Posts Tagged ‘collective unconscious’

COALESCING OF AN ENANTIODROMIA

Collective Values In the Cadillac-Ford Ad War

Len Cruz

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

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

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


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

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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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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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Putting Aside Childish Things: Enantiodromia From Ancient Israel to the 2012 Presidential Election

Some of Barak Obama’s original supporters have grown disenchanted. The depth of disappointment moved inversely with the collective appetite to make him a king and savior savior during the 2008 election cycle. The combined effects of the economic maelstrom that began in 2008 and collective, infantile hopes are now apparent in the rabid disappointment.  The impulse to select a scapegoat is understandable. What, if any, insights does archetypalal psychology offer during the upcoming United States election cycle? Obama burst on the national scene out of nowhere galvanizing the US electorate and people in other countries.  He was vested him with symbolic, transformative qualities that few leaders achieve.  Dr Tom Singer proposed suggests Obama carried the “transcendent function” for our collective psyche.   Obama’s own mixed heritage of  Caucasian and African American, Christian with a Muslim background, Ivy league educated but upwardly mobile with humble roots made him a suitable figure to bear the transcendent function.  Candidate Barack Hussein Obama was a lightning rod whose power arced through the electorate and through people across the planet in almost palpable ways. A security guard looks out over the crowd gathered to hear the address by US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama in front of the Victory Column in Berlin Howver,President Barack Obama inherited an economy mired in debt, slow growth, and unforeseen consequences that resulted from complex investment schemes that went awry.  The confluence of these forces and our collective hopes for deliverance are now exposing the enantiodromia present in the prersent-day political fervor.  The pall upon the age of American expansionism (some prefer imperialism) is made worse by the naive hopes we projected upon the man who would be king.  Something shifted and the choruses of “yes we can”, reminiscent of Reagan’s  “it’s morning in America”, began to sound like a vengeful mob. The Old Testament prophet warned of the perils of turning away from Yahweh in favor of a king (1 Samuel 8).  The nation of Israel wanted a leader, they wanted to be like other nations. Samuel issued one final warning (1 Samuel 12:14) “If God’s people will remain faithful to God’s Commandments” and if they would preserve Yaweh as their ruler, God would do great things.  Samuel proclaimed that God’s people must not abdicate their responsibility simply because a king had been appointed. Modern history offers another example in the rise and fall of the Third Reich.  The collective despair of a defeated Germanic people, burdened with impossible war reparations, was transformed by a charismatic leader who restored hope and purpose. The degree to which the German people invested exaggerated hopes in their Fürher (leader) correlated with their subsequent disappointment and shame. Let me be clear, I am not asserting a link between Obama and Hitler, but others have.  I am proposing that collectively charismatic figures activate complex tendencies to project the wish for deliverance and the fear of evil rulership. Time and again we witness how unbridled hope precedes a fall.  When emotional investment in being “saved” crests, like it did in 2008, we should prepare to be overtaken by a trough of disappointment.  From Heraclitus to Jung this principle of enantiodromia reappears again and again.  The pendulum swings swings back, again and again.  Here, archetypal psychology offers guidance through the recognition that collective influences are at play and through the possibilities provided by the transcendent function. Obama became an icon, one who delivers.  Yeshua, a name used by Messianic Jews and certain Christian sects in place of Jesus, means “one who delivers“.  Strains of this run throughout Judeo-Christian culture and the Western tradition.  While the the duties of the President of the United States allowed Obama to place his hands on some of the levers of this world, his election did not imbue him with Yahweh’s power.  It barely equipped him to play a convincing Oz.  The last 2 1/2 years of proven that he neither governs the world nor can he  (or anyone) sustain the illusion of such a reign. Perhaps some of the malaise and disappointment being expressed can be accounted to Obama but such disappointment can also become an invitation to recover the extreme projections we placed on him.   Perhaps we can admit our role in the outcome.  Instead of placing the sin of naive, exaggerated hopes upon a scapegoat (President Obama) let advance a more transcendent, individuated perspective.  Let’s admit the part we play in this and similar political dramas. Regardless of one’s political leanings, the tendency to project hopes on a “führer” leader contributes to the subsequent clamor and complaint.   We’ve yet to learn this lesson.  Our individual work can help us pull the reins when exaggerated hopes of deliverance surge.  And when our exaggerated anger and disappointment surges we can remember that we paved the way.  Archetypal psychology frames these dramas at the personal and collective levels.  Here we a Jungian perspective has something timely and universal to offer. I invite you to watch the conference on President Obama that was placed on sale this weekend in light of the current election cycle.  Look for examples in the present race to select a Republican candidate of the impulse to project exaggerated hopes on successive individual candidates first Palin, then Bachman, and most recently Perry.  Consider that with each overstated hope emerges the seed of later disappointment.  Then consider how these outer narratives can in-“form” a more integrated, mature engagement with the world and politics. Don’t miss the sale (http://ashevillejungcenter.org/dvd-store/40-off-dvd-sales/) To candidate Obama I hope he can maintain sobriety. May he be mindful of Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer ” God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”. Those who cherish archetypal psychology might become purveyors of a new “golden mean” stirred by the cause of integration and individuation.  Share your thoughts with others (in this blog) and elsewhere in the months ahead. – Len Cruz, MD

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The Alchemy of the Black Swan: Nina’s Magnum Opus

Len’s posting last week about the film the Black Swan addresses not only an aspect of the protagonist’s nature, the pursuit of perfection, but it also reflect’s our society’s addiction to perfection. We not only want perfection, we want a shortcut to get there. Over the last few months postings on this blog regarding the Black Swan reveal many different aspects of the film that have touched many people.  Here are a few of the comments: Cynthia commented “Throughout the whole movie we are never sure what is “real”, there is a constant weaving of images from Nina’s internal and external worlds. Nina was under the spell of her mother’s unlived life and needed to breakaway and begin her own life process.”   Constance Myslek-McFadden commented: “To me, the movie was one of the most brilliant, beautiful, psychologically and emotionally accurate and evocative movies I’ve ever seen. I loved it!”   David Pressault commented: I found that the years of training in an aesthetic that is so far removed from the natural tendencies of the body often results in one loosing some basic connection to certain instincts. In a sense, the connection to our body as the animal part of us, so often is lost in ballet training. We will be discussing the Black Swan from many perspectives on Friday. I welcome your thoughts and ideas about what you would like to discuss as there is so much archetypal material from which to draw.  I will be incorporating more of the fascinating and intelligent comments posted on our two blog postings on this film.  The commenters provided varied backgrounds in therapy as well as dance and brought a  richness to the discussion that was brilliant and provocative.  I look forward to that same liveliness and level of participation at Friday’s seminar. If nothing else the Black Swan got us to discuss how a film like this can move us.  The reactions of many to this film were often extreme. Some really loved it and some were repulsed by it, but I did not hear anyone say it was boring or average. We are also fortunate to have a second presenter, Michael DeMeritt, join us.  Michael has been a producer, writer & director on numerous film and television projects over the last 20 years. He is a member of the Director’s Guild of America and has served as assistant director on such well known series as LA Law, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise. He has won numerous awards including an Emmy recognition certificate for special effects and currently resides in Los Angeles.  Michael will be adding another dimension to the film analysis, namely an inside perspective on film making. Why has there been so much written about this film?  Why does it provoke such polar and polarizing reactions?  Why do some of us love this film and why do so many of us hate it?  Let’s find out.  Let’s dive into the archetypal themes of the dark feminine, twinship, the shadow and anima/animus. Let’s look into the film from an alchemical perspective to understand the nature of transformation and finally let’s compare this film to Jung’s real life confrontation with the unconscious as described in the Red Book. I look forward to Friday and I hope you can join us. - Dan Ross (Seminar Presenter) [Click here for Registration Page on Upcoming Seminar]

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Fall Conference in New Mexico: “Civilization in Transition”

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  – Proverbs

Civilization in Transition:

Jungian Presence in Creative World Change.

Carl Jung foresaw a change in world order that he believed was a “spiritual transformation” in civilization. Aware of both its dangers and positive potential, he spoke of it in Civilization in Transition, part of which is paraphrased as follows: Humankind’s process of spiritual transformation cannot be hurried by rational process; but it is within our reach to change those who influence others. Those with insight into their own actions and access to the unconscious involuntarily influence their environment, not by persuading or teaching, but through an effect that pre-industrial peoples call “mana,” an influence on the unconscious of others… (CW X, para 583) The Foundation for International Training will meet in November for penetrating dialog about changes we face in the 21st century. We invite you to join us as we explore what these changes mean and the influence the Jungian community might have in promoting growth rather than destruction, hope rather than despair. In our world divided, there is a fractious split between old religious concepts and newer, more individual spiritual understandings. Brash greed of giant corporations is juxtaposed against a movement toward greater respect for earth’s people and resources. East and West battle for dominance. Distrust of leaders causes confusion, rage. Vitriolic rhetoric spills over into violent action. What major forms of individual and collective identity will solidify if human beings continue to split the world with rigid assignments of good and evil, insist on finding the enemy in otherness, and demand simple answers to complex problems? If it is who we are, not what we say, that effects lasting change, we must consider deeply who we are, who we are becoming, and what our role is in the collective. Dr. Jung’s insistence on the need for introspective awareness does not mean living entirely in isolated contemplation. He himself wrote, lectured, composed long, thoughtful letters, and risked his reputation as a scholar and scientist in exploring unpopular topics and challenging collective assumptions. Our conference will explore what is asked of us as we move into an unprecedented era of rapid travel and instant communication of information and misinformation. Ahead are opportunities for greater accord and understanding, and also dark emotions of fear, despair, suspicion and discord. The Foundation for International Training is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the support of concentrated studies in Analytical Psychology. Directors: John Desteian, Murray Stein, Stefan Boethius, Nancy Qualls-Corbett, Wynette Barton, Judith Harris, Paul Brutsche, John Hill, Penelope Yungblut and Dariane Pictet. **CLICK HERE FOR A BROCHURE AND REGISTRATION DETAILS** THE PROGRAM: A blessing by a member of the Santa Clara Pueblo will be followed by speakers, short videos, panel discussions, break-out discussions, and a few surprises. Nancy Qualls-Corbett, Jungian Analyst from Birmingham, Alabama, author of The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine, will speak on the healing role of feminine consciousness. Jacqueline Hairston will share rare insights about the sustaining, healing qualities of America’s Black musical tradition. Combining classical Julliard training with her knowledge of Negro spirituals and gospel music, Jacqui has composed and arranged music for Kathleen Battle, Robert Sims, William Warfield, and Sweet Honey and the Rock. Her new CD is Spiritual Roots + Classical Fruits: A Healing Harvest. David Barton will address “Titanism” (the tendency to dominate/ destroy the natural world) that comes from literalism rather than symbolic thinking and clashes with care of the soul. David is former publisher of The Salt Journal and guest editor for Spring Journal. Zurich Analyst Bernard Sartorius, long-time student of Marie-Louise von Franz, will discuss his recent travels in working with the polarities of Islam and the Western world. Conference moderator is Wynette Barton, Jungian Analyst from Austin. We await final confirmation (depending on schedule) from Governor Bill Richardson, former U.S. Congressman, U.N. Ambassador, New Mexico Governor, and world peacemaker; and other knowledgeable contributors. DATE:     Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011, beginning 4:00 PM. through Wednesday, Nov. 9, ending 1:00 PM. LOCATION:     Ojo Caliente, New Mexico, known for centuries to American Indians for its healing mineral waters, is a two-hour scenic drive from Albuquerque. (Travel details will be sent to registrants.) WEATHER:     Early November is usually sunny and brisk. Sweaters needed. CONTINUING EDUCATION:     8 hours credit for mental health workers. RESERVATIONS:     Reservations should arrive by March 10, 2011. Later registrations accepted if space is available. (Special room rate is available for those wishing to stay after the conference.) See photos of Ojo Caliente at http://www.ojospa.com **CLICK HERE FOR A BROCHURE AND REGISTRATION DETAILS**

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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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Obama’s presidency and International Cultural Complexes

Thomas Singer recently gave an enlightening 2 hour seminar out of Sonoma, California, on the idea of how unconscious forces affect cultures and nations as they engage on various levels.  One of his main concepts is that of a “Cultural Complex,” a charged unconscious archetype that grips entire nations without our awareness.  Part of what happened on Sept 11, 2001 was the triggering of an enormous cultural complex, both in the attackers and in our collective psyche’s response in the United States.  Cultural Complexes are pervasive and subtle.  You know you’ve triggered one when a person or nation responds in a highly charged manner.  In the 10 minute video below, Tom Singer introduces this powerful concept.   Please feel free to post any thoughts or comments you may have. ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________
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The Mythopoetic Path – A Road Less Traveled

There is an age old battle between the rational and irrational, the logical view versus an artistic or symbolic one. Jung talks of a “Mythopoetic Imagination,” which he saw as severely lacking in our modern culture.  It is what often engages us on  the Jungian path, which stands in stark contrast to our daily & mundane realities. Watch this brief video from our 2nd Red Book seminar (AJC #11) where Dr. Murray Stein introduces the idea of the Mythopoetic Journey. As always, your comments are welcome… ____________________________ ____________________________
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The Age of the Holy Spirit: Transcending the polarities of God the Father and God the Son

We recently released a powerful theatrical drama of Carl Jung and Victor White wrestling profoundly with the natures of God, satan, good and evil.
http://ashevillejungcenter.org/dvd-store/  The 90 minute dramatic piece is followed by 2 hours of Dr. Murray Stein lecturing on these topics out of Zurich.  In this weeks 7 minute video blog below, Dr. Stein answers the question “what did Jung mean by the age of the Holy Spirit?”  Jung saw an evolution of the tension of opposites being transcended into the fullness of the Holy Spirit.  He starts with the Old Testament “God the Father,” then progresses to the New Testament “God the Son.”  These plolarities are eventually transcended into the “Holy spirit”  Watch this brief video piece as Dr. Stein describes how the “Age of the Holy Spirit” comes into being.
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