Sunday, January 23, 2011

Press Release: Animus Aeternus

Animus Aeternus cover image
 Lovers’ Promenade © 2009
Iris Sonnenschein 
www.irisquilts.com
With Great Pleasure Fisher King Press Announced Today:

Now Available from Fisher King Press
Animus Aeternus: Exploring the Inner Masculine
by Deldon Anne McNeely

Shipping Feb 15th, 2011
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Introductory offer $19.95

“The animus is the deposit, as it were, of all woman’s ancestral experiences of man—and not only that, he is also a creative and procreative being.”
—C.G. Jung

Inextricably enmeshed in the life of every woman is a constellation of autonomous energy that Jung called animus, her masculine side. As a woman develops psychologically, animus changes, appearing and reappearing as child or adult, lover or enemy, king or slave, animal or spirit. All these manifestations of animus energy are reflected in her experience of masculinity, both in herself and in others.



Animus Aeternus weaves developmental theories from depth psychology with the poetry of women—including Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Emily Dickinson, Teresa of Avila and Edna St. Vincent Millay—to trace the history and meaning of this lifetime companion, illustrating how animus participates in a woman’s life, whether we are conscious of it or not.

Like dreams and active imagination, poetry speaks in images from the soul. In choosing women’s poetry as well as their dreams to illustrate the essence of animus, the author adds the immediacy of soul-made truths to the lucidity of her conceptual matrix.

Deldon Anne McNeely received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Louisiana State University and is a member of the International Association for Analytical Psychology. A senior analyst of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts, she is a training analyst for their New Orleans Jungian Seminar. Publications include Becoming: An Introduction to Jung’s Concept of Individuation; Touching: Body Therapy and Depth Psychology; Animus Aeternus: Exploring the Inner Masculine; and Mercury Rising: Women, Evil and the Trickster Gods.
Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting Edge Fiction, and a growing list of alternative titles.
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    Press Release: The Promiscuity Papers

    The Promiscuity PapersFisher King Press is please to present:


    The Promiscuity Papers
    by Matjaž Regovec


    On Sale Now for $12.95   Order Now 


    The founding myth of psychoanalysis is revisited in The Promiscuity Papers with special attention being paid to the correlation between archetypal promiscuity and incest. The particular concern of the author, Matjaž Regovec, is to reveal how insights from these archetypal themes shed light on the difficulties encountered by a patient in his analytical practice. This work is aimed at practitioners and students in the psychoanalytic, psychotherapy and counselling worlds but will also be of interest to those in the social sciences.
    Ann Casement, Licensed Psychoanalyst:
    Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

    The Promiscuity Papers offer a refreshingly bold approach to the promiscuous as an attempt to ward off fear of the incestuous. In the process Matjaž Regovec re-examines the relations between Oedipus, Iocasta and Antigone, drawing us into some unexpected archetypal configurations informing the familiar and the unfamiliar in the theatre of the clinical temenos.
    Richard Wainwright:
    Jungian Analyst and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist (London).  


    About the author
    Matjaž Regovec is a Jungian analyst and analytical psychologist. He undertook his analytic training in Vienna while living and working in Slovenia and is a member of the London based Association of Jungian Analysts (AJA, IAAP), as well as a professional member of the Slovenian Association of Psychotherapists (ZPS). Matjaž has a private practice in Ljubljana and works with Jungian analytic self-experiential groups in Ljubljana, Belgrade and Budapest. In 1993, Matjaž founded IPAL (Institut za psihološko astrologijo in psihoanalizo Ljubljana) – Ljubljana Institute for Psychological Astrology and Psychoanalysis. The Institute offers a professional three-year diploma course in counselling, as well as a postgraduate training in psychoanalysis (www.ipal.si).



    Fisher King Press publishes of an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting Edge Fiction, and a growing list of alternative titles.
    • We Ship Worldwide.
    • Credit Cards Accepted.
    • Phone Orders Welcomed. 1-800-228-9316 toll free in the US & Canada. International +1-831-238-7799. skype: fisher_king_press

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Guilt and Gender Roles

    by Lawrence H. Staples

    Women have an unconscious masculine side and men have an unconscious feminine side. Jungians use the term animus to personify the masculine side of a woman. They use the term anima for the feminine side of the man. Guilt is a formidable obstacle to the development of the contra-sexual sides of our selves. Women who were taught by parents to behave in ways that the parents defined as feminine felt guilty whenever they deviated from such behavior. When they dared to express masculine(1) behaviors, they were made to feel that they were “bad.” Men face a similar problem in developing their feminine(2) side. Fathers can be as appalled by a son’s interest in ballet or art as he can by his tears or his inability to focus and think clearly. To develop our “other” side, we must jump the fence, violate the parental definitions of what is good, enter the shadow, sin, and incur guilt in varying degrees. It is hard and sometimes distasteful work. It’s much easier to manifest contra-sexual qualities today than it was a hundred years ago. But there is still a powerful residual resistance to the development of our contra-sexual selves.

    A woman needs access to her inner masculine qualities if she is to protect and defend herself against those masculine qualities that have been turned against her. For a woman the cure for being a victim of those masculine qualities is homeopathic, with respect to the man; that is, she gives him a dose of his own medicine.
    Actually, if a woman does not actively seek to develop her inner masculine, it turns negative and becomes an inner critic and sabotages much that she does. Sometimes, he behaves on the inside like a terrorist, who appears in her nightmares as a dangerous intruder.

    Guilt with a Twist: The Promethean WayAn example of how masculine development can take place in a woman is shown in the case of Ruth, a woman I worked with in analysis. Ruth was a caring, giving, and generous woman. Her New England Yankee father had been cheap, cold, remote, and uncaring. She had rejected her father and his stingy, cold, and remote qualities. Paradoxically, however, she was attracted to men who were like her father. She had never married, but had lived with several men of that type before I met her. These men took advantage of and exploited her caring, giving nature. Until she could accept and redeem the rejected qualities of her father she could not save herself. To defend herself, she had, on occasion, to let go of the “good” qualities that lay on the inside of her ego’s fence, and embrace the “bad” qualities of her father. Until she could embrace the “bad” qualities she was vulnerable to being used by exploitative men. One important rejected quality that eventually enabled her to access and use these “bad” qualities was anger. It empowered her. The anger was a quality she had rejected earlier in life, when she had been the victim of her father’s anger. Her rejection of those “bad” qualities, however, made her vulnerable to villainous exploiters.

    Ruth’s behavior was compulsive. She had to be generous because she was afraid she would be taken over by “bad” qualities, that she would “sin” if she dared open her psychic door to them. Paradoxically, experience shows just the opposite. If we do not let these qualities in at all, if we do not give them a vote in our life, then they eventually will storm the gates. If we voluntarily give them a vote rather than reject them, the qualities can be used for us rather than against us. These qualities become our friends, because they are accepted, seen, and acknowledged. They get a vote to participate in our behavior.

    When Ruth gave those opposite, father qualities a vote, she became freer, happier, and more powerful. I encouraged Ruth to read fairy tales like The Frog Prince, especially the version where she throws the frog against the wall. I also encouraged her to pay close attention to her dreams and to record them. She had many dreams, but one seemed especially important to her:
    I am in a boat with Susan B. Anthony. We are fishing. Susan knows just where to go to catch the fish.
    I asked Ruth what it meant to her to be in the same boat with Susan B. Anthony. We talked about Susan’s anger at the unjust exploitation of women by men. We talked about some of the qualities Susan had found in herself that helped women get what they needed. Susan had come to see that the fish represented masculine qualities, which if used in women’s behalf could become food that would nurture them. Ruth grasped that these qualities were out of sight, under the surface of the water, which represented the unconscious. Ruth also sensed that there was a Susan B. Anthony in her own psyche that knew where to go to catch the particular fish she needed.

    She eventually became able to practice warm generosity and cold ruthlessness with less resistance. To find the cure for her problems with certain kinds of men, she had to embrace the opposites of her conscious being. The cure was in the ugly, “bad,” father qualities that lay in her unconscious. Living those qualities certainly brought her guilt, but the discovery of the value of these “bad” opposites eventually also brought her joy.

    Integrating these “bad” father qualities that lay outside the ego’s fence also led her to discover a process that underlies growth and development. Because Ruth perceived her father’s qualities as “bad,” she was forced to “sin” to embrace them. She had to stray outside the fence, where those bad qualities had been. To use those qualities to save herself from those men who took advantage of her good nature, she had to bear guilt. She experienced guilt when she expressed her anger or behaved uncaringly, but surprisingly to her, she also experienced a rush when she expressed her anger forcefully. She found the rest of her life characterized by a cycle of sin, guilt, and expiation. After using these qualities to protect herself, she would feel terribly guilty. She would then retreat back inside until a situation in her life demanded that she stray once again. She experienced what Jung said we would experience. Each step outside the fence incurs guilt and must be followed by further expiation.

    Ruth was a changed person. Those new, previously forbidden qualities made her personality bigger. The previously forbidden “bad” qualities did not take over the territory, but they became accessible to her so that she is now free to move between the “good” and “bad” qualities.


    Just as there can be a one-sided development of the feminine in women, there can be a one-sided development of the masculine in men. Such men also get cut off from qualities they need to nourish them. Joe, a 50-year-old businessman, worked 60 to 80 hours per week, and was very successful. However, as a result, his relationship with his wife and children was poor. This was his second marriage. Work took priority in all aspects of his life. Sex was infrequent and unsatisfactory. Actually, the things that made him successful at work made him less successful at family relationships. Relationships were important to him only if they helped his business. His son was interested in music and theater. He played the guitar beautifully and wrote songs. When pushed by his father to work on math or science or languages so that he could get into a good school and have a more practical profession, the son took refuge by simply saying he did not like those things. This enraged Joe, who would ask his son what “liking” has to do with anything, and then would point out that his son would never be able even to make a living, let alone support a family, with music or theater. Once he said to his son, “it’s hard for me to believe you are my son.”

    Although successful, Joe had for years experienced periodic bouts of depression. It did not disable him, but it did slow him down, and he suffered many a blue day. A longer-than-usual period of depression, combined with undisguised suicidal threats by his son led Joe to therapy. He was afraid the depression would make him fail in his work, and that his son might take his own life. His personal goal for the therapy was to get rid of the depression so that he could return to his old ways and work harder. Living better was not an idea yet on his radar.

    Soon after we began our work Joe had the following dream. “My cats get sick and begin to die one by one. I feel very anxious and upset.” Asked if he had ever had cats, he replied, “No.” I asked him what he thought about cats. He replied, “I don’t like them.” His sister had had cats, and he explained, “They are like women. They just do what they feel like.” He added that the phrase “like herding cats” has something to do with feeling types. Cats are an ancient symbol of the feline feminine, and they often appear in dreams of men or women whose masculine is one-sidedly developed. For men, it personifies the anima. The anima symbolizes the unconscious feeling, relating side of a man. Without conscious connection to the anima, there is little value placed upon feelings, spontaneity, or relationships.

    When Joe was depressed, he was severely cut off from his feelings. The feelings that Joe needed to heal lay outside the fence, where he had pushed them. In a sense when feelings are rejected, the feelings get revenge in the form of a depression. When the anima’s animation is present there cannot be depression. Rejected feelings eventually revolt.
    Because of Joe’s extremely negative attitude, it was difficult to help him access his feelings. Dreams were an important part of the work because they would often reflect his unconscious feelings as in the cat dream above. During his first visit, I had asked him to keep a dream journal beside his bed. He did so despite his feeling that dreams are a bit “new agey” and fantastic. Soon after the first cat dream he had another one in which a cat kept turning into a bat and menacing him. He associated bats with “bats in the belfry”, being crazy. That’s not too far from what Joe thought about feelings. When they run your life, you’re an airhead: unreliable, crazy and dangerous.

    Nevertheless, because he was so desperate for relief, he eventually began to keep a “feelings journal” where he would record daily his main feelings. I also encouraged him to meditate and try some yoga. He learned the transcendental meditation technique and took a weekly yoga class. He meditated twice a day for twenty minutes. He felt very guilty using his time so “unproductively”. He was guilty asking his secretary not to interrupt him for anything during his twenty-minute meditation. Joe also felt guilty about spending the time and money on analysis. It made him feel he was weak, that he should not rely on someone else to solve his problems. Nevertheless, he persevered and began to feel better. His feelings of depression and anxiety diminished. He had stopped working on weekends and found the company didn’t go under and he didn’t lose his job. He even had sex one morning before going to work and was late for a meeting. He felt guilty about that but discovered there was little consequence. For her birthday, he booked a suite in a great hotel and treated his wife to a delicious time. The guilt he felt about this new way of life never entirely disappeared. There were certainly compensatory rewards. He was less critical of his son and began to attend concerts and plays.

    At one point, he had a powerful dream: “ I am in Africa in tall grass lying on the ground. A gorgeous leopard sneaks up and lies down beside me. We begin to hug and kiss. I have never in my life felt such ecstasy.” This is a very different cat from the dead ones in his earlier dream. This one was alive and powerful. The anima had come and he felt fabulous. The anima appearing as a leopard, however, suggests just how far psychologically this energy had to travel to reach the conscious mind of this civilized man. When he woke up the following poem was in his mind and he wrote it in his journal:

         The Porsche

         Hands on the wheel
         Feet on the floor.
         Kristin often has the feel
         That life could be much more.

         Daily rounds of duty,
         Work at home all day,
         If she had some booty
         Fun might come her way

         Something new is needed
         In that life of hers.
         Let it all be superseded,
         Jewels and pearls and furs.

         These were most exciting,
         But everything gets old.
         The new is so inviting
         To the naughty and the bold.

         Something special caught her eye,
         Flashing red on wheels,
         Sleeker than a handsome guy,
         Wonder how it feels.

        Slipped into the driver’s seat,
        Took it for a spin.
        Nothing ever felt so good.
        Surely it’s a sin.

        She’s now in love with something new.
        A Porsche will really go.
        It’s a day he came to rue,
        Lose his girl or lose his dough.

        Life confronts us with this choice
        Each time we set a goal.
        Compelling is the female voice
        That wells up from our soul.

        Who’s to say it leads astray,
        Or where we ought to be.
        It’s a struggle every day,
        The fisher and the sea.

        Like a nymph she calls to u
        From depths we’ve never known.
        It’s her nature not to fuss,
        But just to lure us on.

        Lure she does beyond all measure,
        Guides us through the darkest ocean
        To the deepest, richest treasure,
        Highest object of devotion.

        Often it is hard to see
        How fun and play unite
        The half we really wish to be
        With that we wish to fight.

    We can see in Joe’s experience how powerful the anima is. She reached him despite his sturdy resistance to feelings and despite the ambivalence and fear these feelings trigger when they approach from their lair in the unconscious. The poem actually felt redemptive, bringing him both insight and relief. He shared this poem with his son who was inspired to write a song with similar lyrics.


    This article is an excerpt from Guilt with a Twist: The Promethean Way by Lawrence H. Staples. Dr. Staples has a Ph.D. in psychology; his special areas of interest are the problems of midlife, guilt, and creativity. He is a diplomate of the C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich, Switzerland, and also holds AB and MBA degrees from Harvard. In addition to Guilt with a Twist: The Promethean Way, Lawrence is author of the popular book The Creative Soul: Art and the Quest for Wholeness.

    Order Guilt with a Twist and The Creative Soul from the following booksellers:

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      (1) Qualities that Jungians define as primarily masculine include analytical thinking, order, aggressiveness, ruthlessness, goal orientation, punctuality, capacity to focus intensely, practicality, dutifulness, and selfishness, the tendency to think of one’s self first rather than of others. The quality of selfishness is often the one that comes to a woman’s mind first when she thinks of men. No woman, of course, is entirely devoid of these qualities that we define as masculine; it is merely that some are more developed in some women than in others. A woman may be a first-rate thinker, perhaps better than most men, but be unable to aggressively use those qualities to get what she wants or needs. The mix of qualities and their level of development depend on each individual woman’s particular biography. 

      (2) Qualities Jungians define as feminine include: consciousness of and high valuation of feelings; choosing people and things in their life on the basis of what they like, rather than on the basis of what may be dutiful or practical; high valuation of relationships, such as the capacity for connectedness and attachment to others as well as things; and the tendency to be process-oriented rather than goal-oriented, where the journey is as important and enjoyable as arriving at the destination. The feminine encompasses the sensual and instinctual facets of human experience. Feminine people may be less focused and more able to change direction or to veer from a goal, when something more interesting or more important comes along. This often means that the person is not punctual, and is often late.


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      Tuesday, January 11, 2011

      Logos vs Eros: Should Manhood be Continued?

      article by Bud Harris
      The idea that male energy could be good has come to be considered impossible. Yet all the great cultures have lived with images of this energy.(1)  —Robert Bly
      Recent years have brought a growing emphasis on the concept of androgyny. Are men and women basically alike underneath it all? If they are, should we strive for an androgynous plateau after doing away with cultural sex roles? Is our common bond in humanity the place we should equally meet? Or do the differences in the masculine and feminine really complement and enhance one another? What about the joyful, tender, romantic moments? Will they be homogenized out of existence? Or have they already been lost as we have replaced the mystery of sex and love with the technology of sex and “how to” manuals for relationships? Or have they been lost as we have become involved in the polemics of sexual politics that mark the angry suspicion that one sex is somehow ahead of the other?



      Most writers and lecturers I have heard advocating androgyny have based their discussions on Plato’s myth of the androgyne or hermaphrodite.(2) Plato developed his ideas from myths of primordial unity already ancient by his era. According to Plato human beings came originally in three types: man-man who sprang from the sun, woman-woman who sprang from the earth, and man-woman who sprang from the moon and partakes the nature of both earth and sun. Each unit was joined back to back, had four arms, four legs, two sets of genitals and a single head with faces front and back. Each being formed a rounded whole that could walk upright, or run cartwheel fashion, but they could never face each other. Their strength, vigor, and pride were great and they began attacking the gods. Zeus decided to split them down the middle to make them weaker. From this time forward each individual would feel incomplete and seek to return to this ancient state of wholeness by merging with another person. This story has two important implications in addition to the need to merge. It sets the stage both for heterosexuality and homosexuality, and the genders are of equal significance. 

      Resurrecting the Unicorn: Masculinity in the 21st CenturyThe myth of the androgyne implies a model of oneness that offers symbiotic comfort on the one hand, and the angst of separation on the other. This implication can be interpreted in many ways, and can be metaphorically connected to a host of psychological issues such as inflation, separation anxiety, and so forth. But most advocates of androgyny idealistically see a possibility for the reunification of these opposites that will result in a higher total consciousness. In fact, this view is usually masking a deep longing for an easy way out—a “return to paradise”—that ignores the importance of conscious awareness, discrimination, and the true value of opposites (three important points I will continue to discuss throughout this book). Indeed, analytical psychologists (analytical psychology is the name given to the psychology of C.G. Jung) consider the process of “separating the opposites” as the ego develops from the unconscious to be the origin of consciousness. This means that real life will never be a perfect unity and real people will always experience tension and conflicts from the fact of “opposites,” such as good and evil, “I and thou,” light and dark.

      In one of the many Hindu myths of creation,(3) nothing exists except in the form of Brahma. Seeing that he is alone, Brahma is lonely and afraid. In his desire for company, he sees he is large enough to be more than one and splits himself into two pieces. These two halves became a husband and a wife. From this splitting we also came to experience ourselves as incomplete in the absence of the other. This story, however, has a slightly different twist from Plato’s. Brahma fills his emptiness with his wife. They make love and create the people in the world; but when she realizes she had once been part of the husband who now makes love to her, she feels ashamed. Trying to escape his embrace, she turns into a series of animals. At each transformation, Brahma also turns into the male of the same animal and makes love to her. In this way all living things are created in pairs.

      Here, as in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the feminine was originally contained in the masculine. Elsewhere, the concepts of masculine and feminine are often conceptualized according to the ancient Eastern principles or images of Yang and Yin. Everything in the world partakes of various portions of Yang and Yin including both men and women. The Yang/Yin principles are symbolic representations of masculine and feminine energies: the Yang principle is thought of as being the creative or generative element, the initiating energy, penetrating power, strength, impulsation, aggressiveness and arousal. It is assertive and outgoing. It is represented as heaven, sun, and spirit, and manifests itself in discipline, discrimination and separation. Yin, on the other hand, is represented as receptive, yielding, withdrawing, cool, wet, dark, and containing. It is form-giving, connecting and collective—not spirit, but nature.

      Eastern mystics tell us that they experience all things and events, including the Yin/Yang principles, as manifestations of a basic oneness. But at the same time they recognize the individuality of each thing and by no means suggest that all things are equal. They maintain that all differences and contrasts are relative within a universal unity. These mystics attempt to transcend purely intellectual concepts by developing an awareness of the relativity and polar relationship of opposites. If we focus our attention on one concept, we have also, by this very act, created its opposite. Lao Tzu says, “When all in the world understand beauty to be beautiful, then ugliness exists. . . .” Good and evil, pleasure and pain, life and death, and yes, even masculine and feminine, are not absolute experiences belonging to different categories, but simply two sides of the same reality and extreme parts of a larger whole. When examining the Eastern concepts, we must be careful to remember that they are never static. There is always a dynamic interplay between the two extremes. An overemphasis on one pole necessitates a need for bringing the opposite pole into prominence. The development of awareness emphasizes the notion of dynamic balance in the experiencing of the opposites. In nature, the cycles of life circle continually. Only human beings have the capacity to create a temporary static plateau such as Western man has created by traditionally favoring the Yang over the Yin. Such a polarity of position (in terms of dynamic energy) invites a “backlash” from the opposite polar position as nature attempts to correct the imbalance.

      Depth psychology has been profoundly influenced by the theory of opposites giving us a picture of the human being made up of entirely mutually opposite tendencies—intellect and feeling, introvert and extrovert, masculine and feminine, and the amoral drives of instincts and the conscious moral codes, to name a few examples. If we look around, we can see daily confirmations of these affiliations. Priests and ministers have affairs, respectable matrons shoplift, intellectuals make relationships a series of reasoned propositions, professors fall madly in love with young students, ideal marriages end in vicious divorces, and in the name of play men make games a competitive science. We can all remember from childhood when something was going to be done to us for “our own good” and we usually anticipated the result to entail suffering. This notion of opposites is one you will frequently encounter as you pursue this book.

      Myths and stories almost as old as time (Oedipus, for example) inform us that fate strikes us through “not-knowing,” the lack of self-awareness that the myth illustrates. Conscious awareness of life’s cycles and forces is the only way to prevent us from being constantly thrown back and forth between polarities, compelling fate to punish us with tragedies. Conscious awareness is the indispensable condition for maintaining a dynamic balance between the opposites and transcending the tensions expressed in the different sides of human nature as well as the universe.

      The beauty of the Eastern concepts of Yang and Yin is that they are not combative. They complement each other as opposites (retaining their own identities), reaching toward a universal harmony. The receptive completes the creative and the creative completes the receptive. Most importantly, both principles exist in men and women.

      C.G. Jung, in his effort to examine the ongoing core of human problems, showed us that just as every man has recessive female chromosomes and hormones, he also has a group of psychological characteristics that make up a minority feminine element in his personality. A woman, likewise, has a psychological masculine minority component within her.(4) Jung uses the terms masculine and feminine to denote age-old principles much as the Eastern mystics did—not to describe cultural roles or stereotypes. Therefore, in normal development each man has a predominantly masculine personality with a complementary feminine component, and each woman has a predominantly feminine personality with a complementary masculine component. Men and women come in many varieties, however. His theory does not limit the roles and lifestyles of men and women nor how they may express themselves. The man’s feminine side Jung called the anima, the woman’s masculine side he called the animus.

      Jung also continued using the term eros to describe what he conceived of as the feminine principle. Eros in the Jungian sense generally means personal relatedness, a keen interest in relationships and a prevailing attitude that works for conciliation and reconciliation. Eros evokes self-integration, subjectivity, and the concerns of individuals. Eros is rooted in the material universe and the earthy feminine qualities such as passivity and receptivity.

      Contrasting with eros is the word logos, representing the masculine principle. Logos signifies power, meaning, deeds, and ideas. Logos stands for objectivity, structure, discrimination, and the abstract. Logos is also equated with the spiritual in the sense of the non-material. Jung emphasized that both eros and logos are equally necessary in human life and complement each other.

      As I proceed I will try to deal with our individual differences without devaluing any of the components. We are accustomed to thinking otherwise, but differences in the sexes does not imply discrimination or roles. When we deny the differences, physical and psychological, we take a destructive path, because we are then denying essential components of our physical, sexual, and psychological identities. To deny the differences devalues the effects we have on each other and the need we all have for the confrontation of the other in order to help us find out most fully who we are, how we are different from and how we are like those closest to us. It also denies us the healing power of the other and our own capacity to be healers in the human arena of differences. My conclusion is the same as Jung’s: as individuals we have dominant and complementary components, and like the Eastern mystics (and Jung as well), I see the masculine and feminine components as equal, of necessity complementing each other as universal forces. The gift of each enhances the other.

      The masculine and feminine, logos and eros, grow hand in hand in healthy circumstances. Over and over as I have dealt with people in therapy, first one grows and then the other. They follow each other step by step as if endeavoring to maintain their balance. The masculine inspires the feminine and the feminine inspires the masculine.

      Robert Bly notes that “the idea that any male energy when in authority could be good has come to be considered impossible.”(5) Bly tells us the Greeks understood the nature of the positive male energy and termed it Zeus-energy. This energy includes intelligence, compassionate authority, health, physical authority, good will and leadership, and it represents positive power when utilized by the male to be of service to the community. He further states that all the great cultures since the Greeks have lived with images of this energy—except ours. This Zeus energy has been disintegrating in our culture.

      The destruction of Zeus energy is reflected in comic strips and television situation comedies where the male appears childish and foolish and is saved or directed by his practical, intelligent (and managerial/matriarchal) wife. These insidious attacks combine with the absent or almost absent father and the aggressive stance of women to indoctrinate boys, starting at a very young age. For several generations our sons have tried to become men not only without connecting to the teachings and energies of older men, but also in the face of cultural denigration of the masculine. The absence of full-fledged masculine models and a cultural tradition of masculine development has abandoned boys to the conflicting influences of the media, marketing, and popular social causes as these boys struggle to form male identities. Often boys are left with a deep sense of anger resulting from society’s failure to meet their developmental needs. Boys trying to grow up have little understanding of their anger and how to deal with it. Sometimes they express it antisocially, but most often it is internalized and then projected onto women from a deep unconscious wound in their personality. We are so lost in our development that we not only need to learn about the masculine and the feminine, we need to relearn what masculinity really is.

      The quest is now to discover how to renew manhood. From this renewal we can determine again how to define ourselves as men, how to become the individuals we already are in potential, and how to absorb and integrate the shocks we have endured—such as the changes in women.

      The Art of Love: The Craft of Relationship: A Practical Guide for Creating the Loving Relationships We WantBud Harris is a diplomate of the C.G. Jung Institute in Zürich, Switzerland. He and his wife, Massimilla Harris, are practicing Jungian analyst in Asheville, NC. Dr. Harris is the author of several publications including Resurrecting the Unicorn: Masculinity in the 21st Century and The Art of Love: The Craft of Relationship.

      (1) Keith Thompson, “What Men Really Want: A New Age Interview with Robert Bly,” in New Age Magazine, May 1982, p. 51.
      (2) Plato, The Symposium, translated by W. Hamilton (New York: Penguin, 1917).
      (3) Sheldon Kopp, Here I Am, Wasn’t I (New York: Bantam, 1986). See the discussion on creation on pages 30-36 of Resurrecting the Unicorn.
      (4) C.G. Jung, Collected Works, Vol. 9i, Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Bollingen Series, Vol XX, ¶. 512.
      (5) Keith Thompson, “What Men Really Want,” p. 51.
      Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting Edge Fiction, and a growing list of alternative titles.
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        Monday, January 10, 2011

        Threshold Experiences

        Threshold Experiences: The Archetype of BeginningsNow available from Fisher King Press

        Threshold Experiences: The Archetype of Beginnings 
        by Michael Conforti
        First Edition, Trade Paperback, 168pp, Index, Bibliography
         — ISBN 978-0-9441879-9-9
        $25.00 USD  Sale Price $19.95   Add to Cart 

        This seminal volume represents the foundation of Michael Conforti's 25-year pioneering exploration of the confluence of psyche and matter.

        "In the beginning", so goes many a great story. These familiar words beckon us across a threshold, often transporting us into unknown worlds and novel experiences. So too our lives are filled with many such "beginnings" -- new jobs, relationships, adventures, and even the inception of life itself. Each of these "threshold experiences" not only introduces us to new domains, but also draws us into the realities of archetypal fields. Learning to creatively interact with these prefigured, a priori fields can allow us rich access to sources of eternal wisdom.

        Jungian analyst Michael Conforti's examination of the initial clinical interview as a "threshold experience" shows that the same archetypal processes responsible for the generation of life itself also shape patient-therapist relationships, creating fascinating, highly patterned dynamics. These powerful fields structure events so that core issues in clients', and often even therapists', lives are re-enacted in the therapeutic setting with remarkable fidelity to the archetypal field within which each is embedded. Conforti's deft weaving together of psychological and scientific theory, dream analysis, and clinical vignettes elucidates the ways that the psyche entrains both client and therapist into a synchronized pattern. An understanding of the role of the Self in this process reveals the profound meaning and purpose that can be gleaned from careful attention to the communications occurring during the early phase of the therapeutic dialogue.

        Drawing from the fields of jungian psychology, biology, quantum physics, and the new sciences, the author provides a unique lens for viewing the central archetypal dynamics operating within an individual life. His findings demonstrate how past experiences not only shape the initial stages of therapy, but also allow us to understand the future trajectory of treatment. This important study confirms C.G. Jung's assertion of the need for an interdisciplinary perspective if we are to truly comprehend the workings of the psyche.

        Michael Conforti, Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of matterpsyche studies, is a practicing Jungian Analyst. An international consultant and lecturer. He has taught at the C.G. Jung Institute Zurich, as well as in Canada, Venezuela, the Caribbean, Denmark, and Italy. He works with individuals, organizations, and businesses, including the film industry, to identify and understand the role of the archetypal patterns underlying human behavior. Dr. Conforti is the Founder and President of the Assisi Institute for the Study of Archetypal Pattern Analysis, and the author of Field, Form, and Fate: Patterns in Mind, Nature and Psyche


        Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting Edge Fiction, and a growing list of alternative titles.
          • We Ship Worldwide.
          • Credit Cards Accepted.
          • Phone Orders Welcomed. Toll free in the US & Canada: 1-800-228-9316 International +1-831-238-7799 skype: fisher_king_press