Jung and Indigenous Native Spiritualities



Jung’s visit to Taos Pueblo in 1925 made such an impact on him that thirty-six years after his encounter there, in one of the last letters he wrote before his death he said, “We are sorely in need of a truth or a self-understanding similar to that…which I have found still living with the Taos Pueblos….”. Jung seemed to recognize that indigenous people appeared to have an innate ability to understand and speak earth’s language and respect her ways. “Religion” as an institution that one adheres to does not exist for traditionally-oriented Indigenous people; rather, ALL of life is imbued with spirit, animate and inanimate, and ministering to life’s spirit manifests through a variety of spiritual practices.

This webinar will explore Jung’s thinking about religion and how it compares to Indigenous cosmologies as well as Jung’s own encounter with the numinosum at Taos Pueblo. Focusing on the biblical story of the Garden of Eden and native mythologies, we will introduce two psychic paradigms that illustrate the contrast between Western ideas of religion and Indigenous ways of life. Some of Jung’s later writings will challenge us to ask what is emerging today? What transformation is taking place?


Jerome Bernstein received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., where he was born and lived until he moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1992. He began his professional career in D.C. working with several non-profit educational and training organizations for people with mental and physical disabilities before becoming the Deputy Director of Manpower Training programs in the Federal Office of Economic Opportunity.

In 1971, he, along with a business partner, founded a new social science consulting firm, RJ Associates, through which he contracted with the Navajo nation. That same year, Native American tribes were given the right to take over the administration of selected programs from the federal government under the Indian Self-Determination Act. Within weeks, the Chairman of the Navajo Nation invited Jerome to become a consultant to assist with the development of a tribal Division of Education as well as being the Tribe’s registered lobbyist on Capitol Hill. This one-week consulting assignment turned into a six-year professional relationship with the Navajo Tribe. He has maintained a forty-five year relationship with friends and professionals and has been working to bring the wisdom of Navajo and Western healing together in a collaborative clinical model.

Through his contacts with the Navajo Nation, and particularly Carl N. Gorman, the Tribe’s Director of the Office Native Healing Sciences, Jerome was exposed to Navajo religion and healing. This had a profound effect on him, and he began to have healing dreams that involved Navajo and Hopi medicine men. At the time, he explored these dreams in his Jungian analysis. Over time, he realized that these dreams were leading him onto a new path: he was to become a Jungian analyst. In 1980, he graduated from the C. G. Jung Institute in New York, becoming a Jungian analyst.

He has been in private practice since 1974. He was the founding president of the C. G. Jung Analysts Association of the Greater Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area, vice-president of the C. G. Jung Institute of New York, and past-president of the C.G. Jung Institute of Santa Fe. He is currently on the teaching faculty of the C. G. Jung Institute of Santa Fe.

Jerome is married, and has two grown sons, three grandchildren.

Jeanne A. Lacourt received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, just a short distance from the Menominee Indian Reservation where she grew up and with whom she is registered as a tribal descendent. She pursued a Master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and then accepted a position as Director of American Indian Studies at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota where she continues to teach and design courses.

When she returned to school to obtain another Master’s degree and a license to practice psychotherapy, she also entered Jungian Analyst training with the Inter Regional Society of Jungian Analysts. She is currently in private practice and in the process of completing analyst training.

Lacourt’s more recent writings focus on bridging and integrating Indigenous and Jungian Studies. She presents nationwide, is published in Spring and Native journals, and has a chapter in a forthcoming book from Routledge. Jeanne maintains ties to her community and returns home to the reservation monthly.


Bernstein, Jerome S. (2014). “Healing Our Split: Participation Mystique and C. G. Jung.  In: Shared Realities: Participation Mystique and Beyond.  Mark Winborn, Ph.D., Editor.  Fisher King Press (2014). Further Readings: Deloria, Jr., Vine C.G. Jung and the Sioux Traditions: Dreams, Visions, Nature, and the Primitive.  New Orleans, Louisiana; Spring Journal Books. 2009. “Healing the Split,” C.G. Jung  CW:18 Paragraphs 578-607. Jung, C.G.  Memories Dreams, Reflections.  Chapter IX, Travels, ii. ”America: The Pueblo Indians,“ pp. 246-253.  Jung, C.G. Letters Volume 2: Letter to Miguel Serrano, 14 September 1960, pp. 592 – 597. Jung, C.G. “Archaic Man.”  CW: 10, Paragraphs 104  – 147.) For the seminar: “Western consciousness is by no means the only kind of consciousness there is; it is historically conditioned and geographically limited, and representative of only one part of mankind.  The widening of consciousness ought not to proceed at the expense of the other kinds of consciousness.”  From C.G. Jung.  CW:13, par.84.  Conclusion section of “The Secret of the Golden Flower.”). Creation: Balancing the World for Seven Generations by Kidwell, Noley and Tinker (2004).


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