son of God – but to Divine Matricide – the death of Mother Earth? Was the earth in fact reacting to how we have exploited her over the last century?  This may seem a rather far-fetched, esoteric or “New Age” hypothesis, an attempt to soften the experience –   drag some meaning out of an event which many feel has no meaning  – “after all” they say – ‘its just nature.” But if we have time I will share some personal experiences of synchronistic events which seem to suggest something deeper might be happening. The forces we are dealing with are apocalyptic in nature and in some people a parallel experience registers in the psyche, threatening their psychic stability.  It is totally unpredictable.  There is nothing one can do about it.  It is absolutely beyond our control.  That is the worst feature.  Not knowing when and how and with what force it is going to strike. I have also had some prospective-type dreams which only ‘made sense’ in the light of both earthquakes and many of my analysands have had some extraordinary dreams as well.  The outer chaos has acted in many cases, as a powerful and somewhat premature accelerant for change and increased consciousness.  It is a bit like what happened the night of the September 4 earthquake.  A record number of babies were born that night or the next day.  Something like 23 in 24 hours as I recall.  Like Mother Nature was making sure they all got out safely! I think the same thing has been happening on the inner level.  The birth of a new level of consciousness – a more inclusive world-view – is vital if people are going to be able to cope creatively with the outer threat to their current world views, be they religious or philosophical.  And those of us responsible for the process of others need to be even more tuned to what is being demanded of each of us – otherwise it will visit us in the form of negative transference, counter-transference or inexplicable sickness and/or accidents. The fact is that enough conscious individuals need to emerge – be born  – if we and the planet on which we depend for our very existence are to survive. The medieval, metaphysical, dualistic world-view coupled with scientific materialism which has informed the collective’s world-view over the last two centuries, is dying. Needs to die. As does the current ego-driven economic rationalism plaguing our world, a philosophy which denies the existence of anything greater than itself:  which is even insidiously infiltrating vocations like Counselling which take place at a soul level and cannot be quantified, evaluated or rationalized by market forces! The old order has died in Christchurch.  The new one has yet to be constructed.  We are ‘in between stories’ as the cosmologist Thomas Berry said recently.  Edward Edinger, using the Christian myth as a basis for a similar conclusion, once said that we were living in the ‘Holy Saturday of history’. (6) That’s what it has felt like to me as I have walked round the empty tombs of every major Church of every major religious domination in our city – and all the destroyed landscapes and other buildings which have previously held the history and the myth of this city. Two weeks before the 22 February quake I had a prophetic dream.  (Dream) I pondered the demise of all the Churches since the 22 Feb earthquake. I wondered how people will ever get to the spiritual and psychic truths behind these archetypal symbols if they are deprived of the outer rituals and liturgies in which these symbols are most profoundly encountered. I was grateful I had been brought up in a religious tradition and spent many years in a Religious Order – and lived its then somewhat monastic horarium in which these archetypal symbols had been embraced so intensely.  For only now, can I begin to more fully appreciate the inner, psychic truths they embody – a living, dynamic process to be encountered within my own psyche. But how, I ask does one come to this without the outer bridge to the interior which these archetypal symbols provide?  For despite my knowledge, when the Cathedral closed after the 4 September, I realized how much it contained me. – against what?  I do not know.  But slowly and persistently, the earthquakes have collapsed the outer structure – to an extent that now the Cathedral may even have to be demolished – forcing me – reluctantly – to find even more deeply within, the inner meaning of these treasures which the outer structure and symbols contain.  I feel I have been ‘shifted’ ever so subtly and at times violently, into a new level of consciousness, as if something has been waiting to be shifted for some time.  The earthquake has somehow precipitated and completed it. But I am ahead of myself … let me go back to last year … my dreams continued and by late October they were starting to show the impact the earthquakes were having on my psyche and on my physical health generally.  They also showed that although I was being supported; my energy levels were much lower than I realized and a part of me was pushing me to do more. Throughout this time I have had incessant questions – which brought about a sense of panic and increasing terror.  I faced the deepest questions once again.  Who am I? What is my purpose in this world?  What meaning do I have and what meaning do I bring to the world?  Has my existence a meaning?  Is there a purpose to the vastness of the cosmos as we now know it?  And if there isn’t what point my existence?  Any religious, philosophical, psychological belief or system simply didn’t ‘cut it’ anymore.  I felt suspended in a terrible place.  At the same time as this inner destruction was happening, it was being mirrored outside. I watched all the places in Christchurch which held memories of my life, damaged or demolished.  Both my past and my present ‘holy ground’ were being destroyed. I faced into a dark void – a place which made me feel like a terrified child exposed to the impersonal forces of an uncaring and remote universe.  Which reduced me at times to a state of terror and once of inconsolable sobbing.  This was the vulnerable, fragile side of myself – the inner fault-line – which I was so afraid to own and expose – both to myself – and certainly to my colleagues.  After all I’m supposed to be able to help others in this state!  And a voice whispers in my heart – “Physician heal thyself”. I can’t”, I heard myself say. I faced into an empty place – devoid of all meaning and purpose.  At the same time I knew that these feelings were the only real ‘truth’ I could trust.  All other systems, theories, beliefs were simply ‘translations’ of reality.   Images.  It took my Buddhist friend and colleague in Zurich to remind me, that the first commandment in the Old Testament forbade images!  “I am the Lord Thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before Me”.  I have attempted to live my life according to many ‘translations’ supported by many ‘images’ – all attempts to make sense of, create images of the Great Unknown, the Holy Mystery.   She also spoke to me about the Void – or the Nothing that holds us behind all the images.  As she spoke I was very aware that all the great mystics within Christianity had also written about the experience of the Nothing: Meister Eckhart; the unknown author of the Cloud of Unknowing; John of the Cross; Teresa of Avila and in recent times, Evelyn Underhill and Thomas Merton. How did I cope? With great difficulty but primarily by clinging to what I knew ‘professionally’ and from previous experience – trusting, hoping – that the feelings were purposeful – even though I was terrified. That if I remained with them they would take me to a different place. I also trusted that whatever I needed would be given.  It came in many different guises: my husband, a close friend, books, resting a lot more, just being with what was without wishing it would go away or ‘get better’. I also found a strange solace by continuing to go to Mass – even though I felt bereft and strangely distant from it. It was the sacred music which contained me. And I remembered what Don Whelan Music Director of the Cathedral Choir and Orchestra had said not long after 4 September “Music, unlike art or buildings, is infinitely renewable.” Paradoxically, I felt quite calm when I was working with others.  In hindsight I think because I was consciously working with what was happening to me, I was more able to be with others without my process getting in the way.  Not that I didn’t succumb to some counter-transference issues once or twice! 11 September 2010 I read Bede Griffiths book “The Marriage of East and West’ – and realized that even though my belief structures had collapsed with the earthquake, there must be a Mystery behind all the forces of Nature. But how could there be – Nature was so huge.  Then I realized that one self-reflecting human being was more significant than all of created matter because they knew it existed.  And somehow something ‘clicked’.  All that ‘stuff’ had an energy whose ultimate goal was human consciousness.  All religious rituals, beliefs, symbols, images were attempts to ritualize, make conscious, come to grips with that inner process by which we are connected to the Whole – and within that painful evolutionary journey – become more and more aware of this Holy Mystery, this divine presence, Sacred Centre, the Nothing: the ‘Divine Milieu’ as the French Jesuit Paleontologist, Teilhard de Chardin described it. (7) So what was happening?  It was not so much a fear that the earth no longer supported me as I initially felt, but more like an inner shattering of all previous world-views – all were reduced to rubble and found lacking.  I was being forced, rather brutally, to look even more deeply inside – and more paradoxically, look outside – but in a new way. For nights after the September 4 quake I had broken sleep punctuated with ongoing ‘after-shocks’ – each shock sending a rush of adrenalin through my body, causing extremely high blood pressure and a pounding pulse-rate. There was nothing I could do to stop it. In the beginning, nothing would comfort me or make  me feel secure.  There was a blankness and a silence in the face of Nature’s violence. I found myself reaching for my Mother’s Rosary Beads – the pair of Irish Greenhorn beads which I associate with her for as far back as I can remember.  I held them in my right hand and tried to sleep. They were the only thing which gave me any sense of security.  The fact that her hands had held these beads through her long years of life and journey into death, somehow said that if anyone was beyond time and space, she would be the one who would take care of me and keep me safe.  I held on to them for about four nights. My deepest experience has been that of profound silence in the face of something too big for me to comprehend – yet somehow I also knew I needed to let go ‘the need to know’. Even this 7.1 earthquake paled into insignificance before the might of planet earth itself, let alone the vast cosmos in which this solitary planet is but a speck of sand.  What or Who is the Author of such vastness?  And how can that Who or What be remotely interested in me?  Does my life and does Life itself have an ultimate  meaning and if it doesn’t, then what is the purpose of my existence? These were the questions which uncovered the fault-lines in my own psyche – shattered the ways I had previously made sense of my life – and thrust me not into outer chaos, but inner.  It was like an experience of cosmic agoraphobia.  Too much space and too much of everything. At some point I thought of John Mattern, my first analyst.  I remembered talking to him about being overwhelmed by the immensity of the universe. He had said ‘you are allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by the immensity of matter – and forgetting psyche’.  At the time (1993) I didn’t really understand what he was saying. But as I began contemplating my ‘cosmic agoraphobia’ I gradually became aware that the fact I was conscious of the immensity of what I was a part of, was actually of greater significance than the cosmos of which I was aware.  I realized then, that human consciousness, was the crowning point of evolution – and that all matter – all that exists in creation – converged, and continues to converge in one direction only – the ongoing evolution of human consciousness. Towards what Teilhard de Chardin called the “Omega point”. The fear and the agoraphobia have not totally diminished, but somehow I know that being aware – being conscious of what I am afraid of is more ‘immense’, more significant than the immensity of matter itself which was threatening to destabilize me psychically and emotionally. I was immensely comforted by Bede Griffiths’ book during this time. Phrases like Ultimate Reality, Mystery, The Vastness and the Void started to describe much more accurately what I was experiencing – more than any of the religious or psychological paths I had walked to date. He said things which I already knew, but didn’t.  Like the paths were just that, paths.  Not an end in themselves. That each great religious tradition was a face – an image of the Ultimate Reality which is finally beyond description. That Jesus Christ embodied in his life and being the destiny of every human being viz the marriage within each person of the human and the divine.  That in a unique way, he experienced  the truth of the inner presence of the Divine Ground, that he called ‘Abba’ – residing in the depths of our interior. Suddenly, without warning, being committed to Catholicism and my vocation as a Jungian Analyst, seemed to fall away.  None of them ‘did it’ completely.  Nor do I now think, they are meant to.  They are all paths, symbols – ‘bridges towards an unseen shore.”  But in the ‘falling away’ something different was returned. My particular religious tradition is still a valid path for me – even more so – despite all its human failures. I have simply seen a little bit further along the bridge than I used to, but I don’t yet quite know what it is that I have ‘seen’.  I am also acutely aware that what I have ‘seen’ is still very elusive and can slip from sight. Final Thoughts While reading Richard Tarnas’ book Cosmos and Psyche (8) this afternoon and looking out into my garden, I became even more aware of the source of my ‘cosmic agoraphobia’ and the dualism still subtly lodged in my thinking.  It was as if I was trying to come to terms with Something or Someone ‘outside’ of the Cosmos who was its source and who had created it.  Set it in motion.  An old, metaphysical, mechanistic, medieval world-view: instead of seeing that the cosmos itself is an unending vessel in which the Soul of the Universe resides and has been evolving into human consciousness over light years.  Suddenly I looked outside differently.  Not only was I physically part of what I contemplated; my soul, my consciousness, my ‘self’ was connected to the World Soul – the Unus Mundus which informed it all. The inner fault-line through which this new awareness had been painfully born, somehow had its origin in the experience of a little girl – myself – whose mother had nearly died giving birth to my brother. Her near death had caused a terrible fear of abandonment – of death and loss – of floating endlessly in an alien universe, against which I defended myself by developing a life-long capacity to somehow cope with whatever life ‘threw at me.’ Somehow that two-and-half-year-old decided that her life’s task was to take responsibility, probably for everything! but especially for her mother – to ‘make it all better – or something terrible would happen’. It was only when something ‘terrible’ did happen – totally beyond and outside my control or capacity to ‘make it all better’ – like a 7.1. earthquake!! that Something, Someone much greater could begin to break through. And in its dark, frightening, but somehow compelling presence, I returned once again to Teilhard de Chardin’s experience and found the same words tentatively rising in my heart as it did in his: “ego sum noli timere” – ‘It is I, do not be afraid’. John 6:16-21  (9) In that moment I gave thanks for the faith of my ancestors, particularly my mother and father, who initiated me into Catholicism – the heart of which gives ultimate meaning to trauma, suffering – particularly of the innocent – and death. And I also give thanks for all those whom life has placed on my path – enabling me to find meaning in my life and support for my inner fault-lines!!  And ramifications thereof!! Finally – in the midst of my reflections I came across an extract from an anonymous letter written in the 15th century which seems to say all I have attempted to say – and more. I have entitled it “Thou Silent Cry.” O deeply buried treasure, how wilt thou be unearthed? O elevated nobility, who can reach thee? O rushing fountain, who can drain thee? O luminous radiance, power that breaks forth, Hiddenness laid bare, security that is hidden, assuring confidence, harmonious stillness in all things, manifold good in the silence of concord, thou silent cry, no one can find thee who knows not how to let thee go.  (10) Thank you. NOTES (1)     Found on the home-page of the Irish Psychoanalytic website. (2)     “Now a great sign appeared in heaven; a woman, adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with the twelve stars on her head with a crown.  She was pregnant, and in labour, crying aloud in the pangs of childbirth.  Then a second sign appeared in the sky, a huge red dragon  … it stopped in front of the woman as she was having the child, so that he could eat it as soon as it was born from its mother.  The woman brought a male child into the world, the son who was to rule all the world with an iron scepter, and the child was taken straight up to God and to his throne, while the woman escaped into the desert, where God had made a place of safety ready, for her to be looked after in the twelve hundred and sixty days”.  (Revelation 12:1-6) (3)       Teilhard de Chardin’s The Divine Milieu P.76-80 especially p.78 (4)     Carl Jung, Collected Works 10:367 (5)     Synchronicity A term coined by Jung to designate the meaningful coincidence or equivalence (a)     of a psychic and physical state or event which have no causal relationship to one another. (b)     if similar or identical thoughts, dreams etc occurring at the same time at different places.  Neither the one nor the other coincidence can be explained by causality, but seem to be connected primarily with activated archetypal processes in the unconscious. Jung writes: “My preoccupation with the psychology of unconscious processes long ago compelled me to look about for another principle of explanation, because the causality principle seemed to me inadequate to explain certain remarkable phenomena of the psychology of the unconscious.  Thus I found that there are psychic parallelisms which cannot be related to each other causally, but which must be connected through another principle, namely the contingency of events.  This connection of events seemed to me essentially given by the fact of their relative simultaneity, hence the term ‘synchronistic’. “It seems indeed, as though time, far from being an abstraction, is a concrete continuum which contains qualities or basic conditions that manifest themselves simultaneously through parallelisms that cannot be explained causally, as for example, in cases of the simultaneous occurrence of identical thoughts, symbols or psychic states.” (The Secret of the Golden Flower pp 142 following – modified) …. “Synchronicity is no more baffling or mysterious than the discontinuities of physics. It is only the ingrained belief in the sovereign power of causality that creates intellectual difficulties and makes it appear unthinkable that causal events exist or could ever occur … Their inexplicability is not due to the fact that the cause is unknown, but to the fact that a cause is not even thinkable in intellectual terms”. (Ibid pp 518 ff) Extracts from the Glossary of Memories, Dreams, Reflections, P.418-419 Collins Fount Paperbacks 1977 (6)     Edward Edinger, P.119 The Christian Archetype   (7)     After his horrendous experience of war through his chaplaincy in the trenches of the First World War, Teilhard de Chardin describes the process of evolution this way: “Seen from the viewpoint of our human experience and drawn to our human scale, the world is an immense groping, an immense enterprise, an immense attack; its progress is made at the price of much failure and many wounds.  The sufferers, no matter to what species they belong, are the expressions of this austere but noble condition.  They pay for the forward progress and the victory of all”. … “The Cross is the symbol of this arduous labour of evolution, rather than a symbol of expiation.” Teilhard de Chardin; Pensees Number 4 (8)     www.cosmosandpsyche.com/AuthorInterviews.php (9)     The following is a contemporary reflection by Lionel Corbett on this process, reflective of Teilhard de Chardin’s insights in Note 6 above. “… our emotional (and physical) suffering always contains an element of the divine.  The archetype at the centre of our complex, no matter how painful, is this element, (the divine); so there is no escape from the numinosum (divine presence) at the core of our difficulty. This is why the Self images which appear to us always contain elements of our deepest needs and fears.  If the divine is never further away than our suffering, then our suffering becomes the beginning of our spirituality.  Any attempt to develop spiritual techniques that do not penetrate and understand suffering, run the risk of avoiding the sacred itself.” P.51 Lionel Corbett, The Religious Function of the Psyche Brunner-Routledge 1996 (10)    Sited by Dorothee Soelle in the frontpiece of her book The Silent Cry – Mysticism and Resistance, 2001 Fortress Press, Minneapolis Copyright 2011 Joy Ryan-Bloore   Joy Ryan-Bloore (High Dip Tchg, Dip Theol (Undergraduate), BA, Dip Analytical Psychology) is a Jungian Analyst and Psychotherapist working in private practice in Christchurch. In 1993-1997 she trained at the C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich together with her husband Allan, and complemented her analytical training with body therapy. She has been a member of the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists since 1984; is a member of the International Assn of Analytical Psychologists; and an Executive Member of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Jungian Analysts. She has a particular interest in the inter-face of psychological and spiritual development and since her return from Zurich has facilitated ecumenical retreats and seminars for people in New Zealand and Australia, particularly in Melbourne and Perth. Earlier in her life she was a Religious Teaching Sister with the Sisters of Mercy working for 18 years as a primary and secondary school teacher in Christchurch. Her current work involves psychotherapy, and/or Jungian Analysis with specific attention to dreams; and supervision of Counsellors, Teachers, Spiritual Directors, Psychiatric Nurses and Social Workers.   Contact Details Phone +64 3 389 6010  Email ryanbloore@xtra.co.nz

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“Stone” – A Film Analysis

The movie “Stone” directed by John Curran, dropped like one from the theater marquees before you anyone knew it and so when I ask anyone of they have seen the film, the answer is “Oh yea! What happened to that one? I saw the trailer and that was it.”  So “Stone” will be remembered for its trailer which is misleading anyway.   In fact, “Stone” sneaks up on you and catches you off guard.  If you expect something plot driven with action and a high speed chase forget it. Instead, it is a film about transformation of character based on archetypal elements. Edward Norton plays a convict, as he has done before, but this time he portrays a man seemingly struggling with his dual nature, the sacred and profane, or is he?.  He is intent on manipulating Jack into freeing him on parole or contributing to his release. But in the process of struggling to understand his nature, the part of him that could allow his grandparents to be brutally murdered and then burn down their home, begins struggling to reach consciousness and Stone discovers an obscure religious teaching that teaches him about moving through stages in life.  Stone’s wife is played by Milla Jovovich.  Jack Mabry is played by Robert DiNero and Stone is played by Edward Norton.  Jack Mabry is a man tightly wrapped in a life hanging from a thread. Stone begins to work on Jack by asking him questions about whether he has the right to judge anyone, has he never done anything wrong? His life is being honed by Stone and by these questions that begin working on Jack and begin to wear him down.  He is wearing his ego down, weakening his fixed stance against the world.  Jack does not know his particular view of the world has died and is decaying and makes him vulnerable to someone like Stone who provides him a different pedagogy to his Episcopalian upbringing.  Stone knows Jack’s life is meaningless.  Stone’s accomplice is is his wife.  Stone and Lucetta (which means light) remind us of Elijah and Salome for Jung.  Lucetta seduces Jack sexually and Stone seduces him intellectually by making him doubt his life.  Jack was long overdue for such a change in life.  There is much in his life he needs to come to terms with including his marriage to his wife, played by Francis Conroy, the mother in the HBO series written by Alan Ball called Six Feet Under.  This is a Faustian tale and Jack, just like Faust, thought he had everything figured out.  But also like Faust Jack Mabry is dead from the neck down.  There is no passion in him and early in his marriage his wife tries to leave him because he keeps her “…soul in a dungeon” but Jack threatens to kill their child if she ever left him. Their marriage is coerced and the only two things that sustain it are alcohol and religion, both of which they consume on a daily basis.  In fact, the only intimacy between them is in reciting prayers and sharing drinks with each other. There is a scene in  Goethe’s Faust, before Faust is given the gift of youth as part of his agreement with Mephistopheles, when his companion shares with him a natural way to youth that doesn’t require witch’s brew and potions. Mephistopheles suggests he work the “yonder fields” with the ox, as an ox and spread manure and reap the benefits of the earth.  Faust would have none of this for he is a learned man, not a common worker.   The part of Faust that is unlived is his instinctual nature, connected to the earth.  His passionate side remains in shadow deadening Faust’s outlook on life now in middle age.  He never married, never was with a woman, never had children.  Jung once said between Faust and Mephistopheles he thought the latter much more interesting than the dead cerebral Faust. In fact, Mephistopheles is Faust’s shadow and as his life is destroyed in taking his guidance, he also finds salvation. If Stone is Jack’s shadow figure then Lucetta is Jack’s anima figure.  Lucetta connects him to his own instinctual nature again over which he now seems to have no control. This is his nature he denied his wife their whole marriage.  But by sleeping with Lucetta he has broken every law to which he clinged his whole life and career.  In a way Stone and Jack were shadow to each other. Each honed their character off the stone of the other.  Jack unforgiving, inflexible approach to his life required a conflagration and Stone’s chaotic drug-bathed unreasonable and unreasoned life required the discipline and Logos to bring order out of disorder.  As Jack descended into chaos after meeting Stone, Stone arose from it. When Jack begins his descent he goes to his church minister for advice who tells him to remember what is in the Holy Scriptures, “Be still and know that I am God”.  The minister suggests that Jack needs to listen and that God works in mysterious ways.  This stillness is what Stone is searching for himself.  There is the incessant chaotic noise in prison that is parallel to the incessant noise Jack experiences with the radio talk shows discussing religion and God and righteous pathways and the sinfulness of human nature.  Jack has been listening to these voices for years just as Stone has been listening to his prison soundtrack for years and both now are becoming unbearable for each. Even the sensual and sensate Lucetta struggles with these changes Stone is going through and at one point feels left out of the lives of both men as they come to terms with each other. There is some symbolism to the sounds in the film that cut through the chaos as one sustained sound of consciousness which we choose we listen to or not.  It is the sound of the insect that is extinguished when Jack threatens to kill his daughter.  It is the sound Jack hears perhaps for the first time at the end of the film before he turns his gaze above.  It is the sound that Stone tried to discern from the chaos in the prison.  It is also the sound that Jack cannot hear over the din of the religious rhetoric on the radio. I began this review on the anniversary of September 11th and felt it was fitting that a film that is about self-reflection, self-transformation through coming to terms with our own shadow and reminding us of the work we have to do.  If we only mourn the loss of life on this 10 year anniversary we would have short-circuited the process of self-examination which would serve better those who died on that day and since.   Faust did not do the hard work needed to expand his life and consciousness; he did not take his shadow’s advice and work the fields.  He chose the short cut and that was his downfall.  That is our downfall.  And as for the film, we are not sure at the end who or how the characters are transformed but as Stone suggests “Let it burn, let the whole thing burn” and Jack’s life does burn up.  In alchemy fire is represented as the calcinatio which is a purification process by firing elements down to their purest form. It results from prolonged frustration of desires unfulfilled.  Jack blames Stone for his own house burning down at the end of the film but there is reason to suspect his wife who felt she was acting out the will of God. Perhaps the reviews were right, what starts out as a film noir complete with anti-heroes and sexy dame is unraveled by the end in ambiguity and paradox.  “The paradox is that what they try to subvert in “Stone” — namely, your viewing habits — are intrinsic to your enjoyment of the movie.” (New York Times)   So amidst the din of high-budgeted, high-tech sound and fury films waiting to assault us this Oscar season, “Stone” requires we ponder a little bit about ourselves and how we may be transformed by the simplest, quietest, easily dismissible sound or image.   It requires us to listen very closely.  At the very end of the film Jack has gathered his belongings at work and is preparing to leave for retirement, his life now in shambles, the only role he knew was as a parole officer, as a judge of other men’s lives, to begin a journey in which, we suspect, he begins to rebuild his own life , a more complete and conscious man.  So as the film “Stone” falls fast and hard from our collective memory it hits the sidewalk not with a bang, but a whimper. – Daniel Ross

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Architecture of the Soul: Inner and Outer Structures of C. G. Jung

On February 4, 2011, Dr. Murray Stein will present a conference together with Andreas Jung, in collaboration with the Asheville Jung Center titled “Architecture of the Soul: Inner and Outer Structures of C. G. Jung”. Andreas Jung is an architect whose father and great uncle were also architects.  He is a graduate of Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ) and currently lives in the home on Seestrasse. C. G. Jung was intimately involved in the design of this home and attended to such things as the cladding upon the walls that provided deeply niched windows and lovely inset glass cabinets in the dining room.  Andreas Jung authors two very personal chapters and serves as the co-editor of the book. Arthur Rüegg, a professor of architecture at ETHZ, opens one of the chapter titled “Living in a Museum?” with the following rendering: The house of Carl Gustav Jung is without a doubt the physical expression of a great mind. In 1906, while still “an impecunious assistant medical director at the Burghölzi mental home in Zürich”, Jung wrote to his cousin, architect Ernst Fietcher, of his plans “… to build a house someday, in the country near Zürich, on the lake”.  It was the untimely death of Emma Jung’s father that allowed the couple to build the home.   The Jungs worked closely with the architect and landscape architects on the design. Three generations of Jung’s have lived in this home that is now owned by a foundation (Stiftung C. G. Jung Küsnacht).  Two of those generations of inhabitants were “…families who could read these traces and respectfully carry on the tradition.” (p 90). The history of the house and it’s renovations is crisply and artfully presented. What emerges from the pages of  The House of C. G. Jung is a portrait of an intentional man who demonstrated an uncanny ability to move between the worlds of the mythopoetic interior life and the tangible, concrete realms.  It should be no surprise that the man who constructed the Tower at Bollingen would have built a home worthy of memorializing.   Jung gave attention to details such as wall hangings, tile selection and placement of the rooms where he conducted analysis so as not to displace Emma from the library and interfere with her work. The chapter “Living in a museum?” reads like a patient’s anamnesis as it reviews the homes history and developmental influences.  The reader is reminded that homes, like organic things, change and adapt to their circumstances and their inhabitants.  Despite several major renovations through the last century, the respect and regard for the original home was preserved.  The home is a testament to what concentrated self-examination and openness to the individuation process can produce.  It is the biography of a house that is no less impressive for what it reveals or the man who built it. Architecture and psychology are first cousins.  Consider a few quotes assembled from several renown architects. “Space and light and order.  Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep.”  Le  Corbusier “The home should be the treasure chest of living.”  Le Corbusier “Buildings, too, are children of Earth and Sun.”  Frank Lloyd Wright Form follow function – that has been misunderstood.  Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”  Frank Lloyd Wright “Freedom is from within.” Frank Lloyd  Wright “The heart is the chief feature of a functioning mind.” Frank Lloyd Wright “Architecture is the will of the epoch translated into structure.” Ludwig Miles van der Rohe Invitation:  The house that “you” built Take a moment to consider the space you inhabit, whether it is a home, office, apartment, or just a room.  Examine it for details that reflect aspects of your interior life.  Where do you see function pronouncing itself and where does aesthetic seem to announce itself?  Examine the space for signs and signifiers of your individuated self and for signs of where your individuation is ensnared in its effort to emerge. Compose a work of your own that reflects the house you have built.  If you feel so moved, please share those reflections with others in our community by posting a comment on this blog. If you are planning to attend the seminar on February 4, “Architecture of the Soul: Inner and Outer Structures of C. G. Jung”. then this exercise might be a useful preparation, like tilling the soil before the planting. Len Cruz, MD
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Eating “The Book of Symbols”

The Asheville Jung Center would like to thank Thomas Singer, M.D. for allowing us to republish his captivating review of The Book of Symbols in our blog.
(Thomas Singer, M.D. is a psychiatrist and Jungian psychoanalyst with particular interests in contemporary political and social movements. He has written and/or edited several books including the newly published Psyche and the City: A Soul’s Guide to the Modern Metropolis (editor) which has been published by Spring Book Publications, The Cultural Complex (co-edited with Sam Kimbles), The Vision Thing, Who’s the Patient Here? (with Stu Copans, M.D.) and A Fan’s Guide to Baseball Fever: The Official Medical Reference (with Stu Copans, M.D.).
The publication of The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images is the child of an unlikely marriage between ARAS, a hidden gem of an archive, with Taschen, the daring and brilliant world wide publisher of fine art books. The union of ARAS and Taschen is not so strange when one realizes that both organizations are passionate about depth and beauty. Each is willing to spend the time, money, and human energy to bring a unique vision into the world. The result is a gorgeous bargain of a book which follows in the ground breaking tradition of C.G. Jung’s Man and His Symbols. For most of its seventy five year history, branches of what is now known as ARAS (The Archives for Research in Archetypal Symbolism) have pursued its mission in relative obscurity, hidden away in the filing cabinets of a handful of Jungian Institutes. A few years ago, ARAS created ARAS Online by digitizing its collection of 17,000 images and 90,000 pages of cultural and psychological commentary. ARAS Online and its free quarterly ARAS Connections offer stunning public access to the archive. The Book of Symbols is the newest and richest offering of ARAS which is now sharing its treasures and wisdom with the world. The publication of the book represents the culmination of a fourteen year effort by a large team of collaborators who were led by Ami Ronnberg and Kathleen Martin. The emergence of ARAS into more public arenas has caught the eye of both the Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal. In August, 2010 Arianna Huffington turned to ARAS Online to help understand the symbolic power of Sarah Palin’s identification with the mother bear. And just a few weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal reported with some fascination on the ARAS approach to the archetypal world of images! This is astonishing because ARAS has about as much to do with financial markets as the great German mystic, Meister Eckhart, does with the derivative bond market. According to C. G. Jung “psyche is image” and The Book of Symbols is all about the evocative power of images to move us in profound and mysterious ways. Most books of symbols manage to kill the symbol by reducing it to simplistic equations. The Book of Symbols moves in just the opposite direction by allowing the living symbol to shine through poetic evocations of beautifully chosen images. It follows the lead of Eckhart who taught us that “When the soul wants to experience something she throws out an image in front of her and then steps into it.” The mission of ARAS is to collect and research examples of archetypal symbolism from every culture and every age. For example, if you go to ARAS Online and select “snake”, you will get the following “cultural time line” which displays by culture and age every image in the collection related to “snake”: 2010-12-13-snaketimeline.jpg The Book of Symbols follows this principle of using images from around the world and every era to explore a symbol. Here is a small sampling of images and shortened, accompanying text offered in The Book of Symbols: 1. Creation and Cosmos: Passing through the Fire of Purgatory, manuscript illustration from Dante’s Divine Comedy 15th century C.E. 2010-12-13-image1copy.jpg “In myth and in reality, fire sometimes merely destroys, but often destroys so that from the purified residue or ashy essences a new world may come into being.” 2. Plant World: Pine Trees, detail, by Hasegawa Tohaku, screen. 16th Century C.E. 2010-12-13-image2copy.jpg “With a few brushstrokes, a Japanese painter conveys the strong, standing presence of pines amid the grey mists of winter. Associated with Confucias and the Taoist immortals, the pine is a favorite subject of Chinese and Japanese painters and poets. Because of its hardiness and the fact that it retains its green leaves even through the winter, the pine has become a symbol of long life, immortality, constancy, courage, strength in adversity, and steadfastness unaffected by the blows of nature.” 3. Animal World: The Ba or soul bird from the Book of the Dead of Tehenena, 18th dynasty (ca. 1550-1295 B.C.E.) Egypt 2010-12-13-image3copy.jpg “In our desire for boundless freedom, we identify ourselves with the flight of birds. In our imagination, we transcend the ordinary world by leaving the earth and the weight of the body. Wings lift us.” 4. Human World: The Bleeding Heart (Lamb of God) anonymous, oil on tin, 19th century, Mexico 2010-12-13-image4copy.jpg “Stop the flow of your words, open the window of your heart and let the spirit speak.” Rumi 5. Spirit World: Rock Painting by San Bushmen, South Africa 2010-12-13-image5copy.jpg “In the very earliest time, when both people and animals lived on earth, a person could become an animal if he wanted to and an animal could become a human being. Sometimes they were people and sometimes animal and there was no difference. All spoke the same language. That was the time when words were like magic. The human mind had mysterious power. ….. Nobody could explain this: That’s the way it was.” Translated from Innuit by Edward Field In the early stages of creating The Book of Symbols, one of the contributors dreamt of the emerging book in the following way:
“I am in a library, looking in a reference book. The first page is ‘A’ which has a listing for ‘apricots’ — except the apricots are real and I can take them off the page, put them on a plate and eat them. A man next to me is looking at the entry for ‘beans’ under B and he can do the same thing with the beans.”
Many readers of The Book of Symbols are finding this prophetic dream to be true as they partake of the book as an unexpected and magical feast of living symbols that they can ingest. About the phenomena of the edible book, one can only follow the lead of the Inuit poet and say:Nobody can explain this: That’s the way it is.
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Facing Multiplicity 2010 IAAP Congress in Montreal

The International Association for Analytical Psychology’s 2010 Congress in Montreal titled “facing Multiplicity” opened its regular session yesterday.   The world appears to be facing countless tensions arising not only from diversity but the ease with which diverse forces encounter one another in the modern world.  A survey of the speaker’s topics offers a glimpse of the ideas being explored during the Congress.  There are presentations dealing with psyche, nature, and culture.  Carlo Melodia will present today on disassociation and individuation in Pirandello’s One, No-one, One Thousand.  (In Italian)  Tomorrow, Diedre Johnson speaks on “Are the Anima and Animus Worth Salvaging? gender, the ‘Erotic Other’ and the Notion of Versatility”.  “Psychotherapy in a Globalizing World”, “Healing in a Multicultural World” (a panel), “Emergent Psychic Process”, Sustaining Earth,  Sustaining Soul”, Nature or Nurture: Individuation within the Web of Relations in the Universe of Gaia” are some of the titles that caught my attention. If you are not familiar with the IAAP’s website I urge you to visit at www.iaap.org You will find articles and other resources of interest. Len Cruz, MD

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