Posts Tagged ‘Jungian Themes’


Confessions of a Reluctant Jungian

Further Reflections on “Rilke: Poetry and Alchemy

Len Cruz

If I Ain’t Jungian

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

If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell my soul

to stop sounding an ancient meditation bell.

If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell that woman in me

to stop whispering incantations in my ear.

If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell my eyes

to stop looking into the deep

from whence I emerged

Someone speak to my ordered way

of life and tell it to

quit welcoming disruptions.

If I ain’t Jungian

How come I know the way home

to Ithaca’s unreachable shores?

Feel it in my loins.

If I ain’t Jungian

how come my spirit

calls from deep unto deep.

How come every time I find myself breaking apart

I free fall into the next moment.

I I ain’t Jungian

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

about ancient cultures and the stories

rooted in my deepest parts.

If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell the gods

to stop calling on me,

Apollo, Belenos, Ra,

Selene, Yemaya, Máni!

Tell me why I get dizzy

every time I

see the sun and moon together in the sky.

If I ain’t Jungian

how come I detect spiritus mundi 

everywhere I go:

Hear it in my heartbeat

hear it high

hear it low.

If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell my soul

to suspend its ceaseless arising.

Someone tell their gods

to call another name.

Someone take this bell

out of my depths.

Someone give my intuition

a flatter world to apprehend.

If I ain’t Jungian

someone tell my hands

to speak to my arms

to speak to my shoulders

to press a message on my Orphean breast

to compose a song of life

to gently hum that melody in my ear.

If I ain’t Jungian

If I ain’t Jungian

If I ain’t Jungian


Tell my eyes

‘cause if I ain’t Jungian

I ain’t waking, and,

God knows,

I ain’t AWAKE.

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

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Lassnig 1998

Art and Jungian Psychology Poll

Thank you for participating in our poll! Please let us know your thoughts below and for more captivating conversation about the art and Jungian Psychology join us on July 27th for the next installment in our “At Home with Jung: The Zurich Series” titled Art and the Psyche. Lucienne Marguerat plans to explore what visual art does to everyone and why this “moving” experience does not leave people unchanged, why it has in fact the same capacity as music to open everyone’s psychic space to humanity and the universe. As an illustration of this Lucienne will examine a few works by 2 different artists, Adolf Wölfli and Maria Lassnig. Linda Carter plans to show the deep importance of the conjunction of art and psyche in the collective as well as in individuals. These conjunctions create new life within artwork and the powerful dynamics of emergence.

Space for this online event is limited. Please register soon to make sure you able to see the live event. Click Here for more information

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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) (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

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Ecopsychology: Revisioning Ourselves and the World


Revisioning Ourselves and the World

By Len Cruz, MD, ME

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“…our present ego-feeling is only a shrunken residue of a much more inclusive, indeed, an all-embracing, feeling which corresponded to a more intimate bond between the ego and the world about it.” (Sigmund Freud)

Ecopsychology is more than the conflation of two words, ecology and psychology.   This nascent field expands the horizon of the deep self beyond the frontiers of the individual. James Hillman said, “The deepest self cannot be confined to “in here” because we can’t be sure it is not also or even entirely “out there”![i] The exaggerated emphasis on the personal, interior, individual psychology has contributed to a denial of the world “out there”.  Several trajectories can be subsumed under the broad canopy of ecopsychology and the field is distinguishable from other related subjects[ii]. There is an arc that begins with the personal unconscious, traverses the collective unconscious, and leads to a planetary unconscious.  The near apotheosis of mankind that installed our species with a belief in our dominion over flora and fauna may be coming of age.  The Navi race depicted in the movie AVATAR is a pop culture reflection of an emerging archetype or at least a cultural complex.  As Thomas Singer points out, “Failure to consider cultural complexes as part of the work of individuation puts a tremendous burden on both the personal and archetypal realms of the psyche.”[iii] Depth psychological influences have shaped out language appearing with phrases like Biophilia (Erich Fromm[iv], E.O. Wilson[v]), Ecosophy & Deep Ecology (Arne Naess)[vi], Terrapsychology (Chalquist)[vii] or Ecotherapy (Clineman)[viii].  There is an ecological imperative forcing itself on our consciousness through images environmental catastrophes, species and habitat destruction, and threats of irreversible climate change. Lifton’s concept of psychic numbing regarding the threat of nuclear disaster applies to the ecological crisis upon us.  But this festering wound can no longer be located solely within nor strictly outside of ourselves.[ix] Ecopsychology attempts to restore the intimate connection between the ego and the world.  And with the added the richness of the archetypal strata a more inclusive psychology is emerging.[x] If a planetary consciousness is developing and we should expect that there will be a planetary unconscious developing alongside.  In the pioneering days of psychoanalysis, Janet, Freud, and others were cartographers of a vast inner landscape.  A centrifugal force developed in the generations following Freud.  Ego psychology pressed beyond the id, social psychiatry and later self psychology expanded into the interpersonal and social milieu, and Jung expanded the personal notion of the unconscious into vast territory of the collective  unconscious.  However, all these trends established human beings at the axis of the psychological world.  Ecopsychology revisions this singular focus upon man.  It is a restorative psychology, where place matters and the distinction between inhabitants of the earth is removed, hierarchical disappears.  Ecopsychology grounds our existence and psychology in a broader context of the ecosphere. Let us agree that human activity is causing rapid and profound changes to the climate, to the water cycle, to the soil, and to species extinction.   Billions of people watched oil gush into the Gulf of Mexico for months. On a daily basis human beings grew more alarmed by the risks of massive radiation leakage from the Fukushima nuclear reactor.And though the ecological underpinnings of mass migration and starvation in sub-Saharan Africa are poorly understood, the images of starving human beings nevertheless etches itself into our psyches.  Such events remind us that there is an imperative imposing itself with ever-increasing urgency.  But the complexity of these issues exceed our capacities. Robert Jay Lifton, coined the term psychic numbing to describe “a form of desensitization … an incapacity to feel or confront certain kinds of experience, due to the blocking or absence of inner forms or imagery that can connect with such experience”.[xi] The intricate webs comprising our world are complex.  Ever increasing computing capacity permits us to model extremely complex systems and to detect elegant patterns.  Nonlinear systems (see also complexity, chaos, Madelbrot sets)possess some unique characteristics including inflection points (see also attractors, repellors, bifurcations) where sudden, large changes in behavior result from small changes in conditions of a a stable system.  Catastrophe theory, a branch of bifurcation mathematics, demonstrates that bifurcations are in fact part of a large well defined geometric structure.  Carl Freidrich Guass laid the foundation for these discoveries but the ability to model such complex systems had to wait for the invention of supercomputers. Our ability to recognize patterns, create accurate models, and decipher complexity on our own has limits.[xii]Rebecca Costa suggests there are five common supermemes that we should understand because of their limiting effects upon our capacity to reason.  These include: irrational opposition, counterfeit correlation, personalization of blame, silo thinking, and extreme economics.[xiii] Time magazine recently suggested that people like Rebecca Costa might be able to solve the world’s biggest problems (  The rest of us may need to acknowledge that the sheer complexity of the ecological crisis combined with our own psychological complexity often exceeds our capacity to understand. There a practical ecopsychology developing that might equip us to navigate through the treacherous times with greater understanding.  Ultimately it may also preserve us.  First, we will need to acknowledge that the planet and many of its inhabitants are being placed at risk by the impact our species has upon the environment.  There is an ecopsychological unconscious, and like all unconscious material, it resists exposure and yields its fruits reluctantly.  Those of us who live in the technologically advanced first world must make sure that we keep contact with the wilderness.  An earlier blog (May 31, 2010) addressed the diminishing wilderness of childhood and readers may want to read an excerpt from Chabon’s Manhood for Amateurs.[xiv] A practical ecopsychology will provide tools for working through the despair and psychic numbing that so easily overwhelms us.  Out of the fertile fields of ecopsychology will emerge ecotherapeutic techniques and understanding that can be expected to equip us to participate in the healing that we all need.[xv] In 1973, Our Bodies, Ourselves[xvi] became a feminist canon through its empowering, educational message.  The time has come for Our Planet, Ourselves that might collect the expanse of ideas that intersect with ecopsychology. The confluence of many shaping influences unite many archetypal energies forming a bedrock for  further psychological explorations.  A river’s delta provides a good metaphor for region where complexes, archetypes, and outer come together.  In the  delta fresh water and salt water meet and mix.  In the ecopsychological delta, conscious and unconscious, interior and exterior, introject and projection combine and create a limen realm where the participation mystique more easily is detected.  Jung wrote, “PARTICIPATION MYSTIQUE is a term derived from Lévy-Bruhl. It denotes a peculiar kind of psychological connection with objects, and consists in the fact that the subject cannot clearly distinguish himself from the object but is bound to it by a direct relationship which amounts to partial identity.”[xvii] It is tempting to oscillate between extreme impressions of the world.  Between Cormac MacCarthy’s The Road[xviii] and Fox’s recent Fall series Terra Nova with a tagline of “There is no paradise without sacrifice” we encounter repeated apocalyptic scenarios alongside utopian ones.[xix] [xx] [xxi].  KIA Motors produced a Superbowl commercial last year that exploited apocalyptic images of the Mayan Prophecy.  The appearance of such impressions in popular culture points toward the chthonic psychic regions, the places where archetypes reside.  Paul Ricouer observed that utopias function to develop “new, alternative perspectives”.[xxii] And some of our most compelling utopian literature actually present dystopias (Brave New World, Nineteen eighty-four, Fahrenheit 451). These days anyone can turn on a computer and create their own utopia (SimCity).  IMDb, the movie database, has compiled a list of the top 50 Post-Apocalyptic movies (  The images and impressions of a global consciousness, of an ecopsychological dimension are everywhere. A recent favorite of mine is AVATAR.  James Cameron’s creation of the Navi, a large, lithe, colorful, and powerful race of humanoid creatures with tails.  These tails, symbolizes the Navi’s sustained connection to their world and hints of a noble savage. From the opening minutes of the film the there are rumbles and rhythms of mechanization that contrasts with a perky newscaster announcing the comeback of the nearly extinct Bengal tiger we are presented with competing impressions of soulless exploitation of the planet’s resources by an interplanetary corporation and the soulful natives and their planetary conscious ways.  By the end of the movie our sympathies are powerfully attached to the Navi.  Apart from the symbolism of the Navi’s tail, it is the physical means by which they experience a deep empathic connection to their world, it is the vehicle for their participation mystiqeu. As if these images alone were not enough, Cameron chose for his protagonist a physically disabled man injured in battle.  He seems to be telling us of our woundedness, our disability, and our hope for restoration.  In the final scene of AVATAR, the viewer is left believing that the protagonist has made a final and complete transformation from man to Navi.  The movie’s ability to arouse archetypal energies of both apocalypse and utopia is gripping.  But the promise that WE might experience such a deep connection to the biosphere as the protagonist is even more compelling.  Ecopsychology is unlikely to deliver some well wrapped experiences of connectedness like we get in the movies but perhaps it can provide a guide for the journey.  This is journey that began in an idyllic garden to which it one day hopes to return. INVITATION Take a moment to reflect on the impressions that reside in your own psyche of this world, your place in it, and the planetary images and impressions that you have encountered.  Perhaps it is a dream, a piece of art, a moment of communion with nature.  As we share our stories, we may help one another to awaken to something deep within that also is suffused outside.  If we hope to develop a consciousness spacious enough for the biosphere it must include one another.  Share your stories here. Len Cruz

[i] Roszak, Theodore, Mary E. Gomes, and Allen D. Kanner. Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1995 (page xix).

[ii] Scull, John. “Ecopsychology: Where Does It Fit in Psychology in 2009?.” The Trumpeter Fall 2008: 68-85. The Trumpeter. Web. 8 Oct. 2011. [iii] Singer, Thomas. “The Cultural Complex and Archetypal Defenses of the Collective Spirit | Psyche-and-culture | Articles.” IAAP. IAAP, 19 June 2005. Web. 08 Oct. 2011. <>. [iv] Fromm, Erich (1964). The Heart of Man. Harper & Row., [v] Wilson, Edward O. (1984). Biophilia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-07442-4. [vi] Næss, Arne (1973) ‘The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement.’ Inquiry 16: 95-100 [vii] Chalquist, Craig (2007) Terrapsychology, New Orleans, Spring  Journal Books.  ISBN-10: 1882670655 [viii] Clinebell, H. 1996. Ecotherapy: Healing ourselves, healing the earth. New York: Haworth Press. [ix] Chalquist, Craig. “The Environmental Crisis is a Crisis of Consciousness.” – serving the animate presence of place., n.d. Web. 7 Oct. 2011. < (also Chalquist, Craig, and Mary E. Gomes. Terrapsychology: Re-engaging the Soul of Place. New Orleans: Spring Journal, 2007.) [x] Watkins, Mary . “On Returning to the Soul of the World: Archetypal Psychology and Cultural/Ecological Work.” N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Oct. 2011. < [xi] Lifton, Robert Jay (March 1968). “America in Vietnam—The circle of deception”. Society 5 (4). [xii] Costa, Rebecca D. The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way out of Extinction. New York: Vanguard, 2010. [xiii] Costa, Rebecca D. The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction. New York: Vanguard Press, 2010. [xiv] Chabon, Michael. “Manhood for Amateurs: The Wilderness of Childhood by Michael Chabon | The New York Review of Books.” New York Times Review of Books. New York Times, 16 July 2009. Web. 7 Oct. 2011. <> [xv] Buzzell, Linda, and Craig Chalquist. Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 2009. [xvi] Our Bodies, Ourselves. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973. [xvii] Jung, C.G. ([1921] 1971) Paragraph 781. Psychological Types, Collected Works, Volume 6, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. [xviii] McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. [xix] Geus, Marius De. Ecological Utopias: Envisioning the Sustainable Society. Utrecht, the Netherlands: International, 1999. [xx] Thiele, L. P. 2000. Book Review: de Geus, M. 1999. Ecological Utopias: Envisioning the sustainable society. International Books, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Conservation Ecology 4(1): 18. [online] URL: [xxi] Gues, Marius de. Ectopia, sustainability, and vision. Organization & Environment. Vol: 15:2, 187-201Jun 2002. Web. October 7, 2011.
[xxii] Ricoeur, Paul.  Lectures on Ideology and Utopia.  Ed. George H. Taylor. New York: Columbia UP, 1986. Additional Recommended Readings: Bateson, Gregory. Steps to an Ecology of Mind. New York: Ballantine, 1972. Buber, Martin, and Ronald Gregor. Smith. I and Thou. New York, NY: Scribner, 2000. Capra, Fritjof. The Hidden Connections. London: Flamingo, 2003. Capra, Fritjof. The Web of Life: a New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems. New York: Anchor, 1996. Chivian, Eric, and Aaron Bernstein. Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. Matthiessen, Peter. Courage for the Earth: Writers, Scientists, and Activists Celebrate the Life and Writing of Rachel Carson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007. McKibben, Bill. Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age. New York: Times, 2003. Singer, Thomas. Psyche & the City: A Soul’s Guide to the Modern Metropolis. New Orleans: Spring Journal, 2010. Suzuki, David, and Amanada McConnell. The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature. Vancouver, BC: Greystone, 2007. Walljasper, Jay. All That We Share: How to save the Economy, the Environment, the Internet, Democracy, Our Communities, and Everything Else That Belongs to All of Us. New York: New, 2010. Wilson, Edward O. Consilience: the Unity of Knowledge. New York: Knopf, 1998.

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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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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 **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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The Original Graphic Novel: The Sungod’s Journey Through the Netherworld

Don’t miss the chance to register for the Asheville Jung Center’s conference, “Symbols of Individuation in Religion and Mythology: The Case of Egypt.” The presenter, Andreas Schweizer, astounded the attendees at the last conference with his sweeping, concise survey of world civilization.  I fully expect him to expand our understanding of the rich material of the Ancient Egyptian story depicted in the Amduat. Schweizer authored a book, “The Sungod’s Journey Through the Netherworld: Reading the Ancient Egyptian Amduat”. It is an expansive book that escorts the reader through the twelve hours of darkness depicting Re’s descent into the netherworld and his return.  Deeply woven into our biology and psychology is the drama of the nightly descent of the sun.  Our own solar consciousness departs each night.  This most ordinary matter of the sun setting and rising again is the backdrop of a drama the Egyptians told as the original graphic novel.  The reader begins the journey with Re’s descent into the netherworld where he is greeted by terrifying gods.  It culminates in his joyous ascent and re–emergence into the upper world.   If a picture is worth a thousand words, the reverse could be said of Schweizer’s book.  Here his words enfold thousands of pictures. Scholarly writing can be stultifying. The effort to be authoritative can limit the reader but that is not the case with “The Sungod’s Journey”.  The ancients used images to tell a story.  Twenty five hundred years later, Schweizer uses words to enrich that story. The resonance between the sun’s diurnal movements and our own waxing and waning interior process also proves compelling.  For those who attended the first lecture in the series of Symbols of Individuation the idea of dry riverbeds in our collective unconscious assumes new meaning as you explore the Amduat. So basic is the Sungod’s journey that we call ourselves diurnal creatures.  A guide like Andreas Schweizer is hard to find. Initially I wondered if more color plates would have made it easier for me immerse myself in the images of the Amduat. But half way through the book I searched Google with the terms “Amduat images” and there were ample color photos, plenty enough to satisfy my appetite. ( One selection from “The Sungod’s Journey”  deserves special acknowledgment.  There is a point in the Sungod’s journey (at the start of the fourth hour) when he is lost.  The jubilation has ceased and in the utter darkness he must rely on other deities to guide him.  Schweizer likens this to the dark night of the soul.  Even in this dark and deadened state we are reminded that the netherworld provides.  I was reminded of a quote from Camus, In the midst of winter, I found there was within me, an invincible summer. (Individuation is likely to have some wintery moments.) This a point in the Amduat in which Re must be towed, he is no longer under his own power.  In a man, Schweizer compares this to the anima, that pulls a man along both in it’s negative dimension of moodiness, whininess, and sentimentality and it’s positive dimension in which empathy and healthy Eros is stirred. The last chapter is the most helpful.  Schweizer presents a model of Five Stages of Renewal.  Here are the descriptions of the five stages: First Stage (Vision of Paradise) Second Stage: The Healing Quality of the Dark Third Stage: The Reconciliation of the Opposites Fourth Stage: The Realization of the New Fifth Stage: Sadness and Joy at the REbirth of the Sundgod I anticipate Friday’s conference (November 4, 2010) will be fertile like Nile River Basin after the floods.  If you search antiquity for signs to direct you in the archetypal realms, the Amduat should be considered a primary source and Andreas Schweizer is an expert guide! Len
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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 You will find articles and other resources of interest. Len Cruz, MD

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