Posts Tagged ‘Social Sciences’

2012  Maya prophecy

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

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

 By: Nancy Swift Furlotti

 Do we really believe the end of the world is upon us at the end of this year? It is true that our world feels full of chaos, wars, terror attacks, economic collapses, and environmental disasters. But is this really new? If we look back in history we discover that the world has been a dangerous and unpredictable place from the beginning. So, would you really prefer to live in another time with dinosaurs crashing around you, bubonic plague wiping out your community, or the inquisition stripping you of your religious choice and life? I wouldn’t.

Each era offers challenges to our human race, and now is no exception. But why do we jump to the conclusion that the end of the world is coming? Perhaps it is our linear thinking that focuses on only one of two possibilities. Many believe the universe began with one Big Bang and will end in a Black Hole. Others are convinced the world began with Genesis and will end with Revelation. There are actually other ways of imagining our existence.

The Maya, for example, thought about it extensively and developed a very sophisticated conception and application of time and reality that far exceeded the rest of the world, and perhaps still does. Their surprisingly accurate calculations of dates go back millions of years and forward well into the future. So what about December 21, 2012, the so-called end of the Maya fourth world? What does that mean to them, not just what it means to us? It is their calendar and their date; we can learn something from them if we listen.

A Western thinker who wrestled with the concept of time and reality was C. G. Jung, who wrote about cyclical periods of world chaos within the aeons of time.  Interestingly, both the Maya and Jung proposed the idea of circular or non-linear time. Another Western thinker, Mircea Eliade, called it sacred time. Perhaps this is what we are missing in our world today, and is a clue to why we think the world will end.

On November 29th we will hold a global seminar from Washington DC and Zurich looking at the question of will the world end on December 21st and what is the meaning behind this.  We will explore the significance of time and reality, the procession of the worlds for the Maya, and how it was a fundamental part of their religion. We will discuss its significance in relation to the most important Maya document to survive the Spanish Conquest, the Popol Vuh. This sacred book of the Quiche Maya, called the Dawn of Life, contains their myth of creation and destruction that lays out the template for how humans participate with the Gods in the ever repeating cycle of life, death, and rebirth. We shall observe how this myth may apply to our world today and what we can learn from it. With all the chaos in our current world, it seems we have a lot to learn!

-Nancy Swift Furlotti 

Mayan Calendar End of the World December 21, 2012?

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We Need to Talk About Kevin

Touching the Unspeakable Nightmare – A Must See Film.

We Need to Talk About Kevin

I just finished viewing the film We Have to Talk About Kevin.  I watched the film primarily out of obligation as we are about to host a seminar on it.  I knew nothing about it, other than Dan Ross was moved by it and wanted to lead a seminar about “the Predator.”  I was absolutely blown away by the film and sit here in a stunned state. I don’t write many blog’s for the Asheville Jung Center.  In fact I haven’t written any prior to this; but I sit here so stunned that I feel I have no choice. I’m a psychiatrist and have been practicing some 20 years now. I’ve seen many wonderful patients over the years and been delighted by their dreams and stories.  I’ve also, however, had a handful of patients that make my hair stand on end and keep me up at night.  I’ve run into patients that seem to have no conscious at all; that have no remorse for any act.  I’ve had rageful patients, incredibly abusive spouses and even one that shot his wife and his two children execution style.  I’ve been haunted by these encounters and never truly known what to do with them.  This film brought these feelings and memories into Technicolor and left me stranded on a desolate reef. What is a sociopath?  How are they formed?  Is it nature, nurture, or a cruel act of fate?  How can anyone sink to the level of random murder? Anyone who has been horrified by Columbine or any mass killing or even the sociopathic car salesman talking you into the wrong vehicle must see this film.  Be prepared to lose your grounding of what you thought was typical humanity and be left in a disturbing paralysis. Regardless of whether you can make our seminar next week or not, do see this movie.  It hits the absolute bowels of our society, but you will not regret it. Steven Buser, MD Founder, Asheville Jung Center

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Home and Archetype: A Review of “At Home in the World”

When John Hill performed the role of Father Victor White in  The  Jung-White Letters, he seemed possessed by the spirit of the man.  In John Hill’s recent publication,  At Home in the World: Sounds and Symmetries of Belonging, leaves me wondering if he has now been possessed by an entire cloud of witnesses comprised of Irish poets spanning centuries.  There is a lyrical quality that pervades the book and the publisher, Spring Journal Books, has done a marvelous job with the layout, cover design, the references, and every detail of the book.  Perhaps John Hill pulled his inspiration from a Fairy fort but the result is magical.

As the February 4th conference Architecture of the Soul:  The Inner & Outer Structures of C G Jung, (with Murray Stein & Andreas Jung) approaches, this is a timely read.  Hill’s scholarship is systematic and rigorous, but the book is replete with powerful and evocative language.  Hill gently weaves into the text many others who have shaped and influenced him like Paul Ricouer, Ernst Cassirer, along with one of my favorite fiction writers, Jhumpa Lahiri.  The thesis of his book may appear self-evident but I could not have imagined the depth and breadth of material I found in this book.

John Hill has been practicing Jungian Psychoanalysis for forty years and it shows.  He has been devoted to matters of the spirit even longer.  The reader will enjoy the subtle, perceptive way Hill incorporates clinical material from client’s dreams and narratives.  It is refreshing to encounter a writer who also lays himself bare to the reader without crossing the line into self-indulgence that can easily become a spectacle.   This is an analyst who comprehends that self-disclosure, even within the pages of a book, can be a powerful tool. And I suspect he also understands that self-disclosure can also be unwieldy. Therapists do well to stay alert for moments when self-disclosure serves their own unmet needs for mirroring and affirmation since they may easy remained it is for their client’s benefit.

Modernity has ushered in unprecedented opportunities for homeowners to furnish their dwellings in cohesive, well designed styles that may sold as an entire package.  Some furniture retailers make it easy to avoid making mistake by standardizing entire groupings of furnishings.  IKEA is not unique in its ability to commoditize home furnishings and to impart a sense to its customers that a unique look can be achieved on a budget.  The sheer volume and global reach of an IKEA testifies to the inclination to make a home unique through elements that are in fact standardized.  Such a home, according to Hill may be at risk of being left “…. without a soul.”

In contrast, we will have the opportunity on February 4th to participate in a conference whose outer, visible subject is

The Home of C. G. Jung.  After reading Hill’s, At Home in the World: Sounds and Symmetries of Belonging, I suspect the upcoming conference presented through Asheville Jung Center will end up being about our own magnum opus, our home.  We each approach this differently, just as we each approach the magnum opus of our individuation differently.  For some, the reliance on a standard assortment of furnishings provides a personal space that avoid too much personal disclosure but also impedes personal discovery.  For others, the home provides a platform of self-expression.  There are homes I have entered where I could sense the disconnection between the soul of its inhabitants and the structure itself.  There are limitless permutations for combining the inner dimensions of our being and the outer structure of our home.  And according to John Hill, “When a home becomes a mere product, dissociated from one’s own personal and collective history, it is probably in danger of losing its soul.” (pg11)

Some individuals delight in assembling elements into a home.  They strive for that ineluctable symmetry between the inner call of the soul and the outer manifestation of their home.  When we speak of homemaking as a function of managing the household we miss the much deeper connection between the demands of keeping things going in a family and the making of a home.   Hill notes, “We live in a world that offers us two different ways of seeing it — one functional and the other symbolic.”  (pg47)  It seems there as many different modus operandi for fashioning a home as there are styles of composition, materials  and technique for the artist.

Good teachers like John Hill convey complex subjects in clearly understandable ways.  The five or six pages on transference provide a good illustration and despite their conciseness Hill does not sacrifice the rich, evocative quality of his prose.


Images alone do not necessarily address key psychological issues or cross the great divide between Thou and I … (pg112)


Often in the deep constellations of transference and countertransference, the client finds the opportunities to relive much of the past.  …  The analyst must realize that he cannot indulge in the fantasy of providing a home for all those who need one. (pg113)


I live on the hyphen as a Cuban-American.  My soul has one foot firmly planted in the United States of America where I was born while the other foot, the one possessed of dreams of return to an island I have never known, has nowhere to step.  Countless others share my experience of life on the hyphen. The nations that bookend their hyphen do not separate us nearly as much as the hyphen unites us.  We who are hyphenated are a diaspora in our own right.  We are caught between two homes the one we left and the one where we dwell.  But we are all likely to find ourselves somewhere along the continuum of a home we have known, a home we know now, and a home that awaits us.

Salmon Rushdie writes that, “Exile is a dream of a glorious return.”  Like Odysseus, we  may find ourselves in a seemingly endless pursuit of a return home.  John Hill reveals to us some of the personal details of his own life away from his native Ireland without being mawkish.  At Home in the World would be wonderful preparation for the upcoming conference Architecture of the Soul:  The Inner & Outer Structures of CG Jung, (with Murray Stein & Andreas Jung).  It will also be a great resource for anyone interested in the psychological implications and underpinnings of home from a Jungian perspective.

John Hill gave a gifted performance of Father Victor White in The Jung White Letters  that moved me to examine the chords that resonated through Jung’s relationship with Sigmund Freud and later Father White.  It also deeply moved me to consider what chords resonate through my relationships with men in my life.  Now At Home in the World has moved me to examine from a fresh perspective my relationship to place.  It has stirred a renewed interest in exploring the spaces and structures, past, present, and future that are called home in my life.  Hill’s last paragraph reads like a closing hymn in prose and here he reveals a dream that arrived as he brought the book to completion.

… All at once the dream flashed across my mind, and I “knew” what it was trying to say.

…The house was my book on home.  The brickwork symbolized the thoughts and ideas of others who had influenced me, and contributed to its making.  The rough-hewn stones indicated that the work was connected with my identity.

… I have built the house from the materials of the earth.  It is a house that contains, but it is also open to the world and to the spirit.  Hopefully it can be an object of delight and contemplation, not just for me, but also for all who have crossed its threshold, so that you, dear reader, may appreciate your own home in new and creative ways.


Take a moment to consider the word “home”.  Let your imagination run free and let yourself be transported to homes you have occupied, homes you have wished to occupy, homes you have left, homes you have awaiting you in the future.  Consider what home means in your interior life and notice where the interior experience or awareness of home is in sync with the structure you call home and where the two seem out of sync. Please consider posting a comment about “home” so that we might open the doors and let one another peak in.

Len Cruz, MD

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The Female Trickster: A Postmodern, Post-Jungian, Feminist Perspective on a New Archetype

For inexplicable reasons, lawyers are the purveyors of some of my recent reading material.  One is Justice Antonin Scalia and the other is Dr. Ricki Tannen, a lawyer who refashioned herself as a depth psychologist.  If the skills of rhetoric and argumentation interest you, then you may enjoy Justice Scalia’s Making Your Case .  Whereas, Dr. Tannen’s, “The Female Trickster”, is a comprehensive revisioning of the trickster archetype through the lens of a feminist, postmodern theorist.  She has published scholarly material in the area of feminist legal theory.  She displays a sound understanding of how patriarchal structures can subjugate the feminine but this is neither a political rant or a stridently feminist contribution.  It is a well crafted, timely addition to the study of archetypal psychology.

Books that purport to be post-modern turn me off and to claim the status of Post-Jungian only aggravates this irritation. Ordinarily, the appearance of post-modern, or post-Jungian dissuades me from any further approach.  I am glad I didn’t allow “The Female Trickster: The Mask That Reveals~Post-Jungian and Postmodern Psychological Perspectives on Women in Contemporary Culture” halt my pursuit.

Dr. Tannen recently moved to Asheville and I am looking forward to meeting her soon.   She studied law at the University of Florida (my undergraduate alma mater) and has published on various topics in feminist legal theory.  She went on to complete doctoral work at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Depth Psychology.

If you are asking why I am featuring this book, it is because when a new, feminist voice appears on the scene, it deserves to be acknowledged.  Tannen’s is a new voice.  Listen to some phrases from her book.  “Tricksters preside over moments of passage, rupture and transformation”.  This is surely not a new idea.  But the female trickster embodies “psychological authority, physical agency, and bodily autonomy”.  That is a revolutionary idea.  Tannen proposes that the subversive, strategic use of humor along with a refusal to identify herself as a victim, are defining features of the female tickster.  Three female sleuths, V. I. Warshawski, Kinsey Millhone, Kate Shugak, serve as three exemplars of the means by which popular literature transmutes “imagination into reality” in ways that transform the individual and collective consciousness.  The books scholarship is broad and imposing enough to justify owning it.  But scholarship alone would not have moved me to devote a blog entry to this book.

There are books that proclaim with a deep, authentic voice a message that changes my understanding of the world.  Years ago, In a Different Voice (Gilligan), Women’s Growth in Connection (Jordan, et al), Toward a New Psychology of Women(Baker Miller), and Jane Eyre (Brontë) caused the tectonic plates  of relationship to the feminine to shift.   The Female Trickster joined the canon of writings by women that transformed my appreciation of The Second Sex (this was not meant as commentary, but I could not overlook this title).

Is there an archetype associated with the postmodern period?  Is there room for a post-Jungian persepctive?  I am skeptical of any proposition that a new archetype has emerged.  I understand archetype as the substratum of psychic content that cuts across the ages, trascends cultures, and plunges deeper than an historical context can fathom.  But I want to remain open minded to the notion that just as our species evolves ( our psychic structures may be evolving.

If I have a criticism of The Female Trickster, it is that the chapter titled “Where have all the virgins gone?” was too brief a survey of the ancestral origins of the female trickster archetype.  I suspect that the female trickster has declared herself in ages past.  The ineffable realms of feminine intuition and ways of knowing has aroused fear and suspicion in patriarchal culture again and again.  Perhaps because the effort to suppress female trickster energy has been so successful, the chapter was as extensive as it could be.  My objection to the concept of a new archetype were mollified by Tannen’s liberal use of phrases like female trickster energy rather than archetype.

Tannen uses the Female Sleuth (detective) as an example of the female trickster and she enriches that example with other popular characters from Sex and the City and pop music.  Dr. Tannen has something to say.  It is something profoundly important for our time.  The female trickster is inherently complete and her proclivity for social work in the world is a defining characteristic.

I have a personal affinity for the trickster motif and friends, colleagues, loved ones have ascribed trickster qualities to me.  Tannen’s understands the trickster’s clever use of humor that permits simultaneous challenges to the established structures while remaining inbounds.  The Female Trickster is a sort of Summa Psychologica of the female trickster. viewed as one step on the long march toward deeper understanding and integration of the feminine it is worth your attention.  Be prepared for a curried mix of scholarship, personal reflection, and deep psychological insight.

Please tender your opinion on the following matters (whether or not you read this book):

  • Is it possible for new archetypes to emerge?
  • How has the trickster archetype or motif (male or female) manifested in your clinical work and in your personal life?
  • What response do you feel to the notion of a female trickster as a discrete entity, recognizable entity?
  • Do you have any personal encounters with the female trickster?


We are very interested in your thoughts, reflections, and memories of your encounters with the female trickster.


Len Cruz, MD

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The Mythopoetic Path – A Road Less Traveled

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

Jung’s escalating conflict with Freud drives him to the conclusion that his life is dramatically off course and needs imminent change.   In 1913 Jung drops most all of his professional positions and prestige and enters a dark encounter with his soul. Watch this 8 minute video where Dr. Stein describes Jung’s wrestling with his inner demons and finding “The Way.”  This encounter with the unconscious led to his initial  writings in the “Red Book.” How have we had mid life major course corrections? How has your confrontation with your dark unconscious helped you discover your personal “Way”? We invite your thoughts and comments…. – Steven Buser, MD
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Sizing up a Client’s Inner Potential in the First Encounter

In Today’s blog Dr.  Murray Stein describes some of what’s going through a Jungian clinician’s mind in the first encounter with another… When Jungian psychotherapists face patients for the first time, they try to size them up. One listens to that first outpouring of narrative, of confession or complaint, with an ear cocked to tone. Does this sound like true suffering, or is this person blocked in feeling or cranky in thought? Is this someone who blames others too much, or does she shoulder too much responsibility for what goes wrong? Is this person too passive? Too active? Within the texture of even the most innocent first narrative therapists will often spot fragility, entitlement, emotional vulnerability and a host of other telling feelings and attitudes. In the therapist’s own emotional responses to this narrative, too, one may detect the pull of a raging demand for help, or the opposite – the pushing away that creates too great a distance.  In the first sessions, and indeed throughout a long therapeutic treatment, therapists spin an evolving mental assessment of how their patients are carrying on with life at the particular stage they find themselves in now, as they attempt to settle their old accounts, open new ones, and elaborate their stories. Jungian psychotherapists hold a notion of psychological development, of “stages of life,” and we ask ourselves questions about the levels of psychological development demonstrated in the narratives offered by the people who come to us. Does a person’s discourse show a good match, we wonder for instance, between chronological age and psychological attitudes? The full clinical impression of a person’s level or degree of psychological development takes many sessions and much observation to formulate in depth and detail. It is an estimate of their achieved individuation. From “Individuation” by Murray Stein, in The Handbook of Jungian Psychology, ed. Renos Papadouplos.
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Remembering, Repeating, and Working-Through: Working with the Shadow

“Everyone carries a shadow”, according to Jung, “and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.” Being an irrational realm, the Shadow is prone to being projected so that our own inferiority ends up appearing to us as a deficiency in the other.  “The projection-making factor (the Shadow archetype) then has a free hand and can realize its object–if it has one–or bring about some other situation characteristic of its power.” In dealing with Shadow, three phases of our engagement can be seen.  In the first phase, a person is either unaware or so dimly aware that the only evidence that can be detected consists of the projected contents.  These are reflected back to a person in the form of other’s deficiencies.  Another phase consists of revealing of Shadow in its true form, that is, as disowned, unacceptable aspects of the Self.  This is a phase of recovery of projections.  An individual begins to be emancipated from the  enslavement to Shadow.  In the course of this phase the bondage imposed upon others by the projected contents is diminished.  We might compare this phase to the aroma that wafts through the air, it does not sate the appetite but may arouse the appetite for the actual victuals.  Finally, there is a phase that involves integrating Shadow into the personality. Here Shadow becomes integrated into the whole Self.  There is no longer a need to stow The Secret Sharer of our unconscious below deck. In Freud’s essay, “Remembering, Repeating, and Working Through” he offers relevant insights that can be adapted to the work with the Shadow.  In order to adapt Freud’s ideas you must overlook how his thoughts are encased in his theories of psychosexual development.  Patients, according to Freud, begin by repeating.  “As long as the patient is in treatment he cannot escape from his compulsion to repeat and in the end we understand this is his way of remembering.” “…the patient yields to the compulsion to repeat, which now replaces the impulsion to remember.”  Substitute projection of Shadow for repeating in Freud’s essay.  Where you see Freud discussing remembering replace it with the notion of recognizing and recovering the project Shadow elements.  Finally, Freud credits the handling of transference as the main instrument for converting a patient’s compulsion to repeat into a motive to remember.  “One must allow the patient time to become more conversant with this resistance (to remembering) with which he has now become acquainted, and work through it.” What striking similarities exist between Freud’s evolving psychoanalytic techniques and the work with the Shadow proposed by Analytical Psychology.  Both render the unconscious realm as pressing itself upon life in the form of either repetition (Freud) or projection (Jung).  Both assert a critical role for remembering (Freud) and becoming conscious (Jung).  And the notion of working-through (Freud) and integration (Jung) seem to be one in the same.  Both Freud and Jung were pointing toward a cauldron of unconscious, instinctive, irrational psychological stuff that plays out to the detriment of all concerned when it remains unconscious and can be incorporated and dealt with through therapy. Ask yourself what means you have found to work with Shadow.  How do you foster the ability to move from projecting (and repeating to do so) to recovering projections?  How do you encourage the arduous task of helping clients make the journey from repeating to remembering, from  projecting and recovering a projection?  And finally, what have you found helpful with regard to working-through (or integration of Shadow)? References Jung, C.G. (1938). “Psychology and Religion.” In CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.131 Jung, C.G. (1951). “Phenomenology of the Self” In The Portable Jung. P.147 See for a text of “The Secret Sharer” by Joseph Conrad. See for a copy of the essay “Remembering. Repeating and Working-Through:
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